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Our young family battling stage IV breast cancer one day at a time
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Archive for the ‘Thanks’ Category

Freezer Meals and Gastaurants

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Thank you to everyone who is bringing us a meal.  As of right now (Monday morning) we are all set with meals.  So if you were going to contact me, but haven’t had a chance yet, we are all set.  Thank you for the thought.  I think my freezer will be so full it may explode. 

Speaking of food.  If you have time and want to read my silly little story read on.  If you’re in a hurry, you can close this now. 

On our trip to U of M last Thursday I was convinced I came up with a new word all by my big bad self.  There is a gas station in Fowlerville with a restaurant attached to it.  It always catches my eye because it has a blue roof and has a Germanesque feel to the building.  So I thought to myself…there should be a name for gas stations that have restaurants attached to them.  Eureka!  Gastaurant!

So in my moment of brilliant glee I blurt out GASTAURANT to Dusty.  He says..”huh?  What?  What are you talking about?”  He has that intense look on his face.  He likes to pretend he’s a race car driver and tends to get road rage with people who go below the speed limit and ride in the left lane.  I say “gas station + restaurant = gastaurant!  I made up a new word!”  A few miles later, after I wouldn’t stop talking about how awesome I am, he had the audacity to challenge my amazing mind and said “google it”.  How dare he?!   

“Google it?” I say.  So I did.  Did you know Gastaurant is in the encyclopedia?  Neither did I.  Here’s the definition:

Gastaurant
`Gastaurant`, a portmanteau of gas station and restaurant, refers to a class of fueling stations which also incorporate a franchise-based restaurant (such as McDonald`s or Taco Bell) in the same facility.  

Who knew?  Not me. 

Praise God

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Thank you for the prayers you’ve covered us with.  We felt an extreme amount of peace today.  Everything went well.  The drive was good and my appointment went even better. 

I received a great report from Dr. Schott at U of M.  The MRI of my brain I had last week showed “no evidence of disease progression”.  I’m still considered stable.  The MRI also showed the two tumors that are still visible do not have a blood supply.  That’s good news.  They suspect the tumor spots that still show up on the MRI are dead tissue from the Gamma Knife Surgery I had in September at Mayo.  This coincides with what Dr. Parney at Mayo warned us about.  He said after he zaps the tumors I could develop scar tissue (dead tissue) in their place. 

When I have my MRI’s, I have them with and without contrast.  The contrast is something they inject me with half way through the MRI and it shows the blood supply in my brain.  We could clearly see that neither spot had a blood supply going to it.  PRAISE THE LORD.  God is good.  I am blessed.  Thank you for your prayers of healing.  I don’t feel worthy of such grace. 

My lab work looked good too.  Slightly anemic, but nothing to worry about. 

Our next plan of action is to get me off the Prednisone (steroid).  I’ve been on steroids since August.  AUGUST!  I’ve tried tapering off them 3-4 times and my adrenal gland has failed me everytime.  Let’s pray that my adrenal gland will wake up and do its job.  I need to get off the steroids. 

The other great news of the day is that we had an offer on our house and it looks like things are working out.  I know nothing is final until the papers are signed, but I dare say our house is sold!  It was on the market for two weeks!  Amazing. 

I go back to U of M in three months for a bone scan, CT of chest/abdomen/pelvis and brain MRI. 

We always end our nightly meal with a prayer.  When Brooklyn was little, we would say Amen and then bust out in this song.  Now Max and Samantha do it.  It was in my head the whole way home today.  Hopefully you remember the song too. 

Amen

Praise the Lord

Amen

Praise the Lord

Glory Hallelujah

Praise the Lord

I’m gonna jump down turn around, touch the ground

Praise my Lord!

Christmas Reflection

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It’s pretty obvious 2010 hasn’t been our best year.  In many ways, we’re glad to see it go.  Still, we reflect back the journey and the ways that you’ve all come along side us during this time.  We thank God for blessing us through your kindness and support. 

I don’t think everyone will understand exactly what I mean, so I’ll give you a few examples from just the last three weeks: 

A few weeks ago a group of special Ridge Point Community Church members dropped off a huge box of food.  So much food, I couldn’t even lift it.  They circled us and prayed for us and showed such love and compassion. 

At the Ensing Family Christmas party, we were presented with a couple dozen sizable gift cards to use to offset takeout food expenses.  When Lindy is nauseous the last thing she can do is cook, so these come in so handy.

There’s been a group of 2nd graders from Holland writing letters to Lindy and coloring pictures and cards.  We get a new envelop filled with more of them every week.  It’s hard to be sad when you read/look at these honest and uplifting expressions by these little people. 

Yesterday, I was presented with an over-flowing gift basket from my Marketing coworkers at Herman Miller.  Inside, in addition to several goodies and movies, there was a certificate for a weekend away to Great Wolf Lodge and $500 cash to use for the trip.  Our instructions were to make memories and enjoy the time together.  Amazing. 

This past summer and fall, we were the benefactors of several fundraiser efforts.  Once again, we’d like to thank the For the Love of Lindy Committee for organizing the bake sale, our friends at Dutch Studios, Crazy Horse, Elhart Collision (Community FUNDay), Kibler’s Kreations, Beechwood Restaurant, Avon, Dress Code, Englesman’s Greenhouses and the list goes on and on. 

Also, for all those that have sent us money or other assistance this past year, we thank you all.  Your gifts had made life easier and allowed us to focus on what really matters.

Patty, your daily messages of love are so appreciated.  What a gift you are from above. 

Thank you to our family for helping care for our kids and for taking us meals.  We could not do this without your loving care. 

In the midst of an unimaginable situation, we are so blessed.  This Christmas holds a new meaning for our family; we pray it does for you too.  Merry Christmas. 

Yikes and Thanks

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In two days it will have been a week since the Gamma Knife procedure.  Overall I feel okay.  I have occasional headaches, nausea, lots of fatigue and I look like I was punched in both eyes.  They’re very swollen and I look terrible.  Nearly unrecognizable.  Yikes.

I was able to squeeze contacts in my eyes this morning so I could wear sunglasses to walk Brooklyn to school.  I would make small children run and scream for their mothers if they saw me.  I look a little scary.  When Max and Samantha first saw my eyes, they kept pointing at them and saying “eyes?  eyes?”  Poor kids.  First they see me without hair and now my face looks contorted.  I’m glad they won’t remember this.  They still love me the same. 

You know what I can’t wait for?  Crane’s.  It’s not fall until you go to Crane’s and drink some cider, pick some apples and get an apple dumpling or some other delicious apple treat.  As soon as I start to look “normal” we’re packing up the kids and heading to Fennville! 

This coming Friday, October 1 is the big bake sale at the Holland Christian vs. Zeeland East Football game.  Thank you Keely, Wendie, bakers and everyone who is taking the time and effort to put this together.  I know this takes a lot of work and we appreciate it. 

This coming Saturday, October 2 is the Community FUNDay at Elhart Collision.  Thank you Tony, Carissa and everyone at Elhart who put this together. 

The rest of this entry is a big, giant THANK YOU to everyone – so many people – who are supporting and praying for our family.  People we don’t even know are reaching out to us.  You are God’s people and such blessings to our family.

Thank you to those of you who are donating and returning pop cans.

Thank you to everyone who ran or walked in the Susan G. Komen Race For the Cure on Saturday.  What a great cause and let’s pray for a cure.  I heard it was a great turn out and I wish I could’ve been there. 

Thank you to the awesome cook’s who are bringing us meals.

Thank you to everyone who has donated money to us.  It takes a huge burden off our medical expenses and we are so humbled by your generosity. 

Thank you to the prayer warriors who are boldly praying for complete healing over me. 

Thank you to the card senders and little present givers. 

Thank you to everyone who hosted a party or sale.

Thank you to anyone I mistakenly overlooked. 

Love you all!

Back to Reality

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 Thank you for making Dusty’s 36th birthday extra special this year. 

Dusty Birthday 2010

From decorating his desk at work and posting his little kid picture all over Herman Miller (including bathroom stalls), to making an awesome cake (thank you Joni Gibson), money for dinner, 50 cards, treats, balloons, beer “with roots”, barbie and smurf cakes, 70+ Facebook messages, etc.  He was even gifted a special Eames birthday throne (thank you Brian Van Kley). 

He had a perfect day.  Thank you all!

 Max Eats Cake Sept 2010

This week we’re going to Mayo in Rochester, MN.  Thank you to everyone for your advice and help on getting there.  Thank you to the people who are staying at the house taking care of the kids while we’re gone. 

I wish I could say I were excited and hopeful about the trip, but my guard is up so I’m scared, nervous, worried and anxious.  I hate feeling this way.  I want good news. 

This is also Brooklyn’s first week of school.  New school, new grade, all day.  It’s a big deal and I’m not going to be here for it.  You can probably imagine the guilt. 

Please pray for:

  • God to go before us and set the path for all we do  – Mayo, work, first day of school, etc.
  • Safe travel to and from Mayo
  • Good treatment options offered to me from the doctors at Mayo.
  • Good first week of school for Brooklyn.
  • Safety for the Samantha, Max and Brooklyn as they spend time with family and friends. 

How much is too much to ask for?

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No one knows when their last breath will be taken.  Not many people are given a time frame on their life.  When you are given a time frame, it makes things different.  Everything is different.  Every moment of every day is different.  I look at my kids differently.  I’m incredibly thankful for the time I’ve had so far with them.  I wonder how much longer I’ll get?  My hope is that it’s many years. 

The time I spend with Dusty is different.  Not that he ever got on my nerves, but let’s say if he did occasionally, he doesn’t anymore.  I’m just happy to be with him.  Things don’t annoy me anymore.  The moments I spend with my parents, family and friends is different.  I soak all of it in.  I’m grateful for it. 

I recently received a letter from a man at church who lost his wife to cancer.  I don’t think he’ll mind me telling you that his prayer to God was he would give them five more years.  Five more years.  God gave them five more years.  She was a wonderful woman. 

I’ve been given a year, but the five years has been on my mind.  Then I think to myself that I want more than five years.  I want way more than five years.  How much is too much to ask?  In five years Brooklyn will be almost 12.  Max and Samantha will be almost 7.  They have too much life ahead of them to spend without a mom.  Scrap the five years. 

Do I ask for ten years?  That puts Brooklyn at 16 (almost 17).  By then she’ll have survived middle school and have been through driver’s training.  Maybe she’ll have been through her first heartbreak (hopefully not) and had her first fight with her friends.  Max and Samantha will be 11 (almost 12).  I’m terrible with knowing what grade they’ll be in, but I would imagine it would be around the sixth grade.  Just beginning those ever changing middle school years.  They need a mom for this.  I need to be here.  Scrap the ten years.

How much is too much to ask?  I know that my days are numbered as are the rest of my family’s.  I believe I need to rest in God’s undying love for me and my family.  I know that His will is perfect.  I need to trust and be still. 

If you’re wondering, I’m not angry at God.  I haven’t been angry yet.  I’m tired.  I’m sick of it.  I’m sad that he chose this daughter of His to have struggles.  I do wonder why.  Why couldn’t it have ended with breast cancer?  That would’ve been enough for me. 

I never saw myself as a weak person, but that’s how I feel most days.  I don’t want to be the girl with reoccurring terminal brain cancer.  The one people give head tilt looks of pity to.  The one that all of these AWESOME people are organizing fundraiser events for.  I can’t believe I’m that girl.  I’m the girl who since on steroids for my brain swelling has gained another 10 pounds.  I am currently 35+ pounds beyond where I normally am.  I look in the mirror and don’t recognize myself.  I’m heavy.  My head is burnt from radiation and starting to peel.  Did I mention that my reconstruction surgery had to be postponed?  I barely recognize myself.  A tiny fraction of what I looked like 1 1/2 years ago is still there.  That’s hard. 

I want to  be the girl who organizes the fundraisers for someone else.  Who donates the $20.00 for someone else’s family.  Who gives all their pop cans and returns all of them (thank you Jen) to give the money to someone else’s family.  Who organizes a bake sale, jewelry show, repairs their van and so much more for someone else’s family.  It is so humbling to be where I am.  I am so thankful for everyone who has stepped forward and is working on or has already helped our family.  Thank you. 

I’m also scared.  Scared for what Mayo Clinic and Duke will tell me.  Will they offer a new treatment?  Will they offer surgery?  What if they tell me they have nothing for me?  Fear is from my enemy.  I know that God is better than any doctor on the face of this earth.  He is the only one who can cure my cancer.  No one else.  He’s it.  I need to trust that.  Put my fear away and rest in God. 

On a MUCH lighter note.  I can’t end this on a ranting pity party for myself. 

I did have a great Saturday making salsa with my friend Jill.  We planted some  (by some, I mean at least 10) tomato plants in my parent’s garden and we have tomatoes coming out of our ears.  So we made the Bazan’s Sweet Salsa recipe (thank you Lindsay).  If you want it, I don’t think she’d mind me giving it to you.  It was easy and it’s really good.  It’s sweet though, so it’s not a traditional salsa if that’s what you’re looking for. 

The Best Weekend Ever!

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I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend at the cottage.  Thank you Russ and Rhetha Genzink. 

Dusty and I had a great night by ourselves Friday night.  We went out for dinner to Hearth Stone.  We laughed later because we realized it’s a gas station restaurant.  That’s right, we celebrated our 12 year anniversary dining at a restaurant hooked to a BP gas station.  In all fairness, you wouldn’t know it was a gas station restaurant until you go down the hill and see the BP is hooked to it.  It was good food and we couldn’t complain. 

We were given a couple presents from friends to take along.  Knowing my enormous sweet tooth, my friend Jill smuggled a Zeeland Bakery Cake (white cake, chocolate frosting on top and cream in the middle – there is no other way) and fake bubbly (I can’t drink on my drugs).  Susan Bakker made an awesome appetizer platter for us. 

                                               

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Susan also made a cute little bucket of sparklers, rice krispie treats and fun things for the kids.  Brooklyn decided to try selling the Rice Krispie treats.  What a little entrepreneur!  Wonder where she gets that from? 

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We did everything we hoped to do.  We played in the water, went on a boat ride, rode the Sea Doos (Brooklyn’s new favorite), caught a fish, watched a sunset, roasted s’mores, ran around with sparklers, ate too much food and had a great time with the entire family. 

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It was so hard to leave on Sunday because it meant coming back to reality.  I am so thankful that for one weekend I could focus on something other than brain tumors. 

I watched my kids play in the water.  Discovered Brooklyn cannot go fast enough on a Sea Doo with her Uncle Clair.  Realized Max thinks he’s a big boy and wants to drive a Sea Doo too (just like Uncle Clair).  Samantha loves the water.  Brynn (my beautiful newborn niece) is such a sweet and awesome baby.  Although…word in the cottage was that she didn’t sleep well and gave her parents and grandparents a rough night.  Somehow my family slept through the whole thing! 

I’ll write a new posting to fill you in on what’s to come with me from a medical standpoint. 

I wanted this posting to be all awesomeness. 

Cottage Bound

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Thank you

to everyone who graciously offered their cottage to our family on short notice.  We were so honored by all the people willing to share the blessing of their vacation homes with us. Russ and Rhethea Genzink have kindly offered the use of their cottage on Upper Silver Lake.  I haven’t been to Silver Lake since I was a kid and am looking forward to seeing it again.  I also once had the honor of eating dinner at their cottage after my parent’s picked Kelli Huizenga and I up from Cran Hill Ranch.  I look forward to seeing if my memory from all those years ago still matches what it is.  I bet it’s even better.  I can’t wait to soak my toes in the lake, catch a sunset or sunrise (not sure what way the cottage faces) and watch my kids splash in the water.  Thank you Genzink’s!Lindy

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