Ver Beek Blog

Our young family battling stage IV breast cancer one day at a time
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Archive for October, 2010

Adrenal Insufficiency

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The last couple weeks have been miserable.  I didn’t feel well.  I couldn’t eat.  I was running a low grade fever.  I felt nauseous all the time.  I had no energy. It took everything I had to do anything. 

Last Friday, after consulting with my favorite nurse at U of M (Sarah), I went to Spectrum’s ER.  Jill was kind enough to drive me there.  The down side is that Jill doesn’t work at Spectrum so I didn’t get the star treatment like I do at Holland Hospital.  I must say we arrived at the perfect time because we could walk right in.  They took an MRI of my noggin and found no new activity and the other tumor spots were non existent.  Praise God!  I called Sarah at U of M the following Monday to find out if this means I’m in remission and it doesn’t.  It means my disease is stable. 

I still felt sick this past week and began vomiting again with low grade fevers, slight headaches, fatigue, etc.  On Friday I called my favorite U of M nurse and she insisted that I come to their Urgent Care.  Jill and I hopped in the car and off we went.  It’s a 2 1/2 hour drive, but an easy one.  It was fun to go with Jill too.   She has quite the singing voice. 

When we got there I had a blood draw.  It was a type of draw I hadn’t had before.  Lots of blood and they had to draw from two different sites.  Then I went for a chest x-ray.  Finally up to the infusion floor where they pumped me with two bags of IV fluids and some meds.  The best news of the day is that the blood work showed what was wrong with me!  I have adrenal insufficiency.  They adjusted my meds, gave me new ones and I feel much better already.  Thank God!  I can’t completely describe what it feels like to have that insufficiency, but at times I felt like I was suffering.  It’s horrible.  I’m so thankful God put the right people in front of me to urge me to get help (Dusty and Jill), led me to the right place (U of M), ordered the right tests (lab work) and presented the diagnosis to the PA.  God is awesome.  Oh and the chest x-ray was fine. 

So that was my life the last two weeks.  Not fun.  Miserable. Challenging.  But I got through it and feel so much better!

I was happy to make it to Crazy Horse.  That was a great night.  To see all those people and the kindness of the owner, manager, waitstaff and everyone who works there to donate their time and wages.  It was amazing.  Thank you to everyone who came, ate AWESOME food and had a good time.  It was nice to see some of you. 

God Bless! 

P.S.  I’d like to give a special shout out to Mr. Lowe’s seventh grade class! 

What Cancer Cannot Do

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We just heard that the MRI scan showed no new tumor activity, so we’re dealing with something far less serious.  Praise God–this is such welcome news!  Thank you all for your prayers of intercession for Lindy and my family.  

I thought a lot about life today and about cancer and what large part of our lives “it” has become.   Here’s what I do know: 

What cancer cannot do

Cancer cannot weaken our faith.
Cancer cannot steal our will to live.
Cancer cannot keep us down; we will get back up.
Cancer cannot diminish the love we have for each other.
Cancer cannot erase our memories.
Cancer cannot make us forget where we’ve come from.
Cancer cannot cause us to loose hope.
Cancer cannot crush our dreams.
Cancer cannot ruin this day.
Cancer cannot overcome God’s plan for us.

A Lindy Update From Dusty

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After several days of vomiting, fever and more intense headaches, Lindy’s doctor at University of Michigan requested that she get an MRI of her brain today.  She’s currently at Spectrum-Butterworth awaiting that test, which is scheduled for 4 PM.  Please pray that this is just simple stomach flu and not more tumor growth causing the symptoms.   Our hope is that she’ll also be able to celebrate Brooklyn’s 7th birthday tomorrow.    Please pray for us, we need to feel peace. 

Happy 2nd Birthday
Maxwell & Samantha!

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Happy Second Birthday Maxwell & Samantha Ver Beek

Today we celebrate the twins, Maxwell & Samantha, who turn 2!  It seems like yesterday they were born. 

Happy Birthday Max and Sam!

Step Back to Reality

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It was nice not having a doctor’s appointment for two weeks.  Yesterday I snapped back to reality.  My dad and I had a fun road trip to U of M for my first meeting with Dr. Schott.  Just so you know, you will never be starved for conversation when you’re with my dad.  He knows a little bit about everything (except computers – he could identify one, but not know how to turn it on).  We talked about many things and it was great to spend that time with him.  I even had a small lesson about chopping corn. 

Dr. Schott is a lovely woman.  I will spare you all the details of how we came to the treatment plan, but this is what it will be.  I am going back next month to monitor my headaches and my orthostasis (new development for me, but not a big deal).  I had my labs drawn yesterday so I will get the results of those as well.  In December I will have an MRI of my head, body scan and CT of my abdomen.  We pray that no tumors/cancer is picked up on the scans and the brain tumors have disappeared.  We’ve decided to hold off the Xeloda chemo pill at this time.  Not only because I don’t show evidence of cancer anywhere else in my body, but also because I finished whole brain radiation 1 1/2 months ago and finished Gamma Knife two weeks ago, so I need to fully recover from those procedures until we begin anything new.  I need to regain my strength, let the brain swelling go down and recover.

Speaking of swelling, some of your jaws may have hit the ground when you saw me in person or in pictures lately.  I don’t look like myself.  My face is very round and I’ve gained a lot of weight.  The doctor’s tell me this is normal and because of the Dexamethasone (steroid to keep the brain swelling, headaches and nausea away) and it’s just a nasty side effect from it.  That being said, I thank all of you for the delicious baked treats and desserts you’ve brought my family lately, but in an effort to be healthy, I ask that you bring your wonderful treats to your neighbors, friends or family. 

Well…I’m off to buy fat pants.  Wish me luck.  🙂


Community FUNDay Videos

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Here’s a couple of videos of this past Saturday’s Community FUNDay hosted by Elhart.  
We made some great memories together.  Thank you to all who took time out of their schedules to drop by.

Happy Fall

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What an awesome weekend we had.  Friday night was the bake sale at the Zeeland East vs. Holland Christian game.  The bake sale went great.  If you’re a Holland Christian fan, the game – not so great.  Thank you to everyone who baked.  Thank you to Keely, Wendie and anyone else who spent time organizing the event.  Thank you HCHS for allowing the tent in the parking lot. 

Since I’m still not 100% and I promised Brooklyn I would go along to see Hannah Montana on Saturday, I didn’t go to the game.  My parents, Clair and Jane did go and they had a great time.  We stayed home and had a pumpkin painting party.





Saturday was the Community FUNDay at Elhart Collision.  That was SO FUN.  It was great to see everyone.  Despite the cold weather (I went back home to get warmer coats and hats for the kids) we had a blast.  The kids loved jumping in the Moonwalk (I think that’s what it’s called), eating hot dogs, taking a swing at the cancer car (see video of Brooklyn taking a hit in the videos section), having their face or hands painted.  There was so much to do.  Brooklyn would say the best part of the day was watching Hannah Montana (impersonator) and I would have to agree it was pretty cool.  The kids loved it.  I would say the best part of the day was seeing all my family and friends.  Thank you Tony, Carissa, Elhart and all the community donators who made that day so memorable.  It was definitely a day for the memory bank. 

This week Thursday I have an appointment with Dr. Schott at the University of Michigan.  She is an oncologist who specializes in breast cancer.  She is the doctor that Dr. Blackwell from Duke suggested I see since she is in Michigan.  She has an aggressive approach and is up on all the latest clinical trials.  I am looking forward to learning what my next steps will be. 

Correction to previously published information:  I recently received a letter from Mayo Clinic stating that I will need an MRI in four months to find out how the procedure worked.  I thought it was two months, but hey, I have brain tumors. 

Prayer Requests:

  • Please pray for safe travels to U of M and guidance for Dr. Schott with how to treat me.
  • I’ve had more intense headaches the last two days and I hope this is a sign that the tumors are melting away and nothing serious.
  • Continued energy for my parents as they support our family.
  • Thank you for all the people who have touched our family – there are SO MANY. 
  • Pray for a cure.
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