Ver Beek Blog

Our young family battling stage IV breast cancer one day at a time
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Archive for January, 2011

Hello 34!

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Happy Birthday to me!  Happy Birthday to me.  The best present was yesterday.  Being told by Dr. Schott that I had a good physical exam and my lab work looks great.  I played brain tumor olympics with Dr. Schott again and if they handed out medals, I would’ve received a gold one.  As for my lab work, all my tumor markers are within the normal range!  I’m slightly anemic and my adrenal gland is being a bugger so that explains my great fatigue.  She adjusted my dose of the steroid to 5 mg a day so hopefully that will make me feel better. 

Dr. Schott, Dusty and I have decided to still hold off on other therapy at this point.  She had really good reasons – Xeloda (chemo pill) is very toxic.  Another reason is that I continue to be stable with no recurrence of cancer elsewhere in my body.  She also explained I’m not a good candidate for any of the clinical trials at this point.  They have a trial for patients with brain mets whose disease is progressing.   I praise God I’m not eligible for that trial!  Mine isn’t progressing. 

I follow up with her again in six weeks with an MRI and more lab work. 

Dusty and I had a fun day.  Before the appointment we went to IKEA.  A little retail therapy helped with the anxiety and nervousness of the appointment.  It was fun.  The drive home became a little treacherous, but not too bad until the Zeeland exit.  We ate dinner at one of my favorite restaurants – Monelli’s.  YUM! 

Samantha in the snow…


Pump it up!

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I developed lymphedema on my back and part of my upper right arm because of the removal of my lymph nodes in November 2009.  The fluid doesn’t know where to go and starts to collect.  I went to physical therapy for this and she suggested I get a pump.  Thankfully our insurance covered this pump and I now get to wear it every day for one hour. 

It comes in three pieces.  One for my leg, one for my trunk and one for my arm.  They attach to eachother and have hoses coming out of them going into a machine.  The machine pumps air into the suit to push the fluid around to lymph nodes that I do have.  It works really well!  After one hour the fluid has gone down quite a bit. 

The twins are scared of it.  Samantha cries and says “mama off, mama off”.  It makes Brooklyn cry because I have to wear it laying down and I have restricted movement and it just looks kind of scary.  Max gets annoyed because mama’s not playing with him for a while.   I must admit, it’s not very becoming.  (excuse the messy house) 


Dusty and I are going to U of M on Thursday.  I’m always anxious when these weeks come.  I just pray that everything turns out okay. 

I’ve been tapering off my steroid and I can tell my adrenal gland is being lazy to start working again.  Please pray that I can continue to taper off and my body will start to work like it’s supposed to. 

Thank you for your wonderful emails and cards. 


500 Pounds!

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Happy New Year!  See ya later 2010….hello 2011!  A year ago I was so happy to put 2009 behind us and now I’m equally as happy to put 2010 in the history books.  Just when you think your life will be smooth sailing…

We had a great Christmas.  Brooklyn was so excited for her presents this year.  Max and Samantha were happy to rip the paper and see what’s inside.  They got many fun presents.  It was nice to see our families again too.


Last week Monday we went to Great Wolf Lodge with two other families.  It was a riot. 


At first I wasn’t going to participate in any of the water activities.  First of all, I didn’t have a swim suit and second, what was I supposed to wear on my head?  Jill talked me into getting a mastectomy suit (Lands End has great ones) and when I brought up my head or lack of hair, she said “don’t worry Jill and I have that covered” (I have two friends whose names are Jill).  They bought me and themselves retro style, flowered swim caps.  Jill B was wearing black.  Jill G was wearing hot pink and I wore blue.  It was so funny.  People at the waterpark loved them.  We got a lot of attention!


There’s a slide at the park that three people can ride down together.  The Jill’s and I climb the stairs to the top.  Wait in line and finally it’s our turn.  There we stood.  Ready to gracefully maneuver our way onto the three seater tube.  The boy attendant working the slide turns to us, looks us up and down and says “there is a 500 lb weight limit”.  We were shocked.  Is that a fat joke?  Are you talking to us?  I think all three of us had our jaws on the ground.  Jill B broke the silence by saying to us “Get in!”  We plopped ourselves into that tube so fast and laughed the entire way down the slide.  Who does that boy think he is?!  500 lbs my foot. 

Overall, I feel better than a did a couple months ago.  I’m not back to my old self yet and I can’t wait for that to happen.  The hardest question for me to answer is “how are you feeling?”.  I can answer it by telling you how I feel at that moment, but it fluctuates daily and sometimes hourly.  It’s really tough to make plans or appointments because I feel bad cancelling and I don’t want to cancel because that means cancer is winning.  I won’t let it win. 

I’m still taking Prednisone, but I’m tapering off it.  Hoping my adrenal gland won’t be sluggish and will kick in. 

Thank you for your Christmas cards this year.  It is so fun to see everyone’s family pictures. 

I am going to see Dr. Schott at U of M next week for a routine check up.  Please pray we don’t find any lumps or bumps and that my lab work looks good. 

Thank you for your prayers and I ask that you continue to pray for:

  • My cancer to disappear completely and forever.
  • Brooklyn, Max and Samantha as they deal with having a sick mom.
  • Dusty being superdad.  He’s been on this rollercoaster with me and although he doesn’t physically feel what I feel, he has to carry quite a load.
  • Everyone who battles and suffers from an incurable disease.  We need endurance, strength, positivity and love. 
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