Ver Beek Blog

Our young family battling stage IV breast cancer one day at a time
Breast Cancer Ribbon

Archive for September, 2011


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September 4

My dear, sweet, loving, ever-by-my-side husband celebrated his 37th birthday.  On Saturday, the day before his birthday, we enjoyed a Tiger’s game in Detroit with Dale and Jana (Dusty’s dad and sister).  It was sweltering in the stadium, but thanks to Jana who froze water bottles, all was well.   We hadn’t been to the new stadium before and I was so impressed.  I had been to the old stadium as a kid and this one is so much better.  Oh and the guy I sat next to in the stadium is from Zeeland and delivered mail over 40 years!?  Not only that, but he used to play ball with Dusty’s dad.  Small world.

This picture was taken with my cell phone.


Don’t you love the look on the kids faces.  I read their faces as saying  “Mom!  Take the picture already! Did you see this cake?”


September 24

Race For the Cure!  Thank you to everyone who participated on my team, but also to those who participated on someone else’s team.  Thank you Jen Dykens and Jill Graves for organizing the team again this year.  

Brooklyn walked the whole 5k!  Go Brooklyn!

92411-brooke-at-race.JPG  92411-brooke-and-jen-at-the-race.JPG


September 27

First Day of Chemo at U of M.  Jill was my chemo buddy the first time around and she demanded to be my Tuesday chemo buddy this time too.  She really did demand it.  I told her I could drive myself to U of M, but she wasn’t having it.  Good thing too…more about that later.

Instead of showing up in comfy lounge pants and a T-shirt like a normal person I wanted to look good.  Why not right?  So I did my hair, put on make up and wore earrings.  

We are ready to go!


Here are a few sights we see on the way to U of M.  I’d like to thank Jill for her photo taking ability and please keep in mind that I was going around 75 to 80 mph when these pictures were taken.

Here is the gas station and restaurant in Fowlerville that made me think of the word gastaurant:



Now this always makes me laugh.  If you look close it says DADS INN.  Not DAYS INN.  It used to be a Days Inn, but some poor person bought it.  I’m guessing they didn’t want to buy into the franchise and couldn’t afford a whole new sign so they bought one new letter.  You can still see where the “Y” once was and at night the new D shines orange instead of yellow, but so what, right?  It’s funny and it makes me laugh.


We finally arrive at U of M.



Jill’s most favorite thing at U of M isn’t the grandness of their campus.  Not all the learnin’ that’s going on inside those buildings.  Not the cool artwork displayed in their corridors.  Not even the cafeteria food.  Jill’s most favorite things are the buses.


So we go inside and after a while they start my chemo.  Here I am getting my first infusion at U of M.


We watched a movie while I was getting my drip.  My thumbs were up because I was feeling good.  The last hour of chemo didn’t go as well as hoped.  I started feeling very nauseous and wound up vomiting and being sent home with a puke bucket and some ginger ale.  Oh well…such is life with chemo.

Today I feel very tired and for everything else I have a prescription.  I can tell it’s going to be a long road ahead.  Going to U of M twice a week isn’t going to be easy, especially not feeling well.  It is what it is.

Thank you for the prayers and support you give our family.  We are blessed by you.

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`, 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. 

Buckle Up!

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Dusty and I met with Dr. Schott at U of M yesterday and went over our options.  She said that while I do qualify for two of their clinical trials, one of them doesn’t make a lot of sense for me. 

That left either a clinical trial or a standard method of treatment.  She explained the pros and cons of both and the three of us decided to go for the clinical trial.  There are only 40 people in the United States that will do this trial.  U of M has five spaces and one of them has already been used (successfully!).  I will be their second guinea pig. 

I suppose I should feel fortunate that I qualify for a clinical trial.  That it could prove successful in treating cancer and someday be passed by the FDA and given to patients.  At the same time, it shows just how bad my cancer is.  Depressing.

The clinical trial is a parp inhibitor with chemo given through an IV.  The catch to all of this, is that within the next ten days I need to get an MRA (yes A, not I) of my brain, more lab work and a power port put back in.  I’m getting a Power Port put back in next week Thursday – Thank you Dr. Hoberman!  I can check that off the list.  I’m on the “urgent board” at U of M for the MRA.  I will need to leave at a moments notice when they call.  My first treatment/infusion is scheduled for September 27.  Yikes.   

This treatment plan will be a grueling as far as time is concerned.  We don’t know how it’s going to affect me physically yet.  The treatment HAS to take place at U of M in Ann Arbor.  It cannot be done at Metro Health who is affiliated with U of M.  Bummer.  

I will go to U of M twice a week for two weeks then get one week off and start all over again (21 day cycle).  It’s a lot of back and forth.  It will be like losing two days each week between all the traveling and getting the infusions.  This will go on as long as I’m responding to treatment (6 months +) or until I call it quits.  Dusty is going to have his hands full!  So please say a lot of prayers for him.   

Now I need to ask for help.  If you know me, you know I don’t like to ask for help and I don’t like to accept it.  So here it goes.  If anyone is willing to bring a freezer meal, it would be greatly appreciated.  We have a deep freezer in the basement which we emptied when we moved.  It’s still 95% empty.  I will happily accept meals until it’s full.  If you can bring us a meal, please send me an email to let me know when you can drop it off:  We eat anything.  Just not deer or buffalo or horse or frogs, snake or anything crazy.  Just normal stuff.  That would be a tremendous help.  Did I mention we’re Vegans?  Just kidding.

Keep Holding On…   


Happy and Angry

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Happy Birthday Kathy Timmer!

If you see Kathy, today is her birthday and she deserves the best birthday in the whole wide world.  So if you see her, give her a hug, a high five, a card or a 50 dollar bill (I will not reimburse you) because she is awesome.  She has cared for my babies since they were born and doesn’t want to stop.  She is the most selfless, giving, kind, caring, compassionate person.  If you don’t know her, you should because you’ll be a better person for it.  We love you Kathy.



Let me remind you that cancer sucks.  Say it with me…CANCER SUCKS!  Say it with force, anger and vengeance.  It’s okay kids, I think you’re parents will let you say “sucks” when you put cancer in front of that word. 

I went to U of M yesterday.  I am going back tomorrow to meet with Dr. Schott, but I called this morning to find out the results of the tests.  Here we go…


Previously I had three spots on my lungs.  They noted “multiple” spots on yesterday’s scan.  They have measurements for six of them.  The nurse practitioner isn’t sure if “multiple” means six or if it means more.  I guess we’ll know more tomorrow.


A new spot has been found on my brain in my right cerebellar region. 

So in a nutshell, I have more cancer.  This means that I have more options they want me to consider for treatment.  One of them is still the chemo pill and the other two are clinical trials (chemo) through an IV. 

Please pray for:

  • Guidance for what treatment to go with

  • Clarity

  • My Family 


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If my scanxiety had a color coded level like the terror threat level, my scanxiety level would be on red.  I leave for U of M on Tuesday at o’dark-thirty and we’ll have the results on Thursday.  Either way, I’m fairly sure I’ll start Xeloda (chemo pill).  Oh and I know our government no longer uses the color coded threat level system.

To read Time Magazine’s article about Scanxiety click below.  It’s a good read.,28804,2075133_2075127_2075107,00.html

Moving on…


Brooklyn began second grade with Mrs. Cousins on Tuesday and while this wasn’t her first crack at school, it was her first time on the bus.  Oh my oh my, I think I said 50 prayers that day.  Please let someone allow her sit with them…Please don’t let anyone be mean to her…Please let her get off the bus at the right spot…Please let her find the right bus after school…Please let her get off the bus when it gets back to the point where she got on, etc.

I think I earned the gold medal for most worried and spazed out mom about the bus.  In my defense, not only could I see the school from where we lived last year, I could see her classroom window from our living room.  I know it’s time to loosen the apron strings, but I’m not cutting them yet.

She got off the bus that day smiling from ear to ear.  She loves the bus, her teacher and all her friends.  Thank God for small blessings.  Thank God for Alex Boeve who made room for Brooklyn in his seat that morning.  Thank you Alex!  I could hug you.  I won’t because I know it might embarass you.

We had a retirement Open House for my dad last night.  He worked with Genzink Plumbing for 44 years.  For those of you dying to know, he owns around 960 hats.  I can’t remember the exact number he gave me, but it’s around there.


I will let you know what we find out on Thursday with regards to my scans.

Don’t Forget to Race!

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Yes friends it’s that time of year again. Time to lace up your tennis shoes, tenny-boppers, kicks, high tops, low tops, whatever you have and get ready to crawl, walk, jog, run or race.

Jill and Jen have organized a For The Love of Lindy team to support Race for the Cure. This is our third year and I hope you can make it. We had a great team last year. Thank you for signing up in the years past and I hope you’ll do it again. It’s a lot of fun.

Click on the following link to sign up:

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