Bryan’s Journey: Part Four

Bryan’s Journey: Part Four

“In Your everlasting arms, all the pieces of my life, from beginning to the end – I can trust You. In Your never failing love, You work everything for good. God, whatever comes my way, I will trust you.” Chris Tomlin, “Sovereign”

IMG_0082

I am starting this update on Bryan with a really positive thought — Bryan is 25% done with his treatments! WOOHOO! We will take any reason to celebrate through these chemo treatments, and being even a portion done, is super exciting. Yes, my accountant side is revealing itself as I keep track of treatments done and treatments left to go. ūüôā

Bryan is still doing pretty well — I mean, really, check out the handsome guy up there! He has moments where he is just feeling “off” and not himself, moments of fatigue, and moments of nausea, but it is a huge praise that the moments of nausea (the biggest fear Bryan had with side effects), have been minimal and manageable. He is having nights where he is not sleeping well, so that has been a struggle at times. Bryan had his third treatment early this week, and did not feel well during it, but he is feeling better and back to work now. I have been able to go with him to all of his treatments so far, and they are getting more efficient and going more quickly as we progress, which is really nice. The less amount of time we have to spend at the hospital, the better, especially given Bryan’s low neutrophil¬†count. (Neutrophils are the most abundant type of white blood cells.) It is expected that this count will continue to be low for him throughout the remainder of his treatment, so keeping him as isolated as possible from germs and infections are high on our priority list! Again, super hard to do with our two little ones running around the house, but so far, so good.

I am actually so thankful that I do not have any super bad news to report about how things are going so far — such a huge answer to our prayers. Bryan will have another PET scan mid-August, and we will then know how well the chemotherapy is working and are expecting to see great progress! I have sometimes been feeling that time is going SO slowly. Our life has been so different this summer than others. We are home more, and not making all those fun summer plans that we used to be able to participate in¬†without a second thought. If you have ever talked to Bryan, even if just for a minute, you will know that “social” is his middle name. He thrives on human interaction and is such a social guy. While being home more often has its appeals to a quieter person like myself, it has been difficult for Bryan.

It is difficult to try to plan our lives out with so much unknown. We are definitely counting down the days to the PET scan as this will be a great indicator about how well things are going, but it is very hard to not be able to see what is going on inside of Bryan’s body and just trusting in the “unseen.” And of course, praying that God has got it all under control. I was talking with my mom the other day about how it is hard to make plans for things going forward — even just the everyday normal things. I am a planner extraordinaire, so it is not in my nature to not have a plan! But, as I was talking these things through with her, this verse came to the top of my mind:

¬†“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:14

We are not going to be here forever. We are, as God says, literally a “mist” in the grand scheme of His overarching plan. Now, while I don’t think this means that we shouldn’t plan and just make crazy decisions, I do think it is a good reminder. While the hope is that Bryan will overcome all of this and lead a healthy life going forward, who is to say that I will remain healthy? God has promised us that “in this world, you will have trouble” — but HE will overcome. This entire situation just continues to scream at me that today is today. We are here today, and we might not be here tomorrow. Life. Is. Short. I don’t mean this to be morbid, as I truly believe God has the power to heal Bryan and that he will be just fine, but I say this because, we are not guaranteed anything. I certainly didn’t plan to find out that my husband had cancer in June of 2015. So I am saying this: Live your life. Don’t worry about the petty things that don’t matter in the perspective of eternity. Don’t hold back doing the things that you love. Live today – for today.

Something else that has really helped me through all of this, is keeping a gratitude journal. How often I catch myself whining about something (something that really doesn’t even matter), that I could be spending that time being thankful. While, I don’t love that Bryan and I are dealing with this health issue right now, God has SO blessed us in so many other ways. It is so, so, SO easy to get caught up in the moment, and feel bad for yourself — wondering why you were dealt this unfair hand. But, you know what? There is so much worse in the world. And in the midst of it all, we are seriously drowning in blessing upon blessing. My entire outlook changes, when I remind myself how much I have to thank God for — the list never ends!

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. Colossians 2:6-7

So, how can you continue to pray for us? Please pray that Bryan would remain healthy, and that his treatments would go smoothly and as scheduled. Please pray that he would feel well, and that he would be able to have more restful nights of sleep. Please pray that Bryan would remain positive (the mental mindset is so important through all of this), and that he would continue to feel loved and cared for by the Maker of all. Please pray that I would have the additional energy I need to help both him, and keep up with everyday life with the kids, and our home. And, please continue to pray that these treatments are doing their job and that we would see great results at his next scan.

We are so thankful for everyone that has spoken kind words and prayers over us. We have had neighbors show up at our door unannounced with food. Bryan received a care package from a friend who went through this same journey years ago, filled with necessities. My mom’s group at church dropped off a basket of “sunshine” filled with so many wonderful things.¬†We have a neighbor that texts me at least weekly asking specifically what our needs are for the week, and how they can help (and really meaning it – i.e. showing up to mow the lawn moments later!). My family put together a care “bag” for Bryan and included with it were notes and cards from many of you — these notes are truly moving Bryan to tears at times as he can’t help but feel so loved.¬†I am taking notes about all of these things so I can use them to bless others, because these intentional ways of giving and caring for us have meant so much. The cards, emails,¬†texts, and phone calls are also so motivating and really helping us get through this. God is truly using you in our lives, and for His glory. If you are mentioned here, I pray you know who you are, partially because I have not been good at sending out thank-you cards, but also because I want you to know that you have made this journey more bearable, and we are so¬†appreciative.

xo,

Abby

 

Looking for more?

Bryan’s Journey: Part One

Bryan’s Journey: Part Two

Bryan’s Journey: Part Three

Advertisements
Bryan’s Journey: Part Three

Bryan’s Journey: Part Three

IMG_9411

“Hardships often prepare ordinary people, for an extraordinary destiny.” C.S. Lewis

Bryan had his second chemo treatment yesterday which means we are 1/6 of the way done! I will take any excuse to celebrate being partially done ūüôā I haven’t updated much specifically here, because, honestly, so far Bryan seems to be doing well. I know that it is definitely still early and the cumulative effects of treatments¬†may add up, but for the moment while he is not quite himself, he is doing better than we thought he would be.

He has taken anti-nausea medication a couple of times so far, and his appetite has stayed fairly normal. While Bryan is¬†definitely more tired than normal, the fatigue isn’t causing him to be unable to do his usual¬†activities, but it is still noticeable at times. He has been working pretty much as¬†if his life was normal, although some slightly less longer days than what he would usually do. We are so thankful that his job is flexible, because without that, this would have made everything even more difficult. For the moment, we have managed to avoid all of the terrifying side effects that they warn you about before you start your first treatment. We are praying that that remains the case and that he continues to handle the treatments and side effects with as much ease as possible.

The treatments themselves, have gone smoothly other than some unplanned waiting time as they figured out scheduling and orders and all of that. Those of you who know Bryan, will not be surprised to know that he has already been making friends with the nurses in the day hospital, and they are getting to know him. I love watching Bryan interact so joyfully with the people around him during treatment, because even in the midst of this struggle, he is still doing what he does best — connecting with people. These nurses are seeing the light of Jesus shine right through him, and that is so, so awesome. The treatments are long, but they have gone smoothly, and we are really thankful for that.

His labs yesterday did show that his white cell count is pretty low, and so risk of infection is now probably going to stay high for him through the rest of treatment. It is¬†really tricky to find a balance between isolating yourself, yet still living. Not to mention, having two kids ages three and under make germs almost impossible to completely avoid. The first oncologist we met with, referred to kids as “little petri dishes.” Gross, but probably true! We are taking greater measures with hand washing for everyone as well as sanitizing what we can and avoiding others that we know are sick, but we are also just praying hard that he will avoid getting sick.

While the physical side¬†effects are definitely not nonexistent, our biggest struggle this past two weeks has been mental and emotional. I have so much respect for the spouses of people who have gone through cancer with their other half. I do not mind in the least picking up extra responsibilities because I love Bryan more than life, but it has definitely taken a bit of toll on our family. This past holiday weekend was spent doing some solo parenting and celebrating, and that was tough. Tough for me, and also tough for Bryan who would have rather been a part of everything, instead of resting at home. I think it has been a natural instinct for me to just take off running with all of this, and in some ways, that’s been really good. I am planner and an organizer, so as my sister said to me, this has been my “moment to shine”, in some ways. I am positive that God gifted me with the skills I need right now, to help Bryan.

However, all of the running around and scheduling and additional chores taken on, have also taken away time for¬†me to process everything. I had a moment last week when I was with my mom and sisters (sans kiddos and husband), and in that quiet, it was like everything all of a sudden hit me. I haven’t really had the time or energy to think and process, and sitting there at dinner with them, talking about my husband…my husband who has cancer…it just really, really sunk in. And, my heart just hurts for him. I never could have imagined while we were holding hands and saying our vows less than five years ago, that here I would be — sitting next to him while he gets chemotherapy. This situation would¬†have never crossed my mind. Honestly, it gets hard to even go on social media sometimes and see everyone enjoying normal fun activities with their family while we are planning chemotherapy treatments and keeping Bryan as safe and comfortable as possible. This is hard stuff!

The further I take these thoughts, though, the further I see myself sinking away from the truth. We have so much hope. The God who died on the cross for our salvation has already walked this path for us. He has already suffered it all. While it doesn’t make our current struggles any less real, it does give us such great¬†peace.

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

See? A guarantee that we will have trouble. And while I hope that this is the worst of what we deal with for now, that isn’t even a guarantee. But the God of all, is telling me that I can take heart. I can relax. I can have peace, in the midst of such uncertainty. He has overcome it all and I am so thankful that we can rest in that truth.

So, where are we at now? We have ten treatments remaining and while it’s less than twelve, it still seems¬†so daunting. We would appreciate your continued prayers for Bryan to feel as normal as possible and that he would remain healthy and free of infection. Please pray that Bryan would have the emotional strength that he needs, as this has been a struggle. It is easy to quote yourself the truth from the Bible, but to let it really get in your heart and mind is not always easy, especially in the midst of something like this. Continued prayers that the treatment would work and rid Bryan’s body of the cancer would also be wonderful. Please pray that I would have strength, and energy and the wisdom that I need as I walk beside Bryan through all of this.¬†I truly believe, that God is going to use this situation for good. I wish I knew what that was right now, but it is my prayer that He use it to make more of Him — and less of me.

Thank you to everyone who has continued to lift our family up in prayer, as well as those who have come alongside us already with helping with the kids, bringing food, care packages, sending cards, etc. I know there are so many more of you that have offered the same, and as we get further out with things, I imagine our need for that help will be greater. You have all been like an extension of family to us — and we are so grateful.

IMG_9413

xo,

Abby

Looking for more?

Bryan’s Journey: Part One

Bryan’s Journey: Part Two

Bryan’s Journey: Part Two

Bryan’s Journey: Part Two

“When I said, “My foot is slipping, your love, O Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.” Psalm 94:18-19

This week has been a crazy whirlwind. Since my last post, we received a different treatment option and instead of starting chemotherapy on Monday, Bryan will be starting it today (Wednesday). Over the last few days I found myself constantly asking, “why is this happening?” “what is the purpose of going through all of this?” “why did the second opinion that was supposed to reassure us that we were making the right move, end up stressing us out and confusing us?” Valid questions, all around, but the problem is that there isn’t really a clear answer to any of those questions. Instead of finding peace, Bryan and I were busy going around in circles trying to make the right decision, having no clue if what we were thinking was correct.

Last week Friday, we met with a different oncologist at a different hospital, for a second opinion. Hodgkin’s Disease, from what we know, follows a little more of a standard form of treatment. The people we know who have gone through treatment for Hodgkin’s have followed the same form of treatment that was suggested to Bryan by his original oncologist. We went to the second hospital assuming that the doctor would confirm that the “standard” of treatment would be what he would recommend for Bryan, and while he did agree, he presented us with a lot more detail about Bryan’s specific situation as well as a completely different option for treatment that we were totally unaware of. This second hospital is much bigger and a¬†research-focused hospital. It is linked to a medical college so it makes complete sense that a lot of their staff is really interested in¬†and knowledgeable about up-and-coming clinical trials and research.

This oncologist proposed a clinical study to Bryan that is in its third phase. Basically, the study proposes to take out one of the four “regular” chemotherapy drugs used for Hodgkin’s and replace it with another non-chemotherapy drug that is specifically used to treat relapsed¬†Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The drug that they want¬†to remove from the standard treatment¬†can be really¬†tough on the lungs and physicians have been looking for ways to take this drug out of the mix for a long time because of its lung toxicity. This new drug, the one being proposed as a substitute for the study, is one that is used often as a third line of defense for someone who would relapse with Hodgkin’s again a second time and it has high success rates used alone. The purpose of the study is to see if this using this new drug right away for treatment would help decrease the chances of Hodgkin’s relapsing in someone who had already beat it. The study¬†actually makes really good logical sense and isn’t some crazy, risky trial.

To be in the study, you need to be a first time stage 3 or 4 Hodgkin’s (which Bryan is). The study is a random draw, so Bryan would be given either the regular four drugs, or the three drugs plus the newer one. He would know which arm of the study he is getting, but the study organizers would be the ones to choose. So, 50/50 chance that he would receive the new drug, and 50/50 chance of getting the standard treatment. There are approximately 1,000 people already in the study and they are looking to add around 100 more people (this is a nation-wide study). There’s a lot more to this clinical trial, but I just wanted to graze the surface so you could get a sense of where we are coming from.

We went home from meeting with this oncologist with a completely new option to think about. We were not prepared to make a decision on Friday and wanted to think about it over the weekend. There were so many questions we talked through and we wanted to ask some of the people closest to us with medical backgrounds, what their opinions were. Do we take a risk that the potential benefits of this study would outweigh the potential risks? Do we stick with the tried and true method? What in the world do we do? We had varying opinions from people we love and trust, and just realized that this was a decision that we needed to be comfortable with, which both oncologists echoed that fact. Neither doctor wanted us to do something that we were uncomfortable with, regardless of how they felt about the study.

Monday came around, and we still didn’t know what to do. We chose to have Bryan’s port installed (which by the way, I am quite sure I will never cease to be amazed by medical technology — really a crazy thing), which was already scheduled to occur anyway and then meet with the original oncologist to get his insight on the study. So, enter yesterday. We were now on day four of thinking about what we should do and being worried about making the right decision. Totally exhausting. And really, just running around in circles in our head, not getting anywhere.

There is so much unknown with this newer drug as it hasn’t been around long enough to know the exact long-term effects. This is scary when you are talking about potentially administering it to someone who you love more than anything. While the immediate results seemed super interesting and really promising, there was just no way for us to wrap our heads around the unknown. We thought about joining the study and just letting God decide what group to put Bryan in…I mean, He already knows which treatment route we will go, right? We wrestled with the idea of leaving the original oncologist that had first walked us through this whole idea of cancer and how we could handle it. We had built a relationship with him over the past couple of weeks and weren’t prepared to let that go. We still liked the idea of the bigger hospital with greater resources and a bigger sense of security. We prayed and prayed. And prayed. And we just did not have a resounding sense of peace about any of the options.

On Tuesday morning, Bryan woke up and still didn’t know what to do. He received a phone call ¬†that morning from the research department at the new hospital and found out that the CT scan that he had had done was more than 30 days past from the start of when his treatment would be (32 days to be exact). Therefore, the researchers could not use that scan and he would need a new one done. The cost of a new CT scan would not be covered by the study and would likely not be covered by our insurance.

Okay, God. We hear You. I mean, could it have been made any more clear? I am still in awe of the fact that He quite literally closed that door for us. I was feeling lost, conflicted, and confused and now I have that peace I was praying for. And Bryan does too — we feel that the trial is just not right for us, right now. Maybe someday we will know why, and maybe we never will, but we are set in our decision and have that peace that we were desperately praying for.

Well, now that the trial was off the decision table, we needed to pick which hospital and oncologist to continue to work with. Bryan feels a greater confidence and peace with the bigger hospital because of the greater resources and great depth of staff, and while we really loved the first oncologist we met with, we are going to switch to the new doctor. The hospital he has chosen was decided based on the fact that it was the perfect combination of “head” and “heart” in Bryan’s mind. The moment that Bryan decided what he wanted to do, was such a freeing moment. Yes, we still have chemotherapy to be nervous about today, but we know that God is totally here. He is next to us as we make these super hard decisions. I think this was truly the hardest decision I have ever made in my life…because it involves a whole life. And not just any life, but the life of my best friend and the one person I love more than anyone else in the world.

So, Bryan starts his treatments today and there is a lot of unknown. Will you please continue to pray with us for Bryan’s overall emotional and physical health? The port procedure wasn’t as easy as explained or expected, and so this week continues to weigh heavy on both¬†him and me. Our kids have been combating some sort of virus, too, so sleep hasn’t been great and attitudes have been a little down. We are praying that Bryan does not catch any of those germs. Prayers that Bryan tolerates the chemotherapy well and that he would have limited to no side effects would also be so appreciated. This is all so unknown to us and we would appreciate any prayers for comfort and peace as we begin!

On a positive note, again, we are beyond overwhelmed with all of the love, support, prayers, and positivity from our friends and family. Neither of us are very good at asking for help, and haven’t really wanted to, but that hasn’t stopped people from offering help and really coming alongside of us. Our neighbors have brought us food and mowed our yard for us. Our family has put together a care package for Bryan as he begins treatment, filled with encouragement and necessities. Friends and family have written encouraging notes to Bryan that will uplift him as he is bound to need throughout this journey. We have received some really uplifting cards in the mail. Our kids have been watched and cared for so I have been able to be with Bryan every step of the way so far. People we barely know, have been in touch with Bryan to share their experiences with beating Hodgkin’s and answering his questions. And we have had so many people just listening and talking us through things. It is truly amazing¬†to me that there are so many people who care for Bryan so much. We feel so surrounded and so, so loved and supported, so thank you for every kind word, deed and prayer. I may not call you out on it, but know that it is not unnoticed or unappreciated!

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; stuck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

We know that God is the ultimate Healer and we know that regardless of who here on earth is treating Bryan, He is the One whose hands are in this entire process.

Cancer — we are coming for you¬†— and¬†we have the strongest Fighter on our side!¬†Let’s do this!

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14

xo,

Abby

Bryan’s Journey: Part One

Bryan’s Journey: Part One

As you may (or may not) have noticed, my blog has been fairly quiet as of late. There is a reason for this, and unfortunately it is not a happy reason.

My husband, Bryan, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma last week, and our family is really still processing all that this diagnosis entails. I am taking a break from my DIY posts, to share some of my heart with you all, and I am hoping you will pray for us as we begin this journey. I plan to continue to blog as normal, but may interject things about Bryan along the way. 

About a month ago, Bryan noticed that he had a lymph node near his neck that was enlarged. He had just had a cold virus, so we assumed that the lymph node was swollen because of that, however he went to the doctor just to be sure. After a series of appointments and blood work that didn’t show anything conclusive, Bryan had a CT scan done. We went to meet with a surgeon to talk about removing the lymph node for a biopsy, and in this meeting she told us that his CT scan showed that there were other enlarged lymph nodes in the upper part of his body and per the radiologists words that this was “likely lymphoma.” This was seriously out of left field for us, as Bryan had no symptoms or any other signs pointing to something so seriously wrong within his body. Since then, Bryan did have the node removed, and it was biopsied and found to be Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The week following the biopsy was filled with further tests — a heart scan, a lung test, a bone marrow biopsy and a PET scan. The PET scan showed that there was a random lymph node below Bryan’s diaphragm that was related to the lymphoma, but outside of that, nothing new showed, and we are praising God for that. As of now, his organs remain unaffected and his bone marrow is also not affected (this is a huge praise!). His heart is strong and his lungs are also performing in the 98th percentile, so these are all really good things. Bryan has health and youth on his side as he fights this!

We met with his oncologist (seriously, even typing that word makes me anxious) this week and received his treatment plan. Bryan has been diagnosed at a Stage 3 (we had thought he would be a Stage 2, but the random node/nodes near his pelvis have moved him to a Stage 3). The plan is that Bryan will go through six modes of chemotherapy, with potential radiation to follow. Each mode consists of two treatments, so Bryan will receive a total of 12 treatments. His first treatment will be this coming Monday, and each subsequent treatment will follow every two weeks. We are planning to treat the lymphoma with ABVD chemotheraphy (for those who know more and would ask this!), instead of using the STANFORD or BEACOPP approach, given that the risks and side effects seem higher than a small percentage potential decrease in the likelihood of a relapse.

Bryan will be having the four chemo drugs administered together, every two weeks and his total treatment duration will be 24 weeks. His doctor is extremely optimistic about the results of this treatment path and because Bryan is in excellent overall health, doesn’t anticipate that Bryan will have terrible side effects. A PET scan will be done after 2 modes (so 4 treatments) to make sure that the chemotherapy is doing its job, and heart and lung scans will be done again after 3 modes (6 treatments). We have an appointment this week with another oncologist for a second opinion, just to make sure that this is the best way to combat this disease, but don’t anticipate a change in the treatment plan as Bryan’s diagnosis usually receives a “standard” form of care. But, we will see what the other doctor has to say, and go from there.

(Side note, Bryan’s doctors have been AMAZING so far. Even his dermatologist has been calling to check up on him and see how she can help. Bryan has a natural talent at meeting people and really just drawing them in, and even in this valley he is walking through, he continues to do that, and I am not surprised!  That’s just totally Bryan. His oncologist is a wonderful doctor who communicates so well, and I am so thankful for that as well as his willingness to answer the million questions we have and not make us feel rushed. The doctors have called quickly with results and have really taken the time to explain things. I feel really well taken care of by the medical professionals that we are coming in contact with, and definitely feel God’s hand in all of that.)

The good news in all of this, if there is any, is that Hodgkin’s lymphoma has really high curable rates. In the words of Bryan’s oncologist, “If you had to pick a cancer to get, this would be towards the top of the list.” I know this doesn’t make the treatment easier, or the situation any more fun, but it definitely leaves a huge ray of hope on the entire situation. (P.S. I am in no way a medical expert, and I actually try to stay away from medical things as much as I can, and have really succeeded in that up until now. So, I apologize if I spell something wrong, or say something wrong. I am just relaying the information that I know, and that changes with every day!)

I can’t tell you the emotions that raced through my body when the surgeon  told us the results of the CT scan. I am a positive thinker, and I try to see the good in every situation. I thought for sure that this was just a lymph node acting up that would go back to normal and turn out to be nothing but maybe the aftermath of a virus. And all of a sudden, I realized that was likely not going to be the case. In the moment, I didn’t know whether to cry or stop breathing, but it was the look on my husband’s face, that kept me from doing either.

Bryan is an amazing protector. He is the husband I always dreamed of in the fact that I feel so safe around him and completely just protected. It has been extremely difficult to see him not being himself — to see the worry in his eyes, and to hear the anxiety in his voice. And on top of all that he is dealing with, somehow he is still constantly apologizing for this as if he brought this on himself. But, I also know that Bryan is a fighter. He has overcome many situations already in his life that have not been easy and how I wish that I could take this from him so he didn’t have to deal with this as well. But, I am confident that he can fight this and that he will come out stronger on the other side.

While I am confident in Bryan and his positive outlook and attitude, I am even more confident in our God. I have been so comforted by many Bible verses and songs these past few weeks. The song I keep repeating over and over again lately is Passion’s, “The Lord our God.” The lyrics say that God is a promise keeper and He finishes what He starts. God has begun this journey in our lives, but He will finish it and He will ultimately have the final glory in the entire situation. We know that while we wait for results, wait for plans, wait for our lives to move forward, He is here and He is good. (Seriously, if you haven’t heard this song, go download it now, you will love it!)

The Lord our God is ever faithful

Never changing through the ages

From this darkness You will lead us

And forever we will say

You’re the Lord our God

God will lead us. This is a valley in our lives, and while we don’t know what tomorrow holds, we know Who holds tomorrow. What an amazing comfort that is. I often wonder how people deal with situations like this and don’t know the One who loves them more than anything. We have such Hope, and I am just in awe of that. God is able and He tells us to “not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.”

We are definitely stressed, and struggling to handle this diagnosis. We are fearful for what treatment will hold for Bryan and what the next steps will be. But I know that in all of this, we ultimately trust God. He is in charge. He is the one who decides, He is the one who heals, and He is the one who already knows what Bryan is going through and what awaits him. He has not left us, but He is with us every single step of the way. In the waiting, in the tears, in the struggle of dealing with something we were not prepared for, the God of all is literally right next to us as we walk this road, and honestly, the more I remember that, my fears completely subside.

Can I also just take a minute to tell you how impressed I am with Bryan? He has been so strong through all of this, when I know that inside, he is just a wave of emotions. He continues to work, and live his life with confidence knowing that his life is not in his own hands. I am amazed at the dad and husband he continues to be, in spite of a fairly big obstacle being thrown his way. I seriously don’t think I have ever loved him as much as I do right now. Not to mention, in true Bryan-form, he has made friends with all of his doctors and nurses already, and I know that he will be a shining light to so many others through this journey!

Thank you SO much to our friends and family who have come alongside us in this journey. I remember thinking the morning of Bryan’s surgery that I couldn’t believe how calm I was. And the reason is because we were so surrounded by prayer. Without that, I would have been a mess. I have a peace that is not coming from inside me, but is clearly coming from Jesus. We can feel your prayers and we have really never felt so loved before. We appreciate all of the offers for help with the kids, and help with meals and every kind word and card passed our way. We are so thankful for the people reaching out to us and know that God is really reaching out to us, through all of you. I am so thankful for those that are standing with us and walking this journey with us — we are so not alone. I can’t really express in words how thankful we are, so I pray that each of you that has supported us knows who you are and knows just how much we love and appreciate you.

What we need now is really just prayer! We definitely don’t want a pity party. We honestly want to feel as “normal” as possible. So please continue to treat us the same! A sense of normalcy throughout this will really help time pass. We know that realistically we will need flexibility from people as the next few months may be unpredictable, so bear with us as we figure this all out! 

For those of you asking how you can pray for us right now, we would love prayers for continued peace and calming as we approach the beginning of this journey. Please pray that we would make wise decisions and that Bryan’s doctors and caretakers would be the absolute best that there is. Pray that the chemo would do its job and eliminate the cancer. Please pray for Bryan, that he would remain feeling as healthy as possible, and that the side effects of the chemotherapy would be limited to none. Please pray that I would have energy and strength as I pick up some additional responsibilities and that I would be support that Bryan needs. And, please pray that Bryan might be a light to someone (or many!) through all of this — we know that God has His hand in everything, and we want Him to use it mightily. Thank you, so much, for walking with us through this! God is so good, you guys, and I know that He will work this all out for His glory.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

thumb_Jansen_OneYear_CarrStudios_BW-50_1024