Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
After a lot of prayer and discussion with lots of people, we have made a few big decisions about the immediate future. First, I have decided to withdraw from my residency program. This was not an easy decision, but I feel like I need to spend as much time with Joe and the rest of the fam as possble. Second, we have decided that it would be best for the family if we moved to Nashville closer to both sets of grandparents. Although we have fantastic friends here in Atlanta, nothing beats having family close by who love our children as much as we do. We are planning on moving pretty quickly, by the middle of April. Gillian's parents have a house in Franklin that they rent that they will be letting us stay in, and it is very close to both our parents. Thank you, Nana and Grandad! So these are pretty big changes, but we really feel like both decisions are what is best for Joseph and for the rest of us. I will try to find a teaching job for the next school year, but if that doesn't work, I will open up an underground unlicensed doctor's office.
Joseph is doing well. He loved our time at the beach but was ready to come home and play with his friends. The radiation has finally taken a lot of his hair which was really hard to watch, but I think most of what is going to fall out has already fallen. They say that it should grow back, but there is a chance that it could be permanent. He and Holly have already had one easter egg hunt with their friends and there could be two more, so we'll post some pictures after that happens.
We hate to leave our friends in Atlanta, but in dealing with all of this we are going to need our families to provide a lot of help for a long time. Please pray for us through these changes, that I will be able to find a job quickly, that the move will go well, that Joseph would start sleeping better at night, and that the transition to a new city would be smooth.
Posted by Allen and Gillian at 3:19 PM
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Well, we are having a great time at the beach. Joseph and Holly are thoroughly enjoying themselves and the weather has been great. Just seeing the ocean and the beautiful lakes and golf courses has done wonders for my soul. I didn't realize how much a change of scenery can lift your spirits. Being back in Atlanta was awesome, but this is like heaven! I think we mentioned this before, but one of Joseph's facial nerves was severely damaged from the surgery and so he doesn't have sensation or a corneal reflex on the left side of his face. It means that if something gets in that eye, he doesn't feel it or know it is there, and it could really damage his eye. Please pray that God would protect that eye, that we would see anything that does get in there, and that God would heal that nerve. The surgeon said it was "pretty much shot," but God can do anything so we'll ask anyway. (The reason I mention all this is that sand is a big concern while at the beach, and two days in a row we found two different specks.) We have been swimming in the pool a lot, and Joe has discovered he can "swim" when he has a little ring around him. He is so proud of this and says, "Look, I swim like Will!" (his hero and cousin). Soon Holly caught on and now we have two little swimmers! He also has gotten a lot more confident on his little bike and is pedaling around like a pro. Both of these things make him so proud and it's really cute to see.
A little dancing on the boardwalk
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Hey everyone, just wanted to right a quick note to say that today's MRI looked surprisingly good. There was very little tumor remaining on his brainstem and the radiologist said that he couldn't really even measure it. It was still there, but it was significantly reduced in volume. This was not the "official" read of the film; we'll get that in the mail in a few days, but anyways we'll take good news when we can get it. Like I mentioned in earlier posts, usually you don't see a lot of change until 3-4 months after radiation, so hopefully this means it will continue to shrink.
It was wierd to be back in Memphis so soon, it felt like we had been gone for a long time. It was good to see Jennifer and Matt and WK last night and eat dinner with them. Today however, joseph did not enjoy himself, and neither did we. He basically screamed until they knocked him out which was 2 hours later than scheduled. Then it started snowing in Memphis. Really snowing. Then uncle Sam rushed us to the airport and then we sat in our plane for 3 hours waiting for the plane to de-ice. So we didn't get in until about 2:00 AM. Extra special thanks to the Slotkins for staying with Holly tonight into the wee hours and to Suzanne and Matt for waiting at the airport for us. We are surrounded by such amazing people. Thanks for the prayers and for every way that we are being supported. Now on to the beach.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
We are headed back to Memphis tomorrow night. Although none of us relish the idea of going back into St. Jude's, I am glad we are one of those families that can now say, "We are just back for a scan." I used to be envious of those people as we sat day after day in waiting rooms thinking 6.5 weeks was an eternity and they only had to be there for one day. Don't get me wrong: We are so thankful that St. Judes exists and that Joe is privileged to get such amazing care--it is just a hard place to be for a long period of time.
It has been SO nice to be home. The kids are happy, we are happy, and we have truly been having so much fun seeing our friends and just visiting our old haunts again (Bouncin Bobs, museum, Target, etc.). Joseph is energetic and happy and Holly is more herself now that we are home. They are even being super-sweet to each other, hugging and sharing a lot, glad to be back in our old routine.
We have a day full of appointments on Friday--first he will have his port accessed (his absolute least favorite part), then we will have the MRI, then we will meet with our radiation doc and neuro-oncologist to discuss the scan. We are planning to head back Friday night, then leave for the beach on Saturday. Joseph took the news that we had to go back okay once we told him Florida was coming soon after.
As Allen mentioned, this first scan is not the most reliable as to what his tumor is doing b/c the radiation can cause swelling...but it is standard procedure and I guess they just want to make sure that, if there is swelling, it isn't causing any other problems. Of course, we are hoping that God has just chosen to remove the tumor completely and the doctors will be flabbergasted that he is completely healed.
We are thankful for Joseph's amazing recovery from 2 surgeries and 6.5 weeks of radiation. Looking at him I see God's hand on him, healing him and restoring his buoyant personality.
Oh, and Mimi, I have to add another cute story. Joseph out of the blue asked, "Can we call Jesus? I want him to come over!" I said we couldn't call him. "He doesn't have a telephone?" Joe wanted to know. Hmmm...I answered that he doesn't, but Joseph can talk to him anytime he wants; he just has to talk to Him and Jesus is right there with him. He put his hand on his heart and said, "Okay." It brought tears to my eyes to see his pure desire to know Jesus. I just know God has drawn especially close to Joseph through all the trials and pain he has endured and given him a special comfort to meet his needs.
Posted by Allen and Gillian at 9:22 PM
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Who was this party for
Posted by Allen and Gillian at 1:08 AM