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Thursday, October 24, 2013

1 month

Last Sunday it was 1 month. In many ways it feels like we have been here since January when we first came in. Summer feels like a long ago dream.  Other families at the hospital come and go. The first stay at the hospital we made some good friends that were there almost the exact amount of time as us. We miss you Elliots but are glad you can be home.
I feel like I am having a hard time putting things on paper these days. Everything I think seems so private. My fears. My disappointments. My struggles. So today I will just update you.
There is no match yet. It takes at least 3 months to find a match. They took some of her bone marrow yesterday to see where she is at. If she is in remission they continue with the same chemo. If not they have to change their course of action. She needs to be in remission to do a bone marrow transplant. They are waiting on the results of those tests and waiting for her counts to come up before they start on round #2. That can take up to a week.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


During the visitation and funeral of my dear father-in-law I had numerous comments of how people have been enjoying my blog.  I want to say thank you to all those people that have encouraged me. I am under no illusion that I am a writer. In fact I hated English in school and continue to dislike helping my kids with their English homework. But I do know that if I have touched someone than I am happy to have done it. Maybe someone who is sitting in a hospital room with their newly diagnosed child. Someone who is struggling with why something is happening in their life. Someone who wants to understand what someone else is going through.
We've also had numerous people offer help and I wanted to say thank you so much for your offers. I am remembering them all. We have been functioning at a "just get the basics" done and it seems to work . We've also been blessed to have all of Barry's family live within a few miles of each other and they quite willingly step into the gap. Our church brings 2 meals a week and we still manage to find extra casseroles in our freezer.
Rachel has been having some really good days. It's good to see her smiling and eating.  We love these good days because we know bad days will come. We are waiting for her numbers to come up so she can start her second round. Waiting is so hard for everyone especially when we have no real time frame to go by.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Confronting the lie: God won’t give you more than you can handle

Confronting the lie: God won’t give you more than you can handle

I was reading this the other day and I felt like I could have written this. I have wondered about the "God won't give you more than you can handle" statement that I hear so often. Barry was reading a book this summer from the lead singer of Casting Crowns and in the book it was mentioned that this is not a biblical statement.  I used to hang on to that statement and think that since I am such a weak person God won't give me a lot to handle. Or, God knows I can't handle that so I am safe. What false thinking that was.
But I do know that sometimes life gets to the point that all that is left to do is completely trust in God because there is absolutely nothing I as a human being can do to change the circumstances around me. Nothing!!!!  I can not in my own strength get rid of Rachel's cancer. I can not make this happen any faster. I could not keep dad alive and well. I can not make my children follow God ( i can teach them about God and encourage them). I can not fix the issues and hurts in my church which has made this journey with Rachel much harder.
What can I do? Cry out to God. Move forward each day in His strength. Take the small blessings and rejoice in them. Yell and scream at God in some moments when I am utterly done. And in the next moment take his hand and move forward. Learn how to rest completely in God's large capable arms.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Birthday Boys

For those of you who know me this is my crazy time of year. With Kelsey's birthday on the 4th and Kyle and Zach's birthday on the 7th. We are no longer into the crazy themed birthday parties that come with young age (thank goodness) but we do want to recognize each year we are blessed to have these kids.
Kyle is turning 19 and wow where did the time go. It feels like just yesterday we were bringing him home from the hospital. I am so proud of Kyle. He has turned into a caring, hard working, patient man. He is quick to encourage his siblings and quick to hug his mother (LOVE THAT). He was always concerned about his grandpa, checking in on him when he could. He has grown so much over the year he has been away at school. Family has become so important to him. We love you Kyle and are blessed to call you our son.
Zach is turning 13. Teenager!! But seriously, Zach is a joy to have around. Smiley, happy, sensitive, creative. Zach is growing into a young man and we are so delighted in him. Loves to spend time as a whole family, even if it is just watching t.v. Still not to cool to give his mom a hug. We love seeing his creative brain go to work on his drawings and cartoons. I think we have killed a forest of trees to keep up with his hobby. We love you Zach and are so happy you belong to us.

Drawing Zach created for Rachel when she was in the hospital the first time around.

Saturday, October 5, 2013


My dear father-in-law passed away this afternoon. He is now home with his wife and Jesus. And his parents and other relatives. He has earned his reward of a life spent in service to God. Today was his 77th birthday and we think it was an amazing gift to him to be finally able to go and not suffer any longer. Henry was a strong example of what it was to be a husband. a father and a follower of Jesus. He always took the high road. Was always willing to help anyone who needed a lift up. Always encouraged the kids in their walk with God. Always was thankful for the smallest blessings. He was not a perfect man but he was a down-to-earth good man. Well respected and loved by everyone. We were blessed to be able to have him join us on our family trip to the Dominican last December. We will always have fond memories of that trip. You will be missed dad and Grandpa.


Friday, October 4, 2013

2 Weeks

Not much to say but yay two weeks has passed. Today is my daughter Kelsey's 15th birthday. I don't know what I would have done without her. She keeps my house running while I am gone. She is a mother to Eyob and Zach (a little unwanted on his part :) ) . She has made sure they look decent on picture day for school. She reads with Eyob and helps Zach with home work. She makes meals on some nights. She plays Legos with the boys. I am really blessed to have 2 amazing daughters.
Happy Birthday Kelsey.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

How much is too much?

Hmmm, how much is too much?
After Rachel was diagnosed the first time they told us she would be in 5-6 months. Wow! We wondered how we as a family would handle this time frame. The first and the last month were the hardest. After a bit we fell into a routine of sorts. Barry would come every Saturday and spend the night and tried to spend a night midweek as well. I would do everything else. We did have some aunts spend some nights as well which was a nice break. Yes it was a routine but not a routine we loved.
When discharge came we literally ran out of the hospital happy to not come back. We were so glad we would not be doing that again. Summer came and it was great being home. Barry's dad Hank had not been feeling so great for a few months. He was going through various medical tests. He seemed to be holding his own. We weren't sure how much of it was from stress from losing his wife a year and a half ago. The end of August our world changed again. Dad had a stroke and was admitted to Brantford hospital for rehab. With a second stroke in hospital his health deteriorated. He went from having limited speech and recognizing us to no speech and not knowing his family. During this time Rachel's numbers were dropping. We thought "No this can't be happening" . It was all too much. How can we possibly deal with all this? And then the verdict. Her cancer was back. Another 7-9 months.
I am a firm believer that God knows what he is doing and everything has a purpose and plan. But really God? I did question Him on this even when I knew he was in complete control. I did not love his plan and still do not. Hopefully some day I will look back and have this Ah Ha moment. But sometimes we will never understand why things have happened.
Right now I feel this is too much. Too much for Rachel who is missing out on her teen years. Too much for the kids at home who have too live with the stress of mom being gone and who are missing out on things as well because we just can't do everything. Too much for Barry who has a child in one hospital, a father in another, harvest season around the corner and kids at home who need him.
I know God will carry us through this. I can feel the prayers around the world.

On a side note : There have been some improvements with dad in the last while. He is starting to get some speech back.