Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Journey of Hope Begins

I almost don't know where to begin...this past Monday my wife and I took our youngest son, Cash, to Seattle Children's Hospital because we were concerned he hadn't fully recovered from what was diagnosed as torticollis.  Driving to the hospital we were happy and excited to get some sort of prescription for physical therapy to help his crooked neck.

After a few moments in the hospital room and the second doctor in as many minutes, we were told he'd need a CT Scan.  I took Cash to the room where they strapped his head down and took a brief scan of his head.  Still at this point I had no idea that in the next 15 minutes our entire life would change.

Fifteen minutes later we're told he has a growth around the stem of his brain and they would like to do an MRI that afternoon.  Multiple doctors came to the room and words such as 'tumor', 'cancer', 'growth', 'glioma', and 'cancer' started to surface.  It was at this point they checked us into the hospital where we were to stay in the 'SCCA' ward...when I asked what that acronym (one of many to come) meant, my heart started to sink even lower - it stands for Seattle Cancer Care Alliance...

Family and friends started to arrive (I will write at a later date how significant they were this week for my family) and on Tuesday afternoon we were told our precious little boy, 16 months old, has a tumor on his brain stem.  I still can barely utter those words and not break down so you can imagine how we felt just one day after taking him in for physical therapy (or so we thought).

The doctors did not believe his tumor fell into the 'classical' category so they wanted us to subject Cash to a biopsy on his brain stem to remove a few cells for further tests.  They explained that this operation was full of risks and they had never operated on someone this young and only do about 5 biopsies of this type per year.

On Wednesday Cash had brain surgery to take tissue samples to find out what kind of tumor he has, since this didn't fit the 'classic' tumor.  We spent the night in the ICU with Cash and while he had a 2 inch long scar on the back of his head the surgery was successful for all intensive purposes.  We finally went home on Friday and here we are waiting for the pathologists to finish their work.

Next week Wednesday we have our appointment with the oncologists, neurologists, radiation specialists, and a host of other 'gists' to discuss what kind of tumor he has and how to proceed to best treat our precious gift from God.

I think I could write a book about our emotions and event of just this one week, but I will use this blog to keep the many, many people who are concerned and praying for Cash updated on his progress.  A second purpose of this blog will most likely be for me to express our feelings and emotions of this significant and life-changing series of events. 

Our hearts ache for our son, who was a miracle in the first place, but (and as a pastor explained to me, but is a very important word in the Bible) we have an absolute faith in God our Father that His will will be done in Cash's life.  Many are asking what they can do to help, here's what I would ask:

1. ...for a miracle that only God can provide;
2. ...for wisdom for the doctors and staff working with Cash;
3. ...for peace, courage, and strength for Wendi and I as we walk together down this road;
4. ...that we never give up hope, even in the midst of this tremendous struggle;
5. ...ultimately that God's will is done and that He is glorified.

I know that is a lot to pray for and there are many more I can add to the list, but that would be a great start.  We serve a God that is good and we do not know all of His ways and cannot even begin to understand Him, however, my faith is in Him and I trust Him with all of my life and the lives of my family.


  1. Thank-you, Jack, for sharing all of this; you all have been much on my heart and mind these past few days. Know that we are praying for you.
    Much love,
    Melissa Tamminga and family

  2. Jack welcome to the blog world...I'm sorry you are here. But your words are important. Thank-you for starting this blog. We are here for you!
    Love you guys!!

  3. Wow, Brother Jack, thanks for sharing so candidly. I'm adding you and your precious family to my prayer list. I like what you had to say about miracles. We serve an amazing God that is the same yesterday, today, and forever more.


    Sister Kelli

  4. Jack and Wendi,
    We are praying, praying, praying for your sweet baby Cash and family...
    We don't know what the future holds, but we know Who holds the future and we know Who holds our hand.
    May you feel God's hand wrapped tightly around yours on this journey.
    We love you,
    Travis and Kelly VanKooten

  5. Jack and Wendi,
    We are so sorry to hear about Cash. Words are inadequate at a time like this and the pain and fear is almost unbearable, but know that God WILL be with you every step of the way and he will give you a strength you did not know you had.
    Even though no one wants to be there, Children's is a good hospital. We stay on the SCCA unit when we are inpatient for Coleson's chemo and the nurses are wonderful. We will be there next week Wed through Friday if there is anything we can do for you.
    When you can't find the words to pray, know that there are so many people praying for your precious Cash and both of you.
    Here's our email if we can do anything for you:
    Ryan and Sara Brink

  6. Jack and Wendi,

    I just found out about your heavy trial yesterday and Melis sent me the link to your blog today. We will be praying for you as you walk this road with the One who has been walking with you all along.
    Your faith and your prayers that God's will will be done for His glory are an inspiration, and I have no doubt that God's glory will be shown in Cash's life, no matter what that may entail.

    We will pray that it would be His will that you don't have to send Cash Home just yet.

    With love,
    Wendy (Hensley) Tamminga and family

  7. Jack and Wendi,

    I am the pastor of your parents church in Lynden, WA. Tomorrow morning a whole church family will be added to the great host of saints who are praying for you and Cash.

    Your testimony here is already an example of how God is bringing glory to Himself through this. He is our loving Heavenly Father and He can only do good to those who are His adopted children. His love for you is perfect and He will never leave you or forsake you.

    You are in our thoughts and prayers.

    Pastor Robert Woodyard.

  8. Jack and Wendi,

    You are in our thoughts and prayers... I pray that God gives you both strength,hope, and comfort on a daily basis - as well as complete healing...

    Robb and Marea Bouma

  9. Rich & Judi Van DamFebruary 14, 2010 at 6:09 AM

    Dear Heavenly Father, We come to You today with heavy hearts. You know our requests even before we ask. Please give Jack, Wendi, grandpas & grandmas, aunts & uncles and all the loved ones, strength & hope to face what lies ahead. We cling to Your promises. You are the Great Physician-we need You now Lord. Grant us Your peace. Amen

  10. Jack & Wendy~

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and keeping us all updated on your journey...
    Know that we are praying for a MIRACLE as only Our GOD can provide.
    Mikey & Leslie

    We love you all!

  11. Jack and Wendi,
    I can't even imagine what you are going through. Thank you for sharing. You all are in our prayers. Praying for a miracle.

    Chad and Trina Baron

  12. Jack,

    I hope you and your family stay strong for your son.

    You can start now with the tests that you have but I'd recommend;

    Send copies of the results of all the tests to the Specuialist at Rady's Children's Hospital in San Diego.

    I've went through 19 years of health issues with my daughter and have found that a view from a second opinion can give you some options. Medical Technology in the last few years has greatly improved skyrocketed.

    My daugher's been a frequent flyer at Rady's Children's Hosp and they're top notch.

    Good luck and prayers sent.

  13. Dearest Cousins,Thinking of all of you today during Morning Mass and sending all our love and prayers on this Valentine's Day. Thankyou so much for sharing,May God continue to give much needed strength and continued love to your precious lil Cash and your entire Family.With ever lasting love and prayers,your cuz.

  14. Jack and Wendi-

    We have not stopped thinking of you guys and praying for your family. Know that as much as we love our kiddos, God loves them even more, and He has a plan. We pray that he will be with you guys as you go through this tough time, and we pray that he will heal baby Cash.
    In Him-
    Scott and Danica Goldie

  15. Praying for you ever since I heard. It's been so fun to watch Cash in the womb and become a part of your lives through the Snap Sisters blog. This is my favorite verse for trying times (none of which even come close to your heart ache - Isaiah 26:3 "you will keep in perfect peace, him whose mind is steadfast on you." Placing your precious family at the foot of the Cross - the best place to be! Blessings,
    Janice Korthuis(friend of Jodi's)

  16. Psalm 94:19
    "When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul."

    We will continue to pray for God to lay his healing hands on Cash and for strength for you and Wendi. We live in Seattle and are happy to help in any way we can. Please let us know.

    Ginger (Kooistra)Schilperoort & family

  17. Jack and Wendi ~ We are praying for your family, for a miraculous healing of Cash as well as for strength for the two of you. Only God can provide the healing, comfort and strength that you need. Know that many are lifting you up.

    Bryan & Tressa VanLoo

  18. Jack and Wendi,

    We are remembering you in our prayers and pray for a tremendous healing in Cash's body. May God's love wrap around you and give you the foundation of strength you will need. Thank you for sharing your heart. Much love to little Cash.

    In Him,

    DeAnza Spaulding

  19. We are praying for Cash and for your family. Thanks for sharing words of grief and hope, may the body of Christ be surrounding you guys!
    Wes and Erin (Hof) Scheu

  20. Jack, Wendy, Lil Jack & Cash,

    From the moment Jodi asked us to pray we have done so without ceasing! We sent out the urgency to our family in Missouri and they TOO have prayed w/0 ceasing.... Thank you for sharing the details of this sad process; and for the specific Prayer Requests! God is faithful as you say~
    We love you all~

    Troy & Becky Beck @ family

  21. Jack & Wendy, When I found, I just can't stop Thinking of you all. Keep strong, and know that we are Thinking of you. Deanna, Gary and Clay

  22. Jack and Wendy
    Just know we are praying for you and you are on our hearts.You have a wonderful way with words God is listening to you and loves you all.
    Bill and Linda Harvey

  23. just getting to be with my grandbabies tonight, made me rush to the computer and pray for your sweet baby, Cash, and you both. Words seem just so inadequate, - but as small as we are - we serve a MIGHTY GOD!! Love and support to you both - Dan, Judy & Daphnee

  24. Jack and Wendy,
    Nope, you're not biased, he is a very handsome little guy! Sweet, sweet baby.
    While we can not begin to imagine your pain or why your dear family is being led down this path, please know that our prayers and love are with you.
    Thank you for the specific prayer requests. So much about life is unsure, but there is definite power in prayer. I believe that God's glory will shine through this little guy's life. 1 Peter 1:6-9
    Joel & Jessi Kamphouse

  25. Jack, Wendi and family-
    I have been uplifting your family ever since I heard about your son. I have added you to our church prayer chain and pray that you are uplifted by the prayers of this community. Know you are loved not only by your family and community but by our loving Father. Our hope is in our God! Praying, Mark and Melody Olson

  26. Jack and Wendi,
    You have been in our thoughts and prayers this last week and we will continue to pray for you guys in this journey you are setting out on. May God give you His peace and strength in the days to come.
    Chris and Kara Boyd

  27. Jack and Wendi-

    What a joy to see your precious miracle, Cash. We have not and will not stop praying for his life and for yet another miracle. What a blessing he is and his precious smile. We love you so much and will continue to pray for his healing, abundant grace and everlasting mercy from our Heavenly Father for you in the days to come. Our God is Sovereign. May you find peace and comfort in him.

    We love you!!
    Troy and Terra Visser

  28. Jack and Wendi,
    Your beautiful, sweet baby boy will be in my prayers, as will your entire family. This must be profoundly touching not only your immediate family but grandparents, aunts, uncles and many friends. I have always admired your deep faith and know that will carry you through the days ahead. Love to you both. Donna McLynne from SPU

  29. Oh, my heart aches for you. I got the link to your blog from Megan Waldron and you have been in my thoughts, especially today. Praying!

  30. Yeh!!!! we are celebrating with you tonight on God's mercy shown to your family. We will be continually remembering you in our thoughts, hearts & prayers these next weeks ahead. love, Dan, Jud & Daphnee

  31. Jack,
    I felt the need to at least let you know that my wife and I have you in our thoughts and prayers. Sheri shared the news of Cash with us a few weeks ago... you and your family have been on my mind quite a lot since then.

    We have a little boy not too much older than Cash, and it breaks my heart to know that you and your family have this to deal with. I could not begin to imagine what you are going through.

    I'm sending lots of love and light in your direction.


  32. I will be praying for you too.

  33. I am covering you all in prayer! (((hugs)))
    Love and blessings,

  34. I found your story on the Pioneer Woman's blog. I can't begin to imagine what you are going through, and I won't try to pretend that I do. Just know that we are heartbroken that anyone would have to endure this, and will be thinking of you through the coming weeks. Our family in Alabama is surrounding you in prayer and knows that God is watching over you as you care for your precious little one.

    Hoping and praying,
    The Hokansons

  35. I will pray for your family and your little boy. God Bless

  36. I came upon your blog while viewing a picture on The Pioneer Womans site. i am truly touched by your story. It is amazing to me to see your faith even after something like you have been through. I know a family that has a story very similar to yours. They too lost a little boy to cancer. Their names are Aaron and Moireen Ruotsala and their sons name was Cole. They run a foundation called Coles Foundation. I encourage you to view their site ( Your stories a very similar. Please visit this site. They have made it a mission in their life to bring awareness to childhood cancers. God bless you and your family!!

    Katina Dishman

  37. wandered over here from the Pioneer Woman - will be praying for your son and your family

  38. I too came over from the Pioneer Woman site and will keep Cash and your family in our prayers. I know exactly what you're going through and am so sorry you are going through the same. Cling to your faith and don't let go!!

    Angie =)

  39. My heart goes out to you and I will pray for all of you! Don't let go of faith! Every time I started to let go this past year, it seems like God reminded me that he's right here. I can already see that your little boy has and will touch many hearts!

  40. I'm here from the Pioneer Woman's blog. I am a Christian and I believe we serve a God who is bigger than cancer or any other malady, who is sovereign, who loves Cash more than you could ever imagine loving him, and who has a plan in all of this for His glory.
    Please know that I am praying for your family, Cash's doctors and mostly for Cash.

  41. I realized after I posted my above comment that this was an old post. I have read several of the posts on your blog. I'm so sorry for your loss. I know that God in His sovereignty didn't make a mistake or mess up in this. I pray that as the days, months, years go - He will continue to be your comfort as He grows your family more into His image and reveals His glory in your lives.

  42. My heart goes out to you and your family. God is, indeed, so good. And like you, I look to the day when our "real" life will begin and this old life will be but a shadow, where we'll see those we've lost. Your testimony of faith is truly moving, and my prayer is that God will continue to bless you with strength for tomorrow and faith in Him.

  43. You don't know me from Adam, but I was so moved be your blog I felt compelled to comment. I saw a picture your beautiful boys on and then read your story. I then laid my hands on that picture and prayed for healing in Cash's little body. I will pray this prayer many more times. Looking at my two little girls, and typing this I am moved to the point of tears. May Almighty God move in a miraculous way in your family's life, not only that your son's life may be saved, but also that glory would be brought to His beautiful Name. May bless and strengthen you.
    Kristi V.

  44. I am also here from PW's site. I am so sorry for your loss, and I pray you will continue to be comforted by the Lord and your faith. Thank you for being willing to share your story.