Friday, November 26, 2010

A Visit to the ER and a Move

This morning Cash woke up around 3:00 a.m. with a pretty horrendous cough, combined with shortness of breath.  Wendi got him back to sleep and when he woke up at 6:00 this morning she took him to the ER at Children's.  About two hours later she called me and said he was diagnosed with croup.  Croup is a viral respiratory infection that can't be treated per se, it just has to go away on its own.  He did receive a steroid to help reduce the inflammation and that seemed to help - he's fast asleep this evening.

Coming off of Thanksgiving yesterday, I was immediately thankful that it wasn't worse than croup.  Cash is so strong he seems to just pass it off as just another day at the office so-to-speak.

In other news...we hauled the final load of 'stuff' to the new house today and are moved in as I write this post.  It was quite a whirlwind getting everything moved but it's all at the new place.  I would be terribly remiss if I didn't thank a bunch of people for helping us...My dad and Herm painted a fresh coat over the entire inside of the house the past 2 weeks.  In addition, it would have taken 100 mini-van loads to get what Bob, my father-in-law, got in three loads (with tons of unload help from Dean, Dillon, my dad, and Jeremy).  Wendi's mom came over today and set up the kitchen for us, my parents took Jack Jr. to Uncle Manuel and Tia Keri's to play with his cousins, and Hana brought dinner and set up the kids' playroom.

We are so thankful for all of the help and definitely could not do without it.  We're looking forward to settling in and preparing for the next season.  God has continued to bless us and as I reflected on Thanksgiving yesterday, at times we're simply thankful for each moment and I ask that you continue to pray that God heal and give Cash the strength he needs to keep fighting.

Have a blessed weekend!

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Walking Video (and Snow Pics)

This past week Wendi took the boys to Spartan, a gym nearby that opens up the floor for the kids to play each morning. It's the perfect place for Cash to use his walker and she shot this video (you can see it in HD) - It's amazing to see him speeding around (and running into kids, watch out!!!)...:-)

The snow started yesterday and while Cash didn't much care to be outside in it, the boys sat by the window today and watched it fall...I had to post these pics - we had a great day!

Prayer requests: Our good friend Coleson has an MRI tomorrow so please be in prayer for a good report.  Also keep praying for Jensen - we continue to trust God for His healing power!

Have a blessed day!!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Update

Cash finished another round of low-dose chemo yesterday. He has done exceptionally well taking the meds and we continue to thank God for each day.

On Friday, Wendi brought the boys to Zion for Jack Jr. to visit his class for the last time and for the staff to see Cash. Since Cash was stuck at home for so many months due to the fear of him getting sick, most of my co-workers hadn't seen him since his first few weeks in the hospital.

I was working in my office when I heard Cash saying 'Dad!' and I looked out my window and he was walking towards me in his walker. He tooled around the classrooms for a long time in his walker and the students were really great to him.

Friday was my last day at Zion and I'm now off work until January 3 when I start working at Cargill. We'll be busy the next month or so getting the house cleaned out and ready to sell. Hopefully we can get the house on the market by mid-December or early January. We are really looking forward to the apartment at my parents - it has a ton of space for Cash to use his walker and I hope the strength in his legs returns quickly with all of the exercise.

Thank you as always for your prayers and for those in the Pacific Northwest, I pray you have safe travels with the snow, ice, and everything else our weather brings...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Therapy Intake

This past Wednesday, Cash had his first appointment with Wonderland Development Center, an organization that provides all types of therapies to children. Two therapists came and spent a little over an hour with Cash, 'testing' him on all sorts of abilities (speech, cognitive, movement, etc.).

The moment they arrived, Cash immediately took to them and Wendi and I stayed in the background as they had him stack blocks, identify words out of a book, and much more. We were pleasantly surprised at the results. Obviously his most significant deficit is physically (walking, dexterity with right hand) - he scored around the 11 month mark. That wasn't shocking since he's not walking, however, we continue to believe with continued therapy he will walk again.

Cognitively he's not that far behind developmentally. In speech and communication he scored in the 18-22 month range. For a child with a brain tumor, he's doing very well and continuing to make good progress.

With our impending move, we will be working with the center to transfer services from Seattle to Bellingham and most likely will have therapists come to our house one to two times per week to work with Cash. They were very pleased with how well he did and encouraged us to keep working with him. I think the best form of therapy he's received is in the form of his older brother. Jack keeps him going all day and plays legos, ball, coloring, cars - you name it and Jack and Cash play it.

Cash finished one of his chemo's already (the 5 day one). He has 6 more days of the other chemo and then we'll be done for another 3 weeks. We continue to hold out hope for his healing and are always thankful to God for each day.

This is my last week at Zion after 9+ years...It will definitely be an emotional week but I'm so thankful to God for the time I've spent there and we are looking forward to the next season.

Thank you as always for your prayers and support - for our family and friends in Lynden, we'll be seeing you all much more in about a month!

Monday, November 8, 2010

An Open Door

After 17 years in Seattle, the Lord has opened the door for our family to return to Lynden, the community in which both Wendi and I were raised. We are very thankful and have been praying since Cash's diagnosis that we would have the opportunity to live closer to both of our families and God has answered our prayers. It is amazing how God works, orchestrating events that at the time we may be unaware of the impact, but the end result is an amazing opportunity.

Back in the summer, we were crabbing (on the Portuguese Crab Hunter) with my dad and Karl (the GM at Cargill) and I mentioned to Karl that our desire was to live closer to our family. At this point Cash was 6 months into his diagnosis and we needed so much support and while we had great support in Seattle, many of our family were driving from Lynden multiple times per week to help us out. I didn't think about that brief conversation until a few months ago when Karl called me and said he may have an opportunity for me at Cargill.

Last month I applied and interviewed for a position at Cargill's regional headquarters, located in Ferndale. This morning it became official and I will start working there on January 3, 2011. My dad has worked there for 15+ years and Roger, who drove Wendi and Kingston to Houston in June with his wife, Joanne, has worked there for 29 years.

We are very excited and at the same time sad to leave our "family" here in Seattle. We have formed true and lasting relationships here but I know that they will continue, the distance only being a short drive or phone call away.

There is no way in one blog post that I can express how thankful I am for Zion - I would not be who I am today if it were not for my 9+ years teaching there. The faculty, students, parents, and experiences there will leave a lasting impact on my life and in my heart. I am truly thankful for their support and after Cash got sick I was able to take months off in order to take care of him and through it all the Zion community has been there for us. I want to thank Bro. Doug and Sis. Christine for always being there when I needed help and advice and for mentoring me and helping me grow as a man of God. I would also be remiss if I didn't thank Bro. Gordy - his amazing food and friendship at Zion made the 9 years full of excitement and fun. I will continue to support Zion from afar and will pray every day that God continue to bless Zion and the 28 years it has served the urban community in Seattle.

Wendi will continue to work in Seattle two days a week. The commute will be long but she has a great job with and her boss and coworkers are very supportive. Cash still has a long road ahead of him and he will still have appointments at Children's so we'll be commuting to Seattle like many of the families from Lynden (the Brink's are an amazing example, driving to Children's 4 times a week, sometimes more).

Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support. Cash started another round of low-dose chemo and had another methotrexate injection this morning. We continue to pray that God heal him and we lift Cash up to Him in our prayers every moment of the day.

We know that with God all things are possible and it is appropriate that this month, when we celebrate Thanksgiving, that we give Thanks to Him for His love, grace, mercy, and His healing power. We are filled with thankfulness and excited that our boys will have the opportunity to grow up with their cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Thank you God for opening doors!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Cash Walking

It was such a beautiful day that when we I got home from work we headed to the park.  There is plenty of room for Cash to use his walking and I was able to capture some video.  He starts physical therapy next week and we're excited to start to develop his muscles and tone so he can improve his balance.  Our prayer is that he will be able to walk again -

1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
2 Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1-3)

Thank you God for your continued miracles and for extending your grace and mercy to Cash and all those who are battling cancer!

Monday, November 1, 2010

"The MRI Looks Great"

Since Cash's diagnosis on February 8, each successive MRI has brought worse news, so you can imagine our anxiety as we waited in Dr. Leary's office this morning.  Dr. Leary knows this and as she opened the door she immediately said, "The MRI looks great!"  I don't think I heard anything for the next few moments as I quietly said a prayer of thanks to God.

After the news set in I started to ask all the questions I typically ask (Any new growth? What does the spine look like? Is there more contrast in the main tumor? What about the tumor that was hit with the gamma knife machine?).

Here is a brief synopsis of her answers - there is no new growth that they can see on the scans, indicating the tumor hasn't spread since the last MRI.  The spot they were concerned with on the spine is barely visible anymore and the tumor behind Cash's eye is about half the size it was prior to the gamma knife procedure.  In addition, the main tumor has remained relatively unchanged, if anything it has shrunk a tiny bit (0.2 cm on one side).

So all the news today was great news!  We are extraordinarily thankful this evening for good news and we continue to thank God for the continuing miracle that is Cash.  He is such a blessing to our lives and picked up where he left off yesterday after returning from the hospital - consuming large amounts of M&M's and chocolate milk (he does eat other foods I promise!).

In other news, Wendi started a 'drive' of sorts to bring toys and games to the children that are inpatient at the hospital and right as I was leaving the hospital today, Dana came by with at least 10 bags full of items that her church collected for the children (puzzles, books, coloring books, games, etc.).  I also delivered at least 35 crocheted hats for the kids that Auntie Ann made - the folks at the clinic didn't have enough room behind the desk for everything that was delivered...:-)  Thank you to everyone who has collected items for the kids - we remember being stuck in the hospital with so little to play with that I know those gifts will go to good use.

It is appropriate that today is November 1 - the theme at Zion this month is Thanksgiving and we have so many things to be thankful for.  Thank you as well for your prayers, Dana said today that she thinks there are not many children that receive as much prayer as Cash - today our prayers were answered and we will continue to pray for healing and are so thankful for each day.  Thanks be to God!!!

1 I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart;
   I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
2 I will be glad and rejoice in you;
   I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High. (Psalm 9:1-2)