In January 2014, mom was diagnosed with Stage 3 colorectal cancer. Over the past 3+ years, she’s been through a lot with dad always by her side…radiation and chemo (several times), two surgeries, numerous hospitalizations, a pulmonary embolism, lack of an enzyme that breaks down chemo and causes more severe side effects, too many kidney stones to count, neuropathy in her hands and feet, excruciating digestive issues, and multiple metastases in the bone, lung, and liver. In between all of this, mom and dad have adopted a puppy named Zoey (which means “Life”); we’ve laughed and loved at many family gatherings; mom, Ang, and Carrie went on a shopping trip to Saugatuck, Michigan; dad and Toby have taken several trips to pocket knife shows; our entire family traveled to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee last Thanksgiving, stayed in a huge cabin, and had family pictures taken (something mom had been wanting to do for a long time); mom and dad vacationed with Toby and his family in Cancun, Ang and her family in Branson, and Carrie and her boys in Florida/Disney; and so many more wonderful memories have been created despite cancer. Although life has been a rollercoaster and there have been many tears, the joys rise above. Looking back, we know God was preparing us for this journey way before mom’s diagnosis.
Recently, mom sought additional consut from an oncologist at Barnes Jewish in St. Louis. He confirmed the treatment Bloomington doctors have done so far aligns with what he would have done. That has given us peace and comfort to know she’s had the best care possible so far. The main goal now is managing the pain so every day can be enjoyed. Based on how mom’s body handles chemo, systemic treatment (like chemo) isn’t an option right now. We have decided to engage hospice to focus on mom, not cancer; ensure she isn’t in pain; allow dad to be a husband instead of a caretaker; and “make life beautiful for as long as we’re allowed.” We will use this site to update family and friends on mom’s journey so your calls, texts, and visits can focus on life, not cancer. You all mean the world to us, and we couldn’t go through this without your continued love and support. Cancer has shown us (even more than we already knew) how blessed we are as a family, and the amazing support we have from our family, friends, church, and even strangers. As we’ve traveled this difficult road together, we know God is present because He works through ALL things for our good (Romans 8:28). If we can share anything we’ve learned (besides the fact cancer sucks!), it’s to slow down, take life one day at a time, trust God, and not worry about things that don’t matter. Enjoy the moments, even the not-so-great ones, because there is life in every moment together.