Greg Schuringa PastorGreg'sUpdates

First post: Oct 25, 2017 Latest post: Dec 12, 2022
I will try to tell the short version of the story. On September 1, 2011, Thursday of Labor Day weekend, Sarah and Greg and 7 month old Adrianna were walking to the minivan. Greg was pushing Adri in the stroller. Within 10 yards or so of the car Greg felt something funny in his left hand/wrist/forearm, and said so to Sarah. That area felt like jello. Next he felt he was falling forward but couldn't catch himself, then he didn't remember anything until walking up later in the hospital. It turns out he was falling forward, hit the cement and had a grand mal seizure between the van and the sidewalk curb in the street. 


Here, right at the beginning, is one of the many signs of God's love and care and presence during a time of great trial and challenge. Just one car down from where we were parked, a police officer was writing a parking ticket. Sarah had immediate help--the officer called an ambulance and helped Sarah get Greg on his back and in a safer position. People stood around and asked Sarah all kinds of questions--does he have seizures more often? Is he epileptic? Sarah said "No!! This has never happened before." Sarah is always calm and cool, except if there is something not to be calm and cool about. Here she went on her knees on the sidewalk and cried out in prayer to God. 


After scans in Elmhurst Hospital it was revealed that there was something in Greg's brain that did not look right. A member of our church at the time was a Vice President at Central Du Page Hospital (now Northwestern Medicine, Central DuPage Hospital). With that connection, Greg and Sarah had an consultation with an excellent and very busy neuro-surgeon in less than two days. Two weeks later Greg had brain surgery, with some risk of left side paralysis or weakness due to the tumor location just in front of the right motor cortex. The tumor, it turns out was malignant, but not fast growing. After receiving recommendation at Central Du Page for further treatment (chemotherapy) and getting a second and third opinion at 3 other hospitals in Chicago that confirmed this recommendation, Greg had 24 months  of chemo through Central Du Page Hospital. 


Since surgery in Sep 2011 he has had MRIs every so many months and they say that though they might spread out more over time, they will continue since these tumors tend to come back at some point, though it may be a long time. And of course the more time goes on, more cancer treatments are discovered and improved upon.


5 years after the surgery, the surgeon wanted to go back in and take out a portion of the tumor that was not clearly tumor in Sep 2011. As he said at the beginning, with the brain you don't want to take out more than you have to--chemo and radiation treatment are part of the treatment process, not just cutting stuff out. With the brain, as he said a few times, you don't want to cut out a couple extra inches for good measure like you can maybe for some other cancers in other parts of the body. Though there are some brain surgeons how are much more aggressive than he is. He delayed going too far in 2011 because because he didn't want to leave me with any deficits and he knew I was relatively young and in good health, and he could go back in again if need be . (Big deal for me, but not so much for him, I guess). As he watched the scans, he felt it now became clear it needed to be removed. 


After that second surgery Greg had proton Radiation (very directed radiation, for sensitive areas of the body) for 6 weeks, then a pretty harsh chemotherapy for 9 months. Since then he has been getting good reports from his regular MRI's. 


Moving to Wisconsin a year ago it was daunting to change to a new neuro-oncologist, but Greg is so appreciative of his care here in the Froedtert health system in the Milwaukee area. As of this writing, June 2022, Greg has gone the longest between MRI's since 2011, 5 months! And that's a good thing. From the tumor, the two surgeries, and treatments, Greg has no deficits to speak of in terms of motor skills or mentally (at least from what we can tell--hahaha). 


He is so grateful to the Lord's care, through these years, wrestling with Him in the pit of chemo nausea and fatigue, worry before brain surgery, lifting up prayers beyond an MRI tube yet again, and he  can truly say, "yet, God is good," and "even so it is well with my soul." 


Greg has an incredible amount of family and friends who have cared for him and prayed for him these past years. If you are reading this, you are likely one of them! Thank you. 


First diagnosed, hearing the words 'brain tumor,' I really thought I wouldn't live much longer, but now I have had 11 years more with my wonderful wife, Sarah and our four daughters, Olivia, Hannah, Sophia, and Adrianna--now 11. I want to always pray that God's will be done, but I do pray that it's His will that I have many more years with my family, many more years to serve the church, and many more years to give testimony to the Kingdom of God and of our Lord, Jesus Christ. 

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