As we begin her story, we first want to thank God for His many blessings to us all. In I Thessalonians 5, the Apostle Paul encourages believers to "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
So, we begin by rejoicing and giving God thanks - in every circumstance of life. He has blessed us with so many wonderful things - loving family & friends, astounding beauty throughout His creation and in the eternal hope that His Word provides. In our family, we praise Him when we win and we praise Him when we lose. Earthly circumstance does not dictate our relationship with God. Even now. Especially now.
FYI, Torie's brother Troy has set up a GoFundMe account for some assistance with her medical expenses and to help as she is unable to work and since she is self employed there is no medical leave assistance set up. If you feel led to contribute, we are honored by your gift & we pray Luke 6:38 for you! Here's the link:
) Thanks, Troy!
As some of you know, Torie has been having a weird combination of symptoms and health issues since January 1st. She had actually been feeling some of these things much longer but, on New Year's Day, we took our first of two trips to Urgent Care. Multiple symptoms seemed to all be hitting around the same time and she had become overwhelmed with general fatigue, constant headache, arm & shoulder pain, occasional memory lapses, occasional dizziness, and occasional significant loss of leg strength. On January 1, some chest pains and an irregular heartbeat prompted the trip. Over the next two months, she had lots of blood work done, an MRI, a Lumbar Puncture (spinal tap), saw two neurologists, a nutritionist, an acupunturist and a physical therapist - in addition to her GP and OBGYN docs. Nothing clear cut ever came of all those tests and visits, but she did feel a little better in her neck and shoulder from the physical therapy and acupunture. She had to take two weeks off of coaching hockey and from running her Interior Design business to completely rest and regain a bit of energy. She came back to coach in order to finish out the JV schedule and help the Varsity team during their exciting playoff run but, after the season ended and the girls hockey banquet was enjoyed by all, she took a much-needed vacation to California. She stayed with her brother Troy for a very relaxing week at his home in Temecula, CA. Jack then joined her on 3/22 and we stayed at Troy & Kirsten's place for a couple of nights. We also got to briefly see her brother Kevin and his whole family as they had just come to visit Troy and have some California fun. Torie and Jack then headed up the California coast to enjoy some amazing coastline beauty and ultimately visit Bethel Church in Redding, CA for a few days. We would then fly back home out of San Francisco.
On the final evening of our trip (3/29), Torie found a lump in her left breast. It had been a wonderfully relaxing and uplifting trip, but it ended with this bit of uneasiness. Upon our return home, she quickly scheduled a mammogram for April 4th, which detected two masses in that same breast, which required biopsy on 4/7.
As some of you know, she had done some modeling over the past couple of years on "ShopHQ" which is now called "Evine." However, she hadn't done any for a year due to her coaching duties along with running her business - and in dealing with all the previous health issues. But, the next day after the biopsy, she got a call from Evine to model that next week. Wigs. Hmmmm. Interesting timing, God. She firmly believes it was His way of preparing her for the Dr.'s call that came on Monday, April 11th.
That call advised that both lumps were cancerous and that an appointment was being made with a surgeon to discuss the situation. On Thursday, April 14th we met with the surgeon, accompanied by Torie's friend Stephanie McCauley. Steph's experience as a Physician's Assistant (along with her love for Torie) was perfect for her role as an advocate during the appointment. So much information! We were blessed to have Steph there with us to take notes, ask good questions, and provide great support. Torie's parents were in the waiting room to provide their love and support, too.
In the appointment, we learned that her cancer is labeled as "HER2 Triple Positive." This is a fairly aggressive cancer that is fed by estrogen, progesterone and the HER2 cells in her body, thus the "triple" designation. "Aggressive cancer" is not a good-sounding phrase for the novices in the room so it was a bit jolting. But, Dr. Ogren quickly advised the good news about it.....there is a very specific chemo cocktail that is very effective against "HER2" cancer and that particular chemo has very minimal to no side effects, too. More importantly, once the HER2 cancer cells have been fully eradicated, they are apparently much less likely to return. If they do, it is often many, many years down the road. Even "aggressive cancer" can have a silver lining! Dr. Ogren gave Torie a brief physical exam and estimated that, based on size of the tumors, that she is probably early in Stage Two. However, she quickly advised that we should not be overly concerned about tumor size - that the pathological diagnosis is far more important. Once its been determined if the cancer has reached any lymph nodes, the staging can be identified with much more certainty. But, from the way it sounds, that probably won't come for a while.
The next step was to set an appointment with her ongoing Doctor, an oncologist that has come to us with strong recommendations from several sources, including Torie's friend Stephanie and her husband, Sean. Sean, for those of you who may remember, was the one with the connection to cardiologists at Mayo Clinic and got me (Jack) into Mayo to so effectively deal with my aortic valve replacement back in 2010. We are so thankful for our good friends who have been there in a BIG way in our two instances of serious health issues.
So, Torie's 1st oncologist appointment with Dr. Bronagh Murphy was set for Friday, April 22nd - to meet, review and determine the course of action to attack the HER2 Triple Positive diagnosis. Dr. Murphy is with University of Minnesota Cancer Care and her office in in the Fairview Ridges Hospital complex in Burnsville. We'll give an update on that appointment in the first journal entry. Thanks so much for visiting Torie's site and reading her story. Your prayers and encouragement are warmly received! We are expecting some ups and downs, of course. However, we enter this with a positive attitude and an expectation that many good things will come out of this journey.
To close out this section of Torie's Story, we want to share the basis for our perspective on this journey. Romans 8:28 gives the famous encouragement...."And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Sometimes its mistaken, or mis-represented, to mean that God directs all the evil,disease and pain in the world and we're somehow supposed to consider it good and in His will - and still think God is good. But, it simply says that, if we love Him - and we are called to assist Him in building His Kingdom (His purpose) - that He promises to work some good out of EVERY situation. So, we believe He'll take the difficult things on Torie's journey and bring out many instances of good. And, amazingly, He already has! We invite you to join with us in support of her and expect lots more good things as we embark on this ride together. In the words of many of the supportive messages she's already received, "God's Got This!"
Thanks for visiting Torie's site. We appreciate your prayers and encouragement.