Josh’s Story

Site created on March 26, 2019

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Over the last couple months Josh has been experiencing a nagging pain/discomfort in his back right side/kidney area.  Due to the large amounts of driving and sitting in a work truck for his new job, we thought that it was something muscular-related.  Last Monday evening (March 18, 2019), however, he felt nauseous after dinner. This, paired with some other on and off symptoms, forced us to get it checked out.  We were all down in Marshall at the time, so Tuesday morning we packed up and headed back to the cities. We checked in at West Health Urgent Care that afternoon and after discussing symptoms with the doctor, he also thought it to be more muscular-related.  He didn’t think that it was necessary to run any images or x-rays, but ordered some standard blood tests and ran a urine sample. Not long after, he returned and said that he decided to run a couple other blood tests. They were not related to the symptoms he was having, but he  just felt that he needed to run them.  After running these additional tests he returned again and said that the tests came back abnormal and he would like to do a CT Scan after all. About an hour later, the doctor came back into the room.  With deep compassion and care in his eyes, he looked at Josh and I and said, “I’m sorry, it’s not good. They found some spots and they were cancer.” The kids were still in the room so he said it quietly and asked if we wanted a nurse to take the kids on a walk while we went over the results of the test. CANCER. Never in our minds did we think it would be cancer.  A kidney infection? Maybe. A kidney stone? Most likely. But cancer? In a moment’s time our lives had completely turned upside down. We went over the results of the CT Scan and he said that there was a mass on his appendix and several “good sized” lesions on his liver and lower abdominal area and that they were cancerous. He suggested that Josh be admitted to Abbott Northwestern Hospital that evening where they would run some additional tests including a biopsy of the liver. Nothing prepares you for this kind of news.  Nothing prepares you for this diagnosis. Nothing prepares you for making the kind of decisions we were going to be making over the next several days. We made arrangements for the kids to be with family for the week and Josh and I drove to Abbott.






Newest Update

Journal entry by Christine Richardson

Have you ever been skydiving? It was on my bucket list and I made the attempt to check it off several years ago. My BFF and I decided to do it together. We made our reservations, drove out to Baldwin, WI, went through the training and signed the waivers (in other words signed our life away!) But the weather didn’t cooperate and we weren’t able to jump that day. We rescheduled and came back another day. Wouldn’t you know it, the weather conditions were not good THAT day, either. We never did make it back out there, so I can only imagine the feeling of skydiving. I once thought that you would feel that free-fall sensation like you do on a roller coaster. But I learned during our training that actually you don’t.




One person explains it like this: “It takes your breath away, it brings you a new perspective on the world, it shows you beauty that you didn't know existed.”




When I think about this battle that we are living each day it reminds me a little bit about skydiving. It’s definitely taken our breath away. As hard and awful as it is to accept that this is our fight right now, it has brought a new perspective on the world. And the beauty! The beauty that surrounds us each day is all of YOU!




Yesterday we were blessed by having a crew of firefighters from GVFD come out and do some yard work that we haven’t been able to get to. These five beautiful souls showed up ready to do whatever was needed. We just asked for mowing, clean up, and trimming of some bushes. They went above and beyond! They cleaned off our patio, mowed, pulled weeds, trimmed bushes AND fixed our hack job trimming we attempted ourselves last year on one of our trees, they even trimmed some trees. And when all that was done they asked if they could set up the trampoline for the kids! Above and beyond! Beauty! So to Jon, Jason, Brian, Tariq and Jen...THANK YOU!!! And thank you to Brian and AJ (also GVFD firefighters) a couple weeks ago for coming out and cleaning our gutters!! We are family!!




Beauty.




It’s those of you who have given your time and energy to drop off veggies and meals. It’s the financial donations that continue to roll in. It’s the friends and family who drop everything they’re doing to come and get the kids/watch the kids with little to no notice because we have appointments and crazy scheduling. It’s the one who says yes to cleaning and preparing vegetables so I can go on a walk with my husband. It’s those who are praying around the clock. It’s the one who drops by to check in and pray for Josh. It’s the one who sends a text message at JUST the right time because Josh and I are so weary and don’t know how to proceed and that message picks us up off the floor and helps us regain consciousness again. It’s the text message that asks, “how can I pray for you today?”




Beauty.




I could go on. But this is beauty. Everyday in the midst of this vicious battle, there is beauty. And some days it takes our breath away.




I so wish that I could name every single one of you. I hope that you know how grateful we are for you!




I wanted to start with the positive because our hearts are just literally exploding with gratefulness! But today I need to tell you that it’s been a challenging week. Josh has fought against dehydration, low sodium levels, less than favorable lab results and increased pain. In addition to fighting these less than favorable lab results, test scores with his ND have not been positive either. So the continued and consistent decline has left us wondering about how to proceed. Having learned last week that the cancer has grown and Josh’s pain level up we’ve been wondering if we need to do something different. We don’t have answers right now. We are just seeking and wondering. Going forward, he will be doing lab work weekly to monitor numbers and will have infusions as needed.




Last week, following an appointment down at the U of M, and at the height of Josh’s pain, we found out that Josh was approved to receive Medical Cannabis. Before leaving downtown we called to schedule an appointment with one of the laboratory’s and the first place I called just had a cancellation for that same day! So we went in that afternoon and left with three different prescriptions. He’s still trying to figure out the dosages. While this is helpful for the immediate pain, we also understand and know that it’s not making the cancer go away. The cancer is still there and since we are seeing numbers either drop or increase in the wrong direction we are seeking direction and wondering what that looks like. Josh is feeling weak and tired. Join us in praying for guidance. And don’t stop praying for the healing.
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