Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Dad Update. 5/17/2017

It's been a busy week in the Glenz household. Dad's been out mowing & shredding, oh and taking care of a fairly LARGE garden (not exactly sure how we are going to eat all those veggies!), while Mom is continuing on with staying ever so busy- running from one thing to the next, and making sure Dad is along for the ride. 

And then we welcomed a new little one to our family

Mr. Reid Eliot Windam


Born on 5/12/2017, 8 lbs 1oz, 20.5 inches long- he's a BIG boy!

Mom, Dad and baby are all doing well!

These grandbabies have been such a JOY to Dad (& Mom!), as it has given Dad something to look forward to each day. We are so thankful for Luke, Hallie & Reid!



Thank you all for the continued thoughts and prayers, it's still unreal to us that over 3.5 years later, Dad is with us and doing so well! Thank you all for helping us BTHO Brain Cancer!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

My Mother's Day Letter.

With Mother's Day approaching this weekend, it's given me a perfect time to sit and reflect on the amazing Mom I have in my life, because without her we would have all crumbled so long ago.

So here's my little 'Thank You'.

Dear Mom,

On this Mother's Day it's easy to thank you for all the ways you've been the rock of our family these last 3.5 years, but I think this Mother's Day we should go back a bit farther- because you've really been the rock of our family far before Dad's diagnosis. 

Thank you Mom for your constant love and support, for listening to me cry in college when I got my first failing grade, and reminding me that you are proud when we do our best, you just weren't sure if that was my best. By the way, you may have been right. (I still blame Hurricane Harry's)

Thank you Mom for teaching me that a good glass of wine can make any evening just a little bit better, especially when you're sharing that wine with family and friends. And thank you for constantly reminding me to "stay in control"...although I'm not sure why you keep doing that. ;)

Thank you Mom for allowing me live with you and Dad following his diagnosis, for allowing me take Dad to treatments, yell at insurance companies for you, and witness the true strength of both you and Dad throughout this journey. You've both inspired me in ways that words can't even begin to describe. 

Thank you Mom for showing me that having faith in a journey that feels so incredibly broken can help you through some of the darkest of times. And this same faith can help you truly appreciate the small things in life.

And thank you for being such an incredible friend to each of us girls, for being the one we call when all seems to be going wrong, and the first one we call when we have something to celebrate. You always seem to find the right words to say to help us through each day. 

So on this Mother's Day, know that you are so very loved for all that you do for each of us and that we are so proud to call you "Mom", and most importantly "friend".

Love, 

Your Favorite Daughter (ok just kidding...but seriously)

Whitney









Thursday, April 27, 2017

Dad Update. 4/27/2017

It's a "Dad Update" that involves very little updates- which is always a good thing!

We last met with Dr. Fleener on March 22, where Dr. Fleener left us with a follow up appointment with Dad's general physician and the words, "Now that we don't have to worry about a tumor, we've gotta worry about other things that can happen when you get older!"

So we did some blood work and it looks like all of Dad's counts are right in line where they should be, and his blood pressure continues to be monitored to ensure it's staying in a normal range. 

Since then, Mom and Dad have completely re-done the front yard, are working on a garden, and constantly outside mowing and working in the flower beds (even killing a pretty good sized snake one day!). Just yesterday Mom told me Dad was out on the shredder while she worked in the back yard. Y'all, God is so very good. 

Our next MRI is scheduled for July, which seems so very far away- yet I know it will sneak up on us before we know it. So until then, we plan to enjoy the nice weather and be so very thankful for each and every day. 

Yesterday I received a message from another family impacted by brain cancer. A message asking for help, to be a contact for someone and provide HOPE to them. I immediately called Mom. 

I wanted to share with Mom this message because often times we are so boggled down in the pain and the suffering that we've experienced these last 3.5 years. Sometimes we find ourselves thinking back to what life was like before Dad's diagnosis, instead of focusing on how far we've come. 

I was reminded in that moment (and shared with Mom these same thoughts!) that Dad's pain and suffering has such GREAT purpose- and how amazing it is that we are able to witness this purpose each time another brain cancer family reaches out to us. We've found the purpose in our pain, to be a resource to others and walk hand in hand with them throughout this journey.

Now believe me, I don't wish this process on anyone, but it's given me a perspective that many will never have. I tell Dad I love him every day, I go by their house often (probably more often than my parents would like!), and I constantly remind myself how exceptionally lucky we are. 

Dad doesn't always realize it, but he's the true backbone and strength of our family. He continues to inspire people that he's never even met. He continues to inspire each of us each day. 

I'm not sure how he does it. I'm not sure how he managed through two brain surgeries, countless rounds of chemotherapy, six intense weeks of radiation, and all of the physical & speech therapy, but he managed it pretty darn well. No complaints. No apprehension. He took it one day at a time, one step at a time, and leaned on this incredible faith through it all. 

Reflecting today on how good God really is, how through pain there is purpose, and through suffering there is strength. 

Thank you all for continuing on this journey with us, as we continue fighting to BTHO Brain Cancer.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Dad's 3.5 Year Cancer-versary. 4/10/2017

Dad celebrated his 3.5 year cancer-versary on April 5, 2017 (ok so I'm a few days late!), but what an incredible 3.5 years it has been!

The updates on the blog seem to be spaced out more, and that's really because Dad is doing so well! He is no longer taking any chemotherapy, or Avastin, and his blood pressure issues are almost completely gone. So his days are now filled with outside activities- helping Mom in the garden, mowing grass, and running out to their land in Burton to feed fish and check on the property. Sounds pretty amazing, right? 

The two year survival rate for someone with Glioblastoma is 27%. I sometimes think of that statistic and sit in awe at how amazing Dad has continued to fight throughout these last 3.5 years. 

The overwhelming amount of strength Dad has shown throughout it all has directly impacted so many- including me- as I truly believe Dad's journey is not complete because there is a far bigger plan for him here in the physical world. 

These last 3.5 years have been some of the most difficult times we have experienced as a family, but also some of the most rewarding. We look back now and can't believe we survived it all- the hospital stays, the bad MRIs, and the countless trips to the Oncologist, but we did, we survived it all by leaning on one another, and our faith. 

"Your struggles are part of a much larger battle, and the way you handle them can contribute to outcomes with eternal significance. When you respond to your troubles by trusting Me and praying with thanksgiving, you glorify Me."

I have always said there is true purpose in pain, because without repeating that over and over again, I may have gone absolutely crazy throughout it all. 

Thank you all who continue to follow our story and who ask about Dad, it's been a blessing to see the number of people Dad has continued to impact throughout our journey. 

And as always, thank you all for helping us BTHO Brain Cancer!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Run For The Rose. Dad Update 4/3/2017

Our 4th trip to Run For The Rose has come and gone, and man, what an incredible event it was!

I'm still processing donations, but as of right now it looks like we will have $6,130 this year alone. INCREDIBLE!

Which means in the last four years we've donated $27,330! And that has everything to do with the amazing friends and family we have in our lives, those that have supported us each step of the way. Thank you!

And on top of having donated such an incredible amount of money, this year alone we brought 90 people to the run in Dad's honor. 90 people who have exceptionally busy lives, but took time out of their busy weekend to join us for an event that means so much to my entire family. 

The rain. The forecast wasn't just rain, but hail- tornadoes- flooding. Imagine the absolute worst possible running conditions, that's what the forecast included.

And I looked at that forecast and I was so disappointed- but if I've learned anything these last 3.5 years it's that we serve a pretty amazing God- so I said a few prayers (ok I may have talked to him constantly once I found out about the rain!) and it went a little like this:

"Hey God, so I see there's a little bit of rain in the forecast for Sunday. And I'm working so hard on reminding myself that your plan is absolutely perfect, and there is always a purpose to your work. So if the weather is so bad that the run has to be cancelled, I will understand and remind myself that there is a reason for it all. But, I do know you've got a little pull up there, so if you don't mind moving that rain out of Houston, I would really appreciate it."

Sometimes I think God laughs a little from our talks. 

And I repeated this prayer over and over again. And y'all, no rain. Not a drop! Do we serve an awesome God or what?!?

The race was incredible. As I reached the end of the race, I looked ahead and saw a brain cancer survivor ahead of me (they each wear a special colored hat during the run), and that's when I knew there was no way I was walking or stopping- because if he could run this race, by all means I could do the same. 

The anticipation and concern over the weather was such a perfect comparison to our lives these last 3.5 years. With a beast like Glioblastoma, the forecast is always the worst of the worst- similar to what the weather was predicting yesterday. And I learned early on in Dad's cancer journey that we can not fear bad news, but confidently TRUST- and as anxious and stressed as I was going into the run (and on most MRI days for Dad), I try to remind myself that it is out of my control, and in the control of Him. And then when God's absolute glory shines through- whether it be answered prayers for clear skies for the run, or a great MRI- the appreciation I have for His extra hand in it all is so incredibly great. As I took each step of those 3.1 miles, I just kept thanking God over and over again for another year at the run- I kept thanking him over and over again for his incredible influence in my life. 

"And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Pioneer and Perfecter of Faith" (Hebrews 12)

And run with perseverance we did, on an incredible race that has been so perfectly marked out of us, fixing our eyes on the perfecter of faith. Y'all, God is really so very Good!

Thank you to those that were able to join us yesterday, those who made a donation, and the countless number of you who said a few extra prayers for a successful run. 



Each Run For The Rose includes a 'Survivor Walk', where brain cancer survivors walk and we are able to cheer each of them on each step of the way. It's an incredibly emotional moment at the run, as you see the countless survivors, where you see that brain cancer does not discriminate- there's every ethnicity, every age, and every gender. We can't thank the Dr Marnie Rose Foundation enough for all they continue to do in the brain cancer community and allowing us to celebrate Dad, and the many other survivors. 

Thank you all for your love and support, and thank you all for helping us BTHO Brain Cancer!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

National Doctors' Day.

Today, a little reminder popped up on my Facebook- it's National Doctors' Day, and I couldn't let this day pass without celebrating some of the amazing doctors in our lives. 

One of my favorite quotes reads:
"Part of winning the battle against cancer is hope, faith, determination, strength, and keeping positive. The other part of winning the battle is a great medical team on your side. I learned early on that statistics are just numbers, and I'm more than a number. I'm a strong human being with inner strength and an iron-clad determination to fight to win. Statistics don't tell you about the human behind the fighter who possesses the will and strength to fight, win and overcome."

Early on in Dad's cancer journey we knew that we found the perfect doctor for Dad- Dr. Erin Fleener. We were thrown into this world of cancer, and Dad's amazing Neurosurgeon, Dr. Bradley White, recommended Dr. Fleener as our Oncologist. We accepted, and the rest is history.

And three and half years later, she's still our doctor, and one of our favorite people. 

It takes a pretty special person to be an Oncologist, and it takes a pretty special person to work in an Oncologist office (I'll get to those amazing people soon!). But Dr. Fleener handles it all, our good days and our exceptionally tough days, with a smile, love and a little bit of hope. It's all things that we so perfectly need throughout this journey.

We trust her. It's an amazing thing when you trust your doctor 100% to care for your loved one and make the best decision for them at that exact moment. And over the last three and a half years, she's done just that. Dad hasn't been the easiest patient, as we've had some scary looking MRI's, moments where I heard "possible stroke" more times that I'd like, and times where we all struggled in deciding when or IF we should stop treatment- but through each moment she is the logical one who is able to share her perspective and give us the best advice possible. And it's clear that her advice has been exactly that, the best advice, as Dad is close to celebrating 3.5 years as a brain cancer survivor. 

And what would a great doctor be without great nurses and staff! The nurses and staff at the Cancer Clinic rank up there with some of the kindest people I've ever met- as they work in a place that could be so exceptionally cold and sad, but instead, they make it hopeful and bright. From the receptionists, to the ladies in billing (which will always hold a very special place in my heart), to the nurses in the front and our chemotherapy nurses in the back- each of them have embraced my family as their own. We all receive hugs each time we visit, and I've never once heard of anyone refer to my Dad as a patient number- instead it's Mr. Glenz or Larry. In a place that could feel so incredibly devastating, they've each managed to make it such a positive experience for us.

Trust is such a huge thing in the scary world of cancer. As there are terms that are still thrown around that I do not understand, and MRI reports that still read as though they are typed in a different language. But in this world of unknown, trusting that your doctor has the absolute best intentions of your loved one, trusting that your doctor truly loves your family, that makes the scary world of cancer feel a little less scary. 

We are so thankful for each doctor that has been on this journey with us, and especially Dr. Fleener who has walked with us hand in hand throughout some of our most difficult days.

Our next MRI is scheduled in JULY! We pray that Dad continues to feel well and regains his strength just a little more each day. We are so incredibly thankful and blessed to be on this journey with such amazing people. Thank you all, and thanks for helping us BTHO Brain Cancer!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

MRI Results. Dad Update 3/22/2017

When I think back to the fact that I've had this blog for over three years now, and we've been visiting the Cancer Clinic for almost 3.5 years (sometimes two-three times a month!) it's unreal to see how far we've come. 

Dad's MRI appointment today went great! There are no signs of tumor or cancer in his MRI- Dad is a 3.5 YEAR Brain Cancer Survivor. Oh it feels pretty darn amazing to read that!

Dr. Fleener talked about the statistics associated with Dad's cancer- sharing some new studies and the question we all have in the back of our head- what are the chances of this tumor coming back?

Well, about 5-10% of patients survive past 3 years- yes, that statistic is FAR too low, so we've already beat the odds right there! And then studies rarely follow patients much longer than that, but it appears they stay fairly stable. So what are the chances Dad's tumor will return? That we don't know- but what we DO know, is that he's an incredible fighter who has beat the odds so far and for that we will celebrate!

Dad's feeling SO much better since stopping his treatments- from mowing the grass, to staying out later, and just enjoying more daily errands with Mutz- his energy seems to be higher and, overall, he looks great. We pray this continues on in the future!

Some blood work is being done to check all his levels- thyroid, blood count, vitamin levels, etc- as Dr. Fleener said, "Now that we don't have to worry about a tumor, we can focus on all the other things that can happen to you when you get old." We all laughed, but oh did that make my heart so happy to hear. 

Friday I'll be heading to Houston to pick up packets for our upcoming trip to Run For The Rose- a 5k that supports the Dr Marnie Rose Foundation & brain cancer research. So far we have 76 members on our team and we've raised $4,530! My goal was to bring 75 people to the run and raise $5,000- we are so incredibly close! Thank you to all who have joined our team and/or made a donation- you are helping the next patient's story be that of a cure!

I hope Dad's story- one that has had MANY ups & downs along the way- can show others that with a little bit of hope and a whole lot of prayers, anything is possible. We would love to have each of you join us, or make a donation, to help support a foundation that is walking side by side with us in our brain cancer journey- one in which our main focus is to find a cure for this beast and provide others with HOPE. 

If you would like more information on the run or how you can make a donation, please feel free to email me (glenzwhitney@gmail.com).

Visit our team website for more information: http://drmarnierosefoundation.racepartner.com/run-for-the-rose/bthobraincancer

Thank you all for the continued thoughts and prayers, and thank you all for helping us BTHO Brain Cancer!