Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Life Update. 6/26/2018

Okay, I know...I've been terrible with updates on this little blog. So I'll try to catch everyone up!

Dad has continued to live life- he helps mow grass, work in the garden, and watch his grandbabies- they are all growing up WAY too fast! He is still off all treatment!

In May we celebrated Reid turning ONE, and this past weekend we celebrated Hallie's 2nd birthday. They are all into just about everything, which keeps us all busy. And Dad loves having those little ones around!

We have our next MRI scheduled for the end of July, which will make it 4 months since our last MRI. And although Dad is not showing any typical signs of the tumor returning, it still is a very stressful day...heck, the weeks leading up to the MRI is also pretty darn stressful. 

I remind myself that TODAY Dad does not have cancer. And looking too far ahead will just give me those knots in my stomach and worry in my mind- and I'm working so very hard to not have any of that!

We are hoping that if all is good on his next MRI, we will go 6 months between MRI's. That is the plan if all is good...gosh I'm praying all is good!

Dad is now over 4.5 YEARS post diagnosis, and we plan to celebrate BIG in October for his 5 YEAR cancer-versary.  

Just today I watched an update on the Polio virus being used to treat brain cancer, and I sat in awe of how far treatment has come in just these last 4 years. We are so blessed that we are making such great strides, so that IF the tumor returns, we have more options for Dad's treatment. Options give us HOPE in this battle. 

The clinical trial increases the survival rate of three years or longer from 4% of patients, to 21%. That's HUGE!

Which also gives me chills to see that statistic, as Dad has beat those odds, and is literally in the 4% of people with this diagnosis. It reminds me how incredibly blessed we are. Dad is truly a miracle. 

As always, we are so blessed with an amazing medical staff helping us each step of the way- The Cancer Clinic and Dr. Fleener's team of nurses & staff have made our journey one that is filled with so much hope! And we are so blessed with this incredible group of friends & family that have continued to lift Dad up in prayer- we are so very aware that it's a BIG reason why he is still here today. 

Like I've said before- when science and medicine can't explain why someone is here, how can you not believe? 

Thank you all for walking on this journey with us, and thank you for helping us BTHO Brain Cancer!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Happy Father's Day Lar!

Another special Father's Day for the Glenz family, as Dad continues to defy the odds and reminds us all that life is truly filled with little miracles every now and then. 

Each Father's Day post-diagnosis have been special to our family, as we get to take a day and celebrate one of our favorite guys, the man that has continued to keep this family together with his strength, determination and smile. 

So per usual, here's my Father's Day letter to the best daddy in the whole world. 

Dear Dad,

This Father's Day feels even more special for some reason. Maybe it's because you have three little ones that love their grandpa so very much, or maybe it's because I look at the calendar and realize that it's been over 4.5 years since we feared you not being around for Father's Day. 

Cancer has done a pretty unique thing to our family. It has truly provided light, in a world that has felt so very dark, it has provided love, especially when we couldn't possibly feel anything but hate, and it has provided us a perspective that life is all but too short- that we should live it to the fullest. And as much as cancer has been part of all those little lessons, the heart of those lessons comes from the person that has fought this cancer- the heart of those lessons has come from you. 

You have taught us each lessons that we could never begin to find the right words to share. You've shown determination, faith, and an unbelievable amount of strength. We are all so lucky to have you as our Dad. 

And as we approach another MRI, I sit back and look at the last 4.5 years- years filled with tears and defeat, and also some of the most joyful times of my life. You've managed to change our thoughts, our fears, and our concerns- as we focus now on the gift of life we've been given. We focus on you- on family- and on enjoying each day. 

I hope you know how much we love, appreciate and realize that you're gift here in the physical world is clearly needed for others- that God has chosen you to defy the odds and bring hope to so many. 

Happy Father's Day to the best Dad in the entire world- Happy Father's Day to my hero.

Much Love,

Your Favorite Daughter- Whitney

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Happy Mother's Day Mutz!

Mother's Day is quickly approaching, and I've taken a few moments today to reflect on my amazing Mom. So here's my Mother's Day letter to you Mutz!


Dear Mom (And everyone's favorite Mutz!), 

Before you start with that whole, "You give me too much credit" line that you love to tell me, please read each word and allow yourself to be given the credit that you very much so deserve. 

You have been our absolute rock throughout Dad's cancer journey- one that we were told would be short lived, with you telling each and every doctor "not us, we are going to beat this." You had faith in this journey far before I could ever see it. You had faith in this process, and each time life looked far too difficult for us to travel, you managed to guide us, one step at a time. 

Your strength each and every day shines through with even the smallest of tasks. You've quickly learned how to take care of the yard & pool, and you continue to do these things and include Dad as much as he can be included- because you want to make sure he sees his purpose here. You are so patient with us all, including Dad, as you have taken our "new normal" and used it to make life even better. 

Thinking through every day life, I can't imagine what we would do without you holding it all together. You're one of the most reliable people I know, reminding us each day that we should strive to be exactly like that. 

Your love for your family can be seen as you love, care, and spoil those three grand children you have. There is a reason why they love spending time with you, as you don't just spoil them with toys & chocolate (because that happens a lot too!), you spoil them even more with your love and attention. 

You and I have a pretty special bond- one that many will never truly understand. I watched at a very young age as you cared and loved your mother during her cancer journey. And the older I got, the more I realized the sacrifices you made to be with her- the more I realized what an incredible daughter and caregiver you truly were. Granny was so very lucky to have you there with her throughout it all. And I've taken those learning moments from when I was very young and used them throughout Dad's cancer journey. 

We've sat on the couch and cried many nights while Dad got ready for bed, always reminding ourselves that we can cry to each other, but never to Dad. You taught me how to stay positive in some of our darkest moments. We relied on one another for doctor appointments and medical bills- as we tried to figure out Medicare and this whole world of Oncology. We relied on one another to just get by some days. 

So this Mother's Day- and really every day- I hope you are reminded of how much you are loved, cared, and looked up to in so many ways. We are all so blessed to call you Mom. 

Much Love, Your Favorite Daughter :)

Whitney


Thursday, April 12, 2018

Post Run For The Rose Update. 4/12/2018

"Your relationship with Me transcends all your circumstances. This is why you can praise Me and enjoy My Presence in the midst of the darkest difficulties. To find Me in such times, you have to really exert your faith; but I am always near."


It seems much easier for us to praise Him as life has been so very positive for us right now, but then I have to think, the TRUE reason why we appreciate these times right now, is because we have had some of the darkest of times. But even through those dark times, we found Him very near- guiding us through it all, giving us the strength to rely on Him to carry us, at times when we felt far too weak to go through it all alone. 

We were so blessed to make our 5th trip to Run For The Rose in Houston last weekend, where we had 70 team members, and we've raised over $6,000 THIS year alone. 

Which means, in the last 4.5 years of Dad's brain cancer journey, we've been able to donate $33,595 to support brain cancer research. 

Y'all, that is pretty darn incredible. 

This year was a bit interesting for me, as I didn't feel nearly as prepared, or as organized, as I typically am when it comes to the Run For The Rose- but I had some good reasons! Friday & Saturday I was in Austin celebrating one of my best friends marry her best friend. This best friend of mine even asked me before she set her date when the Run For The Rose would take place, so that she could make sure there wasn't a conflict. And as sweet as that was, I could not have ANYONE plan a wedding around my schedule. The wedding happened to fall on the same weekend as the run, and although I was exhausted Sunday after leaving the wedding in Austin around 11 pm, to make it to Houston by 7 am Sunday- the meaning behind the entire weekend was still all very much there. 

Someone asked me how I did it- how I managed to be all in at the wedding Saturday night, knowing I would get (basically) a nap before the Run For The Rose- and you just figure it out for those that you love. I had a weekend filled with some of my absolute best friends as we danced and celebrated our friend- and a weekend filled with my family as we supported Dad and the countless other brain cancer families. 

I mean, does it get any better than that? 

Dad looked great at the Run For The Rose, and he did such a great job during the "Survivor Walk"- which always manages to have me in tears. We are so proud of Dad, and Mom, for all the sacrifices and the strength they have shown throughout it all. 


Thank you all who have loved, supported, and prayed for us throughout Dad's journey. We know we are in fact the lucky ones in this journey- Dad has beat each and every statistic placed on him- and for that we are so very blessed. We've been given some incredible quality time with Dad, and we continue to praise Him for all the strength He's provided to us throughout this journey. There were times we didn't think we would survive it all, but with His hand leading us through the journey, it was all possible. 

Thank you all again for making our 5th trip to Run For The Rose so incredibly successful, and thanks for helping us BTHO Brain Cancer!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Holy Cow- It's Been 4.5 YEARS? Dad's 4.5 Year Cancer-Versary. 4/5/2018

I think the title says it all- HOLY COW! Y'all, today marks 4.5 YEARS since Dad's seizure. A day we consider Dad's "Cancer-versary". 

We still can't believe it's been 4.5 years- as it all seems like FOREVER ago that we heard those words "malignant tumor", and it also seems like just yesterday that we sat in the ER trying to figure out exactly WHAT was going on with Dad. 

We've learned a lot about ourselves these last 4.5 years. 

I've personally grown spiritually in ways I didn't think I could- as this journey had me shaking my fist at God for the first 6 months or so, and yet He never left my side, no matter how angry I was. No matter how much I questioned this journey. 

It's pretty amazing to find that someone can love you SO much, that no matter how angry, no matter how hurt, no matter how upset you are with them, they never let go of your hand, or your heart. My personal relationship with Jesus Christ has given me a new sense of comfort in this crazy world. I still get anxiety over scans, or when Dad has a headache, or days when Dad is confused- but I've found this peace with it all- that it is what it is. That we've been given FAR more time than we were ever promised- so at this point, we've figured it out before when things looked bad- I have no doubt that we will figure it out again IF something happens in the future. 

The last 4.5 years were nothing that we imagined our life to be like before Dad's seizure- but that's what is so interesting about life, it's never what we expected. 

We have a new normal. And sure, there are many things we wish were different. We wish Dad had more strength. We wish his speech was where it was before his seizure. We wish Dad NEVER had brain cancer. 

But IF these things were different, if Dad was never diagnosed- I wonder if our relationship with Jesus Christ would be as strong. I wonder if we would be HAPPY to take lots of family pictures for every special occasion. I wonder if we would appreciate life as much as we do.

These last 4.5 years have us celebrating SMALL victories- and we pray the next 4.5 years (and more!) will have us doing the same. We are so proud of Dad for his unbelievable amount of strength and determine- and we are equally as proud of Mom for her strength and determination. These two have shown us all what it is like to have complete faith in time when faith seems no where to be found. 

This weekend we get to celebrate Dad's 4.5 YEARS as a brain cancer SURVIVOR by attending one of our favorite events, Run For The Rose. It's a little 5k that is doing such BIG things in the brain cancer community. We are praying for good weather and for all to have a great time. We are so blessed that we've raised over $5,000 this year alone, and are bringing 70 participants on Dad's team. We thank each of you who have walked with us in this journey, thank you all for helping us BTHO Brain Cancer!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

MRI Results. 3/28/2018

Dad's last MRI showed NO signs of tumor. He is STILL considered to be in remission after 4.5 years fighting this cancer!

Thank you all for the love, support and prayers!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

A Life Filled With Lemons....And ONE Month Until Run For The Rose 3/7/2018

Tomorrow will mark ONE month until we take our 5th trip to Run For The Rose- a little 5k that does BIG things in the brain cancer community. 

We are honored to be part of such an incredible organization that has been with us every step of the way in Dad's 4.5 year cancer journey. We are also honored to share that because of the love and support of our friends and family, we've donated OVER $30,000 these last 4.5 years in Dad's honor to this foundation. Dad is making such a huge impact in the brain cancer community. 

There is still time to join our team, make a donation, or purchase a Team Lar t-shirt. Email me at glenzwhitney@gmail.com for more information, or click on our team page! 

http://drmarnierosefoundation.racepartner.com/run-for-the-rose/bthobraincancer

Just Monday, Dad was out mowing grass, and we all celebrated that small victory- as it's still unreal to us that almost 4.5 years later Dad is with us and doing things we never imagined he would still be able to do. It's clear that God has worked a miracle in Dad. A miracle that I hold tight to often, reminding myself that even through these difficult times God has thrown my way in other forms- God's hand is clearly in it all. 

Because lately y'all, I've needed to remind myself often that God can heal. That God can perform miracles. That God is this constant presence in our lives, even in moments when it feels like life is filled with lemons. 

They always say, "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade." And that sounds so simple. Take something negative and make it positive, that's what good Christians do, right? 

Although, ask any good Christian and I think what makes them a "good" one is their struggle with their faith- it's the the times when you want to shake your fist at God (and heck, sometimes we do!) that we find our faith strengthen even more. It's through this shaking of our fist and being angry with God, we find comfort in our prayers and conversations- because we are throwing our concerns, our worries, and our problems on Him. Through these difficult conversations we are begging Him to help us through it all. Through our fist shaking, God is helping turn the pain and hurt into love and comfort. 

As a Christian, it's so hard for me to understand what someone does who doesn't have this faith. Because life can hand you so many lemons- and sometimes you're just tired of trying to make lemonade alone. 

I promise if you look hard enough into each situation where God's handed you a lemon..or two...or seven...you'll find His hand in it. You'll find that He puts people in your life to make the lemonade for you- to help you through the moments that you find are far too difficult for you to handle alone. 

Family and friends have been key in these last 4.5 years- and also, in these last few months of lemons. Family and friends that see when you're faith is struggling- to remind you to continue praying, to ask God to heal- but also ask God to put in your heart that even if He doesn't, to have faith and trust. 

We thank you all for being on this journey with us for 4.5 years, and we ask for continued prayers that our next MRI is one that is good and clear- but if it isn't, we ask that you pour out these prayers for comfort, for healing, and for faith in this journey. 

I'm not sure how many more lemons God plans on handing me in this lifetime, but what I am sure of, is the friends & family on this journey with me- ones that will make the lemonade for me, heck even some that will add a little vodka, to help me get through it all with a heart filled with faith, and a mind filled with trust.