Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Run For The Rose 2018

I can't believe we are preparing for our next trip to Run For The Rose- how can it be a year has flown by!?!?

Dad continues to do great, as his last MRI showed no signs of tumor and he is still off of all treatments. Our next appointment is in March, and we continue pray that he remains in remission. 

We would love to have each of you join our team this year for a little 5k that continues to do BIG things in the brain cancer community. It all takes place on April 8 @ 8 am, where each Survivor will make the emotional walk across the finish line- where tears fill many eyes as we watch the strength and determination of those who have fought this difficult battle. 

And then the race begins! 8:15 am the 5k will start, followed by the 1k at 8:45 am. You can walk, run, or just hang out with Dad at the finish line, and watch all the maroon shirts cross the finish line.

Speaking of maroon shirts- we are ordering again this year! Let me know if you would like a new shirt for this year's run (these are the same as our prior year shirts!). Email me at glenzwhitney@gmail.com. 

When the race ends, the party begins! So many events for kids to participate in, as well as lots of food and drinks (all free!). 

Please consider joining our team for this event or making a donation to this incredible foundation that has done so much for my family, and the countless other families faced with a brain cancer diagnosis. 

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

Thank you all for your love and continued support throughout Dad's fight- and as always, thank you for helping us BTHO Brain Cancer!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

2018 Is Upon Us...Dad Update 1/3/2018

I feel like each time I log into this blog I have to apologize, as my updates become shorter and shorter- and the time between them gets longer and longer. 

But we have been busy living LIFE- and loving each moment of it! Dad has started exercising during the day- he's up to about 18 minutes of walking- which is HUGE! We are working on Dad gaining more strength and Dr. Fleener suggested exercising. And what Dr. Fleener says, Dad never has a problem doing. 

Dad is still doing speech therapy daily, as we continue to see small improvements in his memory and speech. His brain is getting stronger and stronger each day!

We've scheduled our next MRI for March, and until then we continue to pray for no new signs of tumor growth and be so thankful for no more chemotherapy, radiation or Avastin. 

We hope you each had a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Our Christmas Miracle. Dad Update 12/14/2017

In December of 2013 we were just finishing up Dad's intense round of chemotherapy and radiation. And we were still trying to figure out this whole "brain cancer" thing. We still didn't understand the insurance world (although, I'm not sure we do even now!), or how radiation treatment would impact Dad long term- and we still didn't really, truly understand this journey. I know I was still very upset with God- my faith was being tested in so many ways, with my heart wanting to find hope in it all, and my head being filled with anger, resentment, and sadness. 

I remember thinking that this could be our last Christmas with Dad. 

While, that wasn't the last, in fact this is Dad's 5th Christmas post-diagnosis- there is something I've learned as we've reached various milestones in Dad's journey. 

Sure- holidays are important, it's a time where family and friends get together- but I'm reminded that it's really not the holidays that mean that much. 

In fact, I still find myself getting annoyed with Dad at the same things he did pre-diagnosis- whether it's when he snores while he's napping, or when he goes to wash his hands and NEVER looks for a towel first, only to have wet hands and look to me in the kitchen to get him a towel- and it's in those moments I remind myself how lucky I am to still get annoyed with my Dad on a day to day basis. These moments remind me that he is still here with us- that Dad has beat every odd placed against him. 

And these little moments continuously remind me that Dad is truly a walking MIRACLE. 

So on this Christmas, and really every day of the year, I'm going to take the moments where Dad's habits annoy me, or where his humor shines through, and thank God that he gave us this miracle. This miracle that reminds us again what a truly amazing God we serve- one that has the power to do things the human mind thinks is impossible- things that give us such great joy, and one that has the ability to comfort us and give us hope in some of our darkest moments. 

I am so very thankful for my faith these last four years- for without it, y'all I would have crumbled and been so broken throughout it all. And as I think about how strong my faith has become over the last four years, I also look at the strength of our family- I look at how God took something so horrible and difficult, and gave it to us to make us stronger. If that doesn't make you look at God's work in awe, I'm not sure what will. 

This weekend I'm also reminded of a friend's cancer journey that is just beginning, and to say I haven't shed some tears since her diagnosis would be such a complete lie- as my heart broke when I heard the news. And this weekend I will attend her "head shaving" party- if you know this girl, having a party for her head shaving is just perfect- as she is always the life of the party, everyone's big sister, and an incredible friend to even a stranger. 

And as my mind started to go back to our initial diagnosis and the months after, the tears flowed even more, as I started to think about the difficulties they will face- some days just filled with nothing but one bad thing after the other- but that's something they know, they know cancer is hard. So instead, I wanted to share with her the positive of it all- that even if they think it's not possible, cancer will find a way to make your family more appreciative, closer and gain an understanding that many don't fully have- that life can change at any moment, and to really appreciate the little things. 

So this Christmas season we will continue to be so thankful and so blessed for our Christmas miracle, Dad, and we will continue to support and pray for those fighting through the battle of cancer- and for those who are fighting through the holiday season after losing a loved one to this horrible disease. 

Many of you may have seen the interview with Meghan McCain and Joe Biden, and regardless of your political views I hope you saw the true purpose of that interaction- it was one family providing hope to another. A family, that although lost their son to this terrible disease, wanted his legacy to continue in showing others that through some of your darkest of times, there is always hope. I continue to pray that Dad's story is that for others- Hope. 

Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season- may it be filled with love, laughter and joy. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

MRI Updated. 11/28/2017

Dad's MRI is stable! All is good, with another MRI in about 4 months. 

We are so incredibly blessed and have so much to be thankful for. 


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

Monday, November 20, 2017

Thanksgiving Update. 11/20/2017

I looked back and realized it has almost been one month since I last updated everyone- but as I've said before, no news is typically good news!

October FLEW by and here we are getting ready for Thanksgiving...and another upcoming MRI. 

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays- from food, family, and, of course, a break from work!- how could you not love this time of year? 

Dad has been feeling well, and doing well! Y'all, the blessings have been shown to us in so many ways. I can't believe it's been over 4 years since we found out about Dad's diagnosis. 

But as thankful as we are, and as much as we look forward to another Thanksgiving with Dad, the upcoming MRI still lingers in my mind. 

For those of you that have experienced upcoming scans- you know the feeling I'm talking about. The gut-wrenching concern, anxiety and overall fear. And as I was looking at my calendar, I couldn't help but see the dreaded "MRI" drawn on a date. 

My heart sank. 

But I'm reminded once again about not fearing bad news. I'm reminded once again to live in the moment. 

"Trust Me, beloved. Every time you have an anxious, fearful thought, you need to take multiple looks at Me. Speak My Name to remind yourself I am near, ready to help you."

First, let me say that was NOT the devotional I read this morning or the one I planned to reference in this post, but I turned to that page on accident and starting typing those words- then realizing that's not the verse I wanted! Clearly, there is no accident in that at all! Those are words I SO badly needed to hear this morning, and in this VERY moment. Trust Me. 

But here is the devotional that really spoke to me this morning: 

"Let me teach you how to spend more of your time in the present. The future, as most people conceptualize it, does not really exist. When you gaze into your tomorrows, making predictions, you are simply exercising your imagination. I alone have access to what is "not yet" because I am not limited by time."

This whole anxiety and fear, and trusting, has been such a HUGE struggle for me these last 4 years. And it goes into so many aspects of your life, from planning trips (what if Dad isn't doing well?), to making sure you have cell phone service at all time (you know, just in case Dad has another seizure)...as if I didn't have anxiety to begin with, throw in cancer- and man, it's been a constant struggle.

But my prayer, and my focus, this Thanksgiving is to really focus on the present. To focus on friends & family, to focus on the time we have with one another, and to focus on how blessed we really are- regardless of the upcoming MRI. 

We wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving- and we ask for continued prayers at our upcoming MRI.

Thank you all, and thanks for helping us BTHO Brain Cancer!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Happy Birthday Mutz! 10/23/2017

Today we get to celebrate someone's birthday that has managed to hold this family together throughout the years- especially these last 4 years- and someone who has become everyone's favorite Mutz. 

Happy Birthday Mom!

I could go on and on about Mom- her dedication, her faith, her determination- but then my post would be pages and pages long, and Mom would call me to tell me how I give her too much credit. (Y'all, I NEVER give her too much credit- if anything she doesn't get enough credit)

She's selfless, she's hard headed (usually in a good way!), she's faithful, she's kind, and she's reliable. She goes out of her way to take care of her three girls, and now three grand babies. She does all the things for her grand babies that she would never allow us girls to do growing up- like eating m&ms before dinner, or staying up late to watch tv- or getting EVERY toy out to play with and making the house look like a tornado came through- and maybe my favorite, going overboard at Christmas to make sure the little ones LOVE that time of year. 

Yes, Mutz does it all. 

She's had to learn how to do a lot of things since Dad's diagnosis- as I remember so very clearly sitting in the hospital room on this day four years ago as we waited to get discharged with Dad. Sitting there trying to figure out exactly HOW we were going to do it all. Sitting there trying to figure out exactly HOW we would ever survive it all. Sitting there and looking at one another with a common understanding that we would have to rely on one another and lean on one another for  the daily strength to just get through it all. 

And she will deny it all- but she's the reason why we got through it all, and she's the reason why we survived it all with smiles on our faces and hope in our hearts. 

While we have no idea what the next days, months, and years will hold- the one thing we do know is that we can all handle anything together. That we can walk through some of the darkest of moments because Mom has been there to show us that through it all, through the moments of your deepest despair, there can be hope, and there can be light. 

Today we wish Mutz the happiest of birthdays, as we celebrate tonight with family, food, and lots of wine. Here's to many more birthdays Mutz!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Our 4 YEAR Cancer-versary! 10/5/2017

Today marks Dad's 4 YEAR Cancerversary. Y'all FOUR YEARS! 

Statistically, only 7% of Glioblastoma patients live to four years. We are so incredibly lucky. And we are so incredibly blessed. 

And as this day comes, it's hard to not take some time to think back on these last four years- four years that have been an absolute roller coaster, with lots of lows- but also some incredible highs. 

The day of Dad's seizure, the day of his first MRI result, the day of his surgery, those moments feel like they happened just yesterday- and then I think back to the blur that was the months that followed. The daily chemotherapy & radiation treatments, the alarms set all through the night for Dad to wake up to take his steroid medication, the countless nights where I slept on the couch "just in case" something happened, and the endless talks I had with the man upstairs- I sometimes wonder how we survived it all. 

And as much as that feels like just yesterday, it's hard to imagine it was in fact FOUR years ago. It's pretty incredible the amount of quality time we've been given, time that was not expected when we heard the word "cancer", time that we've learned to appreciate more than anyone could ever imagine, time that I'm so incredibly thankful we've been given.

When I think back to our devastation after Dad's diagnosis- our hearts filled with "what if" and "why us"- it's amazing to see how God has turned something so devastating, into something so inspirational. It's amazing how something like cancer could easily make you turn your back on Him, but instead gives you the opportunity to see Him work in the darkest of moments. It gives you the opportunity to witness miracles right before your eyes. It gives you the opportunity to grow in a way you never really imagined.

My devotional today was absolutely perfect for this day:

"When things around you or in the world seem to be spinning out of control, come to Me and pour out your heart. Instead of fretting and fuming, put your energy into praying...Don't dread bad news or let it spook you. Instead, keep your heart steadfast and calm through confident trust in Me."

We've continued to put our trust in Him, to guide us through this journey where we have no clue where it may take us, but knowing that throughout this journey we can be confident that He is with us always.

And as we've grown spiritually, we've also grown as a family. A cancer diagnosis where we were just a family of seven, and now, a family of 10! Dad has witness three grand babies come into our family- each with their own little personality, each that leave us wondering how we ever enjoyed life as much without them. 

We take each day ahead as just that, ONE day at a time. Enjoying the little moments, celebrating the big moments, and learning that throughout it all one thing remains the most important- family. 

Thank you all for being on this journey with us throughout Dad's brain cancer fight. We have been blessed with countless prayers and an amazing support system of friends & family- we could not have survived these last four years without you all.

Dad's next MRI isn't until after Thanksgiving, so until then we will continue on living and loving each day with Dad. Dad's last MRI showed no signs of tumor (REMISSION!) and he is still off of all his treatments- no chemotherapy or Avastin. Thank you all again, and thanks for helping us BTHO Brain Cancer! 


Congrats to Dad- a FOUR Year Brain Cancer Survivor!