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Thanks for all the closet bloggers that have shown their electronic face.  I’m glad my previous post brought you out, we welcomed your presence.  I hope that my ‘forget nice, this is cancer’ comment did not offend anyone, it was not meant for that purpose.

Marisa went for intravenous chemo today in Hamilton.  The docs changed some of her medication, the biggest change was that her main chemo drug was scaled down about 33% in hopes that this would help her nausea.

Thank you again for all your comments.  Many of you mention the strength you feel reading them but that doesn’t come close to the strength Marisa and I gain from them.

Love Mendelt

A number of people have said to me that they often read the blog but do not post a comment in fear of not being able to articulate something ‘nice’.  Forget nice, this is cancer.

Don’t worry about being articulate or even appropriate.  Marisa (and I) feel so much strength through your comments.  During the low days of the first cycle, Marisa would lie in bed and I would read your comments to her.  Some days your comments were her only source of smiling.

So, in the spirit of not knowing what to write, just feel free to write anything.  Even if it is just hello.  And also, if you rather not have your comment posted on the weblog for everyone to read, just let us know–we have to approve each comment before they are posted.

We just spent the last five days partying as Marisa was finished her first cycle and today the second cycle started at home and tomorrow we go to the cancer clinic.  Thank you for all the meals, well wishes, cards, notes, jokes and above all prayers.

Peace,

Mendelt

There is someone Mendelt and I would like you to pray for.  Her name is Anita Lubbers.  She is in a similar boat as I; similiar cancer, three kids, a great husband.

We knew eachother from Redeemer University College but our relationship has been rekindled through our plight and she has given me so much comfort.  Please pray for her as she continues to beat cancer.

Thanks,

Marisa

(sorry if any of my students are reading this)

When Marisa and I were both at Redeemer, I would go to every one of her basketball games.  (she was a provincial All-Star, I never was) When Marisa would get fouled and went to the free throw line, she went there with a lunch-bucket-get-it-done attitude.  She would get the ball from the ref, look at the basket and do her job.

It was the same get-it-done attitude that Marisa brought today when she got her head shaved.  She decided to take some of the power back from cancer and get rid of her hair on her terms.  Marisa sat in that chair while Zekijah (8 months) and I watched with pride and admiration.

We are now going out for dinner and Marisa looks totally sexy.

Peace, love and thanks again for all the comments, please keep them coming.

Love Mendelt

Hello all.  I wanted to write and say myself how much I truly appreciated you all coming to the prayer service.  You touched my heart and my soul.  Thank you for you prayers and your dedication to praying as well.  It still means so much to me.

On a totally different note, today I can really notice my hair coming out.  It just falls out and I can’t stop it.  I knew it would come but I hoped that until it did actually start to fall out that it wouldn’t happen and that I wouldn’t have to deal with it.  Now that it is happening I wish it would just all be gone and I would be used to my ‘new look’.
I don’t like experiencing things for the first time–I’m the type of person that likes to know what it feels like already and not to do the ‘first time’.  Ah, but God’s ways are not our ways and He teaches me something new every day.  I still don’t understand ‘why me’ but I have no choice and so I (we) press on. Mendelt has been amazing and always finds a way to make me laugh.  My mom is coming over today and staying for a few days and so we look forward to spending some time together.  Before Zion goes to bed every night he asks me questions (usually the same ones every night) and he asks when the next time will be that we go to Pake and Grandma’s, so last night I could tell him that Grandma was coming to our house.  He said ‘oh’.  🙂  His typical cool cat response on the outside but feeling something deeply on the inside.

We got to enjoy a breakfast out this morning with Mendelt’s parents and Zekijah loved sitting with her Pake (with the beard) and Beppe.  It’s a blessing to have parents who live 10 minutes away.

And so, our day continues.  I’ll sign off now and wish everyone a blessed day–enjoy your spouse, your children, your colleagues, your parents, your life.

Peace and love,  Marisa

Thanks to all who attended in body and in spirit tonight. Marisa felt peace throughout the night. We could feel the prayers of Vancouver, Calgary, Haiti, Dominican Republic, the Netherlands, parts of this province and parts of the USA. Thank you.

I think we will sleep well on the prayers of the saints.

Love M and M

Please remember the service of Prayer for healing tonight at the Fruitland CRC (directions – fruitlandcrc.com).  If you can make it, please do.  If not, please pray for us.

Yesterday was a tough day for Marisa.  Her pain increased gradually during the day until the pain was no longer bearable and we went to the ER as per the oncologist directions.  After a few hours in the ER and some “help”, Marisa was feeling better.  Today is the last day for chemo for the first round and starting tomorrow, Marisa has 5 days off the medication.  Hallelujah.

Thanks for all the meals, thanks to my parents who drop anything at a moments notice (like when we had to go to the hospital yesterday).

Love Mendelt

On the evening of December 19, 2006 Marisa and I were sitting on the couch together talking about having another baby.  The next morning we found out Marisa had breast cancer.  That was December 20.  Then the next day, the 21st, we spent the day at the hospital going through tests to find out if Marisa ‘only’  had breast cancer.

In 48 hours we went from family planning to praying Marisa only had breast cancer…

…talk about perspective being a fickle beast…

So, as the perspective has shifted again and again since those days, Marisa had a full day yesterday without throwing up.  We classify that as a great day.  Today Marisa was strong enough to go to church, a real blessing, and now after her afternoon nap she is laying low as she feels “so so”.

Thanks again for the comments and please remember about the service of prayer for healing that is taking place on Tuesday.

Peace,

MMZJZ

Yesterday was the best day so far in the chemo treatments.  Marisa felt well enough to go to Swiss Chalet for dinner and she only threw up once (it broke my heart that it was in the Swiss Chalet parking lot before dinner).

My parents have had our 8 month old daughter Zekijah for the last 2 nights.  It’s most likely the best present for us, then we get a “solid” sleep.

Justin Cook raised the issue of blog etiquette.  Please do not hesitate to be (or try to be) funny.  If you know Marisa well, you know she loves a good joke.

Thanks again for all your comments, I will say it everytime that Marisa does cherish them.

Love Mendelt

The docs told us that Marisa’s hair would fall out 100%, so Marisa went today for a wig. Zion (4 and a half) and Jacoba (almost 3) were sad because Zion wanted Marisa to get a yellow wig and Jacoba wanted a purple one.

Kids rule.

Marisa also received a card from a friend’s son that was supposed to say “I hope you feel better soon” but it was written…

“I hop you feel peter soon”.

Classic.

thanks again for your comments. Marisa loves and needs them….. peace, Mendelt

I would like to invite all who can make it to a service of prayer for healing that is being held at the Fruitland Christian Reformed Church, this Tuesday the 23rd at 7:30 P.M.  There are a number of people in our church that are battling illness, Marisa being one of them.  Cancer is a word that is used too much in our church these days.

http://www.fruitlandcrc.com is the link to find out how to get to the church.

If you can, please join us and again thank you all for being so close to Marisa’s heart.  She says numerous times a day how much she gains strength from all of you.

Peace,

Love Mendelt

Marisa has one more week left to finish the first chemo cycle.  Then she has 5 days off.  We can’t wait.  Hopefully those days will be filled with eating and more eating.  (I’m purposely avoiding the throwing up stretch issue from my last post, too sad)

After tonight, 6 more days…aaaahhhh, sweet distraction.

Thanks again for all the comments.

Love Mendelt

…Marisa made it fully through one week.  As it stands now, she hasn’t thrown up for almost 20 hours, the best stretch thus far.  Hallelujah.

This week we weren’t broken but you could surely see the cracks.  Hopefully those cracks mend.

The way Marisa’s chemo works is on a 17 day cycle which consists of 2 drugs.  The first three days is one drug and then the next 14 days are another drug.  Only during the first drug does Marisa need to go to the Cancer clinic, the rest of the chemo is done at home.  Marisa takes about 13 pills per day.

She continues to thank you for all your comments, she says that she would like to respond to each of them but often doesn’t have the energy to do that.  This is understandable.

Many thanks again.  Think of us as we continue to battle, take courage and press on.

Love Mendelt

not that I’m any scholar by any means, but I was reading the comments again today and wondered about the people out there that don’t have the support that Marisa and I have. I couldn’t imagine. When we went for Marisa’s first IV chemo, about 80 % of the patients had loved ones with them but the others didn’t. Where is their support?

Learning is a good skill to have, regardless what age you are and Marisa and I are on a HUGE learning curve. I’m going to ask Marisa what she wants to learn from this whole ordeal but I know what I’d like people to learn from this….

For those that know me know that I’m not one to take things for granted on a daily basis. I used to set my watch to beep every 30 minutes to make sure those 30 minutes were more fulfilling than the last 30. So I hope that today, in your own little way, you take your thankfulness and do something with it in a tangible way. Let me know how it goes.
I’ve always been thankful for Marisa. And I continue to be. She still makes me laugh, even after she threw up this morning, 5 minutes later I asked her how her stomach feels. She said “well it’s not chipper”. Classic Marisa

It’s hard to be thankful when things are tough like they have been but we are trying. We are bent but surely not broken. thanks for all your comments. I said it before and I will say it everytime, Marisa get strength from it.

thanks again,

Mendelt

Many people have either said or written that they are thankful for this blog.  None more than Marisa who continues to be lifted and carried on each person’s comments, please keep them coming.  Thank you to all who write, old friends, new friends, people we know and people we know well, students, collegues and even those we don’t know, thank you.

Marisa tried to go to church this morning but didn’t have the strength.  It was another day of sleeping with pockets of small amounts of energy.  She is trying to keep her food down, a tough thing to do at this point.  Marisa and I could be with eachother today as friends of ours (the Bassie’s) from church took Zion and Jacoba.  At one point in the day Marisa said “we didn’t take advantage enough when we only had one child”.  To all those who only have one child and plan to have more – take a nap…..

Marisa is still a tough cookie.  Thanks again for all your love, it’s like your arms come out of the screen and wrap themselves around Marisa.

Peace and Love,

Mendelt

We all made it through another day. I don’t know how graphic one would want this blog to be, but the side effects of chemotherapy are not friendly. My heart aches for Marisa every hour of every day. She’s extremely tired (she’s been awake about 5 hours today) and when she is up she struggles.

I keep praying that Marisa will gain strength. And peace. Especially peace.

Thanks again for all the entries, she likes it when I  read them to her.

Love Mendelt

It has been 5 days since Marisa has started her chemo. (a sentance I never dreamed I would write) The tired has kicked in.  Someone sent us an e-mail asking if the tone of our posts are really how we feel.  Make no mistake about it, we have low times.  Times where we cry out, question and even swear (we do it in dutch so it doesn’t count) but those times are peppered by some laughter and fun.  Our kids keep us grounded.  We were watching a basketball game 2 nights ago and in the middle of the game, Marisa said “oh, for the last 15 minutes I forgot I had cancer and then I remembered again”.  Sheesh.  But we continue to try and take courage, we’ve never prayed so fervantly before, which also bring some guilt because now we are praying for selfish reasons….

Thank you again for all your comments.  I can’t say enough how much Marisa and I appreciate them.  We are humbled by all the support and don’t know how we could manage this ride without them.

Love Mendelt

For those that keep offering to make us some food, thank you.  Two of our good friends, Julia VanStaalduinen and Karen Carmody have offered to coordinate this for us.  Julia’s e-mail address is djmvs@sympatico.ca and Karen’s is mkcarmody@sympatico.ca  For those from church or those in the Niagara Region might find it easier to hook up with Julia and those in the Hamilton/Dundas area with Karen.  Thank you, and again, Thank you.

please know that Marisa reads all your comments and is filled, I mean filled by all the love you are extending.  In my work, I believe that I am the hands, feet and voice of Jesus to those that need it.  You guys are the e-mails of Jesus.

We walked into the Cancer Clinic this morning and I thought to myself ‘how did we end up here?  From a pretty good life, great kids, loving relationship, fulfilling jobs, very few bumps until today, walking into a clinic of cancer’.  whew. hopefully one day we’ll know why.

For those that have been through chemotherapy or seen a loved one go through it you’ll know what I am referring to.  There are so many sick people.  Each person is there not because they want to, but because they are sick.  It’s a bit overwhelming.  I walked through the chemo rooms (its actually one huge room with many stations) and prayed that each person in that room would heal.  The lady in her mid 40’s, the man in his 70’s, the kid in his teens or early 20’s and Marisa; the 32 year old sweetheart with three kids and a husband who usually can’t find his own socks let alone remember that Zion needs a snack in his backpack when he goes to school.  (watch out, soon I’ll be so domesticated that I’ll have my own show)

After spending over 5 hours in the clinic, Marisa left feeling okay.  Tired for sure but her stomach was feeling strong.  And her spirit was hardly bent.  We surely felt the peace that you all prayed for yesterday and this morning.  Thank you.  And please keep it up.  With chemo, the longer you are on it, apparently the ‘worse’ it gets.

Thanks again, and for all those people that have posted comments on this blog, we can’t tell you how much strength we get from it.  We don’t respond to the comments but they surely help.

Peace and love,

Mendelt (and Marisa)

Today is the day that Marisa starts chemotherapy through an IV at the Cancer Clinic. I told Marisa this morning that God is hearing her name hundreds of times this morning. Please help me make that statement true. Thanks again to all who wrote us, we source much strength from it.

Trying to take courage,

Love Mendelt

To all the saints that offered help…we thank you.  For those that know Mendelt a bit more than Marisa, you know that shy and reserved is not one of his personality traits.  When we need help (and I am sure that we will) we will let you know.  That help will most likely be needed in the areas of meals, cleaning, taking care of three glorious kids (almost so cute that we might charge people money to be with them) and other things that may arise.

Somebody asked me if there were specific things to pray for:  -calm nerves, -our parents, -good sleep, -for Zion and Jacoba to get along(they are typical siblings), -for Zekijah to sleep well at night (so that we can get our sleep), -strength for Mendelt as he cares for us, -the negative thoughts to stay away  and above all; healing (that the chemo is effective)

Please keep the e-mails, comments coming.  They are a source of strength for us.  It’s been so great to hear from so many people that have touched our lives from so many different stages/time periods of our life–thank you.

Please join us as we all…Take Courage.

Love Marisa, (Mendelt, Zion, Jacoba and Zekijah)

Some of you may remember the time when Jesus walked on the water and the disciples in the boat freaked out because they thought they saw a ghost?  Then Jesus said “Take courage”.  Well that is what Marisa and I are going to do for the next 6 months.  Marisa starts chemotherapy this coming Tuesday for 6 months.  The docs want to see the cancerous parts shrink and then remove them through surgery.  After Kim and Andrew prayed with us today we said to eachother no less than 50 times today, ‘take courage’.

Thank you to all who left comments, this lifts Marisa up.

Love MMZJZ

We got the bad news yesterday that the spot on the liver revealed cancer as well as the previously known breast cancer. So now we meet with the surgeon today and find out the next strategy. This is real life. Love MdH

Tomorrow we should know more because the surgeon’s office was closed today.  The worst part is the waiting.  Hopefully we sleep well tonight.  Love MdH