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I would just like to say thank you to everyone for praying for me.  I was definitely feeling very peacefull while on the operating table and I know that was because of the prayers of the people. (And maybe the drugs….)

Every day I feel a little bit better so that is nice.  I am at my parent’s place this weekend resting and recouperating.  Mendelt is at home with the kids.  He is such a trooper and an amazing ‘stay at home’ dad.  I miss the kids and Mendelt, but I know that it is better that I rest and relax so that I can get better.  The doctor told me not to do any lifting or sudden movements….that’s hard to do with 3 kids!  When Mendelt and I came home from the hospital, Zion came running at us ready for a full blast hug.  Mendelt had to run interference for me.  🙂 

Thanks again for your support and prayers!  Love to you all.

Marisa (VanderVeen)  (I don’t know if I’ll ever stop thinking that people calling Mendelt ‘Mr. VanderVeen’ is funny.)


We are back home now.  Marisa had her embolization procedure yesterday morning (Wednesday) and we came back today, Thursday.

In psychology, there is a saying that past behaviour predicts future behaviour and that was the case again for Marisa.  She did “outstanding” during the actual procedure where she had to lie still for two hours while they poked and prodded.

The embolization doctor was pleased with the result of the procedure.  He said that he was able to find all the major blood vessels that feed the most serious tumour on the liver and try and block those blood vessels.

Marisa is scheduled for another CT scan to find out the results of this procedure in 3-4 weeks.  Like Tom Petty once sang, the waiting is the hardest part.

At one point during the hospital stay a nurse said to us that Marisa’s smile lights up a room.  How true, how true.

Marisa has slept more the majority of the past two days as she is weak, fatigued and encounters pain.  In the hospital, Marisa would sleep in the bed and I’d read my book in the chair beside her.  When someone would come in, they would look at me and say “Mr. VanderVeen?”

Marisa loved that.   There was indeed a breezy gown.  I loved that.

Thanks for the prayers of peace.  We felt them.

MdH also known now as Mr. Vanderveen

Hello Everyone

This will be that last post that I make on Marisa’s blog because the prayer schedule is almost filled in.  There are only FOUR time slots left — 12:30 am, 1:20 am, 1:30 am, and 1:40 am.  If someone will take them or add them to the times they already have that would be great.  Please let me know at but start praying right away.  What a blessing this has been!

In Christ Alone


PS.  If you want to pray tonight at those times as Marisa is going through a procedure soon please do.

We are about to leave for the cancer clinic now.

Marisa is her superhero self again this morning, ready to face the day with the same grace and determination that I fell in love with more than 10 years ago.

Like Dad VanderVeen said so beautifully at the prayer service last night, please pray that Marisa is filled with peace.

And peace to you.


Our church, Fruitland CRC, is holding a service of prayer for healing for some members of our congregation, including myself. It will be similar to the one held back in January.

As our minister wrote: “Let us come to pray with/for those who need God’s healing power in a special way: physically, emotionally or spiritually. Let us come to receive prayer for healing for ourselves or our loved ones. Let us come and meet with the Great Physician, our Lord Jesus, in this service of worship based prayer.”

Our church website has information and directions under “Contact Us”

The service will be on Tues. Sept. 25 at 7:30 pm. (Mendelt and/or I will be there.)


The Emb. doctor (doctor that specializes in the embolization proceedure) that we met with this morning did such a great job explaining everything to us.  He did it by drawing and talking at the same time.  He had all the time in the world for us and we didn’t feel rushed at all.  He was a personable, caring doctor.  We really appreciated that.

Basically I get to be awake for the whole thing, lying on a table (with breezes blowing I’m sure)  🙂  when they go through the main artery in my  leg/groin with a tiny tube and scope around the vessels and arteries by my liver and make sure that everything is okay to go.  They do this with dyes and radio active stuff.  He’s only allowed a certain amount of dye that he can put in me at a time (he has a dye budget) and so I might have to come back for round 2, which is quite common he said, to finish the job.  Once they actually get to the tumour, they will put, what he described as, tiny plastic like balls with springs on the end that must obviously have something in them to kill the tumour cells, into the tumour.  If I got all the info right, this is the general gist of it all.  It takes a couple of hours and then I get to lie down for a long time and wait to clot.  The side effects are flu like symptoms–fever, nausea, pain–but that’s why they keep people in the hospital over night so they can give me morphine (!!) and gravol and tylenol to help control the symptoms.  So, it’s like a mini vacation.  🙂

I make light of it a bit, but that helps me deal with the seriousness of the matter I guess.  I came away with a better sense of hope.  The doctor really believes in this and has seen it work well on other patients.  One gentleman with a similar situation as mine had this procedure done and it worked for four years until he passed away from pneumonia.  Let’s hope and pray it works for me like it worked for him.

In terms of the clinical trial drug, I go for an appointment with the clinical trial doctor on Oct. 9 to discuss things.  I’m not sure if this clinical trial will be a go or not though because it depends on the embolization and how well it works.

The next few weeks, again, will be waiting and seeing if this new something will work.  We’ve done that and so know how to do that…As a dear friend of mine said, ‘it’s hard work getting better!’

Peace and love,


Yesterday morning, Pastor Andrew (Fruitland Christian Reformed Church, Stoney Creek, Ontario) asked the question – what does God look like?

It is a good question.   As is the case when I hear a message from Andrew, I walked away with new knowledge.

He reminded me what God looks like.

God looks like those people that participated in the Terry Fox Run for Marisa or anyone else.

God looks like those students and friends that did the Relay 4 life in honour of Marisa or anyone else.

God looks like those people who either did participate or are going to participate in the CIBC Run for the cure for Marisa or for anyone else.

God looks like those people who dropped off a meal, or a basket of fruit on our porch.

God looks like the benevolent man from my parents church who gives us flowers on a regular occasion.

God looks like that set of 18 year olds that lovingly babysit our kids and refuse payment.

God looks like those people that gave us a card, an e-mail or a comment on this blog.

God looks like that kind gentleman who worked three days at our house to brick our fireplace.

God looks like those men that have flown in from far away parts to hang out with me for a weekend and get reconnected with our inner frat boy.

God looks like the man at the Blue Jays game that gave Marisa and I seats right behind home plate because he himself beat cancer twice and knows what it is like to go through this valley.

I could go on…

I have come to realize over the past 9 months that I’m pretty much a simple man that cancer has driven a hole through.  It is nice to see what God looks like.  I can’t tell you how blessed we are.


Thank you for all the responses to the available times!  The schedule is getting filled and soon we will have people praying for Marisa and her family 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!  God must love hearing from his people on Marisa’s behalf all the time!

The following times are still available

am- 12:30, 12:40, 1:20, 1:30, 1:40, 3:50, 4:30, 4:40, 4:50, 9:10, 9:50, 10:40,

pm-2:40, 2:50, 3:20, 3:40, 3:50, 4:20, 4:30, 4:40, 4:50, 5:20, 6:10, 7:20, 7:30, 7:40, 8:20, 11:50

This is another message from Rebecca to let you know that there are still several times open for praying for Marisa.  If you are interested in taking a time slot please e-mail me at  Listed below are times that are available.

AM- 12:20, 12:30, 12:40, 1:20, 1:30, 1:40, 1:50, 3:40, 3:50, 4:30, 4:40, 4:50, 5:20, 5:50, 7:10, 9:50, 10:40, 10:50, 11:00, 11:10, 11:20

PM- 12:50, 1:50, 2:00, 2:40,2:50, 3:20, 3:30, 3:40, 3:50, 4:20, 4:30, 4:40, 4:50, 5:00, 5:20, 6:10, 7:20,7:30, 7:40, 8:20, 8:40, 11:40,11:50

Let’s continue praying, going to God like the persistant widow, until we see what He will do for Marisa.

God Bless you all

Rebecca Thalman (obviously a.k.a Becky Shain)

Our brother-in-law Alec posted some pictures of our summer on the blog.  Check the navigational bar above this post.  It says ‘Some Pictures’.

We are in the process of reading info on a clinical trial that I would be eligible for.  Basically it’s a drug that would help my body kill the cancer cells and it would eventually be used along side a chemo drug.  Guess which chemo drug it is…yep, the first one I tried!  The one with the crappiest side effects.  The drug would go for a maximum of 10 rounds and each round, as I understand it, is 3 weeks.   We still have to do more research and ask more questions.  We’ve called Dr. Tozer to ask him a few questions but we haven’t managed to cross paths yet.

This last week I’ve experienced low energy.  As I remember it, I felt this way the week after I had a low white cell blood count as well.  Today was the first day again that I felt ‘normal’.  That’s a nice feeling.

Love Marisa

I really hate to post another post because I’m so touched by my friend Rebecca’s post for request for prayer.  I’d love for that one to stay at the top forever…..


Dr. Tozer’s office called this morning and informed us that on 21 September I go to the Henderson, second floor (love that floor) and get an embolization test.  Then I go to get blood work done at the JCC (Juravinski Cancer Clinic).  On 26 September I go for the actual embolization.  I get to spend the night.  Probably get to wear one of those breezy gowns.

So, about 3 weeks of freedom!  Maybe my hair will grow a bit, maybe I’ll start to just feel normal again.  I can live life for 3 more weeks until I need to face the music again.

Thanks to those who are signing up for prayer slots.  I love you.  Praying for a miracle.

Love Marisa

God has put it on my heart that we need to pray for Marisa in a continuous and intentional way. Prayer is our connection to God and a way to stomp out the devil’s plans and see God’s glory. We all want to see God’s power and be able to say “LOOK WHAT THE LORD HAS DONE!!!”

Together in prayer we can bring our request of healing for Marisa to God 24 hours per day.

God’s word talks about praying without ceasing and this is a way that we can do that. If you know someone who is willing to pray but does not have access to the blog, please encourage them to pray too. Couples and families can pray together.

I have a schedule that has 10 minute increments and if you are willing to pray, please contact me with a time that will work with your schedule or a time that you are willing to get up in the night.  We will have to consider time changes.

Please e-mail me with the subject title “Praying for Marisa” at and I will schedule this continual prayer.

God Bless you!

Rebecca Shain

Shine On DVD

This DVD is of a concert put on by Marisa's family that raised funds for a yearly scholarship in Marisa's name.

Donate Now to receive a DVD