You are currently browsing the monthly archive for November 2007.

Some of you have either mentioned or written to us that you haven’t heard from us in a while.

This has been intentional as we have needed a week to process.

Last week we found out that the cancer has travelled to Marisa’s heart and has filled her left atrium.  Needless to say, this is not only a shock but yet another piece of bad news.

Marisa’s medical team has been very honest with us, which is also painful to have to hear but as throughout this whole ordeal, Marisa’s strength is like sunshine.  She is celestial.

There is so much more that needs to be said that will be said at another time. 

Shine on Marisa, shine on.  You are a star in the universe.

Peace,  MdH

p.s.  for those that e-mail with Marisa directly, I hope you understand that she will check e-mail at her own pace. 

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It’s almost been a year.

I don’t deserve this.

I have watched Marisa find the courage for each and every bad result.

I don’t deserve this.

I have held Marisa while she holds on to Christ and gives cancer the old familiar suggestion.

I don’t deserve this.

I have seen cancer bend Marisa.   Yet she refuses to break.

I don’t deserve this.

I have seen and felt Marisa take her last ounce of energy for the day and use it for others.

I don’t deserve this.

I have seen Marisa live the definition of selflessness.

I don’t deserve this.

I am living with someone so Christlike that I don’t deserve it.

This was an overall different week.

Marisa had her abdomen ‘tapped’ this week which means that they stuck two needles in her to drain the fluid that is leaking from her cells.  Her friend Rose was there to help Marisa.  She was a great help.  A great help.  Marisa was quite winded and had difficulty walking so Rose wheeled Marisa around in a bright red wheelchair.

They drained 2 and a half litres of fluid.  It helped Marisa feel less winded and more comfortable but now, a few days later, the stomach is nearly like it was.  So tomorrow Marisa is going in for another infusion of the trial drug and she is going to ask to be tapped again.  Marisa is quite tired.

And like always Marisa is an absolute warrior.

Last week a lady came up to Marisa and had the audacity to say to Marisa that because she had some leg problems (which was non life threatening), that she knew “exactly what Marisa was going through” with having to have a needle every day.

I almost punched this lady in the face.

Let it be known.  Marisa suffers.  She suffers a great deal.  Marisa is the most incredible, caring, loving, self-sacrificing, powerful woman I know.  I think most people would have crumbled at this point but Marisa continues on.  What a disciple.

Thanks Marisa.

Love MdH

If any of you have spoken to me over the last five years, you’ll know one thing…I adore our children.

Yesterday Zion, our 5 year old, woke up and walked into our bedroom backwards.  I asked him why he was walking backwards and he told me that today is backwards day at school.

I said that was cool.  We walked downstairs and I asked him if he wants to wear his shirt or pants backwards today.  He said,

“I’m already wearing my underwear backwards”.

Thank you Zion.  You are a beautiful escape.

Which is, by the way, called OGX 427.

Today went really well.  Robin, the clinical trial nurse who will be with me the whole journey, was so great and gave me a big hug when we got there.  Throughout everything we joked and laughed and talked about family etc.  She even laughed when her pager went off and Mendelt said ‘that’s Batman’.  I laughed because I thought–funny, a pager goes and it’s Batman.  And a few minutes later I really laughed because her name is Robin and she was getting a page from Batman.  In my defence, I was all hopped on drugs at this point.  🙂

To get things started I had to have an ECG (measuring the rythms of my heart) done every 10 minutes for an hour (one of the readings said I had a pacemaker!) and then they gave me the new drug over a 2 hour period, did one more ECG and then I was good to go.  I’ll see everybody again on Thursday.  So far no side effects.  If I were to get them, they would happen with in the next 24 hours.  On Thursday, I also get to have my abdomen de-liquified.  Because my liver is diseased, it can’t process all of the proteins it is supposed to and so my capillaries are leaking fluid into my abdomen and that is why I look 4 months pregnant and get winded after going up a flight of stairs all my organs are getting squished and there is pressure on my diaphragm and my lungs).  I explained that to my sister the other day and she said–oh, I can totally understand that now!  I got winded all the time when I was pregnant!   So, I get all the side effects of being pregnant, but no baby.  It sounds sad, but I’m okay with that.  I don’t believe that God is finished with us yet!

I’m feeling much better today than I did yesterday.  Partly because I’m doing something again to fight this disease and I feel a lot better on this new drug than I did on chemo!  Just hearing the word chemo now conjures up all these images…

Hope you all had a Ruby Tuesday. (The Stones)

MaV

Marisa starts the clinical trial drug tomorrow.  She goes in on Tuesday and Thursday this week, three times next week, including an overnight and then once a week until the beginning of December.

It’s been a couple of tough nights here.  Cancer has felt thick and heavy lately.

It sucks.

MdH

I’ve thought a lot about what I said to Mendelt when I said ‘I don’t see God in this.” 

Here is how I do see God in this:

The blog, the people that pray for us, the people that prepare meals for us, that people that send us flowers, the people that send us gifts, the people that send us emails of encouragement, the people that came to the party, that people that wished they could have come to the party, the people that send cards to my parents and Mendelt’s parents, the people that send them flowers and meals and pray for them, the uncles and aunts that call to see how I’m doing or write on the blog.  When, last year, our quilting group made up pink and white squares to send off to a quilt store where they would make a quilt with ours and other people’s blocks because it was Ocotber, breast cancer awareness month.  As a group we talked about breast cancer and who can all get it and it reminded me that–oh, I’m just finished nursing Zekijah, I should do a self examination.  And the list goes on.

Here is how I don’t see God:

When the oncologist comes into our room and can’t make eye contact because he has bad news for us, when 5 procedures don’t work and our oncologist has to tell us this, how my cancer spread so fast even though I did everything I should have done so that I wouldn’t get breast cancer or would catch it early enough, when we were blessed with 3 young kids and were just starting our family.  When my little baby couldn’t have a mom that could give her that attention she needed.

How I still believe in God and how I can’t believe that people don’t believe in God:

The sun comes up every morning and it sets every evening, an amazingly intricate flower grows every summer–from a SEED virtually all by itself, the stars in the sky are placed just so, into constellations–and that happened by a big bang?, a baby is conceived–that in itself is a miracle because the chances of that happening are slim, a baby DEVELOPS in his/her mother’s womb!, a baby is delivered (after a mother goes through contractions–necessary for the baby to be born) and how many times things all go how they should, you hold your CHILD in your arms for the first time and look at him/her and can’t believe it’s YOURS–your DNA is in him/her!!  How can you call that just science?  And then there is God.  He requires NOTHING of us except a relationship.  He WANTS to be our Father, he WANTS us to be His children, He WANTS to know our heart’s desire, He WANTS to know our troubles, etc.  Who in the world expects nothing in return except a relationship?? 

I could go on, but I will leave you with a story.

I visited my sister Christy this weekend in Orangeville (the big OV).  We went shopping for an afternoon because I had some birthday money to spend and Christy was more than happy to accompany me.  🙂  Well, it was the end of our shopping excursion and we had to go to a drug store yet to try and get a Fragmin needle for me because–typical me–I had forgotten them at home in Vineland!!  We had tried earlier in the day at a Shopper’s, but the pharmacist said she couldn’t help us because I didn’t have a prescription.  So, I had just decided to skip the needle for that night.  Then, at the last store that Christy and I were shopping in, I opened my wallet to pay for something and low and behold, I found a prescription for Fragmin needles!!  Our thrombosis doctor had given it to me just in case!  THAT was God, because a couple of days earlier I saw the prescription on our telephone counter and I thought….I’ll just put this in my pocket just in case and just so I’ll know where it is).  So, Christy and I quickly exited the store and I stuffed my wallet in my coat pocket because I didn’t want to loose it (I didn’t do the zipper of my coat pocket up…).  We drove the the nearest Shoppers and tried to fill the prescription.  As I was getting out of the car, and looking for my wallet, I couldn’t find it!!!  I was SURE I put it in my pocket, but it wasn’t there anymore!  So, we searched our bags, couldn’t find it.  I wanted to cry.  But, Christy said, no problem, I’ll quickly drive back to the mall and run back to our last store and see if it’s there.  I still wanted to cry.  As we were pulling out of the parking space, Christy said–hey, did it fall out of your pocket in between the seat?  I put my hand down and voila!!!!  It was there!  THAT was God.  Eventually we got my needles (a costly mistake) and I had the joy of taking it at night.  🙂  I was secretly going to be glad if we couldn’t find any fragmin needles because then I wouldn’t have had to do my needle…but that may have been dangerous.

So, I do see God and I do still believe in God.  I just want to live to serve Him.

Peace and love,

Marisa

Oh dear, when I found out that Mendelt had put that story on the blog!!!!  I was embarassed.  I don’t really think of him as my manservant (I feel like I’m back pedalling here!) and I have never called him my manservant either.  I think the thing that makes this so funny, is the people that know us (you) know that our relationship doesn’t work that way.  Enough said?  Okay, except for my apology.  I sincerely and publicly apologize for calling Mendelt, my beloved, my manservant.

 There, now I can sleep again.  🙂

So today is Marisa’s 33rd birthday. She can no longer joke that she is younger than me.

This morning, Marisa went to quilting (for those that don’t know, quilting isn’t your old momma’s quilting anymore, its now a bunch of babes. I once asked if I could go, but was told that it is for babes only).  So when Marisa left the house this morning she got into the car and realized she forgot the car keys. I stood on the front porch anticipating waving her out until she honked the horn and motioned to me that she forgot the keys and that she wanted me to fetch them for her.

I got the keys, brought them to her, and she said to me with her contagious smile, “thank you, manservant”.

Classic Marisa.

Oh yeah, she also woke up with bed head. Who would have thought that bed head would be exciting?

Parites all around, and as my wise sister Frances said this morning “big celebration in Heaven happening today over Marisa’s birthday”. Amen sis, Amen.

Peace,

MdH

Mendelt and I spent the whole day at the JCC (Juravinski Cancer Centre) and the Henderson Hospital today. I got an RNA scan (a test that takes pictures of my heart pumping my blood), an ECG (tracks the rhythm of my heart), blood tests and a check up with Dr. Hotte. Oh, and a side trip to Dr. Tozer.

All my tests came back really great–so that means I can go on the trial drug! That was good news. Apparently my liver function tests (one of the things they can test by drawing some blood) are in the average range of functioning. My liver is still doing its job even though it is ‘diseased’. The nurse (Robin Snelling) that works with Dr. Hotte was impressed by this. My blood pressure was great and so was my SAT (that meassures how well my blood is reloading itself with oxygen–meaning my lungs are doing their job even though they are ‘diseased’.)
They (my medical team) 🙂 also rechecked my cat scan results and still could not tell how the emboliztion had worked. They’ll supposedly get this for us by our next visit. They did find, however, that my blood clot had not changed and had gotten a bit bigger. So, at the end of our nice long day, we got to visit with my Thrombosis (blood clot) specialist. Two specialists took a look at my info and decided that I should go back up to 10,000 units of fragmin a day. So, back to the bigger dose. Whatever…I still get to take a needle a day. 🙂

As of today, I’m pretty much finished with Dr. Tozer. He did not realize that we had met up with Dr. Hotte and Robin already and got our cat scan results already and had decided to go ahead with the clinical trial drug already. He was quite somber when he came in the room and informed us about the new spots on my lungs and the inconclusive results of my liver. He suggested we go on the trial drug and that he would call Robin and set things up. So, he was a bit surprised when we told him what we had done that day already. He said, to keep things simple, we’d just be dealing with Dr. Hotte now. He’d see us again when I was finished with Dr. Hotte. Don’t exactly know what that means. We said that we were still hoping for a miracle, and he said ‘yes!’ Mendelt did manage to get one more personal piece of information about Dr. Tozer. We found out that him and his wife’s favourite restaurant was Booz’s Bistro on James St. S. Apparently it is run by a fantastic chef and we got a history of this chef’s previous restaurants…don’t ask me to repeat them. He is indeed a genius.

If you can read a bit more yet….After talking to a couple of people this weekend, I have come to realize that I haven’t been really clear about what type of cancer I have. I officially have breast cancer that has metasticized (spread) to my liver (making my liver diseased) and now my lungs (making my lungs diseased). I am not classified as having liver cancer or lung cancer. It is just breast cancer. Another thing I’m not sure we have mentioned yet, is that once breast cancer (or any cancer) has metasticized, it becomes incurable and what they try to do is keep it as ‘quiet’ as possible for as long as possible via chemo, drugs, radiation etc. (whatever seems to be working for that particular person). Your cancer can go into remission and you just live with the inactive cancer cells in your body. They don’t grow, spread, or shrink (unless you are still on a drug etc.). The hope with me is that trial drugs works as well in practice as it does in theory. They have tested this drug on lab animals (I’ll never look at a mouse, rat, rabbit etc. the same way again….) and cells. It has worked in these situations and so the hope is that the drug will also work on human beings.

All right, that’ll be enough. 🙂

Enjoy your evening,
Marisa

‘Thank you’ just doesn’t seem to cut it.  We (Mendelt and I) were SO blessed by yesterday.  It was wonderfully amazing to see all the people that we did!  It did kind of seem like our wedding in that we saw and chatted a bit with lots of people but couldn’t really sit and talk.

I would like to say a heartfelt thanks for all the cards, flowers, gift cards, gifts, sincere well wishes, your presence, your friendship and love.

I would also like to thank both our families for doing all that they did for this day, and for their help and love and support.  I would like to thank our friends for their help for this day and for their love and support.  And also to perhaps my biggest fan–Mendelt.  For loving me for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, for being my hero, and for giving me a reason to party with a capital ‘P’.

Above all, thanks to the One that indeed, holds us in the palm of His hand.

Peace and love,

Marisa

A couple of things yet…

Some people have been asking if they can bring anything or help out with anything.  Everything has now been taken care of, but we sincerely thank you for your offers.  It’s our turn to give to you guys now.  🙂

Some people have been asking when my actual birthday is….it is Nov. 8.

In case you do go to the Agape Valley website and look at the directions….I found them to be confusing, because the yellow map with the road names on it, does NOT match up with the written directions below.  I would go by the written directions below (but only because I understand those ones better).   Hope that is helpful.

There are going to be some face painters for the kids and a bouncy castle.  The bouncy castle will be outside, so depending on the weather, and depending if you are the one chosen to watch your kids on the bouncy castle….well, just remember what your mom and dad taught you about dressing for the weather.

And the last thing….we’ll have name tags for you to wear (the ‘Hello my name is…’ ones) and so when you come in the door, if there is nobody there to direct your path, please take a name tag and fill it out.  I won’t be wearing a name tag as I’ll be the one with the fuzzy, baby soft hair.  🙂

So looking forward to seeing everyone there!

MaV

Marisa’s party is a couple days away.  You are welcome to attend.

The party is at Agape Valley.

http://www.agapevalley.ca for directions.

It’s going to be a blast.

See you then,

MdH