Friday, March 30, 2012


We got home Thursday afternoon about 2 pm.  It is good to all be home together and be able to sleep in our own beds again.  We are having Leann's family here Sunday (they're bringing the food) and a few sisters cleaned our house and got things pretty much ready while we were gone.  (Thanks for doing that).

I read this morning from St Luke 19:12-27, the parable of the pounds (talents).  This just seemed to address my current situation it seemed.  Up till now, in some ways, I have had it easier than most of you.  I only had one thing to worry about each day, and many demands were kept away from me.  Now I'm back home, trying to get back to "normal" life.  So the struggle begins of having to focus and ask God daily to keep my priorities on the right things each day.  I think if we are honest this is probably a struggle to some extent for each of us.  I think this parable is speaking to more than just financial things, but also any spiritual  gifts that God has given us.  We need to be bearing fruit, multiplying our gifts, working for the Lord!  We don't want to be like the servant who came and said "...which I have kept laid up in a napkin: For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man;..."  We shouldn't be afraid to share the gospel or minister to someone's needs because we are afraid we will say something wrong, be rejected, or not be "good enough" at it.  So I pray that I can get "back to normal" without the "normal" fixation on all the business and forgetting to do the important things that are eternal.

Today we have a Dr. appt, then next week I plan to start going back to work a few afternoons.  My hope is to continue to do school with the kids in the mornings.  I also have some projects to get done at home while my health and strength are still good.

God Bless Your Day!
Derek & Leann

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Radiation Done!

I had my last treatment this morning!  We are glad to be done.  We finished packing up and then drove up to Indianapolis, where we went to church one last time to say goodby to everyone.  It was kind of emotional for us, as we really felt at home here.  Tomorrow morning we will head home.  Friday we have a Dr. appt, and hope to find out if our baby is a boy or girl.

I have felt pretty good this week, and didn't even take any Ibuprofen today at all.  Thanks to everyone for your prayers, we praise God for making it through treatment this well.

Next step is a followup MRI at Mayo's the first week of May.  We are also waiting to hear back from Boston on their genetic testing of the tumor, but that may be another month yet till they have that completed.

In the meantime, pray that we can make the adjustment back home and keep the correct priorities as multiple demands start to pull on us.  We are looking forward to being back home but in some ways it won't be as easy.  Up till now we only had one thing to focus on, so in some ways it was easier.

Thanks for your love and prayers,
Derek & Leann

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

1 Week Left

Time continues to fly by.  I'm thankful to report that my skin is doing much better.  It's still itchy and scratchy, but my ears are looking a lot better, the swelling is gone, and I'm feeling like it's going to go away without getting worse.  My skin is still really sore around my eyes but I think in a few days that will have recovered as well.

Thanks to everyone who sent us anniversary cards.  It was really neat to get so many.  By the way, if things stay on plan, next Tuesday will be our last night here.  Mail general seems to take 2 days, so probably this Friday is the last day to send us mail in Indiana.

We had a good weekend, some friends from college days visited us in Indy.  One of the church families had us over after church and for dinner.  The kids even got a canoe ride and did some wading in the creek.  We just really appreciate the good fellowship we've had here.

My nausea has been better, but there's still a tinge of it at times.  For some reason now, as I contemplate going to treatment in 10 minutes, I start to feel funny in my stomach.  And it's still really hard to eat some things.  But I'm really glad I haven't had to take medicine and most of the day I feel good.

We are really looking forward to getting home.  The kids (#2) are really needing more work to do to keep them occupied.  There's getting to be more squabbling this week.  Today Leann took the girls up to Indy to play at a park with some other church families.

My back is getting a bit more sore for some reason.  I have more mobility in my neck and in general, but it seems like there is just more dull ache.  I feel like it's from the surgery, but not for sure yet.

As for prayer requests, pray for us to all have patience with each other for one more week, and that the kids can be obedient and get along with each other.  Then pray that my back can continue to recover it's strength.  And finally that I'll have wisdom in knowing what to tackle and how to adjust to the return home.

Thanks for your prayers,
Derek & Leann, Lexi, Wesley, & Whitley

Friday, March 16, 2012

9th Anniversary

Thursday was one of the harder days I’ve had.  The skin on my ear continued to get worse.  The main thing though was that I just felt tired all day.  I’ve had a hard time sleeping very long at night lately.  I wake up and can’t fall back to sleep, but still feel tired all day.  This is somewhat common with radiation.  I have to admit I was getting a little discouraged.  Leann’s parents got here before supper, and we went out to eat together.  Then they kept the kids at their motel and gave Leann and I a night off.  That was nice as we could sleep in.

Today I rode the exercise bike when I got up, and stayed more active through the day.  I felt a lot better and less fatigued.  We went fishing and caught a few little ones, nothing great.  Whitley even enjoyed reeling in her pink princess fishing pole.  After treatment today I noticed quite a bit of difference in how I felt, the smells didn’t seem as bad and I didn’t feel as nauseated.  So this excited me quite a bit.

Thanks to everyone who sent anniversary cards.  Today is our 9th wedding anniversary.  The best gift was last night as we were laying in bed, Leann started recounting many of the memories of 9 years.   Places we’ve gone on vacations and things we’ve done  together.  She was saying it out of appreciation for all the memories.  It just made me cry to think of all the good times.  Of course, there were times that were not easy and some times that were even hard, at the time, but looking back now, we really are thankful for a bunch of good memories.  Tonight we went out for dinner together while Leann’s parents watched the kids.

Derek & Leann

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

2/3rds done!

Time is flying by and I've gotten behind on my updates.

We had a wonderful weekend at home in Tremont. It was good to sleep in our own beds again and have space for everyone to run around. We were blessed to have baptisms in Tremont church this weekend. One thought that has really stuck with me. The converts were a couple who are grandparent age and she said that she had gone through life thinking that "believing there was a God was good enough and she would go to heaven". Then she found there was more required, as the Bible says in Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doth the will of my Father which is in heaven". So even if you believe there is a God, if you have not put your faith in His Son Jesus Christ and are not serving Him each day, you will be turned away from Heaven.

Monday we drove back in time for my treatment. Tuesday we drove up to Indy and met a couple who is in a battle with cancer for breakfast. Then we went to a park with another family from church. It's nearly 80 out here this week, quite nice.

Today (Wed) was my last brain radiation treatment. I'm now done with 20 of 30 treatments. The last 10 will be just of the spine and the very rear of my brain. The doctor expects symptoms to be lessened from here on, but fatigue could hit me up to a month from now. Over the weekend I noticed a rash on my ear that reminded me of last summer. Tuesday my left ear swelled up quite a bit, is very itchy, and a rash took over most of my head. I'm really thankful the radiation to my head is over, as the doctor isn't really sure why I have these reactions to the radiation.

After treatment we drove up to Indy and ate supper with one of my college roommates who was in Indiana on business. Then we were able to go to Wednesday night church for the first time this stay. I was a little more tired today but I'm really glad we came up for church.

Tomorrow should be a quiet day, and then Leann's parents come tomorrow night for a couple days. Wesley is hoping to do a little fishing with grandpa.

The headaches have been better lately, I still get them occasionally but not too bad. Please pray that the skin reaction on my scalp & ears goes away over the next few days. Thanks for all you prayers so far, we really appreciate all the support we feel.

Derek & Leann

Friday, March 9, 2012

Home for the weekend

We are almost home, another 20 minutes to go. Today was treatment 17 of 30. I'm really thankful how it's been going. Other than the elevator at Jill's house, The foyer at treatment center, and the few hours after each treatment, I haven't felt too sick. My stomach is rarely 100 percent but it's been a lot better than last summer. It must be everyone's prayers.

This week flew by again. On Wednesday we went to the zoo in Indy. It was 70 and sunny. On Thursday I got a tour of the Beck's seed company from one of the brothers in Indy church. Leann went shopping without the kids, as we've had a number of offers from ladies from church to help out with babysitting. Then today we cleaned our room and got a few things put together for the weekend home and my 3 pm treatment rolled around before we knew it.

As long as I sleep and rest with my head up, I've been feeling pretty good, and the stiffness and pain in my back is pretty low. One day I laid down flat for about 1/2 an hour and I was surprised how quickly the headache and pain came back. Next wednesday is my last whole brain treatment, and I will go from 7 to 3 fields for my treatments. The dr said that the headaches should decrease in severity at that point. They are caused by swelling of the brain from the radiation, and that's coming to an end.

Thanks again for all your prayers. Looking forward to seeing everyone in Tremont.
Derek & Leann

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Psalm 1

I've been reading and re-reading Psalm 1 this week, I guess I was just struck by the difference between a tree planted near a stream whose roots can always have water and who is anchored well, vs the chaff which blows wherever the wind wants to take it.  Kind of like a tumbleweed blowing across the fields.

Psalm 1
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
The ungodly are not so; but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

The first couple days of this week have gone fairly well.  Yesterday it was in the upper 60's so we went to a nearby nature preserve and did a short hike on one of the trails.  I had quite a headache though during our hike.  If I take Ibuprofen often enough, it helps a fair amount.  My hair (what short little bit was left) has continued coming out, so now it pretty much looks totally bare.

Thanks for your prayers, just continue to pray that the headaches would be endurable.  I really would rather not go back on the steroid (which is the plan if they get worse).

Derek & Leann

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Forgot the best part

With all that happened last week, I forgot to mention the best part of our week. Someone gave us a gift certificate for a night at the cornerstone inn in Nashville. Nashville is the touristic town in brown county, about half an hour from Bloomington. So Mom and Dad offered to watch the kids for the night while we got away just the two of us. So I got my treatment Friday scheduled for 1:45, hoping to get over there in good time. Sure enough, the beam went down due to a power flicker with two fields left to go in my treatment. So it was 6:00 until I got done with my treatment. But we still had a really great time. It was our first B&B experience and a really good one.

On our way to church now.

Derek & Leann

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Shaved Head

Wow, the week flew by.  I didn't realize it had been Monday since I last updated the blog.  Had a couple visitors again this week and Mom & Dad came Thursday night and will go to church with us tomorrow.

Tuesday night the nausea got worse and I threw up during supper.  In general though I've felt better than I did last summer.  But I have to be careful what I eat and only certain things really sound good.  It seems like it has to be really simple or really salty or spicy.  Complex foods don't sound very good to me.  I've been careful how fast I eat and how much how quickly after treatments and haven't thrown up again the rest of the week.

I found out Wednesday in my weekly meeting with the Dr that the whole brain radiation is only for the first 20 treatments, then that part will be done.  The back of my brain and spine will continue on for the last 10 treatments.  So right now I have 12 of 30 treatments done.  I'm really glad with how fast it is going.

Thursday and Friday I had really bad headaches.  This isn't totally unexpected, and can be caused by swelling of the brain due to the radiation.  The Dr suggested that I sleep with my head elevated on pillows, which I did last night, and that seemed to help quite a bit.  Today was not nearly as bad.

We had talked to another patient with whole brain radiation who said their hair fell out at treatment 12.  That was Friday for me, and sure enough this morning I could start to pull it out in bunches.  So I shaved it all off today, didn't want to have to deal with it looking real spotty and having it all over my pillow.  I noticed tonight when we went out to eat that my head is colder now, so I might have to wear a stocking cap more often.

The last few days I feel like my mobility has been improving and the pain has been getting less, so I'm thankful for that.  As I start to feel better, I think it's going to be harder to keep the right perspective of taking one day at a time.  I've started to think more about the long term, what I want to do this summer once we get home, what I'll do once I go back to work.  I think this is going to be the most challenging thing for me in the future, to just keep the right perspective.  I've noticed as we talk to other patients here, that they all seem to have an unusual perspective.  One man's wife had lost her job a couple months before they found her cancer, so she didn't have insurance at the time.  He has a couple rental houses and if he loses one, he won't even be upset as long as the radiation cures her.  Another mom we talked to has a son in college and if it takes him 5 or 6 years to get through college because he has had to stop a couple times for treatment, they won't care a bit.  So one of my goals is just to keep the big picture in mind and the "one day at a time" perspective even if the urgency of the situation fades.

Thanks for all your prayers, we appreciate them so much. My request for the next week is that you pray that my headaches & nausea would be bearable.
Derek & Leann