Thankful

This time last year, pregnant Jasmin and I were at the Methodist hospital getting a chemo pump removed from the port in her chest. If you recall, her pump was pushing a chemo drug (5FU) that would literally burn your skin if it made direct contact with it.

Later in the afternoon, we were met by Jasmin’s family at the Felger and Friends hair salon. After many loving family members showed their support for Jasmin by buzzing their heads, we then proceeded to cut off all of my wife’s hair. While it was a very emotional day, it was an awesome Thanksgiving!

Fast forward 365 days; We have a ten month old healthy baby girl who has a cancer free mom. I am most thankful for these two miracles this past year. The Lord works in mysterious ways.

The road to where we are now has been paved with many blessings to be extremely thankful for. Thank you Lord for laughter, sadness, spiritual leadership, prayer warriors, clarity, a gifted Oncologist and his dedicated and engaged assistant, a comforting O.B.G.Y.N., an ordered biopsy and the accuracy with which it was performed, hard working and compassionate nurses, second and third opinions, a healthy newborn girl, LOVING family members who did and continue to do SO much, a supportive church body and small group, a super-powered sister-in-law (yes, you are the one I am referring to), home delivered meals, relaxing spa music, wine, perseverance, Jasmin’s Chiropractor, perfect timing, patience (sometimes), caring medical technicians, peace, an understanding boss, selfless friends, the countless rides our children were given to and from school, strangers who reached out, love, a warn out health insurance card and meeting our deductible, fancy scarves, survivors who shared their stories and tips, perspective, deep breaths and exhales, good cries, goals met, a thorough general surgeon who removed Jasmin’s tumor, a calming and talented plastic surgeon, silicone :) , the iPad, Netflix, spell-check, hope, cancer researchers, supportive coworkers, heaven-sent breast milk donors, joy, clear pet scans, encouraging blog/facebook comments and good old-fashioned snail-mail cards, Jasmin’s new hair, potty training, Annie’s laugh, Jack’s heart, Haddie’s smile, early morning feedings, Jasmin’s courage, a loving wife, the Word, and. . . regardless of who I am or what I have done, a loving and faithful God who sent His son to die for my salvation into heaven.

I know there is so much more I have not listed. There could never be a list fully complete. Thank you friends for all of your past and continued prayers.

Please say a prayer(s) that this horrible disease stays away for good.

Love,
Jeff

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365

It was after lunch on this day one year ago that I received the call from Jasmin. The call where she would share the news that she was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer.
20131017-101109.jpgIt has been a year and since then and so much has happened. Months of chemo, losing her hair, giving birth to our beautiful daughter, double mastectomy, reconstruction and recovery is a broad summary of the past twelve months.

There have been countless hours of prayer and support she has received from friends, family and our church body. Not one minute of your support was wasted. It is through the power of Christ and your support that has brought Jasmin to where she is today.

Friends, I can’t thank you enough for all you have done for our family.

She was born on March eighth but one year ago today marks the day she became a survivor.

Pet Scan

Friends,

Tomorrow morning, Jasmin will be undergoing a PET scan. These scans detect cancer cells and will let us know if Jasmin is still cancer free.

Please be in prayer that the scan will come back clear and for us to trust in God’s plan regardless of the results.

Thank you for your prayers,

Jeff

Update

Hopefully, we have said good bye to a hospital room for the last time.

Jasmin is at home resting and is feeling relatively well.

I will recap what took place in a couple of days.

Please pray for a quick recovery and NO infections or nausea.

Thank you friends for all of your prayers and support!

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God Made Broccoli

Tomorrow marks 11 months since Jasmin was originally diagnosed.  It has been a long road.  However, regardless of the length and difficulty, it has been a path laid before Jasmin with all the deliberateness, wisdom and care that only the King of Kings could have planned.

red carpet 2 A royal red carpet has been laid before Jasmin.  The ground beneath has been solid.  While we did not know and continue to be unaware of where it will temporarily wind, we know the ultimate destination.

This morning, Jasmin is in surgery once more.  Today she will be finishing the reconstruction process of her double mastectomy performed in May.

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I can’t express enough how strong Jasmin continues to be through this process.  She has shown how joy can shine even when happiness fades.

Theopedia.com defines joy as follows:

"It is a settled state of contentment, confidence and hope".

In all things, we are called to rejoice (be full of joy).  One of the shortest verses in the bible is 1Thes 5:16

"Rejoice always"

This command happens to be the beginning of Jasmin’s life verse 1Thes 5:16-18.

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  

As time passes here in the surgical waiting room, I marvel more and more at how Jasmin has been joyful throughout this process.  There is only one answer. . . Jesus.

He truly knows us and wants the best for us.

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This past Sunday, my two year old daughter (Annie) and I went to the grocery store to do the week’s grocery shopping.  We started in the produce section. . . doesn’t everyone?  It seems like the people who set up the navigation of grocery stores are the same ones that hide the elevators in Las Vegas hotels.

Anyhow, as we were winding up and down the produce aisles, Annie informed me that “God. . .Made. . . Broccoli!”  To which I responded, “You are right!  God did make broccoli!”

Coincidentally, did you know that lab tests have shown broccoli to kill cancer cells?

A protein coded by the p53 gene has shown to suppress tumors.  p53 appears to keep cells healthy and protect them from cancerous mutations.  Studies have shown that when this protecting gene is damaged and mutated it is involved in about half of all human cancers.

Isothiocyanate (ITC) is a chemical research has shown to bind to the defective mutated parts of the p53 protein and leave the cancer fighting healthy proteins in tact.  ITC is found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, watercress and bok choy.

Further research is needed to refine the initial findings published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry by researcher Xiantao Wang of Georgetown University and colleagues.

I think I know what I am going to make for dinner once Jasmin and I get home from the hospital :)

Please be in prayer for the following:

  • All goes well with Jasmin’s recovery
  • Jasmin has zero nausea from the pain-killers
  • Our kids are understanding of mommy’s inability to pick them up and hug them hard
  • My time at work is multiplied and all goes well with our employee’s health insurance renewal
  • Most importantly, God is glorified though this process

Conductive

Do you know what graphene is . . . ? Neither did I.

It is the most conductive material on the earth. Discovered in 2004, graphene is nicknamed the “miracle material”.

“Imagine a material mined from the earth that is stronger than steel, harder than diamonds but as flexible and transparent as saran wrap, with a higher intrinsic mobility than silicon, 100 times more conductive than Copper and comes “packaged” as a thin sheet only 1 atom thick that you can actually see with the naked eye and form into any shape you want. This is Graphene, a form of Graphite being hailed as the miracle material and is breaking through historical scientific limits changing the way we live.”
-http://energizerresources.com/graphite/about-graphene.html

Graphene is the thinnest and most conductive material known to man.

I loved the use of the term “miracle material”. When I read about this it made me think of how we are called to be conductors of Christ. We are called to be vessels carrying Christ love to a lost world.

Am I graphene, the most conductive material in the world? Do I allow Christ to flow through me to others? Or am I more like rubber? Soaking up what Christ would like to do for me and others.

Unfortunately, many times I find myself trying to take control of a situation myself, insulating or even blocking Christ. . . being more like rubber.

Yesterday (June 11, 2013), I saw my wife Jasmin as a beautiful example of miracle material. In the wake of having both of her breasts removed, she was so still in the middle of the storm around her.

That does not mean we both did not cry about what was about to happen and could not help but think of what things might be like in the future. However; in spite of this, Jasmin had a peace about her that conducted Jesus’ love and joy right through her and on to the world. It was an awesome experience. God is so good.

We arrived at the hospital, checked in, and then waited. You know, the usual start to a medical related activity.

On a side note. . .Why is it that no matter what time you show up at the hospital, they are behind? How can you be behind at 6:00 in the morning?

Anyhow, Jasmin’s two sisters, Jennifer and Julianna and her mother Beth met up with us in the waiting area. We were sporting the “just beat it” t-shirts in honor of Jaz.

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A little background on a procedure performed on Jasmin back in October. . .

Before chemotherapy began, a radiologist inserted a metal pin the size of a pinhead into the tumor in Jasmin’s breast. The purpose was to help the doctors locate the specific area where the cancerous tissue should be removed.

Fast-forward to the day of the surgery.

Jasmin’s surgeon sent her to an imaging center where several mammograms were performed to help locate the pin. Once it was located, the radiologist inserted a wire into the breast where the metal pin was located. The wire acted as an arrow to allow for the doctors to observe the location of the pin. The surgeons job is then to remove the pin along with a clear margin of surrounding tissue.

The pin location process took longer than expected. Jasmin arrived back from radiology to a team of doctors and nurses waiting on her. . . a little ironic. Before she went back, Jasmin asked the reconstruction surgeon, who is a Christian, to pray for her. What a powerful moment to see a surgeon praying over his patient, his nurses and staff and himself.

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There were two surgeons performing the surgery. One had the job of removing the breasts (cancer surgeon) and the other was there to begin to reconstruct new ones (reconstruction surgeon).

The cancer surgeon began his work and had a challenge in front of him. Under normal circumstances, women have a layer of fat between their breast tissue and their skin. The fat layer allows some wiggle room for not damaging the skin when removing breast tissue. As Jasmin’s surgeon put it, there was no fat to work with. There were times when the breast tissue was almost directly touching the skin. In those cases, it made it difficult not to damage the skin but still remove the breast tissue. They took their time and did a great job. Praise God!

One concern heading into the surgery was that the tumor may have breached the chest wall and into the pectoral muscle. The physicians would have had to remove muscle tissue in this scenario. However, it turned out that there was no such invasion into the muscle.

During the surgery, there was some internal dialogue in the operating room as to whether or not Jasmin is a marathon runner due to her body shape. When the reconstruction surgeon was sharing this story with us, Jasmin’s response was, “no, but I probably do a pretty good 5-K when I am shopping at Target.”

That’s my girl :)

Surgeons completed the double mastectomy in a little under two hours and the reconstruction took about the same amount of time.

Those four hours in the waiting area felt like F-O-R-E-V-E-R. I was not so much scared as I was sad. I prayed, read, worked on the blog and checked emails. Nothing seemed to make the time go by quickly.

They removed both breasts and several lymph nodes. She now has tissue expanders in her chest. If all goes well, she will have one more surgery in 3-5 months and the tissue expanders will be replaced by implants.

I will try to write more about the actual reconstruction process in the future.

The removed lymph nodes were sent off to a lab for testing. If the results show no observed cancerous activity in those nodes, Jasmin will not need any radiation treatments. If there is evidence of current or past existence of cancerous cellular activity in the lymph nodes then she will go through radiation treatments on her chest.

Most of the time, radiation after mastectomy is not necessary; however, when the patient is young or the cancer is aggressive, sometimes you have to do both mastectomy and radiation. The test results will be back on Friday and will let us know what comes next.

The Lord willing, Jasmin will be out of the hospital on Thursday. She is very sore and in a lot of pain. However, she is in high spirits and glad to have this behind her. There is such a peace about her. Thank you Jesus.

She is a champ.

FYI, Morphine can cause itching and blurred vision. Jasmin came out of surgery and was itching all over. It seemed that no matter how many times she hit the Morphine button, the itching would not go away. So for all who are reading this, take note. . . taking more Morphine does not take away the itchy side effects of. . . more Morphine.

So now, I am sitting in the room and Jasmin is sleeping well for the first time in two days. I am so grateful for God’s provision of wonderful Doctors, nurses and other medical staff. I am grateful for our wonderful church family and pastors whose prayer, presence and support means so much. Thank you Lord for your provision.

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Hopefully, I will be able to update you soon on the results of the lymph node testing.

Before I sign off, I would like to mention a true blessing we experienced this past Sunday. Jasmin and I had an opportunity to jump (not step) outside of our comfort zones. Jasmin was asked to give the testimony of her journey with cancer at our church in New Braunfels, Oakwood. In an effort to be more like graphene and less like rubber, she and I spoke of the walk that began in October. I have included a link below to the service if you would like to watch it:

http://www.oakwoodnb.org/obc_stream_last.html

Please be in prayer for the following:

  • Lab results that show no traces of cancerous activity in the removed lymph nodes
  • Speedy recovery and no infections for Jasmin
  • Protection and peace for our children in their understanding of what is happening to their mommy
  • Intervention with my work while I am away and multiplied time when I return
  • Praise that Jasmin is out of surgery and on to the next chapter
  • Continued praise for our HEALTHY baby girl Hadassah who was Jasmin’s constant companion through her first 12 weeks of chemo
  • Glorification of our Lord Jesus Christ through this trial

I would like to leave you with the following scripture. . . it really hit home!

1 Peter 1: 3-9
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Thank you friends for your continued prayers and support. Thank you for your texts, messages on Facebook, voicemails and visits. We love you so much.

God bless.

Full House

As I was rereading some earlier posts, I noticed there was some good news I mentioned I would share at the end of the “Eternal” post. The good news relates to some test results.

Breast cancer can be attributed to genetic traits, environmental factors or a combination of the two. Researchers are just beginning to scratch the surface of the genetic roles in cancer research; however, a lot has happened in just the past five years.

Genetic tests 10 years ago could cost up to a million dollars for what costs around 5,000 today. As a result, genetic testing can be performed more often and research can be performed on the relationships between treatments, outcomes and genetic characteristics.

In Jasmin’s case, multiple doctors agreed that due to her young age, genetic testing would be recommended. The results of the tests can offer a twofold purpose. One is simple to gather more information from a research standpoint that may or may not benefit Jasmin directly. The other purpose would be to give guidance to Jasmin, her sisters and our daughters about the likelihood of cancer in their lives.

There are two tests performed to decide genetic connections to Jasmin’s cancer. The first test is a BRCA test and the second test is called a BART test. The BRCA test’s whether there is a mutation in the BRCA I or BRCA II gene. While the BART tests for a rearrangements within the BRCA genes.

The two tests were described to me this way. Imagine a genetic deck of cards. Within the deck, it is important to have all 52 cards AND that those cards are in the proper numerical order. The BRCA test will tell you if you have some cards missing while the BART test goes further and will let you know if the cards are in the proper order. Recent research has shown that 12% of the time, BRCA mutations can show up as negative even though there are gene abnormalities that elevate a person’s risk of cancer. That is where the BART test helps to dig deeper.

We were hoping that Jasmin did not have any BRCA genetic mutations that were a factor in her triple negative cancer. If she were positive, it would mean that our daughters would have a 50/50 chance of carrying those same mutations. If you carry the mutations, you stand an 80% risk of having breast cancer and a 60% risk of ovarian cancer.

Just this past month, it was announced that a Miss America contestant who is 24 years old is going to undergo a double mastectomy due to results of genetic testing. That article is linked here. A positive result would also mean that Jasmin would probably need to undergo an additional surgery to have her ovaries removed too.

The really good news is that both of her tests came back negative! What a relief, not only for Jasmin, but our little girls, and Jasmin’s sisters and their children too. I thank you Lord for this outcome. I know you are in control no matter what the tests results are. Thank you for this result.

Jasmin has been motoring through her chemotherapy sessions. She had 12 weeks of chemo before Haddie was born and this Thursday will complete her second 12 week chemo segment.

I can’t tell you how amazing Jasmin has done. She has been tired, especially the past month. But that is to be expected due to the cumulative nature of the chemotherapy. All that being said, Jasmin is still getting out of the house and living her life.

Heck, Schlitterbahn has only been open two weekends and Jasmin has been with the kids and I twice already.

Life has gone by very quickly. Haddie has had some bad colic but has really turned a corner in the past 10 days. PRAISE GOD! Jasmin recently told me that dealing with the colicky baby is harder than any chemo. Of course that was tongue in cheek but nonetheless, we are very happy that Haddie is doing better.

Jasmin knows that so many of you still raise her and our family up in prayer. Thank you very much!

Surgery is to follow at the beginning of June and hopefully I will be able to update you with more info on that.

Please be in prayer that the chemo continues to do its work on any cancerous cells that may be left in her body. This Monday, May 13th, Jasmin will be having a full body pet scan to see if there is any traceable cancer in Jasmin’s body. Needless to say, this will be a big day.

Thank you friends for all of your prayers and support.

Last day of chemo celebration!

Thursday morning will be Jasmin’s last chemo treatment!

Even though she will have several surgeries she will have to go through we wanted to celebrate this milestone for her. It will be at Adobe Verde in Gruene Thursday afternoon (May 9th) at 5:30 . We will be munching on appetizers. It is a come and go event, so if you only can stay a short time we would still love to have you. We would love to celebrate with everyone who has walked this journey with Jasmin.

Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers. Hope to see each and every one of you there.

God Bless,

Jeff

Celebrate!

I will try to post some more this afternoon but I wanted to let everyone know how things are going with our new baby girl and Jasmin.

On January 28th, 2013 at 13:12, Jasmin delivered Hadassah Joy Kahlig . Hadassah (Haddie) is a HEALTHY little girl.  Praise God!!!

I can’t express enough thanks for the prayers that everyone has lifted up to Jasmin, Hadassah and our entire family!  I look at the blessings God has poured over our family through this trial and am amazed.

We all know that life is full of ups and downs.  The past two days have definitely been “up” days and we are celebrating and thanking God for His provision.  I read the Psalm below this morning.  Please take a moment to read it.  No matter what is going on in your life, this chapter will meet you wherever you may be.

Psalm 118

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.

Let Israel say:
“His love endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say:
“His love endures forever.”
Let those who fear the Lord say:
“His love endures forever.”

When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord;
he brought me into a spacious place.
The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?
The Lord is with me; he is my helper.
I look in triumph on my enemies.

It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in humans.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in princes.
10 All the nations surrounded me,
but in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
11 They surrounded me on every side,
but in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
12 They swarmed around me like bees,
but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns;
in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
13 I was pushed back and about to fall,
but the Lord helped me.
14 The Lord is my strength and my defense[a];
he has become my salvation.

15 Shouts of joy and victory
resound in the tents of the righteous:
“The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!
16     The Lord’s right hand is lifted high;
the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!”
17 I will not die but live,
and will proclaim what the Lord has done.
18 The Lord has chastened me severely,
but he has not given me over to death.
19 Open for me the gates of the righteous;
I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord
through which the righteous may enter.
21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
you have become my salvation.

22 The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
23 the Lord has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 The Lord has done it this very day;
let us rejoice today and be glad.

25 Lord, save us!
Lord, grant us success!

26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
From the house of the Lord we bless you.[b]
27 The Lord is God,
and he has made his light shine on us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession
up[c] to the horns of the altar.

28 You are my God, and I will praise you;
you are my God, and I will exalt you.

29 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.

More to come, but here is a slide show of the 28th.

Thank the Lord!  Thank you friends!

Celebrate! from Jeff Kahlig on Vimeo.

 

 

 

 

 

Eternal

Let me first start off by acknowledging that it has been a while since my last post.

I apologize.

For those that wanted me flogged for not having updated the blog. . . don’t worry. Many, many people have already dealt with me.

Now. . .

I have some good news! Some really good news. I will share it with you at the end of the post. . . Paaaatience.

Before I get to that, I want to share with you what has happened since our last post.

November 19th – Jasmin began her second round of chemotherapy. One of Jasmin’s great friends Jessica Britt was in town for the Thanksgiving holiday and was able to come with us to the treatment center. Other than having Jessica’s great company and support, the day was non-eventful which was a good thing.

Jasmin got her treatments of Cytoxan and 5FU and was then sent on her way with her wonderful fanny-pack fashion accessory. The fanny pack holds the pump that administers the third drug in her chemo regiment, Adriamycin, over the following 72 hours.

Also called “Red Devil”, Adriamycin is a pretty potent drug. There are a couple of reasons for its nickname. One is simple, the color of the drug is red. The other reason is due to the many harsh side effects. Also called Doxorubicin, Adriamycin causes nausea, vomiting, irregular heartbeats, congestive heart failure, deterioration of the heart muscle, death and hair loss. This is one bad dude.

Along with the side effects previously mentioned, I learned a new term during this chemo process – vesicant. It means “an agent that causes blistering.” Adriamycin is a vesicant.

If the i.v. line gets knocked out of Jasmin’s chest during the 72 hour administration, we were advised we need to go to the ER and DO NOT let it get on your skin.

Are you kidding me?!?!

The stuff that is going into my wife’s body, directly into a vein, is not supposed to get on my skin! My mind went spinning the first time I heard this. Then two questions came to my mind:

#1 – Who is the genius that first thought of putting this battery acid into someone’s body?

#2 – Who was the brave soul / idiot (not sure which was the case but thank you nonetheless) who first got talked into taking it?

So the combination of a dangling i.v. line in Jaz’s chest and kids (a two and a four-year old) don’t go well with one another. Thankfully, Jasmin’s sister Julianna was so gracious to keep Jack and Annie most of the time Jasmin had the pump hooked up to her port. Thank God for family and friends.

Jasmin and I are so grateful for the help and support we have received so far. It has been wonderful to see all the people surrounding us answer this rallying call. It makes me so grateful and saddened at the same time. My heart goes out to the many people fighting the cancer beast by themselves.

I think of the single mom who is struggling to raise her kids while working a 50 or 60 hour week to keep the bills paid. And then one day, in the midst of the chaos, she gets the call from the doctor. The call that changes her life forever. Except this woman does not have family nearby. This woman does not have a local church she attends to reach out to. This woman does not have a lot of friends to bring her dinners or help out around the house. Even more desperately, this woman may not know Christ.

I can’t imagine what it would be like trying to walk this journey with Jasmin without a personal relationship with Jesus. He provides so much peace amid the noise.

Clarity is hard to find in a lost world. In fact, it is impossible for us to do on our own. However, we were given a savior to guide us and watch over us. I know my God loves me and Jasmin. Regardless of what happens with cancer today or a car wreck tomorrow or death in 40 or 50 years, it is all temporary.

This whole cancer episode has really highlighted to me just how transient this place is. It is a challenge to constantly refocus my life-lens on eternity and not on today.

“Jesus, please give me an eternal perspective for my life. Please give me the wisdom and clarity to see this world with your eyes and feel with a heart like yours.”

Jeremiah 29: 11-13 states: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

While the above verse is relatively popular, there are so many people who have never heard it. There are so many people who have never felt its promise or many of the other soul saving promises in the Word personally. There is so much life in the Word that goes undiscovered by us all.

Whenever I pick up my phone and click on the internet or Angry Birds app instead of my Bible app, I am missing out on something.

Meanwhile. . . back on the blog, Jeff returns to writing about Jasmin’s status. We last left off on November the 19th, Jasmin’s second round of chemotherapy. . .

So the next three days Jasmin sported her pump and did all the things she was supposed to. On Thanksgiving morning we took a trip into San Antonio to get her pump unhooked. All went relatively well and then Jasmin and I were back on our way up to N.B. for a little Turkey and pie.

While we were in San Antonio, the Owens were helping out Jasmin’s sister with the Turkey Trot in Gruene. The annual 5k on Thanksgiving morning had over 2,000 participants this past year. Congrats to Jennifer and the Comal Cops for Kids Foundation for such a good turnout for a great cause!

Our little turkeys were there gobbling up candy . . . uh, I mean supporting the event.

When we arrived back in N.B. Jasmin decided it was time to cut off her hair. So, we flashed the Owens’ batman light into the sky over New Braunfels (really it was a text message) and 15 minutes later, there were nearly 30 people at the salon.

At the end of the day, I think Jasmin buzzed about 10 guy’s hair off, cutoff about 20 inches her two niece’s hair (going to locks of love) and managed to make everyone cry and laugh along the way.

Here’s a pic of our nephew Connor who participated in the festivities. He was both happy and sad. . . as we all were.

The party concluded with me beginning to cut Jasmin’s hair. I can’t tell you the feeling it is to have to cut off your wife’s hair. I can say the support of all the family members surrounding us with the Holy Spirit made it a lot more bearable.

Jasmin’s hair cut was therapeutic. Many of the family members took turns cutting and buzzing until it was all on the floor. It is hard to describe, but as each person took a turn, it felt like an individual and personal pledge to support and love her through this valley.

FYI, Jasmin has a beautiful head. I am not being figurative. Her head has a beautiful shape and does not have any weird moles or odd Gorbachev brown spots. That is something even she did not know about herself until that day.

I can confidently say, I now know that back of her head better than even she does :)

It was the best Thanksgiving ever.

So at the beginning of this post, I mentioned we received some good news. . .

A week after Jasmin’s chemo, November 26th, we had a follow-up visit to her Oncologist, Dr. Drengler. He examined her blood counts, measured the tumor and interviewed Jasmin. His response was that so far (this is a big “so far”), we are seeing a best-case scenario in all respects!

So you ask. . . “we does that mean?”

All respects refers to the side effects of the treatment, her body’s ability to recover from the chemo and the tumor’s reaction to the treatment. Allow me to remark on these individually:

Side effects: Jasmin has experienced little to zero nausea. From time to time, she may feel a little woozy but we have not been able to determine if this is because of the drugs, pregnancy or the occasional realization that our children will soon outnumber us.

Recovery: The prescribed dosage of chemotherapy is dependent upon Jasmin’s ability to recover from the previous treatments . So far, her blood counts are recovering well and everything is proceeding as planned.

Tumor: The little clump of mutated cells (the tumor) originally measured roughly 3 cm at the beginning of this whole mess. After two treatments, four weeks of chemo, the tumor last measured at roughly 1.5 cm!

I can’t tell you how great of news this is. Being triple-negative, Jasmin has limited treatment treatment options. Therefore, it is so much more critical that the ones she can receive work and work well. Praise God for this wonderful response.

I will add a fourth area where things are going well, our baby. We have visited with the high-risk OB twice since our last post. All indications point towards a healthy pregnancy. The baby is growing on schedule and she is VERY active. She is due on Feb. 15th and we pray she continues to grow and develop as a healthy baby girl.

Friends, thank you for your continued prayers and support. They really make a difference. Help has come from so many people in so many areas. I can’t express enough how great you all are.

I would like to send a couple of shout outs:

The first is to our small group at church. This last Sunday, they surprised us with an amazing gift basket of gift certificates to just about every restaurant in New Braunfels. Thank you so much! We did not waste any time and took the kiddos to Herbert’s for lunch immediately following church. Mmmmm.

The second is Tracey McCulloch at Bluebonnet Motors. She participated in a 5-k mud run in Jasmin’s honor. Thank you for the support and congratulations on finishing the race Tracey! Her pic is below:

I have some more good news but for the sake of finishing this post, I will have to share it next time.

In the meantime, I request your continued prayers for the following:

- Jasmin’s cancer is totally destroyed.

- Understanding and wisdom for God’s will in this trial for Jasmin and I.

- Protection for our unborn baby.

- Peace for Jack and Annie.

- Multiplied time and effectiveness for Jeff’s work.

- Boldness and eternal thinking for everyone involved.

- Joy.

I will leave with these final words from 1 John 5:11-13:

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

Thank you again for your prayers and God Bless