Audible. . . Red Seven!

Proverbs 16:1 ” We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer”

God constantly reminds me that His ways are greater than my own. Many times I think I am going in the right direction, only to find myself reevaluating and changing course. The important question is, “Is this God’s will or my will?”. I have to make sure that I am not calling an audible on what God wants for me.

Here is a funny movie scene of an example of what the world can do to us when we audible out of the play God has sent in from the sideline. . .

On Friday, Jasmin and I were able to meet with a third oncologist. To rehash a little, we have seen two oncologists. Both have been in agreement that Jasmin needs chemo-therapy and surgery. One oncologist is of the opinion that surgery generally comes before chemo-therapy and that Jasmin should follow this more common path of treatment. The second oncologist, feels that the aggressiveness of Jasmin’s tumor warrants chemo-therapy first.

The rationale behind chemo-first is this: the assumption has been made that the cancer has spread to other parts of Jasmin’s body at a microscopic level. While no other tumors have been visibly detected, which is a VERY good thing, the theory goes that the cancer cells are still present in other places than the breast. Therefore, the timing of chemo-therapy is a big consideration.

If you perform surgery first, there is a two to four week recovery time before chemo-therapy can begin. However, once you do begin the treatment, it can focus solely on the microscopic cancer in the body. The down-side to this approach is that it allows for an additional two to four weeks for those microscopic gremlins to multiply, hang out with one another and try to form new tumors.

Surgery first or chemo first. . . that is the question.

On a side-note. . .

Is there any way Jasmin and I would have been able to see three oncologists, two surgeons, perform a surgery to place a medi-port, have a radiologist biopsy Jasmin two separate times, once with a pathologist on stand-by in the room waiting to analyze the samples, and meet with a high-risk OB all in 10 days time in ANY other country? My answer is not a chance. I don’t live in other countries but I have heard the stories. GO VOTE!

Back to the question at hand. Before we moved forward, we wanted the chance to meet with a third oncologist. A tie-breaker if you will. . .best two out of three. Would you believe that we were able to meet with a HIGHLY regarded oncologist on a Friday when she was scheduled to have her day off? Believe it and thank God. The Holy Spirit called an audible for us and we were able to meet on short notice. Scratch that. I guess there is no such thing as an audible to God. Given the fact that all of this has been known to Him since the beginning of time and all.

The appointment went well. We heard some good news and some not so good news. However, at the end of it all, she looked Jasmin in the eyes and told her that her cancer was curable. She told her that she recommends chemo right away. Did I mention that this is a curable cancer? :)

The doctor’s assessment of the cancer included some interesting information regarding the pathology reports and the chemistry of Jasmin’s specific cancer cells. I will have to share this education we received in another post.

Leaving this appointment, we felt confident that Jasmin should proceed with chemo-therapy first. The oncologist we chose is Dr. Ronald Drengler. He came highly recommended and appears to be on top of his game. We feel fortunate to have found such a highly regarded doctor for Jasmin.

Jasmin begins her chemo treatments tomorrow morning at 10:30. Please be in prayer for the following;

- The chemo drugs work effectively with minimal no side effects on Jasmin (Pray BIG, this is God we are praying to)

- Safety, good health and peace for our baby girl. AND that she stays put.

- Comfort and peace for Jasmin.

- Eyes to view our circumstances with an eternal perspective.

- Joy.

- For others to be pointed to Jesus through this trial.

- Wisdom that we do not try to audible out of the plans God has for Jasmin and our family,

Thank you friends for all of your prayers!

Keep Your Eye On The Ball

In just about any sport a child participates in that involves the use of a ball, you most undoubtedly will hear the old cliche, “keep your eye on the ball”.

Today, Jasmin and I were reminded to do just that. In this case, that ball is Jesus. Sometimes, our minds tend to wonder, we let life get too complex and we get away from the “fundamentals”. In these times, I try to remind myself to keep my eye on the ball.

Jasmin and I had the wonderful good fortune to eat dinner with some dear friends who are also our brothers and sisters in Christ. We ate, had fellowship, and concluded with an awesome prayer session where we poured out our hearts to God. A statement was made that goes something like this. . . ” how often (if ever) do we get together for dinner and then proceed to cry out to God in humility and adoration?” The answer to that question was saddening. However, it was so comforting to get back to the “fundamentals” with our Lord.

This morning, Jasmin headed over to Felger and Friends to allow her sister Joy to cut off her hair. Joy is a budding hair stylist and I guess Jasmin figured, “how bad can she mess it up?” Just kidding Joy (kind of). Anyhow, Jasmin lost about a foot of hair today in anticipation of the inevitable side effects of the type of chemo treatments that are upcoming.

She looks just like the day we met. How I pulled it off 8 years ago. . . let’s just say that God is good.

This afternoon, we got to say hi to our little bean that is growing in “mommy’s tummy”. I included a pic of our little girl. They had a 4d machine but those pics just weird me out so here is a more traditional one.

The doctor took a look at her and said that all looks well and the all systems appear to be in good working order. Praise God for such a great report! Thank you Jesus.

During this exam, we receive further confirmation about the overall safety of the baby during the proposed chemotherapy treatment. The doctor appeared confident that the chemo will not place the baby in any significant danger or harm. She said there is a lot of research and data supporting this treatment option.

This was the last piece of the puzzle for our Monday morning kickoff with the three chemo drugs Jasmin will be taking: 5FU, Adriamycin, and Cytoxan. Please pray that these drugs will kick the cancer in the teeth while not inflicting harm to Jasmin or the baby.

And lastly, tomorrow we meet with one last oncologist for a third opinion and then things will be as calm as can be expected until Monday AM.

Thank you for all the well wishes. They make Jasmin smile and it is encouraging to see how this event has affected so many lives.

Thank you for your prayers and support.

Colossians 1:16

16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.

Pickled Okra

Today was a rather mild day for Jasmin. After the whirlwind of the past 7 days, today and the next several days appear to be somewhat of a calm before the storm.

The oncology nurse God sent us put it quite well. . . put on your war-paint this weekend because Monday is game-day.

The outpouring of support for Jasmin and our family has been wonderful. Jasmin received 52 comments and well-wishes today on the blog! Our family and friends rock and God is awesome!

I mentioned earlier that we were able to get away to the coast this past weekend. While we were gone, unknown to us, the Owens clan was hard at work cleaning our house from top to bottom. I think there was even some conversation of knocking out a wall and sheet -rock work! Luckily, level heads prevailed and there was no hanging plastic or walls removed.

It is sweet how people are so eager to help us. We don’t feel worthy of all the attention but it sure feels good.

The added care and comfort of friends and family has shown itself in many ways. One such example relates to pregnancy cravings. Jasmin’s cravings are pretty hit and miss. Actually, I guess chocolate never misses but sometimes pickled okra is the preferred taste of the day. Jasmin’s brother, Jeremy, made sure that while Jasmin may go without hair for a while, she would not be without pickled products. It is funny how sometimes pickled okra is more than just. . . well, pickled okra.

Jasmin is so thankful for all the comments today. She is recovering quickly from yesterday’s procedure and has her appetite back.

Tomorrow we meet with the high risk OB to learn some more about our little girl and her well-being in this upcoming battle. We know there will be a sonogram so we will get a chance to peek into her world for a brief moment and say hi. We will let you know how that goes.

We serve an awesome God.

My sister Debbe-Jo sent me a text of Psalm 91 today. It has been too long since I have read it. The Word of God is so powerful.

Psalm 91

1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

Seven Days

Tonight marks the end of the seventh night of Jasmin’s cancer.

What a ride it has been.

Here is what we know. . . .

October 15th -

Fine needle aspiration was taken from Jasmin’s right breast and lymph nodes.

October 17th -

Initial biopsy results showed a malignant grade III tumor in Jasmin’s right breast.  We immediately went to the hospital for additional ultrasounds of the tumor and tissue under Jasmin’s arm.

October 18th -

Jasmin’s lymph nodes were biopsied again.  She had her liver, kidneys, spine, neck and chest scanned for any additional tumors.  Doctors were limited in the resources they could use due to the fact that Jasmin is at the end of her second trimester.  However, upon completion of all these tests, EVERYTHING came back clear.  Including the lymph nodes.  Praise God. . . some good news.

October 19th -

We met with another oncologist and begin to see the makings of somewhat of a game plan for attacking this awful disease.  It appears Jasmin will have to receive chemotherapy and she will need surgery to remove the tumor.  The question becomes how and when to each of these two necessities.  As of Friday, we will be meeting with an additional surgeon to gain more insight.

October 20th -

This has little to do with treatment; however, it does show God’s constant work.  Jasmin wanted to get out of town before the inevitable chemotherapy or surgery in the following week.  Additionally, she wants to get family pictures taken before she undergoes surgery or begins chemotherapy.  She calls Amber Walters and low and behold, Amber is going to be. . . at the coast on Saturday.

Getaway (check), family pictures (check).  Thank you God for the little things too!

October 22nd -

Meeting with surgeon in San Antonio confirms our thoughts that God is leading us towards chemotherapy before surgery.  Jasmin’s oncologist requests additional biopsies of the tumor and we schedule surgery for the 23rd to implant a medi-port.  A medi-port is a device that is used to administer the chemotherapy.

Below is a rough diagram of what the device looks like.  The part with the tape and bandages is only there when the drugs are being administered.  Otherwise the part illustrated under the tape is actually under the skin as well.  More information can be found as this hyperlink: http://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/chemotherapy/process/how

October 23rd -

Jasmin is biopsied in the AM and undergoes surgery for her medi-port at 1:00 PM.  All goes well and Jasmin is now comfortably sleeping as I finish this post.

We will be meeting with a high risk OB on Thursday and Jasmin is scheduled to begin chemotherapy on Monday morning.

Please pray for God’s guidance and wisdom for us and the doctors.  Pray that we are making the right decisions in accordance with God’s will.

Thank you for your prayers and support.