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