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

32 thoughts on “Eternal

    • Jeff and Jasmine, This is all such great news. And I can tell God has surrounded you and your loved ones (including baby). We are so proud of how well ya’ll are handling this situation. And Jeff thank you so much for keeping us all posted. You are doing such a good job of keeping us informed.

      We love all of yall and will continuing praying for you and your families.

      Donna & Buddy Tatsch

  1. amazing news!!! so happy to hear how it’s all going! i think about sweet jasmin at least a million times a day! continued prayers for all the items listed above!!!

  2. Our thoughts and prayers are always with you guys, I think your strength and understanding through all of this is truly amazing. Great to hear good news and happy to hear your little one is healthy and can’t wait to see pictures when she gets here in the new year. Lots of Love, Faith x

  3. Praying- LK still prays for y’all every night…and will continue. She does have a beautiful head. Tears were flowing as I read, thanks for sharing your journey and leading us ever closer to Christ.

  4. Jasmin and Jeff, keep on keeping on!! You are doing the right things keeping your eyes on The Lord and I know He is blessed by your responses to the challenges you face! Love you ,Poopah

  5. You all are an inspiration to the rest of us. You remain in our hearts and we will continue to pray that you stay the course throughout this challenge. God bless ALL of you. And God bless those that do face these challenges alone.

  6. Jeff and Jasmin, your story is so inspirational and your growing devotion through this difficult time is beautiful. Praying for you and so happy to read all of the updates. You have a gorgeous family. Keep up the good fight!

  7. Jeff and Jasmin,

    Thank you so much for the update. I’ve been fortunate enough to get updates inbetween your blogs from your Mom, but am so grateful to read your blog. It is a true testimony of Praising God in all things, good and bad. Thank you for the reminder to keep our eyes on eternal things. Jasmin you are such a testament of what Faith really is, believing without seeing. We are believing with you for a complete and total recovery as well as, no side affects, and a perfect healthy baby girl who is as beautiful as her Mama. Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I willl strengthen you, yes I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” I love you with all my heart and am in constant prayer for you, Jeff, Jack and Annie. All our love, Anne and Eddie

  8. Every single time I read your post I cry. Sounds silly…. but, I feel the faith, love , and support coming from you, the ENTIRE family, and all of your friends!! You are an inspiration to me and Im sure so many others. I will be praying for you and the family every step of the way!!! Please let us know if there is anything that we can so! XOXOXOXOXO

  9. So thrilled your results are coming back as good news!! It makes me so happy to hear that news. I can only imagine how it makes you & your family feel.

    It was so nice seeing you today & visiting. Paige hasn’t quite talking about how beautiful you were without hair and wondering if she would look the same. Hope I don’t wake up in the morning to her without hair!!! You laugh but I wouldn’t put it passed her.

    Praying & thinking of you daily. Hope to see you soon! Next time I skip straight to bringing dessert!

    Hugs-Monica

  10. Jasmin — I may have told you this before, but I’m thrilled that you are facing this disease with all your faith in God! As I believe you already know, I’m in the same place as you and thank the Lord every day and every second for the incredible things He has done. We have a reason to still be here even though cancer has become part of our lives. Our family, friends and Christian folks are the best courage that we have and their prayers are amazing. God bless you…you are in my prayers. Many thanks to your hubby for keeping us posted.

  11. thank you Jeff for the update and thrilled to hear all the good news coming from the treatment ….I to learned the lesson that we are just passing through and that the Lord is in control even at times it may seem that we are not …. I pray for your family and Jasmin MAY GOD BLESS AND KEEP YOU

  12. Thank you so much for the updates. Jasmin and Jeff y’all are such an inspiration of love for Our Lord and each other. You are truly Blessed and I think that all of us that have had the privilege of knowing you are twice Blessed for having you in our lives in whatever capacity. ” Trust in the Lord with all your hearts and lean not on your own understanding. In all things acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6. GOD BLESS

  13. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy reading the posts with updates. I too cry at every one I read. I am in awe of the love and prayer surrounding Jasmin and your entire family during this time. She is one of the bravest people I have ever seen. To watch Jasmin go through this journey is hard, inspring and I feel blessed to be able to be a part of it. I am so grateful for the good news. Jamis and the entire family as well as the new babby Owens that will join the world soon witll continue to be a part of my prayers every day. Wishing the entire family the best of holidays and I look foward to more updates.

  14. This is no surprise! One thing I know about Jasmin is that she excels in everything that she does. So excited that things are going so well. I will continue to pray for you and help you in any way possible. Love you guys:)

  15. So grateful for this good news and for the inspiring story you are living. Grace abounds and so does the love and prayers of your friends and family. May God bless you through it all!

  16. Love you Jasmine. Keeping up with you and praying for your family. Thanks for the encouraging words and outlook Jeff. You are right, Jasmine is definitely a gift from God. You are a gift also:). Will be reading often and praying daily.

  17. Prayers DO work…God has been so good to you, but I never thought He wouldn’t be. Jasmin, keep up the good work…your optimism is half the battle! You are in my prayers at every Mass. Thank you, Jeff, for keeping us posted. Love from Rineyville!

  18. Jasmin and Jeff. I have not had a moment to stop and say Merry Christmas and a Blessed, Healthy, Happy New Year. Not a day goes by that we don’t think about you and pray for your family. I know your little angel will be arriving soon and things will change again in your world. But, you guys will stay focused on God for all your needs. Must Love to you all.

  19. Jasmin, Been thinking about you a lot and the Lord gave me a scripture for you this morning. Romans 8:18 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” and of course, Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. You may not be able to see it, but His glory is being revealed to all of us through you. No only do you have that beautiful pregnant glow, you are glowing with His glory as well, through your testimony of walking through this difficult trial. All my love,

    Anne

  20. Jasmin, this was such an encouraging scripture I was reading this morning. I immedately thought of you. I especially like verse 4 and the last verse.

    All my love,

    Anne

    Psalm 27

    [A Psalm] of David.

    1 The Lord is my Light and my Salvation—whom shall I fear or dread? The Lord is the Refuge and Stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?

    2 When the wicked, even my enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.

    3 Though a host encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, [even then] in this will I be confident.

    4 One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek, inquire for, and [insistently] require: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord [in His presence] all the days of my life, to behold and gaze upon the beauty [the sweet attractiveness and the delightful loveliness] of the Lord and to meditate, consider, and inquire in His temple.

    5 For in the day of trouble He will hide me in His shelter; in the secret place of His tent will He hide me; He will set me high upon a rock.

    6 And now shall my head be lifted up above my enemies round about me; in His tent I will offer sacrifices and shouting of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.

    7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; have mercy and be gracious to me and answer me!

    8 You have said, Seek My face [inquire for and require My presence as your vital need]. My heart says to You, Your face (Your presence), Lord, will I seek, inquire for, and require [of necessity and on the authority of Your Word].

    9 Hide not Your face from me; turn not Your servant away in anger, You Who have been my help! Cast me not off, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation!

    10 Although my father and my mother have forsaken me, yet the Lord will take me up [adopt me as His child].

    11 Teach me Your way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain and even path because of my enemies [those who lie in wait for me].

    12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen up against me; they breathe out cruelty and violence.

    13 [What, what would have become of me] had I not believed that I would see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living!

    14 Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.

  21. Congratulations on a successful “coming-out party” ! Mimi called me tonight to tell me the good news. I am so happy for all of you!

    Welcome to Miss Hadassah Joy Kahlig! (Does Mimi have the spelling right? She tells me it means “Victory”…indeed, this IS a victory.) I have forwarded this info to all my children, who join me in thankfulness.

    We wish you all peace, love, and joy in this exceptional “debut” .

    Love and prayers,
    Anne Ropke