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

Momentum

Last week was a whirl-wind.

It began Monday with a follow-up to our oncologist in San Antonio. Jasmin and I with Dr. Drengler to assess the reaction to her chemo treatment given seven days prior.  I will say it again. . . we are so thankful for God putting this great doctor in front of us.

There are several scenarios that could have played out during this visit.

  • Scenario One – The doctor tells us the tumor has grown in spite of the chemo(bad)
  • Scenario Two – The doctor feels the tumor is unchanged in size(better)
  • Scenario Three – The doctor feels the tumor has become smaller and/or is becoming softer in composition(best)

The results of this visit were among the best we could hope for.  Now, we do not want to let our highs get too high or our lows get too low; however, this was a small victory [insert fist-pump here].  The fact the tumor was changing course in it’s direction of growth made me feel so good.  She is “flipping the field” on this cancer and gaining a little momentum in the right direction. . . thank you God.

Momentum is defined as the quantity of motion of a moving body.   When I read this form of the definition,  I thought it was so fitting for what Jasmin hopes to accomplish through this trial.   So much good has already come from this diagnosis.  The prayers Jasmin has received are remarkable.   People from literally around the world have reached out to provide a comforting word,  affirmation of prayer or offering of service. There has been such an adhesion of grace and love for our family I am so thankful for.  Over the past couple of weeks, this blog has had over 12,000 views!  The Holy Spirit is really moving in mysterious ways.  Jasmin’s hope is in the quantity of motion of a moving body of believers in glorification of God.

When I hear Jasmin speak of love and joy in the midst of her challenge,  I am witness to God’s grace and thankful for His unmistakable presence.   My prayer is that the momentum of love and support people such as yourself are creating,  starts an AVALANCHE of glory to God.   A glory that points others to Christ.

Avalanches are crazy if you think about it.   They are basically the combination of snowflakes, gravity and proper timing.  The three come together and join in a momentum that can make an everlasting change.  All from a simple snowflake.

Prayers,  like snowflakes, have fallen all around Jasmin.  The Lord has blessed her with a body that is reacting well to the side effects of the chemo treatments.  Over this past two weeks, she has had very little nausea.  Jasmin fatigues a little, but she has not been slowed down much these first two weeks.  We even made it out to Wurstfest a couple of times WITH the kiddos.

While that was an experience that may make any person pull their hair out, Jasmin’s has remained in tact.  She was supposed to lose her hair on Saturday or Sunday. . . she has not lost it yet.  I feel it is coming soon but this just shows how stubborn Jasmin can be.  Even down to the roots of her hair,  her body is fighting.

Hair or no hair. . . either way, she is so darn pretty.

In preparation for the things to come, Jasmin did some wig hunting this week.  Jasmin’s two sisters came with us to browse several wig shops in San Antonio.  While trying on the wigs, Jasmin had blonde hair, brown hair, red hair, and she even sported some silver/gray hair that did not look too bad. I got a little glimpse of how she might look when we stroll into Denny’s for 4:00 dinner in a couple of decades.  Anyway, after receiving an education on wigs this week, she found a good one she likes and it looks great. . . its not grey.

On Wednesday, Jasmin visited the OB.  All appears well with our little girl.  We will have another ultrasound this week to monitor the fluid around the baby and make sure her home is ready for the next round of chemo.

Jasmin has been working hard to keep that girl fed and appeased.

We then finished off the week with a road trip.  On Friday, Jasmin, Jennifer and I loaded up the truck and headed off to Houston.  We drove east in search for some additional insight from the fine doctors at MD Anderson.   God used many people to open a door for us to visit with some great doctors there and we are so thankful.

The goal of this appointment was to leverage the experience of a specialist to see if there was anything else we could or should be doing for Jasmin and the baby during her treatments.  Now when I say specialist,  I mean a doctor who trained in oncology, specialized in breast cancer and practices with a focus on pregnant patients .   Now that is pretty specific!

We met with Dr. Jennifer Litton around noon.   What we heard from this expert was basically that our great doctors in San Antonio are doing everything possible for Jasmin and the baby.   Praise God for confirmations.

Here is a picture of Jasmin and Dr. Litton.  I am an embarrassing husband at times, but as Jasmin grows bolder with prayer I think I am too.  ;-)

One other neat thing that happened to Jasmin this past weekend was that she received a house-call by some prayer warriors.  Saturday morning, the doorbell rang and a group of women from T Bar M had jogged to our house and prayed over Jasmin and I.  That was really cool.  Thanks ladies!

Friends,  thank you again for your love and support.   We praise God for you.

I have a BIG prayer request for everyone.  Jasmin has been tested for a gene mutation that can exist in certain types of breast cancer.  If she is positive for this type of gene mutation, research shows that our daughters, Jasmin’s sisters, mother and nieces will be considered very high breast and ovarian cancer risks.  I will go into more detail in a  later post.  Please pray this test comes back NEGATIVE. 

Please keep our family in your prayers regarding the following:

- Jasmin’s cancer is totally destroyed.

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

- Peace and comfort for Jasmin as she begins to lose her hair.

- 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 also want to shout a praise for the 6 years of marriage Jasmin and I will celebrate on Sunday.

 

 

Strawberry Popsicles

In the last post, I stated I would provide a brief overview of Jasmin’s cancer and what we are dealing with.  I would like to share with everyone a brief overview of what we have learned about breast cancer over the past two weeks.

The first thing we have learned is there are no two cancers exactly the same.  Every person and every cancer is different from one another.  How the body reacts to the cancer, the treatment, the biology of the cancer cells themselves, the age, race, family history, etcetera, etcetera.  I think you get the picture.

While every breast cancer varies, there are many traits that are able to be specifically identified, studied and eventually treated.  There are entire books and careers based upon this study, so I won’t get into too much detail.  The characteristics of Jasmin’s specific type of breast cancer is what I will address more specifically.

In the case of breast cancer, there are three known “receptors”.  A receptor is basically a sensitivity within the cancer cell to specific substances.  Most types of breast cancer cells have hormone receptors of some type, specifically progesterone (PR) and/or estrogen (ER).  Additionally, a third receptor referred to as HER2 is known to react to specific types of treatment.  In each of the three instances above, the receptors are either positive (receptive) or negative (not receptive).  In the instance the cancer cells are not receptive to any of the three receptors, the term used to define this diagnosis is triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).

Among white women diagnosed with breast cancer, the percentage of TNBC is roughly 10%.  Jasmin’s cancer is TNBC.  As in all things in life, there are positive and negatives to this diagnosis.  The long and short of it is that there are fewer drugs to treat TNBC; however, the effectiveness of the drugs that are able to be used have been proven to be significantly more effective for a pathologic complete response (pCR).  A pCR is basically when there is no evidence of cancer after chemotherapy treatment.

The interesting thing we have learned about TNBC is the demographics.  TNBC is more likely in African-American and Latino women, women who have not given birth, mothers who did not breast feed when they did have a child(ren),  and/or women who are overweight with excessive amounts of belly fat.  Of course, Jasmin does not fit any of these descriptions.  But then again, God’s hand is not limited by science, studies, or statistics.  When He calls your number from the bullpen to take the mound, you better hustle to start your warm-up pitches.

On October 17th, God walked out to the mound and called for the lefty.  One thing I know for sure, we are going to let him call the pitches and Jasmin is going to “put on a clinic” (pun intended).

She faced her first batter on October 29th.  This past Monday, she received her first dose of chemotherapy.  We arrived at the facility at 10:30.  When I say we, I mean a team of Owen’s sisters and myself.

The nurses had her port hooked up right away.  There were several iv bags and shots pushed through her port.  Some to address the cancer, some to address nausea, some just to simply flush the line and prep for the next drug.  For dessert, Jasmin got a flu shot in her arm for good measure.  Jasmin finished up around 4:30 and we headed up I-35 to get back home.

While most of Jasmin’s chemo treatment was dine-in, there was a to-go order that was placed as well.  Jasmin received a pump that would push her third drug for 72 hours. This meant she would have a needle in her port until Thursday.  The bright side is that Jasmin had an awesome fanny-pack containing her treatment and the pump.  She was allowed to sport the fanny-pack for three days.  While she said it was not painful, it was very limiting. . . the actual line in her chest, not the style of the fanny pack.  The fanny-pack was black so it matched with everything except brown shoes.

Before I move along, I would be remiss in not thanking God for the wonderful woman Jasmin and I met during the chemo treatment on Monday.  Her name is Karen and she has been battling this awful disease with a flair for life and fervency for God.  There will certainly be more about this experience in a future post.  We love you Karen!

Later on, Jasmin told me the thing that hurt the most was the flu shot.  We appreciate the bravery everyone around Jasmin has shown in their willingness to get a flu shot too.  Thank you.

We are also very grateful for all of the prayers Jasmin is receiving.  I will tell you that your prayers are having a PROFOUND affect on Jasmin and myself too.  She is feeling relatively well.  She has not had any significant nausea and zero vomiting.  I pray that she continues with her amazing upbeat attitude and focus on God.

While Jasmin has not been vomiting, I can’t say the same for Jack.  I would like to share a story that happened just this morning.  Jack is sick with strep.  This is only the third time in his life he has been sick. . . mysterious ways.  Anyhow, he is being quarantined over at his Nana’s house (Jasmin’s Mom).  Last night, I swung by Beth’s to tell Jack good-night and deliver a little surprise treat of a box of strawberry popsicles.  He happily accepted and began licking on one while regaining his focus on the television.

This morning, while talking with Jack, he stated that he really liked his popsicle he ate last night.  However, he said “Dad, I did not find any strawberries in that popsicle”.  Of course this made me smile and laugh a little out loud.  I responded by telling him that the strawberries are in there even though you might not be able to see them.

It made me think about all the “strawberries” God has given us in our life.  How many times have we enjoyed God’s strawberry blessings without even knowing it.

How did I know the strawberries were in the popsicle?  In this case, I actually read the box to make sure there were no artificial sweeteners and I noticed that actual strawberries were in the ingredients.  How do we know about God and His promises?  In that case, we just have to look in His Word.

In Isaiah 41, God promises the following in verse 10:

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

God is always with us.  He is constantly reaching out His strawberry blessings.  Sometimes we reject those blessings, sometimes we eat them without even knowing it at the time.  I pray Jasmin see’s the strawberries. . . because they are in there.

Please be in prayer for Jasmin for the following:

- The chemotherapy is 100% effective against her cancer

- She has NO side effects from the chemo treatments

- Our baby is kept safe in the womb

- Comfort for Jasmin both physically AND emotionally

Continue reading

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.