Monday, February 27, 2012

Ways to pray

As we start a new week, we wanted to thank you for the many ways you have all been praying for us.  Our goal this week is to hopefully make a decision on a treatment plan after our various meetings this week.  Please pray for us in the following ways:

  • For wisdom and unity as we process a lot of information to make a decision.  
  • Stamina - physical, emotional, mental and spiritual as we go through various appointments
  • Joy in the process - with each other, our kids, the Lord and those we interact with
  • Our kids - that God would continue to allow them to feel secure, protect them and experience joy.
  • Susie & the baby- that God continues to allow them to recover from surgery.
Thanks for praying for us.  You are all a huge blessing.

In Him,

Ben & Susie

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Helping Ben and Susie: Matching Gift!

On behalf of Ben and Susie, thank you for your love and concern for their family and for Susie's health.

I am excited to inform you that Campus Crusade and Athletes in Action, along with an anonymous donor, have stepped up on Ben and Susie's behalf, and have created an $8,000 matching gift fund for Ben and Susie. Praise God!

As you consider ways you are able to help this sweet family, please consider a financial gift. We want to get Ben and Susie to the $8,000 goal... which will then double itself through this matching gift!

If you feel inclined to give to Ben and Susie's staff account, you can do so one of two ways:

To give online, visit:

To give by check, please mail a check (written out to Athletes in Action) to:
Athletes in Action
Attn. Megan Soderberg
651 Taylor Drive
Xenia, OH 45385

Money in this fund will be used to reimburse Susie’s growing medical expenses.

Thank you so much for loving them in this way. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me at

Love, Megan

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Just an update

Hey all,

Thank you so much for the many ways you have all been reaching out to us - continued prayers, calls, texts, meals, gifts, babysitting, cleaning our home, doing laundry, etc.  Thank you.  Susie and I feel so blessed by your generosity and love towards us.  Thank you.

This week has been the closest we've had to a normal week in awhile.  Part of that has been no doctor's visits, part of it has been Susie doing a little better, part of it has been help from other people. 

We will meet with our OB team on Monday and our surgeon on Wednesday next week to review the 2 options of radiation treatment that our oncologist has recommended.  The radiation treatment will be a 6-week adventure.  The two options are:

  • Begin radiation treatment in the next few weeks, while trying to shield the baby. 
  • Have Susie do MRI's every 2 weeks, to monitor the progress of the tumor/cancer.  If there is no progression of the tumor/cancer then have the baby early, and then start radiation treatment after that.  If there is progression of the tumor/cancer, then begin radiation immediately.  
Each of the options have pros/cons associated with them for Susie and the baby.  We are praying that the Lord would grant us peace and wisdom as we approach making a decision.

Thanks again for your love, support, prayers and encouragement.  Susie and I continue to feel blessed by you and by the Lord.  God continues to remain good and faithful and true in the midst of these circumstances.  We look forward to the many more ways He will be with us as we take each step in this journey.



Friday, February 17, 2012

Dear Friends and Family,

Susie and I just want to say thank you for the many ways you have loved us over the last few weeks - prayers, texts, calls, gift cards, acts of service, inviting your networks to pray, facebook, website messages, etc.  As I was reading this morning in Exodus 17, a few things that God impressed & encouraged me with: 

  • God provided water for the Israelites when they were thirsty.  
    • God has and will always provide for every need, regardless of how big or small.  Thank you for the ways you are helping us.  
  • Moses, Aaron and Hur prayed while Joshua was engaged in the battle.
    • Susie and I are in a season where we need people to pray for us as we battle.  Susie and I are so thankful for the ways you have been praying for us.  We are thankful for how you have engaged others to pray on our behalf as well.  
  • God wanted Joshua (the one who was battling) to know that He would defeat the Amalekites and blot it from their memory.
    • We praise and thank God that some day, hopefully this side of heaven, Susie's cancer will be defeated and she will be made whole.  
God is gracious to us and we are so thankful for His love, grace and mercy.  Thanks for being tangible expressions of His character to us.


Ben  & Susie

This video of Ben was filmed today at the Athletes in Action Chapel.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Oncologist Visit

If there were three words that summed up the emotions of today, it would be overwhelmed, dependent and love. 

Overwhelmed - Our visit with the Oncologist was very informative and helpful.  We met with two doctors who were full of compassion, care and knowledge.  I showed up with my list of questions and concerns and they answered each one.  Granted, I didn't like some of the answers, but that's the reality of what we are facing.  Most likely, Susie will face some level of radiation treatments in the next few weeks/months.  Our doctor team (oncology, surgeon & ob's) will meet and come up with a plan.  There isn't a standard treatment for pregnant people with astrocytoma's.  They will let us know next week what they think the best course of treatment will be that takes into account Susie and the baby.  There was so much information - a lot of it scary, but true.  The thought of what lies ahead for us is completely overwhelming.

Dependent - All along, we have known our need to be dependent on God.  Being dependent on Him is a good thing.  Just like it's good for Sy, Talya and Charlie to be dependent on me as their earthly father.  Today, I realized in a new way, that we are completely dependent on our heavenly Father.  We are dependent on Him for wisdom as to what the next steps are, for strength for the journey that lies ahead and for healing of Susie's brain.  Apart from God's help, there is no way we will get through this.  We thank Him that He is true, loving and faithful.  We thank Him that especially in our moments of weakness, doubt and despair, He loves us with a perfect love.  So tonight, we ask him for wisdom, strength and complete healing over Susie's brain.  

Love - Throughout the day, I was reminded of how much I absolutely love my wife, my kids and the life the Lord has blessed me with.  I love it so much, that I don't want any of it to change.  It's a true joy to love Susie and live life together.  For those of you who know me, you know that I felt this way even before she had a brain tumor!  We always say how blessed we are, and it's true.  God has blessed us with so much - each other, our kids, great friends, family and an opportunity to serve people all over the world which we love.  As I get ready to lay my head down tonight, even though it's been one of the most grueling days I've endured in a while, I am reminded of love.  God loves me and Susie.  I love Susie.  I love our kids (even the one who keeps waking up and screaming at 11:35 p.m.).  I love our life.  Thank you Lord for loving us and blessing us with the privilege of knowing you and experiencing love on a daily basis. 

That's enough for tonight.  Thanks for praying for us, caring for us and helping us.  We truly appreciate it.  Today was a tough day.  We thank God for granting us the strength to make it through and the hope for  His mercies for tomorrow. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Helping Ben and Susie: Updated

Hello everyone,

On behalf of Ben and Susie, thank you again for all of the support you have all shown them through your prayers, gifts, texts, thoughts, and love. The response to their need for restaurant gift-cards is overwhelming. Thank you!

Many of you continue to ask how to best help the Thomas Family. Well, as you can imagine, the suddenness of Susie’s brain tumor and subsequent treatments is presenting the family with growing expenses.

In light of this financial strain, I ask you to consider a financial gift to Ben and Susie, which will be processed through their staff account with Athletes in Action/Campus Crusade for Christ:

To give online, visit:

To give by check, please mail a check (written out to Athletes in Action) to:

Athletes in Action
Attn. Megan Soderberg
651 Taylor Drive
Xenia, OH 45385

Money in this fund will be used to reimburse Susie’s growing medical expenses.

Thank you so much for loving them in this way.  If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me at
Love, Megan

Pathology report

Thanks so much for your prayers, encouragement and support.  We have felt and continue to feel loved around every turn.

As most of you know, Susie did well during surgery and is recovering well at home.  We have been waiting on the pathology report from the hospital and from an outside hospital (Johns Hopkins or Cleveland Clinic) for what our next steps will be. 

Last night we received word that Susie has been diagnosed with a grade 3-astrocytoma brain tumor.  While we were hoping for a grade 1 or 2, we had prepared ourselves that it could be a 3. 

So what does this mean?  Well, we’ll meet with our oncologist tomorrow to discuss treatment options.  A few things that have been discussed already are radiation, chemotherapy, and maybe another surgery.  After the oncologist, we’ll also meet with our high-risk ob team that will walk us through risks to the baby.  Then we will wait on the final report to come back from the outside hospital before moving ahead. 

Please know that Susie and I are doing well.  While this is hard news we continue to cling to God’s love, grace and mercy for each day.  We cling to our love for each other, which grows daily.  We also rest and are surrounded by the love of others in our community and all over the world. 

God continues to be God and He is good.  His mercy, love and grace continue to be lavished on us. 

Thanks for all your prayers and shows of support.  It looks like we’ll have a significant battle ahead so please keep them coming. We'll be updating the website a little later today or tomorrow with some more specific needs.  We'll also keep you updated as we get more information as we receive it and are ready.

With love,


Friday, February 10, 2012

Susie's home


3 days after brain surgery, Susie is home!  I can’t believe it. 


It feels great to be home.  Susie will still need to rest quite a bit as she recovers. 


The kids are excited to have mommy at home.  Please keep them in prayer as they adjust to mommy needing to rest, and with the black eye and stitches that she has.   Talya said, “I don’t want to see mommy’s funny face!”


God continues to show Himself true to us each and every day.  We know we have a journey ahead, but as I was reading in Exodus this morning, God told His people to just take the manna they needed for that day.  In the same way, we are trusting God for what we need today, and not worrying about tomorrow.  Such a simple task can prove to be quite difficult. 


Thanks again for all the ways you have shown our family love. 


In Christ,




Thursday, February 9, 2012


Thanks so much for all your prayer, encouragement and support for our family. We are truly thankful.

Susie has been recovering and doing well. She was transferred out of ICU yesterday and has been making great progress on the floor. She is moving on her own, talking, laughing, and making others laugh as well. The focus for her over the next few weeks will be to rest and recover from the surgery. She still has quite a headache, which is normal, considering someone opened up her brain. Her goal to be everyone's favorite patient has been achieved! Doctors, nurses, technicians all love coming in to care for her. Her courage and faith have been having an impact on those that are caring for her.

She may get discharged as early as tomorrow so she can rest at home. Our kids were able to come to the hospital today to see her and that went well. Susie has a new haircut, some swelling on her face and a pretty nasty black eye. She looks pretty tough! Actually, she looks as beautiful as ever.

We are still waiting for the pathology reports to come back to determine what the next steps are. Please pray that God would grant us peace and wisdom as we wait.

With love and thanksgiving,


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

From Susie...

I am alive, in recovery with quite the headache. My two greatest fears/prayers have been answered in that the baby is also alive and I still have my speech, as well as my personality and ability to smile. Thankful for each one who was there for Ben today (7th) in the waiting room and through prayer. Undoubtedly, this was way harder on him than me, as I was unconscious :) all I know about the tumor itself is that I do have chemo wafers on my brain which indicated that the tumor did show some signs of malignancy. Still , God is in control and through His love and mercy, all must be well! I am so thankful that my husband is here lying beside me and that my parents and Johnny could see me doing well before they headed home to be near the kids. Can't wait to see them again after I look a little less scary :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

update from Ben

Thank you Jesus!

Today my wife is still living and breathing.

Today the baby you are forming and creating is still moving and breathing.

Today I am still married to God's gift to me, Susie Thomas.

Today, as other days, I am loved by my Savior and my Abba Father.

Today, I have been loved by friends and family all over the world.

Today, I am thankful.

Now, it's time for a nap!

In Him,


Update #2

Update #2

Additionally, the doctors performed an ultrasound on the baby and everything looks great!! Susie was awake for it and Ben was there for it, too.

Rumor has it Susie's sense of humor is still kicking, even though she is quite a bit groggy. Praise God!!!

Thank you for your prayers!! Keep 'em coming!!!

Sent from my iPhone


Surgery Update
Susie's parents, brother John, and Ben were able to meet with Dr. Glickman, Susie's neurosurgeon, post-surgery. He said the surgery went well, that Susie responded well throughout, and he was pleased with the removal of the tumor. However, the preliminary pathology report came back inconclusive. This means that we still will not know if the tumor is cancerous or not, until the end of this week at the earliest.

The Beebes and Ben will be able to see Susie tonight. The doctor emphasized that the next few days need to be focused on Susie's recovery. Therefore, she will not be able to have visitors outside of the immediate family until further advised.

Thank you all for your prayers, facebook messages, emails, calls, texts, etc. There is no question that the Thomas and Beebe families feel loved!

At this moment, Susie is headed to ICU for a few days of recovery there.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Global Prayer

Thanks so much for praying for us!  Here is a scratch map that we have been using as we hear of people all over the world praying for us.  Please join us for a global wave of prayer, starting Tuesday morning, wherever you are.  Also, if you are praying, please let us know, and we will continue to scratch more countries off.  (Leave a comment with your country name)  May God receive the glory all over the world for what He is doing!

A husband's thoughts

 I want you to know I write this with a smile on my face and in my heart.  The last week and a half has been unreal.  I don’t know if I would call this a trial a test or just a crazy time.  There are lots of things that can happen during times like these – but I definitely know the true heart of people can really come out.   

Here are three truths that I’ve observed in this process:

·      God is real.  He is close to us, His presence is with us and His peace truly surpasses all understanding.  I’ve known these things, I’ve taught these truths, I’ve preached these things.  The last week and a half, I’ve experienced God’s with-ness in incredible ways.  I thank God that He is God and I am not.  I thank Him that He is the one who created the universe, created Susie and created our baby inside of her.  I praise Him for who He is and how He loves us.
·      My wife is amazing.  Seriously.  Seriously.  She is courageous, beautiful, humorous and she’s mine.  A lot of you have been able to experience her through her writing, her posts or other ways.  I want you to know it’s not a front she puts on.  She is real.  She is a woman who is grounded in how much God loves her, in who He has created her to be, and the journey that God has for her – regardless of what the journey is.   I love being her husband – it’s one of the greatest joys, gifts and privileges God has blessed me with.  I wish so much she wasn’t going through this, but I can’t imagine anyone handling it with more grace than she is.  She’s amazing and she’s mine and I love her.
·      People rise to the occasion when trouble is near.  We’ve been blessed by so many of our family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and prayer partners worldwide.  We are part of the global family of Athletes in Action and the global church.  We have so many people around the world encouraging us, praying for us and supporting us.  Thank you to each of you . People we know, people we don’t know, people who have been in our lives recently and people we haven’t connected with in awhile.  Regardless of who you are or how long its been, if you’ve met us in person or not, thank you.  We feel loved, supported, prayed for and encouraged. 

We head to the hospital today and surgery is scheduled for tomorrow.  We don’t know if this is the start, the middle or the end of the journey.   There are so many things we don’t know, but clinging to God’s love, the love of my wife and the love of others helps us each moment of each day. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

It's Me :)

Being pregnant and having a brain tumor makes you kind of famous. I've gotten quite a bit of attention lately, which has been at times funny, embarrassing, heartwarming, and always humbling that so many people are praying for us. I mean - SO MANY people - all around the world.

We just got back from a few days getaway at Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, OH. It was so super fun and a much-needed break from doctors. Charlie kept saying, "no hospital?" which is pretty heartbreaking. Whether it's the baby or the tumor, I still find myself fading physically pretty quickly, but nothing picks up your spirits more than seeing the mix of rage and delight on your kids' faces when a bucket of water dumps on their heads.

Through this whole thing, Ben and I have kept laughing. Life is funny, even when it's sad. And we have three funny kids and funny friends and we think we're pretty funny too. And, really, what else is there to do in this situation but laugh at how bizarre this whole experience has been? I'm a real-life Grey's Anatomy episode.

The verse that keeps coming to mind is from Proverbs 31, where in talking about that elusive "ideal" woman (wisdom?), it says "She laughs at the days to come." Most of Proverbs 31.... well, in our AIA world, we might say it "lies outside of my giftedness," (ha!) but what a gift God has given me - the ability to laugh. Obviously, I'm not laughing because I don't think this is serious or because I'm arrogant enough to think that the future can't hold bad news. But, there is a lot to laugh about. And, ultimately, a craniotomy can't take from me what is most important.

That being said, the last couple of days, I've been a bit of an emotional wreck. I am scared - mostly of what I'll be like after surgery. I've had my favorite songs on repeat, and if you want to know which ones are really keeping me going, listen to "All Must Be Well" by Matthew Smith and "Thy Mercy My God" by Sandra McCracken.  (I think... I could be wrong - I DO have a brain tumor, let's not forget!)

Well, I just wanted to say hi. Every message has meant so much to me, and I wish I was writing everyone back personally, but I'm assuming you understand :) What beautiful friends and family and friends of friends I have!


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Helping the Thomas Family

Dear friends of the Thomas Family,

So many of you have asked how you can help Ben and Susie during this chaotic and stressful time. They have felt your love and generosity, and wanted to be sure you know how much this outpouring of love has meant to them.

In reality, most of their needs will surface in the weeks following the surgery, especially after their families are no longer in town.

Ben and Susie have asked me (Megan) to coordinate all of your offers of help.  Please visit the tab at the top of this page, entitled "Helping the Thomas Family", for information and ideas on helping!

Thanks for your willingness to love and serve Ben, Susie, Simon, Talya and Charlie!!


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

We have a date!

My surgery is scheduled for Tuesday, February 7th at 7:30 am. I'll check into the hospital on Monday for pre-testing, another MRI, and who knows what else they need to do to me.
Thank you for praying!
We are whisking the kids away for a couple of days of family fun and then our families come into town this weekend.