Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Figuring out normal

We have been home from the Lake for a little over a week and half.  The time at the Lake and out East was great.  A good time to see family and disconnect from life in Ohio.  I'm especially thankful now, in light of Hurricane Sandy, that we were able to see all of our family out East.

Many of you have asked, and all of our family are doing well.  John & Christina had some significant siding damage, my parents had a tree fall on their roof, and everyone lost power.  Other than that, they are all doing well and thankful that nothing more serious occurred. 

Thanks for the many calls, texts, e-mails and prayers inquiring as to how we are doing.  We are doing well.  As a family, it has been great to start to get back into a rhythm as we embark on a different season of our journey.  The next 6-8 months will have its share of medical treatments, scans and consults, but it feels a lot less stressful than what we experienced since the start of everything in January. 

Susie has regained a good amount of her energy.  It has been fun to see her engage with the kids, with friends, working out and other "normal" things.   To keep up with it all, she is usually in bed by 8 or so as she is drained from the activities of the day.  

Susie's last MRI came back with no reports of tumor growth.  We are very thankful for that.  The doctors are pleased with how well her body has handled her radiation and chemo therapy treatments.  After some blood tests this week, she will begin a 6-8 month regimen of chemotherapy next week.  It will be 5 days in a row of her chemo pills, and then 3 weeks off, for the next 6-8 months.  They are hoping that between the radiation and the chemo, this will slow the tumor cells from forming into another tumor.  Of course, we are hoping and praying the tumor will never grow back, but with her form of brain cancer, this is unlikely.  We will be having MRI's every two months to monitor her brain. 

My work has been gracious to extend to us a time of rest and recovery through the end of this year.  We are very thankful for that.  Part of this time will be used to figure out what role is next for us.  We have had some preliminary discussions already, but will start some more direct and thorough conversations this week. 

Your continued prayers and support are appreciated as we figure out what normal is for this next stage of life.  It will continue to include doctors, treatments, scans, as well as friends that help with laundry, our kids, cleaning our house and so much more.  Thanks to all of you who are helping in some way.  Thanks for all of you who continue to bless us with monetary gifts or gift cards so we can have the help we need.  Thanks to all of you who continue to pray for us. 

"Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name." - Psalm 103

Blessings to each of you,

Ben for Team Thomas

Friday, October 5, 2012

A time to rest!

The writer of the book of Ecclesiastes says, "To everything there is a season.  A time for every purpose under the sun."

Well, our family is about to enter a time of rest.  With 4 young kids, we're not sure how much rest we'll get.  Nonetheless, we will be heading to one of our favorite places in the world, Lake George, for some peace, quiet and refreshment.  We will have the opportunity to enjoy the quietness and beauty of the greatest Lake in the US and the surrounding Adirondack mountains, while also enjoying Susie's grandparents and her family.  In addition to some time of rest, we will have the opportunity to celebrate Susie's grandma and Pop-Pop's 90th birthdays!  We can't wait.  Before we get there, we'll celebrate my mom's 70th birthday this weekend on Long Island. 

The van is packed, DVD players installed, diapers, wipes and formula are ready. 

We have enjoyed a great week and half of no treatments for Susie.  She is doing great and gaining more and more of her energy each day.  This morning as I woke up and greeted the kids, I asked Sy a lot of questions about if things were ready for school.  Lunch, clothes, homework.  He answered each one with yes, mommy did it!  I looked at him, looked at Susie and said, "Mommy is back.  She is on top of it." 

What a joy.  We've also been blessed this week with several nights of "sleeping through the night" for Annie.  That has been great.

Thanks for your continued prayers on our behalf.  This Tuesday, I had the chance to address our staff team at AIA during our Worldwide Day of Prayer.  I shared with them some lessons the Lord has been teaching me from Psalm 103.  I shared with them, that much like the Psalmist, I've recognized that the journey we are on, is much more about who God is than who we are!  So thankful for God's love, grace and mercy which continue to sustain us each day.  Bless the Lord, O my soul!