Thursday, January 31, 2013

Latest MRI

Earlier this week, Susie did her regularly scheduled, once every month MRI.  Today, we met with her doctor in Indianapolis to go over the results and do a regular check-up.  We are happy to report that her brain is healing well.  The MRI is stable, showing no signs of tumor growth or new tumor activity. 

So what does this mean?  Well, it means that the Lord is keeping her tumor at bay for now and we are thankful.  Last Friday, we crossed the one year mark of when Susie's tumor was first discovered.  That felt like a major accomplishment.  The doctors initially told us most people with her diagnosis have a recurrence within 2-4 years, they are hopeful that Susie's might be at least 3-5 years before recurrence happens.  We are hoping it never comes back.  We'll see how the Lord writes the script.
The reality is Susie's brain can grow new tumors at anytime as nothing is guaranteed and there is no rhyme or reason to when and how they grow.   Unlike other cancers, the brain only needs one tumor cell to remain to form into a tumor.  So every time we hear and see her MRI is stable and her brain is healing, we will be celebrating.  Lord willing, we will be celebrating a lot every two months.  Hopefully, you won't get tired of celebrating with us, where ever you may be. 

Susie will begin her next round of chemo on Monday.  We will do at least 3 more rounds of chemo over the next 3 months.  The hope is to slow down any tumor cells that remain.  After the 3 months, we will assess what our next steps are.  We will continue to monitor her brain with an MRI every two months. 

We are so thankful for our medical team.  Each one has been great.  They have treated us well and cared for us deeply, all of us.  They did a great job today of making Charlie and Annie feel at home.    We are thankful for great friends and family who have helped us in many ways and have shown us great love and support.  Today some of the kids teachers and our neighbors stepped up to watch the kids so we could make the drive out to Indianapolis.  Ultimately, we are thankful and stand in awe of our God and Savior who has sustained us through this.  We give the Lord our sincere honor, praise, worship and adoration as He showers His love, grace and mercy over us. 

Thanks for praying for us, caring for us, staying up-to-date with what is going on.  We truly appreciate it.  Last year heading into Super Bowl weekend, we were getting ready for a Giants win and a craniotomy.  This weekend, we'll spend some time with some friends, take Susie out on a date, and preach a sermon on Sunday! 

Sunday, January 20, 2013


This past week, we have had the privilege of being back in the Boston area.  I (Ben), have started my Doctoral studies at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.  This is where I did my Master's, and more importantly, this is where Susie and I met 13 years ago.  It was here that we dated, then dated long-distance, got engaged and spent the first year of our marriage.  

The program I am in focuses on Global Christianity and World Evangelization.  It looks at 3 key areas - missions today, development work (NGO's, etc) and global leadership.  All three of these are areas that I am very passionate about.  I'll be engaged in this program for the next 4 years, while also serving full-time with Athletes in Action and Cru.  The program is designed for people who are in full-time ministry to do in the context of their ministry.  I'll have a 2-week residency each January.  Then lots of reading, writing, research and projects to do in between.  After the 3rd residency, I'll look to complete my thesis/dissertation work. 

I am in the middle of a 2 week residency.  Week 1 was great.  I have 8 other residents in my cohort and 2 professors who are literally, world renown.  I feel very fortunate to be in this program and look forward to all that I will learn and get to apply as a result.

Thankfully, Susie and the kids have been able to be with me.  We are staying with her wonderful cousin, Esther & Les, about 20 minutes from the Seminary.  The kids are having a great time playing with their cousins and their very big, but loveable and surprisingly calm dog, Blue. 

Susie is doing well.  She has had a few days that have drained her more than others, but she continues to hang in there and make the most of each day.  She stays engaged with the kids throughout the day and gets a few reading breaks, if Annie lets her.  She ends mostly every day exhausted and very tired.   Please continue to pray for her.  We have been blessed to have the help of a great babysitter, Elisa, who is helping with the kids each day. 

This weekend was a lot of fun.  We were able to take the kids around and show them the places that were important to us.  What a joy to look back on 13 years of God's faithfulness.  I remember coming here right after I graduated college.  I was young, very young, especially for all of you who still think of me as young.  The Lord used this place in so many ways to guide and shape me, and us! 

Well, that's all for now.  Thanks for your continued prayers for us.  Please pray for this week as I finish week 2 of the residency and then we head home.  More importantly, please keep Susie in your prayers.  Praying for her strength each day as she hangs with the kiddos. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Happy New Year & Round 3

Happy New Year everyone!  We pray this year you experience daily expressions of God's love for you. 

We had a great time with our families out east celebrating Christmas.  It was topped off with the arrival of our nephew, Andrew, on the 30th!  Both Sherin and baby are doing well.  Charlie and I had the joy of seeing him the day he was born. 

We are back home now, enjoying a week without school for the kids.  Bayley is on college break and helping out this week and the kids are loving it! 

Susie also started her third round of chemo this week.  She is doing well while still dealing with the normal effects of the chemo.  She started Monday and will finish on Saturday.

Please also keep Charlie in your prayers.  He has a touch of walking pneumonia.  He had a bit of a rough day.

Thanks for praying for us.