Wednesday, October 19, 2011

MRI Results

Today we met 1st with the Neurosurgeon. He informed us that the radiologist's findings were that there were no changes in the tumor since his last July scan; however, he believes that as he has looked over the last several scans, the enhancement of the tumor is continuing to change which worries him. Although he stated that Caleb's case does not have a cut and dry answer, his stance was that he believed he needed treatment due to the continuation of metabolic activity which could lend itself to irreversible damage.

This was hard to swallow as we waited for almost another hour and a half to meet with the Oncologist. However, Dr. Esbenshade came in with a much more positive outlook than we had expected! Praise the Lord! Although he did recognize the enhancements occurring, he stated that he did not feel it necessary to take action unless the tumor itself had grown- and in yesterday's scan it showed no growth! So, the plan is to continue to watch it closely. We have an appointment next Thursday with the Endocrinologist (hormone specialist) and then another MRI scan alongside of an eye examination in January. 

We are very very thankful for no treatment at this time. The Lord has delivered us again today and we will worship Him! When I dwell on today, I am thankful; however when I begin to think what tomorrow may bring, I honestly can become paralyzed in fear. And so our prayer is that we will set our minds on things above, dwelling on His deliverance today; that we will trust Him today and lay tomorrow in His hands. For He has said in Lamentations 3:21-23 Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Thank you is not enough for your prayers. I honestly believe they are a sweet smelling aroma to our Lord- he is hearing our cry and delivering us!

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

MRI Today

Today we saw our little man showing courage! The nurse was unable to get an IV in his hand. She worked hard sticking him twice even when the numbing cream wasn't working this time (at least not as well). He tried so hard to redirect his thoughts. We were so proud of him! Thank you for your prayers; we also felt His peace today. I was reminded tonight, from one of you, of a scripture that is very dear to my heart- I sang it for three years in my chorus group.  "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace." Numbers 6:24-26 - He is so gracious, isn't he? Psalm 139 reminds my of how he knows my every step, my every word before I say it; He knows the days that are numbered for me; His hand is upon me, will guide me, and will hold me fast...such knowledge is too wonderful!

We have two appointments tomorrow. One with the Neurosurgeon and one with the Oncologist. Both in the afternoon so it will be a very long day. We will post again tomorrow night. Thank you for all your support.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall is here!

We are loving the fall scenery that has come our way lately and the traditions that follow the cool, crisp air in Tennessee in October.  (although it has been a bit warmer than usual!) Before I share some family highlights, we want to let you know that Caleb is having another MRI tomorrow (Tuesday), Oct. 18. We will go in for results on Wednesday. We thank you in advance for praying for our sweet Caleb and for us. It means more than words can describe. We will keep you updated.

Many of you have joined alongside of us through this past summer season of Caleb's health. If not, the brief overview is this: Caleb was diagnosed with a brain tumor -located in his optic nerve chiasm- at 9 months of age (it was an incidental finding). For 4 years the doctors at Vanderbilt have watched it approximately every 6 months. We have fortunately never seen any side affects and so they have left it alone. This past February the MRI came back as a slight change. This upped the doctors' concerns and began to run hormone tests and issued more frequent MRI scans. His hormones came back abnormal in May which caused the docs to come close to issuing treatment; however, in the midst of this they have decided to wait. Caleb has no visible signs of the tumor's affects. Although his hormones are at levels that indicate puberty, he has no physical signs! We feel the Lord has sustained him at this time and feel as though he is being delivered! We are humbled.
It has been a whirlwind of doctor appointments and tests- physical tests for Caleb and tests of faith for Austin and myself. Once again, He has proved to be the faithful one- giving us peace, endurance, and footing to stand in the midst of this storm. We are so thankful.
However, we have also had this summer some really hard health issues with Annelise- which is something we have yet to share on our blog (although many of you are fully aware). Back at the end of May, Annelise began coughing at night. After a few weeks, we took her in believing it to be allergies. After another several weeks of the medicine not working and our nights full of coughing and little sleep for all of us (except Caleb), we went back to the doctor. Unfortunately, for the next 3 months (total of over 4) symptoms worsened and we experienced a myriad of doctors appointments, medicines, and tests that led us finally to a Vanderbilt Pulmonologist (lung doc) at the beginning of October. He believed it was asthma and sure enough, we believe it is! The medicine is working, and we are so very thankful to have an answer! We hope and pray she will continue to get better and grow out of it sooner than later....all this to say, we have truly felt hard pressed in this season, but have not felt abandoned. We know the Lord has a purpose for all of these trials to refine each of us, mold and shape us, and teach us dependence on His grace for each day. Thank you again to all of you who have been walking through this with us- we have been and are still in a needy place. We love you!

The 1st weekend in October a bunch of our friends joined us as we journeyed to the Gentry's Farm. We look forward to this special day each year. Playing in the corn is always such fun!

This is my favorite picture of Annelise! I love her overalls and her big grin! The tire swing was a hit!

Caleb sat on top!

Look at all the kids- we might not fit on the truck next year! What gifts we've been given with these precious children!!
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That night we all gathered again at our house for a chili cookout and marshmallow roast! It was a super fun time. We had four different kinds of delicious chili- yummy! The Lord blessed us with the most perfect night- it will be a sweet memory.

my handsome hubby! - especially in his UT camo hat!! ;)

In September we took a trip with my family to Gatlinburg. We stayed in a cabin up in the mountains- we had the most beautiful view! We enjoyed shopping, go cart riding, a visit to the aquarium, playing games, eating yummy food, and chasing a momma bear and her 4 cubs from our trash!! Crazy!! She was scary! Dad got a little too close one time- I have never seen a bear that close nor do I ever want too again- it charged at my dad! Whew- we are glad he is safe!

I love this picture Austin captured- our sweet baby girl loving on Daddy up in a very, very tall, amazing tree house we climbed!!
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Caleb had a blast riding around the race track with his two uncles. And it seemed they had just as much fun as he did!

Something you might not know about Annelise is that she LOVES ice! It's a treat around our house, so whenever she's with Mimi and GaGa (aka Grandaddy) she always gets it- Dad even goes to Sonic to pick her up some! ;) how sweet!

Ma joined us on our trip which is always a blessing. As we were packing for the trip Annelise made up a song/chant with only three words, "Mimi, GaGa, Ma!" She sang it over and over while turning in circles!! Caleb is showing off his Star Wars T-shirt that Ma bought him.

Here is a baby bear cub that is approaching Dad on the porch right outside our door. The Lord was showing us His glory VERY close!! ;)
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Here is the Mama bear right behind our car!!

Here is my nephew Grayson (aka Baby Gay Gay by Annelise). It was so much fun getting a chance to spend some quality time with him- he is an absolute doll, and I miss him! I just want to eat his little cheeks up!!

Here is Uncle Will with the kids! The weekend was such a special family time. We love you all!!
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In the midst of the hard issues over Caleb's health this summer, he has accomplished some milestones that have transitioned him in our minds from a child to a young boy. #1 -at the end of June Caleb began riding his bike without training wheels! Wow! He really did it very effortlessly which was kinda surprising! #2- He also lost his very 1st tooth this summer! He was so excited. #3-Then at the end of the summer, Caleb passed the swim test at the YMCA (this lets you swim "parent free.") Man were we proud!! #4- Lastly, at the end of August/1st of September Caleb started Kindergarten! This marks a transition that will last for many years we pray. School! We can't believe it is time for Caleb to start school! It has gone by so very fast. This transition has been a big one for all of us because we have decided to home-school. I never dreamed that I would home-school but feel the Lord has led us down this amazing path.  We will take it one year at a time. So far it has been an absolute joy to teach Caleb and Annelise (she's right with us!). Even though I have been teaching Caleb over the last 5 years, it is now a little more structured yet very flexible at the same time. Austin set up a space for us in the bonus room, and he even made a special table for us to work at each day. I am so thankful for the opportunity to watch my children grow and expand their knowledge of the amazing world God has made.

We are thrilled that Caleb is attending a Home-school Tutorial one day a week. He is getting to experience a classroom setting- and is loving it! He is in the same class with his dear friends, Austin and Emily as well. They are being home-schooled this year too! It's been fun doing some things together.

Each morning they meet together and have a time of worship. Here they are on their 1st day.

And our sweet baby girl has really grown up as well this summer! Right before our eyes she as transformed from a baby to a toddler- we just can't believe it! #1-She was easy-breezy to potty train back in July at just 2 years and 1 month! She was so precious-she would stop playing, gasp, and dramatically say, "Need pee pee!!!" and run to the bathroom. Where she gets her dramatic expressions I'll never know! ;) #2-Annelise's vocabulary has exploded this summer as well. She needs a translator like her big brother a lot of times, but she's talking a mile a minute! Words that end with a hard sound like "k" or "t"  she ends with a soft sound like "p." So, night is nipe and socks are sops. ;)Posted by Picasa
#3-Another step for Annelise is singing and counting! She can count to 10 and has begun to sing with us as a family!! Yay! Her favorite is Jesus Loves Me, but she will join in on most all other songs- it's precious to hear her singing to the Lord- especially with her deep, raspy voice. #4-And I am very happy to say that Annelise has memorized her 1st scripture: Proverb 3:5- "Trust in the Lord with all your heart." We have worked so hard on it! She is so proud!! She truly isn't a baby anymore!

Here is the 1st tooth Caleb lost. He lost it while eating a sandwich at Newk's!

We went to the beach the 1st week in August! It was such a blessing to be able to get away for some much needed R&R. We truly had the best time! Annelise's cough was very manageable that week by the grace of God, so we were able to sleep a bit more as well as enjoying the beach, the sand and the pools.We named this trip "The Need Peepee Beep (Beach) Trip!" Annelise had just been potty trained a couple of weeks before, and an 8 hour trip took us 12 hours instead! Its seemed like about every 30 minutes Annelise had to go. She learned how to go on the side of the road on this trip! She couldn't say beach properly but her pronunciation of "beep" was precious.

Annelise enjoyed the sand and the water a lot more this year- we were so glad!!

my sweet boy!!

building castles and forts

Here's Annelise catching some rays! Ha! I think she'll be my beach-bum partner one day! ;)
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One night we went go-cart racing. We all had a blast! Annelise cried when we left because she wanted to do it again. She's a thrill seeker!

Caleb and Daddy rode together; however, Caleb got to ride his own go-cart (a smaller version) as well- he was big stuff driving around the track!

Caleb wanted to do the rubber-band jumping thing- he was a little nervous but was glad he did it!

It was such a sweet family time at the beach (aka: the beep). Thank you, Lord for this gift.

Grace upon Grace,
Austin and Nicole

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