Sunday, November 25, 2012

Caleb's appointment

We finally got to meet with our Oncologist this past Wednesday afternoon to discuss the growth that they've seen in Caleb's tumor over the last 6 months. Our news was hard to hear. They have seen very notable changes and growth as they look back through the scans over the last 18 months. The team of doctors believe that it is best to begin treatment- that is chemotherapy at this time (which is a year long process). The scans have proven growth over time that is a very real threat to his sight. They believe chemo is the best option at this time in order to stop the growth and/or reduce its size. By treating it now, they believe they have a better chance of success with a lower grade chemo while the tumor is smaller than 3 cm. If we wait and it grows, they tell us we will potentially need a higher grade of chemo and/or radiation to control it, and we would be putting him at risk for losing sight that can never be reversed.
  The Oncologist is very supportive in our quest for a 2nd opinion, and we have begun that process with John Hopkins in Maryland and St. Jude's in Memphis. This news has been the news we'd hoped we'd never hear; however, it has now become reality, and we are grieving. It has honestly been a rough few weeks and an even harder few days. This has all hit simultaneously as we have closed on our new home and moved in. Although we are so incredibly humbled by the gift of this home, in many ways the joy of this gift has been overshadowed by the news of Caleb's tumor. It has been hard to leave the familiarity and the comfort of our old home along with the many memories of good times when we are grieving. This new home is unfamiliar, unsettled, and lacks a comfortable place to curl up and cry at this time when we are in boxes.
 - however, the good news is this -there is always a BUT - BUT we are still holding to the goodness of our God and his plan for our sweet Caleb. We do not feel alone and for that we are thankful. We are desperately praying for wisdom at this time and ask that you would join us.
Our prayers are these:
1)  that the Lord would make it clear to us the path He has for our son in His journey for him at this time and that we would have the strength to walk in His plan trusting each step of the way
2)for the doctors reviewing Caleb's info to have wisdom and clarity as they look with a new set of eyes
3) that if there is a way to keep Caleb from treatment, that the doctors might find that way
4) that we would have joy in our hearts even in the midst of this trial
5) that Austin and I would draw close to each other,support each other well, and give grace to each other
6) that the Lord would do a miracle of healing like we know He can!
I was encouraged last night when I read from Psalm 32. It said in verse 8:
 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you and watch over you...
    but the Lord’s unfailing love
surrounds the man who trusts in him.
 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous;
sing, all you who are upright in heart!
Thank you dearly for your prayers on our behalf.
Much love,
Austin and Nicole

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Fall 2012

Well we were unable to go today to Caleb's doctor's appointment because he caught a bug and was throwing up again this morning. It actually started on Friday right after he woke up from his anesthesia. He said he didn't feel well, and he ended up throwing up on the way home twice, throughout the day, and into the night. We called the doctor thinking it was a new side affect from the anesthesia until Annelise starting throwing up the next morning- then we realized it was a virus. Caleb returned back to his normal self on Saturday-Tuesday, but then woke up this morning throwing up again! It's been a crazy few days.

We did however receive some not good news from the doctor on Monday over the phone. His tumor has indeed grown over the last 6 months. We had a really hard day Monday swallowing this information as we face again the question of what should we do. So, we will return to the doctor within the next couple of weeks to discuss the options. We believe that most likely we will not move forward with treatment as the very next step (due to his sight and hormones remaining steady at this time) although it will be placed on the table as an option due to the concern the doctors have of waiting too long.

We would love for you to pray the following for us:
1) for wisdom for us and the doctors on our course of action at this time.
2)  for strength as we are physically weary from the building of our home and now the moving this weekend.
3) for the Lord to continue to calm our hearts in the midst of this storm.
4) that God would see fit to remove this tumor or make it stop growing!
I have been encouraged this week by the Lord's presence- on Monday morning before I received the call from the doctor the Lord placed a song on my heart that is one that really doesn't come to mind often. The lyrics are: Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future and life is worth the living just because He lives! - I've been singing it all week.
 We are eternally grateful for your prayers.
Here is the blog entry I actually put together last week and was waiting to send it with this MRI update.

  Fall has been a whirlwind with the designing and remodeling of a new home for us here in Murfreesboro. We are really excited to be moving within the next week!!! We have obviously shared some memorable moments with our kids starting with the latest: Halloween!! Here we are trick or treating at Harpeth Hills. Caleb went as Obi Wan Kenobi and Annelise as a VOLS Cheerleader!

Annelise has discovered she likes cheerleading this fall. She has gone to 2 football games to see her babysitter cheer and has come alive watching the girls down on the sidelines! She stands on her daddy's legs, moves to the beat of the band, and watches closely the girls dance and cheer- it's so cute! And when she's in her comfort zone she'll do her own cheer that we've taught her- V-O-L-S, VOLS, GO! VOLS! GO! Except when she does it by herself, she adds all kinds of other letters like P! Q!  T! -it's precious! 

Here we are with Mom and Ma

On Halloween night we went door to door with several friends- here the kids are with a dear friend named Charlie- an Ewok!

here the boys are practicing their moves -Ha!

Annelise and Timothy - cute as can be!

Here's our traditional shot of the kids on the couch- they are all growing like weeds

Our little princess after her bath- love you, baby girl!

These last few shots are of us in our home at night together- I'm getting sentimental because we are about to move in just a few days!! Our new house is almost complete, and we are super excited to be moving in; however, sad too- we have lived here for 8 sweet years; we have brought home our babies to this house, and we shared such wonderful moments together within these walls. This home has truly been a gift from the Lord, and I am sad to leave it behind. Caleb is too- he's just like me! 

This is a shot of us playing Uno- the favorite game around our house right now! Annelise has learned how to play and she's a whiz at it!! In this shot, she has already beaten us all- I just had her hold up a card for the picture. She and Caleb play several games of it a day- it is so sweet to watch the two of them have such fun together. It makes me so glad that we home school Caleb- he and Annelise get many more moments like these to build their friendship- what a blessing!

Here Caleb and Annelise (crazy hair!) are jumping on the bed- Caleb is sad to be leaving his room- he's already cried- I've done the same and this week will be hard to see it all come down. Change is good many times; however, it doesn't mean that it's easy to close a chapter. Even though this chapter of our lives has consisted of some storms, it has been so full of love, laughter, growth, and God's amazing mercies and grace that it's a hard chapter to close. But we will look back on these 8 years with fond memories.

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Here we are last week at the Gentry's Farm!- a family favorite time that we look forward to each year!

it was a cold day, but no rain- yay!

the tire swing is always a favorite!

Caleb and Caeden high in the air!

How tall this fall? -the sign says - very tall, I say! I just might have to put bricks on their heads! ;)

And after the farm we joined back up for our annual chili cookout!!! I was sad to not host it this year- too much with all the moving and house stuff going on. We had 6 pots of chili this year!

It was fall hat weather! 

Annelise ate her chili with Daddy- a very special seat she had indeed!

Here is little Samuel with his daddy- the Kramers brought him home one year ago! He has grown and changed so much this year- we love you Samuel!

here are our sweet neighbors and friends who we are so sad to be leaving- we wish we could move them next door to our new home!

Thanks, Randi Lea for hosting our chili cookout- it was a sweet time!
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This is how much fun Annelise had at the Pumpkin Patch and Chili Cookout- She stumbled in from the car where she had fallen asleep and crashed half way on her bed! Ha! then about a minute later we found her passed out on the floor! Wow, what a day! 
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A few weekends ago we finally got the chance to meet little Jonah- the son of Austin's cousin, Adam. We were delighted to have them over and play with this precious little guy- he is the sweetest baby and his cheeks were just so yummy to kiss!

Austin of course got him smiling and laughing!

And our kids just love to play with Adam.

look at that cheeky grin and blue eyes! - we love you, Adam and Nikki! Can't wait to see you again over the holidays!
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In September we went dove hunting on our farm- Merri Acres. It's always a fun time at the farm.


Annelise and Caleb most look forward to the sunflower seeds and candy that Mimi and Grandaddy always bring to the hunt!

sitting with Hunter

Kayla joined us this year! This was her 1st time to the farm. She was a good sport supporting what her beau loves doing in his free time! 

Leslie and sweet Grayson- he's a year and 2 months here- his favorite thing to play with is a ball- he can kick it really good too (with his left foot!)

Annelise is tickling Grayson with a blade of grass

here Grayson was playing peek-a-boo! 

what dolls they are!

Grandaddy and his grandbabies!
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And here is our new home we are about to move into!! We feel so incredibly blessed! It is on 2 acres next to a horse farm and full of trees! Another huge blessing is that it's not too far out- I like to be close to the grocery store, our church, etc. Were were able to add on to the house- my favorite room we've added is a prayer room off our master bedroom. The Lord has known my heart for wanting a space that was quite and out of the way to pray and spend time with Him- but I just can't believe He's provided a whole room! And it has 3 big windows looking out at the horses! I'm just elated!

a view from the back

Caleb and Annelise are excited most about the yard to explore and play in - they have been troopers the last 31/2 - 4 months as we've worked so very hard on all the details of this home. We love you guys and can't wait to make new memories with you in this special place the Lord has given us.
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Thursday, November 01, 2012

MRI Friday

Hi friends - just a quick note to let you know it's MRI time again. It is hard to believe it has been six months since our last review.

Caleb is doing well and we have no signs that cause us fear, but these periods always cause us a bit if worry. We are so grateful for your prayers and continue to ask for them.

We are praying for great news and a peaceful time on Friday. The results will be given to us Wednesday (Nov 7th). We will be sure to post back once we know.