Sunday, July 22, 2012

Quick Texas Update

Just wanted to give a quick update from far so good.
 We got here last sunday and made it to the hotel before our crazy cab driver killed us lol.  Houston traffic is out of control......there are 12 lanes of traffic.  The most traffic I've seen in Knoxville is 100,000 volunteer fans coming out for a Tennessee being down here has made me feel like I've come from a small town into a big city but even then I am thankful I am here. 
On Monday we met Dr. Burzynski.....I've only seen the man on when he came in and sat down and began talking about his dog that ran away that morning I was a little taken back at how down to earth he was.  We laughed a little and then got straight down to business.  We spent most of the week last week going over my scans and the drugs they were contemplating putting me on...side effects...etc.  I will explain more about all the drug later...because explaining that is probably a post of its own. 
We also saw a radiologist who sat down and explained everything that he saw on the scans and put it into terms that Mom and I could understand.  It was a little over-whelming to see parts of your body light up on scans and then realize that the reason they were "lighting" up was because it meant that there was cancer there.  I suppose I should be used to it by now but I've never actually had the opportunity to look at my full body scans before.
So far I have met people from 6 different countries while at the clinic and I have loved them all. I love meeting new people and hearing their stories of where they have come from.  If you know me you know I like to break the when the front desk guy at our hotel asked my mom if a hair brush he found was hers.....I chimed in "No its mine I was just brushing my glad you found it" lol.....he busted out laughing and ever since then we laugh and joke with him everyday.

Also another cool thing that's happened while down here is I haven't hardly worn anything on my head....partially because its hotter than hades down here and partially because I've kinda of become accustomed to my bald head.....I miss my hair and I won't lie I'm still sad when I pass the hair isle and can't wait for the day when I can spend money on the newest hair products but I'm learning to embrace my bald head and even embrace the stares I often get.
I've been praying alot while down here and making sure I'm where God wants me.  The other day while eating a quick bite at Arbys a man walked up to me and asked if he could ask me something....and I said "Sure!".  He asked if I was sick and when I told him I was he explained that his church's youth group was on the way back from a mission trip.  We talked for a minute and then they asked if they could pray for me and we all held hands and prayed together in the middle of the Arby's.  And there he was....just when you thought God wasn't cool....he shows up in the middle of Arbys. How Great is Our God!

Romans 5:2-5
" Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."

Monday, July 16, 2012

Two Strong Boys

I wanted to share with you two stories of two boys that have really touched my heart in the past few months.  The first story is about an old childhood friend that I grew up with.  She gave birth about 8 months ago to the sweetest little boy named Tyson.  I can imagine what a moment that was for her........but her joy was quickly shut down when after newborn exam her baby boy Tyson began to turn blue and was quickly re-located to Vanderbuilt hospital where it was discovered that he had a rare heart condition called Shone's complex.....just a few days after he was born Tyson had to have open heart surgery.  Meg kept everyone up to date with Tyson face book page that I read diligently every day......I will never forget the day she posted that Tyson heart had stopped and that they were doing CPR....they great doctors and nurses saved little Tyson.  This sweet boy has been through more than I can imagine and is such a little fighter.  I got to finally meet him last week....and he was even sweeter in person that he was in pictures.  And in a way we understood each other......even though we were both sick with completely different diseases.......there was a love and understanding there.  The same goes for her awesome mom.....although she's not the patient.....she goes through what he goes through.........its so apparently when you see her with him.....the unconditional love she has for him. 
It reminded of Christ's love for us......a love so powerful he gave his ONE and ONLY that we could be saved.
Here's a pic of what Tyson once looked like and what he looks like now...he's truly a fighter...check out his website
Help Tyson Fight
Baby Tyson being a Fighter in the ICU

Sweet Boy
Beautiful Baby

I also had blogged earlier about a young man I saw on the news that was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer at only age 14. His name is Trey Erwin  and  I was amazed and broken hearted for this child...this young man.  But I was amazed by him.....when he was diagnosed his response was "I'll be ok...I'll either be healthy here or healthy in heaven."  The tears streamed down my face as listened to the faith of this young man.......a faith that I can admit is stronger than mine.  I was amazed at the faith of his parents.....who truly trusted God.  It made my faith stronger just reading their daily caring bridge posts.  Unfortunately a few months after he was diagnosed Trey passed away.  I saw a post about him that I loved....."Cancer won the battle but God won the War". Check out his caring bridge

 People have said I am an inspiration but I feel like these two boys are TRULY inspiration and remind us what true strength and what real faith is in this world that is so full of problems.
Psalm 119:114
"You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope"

Friday, July 13, 2012

A New Road

So many things good and bad things have been happening in my life lately and I'm gonna try to do my best to not bore you with an update.  About 6 weeks ago I had my latest MRI of my brain revealed 2 new small tumors in my brain......the radiologist decided that we would put me back on my Tykerb pills for 6 weeks to see if that made any difference in the size of the tumors.
During this time.....I was really asking God where I was supposed to be.....where he wanted me.  It's a different thing when you pray to God to ask that HIS will be done and NOT mine because if I believe what I say I believe.....that means that I accept the fact that God's will could want for me to come to him. 
 As a human being....I'll tell it's a defining and hard moment when I open my hands to him and say that I'm allowing him to do as he pleases with me.  But I know my God's plans are bigger and better than my own.
Isaiah 55:8
"My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts says the Lord and my ways are far beyond anything you can imagine"
So after I began my prayer journey, as I call it, God showed up just like promised he would.  I got a call from a friend saying she wanted to be my advocate......she wanted to help me go else where for treatment if that is what I wanted.  It was a moving and humbling conversation.  She also introduced me to a clinic in Houston, Texas where they are doing Gene Targeted Genetic Cancer Therapy....its called    The Burzynski Clinic.  I began to research this facility and soon felt a tugging on my heart that this was a place I needed to be.  The only problem was that it is not covered by insurance and the initial fee after I was approved was $25,000.  Once again God showed up......and my friends Brook and Lelja along with many other people I work with began fundraising for me and even helped me set up a Fund at a bank where people could donate money. They called, text, emailed and  traveled all over Knoxville asking businesses if they wanted to donate to help me get to Texas.  These two sentences do not do justice to what these two amazing women started.  In just a few short weeks they had a local yogurt shop offering to donate a percentage of their sales to me and shockingly enough more people just wanted to give me money than go to a yogurt place.  I can't tell you what this does for my spirit and for my heart.  I saw Christ in every person that offered me money, a hand shake or a hug. 
Jeremiah 29:13
"If you look for me whole heartedly, you will find me"
The Flyers my friends made for the Fundraiser :)

I will tell you it gave me the strength to keep fighting to know people really cared that much.  These days money is tight and I understand that.  I also understand that I am not the only cancer patient out it humbles me that people would want to help ONE girl with Cancer....when there are so many other people out there.
Long story short......they raised the initial $25,000 I needed to get to Houston and to the The Burzynski Clinic I will be heading there in the next few days. I am both scared and excited......but I know God hasn't left in fact he's right here beside me.
Psalm 119:114
"You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope"
Here's a news article on the funding raising that was done for me......
Fundraiser to get Knoxville Cancer Patient Out of State Treatment
I got what I felt like was further confirmation that I was on the right track when I did another MRI this past week and was told that even after taking the Tykerb again for 6 weeks a new tumor had emerged on my Cerebrum.  The good news is that two tumors from my initial diagnosis in December are gone but that still leaves 6 tumors in my brain.  Gamma Knife is a option......and it's a great treatment but let me be honest and say that it is a hard treatment at least for me.  I'm not gonna write so that you  want to say "Oh Poor Sarah".......I write this to help people understand that I just like anyone else do not want to suffer anymore than necessary.  Many have suffered more than I have and I know that and thank God that things haven't been worse on me.  I also understand that not everyone will agree with the direction I am choosing to take with my treatment but I believe that I am listening to the voice of my Lord and going where he leads.  Do I think this place will heal me?....I honestly don't know but I do know its definitely worth a shot.
Here's a few fun pictures from some down time I had at Chemo these past few weeks
My Nephew and I....waiting to get my Bone Shot!

My silly Nurse didn't want to forget to get
a vial of my blood after she taped the vial
to me! lol
This is what happens when you fall asleep during chemo....
You get toilet papered!
Silly Nurse

Smiling Chemo Bag....right above the sign

Psalm 31:14
"But I am trust you, O Lord saying "You are my God"
For those that would like to know more about the Burzynski clinic here is a documentary on Dr. Burzynski

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Heavy Hearts

I know I haven't updated in a while and I apologize for that and I am in the process of doing that as we speak.  But tonight as I look at my own heart is burdened with the pains and struggles of another and I ask you to be praying for the family of Trey Erwin tonight.....I have mentioned him on here before and so he is on my heart again tonight.....and I ask you send all your love, prayers and support tonight for him and his family.........
Here is the Link to his Caring Bridge Site
Trey Erwin's Caring Bridge Site