Hi Friends and Family –

This is Jerel, signing in for both of us on the blog today.  (Guest Blogging, I guess you’d say)  Susan’s not up to posting much right now so I thought I would hijack the blog for a minute and tell you how unbelievably thankful we are for our amazing family and our incredible friends.  The one word that keeps coming to mind is OVERWHELMED.  We have been overwhelmed with prayers, kindness, gifts, encouragement, phone calls, emails, well wishes, etc.  Overwhelmed in the best sense of the word.  We are so grateful for the way we are being cared for right now.

Some great friends in our neighborhood came to us a few months back and said “what can we do?”  When we basically said “I don’t know”, they just continued gently asking.  Not only that, they developed an idea for an event that would show Susan and our family how much people care, and help us in some tangible ways with expenses related to the cancer treatments.  (They just wouldn’t take no for an answer – and we are so grateful for that!)  Sunday night was the culmination of weeks and weeks of planning, organizing, collecting donations, and all of the other things that go into throwing an event.  We had around 200 people at the Supporting Susan event at Northstone Club!  It was such an amazing evening of encouragement for our family.  I’m still saying “Wow!” sitting here today.  Overwhelmed with the love and care of people around us.  There were so many people who did something – the organizers, the band, those who took up tickets or manned a table, the wonderful folks at the club, and so many more who bought tickets and bid on items that were donated…wow!   We are so thankful for all of you.

The only regret we had was that Susan was unable to come.  If she were feeling well this would have been like heaven for her – a roomful of all her friends and family from all parts of our lives, talking, eating, and getting to know each other.  (When she gets better, we’ll be throwing another party so she can get to enjoy all of you people!)  Unfortunately she has been dealing with a lot of pain in her back.  We are trying to get a handle on it with pain meds, but it’s been tough to find the right balance to both limit her pain and keep her feeling alert.  This makes moving around (even around the house, let alone getting out places) very challenging.  She actually ended up needing to go to the ER Sunday night because her meds were just not adjusted right that day, and it made her feel really fuzzy.  Her hemoglobin levels were way down too, so between those things she just hit a wall.  After a few hours in the ER she turned a corner and started feeling better and was home later that night.

Our kids had a great time at the party.  Thank you for speaking to them, caring for them, encouraging them – every time I turned around to find them, someone was either making them laugh or giving them dessert.  (Two of their favorite things)  We are so proud of them!  They want so badly for their mommy to be better.  Many of you have asked how they are doing – they are resilient and hanging in there, and dealing with this in the best ways they know how.  Of course they have their moments, like we all do.  So many of you have helped in little and big ways to be there for them.  At school, in the neighborhood, our family…we have so many people looking out for them and we feel like they are being well-cared for.

Susan’s parents and sister have been so amazing during all of this.  Martha and Bill are here at the drop of a hat to help take care of Susan, me and the kids.  Dana has been commuting back and forth from Hawaii (yes, I said HAWAII), staying with us, helping Susan at all hours of the day and night, and making our house run smoothly.  If you want to see true servant hearts at work, spend some time talking to one of them.

So our journey continues.  We are going to Chapel Hill Wednesday (could be worse places to visit, right?) to see a specialist, Dr. Lisa Carey, who has done a lot of work in triple-negative breast cancer research and treatment.  We feel great about our care here (Drs. Limentani and Boyd) but feel the need to get another set of eyes on Susan’s case.  Between all of them we believe we are getting the best care we can receive.

Friday Susan has another dose of chemo lined up.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about this – the last round hit her blood levels really hard, and I expect this one to do the same (even though they are reducing the dosage by 25%).  But, we have to fight this, so she has to get the drugs and then manage the symptoms that come up along the way.

In terms of the specifics – she’s still dealing with cancer around her airways.  It seems to have not gotten worse over the last few weeks.  She uses O2 to supplement her breathing.  She has lesions on her spine and right sacrum.  There is tumor activity going on in her pleural cavity (around the lungs).  We don’t know yet if the latest treatments have been effective, but in about 3 weeks she will have scans to determine this.  If these areas are shrinking- great.  We continue the current course.  If they are growing, then it’s on to Plan B (or X or whatever plan we’re on now).

Pray that the treatments shrink the tumors.  Pray that we can get her medicine adjusted correctly and that she finds some relief.  In the meantime, we are praying prayers of thanks for YOU, our family and friends, for the outpouring of support that we’ve felt.  There is so much power in a community that loves and cares for each other.  We are thankful to be a part of that, and hope that all of you can experience the love we have from our community some day.



6 Responses to “Thankful”

  1. Martha Deaton Says:

    Susan and Jerel, I have just said another prayer for you and your family. Jerel, Susan and my daughter were friends in school, and I was Susan’s assistant when she taught. She was a kind, caring teacher then and I’m sure she’s a great wife and mother. The five Laws are an example in courage to all of us looking on.

  2. Edie Stanfield Says:

    THANKS so much for the update. Jerel, I’m EXPECTING you to let me know if there is ANYTHING I can do for y’all (prefer to not wash windows but would do it for y’all!). I can bring food, stay with the children, clean the house, wash clothes, etc., etc. So, just remember that I’m EXPECTING you to call on me whenever you need me. At this special season of thanksgiving, I’m SO thankful for you, Susan, your children and wonderful memories. I look forward to the “she’s well!!” party. Will certainly be pleading for God’s goodness and tender care for your family over these next few days! Love y’all. Edie

  3. ann hartline Says:

    I call plan B the next recipe …. I guess i did not warn you enough about the Ixempra, they had to reduce my dose too. That drug is nasty! Dr. Lisa Cary is who my Dr. here has been in touch with too. I am still doing treatment and for now all is well. After chemo vacation and I start again, since I am triple negative and genetic postive the are going to give me the parp inhibitor to stop the mutation along with some chemo that starts with a g? Not FDA approved yet but showing to be 50% effective. Dr. Cary is the triple neg bomb! So is Dr. Dana Farber in Boston, they work together a lot. I love you so very much sweet girl.
    Ann 828-230-0736 Feel free to call anytime and your husband or Dana too.

  4. Brian Kenny Says:

    I never quite understood what God meant by, “More than Conquerors.” Witnessing the Laws, now I get it. I am truly inspired by their courage.

  5. Tim Lewis Says:

    Thanks for the update! So glad to have been there with those who joined together for you and your family last week! What an amazing display of God’s love! Love you guys and thanks for the hug! 🙂

  6. Ed Wall Says:

    Susan, you and your beautiful family are in my prayers. Peace, Ed (a friend of Brian and Diane)

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