Our Christmas Card and Letter
Merry Christmas. I am writing this letter early on a Monday morning with snow in our yard, and school starting two hours late due to ice on the roads. What a perfect day.
This year was filled with many extremes for our family. Thank the Lord that He is the God of it all and was faithfully walking us through our journey from the start. We started this year with Jack’s brain tumor growing back after a year of chemo. Then at the end of March he had Gamma Knife Radiation on the tumor. He came through the treatment very well, then after about 6 weeks half of his face became paralyzed and his right eye turned in. We were off to the hospital where he was put on mega doses of steroids to control the brain swelling that was happening as a result of the radiation.
Many MRI’s later after the Gamma Knife, his radiologist told us he could see no more tumor. We were stunned to say the least. The doctor’s had told us that the surgery would be measured a success if the tumor itself didn’t grow, it could shrink a little. But until we heard the doctor’s report we never dreamed it would be gone. God has shown himself mighty to our family. Through out this journey I was never sure what the Lord’s plans were, I knew what I prayed for, but my faith and trust had been grown by God enough to know that whatever His plan was would be the ultimate plan and His glory would be shown. I was able to rest in His sovereignty and He filled me with His peace.
Currently Jack is undergoing Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatments each day. This treatment is used to heal hard to heal wounds. In Jack’s case it is being used to heal the area’s of the brain that were affected by the radiation. The medical term is Radionecrosis. He has had about 8 weeks of M-F treatments and we have about 4 more weeks.
Cognitively Jack is doing great. He thrives in his school environment and not only has not fallen behind, he is excelling in many areas. We thank God for that too!
The steroids that he has been on since the end of May have substantially affected him physically. He has grown to almost twice his size and his personality has been very subdued. He is starting to taper off of his steroids at this time, Derek’s birthday, December 31 will be Jack’s last day for steroids. It will take about 3-4 months for them to be gone from his system. At that time we will figure out what Jack’s new normal will be, crazy and wild like before the steroids or a subdued personality like now, or maybe a mixture of both. Only time will tell. We are grateful for Jack and his continued bravery and strength through it all. He faces each challenge with out any regret or tears.
Derek is still a football fanatic. Our Illinois family will be glad to know he is a huge Bears fan now. He had been a Cowboys fan, much to his dad’s chagrin, but this year overnight he fell in love with the Bears. He chose not to play this year, which was a huge blessing as far as our daily life went. No practice and games to get him to! He will try out for the school team when he is old enough. He knows everything there is to know about all the teams, players and the game itself. I told him that he would make a great player, but eventually a great coach. He is currently in the 5th grade and is having a great school year.
Sophie is still loving crafting and creating. She has blossomed into a social butterfly. She is pure joy to us, talks from the moment she wakes to the moment she sleeps at night. She loves school and her friends. She is a wonderful artist and has the heart of an angel.
Rob still works at McKay’s Bakery, and serves at church in the area’s of Men’s Ministry and Drama. He is a great dad, encourages the children in all they do. He takes great care of his family and is a wonderful supporter and provider.
I am enjoying mothering as I always have. I love just being with my family. I continue with my photography business, the challenge this year has been to guard my family time, but still work my business effectively. I have done several destination weddings and have several more on the books for next year. God will continue to bless my business as long as I allow His priorities to be mine…God first, family second, and then my work.
You can find me on the web at www.marcelainphotography.com . Personally it has been a year where my faith has been stretched with Jack’s health and personality change. It is never easy to watch your child go through such trials. I took them much harder than he did. At times I thought that my faith may not reach as far as it needed to go, but I kept my eyes on Jesus and even though I didn’t understand why He would allow such things, I continued to seek Him. And He increased my faith, sometimes it seems just by centimeters at a time, but over several months the growth felt apparent, and I am so grateful.
In a nutshell, we are blessed. We are blessed because we have a Lord and Savior. We are blessed because we have each other. We are blessed because we know the purpose we were created. Our time on earth is short and each day is an opportunity to love and be loved, not a moment to be missed.
Many blessings to you and your families.