Friday, December 26, 2008

He loves me, and we're getting married!!!

December 15, 2008, Jonathan Wade asked me to marry him!! I am so proud to say that he is my fiance and I'm even more excited about becoming his wife. Marriage is such a huge blessing and challenge from God. I've overwhelmed and over joyed :) I'm excited about starting fresh, beginning a new family, creating traditions, and growing tremendously! What a beautiful thing and what a blessing.

I would have never guessed that my 2008 would have ended with people congratulating me on my engagement. God's timing is so much greater than my expectations!

I love you Jonathan and can't wait to marry you!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy Camper...

I recently went on my first ever camping trip. Yes... in the woods, in a tent, in the cold/rain, and all the camper-ish things that go along with being outdoorsy like fishing, hiking, and roasting mallows. Despite my camping anxieties, I had a great time! Jonathan and I went to Daingerfield, TX, with our friends Moises & Cheyenne, and Brian & Laura. Here are a few pics from the trip...

Friday, November 21, 2008


I saw Coldplay in concert this week and it was amazing :) Thanks Jonathan for getting us such great seats!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bishop Lynch Volleyball wins State!

I need to brag a little… My sister, Tricia Roos, is in her second year of being head volleyball coach at Bishop Lynch High School (a.k.a. BL) in Dallas, which is a 5A TAPPS (private) school. This past weekend they won the STATE TITLE after defeating San Antonio Incarnate Word in 5 matches. This is BL’s 2nd State title and Tricia’s first state ring (she’s 26 by the way).

The Lady Friars are incredible! I got to help coach these girls in the 2007 season and was lucky enough to become part of their fan section throughout the ’08 season. With 10 returning players, the girls showed tremendous maturity and talent growth in their second season together. It has been so much fun to watch them grow as players and individuals.

I got to fly to Houston Friday morning and watch the BL team sweep their opponent in a 3 game win to advance to the finals. The final game was unnecessarily close. Lynch was obviously the better team, but IWHS definitely brought their A game. The championship game was their 27th consecutive win! It was a great match! I brought along Jonathan’s sweet Rebel camera and took some great shots of the team.

CONGRATULATIONS Tricia and to the BL ladies!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Fall is Fun :)

After another blog drought, it’s time for an update!

This past week I had my 6 month scans and doctor follow up appointments. PRAISE JESUS, I have no new tumors! In June Dr. Casas had noted 2-3 spots in question on my lungs, but those spots have shrunken or disappeared (he thinks the spots were due to having mono when the scans were last taken). I have no more doctor visits for the rest of ’08! Every 3 months I repeat my MRIs & CT scans on my leg and lungs. I’m happy to be taking a break from this for a while.

It’s FALL! Jonathan and I have made several trips to our favorite place, the Dallas Arboretum, to see all the pumpkins and enjoy and perfect weather. He lives close to the arboretum, so we can ride our bikes there and take the long route home on the White Rock Lake path. It is so peaceful. There have been lots of butterflies this season and the promising sweet smell of flowers is never disappointing.

A week ago, Jonathan and I along with our friends Moises and Cheyenne went to see the Disney concert series at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. It was so much fun to sing along to familiar melodies. I’ve decided that Disney is timeless (surely someone has already come to this conclusion). The music never gets old. It helps that they never incorporated a synthesizer or Paula Abdul -or did they include Paula? Due to their timeless quality, I’ve begun investing in Disney DVDs. In the past I’ve regretfully bought many crappy movies (btw- this does NOT include my Harry Potter collection); however, I believe that I’ll never feel regret over purchasing Mary Poppins or Beauty and the Beast. This investment is one of my wiser financial decisions. In a few years when we all have kids you guys will be begging me to borrow these treasures.

Life has been wonderful and challenging. God has really been working on my heart to look more and more like Jesus – to have his heart, his perspective, and his hands. This past week I regretfully had to celebrate the well lived life of a friend’s mother who had pasted away from cancer. She had a 12 year battle, but her love and service to others was astonishing. Her memorial service was worshipful and packed with souls in which she had impacted in some way. You could sense Jesus just through words spoken about her. What a great example of a woman who fought bravely and loved the Lord even through the deepest valleys. What a hope she gives. What a hope our Jesus gives through trials and suffering….

2 Cor. 4:16-18: "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Still Healing...

Last Friday I had a follow-up CT scan on my lungs and everything came back normal. Two weeks ago was my last MRI and it came back clear and everything is healing well.
Praise the LORD for healing! Even when I feel like my life is moving on, God is still continuing to heal and protect my body.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Is it August?

Is it seriously already the hottest month in Texas that we inaccurately call “fall.” Once again, my favorite season of summer has gone by in a hurry. It’s been a busy couple of months, but I apologize for not updating this site. In my defense I’ll give 3 good reasons for my blog drought: 1) there have been no traumatic health issues to update you on, which is a good thing. 2) I’ve been busy falling head over heels in love. 3) So much has happened that I don’t know where to start! Hopefully that’s legit… I don’t know.

(I really like these bullet points, so I’ll stick with that format)

1) My health: Since surgery #2 on May 1st, all things on the cancer front have been really good. All tissue removed in surgery #2 was completely cancer free which has blessed me with a radiation and chemo free recovery. All MRIs of my leg post-surgery have been clear of any tumor recurrences and everything inside looks like its healing well. PRAISE THE LORD for His healing! It’s been a long recovery process. The swelling has gone down so that I can see what my leg will look like from now on. It’s about a 7.5” straight scar and where your biggest quad muscle usually bulges out – mine now craves in. I brought this cosmetic issue up to Dr. Casas and he openly said, “my bad.” This made me laugh! I mean, the man saved my life from a rare form of cancer. If he leaves a dent behind, than I can live with a dent.

2) Europe: In June, I had planned a 2 week trip to Europe with my best friend, Stephanie, and 3 days before the trip I was diagnosed with mono. This caused our trip to be cancelled and me to be in bed and out of work for another 2 weeks. Stephanie still made it to Barcelona, but I unfortunately didn’t get a replacement trip for the summer. However, this fall I have a weekend-getaway to Eureka Springs, AR, and a trip to Las Vegas!

3) My pursuer: Just before my first surgery I reunited with an acquaintance from college, Jonathan Wade. At this point I was completely buckled down as a single gal, ready to take on cancer for the next couple seasons of life. I felt as though I had a curse (cancer) in front of me and God wanted me to learn perseverance through trials. I never expected such tremendous blessing to fall on my life in such strange (but perfect) timing. Jonathan began persistently pursuing my heart and needless to say, he has captured it. It’s been an abnormal, but extraordinary dating experience and our love story is one I wouldn’t change for the world. Through sickness and health, deep roots of appreciation and commitment were planted in a short amount of time. I’ve never seen a man actively pursue Jesus Christ and encourage and challenge my walk with Christ like Jonathan does. He is selfless in caring for me and making me feel like a princess. We are currently praying and seeking the Lord about an engagement and (God willing) Jonathan will be my husband in 2009!

Big lesson learned is that God is good through all circumstances. His plan is sovereign and way greater than my own happiness, but He is also my loving Father that delights in seeing me smile. How great is He that while shaping the Universe, He looks so deeply into the detail of my own life.

Jonathan has the following verse reference tattooed on his wrist that fittingly says: "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11.

Blessed are His people!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

It's a New Day...

Dah-dah-ding! I woke up this morning to the sound of my phone letting me know that I had been text messaged. A good morning message and a reminder that someone was eager to see me today put a sleepy smile on my face. While I rested in bed, my eyes wandered from a beautiful rose given to me the night before to a soft glow coming from the morning light shining through my window. There were no rough seas this morning, no crashing of waves. Instead there was a calm, peaceful silence in which the Lord’s sweet voice welcomed me into the day. Good morning, my daughter and my joy, the winter is over and today is your spring. A joy filled my heart like warm sunlight after a hard winter. A new day has finally come.

The flood gates opened and happy tears finally fell. God used this morning – the text, the rose, the sunshine – to tell me, I’m eager to meet with you April, you are special to me, and this day has been created by me for you to enjoy. What a sweet, sweet song He sang over me this morning. "Bow and sword and battle I will abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety." (Hosea 2:18) How merciful that He has fought my battle while I have been so helpless and today I am able to rest. "I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the LORD." (v.20) Praise His name, how amazingly faithful and good he is to those who acknowledge Him as Lord.

Somewhere in the middle of April I lost some of my original fervor I had when I first found out I'd be facing a deep valley of trials. I guess my weakness kicked in and to consider it all pure joy - including the needles, the pain, and the scarring - became harder and harder to delight in. But this morning brings things back to perspective. Today I am saying – you are not my master, Lord, but my husband (Hos 2:16). He does not delight in my suffering, but he allows it to happen so that He and I can delight in mornings like this when I am completely humbled, face down, and grateful to my sovereign Lord.

What an amazing fresh start I get today. Anxiety has been removed and in its place is the fullness of life through His faithfulness. How tremendously blessed we are, even if the day turns out to be just average – we get to live today. I get to feel the muscle and tissues that God created in me, miraculously heal and recovery. Relationships will blossom through the shared blood of Christ. He will be worshipped and glorified around this world today, if not by His precious children than by the flowers of the field and the rain which falls only at his command.

He is great, powerful, and mighty, worthy of each word that flows from our lips. Lovingly fear Him today and seek more and more of His goodness.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I am a cancer survivor…

Praise the LORD. He is way too gracious and merciful. I’m a cancer survivor now. My pathology report from my last surgery came back completely negative for any remaining cancer cells. You can imagine the huge relief that feel over my parents and me as Dr. Casas told us this news today.

There is a happy cry that wants to come out of me along with a cry of exhaustion. For the past couple of days, I’ve had a continuing fever and very swollen throat. My doctor thinks I might have strep throat. So this adds on yet another medication to my already impressive stack of drugs. It is hard to be sick on top of trying to heal my leg, but the good news prevails. I HAD cancer. It’s in the past and I can happy cry after all.

My parents had another session of 20 questions with Dr. Casas today. We found out that between Dr. Casas and his partner Dr. Maale, I am the first case of my specific type of cancer in the last 4 years to have been low-grade. Every other case as been very aggressive and has required radiation and chemotherapy. They receive about 9 myxoid liposarcoma patients per year. What amazing mercy the Lord has shown me.

How BIG is our God? “For who in the skies can be compared to the LORD? Who among the heavenly beings is like the LORD, a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones, and awesome above all who are around him? O LORD God of hosts, who is mighty as you are, O LORD, with your faithfulness all around you? You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them.” (Psalm 89:6-9)

On February 27th, I told one of the nurses that my God is bigger than tumors – a statement that I thought, but now one that I know. What a blessing that at only 22 I’ve learned the healing power of prayer, the sovereignty of God, and the inferiority of myself. I’m thankful that I am no longer foolish in my youth to think that I am invincible. In my weakness, He is made greater. In my humility, I can only boast of One name. Jesus.

I can rest now. The anxieties are gone and life will soon be back to normal. In a few days I’ll be out of the house. In a few weeks I’ll be walking again. In 40 days I’ll be flying to Europe. In a few months I’ll be playing volleyball. And for the rest of my life I get to look down at my super hot 7” scar and remember that the Lord is Faithful, He is merciful, and He is good.

So PRAISE His name today. If you have been reading this blog and have been praying for the past 3 months, Praise His name today. Tell others of his wondrous deeds and bless His name. He has been faithful to answer our prayers.

“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!” (Psalm 30:11-12)

Friday, May 2, 2008

Post Surgery #2

Arggg… feeling like a train wreck right now. Surgery #2 was definitely worse than the first. Here’s how things went down…

5:30am, Thursday morning check-in. Surgery started around 8am. My anesthesiologist was much better this time. He didn’t use the tube that goes down your throat so I was able to wake up a lot quicker after surgery. I got out of surgery around 9:30am and was in recovery for almost 3 hours. That was horrible. I was awake for most of it and people all around me were snoring, moaning, and complaining. It was gross – I just wanted to be out of there. I got back to my room at 12:30pm.

This time they had a drainage tube coming out of my leg and a pain medicine button that I could push every 10 minutes. During surgery, Dr. Casas cleared out the old scar, scar tissue, and swelling, and took out about ¾” extra muscle. It was much more invasive than the last and much more painful.

I was nauseous all day and around 4pm they gave me an anti-nausea shot that knocked me out for the rest of the evening. They kept me over night and I slept pretty well.

In the morning, they pulled out the drainage tube (that really sucked) and took me off the pain pump and switched me over to pills. I left the hospital around 1:30pm.

So, praise the Lord that the surgery is over! It was horrible, but it’s behind me now. I’m hopefully 100% cancer-free (we’ll find that out in about 7-10 days) and this will be the last time to have surgery.

Thank you so much for the prayers - surgery went well and I’m on the road to recovery!

Please continue to pray for protection from infection and a fast recovery for my muscles.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Round 2.... DING!

This Monday was the start of Round 2. I had 3 long hours of laying completely still in a tiny tube to get MRI images of my spine, pelvis, and leg. Good thing I’m not claustrophobic; however, 3 hours will make anyone feel trapped!

Today I got the MRI – radiology reports from Dr. Casas. My spine is completely tumor free! PRAISE the LORD! So many prayers have gone up to Him to stop this cancer and He is being so gracious and faithful right now. The scans highlighted some areas around where the old tumor was that might be suspicion; however, Casas has told us all along that there might be some lingering cancer cells in my leg. No noticeable masses were noted which is great!

Dr. Casas explained the next surgery for us. He said that they are going to cut around all the old stuff and remove the old scar, scar tissue, and anything that might be swollen, along with about ½ inch of surrounding muscle. All that stuff adds up! It’s going to be a good chunk, but I agree that it’s not the time to be conservative. We definitely don’t want to do this again.

While in surgery (May 1st by the way) my doctor and the pathologists are going to examine the muscle for any irregularities. They won’t be able to see actually cancer cells at this time, but they will be looking for abnormal soft tissue. They will basically keep cutting until the muscle looks normal. After surgery, it takes about 4 days to be able to examine the muscle cell-by-cell. So God willing, the perfect amount of muscle is taken out in this next surgery.

My cancer is low-grade, which is a good thing – it means it’s not aggressive. We are praying that NO cancer cells are found but if there are a few left than we definitely want them to be low-grade as well. Dr. C said there is a chance that they could find cells that are more aggressive than what was found in the tumor. That would roll out a whole new wave of issues, so pray that I stay at the low-grade stage!

Because I sucked at post-surgery recovery last time, they are going to keep me overnight again. We’re going to switch up the type of aesthesia so I don’t get so sick after surgery. This time will probably be a little worst and I little longer recovery, but I’m determined to get better! I leave for Europe with my best friend Stephanie on June 21st, for a 16 day vacation!

If all goes well after this surgery, I will have a follow up & MRI with Casas every 3 months for the next 2 years, every 4 months for the following 2 years, twice a year for the 5th year, and than once a year after that. Casas and I are going to be good buddies after this! I’m glad that he’ll be keeping a close watch on me.

Thank you all so very much for your cards, letters, blog comments, prayers, meals, movies, flowers, gifts, and love! It has truly blessed and encouraged my heart! Please keep them coming, I’m still just half way done! Here are some specific prayers – please pray these as you read through them:
FIRST – Praise the Lord! He is sovereign and He alone is in control of this cancer. Thank Him for answered prayers
That God continues to get the glory for this. That his will – above my health – be done.
NO cancer/tumors are found in the first cut and that only one cut needs to be made
That my cancer stays low-grade
The Lord continues to calm my heart and mind, along with my parents and family - Debra (mom), Henry (dad), Tricia (sister), Jonas (brother-in-law), JoAnn (step-mom), Vince (step-dad)
Good nights of rest (I’ve had trouble sleeping and with nightmares lately)
Wisdom of doctors
Projection from the enemy and his various attacks on my body and mind.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

One Body...

Wednesday, April 16th, my best friend Stephanie organized a “Prayer Party” at my apartment with the purpose to gather as the body of Christ and worship the Lord for being our Healer. From 7:30-10:00pm about 30 people from my church (The Village Church) sat in my small living room and prayed that the Lord would heal me from Cancer. We also prayed that above all God would bring glory to himself and be gracious with the salvation of lost hearts.

One-by-one people sat with me in my dining room and prayed over me. Men and women who I had never met came with broken and burdened hearts to pray over me as their sister in Christ. The tears of a close friend feel on my hands as she prayed over me and pleaded with our Lord for mercy. My heart was stirred and tremendously blessed that night. I could feel the prayers of many and the presence of the Healer. Christ said “where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” Mat 18:20.

This was the body of Christ at work. 1 Cor 12:12-31 compares our physical bodies with the way God created his followers to function as one. There are many parts – all with different functions, skills, and gifts – but the body is one. “But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” (v.24-26) What a beautiful thing to experience!

The state of my heart is this: I’m walking through a refining fire with my sweet and loving Lord, who I call my Husband, my protector, and my comfort. Hosea 2:14-23 displays God’s desire for Israel – the same is his desire for me. He has drawn me into a wilderness (the scary unknown of cancer) and in this desolate place the Lord speaks this over me: “April, YOU are my joy. You are saved and placed in my arms of safety for eternity. I will pursue you like a husband – showing you my faithfulness and steadfast love. I will destroy the enemy against you and in its place there will be joy and fulfillment of my covenant with you!”

It is not by our own efforts that we know how to love the Lord, but by His grace and guidance that teaches us to fall madly in love with Him. The Bible says some of the craziest stuff – but ask Him to give you understanding on the parts that are hard to grasp and the Lord will be faithful to show himself to you. God will clarify his Word for you. It is perfect, flawless, and everlasting. Praise the Lord that He left us with the Bible and the Holy Spirit until He returns!

Friends, take comfort that I am resting in His arms. From Him comes peace in the roughest of seas!

Please continue to pray this:
That God would continue to move in my heart through this trial
That God would be merciful and gracious with salvation of lost souls!
That NO more cancer be found in my upcoming MRIs and surgery.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Brief update:

In the next couple of days I'll update this blog with a little summary of what God's doing in my life, but for now here's the surgery update.

My doctor's wife had a baby which bumped my surgery back to Thursday, May 1st. We received our second opinion from Harvard last week and it showed that both the type of cancer and phase are correct - so YEAH for good doctors! It is good to know that many people agree on the diagnosis and treatment.

More to come soon :) ....

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Prince of Peace...

Easter reminded me that unto us a Savior was born, a small King destined to be crucified. Sunday reminded me that Christ is exactly who He said He was. He finished what was incomplete. Without the resurrection our sweet Savior would have been a liar, a hypocrite, and a false prophet. But our God is faithful!! On the 3rd day He rose again proving that He IS our Wonderful Counselor and Everlasting Father... our Prince of Peace.

I went to the doctor this afternoon for a post-surgery check up with Dr. Casas. I got my brace and bandages removed and I'm trying to teach myself to walk again (my leg is surprisingly stupid right now). I'm hitting up the gym tomorrow!

Well, today I got some heavy news. When they removed the tumor last week, my doctor examined a small sample of it and told my family and me that it was a mixoma (benign tumor), which is what they expected. They sent the tumor off to a lab to examine every cell and today I got the results. They found that half of the cells are cancer. It was very suprising to all the doctors and myself. My case has always been rare, so it has been looked at by many specialists. It's called myxoid liposarcoma, about 100 cases appear in the US per year. They are sending the cells to a sarcoma specialist in Boston that will verify and advise on treatment.

Here's the next step. Because my doctor did not think it was cancer he didn't remove as much surrounding muscle as he would have (had he known before). So, on April 24th I have a 2nd surgery and he will go in and remove 2 times more muscle to make sure to remove any remaining cancer cells. Everything I just went through - I have to do all over just when things are starting to heal (not too excited about that).

Chemo and radiation have not been proven to help with this type of cancer, so we just have to pray that there are no more cells any where else.

I was so, so suprised by this. I was almost in the clear. I want to maintain my trust in the Lord and confidence that He is the Prince of Peace. He is sufficient to meet all of my needs and totally sovereign to heal anything. Pray for healing. Pray for no more cancer. Pray for Peace...

"The LORD said to Moses, "Tell Aaron and his son, 'This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: "The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace." ' "So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them." " Numbers 6:22-27

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Hey friends! It's two days after surgery and time to update you on my status.

Surgery was Tuesday morning and everything went well. Gremlin was removed and the doctor confirmed that it is not cancerous. Tuesday was a rough day. The anesthesia made me really sick and I was unable to leave the hospital that day. My mom stayed with me overnight and it was one horrible night. I finally got some powerful nausea drugs that knocked me out at 9pm and then I was able to sleep through the night.

My mom was amazing. She took care of me at my worst and I am so so grateful that she was there! It was a bad night for both of us, but I am glad she stayed with me. Please pray blessings over her life this week!

When I woke up the next day, I felt so much better so I took a lap around the hallways on my crutches and I was cleared to leave. I am staying at my dad's house for the next couple of weeks. I have a big dressing over the wound and a full leg brace that will be taken off at my follow up appointment next Wednesday.

Overall... that was a bad experience. A little worse than I expected, but things are getting better each day. I'm moving around pretty good (with the help of some pain killers of course).

I'm bored! My life was too active before to just be sitting still all day! Movies, sewing, and painting is the extent of my activities. Please come visit if you can :) Call me before so that I can make sure that I'm awake!

Thank you again for all the prayers. I'm on the road to recovery now :) Things can only get better!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Here we go...

Ok surgery, let's go. Tomorrow is D-day, little gremlin is about to leave the building! Please be in prayer for me on Tuesday, March 18. My surgery is at 7:15am at Presbyterian Dallas. Here are some specifics. Please PRAY through this list as you read it...

  1. A calm heart for me.

  2. Pray for the Holy Spirit to be seen in my words and actions tomorrow.

  3. A steady and wise hand of my surgeon, Dr. Casas.

  4. That my body would react well to all the drugs.

  5. No complications. That it would only be a day surgery and I will get to go home in the evening.

  6. Pray for smooth recovery.

  7. Pray for minimal/no damage to my leg muscle.

  8. Pray that NO cancer cells are found after it is removed.

  9. Pray blessings over my Dad as he takes care of me the next couple of weeks.

Thank you all for your love and prayers. I have felt the Father calm my heart because of your prayers and Praise the LORD that this is not cancer.

I'll be out of work and staying at my dad's house in Richardson for the next two weeks. You are all welcomed to a craft/movie date with me on the couch!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

True or False???

True or False? April has cancer.....
FALSE!!!! That's right, you can now do the Tiger Woods fist pump! (3/26/08 - fist pump is retracted! This blog is old, read the new ones...)

Through hundreds of prayer and petitions before our Lord, He has spared me from cancer and allowed a rare benign tumor to form in my muscle. It's called an intramuscular myxoma (pronounced "mix-oma"). Dr. Casas and 15 other surgeons agreed that it is not malignant. At today's appointment, Dr. C went over everything and explained all the reasoning for his diagnosis. So at 22, I'm still cancer free!

PRAISE THE LORD!! Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the prayers that have been lifted up over the past week. What a blessing it has been to be at complete peace, without anxiety or fear this past week. The Lord truly is our comfort, security, and shield.

New tumor name: Sir. Mix-Alot (a little play off the 'myxoma' word)

TREATMENT: Surgery is scheduled for Tuesday, March 18 at 7:15am. Like I mentioned in previous blogs, the treatment for this tumor will be an open incisional biopsy. Dr. C will make a 3-4" incision in the front of my leg (where the tumor is) and than cut the tumor out by removing the surrounding muscle and fat. It should only be a day surgery, followed by 10 days of bed rest. He said it should take about 6-7 months to totally re-strenghen the muscles. I think there will be some physical therapy, but I don't know the details yet.

After the tumor is removed they are going to slice and dice it up and look at all the cells to make sure there is no cancer or crazy disease in there.

Tess (my roommate) says my scar will be my new flare. I'm not too pumped about the scar, but it should make for a good conversation and testimony of how great our God is!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Surreal... But real.

This morning as I laid completely still on a narrow table that slowly moved my radiation filled body into a circular magnetic field, I randomly broke out into a little giggle. I was getting a bone scan by this really nice man who looked strangely at me and said - "well, I don't think I've ever had anyone giggle before." The tip of my nose was just an inch from the scanning machine when I thought about how surreal the situation was. Any minute I expected Dr. House to walk into the room and say something offensive while he stared at my tumor. I pictured myself being the subject of that TV show, and I imagined Dr. Casas playing Dr. House as he and other doctors huddled in a separate room to investigate my little gremlin. For some reason that was really funny and I enjoyed a little laugh this morning.

It's surreal... but so very real. My CT scan and bone scan went well this morning. All the injections were a little uncomfortable - but i'm sure the information they got was well worth it. Dr. Casas meets with the tumor committee today and will look over all the scans this week.

So we are waiting until Wednesday (March 5) to find out the next step. Here are some specifics to be praying for:

  • Protection from fear or anxiety for me and my family.

  • Wisdom for Dr. Casas and his advisors.

  • That God will fill my heart with joy and peace - and that He will draw close to me.

  • That the tumor will not change. (Change/growth at this point would not be good)

  • That God will do a miracle and heal the tumor!

  • PRAY for benign - (pray for this 3 times.... in a row)

  • For opportunity to share Jesus' name and that God would be gloried!

Love you all! Please continue to pray!

"Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth bore it's fruit." James 5:13-18

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"Little Gremlin" updates...

Today was my appointment with Dr. Casas, an Orthopedic Surgeon specializing in muscular tumors. Dr. Casas, a Harvard grad, is a very popular surgeon and dang good at what he does. It is a blessing to have him helping me! He was very informative today so get ready for me to unload…

The first thing Dr. C said when he walked in was “Dr. Anderson called me first thing this morning and he never calls anyone. He explained to me your situation” - (Dr. Anderson is the last surgeon that I visited). A little strange for an opening line, but I soon found out what has all the doctors talking. Apparently I have an extremely rare form of tumor.

Dr. Casas looked over all the MRIs with me. His impression is that it might be an intramuscular myxoma which is an uncommon benign tumor that slowly grows in the muscle. It is a mystery as to what causes these tumors to appear. They are typically painful as they push aside the muscle to grow. This type of tumor can get up to 10cm, but mine is still pretty small. The common age for this tumor is 65 y/o. Because I’m young, healthy, and not in pain – all symptoms do not necessary point to myxoma.

There is still a possibility that it could be soft tissue sarcoma. Sarcoma is a very aggressive form of cancer that is rare and very unpredictable in its behavioral patterns. Dr. Casas explained that most doctors run when there is a possibility of sarcoma because you have to be very careful in removing and treating it – that’s why I was talking to him today (he is super good!). Dr. C has ordered that a bone scan and CT scan be done so that he can further evaluate the behavior of the tumor and understand what it is and how to treat it.

Because “Little Gremlin” is so rare – tomorrow Dr. Casas is taking my case to the weekly tumor council to have 15 other surgeons look at my MRIs and try to figure out what it could be. This is really good because I will be getting 15 second opinions and if Dr. C missed anything, hopefully someone else will discover it!

I have 4 hours of testing tomorrow (Feb. 28th). Dr. Casas is going to look over all the images and he and I will meet again in 1 week (Wednesday, March 5th) to go over his diagnosis.

I asked Dr. C why we couldn’t just do a biopsy and look at what’s inside. He explained that if it is sarcoma and they go in with a needle and cells escape into my muscle – the cancer would become very aggressive and spread very rapidly. So we will be skipping the biopsy and going straight to surgery.

They will not know 100% if the tumor is cancerous until they completely remove it. No matter what the tests show the tumor will be removed in basically the same way, which is, it will be cut out by removing all the surrounding muscle and fat. In the slight chance that it is cancerous, the tumor will not be touched until it is completely removed. If the scans show that it is malignant, they will do radiation on the tumor before surgery (this makes the surgery easier) and then remove the tumor. If it is benign – I'll be in physical therapy after surgery. If it is malignant I’m sure that there will be more radiation and treatments.

After all this information was delivered and Dr. Casas left the room, the nurse said to me “You sure are calm and looking pretty cheerful.” I got to tell her that I have a God that is bigger than tumors and that I’m completely taken care of – Praise the Lord!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

"Little Princess" update...

Little Princess is her name, my tumor that is. I gave her a nice name in hopes that she will be nice to me. Here's the latest on the medical updates:

The general surgeon who was reviewing my MRI report has now referred me to another doctor who deals more with muscle tumors. He said that it doesn't look like a typical muscle tumor; however, it looks benign (no irregular shapes). Tomorrow (Weds.) I go to the orthopedic surgeon at 1:30pm. Next step is probably a biopsy followed by surgery. Benign or not - this thing is coming out of my leg for sure!

God has already been glorified through this. A friend of mine at work told me that she is going to pray for me, which just filled my heart with joy that she is turning toward the Father. Amen that this turns people's hearts toward our Creator and Healer! He delights in hearing the voice of His children!

Please continue to cry out to Him on my behalf.

Monday, February 25, 2008

PURE Joy...

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4

What a deep verse. How many people really know how to apply this verse to life? Pure joy? When I think of pure joy I think of great nights with friends, being in love, or laughter from little girls. But God talks about joy from trials.

I recently found out that I have a soft tissue tumor in the muscle of my left thigh. I went in for allergies a week ago and a few referrals later and I’m waiting for answers to this mysterious little lump on my leg. I’m currently waiting to hear back from the surgeon who will either do a biopsy himself or refer me to a specialist in muscular tumors.

To get clinical – my MRI report states that I have a well-developed lesion which is about 1” long with a ½” diameter. In candy measurements, it’s the size of a snack size Snickers bar. I am currently pondering names for this little tumor, maybe “Princess.” If it is in fact my unborn twin which I absorbed in the womb, it could be named “May.” ((OK, I’m stretching it)) You have to laugh a little, right? Here's a little MRI image for ya'... [this is a section of my leg]So tumor doesn’t necessarily mean Cancer, but that’s not to say that the doctors haven’t skirted around that subject already. In his report, the MRI doctor suggested it could be soft tissue sarcoma which is a form of cancer that develops in muscles or tendons. Who really knows though?...

God does. This caught me by surprise but the God of the universe knows exactly what is happening. While the word ‘tumor’ has replayed itself a million times in my head, God has placed rest in my heart. He is my healer. The Gospel tells us that people would follow Jesus to desolate places just to seek His healing and through their faith they were healed. People were healed just by touching the fringes of His clothes. Faith brings about healing.

A thought that blazed through my mind the other day was, “I’m only 22 – this isn’t fair.” My response to myself was “What? Seriously, April.” Let’s talk about what’s not fair. It’s not fair to me that so many people I love cannot see the face of Jesus. Why do I, a sinner, get to see the face of Love when others are blind to it? That’s not fair. A tumor? – it becomes weightless in the sight of eternity.

As I embraced an eternal perspective on this situation, I found myself getting strangely exciting about the possibilities of cancer. Cancer would cause people to turn to Jesus and pray. I thought of how I could have conversations about the Lord with the nurse that attended me. I imagined my co-worker’s bewilderment as they saw me find total confidence and strength in the Lord, even in the worse of situations. I saw the Lord Glorified through my trials and it made me smile. I saw myself being used by the Lord and it brought about pure joy. Through perseverance I will see Jesus more fully and I long for that much more than I care for my health.

Now – don’t get me wrong. WE (yes, you and me) are praying against this evil. His healing will cause worship (especially in my heart) so we will knock and knock and knock until the Lord answers us. And believe Him when He says He will answer. [Luke 11:9-13]

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

To Start All Over Again...

I usually don't look to The Message for a translation of my favorite Bible passages, but as I read this tranlation of Hosea 2:14-20, I knew that these are the Words of the Lord to my heart.

Hosea 2:14-20 (The Message)

14-15 "And now, here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to start all over again. I'm taking her back out into the wilderness where we had our first date, and I'll court her. I'll give her bouquets of roses. I'll turn Heartbreak Valley into Acres of Hope. She'll respond like she did as a young girl, those days when she was fresh out of Egypt.
16-20 "At that time"—this is God's Message still— "you'll address me, 'Dear husband! 'Never again will you address me, 'My slave-master!' I'll wash your mouth out with soap, get rid of all the dirty false-god names, not so much as a whisper of those names again. At the same time I'll make a peace treaty between you and wild animals and birds and reptiles, And get rid of all weapons of war. Think of it! Safe from beasts and bullies! And then I'll marry you for good—forever! I'll marry you true and proper, in love and tenderness. Yes, I'll marry you and neither leave you nor let you go. You'll know me, God, for who I really am.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

You're Beautiful

song by: Phil Wickham

I've been playing this song over-and-over for the past month. The lyrics are worshipful! Enjoy:

I see Your face in every sunrise,
The colors of the morning are inside Your eyes
The world awakens in the light of the day,
I look up to the sky and say
You're beautiful.

I see Your power in the moonlit night,
Where planets are in motion and galaxies are bright
We are amazed in the light of the stars,
It's all proclaiming who You are ...
You're beautiful, You're beautiful

I see you there hanging on a tree,
You bled and then you died and then you rose again for me
Now you are sitting on Your heavenly throne,
Soon we will be coming home...
You're beautiful, you're beautiful

When we arrive at eternity's shore,
Where death is just a memory and tears are no more
We'll enter in as the wedding bells ring,

Your bride will come together and we'll sing
You're beautiful, You're beautiful, You're beautiful

I see Your face, You're beautiful, You're beautiful, You're beautiful
I see Your face, You're beautiful, You're beautiful, You're beautiful