Friday, April 17, 2009

Savoring Every Moment

It is amazing how priorities change and your view on life changes when you are faced with a life threatening illness.  My senses have been heightened to a new level and I am seeing things through a different point of view ever since I was diagnosed with cancer.   I am savoring every moment I can before life changes next week.

The team meeting finally took place today and the doctors discussed what the best course of treatment would be for myself and many others battling head and neck cancer.  I was told the meeting would be done around 2:00 and it was quite evident they were right on schedule as we started to receive a flood of phone calls beginning around 2:30.  First, a nurse called to schedule the procedure to insert an IV port that will be used for chemotherapy.  This will take place on Monday morning.  If all goes well, I will be able to go home.  Second, another nurse called and said that the doctors agreed that a couple of rounds of chemotherapy to shrink the tumor would be done first.  This would then be followed up with surgery and then a combination of chemotherapy and radiation.   Third, another nurse called to schedule the chemotherapy.  I will be checking in Tuesday morning for a 5 day stay in the hospital for an intense chemotherapy treatment.  The remaining phone calls were the hospital to begin pre-admission procedures for Monday's procedure and the hospital stay.   And I can't forget our phone calls to the insurance company to let them know that I will be admitted into the hospital.

Wow, I was eager to get the ball rolling, but I didn't realize it would happen this fast.  Reality is now setting in and I am scared for what my body is about to endure.  I have been walking around the last couple of days with the mindset that this is similar to will be treated and then be gone after awhile.  However, after speaking with the Oncologist's nurse, I had a wake up call.  This is not a cold, this is CANCER.  This is a life threatening illness.  

The chemotherapy I will be receiving is among the most aggressive treatment out there.  It will be intense.  The one advantage I have is that I am young and healthy so I should tolerate it well. I often say to Jason, I feel like I am in a dream and cannot wake up.  It is so hard to realize this is happening to me.   Life will not be the same for the next few months nor will it every be again.  

I will be doing a lot of shopping this weekend.  I refuse to wear a wig once my hair falls out so I will be stocking up on the cutest hats I can find.  I will also be shopping for some jammies to wear in the hospital as I refuse to wear the open back gowns they have ample supply of in the hospital.  I will also be downloading a lot of movies, TV shows and music for entertainment while receiving Chemotherapy in the hospital.  So much to do in such little time.  I feel like I am "nesting" as many mothers to be do before having the baby.  In my case, I am just trying to get organized so that things don't fall apart while I am out of commission.  My list of "to dos" is growing and growing.  I am sure I will not get to all of them.  This is when I have to realize I just have to let go and let God.  Which is one of the reasons I know I am going through this.  I am the biggest control freak and going through this experience has made me realize I am SO not in control.

Many of you have asked how you can help. It is so hard to know what we are going to need help with.  This will be a learning experience for us all and we will know more once we are in the trenches of it all.  I know for sure meals will be a tremendous help to my family. If you are interested in helping with meals...a website has been set up to coordinate meals while I am going through Chemotherapy.  The website is called  To sign up click on the link included on this blog. This website is awesome and will coordinate everything.  I have also typed a list of those of you that have offered to take the girls for a playdate and this list will be given to our parents.  As far as visitors at the hospital...I am not sure what the protocol will be or whether or not I will be up for having visitors.  But we will definitely let you know.

As far as prayer biggest fear right now is the side effects from the Chemo.  Please pray that it will not be as harsh as I am anticipating it to be.  And most importantly, pray the chemo will have a great impact on the tumor and that it will shrink to a reasonable size for surgery.  I am so afraid to go through chemo and then get the news that it is not working.  I am trying not to think about that, but it is hard not go there sometimes.   If you could keep Jason, Mackenzie and Kendall in your prayers as well that would be great.  This is going to be so hard on them and they are going to need all the support they can get.

Thank you all for everything.  We are completely overwhelmed by the love and support we have received from family and friends!  My hope is continue updating all of you while in the hospital.


Anonymous said...


Wow! I am at a loss for words to express how moving your posts have been for me to read. Thank you very much for sharing them. It puts life in perspective. I still picture the young girl back in Eden Prairie. You have a beautiful family. The Lord is mighty and faithful and you and your family are His. My family and I will be fervent in our prayers for them and you.
Psalm 27:13, 14 “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart; wait, I say, on the Lord.” This is a true statement, because the Lord has proved this to me. My heart goes out to you.

Lance Borrink

Anonymous said...

Sue~ I, too, want to thank you for sharing this with all of us. Visualize the chemo destroying the cancer, think positively that this is working and it will. Keep your faith and know you are in our thoughts and prayers.

Kellee Ablard

Anonymous said...


I weep and my heart aches for you and your family. Praying for a miracle and Gods abundant strenght for your husband as he carries this with you.

His power is made perfect in our weakness....

Steve Tuttle

Anonymous said...


Please find the email I sent today. My devoted prayers and love will surround you, Jason, Mackenzie and Kendall!

Aunt Sandy

Anonymous said...


I'll be praying all week for you, and will look forward to blog updates as you are able to write them. My favorite verse (that I've had to call on frequently) is Romans 8:28 "And we know that God causes ALL THINGS to work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose".


Anonymous said...


I hope you had a wonderful weekend with your family and enjoyed every moment. We're praying for you as you go in tomorrow and again on Tuesday to stay for the week. We're praying for strength for you, Jason, the girls, and your parents and for the effectiveness of the treatment. Your testimony is so powerful. Looking forward to updates and answered prayers!


Shannon Hoese said...

Love you Sue! You are so brave, I will be thinking of you tomorrow.


Susan said...

Hi - you don't know me but I am friends with one of your cousins here in Michigan. I will be praying for you this week as you start the chemo - and specifically for low side effects. Let me recommend an easy but powerful read from a christian author (on the Women of Faith Team). Nicole Johnson - Entering the Ring. This short but oh so powerful book talks about women fighting cancer. It is excellent! It is encouraging.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sue! It's Kathy Cowan! Through common contacts, I was led to your blog. I'm SO sorry that you are going through this, but as you and I both know, you are ONE STRONG LADY! Many, many prayers will be coming your way as you go through yet another one of God's journeys. One of my favorite sayings is "Let Go and Let God". Many blessings to you and your family!

Anonymous said...

Hi Sue,
We are always thinking of you and praying for a strong and swift recovery.
Please include us on the list for playdates for the girls. We are around MWF and of course on weekends/evenings if your folks need a break - anytime. 952-448-6136. Much love, Toni and Bryan.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sue - Just wanted to let you know that I am thinking about you and keeping you, Jason and the girls in my prayers. You are such an inspiration! Ann Groeschl Stuckey

Anonymous said...

Hi Sue,
As always we are praying for God's comfort, strength and love over you and your family. When the girls were over on Sunday, I over heard Kendall talking with Goldy (Bella's fish), "Hi Goldy, how ya doin?, sure looks nice in there, oops they are callin me, we're going to sing Hannah Montana songs, we're really good. See ya later Goldy."
What a blessing your girls are, they are always placing a smile on my face. We love you and know God will do amazing things over the next few months.
The gilrs really are good, man can they sing loud! Love Connie

Stephanie & Landon said...

Sue - I live by the Engebretson's - they forwarded me your blog and asked me to pray. There is power in numbers, and I am praying intently for you and your family as you walk this difficult journey. May you be blessed with His holy presence and surrounded by peace, even in times of fear, anxiety, and with unknown outcome. God is working on you!!!

When they call on me, I will answer. I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. Psalm 91:15

Vivienne said...

What an inspiration your blog is, Sue. I eagerly open my laptop to read the next posting. Be strong in the Lord, since He certainly has chosen you for a very special purpose. You are ministering to us as He is ministering to you. With love and prayers x