1: 12/3/09 1Posted Dec 3, 2009 4:46pm Dad had not been feeling well for the last couple weeks. He had hurt his back at work and was on a medication called Flexeril and started experiencing some side effects. He had nausea, confusion, dry mouth and lips, extreme fatigue and anxiety. Friday November 27th Dad went to the ER in Grinnell for the symptoms he had been experiencing. The doctor told him to stop taking the Flexeril, drink plenty of fluids and he should begin to start feeling better 24-48 hours later. The weekend came and went and he still felt bad. He was still experiencing the same symptoms with a few new ones. His thought process was very confused, he really had to think about doing simple tasks. He also started walking into things (hitting his shoulder on a door jam, etc) On Monday he went to see the family doctor in Grinnell. She admitted Dad to the hospital and gave him 3 bags of fluids for dehydration. Tuesday wasn't bad but Tuesday evening he was confused again. Wednesday morning mom called home and dad didn't answer, she waited 15 min and went home to check on him. He was still in bed and was confused and weak. Mom insisted they go back to the doctor, Dr. Rebelsky took one look at him and sent him to the ER. Dr. Bambera asked a few questions and sent him for a cat scan. They found a tumor on the right side of his brain and determined the best course of action was to send him to Iowa City. They arrived in IC Wednesday afternoon and have seen many doctors. They did an MRI and found the a tumor on the right side of his brain, going into the left side a little. The tumor is large and fairly deep. They scheduled surgery for 10:45 a.m. Friday. It was 11:00 a.m. when they came to get him and anticipate a 6 hr surgery. The extra time this morning gave us a chance to sing, pray, listen to music and share memories. We are truly blessed by the example dad has been throughout this experience. We covet your prayers and will post updates soon.
2: Still Waiting Posted Dec 4, 2009 5:16pm Dee Shield (former Grinnellian) just stopped to see us, we have set up camp in the hallway. She was a nurse in the operating room but is on her way home and wanted to give us an update. The surgery is going well, she anticipates it will last until 6:00 p.m. She said Barry went in with a good attitude. We have claimed the song 'While I'm Waiting' by John Waller as our theme song. If you aren't familiar with it please take a few minutes to find it and listen to it. God is good!! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Saturday Posted Dec 5, 2009 5:13pm We met with the doctor last night after surgery and they believe they removed 30-40% of the tumor. It is called GBM Grade 4 terminal brain cancer. We'll meet with the oncologist to determine what the plan of attack will be. Most likely a combination of chemotherapy and radiation. We hope to be home by the end of the week. Barry continues to be in good spirits and praising God. His comments have been, "Every day is a good day" and "Every day is a gift from God". The verses that Barry has been reciting are Psalm 118:24, 1 Corinthians 10:13, Isaiah 26:3, Romans 8:28 & Joshua 1:5. Thank you very much for your prayers and words of encouragement. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ On the Move... Posted Dec 5, 2009 7:27pm Barry has been moved from SICU to sixth floor JCE, room 52, bed one. He had an MRI this afternoon and is tired. He is not in a lot of pain. We haven't officially seen any doctors today. He maintains a positive attitude and outlook, with strength that can only be from above. Thank you for your continued prayers. | While I'm Waiting I'm waiting I'm waiting on You, Lord And I am hopeful I'm waiting on You, Lord Though it is painful But patiently, I will wait I will move ahead, bold and confident Takeing every step in obedience While I'm waiting I will serve You While I'm waiting I will worship While I'm waiting I will not faint I'll be running the race Even while I wait I'm waiting I'm waiting on You, Lord And I am peaceful I'm waiting on You, Lord Though it's not easy But faithfully, I will wait Yes, I will wait I will serve You while I'm waiting I will worship while I'm waiting I will serve You while I'm waiting I will worship while I'm waiting I will serve you while I'm waiting I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord
3: Rough Night Posted Dec 6, 2009 8:39am We had a rough night. Barry didn't get much sleep and was uncomfortable most of the night. We had a fantastic nurse last night who was a real comfort to us. We are blessed! The doctors came in this morning and said yesterday's MRI looked ok. He felt that if Barry could sleep and get something to eat he would feel much better. Right now Barry is having a hard time keeping his eyes closed. Please pray that he'll get some much needed rest. Barry likes to share an analogy of the tree planted by the stream that endures strong winds. This is the tree that becomes the strongest. Barry has become stronger through our storm because God has planted him and is giving him strength. Thank you so much for your messages here, on the kids' Facebook pages and the phone messages you have left. Your love and prayers are a true encouragement to all of us. Our children are quick to tell Barry what their friends are saying and who all is praying for him. He always gives a weak smile and will whisper, we are blessed. Rejoicing in the goodness of our Lord and being ever thankful for all He has done for us and the encouragement He sends to us through all of you. To quote a very wise man, "Every day is a good day". May you find the goodness in today. Terri ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Sunday Evening Posted Dec 6, 2009 7:35pm We had a big day. They got Barry up today and he sat in a chair for over an hour. He ate real food and then was ready for a nap. He was able to sleep this afternoon. Tomorrow they'll have him walking done the hall. And I believe we'll meet with the oncologist. We're asking for prayer for wisdom and peace about the decision we'll be facing. Barry is right, every day is a good day. Thank you for your continued prayers and support. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Monday Morning Posted Dec 7, 2009 10:52am The neurological team were here early this morning. They will have Barry walking today and we'll probably be going home later today or tomorrow. Dr.Reddy is unsure if we'll be able to see the oncologist before we leave, we may need to come back for an appointment with him. The physical therapist is here now to take him for a walk. I'm sure he'll be exhausted and ready for a nap when he returns. He is greatly encouraged by your postings and e-mails, as are the kids and I. We continue to thank God for His goodness and look forward to what he has in store for us.
4: What a difference a day makes! Posted Dec 7, 2009 10:31pm What a difference a day makes! Dad was up and walking the halls today and was released from the hospital this evening. The trip to Grinnell was a long and hot one but he did pretty well and is back in Grinnell! We are so grateful to Grandpa Johnson and all his support and driving Dad home. Tonight is being spent at Grandpa and Grandma Johnson's house so that our home can be prepared for Dad to return (hopefully tomorrow or later in the week). Dad was able to enjoy Grandma Johnson's chicken noodle soup and a grilled cheese tonight combined with such an eventful day hopefully he sleeps sound. We had a brief meeting today with the oncologist today and will return next week to Iowa City and meet again to review the options going forward. Our family feels truly blessed to have encountered such great nurses, doctors and hospital staff--they all made the stay much easier. Every day is a GOOD day, in fact I'd say today is a GREAT one!
5: Thursday, 12/10 Posted Dec 10, 2009 9:13pm Barry had another encouraging day. He sat at the table for lunch and supper and ate well at both meals. He hasn't had a nap yet so I'm sure he is getting tired. :) Amy, Eric and Ashlyn stopped for a visit and it was the first time he's seen Ashlyn since before we went to IC. She was happy to see her PaPa and he was happy to see her. We are planning on going to our house tomorrow. Sarah is hoping to come back tomorrow, Amy will be in sometime over the weekend and Meg will be back for the Johnson Family breakfast. We'll have a wonderful weekend. Our bible reading today included 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the thing which are not seen are eternal. We are know our inward man is being renewed and we praise God for His goodness. Thank you for all of your prayers and support, may God bless you for your faithfulness to us. Every day is a good day! | Snowy Wednesday Posted Dec 9, 2009 2:30pm Yesterday was a low energy day for Barry. He sat up some and walked to the bathroom but wasn't very interactive. Today he woke up hungry and knew what he wanted to eat!!! He was bright eyed and enjoyed sitting by the front window so he could watch grandpa blow the snow. :) He was much more talkative and even initiated the conversation. This is a first for us since the surgery. He was up for quite a while and is resting now. We are praising God for my parents who have opened there home to us for a few days. They are such a blessing to all of us. We are also praising Him for the extended family and friends He has brought into our life. We are amazed at all of the love and encouragement that is being extended to us. One of the first things Barry said was the most important thing is that Jesus shows, we hope people are seeing Jesus in our family now and know they are seeing Jesus in all of you as you support us. For those of you who had been reaching me (Terri) on grandma's cell phone, I now have my own cell. You can reach me at 990-4487. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
6: Sunday 12/13 Posted Dec 13, 2009 1:16pm We came home on Friday to our house! Boy is it great to be home. Since being home we have had several visitors from family and friends. It has been great for Dad to get to visit with people and talk about all sorts of good times. Visitors make the time go by fast, but also take a lot of energy. Dad is wore out! This morning he got up and went to the annual Johnson Family Breakfast! He had a great appetite! He ate the 2x2x2 (eggs, pancakes, sausage), Sarah's hash browns, and a piece of Meg's French toast! He is still really wore out from all the visitors he has had recently so we plan on letting him rest as much as possible this afternoon and ask for no visitors today with the hopes Dad is able to attend Church tonight. A big thanks to all the great friends that have provided meals to us! We are so grateful to all of you and have enjoyed your cooking! It is a huge help for Mom to not have to worry about what to make. With God ALL things are possible!
7: Tomorrow... Posted Dec 13, 2009 10:12pm Tomorrow is a busy day! We have two separate doctor appointments tomorrow in Iowa City--one with the Neuro-Oncologist and then one with the Radiation Oncologist. Please pray for safe travels and the time spent with the doctors-that we will understand the options and ask the right questions. We hope to post an update tomorrow evening. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 12/15/09 Posted Dec 15, 2009 10:38am So I do not have all the details as to how the appointments went yesterday for Dad (12/14/09) Mom or Sarah will have to log in and post that information when they have time. I just wanted to let everyone know that they put Dad back in the hospital yesterday. He has 2 blood clots – one in each lung. He was having a hard time breathing I believe, and when they tried to draw blood nothing came out. I believe they did a CT yesterday of Dad’s chest and found the 2 blood clots. I don’t think they are large, but they do require some special attention. Mom said this morning that Dad had a rough night. He is in quite a lot of pain and they are giving him meds to help with that. He is on a blood thinner, I am not sure of the name, but they have to monitor him very closely because his brain may start to bleed with being on the blood thinner. Sorry I do not know more, I just wanted to get something posted to keep everyone informed. Thank you so much for all of your prayers. It truly has helped our family. It is an amazing feeling – God’s arms around you! Please continue to pray for Dad. He still has never said a negative thing about his situation. Not one! I know I have caught myself asking why? Why my Dad? He is a good Christian man, a loving father and husband! And Dad has never once asked why him. Amazing! He has a peace about him that no one else does, God truly is with him, comforting him and it is an awesome thing to see. Take care everyone! Amy Van Weelden ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Going home?? Posted Dec 16, 2009 10:00am It looks like we will be going home today! I'll back up a little and let you know what has happened. Sunday about 10 p.m. Barry had a pain in his left side. He was sitting in the recliner and we thought he had twisted or something and weren't too concerned. Monday he was still having pain and we headed to IC for our visits. We met with Dr. Smith to discuss radiation therapy and then went upstairs to talk to Dr. Thomas to discuss chemotherapy. The techs in Dr. Thomas office were having trouble drawing blood (it took 3 tries)Barry started feeling light headed and having cold sweats. They moved us into an exam and fortunately he was in a wheelchair because I believe he passed out on the way to the exam room. Dr. Thomas was immediately concerned with his physical appearance and problems he experienced in the lab. She listened very intently has Barry described the pain in his side. She sent us to ER because we would be able to get a cat scan of his lungs quicker if ER requested than if she did. They found several small clots in Barry's lower lobe on the left and the lower and middle lobes on the right. They started a Heparin IV and moved us into a room. Pain was very intense for Barry yesterday and late afternoon the started drip for pain management. Barry had a good night and is feeling much better. Dr. Ahmed from neurosurgery stopped and checked on Barry and removed his stitches. The incision is healing nicely. Barry will need to be on blood thinner for 6 months but will need to have injections in his stomach because oral medications interfere with chemo. We come back tomorrow for CT and MRI in Dr. Smith's office and I'm hoping we can see Dr. Thomas since we didn't get to talk to her about chemo on Monday. We'll start treatment after Christmas. Barry was able to read his bible on his own this morning. He struggles to read print but after I started reading asked that I give the bible to him so he could read himself. We thank God for each of you who are praying for us and for your words of encouragement. Ephesians 6:8
8: Sunday Morning Posted Dec 20, 2009 12:18pm I apologize for not updating sooner...Barry was released from the hospital on Wednesday afternoon. We were home in time for the AWANA kids to come caroling. Barry sat at our dining room window and the carolers were on the driveway. Jay had Barry's boys stand in the front so he could see them all. It was a wonderful 'mini-concert' and they ended with an non-traditional Christmas song "This Is The Day". It was an emotional night for us, and very encouraging. Thursday Barry went back to radiation oncology for an MRI, cat scan and to have his face mask made. December 23 he'll go back for a trial run of a radiation treatment, he won't actually receive radiation but they will make sure they have everything set properly. Monday, December 21, we visit with Dr. Thomas about chemotherapy. Our plan is to start radiation and chemotherapy Dec. 28. He will receive 34 radiation treatments, everyday Mon-Fri, and the chemotherapy will be taken at home. We are eagerly looking forward to Christmas and celebrating the birth of our Savior. Tonight is the Sunday School program at church and we ALL plan on being there. Later today or tomorrow Sarah and Drew will be coming from IL. Kevin's basketball girls have a tournament so he'll be coming later. It will be a wonderful Christmas to all be together and to be able to praise God for His goodness and to celebrate Ashlyn and Drew's first Christmas. Our prayer for each of you is that you will know the peace only God can offer, and that this Christmas you may know Jesus as your Savior too. Thank you for all of generous words and acts of kindness, Barry and I are truly amazed at the love you are showing our family. May God bless you for you have blessed us. | Tuesday Posted Dec 22, 2009 3:37pm Barry was able to go to church on Sunday evening and it was wonderful. He is truly uplifted by the love shown by our church family. He was especially touched when Isaiah, Parker, Jonah and Josiah (four of his AWANA boys) took the time to stop, each on their own, and check on him. He does have a real love for his group and prays for them. Yesterday we had our appointment with Dr. Thomas, she went over the chemo treatment and what to expect. The plan is to be on chemo for about six weeks and off for four,then back on for four and off for four, etc. We've made it clear to Barry that he is in control of how long he takes treatment. He has a very positive attitude and is hoping to gain more strength before next Monday when treatments begin. Dad took him to Kellogg today so he could visit the factory and see some of the people he worked with. They have been very kind and generous to us. We are looking forward to Tanner,Kristin & Lily(our nephew &family) arriving today and Kevin (our son by marriage) arriving tomorrow. Every day is a good day!! Terri | This is the Day This is the day This is the day That the Lord has made That the Lord has made We will rejoice We will rejoice And be glad in it And be glad in it This is the day that the Lord has made We will rejoice and be glad in it This is the day This is the day That the Lord has made.
9: Monday, December 28 Posted Dec 28, 2009 7:29pm We trust you all had a wonderful Christmas!! We enjoyed a touching Christmas Eve service at church and then Christmas with the Johnson side on Thursday. Amy, Eric and Ashlyn stayed in Grinnell and we woke up Christmas morning with two beautiful, healthy, happy grandbabies. God is good. We had a wonderful day Christmas with our family and with the Starks. Sunday was Leslie's 11th birthday so we had another family filled day. Today we started treatments. Barry's first radiation treatment was at 10:30 a.m. and everything went well. He had a little bleeding from the incision but the nurse wasn't concerned, she just told us to watch it. Tonight we start the chemotherapy pill. We are anticipating fatigue but hopefully none of the other side effects. Temodar is a relatively new drug, it was a clinical trial in 2005 that had good results. It is suppose to work with the radiation and actually help the radiation work better. Once again I want to thank all of you for your prayers and words of encouragement. We are all blessed to have you in our life. After our Christmas Eve service Barry told Jenni he would like to hear Shine Jesus Shine, so Jenni rounded up a few people to sing and asked Deb to play the piano and we had an improptu sing along. This is a wonderful song, if you're unfamiliar with it find it on the internet and listen to the words. This is our prayer. | Shine Jesus Shine Lord the Light or Your Love is shining, In the midst of the darkness shining, Jesus light of the world shine upon us, Set us free by the truth You now bring us, Shine on me. Shine on me. Shine Jesus shine Fill this land with the Father's glory Blaze, Spirit blaze, Set our hearts on fire Flow, river flow Flood the nations with grace and mercy Send forth Your word Lord and let there be light. Lord I come to Your awesome presence, From the shadows into Your radiance, By the blood I may enter Your brightness, Search me, try me, consume all my darkness, Shine on me. Shine on me. As we gaze on Your kindly brightness. So our faces display Your likeness. Ever changing from glory to glory, Mirrored here may our lives tell Your story. Shine on me. Shine on me. | Change of plans Posted Dec 30, 2009 9:45pm Monday and Tuesday after Barry's radiation his incision site bled a little. Our oncology nurse, Kelly, told us to keep an eye on it. Early this morning I noticed it was bleeding again and there was a little discharge. I spoke with Kelly and she said they would have a neurosurgeon look at it before radiation today. After seeing a couple of the neurosurgeons Barry had blood work and a CT done. The CT was to determine if the was a pocket of fluid between the skull. There isn't, they said the infection is superficial. They said this sometimes happens once radiation begins. We are starting an oral antibiotic and a gel for the incision site. We have bandaged the site again and are to return to the neurosurgeon in approximately two weeks. The radiation and chemotherapy treatments have been suspended for the time. The site needs to be completely healed before we can begin treatment again. While this may seem like a road block to some we know God is not surprised, and though we don't know why - this is the path He has chosen for us. Thank you for your continued prayers and support. Today is a good day!
10: Tuesday, 1/5/10 Posted Jan 5, 2010 6:43pm Barry was concerned about his incision so we went back to IC to see the neurosurgeon today. They decided to clean up the wound and remove the scabbing. They still believe there is a superficial infection. We will continue the antibiotic and now are using a 'wet to dry' dressing two times a day. We go back to their office on Tuesday, 1/12. We are waiting on God to heal the infection and show us when we can continue treatment. And like the song says: I'm waiting I'm waiting on You, Lord And I am peaceful I'm waiting on You, Lord Though it's not easy But faithfully, I will wait Yes, I will wait I will serve You while I'm waiting I will worship while I'm waiting I will serve You while I'm waiting I will worship while I'm waiting I will serve you while I'm waiting I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord Thank you for your continued prayer and support. We love you all. Terri | Saturday, Jan. 9 Posted Jan 9, 2010 10:55am Wednesday evening when I got home from work Barry looked the best he had looked in quite a while. His eyes were bright and he seemed more his old self. When we finally decided what to have for supper, breakfast (pancakes, eggs, bacon), Barry volunteered to cook. Breakfast has always been his meal and he was anxious to start again with a little help. I was so encouraged by his attitude. Thursday evening when I got home from work he was standing in the garage with Eric, Randy Ives, Amy & Meg. I think the guys were talking about all of the 'stuff' Barry has in the garage. I believe it was the first time he had been to his garage since before Thanksgiving. :) Some friends from church came for a visit and Amy, Eric & Ashlyn spent the night, so Thursday was another good day. Friday morning Scott took Barry out for breakfast, it was his second of the day. He's almost reverted to a teenage boy with the way he wants to eat. And this morning he has gone to Kellogg for a union meeting with a friend from work. The factory has closed and there are still a lot of unanswered questions so hopefully today will help the former employees. We are so thankful for the positive support we've received from family and friends. Please know we thank God for each of you and pray He will bless you because you have blessed us. Terri | Wednesday, January 13 Posted Jan 13, 2010 11:30am Yesterday we met with Dr. Howard, our neurosurgeon, again. He said the incision is healing and he wants to see us next Tuesday. We do need to continue the wet to dry dressing but do not need more antibiotics. A surface infection will heal on it's own now. If there is infection next week when we go then we'll need to consider surgery to remove the bone flap. Barry is fine with no more antibiotic, in order to give him his meds on an empty stomach we were giving him time limits, like you can eat until 2:00 p.m. Now he'll be able to go back to his grazing. :) He did gain a couple of more pounds, so all those Frosty Malts are paying off. The sun is out today and it is suppose to warm up some. Maybe I can take Barry out for lunch. Thank you for your continued prayer and support. We are overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of our family, friends and those who barely know us. Know you're a blessing to each of us and we remember you when we prayer. Terri
11: Wed. Jan 20 Posted Jan 20, 2010 9:55am Yesterday we met with our neurosurgeon and the resident who has been attending Barry. They both feel like the incision is improving, no signs of infection. We are to continue the wet to dry dressing and go back in two weeks. Obviously if the incision begins to bleed or we see signs of infection we are to go back sooner. Dr. Howard thinks in two weeks we may be healed enough to jump back into radiation and chemotherapy treatment. So, we praise God for no more infection. The thought of additional surgery if there was still infection was a little disheartening. And we continue to blessed by the love of God shown to us through our family and friends. And people who barely know us. It is cold, windy and icy. I always think God sends us days like this because He wants us to slow down and truly appreciate what we have. I know Barry, me and our children have become more and more aware of the blessings of our lives. Some may seem small however we know God is concerned about the small things so all blessing are great. Icy and windy, it is still a good day! | Benefit for Barry Posted Jan 17, 2010 4:14pm everyday is a good day Our friend, father and loved one, Barry Stark has been diagnosed with GBM stage 4 terminal brain cancer.You are invited to join his children at a benefit soup supper and silent auction with a special performance by Turlach Ur, Grinnell’s Pipe Band ~ Free will donation ~ When: Saturday February 6, 2010 Where: Harris Center, Grinnell College, 1114 Tenth Avenue, Grinnell, Iowa Time: 5:00 pm-8:00 pm All proceeds will benefit the Barry Stark Fund. a fund established to help Barry offset the expenses incurred while fighting brain cancer.
12: Pray Posted Feb 3, 2010 11:54am Please pray for dad today! He is having a rough day and all of your prayers would be greatly appreciated! Probably no visitors today, thanks. Thank you, Amy VanWeelden | Tuesday, Feb. 2 Posted Feb 2, 2010 11:40pm We've had an eventful couple of weeks. On Saturday, January 23, Grinnell hosted Large Group Speech district contest and Barry was able to attend both of John's events. Varsity Readers Theatre received a 2 and his Ensemble Acting (with Meredith Kalkbrenner) received a 1 rating. John & Meredith advance to state this Saturday. :) There is something special about watching your child perform. This past weekend we babysat Ashlyn while Eric and Amy enjoyed a minivacation. We really enjoyed having her with us, and I was thankful for Meg and Leslie's help. Ashlyn has become very active. Today was our visit with Dr. Howard. He cleaned up the incision and was pleased with how well it has healed. He believes we'll be able to start treatment next week. He spoke with Dr. Smith, the radiation oncologist, and they determined we will go back next Tuesday to see Dr. Howard again and then visit Dr. Smith. Jared went with us today and had made arrangements for Barry to meet Iowa football safety Tyler Sash. He came to the hospital before our appointment with Dr. Howard. He signed a few things for the benefit and spent about 20 minutes visiting. Barry enjoyed talking with him about lifting weights. We hope to have an opportunity to see Tyler again. Barry is finding he has less energy than a couple of weeks ago and we know once he begins radiation that will be even worse. We're thanking God for the strength He provides for all of us. Remembering Philippians 4:13. Thank you for prayers and words of encouragement.
13: Benefit Saturday Night Posted Feb 4, 2010 1:46pm Barry's children are putting on a benefit soup supper and silent auction for him this Saturday night February 6th. Maybe you have seen the ad in the Pennysaver the past two weeks??? Here is the information just so all of you know. Barry Stark has been diagnosed with GBM stage 4 terminal brain cancer. You are invited to join his children at a benefit soup supper and silent auction with a special performance by Turlach Ur, Grinnell’s Pipe Band ~ FREE WILL DONATION ~ When: Saturday February 6, 2010 From 5:00pm-8:00pm Where: Harris Center, Grinnell College, 1114 10th Avenue, Grinnell, IA All proceeds will benefit the Barry Stark Fund, a fund established to help offset the expenses incurred while fighting brain cancer. HERE IS JUST A LITTLE BIT MORE INFORMATION: Performance By Turlach Ur To Begin At 5:30 pm with Live Auction To Follow. Silent Auction Will Close At 7:00 pm
14: Friday, February 5 Posted Feb 5, 2010 9:35am Wednesday morning when I woke Barry up he looked a lot like he did when I woke him up nine weeks earlier and we went to the ER. Wednesday he couldn't remember that he had surgery, brain cancer, that the factory had closed, etc. I called the neurosurgeon and they put him back on the steroid. We had repeat conversations throughout the day and each time it was like he was hearing things for the first time. It was frustrating for him to know there were things he couldn't remember and he felt like he had lost about three months. As we prepared for Leslie to go to AWANA he became concerned about 'his boys', he wanted to know who would be there to help them. We assured him there were several people who had stepped in while he's away. With everything he didn't remember he does remember Scripture. Wednesday evening he was quoting bible verses. It was such an encouragement for me to hear him and know that the word of God is deep in his mind and heart. Yesterday was a little better, today (so far) about the same as yesterday. He knows he has cancer, but asking frequently about the factory, what the date is and why we have a new stove. (after church Sunday the element in the oven burned out-it made for an exciting evening and at that point Barry was very lucid and went to the basement to shut the breaker off) This morning he said it was like a vapor because he couldn't remember things and I asked what he was confident of, his response "that God is in control and always has been, that you're my wife and I love you". Sweet music to my heart. Yesterday Jenni sent me the following verse: Ps. 55:16-17 "I call to You, God and You save me. Even if I cry out in distress evening, morning, and noon, You will never fail to hear my voice." What a comfort to know God always hears! We are so thankful for your prayers and encouragement. Yesterday as I read your comments he was especially touched that Mic would close her comment with Barry's phrase - every day is a good day. May you find the good in today and every day and may God bless you as you have blessed us. love to all from all of us.
15: Monday, February 8 Posted Feb 8, 2010 10:51pm Another snowy day. I think I'm ready for spring but then again I don't want time to go any faster. When Barry asks how long ago he had surgery or how long ago the factory closed he is always surprised at how time has passed. I agree, where are our days going? We're doing our best to continue our lives as normal as possible but taking time to enjoy every moment we have together. I love it when I walk into the front room and see Barry in his chair and one of the children sitting close and talking with him, even if it is a conversation they just had with him a few moments earlier. We had a wonderful evening on Saturday. I was amazed at the number of people who came to encourage us. Barry was able to visit with several family and friends and was truly touched by the kindness of many. Turlach Ur did a fantastic job and it was nice to have a few minutes to visit with Rob Clower. We are thankful to each of you who were able to attend, to our dear friends who helped the girls organize and work at the benefit and to our family for making the benefit happen. Barry is still confused about a lot of things. We are suppose to go to Iowa City tomorrow to meet with our neurosurgeon and radiation oncologist however if the weather is bad we'll postpone our appointments. The following line was in one of my devotionals this morning and it keeps going through my mind - This is the way of Peace,living in the Light of My Presence. What a wonderful truth! May you know His Peace. Thank you for your continued support, prayers and encouragement.All of us (Barry, Terri, Sarah & Kevin, Amy & Eric, Meg, John, Les)are blessed to have you walking along with us as we face each new day.
16: Treatment Begins Today Posted Feb 10, 2010 7:23am We saw Dr. Howard yesterday and though Barry doesn't remember ever being in the office, he did recognize the face of the receptionist and he did recognize Dr. Howard. Dr. Howard was pleased with the incision and gave the ok to begin treatment. We then met with Dr. Smith, he too was pleased with the incision. Dr. Smith ordered an MRI and then showed us the images along side the images from December. We weren't surprised to see that the tumor has grown quite a bit and crossed over to the left side. Today we have a radiation treatment, then meet with Dr. Thomas (our chemo oncologist). Friday we'll meet with Dr. Smith again after treatment. Due to Barry's confusion we have started having someone with him all the time. He frequently asks about taking care of Jake and yesterday morning I heard him in the kitchen looking for his keys. It was about 6:30 a.m. and he thought he was going to be late for work. The keys are gone now. However, when I reflect on these I am thankful for the faithful man he is. No matter had bad the factory was Barry was a faithful employee for 32 plus years so he could provide for his family. And he has loved and cared for Jake for several years and wants to make sure he is still taken care of. Your prayers and encouraging words and actions make all this easier.
17: One Treatment Done Posted Feb 11, 2010 8:07am Barry had his first, in this series, treatment yesterday. When we arrived they told us the machine wasn't working and they had someone working on it. They thought it would be another hour before Barry could have his treatment. They asked that we wait there and then be late for our appointment with Dr. Thomas, and we agreed. Shortly after that Barry started asking if we could just go home. I said a quick prayer, 'Lord show me what you want us to do'. We had been there about 30 min when they came back and said it was fixed. So Barry had his first treatment and it went well. As I was scheduling his future appointments (2:45 p.m. Mon-Fri)I noticed the sheet said 23. I thought Dr. Smith had said 34 but he also said he would have to review the images from yesterday and come up with a new plan. After his treatment we saw Dr. Thomas. Natalie, her nurse,came into the exam room and visited until Dr. Thomas arrived. She asked about the children and could remember quite a bit about our family. It was good to see Dr. Thomas, she is very compassionated and genuinely concerned about us. We'll stay on the same chemotherapy regime she prescribed in December. It amazes me that we can have such a personal relationship with them when they have so many patients. Another blessing to praise God for, the wonderful people in I.C. that are helping us along. Today, Scott and Meg will take Barry for his treatment. I'm praying for peace for Barry. And strength for Scott and Meg. This mornings devotional thought: Do not grow weary and lose heart. Every day IS a good day. Look for your blessing as you go through the day. Love to each of you. | Tuesday, Feb. 16 Posted Feb 16, 2010 7:49am Barry has now had four radiation treatments. The treatments seem to be going well. He has started to experience more fatigue, his confusion is about the same and recently has been restless during the night. He rarely takes a daytime nap however he is still up walking around the house during the night. I haven't found this as a side effect of any of his medication but will talk to Dr. Thomas about it tomorrow. Our girls are planning a weekend at the water park in the Amanas. They hope to be able to go this weekend and Barry thinks it's a good idea when we talk about it. One of the first things Barry said he would like to do after his surgery was eat at the Amanas - so we'll be able to do that and we'll celebrate Sarah's birthday. Barry continues to ask if he is being a good witness.And that touches me so because with all he doesn't remember he does remember how important our testimony through this is and the eternal value it has. I am blessed to have a husband who loves the Lord and desires to serve and worship Him while he is waiting. This morning one of devotionals referenced 2 Corinthians 12:9, "And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." - I could say I've had this conversation with Christ, I've heard that still small voice say - My grace is sufficient. And I am exceedingly thankful that He gives grace as we need it. My prayer is that each of you may know the grace of God and if you don't - please seek out someone who can show you how to receive it. Our love to each of you - | Yesterday's Visit Posted Feb 18, 2010 6:58am Barry's radiation treatment went well yesterday and so did our visit with Dr. Thomas. She gave Barry a thorough exam and said she didn't see any changes. His blood work was good, so no changes to the chemo meds. She also spoke with the head of hematology about the possibility of reducing his Lovenox injections to once a day but they both feel it is too early to do that. So we'll continue with the twice daily injections and though it isn't pleasant it is better than the blood clots. Things around home remain pretty much the same. We have developed a pretty good routine. Every day is a good day. May your day today be better than most. :)
18: Monday,Feb. 22 Posted Feb 22, 2010 8:14am We had a wonderful weekend! We wish John had been able to join us. Ashlyn and Drew are growing and changing with every visit.We enjoyed watching and listening to them. The big kids seemed to enjoy the water park and Barry and I had fun watching them. And of course, the food was great. Friday's treatment went well. I clarified the treatment schedule with Dr. Smith. Barry should have 34 treatments. He had two before the first of the year and eight the past two weeks. So we have 24 treatments left. This week we have doctor's appointments on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Thankfully they aren't forecasting snow. Barry's memory is about the same. It is hard to know what he'll remember and what he won't. I think for the most part he has accepted his memory loss however there are times when it is frustrating for him. And I understand, I'm not sure I would be handling it as well as he is. We aren't seeing side effects of the chemotherapy or radiation, so that is good. Thank you for your continued prayers and support. May you have a wonderful week.
19: Thursday, Feb 25 Posted Feb 25, 2010 7:47am Tuesday we met with Dr. Howard, he was pleased with Barry's incision and said to continue the current radiation schedule then return next week for him to check the incision again. I'm thankful he is being cautious and faithful in his care for Barry. And of course, he told me to call if anything comes up that concerns me. :) Yesterday we saw Dr. Thomas she was very pleased with the physical and neurological exam she gave Barry. And his blood work all looked good. She gave us another perscription for Temodar but this time in varying dosages to give a total of 150 mg per day. This way if we need to adjust the dosage in the next couple of weeks it will be easy to do without writing another perscription. We go back to see her on March 10 but she will continue to monitor his blood and will call us if something changes. And we can call them if we have concerns. The rest of our family has had a few struggles this week. My mom fell down the basement stairs and has two vertical breaks in the bone beneath her knee cap. She'll have surgery Monday to place a couple of screws in the bone. Tuesday Meg had a little accident and is now on crutches. The doctor doesn't think her foot is broken but possibly her little toe. Though each of these were definitely unplanned and I know mom and Meg are in pain, I am thankful the injuries weren't worse. They both have a positive attitude and I'm sure this will help them heal quickly. I am also thankful for the people who have contacted me wanting to help my parents.The love of God continues to flow to us by those who care for us. Another blessing we experienced this week happened at Pastor & Jenni, of course we are always blessed when we spend time with them. We had a wonderful meal, were just visiting when they received a phone call from Tom. It was wonderful to hear his voice and Barry was blessed to be able to speak to him. We had assumed they wouldn't see or speak again until they are both in heaven but God had another plan and we are encouraged to have that opportunity. We ended our evening by singing a few hymns and thanking God for a good day. Thank you for your continued prayers and words of encouragement. We thank God for you and look forward to what new blessings God has in store for us and you. | Saturday, Feb 27 Posted Feb 27, 2010 7:45am Barry's treatment yesterday was fine however Dr. Smith was called to the operating room and couldn't see us. We'll see him Monday after Barry's treatment. Please say a prayer for the patient having a surgery-I have no idea why Dr. Smith was called but I'm confident they can benefit from our prayers. Things here are pretty much the same which is good. We are looking forward tonight to an early 1st birthday celebration for our great niece, Lily Kay. It unbelievable that our babies are getting ready to celebrate birthdays! I am so thankful that God's timing allowed us to have this time with them. Another blessing that I didn't really recognize until this week, probably sounds a little odd but truly is a big thing for me. Barry has always been the driver in our family, he would say it wasn't that he didn't trust me to drive it was just that he was more comfortable in the drivers seat than the passenger seat. Since Barry surgery he has not once been uncomfortable in the passenger seat. God is so good, this isn't something I had thought about or prayed about however God gave Barry the peace that he needs especially since we spend so much time in the car. Since my little revelation :), I've prayed that God will open my eyes to all of the blessings in my life. I know there are so many that if I truly saw everything my head would be spinning however I don't want to miss much and I do want to give God the honor and praise He is due. Verses that have been popping into my head through all of this are Proverbs 3:5&6. "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths." For me trusting God is easier than trying to understand. One of my morning prayers is that He will give me whatever I need to make the right decisions for the day. I know many of you are praying the same thing for us and I appreciate your prayers. I thank God for your love, support and encouragement-I know God will bless you for you have blessed us.
20: Half Way Point?? Posted Mar 4, 2010 7:12pm Yesterday was treatment number 16 so if we stay with the original plan that was the halfway point. Tomorrow he'll have an MRI but Dr. Smith will be out so we won't see the images until Monday. Barry has been experiencing some pain in his legs so they increased his steroid a little and I've started giving him a Tylenol at bedtime and this seems to help. And he is now losing hair from the radiation. It bothers him because his hair looks so patchy so tonight I'll give him a haircut. He asked for a haircut like Drew (no hair) but I'm not going that short. :) We also heard from Dr. Thomas and his blood work looks good so we continue on the same dosage of chemotherapy. This morning he and dad went to the first performance of "Guys & Dolls". They left at intermission because Barry was getting pretty tired but they really enjoyed the performance and Barry was very proud of John. I can't wait to go this weekend. Three months ago today was our day of surgery. It is amazing how much we've learned and how much we've grown in three months. Normal is no longer what it once was but the grace of God is an amazing thing. We have received so much love and encouragement from so many people that we are truly humbled. Thank you to each of you that post a message, say a prayer, send a note and share your love. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ MRI Results Posted Mar 9, 2010 6:48am Yesterday we were able to see the MRI images after Barry's treatment. There doesn't seem to be a significant change in the size or location of the tumor. However, Dr. Smith was pleased. There were different colored circles on the image and one was the their target zone, where they had been focusing the radiation. He was watching for the tumor to have possibly grown to the area outside of the target zone and it has not. Since there is no growth outside of the target zone they have reduced the target zone and are focusing the radiation on a smaller area. So this is good. It was starting to getting foggy on our way home so we were glad the appointment didn't run any longer than it did. It was a long day and Barry was pretty tired when we got home. Thank you for your prayers for us yesterday, and every day. God has given us strength for each day and I am confident He will continue to strengthen and guide us. Love to you all-Terri ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 9 Treatments to go Posted Mar 12, 2010 7:28pm Wednesday we saw Dr. Thomas. She was very pleased with Barry's blood counts. In fact a couple of them went up. She said that usually by this point in the treatment the counts have dropped enough that she has to adjust the chemotherapy dosage. For now we're staying with the same dosage but she is expecting to make a change next week. She couldn't explain why they would have gone up but we told her we were sure prayer had something to do with. Thanks guys! Today we saw a dentist at the clinic there to look at the sores in Barry's mouth. Dr. Smith wasn't sure it was thrush and the dentist didn't exactly say that is what he has however he does believe the sores are caused by the medications he is on. He prescribed a new mouth rinse so hopefully that will help. We talked to Dr. Smith today about decreasing the steroid dosage but he prefers to leave it where it's at since we're so close to the end of treatments. Only nine more sessions to go!!! Barry and I were talking on Wednesday on our way to IC and even though it was discouraging that we couldn't get our doctor's appointments on the same days (I drive when there is a dr. appt and we have others drive when there is not) I am thankful for the time Barry and I have had in the car. It was quiet time we may not have had otherwise. Just another one of those little blessings that I hadn't really looked at before. Have a blessed weekend!
21: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Last Treatment Posted Mar 25, 2010 9:04pm Tuesday we saw Dr. Howard and he was pleased with the incision and we won't see him again unless we have problems. We said our goodbyes to him and his staff. They have all been so nice and easy to work with. Yesterday we saw Dr. Thomas and she too was pleased and we made a follow up visit for her in four weeks. Today was the last day of radiation. And tonight Barry will take his last dose of chemotherapy. We said our goodbyes to some of the radiation staff and it is touching to think about how much those people have come to mean to us. He received a couple of hugs and kind words. Today was Susan's (one of the technicians) 50th birthday-she thought it was great they were both able to celebrate. As we said goodbye to Dan in radiation I thought about the number of people we have met, and hopefully encouraged, since 12/2/09 that we wouldn't have had contact with if Barry didn't have cancer. I pray that Jesus has shown - just as Barry so earnestly said was the most important thing when we were told he had a tumor. Our current plan is to take four weeks off and then have a five day round of chemo at a higher dosage. We'll have an MRI, then see Dr. Thomas to receive the chemo perscription, then we'll see Dr. Smith (our radiation oncologist) for a 30 day follow-up. We also have an appointment in neurology for some issues Barry has been having with his left hand. He has had five or six incidences where his fingers have gone stiff. However, we can't get in until after the MRI so they must not be too concerned. Barry and I decided if it continues to happen we'll call but maybe it will stop now that he is getting off some meds. We are on a 15 day gradual weaning from the steroids starting tomorrow. I know he'll be glad to see fewer pills each day. Pastor and Jenni went with us today and we stopped for a celebration dinner after we left the hospital. As always we had good conversation and great fellowship. We are looking forward to a little more rest, being able to spend some time outside and enjoying family and friends. Knowing every day will be a good day. I was going to list the blessings we have received the past six weeks but there is no way I can mention all of them so I'll share a few. We've been blessed with wonderful meals from so many, people helping with transportation, with safety over all those miles, Barry didn't have any weight loss or need to reduce chemo dosage,kindness from doctors, nurses, technicians, office staff, valet guys and fellow patients. We've been blessed by shared scripture, loving visits, kind words,shoulders to cry on and a hug in the office, an unexpected gift of frozen sweet corn because you heard Barry was looking forward to this year's sweet corn, handmade cards from young people in our lives who are so important to us and the prayers of so many. Thank you to each of you who has blessed us in some way. Jesus is showing! A verse for today: 'The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him. Psalm 28:7 | Sunday, March 21 Posted Mar 21, 2010 11:39pm Another week has gone by...last weekend we were able to keep Ashlyn overnight and had a wonderful time playing with her. This weekend we went to IL to see Sarah, Kevin and Drew. We had a great time. Drew is growing so much. Our grandbabies are truly a delight! Treatments last week went pretty well. We only have four left! Barry's blood work was good and we didn't need to change his chemotherapy dosage. Barry has grown tired of the trips to IC and I know he'll be glad when these are behind him. He seems to easily discouraged lately, I'm hoping once we're through the treatments he won't be as tired and hopefully that will help. I recently read the following verse and continue to be encouraged by it. 'Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.' Jeremiah 33:3. God is showing me great and mighty things every day, every day is a good day. Happy Spring!
22: Saturday, April 3 Posted Apr 3, 2010 8:13am We've had quite a week...last Saturday morning my mom called and told me she thought dad was having a stroke. The ER doctor thought it wasn't a stroke but medication that had caused the drop in heart rate and dad to pass out. He is seeing his heart doctor in DesMoines to try to confirm the cause. Dad seems perfectly fine now but we would like to know for sure if it was medication. Barry has had a good week. He seems to be tolerating the decreasing steroids without any effects.The kids were on spring break and so he spent some time outside while they did some yard work, he was able to have breakfast with some friends from the factory and dad took him and Leslie fishing at Lake Nyanza. I think Leslie caught the most. :) Yesterday was Ashlyn's first birthday and we had a wonderful party at Pagliai's. Where did the year go?? She is walking and climbing and a lot of fun. Sarah, Kevin and Drew are here and before you know it we'll be celebrating his birthday. He was so good at the party especially since there were so many people he doesn't know. He is a lot of fun, too. I've had a couple of devotionals about peace this week. I believe God's Peace is available to everyone I also believe you should seek it. Recently I've been easily distracted and not really accomplishing things at home and then waking during the night going over my laundry list of things to do. I've prayed for peace in these areas, knowing God is in control and releasing my desire to maintain control over certain things will give me the peace I desire. Obviously, knowing God is in control isn't a new revelation for me-it's just that I sometimes feel there is so much I need to accomplish that I don't make a conscious decision to let go of those small things. With this being Easter weekend I've also reflected on the cross and what Christ endured so I could have access to that peace. For me, personally, if I am not diligently seeking the Peace of Jesus I am not truly accepting the blessing God offers. Thanks for listening to my thoughts.As we celebrate Easter weekend I hope that each of you take some time to reflect on the cross. My prayer is that each of you have accepted that it was for your sins (and mine) that Jesus died on the cross, it was so we could have eternal life with Him that He suffered and bled and died. And that by rising again He has given us victory over the grave. John 11:25-26 "Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" Our love to you all-may you have a blessed Easter.
23: Thursday April 8 Posted Apr 8, 2010 9:08am Do you ever wake up in the morning with a sinking feeling in your stomach? Or notice your baby looks just a little sad when they wake up in the morning? I dismayed both of these to the gloomy weather here in Chicago--a chilly 36 degree's... However much more is in store for this day. Megan called me around 7:45 just as I was walking into work. I will do my best to repeat what i was told, but Megan or Mom can correct the facts later: Last night around 4:30 a.m. Dad fell on his way to the bathroom in the kitchen, Dad was crawling to the bathroom--it woke mom up. Mom helped Dad get to the bathroom, she turned him to the sink to wash his hands and stepped out of the bathroom. Dad then fell and hit his head pretty hard on the toilet. John, Megan and Mom were able to get Dad into the chair in the other room. Dad was upset a little at this point. Then he started having twitching in his hand (which he has had some of already) but then it was his foot, then leg etc. Mom thought it was seizures..they called the ambulance.The EMT's confirmed it was most likely seizures and took him to the Grinnell Hospital. I just got a call back from Megan and they are sending Dad to the hospital in Iowa City--they feel that the Doctors there will care better for the situation (and I agree and am so glad they are not waiting to do this). Grandpa Johnson is taking Megan, John, Leslie out to the Grinnell hospital before they take Dad to ICity. When I get further details I will do my best to update you all again. You all have been so great in your support and prayers--keep 'em coming! Until later---Sarah ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ April 8 part II Posted Apr 8, 2010 3:28pm Update as of 8:45a.m.--> I guess they are waiting on a blood test to come back and to get Dad stabilized before sending him to ICity, Meg said 99% sure they will be going, but i guess a chance of no too. update as of noon--> They had been waiting for a room to be ready in IC before transporting Dad, they were leaving Grinnell around noon. as of 2:30--> they made it to IC and are in a room. They are doing more blood work and will be doing a CT soon. Amy and Megan are headed there shortly. Hopefully they get some more details and I can update again later tonight. Thanks all! Sarah
24: April 8 9;50 p.m. Posted Apr 8, 2010 11:35pm Barry is resting after what has been quite a day. Sarah's account is pretty accurate. Leslie had woken up at 3:00 something and so I laid down in the family room with her. I heard Barry fall in the kitchen on his way to the bathroom and went to him. I knew I wouldn't be able to get him up so I called John and asked that he wake up Meg and they come down to help. Barry did crawl into the bathroom and then was able to stand but as he was washing his hands he fell again hitting his head. The tremors started about 1 1/2 hour after we got him into his chair. The only test they did in Grinnell was his blood work. At IC he has received a CAT scan, EEG and about three drawings of blood for testing. Tomorrow (hopefully at 9:00 a.m.) he'll have an MRI. I did ask the doctor if he could tell me, without all the results, what he thinks and he believes Barry is having partial seizures, caused by either the tumor or by decreasing the steroid. He does believe we'll be able to control it with medicine. Jenni & I sang a little to Barry this afternoon and then Pastor brought a hymnal Meg, Amy, Leslie, Jenni and I sang, and then later Pastor joined us. Quite a concert. :) They've increased his dosage of steroid and I'm not what the dosage of the anti seizure medicine is,but I think they've increased that as well. Looking back over the day I can see God's hand in it all- the fact that it happened while I was home and it wasn't just Barry and Meg at home, that Barry wasn't injured during the falls, that something told me to go ahead and take my shower and get dressed while others were resting, that our neighbor Chris was the police offer that responded, that Dr. Rebelsky happened to be walking down the hallway as we were waiting outside ER to talk to a doctor, the attentive care of the staff at GRMC, EMTs and staff here, Meg & John thinking clear enough to pack a bag for me and get everything I need. Barry is sleeping now. Meg is spending the night with me at the hospital. And though it wasn't an easy day, it was a good day and the peace that is ours because of Jesus is giving us strength. A couple of songs that have been going through my mind Because He Lives, the chorus is "Because He lives I can face tomorrow Because He lives all fear is gone Because I know He holds the future, And life is worth the living just because He lives." And I Know Whom I Have Believed "But I know Whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I've committed unto Him against that day." And a family favorite, one I started singing with Sarah several years ago to comfort when things were hard - The Cares Chorus."I cast all my cares upon You. I lay all of my burdens down at Your feet. And anytime that I don't know what to do, I will cast all my cares upon You." Again, thank you all for your prayers. They are definitely encouraging all of us. May God bless you each. Terri
25: Friday, April 9 Posted Apr 9, 2010 11:40pm Today we were visited by several doctors, nurses, technicians, physical therapy and occupational therapy. We answered the same questions several times and Barry had the same neurological exam a few times. The physical therapist gave us some exercises Barry can do in bed to help strengthen his legs. The occupational therapist talked about getting Barry to the place where he can walk, assisted, to the bathroom, brush his teeth, dress himself, etc. They both believe he'll need to use a walker when he gets home (and I agree) maybe he'll be able to go to a cane after his strength improves. A little after 4:30 p.m. he left for his MRI. He was back in the room about 45 minutes when a doctor on the neurosurgical team visited. He was on the team that operated on Barry in December. He asked questions, gave Barry an exam and talked to us. He had seen the MRI but wanted to compare it to an earlier one. He also needs to talk to the rest of the team, the neurological team and the oncologist but he believes the seizures are caused by the cancer. Tomorrow we should meet with a doctor(s) who will tell us what their plan is for controlling the seizures. Currently they are giving Barry twice as much anti seizure medicine as he was receiving at home and an increased dosage of steroid. In fact, the steroid is high enough that it is causing his blood sugar to be elevated and he has received two injections of insulin. However, he is still having tremors/seizures. He remains in pretty good spirits and is still able to make jokes. What a guy! Tonight before Pastor and Jenni left Pastor asked Barry if he had any specific prayer requests, right away I started thinking of-a quick solution to the tremors, increased strength so he can kind of return to his normal life, tolerance of new drugs,etc. And Barry thoughtfully asked for prayer for someone dear to him to accept Christ as their personal saviour. That was his only request and I was quickly reminded that "the most important thing is that Jesus shows." I am so thankful God gave me Barry for my husband. His love for God and love for others has been magnified through this time and I'm blessed that God would allow me to experience this with Barry. And that each of you would choose to follow along with us and offer your love and support. Today's verses are from Psalm 61, Psalm 61:1,2 "Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I." I know we aren't the only ones going through struggles so I'm praying God will lead us all to the higher rock. love to you all Terri
26: Saturday, April 10 Posted Apr 10, 2010 10:31pm This morning we saw a couple of doctors and they have concluded the cause of the seizures is the cancer. Compared to the MRI after surgery the tumor has grown, neither of them had a computer with them to show us the images. However, I'm fairly confident when we meet with our oncologist we'll be able to see a side by side comparison. Their suggestion and our plan is to continue with the meds they are giving Barry and meet with our radiation oncologist and med oncologist to see if there is a chance of more radiation and chemotherapy. I'm unsure what Dr. Smith will say about radiation however I'm sure Dr. Thomas will have a plan for chemo. Surgery is not an option. They've increased Barry's anti seizure to 1500mg twice a day and his steroid to 4mg six times a day. However the steroid is by injection so I'm not sure how that compares to the tablet dosage he was taking. They are also watching his blood sugar, since he is on an increased dosage of steroid his blood sugar has been elevated and they are giving him insulin. He sat in the chair for close to three hours today. He had a pretty good day with few tremors. He has mentioned a couple of times he was lightheaded while sitting in bed so we'll talk to the doctors about that tomorrow. Pastor and Jenni stopped tonight and we got a preview of tomorrows message. We'll go through the scripture again tomorrow morning. We look forward to being home and worshiping with our CBC family soon. Tonight's song, from me, is "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms", seems that song has become more real to me as I sometimes feel as though the (literal) arms of God are holding me up. And as a teaser for Sunday, we're looking forward to "holding his feet". Love to you all. | We're Home Posted Apr 14, 2010 7:47am Actually we came home late Monday afternoon but we've been having issues with our internet so I didn't get an update posted. We were unable to see either oncologist before we left the hospital so we go back today to see Dr. Thomas. She should have a plan for continued chemotherapy. We are still on the increased dosage of anti seizure medication (I'm guessing that will not be lowered) and are on a lower dose of steroid.Barry has had two good nights of sleeping and we had a good day yesterday. He is using a walker to help but is gaining strength and confidence all the time. We were able to sit outside for a while yesterday afternoon and he really enjoyed being out. Thank you so much for your prayers over the weekend. We treasure those and your words of encouragement and acts of kindness. A verse from this mornings readings: Psalm 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him. I have this verse underlined in my bible because it has spoken to me before. To me, strength and shield means He is enabling me to do what I need to and is protecting me, that I need to trust Him with my heart not my mind and THEN I receive help and because of all of this I will rejoice and praise Him. Have a great day!
27: Thursday, April 15 Posted Apr 15, 2010 8:36pm Our appointment with Dr. Thomas went about as expected. I was a little surprised when she came into the room and asked if we had heard the good news. Dr. Smith, our radiation oncologist, reviewed the images from Feb. before the start of radiation and the one they took Friday. He believes the tumor is stable and the seizures were caused by the center of the tumor dying. I was a little frustrated that all of the doctors we saw while in the hospital felt like it was the location of the tumor that was causing the seizures and the two doctors we didn't see while in the hospital felt like it was something different. After quite a bit of discussion I still don't know how the center of the tumor dying could cause seizures. She also said they couldn't conclusively say it was swelling, the brain may have been pushed to one side (however our neurosurgeon said that didn't happen), the center of the tumor dying (there is a technical name for this that I can't remember). So I asked if she could conclusively say that it was not the growth or location of the cancer and she said no. By concluding the cancer has not grown they can then say the Temodar worked and use it for the next round of treatment. If they believed the cancer was growing they would not use Temodar and go to the second line of chemotherapy. This drug has more side effects, one being bleeding which would be very dangerous for Barry. Next Thursday we will start another round of Temodar, it will be double the dosage he took before and will take for five days. Then he'll be off for another 22 days and we'll go back to see Dr. Thomas. I believe the increase of the steroid is starting to affect Barry's mood. This is hard for him and us. In addition we had an issue yesterday with a friend of Barry's believing he was entitled to something of Barry's. It made for a stressful day for our entire family and I really tried to determine what God's purpose for our life was through this situation. Once again, Barry showed the compassionate side of himself by trying to think the best of his friend and showing God's love to him. I'm not sure he saw it that way but I did and I realized God is allowing me and our children to learn valuable lessons from Barry, other than dealing with cancer, in the time He has so graciously given us. So, even though we will lose a lot when God calls Barry home - we have gained a lot through the time we have had. I would like to say a special thank you to those of you who have sent me cards, verse, devotionals and words of encouragement - they are always a blessing to me and I reread them over and over. I know there are times you read a verse with a new perspective and so I know God is seeing growth through all of us during this time. Even on the hard days we don't have to look too far to see the good that is happening. Every day IS a good day. | ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Thursday, April 22 Posted Apr 22, 2010 9:13pm Today we saw Dr. Granner, a neurologist. We both thought he was thorough, kind, and helpful. He wants Barry to stay on the current dose of anti seizure and we'll go back in three months. He gave me a sheet with his number and said to call anytime we have a question or if there is a change. We also saw Dr. Smith, based on the 4/9 MRI he feels the tumor hasn't really grown since the mid-March MRI. He agreed to start decreasing the steroid dosage and told us if Barry's starts to experience problems we can always go back. We'll see him in about two months and will have another MRI then. Relatively uneventful visits but that is good. Tonight we start the five days of chemotherapy. I was able to make it to AWANA last night for the last night to say verses before our Fun Fair. I am so thankful for our AWANA program, it has meant a lot to our family since Sarah started going about 24 years ago. Each of our children have memorized and recited years worth of verses, a few have been helpers once they were too old to attend a class and Barry and I have been leaders. Barry's desire to reach the boys and for them to become Godly young men is strong. He felt it was a blessing to serve the Lord in this ministry. And was excited with the large numbers they had early this year. And was always glad when a child who no longer attends AWANA would come up to him someplace outside of church and say 'I know you'. How special it is to know that you've touched someone's life enough that they remember you and can say 'I know you'. How much more it is to have a relationship with Jesus and to be able to say 'I know Him' and for Him to say 'I know you'. I take comfort in the knowledge that our Lord knows us. And in my sanctified imagination I believe He smiles when He says 'I know Barry.' Love and blessing to you all
28: Friday, April 30 Posted Apr 30, 2010 7:58am I can hardly believe tomorrow will be May 1st. Even though winter seemed too long, time seems to be going too fast. Spring always reminds me of our new life promised through Jesus and this spring the promise is ever more precious. This is a praise for me. Barry has completed his second round of chemotherapy without any problems. I wondered if he would maybe have some side effects since he was taking twice the dosage but he didn't. That is a praise! We seemed to be on a steady course until Wednesday. John had been suffering from allergies/cold symptoms and Tuesday afternoon developed a high fever. During the night Tues/Wed he was having a lot of pain in his chest and back so about 3:30 a.m. he and I went to the ER. They did blood work and chest x-rays and gave him a RX of antibiotic. Wednesday late morning it was worse and so we went to see Dr. Rebelsky. She diagnosed John with pneumonia and told us she thought he would feel better by Thursday but if not to come back. John is feeling better and plans on going to school today. Another praise! As we were leaving the doctors office I was reminded of something Jennifer said to me when dad was in the ER. There must be somebody at the hospital you are suppose to reach. I think she may be right, so please pray that we are being the best testimony to our hospital that we can be and to soften the heart of whoever God is working on. Then Wednesday afternoon Barry experienced some issues with his left hand and arm. We're unsure if it was a vision issue or neurological issue but he was unable to place his hand on his walker, etc. I called our radiation oncologist and he had us increase the steroid dosage. Barry seems to be doing much better (another praise)however the side effects of the steroid have increased some as well. This morning I was reflecting on Deuteronomy 6, specifically verses 5-7. I read this verse now and know this is a commandment of how we are to live every moment (literally). For me, this journey has given me a new perspective of so many things (praise 5)and I pray our children on learning from us every step of the way. This weekend Sarah, Kevin, Drew, Kevin's dad and brother will be in Grinnell. Praise 6. Hopefully the weather allows for some great fishing. I have a couple of things I want the girls to help me with and one of them is making hand prints in plaster of paris. I had decided quite a while ago I was going to make a cast of Barry's hands so if God choses not to cure him Ashlyn, Drew and future grandbabies would be able to put their hands in his hands. Now I think it would be nice to have one of Ashlyn's hands and one of Drew set beside Barry's. Last Saturday morning when Barry and I were having some quiet time he looked at me with tears welling up and said "You know I REALLY DID want to be a grandpa." I told he was already great grandpa to Drew and Ash but I knew what he meant. I am thankful that God gave Barry such a love for his children and grandchildren.Praise 7. Not everyone gets to experience that. I've also decided I would like to put together a book of memories for our children and I'm inviting all of you to help. If you have a special memory or thought, a single memory or a lifetime of memories that you would be comfortable sharing with us I would love to have them. This will be an ongoing project so feel free to take your time and reflect or wait because you believe there will be more memories you want to share. If you do decide to share with us you can mail them to our home address: 1811 7th Avenue, Grinnell, IA 50112 or e-mail them to me at email@example.com. Thank you again for love, prayers and encouragement.Praise 8. Today's verse, Deuteronomy 6:"You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul , and with all your strength."
29: May 11 Posted May 11, 2010 5:57am The past 10 days have been good. John recovered from pneumonia and seems to be doing fine. We enjoyed our weekend with Sarah, Kevin and Drew and Kevin's dad and brother. They didn't catch a lot of fish but they had a good time. Amy, Ashlyn and Eric were able to come into town too and it was fun to have both grandbabies around. We celebrated John's 16th birthday and after a long wait at the driver's license station he received his license. :) Last Thursday we had lunch with my dear friend from Texas, it is always good to see her. And Thursday evening I was able to meet with the DI moms for about an hour before we had John's birthday party. We haven't all been together for quite a while so it was very nice to see everybody again and do a little catching up. They're a great group and we have a special connection. We received a couple of cds from a new friend and have enjoyed listening to them. And we had a good mother's day weekend. Barry seems about the same, some days he seems to move a little slower but then he'll perk up and do really well. We've started decreasing the steroid again and so far it is going ok. So in reflection it has been a very good 10 days. Last night Barry was a little down, I tried to encourage him some but it didn't seem to help a lot. We started reading a book given to us by a friend and it talking about Jesus knowing the pain the author was going through. Though I don't have a lot of physical pain I know Jesus knows the other things I am going through. One of Barry's favorite verses started going through my head. 1 Corinthians 10:13 "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." I know we've recited this verse before but last night I substituted temptation with some of the things I've been feeling however the one thing you can not change is GOD IS FAITHFUL. No matter how I'm feeling at the time, and I believe it is ok to feel down, lonely, exhausted sometimes, God is faithful and will always make a way for me to endure. What a comfort to be reminded of this and to know it is as simple as seeking His way to bear it. I pray that you will have a good day relying on the faithfulness of God
30: May 21 Posted May 21, 2010 7:55pm The past ten days have been pretty busy with end of school year programs and awards ceremonies. It's hard to believe another school year is coming to a close. Our kids have worked hard and been able to keep up in spite of the changes going on at our house. Today we saw Dr. Thomas and Dr. Smith. Tuesday we had an MRI and the comparison of today's MRI with the April 9 MRI showed the tumor is stable. They were both very pleased (as are we) however I was a little surprised. At home we noticed some changes that made us wonder if maybe the tumor had grown. Since it appears there is no growth we will be able to continue with Temodar, and since Barry's blood work was good and he has gained weight they are able to increase the dose. Monday we'll start the five days at 420 mg. I'm thankful we are able to stay on Temodar and not have to change to the second line chemo. There are some serious side effects with it and Dr. T doesn't feel like it would be as effective. We'll go back to see Dr. Thomas June 18. She doubts that we'll be able to continue at such a high dosage in June. To quote Leslie "We know what the doctors say but we KNOW God can do anything." So for now we are staying on the course and taking things one day at a time. I had a wonderful lunch with a dear friend this week who told me if you're focused on the past or too far into the future you'll miss the blessings in today. We also talked about letting go of the plans we have for our lives and living the plans God has for our lives. His plans are always better than ours, even if the road seems tough. Once again I want to thank all of you for the blessing you are to all of us. Know that I pray God will bless you for love and support. I'll close with a beloved verse Psalm 18:2 The Lord is Rock, my Fortress and my Deliverer; My God is my Rock in whom I take Refuge. What a comfort to be able to refuge in God. | Happy Memorial Day Posted May 30, 2010 11:51pm Friday we completed the most recent round of chemotherapy. Barry tolerated the increase dosage well. He seems to be tiring more easily and taking more naps. We've had a busy week. Monday evening we were able to go to DeNeil and Kelly's for a bonfire with Tanner, Kristin, & Lilly. Barry's brother came for a visit and his cousin (& his wife) came this weekend. We enjoyed time with them and had a nice bbq at Scott and Susan's. Friday evening we went to Sr. Showcase to watch John perform. Barry was able to go and he enjoyed seeing John, and a couple of youth from our church. This afternoon we had a visit from a young man who used to attend our church and his fiancee. We had a nice visit with them and before they left Mark prayed with us. It was a very nice visit and so special to hear Mark praying for us. Tonight we had planned a bonfire with friends but the rain came about the time we were ready to sit outside. So the guys cooked the hot dogs over the fire in the rain and we ate inside. We had a lovely evening but will have the fire another night. Tomorrow should be a relaxing day. I've done more thinking and reading about the brain the past six months than I ever thought I would about any part of the body. God created us with a magnificent brain, taking a moment to think about how complex the brain is I am overwhelmed. It should be no surprise that so many things change when cancer invades the brain cells. Through all the changes God remains unchanged. He is the same today as He has always been, and Barry is still His beloved child. What a comfort for me to remember God is unchanging, when our lives seem to changing daily and sometimes moment by moment. I hope you have all had a wonderful weekend, and may it be the start of a memorable summer.
31: June 9 Posted Jun 9, 2010 1:58am Our life seems to be different each day. Barry is sleeping more during the day and has had a headache the past few days. This morning I increased his steroid back to the previous dosage so hopefully that will help with the headaches. Friday we'll go to the hospital for blood work and then next Friday back to Iowa City to find out what our next round of chemo will be. Doesn't seem like it should be time for us to be starting another round of chemo, time seems to be going too fast. With the kids out of school our schedule is a little more relaxed. They've been enjoying our new pool and spending time with friends. They've also done a good job of helping around the house and hanging out with Barry. I must admit I've been experiencing a selfish attitude recently that I know hasn't been fair to my kids. I could blame it on mental and physical exhaustion or twenty other things but the truth is, it is sin. No matter what our situation is or issues I am facing I can't focus on myself. Just the other night I quoted Proverbs 3:5-6 to John. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths." I've never stopped trusting God however I know there have been a couple of things I haven't been able to understand and rather than just giving them over to God I continued to think about them causing me to think about how it affected me. I wonder sometimes how I can allow something small to so quickly change my focus. I'm diligently seeking God and His will and am confident He will direct my paths. On a brighter note, today is Meg's 21st birthday. I can hardly believe my little girl with beautiful blonde curls is now this beautiful young woman. God is good. And the kids will be leaving soon on a siblings vacation. It will be a good time for them to get away, relax and share some of the their feelings and experiences. Thank you all for your continued prayers and encouragement. We all appreciate everything you do on our behalf. May God bless you all.
32: Monday, June 20 Posted Jun 21, 2010 6:59am The kids returned from their siblings vacation and had a wonderful time. I'm glad they were able to get away and enjoy being together. Friday we saw Dr. Thomas again. Today we will start another round of Temodar. Barry's blood work was really good so we'll be able to stay at the same dosage, 420 mg. This is the highest dose she can give. She asked us how we thought Barry was doing compared to last month. Barry told her he can't remember last month so he didn't know. I told her I feel he is worse, he sleeps 15-17 hours a day, his balance isn't as good, he shuffles his feet more when he walks and I believe his vision has changed. And his memory is very unpredictable but I think it is slowly getting worse. She listened to everything we said and said she understood however based on her exam she would say the tumor is stable. It was obvious there were things Barry couldn't do during the exam that he could do before but she said there wasn't a big enough change for her to say the tumor had grown. Not trying to be negative but trying to be a realist, I think about how big the tumor was before we saw noticeable neurological changes in Barry last year and wonder how long his brain will compensate for the changes before the doctor really sees them. In July we'll have another MRI, that of course will give a more clear picture of what is going on. Sarah, Kevin and Drew were here this past weekend. We had a wonderful time with them and had all of our kids together for a while. Drew and Ashlyn are so much fun and are starting to interact more. It was a very nice Father's Day weekend for Barry. Today we send Leslie off to Jr. Girls Camp at IRBC on Clear Lake. She'll be gone until Saturday. We are so thankful for our church camp. It is a beautiful, relaxing and spiritually energizing place. We have so many great memories of being there for family camp and each of the children have gone to multiple youth camps and retreats there. I'm sure this week will be another special week for Les. And, we send John to Lincoln, NE for International Thespian Festival. This is a first for him. He has been looking forward to this week for quite a while. I'm sure he'll learn a lot and have an enjoyable time too. He won't be home until Sunday. So it will be another quiet week. I keep saying I'm going to clean the basement, maybe this will be the week. :) I picked up Barry's bible this morning and started flipping through it. I found a notecard marking a place Barry and I had read and talked about a while ago. 2 Corinthians 5:16-18. And I read on into chapter 5 and 2 Cor. 5:7 "For we walk by faith, not by sight", spoke to me. It seems I see things differently than Dr. Thomas and even differently than some of our children, however we don't live by what we see or don't see we live by the faith that God is in control and guiding each step we are taking. How much easier it is to live by faith, I don't have to know everything that is going on. I pray you have a wonderful week. Thanks for your continued prayers and support, they mean a lot.
33: Wednesday, July 7 Posted Jul 7, 2010 7:47am It's been a while since our last update. I guess that is a good thing because things have been kind of steady the past couple of weeks. Barry completed his last round of chemotherapy with no problems. I am thankful he is such a strong man, physically and spiritually-I know that allows him to withstand treatments so well. Leslie had a good time at camp and John had a exciting week at the thespian festival. In the past couple of weeks we've celebrated our anniversary. I took part of a day of vacation so Barry and I could spend some time together, we had a nice day. We also had a good holiday weekend. Unfortunately Barry wasn't feeling well on Friday and we were unable to attend Mark & Autumn's wedding but we were definitely thinking of them all. Saturday and Sunday were better days for Barry but Monday he woke up with a headache and felt a little sick. The parade and fireworks were rained out but we still enjoyed time with family and relaxing. It was also Barry's anniversary for being in Grinnell. His family came to Grinnell about 43 years ago on July 4. Barry shared a few of his memories with John and me, and we shared our thankfulness for their decision to come to Grinnell and then stay. We were able to see Don and Joey who were back from Texas for a while. It was great to be able to spend a little visiting with them before they headed back. This is another busy week, John is at a field commander camp in Pella, Meg is working at the College and helping AJ work in the fields. My uncle is having surgery today and plans on spending tonight at my parents. And by the weekend we'll be a third of the way through July. One of the guys at work says once you get to the 4th of July the summer is gone. It definitely seems like it will be picking up speed. Next Monday, 7/12, Barry will have blood work done at Grinnell. The rest of the week should be pretty normal and on the weekend (7/16) we'll be heading to Joliet to celebrate Drew's first birthday. My, how fast the year has gone. We'll come back on Monday the 19th and stop in Iowa City for an MRI. We'll go back on Wednesday 7/21 for an appointment with Dr. Thomas. We'll decide what to do next based on what the MRI shows. The next Monday we'll have another appointment with Dr. Smith the radiation oncologist. And John will leave for SR. High camp. It will then be almost August. However, we try not to focus to much on the future. A very dear friend told me, if you spend too much time looking at the past or into the future you miss the blessing of today. So I spend a little time each day thinking of the blessings I've received that day and thanking God for each of those. I know everybody's schedule gets busy during the summer, I hope each of you can take a little time and see the blessings of today. The verse that keeps going through my mind this morning is one of Barry's favorites. Psalm 118:24 "This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it." and one I have marked in my bible Psalm 119:18 "Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law".
34: Monday, July 19 Posted Jul 19, 2010 8:39pm Today is Drew's first birthday! I can't believe how fast the year went. We left Friday after work so we could spend the weekend with Sarah, Kevin and Drew. They had his birthday party yesterday. It was very warm but we had a wonderful time. Drew handled the heat and all the people pretty well. It was nice to have Amy & Ashlyn there too. I always enjoy having the babies together. On the way home today we stopped in Iowa City so Barry could have his MRI. Wednesday we'll go back to Iowa City to see Dr. Thomas. We'll get the results of his blood work and MRI. If the MRI doesn't show significant growth we'll stay on the same chemo drug. If there is growth then we'll need to discuss our options and decide what to do next. On the drive home I was thinking about all of the road signs we passed, those telling us what direction we were heading, how fast to go, where the detours were and delays expected, what mile we were at, where the emergency turn arounds were,where we could stop for food and fuel. One that especially stuck out was "Rough Road next 2 miles". What would our sign say. Expect the Unexpected. Rough Road Ahead - Just Follow the Light. Need Directions - Matthew 7:7. Emergency Turn Around - 1 Corinthians 10:13. Free food - John 6:48. I'm sure you can all think of many more. How blessed we are that God gave us all the direction we need in the Bible. How thankful we are that He provides for all our needs, guides us over all of the rough roads and keeps us safe in the hollow of His hand.
35: Friday, July 30 Posted Jul 30, 2010 3:43pm It is hard to believe July is over! School will be starting before we know it. Meg will be going back to Coe and our lives will change again. Thursday evening when I got home from work Barry and I discussed the possibility of starting Avastin. He decided he wanted to go with this new drug in spite of the side effects. I, on the other hand, was concerned with the risks but agreed with Barry that we would go ahead with Avastin beginning August 5. Friday I went home for lunch to take care of a few things and was there alone. I spent sometime praying about our decision and God gave me a real peace about it. I know that He has gotten us through everything so far and that isn't going to change. Whatever happens His grace is sufficient. Monday we saw Dr. Smith, our radiation oncologist. We had a very nice visit with him. He showed us the MRI images side by side and there was obvious growth. He discussed our options and agreed Avastin was the best next step. He was going to present Barry's case before the tumor board on Tuesday morning. Yesterday I received a surprising phone call from Dr. Smith. He said he did present our case to the tumor board and he was surprised when the neurosurgeons said they would look at doing more surgery. I was amazed, all along we've felt like surgery wasn't going to be an option. There are several issues associated with surgery that cause concern. We have an appointment with Dr. Howard Tuesday (8/3) morning. I am compiling a list of questions. I told Barry that I am going to be very direct with my questions and ask Dr. Howard to be completely honest with us. After receiving Dr. Smith's call I honestly didn't know what to think. My mind was racing with all kinds of questions and scenarios. It didn't take me long to remember the peace I had on Friday and I gave this situation back to God. I still have a lot of questions but I KNOW God will get us through. The verse that comes to mind is one Jenni shared had recently shared with me.Heb. 13:5b-6 "For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." So we may boldly say, "The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?" Thank you all for your prayers and support. They mean more than will probably ever know. If you could remember us on Tuesday morning, I'm asking God to give me the boldness I need to ask the right questions and to glorify Him with my words and actions. | Doctor's Visit Update Posted Jul 22, 2010 8:19am Yesterday we met with Dr. Thomas. She told us that she saw growth of the tumor when she viewed the MRI images and called Dr. Smith and he agreed. They also decided that Dr. Smith will present Barry's case to the tumor board next Tuesday. (Dr. Thomas will be out of the office for the next three weeks.) Dr. Thomas and Dr. Smith believe the next step would be to start a treatment with Avastin. Since Dr. Thomas is going to be away she contacted a colleague and he agreed with their decision and agreed to see us while she is away. There are some serious side effects to Avastin, the primary concern for us would be bleeding. Especially bleeding in the brain. We are leaving the decision to continue or to stop treatment with Barry however we are talking about the pros and ****. There is a slight chance the tumor board will make a recommendation different from the one Dr. Thomas and Dr. Smith made. If that is the case we'll need to consider their recommendations. Our next appointment will be with Dr. Smith on Monday. Tuesday Dr. Smith will meet with the tumor board. August 5 Barry is scheduled to begin the Avastin treatment. I am very thankful we have two weeks to pray and consider what is best. If Barry decides to try this new drug he would receive it every two weeks by infusion. With so many unknowns this is a real time of faith for us. The verse that keeps coming to mind is a very familiar one. Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths. Thank you for your continued prayers and support. We count you all as a blessing God has given us through all we are experiencing.
36: Tuesday, Posted Aug 3, 2010 9:14pm Today we saw our neurosurgeon. The first doctor we talked with was Dr. Reddy,a resident. He gave Barry the usual neurological exam and answered most of my questions. He was very kind and spent quite a bit of time talking to us. Then he returned with Dr. Howard. I knew as soon as Dr. Howard came in the room that he had concerns. He sat and visited with us for quite a while as well. Surgery is not an option now. The risks far outweigh the benefits. Dr. Howard believes our best hope is to try the Avastin. The plan is now to start that on Thursday. Barry and I haven't really talked about it so he may change his mind and decide not to try it. He has been pretty quiet since we left Iowa City. I think listening to both doctors and looking at the images again has left Barry with a lot to think about. Dr. Reddy showed us the July image compared to the March image (after radiation), the post surgery image and the pre-surgery image. Dr. Reddy believes and the image appears to show the tumor is larger now than it was pre-surgery. Thank you all so much for your prayers today. Even as Dr. Reddy discussed the risks associated with surgery I had a peace about our situation. I'm thankful for the doctors that God has provided us. Dr. Howard and Dr. Reddy were very compassionate and honest with us. They both took as much time with us as we needed. We've all learned so much in the past eight months, things about the brain and brain cancer, info about medicines, treatments and medical terminology. We've learned that some people have become more self-less, we've been encouraged by the love and support from people like you, we've learned what we can do to encourage others, we've learned that we can do things we would have not have thought we could, and that 'every day is a good day'. But the most important thing we've learned or maybe re-learned is that God is faithful, the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. That He always hears us and will always be our Rock and our Refuge. This a a very personal lesson for all of us. And I know our family treasures this fact more now than we did before. He continues to bless us and we have much to be thankful for. | 1st Avastin Posted Aug 6, 2010 8:08am Barry had his first Avastin infusion yesterday and everything went well. This one took about 90 minutes, the next will be 60 minutes and then they'll be 30 minutes. He showed no signs of reaction during the infusion however it was a long day. His blood pressure was a little elevated but Dr. Carlisle was comfortable with leaving everything as is until we see Dr. Thomas in two weeks. While reading yesterday I read the following passage. "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but things which are not seen are eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! | 2nd Treatment Posted Aug 23, 2010 7:17am Barry had his second Avastin infusion on Friday. It was another long day, we left about 8:00 a.m. and didn't get home until 4:30 p.m. So far Barry has had no side effects. We are very thankful. The kids are back in school,Meg is preparing to go back to Coe, Amy & Eric have moved into the new (to them) house and Sarah & Kevin announced this week they are expecting again. God has been very good to our children, and we are thankful. Our lives are changing a little and Barry and I are trying to work on a plan for his days once Meg is back at school. He isn't too interested and thinks he should be able to just hang out at the house by himself but that isn't a safe option. I'm confident we'll come up with a plan that he and I are both comfortable with. This morning I pulled a pen out of my purse to sign some school papers for Leslie and a post-it came out with Psalm 139:1-5 written on it. I put the post it aside so I could look the verses up and read them sometime. After I finished Les' paperwork I started my devotional. Ever feel like God is really trying to get your attention...the text is Psalm 139:1-4. I am so thankful that God knows me and Barry in ways beyond my comprehension and that He has put a hedge of protection around us. Resting in that knowledge I am confident that He will provide a path through the changes that lie ahead. Thank you all for your continued prayers. And Sue, I remember you well and we would love to see you in September if it works for you.
37: Sunday, September 5 Posted Sep 5, 2010 12:30pm What a beautiful weekend! I love fall and the weather so far this weekend has been fantastic. We've had a good past couple of weeks. The last Thursday in August was Ag Appreciation Day and Leslie was able to ride on Pastor's tractor with him. After the parade Pastor brought Leslie home and he and Barry took the tractor for a little ride. Barry was even able to drive the tractor for a little while. He was so happy. It was the first time he had been on a tractor and the first time he has driven anything since the first of December. August 28 dad and I, along with AJ, moved Meg into college. Sarah & Drew had come to Grinnell to spend the day with Barry and to see Amy & Eric's new home. Saturday afternoon they all came to Cedar Rapids, we went out to eat and then Sarah, Drew, Amy, Ashlyn, Barry, Les and I stayed in a motel. We had a very nice evening. Barry so enjoys watching the grandbabies. We got along pretty good our first week with Meg gone and the kids in school. We're still working out a schedule for this week. Friday, September 3, we went to Iowa City for Barry to have his third infusion. However, his blood pressure was too high so he was unable to receive the infusion. Though it was disappointing Barry was fine with the news. We've increased the blood pressure medication,and we're monitoring it daily. If it doesn't come down I can increase it again and if it still doesn't come down then I'll call for further instructions. If Barry's blood pressure does come down we'll go back on Wednesday or Friday for an infusion. Thank you for your continued prayers and support. We are always encouraged when we hear from you. Have a wonderful week. Sunday, September 19 Posted Sep 19, 2010 7:25am I should have updated last weekend but time seems to get away from me. :) After increasing Barry's medication twice and adding another blood pressure medicine Barry was able to have an infusion on Friday, Sept. 10. Everything went fine and he hasn't shown any serious side effects. He did have three mornings of headaches this past week and a couple of evenings. So far Tylenol is able to relieve them. Barry's blood pressure has stayed in the acceptable range but we'll continue to watch it. He is scheduled to have another infusion on Friday, Sept. 24. That will be the fourth infusion which should mean we'll schedule an MRI for sometime within the next two weeks. Yesterday was his 52nd birthday! We had a nice day and enjoyed celebrating with his sister (they share a birthday but I won't mention how old Susan turned). Meg came home and Amy, Eric and Ashlyn were able to come in. Unfortunately, he missed a couple of phone calls from Sarah but we'll talk to her today. I've always valued family and family time. But more and more I see the true value of the simple pleasures. I think about Ashlyn running to give papa a love before they left last night and Drew's big "hi" and sweet, sweet smile when you walk in the room and know God's biggest blessing aren't things He has provided us but the family He has given us and the love we share through Him. I hope that all of you experience the love of God.
38: Friday, Oct 1 Posted Oct 1, 2010 2:16pm I can't believe it is October already! However, I do love fall in Iowa. Barry was unable to have a treatment on Friday, Sept 24. We increased his blood pressure medicine and went back on Wednesday. His bp was still high (however our home readings had been in the acceptable range). Dr. Thomas spoke with another oncologist that is treating colon cancer with Avastin and he said if Barry were his patient he would treat him. So we discussed the risks of having a treatment with his blood pressure high and the risks of not having a treatment and Barry opted to have the treatment. So that was his fourth treatment. We have increased his bp medicine again and I'm watching his blood pressure 2-4 times a day. We've scheduled an MRI for Monday, Oct. 11 and our next doctor's visit will be Wednesday, Oct 13. We are looking forward to having a good couple of weeks. Things won't be terribly busy with the kids so we should have some relaxing time. We are looking forward to the weekend of 10/15-16 too. All of our kids will be home, Tanner, Kristin and Lily will be here and Joey & Haylee's wedding will be on Saturday. I remember Barry telling me how much he wanted to be able to attend their wedding but really wasn't sure it would be possible. Now it looks like it will be very possible for Barry to watch his beautiful niece marry a very nice young man. God is good! Each thing he sees or experiences that we thought might not happen reminds me God is in complete control and everything happens according to His time. I am truly thankful for every little and big experience He has allowed us to have. May God bless each of you for your faithful love and support. | In the Twinkling of an Eye... Posted Oct 3, 2010 7:58pm I'm sure this phrase conjures up many different thoughts among those of you who read this however for me it took on a new meaning last night. Last night was the homecoming dance for GHS. We went to the Kalkbrenner's house (John's date's home) to take pictures before the group left for dinner. The Kalkbrenners were very kind. They showed us their outdoor sanctuary-Barry was especially impressed, it was definitely a place he could see himself relaxing. We left the house talking about how nice it was and hoping the kids would all have a good time. We drove about one block when Barry looked at me with fear in his eyes and said 'what's going on?' I told him we had just left the Kalkbrenner's after taking pictures and were heading home. He had no memory of being in their home or taking pictures of John and his friends. It was the longest 1.5 mile ride home as he continued to ask what was going on and Meg and I realized that once again Barry had lost all memory of the past year. Once we got home I explained that he had brain cancer and began to answer the questions that followed. We also had a conversation about the factory closing. After about 3.5 hours of this we convinced Barry he needed to go to bed. God had put upon Meg's heart that she be home this weekend and so she was here. Also we had been watching Ashlyn while Amy worked and got groceries so as soon as Meg contacted her she came from the store and stayed until we got Barry to bed. It is heartbreaking to have to tell Barry over and over that he has terminal brain cancer and see the pain on his face as he understands for that moment what that means. This morning he was about the same but as the day has progressed he has gained some things,I believe he understands that he has cancer but he doesn't have a grasp on the time factor. The fact that he hasn't worked for 10.5 months is mind boggling to him. In fact this morning he was going to get ready to go to work. Some of his most asked questions are about insurance and where our money is coming from. Once again I'm comforted by the fact that in all of this God loved me enough to give me a husband that would put taking care of his family above what he was going through. So each time we discussed what has been going on I'm reminded of God's goodness. And that He will continue to take care of us. Barry is resting now and I hope that he'll wake up and have regained much of his memory but I know this isn't probable and we will deal with whatever lies ahead,thanking God for allowing Barry's memory to be enough that he continues to know all of us and express his love and concern for us. This morning I called the oncologist on-call and explained what was going on and that I had increased his steroid. The doctor confirmed this was the correct action and advised me to call again if Barry exhibits any changes other than memory loss. Thank you for your continued prayers and know that we love each of you.
39: MRI Results Posted Oct 14, 2010 5:45am Monday afternoon Barry had his MRI. Everything went fine. I decided a few weeks ago that while I'm sitting in the waiting rooms I would pick some out to pray for. So while I was waiting for Barry I noticed an older gentleman and a younger lady waiting. They both looked distressed, so they became my prayer. They started a conversation and though I tried not to eavesdrop the woman was agitated and a little loud. What pieces I heard of the conversation lead me to believe the family situation wasn't very nurturing and she was the patient. Then she began talking about cutting into her skull and being in her brain. And I knew she was definitely the one I was to be praying for. I quickly was taken back to the evening of December 2 as Amy and I sat in that waiting room while Barry had his first MRI. I wonder, did we look distressed? I know our conversation was quite different. We were both very calm because we knew God was in control and He would lead us through whatever was ahead of us. How thankful I was (and am) that our family knows the peace that God offers and though this is difficult for the children they have all shown strength and understanding that comes only from that personal relationship with Jesus. While I was waiting there Dr. Howard's (the neurosurgeon)nurse came and visited with the father and mother(she had returned). Before the nurse left she came over and asked how we were doing. She was very kind as she spoke of remembering Barry's visit to their office and even called him by name. I was amazed! I have no idea how many patients they see but their waiting room was always full and we haven't seen this nurse probably since March. We are thankful for the people we have met along this journey. Yesterday we returned to Dr. Thomas' office to get the results of the MRI. The Avastin seems to have been working for the original tumor, it even appears to have decreased slightly in size. However, a separate tumor is growing on the left side of Barry's brain. Actually, the consultation report it describes two new areas. Unfortunately this means Avastin is no longer an option as the cancer has been able to continue in spite of the drug. She called Dr. Smith (our radiation oncologist) to determine if additional radiation is an option. There will be several things for him to consider. Someone will call us today or tomorrow with his answer. We are scheduled to return next Wed. to see Dr. Thomas again. It is very unlikely that Barry's short term memory will improve. We are all adjusting to this change and are thankful he has long term memory. He can still carry on a conversation with every one and enjoys visiting with people. We are thankful he has such a great sense of humor about the memory loss and doesn't get frustrated when he realizes he isn't remembering things that just happened. We are looking forward to having our entire family around this weekend. Including Tanner, Kristin and Lily. Won't it be wonderful to have the three babies together! Thank you for your continued prayers and please add the lady and her family from the MRI waiting room. There have been so many verses speak to me but the one that keeps returning this morning is Jeremiah 29:11. Jenni sent it to me recently as an encouragement and I gave it to a co-worker as proof that God is at work. Our love to you all. "For I know the plans I have for you," this is the LORD's declaration "plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11 Holman Christian Standard version
40: Monday, Oct 18 Posted Oct 18, 2010 9:47pm I thought I posted an update on Saturday afternoon but evidently missed a step. So for those of you who were heard we went to IC on Thursday night and were waiting for an update I apologize. For those of you who don't know we went to IC, here is an abbreviated version. Thursday after work I picked up Barry and we came home. We were outside picking up some things in the yard and mom & dad were up doing some yard work when Barry had a focal seizure. We had him sit down for a while and then came inside. He started to lean to the right and was weak. I called the oncologist on-call and she said it could be after effects of the seizure but asked that I take him to the ER to be checked. When I realized I wasn't going to be able to get Barry to the car by myself I made a couple of calls and while I was on the phone Barry's arms began to tremor so I called the ambulance. After spending about 3 hours in ER and Barry having at least two more seizures he was transported to I.C. Amy and I went to I.C. and Jared followed too. Barry's blood pressure was high while at Grinnell and in the IC emergency room. They admitted Barry so they could monitor hims blood pressure and watch for seizures. He didn't have any more seizures and his blood pressure came down and stayed down. We were released Friday afternoon. They've increased Barry's anti seizure medication. Saturday was Haylee & Joey's wedding and we were able to go. We were also able to attend the reception for a while. It was a beautiful day. Today we had an appointment with Dr. Smith. He recommended that Barry have a one time radiation treatment focusing on just the two new tumors. So the plan is for Barry to Barry to go back next Monday for a CT, MRI and to be fitted for the mouthpiece. Next Tuesday he'll have the actual treatment. Dr. Smith will have us go back in two months for a follow up appointment. We are doing ok, Barry still has poor short term memory and some times his balance is a little off but we're adjusting. Thank you for the prayers, calls, cards and food. We appreciate every act of kindness. A verse from today's devotional. "I sought the Lord, and He heard me. And delivered me from all my fears" Psalm 34:4 Thursday, Nov 11 Posted Nov 11, 2010 9:46am It's been a while since I've written so I'll try to be thorough but not take too much of your time. Monday, Oct. 25 Barry went to Iowa City for an MRI, CT, fitting for mouth piece and face shield. This took most of the morning but Barry did well. Tuesday, Oct. 26 Barry went back to Iowa City and received radiation treatment directed at the two new tumors. He did fine with the treatment. Friday, Oct. 29 we were able to go the high school play "Romeo and Juliet". Barry was able to stay for the entire play. It was very moving to see John rush to his dad in the hallway after the performance. John was Romeo. Since that weekend Barry has been experiencing more difficulty with balance and walking. Wednesday, Nov. 3 we went back to see Dr. Thomas. There currently isn't a good option for continued treatment. We had a nice visit with her. We are making the best of each day. Barry's sense of humor has remained and he is pretty quick. He enjoys reciting scripture, listening to music and visiting with family and friends. He continues to grow a little weaker, his vision and balance are worse, he is taking more naps and doesn't have quite the appetite he once had. I met with Dixie yesterday and I'm altering my work schedule a little. I'll be going in late a few mornings a week. This will allow Barry a little more time to get around in the morning and give us a little more time together. He continues to ask about being a good testimony and I am always thankful for the man God gave me. Reflecting on the past 11 months I am amazed at the road we've traveled and am so thankful I didn't know a year ago what was ahead. We are proof God gives you the grace and strength you need for the moment. He knows just what we are going to need and when we are going to need it and we are ever thankful for His faithfulness to us. We are thankful too for each of you who continue to bring us before Him with your prayers. I wish I could give each of you a hug and let you know how important you have been and continue to be to our family. May God bless you today. My verse for today, Psalm 105:4 Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually.
41: Friday, November 19 Posted Nov 19, 2010 10:36am We've experienced a week of change. Last weekend Barry seemed to be getting weaker and he slept most of the weekend. By Sunday evening I realized that we would no longer be able to leave the house. We've made arrangements for those who spend time with him during the day to come to the house. He can no longer walk to the bathroom with just the use of a walker. In fact, even with my help and the walker we can't make it all the way to the bathroom without stopping. We are borrowing a walker with a seat and usually I'll have him sit down and push him the rest of the way. He has difficulty using his left leg and foot. Most of the time they are like dead weight. He spends most of his time in the front room, either in bed or in the recliner. He is no longer able to rest on our couch because it is too difficult to get him up. His appetite is decreasing, which seems odd because Barry has always enjoyed eating. :) He still enjoys having company. Yesterday instead of going out to breakfast Allen brought coffee and donuts to Barry. He also brought another former co-worker from the factory. It was great to see the way Barry's face lit up when they entered the room. Wednesday morning I met with Hospice. I am thankful for the services they offer and thankful that we are familiar with a few of the people. We are waiting now for Barry's Hospice nurse to come for her first visit. Michelle will be our nurse, she and I went to school together and Barry knows her too. Barry continues to recite scripture and talks about wanting others to know Christ. While struggling to get back to the family room Tuesday while Pastor and Jenni were here, Barry gave Pastor permission to use him as an illustration. An illustration on strength and how we may think we are strong but our physical strength is temporary. True strength is from God. Wednesday morning I read Romans 12- "present your bodies a living sacrifice" and though I've always thought this as serving the Lord, I immediately thought of Barry's offer to use himself as an illustration. As we enter this next stage of our journey I am grateful for your continued prayers and support. We are truly blessed to have all of you 'in our corner' to quote Barry. And as we look forward to Thanksgiving our list of blessings goes on and on, with each of you listed there. Sending you our love and praying God's blessing upon you.
42: Thanksgiving Posted Nov 26, 2010 5:51pm Thanksgiving last year found us wondering why Barry seemed to be confused and if he had the flu. Thanksgiving this year finds us ever thankful for a year of blessings amongst our trials. I am confident our blessings were multiplied this year and that before I may have missed some of the blessings because I was too busy living life. I now understand how quickly our lives can change and how important it is to do those things which have eternal value. In the past year our perspective on eternal life has brought us immense comfort. We are all thankful for the man Barry has been and the lessons he has taught us. We are thankful for the family and friends (old and new) who uphold us in prayer. We are thankful for the love shown to us by so many, some we don't know and some who have chosen to remain anonymous. This Thanksgiving Day started with a call to Hospice. Barry had been experiencing a lot of back/shoulder pain during the night and I knew we needed something besides Tylenol. Michelle came and brought us medicines to get us started and later in the day Sarah came with more. Barry is now on morphine. He takes 90mg two times a day and also can have 15mg if additional pain relief is needed hourly. Today Patty came for a visit and we shared the changes over the past day. They now believe Barry has an obstructed bowel and that is causing most of his pain and some of his nausea. We added some medication to help with that. We also had a visit from Susan, the Hospice chaplain. How wonderful they all are and how grateful we are for their help. Barry is very weak, he doesn't leave the bed. He can't carry on much of a conversation but is still able to recite a couple of verses. All of our children are here and each has spent time sitting by his bed. Yesterday we had a visit from our dear friends Rick & Gigi. I think Rick and Barry had a wonderful conversation focused almost totally on Jesus. Today he received a surprise phone call from an old friend, Rod. Rod too has become a Christian and Barry and I both had a nice visit with him. He prayed with me over the phone before we hung up and it is wonderful to know that someday we'll be rejoicing together in heaven. Barry has been asking for the words to the song, "When We All Get to Heaven". I'm thankful that he is looking forward to that day and that we can confidently sing, 'we'll sing and SHOUT the victory'. As we enter what appears to be the last days of this journey, I thank you of your for your love and support. My mind is flooded with verses or parts of verses that I would like to share with you however I'm leaving tonight with a statement from Barry. When asked recently about his spiritual goal he said - To rejoice in every day and the days that are too hard, to rejoice in the Lord who made the day. Much love, Barry, Terri and kids. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Sunday Morning Homecoming Posted Nov 28, 2010 10:32am At 3:20 this morning Barry went home to be with the Lord. Though we are already missing him we are rejoicing in the knowledge he is with Jesus. No more pain and now walking on his own. We've spent some time talking about what he is seeing, who he has met and that we'll be with him again some time. We are thankful God allowed us to have the past 11 months. God is good! And as we prepare for the next few days we are holding to Barry's desire 'the most important thing is that Jesus shows'. 2 Corinthians 4:11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Arrangements for Barry Posted Nov 29, 2010 2:19pm Visitation will be Tuesday, November 30th at the Smith Funeral Home in Grinnell from 2-8pm with family present from 5-8pm. Funeral Service will be Wednesday, December 1st at Calvary Baptist Church in Grinnell at 1:30 pm with graveside to follow. Friends and family are welcome to join after graveside at Calvary Baptist Church for coffee time.
43: Final Post Posted Dec 4, 2010 7:52am One year ago today Barry underwent a six and a half hour surgery to remove as much of his brain tumor as possible. The surgeons were only able to remove 30-40% of this aggressive cancer and gave us a prognosis of six to eight months. Over the past 12 months we have experienced many lows and highs, happy times and sad times, days of frustration and days where everything seemed normal. But through it all we were able to keep our focus on Jesus, mostly because of the example Barry gave us and the good foundation we have in our faith. Barry's desire that 'Jesus shows' and our own convictions that this is the right way to handle our situation lead us to continue strong. Wednesday afternoon we held a beautiful memorial service for Barry. I'm sure he would have appreciated our efforts to proclaim the message of salvation on his behalf. And since this will be my final post on Care Pages, I want to ask - do you know Jesus? will you be able to see Barry again? If you have never acknowledged that you are a sinner, accepted that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, believed that He rose the third day and is now in Heaven serving as intercessor for those who call upon His name, I ask that you take some time to consider Jesus. Barry's greatest desire was that those whom he loved would have this personal relationship with Jesus so that they too may be in Heaven one day. If you have questions feel free to contact one of us or our church, Calvary Baptist-Grinnell. We would love to show you Jesus. We have been truly blessed throughout the past year. You and so many others have shown love to us and we are very thankful. We have reconnected with some old friends, have made some new friends, and have grown even closer to friends who have been with us every step of this journey. Now, we face a new journey. Meg spoke to the high school FCA yesterday morning and she shared with them the importance of calling upon Jesus for our every day situations and not just when you're facing something big like terminal brain cancer. And I feel this may be the challenge that lies ahead of us, remembering that God is just as concerned with how we handle the small issues in our life as He was with how we handled our journey with Barry and GBM. So, if He brings us to mind please continue to pray for us, we are facing another unknown. However, we are going to continue to let Jesus show, we are going to keep the legacy that Barry left us of being strong to the end and the confidence we have that when God calls us home Barry will be there waiting to greet us. Trying to come up with the right verse to leave you with and the one that keeps coming to mind is Psalm 118:24 'This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.' This definitely was one of Barry's favorites and I think it was on his mind when he said 'every day is a good day'. May God bless each of you and this holiday season as we reflect on the birth of our Lord and Savior may you receive extra comfort. We can't express enough our gratitude to you for prayers and support. We have been blessed to have you with us along our journey. Much love-Terri, Sarah & Kevin, Amy & Eric, Meg, John, Leslie