Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I am writing this from the UCLA Santa Monica Hospital cafeteria and waiting for Vince to come out of the MRI room.  I thought I'd type a quick update on my "new" Apple computer that my wonderful boys (Vince & Mikemo) gave me for Christmas!  They also gave one to Veronica for Christmas as well!  How blessed are we!  I think they are a bit sorry though, because it has a iChat, which is the camera that is built in.  I had all 3 of them chatting at the same time and they were like, "oh shoot, what did we do!"  I think they created a monster!  LOL!  I really find it handy, especially since I use my computer downstairs in the kitchen, so when I need them I just click on the iChat to ask them a question....oh, the technology we have today!  It can be a blessing or a curse! LOL!  What happened to the days when we actually had to get up and go into the other room to ask someone something?  LOL!

Anyway, Vince started to feel better on Christmas Eve and each day he has gotten so much better.  He has color in his face and his beard and hair are starting to grow back!  His hair is so white!  It's like peach fuzz!  He played basketball a few nights ago and has energy!  The doctor couldn't believe that he was out there playing basketball so quickly!  Vince is not letting anything stand in his way of living his life as normal as possible.  I am so happy to see him do the things that he likes to do, even though me as a mom, would like to keep him isolated so that he doesn't get any germs!!!  But, he is 21 and I can't shelter him forever!  LOL!  He will always be my baby!  (I'm sure he'd love to hear me say that!)  

He is meeting with the Radiation Specialist on Jan. 6th, so just one more week until we find out the treatment plan.  Tonight is Vince's last night of steroids for the Mono and he will have the port needle removed tonight by the home health nurse.  So for now, we are in limbo for a week and I'm sure Vince will be out and about doing whatever he wants to do and just enjoy his freedom from Chemo and Radiation.  Until then, as usual, thank you so much for all your prayers and good wishes for Vince!  He is so humbled and grateful (and quiet, as usual!:)

God bless!

We also pray that you will be strengthened with his glorious power so that you will have all the patience and endurance you need. May you be filled with joy.
Colossians 1:11

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

No Room in the Inn

She brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
--Luke 2:7

In these days of modern technology, we never miss a thing with TiVo, voice mail, DVD recorders, and camera phones. But even though our toys keep us from missing a phone call, they can also cause us to miss the real reason for the holiday season.

You can watch Christmas disappear in front of your eyes, in a heap of shredded wrapping paper, and find yourself saying, "I was so busy shopping, so busy attending this, going to that, that I think I actually missed the point of Christmas."

It might be surprising to know that the majority of people missed the very first Christmas as well. People just carried on with business as usual, paying no attention to what was happening just a few feet away.

In Luke chapter 2, we are introduced to an innkeeper who had no time for Christmas. In this familiar story, Mary and Joseph came to the innkeeper for a room, but because his inn was full, he turned them away.

The only place he had for this young pregnant woman and her husband was a stable, a cold, dark, and damp stable--which was more than likely a cave. He was too preoccupied with other things to make the time for Christmas.

There are people like this in the world today. They don't necessarily oppose or hate God outright. They are simply preoccupied. God and spiritual things do not concern them. Their interests lie more in what can immediately satisfy their own physical needs. The innkeeper was too busy to make room in the inn for the soon coming Messiah.

Let me ask you this: have you made room for Jesus this Christmas? If not, there is still time to refocus and make room for Christ this Christmas, today!

Copyright © 2008 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000.

For more relevant and biblical teaching from Pastor Greg Laurie, go to www.harvest.org.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

We Are Home!

Vince and I got home from the hospital yesterday around 3:30 pm. He was getting so restless in that place and couldn't wait to get home! He does have "Mono" and he is on major medications for it. He can barely speak. His tonsils are still extremely swollen and inflamed. Los Robles Hospital didn't have internet access in the Oncology ward so I wasn't able to use my computer at all, which of course made me crazy! He has a home health care nurse that comes to the house and she showed me how to give his meds through his port, so I am able to do that for him for the next 8 days. The nurse will only come to take blood tomorrow and also on Friday to change the port needle. We are keeping Vince "quarantined" for the next 2 weeks, so he won't be having any visitors since is extremely susceptible to every kind of germ, and we are being extra careful so that he doesn't get any sicker. He is going to have an MRI and Xray, either on Friday or Monday, so I really would like to see more improvement in his health before he goes to get those done.

Of course with Christmas just a few days away, I feel so unorganized, but I know that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus and not about us. We are just so grateful to know that we have a Savior who cares for all of us, and that, gives us a peace that surpasses all understanding! We want to wish everyone a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY HANUKKAH! We are so grateful for all of your prayers and wonderful emails and comments for Vince and our family! You are such a blessing to US!! May this holiday season bring you JOY as you share it with the ones you love!

Thank you to my dear friend Cathy, who helped us so much this last week with finding just the right doctor who specializes in "Infectious Diseases" and thank you to her awesome kids, who came to visit Vince while he was in the hospital! You made him laugh and smile and THAT is the best medicine! Thank you for all our gifts you brought, we feel so special!

Thank you Mikemo, Josh, Brent, Tony, Mindy & Gianni for visiting Vince, too! The time goes much quicker when he is able to have something to do:) Like playing Skip Bo!!! Thank you Yvonne for buying that for Vince! Great idea!

Thank you Traci Reilly for making us the yummy cookies! You amaze me!

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Friday, December 19, 2008

Quick Prayer Request!

Vince was diagnosed a few days ago with Epstein Barr Virus. He isn't feeling that great, so he is going into Los Robles Hospital sometime today for hydration and I.V. fluids to help speed up his healing. Again, each day is different and we never know what to expect. I am just asking for extra prayers for him since he is feeling so bummed about having to go into the hospital. Los Robles is much closer to home and that is a wonderful blessing in itself. We also found a great doctor in Thousand Oaks, who will be treating him and watching him the whole weekend. I will update again soon! God bless! Merry Christmas:)

The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the strength of my salvation, and my stronghold.
Psalm 18:2

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

No Chemo! Yes!

OK...good news...NO Chemo!!! Actually, that's great news! Vince is very happy to say the least! The doctor felt very confident about "skipping" this chemo, but wants Vince to get scans done at the end of the week and for us to meet with the surgeon so that he can go ahead and start radiation as soon as possible. He said that he is very happy with the way Vince has responded to the treatments thus far. The "mono" test hasn't come back yet and I was "shocked" when I saw Vince's throat! Oh my gosh! It looks horrible! Super inflamed and white pus (sorry about the description...gross, I know!) He said it doesn't hurt, but it's very swollen and hard to swallow! His glands are super swollen, but no pain...I just think he has a very high pain tolerance and that's why he doesn't complain....after everything he has experienced in the last 3 mths. as far as pain is concerned, this is nothing to him...so...the doctor took another strep test, just in case and also a viral test, which came back positive, which means that at this point, it's something that has to work it's course. So, for now we are just waiting for the doctor to call with an appointment for the scans and also the results from the cultures they took. Hopefully, he will just get some rest so that his body can repair itself (as if that will happen...rest? what's that...hahaha) He came home and within 10 mins. he and Mikemo were out the door! Oh, it's great to be young! Vince is excited at the possibility of his hair starting to grow in a little bit, since his chemo won't start up again until mid to late February (just a guess). I will blog as soon as we find out the results. Thank you so much for your prayers!

Here are a few more photos of Gianni and I...how sweet!
Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Psalm 95:1

Monday, December 15, 2008

Chemo or No Chemo? That Is The Question

Please pray for Vince tomorrow (Tuesday, Dec. 16th) around 11:00 as we will be at the doctor as he determines whether or not he will be healthy enough for his 4th chemo treatment. I know quite a few people have asked me what to pray for...chemo or no chemo? Personally, Jim and I are praying for no chemo and I know Vince is also hoping not to have to endure that awful treatment, but...whatever the doctor decides is what is best for Vince. We would love nothing more than to just get on with the radiation so that the surgery would be sooner rather than later, so that he can have the tumor removed and out of his body! If he does go into the hospital, we will go directly from UCLA Westwood (oncologists office is there) to UCLA Santa Monica Hospital. I'm sure he will be having an MRI, CT Scan and an xray sometime this week, whether he is in the hospital or not, so that the surgeon will be able to make plans for the surgery. We are looking forward to getting those results so that we can see how much progress has been made.

I am praising Jesus for a great outcome in advance! He has been so good to Vince through this trial, that's for sure! We are so proud of Vince for having such a great attitude, even when things have been so unbearable and he felt so sick and just plain tired of enduring....but he got through it! We have hope and we know that God is in control and that is all we need! Glory to God!The other night I was watching Gianni (my grandson) while his mom and dad went to a company Christmas party. We baked oranments, played UNO, looked up "How to make puppets" on the internet, and also had so much fun taking pictures with the timer on the camera (we took about 200 LOL!) When Jim and I were taking our turn, Gianni decided to get in on the action and here's the proof! Cracked me up when I saw the final pictures...I didn't know he was in them! He is quite the character! I love him so much! He brings me JOY!

Have you never heard or understood? Don't you know that the LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth? He never grows faint or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
Isaiah 40.28
The LORD, your Redeemer and Creator, says: "I am the LORD, who made all things. I alone stretched out the heavens. By myself I made the earth and everything in it.
Isaiah 44:24

Day At The Dog Park

Vince, Mindy and Bernadette decided that they wanted to go to the dog park last week, especially since Deric doesn't get out much. Deric is Vince's dog, he is the all white fluffy dog, and Mindy's dog is the Old English Bull Dog and his name is Monster. Mindy said that strange dogs would just come up and hang out with Vince. It's as if they know what he is going through and wanted to comfort him. I just love these photos and wanted to share them with you. I am so glad to see Vince smile! They wanted to take the dogs to the dog park again today, but it's raining in sunny southern California! LOL!

Yes, the LORD has done amazing things for us! What joy!
Psalm 126:3

Friday, December 12, 2008

Update on Chemo Delay

Today Vince went to the doctor so that he could determine when Vince will be having chemo. He did blood work and checked him over, decided to test him for "Mono", and said that he wants to see him on Tuesday of next week. He changed his antibiotic to a stronger one, in hopes of helping him to feel better. I ask Vince every day how he is feeling (of course because I'm a paranoid mother..hahaha) and he always says things like...uhh...my back hurts, but not that bad...or uhhh I have a headache, can I have some Tylenol....BUT, only until two days ago did he tell me that his tonsils were swollen and inflamed...and that he has a bump on the side of his neck (swollen gland) and that it hurts to turn his head for the past week or so! He said he always feels like maybe it's not real, so he ignores it. I am trying to teach him to let me know these things so that we can "nip it in the bud" so to speak, but, that is just something we are going to have to "pry" out of him, I guess:) The doctor said that if Vince isn't feeling 100% better by Tuesday that he may just skip this chemo session all together and just go directly into the radiation treatments, so that the surgery will be able to get done as soon as possible. Vince was SO EXCITED about that! The doctor said that he was very happy with the treatment thus far, and said that if Vince isn't feeling good on Tuesday, that it would be torture for him to have the chemo since it will deplete his white cells quite a bit anyway, and to have him sick on top of it wouldn't be good for him whatsoever. So, when he goes back on Tuesday, our bags will be packed for the hospital, just in case he is doing 100% better and we will go straight into the hospital from there. Vince is hoping that maybe...just maybe he won't feel quite so great or at least not 100%...LOL! Anything to get out of that chemo...not that I can really blame him! Here is a photo of Vince on his computer the other night....this is when I realized how sensitive his eyes were to light! Duh!!!
So, today was a very good day for us..especially since Bernadette, Vince and I got a laugh of a lifetime when I ran into the elevator door that was closing and bumped my arm on it and then we got the giggles with 10 other people who didn't find it one bit funny!!! We ran out of the elevator and laughed our heads off walking through the UCLA square! I haven't heard either one of them laugh that hard EVER! Bernadette can't even look at me now without laughing! Of course it was at my expense, but hey...I'd do ANYTHING to make my son laugh!!! That was our joy for the day!

Psalm 119:93
I will never forget your commandments, for you have used them to restore my
joy and health.

Psalm 126:3
Yes, the LORD has done amazing things for us! What

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Chemo Delay

Yesterday, as I am preparing to get our bags packed for Vince's 5 day hospital stay, he comes to me and tells me that his tonsils are swollen, so immediately I called the doctor and they want him to have a strep test and a blood test. We were able to go to the local Urgent Care, which was a blessing so that we didn't have to drive to UCLA at rush hour. He tested negative (thank you Jesus!) and the blood work looked great, but they gave him a shot of penicillin and he is on antibiotics, throat meds, and they also postponed his chemo until next week. So, again, we are asking for prayers for Vince and that he would feel stronger each day so that he can get this round of chemo over before Christmas:) If all goes as planned (plans? what's that? LOL) he should get out of the hospital a day or two before Christmas.

Vince went to see "The Smashing Pumpkins" concert with Bernadette, Mikemo & Steve last week, which was awesome...thank you Kevin & Debra for making it possible!

Last Friday night, Jim's band "Rock Shop" played at The Canyon Club for the first time and they "rocked the house"! Everyone really enjoyed it and all of our kids were able to come to see their dad "rock"!

Vince will be going to the doctor tomorrow to be evaluated and then I will blog to let you know which day he will be going into the hospital next week.

Thank you so much for all your support and prayers! God is hearing them, each and every minute!

Yet through it all, overwhelming victory is ours through HIM who loved us.
Romans 8:37

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Cutest Thing I've Ever Seen!

I found these photos of this adorable baby and her pet doggy on another blog recently and I think these are the cutest photos EVER! Pictures are definately worth a thousand words in this case! Enjoy!

Do You Need Freedom? I know I do!

He who did not spare His own Son but delivered him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

--Romans 8:32

What does the word freedom bring to your mind?

Maybe you imagine the celebrations of the Fourth of July, or see images of soldiers in battle. Possibly you think of the American flag. Or you might think about your freedom to worship and exercise your faith.

But there is a greater freedom for you than even our national freedom.

It is the freedom of your soul and mine, bought and paid in full by the blood of Jesus Christ. He gave the ultimate price for your freedom, He poured out His blood so you can be free!

Think about this, if God would not even spare His only Son, don't you know He will freely give you all things in Him?

Our Scripture verse today says, "He who did not spare His own Son but delivered him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?"

You can be free from addictions, from sin, and from death. You can experience liberty, joy, victory, and peace. All you have to do is accept Jesus Christ as your deliverer today.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Good Reminder

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

--Romans 8:28

If you are going through a problem today, how do you overcome it?

I want to give you a few practical steps to help you weather the storms of your life.

First, trust God. I love what the great preacher Charles Spurgeon used to say, "God is too good to be unkind, too wise to make a mistake. And when you can't trace His hand, you can always trust His heart."

God is committed to bringing glory to Himself and good to your life by making you more like Jesus. He does that through the circumstances of your life.

Be confident in what Scripture says: "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."

Secondly, give thanks in all things. You may not understand your circumstances, but you can know that God is using them to make you more like Jesus and move you closer to your purpose in His plan.

The apostle Paul was shipwrecked, beaten, and imprisoned. Yet, in Ephesians 5:20, he challenges us to give thanks "always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Paul knew how to overcome problems in life--by trusting God and giving thanks to Him in every circumstance.

Why not do the same today?!