Saturday, October 25, 2014

Happy brain biopsy news and adorable Zachary!

We have some AMAZING news to share regarding my brain biopsy/ brain tumor resection on October 2nd at Johns Hopkins, by the wonderful Dr. Q!! He called me this past Tuesday to tell me that the results were in and that my brain tumor had been DOWNGRADED from a grade 2/3 oligoastrocytoma to a grade 2 Oligodendroglioma! This is HUGE and happy news, as the whole reason why I underwent such an invasive biopsy was because there was an "area of concern" that kept showing up on my MRIs and which my neuro-oncologist could not distinguish between radiation necrosis (good) or tumor growth (bad). Well, after my brain biopsy, Dr. Q told me that he saw some radiation necrosis as well as some tumor cells, but that in his opinion, the tumor cells were of a low grade tumor. He said to wait for sure until the pathology results came back, but I can tell you that I was just thinking that they would come back as a grade 2/3 oligoastrocytoma! I never in my life imagined a grade 2 Oligodendroglioma! This type of cancer, while still needing treatment, is much better than what I've been treated for, these past two years. I gave THANKS TO GOD, to all the amazing people who prayed for me ACROSS THE WORLD! From Australia to the USA, from Germany to Switzerland to Peru to everywhere! Thank you all so much! I have personally never hear of brain cancer being DOWNGRADED in terms of the severity and in fact my doctors have constantly warned us to expect the grade to get worse over time. Well, I believe that not only is God healing me in His perfect timing, but also that God can do the impossible! I also believe that we as mere humans limit the potential of God! He is able. We just need to BELIEVE!

Zachary is in an adorable stage and age at the moment. I want this age to last forever! He is (mostly) past the terrible twos, which thankfully only seem to have lasted about 6 months.

He is still really into puzzles which I think is great! He has always slept through the night but is now a lot easier to get to go to bed. That helps a lot!! 

Grandma Judy returned home last Wednesday. We are going to miss her lots. I think Zachary's new preschool is really helping with his development. His amazing teacher, Ms. Jill, sent me this adorable picture of a 4 year old girl holding Zachary's hand. Apparently they had the 4 year old class help the 2 year old class. Zev and I love his preschool! They really do love our kids! Notice also that she is a redhead. I think Zachary must have a thing for redheads! Hannah (21 months old and our next door neighbor) is a redhead and he loves her!! Haha. I'm already praying for my future daughter in law! 

Enjoy the pics!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Zachary singing the US Air Force song and brain biopsy

Zachary will break out into the US Air Force song spontaneously and we love it.  Especially when he does the "emphasis" parts like "give her the gun!" Adorbs :-))

Yesterday he also wowed mama when he showed me his impressive puzzle skills! Yes, we have done the fire truck giant puzzle a million times, but yesterday he showed some great deductive reasoning skills in matching the pieces. As in "oh this is a fire hose? Where does the fire hose go?" Or "oh this is a yellow piece? Where are the other yellow pieces?" After MOPS, I took him on a date to Walmart where we spent the best $6 ever and bought a Thomas the Train giant puzzle. Zachary was happy and daddy was really impressed!

This past Friday, we went up to Johns Hopkins university hospital to have my stitches taken out and receive my brain biopsy results. My stitches came out just fine and Dr. Q said that he hadn't received the biopsy results yet. He said that based on the biopsy he wasn't worried: that he did see some radiation necrosis (good) on the biopsy as well as some tumor (ok since he said he saw grade 2 tumor and not a higher level). I trust him and more importantly, I trust my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As they say "it's all good." They really ought to say "God is good ALL the time."

Trusting in Him.

Love, Fiona


Thursday, October 16, 2014

So thankful to be ALIVE

God has allowed me to have a fantastic week. When you have brain cancer 2 years and still running, there are a lot of good days but also a lot of not so fun days. This entire week has been amazing and I feel SO thankful, that I just needed to write a blog post THANKING God for His mercy and grace and gifts. God is good. ALL THE TIME. Today is Thursday, October 16th. Tomorrow, Zev and I head to Baltimore for Dr. Q to take out my stitches and tell us the results of the biopsy. Zev asked me last night whether I was afraid of the results. I told him no. No, because I trust that Jesus will heal me and that if I prayed for healing, BELIEVING that I will be healed, then I know that I will be healed. In His perfect time. And in His perfect way.

Zachary has been doing great lately. It's like a switch was turned on these past few weeks and he is now able to rationalize and understand things. I think communication is the key to a lot of issues with young children. He is SO MUCH FUN to be around and is really FUNNY! Our sweet family friend, Ginny, took our annual pictures this week at a local park. Isn't she fabulous? We love how the pictures turned out. She has a way with kids.

I hope you enjoy this little video from Zachary's preschool. Although we are Christian, we love that he is learning all about Hebrew culture and custom at his little preschool.

Have a blessed week

Fiona xo

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Being 2 and a half :-)

Zachary turned 2 and a half this past Wednesday, October 9th. We like to do a little celebration of his half birthdays, because well, we love him to bits and he's worth it! In honor of his 2 1/2 yo bday we made some pumpkin spice muffins. Soooo yummy! 

Today (Saturday) we headed to a local fire department for their open house. It was so adorable seeing all these little preschooler boys in their fireman jackets, boots and free hats. Adorable. Grandma Judy was such a sport in letting Zachary lead her through all the stands :-)

So grateful to be ALIVE today.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

The world as of late: visits from my brother Mario; cousin Carol and her sweet family; Ulla and Manfred and a brain biopsy at Johns Hopkins University hospital :-)

So, as you can tell from our little collection of pictures, life has been anything but boring around our house lately! I know this sounds crazy, but sometimes "boring" is a good thing. It is only now, as I sit with my head bandaged and a drainage port draining blood out of my brain (I feel great thanks to the pain meds, don't worry!) that I am able to sit down and capture our lives these past few weeks!

We love visitors and we have certainly enjoyed our fair share of them since our trip to Luray! First, my awesome and only sibling, my big brother Mario arrived to come and stay for a few weeks sans the kids. Gabby was amazing in taking care of the kiddos while Mario was able to come here and hang out. We enjoyed some fun times hanging out, heading to coffees and just chilling. He will kill me for saying this, but I am so incredibly proud of Mario for not only duxing (becoming Valedictorian) of his Chief's course, but also being promoted!! Woo hoo! Way to go, big brother :-)

Then, while Mario was still visiting, we picked up my sweet German teacher, Ulla and her lovely husband, Manfred. They definitely outdid themselves with cooking up lots of yummy German foods and hanging out. Zachary loved to go on walks with them and entertain them with his funny stories or show off his trucks and cars. He's such a sweet little boy. We miss him sooooo much, now that Zev and I are up in Baltimore for the week.

Towards the end of the week with Ulla and Manfred, my cousin Carol and her husband, Miguel came with their adorable two kids for a quick visit. We wish it could have been for longer! We actually had to turn away some more potential guests since we had to head up to Baltimore for my brain biopsy this past Thursday. We actually headed up here on Tuesday, September 30th and had pre-op MRI and pre-op anesthesia testing all Wednesday. Thursday, October 2nd marked the day of my brain biopsy and the estimated wait time for Zev was about 4-5 hours. My neurosurgeon, Dr. Quinones explained that he had to dig out as much of the radiation necrosis and the grade 2 level tissue that he saw, and in the process, had to dig out some ventricles as well. Well, that part certainly hurt and when I finally came to in the Neurosurgery Critical Care Unit, I had to be doubled up on my pain meds and a shunt was installed to help drain the brain fluid. I still have the shunt in. Hopefully it can be released tomorrow :-) Zev and I will know the results of the brain biopsy in 5-10 business days. We've asked our whole church and anyone who feels inclined to pray, that this area of concern is mostly radiation necrosis and not new tumor growth. God put a peace on my heart prior to the surgery: I still have a peace that surpasses all understanding :-)

Well, I hope you enjoy the latest pics on our otherwise not dull life! We do love you and pray that you are all doing well.

God bless,

Fiona :-)