A Work In Progress

A Work In Progress

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Fight For My Mental Health

It's been a long 3 months!!  Very long!!   Some of you may be thinking, The Fight for your mental health?  It's not like you are fighting cancer, or diabetes, or heart disease!  What do you mean by "The Fight for My Mental Health"?    If you have ever dealt with a mental illness, you know exactly what I'm referring to!  It is a Fight!  It's a huge fight and it's not a fight for one who backs down easily.  It takes persistence and consistency and never giving up!  I'll give you a run down of the timeline (thus far) of my fight to get better.

March 17th  -  I cried at work.

March 20th - I went to the Dr b/c of my Depression getting worse.  She told me I needed better coping skills and upped my Prozac from 10 mg to 20 mg.

March 25th -  I had a 7 am counseling appointment with my Counselor who taught me Mindfulness.

April 21st - I had an awful crying day at work on the 20th.  i was able to take the 21st off and called my Dr. at 8:15 am on the 21st, to try and get in to be seen.  My Depression was getting much worse, and not better.  My Dr said she could not see me and told me to go to Epworth.  I later found out that Epworth is an inpatient facility only.  Since I was not a harm to myself or to others and was not suicidal, I had to wait till Monday, April 24th, to be seen.  My Dr.. did not offer me any other appointments with other Dr.'s at her practice that Friday.  When i saw my Dr. on Monday the 24th of April, she upped my Prozac from 20 mg to 40 mg.  I was crying uncontrollably and told her I  could not function.   She looked at me with a straight face and said "So you are going back to work tomorrow, right?".  I said "I just told you I cannot function!  No, I cannot go back to work tomorrow.  She offered to write a note.  I told her notes don't work at my place of employment and that I needed FMLA to secure my job.  I was in disbelief, I had always gotten along with her before and had no problems with her, until my depression started acting up.  She had been prescribing my meds for 6 years and not once had I ever had issues severe enough that I went to see her in regards to my depression.  I was not a "cry wolf" type of patient.  She finally agreed to give me 2 weeks of FMLA.  I filed for FMLA, but not for short term disability because I needed to use my vacation time for our mission trip to Ecuador in July.

After, being shocked and very unhappy with how the appointment went with my Dr on the 24th, I made an appointment to see a new Dr. on April 26th.  He was awesome, but most of all because he possessed empathy and understanding in regards to depression.  We set up another appointment for me to see him for a follow-up on Friday, May 5th, before I returned to work on May 8th.  He wanted me to have another week off to see my Counselor and work on getting better, so he gave me another week of FMLA.  I took that unpaid as well.

I went back to work on Monday, May 15th.  I worked the 15th-18th (Mon-Thurs) and by the end of the day on Thursday I was behind on my work and crying.  I was able to take the 19th off of work.  I got in to see my new Dr. on the 20th.  I told him that every time the old Dr upped my Prozac, 3 weeks later, I would be crying uncontrollably.  He believed me and set up a plan for me to be weaned off of the med.  He agreed to up my Seroquel from 200-300 mg.  We also both agreed that it was time for me to apply for short term disability while getting used to new meds and waiting to see a Psych Specialist. My Husband and I decided it was not in my best interest to go out of the country on the mission trip at this time.   When I first saw this Dr. on April 26th, he got me on a referral list for a Psychiatrist.  I called that place on May 18th and found out I was on a waiting list for a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner because that Psychiatrist only saw adolescents and children.  The last time I checked (a few days ago), they will be calling to schedule an appointment with me in the next week or 2, but I probably won't be seen until the end of July/beginning of August.

I had a follow-up appointment with my new Dr on Friday, June 2nd.  I had gained 10 lbs in 2 weeks due to my meds making me crave bad stuff, and me giving in to those cravings.  He advised me to push thru the extreme tiredness and avoid sleeping whenever I was tired.  It's been hard, but I was successful yesterday, and I have been successful today..  I have an appointment on June 27th for blood work to be drawn and then my next follow-up appointment with my Dr is July 6th.  

I  applied for Short Term Disability thru my Employer on May 19th.  Due to a Holiday and some miscommunication between my Dr.s Office and my Employer, my employer just received the needed paperwork from my Dr late on Friday June 2nd.  Today is June 6th and I am still waiting for an answer as ti whether my short term disability will be approved or denied.

During all of this my Husband got a promotion at work.  God is good and is watching out for us.  I am very much at peace right now in regards to my short term disability getting approved or denied.  I don't know what will happen.  Since I was feeling so much peace, I used the concordance in my NLT Bible and I found the following verse: " Submit to God, and you will have peace; then things will go well for you."  Job 22:21.  I can honestly say that I feel that's what I'm doing now, submitting to God.  My health has to come first.  I'm glad my Husband realizes that, and I'm glad we live modestly and live below our means.  I am not worried.

So, there you have it.  This is my saga thus far.  I think the uppage of seroquel and the weaning off of prozac has helped, but I'm still dealing with the side effects of the seroquel, which aren't fun.  

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Thank you to the Friends who have stopped by, called and/or texted, or have sent me well wishes thru my Husband at work, or to me thru FB.  I really appreciate it.  It is nice to be thought of and know that I'm cared for.  God's got this.  I'm not worried.  I just want to get better.  

So there you have it.  That's what I mean by "The Fight For My Mental Health", and it's not over yet.

As a bracelet given to me by a friend says "You were given this life because you are strong enough to live it".  With God and Jonathan on my side, I can and will come out of this stronger!

Peace, Love, and Joy to you All!



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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

I Just Want to Feel Like Myself Again

Yes, parts of J-La-Sta come out every now and then.  Just bits and pieces of my goofiness, usually around Jonathan, who is one of the only people I see these days, since i am off of work.  I used to think it would be cool to be off of work for a while. But this is not how I imagined it.  Dr. Appointments, Counseling Appointments,  getting used to strong meds that make me so so tired, but not knowing if I'm even on the right ones yet.   Waiting and waiting and waiting some more to get in to see a Nurse Practitioner (Psychiatrist).  Not feeling like doing much of anything. Having a horrible memory, and not being able to talk right, ie say what I want to say.  I can't safely drive myself long distances due to the effects the meds are having on me. Jonathan says I sleep a lot, although I do make myself get up and go to bed at basically the same times every day.   I have little to no energy.  Plus, I'm still waiting to see if my short term disability from work has been approved, which adds more stress to my life.   Then the bills that are piling up from said appointments..  Yes, I'm blessed to have great insurance and I'm thankful I chose the PPO plan for the last year it's being offered.  I've already met my deductible, and it's a very low deductible comparatively.  I'm bummed that we are not going on the Mission Trip to Ecuador because we felt the Lord prodding us not to go due the current state of my mental health.  Then on top of this I worry about the serious health conditions of close loved ones.  Yes, I know God is in control, but you would worry too, trust me!  If you were in my shoes and didn't worry at all, you wouldn't be human.  Just sayin!

We all have our crosses in life to bear.  Mine just happens to be depression.  Yes I've tried it all and no, essential oils won't take it all magically away and removing sugar from my diet won't magically take it away, etc etc etc.  There is no easy fix.  I have dealt with depression since I was 16 years old.  Actually, I can even remember having it as a small child.

I was off of work for 3 weeks and went back for 4 days and couldn't handle it.  I need to be able to function at 100 percent and I wasn't there yet.  These meds are kicking my butt and I only had 1 med change at the time.  This is my 5th full week off of work.  I have worked there for 9 years.  I have worried about losing my job, but you know what?  I work to live.  I don't live to work.  If there is anything this most recent bout of depression has taught me, is that I put my job way ahead of where it should have been in the list of my priorities.  I put it above my health, above my trust in God, etc.  It has caused me to re-evaluate my priorities and I want my life to show what my priorities are.  If my Family needs me I will be there.  Work is not, nor should it be my first priority.  I want my life to show that my priorities are 1.  God.  2.  Jonathan  2.5 (half joking) Mookie  3. Family  4.  Work.  God will provide for my needs.  Jonathan and I live below our means.  Jonathan was recently blessed with a promotion at work.  We can live on his income and survive just fine.  We just wouldn't be able to bless others and travel like we love to do.

I am Jennifer Stanley, a Loved Daughter of the King.  I am not Jennifer Stanley, Technical Assistant.  My worth does not come from my job.  But you know what, I was letting my worth come from my job before this bout of depression.  I based my worth on my performance.  So maybe, just maybe, God is using this to teach me to not hold on so tightly to my job, to make me Trust that God will provide for me and that I have Jonathan now.  I'm no longer all alone in this world.  I don't know what the future holds, but God promises to take care of me.

When I first pulled up FB this Afternoon, I saw this right away:

"I want you to face adversity with confidence and firm determination. Because I am with you and the Holy Spirit lives in you, you have everything you need to be bold. Cowardliness is not of My kingdom. When you are feeling overwhelmed by your circumstances, remember who you are—a child of the eternal King! Invite Me into the very circumstances that are intimidating you, and let the Light of My powerful Presence strengthen you. When you choose to live courageously, I am pleased. And I respond by strengthening your heart, thus increasing your valor." —Jesus Today by Sarah Young, p. 338
"Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord." —Psalm 31:24 NKJV

God knew I needed to read this.  I am going to live courageously, no matter what my depressed feelings tell me, and no matter what happens with my job.  God will strengthen me and He will provide for me as he always has.

So Friends, I pray that this has given you some encouragement as well.  Life isn't easy..  We all have our crosses in life to bear.  If the grass looks greener on the other side, chances are it's not.....it only looks that way.  Not everyone opens their heart and soul like I do, but I pride myself in being real.

So, like Jonathan keeps telling me, my job right now is to get myself better.   That's it.  That's my job.  Whether I get paid for it or not.  

Thank you to my Friends who have been there to support me!  It is much appreciated!  Thank you for being His hands and feet to me.  Thank you to Jonathan for dealing with me the past few months.  I know it hasn't been easy and that this is the worse my depression has been since we've been married (almost 6 years).
To my co-workers, I hope to be back sooner, rather than later.  If you would, say a prayer that a Psychiatrist appointment would magically open up, that would help! :-)

I'm thankful for an Awesome MD who has empathy and wants to help me and knows I am trying to get better.

Most of all, Thank you to God for providing for my every need and for placing people into my life at just the right time, especially my sweet 4 legged baby, Mookie, who loves me unconditionally and follows me everywhere. 

Thanks for listening everyone!  I'll continue to keep you updated on my progress.


Sunday, April 30, 2017

10 Years Back in The Bend - My Life Then vs. Now

"And I am certain that God who began the good work within you will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns." Philippians 1:6 NLT

I wrote this blog post on April 30th 2012.  I am leaving it as I wrote it then and just changing the years part and adding the now part.

My Life 10 Years Ago - May 1st, 2007

  • I was unemployed.
  • I relocated back to my hometown of South Bend, IN which meant leaving behind 15 years worth of friends.
  • I had been denied unemployment (which I eventually fought and won) so I had no income coming in for over 3 months.
  • My Grandmother was gracious enough to let me live with her.
  • My Mom's cancer was in her bones.
  • I was single and thought I would never find the right guy!
  • That July my Nephew was diagnosed with a heart condition which was a birth defect that wasn't caught until he was almost 13 years old.  He had major open heart surgery that September.
  • The economy in South Bend/Elkhart IN was awful.  It took me a year of looking to get 1 job offer.  After unemployment ran out (I got it for only 6 months), I took a waitressing job in the meantime to pay the bills.  I would cry if I got jipped on a tip b/c I really needed the money.
  • Life was extremely difficult.
  • Life was lonely.
  • It didn't help matters any that I had the "I'm the victim" mentality, in fact it made my situation worse.
  • I was not emotionally healthy.
  • I understood that God loved me in my head, but not in my heart.

My Life 5 Years Ago - May 1st, 2012

  • I have been working at the same job for 4 years and 1.5 months.
  • I have been married for almost 10 months to a man I met thru said job. Our 1st date was almost 2.5 years after I moved back to South Bend.
  • My Nephew Trey is doing great!  God spared his life and his last check-up with the cardiologist showed everything looks great!
  • I saw an amazing Christian Counselor for about 2 years and 3 months and worked on my issues.
  • I have been with my same Small Group for over 4 years.  They have helped me to grow and with God's help to overcome my former "victim mentality", although it still is my first nature and I still fight it!
  • Overall, I am emotionally healthy now.
  • I am not lonely.  I have Jonathan and lots of friends, both old and new!
  • My husband and I plan on being debt free sometime this Summer.
  • Life is challenging, but is no longer extremely difficult.
  • I wish I could say my Mom's cancer battle is over, and that she is in remission, however she continues to fight the battle!  She is the strongest woman I know and has been a Survivor for over 12 years and 2 months!
  • My relationship with my Savior is strong and growing! I know he loves ME unconditionally!

The Moral of my story is:  God has a plan for your life and even if things aren't going so great now, it doesn't mean things will be like that forever.  My life didn't magically get better overnight.  It took many years of perseverance and hard work.  I am in a great season in my life now, so I'm going to appreciate it for as long as it lasts.  My hope is that the next time I hit hard times in my life, that I will "Praise Him in the storm".

****All of the above was written 5 years ago Today**** ****Everything from here on out was written Today****

My Life Now - May 1st, 2017

(Can I just say that my head is spinning right now?  SO MUCH has happened in these past 5 years!  It's really hard to wrap my head around.  Both Wonderful and Heartbreaking things have happened and I would have to say that Now is one of those hard times in my life, that as I said 5 years ago, I will "Praise Him in the storm".  Bear with me as I try to recall the past 5 years.)

  • I have been at the same job for 9 years and 1.5 months.
  • I have been Married to Jonathan for almost 5 years and 10 months.  Our first date was almost 7.5 years ago (2.5 years after I moved back to South Bend).
  • My Nephew Trey continues to thrive in health and life.  He is now a successful and healthy Junior in College at Michigan State University.
  • I have seen my Counselor a bit more often lately as needed and it's so easy to pick back up right where we left off.  He knows me so well.
  • I am still forever grateful to the small group I was a part of when I first moved back here.  They helped me grow tremendously and for that I will always be Thankful.  I lead a small group at our apartment for a few years and I have been involved in a new small group thru our current Church for almost 2 years now.  They challenge and encourage me to grow in my faith, and they pray continually for me and for the many health issues of my close family members.
  • Overall I still consider myself to be emotionally healthy, however I am currently in the midst of a major depressive episode, which is presenting me with it's own set of challenges.
  •  I mostly am not lonely (part of depression is a feeling of loneliness) as I have Jonathan and many Friends and our sweet rescue dog, Mookie.  I find it is harder for friends to know what to say around me lately, and find that some just can't handle the hard truth regarding various difficult health issues my family is experiencing, and how it is affecting me.  I'm thankful for those Friends who continue to reach out to me to let me know they care and are there for me and are praying for my Family.  This means more to me than you know.
  • September of 2012, just a few months after our 1 year anniversary, Jonathan became power of attorney for his Dad who had stage 3b lung cancer.  He was hospitalized for a while and then moved to a nursing home.  Jonathan had to get his Dad applied for Medicaid.  It was a long and stressful process.  We spent precious moments with Keith and he passed away on February 26th, 2013.
  • February 28th I was admitted to the hospital thru the ER for my dead and gangrenous gallbladder.  I was hospitalized for 3 nights.  2 nights before surgery, and 1 night after.  I was released on March 3rd, and we went straight to my FIL's Memorial Service.  Talk about stressful times for us, but God carried us thru.
  • My Husband and I did work hard and achieved our goal of being debt free shortly after our 1 year anniversary!  It is an amazing feeling!  Such a weight was lifted from our shoulders!
  • On April 15th, 2015, my little Sister Debbie's Husband Scott, was diagnosed with a very rare form of Sarcoma.  It was devastating to our Family and especially to Debbie and their 4 children.  Scott had surgery in NYC May of 2016 and currently is stable.  We praise God for the time he has been blessed with.
  • After travelling (Aruba, January of 2014 and NYC July of 2015), and saving, and spending many fun weekends watching nephews/nieces to give their parents a break, and renting an apartment for almost 5 years, we bought our first and hopefully last house on April 8th, 2016.  We absolutely love this house and do not regret the decision we made.  We paid cash for our new furniture and put down a large down payment.  The only debt we have now, is the house.
  • June 10th of 2016, we adopted our sweet Maltichon!  He was a rescue dog and we named him Mookie Bogaerts.  Yes, we are Boston Red Sox Fans.  He has some special needs, but we hired a Trainer and we are so proud of how far he has come and how much calmer he has become!  He lights up our lives and daily makes us laugh and smile.  What a Joy he has been! He's certainly a blessing straight from God, meant just for us.
  • Early March, my Step-Dad Don had a grand mal seizure while at work and was hospitalized.  He had to take a leave of absence from his part time job (which he worked to pay for Mom's medical bills) and had to take like 3 weeks off from his Full time job.  He is on a very strong seizure med and is unable to drive until he has been seizure free for 6 months.  Just a few days after his seizure, Mom found out that she has 3 more cancerous tumors on her spine.  She is in a lot of pain, but as always, she keeps fighting.
  • Because I am a highly sensitive person, and because I love my Family, the past few years (especially the past few months) have been really hard on me.  I'm so thankful to have Jonathan's love and support, (and Mookie's too).  I recently changed Dr.'s due to my old Dr. not understanding depression.  I have learned mindfulness from my counselor, which has helped a lot.  I am currently off of work on FMLA.  I am grateful to God that because Jonathan and I live below are means, I am able to take this time off unpaid.  God is Good!  
PHEW!  These past 5 years have been the most emotional and eventful yet!  

IF there is anything the past has taught me, it's that God is Good and He is Faithful and Life is FULL of Good and bad times.  Life just doesn't keep getting better and better.  It ebbs and flows.  That's life in a fallen world.  So, I don't know what the future holds with my loved ones, or myself, but I know he holds the future, and just like my losing my job in Milwaukee, brought me many blessings, I trust these difficult times will make me even stronger and bring countless blessings.  I will continue to praise him in the storm. :-)

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Scott Was At The Masters & Has a Scan Tomorrow


Scott and Matt had a great time at the Masters!  Seeing these smiles makes me so happy!  Scott and Matt have been Best Friends since Childhood.  Here is Debbie's post from before they left for the Masters.  They got back last evening.  Please keep the Heiman Family in your prayers as Scott gets a scan tomorrow and they then wait for the results.  It was 2 years ago today that Scott went to the ER and was told he most likely had cancer.  Six days later they would learn it was DSRCT.  Thanks for your continued prayers! :-)


Ready for the Masters!

Journal entry by Debbie Heiman
The day has come, when Scott leaves for the Masters in Augusta, Georgia! The kids and I take Scott and his life long friend Matt to the airport right after we pick the kids up from school. The kids wanted to take him to the airport.

Being the dedicated boss and hard worker that he's always been, he has really pushed himself to get his work done before he leaves. He worked long days on Monday and Tuesday, and he will work as late as he can today before he leaves. He's setting a good example for his employees!

God is so good! Scott has remained healthy and fever free in the year 2017 so far. This is huge, considering the fact that we had some pretty sick kids this year! Lexi has had a rough year! She struggled to fight off pneumonia throughout the whole month of January, going through 2 separate rounds of antibiotics. In March, Lexi and Hannah both had horrible colds which turned into sinus infections. Then, Lexi got the stomach flu last week. Myles, Tyler, Scott and I remained healthy. I'm so thankful that Scott didn't catch anything with his low immune system through the rounds of chemo that he's had in 2017 so far. 

Scott returns home on Saturday night. I pray that he has a blast on this trip! I really encouraged him to go. I'm hoping he can get away and try his best to forget about cancer for a while. He definitely deserves it. He has fought his heart out for 2 years! I hope he feels healthy and has enough energy to do the things he wants to do!

Monday, April 10th is Scott's CT scan. We receive results from the scan on Thursday, April 13th. We pray that his scan remains stable. If anything has changed, we will be requesting a PET scan next. The CT can show us if any tumors have returned to his peritoneum (abdominal cavity), or if the tumors in his liver have changed in shape or size. What it can't show is if the tumors are showing a lot of uptake or cancer activity. Stable is best!!!

That's the news for now. Please join me in praying for a safe flight there and home for Scott and Matt! Please pray that Scott has a phenomenal trip, like he deserves!

Please continue to pray for my Mom and step-Dad Don. Don is back to work at his full time job. He can't drive for at least 6 months after the seizure, so he is on a leave of absence at his part time job, where driving fork lift was his only job. 

My Mom continues to deal with a lot of pain! Not only does she have terrible pain from the tumors down her spine, but she deals with arthritic pain from her Lupus. With all of the rain we've had lately, the arthritic pain is escalated. Please keep both of them in your prayers as well!

Below is the link again for our Team Heimanstrong. Our whole family will be at this Race to cure Sarcoma on July 16th. If you are willing to join our team and support Scott, click on the link below to register. It is being held in Oconomowoc, WI. Tyler and I will be running. Scott will be walking with Myles, Hannah and Lexi. We will wear our yellow Heimanstrong shirts on race day. If you would like one, they are only $5. (Let Debbie or Jen know if you want to order or have questions. We hope to see you there! I want to build the biggest team possible to encourage Scott and remind him that he is loved by SO many!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Debbie's 3/23/2017 Post with Updates on Scott

Scott's month long break

Journal entry by Debbie Heiman
It's been 3 weeks since I posted, so I wanted to get everyone up to date on Scott's status. He finished chemo on March 9th, and had his Neulasta shot on March 10. He hasn't had to set foot in a hospital or go to any appointments for almost 2 weeks, and won't have to until his CT scan on April 10th.

The week after chemo was rough, with a lot of stomach issues. Nothing he ate seemed to agree with him, and that is very frustrating. He would get hungry, but didn't want to eat because of what it did to his stomach. Thankfully, he's been feeling much better this week. I'm just so happy that he has remained fever free once again and avoided a hospital visit.

Through chemo week and everything else, Scott has continued to work full time. Most weeks, he's even putting in a bunch of overtime! It's incredible that he is able to have enough energy to work that much. He is an inspiration to me!

On April 1st, we will be attending a Sarcoma event at Milwaukee County Zoo. I will be on a question/answer panel for caregivers and talk for 5 minutes about being a caregiver to my spouse. I am extremely honored to be chosen for this position. When I was called by one of Scott's nurses and asked to speak, I asked if it would be ok to talk about my faith. I told her that if they want me to speak about how I've handled everything in the past 2 years, I would have to talk about my faith. Otherwise the answer would have been NO. Thankfully, she said it would be fine. I can't begin to tell you how God has carried us through some really rough days! Without him in our lives, I can guarantee we would not be doing as well as we are. 

The next big date is April 5th, when Scott and his friend Matt fly to Georgia for the Masters (golf-in case you don't know). They will be staying with Matt's in-laws. It was so nice of them to let Matt and Scott stay there! They will have a great time, and I'm so happy for him! He deserves a break from everything! 

On April 10th, 2 days after his return, he will have his CT scan. We meet with Dr. Charlson on April 13th to get results. Those days of waiting will be hard, but we will be doing a lot of praying to get us through.

Looking ahead- I know that this is almost 4 months away, but I just found out about this Race for Sarcoma. It is being held on July 16th in Oconomowoc, WI. It is a 5K, which is 3.11 miles. You can choose to walk or run. I want to get a huge team together to show Scott how many people are on his side, praying for him during his fight against DSRCT. The link below will take you to a page to sign up for this race. It's already marked Team Heimanstrong when you fill out your information. We will be wearing our yellow Heimanstrong shirts, so that we will stick out. I love that we can also share our faith while wearing them. The front has a cross that says Stronger than Sarcoma and the back has Scott's chosen passage - Psalm 62:5-6 Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. 

Scott knew that was his fighting passage when he opened the Bible right to it when he was in a very dark place. Not only had he been told that he had DSRCT, but this was 5 days later when he was in a hospital bed waiting for his heart to slow down from 200 beats per minute when his atrial fibrillation had gone out of wack. He finally had to have cardio version. We're so thankful that the procedure worked! 

If you sign up to race and don't have a yellow shirt, but would like one, I will be placing an order. I believe I can purchase them for $5 a shirt if I get an order of 10-15 or more. You can text me with shirt sizes.  (ask Jen or Debbie for Debbie's phone # and/or email address). Also feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

When you click on the link below, you can click on the menu button on the sign up page for more details about the race and the money that is being raised for Sarcoma research. Our family is also raising money for Sarcoma research. On the race page, you also have an option to donate. If you choose to do so, please make sure it is under Team Heimanstrong. We appreciate any/all support that you are able to give. Sarcoma research is very close to our hearts!

Here is the link to the race page:

What we will do for now is enjoy our time until April 13th. Once we get results from his scan, we will decide what the next step in his treatment will be. Our prayer is that he has remained stable, meaning there are no tumors anywhere except for in his liver. Hopefully the tumors in his liver have decreased in size as well! Whatever we are told on April 13th is all part of God's grand plan for our lives. We trust him fully! 

Much love from our family to yours! 💜

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

I'm Weary

     I'll spare you the long history my family has had with loss and cancer.  If you follow me at all, I'm pretty much an open book, so you likely already know what we have been through, and if you don't know, this blog will fill you in. 

     My Stepdad, Don, has had 2-3 jobs for many years to help pay for my Mom's medical bills.  He is the hardest worker I know.  Nine days ago he had a grand mal seizure while at work.  He was rushed via ambulance to the ER at the closest hospital.  He was released 2 days later (his 56th Birthday).  His life changed that day.  He had to take a leave of absence from his part-time job because he drives forklift there, and legally one can't drive in the State of IN, until he/she has been seizure free for 6 months.  Since the EEG showed significant seizure activity in his brain the following day, he was put on a very strong seizure med.  His body is still recovering from the seizure and the med is taking longer for his body to adjust to than we had hoped.  It is because of this, that he is still out of work, and it is unknown as to how much longer he will be out.  It can take weeks for a body to adjust to this high of a dosage of a seizure med.  His company does not offer short term disability insurance, so if he doesn't work, he doesn't get paid.  Mom retired a few years ago (she is now 64) due to her health issues.  Last Thursday Mom got her scan results.  She had a scan the day Don had his seizure.  The results showed 3 new tumors on her spine, explaining why she is in so much pain.  She is already doing radiation for cancer in other parts of her body.  Now she has even more radiation and is taking a chemo pill.   Needless to say, they have lots of medical bills, with little income.

     I'm not gonna lie.  This really sucks.  It sucks for them to have to go thru this, and it sucks for me. and those who love them, to know they are going thru this.  If you love someone, your heart hurts when they are hurting.  I wish I could make it all better for them, but I can't.  If you've lost a parent and/or had a parent that was very sick, you know how much it can weigh on your mind.  It's really too much to handle to have Mom have cancer, Don dealing with the aftermath of his seizure and my BIL's very serious cancer.  So yes....I'm going to be honest and I'm going to be real.  I'm tired and I'm weary.  I'm angry that my Family has had so much heartache.  Yes. I know others have it worse.  Yes.  I know God is in control.  I know ALL of this, but it still sucks.  Being an Adult is hard.  Working Full Time is hard.  Working Full Time with so many close loved ones with major illnesses, well.....it's hard...very, very hard.  It's making my depression worse. 

     We are a strong Family, but we are human.  I am weary.  We are weary.  I just pray for peace and I'm going to give myself permission to feel however I feel.  Thank you to my Small Group Friends for letting me be REAL tonight and for validating my feelings of being overwhelmed with life right now.

     Please keep us in your prayers.  If you feel led to donate money towards Mom and Don's Medical bills, and to make up for some of Don's lost income, you can do so here.

     John 11:35 - "Jesus Wept".  Yep, I shed lots of tears tonight.  Praying for God to lift my spirits, and to provide strength and comfort to my Family, especially my Mom.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Debbie's Latest Caring Bridge Update From 3.2.2017

Journal entry by Debbie Heiman — 3/2/2017
Today's labs looked good, and Scott is ready to start chemo on Monday, March 6th. He will have 4 days of chemo and then his Neulasta shot on Friday.

We talked to Dr. Charlson a lot today about what to do next. He thinks that a CT scan is our best bet for his upcoming scan instead of doing a PET scan. In the end, it is our choice. We decided to go ahead with a CT scan first. If everything remains stable, then we'll be happy. If there is any growth in the liver tumors, or if any new tumors appear on the scan, then we will schedule a PET scan.

His CT scan will be on Monday, April 10th. We will meet with Dr. Charlson on Thursday, April 13th to get the results.

That gives Scott exactly a month of no treatments, Dr. appointments, or even setting foot into a hospital, God willing. That's exactly what he needs right now! He deserves a break from this 2 year battle! 

The day before his scan, April 9th, marks the 2 year anniversary of hearing the dreaded word cancer in the ER at West Allis Memorial. 

Speaking of that day, I have to share this amazing story! I have thought about what that amazing ER Dr. did for us many times over the past 2 years. I looked through our paperwork and found his name. I called him to thank him for his quick action in helping to figure out that Scott had DSRCT. We had a great talk about faith and God's plan for us all. He lost his brother-in-law to cancer in December 2016, after a 5 year battle. His little sister is widowed with 3 young children. This man is amazing, and took the time to send me a beautiful letter in the mail. He said that most of the time, he never finds out what happens to his patients once they leave. He remembered us, but never knew what Scott was diagnosed with. He was very sorry to hear what I shared with him.

Along with the letter were 3 devotions/talks for us to read. He told me if I have the time to update him, he would appreciate it, but he understands how overwhelming it can be. I couldn't believe how much he cared to go out of his way to send that! It truly meant the world to me! He is one of the reasons that we still have Scott here with us! DSRCT isn't always found so quickly. Sarcomas are very rare and DSRCT is a rare form of Sarcoma.

God surely places special people in our lives, even at the most difficult times.

We're very happy and excited about the upcoming break. Unfortunately, fear accompanies those feelings. This cancer can grow so quickly, and you never know when it's going to spread or grow.

We must continue to trust in God's perfect plan! Dr. Charlson assured us that Scott will be monitored closely with frequent scans. 

The results we receive on April 13th will help us decide what the next step will be in Scott's treatment. We must keep fighting this beast! 

I am excited about an upcoming Sarcoma event at Milwaukee County Zoo on April 1st. I will be giving a brief 5 minute talk on being a caregiver to my spouse. Froedtert has also chosen a parent caregiver to a child with Sarcoma and an adult child who is caregiver to their parent with Sarcoma. We're planning on bringing our kids to share the day with us.

Please pray for this last cycle of chemo to not be hard on Scott. I'm hoping for a smooth end before his break.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Scott & Debbie's Weekend Away - Debbie's Caring Bridge Post

This made me so happy, to know that they had such a wonderful time together!  They so deserved it!  2 years ago when we did this for them...Scott was feeling really sick.  He was diagnosed with DSRCT a few weeks later.  Last year he was going thru treatments and wasn't feeling well either.  He continues to go thru treatments after his surgery in NYC last June.  So for them to have a weekend away with Scott feeling well enough to enjoy himself on Saturday!  Wow!  Thank you Lord!  :-)  They surprised Myles (and the rest of us) at his Basketball game on Saturday Morning! :-)  Here is a pic I took, followed by Debbie's Caring Bridge Post.  Even with all they have on their plates, they are still choosing to be Thankful! <3 h2="">

Journal entry by Debbie Heiman — 18 hours ago

Scott and I enjoyed a little less than 48 hours on our own. Wow, the time sure flies by fast!

We left our house around 3:45PM on Friday, after picking the kids up from school. We went to Family Video to rent some movies and then headed to an early dinner. Yes, we had dinner at 4:30 with all of the retired people. We enjoyed a fish fry at Kegel's Inn, West Allis. 

After dinner, we headed to our hotel by the airport. We checked in and then made a trip to Target for snacks and drinks to have during our movies. 
We watched 2 movies, which were really funny! It was so great to relax and laugh together! 

We don't get much time to talk, because our lives are crazy and there are always kids around. Scott usually goes to bed before I do, because he is just worn out. We talked until about 2AM. It's was so nice to actually talk to my best friend without any interruptions from kids or nurses coming to check on him during chemo. It truly meant the world to me to have this precious time with him! Man do I love that guy! 

On Saturday morning, we went to Perkins for breakfast. I told him how much I was enjoying our time together. He made a comment about it not taking much to make me happy. It's very true. Time with the love of my life and my family is all I need to make me happy in life. I'm a simple person. You would think that after 19 years together that he would know that by now. 😊

After breakfast, we went to Myles' last basketball game of the season to surprise him. He was really surprised, and so were Jenny, Jonathan, and our other 3 kids. I'm so glad that we went!

On Saturday night, we went to Upper 90's Sports Pub for dinner. We ate alligator bites for our appetizer. They were pretty good. 

We then walked to the Milwaukee theater for a country concert. William Michael Morgan was the opening act, followed by Lee Brice and Justin Moore. It was a great concert!

We went back to the hotel and watched a 3rd movie. That one was good too. We were able to sleep in until 10AM, which was heavenly!

We checked out of the hotel and went to Noodles and Company for lunch. We then sat at Starbucks and enjoyed coffee and conversation before returning home to our crazy life!

Thank you Jenny and Jonathan for taking care of the kids and treating them to special things that they don't get to do very often. They are very grateful, and so are we!

As much as we enjoyed time away, it's great to be home again! If we had times like this often, we wouldn't be as thankful for these precious moments. I will forever cherish this weekend! It was everything we needed and more. 

Hopefully we are recharged enough to face the upcoming chemo and PET scans in March. Life with 4 kids and the challenges of that alone can tire parents out. Adding in the chemo, scans, appointments and side effects just complicates life. 

Please Lord, be with our family as we continue to face these challenges with you by our side! We all know that you know what the future holds and we need not be afraid! Thank you for carrying us through the hard times!  

A close friend of mine lost her Mother on Saturday morning, and other friends of mine lost their mother/daughter/sister on Saturday as well. Life is short and we need to cherish every day that we are given. I pray for God's peace to be with my friends in these challenging times as well!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Caring Bridge Updates on My BIL, Scott From Jan 29th, Feb 3rd, and Feb 8th

Journal entry by Debbie Heiman — 1/29/2017
I realized today that it's been 11 days since I updated about Scott. He made it through chemo last week, but it's starting to hit him. 

Life never slows down for our family, but I'm thankful. I choose to focus my energy on others and to do all that I can while I have the chance. God has given me the ability to keep going for our family when Scott gets too tired. It still amazes me that he pushes himself even when he can barely stand on his own two feet. He is a warrior! 

He made sure that he was at all of our kids' basketball games this weekend. He helped me by getting Tyler where he needed to be so that I could be at our school's open house. These things aren't easy for him when the chemo is hitting him so hard, but he never complains! No one would have any idea how awful he is feeling by looking at him. He doesn't even tell me, but I know him too well for him to hide it. 

Please join me in praying for him this week. I would truly appreciate prayers for a fever free/hospital free week!

Like I said before, I'm thankful for our busy life! I feel so blessed to be busy, because an idle mind has too much time to worry. This busy life has me pretty tired out though! Time for me to sleep. God Bless your week ahead! 

Journal entry by Debbie Heiman — 2/3/2017
I am so thankful that Scott had a fever free week and was able to avoid any extra visits to Froedtert! The week after chemo is always the worst!

He wasn't able to rest much this week, due to being so busy, but he has handled it pretty well! The biggest problem this week is being tired. He has been going to bed around 8, so that's helpful. He needs rest to keep going strong like he is. 

Tonight we have tournaments in Mukwonago. They will be there all day tomorrow too. It's for B team basketball, so we have Tyler on the boy's team and Hannah on the girl's team. That will keep us busy. 

I just wanted to send out a quick update to let everyone know that Scott is doing pretty well! Our prayers were answered once again! Thanks be to God! 

I know we're not completely out of the woods for the past round of chemo, but his counts and energy level should start improving soon. He has 1 more week off before chemo starts on February 13th again.

Enjoy your weekend everyone!
Much love from the Heiman family 💜

Journal entry by Debbie Heiman — 2/8/2017
Scott had labs drawn today before his appointment with Dr. Charlson. His counts all look good to go ahead with chemo next week. His liver counts are all a little elevated. This seems to be the trend with Scott. Dr. Charlson doesn't seem to be concerned about it.

Next week will be round 5 of chemo since his surgery in June 2016. Scott will have one more round of chemo in early March. He will have a PET scan at the end of March. That's as far ahead as we're looking right now. We're not sure what will happen after that. The PET scan results will help us decide.

Scott has lost 2-3 lbs at every appointment since chemo started back up. It's not do to a lack of food intake. He is eating pretty well most of the time. Of course there are days when he isn't feeling very well. Again, the Dr. doesn't seem to be concerned, so neither will we. He's trying his best to put on some weight. I told him that most people have the opposite problem. He would happily take their weight for them.

Scott and I are really looking forward to a weekend alone! My sister Jenny and her husband Jonathan are staying with our kids for the weekend at the end of this month. We're getting our plans all figured out. This weekend is very much needed for both of us! I'm so thankful that they are blessing us with this time away! 

Thank you all for the continued prayers as Scott keeps fighting this monster. It's been a long 22 months for our family! God has helped us get this far, and we know he'll continue to help us keep fighting. 

There is always so much on my mind. We are working on all of the things that need to be filled out for Lexi to attend Wisconsin Lutheran High School next year. I can't believe we'll have a high schooler already! Yikes!

I better try to pray myself to sleep before midnight. Morning rolls around way too fast! What better way to fall asleep than talking to God? He's a Good, Good Father! Anyone know that song? Ok, God Bless you all! Good night. 💜

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Scott's Scan Results - Debbie's Blog Post

Journal entry by Debbie Heiman — 2 hours ago
I have to admit, I was a little bit worried going into our appointment today. However, I was not afraid to hear the results. I've had much peace about this scan. God is so good to us! 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 reads: "Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

We are very joyful this afternoon after hearing that Scott's cancer remains stable! There was no growth in the tumors in his liver, no new tumors, and no change of any kind on his scan. This is the best news that we could ask for, aside from a miracle to say his cancer is gone. We'll take stable any day!

More good news that we received was that his bloodwork is looking good to start chemo on Monday. He's only getting a 2 week break between rounds now, but it's working to keep the cancer from growing and spreading, so he is willing to do it. I love him for fighting with his all for our family! God keeps giving him the strength to fight, even when he's not so sure he wants to. 

Looking ahead, we have his chemo scheduled for January 23-26, and Neulasta injection on January 27. 

If all goes well with that round, he is scheduled for chemo again February 13-16, with Neulasta on February 17.

Mark 11:24 "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."

Thank you Lord for answering the prayers of everyone who has been praying for Scott! God is good!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Waiting for Results of Scott's Scan and Prayers Needed for Our Mom

Here is Debbie's Caring Bridge Update from Today.  Mom's cancer fight often goes unmentioned since Scott's diagnosis, but she continues to fight her own 17 year battle with cancer.

Journal entry by Debbie Heiman — 5 hours ago

Scott and I were able to attend bible class together on Sunday. One or both of us are usually teaching Sunday school/teen group. It was a perfect topic with the CT scan and results coming up this week.

The topic was on Jesus challenging our view of ourselves. These passages were under the category about worrying. Oh how I love these verses! 

Philippians 4:6-7, 12-13, & 19 read, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus."

God has always met my needs, and I fully trust that he will continue to do so. From losing my Dad 17 years ago to watching my Mom battle her cancer for 17 years, and now watching my own husband be put through the ringer with his DSRCT for 21 months, God is always watching out for us! 

My Mom and Don could use your prayers just as much as we do. She took a break from chemo shots because she only had 2 tumors left on her bones, and they were small. She has been having back pain lately (worse than her every day back pain), and she had a scan done. She found out yesterday that the tumor on her spine has grown and is once again pressing on a nerve in her back. She started chemo shots into that tumor today. They are very painful! She has endured so much pain in 17 years from all of her treatments. She has an amazingly high pain tolerance and great attitude! She also has a minor case of shingles, but even a minor case can be miserable. Please add my Mom and Don to your prayers if you would.

We will get Scott's CT scan results tomorrow at 11AM, along with his lab work. If his counts are good and his cancer is stable, he is scheduled to start chemo again on Monday. Our prayer is that we get good news tomorrow. 

While we were in the waiting room before his CT scan yesterday, a couple walked in. When Scott got up to use the restroom, the wife came to talk to me. She had heard us talking to someone we know who works in radiology at Froedtert. She didn't know much about our story, but had gathered enough to know that Scott has cancer. She mentioned her 10 year old, and I said that we also have a 10 year old.

When she came over to me, she asked if she could talk to me. Of course I said yes. She began to tell me that her husband was just diagnosed 5 days ago, and that this is all new. She was still in the stage of shock. She asked me if I ever felt alone. I completely understood where she was coming from. Even with a huge support group, I often feel alone. 

She told me that she saw joy in me and it gave her hope that some day, she too would have joy again. I asked her if she has faith. She said she does and is actually Lutheran. That warmed my heart! I told her that God will take care of them. He has a perfect plan for all of us. We shared information and plan on keeping in touch.

 It made me feel so good to know that she, who doesn't even know me, saw joy in me. I am a joyful person by nature, because I have the peace of Jesus inside of me. I never want to allow cancer to take away my joy and love for life. That doesn't mean I don't have horrible days, but I want to shine and share God's love with others. I don't feel capable of doing that, but I just keep sharing my faith anyways.

 I was able to invite this woman to the cancer caregivers support group that I attend once a month. That meeting is so helpful to me each and every month! I pray that she will begin to come and benefit from the group like I have for the past 18 months or so.

I wish I could fast forward to 11 AM tomorrow! At least it's less than 24 hours away. We will be busy tonight with A team basketball games too.

Thank you so much for all of your prayers last week. This was the first round of chemo since surgery that Scott avoided ending up in the hospital with a fever. He took it easy and I think that helped a lot. It may have been a coincidence too. Who knows? Our prayers were answered to remain fever free though!