A Work In Progress

A Work In Progress

Saturday, August 12, 2017

August Updates - Part 2 - Scott's Good News!

All good news!

Journal entry by Debbie Heiman — 8/9/2017
 I don't have time to do a detailed update right now, but wanted those of you who are wondering to know that today went very well. All of the news that we received was positive, and we are so thankful! I will update tonight before bed hopefully. 

God has been so good to us!


Journal entry by Debbie Heiman — 8/10/2017
When we met with Dr. Mogal this morning, he told us that the CT scan Scott had in the hospital last week was compared with his last scan. Looking at the liver tumors, everything remained stable!

They saw no new growth in his peritoneum. They are hoping that what they saw in his peritoneum was just scar tissue. There is really no way of being 100% sure.

Dr. Mogal told us that we would wait 3 months and then have an MRI. I said, "3 more months without treatment or a scan?" He said yes. He said that we could talk with Dr. Charlson and if he wanted to do sooner, that was ok, but he wouldn't do it right away.

We then met with Dr. Charlson. I expressed my concern in waiting 3 more months without doing ANYTHING. Dr. Charlson said that we could do a scan now or in 6 weeks. Scott would love to wait 3 months, but we compromised on having an MRI in 6 weeks. The MRI will give us a clearer picture of what is hopefully scar tissue. If Scott begins to have pain or feel symptoms, we can move the scan to a closer date. The MRI will be on September 18th. We get results on September 20th.

We are so thrilled that his scan has remained stable for so long and that Scott gets to enjoy such a long break from treatment! His quality of life has been so good lately, minus the week of feeling terrible. We are enjoying life and loving the treatment free days. 

God has been so good to us! How can you not believe that HE is there with us, taking care of Scott and our family, and answering the prayers of more people than we could even imagine! It truly gives me chills! We pray that this good news continues for a LONG time! 

I am humbled by the grace that he has shown us. This week has been tough. Lexi's good friend Mackenzie lost her Nana on Tuesday, after a battle with cancer. She was only 58 years old. A wonderful man in our congregation just passed away as well. They will both be missed by many, but we are thankful for the blessing of their eternal home in heaven! 

August Updates Part 1 - Leaving Hospital

Journal entry by Debbie Heiman — 8/1/2017
This morning, they put Scott on a clear liquid diet. He tolerated that well, and by 6:30PM, they changed it to a full liquid diet. The full liquid diet adds pudding, ice cream, and strained cream soups (instead of just broth). So far, that is also going well. He has no pain. They removed him from his IV fluids since he is drinking plenty now. This is another step in the direction of going home.

I really think that we'll be able to go home tomorrow. We pray that all goes well with the addition of soft solids tomorrow. Please pray for a good day tomorrow and the clearance to go home. If we do get to go tomorrow, I'm sure it will be in the evening. That would be just fine with us though.

Yesterday and today, we were able to head down to the 2nd floor and sit in the courtyard. It's great to get some fresh air! Scott is in much better spirits today and I even got some grins out of him when I was acting silly. I love making him smile and laugh. It is so hard to see him down in the dumps! 

I feel like Scott and I can do anything when we're by each other's side (with God at the center of our marriage, of course)! We've remained strong through the hardest days. I was thinking about how good I feel when he's around. It doesn't matter what we're doing, I just feel whole when we're together. He makes me happy when skies are grey. He'll never know how much I love him! Please never take my sunshine away. I know, those are kind of the lyrics from "You are my sunshine". I was goofing around and singing that to him. He tried not to smile, but he likes the attention. I know he does! 😉

Well, it's after 11, and I'm tired. I'll post an update tomorrow, especially if we get out of here.

Journal entry by Debbie Heiman — 8/2/2017
I lay here writing my CB in our bed, with Scott sleeping peacefully next to me. I'm so blessed!!! We haven't been in our own bed since Thursday, July 20th. It's great to be home!

This morning, the doctors and nurses said that we would be able to go home after he ate some food. He had a breakfast sandwich, pears, and a mini cheese danish. He ate all of it and felt good afterwards. We were discharged and home around 12:30.

Scott's parents took care of the kids for us while we were in the hospital. His Mom made us tacos for dinner and then we went to Myles' last baseball game for the summer. We're so thankful for what they did for us.

Scott is on a restricted diet. He needs to stay away from raw fruits and vegetables, tough meats/proteins and whole grains. These things are hard to digest and we can't risk another bowel obstruction.

We will return to Froedtert next Wednesday for a follow up visit with the surgical oncologist, Dr. Mogal. We will meet with Dr. Charlson, Scott's oncologist, after that. We found out that the reason Dr. Charlson never came to see us was because he's on vacation. We knew it was very odd that we hadn't heard from him.

Dr. Mogal said that Scott could return to work if he wanted to. I asked to make sure it wouldn't be too much for him. You know what Scott's doing tomorrow, don't you? He hates that he missed 3 days, and wants to get back so he doesn't get any further behind. He is a dedicated manager for sure! What a wonderful example to his employees! I'm so proud of him and what he is capable of accomplishing. It's truly amazing after what he just went through. 

I'll update with more information after our appointments next Wednesday. For now, we pray that what is showing up on his scan is ONLY scar tissue. We need to remain positive and not think negative. 

God Bless each and every one of you for your love, concern, and prayers! God heard our cry and answered by sending us home and making Scott feel so much better.




July Updates on The Race to Cure Sarcoma & Scott's Health (Including a Hospital Stay)

Journal entry by Debbie Heiman — 7/25/2017
Last Sunday, July 16th, was such a special day for our family! Not only was it the day of the race, but my Mom celebrated her 65th birthday! For those of you who don't know, this was a huge milestone for my Mom! She has been battling cancer since she was 47 years old. She is an amazingly strong individual and has fought long and hard. We're so blessed to still have her with us today and pray that she will be with us for a long time.

I had been looking forward to the Race to Cure Sarcoma since I first found out about it. I want to spread awareness for Sarcoma. It is not a cancer that we hear much about, and I want that to change. We need so much more research to be done to find a cure for this deadly disease. We were so blessed to have over 65 people register to run/walk for Team Heimanstrong! We were the largest team at the race, and I'm so grateful for the love and support that was shown to our family! It was the first year that they had it in Oconomowoc. The had over 700 people. I would love to see that number doubled next year. I'll let everyone know about it as soon as I find out when it will be in 2018. We'd love to have you join Team Heimanstrong with us. I will never forget that day!

We are currently on vacation. Every summer, we take a 10 day vacation. Since Scott was diagnosed in April 2015, we have not been able to do much vacationing, especially for 10 days! Scott's treatments took up so much of our time that we could never get away. Since we made the choice to take a break from treatments this summer, here we are, enjoying a 10 day getaway. We feel so blessed to be able to have this time to enjoy our favorite family activity- camping.

We do not look forward to the scan that will be coming up at the end of August, but we pray that God's will be done. He knows what is best for our family, and I pray that it means we hear that Scott's cancer remains stable. That would be the most amazing news that we could hear! 

The fact that Scott is looking and feeling great brings me so much joy! I haven't seen him this happy in a LONG time. This break in treatment is exactly what he needed. We will never regret making this decision. 

Please join me in praying for another month of Scott feeling great and being able to enjoy his treatment free summer. Everyone who has been around Scott lately would probably agree that he is genuinely happy! He is enjoying life and making the most of the time that God is blessing him with. I can't begin to tell you how much I love and adore my amazing husband! He is such a fighter and I'm so proud of him.

Journal entry by Debbie Heiman — 7/31/2017
Our family started vacation at Scott's parents house on Lake Arrowhead. After 3 days, we headed to Lake Wazeecha for 3 days for the annual Heiman family camp. The last 4 days was just our family at Chutes Pond Campground in Oconto County. The whole vacation was wonderful, until Saturday night. 

Scott started to feel nauseous and have some abdominal pain around 3PM. He pushed through it and cooked dinner for us on the campfire, even though he was beginning to feel worse. He even went on a hike to a lookout area that we went to earlier in the day. We told the kid that we would go back in the dark to see the stars. We got back around 10PM. We sat around the fire. The kids had dessert, and then we all went to bed around 11. 

Scott was feeling terrible at bedtime, and the pain was worsening in his abdomen. He began vomiting around midnight and throughout the entire night. By noon, he had stopped vomiting and was completely exhausted!

I had called Scott's Dad by this point, because I knew Scott couldn't drive in his condition. They were still at Lake Wazeecha. I don't know how to drive our 1976 Dodge van. It's a 3 on the tree stick. Gary said that they would finish packing up, take their camper home, and come to us in their Mustang. 

We needed to get Hannah to Camp Bird, which was our original plan for camping only 30 minutes from there. I called my friend Linda who was dropping her daughter Lucy off on Sunday too. She was SO kind to go out of her way to pick Hannah up and take her for us. I'm sad that we didn't get to drop her off. I pray that she has a fun week and doesn't worry too much about her Dad.

Scott's parents arrived to our campsite around 3:15 or so on Sunday. They kindly told us to take the Mustang and get Scott to the ER. Scott wanted to go to Froedtert, so we made it home. He slept most of the trip. They packed our camper up for us, took our kids and dog and went to their house for the night. They will bring everything to West Allis sometime today (since it is already almost 4AM).

Scott and I got to the ER around 7:15PM on Sunday night. They did bloodwork an x-Ray and a CT scan. The bloodwork looked good except for elevated white blood cells. The x-Ray and CT confirmed a bowel obstruction. 

They placed an NG tube in the ER. I wouldn't wish this on anyone! It's hard enough being nauseous. Scott was still vomiting up the IV fluids that they were giving him. It is so hard to see him in pain. 

We were told that we'd be admitted to the 7th floor in the new CFAC building, but around 2:45AM, he was wheeled up to the 5th floor in the main hospital. I wasn't too thrilled about that.

Finally, at 4AM, they just hooked up the suction for the NG tube. He's trying to sleep and remain calm, but it's very difficult. Please pray that we aren't here for long. 

Our oncology team will come and see us tomorrow. They will discuss the CT scan with us in more detail. They weren't able to tell us much in the ER.

Journal entry by Debbie Heiman — 7/31/2017
Thank you for all of the prayers, love and concern that has been shown to us. I have gotten many offers to help in whatever way is needed. I appreciate knowing that I have people to turn to if I need anything. You are all such a huge part of our fight! You help keep me strong without even knowing what an affect you have on my strength.

All of the prayers are being heard by our gracious God! Scott is doing so much better today. A huge part of his improvement was removing the NG tube. My neighbor hit it on the head when she said they might as well call it a torture device. It was hard to see him suffering and not be able to help him. We're both so happy that the tube is out!

They can't promise that they won't have to place another NG tube, because we don't know how his body will handle eating or drinking yet. If he starts drinking water tomorrow or eats and continues to vomit, that could mean that the bowel obstruction isn't gone. He is tolerating his IV fluids without vomiting, so that's a good sign. He has no abdominal pain today either, which is a huge blessing. His pain was at a 10 on Saturday night at the campground. I have to admit that was very scary, knowing I had no way to take him anywhere if I needed to, except calling 911. God made it all work out, and I'm so thankful! Scott is so tough and has endured so much. I'm thankful he's had a nice break and has felt good up until now this summer.

The surgical oncologist is unsure about what he sees on the CT scan. Besides for the bowel obstruction that he saw, he doesn't know if there is new tumor in the peritoneum or just scar tissue. This seems to be a common problem with scans in people with DSRCT who have had abdominal debulking surgery. We will pray that it's scar tissue. 

We have no idea how much longer they need to keep us. We also don't know what the future plan for treatment will be. We didn't get to talk to our oncologist Dr. Charlson today. Hopefully we'll see him tomorrow. 

Scott was supposed to have a scan at the end of August. That may change, but we're used to going with the flow. What else can you do? God's got a plan, even though it's hard for us to understand. 

Keep the prayers coming for further improvement day by day and getting back home to our kids and our beds! It's been a long time since we've been home sweet home. 

Love and hugs to each and every one of you! 


Updates on Scott's Fun Summer & His Health - Posts From May & June

Journal entry by Debbie Heiman — 5/22/2017
About a month ago, I wrote my last post. In the post, I said that we are blessed to know what may lie ahead for our family. Although that can make days even harder at times, it can also be a blessing. I said that sometimes a tragedy hits you out of nowhere and you don't have the precious time that you so badly want to have. Time is such a precious gift!

Scott's cousin Jamie was only 35 years old. Jamie suffered a seizure on May 9th. She was taken home to heaven on May 17th. We made a day trip to Minnesota today for her funeral. We're on our way home now. Scott is driving, so I have a lot of time to sit and think.

I ask that you say some prayers for Jamie's whole family! She is survived by her sister Kelly and her family, her sister Jessica and her family, and her parents Deb and Paul. She is also survived by many aunts, uncles, cousins, and others who loved her very much. Adjusting to life without Jamie is going to be very difficult for her family. My heart goes out to them! Jamie was always there to greet you with a hug and a smile, and everyone is going to miss that about her.

Today was another reminder to make every day count and to never take your loved ones for granted. Jamie's service was beautiful, and we know that she is safe in heaven smiling down on all of us.

Scott will be having a PET scan in 8 days (May 30th). We will get the results from his scan on Thursday, June 1st. Please pray for a stable scan, or even better yet, that the tumors in his liver have shrunk! Either way would be amazing news! 

Scott has been treatment free for almost 2 1/2 months. It seems like it has been a year! It is truly such a blessing to not have appointments, chemo, etc. filling up our calendar and our life! I would love for him to continue being treatment free, but we won't know what our next step will be until we get scan results. His hair is growing back and he has a nice beard. He is looking and feeling really good! I just love it!

Our oldest, Lexi, jut got confirmed yesterday. We had a wonderful day celebrating with many friends and family members! We can't believe that she's starting high school in August! It just doesn't seem possible. How did time go by so fast? 

I'm posting some pictures from her beautiful day.

Journal entry by Debbie Heiman — 5/31/2017
 Our grueling wait ended earlier than we expected. The nurse posted on our Froedtert MyChart page this evening.  We are so excited to share that Scott's scan remains stable! Better yet, a couple of the tumors in his liver have decreased slightly in size! 

I can't even begin to explain how happy our family is to receive this news! Not having to walk in to the appointment tomorrow with knots in our stomachs, being able to actually sleep tonight, and enjoying an evening of dinner and watching A Dog's Purpose are all blessings that we won't be taking for granted!!! 

I'm not sure why, but God has been so good to us! 1 year ago, Scott was preparing for surgery in New York. Today, we are celebrating how far he has come since surgery! It's an amazing feeling!

I'll post again tomorrow to let you know what we discuss with Dr. Charlson about future treatment or taking a longer break from it. Scott would like to continue with no treatment if our Dr. agrees. They will not let Scott go more than 3 months without a scan. We know that. 

Enjoy your evening everyone! Love the ones that you are blessed to share your life with!!! 


Midnight is the deadline for signing up for the Sarcoma 5K walk/run at $35. After midnight, the price goes up. The link for the race is posted above. 

If you would like a Heimanstrong t-shirt, they are $5. I need to know by June 14th. 

Journal entry by Debbie Heiman — 6/1/2017
Today's appointment with Dr. Charlson was wonderful! Everything we talked about was positive and encouraging! Scott's blood counts all look great. One liver count was elevated, but it has been for a long time, and is lower than it used to be, so nothing to be concerned about.

We discussed some options for his liver, but nothing will ever rid his liver of all of the tumors. If we start to try and shrink some of the larger tumors in his liver, it could end up causing more harm than good. Since his liver remains stable, we are going to leave it alone. We're happy with a stable and good functioning liver!

We discussed more chemo, and decided that we will continue with another 3 month break. That's right, Scott will have no treatment this ENTIRE summer!!!!!!!! The past 2 summers have been very difficult for Scott, and we can't even process the fact that we don't have hospitals and treatments wasting our summer. It's truly unbelievable and such a HUGE blessing from God! 

He will have to go to Froedtert on June 29th, July 27th, and August 29th to have his port flushed. We need to make sure it doesn't clot and continues to function properly for future treatment. He will also have a CT scan on August 29th. We'll get results on August 31st. It's hard to believe that the kids will be in school before he has another scan. 

Now, we need to start looking at our calendar for the summer. It will be the first time we can actually make plans in 2 years! I pray that Scott remains healthy this entire summer and we can enjoy time with family and friends and make a lot of happy memories!

Journal entry by Debbie Heiman — 6/4/2017
Yesterday, we celebrated how far Scott has come in the past year. June 3rd, 2016, was the day that Scott had surgery in New York. 1 year later, we receive news that Scott's cancer remains stable after 3 months of no treatment. Then we decide that we'll take 3 more months off from treatment before we do another scan. We have so much to be thankful for and so much to celebrate! Scott and I went to dinner and a movie yesterday. It had been a long time since we went on a date. I think the end of February was the last time, but who's keeping track?

We thank God every day for blessing us with this time! We will continue to fight the battle against Sarcoma. 

The link below will take you to the website to sign up for the Race to Cure Sarcoma on July 16th. It will take you right to our Heimanstrong link. If you aren't able to attend, but would like to support Sarcoma research to help find a cure to this monster, here's how. 

Click on the link below, click on race menu and then click donate. Go to team fundraiser and type in Team Heimanstrong. Thanks to our 42 current team members! I'm excited each time I see our team growing! Thanks to the generous friends who have donated to Sarcoma research! Your donations are very important and very much appreciated!!!



Journal entry by Debbie Heiman — 6/15/2017
I know that Scott is currently taking a break from treatment, but I don't want to stop posting and updating everyone who cares about him. This Caring Bridge site is truly therapeutic for me! Writing about what's going on helps me in a way that I can't explain.

This morning, Scott's alarm goes off at 5AM, as usual. With nowhere to rush off to every morning, I've been able to stay up later with the kids and sleep later than my normal 5 or 5:30. I decided to get up with him today and make his coffee and say goodbye to him. 

I joke "kinda, but not really" when I say he puts me to shame. If you get sick of me posting about how truly amazing this guy is, then you can stop reading my posts, because I am in awe of him daily!

Scott works a minimum of 10 hours a day at his job. He doesn't then come home and relax. Last night, he changed the oil on our 76' Dodge Ram van (Preshus- that's her name) and then grilled our pork chops at 8:45 for our late 9:00 dinner. The night before, he made it to Tyler's baseball game, did some odds and ends around the house, and then he mowed the grass. That made me feel guilty for not doing it before he got home.

Even when he doesn't have the energy to keep his eyes open, he's making sure that he spends some time with our kids each night. He doesn't EVER get enough sleep, because his plate is so full of responsibilities, and not one of them is left unfinished! Scott is the most dedicated man that I have EVER met in my life. Somehow he manages to juggle it all with such grace and not a single complaint. I strive to be more like him! Everyone could learn something from Scott. He is an all around nice guy too! 

We know how important this break in treatment is for his physical and mental health! We pray that God will bless us with another stable scan at the end of August. We trust that God has our best interest in mind and whatever happens will be for our good. 

The fact that Scott still has cancer in his liver is always on my mind. However, my mind plays tricks on me lately. I see how great he looks, and sometimes for short spurts, I forget that he's sick. I pray that he has some of those moments too! 

It's difficult to live in the moment and enjoy every day to the fullest when we let ourselves think about the future. I try SO hard to not think about the future, but reality is still there. 

God has been so good to us in blessing us with over 2 more years with Scott. I continue to pray for many more years with him. Please join me in praying for Scott's faith, strength, and positive attitude to keep fighting the good fight that he has been fighting for over 2 years! Words can't express how much he means to me and our kids. He is quite the hero in our house, and we're so proud to say he's all ours! 

Happy early Father's Day to all of the great Dads who sacrifice so much for their families! It means more to us than you could ever know!

Long Overdue Updates Regarding Scott's (my BIL) Health (Posts From April)

I just sat down to look at the last time I posted one of Debbie's updates, and it was on April 5th.  Yep, I've kinda had a lot going on in my own life!  I apologize for the delay.  What I'm going to do is post in order of Debbie's Caring Bridge Posts from the Oldest one first to the Newest one last.  It may take a few blog posts, but I'll get you all up to date!  Thanks for your patience and understanding! :-)

Here are Debbie's Updates From April in the order in which she posted them.

Journal entry by Debbie Heiman — 4/11/2017
I've been updating a little bit more on FB lately. For the non Facebook users, I will bring you up to date. Scott and his friend Matt made it safely to Georgia and back home on Saturday. They enjoyed going to the Masters on Thursday. It was a windy day, but decent temperature and no rain. I'm so glad that they had a nice trip!

Scott had his CT scan last night. We will be getting the results on Thursday morning. It's a long time to wait, but we'll get through it by leaning on God for strength and lots of prayer. 

I'm posting some pictures from the trip to Georgia along with some pictures from the park on Sunday. It limited me to 5 pictures, so I couldn't post all of them.

It has been 2 years since we went to the ER for Scott's problems. We weren't expecting to hear the word cancer, much less find out the severity of it on April 15th. It's been a LONG, hard 2 years! With God's help, and with the help of so many who love us, we have pushed through and not let this horrible disease ruin us! 

I was just telling our kids how awesome and strong they are to have made it through 6 whole weeks without seeing us while we were in New York for Scott's surgery. I missed Scott so much after being gone for 3 days!

Hannah (11 at the time of our NY trip) just told me it was the worst/best summer of her life. Having us be gone  and worrying about Dad so much made it the worst of course. What made it the best was being able to spend 6 weeks with Nana and Papa. Most of the time was spent at their house on the lake. They made so many great memories last summer. I will be forever grateful to Gary and Karen Heiman for loving our kids and taking such good care of them the whole time! Scott and I didn't have to worry about them as much. What parent wouldn't worry though???

This is a trying week to say the least, but God is holding us in the palm of his hands, and I can feel his love all around us! God is so very good!

I will be updating sometime on Thursday with the results of his scan. In the meantime, all we can do is PRAY and trust in God's plan for our family. He knows what our future looks like, and I gaurantee he will always have our best interest in mind. We just don't always understand. 

Thanks to all who truly care about us! It keeps us going more than you could ever know! We love you all!

Journal entry by Debbie Heiman — 4/13/2017
Praise God from whom all blessings flow, praise him all creatures here below, praise him above ye heavenly host, praise Father Son and Holy Ghost

I woke up 3 times in the middle of the night and this doxology kept playing over and over in my head. 

I want to shout praises to God from the mountaintops and let the whole world know what a good and gracious God we have! 

Last night, I went on our hospital's MyChart page to see if Scott's CT scan results might be posted. I figured they wouldn't be, but one of our Dr's had sent a message to us saying, Scott's scan is stable! See you in the morning. 

It has been 2 years since we started fighting this beast. There are many DSRCT warriors who aren't doing well after 2 years. I never take a day for granted, especially after knowing what all of these fighters are going through. It's really hard to understand when you're not in the middle of it all. I'm not asking anyone to try to understand, but to join us in singing praises to our gracious God for giving us 2 more years with Scott and for continuing to bless us with his presence here on earth! God's not done with Scott yet, and I'm so thankful! I know what an inspiration he has been to so many! I'm the luckiest woman to be his wife! He is a very special man!

We still go to see Dr. Charlson at 9AM. Thankfully the nerves will be settled. We need to discuss what our next step is. There was no change since the scan in January, which means that the only tumors visible on the scan are in his liver. The fighting is far from over friends, but this is something worth rejoicing over!

I'll update more after our appointment today to let you all know what our next step will be.

Journal entry by Debbie Heiman — 4/13/2017
In case you missed my previous entry, Scott's scans are stable! There has been no change at all since January. Praise the Lord!!!

I can't even imagine how great it feels for Scott to have a break from treatment!  I know how great it makes me feel, and I'm not the one dealing with the physical part of it. Well, he will get an additional 6 weeks before he has to go back to the hospital, God willing. That's 2 1/2 months with no chemo! What a huge relief for Scott! 

We discussed our future plans with Dr. Charlson today. I had questions about the cancer in Scott's liver and whether or not to jump right back into chemo. He thought it would be fine to wait.

His lab results from Monday are excellent! We haven't seen that great of numbers yet. He gained 3 lbs since his last visit, which is great! He says that it's thanks to the fried food that he ate in Georgia.

We decided that we should continue to take a break from treatment and allow Scott's body to continue recovering from the treatment that he has been burdened with for 2 years! This will allow our family to fully enjoy Lexi's Confirmation and 8th grade graduation. Hopefully Scott will be feeling great for these events. 

We have a PET scan scheduled for May 30th, with results on June 1st. After the PET scan, we'll decide what our next steps will be in his treatment plan. We will just take it one step at a time and enjoy each day that we are blessed to be spending together!

I met another wonderful woman whose husband was just diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. Please pray for Matt and Laura and their 10 year old daughter! I know how hard this journey is, and my heart breaks for this beautiful family! I told her that 2 years ago, I would never have dreamed that we would come this far. Scott has been such a fighter and no one should ever give up hope! I can tell that she's a fighter and will encourage her husband every step of the way!

This Caring Bridge site is therapeutic for me. It's like my journal, but it also allows me to keep hundreds of people updated on Scott's health. Thanks for taking the time to read my updates, pray for Scott and never take life for granted!


Journal entry by Debbie Heiman — 4/19/2017
Wow! It has been almost 6 weeks since Scott finished his last round of chemo! He is continuing to feel better and gain some strength back the further he gets away from treatment. We can only dream of a life with no more treatments. Unfortunately, this wonderful break is not our reality for Scott's future. Don't get me wrong. We continue to pray for miracles and to believe that God will work all things out for our good. 

Having the faith that we have in God's perfect plan, also allows me to realize that our way may not be God's way. If I could choose our future and tell God how my life should be, I would tell him that Scott and I are going to watch all of our children grow up and have beautiful families of their own. We are going to enjoy the retirement that Scott has worked so hard to provide for us with his hard work and commitment. I have many hopes and dreams for our future. We don't know God's plan for our family. We just have to keep trusting in God and believing that he has our future planned for our good. It's so hard to imagine why Scott having cancer can be good, but good things have taken place in the past 2 years. 

2 years ago today, we were sitting at Froedtert, terrified for Scott's life. He had just been told on the 15th that he had a very fast growing Sarcoma cancer called Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumor (DSRCT). I rushed Scott to the ER on the 18th because his heart was beating too fast and off rhythm. He was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation in 2001, so we knew that he was having an episode. After 48 hours of doing everything that they could do to slow his heart rate down from 150-200 BPM, they had to perform cardioversion on him. We are so thankful that it worked and got his heart back into regular rhythm. 

That was just the beginning of a very long road ahead! I can't believe 2 years has gone by already. We have had many difficult days along the way. 

God has blessed us with time! It is a difficult road for our family to be traveling on every day, but I am thankful that we know what our future may hold. There are people who are taken tragically from this world, and families don't have the chance to spend time with them and say the things that they wanted to say, but never had the chance. I know that we are blessed and I never take our time together for granted. 

You never think that something like this could ever happen to you, until one day, it hits you out of nowhere! You are just enjoying your life, and then your world gets turned completely upside down with the dreaded words, "I'm sorry, but you have cancer." 

I hate that word, and I hate what it does to people, especially the people that are the most important people in my life - The 2 people who love me no matter what, 100% unconditionally. 

Mom and Scott, you 2 never cease to amaze me! If I didn't know you both so well, I would think you are both pretty healthy. Unfortunately, you both struggle with things that no one would ever know. You don't complain and you hide so much from others. You have strength that can't be explained, but I know that it comes from God. I pray that he continues to give you both the strength to keep fighting. 

God has a plan for both of you, and he's not done with you yet. I can't imagine how many lives you have touched. I know that it's more than you could ever imagine! You are both a huge inspiration to me, and so many others! Keep shining your light and letting God lead you down the path that he has chosen for you! I love you both!



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!

Love,


J-La-Sta

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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.

~J-La-Sta



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. :-)