Happy 2017 to all our friends and family. We pray that this new year brings you much love, hope and blessings. You have been such a tremendous source of encouragement and love for us and we pray that we can be the same for you. Thank you for shining God's love into our lives and making the the joys more tangible and the pain more bearable.
Again, it has been some time since I have updated you all. Much has gone on since Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, not all as we had hoped. Brian went in for another MRI scan on December 20th, and since then, we have been in somewhat of a whirlwind. The doctors discovered that his brain tumor had grown. Given the news just a month previous of it's stability, the news was very hard to take. We are still recovering from the blow.
What this means for Brian is that he can no longer be a participant in the UCSF clinical trial. Once there is disease progression, they take the participant out of the trial. After much prayer and consultation with three different neuro-oncologists and the neuro-surgeon, it was decided that Brian would not be able to undergo another brain surgery. To do so would put him at too high of risk for loosing his speech and communication abilities and also put at risk the movement of his right side. Because his speech had gotten worse, he is now doing an infusion of Avastin every three weeks. This is supposed to shrink the blood vessels around the tumor and help with the swelling and, hopefully, keep the speech stable. He will also now begin Temodar, an oral chemotherapy that is the standard of care for glioblastomas. This will begin Wednesday, January 4th, and he will be on a cycle where he takes it for 5 days and then is off for 23 days each month. We are also looking into getting the Optune device that he will wear for at least 18 hours a day. Here is a Ted Talk on it if you are interested in knowing what it is and does: https://www.ted.com/talks/bill_doyle_treating_cancer_with_electric_fields.
This turn has been extremely emotional to wrap our heads and hearts around. I and several other friends and family are also looking into additional clinical trials and other treatments, but as of right now, this course seems best to keep Brian's speech and hopefully, combat this beast. His energy is very low and it's been a struggle, but we are hopeful and remain full of faith that the God who started a good work in Brian (and our whole family) will be faithful to complete it. We are making the decision - on nearly a minute by minute basis - to not live in fear, but to live with our eyes fixed on the Lord. He knows us and he has perfect plans, whatever they might be.
In church today, the pastor prompted the whole church to pray for us and others who are struggling in their health. What a blessing that was with which to start the year! After church, many came to lay hands on Brian and pray for him. We are overwhelmed by all of you who are praying for us on a daily basis and thank God for you.
I have shared this scripture before. It is the verse I am clinging to and a reminder of God's faithfulness and His plan for our lives. And today, it was further confirmed to me to be the scripture that I will dwell on in this journey. It came up in my bible app as the verse of the day for today, the first day of a new year. May it bring you hope in your journey as well.
"Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
steams in the wasteland."