Saturday, August 23, 2014

My journey through greif

It’s June, 2011, I walk out of the emergency room where the doctor just finished telling us that my husband’s brain had numerous hemorrhaging tumors, a tumor on his spine causing the paralysis, and tumors throughout his body not to mention the more than 100 tumors in his leg.  At the time I’m sitting there beside my husband trying to process everything we heard and not look like someone just slammed me upside the head with a ball bat.  I could not allow him to see me crumbling; I had to be strong for him.  One of my friends, Juanita who was an ER nurse at the time, looked at me and said lets go out here for a moment.  I round the corner in the ER hall and I can’t keep it inside anymore.  I broke down like I have never broke down before in my life.  I slid down the wall to my feet.  Juanita and my friend Trish were with me holding me trying to comfort me.  It was at that moment I knew that there would be no more research for treatments, no more hope for a cure…  For the past two and a half years I clung on to the hope that there would always be another clinical trial he could try and we would find a cure, I just knew it.  I never allowed myself to think anything else other than he would beat this terrible cancer.  I take my husband home and full-time hospice care from our home was initiated.  I will tell you that from this moment on the ONLY thing that kept me going was the fact that he was still alive and with us.  I prepared for his passing by compiling photos for a memorial video; I spoke with my sister about preparations; I spoke with my husband about his wishes, but never once did I really comprehend what that meant.  I detached myself from the reality that my husband was dying.

For the next 30 days I’m by his side watching as he declines.  The paralysis moving from his waist to his chest.  I saw him slowly lose his breathing capacity, his kidneys slow down function, his tumors getting bigger then busting open, and then the gangrene.  As I watch all this happen, I somehow take comfort that he is still with me.  He worries will I be okay, I assure him I will be fine.  I had to be strong for him… It’s the night of August 2, 2011 and my husband has been in and out of consciousness all day but now he’s not talking to me anymore and he’s not awake.  As the evening progresses it starts, oh my god, no not the “death rattle” they told me about.  Oh my god, it was awful.  I climbed up in the hospital bed with him, I held him and laid next to him for what seemed like hours.  As I held him, I whispered in his ear and I cried because I didn’t want him to suffer anymore.  God, please take him, don’t let him suffer.  Then at 12:12 am August 3, 2011 Eric took his last breath and I said goodbye.  That was the worst night of my life.  That is when my worst fear became my reality.  A reality I had to face now.

The first year after Eric’s passing was hell.  I did everything I could not to face my reality.  I traveled as much as I could and I went out with friends as much as I could, but deep inside of me I was living an unimaginable hell.  I began to have feelings for a long-time friend and we started dating.   I became ill and ended up hospitalized for 5 days with Acute Renal Failure and I had major surgery for multiple tumors in my uterus.  My health would never be the same as it was, it took a huge blow.  To cope I had to bury my feelings deep inside me.  I could not truly deal with all that had happened.  Yes, there would be times when it would surface but I buried it as soon as I could.  To an outsider I probably looked happy.  I could feel and heard judgment about my assumed happiness and new relationship.  I did everything I could to get through that first year and I will tell you that there are only THREE reasons I am still alive today and those three reasons are my daughters, Samantha & Madison and my boyfriend at the time, Rufus.  My girls suffered greatly because they didn’t have a mom that could be there for them like I should have been.  I can’t tell you how many ledges Rufus talked me down.  He literally carried me that year.  It was an awful year of despair and running from my reality.

I tried counseling but I left feeling worse because it dug up everything that I had worked so hard to bury.  I tried a grief support group but I was significantly younger than anyone else so I couldn’t really relate to them.  Nothing seemed to help but burying my feelings.  It was my way of surviving.   I couldn’t take prescription medication for depression because I was having side effects from them all so this was just something I was going to have to get through on my own.  I couldn’t turn to God.  I was so angry at God.  I questioned everything about God.  If He didn’t heal Eric of all people then why would He even care about me?  Eric’s faith was so strong yet he didn’t receive a miracle healing.  My faith had been shattered to the core.  I felt I was on my own to figure this all out.

The second year things got a bit easier.  I still continued to keep the grief buried.  That became more difficult as I developed triggers.  There were events, conversations or even pictures that would trigger my grief and when it surfaced it was like a flood of rushing waters.  It was difficult for me to control.  It could be as simple as someone talking about getting a miracle for a loved one.  Oh, that really dug it up for me.  Not that I would be angry if someone got a miracle, but why didn’t we get a miracle?  Why do some receive them and others don’t?  I was questioning a lot of my beliefs.  My friends and family had to question why little things would upset me so much because I was moving on with my life and I seemed to be doing okay, but the internal hell that was brewing inside of me was still there.  All my emotions about my loss and life over the last three years before his death were like a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. 

I knew that I couldn’t go on like this and at some point I was going to have to deal with it all, but I just didn’t know how I was going to do it.  I needed someone to help me, someone who had experience with helping someone who had been through a trauma.  That might sound ridiculous to some people; that my grief was a trauma but you have to realize that for nearly three years I watched Melanoma attack my husband.  I bandaged his massive tumors and watched him bleed out from those tumors profusely.  All that time I wasn’t truly taking in what was going on; I was merely doing what I had to do to keep my husband alive.  It’s like being alongside someone that is in battle in a war and you are caring for them.  I suffered from flashbacks and I relived his death over and over in my nightmares.  I knew that it was going to take someone special to help me and I was blessed to come upon a counselor that specializes in PTSD and trauma.  She was hope for dealing with my grief.

My first session of therapy was intense.  I knew it would be.  I wasn’t going to hold back because I needed to deal with everything completely.  I felt a connection to my counselor like I’ve never felt before and I left my session that day with swollen eyes and feeling exhausted but not feeling depressed.  This time was different than my counseling sessions in the first year of his passing.  I have had many sessions over the months and I can’t begin to tell you the healing that has taken place with me.  During my sessions I continue to dig deep and deal with the issues that lay inside of me and it is very emotional, but when I leave I feel that it has helped.  My counselor doesn’t just sit there and listen to me and ask how I feel, she is guiding me and giving me techniques to deal with my pain and grief.  I never thought there would be hope for me to be free of this pain and I have found it.  I thought that this was just how my new life would be.  When Eric died that day a part of me died with him, my days were darkened.  It was as if I lived with sunglasses on every day because everything seemed a little darker than before his illness.  Now I feel like I’m seeing things much brighter.  I look up and I see the beautiful blue sky behind the cotton clouds and I hear the birds chirp and children playing.  You don’t understand if you have never been where I’ve been that I never thought it would be like this again. 

I have finally found peace from that pain and it feels good to live life again.  My journey through his illness and my loss has been long and difficult, but it did not defeat me.  I am finally free.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Life after war against Melanoma

We fought a war.  A war from our own home.  Life was good, really good and then you get the call.  It's cancer.  That is when we knew we were in a fight against something we knew nothing about.  It's scary to even think about.  Cancer, Melanoma.  We knew NOTHING about Melanoma and what we found out scared the hell out of us.  At the time, there were only two treatments approved for Melanoma.  So here we are faced to fight something we can not see, something we know nothing about and something that offers very few treatment options. 

I felt powerless against it.  I had to find out more about the enemy called Melanoma.  I researched everything I could find on Melanoma.  I didn't find much in a bookstore so I took to the internet and there is where I developed the battle plan.  The more you know about your enemy, the better prepared you are to take on a battle.  I read article after article about Melanoma.  I joined a Melanoma Patients forum and spoke to people battling and got to know their experiences.  I read about current clinical trials that were going on for Melanoma.  The battle plan began to form. 

For the next three years, I watched as the beast (Melanoma as we call it) attacked my husband.  It's as if your loved one is being attacked by an invisible beast.  I watched as he is attacked time after time. You go through each day thinking what will be next, where will the beast strike him next. So I had to take up armor. I couldn't let this beast hurt my husband or take him from me.  It seemed as if weapon after weapon wasn't working and I'm watching my husband get attacked to death. Then there came the day when I had no more weapons left. I had used them all and we were out of ammo. All I could do is hold him and comfort him as the beast continued to attack him. This lasted for two months until the day. That awful day. The beast took his life and I couldn't save him.

Yes, he's no longer suffering.  He's in a better place.  That should make everything better, but it doesn't.  I mean yes, I'm glad he's not suffering that's not what I mean.  You probably wouldn't understand unless you had gone through it yourself.  It's a contradiction in so many ways.  There were times I wanted God to take him so he wouldn't suffer, then I'm angry because God took him. 

You may think I've forgotten him or that I've moved on and I'm doing so well.  I haven't forgotten.  I will never forget.  As far as moving on, well what option do I have?  The pain is still there and it's very deep.  In some ways I've let the beast win because he's taken a part of me too.  Part of me died with Eric that day.  Eric wouldn't want this for me.  This pain I have.  So I'm beginning to take up armor again.  I'm fighting to win back my freedom from this pain.

Friday, September 13, 2013

"Cancer is an epidemic in this country and I'm confused as to why people aren't freaking out more than they are. Probably because they don't have it... yet" 

I read this in a blog post today from a mother who lost her daughter to cancer.  It's true...why are people still tanning?  Why do I see posts in my Facebook news feed of friends who are talking about "getting their tan on" or "going to the tanning bed"??  Didn't they see our videos?  Didn't they see our posts?  Don't they know that it's not worth it?  So many thoughts and questions go through my mind.  Sometimes I get angry and sometimes I just get really sad.  It's something I guess I have to work through.  I see people who take for granted that their husband is alive and well and those feelings well up in me how if they only knew what it was like to watch someone you love lose their battle to cancer especially to something that could have been prevented.

Why isn't everyone freaking out about cancer?  Why do we have this feeling of being invincible or "it's not going to happen to me"?  It's something I've pondered often since Eric lost his battle to cancer.  Most people live in the moment and just don't think about death especially young adults.  Sadly, it's something I think about everyday...  Sure, when you see a friend or a family member struggling with a terminal illness you may think about how awful that would be but then you lose sight of that and move on with your life.  

Just this week my heart has been heavy for two people who lost their lives too young in my community and the cancer battles of three people I've become to know (two with melanoma and the other colon cancer) and a friend's 11 year old son battling brain cancer.  More and more people are being diagnosed with cancer each year.  Let me share with you a few facts from the American Cancer Society: 
  • About 1,660,290 new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2013. This estimate does not include carcinoma in situ (non-invasive cancer) of any site except urinary bladder, and does not include basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers, which are not required to be reported to cancer registries. 
  • In 2013, about 580,350 Americans are expected to die of cancer, almost 1,600 people per day. Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the US, exceeded only by heart disease,accounting for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths. 
These numbers are staggering, so why do we still put ourselves at risk?  Why aren't we educating ourselves more about our bodies?  Eric was diagnosed in October, 2008.  Before then, Eric was never sick and looked and felt great.  We had no idea the beast was ravaging his body day by day.  How can something that started out to be a tiny mole end up engulfing his leg in tumors, covering his brain in hemorrhaging tumors, make him paralyzed from the waist down and then taking his life from us.  Just because you look and feel great today, doesn't mean that you are healthy.

So what's my point, right?  My point is that you are NOT invincible.  That YOU have a family that loves and needs you.  Do you know what Eric would have given to see his granddaughter graduate from school, get married or to be a great grandfather to her children?  You may think that by tanning now you will look good when you die right?  Hell no, if you think that then you need to watch our videos.  Not only will you regret your tan, but you will suffer greatly and fight for your life.  I guarantee you won't say, "I don't regret tanning."  Those words have never been spoken by someone who battled melanoma.  

Nothing matters to us most but our family right?  Think of the pain your family will feel during your battle to survive.  Think of how your family will suffer when they lose you...  Melanoma took away my husband, my girls step-father, his parents son, his son's father, and his granddaughter's papaw.  We lost a great man.  We still struggle with the pain of that loss two years later.  It's changed us forever.  Don't take your life for granted.  Live everyday like it's your last.  Pay attention to your body and get regular check ups.  You may be okay with your unhealthy habits, but is it worth the risk and the pain it will cause your family?  I hope that I have left you something to think about and I also hope that you never have to lose someone you love to cancer.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Resources for Cancer Patients

So many people who are diagnosed with a serious illness struggle with the financial hardships associated with medical expenses and travel for treatments.  Here are some numbers and websites that I have compiled that may help alleviate some of that burden:

  • Angel Airlines For Cancer Patients - The mission and purpose of Angel Airlines For Cancer Patients’ is to ensure that no cancer patient is denied access to distant specialized medical evaluation, diagnosis or treatment for lack of a means of long-distance commercial airline transportation.  (800)296-1217
  • Mercy Medical Airlift - Arranges free transportation on commercial airlines, 14 day notice - (888)675-1405
  • Patient Airlift Central - Patient AirLift Services covers flights in the entire northeast United States as far west as Ohio and as far south as Virginia.
  • American Cancer Society Air Miles Program – Frequent flyer miles are donated for patients and family to travel to treatment (800) 227-2345
  • National Patient Travel Center - The National Patient Travel HELPLINE provides information about all forms of charitable, long-distance medical air transportation and provides referrals to all appropriate sources of help available in the national charitable medical air transportation network.

Lodging Accommodations:

ACS Hope Lodge - Each Hope Lodge offers cancer patients and their caregivers a free, temporary place to stay when their best hope for effective treatment may be in another city.

Sometimes the hospital where you are receiving treatment will have their own resources for local accommodations, be sure to get connected with a Patient Resource Advocate at that hospital and ask if they have local resources for lodging.

Financial Resources: 
  • -  click on "In your area" and enter your zip code.  This website has lots of information on help.  (800)ACS-2345
  • - this website provides effective mediation and arbitration services to patients to remove obstacles to healthcare including medical debt crisis, insurance access issues and employment issues for patients with chronic, debilitating and life-threatening illnesses.
  • -  Netwish provides assistance, up to $500 for those who are able to demonstrate a financial need.
  • - provides help with bills.
  • Hope Cancer Fund -
  • - helps families and loved ones by offering travel for a vacation.  Must be diagnosed with Cancer, be between 24-50, and reside in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or Delaware.
  • Co-Pay Relief - or (866)612-3861
  • - helps thousands of underinsured patients afford the copayments for their cancer or chronic disease medications.
  • www.healthwellfoundation.orgnon-profit organization established in 2003 that is committed to addressing the needs of individuals with insurance who cannot afford their copayments, coinsurance, and premiums for important medical treatments.
Your local American Cancer Society may have their own programs to help.  Our local ACS had gas cards that they distributed for patients going through chemotherapy.  Be sure to contact your local ACS, they have multiple resources to assist you.  I also recommend searching for foundations that are directly related to your type of cancer because they may have specific resources for your cancer.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Message From Beyond...

While searching the internet, I found this poem.  Eric always wrote me the most beautiful poems and letters.  As I read this, I couldn't help but think he guided me to it...

“You can shed tears that he is gone,
or you can smile because he has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that he'll come back,
or you can open your eyes and see all he's left.
Your heart can be empty because you can't see him,
or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember only that he is gone,
or you can cherish his memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind,
be empty and turn your back.
Or you can do what he'd want:
smile, open your eyes, love and go on.”

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Eric is now an angel in heaven. 9/17/1963 - 8/3/2011

It is with great sadness that the family of Eric Jerome Sizemore announces his passing after a battle with Melanoma, on Wednesday, August 3, 2011, at the age of 47. . Eric passed away at his home surrounded by friends and family. Eric will be forever remembered by his wife and best friend Jill, and their precious children, Ricky (Vanessa) Vidal, Samantha Cox and Madison Cox, by his granddaughter Felicity Vidal, by his parents Bonnie and Jim Sizemore, and by his brother and sister Troy (Angie) and Jamie Roy. Eric will also be forever remembered by his numerous nieces, nephews and extended family and dear friends.
Eric was born and raised in Dayton and graduated from Dayton Christian. He was a member of the US Air Force as a Security Specialist. He also was a service manager at Northridge Goodyear. Eric served his Lord by being a volunteer at the ...Saint Patrick’s Soup Kitchen in Troy. He loved his Lord and Savior and touched many lives by sharing his message. Eric cared so much about saving lives that he donated his body to Wright State University for research.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The man I thought I'd never meet...

Our love story:  In March, 2003 I called my friend, Kathy Cline, and asked her if we could go out for a night of fun.  I was going through a difficult time and just wanted to go out and have a good time.  She suggested that we go out for Karaoke at Boltz on Tuesday and I thought that sounded like a great idea (although I wasn't going to sing!).  Later she asked if I minded if she asked some friends (male) to join us and I said that was fine but "Do not set me up!".  I was not looking for a relationship and she said she wouldn't.  So that evening I was drinking Ice Tea the entire night and in walks this really GOOD looking guy and he sits at our table!  We talked a lot that night and I thought he was a really great guy but again I wasn't in that place so I said goodbye around 11 p.m. and went home.  No information was exchanged.  A couple of days later he showed up at a Texas Holdem dealing class I was taking and then I was invited to go out with Kathy and Eric and a group of their friends the following night.  That following night he asked me to dance and as we were dancing I knew I was in trouble...

We talked every day and spent time together when the girls were with their dad and as the weeks passed we knew that we were falling in love.  It was crazy, how could that happen so soon?  We were both so surprised at how close we were so early in our relationship.  We knew that we had something very special.  I was in the middle of what was a long divorce battle and he was there for me every step of the way.  I struggled with depression and he showed me how God could take that all away from me.  I was so torn down and Eric helped me pull the pieces together.  He was my rock and still is to this day.

A Man of Love:  Eric is an incredible man.  Growing up in East Dayton his parents sent him to Dayton Christian.  After graduation he served in the Air Force as a Security Specialist at Eielson Air Force base in Alaska.  When he came back to Ohio he started working for Richie's Sunoco and worked for Bryan for more than 20 years.  Eric would give you the shirt off his back if you asked him and I'm sure he did many times.  He ran many of Bryan's garages/stores and he would see people who were going through some very rough times and give them money or rides.  He would do anything for anyone.  If we would drive by someone that was stranded on the side of the road he would stop and try to help them or give them a ride.  He has a heart of gold. 

Eric and I were in church one day and the sermon was about serving God through ministries and it was mentioned that there was a soup kitchen ministry in Troy so I contacted them and we began serving the ministry as often as we could, sometimes weekly.  It took us way out of our comfort zone because I wasn't used to cooking meals for so many people and praying with strangers.  We learned so much through the people who we volunteered with and the people who came to the soup kitchen in need of a meal or just some company.  We did that for many years and made lasting friendships.  We always thought that God brought us together and this was our way of serving Him.

A Man of Strength:  Eric would always say he was the optimist and I was the pessimist!  I would say that I was the realist.  He always had a positive attitude about everything.  When we got the news that Eric had melanoma it was the first time I saw fear in Eric's eyes.  It broke my heart.  He was always my rock, my strength... He went through two grueling surgeries.  The first to remove more tissue around the mole that could be cancerous and to test one of the lymph nodes to see if the cancer has spread.  Due to the location of Eric's mole, he had to have a skin graft.  That would mean he would be bed ridden for several weeks.  Anyone that knows Eric knows that he's not the type to lie in bed for weeks!  We got the news that Eric's lymph node was positive for Melanoma so he went back into the hospital for a lymph node dissection in which they removed 10 more lymph nodes.

We had to attend a class on chemotherapy.  Eric was so sick that morning.  I wheeled him into the class and the sweat was pouring off of him and we had to leave early because he became very ill.  When we got home I noticed his incision looked awful and was bulging open.  I took him to the ER and he was admitted for a staph infection which would prolong his recovery process.  Before Eric's diagnosis, he rarely missed work for being sick.  Working for Bryan in the 20 plus years he never missed more than a week of work for the entire time.  So as soon as he got out of the hospital and got the okay on the skin graft he had to get back to work!  He went to work with a drain that was coming out of the incision in his groin.

A couple of weeks later Eric began a chemotherapy treatment that was a daily treatment for 30 days.  He would go to the chemo room every day at 2 p.m. for a 3 hour infusion.  During that entire month, he never missed a day of work.  He would go to work in the morning and leave around 1 - 1:30 p.m. and go straight to chemo.  After those 30 days Eric had to have injections of the chemo 3 days a week and endured those until October, 2009 when we found out the cancer had spread. 

We had no idea how that transition from Stage 3 Melanoma to Stage 4 Melanoma would change our lives.  Eric endured treatment after treatment with NO response, but his positive attitude never wavered nor did his commitment to his job or our family.  Eric was very ill in the ICU in April, 2010 with a platelet level of 16 and he was arguing with the critical care doctor that he needed to go to work the following day!  Everyone was shocked by his strength and will to go on.

In November, 2010 we found out the cancer spread to Eric's brain and he had to be careflighted to Pittsburgh, PA for an emergency craniotomy.  The surgeon tells me not to be shocked because when he comes out of surgery he will be on a ventilator and will have several tubes coming out of his body.  The wait for that surgery to end was the longest wait!  Finally I was told that I needed to go to the ICU because Eric and the surgeon was there to speak to me.  When I walked in the room I about fell over.  He was sitting up in bed talking to the nurse getting him settled!  I was in complete shock and cried tears of joy.  The picture is Day 3 after the brain surgery.

His Gift to Us:  On June 14, 2011, we got the news that Eric's cancer has spread to his brain, spinal cord, spinal vertebrae and many other places.  Eric has several tumors in the brain and there is no more treatments that he can do.  Since that time he has been paralyzed from the armpits down.  That has been very hard for him.  Eric was always full of life and now he's dependent on being cared for.  He has never given up and still to this day he says he is fighting.  Without a miracle from God, I know that our time is short and that the day will come when Eric will leave me and go on to be with God.  He knows that too, but yet he wants to leave us all with a gift.  His gift to us is his message of love, strength and courage.  Never give up, no matter how hard the fight because it's always worth the fight. 

For those who don't know Eric, the gift he leaves you is the gift of life.  Eric is donating his body to Wright State for medical research in hopes that they can learn from his cancer.  He will also leave behind his message through volumes of pictures and videos about the dangers of tanning and detecting Melanoma.

His Gift to Me:  I never knew true love until I met Eric.  He loved me unconditionally every day.  He kissed me and told me he loved me every morning.  He would always say "I love you forever".  When he's gone I know he will still love me and I have had the gift of true love even if it wasn't for the lifetime we dreamed of...

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Big Picture

A friend took me to see Soul Surfer this weekend.  There was a scene in the movie where Carrie Underwood is showing slides to a group of teens and they had to guess what the picture was magnified.  Of course you couldn't tell but when she zoomed out you could see exactly what the image was because you had the "whole picture".  She talks about how when we are faced with challenges we can't really see the "whole picture" but God knows knows the "whole picture" and he has a plan for us.  This scene in the movie really hit home for me.  It's hard to understand what could possibly be the "whole picture" for us. 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3: 5-6

As I look back over the past 6 months, I wonder how in the world were we able to pay all our bills.  We lost Eric's income due to his disability and my wages were greatly reduced.  If I put it all on paper, we shouldn't have made it financially, but we did.  How is that possible?  It is truly by the grace of God that we were able to do so.

This past week we had new challenges arise, Eric's cancer has returned with a vengeance and I am no longer employed.  I became overwhelmed, depressed and wondering how are we going to get through this...  I felt as if I had lost hope and faith and became broken and had myself a pitty party, then I realized the next day that wasn't going to get us anywhere and I remember a post that a friend put on Facebook, "If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.". 

Before I understood God and His grace, I was a very broken person.  Several years ago before I met Eric I went through one of the most difficult times in my life.  I was very depressed and feeling suicidal.  I felt like I had no hope and I was lost.  I didn't know that I could ask God for help and the peace that I could feel knowing he was there to carry me.  I was weak...  Then I met Eric and he told me about God's grace.  I can't tell you the feeling that came over me when I learned that I could ask for God's help and the peace I felt as He took my worries from me. 

So I may not understand what the big picture is for us, but I rest in peace knowing that God will get me through it.  If you are going through turmoil in your life and feel hopeless, ask God to take that worry from you and to give you a feeling of peace.  

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  Matthew 7:7

This doesn't mean that I still don't have difficult times.  I still cry, but in the end I know that I can make it through this because God is there to carry me.  He will carry you too.  All you have to do is ask.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  Jeremiah 29:11-13

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Melanoma Road Trip USA Visits Us!

Jay Allen and Clint Heal from Australia came to visit us as a part of their Melanoma Road Trip to the USA. We were the 2nd stop on their 18 day tour. Our local news, WDTN Channel 2, covered the story. We talked much more about Melanoma Awareness, but hopefully someone got the message that it's deadly.  They also have three videos on their video blog that talk about our journey over the years with Jay and our daughter, Samantha, discusses teens and tanning.

 You can visit their website at

Local cancer patient gets help from down under:

Our interview with Clint Heal about how we met Jay Allen in December, 2008.

Samantha talks about teens and tanning.

Eric says goodbye to Clint & Jay and sends out all Melanoma Fighters well wishes.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Thank God for Unanswered Prayers...

When the cancer spread to Eric's brain we were so devastated.  It was days before he was to begin a new promising treatment.  We prayed for Eric to get into this treatment and now he would no longer be able to participate until 2 months after the brain tumor was removed and he had radiation.  It was the longest two months...but God had a plan.

Just two weeks ago, Eric began a new clinical trial in Nashville, TN that consists of BRAF and a MEK inhibitor.  These are the changes we are seeing in just two weeks!
click on photos to enlarge them

Eric and I are so thrilled and filled  with hope that we wanted to share these amazing changes with you!  Thank you for praying for us.  We are truly blessed!