Short intro about the blog

This blog is about our journey to healing with Grade 3 Anaplastic Oligoastrocytoma

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Be Still

We're stuck in a holding pattern. Lately, I have seen and heard so many references to one particular biblical passage: Be still and know that I am God. So that is what we are doing. The cold, gray and dreary winter we are having seems to be helping us do just that. We don't go out much. Homeschooling has slowed to a pathetic crawl once again. We do the bare minimum in all things, except for Adam's protocol. He continues to walk 3 miles, take a coffee detox, spend 30 minutes in the sauna, and eat a strict sugar-free vegetarian diet. He travels to the clinic twice a week for infusions. Everyday is eaten up by his cancer protocol, and leaves only a handful of hours each week to devote to the business. Even that is only just creeping along. Thanks be to God, we still continue to receive donations from family, friends and the community to keep us up to date on bills. Without the generosity of countless people, we would have lost the house long ago.

Adam's last MRI in January was disappointing. His three little peanut-sized lesions from August have now banded together into a sizable walnut. Both of Adam's doctors, here and in New York are scratching their heads. His chiropractor and nutritionist are scratching their heads. Adam is scratching his head. Nobody can understand it. He is doing absolutely ev-er-y-thing right. There is no obvious reason as to why his tumor should still be growing.

But, I keep hearing “Be still and know that I am God.” Adam's doctor suggested stopping the B17 for now, and replacing it with something called Salvestrol. He is now receiving Poly MVA via IV on infusion days. Adam now has the sauna, thanks to the donations of several organizations, and is faithfully using it everyday. He continues to hope that these changes will make the difference. He is still positive and focused on beating this cancer.

I, however, have changed my view. When I saw the images of the January MRI on our computer, a part of me died. The part that thought that anything I could do would save my husband. I'm not in charge here. God is. And God in all His perfect Wisdom has deemed it necessary for Adam to go through this. And for I, his wife, to go through my own related suffering. No diet, no magic supplement, no exercise regimen or detoxing treatment will rid Adam of his brain tumor. If God's hand is gently cradling that tumor, and making it grow despite everything we've tried, than that is His will. And His will is perfect. After finding my way out of the emotional devastation of last month, and the unfathomable disappointment and immeasurable fear of losing my husband, I am now in a new place. Acceptance and complete surrender. Here is a quote from a book titled “Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence” for you to chew on for a minute:

"To remain indifferent to good fortune or to adversity by accepting it all from the hand of God without questioning, not to ask for things to be done as we would like them but as God wishes, to make the intention of all our prayers that God's will should be perfectly accomplished in ourselves and in all creatures is to find the secret of happiness and content."

The secret of happiness. It sounds pretty good, doesn't it? It also sounds a bit crazy. Accepting all? Like, even the bad stuff? Who would think that accepting poverty, suffering, humiliation and failure could possibly make us happy? But, I think it can. Ever since I've turned this corner and started accepting this past year and a half as entirely within the control and intent of God, I feel so relieved. A weight has been lifted and all the soul-destroying fear is gone. Fear of the unknown. Fear of being widowed. Fear about money and whether we will eventually lose the house I love, and fear of having to support a family with three children on my own... it's gone. Well, to be honest it still bobs up to the surface from time to time (fluctuating hormones seem to make that happen), but I feel an overwhelming peace. You know the one. “The peace of God which surpasses all understanding” that St Paul writes about in his letter to the Philippians. It really exists, and it's wonderful. It goes against every fiber of my being, but when I can push my pathetic human reasoning aside, it opens up into a beautiful and comforting place. If I can find this place, then absolutely anyone can. My prayer these days is not for Adam's healing. God knows my preference here. I don't need to tell him anymore. But, I am asking Him to bring Adam over here with me to this peaceful place. We are already riding one horrible roller coaster. Why not let God envelop us with His love and perfect intention for us, and ride it out filled with joy? Why not, indeed.


  1. Vanessa, my heart hurts over all the pain your family is going through. As I read this post I realized that you MUST read a post by Mary Lenaberg at Passionate Perseverance: Make SURE that when you get to the end of the post you click to "read more" and to get to the next post because it is important to her story. I'll be praying for your family and I would love to know what you think of Mary's story.

  2. Vanessa, you do not know me. I stumbled across your blog by accident. Let me start by saying I'm so sorry your family has to face this horrible challenge, and that you are confronting such negativity while fighting so hard.
    I had a high grade anaplastic oligoastrocytoma 13 years ago at the age of 23. When I was 31, I was diagnosed with an unrelated, high grade form of breast cancer. I'm 36 1/2 today. I had several genetics tests done after the BC diagnosis, and they found that I had a rare genetic disorder called Li-Fraumeni Syndrome (LFS) which makes me predisposed to certain types of cancer at a relatively early age. LFS is rare, but I'm wondering if Adam has ever been tested? Both of his cancers fall under the LFS umbrella and he is certainly young. If he has a history of cancer in his family he may want to consider looking it up and being tested, if he hasn't already. LFS is passed down through one parent - offspring have a 50% chance of acquiring it and, if they have it, need to be monitored regularly for early detection. I wish you all the best and hope your kids have a wonderful and "normal" spring break! Blessings, Sally

    1. Sally, would it be possible to reach you directly? I would like to hear more about this genetic condition, and ask you what treatments you used for your brain and breast cancers.

  3. Of course! I just added myself to your followers, so that you may email me. I should tell you now, however, that my journey was quite opposite, very "Western" and somewhat irresponsible. I remember looking into the Burzynski clinic, but my insurance wasn't going to pay for it, and it would have been a plan B. I was very young and lucky enough to be employed with a great job w/ full health insurance coverage. But I was also naive, my mother had recently passed, my father lived 3,000 miles away, and I blindly followed the advice of my doctors at New York Hospital and Memorial Sloan Kettering. I did not take such great care of myself after they told me I would die within a year or so. Before the BT I lived an extremely healthy lifestyle, but after I was scared and in denial. I just tried to have fun - ALL THE TIME! I want to offer you some hope as a survival story, but I don't want to upset you either because every person is different and so are their cells. I absolutely believe you are making ALL the right choices! (let me know if you have trouble contacting me - I'm not really sure how this works)