Friday, March 22, 2013


We are home from the hospital! Not only are we home, but we are back in Waco. To me amazing. I explained to Audrey tonight at bedtime that her daddy has been playing the part of super man. Just like Superman, daddy needs to rest:) To be strong like Superman, we need to gain our strength through lots of rest and sleep:) The kids were super excited to see him, but did not quite understand at bedtime why Daddy wasn't doing the bedtime ritual and running all around with them. It amazed me because right away when Audrey looked at David's incision she said why so many stitches? I don't ever remember talking to her about stitches? Or even using that word. I think David appreciated her medical terminology:) The kids were well taken care of by my mother and we are so grateful that we could focus on healing while she took care of the kiddos:) 

Before we got discharged this a.m. I went to the break room ( think that would be the appropriate word) on the 8th floor. This is the floor David stayed on and the floor where all Nero and spine cancer surgery patients recuperate. I sipped on some coffee and made some phone calls while enjoying some sunlight from the window. I was the only one in in the room until a nice lady walked in about 10 minutes after my time of solitude. She asked me if I had kids and I told her a little bit about Audrey and Parker. I then asked why she was at MD Anderson and on the 8th floor. She said her 40 year old daughter has a rare spinal cancer. One that only 50 people in the WORLD have ever been diagnosed with! That there is a doctor at MD Anderson that has done all these surgeries and the only one that works with this rare cancer. She told me 2 months ago her daughter had a 28 HOUR SURGERY! Can you imagine!? I thought waiting for David 8 hours was long, but 28 HOURS! She said that several doctors would come in at certain times to remove the main doctor so he could take a break, sit, eat, potty you name it. Her daughter has been on the 8th floor for 2 months now. To make it even more crazy, the doctors took some muscle from the daughters stomach and used it as a filler around her spin to prevent this cancer from growing back? Craziness! Marilyn was the mother's name and Kara is her daughter. Kara has a 12 year old son. They all live in Alaska and since Kara has been in the hospital for 2 months recovering ( just took her first steps) they have been rotating flying out to see her and take care of her. 

All this being said, I hugged Marilyn. I told her that I would share her story with all my prayer warriors. That we would pray her daughters name and pray for Marilyn as the mother and care taker. I walked out and felt my heart saying, and you thought you had it bad? I was reminded at that instant that yes no journey is comparable and each one is different based on how God wants to use it to bring beauty and glory to his name, but when we think we are the ones suffering the most there is always someone else out there with a story worst then yours. I was touched by Kara's story as I sat there thinking.....I could never go through that. Cancer? Oh my goodness. Then I walked out...saw the sign on the floor and was reminded, oh wait...we are going through that.

Once back in Waco, we went to Audrey's t-ball practice. Her first practice! David was to be the coach, but with all that has been going on, our wonderful friends stepped up. David insisted on going to the practice. I was a little hesitant, as David has no bandage on. He has an incision all around his head, hair matted down and every part of the incision would be visible to all ( yes that means blood).  Not to mention, doctor ordered no shower until tomorrow. I want to say he looked awesome, but he more so looked like he just escaped the hospital. We got to her practice. He sat down. The kids were so excited to see him. Our close friends were all so amazing...just acting like it was another day. And once again, David proved to be the stronger one, not me. He continues to not let this manage his life, control his life or dictate the simplest joys such as seeing his daughters first t-ball practice. I believe and know with all my heart that this bump is to awake us to more of life and joy and David will continue to battle but he will experience and feel joy for many many years to come!

I want to thank you all for the notes, text messages, calls you name it. We try so hard to respond to all, but sometimes we just can't. I also see that the messages many send to David provide a lot of encouragement and hope for him. He is resting a lot so his response time might be delayed as well. Please know, we do read them. They do provide comfort. We are SO EXCITED to be back home! And to be back to life! 

Eventually, we will stop sending out the blog personally, so please sign up to receive updates via email or to follow blog. If you have questions how to do it, please let us know!

Lots of Love!

Dana and David 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Results for now....

Less then 12 hours after surgery and he is dressed and ready to head down to cafeteria. He is convinced he will beat his record time of discharge after his second brain surgery. Crazy! But amazing. David did amazing during surgery yesterday. Talking right after :) In great spirits as always.

When the doctor came in at the end of surgery yesterday to talk to us before David woke up, we received some news that blew us away. This past 6 weeks have been wonderful with the hope that this spot was radiation necrosis, a cause from radiation. But, when the doctor came in yesterday , we got that little reminder again that this is Brain Cancer and it is still very a part of our lives. The spot that we believed and you all prayed so boldly for in fact is a tumor. In just the last 6 weeks it had grown slightly. I think I went numb at this point, but with David's family , friends and my close friends Breck and Amanda they were able to retain all the information for me that we would later discuss with David and the doctor. 
We had a great talk this am with the doctor. Where the tumor recurred was in same area, frontal lobe. The doctor was able to not ice cream scoop it out but was aggressive and removed it to the studs . Amen. I only wish I could show the picture of the scan. Pretty amazing! David's taking the news well. We didn't expect reoccurrence this soon. But, continue to have hope we're done for a long time. Pathology will take a few days to come back but we are still praying this did not come back grade 4 glioma but a grade 3. 

I want to thank everyone for praying and ask you to not be discouraged or stop your prayers. This is not over. Faith is not only when good things happen. Faith is becoming completely dependent on God. Trust me , this sucks. And I want all to know we are normal. We are very positive individuals but we are normal. And we have bad days.  And I know in the last 12 hours I have felt so many emotions. But, I was also reminded that Jesus felt every human emotion we feel when he was on this earth. That I need to allow myself to feel those emotions. And that there was a time when even Jesus didn't feel like praying. I am not angry nor is David. We simply have just been reminded that God is in complete control. That we need to continue to seek him for the strength we so desperately need. Because of your prayers , I want you all to know we had the best past 6 weeks.  I can't imagine if this past 6 weeks we thought it was a tumor? Because we had hope we lived life. And now we received the news we received and the best part , it's out:) brain cancer is not curable but manageable! So for now, we are back in control of it...NOT CANCER IN CONTROL! What is the next step??? We fight it with new chemo, we live, we pray, we have bad days and good . Praise GOD, with two brain surgerys David has NO COMPLICATIONS, NO MEMORY LOST, NO SPEACH PROBLEMS, NOTHING! TRULY A BLESSING! He is actual sharper then ever:) I think about Dr Roa and what is job entails as a neuro surgeon. He deals with this every day and how it must wear on him. I could tell how hard it was for him to tell us, as we have become so close to him. Pray for his knowledge and expertise to always be advancing and his heart to be protected as he deals with so many cases like ours. David should be able to leave the hospital friday a.m. and will be off a few months for recovery. We ask you to say...this sucks with us, but to also continue to hold the faith we have and to pray for the strength, peace and comfort that we can only recieve from God. We ask for more good days and we ask for prayer that we always hold truth to our faith and dependence on it.

With lots of love! Dana & David

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Surgery Update

This post was written by Breck.

David is out of surgery and waking up. He did great and looks good!! We will know the results of the surgery tomorrow.

Surgery Mid-Morning Update

This update is being posted by Breck.
Things are going well so far!  David is in surgery right this now and as far as we know is doing well. 

Dana, David's family and their friend Alex received an update at 8:30AM stating the doctors had just finished the preliminary MRI and were just about to begin the surgery. This is the last update we've received so far.

Updates at MD Anderson are given by the nurses at 8AM, 10AM and 2PM and in order of the suite the patient is in.  David is in the 32nd suite today.  So, needless to say, it takes a bit for them to get around to informing Dana's family once they begin their regular updates.

Dana and David arrived at the hospital at 6:30AM this morning to get prepped for surgery.  David apparently really likes the IV tubing they have at MD Anderson so his doctor gave him a few to take back to use in the ER. :)

The plan this morning was to give David an MRI (while under anethesia) before the surgery, then to operate on him and then give him a final MRI before waking him up.  If the second MRI shows they did not get the results the doctors want, they will continue surgery.  If they get satisfactory results on the MRI, they will finish up and allow him to go to recovery.  David is in the Brain Imaging Suite of the hospital so that the doctors can take MRIs of his brain before surgery and afterwards to confirm they got what they needed.  This is just one of the reasons David and Dana really love MD Anderson.

We are doing well in the hospital waiting room, the same waiting room we were in during David's last surgery.  The mood is lighter this time around, though.  I think everyone is more comfortable during this surgery, having been through this before and believing David's surgery will reveal good things. 

Dana is feeling good, laughing and enjoying time with friends and family.  She has been given tons of great magazines and yummy candy to munch on while she waits.   

This morning, while David went back to surgery, a number of friends of David and Dana gathered to pray for a successful surgery, for no blood clots and for the results to reveal no tumor.  This was very touching to Dana and David to know that while friends could not be present with them first this this morning at the hospital, they were present in spirit and in prayer.  Dana really appreciates their sweet friend, Claire, for putting this together as well as for all those who rose bright and early to be there.

I will try to update in another hour or so, once we get our next update.  But for now, no news is good news! :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Night before surgery

Good evening family and friends,

Today was a fairly busy but uneventful day filled with several doctor appointments and a few lab tests.  Luckily, no big changes!

We did get to meet with our surgeon, Dr Rao, and he said he expects an uneventful surgery which will begin at 8:30am.  We are scheduled to be in the pre-op area at 6:30am.

We want to thank everybody for all their loving thoughts and prayers for a successful surgery and a good outcome.

Dana will post periodically on the blog throughout the day tomorrow and I will post as soon as possible.

God bless
David & Dana
Audrey & Parker

Monday, March 18, 2013

Surgery Week

Tomorrow we head to Houston in the morning for our round of appointments before surgery on Wednesday. Surgery time will be confirmed tomorrow!  We will make sure to let everyone know the time as soon as we find out!  The past four weeks have gone so fast! We spent last week in Vail with family and friends. It was refreshing to get away and David got to spend time doing one of the many things he is most passionate about....skiing. To make it even more special, Audrey is getting to where she can join Daddy up on the mountain. We had to make a new rule with her, no going through the trees unless Daddy goes first. Parker on the other hand, not so much. He enjoys just making and throwing Snowballs!:) 

Once we got back from Vail we were overwhelmed as we were surrounded by so many friends who made sure to take that extra effort to make this time spent before surgery as joyous as it can be. Two of David's close friends and neighbors Greg and Scotty treated David to a fishing trip down on the coast for a few days. I did not get too much detail , ( can there be in fishing?) but do know David came back with one hard core sun burn and no fish. But, all that mattered was the time spent with friends and enjoying the peace of the coast. I on the other hand welcomed my mom on Saturday and then that evening was beyond excited when 10 close friends put together a relaxing evening of good food, drinks and great conversation. Couldn't have imagined a better Saturday night. To top it off, each friend brought me a bouquet of flowers to freshen our home and great reading materials for the hospital!
WE are grateful for my mom and her time spent from work to take care of our children while we are gone. For David's family and their walk with us every step as we face this week and our friends. Who pretty much have ever detail of our lives planned and taken care of and all of you! All of you , who pray boldly for our family, who care for us. We pray for many blessings for you and pray that God would provide you with all the thanks that we are humanly not possible to give.