Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Celebrate good times... Come on!

It was time to celebrate! We had beaten cancer and after our first great doctors appointmen...t we were going to party, and party we did! My dad planned the whole thing, no one knew where we were going. I love suprises! We were told that we had to be ready on Saturday at 5:45 and we were going to be picked up at our house. We were definatly suprised! We were just sitting in the living room, patiently waiting and the next thing I know I'm staring at a very large Hummer limo sitting in front of our house! It was awesome! Drew and I climbed in to find the my parents, Drews mom, Brad, Lindsey Austin and Kate. It was so much fun to all be able to ride together and have a wine toast to start the celebration and to give thanks to God for being the Great healer. We headed out to Grand Rapids for dinner. It was a suprise to all of us until we pulled up at this BEAUTIFUL old manison which has been converted into a resturant called Mangiamo's. We had a nice secluded room and had an amazing dinner.It was so good to be able to look back and reflect on the last 6 months and talk about what the struggles, high points and amazing people that we are surrounded with who walked with us during this journey. After the great dinner and conversation, he headed back into the limo and headed back to my parents house. We the got into "birthday" mode! We were also going celebrate Drews birthday coming up! We opened gifts, and also  had strawberry shortcake!( a staple in our family since most of us dont like cake) It was a such a great night and a great way to celebrate the ending of one chapter in our lives and moving on to a new one! Thank you SO much dad for all the planning that you put into this AWESOME celebration! We are so blessed to have you as a dad! You are amazing!

You can see Drews head peeking around the curtain when the limo pulled up!

Recaping how shocked we were when the limo pulled up!

Cheers, Yay God!

Group shot


Dinner time!

Drew and I

Brad and Lindsey

Austin and Kate

Drew and his Mom


Laughing a funny card from Austin and Kate

Opening gifts!

Monday, April 18, 2011


We had our first post cancer appointment today with our oncologist. It has been about 3 months since Drew's surgery in Indiana. We were getting pretty anxious about this appointment because the last time that we saw our oncologist, he told us that the chemo hadn't gotten everything and sent us into complete panic mode, so just the thought of going back there was a little anxiety provoking.This appointment was very different than the last. It  all good news. Drew's lab work(his tumor markers) came back perfectly normal. He also had another CT scan which was clean! YAY! It was such a good feeling to have a little closure. The doctor told us that we will have to do it all again in July and October ( both labs a CT scan) for continued follow up, but hopefully after that we will go done to every 6 months then every year. We are looking forward to that time when we don't have to think about when the next appointment is but right now we are just so excited about the big victory of being cancer free!
On another fabulous note, Drew has been rocking another new look. For those of you who haven't seen him in a while, Drew's hair has grown back curly! His hair was PIN straight before chemo and now has some serious curls! He is pretty excited about it but the oncologist says it normally doesn't last. He said is usually lasts about a year, but we will enjoy it while it last! I think he is seriously good looking either way :) We will try to post a picture of it in a little bit!
We are SUPER excited about our next little adventure. We are going to be going on a vacation with 2 great couples to the Dominican Republic in less than 2 weeks. We will be going as a little celebratory "we beat cancer" vaca and lands perfectly over Drew's birthday! We will post pictures when we get back!

Monday, February 21, 2011

It will be 5 months this week, since that day...

I haven't posted in awhile. I guess I associated blogging with cancer and didn't want to think about it for a bit. People have been asking how Drew is doing, and he really is doing quite well. He is moving basically like he did before the surgery, he isn't taking any pain medications, he does get sore at times especially when he sneezes but its generally incision pain. He is walking on the treadmill to gain some strength and get moving again. He has changed his blood thinner from the injection Lovenox to a pill called Coumadin. He is going to have to be on that for about 6 months. Its nice not to have to give him those shots twice a day but he does have to have his blood drawn twice a week to check his blood levels. His incision is looking good, I took out the staples 2 weeks ago and it is healing up nicely. Overall his recovery time has been better than we had anticipated, which is awesome. It has been really nice to get back into the swing of "normal" life. I have gone back to work full time and we are basically doing what we did before the "C" word came into our life, playing with the cat, going out with friends and family and enjoying each others conversation without every word covered in cancer. We still talk about it, but its nice looking at it in more of a past tense not present.
We are going to have a check up with our oncologist here in April for the first official post-cancer appointment which I'm sure will bring anxiety as it gets closer but right now we are enjoying life.

I also wanted to take time to thank everyone. There have been so many people who have shown their love for Drew, myself and our families during this time that I will never be able to properly thank them.

To everyone who was praying for us... thank you, it was felt. God's grace surrounded us through this 5 month journey and the thoughts and prayers were such a blessing.
To everyone who sent us cards.... thank you, they were so uplifting. There is something truly special and awesome to go to you mail box and get lovely cards with such inspiring messages and letters.
To everyone who made meals for us... thank you, they were so tasty! It was so nice during those rough chemo weeks to not have to think about getting groceries and making dinner.
To everyone who send gifts, gift cards and money... thank you, they were so unexpected and gracious. We are truly blessed with such amazing family and friends.
To my co-workers who traded shifts with me and the amazing gift.... thank you. I don't even know how to explain to you how amazing you guys are. You are the best co-workers and friends I could ask for.
To our amazing family and friends who were always there to listen when things got just a little bit overwhelming, who were always there to help cheer us up and distract us when we needed it so desperately. Who drove Drew to chemo when I couldn't, keep Drew company when I was at work. Who were always there for a shoulder to cry on and take us out when we just needed to get out of the house... thank you.

I could go on and on... but just know that Drew and I are so grateful for everyone in our lives. Thank you.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


God is good.

Drew is cancer free.

We woke up this morning expecting to be discharged but not know what the pathology said until later this week. We had a nice suprise when Dr. Foster showed up around 9:30 saying that it was all teratoma... no more cancer was left in the tumor, it was just benign(non cancerous tumor). We were thrilled! He gave us all his discharge instructions and said we wouldnt even have to head back to Indiana for a follow up appointment, we will just talk through emails the next couple of weeks to make sure everything is okay and set up for follow ups with Drews urologist here in Holland.
We were on the road by 11am and home by 3:15. It was a great ride, the sun was shining, traffic was minimal and no snow! We are excited to be back home and start to get back to "normal" life. It wont be completely back to normal for a while as Drew will have to lay low for 4 weeks and after something like this you somewhat change what "normal" is for you but just to be home is a great start.

Thank you so much to everyone who was praying for us and sending us messages. We are so blessed to have such amazing family and friends!

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Drew is a champ. Thats all I can say.  He is doing really good. He is doing everything he needs to be doing to get better. He has started eating today, not much but little by little he is starting to get his stomach working again. He has had a little nausea with eating but we are hoping this will get better and better as he continues to eat. He got his IV taken down this afternoon and now is only on oral pain medication.  He is walking the halls about 3 times a day and sitting up in a chair for parts of the day as well. It is painful at times when getting in and out of bed and coughing but the pain is generally tolerable. We couldnt be more excited at how well he is doing, we just pray that things continue to go smoothly and he is able to continue to increase his food intake and moving with minimal pain. He might be able to get out of the hospital tomorrow if he continues to do this well. Please pray for a comfortable drive as it will take about 4 hours to get back home and we are hoping for smooth roads and little traffic.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I am sitting in Drew's room, having a little time to reflect on the crazy day we just had. I am insanely exhausted but just waiting until the nurses/techs get everything done for the night so I can get a little sleep with a little interruptions as possible. Thanks to my sis and a friend of hers ( thanks Kate!) I have a nice little blow up mattress in Drew's room so I can stay with him during the night.

Drew is doing good, he is on a lot of heavy duty pain medication so it is in and out of sleep. His pain is  under control except when the deep breathing, hiccups and coughing takes place. He hasn't gotten up yet but they say we will try that tomorrow. He also cant have anything to eat or drink not even ice chips until tomorrow. We are hoping things progress as smoothly as they did today.

Thanks to everyone for everything that they have done for Drew and I and our families. We will never be able to thank everyone for everything. We have never felt so loved and had such a strong idea of what the family of God is all about. 
Now time for a little sleep. Good night.


There are no words to explain how excited and relieved we are. Dr. Foster kicked his surgery out in only one hour and 15 minutes. He said Drew is doing well, they are doing an intratheccal injection- which is a shot into his spinal canal with narcotics to help with pain control, and then he will be moved into the recovery room for a couple of hours. Dr. Foster thinks that the tumor was teratoma, which is a benign tumor and if it is this, Drew will not need anymore treatment!! We wont know for sure what the pathology will be while we are here- apparently pathologist don't work on the weekends, but will hopefully know more next week. He is guessing that Drew will be able to be out of here either Sat. afternoon or Sunday morning.  There is still debate if Drew will have to continue on blood thinners after surgery but Dr. Foster was going to speak with Dr. Einhorn (the oncologist) about what he thinks. Alright. We are going to have some celebratory sour patch kids and diet coke now. Yum! I will try and update again tonight once we have a change to see Drew but we are having difficultly finding Wifi connections.
Thank you so much for everyone who was praying, we could feel Gods grace and peace this morning.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


We have safely arrived in Indy. Dad did a fabulous job driving!:) We are in the hotel, thinking about what to do to waste a couple of hours til its bedtime. We are going to quick grab a bite to eat. Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and prayers! I will update again tomorrow after surgery!

P.S. Thanks to my mom's friends who put together the awesome goodie basket! It all looks amazing!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


We are gearing up to head down to Indy this week.It has been a busy week/weekend trying to get all the little details in place.As we are finishing up packing and finishing putting together all the little details, we are starting to get a little bit more anxious. We just want the surgery to be done and the recovery process started We are planning to head down tomorrow afternoon to get settled into the hotel. We have to be at the hosptial at 5:30am on Thursday. Thats waaaay to early in my opinion but we'll make it work! The surgery is scheduled to start at around 7:30 and last around 2.5-3 hours then probably another hour in recovery. We are thinking we will probably be in the hospital for 3-4 days. I will have my laptop along so I will update the blog during the hospital stay, as much as I can.

Monday, January 10, 2011


We just got the call that we have an official surgery date. We are going to be heading down to Indianapolis on January 26 for Drew's surgery on the 27th at 7:30am. We have to be at the hospital at 5:30am that morning so we will stay in a hotel the night before to get settled. We are guessing that we will be staying until the 31st or the 1st of Feb depending on how Drew is doing.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Disclamier- This is going to be a very long post. I feel that since it was such a long day it deserves a long post but by all means if you just want to hear what Dr. Foster says skip to the Star portion.

Today was a rough day. Very rough. Not because we got bad news in fact it was good news but just the circumstances that surrounded the Dr's appointment.
I will start at the beginning.
Its a 4 hour drive to Indy, we left very early because there was supposed to be bad weather on and off. We really didn't want to miss this appointment, so we left at 7am. As we drove the weather was actually very nice, traffic was scarce and we were making great time. We were about 45 minutes outside of Indy and we had time to burn so we found a little mall and walked around for an hour or so. It was nice to get out of the car and stretch our legs. We got back in the car and started driving again. About 15 minutes into the drive Drew started to get severe pains on the right side of his chest under his rib cage. With every breath it was very painful.
We made it to the hospital/doctors office, and we trying to decide what to do, go up to the doctors office ( we were still about 2 hours before out appointment time) or head straight to the Emergency Room. We decided to head to the doctors office to see what Dr. Foster thought we should do and for the fact that we had NO idea where the ER was at this hospital. We got to the office and explained what was going on, they called back to the nurse at the office and she said to head down to the ER. A Very nice lady showed us where to go and we headed to get things checked out, hopefully we would be back in time for our doctors appointment. The ER doctor thought that Drew might have a blood clot in his lungs (when someone has cancer they are at an increased risks for blood clots). They started an IV, drew labs and brought him down for a CT of his lungs.
***After all that was done, they said we could head up to Dr. Fosters office have our appointment and then come back down to hear the results. A gurney ride through the maze of Indiana University Hospital later and we were at Dr. Fosters office and only 5 minutes late. We waited for quite awhile, and finally Dr. Foster with a surgical resident came in to talk with us. He truly is an amazing physician and are really lucky to have him involved in Drew's case. He has an ability to make you feel completely at ease. He started by talking about the nodules in Drew's lungs. He  doesn't believe that they are cancer, he believes that they are Bleomycin Toxicity. Drew was on Bleomycin as one of his chemo drugs and it can cause irritation/toxic affects to the lungs. He believes this should go away on its own in a while, which is very exciting news, no new cancer! Then he moved on the the surgery itself. He thinks it should only take about 2 and half hours, (much shorter than all the information we had been reading online) and will be in the hospital for 4 days and will take 4 weeks for recovery. It will be a painful surgery and we knew that going in but hopefully we will find the right combo of medications to make him as comfortable as possible. Once the tumor is out, they will biopsy the tumor and see what the next steps is. Dr Foster believes that it will be either Teratoma (a benign type of tumor which grows a lot with testicular cancer) or dead cancer both of which we will not need chemo after the surgery! If there is still active cancer in the mass then Drew might have to have a few rounds just to make sure it is all gone but Dr. Foster doesn't think this will be the case. YAY! We are super excited about all this information.***
After all this exciting news we still had to head back down to the Emergency room to hear whats going on with this new pain. We sit and wait for quite some time when Dr. Foster shows up in our ER room! He had taken a look at the new CT scan and told us that there was a blood clot in Drew's lungs but it has been there for a while. It was on the CT scan from December that we had gotten. He didn't think it was anything to serious but would talk with the ER doctor about what to do. After they talked  they decided to give Drew Lovenox which is a blood thinner down in the ER and we will have to give Drew 2 shots a day til the surgery to make sure the pesky clot doesnt cause any more problems. They also wanted to do a leg ultrasound to make sure he doesn't have any more blood clots in his legs which could travel to his lungs. Another hour later, it looked like he possibly has another clot in his left leg.
6 hours later we were FINALLY ready to get on the road and head back home.
It was one of the scarier drives I've ever encountered. We were all so tired (Drew, my mom and I) but we really wanted to get home and sleep in our own beds. I was going 20-40 mph most of the way home and at times visibility was about 5 feet in front of the car. It took us close to 6 hours to get home but we made it. It was a long, incredibly stressful day but at the end of it, we got good news and that's all that matters.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

Thank you so much to everyone who came to the prayer rally tonight. It was so encouraging and moving. It was such a beautiful picture of the body of Christ. We are so blessed to have such amazing family and friends!
Thank you Kosters and Konings for organizing it!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Indiana bound.

We are heading to Indianapolis this Friday. We have an appointment with Dr. Foster from Indiana University on Friday afternoon. We are thankful for getting in to see him so quickly (we believe that was a God thing).  We are also so thankful that we have someone who is so talented within driving range. This will be just a consultation to go over the surgery and schedule it. I called Dr. Foster's office this afternoon for an idea of when surgery would be scheduled and they are thinking the week of the 17th. We are hoping that when we see him he will have a opening as soon as possible, we would like to get it done and behind us.
Thank you so much for all the notes and emails, they are so incredibly uplifting.
Thank you to everyone who is praying for us, we believe we can feel the arms of God surrounding us.  

Monday, January 3, 2011


Alright. I have more information. I'll start at the doctors office this morning.
We went to the doctors office wishing hoping and praying that everything would turn up clean. It was not the case. The doctor informed us that the tumor in Drew's abdomen that was originally 6cm is now 5.2cm. Not a huge decrease after all that chemo. Then he proceeded to tell us that there are 2 new nodules in his lungs. We were crushed. How could after all that time and chemo with all the tumor markers dropping to almost nothing could we have not gained more ground and then to see 2 new spots on the scan. It is not fair. The doctor wasn't sure what the next step should be so he decided to call the doctor that we had met with at the beginning of all of this- Dr. Foster in Indiana. He said that we should go home and he would give us a call after he had gotten hold of him and see what he thought would be the best plan of attack- either chemo or surgery.

Many hours and tears later- the doctor called us with an update. He said that he had talked with Dr. Foster and he believes that surgery is the way to go. He is also very concerned with the nodules in the lungs. He hasn't ever really seen someone have the cancer spread while in chemo. He believes that either the nodules are cancer and they were there before the chemo started and they were missed on the original CT scan or they may be something entirely different. He wants to be able to go in and take a look around and take the entire tumor out of his abdomen to be able to biopsy the entire thing so we know for SURE what we are looking at. It is a pretty intensive surgery so we are apprehensive about the recovery time but know that this is what needs to be done to get the cancer out. Both offices are working together to schedule surgery and when we will be able to get down there. They are hoping either this week or next. We are hoping as soon as possible.

It was a day of overwhelming emotions. We are exhausted.
I will update again as soon as we know anything more or find out the surgery time.


We met with the doctor this morning, unfortunatly it wasn't exactly what we wanted to hear. We don't know all of the information yet and what the plan is going to be but we just wanted to put it out there that we did have the meeting. We are asking for prayers for calmness/decreased anxiety and wisdom/dircection for the doctors as they make decisions on the next steps and for prayers that that information comes to us quickly.
I will update again as soon as we hear more information.