Sunday, November 6, 2011

life is good.

Hello friends!  And hello to anyone I haven't yet met!  It was actually the latter that inspired me to get back to my blog today.  Two strangers contacted me regarding this blog and our situation, and for good reason wanted to hear an update.  That is the least I can do after all of the support this blog has brought Josh and I.  Drum roll please.... I have all GOOD NEWS!!!

I want to start off by saying that tomorrow, November 7th, is our TWO YEAR wedding anniversary!  There were many moments since our marriage when I didn't know if we would make it to this point -- and here we are!  That alone is proof that things can always get better and miracles really can happen!

Ready to hear all about my husband?!?  I hope you have some time, because I am going to rewind back to last year and bring you up to speed.

It was this time last year that we were just starting to get settled back in to our own home.  It was a challenge for us to adjust since we had been relying so heavily on Josh's mother for help.  Slowly, but surely, we figured things out.  To this day, my mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law both help tremendously with getting Josh to all of his U of M appointments.

When we first arrived home, Josh still needed to go to the U of M weekly for check-ups and blood work.  Luckily for us, this past June, one of the local cancer centers began performing ECP.  Josh can now have his four treatments a month done here, versus in Ann Arbor.  ECP, you may recall, is the "tanning bed" procedure.  It is a process that pulls his blood out, treats it by calming it down, then returns it in a less hostile state.  This helps keep everything in balance, so that his new cells keep from attacking his skin and other organs.  We hope that they will be able to ween him off of these procedures eventually.  Each procedure takes 4+ hours.

On top of ECP, a large component of control comes from steroids.  Josh was taking 84mg when he left the hospital.  As of this week he is down to 0mg!  We are hoping that all remains stable, as the long term effects of steroids are harmful to bones, muscles, and joints.

Because they have been able to successfully lower Josh's steroid intake, he was able to be put back on his chemo-like, anti-leukemia medication, Sprycel.  This is one of the medications that Josh took prior to transplant, in attempt to put his CML into remission.  Taking this medicine for the first two years after transplant decreases the chance of the cancer returning.

The entire past year has not been all rainbows and butterflies... we have definitely had some hurdles and some scares.  However, despite any bumps in the road, we made it to the most memorable part of this journey so far... Josh's 1 year anniversary, or "re-birthday" as we call it!  And we had a GRAND celebration... actually TWO celebrations!!! 

WE MADE IT!  We were the 50% that made it!  Praise our Lord, our Savior!!!

Here are some picture highlights of our last year:

At our final fundraiser - the Duitsman Golf Outing! (OCTOBER)

Christmas card picture -- that's one happy family! (DECEMBER)

Happy holidays!

Winter walk in the woods. (JANUARY)

Winter Beer Fest... our third year in a row.  (FEBRUARY)

My 27th birthday! (MARCH)

Celebrating with my hubby! 

Josh became a Godfather! (MAY)

I surprised Josh with a trip to NYC for his
one year transplant anniversary! (JUNE/JULY)

Out to dinner before seeing Wicked on Broadway!

Metropolitan Museum of Art

China town!

Back at our Annual Cabin Trip! (AUGUST)
We missed last year because we were in the hospital...

Josh tending the fire... he loves fires.

Weekend in Milwaukee!

Milwaukee's Irish Fest

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Light the Night (SEPTEMBER)
Josh with his Grandma, Mom, and Aunt Linda!

Josh & I just prior to the SURVIVOR celebration!

Getting ready to start the walk around downtown Grand Rapids.

Saline, MI at a sorority sister's wedding! (OCTOBER)

Frisbee with Boss! (TODAY!)

Daddy is a good trainer!  :)

So, what are the next steps for us??  Our primary goal right now is to continue to work on Josh's mental and physical health.  He is still not back to work due to physical restraints, as well as his lengthy blood treatments.  Being at home so much gets him down at times.  He is now trying to get some side jobs in the neighborhood, possibly removing leaves or snow blowing driveways.  He wants to get a few jobs so he can gradually build up to working again.

I will attempt to keep you posted quicker than another year!  Thank you again for all of your continued concern, support, and prayers.  And to those who have found my blog because you are in a similar situation, I pray that you have family, friends, and faith to get your through each day.  Take things one day at a time.  One day turns to two, then sooner or later you will be a year out wondering where the time went.

Gods blessings, Heidi


  1. Its crazy how much you guys have ackomplished. I still remember the call I got, it was the first week I arrived at college, and now im almost graduating. Somtimes I forget how long this journey has been for you two. I hope you both know that you guys are the strongest people I know. Heidi, you have always been the person I know I can go to with any problem im having. Ever since I was little, you have been my role model, and mentor. No matter what your going through, you always have made time for me, and always make me feel better. The most special memories I have, are because of you. You have been through so much, and constantly kept a possible outlook, even through the worst of times. I am so lucky to have you in my life. and Josh, throughout this entire process I never saw a single look of doubt come across your face. I remember trying my hardest to hold back my tears visiting you in the hospital, and of all people, you were the one able to crack a smile on my face, and to comfort me through it all. You have no idea how much of an inspiration you are to me, and I am so proud to call you my brother. I love you both so much and am so happy that you guys have made it so far! Happy 2 years guys! -"Snurtz"

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  3. YES! Life is so good, I hope that you can enjoy the same as always. My alternative cancer treatment centers liked this post.