The Macs

Monday, January 26, 2009

ups and downs

We started the day feeling pretty optomistic about things and ended the day pretty discouraged. I think that is how this journey is going to be. Lots of ups and downs. We are tired, we cry a lot, and we are still in shock that our happy little Cora is lying in a hospital bed with cancer. All we can do is cry out to the Lord to heal our precious little girl.

We met with the oncologist this morning. He talked to us about Neuroblastoma and what Cora's chemo is going to look like in the future. He doesn't want to start chemo until next week (probably Monday) so that Cora's body has a chance to heal from surgery. We probably will be going home sooner than we thought and then will go to his office for chemo treatments. Although the cancer is a stage 4, he is very optomistic about the treatment even if the tests show that she has the unfavorable kind of cancer. We are still praying for the favorable cancer that responds well to chemo. He also told us that Cora being under 12 months old increases her chances. It was so wonderful to hear some good news! Generally speaking it sounds like we are looking at six to eight coarses of chemo. This all depends on the test results. We will let you know when we know more.

This afternoon was much harder. Cora had such a good morning, but in the afternoon she was faced with lots of tests. Cora had x-rays of her whole body, CT scans of her chest and head, and a bone scan. It was lots of moving around for her and lots of waiting for us. Shortly following the tests the doctor verified that the cancer had moved all over her body. They already had told us that she was a stage four, but it was so hard to hear that they actually saw it in the scans and x-rays. It felt like we were facing reality all over again. We just felt sick. When we got Cora back to her room she seemed so uncomfortable. I think she was worn out from the afternoon and not feeling good at all. She was so sad and that makes her mom and dad SO sad. Cora's tummy is still very swollen. They put her back on an IV to help with that. They don't want her eating for now.





This picture was taken this evening after Cora finally settled down. I think she was covering her eyes to tell everyone to quit picking on her!



Cora has gotten so many sweet stuffed animals. We played with them this morning and put them all in her crib. We are so overwhelmed by the many, many gifts we have recieved. Thank you!





Even today we have continued to be surrounded by so many friends and family. Your visits and calls encourage us so much and make the days go by faster. We are so, so thankful for you all.


"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us." Ephesians 3:20


Praises:

-Encouraging meeting with the oncologist

-The cancer was found before Cora was 12 months old

-Such loving friends and family

-The multitude of prayer warriors that are praying for Cora, WOW!


Requests:

-Strength and comfort for Cora as she continues to recover from surgery

-Patience as we wait for the results of the cancer tests (This is hard!)

-Wisdom and understanding as we learn about the chemo treatments and how to take care of Cora when we take her home
-Opportunities to share what God is doing in our lives with the many new people we are meeting







44 Comments:

Blogger Amy said...

You are amazing, Jess. All that you and Joel are dealing with, yet you are thinking of others and praying that you will be able to share God with the people you come in contact with.

My heart aches for you when I look at these pictures of your sweet Cora. Thank you for your updates and know that there are so many people... people you know, and people you don't know... praying for you and your little girl. You are all very loved.

January 27, 2009 at 12:21 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

That first picture of Cora is precious (and sad). Thank you for sharing your ups and downs with us and letting us know specifically what you are needing prayer for. I admire your strength and courage and know God is going to do something for His glory through Cora's story. I'm so thankful for the encouragement you received from the doctor this morning; how great to hear such optimism about Cora's treatments. I'm sorry that you have to watch your little girl go through something like this and know that there is nothing you can do to make it go away right now. I love you and Cora dearly and my heart is with you.

I'm feeling much better and will come see you in the next few days. Oh Jess, I am just praying for you and crying with you right now!! LOVE YOU!

January 27, 2009 at 1:26 AM  
Anonymous Jennifer & Jarod Ebenhack said...

Hi Joel and Jessica. My mom gave us your blog page. She called us the other day as soon as she heard about Cora's surgery, asking us to pray. We are so so sorry for all that you are going through. We have told our kids about Cora, and they are all so burdened for her too. They/we will be praying fervently for you. Our hearts are so heavy as we think about what you're experiencing. Like you, all we can do is trust in God's goodness, faithfulness, and His mercies which are new every morning.

January 27, 2009 at 7:04 AM  
Blogger Aaron and Shannon said...

I can't believe you are going through this Jess. I just cry every time I think of you and your family. We praying hard that the chemo will take all this nasty cancer from Cora's body. I hope to be able to see you soon. Thanks for the updates.

January 27, 2009 at 7:24 AM  
Blogger The Sweigart Family said...

Cora is so fortunate to have such amazing parents. You guys are a true testament.

I can only imagine how hard that must have been to hear that there is so much yucky stuff inside your little girl. I will pray that you stay encouraged that the treatment will work. I'm encouraged just by your attitude and faith!

You are loved and we are praying.

January 27, 2009 at 7:55 AM  
Anonymous Cowles in England said...

Dear Joel and Jess, Our hearts just ache for you. We are keeping updated thru your blog and Dad and Mom. We're so glad for the support system you have. We are so sorry, and will keep praying. We love you so much, Steve and Debbie Cowles, Kristy, Jonathan, and Josh
PS we have people praying for you here in England, too.

January 27, 2009 at 8:21 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Jess,
Be encouraged. God will show Himself mighty because He can do no less for your family - Might and Power are His nature.
We are praying first for Cora's healing and then for His safety to surround you, His peace to hold you tight.

January 27, 2009 at 8:42 AM  
Anonymous Estie said...

I am a friend of Julie's, and I am joining in with the many that are praying for sweet Cora and your family! My daughter and I were just on our knees in prayer for your family. As I was praying I got emotional thinking of all that you are going through. My four-year-old daughter looked up at me and said, "Don't worry, mama, I am here to help you not be sad." That is exactly what I hope is raining down upon you now--knowing that God's people are praying for you and that God will be there to help you through every step of this journey.

Words cannot express how our hearts ache hearing all that you are going through. God is good and He is already using you to touch others with your amazing faith. Thank you for sharing a part of you through this blog.

We will continue to lift up your family in prayer. We trust that God has big plans for little Cora and your family.

"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." Jeremiah 29:11

January 27, 2009 at 9:13 AM  
Anonymous Janene Freerksen said...

I just wanted to leave a note to let you know I'm praying for you all and know what you're going through. My son Joshua was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma in March of 2003 when he was 4. He is now 10 years old and has been free of cancer for over 5 years. I went to Berean and recently visited with Paula Unruh who told us about Cora. When and if you'd like to talk, I have much to share about what we've learned while battling this monster. My email is janenef@cox.net and my cell phone is (785) 633-7888.
With Hope,
Janene (Regier) Freerksen

January 27, 2009 at 9:21 AM  
Anonymous Megan said...

I stumbled across your blog today. Just wanted to let you know that I am adding Cora to my prayer list. God is able to do amazing miracles.

January 27, 2009 at 10:31 AM  
Blogger PamperingBeki said...

Just popping in to remind you of the things I'm sure you already know -

God is in control.
He is a loving God.
Your entire family is being uplifted in prayers from people around the globe.
I hope you feel the love and warmth people are feeling for you.

January 27, 2009 at 11:00 AM  
Anonymous Cristy said...

Praying for Cora, you and Joel, the doctors, your friends and the many doctors and nurses who will care for Cora. Praying that God will hold your precious Cora in His mighty hand and heal her. I am praying for strength for you. I have a whole team of friends, in many states, praying for you that do not even know you.

God bless you and God bless Cora. Please let me know if I can do anything at all to help you. Huge hugs from me...

Cristy

January 27, 2009 at 11:12 AM  
Blogger The Sieberts said...

Here is a BIG HUG for you guys!
We are praying hard for you!

January 27, 2009 at 12:18 PM  
Blogger Jim Colyer said...

Jess and Joel,
We just got an email from Kim with the news of litte Cora. Please know are thoughts and prayers are with you and we are here for you. I sure do appreciate your attitude in this and know that God will use this for good, although we cannot see that right now. We love you guys very much and are hearts are breaking for you. It looks like you are surrounded with family and friends that love you guys very much and we are glad that your mom and dad are so close. We love you much and will pray without ceasing for little Cora's health and strength for you guys.
Jim and Judy

January 27, 2009 at 2:05 PM  
Blogger Little Lovables said...

Cora and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

I am so sorry for all that is happening, just remember God loves you all!

January 27, 2009 at 2:56 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

You do have so many praying for you! We will continue to lift you three to the throne, as well as the doctors and all others involved. Thank you for sharing your journey. You are an encouragement to me that you are clinging to tightly to the Lord in all of this. God bless you mightily and abundantly!

January 27, 2009 at 4:01 PM  
Blogger Lindsey said...

Hi Jess and Joel. My family and I will be following your journey and praying for you...all of you. I cannot imagine the pain and questions and desperate clinging to your faith right now. Thank you for sharing and your openness for us to join you on this journey. Bless you.

January 27, 2009 at 8:03 PM  
Blogger Courtney said...

saw your blog through Amy's. i've been a mess ever since. praying for you. i can't get your sweet family out of my head - so i'll just keep praying! i'm sure there are lots of things you DON'T have answers to right now, but one thing you CAN know is that you are loved and being prayed for.

January 27, 2009 at 8:20 PM  
Blogger Kara said...

Hey Jessica, it's Kara Janzen (used to be Jones, I was in Julie and Olivia's bible study my freshman year at K-state, just wanted to refresh your memory.) I just wanted to let you know that Jake and I are praying for you and Cora. We serve a great God and he is here for you and for Cora every minute of every day. Thank you for the updates to know how we can pray for you and support you.

Kara

January 27, 2009 at 8:48 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Jessica,

Just wanted you to know that I am praying and I told my class about Cora. They are praying! This morning one of the sweet little girls in my class said "Miss Morrison, do you know how that little girl is doing?" I told my class that we just needed to keep praying for God to heal and comfort Cora.

I have been thinking about you guys a lot! My heart is heavy for you as I read your update today. May you and Joel be able to stay strong. I know that through this struggle many people are able to see 2 people who trust a mighty mighty God!

Much Love,

Heather

January 27, 2009 at 8:54 PM  
Anonymous laura said...

You don't know me, but I'm a friend of a friend's sister... anyway, I'm a mom too and I just want you to know that the Body of Christ in Florida will be lifting sweet Cora and her obviously AMAZING parents to our Big God... believing that He IS the Ultimate Healer and Restorer!!
"May the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the lord turn his face toward you and give you peace" Numbers 6:24-26

January 27, 2009 at 9:41 PM  
Blogger Judy/Mom/Gammy said...

Jess and Joel, My heart is heavy thinking about what you all are going through. I was just shocked when I heard the news about Cora. You are constantly in our thoughts and prayers. I know what it is like to have a sick, sick baby and it brings back so many bittersweet memories. We love you and will continue to pray for all of you. Judy Welfelt

January 27, 2009 at 9:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joel and Jessica,

I work for your father Jessica and I am blessed to know your parents. They are very caring and blessed individuals.

I am so sorry to hear the news of your precious angel. She is a beautiful child and our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

I experienced a similar situation with my daughters who were injured in a car accident. Your family was there for me through prayers and in person. I can't begin to say how much that meant to me an my wife.

The Richardsons

January 27, 2009 at 9:49 PM  
Anonymous Paula Unruh said...

Joel and Jess,

I had sent both your parents the following email but Jerry suggested I go ahead and post it here on your comment section. This is from Janene Regier Freerksen whom I believe, you now have her phone number if you need to call her, for someone who's been in your shoes. Here is her note today:

"Paula,
Dr. David Rosen is the doctor who referred our friend Canon to NYC. When I searched for him online, I found links for him at Wesley and Via Christi.

He is the COG (Children's Oncology Group) contact in Wichita. COG is the nationwide childhood cancer organization that runs most of the studies and trials for different types of cancer. He will be very familiar with NYC and the other places in our country who are experts in treating Neuroblastoma.

I dropped the family a note on their blog. I know these are the darkest of days. My Joshua prayed for Cora last night and we will continue to do so.

God bless you as you continue to reach out to them and minister to them in this time of need. Let me know if you need any ideas! We were surrounded and that was the major way God helped us through.

With Hope,
Janene"

I understand from Jerry that Dr. Rosen will be treating Cora. That is exciting!

We love you!-Paula, for the Unruh's

January 27, 2009 at 10:26 PM  
Blogger Danelle said...

Have confidence in the power of prayer, the advanced medical technologies of today's world, and the peace of knowing you are never alone through it all.

I found your blog through Amanda and Dave's blog. I will pray for your precious girl and for your whole family.

January 27, 2009 at 10:35 PM  
Blogger PiaTillys Boutique said...

I arrived here from pamperingbeki's blog~ as a mother myself I can't even begin to imagine how hard this must be for your entire family. But your sweet adorable precious little girl is in my thoughts and prayers...God is good, He's holding her in His arms looking after her every step of the way on this journey!

January 28, 2009 at 1:22 AM  
Anonymous Lori (Walter) Wilson said...

Jess, I have no idea what to say. My Mom sent me an email linking me to your blog. I have 2 little girls and am sitting here crying as I read about little Cora. Your strength is amazing and I pray that God will continue to give you what you need to endure through this process.

We may not have ever been close during high school—but the 3 of you are very high in my thoughts and prayers. I'd really like to say something amazing that will just miraculously help you feel better, but I know that is impossible, so do know that you have so much support, from those right there with you to those of us who are now far away. Prayers are being thrown up to God for Cora from both near and far. You are right in the palm of God's hand.

January 28, 2009 at 10:13 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

"Without Christ, there will always be a "but" attached to my hope. With Christ, hope always has the last word."

Please know that your family will be lifted up in prayer each day. Yes, this is a new journey in your life that you did not plan on, but with God as the center you will make it through no matter what may come your way. Some days it will be hard to believe but just keep moving forward - tomorrow is always another day.

Our family has just been down this road and we now have a new journey a head of us. We have learned and know that it is so important to have God in the center - along with a wonderful support system in the community and beyond.

January 28, 2009 at 12:42 PM  
Anonymous Emily Sewell Wallace said...

You don't know me. I was at PCC the same time as Joel. His sister (Olivia and Leah) were our suitemates. But, Katie Liles posted this blog. I'm so sorry to hear about your little girl. She's so precious! I have a 10 month old, and I just can't imagine what you're going through. My family and I will really be praying for you!
Emily Sewell Wallace

January 28, 2009 at 1:32 PM  
Blogger lgraves said...

praying, believing and crying with you.

leah (dunham) graves and family

January 28, 2009 at 2:17 PM  
Blogger Ashley said...

I'm friends of Josh & Andi's and I wanted to let you know that I'm praying for you and your precious little girl. I can't imagine the shock and pain you are in but God is so big and, like that verse said, He can do immeasurably more than we can ever imagine.

January 28, 2009 at 4:00 PM  
Blogger paige said...

i just found your story tonight. i am a pediatric oncology nurse in atlanta & would love to pray for cora!!
i worked on the floor for years & am now a triage nurse. two of the children that were stage four neuroblastoma kids that 12 years later are 100% cancer free & doing just perfect!!--i'm sure there were many more from that year but i have followed those two specifically.

praying for each of you!!!!

January 28, 2009 at 6:24 PM  
Blogger christy ross said...

I found your story tonight and my heart is going out to you. thank you for the praises and requests lists. they are making my prayers for your situation very specific.

January 28, 2009 at 7:14 PM  
Blogger thesecretlifeofkat said...

I just wanted to let you know I'm praying for you.

January 28, 2009 at 10:30 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Lecia's daugher, Rhianna, is a friend of my daughter's, and she e mailed me today asking for prayers. Prayers for Cora.

I, too, believe in the power of prayer. And I wanted you to know that Cora is at the top of my list. I have posted an image of your beautiful baby on my blog tonight, and am going to spread the word as best as I can. Prayers for Cora will be endless.

I have to let you know that in one short day, you have touched and changed me. I consider myself to be a darn good Catholic...but I am literally struck...like a piercing...by your undying faith and praise. And I want to thank you.

I will continue to pray, and to spread the word.

much love and many prayers
Laura

January 30, 2009 at 1:14 AM  
Blogger dhofen said...

Hello,
You do not know me but my four year old son, Braden is finishing his treatment for stage 4 high risk neuroblastoma. Reading your blog reminded me very much of our journey. I do know that prayer helped our family tremendously and you will be closely held in ours! We would be very happy to listen or help in anyway we possibly can. My email is deliecehofen@hotmail.com. Many blessings to all of you!
Deliece Hofen

January 30, 2009 at 9:40 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

God Bless all of you. May you find peace knowing that His plan is in place and Cora has a special role. Your little Cora is beautiful.

January 30, 2009 at 10:57 PM  
Blogger Debbie said...

Found you through another blog. I will be praying for your beautiful daughter and your family.

January 30, 2009 at 11:22 PM  
Blogger april said...

Just a note to say that I am praying for your sweet child, and for you.

February 1, 2009 at 12:50 AM  
Blogger Brenda said...

Hello - you don't know me but I wanted to let you know that the prayer train is on the move - I read your story, posted the prayer request on my blog and challenged my friends to do the same. It is working! We pray for Cora and your family.

February 1, 2009 at 11:37 AM  
Blogger D said...

Thank you for the update on little Cora. What a precious little wee one she is. I want you to know that I posted her story to my friends on the internet, so you have LOTS of powerful Payer Warriors out there praying for Cora and all of you. What a wonderful witness of faith you have.
Donna

February 1, 2009 at 9:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your blog is posted to our sunday school prayer list here in Connecticut. What a powerful witness you and your family are!! We are praying for you and Cora. Continue to keep us updated. God is in control and He wants the best for His people. God Bless you and Cora. I am praying that you will feel the presence of God right now. And Cora will be healed. Cheryl Ct.

February 2, 2009 at 8:44 AM  
Blogger Nicky8 said...

I found your blog from another blog and have been praying for you and your sweet baby girl. Many {{{HUGS}}} you you and your husband.
~Nicky

February 2, 2009 at 8:18 PM  
Blogger Screaming Meme said...

My heart breaks for you both as I read your story and realize what you are now going through...It is the hardest thing anyone can ever go through...I know your faith will help you along this sad journey of healing...I pray that you are able to heal...Cora is watching over you both...If there is anything I can do for you all...Help raise money or get the word out about Cora's playground...Let me know...Love, Meme

February 10, 2009 at 8:06 AM  

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