Wednesday, September 19, 2012


My heart & mind are primarily with my uncle this is a bit tougher than I had thought being this far away! So in pacifying my urge to want to head back to TX I'm doing some blogging this week of some fun we had with him this summer in Michigan! For the past 4 summers we've spent a week in Michigan visiting our family & camping......good memories! It's what I remember loving as a child & I can already tell it's a favorite anticipated summer to do for my girls! Uncle Rolly's wife....aka Aunt Nancy always has some fun stuff tucked up her sleeve for the girls to do! This year was no different! So in between eating & catching up with our Detroit family the kids are doing things like this......
I mean.....what kid doesn't love to get dirty with some paint? 
 I'm curious is this ever washed completely away.....
 I can't help but be honest & say that this summer with my uncle just felt different {were we being prepared for the diagnosis of cancer he just received?.....I can't help but ponder that!}.....we connected a little more....bonded a little more....over all our time together {for whatever reason} just felt EXTRA special! One night despite the bed screaming our names we stayed up & played ping pong after the kids were in bed! Many laughs!
 Another day found us bowling.....even the adults.......
 but pretty sure these 5 little people beat us!!
 The evenings found all the family together at Uncle Rolly's for dinner & talking......perfect!
 Uncle Klaus/Uncle Rolly/Me/Cousin Peter
 They have a great back yard & for the most part everyone clicks well.....
Are your kids obsessed with Hex Bugs?
My uncle whom I call might call him the Master Teaser....I guess I learned any teasing skills I posses from him!
These 2......jokster 1 & jokster 2!
My Aunt whom I can grandma's sister & I CHERISH our time with makes me feel connected to my grandma who isn't on this earth anymore. She can handle teasing like no body's business, she's the MASTER potato salad maker, she's non-judgemental, she LOVES unconditionally, & I LOVE the way she says my name......the way her German accent rolls the R in Kera makes me smile!
 It's nothing short of relaxing......there just isn't anything that compares to a Michigan evening outside! 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Cancer can kiss know what!

{rainbow spotted as we were getting close to Houston}

I've mentioned my Uncle Rolly multiple times in my blogging career but I will re-remind that he became a father figure to me when my own father walked out of our lives when I was very young....I look up to him & love him more than words can really describe! 11 days ago we received a phone call that shook our world upside down......we found out my uncle had been diagnosed with a VERY rare type of cancer: Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer or ATC. Everyone handles situations differently & I chose not to read ANYTHING about ATC only because it is VERY depressing. Maybe it was denial on my part....rather I chose to view it as wanting to remain hopeful in a very bleak situation! The thought of loosing my uncle was beyond something my mind would allow me to imagine. God worked miracles even in the 1st few days of them receiving the news....due to this being such a rare form of cancer there is nothing his Dr's in Michigan knew about this cancer, essentially sending him home to die {harsh but reality}. This is where GOD & MD Anderson {cancer treatment hospital in Texas} come into play.....where miracles took place!! Uncle Rolly's brother {Klaus- another uncle to me} has a brother in law who is a Dr at MD Anderson.....Klaus had kept him up to date on all the test results over the last couple weeks. When the news came in 11 days ago of ATC Klaus made another phone call to his brother-in-law. Amin got busy with putting an AWESOME TEAM {understatement!} of Dr's together to meet Uncle Rolly on Tuesday at MD does all that work even take place over the weekend?!! Prayers began....believing that miracles can happen!! By Wednesday we received another phone call around 3:00 pm that his ONLY chance at fighting for his life was surgery the next day at 2:15 pm. My mom, my twin, & I left Chattanooga at 8:30 pm Wednesday to drive all night to be able to see him for a few hours prior to surgery. We arrived to Texas around 8:15 am & went directly to the hospital where he was finishing up with a couple appointments prior to surgery. I will NEVER forget the look of despair on his face when we saw him for the 1st does one cope with being told #1: you may not make it out of surgery. #2: if we get in & realize the cancer is too entangled {for lack of a better term} & no way to remove it we will sew you back up & send you back to Michigan with no treatment. #3: if we can remove the cancer we will, BUT your life expectancy is still LOW even with surgery followed by Chemo/Radiation & we will have to snip the right vocal cord which will leave you whispering along with taking out a massive portion of the right side of your neck out leaving your neck deformed. **There was much hugging & crying & laughing & sitting together as family soaking up the few hours we had with Rolly prior to being called back for surgery. He has an older son Andrew & a 10 y/o daughter who they adopted from Russia as a baby......this just did not seem fair to leave these kids behind along with his wife & ALL of his family/friends who love & adore him. Thursday was the LONGEST DAY mostly ALL good ways! Our last few hours with him prior to surgery were long......the minutes seemed to stand still & that time was cherished. The longer the surgery = good......they were able to remove the cancer. Shorter surgery = bad.....they found the cancer to be too entangled & therefore had to just sew him back up to go home. The surgery lasted almost 5 hours.....with each passing hour brought a bit of peace. The Dr finally emerged & Nancy {wife}, Klaus {brother}, & Andrew {son} followed him into a room. When the 3 of them walked out of the room it was hard to depict their facial expressions.......but there was no lack of seeing 6.....SIX THUMBS UP IN THE AIR!! The words to flow out of their mouths were nothing.....not even one of us thought MAYBE we would hear!! "The Dr does not think the cancer he found is ATC"!!! WHAT?!!!!! This cancer is rare. But what he has seen of this cancer does not appear to be what he found in Uncle Rolly. The cancer was easily removed. They did NOT have to snip the right vocal cord. NOTHING....I repeat NOTHING was removed from his neck except the cancer & his Thyroid along with 1 out of his 4 Parathyroids {which is small in the grand scheme of the diagnosis}!! Thyroid Cancer has 4 levels. They believe he was in Level 3 quickly moving to Level 4 {explain that when he was diagnosed with ATC or Level 4 just days before?!! God?-I think YES!!}. We will not have the 100% answer until the final Pathology report comes back later on this week. Had Uncle Rolly arrived to MD Anderson even this week they believe the cancer would have progressed too far to do anything for him & he would have been sent home. That just gives me chills/makes my stomach sick just at the thought! So yes, we need to remain cautiously hopeful, but we're praying fervently & hoping for the BEST!! This man means too much to too many people & is LOVED beyond measure!! We couldn't help but clap & cheer as they rolled him out of surgery down the hall & into his room.......a room with a view of a cross....that sits atop the hospital chapel! A room that I believe was not just happenstance!! God is SO GOOD......through the good & the bad.....PLEASE JESUS HELP US TO REMEMBER THAT ALWAYS!

 {room 312}  
  {leaving the hospital just 2 days after surgery.....}
 {peace out hospital!}
 {a place where miracles happen!.....LOVE that cancer is slashed out on EVERY sign!}