August 29, 2008,

Dear Church Family and Friends,

I suppose this will be the last official 'Donna Update'. It is a bitter sweet end of a chapter in all of our lives. We are all better people for having Donna in our lives.

First, I want to extend my deepest thanks to everyone for their love, cards, meals, gifts and most of all their prayers. We are trying to send Thank-you cards, but I know that we are going to miss a lot. Please accept our apologies if we miss sending you one - it is just an oversight because of the shear volume of everything going on. We truly appreciate everything.

Wow. What a month. A few weeks ago we had just returned from Florida, and now Donna is with the Lord. Praise God that Christ went to the cross and there was an empty tomb on Sunday - because He is Risen! And, because of the empty tomb, Donna is now in His presence!

Many have inquired as to how the boys and I are doing in the house with Mom. We are actually doing very well. We know that Donna is now with the Lord and that she is no longer bound by a body that is cancer stricken and destroyed by years of chemo. And, we know that she is now in Heaven and in presence of Jesus Christ Himself.

So, how do we really KNOW that Donna is in Heaven? Was is because she was a good person? Because she was a church secretary? Was it because she helped people in need? NO! Her works were never good enough! It was because she believed that Jesus died for her sins and because she accepted Him as her Savior,she is now with Him.

Basically, Donna had to first admit that she was a sinner. If someone sins, even one time in their life, the penalty for that sin is death, physical death. Donna sinned at least 1 time, and thus she did pass.

However, there is a way around death that does not make it permanent. Jesus told us that if we believe in Him, we can have eternal life, which means that we go to Heaven when we die. What if we don't do this? Then you go to Hell. Its that simple.

So, as a final message, we would encourage each reader to consider what would happen to themselves if they had died of a brain tumor like Donna - would you go to Heaven and be with Christ, or would you go to Hell and be separated from God for eternity. This was Donna's message for her life - to share the saving knowledge of Jesus. She wants to see each one of you in Heaven one day. If you have questions about what this means, please visit http://coed4.org/Salvation.htm

Finally, I would encourage each reader to visit Donna's video page at http://coed4.org/Video/Atlanta_Live.htm. There is a video from her Cousin Nila with a funny clip and a copy of the slideshow that was shown during her funeral. It is very moving.

And thank-you again for all of your prayers, etc. over these past 8 years. I can never say Thank-you enough.

Love,

Frank


 

August 14, 2008

Dear Church Family and Friends,

Here is Donna's Obit that appeared in the Gwinnett Post today.

Donna Ferrer Mrs. Donna M. Ferrer, age 55, of Lawrenceville, GA passed away on Tuesday, August 12, 2008. She is survived by her: Husband of 23 years: Mr. Frank Ferrer, Suwanee, GA, Daughter: Donna M. Cannella, Lawrenceville, GA, Sons: Frank Ferrer, Jr., Lawrenceville, GA, Thomas J. Ferrer, Lawrenceville, GA, Mother: Mrs. Ninfa Sciretta, Lawrenceville, GA, Sisters and Brothers-in-law: Angela and Lewis Hall, Lawrenceville, GA, Nila Sciretta, New York City, NY, Joanne and Steve Brower, Lawrenceville, GA, Brother and Sister-in-law: Michael and Kim Sciretta, Lexington, Kentucky, Sister-in-law and Brother-in-law: Eileen and Fred Carpenter, Mendah TWP, NJ, Several Aunts, Uncles, Nieces, Nephews and Cousins. Mrs. Ferrer was born May 22, 1953 in Brooklyn, New York. She was a 1971 graduate of Central High School, Valley Stream, NY. She was employed with Shadowbrook Baptist Church in Suwanee, GA as an Outreach Secretary for over ten years and also a member of the Shadowbrook Evangelism Ministry Team. She was a member of Shadowbrook Baptist Church where she was a Sunday School Teacher having taught the Co-Ed 4 Class and Singles 2 Class. She was a team leader with Faith Outreach. She led the First Place Christian Weight Loss Class. “Donna lived her life knowing that she was saved by Grace, not of her own works, that she believed in her heart and confessed with her mouth that Jesus is her Lord and Savior, because God gave his Son, so that we may have eternal life.” Funeral services will be held on Friday, August 15, 2008 at 11:00 a.m. at Shadowbrook Baptist Church with Rev. Bobby Linkous officiating. Interment will follow at Memorial Park South Cemetery in Flowery Branch, GA. The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Thursday from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. and from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Flowers accepted or memorials may be made to Shadowbrook Outreach Ministry, 4187 Suwanee Dam Road, Suwanee, GA 30024 in memory of Donna Ferrer. Arrangements by: Junior E. Flanigan of Flanigan Funeral Home and Crematory, Buford, GA 770-932-1133 www.flaniganfuneralhome.com

http://www.legacy.com/GwinnettDailyPost/Obituaries.asp?Page=Lifestory&PersonId=115570573

Please share this with others as they may want to know some of her arangements. Thanks!

In His Name,

Frank


 

August 13, 2008,

Dear Church Family & Friends,

What a wonderful day today! Waking up, knowing my beloved is no longer suffering in her earthly tent, and I got a full night's sleep!

Everyone seems to be doing pretty well. My daughter Donna has been great through this entire period. She, with the help of a few others, have made a great picture board with photos of Donna. Another friend has made a great slideshow. The meals and fellowship have been amazing! We really are blessed!

If you are in the area, here are the arrangements for Donna's wake and funeral:

Visitation: Flanigan's Funeral Home
4400 South Lee Street
Buford, GA 30518
770 932-1133
Thursday, August 14 2:00 - 4:00 pm 6:00 - 8:00 pm

Funeral: Shadowbrook Baptist Church
4187 Suwanee Dam Road
Suwanee, GA 30024
770 945-1524
Friday, August 15 11:00 am

Burial: Memorial Park
4121 Falcon Pkwy
Flowery Branch, GA 30542

Again, thanks for everything!

In His Name,

Frank


August 12, 2008,

Dear Church Family & Friends,

I am thrilled to share an absolutely fabulous report - Donna went Home to be with the Lord this evening!! She left her earthly body a few minutes after 6 and soon heard 'Well done my good and faithful servant!' What a blessing to be with her at the moment she saw Jesus' face!

Yes, it is sad that she is gone - but I'm am astounded at the joy that is in my heart this evening! The Holy Spirit has bathed our home with His comfort this day!!!

It is hard to believe this journey started 8 years ago - many folks that get these updates have been on this list since the beginning.

I will give an update about arrangements later. At this point, I just want to get the word out.

Thank-you all for your prayers, food, encouragement, fellowship these past 8 years, and especially these past few days. I will have some more reflection at that time. I think I'm going to get a good night's rest now!

As we have always asked, pray for the Lord's will above all!

In His Name,

Frank


 

August 12, 2008

Dear Church Family and Friends,

Donna remains on Earth with us.

Sorry for the late posting here as I know many are reading this blog. However, she continues to rest comfortably in bed. The Hospice nurse came by and she told us that it could be a few hours to another day or two. As Donna & I have prayed, it can never be too soon to enter the presence of God.

We also have only the kids and my sister from Jersey here at the house - we have asked for the other family and friends to refrain from visiting. We are all exhausted and the quiet in the house is a welcome relief.

I look forward to the posting on this page to share that our dear sister, awesome Mom, beloved kid, great sibling, and my beloved wife is with Christ.

We continue to pray for His will above all else.

In His Name and with tears mixed with joy and sadness,

Frank


 

August 9, 2008,

Dear Church Family & Friends,

Donna continues to cling to life on Earth as our Lord has not called her Home as of yet.

Last evening was a lot of fun. After I put her down, Donna 'rallied'! This is something that I have heard that terminally ill folks will do. She got back up and was eating pinwheel sandwiches! (Thank-you Mary K!) When she was munching, she was speaking, laughing, smiling, and having a great time! Then, we took her to the restroom and got her ready for bed. Just before I put her back into bed from the wheelchair, she told me that she did not feel right. She has had no strength in the right side of her body, and now what power she had remaining in the left side was basically gone. It took me most of what I had to get her in the bed.

This morning, the Hospice nurse came over and told us that she could actually be a few more days from being called Home -which to me is surprising. I had expected this to happen for the past 2 nights. As the day has progressed, she has continued to the path of leaving leading to Heaven. The nurse came back and explained that she was now further along than she would have thought, so perhaps she is progressing faster. It is difficult to tell, and it really does not matter to me as this is all in the Lord's timing.

Several times Donna heard me come into the room and smiled. Once when I was praying with her, she lifted her good hand and held mine. This day I will always carry with me in my heart.

Lou Gehrig said that he was the luckiest man - well, I consider myself, and Donna, to be amount the most blest. They gave her 3 to 6 months, we got 8 years; last Saturday evening, they gave us a few hours to a few days - we have since had a living wake where Donna has been able to say good by to many friends and family. It just does not get better than this!

Folks may look at our family and feel sorry for us because of what we have had to endure with Donna's health these past 8 years - I would not want to trade it for anything! I told my boys today that I pray for them to have a marriage as strong and as Christ centered as Donna & I have had.

This evening, we pray for the Lord's will and we ask Him to take Donna home this evening.

In His Wonderful, Powerful and Majestic Name,

Frank


 

August 8, 2008

Dear Church Family and Friends,

I just put Donna down for the evening. It was also Donna's mom's birthday so there was small celebration. And, again, we saw many friends. It has been amazing to see the outpouring of love from our friends and church. I am very humbled.

She is resting pretty well so far this evening. I'll keep you all posted with any changes.

Please pray for His will.

In His Name,

Frank


 

August 7, 2008

Dear Church Family & Friends,

Donna remains to be here with us. It seems so strange to discuss her passing in such blunt terms, but both she and I are tired of the fight. I have told her that we will be OK and that it is OK for her to go to be with the Lord. She has spoken with her kids and family members, and she has said her goodbyes - it is now the Lord's timing that we await.

While I dread the day that I post her passing, I look forward to it at the same time. A friend of mine shared with me the following verse:

Ecclesiastes 7:1 A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth.

We continue to pray for His will.

In His Name,

Frank

 


August 6, 2008

Dear Church Family & Friends,

Donna continues to greet visitors at our home. She seems to have some good moments, and then she once again sleeps and rests. She took two laps around the house and continues to eat well.

At this time, we are waiting for her cousin Sal to come in from New York. We expect him late Thursday afternoon. Donna has continually said that she wants to see him before she goes home to be with the Lord.

The outpouring of love from everyone is almost too much to take in. All I can say is Thanks. I am humbled.

I will try to post again tomorrow as many have emailed us asking about Donna's condition. I've been pretty busy during the day and I apologize if I can't get back with you.

As always, our prayer remains for the Lord's will first and foremost.

In His Name,

Frank

 

August 5, 2008,

Dear Church Family & Friends,

Wow. What a blessing with everyone! We have called Hospice in as Donna prepares to meet our Dear Lord. When we had some time this morning, she shared with me that she is ready to see Jesus. While she is not happy that she is leaving her kids and me, she is happy that this ordeal is coming to an end.

Shadowbrook, the Family, Friends - what can I say? You all have been such a blessing to us at this time. This is what being a Christian is all about - to come together as the Body and to be there for each other. And you have been there for us - for 8 years.

While I'll miss my beloved wife, I know that His Word tells me that He wants to prosper us and not to harm us - I know that this is His will, and just knowing that, I rejoice! I told Don, that in the scheme of eternity, our separation will be but an eye blink. Jesus told us that He has prepared a place for us - and pray that I will be Donna's neighbor when I get there.

Thanks again for everything. Continue to pray for His will above ours!

In His Name,

Frank

 

August 3, 2008

Dear Church Family and Friends,

We have some other bad news that we need to share. The tumor is growing again.

We were able to get Donna a chemo treatment Friday afternoon. Then, in the middle of Friday night, she got very ill. Since the chemo they gave her, Carboplatin, does not give you nausea, we felt that her dinner did not agree with her. She also said that her head was hurting really bad. In the morning, these symptoms disappeared, but then returned in the afternoon.

Since her head was hurting so bad, they suggested we bring her to the ER as they were concerned about a cranial bleed because of the Avastin. Once in the ER, they ran a CT scan and the tumor is now pushing brain tissue from the left hemisphere into the right, from deep within. This is now a terminal situation. The ER doc said that we could be looking at just a couple of days.

This morning, I have contacted Hospice. Since it is Sunday Morning, they said that they may not call us till tomorrow, which is fine. Donna is not in any distress and I have a script of pain killers for her.

I may not send any updates over the next few days as I’m sure it will be pretty busy around here.

Thanks for all the cards, food, visits, and love over the past years and especially now at this time. The Body of Christ is truly amazing!

Please check her blog for updates at www.coed4.org – it will be easier for me to update folks there.

As always, our prayer is for the Lord’s will. Donna told me 8 years ago, if it will cost her her life for one to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, then this is all worth it!

It is in His Mighty Name I send this,

Frank


 

 

July 29, 2008

Dear Church Family & Friends,

Here is the latest update for Donna.

While she was on her current chemo regime, Avastin and CPT-11, she has begun to have some cognitive deficits, specifically her short term memory and the ability to find words has become more difficult for her. Because of this, we opted to move up her August 4th MRI to last Friday.

The results were not positive. Her tumor has once again returned to the same size that it was this past October, approximately 4.0 cm by 3.4 cm. There has also been an increase in swelling in her brain from this growth. This is also the cause of her symptoms.

Friday, once we got the results, Dr. Hamerick, Donna’s current oncologist, contacted Duke on our behalf to brain storm as to where do we go from here. Afterwards, they contacted us with the names of several other chemos to use in conjunction with the Avastin. It is their thought that the while the chemo is growing on the Avastin, it is really keeping it in check – without it, Donna would not be doing as well. We discussed several options, and we left off that we would be meeting again with Dr. Hamerick.

Today, after discussing the various options that we do have, our plan of action is as follows: We will increase the steroid (Decadron) that Donna is on from 12mg to 16mg – this will hopefully reduce the swelling in her head and will help some of her cognitive abilities.

Next, she will continue the Avastin and will have a dose tomorrow. In the meantime, the doctor's office will be getting a pre-cert for another chemo called Carboplatin. This is an older chemo that has been used for brain tumors and other cancers for a number of years. While Donna will get the Avastin every two weeks, the Carboplatin will only be once a month. Hopefully she can get that tomorrow, if not then, perhaps Thursday.

Once again, we want to Thank-you all for your love, emails, cards, visits, etc. It means so much to us – it is greatly appreciated.

Our prayer remains for the Lord’s will above all else, for this tumor to be eradicated, for Donna to have minimal side effects from the drugs, to have no symptoms from the tumor.

In His Name,

Frank


 

July 23, 2008,

Dear Church Family & Friends,

Just a quick update on Donna. Recently, she has been having some problems with finding words and with some of her other cognitive functions.

She was scheduled for a regular MRI on August 4th, however, after speaking today with her oncologist, Dr Hamrick, we opted to get an MRI sooner. She is now scheduled to have one this Friday, the 25th of July. We will then discuss the results with the doc the following Tuesday and then decide if we will continue the current chemo treatment, or if we will change. The causes of her problems of course could be tumor growth or brain swelling or even 'chemo brain', which is a reaction that someone can have when they are exposed to a lot of chemo. It could even be a combination of 2 or all 3 of these factors.

We'll find out next Tuesday where we go from here. We'll keep ya'll posted.

As always, our prayer remains for the Lord's will first and foremost, for Donna's tumor to disappear, and for her to have minimal side effects from treatments.

In His Name,

Frank


 

July 13, 2008,

Dear Church Family & Friends,

We had a bump in the road Friday, though not a bad one. Donna went in for her regular chemo treatment, and they were not able to get an IV inserted into her. They tried 6 times. (Ouch!) Well, they made several phone calls and now the plan is for Donna to have a port installed, probably in her chest by the shoulder Monday morning at Gwinnett Med. Then, assuming that this goes according to plan, she should be able to get her chemo infusion later in the morning.

Hopefully, this should not interfere with our plans to go to Tampa for a long weekend this coming week. We wanted to get down there for Donna to see some of her family and to get her out of the house for awhile. We'll see if she can get her chemo on Monday - if she can, we'll go, otherwise we'll have to postpone the trip as she will be too fatigued for the trip.

As always, we appreciate your prayers, first and foremost for His will, and then for this tumor to disappear, for the next MRI to be clear and for Donna to have minimal side effects from these treatments.

In His Name,


Frank


 

June 27, 2008

Dear Church Family and Friends,

Great News! The new chemo regime is working for Donna! Her tumor has reduced by 25% over the past 6 weeks! We are VERY thankful to the Lord for this report!

The plan at this time is to continue what we are doing. Donna will continue to take a combination of Avastin and CPT-11 every 2 weeks for the foreseeable future. Then, in 6 weeks, we will have another MRI done. In the meantime, she continues to tolerate the meds very well - as a matter of fact, she has not had any anti-nausea pills in over 2 weeks.

As always, we continue to pray for the Lord's will first and foremost, for Donna to tolerate the medication, and for this tumor to disappear.

Thank you all for you continued prayers and support. We love you!

In His Name,

Frank


 

 

June 19, 2008,

Dear Church Family and Friends,

Just a quick update. Donna had her chemo last Friday, and she went to work today! Usually, she has been out of work the week following her chemo and then she returns the second week. But not this time. She really bounced back great!

Donna goes for an MRI on Tuesday the 24th. She will get the results the following Friday when she goes for her next chemo treatment. I'll be going with her to get the results and to be with her while she has her treatment.

Our prayer is for the Lord's will to be done, for this tumor to be less - or gone, for Donna's side effects to continue to be minimal. I'll send a regular email update with her results.

In His Name,

Frank


 

June 15, 2008,

Dear Church Family and Friends,

Donna had her 3rd chemo treatment this past Friday. She seems to be tolerating the chemo a bit better than the 2 previous times. Her fatigue is pretty heavy, but amazingly, no nausea. Her appetite is OK too! So there is much to praise the Lord for! She will be going for an MRI on Tuesday, June 24 and will meet with the MD on Friday to see how she is progressing. Hopefully there will be some shrinkage of the tumor and/or the swelling. Otherwise, she doesn't feel all that bad. She even made it back to work the past Thursday!

As always, our prayer remains that His will to be done above all, for the tumor to be eradicated, for Donna to have minimal side effects from the treatments, and for the next MRI to show less or no tumor!

In His Name,

Frank


 

 

May 28, 2008,

Dear Church Family & Friends,

What a difference a couple of weeks make! Donna has really improved over the past several days! And we are praising the Lord!

Donna had her first IV Chemo a week ago Friday on May 16. She was pretty fatigued from the first dosing, and seemed to have rebounded pretty well about 4 or 5 days after the treatment. So much so, that I will be going to NYC with my youngest son Thomas next week for a few days, though he gets to stay there for 2 weeks! If Donna wasn't doing as well as she is, I would not go. Also, Cindy will be coming down from IL again next week while I'm away, so Donna will have someone here with her!

She does go for her next chemo this coming Friday and she will be laying low for a few days I'm sure.

Also, the steroid seems to be shrinking the swelling from the tumor and Donna is able to communicate and think cognitively better - and that is a praise too! You can imagine how frustrating it can be when you know what you want to say, but can't find the words.

Also, try to watch Donna's blog at www.coed4.org - it is easier to post items there every few days vs. sending a big email. Thank-you all for your prayers, gifts, and thoughts.

As always, our prayer remains that His will to be done above all, for the tumor to be eradicated, for Donna to have minimal side effects from the treatments, and for the next MRI (which will be June 24) to show less or no tumor!

In His Name,

Frank


 

May 21, 2008

Dear Church Family and Friends,

Tomorrow is the big day! It's Donna's Birthday! Donna's Aunt Nila is in from Tampa and we are planning to have a great evening over Donna Marie's house for a wonderful dinner.

Also, Donna had a good day today - lot's of energy, ability to converse well - we are blessed!

Friday, we meet with Donna's new oncologist, Dr Hamrick. He will be the doctor that we will be working with locallnow that we have been released by Duke. We now the folks in his office, and he is getting great reviews, so we are really looking forward to meeting him. (Thanks Bonnie for your help with this!) We'll also learn when Don's next MRI is at this time.

As always, our pray will always remain first for the Lord's will to be done; for the tumor to be eradicated; for Donna to have minimal effects from the treatments; and for the next MRI to show less or no tumor.

In His Name,

Frank

 


 

May 17, 2008

Dear Church Family and Friends,

Donna has a tough 24 hours. Yesterday she started her drip (IV) chemo combo of Avastin and CPT-11. Because it was the first time she had a drip chemo, they took a little longer than normal, so she was in the chair from 11:00 to 3:00. When I got her home, she was pretty wiped out. However, today, it seems that the chemo and the steroid (Decadron) is starting to help Donna with her congnitive thinking and speech - she seems to be pretty good with that today. Like most folks on heavy chemo, she has been pretty tired and she is having her 3rd nap of the day at 5:00.

Donna and I were speaking this morning and we were thinking of all of the blessings that the Lord has given us over the psat 7.5 years that she has had this tumor. We have met and ministered to so many people - both in person and on the Internet. Though it will sound strange, it truly has been a great experience. How could we not praise Him?

As always, our pray will always remain first for the Lord's will to be done; for the tumor to be eradicated; for Donna to have minimal effects from the treatments; and for the next MRI to show less or no tumor.

In His Name,

Frank


 

 

May 14, 2008

Dear Church Family & Friends,

I'm afraid Donna had a bit of a set back recently.

Monday, she had an MRI and unfortunately, it revealed that the tumor grown back to the original size that it was back in October when it was first discovered. I spoke with Dr Reardon at Duke and he shared that Donna would be removed from the clinic trail that she was in.

However, he did state that there are other options for Donna. Hopefully, Friday Donna will begin receiving a new chemo. We will be giving Donna a mixture of Avastin and CPT-11. These 2 chemos given together have shown some very promising results. We are very grateful that this option is available to her. Another benefit is that we will not need to travel to Duke to have her take this chemo - she will be able to take this medication locally. At this point, she will receive these intravenous drugs every 2 weeks. We will then have a follow up MRI done for her in about a month to measure the effectiveness of this procedure.

Along with her new chemo, Donna has been placed on Decadron - this is a steroid that will help reduce the swelling in her brain from the tumor. This will help her fatigue and also her ability to speak - because of the tumor, Donna has found it increasingly difficult to speak.

Needless to say, we are disappointed that the first chemo did not work, but we are thankful that there is another option. We praise the Lord this evening for His goodness and blessings. This evening, we had a wonderful time of prayer with Donna's mom and several very close friends - we are very blessed!

As always, our pray will always remain first for the Lord's will to be done; for the tumor to be eradicated; for Donna to have minimal effects from the treatments; and for the next MRI to show less or no tumor.

Thank-you all for your prayers - we are very blessed!

In His Name,

Frank


 

 

May 5, 2008,

Dear Church Family & Friends,

We had some good news - Donna's pancreatic functions are back to within acceptable limits for the study that she is on at Duke! Whew! She does have a busy week coming up. She'll be with her sister Nila today, the 5th (She came down from NYC for the weekend as a surprise!), work on Tuesday, regular lab work and Bible Study this Wednesday, work on Thursday and then we leave for Franklin, NC for the weekend. That is where the picture above was taken.

Donna has begun to feel the effects of the higher dose of chemo and has been pretty fatigued for the past week. We just pray that her energy can rebound for her. This along with her standing prayer for:

For the Lord's will to be done;
For this tumor to be eradicated;
For Donna to have minimal side effects from the treatment;
For Donna's next MRI to show less or no tumor.


In His Name,

Frank


 

April 28, 2008,

Dear Church Family & Friends,

We had a call from Duke on Friday, and the docs are concerned about Donna's counts for her pancreas. Basically they are running too high and they fear that she could develop pancreatitis. However, Donna has been feeling good which is a huge blessing! She is still very fatigued, however, last Thursday, she worked at Shadowbrook, and then after a short nap, she cleaned up the garage - then she was tired! As I write this, she up stairs cooking dinner.

So, along with the regular prayer requests, we ask that if it is the Lord's will for Donna to continue on this chemo, we would ask that her counts come back in line to an acceptable level - or, if this is not to be the case, for another door to open for another treatment. Either way, it must always be the Lord's will!

And of course, the other prayer requests remain:
For the Lord's will to be done;
For this tumor to be eradicated;
For Donna to have minimal side effects from the treatment;
For Donna's next MRI to show less or no tumor.

In His Name,

Frank


 

April 16, 2008

Dear Church Family & Friends,

Sorry for the long time between Donna Updates, but when things are OK, well they are OK.

Today, we returned from Duke with Donna's regular check up. Good News! Since her last MRI scan, her tumor has not grown in the past 2 months. While this may not sound great, she did have a reduction in the amount of chemo she was taking. So, we spoke about her dosing, and we decided to increase her chemo. When she first started on chemo, she would take 2 pills in the morning and 2 in the evening. After 2 months, because of fatigue, and since her tumor had reduced, it was decided to eliminate her morning dose. Now, we will start the morning dose again, however, because of her fatigue, she will take it only every other day. Then, in a month, she will go for another scan. We won't have to go back to Duke at that time, but hopefully her tumor will start to shrink again.

As a side note, when you go to Donna's website, www.coed4.org, look for her videos, she is now on GodTube!

As always, out prayer remains:
For the Lord's will to be done;
For this tumor to be eradicated;
For Donna to have minimal side effects from the treatment;
For Donna's next MRI to show less or no tumor.

In His Name,

Frank


 

February 16, 2008


Good News!! Donna's counts are back into an acceptable range and she was able to get back on her chemo as of this Monday! Whew! And, the docs have opted to eliminate the morning does of her chemo and just to keep her on the evening dose. Turns out that several other folks who are on this same study have had the same thing occur.

Next, Donna has an MRI on Monday, then we are off to Duke on Tuesday and we meet with the docs on Wednesday. I'll send a regular email update at that time.

As always, out prayer remains:
For the Lord's will to be done;
For this tumor to be eradicated;
For Donna to have minimal side effects from the treatment;
For Donna's next MRI to show less or no tumor.

Thank you all for everything that you have done for us!

In His Name,

Frank


 

 

 

February 3, 2008

Sorry for the overdue update! We do have a prayer request at this time...

We learned that some of Donna's blood counts were abnormal. Basically her platelets and a few other blood components were below some thresholds that Duke has for their patients who are on chemo treatments. Donna will be having another blood test tomorrow and we should know the results Tuesday or Wednesday. I'll keep you posted with the results. In the meantime, she has stopped her chemo treatments till further notice.

But the good part about stopping the chemo temporarily, she feels great!

Please watch for an update later this week!

As always, out prayer remains:
For the Lord's will to be done;
For this tumor to be eradicated;
For Donna to have minimal side effects from the treatment;
For Donna's next MRI to show less or no tumor.

Thank you all for everything that you have done for us!

In His Name,

Frank

 

January 10, 2008


Dear Church Family and Friends,

More great news! Donna continues to improve and do great! She actually has started back to work this week at our church, Shadowbrook! What a praise! This was something that we really did not think would happen, but praise the Lord, it has! We are so thankful for you prayers!

Donna continues to feel better each day. Yes, she gets fatigued from the chemo, but she really handles it well!

Also, we would like to remind you about the David Bailey concert this Sunday night. If you can, please plan on attending - it is a benefit concert for the Brain Tumor Clinic at Duke where Donna is being treated. Plus, David puts on a great show! You'll love it. Please see details at: http://coed4.org/Benefit%20concert%20Flyer.pdf

Finally, we need to ask for prayer for friends of ours, the Croxtons. A few days ago, Brice, their 13 year old son had a skiing accident in Colorado. Unfortunately, he had a severe spinal injury and will no longer be able to walk. His father Alex was with him at the time of the accident. Donna & I, along with our entire church hurts for this family. Brice is being operated on as I write this. Please keep Brice, Alex, Susan, his mom and Olivia, his sister in prayer.

As always, out prayer remains:
For the Lord's will to be done;
For this tumor to be eradicated;
For Donna to have minimal side effects from the treatment;
For Donna's next MRI to show less or no tumor.

Thank you all for everything that you have done for us!

In His Name,

Frank


 


December 28, 2007

Dear Church Family & Friends,

 Great News! Donna’s tumor has shrunk by 1/3!!!  Praise the Lord!!!

 We got back last evening around 7:00 pm, so I’m a little late in sending this update. But what wonderful news! It was great to see how pleased the doctor, PA and our coordinator Kathleen were with the news! Since Donna is now tolerating the chemo better, ie., less nausea, and since the tumor is now getting smaller, we do not need to return to Duke for 2 months. We are just thrilled with this news! Obviously the prayers are working and we are realizing God’s will.

 In other good news, I would like to invite you to a benefit concert with David Bailey. David is an 11 year brain tumor survivor that has been treated at Duke. The concert is being organized by Denise Brown, her son Zachary is also being treated at Duke for a brain tumor. The concert will be held on Sunday, January 13, 2008 at the Rock Springs United Methodist Church at 1100 Rock Springs Road in Lawrenceville, GA. The cost is free, but there will be an offering taken for the benefit of the Brain Tumor Center at Duke University. More details can be found at http://web.mac.com/sdb118/One_More_Day_For_Angels/Home.html, or, you may email Denise at sdb118@bellsouth.net. You can also learn more about David at www.Davidmbailey.com.

 Donna & I met David a few years back at another concert in Duluth, GA. We can tell you that his shows are a lot of fun. He is a strong Christian and this comes across in his music. We really would like to encourage you to go for a wonderful evening of entertainment. And, you will be blessed!

 Please be sure to check Donna’s regular updates every several days or so at http://coed4.org/Blog.htm

 We pray that you all have had a very Merry Christmas – we sure have here!

 As always, out prayer remains:
For the Lord's will to be done;
For this tumor to be eradicated;
For Donna to have minimal side effects from the treatment;
For Donna's next MRI to show less or no tumor.

 Thank you all for everything that you have done for us!

 In His Name,

 Frank


 

December 16, 2007

Dear Church Family & Friends,


Just a quick update on Donna. She continues to do much better. Several folks have asked me in the past couple of days about her, and I'm thrilled to say that she is doing better. Even a couple of folks at church this morning commented on how Donna is speaking better and seems to be more like herself. We praise the Lord for this progress!

The game plan at this point is as follows: Donna has an MRI on Monday, Dec. 24. We then travel to Duke on the 26th and Donna will have several appointments on Thursday morning the 27th. We then come home that afternoon. It will be a busy couple of days for us Christmas week! But, with Donna's continued progress, we expect this tumor to be shrinking away!

As always, out prayer remains:
For the Lord's will to be done;
For this tumor to be eradicated;
For Donna to have minimal side effects from the treatment;
For Donna's next MRI to show less or no tumor.

Remember to check for other updates periodical at http://coed4.org/Blog.htm

And our family wants to thank-you for you continued prayers and support. We pray that each of you have a very Merry and Blessed Christmas!

In His Name,

Frank



December 7, 2007

Dear Church Family & Friends,

Great news! Donna continues to do much better! Just this week we have seen a marked decrease in her nausea during the day! She is down to only 1 or 2 anti-nausea pills everyday - and today, she didn't use any today - a first!!! She continues to feel better each day! Even her cognitive skills have increased markedly! Her speech has increased to where she is not searching for words like she did just a couple of weeks ago. It is remarkable how much she has improved in such a short period of time! It is amazing how blessed she is! We will be going to the mountains tomorrow to see a friend who made homemade BBQ and then its off to a flea market. Rumor has it that it will be 70 degrees! God is good!

I'm sure that when we go back to Duke at the end of the month, they'll be pleased!

As always, out prayer remains:
For the Lord's will to be done;
For this tumor to be eradicated;
For Donna to have minimal side effects from the treatment;
For Donna's next MRI to show less or no tumor.

And of course, thank-you for you continued prayers and support.

In His Name,

Frank


 

November 28, 2007

Dear Church Family and Friends,

Good News! Donna’s tumor is stable! We are at Duke today, and we just got the news this morning!

We are very grateful that her tumor has not grown. While we were are a little disappointed that there was no shrinkage, we do understand that the tumor must stabilize before it can shrink, and for that we are thrilled! Therefore, we are now scheduled to have another MRI completed at the end of December and we will be back here at Duke just after Christmas.

Donna is having her labs done today. This is the ‘24’ hour blood test that she had last month. This means that we will be here till tomorrow morning and then its back off to Atlanta after her last blood draw around 8:15 or so.

As always, out prayer remains:
For the Lord's will to be done;
For this tumor to be eradicated;
For Donna to have minimal side effects from the treatment;
For Donna's next MRI to show less or no tumor.

And of course, thank-you for you continued prayers and support.

In His Name,

Frank


 

November 22, 2007

Dear Church Family & Friends,


Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

We all have many things to be thankful for - and we as Christians are most thankful for our salvation that we have in Christ! (Romans 10:9-10) And we are also very thankful for Donna's health!

We learned this week that Duke has not received Donna's lab work being done here locally. Donna's daughter Donna gave me a copy of her labs that were done last week, and I discovered that Donna's platelets have dropped quite a bit. I have an email into Duke, along with a phone call and I have faxed the results to them. Hopefully we'll hear something tomorrow.

We also return to Duke next Wedensday. Hopefully the MRI that Donna will have on Monday will show that the tumor is shrinking. We also need to address Donna's fatigue. She is sleeping up to 2.5 hours a day.

We hope to have lots of good information next week! As always, our prayer continues to be for:


For the Lord's will to be done;
For this tumor to be eradicated;
For Donna to have minimal side effects from the treatment;
For Donna's next MRI to show less or no tumor.

In His Name,

Frank


 

November 13, 2007

Dear Church Family & Friends,


Hello all! Donna had a pretty good day today! She went back to Shadowbrook, where she has worked for the past 9+ years, for the Pastor's Birthday party. Tisha picked Donna up about 11:15 and she was able to spend time with the church staff that she misses so much! And, being a Baptist event, there was plenty of food! :-) Once she got home, she did need to rest as the chemo does fatigue her.

We are still amazed at the amount of cards, emails and calls that Donna gets - each expressing encouragement and hope! The body of Christ is amazing, especially at times like these! I try to send Thank-you cards out, but I'm afraid that I just can't keep up with it all!

What is really cool is hearing from the folks at Duke telling us that they are following Donna's progress through this blog! And, we'll be going back in 2 weeks from today.

Finally, Thomas has decided that he needs to be here at the house to help his mother, so after much prayer, he has withdrawn from his classes for this semester and he will be returning to UGA in the summer. I believe that it will benefit both he and his mom at this time as he will now be around to see the progress that she is making!

As always, our prayer continues to be for:
For the Lord's will to be done;
For this tumor to be eradicated;
For Donna to have minimal side effects from the treatment;
For Donna's next MRI to show less or no tumor.

In His Name,

Frank



November 11, 2007

Dear Church Family & Friends,


Donna still seems to be improving, slowly but surely. Her friend Cindy went back to Illinois yesterday evening and while we celebrated Donna Marie's 35th birthday. All in all a good weekend! Donna seems to be able to recall some words better, and she seems to be able to process numbers better. Of course, we'll see how much improvement she is making with reducing the tumor in a few weeks when we return to Duke, which will be the Wednesday after Thanksgiving.

As always, our prayer continues to be for:
For the Lord's will to be done;
For this tumor to be eradicated;
For Donna to have minimal side effects from the treatment;
For Donna's next MRI to show less or no tumor.

In His Name,

Frank



November 7, 2007

Dear Church Family & Friends,


Can it be that the chemo is really, really working? While Donna is still pretty fatigued from taking the two chemos, she does continue to think and speak better; it really is amazing. Just a few days ago, she would be searching for a word, several times in the course of one sentence or thought, and now that seems to be almost gone. She is still searching for words, but nothing like the way she was just this past weekend!

Donna stayed home from church this evening to be with her company. It was great to hear all the church folks share how they have been praying for Donna & our family - what gift to be a part of such a wonderful church! We are truely blessed.

 

As always, our prayer continues to be for:
For the Lord's will to be done;
For this tumor to be eradicated;
For Donna to have minimal side effects from the treatment;
For Donna's next MRI to show less or no tumor.

In His Name,

Frank


 

November 6, 2007

Dear Church Family and Friends,


Donna seems to be having another good day - she is able to recall more parts of her speech and some other parts of her memory that deal with numbers, like time and dates, seem to be coming back. Talk about a Praise! Plus, she feels terrific! Any nausea is mild at best!

And, other good news is that Donna's girlfriend Cindy is in from Illinois for several days. They are looking forward to antiquing and going to the north Georgia mountains.

We can tell the prayers are working! She seems to be improving daily - what a blessing. The praise all goes to the Lord!

As always, our prayer continues to be for:
For the Lord's will to be done;
For this tumor to be eradicated;
For Donna to have minimal side effects from the treatment;
For Donna's next MRI to show less or no tumor.

In His Name,

Frank


 

November 5, 2007

Dear Church Family & Friends,


Donna has had a really good day so far today. Both her daughter and I seem to have noticed that her speech and some of her memory recall seems to be a little better today. Is it possible that the chemo is working already?

Also, tomorrow, Donna's friend Cindy McNielly comes into town for several days, and that will be a huge lift for Donna;s spirit! They have some day trips planned to go up to the north Georgia mountains. It should be a fun next few days.

And, Donna is still handling the chemo well - no problems to report yet! How can we not Praise the Lord??

As always, our prayer continues to be for:
For the Lord's will to be done;
For this tumor to be eradicated;
For Donna to have minimal side effects from the treatment;
For Donna's next MRI to show less or no tumor.

In His Name,

Frank


 

November 4, 2007

Dear Church Family and Friends,

First, sorry for the late report…its been pretty hectic here since we returned from Duke last Friday. But things are looking good!

Donna has started her chemo regime last Thursday. She takes two 200 mg Sorafenib pills in the morning to start her day. She then takes two more 200 mg pills with a 90 mg capsule of Temodar in the evening at bedtime. Since she cannot eat 1 hour before or two hours after taking the medication, it seems to work best for Donna to take the pills right when she wakes up and right as she goes to bed.

Since this is a Clinical Trial, we need to keep track of the time that she takes the pills each day. Donna will also need to have weekly CBC (Complete Blood Count) blood tests along with weekly blood pressure checks. Then on November 26th, Donna goes for a follow up MRI in Lawrenceville. It will then be overnighted to Duke. We then meet with the doctors on the 28th. If the tumor has gotten smaller or is stable, we will stay with the current regime in place; if it is growing we will change her medications. Of course, the doctors, and we, are optimistic that the current medication will succeed!

And speaking of the tumor, we had an unsuspected and pleasant surprise. When we got the MRI results on Thursday, we learned that the tumor is approximately 4.0cm x 3.0cm x 2.0. We learned that this was only about a 20-25% increase in size over the last month. While this does not sound good, we need to remember that a GBM can double or triple in size in a month - we truly are blessed!

And, so far so good with Donna tolerating the chemo! While she has felt some nausea, it has not been intense. And, she has not been sick! We are also trying to walk 2 miles a day.

So, Donna is 4 days into her chemo; she feels good; and her attitude is great! Again, thanks for your prayers - we covet them.

As always, our prayer continues to be for:
For the Lord's will to be done;
For this tumor to be eradicated;
For Donna to have minimal side effects from the treatment;
For Donna's next MRI to show less or no tumor.

In His Name,

Frank


 

October 27, 2007

Dear Church Family and Friends,


We have a schedule and a game plan! Here's what we will be doing...

Donna will begin with a base line blood test at 7:45 am on November the 1st. She will then receive 400mg of Sorafenib. Then will then take several blood tests throughout the day to measure how Donna's body processes the drug. Then, in the evening, she will take another 400 mg of Sorafenib and her daily does of Temodar. We then will return to the clinic Friday morning, Nov. 2 for a final blood draw at 8:00 am. We then come back to Atlanta.

During the next several weeks, Donna will have weekly CBC blood tests completed. The want to watch her carefully for any drop in platelets, increases in liver functions, etc. At the end of the month, we will return to Duke for the same type of "24 Hour" blood test. She will also have a follow-up MRI to measure the effectiveness of the drug combo. Of course, we are hoping for tumor shrinkage and the Docs are anticipating that this will be the case. We heard several times, that if the tumor is not stable or shrinking, she will be out of the study. At that time, they will probably consider Avastin with Temodar at that time.

The next few weeks will be very busy with various appointments, making travel arrangements, scheduling MRIs, etc. But,m we are very confident that Donna ill benefit from all of this!

Several folks have asked how she feels. Actually, she feels good. The tumor is effecting her short-term memory and she has trouble finding words, especially numbers. However, once this tumor starts to shrink, these functions should return! Dr Vredenburgh even said that the best case scenario would be to have this tumor shrink to a point where we could zap it with a Gamma Knife (Cyperknife). Now wouldn't that be awesome!

Again, thanks for your prayers.

As always, our prayer continues to be for:
For the Lord's will to be done;
For this tumor to be eradicated;
For Donna to have minimal side effects from the treatment;
For Donna's next MRI to show less or no tumor.

In His Name,


Frank


 

October 25, 2007

Dear Church Family and Friends,

Today was the day we went to Duke! And what a good, tiring day it has been! We now have a plan!

First, we arrived in Durham , NC last evening around 6 and we basically took it easy. Then, with our appointment today at 1 in the afternoon, we had an easy morning too!

We then met Sprague, the PA (Physician's Assistant) for Dr. Vredenburgh, the MD that was assigned to us. Awesome guy! Easy to speak with, easy to understand, and he didn't speak like a college chemistry professor; we knew what he was saying and he explained everything to us. We then met with Dr. Vredenburgh and we had some more of the same. He explained everything in English vs. jargon! Needless to say, they both started off by saying that they generally don't see 7 year GBM survivors walking through the doors everyday. (How can we not Praise the Lord??) They were both very optimistic and pleased to have met Donna.

Next, we discussed the plan of attack. As Dr Lyod and Emory both said, since Temodar worked great for you before, let's do it again. (This is the chemo Donna had after she was first diagnosed 7 years ago.) Basically, the drug has been "reformulated" into a daily dose vs. a 5 days a month dose. And, Donna will be taking a second drug named sorafenib (Nexavar) This is a drug that was developed for renal cell carcinoma, however, there is application being made for people with GBM. Why? This drug blocks an important pathway in cancer cell growth. It is a small molecular inhibitor of Raf kinase, PDGF (platelet-derived growth factor), VEGF receptor 2 & 3 kinases and c Kit the receptor for Stem cell factor. A growing number of drugs target most of these pathways. The English version is that this prohibits cell growth, and that's what we want!

We thought that she would be getting the Temodar with Avastin, not sorafenib. However, the docs told us that sorafenib is like Avastin, but is easier to tolerate. We like that! And, there should be only mild side effects like fatigue and some other things that can be managed. We will be learning many of the details tomorrow in another meeting. We suspect that Donna's routine will most likely be a sorafenib pill in the morning and one in the evening. She will probably take the Temodar in the evening also.

Since this is a Phase II Trial, Donna will need to come back to Duke monthly in the beginning to have blood tests, MRIs, etc. so that the staff can follow her closely and to monitor her progress. As I shared with some of you, I was not crazy about a Clinical Trial, however, this one seems to offer a great deal of promise for Donna. She and I both felt very comfortable with this plan and the staff here.

Also, we would like to extend a great big THANK-YOU to all the folks at Shadowbrook and especially Philp Thomas. The Lord gave him a vision to organize a 24 hour pray vigil for Donna. With the support of the church, this was held yesterday. All we can say is THANK-YOU and please know that your prayers were felt here today. Donna & I are at complete peace with the plan that we have in place to fight this beast. Thank-you church! This would not be the case without your prayers.

As I said, tomorrow we have another appointment at 8 am tomorrow to work out several of the details of this plan. She will have an MRI Monday or Tuesday, and then Duke will have the chemo and medicine shipped to us by the end of next week. And then this tumor will be in trouble!

As always, our prayer continues to be for:
For the Lord's will to be done;
For this tumor to be eradicated;
For Donna to have minimal side effects from the treatment;
For Donna's next MRI to show less or no tumor.

Remember to Check Donna's Blog at www.coed4.org/blog.htm

In His Name,

Frank


 

October 16, 2007

Dear Church Family and Friends,

Wow, what a day! We left the house at 8:00 to go see Dr Lyod in Athens, GA and we were home by 5:00 after seeing the folks at Emory. And we now have some options…

First, we went to Athens to meet with Dr. Lyod. He was the oncologist that Donna used 7 years ago when she was first diagnosed. At that time, he was in Lawrenceville, however, he has recently moved to Athens. So, we went there to see him. After meeting with him for more than an hour, he stated that he is willing to help in anyway. If that means just to write a scipt, he'll do it; if that means that he needs to be a middleman for a Clinical Trial he'll do it; if we feel a particular chemo combination of drugs is where we want to go, he'll mix it, within reason! He agreed with our approach to collect data and then to fight this tumor with everything we've got.

In the meantime, I got word that we now have an appointment set up with the Duke Brain Tumor Medical Center! This is the place that we really needed to go to and it has worked out for us to visit there with the insurance, time from work, etc.

Next, we ran past the house, picked up Donna's sister Nila and had a quick bite for lunch. We then went to Emory where they did a blood draw and then we learned of the options that Emory has to offer.

There are various things that each facility can offer, but we do need to meet with Duke before we start a treatment. When we asked Dr. Lyod if we have another week of time, he said, 'To get Duke's opinion? Yes, you have time.' As you can imagine, we found this very reassuring.

So, we should know in 10 days what type of medicine/chemo Donna will be taking. While we want to be cautious, we also want to be quick. Our prayer has been to let the right doors open and for us not to make a bad decision. We believe that the Lord is leading us in this direction. Thus, our prayer continues to be:
For the Lord's will to be done;
For this tumor to be eradicated;
For Donna to have minimal side effects from the treatment;
For Donna's next MRI to show less or no tumor.

Thanks again for everyone's help - we would not be able to get all of this 'stuff' done for Donna.

Again, please check Donna's Blog for updates at www.coed4.org/blog.htm


In His Name,

Frank


 

October 9, 2007

Dear Church Family and Friends,

We met with the folks at Emory today. We spent about 3 hours visiting with Dr Lawson's office. We now have some options that we will be able to consider for Donna's treatment of her recurrent brain tumor.

After meeting with Dr Lawson of Emory and his team this morning, they will be presenting Donna's case to their internal Tumor Board to discuss the various options that will be available to us. This will include contacting MD Anderson in Houston, UAB (University of Alabama) and several other facilities. Based on her history, a strategy will then be developed.

Currently, Emory does not have any Phase I or II trials open, however they can offer 'traditional' chemotherapy for Donna's condition. One option would include a relatively new drug named Avastin. This is a drug that is used with cancer patients who have colorectal and lung cancers - and has shown promise with GBMs (Glioblastoma Multiforme). It basically attaches to proteins that cause the growth of new blood vessels and 'chokes' off the blood supply to the cancerous cells.

The other facilities hopefully will have some other options for us to explore, including the gene therapy that we have read about. We did discuss surgery as one of the options, however, given the location and size of the tumor (4cm x 3cm located on the left partial and left temporal lobe), surgery will cause her more problems than she is experiencing at this time. The surgeon and oncologist have both discouraged us from this. Going back on Temador is something that we will be looking into also. We will be looking on line for other trials that Donna might be qualified for.

As a side note, we will not be able to make our cruise that was scheduled. We may go away for the weekend.

While this isn't the greatest news, we know that the Lord is still in control! We know that He knows what we need and that He will watch over us. Our prayer will continue to be:
For the Lord's will to be done;
For this tumor to be eradicated;
For Donna to have minimal side effects from the treatment;
For Donna's next MRI to show less or no tumor.

Donna's situation will cause some changes in our home, but we are confident that everything will be fine.

In His Name,

Frank


 

October 7, 2007

Dear Friends and Church Family,

Yesterday was pretty good, considering that it was our 23rd anniversary! Here's is the current status of Donna's situation. She is overall doing well - we walked 2 miles at the park with the dog yesterday, she had her aunt, sister and daughter over Friday night and had a blast kidding around with everyone. Of concern is that her short-term memory and speech is a problem.

Several folks have asked for the location of the regrowth. It is near the original site; it is along the left partial/left temporal lobe region, and this is where speech and memory are in the brain. Thus, this is acting the way that we would suspect. Donna is also getting anxious about what we we learn on Tuesday, which is understandable. But we know that the Lord has all of this under control!

Today, Donna's cousin Sal and his wife Carrie will be over for the afternoon for dinner. While I went to church, I did come back home to be with Donna. When she had the Halo placed on her head early last week, if caused some swelling around her eyes, so she wasn't too crazy to get out of the house.

The prayer request remains the same:
For the Lord's will to be done;
For this tumor to be eradicated;
For Donna to have minimal side effects from the treatment;
For Donna's next MRI to show less to no tumor.

In His Name,

Frank


October 4, 2007

Dear Friends and Church Family,

It has been sometime since the Donna update, and unfortunately, Donna has had a regrowth of her tumor. However, we remain very optimistic with her prognosis at this point.

Basically, here is what has transpired. Back in January, Donna's MRI showed some 'change'. Change on an MRI is not usually good and so the concern was at that time, is there growth of a new tumor? Here doctors recommended a PET Scan be completed which we had done and it was clear. We basically disregarded the MRI since it could have been post op changes, necrosis, or scar tissue.

In May, the same sequence of events to place. Donna's MRI should some more change and so a PET Scan was recommended which turned out to be negative again. At this time, Donna was not experiencing any symptoms.

Then, in July, Donna started to have some problems with her memory and found it hard to find the right word to use. Our thought was perhaps the radiation that she had in the past was the cause of this. Yes, radiation can cause changes in tissue years done the road. Because of this, we had another MRI completed. This one showed more change from the previous scans.

We assumed that we would just get another PET Scan. However, Donna's Doctor, Dr Princewell, had left his practice and is no longer in town. Therefore, her neurologist, Dr. Schiff arranged for us to go to Emory in Atlanta. When meeting with a Dr. Olsen, he suggested that we have a brain biopsy ASAP to find out what the changes were. Donna had the biopsy Monday of this week, and unfortunately this showed that she has new glioblastoma (GBM) cells growing.

While this is not good news, there are several positives that make us very optimistic. First and foremost, our Lord is the One in control! Nothing will happen without His permissive will!

Secondly, this new growth is not acting the way regrowth GBM cells typically behave. Generally when there is a regrowth situation, GBM will take its victim very quickly, usually in weeks to 3 months or so. Donna's MRI has been showing change for 10 months already. The doctors suspect that because of the radiation and the two years of chemo that she had, that this may be the cause of the slower than normal growth of these cells. Other factors that may come into play with this includes her immune system and her general physiological make up.

So, where do we go from here?

This Tuesday, October 9, we will be meeting with Dr. Lawson of Emory. He is an oncologist. Oddly enough, Donna & I know him. We had seen him 5 and 7 years ago when we were in need of second opinions for her treatment. It is a true blessing that we will be working with him. Once we meet with him, we will be developing a plan to combat this disease.

Therefore, our prayer requests are:

For the Lord's will to be done;
For this tumor to be eradicated;
For Donna to have minimal side effects from the treatment;
For Donna's next MRI to show less to no tumor.

We are very optimistic that this treatment at Emory will be successful as the medical information about these treatments has been very encouraging - much more so that we had thought!

Also, in the interest of time, and because Yahoo thinks that I am a spammer, I will be placing the Donna Updates on her web page at www.coed4.org in a Blog format. This will save me a ton of time, and this way you can follow her progress anytime that you like. Look for the link on her Home Page.

As always, thank-you all for your concern & love - we appreciate it so much. We love you all!

In His Name,

Frank