Friday, June 15, 2012

Shouting for Joy!

Official results are in and we are shouting for joy....literally!  Can you hear us????

When doing the surgical procedure, called an Upper Vaginectomy they removed an area 2 1/2 cm x 6 mm.  Of this, pathology confirmed there was only 2 mm of Cancer! The rest of the specimen was believed to be Adenosis (normal healthy tissue) and Fibrosis (A-typical cells that they believed was like hard scar tissue).  They said they went as far to the right as possible without taking any of the rectal wall, and as far up as possible without taking any cervix.  The tumor had been biopsied and confirmed twice by a lab that it was malignant tumor/Cancer so this is amazing news! 

As if this were not enough, the tumor board met yesterday and determined that they could not identify any reason to proceed with further surgical removal OR radiation at this time.  I'm just going to glow little radiation seeds at the airport scanner now for fun!!!

I am in remission and back on surveillance!!!

The Doctor said that after the team leaves the surgery room following a Total Pelvic Exeneration they always feel horrible one way or another, but this time as they walked out they were smiling and all agreed there MUST have been an ANGEL in that room! 

We've had our prayers answered and we know that Jesus was in that room.  I literally put out my hand and closed it around His in the bathroom and said, "Let's go Jesus.  I need you!"  I'm so glad we have such a personal God, because I'm certain he was carrying me down that hall at times.

The verse I claimed when I announced my cancer color  as purple was Psalms 20: 1-5.  I'll be carrying this verse on a VICTORY BANNER and SHOUTING FOR JOY at the Relay for Life tonight at 7:00 PM.  All of you locals can come and cheer on my Cancer Posse of SURVIVORS and I in the Promenade Mall's survivor walk if you are free!  I'm going to finish even if I crawl across the line!!

"In times of trouble, may the Lord answer your cry.
May the name of the God of Jacob keep you safe from all harm.
May he send you help from his sanctuary and strengthen you from Jerusalem.
May he remember all your gifts and look favorably on your burnt offerings.
May he grant your heart's desires
and make all your plans succeed.
May we shout for joy when we hear of your victory
and raise a victory banner in the name of our God.
May the Lord answer all your prayers."

Thank you God for taking my hand and choosing to spare me from this difficult surgery and the long recovery afterwards.  As all sinners, I am no more deserving of this gift than anyone else.  I'm humbled and grateful for this borrowed time. Thank you for everyone's prayers! Now, go shout for joy too!

Friday, June 8, 2012

‎ Praise the Lord! For he has heard my cry for mercy. 7 The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. Psalms 28:6-7 (NLT)

 After the long drive from Houston with Kristi sleeping in the back seat, we visited the hospital to meet our new addition to the family:  Caden Alexander Preston!  I had to snap this picture on my phone as I saw my Mom holding our new life and my Dad connecting this new life to our restored life!  Kristi had grieved missing this occasion with Katy, and here she is listening with joy to John and Katy tell the story of Caden's birth!

Katy was given flowers in blue and purple:  Blue for having a boy and Purple .....Kristi's color for fighting cancer! 
Two happy and relieved Children!  Aunt Amy, who had been keeping Isaiah and Alyssa, told Isaiah she was running by his house to pick up his bike.  Instead of getting his bike, he found his parents home!!!  The walked in looking very confused and then hugged and held onto Billy and Kristi and smiled from ear to ear.  Thank you God for giving Kristi extended life to raise these sweet children and love her husband!  

Many have been asking about "what's next".  As mentioned before, they told us they dissected the initial pathology for 21/2 hours the day of the surgery and were shocked to find no invasive cancer.  At this point, they took a larger biopsy and sent it for more detailed pathology.  We will hear these results by next week.  The Dr. continued to say there were no signs of invasive cancer which is what they thought was there and would require the radical surgery.  They only found a minuscule spot of a-typical cell cancer and that was removed. They had the radiologist insert radiation seeds surrounding the biopsy spot in the case that cancer showed up and they could treat it with radiation.  Kristi would like people to continue to pray for wisdom for her to know what to do so she does not continue to grow these a-typical cancer cells.  She knows she will certainly be juicing and treating her body with an organic diet.  For those local people that have been offering to help, this requires lots of special shopping and cutting up veggies and fruits and a special soup preparation.  So...starting next week you could start helping in this way, or by preparing some freezer casseroles for the family meals so Kristi could spend her time keeping up with her special diet.

Kristi has been in pain, but is growing stronger and will take back this blog very soon! After all, this blog is really the start of a great book she needs to write!! : )
 Love and Thanks to all of you for walking with us.....Danina for the Family

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

And I stand, I stand in awe of you I stand, I stand in awe of you Holy God to whom all praise is due I stand in awe of you.

God asked us to "Surrender All" to HIM as we said goodbye this morning. Mom talked about how it felt like Abraham offering Isaac because the surgery felt like sacrificing your child. Kristi's stomach is marked completely with all the dye and lines of where all the incisions would appear and there were small x's cut with a scalpel marking where the bladder and colostomy bags would be attached. She had a central line in her neck, a tube down her throat and 8 different i.v. type lines in her.  Kristi recollects counting nearly 30 people in the surgical room with two 8 foot long tables completely covered with tools required to complete this surgery (full pelvic exenteration)  And......"God Provided a Ram" prior to the first incision! I have thought about how just as with Abraham and Isaac, God saw Abraham's faith and could have intervened with the ram when he first set out on his journey, or on the walk up the mountain, or prior to putting Isaac on the alter, but He didn't.  He chose to wait until there was "FULL Surrender".  It was like that yesterday for us.  God could have intervened in many ways earlier, but He chose to allow each of us at different levels and in different ways to "fully surrender to God's will and fully trust Him to provide what we needed as we needed it."  God's Glory could not have been seen apart from the painful process of surrender.  How often do we not receive what God has for us (the Ram) because we hold onto some small part of our life, our plans, our control, our Issac?  Full surrender opens our heart and life up to what God wants to do!!   (Genesis 22:1-19)  Below is the process of surrender! 
 5:15 a.m.....The dreaded long walk down the hall to surgery and hugs of love and surrender.  Chuck Swindoll once said, "I have learned the greater the struggle to surrender the greater the surprise". 

Before going to pre-op room!

The Joy of the Lord is our Strength
Kristi laughing at the Oreo Illustration, while Danina is crying and hugging her goodbye for all her siblings.

Isaiah and Alyssa start the day at Aunt Amy's in their
purple blanket and purple jammies....praying for their Mom! 

When the Dr. came to tell Kristi the news in recovery, her nurse had been so excited that she had already told her that there would be no surgery.  Kristi was confused!  Her nurse wouldn't even take lunch or leave Kristi's side until she went home because she wanted to celebrate with everyone that came by.  Numerous people that were on the case stopped by to congratulate her and many who had only heard about Kristi stopped by and read her case file to "find the one" who had been rescued from this radical surgery with only 50% recovery rate.  When the Dr. appeared with Billy they were both smiling from ear to ear, and that is when Kristi knew that what the nurse had said must be true!!!!  She said to her Dr. "Did I get my Miracle"?  He smiled and replied that his wife says that "miracles are a change in perspective".  He worked hard to explain how this could have happened and took full responsibility for the confusion, but we knew the only explanation is that God chose "for His name's sake" to heal Kristi.  There was no scientific explanation.  May God use this in the lives of these Dr.'s and staff. Our family, along with many of you, have prayed that above all God would be glorified in this journey.  We continue to ask this!  This is God's story and we get the joy and responsibility of joining him in this story!
When we left this morning at 5a.m. for MD Anderson we were anticipating surgery at 7:30 and to see Kristi in ICU following surgery around 10 hours later.  Instead, here is Kristi returning home to the apartment less than 12 hours later!  We were anticipating her being in the hospital for 2 weeks, and now she is home!!!  She could barely walk and was in a lot of pain, but she was walking!!

Here is the kid's celebration picture!!  
Kristi feels there are no words for this "gift" and feels humbled that God would choose to do this for her. She immediately asked Billy upon understanding this reality if her family was going crazy in the lobby and if had he called Isaiah and Alyssa.  Billy told her we were really happy, but we were trying to be respectful of others waiting and suffering.  Dad asked Billy if he could turn cartwheels!
Praising God!!!  Mom, Me and Phil and Leona (Billy's Parents) 
God used this day to let us pray together, wait together, read scripture together, and talk about
Who God is together!  "God uses all things together for good for those that love him and have been called according to His purposes" Romans 8:28

I laid with Kristi and heard all her thoughts until she finally fell asleep under her purple blanket!  This was a gift to me, and to you as I write them! 
Phil and Leona came to see Kristi tonight before leaving for home tomorrow!
It will not be long before you get to hear from Kristi.  Thank you for standing with us today.  We feel so loved by so many from all over the country, and because of this......we all experience God in new ways.  We all get to "Stand in Awe and Worship Our God"!
After 2 1/2 hours of sleep last night.....I bet we all sleep really good tonight!
Love and Thanks to all...........Danina for us all! 

The Mountain has been Removed - Mark 11:22-25

Worley preached Sunday on Mark 11:22-25 with my family all present due to Taylor's graduation. He has been preaching through the book of Mark for over a year and in God's sovereignty he was on Mark 11: 22-25 on the exact week my family needed it.  God used Worley's message to prepare us for the week ahead!  We are experiencing the miracle of our family's mountain being removed.  Worley encouraged us in his message to Remember God Faithfulness in the Past, Trust God, Refuse to Doubt God, Keep Asking God, and Forgive Others. Kristi said the night before the surgery, she remembered Worley saying to keep asking God.  This brought to her mind that while she had felt she had to surrender to the idea of surgery and this huge lifestyle change in order to have life, that she needed to ask for healing again!  She stopped and prayed that God would heal her or that He would make her desire line up with His desire.  The 6 of us stood in a circle at MD Anderson that morning and prayed once again ourselves for healing and for God's peace as we trusted in His plan and will.  We are humbled that God chose to answer this prayer as we were surrounded by many walking this same journey of suffering and trusting God as well and were not receiving the miracle that we were.

Dad and Mom have said all morning that we are just waiting for our miracle, and it came!!  Kristi's Dr. just called us into a little conference room to tell us that we can take Kristi home TODAY!  He said that what looked like cancer and felt like cancer appears to not be cancer (last Thursday 2 Dr.s had examined her and told her they both could see and feel the cancer and both felt that it had grown) He praised Mom for insisting that they do another biopsy.  He told us that there was a tiny spot of cancer only at the surface level.  They removed this spot and took a large and deeper biopsy surrounding this area and will have the final results in one week.  He said that today the head of all of pathology was here and overseeing Kristi's pathology which was no small thing in this morning's process.  They had the radiologist place seeds surrounding this area so that if there is need for radiation in the future these seeds will already be implanted. Dr. Levenback said that he had not prepared Kristi to wake up to the fact of no surgery meaning no cancer.  He had told her that if they did not do surgery it would be because it had spread and they did't believe surgery would be curative.  Because she will be concerned waking up to no surgery, Dad asked that Billy be in there with her when the Dr. tells her!  What a way to wake up!  We have Praised God in the Storm and now we get to Praise God with a Miracle!!  May each of you reading worship our God!! Thank you once again for praying in faith for Kristi's healing and for God's peace! Billy couldn't wait to make the call to Isaiah and Alyssa!!

Please watch the youtube link.........It is long but the first half of this link includes so many of the scriptures that have been prayed over Kristi and by Kristi.


We just were called back to hear from one of the Dr.'s.  Billy and Kristi yesterday had told the Dr.'s that because they had so many praying for healing that they would like to request another biopsy this morning prior to surgery.  The Dr.'s  said this is not normal protocol, but they would put it in their phones to remind themselves to add this to the procedure.  So, after 21/2 hours, one of the Dr.'s called us back to tell us that while the outside read had shown invasive cancer, the inside pathology has found no signs of invasive cancer.  They have had the entire team and pathology team dissecting the pathology for 2 hours and discussing the best plan. They don't want to miss anything, but this life deforming and life altering surgery is so extreme he said they were taking their time.    At this time, they are doing an upper vaginectomy to take a broader biopsy and will dissect it at several levels to make 100% sure there is no invasive cancer.  If atypical cells show on the broader biopsy then the radiologist will plant seeds for internal radiation in that area alone!   We should hear the "rest of this miracle" within the next hour!!  What a story GOD is writing!  Thank you for joining us!  We continue to pray that above all God would be glorified and known!
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; praise him, all creatures here below;
praise him above, ye heavenly host; 

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.


The address is:
Fannin Street Station
8181 Fannin Street, Apt # 2612
Houston, TX 77095

Will update once we have a hospital room. 

"The Oreo"

Kristi has just gone back to surgery.  They are to start at 7:30a.m.  The Dr.'s said we should know in a couple of hours after opening her up if the cancer has spread where they will not be able to operate, or if all can move forward as planned......or better yet that there has been a miraculous change!   As I said my last goodbye to Kristi in the pr-op room I thought God would give me something profound to say but instead I cried and said, "I am hugging you for all four of your siblings and you are the cream in the oreo and we can't live without you".  She started laughing and said, I'm the good stuff!"  I said, "Exactly...and no one really likes the cookie part without the cream!" 
 No middle child syndrome here!  
She was laughing hard and I was crying as the nurse came in and wondered what was going on.  Kristi told her I was saying crazy things!  : )  God is good to give us comic relief and His grace in all different ways!  Mom reminded me that Alyssa "only loves the center of the oreo and how frustrated our whole family has been to find the cookie parts hidden in couches and behind her bed and all over the house over the years".  
God's grace is sufficient.... He enabled my parents, and Billy and Billy's parents to make that long walk down the hall after leaving her, and yesterday none knew how they were going to endure leaving her. 
I know you are praying for many things, but please specifically pray for Isaiah and Alyssa. Much of Kristi's grieving has been as she considers her children.  Amy found Isaiah and Breck on their knees praying in Breck's bedroom for his mom yesterday.  Isaiah understands enough to be very anxious. 
My parents continue to say.........we are trusting God for His Miracle!

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Night Before Surgery........

This is Danina writing for Kristi.  My parents and I arrived this afternoon to join Billy and Kristi at the apartment we have rented near MD Anderson for the month. Billy's parents arrived soon after us.  As seen in the picture, Kristi is wrapped in her blanket that is covered in the words from Jeremiah 17:14 "Heal me Oh Lord and I will be Healed, Save me and I will be Saved. For YOU are the One I praise!".  In true Kristi fashion, she is trying to get down the last glass of "torture" to clean her system out with a smile and a wine glass to make it more festive!

Surgery is scheduled for first thing in the morning.  We are to be there at 5:15a.m. and they will get her started as quickly as possible.  It is expected to last at least 8 hours.  Pray for us as we wait.......we were all joking earlier that we wanted the Dr.'s to give us some medication too!

Kristi had the opportunity to share her testimony with her Dr. today.  When he saw her smiling as he entered the room, he told her that he was surprised she was still smiling with the weight of the surgery before her, and that it was okay for her to stop smiling now.  He said that he felt the weight of not wanting to have to do this surgery.  This opened the door for Kristi to share her story and her faith.  Kristi told him that she could smile because she and Billy had been through so much and God had walked through all of it with them:  Lost their house to a fire, Billy lost his job, she got cancer, she lost her job and 2 days later learned that her cancer had returned.  Dr. Levenback just laid his head down on the table when she said all of this!!!!   Billy told the Dr.'s to make sure they got a good night's sleep and ate a good dinner!!  : )

Thank you for the ways so many of you are caring for my sister and my family and joining us in this journey.  We are touched by the prayer meetings that were held tonight, those of you fasting and praying for her today and tomorrow, the financial gifts that have allowed us not to be distracted by concern for our physical needs while here, and the many notes and texts.  God's grace abounds!

We are trying to go to bed now, but none of us really wants to face tomorrow.   However, the words of the song "I don't know about Tomorrow" keeps coming to mind "Many things about tomorrow I don't seem to understand.  But I know who holds tomorrow, and I know who holds my hand".   Billy is reading to us from the devotional "Jesus Calling"....He has read the dates of her birthday, their anniversary, his birthday and Alyssa and Isaiah's birthdays.  Each date was so fitting for each person.  What perfect and life giving words!!  God's word is our strength!  His Promises are TRUE!!

We will write and update as often as possible.

"Trusting an unknown future to a known God"  Corrie Ten Boom