This is Jake's Story...

Jake is a 20-year-old twin who has been diagnosed with stage 4 Rhabdomyosarcoma, a very rare form of cancer. Going through a vigorous daily radiation treatment and weekly Chemo treatments make him extremely tired, weak and sometimes nauseous.

Jake is otherwise a normal teenage kid. He likes playing computer games, paintball, swimming and golfing. He loves hanging out with his four brothers, 4 wheeling, camping, and ruining his mom's laundry baskets while making home videos. He hopes to someday become a computer programmer.

This blog was started to keep his family and friends updated on his status.

Addendum: Jake became cured of cancer, free of pain and everything this world brings on September 29, 2010. He continues his journey in Heaven. He is doing awesome! Hope you're doing the same!

His family thanks you for your generosity in donations, love and service. God has shown us many tender mercies!
Thanks for being one of them!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chemo: Round 12

A Note to a friend:

Jake is doing good, I think.  I don’t know what to compare him to, really.  He is still very tired and worn out after chemo, too much so to get any kind of job.  He looks extremely pale to me.  The doctors even thought that he needed a transfusion because he was so pale, but his counts were ok.  I think part of it is that he has stayed out of the sun, for the most part.  Perhaps I should make him sit in the sun for 15 minutes so he can get his vitamin D.

The great thing about Jake is he is still trying to live life!  He’s not moping around all day and complaining about the cards he was dealt.  When he feels he has the energy, he tries to play around, like he usually does.  He hiked up to Timpanogos Cave on Saturday with Austin B.  I couldn’t believe he would try such a hard hike.  He said he had to rest every 20 feet.  Austin offered to carry him up on his back (bless his heart!), but Jake wanted to do it himself.  He still wanted to feel like he could accomplish something on his own.  He never gave up!  I love that about him!

Next Tuesday is another in hospital chemo treatment (pee day).  We're back to all three chemo drugs/poisons.  The good news is that we are at the point where they will do the first evaluations to see how his body and tumor is reacting to the chemo and radiation treatments  His stomach is peeling where he has big rectangular burn marks from the radiation.  The same on his back.  He said that the creases in his leg/groin area were raw from the burns (poor guy!)  I wish there were something I could do to make it all better! (sigh!)

Today was a good day!  No bills and someone sent a donation to help with Jake’s bills.  I feel blessed!

Dear God,
I won't ask why, and I'm not mad.  
I know this will be over sometime, and I know that You know how much my heart breaks to see my child in pain.

Thanks for being there for us!  Thanks for sending many angels to help us through this!  
Some give gifts of love.  
Some give gifts of service.  
Some give gifts of monetary means.  
Some give gifts of prayer and faith.  
Some give courage and hope.  
Some give a listening ear and a hug.  
Some give words of encouragement and comfort.
Some give thoughtful gifts to remind us that we are loved and thought of often.
Some give us gifts that make us laugh.

Thank you so much for the many lessons I have learned through this experience!  Lessons of compassion and service, patience and understanding, how to be optimistic and hopeful without losing sight of reality.

You haven't told me yet, what the outcome will be, and it scares me a little.  But I trust you, Father, and I know You will do what is best for Jake and for all of us.  Sorry you have to keep reminding me, but thank You for doing it often.

Thanks for showing me how to avoid the "Pity Puddles".  It really works!  Of course, You knew that already!

I knew You loved me, I just didn't know how much!  Thank you for reminding me, again and again and again and again....  I will never get tired of the different ways You show me.  


Monday, September 27, 2010

The Hike, The Cave, the Adventure...

It was free admission to State Parks on Saturday, so Jake and his friend Austin decided to take the Timpanogos Cave challenge.  They had to get on a waiting list.  I wanted to go with them, but couldn't leave when they left.  They didn't add me to the list for the reservation, I guess I'm not cool enough to go with the boys! hehe  I couldn't believe that Jake would try this, but I'm glad he did.

The hike is quite steep.  When I asked him how he did, he said he had to rest every 20 feet, but he made it to the top!  Austin offered to carry him on his back, but he wanted to make the climb himself.

He said they only had to rest a couple times on the way down, but the cave was pretty cool! I asked them to take some pics of Jake, but they wouldn't.  Thanks for being patient with him, Austin!  Jake, you're pretty awesome!

Love you!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Happy Face!

No more shots...this week!  Counts are up again!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

You Look Like Charlie Brown!!!

I suppose it was bound to happen. We took Jake out to eat for several reasons, partly to see if we could put some weight back on him and partly because Dave wanted to continue the celebration of completing radiation therapy. Monday is usually a good day for appetite for Jake because it's just before his next chemo treatment. There was a young man at the door, and as we were leaving he started yelling that Jake looked like Charlie Brown and how he hated that guys shaved their heads!

Sorry Jake! I'm so glad that there are only a few people are like that. Most people ask me how you are doing and are concerned for you. They pray for your return to good health. Still, there are many who don't understand that your baldness was not your choice. If it were up to you, your hair would be down in your eyes again! Then there would be those people who would wonder why you don't get your hair out of your eyes! Thanks for your patience, Jake! We love you no matter where your hair is!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sigh, cry...

Chemo round 10:  another hospital stay, another bunch of bills...30 more weeks of this!  Ugh!
I know, I know....hang in there, chin up, have faith, just keep swimming....
It's hard to keep a good attitude while you watch your child deal with getting his insides fried and getting so skinny, you can't find any fat on his body to give him the shot he needs.  It hurts enough to make a grown man cry, but he doesn't...but he winces in pain, pain that I am causing's breaking my heart!

Maybe I shouldn't write about the hard days.  Not very inspiring is it.

Well, here is the part where I count my many blessings:
1.  Radiation will be over on Thursday! :)
2.  My friend, Jenene, helped me clean out the freezers...less mess, less stress!
3.  Jake has not had the worse side effects from Radiation and Chemo.
4.  The swelling is getting better.
5.  I can still get Jake to smile...most of the time.
6.  I received some beautiful flowers on Sunday to remind me that I am loved.
7.  One of my sweet Primary girls made me some cute magnets to put on my fridge.
8.  I still have Hope!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

My boys...

Put Jake and the boys in front of a box of legos and it keeps them busy for hours!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Chemo: Round 8

For the first time, Jake went to chemo without me!  I was ready to go, but John and Austin wanted to go with him, then go for pizza after.  It was our anniversary and I had a bunch of stuff to do, so I was grateful for the extra time off.  His blood counts were pretty low so we got to take a trip in and do a blood transfusion after radiation therapy on Wednesday.  We are figuring out what "normal" is, and I think Jake is comfortable handling this on his own sometimes.
Jake just did his labs on Friday.  All of his counts were up!  No more Neupagen shots this week!
Happy Dance!