Yesterday I sat at my desk working when a Facebook message chimed. It was a new friend, but one I feel very connected with. One that I feel like I have known forever.
I feel very strongly that nothing in life is a coincidence and this person and many others lately are a gift and a true blessing that they have crossed our path. There is a purpose for everything and not always do you see the purpose right away, but yesterday for many reasons I saw purpose.
When I read my friends message, I was reduced to tears, both happy and sad.
My friend is Ryan Bishop. Let me introduce you to him. He is a small town Deputy Sheriff, a father, an important man in a very special woman’s life and an amazing graphic designer. If you are familiar with Dave Canterbury, Jamie Burleigh, Derek Faria, Brian Manning, Jim Cain, the WildernessOutfitters channel on YouTube or the Pathfinder TV also on YouTube then you are very familiar with his work. For a little fun he and I have been working in the background of our days on his new website which will be released very soon a thttp://BackwoodsOutlaw.com. Being the small town Deputy Sheriff you can see the play on the domain name. He is a good man.
The part of his message that brought on happy tears is that he request prayers from our family because he has seen what kind of Prayer Warriors we are. That was awing and I was very honored with such a request. Now, for those of you that are not Christians – PLEASE don’t leave this post, PLEASE read on! We are very God fearing people and take our Christianity very seriously. We have never felt more driven in our lives to share our knowledge, our faith and to inspire others to embrace their dreams so that is what we strive to do EVERYDAY! I am not sure if we are reaching people or not, but we feel it is what we are called to do. I do not want anyone to feel pressured by our faith and I do not want anyone to EVER feel like we are shoving Christianity down their throats. What I DO want to do is allow my happiness, faith and “Go Get Her” attitude to inspire you to stay with me regardless of what I talk about. Please understand that I speak and write from the heart and by no means want to pressure or scare anyone away. With that being said, PLEASE stay with me because regardless of your faith these people need you – a kind word will do! <3
Now, onto what brought sad tears. Yesterday, Ryan and his beautiful woman inside and out, Brooke, received news that she has a brain tumor that has returned and requires surgery on March 6th. They have two beautiful girls and a full life in front of them. Below you will find Brooke’s story – it is BEYOND amazing and when you read her story I hope that you are inspired to leave her a comment below, check out her page at Caring Bridge (http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/brookelowe) or email them at [email protected]. Please understand that they may not be able to reply to all your emails or comments, but I do know they will be very powerful in lifting them up with the current circumstances they face.
A special thank you in advance to my precious Prayer Warriors and also to those that are willing to offer these wonderful people some encouraging words.
They will be staying in close contact with us and I will be providing updates. As I write this, I can not keep the tears from welling up for so many reasons, but I believe that God is good, gracious and has a plan. I am blessed to know these people and all of you. And even more blessed and honored to share this and their story with you.
God bless you and yours and may your heart be lifted by Brooke’s story below! Tam (MWJ) <3
My name is Brooke and I am 26 years old. In 2009, I was diagnosed with an Anaplastic Glioneuronal tumor in the left temporal lobe of my brain. I had one surgery in Columbia, MO, the cancer spread, I didn’t like the diagnosis I had been given there, so we went to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX looking for a better outcome. I was quickly scheduled for my second surgery. Hours before the surgery we were in the doctor’s office ready to sign all of the release papers, etc and the doctors came in to tell us that the cancer was gone. They had no explanation but I didn’t need one. Prayers had been answered!! Three and a half years later, I am the mommy of two healthy, beautiful girls, Preslie Faith and Harper Quinn.
My story began in November when I started having spells where I would blank out and frequent headaches. I went to see Dr. Duzan and he checked me for diabetes which turned out fine. It kept happening so I went to see Kelly, the PA. He talked to me for about an hour and then referred me to a neurologist in Kirksville, Dr. Lardizabal. He did an EEG and a CAT scan and sent me home. Later that evening he called and told me to be back first thing in the morning for an MRI because there was swelling in my brain. The next day I went back to Kirksville and had an MRI and was told I had a brain tumor. I was then referred to Dr. Litofsky, a neurosurgeon, in Columbia. I saw him on Monday February 23, 2009. On Friday, February 27, 2009, had surgery to remove the tumor. The initial pathology of the tumor came back good. I was told the tumor was an ependymoma andthe only problem with this type of tumor is that sometimes they produce other tumors in your brain and spine so on Saturday I had another MRI to make sure there were no more tumor’s and there were not. I was sent home on Monday, March 2nd. I went to Lebanon to stay with my mom while I recovered. On March 11th the doctor called and informed us that the tumor was indeed malignant and I would have to have radiation and chemotherapy. On Tuesday March 17th I went back to Columbia to see the surgeon, the oncologist and the radiologist. The news was not great that day. I was informed that this was not going to go away andthat I will be dealing with it for the rest of my life.
The ride home that day was not a pleasant one. We had been told this was a benign tumor and now they told us it was a malignant one that would eventually take my life. When we got home we decided to seek a second opinion, in Springfield, MO. So, we made appointments to see Dr. Kim and Dr. Raju. On March 23rd we went to Springfield to see these doctors. Turns out, they had never seen this type of tumor either. Dr. Raju recommended we go to M.D. Anderson in Houston, TX and she offered to call and set up the appointment. So again, we went home and waited. Finally they called back and said we had an appointment on April 6 at MDACC with Dr. Mark Gilbert.
We flew to Houston the morning of my appointment andwent straight to the hospital. The place was huge. When we finally got to see the doctor he said that they wanted to do another surgery to remove more of the tumor. In Columbia, they took only what they could see from the dye but the MRI showed that there was still tumor in my brain. Dr. Gilbert had already spoken with the surgeon of his choice and he agreed to meet withus the following Wednesday. So Wednesday rolled around and we met with Dr. Sujit Prabhu and discussed the risks, benefits, importance, etc of this surgery. We set the date for April 23rd. However, I would have to be there on Tuesday and Wednesday for pre-op testing (cognitive, MRI, blood).
Tuesday we arrived at the hospital bright and early to begin all these tests. Wednesday we were to meet with the surgeon to discuss the surgery and basically just go over everything. When Wednesday came we were sitting in Dr. Prabhu’s office waiting for him to come in. As I sat silently praying, he walked in and gave us the news. No more surgery. The tumor was GONE. He had looked several times at the MRI and checked the name multiple times to make sure it was mine and it was. He had other physicians look at it to make sure it was true and it was. Dr. Gilbert and Dr. Prabhu both said they had never seen anything like it but the tumor had disappeared. This is a miracle from God.
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