Saturday, February 20, 2016

How to Help

Wow. Just, wow.

In the last week (holy cow, that one week feels like a whole year) since we learned that my cancer has grown in several places, we have experienced an outpouring of love like never before. We have received numerous calls, texts, cards, and donations from our friends and family and beyond. We sit in disbelief saying "I just can't believe it," while our mentors are saying "You SHOULD believe it!" What a great blessing it is to be a part of the family of God who takes care of its people. John said recently that its unfortunate that the word "blessing" is misused so much, because now there isn't a word to describe how truly grateful and blessed we feel; we feel near to the heart of God because of the way his people have been caring for us. For those of you who have participated in that caring, we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Many many many of you have asked how you can help, and we finally have some answers for you.

Between the clinical trial funding and my health insurance, all of the medical costs of participating should be covered. The cost to us comes from travel and lodging expenses that we will undoubtedly incur with the 24 trips to Miami to participate in the trial that are imminent this year. That's such a happy thing and such an overwhelming thing all at the same time, amiright?!?

God gave us this amazing gigantic gift yesterday that has completely eased the stress of finding lodging in Miami. Through several different connections to the Miami area, the elders at Sunset Church of Christ have opened their arms to us to provide a care team for our family while we are in Florida. "We are your family down here," was just what John needed to hear on Friday. One of the families from the church has graciously offered to host us when we are there. And y'all, it's 15 minutes from the airport. And y'all, it's 25 minutes from the hospital. And y'all, it's in warm and sunny Miami where there is no snow. Hallelujah.

So at this point we are most in need of help with transportation to Miami. 

There are several ways that you can help with these costs if you feel so led. Several of you have asked about these specific ways to give, so I am including them here.

  • If you would like to donate airline miles, you may speak to Joan Gregory at Woodmont Hills Church. We have opened frequent flier accounts with Southwest, Delta, and American.  You can email John or Joan and they can pass along the account numbers.
  • If  you would like to give financially, we have created a site that will accept your donations. We have been blown away by people's immediate generosity in this regard. Thank you so much for the boost of confidence and peace of mind you have given us.
  • If you have other creative ideas of how you would like to give, you can contact John.
And here are some other ways you can help:
  • Carley Jean: We have a small team of loved ones that will help us care for Carley Jean in the midst of this chaos. John's family all lives within an hour of us and have been amazing resources for our little girl long before this turmoil and will continue to be part of her care system. We have several close friends who she already knows and trusts that have offered to be major players in her care as well. So for CJ you can pray that she will adapt easily to a chaotic schedule and that she will not be sad or scared when things are different.
  • Offer things you are gifted at doing: I'm going to be real here- there are so many people that have offered "if you need any help, just call" that I wouldn't really know who to call if I needed a specific something. So my request to you if you want to do something for us is to offer to do something specific at a specific time. If you tell me "I'm bringing you dinner next Tuesday" I am going to fall at your feet in gratitude because you have taken the decision making out of that process for me, and my decision making skills are at like negative a million right now. So thank you in advance for honoring this weird request for you to just boss me around.
  • Messages and Prayers: We absolutely love getting your messages. And even more than that, I love hearing the things that you are praying for!! It gives me hope and confidence in God's mighty power when I can see and hear his people taking care of us. We love your cards, we love your texts, we love your emails. Those little things give us so much life and encouragement. I will admit that this has been a hard week for me. My sadness is here. But it's not an emotional sadness like I would expect, but more of a blunted and worn out kind of sadness. So when you read my blog right now and it's not overflowing with emotions, it's because I am not overflowing with emotions, but rather withdrawn with an underlying sadness. And these little things like your messages and prayers and cards bring me so much life and hope. So thank you.
To borrow words from a friend, we are about to experience an outpouring of God's love like we have never seen before. And she was right, we are already seeing glimpses of his glory through you. Thank you for being a part of our story and for making this next chapter possible for us. It gives us the space we need to cherish the little moments that bring wonder to our world. Like this one :)

And fun fact, Carley Jean and I are in the Tennessean today! You can read the article here about the integration of cardiology care into prenatal care for pregnant women featuring two of my favorite doctors.


  1. Hi, my name is Debbie Schwiep and I am in Miami and attend Sunset. I just sent you an email with my information here. I will be praying for you and your family.