Thursday, October 10, 2013

Mama Bear | Update 15

"The Lord did not have a tough week last week."
Matt Chandler

Since my last post in May we've had some news in our household!  Mama Bear is officially a Grandma Bear!  After a long labor, our little guy was born on June 14 and he has been the joy of summer.  Every single member of the family is smitten with him and he can makes us laugh no matter how sad, teary, tired or blank we are.  He's the best little bundle of boy and we are delighted by him.
I do wish that Rowdy's birth was the only "medical/hospital" news to report.  Unfortunately we have an update about mom and it's not particularly pleasant.  She has been doing chemo for about nine months -- actually she has done four or five different chemos over the last nine months.  None have them have been working and her cancer seems to be growing (the biggest area of concern is the growth in her liver.)  Her lungs have also continued to fill with fluid and she's continuing to have them drained so she can take mostly-full, deep breaths and not be winded and coughing constantly.  The latest chemo was probably the hardest on her physically (and her hair fell out again :( no fun) and we were really optimistic that it would be having the most effect.  

Since it too wasn't working (big bummer) her doctor ordered to end that treatment and start a new kind, which was supposed to start this week.  However, she was feeling light-headed and not quite right so she asked her doctor about it.  They ordered a brain scan and she received the results yesterday: there are three spots of cancer in her brain.  They are halting all chemo to do immediate brain radiation. She'll do ten treatments over two weeks' time and hopefully the brain spots will be GONE and they can continue working different chemos to find something that will really zap that cancer and teach it a lesson.
 "Every fear has no place at the sound of Your great name. The enemy, he has to leave, at the sound of Your great name."  Please pray for her and for us.  Full disclosure?  I hate this.  I've told a few people that for the first time I can remember I don't "look forward" to the future.  I'm happily married to my very best friend, with the sweetest son and I see my family every day.  Finances are stable, I enjoy work, I physically feel great and I just like life so much right now.  I don't want anything to change.  I don't want mom to get more sick.  I don't want it to get harder.  I don't want think about it.  It's hard to call God "My Healer" when I know that healing is a promise, but it may not happen until heaven. "Quit pretending like you're not scared. Be honest. Walk in the light."  (Matt Chandler)  I think I speak accurately for us all: we are scared.  It'd be fair to say that this hit us hard.  In some ways it feels like watching a tornado funnel head your way.  It's been stormy, but what is coming?  How bad is it going to be?  Maybe it will all just stop and the sun will shine and we'll marvel at the miracle?  We know and believe good things, but we are also feeling sad things.  One of the best lessons Rowdy has taught me is the lesson of crying and yelling when you're upset.  It doesn't cross his mind "What will mom think if I respond the wrong way to my practical need or fleshly desire?  What if I don't approach her with patience?  What if I ask too angrily? Or ask too much of her?"  He calls, and I come.  There are no rules to calling for mama -- if he feels like he needs me, he cries for me.  It's so simple.  And I'm so happy to be the one to answer his struggle.  To feed and hold and refresh and clean and talk to him.
 So I'd say we're calling and maybe even crying and yelling (sometimes literally and sometimes mentally and inwardly) and we're asking for miracles and mercies and strength.  Though He slay us, we praise Him - and news like yesterday's stings with its lash but news like yesterday's has purpose and didn't catch God off guard.

 "All the weak; find their strength; at the sound of Your great name 
Hungry souls; receive grace; at the sound of Your great name 
Sick are healed; and the dead are raised; at the sound of Your great name."

ps.  People have asked if there is any way they can help -- meals, helping with laundry + carpools/rides are the most practical needs.  Don't feel like you have to do anything!  But as people have asked, we wanted to let you know :) Tracy Branchaw has been the go-to for meals + you can get in touch with me if you'd like any other information (kristen leigh photography at gmail)


  1. My heart is so heavy for you, and your family Kristen. Praying so hard!

  2. This is beautiful and so real. Praying for y'all.

  3. You can contact Tracy at 301-418-2518 , text only please, I don't listen to voice mails very often. Best is if you are interested in providing a meal. We are doing 2 per week.

  4. I am sad to hear your mom's news. My heart is sad and praying your mom recovers soon. God Bless!

  5. I'm so, so sorry. Crying and praying with you.

  6. I cannot imagine, Kristen. My heart just breaks. I know a hurting, crushed heart is hardest to bear...and will take your breath away. Through this valley, as deep and dark as it is, He will go with you. And I'm praying so much, that you feel His nearness, presence, and grace amidst the pain. I love for heaven with you, my friend.

  7. I hate this...I'm being honest. I HATE cancer and brain cancer in particular! I know first hand how incredibly hard it is to see the best woman in your life go thru something like this and it sucks.. sorry, I'm just mad! ;( my heart aches for you, your brothers, your sisters, dad and your MOM! I know you've been on this road while now and people think you may be used to it...but u don't get used to it. Its ALWAYS hard and scary and heart wrenching. ;( sorry doesn't help but I AM SOO SORRY! when I miss my mom just terribly I hold my kids...squeeze them as tight as possible so hold baby rowdy and cry and pray! I'm praying for an earthly healing!

  8. My heart hurts for you and for your family. I will be praying for you all!


  9. Watching my Mama sick was the hardest thing I've ever done.
    Praying your Mom will beat this once and for all.
    Praying for your family.
    Love the way you write - the tornado analogy was so accurate.

  10. Dear Kristen,
    I've been following your blog(s) for over five years. Even before my brother and sister in law had you as their photographer I've been soaking up your writing. I've wanted to comment on your beautiful and real posts time and time again but I've been too shy knowing you don't need my thoughts (especially with your amazing community) but this post I have to say this: I can't imagine what you're going through but I am crying out to Jesus for you and your family. Thank you for being so open and genuine. May Jesus be your support and comfort like never before. While I don't know why he works the way he works sometimes I do know that he weeps with you. So does your family in Christ. xxx
    Praying with you...
    ~elaini garfield

  11. Hi Kristen, It's Mama Dede here. I am committing this to prayer with my prayer sister/warrior. We will bang, yell, ask, plead, beg, and fall down at GOD'S door for your mom and family. We are very specific in our prayers and are asking for A MIRICLE! A MIRICLE . Isaiah 41:10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. UPLIFTING YOU AND KEEPING YOUR FAMILY BATHED IN PRAYER! Love and blessings, Mama Dede Winkfield

  12. stopping by to see if I can post.... I tried the other day with my phone and couldn't get it to work. I am praying..... lifting your Mom up to God... asking for His strength .... for your mom. Hugs.

  13. My heart goes out to you and your precious mother. I would like to tell you about something I think may help, but I think this testimony will help you, I hope.

    I know at times like this people wanting to help sometimes are more hurt than anything else. I pray this helps:

    My family and I are praying for you and your family.

  14. Kristen, I absolutely adore this post. My thoughts and prayers are with your mother and your family. I just had a quick question about your blog and was hoping you could email me back when you get the chance, thanks.