Party of four

Party of four

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Frozen in Durham

Hello friends,

We just made it our of Durham after a flight cancellation and multiple delays.  The "possible wintry mix" turned into all day snowfall and made travel a little more complicated than we had planned.  But it was pretty and we enjoyed a little adventure.

We just celebrated 2 years since Reyn's surgery and today was a regular follow up appointment.   As usual we made our way over to Duke this morning for Reyn's MRI, followed by doctors appointment.    At the doctor's appointment they informed us that they have changed their protocols for MRIs and now take 44 "cuts" or images of the brain as opposed to the previous 27 images we were accustomed to seeing.  If you can imagine slicing vegetables, an MRI slices the image in multiple sections.  With the new 44 cut image the neuro oncologist saw a slight increase in size of Reyn's tumor near the top of the brain.  (Right frontal lobe). At this point she said it could be a couple of things:
1.  It has grown slightly
2.  This could be a bit of a false alarm now that the images are different and offer more cuts of the image

So we can do 2 things:
1.  Wait and see if this is just a red herring
2.  Begin a small dose of oral chemo to stabilize and maybe even shrink the tumor.

If reyn decides to start Temodar (oral chemo) he will take one capsule by mouth each day.  It is a very small dose and has limited side effects.  Most likely fatigue being the main one.  The good news is that his tumor type responds extremely well to Temodar so he could see improvement in the size of the tumor.

We will definitely go back in 10 weeks for a check up so we ask for specific prayers.

Wisdom to make the right decision regarding his treatment.
If he decides to start Temodar that negative effects will be minimal.
If we decide to wait and see, then prayer for the images to stabilize or shrink on their own.

We appreciate and covet all of your prayers.  Thanks for checking in on us.

The Connellys 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Another 4 months flies by....

Thank you to all of our friends who continue to check in on us and ask about Reyn's health.  We have had a wild few months with me switching jobs and Reyn's dental practice chugging along.  The kids are growing up way too fast and we are enjoying the joy and laughter they bring!  We recently went to the beach to see Uncle Jason and sink our toes into the sand.  It was a great retreat after a very busy summer......and we decided October is the perfect month to go to the beach!  Jackson could not get enough of the pool and Grier is our beach girl.  She could not get enough of the sand!  Soon after we returned from vacation it was that time again....back to Duke.

Today we had one of Reyn's 4 month check ups at Duke.  I always find myself getting a little anxious leading up to the appointment, but once again, Reyn was not worried.  Just another appointment.  We actually joke that our trips to Duke include a date night for us.  A quiet dinner where we actually get to talk to each other is always part of the trip!  So a little date night, MRI and doctor's appointment- then back to Atlanta we go!  We have come to know the area well enough now that we even have our favorite spots.
During this trip we met Reyn's new doctor.  Her name is Dr. Peters and we liked her very much!  She sat down and answered all of our questions.  She showed us the images of his tumor from May of 2013 vs. his tumor today.  Although some of it still remains she said the images are encouraging.  No new growth and great separation between the tumor and his brain.  :). She told us that tumors like his (low grade oligodendroglioma) sometimes stay latent.....we were ecstatic because this was the first we had heard of this.  She mentioned that IF the tumor begins to grow he may qualify for a new vaccine created by Duke to attack low grade tumor cells.  Early signs of the drug are encouraging but it is still in a very early phase.  That being said we may never need it.  So back to Duke in 4 months for another date night and MRI.
Reyn was most excited to hear that he has full reign to do any exercise he desires.  So I am sure he will be back on the basketball court as soon as possible!
Your prayers have worked and gotten us to this point.  We are so grateful for all of you.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Greatest Gift of All

I know that Reyn updated the blog after our most recent visit to Duke but I had to share what took place at this visit.   

For over a year now I have prayed for God to remove Reyn's tumor outright....that we would show up for some visit and that there would be no explanation other than divine intervention and the tumor would be non-existent.  Doesn't it sometimes feel like God has taken off for Tahiti with a "do not disturb" sign hanging on His door?!  You think, "God, are you there?  Can you hear me?"  

This time around my prayer changed slightly.  I have always prayed that we would rest in His Will but this time I said to God, "Lord, if you aren't going to remove the tumor please just show us that it can get smaller.  Please God, let it shrink."  And I prayed it would do it without any kind of chemo.  And when the doctor walked into our room, she said (a little surprised I might add) "It is all great news!  The tumor is actually smaller than the last scan."  Praise you Jesus!  Why do I ever doubt God?!  It is so humbling to know He hears me when I speak to Him.  

I just had to share our little Christmas miracle because I believe Reyn is a walking miracle.  We truly did not know what to expect this time last year given the information we initially received regarding Reyn's tumor.  What a difference a year makes!  As I have said so many times, we have felt The Lord beside us every step of the way.  It was a tough year but we have grown closer and God has taught us much about trust.  

In the spirit of Christmas it is interesting that I recently heard two very different, yet similar views on  Christ and Christmas.  One from a speaker at a women's dinner who talked about Christ being the greatest "re-gift" we could ever offer to anyone.  And I heard an atheist gentleman state that if Christ was truly as important as we Christians claim that He is, we would never stop talking about Him.  WOW!  I like that someone who is not a believer can call Christians on the carpet and say---  if it is that important, go tell everyone you know!  That is what we should do but we get bogged down in our busy lives.  It is so easy to get caught up in the commercialism of Christmas but I hope you treasure the best gift that mankind was given....Christ The Lord.

Luke 2:10-11. 
The angel said to them.  Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for ALL the people.  Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you:  he is Christ The Lord.

Merry Christmas to you all.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Great Visit to Duke....

I just read what Jordan posted earlier today, and I echo her thoughts and gratitude.  She was very eloquent and had great perspective.  I could not have said it any better.  I must say that I am very grateful for Jordan being at my side for these visits (even though I continually tell her that she doesn't need to come with me).  She is a wonderful partner and helper, and she has meant so much to me over this last adventurous year.
So we are both back safely from Duke tonight.  It was a quick overnight visit, as usual, but I'm glad to be back in the comforts of our home and back with the babes.  So the bottom line is this:  after a new MRI today, the Dr. says that the remaining tumor tissue has not grown.  In fact, she says that it looks as if it may have become somewhat smaller.  She also said that the healthy brain tissue is "healing nicely" after the surgery (if you did not know, most-but not all-of the tumor was surgically removed back in Feb. this year).  So this is excellent news and we are happy to share it with everyone.  We will be going back in 3 months again for another follow up.  After that, we may start a less frequent recall.  Jordan and I continue to be so impressed with everyone at Duke, but it will be nice to need to go less and less, if all continues to go well.  We will keep you updated every step of the way.
The Connelly's will continue to count our blessings and remain thankful during these Holidays.  We hope you do as well.  Enjoy these days with your families--we certainly will.  As always, thanks for your continued interest in our well-being.  Thanks also for your prayers and well-wishes.  Merry Christmas!  Thank God for the birth of Jesus!


Wrapping up 2013

I sit here on the radiology floor as Reyn is in the middle of another MRI scan.  This is our fourth trip to Duke this year and we continue to pray for good news.  It's hard to believe that this journey started a little over a year ago.  As the "anniversary" neared I found myself filled with all kinds of emotions. The most overwhelming emotion has been gratitude.  I am grateful for where we are today and how well Reyn is doing.  It is true that if you didn't know he had brain surgery earlier this year, you truly wouldn't know!  I was so scared and completely overwhelmed this time last year.  Reyn took everything in stride, of course but I was an emotional wreck on the inside.  So, looking back a year later I am grateful for:  Reyn, healthy children, family, friends, prayer warriors, shoulders to cry on, great physicians, and most importantly, The Great Physcian.  I would love for us to come up here and one day receive the news that the tumor is gone!  But I don't know God's plan.  I do know that He has been with us throughout the entire journey and I know that regardless of our circumstances, HE IS GOOD.
My heart was heavy last night as we flew in and the pilot announced that we had the honor of carrying a fallen soldier home on our flight.  My eyes filled up with tears for that family that sacrificed so much and would now be burying their loved one this close to Christmas.  It was very special to see the water bridge salute they did in honor of this brave soldier and the ceremony that followed as they brought his body off of the plane.  It was all a reminder to me to be grateful for what we do have and to focus on those things.  This life is so precious but yet so fleeting.  What a reminder to do it right and do our best to live a meaningful life.
We are so grateful for all of you who have stood by our side and helped us over this past year.  Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus to us.
I will post again later today once we hear the results of Reyn's MRI.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

1 Year...

Hello there!  It's Reyn.  Today (Nov. 19) is the one year anniversary of my seizure, which of course started a wild ride.  I cannot believe that it has gone so fast.  It's been a wild and crazy year, but a good one. The seizure, the brain tumor diagnosis, 2 surgeries, the arrival of our second child, and running a newly purchased dental practice solo sure made for an "eventful" time.
It seems fitting that this anniversary comes around Thanksgiving.   My family and I have much to be thankful for.  God has blessed us so much and in too many ways to describe tonight.  As serious as things appeared with the brain tumor, it could have been so much worse.  I have felt normal and have not noticed any problems this year.  The news has only been good.  We made several trips this year to Duke for follow up MRI's and Dr. visits.  The news is the same after each visit:  no changes, and  I still have a brain!  I have had so much love and support from family, friends, coworkers, and colleagues.  I have truly been blessed.  I have really had to make an effort to slow down at times and remember this. We are called by God to always focus on what is good and praiseworthy, and to focus on Him and always be thankful for Christ and His blessings.  This is what I am trying to do.  It has been a lesson well learned.  Jordan has been awesome this year.  She really had to be the rock for our family.  I am grateful for such a wonderful wife, friend, and mother to my children.  The children are about to graduate from college.  No, only seems like it.  Jackson will be 3 in January and Grier will be 1 in January.  All those parents were right when they said "it sure goes by fast."  I really have to make an effort to enjoy time with the kids, because there is only a limited amount of time, and they are growing so fast.  Potty training for Jackson now!  And Grier is a fast crawler!
We are looking forward to the holidays approaching.  I will have another visit to Duke in the beginning of December.  We hope for more "no news is good news" reports to follow.  I hope this was coherent, because I'm about to fall asleep!  Bed time.....
I hope it is easy for all of you to be extra thankful this Thanksgiving!  Don't eat too much, like I plan on doing.  God bless you all!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Are you still there?

Yes, we are still here.  I can't believe it has been over two months since my last post but things have been super busy in our lives so I blame our busy schedule!  Who isn't busy these days though?

I'm actually typing this post while I sit in my spa robe at the Ritz at Lake Oconee.  This weekend is Reyn's 10 year reunion for dental school.  So this morning I was pampered at the spa while Reyn is out chasing a little white ball around the golf course.  And since the weather forecast stated 90 % chance of rain I am so grateful to be looking at only a cloudy that means my sweet hubby should get his full round in today!  ( a special thank you to Grammie and Mimi for making this trip possible). Our kiddos are with them so they are getting spoiled beyond measure.

Last night was a wonderful night of catching up with old friends and enjoying good food.  The true reunion party is tonight so it should be even more fun!  All of his old buddies were thrilled to see Reyn and to know how well he is doing.

We have had two great post surgical follow ups and life seems to have picked right back up where we left off!  ;). We will report back to Duke in December and continue to pray for no tumor growth.  Reyn has adjusted to his medication.  ( he's only on one) and people are just amazed when they see him.  It makes him laugh when people stop him to say "HOW ARE YOU DOING?"  Because to him, his diagnosis is old news and he feels no different than before! ( Thank you Jesus for such a miracle!). I have to remind him that he has been through quite a bit over the past 10 months!

His practice is thriving and staff are all doing well!  The atmosphere is his office is so light and full of energy.  We can't say thank you enough for the remarkable people that make up his practice.

My travel schedule with work has picked up so that is part of the reason I have been absent from the blogging world.  Grammie and Mimi continue to help us with the children during the week and the kids just love their grandmamas!  Grammie is even about to launch her own little sewing/ monogramming side business.  Mom has always been very talented with a sewing machine so now she is adding monogramming to her repertoire.  I'm afraid I might go crazy and monogram everything in my children's closet!

The children are growing like little weeds and teaching us new things every day.  I cherish these sweet years with our babies!  Jackson continues to make us laugh on a regular basis and Grier already has daddy wrapped around her's so precious.

So we are in a good place and grateful for all of the little blessings in life!  God has blessed us with an amazing family and the most thoughtful friends.  We love you all and look forward to ways we can touch your lives the same way you have impacted ours!