I asked Tammy if I could Nick's story on my blog, and she has told me I most certainly can. Nick is a 13-year-old young man. I've added Nick's picture also.
Since 2002 Nick has been battling brain cancer. He has had 5 brain surgeries and one spinal surgery since the age of 7. Now 13, Nick continues to face this giant called cancer with a smile and an attitude of victory!
Nick needs a lot of prayers right now. I'm going to insert a BIG portion of Tammy's latest update, so you can read first hand what Nick is facing, and also to see God shine through this young man, at what has to be an extremely difficult journey.
"Dearest, dearest prayer warriors,
I wish I could sit across from each of you and share about today face to face. It is so difficult to type the depth of our emotions at this time - the incredible sadness mixed with supernatural peace that fills our home.
First, I want to share about our weekend. Olivia had two basketbal games on Saturday in Morehead and Nick decided at the last minute that he would go along for the games and meet Evan there to ride home with him from college! I was so excited! I wish you could have seen the faces of the parents from Olivia's team (especially Hope's!) as we walked into the gym and Nick climbed the bleachers to the top! It was such a great day!
Secondly, Nick went to church for the second week in a row, and I was especially thrilled to notice that Nick was singing during worship. Last week he didn't sing, which was fine, but I just remember how much he used to LOVE to sing praises and it just made my heart jump to see him singing again! Sunday night the youth group came to our house again!...
The plan was for Nick to have an IV started at (Kenwood MRI) so that they could do the contrast for his MRI and then leave the needle in for our trip to Children's main branch for bloodwork. We are so happy when they got the needle in on the first try and it had a blood return, but as the nurse was preparing to tape it, she accidentally pulled it out! Ugh! She looked and looked for another vein and then after finding one discovered that their branch was totally out of tubing, so Nick had to go with just a needle for the contrast and then the knowledge of another needle coming at the hospital. He handled it all beautifully!
When we arrived at the hospital and were called back to a room, we waited for a bit and then Maureen (our nurse practitioner) came by to see Nick. In a while she came back and said they would really like to go ahead and put in an IV in case Nick needed a transfusion. This confused us and Nick was not happy. He didn't cry, but I could tell he wanted to. I really wanted to, too. I went out in the hall to find her and see if the needle would be as small as the contrast needle and when I did find her I asked why they thought this. She said she thought Nick looked pale and that she couldn't look me in the eye and tell me that Nick's MRI looked good. She said that Dr. Fouladi would want to talk to me and Tim alone. I had to keep my composure as I returned to the room and gave Nick an update and then I motioned for Tim to step out and told him what she had said. We stayed in the room a bit, and Nick decided he didn't want Emla cream. He just wanted to get it over with just like he had in the morning. Maureen came back to do a physical at some point and was very pleased with Nick's strength. Tim kept making eye contact with me and saying, "Stay strong," because I guess he could sense in my face that I was slipping. I held it together until they took us to the room next door. While they talked with us, we had some in and out conversations with Nick's nurse and determined that they would just do a finger prick and if Nick did need a transfusion we would just have it done at Bellfonte tomorrow. I am sure I am missing details here, but that is the gist of what happened. Anyway, Dr. Fouladi had print outs of Nick's MRI and she was so nice as she explained that the cancer is simply growing very, very rapidly and she fears that doing more chemo will make Nick's blood counts drop so low that it will cause other complications that are not good. The cancer is in his spine in a lot of places. It is all around his brain and going down into his brain....there is a blood clot at one place at the top of his brain from the cancer. Saying all of this, she is AMAZED at how Nick is doing! He rarely even uses Tylenol for pain, and he is totally funny and full of conversation. He is a miracle right this minute, honestly1
I kept from crying for a long time, and even as I began to ask questions, I said, "I don't want to cry," and she said, "It is okay." I think that was all I needed to hear.
After she had talked with Tim and me, she wanted to talk to Nick. She sent me to the bathroom which I couldn't find. I was walking down halls trying to hide the fact that I was crying and every door was an office. I went back the way I came and one nurse practitioner was coming out Nick's little hallway. I said, "I can't find a bathroom," and she took my arm and turmed me around, and it was right in front of me the whole time with the door open. She just said, "Love your heart." I went into the bathroom and literally doubled over sobbing. It was awful. I regrouped as quickly as I could and had another NP get my purse so I could powder my face...I hate when nick sees me cry. He is such a trooper.
Dr. Fouladi told Nick that there was definitely tumors growing and that she feared doing chemo because of his blood counts. We left it at that with him, and he said he didn't have any questions.
Tim and Nick went on out to get the van and then to pick up me and Donnette. Donnette waited in the waiting room while Dr. Fouladi pulled me into a patient room with a curtain and shut the curtain. She is so precious. She looked me straight in the eyes and said, "I want you to know that you have done EVERYTHING possible and right for Nick. I do not want you second-guessing yourself in the middle of the night. If you do, I want you to call me anytime." She hugged me and we both cried....again.
When I got in the van with Nick and Tim it was amazing. Nick was all set to stop at Graeters for ice cream and then he wanted to go home through Lexington and eat at the Good Foods Market Cafe!! He was in great spirits.....he said, "Well, we have some things to look forward to" and then he started listing upcoming tv shows and football games. It was unreal. Later when he got sleepy he said, "I'm tired. I've been up since 8 and gotten bad news three times today." Then he took a little nap. He just keeps such a great spirit about everything. I truly think there are angels all around him strengthening him and bringing a peace that passes understanding. That's all I can think.
I couldn't call mom. I knew I wouldn't be able to hold myself together. We texted back and forth for a long time, and I just ached for her not being with us, because I know how hard it is to NOT be with Nick when he has medical procedures much less receives troubling news. I love you, Mom!
Tonight Nick watched part of the football game while Tim helped Olivia with homework. Then after realizing that her backpack weighed 19 pounds Olivia decided she wanted a backpack with wheels. We knew we had one, but I did not know where it was. So I spent time in the attic and outside in the dark in a shed with a flashlight. Finally, after running out of places to look, I started back through the closets for a second look and sure enough I found it in the very back of a closet behind clothes.! Honestly, a backpack with wheels was the furthest thing from my mind, but in Olivia's world it was huge......balancing normal stress with the stress of Nick's cancer is so hard for me sometimes.
We then all sat down to watch The Amazing Race which we taped last night and Nick loves to watch! It was a great mind-releaser for about an hour. Nick was pretty tired after that, so I came on up with him to sleep. He is sleeping right next to me, and just the sound of his breathing comforts me.
As I lay here tonight, I have to try and find the words that are somehow tangled up in my mind.
First, NICK IS A MIRACLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He has defied the doctors time and time again. Even in July of this year after looking at Nick's petscan, Dr. Fouladi said that Nick should be incapacitated on a morphine drip already. Now, she is just blown away. And the fact that the big tumors are growing "out" rather than "in" means that Nick is still here with us! Thank you, Lord!
Oh, I still pray for a miracle. To wake up and see Nick's head perfectly round..................I just believe God could do it if He so desired.
I do not undertand God's plan. I truly don't. But, I do believe that God is with us............always has been, always will be!
Second, WE NEED YOUR PRAYER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! More than ever.
My eyes are starting to fall asleep as I write, so I will write more tomorrow.
God is still on His throne. Nick is still His child.
My heart is breaking tonight and yet I refuse to stop praying for a full-blown miracle.
Please keep praying with us.
Oh, I love you all so much, and as Dr. Fouladi said today, "Only God knows the time for Nick.....no man....." Isn't that true of all of us? I guess that is what is keeping me going is the reality that NONE of us knows about our tomorrow except for our Creator and He has everything "under control."
I love you all so much, and I have a favor to ask you.
If you have time, can you write a letter to Nick (not saying anything about this latest news) just simply telling him how his life has impacted yours.............
I want him to know how his life is impacting others (present tense) all over the world........"
CONTINUING WITH A SECOND EMAIL FROM TAMMY
"When I ended my email earlier, I just couldn't sleep. I found myself literally walking through our house and spending time on my knees by Olivia's bed crying and then by Todd's bed crying...............I didn't want Nick to hear me. I wanted to call someone, and I know so many of you have said to call you any time day or night, but honestly, the phone ringing at 1:30 in the morning is something I would never do to anyone. And truthfully, what could anyone say at this point.....that is an awful lot of pressure to put anyone under. So, I made it downstairs to our room and woke up Tim which was probably not the most sensitive option, but he is so kind. At first, I think I scared him when he heard me crying. But then, he realized I was just having a hard time. So, we made it out to the new room and I just cried and cried. And Tim just let me say everything I needed to say. And then he shared some thoughts with me that were on his heart and we prayed and then I cried some more.
Now, I am back in bed with Nick with a cold washrag on my forehead and very thankful I decided I couldn't sub tomorrow.
I am writing now simply to say that I am so thankful for the huge army of prayer warriors that Nick has out there in the world because of the Internet and KCU and churches and family and friends, etc. who care and love him so much. I don't think anyone could be more covered in prayer. I really don't.
God has been so evident throughout this entire journey of Nick's. I have to continue to trust and believe that He will not leave or forsake us now.
And I thank all of you for staying so connected to our family.
I guess I just had to write one more time to let you know that, although Tim and I are both brokenhearted to the core, we are NOT without HOPE. We are totally, securely, steadfastly, and unconditionally committed to God and His Son Jesus Christ.
And our prayer is that you are too. Please don't allow Nick's battle to be in vain. If you do not know Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, PLEASE email us so that we can find a church family in your area of the world that can help you become part of God's family.
Clinging to the Cross and Ready for His Return As Soon As Possible!"
We cling to the verse in Psalm 126 that says,
"Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy."
I would ask everyone who reads this, please pray for Nick and his family. Unless you have been there, you can only imagine what they are dealing with. And, if you know someone who does not have Christ in their life, please show this to them.
Please also visit Nick and Tammy's blog. Read Nick's complete story. Let them know you are praying for THE MIRACLE!
And, thank you for taking the time to pray! Please also pray for Jan. She hasn't felt as good as she was for awhile. She is off the steroids. She feels weak. She has some swelling in her hands/feet. And, she has a personal prayer request. Pray for healing, peace that surpasses all understanding for Nick and Jan both.