Juli

Promises, Promises

Written Jun 1, 2013 5:03pm by Juli Brown

Hebrews 10:35-36, “So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that He has promised.”

For those of you who don’t know, I went back to Sarasota last week. I was initially going back for 1-2 days for immunity booster treatments, but then I got a fever, so I went back a little sooner than I’d planned and stayed from Monday afternoon through Thursday morning. I received a few more treatments, more blood tests, etc. (but no chemo treatments). I was without a cell phone and computer for a few days, so I also got some much needed rest.

I also found out from the dentist that the DNA lab in Colorado ended up receiving both the first sample and the second sample on the same day, so they decided to run both samples and compare them. The first sample showed a nasty bacteria that is known to cause stomach and esophageal cancer. However, the second test showed that it was gone. They were very curious to find out what kind of treatments I was getting that killed off this bacteria, since I had taken no specific antibiotics for it. There was a lot more detailed information on these tests that the dentist couldn’t fully understand (like other bacteria found), so I won’t find out the details until my doctor reads through the results and does his own research.

The doctor wants my body to build back up it’s immunity system for a couple of months before considering more and/or revised chemo treatments. His decision will be based on the bloodwork and ultrasound (which is scheduled for this Wednesday). Unfortunately, the lumps on my abdomen (which appear to be in lymph nodes) don’t seem to be getting smaller, but he’s more concerned about the spots in my liver. The good thing is I’m feeling great and feeling healthier. Everyone says I’m looking healthier too, minus the few pounds I’ve lost on this juice/raw foods diet. So despite the lumps, healing is taking place.

Most of my time before, after, and during my treatments was spent reading or listening to God’s promises. The more I immerse myself in His Word, the more promises I see to stand on. There’s a confidence found when listening to His voice over the voice of reason and believing His Word over believing man’s report. So it doesn’t really matter to me what the ultrasound report says. I know what God has promised me and I know what His Word says about it. My faith has reached a new level and I am confident that He will come through for me (and you all will be a part of this testimony).

“I will not die; instead, I will live to tell what the LORD has done.” (Psalm 118:17).

Juli

Thank you prayer warriors for your prayers, but the battle continues! Juli told me that she has had so many doctors tell her that she does not look sick. I know that is because her soul-filled spirit is shining through despite her broken body of this world.

I know that Juli has prayed about this journey so many times since August 31 that she is one person who truly listens to divine intervention. God is leading her on a different path now for treatment.

She leaves for Sarasota in the morning to begin a 3 1/2 week treatment.

I have had several people ask me how they can help Juli. Other than prayer (which is really the only thing Juli has asked for), I haven’t been able to give very definitive answers. Now I can answer that question.

Juli’s new treatments are going to cost about $12,000. She has paid for the first week’s treatment. After that, this is where those of you who have asked specifically to help in some monetary fashion can definitely help.

We have a medical account setup for Juli and you can give 2 ways. Write a check to Juli Brown and mail it to her. The 2nd way is to write a check to Eastern Avenue Baptist Church, PO Box 701209, St. Cloud, FL, 34770-1209. If you choose to write a check to the church you need to include a letter or note with the check to ensure that it gets passed along to Juli. The church office number is (407) 892-4644.

I’m not sure Juli would ever ask for this kind of help, and I hope I do not offend anyone by asking on her behalf. If it came down to Juli having to ask you for money or prayers, she would definitely choose prayers.

I talked to Juli today and she said she has been busy, and tired, trying to get everything ready before she leaves in the morning. I told her that I know that there are so many people on her Caring Bridge site that get so excited when she posts something. That her words are an inspiration and some people’s “daily bread”. I am one of those people, maybe I am the only one who feels this way, but I doubt it.

I am proud of my tough, determined, faithful, loving sister of this world and so amazed by her as a sister in Christ. Her walk through these trials, is a living reminder of Christ’s journey. Thank you sis for showing me the way.

Thank you to everyone who has been praying for Juli and our family.

March 30. 201
I found out this week that the biopsy of the lump came back positive for cancer. The lumps are actually just above my abdominal muscle on the surface, which is not a common place for this to travel. But it has. Now that they know that these cells have moved outside of my liver, they must treat it with chemotherapy and the most aggressive one on the market. There is a surgery that can be done on the tumors in the liver but the chemo has to show that it can shrink the tumors first; otherwise the surgery is pointless and will just delay the necessary systemic treatment.

Both doctors have done research and contacted major cancer treatment centers and no one is offering any trials or other better solutions for my type of cancer. They both seem to be in agreement that this combo chemo is what I need and thankfully they can do that here. They said they would gladly refer me to another place if I decided to go, but that it would delay my treatment. Other institutions would not accept the CT and MRI scans I have, so I would basically be starting from scratch as a new patient with them. Not to mention that my insurance would not be footing the bills. Plus I’d have to uproot my family and move. This logically would not make sense.

My doctors already know me and love me and I know and love them. Dr. Zakari told me yesterday that I was like family to him and his staff. And after seeing the outpour of love at my church on Sunday, it was clear to me that I needed to be here. I’m surrounded by people that genuinely love and care about me, and who pray for me daily…this has been a huge part of my healing. My husband and kids are here; our life is here. Once again, I’m reminded that God has put me right where I need to be.

I should be starting this new treatment on Wednesday, Lord willing. I will keep you posted on that as well. Because this is really only maintenance, considering there is no cure, I’m continuing to ask for prayer for a miracle.

One thought that keeps coming to my mind is that my focus needs to be on the Healer, not the healing. This song reminded me of this today: Always by Kristian Stanfill.

I’m glad that He’s never surprised by the news. I don’t know how He’s going to come through for me…don’t know what that will look like. But I know He will.

He loves me! And I know that you do, too.

Juli

March 21, 2013
My loved ones,

We didn’t get very good news today. Doug, my mom and my dad were all with me. Dr. de la Fuente showed us the scans and not only had the tumor not responded to the chemo, but it had grown in size and spread. Dr. D. immediately scheduled an appointment for us to see Dr. Zakari, my chemo doctor. As I was leaving his office I gave him a hug and said, “I wish you could go with us.” And he said, “You know what, I will.” He asked his nurses to hold his patients and walked across the street with us to Dr. Z’s office. So the two of them reviewed the scans with us and discussed options.

Dr. Zakari was actually shocked by the results. The chemo I was getting was the best and toughest on the market for my type of cancer. And considering I had not been on it long, it shouldn’t have been resistant to the chemo. There are mulitple tumors on my liver now and possibly on my abdomen. They will need a biopsy to confirm the ones on my abdomen (which are the ones that I saw and felt), but they are more concerned about my liver.

Because I don’t have liver cancer (which are different cells than bile duct/cholongio cells that I have) and because I had lymph nodes that tested positive for cancer, I am not a candidate for a liver transplant. Even if I got a transplant, the cancer cells in my system would affect the new liver. Also, if they were to treat each tumor specifically and individually (with surgery, radiation, or chemo), it would only delay the systemic treatment of the undetected cells that are obviously in my system. So basically, I have to be treated systemically.

The next step? Dr. Z is going to contact his colleagues at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa (which is not a far drive from here) to see if they have clinical trials there for treatment of my specific kind of cancer or if they know of other places (like Duke University, MD Anderson in Texas, etc.) that are doing them. I am a perfect candidate for clinical trials because of my young age, otherwise good health, and positive energy and attitude (their words, not mine). However, because my cancer is uncommon, there’s not a lot of money going into the research for it so it may be a long shot. He is recommending another combination chemo on the market which has shown positive results with pancreatic cancer (sort of like the “cousin” of what I have). But he wants to talk with the Moffitt doctor first.

They both warned me that this will be a bumpy road with no guarantees no matter what I choose to do. At this point, I’m grieving and just trying to figure out my role in all of this. What will bring Him glory and fulfill my purpose.

The positive in all of this? The God of the Universe adores me!! He treasures my children and will do what is best for them! And for that I am thankful. There’s always more to learn about God, and suffering has taught me much. And if it takes more suffering to draw me closer to Him then so be it. I’m grateful that only He can heal me. And even if He does not, I will still worship Him.

Hallelujah, to the great I AM!!

Hi All,
I just wanted to say a quick Hello and let you know that I got the results of the CT scan and MRI. The team has concluded that there is a new tumor on my liver. They have decided to add another stronger drug to my next round of chemo, which is not only systemic (killing what they can’t see in my body) but it also specifically targets these types of tumors and has shown great success. The side effects can be bad, like kidney or nerve damage, so please pray for total healing and protection. I’m feeling well with the chemo I’m getting now. Still noticing my hair thinning, but no nausea or fatigue; so that’s been a huge blessing. I won’t get another scan or MRI for another 3-4 months, so there may not be many updates in the meantime. Please don’t forget about me; I need the encouragement and strength I get from your prayers, love, and positive energy!
Love, thanks, and hugs to all of you!
Juli

Hi loved ones,

I just wanted to give you an update on how and what I’m doing, especially since I don’t get to see you in person.  I’ve been going to chemo on Mondays, radiation Mon-Fri, and physical therapy 1-2 times per week.  I’m at the end of my 3rd week of treatment now.  I’ve had very minimal side effects, including mild nausea and fatigue, which seems to be worse on the weekends.  During the week, I typically feel good and have more energy.

I’ve made a ton of progress since being out of the hospital.  Earlier this week, the radiation tech commented that I was a different patient than the day I walked in 3 weeks ago.  Three weeks ago, I still had two fairly large open incisions that had to be dressed daily.  Thanks to my mom’s and sister’s excellent nursing skills (and a few visits from a home health nurse), those incisions are now healed.  Three weeks ago, I also had so much abdomen pain and was so weak that I needed assistance getting on and off the radiation table.  And because I had no meat on my bones, just laying on the cold, hard table for the treatment was uncomfortable.  Now I can get on/off the table without pain and without assistance.  And a few weeks ago, I still had one more drainage tube that is now finally gone.

I also have finally reached the 3 digit mark on the scales, which is a huge praise report.  I realize that the average person cannot relate to this, but after losing nearly 10% of my body weight and still experiencing mild nausea, this is a victory!  If I gain about 10 more pounds my chemo doctor will probably do a happy dance.  Currently, I have a port in my chest which makes me look a little alien, but is a blessing for chemo treatments.  And I have about 8 inches of a butterfly scar on my belly.  I still can’t stand or walk for long periods of time, but I’m not hunching over as much as before.

I have about 2 1/2 more weeks of treatments left.  At that time, they will do more CT scans to see if the radiation did its job – praying and hoping that it does.
Thank you all again for the continued concern, love, prayers, and encouragement.  My family and I are feeling the effects of them all.
All my love,
Juli

 

 

 

 Juli’s Healing Room

                Hello Friends and Family,
I’ve gotten through a week of chemo and radiation. By the end of the week I wasn’t feeling good but that is a typical side effect and my blood work has been good.
I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the continued prayers, love and support. A day hasn’t gone by that I haven’t received a card, gifts, message, text or Caring Bridge post. Our kids have been cared for, our lawn has been maintained, our refrigerator has been full, our home has been renovated, and our medical bills and renovation costs have been covered. I continue to be humbled and overwhelmed by your love for me and am often brought to tears by it, mainly because I can’t love you back or thank you enough. I couldn’t get through this without you. You’ve been part of my healing.
I’m posting a photo of my beautiful new bedroom. My Aunt J has named it ‘the healing room.’ I find peace and solace in the colors and in my view and its often where I have my quiet time and rest, so I think it’s a good name.
All my love to all of you, Juli

Hi family, friends, prayer warriors, and encouragers! I want to thank you again for all the encouraging posts, texts, and cards, and to share my heart with you. …

A few months ago, my women’s Sunday school class was listening to a Beth Moore Bible study where she openly spoke of her childhood sufferings and how they were a part of her journey to salvation. I couldn’t relate at all when she said that looking back she wouldn’t have changed her past, because it brought her closer to Jesus. All I could think at that time was, “Really? There’s not an easier way to be closer to Jesus than through suffering?”But it wasn’t until I was in the hospital experiencing immense physical pain and tremendous spiritual warfare that I saw Jesus face to face and experienced His presence in a very real way. I’d never known His mercy, nor felt His tenderness, nor heard His voice so clearly until I shared in His suffering. He met me there several times at the hospital, bringing me tears of joy as He held me, kissed my face, and reassured me that this was His plan. So I’m here to tell you that looking back and even looking ahead, I wouldn’t have changed a thing.What I’m going through is not an accident or unfortunate happenstance. Nor is it a punishment or result from my poor choices. My illness (just like the number of my days) was ordained by God before the beginning of time, to draw me closer to Him and to bring Him glory. A “glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!” (2 Cor. 4:17). This is my race. And I know that each of you have yours.

So all you fellow sufferers and saints, press on with me! Let’s run our races together…our heavenly prize awaits! (Phil. 3:14)
With all my love,
Juli

One Response to “Juli”

  1. ruth 10/20/2012 at 10:45 pm #

    speaking from my heart as a friend of J and Denny….words escape me; you have amazing strength and faith. God bless you in this fight for complete healing…..with love and prayers, ruth

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