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Friday, April 28, 2023

A PERSONAL FAMILY UPDATE...


My posting schedule has been pretty sparse the past few months and I wanted to share some family circumstances with you to explain why.  I normally don't share health and super personal information here,  I prefer to keep things upbeat and encouraging with pretty things and pictures but felt led to share with you at this time, especially for those of you who are believers and will join us in praying.  This is difficult to share- I've meant to write this post for well over a month but day after day couldn't make myself sit down to do it- but many of you are long time readers and have always been so sweet and interested in how my family is doing, so I wanted to fill you in.  


About 2 months ago out of the blue we found out that my Dad has Acute Myeloid Leukemia.  He has always been relatively healthy and very active so this is not something we were prepared for (is anyone ever?).  There is so much background and information I'm condensing to share here, but I'll try to keep it brief while giving you a good idea of the situation.  (I tried to keep it short, but this is still a lengthy, wordy post!)  One important piece of background- he's had arthritis in his knees for years, but after a consult a few years ago the surgeon told him there was no hurry for a knee replacement unless he was experiencing pain, which he wasn't at the time.  So fast forward to the end of December, he had a routine physical with a good report. Around the end of January the family started being concerned and keeping an eye on him after noticing that things seemed a little off with him.  Around mid February, pretty suddenly he began having trouble with his left knee and difficulty walking.  Within a week the pain was so bad that he basically couldn't walk on it all all without extreme difficulty, and then only with a cane or walker for a step or two.  At the same time, his right foot became painful and swollen, which we thought might be from an untreated mis-step several months back. This took us to the ER for the first time, where after a multitude of tests they diagnosed gout and sent him home with meds and advice to follow up with his doctor.  

The next week at that follow-up, results from blood work that was taken were concerning enough that the doctor sent him straight to the hospital to meet with an oncologist.  Again, many tests were run but due to a wide spread multi-day hospital computer system outage (what in the world?!?), other than kind of an initial assessment and more tests they couldn't do much at the time and sent him home with instructions to come back the next week for an oncology appointment.  At this point a suspected cancer diagnosis was just based on blood work numbers, so we moved into March and he had a bone marrow biopsy to confirm.  The evening of his biopsy, he spiked a fever back at home so we took him back to the ER, and long story short after 18 hours there trying to figure out multiple complications he was again admitted to the hospital, this time for 8 days.  


So, all of this is happening while his knee is still almost locked in place and extremely painful even if it barely gets bumped or moves the wrong way, and he still basically can't walk other than to transfer between a wheelchair and the car, bed, or chair (which takes extreme effort for him to even stand to do because he's hardly putting any weight on his legs).  So while we're trying to get a handle on a cancer diagnosis, beginning treatment, and getting some accompanying heart issues stabilized, his mobility is also a huge factor making everything else much more difficult- and extremely discouraging for him as he's lost so much independence for the time being.  The gout is now under control but it's probably a combination of that, the bone on bone arthritis, and possibly even the leukemia that is causing the knee trouble.  


So during that week of a hospital stay and a couple of scares with his heart, his numbers were good enough to start a round of IV chemo, which he continues with oral meds at home.  Last week he finished his second round and yesterday he had another biopsy to determine the effectiveness of the chemo so far.  


My Mom has been amazing and refuses to hardly leave his side.  She is taking on the full time caregiver role that he needs right now- managing medication, personal care, a million appointments and lab visits, keeping an eye on bills, taxes, etc. which he's always done... so many things!  My sisters and I are rotating as well to help get them to clinics and appointments, advocating for his options and best treatment plans (that's a work out!!), trying to help with meals, laundry, etc. It is A LOT, which I know so many of you are all too aware of as well.  This has definity opened all of our eyes to what it's like to have a family member with a serious illness.  In the past I have genuinely felt for and prayed for friends in similar circumstances, but didn't truly know all that they were going through until know. 


The doctors have been very clear- with the combination of the type of leukemia (he has two of the worst mutations of AML), his age, and accompanying complications the statistics are not hopeful.  However, Dad is fighting and we are doing all we can to prolong his life.  He seems to be tolerating his chemo well but understandably is just as concerned about being able to walk again.  It looks like unless he goes into remission and can have a knee replacement at some point, even with physical therapy not much is likely to change with that situation. As believers, we have hope and are confident that God is in control even in this most difficult situation and He cares for and loves my Dad more than we ever could.  We are trusting Him and depending on Him for wisdom and guidance every day.  Thank you for joining us in praying for him if the Lord brings to your mind. That so many friends, loved ones, and even people we don't know are praying is humbling and we don't take it for granted! One of my college friends shared this scripture with me yesterday and it was such an encouragement! 

"For in the day of trouble, He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle... I am still confident of this:  I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." -Psalm 27


This is a post I made 3 years ago on Father's Day, I've learned so much from my Dad! 




On another note I shared this on Instagram but wanted to share here as well.  Three weeks ago I snapped a few Senior photos of my son around campus intending to come back again and take more when everything greened up a bit. 



One week ago he sheltered in the Raley Chapel basement along with his fiancΓ© and many other students as a tornado roared through our beloved Alma Mater Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, OK. 



They heard the roar, felt the pressure as everyone’s ears popped, and felt the building shake as the tornado passed over and the power went out.  



Every building on campus sustained damage, with extensive damage to our historic Raley Chapel and Shawnee Hall buildings. 




It’s heartbreaking to see the place so dear to our hearts torn apart, but that doesn’t seem to matter much in light of knowing your child was inside one of those buildings at the time. Praise God for the Lord’s mighty hand of protection covering the campus and the miracle of no injuries. 


(top photo Fall 2021 "Blessing of the Hands" Nursing Ceremony)


Caleb lives a few blocks off campus but goes to a designated shelter spot on campus when needed. He was parked right up against the building on the other end of the Chapel, so heavy clay shingles that the wind ripped from the roof and other flying debris shattered his back window, tore off the side mirror and left some pretty significant dents and holes in the roof and hood. His house has minor damage and a large tree that fell into the street instead of on the house. πŸ™πŸ» He arrived safely home the day after and is going back and forth as needed now.  Classes are being held virtually this week as structural engineers, contractors, crews, and volunteers feverishly work to clean up and restore as much as possible for students to be able to safely complete the year.



So grateful for our Oklahoma Baptist University leadership and family that are taking good care of everyone afterwards and our sweet Oklahoma Baptists and Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief meal and chainsaw crews beginning the long clean up and repair process. Graduation is supposed to be in the chapel in a little less than a month… This group of Seniors are the same ones that went home at Spring Break for the rest of their freshman year due to Covid, shut down one for a period one year due to a major ice storm then the next year city wide water main breaks… I’m trusting the Lord that He will make a way for these students to finish the year strong and that we’ll be back at the campus we love for graduation!  


(If you're interested, you can help by donating to the OBU Tornado Relief Fund or Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief Fund here.  We give regularly in various ways to both of these organizations and both are extremely good stewards of any donations.  Thank you. πŸ’š)


Lastly and least important in light of these other circumstances,  I'm scheduled to have rotator cuff surgery at the end of next month.  I have one full and one partially torn tendon to get repaired.  I can't pinpoint the exact time of injury other than it started hurting when we arrived in Poland last Summer, so all I can guess is that it happened sometime in our long travel day (probably from a super heavy carry on tote bag that I lugged around the whole time 😝).  I waited it out a few months and realized the pain wasn't going to go away, and by the time I scheduled various doctor appointments I didn't get an MRI until late January, more waiting to see an orthopedic surgeon, and now I'm tentatively down for next month.  It's hard to find a time that's convenient to have your dominant arm in a sling for 6 weeks + complete therapy and recovery after that and I really wanted to wait until after my son's wedding this Fall.  However, I realized something else will just come up by then that will make that an inconvenient time as well.  So, I'm doing some PT at home in the meantime and planning to get it knocked out as soon as school/graduation wraps up and we try to sneak in a quick family vacation if we are able to before Caleb starts his new job. 


my PT set up πŸ˜‚


Thank you for reading if you made it this far!  I normally wouldn't download all of that health info. with you but even though we're "virtual" friends I still consider you all a part of my life and wanted to fill you in.   The frequency of posts around here and will likely be random for the unforeseen future and circumstances will definitely affect my project plans over the Summer.  I do have a great deal of content for posts stored up that I haven't written up and shared yet, so I'm hoping to be able to get that done in the meantime as long as I can work on my computer at some point after the surgery, even if it's a while before I'm back working on and sharing new projects.  As always, thank you for continuing to be here!  πŸ’š






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  1. Ellen from Ask Away BlogApril 28, 2023 at 9:26 AM

    Sending you big hugs and love and support. πŸ’–

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    1. Jennifer so sorry your family is going through such a rough time. God bless you all πŸ’•

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  2. Hello, I have been reading your blog for a long time, but this is my first comment. My Dad was also diagnosed with AML over 6 years ago. He was a patient at MD Anderson in Houston and has had great quality of life. There have been challenges, but we are thankful for every day and I will pray for your Daddy.

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    1. Thank you so much for being here and for sharing. We are actually considering checking into MD Anderson although the distance would definitely be a challenge. Nice to hear a good report and glad your Dad is doing well, thank you for your prayers!

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    2. I am so sorry to hear about your Dad’s illness. Yes, if you can get him into MD Anderson, do so! I am an Okie but have lived here in the Houston area for almost 30 years and work in healthcare as a Physical Therapist Assistant. MD Anderson is literally THE BEST! People come from all over the world for treatment here. As for your Rotator Cuff surgery, sorry you are having to go through that as well. I won’t lie, it is a tough surgery. But do your pre hab and rehab and you will do fine. I will be praying for you and your family through these hard times.

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  3. God bless you Jennifer, and your beautiful family! I’m sorry to read all that you are going through, but so believe our Lord has a plan! It’s hard to hang on to that at times, but I know you are a strong woman! Please keep us posted. Prayers for you and your family.

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  4. Oh Jennifer! When it rains it pours. I will keep your dad and family in my prayers (what is Dad's name?)
    As a side note, I fell at work 2 years ago breaking 2 bones in my non dominant wrist. The biggest challenge was putting on and taking off my bra (my husband was AWFUL with it) keep that in mind!

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    1. Thank you! His name is Phil. And yes, I'm already concerned about every little thing I do throughout the day that will be challenging, mostly fixing my hair...ha! Bring on the hats!

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  5. I am so sorry to hear about your father. I, too, didn't fully realize what so many families and friends had gone through with parents illnesses and care until I experienced it myself. It can be exhausting, and many caregivers burn out and get sick themselves, so try to be kind to yourself and encourage your mother to do the same. My husband had rotator cuff surgery during Covid and had great results, after getting through PT. Prayers for your family during this time. Sometimes it just seems like when it rains, it pours.

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    1. So true! We are trying to encourage Mom to keep up with some health things that she needs to as well. Thank you for the encouragement!

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  6. holy moly! cancer, tornados during covid, surgery! that's alot! God's plan is bigger than our plan. I'm praying for you and your family. It's very refreshing to follow a Baptist blogger, we are Baptist and LOVE the Lord but often feel isolated. And I've never found a blogger with the same beleifs. You are truly a blessing, but I can't decorate with color like you do.... haha

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    1. It is a lot! I can't think about everything as a whole, we are taking one day at a time while trying to enjoy all of the happy things happening right now too! Thank you for being here.

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  7. Prayers for your dad, you and your family. A lot on your plate right now. Stay strong in The Lord.

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  8. Dear Jennifer, I will pray for your requests. Those are all challenging things going on. One would be heavy. I will also pray for your strength and endurance. God is good all the time but we really grow in our experience of his love when we go through times like these. 2 Corinthians 1:3-11. Cheryl Frueh

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  9. Prayers for your dad’s healing! Always loved your blog! God bless you and your family!!

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  10. Bless you Jennifer! Prayers for you and your family for complete healing.

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  11. Prayers for you and your Dad and family! Will keep you ALL in my prayers. I have always been inspired by your faith in God

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    1. Thank you, He is the only way we are getting through this!

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  12. I’ve missed your posts, but certainly understandable! I’ll be praying for all of you.

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  13. Hi Jennifer
    As I write this letter I am praying for your precious family. I am a 3 times cancer survivor and have been to MD Anderson in Houston for my care, It is a hospital like no other. I have been so grateful for Gods healing hand on me and I'm praying for His healing hand on you and your family. I am not the same person I was 10 years ago in my walk with the Lord. Being at my lowest and knowing I was TOTALLY out of control put my prayer life to a whole new level. I'm also praying for your upcoming surgery. God is still in control of your life and none of this has caught Him off guard. He is with you always.
    God is good all the time -
    Connie Brown

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    1. Thank you so much for that encouragment, Connie. Praise God for how He has sustained you! And thanks for the positive word about MD Anderson, we are considering a consult there although the distance would be a big challenge.

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  14. Prayers and peace for you and your family as you navigate your way through difficult times.

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  15. When I read or hear of trials like this happen in families, I immediately say God you’re needed, this family needs you and I know you’ll be there for them. God is the same to all of us, and he is your fathers Savior, Spirtual Father, his confident, his Healer, his Hope! Speak God I Need you everyday! Sincere prayers and love to you Jennifer and your family!

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    1. Thank you for that encouragement! We definitely need Him every moment!

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  16. Thank you for sharing with us. Continued prayers.

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  17. From one sister-in Christ to another - I pray for you and your family. I pray you all feel His sweet peace through all these hard times and His love.
    Thank you for sharing your life online - but most important, sharing your faith in Christ.

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  18. Holding you and your family in the Light.

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  19. Sending positive thoughts and praying for you all .Wishing for the best possible outcomes. God is so good and will give you strength.
    xoxo

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  20. Jennifer-I’m so glad you shared. As Christians we need to share our trials and prayer requests. I will certainly pray for your father and please remember that with Christ all things are possible. I had carpal tunnel surgery on my dominant hand a few years ago and couldn’t use it for 2 weeks, it wasn’t fun, but the outcome made it worthwhile.
    On another note-I totally enjoy your colorful home.

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  21. Bless your dear family….you have a lot on your ‘not so great shoulders’ right now! Thankful that as we lean into His sufficiency, and admit our need of Him, He shows up with strength upon strength. “Lord, you love your children realizing their need of you. Be the strength and deep peace of Jennifer and her family at this time. You have trusted them with a LOT just now. May Jesus shine through them. Bring comfort to her sweet father. Thank you for protecting her son and fiancΓ©. Help Jennifer’s shoulder surgery to be effective and relieve pain we pray. Bolster her emotionally with your powerful Word. Amen”

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  22. Jennifer, thank you for sharing! Please give your ‘Father’ tight hugsπŸ₯° from Tennessee! I am putting the whole family on our prayer list. Lifting your Father up to our Heavenly Father in prayer right now✝️. It’s so
    peaceful trusting in GOD.✨ πŸ’«πŸŒŸ Our all-in-all! Psalm 62:7. πŸ’«In GOD is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge is in God. Jennifer, I will continue to journey with you in prayers, that so amazingly comfort and encourage us all. So we march on and on this we rely: NEW MERCIES EVERYDAY!☀️✝️✝️✝️☀️ 2 Corinthians 13:14. Now may the grace of God, the love of Jesus, and the sweet communion of the Holy Spirit, rest, rule, and abide Now, henceforth and forevermore .
    AmenπŸ’«

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  23. Dear Jennifer,
    I’m so sorry to learn of your father’s health issues.
    We have all really missed your colorful blogs but now it makes sense.
    As a long time follower, I know your family is all important to you! Same here. It’s very obvious how close you are to your father and how much he has influenced who you are! Such a sweet relationship.
    Prayers for his healing and God’s comfort to all of you. What a wonderful family. Blessings!!

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  24. I have been praying for your dad since he was diagnosed. Will continue to pray for him and for you as you navigate all of these issues. I know you have a great support system at church and from your family. We know God is in control.

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    1. Thank you Cindy, we appreciate your prayers and your friendship!

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  25. Jesus is the healer who heals and I speak His name over your precious Dad. Bless you and your family this day.

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  26. I am so sorry to hear of all these challenges. My dad had leukemia as well, but it was many years ago. My mom also had rotator cuff surgery. If possible, I would encourage you to get a second opinion for your dad. I do understand the travel difficulties. I will pray for your dad and all of you. Wishing you the best.

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  27. My thoughts and prayers are with your entire family.

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  28. Praying for you and your family.

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  29. Wow, I'm so sorry your family has been going through such a tough time. Will keep you all in my prayers as you travel this road filled with challenges. May God bless your family and give you all strength and guidance.

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  30. Praying now for you, your dad, and family. You and your family are loved by a lot of anonymous followers that think of all as friends. πŸ™

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  31. Oh Jennifer. I’m so sorry. I didn’t realize how much I’d grown to love your family until I read this post!! Your love and care for your parents has always been evident and inspirational. I am praying for your sweet dad and your family now, and will continue to as God reminds. HE is good. All the time. -Nancy

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  32. Praying for your family. May God wrap His arms around you and bring healing and His peace to you all!

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  33. Prayers for your dad and caregivers as well as you and all the family.

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  34. Jennifer, I’m so sorry to hear this about your dad. Our daughter is fighting Glioblastoma so I can relate to your story. I’ve followed your diy projects for a few years and got many ideas!
    Prayers for you and your family for strength and complete healing. Sincerely, Corky Pleasant

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  35. Jennifer I will definitely keep your family in my prayers. Specifically for your Dad to be able to tolerate any treatments, and for your mom as she tries to assist him. Lastly for you and your sister as you help to take care of and be a support to your parents.

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  36. Thank you for sharing such a personal post. You are not alone and I appreciate your new understanding to know what it’s like to take care of loved ones going through difficult times. My parents and husband have had many health issues, and I alone, become their caregiver. All I know, and you know as well, is that faith is what will and does get us through our difficult times. Sending you prayers and love during this journey. Please keep sharing when you can❤️

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  37. Praying for your sweet family. I was in Shawnee last night & saw the damage; it's always a shocking thing to see.

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  38. I will be praying for you, your dad and all of your sweet family! Sending you much love πŸ’•!

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  39. Always remember God is in control. Prayers for your family

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  40. My heart aches for what you are going thru. My father who is 95 (and he is our whole world we love him so much) went thru something similar with a different cancer and all of a sudden his knees wouldn't work either. Your Dad sounds so much like mine, always working on a project and staying active. For now, cortizone shots help my Dad stay somewhat mobile, but I realize that your Dad probably cannot tolerate any additional medical treatments right now while going thru chemo. Please know how much reading your blog over the past several years has brightened my day. Sending prayers for your family.

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  41. I want you to know that I care and more importantly; Jesus is with you every single step of every single day πŸ™πŸ»✝️

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  42. I will be praying for your Dad AND your Mom (and the family). I was the single caregiver for my Mom for the last 5 years of her life. We brought her to live with us and I thank God every day that I was in my 40's and had enough energy to do it. It is exhausting; mentally and physically. I have followed your blog for many years. Take good care of yourself too.

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  43. I have been following you for the past year and admire you from a far. I love your talent for decorating and even your cute outfits you put together.
    I am so sorry your dad is having to go through this and know it’s incredibly difficult right now. Your strong faith is inspiring. Keep trusting in Him. Praying for you all, pain relief for your dad and a smooth surgery for you. Hang in there.

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  44. GOD never leaves our side, we must keep our faith strong and our family close!! πŸ™πŸ½πŸ™πŸ½πŸ™πŸ½

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  45. Thanks for sharing this difficult journey for you and your family. Sounds like you are grounded in faith and I'm hoping by your sharing, it will help ease and provide you support in the times ahead. Blessing to you and your situation is in my heart and thoughts.

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  46. Sending prayers for your whole family…

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  47. Sending prayers for your dad and entire family. ❤️

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  48. My heart goes out to you and your family. Praying for your dad that even in this he feels the peace of Jesus.

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  49. Praying for your dad and all your family.

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  50. "Don't worry about tomorrow, God is already there." Just like your college will rebuilt, so will your family! I will be glad to keep you all in my prayers and a full recovery for Dad! Cancer treatments have come so far these days. Forget statistics because they never include God and loving families that keep the patient going!

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  51. Oh gosh, lots going on in your world. Sending prayers for your dad, your family...and for you. Having gone through something similar with my mom, I know how difficult it can be, especially when you're not feeling 100% yourself. I too tore my labrum and rotator cuff a year ago and, man, it still hurts. PT helps, but I've been putting off surgery. Hoping yours goes well...

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