Prayer request

Goodness I'm starting to feel that through my life this has become a far too frequent need and request. Hate that times must call for such requests so frequently in life but SO incredibly blessed and thankful that we are surrounded by such incredible people that this request is not only heard but truly done for us.

On the 4th of July we got another dreaded phone call that none of us were ready for. Dennis' father, Joe, had been working in Houston and headed home on the 3rd. It took him about 1.5 hours longer than it should have and Marsha was starting to get worried. When he got home he seemed dazed and his eyes seemed funny to Marsha. Joe knew he felt weird but seemed to be doing fine at the time. On the 4th he was out in the yard and he noticed his right leg wasn't working well. Marsha also noticed he seemed to be unsteady. When he was finished outside he was slurring his words a little and his right side was weaker. We immediately all agreed he needed to go to the hospital as soon as possible. To us his symptoms sounded like a stroke. He was being stubborn but finally agreed. In the emergency room they worked him up for a stroke, which is exactly how his symptoms sounded. Unfortunately the CT results of his brain came back with results none of us were ready for...they found metastatic brain cancer. He has between 10-30 masses in his brain. The largest mass is about 23 mm in his left frontal lobe of his brain which correlates with the weakness on the right side of his body. It looked like metastatic brain cancer...meaning it started somewhere else and spread to the brain because of the number and location of the masses. So he underwent further testing to determine where it originally came from. They did an X-ray of his chest as well as a CT of his abdomen and chest. They found a very small nodule in his left lower lobe of his lung about 0.7 mm to be exact. So Wednesday and Thursday were quite a roller coaster of emotions to say the least. Joe was immediately started on steroids (to help with the swelling in his brain caused by the tumors), and anti-seizure medication because they believe he more than likely has had a seizure causing some of his symptoms. They originally planned to do a needle biopsy of the mass in the lung but the doctor decided it was too small to do this so we began waiting. Joe was on blood thinners for the stents in his heart so no big procedures could be done until he was off of them for 5-10 days, so the waiting began. Dr. Burke his pulmonologist decided he will do a special magnetic bronchoscopy to try to biopsy the mass in his lung since they could not do it with a needle biopsy. He is scheduled for this tomorrow morning at 8 am. We are praying that this biopsy is successful because if it is not their next step would be to have Dr. Lipsawala (neurosurgeon) do a tumor biopsy in his brain. It is important for us to get a biopsy so we know exactly what we are treating. We met with Dr. Nielson the neuroradiologist on Friday and really liked her. She is the one that will be administering his radiation. She answered all of our questions without us even having to ask. She fitted him for his mask today to begin radiation of his brain as soon as the biopsy is done. He will more than likely start radiation on Wednesday unless his biopsy shows lymphoma (because lymphoma does not respond to radiation), the doctors are pretty confident that it is not lymphoma. He will need to get total brain radiation because of the number of masses in his brain. If they decide to begin radiation he will receive total brain radiation 5 days a week for 3 weeks. Dr. Nugent is his oncologist that has been great. He will be getting a PET scan to make sure that the cancer has not spread anywhere else soon. It has been a very exhausting emotional few days and we truly appreciate your prayers I know this is a lot of information but we were wanting to update all those who have asked. Please be patient with everyone especially Marsha and Joe if they do not immediately respond to phone calls and messages it has been a lot to process over the last several days. Joe has responded well to the steroids so far and has had significant improvement in his right sided weakness and speech. He will continue on steroids as well as the anti seizure medicine throughout the duration of his treatment. Thank you for all your love and support over the last several days.

Here's a short recap in case I confused:

Tuesday, July 3rd-Joe drove home from Houston (he now admits he does not know how he got home, we are SO incredibly thankful the Lord protected him on his drive home

Wednesday, July 4th- Joe went to emergency room and was diagnosed with Metastatic brain cancer, Joe was immediately started on steroids and an anti-seizure drug

Thursday, July 5th- Met with each doctor to begin developing a plan. Joe stopped his blood thinners and was continued on steroids and anti seizure medicines.

Friday, July 6th-Met Dr. Nielson the neuroradiologist to discuss his treatment options

Saturday and Sunday-Joe continued to improve tremendously in his strength and coordination

Monday, July 9th-Joe was fitted for his radiation mask

Tuesday, July 10th-Joe will go for his lung biopsy at 8 am

Wednesday, July 11th- Hopefully beginning radiation so we can start kicking this cancers butt:)

Specific prayer requests:

-That Dr. Burke is able to successfully biopsy the mass in his lung tomorrow morning at 8 am.

-That the biopsy shows a cancer that will respond well to radiation

-That we can just do radiation and avoid chemo if at all possible

-Pray for Dr. Nugent (oncologist), Dr. Burke (pulmonologist), Dr. Nielson (neuroradiologist), Dr. Lipsawala (neurosurgeon), and Dr. Ahatar/Dr. Malik (cardiologist) that they will all have clear direction and choose the best treatments for Joe

-That ALL of Joe's brain be protected from the radiation besides the tumors.

-That we will easily be able to treat the mass in his lung

-That Joe and Marsha feel loved, have peace and are surrounded by people they love through this

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your prayers, support and love. I will try my best to keep you updated as much as possible.

We love you Joe...thanks for being such an incredible husband, father, grandpa, and father in law!!! Kick some cancer butt!


  1. Is he getting tx there? his symptoms vividly remind me of my sister's early symptoms (she had GBM) and i pray hard for all his MDs and families who continue to care for him.

    1. Yes he is. He starts brain radiation in a week. Yes it is very scary, thanks for the prayers!