Sunday, March 23, 2014


Supported.  Encouraged.  Blessed.  Surrounded.  Overwhelmed.  Loved.  These are all words I've used to describe the outpouring of support we've received since learning about my diagnosis.  Even while we were still in shock and disbelief, family and friends began mobilizing with acts of service and kindness.  Every prayer, every card, every online message, even every Facebook "like" gives us strength and peace to get through this.  But life goes on while we deal with this, including the annoying parts, and that is where our community has been so incredible.

Tiffany has been amazing, of course.  Despite not feeling 100% because of the pregnancy, she has put my needs above her own and taken on all of the work with the house and kids when I've been unable to help. And then there's my mother in law.  The timing of her moving to NH couldn't have come at a more critical time.  She is always a great help, but she has literally been a Godsend.  She is here almost every day cleaning, cooking, helping with the girls and watching them when we have to go to appointments.  I worry less about Tiffany during this time knowing that she has her mom here.   You can read Tiffany's response to the outpouring of support on her blog here.

No, they're not sisters.  :)
I'm fortunate to have most of my family close by.  From the very first CT scan when we learned something may be wrong, my parents have been at our side, even cancelling their vacation to be with us for appointments and in the hospital.  "Mama Pit bull" and my sister "Mini Pit bull" have been strong advocates to make sure I am getting the best care.  My dad welcomed me to "the club that no one ever wants to be a part of" and has a unique understanding of what's going on in my mind.   When we discovered that we had a mold problem in our house when I was in the hospital (because, of course), he, my brother and my brother in law were here ripping out the ceiling in my bathroom and putting a new one in.  We've also received so much love and encouragement from family afar (Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Texas, Missouri, Kansas, did I miss any family?)

The Family
Words can't express how grateful we are for our church family.  Shiloh Community Church. If you live near me and you don't have a church, you should go there.  That's all I'll say about that.  The first night when we got the bad news from the enhanced CT scan, our pastor was at our house to pray with us and offer encouragement.  When I was in the hospital after the biopsy, a group of people descended on our house and spent an entire day deep cleaning it.  When our refrigerator broke down when I was in the hospital (because again, of course), they were there to help.  Shoveling my driveway when it snowed.  Signing up to bring meals to us. Making arrangements to have the mold issue professionally treated.  Sending me books.  Sending me encouraging words and scriptures (including an engraved dog tag necklace to constantly remind me of my faith.)  And not least of all, continuously praying, which has given me a different level of strength and peace that I would not have on my own.

Thank you Jack and Judy Hartman
When a friend is dealing with a significant issue, it can be hard to know what to do or say.  Our friends have also been amazing during this time to say the least.  They've visited me and provided so much encouragement over the past few weeks despite their own busy lives.  One of Tiffany's friends who lives far from us had ice cream delivered to our door one night (I didn't even know you could do that, which is probably a good thing.)  Even friends who I haven't seen since high school and even elementary school have reached out to offer support, which is just awesome.  I have tried to live my life and treat people a certain way, and although I've made mistakes along the way, it means so much to see that so many people care.  This experience has humbled me and will make me a more selfless and compassionate person.

I can't forget my coworkers.  I guess it's really true that "Fidelity Cares" (inside joke.)  My team bought me a nice leather bag filled with comfort items that will help during the chemotherapy and not to mention has graciously picked up my work without blinking an eye.  Coworkers that I didn't think even liked me have reached out with encouragement.  :)  One coworker and friend even created the below picture.  I am truly moved at that gesture and by all of the people who have made it their profile picture on Facebook.  You guys make me want to fight even harder.

So while a simple "thank you" will never be enough, know how much we appreciate everything.  And even though we still have a tough road ahead, we've already been changed for the better.

Matthew 25:34-40 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’  “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’  “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

I like the message of this song about how we don't have to carry our burdens alone.


  1. Love and hugs from me and Newby in Pennsylvania! :-D

  2. Last night we saw the movie "God's Not Dead". It was awesome and of course I thought of you. There is a story line with a girl that has cancer, but that's where the similarity ends. She doesn't have God. I don't know how anyone could live, let alone go through this journey without God. He is beside you Joe, every step of the way and He will see you through. Wish we could be there! We love you and pray for you constantly!

    1. Thank you - we appreciate your prayers and support!

  3. I am eagerly waiting for the Blog Post which will say...'Yes I did it...I defeated Cancer...I m the winner'. Take care Joe....