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Friday, May 31, 2019

Final Alarm...

This week past another Ft. Worth Firefighter was laid to rest.

It hits too close to home for this mama.  And not just because our son has served with the Ft. Worth Fire Department these past 9 years.

Captain Keven Teague passed away from pancreatic cancer last Friday, May 24, 2019.  He was only 46 years old.

Pancreatic Cancer.

It is a shockingly cruel disease.  Our son called us 2 weeks ago.  We heard it first in his voice.  Solemn. Quiet.  As the words spilled out, we learned of Captain Teague's diagnosis.  They had worked together when Travis was just beginning his FWFD career.  He thought highly of the Captain and we talked long about treatments for pancreatic cancer... The same cancer that had taken his grandmother.

How is it that I could have lived half a century before pancreatic cancer knocked on my door, and then our son has watched 2 people he cared about suffer through the agonies of this disease in his too short years?

Pancreatic Cancer.  Ruthless.  Cruel.  Devastating for those caught in its deadly grip.

And for Captain Teague, only 2 weeks between diagnosis and his passing.  It is inconceivable.

Our hearts break for the young widow he leaves behind and grieve for his 2 sweet children.  We pray for strength, for comfort, for peace... May they feel the arms of a grateful community holding them close, and the great love of a Faithful God giving Grace and Mercy for the days ahead.

The Final Alarm has sounded for Captain Teague...

Your tasks complete,
Your duties well done,
The bell rings your final alarm,
Rest easy comrade,
You are going home...

Monday, May 27, 2019

Lessons from the Changing of the Guard

On a hill overlooking our nation's capitol, there is a monument.  It stands sentinel over the last resting place of an unidentified soldier from World War I.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

This burial ground is a bit of sacred space.  It is guarded continually.  In every kind of weather.

Be it searing sun, or driving sleet, a drenching rain or balmy night... the men and women who stand guard over this Tomb do so with the a steadfast devotion.

They are the Tomb Guards.  These soldiers are part of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment known as "The Old Guard."

It is one of the highest honors to serve this post.

The changing of the guards is also one of the most solemn events to attend... One day the farmer and I will go and stand in quiet gratitude, but until we do, there's a part of the ceremony that just stills my heart...

At each changing, the relief commander appears with the new relief soldier. They face the current soldier on duty and in unison all three turn to salute the Unknown in the Tomb...

The commander then turns to the soldier on duty and gives the charge, "Pass on your orders."  To this the soldier replies, "Post and orders remain as directed."  The new soldier ready to relieve him responds, "Orders acknowledged" and steps into position on the mat to begin his turn guarding the tomb.

This changing of the guard, it is somber and dignified and holds such meaning.  Post and Orders, Remain as Directed...

And so it is with us.  We are all given our Post and our Orders.  Through life, no matter what comes, they remain as directed.

Mom would be the first to say that her battle with pancreatic cancer only sharpened her post and her orders.  For her, it was to love and cherish her husband, her children and grandchildren.  The cancer, it simply laser-focused those orders.  It did not change them... Her Post and Orders, they Remained as Directed, no matter what came her way.  She loved us so very well.

Mom walked through the cancer fray with a grace and a dignity that would do the Tomb Guards proud.

Wherever your Post, Whatever your Orders, may I encourage you to Stay the Course?  I speak it to myself,  When we grow weary in the journey, when we face the storms and searing heat of battle... might we remember the charge,

Your Post and Orders Remain as Directed...

Sunday, May 12, 2019

A Mother's Day Meme...

I think Mom would have enjoyed the sharing of today's memes.  Universal themes that poke fun at the very things that drive us crazy... yes, she would have loved sending us texts that made us smile!

In honor of a day that is often so bittersweet... here are some of our favorites!

Yes!  Truth for moms everywhere!

And, then, there are these sweet mommas...

I can't even!

And then there's my most favorite mom of all...

Heaven's gates stand guard,
til the veil thins and God calls us home
Yes, there is coming a day...
Can Not Wait!

Blessed to have been loved so well.
We are the lucky ones!

Happy Mother's Day Mom,
Love you, Always and Forever

Friday, May 3, 2019

Another Option for the Fight

In March of 2017, Karen Kiernan received the news that we all fear...

Her recent digestive issues, her weight loss and nagging back pain, they were the result of an aggressive pancreatic cancer growth.  A stage IV pancreatic cancer diagnosis.

The diagnosis left her overwhelmed and in shock.  We've been there too.  The first days and weeks of a cancer diagnosis can leave you reeling.

Thank goodness for family and friends!  Karen's sister dug in deep and began the research that has ultimately given Karen great hope.

Her sister encouraged her to have her tumor profiled with PanCan's Know your Tumor program.

The tissue sample showed a rare mutation that is known to respond to a relatively new immunotherapy drug called Keytruda.  Within weeks of starting the Keytruda regimen, her cancer stabilized, giving her the added relief of her back pain easing and a noticeable improvement in her overall well-being.

You may have seen the ads on TV for Keytruda.  It has been largely targeted towards those with Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer, but has been approved for any solid tumor that displays certain molecular characteristics.

According to the manufacturer, Keytruda works by blocking the PD-1 pathway to help prevent cancer cells from hiding.  Keytruda helps the immune system do what it was meant to do: detect and fight cancer cells.  

Keytruda is an immunotherapy treatment that is showing good results for those with certain mutations in the pancreatic cancer tumor.  This molecular mutation is somewhat rare in pancreatic cancer tumors, appearing in only 1-3% of these tumors.  And while this may be a slim number of pancreatic cancer patients, if it can help even a handful it is so worth shouting the news from the rooftops!

Karen shares her story over at the PanCan website as a way to shed light on the potential for new pancreatic cancer treatments and the hope they give.

Learn more about the Know your Tumor program and see if one of these newer treatments might be a good option for you!

As always, check with your medical team.  We celebrate the Hope of potential new treatments, but we never lose sight of the heavy responsibility of sharing truth and not unrealistic pipe dreams.

We battle together, fighting until a Cure is found...
In Grace, Always,