Wednesday, October 1, 2014

God Healed Patrick

Tonight, I do not know how to type!

My fingers cannot possibly move quickly enough ~ I probably cannot spell correctly ~ and I'm practically certain I will not be able to choose the best words to share this news.

But, here it goes.

God Healed Patrick

Let me repeat.

God Healed Patrick

{I think we need a new blog title}
{huge grin}


This Monday, almost precisely 18 months from being diagnosed with stage III rectal cancer, Patrick was declared in REMISSION with NO EVIDENCE OF CANCER (NEC).

Patrick's repeat PET scan {after his high-intenseity, targeted radiation therapy} revealed no rapidly dividing cells!  All of his physicians are in agreement that the tumor in Patrick's abdomen has been destroyed, and the Shaw's understanding is that no further biopsies or tests of this area {at this time} are needed.  Praise be to Jesus!

Patrick will return to UVA for a repeat colonoscopy in approximately three months and will continue to follow-up regularly with his surgeon, radiation oncologist, and medical oncologist.  

Clearly, Patrick and Emily request that everyone continue to pray without ceasing for complete and permanent healing of Patrick's body.

However, at this moment ~ right here, right now ~ let's choose JOY!

Let's Praise the Lord!!!

And I know I've said this before {just after Patrick's diagnosis} ... but, I'll say it again.  This story is still being written.  In fact, I think we are perhaps simply approaching its climax.  I believe {in Patrick's own words} that "God will not waste [his] pain."  Just wait and see.  So much glory will come to the Father from this incredible testimony!  Patrick's life has been saved ~ and many, many more lives will be radically changed for it.  I know it!

So proud that we serve a God who is bigger than sin, bigger than addictions, bigger than poverty, bigger than abuse, bigger that poor decisions, bigger than violence ... and bigger than cancer.

Anyone else in awe of the Great Physician tonight?!?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Join In Prayer

Returning to the blog tonight, I cannot believe it's been nearly 3 months since it was last updated.  The great thing about that is ~ it means that during the last several months, Patrick & Emily have been prayerfully waiting for Patrick's high-dose radiation to work and allowing life to settle into a relative "new normal."

Tonight, per the request of the Shaws, I come asking everyone to JOIN IN PRAYER with Patrick and Emily at this time!  On September 29, 2014, Patrick is scheduled to undergo a repeat PET scan.  This scan will be looking for any rapidly dividing (cancer) cells in Patrick's body.  In essence, this follow-up PET scan will be used to determine if the high-dose radiation completed the job of ridding Patrick's body of all cancer.

Please agree with us in prayer that:
1.  the PET scan is exact and accurate
2.  the PET scan reveals NO EVIDENCE OF CANCER {i.e. the tumor is gone}
3.  for wisdom in those over Patrick's care plan {doctors, nurses, technicians}

Above all, in a nut-shell, please PRAY {and believe} that Patrick is CANCER FREE!


If you are regularly praying for the Shaws, continued prayers are requested for financial security, wise decision making, and care-giver stress/emotions {for Emily}.  Any and ALL prayers are greatly appreciated. 

[ please note:  I have had a few anonymous comments addressed to me regarding a lack of recent blog posts.  Please keep in mind that Patrick & Emily notify me when they would like this blog updated.  Therefore, during times of relative "quiet" for the Shaws, I may have nothing to update.  During those times, it is requested that you continue to pray for previously mentioned prayer needs and {kindly} respect my need to care for my own family as well.  Thank you for understanding.]

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Update for the Week

Hello prayer warriors!

Please continue to pray for Patrick and Emily this week.  After careful consideration and much prayer, they made the difficult decision to proceed with high intensity radiation in hopes of avoiding any additional surgery. 

Patrick will begin a series of 5 treatments on June 19th.  Just as the radiation targets the tumor in Patrick's abdominal cavity - please target your prayers at the eradication on the tumor and all cancer in his body!

And - if you're local to the Winchester Va area- please come to Sweet Frog this Thursday night (also the 19th!) to support the Shaw's by eating frozen yogurt. Doesn't get much sweeter than that. 

God bless!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Come Eat FroYo for Patrick & Emily

If anyone reading this blog is even semi-local to Winchester, Virginia and also loves Patrick & Emily Shaw {which we all do!} ... please consider coming out to the benefit event I'm hosting in their honor.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

June 10th

Since it's been awhile since my last update, I wanted to enlighten everyone following Patrick's story about what is currently "on the plate" for the Shaws.  I spoke over the telephone with Emily about one week ago, and she told me what the current plan of action is for Patrick.

Last week, Patrick met with his new (due to moving) radiation oncologist.  Most of the information he received from this physician could be considered good news.  However, like most things cancer-related, it didn't come without risks and side effects.  The good news is, Patrick's radiation oncologist thinks that his "new" tumor is small enough to be adequately treated with ultra-high-dose targeted radiation to the point which he may not need any further surgery.  In essence, her treatment plan is for Patrick to undergo 5 (daily or every-other-day) intense radiation treatments to the tumor location, wait several months, repeat the PET scan, and {insert lots of prayer} hope that the tumor is gone and Patrick requires NO surgery in the end.  She believes there is an 80-85% chance that this plan will be fully successful.  Both Emily and Patrick are strongly leaning toward taking this "good chance" to avoid another surgery, but ask for your continued prayers for discernment.  

As previously mentioned, if Patrick chooses to proceed with this radiation-only approach, there are physical and fertility-related side effects as well as some dangers if he should fall in the 15-20% of the population in which radiation does not fully eradicate the tumor.  Should this happen, the radiation oncologist informed the Shaws that the less invasive surgery (in which Patrick's organs are NOT removed from his abdominal cavity) will no longer be an option due to tissue scarring from the radiation.  Instead, if the follow-up PET scan reveals any tumor activity, Patrick will have no choice other than the surgery to remove both his bladder and prostate.

As you can see, Emily and Patrick need your prayers.  My understanding is that final decisions and the beginning of the Shaw's chosen treatment plan will begin on June 10th.  Between now and then, please pray for wisdom, discernment, divine intervention, and the BEST POSSIBLE results regardless of which course the Shaws choose to take.  God is so much bigger than this tumor!

Monday, May 5, 2014


Patrick's appointment with the doctor at John's Hopkins went well last Friday.  They had a safe trip and were able to stay with friends on the way home.  However, this physician's opinion of appropriate treatment was SO radically different than Dr. Friel's, Patrick and Emily are requesting PRAYERS FOR DISCERNMENT specifically.

The John's Hopkins doctor feels he can remove the tumor in Patrick's lower abdominal cavity without removing either the bladder or the prostate.  He does, however, feel that Patrick will need rounds of IV chemotherapy post-op.  This is wonderful news in many ways.  However, it also poses a lot of new questions like:  why do the two docs have SUCH different opinions?  and will this approach invite the cancer to return?  Obviously, Patrick does NOT want to lose this prostate and bladder; however, he and Emily must also carefully consider which approach will be the BEST option to keep Patrick disease free in the future.  Dr. Friel believes the tissue surrounding the tumor (hence, the bladder and prostate) needs to be removed to be sure he gets "clear margins" and leaves behind no cancer cells with the potential to grow and spread.  Yet again, Patrick's quality of life remains a huge consideration for the Shaws.

At present, the Shaws await another telephone conference with the John's Hopkins doctor once he consults with a urologist over Patrick's MRI results.  Then, they wish to again discuss surgical approaches with Dr. Friel as he is more familiar with Patrick's entire journey and is closer to the Shaw's home.

Please pray for wisdom on the part of both physicians and DISCERNMENT for Patrick and Emily.  Also, please pray the God will provide the Shaws with support people (meals, finances, errand-running) when the time of either surgery arrives as they are currently transitioning into new jobs and a new hometown.

Thank you.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Bombarding Heaven

Tonight I wish that I was coming to you with better news.  I wish that we could together bombard Heaven with shouts of praise that "Patrick is cancer free."  I cannot do that tonight.  However, I am certain we will all continue to bombard Heaven with prayer for the Shaws.  And we will continue to praise Him - because although we do not understand (and we even do not like) these current circumstances - He is still worthy of our praise - simply because of who He is.


On Monday evening, Patrick and Emily received a phone call from Dr. Friel, Patrick's colorectal surgeon at UVA with the results of the biopsy he had on April 23rd.  The biopsy was positive for cancer cells.  Therefore, the "area of concern" seen on Patrick's PET scan and recent MRI was cancer.  At this time, the Shaws have not been explicitly told whether this cancer is a "new occurrence," "recurrence," or cancerous tissue "left behind" after Patrick's surgery in August 2013.  

Patrick and Emily have not yet met in-person with Dr. Friel.  However, it is their understanding that his proposed treatment plan includes highly invasive surgery to remove both Patrick's bladder and prostate.  For this reason, the Shaws are seeking a second opinion before proceeding with further treatment.  While they agree with the "diagnosis," they are hoping that another physician may offer a less devastating treatment option.

This Friday, May 2nd, at 1:45pm, Patrick and Emily will be meeting another doctor at John's Hopkins.  Please be in prayer over the Shaws as they travel.  Please pray for their safety, their expenses, and their clarity of mind as their being "emotionally overloaded" is an understatement.  Please pray for a divine appointment.  Let's shower this John's Hopkins physician and his staff with prayer!  Agree with me in praying for this doctor's knowledge, expertise, wisdom, kindness, decision making, attention to detail, accuracy, and spirit.  Most importantly, the Shaws specifically ask for prayer that major surgery and organ loss can be avoided.

Let's also lift up Patrick and Emily as they face monumental decisions once they have gathered the necessary information.


Tomorrow there will be a SUNRISE.
God will still be who He is.
God is still in perfect control over Patrick's life - and His plans are good.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Pray. Pray. Pray.

Hi again, everyone.

This is a simple update to let you know what Patrick's recent MRI results indicated and how the Shaw's will move forward.  Like the PET scan, Patrick's MRI also showed an "area of concern" in Patrick's lower abdominal cavity, near his prostate.  Dr. Friel (Patrick's colorectal surgeon) wishes to investigate this further by obtaining a tissue biopsy.  The good news is: this will be a "CT guided biopsy" procedure and is minimally invasive.  It will be performed outpatient on April 23, 2014.

Please continue to bombard heaven with PRAYER that this "area" is NOT CANCER.  Our sincerest hope is that this will prove to be something benign like inflammation or scar tissue.  Pray.  Pray.  Pray.

Thursday, April 3, 2014


Patrick & Emily have undergone a TON of change over the last week.  Tonight was the first time I have spoken with them (other than by text since my last blog post).  

Let's begin with some PRAISES!

The Shaws are officially "moved" to their new home in Lynchburg, VA.  While Emily expressed that she's still slightly overwhelmed with unpacking and truly "settling" in - both she and Patrick wish to extend an enormous THANK YOU to everyone who helped them with their move.  So, from the Shaws, thank you!!!  They felt very loved.

Patrick is moving along through his training and orientation at his new job, and they are being flexible with his needs.  Emily begins working at her new job this coming Monday.

All good things.


Patrick and Emily also have a specific PRAYER need at this time:

After reviewing the results from Patrick's recent PET scan, the tumor board wishes for Patrick to have further testing to determine the cause of the "bright spot" that was seen in his lower pelvic region.  None of the physicians are concerned about the unchanged "spots" on Patrick's liver and lungs and feel they are unrelated to cancer.  There is, however, continued "concern" (without definite labeling) about the spot seen in Patrick's pelvis.

Patrick has an MRI schedule for around 7 pm on Monday, April 7th, 2014 at UVA.  He has asked everyone to pray specifically that nothing "dangerous" is viewed on this scan.  Please pray for accurate and efficient testing, for good reading of the results, for clear answers, and for NOTHING OF CONCERN to show up on this MRI.  As previously said, PET scans are highly, highly sensitive ... so there is a chance this "spot" could be inflammation and not related to cancer.  That is our sincerest prayer.

At this time, there are not additional follow-up plans set after the MRI.  I will update this blog as soon as I know more.

Please also pray for soundness of mind for Emily and for efficiency on the part of the UVA oncology practice.  Emily expressed a lot of frustration with lack of follow through and follow up.  As many of you know, dealing with "secretarial" issues like this is time consuming and draining.  Please keep lifting Emily up in your prayers as well ~ as she juggles appointments, follow ups, paperwork/telephone calls, unpacking, and her own new job.  She has a lot on her plate!

As always, thank you all for praying for and loving on Patrick & Emily Shaw.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Agree With Me

Friends, we have a lot of praising and praying to do right now.
Right.  Now.

Patrick and Emily came up to visit us this weekend, and it really was a time of celebration.  As you know, Patrick finished his chemotherapy treatments in late January and (although he might tell you otherwise) is adapting LIKE A ROCKSTAR to his colostomy.  [insert REALLY proud former oncology nurse face]  The above photos are of my son, Jackson, giving Patrick his "Beads of Courage".  Jackson is a survivor (of Progressive Infantile Scoliosis) as well!

*But, there were even more miracles to celebrate.*

Several weeks ago, Patrick not only got back several panels of bloodwork indicating little to no "cancer cell activity" and returning organ function ... but also results from genetic counseling.  The Shaw's had undergone some bloodwork to determine whether any future children might have an increased risk of colorectal cancer.  This test would basically be used to determine whether Patrick's cancer (at a young age) was due to a genetic mutation or unfortunate happenstance.  Good news!  Patrick does NOT carry a gene for cancer.  This means that when God's timing is right, Patrick and Emily can proceed with growing their family without the worry of "passing along" colorectal cancer genes to future children.

Additionally, Patrick and Emily have been amazed at God's faithfulness in other areas of their lives.  After several job interviews with Liberty University, Patrick had been put on a "waiting list" for hire.  On an absolute whim, Emily google-searched eye doctors in Lynchburg.  Online, she found a practice that mentioned their involvement in mission work.  She mailed in her resume (although nothing on their webpage indicated they were hiring).  Days later, she received a phone call requesting an interview.  Well, she interviewed and they hired her on the spot.  Just like that!

But, the story gets better! ... The Shaw's quickly leased an apartment in Lynchburg and began packing for their move.  Then, Patrick received a phone call from Liberty offering him a job!!!  Does that say something about God's perfect timing, or what?!?

Obviously, both Patrick and Emily are incredibly thankful, and so much praise is due!


However, MUCH PRAYER is still needed. 

Today, Patrick and Emily had an appointment with the oncologist to review the results of Patrick's most recent PET scan.  A PET scan is highly, highly sensitive and can "indicate" or "mark" something as benign as inflammation.  In addition to the previous "spots" on Patrick's liver and lungs still being present on this scan, the doctor noted a new "bright spot" low in Patrick's pelvic cavity.  Unsure of the reason for this "bright spot," the doctor is presenting Patrick's case before a tumor board on Wednesday of this week to gather opinions as to whether this indicates recurring cancer.  Emily informed me this afternoon that while the doctor DOES NOT THINK this is cancer, he is VERY UNSURE.  If the lesion is cancerous, Patrick will be unable to undergo radiation in this area.  Removal of this lesion will require highly invasive surgery and result in the removal/loss of all organs in Patrick's pelvic cavity.  

Those words are so difficult to write ... especially in the wake of such wonderful news for the Shaw's.

Please agree with me in prayer!

Let's lift up Patrick and Emily right now.  Let's ask God to comfort them in this time of shock and confusion.  Let's pray for Heavenly wisdom imparted upon the physicians.  Let's petition the Lord to TAKE AWAY anything harmful from Patrick's body.  Let's pray for an end to this cancer!

Thank you.
God bless!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Come Back Soon!

Hello followers!

I just wanted to touch base and let you all know to come back soon to Patrick's blog.  Emily and Patrick spent the weekend with our family, and I was able to capture some VERY special photographs.  The Shaw's are waiting on some important test results due back in the next few days that I would like to include in my update.  So ... Stay tuned ... And stay in prayer ... A BIG update is coming soon!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Rocked It!

Wow!  It's been awhile since I've updated this blog.  And, mostly, that's a good thing.

Today was a BIG day!

This guy:

… rocked his LAST chemotherapy infusion …
and had his PICC line removed!

Praise Jesus!  (really … praise Jesus)  This "leg" of Patrick's journey is O . V . E . R !!!

Still ahead of Patrick are two final (I love that word in this case) weeks of oral chemotherapy, several blood panels, a PET scan, and a genetic study (to rule out a colon cancer gene).  These last steps are to hopefully banish every cancer cell in his body … then to give Patrick a thorough "once over" medically to check for any cancer cells AND to ensure all bodily organs are functioning normally again.

This is a time for celebration!

This is a time for congratulations!

This is a time to hug and hold the Shaws close!

This is also another CALL TO PRAYER!

Let's agree in Christ:
1.  To help ease Patrick's final recovery from chemo infusion … to reduce nausea, fatigue, and neuropathy.

2.  To anoint Patrick's body … to wash a healing over every cell inside … to destroy every last cancer cell FOREVER.

3.  To heal Patrick's body from chemotherapy and radiation … to make it whole again!

4.  To protect Emily and Patrick physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, and spiritually as they transition into a new "era" of their lives as "intense treatment" is coming to a near-close.

5.  To surround Patrick with protection … to put and keep him in remission … to one day declare him CANCER FREE per God's will.

6.  For Patrick as he interviews for job positions.

7.  For Patrick and Emily as they make decisions over employment and living arrangements.

8.  For Patrick and Emily as they make decisions for their marriage and family moving forward after … well … KICKING CANCER's BUTT (no pun intended).  :)


But, even amongst all the prayer and petition … let us not forget to …


for who He is … and what He is doing!