Dr. Schertz

If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you know that Dr. Schertz was like a father to me. The man almost single handedly saved my life. On November 28th 2013, Dr. Schertz was walking back to the cancer center from Roanoke Memorial Hospital when he was struck by a car. He died as a result from his injuries. I know I am a little late posting this but it’s effected my whole family more than anyone can imagine. I now see Dr. Kochenderfer.

Here is a link to Dr. Schertz’ Memorial Website.

Latest update

I know it’s been a long time since I’ve updated this blog, and I’m sorry for that. I went a few weeks ago to get a CT scan and a brain MRI as a normal checkup. I spoke with Dr. Buck and Dr. Shertz last week and the scans look good. The tumors are still there but not growing or spreading so that’s still good. My lungs are thick, but that’s because of everything Dr. Shertz said. I did talk to him and Dr. Buck about me spacing out, and Dr. Shertz thinks I am having seizures. Between those 2, they’re going to find a neurologist to send me too in the area. Aside from that, everything is just peachy with me! I just found out (as I am typing this) Amanda just passed her HESI for school, and will be graduating next week. I am so proud of her! She’s going to make a great nurse.
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, and ate lots of Hokie birds. Christmas is right around the corner, and I hope everyone has a great Christmas. I am so thankful to be here to share it with my family and friends. I go back to Dr. Shertz in May so I’ll update again at that time. Thank you all for your support.

Website font fixed!

So I TOTALLY forgot that the font was messed up in IE on my blog page. I have fixed this so now you IE users can view my blog with no problems. Also when I was looking at my web stats I see a lot of hits still going to www.dreamscapetech.net/livestrong so please make sure you update your bookmark to www.joshesjourney.com

I went this week for a CT scan of my neck, chest, abdomen, and pelvis. I go next week for an MRI of my head. THEN I will go the following week to see Dr. Buck, and the following week to see Dr. Shertz. It’s been a while since I’ve seen either of these great doctors, so I am excited to get some results. As soon as I get some results I’ll be sure to pass them along. Thank you to everyone that continues their support and prayers.

Just a friendly update

Hey guys! I just wanted to give you a quick update on myself. 2 weeks ago I went for an MRI of my head, and a full body CT scan as a normal checkup. On my way home, Dr. Buck called me, and said that everything looked great with my head. The 2″ hole in my head had started to collapse and was very little dura-bond left they could see. The brain is filling itself back in. That’s a good thing!

I followed up with Dr. Shertz this week, and he said everything looked good. The scans only showed scarring in the lungs, and a slightly enlarged spleen. The liver was back to normal size with no residue of tumors or any sort of scaring. He bumped up my scans from every 3 months, to every 6 months. He also made me an appointment with Dr. Harrons office so I can discuss my ‘spacing out’ issue, and determine if Dr. Harron needs to do anything or if I need to see a Neurologist to see if this will ever go away. Hopefully it will.

Everything else in life is going good, I’ve found a lot of my old friends on Facebook, so I can keep up with people a little better. Amanda is doing good in school, I am so proud of her. Kobie is doing excellent in school and he makes us both so proud. Sadie is growing up super fast, and is spoiled rotten. We’re all excited about going camping this summer. We’ve got several camping trips planned, and we can’t wait!

I will post more updates when I talk to Dr. Harron to see what’s going on with that. Until next time friends, have a great spring and enjoy the weather. BYE!

So, everyone wants to know what my CT results are. You all know every 3 months I have to go for a CT scan of my entire body, to see the status of my tumors. They slowly shrink each time (very slow), but they have not been spreading or growing so that’s a plus. I’ve had the cancer in my body ever since. I get so scared every 3 months when I have to go for my CT because I have gotten such bad news every time I go. ;(.. THEN I see my oncologist a week after, and usually the Thursday before they call to remind me of my appointment. When I see his number pop up on my caller ID, my heart sinks, like “WHY is he calling me?” then I remember it’s a reminder. Well anyway, I went today for the followup of my CT last week and as always, I was scared to death when I walked in there. Dr. Schertz came in and sat down. He looked at me. I KNEW something was up. Guys, I have some bad news for all of you all………………… You’re going to have to put up with me for a long time. As of January 26th, 2010, I am in clinical remission!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This last CT scan showed no evidence of cancer in my body. The tumors are gone!!!!!!! I am cancer free!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 :)… Thank you to everyone who has stood by my side throughout this fight, and prayed for Amanda and I. You have no idea how much it all means to us. Thank you thank you thank you. I love you all… I also love and miss my biggest inspiration through all of this, Brooke Mckinsey Smith and I think she has been looking over me for a while!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 Now, I need a beer.

Latest CT results

It’s that time again, time for another CT scan! I went last week to get my CT scan, and for some reason this time I’ve been really scared of the results. I am always scared when it comes time for the results. This time, they didn’t do a scan of my head, which I am very unhappy about. With 2 2″ brain tumors developing in a matter of a couple of weeks of one another, I want a CT done and I want to know the results. I hate waiting. I’ve never liked to wait. Not on something this serious, but whatever.
I went and saw Dr. Shertz today to talk about my CT results. Everything still looks good according to imaging, the tumors are still stable, no new growth and no new tumors. My shoulder and side is hurting, I don’t know why but Dr. Shertz wasn’t really concerned with it, being that imaging was fine. I go back in January for my next set of scans, lab work, and office visit. At least I don’t have to worry about it between now and until after Christmas. I hope everyone is doing good, and gearing up for Halloween. If you know me, you know my favorite holiday of the year, is Black Friday. Even if I can’t get anything, I still like being out in all of the rush. It’s just fun. Ads are already out for Black Friday and I am excited about it. Hmm, let’s see, what else is new.. Amanda has the H1N1 flu right now, and hasn’t been feeling great. Dr. Sadaat at Smith Mountain Lake Family Practice (our family doctor) has given all of us Tamiflu to help us from getting it. I did discuss this with Dr. Shertz today, and he said that since I’ve been of chemo for a year that my bodys immune system is back to normal and if I get sick, I’ll be as sick as the rest of the general population.

I went to the UNC vs. Florida State game last week. It was a great game, and we were kicking butt up until the second half, when FSU came back and won 30-27. Oh well. We come to Blacksburg Thursday to take on the Hokies. I highly doubt we’ll be able to pull it off but who knows. As bad as we get beat sometimes, we do have one of the best defenses in the country! For all of you people who like to pick on me for being a Tar Heel, that’s okay. Basketball season is about to begin so guess what, it’s MY turn! My Tar Heels always make me proud in basketball. After all, we ARE the 2009 National Champions!.. Let’s just hope we can keep our strength this year. 🙂 That’s about all I have to say, but I am going to end this post with something from one of my very good friends, Brooke. These are her words of wisdom and I always looked up to her. Brooke, I love you and I miss you so much. I’m so thankful you’re out of your pain

BROOKE – Star City Roller Derby terror called GRRRR now skates in heaven 🙂

“Well Life’s always been crazy for me, but recently “shat” has definitely hit the fan…I believe God wants the best for me…I believe life’s not always fair and I certainly believe you can always make the best out of what’s handed to you and you create your situations..

This is my story and things you most likely didn’t know about me…I want everyone in my life to know…beware this is a long one.

My life’s always been pretty dang good…growing up I had two awesome parents I looked up to and always were there for me and did everything for me. A big family that were all hero’s to me and I loved very much…I played sports, went to a small Christian school had good friends growing up and went to church every weekend since I could remember…I was always a little dorky and never that smart, but hell I loved life!!! Everything was brilliant and innocent…I felt like I could do anything I put my mind to! EVEN FLY (when I was a youngin)!!

As I got older things got more confusing…I learned my parents weren’t perfect…the church had more problems than I thought was allowed…I wasn’t good enough for my friends I grew up with they eventually disappeared…I learned my “magic cape” would never make me fly…and I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin anymore…sure as hell couldn’t ever win a spelling bee much less get an A on my tests :op…I was lost…hurt, confused, frustrated wanting things to be back how they were…”perfect”.

As I grew into a blossoming young teenage lady I then figured I’d take control of what I didn’t understand and make my own reality…I thought I was so flippin smart!!!! GOD was I mistaken. Now, I am not gonna go totally into it, but I did some dumb a$$ ish …I am surprised I came out ok haha! I thought the dumbest people were cool…I thought smoking pot, and drinking made me an independent adult…Sex was this new cool toy I could play with and no consequences would ever come from it…I was a not so good person to say the least. I disobeyed everything I had learned and fought with my parents everyday it seemed…nothing was good!

I hated who I had become and thought my life was OVER! I wasted a lot of time and hurt a lot of people…honestly, I was searching so hard for the answers of life, I forgot what life was all about………simply just loving myself and life for what it is…relying on God to do what was best for me.
I had life going how I wanted it to for the past year…I started working towards a career I was loving…I was in love…I had good friends…roller derby…a nice car…healthy…I felt pretty and smart…I must admit I didn’t put trust in God…I didn’t have faith he’d do what was best for me…so I made all my own decisions and put faith in only myself…seeing a pattern yet? Yea…I am a stubborn hard head! If ya didn’t know that already ;o) I made some stupid decisions…I started trying to find God again when I realized I was lost and sad without him.

My life has now come to a screeching halt…I was diagnosed with cancer this past year and they can’t cure it. I have hundreds of little tumors in each one of my lungs…..one in my back and breast.. It’s the rarest of the rare. Only .6% percent of cancer patients have had it meaning there haven’t been enough studies on it for a cure and no treatments they have will stop it…so where does that leave me. Where does this leave my heart? Broken…my brain is full of questions, and my body wants to give up. Should I ever get married? Should I even think about children? Should I stop working as much and just enjoy life?

BUT the real question I got to ask is to God…what DO you want me to do? Will God heal me and show Himself to people through his power?…Will He use my life to do His work…is that why he put a time limit, so I would take him seriously? I am not sure, but I do know this…even though I have a time limit…everyone does…I was just lucky enough to find mine out so I can act now and stop wasting life like it’s always gonna be there…it’s not. Who knows I might die in a car accident tomorrow…but my point is not to think about death, but to celebrate life everyday that’s one thing I never did. I complained and cried about what I couldn’t understand and why God did this or didn’t do that…be positive ask God for peace and strength and live life the best to your ability…remember no one’s perfect ask for forgiveness and the ability to do better. You never know when you will loose a chance…only thing you can do is count on God even if you think he’s not there for you or done you wrong…open your heart and trust …Pray he’ll heal you and take away your pain.

Give your life to Him before you figure out you have none left. Don’t be like me and have to get a huge kick in the butt before you start to believe or do something to change your life. DO IT NOW!!!

Stop being so self centered and selfish… I believe that God could heal me, but honestly I think I know now why God has said no to me. He has let me learn how to be tough and to have the knowledge, so I can spread the word. Hopefully people will be wise and not make foolish mistakes like me…no matter how hard it gets the only thing that ever saved me was God….the only thing that gives me real peace is his love…I believe I am supposed to use this “tragedy” to spread his word.

God’s always been a mystery and put down a lot by most people these days…but the truth is we all have tried to take control, lost sight of God, and created our own “demons” within us that could really be anything… Doubt, fear, anger, sickness, “bad luck lives”, alcohol, drugs, sex…anything.

Do not fear the unknown…accept it and love and live…love everyone with a Godly understanding and heart……..read His book to find out who he really is for yourself not from you’ve heard all your life…believe he can do the impossible and hold tight to your faith!

I love everyone and I am sorry to anyone I have ever hurt…this was not intention…all I ever want is to show you the real me….who is stronger than I have let myself be!

Who knows…..I could be healed…watch my niece grow into a beautiful young lady (btw she is the best thing ever she’s definitely a gift from God), get married, have kids of my own, and grow old to have those “cool old lady hair dues”, and crazy grandkids 🙂 …but in the mean time I want to praise God and let everyone in the world know it…hopefully my disasters will bring others eternal life…and I’ll be just as happy…”

An update on life

It’s been a while since I’ve posted an update, and I know it’s overdue. I went to see Dr. Buck about 3 weeks ago, and he’s scheduled me for a head MRI in April. Dr. Harron wants to see me again in January. I go next week for another CT scan then the following week, to see Dr. Shertz to discuss the results. Thus far tho, my results have been good. No new tumors, and they’re not growing. That’s good.

I hope that everyone had a good summer, and had lots of fun. It’s fall again and time to wind down and get ready for Christmas, yay!

When I was diagnosed with cancer last year, I didn’t have anyone I could talk to about my disease that was my age. Sure, I could talk to Amanda or any of my friends, but nobody that could really relate to me. Right when I was diagnosed, there was a story on Roanoke.com about Brooke Smith and her diagnosis. I found Brooke on MySpace, and her and I started chatting. We had a lot in common. She grew up on the street behind the street that I grew up on in Roanoke City. We both also loved skating. We talked to each other about our cancer, how to cope, and all of the good things in life. Brooke really opened my eyes and made me see things the way they SHOULD be seen. She was the biggest inspiration that I had while I was at my roughest spots in my battle. SHE of all people, could relate to how I was feeling. New Years Eve 2008, Brooke, her friend Seth, and her sister Ashley met Amanda and I at Roanoke Civic Center and we all hung out and had a good time. Brooke was on crutches but she still got out there and danced, and had a blast with everyone. She made us have a real good night. Brooke went to Boston to do clinical trials to try and help her beat her rare form of cancer, but it was unsuccessful. She remained strong, remained having a strong faith and remained very close to God during her whole journey. Brooke was a real special friend to me, more than most people could imagine. Brooke passed away Friday, September 25th 2009.

Brooke, you’re with your daddy now, and you’re with God. You are in no more pain, and can be free of the disease once again. I love you Brooke, and will miss you dearly. I’ll catch you on the flip-side.

Just your average update

Hey everyone, it’s been a while since we’ve updated. That’s because frankly, there hasn’t been any updates. Last week, I went for a CT scan of my neck, chest, and pelvis. I saw Dr. Harron the same day that I had my CT scans done, and he said I was looking good, and he wanted to see me again in the middle of January. So I am done with him until 2010. I went yesterday for my follow-up with Dr. Shertz and for him to go over my CT results. Everything was good. The enlarged lymph nodes in my neck are gone, which is a big relief. We were scared they were new tumors but now we know they’re not. The nodules are still in my lungs, but they can’t tell if they’re tumors, or scar-tissue. Dr. Shertz said they looked like scar-tissue though because they were oblong rather than circular. That’s good! I can handle scar-tissue. The tumors in my spleen and liver continue to shrink. They haven’t shrunk much, but a little is better than nothing. There were also no new signs of any new tumors or regrowth of the existing ones. They did not do a CT of my head for whatever reason. I am having an MRI done of it in September though, from Dr. Buck. That’s my 6mo checkup with him. Dr. Shertz wants to space out my scans from every 2mo to every 3mo. So I go back again in October for my next CT and visit. Finally, everything is starting to look good for us health wise.

This has been a great summer for my family. We have got to do so much stuff with Kobie and had so much fun with him. We’re making up for lost time last summer when I didn’t even get to see him. We’ve taken him camping at Natural Bridge, taken him to the zoo at Natural Bridge and Mill Mountain, to the caverns and to the bridge. We have also done picnics in the park and I take him to the park and the school every few days so he can play. He loves it. This week, we drove up to Dublin to Randolph Park. If you have kids, I HIGHLY recommend going here. It’s an awesome park for both adults and kids. It’s a water park and it has tons of water stuff for kids, as well as a large water slide for adults.

Next week, we’re going camping at Jellystone in Arcadia. It looks like he’ll enjoy that also. He’s had a very good and exciting summer. Unfortunately, it’s going to come to an end soon, as the beginning of school is right around the corner.

This week, Amandas great grandpa, Henry Johnson passed away. Please keep the family in your prayers. The funeral is tomorrow, and if you wish to read the obituary, please click here.

Now, I will leave you with a smile. Despite what this post REALLY means, if you look at it lightly, you can get a good chuckle out of it. This was Amandas Facebook update yesterday.

I busted out laughing when she posted it, not realizing how it can be interpreted. 🙂 I hope everyone has a great weekend and be safe.


CT results

Josh went to the doctor last week for a checkup.  The cancer center was really busy that day and Dr. Schertz seemed rushed.  He did a thorough exam on Josh but then didn’t really discuss the CT results other than saying everything looking “okay” which was okay since I always ask for the CT report anyway.  He drew labs, tumor markers and dilantin level which I still need to call and get the results of. 

We got the CT report in the mail on Friday since they were having computer issues on Wednesday when we were there.  The tumors have not grown any and there are no new tumors which is good.  However, several lymph nodes in his neck are enlarged which is bad.  This could either be caused by an infection or something more serious like the cancer beginning to spread again.  Josh is scheduled to have another CT in 1 month.

The benefit is this Saturday from 3-8 at Westlake Golf and Country Club, we hope everyone can come.  The pool will be open so everyone bring your bathing suit.  There will be a 50/50, silent auction, live music, and of course good food!

1 Year!

Circumstances in life often take us places that we never intended to go.  We visit some places of beauty and others of pain and desolation.  I never imagined that cancer would be a part of my life history–especially not at the age of 23!  Like with any great trial, God uses everything for good if we allow him to heal us.  Every moment is teachable; every ounce of hurt can prune us for future happiness.  Don’t give in to weakness by dwelling on what you see today; look through it, as hard as it is, to the vision just beyond your sight.

One year ago today Josh was diagnosed with cancer.  Neither one of us will forget that day.  One year ago today we thought our lives were coming to a crashing end yet we now see it as just the first of many obstacles we have had to overcome this past year.