The Battles Within the War

Well it has been a LONG time since we have posted anything on our blog.
Sincere apologies for that. We know many of you have been following our story, and may be wondering how the Holwerda family is doing! We’ve been in our own little world, marching through the trenches in what feels like survival mode…

We are well overdue for an update…

Brad’s second craniotomy was June of 2021. Despite complications with seizures and being on a ventilator for about a week, the actual surgery and resection of the tumor was very successful. He then went through therapy (physical, occupational, and speech). You can catch our blog posts about Brad’s second surgery here: Surgery #2, We are on a Rollercoaster, A 10 Minute Convo, Progress, More Steps in the Right Direction, and He’s Home!

Back in November of 2021, Brad started working with a naturopathic doctor who implements a specific protocol that we were interested in. This specific protocol involves using really high doses of pancreatic enzymes that work to dissolve the outer coating of cancer cells. This allows the immune system to be able to identify these cells as “bad” and seek and destroy them. Now that sounds simple, but this protocol is actually very disciplined and intense. Brad takes these enzymes 7 different times a day, along with a slew of other supplements specific for Brad’s case. Brad is at his max dose of enzymes which equals 72 a day. He easily takes over a 100 pills each day…if there is a Guinness World Record for swallowing pills…Brad’s probably the winner!

Brad is also on a therapeutic diet and implements many different detox methods throughout the day. Although he is home and not working, this protocol is his job. He stays busy all day checking off his three page schedule that he repeats every day. This can definitely feel mundane and sometimes we feel like we are living in “Groundhog Day”. It also limits us on what he/we can do, as being away from home for long periods of time messes up his schedule. We try to remind ourselves this is just a season.

This protocol is the main part of Brad’s treatment. Through our own research and studying, we also implement complimentary therapies along side. Our hope is all of these therapies work synergistically to give Brad’s body the healing it needs.
(Here are just a FEW of the extra supports Brad does)

One of the goals (and reasons) of our choice to use alternative treatments is to lighten the toxic burden/taxing of the immune system that accompanies cancer. We’ve also discovered Brad is still dealing with Lyme Disease and Co-infections. Thankfully, the doctor Brad is working with is also very knowledgable in treatment for this persistent infection. He is doing treatment for this as well. Overall, Brad has responded well to this protocol and we feel he continues to make steps in the right direction.

But that doesn’t come without hiccups…

The end of April, Brad jolted out of bed around 5:30 am and began having an aggressive seizure. It was one of the scariest things I have ever experienced (and I’ve been through two craniotomies with him!) My heart goes out to anyone dealing with this condition.

I had to call an ambulance and upon arriving at the ER Brad had two more seizures. He ended up having to stay in the hospital six days to receive fluids to assist his kidneys. (They were having a difficult time flushing out the waste the body produces during a seizure.) This whole experience was extremely frustrating. For sake of time, I won’t go into too many details…but let’s just say this was not our hospital of choice to land in… and lots of advocating on my part was needed. It was definitely an exhausting, frustrating, emotion-filled week that I think we are all still recovering from.

While Brad was in the ER, he had a CT scan. According to them, they couldn’t find anything “acute” on the scan. (If they did, they probably would have transferred him to Loyola.) They did see a lot of scar tissue, but no definite tumor. This is WONDERFUL news to hear, but for right now are taking it with a grain of salt. CT’s aren’t the most accurate way to detect tumors so Brad has a MRI coming up to take a closer look. We felt great relief hearing those words, though, because we thought possibly a large tumor caused the seizure, and that doesn’t seem to be the case. WE WILL TAKE ANY GOOD NEWS WE HEAR! And give all glory to God for His goodness to us.

Brad’s recovery from the seizures has been slower than expected but each day gets better. He was off of his protocol for about two weeks so he’s gradually getting his daily schedule back in line. Brad also is having back problems due to the muscle spasms from the seizures, so that is being addressed as well.

Besides dealing with the side effects that have come with two craniotomies, seizures, and seizure medications, Brad is overall doing pretty well. When people see him they often say, “Well, you look great!”
While of course nobody wants to hear, “Well, you look like crap…” sometimes Brad wishes he felt as good as he “looked”. He has daily struggles and limitations that didn’t exist before. Every day is a battle. In fact it is a battle for all of us.

The thing we’ve learned about cancer is that it’s not just a physical disease that effects one person. It bleeds into every nook and cranny of your life. It effects every person within arms reach…all in different ways.

It effects you and those around you

You name it, cancer tries to touch it.
As soon as you think you have one battle under control, another pops up in this war.

Control. Thats another thing that we’ve learned a thing or two about.
We don’t have any.
Neither do you.
Going through this season of life has really shed some light on how little control we have over our lives. You are on a path going one way, and in the blink of an eye your life can be turned upside down, putting you on the craziest rollercoaster you never wanted to be on. You can prepare and plan as much as you want (which is a wise thing to do) but understand you still don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

I’ve had to give up any and all control I thought I had. But in surrendering my control something beautiful has happened. It allows God to lead and guide us in every step we take. We’ve had a learning curve in this with both good and bad discernment, but we wouldn’t be the people standing here today without this trial.

Our faith is stronger.
Our empathy has grown.
We’ve had NO choice but to lean on God, which is the best place to be.
We have better discipline.
Our full trust in the Lord is improving.

We’ve given the control to Him, and trust that His plan for our lives is way better than the one we “planned” on living. Some days it feels very difficult to have this attitude. Some days are full of too many battles happening at once and lots of “why” questions. There are days we sit in dark places and want to raise the white flag. Thankfully they’ve never lasted too long. God continues to be by our side guiding us and giving us just what we need, when we need it, to keep us moving along. Yes, we’ve decided Him having the control is better.

We’re often asked “How can I help?”
If you’ve been following our story you already probably know my answer.
PRAY–please continue to pray for us!
Prayer has made such a difference in our journey, in fact it is the backbone of this trial.
The power of prayer is real.

Here are some specific ways you can pray over us:
-Healing over Brad’s body and amazing MRI results
-No more seizures
-Strength and endurance for all of us
-Good strong attitudes free from negativity
-Clear discernment
-That healing can be found in more than just physical ways and God will use this for His good
-That we can find joy and happiness in the little things (especially for our children)

Thank you for being our prayer warriors. It doesn’t just take a village to raise kids…it also takes a village to support families in need and we continue to be abundantly blessed. God uses PEOPLE to accomplish His work–our story is living proof of that.

Courageously fighting each battle as they come,
{Brad} and Lindsey

Here’s a quick glance over the last few months…

6 thoughts on “The Battles Within the War

  1. Thank you for sharing! We will continue to pray for Brad and all of you.
    Psalm 91:1-2 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust”.


  2. Brad, Lindsey,Grace and Sadie, Know that we are praying for all your needs. We don’t want to intrude, but are here for you any time and for any thing. Love you, Aunt Cath


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