Holwerda Family Update!

We are once again well overdue on a family update! The weeks seem to pass faster and faster and our communication to keep people updated has been subpar. Thank you for showing us grace as we keep pluggin’ along. We think about the blog and keeping people in the loop often, but the days are busy and by the time everyone is tucked into bed…the brain power is just not there. We will do our best to give a brief update on what is going on in the Holwerda world!

Brad had a MRI back in June to see what’s going on in that brain of his. As I look back, I remember walking in feeling pretty confident because the weeks prior he was feeling really good. The report was overall ‘okay’.

Of course we are always hoping for the “We don’t understand it, but we see absolutely NO cancer!” response, but we didn’t quite get it.

We were very excited to hear there was no tumor or mass present. That is HUGE news considering it was 1.5 years between surgery 1 and surgery 2. Brad is 1.5 years out from surgery 2 and there is still no tumor. Can I get an AMEN!?

The ‘okay’ news is the area around the empty cavity where the tumor was removed could be considered “concerning”. The tissue surrounding the cavity can possibly have some malignant cells, and they present as a white shadowy fog on the scan. So we walked out of that appointment feeling ‘okay’…just like the report.

Thus, we kept on keeping on like we do. Brad continued on his alternative cancer protocol, and we continued to move through life as “normal” as we could. Continually seeking God’s guidance on what our next steps should be. It’s interesting how over the last few years our “not normal” has somehow become “our normal”.

We decided to do a follow up MRI three months later, bringing us to September 2022. I remember leading up to this scan sensing we were going to hear bad news. The weeks prior Brad felt off and had some weird symptoms (one night in particular we almost went to the emergency room.)

Interestingly, we also had this strange peace. We prayed, talked, and discussed and already knew that no matter what we heard (and we were expecting bad news) that our plan wouldn’t change. We KNEW God wanted us to keep going down this path. We KNEW that staying obedient is what is most important. We KNEW this peace that surpasses all understanding that we were graciously experiencing was from Him…we KNEW we weren’t going to act off emotion or fear.

So we walked into this appointment ready to hear “the tumor is back” and walk out taking another step forward without skipping a beat. And we knew we could only do that because our Father is good, and His plan is best. No matter what news was thrown at us.

This time…the report was THE SAME. No tumor. Same white shadowy fog around the cavity area.
This time…we were THRILLED! We were expecting to hear bad news, and this report wasn’t bad.

What was most interesting about this appointment was the completely unrelated conversation after “the important stuff”.
We were asking about booking another follow up MRI and if it was possible to book the scan and appointment back to back. She said, “Yes, of course! Just give me an hour and a half from after the scan. I don’t need to wait for the radiology report…I read my own scans. For example, radiology may mark something as new malignancy, but I know that white shadow on the scan is actually inflammation from treatment.”

Brad and I look at each other, and Brad quick as can be replied, “So is there a chance what you are seeing on my scan is actually inflammation from MY treatment?”

She sat quiet for a minute. Unsure of how to reply.

She then explained how she cannot know for sure because she doesn’t have studies showing what Brad’s treatment is actually doing. Fair enough. It’s not in her wheelhouse and we understand that.

She DID say that inflammation and malignancy are very hard to differentiate on a scan, and yes, there is a chance this can be inflammation. Why she didn’t offer up that information earlier in the appointment is beyond me, but we think God was planting an extra seed of hope in us.

So…guess who walked into that appointment ready to hear bad news, and out of that appointment with a little extra pep in their step? Yup, us.

While we are still being real, and understand it’s possible that white shadowy fog can be malignant cells. We are also filled with SO MUCH HOPE that perhaps Brad’s treatment is doing exactly what it is supposed to do.

So…welcome to our murky waters, folks. Where the murkiness clouds what next week, month, or year will bring. The gray space that my black and white personality hates to live in. The place where patience is being learned, faith is being tested, empathy is growing, and resilience is taking up residence. It’s also the space where most of our refinement has come from…

It’s a weird space to sit in. I don’t really know how to describe it. People often express how sorry they are we are going through this, and yes…it’s awful. It is a definite trial. The testing is intense. The emotions are real and raw. I’ve had many selfish conversations with God letting him know I’m not strong enough for this. (I’m sure Brad has too…) And God keeps lovingly reminding me that I’m stronger than I know…

At the very same time of this intense suffering, we have seen our greatest moments of joy, peace, and God’s mighty hand. If you read through our blog posts you see stories of miracles, God’s perfect timing, unbelievable support from our community, mighty prayers lifted up…I can go on and on…we have so much more to share.

The goodness of God swirling through those murky waters is undeniable. In that sense, we feel honored that God is allowing us this space to be a light to a dark world. He also has protected us. Provided for us. Met every need and worked things out for us in ways we could have never imagined.

Yes this is hard, but some days I’m reminded of how much harder it could be. We have felt that hedge of protection, that I KNOW people have prayed over us. Going through this has proved to us just how REAL God is. We have had way too many coincidences that aren’t coincidences at all. We would have never experienced any of these things without this trial. Our faith would certainly not be as strong.

As we reflect over this journey we call life, James 1 comes to mind. This chapter takes on a new and deeper meaning while in a trial. You know that weird space I spoke about above? James 1:2-4 explains that conflicting feeling well.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

While we still are marching around those walls with maybe more wounds and scars than we’d like (for Brad, literally!) We’ve also experienced the greatest refinement and closeness to the Lord that wasn’t there before. Consider it pure joy…

Being strong and courageous in the murky waters,
Lindsey {and Brad}

Here’s a sneak peak into our lives from the past few months!

7 thoughts on “Holwerda Family Update!

  1. You all are always in our prayers but your blog brings me closer to understanding what God is doing in your life❤️ God is good always!


  2. Thanks for the update! We continue to pray for Brad and all of you.
    The Lord himself goes before you; He will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
    Duet. 31:8


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