Psalm 30

As the Christmas season comes to a close and we get through this first month in the New Year, Lindsey and I wanted to give everyone a quick status update.

First of all, yes you did read that correctly, this is Brad not Lindsey. I know you have all been enjoying my wife’s writing but we thought it would be a good idea for everyone to hear from me from time to time as well, so here I am!

I also wanted to make sure I was able to say thank you to everyone. We continue to be amazed by all the prayers, the gifts and words of encouragement that we are still receiving today. We are so blessed by all of you. Thank you!

We have saved every card sent to us — such encouragement!

I continue to spend a lot of my time working on improving my overall health (physical, mental and spiritual). My days are filled with appointments for all my many different therapies, meetings with my doctors and keeping up with my protocols. It all seemed so overwhelming when I first started, but now it has become just another part of my daily routine.

During my recent trip to Loyola we were able to review my latest MRI results with my nuero-oncologist. Due to the fact that we aren’t going along with their treatment recommendations, this is typically an unpleasant experience for Lindsey and I. But this time something was different.

After a short wait in the exam room my doctor walked in and got right to the point. “Well, everything looks good,” she said. Now, to help you better understand…those words have NEVER come out of her mouth. We usually get a wishy-washy answer about how things look “okay” but we should start treatment before we “miss our window of opportunity”. There was never a huge focus on explaining what they are seeing on the scan, and more about the reasoning why we need to be doing treatment.

I think both our jaws just about hit the floor. She pulled up all the images on her computer so we could see for ourselves. We were able to look at my newest scan and compare it with my scans from the last 9 months. Sure enough, no tumor. I couldn’t believe she was saying this. There was some inflammation, scar tissue from surgeries, but no tumor. Just a large hole in my head where the tumor used to be.

This is usually the point in time where she would tell us that I still need to do their treatment. She would go on and say that the standard of care for this is chemo and radiation, but she didn’t this time. There was something different about her interaction with us. She told us {paraphrasing} “95% of the time, patients do as we predict they will…but then there is that 5%…that just don’t seem to follow suit...”

I couldn’t think of anything to say to her at that moment so I just looked over at Lindsey and gave her a little wink…

(Sidenote: The time span between Surgery #1 and Surgery #2 was 1.5 years in which the tumor grew back bigger than pre-surgery. The time span between Surgery #2 and now is also 1.5 years and there is no tumor present.)

She then told us that she recommends monitoring at this time because conventional treatment carries more risk. The things they were concerned about are seeming to not be as concerning as time goes on. I couldn’t believe the words that were coming out of her mouth. It was as if she was finally on our side, and possibly even optimistic? What was happening?

During the walk back to the parking garage I was overwhelmed with emotion from the reality of all that had happened. It always seems to take a bit to sink in. I’m still not quite sure it fully has yet, even weeks later.

The things that have happened to me and my family, the things we have experienced, it sometimes doesn’t even seem real. And maybe that’s just my brain due to two craniotomies, but I think there is more to it… it’s been an unreal experience.

It is unreal how much we are loved…it is unreal how blessed I am to be where I’m at today, to have the family I have and the support from the people in my life. I know I do not deserve the love and kindness that has been shown to me.

I say it’s unreal to make a point, and the point is that it actually is real.

It’s not unreal…IT IS REAL…The love of Christ is real and we see it everyday through His sovereignty and grace, and through His people. That’s the only explanation I have for any of this. ALL glory goes to God for they are His works, not our own.

A sweet reminder from Grace, age 10

As I sit in this place of overwhelming joy and relief, there are still pains of this reality. In fact, even as I am writing this, I forget what I was trying to say so I re-read it over and over in my head. Lindsey has to be my editor so what I’m trying to say actually makes sense. I’ve been learning to adjust to my peripheral vision loss. My head, neck and back have ached for what seems like forever (pretty much since my seizures). I’m quick to lose my temper. I’m frustrated and irritable. At times, I feel inadequate. The list goes on and on…

But I am reminded once again where true JOY comes from. It doesn’t come from a clear scan and it doesn’t come from perfect health. It’s found in Christ and Christ alone.

The lessons I have learned through this trial…I don’t even have the brain capacity to get them all out in writing. It’s hard to get the thoughts in my head out in a tangible way. I’ll keep working at it because I know that’s what the Lord has called us to do. He continues to make it clear — stay obedient (even when it doesn’t make sense) and share.

For now, we will continue to do what we are doing for treatment. We have pushed out my next MRI until April, and if that one also comes back good, we’ll hopefully push the next out 6 months.

Thank you for being our prayer warriors, our journey continues to be lighter because you all help carry some of our load. We appreciate you and thank God for you.

Courageously thankful,

Brad Holwerda {and family}

Psalm 30

I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up
    and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
    and you have healed me.
O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
    you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints,
    and give thanks to his holy name.

For his anger is but for a moment,
    and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
    but joy comes with the morning.

As for me, I said in my prosperity,
    “I shall never be moved.”
By your favor, O Lord,
    you made my mountain stand strong;
you hid your face;
    I was dismayed.

To you, O Lord, I cry,
    and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
“What profit is there in my death,
    if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
    Will it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me!
    O Lord, be my helper!”

11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
    you have loosed my sackcloth
    and clothed me with gladness,
12 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
    O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

15 thoughts on “Psalm 30

  1. Brad, no one could have written this better than you just did. Even though I have known this happy news for a bit, still crying tears of joy! You are, and will always be, our favorite son-in-law! Love you all and continuing to march alongside you. ❤️❤️❤️. Mom and Dad


    1. To God be all the glory and praise! Our pastor always says , “God is always better than we can imagine!” He truly is. Our prayers continue for you and your family!


  2. Cant love this news enough! Im so happy for you and your family. Love you guys so much and you guys are in my thoughts and prayers always. ❤


  3. Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow. Praising Him with you for such great news! We contine to pray for you and your family!!


  4. God is so good ALL the time. I’m so joyful for you. Praise God for all things. Everything comes from Him and through Him. He changes us when we are refined.
    Much love in Christ
    Houston Texas


  5. Praising and praising the Lord for this amazingly wonderful news!! Is anything too hard for the Lord?? We see again the answer!! God is soo very gracious!! Tears of joy over here!! (I can’t wait to tell my Uncle Andy about it! He doesn’t know you, nor you him, but he took interest in your story from the beginning. He’s101).


  6. Praise God! We are so thankful for this news Brad and Lindsay! God is always better than we think He is! Love Psalm 30 also! We will coninue to pray for you and your family! We knew your Grandpa Holwerda. He used to visit my Aunt Pearl Bandstra in Florida, and I think he was married to my Uncle Bernie Bandstra’s sister. Enough of the Dutch Bingo, we are so thankful for this news from you!!!


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