For some reason, when the clock strikes midnight, I often think about Cinderella.
I imagine her running out of the ball, losing a shoe, and wonder how she felt as she replayed all that had happened during the past few hours with her prince charming.
The most recent 2015 version of the movie definitely plays in my mind as I sit here during the midnight hour, with my shoes off, next to my sleeping prince charming. Unfortunately, I am not wearing glass slippers and this story is all kinds of mixed up.
In all practicality, I know life is not a fairy tale, even though one of my first thoughts this morning was, “what shoes do I wear to my husband’s brain biopsy?”
Moving on, today has been long and stressful, but overall, it has gone well. Josh's brain biopsy happened around noon and he has been recovering ever since. The incision in his hairline is barely noticeable and our evening in ICU has been calm. While we are not out of the woods (at all), we now settle back in and wait a few more days on pathology results to guide our next steps. The doctor felt good about the biopsy but is still not sharing much – which is to be expected.
And yep, it’s still complicated. From what we can tell, the tumor hasn’t changed much in the past week but I’ve noticed Josh is more tired and disconnected. It’s still hard to explain to people, but there is a difference from the regular Josh-operating system and the current version. To make it a bit more confusing, if you call, text or see him in person, he might look normal and tell you he is doing good, but he also might not remember many (or any) details of the conversation you just had – tricky! – I know!
Maybe because it's midnight, but the more I think about it, there are a lot of elements of a fairy-tale here: time clocks, missing shoes, main characters sleeping, feeling like we’re stuck in the woods, an overwhelming sense of hope, and, of course, some fear.
As we begin a new day, our story continues. We are beyond grateful for the love, care, support and prayers. What a privilege it is to have friends both near and far who care so much. Thank you.
Our hearts are full.
We continue to hold tight to the truth that God is with us and that there is much hope to be found in his story and ours, even in the midst of such uncertainty.
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Romans 15:13
This has been a tough week with another one fast approaching. On Monday, April 29, Josh will be having a brain biopsy for a tumor that was recently discovered in the middle of his brain.
Ugh. Gut punch. We know.
Now breathe . . . And continue.
About a week ago, a couple of Josh's coworkers called me (Jenn) to talk about some odd things they had noticed with Josh not operating quite right. He was doing some quirky things like not remembering what he just did and not fulling connecting with conversations. I had also noticed some forgetfulness and curious issues lately, but we thought these were tied to his thyroid meds begin off or just general health. With this prompting and a connection with a local primary doctor, we were able to get an early morning appointment on Wednesday. On Thursday, the blood work came back normal and we were referred to the oncologist to have an MRI that same day.
The MRI results came quickly and showed a 2 inch (5 cm) mass located in the middle of Josh’s brain. This is definitely contributing to the issues with cognitive reasoning and even some of the overall odd health issues he has experienced for the past few months. We were admitted to the hospital the Thursday before Easter for more tests including a CT scan and a lumbar puncture or spinal tap. The purpose of the tap was to more quickly and easily determine if the mass could be connected to lymphoma which would mean one type of non-surgical treatment. We stayed in the hospital a couple days but released to spend Easter Sunday at home, waiting on pathology results which unfortunately did not help much. The results of the spinal tap did not show conclusive evidence that the mass is lymphoma. So we need to learn more.
We met with the neurosurgeon on Tuesday, April 23, who will perform a somewhat complicated needle biopsy next Monday to help determine what this mass actually is and what to do next. We believe the mass could be cancer but aren't sure if it is or what kind. It definitely significant and not in a great place.
Overall, this is super complicated, concerning and just plain tough. Broadly, it is never good to have a mass or tumor in your brain, but here we are. We still trust and pray to a God who we know can heal, is faithful and is always by our side. We are surrounded by amazing family and friends who are walking with us and lifting us up in prayer and in life.
One of the extra challenging things about the process is that Josh is not fully processing what all this means as the tumor is impacting his memory and overall processing ability. Physically, he is functioning fine, however, things are not entirely clear. It's hard to explain, but it is different. He's still free for conversations, lunches, etc. but it might be a bit interesting for everyone involved. If you want to know more details, talking to me (Jenn) is probably a safer bet.
So what do we do?
Right now, we wait for the next bit of information and try to make the best decision. We, of course, are trusting God and praying for wisdom, healing and good doctors.
What can you do?
Join us in prayer and encourage us in whatever way you can or want to. We are setting up a meal chain to help occasionally and some Josh-sitting times for local friends and family. You are welcome to ask questions and still call and chat with either of us.
We will try to answer your messages/calls when possible, but if we don’t respond quickly, please know that we might just be overwhelmed at times. I'll be sharing updates on this page as we get them. You can share these as well with prayer chains and other friends.
We are so thankful for our family, friends, church and the incredible support we feel all around us. Even in the midst of being frustrated about this, we trust that God has a plan for even this and that he is with us in it.
This is not really the adventure we had in mind for 2019, but it is yet another Josh and Jenn adventure.
"May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you. (1) . . .
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
(Psalm 20:1, 7)
In April of 2019, we learned that Josh had a large brain tumor, a glioblastoma, in the middle of his brain. At the age of 41, this was quite the surprise. Josh sadly passed away after a short battle on September 30, 2019.
View his obituary
These past months, we've navigated the complexities of treatment, and hospice care and learned that there wasn't really treatment and that in Josh's case, the tumor was inoperable.
We're sharing our hearts and experience as we navigate this unexpected turn and God's goodness in the middle of it. We hope to encourage others by sharing our story.
Thank you for following along with our journey even in grief.
Feel free to message us.
If you'd like to donate to medical expenses, here's a link or you can email us questions
More about Josh & Jenn
Jenn Brown is the author of this site, a loving wife and communications guru.
Josh Brown most recently served on staff at Fellowship Bible Church in NWA as a Springdale Community Pastor. We've served in ministry in Missouri, Texas, Virginia and Nevada.
Cancer has been big part of our story. Josh has battled cancer three times already with the first to being non-Hodgkins lymphoma at ages 15 and 25 and the third thyroid cancer last year and a GBM, brain tumor this year.
Jenn's mom, Carol passed away from breast cancer 21 years ago and her father also went through treatments for Chronic Leukemia (CLL) in 2017 and is doing well now.
Friends & Family
We have been so encouraged by friends and family. Thank you for the practical ways you are caring for us! We love you all! This is just few photo highlights of some meaningful moments.