Our holiday plans changed a bit this past weekend as we returned to the hospital Friday night (July 5).
Turns out, significant blood clots in the lung + blood thinner + low platelets + too much bleeding is quite a messy, tricky situation. For over a week, we tried to solve the problem with medicine (Option A), but this continued to not work well and instead, the doctor shifted us to Option B.
This meant a holiday weekend hospital admission to receive platelets (twice), to monitor bleeding, and to get ready for a small procedure to place an “inferior vena cava (IVC) filter” in Josh's veins on Monday. The doctor tried to encourage us by saying, “at least you didn’t have to be in the hospital on the 4th of July,” – so there’s that (Ha!).
While hanging in the hospital, we caught up on some Netflix shows and movies, including a quite silly one titled, “The Unicorn Store.” During the imaginative film, I started to dwell on the concept of “reality.” And more specifically, my current reality and what it means to embrace it and truly believe it.
In this season, it's easy for my imagination to run wild with hope and even with doubt. To not believe this is really happening. And at times, to wish my reality was different, that we were instead on a tropical vacation, great road trip, or even swimming at Table Rock Lake like we did last fourth of July.
While I understand it's important and necessary to be here in this moment, it's easy to get caught up in wishing for something different, not just once but many times. Each time I see a photo of someone else doing something fun or a memory of our past adventures, the feelings repeat, causing me to drift and wish.
Earlier today, when wrestling with this, I read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, which states:
Rejoice always; pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (NIV).
This truth was just what I needed to read at just the right and even later in the evening as I drove home from the hospital (feeling nervous about leaving Josh alone but needing some sleep). On the short drive, I found myself saying the key words of the passage – Rejoice, Pray, Give Thanks . . . Rejoice, Pray, Give Thanks . . .
Then it hit me, the key words of the verse spell out RPT (or REPEAT). Totally makes sense!
. . . REJOICE (R)
. . . PRAY (P)
. . . Give THANKS (T)
While these letters may not be found in the roots of a Greek Bible translation, it was a total God moment as I realized that God wants me to follow these steps over and over again. In doing so, I (and we) can be reminded of His love, care, compassion and presence. Again, my focus shifts and I rest a little more in His arms.
The simple (and not so simple) act of repeating this discipline helps build up hope, it provides comfort and allows me to live in my own reality – in the good seasons, hard seasons and even kind-of average ones.
So let's do this together.
If your reality is sitting next to a loved one in the hospital or bedside in a season of sickness, worry or struggle: Rejoice, Pray, Give Thanks.
If your reality is a summer adventure with family or friends - embrace it, savor the moments and enjoy:
Rejoice, Pray, Give Thanks.
If you are somewhere in between, continue to trust, wait and remember:
Rejoice, Pray, Give Thanks.
I'll be doing a lot of repeating as we head into this next week.
We continue to ask for prayers and specifically for tomorrow's procedure. While we've been told this is a simple and short procedure, it still requires some skilled physicians and things to go in just right (so there's just a tad bit of freaking out happening). Hopefully, this step will help to resolve some of the sidebar issues so Josh can continue to move forward with chemo pill treatments and more quickly recover from the impact of pills and radiation.
Love you all! - Jenn & Josh (RPT)
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.