Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Our Story


Summer time, when our only concern was which beach we were going to that weekend. We lived in Italy, Sicily to be exact. We have lived here for two years, immersing ourselves in the Italian culture and honestly eating way to much pasta.  

The date, the 29th to be exact, is a number that will forever be with me. We had just returned home from a Friday night dinner with some friends. We took the dog on a walk and got ready for bed. Around 11:30 at night I was awoken to my husband jolting straight up out of bed. He looked at me, directly in the eye and then his head started rolling to the side. If anyone knows our relationship you know that Josh likes to kid with me. I thought he was making fun of me for one of the many times I had awoken to saying there were spiders all over me. It was a split second for me to realize that he wasn't kidding and something was seriously wrong. I came to and grabbed him just in time to lay him down for his first seizure. What was only a few minutes, felt like an eternity for him to come to. I called 911, he was rushed to the hospital. After he was deemed okay, we went home. We resumed our life as usual, hanging out with friends, spending time with our dog, normal things. That night I had my first break down. I cried "I don't want to go to sleep, I'm afraid you'll have another seizure." To which my loving husband replied "I don't know if I will or not, but I can't control it..let's go to bed." Great. Around 10:00 pm, I woke up to my husband laying on his stomach as a result of yet, another seizure. Again, he was rushed to the hospital, but this time he wouldn't be returning to our home. He was sent out to an Italian hospital, which for lack of better words was a complete shit hole. He received awful care and was treated in a hospital that I could only say was one that should have been condemned years ago. He spent a week there, literally only waiting on an MRI. He finally received one and they told us that the found a lesion on his brain and they wanted to a biopsy to find out what it was. After witnessing the type of care he had received the past week, I opted not do it there and instead we would fly to the states. 

When we landed in Germany. 

Josh was medically evacuated out of Sicily to Ramstein, Germany on September 5th. I landed in Germany on the 6th. During that time he was just monitored at the hospital awaiting our MAC flight out to Walter Reed Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. On September 7th we made the 9 hour flight back to the states. We were over joyed with anticipation of being back on US soil. Back to family, friends, and modern medicine! On September 8th my parents arrived, which was a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders. For the past two weeks I have had to handle everything, now I could leave Josh with my dad and allow my mom to take charge and do what mothers do best make decisions and handle situations. 

He shaved his head for the biopsy!

Josh making his debut for the center fold of Brain Surgery Monthly

Doctors were in and out of our room. There was always a constant flood of people. Social workers. Case managers. Nurses. Doctors. Everyone was constantly checking in on us and making sure we were okay. On September 11th, Josh under went a brain biopsy to see what the growth was in his brain. They took twelve tissue samples and left him with a lovely scar on his forehead. We were told that it would take two weeks for pathology reports to come back. My biggest concern? Make sure these two weeks were the best two weeks for him. We went to Washington DC. We went shopping and bought over priced, fancy, cupcakes. We moved into our apartment on base, which we had fun decorating and adding our own touches to make it more like home. 


September 29th. Exactly one month after his first seizure we got the diagnosis. My husband, my 27 year old husband, who has served our country for 8 years, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, who loves life, who can always crack a joke whenever needed (appropriate timing or not) who is kind to everyone and friends with strangers was diagnosed with stage 2 Gliomatosis Cerebri or in laymen terms, brain cancer. I felt my world come crashing down on me. The room got smaller and smaller, I couldn't focus on anything other than reaching for my husband's hand and holding on for dear life. We have had things thrown at us, as life tends to do. We have survived months apart, three different deployments and countless bumps in the road but, this was no bump. This was a sink hole sucking us in, I was just waiting for it to spit us out. 

That day to me is still a blur. I know we walked back to the apartment and I cried in my fathers arms for a good ten minutes like a child. It was like a dream I couldn't wake up from, I was on complete auto pilot the rest of the day. I went to bed thinking "how did we get here. what plan does God have for us that He would give us such terrible news?" I rolled over and looked at my husband. I wanted nothing more than to take it all away. In that moment he grabbed my hand and I knew that I had no other choice than to buck up and help him through this. This was a test to our marriage and our faith. It was a test that though will be a long and tiring one, will only make us stronger. 

So he has started radiation. He goes Monday through Friday and is only off on federal holidays and the weekend. So far it has done nothing more than just make him tired. 

First week of radiation: DONE!

We have received an out pour of love and support from family and friends. I have created this blog mainly to keep everyone updated on what is going on but also a therapy for myself. I am in a constant state needing to express my thoughts and feelings so this will allow me to do so. Don't worry, not everything will be depressing or medical related. Josh and I have a good sense of humor about this whole thing and we are facing it head on with a good attitude and a bunch of laughs!


  1. #1 fan here. Stay strong and no matter what know that mom and I will always be there for the both of you. Love ya!!!!

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  3. Josh and Jenna, I do not know you personally, only through Melody. I want you to know you are being prayed for by us and our church prayer list. There are many praying for you and you are loved by many. Stay strong. God loves you both! A concerned friend.

  4. Hang in there, Jenna and Josh, be strong and happy and have lots of fun. You know you have a lot of Palm Bay and Kansas City praying for you and Josh and you know Grandma Read said to put it in God's hands like she always does. I miss you guys so much, spending days together and doing things. Archie is fine, he, Lillie, and Jack are getting along great. He is such a sweet and adorable little boy. I will try to Skype with you and Josh this weekend or some night. I am always here for you both and keep up the daily calls and updates. This is so wonderful to do, it really helps dealing with everything, and of course you made me cry just reading it. I love you both and keep strong and laughing...Check on that pottery class, ha ha...Mom