Wednesday, September 26, 2012

It's a "Tweener"

From Cliff:

Today we met with Dr. Sills. We weren’t scheduled to meet with him until October 1st for my post-op visit but the clinic called and asked us to come in. Needless to say, we were a little anxious to hear the results since they had already been delayed a week.

Dr. Sills told us the mass is a "tweener." Just like me, the mass doesn’t know what it wants to be when it grows up. The tumor is a Pineal parenchymal tumor of intermediate differentiation (PPTID). It was recognized in the 2007 World Health Organization (WHO) classification as a new pineal parenchymal neoplasm, intermediate in malignancy (WHO grade II or III) between pineocytoma (grade I) and pineoblastoma (grade IV). Dr. Sills gave me four options, but only recommended the first two: (1) remove the mass, (2) do nothing and observe it, (3) treat with radiation or (4) treat with meds. Dr. Sills said his conservative opinion is to remove the tumor.

After discussing with Casey and my family, we are leaning toward removing the tumor. Obviously there can be complications with the surgery, but if we choose to observe the tumor there is no guarantee that it won’t grow or cause more problems. I feel God’s will is for me to remove the tumor. When we pray, the Bible tells us to pray specifically. Many prayer warriors, including my Mom, have been praying for the mass to be gone. With the help of Dr. Sills it soon will be!

From my reading last night in Joshua 1:9 “Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

God is good all the time.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

God Breathed!

From Cliff:

You may never truly experience the power of God until you experience a life crisis. I am humbled and amazed by the ever powerful God Almighty through this entire experience. He is good all the time. He has not failed me and walks beside me.

I can say without a doubt that I have felt God Breathe. This experience has shown me his power and his almighty presence. I ask that you, my friends and family, hold me accountable and help me keep life in perspective; life isn’t about the newest iphone 5 or dominating in fantasy football, but experiencing God’s every day gifts of life through family and friends. The simple things: truly treasure the ones you love--your family and friends. Don’t take life for granted.

We are here to glorify His Kingdom. I have been praying to God daily for Him to use me for the betterment of this Kingdom. This experience has shown me that God will use you in His own way in His own time. This is God using me to glorify His Kingdom even through sickness.

Romans 8:28. We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. This verse doesn’t mean that everything that happens is good, but that everything, both good and bad (as we see it), work together for good.

As we were live streaming church on Sunday, Mom says: Cliff I want you to know how much God has taken care of you in this situation. He is in control. Simultaneously, the worship leader recited the verse that Gage and I have been leaning on the past couple of weeks. Psalm 62:5-6. Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will not be shaken. It’s amazing how clearly God speaks to you in crisis. I used to ‘just’ read verses of scripture, now I hear Him speak. Thank you Lord.

As we await the biopsy results (will be next Tuesday at least), I rest in God alone, He is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will not be shaken! God is good.

Thanks to all my family and friends who have reached out with prayers and love during this time. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all for the unconditional support you have shown to me and my family. Thanks to my wife, who has not faltered. She is my rock-my best friend, and I’m truly grateful for her love and support. I would not be who I am without her. Thank you to my Mom who spent the week taking care of me and providing us with delicious meals and a clean home. Thanks to all my family and friends who made the trek up to stand beside me during my surgery. I truly appreciate the love and support you showed Casey and I. Words simply cannot express my gratitude fully. Thank you.

God is Love. He is good all the time.

Deuteronomy 6:5. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Feeling Better Day by Day

Yesterday was a great day for Cliff. It was a rainy day. Cliff loves the rain and was able to rest and relax. He's sleeping well at night and not doing anything crazy on the ambien. Today, he and Jane enjoyed a Five Guys Burger for National Cheeseburger day! A big thank you to Jane for her support and for taking care of us this week. :)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fantasy Football Time

Cliff had a great night of sleep thanks to a little Ambien. He did try to go out of the window to use the bathroom...but at least I woke up in time to redirect him. :)
He and Peter have gathered all of the iPads, computers, and iPhones around the table to set up Fantasy Football lineups. In a few minutes, we'll watch BBC livestreamed on TV. Mike's preaching on the book of Revelation "Living in the Land of Dragons."

Saturday, September 15, 2012


In the words of Phillip Phillips:

Settle down, it'll all be clear
Don't pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found
Just know you're not alone
Cause I'm going to make this place your home

Cliff was discharged today! He's headed home.
He's tired and hopes to get some rest after a very sleepless night (the steroids he is still on keep him up). We'll keep you updated. But thank you for all of your prayers. Everything went as well or BETTER than expected. :)

Here's a pic of Cliff and his BFF Peter who came to visit from Baton Rouge.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Comedian Cliff

Before we even got in the room, the nurse told us that Cliff was asking for pizza. He's feeling really good! Already flirting with the nurses. He's hungry and craving jets pizza. He's gotten the clear to eat so we've got a pizza on the way. He may be able to go home tomorrow depending on how he feels. Dr. Sills said that he had no "red and blue thoughts" in his brain...only "maroon thoughts." Thank goodness!


Good news! Well, I still haven't seen Cliff. He is still in recovery. Wait...that's not the good news. The good news is that he's doing so well that they are putting him in a regular room and not the ICU. The neuro resident said he woke up well and was responding to commands. Anxious to see him.


Just received a call from Dr. Sills and the procedure went well. They were able to poke the hole AND biopsy the mass which is what we were hoping for. He will be moved to recovery and eventually the Neuro ICU. We are waiting to hear when we can see him. Pray that he isn't sick from anesthesia. More soon!

And we are still waiting

Still waiting. Estimated time he will be out of surgery is 2:48.

Just took Cliff back

They just took Cliff back to surgery. Dr. Sills came in and as he left the room yelled, "Go to hell Ole Miss." It will be at least an hour or two before we know anything. Cliff will go to ICU most likely (if there's room) after surgery. We do know it will be Wednesday or Thursday of next week before we know anything about the biopsy if they are able to get it. More to come.

Still Waiting...

They have taken Cliff back to prep for surgery...but we can't be back there right now.

Maroon Friday at Vandy

Cliff is in his MAROON Friday gear this morning at Vandy. Waiting for them to take Cliff back for pre-op. We'll keep you updated!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pre Op

Today we are at Vanderbilt for Cliff's pre-op appointments. He is getting new scans...a "stealth" MRI...those will be the images that the doctors use to access the third ventricle and biopsy the mass Friday. Cliff has a cold...specifically a sore throat. Please pray that he feels better. If he's not well, they will not operate and the procedure will be pushed. That's just more time for us to have to think and wait. So pray for a speedy recovery and procedure on Friday.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A New Perspective

It seems somewhat ironic that a little over a month ago Cliff took this picture at the Grand Canyon on our 30th birthday trip to Vegas. Cliff has a new perspective. He says the most significant realization of this experience is that we are "so not in control." Like at all. Let me give you some background... After several months of increasingly frequent and intense migraines, Cliff ended up in the Neuro ICU at Vandy. The cause of these headaches? A tumor in the pineal region of the brain that is blocking spinal fluid from draining properly. WHAT!? I almost asked the doctor if he was kidding. Not Cliff, not us. Seriously? After 2 nights in the hospital, Cliff was sent home on steroids. After a follow up with his neurosurgeon, Cliff is scheduled for a Third Ventriculostomy this Friday, September 14. Dr. Sills (Mississippi State graduate and football team doctor) will use an endoscope to go into Cliff's brain and poke a hole in his third ventricle. This will relieve the pressure created by the spinal fluid. While he is in there, Dr. Sills will try to biopsy the mass so we can determine what it is and how to proceed. The doctors have no reason to think it's malignant. But of course we won't know until they get a piece of it. At this point we don't need anything...but we covet your prayers. Prayers for a complete healing and recovery and prayers for peace. The verse that is giving Cliff strength, peace and hope is Hebrews 11:1. You can read it at the top of the blog. Please feel free to leave words of encouragement! We will keep this blog updated for all of you that love Cliffy!