Saturday, September 26, 2009

Hello everyone!

So far Phase 2 has been going fairly well. Mike's energy has been diminishing slowly and he has had a lot of headaches, but other than that he has been in good spirits. All of his spinal taps have come back with favorable results, so we are thankful for that! His platelet count dropped down to 66 this past week, but the doctors are saying that is pretty high for this stage of treatment. He goes in for treatments every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday. Tuesdays usually run about 12 hour-days between his lab work, spinal taps and chemo treatments. The other days run 3 -5 hours long, depending on the treatment. We had an appointment yesterday with the Oncologist and she seems pleased with his progress thus far. He will have one more week on Phase 2 and then another bone marrow biopsy to confirm that everything is still on track. He will then get a small break (about 3 weeks) before beginning Phase 3. Phase 3 will be 2-3 days/week for about 3 months. After that the doctors we re-assess his condition, but his treatments should become less frequent as his body goes into remission.

I can not even tell you what a nightmare this has been for us. We thank God everyday for the many blessings in our lives, but some days we just feel completely flipped upsidedown and then violently skaken. We are doing our best to remain positive and trust that God has a plan for us. We are challenging ourselves to learn from this trial and become better people. In many ways, I have learned to embrace the brokeness and the pain of these circumstances, rather than numbing myself to it just to get by. I know that everyone deals with pain differently...I just feel that, for me, I have to let myself cry through the hurt and then channel that energy into the fuel that presses me to become better and to help others who are struggling. We are working together as a family, one day at a time, to look forward to the future and come out of this stronger.

When Mike was diagnosed, a close personal friend of mine (who also happens to be my employer) wrote something about us that I would like to share:

The Face of Cancer So this is the face of Cancer… Smoky blue eyes. Great smile showing barely a sign of entering middle age…because he is only 31. Over 200 pounds of strength, ready to dedicate his career to the police academy. Two young mouths to feed. A gutsy, and so pretty, 30 year old wife with a hard fought and ironclad faith in God. Not a sign of warning. Like a sudden, destructive wildfire, acute lymphonic leukemia seemed to ignite overnight. And still it burns, as we stand on the street looking at the inferno, helplessly praying this family makes it out alive. Somehow, I know they will. For this face is also the face of faith. When he looks for guidance it is not in the mirror. His face looks up to the Lord. Cancer can never claim him. Only his Father can.
By Sheryl Hunter

If it touched you, like it has many others, you are most likely reaching for the tissues. She is a beautiful writer and I am very grateful that she has shared her gift with us, to encourage us through this season of our lives. Thank you Sheryl!!

I dont want to keep bombarding everyone with info about the Bull Roast, but a lot of people are emailing me and asking questions. Please refer to our previous blogspot ( entries or our group page on Facebook regarding the details, and if you still have questions, email Angie ( or Danielle ( I am not in the planning loop and I apologize that I am not able to answer everyone's questions appropriately.

I do know that tickets are being sold for a 50/50 raffle for $5/each or 3 tix/$10. Winner gets half of the raffle (minimum $500 prize). If you are not able to attend, but would like to purchase raffle tickets, please contact Danielle. There are also many other items that will be raffled or put up for the Silent Auction - Danielle will be publishing a list closer to the event.

MANY THANKS TO EVERYONE for all of your efforts & contributions to help our family get through this time. We love you all!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Phase 2 - so far

Hey everyone! I hope you are all doing well!!

Phase 2 has been going fairly well for Mike so far. He has had 2 spinal taps and we were very happy to find out that Moffitt uses digital imaging to do these procedures, so they are very accurate. Mike has a lot less stress going into them, knowing that he doesnt have to fear that they will accidentally hit something while they are in there. He had a few rough days so far - mostly on Tuesdays which are usually 12 hour days at the clinic and he had some vomiting & sleepiness as a side effect to his treatment last week. Other than that, it has been pretty smooth sailing. His spirits are up and he seems to be getting around well. His achilles tendon has healed and he is no longer having pain to walk on it. (Thank God!) We are looking forward to another visit from his mom this week! She will be flying in tomorrow and staying until next weekend. Everyone has been a wonderful help here with running Mike to appointments, cooking meals and taking care of the kids, but it is always nice to have Mom around! :)

We were able to take a little getaway to St. Pete for a few days during Labor day weekend, thanks to some friends who let us borrow their condo. It was a wonderful little break for us to just enjoy time together. The kids enjoyed playing in the pool and at the beach. Jade has established quite the shell collection. It was nice to just set everything aside and laugh and play together.

I am schedule for my dental surgery Sept 29. I am not looking forward to it, but at least I will be able to get it behind me and not be in so much pain. I am very excited about my job. There are so many things that I love about it, I feel very blessed. I am also SO excited about our upcoming trip to MD in October. I have been missing so many of you and I cant wait to get my fill of all of your hugs and kisses again!!!

The kids are staying very busy with school and dance classes. Jadeyn has decided to audition for the childrens choir at church and be a part of the Christmas Production. Zack is also auditioning for the youth worship team. They both love to sing! Although I am hesitant to add anymore to our already busy schedules, I am happy to see them spending their extra time being active and developing their talents, rather than sitting in front of a television.

As a family, I think that each of us has allowed these hard times to bring us closer and develop us as people. I know that people who experience trials usually end up with a greater appreciation for life and love and go on to live very rich lives. For that, I am grateful for each trial. Although they are difficult, they are worth what we are gaining as individuals and as a family. :)

The Bull Roast information was included in my previous update email, but Angie has made some revisions, so please read over the following information carefully if you are planning to attend.

Michael Johnson Bull Roast & Silent Auction Benefit
Saturday, October 17 6:00-9:00pm, MaGerks Pub - Bel Air, MD

In order to fit as many as possible this event will be cocktail style. There will be several booths and a large bar to sit at, but we will not be selling ‘tables’.


Pit Beef
Pit Ham
Chicken Fingers
Crab dip
Franks in Tuxedos
Cheese Tray
Crudite Platter

OPEN BAR to include:
Domestic bottles
Rail drinks
House wines

DJ, Money wheel, 50/50 raffle, Silent Auction, Door Prize

Please contact Angie to reserve your tickets ~
Mail check ($40 per ticket) made payable to the "Michael Johnson Benefit Fund" to:

Michael Johnson Benefit Fund
c/o Angie Lane
P.O. Box 542
Bel Air, MD 21014

Your name will be added to the guest list and your tickets will be held at the door. Please include your e-mail address and you will receive a confirmation of your ticket request.

* If you would like your tickets mailed to you please include a self addressed stamped envelope.

If you have any questions or would like to receive your tickets in person please e-mail Angie at:

**We do not expect to have any tickets for sale at the door. However, if there are any left they will be available at $48 each.

*If you are not able to attend, but would like to make a donation, please mail checks made payable to the "Michael Johnson Benefit Fund" and mail to Angie at the address above. Or you may also use a credit card via Paypal by following this link:

* If you own a business or know someone who may be able to donate products or services to our Silent Auction, please contact Danielle ~

Donations are tax deductible. TIN: 27-0881674

Thank you for helping us in making this a successful event for the Johnson Family!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Today we went for Mike’s follow up visit from last week’s bone marrow biopsy. The results came back favorable – at this point his body is in remission – YAY!! :-) Phase One accomplished all that we hoped and his labs all look good! On Tuesday he will start Phase Two which consists of weekly spinal taps and 4 chemo treatments each week. We will not know whether he will need infusions during this phase until he gets into it. The 2nd & 3rd weeks will be most intense (Sept 22nd – Oct 3rd), so please be praying that his body will respond well to the treatments and the side effects will not be too extreme. Mike also injured his Achilles tendon this past week while on a bike ride. The doctor wants to keep an eye on it so that the muscles do not bleed while undergoing treatment. If he does not start to feel better by next week, she is going to send him in for x-rays. Please also keep him in prayer this coming Tuesday, the 8th. It will be a very long day for Mike as he starts this next phase and will be at the hospital from 8am – 7pm.

I have been feeling really good. My back has not been bothering me. I still can not get full swing into my exercise routine, but that’s ok with me ;-). Just kidding. I am looking forward to getting full use of my muscles and getting in shape again. As far as work goes, I have decided to accept a salaried position with a client who has kept me busy for almost a year now. I strongly believe in her business and the compassion she has people. It is filled with purpose and unique perspectives. I am very excited to take this step with my career and have a strong faith that I will gain valuable experience.

The kids have been enjoying school and dance. It has really helped us to get into a good schedule. We have our family dinner everyday at 4:00, which is SO nice. It gives us quality time with the kids everyday and we are not eating too late or grabbing fast food in the midst of some of our crazy evenings.

Overall, it has been a fairly quiet month and all is well. We did receive notice from SSA that Mike qualifies for disability and his benefits will start in January 2010…a long way off, but still an answer to prayer. Thanks to everyone that has been lifting us up and supporting us in SO many ways! Much love to all!!

Here is the info for the Bull Roast & Silent Auction on October 17:
(I also have flyers in case anyone wants to print them out.)

Michael Johnson Leukemia Benefit Bull Roast & Silent Auction
Saturday, October 17, 2009
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
MaGerks Pub – Bel Air, MD

TICKETS: $40.00 *Cocktail Style

Menu: Open bar to include:

Chicken Fingers Domestic bottles
Pit Beef Drafts
Pit Ham Rail drinks
Crab dip House wines
Bruschetta Coffee
Franks in Tuxedo Soda
Cheese Tray Tea
Crudite Platter (veggies)

DJ, Money wheel, 50/50 raffle, Silent Auction, (door prize maybe)

Please contact Angie to reserve your tickets ~

*If you are not able to attend, but would like to make a donation, please contact Danielle ~ Thank you!!