How I wish you all could have spent several hours with us driving the backcountry roads of Iowa. I know it doesn’t sound that glamorous but in so many ways it was. As we drove mostly backroads listening to music and counting red-winged blackbirds, we soaked in the “what’s next.” (View our travel map.)
The “what’s next” is happening quickly, actually today.
The prescribed treatment for this type of brain cancer is six weeks of radiation concurrent with taking a chemo pill. The hope is that the radiation will work to control or shrink the tumor. This is definitely the hope and our biggest prayer. This treatment plan is the same one we had in mind when we headed to Mayo. Of course, we wanted to see about additional options and wanted a second opinion on surgery.
We met with the clinics’ top neurosurgeon who kindly advised against surgery as it could cause more significant problems for Josh all around. The location of the tumor really presents a big challenge because of its depth. Even though I knew this, it still was hard to hear and quite disappointing. Yet at the same time, we don’t want to take that kind of risk. Instead, we move forward with what we can.
We did find great hope and wisdom during our appointment with the brain oncologist. He offered additional advice for radiation treatment. There are many complicated factors with Josh’s tumor, including finding a way to not make things worse physically and mentally in the process of treatment. Radiation can help but can also cause additional swelling which makes things worse. This is where our Mayo doctor provided the most wisdom and guidance as we move forward with a few more resources.
Even though a visit to Mayo did not mean provide a lot of quick solutions, they did confirm we are on the right path. Our doctors there also are continuing to study the DNA of the tumor to better understand it and guide us forward. Our doctor described our “what’s next” much like a destination stop on a cruise ship. Stop 1 is radiation. We’ll hop off here and explore it completely and see what happens. Once we know what happens, we’ll move on to the next stop.
Believe me, I’d much rather be on a real cruise -- Mediterranean cruise, anyone?
I’ve said it before, but I will again. This is tough stuff. And it’s layered with questions, frustration, sorrow, doubt and more. It's also mixed with prayer, friendship, family, community and of course, hope.
There is hope because God is writing a story of hope in each of us. It can be found even in the middle of the stupid stuff like cancer tumors. It can be found in the moments I hear Josh singing laughing at me and when we look at non-so great waterfalls in Iowa.
At times the hope might be hard to see, but it’s there. We believe and trust in a God who is good and with us in the hills and valleys.
Thank you again for joining us on this journey and for your continued prayers and support in many ways.
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.