Posted below are the most recent updates on Jacob and his condition. If you wish to receive email alerts when new information has been posted, enter your email below.

Tuesday, May 3rd

Today was so much better!  I am so thankful for that.  I guess I have to remember that every day is not going to be perfect.  Jacob is going to have a bad day here and there, right?  He’s only human and I think he’s doing better than a lot of adults going through the same thing. 

Well, this morning we headed off to Grand Rapids.  Today is my niece Abbie’s 12th birthday and she wanted to go to the Grand Rapids Public Museum.  We had a blast!  It was very interesting, although my sisters and I decided that we’ll have to go back sometime soon when we can actually take the time to read all the information on the exhibits.  The kids were just so excited, they were rushing through.  It was fun!  We finished out the day with the birthday party at my sisters.  It was so nice having the whole family together.  Wish Ken was there!  🙁

Jacob pulled me aside this afternoon and told me that he loved me so much and that he was sorry for getting upset yesterday.  He said that he’s just sick of being poked, feeling tired and getting sick.  He told me that he doesn’t really want to die and that he loves us and his life with us and he was just frustrated.  He also said that he’s sorry for fighting with Caleb lately and it’s only because he’s frustrated from the cancer.  What a kid!!!  I just think he is beyond his years and so amazing!  I told him that all those feelings are normal and he’s loved so much and that it’s okay to have a meltdown.  He deserves it!  I know God is working in his life – in our life!

Please continue to pray for Jacob and the rest of us!  We have to head back to Grand Rapids tomorrow for physical and occupational therapy.  Then we’ll be heading back Thursday to get his blood counts checked and more physical therapy.  Please pray that his numbers are up so that Jacob can continue with chemo next Monday.  We are hoping to stay on schedule for many reasons, but one being  that we can go home to the U.P. next week for a week or so.  We definately need that!  Also please pray for his cancer to be gone and the side effects from the chemo to be minimal.  We appreciate all your prayers and messages!  Please keep them coming.  🙂

Monday, May 2nd

Today had it’s ups and downs.  It was busy with getting the kids caught up on their homework.  That took us until lunch time.  Then Jacob was able to Skype with his class for about an hour and a half.  I didn’t sit with him through the whole thing, but I heard him giggling quite often.  I think he enjoyed himself tremendously.  I think Skyping will be good therapy for him over the next year.

Jacob did end up having a meltdown this afternoon.  I just hate those!  He certainly has every right, but it’s just heartbreaking!!!  Who wants to hear their child crying and say that they hate everything that they’re going through and they just want to die.  That heaven would be so much better.   This is all while he’s practically hyperventilating.   That’s enough to ruin your whole day.   I know that it’s probably going to happen from time to time.   He’s done so good so far.  I guess I can’t expect him to be in good spirits all the time.  It’s hard not to wonder if we’re doing the right thing…..that is why I have to put all my trust in God!

Thankfully this evening went much better.  He was calm and relaxed.   Tomorrow will be much better.  His cousins birthday is tomorrow, so we’re going to a museum in Grand Rapids and  out to lunch.  I know the kids will have a blast.  That will help Jacob get his mind off of things and mine too.  🙂 

Please continue to pray for Jacob.  Not only for his healing, but his anxiety and fear.   Thankfully this isn’t an ongoing thing, but when it hits – it’s not good!   We’re not going to allow satan to tell him lies and fill him full of fear.  God is bigger than all of that!   I could also use your prayers in moments like those.  It’s a helpless feeling!  We are so thankful for all of you!  You are truly amazing people and such a blessing!

Sunday, May 1st

I wasn’t too sure about what today was going to bring.  Jacob got up this morning and threw up within the first hour.  Kind of strange since he hasn’t had chemo in a couple days and since he did pretty well yesterday.  Thankfully that was the only time, but could tell he just wasn’t himself.  It took a while to get him to eat, but finally got him to drink a smoothie filled with lots of good stuff and then he was good to go.  Still pretty tired, but better.   He ended up “helping” his Uncle Kyle dig a hole with the loader.  He thought that was pretty cool!

This afternoon, Jacob’s Aunt Lisa, Uncle Greg and cousins came over.  Also, Grandma Myrna and Papa Ron came down for the day.  We had a very nice visit.  It’s bittersweet being here.  On one hand, it’s nice to be here with my sisters and their families, my brother and his family a 1/2 hour away and then my parents only an hour and a half away.  But on the other hand, we’re down here for the wrong reason and wish we weren’t here at all.  As my sister said, “We’ll never get a chance like this again to all be together for a year, so let’s make the most of it.”

This evening was pretty quiet.  After all the company left, Jacob, Caleb, Jayden, my sister Rachel and I sat around the dining room table and played a board game.  I lost!  🙁  We had a good time though.  🙂  Those are memories that can never be taken away. 

We will have somewhat of a busy week.  Still not sure of Jacob’s physical therapy schedule.  They told me they mailed it last week, but I never got it.  Hopefully they don’t have an appointment scheduled for tomorrow.  Not really wanting to run up to Grand Rapids last minute.  It’s an hour drive one way.  We will have to go to the clinic on Thursday to get Jacob’s blood counts checked.   And hopefully we’ll find time each day to Skype with his class.

Please continue to pray for Jacob.  I now it’s going to be a long year, but I hope you’ll think of him often.  Pray for his healing, that he will have minimum side effects, that he will continue to have a positive attitude through this ordeal, that he will be able to walk and run around again very soon and that he will continue to put his faith and trust in God.  I guess you could pray that for Ken and I too.  🙂

We are so thankful for all of you, your messages and prayers!  I could never thank you enough!!!

Saturday, April 30th

I apologize I didn’t write last night. Time got away from me…..

Jacob had chemo yesterday morning at 9:00 and 10:00. He did pretty well, although I could tell that after a whole week of it, it was finally taking it’s toll. He didn’t feel that great and was extremely tired. He did end up trying to go down to the playroom, but didn’t make it very long. He certainly wasn’t himself. Hard to watch! He had to follow up the chemo treatment with 6 hours of fluids to flush out his system and then we were off! 6:00 we finally left. Jacob was pretty nervous to get in the car to leave. Afraid of getting sick from the car ride, but he did really well. Once we got to my sisters, he was a totally different kid. Up and at ’em with his brother and cousin Jayden. It’s amazing what getting out of the hospital can do. He did end up getting sick later on. I think it was too much too soon.

Today was much better. Slow to start off. He didn’t eat a whole lot today. Still not feeling the best, but looked better and he said he felt better. He played around with Caleb and Jayden, but took breaks often. Later on in the day, the sun came out and Jacob was excited to get outside and just sit in the sun on the porch. He said it felt good! He ended up eating a good dinner and did great the rest of the night. I think he’s on the mend and I’m sure he’ll only get better.

Please continue to pray for Jacob. I know it’s hard to remember all the time with every day life, but I know God is listening and wants us all to join together in prayer for my sweet boy. All your prayers mean the world to Ken and I, and we are so thankful for all of you – family, friends and those of you we’ve never met. Thank you!

Thursday, April 28th

Another good day! God is so good! He is taking such good care of our sweet Jacob! I am so thankful that Jacob has done so well with this round of chemo. He felt a little icky early in the afternoon, but he hadn’t eaten much since breakfast and then ate a pile of tater tots. He said he felt like he had a bomb in his gut. I can only tell him what not to eat so many times, but sometimes he just doesn’t listen. Kids! 🙂 He did seem a little more tired today. But I guess that’s to be expected.

We did go to the playroom this morning. He begged me to play Lego Star Wars with him on the XBox. Although I had no idea what I was doing, I went along with it. We got to a point where we were doing a flying race (sorry I don’t know my Star Wars lingo) and it was so fast paced on the big screen, that I ended up feeling sick to my stomach and had to quit. Jacob was very disappointed in me. ha!

We had a busy day with visitors. That makes it a good day. I always look forward to company! First Caleb came with my sister Liz. Always a special treat. I hate being away from him so much. Next, we had a teacher from Sawyer Elementary come – Mrs. Miilu, along with her two daughters. They brought some goodies for Jacob and Caleb. Thank you Sawyer! Then after dinner, my good childhood friend Anissa came to visit. We had a lot of laughs. It felt good. I definately needed to laugh like that and she’s the one to make it happen. A couple of times during the day, Jacob’s new friend Collin stopped by the room. He is 7 years old and a very sweet boy. He is new here at DeVos as of a couple days ago and has been diagnosed with Leukemia. Jacob has been such a good boy and has helped comfort him about many of his fears. I think Collin looks up to Jacob and brought him a couple gifts today. It’s nice to see God using Jacob already! Please pray for Collin. I know that he has a long road ahead of him also.

Well, the plan is to leave the hospital tomorrow night and head to my sister Rachel’s house. We’ve been kind of unsure where to go due to a virus being spread around between both of my sisters households, but the doctor said we should be okay. Jacob won’t have to have chemo again until Monday, May 9th, but will have to come back next week to get his blood counts checked and possibly have a transfusion if they are low. He will also start outpatient therapy at Mary Free Bed next week.

Please continue to pray for Jacob’s healing and that his blood counts will be good next week. He had an xray done today to make sure that his back healed okay from the surgery. Please pray that they are happy with the results. Also, please pray that Jacob, Caleb and I will stay healthy and not get this virus that is being passed around. We are so thankful for all of your prayers! I know God is listening!!!

Wednesday, April 27th

I am so impressed with how well Jacob is handling this round of chemo. I’m sure it’s by the grace of God. Still no nausea. Maybe a little fatigue, but hard to tell if it’s from the chemo or just from being lazy. 🙂 He did end up throwing up last night, but he had just taken a handful of pills and they came up almost as fast as they went down. Then he was fine. It all came and went in a matter of seconds.

Today went nice and smooth again. He got up and ate breakfast. We were just having a friendly argument about him doing some homework when one of the volunteers stopped by and asked if she could take him up to the playroom. Normally, I thrive on being somewhat of a strict mom and sticking to my guns, but not with these circumstances – I caved! He had a blast. We played some basketball and then he did some painting. He also worked hard on a secret Mother’s Day project while I chatted with another Mom. He’s very proud of the gift that he’s working on. I guess it’s not quite done yet, but there was a lot of hammering going on.

After a couple hours upstairs in the playroom, we had some lunch and we decided to turn the computer on. Jacob’s Aunt Kim got him a laptop with Skype so he could stay in contact with family and school. We got it up and running and we were able to connect with Jacob’s class. It was so much fun watching and listening to them talk back and forth. He enjoyed it so much. That made his day! That went on for about a half hour and then they got down to business and did some work. Jacob’s teacher, Mrs. Paulsen, started their science lesson and Jacob got to follow along with his science book here in Grand Rapids. Amazing technology! He did have to start his chemo during that time, but it was a nice distraction for him. Thanks to everyone at Sawyer for getting that set up!

The rest of the day was pretty ho-hum after that. What can compete with that? We just relaxed and finished out the evening with watching funny YouTube videos. You get desperate trying to keep yourself entertained after being in a hospital for over a month. ha!

Thanks again for all your messages and jokes (Ms. Tami). Jacob enjoys reading every one of them. I wish we had the time to answer back to all of them. Please know that they are all very much appreciated!

Please continue to pray for Jacob everyday! We are so thankful for all of your messages and your amazing donations, but nothing is more important to me than praying for my dear son. That’s worth millions to me! I am so amazed at how well he is handling this whole ordeal. I know that he is an amazing kid, but I also know that from your prayers and God’s grace and love, he will make it through this.

Tuesday, April 26th

We had another good day today! Thank you Jesus! Jacob felt great! No side effects so far. The doctor said that could change as the week goes on and as it builds up in his system, but so far so good. We didn’t get a whole lot of sleep last night as they kept coming in to check on him and check his blood pressure, but at least all is well. He ate breakfast this morning and wanted to get dressed right away so he could go walk around. He was busy all day, going from one playroom to the other playing video games. Rhys, the Child Life Specialist, came in this afternoon and gave him a mohawk. Normally, I wouldn’t allow this to happen, but since all that doesn’t matter anymore and just seems unimportant, I said why not!!!! He does look pretty darn cute! Not sure how long it’ll last as his hair seems to be falling out quite quickly.

We had a tornado warning and watch for a few hours, so we had to go to our rooms and shut the shades. Makes you worried when you’re on the 9th floor. A while later, they had everyone in the hallway, but we had to stay in the room because Jacob was getting his chemo treatment. Scary! The storm passed and all is well!

A little while ago, the therapy dogs came. Jacob was worried that they might not come because of the storm, but they did. We first had Izzy come in. A cute little daschshund. She was so cute. She gave Jacob lots of kisses. Next, Teddy Bear came in. He was an Australian Shephard and jumped right up on the bed next to Jacob. They were both so cute and friendly. Jacob loved to see all the tricks they could do. I love to see how happy he is when the dogs come in.

He had chemo tonight at 6:00 and 7:00. Tomorrow it’ll start at 3:00 and they’ll shorten the starting time by 3 hours each day, so hopefully we can get out of here sometime friday since they have to give him 8 hours of fluids in his IV after chemo is done. Then back to Hastings.

Please continue to pray for Jacob’s healing and that he will continue to not have any side effects from these drugs. I am so thankful that there aren’t any so far. God is so good!!!

Monday, April 25th

Sorry I haven’t written in couple days. Been a little busy with family and having fun!

Saturday was wonderful! Beautiful weather and Jacob had a blast walking around the yard and playing with his brother and cousins. They ended up going over to their farm across the field to check out the cows, but that trip wasn’t very long due to the smell. Jacob’s been pretty sensitive to smells lately. Ken helped Jacob climb a tree or two. Shh! Don’t tell his physical therapist. I couldn’t believe how much better he looked in just a couple days. I think just being out of MFB and around the kids did wonders! He was a totally different kid and got around wonderfully.

Sunday was bittersweet. We got up and the kids had an Easter egg hunt out in the yard. They had so much fun with that. They each had their own color-coded eggs that they had to find. It was fun to watch. Later, we all went to a restaurant for lunch. There were 23 of us all together. From both my side and Ken’s side of the family. It was nice having everyone together. The worst part of the day, was Ken having to go home early evening. It was nice having him here since Wednesday night. We hated to see him go. One thing that happened yesterday, was that Jacob started losing his hair. I knew it was going to happen, but I didn’t think this soon. It was hard to watch him pulling out gobs of hair. It broke my heart, but he didn’t seem too bothered by it. There is still a lot left on his head. It just looks a lot thinner. He might have a shave job done tomorrow. We’ll see how he feels.

Today we got to the hospital at about 11:30. First of all, I must say he did a fantastic job with getting his port accessed. He just said “Ouch!” with the first poke and got a little teary-eyed with the second, but huge improvement compared to last week. I think all those prayers are helping tremendously. We had to wait around for the results and found out that they were perfect! I couldn’t believe they were so good. His wbc counts were more than doubled from when he first got them checked before he started chemo a couple weeks ago. All of his counts were good. Some phenomenal. What a blessing! Thank you Jesus!!! We then had to wait for a room to open up and didn’t get in one until 5:30. We kept busy in the playroom playing games and playing the Wii. He is too good at playing that. I didn’t stand a chance. 🙂

He had his first chemo medicine administered at 9:00 (which takes an hour) and the nurse is currently hooking up the second one (also an hour). Please pray that Jacob will have little to no side effects and that he gets a good nights sleep. We currently have a flu bug going around in the family, so hopefully we (the Stielers) don’t get it. Especially Caleb since he’s staying with them.

Please continue to pray for Jacob! I was shocked at how high his counts jumped from Thursday. I know prayer works! Common side effects from the chemo meds that he’s taking this week is nausea, low blood pressure and blood in his urine. They also will have IV fluids running 24 hours a day to keep his bladder and kidneys from being damaged. We appreciate all your prayers. We know God is looking out for Jacob and I’m still putting all of my trust in Him.

Friday, April 22nd

Awesome day!!! We were able to leave Mary Free Bed! Yippee!!! We had wonderful therapists, nurses and doctors, but am so thankful to not have nurses coming in the room several times during the night to check on Jacob and waking him up at 6:30 to get vitals and then again one hour later to wake him up for the day. Not a lifestyle that I’m fond of.

We were able to leave at around 11:00 today and headed to Hastings. We are currently staying at my sister Liz’s house for the weekend due to the fact that my sister Rachel (who’s house we’ll be staying at in the future) was sick earlier in the week and I’m too nervous to have Jacob around there. 🙂 Safety first! ha! It’s so nice being here and I love watching Jacob having a great time with his brother and cousins.

I had to give Jacob his shot tonight for the first time. It’s been nice having the nurses be the “bad guys”. He did really well! Actually, we both did. Hopefully it’s this easy every time.

Please continue to pray for Jacob. He’s such an amazing kid and is taking this all so well, but I know that he’s still scared and just wants to be home with things back to normal. We are still praying that his blood counts will be up on Monday so that his chemo will stay on schedule. Thanks again for all your messages and most of all your prayers! We appreciate them so much!

Thanks also to everyone that’s made a donation! You all are amazing people!!! We are blown away by your generousity! I hope that I will be able to thank each and everyone of you someday. Maybe when life is not so crazy!

Thursday, April 21st

What a great day! Jacob had a couple therapy sessions this morning amd then off to the hospital. First of all, I must say, Jacob did awesome with the needle situation. I believe it must have been all your prayers! He did cry and said that he hated this, but who doesn’t? I was impressed! I could tell the anxiety level wasn’t there like every other time. They did have trouble with the port again. They accessed the bottom one and couldn’t get it to work, so they tried again with no luck. They then accessed the top one and thankfully got the blood out right away. Because they had trouble with the port a couple of times already, they decided to stop messin’ around with it and just do a die study on it. They sent us down to xray and everything was fine. They said that the ports can be tricky and sometimes you have to do “port” gymnastics to get them to work. The blood counts came back. Some were higher, some were lower. At least they’re not as concerned about him being out and about with the germs. They still want Jacob to plan on going in on Monday. If his counts are better, then he’ll be hospitalized for a 5 day stay for chemo. If they’re still low, then they’ll send us back home and wait.

We went and picked up Caleb today so he could spend our last night here with us. We went out to dinner at Quaker Steak and Lube to celebrate. The kids thought the restaurant was awesome! A great way to end the day before our release! 🙂

Thanks for all your prayers! I believe they worked wonders today. Please continue to pray that Jacobs blood counts will continue to rise over the weekend. And of course, his overall healing!

Happy Easter everyone!

Praise God! He is risen!