Greetings all! Amber is now in her third week of treatments and is handling it like only a Rhodes would. According to Stacey, Amber is tolerating her treatments remarkably well and is able to commute home on the weekends for some R & R with her family and friends. After this week is over, she will be halfway done with her treatments. YES!! Please continue to keep her and her family in your prayers....the prayers are working!
Please also keep in mind that this Saturday, December 15th, we are having a fundraiser BBQ for Amber at the Brevard Moose Lodge from 1-5. BBQ plates will be $8.00 and the menu sounds delish! Santa Claus will be there for the kids from 2-4 and we will have door prizes, raffle prizes, cornhole and horseshoe games, and a display of classic cars. We also have a lot of wonderful items up for silent auction including a Christmas items, beautiful artwork, handcrafted jewelry and quilts, and other goodies. There is a group page on Facebook called Amber's Angels to see a list of items up for auction. It is an open group for all to join and to share with your friends too.
We have a brand new shipment of "Banding Together For Amber" bracelets too. If you do not already have one, you need one....or 5!! They are only $1.00 and we are trying to turn this town pink in support of Amber!!
We look forward to seeing everyone at the benefit. Everyone is welcome and please bring your friends and family. The wonderful people at the Moose Lodge are working to make this benefit a great success. It definitely takes a village and we have a great community of people willing to give their time, love and support. Come on out and join in our reindeer games this weekend!
Amber's first week of radiation is done! Stacey and Amber were able to come home and enjoy a little bit of the parade in town and some family time. They are back at Duke for week 2 of treatments. Continued prayers for Amber are necessary as she continues her treatments. Hoping to see them back here at home this upcoming weekend!
First and foremost, Amber and Stacey are HOME! Even though it is for a short period of time, the entire Rhodes family is feeling a sense of normalcy right now. We all know there is no place like home and being surrounded by friends and family is great medicine. Amber is getting huge doses of love every day.
Amber is progressing beautifully in her recovery from the surgery 3 weeks ago and gaining more and more strength every single day. The day they arrived home, I pulled up in front of their house to see Amber crusing along hardly using her walker. It was a jaw-dropping moment to say the least. This is an amazing young lady who isn't going to let anything stand in her way. And if you are in her way, I say watch your toes because she just might run them over!
I had another visit yesterday and everytime I see her she is looking better, stronger and happy. As a matter of fact, I saw her again early this morning as she was taking a field trip to her school to visit with her friends. She had a huge smile on her face and it was obvious she was excited for this visit. Her aunt sent me a text with a photo of her sitting in her chorus class singing with her group. Very awesome indeed!
Amber and Stacey will go back to Duke the Monday after Thanksgiving to start the radiation treatments which will run Monday through Friday for 6 weeks. The radiation will challenge her energy and one of the main side effects is fatigue but Stacey is hopeful that they can return home to Jason and Garrett on the weekends.
Many thanks for continued prayers and support for Amber and her family. They are all so grateful for the love that is constantly flowing their way.
Best news of the day.....Stacey and Amber are able to come home for a couple of weeks before treatments start. Prayers for a safe journey home!
When I left Durham on Thursday afternoon, Amber was having a GREAT day. Even though she has had some "downs", her "ups" are definitely starting to outweigh the downs and she had her mother and I laughing as her usual sassiness and spunk filled her hospital room. Her physical therapy is increasing her strength every day and to see her get up and walk is such an awesome sight. After the docs and nurses kept making noises to remove the drain from her head, it finally happened in the afternoon. Yes, that menacing "brain drain" is gone along with its other annoying friend the dreaded IV. Amber is elated to not be tethered to the monitors anymore and I am pretty certain this has lifted her spirits considerably. This is huge in her recovery because it means that her cerebral spinal fluid is flowing exactly as it should be, there is no hydrocephalus present and a shunt will not be necessary. Some more very good news....Amber will be discharged as early as next week and will be home to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with her family. Such a beautiful gift to be thankful for.
Sigh...now on to the not so great news. The pathology has come back and the news is not what the family wanted to hear and has left them in a position where they must face other options. Sadly, the tumor is malignant, an anaplastic oglioastrocytoma, and is in the beginning of stage 3. This type of tumor is a mix of two types of gliomas found more commonly in adults. Scary news to say the least and despite it being uncommon in young people of Amber's age, her youth is on her side and the family is prepared to fight this cancer head on. If you know this family well, you know that nothing is going to stand in the way of their fight and get Amber on the "Rhodes to Recovery".
Sometime after Thanksgiving, Amber and Stacey will return to Duke to start a course of radiation in order to shrink the remaining tissues and cells that were left behind from the surgery. And a course of chemotherapy will run consecutively with her radiation treatments in the near future. The type of chemo necessary is still unknown as the family awaits the experts at Duke to attack this tumor in a lab to see which course of action will be best. There is a long road ahead for Amber and her family, but they are confident that Duke Medical Center is the right place for her care and treatments. With the most advanced technologies, world renowned specialists and oncologists, and a nationally recognized cancer center, Amber is in the best hands and this family WILL beat this.
Please continue to support Amber and her family with your thoughts and prayers. Medical science is amazing but when you combine it with faith, it becomes even stronger. Cancer sucks...but as a community and a great support system, we can all help this family get through this trying time in their lives.
Please, if are able, donate to this page. Your donations not only help the family with their rising medical bills but also enable Stacey to be by Amber's side as she endures her chemo and her radiation.
Back at Duke with Amber and Stacey. Amber had a great day yesterday. They moved to a larger room (now Stacey has a bed too instead of the reclining chair) and Amber walked all the way down from her old room to her new room. Quite the amazing thing! She is now in room 5302 if you want to send her cards. The hospital address is 2301 Ervin Road, Durham, NC 27710. Continued prayers are welcomed.
Well, I was going to wait until I returned to Brevard to post an update, but I am so excited about Amber's progress that I had to share with everyone. This young lady looks AWESOME! We spent part of the day with her and even though she had her PT this morning and worked hard, she hung in there with us laughing and talking and enjoying yummy food. So good to see her spirits up and the amazing progress she has made just a week post-surgery. Like I told her parents....this kid has MOXY! On the hunt now for some nail polish remover for her so we can paint her nails that sparkly pink her auntie Donna sent her! Keep those prayers coming because they are working!
As of this afternoon, Amber was doing pretty well. She is busy with lots of physical therapy in the morning that is wearing her out. She is making great strides in spite of what she has been through and for this we are all thenkful. Please continue to keep Amber, Garrett, Jason and Stacey in your thoughts and prayers. They are so very important and the family deeply appreciates the outpouring of love and support they are receiving. I am off tomorrow to visit them in Durham and will return Sunday evening with an update on Amber's progress. Your thought, well-wishes, prayers, positive energies and your donations are so greatly appreciated. Words can't even express how much. I will update Sunday evening upon my return.
Amber has stepped down to the critical care unit at Duke and has started her physical therapy. Last night she was resting comfortably and enjoying some ice. Today her therapy will be a little more intense. Pray for her strength during her therapy.
Up until recently, Amber Lynn Rhodes was living the normal
life of a 15 year old girl "“ enjoying her sophomore year of high school at Brevard and
hanging with her friends and family. For
the past several months, she had not been feeling quite right and made several
trips to the doctor with blood work and various tests that revealed nothing
specific. After 18 days straight of headaches,
on October 24th she went to the hospital and shortly after an MRI
was conducted, the Rhodes family heard the words that are inconceivable to any
family, Amber was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
With no time to prepare or to even think about it, the
family was whisked off to Duke Medical Center to meet with a pediatric
specialist regarding a golf ball-sized tumor that had made itself a home on
Amber's brain stem. On October 26th, the surgeons at
Duke Medical Center believe they successfully removed the tumor with a high percentage
rate that it is benign (the family is still awaiting the results of the pathology). Amber is currently in the ICU at Duke and
even though she is making small strides only a few days outside of her 8 hour
surgery, she and her family have a very long road to recovery ahead of them.
With the exorbitant costs of her surgery and the eventuality
of the need of extensive physical therapy, we encourage you to pull together as
friends, family and as a community to help this family by contributing to our
fundraiser and assist with the many financial burdens that are going to arise. With Amber's recovery being the most
important thing on Jason and Stacey's mind, it would be a wonderful blessing to
not have them burdened with the heavy financial worry right now and be able to
focus on Amber and her fight to bounce back.
All funds collected either from this site or from all other fundraising efforts locally will be used solely to enable
Amber to receive and access appropriate care and therapy and for her parents to
be able to be by her side as she fights the most important battle of her young
life. Amber's battle at hand will
require perseverance, faith and endurance "“ all of which we know this young
Thank you in advance for your love, outpouring of support, prayers
and words of encouragement for this beautiful young lady who is a daughter, a
sister, a granddaughter, a niece, a cousin and a friend. We encourage you to share this link on
Facebook and through your email.
Spreading the word is of the utmost importance so we can reach our goal. Thank you.