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Friday, June 19, 2015

Limes to Limeade

We want to thank Jillian for giving us the opportunity to speak about turning lemons into lemonade in front of some people who also have had a lot of lemons handed to them in their lives. I haven't made a whole lot of lemonade (unless it's the pre-mix where you add water) but I have made a Brazilian drink that I consumed a lot on my mission called limeade. In Portuguese, it's limonada, so it sounds like lemonade. Except you use limes, not lemons. Lemons are pretty expensive right now, so why not go for the limes? Brazilians actually include the most bitter part of the lime in their recipe- the rind. All of us in our lives have bitter parts (rinds). It all depends on how good we are at sweetening things up (but not too much) to make our lives happy. Some ingredients are essential to make this limeade delicious. They include lots of Creme de Leite (sweet and condensed milk), sugar, and a seive (strainer). Similarly, some things Marshall and I have tried to make our bitter lives sweet include optimism/positivism, humor, and the gospel or an eternal perspective.

Marshall has had rind after rind after rind thrown at him lately.

The latest updates include that he has been experiencing a whole lot of pain with little break even with the use of 2 pain patches and constant pain pills. The scheduler called yesterday to tell him he had to meet with the pulmonary specialist due to "persistent pneumonia". He finished his second round of blinatumomab Tuesday night and we are praying a break from the biotherapy will give him a break from his pain for at least 10 days until he starts blina again. Seeing him in pain constantly for so long has really taken its toll on me as well. In previous treatments, he can at least get some relief for a while. This pain has been the hardest and longest yet and it kills me that I cannot take it away from him.

We were in contact with Penn yesterday and they said to keep him on the biotherapy and if he is in complete remission when September comes that we will deal with it then. If he is not our plan is for us (maybe just Marshall for a while since a caregiver is not required and we have medical debt after all the years of treatments) to fly to Pennsylvania yet again and try t-cells yet again. Maybe that means we will have to wait a while until some leukemia comes back to try t-cell therapy again? They think the best way to treat him at this point would be to try a different marker on his cancer cells. The 22 marker instead of the 19. This means his t-cells have to be re-engineered differently than before and he will probably be one of the first if not the first to try a new marker. So many times I wish I could be omniscient. Or at least have a little crystal ball that will help me plan for the next step.  

Job 5, "Behold happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty. For he maketh sore and bindeth up those he woundeth, and his hands make whole". The next verse goes on to say he'll deliver Job in 6 troubles. This is our fourth fight with cancer, so I figure we have a couple more rounds if we even want to compare to Job's troubles but we have found solace in his words.  

We hope for one day when we aren't spending all our time fighting for his life. A time where those rinds that keep being thrown at him are strained out after going through the chaotic blender of life. We are slowly realizing that you just can't wait for all the bad things to go away to do the good. What if it never goes away? What if God places the bad things in the world to teach us that those lime rinds are a necessity to his recipe and our job is to learn how to sweeten them up as much as we can! Marshall is much better at this than I am. I'm learning. When things go wrong, instead of becoming bitter, sweeten it up! Here is a recipe for Brazilian limeade if you'd like to try it this summer:

Brazilian Limeade 
(Limonada Brasileira) 


(About 4 servings)
  • 3 limes, washed and quartered
  • 8 cups of cold water
  • 1/2 cup sweet condensed milk
  • ½ cup of sugar, or to your taste
  • 1 cup ice cubes. plus more for serving


  1. Place the quartered limes in the blender with the water, ice and sugar.
  2. Blend on high speed until smooth, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Strain the limeade through the sieve and press on the solids until only a dry pulp remains. Pour the liquid into a pitcher, add the sweet condensed milk.
  4. Mix well, add more ice and serve immediately or serve with frozen strawberries! Enjoy!Note: if you try this recipe and it's just too bitter for you, try removing the rinds first ;)