Wednesday, June 29, 2011
So please continue to pray that this week will go well. I'll be honest, I don't know how my emotional well-being will hold up if I have to watch Ryan go through another hellish cycle. I love that guy so much and I hate, hate, HATE watching him suffer!
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
1.) We're about to start the treatment cycle over again. As we all know, the last treatment did not go well for Ryan. We really covet your prayers that we will have wisdom on the best medications to give him to alleviate his symptoms, and that those symptoms would be much lessened from the last time, if not totally eradicated.
2.) August 10th is an important day that is coming up in only six weeks....Ryan's next scans. Please pray that those scans would show that his treatment is shrinking the cancer...for another good appointment.
3.) Pray for our story to impact people positively around us. We don't covet the spotlight, but we do pray for lives to be changed because of this.
4.) Pray for traveling mercies as we go to Chicago.
5.) Our sweet baby boy will be staying with friends while we are gone. Pray that he will quickly adjust to his surroundings and be content.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Odds of developing cholangiocarcinoma: 1-2 per 100,000 people
Odds that Mayo Clinic gave Ryan to beat cancer: 0%
Odds of surviving Nebuchadnezzar's fiery furnace: 0%
Odds of 2 million Israelites successfully escaping Egypt via Red Sea: 0%
Odds of scrawny adolescent killing giant Philistine warrior: slim to none
Odds of human surviving captivity in a den of lions: 0%
Odds of man crucified on Roman cross resurrecting 2 days later: 0%
Ya know, I'm beginning to like gambling at God's table. His dice are hot.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
It has been a difficult time. I'm hopeful that I'm starting to come out of it. All the doctors seem to agree this is just part of the chemo and nothing more serious. Thankfully my blood work, and counts, and hydration were all healthy at the hospital.
In the midst of all this I have had to make a choice. Will I choose to focus on my circumstances and all the things that seem to be going wrong, or will I choose my attitude and stay positive? A long time ago I somewhat learned how to choose my attitude and stay positive and focused in the midst of difficulty.
When I was a sophomore in high school, I got moved up to the varsity basketball team. This was something I had worked hard to achieve for many years. I was excited and anxious for our team to do well. That was short-lived. We went 0-21 that season. In the course of that kind of losing streak you will encounter every possible way to lose, distraction, and difficulty. I had to battle upperclassmen for my starting position, had a difficult coach, we lost team chemistry, had bad refs on some nights, and everything else you can imagine went wrong that season.
With cancer the only thing I can control is my attitude. I can't control if the chemo is working. I can't control my side effects. I can't control much, but what I can control is so important.
One of my favorite Bible passages for dealing with adversity is Romans 5:3-5
So whatever you're facing today, remember that you don't have to face it by yourself. When everything feels like it is out of control, there is a lot that you can control.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
And credit goes to Ryan, who so skillfully and even tactfully pointed out to me that my heart was totally in the wrong place. Thanks, hubs, you are always my voice of reason. I love you endlessly.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
I'm supposed to get treatment today and right now literally every time I move a couple of inches, I get sick. I have an hour drive a head of me to get to the treatment center. Please pray that this would pass quickly. Pray that we would travel to the center without incident. Please pray for Kendra and her peace of mind. It is so difficult for her to watch this.
My attitude is pretty decent. I was frustrated after I felt so well last night and then regressed. I'm anxious about how long this will last. Also I have not been able to keep anything down and I don't want to lose weight.
Please pray for us this morning and today. Thank you.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Even in the midst of cancer treatment, sleepiness, and sickness, Ryan is still about the most handsome man I've ever laid eyes on.
Don't you think so, too? :)
Saturday, June 11, 2011
In unrelated but more positive news, I'm pretty sure that Colton said his first word today (well other than "mama" and "dada"). He pointed at Tuff and very clearly said "dawwwg". I wanted to respond "What's up G?"
But I didn't. No worries.
Gotta go, sick hubs again.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
We got good news. I almost expected this. However I also expected every other time I've gone into one of these make or break doctor appointments that they would say there been a mistake, something's wrong, what was there isn't there anymore. We don't know what happened but the cancer is gone. You're completely healed. Furthermore you no longer have your liver disease as well. You're purified.
I didn't get that kind of good news. The doc said the cancer has stabilized. It's not growing or spreading. He is very excited about this. So early in the treatment process this is all that could have happened. I look healthy in all other areas. They'll wait 3 cycles now before we do more tests. The doctor was very pleased.
I didn't get nervous until half way through the X-men movie my dad and I were at yesterday. I had gotten into the movie so much I almost forgot what was looming. Then a line, a shot, something sparked me and jerked me back to reality. I hadn't even been nervous until that point. Something about the surreality or the movie, and the reality of this cancer caused that realization to hit me hard. It was still 3 hours until I would find out the results of this test and I was officially nervous.
Even as the doctor was saying the words about the update I had a hard time believing him. While I was hopeful I was also scared. I didn't know if I was finally getting good news in this process. I kept waiting for the bad news to come. It didn't. I didn't know how to react. I think I was relieved. There wasn't an instant emotional response. This is not the end of the race, we have merely gotten a piece of good news in the midst of a marathon. I'm not cured yet. However this is a significantly positive sign. One that needs to be celebrated. Why didn't my heart prick up?
The same reason why my heart didn't prick up at this news, is the same reason my heart isn't devastated at bad news. My peace, joy, and happiness are not dependent on my circumstances. They are dependent on my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Even though I was anxious about the results, I still felt peace that God is in control and He is able to heal me. I also feel peace about if God chooses not to heal me, that God is in control and that must have been the best option available. I pray that he uses me exceedingly and abundantly more than I could ask or imagine in my life now and after He should choose to heal me. I know that if He chooses not to heal me, He will still use me exceedingly and abundantly more than I could ask or imagine.
The valleys are less deep, the mountaintop experiences are less significant. They are still sweet and cherished. However I don't need them to sustain me, I'm sustained. It's more constant. No matter what God allows me to endure or chooses to bless me with, my faith will not change. My hope, peace, and joy come from knowing and being known by God. To be known by the creator, who can understand that? So no matter what I should face or be told, no news or circumstance can ever rob me of my hope, peace, and joy!
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Dr. Sheelvanth said these results are the best he could have hoped for. No spreading of cancer at all...the cancer isn't shrinking but it is too early for that to happen anyway.
Dr. is extremely pleased with the results, and we are going to do 3 more cycles before our next checks. Prayers are answered!
Our God is mighty to save!
Monday, June 6, 2011
This is apparently the universal way to greet a person with cancer. To be completely honest with you, it was starting to get frustrating for me to be greeted this way. I would be cruising along in my day and not dwelling on this reality until somebody came around, threw their head to the side, and asked me how I'm doing. Like that. That brings me right back to cancer land.
How am I doing? The answer is I'm doing incredibly well. I have felt great the last week and a half, I'm engaged with work, feeling like I'm fulfilling a purpose. Even though I have this appointment on Wednesday looming over our heads for the last two weeks, I have not been dwelling on what ifs and hypotheticals.
I'm not doing well because of anything I've done. If you asked us four months ago, "how would you respond if you were diagnosed stage four cancer?" We'd have said, "we'll be a million pieces lying on the ground." It is only the grace of God that is holding all the pieces together right now.
But that is the cool part. The joy of the Lord is my strength right now. In the face of extreme difficulty I feel an overwhelming peace and confidence in my Lord.
So every time somebody asks me, "how are you doing?" I have an awesome opportunity to tell them what God is doing in my life right now. Instead of being annoyed by this question, I'm actually looking forward to it now. Every time I get a chance to share what God's doing in my life, it is a blessing because it fills my cup.
Please lift up myself and my friends and family in your prayers the next couple days. This trip to Chicago is weighing heavily on many people around me. We're praying that the tests will show the cancer is shrinking or completely gone (you have not because you ask not). However good news does not mean I'm cured, and bad news does not mean I'm not able to be cured. This is all a journey that requires one step and a time. Each day brings new information and new decisions. Please pray that I could gain some weight. I'm on a pretty strict very healthy diet, and it is very difficult to gain weight back that I lost during the first week of each cycle.
Sunday, June 5, 2011
I have been dwelling in Negative Nancy Land for most of Sunday afternoon. A major crybaby. It all started with a sick boy. Not Ryan, but Colton. He threw up when I was leaving my nephew's baseball game yesterday in Lowell, and has thrown up several other times along with some pretty nasty diarrhea. So today, I was starting to get concerned because he wasn't keeping anything down. Off to the ER we went to ensure that he was okay, and that he was hydrated enough. Not surprisingly, he wasn't, so my 13-month-old little had to be hooked up to his first IV and receive fluids.
So I started to think as I was sitting in Room 5 of the emergency room at Lakeshore Hospital... God, why me? WHY on earth does it seem like it's one thing after another? I see plenty of other people around us who are sailing through life with seemingly no problems right now. I have a husband with inoperable cancer, I have no job next year, and now my little boy is sick. Why do you choose to continue to challenge us like this? I'm getting sick of it! I don't want to watch my husband get hooked up to an IV machine and see another one of those "BIOHAZARD" bags brought to him. I don't want to see my toddler throw up everywhere. I don't want to have him at the hospital. I don't want this. I DON'T WANT THIS!
John 9:1-3: 1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
Right now, I feel like Ryan and I are experiencing a little bit of what the blind man experienced. I don't like that we are that family, the one who God is using to display whatever works He chooses to display through this (still hoping that he's choosing to show his awesome, miraculous healing power). But how cool is it that He is using us in the midst of this situation. I'm floored when someone says, "Your blog post impacted me." Or, "I've shared the link with someone else that has cancer and it has encouraged them." I feel blessed by the way that the Lord has used our cancer journey for so much good. If it weren't for that, this cancer would be totally unbearable.
I wish like anything that this cancer hadn't happened to my husband, but if there was ever a person to whom God could give a trial and get praise back tenfold, it would be Ryan. The works of God are on full display in his life. And it becomes more and more evident each day that God allowed this to happen to have us rely on Him more fully, and to glorify Him. Praise the Lord for those opportunities!