Thursday, February 28, 2013

More questions than answers



I really don't even know where to begin.

Today has been so hard.  Could it have been worse?  Yes.  Was it what we were hoping for?  No.  Was it what we were expecting?  Yes and no.

I could go into a really long and drawn out explanation and tell you about all of the times that opinions and plans have been changed today, but I'll spare you.  Essentially, there are some big hurdles that we have to overcome in Ryan's journey, and here they are:

  • The theraspheres did what they were supposed to do! But...
  • Ryan's cancer has advanced in other areas.  There are new lesions on his liver, near his colon, and in his pelvis...
  • ...but he isn't experiencing pain nearly to the level that he would with so many lesions, so there are questions as to whether all of these masses are truly cancer, or are they something else?  (Blood? Infection?)
  • Ryan is starting to present with ascites (LOTS of it), but when he was drained, the fluid was mostly blood...
  • which leads us to the question: from where is this blood coming?  Is he bleeding internally?  His doctor has never seen this from a Theraspheres patient.
  • His bloodwork also brought some concern.  His electrolytes are out of whack.  His bilirubin is creeping up, which we are seeing in the color of his eyes and his face.
All of these problems and questions are leading to the conclusion: Ryan has to be admitted to have further testing and to get his counts stabilized.  We are able to do this in Muskegon, so once he is done getting a magnesium infusion, we will hit the road.  Long, long day.  No chemo today.  Hopefully we will start treatment next week as soon as this all settles down.

We so appreciate your prayer and concern and we desperately need more prayer for wisdom as we attempt to navigate all of these new developments.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Please pray!

Hello friends, I just wanted to remind you that Ryan is going to be doing scans tomorrow. We are nervous about these, due to some recent side effects. Please pray for peace, no matter the outcome.

I love the Lord , for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord : “ Lord , save me!” The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the unwary; when I was brought low, he saved me. Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. For you, Lord , have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living. (Psalm 116:1-9 NIV)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Updates, thanksgiving, and prayer request.

Hello blog readers,

I know that we have been noticeably silent on here lately.  And I literally have about ten minutes to update our blog before we race off to the next thing, so here is a bulleted list (I know, LAME) of what is new with us:

  • Ryan is en route to Pennsylvania (as I write this) to speak at the Christian Camps and Conference Association Allegheny Sectional.
  • Please be in prayer for him as he speaks.  He's feeling better, but has been battling a cold/cough for the last two weeks and when he gets into a coughing fit, it's kind of ugly.  It will not be easy for him to teach three workshops while he's got a serious tickle in his throat.
  • I have started a new job at the Muskegon Area ISD.  Less drive time (woot!) and it is a counseling job.  It was sad to leave Grand Haven but I'm very excited to be doing what I'm doing, counseling students and working with the staff at the Career Tech Center.  Loving it!  I am so thankful to be doing exactly what I've always wanted to do in education, which is to be a counselor - but it has made me BUSY!
  • We are in the final stages (inspections, etc.) of purchasing a new home and will hopefully be moving in a few weeks.  In case you were wondering what Ryan's big, exciting news was on Facebook a couple of weeks ago - there you have it!  We are hopefully/probably moving (barring any unforeseen problems) to the southeast side of New Era - I'm actually pretty surprised that it's not a Rothbury address.  Please pray for the sale of our current home.  If you are handy and would like to help with a few minor projects that we need to do, feel free to let us know. :)  Or if you have an overabundance of brawn and would like to help us move, that would also be most appreciated!
  • We are on our way to Chicago this week (Wednesday/Thursday) to do scans and start a new chemo regimen.  We are slightly nervous about the outcome, given that there was a tumor that was growing at the last scans and we haven't had the chance yet to do anything to treat that tumor.  So we are hopeful that that is not doing too much, and we are grateful to start systemic therapy again that can target ALL of the cancer.  As always, prayer is much appreciated for that.
  • Ryan is deeply involved with the writing of his letters to Colton, the book project that he and Larry Leech are working collaboratively on.  We are actually to the point where we could send sample chapters and the proposal to publishers, so that could use some major prayer.
  • Colton is doing awesome and we are starting to actually think about PRESCHOOL - crazy that he could enter this fall.  We are going to hold off (we think) for another year, but it is just insane to be thinking about such things.  Wasn't he just born last week?  I guess not, seeing as how he's talking in crazy long sentences, singing, using his imagination, and cracking jokes.  I just love that boy!
  • Please be in prayer for Ryan's recent symptoms, which could still be after effects of the two therasphere treatments that he did in November and January.  Fatigue, lack of appetite, and increased bilirubin levels have been the main culprits.
  • Ryan just celebrated his 27th birthday three days ago!  27!  We love that number but we love 28 much, much more.  Please keep praying for Ryan to see as many birthday candles on top of a cake as possible.
  • And in case you were wondering, Tigers individual game tickets go on sale March 2nd.  I'm ridiculously excited for that date to come.  We have missed baseball around here and hope to get to a few more games this year!
Well there you have it, the major update of what is going on around here.  Please know that we love you all, and we love hearing from you.  We are grateful for your prayer support and covet it in the next week we head into scans.

2 Corinthians 4: 7-18

7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.