Sunday, March 31, 2013

What the resurrection means to me.

Lamentations 3:21-33

21 Yet this I call to mind
    and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”
25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
    to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.
27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke
    while he is young.
28 Let him sit alone in silence,
    for the Lord has laid it on him.
29 Let him bury his face in the dust—
    there may yet be hope.
30 Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,
    and let him be filled with disgrace.
31 For no one is cast off
    by the Lord forever.
32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
    so great is his unfailing love.
33 For he does not willingly bring affliction
    or grief to anyone.

This week, my pastor asked me to share what the resurrection means to me.  He shared this at our church's Sunday morning service.

So, what does the resurrection mean to me?  The resurrection changed everything; there is no going back.    However, I can not think about the resurrection without connecting it to salvation.

The resurrection happened because of God's great love.  It is an all-consuming process. The resurrection completely transformed the world and salvation should completely change your world.  Jesus did not die for a select group of people, he died for everyone.  When we accept the gift of salvation it too must affect every part of our hearts and our person.

The resurrection is what God did for the world. Salvation is our opportunity to partake in the resurrection and enter back into a pure relationship with our Father.  As sinners, part of salvation requires we acknowledge our personal sin.   We have to experience the depth of our depravity before we can fully experience the gift we gave been given through his compassion and his lovingkindness.  Therefore, just as God allowed Jesus to suffer and die, we too must go through this purification fire in order to die to our sinful selves.

Part of the resurrection was that Jesus had to bear alone and in silence the weight of the world.  God promises us no one is cast off by the Lord forever.  Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.

So just as Jesus placed his faith that God would not abandon him forever and willingly surrendered his death, we too must recognize in the middle of our trials that we will not be cast off forever.  Experiencing this regeneration of the soul is how we enter into the most intimate relationship with our Father.

For me, knowing how undeserved of this gift I am - and yet God still bestowed his lovingkindness on me - has transformed everything from the inside out. Now my only aim is to please God with every fiber of my body. I can willingly sacrifice comforts and pleasures, dreams, and my life - knowing that every moment I get that to honor God has eternal value.

I am compelled to share this with any one I get a chance. I am no longer worried about others' impressions or my failure, but rather I am focused on fulfilling my purpose.

The resurrection was the ultimate expression of God's love. If we accept it through salvation, we must love God and those around us as He has modeled for us.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

One bumpy ride

Dear friends and family,

After enduring five hours on a gurney, basically strapped in the bed of a pickup truck, by the grace of God I made it home. As you can imagine, this trip took quite a bit out of me. Kendra and our families plan on taking some time to recharge our batteries and learn about what our new normal looks like. We understand many of you have a strong desire to connect with us, but we would like to get through the next VERY busy few days and then see what next week looks like. Thank you so much for your cards, emails, and encouraging comments. We are blessed.

Monday, March 25, 2013

More positive news!

Hi there everyone,

We are still here at the hospital, but it is starting to sound more and more like we might be getting out of here this week!  Our surgeon met with Ryan this morning and was extremely pleased with how he's doing.  Ryan has had a couple of really positive days and his paracentesis output has slowed down to absolutely NOTHING since yesterday morning. :)  Incision is doing very well, pain controlled, counts stabilizing, and he's getting much more mobile!  The news that we heard today was that Ryan could get discharged tomorrow to be able to go over to the hotel, and then depending on how he does caring for himself, we could go home - YES, I JUST SAID HOME - the best place on earth - on Wednesday or Thursday. :) :) :) :) :) :)

Please pray that direction!

We love you guys!


Edit: I also just remembered that Tigers baseball starts one week from today.  Oh my goodness, today is amazing.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Moving forward

Hello everyone,

Another day in the hospital, and another day closer to going home. We are hoping (please pray with us) that we can bust out of here mid to late next week. Ryan is stable, feeling decent, and taking laps quite often. His doctors are pleased with his physical stamina and his pain tolerance. The immediate goal is to get his GI tract started up again so that he can get the annoying NG tube out of his nose; that is not a lot of fun. However, he has a few hurdles to jump before we break him loose, such as some of his counts normalizing a bit.

We have been blessed by the cards, notes, comments, and gifts that have been sent for us and for Colton. I feel like a broken record, but I just want to reiterate that we are feeling the love. We are so appreciative of all of you, and we feel so girded and supported by our brothers and sisters in Christ. This journey is not easy, but we are glad that we are doing it with you by our side.

We are looking forward to a quiet weekend with lots of March Madness and spring training games. We look at each day to spend together as an absolute gift. Hug your family and enjoy them this weekend and thank God for the blessing of family. Alright? :)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

He's out of surgery!

Waiting to see him still, but he is out.

Surgeon said that they were able to suture and coagulate the bleeding that was happening in a tumor just outside of the large intestine.  Praise God that there was no need to resect any of his bowel.  There was no bleeding happening when they closed him up.  We are so grateful for the balance that the surgeon took in being aggressive enough to fix the problem, yet delicate enough to not cause any damage to him.

So now what?  Ryan is being moved to the surgical unit to recover for the next 5 to 7 days (could be longer, depending on how he recovers).  We will be trying to make arrangements to come home as soon as we are able.

Oh Lord, you are so good to us and so faithful.  Thank you for loving us extravagantly and for covering us in your grace today.

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

They found a bleed!

A tumor in the back of his liver has a vessel that is bleeding.  They are going to do a small incision to fix the bleed because they cannot fix it with laparoscopy.

This is the best possible news we could have gotten!

Not out of the woods yet, and surgery should be another couple of hours.

Ryan is in surgery now.

I just said "see ya later" to him at 12:10 Central.

He is totally at peace with whatever outcome we have today. I am as well.

We read Psalm 86 while waiting for him to go back. That is my favorite "trench" psalm. Every time I feel pressed down or about to be destroyed, I read that and I remember that my God goes before me (us) and is my (our) Great Defender. We surrender ourselves fully and completely to His will.

And if our God is for us - then who could ever stop us?

And if our God is with us - then what could stand against us?

Procedure pushed back to around 11 Central

Laparoscopy is at 9:30 Central

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Laparoscopy tomorrow

Hello friends,

Well, it's scheduled.

Tomorrow later in the morning, Ryan will go in for a laparoscopy (you should hear how many different ways we have pronounced that today).  They are going in for a diagnostic laparoscopy, and they are going to look for "the leak".  If they do not find a leak or they find a tumor is simply "oozing" blood, then there is not much that they can do and the procedure will be over.  If they find a leak, they will try to cauterize, clamp, or sew the leak (whatever is appropriate).  There is a small risk that there might be a major organ involved in the leak, such as the colon.  There is a possibility of Ryan having to have part of his colon resected, if that is the case.

Yikes, I'm sure that just got your attention.

There are obviously some risks involved in this procedure.  The biggest is general anesthesia.  There are obviously more major risks if the procedure progresses to the point where they need to do an open surgery.  We ask for you to cover Ryan in prayer tomorrow, for his safety and for the wisdom and guidance for the doctors.  We feel at peace.  If this is successful and stops the leak, we are so grateful.  If it doesn't and we have to make some tough decisions, we are at peace with that as well.

Our God is so faithful to us.  As Ryan and I look back over the last seven years of marriage, we see so many instances of where we had needs, and God provided for them.  Every. Single. Time.  He's continuing to do the same for us now...covering us in grace and peace when we so sorely need it.

Psalm 85: 8-9

8 I will listen to what God the Lord says;
    he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants—
    but let them not turn to folly.
9 Surely his salvation is near those who fear him,
    that his glory may dwell in our land.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Angiogram results

Procedure could not find the bleeding. Another surgical team will be consulted tomorrow. Right now we are disappointed in these results, but we are choosing to remain positive and hopeful, because we serve a God who offers hope even in the valley.

And he's in.

The procedure has begun. 3 hours or so. Will update soon.

“To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:25-31 NIV)

Procedure scheduled for 2 pm CDT

Pizza and baseball

Allow me to let down the walls for a minute.

A lot of you know me as a very strong person. I have a gift for mostly being able to compartmentalize my life and to throw my tantrums in private, but I also know that sometimes it's good to let people in to what's on my mind.

It's simple, really.

Pizza and baseball.

Now, before you think that Ryan really has hijacked my mind since being married to him, allow me to explain.

We live in a beautiful section of West Michigan, very close to a local dairy that has a pizza shop. We love the dairy and if you picked through our garbage at any given moment, you'd often find a black and white pizza box there, stained with the grease that serves as a reminder of delicious cheese, fresh veggies, and pepperoni that we enjoyed.

On many Friday nights, I pick up salad ingredients at the grocery store and when Colton and I get home, I make a salad. I call Ryan and ask him to pick up the pizza on his way home from work, and then wait for him to walk through the door with that familiar box.

After noshing on too much of our favorite pizza and probably too little salad, we head over to the couch, a remarkably short distance in our small starter home, and turn on the TV to watch the Tigers (when in season). Lots of cheering and hissing ensues.

I love pizza and baseball.


On March 1st, my son and I were on our way home from a normal Friday. However, Dad wasn't coming home. He was on his way to CTCA with his father to be admitted to the hospital.

Colton asks me from the backseat, "Where my daddy?"

"Daddy is in a car with Papa. A doctor is going to fix his owies, Colton."

"My dad otay?"

"Yes, sweetie, he's ok."

"Mama, I want Daddy to come home. I want to eat pizza with my daddy. I want to watch baseball."

There was nothing that Colton could have said that could have driven the stake in my wounded heart deeper. I had an instant, almost visceral reaction to his words. Tears flooded my eyes and I immediately cried out, ME TOO.

There is nothing I want more than pizza and baseball. To sit at home. Snuggled with my husband. Tigers on the tv, pizza in our bellies. Colton begging us to pitch him his foam balls so that he can whack a "ho'run" like the boys of summer on the big screen. I want to kidnap Ryan from his hospital bed, rip out that drain that constantly reminds me of the uphill battle we are facing, and rush him and Colton home in time for tomorrow's spring training game. And pick up a black and white box along the way.


Oh, how I ache for normalcy.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Pray for tomorrow!

Hi friends,

Thanks for praying us through the harrowing Friday afternoon. This weekend has been concerning. Ryan has lost a significant amount of blood. He's getting transfused pretty regularly, but his hemoglobin keeps seesawing. His clotting is back to normal again though, praise God.

A nurse just came in and told me that Ryan's angiogram should be happening tomorrow - unsure of the time. They will check his labs again tomorrow morning to ensure that he is built up enough when heading into the surgery.

All of the bleeding the last three days could be a blessing in disguise; that means that the leak should be visible during the procedure tomorrow. PLEASE PRAY LIKE CRAZY THAT THEY CAN FIX THE LEAK. I don't mean to be melodramatic, but this is absolutely crucial to his progress.

When I find out a time, I'll post a short update so that you can pray in earnest.

Ryan gave us quite a scare tonight. He's been pretty anxious so he took a drug called Ativan that he's taken plenty of times before with no adverse reactions. However, they gave him the IV form of it which is apparently PRETTY potent. He is currently absolutely passed out sleeping. I got pretty freaked out when I could not wake him up so I went to find a nurse and frantically texted my father in law to get here. Sorry for the scare, Steve. :) However, he's stable - just sleeping incredibly hard.

We continue to be so thankful for all of you. I can't tell you how much all of your prayers and notes are encouraging us right now when we need them so much.

The body of Christ is amazing.

Friday, March 15, 2013


Procedure will be Monday. Exploratory Angiogram with the intent to embolize a bleed if they see one.

Ryan's blood cannot clot properly; this is why the procedure can't happen today. Plasma will be coming. Plasma MIGHT take care of the increased bleeding.

Radiation may be happening today as per usual.

Please keep praying. We are all having a slight case of PTSD after this episode the last hour. Seriously. We are all kind of a wreck right now.

Huge, huge prayer request.

Please put this prayer request out.  We need serious prayer right now.

Ryan's bleeding seemed to change last night - I wouldn't say that the production increased sharply, but the blood that was coming out of his bag was much darker than even earlier in the day yesterday.  We were slightly alarmed, but then this morning his hemoglobin had dropped rather significantly.  There is a team of doctors that was contacted (representing gastroenterology, interventional radiology, radiation, and surgery) that is trying to put a plan in place.  The initial plan sounds like he might have this angiogram and they will go in to look for this "fault" and embolize it to try to stop the bleeding.  This is a total 180 from what we had heard last week.

We are extremely confused and will soon be in a consult with the doctors.  We are asking for wisdom, for God's clear direction, and if Ryan has to have a procedure tonight - PLEASE PRAY FOR SAFETY!  We are extremely concerned.  We will, of course, update this blog as soon as we know anything more.  It may be short, but I'll keep my phone on me to be able to send out information as we gather it.

Psalm 46:1

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Two days in a row!

Feeling really well again today. Very positive news on the digestive front today! Please keep praying but lots if good news so far. Treatment around 5 cst today. Thanks or the packages, emails, cards, chores, support, and everything I'm forgetting. We're so blessed.

Please pray for Colton. There is no schedule or rhythm for him which can be hard at times. We miss many of you very much. If we haven't met yet we would like to someday soon.

Lastly keep praying for the blood leak to stop or slow down quickly. This is one of the last pieces to fall back into place.

Until then we will praise God and watch Big Ten basketball all day!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Radiation Time Updates

Today - 3:30 cst
Thursday - 4:50 cst
Friday - 3:00 cst
Monday - 8:30am cst

Sorry for the confusion. We will let you know if anything changes.

Thanks so much for the prayers and support. I feel pretty good today. Have been up for a walk, working both for camp and personal items, and am generally more awake and alert.

The GI issues are still not resolved but things are not regressing and my pain is way more under control.

Hemoglobin went down this morning, to be expected with the blood I'm leaking. My Bilirubin is own almost a full point! That is huge.

I may have another transfusion later.

Everyone is very excited about how I'm looking and doing. We are so thankful for all the prayers. We know the real reason despite medicine changes and adjustments. The king of kings has an army of prayer warriors standing behind us at the ready.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Another short update

Hello everyone, posted below is Ryan's radiation treatment schedule. Please remember that those times are Central. We are grateful for your prayer! Dr. Eden was pleased today to hear of how you all have been lifting him up. The first treatment was uneventful.

Ryan gave me the ok to give a few more details on here about his GI struggles. Since being hospitalized, Ryan has been struggling with constipation. It's pretty severe at this point. Our doctors are working diligently to resolve this, but in the meantime it is the source of much frustration on our part, and lots of pain for Ryan. Please pray for his digestive tract to restart. We are worried.

Other than that, there is not any major news for tonight! Well, wait, there is some HUGE news. Colton has been almost accident-free for a week - daytime AND nighttime. I guess with our child, the opposite logic of most normal potty training is true: completely remove him from his comfort zone, place unending streams of new people in his life, and remove almost all structure. Hmm.

Have a great evening!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Short update

Hello friends!

Just a very quick update tonight. Ryan is feeling better, but the GI symptoms are still unresolved. Radiation is supposed to be tomorrow around 1:00 Central time. He was more alert today and he had a grand time ripping on people - his sense of humor never fails him. :)

Alright. I'm exhausted. Good night!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

On Christ the solid rock I stand.

...all other ground is sinking sand.

All other ground is sinking sand.

Hello.  Here we are on Sunday, March 10.  I'm trying to keep the "clack clack" of the keyboard to a minimum as Ryan sleeps beside me.

The last couple of days have been both wonderful and rough.  Some close family members came into town for the weekend which was AMAZING, and we just said goodbye to the last of them.  We are back down to just immediate family plus one Amy. :)  It was wonderful to see people, but Ryan has been increasingly uncomfortable with some nagging GI symptoms.  Please pray for relief to come from those problems.  I think he'd be a thousand times happier if that were the case.

The bleeding has not stopped; if anything, it has increased slightly.  His hemoglobin is hanging in there, though, and we are grateful for that.  Radiation starts TUESDAY, please make sure that you circle and star that date on your calendar! When I know appointment times, I will make sure to tell you all so that you can specifically pray at the time of day that he has radiation.

Not much else to report medically.  Emotionally I think we are all just very drained and tired.  Monday punched us in the gut, then we got hopeful when there seemed to be some treatment options, and now it is very hard on everyone to see Ryan be uncomfortable.  Spiritually, Ryan continues to be our mouthpiece - or rather, God's mouthpiece, reminding everyone that our hope is in Christ, not here on earth.  I continue to remind myself of Romans 8:18: "I consider that our present sufferings do not compare to the glory that will be revealed in us."  Won't it be sweet, someday, for us all to have forgotten about these earthly troubles and to be in glory?  I'm shivering at the thought of that. How sweet that day will be!

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus' Name.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Pray for Dr. Eden!

Hello everyone.

Today has been a pretty calm day.  Ryan hasn't really had any procedures done except for another blood transfusion.  A slight downturn in both hemoglobin (darn) and bilirubin (yay!).  Bili will probably go up again tomorrow as a result of the transfusion but it's trending in the right direction.  It's important for it to go down so that we can do chemo.

Ryan met briefly with Dr. Eden (incredible, Christian radiation oncologist) today to talk about the upcoming IMRT treatments that he will start.  Good news: scans are first thing tomorrow morning and he can probably start radiation Monday, Tuesday or - HOLY COW, that was expedited.  Dr. Eden specifically asked for us to galvanize prayer support on our blog for him and his team.  A LOT hinges on these radiation treatments.  The outcomes that he is hoping for: stop/shrink new tumors and stop the exudative "leaking".  This is an extremely critical piece for Ryan to be able to continue treatment.  Please pray that Dr. Eden's hands will be guided by the Lord - that his team will be able to correctly map the radiation treatments and that the treatments will be effective.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Next steps

Oy.  This has been quite a day for Ryan, talking with lots of nurses and doctors.  As per usual, I am going to be doing bullet points because they help me keep my thoughts straight. :)
  • His bleeding has picked back up again slightly. Although there have been some changes and abnormalities in the last 24 hours. It is very important to keep praying that direction, but it hasn't yet happened completely.
  • He has another bleeding scan today at 1:30 CST to determine whether or not they will see any active bleeding.
  • Doctors are conjecturing that he is having "exudative" bleeding, which would be a tiny leak of bloody fluid seeping from minuscule capillaries.  That type of bleeding would not be picked up on any scan, angiogram, or laparascopic surgery but would still produce a noticeable amount of drainage.  It is not nearly as serious as "active" internal bleeding would be - Ryan's whole system would be shutting down and he would be in a lot worse shape if that were the case.
  • His hemoglobin went down a tiny bit and then stabilized and his bilirubin went up a tiny bit (from yesterday).  Although those are not the correct directions, they're minor changes and no one is alarmed. They're both still generally heading in the correct direction.
  • So, that brings me to the next steps.  His primary oncologist has consulted with radiation, interventional radiology, and surgery.  The best course of action - Ryan is going to have targeted radiation to specific tumors that will last for five days. After that, the hope is that the new growths will be slowed/killed and then he can start chemo asap.  Everyone is in agreement that chemo needs to happen as fast as possible, but radiation could be the first step to gain some momentum against the cancer's growth.
  • Consult for radiation (scans, mapping) should happen tomorrow or Friday.  Please pray for that to happen expeditiously - we are riding them to try to get it done as fast as possible.  He could possibly start radiation in the middle of next week.
  • We are all relieved that there are some courses of action, but some hurdles need to be jumped.  Good thing we're all athletic. ;)  And pushy.  No one with the last name of Prudhomme sits back on their laurels.
  • We know that many people would like to come and visit.  We have a lot going on right now, and Ryan only has so much energy.  Please direct your inquiries about visiting through Kendra - text me if you have my number, or email me through the form above and I'll get back with you shortly. If circumstances worsen and it becomes necessary for friends and family to travel, we will change our stance on this.  For now, though, it seems best to hold off.
Thank you so, so very much for your prayers.  I cannot reiterate enough how much they are sustaining us.  Today I'd ask you to pray for our sweet little boy.  We are doing our darndest to make sure that his needs are met, but obviously he's so little and he can sense something is up, yet he doesn't understand.  He does know that Daddy has "owies" but we are trying very hard to not alarm him and to keep him feeling safe and sheltered and loved.

John 14:27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

How to pray for us tonight

Hi there, friends.

I know that a lot of you are getting ready to spend a part of your evening in prayer for us, so we thought we would let you know what we learned today, and how to specifically pray.  There are some IMPORTANT prayer requests here.

  • Ryan's bleeding scan showed no active bleeding.  Whether it's because the bleeding stopped (can you say MIRACLE!) or whether it had just stopped momentarily and will start up again, remains to be seen.  (I say - the sky is the limit; let's ask for the miracle.)
  • We are going to take a "wait and see" approach for the next few days.  Doctors will be monitoring his hemoglobin, blood pressure, and the output of the paracentesis.  The drainage seems to have slowed down considerably, another good sign.  Blood pressure and hemoglobin have been steady today - yeah!
  • If it appears like the bleeding is picking up again, the options are: more bleeding scans, laparascopic surgery to determine where the bleeding is, or the aforementioned angiogram to determine where the bleeding is and try to stop it.
  • Ryan is comfortable, and with Steve, Cathey, Ryan, myself, Corey, and Jeremy - we have enough people for three Euchre teams so the competition is heating up and a lot of trash talk is going on.  Okay, in all seriousness, we are praising God for Ryan being able to be surrounded by all of the members of his immediate family.
So, we are certainly not out of the woods yet.  But we so trust in the power of prayer, and we know that our God is listening to the rising multitudes.  We are confident in Him, and we continue to pray that His will would be done.

ROMANS 8: 31-32
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Prayer session

Hi friends, just wanted to make you aware of this, whether you can join virtually or actually in person, our friend is hosting a prayer session at a church in Hudsonville:

Hudsonville Reformed Church
3950 Highland Dr, 
Hudsonville, Michigan 49426-1955
7:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Here is the link to the Facebook event, which is public.

Another day in Zion

Hello everyone! We are very grateful for your prayer overnight. It helped sustain us.

Jeremy is here. He arrived this morning at O'Hare. We are so glad that he was able to leave work and be here with his brother. Corey was here yesterday but has an internship today. Colton is pumped to be with his uncles and his daddy and Papa. Mama and Grandma are okay in a pinch. Colton's morning has largely consisted of playing games on his iPad and running sprints up and down a quiet hallway.

We still don't know what this day brings. The angiogram has not been scheduled yet. We will update again when we know a specific time and we are asking for a prayer assault when that is scheduled. Stay tuned.

Give thanks to the Lord , for he is good; his love endures forever. Let Israel say: “His love endures forever.” Let the house of Aaron say: “His love endures forever.” Let those who fear the Lord say: “His love endures forever.” When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord ; he brought me into a spacious place. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. (Psalm 118:1-6a NIV)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Update #3

Here we are. So happy to be together.

The good piece of news tonight: there is no bleeding in the GI tract. The bleeding is likely from the tumor sites. We will know more information tomorrow. So grateful for your prayers and your overwhelming support. We feel your prayers and are much encouraged by your emails, comments, and Facebook messages.

We love you all!

Update 2 from Monday March 4th

I now have a bleeding scan scheduled for today! This is good news as it is the first step towards the angiogram. They will use nuclear Medicine to determine the source of the bleeding.

Please pray for the Dr's to find an obvious easy to access easy to treat tumor!

We will keep you posted with updates as they come. I don't thinks its an accident that 10 minutes after I asked for prayer the first step started to happen.

My biggest prayer request for you ever!

It has been a very tough morning. I met with a couple of doctors this morning, mine and the gastroenterologist. Their consensus was things were a lot more serious. The bleeding seems to be come from one of the small newer tumors on the lobe of the liver. It is still probably "seeping" fluid.

The real problem is they HAVE to identify the source of the fluid. They think they know. They're talking with other Dr's about whether to do an angiogram to discover the source and then hopefully coagulate the tumor. The instrument has to get far enough up into the tumor in order to do that. 


There are not strong odds for a successful procedure. 

Once the doctors decide to move forward, then there are still no guarantees. 

If they can stop the blood we're back in business. Work on getting my counts right and pursue treatment again. If they can't complete the procedure there are no more options. The blood will continue to leak into my body and after a while my organs will slowly start to shut down. 

This is the scary option. The Dr's said the don't honestly expect me to leave this hospital, and once the organs start to go it will be "sooner than later". 

Another slim but possible scenario is the tumor clots up on its own. This probably would've happened it it was going to but that's man's timing not God's. 

I won't lie and say I'm not scared. I was doing fine as I found out and was able to ask questions and keep it together. However once I started calling family members it became much more difficult. I felt like I was the one inflicting their pain. I know it wasn't me, but I felt like it was my fault.

I love God passionately and unashamedly. He is my all in all. My redeemer. This is still no more out of his hands than anything else I've faced so far. 

How can you help?

Kendra and Colton and my mom are headed down tonight to be together with us. Pray for safe travels. 

There are so many types of people grieving this right now, mother, father, wife, son, brothers, introverts, extroverts, .etc. Please pray we would have the Grace from God to deal with whatever news comes our way. That we would all lean on him in obedience and find our peace and joy and hope in him.

Pray for the Angiogram!!! That it would happen. That doctor's hands would be guided by Holy Angels to direct them. That they would find the source, get where they need to go, and stop the bleeding of this tumor!

Pray for Kendra and I as we may be living in two worlds more dramatically sooner than we expected. A foot in the strong possibility of fate, and a foot in the eternal and guaranteed promise of hope.

Pray for God's will to be done above all. Not my selfish will to be alive, but God's will regardless of how it affects me. He is Lord of Lord.

Please forward this blog to as many people as you can. The more people calling on God's name for His will to be done, the more please our Father will be. 

I and we are going to choose to glorify God no matter what happens. We have done that since April 1st, 2011. God is sovereign and we will live every moment purposefully trying to serve him. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Day three of my internment... I mean being admitted...

Oh, where to begin?

I'll try to give you a succinct update but there have been so many things that have arisen, changed, are very detailed, or are still up in the air that it is hard for me to remember all the details and the timeline. What else is new right? I've been on a steady stream of Dilaudid as well so that my have something to do with it. But I'm very happy. :-)

We were discharged on Thursday from CTCA to go home and immediately get admitted on Friday. Doctors at CTCA were worried about some of my blood count numbers, liver enzymes and proteins, and a few other medical indicators. They were also concerned about the source of the fluid that has been draining consistently from my abdomen since Thursday. If you saw me in Pennsylvania while I was teaching Monday through Tuesday I probably looked pretty "puffy" in the belly region. No I don't have a beer belly, it was just a lot of fluid accumulating.

So we tried to get admitted back home and long story short the hospital wouldn't admit us with out checking us through ER first. Once in ER they determined they were underqualified to deal with my case. I could have transferred to Grand Rapids a much larger hospital but we felt more comfortable just heading back to Chicago, where my doctors who know me, know my case, and have all the experience you could imagine with complicated cancers.

My dad and I got into Chicago around 8:00 EST. After checking in (they were waiting for me) it was a matter of 20-30 minutes before I was admitted. The gave me two units of blood Friday night. However they didn't start until around midnight and at about 2.5 hours per unit. I spent a lot of my night getting woken up by nurses who were just doing their job, so I hold no grudges, it was just a long night.

Yesterday and today the focus has been on getting my counts back higher which they appear to be doing. My hemoglobin has risen by 2 points, and my biliruben has dropped by 1.5 points. Other liver enzymes and proteins appear to be normal or close to normal. The fluid draining has seemed to slow down a little bit, however there is still a lot of blood in it which is concerning for the Dr.'s.

One of the priorities for the Dr.'s tomorrow is going to be trying to discern the source of the leaking. They seem to think it might be the tumor close to the colon. If this is true that colon is "weeping" or "seeping" fluid which is not abnormal. The good news is the chemo we're looking at starting if effective should really attack the fluid discharge from the tumor. So treatment might start soon!

Really I don't know much more at this time other than my counts seem to be improving and there are many doctors coordinating on my case. They will all meet tomorrow sometime to put the plan together. Once we have that information, hopefully we'll know rough timeframes for how long we might be here, what the severity is, and how we're going to attack it.

Kendra and I are doing relatively well. The medical part is very difficult for Kendra, however the separation might be the most difficult. I'm staying very positive about my prognosis, and view this as a speed bump. However, an indefinite stay at a hospital (no matter how amazing and incredible it is) is not my idea of how to spend my time. I've had to cancel a couple speaking engagements that I was really excited about. They were, of course, very gracious.

Please pray for my family and my extended family. There are many, many unknowns and as we've experienced things can change so fast either to the good or to the bad. What we take peace, confidence, and joy in, is that my God, the God who created me for His purposes is running the show and calling the shots. I've had a number of opportunities to share my faith, encourage others, and be a light to those around me. Pray for more opportunities.

Feel free to send notes of encouragement and scripture. It is such a blessing to hear from others. Just as an FYI, you can comment below (you do not have to have a google account), or you can click "Contact Us" up above and that goes straight to our email.

Friday, March 1, 2013

On the road again

Headed back to Chicago. Many different questions still unanswered. Felt like Chicago was our best option. They are the best and know me the best. Please pray for answers. Pray specifically we can find the source of the fluid building in my stomach. This is very important. We will keep you posted. Right now it's my dad and I headed down. Pray for my whole family for peace wisdom and grace. Thank you.