From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. John 1:16

Monday, January 31, 2011

Bearing up our burdens...

"Bear up one another's burdens and thus fulfil the law of Christ."  Galatians 6.2
This is exactly what you have been doing for us.  You're praying when we don't know what to pray and that means so much to us.  Sometimes, I find myself lying in bed wanting to pray and I just can't...or I pray the same 10 words over and over...and then I relax...knowing that you're intereceeding before the throne on our behalf and instead of struggling to pray, I sing a song of praise as I drift off to sleep...
Last night, as tired as I was from being up all night with Dad, I couldn't pray...sleep wasn't coming easily.  I kept thinking about his surgery in the morning, knowing I wouldn't be there, wondering if I should just skip one more day of school with the boys and go...but I needed to be home.  Even without me there (wink-grin) Dad's surgery was very successful and he was back in his room by about 10.  He wanted to talk to me but the morphine pump kept him from really being able to do so.  He was prescribed muscle relaxers for the bothersome spasms he was having and will get a sleeping pill tonight.  Mom is staying with him and she needs to rest.  He just can't seem to sleep more than 15 minutes without calling out, needing a drink, etc...  Please continue to pray for peaceful rest for him, and for Mom.  Tomorrow, Lord willing & weather permitting, Melissa, Lura, Mom & I will meet with Dr. Reddy to talk about what comes next.  Please pray for safety.
My time at home proved to be useful as I was able to do some research on this blasted Epithelial Angiosarcoma.  There's not much out there.  I found a support group through whom I found a facebook group and am already in touch with a sweet woman, about my age, who is battling Angiosarcoma of the breast.  She put me in touch with another sweet woman from Lancaster (can you believe that!) who lost her husband to Angiosarcoma not too long ago.  I now have, thanks to Corrie & Brenda, an address for a Harvard doctor to send slides to for a 2nd opinion, and some good questions to ask Dr. Reddy.  I also found a website for rare cancers that is so helpful...when I emailed this site, I got an email back right away from a doctor who actually took the time to read my blog, send me a wonderful note of encouragement along with scripture, and is going to check with colleagues to see if anyone has anything for me.  He even asked me to let him know what the plan is after tomorrow's meeting.  Lastly, after emailing a sarcoma researcher at MD Anderson Cancer Ctr. in Houston, I was referred to a sarcoma specialist who emailed me back directly and recommended a specific doctor at Fox Chase who is not only a Sarcoma specialist but who is conducting research.  Wow!
I was so surprised to be able to get this much information when I started out finding nothing online but you know what?  I need to stop being surprised.  God has nothing but good in store for me, even when it hurts, and He continues to let these "mercy drops" (thank you, Sharon) fall on me every single time I'm at the point of feeling like I'm losing it.
Thank you seems like such a small thing to say to each of you for all you've done.  Please know that I mean it and that I love you all dearly.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Morning by morning, new mercies I see...

Brennan and I spent the night with Dad last night and got very little sleep.  Dad is just not sleeping well...he's up talking, mumbling, checking the time, etc... every few minutes.  Our longest stretch was about an hour.  Brennan was on the hospital cot and I was on an air mattress.  Needless to say, I'm very, very tired.  We got home from the hospital about an hour ago.

Tomorrow morning, at 7:30, Dad will have surgery to implant a rod into his left femur.  I was suprised they're doing this so quickly as he is in alot of pain and finding it very difficult to move.  He could barely tolerate my pulling up his sock this morning.  Yet tonight, all of a sudden, he wanted to get up out of bed and into a wheelchair to take a walk.  It took about 15 minutes and the help of 3 nurses for him to do so but he did.  When we left, he was still sitting in the wheelchair looking at a book about cars (from our dear friends, Judy & Alan).  If you know my Dad, you know he loves cars!

Today was a good day with alot of visitors.  So many of you have been asking what you can do to help and you've done so much.  If you are able to visit him, he would love that!  Let me know when you're planning on going so I can tell you where he is...he's moved twice so far.

I'm sorry this update is so short but I need to get some sleep.  I will send a more detailed update tomorrow after he's out of surgery.  Until then, please pray for a peaceful night of sleep for him and Mom (she's staying with him tonight) and that God would be merciful as far as this second surgery goes.  Thank you all for your love, prayers & support...we love you all!!!

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Friday, January 28, 2011

He has heard our weeping...

This morning started with a glimmer of hope.  A call came in to Dad's room saying that an orthopedic-oncologist was coming in to see him and that there was some chance that he may be able to remove the tumors from his femur.  Minutes later, he arrived in Dad's room, after reviewing his test results and told Mom & Dad that that was not an option since he does not feel the tumors in his hips/legs are the primary source of cancer.  He agreed that the best next step was to insert the rod into Dad's right femur and get started with chemotherapy and radiation.  He said that in all of his years of experience he's only seen 2,maybe 3, cases of this kind of cancer.

Dad had surgery early this afternoon and everything went very well.  There was mention at first of them implanting rods into both legs at once but the orthopedist later said that that would be too much surgery for Dad to handle in one day.  There were big concerns about blood loss since this cancer is a cancer of the blood vessels but Dad only needed a very small amount of blood during surgery.  The surgeon was able to get a large sample to send to pathology so that they can reconfirm the diagnosis and do some tissue-typing to see if the chemo team can get any hints into how to tread Dad.  He was in considerable pain after moving to his new room in orthopedics but once he had some pain medicine he was much more comfortable.  He ate a very small amount of dinner but drank his Ensure, as he promised us he would.  Dr. Reddy (his oncologist) came in to say that he wanted Dad to take the weekend to recover and start some rehab.  Mentions were made of having surgery on his left leg on Monday but I doubt that will happen at this point.  It doesn't seem nearly as urgent as the surgery on his right leg was. 

I did what I said I wouldn't do and googled Epithelial Angiosarcoma.  I didn't like what I found.  I should have just waited for the doctors to explain everything to us. Here's a small part of what I read:

Angiosarcomas as a class are very rare - they represent only 1 percent of all sarcomas - and epithelioid angiosarcomas represent only a fraction of the total number of angiosarcomas that occur each year. Since there are about 7,000 cases of sarcoma in the United States each year, the incidence of angiosarcoma is under 100 individuals, and that of epithelioid angiosarcoma even smaller - possibly amounting to only a handful of individual cases each year. Angiosarcoma in some parts of the body is so rare that less than a dozen cases have ever been described in the world scientific literature.

So we find ourselves asking where in the world this came from.  Dad asks if it was something he did, something he worked around.  Was it on the farm?  Was it in the trash?  This, truly, is not important.  What is important is that God has allowed this ugliness into our lives.  The One who loves us enough to die for us will never leave our side.  He has heard our weeping and our cries for mercy, and he has accepted our prayers.

Thank you for walking beside us down this dark road.  Thank you for caring for our children, feeding our pets, buying us groceries, shoveling our walks and snowblowing our driveways.  Thank you for letting us cry on your shoulders and for taking time to cry out to the Lord on our behalf.  Your prayers have been used to help us keep our heads lifted and God's mercies to us have been new every morning.

Psalm 61 LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger
   or discipline me in your wrath.
2 Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am faint;
   heal me, LORD, for my bones are in agony.
3 My soul is in deep anguish.
   How long, LORD, how long?

 4 Turn, LORD, and deliver me;
   save me because of your unfailing love.
5 Among the dead no one proclaims your name.
   Who praises you from the grave?

 6 I am worn out from my groaning.
   All night long I flood my bed with weeping
   and drench my couch with tears.
7 My eyes grow weak with sorrow;
   they fail because of all my foes.

 8 Away from me, all you who do evil,
   for the LORD has heard my weeping.
9 The LORD has heard my cry for mercy;
   the LORD accepts my prayer.
10 All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish;
   they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

no news is ... well ...

Surgery was postponed again today.  First we were waiting for clearance from Dad's cardiac group, which was closed due to the snow.  Then they did a STAT Echocardiogram that took 5 hours to get results from, and then a trauma came in that called for the orthopedic surgeon.  So, after 2 full days of fasting, Dad had a small dinner and will,  hopefully, get a good night's sleep. 

He is, again, an add-on for surgery tomorrow but we're hoping they'll actually schedule him.  It can't hurt to ask, right?

He's frustrated but doesn't want to be.  Please keep praying...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

calm in the storm...

Just a quick update...

Lura & Jonas made it home safely to Reading.  Doug is home safely from Pottstown (although, he has to be back @ the hospital to open at 4:30am...please pray for safety).  I am safely home, checking emails, enjoying some quiet alone time with my favorite coffee.  Mom & Melissa are staying in Lancaster tonight.  LGH has graciously given our family the use of an apartment, free of charge, less than 1/2 block from the door of the hospital. 

Dad's angiogram went very well.  They were able to embolize (stop blood supply to) the tumors both at the top and bottom of his right femur.  They also inserted coils into the left leg to prevent blood clots.  He is having some discomfort in his right leg, as was expected, as well as where they inserted the catheter into his left groin. 

Tomorrow, Dad will again be an add-on for surgery to insert the rod into his right femur.  My wonderful in-laws took Liam and Landis home with them so that, once the roads are clear, Brennan and I can head up to be with him.  If I know the surgery time in advance, I'll send a quick update.  Otherwise, I'll update once Dad is out of surgery and back to his room.  I'm hoping that by then we'll have had a chance to talk to Dr. Reddy to get a better feel for what the next steps will be.

Until then, the storm rages on outside but we will rest secure in the promises of the One who is able to calm the storm.  God bless each of you for taking the time to read this and to pray for our family.  You mean more to me than you know.

 Psalm 10728 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
   and he brought them out of their distress.
29 He stilled the storm to a whisper;
   the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 They were glad when it grew calm,
   and he guided them to their desired haven.

unwelcome interruptions...

Surgery cancelled.  Angiogram ordered.  The doctors are concerned that what they thought was Carcinoma is more likely Angiosarcoma...a word that I'm fighting against "Googling".  Surgery was cancelled because this type of cancer normally has alot of vascular involvement and the surgeon was concerned about excessive, even fatal, bleeding if he continued on with surgery.  An angiogram will be performed sometime this afternoon.  At that time, they may even be able to block blood supply to the large tumor in Dad's right femur.

Dr. Reddy met with my sisters & I this morning.  He is a kind and compassionate man who has a big load on his shoulders with regards to Dad's care.  Should he work on getting Dad moved to a multi-faceted facility so that sarcoma-specialists, neuro-oncologists, and an orthopedic oncologist can all get involved, as well as a vascular specialist if needed?  Is this something he's knowledgeable enough to handle?  What treatments are available?  He told us that he spoke with an Angiosarcoma specialist at Univ. of Penn who advised him to do the angiogram, insert the rod into his leg, and begin rehabilitation to get him strong enough to move if needed.

Dad's insurance is accepted at Hershey Medical Center, The Hospital of the Univ. of Pennsylvania, and at Johns Hopkins.  Dr. Reddy is researching which of those is the best option. 

Please continue to pray for Mom & Dad...this hit them both quite hard this morning.  Dad found comfort in my reading Psalm 23 to him and inserting his name where David wrote "my".  Please pray for Dr. Reddy as he has big choices to make today that will affect all of our lives. 

As for interruptions...changes...diversions, I found the following devotional and found it so, so helpful.   

Much of Jesus’ ministry was a sanctified response to interruptions. Take a typical day: After teaching a large crowd for a long time, he breaks for time alone, only to have his disciples ask him to explain his parables (Mk 4:10). That evening, while traveling in a boat, they awake him to deal with an unruly storm (Mk 4:38), and when they arrive at the other side of the lake, Jesus is confronted by a man with multiple demons (Mk 5:1-13). In each of these cases, Jesus responds immediately to those who need his help.
Many opportunities, both for serving Christ and for experiencing his provision for our own needs, come packaged in unwelcome interruptions. We need to pray constantly for alertness to these openings when they confront us. Without such awareness, we’re likely to lag behind God’s timing.
We know that God's timing is perfect.  We know that Jesus is our Savior.  I'm thankful that we're not the ones in control...I can't imagine how badly I'd mess everything up.


Dad is scheduled for surgery at 9am.  I'm getting ready to leave for LGH now.  If anyone needs to reach me, you may call my cell or text me 610-220-8207.  I'll be checking email regularly, as well.

We covet your prayers as we travel these icy roads to be with our dear Dad.

"My God is so big, so strong and so mighty...there's nothing my God cannot do."

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

...for in You I take refuge

 We weren't planning on going to the hospital today.  The laundry had piled up, the house needed straightening, we had schoolwork to catch up on...and we got to most of that.  Then Mom called me with the preliminary pathology report...and when Doug got home from work, we went to Lancaster.

Dr. Reddy came into Dad's room this afternoon and his first question to Mom was, "Are your daughters here?".  She knew then that the news he was about to share with them was not going to be good news.

My dear, sweet Dad does not have lymphoma...nor does he have multiple myeloma.  Some form of carcinoma has invaded our lives.  We're not sure exactly what type of carcinoma it is yet...Dr. Reddy is unfamiliar with it and didn't want to speculate as he didn't want us to Google it and upset ourselves further until he has the actual biopsy results and has sent them for a second opinion.  He told Mom that he's been doing tons of research and that all of his associates are aware of Dad's "case" and are doing the same.  All that we have been told at this point is that the treatment options are very limited and the prognosis is usually not good.  He will more than likely be sending Dad to either U of Penn or Johns Hopkins but we don't know anything for sure yet.  We are so thankful that God knows everything.

While all of this uncertainty is unsettling, we all know that God knows exactly what is going fact, He planned it all.  He knows what the best treatment is, where to go for it, what Dr.'s we should see...  He will direct our paths...and He will never leave our side.

Two important things will take place tomorrow:

1/     At 10am, Dad, Mom, Melissa, Lura & I will meet with Dr. Reddy and he will give us more information and answer any questions that we have. 

2/     Dad will have surgery to implant a titanium rod the whole length of his femur bone on his right leg.  He is anticipating being in excrutiating pain (as he was after his spinal surgery in October).  The doctor said that the pain will not be nearly as bad.  He'll have 2 relatively small incisions and will have a morphine pump to use as he needs it.  Since Dad is an "add-on" for surgery, we do not know what time it will be but I will post a quick update with the time as soon as I know when it is.

On another note, Dr. Kager (Dad's neurosurgeon) told Dad yesterday that the tumor in his brain is in an area that they simply cannot get to.  Today, Dr. Reddy spoke with Dr. Kager and they believe that the tumor on Dad's brainstem is not the same cancer that is showing up elsewhere.  The brain tumor is thought to be a glioma which is a very slow growing type of tumor that at this point, they are not going to worry about.

As you can imagine, we are all in a bit of a state of shock.  2 weeks ago, we thought maybe Dad had had a mild stroke.  Now this.  But God has been so gracious and merciful to us through all of this.  Dad's femur is breaking apart and he does not have any pain.  His mind is clear, there is not one bit of confusion.  He is happy and not anxious.  None of this could happen apart from God.  The peace of God that passes understanding is ours for the asking...He will take away our fears, our anxieties, our sadness, and wipe every tear from our eyes.  What a blessing to have a God who loves us that much and a sweet Savior who was willing to die on a bloody cross so that we could have that relationship with His Father.

Thank you for your prayers, your love, your encouragement, your visits, your offers of help...  Thank you for your blog comments & emails.  Don't think that if I don't respond, I didn't get it.  I've gotten so many and time gets away from me.  I treasure each one and am keeping them all for Dad to read. 

Psalm 16
1 Keep me safe, my God,
   for in you I take refuge.

 2 I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord;
   apart from you I have no good thing.”
3 I say of the holy people who are in the land,
   “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
4 Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
   I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
   or take up their names on my lips.

 5 LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup;
   you make my lot secure.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
   surely I have a delightful inheritance.
7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
   even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I keep my eyes always on the LORD.
   With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

 9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
   my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
   nor will you let your faithful[b] one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
   you will fill me with joy in your presence,
   with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Monday, January 24, 2011

We wait...again...

Psalm 33:20
20 We wait in hope for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.

Lura stayed overnight with Dad last night. She said he was anxious this morning in anticipation of having the biopsy done. We do not yet know when they will do the surgery to place the rod into his femur and I think that's weighing on his mind, too.

This morning, after performing a biopsy of the large tumor in Dad's hip, they took him to have his Skeletal Scan done. They did 25 x-rays.

Dad is resting comfortably in his room now. Mom packed a bag so that she can stay with him tonight, tomorrow...

The pathology report on the biopsy of the tumor will take 2-4 days. So again, we wait...

Unless something else comes up, I won't post again 'till we know more.

Thank you all so much for taking the time to read my updates, for your calls of encouragement, for offering to do my laundry, feed Mom's cat, take my boys, etc... Thank you for your emails and comments on the blog. I'm printing all of the emails and comments to keep in a folder for Dad. Someday, he'll love reading through them. Please keep praying...especially for Dad's comfort and for peace for him.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Yet this I call to mind and therefore have hope...

Dad was admitted to LGH yesterday in order to keep him immobile and to further evaluate what was happening in his hip and femur on the right side.  We soon learned from the orthopedic surgeon that a rod needed to be inserted into the femur to stabalize it and keep it from shattering.  We were told that this required urgency as the results of shattering would be devastating.  So, bloodwork was done, more x-rays ordered and a blood transfusion was started as Dad's hemoglobin was low.  He was very, very sleepy all day. 

Lura stayed overnight with him.  Mom came to stay over at our house so that we could get back early in the morning.  At 11:45 last night, the medical team called to say that they were clearing him for surgery and that we needed to be back at LGH by 10am.  Brennan, Doug, Melissa, Mom & I all headed back to Lancaster at 9am this morning. 

On the drive here, Lura called to say that Dr. Reddy (Dad's oncologist) had been in and said that the x-rays revealed some tumors in the left femur.  It is his feeling that, even though a biopsy hasn't been done so a definitive diagnosis is not possible yet, that Dad has Multiple Myeloma (cancer of the plasma in the bone marrow) and that, once confirmed, aggressive chemo & radiation will be necessary.  He is worried that doing the leg surgery today would make Dad even weaker and that he'll need all of his strength.  Talking with him once we got here, he made clear that the insertion of the rod into Dad's right femur is absolutely necessary but that he feels we should take today to think, rest and decide when we want that to happen.  Because Dad is weak, the Dr. wants us to wait so that he can talk with the orthopedist and discuss timing...rehabilitation, starting treatments, etc...  There is alot up in the air right now.  I think that we'll all feel better once they biopsy the large tumor in Dad's hip tomorrow and are clear on exactly what it is and how to treat it. 

Dad's neurosurgeon will be in tomorrow to talk with us a little bit about what is going on with his brain tumor/lesion.  Today's priority is finding out what's going on in his bones.

Sad news?  yes, indeed.  Scary stuff?  you bet.  Do we have hope?  absloutely.  God has been very good to us and His mercies are new every morning.

Lamentations 3
19I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
20I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
21Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
22Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
25The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
26it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
27It is good for a man to bear the yoke
while he is young.
28Let him sit alone in silence,
for the Lord has laid it on him.
29Let him bury his face in the dust—
there may yet be hope.
30Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,
and let him be filled with disgrace.
31For men are not cast off
by the Lord forever.
32Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love.
33For he does not willingly bring affliction
or grief to the children of men.

Friday, January 21, 2011

We wait in hope for the LORD...

Today was a day of waiting and wondering.  Just after midnight, I wondered how much snow we would get, wanting to wait and see...knowing I would have an early morning and trusting that God would allow us to get to Mom & Dad's to get him to his appointment.

More waiting, an hour and a half, while they injected Dad with radioactive dye and then did his PET Scan.  They told us we could call the oncologist for results at 2.  So we waited...

At 2, no news.  No news at 3:30.  At around 4, the doctor called to say that the radiologist hadn't yet read the scan.  He would go find him and have him go over it with us.  We would wait for him to call us back.

Doug & the boys & I waited with Mom & Dad 'till around 5:45 and then headed home.  I had been a long day and we were tired.  At 6ish, Mom called.  The doctor had called her.  No more waiting.

The PET Scan revealed a tumor in Dad's right hip that the doctor feels has infiltrated his femur.  Dr. Reddy believes that Dad's femur is fractured.

I am at Mom & Dad's now.  I came back over to spend the night.  The doctor said that we can wait 'till tomorrow morning to take him to be admitted to LGH.  Tonight, Dad needs to be still.  We are thankful that Dr. Reddy is on-call all weekend and are hopeful that things will move more quickly once Dad is admitted.  We are hoping that there will be an on-call orthopedist to take a look at his leg.  We are hopeful in God.

On Monday, Dad will have a guided bone marrow biopsy along with a biopsy of his hip.  Aside from that, we do not know now what the next steps will be.  But we know Who walks them with fact, has had them planned for eternity.  He will never leave us or forsake us. 

Although we would have loved to hear that the scan was clear, it is good to know what has been causing the pain in Dad's hip for the past few weeks.  It is good to know that he has a caring, compassionate doctor who is keeping things moving.  It is good to know our God is able to do more than we could ask or imagine.

Please pray that Dad would really sleep well tonight.  His mind is wandering, he is fearful, and he is upset but he is trusting God and is calling out to him for mercy & peace.  Pray for my Mom...she has alot on her shoulders and is trying hard to be strong.  Please pray that my mind would not take me too far into the future but that my focus would be on the cross and the hope that is there for all of us.

 Psalm 33:20 We wait in hope for the LORD;
   he is our help and our shield.
21 In him our hearts rejoice,
   for we trust in his holy name.
22 May your unfailing love be with us, LORD,
   even as we put our hope in you.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

so that we will not grow weary and lose heart...

God has seen fit to to allow Dad's PET Scan to be approved by his insurance and to get it done quickly.  As an added bonus, He's allowed this to take place on a day when Doug does not have to work and is able to take us.  Since there is a snowstorm pending, this is a huge blessing to me, my Mom and my Dad as we won't have to worry about how to get there, driving on snowy roads, getting up or down their driveway, etc...  Dad's scan is tomorrow (Friday) at 9am in Lancaster.  It will take about 1 1/2 hours.  I'm not sure when we will have the results.  Brennan and Landis will stay overnight there tonight so that they can get up early and get the porch/walk shoveled and salted before we get there.  Please pray for our safety, that Dad wouldn't have trouble getting to/into the car, and that our being there would be a blessing to him.  Praise God for his mercy in letting things happen so quickly with regards to appointments, tests, etc.  I'm not good, at all, at waiting...patience is not my strong suit.

We're still on schedule for a bone marrow biopsy on Monday at 8am. 

We know that there are many prayers being sent up for us.  We would not have the peace that we do if that were not so.  We know that there is along road ahead of us but we know that the Father will walk with us and we know that you will, too. 

Hebrews 12:1-3  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

step by step You'll lead me...

This part of our story started on June 30. My dear Dad was mowing their back yard on his John Deere riding mower and, while on the bank, it flipped. He landed with his feet under the tractor, flat on his back, with his head inches from the corner of the patio. Mom was able to get him up into a chair. Doug, the boys, and I went over to 1/lift the tractor back onto its wheels and 2/try to convince Dad to let us take him to the hospital. He said "'s just bruised". After a week of going to work, he went to the Dr. who did xrays and confirmed that he had a compression fracture of his L3 vertebrae and a broken tailbone. We took him to the hospital, where he stayed for 2 nights and was given a back brace to wear. When it wasn't getting any better, and the pain was getting worse, another xray revealed that the compression was worsening and surgery was scheduled.

On October 19, Dad had spinal fusion of L2/3/4. He was in a great deal of pain but progressed as expected and was back to work in 6 weeks with the aid of a cane.

In early December, there was a bladder cancer scare. There was blood, pain, frequency but we learned that this was probably all caused by the cath in the hospital. We were greatly relieved...

By Christmas, Dad was not doing well. He was back to using a walker to get around, his right leg was weak, he was slurring his words at times, becoming emotional, dropping things... We were thinking stroke, which scared us. We're all wishing now that that was what it had been...

Last Monday, Dad saw his neurosurgeon who confirmed that his back was doing well. He, too, thought stroke and sent him for an MRI of his brain that evening. The next day, and MRI with contrast was ordered. By Wednesday afternoon, I was at a neurologist with Mom & Dad when we learned that Dad had a brain tumor. We were blown away...

Since then, he's had a CAT scan of his chest, to see if there is cancer there that moved to the brain. Some enlarged lymph nodes, some fluid in his lung...nothing difinitive.

Today we met with an oncologist. He said that the enlarged lymphs are too small to biopsy. During a physical exam, he didn't feel any "lumps or bumps". He said Dad is a puzzle. He has some symptoms...the lymphs, anemia, elevated calcium, etc...that suggest cancer. He will do a bone marrow biopsy on Monday to check for lymphoma. We're awaiting insurance approval for a PET scan. He needs to find out if the brain tumor is the primary tumor or if it's secondary to cancer somewhere else. He did more bloodwork. So...we wait and wonder...

While we're waiting...I will focus on this:
Colossians 3:1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

I'm only able to focus on things above because Christ alone is my rock, my strength, my very present help in times of trouble and He promised me in His word that He would never leave me or forsake me. He tells me to not be anxious about anything but in everything, by prayer and petition, to make my requests known to Him and that He will give me peace. In this I have hope...

here we go!

For a long, long time, I've been saying that I wanted to start a blog. Someday, I thought...when I have time, when life slows down, when we're not so busy. Well, I don't have time, life is flying by quickly and we are busier than ever but the time feels here we go!

I thought that this would be a good way to share our lives, our stories, our photos, etc...without having to put it all out there on facebook or having to bother everyone with lengthy emails that, let's face it, we all feel obligated to read when we receive. This way, if you want to read, browse, look around, you're free to do so. And...if you don't have time or aren't interested, that's okay.

So, if you're here, welcome to Main Street. May our lives here reflect our Lord and may what I write bring glory to Christ alone.

Thanks for stopping by...