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

Monday, February 28, 2011


We would like to request no visitors today. We are exhausted and need these last moments with Dad to be quiet and peaceful. We would appreciate your continued prayers as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death.

Psalm 90
1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place
   throughout all generations.
2 Before the mountains were born
   or you brought forth the whole world,
   from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

 3 You turn people back to dust,
   saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”
4 A thousand years in your sight
   are like a day that has just gone by,
   or like a watch in the night.
5 Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death—
   they are like the new grass of the morning:
6 In the morning it springs up new,
   but by evening it is dry and withered.

 7 We are consumed by your anger
   and terrified by your indignation.
8 You have set our iniquities before you,
   our secret sins in the light of your presence.
9 All our days pass away under your wrath;
   we finish our years with a moan.
10 Our days may come to seventy years,
   or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
   for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
11 If only we knew the power of your anger!
   Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due.
12 Teach us to number our days,
   that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

 13 Relent, LORD! How long will it be?
   Have compassion on your servants.
14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
   that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
   for as many years as we have seen trouble.
16 May your deeds be shown to your servants,
   your splendor to their children.

 17 May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us;
   establish the work of our hands for us—
   yes, establish the work of our hands.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Precious in the sight of the LORD...

Psalm 116: 1 I love the LORD, for he heard my voice;
   he heard my cry for mercy.
2 Because he turned his ear to me,
   I will call on him as long as I live.

 3 The cords of death entangled me,
   the anguish of the grave came over me;
   I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
4 Then I called on the name of the LORD:
   “LORD, save me!”

 5 The LORD is gracious and righteous;
   our God is full of compassion.
6 The LORD protects the unwary;
   when I was brought low, he saved me.

 7 Return to your rest, my soul,
   for the LORD has been good to you.

 8 For you, LORD, have delivered me from death,
   my eyes from tears,
   my feet from stumbling,
9 that I may walk before the LORD
   in the land of the living.

 10 I trusted in the LORD when I said,
   “I am greatly afflicted”;
11 in my alarm I said,
   “Everyone is a liar.”

 12 What shall I return to the LORD
   for all his goodness to me?

 13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
   and call on the name of the LORD.
14 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD
   in the presence of all his people.

 15 Precious in the sight of the LORD
   is the death of his faithful servants.
16 Truly I am your servant, LORD;
   I serve you just as my mother did;
   you have freed me from my chains.

 17 I will sacrifice a thank offering to you
   and call on the name of the LORD.
18 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD
   in the presence of all his people,
19 in the courts of the house of the LORD—
   in your midst, Jerusalem.

   Praise the LORD.

I turned over and hit the snooze button.  I laid back and thought, "What's on the agenda for today?"  I rolled onto my side.  That was when it hit a slap in the, we're taking Dad home to die.

Our time together at the hospital last night was bittersweet.  Dad has but one IV left, dripping fluids to keep him hydrated.  No other medicines are being given, unless he has pain.  He's asleep almost all of the time, with only moments of wakefulness and claritiy.  He knows when we're there, who we are, and how much we love him.  He knows that, today, he will go home.

Liam and Landis don't seem too aware of the graveness of the situation.  There are some indicators that they might but today, I need to really explain things to them.  God, give me the words and the strength.

Brennan is just quiet.  He knows all that is happening.  He'll go to the hospital with Nana this morning to wait for the ambulance to come.  Lord willing, he'll ride home in the ambulance with his dear, sweet Papa.  I'll go to Mom & Dad's with Liam and Landis to await the delivery of the hospital bed and the other equipment and medicines we'll need.

Yesterday, we celebrated Mom's 63rd birthday in Dad's hospital room.  When we left there, she went to the store to buy underpads, sheets, etc...  She said she stood in the checkout line thinking to herself that this is her birthday, the last one she'll have with Dad, and there she found herself buying things to take home to prepare for his death.  These are the common slaps back into reality that we're dealing with.

Something that has really struck us is that in the 35 days that Dad has been at LGH, none of us has heard one word of complaint come from him.  His doctors and nurses are now commenting on how sweet he is, how wonderful our family is to him, what good care we take of him.  God is allowing all of this for a reason.  The reason is beyond me but I know that it is good...everything He does is good.

I will post as often as I can.  In the meantime, please continue to pray as you have for our family and for Dad.  Pray especially for his 6 dear grandchildren.  If you'd love to visit, and we would love to have you do so, please call my cell at 610-220-8207 if you need directions and so that we can let you know if it's an okay time to do so.

I had this hymn pop into my head this morning and it is fitting.  Read all of the words.  They are comforting and true.  There is no safer place than beneath the cross of the One who died so that eternity with Him would be our reward...

Beneath the cross of Jesus
I fain would take my stand,
the shadow of a mighty rock
within a weary land;
a home within the wilderness,
a rest upon the way,
from the burning of the noontide heat,
and the burden of the day.

Upon that cross of Jesus
mine eye at times can see
the very dying form of One
who suffered there for me;
and from my stricken heart with tears
two wonders I confess:
the wonders of redeeming love
and my unworthiness.

I take, O cross, thy shadow
for my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than
the sunshine of his face;
content to let the world go by,
to know no gain nor loss,
my sinful self my only shame,
my glory all the cross.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

All the way my Savior leads me...

  1. All the way my Savior leads me,
    What have I to ask beside?
    Can I doubt His tender mercy,
    Who through life has been my Guide?
    Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
    Here by faith in Him to dwell!
    For I know, whate’er befall me,
    Jesus doeth all things well;
    For I know, whate’er befall me,
    Jesus doeth all things well.
  2. All the way my Savior leads me,
    Cheers each winding path I tread,
    Gives me grace for every trial,
    Feeds me with the living Bread.
    Though my weary steps may falter
    And my soul athirst may be,
    Gushing from the Rock before me,
    Lo! A spring of joy I see;
    Gushing from the Rock before me,
    Lo! A spring of joy I see.
  3. All the way my Savior leads me,
    Oh, the fullness of His love!
    Perfect rest to me is promised
    In my Father’s house above.
    When my spirit, clothed immortal,
    Wings its flight to realms of day
    This my song through endless ages:
    Jesus led me all the way;
    This my song through endless ages:
    Jesus led me all the way.

These words are running through my head tonight.  All the way, for many years, the Savior has led me (and my family) and He will continue to do so.  He simply can't stop leading us, being good to us, being faithful to us, loving us.

Today was a very difficult day.  Dad has pneumonia.  For the past few days, we've noticed that he coughs when he drinks anything.  More than likely, he's aspirated something into his lungs and now...pneumonia.  This coughing/choking might or might not be neurological.  Tonight or tomorrow, he'll have a brain MRI to check for changes since his last MRI.  He's now on honey-thick liquids so that he doesn't choke.  We've decided to discontinue the plasmapheresis treatments (there was to be one more, tomorrow) as that could put him at more risk with regards to the pneumonia.  He's on broad-spectrum IV antibiotics.  He's weak.  He's confused.  He wants to go home.

As of this evening, unless he improves significantly with the antibiotics, inpatient rehab is out of the question.  He could barely do anything in physical therapy today.  It took everything he had to get out of a chair and into the bed with the help of 2 nurses.  He did sit up in the chair for quite awhile and he ate a great dinner. He wanted a fountain Pepsi so I went and got him one and, once thickened, he had a few spoonfulls.  All in all, everything took alot of effort for him today.

At one point, Mom asked him if he wanted to talk.  He said no.  He said we should talk to Dr. Reddy, who was out in the hallway.  Mom asked if he wanted to talk to Dr. Reddy and he said yes.  "What do you want to talk to him about?", Mom asked.  "When I'm going to die", was Dad's reply.  "What do you think about that, Dad?", I asked him.  "About a week", he said.  Mom told him that only God knows and that Dr. Reddy had already said about 6 months.  "That would be great", he said...and then he drifted off to sleep.  When Dr. Reddy came in, Mom and I asked a few questions, talked to him about how Dad was doing, talked about the future a little.  Dad opened his eyes and smiled at Dr. Reddy.  I asked him if he wanted to talk to him about anything and he said no and just smiled at me.  I simply smiled back, not wanting him to know that right then, right there next to him, my heart was breaking into a million pieces. 

Tomorrow afternoon, we'll be meeting with the hospice team to talk about what the plan will be when we take Dad home.  They'll start gathering orders for all of the medicines & equipment he'll need at home.  If he doesn't improve with the antibiotics, enough to go to rehab, then we'll take him home.

Please pray for my Mom.  This is a hard road to travel.  She'll be 63 on Thursday.  I kinda think she's too young for this.  (I think my Dad's too young, too).  Pray for her safety, for peace, for deep & restful sleep.  Pray that she won't be overwhelmed when decisions need to be made, that she'll lean on Lura, Melissa & I to help her...and that she'd lean on Jesus even harder than she does on us.  Pray for Lura, Melissa & I to be good daughters to her & to Dad...that our time with them would be a blessing to them.  Pray that in all things, in all circumstances, we would honor God with our speech, our thoughts, our actions.  Pray for the nursing staff and the doctors, the hospice team, the PCA's...that the way we care for our father/husband would cause them to wonder what is different about our family...when compared to the people who have no one sitting by their side.  Pray that God, through us, might reveal himself to them.  Pray that we'd be reminded to read scripture to Dad and to turn the TV off more often.  Pray for our children.  They love their dear Papa.  Pray that we'd answer their questions gently and honestly.  Pray that our time with Dad would be sweet...I mean really, really sweet. 

Thank you for all you have done for us.  Thank you for your cards (Dad has more than any other patient on 8 Lime).  Thank you for your visits, too.  I've written down all your names (at Dad's request) and I'm pretty sure that there are nearly 90 names on my list.  Thank you for lifting us before the throne of grace.  Like Aaron and Hur did for Moses, you're holding up our hands.

Exodus 17:12 When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up--one on one side, one on the other--so that his hands remained steady till sunset.

Friday, February 18, 2011

a quick update...

Dad had a really good day today.  After his plasmapheresis treatment, he had a little lunch, then saw his internal medicine doctor, his oncologist, his neurologist, had PT, and we even took him outside to soak up a little sun (and he wore his hat almost all day long!)

His abdominal ultrasound shows NOTHING ABNORMAL!!!!!!!!!!!!  This means no metastasis to the liver, spleen, kidneys, gall bladder, pancreas or stomach!  What an answer to prayer!

After PT, we saw the representative from inpatient rehab and she said that he's tentatively approved by his insurance, and has a green light from PT.  That being the case, after 2 more plasmapheresis treatments, he'll be re-evaluated and if he continues to do as well as he is, will go to inpatient rehab as early as Wednesday.  Our goal in all of that is to be able to get him home with more ability to get around on his own.  If that happens, Dr. Reddy will determine whether or not he feels Dad can withstand chemotherapy.  At that point, we'll decide if visiting nurses or hospice is the best way to go.

God has surely been nothing but good to us...every minute of every day.  Thank you for kneeling before the throne of grace on our behalf.  We couldn't ask for more.

...and am persuaded that He is able...

2 Timothy 1:9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.

I'm headed out to the hospital to be with Dad this morning.  Brennan and Melissa will go with me.  I will do my best to update from the hosptial later if we receive any news.

Yesterday, Dad's liver enzymes were elevated for the 2nd time.  I stayed with him until about 9:30 last night as he had an abdominal ultrasound of his organs at 8pm.  Up until then, he wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything so I stayed to help him with his dinner after his test.  I found him to be quite clear in his thinking yet very sleepy.  PLEASE pray for him, especially, as we wait today to hear the results of this test.  My gut tells me that Dr. Reddy is thinking metastesis.  Oh, how I pray that's not the case.

Please pray for my Mom, too.  She left around 5 last night with the beginning signs of the stomach bug that has been passed around as of late.  Pray that it will be short-lived and that she'll soon be able to be by Dad's side, where she longs to be.  Pray hard that Dad would not get this.  He threw up on Wednesday night after a dose of Prednisone (given for unexplained hives on his face).  Throwing up with a fractured 9th rib is not a pleasant experience.

We will, hopefully, be meeting with the rehab evaluator today.  Pray that our decisions will be easy to make with regards to what happens next.  We'll also be meeting with the hospice director to talk about that aspect of Dad's care and will have to decide if visiting nurses or hospice would be the best route to take when Dad is able to go home. 

For those of you not on Facebook, here's a picture that Brennan posted yesterday.  Our dear neighbors, Duane & Nancy bought Dad a new hat.  He loves it!

I awoke this morning with the words to this hymn playing in my head.  It seems quite fitting for such a time as this.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

my God on whom I can rely

This morning, I went to church for the first time in weeks.  It seems, I've been needed most Sunday mornings at the hospital.  It was good to be with my brothers & sisters in the Lord, to be soaked in His word, to pray to our Redeemer, and to sing praises to One so deserving of our worship. 

I was reminded of how many of you are praying for my Dad...for all of us.  I received sweet hugs, dear smiles, many reassurances of your love for us and more and more promises of prayer.  I'm so thankful that we have all of you to stand beside us at such a time as this.  I can't imagine us doing this without all of you but even more, can't imagine how any family gets through this without our God, who loves us more than we'll ever know and who will never leave us or forsake us.  It must be so sad to walk a road like this without hope.

I haven't posted anything lately because not much is going on.  Our meeting with the Palliative Care Team on Friday was good but didn't give us much information.  I spoke with Dr. Reddy on Friday afternoon but there was not much news.  Dad did start his Plasmapheresis on Thursday, had it again on Saturday, and will continue on Mon/Wed/Fri of this week.  He's doing just fine with it.  He had good days on Friday and today with regards to his confusion.  Mom said yesterday wasn't good at all.  The doctors are changing around some meds and looking into other factors. 

Dad remains cheerful and hopeful.  He's fully relying on the God who loves him.  He is so blessed by your visits, cards and prayers.  If you want to write to him or go visit, let me know and I 'll give you all the info you need. 

For now, our hope is to have Dad finish the Plasmapheresis this week and then be strong enough (with the help of this week's physical therapy) to go to inpatient rehab for a week or so.  If not, he'll go home.  He's longing to be home.  Once we get to that point, I'm guessing we'll talk again with his doctors about treatment options, etc...  Until then, please continue to pray that Dad would remain content even though he hates being where he is and that God would strengthen his body so that he can walk and get to rehab (he can walk with 2 nurses & the walker but it's difficult).  He's also having alot of right-side pain near his ribs where he slipped getting up on to the walker and got a good bump on the bedrail.  Pray that would subside quickly as he's uncomfortable.  Pray that his appetite would be good and that he'd get good, peaceful, deep sleep when he's there alone.  Please pray for my Mom, too...this is all very hard for her...she loves my father dearly.  Ask God to keep her safe while she's travelling back and forth from home to the hospital and that she, too, would sleep deeply and awaken refreshed and clinging to her Lord each morning.

I will update again when something changes.  I don't want to keep you all hanging but don't want to ramble on when nothing new is happening either.  Please know that we love and appreciate each one of you.  God bless you!

Psalm 59:16 But I will sing of your strength,
   in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress,
   my refuge in times of trouble.

 17 You are my strength, I sing praise to you;
   you, God, are my fortress,
   my God on whom I can rely.

Friday, February 11, 2011

a stronghold in times of trouble

Psalm 9 9 The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed,
   a stronghold in times of trouble.
10 Those who know your name trust in you,
   for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Yesterday, Dad had a port placed into his chest so that he could start Plasmapheresis.  He had his first treatment yesterday afternoon and tolerated it well.  The physical therapists came into his room and he was wanting to get dressed before his PT.  They made that part of his therapy and, while it took some time, he put on his shirt, PJ's, and even his slippers.  After that, with their gentle help, he walked about 50 steps, out into the hallway and back...with us cheering him on all the way.  It is good to see him making progress.

This morning, at 11am, my sisters, my Mom (and maybe Dad) will be meeting with Dad's medical team to talk about what's next.  Satan is working hard to keep us away.  Melissa has Bronchitis, Stella & Eli are sick, Chris B. is vomiting, Lura has a painful stiff neck that she cannot move, and I'm fighting a sore throat.  God is bigger than any of this and is certainly more powerful than the evil one.  Please pray for us today...for safety to/from the hospital, for Dad to continue to have clarity, grow stronger, keep eating.   Pray that we would make good decisions with regards to what is next for Dad as far as therapy, treatments, etc...  Pray that God, our stronghold and refuge, would be glorified through our lives as we interact with the staff at LGH.  We know that Dad is in a win-win situation (thank you for that reminder BG)...he'll either be healed on this earth or go on to eternal glory beside the Savior who loves him enough to have gone to the cross on his behalf.  To God be the glory...forever.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My eyes are ever on the LORD

Psalm 25
 1 In you, LORD my God,
   I put my trust.

 2 I trust in you;
   do not let me be put to shame,
   nor let my enemies triumph over me.
3 No one who hopes in you
   will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
   who are treacherous without cause.

 4 Show me your ways, LORD,
   teach me your paths.
5 Guide me in your truth and teach me,
   for you are God my Savior,
   and my hope is in you all day long.
6 Remember, LORD, your great mercy and love,
   for they are from of old.
7 Do not remember the sins of my youth
   and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
   for you, LORD, are good.

 8 Good and upright is the LORD;
   therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
9 He guides the humble in what is right
   and teaches them his way.
10 All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful
   toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.
11 For the sake of your name, LORD,
   forgive my iniquity, though it is great.

 12 Who, then, are those who fear the LORD?
   He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.

13 They will spend their days in prosperity,
   and their descendants will inherit the land.
14 The LORD confides in those who fear him;
   he makes his covenant known to them.
15 My eyes are ever on the LORD,
   for only he will release my feet from the snare.

 16 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
   for I am lonely and afflicted.
17 Relieve the troubles of my heart
   and free me from my anguish.
18 Look on my affliction and my distress
   and take away all my sins.
19 See how numerous are my enemies
   and how fiercely they hate me!

 20 Guard my life and rescue me;
   do not let me be put to shame,
   for I take refuge in you.
21 May integrity and uprightness protect me,
   because my hope, LORD, is in you.

 22 Deliver Israel, O God,
   from all their troubles!

Good news or bad news first?  Ok, bad news...the 2nd biopsy confirmed Angiosarcoma in Dad's femur.  Good news...there are NO cancer cells in Dad's spinal fluid.  So...what does all this mean???  I have absolutely no idea.

Not much has changed since my last post so I'll keep this short.  Dad remains relatively clear and most of his confusion is gone except when he is very tired.  He is gaining strength daily in his legs and was able to take a few steps today with the aid of his walker.  It is good to see him sit up in a chair or in a wheelchair.  As I write this, his small group is visiting with him & Mom and I'm sure that's a blessing for him.

Mom, Melissa, Lura & I (and maybe Dad) will meet with Dr. Reddy, the Palliative Care doctor, and the social worker in care of Dad on Friday at 11am.  I won't repost before then unless something comes up.  In the meantime, we would covet your prayers on our behalf and on the behalf of Dad's medical team.  We want to make good decisions about what is best for Dad's future care and treatment.  We want to glorify God in our actions and words in front of these people, as well.  We know not what the future holds, but we know the One who holds the future...and He is good...all the time.

Monday, February 7, 2011

You cannot understand the work of God.

Ecclesiastes 11:5 As you do not know the path of the wind,
   or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb,
so you cannot understand the work of God,
   the Maker of all things.

Let me begin by apologizing for not posting in a few days.  Not alot has happened so I didn't want to just ramble on.  Also, I've fixed the time issue I was having (or rather, Melissa did) so the time you see is the time I posted.

After being with Dad on Thursday evening and speaking with the Neurologist, I didn't know what to expect to happen next.  It didn't make any sense to us how he'd gone from being clear and understandable to being delisional and confused pretty much all of the time.  We knew that the brain MRI revealed changes but could that much really change that fast?  What did this mean for Dad's future?

Melissa, Brennan and I visited for most of the day on Friday.  Dad was about the same as he'd been on Thursday.  I took Liam, Landis & Brennan on Saturday...still the same.  I arrived alone, looking forward to spending some quality time with Dad, on Sunday morning by 7:30.  He hadn't slept all night.  He was aggitated, confused, not making any sense, seeing things that weren't there, trying to get out of bed, thinking he was driving, not was hard to watch.  From talking with the Oncologist and Neurologist, it was pretty clear what they thought could be causing this...certain proteins produced by cancer that make their way to the brain, infection, inflamation, a spread of the cancer.  Finding out what it was wasn't going to be difficult but would take bloodwork that takes 10 days to get back, a spinal tap that would be hard for Dad to endure, waiting for that to come back, etc...  Mom and I met with the doctor from the Palliative Care team to talk about what to do.  He changed Dad's pain meds, told us that he would not release him in the state of delirium that he was in as it'd be impossible to care for him at home the way he was, and planned on coming back to try to communicate with Dad, along with Mom, about what he wanted in terms of a Living Will, code status, and things like that.  I came home last night weary and worn out.  We took the boys to a SuperBowl party and while I was there, I wasn't there.  (Please forgive me, Pam) 

This morning, my cell phone rang.  "I Just Called To Say I Love You" sounded in the kitchen and I thought that Dad must be alone and that when I answered, I wouldn't understand him.  But that wasn't the case.  I answered and he said, "Good morning!  Are you coming up today?".  I replied that I was planning on spending the day with Liam (since I feel like I've barely seen him) and that Doug had taken Landis & Brennan on a field trip to the Japanese market in NJ.  He said, "Oh, that's okay.  Your Mom is here.  Maybe I'll see you tomorrow."...I told him I'd definately be up tomorrow and he told me a little about his PT and how he could stand but couldn't walk.  We ended the call with "I love you" and I stood in the kitchen in a state of shock. 

Around 1, Mom texted to say that they were going for the spinal tap.  Later she reported that it went well.  Doug and the boys got home around 6:30 and the phone rang.  It was Mom saying that Dad was having a great day.  She said that the Neurologist said they found some protein and some white cells in the spinal fluid and that they'd know if there were cancer cells present in 48 hours.  She wanted me to talk to Dad.  When I got on the phone, I was talking to the man I'd talked to a week ago.  I put him on speaker for Doug and the boys to hear.  He was clear spoken, made perfect sense, asked when we'd be up, told me about having to lay flat for 4 hours and so on.  Why the change?  I can't say for sure but I know it is of God.  I told myself that maybe when they removed spinal fluid it took pressure off of his brain and that'd he'd be confused again tomorrow.  I think that's my way of preparing myself for disappointment.  Mom said that the social worker saw him and was amazed as was his Neurologist.  The social worker is again looking into having him moved to inpatient rehab to regain strength in his legs.

Amazing?  Absolutely.  Am I hopeful?  As hopeful as can be.  Frightened and scared?  Of course but God tells me to not fear, so I'll do my best and continue to beg the Lord to help me be strong.  I am not meant to understand God's ways.  I have to rest in the comfort of knowing that whatever His ways bring my way are for our good and His glory.

I'll try to post tomorrow night when we get home unless something comes up during the day that you all need to know.  God is hearing your prayers and we're seeing answers.  We love each of you for caring for our family the way you do.

Friday, February 4, 2011 that you may have great endurance and patience...

Colossians 1:9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

(***please note that the time blogspot says i posted is incorrect...i'm not sure how to change it.  yesterday's post said 1:30 but it was actually around 4:30...thanks***)

Doug, Brennan and I got the the hospital last night just in time for the Neurologist to come and see Dad.  Dad's confusion remains.  The doctor said that there are patches on the brain MRI and he's not certain what they are.  He said it could be a spread of the cancer, or a protein that cancer secreets, or fluid caused by swelling.  His plan is to check Dad's blood for protein (a test that has to be sent out and can take a few days) and if the protein is present, they would try to remove the protein from his blood...he said that this procedure has about a 50% success rate.  He also wants to do a spinal tap to check for infection & cancer cells in the spinal fluid but doesn't think that he can get Dad into the position he needs to be in for the test with the significant pain he's having in his right leg/hip.  He said he'd wait a day or two to do that.  So, again, we wait...

Doug, Brennan and I were blessed to have Uncle Michael & Aunt Roxanne, Aunt Joanne, Uncle Joe & Aunt Ada, Anthony & Colleen, Brianna, our dear friends Drew & Laura, Matt & Dawn, Al, Keith, and Travis all visit while we were there.  It is good to have company and it was wonderful to be able to just take a walk and talk with Dawn.  It is good to have the blessing of friends and family who love the Lord and who love us enough to remind us of His goodness.  It is good to have Godly men and women gather around Dad's bed and pray.  It is good when friends bring us cake :)  It is good, when we start to feel weak, to have strong people with strong faith who love us deeply stand beside us for us to lean on.  It is good to be hugged.

It is still very, very hard for me to leave Dad there.  To tuck him in, kiss his face, and turn and walk out of that room makes me feel sick.  I do think he sleeps better when he's alone at night since he's not trying to stay awake to check in on us.  But it's still so, so hard.

This morning my cell phone rang and it was my dear Dad.  Brennan downloaded "I Just Called To Say I Love You" as my ringtone for when Dad calls me.  I haven't heard it in awhile and it was good to hear it today, although my eyes fill with tears at the first note.  When I answered, he wasn't there but I could hear him pushing buttons.  I called answer.  He called again and said "Where are you?"  ...  "Coming soon, Dad", was my reply.  "I haven't seen a soul"...he said and then hung up. 

Please continue to pray for us as we wait with hope. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Bring The Rain...

Dad's brain MRI shows "significant changes".  Doug, Brennan and I are on our way up soon so that we can be there when the Neurologist comes in.  Dad's confusion continues and has even worsened even though he's not on pain medication.  I've decided to leave Liam & Landis with my dear Nancy & Duane.  I will update when I get home.  Please pray...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

All through the storm...

"Faithful One, so unchanging, Ageless One You're my Rock of peace.
Lord of all, I depend on You.  I cry out to You, again & again.
You are my Rock in time of trouble, You lift me up when I fall down.
All through the storm, Your love is the anchor; my hope is in You alone."

Thank you, my dear Joan, for reminding me of this beautiful song.  It is so fitting for this walk we're on.

Not much to report today except that Dad was moved back to the wonderful 8th floor to the same room he'd been in and is back in the care of the most amazing nurses ever.  One of them helped him shave...he was growing quite a beard but it bothered him.  He did super during physical therapy. 

But...he was very confused for most of the day.  He tried to talk to me on the phone but I couldn't understand him.  This could be due to having general anesthesia twice in 4 days, or the side effects of the morphine combined with the muscle relaxers and Vicodin.  But it could also be the brain tumor acting up.  Dr. Reddy ordered an MRI which was done around 5pm and we should have the results tomorrow.  If swelling is indicated, he'll put Dad on steroids to shrink the swelling.  Please pray that he sleeps well and wakes alert and is no longer confused.

I didn't get too far on my researching of a 2nd opinion as most multi-faceted facilities want to actually see the patient and right now, Dad's just not strong enough for us to move him.  I did email back and forth with a Dr. at Univ. of Penn who said he'd be happy to have a phone consult with Dr. Reddy and I also gave Dr. Reddy the phone # for a Sarcoma specialist @ Fox Chase.  He said he'd contact them.  We're so thankful for his willingness to admit that this cancer is a bit beyond his knowledge.

So, again, we wait.  We're waiting for Dad to gain strength and would love to see him eat more than a few bites.  We're waiting for MRI results and phone consultations.  We're waiting for God to show us the direction that this road is leading but take comfort in knowing that He has already planned the path and that He will not lead us out of His will.  He is our faithful, unchanging Rock and Anchor and we have no choice but to trust Him every minute of every day.  To God be the glory...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

we will not be shaken.

Psalm 64
5 Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
   my hope comes from him.
6 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
   he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

Today was a really hard day for all of us.  When we arrived at the hospital, Dad was in and out of it, morphine still dripping into his veins, mumbling in his sleep, and needing oxygen.  Being in that room, seeing him like that, made me feel cold inside and I couldn't stop myself from shaking.

Mom, Melissa, Lura & I met with Dr. Reddy.  He is still waiting for the biopsy results from the tissue they took out of Dad's right leg last Friday.  He's hoping that will confirm his Angiosarcoma diagnosis.  He said that his main focus is to get Dad rehabilitated...up and to go to either inpatient rehab or home and then start chemotherapy.  He said he thinks it'll be about a month 'till that gets started.  That sounds way too far off for me.  He feels that Dad is too weak to move somewhere else right now.  (I wish we owned a helicopter!)  He does not object to getting a second opinion.  We talked about things like living wills, durable medical power of attorneys, hospice, comfort, quality of life...all necessary but none of which I imagined having to talk about so soon.  Dad doesn't want to know details so I won't put them on here (for now) but he's anxious for his girls to get working on getting a second opinion.  Lura told him we're already on it.

They took him off of morphine after I left and Lura said he was doing great.  He was awake, alert, sitting up in the bed.  He ate over half of a sandwich (which is alot for him right now) and then ate some of his dinner when they brought it.  Physical Therapy came in and did some in-room therapy with him and Lura said she couldn't believe how well he did.  His pain is mostly coming on the right side even though he just had surgery on the left side yesterday. 

So, for now, we will work on making contact with the doctors whose names have been given to us.  Tomorrow, I will speak with Dr. Reddy about who we want to see, who he thinks we should see, whether or not Dad needs to be seen or if we can simply send someone all of this information and have them make a decision based on that.  Please pray for wisdom and clear direction for all of us.  It seems to me as though Dad is ready to start fighting. 

Tonight (and I'm speaking here for my Mom & sisters, too) we are all exhausted.  We're tired, emotionally & physically.  We're craving more detailed answers with more hope and we're not getting that.  Yet again, in all of this, we have hope and rest in our God.  He is our rock, our fortress, our mighty salvation.  We will not be shaken.