Friday, November 30, 2007

Friday, November 30, 2007: Prayers for Uncle Jim

I have a prayer request for Brian's uncle (his moms brother). Uncle Jim is on blood thinners because of clotting and he had a nose bleed yesterday that they just couldn't get to stop. He and Aunt Peggy went to the hospital and it took a few hours to get it under control. He also had blood coming out of his eye. He was doing better today. Please pray that the bleeding will remain under control.

They are also concerned about their daughter-in-law. She had surgery today to check out some spots. She is a breast cancer survivor and they found some "hot spots" (I'm not sure what that means) that they took out and biopsied. They are still waiting for the results.

Please cover Uncle Jim & Aunt Peggy with your prayers that they will feel God's presence and know that He is there for them during this scary time.

Thank you awesome prayer warriors!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thursday, November 29, 2007: Preparing

Where does the time go? I can't believe how quickly this week went. I have been busy getting as much done as I can before my surgery. I have most of the Christmas shopping and Christmas cards done and it's not even December! I've never gotten this much done so early before. It feels great. And I feel great. I am normal! I have my energy back and appetite and it's so great being "normal" again. I have been busy with to-do lists and getting little projects done around the house. When I go in for surgery I want everything to be ready so I can just let go and focus on the surgery and recovery.

Brian went in and was fitted for a CPAP machine yesterday and wore it for the first time last night. They are much more user friendly now. He said he felt like he wasn't in the fog that he usually is in today. The doctor said it may take a while to feel the effects. Hopefully soon he will have more energy and feel rested.

Some prayer requests . . . .
*that Brian will "get along" with his CPAP machine and the results will be positive

*that I will get everything done that I need to and not stress about the little things

*we are all healthy! Yea!

*prayers of praise for my "normalcy"

*I am having a lot of trouble with my bag lately. The chemo I was on was very binding and now that I am not on it I am having a lot of problems with diarrhea and not able to get it under control. Please pray that this will soon pass . . or I guess stop passing! :)

*let's start praying early for my surgery on the 18th . . . I'd love a cancer-free tummy!

*praise for all our friends and family. We are so grateful for all the amazing support that we have. Thank you!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tuesday, November 27, 2007: Ashley Sings To Mom

Ashley wrote this song and sang it for Kristi last night...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sunday, November 25, 2007: Time flies

Wow, I can't believe we haven't updated the blog since Thanksgiving. This weekend was very busy and went so fast. The week coming up is really busy too. That would be the first prayer request there. If I don't focus on one day at a time this week I may go crazy!

Tomorrow I have a CT scan in the afternoon. I think he ordered this just to, as Brian said, make a game plan for surgery.

I have been feeling really good and enjoying being able to do so much more. It is so nice to be out of the "chemo fog". It was great having an appetite back in time for all the wonderful food at Thanksgiving! I have gained some weight back and the doctors are happy with where I am at right now weight wise.

I am trying to get done all the little projects that have been on my to-do list for a while. I know the recovery from surgery will be long and it will help me mentally to know that I have crossed off a lot of stuff from my to-do list. Gotta get all my little duckies in a row!

Brian got the results back from his sleep study. Not only does he still have his sleep apnea, it's worse! Although the surgery wasn't successful in curing the apnea, it did stop his sore throats and sinus infections (which he got quite frequently) and his snoring (he denies ever having snored but he's not the one listening). He can also breath much easier through his nose.

He's going in this Wednesday to check out a CPAP machine. He's had one before but they "didn't get along". The mask was big and cumbersome. It was hard to sleep with it on. There are new and improved machines out now and he is going to give it a try.

We are all doing well physically and emotionally. Please pray that we stay healthy. Thank you.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving 2007!

What are we thankful for this year? YOU!!!!



Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007: Looking For A Sign

Yes, it was quite a shock on Monday. The 45 blind-sided us. We were sitting on pins and needles all morning. We waited in the exam room for nearly an hour before the nurse came in. We were so anxious. Then she told us. "It went up. 45." We were numb. Scared. We just sat there stunned. We actually thought the nurse was reading someone else’s chart. It got very quiet. Then the tears. It hurt. We were soooo expecting 35. Monday was a weird day. For most of the day I felt like I could throw up. I had a pit in my stomach all day. It’s not like the number changes anything for us. We still feel like she is going to beat this. But, as Kristi said, when I get this type of information my engineering mind takes over. I know it’s satin working, trying to wiggle in to weaken my faith. But I have to admit, I was disappointed. Really disappointed. Crushed. I felt let down. Confused. Is ‘betrayed’ too strong?

Lord, we have hundreds, possibly over a thousand people praying. Why?! Why can’t you give us one sign. Just one. It says in Matthew ‘if you have faith as small as a mustard seed you can move a mountain’. Am I not praying enough? Is my faith not strong enough? If mine is not, I know Kristi’s is. So what gives?! Monday night I was mad. Mad that we can’t catch just one break. One small break. It also says in Matthew ‘ask and it will be given to you.’. Hellllloooooooo. Here I am. Asking. Begging.

With a 35 there would have been an end in sight. Now there is just more waiting. More wondering. More anxiety. Don’t get me wrong, we’re extremely grateful that her colostomy will be reversed, but then it’s on to endless chemo again after that. So yes, we’re both a little disappointed. But, as it always does, time and prayer will lift us back up. I’m not bitter; I just need some time to process this again. Thankfully we have the holidays coming up to keep us busy. That will be a huge help to keep our time occupied until surgery. Like I said before, I’m not bitter. I’m just confused, disappointed, numb. I know when to ask for help, so please ask our Lord to lift me back up. For understanding. Patience. To know that He is in control. I need to be strong for Kristi. Right now she is worried that I am melting down. Monday night I was. But I took care of those tears with a friend and now I feel better. I’m still going up and down but it’s more moderated. I just need some help to stay strong for Kristi. I’m not much for asking for help, but I’d rather ask for it now then let myself fall all the way down and be completely useless for her. Thank you.

So here’s an ironic story I’ll share with you: Kristi got her blood work done Friday morning. Well, she was so confident that the CA125 number was going to come back lower than 35 she called the doctor’s office at 3:05 Friday afternoon to ask for it. She wanted to surprise me. Remember, I was hunting. She was going to make banners and we were going to celebrate the 35 when I got home Saturday. Well, the doctor’s office closes at 3:00 on Fridays. She missed them by 5 minutes. She never got the results. Imagine if she had gotten through to someone and found out Friday it was 45. She would have been crushed. Imagine the disappointment. The thought of a celebration would have instantly turned into a weekend of fear. Now there’s a God story!

We’ll get through this. We just need some time and lots of prayer. Thanks!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007: Bittersweet

Well the good news is that my surgery is scheduled for December 18. I'm sure you've guessed that I have to follow that up with the bad news. My CA125 level went from 42 to 45. Yup, it went up. Needless to say, we were stunned. I didn't see that coming.

My doctor said that he wants to do the surgery now because that level has plateaued. The cancer left seems to be resistant to the chemo I'm on. He could switch to a different chemo but he knows how much I want the colostomy reversed and he also would like to have a visual of what is going on. So, the plan is to do the surgery and see exactly what we are dealing with. He did say that it is possible that he won't find a trace of cancer left.

Sorry I didn't get this out sooner. My doctor was running almost an hour behind and then he sent me for a chest x-ray after the appointment. I also have a CT scan on my stomach scheduled for 11/26.

More good news is no more chemo until next year! Only 29 more days until my surgery and then after 6-8 weeks of recovery I will begin a different chemo for a couple rounds depending on what is found during surgery.

That is mostly it in a nutshell. We've gone through a few emotions this morning. I've gone from shock to sadness to here we go again and now I am again at the peace I had after I initially was diagnosed. I'm not scared - I will beat this.

Brian, my reality based husband, isn't there yet. He has faith but he is also an engineer where numbers and statistics are important. Please keep him close in your prayers.

I know the CA125 level going up is going to be hard for a lot of people to hear. Myself included. I was ready to sing out the hallelujah chorus when I heard the number under 35! Needless to say I wasn't singing. I suppose I could have burst out in a low voice "nobody knows the trouble I've seen, nobody knows my sorrows" but that is nowhere true. God knows my troubles and he knows my sorrows.

We're just going to cross this bridge just like we've crossed all the others - by fully relying on God!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sunday, November 18, 2007: A Big Day Tomorrow

I'm back from 4 days of hunting with a good friend of mine. Neither of us got our buck, but we had a great time regardless.

Last night our small group got together with the families and we enjoyed a fun family night at the middle school gym. It was fun just playing some silly games of volleyball and forgetting about everything going on and just watching the kids have fun. Even Nathan was getting into it and was doing a little trash talking of his own. So that was fun. Today, we enjoyed a quiet Sunday that was capped off with a great meeting with our small group for a bible study and more fellowship. After spending 4 days with my friend hunting and spending last night and tonight with our small group we realize how blessed we are having these great friends.

We have a big day coming up Monday. It will be our biggest meeting in a while. We meet with Kristi's doctor in the morning to review the results of her blood work and he will hopefully have the next steps determined for us. We have 2 rounds now of this new chemo completed so we should see a bigger drop in her CA125 level. The last check was 42. We're expecting under 35. Under 35 will be a huge milestone. So our prayer request is for her CA125 level to be less than 35. If not, we will need to lift Kristi (and I) up in prayer. It will come as a big blow if it's not below 35. Please remember us at 10:00 tomorrow morning. We will update the blog as soon as we get back so we don't keep everyone hanging. Keep in mind if it's not lower than 35 we will probably go in for chemo. So if the blog isn't updated by early afternoon that won't be a good sign. We'll update it as soon as we get back.

Thanks for the prayers!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thursday, November 15, 2007: Prayers for others

Eric's appointment in Ann Arbor went very well yesterday. They will let me know when they hear any news so I can pass it along. Please keep praying for patience as they wait.

As of last night, Dawn was still in the hospital. Please continue to pray that she will regain her strength and for peace.

Also, my parents left Tuesday for California. My dads cousin is getting married this weekend. They are there visiting with family now and will come home on Monday. I talked to my mom today and I can tell she is very worried being so far away from home. Please keep them in your prayers that they will be able to let go of their worries and enjoy their time away.

I know you're reading this mom - stop worrying - you'll be back in gray and dreary and snowy and rainy Michigan before you know it! :)

I was invited last night by the Women's Bible Study at church to be prayed over. What a wonderful experience. Initially I was nervous but after hearing the prayers of these women I was very at peace. They reminded me of my value in God's eyes and all that He is doing through me and my purpose in life. Thank you ladies!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007: Early Prayer Request

OK OK, maybe the Lion’s Superbowl party planning was a bit premature. But hey, they’re still 6-3!!

Well, my sleep study went fine. I won’t get the results for a couple weeks when I meet with the sleep doctor, but I expect him to say that I still have sleep apnea - just not as bad as I used to. I won’t be disappointed if I still do have it to some degree. There were a lot of other benefits to having that surgery done…the best one being that I don’t have sore throats anymore. That’s almost worth it right there. And as Kristi mentioned, I don’t snore anymore either…not that I ever did that I was aware of. :)

So we expect a pretty uneventful week ahead. It’s leading to an anxiety-filled weekend though. Kristi will get blood drawn Friday for her CA125 marker. We won’t get the results until Monday morning when we meet with her doctor. Remember, it needs to be 35 or under. It really needs to be 35 or under!!! Please pray boldly once again with me that it is 35. Please take 2 minutes each day and pray that it is 35 (or under). We can’t go another month waiting for it to drop to 35. I realize it’s “only” another month, but one month is 720 hours, or 43,200 minutes, or, if you’re counting, 2,592,000 seconds. But who’s counting?! Well, we are!! So please pray that it is under 35. We’re praying that God shows not only His mercy, but His power to rid Kristi of this cancer. My friend Ryan sent me this passage from Isaiah: “I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” We will need His strength this week/weekend. Kristi has been going up and down a lot lately. Not to extremes, but little peaks and valleys. I fear what may happen if her marker comes in higher than 35.

The other reason we’re really praying that her CA125 level is 35 or under is…her nurse teased us with the possibility they may reverse her colostomy before Christmas!!!!! Did you hear that?!?!?! Before Christmas!!! To say we’re a little excited about that is an understatement. Wow, we can’t imagine. That would mean a tough Christmas holiday recovering from surgery, but it would be worth it. That would mean no more chemo until next year. Yup, done with chemo until February. That seems so wonderful!! But we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. First things first. Her CA125 level has to be 35 or under. Pray. Pray. Pray.

Nathan has also been acting a little funny at school lately. I won’t go into details, but his teacher sent a note home. Nothing serious, but with everything going on at home she noticed a little odd behavior and thought we should know about it. We are very thankful for his teachers (as well as the school!). Please pray that he opens up and talks to us. We’re thinking of bringing him to Kristi’s counselor since she also specializes in children. We’re not quite sure what’s going on in that 7 year old mind.

Anyway, that’s it for today. Thanks for continuing to hold our family up in prayers…and thanks in advance for the specific prayers for Kristi’s CA125 level.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sunday, November 11, 2007: Prayers for Brian

Brian is having a sleep study done tonight. For those of you who don't know, he had surgery about a year ago because of his sleep apnea. He is going in tonight to see if that surgery was successful. The surgery stopped his snoring so matter what tonight's test shows, I consider it successful! :)

He had to go in at 9 tonight and will be done around 7:00 tomorrow morning. He brought a sleeping pill with him because it is very difficult to sleep with all the monitors hooked up to him. If you could keep him in your prayers we'd appreciate it.

This morning our small group was interviewed in front of church. We were asked to do this to give people a sneak peek into the life of a small group. Brian was explaining how our group has "done cancer" with us and how they have helped out so much. Thanks to his word picture of how they have cleaned our toilets despite the fact that we have a son with bad aim I don't think we'll be invited back any time soon! :) We are very fortunate to have such a great small group. I hope that seeing how we have all been there for each other will encourage others to get involved with a small group of their own.

On another note, I have a prayer request for someone I have never met. Her name is Dawn and she is fighting a very difficult battle with cancer. I receive updates on her because her brother and family attend the same church as us. The chemo that she receives leaves her exhausted and unable to care for her children. She is in the hospital right now and hopes to come home tomorrow. Please pray that she will regain her strength and recover from being knocked down so hard. Please also pray for peace and that she will feel God's arms wrapped around her during this time. The feelings of weakness and helplessness and pain and frustration are still fresh in my mind and my heart breaks for her and her family. You all have been so wonderful in lifting us up in prayer so I am asking that you will do this for Dawn and her family as well.

I do not have chemo tomorrow. Yeah! I do go in for blood work but they won't test my CA125 level until next week Monday (the 19th).

I know Monday mornings are hard for many people but tomorrow morning when you wake up, first, be grateful that you woke up and second, remember . . . this is the day that the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Saturday, November 10, 2007: Say Cheese!

I was playing around with my camera today and made the family pose for a picture. :) We're all doing well.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Friday, November 9, 2007: Busy, busy

What a busy couple of days! Thankfully I haven't had any recurrence of the stomach pain. I don't have chemo on Monday - yea! My platelets are too low. Not low enough to be worried about though. So I'll just enjoy a week off from chemo.

Brian and I are going on a double-date tonight - woohoo! We'll give more of an update tomorrow night.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Wednesday, November 7, 2007: Still Waiting but Doing Well

We are still waiting to hear from my doctor. I am feeling pretty good, just tired, which is normal after chemo. Last night was not a pleasant experience and I'm glad it was short lived. I'm guessing at this point the doctor will just tell me to call if I have another episode.

On another note, I met with a psychologist today. Brian came with me for my first visit. I really liked her and I think it will be very helpful. I have times where I want to talk about things but don't want to upset my family or friends . . . this will be a "safe" place for me to bring my problems. She has a seeing eye dog that stays in her office with her and he is just adorable! I could have curled up in the corner with him the entire time :)

I also have some answers to prayer to pass along regarding Lori & Eric. They have an appointment with the Veterans clinic next Wednesday morning in Ann Arbor. They were told that they should have an answer to their appeal a week after that. If things go this quickly it would be great! Thanks for your prayers for them and please continue to keep them in your prayers, especially next Wednesday during the travel and the three hour long appointment.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007: Not A Good Start

This morning at about 3:30 Kristi woke up with a very sharp pain above her stomach. The pain was so bad she was buckled over. At about 5:00 this morning she threw up acid. She is very weak and tired now but her stomach feels better. We're waiting for her doctor to call back. Please pray that she recovers from whatever this is quickly. Thanks.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Monday, November 5, 2007: God Hears All The Prayers

Have you noticed anything about the blog entries over the past several weeks? Maybe that they’ve been mostly pink?! Have you wondered why? Well, Kristi is a blogaholic! OK, not really! Actually, Kristi has really been feeling much stronger lately. She’s even packed on 3 or 4 pounds!! This new chemo is really quite tolerable for her compared to the last. It really has been a blessing to have her “back”! I know she has really been enjoying herself…she’s helping out at Coffee Break again, helping with GEMS, and is even helping the kids’ school teachers. She really feels like she is contributing again. It’s been wonderful to see. She’s happiest when she’s helping.

There’s one little problem, however…remember several times this past summer when I said “when things are going good I have time to think…”? Those were the times that I would get really down. When I wasn’t overwhelmed with the chemo cycle (taking care of Kristi and the kids) my mind would begin to process “stuff”. Well, same goes for Kristi. Now that she is feeling physically stronger, she is spending less time sick or in bed fatigued so her mind has time to process stuff. This is a mixed blessing…it’s wonderful that she feels better, but she has been spending a lot of time thinking about the alternate ending…the one that we don’t like to consider. She is having all those same thoughts that I had last summer and is now working through all those emotions that I did. She has been bringing it up more and more lately. We’ll just be sitting on the couch and out of nowhere she’ll ask “what will you do?” I think she even has been researching stuff on the internet. Every once in a while she has this feeling like her body is trying to tell her something. She’s not giving up, rather I think she’s just now trying to balance hope with reality. Before, she was too sick to think about anything other than getting better. I overheard her say to one of her friends “if my CA125 level isn’t 35 this next time it’s going to be a wet ride home” (meaning lots of tears). We’ve been talking about “it” a lot lately. “It” being the other outcome. Again, we’re not giving up, we’re just balancing hope and reality. We don’t know what reality will be; only God knows that. But we know what it could be.

Even though this chemo has less severe side effects, Kristi is having a really hard time with it. Emotionally she is really struggling with it. She starts getting really down every Sunday night. Just the thought of chemo makes her nauseous. When we get to the chemo clinic she doesn’t eat. The food isn’t that bad, she just gets nauseous about the thought of eating. The smells, the sights, the sounds. Everything about chemo days makes her nauseous. The weekly grind is really wearing on her.

Posting this is difficult because we don’t want to upset anyone and I don’t want it to sound like we’re really down, but she really needs the prayer support now. Overall, we are doing well. We’re not down in the dumps all the time, but we do talk about “it”. We still do cry once in a while, though not as much as we used to. Our conversations are more "matter of fact". Maybe we're just getting numb to it all, I don't know. We're getting pretty good at putting on our “happy faces” when we go out. There are reasons for the happy faces: when we go out we want to have fun. When we go out we like talking about sports, GEMS, card stamping, the Lions, school, etc.. When we leave the house we like things to be “normal”. You wouldn’t understand unless you are in our shoes how easy it is to slip emotionally. One conversation can begin a slippery slope. So you can help us by continuing to hold Kristi up in prayer. When you see her please don’t dwell on the cancer. We realize that it is a part of our lives now, but we’d rather talk about other things…like how are you doing? So if you could please take a minute now and pray for her spirits. Also pray for YOU. Pray for Calvary Church and all of our friends and family that have been helping us out over the past 10 months. Please also remember Eric & Lori and their struggles. Kristi’s Aunt Louise, Kristi’s friend Doris, Claudia, my nephew Josh, our friends Larry & Suzanne, and so many more that need our prayers. God hears them all!!

Also, Emily appears to be coming down with some separation anxiety. This isn’t a surprise since she’s been shuffled around so much lately. It’s just tough on Kristi when Emily is crying whenever she drops her off somewhere…even in nursery, a place she used to enjoy. Please pray that Emily adjusts to this new routine.

Tonight was not a great night. Ashley had a bad night. We’re all quite tired of “mommy being sick” and Ashley is worried about mommy. Please pray for Ashley as well.

Chemo went as expected today. Thanks Heidi for keeping Kristi company! Kristi has been sleeping since about 6 tonight. Other than being tired and nauseous, she's doing as expected. Hopefully tomorrow she will feel better.

Thank you for your continued prayers.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Sunday, November 4, 2007: Chemo Tomorrow

Sorry, we were busy tonight so we're going to keep it short so we can just relax and enjoy each other before another busy week begins. Please pray for Kristi as she goes in for another dose of chemo tomorrow. Her friend Heidi is kind enough to keep her company tomorrow so I can get a "week off". I know Kristi will enjoy this time visiting with her friend. We'll update tomorrow night on some more specific prayer requests.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Saturday, November 3, 2007: An update on Eric

I've been meaning to update you on my brother-in-law. I checked with my sister and here are the specific prayer requests they have:

*Eric is doing treatments at the Born Clinic in GR 3 times a week. Pray they will be effective and help Eric to regain strength

*Veterans disability appeal process is very delayed. Pray for his file to get to the right desk to schedule an exam in Ann Arbor to make their decision soon. (this one is big!)

*God's continued provision until disability is in place (March 2008 for SS disability)

Also, their church is planning a fundraiser for them in March 2008. Pray for the people who are planning this event.

Brian and I have been up and down a lot this weekend. We are learning to enjoy the good times rather than wondering when the bad times are coming. We are also enjoying this beautiful weather!

Thank you for keeping our entire family in your prayers.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Thursday, November 1, 2007: Teeter-totter

Brian and I seem to be on a teeter-totter. I think that's how you spell it. You know the toy at the playground that you sit on and one person goes up and the other goes down? We seem to be emotionally doing that this week.

I have been down a lot this week. I have been so physically tired the past couple weeks that it is making me emotionally tired. I have been resting every chance I get which means I don't get a lot done around the house. When I don't accomplish much, I don't feel good about myself. And so the snowball begins.

Today though, at 10:30 I felt a weight lifted. I don't know what prompted it but I'm guessing someone somewhere said a prayer. I just felt lighter emotionally and I had more energy today than I've had in a long time. I even managed to do some cleaning around the house and have supper ready - I even made a cake. The kids wanted to know who's birthday it was - that tells you how often I bake!

Brian seemed to go down tonight. He has been so busy taking care of us lately that it kept him distracted somewhat. We try to balance hope with reality and I think tonight reality kind of kicked hope out of the way for a while.

We haven't had much time together these days - we've been like two ships passing in the night. Tonight we had about a half an hour together on the couch when the kids were busy playing in the other room. We were finally able to catch up on what our weeks have been like. It is amazing how quickly time flies.

Please keep our daily dose of hope and reality in your prayers. It's a tricky balance. It is so amazing to think that there are probably prayers going out every single hour of the day for us! I've had times where I feel like I am floating on a cloud of prayers. Those are the awesome times. Unfortunately the hard times are still here. I know that we grow in those times but when we're right in the thick of it, well, as Brian often says . . . cancer sucks.

Wow, when I start typing it's hard to stop! Thank you for reading and following our journey. Please especially keep Brian in your prayers tonight.