Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thursday, April 28, 2011: Super Short Update

What a fast couple of days!  Basically both doctors appointments went well - they both thought I looked great!  We're going to make a few medication changes over the weekend to try to keep my pain managed . . . actually the goal is to get the medications to a place that I don't have any pain . . . . I think I like that goal :)

It was nice seeing Dr. VanderWoude  again and Dr. Phillips (the Hospice doctor) was very approachable, friendly and has my best interests as his first priority.  What we were expecting to be "downer, reality visits" were actually really good visits.  Yea God :)

I will update more another day . . . right now the only thing that sounds good is going to bed.  Thanks for the prayers!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday, April 25, 2011: Resurrection

Resurrection.  That's a big word.  Four syllables.  I can still remember teaching Ashley how to spell the word "resurrection" in first grade.  It was a "bonus" word and I thought how in the world am I going to teach my tiny little girl this great big word. 

I had a brainstorm.  It is a big word but if you break it down it has a fun rhythm to it.  First we learned "res", then "urr", "ect", and "ion".  Before long she was chanting "res". . . "urr". . . "ect" . . ."ion".  And then just a few years later Nathan had the same thing when he was in first grade and he conquered that word just the same way his sister did!

Resurrection was a word we heard often in yesterdays sermon.  Not only is it a big word with lot of syllables and letters but it is a powerful word.   In the sermon we learned about the power that word can have in our lives.  I've looked up the definition for resurrection and there are so many different ways to define it but basically - Jesus died and rose from the dead - resurrection!.  It doesn't get more basic than that.  That is power.  And He lives in me.  That power lives within me.

God has been very "vocal" with me lately.  I've had devotional after devotional hit me right between the eyes.  Songs feel like they are being sung to me.  Bible verses just jump off the page.  Some days I feel like He is saying that I need to prepare myself for "reality".  Other days I feel like a miracle is coming and that I need to pray harder and bolder.   I'll be honest - I keep trying to "twist" what I am hearing to my liking - to try and make them "my" plans.

I have had a lot of swelling and pain recently.  I don't like pain. Pain makes my reality much more real.  And I don't like seeing my family watch me in pain.  I have an appointment with my oncologist this week and also with the Hospice doctor.  These will both be "reality" checks and I know the details that we will be given will be hard to hear.

I mentioned that my devotionals have been very personal lately.  Yesterday's spoke even louder and it was very hard for me to "hear".   Actually, I heard it loud and clear, it's the "accepting" part that I'm struggling with.  This devotion talked about genuine faith.   Genuine faith means we need to "hand our circumstances over to God allowing Him to work".  She referenced Psalm 37:5 "commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this".  He will never work until we commit.  Yikes.  How can He work out His plans for me when I'm still holding onto them?

I will end with a story the writer shared in the devotional from the same day - this is the part that I struggle with.  It is a letter that a young man wrote to an elderly mother who was extremely worried about the condition of her son.  He wrote "You are worrying too much about him.  Once you have prayed for him, as you have done, and committed him to God, you should not continue to be anxious.  If we truly have cast our burdens upon another, can they continue to pressure us?  If we carry them with us from the throne of grace, it is obvious we have not left them there

Yikes again.  It is obvious to me that I have not left everything with Him with regards to my life. I can't do that on my own though.  Which I guess brings me back to that big, long, powerful word . . . . resurrection.  Jesus rose from the dead. That's power.  He lives in me.  That power is in me through the Holy Spirit. 

Right now I picture a sky filled with bright colorful balloons.  They are all my hopes and dreams and prayers and fears and requests and I'm sending them up to God.  I want to let them all go.  All of them.  But I have a few strings and I've tied them to my finger.  They are tied on tightly. 

I also have a huge, huge, huge prayer network out there reading this update (if you've made it with me through this long one!!).  Right now I ask for prayers that I can let go of those last strings.  I'm not giving up . . . . I'm giving up control to the One who sees the whole picture and to the One who knows what is best for me.

Please also pray this prayer for Brian and the kids.  We are all at such different places in dealing with this.  No matter what - I want this time with my family to be centered around God and His plans for our family and that again, no matter what - it is all done for His glory.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin.  let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.  Hebrews 4:15-16

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011: Very Short Update

I talked to my nurse today and we've "tweaked" some medications.  I also started an antibiotic because I may have a bladder infection.  I've noticed some improvement already today with the swelling and pain.  I still have both but they are lessening and that means we're moving in the right direction.

Reality is still reality and it stinks.  But, less pain and bloating is a good thing.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday, April 17, 2011: Just Swell

I wish I could say everything is just swell, but I'd be lying.  The swelling and abdominal cramping is extremely painful and is wearing on her.  She has been having difficulty getting out of bed, standing up or even walking short distances.  It's very difficult to watch.  I feel like I'm standing on the sidelines watching my wife slowly die and there's nothing I can do but watch.  Just watch.  Watching one of the most loving and gentle people you will ever get to know suffer. 

Today was especially was our 18th wedding anniversary.  Without a miracle from God, our 18th and last...and that just plain sucks.  The day went by for the most part like any other we've had recently.  We didn't do anything special to celebrate.  No fancy hotel.  No fancy meal.  No fancy wine.  Nope.  Celebration would be bitter sweet.  Maybe later, just not today.

Tomorrow we'll be calling her oncologist to ask questions about the swelling.  We have heard of other cancer patients getting fluid drained (sometimes liters of fluid) so we want to ask.  And also ask her what's causing the swelling.  Is it normal?  Is it a side effect of one of her meds?  etc. 

Well, every one's in bed but me...time to wrap it up I guess.  Thanks for continued prayers.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011: Busy. Quiet. Still.

That sums up the past few weeks for us. We’ve been pretty busy living life; life seems to be pretty quiet right now and we’ve been quietly still as of late. As long as Kristi doesn’t overdo herself she’s been feeling OK. If you’ve seen her recently, yes, her face is swollen. We think it’s the steroids making her retain water. She has cut back on her steroids to half the dose - water retention is not uncommon with steroids.

She also has quite a bit of bloating in her stomach that at times can be extremely uncomfortable; this is the reason she walks around holding her stomach.

We enjoyed a nice trip to the Creation Museum ( in Northern Kentucky over spring break. We had enough Mariott points to earn 2 free nights stay so we stayed at a nice hotel downtown Cincinnati. At the museum the kids even got to ride a camel…so all was good.

Like I said, all in all, pretty quiet.