Wednesday, November 28, 2007

3 Days Away

Three days from now I will be on a plane traveling to the mountains of the island nation of Haiti to serve and love on some of the poorest children in the world. Click HERE for a small snapshot of what we're serving. Some of have asked why?, there is plenty people that have needs here. The best answer I have heard is that there are plenty of people to help here, but there is no one to help down there. For me, our church has went twice before and each time they returned the Holy Spirit spoke to me that I should have went. Plus, everyone that has went has said its a humbling life changing experience. I want some of that. This week the enemy have been in full attack mode in attempting to keep me here. Let's hope he doesn't prevail.

Why Haiti? Among the many things they don't have, such as electricity or even a simple mirror to know what they look like, hope is one of the most lacking. As the Proverb says, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick" Myself and 25 others are going to hopefully "treat" their hearts by acting as the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. Part of that is by clothing, feeding, and teaching them. By us just being their they believe that God is blessing them.

Please pray for me and more importantly Patty as she has graciously allowed me to go despite having 4 children, daily treatments for her arm, and the stress and frustration that develops from both of those issues. Her and Katie will be traveling on Friday to North Carolina on Friday to perform the interpretive dance they did last year to the song "I Am" at her Aunt's Christmas tea. They will be traveling back on Sunday. Pray for her safe passage as well.

Her arm has stabilized under treatment and hopefully will begin to improve. Please pray for continued healing both physically and mentally for her with this and all other health issues. Also Grant is giving us a time. This is our first 4 year old boy and he is all boy. Pray for his obedience and our patience, lol...

This will probably be my last post before I return...Thanks to all of you who pray, help, or offer a kind word.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Hits Keep a' Coming!

Patty's visit didn't go well. She received news she didn't want to hear. Basically, they bandaged her arm up to where she can hardly move it. She has to wear it like this for 4 weeks. After that she has to wear a compression glove and sleeve for the rest of her life. Additionally, she has to wrap her arm with bandages every night for the rest of her life and basically have limited use of this arm for the rest of her life. Looking at the situation you think 'ok, I can handle this if I just have to worry about myself but, when you have 4 kids under the age of 9 to care for it becomes quickly overwhelming.

I always thought due to Patty's mom having breast cancer in her 40's that she might have a chance of having it. But, I never ever imagined the scenario we're in. I thought since she was proactive in monitoring herself and getting mammograms and biopsies of anything suspicious if she did get it she would be in her 40's, the kids would more self sufficient, and it would be the earliest stage you could find and the treatments would be relatively benign. This scenario we find ourselves in is unbelievable. In her 30's, 4 small kids, lymph nodes, masectomies, chemo, herceptin, radiation, thyroid issues, tamoxifen, lymphedema, who knows what's next. This is in addition to the normal things that make daily life difficult like other family sickness, finances, obligations, appointments, 4 kid's activities, I could go on and on but basically you get the picture.

I think the devastating blow is that you hope to be done with the year and a half of cancer and its treatments only to discover the effects of it and its treatments are going to be a constant reminder, hindrance, and minute to minute frustration to the end of your days. The Proverb "Hope deferred makes the heart sick" is definitely true, ...definitely true. I think Patty and I feel like we're in a vice that keeps getting squeezed tighter. Sometimes I think if we "could" give up we would.

I've always been intrigued by patients in my experiences that didn't exhibit any "hope" despite good chances for cures. Now, I have a better idea why they may not have it. I've learned a lot from the patient side that will allow me to serve our patients better. The funny thing is I'm starting to wonder if I want to stay in it. I'm tired of cancer and its devastation. My life is Cancer. My family, my job, my thoughts.

What A Day

Wow. Yesterday was uhhhhh...trying. When I got home from work I discovered Patty had accidentally wrecked the van, Brett has pink eye in BOTH eyes, I needed to pick up all the Girl Scout nuts for delivery, Grant throws up in the van, and Kendall is saying her ear is really hurting. Oh yea, I led our Community Bible Study group in between. What a day!

Patty's appointment was just for measurements and teaching on exercises. She goes this morning for the therapy part of it. Pray it will begin to begin to help.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Latest

Patty's arm has steadily worsened. It is also very painful for her as of late. Of course, she has been pushing herself to the max. The Christmas Tea that she hosts annually for the church was this past Saturday. There were over 225 women in attendance. This year it was a fundraiser for our Haiti mission trip which I'll explain in another post. It looks like over 3k was raised. The work she puts into this I'm sure is a contributor of it getting worse.

Thankfully, she has an appointment with a Lymphedema Therapist today at 5. That being said, I'm requesting for supernatural healing as directed in John 14:14, "You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it." You can do the same!

We still struggling with the new dog name. These are the front runners.




Vote for your choice!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Cancer Island

A reader of the blog that I've had the pleasure of exchanging emails with shared the following with me a few days ago and it rang so true for me I thought I would share it with everyone. The writer is another husband whose wife has faced breast cancer over the last year and he is writing in reference to my comments in another post about watching other's lives carrying on as normal while we're struggling to stay above water.

"We have called this being stranded on "Cancer Island ". I heard an interview from a cancer patient and he characterized it as living in a parallel universe in which those dealing with cancer can cross over to the world of their friends, but their friends can not cross into the cancer world. I thought that was a good way to describe it. I would add to this another dimension in which caregivers reside, hanging somewhere between the two. I think, at times, this can be the most lonely place to be."

Amen brother, Amen. This is the most short and concise description of how I, and we, feel that I've ever read.

I think the writer makes an astute observation in his last two sentences in the paragraph about caregivers. Don't take me wrong, I'm not groveling for more attention but, in the last few years studies have been conducted on caregivers of cancer patients and the results are eye opening concerning the physical and mental health of this population. Which brings up a point that I've mentioned before. Cancer doesn't just affect the individual family member, but the whole family as well. Including the physical and mental health of the family.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Arm Update

Patty saw an orthopedic surgeon yesterday to determine if the issues with her arm might be related to carpal tunnel syndrome. He was under the impression that it wasn't and that it was indeed lymphedema. We're trying to get her in to see somebody as soon as possible because with this problem you want to get treatment before it worsens. Unfortunately, our insurance provided treatment location has a several week delay so we're exploring other alternatives.

To counterbalance all the negativism in the air, I finally succumbed to the "Getting A Dog" barrage that I have been inflicted with for several months now. Its been tough but they've wore me down. I've been mentally tortured to bring me to this humble position so I digress.

If you remember, our last dog Chrissy had to be put to sleep not long after Patty's surgery. We drove out to Maryville on Sunday to look at a couple of West Highland White Terriers that were almost ready to be taken home. The place was a beautiful small farm (I'll confess, I was coveting) where the kids got to play with the pups in the grass. And by the way kids includes Patty. Although, the boys were more interested in an old toy pedal tractor and the wide expanse to drive it, push it, or fight over it than the dogs. Patty and Kendall decided on the girl and so we put a deposit down and will pick her up either this weekend or next whenever she's ready.

We're taking suggestions on names so post anything clever in the comments. Her dad's name is Elvis and the mother is Priscella. So that should give you a head start