Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Last Cancer Treatment

Tomorrow is Patty's last scheduled treatment for the breast cancer diagnosis she received on August 9, 2006. 1 Year, 4 months, and 18 days ago. To steal a phrase from a not so favorite president of mine, FDR, "...a day that will live in infamy." She will still continue receiving treatments for her arm but these are not technically treatments for cancer rather treatments for the side effects of the surgery.

Patty is in remission or as we say in the medical field NED (No Evidence of Disease). No one is officially cured of cancer, you either have it or are NED. We continue to pray that she will remain NED until she dies of something else at least at the age of her grandmother Bessie who turned 90 on Dec. 7. This has been a long road to travel and Patty and I are both praying for some green pasture. We need it.

Christmas has been a blur. The first few hours of Christmas morning were great spending time with the kids. It went downhill after that as I begin to drown in the excess of it as it all added up. It was a conflicting day for me. I thought of my friends in Haiti who it was most likely just another day trying to survive. I thought back to simpler times in America as I heard Patty's grandmother describe her Christmas's to me as a little girl in the 1920's where they got only a few pieces of fruit in their stocking. The only time they got fruit. And lastly, I longed for a more fulfilling Christmas like the one in an 1850 Christmas short story by Harriet Beecher Stowe I read before my grieving soul rested for the night.

A young lady complained about how she gave Christmas gifts to her friends and family that weren't really needed and was done more out of tradition then need and how she longed to give gifts that were truly embraced and needed. Her aunt told her of many people, mostly poor, who had needs and that gifts for those needs would be truly embraced. The young lady took this advice and begin to act upon it. This desire to fill real needs is my prayer for myself and for each of you for next Christmas. As Jesus said 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' May we all follow his wise advice.

God Bless.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Inspirational Verse of the Day

"He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted." Job 5:9

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Haiti - Day 1 - Travel Day

I have different sections of each day so I'll post a section at a time. I've also added in some thoughts here and there in parentheses to expand on what I had written at the time. I hope this gives you a better viewpoint of our experience in Haiti.

Day 1 - Travel Day

Leaving US, Arriving Ayiti (Haiti)
We left the church house @ 3:45 a.m. and headed to the airport. Scott Sparks drove the church van and the attached trailer. He looked like he hadn't been up at 3:45 a.m. in a long time, lol... We didn't have heat until Brian Lloyd broke out some type of pliers to turn the control over to warm. I should have known that this was a precursor of things to come from him in Haiti. At the airport we loaded up 26 people, 52 LARGE checked bags, and just as many carry-ons onto the plane. From there to Dallas, from Dallas to Miami (whose airport has a lot to live for), from Miami to Port-Au-Prince. I should have known when the plane took a tight 180 degree turn for landing and then landed hard and fast it would be an omen for the next few hours. We deboarded and headed for immigration where I met a missionary couple from Canada who was staying for three weeks.

(At the time, I thought I wish I could stay that long but I remembered that thought on the back of a covered open air truck for the ride back to the airport to head home and cringed at the thought of staying two more weeks. I couldn't do it emotionally. I was spent. Little did I know that my dad was going to die this day and the emotional rollercoster was waiting to take me for a few more rides against my will.)

Once through immigration we began gathering our bags. Unbelievably, all 52 made it. Unfortunately, one of the ladies in our group left her carry-on bag on the plane and the airport personnel would not allow her to retrieve it. She had a mild panic attack that was ultimately soothed by the bag's return through our persistent efforts. Strangely enough, while we were gathering bags, hunting bags, begging for a carry-on bag the few people that were left and the airport workers, in cognizant to us, stared at televisions in the baggage claim area at some soccer game being played in a far off land. It wasn't much different than if the NFL was on at an airport in the US.

Next: Leaving the Airport

Monday, December 17, 2007

Still Recovering

What a two week period. If there is a list of troubled emotions I think I've felt them all over the last two weeks. Enough about me.

Patty is continuing to receive treatments for her arm three times a week. There has been some improvement which is a good sign. She keeps wanting to take the wraps off, she tends to be a non-compliant patient sometimes, but I reiterate to her that if she wants it to get better she has to keep it on.

She has two Herceptin treatments left. After these all of her treatments for the cancer are complete. Almost a year and a half. Combine this with my dad and its been an extremely tough period. We feel like we've worn everybody out with all the child care we've had to have for all of Patty's appointments. Unfortunately, this continues with the appointments for her arm. It may seem trivial but this is one of the things that grieves us is to have to continually ask for help. What makes it worse is we have four to care for! I digress.

I'm contemplating posting my journal entries from Haiti here if anyone is interested. Let me know.

Please continue to pray for Patty's arm, her mental health, and our family as a whole.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Brief Update

I made it back from Haiti late Friday night. We found my dad dead at home on Saturday. After that trip and this I'm emotionally bankrupt. Keep up the prayers.