Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Another Miracle to end 2008

We both are fully aware that we are in the middle of a long battle, but God has once again given us another miracle today.

As most of you know, Mike went in for outpatient surgery today to replace the stent in his esophagus that had slipped. We are now at home and let me share the amazing work of God. Mike no longer has a stent in his esophagus.

Dr. Pucha briefed us after the procedure. On Dec. 2, he could barely get his camera thru his esophagus. It is on a very small tube. He had to force it a little bit and by the Grace of God he was able to put in the smallest stent (16 in). Today, he could put the camera all the way down his esophagus and the opening measures 10 mm. He said most people start having difficulty swallowing at around 12 mm so he did not put another stent in. The cancer is still there and ulcerated, but we have more physical proof of the regression of Mike's cancer today.

We also got word late today that his liver enzymes are in completely normal range. Again, more physical proof of the healing that I have been trying to put in words. I knew that was the case since Mike no longer has any swelling in his extremities. He is no longer yellowish and his eyes are white as can be.

This is all at the hands of God. Period. I don't know where the road is taking us, but I know of the very real things that are happening now. This is one of those times where I just throw myself at the feet of the Lord and Praise Him!

2008.... There are a few hours left in the year for us. I will never forget this year. We moved to FL, bought our first house, feel in love with new friends fast, enjoyed the amazing beauty of the Emerald Coast, got cancer, witnessed God's unfailing love in ways we have never known, changed our lives forever, moved (is essence) to Sarasota, met amazing healers and caregivers there, moved to McKinney, put our house on the market in FL, spent loads of time in the hospital, prayed in ways we have never prayed, spent more money on health care in 5 months than in our entire lives, learned the power of community prayer, watched God's healing unfold, and were blessed beyond measure.

On the one hand, I am glad God didn't reveal 2008 to us before hand but on the other hand, I would go through it all again because of the amazing gift of watching God at work in Mike, Elizabeth and myself. I would go through it all again because watching God use people, family, friends, and strangers to work his Miracle in Mike is as close to heaven as I will get until He calls me home.

I want to thank everyone again for everything this year... Roxanna and family, Carrie, Missy, Lisa, Giact, Dad, Scott and Kathy, Nancie, Melissa, Pierre, Pastor Herman, Kaye, Col. Fowler, Col. Weigand, Dr. Monhollon and staff, Bill and staff, everyone at Hurlburt, Dr. Khan, Dr. Pucha, Jeff and Wendy, Doug and Dena, McKinney Neighbors, Hoss and family, Kathleen and family, Tucson Community Group, Cinco Baptist Church and School, CCC, DMOSC, Stecklers, Rhodenbaughs, Duseks, Dyess AFB, Myagi and family, Mike's family, Pam, Roger, Amy, McKinney neighbors and long time friends, prayer partners around the world, and everyone else that I can't think of right now. God used each and everyone of you to minister, bless, and sustain us.

God Bless you....

Prayer needs:

Mike to eat and drink more.
Mike to gain weight
Mike's cancer to continue to die
Mike's complete healing
Our house in FL to sell
Financial wisdom and coverage in 2009 as we retire and our income is reduced
Elizabeth and I to stay healthy

We look forward to the Cihak's visiting us tomorrow and Tony bringing something from our beloved friends in Quatar.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The best weekend and today

I have to start by giving Praise to God for the weekend and his miracles that are unfolding in front of me. I have to admit, I still want the "big one" - Mike's cancer completely gone overnight, but at the same time, this stage is cool too!

Mike had a great weekend. Here are some of the things he did:
He hooked up the DVD Player
He got all the "technology" up and running in the house including his IPOD
He walked to the park and back (about 4 blocks)
He feel asleep on the porch during a rain storm
He ate 4 small pieces of chicken
He went to Scott's to watch the Cowboys disgraceful game on Sunday

All these things sound normal, I know. But it has been a long time since we have had any "normal" in our house. I wanted to freeze the weekend. But life isn't like that. I have to thank everyone at Hurlburt who worked to get Mike home for the holidays. I even called Kaye on her vacation and she took my call! It sounds so silly, but words can not describe our Christmas Holiday. I was so simple but we were together as a family and that made it the best one yet.

We were under the impression that we were doing Chemo today, but that didn't happen. We went to Dr. Bo to get adjusted first and then headed to Dr Khan. We had to wait a long time, but got to see him. He was very happy to see how great Mike looks. We did blood work and it all looks great. His blood levels are holding at 10.3. We haven't needed blood in two weeks now. Dr. Khan felt Mike's stomach and said that his tumor feels "significantly smaller" and that it obviously responded well to Chemo. So we left with an appointment for Chemo on Wednesday and followup appt on Monday next week. BUT, before we did these, he wanted us to follow up with Dr. Pucha (GI doc who put in stent) for the stent and to clear Mike's colitis for round 2 of Chemo.

So we saw Dr. Pucha and he ordered an Xray along with some lab tests. The lab tests will take about 2 days to collect and 3 days for the lab results, so Chemo will be next week sometime. But the Xray revealed that Mike's stent has slipped. I believe that it slipped because the tumor is smaller. Remember, he could barely fit in the smallest stent to open Mike's esophagus. So we are going in for an Outpatient (God willing) procedure to replace the stent with a bigger one. This will happen Wednesday at around 11:30 am CST. Again, prayers are needed to cover this procedure.

Finally, I want to thank everyone for the Christmas Cards and gifts over the holidays. This will go down as a Christmas like no other. The love that we have received from each and everyone of you filled our home and us to overflowing.

Please Pray:
Spirit of Hope
God's perfect healing plan
God's miraculous hand to open the eyes of the Doctors thru Mike
Mike to eat and drink more so we can eliminate the TPN and lipids
Strength for Today
Our house to sell

OH... I forgot.... we got the letter from the Social Security Administration. We were approved for disability and that will start in March. God is Good!

Prayer Coverage needed

We are heading off to Round 2 of Chemo this morning. It begins at 9:15 am CST and will run about 3 hours. Please pray ...

Chemo will effect only the cancer cells
Chemo will NOT cause Colitis side effect
Chemo will not have any negative side effects
Mike will get stronger and eat and drink more each day.

I will blog tonight about our incredible weekend... God Bless each of you!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Glory to God in the Highest

He is home. Not only is he home, he is doing so well. We got home last night at around 6:30 pm. I am at a loss for words at the miracle unfolding in front of my eyes. Everything from the blood work, to his energy, and just things he hasn't been able to do in a long time. For example, he slept in his hospital bed last night in a reclining position, but then crawled in bed with me and snuggled me for about 30 minutes. He hasn't done that since August. I also caught him sitting on the floor Indian style reading an instruction manual. He is walking straighter.

The glory goes to God. This is the best Christmas ever. So many miracles are just unfolding in front of me. Most of all, I am surrounded by the ones I love.

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be call Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. "
Isaiah 9:6

Merry Christmas to everyone ... Peace on Earth and Goodwill towards all men!!

Please continue to pray:
Strength for Mike
Mike to eat and drink more
The healing to continue to manifest in his body
Our hearts to set upon the Heavenly things...

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Power of Prayer

I don't know where to start with this posting, but I knew the title right away. Mike is doing so WELL! I am so encouraged. I just want to post the very real things going on right now and I hope that you can match them to our prayer requests over the past weeks:

1. Mike is no longer spitting phlegm up
2. Mike ate a jar of baby food yesterday - the whole jar. He has eaten another one today and wants to eat another jar with dinner.
3. Mike's blood count has held at 10.3 for 8 days now. That hasn't happened since we started keeping track of it back in October.
4. Mike's White Blood Count is back in the normal range
5. Mike has more energy. He walked the entire 4th floor
6. Mike has slept in a reclining position at night for 2 nights now. He hasn't slept in a reclining position since late September.
7. Mike has not taken extra oral pain medication in days now. The patches he is wearing seem to completely control the pain.
8. Mike's swelling in his legs is gone. That probably has to do with the sleeping position, but it is good.
9. Mike is drinking more - He still needs to drink more, but he is drinking more than he used to.

These are all real, tangible miracles. It is always a day at a time, but praise God that He is giving us this visible signs of His known presence with us in this journey.

Mike has started to lose his hair in clumps and it is thinning. We will probably break out the shaver sometime soon. It doesn't bother either of us. We will post a picture once he is bald!

I want to ask, actually to call on everyone to continue to pray for Mike even more. I have been praying for a Christmas miracle and by the list above, I feel that He is already answering our prayers. Please pray that we can be home for Christmas!

Prayer requests:
Home for Christmas
God to remove the Cancer from Mike's body
Health for Elizabeth and I
To serve God more fervently
Patience with Doctors and their pace
God to build on the improvements that we see in Mike
Mike to Drink and Eat more - nutrition for mind, body and soul
A Miraculous Christmas Healing!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thursday - Blood Clot and staying longer

Today, Mike has had great energy and is doing well. However, his arm began to swell and it was determined through a sonogram that he had a blood clot from his PICC line. The PICC line was removed and they are now using his port only. But he is now on blood thinners and his Chemo will be postponed until Monday now. He will be in the hospital through the weekend.

There are so many things that I don't understand here. I don't understand how is was imperative that we start Chemo. Once we did, it is now 2 1/2 weeks later before we can do another treatment. But I have a feeling this is another way to teach me patience. I just want Mike to be home for Christmas. It is so important. But I also want him home with energy to be apart of the celebration.

I wanted to thank everyone for the cards and gifts. Amity, I cried when I opened your special thought! There are so many people that I owe thank you's and of course Christmas cards. But the truth of the matter is that I am not going to be able to put them out this year. What I hope to do is put something out in the coming year.

I did get Elizabeth's picture done and I am posting it today. She is growing into a beautiful (inside and out) young girl. She is such a blessing from God and motivates us continually.

Please Pray:

Home for Christmas
Miraculous Healing of Cancer for Mike on Christmas
Health for Elizabeth - she came home sick today from school
Health for me - seems like we are on a constant sick circle right now
Mike's colitis to heal
Mike's blood clot to disappear and reabsorb
Chemo to take place in God's timing only!

I miss everyone so much this year. I miss all the traditions we do in the military and know that I am thinking of everyone right now!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Still in the Hospital

I started this blog yesterday and never got back to it. Today, I will just start over. Mike had a new symptom show up over the weekend. His stomach got extremely bloated. They did a CT Scan and determined "colitis" and did a culture to determine what the infection was that caused the swelling in the colon. They started him on another course of antibiotics and we are going from there.

The thing that is frustrating is that Mike had a good day yesterday. We talked and got some things accomplished. The weather started to turn bad and Mike sent me home. The nurse came in and started talking about the icing in a few towns around McKinney. So Mike looked at me and told me to go home. I ignored him. He then gave me his "look" and said, "Mama, go home." When he gives me the look and says, "Mama", I know he is serious. So I left around 3:30 yesterday. I picked up Elizabeth from school and we went to Walmart for some more Christmas shopping. We then went home, had spaghetti and hot chocolate for dinner, and waited for the ice. It did come and there is a coat of ice on everything. School got cancelled and Elizabeth is outside with sleds and playing hockey. They even determined that the boogie boards from the beach work too.

I just hate that I am at home and Mike is in the hospital. I have talked to him twice on the phone, and he is in pain today. I did call and harass the doctor over the next round of Chemo. So at least I made my presence know :)!

It is at times like these, when things are absolutely beyond my control, that I am grateful that God loves Mike even more than I do. He is His child and can watch over him.

Please continue to pray:
Health for all of us
The Chemo to work
Complete healing of Mike's body
Home for the Holidays - home and able to enjoy the holidays
Our house to sell in FL
Wisdom for me in decisions that we are making

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Retirement Video

I have spent about 2 hours now trying to get this to link to the page and I am out of brain cells. Here is the link to the video

I am praying that this will work.

Mike is still in hospital. His temperature is all over the place due to low White Blood Cell count. I only spent 2 hours with him yesterday because I have a cold and a low grade fever. Mike cousin Roger is flying in from California today and we are looking forward to the visit.

Please continue to pray:

Mike will have a strong WBC
Health for all
Home from the hospital in time for Christmas
Our house to sell
God's continued Grace and Mercy in our lives

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thursday - Round Two of Chemo postponed

You can have good days and you can have bad days. Mike's White Blood Cell count has dropped too low. They are giving him shots to increase it, but we are not doing Chemo today. Mike has also developed another fever of around 100.6. So we are starting at the beginning in a way. We are starting the blood cultures and doing another chest x-ray. So we are here for at least another 2 days.

Mike is on strict isolation protocol now too. Everyone has to have a mask on and wash hands. The problem is that I am starting to get a cold again. I didn't stay with him last night. Scott took us to the Stars game last night (Hockey) and to be honest, it was fun. Dad stayed with Mike until late but he spent his first night alone in the hospital.

I have put bible verses on the wall in our room here at the Medical Center. It is so nice to get news like, " You now have a fever" and look at Luke 18:27 - What is impossible with men is possible with God or Mark 11:22 - Have Faith in God. Simple words - huge impact.

I have finally gotten all the legal paperwork together and we will have a notary/witness come up to the room and finish it off. Somewhere between FL and here I lost my Power of Attorney, Medical Directive, and Medical Power of Attorney. So, this will be a big load off my mind.

Overall, Mike is hanging in there. He is still fighting and even though it is a bad day, things will get better.

Prayer needs:
To get to a stable medical point so we can go home and be home for Christmas. That is SO very important to Elizabeth
His blood counts to stabilize - both White and Hemoglobin
Health for Elizabeth and i
Nurses that care for him more than a job
Melissa and her medical needs
That the Chemo will work at killing the cancer and that it will work to the point where it will decrease the pain
My Mom - she is home, but in a lot of pain from her Radioactive Prop stay in the hospital

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

MRI Results

Negative.... the 5 mm thing that was on the CT Scan was not on the MRI. It was gone.

AMEN.. Praise God... the cancer is not in his brain.....Praise God!

That is all I am going to blog. I am resting on the miracle and want to stay in this moment...

Please continue to pray. Prayer works...

Monday, December 8, 2008


Mike went for the MRI late today and is still kind of out of it as we speak. We won't get the results until tomorrow. I will post them when we get them.

My mom is in the hospital right now doing her radioactive prop in her uterus for the next 48 hours. I talked to her last night and just cried on the phone. I want to be there to help her. I want her to wrap me up and tell me this is all a dream. I am holding on tightly to Jesus right now.

I have to admit I am reaching an overload again. Decisions, calls, noise and all I want to know is that the cancer has not spread to his brain. That is it.

Kyong called and she is coming to see us tomorrow for a few hours tomorrow. I need to see her. I can't wait.

Mike is getting 2 more pints of blood tonight with a possibility of a third pint depending on his numbers.

I have been in contact with lawyers about all the legal paperwork. I had it in FL and have since lost it. We are having General Power of Attorney, Medical Directive and Medical Power of Attorneys redone.

I have admitted that I need to seek counseling myself. I plan to seek Christian counseling here soon at the church we call home here. It is not to deal with the life and death issue we are facing. I really know that it will be a win either way. I can let Mike go be with Jesus and I am more than happy to keep him here with us. If Mike goes to be with Jesus, we are fine financially due to the financial planning we did when we were Lts with First Command. If he gets to stay with us a little while longer, we are fine with the retirement pay and VA. We are so blessed in that arena. I know so many others are not in that boat. I am having a problem dealing moment to moment. I have always been one to plan things out. ALWAYS... (even when I said I didn't plan, I did plan). Every time I plan on going home, doing this, going to store, it doesn't work. I am also having a problem watching someone that I love so much go through this. I have always been able to help Mike by doing something when things get bad. ALWAYS... but not this time. However, even amidst this pain, it is such a blessing to remove myself and watch his character as he battles. It really speaks to about the core of this man. As bad as the pain may be, he always is pleasant, says thank you and speaks of Jesus. He still looks at me with absolute love...

So where are we tonight... I don't know and yet I know.... In Jesus's hands...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sunday - Still in hospital, but blessings abound

Ok. We are still here. Still. We have been in the hospital 13 of the past 14 days. It is surprising how easy it is to start to feel a "cloud of darkness" start to close in. I have really struggled with that today. I thought we were going home. I want to go home. But a couple things have happened that have prevented that. The first thing is that Mike's blood count has dropped significantly in the past 24 hours. We will now need a blood transfusion. I am guessing around 3 pints. I need to look into some sort of blood drive or something eventually to repay all these donors and pay the blood forward somehow. The next thing is that Mike has started shaking and leaning to the right. We have been down for a CT Scan of his brain, and we are waiting the results. In the name of Jesus, I pray it is only a side effect of the Chemo.

I am going to try and back up a little here. It has been awhile, so I will tell you everything that has happened since the stent/port surgery. First of all, the surgery wiped Mike out for 24 hours. It really took him a day to bounce back. So by the end of Wednesday, we were trying to calm our fears about Chemo. That night, a charge nurse took me aside to let me know that the crash cart would be just outside the door for Mike's Chemo. She told me the Chemo was very toxic, which I know. I found out that was not standard practice and it panicked me. I called his cousin Pam and his mother and told them I thought they should come out. I was trying to be mentally prepared for his heart to stop during Chemo.

Pam called the next morning and boarded a plane and was here by 3:00 on Thursday. His mother also did the same and she arrived around 8:00 pm that night. However, the Chemo was really calm. We have a great Chemo nurse Amy and really it wasn't any different that getting an IV (except for the toxic warning signs all over). They gave Mike drugs before each round to fight the side effects and all in all he was fine on the outside.

Pam gave me the greatest gift that night. She stayed with Mike and I went home and slept with Elizabeth. The long hospital stay is having an effect on her and I just needed to wrap her up and let her know it is ok. Then the following night, his mom stayed with him. So I got two nights at home with Elizabeth.

We also got a visit from Mark and Marian from Abilene! They drove the 3.5 hours just to visit us. We also got a visit from an old high school friend of mine, Sue. This may seem small, but the visits are a breath of fresh air.

The coolest thing of the week was that we met someone from Care Coalition. I will blog more about this later. It is an organization designed to help Special Ops troops from every branch of the military. I wish I had met this guy about 6 weeks ago. It is my one stop resource that I have been praying for. I will tell more later...

Please continue to pray for us:
The Doctor came in and their is a spot on the right side of his brain. We are going to have an MRI at some point tonight with results tomorrow
Sleep and calm
Elizabeth and her spirit

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Hi eyeryone!

Just posting a quick paragraph . Last Sunday at church I had a vision.
I think it may have been Heaven, but I'm not sure. I had my hands buried in my face when I saw stars , lots of them. When I turned my head , I saw a gold road. It was DEFINETLY not what you usually see. It wasn't a thin foil-like sheet of gold , or gold bricks , but rather, it was like a dirt road exept it was all gold nuggets. It sparkled like nothing I've seen before. It was too cool. I just felt like I needed to share that tonight.

God Bless,


One more day... God is Good

Well, we have the first round of Chemo under our belts. Mike handled it extremely well. Really, there is nothing to report yet. His temperature in back to normal. His heart rate is under 100 and all in all he is doing well. He has eaten some things like peas and applesauce. They did take him to CT Scan tonight to check for pneumonia. It is there last ditch effort to check for infection before they stop the antibiotics.

We were blessed to have Melissa come and be with us during most of the Chemo. It took about 3 hours all in all. They first gave him all kinds drugs to offset the chemo effects like nausea. Then the Chemo. At the end, they gave him lasix to help clear the kidneys.

Pastor Herman came by and talked "Jesus talk" and prayed with us. Mike's mother boarded a plane today to come down for a visit.

Mike's cousin Pam got here today. She is going to stay with him tonight and I am going home to sleep with Elizabeth. We have come to realize that we need to work harder and helping her. She has spent a week with family and Mike will be in the hospital for another 3 days if all goes well. We will do another Chemo round next week.

In the meantime, we will be doing all our natural things as well to help kick the cancer - we just need to get home. One of the reasons they are keeping us is to keep a close eye on Mike's blood. Chemo can lower red blood cells and white blood cells. Mike's blood was at 9.0 this morning and they will draw a CBC tomorrow to see what the chemo did to it.

Prayer needs:
Pray the Chemo will work
Mike will get rest and the pain will decrease
Mike will eat more
Mike will drink more
Sleep for Elizabeth and I
That our house in FL will sell

Chemo has started

Mike has started his chemotherapy at 10:15 am CST. They gave him some medications and then started the first drug. The first one, Cisplatin will take about an hour. Then they will give him Irinotecan. He should be done by 2:00 PM

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Fiery Furnance -

Today is Dec. 3 and by this time tomorrow Mike will have done his first round of Chemotherapy. The decision was made earlier this evening and everything is set up to start in the hospital some time in the morning. The pain just increases and we just have to beat the cancer back. One of the nurses even pulled me aside tonight to let me know that a crash cart will be out in the hall for Mike. She reminded me that the Chemo is very toxic. I look at her and said I know.

Mike and I spent some quality time with Elizabeth watching Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and I played UNO with her. The best part is that Elizabeth sat in the front of the hospital bed and laid on Mike's lap for a little bit. Mike was able to rub her hair and just hold her hand for awhile. Life is about moments. God Blessed us with some good ones tonight.

Melissa and Scott came up tonight as well and just talked and laughed. You have no idea what it means when people come by and just talk about life and laugh. If you know of someone going through something, don't forget about the value of just being there.

So tonight I have a peace and a calm after everyone left. I have thoughts of Daniel 3 and Shadrach, Meshach and Abedengo and King Nebuchandessar. There was a decree in the land that everyone worship an image of Gold that King Nebuchadnezzer had set up. To make a long story short, they didn't and King Neb told them that if they didn't they would be thrown into a blazing furnace and then King Neb said , " Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?" (3:15).
Here is their response:
O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the GOD we serve is able to save us from it and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. BUT even if he does NOT, we want you to know , O king that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.
So this made King Neb mad and he heated the furnace to seven times hotter and threw them in. It was so hot that the fire killed the soldiers that threw them in the furnace. Once in the fire, there were FOUR men walking around, unbound and unharmed. He even said the fourth man looks like a son of the gods (I believe that was Jesus..) King Neb called out Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They came out of this fiery furnace and their bodies were not harmed, not a hair on their head was singed, their robes were not scorched and they didn't even smell like fire!
So now this leads me to think of Stephen and his stoning in Acts 7 (verses 54-60). Stephen stood in front of a furious mob and looked up and saw heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God. They dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. While it was happening Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus receive my spirit." Stephen cried out, "Lord do not hold this sin against them" and then he fell asleep.
The Lord saved them all -He protected them from the fire and brought them out completely whole and He saved Stephen too and gave Stephen mercy and grace by allowing him to fall asleep and get a glimpse of Heaven!

So here is the thing... God has saved Mike. Period. It is finished (and was finished at the cross) and there is no question about Mike's final destination. Heaven with Jesus. We just don't know as we face the fiery furnace of the next 12 weeks if God will deliver him through it as He did with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego or if He will show Mike mercy and grace as He did Stephen. Either way, God is in control. God knows the exact time Mike will go to be with Him. In fact, He knows the exact time you and I will leave this present Earth as well.
Mike has had a rough day and they have increased his pain medication. He has not really drank too much today. The pain has been rough at times. He is also running a fever of 101 and his heart rate is high.
Please Pray:
That Mike will survive the Chemo treatments
That the Chemo is exactly what God will use to heal Mike
Sleep for both of us
Mike's fever will go away and his heart rate will go down (along with his White Blood Cell count)
Elizabeth.... Her heart, her fears, and her comfort
Me... my heart, my fears and my comfort too!
Mike's pain will be reduced
Mike will eat and drink more
God's Grace and Mercy

Rough night - somewhat better now

Wouldn't you know, Mike became alert last night right as I made up my mind to go asleep at around 10:30 last night. I have to admit that I cried when he actually interacted with me. I was so worried. I help him to the bathroom and then back to bed. However, Mike has been in horrible pain since that point. It is not really related to the port or stent, I think. We are now in pain control mode until we can get the tumor shrinking I think. We have just had a visit from 2 doctors and that is there thinking at this time. Dr. Khan, oncologist, will hopefully make rounds tonight. I can't believe I am saying this, but I want the Chemo to start now to hopefully reduce and reverse this path we seem to be on. All the hospital visits and lengthy stays are making it impossible to follow the homeopathic plan... that and the fact that Mike can not swallow the pills.

The good news is that we have found a Primary Care Manager Doctor here. He is in Plano, but willing to take us on. My sister-in-law is also dropping off the paperwork at Social Security office today. So things are getting done...

I will update again tonight on Mike. It appears we will be here at least another day.

God bless,

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Update at 9:15 pm CST

There is not much change in Mike this evening. He is sleeping and grunting - however he has had two coherent sentences. The nurses said the Dr said that he may be like this until morning. On the positive side, he is resting. I don't know where to lie down and try to sleep or wait to see if he gets more responsive.

The respiratory therapist brought a breathing exercise machine for him to start using in the morning. The goal was tonight, but it is apparent that will not happen.

John 14:27... Please pray that over me and over us.

I will blog mid morning tomorrow to update on his recovery. Mike still has not even attempted to drink anything. I declare Jesus's Healing hand over Mike tonight.

Update as of 4:00 pm CST

Mike is out of the surgery area and back in the room. He is not really awake and has yet to say anything other than a grunt to me (hence Igor). Both procedures went well. The port went in without issue and they were able to put in a small (16) stent. They have bigger ones (18, and 20) that hopefully once the chemo starts we will be able to switch to once the chemo begins to work. They are encouraged that this will give Mike a better quality of life. He should be able to take clear fluids over the next 12 hours, then move to liquids, then to soft baby type food.

We were blessed to have 2 of the staff from Four Corners church come and pray with us this morning. Paster Herman also came and prayed with us and stayed with us until Mike went into surgery. Then Pierre and my Dad came and stayed with me in the waiting area for over 2.5 hours today. Best of all Pierre brought Joshua with him (his 8 month old). Life is always more joyous with a precious child in your arms!

This battle so belongs to God right now. Mike has shown more character, fight, and courage than I ever knew existed. God is working through him and for him. The tumor is "massive" according to the GI doctor and we know it is spreading from the CT Scan. We are now on to the next step of Chemo to try and beat it back. This road is crazy, but God can use Chemo too.

Please continue to pray:
Mike will stop the spit up phlegm thing
The stent will improve his quality of life
Mike will gain strength and weight
Hope for tomorrow
Good night's rest for Elizabeth and I

I will blog again later tonight to update everyone

Monday, December 1, 2008

An Appeal and Apology

Alright. You have to deal with me blogging and not Mike today! I agree with everyone that it was great that Mike took the time to blog. Yesterday was a blessing from God. Mike had a good day, his labs were great, and we spent time as a family. It is funny when everything gets stripped away how joy really comes from the simple things.

I want to start out with our appeal. Mike is scheduled to get his Port and his stent tomorrow. We want to appeal to everyone to lift him up in prayers for these procedures. While they are relatively simple, Mike's health makes them a little more complicated. He will be put completely under. He can not lay back without severe pain. Also, we are struggling with his blood count. they will be giving him more blood today to increase that. However, something else that has complicated things is that his White Blood Cell count is going back up as well as his temperature. The last reading is 100.4. He has also begun spitting up the phlegm again this afternoon like he did on Saturday. Right now things are scheduled around 11:30 tomorrow. The port is going in first by Dr. Peterson. Dr. Peterson is an aviation buff and wanted to fly for the Navy. However, he had a detached retna and was turned down. His Grandfather actually owned land in Kansas that they sold to the US Govt' for a bombing range - Smoky something. As part of the deal, they can go into the tower on the range and watch the bombing runs. So he and Mike talked airplanes for awhile. That may sound weird, but I think they have bonded and that makes it easier to trust him. Mike is not just a patient. Dr. Pucha will be installing the stent right after the port. The stent is a special order piece and is very expensive. I praise God for the AF and insurance that can pay for this device.

I owe so many apologies to everyone. I had a breaking point last week when I got overwhelmed by cancer and I think it came across the blog as that I have lost my faith in Jesus. That is not the case and will never be the case no matter what fire we walk through. If Mike goes home to see Jesus, it will not be the case. I will still love Him. I will still worship Him. I will still walk with Him. It is just that I have begun to realize that up until this point, I haven't had to really put my faith in action. I haven't really had to walk through a fire. I have sung words about it in church. I have read about other's having trials, but I haven't actually had to put it in to practice really. In my life, when things have gotten tough in the past, I block it out; shut down/veg out; go on to other things; look forward to when it is over. That is how I deal with my prior stresses like deployments. I can't do that with this. I have to walk through it. I can't detach from it. I am being "refined and sifted" like no other time in my life. Honestly, when it gets really bad is when I want to just shut down and block everything out - including my time in the Word. So I am my own worst enemy. God is walking with me, but I need to learn how to walk with Him in a deeper way than I have EVER had to before. In the end, I don't want to walk through this and be the same person that I was anymore. I want to be stronger and have a deeper understanding of the Great I Am.

Finally, I want to apologize to everyone here in McKinney. I told my sister-in-law that I really need friends right now. People to come over and talk and just be with me. I miss talking about kids and life outside of cancer. Kathy told me people are wanting to but I had originally said that I needed space. I am sorry to everyone if I said that. The best part of Wendy and Dena and the Millers coming over was talking, laughing, and reminiscing. I want that more. So please come over, call, and pop in. The worst that will happen is that it won't be a good time, or I might tear up.

Have a blessed evening and please pray for:"
Rest for Mike, Elizabeth and I
The procedures tomorrow
The doctors, nurses and everyone surrounding Mike tomorrow
Comfort for Elizabeth
No complications
Joy and Peace
Our House in FL to sell
Mike to eat and drink more
For his White Blood Count to drop and his low grade fever to go away
Wisdom in medical decisions

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Giving Thanks, tough road ahead

Deanna has let me blog tonight! I have a few minutes now so here we go.

The move was a tremendous success. Thanks to everyone who pitched in. Allowed us to refocus on cancer fighting as quickly as possible.

Thanks to all who helped set up the retirement ceremony. I think everyone enjoyed it.

A lot going on here medically, all of my issues plus several other family members as we try and slog it forward. We had a CT scan yesterday that was not super favorable, so we are re-looking at chemo and radiation. Will probably have two out-patient surgeries early this week. First, to install a "port" versus the "pic" line I have now for IV work. Supposed to be less prone to infection. Second, to install a stint at the esophagus/stomach junction so we can work smarter (not harder) on keeping hydrated and maybe even getting the digestive system going.

Not sure yet if I will get discharged tomorrow or just wait till later in the week.

A lot of abdominal pain right now, I get a shot of some really good stuff every four hours...unfortunately, it starts wearing off at two hours.

Dealing with a lot of medical personal ego issues right now.

Please pray for:
Deanna's over-all well being. Her stress is way too high right now.
Elizabeth's ability to hang on by real faith and to step through the fear.
Wisdom for me to navigate unclear waters and help with hydration, digestion, red blood cell preservation, fluid retention, pain management.

Must go now, love you all.

In Christ,

Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday Night in the Hospital

The one thing about being here is that I finally have time to blog. I have to admit, sometimes I don't think I have enough strength for this journey. We so need God to miraculously heal Mike. Something. I look at him and can see him losing weight faster and faster. I am scared sometimes. I am sad sometimes. I am mad sometimes. I am happy sometimes.

Today, I had some of my family come up and sit with Mike while I took Elizabeth shopping for a bit. Just to be with her for a few hours. Do you know what she asked me? She said if Dad gets real sick, will she be put up for adoption? I told her she is mine. Period. I told her I know it is tough, but we will get through this with Jesus's help. I am clearly failing at balancing all of this. This is so hard on her. She loves everyone, but has never been apart from us this long. We see her every day, but she is having a hard time.

Mike has been on high dose of antibiotics today and his fever has come down. His White Blood Cell count in a little lower too. My big concern is that his Red Blood count is down as well. It was 10.6 when we left late Tuesday night and it is now 9.3. At this rate, we will be back by Tuesday next week. We have got to figure this out. This is no way to exist. However, we have also hit the hospital on a Holiday weekend. We still haven't seen the Oncologist and we have seen everyone's assistant/PA. So here we are.

I did pick up the mail today as I ran home to shower. We got the bill from the hospital for our stay with the Staph Infection.... $46,000. I praise God for insurance right now.

So we had CT Scan that shows the cancer has invade the Lymph system. We are going to have to find something else to add to our treatment if we are going to beat this. So please be praying for that for us.

I have to admit, I am wavering. I feel like I am holding on to Jesus for my dear life right now. I don't know how to walk this road anymore. I feel so weak and so helpless. To love someone so much and to not be able to make it better is awful. Any tips? Anything? I am just a bowl full of mush right now. Please pray for all of us.

Back in the Hospital

We came back to the hospital yesterday around noon. Mike started running a fever again. This is getting so hard to walk in and out of here - especially on Elizabeth. My heart just cries out for her sometimes. We are still waiting to know exactly what the infection is and that may take a day or two. His White Blood Count is high (19.3 for those Medical people out there) so it is just a matter of tracking it down and then fighting it. They have put Mike on rounds of antibiotics and we are waiting.

The hardest thing about this hospital visit is that they did a CAT Scan and it is apparent that we need to add more muscle behind this fight. I have spent the morning doing some research and we have placed a few calls. It is hard to get people on the day after Thanksgiving. Please be in prayer for us.

I just have to say, I am so tired of cancer. What I don't understand is that there are tons of people out there surviving it using all different treatments and each person says that the other way doesn't work. I wish that the "world of cancer" people (drug companies, oncologists, homopaths, alt treatments) would just come together in the interest of human kind and put there heads together for the greater good and put money aside. Could you even imagine what might happen?

That is my soapbox for today. We are in God's hands and that is the only place that we can be right now. He is the only one I trust. I will keep you updated.....

Please Pray:
Treatment decisions
Healing for Mike
Sleep for everyone
God to hug Elizabeth extra tight right now

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Today is Thanksgiving and it has been a great and tiring week. The retirement ceremony was incredible on so many levels. First of all, Mike stood for longer than he has done in months. It was truly God enabling him though. There are moments I will never forget for the rest of my life At one point, Mike looked and me and spoke to me and it was just like we were getting married. I will remember the love in his eyes for the rest of my life.

So many people made it happen. Doug and Dena made a video that I hope to down load to the blog sometime this weekend. Doug was the narrator and they ran around like crazy for us. Myagi and Weeds came up from Dyess with a Flag. Col Weigand and his family drove from Fl. We had tons of relatives that flew in from MN, friends that drove from Abilene, friends and relatives that drove in from Longview, and of course all the family. We had about 50-60 people. Honestly, it was hard too. I helped Mike get dressed in his flight suit for the last time and I lost it a little bit. I made me think of the very first time I saw him in it at Mather AFB. How does life move so fast?

The ceremony was knitted together perfectly by God. It was a witness from beginning to end about the plans and power God had from Day 1 with Mike's AF career. Mike accomplished great things, but in the end it was about our journey to know the Lord and the incredible friendships that have been made that truly marks this AF career. I am thankful for each and every moment that we have had with the AF and look forward to what lies on the civilian side.

At the end of the ceremony, Mike had really pushed himself so hard, that he spent some time in the bathroom. We got home and then got a call that Mike's blood was critically low and had to head back to the hospital for more blood. We spent all night in the ER, where I contracted a nasty eye infection (my eye closed shut...) and then got to a room at around 9:00 am. We received 6 pints of blood and went home at about 10:00 pm. Honestly, Mike has been wiped out ever since. So much so that I am starting to worry today. He is just so tired. If he doesn't perk up a little bit by tomorrow we are heading to the doctor.

We did go to see Dr. Rae and do a colonic yesterday. Dr Rae increase his lipids and things like calcium and magnesium in his TPN. Mike is still losing weight, so we need to add more calories to stop that. Mike has had a little bit of pain today as well.

So as you can tell, fear is creeping in a little today. A day when I am supposed to be thankful and I have allowed the fear to come back. So I am going to end by the fact that I am thankful to everyone who made the retirement happen. I am thankful to the AF for the journey you gave us. I am thankful to God for making a way to Him through Jesus Christ. I am thankful that God gave us a wonderful daughter. I am thankful for the family that surrounds us. I am thankful for the friends who are our family as well. I am thankful for the Miller's visit this week.

Please Pray:

Mike to eat and drink

Mike to stop losing blood

For fear to stop coming around

For quality time together

For wisdom in making decisions

For time to complete SSA, Tricare and dentist needs

May God Bless you today!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Praise you in this Storm

As the days go on, that is all I can think of to do right now. Praise God in this storm. I have to confess that it is so easy to want to slip into a depression right now. I read in a book about how the character had to fight to keep the cloud of darkness from consuming her, and I think I understand that right now. I have to continually remember all the provisions God has made for us and to believe that God is not a God that only has a set number of provisions for us. He is so faithful. That is one of His many characteristics. He has provided for us and will continue to do so with the future as well.

I want to ask for specific prayer right away. I need everyone to pray for Mike and that he has enough strength for the retirement ceremony. That the pain will cease for the ceremony and that this will be a happy event for him both physically and emotionally.

Doug and Dena made it here yesterday. It just made my heart praise God. To have friends come in and bring a sense of fun and laughter into the house is beyond words.

We spent the day yesterday doing normal things for the most part. Elizabeth and I got a haircut and I bought Elizabeth a new outfit for the retirement ceremony. I also got her big foot new shoes. We then came home and put up the Christmas Tree and some decorations. I have all these decorations, and I always run out of steam in pulling them all out. You know, the knick knack decorations. But the tree is great and I love it.

Melissa came over yesterday for a while as well. She showed us another way to help with the swelling in Mike's legs. We have been using Castor oil and heat. The castor oil absorbs into the lymph nodes and helps move the fluid out.

Mike is hanging in there and still fighting. He looks like he is losing weight. I put a call in on Friday to increase the calories of his IV food. I will follow that up on Monday. It is really hard to tell sometimes. He has been retaining fluid over the past few weeks and it has come down significantly. So that may be it too. He has been doing things as well. Watching TV, Movies, and surfing the computer. So those are good signs as well.

The best that I can say is that we are hanging in there by God's Grace. I have to admit that I am ready for the parting of the sea miracle with this cancer. I would love nothing more than to see that cancer spit out of his mouth. It is such a battle.

Elizabeth is back from camp and searching for puppies continually on line. She has the week off of school and wants a dog so bad. I want a dog that is already trained. So please pray that God will show us the right addition to add to our family at some point of the next month or two.

Mike to eat and drink more
Mike to gain weight
The pain to cease for Mike
Strength for today and hope for tomorrow
Health for both Elizabeth and I
Safe travel for all coming to the retirement
God's absolute and divine presence at the Retirement Ceremony
Joy, laughter, hope, and peace to fill this house continually

Keith we would love to see you on Tuesday. We have appointments in Lewisville at 10:00 and 11:00 but we should be home in the afternoon!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Settling in

I had good intentions all week of blogging. But, as usual, I am tired. I actually came down with a little virus bug yesterday. My throat was swollen and raw. However, I was able to beat it back with high doses of Vitamin C and Nutrizymes. That is a big change for me. I usually start popping antibiotics from Mexico in cases like that. So as you can tell, I have learned somethings along the way. I have also lost 30 pounds so far on this journey as well. But that is what happens when you stop going to Starbucks and start eating veggies. God is taking me on a journey that he has wanted me to be on for a long time. I just couldn't find the time or energy until I had to find the time and energy.

We have had some doctor's appointments this week. We first started out with the Oncologist here, Dr. Khan. We told him after much prayer, that we will not be stepping forward at this time with Chemotherapy. Again, this is specific to Mike, but we know that if we step in that treatment path at this point, Mike will not make it. We also went to see a GI doctor this week as well. We are considering putting a stint in Mike's esophagus so he can eat and drink more. This doctor mentioned that Chemotherapy is not the solution. Here is the thing.... by the world's standards Mike can not win this battle. However, we are not using the world's standards, we are using God's. So there is hope. We are fighting but only because God is there with us. When Jesus died on the cross, he took extra punishment for us to be healed (By His stripes we are healed). So we are healed.

We did do some exciting things this week too. We went to Dr. Rae's office yesterday and started our ALF shots. The ALF shot is basically Mike's own immune system. They took blood from him a few weeks back and they basically cloned/grew Mike's B Cells and T Cells. We are now taking injections every 4 days of his own immune system to build the one in his body. That is cool! We also did Meridan testing on Mike's body today. Again, Dr. Warren was impressed at how well Mike's body is considering what he has. His systems are still strong but we have a few areas to tweak. We added a few things to his protocol, but they can all be taken sub lingual (under the tongue) which is a bonus. I also added Poly-MVA to Mike's list as well after reading some different reports about it.

Elizabeth update - she is at 5th Grade Camp until tomorrow. At Walker Elementary, the 5th grade goes to camp every year. This year they are at Sky Ranch near Tyler, TX. She was nervous about going after her camp experience this summer. However, Aunt Kathy is the cabin counselor :) and she is in a cabin with her cousins, Alex and Madissen, and good friends. She is having a great time from what I understand. They can only receive text messages there. She will be home tomorrow and I will report more once I get the whole story. I am more excited to see how Aunt Kathy dealt with everything!

As for me, I was able to get some things accomplished this week. The first major news is that the VA sent this nice woman to our house on Monday to fill out the VA paperwork. The claim is being worked through Fort Hood by Sylvester. He is so nice and put us on his prayer list at his church after we talked on the phone last week. The VA has a few different levels of compensation. There is 100% disability and then an R1 level and a R2 level. I will let you know more as we find out what we qualify for in the coming weeks. I filled out more paperwork for our life insurance. We bought whole life insurance back when we were young and our policy will waive the premiums on Mike's if he is 100% disable. So we are starting that process, plus we get to add one last option of $50,000 at retirement. That may not seem like a lot, but I managed to accomplish this while taking Mike to all the different doctor's appointments and treatments. My next big thing that I HAVE to do is fine a Tricare Prime provider that will work with us. That may seem like a simple task, but it is not when you don't live by a military base. It seems that Tricare doesn't pay well and most doctors don't want to take it. The worst thing is when they do take it, but I have to file the paperwork. I would love to do that, but I don't have the time right now. Guess what else I did? I made appointment for the car on Saturday morning and for haircuts for Elizabeth and I. That may sound like a simple thing, but it is exciting to me!

Finally, Mike's Retirement is on Monday at 2:00 pm at Four Corners Church. The church is on the corner of Highway 121 and Custer Road. All are invited and kids are welcome. Anyone who wants to celebrate with us is welcomed! We are excited that Doug and Dena are coming from Omaha. Pierre has agreed to pray and sing at the ceremony! That is all I know so far. Mike is asking all the official questions, and I just don't know. This may be the oddest retirement that there ever was, but if God is there, who cares?? In the end, it about celebrating Mike and the miracle that he is!

Prayer requests:
Mike to eat and drink more
To walk each day in God's path for us
To find a doctor for our family
For sickness to stay away from our family
Time to be a family
Safe travel for Elizabeth and crew coming back from Tyler
Sleep and rest
Quiet time
No more hospital stays!
Mike to have strength for the retirement ceremony

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Here is our new email address:

Please try and contact us. I want to see if it works.

We have so much to be thankful for. Jeff and Wendy just left and words can not express the gratitude that we have. Our house is unpacked. Boxes are in the attic. The office is organized with files for all the medical, house, military, etc. They bought anything we needed and Wendy even is giving us advice on our legal documents. Honestly, I felt like a big baby when they left. I didn't want them to leave. I couldn't watch them drive away. It was so nice to have her here when we came home. Just to say something that wasn't about cancer. Just a ray of life outside this ride we are on right now. We have got to get a life outside of this disease. It is so hard when there are good days and bad days. Today is a bad day for Mike with a lot of pain. It is a long story, but it has to do with us removing the morphine patch for a treatment and it dried out. So we stuck new ones on at around noon today. Hopefully by in the morning, the day will be brighter.

Gini, we did receive the package and it is a gift from God himself. I remind myself every moment that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. It is beyond my comprehension how anyone can walk this walk without him.

Guess what? I took a 30 minute nap today. That was an incredible mercy from God.

We were able to watch Andrew Wommach via podcast last night. We were gone from 9-5 seeking treatments and I didn't have one ounce of energy left. It was a good thing too. I went on past 11 last night. There was no way I could have driven back from Fort Worth.

There is so much to say, but I need to carve out Elizabeth time. Our Internet is up and we are living in our house. I hope to be able to blog more and more. Thanks for being patient .

Prayer needs:
Time to find a Dr for Tricare Prime changes
Mike to eat and drink more
Less pain for Mike
Mike to take more of the supplements
Treatment ease - this means to make things more accessible so we have more time as a family
To fight with everything we have
Jeff and Wendy save travel to Abilene
Less stress - my blood pressure was 155 over 104 the other day. I have to make time to exercise to help the endorphins.
Elizabeth will open up to me. Something is on her mind that she is not saying.
God to continue to hold us tightly and send the healing angels

Friday, November 14, 2008

Retirement Ceremony - Everyone is invited

This is the only way we can get the word out. Due to God's Grace and perfect timing, we will be having an official Retirement Ceremony here in McKinney. You are all invited. Anyone who cares enough for us to read this blog can come- military or civilian. Col Weigand and his family have graciously taken a detour to McKinney on their way to Oklahoma.

Monday, November 24, 2008
2:00 pm
Location TBA but in McKinney, TX
(I should have those details on Monday)
The ceremony will be short and cake and smacks will be provided. I am sorry this is such short notice. It just happened and it is very important to not let Mike's last few months gloss over his 19 year career. He has served with everything he had for this country and done so with integrity and honor. He is my hero!
If you could blog if you are coming, it will help with numbers.
We are doing well today. Mike has decided to start wearing Morphine patches to help with the ebb and flow of the pain. We were able to meet with the Oncologist that will follow us and do all our detox treatments today. He is currently in bed and will be doing his IV Therapy all night.
Wendy and Jeff and now here in tandem! Watch out. The house is coming together. You should see the medical center. I am amazed. I will try to take a picture and download it to the blog. We had more TPN, Lipids, and antibiotic IV's delivered. It is amazing how quick you can learn to do something.

Please Pray:
Mike to eat and drink more
Strength for today
God's healing hand
Family time
Things are busy, but I can see a small light off in the distance for the first time. I even got a call today from the VA and they are going to send someone out next week to finish up the paperwork we need to file. That is another answered prayer. God is amazing. He is in every detail.
There is this amazing healer in Fort Worth tomorrow, that we may go and see. I don't know if we would have the energy. It starts at 7:00 pm. His name is Andrew Wommack. We have listened to a few of his tapes. I am just so beat down by 6:30. But God will provide if we are supposed to be there.
God Bless you for sticking with us on this long road.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

We are OUT

Praise God we are home. And not just any home. The house we will call home for a year if not longer. We have our stuff! God Bless Pat, Wendy, Kathy, Amy Nancie, Dad, Scott, Mom, Heidi, Lisa, Deann, and Hillary for everything that you did. Wendy is still here and unpacking day by day. Jeff will arrive this weekend to help finish up. Another powerful witness of Jesus in Action. There is no way I could do any of this myself and I thank Jesus for sending these people to serve us in such a huge way.

Mike is doing well, though he is asleep. We had some fluid retention in the hospital but took some drugs to help with that. Mike will be on a 10 day antibiotic IV at home. Heart of Texas, a home health company, and Parragon (pharmacy) are taking care of that. It will be delivered to the house and the nurse will show me what to do. I am getting good at the IV's. Mixing and using the machines.

Please continue to pray:
Health for Mike
Health for Me
No more Staph infections!
Sleep, rest, time as a family
Mike will drink more and eat more
For all the doctor's appointments over the next week/weekend
For more praises to point to God
For Elizabeth and her transition !
Time to be a family and enjoy Christmas season

I will post more this weekend. I have to tell you about the care of strangers!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Praise God for answering our prayers

Praise God! Praise God! Praise God! Mike does not have MRSA (which is the antibiotic resistant form of Staph) and his repeat blood cultures came back negative! God answered both prayers! If we can get Tricare to agree to pay for the IV antibiotics at home, we can go home tomorrow - barring no other complication.

We have more prayer needs, but I will post those later. I just want to rejoice in this moment of God's provision!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Prayer Need

The doctor just came in and said Mike has a staph infection. They still don't know if it is MRSA or not. Please be in prayer for us. They are giving high dose of antibiotics right now. They will run 2 more blood cultures today. If the results are negative, then we will go home and continue the course of antibiotics at home for another 6 days. However, if they are still positive then we have problems he said. They are pretty confident that the infection came from the PICC line. There is this little donut that is supposed to go around where the wire enters the skin. It has an antibacterial property to it. Sunday, when the nurse came to change the bandage was the first time that we got that. They didn't give it to us when they put it in in Sarasota or when they changed it at the hospital in Allen or when they changed it at Dr. Rae's. They used iodine, but that was it. So we have learned a very valuable lesson today. Dr. Thompson, the Infectious Disease Doctor, recommends changing it twice a week and not just once. He said those little donuts reduce infection by 50%.

Please pray that we can control this Staph Infection and that it is NOT MRSA!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hospital Stay #3 and lost email

First off, we cancelled Cox services and I just realized tonight that included my email. Sorry about that. I will post our new email by the weekend. Jeff has promised to help me set up the computer this weekend.

Well, we are back in the hospital. Yesterday, we got up and the home health nurse came by to do Mike's blood work and change the PICC line dressing. He was fine. No temp, but a little pain. We went to church. Again, Mike was in pain, but it lessened at church. My sister-in-law Kathy was hosting a lunch at her house in honor of Sunday and Jeff and Wendy's arrival. Weebs for all those B-1 people. Jeff and Wendy met us at our house with our car and turtles in tow. Mike had enough excitement for the day, so I set his IV's going and we left. I was gone about 4 hours. Mike's IV's take 6 hours to run. When I got back, Mike was sleeping and I checked his IV's. I helped loaded up stuff in Jeff and Wendy's car to take over to the house we are moving into on Wednesday. Jeff and Wendy left with a list and I took the time to do laundry and honestly turn on the TV to veg. I checked on Mike and he was a little warm but not too bad.

The door bell rang and it was Melissa to bring some things over and to check on Mike. About 5 minutes later the door bell rings again and it is Whitney, the chef with all the food for the week. It looks delicious and I am starving. As Whitney is going through everything, Melissa told me to run and get a thermometer because Mike's fever is high. We don't have one with us. It is in the household goods that will be here this week. I run to CVS and get back in maybe 10 minutes. We take Mike's temp and it is 103.1 - I panic on the inside. Melissa said we need to go to the ER and Mike of course said if I go, I will be up all night. Let's just wait til in the morning. This is typical Mike. He is very internal and tends to tough it out when he is sick. He likes to be left alone. But we told him too bad and off we went. This was around 7 pm last night. We got right in and stayed in the ER until about 1 am. They ran tests, gave him fluids for dehydration, and started antibiotics. He also had a CT Scan and a Chest Xray. We were lucky to have Melissa, Pierre, my Dad and my brother float in and out last night. It always helps to have visitors to pass the time and then to make sure things happen when they should.

So after a long night, we did get a stretch of sleep - maybe 4 hours or so. That is not so bad. Just to make a long story short, Mike has an infection in his blood from the PICC line. He is on high dose antibiotics and they pulled it out tonight. We are waiting on the PICC team to come in and replace it on the other side. However, in the meantime he is in pain and we need that to get morphine. It will probably be another long night.

A few things that I want to mention about the last 36 hours... I just felt a sigh of relieve to see Jeff and Wendy. They are a part of our family. We have a long history together and they are Elizabeth's Godparents (Despite being Webbers :)!). They were the first to hold her after she was born in Abilene. Just to have someone from the inside was huge. They brought us news from Dyess and long time friends. I was overwhelmed by the support that is going on at Dyess. We just received a box at the new house from the 9th Bomb Squadron. We haven't opened it because we are currently detained. But I look forward to it!

I am thrilled that Miyagi is coming on Tuesday night to help with the unloading of the truck. In fact, Wendy is coming back too. We have waves of people - new neighbors, Christian brothers and sisters, old friends, family, military that will be at the house unloading and unpacking the house. Wendy is going to stay through the weekend to help me with all the paperwork and getting that organized. One of my fears right now is losing important paper while we have been living in 4 different locations over the past few months. I can't even describe the inner joy and excitement it will bring to walk in the house with our stuff. I so crave a normal life. When we left Shalimar, I thought it would be for 2 weeks. I NEVER dreamed back then, we wouldn't go back. I think God knew it was best to reveal that in stages. I probably would have had a heart attack right there. There are people that I just ache for there. I want their hugs, their prayers, and there support more than ever. But as everyone knows who is still reading this blog, God has absolutely led us here.

Let's talk about Mike. The CT Scan revealed that one of the lesion's on his liver is getting bigger. So that is a battle that we are going to attack. We are just not sure what to do right now. We are weighing options and treatments. Please be in prayer that God will reveal what path we should take. Every road is full of huge mountains. We thought we were sure and now we are left with indecision and are seeking God's council.

We had a visit today from Darla from Shephard AFB today. She drove the 2 hours to explain the Survival Benefit Plan and some other retirement details. We actually took the full SBP spouse/child plan. If something happens to Mike, the SBP allows us to keep 55% of his retirement pay. Otherwise if Mike passes on the retirement pay stops. We also found out about SGLI (life insurance for Military) . First of all, it converts to VGLI and they have to offer it to you no matter what. I was afraid that Mike's condition who exclude him from the VGLI benefit, but that is not true. Also, you have 120 days after retirement to covert to the VGLI. In the meantime, you are covered by SGLI. Also, we found out that if your are 100% disable as determined by the AF, you don't have to pay the premiums. So there is paperwork that you have to fill out, but we will start that as soon as we get our retirement orders.

Honestly, I am still a little lost about the whole Tricare issue and United Concordia or Dental plan. That is my next project. It would be easy to be Tricare Prime if you were going to live by a base and Dr.'s accept that insurance. But the decision is much harder because not many Dr's accept Tricare Prime here. So I need to research Tricare Standard and if we can even get a supplement. Plus I need to interview the doctors that will accept Tricare Prime. The problem is finding the time to fit that in right now.

I have a stress test scheduled for tomorrow for my issues that I had last week. I also went and got some blood work done today. So I am prayerful that my health is still intact amidst all this stress right now.

By the way, our official retirement date is December 19. We found that our today as well.

So I have spent a lot of time tonight filling you in on the facts of our lives. There is so much. I am glad to be here near family and friends. I love McKinney. I just wish we could have been near a base to get all the retirement details. HOWEVER, I really hope that what everyone can see is how the Air Force is bending over backwards for us. They really are. I hope it really encourages other Active Duty out there if you ever have an unexpected rock in your road.

Finally, we need prayer still:
Prayers for decisions that we need to make about care
Prayers for test
Prayers for Manifestation of Healing
Prayers for my health and stress level
Prayers for my Mom. She is getting measured for Radiation tomorrow
Prayers for all the logistics of things going on about moving in. I have had to completely let that go and trust that it will get done by God's hand through amazing people
Pray for strength
Pray for decision about Tricare and that the topic will become less an enigma to me.
Pray for Pastor Herman as he travels to Philippine's to minister

God has lead me to Romans 5 four times now. It talk about trial and perseverance. I am trying to listen and yet I still am not sure the message he has for us in that.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Stress 101 - Take care of Yourself

Well I have officially cracked physically. Probably mentally too. I have been having chest pains for two days now. My family had an intervention yesterday and I found myself meeting with a Cardiologist today. The EKG was normal, but they have me on a heart monitor for 24 hours. I have been having heart palpitations every once in a while. Dr. Jarrah is convinced it is stress, but he wants to make sure. He is also drawing blood and making me have my mammogram that was due in September. I know the stress is tremendous, but you have to walk through it. You have to. I can do it too, because of everyone helping me.

Our house was packed up in one day and loaded today. We had a team of incredible people take care of it. From Mrs Suhi at TMO (who deserves a medal for her help), to Roxanne, to Missy, to Hoss, to Kathie, to the Webbers. Jeff and Wendy drove from Abiliene to DFW and hopped on a plane to Shalimar. They supervised the loading of the house, took down the nasty turtle tank, loaded the turtles in the car, and are driving in back here to McKinney. They are even staying on Monday to help supervise the off loading of the truck.

Elizabeth stayed home from school today with a nasty head cold. My sister in law took her to the Doctor and I met her there after my appointment. It is a virus, but if it was bacterial I would have put her on antibiotics. A cold, flu, or worse could be deadly for Mike.

My Dad went with me today to the Doctors appointment. It is the first time in a long time that I wanted to crawl in his lap and just cry like a little girl. I can't even verbalize how hard this road is. I want to flip to the end of the book to see how it ends. I want to see that everything will get better. But there is no book on Mike. The only thing I know is that God is here and that the promises in the bible are real. I believe that "by His stripes we were healed". I know that Jesus took that extra punishment before the cross of our healing. I know that when Mike, Elizabeth and I die we will have eternal live in Christ Jesus.

However, the road is still hard. When we were in the ER the other day, I was reading to Mike from James. Here is what we read:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 2-4

All I know at this time, is that we are in a trial. But God has helped us around every corner. EVERY CORNER. At the intervention the other day, I finally threw up my hands to let others in even for the little things. Laundry will be done for me by my mother. My family has hired a maid to come in on Saturdays to clean the house. My Dad has hired a chef to cook meals for Elizabeth and I for awhile. I have a full physical happening next week along with a gym membership. I know this sounds extreme, but remember that blood test Mike and I did? Well mine came back in the scary zone. I will do a retest in 3 months. But in the meantime, I have to take care of myself so that I can take care of Mike and Elizabeth.

Prayer request:
Mike's pain
Godly wisdom with decisions that will be made next week
My health
Elizabeth's health
Mike to eat and drink more
Jeff and Wendy as they drive back here

May God Bless you tonight!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Hospital Stay #2

I am blogging this from Medical Center of McKinney. Mike and I dropped Elizabeth off at school and then made the decision to go to the ER. Mike's red blood cell count has been dropping since we had the 6 pints of blood 2 weeks ago. On Monday his levels we are 6.7 and over the past 48 hours his energy has dropped and the gas pain has increased. He also was getting white around his mouth. We just felt like we needed more blood. So we came to the ER and his levels were around 6.5 which surprised us. We thought they were much lower. Nonetheless, they will get his levels up to 9.0 or higher before they let him out. That with a couple of other measures we will be taking should put us on the right track and hopefully out of the hospital for awhile.

We also got a call from a home health care service and our IV's will be coming to the house very soon. That is so exciting because it means more time as a family and less time in Dallas's traffic.

The other big event that happen today was the IPEB paperwork that Mike had to sign. It is the paperwork that told Mike he is unable to perform his duties and will be medically retired. They also put 100% disability on it. So the process is almost over. A career ends with a signature on a piece of paper from the hospital bed. But do you know what? It is easy to sign that piece of paper when you know what lies ahead is the path God has made for you. Make no mistake. God has a purpose for us in this.

Dr Bo came to our house last night to adjust Mike. It actually turned into a powerful prayer meeting where we prayed healing and had to pray through hurts and unforgiveness. In this process, God gave me another vision. I literally went up and unzipped my body and stepped out of it and handed it over to him. I then walked away as me. To me it was a complete surrender of life as I have known it. I handed it over to him and am now walking forward into this new chapter.

I have said this before, but I will go anywhere as long as it is God's will for me and He walks me through it. Now sometimes I feel like I am standing at the base of Mt. Everest. But I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

We still need your prayers. And even though in the next 24 hours or so, we will be "retirees", we still want to keep in touch and celebrate promotions, births, graduations, retirements, etc with our AF family.

Prayer requests:
Mike's RBC will go up and stay up
Divine wisdom in seeking medical treatment and healing of his cancer
Divine wisdom with decisions and timing of all the different agencies
God will sell our house quickly in FL
For the packers and the final details of moving everything here to McKinney
For sleep for Mike and I
For less pain for Mike
For Elizabeth - she is getting either a cold or allergies. She isn't feeling well and I had to send her to Aunt Kathy's because I am staying with Mike in the hospital. That really hurt me to kiss her and not be able to snuggle her tonight.
For my mom and dad as they walk this road with us in their own battle

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


We are still waiting on the blood test for Mike about his cancer fighting antibodies. Honestly at my core, I know they will be there and I am not worrying about that test. Our house got packed up in one day and they will load everything on Friday. We are still waiting on our MEB paperwork to get our official retirement paperwork going. We have some IMPORTANT decisions to make, but we need the paperwork first. Mike had a bad night last night. He didn't get much sleep. We spent our time today trying to find a PCM for our care here. We came up empty handed. But God is moving in the background and after some prayer today and tonight, I hope God will answer us about our next step. We did do our IV's at home this afternoon. Mike actually got Lipids today (fats) to build him up. There are so many things floating out there right now for us and it can and does stress me. However, God once again reminded us today, life is about the basics - God first and then family.

Today, we got some bad and unexpected news about my mom. We thought the surgery had gotten all the cancer and it turns out it didn't. She is facing a tougher battle than anyone of us had hoped. But, as shocking as the news was to take, I am grateful that it allowed me to drop all the stress about everything. In the end, all the details of things to come will work out. It helped me to refocus on the important stuff.

My heart goes out to my family. We are close and I know these battles will bring us closer. I also want to take a moment to outline exactly what our family has done for us:

My Mom and Dad... They are supporting us financially at the tune of around $30,000 per month. We couldn't even begin to fight this without that. We just don't have the resources. But beyond that, it is their love, strength, and example of marriage and love that keeps us going. Hard times come, but you walk through them together and you fight for each other. Also, my foundation in Jesus came from the years of sometimes dragging me to church as a kid. That is the biggest legacy that any parent can give their child.. the relationship with Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.

My sister, Nancie... she completely abandoned her house and moved in with my brother and sister-in-law until we can get our stuff from FL. Literally, she has given us her house with no conditions. AND we have taken it over. Having a place to be a family is key. We have done the hotel thing, but a house brings stability in the evenings and that is priceless. She also drove our van all the way from Sarasota here. I know that was a big stretch for her. She also calls and offers to pick up groceries or take Elizabeth somewhere.

My brother and sister-in-law, Scott and Kathy. You have not fired me from NCMS even though this leave of absence may be longer than anyone thought. You have paid for treatments with the offer of more money if we need it. You have given us a house to move into without a payment until we can get the AF, VA, SSA thing worked out. That is especially important as we are trying to sell our house in FL. Elizabeth has been part of your family. Kathy took her in, enrolled her in school, bought her clothes and school supplies. When we were in the hospital, Elizabeth stayed with them. Scott was the first person I turned to with the diagnosis. I unloaded all the news on him first. I know it was hard to bear. I heard it and yet he was a rock on the phone with me.

My sister Amy and her husband Rob. They have been there for Elizabeth and been there when I needed someone to talk to. She also knew when not to push and when to send the perfect email. She also sent us a valuable resource in Rob's Aunt Donna. She also has set many a prayer chain going on our behalf.

I will be honest in that I kept my family at arms length sometimes in this journey. I wanted to protect them from the stress, hurt, and emotional mess this can be. I thought that I could handle it and save them from the worst of this journey. But in the end, it made it worse on us. This is our reality right now... tomorrow is not promised for any of us, so we need to live today as it is our last day.

So, to my family, thank you for everything. Thank you for still showing up when I pushed you back. Thank you for coming to our rescue and for not shutting us out. Thank you. I couldn't walk this without you. We really couldn't.

God has blessed us beyond measure. You are defining what family means. I don't know what is ahead for all of us over the coming months, but one thing I know. God is here. God is more than able to handle Mom and Mike. To quote my favorite verse right now:

"WE can do all things through Christ who strengthens us."

Sunday, November 2, 2008

In My Father's House

We went to church for the first time in 8 weeks today. It just brought me to tears. I cried because I was so happy. I cried because I am so broken. I cried because Jesus saved me. I cried because Jesus had a song just for me. I am just a puddle. It is so incredibly hard to process everything right now. I am caught between what was and what will be. I can not believe that I am in McKinney permanently. I need to pinch myself sometimes. How can doors be shut so fast? How can doors be opened so fast?

I know Mike is struggling with the same thing. I see it in his eyes. I think this week is going to be extremely hard on his heart. When the retirement orders are done, he is going to struggle. I think 80% of his fight in Sarasota was motivated by going back to Hurlburt and the mission. I want to ask everyone to pray that God will give Mike a vision of his purpose/work now that the Air Force door is closing.

I had to pause for a moment because Dr. Bo just stopped by to adjust Mike. Dr. Bo is a chiropractor here in McKinney. My family has used him for 10 years. In fact, when Elizabeth was 2 she had big issues with her ears. She almost had tubes, but I brought her across for a few weeks and Dr. Bo adjusted her. Her ear infections stopped and she never got tubes. Anyway, Dr. Bo is coming over at least 3 times a week to adjust Mike. Mike likes it. I asked him tonight how he felt and he said better. The popping noise still gets me, but I can get use to it. I really believe it is a significant part of his healing and the road back.

Do you know what? The most amazing gift in this journey is the amount of people that are vested in Mike and our family. Sometimes when I feel so alone, I need to remember that it is Satan - just like when fear creeps in. God has surrounded us with so many people. I even got an email and phone call from Dr. Monhollon in FL. People are making house calls, phone calls, helping in so many ways. We even received a gift of a Vitamix. I love that machine! How can we possibly doubt God's plan when he is constantly surrounding us with His angels here on earth.

We went to Four Corners (?) church here in McKinney today. We got to meet people who have been praying for us for the past weeks. When they met us, you could see the joy in their eyes. They looked at Mike so strongly - eye to eye. I teared up yet again. AND I also met a friend from my past - from 8th grade! No kidding. I haven't seen here since I was 12 and I recognized her right away. I wonder what God is going to do with that???

I want to make sure you know it is not just people here in McKinney. I got a call today (yes Sunday) from Mrs. Suhi at TMO just checking on everything for the move tomorrow. I am just so angry at myself right now. I have been depressed this afternoon and I as write this I just want to smack me around a little bit. I need to blog every night so I can think over the day and look at the blessing God has placed before me. I want to thank Jeff and Sherry and Jon and Shelly. Your gift was timed perfectly and much needed right now. It is helping with putting the house on the market.

I need to take a moment and tell you a little bit about Mike and his condition right now. Here are the praises. His gas pain has reduced significantly. He sits up now. In Florida, he would ride in the car with his arm on the dash board and leaning over. He actually sits up now for long periods of time. The Mike that I know and love is here. He is alert mentally and we have discussions. He signed all the military paperwork. He is holding Elizabeth's hand right now on the couch as they are watching Mythbusters. I am blessed beyond measure.

This is a big week for us. The movers arrive tomorrow morning and Roxanne, Missy, and Kathie will supervise the pack up. Jeff and Wendy will fly in on Thursday and supervise the loading of the truck and drive the car and turtles back to McKinney.

Specific prayer needs:
God will be in control of the move
God will watch over Jeff and Wendy
God will oversee every last detail of the Retirement Paperwork. I am nervous because I don't want to forget anything and I don't want to lose the paperwork in all the unpacking mess.
Mike will eat more and eat more of the food God needs him to to heal his body. It is so hard right now. We really believe in the raw greens, but his body is rejecting those right now.
Mike will start to gain good weight and strength
Mike will take all 20 pills every day of his 201
God will protect his Liver.
Mike will have cancer fighting antibodies
I will be organized and less stressed. My face is breaking out again!
God will give keep fear from me
That Elizabeth will be a light at school

For the first time in over 8 weeks, we didn't think about cancer for around 45 minutes in church today. That was one of the best gifts I have ever gotten.