Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Chemo starts again

Mike had a round of Chemo yesterday. It is the first time in 6 weeks and secretly I hate it. He is looking so good and his facial hair was starting to grow. His blood counts are great too. This time, starting Chemo feels just a little bit different. It is the first time we have walked into the Chemo room with some sort of plan. As stated in an earlier blog, we will do this for another 3-4 months, which in my mind equates to 6 treatments. Then probably another PET Scan and God willing, the surgery. I do have to remind myself to take a deep breath and not look too far ahead though.

I got a call yesterday from the GI doctor. He got the results of the barium swallow test and wants to put a stent in Mike. A metal stent. Mike has said no right now. The stents are so painful for him. He doesn't like the pain patch and the fact that he can not lay down to sleep. It pulls too much and his ribs hurt constantly. He also sleeps with 3 pillows stacked in his lap and hutched over. However, I do know that we run a risk of his esophagus closing completely. That means he could aspirate in his own spit. It is a very real risk. What do you do (other than prayer)? There are times when I have to listen and let Mike make decisions. This is one of them. Both options are awful. We see the doctor on Thursday. I am going to ask if there is any other way. Will you be in prayer over this?

I sat in the Chemo clinic yesterday with Mike and God is breaking my heart. I start to hear stories about people. Who they are, who they were, and the effect of cancer in their lives. It hurts so much sometimes because most of the time, there is nothing I can do. I have met retired military, professional actors, professional singers, moms, dads, rodeo stars, immigrants, old, young... I hear stories of how in 2 years cancer has wiped people out financially and they are just trying to get by. But in the end, every person has one thing in common - hope. What do you do with that? What is God trying to do with it?

I will end this post with a story of this insane dog we allowed to live with us in January - Belle, the beagle. We left the bedroom window open last night to have fresh, rain cooled air in. About 11:30 Belle growls, and then jumps through the window, knocking out the screen - barking and snarling, and growling. Scared me beyond words. I am thinking she is taking out someone in the backyard.... It was a cat on top of the fence. As you can imagine, I am very tired. I couldn't quite recover after that scare.

Prayer needs:
Chemo - that it will kill only cancer cells
Mike will recover quickly and not throw up too much
Mike wants to be able to go to church on Wednesday night for mission seminars - strength to go
His esophagus and all the issues with that mentioned above
Our house to FL to sell at the right price. It is really starting to hurt financially.
Me - to make time for myself to take care of myself
Elizabeth - she has important tests this week
That we can be a light to all those we meet

Healing of Mikes' port site
One more day
stupid dogs
planting flower beds
Wendy and Jeff - there visit this weekend was so joyful
Friends who listen

Friday, April 24, 2009

The rest of the story

We got to have a great day digesting the incredible PET Scan news and then it was back to the medical grind stone.

We were able to meet with Dr. Khan yesterday and for the first time we got a time frame and a future plan. We are going to continue Chemo for 3-4 more months. Mike needs to work on eating and gaining weight/muscle. (which will be hard with Chemo) Then surgery will be the most likely step. It was like a switch was turned on. The road ahead is still long but the light is growing brighter every day. It was actually a little entertaining watching Mike and Dr. Khan yesterday. He kept saying that Mike should be eating more and Mike was explaining that he is having phlegm issues again when he eats food. He says that it shouldn't be with the results of the PET Scan. Khan was telling him it was mental. Mike was telling him it wasn't mental. So he ordered a barium swallow test today. Guess who was right? Mike. I don't think that is a good thing. There is clearing a narrowing at the EG junction at the end of his esophagus. We just did that test today so I don't know what that means for treatment. Another stent? Dilation? I would really like to stay on top of the cancer and just go cut it out. But I know it is not that simple. I also know this surgery is extremely risky and many people don't make it. Bascially, they cut out the damaged esophagus and upper stomach. Then they stretch the stomach and make a new esophagus. It somewhat like a gastric bypass. Another prayer need..

As a side note - We got to the hospital this morning and both Mike and I were greeted by the registrar like family members. I dropped Mike off and went and parked the car. Tara (the registrar) saw Mike and said, "Hi Mr. Phillips. I will start on your paperwork". I came in and Tara said, "Good Morning Mrs. Phillips, I am almost done with the paperwork." We are now adding the registration staff to our list of friends at the hospital (Day Surgery and Lab Techs and Floor Nurses). Honestly, it is so comforting to know that they remember us and try to make it as painless as possible when we are there.

Anyway, after the appointment we then went and saw the Infectious Disease doctor. The culture was in on Mike's port that they pulled out on Monday. It was Staph Epi. This is the staph on your skin that somehow got inside the port. Wouldn't it be just like God to use the staph infection to heal Mike? We have gotten a lot of comments about Tom's posting yesterday. (thanks Tom and Marsha. We both read the site). It makes sense is all that we have learned in both the homeopathic world and medical world this past 7 months. So we are on antibiotics for another 7 days and the good news was that it postponed the Chemo until Monday.

I will tell you this. I am still digesting the news of the PET Scan. I am scared to be too relaxed. I know this is only half-time. With Chemo, we will still probably have hospital stays for blood. As long as Mike is on TPN we risk the staph infections. (which might be good???) Mike still has issues with his esophagus and eating. But we are still so hopeful. Jesus is literally carrying us some days. But what a blessing.... What a testament to God's Hand.

I do have one thing left to ask of everyone. As I mentioned earlier, we still have a road in front of us. I feel like we have won the "Battle of Midway" or stormed the beaches of Normandy. Both significant turning points in the war, but not the final victory. We would be honored if everyone would sick with us as we continue to fight. We know, as we have said from the beginning, that this is a win no matter the outcome. But the battle is so much easier, knowing that you are fighting with us and praying with us.

Prayer needs:
House to sell - the last people interested put a bid on another house.
Mike to drink and eat more
God to reveal treatment paths
Healing of Mike's stricture in his esophagus
God to continue to have the cancer bow to His authority
Financial prudence

PET Scan results
Elizabeth and her Christ like attitude and heart
Wonderful friends and family near and far that are in this with us
The Cross

Wednesday, April 22, 2009



Over the weekend we had a quiet Saturday, went to early church Sunday and then on to the Lewis family lake house on Lake Texoma. How beautiful it was, sitting lazily in a recliner and looking out over the water. It alternated between sunny and cloudy, and was breezy and cool. Only a few boats plied the waters, a couple of sailboats, a couple of power boats, and a single brave soul in a single man boat. Deanna helped her Mom and Dad clean, and Elizabeth got to do a bit of fishing--she caught one. I pulled out the church prayer list, and, as is my habit, read over every single name on it. There were four pages, 97 requests, and 35 of them were for healing from cancer. Satan really is trying literally to kill us, in a number of crafty ways, and I suppose cancer is one of his favorites. Make no mistake, this is spiritual warfare as well as medical warfare.

I was so upset that so many in one church were being decimated that I couldn't stop the tears. I decided to go for a walk along the winding, hilly roads, and I cried out for justice. Oh God, please bring your justice to the evil one for all the pain and suffering that he has inflicted on your people with cancer. Please. Soon.

Yesterday was Elizabeth's choir concert at school. They sounded wonderful!

Today I went in for a blood check (good), and received some extraordinary news. It's time to praise Jehovah-Rophe and Jesua again! Friday's PET scan results are in and...get this...

They were absolutely negative. Not a scrap of cancer cell metabolic activity anywhere!

"Previously identified mild hypermetabolic activity in the region of the GE junction is no longer seen...Liver lesions showed no hypermetabolic activity and may be sterile secondary to chemotherapy treatment." Yeah...except with all the secondary medical problems we haven't had any chemo in a month or so--so maybe we can give God the glory for this one, what do you say? I shared the news with the nurses and techs and patients and managed to not cry until I got out of the clinic and into the van--where tears flowed for the second time in just a few days. But tears of gratitude to God this time. I texted the news out to a bunch of people and went on to my chiropractic. I shared the good news with him and then got adjusted after we both prayed prayers of thanks to God. Then I drove down to Allen to visit friends who have been key supporters in the fight from the very beginning, where there were more prayers of praise.

Tomorrow we'll have a longer talk with the Doc about this test and what it means. But it's such wonderful news that I didn't want to wait till tomorrow to blog it. I think we're still going to do some more chemo, just to make sure. I'm okay with that. And then there is the surgery question. They always told me the surgeon's wouldn't touch me because of the liver cancer. However, if the liver cancer is now "sterile", does that mean it's time? Part of me is not so sure about the surgery, even though for a long time it's been a goal to work towards. Maybe we should just give the body time to dissolve the dead cancer tumors and see if it gets better without me going under the knife. The esophagus/stomach cancer surgery is complex and serious--there aren't that many places in the nation where you can get it.

I'm sort of wondering, if I have a bunch of dead, toxic, cancer material dissolving inside me, if I need to bolster my body's detox systems. I have half a mind to go get some lymphatic massage, light wave therapy, IR therapy, and maybe even some colon therapy. If the tumor and a bunch of lesions have just died and are dissolving, I might have a lot of toxins to get rid of...I think it's a condition called "acides", or something like that, which a wise man told me can kill you if you're not careful. He actually said something like, "You don't want to cure cancer too quickly, because the toxic remnants can overload your body and kill you." So we may be using some more of our homeopathic friend's services soon. Have to think and pray on this too.

If God is granting me a pardon from the cancer death sentence, what is His will for the rest of my life? This has been on my mind a lot lately, and even more so with today's news. So many times in the past have I failed to put him first. I don't want to do that anymore. I don't want to do my will first, and then work in some time doing a few good works for Him on the margins, as the schedule allows. That was enough for me once--not anymore. If I gain my strength back, I really want to know his will for the rest of my life that he has snatched away from Satan and given back to me. Should I be a missionary support pilot? An Angel Flight pilot? Should I be a missionary? Should I be a church elder? Should I start a Wright Flight or a USAF JROTC in McKinney? Should I spend my GI Bill and go to seminary? Something else entirely? One of the things I need you to pray for me is to help me understand this and make a good decision. If this good trend continues, I may be able to start as early as this Fall.

I'm so grateful for all your prayers and support. God Bless you all!

Yours in Christ,

Monday, April 20, 2009

$6,371.00 of HOPE

Mike's port is history and in the lab to test for the source of the staph infection. They put a PICC line in his arm and all in all he is doing well. We have discovered one flaw - Mike can not take care of the PICC line himself, so that leaves me. We had gotten to a point where Mike could start his IV's or disconnect and flush when they finished with the Port. However, because of the position of the PICC he can't anymore. So it means that we have to plan things a little better again. I will have to be around to start and stop the IV needs.

I don't know if everyone reads the comments or not, but I wanted to share this comment.

Mike, Deanna, & Elizabeth,
We finished 2009 Navarre Relay for Life yesterday. What an amazing team we had. In your honor we walked 608 laps, approx. 152 miles, and raised $6,371.00 to help fight back! Our team took home 2 trophies, one for Top Military Team and one for Most Money Raised On Line. I have some shirts and pictures to send you this week.
God bless all of you,
Bobbi Canales
623rd Air Force Co-Captain

It is such an honor and obviously everyone worked so hard for Mike. Thank you to everyone. Cancer sucks. It really does. It destroys so much and I wouldn't wish this on anyone. It knows no boundaries, no age, no race, no nation. It effects mothers, parents, daughters, fathers, brothers, sisters, children, friends. Everyone. It is smart. It mutates. But, there is always hope. That is what the Relay for Life is at its core... hope. Hope for today. Hope for tomorrow. God Bless you all!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Deanna is letting Mike Blog

Dear Ones,

Isn't it funny how ironic life can be at times? I got a staph infection, spent a week in the hospital, and went home with a daily IV antibiotic that comes in a little plastic ball with a rubber cylinder inside. They call it an "elastomeric device". You plug it into your port, open the clamp valve on the tube, and the rubber cylinder squeezes the daptomyacyn into my superior vena cave via the troublesome port. It really is a convenient little miracle. It's not much bigger than a handball, fits in my pants pocket, and takes only thirty minutes each day to administer the medication.

Since this situation is incompatible with chemo, it's been about a month since my last treatment now. My taste buds have started functioning again. The taste of water and most foods is wonderful. When we walked the McKinney square the other day, I had a cafe' mocha. That bit of romantic normalcy, a pleasant morning walk with my beautiful bride, talking in the coffee shop, was very special and valuable to me. The irony is that I feel much better than I have in a long time--but it took a staph infection to get me here.

Men, spend that time with your wife. Don't make an excuse that you're too busy. Someday, you may not be able to. I pray that one day this will be a routine event for me, and not an occasional treat as allowed by my continually VUCA medical situations. (Yes, you USAF SDE guys, I used the VUCA word. The world of cancer has made me appreciate the term much more than when I took the SDE course.)

I am endeavoring to do as much as I can for as long as I can.

Today, I had a PET scan. This is an interesting little test where they shoot you up with glucose (the only food of cancer cells...they reproduce so fast while growing tumors that they have an extremely high metabolic rate that can only be supported by pure sugar) that is tagged with a radioactive marker. Then they scan you in a tunnel much like a CT or MRI. The scan detects any concentrations of the radioactive glucose so you can find the cancer and gauge how active it is. We started early, and were finished before lunch. Results next week some time. A quick blood level check (numbers looked good), and we were off.

Deanna, I, Elizabeth, and one of her friends drove down to the Dallas Art Museum to see the King Tut exhibit. We pulled the kids out of school early, and off we went. It was okay. Not fantastic, just okay. The funnest part was watching the girls...they seemed to really dig it. I was tired and a bit sore from the PET. We had lunch in their 1717 restaurant which was very nice. I had the Moroccan Chicken Pot Pie, and Deanna was kind enough to share her chips and dessert with me. She had a gourmet BLT, and the girls both had--go figure--chicken nuggets.

I said the blessing and remarked how the Egyptians had once been the most advanced and powerful civilization on the planet. And then they held onto their false gods instead of listening to the one true God, for which they paid dearly. All their greatness now reduced to museums, not a single vestige of true ancient Egyptian culture left anywhere. God completely destroyed them. Their civilization is so dead we would know next to nothing about them had we not stumbled across the Rossette Stone. I wanted the girls to enjoy the exhibit, but it bothered me that maybe they might be enchanted by the ancient Egyptian pantheon. So I made it a point to always refer to them as "false gods".

After lunch we went through the rest of the museum, which was okay. Deanna pushed me around the entire museum in the wheelchair, all four floors plus the Tut exhibit. She sure got her workout today. She worked tirelessly to make sure that our special day went off smoothly.

Dinner did not stay down tonight, but lunch did, so I suppose I'm batting .500 today. We're a tired crew now, but all in all, it has been a wonderful day.

Please continue to pray for us. Big week coming up with potentially four surgical procedures, trying to eradicate the staph infection, and getting the PET results back, and starting a new IV treatment of monoclonal-antibodies.

My hat's off to the 623 AOC comrades running in the Relay For Life this week. I really wish I could be there with you. And you guys know how much I hate running, but it would be worth it to see you again. (Somebody sneak some weights into Gugs shoes so he stays below Mach 1 this time!).

God Bless,

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I don't even know how to start this entry. I am kind of struggling today. We made it to all of the doctor's appointments today and have come away with not good news. The staph infection is still lingering and it is time to pull the port. We will pull the port on Monday morning at 6:00 am and get a PICC line installed in Mike's arm to continue the IV antibiotics and TPN. Hopefully, by Friday of next week we will have cleared up the staff and then we will get a new port put in.

Mike is losing weight despite the TPN and eating. He is down to 158. We have our PET Scan tomorrow at 8:00 am to verify if the cancer is growing.

Mike ate some sushi (all cooked) and threw up phlegm this afternoon. This is very nerve racking. Mike throwing up in the past like that is an indication that his esophagus might be closing up again.

Anyone tired of this rollercoaster yet?? I wish I could love Mike to complete healing. I guess there is only one love that can do that and it was done at the cross.

The worst part about today is that the last days have been so incredible. Mike and I want walking on the square in McKinney and stopped at a coffee shop and had coffee together. We went grocery shopping. Mike went to school and had lunch with Elizabeth by himself. Mike went to church last night. He even had dinner at church. He is eating more and more. He is stronger and feels better every day and yet here we are.....

We will not fear. Fear is the opposite of Faith.

For incredible results with the PET Scan
For an incredible weekend
For the antibiotic to keep the staph infection from doing any harm until we can get the port removed on Monday.
For Mike to gain weight.
To be strong and not waiver
To bind Satan's attacks
For our house in FL to sell... someone has looked at it and it is in their top 2 houses. They will be buying a house by the end of the weekend. There is also an open house on Sunday at the house.

for the cross
for laughter and being together
for new friends that are not afraid to build relationships with us because of our situation. They can see past cancer.
that Mike has no physical signs of the staph infection.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A weeks worth of news

Ok. I am way behind! Sorry. I took the weekend off. AND what a weekend it was. First off, on Friday Mike drove himself to the doctor's appointment in his car. I slept. This was a huge deal to me. I was still just so tired from the hospital stay and couldn't muster any more energy. That all nighter on Friday night in the ER did me in. I am just a person that needs sleep sometimes. Then, as Mike's stay in the hospital wore on, trying to make everything happen at home and the hospital makes for late nights and early mornings. So I was done and slept until 10:30 that day.

Mike's blood work is holding and he didn't have to go in over the weekend. We had some incredible "cancer amnesia" moments over the weekend. What is "cancer amnesia" you are wondering? That is a new phrase to describe when cancer is not dictating our every move.

We went to Good Friday services at FBC McKinney. We were able to take communion down front at the alter at the foot of the cross as a family. Mike was able to kneel down in prayer. I am hoping that you have a visual, because it is still such a powerful, God moment that it brings tears to my eyes.

We went to an incredible Passover Celebration at Evelyn's house on Saturday night. About 20 people attended and we went through the Passover Ritual. It added so much more depth to Easter - if that is truly possible. For Mike to be able to eat bitter herbs, communion and partake of the 4 cups (freedom, deliverance, redemption and thanksgiving) during Passover is a Easter miracle. The volume was turned up on everything we did. Probably a better example would be this. After living in Tucson for a while, we would get on a plane to go to Dallas. Everything was so green and vibrant. That is what Easter was for us - just vibrant, kicked up a notch, powerful.

We also were able to make it to church on Sunday and lift our hands in worship. Nothing can match that all out praise on Easter morning. He is Risen. No sweeter words - ok maybe I have been saved!

We ended the weekend with entire Lewis crew at Mimi's and Papa's. Great food, fellowship and egg hunts.

I don't want this ride to stop right now. We went to the Cancer Doctor on Monday for blood work and we don't have to go back until Thursday. We have 2 days in a row without a doctors appointment. Again, let me repeat - two days in a row without a doctors appointment!!!!!!!!!!!

Now we still have things going on - Mike is on IV antibiotics everyday. He is taking daptomycin for the staph infection. We have to go in every Mon and Thursday for blood work. We will be doing that until April 21. We are praying that this will take care of the staph and we can keep our port.

We have started a new treatment as far as the cancer battle goes. Mike is taking, Nexavar, twice a day. We will also be taking IV Avastin as soon as we can get approval from Tricare. Both these drugs are aimed at stopping the creation of new blood vessels and basically cut off the blood supply to the tumor, which by God's grace, will shrink the tumor. This is called angiogenses. We have to be careful though. They can also cause bleeding and other issues. We are also trying to get approval for another PET Scan to determine if the cancer is spreading in Mike's stomach or not. Again, we are waiting on Tricare. They may not approve it since the last one was done in January.

Our house is still on the market and we are praying for another offer that will at least be in the ballpark of the list price. We may have to consider renting it, if it doesn't sell by the summer. The problem with renting is that it will prevent us from buying a permanent home here. But maybe that is part of God's plan? Please continue to pray for our house to sell.

I want to ask one more thing of those willing to pray... Mike is gaining strength slowly and needs something other than fighting cancer in his life. We have been praying that God will reveal how we can serve or use this time. We both know that one week doesn't equate to remission, but Mike needs more to focus on than just cancer. His mind is definitely as sharp and intelligent as ever. Someday I will blog about Mike trying to tell me about the IV pole in the hospital and how it is a oscillating pendulum. Alright, I will be honest, I will have him blog about it. I just gave him that blank, deer in the head lights look that I always give him when he reveals his intelligence.

I will post more after the doctor's appointments on Thursday. I am just praising the Lord for the simple everyday blessings and trusting that He will take care of our tomorrows!!

Prayer needs:
Mike to continue to eat and drink more every day
God himself will hold Mike's esophagus open and that the cancer will not intrude
Our House in FL to sell at the right price and for His Glory
Mike's healing will be completely manifested
Financial Wisdom
Time management and wisdom in regards to future plans

2 day reprieve from Doctors
Dr. Bo and his adjustments
Family and their financial help
For Elizabeth
Easter...The Cross... Jesus - where would we be right now in this walk without Him??

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Home Sweet Home

We are home. Mike made it to Elizabeth's first softball game tonight! We are blessed and thank God for His care of us. I will post more on Friday. Please continue to pray that the antibiotic will work and that the cancer will not grow.

Be also praying for an Easter Miracle - Mike's cancer to be completely gone on Easter.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Rejoicing... Good news

Mike has the good form of Staph! Whew! The Better Bad as I always say! Thank you God for your protection.

We just talk to the infectious disease doctor - Dr. Ruben - another one of our new medical friends from that long hospital stay. He is going to send us home with IV antibiotics tomorrow. Now this is pending insurance so I pray that Tricare will cover it. Dr. Ruben will send over his nurse to train us on how to administer the IV. It can't be harder than the TPN. I am starting to wonder if God is calling me to switch professions and become a nurse. Of course what makes being a nurse so great right now is the patient.

Anyway, they are going to fight this form of staph with antibiotics and watch everything very closely. If the fever comes back, then the port will need to be taken out. That is an amazing praise. I didn't know what we would do if that port had to come out. How would we do TPN? Mike is not eating enough by mouth yet. But I am not going to focus on the what if's. I have learned you just lift up your needs in prayer to God. He is faithful to handle it and direct the path.

Mike and I have sat in silence most of the morning. I am reading an incredible book/testimony by Greg Wilkinson called "God; Cancer, and Me". Mike has slept and been thinking. We also did our prayer walk this morning down each of the hospital halls.

Prayer needs:
Insurance to cover IV treatment at home
IV treatment to completely eliminate all traces of staph
Protection of Mike's Port
Mike to eat and drink more
God to hold Mike's esophagus open
Cancer remission
Our House in FL to sell at the right price

Doctors who understand "home" and how to get us there
New Hospital bed without hole in mattress
Warm blankets
One more day...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Staph Infection

Mike is still in the hospital and will be here another 3-4 days. The culture revealed that he has a Staph Infection in his blood. It is NOT MRSA which is a praise to God. However, a Staph infection is nothing to mess around with. They say that a staph infection usually has a source. Right now they are leaning towards Mike's port. I am praying that is not the case. They are going to do a 3 day scan using his White Blood Cells. They will draw blood out and separate his White Blood Cells. They will then inject the White Blood Cells with radio isotopes. They will then inject the White Blood cells back into Mike and do a scan every day. The white blood cells usually go to the source of the infection to fight it. So if they are on the port, then we will have to have it removed and placed at a different location.

Overall, Mike is good. His temps are down and now range between normal and 100.8. He is tired. He got two pints of blood last night, which means they woke him up a lot. He has developed diarrhea, probably due to the high dose of antibiotics he is receiving. However, we need to watch that because we don't want to develop colitis again. That was a very painful for Mike back in December when his stomach bloated up.

I have been going home at night to sleep. I got here this morning and cleaned the room. I like to take these anti-germs wipes and wipe down everything after house keeping leaves - door handles, remotes, sink, tray table, bathroom. You can never be too careful. Then Mike and I walked the hall and said hello to all the nurses we know. Mike said, "Let's go on my prayer walk." Now, I walk the dog every morning and I pray for the day and pray by people's houses that I know are struggling. Most of my prayer is lifted up for Mike. So we start walking and I am praying for Mike when Mike said something that stopped me in my tracks. Mike said, " I like to walk the halls and pray for the rooms and the people in them." My mind didn't even go there and I needed to be reminded of how Christ would walk these halls.

So, as you do your prayer walk today or prayer time, here is our prayer request:

Pray that the medicine will kill the infection completely.
No side effects from the medication (like colitis)
They will be able to identify the source of the infection
That God will protect all Mike's other organs and systems from damage during this battle
That the cancer will be held in its tracks as we fight this. Chemo will be postponed for at least another week.
Mike will continue to be strong in body, mind and spirit
Rest for Mike.
That we can be home for Easter
Elizabeth and I - that we can juggle this hospital stay and routine without getting sick or tired
That our house in FL will sell in God's timing at the right price
Mike will eat and drink more
I want the source of the infection to be something that happened during the stent removal on Wednesday and not the port. The port is so good and I don't want to have to put Mike through the removal of the port and changing it to the other side of his chest.

We know a reason for the fever
Friends and neighbors and family to pick up our needs
Joshua is 1!
Prayer walks
One more day -

This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it! Psalms 118:24

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Prayer needed - Some lab results in

One of the blood cultures has come back positive for an infection in Mike's blood. The culture needs to grow more to determine what it is and the best course of drugs to use. Pray specifically that it is not a drug resistant bacteria and that we can knock it out quickly.

The concern that I have is that Mike's White Blood Count is dropping (below normal) and yet he has this infection. His White Blood Count should be high. The White Blood cells fight infection. Pray for his body to work as God originally designed. Pray protection over his organs and systems.

Mike's Red blood cells are also dropping and we will probably do a transfusion as well.

Overall, Mike is just tired, but looks pretty good. The only symptom right now is a fever. But it appears that this stay in the hospital may be awhile. Pray for me and I juggle all the needs of Elizabeth and Mike. May God bless you for your faithfulness to lift our needs before Him!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Dear Friends,

In fact, we had to go to the hospital last night. The fever got worse, up to 103.2, and I couldn't keep down oral antibiotics, so we spent the night in the ER where they took good care of me with fluids, IV antibiotics, and some Tylenol to temper the fever. I've been transferred to a single hospital room on the 4th floor with a nice view of McKinney. The meds continue, and I guess I'll be here till Monday. They ran a lot of tests which all came back negative so far.

So, we have some kind of bug. Culture tests probably won't come in for another day or two. Maybe they will reveal something.

I'm worried about the stent decision. If we get it, it may prevent some future radiation treatments. It also supposedly hurts more than the plastic stent, so I will probably have to use the morphine patch again. On the other hand, without it, the esophagus may close down again and we'll be back to near continuous nausea. It's a big decision. Please pray that God will give us wisdom to make the right choice.

Yours in Christ,

Friday, April 3, 2009

Jars of Clay - 2 Cor 4

It is Friday and it has been a few days. I am sorry that I have not posted in awhile. I tried to post on Wednesday and I just didn't know what to write.

Mike had the stent removed on Wednesday and the pain in his ribs is gone. It fact, Mike was due to replace the Morphine patch today and we decided to leave it on and let it run down. There may be some withdrawal systems, but he isn't in pain. The procedure went well. Again, the GI doctor is really pushing the "Wall- Stent". It is a flexible nickel stent that is silicone coated in the middle. The stent is a self expanding thing that will be constant outward pressure on the tumor to keep the esophagus open. It is metal on the ends and that allows the stent to grip into place on the top and bottom. The GI doctor pushes for it and the oncologists say that they experience complications and pain for patients. However, if the esophagus closes up again, we may have no choice. So, the only solution that I know that can work is to pray over that esophagus.

We did receive news about the tumor from the GI doctor. He says it appears to be growing in a downward motion in Mike's stomach. That threw me. Especially after the CT results of "stable". Dr. Khan is out of town until Monday so we will wait until our appointment to talk to him about what the other doctor said. It might be time to add something to Chemo or make changes. I have been reading about monoclonal antibodies and that they might work. Again, we are in prayer about what to do and asking God to lead us and the doctors.

Wednesday was one of those days where you were walking through the motions of the day and yet inside you are just a mess. The one thing that I knew I needed to do was go to church. I didn't want to, but I knew I needed to. Something (someone) was pushing me. Of course God had a plan all along. Curtis, the teacher, was not there. He is in MO with his Dad that is battling - you guessed it - cancer. So Paul took over. I went into the classroom and sat in the back row, just wanting to sit and hear what God was going to say to me. Traci came over and asked about Mike and for the first time, I had to verbally tell someone that the tumor might be growing. The tears flowed. That night, only about 10 people showed up. But it was the most amazing thing. As we were going around asking about prayer requests, everyone was battling with disease and needing God to overcome some significant circumstances.

Paul got up, put his lesson plan away and pulled out 2 Corinthians 4. It broke me. Not in a bad way, but in a "God really knows me and understands my struggles" way.

2 Corinthians 4: 7 - 9 states:
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed: perplexed, but not in despair: persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

I lost it. (Sorry for the ugly cry). It spoke to my soul like the first time I read Psalms 22. I am a jar of clay with a treasure inside. So is Mike. Our bodies are fragile and will not last. But the treasure is inside of me - my light that was given to me at the time that I accepted Jesus. That light lights the way to eternity. But while I am here- while Mike is here -we are battling. Battling sickness, cancer, sin, finances, etc. But the battles can not overcome us and will never take the victory that awaits us. Make no mistake, we both have the ultimate victory in Christ.

2 Corinthians 4: 16-18 ended the chapter with an incredible comfort:
Therefore we do not lose heart. Thought outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen in eternal.

We are not losing heart. In fact, how can we lose heart when God continually shows us that he is in every detail of our lives? Do you know what happened today? Everyone remembers that we were supposed to retire in December and then didn't retire until February. Well the VA payments started in January, while on Active Duty. We got notified that they are suspending the VA payments until they investigate and get everything right. As you know, losing that hurts right now. But do you know what happened? We got separation pay on April 1 from the AF. It makes no sense. Why did we get this almost 2 months after retirement? The most we can figure out is that there was some money due after all the mass confusion in January and February. We even called DFAS today and asked and they said, "yes" we were due it. How God is that?

So here we are... right where we want to be... In His hand and holding on tightly!!!

New Update 9:00 pm -

Mike has a fever and we are probably heading out to the hospital at some point. Please pray...