Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

The first day of Christmas is almost over, only eleven more to go!

We had the opportunity of spending time with the Pollocks and the Phillips. Jeff and Lucie came for dinner Christmas Eve. Prior to eating they watched "It's A Wonderful Life" while Jonathan and I went to visit our friend, Joe, and his wife, Christine. Joe is now at a Hospice House here in Tacoma. Joe and Bryan began chemo at the same time last January. They both fought hard to the end and now we await Joe's passing. Please keep him and his family in your prayers.

My mom and dad arrived today in time for a late morning breakfast. After clearing the table and straightening up, we began the process of opening the gifts under the tree. Amazingly, James fell asleep before we finished the job. It was a fun day full of laughter and delight. Bryan's picture, with his warm smile, sat on the mantle looking over all the festivities. He was not far from my thoughts. A couple of weeks ago, I heard a song on the radio:

Christmas In Heaven
2008 words and music by Jeremy Johnson and Paul Marino

December hasn’t changed
This town looks the same
They still light that tree in the city square
There’s red, white, and green shining everywhere
And I wish you were here
And I wonder . . .

Is the snow falling down on the streets of gold?
Are the mansions all covered in white?
Are you singing with angels Silent Night?
I wonder . . . what Christmas in Heaven is like

There’s a little manger scene
Down on Third and Main
I must have walked right by it a thousand times
But I see it now in a different light
Cause I know you are there
And I wonder . . .

Are you kneeling with shepherds before Him now?
Can you reach out and touch His face?
Are you part of that glorious holy night?
I wonder . . . .what Christmas in Heaven is like

At first, it was emotional for me to listen to this song, but when I thought about it I realized that it is always a Resurrection celebration in heaven!

I really do wonder what Christmas in heaven is like.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Pilgrim Bible Christmas Caroling

Tonight is Pilgrim Bible's annual night of Christmas caroling. We go out into the community near where we meet and sing. Knocking on doors, we offer a flyer inviting those who answer to our Sunday services and then we wish them a Merry Christmas. This has been a favorite tradition of Bryan's during the past 20 years of ministry! He loved singing the carols and listening to the rich music of the season. At home, the Christmas music usually starts playing about the same time Cornhusker football is kicking off! This evening, all of my children, except for Grace, have gone to meet with the other families at church. Grace and I have remained home because she is running a fever and complaining of upset stomach. Needless to say, she is very disappointed.

To be honest, I know it is a providence of God, because I think it would be very emotional for me to remember all the years of cold, snow, rain, ice, pushing a stroller or waddling pregnant, singing and laughing all the way while Bryan led us in one carol after another increasing his pitch as the night wore on. Then, returning to the church for tea, coffee, hot cider or cocoa to discuss how well we were or were not received. Even last year, while it was cold and snowing, Bryan being thin and in pain, endured the elements to sing for a block or two. He about froze, and it took a long while to get him warm again, but he thoroughly enjoyed himself!

We wish you a Merry Christmas! We wish you a Merry Christmas! We wish you a Merry Christmas! And a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

One Month

I find it nearly impossible to believe Bryan has been gone for a month. Time does travel rapidly; life is a vapor. David and I were discussing this today. Eternity has no beginning and no end, thus, we all enter it at the same time; a deep theological discussion for another time.

God has so graciously carried us through this month. I am thankful for my children, my extended family, friends and even acquaintances who have blessed us in a variety of ways these past few days: hugs, notes, phone calls, flowers, sympathy cards, monthly financial support, meals, emails, Facebook posts and comments, the mortgage paid in full, visits from friends and family close (Tacoma, Lakewood, Puyallup) and far (Saskatchewan, California, Oregon, Utah, Maryland), food, contributions to the memorial fund (even from complete strangers), computer help, a new computer, sharing remembrances, crying with us, listening to us cry, sharing facial tissue, sharing scriptures, praying with us, praying for us ... we are loved! THANK YOU!

We have remained healthy, for the most part. James was ill last week, turned out to be a nasty ear infection. He is feeling much better now!

It has been a full week visiting with Jeanette, Priscilla and Alexis Bittner from Maryland. Jeanette helped me clean my room which had not been properly dealt with for two years! It looks and feels so good. She also went Christmas ornament shopping with me. Each year Bryan and I have purchased a new ornament for each child which they open on Christmas eve. Jeanette helped me make those difficult "perfect" decisions. We have had some good laughs and good cries. They leave tomorrow morning; it will be difficult seeing them go. Please pray for Jeanette as she is beginning her own battle with thyroid cancer.

James continues to remind us "Daddy died. Jesus. Heaven." It is so sweet! As a family, we are slowly memorizing the Book of James. We have had some great times around the dinner table with our verses. It always amazes me how fast little people can grasp difficult passages and I am also entertained by their sincere attempt at understanding. When my uncle was a boy he used to sing "Bringing in the Sheets," our hymnal titles that song "Bringing in the Sheaves." Most boys know about sheets, but just what is a sheaf? One of my children sang "Silent Night, Silent Night, Holy Scum" a few years ago while playing the piano. It was one of the few things I actually wrote down. As a mom, I think I will always remember, but I don't. That is a thought of mine now, that I will not remember everything about my husband, so I am trying to write it down when memories come to mind. It is important for my children, especially the younger ones, to have knowledge of who he was as a husband, father, pastor and friend!

I am wanting to put together a scrapbook with photos and remembrances of Bryan that we can look at so the younger children can know of him before cancer; Hannah, Grace, and James were all born after his initial cancer diagnosis, Esther and Daniel were 4 and 2, at that time. As friends and family, I would like for you to make contributions to this book. Do you have a funny story, a testimony, a vacation memory, anything that you think would build the real Bryan Pollock in the minds of my children? Please send it to be included in our scrapbook!

Brrr! It is cold and late (or early, depending on how you look at the clock)! Good night and God Bless!

Sunday, November 29, 2009


I hope and pray everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We have so much for which to be thankful!

We had Bryan's mom, Lucie, and his brother, Jeff, over for dinner. The girls and Daniel spent most of the day preparing a delicious meal. Daniel made the most outstanding gluten free, dairy free apple pie. This young man will be a chef, yet, maybe even a gluten free chef!

My thoughts were filled of Thanksgivings past...

The year Bryan and I both had fevers and the kids were sick, too. We still cooked that turkey and all the trimmings. When it was time to eat, we sat at the table and looked at the food said we were thankful and went to bed. Lots of leftovers that year!

Our annual tradition was to spend Thursday with my parents in Portland and then Friday with Bryan's parents watching the Cornhusker game. When my parents traveled to California to see my brother and his family, we usually celebrated Thanksgiving with military families in church. They often were far from "home." Good memories with great friends!

...and Thanksgivings future...

We really don't know the future and I am thankful we don't have a crystal ball to discover it. If I had, I most likely would have run away from the most sanctifying experiences of my life. God is good--all the time--and though there is sadness and heartache He bottles those tears (Psalm 56:8). He knows each tear and accounts for each tear. Bryan used to tell me, "It is okay to cry, it is your strength." He was so right! "This I know, that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. (Psalm 56:9b-11a)

Friday, November 20, 2009

At Last....

I intend to keep up with the blog and apologize to those who have been looking for posts and not able to find them. We have been having computer troubles and are not able to access the internet for some unknown reason. My neighbors have offered the use of their computer to me this evening for which I am very thankful!

The services for Bryan were very God honoring and Bryan honoring, too. As someone said to me, Bryan would have enjoyed them. I was overwhelmed at the attendance and thankful for each one of you who took time out of your Saturday to attend. Regretfully, I was unable to speak to everyone there and have been pleased with the number of pictures people took which allowed me to see those in attendance with whom I did not get to speak. The service and photo montage were recorded and will be made into a DVD.

We continue to be blessed by the love and support of family and friends. The church ladies have been bringing dinners to us this week. We have received numerous offers of help in anything necessary. The cards and letters are so encouraging and supportive, too. I know we are not alone. God has provided well for us and will continue to do so. He has kept me strong throughout the past two weeks.

Tuesday, I returned some blankets to the Seattle Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center. The emotions took me by surprise as I walked up the front steps. My mind was flooded with memories of Bryan struggling to get up the stairs and then in recent days riding in the wheelchair. The nurses greeted me with hugs and to my surprise, the program from the service was posted in the nurses station. Dr. Chen had attended the service and brought it back to share with the others. I was able to personally thank each one for the care they gave to Bryan.

The children are doing well. Sweet James keeps telling us "Daddy died. Jesus." I am amazed at the comprehension he has for such deep theology. Each one is caring for me in their own way. I have a bed partner each night with my three youngest taking turns.

Tomorrow is Bryan's birthday. I don't yet know how we plan to celebrate. We had originally planned to have a beverage smorgasbord so he could participate in his birthday celebration. Now, he is feasting in heaven, no more drains and tubes, no more hiccups, no more fatigue, only the pleasures of worshipping the King of Kings and Lord of Lords forever more!

Hopefully, we will have our computer problem solved soon and I will be more faithful in posting here on the blog. Sharing our new journey....Susan for the Pollock clan

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Praise God! Through the diligent efforts of many a location for Saturday's services has been found!

We will gather at 11:00am at Life Center Church, 1717 S. Union Ave, Tacoma, WA 98405.
For driving directions:

Thank You

Louise would like everyone to know we have all the cookies we need. Thank you to all who have volunteered to provide this dessert.


Bryan R. Pollock went home to be with the Lord Monday, November 9, 2009 following a long, courageous battle with cancer.
He was born November 21, 1951 in Albuquerque, NM, the second son of Ralph B. Pollock and Lucie L. (Nunns) Pollock. At an early age, his family moved to the Northwest where he attended schools in Washington and Oregon. He graduated from Sunset High School, Beaverton, in 1970. While a student at Portland State University, he came to the Lord through the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. Following graduation in 1974, he worked a short time for General Foods then joined Campus Crusade as a journalist for Worldwide Challenge magazine. This work gave him opportunities to minister in California and Mexico. While in Mexico, the Lord called him to full time pulpit ministry. He left Crusade to attend Western Conservative Baptist Seminary in Portland, Oregon. It was during this time he met Susan Lyn Phillips, whom he married May 16, 1987. Their first year together was spent in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada as an intern at Circle Drive Alliance Church. Upon completion of the internship they returned to the U.S. where he began his first pastorate at Bethesda Baptist Church in Tacoma, WA. In 1999, he left Bethesda to plant a new work, Pilgrim Bible Church, where he remained as pastor until his death. He is survived by his wife, Susan, and children: Sarah, Jonathan, David, Josiah, Esther, Daniel, Hannah, Grace and James, all of Tacoma; as well as his mother, Lucie and brother, Jeffrey of Sumner,WA; and father and mother- in-law Gerald and Joleen Phillips of Beaverton, OR and brother and sister-in-law, Jeffrey and Irma Phillips of Mission Viejo, CA and their children Brandon and Alexa; and many cousins, aunts and uncles.
A devoted father, Bryan, was committed to all aspects of his children’s lives especially their home education, which led him to serve on the board of Christian Heritage Home Educators of Washington. But, most importantly, he shared his faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ. Bryan’s life will continue to stand as a powerful testimony to all who knew him. Stalwart faithfulness, holy affection for God, passion for the truth of God’s Word, loving father, husband, & pastor—these are just a few of the qualities that shone from his life.
A memorial service will be at 11:00AM, on Saturday, November 14, 2009 at Life Center, 1717 S. Union Avenue, Tacoma, WA 98405. A fund has been established for the ongoing support of his family. Checks made out to Pilgrim Bible Church can be sent to 14207 81st Ave. E., Puyallup, WA 98373 designated for the Bryan Pollock Memorial Fund. For more information, please go to

Arrangements by Mountain View Funeral Home. 253-584-0252 Please sign the online guestbook at

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Service Opportunity

Many of you have offered help. We have an opportunity presented. We need 125 dozen cookies/cookie bars to serve as dessert at the memorial service. The main food will be catered by John and Leslie O'Brien, we just need people to bring dessert. If you can help, please contact Louise Emery by phone or e-mail. Thank you so much!

Louise Emery

Brenda Ng, for the Pollocks

Monday, November 9, 2009

He is Home!

My dad passed away tonight at 10pm. It was a peaceful passing as he merely fell asleep and awoke in Heaven. Though our separation is painful, we know that God causes all things to work together for good, and we rest tonight in His goodness."For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." (2nd Cor. 5:1)

We will post the time and place of the services as soon as they are established.

Rejoicing in the mercy of God!

Near Home

Bryan's condition has deteriorated significantly during the night, and it appears that he doesn't have much longer to live.

He's surrounded by his family and is as comfortable as he's able to be.

Please pray for a peaceful homegoing, and for encouragement for the Pollock family.

John Douglass, for the Pollocks

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Bryan is currently running a fever with chills. I spoke with Dr. Chen and he assumes it is an infection of the biliary drain which is no longer draining due to the blood clot. He has ordered IV antibiotics which will be delivered here tonight so we can administer them at home. I have not left his side all day; making sure I am there when he opens his eyes.

It is difficult for me to make these decisions alone. We have always prayed together and discussed pros and cons when making difficult decisions; I guess this is the beginning to my next chapter in life. Jonathan has prayed with me. He is such a strong support. I thank God for each of the children and the various needs God has prepared them to meet at this time. Even James has a smile and kiss for Bryan every time he comes into the room. I love to hear their play and banter as I tend to my husbands needs--this is not possible at the hospital, thus I choose to remain at home.

Psalm 139

1 O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
3 You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O LORD, You know it all.
5 You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot attain to it.
7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,”
12 Even the darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.
13 For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.
19 O that You would slay the wicked, O God;
Depart from me, therefore, men of bloodshed.
20 For they speak against You wickedly,
And Your enemies take Your name in vain.
21 Do I not hate those who hate You, O LORD?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
22 I hate them with the utmost hatred;
They have become my enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Latest News- Good and Bad

It's been a long and grueling week!

Sunday- Bryan did not have the strength for church. We were very encouraged by the amount of bile draining in the new tubing, until the blood returned.

Monday- The bleeding continued and obviously his hematocrit and hemoglobin were falling due to his shortness of breath and increasing fatigue. Also, the edema increased rapidly in his abdominal cavity.

Tuesday- Chemo day! The increased fluid in his body makes walking and general balance virtually impossible. As a result, he fell going out the front door when he reached his walker over the threshold beyond his ability to step. Through valiant efforts of my sons, we got him into the wheelchair and into the car. The scales indicated Bryan was carrying 30lbs of fluid! No wonder it was so difficult; with a dry weight of 108lbs, his muscle atrophy cannot support 139lbs. The blood work indicated he was a quart low so Dr. Chen determined he should have a couple units of blood instead of chemo. Arrangements were made to transfuse at Valley Medical, a new hospital for Bryan! He was transported to Valley by ambulance, because he passed out while at the chemo center. It was a long night! Due to the excess fluid, the blood had to be transfused very slowly to prevent congestive heart failure. We arrived home around 3:00am.

Wednesday- We all slept -- except those who remained home Tuesday. The best news of this day, Sarah is now a licensed driver. This will help in many ways. Thank you to all those who helped her achieve this goal.

Thursday- Bryan stayed in bed all day. The fluid continues to increase and with it the weakness and inability to move his own body. Jonathan and I have become quite a team providing the care Bryan needs. I find God's ways unfathomable at times and yet I know "His lovingkindness is everlasting." (Psalm 136)

Friday- whew, we made it to today! You see, the doctors have determined they have done all they can do until his bilirubin level comes down. The bili can come down if the drain works and it can work only if it is not clotted with blood. The blood flows from the tumors in the liver which respond to the chemo that can only be infused with a lower bilirubin level. It is a vicious circle that only the mercy of God can break. Thus, we continue to pray for that miracle knowing that it can come here or on the other side of Glory! Bryan has asked that we don't call hospice, yet. He is still determined to overcome this disease. He is still fighting a very tough battle! We fight alongside--meeting all his needs to the best of our ability.

From Streams in the Desert:

God takes the most eminent and choicest of His servants for the choicest and most eminent afflictions. They who have received most grace from God are able to bear most afflictions from God. Affliction does not hit the saint by chance, but by direction. God does not draw His bow at a venture. Every one of His arrows goes upon a special errand and touches no breast but his against whom it is sent. It is not only the grace, but the glory of a believer when he can stand and take affliction quietly. --Joseph Caryl

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Reformation Day!

Prayer meeting was a very exhausting adventure for Bryan and he spent all day Thursday sleeping. Yesterday, we were up bright and early for a 10:00AM appointment at Swedish for another biliary drain replacement. The one at Allenmore turned out to be quite messy. The tube was too small, thus it was leaking around it. Also, it was not stitched to the skin so it would move around and get out of place. Dr. Omdal took good care of Bryan yesterday--new tubing, new bag, good stitches and good drainage! Lord willing, this will reduce his bilirubin levels. When we got home, he was very tired and went straight to bed.

My parents were here to celebrate Josiah's 14th birthday. They took the children to lunch at Red Robin yesterday, took Josiah shopping and then had dinner with us before heading back to Portland last night. A great time was had by all. It is always a delight having them here. I often wish they lived closer.

Bryan has quite a bit of edema which travels depending on his position. Sitting in the chair, it goes to his feet; lying on his back, feet elevated, it pools in his abdomen; lying on his left side it travels to his left side and the left leg will become twice the size of the right. His low protein levels keep this fluid outside the veins rather than inside where it belongs. Also, the hiccups continue off and on. Look upon my affliction and rescue me, For I do not forget Your law. Plead my cause and redeem me;Revive me according to Your word...Those who love Your law have great peace, And nothing causes them to stumble. Psalm 119:153, 154, 165

He's hoping to attend church for our Reformation Sunday service. Please pray for a good night's sleep so he'll have the energy to get out the door in the morning.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wednesday Prayer

Didn't make it to church on Sunday. Neither Bryan nor I slept well Saturday night and he felt too weak to make a go of it. Our goal is to make it this Sunday, Lord willing.

Went to chemo on Tuesday. Bryan had the regular elixir of life minus the CPT. Bilirubin levels were too high, again. A discouraging surprise was his hematocrit. After the three units of blood, his crit was only 26.1. Then, on the way home from chemo he started bleeding into the biliary drain bag, again! He continues to bleed off and on so we will contact the doctor in the morning to determine a need for blood. My guess is yes; but, you never know.

Bryan was very determined to attend prayer meeting tonight, even in his weakened state. We bundled him up and headed out. We arrived a little late, but he was glad to be "with the people and praying with the saints."

Keep praying for strength, and for an end to the bleeding and hiccups. We appreciate all the intercession!!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Good Day; Praying for Tomorrow

Bryan had a good day at home and is looking forward to fellowshipping with the Pilgrim family tomorrow. I won't hold my breath, but will pray we can see everyone tomorrow as we celebrate Reformation Sunday.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Home Sweet Home

We arrived home about 2:30 this afternoon. It is great for us all to be together, although, there are some advantages to a hospital bed. He is feeling much better after the blood transfusions. More energy and more pink color are very beneficial. I think he is looking forward to a full night's rest without interruptions of blood sugar testing, lab draws and vital signs! Why do the hospitals insist on drawing blood at 4:00am?

We haven't made much progression in the biliary drain process other than it is not bleeding at this time. Due to the size of the tumor in the liver, there is no guarantee it won't start bleeding again because of the vascularity of tumors in general. Our primary doctor said we can come for blood transfusions as long as we want to continue the process. I am thankful he is pro-life; other doctors are so quick to paint the end of life picture.

Thank you for all your prayers during this time. They are so encouraging at a very discouraging time!

Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yes, our God is compassionate. The Lord preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me. Return to your rest, oh my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. For you have rescued my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. I shall walk before the Lord in the land of the living. Psalm 116:5-9

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A New Hospital

Bryan is currently an inpatient at Allenmore Hospital here in Tacoma. His bleeding returned voraciously on Monday night, and yesterday his hematocrit was 19.8 which, of course, is a critical level. By the time we contacted all necessary medical personnel it was too late for him to receive infusions in the clinic, but the doctors didn't want him to wait until today, so they admitted him. He got three units throughout the night. The bleeding continues. The hospitalist thinks the rising bilirubin level and the bleeding may be related due to an improperly placed biliary drain. Thus, Bryan will have an ultrasound today to take a look at his liver and the drain placement. I am so excited! I have been asking for action regarding this drain since Aug. 31--the first episode of bleeding! Bryan is resting well and is very happy to be able to get the blood. Maybe we will get some answers to solve some problems which have been lingering a little too long! It's always nice to get a fresh perspective on the situation. Thanks for your prayers!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Thanking God for His Goodness

This morning Bryan had a blood draw and his hematocrit was 25.9. This is borderline for a transfusion, but since it was 29.0 last Tuesday the doctor has ordered two units to be infused on Thursday, this week. Bryan feels very weak and has chosen not to go to chemo tomorrow. I think it will be a good rest for him and with the fresh blood he should be ready to fight again next week.

Thank you so much for your prayers of recent days. We did not go to church Sunday, but had a good time of family worship, again, singing hymns, reading scripture and praying. Bryan has not had any hiccups since going to bed Saturday night! Praise God for His mercy! Also, the infection seems to have cleared finally from the biliary drain site. Your prayers have been heard and answered in a mighty way and we are very thankful! He told me Sunday evening, after 24 hours of no bleeding and no hiccups, he had renewed hope and wants to press on!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

II Corinthians 12:9

Two solid days of hiccups, an unresponsive (to antibiotics) infection and the return of internal bleeding has led to discouragement. He stated to me he thinks he's bleeding to death, but still wants to fight this discouraging battle. As his helpmeet, I stand to serve him in anyway I can.

"My grace is sufficient for you..."

God's grace is sufficient---not sometimes, not maybe, or occasionally---is sufficient. Not sufficient as in just enough, but sufficient as in lacking nothing. I like what Matthew Henry says, "The goodwill of God towards us, and this is enough to enlighten and enliven us, sufficient to strengthen and comfort us, to support our souls and cheer up our spirits, in all afflictions and distresses."

I find it amazing when Bryan calls my name in the middle of the night, I am wide awake and able to serve as if it were the middle of the day. I've been awakened in the middle of the night many times these past 20 years and nine children, but I never recall this same wakefulness. Then, to return to a full, deep restful sleep, that is the grace of God!

Please pray the bleeding stops, that it is minor and he won't need another transfusion. Pray for encouragement for him in the midst of this trial. We also ask for his hiccups to stop once and for all; July 1 was his first hiccup.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thank You!

We really appreciate all of you who sent notes, emails and comments regarding your participation in prayer and fasting for Bryan!! When we went to chemo this week, Bryan was so tired and weak, we assumed they would get the lab results and send him home. Much to our surprise, his electrolytes were normal and the bilirubin level down. The internal bleeding during the week lowered his hematocrit to 29,but the doctor didn't seemed too concerned. He asked us to continue monitoring Bryan's temp, blood pressure and shortness of breath to make sure the situation didn't get worse and justify a need for more blood. So far so good--the bleeding has stopped and he is maintaining his blood pressure! Thank you, Lord!

The best news is that Bryan was able to get the CPT-11 (also named irinotecan or camptosar)! This is the "big gun" chemo to which his tumors respond. He has not received it for quite awhile due to the elevated bilirubin level. Dr. Chen decided to give Bryan a low dose of CPT even though his bili was 9.8. The increased bili level causes the chemo to remain in the body longer and so Dr. Chen's thought was maybe the low dose would be equivalent to a high dose since it will remain longer. We were willing to give it a try; without it the cancer gets a leg up so what really does Bryan have to lose?

We are rejoicing in the goodness of God and how He continues to give us positive surprises!!! Thank you for all your prayers!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Prayer Request

Here is an e-mail sent to our church. Brett and John are the elders at Pilgrim Bible. See Friday, June 5th post "Prayer and Fasting." Thank you!


Dear Brothers & Sisters, John and I invite all who are able to join together tomorrow for a season of intense prayer and fasting for Bryan and his family. The past few days have been very difficult for Bryan physically, the hiccups are back with a vengeance and one of his ports is not draining properly, he is in great misery!

Let us plead for healing and sustaining grace through this great trial. Remembering our Lord's words: "...when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face so that you may not be seen fasting by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you." Matt. 6:17-18

"Incline your ear to me, rescue me quickly; be to me a rock of strength, a stronghold to save me." Ps. 31:2

Let us plead together for our dear Pastor Bryan.

Clinging to our Lord,

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Lord's Day

We didn't go to church today. Yesterday, wasn't good for Bryan so he requested we all stay home for family worship. We had a good time singing favorite hymns, Jonathan read Psalm 93 and Bryan gave a short devotional. We concluded with a time of prayer for friends and family. I love to hear my little ones is so sweet and sincere from their hearts.

Hiccups kept him up all night Friday night and most of the day Saturday. He slept without them last night, truly a blessing. But, he has them again this afternoon! They seem to have a mind of their own.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

IV Antibiotics

I have a new skill to add to the long list of medical skills I have acquired in the past 9 months---IV antibiotics. A nurse, Joy, came to our house this afternoon to show me how and now I am on my own for the next 6 days. Piece of cake! Actually, I have been applying garlic oil to the infection while waiting to start the antibiotics; this was a good choice since it has been the most successful treatment!

Bryan had a good day today; lots of naps, a dressing change, some antibiotics and a Cornhusker win! His edema has significantly reduced, without increased output, which means the fluid went back into his blood stream where it is supposed to be. Thank you, Lord!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Where Does the Time Go?

Blogger is messing with my mind, but that is easy to do these days! This was a fast paced week full of many activities which kept me from keeping everyone posted. Bryan had a great week after the blood transfusion. He felt well enough to attend church again and didn't need the aid of the wheelchair.

The blackouts and jitters have ended. We have the electrolytes balanced which helps many things! He is still dealing with the biliary drain site infection. We will begin IV antibiotics today. He doesn't seem to be absorbing the oral antibiotics enough to make an impact so the doctor thought the IV would. Please pray for this infection to be eradicated!

His bilirubin level climbed to 10 this week. I was disappointed with this news, but my solid rock husband said he wasn't and is resting on the sovereignty of God. The elevated bili prevented the infusion of the CPT-11 which would help address the rising CEA. Bryan's CEA just yo-yos; last month being 6 and this month 38! His infection could have an impact on the CEA as it can register inflammatory cells as well as cancer cells because it is not a colon cancer specific test.

The edema has him weighing in at 118. I sure would like to know his dry weight. Hopefully, it is increasing, too. On a side note, some mornings with his hair loss and fluid in his face he looks like a bald Richard Nixon.

Waiting on God for healing. Thanks for your continual encouragement and prayers!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bryan and I just returned from the infusion center. He needed another two units of blood. Last Tuesday, his hematocrit was 25 and we received two units last Wednesday, but internal bleeding continued throughout the week. Yesterday, his hematocrit was 21! No wonder he has been so tired and weak. He is feeling perky now and we hope the bleeding of unknown cause has come to an end, Lord willing.

His bilirubin level continues to come down, but it is still too high for him to receive the CPT-11. Thus, chemotherapy yesterday consisted of 5FU, Leukovorin, and Erbitux.

The last few days walking has been virtually impossible and we have made good use of the wheelchair. Today, he walked a fair distance through the hospital and back to the car, before and after his infusion. It's a miracle to me to see him so low and then perk back to almost "normal."

Last week's adjustment of the electrolytes in his TPN did the trick! His electrolyte levels are now normal which will help reduce or eliminate the blackouts.

Thank you for your faithful prayers! God is at work and we praise Him for each day, good or bad.

"...The Lord on high is mighty." Psalm 93:4

Saturday, September 26, 2009

It's Saturday Night, and Sunday's Comin'

After a couple of weeks break from Sunday morning worship, our plan is to attend church tomorrow morning. Tomorrow will make seven days without hiccups--a miracle in itself! Bryan is in bed, I hope to be there shortly. Looking forward to worshipping with our Pilgrim Family!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

No Longer A Quart Low

It is amazing to me the difference two units of blood has made in Bryan! The lightheadedness and blackouts have ended. His color is better. He was a bit peppier today and seemed to have more strength. We visited with his primary care doctor today who told us of a 93 year old patient who goes in for a top off every two to three weeks. He said, if necessary, he could put Bryan on that schedule. It is so nice working with pro-life doctors!

The hiccups are still gone! That alone is a great energy booster. He's looking forward to getting his strength back to be able to walk around the block and climb into the pulpit again soon!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Parenthetical Day

Chemo was an okay day on Tuesday. Just as I predicted, Bryan's red count was low and the bilirubin high (although, down from last week!). He has been so fatigued with all the blood loss (which no one knows where it is coming from) and he is jaundiced. He had an alarming 6 pound weight gain, but before we can woohoo about it, we must acknowledge the edema he is experiencing in his extremities (arms, hands, feet and legs, oh and his face, too). Most likely his dry weight remains the same.

His hematocrit was 25.1, which was the ticket to get two units of blood this afternoon (in Tacoma, yeah!). After the transfusion, he feels much better. The lightheadedness is virtually gone and he has more pep. He stayed up and watched the children play a game (TABOO, that's the name of the game) this evening. Lately, he's been going to bed by 9:00 and I think he turned out his light about 11:00.

Praise number (1) (almost fearful to even mention it though) no more hiccups!!! The last hiccups I heard were Monday night. What a relief for Bryan to be set free from this plague. Waiting patiently for the deliverance from the cancer. We keep hoping the bleeding is dying tumors (they are very vascular!).

Praise number (2) Dr. Chen would like Bryan to challenge his ability to process food. We will be adding clear liquids and clamping his gastric drain to see if things process in the proper manner. This should help prevent his (continuing) dehydration.

Thanking God this evening for a husband who looks and feels better than before the camping trip. Looking forward to God restoring him to the energy level he had before the cancer.

I had better say good night (before I have to say good morning!)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday Evening

Bryan did not preach Sunday. He and I stayed home so he could rest following, what appeared to us, a large blood loss through his bile drain early Sunday morning. He ran a fever last night and this morning so we called the biliary doctor to see what's next. We made a quick trip to Swedish Hospital in Seattle where we waited over an hour to see a doctor for 10 minutes! He said everything was fine with the "plumbing" and offered no explanation of the blood loss, fever and the increasing yellowness of Bryan's skin. I am frustrated and yet thankful. It seems most of the doctors do not appreciate my line of questioning, that's my frustration, I want answers. We came home from Swedish without an overnight stay, that is my thanksgiving.

Tomorrow we see Dr. Chen and possibly receive a chemotherapy infusion. I say possibly because Bryan's color and fatigue indicate to me his blood counts will be too low and bilirubin too high to receive chemo. We are praying for a more encouraging day than last week. We were informed two of our acquaintances passed away last week. That is really tough to deal with because the other patients are part of the team. We all support and encourage one another.

Vivian was a fellow colon cancer patient with a deep love of the Lord. The last time we saw her she was so vibrant and alive and we prayed together and she strongly exhorted Bryan to hang in there with God. It was most definitely shocking news because she was so much healthier than Bryan. This shows man does not know the day or hour, but God has an appointed time for each of us to be born and to die.

Thanking God for the miracle of each day of life He gives to Bryan!! Thanking Him for the blessing each one of you are to us in walking this road with us. God bless and good-night!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

No News Means We Have Been Busy!

This past week we have canned peaches and pears (17 boxes of fruit). Mom spent the whole time running around to various dr. offices and I (David) peeled fruit for 12 hours straight(or something like that). Sarah didn't even feed me; Hannah and Daniel made lunch. Dinner was late and outside in the dark. We ate more fruit flies than food. Last night was the exception, because I grilled the salmon and Mom finally cut peaches for the fruit salsa! Music from the 1920's and 30's kept us going. Jonathan and I nicknamed one another, "Peachy Pants" and "Hot Syrup." They say when you are exhausted you get giddy, now I think I understand. We had a Ball!

Seriously folks, Dad continues to have internal bleeding problems which the doctors don't know what to do about. We hope that it is dying tumors. He has quite a bit of fluid retention. The fainting has reduced some and the blood pressure seems to be rising, thank God! The hiccups only bother him at night while "sleeping." Although he has a strong voice, he will not be preaching tomorrow because of fatigue. Through the trauma of the week, God has been faithful. We continue to call upon His name to bring healing to Dad.

That's all f0lks!

"Peachy Pants"

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Blessed Be His Name

Yesterday at chemo was somewhat disappointing. I was down a pound in weight and the blood work showed an uptick in the bilirubin level. The week began with Susan's discovery of a bloody bile bag which is monitored at home. News of the bleed prompted Dr. Chen, on Tuesday, to contact Dr. Omdal, the doctor who originally placed the drain, to have a look, which he did today at Swedish. The problem proved to be a blood clot in the drain which Dr. Omdal replaced in a 45 minute procedure. I'm feeling fine today (Wednesday) thanks to a higher blood pressure that seems to be maintaining itself. I realize now that throughout this God is manifesting his comforting presence by giving while taking away at the same time. But blessed be His Name!


Monday, September 14, 2009

Tellin' It Like It Is...And It Is LONG, Sorry!

I recently received a phone call from a friend who lives out of state (out of country, to be exact) and he encouraged me to post regularly because he is not here able to see what's happening in our lives, so he is dependent on this blog to inform him. I assured him I would make a greater effort and I know there are many people in agreement with him.

Facing each day is a challenge for me. I really don't know what to expect. Before I open my eyes in the morning, I ask the Lord for grace and strength and mercy to endure the day set before me. I ask that He will guide me to be a helpmeet to my husband and a joyful mother to our children. I used to have a planned out daily schedule, but it seemed every time I would get it up and running the Lord would encourage me life was according to His plan and schedule, and not mine.

As a veteran homeschooler, I have purchased many books on organizing my time, attended conference sessions on managing my home and even considered an online program to help with lesson plans. Each time I get organized, something happens--not always a bad something--just something, like the need to paint the house, remodel the bathroom or go to the hospital for cancer or to have a baby. So, I quit trying to plan and have determined God will show me the direction I need to travel each day. This works pretty good. For example, I kept thinking I should clean out the frig/freezer in the kitchen, but there was always something more important which prevented this until the day after we came home from camping. When I walked into the kitchen that first morning, I found a brown, sticky fluid pooling on the floor in front of the fridge. The night before, someone decided to "cool" down a Pepsi quickly, forgot, the can exploded and they turned off the freezer to clean it out, decided it was late, went to bed, didn't turn the freezer back on and thus my gift first thing in the morning. A very successful method in getting the freezer cleaned out! I didn't get upset, because I did the same thing when I was about the same age, only it was an 8 pk of glass 7-up bottles evenly distributed among a recently purchased half a beef in my parents' freezer. My mother was reminded of this for an entire year as each package of meat removed for a meal was covered in shards of glass and sticky substance. All this to say that yesterday, while staying home from church because Bryan was not feeling well, I chose to write up a school/chore/meal plan for the new school year. (Kind of silly since we school year round, but anything for new motivation, right?)

I got up first thing this morning, woke the children and we were off to a great start. Sarah was making breakfast while chores were getting done and I went to check on Bryan. Part of my morning routine is giving him his meds and emptying his drain bags. What a surprise when I found a bile bag full of blood. My first thoughts went to that blasted schedule and what was I thinking that I could get organized when I needed to take care of my husband and his unpredictable needs! Then, I prayed. I don't know why I can never get that in the right order. One of these days, I pray, I will pray first then consider my options. Jonathan came on the scene, helped me recall all that happened at the hospital the last time we found this and so we applied hospital technique in our own home. It worked great and a phone call to the doctor assured me that things should be fine in a day or two. So, tomorrow we head off to chemo in the morning. We continued on with our schedule almost as planned and had a successful day.

Bryan looks and is tired and weak. He has lost most of his hair; a side effect of the CPT-11. He rarely speaks, only to request a glass of water or assistance in and out of bed, his chair or the bathroom. He doesn't get out of bed until after 11:00am, generally, and then attempts to read his Bible, but usually falls asleep with book opened on his lap. He often faints when standing and must have assistance at all times. His hiccups seem to only bother him at night, now, so it must be related to the position he sleeps. He can only sleep one way due to his drains and dressings. So far, his skin integrity is holding. He is so thin but is steadily gaining a pound or two each week. Last week, he weighed 104, that's good news and I hope for 106 tomorrow.

My prayer concerns for this week are the blood in the bag, the fainting, and the rising bilirubin. We got as low as 3.2, but last week it was back up to 7.0 and I think he looks jaundiced but once again everyone disagrees with me.

Telling it like it is--it ain't pretty, but through it all we still have hope. Not a hope due to denial, because the truth is pretty plain. But, "(t)his hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast..." Hebrews 6:19

Thank you for enduring with us in prayer and hope (and the long blog post)!

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11- We Will Not Forget!

A very somber day of remembrance. We spent the early part of this day explaining the meaning of 9/11 to our three children born since that fateful day. Hannah had many questions, Grace kept hugging me as I silently wept while we replayed news video from 2001 and James just kept saying "me see it!" It is amazing how raw my emotions were as if it was happening all over again. May it never happen again!!! Let's not forget; we need to tell our children the importance of the second day of infamy for these United States of America.

As for Bryan, he is weak and tired. Last Tuesday, he had developed an infection at the biliary drain site. It was cultured and he began antibiotics. The culture came back negative so Dr. Chen had it re-cultured this Tuesday because there was still active infection after a week of medication. Today, we learned the culture was positive and the particular bacteria is resistant to the antibiotics he has been taking so we are switching to another one. Hopefully, the new antibiotic doesn't have low blood pressure as a side effect. He has been battling hypotension all week; blacking out almost every time he stands up. We try to go very slowly to change positions, but sometimes that doesn't even help. I hope defeating the infection will give him strength once again. He continues to endure the hiccups; often robbing him of sleep at night, but they do seem to be less frequent for which we are thankful.

He asked me to share a devotion we read from Streams in the Desert this afternoon. It was very encouraging to us.

And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. Hebrews 6:15
Abraham was long tried, but he was richly rewarded. The Lord tried him by delaying to fulfill his promise. Satan tried him by temptation; men tried him by jealousy, distrust, and opposition; Sarah tried him by her peevishness. But he patiently endured. He did not question God's veracity, nor limit His power, nor doubt His faithfulness, nor grieve His love; but he bowed to divine sovereignty, submitted to infinite wisdom, and was silent under delays, waiting the Lord's time. And so, having patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
God's promises cannot fail of their accomplishment. Patient waiters cannot be disappointed. Believing expectation shall be realized.
Beloved, Abraham's conduct condemns a hasty spirit, reproves a murmuring one, commends a patient one, and encourages quiet submission to God's will and way. Remember, Abraham was tried; he patiently waited; he received the promise. and was satisfied. Imitate his example, and you will share the same blessing.
Patiently waiting for God's promises,

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Numbers, numbers, numbers

1 -- days home from camping; arrived at chemo 9:00AM; falling asleep driving home at 4:00PM
<1.2--total bilirubin goal
2-- times Bryan spoke at the campout
3-- days (nights) of rain while camping
4-- shirts Bryan wore to stay warm; also coat, scarf, hat and wool blanket!
almost 5--liters of TPN infused daily
5.0--current bilirubin level
9.8--CEA tumor marker reading for this month!!!! The CPT-11 is working.
11--people in my immediate family satisfied with the weekend already talking about next year!
16--loads of wet laundry in the past 24 hours--I'll tackle the dry stuff tomorrow.
25.6 --last CEA reading; very discouraging but it allows for a bigger praise gap with the 9.8.
700--pictures Sarah took camping; hopefully, I'll post some soon!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Happy Labor Day

First, chemo went great! Second, we are going camping!! Third, Bryan will be speaking at the campout!!! We'll catch up later....Thanks for ALL YOUR PRAYERS!!!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity-Jig

We left Swedish tonight around 7:00PM. We are both looking forward to sleeping in our own bed. Bryan is already there and I will follow, shortly, once I get y'all caught up with our lives!

The doctor never found the reason for the bleeding. It has not returned; thank you, Lord! Bryan did decide he would like to get in a round of chemo, so we will be going there tomorrow morning. Depending on how he feels in the evening will determine if we go to our church camp out tomorrow night or wait until Friday morning.

We were amazed at all the work the children had accomplished while we were in Seattle. Our dishwasher decided it no longer needed to function Sunday evening. Since then, Sarah has been preparing food for the camp out as well as regular meals here at home, as a result there have been mounds of dishes which the boys and Esther have joyfully stayed on top of. Repair the dishwasher is on the TO DO list for next week (after the camp out laundry)!! I keep threatening we won't replace it; it is good family time washing dishes together! Right now, anything at home, is good family time!

"...and like a flood His mercy reigns, unending love, amazing grace...He will my shield and portion be as long as life endures..." Chris Tomlin-- Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) **listen below**

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Camping vs. Swedish Resort

Last night at 11:00pm Bryan's body decided it wanted to rest at the Swedish "resort" before we go camping. He discovered blood running into the bile drain bag, I called Dr. Chen and off we went to Seattle with Jonathan to assist. The ER was quiet and we were in and to a bed in the ICU within 3 hours! The doctors are scratching their heads not knowing what caused the now ceased blood flow. It was significant enough to need to transfuse 2 units. No chemo today, obviously! With the blood and no chemo, Bryan says he's feeling well and still intends to go camping with the gang. Amazing!! Hopefully, he will be discharged tomorrow and we can get moving with our plans. God's ways are definitely not our ways, but His way is perfect. God be praised for His continual provision to meet the needs of my husband and our family!

PS Daniel, 9, said, "Too bad Swedish doesn't have a swimming pool."

Monday, August 31, 2009

Looking Forward to Good Things

Bryan was able to preach yesterday. I received many comments from people who thought he seemed stronger than two weeks ago.

This morning he told me he will be finishing up his messages for our church camping trip today. Our friends, the Youngs, have blessed us with the use of their trailer for the weekend so Bryan will not have to sleep in a tent and we won't have to drive to a motel (which we have done the past two years). The children are so excited. Hannah packed her bag last night and told me what all I need to do today to get ready to go. I am fully aware of what it takes to prepare 11 people for a 5 day outing!! This year will be a little tricky with the addition of TPN and hydration, tubes and drains and dressings! I am not complaining, but thanking God that our dad gets to be with us on this camping trip. Not too many months ago did I even see it to be a reality.

Thank you, Lord, for Your gift of life for my husband! Your mercies are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Reaching Goals

Yesterday, after returning from Swedish for bile drain tube replacement, Bryan walked around the block! It was warm and I think it tuckered him out; he slept the rest of the afternoon.

The hiccups continue off and on. The off time is really a blessing and we keep hoping they will not return, but alas they do. He had almost 24 hours free late Wednesday to Thursday, but they returned just before going to bed. Disappointing timing!

Still fighting the low blood pressure. Yesterday's nurse said she hovers in the 80's for systolic pressure. I guess it is just a new normal for Bryan. I get a little jumpy when he stands and walks too quickly. Although he weighs only 102, it is still pretty heavy when it is dead weight, so I prefer he not faint!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Chemo Day Number ??

I have lost track how many chemotherapy treatments Bryan has received. I wish I recorded them all; my grandmother was proud of her record breaking 150 treatments--or something like that. All I know is the cancer center had her do a photo shoot for their brochure since she had more treatments than any previous client. It was really a social outing for her. The doctor said she could stop, but she really enjoyed the attention, so she kept right on going! The amazing thing she was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2001 and died in 2008 from other health problems, not the cancer, at age 94.

Bryan received irinotecan (CPT-11) today although his bilirubin is hanging around 3.7. He said today is the best he has felt in about a week. His blood pressure has been very low this past week. We have increased the dosage of the medication which increases blood pressure and have added potassium to increase electrolyte levels. For those who don't attend our church, Bryan was not in the pulpit on Sunday, he didn't even go. The hiccups kept him awake all night Saturday, and then with the low blood pressure, he knew it would be best to rest rather than preach.

I guess he is saving up energy for our annual church camping trip. He was writing his messages for the upcoming event this evening. It helps to have small goals as we walk this journey. After the camping trip, we await Josiah's 14th birthday at the end of October, then Bryan's birthday in November. I know he would like to eating again by Thanksgiving. If the chemo can reduce the tumors to open the blockage then there is a very real possibility. Pray, pray, pray!

His daily goals are related to exercise. It has been wonderful to see his slow, but sure progress. We started walking 5 minutes a day last week. The first time out he made it halfway to McKinley and back. The next time all the way to McKinley and back. Yesterday, we walked to McKinley and back, then to "I" street and returned home for a total of 15 minutes! We didn't walk today due to a long day at chemo (9:00-5:30). Looking forward to a possible jaunt around the block in a day or two. Small goals, it's not a race, just movin' the ol' bod'.

I close with the Psalm Bryan shared for family devotions tonight:

Psalm 4
Evening Prayer of Trust in God
Answer me when I call O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer.
O sons of men, how long will my honor become a reproach?
How long will you love what is worthless and aim at deception? Selah.
But know that the Lord has set apart the godly man for Himself;
The Lord hears when I call to Him.
Tremble, and do not sin;
Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.
Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
And trust in the Lord.
Many are saying, "Who will show us any good?"
Lift up the light of Your countenance upon us, O Lord!
You have put gladness in my heart,
More than when their grain and new wine abound.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep,
For you alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Family Reunion

I was too tired to post last night! Yesterday, my parents, from Portland, and my brother and his family, from Southern California, came to our house for a 2009 birthday party. We all had a delightful time including an edible present exchange, cake (with everyone's name on it) and ice cream. Bryan enjoyed the festivities, too. When they were getting ready to leave, Bryan stood up to say good-bye and within seconds I saw his eyes glass over so ran to his side to gracefully lower him back into the chair as he blacked out. This is the fourth day in a row of a hypotensive blackout. We have added some potassium to his saline this morning and increased the sodium in his TPN hoping this will balance out the electrolytes so he can maintain his blood pressure. We have added back the medication to help raise it, too. Hopefully, these new additions will help keep him even keeled.

The hiccups continue to be intermittent. He has been hiccup free now for about 14 hours! We can pray they stay away which helps him sleep well.

He is planning on preaching in the morning. Pray for strength of body and voice.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Wednesday Evening (Thursday Morning?)

There has been some good progress this week! After preaching Sunday, Bryan spent most of Monday in bed trying to recover his energy loss. Tuesday, we had an early chemo appointment so we were up and out the door by 8:45. Since Bryan had the CPT-11 on Thursday last week, it was too close to have another infusion of it Tuesday. Thus, he received vitamins, 5FU and leukovorin and 20meq of potassium because his potassium was low. He had a three pound weight gain; after the 16 pound loss in the hospital we have reached triple digits once again!

The exciting news: his hiccups stopped for more than 24 hours! Regretfully, they have returned this evening while attending prayer meeting. It was a nice break and we are praying for more like that!

A little side note: as most of you know, Bryan is a big Nebraska Cornhusker football fan. Needless to say, we were delighted to learn Dr. Chen did his first medical residency at the University of Nebraska and enjoyed a little discussion with him regarding the Huskers. Go Big Red!

Sunday, August 16, 2009


It was wonderful to hear and see my husband preaching on First Peter from the pulpit this morning. It took all his energy and he slept during the fellowship meal. He is sleeping now while receiving a bag of fluids.

I'll start the TPN around 8:00 tonight; it will run for 12 hours. We are adjusting to all the new drains and bags. At one point yesterday, Bryan had 4 bags attached to his body. It makes walking rather difficult so he stays in his chair and has other people get things for him. The time adjustment on the TPN will make it easier for him to start walking further than the bedroom to the living room. We hope to get at least 10 minutes of walking per day this week.

I know he will receive the Erbitux on Tuesday, but it may be too soon to get an infusion of CPT-11 (also called Camptosar or irinotecan) since he had one on Thursday. He may have to wait until next Tuesday for it. This may be a good thing because it will give his frail body time to adjust to the chemo and to continue to heal from the recent gastric drain placement.

Resting in Him,

Friday, August 14, 2009

Life Verses

Years ago, Bryan and I each chose a verse which we deemed our life verses.

Bryan was transitioning between Campus Crusade and seminary. One day, while reading Job 23 he came across verse 12:

I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.
He thought this would be a good verse for someone studying to become a pastor. It has served him well through the years, but especially fits now since he no longer consumes physical food. His entire nutrition is served intravenously.

My life verse is Philippians 4:13:

I can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me.

Prior to Sarah's birth, we attended birth preparation classes. Our instructor suggested we have a picture or a phrase which we could look at or think about during labor to help us focus on the task at hand. I searched the scriptures looking for something which would be suitable and found the above mentioned verse. It has been part of labor and delivery for me nine times! In addition, anytime I find a difficult circumstance I know Jesus is with me giving me the necessary strength and stamina to accomplish what He sets before me.
I hear people say, "God won't give you any more than you can handle." That is so wrong! He gives us way more than we can handle alone--but not more than we can handle with Him as our strength. We have sung about this for years:

Jesus loves me this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong,
They are weak
But, He is strong!

In 2 Corinthians 12:8-10, we are told Paul implored the Lord three times that his thorn in the flesh might leave. God replied,"My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Like Paul, Bryan and I can say, "Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

It's Raining!

I am a native Northwesterner and often times I am very thankful for the rain. Today is no exception, although it was a bit different than usual with thunderstorms and all. Today's rain has a deeper meaning to me. My love of literature and of rain culminates in Ernest Hemingway and something I learned in American Lit. The climactic portions or significant events are marked by rain in his books. Definitely not a man of God and I am not to say I live by Hemingway's novels, but I am surprised how often it rains at significant times in my life--I do live in the Pacific Northwest, and the probability of rain is great! But after such a long dry spell, today's rain was significant because Bryan received the CPT-11 infusion today!

This is the first since May 26th. The cancer has taken advantage of this and we need to fight it back down. We chose to go ahead with the CPT-11 although the bilirubin level is still a bit elevated. This could lead to increased liver toxicity, but which is worse, cancer overtaking the liver or possible liver toxicity? I sure don't know, but it does feel great to know something is attacking the enemy!

Tonight we are thanking God for chemo, rain, Dr. Chen, and God's provision of all these good things.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

We're Home!

Finally, we are all together once again. It was great having a family prayer time tonight in our living room.

When I tucked Bryan in bed he said he felt like he had run a mile. For his body, I am sure he did. Walking from the garage, up the back steps, to the living room is a long walk for someone who hasn't been more than two steps from the side of his bed for four days. He also took two--five minute walks around the nurses station today. Lots of energy output for a low energy guy.

We are trying to establish a new normal. The gastric drain means no food or drink orally except for a few swallows to take some medication. All inputs and outputs must be measured to make sure he is receiving enough fluids and maintaining electrolyte balance through the TPN, his IV nutrition.

We go to chemo tomorrow. Our plan is to ask Dr. Chen the risks vs benefits of infusing the CPT-11 if the bilirubin is still too high. We really need to get started on this chemotherapy to knock out the cancer. The hiccups continue, but are mildly controlled by some medication; side effect--drowsiness. Sometimes he chooses to skip the medication because he wants to be alert with hiccups rather than a zombie without.

Thank you for your prayers, love, fasting, rides for the kids, babysitting, meals, cards and calls!
Words are not able to express the gratefulness we both feel for the outpouring of love from our friends and family!

I'm tired and looking forward to sleeping in my own bed tonight. Good-night and God bless!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Successful Day

I had a drain installed in my stomach earlier this morning and it seems to be working fine. I still have the hiccups, but they do seem to be lessening. Thanks to your prayers we have been sustained through this most recent hospitalization. Hopefully, I will be able to come home tomorrow.


David's graduation went well. Think graduation--speeches, introductions, awards, handshaking! He had a great week. Thanks for your prayers. We're glad to have him home. Hopefully, tomorrow we will all be together as a family once again!

Praising God for His continual provision,

Monday, August 10, 2009

An Extended Vacation

The results of the abdominal x-ray show a small bowel obstruction possibly due to enlarged lymph nodes. A NG tube was placed last night with the hope that removal of the stomach fluid would relieve the hiccups--this was not successful, although it did relieve the abdominal pressure and vomiting.

Bryan will not be able to attend David's graduation as planned (why do we plan?) since he will have a procedure tomorrow to insert a gastric tube. This will take a few days to heal and then he can come home. Everything they are currently doing in the hospital I can do at home except for the stomach draining; this tube will make this possible.

Please pray for the bilirubin level to drop low enough so Bryan can have the "big gun" chemo. There is still a glimmer of hope we can beat this cancer if we can get back on the CPT-11.

Trusting in the Lord, knowing He is good and will not withhold from them that walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11). Yet, with Habakkuk I cry, "How long, Oh Lord, how long?" His timing is perfect and He ordains all things; even extended vacations! ; )

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A Swedish Vacation

Yes, once again we are finding a, hopefully, short vacation at the Swedish "hotel." We have a room with a view of the Space Needle. We have room service, that is if they would let Bryan eat. I had a cot so I could comfortably spend the night; early preparations for the church camp out! The nurses did his dressing changes, passed meds and hung the TPN so I was a lady of luxury watching my husband being cared for rather than doing the caring. What more could one ask for?


We haven't solved the hiccups. Medications slow them down, but don't eradicate them. He will go for an abdominal x-ray this afternoon to see what may be irritating his diaphragm. The initial guess by the ER doc was the pneumonia which is still lingering in his left lung. Dr. Chen doesn't agree, so we will wait and see what the x-ray will show. The results will determine the next step.

Bryan says he's still fighting. It is amazing how hope is renewed when one is hydrated! We rescheduled his chemo for Thursday this week, so Bryan could attend David's graduation from his Police Explorer Academy Basic Training. It would be a blessing if Bryan could still attend. We know God knows what is best, but we will make the desire of our hearts known.

Thank you, Lord, Your mercies are new every morning! Great is Your faithfulness!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

They're Baaaack!!

It has been a trying few days. The hiccups resolved after six hours, but then returned. Currently, they are intermittent. They stop when he vomits and then return within the hour. Drinking Dr. Pepper seems to give some relief, too. The vomiting has left him very weak and dehydrated. He has the TPN through the night, but it can't keep up with the fluid loss of vomiting. His stomach is not wanting to drain, although there is not a blockage. The condition is called gastroparesis. If he drinks fluids to stay hydrated, the stomach fills and then has to empty the wrong way.

Bryan is discouraged. He was looking forward to preaching on the holiness of God tomorrow. Now, we aren't even sure if he can attend church. It's a big Sunday with a baby recognition for two new little people, welcoming some new members, the last Sunday for two returning college students and Grace's birthday. The latter is not a church event, but it means something to her since she will be 5. When you are five it is difficult to understand things like cancer, but you know what it's like to vomit and "it isn't fun, Mommy!"

Please pray for God's mercy. I also ask for wisdom as to how I can best meet Bryan's needs. Should I take him to the hospital, again?

Lord, give us wisdom, direction and hope!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Hiccups Resolved!

The hiccups lasted approximately 6 hours, but praise God they did resolve and Bryan felt well enough to attend prayer meeting last night. It was a full house, and, as always, a blessed time before the Throne.

Thank you for your continual prayer and encouragement!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


The stent is not blocked, but the hiccups have returned.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Blessings and Challenges

Lately, I have been battling a reflux which leads to vomiting. Some days I vomit twice which makes my four pound weight gain today at the center a miracle. The blood work was also very positive today. My hematocrit had gone up, the white count was normal and the bilirubin is down. Tonight, I literally feel like a new man. The reflux has disappeared possibly in response to today's infusion? Just to be sure I am not developing a blockage, Susan and I will head to Swedish tomorrow for an endoscopy with Dr. Bedard. This is to check to determine if the stent is partially blocked which could be the cause of my recent discomforts.

One not so positive note, (remember the roller coaster), came when we discovered the CEA drawn last week came back at 25, the highest CEA reading I have ever had. All of this is relative, of course, and we have taken it in stride thanks to God's mercy and your faithful prayers. Dr. Chen thinks that I need to be back on the CPT-11 for a more effective approach for my cancer. Hopefully, next week I can begin this again. The bilirubin level must be below 2 for this to happen. Please pray accordingly.

Susan and I did enjoy a rich time of fellowship discussing the holiness of God, a subject I have been meditating upon for next Sunday's sermon. The subject matter of the remainder of First Peter chapter one is sanctification and holiness. It is so true that a contemplation of the holiness of God is the most sublime and greatest subject which can be contemplated by the mind of man. May I recommend Stephen Charnock's great magnum opus, The Existence and Attributes of God. This book spends all of 99 pages on the great subject of the holiness of God and the necessity for man to be holy as his God is holy. (I Peter 1:16)

Friday, July 31, 2009

Friends With Cancer Update

I thought I would give a few details regarding the list of friends with cancer:

Colin is the nephew of our long time friends, the Ngs, and he lives in Alaska with his family. He just reached the one year mark of his leukemia diagnosis and has finished one of three years of treatment and has been doing quite well for which his family is very encouraged. Friday, the doctors in Anchorage thought his cancer had returned, but after doctors in Seattle examined the labs they said everything was fine. He'll continue receiving his daily chemo treatments at home. The 24 hour roller coaster ride was tough but praise God for the great outcome!

Gabri is the daughter-in-law of a former piano teacher and friend. She and her husband, John, have been married three weeks and her thyroid cancer diagnosis is newer than that. They need prayer for financial decisions. She only has health insurance through the end of August. Pray for wisdom for them as the face so many decisions that can rock the boat of seasoned couples. Pray for grace, strength and wisdom beyond their years.

We met Joe (liver) and Judy (pancreatic) at the Seattle Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center. We haven't seen either of them for a few weeks so I don't know their recent specific prayer needs. Pray for wisdom, strength, courage, lack of side effects, encouragement and hope; these are the needs of all cancer patients.

Julie, like all of these friends, needs a miracle. Her breast cancer has metastasized extensively to the bone. Pray for comfort and lack of pain.

Mike, my cousin's husband, is in a clinical trial. He travels to Southern California from Southern Oregon every three weeks for his treatments. He has continued to work through this time but is currently not feeling well. Pray for healing and encouragement.
Day by Day
Day by day and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father's wise bestowment,
I've no cause for worry or for fear.
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best--
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.
Ev'ry day the Lord Himself is near me
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear, and cheer me,
He whose name is Counselor and Pow'r.
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
"As your days, your strength shall be in measure,"
This is the pledge to me He made.
Help me then in ev'ry tribulation
So to trust Your promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith's sweet consolation
Offered me within Your holy Word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
E'er to take, as from a father's hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Till I reach the promised land.

Words by Carolina Sandell Berg, 1865; translated by Andrew L Skoog
Music by Oscar Ahnfelt (which can be found in the playlist at the bottom of this page)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Another Adventure

Bryan awoke Wednesday morning with a fever of 101.6. Not a good way to begin the day. We went to see his primary doc and Bryan was diagnosed with aspiration pneumonia. He had two instances of burning gastric reflux, Monday night and Tuesday afternoon, where he knows he aspirated the gastric juices. A simple treatment of amoxicillin and hopefully we will be back to battling only cancer. He was also given some medication to control the reflux which has been successful. His throat is quite sore and he is hoarse from the burning and coughing. Pray he recovers by Sunday to deliver his sermon.

Also, please pray for Bryan's primary physician, Dr. Retailliau. He was hit by a car while riding his bike to work recently. He has 3 broken ribs and a collapsed lung. As a result, he is not seeing patients, but was willing to see Bryan, for which we are thankful.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It's Hot in the Pacific Northwest!

We are breaking all kinds of weather records here this week. With the excessive heat there are many warnings for the elderly and frail patients. We contemplated staying in a motel for a few nights so Bryan could be cool and not dehydrate too quickly! Then, we considered a window air conditioner.

Our friend, Denis, was at the house yesterday morning around 10:00AM to measure the front porch for a handrail. He heard our discussion and said he would install it, if we could get one. Pollocks usually move rather slow in this kind of major purchase. We research Consumer Reports, price compare and shop, wait for a sale and then, still question whether or not it is the right thing to do. Once it is purchased, the instructions are read multiple times to determine the perfect installation process and then wait for the perfect time to install. Not yesterday! Time was of the essence--it was getting hot as we spoke. Sarah checked CR online and called Lowes; they were sold out of the CR Best Buy. Next option? Costco! It was 11:00 when I arrived with David to get an air conditioner. We saw people leaving with them. I asked one guy if he bought the last one--"No, Ma'am, but they are going fast." We got one and Denis had it installed by 1:00PM!! It has maintained a comfortable temperature in the living area. Thank you, Denis!

Bryan's bilirubin level continues to drop. Although, it is still too high for the CPT-11, thus we continue with Erbitux, and 5FU/Leukovorin only. Dr. Chen would really like to start this again since Bryan's last infusion of the CPT-11 was May 26. A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then!

Today, his white count was high and red count low, again. He was given a Procrit shot to help increase red cells. The "stomach" spasms continue intermittently and he has developed a very burning acid reflux. It was so harsh last night that it gave him a sore throat and raspy voice most of this day. Please pray his voice recovers for Sunday and the reflux ends.

Praising God for His sustaining grace,

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


We had a special guest visiting from Virginia this week, Craig Figgers, one of our "military missionaries." Craig serves in the Air Force, and he and his wife, Trish, attended Pilgrim Bible Church. He was able to accompany us to the cancer center today before Susan drove him to the airport for his flight home. It was a great visit and we appreciate the Figgers' continuing friendship across the miles and years!

Today, the blood work indicated a drop in the bilirubin level which causes jaundice. The hematocrit indicates a minor drop of one point which means it is holding its own. It would help if I could walk more but the oppressive heat precludes that for now. Add to this the fact I have to lug around the heavy TPN bag, and walking becomes quite a chore. Pray for cooler weather when I can walk in the morning or early afternoon when I'm not connected to the TPN bag.

I seem to be developing bothersome spasms in the stomach. Don't know yet what that's about, but please pray. We are encouraged by the blood work though, and for my ability to receive a full chemo infusion today. Pray the nausea won't be too bad.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Home from the Hospital

After 14 days of hiccups which plagued me virtually day and night, I am home from the hospital hiccup free! I now possess, thanks to a 45 minute radiological procedure, which took place yesterday morning at Swedish Hospital in Seattle, two drains in my bile duct. One of these is an interior drain which drains excess bile into the duodenum. The other is a drain which removes bile into an external bag from my liver through the right side of my rib cage. These will remain at least until the jaundice is resolved. The duodenal stent was blocking the bile duct preventing it from draining properly. Thus, the backup leading to jaundice.

I was mildly sedated throughout the whole procedure which proved to be quite painful even in spite of the pain meds they gave me. The pain has persisted since the surgery, but seems to be resolving this evening. The greatest news of all, though, is that I have been hiccup free for nearly 36 hours! Again, thank you very much for sustaining me with your prayers!

Monday, July 13, 2009

A New Procedure

Tomorrow morning, at 7:30, Susan and I will be at Swedish Hospital reporting for a stent placement to drain the bile duct. Today's CT scan revealed a dialated bile duct, but there is no apparent tumor associated with it. I will spend one night for observation following this procedure. It is hoped that this stent will relieve the jaundice. Please pray that it will also stop the hiccups (day 13) and help restore strength to my body. Again, thank you for your ongoing prayers for us. We continue to trust the Lord for healing. We will update you when we return home from the hospital in a couple of days.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

More Hope!

After the disappointing Tuesday meeting with Dr. Cunningham,where he suggested the chemo was proving ineffective, Thursday, Dr. Chen negated practically everything Dr. Cunningham said. Dr. Chen informed us that the most recent CEA blood test was 6.4, and this was down from a previous reading of 16 after one infusion of Erbitux and 5FU Leucovorin! That sounds pretty effective to me! In addition, Dr. Chen re-started the TPN to help me stay hydrated and insure extra nutrition. We are praising God for these blessings and looking forward to what God has in store for us. We are to set our hope on the Lord's mercies and blessings, but we're also thankful for the instruments God uses as channels of hope!

Due to a critically low hematocrit of 23 on Thursday, I received 2 units of blood yesterday and have had more energy today as a result. On Monday, I will undergo a CT scan at 8:00AM at St. Joseph's Outpatient Radiology; please pray that the findings would furnish further cause for hope. Pray the scan may reveal the source of the hiccups that are on going. At times they are so severe I must struggle for my breath! I am getting some relief from a medication that gives me up to four hours hiccup free, God be praised! But we'd like to find a permanent answer!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wednesday Evening

I've had these uncontrollable hiccups for one week now, and we're trying a new medicine which is supposed to relax the diaphragm and keep it from spasming. Some spasms are so intense they take the breath away! The only escape I get is when sleep mercifully comes upon me and I'm able to snatch two or three hours from the night. As a result, I nap the day away and don't really wake up until 5:00 or 6:00PM. We're still hopeful the new drug will kick in and totally relax the diaphragm.

The blood work is not encouraging. Liver function is completely abnormal and there may be a blockage in the bile duct. I'm very jaundiced which means the liver is secreting bilirubin into the blood stream. My white counts are critically high, while my hematocrit is critically low at 25; no wonder I am so fatigued! It's difficult walking since my legs are so weak. In short, I'm a mess. We see Dr. Chen tomorrow. Hopefully, he'll have some answers. Please keep praying especially for Susan whose having to bear up with so much: care for the family, care for me. She is such a wonderful trooper!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sunday--or Monday Morning

I am staying awake to observe Bryan. The hiccups have continued and now interfere with his breathing. It seems he gets a hiccup caught and is not able to get his air. Very disappointing! Also, the jaundice is becoming more severe; I think the doctors will see it on Tuesday.

Today we went to church as a family! Our friend, Ken Millar, is visiting from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada and also attended church with us. By God's grace and mercy, Bryan was able to preach today even though he hiccuped all through it. His mom and brother were also there.

As always, the support and encouragement we receive from the people at Pilgrim Bible Church is overwhelming. Love is outpoured from the youngest to the oldest. It is so precious to have young people (under 10 years) come up to Bryan and say, "I'm praying for you, Pastor!" Sometimes they make cards or draw pictures. Thank you, each and everyone, for all the notes and pictures, fasting and praying. God hears your prayers!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Hiccup Day 3

The hiccups continue...not sure the cause. Bryan does have small breaks. He says those occur with peristalsis, obviously related to digestion; or could be a tumor pushing against the diaphragm. Guess, guess, guess.

Last night was a repeat of Wednesday--two hours after we began his TPN he started shivering with a fever and had elevated blood sugar. We called the infusion nurse, he would pass the information on to the pharmacist on call. Three day weekends make it difficult to communicate effectively with medical personnel. Anyhow, fever is gone this morning, we finished the TPN. It seems if it was an infection it wouldn't improve over time, only get worse. It seems that would be the case, I'm only the wife; the frustrated with medical practice wife.

A negative post--sorry--I should have spent time in the Word first. Off to do just that!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Lazy Days of Summer

After a busy morning, I have not been able to get motivated. Just sittin' around enjoying the summer breeze through the open window! It sounds picturesque, but doesn't tell the whole story!

Tuesday's chemo appointment went well. Bryan weighed in at 110, just a pound shy of his weight prior to the week in ICU! We discussed his chemo drugs with Dr. Cunningham and have determined to eliminate the CPT-11 since it was causing severe diarrhea and extremely low white counts. He attributes this to the reason for the hospitalization. As a result, we continue with the Erbitux, 5FU and Leukavorin. This makes the infusion day much shorter!

The staph infection in his arm is still improving, doctor wants to continue another seven days of oral antibiotics to insure complete healing.

Last night, Bryan was feeling well enough to attend prayer meeting. Off we went with two IV infusions--5FU and TPN. Following our prayer time, we tested his blood sugar which is required two hours after start of the TPN. We were shocked to see a 342 reading! He was cold while praying and we assumed it was due to not allowing the TPN to get to room temperature before hooking him up. We went straight home to call the infusion nurse for instructions with a high blood sugar reading. She asked us to test again and then Bryan's blood sugar was 377. She asked if he had any signs of infection--I told her about him being cold earlier so I took his temperature and no surprise to her it was 102.9! She suggested we call the doctor. Dr. Cunningham assumed Bryan had an infection of his central line which the TPN uses. He had us discontinue TPN for the evening, give Bryan tylenol and come into the office first thing this morning!

We arrived at the Seattle Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center at 7:45AM today. As always, Bryan was weighed and vitals taken. His weight--drum roll please--113! We haven't seen that in quite some time!! His blood pressure was another story--78/45. Dr. Cunningham said it would have put him back in ICU if we went to the hospital. He pulled the central line and sent it to the lab to culture for infection. As a result, Bryan will only have TPN five days a week since it is not compatible with the 5FU and his only access now is the power port. If he keeps packing on the weight, we will be able to discontinue the TPN since he is able to eat on his own now. Yesterday, he consumed about 1500 calories. We need to get that to a consistent 2000 a day in order to discontinue, but it shouldn't be that difficult. The VitaMix has been such a blessing--it purees everything to a consistency which is compatible with his stent.

Another loop on the roller coaster, but we are still on the track! Two things to add to your prayer list, hiccups and possibly, jaundice. He developed a case of hiccups yesterday afternoon and they kept him awake most of the night. They still continue today. He finds gargling with ice water stops them for a short time, but then they return. The children and I think Bryan looks a bit yellow, but the doctors don't think so. This could be from the TPN, it is hard on the kidneys and liver or this could be from tumor growth in the liver. He had a CEA drawn on Tuesday and today we were told it was 16--significantly up since the 6.8 in May. There are many possible explanations--no chemo for two weeks, multiple hospitalizations and drugs, the infection developing in the central line, the staph infection, tumor growth or tumor necrosis. Bryan is not concerned and is glad we are not in the hospital and we are still moving forward today, resting in the goodness of God!

Thus, I am resting in the goodness of God, just sittin' around enjoying the summer breeze!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Home Again

It is good to be home from the hospital, my fifth hospitalization since January 25 when we got the diagnosis. I did come home this time with a probable staph infection in my right forearm. The danger here is that my ports might become infected. Please pray this will not transpire, that God would protect both ports. We visit the cancer center tomorrow for a possible bag of IV Vancomycin although I am on daily doses of oral Keflex. It seems to be doing the trick, but the arm is somewhat red and inflamed even now. Pray I may be deemed healthy enough to resume chemotherapy tomorrow. It has been two weeks since the last infusion, and we don't want the cancer to gain the upper hand. We know that a sovereign God is able to work His will either with means, without means or even against means, so may His great power be made manifest in this situation for His great glory!

I'm learning that God is faithful to suffering saints even in the deepest pits of sorrow and suffering. How true He will never leave us or forsake us (Heb. 13:5). He is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18; 147:3). These things I once knew only intellectually, but now by experience. This is why our sufferings are not to be shunned, but welcomed as friends. After all, they help loosen our grip on this physical world and fit us for our eternal inheritance (I Peter 5:10). I close this post with this great benediction from Jude 24-25 "Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday Night

The infection in Bryan's arm is slowly responding to the antibiotics, but it is responding! His diet is progressing slowly, too. He hasn't had the opportunity to see just how well his duodenal stent works until yesterday and today when he ate a fairly normal quantity of soft food. Sarah and I are getting creative in concocting soft foods. A great discovery we made today is So Delicious yogurt--it is made with coconut milk and active cultures! This will help get some probiotics in his system without having to take another pill and it is dairy free; a real plus when trying to heal the gut.

He is still recovering from time in the hospital--regaining strength, fatigue and weight. I am looking forward to chemo on Tuesday when we can see how much progress he makes on the TPN.

Short post--I'm struggling to keep my eyes open. Please pray for rest, strength, weight, and that the cancer doesn't take advantage of two weeks off chemo. THANKS!!

Good-night and God bless, Susan