Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Day in the Life of the Pollocks

Our day began as usual, Mom the first up, followed by Daniel, then David. Quiet times, showers, dressed and breakfast. Normal enough.

As Bryan and I were getting ready to go to chemo, animal control arrived to pick up the vicious dog that lives across the street. The renter is currently in jail on drug charges and the landlord changed the locks on Friday night. Animal control gave someone 36 hours to get rid of the dog. Sarah has lived in fear of this dog for two years. Often we have to rescue people walking down the street when the dog charges them with his ferocious bark and snarl. We even once saw our mail carrier, Bryan, mace him twice as he charged menacingly up behind him. Animal control spent one and half hours trying to capture this critter. They even had a police officer as backup. We are thankful for a responsible landlord and the patience of the animal control officer to clear out this menace.

As they were finishing up, I brought the car around front from the garage. When we went to leave, the car wouldn't start. We let it sit a minute then tried again to no avail. I went inside to get the boys to help me move it out of the way so we could take the van. By the time we returned, Bryan had it started. I was a little apprehensive to drive 40 minutes north with a unstable vehichle, but he thought we'd be fine. We drove all the way there with no problem.

Shortly, Sarah went across the street to teach her piano student and when she got home Evelyn Raymond was here with her son, Blake, delivering tonight's dinner. (The ladies of our church bring dinner on Tuesday so Bryan can eat as soon as we get home and Sarah can concentrate on watching/teaching children rather than having to prepare a meal. Thank you, ladies!) While assembling the meal in the kitchen, Sarah and Evelyn heard Grace crying and Hannah screaming about Grace bleeding. They had been playing in the basement with James, Daniel and Blake.

Sarah phoned me in Renton to tell of the situation and we decided Grace should go to Mary Bridge Children's Hospital for stitches after cracking her forehead open on a can of tomatoes. Providentially, Evelyn was still at our house so the three of them took off to the ER, and Jonathan and David manned the fort. Three and one half hours later, and 8 stitches to close the gash to the bone, they returned home. Here is Grace's interpretation of the event:

I wish I didn't get that blood. I shouldn't have been jumping on the futon. I got the blood on my hands and my arm and my other hand. And I got some stitches on my forehead and when they put them in it hurted. When it hurted, it hurted really bad. It sort of stinged like a bee. I hope you had a good day today. My head got knocked on a can. When I was laying down it sort of looked like I was crying, but I wasn't crying and then I knocked my head on the big tomato can that we get at Costco. I hope my whole family is doing good. And I got some stickers and some crayon bandaids. I'll be better soon, but not today, but I'll be better some other day!

We finished chemo a little later today. When we got out to the car it started up with no problems. We drove a short distance to Southcenter Mall and as I was driving through the parking lot, it died. By God's grace, there was an empty parking spot that I was able to turn into with the momentum of the car. We sat for a minute and then it started up again and got us on home! I think we need to get this checked out.

As if this isn't enough adrenaline for the day--two young men attempted to enter the now dog free property. Jonathan called the landlord (which he requested if we saw anything strange). Bryan and I walked in from chemo as the phone was ringing--the police calling to speak with Jonathan since the landlord called them. Not long after did the police arrive and with guns drawn they apprehended these guys, much to our surprise. We thought they had left, but they must have entered the house through a back window or door. The children couldn't decide which was more exciting, Steve McQueen on his motorcycle in The Great Escape (the movie they were watching at the moment)or the police activity outside. They kept running back and forth between movie and window! Both young men were arrested and rode off in the police car. We all celebrated because justice had been done! Evelyn decided that after six hours of ministering to the Pollocks it was safe for her to venture out the front door and return home to the safety of Bonney Lake!

We have eaten dinner and things are calmer here. Shortly, I need to pickup David from his Tacoma Police Explorer Scout meeting. He had his oral boards tonight; I pray he passed. Living in our neighborhood has given him the opportunity to know what police work is all about. I only wish he had been here for the arrest this evening, he would have enjoyed it. Jonathan will go with me just in case I have car trouble!

Bryan's chemo went well. He didn't gain the weight the doctors wanted but he held his own so we are still thankful for that. We have a better plan for nausea this week, please pray it works. It is difficult to eat when one's stomach is upset. Sunday was his best day of the past week--he preached for 40 minutes and had two counseling sessions. He had no nausea on that day, either. He had some nausea yesterday which they call anticipatory nausea or nausea caused by the anticipation of chemo; this is very common. Please pray it is a better week for Bryan nausea wise. He also feels he is brewing the cold that has been plaguing the family this past week. Please keep him in your prayers!

PS David passed and we got home with no car trouble!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Healthy? ---We're Not Physically, but...

spiritually, YES!

James has run a fever off and on since early Tuesday morning. He hasn't slept well and thus, I haven't either. Last night, I slept on the couch with him so not to bother Bryan when getting up with the baby. Needless to say, another lost night of sleep. Others have colds, sore throats and runny noses. Hopefully, we will all be well by Sunday and Bryan doesn't pick up this nasty cold.

Rejoicing in the Lord for He is good!

Friday, February 20, 2009


Hello! My name is Esther and I am 11 years old. This is a picture of me re-enacting at Fort Nisqually.

When I was 4, my daddy was diagnosed with colon cancer. I had no understanding at all except that I was going to see Grandma more often!

In February 2007, we were celebrating five years of Daddy being "cancer free!" In May, the day after Jonathan's birthday, Daddy was very sick. Mom and Dad went to the doctor and when they got home we all sat down and talked things over. Dad and Mom were saying Daddy had cancer again and would be going to the hospital in the afternoon. I was 9 then and had a better understanding, but I still had a lot of questions I wanted to ask! When Dad was in the hospital, it wasn't very hard for me because we were usually at a friend's house or watching a movie and fun things like that. After Dad got out of the hospital we got our life back in order.

Now that Dad has cancer again, I understand better of what's going on. This third time of cancer I think has been the hardest for me, but I know that God is in control and that NOTHING what-so-ever surprises Him! I love Daddy very, very, much! Please keep him in your prayers! Thanks so much for all your love and especially all your prayers!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Update-Sunday through Wednesday

By God's great grace I was able to preach His Word for about 30 minutes this past Sunday. Though I sat on a stool behind the pulpit, my voice grew steadier and stronger as I preached! I never cease to marvel at the power of God Who sustains and empowers me to preach His Word even through my illness. I kept thinking of Paul's words in 2 Corinthians 12:9 when our Lord said to him,"My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness," Paul therefore concludes: "Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may dwell in me." I can only add a heartfelt "amen" to this great truth!

Monday I pretty much spent resting up for chemo on Tuesday. It was a clear, though somewhat brisk day, so Susan and I walked for quite some way, and it felt great. I'm also looking forward to exercising my way back to health besides eating right.

Tuesday's chemo was pretty uneventful, just the way we want it. My hematocrit was 32 which is good for me, especially in light of the fact it had been a mere 15 only ten days before! Dr. Reilly, my naturopath at the Seattle Cancer and Treatment Wellness Center, gave me the goal of getting to 125 lbs. by next Tuesday. I weighed in at a strapping 122 and that was with my shoes on!! That's right, I'm pretty much a walking skeleton, so please pray my diet will kick in to give me a much needed weight gain. And please pray I can effectively control the nausea which is a common side-effect of the chemo I'm taking. I'm no longer on the Avastin; one of the possible side effects is internal bleeding. We don't know for sure, but it is possible this drug promoted the GI bleed which put me in the hospital. --Bryan

Today, Bryan had a rough one! The nausea overtook him which we were hoping would not happen. The doctor called in a new medication, which, hopefully, will help get things under control. It makes it difficult to gain weight when the thought of food turns the stomach. Please pray that tomorrow will be a better day! --Susan

Friday, February 13, 2009

Grace Octavia

I am four, that's how old I am. I like to play outside and I like to play with Cody; but Cody is not here. Cody stays with us when our friends go on vacation. He is the Ng's dog. I like to do school and Highland dance after I do my school. I sometimes go outside and play.

I missed my daddy when he was in the hospital, but now he's home. He's working on his sermon for church. He watches "Hogan's Heroes" with me and he eats a lot of stuff. He gives kisses to me when I go to bed. Sometimes when I go to bed Daddy reads books to me. I love my daddy!

Contemplating Valentine's Day

I am encouraged at Bryan's progress as he recovers from his hospital stay. His appetite is good and he is sleeping well. This afternoon we bundled up and took a walk down to McKinley Ave. (1/2 a block) and back. His voice is gaining strength; please pray it will be ready for Sunday morning. He intends on preaching--it is what he lives for!

Seven years ago today was his first cancer surgery. I'll never forget that Valentine's Day, how we rejoiced in the goodness of God in catching the tumor so early. This Valentine's Day we will again rejoice in the goodness of God for allowing us one more day together. As you celebrate with those you love, be thankful for one more day. Don't wait to say "I love you" only on February 14th, you never know if today may be your last opportunity to tell someone you love them.

To view this video you will need to scroll down to the bottom to pause the music on our playlist.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

God's Mercies

I spent this first full day home from the hospital enjoying my family and my Lord. I spent a good portion of the day preparing to preach First Peter on Sunday, God willing. I am grateful for God's mercies and for His sustaining grace.

Thank you for your love and prayers for our family. We have definitely sensed the power of prayer throughout these trying times. My pathway of suffering reminds me of the theme verse of First Peter, found in the fifth chapter, the twelfth verse, "this is the true grace of God, stand fast in it."

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


After the disappointing news this morning, we are happy to announce that Dad is now home and enjoying a bowl of homemade soup! Thank you all for your prayers.

Rejoicing in the Lord,
The Pollock Children


Bryan didn't come home yesterday, and after my phone call with him just now, he most likely will not be coming home today! We are disappointed.

We were very encouraged as his hematocrit raised as high as 34, Monday evening. Since the 34, though, he has had a downward spiral to 31 and now 27. This is a good indicator of more internal bleeding. Anything below 25 justifies more blood. Please pray for it to remain above 25!

He is no longer in the PCU. Last night they moved him to the oncology floor. It is a rather morbid place. Very stark and people coughing and yelling. I've been spending nights with him while he was in the unit, but came home last night to get things ready to bring him home. Now, I wish I had stayed. He did say he had the best sleep since he arrived at the hospital. Thank you, Lord!

We really appreciate all the prayers, love, thoughts, notes, comments which you have sent our way. We are truly blessed.

In His Grace,

Monday, February 9, 2009


Today was a better day for us. My dad was hoping to come home today, but God's plan was different. It appears only one more night will be necessary.

Many improvements were made today. His hematocrit rose on its own to 29. Praise the Lord! Obviously, the wound is healing. He is no longer confined to a liquid diet and relished his first real meal since Saturday morning. When I visited him this evening, he was a completely different person. He was sitting up in bed, with good skin color and a strong voice. Continue to pray that the wound does not reopen and lower the hematocrit, requiring another transfusion. Also, that we get the pathology report from the endoscopy.

Dad spent several hours at the hospital alone today, as Mom came home to spend a little time with us, and used it to pour through the Word of God to find encouragement and comfort. Isaiah 41:10 was one of the verses he shared with me.

" Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you,
for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will
uphold you with My righteous right hand."
May God be our comfort and strength through times of difficulty.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Endoscopy Results

Bryan had his endoscopy this morning.

We are thankful no current bleeding was found. His esophagus and stomach were normal.

We are prayerful for the mass engulfing his duodenum, that possibly the chemo shrinking the tumor caused it to pull away and ulcerate, thus bleed. After 3 units of blood, his hematocrit rose to 26, after being 15 upon arrival at the hospital. This morning it dropped to 24, which justified a fourth unit of blood. He is still at St. Joe's and looks great now that he is tanked up with fluids and blood. Not sure when he'll come home, hopefully tomorrow.

I want to say thank you to all those who donate blood! It saved my husband's life! To those of you who haven't, it's not that difficult. It's an opportunity to give of yourself to help save someone's life.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Today's Update

My dad has been hospitalized due to extremely low blood pressure and an elevated pulse rate. Earlier this afternoon, he was experiencing light headedness and shortness of breath and nearly fainted. His blood pressure was taken and his numbers were not good. Paramedics were called and they put him on oxygen and gave him an IV feed. Once stabilized, he was transported to the hospital.

Tests revealed that there was internal bleeding somewhere, and a transfusion was required. He will be held overnight for monitoring and will undergo an endoscopy and colonoscopy presumably tomorrow, to find the source of the bleeding. Please pray that the doctors will find the blood source quickly and will solve the problem. We know that God's will is being done and are resting in His Sovereign Grace.

Jonathan, for the Pollock family

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Hi! I'm Hannah and I am six years old. It is strange that my daddy has cancer again. I am hoping that he gets better very soon. Please pray for him. I love him very much.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Encyclopedias and Drug Manuals

When Bryan and I were dating (courtship wasn't in our vocabulary at that time), I'll never forget sitting across from him in a little coffee shop and he asked me what I did on Friday nights. By this time, I had graduated from college and was a full-time working woman so Friday nights were not that exciting and I spent most of them reading the encyclopedia (those of you who do this will totally understand, the rest of you will really think I'm wierd); how do you explain that to the man you want to marry? Honesty is always the best policy and much to my surprise he admitted to the same!

Our first year of marriage was spent in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada where Bryan interned in a church. We had a friend, Linda Walter, who thought it hilarious that we always had our noses in some sort of reference book. Even today, as the encyclopedias are brought to the dinner table to bring fuller understanding to some discussion, Bryan or I will say, "If only Linda could see us now!" Well, yesterday's chemo was a Linda moment.

We were asking the nurse to explain a lab result so she brought us her nurses handbook, showed us the answer and then walked away. I told Bryan I would love to read that book. Later, as we were discussing nausea medication, she brought in her drug manual. The more questions I asked, the more she searched until she said, "Would you like me to leave this with you?" I was delighted to read all about side effects, contraindications, various drug trials, ... fascinating! Too bad it was Tuesday afternoon and not Friday night!

Chemo Day Two 02/03/09

Yesterday, was a better experience than last week for Bryan. We were better prepared--trying to get back into the groove of chemo. A week of nausea was too much to not be prepared. The shocking event was a seven pound weight loss. He tips the scale at 125, that is not good! The nausea just overtook him and he was afraid to eat to prevent vomitting. After discussing this with the nurse practitioner, she suggested he may have been in a viscious cycle of low blood sugar causing nausea, not feeding it, then the blood sugar dropping more, causing more nausea. We chose to fill him with food before chemo and then munching all during his infusion. He said he felt stronger as a result but he still suffers from the nausea today. Please pray we can conquer this nausea and Bryan can gain weight. Though he has had nausea today, he has been able to keep his food down.