Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Lifestyle Change

We received devastating news today: the stenosis in my duodenum is almost completely blocked and no food is passing through. As a result, I will need to have a feeding tube placed for nutrition and a drain for the stomach. This is not a death sentence, but a lifestyle change which will take some getting used to. This is God's way of relaxing my grip on earth and its tastes and pleasures and giving me a relish for the greater tastes and glories of heaven. Please pray for us as we go through this time of changes for my family and me.

Pray for Stent Placement

Bryan remains in the hospital. This afternoon he will have another scope to see if there is a possibility of placing the stent. If the stenosis has closed too much, that will not be possible and the doctors have suggested placement of a feeding tube below the closing. Our prayer is for placement of the stent. Although, this means an adjusted diet of no foods with skins or peels. This would indicate no bean burritos with pico de gallo (very difficult for my blond Latino, tomato lover), but solid food without skin would be better than liquids only! As always, we only desire the will of God, knowing He knows what is best for Bryan.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Today's Endoscopy Results

The results of the endoscopy are in.... There is a partial blockage somewhere, we haven't been informed yet, that has trapped food in the stomach. An NG tube has been inserted to completely empty the stomach. We will continue to update as soon as we have new information. Please continue to pray.


Morning Report

Bryan just phoned. I was at the hospital last night, or this morning, until 12:15 waiting for the doctor. Bryan said it was good I went home to get some sleep because the doctor didn't arrive until 3:15 at which time Bryan had an EKG and blood drawn. He will have the scope later today after receiving 2 units of blood. (For those of you who participated in the Pilgrim Bible blood drive enough time has elapsed for you to give again!)

Thank you for your continual prayers, calls, notes, gifts, all are a blessing to us and our family!

Here We Go Again

One good thing about having past experiences is that one can learn from them and be prepared for the future. The previous hospitalizations for GI bleeding had eventful beginnings--basically, Bryan passing out. Yesterday, however, we got to the hospital before it got that bad. Today, he will have another scope to determine if it is the same area which is bleeding or something new. Our hope and prayer is the same due to tumor shrinkage!

Recently, I have been following Jessica Hulcy's (author of the KONOS homeschool curriculum) caring bridge site She was in a car accident on May 18th with major injuries. Her husband, Wade, posts regulary and I have been praying for her and him as they journey through their trial of suffering. Yesterday morning, I read Wade's post about ministering to other people in the hospital and shot up a prayer: Lord, if we were to ever go back to the hospital, please give me opportunites to minister to others. Boy, God answered that one quick! Please pray for God to allow me to "comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." (II Corinthians 1:4) He is merciful and the God of all comfort. His mercies are new every morning!

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Dad will be admitted tonight and a scope is scheduled for tomorrow morning to see what is going on. In the hospital, he was experiencing blood pressure issues like he has had with the prior GI bleeds. He just caught things early this time. On a funny note, Dad is still on his 48 hour chemo pump and the hospital staff asked my mom to take it off for them! They asked Mom what supplies she will need, because they won't let her bring the supplies from home!

Thank you for your continued prayers!

Sarah, for the Pollocks

Another ER Trip

Sarah here....Dad took another trip to the ER a couple hours ago and is still in the waiting area. He was experiencing symptoms of a possible GI bleed. I will update the blog when I know more. Thanks for praying!

Sarah, for the Pollocks

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

More Good News!!

Today we learned that my CEA continues to go down. Today's reading was a 6.8, down from 10.8 from the previous draw in April. This would indicate a continuing downturn in tumor activity. In addition to this, I gained two more pounds. Please continue to pray the CEA continues down and the weight continues up. Again, we are greatly encouraged by these results. God be praised for His faithfulness.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

God Be Praised!

Susan and I arrived at the cancer center bracing for the worst. I had been attempting to monitor my weight throughout the week and kept seeing a loss each time I mounted the scales. I finally became so discouraged that I gave up trying to keep a log of my weight fluctuations. I had been eating well, keeping up on my fluids and even exercising, but seemingly all to no avail. Well, when I mounted the scales at the cancer center, Susan and I were utterly dumbfounded to discover that somehow I'd managed to gain one pound! Both of us fully expected a three to four pound loss, but the scales indicated otherwise! I don't know where that pound came from but God be praised for His blessings! Susan and I embraced each other in tears of joy and supreme relief while Heather, the check-in nurse, watched us with a tender empathy. And this was just the beginning of our unexpected surprises this day.

We discovered in our consult with our naturopath, Dr. Paul Reilly, that a CEA blood draw had been taken in April, but we'd never been told the results. The CEA test monitors tumor activity by picking up the antigens they give off when they're active. The previous CEA test was 17, but the April reading was 10.8, indicating that the chemo is doing its job! Again, Susan and I just looked at each other with tears of joy and thanksgiving for this second blessing. Then my blood work for today came back indicating that the white blood count is up and the hematocrit is a strong 36.4 (one of my highest hematocrit readings of recent days!). The other red counts looked improved as well. This meant I could take the full range of meds scheduled for me today. Additionally, I received a shot of a med called Sandostatin, an anti diarrheal medicine administered in the hip with a needle that looks like something a veternarian might use on a horse or cow! I'm still feeling the pain, but the good news is I get this shot only once a month and it is supposed to work like cement. If we can get further control of the diarrhea, then weight gain will be easier. Also, Dr. Reilly said my lack of sodium is keeping me from retaining fluids, so we're working to up my sodium intake. Unlike most men my age, I'm to thoroughly salt my foods.

As you can tell, we are very encouraged after two weeks of precipitous weight loss. God has tested our faith thoroughly in these recent days, but the trial of faith only makes the ultimate answers all the more blessed. I am glad God kept us from learning the result of the April CEA draw, because it made the revelation all the more encouraging. The good news came when we needed it the most! This is the way of God's kingdom. Delayed blessings are always the best!

Again, thank you for your prayers and expressions of love to us in these hard times. To God Alone the Glory!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Change in Plans

Due to a sore throat which I developed last evening and woke up with this morning, we decided to postpone the stint placement for today. Also, we realized we had received absolutely no information on the impact of a stint, whether or not it would require a change of diet, etc. So we will consult with our cancer docs tomorrow in Seattle. Please keep praying for wisdom and encouragement.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Due to Bryan's fatigue and weak voice and my recent bout with the flu, we chose to worship at home this morning. We began singing hymns, followed by Bryan's devotion on Romans 8. The rest of the day we continued reminding one another it was Sunday. Very rarely, if ever, does the entire family stay at home from church.

In honor of Mother's Day, we had Bryan's mom and brother over for dinner. It was an enjoyable evening for all, although, Bryan was really tired by the end. Hope you all had a blessed day with your mothers and grandmothers.

Tomorrow afternoon, Bryan will possibly receive his duodenal stent. Due to his continual weight loss, we are not sure what the doctor will decide. Please pray for wisdom for the doctor and us as we determine the feasibility of this procedure. We report at 1:30 for a 2:30 procedure and he must have nothing to eat after midnight tonight. Pray for endurance through this fast and that he will not lose any more weight.

Bryan says Psalm 102 describes his current physical and spiritual state. Please pray for encouragement from the Lord.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

More Weight Loss

The weigh in on Tuesday revealed a four pound weight loss! This means I've lost seven pounds in the last two sessions. One of the possible side effects of the new drug Erbitux is diarrhea and sodium loss, along with general weakness which I'm definitely feeling. Please pray for renewed strength as the drug effects are washed out by rehydration. I've come to the conclusion that I'm not hydrating as I need to be so I'm trying to up my intake of fluids even over what I've been doing. Pray that this will be effective. We're battling with the disappointments and discouragements of this battle. We entreat extraordinary intercession on our behalf!

Monday, May 4, 2009

An Unexpected Trip

After a wonderful Sunday of rest and worship, I brewed a fever of 100.8F Sunday evening. Since my white count is low and I am taking shots to boost it, we called the doctor to see what we needed to do. He suggested a STAT CBC. Monday morning we drove up to the cancer center for the blood draw and results. Dr. Cunningham (Dr. Chen is off on Monday) said the white count was not "mortally dangerous" but low enough to suggest I might not do chemo this week to give my white count a chance to revive. I am also suffering from severe fatigue. The slightest thing exhausts me. Hopefully, the rebounding blood levels will end this, please pray accordingly.