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

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Home At Last--Bringing Gifts

Bryan is home!

When I got to the hospital he was, as I reported earlier, just waiting for me to pick him up. I noticed a red area on his arm and inquired. He said he wasn't sure what it was. It was swollen, red and painful, although not hot. One nurse said to just watch it--(I wondered if she thought it would do tricks?) another said it was not a blood clot because she could feel pulse on either side of it (that was reassuring). She suggested it was "most likely the end of a bruise, but usually they go from purple to green so I am not sure if it would be a bruise because they don't end by turning red, but treat it as a bruise." I thought it looked like cellulitis.

We left the hospital and headed south. As we approached I-405, Bryan called the Seattle Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center to see if Dr. Chen or Cunningham would be able to take a look at his arm. Not a problem---Dr. Cunningham said right away it was a staph infection which developed under the skin--typical hospital stay side effect (this is the gift). Seven to ten more days of antibiotics! The silver lining in it all, Bryan has an immune response to this infection. He has enough neutrophils (a type of white blood cell) in his blood stream to actually attack something on his own!

We had a great time of prayer together as a family at home this evening! Thank you for the prayers, fasting, cards, calls, meals, encouragement, etc. It would have been very difficult without the support of family and friends!

I would especially like to thank my dad for giving up Mom for the week. Sarah and I were very thankful to have her here. It allowed me to stay in Seattle when things were rough for Bryan and to know things were okay in Tacoma. Thanks, Dad!

He's Coming Home!!

Bryan just called and he has discharge orders. He passed his physical therapy with flying colors, is disconnected from all IVs and is waiting for me to bring civilian clothing so he can come home! Thanks be to God!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Free Parking!

A week ago today, Bryan was admitted to Swedish Hospital in Seattle. This means we no longer have to pay the $10 per day parking fee for patients. What a savings, considering he has been in ICU all these days. I am so thankful for good insurance!

God graciously has seen fit to move Bryan from ICU to the oncology floor. The issue of low blood pressure continues, but with the aid of an oral medication he is able to remain stable at an acceptable level and no longer dependent on the IV blood pressure med which was keeping him in the ICU. His only complaint at this time is nausea caused by an undetermined source. He had some physical therapy this afternoon to help him regain strength in his legs since he has been laying in bed for seven days. The therapist, who will come again tomorrow, was surprised at how well he did considering how little muscle mass he has. This hospital stay has cost him 14 pounds. We are now three pounds in the hole from where we started after leaving St. Joe's earlier this month. The stent is working fine, and I can't wait to get him home and start feeding him well.

Thank you for your continual prayers!

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Step in the Right Direction

After a grim and discouraging morning, the day has ended on a high point! The blood pressure IV has been turned off!!!!! Dad was slowly weaned off it this afternoon and is now completely off and holding steady on his own! He is taking a oral blood pressure medication which is also helping. If he does well through the night and stays steady, he will (hopefully) leave the ICU tomorrow. If everything goes as planned, we hope he will be home in a couple days.

Overall, it has turned into a very encouraging day! Mom was quite blessed by the food and knitting supplies that Evelyn Raymond brought to her today. I know it has been a challenge to find good and inexpensive food at the hospital. So the delivery of home cooked food was such a blessing! Thank you, Mrs. Raymond!

Please pray the blood pressure will remain steady through the night and Dad will be able to move to a regular floor tomorrow, and rejoice with us in this encouraging news!

Hospitalization Day 7

The hospitalization continues.... We all visited Dad last night to celebrate Fathers Day with him. It was a short stay due to his weakness, but he was glad to see everybody! We chatted for a bit and then prayed before leaving. Our friends, the McKinleys, came up there with us and drove us kids back home so Mom could stay.

I talked with Mom this morning and she was quite discouraged. The blood pressure medication doesn't seem to be working. They keep having to raise it instead of weaning him off of it. His blood pressure remains pretty low, but with no symptoms. Yesterday, the nurse let him sit up and put his feet off the side of the bed. But, his blood pressure dropped due to the movement and the nurse quickly put him back in bed. He won't be able to leave the ICU until he is weaned off the blood pressure medication, so pray that his blood pressure will stabilize. Dad is not discouraged in the least bit. He is resting in God's grace and sovereignty.

Tomorrow will mark the one week point of this stay in the ICU, which means that parking will be free, a blessing that mom can enjoy!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Still in ICU

Bryan remains in ICU and will continue there until tomorrow or Monday. I stayed with him the last two nights. He wanted me to get a good sleep tonight so I can take the children to church in the morning; so here it is 1:15am and I am posting on the blog. How does one sleep when their spouse is 45 minutes north in a hospital receiving who knows what kind of care in the middle of the night? I can hear Bryan now, "Turn off the computer and go to bed, I am in the Lord's care!" So, I bid you good-night and cast all my cares on Him because He cares for me! (1Peter 5:7)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Quick Update

Dad was moved back to the ICU at 2:00 this morning. His blood pressure was not holding steady. Most likely he won't be able to come home today. Please pray that his blood pressure will remain steady and in the normal range.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Progressive Prayer

Dad has been moved out of the Intensive Care Unit to the Progressive Unit, which is a step down, but a step in the right direction! His blood pressure is starting to drop again. They are giving him more fluids thinking it may be dehydration causing the drop. Please pray his blood pressure will remain normal and steady so he can come home tomorrow.

Most Likely Not Going Home Today

I just got off the phone with Bryan. One of his two doctors saw him this morning and said they will most likely keep him one more day to discharge him from ICU to a regular room and to continue to monitor how he is managing his blood pressure without the medication. Dr. Cunningham, Dr. Chen's partner, also said Dr. Poppas, the ICU doctor, has the final say when Bryan will leave the unit. The blood cultures have not grown anything yet, which has everyone surprised.

Bryan slept well the last two nights. He is eating well. All body functions are normal, this means no blockages! He looks great and feels well. Pray for stable blood pressure today so he can come home tomorrow and prepare for Sunday to preach the sermon he wrote yesterday!

Rejoicing in the goodness of God!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wednesday Evening

Bryan is feeling very well. Better than he has felt in a long time! The doctors have weaned him off the BP meds and he is holding his own, as long as he has plenty of fluid in his system. They determined to wait on chemo this week because they want to deal with the infection once they know what it is and not have the chemo interfere with that diagnosis. Hopefully, we will have some answers tomorrow.

He wrote a sermon this afternoon, while I paid bills. It seems life is normal--just in the ICU rather than at home.

The Roller Coaster Ride

Yesterday morning we went to Swedish Hospital due to a fever of 104.5. By God's grace the lobby was not full and we got right in. The staff worked quickly, drawing 8 bottles of blood for blood cultures. We await the results--it takes 48 hours. Basic diagnosis is sepsis due to his blood pressure being low, at one point 68/35, rapid heart rate (130)and the high fever! The fever actually broke on the way to the hospital, which is a miracle in itself. He is in the medical/coronary intensive care unit and will most likely remain in the hospital until Friday or until we get the results of the cultures to determine the cause of the infection. He's stable after administration of antibiotics and medicine to return his BP to normal. He is, also, in good spirits and thankful for warm blankets.

Swedish is a long drive from home--about 45 minutes, but it was worth the trip. We actually see our own doctors there rather than having the confusing phone conversations like last time at St. Joe's. Also, my brother, who lives in Southern California, was in Seattle on business last night. He considered driving down to Tacoma, but knew Tuesday was Bryan's chemo day so thought it wouldn't be good time to come. It worked out his hotel is about 10 blocks from the hospital so he walked up to say hello and took me to dinner. It was a good visit. Thanks, Jeff! Another surprise, Brett McKinley brought Jonathan up to see Bryan. I know they had a good time of fellowship coming and going and with Bryan.

I'm returning to Seattle this morning. Please pray for safety as I travel back and forth through the traffic. I am so thankful I don't drive this as a regular commute--so many people do!

God is faithful and I know He operates the roller coaster so I'll throw my hands up and enjoy the ride!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Another Bend in the Road

Things were going quite well over the past couple of days. Dad was enjoying the taste of food again, although limited by his diet restrictions. He has gained 11 pounds, for which we are very thankful!

This morning, he had a 104 degree fever and was feeling quite weak. Mom took him to Swedish, in Seattle. Upon arrival, his fever was gone (Praise the Lord!!) but he had extremely low blood pressure and was quite dehydrated. They did all kinds of test and cultures to find a cause for the fever and decided to admit him because of the low blood pressure. The doctors think he had/has some kind of infection and are going to keep him 24-48 hours until they have the blood work back. He is currently on antibiotics (for possible infection), as well as medication to bring his blood pressure back to normal range. He is doing much better tonight--especially with all the fluids back in him. We are not really sure what caused the dehydration. They are still trying to find the right TPN (nutrition IV) mixture for his body, perhaps he just needs more fluids.

Please continue to pray. The journey continues!

Isaiah 41
Sarah, for the Pollock Clan

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

To God Be the Glory!

When Dr. Bedard came to the waiting room yesterday to inform Jonathan and me the stent had been placed the first words out of my mouth were, "Praise God!" He smiled--I wonder if doctors get upset that God gets the glory when they (think they) do all the work?

He put Bryan on a clear liquid diet last night. The first thing down the hatch was apple juice. Regretfully, it was cold and he had more of the shivering like he had at St. Joe's last week, so it sat in front of him waiting to warm to room temp before he could drink it. This morning I'll head back up to Swedish to bring him home. He has to have a barium x-ray today to make sure there are no other blockages further down, if all is fine his diet will advance to soft foods. Mashed potatoes, anyone?

When Jonathan and I left last night, Bryan dictated the following to be posted here:

God be praised for His goodness. The stent was able to be placed this afternoon and they are keeping me overnight for observation. Thank you for your prayers and fasting which God has used mightily for His glory!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

It's In!!

Dad had the stent procedure this afternoon and everything went just fine! The doctor had no problems placing it. He will spend the night at Swedish to make sure everything is fine. We will have more details later. Thank you all for praying. We serve an amazing God!

Rejoicing in the Goodness of God,
Sarah, for the Pollock Family

Friday, June 5, 2009

Prayer and Fasting

It has been requested we choose a day of fasting and prayer for Bryan and our family. For those who would like to participate, let's fast on Tuesdays, since that is Bryan's chemo day.

Recently, John Douglass gave a message on fasting. The following is a synopsis of what he said:

Fasting is a subject that is rarely addressed nowadays for a number of reasons:
1. Fasting seems so old-fashioned: In past ages when so much toil and resources just went towards people feeding themselves, skipping a meal now and then made a lot of economic sense, regardless of the spiritual effects. Today, the idea of fasting seems strange or stupid to a self-indulgent society, with food relatively cheap and easy to get in large quantities, where we’re taught not to deny ourselves anything. Why would anyone want to go hungry on purpose?
2. Another hindrance is the lack of commands in Scripture. There was only one command to fast in the Mosaic Law, on the Day of Atonement: Leviticus 16:29: “This shall be a permanent statute for you: in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall humble your souls and not do any work, whether the native, or the alien who sojourns among you.” “Humble your souls” = “afflict your souls” (Heb. word used of the Egyptian taskmasters over the Hebrews) and probably included a fast; practiced by Jews to this day. Also, Jews fasted in the fourth, fifth, seventh, and tenth months during the Babylonian captivity. These fasts commemorated various events involved in the siege and destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. Jews in Jesus’ day would fast regularly. The Pharisee in Luke 18:12 boasted that he fasted twice a week.

But all this seems so Old Testament. There’s only one recorded instance of Jesus fasting, for the 40 days before the start of His public ministry. We see an explicit reference in the gospels to the fact that Jesus and His disciples did not fast as regularly as other Jews. There are a couple of references to fasting in the book of Acts, and that’s about it. In all the epistles, with the many commands to prayer, service, giving, and other aspects of the Christian life, there are no commands to fast. However, in passages mentioning fasting, it is assumed to be some part of a believer’s life. So what should it mean to us?

What is fasting? Roughly, it’s an abstaining from physical nourishment, either because of a lack of desire for food or a particular setting aside of food. In Scripture, there are various degrees of fasting. Sometimes it involved abstaining from food and all liquids entirely; sometimes just water was drunk; in other cases, especially for long durations, a fast would just consist of just enough plain food and drink to maintain minimal nourishment. Fasts could last for just one meal, or just during the daytime, for a 24-hour period, for several days, even several weeks. We see Moses, Elijah, and Jesus fasting for 40 days. John the Baptist ate locusts and wild honey while he taught in the wilderness; his life seems to have been something of an ongoing fast.

But it’s not just abstaining from food for the sake of abstaining, like some sort of diet program. For God’s people fasting is done for spiritual purposes.

In Scripture, we see fasting done on several kinds of occasions:
· Sorrow: Matthew 9:14-15; 2 Samuel 1:12; 2 Samuel 12:16; Nehemiah 1:1-4; Sorrow for others: Psalm 35:13-14: Daniel 6:18
· Repentance: Joel 1:14; 2:12; Nehemiah 9:1-2; Daniel 9:1ff.; Jonah 3
· Seeking God’s protection: Ezra 8:21-23
· Seeking the Lord’s will: Acts 13:2-3; 14:23
Nearly always explicitly associated with prayer

We can also organize the kinds of fasting in this way: public (as a nation or as a church) and private. And fasting may have a focus on ourselves, such as in times of personal or national sorrow or repentance, or it may be focused on the needs of others.

The Key to fasting as in all other aspects of our Christian walk is our heart:
· Matthew 6:16-18: secret, vs. Pharisees (Luke 18:12: boasting that he fasted twice a day); may be some times when others must know you’re fasting (especially during public fasts), but the point is not to do it to be seen by others
· Isaiah 58:1-12: echoes of Isaiah 1:11-15: must be done with the right heart. 3: “humbled” same as used in Leviticus about the Day of Atonement; they complained to God that they had performed all the rituals and God hadn’t given them what they wanted. They thought God was like a cosmic vending machine: you put in the required amount, push the button, and get what you want. Even if we fast and pray with the right attitude, that’s no guarantee that God will do what we want, how much less should we expect from God if our heart is wrong? But note that both of these passages say that God rewards proper fasting in His own way. Fasting without the right heart attitude is worthless; needs to be accompanied by heart devoted to love of God and others.

Matthew Henry: “If the solemnities of our fasting, though frequent, long and severe, do not serve to put an edge upon devout affections, to quicken prayer, to increase Godly sorrow, and to alter the temper of our minds, and the course of our lives, for the better, they do not at all answer the intention, and God will not accept them as performed to Him.” (quoted in John Piper, A Hunger for God, pp. 188-9)

What about fasting today? Can be difficult to come to a firm conclusion. Some commentators believe that fasting should be a regular part of a believer’s life, even weekly or monthly; others think it will be only done under unusual circumstances.

Calvin: “Whenever men are to pray to God concerning any great matter, it would be expedient to appoint fasting along with prayer.” (Institutes)

Jonathan Edwards: “[Fasting] is a duty recommended by our Savior to his followers, just in like manner as secret prayer is. … Though I don’t suppose that secret fasting is to be practiced in a stated manner and steady course as secret prayer, yet it seems to me ‘tis a duty that all professing Christians should practice, and frequently practice. There are many occasions of both a spiritual and temporal nature that do properly require it; and there are many particular mercies that we desire for ourselves or friends that it would be proper, in this manner, to seek of God.” (Piper, p. 111)

But keep in mind that food is good (1 Timothy 4:1-5) and asceticism is wrong (Colossians 2:23).

Fasting is not an end in itself, but demonstrates zeal and hunger for God to hear and answer our prayers, and a willingness to give up something good for something (and Someone) better. It’s a way to practice self-denial, “buffet our bodies”. Matthew 9:14-17: missing the bridegroom; John Piper: “This is the essence of Christian fasting: We ache and yearn—and fast—to know more and more of all that God is for us in Jesus. But only because he has already laid hold of us and is drawing us ever forward and upward into ‘all the fullness of God.’” (p. 48)

Other ways of “fasting”? Some may have medical or other reasons for not being able to fast. Of course, those with health problems should talk to their doctor before skipping meals. But there are other ways to fast:

D. M. Lloyd-Jones: “Fasting, if we conceive of it truly, must not only be confined to the question of food and drink; fasting should really be made to include abstinence from anything which is legitimate in and of itself for the sake of some special spiritual purpose. There are many bodily functions which are right and normal and perfectly legitimate, but which for special peculiar reasons in certain circumstances should be controlled. That is fasting.” (Piper, p. 16)

There may be times when we could and should give up some things that are important to us, things that we enjoy, for a time to focus on more spiritual things. Maybe it’s a TV or movie fast. Maybe it’s a Facebook fast. Certainly there are things in your life that you can do without for a higher purpose.

Also, fasting in a broader sense may not be just for the purpose of prayer. It might be for a special time of Bible study or meditation, or to free up some time for ministry that would be otherwise taken up by a meal. Some Christians take the money they would ordinarily use for the meals they skip and give it to the poor or otherwise give it to the work of the Lord.

However and whenever you choose to fast, remember that your fasting must be from the heart and have a God-centered purpose.

Renewed Hope for the Stent!

Susan and I were impressed with Dr. Charles Bedard, especially with his humble nature and gentle manner. He is s gentleman in perhaps his late fifties or early sixties who is also a faculty member at the University of Washington and a teaching fellow in gastrointerology. He has a slew of accomplishments in the medical field and uses an approach to stents that specializes in opening the tiniest of closures by means of a guided wire he has dubbed "Roadrunner". As we discussed my case, he seems somewhat confident that by means of this wire he can open my stenosis and place a stent in the closed off area. We have scheduled an endoscopy this Tuesday at the Swedish Medical Center accordingly. Please pray this procedure might be successful that I might be able to eat soft foods to help me gain weight, so necessary in my continuing cancer fight. We are encouraged in the Lord's continuing goodness this evening. He is indeed a God Who is "able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us" (Eph. 2:20).

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Like The Sons of Korah

I write to you tonight from the bitter depths of a soul in despair. Psalm 42, 88, and 102 best describe to you what I am undergoing and what I feel is happening to me. "All His breakers and billows" have overwhelmed me to such an extent that like the sons of Korah I cry out, "Why have You forgotten me?" (Psalm 42:9) In this case, my enemy is my own subtle idolatry of food and drink. That's right--you've read me correctly; your pastor is an idol worshipper who regularly paid respects at the foot of the idol of food and belly. I always interpreted the word "celebration", for example, as a banquet of food and drink. I couldn't "celebrate" apart from the delights of a meal. This idol-worshipping mentality has figured prominently in my current predicament. I was scheduled to have a stent placed in the stenosis, the area where tumor pressure was narrowing the alimentary canal, back when this was still a feasible option. But I made what now appears to be a critical blunder when at the last minute I decided to cancel the procedure and trust the chemo to keep the narrowing at bay. And the major reason I cancelled the procedure? Because it would necessitate a change in diet! That's right; an apparent alteration in the meal plan has led to my now having absolutely no meal plan whatsoever! I could not in the final analysis tolerate any kind of change whatsoever laid to my great idol of food and culinary delight! Now I face the prospects of a life without normal food of any kind whatsoever. A decision based on fear instead of faith; a decision based on idolatry, instead of godliness, has wrought a severe affliction.

Now a little background is in order. Any dutiful son of Ralph Blaine Pollock, who desired to emulate his father, as I did, would be pressed not to become a worshipper at the altar of belly and beverage by following too well what I now know to be a bogus parental example. Food was my father's business! As a General Foods (GF) employee, he sold Maxwell House and Yuban Coffee as well as other GF products to restaurants, hotels and hospitals across the Northwest. He was good at what he did and rapidly advanced up the company ladder. But, the passion for food greatly affected the Pollock household and I was totally taken in by it as well. Dad was the meal planner and cook; Mom and the kids were clean-up. Dad was planning tomorrow's menu even before he finished dessert from the current days bill of fare. I marvelled at this partly because Mom, who didn't share Dad's food passion, always made a critical point of it at the dinner table while Dad shrugged off the criticism by pressing ahead with tomorrow's menu plan. I decided as an impressionable young man of ten and eleven that if food was the important to my dad then it was going to be a priority with me as well! A warning to any fathers is that your passions tend to become your sons' and daughters' pursuits and priorities, so be careful where your passions lie! This is not to excuse or in any way ameliorate my own guilt; I stand condemned by my own sinful choices, but parental prioities may become a trap to your children, so beware!

Now my "friends and lovers" are far away and I am reckoned among those who go down to the pit (Psalm 88). I resemble a pelican of the wilderness and my bones cling to my flesh (Psalm 102:5 & 6); my days are like a lengthened shadow and I wither away like grass" (vs. 11). This best describes where my soul lies; among the "ruffians" produced by my own sin and idolatry! God's mercies are sometimes severe, His lessons best learned in the hottest fires. I've doubted His power and goodness in recent days, but like the son of Korah, I'm clingling sometimes precariously to the hand of the Lord. Pray for me and my family.

Home Sweet (Hot) Home

Who would have guessed we would have a 90' day in Tacoma on the 3rd of June? The heat is a welcome relief to Bryan! He was always cold in the hospital, usually under three or four blankets.
We see Dr. Chen in the morning to determine our game plan. As it stands now, Bryan will be visited by a home health nurse and an infusion therapy nurse on a regular basis as he adjusts to life on TPN. This means he will not be eating food, but will be receiving his nutrition by IV. We will have to monitor his blood sugar and labs will need to be drawn 3 times per week. Our friend, Brenda, is encouraging me to skip the home health nurse and draw the labs myself. She does this daily for Jerry, her husband, who is on home dialysis for end stage renal disease. I think I can handle it and the insurance company probably wouldn't mind saving a dime or two! The infusion therapy nurse will instruct me in setting up the TPN and then I am on my own.

A piece of cake...which reminds me of a comment Bryan made recently. He has become very aware of how many idioms in the English language are food based: peppered with questions, best thing since sliced bread, cool as a cucumber, spilling the beans and easy as pie, to name a few. I feel funny eating in front of him, but he says it is good for him because the aroma actually stimulates his digestive process which will keep the bowel from shutting down; this is a common side effect with TPN. When the tumor reduces, hopefully, he will be able to return to a regular diet, but until then it's IV only. We have a new way of life to adjust to, but as always, God is merciful and gracious to meet our needs. Here, I have dealt with the physical side of Bryan's ordeal, now he will deal with the spiritual side.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

An Encouraging Day

Bryan will be coming home tomorrow! What a direct answer to my randomness this morning. He will be on TPN, which we will administer at home while he sleeps at night. He will still not be able to eat, although the doctor suggested chewing food and then spitting it out. The process stimulates the bowel and keeps it active. I read this article in Prevention Magazine last Tuesday while at chemo...

Chew on This
Gum can help you recover more quickly after certain surgeries.
Heather Lee, a Prevention editorial assistant.
If you've had abdominal surgery, smacking on a stick of gum may help you recover more quickly. Researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center asked 102 patients who'd undergone colon surgery to chew gum for 15 minutes four times a day or just sip clear fluids. The gum group's bowel function returned within 3 days of the operation (compared with 3 1/2), and they went home nearly a full day earlier.
Chewing gum can also help prevent the temporary loss of digestive function common after other abdominal surgeries, such as C-sections and hysterectomies. The act of chewing may signal to the gut that food is on the way, encouraging it to become active.

...little did I know I would be applying that very information a week later! In God's economy there are no mistakes. He ordains all things for His glory.

Thanks for your prayers!

P.S. Bryan has to circle the ward 12 times to equal the trip to McKinley and back. He did it twice today! I'm looking forward to accomplishing this in a straight line without pushing an IV pole!

Random Thoughts

I am not sleeping, so thought I would post. Dr. Chen communicated with the hospital doctor and they have derived a plan. Bryan, nor I, understand it, but will go with the flow. I think, I am tired of thinking! I really would like to have him come home, so we can be a family again. It is so hard for me to leave the hospital each evening, but the kids need mom time. Last night, Hannah asked when would she see Daddy again. I need to take the children up more often, but their energy is draining for Bryan.

I am pleased with his energy level. He took two walks yesterday around the ward. At daylight, I will count the steps it takes to get to the end of our block and back and then compare that to the number of steps he takes walking around the ward with IV pole in hand!

They were to begin TPN last night, which is IV nutrition. He has not eaten since Thursday morning, except for ice chips and two Popsicles. Dr. Chen requested the NG tube be clamped to see if anything passes through the bowel. He wants to keep Bryan on TPN rather than insert the feeding tube. I have read there is increased opportunity for infection with TPN, which they are administering through his port. Pray that he won't develop infection; if he does, the port will have to be removed.

He has immersed himself in the Word. We read to each other, especially the Psalms. They really are comforting.

I was reflecting on our wedding day--how blessed we were, carefree and joyful. Our theme verse for the day was Ecc. 4:9-12, "Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. " The three-stranded cord, Jesus, Bryan and I, has been a cord of strength for 22 years. We are still blessed and still joyful, but carefree will have to await glory! Last night he called to inform me he was chilling. This is the third experience with this. The first two times I was at the hospital and was able to help him get warm--I felt so helpless last night talking to him while his teeth chattered. He doesn't have a fever; it has something to do with the ins and outs of his fluids, according to one nurse.

The birds have begun to sing. I am encouraged by the sound of song birds. They have a song on their lips when they awaken and when they go to sleep. My song for today is Psalm 5:

"Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation.
Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray.
My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. "