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!