Quick Update

Just wanted to check in and let everyone know that Greg has been feeling better over the last few days! His appetite is better and he is eating more. He still feels nauseous at times, but nothing like it was the early part of last week. Although he is feeling some better, he is still really weak and tires easily. His labwork that was done last Thursday revealed that his hemoglobin had dropped from the previous blood draw on Monday…..I’m sure that’s one of the reasons for his weakness/tiredness. Greg will have bloodwork done again tomorrow and hopefully we will see that number going up.

As of now, the plan is for us to head back to MD Anderson next Monday (Sept. 2). Greg is scheduled for a full day of complete tests/scans beginning early Tuesday morning. We will meet with the doctor on Wednesday and depending on the results of all the testing, the decision will be made as to whether or not Greg will begin round five of biochemotherapy. We don’t even know what we want that decision to be! Each round is getting harder and harder on Greg’s body and he dreads even thinking about going back. So, on one hand we don’t want for him to have to go through another round, but on the other hand, we don’t want them to say that it’s working, but that the tests reveal that his body is not able to tolerate another round. So, we will just trust that the Lord would impart clarity and wisdom to the doctor as he decides what the next step should be.

For now, these are current prayer requests:
1. That our family would handle our current circumstances in a way that pleases the Lord and points others to Him.
2. That Greg would continue to feel better each day.
3. That Greg’s hemoglobin would increase and that all other labwork done tomorrow would be within normal limits.
4. That we would SOON experience the complete healing of Greg’s body!

Thank you all for praying for us and for trusting and believing with us for Greg’s complete healing!

Trusting His Plan,
Greg, Sandra, Katie, Emilie and Jacob

When…..Not If

A little more than eight years ago on a warm, summer day I, along with my family and many other people, participated in a prayer time that I had organized for a sweet little four-year old boy who was battling cancer. As we gathered on this family’s front lawn to call out to God for healing for this sweet baby, I could not have imagined that just a few years later on August 4, 2013, there would be close to 100 people surrounding MY house, praying on behalf of MY family, and crying out to God for healing for MY husband as he battles cancer.

Although most of the time trials, challenges, battles….whatever you want to call them…..catch us off guard, we should not be shocked when they come our way. God’s Word tells us that we WILL encounter these things in our life…not that we might, but we WILL. It’s not a matter of IF, but WHEN. Isaiah 43:2 says:

WHEN you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and WHEN you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
WHEN you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.

We all have “hard stuff” in our lives at one time or another. Stuff that we think will never end. Stuff that we think we can’t possibly make it through. Stuff that makes us angry. Stuff that makes us sad. Stuff that makes us want to run away and hide. Stuff that makes us ask “Why???” Stuff that makes us doubt what we thought we believed. Stuff that breaks our hearts. Stuff that makes us just want to give up and call it quits! We all have “stuff.” I’m sure you’ve all heard it said that all of us are in one of three places in our lives….either we are right in the middle of a battle, we have just come out of a battle, or we are about to be taken into a battle.

I am seeing more and more how very true this is. As I looked around and thought about all of the people that came out to pray for our family on Aug. 4, I was reminded of all the battles that many of these people had fought/endured in their past. Standing in my yard that day were people who had gone through divorce. There were people that had struggled with infertility. There were people who had buried a child….from tiny babies to teenagers. There were people that had personally fought addictions or were family members of someone who had fought addictions. There were families that had dealt with separations due to deployments. There were people that had dealt with rebellious children and were heart-broken as they watched their children make unwise choices. There were people that had battled different types of cancer.

Also, as I looked around that day, I saw people that were currently in the middle of their own battle….but still took the time to come and pray for us. There was a family in which two of the three sons has muscular dystrophy. There were families that are dealing with rebellious children. There was a family that had just buried their husband/father only weeks before. He was the same age as Greg. There were several people waiting on tests/results to see if they too, have cancer. There was a family in which the daughter suffers from frequent seizures. There were families in which there is marital strife. There were families where siblings are not speaking to one another.

And then, there were the families that didn’t realize the battle that they would soon be facing. Just since this time of prayer, less than a month ago…one family got the news that the mom has stage 3 ovarian cancer, one family got the news that the mom has probable stage 1 breast cancer and one lady was in a bad car accident.

All of these things represent JUST the things I know about and involve JUST the people that were gathered at my house on Aug. 4. Pretty good proof that Is. 43:2 speaks truth, when it says that all of us WILL go through these times. So you might think that this Scripture is bad news, and I guess it kind of is. But…the Lord doesn’t leave it there, He gives us good news to go with it.

When you pass through the waters,
I WILL BE WITH YOU;
and when you pass through the rivers,
THEY WILL NOT SWEEP OVER YOU.
When you walk through the fire,
YOU WILL NOT BE BURNED;
THE FLAMES WILL NOT SET YOU ABLAZE
.

Whatever challenges we face in life, God promises us that we don’t have to face them alone. He will be with us! THAT is good news! We don’t get to choose whether or not we’ll have battles in our lives, nor do we get to choose which battles will come our way. But we do get to choose how we will respond to the battles that we find ourselves in. We can choose to get angry and bitter at God, or we can choose to cling to God and accept His plan for our life knowing that everything that He allows to come our way is for our good and His glory. We can gripe and complain and say that things are not fair, or we can choose to find joy in our circumstances and count the many ways that God blesses and provides for us every day of the battle. This is not always easy and I certainly don’t get it right all the time. I’ve found that it’s a day by day, oftentimes minute by minute choice. But I do know that when I walk around in defeat and despair, I am choosing to give glory to satan….and I REFUSE to do that!

Your battle may not be stage 4 melanoma, or being the spouse or child of someone who has stage 4 melanoma, and it may not be one of the other things I mentioned above. But we can all be assured that if we aren’t currently in a battle, one is probably just around the corner. The good news is that, as believers, we have Jesus Christ on our side, and because of that we WILL be the victors!!

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:2-3

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

Trusting His Plan,
Greg, Sandra, Katie, Emilie and Jacob

Feeling Better….Not Great, But Better!

Thank you all so much for your prayers for Greg over the last couple of days. Today has been a better day. He hasn’t had any vomiting since yesterday morning; although, he still feels nauseous much of the time. His appetite has been a little better today, as well. Greg is still quite weak and tires easily; however, he still went in to work today. He has been able to tolerate the magnesium supplements yesterday and today, so we hope to see that his level has gone up when he has his bloodwork done tomorrow.

Tonight one of our sweet neighbors blessed us by coming to the house to mow the yard for us. While he was out cutting the grass, a beautiful bird of some sort, (parrot or parakeet?) landed on his back! The bird was very friendly and obviously not scared of people at all. He must be someone’s pet that had gotten loose. The bird sat on Ike’s shoulder for a long time. We gave Ike a glass of lemonade to drink and once the bird saw the drink, he quickly climbed down Ike’s shoulder and sat on his finger and drank the lemonade right out of the cup! It was so funny! Ike decided to take the bird back to his house. He will try to locate the owner and if he can’t find them, he will keep the bird. Thank you, Ike, for being a blessing to us…..hey you got a bird out of the deal, right?!?!

Ike and his new friend "Lemonade"

Ike and his new friend “Lemonade”

That bird REALLY likes lemonade!

That bird REALLY likes lemonade!

IMG_5001

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matt. 6:25-34

Trusting His Plan,
Greg, Sandra, Katie, Emilie and Jacob

Still Not Feeling Well

The last couple of days have been really rough for Greg. Every time we think he’s getting a little better, the symptoms seem to come back worse than before. He still feels nauseous all the time and continues to have vomiting on and off. Sunday night and all day yesterday he had a terrible headache. He stayed in bed most of the morning/afternoon yesterday. He was scheduled to have his bloodwork done yesterday, so he finally made himself get up so that we could go and get that done. We got to the hospital around 3:30, and as we drove into the parking lot, Greg began throwing up again. We sat in the car for a few minutes, debating on whether to go have the bloodwork done or just go straight to the ER or his local oncologist’s office. We ended up going in for the bloodwork, which thankfully didn’t take too long. We received the lab results from MDA about 6pm. The nurse said that all of his numbers look good, except his magnesium is still a little low. He took the first magnesium supplement last night. Greg’s appetite remains poor and he is, understandably, feeling weak and shaky.

They tell us that the side effects of the biochemo is cumulative, and that is probably what his body is experiencing. He did sleep better last night and has had no more vomiting since yesterday afternoon. Please continue to pray for Greg to feel better…specifically that the nausea would subside…and that he would regain his appetite and strength. This last week has been really tough for Greg physically and tough for the kids and I emotionally to see him feeling so poorly. But…today is a new day and we are thankful that His mercies are new every morning! We will continue to trust in Him and proclaim His faithfulness! Thanks for thinking of us and praying for our family!

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

Our God comes; He does not keep silent. Ps. 50:3

The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God. Ps. 50:23

PS…Just as I finish typing this, Greg is vomiting again. Please continue to pray!

Trusting His Plan,
Greg, Sandra, Katie, Emilie and Jacob

Quick Update

Just wanted to thank you all for praying for Greg since yesterday. Today he has been a little bit better. He has only had one episode of vomiting today, but constantly feels like he’s “on the verge.” He has eaten a little, but is struggling to make himself eat anything. Please continue to pray that this nausea would subside and that Greg would be able to tolerate eating. We spoke with the nurse at MDA yesterday and she said to hold off on the magnesium supplements, as they can sometimes cause an upset stomach.

Tomorrow is a new day and we are praying that Greg will be feeling much better! Thank you for praying with us!

Trusting His Plan,
Greg, Sandra, Katie, Emilie and Jacob

Prayers Please

Just a quick update to ask you to please pray for Greg. I guess I spoke too soon yesterday when I posted that he seemed to be doing a little better with this recovery. He has been really nauseous since yesterday afternoon and has had several episodes of vomiting. Not sure if it’s a virus or all related to the biochemo. He has been drinking a little Gatorade today and so far has been able to keep that down. His bloodwork yesterday came back okay. His hemoglobin is still low at 9.2, but no need for intervention right now. Also his magnesium was low, so he will start taking supplements later today. Please pray that the nausea would subside and that he would have no more vomiting. Also, pray that he will continue being able to keep fluids down so that he doesn’t get dehydrated.

Thanks everyone!

Trusting His Plan,
Greg, Sandra, Katie, Emilie and Jacob

We’re Home And We’re Busy!

We got back in town Tuesday night. The flight was really open and we had no problem getting seats. We got home around 10 pm and it seems like we’ve been busy ever since! Got up and headed straight to the grocery store yesterday…we were out of everything! I hadn’t been home too long when I had a “sweet” delivery at my door. A young friend of mine had made me an oreo cheesecake for my birthday! Chris is a wonderful young man whose family has been friends of ours for many years. He and his sweet Mom stopped by to bring the cheesecake and it was delicious! Soon after they left, I got another surprise. Katie came through the front door with roses for me! She had driven up from school to take me out to lunch! We had a nice time out together and I enjoyed spending time with her. We rushed home and then I got to spend some quality time with Emilie…..at the dentist office! Got home from that and Greg and I got ready to go to a memorial service for a friend from church. Frank was only 58 and passed away from liver cancer. The service was so sweet and was a great reminder for us all to live a life that points others to Christ. Those who spoke about Frank certainly testified that he lived his life this way.

Yesterday was Emilie’s first day of college classes. She is attending a small Christian university that has a campus just a few miles from home. So, she will stay home this year while attending classes and continuing to work. Today is Jacob’s first day at Eluminatus, which is a part of our homeschool group that offers one day/week classes for high schoolers. Jake is taking Freshman English and Biology. All of his other classes he will be doing at home with me.

Greg is having a little better recovery so far this time. He doesn’t feel well, of course, but his appetite has been a bit better than it usually is after a treatment and he seems to have a little more energy. I’m sure the blood transfusion that he received immediately before we left the hospital helped him some. He is taking some different meds for nausea and trying to take them on a more regular basis and it seems to be helping. He has gone now to have his bloodwork done, so hopefully that will all be within normal limits. He is still retaining some fluid, but has lost most of it. He is working from home this week and hopes to return to the office next week.

Thank you all for your continuous prayers, support and encouragement!

They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly. Ps. 112:7-8

Trusting His Plan,
Greg, Sandra, Katie, Emilie and Jacob

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