In Sickness And In Health

Sept. 27, 1986

Sept. 27, 1986

Yesterday Greg and I celebrated 27 years of wedded bliss! Ok….maybe EVERY day has not been bliss, but it has certainly been 27 wonderful years! The Lord has blessed us and strengthened our marriage over the years. I am so thankful to have a husband that strives to love me like Christ loved the church!

Unfortunately, Greg didn’t feel much like celebrating. We got home from Houston on Thursday afternoon and he dozed off and on for the rest of the day. Yesterday he went in to work and by lunch time he was in tremendous pain from the tumor growth in his ribs. He has a hard time taking a deep breath because of the pain. It was late when he got home, and after some pain medicine and a little time in his recliner, the pain eased a bit. He is still not sleeping well at night because of the pain and night sweats.

Thankfully Greg’s appetite has been pretty good and he is eating well. So, since he didn’t feel like going out to celebrate, I made him one of his favorite meals for dinner…..linguine with clam sauce and Coca-Cola cake for dessert. It wasn’t our typical anniversary celebration, but that’s ok….I’m just thankful that we were together and at home, not in Houston!

When we were married 27 years ago, we vowed to love one another “in sickness and in health.” This year we are experiencing the “in sickness” part of our vows……I pray that next year we will again experience the “in health” part! It is so hard seeing someone you love be sick and in pain, and feel helpless to do anything about it. At the ages of 21 and 22, we had not idea that this was in our future. But on Sept. 27, 1986, God knew that this is what we would be experiencing on our 27th anniversary. Nothing takes Him by surprise. And just as Greg and I have been faithful to our vows all of these years, He continues to be faithful to us….He will never leave us or forsake us. He is WITH us and He is FOR us!

We did it!

We did it!

Please continue to pray for the following:
1. That our family would handle our present circumstances in a way that pleases the Lord and points others to Him
2. That the pain that Greg is experiencing would subside
3. That we would see the COMPLETE healing of Greg’s body SOON!
4. That the night sweats would stop so that Greg could get good rest at night
5. That our family would not listen to the lies of satan and fall into discouragement, depression, hopelessness or defeat

He is faithful and He is good!

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Eph. 5:25

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecc. 4:9-12

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Cor. 4:16-18

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


Good News/Bad News

It’s been a long day today, and it’s not over yet! We met with the doctor this afternoon and reviewed the results of Greg’s brain MRI and PET scan. The good news is that the MRI was negative….no tumors or even questionable areas showed up! Praise God for that!! The bad news is that the PET scan revealed that there has been progression of disease in some of the bones. One of those places is Greg’s left shoulder, which explains the severe pain that he has been experiencing. The other two places are in the lower spine and in one of the ribs. So the doctor believes that the symptoms that Greg has had over the last few days is a result of this progression. Another issue is Greg’s hemoglobin is low again….down to 8.6. This, of course, is another contributing factor to his fatigue.

We discussed several options for the next step in treatment, but I’ll just share the final decision for now. Greg will continue with the dabrafenib (oral chemo) and the Ipi infusions. In the future, the doctor will probably add an additional oral chemo called Mekinist. But, because this drug has only been FDA approved for use as a stand-alone drug, and not in combination with dabrafenib, it may be difficult to get insurance to approve it. So, the doctor is not ready for Greg to start the Mekinist now, but he wanted us to go ahead and give consent for it, so that he could write the order and they could start working on getting insurance approval. The hope is that when/if he decides to add that to Greg’s treatment, it will already be approved by our insurance and we won’t have to wait to get it started. It was also decided that Greg would get 2 units of blood today.

So, Ipi infusion #2 got started about 6 pm. It was a 90 minute infusion. After that Greg was premedicated for the blood transfusion. It takes 2 hours for each unit to run in. The first unit started about 9pm, so we figure we will be here until at least 1 or 2 am! LONG day!! Greg is sleeping now, and I’m thinking I might need to find an empty bed for myself! We are planning to fly home in the morning. We are scheduled to be back out here on Oct. 16.

Thanks for praying for us today. For those that emailed or messaged me earlier today about results, I wasn’t ignoring you. We always want to make sure that all three of our children know the results and what’s going on before we share the news with anyone else, and it was later tonight before I had talked to all of them. We appreciate all of your prayers and concern for our family more than we could ever express! Please pray for us tomorrow as we travel home.

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

Scans, Sunsets And Scripture

We arrived in Houston about noon today. We spent a couple of hours resting in the hotel, then headed for MD Anderson. Greg had bloodwork done, then on to a PET scan. He finished the PET scan about 6:30 or so, and then we sat out on the patio for a few minutes so that Greg could get a bite to eat….he hadn’t been able to eat until after the PET scan was done, so he was getting hungry. Once he finished eating we went to check in for his MRI. Apparently they had changed the location for him to have it done, but no one had told us! So we walked a couple of blocks to the new location, and he is now back having the MRI done. He should be finished in another hour or so. We’ll get the results tomorrow when we meet with the doctor. After we meet with him, if he says it’s the thing to do, we’ll head over for Greg to receive his 2nd Ipi infusion.

So….here’s my cool God story for today! This morning, as I was packing up to leave for the airport, my sweet friend Stephanie sent me a text with a scripture verse that she wanted to share with me to encourage me. It was 2 Peter 1:2…..”Do you want more and more of God’s kindness and peace? Then learn to know Him better and better.” This is from the Living Bible translation. Later this afternoon, I received a facebook message from another friend, Jennifer. She was mentioning how she had been to a conference and felt like God had really spoken to her and revealed some things to her. My reply to her was “Don’t you just love it when God speaks right to your heart about something! I am continually amazed at what a personal God He is!” Her next reply contained some scripture references and one was……2 Peter 1:2!! I’m thinking that it is not a coincidence that this particular verse was sent to me twice today, especially since it is not an often-quoted verse. Seems like God wanted me to hear this message today! So much so, that He had two different people send it to me!! Again I say, Don’t you just love it when God speaks right to your heart about something! I am continually amazed at what a personal God He is!

Please keep us in your prayers as we meet with the doctor tomorrow, hear the results of the scans and decide on the next step in treatment.

The sun setting over part of the medical center complex.  Too bad I couldn't actually see the sun itself.

The sun setting over part of the medical center complex. Too bad I couldn’t actually see the sun itself.

Getting a bite to eat between scans and sitting outside trying to warm up.  It's freezing in this place!!

Getting a bite to eat between scans and sitting outside trying to warm up. It’s freezing in this place!!

My personal message from my personal God!  (This is the ESV translation)

My personal message from my personal God! (This is the ESV translation)

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

Back To Houston We Go….

Thank you all for praying for Greg over the past few days. He had a really rough weekend. On Friday night, he felt really bad with shoulder pain, achiness, and fever that went as high as 102.2. He felt pretty bad Saturday and Sunday as well, with all of the same symptoms, but his fever didn’t get that high again. He doesn’t sleep well at night because he can’t get comfortable and because he has terrible night sweats.

Jacob had his first ever tennis match on Sunday afternoon, and Greg felt a bit better so he went with us. (Although, I think he would have gone regardless of how he felt…he really wanted to be at Jake’s first match.) By Sunday evening, Greg had started to feel some better….his pain was less, his temperature was normal and he had started eating again.

Greg went to work today and did a few things around the house when he got home. After dinner, he started feeling bad again….shoulder pain, achiness, headache; but thankfully, no fever.

Tomorrow morning we head back to Houston. Greg is scheduled for appointments starting at 3:30 tomorrow afternoon..bloodwork, PET scan and brain MRI. It will be a late night getting back to the hotel. Then on Wednesday, we are scheduled to see the doctor at 11am. At that time we will go over the results of all the tests and the doctor will decide if Greg should go ahead with the 2nd Ipi infusion. If he wants Greg to receive the infusion, it will be done later that afternoon.

Please pray for the following:
1. That our family will handle our current circumstances in a way that pleases the Lord and points other to Him
2. That Greg’s pain will decrease, that he will remain fever-free, and that he will rest well tonight with no night sweats
3. That the tests will show NO progression of disease.
4. That the doctor will have wisdom in deciding whether or not Greg should proceed with infusion #2.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You preserve my life; You stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me. The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. Psalm 138:7-8

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

Grateful For Your Prayers!

Thank you all so much for your prayers, encouragement and words of kindness over the past couple of days! We had a long day today of labwork, doctors visits, more labwork, emails to and from nurses and finally….a call from the doctor.

Bottom line is that the cause of Greg’s symptoms is, as of yet, not definitely known. Our doctor at MDA called Greg this evening and after reviewing the labwork, he believes that the symptoms are probably related to the dabrafenib, which is the oral chemo that Greg has been taking for a couple of months. He says that Greg’s bloodwork looks pretty good and there is nothing showing that would indicate progression of disease. That is good news! The only way to be completely sure though, is more scans. So, Greg now has another full body PET scan and MRI of his brain scheduled for Tuesday. We will meet with the doctor on Wednesday, and will find out then if he recommends that Greg go ahead with the second Ipi infusion. He will continue on the dabrafenib for now, and will be taking Advil or Aleve to hopefully help with the pain. They believe the pain is related to inflammation and the Advil/Aleve should work even better than the oxycodone that he has been taking. Greg continues to have a fever on and off. We checked it about 30 minutes ago and it was 101.6. We are hoping that the Advil/Aleve will help with this, as well.

Please continue to pray for the following:

1. That our family will handle our current circumstances in a way that pleases the Lord and points others to Him
2. That Greg’s pain will be controlled, so that he will be able to move around more and rest better at night
3. That Greg’s fever will break and not come back
4. That Greg’s nausea will subside and his appetite will improve, so that he can get back to eating
5. That we will experience the complete healing of Greg’s body soon!
6. That our family would continue to cling to what we know is True and refuse to believe the lies of satan

Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me. Psalm 50:15

I say to the Lord, You are my God; give ear to the voice of my pleas for mercy, O Lord! O Lord, my Lord, the strength of my salvation, You have covered my head in the day of battle. Psalm 140:6-7

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

Prayers Please

Just wanted to ask you all to please keep Greg in your prayers. He started feeling bad on Tuesday evening, and has gotten progressively worse each day. He started having severe pain in his left shoulder Tuesday night, then yesterday at work he started feeling weak, dizzy, nauseous and feverish. He got home from work yesterday and laid down on the couch, where he stayed for the rest of the night. Today has been more of the same. The pain in his shoulder is really bad and is not being relieved by his pain meds. He continues to feel nauseous and has eaten very little today. He’s also been running a low-grade temp that seems to be creeping up each time we check it…at last check it was 101.2. He spoke to the PA at MD Anderson and they have ordered some bloodwork to be done tomorrow. He also has an appointment with his local oncologist tomorrow.

There are several things that could be causing these symptoms: Side effects of the Ipi (new infusion that he received two weeks ago), side effects of oral chemo, or pain from the cancer itself. Hopefully, we can get some answers tomorrow.

Please pray for the following:
1. That Greg’s pain would be controlled
2. That the bloodwork would give us some idea of what’s going on
3. That the cancer is not progressing
4. That Greg would be able to sleep tonight

This morning in my quiet time, I was studying Philippians 4:4…..”Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, rejoice.” These are some of the things I learned:

—The word for rejoice, “chairo” calls for a lifestyle of joy that emanates from an active choice of our will regardless of whether confronted with joyful or adverse circumstances and/or people. We are to continually work out this command empowered by God in us who energizes us to carry it out and who brings forth the fruit of the Spirit, which is joy.

—Christian joy is not a feeling but a deep-down confidence that God is in control of everything for the believer’s good and His own glory, and thus all is well no matter the circumstances.

—We rejoice not in our situation, but in our Savior, not in our circumstances, but in our Christ. If we would concentrate on rejoicing in Christ, so much of life would fall into place. We would be worshippers instead of worriers.

Guess the Lord knew I would need this today!

Thank you for taking the time to pray for us. I’ll update when we have more information about what is going on.

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

I Am A Friend Of God!

Ever since I put up my last post, I have had this song running through my head. So, I thought I would share it. I hope it blesses you as much as it blesses me!!

Friend of God

The King of the Universe calls me His friend….WOW!!

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