Overwhelmed And Humbled

Words can not adequately express how overwhelmed and humbled we were by the amount of people that came out to honor Greg on Friday night and Saturday afternoon. What an amazing tribute to the man that we called husband/father. The kids and I knew what a great man Greg was because we lived with him. But what a privilege to hear others speak the same things about him. We just want to say thank you to everyone that came out and stood in line Friday evening to speak to us and to honor Greg. We heard that some of you stood in line for TWO hours….how very humbling. We also heard that some of you had to leave without getting to speak to us. I’m sorry that we didn’t get to see you, but please know how much we appreciate your thoughtfulness in being there. I also know that there were many of you at the funeral that we didn’t have the chance to speak to, but again, please know how much it meant to us for you to be there.

Some of you have mentioned that you wished you could have been at the funeral and heard the tributes that the kids and I wrote about Greg. I will try to post copies of these on my blog in the near future. I also know that many of you still don’t know all of the details that transpired over that weekend in the hospital and how everything progressed so quickly, and are wondering what happened. I will post about that later, as well.

For now, I just wanted to let you all know how much each of you has meant to our family over the past two years of this journey. Your prayers, concern and care for our family is what has sustained us. Please continue to pray for our family. Greg’s journey here has ended, but the journey continues for myself, Katie, Emilie and Jacob. We remain here for a reason; there is a purpose for our current situation. “Your plans are still to prosper, You have not forgotten us. You’re with us in the fire and the flood. Faithful forever, perfect in love. You are Sovereign over us.” These are some of the lyrics to one of the songs that was sung at Greg’s homegoing celebration. (You should listen to the whole song, if you get the chance!) We don’t claim to understand why this has happened to our family, we don’t claim to understand how any good can come of this, and we don’t claim to like where we are at right now…but we do claim to know the God who has a plan that we can trust, and we will continue to claim that He is faithful and He is good!

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra, Katie, Emilie and Jacob

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He Is Enough

As I get ready to start another difficult day of sadness, aloneness, “lostness”, and widowness; as I get ready to start another day full of making decisions about things I never imagined having to make decisions about, I sit down to read my devotion for today and this is what My God says to my heart:

“I am Immanuel – God with you – and I am enough! When things in your life are flowing smoothly, it is easy to trust in My sufficiency. However, when you encounter rough patches – one after another after another – you may sometimes feel that My provision is inadequate. This is when your mind tends to go into high gear: obsessing about ways to make things better. There is nothing wrong with seeking solutions, but problem-solving can turn into an addiction: your mind spinning with so many plans and possibilities that you become confused and exhausted. To protect yourself from this mental exhaustion, you need to remind yourself that I am with you always, taking care of you. It is possible to rejoice in Me – to proclaim My sufficiency – even during the most difficult times. This is a supernatural work, empowered by My Spirit who lives in you. It is also a decision that you make – day by day and moment by moment. Choose to be joyful in Me, your Savior, for I am indeed enough!”

Our hearts are broken, our family is forever changed, I am only half the person I used to be, and we will continue to weep and grieve for the man who meant so very much to us. We will continue to question and wonder and not be able to understand why this happened to our family, BUT……we will continue to cling to the promise that HE IS ENOUGH! HE is enough for me. HE is enough for Katie. HE is enough for Emilie. HE is enough for Jacob. HE IS ENOUGH!

But he said to me, “My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me. 2 Cor 12:9

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. Psalm 68:5

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra, Katie, Emilie and Jacob

Funeral Arrangements

Visitation:
Friday, October 25 5-7pm at Mowell Funeral Home in PTC
200 Robinson Road
Peachtree City, GA 30269
http://www.mowellfuneralhome.com

In lieu of flowers, those desiring may make donations to Crossroads Church Missions Ministry, http://www.crossroadsnewnan.org or 2564 Hwy 154, Newnan, Georgia 30265

Service:
Saturday, October 26 1pm at Crossroads Church, hwy 16 campus in Newnan
3260 Hwy 16 East, Sharpsburg, Georgia 30277

From Atlanta take I-85 south to exit 51 and turn left onto Hwy 154. At the seventh traffic light, turn right onto Marion Beavers. Go over the railroad tracks to second stop sign and turn right onto Hwy 16. The campus is less than 1/4 of a mile on the right.

From LaGrange go north on I-85 to exit 41. Turn left onto Hwy 29. Turn right onto Hwy 16 and follow for about 5 miles. Go through the traffic light at the Poplar Road intersection. The campus is 1/4 of a mile on the left.

From Hwy 154 Campus go right out of Crossroads Church onto Hwy 154. At the second traffic light, turn right onto Marion Beavers Road. Go over the railroad tracks to second stop sign and turn right onto Hwy 16. The campus is less than 1/4 of a mile on the right.

From Newnan Bypass, go south to Poplar Road. Turn left on Poplar Road and follow until you get to Hwy 16. At the red light turn left onto Hwy 16 and the campus is 1/4 of a mile on the left.

He’s Home

Today our beloved husband/father went home to be with the Lord. We are so blessed to have had him in our lives: me for 31 years, Katie for 20 years, Emilie for 18 years and Jake for 14 years……we only wish it had been longer. We are broken-hearted, but we rejoice knowing that Greg now has that new body that he has longed for for so long now. No more pain, no more sickness, no more nausea and vomiting, no more poking and prodding, no more not being able to do the things he wanted to do, no more being a “patient.” We love Greg so very much and are so grateful to God for giving him to us. Now, we have given him back to One who loves him even more than we do.

I will try to post more details later about what has happened, but for now I just can’t make myself write it down. Again we thank you all for your prayers for us during this hardest time in our lives.

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra, Katie, Emilie and Jacob

A Hard Night And A Hard Day

Last night didn’t end up being the quiet, restful night that we had hoped for. The MRI was originally scheduled for 2am, but Greg’s blood pressure got really low so they decided to postpone it until today. They worked throughout the night getting his blood pressure up to an acceptable range. Greg continued to have vomiting throughout the night, as well as a lot of pain. Unfortunately, the first IV drug that they gave him for nausea ended up causing him to have a tremendous headache, so that just added to his pain issues. With all that was going on, we both got very little sleep.

This morning Greg was vomiting again, but this time it was blood that he was vomiting. So the MRI has once again been put on hold until the cause for the bleeding has been determined. It appears to be old blood, rather than active bleeding. They are leaning towards thinking that the bleeding was caused by the ibuprofen that Greg took when he had a fever for so long a week or so ago. He did take quite a bit of it to try to keep the fever reduced and often it was on an empty stomach since he was eating very little at the time. They won’t know for sure what’s going on until they do a test where they scope him and use a camera to see if they can pinpoint the problem. This test is scheduled to be done sometime tomorrow morning.

Once they figure out what is going on with his stomach, they will proceed with the MRI of his back to get a better idea of what’s causing his pain. For now, Greg is receiving a continuous morphine drip, with extra doses in between if needed.

Around 2:30 this afternoon, Greg finally stopped vomiting and went to sleep and has been sleeping most of the rest of the day. He is heavily medicated and this is helping him to sleep. His nausea and pain seem to be under control at the present. I am so thankful to see him resting peacefully after so many days of pain, nausea, vomiting and no sleep. Although, it is kind of scary seeing him SO out of it at times, I know that his body is exhausted and needs this deep rest. I am praying that he will continue to sleep throughout the night, despite the fact that I know the staff will be in and out frequently checking on him.

Please 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 Greg would sleep well throughout the night
3. That his pain, nausea and vomiting would continue to be controlled
4. That his blood pressure and temperature would stay in acceptable ranges
5. That the tests would be able to be done as planned tomorrow and they would be conclusive as to what’s going on
6. That the doctors would have wisdom regarding the next steps in Greg’s treatment
7. That our family will continue to stay strong, courageous, faithful, hopeful and joyful as we cling to the One who is our Healer.
8. This is small compared to what Greg is going through…but if you could please pray for me. I did something to my hip before we left town on Tuesday. I think I was twisting my body and lifting something at the same time and maybe I have pulled a muscle or something. It’s causing me a lot of pain, which is making it difficult for me to care for Greg. Plus….this chair/bed contraption that I sleep on here is not very comfortable even when I’m not hurting!

We love and appreciate you all!

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

Calling It A Night….I Hope

We finally made it into a room. Greg tried to eat a little dinner, but promptly threw it up. They took him down for a chest x-ray and he has an MRI ordered…not sure if that will be tonight or tomorrow. I’m hoping it will not be tonight so that he (and I!) can get some rest. They drew blood for cultures, and got an IV started. The nurse just gave him some medication for nausea and pain, so hopefully he can go to sleep for tonight. The only other thing that we know for sure they will do tonight is to start the Zometa infusion. Hopefully, Greg will be able to just sleep through that. Maybe tomorrow we will have some answers as to what is going on.

Thank you all for praying for us throughout last night and today. It is your prayers and God’s goodness and faithfulness that keep us going! Thank you also to everyone that is helping to get Jacob to all the places he needs to go. Greg and I are so thankful that the kids don’t have to miss out on activities because we are gone so much. We are blessed with wonderful friends and family that help us carry the load! Much love to you all!

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

Looks Like We’ll Be Here A Little Longer Than We Thought

We saw the doctor this morning and he has decided that Greg should be admitted. He’s concerned about the amount of pain that Greg is experiencing and wants to do some further testing. He feels like it will be much easier on Greg to do this testing inpatient. Although we really didn’t want for Greg to have to be hospitalized, we do agree that it will be better for him. So for the last four hours, we have been waiting for an available bed. Thankfully, we found a recliner for Greg and he is dozing on and off. As far as Ipi infusion #3, it is on hold for now. We’ll just have to see what the other tests show. The only thing that we do know is that Greg’s LDH has increased significantly. An increased LDH is often an indicator of disease progression. We also know that Greg will have an MRI and a Zometa infusion. Zometa is a drug that helps with bone repair. Other than that, we just have to wait and see.

As far as Greg’s rash goes, they believe it is from the Ipi. That may or may not play a part in whether or not he gets infusion #3. The rash is clearing with the topical steroid cream that we have been using. The doctor also agreed with us that the fever that Greg had for so long is probably due to one of the oral chemos (dabrafenib) that he has been taking. He quit taking it about 5 days ago, and has not had a fever since. He may be started back on the dabrafenib at a lower dosage to see if his body can tolerate it.

So for now, we sit and wait for an available bed….nothing can be done until he’s admitted. Please pray that the room will be ready soon! Thanks for your prayers and support! We’ll update when we know more.

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

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