The Rest Of The Story….But Not The End Of The Story

As I mentioned in my last post, there are many of you wondering what happened with Greg over that last weekend in Houston and how things progressed so quickly. Although many of the details of those last couple of days are still too painful for me to write out, I will try to give you an overall picture of what happened.

On Wednesday, Oct. 16, Greg had a scheduled appointment with his oncologist at MD Anderson. He was supposed to be receiving his third Yervoy (Ipi) infusion later that afternoon. At this time, Greg was having severe pain in his back and ribs. It was known that he had several tumors in the spine. The doctor decided to an MRI to see if the melanoma had progressed, or if the pain was just due to the Yervoy and chemo doing their job in killing the tumors. Because Greg was in so much pain and was extremely weak, the doctor decided to admit him to the hospital. He thought it would make it easier on Greg to have all of the testing and treatment done as an inpatient. Greg and I agreed with this decision.

A bed was available for Greg that evening and he was admitted. His blood pressure was pretty low, so they decided to hold off on the MRI until the next day. The next morning, Greg began vomiting blood and continued this throughout the day on Thursday. It was old blood and not an active bleed and believed that it was probably caused by all of the ibuprofen that Greg had taken the previous weeks for a constant high fever. He was scheduled to have a test to determine the exact cause of the bleed. As the day went on Thursday, Greg began sleeping more and more. It was believed that this was due to the fact that he was on a Morphine drip for pain.

On Friday morning, Greg went for the test to try to determine the reason that he had been vomiting blood. (At this point, he was no longer vomiting) The test really didn’t show anything….no active bleeding, no lesions, no tumors, no irritations. Only a small amount of old blood was seen. When Greg got back to his room, he was very sleepy. Again this was assumed to be from the Morphine drip and the anesthesia from the test that morning. Throughout the day Greg was more and more lethargic and difficult to wake up. When he did wake up, he was still complaining of back pain and had begun to complain of a headache. He also began to be confused, often answering simple questions incorrectly. At this point we were getting really concerned that there was more going on than just effects from the medication. That evening a CT scan of his head was done, along with an MRI of his back.

Early Saturday morning it was clear that things were deteriorating quickly. I began calling family and friends to ask for prayer and for help in getting our kids and other family members here to be with me. The CT scan showed that Greg had what is called Leptomeningial Melanomatosis. This basically means that the melanoma had spread to Greg’s brain and spinal cord. Just THREE weeks prior, the MRI of his brain had been clear. He was taken to the ICU, where a small tube was inserted into his head to drain the fluid that was causing pressure. The doctor said that it would take 24 hours to see if his body would respond positively to this procedure. When I saw Greg after the procedure, he was on a ventilator and not responsive. Several hours later my children, family and a couple of close friends arrived.

On Sunday morning, Greg had shown no improvement. They redid the CT scan and it was a little worse and his neuro exams continued to worsen. I, my children, and all of our family knew that Greg would not want to continue to be on a ventilator and the decision was made to turn the ventilator off. We were all in the room with Greg….about 13 of us when Greg left this world and was immediately in his eternal home.

We continue to grieve and mourn the loss of the one we loved so much and who meant so much to each of us. But we do not grieve like those who have no hope. We are so thankful that Greg is no longer in pain, no longer sick, no longer unable to do the things he wanted to do. We know that he has a new body that is complete and perfect. We know that our God answered our prayers……Greg IS completely healed. And we know that we WILL see him again!!

So that’s the rest of the story, but certainly not the end of the story. Oh, how much more sad it would be if this were indeed the end. But it’s not…..the ending of this story is when we will all be reunited again in Heaven, not just with Greg, but we will also be face to face with our Heavenly Father! What a day that will be!!!

Again, I thank each of you for your faithful prayers over the last two years. I would also ask that you continue to pray for me, Katie, Emilie and Jacob, as well as the rest of our family as we try to adapt to life without Greg, and that we would continue this journey courageously and with our faith strengthened and not shaken because of what has happened.

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra, Katie, Emilie and Jacob

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14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cathy Goddard
    Nov 03, 2013 @ 21:25:25

    Thank you for sharing, Sandra. Thank you “that your family handled circumstances in a way that pleased the Lord and pointed other to Him.” The answer to that prayer has rippled to more people that we’ll ever know! Love and praying for you all.

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  2. Kathleen
    Nov 03, 2013 @ 21:35:14

    Yes, we will continue praying for all of you as the weeks and months progress, especially during the upcoming holidays. Please let us know if you need anything. We love you! You have been an incredible witness to the grace of God.

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  3. Jennifer Switzer
    Nov 03, 2013 @ 21:57:31

    Always praying for y’all. So glad to be able to spend time with Jacob on Thursday and lighten his day with my craziness. 🙂 Thanks for sharing him and your journey with me. –Jennifer

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  4. Caleb Stanley
    Nov 03, 2013 @ 21:58:28

    Praying for you all. If you need anything at all I am here for you, call me when the grass gets tall! 6788779026

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  5. marykprather
    Nov 03, 2013 @ 22:12:17

    I am so thankful that this is not the end …I continue to have my faith strengthened through yours. Sandra, I pray for all of you throughout my days – knowing that God has all if you in His care.

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  6. Carole
    Nov 03, 2013 @ 22:13:47

    It breaks my heart to read but know Greg is better now. I use to love seeing you sign off with all your names. Seems like Greg’s name should still be there. I know we are sad and grieving his lost here on earth but praising he is safe and sound with Jesus waiting on us all. I love you Sandra. You are a strong amazing women. And yes you and Greg brought me and Rollyn closer to Christ way back when. Y’all and I say y’all cause even as Greg is home it will always be Greg and Sandra led us closer to Christ. Thank you cuz. Prayers always for the family.

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  7. Aunt Cricket
    Nov 03, 2013 @ 23:16:07

    Your strength and faith amazes me . I am praying for you all as God continues to use your family as a testament of your love and commitment to our Lord.

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  8. celeste
    Nov 03, 2013 @ 23:57:14

    Thanks for writing what was, I’m sure, a difficult post for you. I am praying for you and the kids. God’s peace and courage to you.

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  9. Faye
    Nov 04, 2013 @ 11:51:51

    Our hearts go out to you and your family. We are grateful that Greg, though he suffered, did not have to suffer any longer than he did. Your story seems to point to the mercies of God. We will continue to pray for all you asked. And we will be glad with you of the hope that one day we will see your complete family again rejoicing and laughing in heaven.
    Nick, Faye, and Joshua

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  10. Toni Saba
    Nov 04, 2013 @ 18:09:30

    Always thinking of you and the kids and praying for the Lord to strengthen you and them mightily for the days ahead. He is with you. Keeping climbing into His lap, His Word and His comfort every day sweet sister. You are not alone!!

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  11. Claudia Voigt
    Nov 04, 2013 @ 18:20:30

    I don’t have the words to convey how heart broken I am for you and your family. My thoughts and prayers are with each of you every day. You have truly been a shining example of true christianity to each of us.

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  12. ttigresa
    Nov 04, 2013 @ 20:15:14

    Your family is in my prayers. Without knowing you personally (only in passing) I feel as if I know you all a bit through your blogs. Please don’t stop writing them because my faith is strengthened by yours as you share. It is a blessing to identify with another believer and sharpen our faith “as iron sharpens iron”. You are a precious woman of God and your children “rise up and call you blessed” for the legacy of faith you are adding to them! Through this very difficult example they’re learning to live out what they believe. Praise God for you and the hardships you endure as His mercies are new every morning and you are all being molded to the image of Christ more and more day by day! May He keep you in the shadow of His wings as you endure this difficult time! – Love in Christ!

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  13. Valerie
    Nov 04, 2013 @ 21:11:55

    Sandra, Thank you for sharing and being so open with your family and friends. Tears are running as I type, just feeling a tiny bit of your grief. Praise the Lord we do have HOPE and a FUTURE! God does answer prayer and He is holding you right now. We continue to pray for all of you as you walk forward in the Grace of God. Your testimony is so precious and it will continue to bless many hearts as you share for many years to come. To God Be The Glory! Lots of Love….

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  14. Alicia and Jim Dixon
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 16:57:28

    Thank you for sharing this with family and friends. You all have been such a testimony to all. Greg was such a great person. Jim loved him and admired him so much. God Bless you and your sweet family. May He comfort you all and give you the strength needed to carry you through your dark days. Love, Alicia and Jim Dixon

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