Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Imagine This

This morning your alarm goes off.  You lay there for a few minutes and think, “It can’t be morning already!” You hit the snooze, roll back over and before you know it, the alarm is sounding again.  You turn it off and reluctantly start waking up.  You begin thinking about everything you have to do today.  Get the kids off to school, work is going to be crazy – way more to do than is possible in eight hours, looks like it is going to be a long day, family time tonight before collapsing back into bed.  But at least this is the last day of this crazy schedule this week.  You’ll get through today and then have three days off.  

You survive Thursday but it was crazy and Monday will be just as bad.  Hopefully you can refuel over the long weekend.  Friday is a catch-up day.  Dentist appointment, some medical tests and lunch with your wife and daughter are on the agenda.  Lunch is fun and relaxing and provides some really good down time.  Everyone is home by five.  Maybe a movie tonight after supper would be fun but then the phone rings and nothing in your life will ever be the same. 

  • You won’t be going back to work for a very long time.
  • You aren’t able to drive.
  • You face major surgery.
  • You have medication that makes you feel tired and sick.
  • You spend most days at home alone.
  • You don’t know if you will ever recover.
  • You don’t know if you do recover if there will be long-term changes to your life.
  • You worry how this will impact those you love.

Can you even imagine?  I know I can’t.  But this is the road Dennis is on and to some degree we are on together, although I’ll admit that I can’t totally understand how this must feel for him.  My road has its own challenges.

  •  I’m pulled between the need to work and the desire to be home or with Dennis at all of his treatments.
  •  I’m scared.
  • I miss simple things, like being able to do something as a family and not have to worry if Dennis is too tired. 
  •  I miss being the one Dennis takes care of and instead I am taking care of him.  
  •  I’m the only driver.  (I have always preferred to ride than to drive.)

Yes, our lives are very different than they were before that phone call.  At times, it is overwhelming.  But God is also walking along this road with us.  I have seen Dennis’ faith shine through from the very beginning.  His desire has been that God would be glorified as he travels this path.  That does not mean it is always easy or that he wishes this would not have happened.  In fact, there are times when the day-to-day living with brain cancer is discouraging and scary.  

So, as you pray for us, please remember to pray for:

  • Healing and full recovery.
  •  Living daily with the drastic changes that have come into our lives. 
  • Peace in our hearts as we face the uncertainties ahead.
  • A clean MRI on Nov. 14th.
  • Wisdom for the doctor regarding Dennis chemo dose.  Balancing the negative side effects that have impacted him this month with the potential benefits of this higher dose.
  •  Me to know how to best help and encourage Dennis.

Romans 15:13 -  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday Update

Dennis is doing better and is able to eat some now.  Still a bit touchy with what he eats but a lot better than last week.  It is 2.5 weeks until he has another five days of chemo so hopefully he can eat well during that time. Hopefully the next round won’t be so tough on him. 

On November 13, Dennis will have an MRI.  We will meet with the doctor the following day and learn the results of the MRI.  This is a routine MRI to check if there are any changes or regrowth.  Of course, anytime they check, it is a little scary that they will see something coming back.  Please remember to pray that nothing grows back and that Dennis beats this cancer.  Also pray for our peace as we approach this MRI. 

Dennis is doing well overall but he really is tired of being sick.  He has days where he feels better than others but overall he tires easily and finds it hard to just do simple things.  He’ll be exhausted after doing even a small amount of work around the house. 

Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Prayer Requests

  • Clean MRI with no regrowth.
  • Peace of mind and heart as we approach this MRI.
  • Increased appetite and strength.
  • Encouragement as this drags on.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Rough Days

Dennis finished his five days of chemo for this month.  The dose was increased and proved to be harder on him this time.  The last couple of days his stomach bothered him a lot and he barely ate.  In addition he was exhausted.  Hopefully he will bounce back quickly before his next round in mid-November. 

Brooke caught the bug that was going around school and spent two days running a fever.  She handled it well and by Sunday was back to normal and so hungry.  So far, both Dennis and I have avoided catching it from her.

Please remember to pray for Dennis and that he will feel better quickly and avoid catching any of the many fall virus' that are around. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

This Week

Just a very quick note to update you on what is going on this week for Dennis.  Today, Wednesday, Dennis begins his second four week cycle of treatment. He will have six cycles before he is done with treatments. When he saw his doctor today, the doctor increased the dose of chemotherapy he will start tonight and take for five nights.  He was able to do this because Dennis' blood work has stayed within normal ranges.  Please pray that he tolerates this higher dose as well as he has tolerated the lower dose.  We are thankful his blood work has stayed in normal ranges and hope this will continue moving forward.

Also pray for Dennis to be free of the many virus' that are around right now.  He did get the cold I had and is still fighting that off.  Several of the kids at Brooke's school have been sick with fevers and stomach flu.  She has not had it so please pray she does not get it or bring it home to Dennis.

Thanks for your on-going prayers, calls, notes and words of encouragement. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Hope? Denial? Peace?

I’ve been struggling with these words lately.  You see, I am doing a lot better with living in the current day rather than letting my imagination run down a path we may never trod.  But as I think about that I wonder, is this hope?  Hope that the medications are doing their job and that Dennis will be one of the rare survivors of this vicious cancer.  Or is it denial?  Denial that this cancer is vicious and that we very likely will face some difficult days ahead of us or that an MRI will come back showing regrowth of the tumor.  Or is it peace?  Peace that only can come from God and believing that He is in full control of the future no matter what may come and that He will meet our needs as they develop.  The more I ponder this, the more I think it is some of all of these.  I do firmly believe there is hope.  Some people do beat this cancer and the trial drug he is on may make his chances better to be one of those survivors.  And I do think there is some denial in it too.  Part of me so desperately wants this to be over, to finish the treatments and not have to look back.  But ultimately, there is peace.  It is a peace that is stronger at times that at other times.  It wanes when my eyes lose their focus on the source of all peace – our heavenly Father.  It does not matter the earthly outcome of this intense storm we are in the midst of, God’s peace is there in that storm as well as when it subsides.  So I choose to live with– hope that healing can come either through a miracle or medicine and peace that God is in control and walking with us. Yes, and even a bit of denial as it helps me live a “normal” life in the midst of this.

This week Dennis will begin the second of the six months of treatment he is scheduled for.  The only difference in his treatment at the beginning of each month is that he will have chemo for five days.   Throughout his treatments he has handled the chemo well and we trust he will this week as well.  He is fighting a cold so he is especially tired.  I’m not at all surprised at that as I had this cold first and was so exhausted from it too.  Please keep praying for all of us.  

Thanks to each of you for the many ways you are supporting us during this time.  We continue to be encouraged by your outpouring of love. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Updates and Supper Surprises


This week Dennis has really struggled with fatigue.  Usually by Monday and Tuesday he is doing a little better but this week he was very tired even those days.  One of the hard things with all of this is how unpredictable his days are.  It is hard for him to plan anything due to this.  He did go along on a short field trip with Brooke on Tuesday but was totally exhausted by it.  He is on the last week of his four week cycle of treatments.  That means that next week Wednesday-Sunday he will have his chemo to take each night.  His blood work continues to stay strong so that is good.  With colds going around it is important for helping him fight one if he would get it.  It also could impact his treatments if the levels fall too low.  So far that has not been the case.

Prayer Requests

  • Dennis to not catch the cold I have.
  • Less fatigue.
  • Encouragement - it is difficult to be and feel sick for so long.  We both struggle with this from time to time.

Supper Surprise

I have been fighting a cold and was totally spent by the time I got home tonight so we decided to use a coupon we had and order a Dominos pizza.  About the time the pizza was to arrive a fire truck pulled up in front of our house.  Dennis was telling me, "Hey, there's a fire truck in our neighborhood.   They're stopping at our house!"  The fireman got out along with the pizza delivery guy.  Turns out it is Fire Prevention Week and if your smoke detectors were in working order the pizza was free!  We had a free pizza tonight!  Thanks guys and thank you Lord for providing for us in this way.

Brooke checking out the fire truck.

Firemen and Dominos staff

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Treatment Days

I think we are settling into a pattern that will go on for the next six months.  Dennis goes in on Wednesday and Thursday for the IV drug he gets.  These days tend to be a bit hard on him.  He gets very tired about ½ way through getting the drug.  (It takes an hour to deliver the full dose of the drug.) He is usually tired the rest of the day.  He also often gets a headache but he has been taking Tylenol prior to receiving the drug and that seems to help.  Often he feels a bit better on Friday but then is very fatigued on Saturday and sometimes Sunday.  Monday and Tuesday are often his best days.  For five days out of 28 days he also takes an oral chemo before going to bed.  

If you think of Dennis on his treatment days, please remember to pray for him.  He really dreads these days.  He knows going in that he will leave feeling totally drained.  It also is a constant reminder of the battle he is facing.  We treasure your prayers on Dennis’ behalf.