Saturday, August 30, 2014

Amazed Again at God's Provision

At this point, Dennis is in essence home bound. Last night when we got home a neighbor had to basically lift him up the two steps into the house. (Please pray the physical therapy he starts on Friday will help give him some leg strength.) 

After talking with Dennis' social worker, we both agreed it was time to put in a ramp. This is beyond my skill set and frankly even coordinating it seemed overwhelming. I called up our small Bible study group leaders and asked if they could help coordinate the group to build Dennis a ramp. By this evening a plan is in place to get this done and not only that, the cost of the supplies for building it are covered as well. Amazing.

Even in the midst of some very hard times, God continues to meet our needs in ways that are beyond what we could even imagine.

Thank you to our High Point Church small group. You are a blessing to us over and over again.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

It is a Hard Road

For over two years Dennis has bravely fought stage 4 brain cancer. For most of that time, he has been able to do most of the things he loves. Although he has struggled with fatigue, we have managed to work around that and enjoy time with family and friends. We are so thankful for this precious gift of quality time we have enjoyed.
When we found out the tumor was active in May, our only choice left was another round of radiation. Since then, it has been very hard. Dennis struggles with communicating even some very basic wants and needs. As you can imagine this is very frustrating for him. Radiation has also strongly impaired his ability to walk. He has fallen 4 times in the last several weeks, uses a walker to get around the house and often needs help getting up from chairs. It is so hard to see him like this. For the first time I am seeing him lose his will to fight. I have to admit that I understand where he is coming from. He is tired of being sick and living the way he is.
Please pray for Dennis to get some strength and ability to speak. The doctors think this is possible in the weeks ahead. Pray for me to be able to be the support he needs both physically and emotionally. Also, pray with us about the financial needs that my need to only work part-time in order to help him will create along with the added costs of medical supplies and equipment he needs. Also, please remember Brooklyn in your prayers as she too works through all of this. She loves her daddy and has had such a short time to know the love of a father.
Thank you so much for all of your prayers, love and support through this entire journey. We could not have done it without you and continue to need you. Just knowing you care is such an encouragement to us. I often see Dennis light up when he is visiting with you or reading a note you sent. We love you all.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

MRI and Moving Forward

We have had a few eventful days. On Sunday morning Dennis woke up with a headache and was confused. I called the on-call doctor and they said to bring him in to be checked. Lots of testing and an MRI led to an overnight admission to the hospital.   The preliminary reports from the MRI indicated some progression of the tumor.  This was concerning but we were waiting for the full report.  Dennis came home Monday afternoon and was doing much better.

Today we had an appointment with his doctor. The full review of the MRI showed an area that had gotten smaller and what was originally thought to be progression proved to be scar tissue.  We focused our discussion on how to help Dennis get stronger.  He will be starting physical and occupational therapy.   His legs are very weak and we want to maintain his ability to walk.  The weakness has several causes including the medication he is on, the location of his tumor and the fatigue from radiation.  We are hoping to reduce the medication in the days ahead.

So for now, we focus on getting stronger.  We are thankful for the good team we have to help us get the supports we need.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Overwhelmed by God's Provision

Our Lord Provides

Dennis continues to struggle with getting up from a seated position.  This is especially hard if he is on a soft surface like a couch.  We decided that having a recliner that would lift him up would be beneficial to him.  So, while Dennis went out to lunch with some friends, I went to the furniture store to purchase a chair for him.  One of the guys Dennis was out with for lunch felt God laying us on his heart and gave Dennis a check.  He did not know we were making a major purchase at that same time.  On Saturday, Dennis' Bible study group also gave him some monetary gifts.  These gifts paid for the new chair as well as a little extra.  Because Dennis can't walk stairs, he is unable to get to the family room to watch TV.  We are very low end TV watchers but Packer season is around the corner.  Moving the TV upstairs was beyond my skills as Dennis has a lot of "extras" attached to it.  I decided I'd put some money with the extra from the gifts we had and get a TV for the living room.  While I was out shopping someone else dropped off a gift for us.  When I got home and saw this gift, it was just enough to cover the TV.  Isn't it amazing how God used 9 different families to provide the exact amount that we needed for these two items?  We are overwhelmed by God's provision and attention to detail.  

Physical Healing

Dennis is gaining some strength and increasing in other skills as well.  He is better with his speech but still has room to improve.  His walking is very slow and he can't walk very far. We are working on this by taking short walks. He will have an MRI in a few weeks and that will tell us how well the radiation worked.  We will also be determining if some speech or physical therapy would be helpful.

My shoulder is still troublesome.  I have started physical therapy and see the orthopedist this week.  An MRI may be needed to determine if I have tear in the rotator cuff.  I'm unable to even be on the computer more than a few minutes without pain.

Please pray for continued healing for both of us.

What I Want - What I Have

Since we lost our golden retriever in December, Brooklyn has been talking about getting another one.  Recently as I was watching our springer, Willow, play with Brooklyn, I realized she was missing out on what she currently had - a loving, tolerant pet who is her constant companion.  After discussing this with her, she saw too that by focusing on what she didn't have, she was missing out on the blessing she did have.

But I wonder -  how different am I than Brooklyn?  I find myself wanting what I don't have rather than focusing on the blessings in my life.

I could, and frankly have, often thought of all the  - I really miss... items in my life right now.  
  • I miss carrying on a conversation with Dennis that is easy and not hampered by his problems communicating.
  • I miss Dennis coming home with flowers for Brooklyn and me.
  • I miss being able to go someplace without having to plan for Dennis' safety.
  • I miss being able to enjoy summer fairs, festivals, hikes, biking...
  • I miss walking hand-in-hand with Dennis on a summer evening.
  • I miss seeing Dennis play with Brooklyn and hearing her giggles.
  • I miss knowing Dennis is taking care of us.
  • I miss seeing Dennis mow the lawn or drive his truck.
  • I miss knowing Dennis can fix anything on my computer
OK, I think that is enough.  My discussion with Brooklyn made me realize I too was focusing on what I didn't have rather than what we do have.
  • Dennis has improved some since ending radiation.
  • We can go out for a meal together.
  • We have many friends who make it possible for me to get out and know Dennis is taken care of.
  • We have seen God meet our needs in so many ways and through so many people.  
  • We have learned to trust God on a completely different level than ever would have otherwise.
So as we continue to walk down this path, I am trying to focus on all that God has provided for us so I don't miss this because I am looking for something else.