Monday, February 28, 2005

God is Good

Monday, February 28, 2005 5:51 PM CST

God is good, God is so good.

Today, Dave had his MRI. The tech was able to get a vein for the contrast without any trouble...that is a blessing!

Dave got copies of the scans. I looked at them, and, as a lay-person, it's difficult for me to tell the difference between tissue swelling from the gamma knife and actual tumor growth. I have not compared the scans side-by-side, but it looks to me like the mid-line shift is about the same, and the tumor has not progressed any further across the mid-line into the left hemisphere. That is a blessing and an answered prayer.

The area near the motor strip and moving toward the brain stem looks a little larger to me. I'll have time to compare the scans side-by-side later and we'll see.

The other blessing is that Dave is still feeling good, still quite himself...if a little bit more distractable and forgetful, but all-in-all, it's good.

We probably won't be able to get an official opinion on the scan until we see Dr. Prados in SF on March 8th. Usually they send Dave's scans to Spokane to be read, and then we hear the results when he meets with the local doc a few days later, this time, no can do....we're going to DISNEYLAND!!!

Thank you for all your prayers. We hope that these prayers will empower the gamma knife radiation and that we'll see the expected results in two months!

Love, Shelley

Half Over

Monday, February 28, 2005 1:25 AM CST

Our prayer vigil is half over now. It's been an incredible day. We are feeling so loved and surrounded with God's love. There are at least two people praying in each 20 minute time slot. Some slots have as many as six people and one slot has a family of 10, 2 individuals and our youth group praying.

I had the privilege of being with Kenny during his 20 minute prayer at 9:40 pm. It was a blessing to me to hear what is on his heart.

I'm due to wake up Z in 2 hours and Kate an hour after that. Thank you for all your prayers today and always. Love, Shelley

Saturday, February 19, 2005

24 Hour Prayer Vigil

Saturday, February 19, 2005 6:42 PM CST

Thank you for your prayers. The non-tumor situation we asked for prayer about is on its way to being resolved. This is a huge relief for us.

Dave continues to feel great. Today was a good day. We watched Zach have an awesome game in his AAU tournament. Dave came home and played football with Kenny.

He has started the tamoxifen. It starts out at a low dose and works up to a very high dose. Breast cancer patients generally take 10-20 mgs per day and Dave will be working up to 160 mgs per day. He says, "Bring it on!" We haven't heard from Dr. Prados so we'll see what he says about the tamoxifen when we get there.

Dave decided to delay putting in the port until we get back from San Fransisco so he won't have to worry about it while we're there. He's not on any IV meds at the moment, so it's not too pressing.

On February 28, Dave will have his next MRI. Borrowing a fabulous idea from Lori & Erik, we'd like to have a 24 hour prayer for Dave from 11:00 am on Sunday February 27 to 11:00 am on Monday February 28. (His MRI is at 10:00 and takes about an hour.)

We're looking for 72 people to each commit to praying for Dave's healing for a 20 minute time slot. This will mean 24 hours of continuous prayer for Dave's healing!


PS. Please feel free to share this to other folks you know who might want to participate. If you are willing to pray, please e-mail me at meyer1986@charter.net I'll try very hard to accommodate time requests. Thank you for your unwavering support.

Imagine the power of all that prayer, sent up in a continuous stream, imagine the response from heaven, imagine Dave, surrounded by and filled with God's healing light, imagine him completely well. Pray for this vision of wellness we see so clearly to become reality.

COME WITH US AS WE CLAIM GOD'S PROMISES!

Philippians 4:6 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

1 Peter 5: 6-7 "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 "But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Deuteronomy 31:6 "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you."

Matthew 11:28-30 "Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

Proverbs 3: 5-6 "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."

Isaiah 43:1-2 "I have summoned you by name. You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."

Matthew 7:7, 8, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."

Psalm 18:6 "In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry came before Him, even into His ears"

Romans 5:1-5 "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us. "

Romans 8:37-39: "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."

Love you all. Shelley

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Let go...

Thursday, February 10, 2005 9:21 PM CST

Friends, I again petition you and covet your prayers. We are dealing with a situation (not tumor related) and need the Lord's guidance in dealing with our emotions and our response. Please pray for divine wisdom, God's intercession, and peace.

On the bt side: We heard from Dr. Friedman. He said that because of the gamma knife, that Dave would have to show tumor progression to be eligible for any clinical trials. Dave has a scan in 3 weeks. If it shows any progression, Dr. Friedman said to call him before we do anything at all. He said that any of the chemos recommended by Dr. Spence would be good to try.

Waiting on a callback from Dr. Prados re: starting tamoxifen now.

KOKO!

Port...

Thursday, February 10, 2005 12:38 AM CST

Hello all. We met with Dr. Sacks today. First line, they're going to place a port. This will make all IV things easier. They've had a tough time finding veins lately, so this will make life easier overall.

Second, Dr. Spence and Dr. Sacks recommend starting tamoxifen right away while waiting for the consult with Dr. Prados at San Fransisco. Dave's counts are good right now. Platelets are 200,000 and white cells are at 2.2 (normal is 3). They said the tamoxifen shouldn't impact his counts, and it's an oral med. I will be checking with Dr. Prados's office today to make sure it's okay.

We're set to meet with Dr. Prados and/or Dr. Chang at University of California San Fransisco on March 8. Thanks to Peter's generosity with his frequent flyer miles, we'll be taking a few days before to take the kids to Disneyland. We were going to wait until spring break, but decided that Dave may be on a new chemo, so we'd like to go while he's feeling good.

Dr. Friedman from Duke called back, but during a time my cell didn't get reception, so I called him back and am waiting for his return call.

Not much other news. Thanks for keeping those prayers coming!

Love, Shelley

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Love You More

Saturday, February 5, 2005 8:52 PM CST

Another good day!
Dave is feeling great, looking super and just being him. We watched Z and teammates win 4 straight bball games this morning. What a show! Utterly fabulous. Nothing better than cheering on your kids, listening to Dave call them by the nicknames he gave them. Games at 8, 9, 10, & 11. The kids were tired by the end, for sure!

Robin came by and prayed with us. A real comfort and strength.

Listening to Matthew West "Happy"

Take a look at the mountain
Stretching a mile high
Take a look at the ocean
Far as your eye can see
And think of me

Take a look at the desert
Do you feel like a grain of sand?
I am with you wherever
Where you go is where I am

And I'm always thinking of you
Take a look around you
I'm spelling it out one by one

Chorus:

I love you more than the sun
And the stars that I taught how to shine
You are mine and you shine for me too
I love you yesterday and today
And tomorrow I'll say it again and again
I love you more

Just a face in the city
Just a tear on a crowded street
But you are one in a million
And you belong to me

And I want you to know
I'm not letting go
Even when you come undone

Chorus:

I love you more than the sun
And the stars that I taught how to shine
You are mine and you shine for me too
I love you yesterday and today
And tomorrow I'll say it again and again
I love you more

Bridge:

Shine for me
Shine for me
Shine on, shine on
Shine for me

Chorus:

I love you more than the sun
And the stars that I taught how to shine
You are mine and you shine for me too
I love you yesterday and today
And tomorrow I'll say it again and again
I love you more


God loves us more. More than we can imagine. More than we can fathom. And Dave shines, shines for Him.

Yes, today is a good day.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Home Again

Friday, February 4, 2005 11:54 PM CST

We're home, we're home, we're home!! Hooray!

Thanks to Denise, Mark and Peter for being there on one of the most awful days. Come to think of it, you three have been there EVERY awful day. Maybe we shouldn't let you come around anymore!! (Just kidding, of course....what would we do without you there in our time of need? Without Denise to keep me sane, Mark to hug me and Peter to pray with us, we'd be LOST! You guys are the BEST! Remember the snowball fight the day after Kyle's funeral, when the diaper service guy thought we'd lost our minds? And Denise in her yellow pants? And Mark and Steve and Erik piling with us on the hide-a-bed and bending the couch? You have been there for us time and time again. Thank you!) And Evy, Canute, Sonja and Echo (and Erik via Florida), thank you for your loving welcome and providing a place where we can just be. The Haroldsons have been there for us, too. Evy, do you remember singing "Buytl sphere, I come bouncing back to you, butyl sphere..." to Dave? He thinks it was during a pictionary game. We laughed so hard remembering that. Thanks Moms and Dads for keeping the home fires burning while we were gone.

Dave is looking and feeling GREAT!!! You'd never know he had a tumor in his head at all. We had a good trip home, laughing and searching for decent music on the radio. Heard Travis Tritt:

"It's a great day to be alive, I know
The sun's still shinin' when I close my eyes,
There's some hard times in the neighborhood,
But why can't every day be just this good?"

Today is a good day. Me and my love, driving, and singing, the wind and the sun outside. No non-existent pizza parlors to try to find. Hugs and stories from the kids when we got home. Like Dave says, "Make it a good day."

On the business side, we sent scans to Duke (NC) and San Fransisco for further opinions on the chemo. Everyone seems to have different ideas. This will be the lynchpin and the least clear decision for us. So please pray for guidance and signs that even us stupid people can read!

Jodie Lee, Dr. Rock-n-Roll, Lily, Marie, Dr. Goodkin....you guys rock! The GK staff at Harborview are like no other people on earth. We felt among family yesterday. Never once did they look at Dave like a "patient." They took time to see him and respect him for what he is...a real person, with a real life, with real people who need and love him. Thanks, guys, we'll never forget it.

Gotta get some sleep. Love, Shelley

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Bad News

Thursday, February 3, 2005 3:12 PM CST

Please keep praying. I hope there are lots of you praying.

Dr. Rockhill shared the MRI with us. The news is not good. In fact, it could hardly be worse. The tumor has grown a lot in the last two weeks. It is beginning to invade the corpus callosum, which is the tissue that connects the two sides of the brain, so it is encroaching on the other side. It is also growing backward, nearing the brain stem and invading the motor cortex.

The volume is much too huge to treat with gamma knife. Dr. Rockhill did create a treatment plan. He says that they can treat a larger area than they usually do, but with a smaller dose, they cannot treat it all, he is selecting the parts where he feels the tumor would do the most damage as he grows. This carries a risk of swelling, which he said has about a 50% chance of causing Dave to have to be hospitalized in about 3 weeks.

He said the other option is to treat the symptoms with steroids, and try a chemo when Dave's counts came up. The surgeon and the neuro-oncologist also consulted on the case. Basically, they left it up to Dave. They said that they could pull out this one last-ditch effort and go out swinging, but possibly compromise his quality of life, with no guarantee that we are even buying more time.

We are scared beyond belief. We all prayed together, seeking God's wisdom and peace with the decision. Dave wants to fight with all he has. He's an amazing warrior. He said, "Fight pressure with pressure."

So they're readying the machine, and he'll go in for the treatment soon. Please pray for a miracle. Please.

Here Come the Docs

Thursday, February 3, 2005 11:31 AM CST

9:30 Thursday
We're at the Gamma Knife Center, Dave had the headframe placed and is now in MRI. We'll get the results shortly.

We met with the docs yesterday. Dr. Spence went over his history very carefully. We appreciate his thoroughness. He's the only one who caught the growth the time before the second surgery. He said that Dave's platelets were still too low to begin chemo and said that his white cells are also now low, which carries a risk of infection. He can't start any chemo until those counts rebound. We discussed 3 different options: accutane (used as an acne med, given in high doses sometimes kills cancer cells), tamoxifen (a hormonal treatment often used in breast cancer), and thalidomide (used to be used for morning sickness, caused major birth defects, is now used to inhibit the growth of blood vessels, which tumors need to grow). None of these are stellar options. He said that Dave may be able to do more carboplatin at a lower dose. We also talked about doing a combo of these agents, either at the same time or in rotation. We will be seeking second opinions from Duke and San Fransisco again.

They had a hard time starting his IV today, and a hard time with his blood draw yesterday, time to consider a port, especially if he goes on an IV chemo.

His platelets are at 133,000, which is approaching normal. This is good news. His white cells are at 1.6, normal is around 3.0. They gave him a preventative dose of antibiotics to prevent infection.

Denise is here, thank goodness. Peter is here, too, but we can't find him right now! We had a nice sleep and Evy & Erik's last night. Good to see good friends! We also had the traditional pre-procedure dinner at Old Spaghetti Factory. Jodie is our nurse today, she is FABULOUS! Dr. Rockhill is great, too. He's the one who kept us sane at the hospital and is the doc who keeps us informed. We so appreciate both of them.

Will write again while Dave's in the machine. Love you all....keep praying!

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Kids Say The Darndest Things

Wednesday, February 2, 2005 1:18 AM CST

Kids say the darndest things....even when they're teenagers. Dave's students are some of the most incredible people we have ever met. They are all unique, and bring such a wonderful, fresh perspective to life and living. They are talented, caring, funny and smart. Bob brought us some cards that they made for Dave tonight. Some made us cry and some made us laugh until we cried. All of them touched our hearts.

When Dave played his guitar and sang "Refugee" at the Conspiracy of Hope concert, the students' love for him filled the auditorium. It's something that simply cannot be described. I think those kids know that he truly loves them, he really cares. And they are there to support us.

I have scanned some of the cards to the photos page. Will add some more when we get back from Seattle. I'm not sure any card can top our two favorites from 1997. The first one said: "Bummer about your cancerous tumor, man." The second said: "I was shocked when I heard about your tumor. Probably not as shocked as you though."

Some of the front runners tonight include:

"A get well card to one of the best people in the world, from the other one."

"Get better now."

"Get well soon, so you can come back and yell at us some more!"

"Hope you get well soon!! Get lots of rest and for goodness sakes watch some movies!! There are some good ones out there."

"What's the one thing that could brighten your day while you're away from school? Midget Men!!" (Inside of card is filled with little stick people. This is one I'll scan soon.)

"If I could, I'd take down each and every little cancer cell you have." (Cover has drawing of two wrestlers, will scan this one, too.)

"I've never met you, but my best friend is always telling me how lucky I am to have you as a teacher this semester. She had you a couple of years ago, but she still remembers. She said you're the only teacher that ever made her WANT to learn. She also said you had an amazingly beautiful soul."

"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' Eleanor Roosevelt -- We all miss you and wish you were here with us. Come back soon."

"Isaiah 40:29 He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; He offers strength to the weak. -- I will be praying for you."

"Wishing you a WHALE of a recovery!" (drawing of a whale.)

"Don't blow up your briefcase again!" (If you don't know this story, you HAVE to call me and hear it!)

"Keep fighting!"

"Stars
I see the stars
Can you see the stars?
The stars all the way to mars
Stars driving fancy cars
This one star has gone very far
The star I know belongs to the Blue Devils
He's reached many stars
And succeeded every level
This star is Mr. Meyer
A triumph fighter"
Ken Sanchez (Ichiro)

"Yo Mr. Meyer, Hope you're having a splendid time away from school. You better be. Well, git 'r well--you know what I mean."

"You are in my prayers. I pray that God will bless and heal you."

"Hope you get better soon. Mrs. Meyer loves ya, I know it."

"Since you won't be here until April, we wish you a Happy President's Day and a very special Valentine's Day."

"You are an extremely strong man and many look up to you. You are in my prayers and just remember you are loved and cared for by an amazing God. Stay strong!"

There are some other portraits of Dave, too, as well as some beautiful drawings. Some guitar drawings, too. One very beautiful picture and sweet note from a girl who plays guitar and earlier this school year, she lost her grandma to cancer. She's right in what she says; it's a horrible thing, cancer. But it cannot take away from us the things that really matter, the love we have for the people in our lives. That love is eternal, it lasts for always. Like Maya Angelou said, "People may not remember what you said, they may not remember what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel." Tonight, we feel loved, blessed, comforted and strengthened. Thank you for that.