Sunday, July 31, 2005

Diane

Sunday, July 31, 2005 8:45 PM CDT

Oh, Diane, down there in the other corner....don't you know that up here in Walla Walla it's ALWAYS football season???

Just ask Lisa, my across the street neighbor. Football. Monday through Sunday. Football. January through December. Football. Sunup through sundown. You guessed it. Football.

Love you!

PS. #1. No, but you do have to move several footballs and tees in order to mow the lawn. #2. Yes, often. #3. Yes, always. #4. Yes, despite this ex-cheerleader's yelling. Shook my pompoms, even, but no luck. #5. No, but considering the traffic we've had, I may just put them out with their little aprons and make some cash!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Opinions and Decisions

Thursday, July 28, 2005 6:00 PM CDT

Things are deteriorating rapidly. It's frightening and heartbreaking. We got a wheelchair for Dave today. He's unable to walk even a short distance, and he's a big man, 6'2", so I can't help very much. He had another fall last night. He decided to get up and go to the bathroom without me and fell. No injuries, luckily he missed all the furniture and the bedroom is carpeted, but it scared me good. I said, "WHAT were you doing??" He said, "Well, I was trying to win you some money." I said, "Money??" He said, "Yeah, I was entering the stupidity contest." So as you can see, our Dave is still there. He's amazing. So strong, such a fighter. His body is betraying him at every corner, and he just smiles, hugs and tries harder. He finds humor in the tough spots, and although they call me the caregiver, it's the other way around. He cares for everyone around him. He reaches out, comforts, reassures, hugs, smiles, and makes us laugh.

We went down to the summer football camp today. As most of you know, Dave is a football coach. Has done football coaching at Walla Walla High School for 13 years. Our son, Zach, who's 13, today his team won the championship, his watermelon relay team won, and Zach was awarded best 8th grade player of the camp. It was beautiful. The kids at camp gave Dave a huge cheer. It was a shining moment for Dave and Zach, father and son on the football field together, beaming with pride in themselves and each other. Dave has had such an impact on so many young men through his teaching on and off the field. His patience, love, integrity and gentle strength show in everything he does.

Dave's enjoying visitors. He has never had a bigger smile than when he saw Erik, that was good for the soul, although I missed my dance partner. Denise and crew came, too. Denise and I wallpapered while Bob and Erik re-did the bathroom floor. We've also been lucky enough to see Bonnie and Denny, Dave says he needs his bite monitor back, Den! Aunt Nita, Uncle Ken and Grandma were here, too. Dave really brightens up when someone comes to see him. Jeffrey came and brought his keyboard, what a healing night for Dave...and for me, thanks Lisa, Teri and my ever-faithful, Deb. He was glad to see Cindy today, and Amy, you are an absolute gem!

Meanwhile, we're still waiting to hear from UW, UCSF, and Duke. Got a call from UCSF that we missed, called back, he'll call tomorrow. ***Update: he called back today. He's recommending VP-16 and Tarceva. He's also not completely sure that the CPT-11/Avastin has truly failed, because the regimen was screwed up with the hospital stay and low blood counts.

We'll have to make a decision soon, and it may be our last shot. Dave's not strong enough to withstand much more on the treatment front. It's scary how quickly things are declining. Not much more than two weeks ago, Dave was playing football with Zach and Kenny in the yard. Now he struggles to feed himself.

Dr. Prados & Dr. Spence have given these options in the past: hydroxyurea, rapamycin, gleevec (Dave's tumor tested non-responsive to gleevec), accutane, VP-16, celebrex, or interferon. I wrote to Dr. Stark-Vance and asked if she had any experience with any of these or combos of these and if she would recommend one course of action over another. The only thing she said was that she'd recommend a combo rather than a single agent, and that she knows Duke uses a combo of hydroxyurea and gleevec, but that she hadn't seen any success with that yet.

So, thank you for all the uplifting, caring notes. I appreciate you all. I haven't time right now to reply to everyone individually, but please, know we read the notes and are warmed by them.

It means a lot to Dave when people sign the guestbook. We have a little ritual, before bed, we call up the website, (well, actually now I have to write them down and bring to Dave), but we read the entries from people that day, and then we pray for everyone who wrote in that day. It is a magical, peaceful, healing time of day for us. I am continually amazed. Even with all that's going on, Dave wants to get to the guestbook, not to see who's written to him, but to see who he can pray for today. He's been that way from the very first. In January of 1997, he woke up from surgery, looked into my eyes and said, "Not today." Which is our little private joke...when we were dating, he used to ask me to marry him every day. Not willing to close any options, I'd say, "Not today!" So it was his way of telling me that he was still Dave. Anyway, after he said, "Not today," a while later, he asked, "Well, what did they find in there?" I told him it was cancer. He thought for a minute and said, "There are going to be some kids at the high school who will have a hard time with that, we need to pray for them." That's the kind of heart he has. Later he said, "Hospitals are for sick people. Get me out of here." That's the kind of spirit that's been our biggest ally in this fight.

God, please, please, we need him so much. Please, please heal him.

PS. Please pray for a woman we know from the list, she has two girls, and her husband, who suffered from a brain tumor, ended his own life. They are devastated.

Also, for one of my little toddlers, Nolan, and his family. He has been diagnosed with leukemia and his family is staying at Ronald McDonald house, far from home, enduring chemotherapy treatments for this little one who isn't even two years old yet. His prognosis is very good, 85 percent cure rate from what I've been told, but they have a long road of difficult treatments ahead of them.

KOKO

Sunday, July 31, 2005 0:22 AM CDT

Not much to update. Dave had some nausea today, and was very tired this morning. Actually, all day. He was pretty wobbly this morning. Up and down. Yesterday, he navigated stairs really well. Today, no go. We're learning to roll with the punches.

Starting to take a toll on the kids. Everyone's pretty emotionally fragile right now, trying to adjust to the reality of what life is like in this moment, trying to keep hope alive, trying to find those peaceful moments in the day. It's hard. Scary for them to see Dad, who's always been big and strong and their source of safety and protection, be the one who needs help.

Deb took the kids to the pool today, a much needed break for them...thanks, hon. Got Mark's cd in the mail. Dave was so happy! Listening to "Driving the Eights" all day.

Dave's dad has had some dizziness, so pray for him, too, k?

I'm sure there's more, but I'm drawing a blank. Love you all, Shelley

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Stop the World

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 8:15 PM CDT

Today we're listening to the Currents, Dave's voice, strong and clear, wishing we could stop the world, right here, right now, holding on to these rare moments, these quiet spaces, this time together.

Moving forward using all my breath
Making love to you was never second best
I saw the world thrashing all around your face
Never really knowing it was always mesh and lace

I’ll stop the world and melt with you
You’ve seen the difference and it’s getting better all the time
There’s nothing you and I won’t do
I’ll stop the world and melt with you

(you should know better)
Dream of better lives the kind which never hate
(you should see why)
Dropped in the state of imaginary grace
(you should know better)
I made a pilgrimage to save this humans race
(you should see why)
What I’m comprehending a race that long gone bye

(I’ll stop the world) I’ll stop the world and melt with you
(I’ll stop the world) you’ve seen the difference and it’s getting better all the time
(let’s stop the world) there’s nothing you and I won’t do
(let’s stop the world) I’ll stop the world and melt with you

The future’s open wide

(let’s stop the world) I’ll stop the world and melt with you
(let’s stop the world) I’ve seen some changes but it’s getting better all the time
(let’s stop the world) there’s nothing you and I won’t do
(let’s stop the world) I’ll stop the world and melt with you

The future’s open wide

Hmmm hmmm hmmm
Hmmm hmmm hmmm hmmm
Hmmm hmmm hmmm
Hmmm hmmm hmmm hmmm

I’ll stop the world and melt with you (let’s stop the world)
You’ve seen the difference and it’s getting better all the time (let’s stop the world)
There’s nothing you and I won’t do (let’s stop the world)
I’ll stop the world and melt with you (let’s stop the world)
I’ll stop the world and melt with you (let’s stop the world)
I’ll stop the world and melt with you (let’s stop the world)

Monday, July 25, 2005

Scan Results

Monday, July 25, 2005 4:55 PM CDT

Now a different kind of waiting.

The scan shows growth. We expected that. We didn't expect the extent. It's fully crossed the corpus callosum--we're now dealing with a "butterfly glioma." The means it's invaded the frontal lobe on the left side. It's also grown greatly on the right side, more in the frontal lobe, and now there is parietal lobe and occiptal lobe involvement. Many of these areas are clearly outside the area where they did the gamma knife.

Scans went to Duke, UW and UCSF today. We'll wait to hear about next options. There are some other chemos out there, none very good. Radiation and surgery are not options.

We walk through this valley, and cling to each other and to our Savior.

Love, Shelley

Take My Life by Jeremy Camp

Here I am before You now
I'm like a child reaching out
Here I am I'm giving all I can
Breaking my pride I feel I'm through
Shattered inside I run to You
And now I give it all to You

Take my life take my mind
Take my soul take my will
I am Yours now, and I give it all to You

Laying all down before my King
Offering all my everything
Laying all down before the One I serve
I can understand the reasons why
You came on this earth and died
And now I give it all to You

I can feel You on my shoulder
So I know that You are there
I can see You paint my picture
The beauty is all there

Waiting

Monday, July 25, 2005 11:40 AM CDT

Monday,
waiting
waiting
waiting
praying
praying
praying

we get results at 1:15 pm. Please pray with us.
In His grip,
Shelley

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Cancer Sucks

Thursday, July 21, 2005 12:19 AM CDT

CANCER SUCKS!

We went to the cancer center today. As expected, Dr. Sachs wants to move Dave's MRI up sooner because of all the symptoms he's been having. So the MRI is tomorrow at 4:00 pm. Please, please pray your hardest, most earnest pleas on Dave's behalf.

He could not have avastin today because he has a HUGE bruise on his neck where he fell and hit the edge of the table.

He could not have CPT-11 because the doc doesn't want to give him any more CPT-11 until they know for sure whether the tumor is growing or not.

We have an appointment Monday to get results of the scan.

Doc said to keep Dave's decadron at the 8 mg level for now, until we know what's going on.

We're getting a walker today. Getting into the cancer center was horrible today, it almost killed both of us. Hopefully, Dave will be able to manage a walker. If not, it will have to be a wheelchair.

We're in the midst of painting and getting ready to do some work in the bathroom to make it safer for Dave. The plywood floor in the bathroom is just not gonna cut it any more. And we really need to have a shower in the tub in the main bathroom, because it takes Dave so long to do everything that the kids can't get in to shower. Sigh. And: EEEK. Like home improvements/repairs were just the fun adventure we need right now. Okay. Enough whine. I'm just thankful for Dads (mine and Dave's) who are so generous with their help and carpentry skills.

Dave's sleeping now. Before he fell asleep, he said, "I'm sorry." My heart is broken.

Love, Michelle

PS. Heard this song on the radio on the way back from the cancer center. No matter how we despair, there is hope, and our lives are worth enough that He died for us.



I Know by Seventh Day Slumber

Wonder what can be so bad
That it makes you want to die
I wonder what could be so tragic
Makes you want to take your life
You have your Savior on the cross
While you sit on the throne
Put yourself up on that cross
Put your Savior on the throne

And I know it's hard to take what's happening
And I know life is tough sometimes
And I know it seems like there's no hope for you
And I know your life is worth more than you can see

It's hard to see beyond your pain
When you feel so dead inside
It's hard to see what you've been given
It's hard to find the hope in life

And I know it's hard to take what's happening
And I know life is tough sometimes
And I know it seems like there's no hope for you
And I know your life is worth more than you can see

And I say look at Jesus' hands
Those scars are there for you
You know He understands
What you're going through

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Bit by bit

Wednesday, July 20, 2005 8:54 PM CDT

Wednesday,
thank you all who hit your knees last night and gave God an "earful" like Diane. Prayer power, combined with an increase in Dave's dex, has made a difference. He's clearer today. Was up for a while, and although still shaky, he could walk. He hasn't eaten a lot, but what he ate stayed down. We'll take what we can get at this point.

I'm still only on chapter 2 of Harry Potter, and Z is really giving me a hard time. Drat. I finished 2 books last week: Little Earthquakes and Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons, but this week, nothing doing. And Z thinks it's funny that he read a book faster than I did. I'm slipping!

Kenny is in a much better mood today as well. He's been quite worried about Dave, and for Kenny, it means he struggles with getting angry. Angry at the docs, angry at the disease, and sometimes angry at Dad and the rest of us. It's so good to see him smile.

Zach's spent the last few days in a cave. He hurt his leg in All-Stars, and now hurt it again at BDAD (Blue Devil Athletic Development-agility, fitness and weight training), so he's been laid up, reading, reading, reading. I think he's a little bummed.

Kate's been practicing for Peach Basket. Zach has played with the same 3 guys since they were 8. Now 3 of the little sisters, plus a neighbor girl, have joined to make the little sister's team. They are so cute. The boys haven't practiced at all, but the girls are pretty serious about the whole thing. Peach Basket is a street 3-on-3 basketball tournament they do here. They block off all the downtown streets and set up hoops. It's a ton of fun. If anyone can come that weekend, it will be a blast! You're all invited!

Love, Shelley

Prayer Needed

Wednesday, July 20, 2005 0:49 AM CDT

Hello all. Okay, prayer warriors, it's time to increase the time on our knees!!

Dave has had a hard time these past few days. He's pretty much lost all function on the left side. He can still move his left arm, but can't use his hand at all. His leg shakes so much when he tries to stand that he's been pretty much confined to bed for the past few days. His right arm and leg also have tremors. He's been confused some, too. It's very scary for all of us.

He has had some trouble swallowing, tending to choke. He's eating only sporatically, and he's thrown up a few times.

He has times where he seems to be himself, where he's alert and with us. And there are times when he's pretty blank. His face is droopy on the left side.

We upped his steroids to see if perhaps the symptoms are due to swelling from the gamma knife. Too early to tell if that's working.

The gk folks told us that 3-6 months after gamma knife that he'd have extreme fatigue and that the dying of the tumor cells in the treatment area would cause the same symptoms as the tumor....loss of balance, motor trouble with his left side, confusion and memory loss. Looks like we've got that in spades. He's due for a scan in early August. We see the doctor on Thursday, I'm expecting they'll move the scan sooner. If it shows growth outside the gamma knife treatment field, we'll know this chemo is no longer working. If it shows growth within the treatment field, then it might be necrosis, and we'll ask for a PET scan to determine if the tissue is living or dead. Surgery this time is not an option. Dave is not strong enough to survive a surgery, especially when he's on blood thinners. I don't know what our options are. I do know they are few.

Please pray for Dave. Pray for his fighting spirit to return. Pray for him to feel the energy of the love that we all have for him. Pray for us all to hang on to the hope that's seen us through. These are dark days.

We love you all. Shelley

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Appointment Update

Sunday, July 17, 2005 4:40 PM CDT

Dave had his doctor appointment on Thursday. Good news, the blood counts are rebounding, and he didn't need to take any procrit. This was the week off chemo. Yeah!

Dave's still quite tired. Left side is losing function, which concerns me quite a bit. He had a very nasty fall this week and cannot grip with his left hand any more. His appetite is pretty good when he's awake, but having only one hand to work with makes eating a chore.

You should see Zach. He knows that doorways and steps are difficult for Dad, so he just positions himself so that Dad can use his shoulder for support. He's patient, and just waits until Dave is ready. It's one of those bittersweet moments. A young boy should not have to guide and support his Dad. It should be the other way around. And yet, Zach quietly assumes this responsibility, shouldering it with grace, dignity and love. I'm proud of him. And my heart breaks for him.

Thanks to Sarah and family for inviting us last night. It was fun to be out of the house for a bit. Happy Birthday, Sarah.

Zach's reading Harry Potter, thank goodness he's almost done. My turn next.

Love, Shelley

Thursday, July 14, 2005

An Ordinary Day

Thursday, July 14, 2005 3:08 AM CDT

A pretty regular day! A normal day! For the Meyer household, this is unequivocally a MIRACLE!

After weeks of sleeping most of the time, being weak and disoriented when he was awake, having difficulty telling the difference between dreams and reality (let me tell you the one where he thought we were on an island and there was a conspiracy to steal someone's pile of cash.....) Dave got up this morning....morning I said, not evening, not afternoon, morning....and had breakfast. Slowly. Then lunch. Then Wendye came by with cookies and lemonade! She told Dave to stay up for another hour. And I went to teach my class. Came home at 9:30 and Dave was still awake.

And not only awake, but alert. With it. Groovin'. No fuzzy, glazed donut look in his eyes.

He got pretty tired by the end of the day, but wow. To see him up and around and in conversations was pretty amazing. And wanting to be up. The last few weeks, anytime he was up, it was because I insisted he get up.

Pray that it lasts, that it's a turning of a corner, that this week off will give his counts time to rebound. The boys got fight in him yet! We're celebrating!



You are Worthy of My Praise by Jeremy Camp

I will give, you all my worship
I will give, you all my praise
You alone, I long to worship
You alone, are worthy of my praise

I will worship, with all of my heart
I will praise you, with all of my strength
I will seek you, all of my days
I will follow, all of your ways

I will give you, all my worship
I will give you, all my praise
You alone, I long to worship
You alone, are worthy of my praise

You are worthy of my praise

I will bow down, and I'll hail you as king
I will serve you, I will give you everything
I will lift up my eyes to your throne
I will trust you, I will trust you alone

I will give you all my worship
I will give you all my praise
You alone I long to worship
You alone are worthy of my praise

I will give you all my worship
I will give you all my praise
You alone I long to worship
You alone are worthy of my praise

You are worthy, You are worthy
You are worthy of my praise

Oh, I will give you all my worship
I will give you all my praise
You alone I long, I long to worship
Well, you alone are worthy of my praise

You are worthy of my praise

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

We Rest

Wednesday, July 13, 2005 12:25 AM CDT

Today we rest.

No chemo. Dave's got a doctor's appointment tomorrow afternoon, and will get a shot of procrit, but it's that magical week where the week off from CPT-11 coincides with the week off from Avastin. Whoopee. Maybe this will perk Dave up, having a rest.

Next chemo is next Thursday, the 21st.

Here is our family theme song:

Now And Forever by True Vibe

Hands on the clock count the minutes, the hours
Your love has the power, stronger than time or space
You're the rock that I stand on, my anchor
To You I will give all the praise
And there's nothing that I've got to hide
With the power of God on my side

Now and forever
I promise I will always love You
All my life
One thing I know for sure
We'll be together
Every day I'll love You better
More and more
Now and forever I'm Yours
Now and forever I'm Yours

Lost in a dream, under stars, under moonlight,
You are the one Light leading me out of the dark
You're the breath that I breathe, all that I need
Nothing will keep us apart
And I'm giving You my guarantee
That in You I will always believe...I believe

All that I have I'll give to You
You know that there's nothing that I won't do
Whatever it takes, whatever it takes

Saturday, July 09, 2005

End of baseball

Saturday, July 9, 2005 8:28 PM CDT

Ahh baseball. It's over for the summer. Sigh. The kids made a good effort, but fell to Kennewick today. Didn't rally back this time. They only scored 3 runs. It was tough, but fun. Zach had all good at-bats, (1 walk, 1 hit and I can't remember the others, but he got on base every time...and he scored 2 of the 3 runs.) He had a spectacular jumping catch at short stop. He had one dropped ball--he caught it on the edge of his mitt and it squeezed out. Deb calls those snow-cones. And an error--just got by him. Made a few other plays. He got himself into a pickle between third and home, which was very exciting, especially since he was quick enough to get back on base safe! He pitched a couple of innings, and held his own pretty well against a good hitting team. I think he only walked one batter and it was when he tried to throw a curve and the ball popped out and hit the batter. Oops! Anyway, it wasn't the super game he had yesterday, but it was good and he had fun. Deb, Jake and Megan came with us. Jake is turning into quite the photographer, and Z is always glad to have his "second mom" there.

Dave's very, very tired. Last night he had the same pain in his lung that he had when he went to the hospital on Memorial Day. It was pretty scary. He was even making the Chewbacca noise. I gave him some oxycodone and he fell asleep, but I stayed up most of the night making sure he was breathing. So I'm tired, too.


Breathing by Lifehouse

I’m finding my way back to sanity again
Though I don’t really know what I’m gonna do
When I get there...
Take a breath and hold on tight
And spin around one more time
And gracefully fall back to the arms of grace

’cause I’m hanging on every word you say
And even if you don’t wanna speak tonight
That’s all right, all right with me
’cause I want nothing more
Than to sit outside heaven’s door
And listen to you breathing
It’s where I wanna be, yeah
Where I wanna be...

I’m looking past the shadows in my mind
Into the truth and I’m
Trying to identify the voices in my head
God, I wish it were you
Let me feel one more time what it
Feels like to feel alive
And break these callouses off of me one more time

’cause I’m hanging on every word you say
And even if you don’t wanna speak tonight
That’s all right, all right with me
’cause I want nothing more
Than to sit outside your door
And listen to you breathing
It’s where I wanna be, yeah-ah...

I don’t want a thing from you
I bet you’re tired of me
Waiting for the scraps to fall off
Of your table to the ground...
’cause I just wanna be here now...

’cause I’m hanging on every word you say
And even if you don’t wanna speak tonight
That’s all right, all right with me
’cause I want nothing more
Than to sit outside heaven’s door
And listen to you breathing
It’s where I wanna be, yeah...

’cause I’m hanging on every word you say
And even if you don’t wanna speak tonight
That’s all right, all right with me
’cause I want nothing more
Than to sit outside heaven’s door
And listen to you breathing
It’s where I wanna be, yeah
Where I wanna be...
Where I wanna be..

Friday, July 08, 2005

All-Star!

Friday, July 8, 2005 8:47 PM CDT

WHEW! Turns out Dave got the message backward. Zach's pertussis test was NEGATIVE. YIPEE!! We're happy about that one!

The All-Star game was great today. Zach played short stop and batted 4th in the line-up. He had a double, a single, and 2 walks. Very exciting game. They were down 1-11 at one point in the game, and came back to tie it. It came down to the bottom of the 7th and Pullman managed to get in that one run, to win the game 13-12. The kids did great. They have a lot to be proud of. Zach pulled his quad (thigh) muscle running to first in his first at-bat in the top of the 1st. Had to sit out a couple of innings, but ice and ibuprofen, and he was back at it. It was a really fun game. They play tomorrow at 10:00 in Kennewick. Hoping, hoping they win that one.

Baseball is just the best.

Love, Shelley

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Another day, another chemo

Thursday, July 7, 2005 6:51 PM CDT

Hi everyone!

Chemo day...always good to see Alex's face. Makes the trip to the dreary basement worth it.

Good news, Dave's blood counts are hanging in the barely okay range. He got CPT-11 and avastin today. His eye is still bothering him, we'll be making an appointment with Dr. Poff, his optometrist. Dave's having a lot of "drippy nose" and blowing his nose a lot. Last few days that's been bloody, a concern because of avastin and blood thinners. So far, nothing too severe, but we're watching and praying about this. Doc gave him some allergy meds, hopefully that will help.

Dave's been sleeping 18-20 hours a day. Seems to be most awake at night after 11:00 or midnight. He's like a newborn, got his days and nights mixed up. Doc gave him some ambien, hoping to turn the schedule around. Dave doesn't want to take any more pills. In fact, that's always been an issue, and is now huge. With his short term memory being, well, pretty much blotto....he's always arguing with me over meds. Always insisting he took them. Luckily, he's only got the tegretol to take for the most part (anti-seizure meds). He's almost weaned off the evil decadron. And once he's off decadron, he can stop the pepcid.

Having some trouble with what Dave calls SAD...Sudden Acute Diarrhea. Poor guy. He's also losing weight pretty rapidly. Partly because he's never awake to eat!

So, all you faithful prayer warriors, there's a whole laundry list of pretty minor stuff to pray for. There's also a biggie. The right side of Dave's face is drooping again, showing some paralysis. It was quite pronounced before surgery in Jan 05, and got better after the surgery. It's the tumor invading the motor fibers on the right side. It also affects his left leg, which tends to drag. The leg has been pretty much the same since Jan, tends to be worse when he's tired. But the facial paralysis had gotten a lot better, and today it's worse again. This could be tumor growth, or it could be swelling. If it's swelling, we might have to up the decadron again. Ick. But better than the alternative.

The other thing is, all of this could be due to the gamma knife he had 5 months ago. They said that in 3-6 months, he might have extreme fatigue and the same kind of symptoms that he had with the tumor. So it could also be due to those cells dying off. We hope that's the ticket. Necrosis is nasty stuff in and of itself. The hope with necrosis is that eventually the body will dispose of those dead cells, and necrosis is pretty self-limiting, unlike tumor growth, which continues unchecked. During the last surgery, much of what they thought was tumor growth turned out to be radiation necrosis from the Aug 05 gamma knife. Only time will tell. The August MRI may tell us something, but not necessarily. Necrosis and tumor growth look much the same on an MRI. Sometimes an MRS (Spectroscopy Imaging) or PET scan can tell the difference, but not always. Guess we'll cross that bridge when we get there. Doc considered doing a scan now, and decided we could wait until August.

Zach's All-Star baseball tournament starts tomorrow. He's very excited. The tournament is in Kennewick. They have a game at 1:00 and if they win, one at 7:00. Then the games Sat and Sun will depend on if they win or lose. It's double elimination and the championship game is on Monday. Yay! We get to watch more baseball!

Dave took a message from the pediatrician. It looks like Zach's test was positive for pertussis. No wonder. The good news is that whooping cough is most contagious in the first week, when the patient has the cold symptoms: runny nose, sore throat. Well, that was clear back in May. They say that after three weeks it's no longer contagious, so we're past that. Mindy is watching Caleb and Annalee closely, since small children are more at risk, especially if they've had some but not all of the pertussis vaccine series, usually completed with a booster between ages 4-6. For children who are vaccinated, the immunity wanes around age 11. Luckily, whooping cough is not a terribly dangerous or debilitating disease for older children and adults. It was WAY easier than chicken pox! Way! I asked the doc about Dave being low on white cells and if this was a concern. He said, nope, that if Dave was going to get it, he'd be showing the signs a while ago, so we can assume he's safe.

I think that's all the news for now.

I've been struggling with positive attitude lately. Fatigue leads to impatience for me. This is a long journey, a marathon, and I've spent much of my time sprinting. It's catching up to me. Letting go is not my strong suit, I'm quite the control freak. I know, this may surprise you. HA! There are some things beyond my control, however, and I've been beating my head against a brick wall, trying to make things something they aren't. Did I tell you acceptance is one of my weaker suits as well? I think this has benefitted Dave over the years in this war. I've left no stone unturned in this figth. I've spent dozens of nights with no sleep, talking to people all over the world, learning as much as I can. Doctors, nutritionists, patients, herbalists, homeopathic doctors, faith healers, pharmacists, nurses, acupuncturists, caregivers, authors, the list goes on. We've been in battle mode for over eight years now--no holds barred, full boar for over two. (To say nothing of the parallel battle we wage with autism!) I guess I'm just sensing the need for a change to happen within me. I keep waiting for normal to return. (Yeah, I know, how normal was it EVER around this house?) I'm not adjusting, I'm fighting and stalling and kicking and screaming. (The kicking is mostly inside. The screaming actually happens.) I guess I'm struggling with a lot of really big issues right now. And I think, as always, I am the foil to Dave. He's so tired, he has no trouble with living in the (awake) moment, and just being. I'm used to seeing more spark, more fight. So I try to pull it out of him. And get more intense about, well pretty much everything. And I'm pretty intense to begin with. Anyway, I need prayers from you all. Prayers that God will set my path right, that I will recognize what is "resting" and what is "giving in." That I will know when to push and when to just relax. That I will learn to smile and laugh with Dave when he buttons his shirt cock-eyed or forgets who he's talking to on the phone in the middle of a conversation or breaks another plate because he forgot he was holding it....instead of sighing with exasperation. He takes it all in stride, finding enjoyment in all things. I so wish I was more like him.

It's interesting, there's this movie floating around cancer circles: www.thesurvivormovie.com It's a great little clip, meant to be very inspiring. The main theme is "I have cancer, but cancer does NOT have me." Which is a wonderful, positive attitude. I like much of the movie a lot. It's a little short in the faith department (to quote my good friend, Laurie), but okay. But there is this one thing that BUGS me!

~Caveat~ I am the first to acknowledge that positive attitude, and making the best of what comes your way is key. That some of us are dealt some pretty crappy stuff, and if we have faith, God will help us bring good from that. Wonderful things, wonderful people have come into our lives because of cancer. Don't get me wrong.

But there's this part in the movie that talks about cancer being a "lesson" and that when we have a setback, it's an opportunity to relearn the "lesson." Kinda sets my teeth on edge.

I don't believe that God or fate or anyone or anything sent this horrible disease to us in order to teach us a lesson! We all learn from what happens to us, if we are open to it. But the idea that cancer is a lesson bugs me. Makes me batty. (Okay, I revised the cuss words out of that....this is a G-rated website after all.)

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. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son....Romans 8:28-29a


For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future....I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. Jeremiah 29:11;31:3b;33:3

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?...No in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loves 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 8:35,37-39

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. II Corinthians 4:16-18

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances....I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11b-13

And these, that do remind me that God will use our earthly suffering to bring great things, if we have faith in Him.

..."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. II Corinthians 12:9b-10


Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
I Peter 1:3-9

Waxing philosophical today.
Clinging to the promises, claiming Dave's perfect healing, fiercely praying for that perfect healing to happen here on earth, feebly trying to make my will, my desires reality.

Shelley

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Still Believe

Tuesday, July 5, 2005 5:02 PM CDT

We got transportation for Thursday, thank you for your offers, Tracy, Marty/Max, Peggy, and Laura. We are so grateful!

Still Believe
by Jeremy Camp

Scattered words and empty thoughts
Seem to pour from my heart
I've never felt so torn before
Seems I don't know where to start
But it's now I feel Your grace fall like rain
From every fingertip washing away my pain

I still believe in Your faithfulness
I still believe in Your truth
I still believe in Your holy word
Even when I don't see, I still believe

Though the questions still fog up my mind
With promises I still seem to bear
Even when answers slowly unwind
It's my heart I see You prepare
But it's now that I feel Your grace fall like rain
From every fingertip washing away my pain

The only place I can go is into Your arms
Where I throw to You my feeble prayers in brokeness
I can see that this is Your will for me
Help me to know You are near

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Independence Day

Sunday, July 3, 2005 4:19 PM CDT

Happy Independence Day! We are so fortunate to live where we do, and are grateful to all those who sacrificed in the service and defense of our country so that we could enjoy the freedoms we often take for granted. Uncle Darren, this one's for you!

We've got a campfire going in the backyard now most evenings. Come by, bring your own marshmallows.

Sleepy days. "Tired" continues to be the word around here. Dave's been feeling very nauseous, too, which concerns me. He's not eating much.

Mom & Dad left, had some things to do. The kids are drifting and kind of lost without them here. We miss Amy and Luke, too.

My dad's best buddy from middle school/high school died a few days ago. His name was Jim Pruitt. They are planning to go to the service in Bellingham. I'm glad that Dad got to see Jim again a few weeks ago.

We need somebody to stay with kids on Thursday while Dave gets chemo. From 8:30 am to about noon. Involves getting boys back and forth to BDAD, too. The pay is terrible for this job, and the perks are worse. :-) Call me if you're the one! 522-5429. PS. We still haven't got Z's whooping cough results, so if you have kids under the age of 5, or kids who aren't fully immunized, you're not the one.



Strong Tower by Kutless

When I wander through the desert
And I'm longing for my home
All my dreams have gone astray
When I'm stranded in the valley
And I'm tired and all alone
It seems like I've lost my way

I go running to Your mountain
Where your mercy sets me free

(chorus)
You are my strong tower
Shelter over me
Beautiful and mighty
Everlasting King
You are my strong tower
Fortress when I'm weak
Your name is true and holy
And Your face is all I seek

In the middle of my darkness
In the midst of all my fear
You're my refuge and my hope
When the storm of life is raging
And the thunder's all I hear
You speak softly to my soul