Archive for August, 2008
Dan is asleep for the night I hope. It is quiet. Now, I can “visit” with you. Dan is in the midst of what seems to be reaction to the chemo. He had a heavy sweat when his fever broke in the middle of Friday night. Saturday, he was free of fever until 9 – 11 p.m. He slept most of the day. The shot to boost his immune system causes rapid growth of white blood cells in the bone marrow. While that does protect against infection, it creates pain in all of his joints.
With every movement causing pain, in his drowsy condition it was hard to get him to take liquids. But God helped us make it through the day. One thing that helps him is to listen to books on CDs. It is rather amusing to put a CD in the computer and watch Dan go to sleep within 5 minutes after the story begins.
And what did I do with all that “extra time” that I had because Dan was sleeping??? I got my physical workout by washing the sheets (and 3 other loads of clothes) , airing the comforter in the sun, stuffing the comforter back into the duvet, and other fun things like…I went to the Mall…for a precious baby blue plastic pad with white flannel top to put under the sheet so that the next time Dan has a heavy sweat, the mattress will stay dry. I bought 2 more pairs of pajamas so Dan will have dry pajamas to wear while I wash the ones he sweated down. I also entertained myself by shopping at the drug store. I found wonderful things like Imodium for intestines upset by chemo, Tylenol for fever, a small radio/cassette tape player with headphones so he has something to listen to when he can’t sleep in the night.
Why do I share this with you? Not to gain your sympathy. I am only one among millions of married people who love their mate and do what we do because we want to take care of them. That is what love is all about. I write for two reasons…I was asked to keep a record because this blog may be the beginnings of that book I’m supposed to write : > ), and secondly, I write because we have loved ones all over the world who want to know what is happening with Dan. I’ve discovered a third reason – it is theraputic for me to write about the struggle.
I began this for you and Dan, but I am receiving a great blessing in that it keeps you and me connected. The comments, the e-mails, the Skype messages from you bring me joy, peace, and strength to “hang in there.” Another Ann whose husband had cancer surgery, may have cancer again, and is having thyroid surgery this Wednesday wrote, “My scripture for today is Deut. 31:6, ” Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid for the Lord your God goes with you. He will never leave or forsake you.” What a tremendous reward awaits us…even if we have to toddle up there to claim it! Keep standing, you are doing good.” — Anne and Dan
Though we knew complications can arise any moment, we were optimistic because of the many blessings we’d had this week. This morning I thought it was curious that Dan was still asleep at 9 a.m. When we had our “good morning, I love you today” hug, I felt the fever in his chest and arms. Our plans changed abruptly!
Rushing to HEB Medical Center at any hour of the day or night has become routine. The Dr. had me bring him in for blood tests, and decided that Dan does not have an infection. The Dr. said, “the fever is from this week’s chemo treatment and immune system booster shot.” Tylenol brought Dan’s fever down. He slept all afternoon and most of the evening. But at 10:45 pm (6:45 am Romanian time), Dan’s fever had gone up to 100.5 F. I phoned the Dr. He said, “begin Cipro (antibiotic) and more Tylenol immediately.”
Dan has no symptoms of illness except for extreme weakness, no appetite, sleeping constantly and fever. I will be checking his fever throughout the night. My symptoms…fatigue, grief, pain seeing Dan so ill with most of his hair gone, confused thinking at times so I write everything down about meds and fever, but also filled with thankfulness that he is still with me.
God brought him into my life 58 years ago. Dan taught me about the grace of God. He helped me survive through several life threatening illnesses…all the while helping me walk closer and closer with God – the Father, Christ – the son, and the Holy Spirit. We talk a lot these days about our “precious memories” and treasure each day together that God gives us now.
Do you treasure your friends and family? Do you tell them how much they mean to you? Some people say, “Oh, they know I love them. I don’t have to say it.” Well, frankly, nothing could be further from the truth. if you haven’t told your family recently that you love them, why not? How much does God love you? “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 That’s how much! — Anne and Dan
“The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you,” is one of my favorite sayings. We trust that God is watching over us. On the one hand, it has been a rough week, but on the other hand, it has had many blessings. Thanks to Adolf, we were able to have a good Skype renewal of the LST Monday Night Bible Discussion Group! The sound and video were excellent. What a joyful reunion!
Dan’s foot was not swollen when he awoke Wednesday morning. His right leg had much less fluid this morning! He needs only 3 long naps a day. He is up, dressed, and out of bed the rest of the time.There seems to be more fluid collecting in the groin area. We are praying that the fluid will drain on its own. The doctors say they will not do anything surgically to drain it…because they might cause cancer cells to escape into other parts of Dan’s body.
I am struggling to figure out tasty vegan meals, and Dan is struggling to eat some of the things I prepare. We are convinced that a vegan diet will help Dan fight cancer. Dottie is a big help in the meal preparation area. She has been down this road with her precious husband, Tom, who had kidney cancer that took his life after 10 good years in spite of cancer, and one very hard year of cancer. He was a “real man,” one of our best friends and a True Intentional Follower of Jesus.
When Tom learned that he was not going to get well, he said, “I am not going to eat any more broccoli. I can’t stand broccoli!” Dottie, stunned, replied, “But, Tom, you have eaten it once a week for 40 years except for the 15 years we were in Holland and could not get broccoli! I cooked it because I thought you liked it!” Smiling, he said, “I’ve never liked it, but I ate it because you cooked it.” That’s true love! Men, take a lesson from Tom Schulz, PhD.
I leave you with a word from Dan. “Romans 8:18 – 21 expresses my thoughts tonight. Paul wrote, ‘I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.’ ” — Anne and Dan
More later — The Dr. says it is not time to give up hope. He is “cautiously optimistic” about Dan. The cancer has not grown much in the last 4 weeks. We are encouraged.
We do not have computer connection at Dottie’s where we are staying…maybe it will be repaired Wednesday.
I’ll write more when the connection is repaired. God is good…even when the internet is down! — Anne and Dan
A good night’s rest and a day of sunshine (with a high of 33 C/ 92 F) gave us both a better day. After we ate breakfast, Dan said, “I’m sorry, but I have to lie down.” I replied, “That’s your job today…resting when you need to.” Later, when he had some energy, he showered…and discovered that his hair is coming out in handfuls. We were surprised at the challenge it was getting all the fallen hair off of his face. Actually, Dan is quite calm about becoming bald. Tonight, he still has some hair. I wonder if I will have Sunday breakfast with Yul Brenner???
Eating some papaya tablets helped his stomach stay calm, but he slept quite a bit of the day. In between naps, he is reading a book a friend recommended, GETTING WELL AGAIN, by O. Carl Simonton, M.D., Stephanie Matthews-Simonton, and Js L. Creighton. It is a bestselling classic about the Simontons’ Revolutionary Lifesaving Self-Awareness techniques. Every person with cancer, and every therapist should read this book…and do what it recommends.
Being a therapist myself, I know how the mind, and emotions affect a person’s health. That is why I have asked over and over again that you ask God to heal whatever is causing the cancer in Dan’s body. (One of the most dramatic cases God allowed me to participate in was the case of the person with prolapsed heart valve…who is now completely recovered.) God says, “Keep praying. Trust me.” So, please keep on praying that God will heal Dan in His own time, and that all of us being touched by Dan’s illness will draw closer to God and learn to truly trust God. — Anne and Dan
If we are honest with ourselves, there is no one who is “up” all day every day. Life is hard. “No one knows what goes on behind closed doors,” was a line in a popular song years ago. Illness, death, rejection by loved ones, hurtful words that can never be taken back. So many things happen. We all have our story that most people don’t know. But God knows…and cares.
Dan has done okay considering that today was the second day after his chemotherapy. The mass keeps growing protruding from his right groin and right abdomen. It is hard for him to get around well. Besides, the pain never stops. It only increases when he has to sit down or stand up. When I look at Dan’s face, I see how weary he is. I’m very tired which leaves me open to negative thoughts, sadness, painful emotions.
This is supposed to be a journal, a chronicle of events about our journey in the Dark Wilderness. It would be nice if every entry was positive, happy. But that would not be a chronicle – that would be a fairy tale. Sometimes I write nothing because I hurt too much, have nothing happy to report. But there is always the good news that we are not alone when we are in Christ.
“Count it all joy my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” James 1:2. In other words, when you are struggling, hurting, you can rejoice because you know this will help you to grow stronger in your faith, and even better able to glorify God by your lives. We are being tested by Satan. God will help us win this battle one day at a time. — Dan and Anne
Occasionally in this battle with cancer, Dan has a good day. We are thankful to God that today was one of those days! August 20 he had Dose One of Chemotherapy Round Two. It went well. We were only there two hours.
Each time he has had a chemotherapy treatment, they first give him an anti-nausea treatment. Is that why he feels so well today? I wonder if tomorrow or the next day will be when he crashes like he did after the first 2 treatments. We never know what to expect.
But what we do know is that no matter how difficult the path becomes, God sends someone to us who helps us over the tough spots and lifts our spirits. We are thankful for the many families who helping Dan fight for his life. A few are “natural born” relatives. Many became family because God brought us together. Can you imagine the joy we feel when those whom we love tell us they are growing, rethinking their life choices? For example, “Your lives inspire and transform and help re-position our own.”
We don’t know a greater joy than helping someone draw closer to God. In John 4:13,14, Jesus said, “Any person who drinks this water (from a well) will become thirsty again, but if anyone drinks the water which I will give that person, he will never be thirsty again. The water which I give him will become a spring inside him welling up to eternal life.” This we believe! — Dan and Anne