Archive for February, 2009

Progress!

Today, Dan ate half of a full meal, actually stood on his feet for a few seconds and sat on the side of the bed for a full minute!  The flap continues to be a healthy pink and his stitches seem to be healing well so far.  

We are looking forward to Dan’s siblings arrival Thursday noon.  I need a break because I am near the breaking point.

The message tonight is from Romans 12: 1 – 2, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  It’s that simple!  — Anne and Dan

February 19, 2009 at 6:51 am Leave a comment

The Road Back Looks Long

We are thankful to God Dan had a better day today.  He slept a lot.  It was as though he was exhausted from the ordeal of the constant pain he had Monday.  The doctors put him on a regular diet today. He could have anything he wanted. He asked for a bowl of oatmeal.  But, it was lunchtime, no cooked oatmeal in the kitchen!  He then asked for raisin bran.  When they brought Total Raisin Bran, he let me feed him about 1/2 of a small bowl full.  Then he said, “It tastes like cardboard.  I can’t eat anymore.”  At dinner, he ate about 4 bites of baked chicken, and maybe 4 bites of vegetables before he said, “I’m finished.”  

But there is much good news — 1. Dan’s siblings will fly in  Thursday, noon, to begin taking turns for 3 days caring for Dan so our son, his wife, and I can have a break!  What a wonderful gift!   2. Dan can be out of bed for a few minutes tomorrow.  3. My train & tram rides went well.  An hour and a-half after we left the house, I was walking into Dan’s hospital room.  4. Volunteers have stepped forward so that I have offers of rides to and from the hospital.  5.  Christians are providing meals 2 times a week to lighten Michelle’s load.  6.  Two Let Start Talking Team members have committed to go to Sfantu Gheorghe Sept. 24 – Oct. 17!!!  We need 2 more  Workers to read with the many fine people in that city!

Given that sarcomas have spread to several areas in Dan’s body, the road back to health looks long.  But we keep on praying and trusting God to heal Dan in God’s own timing.  You may remember that it is written in Mark 14:32 – 42 that Jesus prayed to God in the Garden of Gethsemane about God’s plan for Jesus to die on the cross so that you and I can be forgiven of our sins. In verse 33, He said, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.  Then Jesus prayed, “Papa, Papa, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me.  Yet not what I will, but what you will.”  At this stage in our lives, God’s will is all that matters.  — Anne and Dan

February 18, 2009 at 7:27 am 2 comments

A Hard Day

Was it because this was the 3rd day after surgery that Dan just could not get comfortable most of the day?  No matter how many pillows they put under his legs, around his back, under his arms, Dan was soon hurting again.  I saw that the morning nurse was fed up with Dan by the time I got there at 11 a.m.  

As I was pondering how we’d manage all day with her, a sweet, energetic nurse who had helped Dan one day last week came smiling in the room.  She cheerfully explained that there’d been a switch, and she’d be Dan’s nurse for the rest of the day.  She and her assistant took care of his every need cheerfully.  About 5 p.m., I went down to the cafeteria to get a cup of coffee (my first break for the day).  I bought 10 big cookies, put them on a plate, placed them at the nurses station with, “Thank you, Dan Boyd, Room 27.”  Our two nurses thanked me for giving them extra energy 2 hours away from the end of their 12 hour shift.  

In the morning, I’ll leave the house at 8 a.m. with our son.  He can drop me off at BART – Bay Area Rapid Transit, electric train that will take me to downtown San Francisco. From there, I can take the N Judah trolley bus to within about 3 blocks of the hospital.  The 3 block climb up the steep hill will be good exercise!  That may put me at the hospital around 9:30 a.m. or so.  It’s a 45 minute drive by car, but BART is the only solution for Tuesday a.m.  The congregation and family  friends will take me Wed., Th, and Friday.

LIfe continues to be challenging, but God is with us. Things are working out.  Paul tells us in Phillippians 4:4 – 7, “Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again. Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”   So…go in peace.  — Anne and Dan

February 17, 2009 at 7:25 am 1 comment

1Encouraging Day

Members of the surgical oncology team and the plastic surgery team came by today. They are very pleased with Dan’s progress. The plastic surgeon removed the dressings over the incisions. Much to our delight, the incisions are doing well. The flap is “almost lovely” to look at!  It is healthy pink skin with X type stitches all around the almost triangular flap…much like a patch on a quilt    I wanted to take a picture to share with everyone, but decided against that!  : > )  
The doctors are reducing the pain meds to milder oral doses.  Dan can begin a “soft” diet Monday, but he is not allowed out of bed for 5 more days.  The nurses continue to turn him to a different position every two hours.  He is getting good nursing care now.  (I wonder if this is because there are 3 teams of doctors checking daily about Dan with the nurses.) 
Our day was made much brighter by a phone call from Tim and Claudia in Spain, Jeannette L. in Abilene, and a conversation on Skype with Adolf and Reka in Romania, msny e-mails, cards…and a visit from our California grandchildren.  People keep saying, “Anne, take care of yourself.”  I am doing better.  But what does one do when Dan needs help to stop the pain? Every few minutes we smooth out the big wrinkles in the sheet under him, or support his hurting body with another pillow in just the right place, or feed him because he can’t always get the food in his mouth, or call the nurse because the call button has slid out of his reach, and on and on.  
 
God is our help in time of need.  Your prayers are supporting us.  How do I know this?  God tells us that He pays attention.  “…the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are attentive to their prayer.  But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” I Peter 3:10 -12. — Anne and Dan

February 16, 2009 at 7:36 am Leave a comment

The Day After…

Considering that Dan was in surgery 4 hours last Monday, and again 4 hours on Friday, he had an okay day today.  Doctors from all three surgical teams came by to check on him today.  They are pleased with Dan’s progress so far.  The Plastic Surgeon put him on a liquid diet. The movement made by digestion of normal food might disturb the healing process of the area from which they took the tissue to make the flap.

They just finished turning Dan in the bed.  Every two hours that has to be done.  So, I’d better see if I can get some sleep before they come back in to turn him. It’s going to be a long night.  Jamie V. sent some scriptures to encourage me that I want to share with you.  

Romans 15:4 says, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
 
Psalm 130:5 – “I wait for the Lord, my souls waits, and in His Word I put my hope.”
 
Proverbs 30:5 – “Every word of God is flawless;  He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.”
 
Hebrews 4:12 – “The Word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
 
II Tim. 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correecting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly eqipped for every good work.”
 
II Tim. 2:15 – “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”  

These scriptures explain to some degree how God keeps us “going.”  Without God’s Word to guide and encourage me, I would be a completely different person.  Thank God for The Word – The Bible.  — Anne and Dan

Dan & Anne Before Surgery Friday

Dan & Anne Before Surgery Friday

February 15, 2009 at 7:19 am 2 comments

Dan Doing Well

Dr. O’Donnell phoned to tell us that Dan has made it through the first three stages of the surgery just fine.  First, Dr. O’Donnell removed the Wound Vac sponge.  Next the Radiologist did his part.  Led by Chief of Plastic Surgery, Dr. Hoffman, the Plastic Surgery Team took over.  

When they began taking off the tissue to make the flap, they found a small hernia which they repaired before going further.  Then, leaving the bottom end of the flap attached to his body, they moved it around, stretched it, and covered the opening in his pelvis and leg.  At this moment, they are probably finishing up the difficult job of stitching the large flap in place.

Dan will be in the hospital another 7 – 10 days.  We praise God that things have gone so well thus far.  We don’t know what lies ahead…maybe more radiation on the blood vessel where the sarcoma cells were found since that vessel did not receive radiation earlier.  Maybe chemo or surgery to remove the two sarcomas in Dan’s left lung.  Maybe Guided Visualization will take care of clearing Dan’s body of the sarcoma cells that are living there.

I cannot help but grieve that Dan must suffer so much pain. Even with pain medication, the pain never goes away.  He cannot turn himself in bed.  He is totally dependent on others for all of his needs.  He is thin – weighs less than 150 pounds now.  While we are grateful that he is still alive, we pray God will be gracious and remove this nightmare from him.  — Anne

February 14, 2009 at 4:29 am 1 comment

Surgery Started Late

One more hour to wait. Dan may be out of surgery at 8 pm PST/ 6:00 RO time. When we asked, “How long will Dan be in surgery?” the Dr. said, “It will take as long as it takes.”  To which Scott replied, “Yes.  How long does it take to catch a fish?”

After surgery is completed, we have to wait to speak with the Chief Surgeon, Dr. O’Donnell.  Scott will spend the night with Dan at the hospital tonight.

More later. — Anne

February 14, 2009 at 3:04 am Leave a comment

Dan in Surgery Now

Just a quick note – The hospital chaplain came by, led us in singing songs of worship, and then prayed over Dan.  They came for Dan while we were praying.  Dan has been in surgery for one hour now.  First, Dr. O’Donnell removed the Wound Vac huge sponge filling the opening made in Dan’s pelvis and leg Monday when the softball size sarcoma was removed.  Next the Radiologist took over for about 45 minutes while he used direct radiation on the 3 spots in a major artery where microscopic sarcoma cells are.

Hopefully, the Plastic Surgery Team is working on Dan now to take a flap of tissue from the torso below Dan’s lower left rib area.  One end of  the tissue and muscle will stay attached to the body.  Somehow, the doctors will turn this and use it as a flap to protect certain organs and glands in Dan’s pelvis as well as cover the opening made last Monday.  Are you following this?

At this point, our friends from all over the world are praying for Dan’s safety and healing, and for God to guide and bless the entire medical crew.  Living one moment at a time, trusting in Jesus to bring our needs before Our Father, we are safe. God says  to His Redeemed People, “The ransomed of the Lord will return.  They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.  I, even I, am he who comforts you . . . For I am the Lord your God who churns up the sea so that its waves roar–the Lord Almighty is his name.  I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand–I who set the heavens in place, who laid the foundations of the earth, and who say to Zion, ‘You are my people (Isaiah 52:11,12,15,16-NIV).” —  Anne and Dan

February 14, 2009 at 12:34 am Leave a comment

Plans? What Plans?

The plans for Friday keep changing.  Surgery will be done if possible…but not at 6:30 a.m. like we were told yesterday.   Maybe Dan will go into surgery sometime Friday afternoon.

When they remove the large black Wound Vac sponge,  maybe they will be able to use a small laser type radiation pen to apply radiation directly onto the cancer cells in Dan’s artery.  Maybe it will get rid of the cancer.  Can you count the “maybes” and “if possibles.”

There are now two small sarcomas in Dan’s left lung.  Dr. Simonton is in Europe for the next week.  When he returns, Dan will have some coaching from him on how to use Guided Imagery now that we know more exactly what is going on in Dan’s body.  

How flexible are we?  How much do we truly trust God?  I don’t know the answer to those questions, but I guarantee that we are about to find out. I do know God is God, and He has promised to never abandon us.  That much I know.  So, I’m going to hang on to what I do know. — Anne and Dan

February 13, 2009 at 7:58 am 1 comment

Today Was Better

Our day was better today..Dan had less itching; an air bed which protects against bed sores; pain medication.  He is very weak, has painful swelling in the area of the surgery, but his appetite is improving.  Further surgery has been temporarily postponed. Barbara B. took me on a lovely drive through the city, & out  to lunch before driving me home!

In my hours of deepest despair this week, confused about “why Dan must suffer,”  I received this message from Dr. Renan Williams, our gifted dentist, in North Richland Hills, one of our dear Christian friends, and one of our constant Praying Warriors.  He gave permission to share this with you.

“Dear Dan & Anne, I do love you and am thankful the both of you are in my life. I am honored to count you as friends and even humbled by the relationship.  I am inspired by your daily lives as you seek to hear the Father’s voice and be obedient…all the while expressing the peace of God in the midst of the unknown. Thank you for your example of faith. My heart aches as you feel the pain this fallen world delivers, and so I ask God to comfort as only He can.

We wonder about the circumstance as is human to do, and want to figure it all out…forgetting that we are in God’s omniscience world with our finite brain. When I go to the “if only” I remember “forgetting that which lies behind” and begin to look forward again thanking Him for His mercy and upcoming grace. This is a choice I make when I find myself in a healthy state,`choosing to please God and not self.

Really, I choose every day if I will live to please self or God.  I have this option.  God is like that, not controlling yet so very patient. I am predestined to experience his grace daily and His perfect healing at the conclusion of my earthly journey. In this fallen world we find ourselves in, this grace and healing is my hope that drives me. The fallen nature of our world allows things like cancer to exist in and among us.

 

Dan and Anne make the choice every day to glorify God in this fallen world, and as a result, people like me see God a little better. Thank you for making that choice. God has so much to reveal of himself to us every day, and it is people such as yourselves that want to see it. I hope my desire is as strong. You are loved, Renan” 

In the Beginning, God!

In the Beginning, God!

February 12, 2009 at 7:08 am 1 comment

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