Archive for March, 2009

You MIght Say, “The Earth Shook!”

Today was too interesting.  There was a “small” earthquake 60 miles away that measured 4.3 on the Richter Scale.  It did no damage here. The family’s  beloved elderly dog had 5 seizures. The Wound Vac (WV) quit working this evening.  At 10 p.m., Dan said, “We need to fix the leaks in the WV bandage.”

I worked on that for one hour…at 11 p.m., I said, “I have done everything I know to do, but I can’t get the hose attached to the sponge inside your leg.  I give up!  I’m going to put on a regular gauze bandage.”   Just as I was ready, the electricity went off. Working by light from a battery powered lantern, and a flashlight, it took me an hour to get that bandage on.


Anne and Dan are Thankful for Dr. Thierry Jahan!

Anne and Dan are Thankful for Dr. Thierry Jahan!


We met with Dr. Jahan, the supervising Oncologist of Dan’s case.  He was delighted with the healthy flap.  He was very concerned about the terrible pain Dan has because of the  lymph fluid collection in his leg.  He changed to Neurontin to modulate the pain, Oxycodone which is in a slow acting base and will not make Dan as sleepy.  He also told us that I am to continue  massaging Dan’s legs with Traumeel cream 5 – 10 minutes at a time, but to do it as soon as the pain begins.  

This evening, after a 5 hour trip which included seeing the Doctor, getting Dan’s prescriptions filled, and buying a lightweight portable wheelchair to be used for distances too far for Dan to walk, we both were very tired.  Dan’s legs were hurting. I gently massaged Dan’s legs with Traumeel as soon as we got home.  Ten minutes later, his pain level was down to a O!

The good news is that Dr. Jahan is pleased with the flap. He smiled a big smile when he said, “The flap is wonderful.  It looks just like it is supposed to!”  The disappointing news is that Dan must wait until May to have any more tests. Dan’s body must be stronger, with more weight on his bones, and the flap needs to be healed. After the tests, Dr. Jahan will decide what the next step in Dan’s treatment will be.   We must stay focused on, “The Lord is my Shepherd. Nothing shall I lack.”  Ps. 23:1. Trust, glorify Him in the midst of trial, trust, tell of His great love, trust, trust. — Anne and Dan

March 31, 2009 at 8:44 am 2 comments

A Challenging Day

The day started off well.  We made it to church before it started!  But Dan did not take in the mattress for the recliner.  His feet were lower than his knees the entire morning – getting ready to go, riding in the car round trip, sitting in church.  By the time we got home, fluid retention created dreadful pain in his feet and legs.  When the RN changed the bandage, she assured him that the wound is clean, healthy, just terrible fluid retention was going on.  Dan was miserable.  I had to pray and work hard to stay calm with him so upset and confused.

The RN successfully changed the sponge, and adjusted the location of the tape so his irritated skin can heal.  The Wound Vac has been quiet all day.  As soon as the RN was gone, Dan let me give him Lasik to drain off excess fluid, prop his ankles higher than his knees, and massage his feet and legs until the pain eased.  We both were exhausted.  He slept most of the afternoon.

Tomorrow, 12:30, we meet with Dan’s Oncologist, Dr. Jahan, who supervises Dan’s care.  We wonder what he will say…any suggestions about what treatment is next – radiation, chemo, nothing until the flap is healed. (The opening in the incision is now 0.3, down from 0.6 according to the RN.)  

For the third night in a row, God has given me Luke 9:46 – 62; Luke 10, Luke 11: 1 – 13.  There are so many messages there – welcome and care for children in the name of Jesus; there is a great cost to following Jesus (being an intentional follower of Jesus is only for those who will truly learn and obey Him); the harvest for Jesus is ready but there aren’t many workers who are willing to work in Jesus’ fields; our neighbor is anyone we come upon who is in need; it is better to learn from Jesus than to keep  so busy with work that you have no time for Jesus; Jesus taught how to pray; and “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you….How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” 

Can you hear what Jesus is saying to you in this?  We ask God every day to help us, guide us, protect us, use us as tools in His hands to glorify Him.  That can only happen if we learn to listen and obey.  —  Anne and Dan

The winds and the waves obey His will!

The winds and the waves obey His will!

March 30, 2009 at 6:59 am 1 comment

Dan’s Day Improved Hour by Hour


Covasna County Children at '08 Red Cross Camp.  (They wanted to be in the photo, but at the last minute turned their heads!)

Covasna County Children at '08 Red Cross Camp. (They wanted to be in the photo, but at the last minute turned their heads!)

Please, keep praying that God will help this happen — that the non-profit Christian organization that we have asked will send (at no cost to us) a container of medical equipment for Covasna County Red Cross to distribute. Pray that God will help them “cut through the red tape” and be able to accomplish this task.  The need is so great.  The diabetes rate among children in that area is rising at a fast pace.  They need diabetes tests and measuring kits desperately as well as more walkers, wheel chairs, disposable diapers for the elderly, and other medical equipment.
Dan started the first part of the day having a painful time with his legs.  But at least the additional taping that I did late last night kept the Wound Vac quiet!  We are so thankful!!!  

 Our  son, daughter in law, and 13 year old grandson made Dan 2 “mattresses” to fit each of his lightweight recliners. Working as a team, they used a 3″ memory foam mattress topper cutting it with a sharp tool. Resting on that now, his ankles easily stay elevated above the level of his knees.  Dan’s pain level has improved, the swelling has gone down in both of his feet and ankles, and his right leg is not nearly as swollen as it was!

By late afternoon, Dan was feeling so much better, he decided to see if he could drive our little Saab to the Post Office to pick up our mail.  Our son went with him.  (I don’t know what we thought he could do if Dan’s right leg didn’t work right.  Now that I think about it, they could have had a Father – Son moment “sharing” a crashing experience!)  Praise the Lord, they made it okay.  Afterwards, Dan was exhausted from the Event, and said, “I think it will be awhile before I drive again.”
Again, God has focused my attention on Luke.9:47 – 48.  “Jesus…took a little child and had him stand beside Him.  Then he said…, ‘Whoever welcomes this little child in my name, welcomes me.  And whoever welcomes me, welcomes the One who sent me.  For whoever is least among you all is the greatest.” (Do you get the connection with our prayer request?) —  Anne and Dan

March 29, 2009 at 5:30 am 1 comment

Six Weeks After Surgery

Since we're going to be here awhile, it seemed we need our own car.  Time will tell if this "cream puff" was a good choice.

Since we're going to be here awhile, we decided we need a car of our own. Time will tell if this "cream puff" was a good choice.

With many surgeries, the incision is healed in six weeks. Dan’s incision where the large sarcoma was removed is about half healed.  Most people begin to feel quite well 6 weeks after surgery.  Dan is beginning to feel better for half a day.    The cellulitis in his leg put him behind schedule.  Also, no one can say how much the 2 sarcomas in his lungs are sapping his strength.  

However, he is gaining weight which is a very positive sign.  He had  the energy to go with me Thursday to buy our little car   during the good half of his day.  This morning he fixed breakfast, took a walk outside in the yard.  After lunch, while I went for a massage, he did some bookkeeping…but sat too long.  That caused his feet, and his his right leg to swell badly. 

When I got home, I spent 1/2 hour massaging his legs very gently to help get the excess fluid moving in the right direction.  Then, I spent 1 1/2 hour searching for and taping the leaks in the tape holding the Wound Vac drain on his body.   The popping is only 1 soft pop every 5 seconds and then about 8 pops one right after the other.  I may put the comforter around it tonight.  One very bright spot in our day was when we drove down to cliffs above the beach to watch the waves together, and when Dan went inside the Post Office to get our mail for the first time.  

Dan's first time to get our mail

Dan's first time to get our mail

 May God bless and guide you…and may we all listen and obey His guidance. —  Anne and Dan

March 28, 2009 at 7:31 am 1 comment

Ask and You Shall Receive


Dan and Arthur Brooks of Ellis Brooks Cars Close the Deal

Dan & Arthur Brooks of Ellis Brooks Close the Deal

Last summer while we were in Romania, we started looking for an inexpensive used car.  But it didn’t work out.  We were disappointed, but there was a reason that we didn’t know about…Dan had cancer again and we were going to have to return to the U.S.  We would not need a car in Romania.  We were going to need a car in the U.S.

While we were in North Richland Hills, and when we came out here, Christians loaned us their extra car.  But we believed we needed a car of our own.  About 2 weeks ago, Dick Blythe, nephew of our friend Martha Hodges (mother of our friend Laurie Bishop and Grandmother of Brenna), phoned us.  Dick said, “Martha told me you were out here.  Is there anything I can do to help?”  I said, “Well, in fact, there is.  We need to find an inexpensive, good used car to take Dan back and forth to his many doctors’ appointments. Dick replied, “One of our church members, Marie Brooks, owns Ellis Brooks Cars.  I’ll talk to her.”

Today, Marie and her son, Arthur Brooks sold us a beautiful, “very clean,” 2000 Saab 93…are your ready for this — a black Saab convertible with only 58,000 miles, and an excellent 2 year warranty!  Arthur personally delivered the car to our home in Montara!  Marie knew up front what we could manage.  She brought the price down without us even asking.  Yes, in our mid 70’s, we  are going to be zooming along the Pacific Coast highway “living it up!”  (Well, at least we’ll have a good, safe, fun car to take us to Dan’s doctors, and when he’s well, maybe we will take a trip up the coast!) : > )  

The Wound Vac is working well tonight.  We have friends and family around the world praying for us.  We have all that we need and more.  Tomorrow, there’ll be a photo of our “new” Saab for you to see.  God never ceases to surprise us with good things! — Anne and Dan

March 27, 2009 at 6:07 am Leave a comment

More of the Same

Today has been a repeat of trouble with the wound vac (WV), and many phones calls to doctors, waiting for their Resident Assistants to call us back, and doing our best to make the WV work.  I found a 2″ long place where the tape had come loose, I retaped it and put special “glue” to seal the tiny leaks.  That worked for almost 2 hours.  The RN WV specialist came and made a quick repair on the tape this afternoon.  But it didn’t last.  Lymph fluid is gathering under the tape rather than going out the drain tube.  The tape comes loose and the machine loses pressure, and the beep,beep, beep begins…every few minutes. Then, we have to reset the machine.

It is past bedtime now.  Rather than stay up until 2 a.m. like I did last night trying to keep the WV working, we are going to remove the tape and the sponge.  I will put on a regular bandage to absorb the drainage for the night.  In the morning, I’ll put on a fresh bandage.  The WV specialist comes tomorrow afternoon to put in a new sponge, and tape it with special tape.  We thank you in advance for your prayers.  Please, pray that there will be no further difficulties with the WV. 

We still believe that Jesus was telling the truth when He said, “…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.”  Luke 11:9 – 10 — Anne and Dan

March 26, 2009 at 5:55 am 2 comments

The Mysterious Wound Vac

I don’t understand mechanical things…and I really don’t understand the Wound Vac (WV).  The popping sound went on all last  night and today until after Ruben, the RN, changed the sponge.  He could not get it to be quiet, but it was better.  About 30 minutes after Ruben left, Dan asked, “Do you hear the Wound Vac?”  I listened…and heard a few very soft pops every minute!  It has been quiet since then.  We are truly thankful for that!

Oops, spoke too soon – for the last 1 1/2 hours we’ve been “fighting” with the W V.  It sounded the alarm many times that there was blockage, and stopped working.   We could not find any blockage.  Then the alarm sounded several times to tell us the liter canister was full of fluid.  (It had about 1 tablespoon of fluid.)   We rebooted the machine. It seemed to work, but it just now  sounded the alarm that there is blockage.  I stopped and fixed it.  It is quietly working. Maybe I can go to sleep?

Dan’s right foot, ankle, and the flap area have been swollen today.  The Dr. said for Dan to walk some, and that he doesn’t need to prop his foot much.  Dan is worn out from lying with his ankle higher than his knee and heart. (We have been told to pay attention that the ankle is higher than the knee.  The fluid has trouble getting over the knee if the ankle is lower than the knee.)   Tomorrow is another day.  We pray the swelling will go down, and that the plastic surgery flap will heal, and that Dan’s body become free of cancer.

We are grateful for this sunny day, for the Feldenkreis therapy that Dan had today which helps his body become pain free and function better, for the phone conversation I had with Dottie, for the yummy stir-fry dinner tonight, for the love and prayers of our precious family and friends.

Psalm 107 concludes with this, “He lifted the needy out of their affliction and increased their families like flocks.  The upright see and rejoice, but all the wicked shut their mouths.  Whoever is wise let him heed these things and  consider the great love of the Lord.” — Anne and Dan

March 25, 2009 at 7:50 am Leave a comment

Be Thankful

We are thankful that we are together, that Dan can walk, that the cellulitis is improving, that the Wound Vac is working (making the deep wound heal more quickly), that we have a lovely place to live looking out on the Pacific, that we have friends like you who take the time to read this, and pray for us.  There are many more things we are thankful for.

Yet, when we don’t get enough sleep, when we have to go to ER often, when we have a week consumed with doctors’ appointments, it’s too easy for me to get down.   This afternoon was spent at ER.  The Dr. said the intense pain in Dan’s right foot and leg is because he hasn’t been able to walk enough.  The KCI Wound Vac (WV) was declared defective – it is not supposed to make 120 loud pops a minute.  

We were so happy when the new  WV was delivered. It was quiet, no popping noises…well, just one tiny one every few seconds.  About 30 minutes after the WV technician left, the new WV began to pop louder and more often.  For the night, Dan has the WV wrapped in a comforter which muffles the sound.  Such is life!

But the really good news is that the Dr. said Dan is out of danger from the cellulitis, and does not have to keep his right leg and foot propped up higher than his heart day and night.  We pray the Dr. is right.  No big stack of pillows to have to deal with is good news!

Tonight, I leave you with words from Psalm 107:1, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!  His love endures forever.”  That Psalm almost tells the whole story of my life.  We have many reasons to give thanks no matter how big the challenges are.        — Anne and Dan


The Heavy Winds Make the Pacific Wild

The Heavy Winds Make the Pacific Wild Today

March 24, 2009 at 6:24 am Leave a comment

Remembering Happy Days in Sfantu Gheorghe, Romania

Remembering Happy Days in Sfantu Gheorghe, Romania

The days all seem to run together with a continuing theme of Challenges.  Today, there has been a windstorm since early morning.  Dan was too exhausted to even attempt to go to church so we had a sermon on line.  This was the day for the Wound Vac RN  to change the sponge.  I removed the tape and the sponge.  Then, using the bench for the tub that lets him sit on the edge of the bench outside of the tub, I helped him move his feet over the side of the tub.  That way he can take a shower with a little help from me. (I’m the back scrubber.)  After not being able to shower for so many months, he is really glad to be free of sponge baths!


No matter how hard the RN tried, she could not get the Wound Vac to be  quiet.  120 pops a minute is a bit much.  Tech help over the phone wasn’t any help either.  Finally, Dan wrapped the noisy little vac in big comforter that keeps the noise down to where it can hardly be heard.  That works well when Dan is sitting or lying in his special chair.

About 7:30 p.m. tonight, the lights went out all over town…too strong a wind.  The lights were out for 4 hours.  We made a fire in the big fireplace, lit candles, talked, read books by candle light and flashlights. At 11:30 we were so happy to have the electricity come back on.  We connected Dan’s CPAP machine (helps him breathe when he’s asleep), and connected the Wound Vac.  Now, if we can sleep all night…that’d be a blessing.  The “storms” are shaking our lives, but we truly are safe in Jesus.  We cling to that Truth.  We pray that God’s will be done whatever He may choose, and that we will be tools in His hands to glorify Him.  Right now, we are not receiving what we keep asking for – complete healing of Dan.  But we are receiving God’s grace to bear up under the fiery trials. God is good.  God is always good. — Anne and Dan

March 23, 2009 at 7:13 am Leave a comment

Celebrate God All Day


Pelicans Above the Pacific

Pelicans Soar Above the Pacific

Philippians 4:4-9 as expressed in The Message, gives us good guidance in the midst of the challenges that come our way.  Today began with Dan having a slight fever which went away but startled us nonetheless.  Do we go to the Emergency Room?  Should we phone the doctor for advice?  Which Dr. do we call?  

Dan decided he was very thirsty…maybe he just needed a big glass of mineral water.  That did the trick.  An hour later, the fever was gone.  But the pain in his right hip, leg and foot lasted all day until he took a pain pill.  Fatigued and hurting, he stayed in the recliner in our bedroom with his foot elevated higher than his heart, …listened to music, listened to sermons online, read a book, wondered if he will ever feel well again, and felt very lonely on this cloudy day.  Yet, his day ended well with a delicious, almost holiday dinner with homegrown artichokes that our daughter in law prepared!  We bought a 2nd lightweight folding recliner that lets his feet be higher than his heart without a huge stack of pillows.  Like the pelicans sailing above the Pacific, we celebrate that we have all that we need today.   We’d prefer that Dan be well but we have all that we need today.


 What does Phil. 4 – 9 say? “Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!

 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” Phil. 4: 4-9. This is the only way we can manage.  God keeps working us “into His most excellent harmonies.” — Anne and Dan


God always clears away the fog.

God always clears away the fog.

March 22, 2009 at 6:58 am Leave a comment

Older Posts