Monday, September 29, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Bubba and I drove to get Sis' car at her apartment yesterday. It was scratched and trashed on the inside. It looked pretty sad. I now have to do the "mom" stuff to get it fixed and get the insurance check. Had to go cut my hair again as I didn't quite care for the look. I had the ends of my hair razored so it had to be cut off, so I have a "boring" bob. I will have to get use to it...hair does grow back I know. Just had it done today, so haven't got the fam's reaction, which is usually they don't notice because I live with males and I have to say "Do you like my hair?" They don't really want to answer me most of the time! Still love them though!
Please continue to keep Joe in your prayers (he had the same surgery Pat had). He got to go home last Friday, but he is still on the feeding tube with liquid supplementation. The doctors wanted him to go home and heal some more as they found a small leak. Therefore, he has to have another swallow test next week.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Pat is feeling so much better and he has been eating really good, although he lost a couple of more pounds. I am just excited to have my (now skinny) Pat back! If you have not seen him, he really looks good and I think he looks younger. I am so very proud of him!
Poor Bubba has had a terrible migraine for the past two days that included some numbness. I took him to the doctor this morning and he now has some new medicine to try if the migraines continue. We enjoyed hanging out together as we went to Panda to eat, went to the library to checkout a book on Israel, and he hung out in the car while I went to Ulta!
Got a new "doo" today. I cut my hair off because it was time for a change. I will see if I like it after I get the chance to blow dry it myself!
Monday, September 22, 2008
Isaiah 12: 4-5 says “Thank the Lord! Praise his name! Tell the nations what he has done. Let them know how mighty he is! Sing to the Lord, for he has done wonderful things. Make known his praise around the world.”
In October of 2006 our friend Keith Gilbert was diagnosed with stage four esophageal cancer. The following February he died. One of Keith’s main symptoms was reflux.
Fast forward to June, this summer, my husband, Pat scheduled is 50-year-old checkup. Since Pat had had reflux in the past and he was encouraged by Keith and his wife, Jeanie, to be scoped, so Pat asked for a doctor that could do an endoscopy at the same time as his colonoscopy. We received that phone call June 19th that we all fear. Cancer was found. He had a 1.5 mm nodule at the juncture of his stomach and esophagus. We were in complete shock. Things were moving fast so we had to tell the kids. The boys were leaving for church camp in a few days and our daughter was at college. We called a family meeting and told the kids. That had to be one of the worst experiences that Pat and I had ever endured.
The next step was that Pat was scheduled for a procedure with sonogram eight days later. Everything seems to be a waiting game with cancer. The blessing here was that the boys were at camp which was a huge distraction and were with friends. It was also good because Pat and I literally sit in our living room staring and crying. Looking back Pat can now see why there was a wait. It made Pat and I pray and seek the scripture for comfort.
Thursday night prior to Pat’s procedure, five Godly men came anointed and prayed over Pat and it was the most beautiful scene I have ever seen. Pat was ready and he was at peace and all the faith that God was in control.
The test was done as outpatient the next day. They were not able to remove the nodule as it was too close to the muscle. It did indicate that it was a stage one or two.
The next step was to see a surgeon and an oncologist. We met with Dr. Lin, the surgeon, who explained the procedure called an esophagectomy. His recommendation was surgery and then followed by chemo and/or radiation if needed. The blessing here was that Dr. Lin was one of the only surgeons in this area who specialized in going through the neck instead of breaking open the chest cavity. He rarely sees patients who have found the cancer this early. Another miracle. Surgery was scheduled for August 5th.
Our next visit was with the oncologist who then recommended chemo/radiation first followed by surgery. What were we to do? The oncologist and surgeon couldn’t agree after discussion, so they turned over the decision to be made by the Tumor Board at Harris Hospital. In the meantime, Pat and I were calling all to pray for discernment and wisdom in making this huge decision. I did not have a peace with the oncologist or facility so we tried to find another oncologist. After two closed doors with recommended oncologists, we found Dr. Ross. He agreed with the surgeon that he should have surgery first as Pat was an exception because of the early finding of the cancer and that he was young. Please note that the oncologist never presented our case to the oncologist, so God was behind the steering wheel in making this decision. A decision that we were in complete peace.
August 5th arrived and Pat’s surgery was three hours. Dr. Lin felt that the surgery went well and he removed five to six inches of his esophagus and two inches of his stomach. Pat was in the hospital ten days. The pathology report came back that It was indeed stage one and the cancer was found at the very earliest stage you could find it. A miracle. Dr. Lin felt that Pat did not need any further treatment such as chemo/radiation. The stay in the hospital and the recovery at home has been a tough one. Pat has had all kinds of struggles in learning to eat again. His struggling with depression was also a new experience, and the one thing that was the hardest for me.
Our visit with the oncologist was last week. This I felt would be the biggest decision that we might have to make chemo or no chemo? Pat felt he would probably need it as we were going to an oncologist…they of course are going to sell their cars! Right? No. He said that it was not needed and that he would follow him closely for the next five years. We were ecstatic.
I just gave you the summary in five minutes of how it all played out. What I have not mentioned are all of the blessings, miracles and gifts that God has given our family. May I list a few: That Pat chose to have an endoscopy and find stage one cancer and not need chemo is a miracle in itself. To hear my husband say that he thanked God for his cancer. Coworkers of Pat’s have confessed to him that they were believers and were praying for him. That our life group was created nine months prior to this so that they could carry us, love us and support us. That I had spent 20 hours creating my blog which was for fun that could actually serve a good purpose of keeping friends and family in the loop of Pat’s journey. To receive the cards, food, letters, emails and texts of people praying and loving on us. To hear my 14 year-old son say that his faith is stronger and that he is closer to God since his dad had cancer. To realize that what is truly important in this world. To be a part of God’s miracles and recognizing them as miracles.
Personally, I discovered that God will equip you, but not one minute before you need it. Also, I remember in the hospital sharing with one of my friends that I felt absolute joy in the midst of all of this. And, I remember several said that they were praying for me to have peace and no fear. That is exactly how I felt.
Pat, the kids and I are still held firmly in his grip!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
This is Cash opening and closing the door! We can be sitting on the couch watching TV and when he comes in we tell Cash to shut the door and we never have to leave our seat. I have never had a smart dog before...this is fun!
In between appointments, Pat and I stopped by the hospital and I introduced Sherri and Joe to Pat. Joe was having a good day and seemed excited to meet us. His journey has been tough and I ask that you continue to pray for him and his family. Joe said that he is ready to get home because he misses his dog. I left there remembering Joe's smile.
It looks like rain is headed our way. I know of families that are coming to our town to stay with friends and wait out the storm. Let's keep those leaving their homes in our prayers. I really can't imagine what that feels like and then have to do it many times as many of these evacuees have had to do.
I want to send birthday wishes to Amy Alston!
Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
This is where we met on July 8, 1981
weekend and went to the rodeo to see my Mom ride.
Southeastern Oklahoma State University
I received via text this morning this message from Sis. Thanks Sis!
I am thankful for you, Pat and love you with all my heart!
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Tomorrow Pat and I celebrate 24 years of marriage. Check my blog tomorrow for some pictures of long ago.
Please keep us in your prayers regarding further treatment.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Pat went to work a few hours last Thursday and Friday. His weight is now down to 217 which is a total weight loss of 29 lbs. He really looks good! The highlight of his weekend was Friday at 3:00 when Dr. Lin's nurse called to tell us that she finally caught up with Dr. Lin and he said the tube could be removed if Pat was eating good and his weight was stable. Pat was sleeping when she called, so when he woke up, I said "Okay, take that tube out"! He was elated and asked me if I could do it. I said "nope". So, he did. He clipped the stitch and started pulling and kept pulling. That tube was about 12 inches long. Pat felt so free that he was practically dancing a jig! Pat and I headed to the ranch Friday evening after we dropped G and Mr. P off at Chili's before they headed to the football game. We dropped the dogs off at the house in Hico and headed to town to share a cheeseburger in town. The burger tasted good to him, but he didn't feel too good before bed. Sharing food sure is helping my serving size, but I had to eat all of the onion rings! Saturday morning he started out mowing, but I stole the mower from him claiming that I needed some sun. I mowed and weed-eated until about 4:00. The above picture shows Pat putting corn in the trap so that we can catch those wild hogs, but no luck yet. Pat still did not feel very good most of Saturday. Saturday evening our friends, Brian and Lecia came over and treated Pat and I to steaks and baked potatoes. Lecia's twin sister, Linda, and her fiance Brandon were there too! Late Saturday night about 11:00 the boys and their friends, Mr. P and Arty came with big plans to dove hunt. Sunday morning I had to sing (on the Praise Team) so we drove back to Burleson for church and then returned back to Hico. The rest of the weekend was pretty uneventful and so was the dove hunting for Bubba and Arty. They shot two and one fell in the lake! Oh well!
Pat is still battling his eating. It is emotional and psychological, and many times he just dreads eating. His appetite is gone and food is not appealing to him at all. Sometimes he feels like he has to force feed himself. If he does feel like eating, he doesn't quite know when to stop as he never feels full until it is too late. He has also struggled with depression this week and I have to say watching him go through this has been the hardest part for me during this whole journey. I just feel helpless. I know that all of this is normal, but it is a hard hurdle to overcome for all of us. Please continue to pray for his complete healing. We are so very thankful for his progress and so touched by all of the people who love and care for us.
I hope all of you had a great long weekend!