Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year and Happy Birthday Patrick!

Did you know that Pat weighed 10 lbs. when he was born at 12:45 AM in 1957?  Did you know that he was eating cereal out of a bottle when he was three days old?  Do you know that is probably why I had a 10 lb. baby boy named Garrett that was two weeks early?

Bless his sweet heart!  It stinks being in the hospital on his birthday, but I am so very thankful we are here in Tulsa.  God went before us and he knew what Pat needs.  It feels so much better knowing that this is this staff's speciality and they know his history.  I am sorry though we are so far away from home.  God says to abide in His presence and that He is holding our hand, so we are.

Pat  doesn't feel good today.  He is on heavy pain meds as his pain in his back is at about an 6 to 8 and they are trying to get on top of it. I just met with the doctor and she is trying to make sure that he is comfortable.  Pain levels are important around here as they want your body fighting the cancer and not the pain. They are giving him three different kinds of antibiotics to fight the infection and they feel that the medications were started early enough yesterday to be of big help in fighting it.   Dr. Cheek believes that the infection is coming from his bile duct area which can cause the back pain too. He still has fever that comes and goes along with chills.  We will definitely be here until Monday as we will see Dr. Roeder, the gastroenterologist, and get his opinion.  He may have to have a procedure called an EGRP, which is like an endoscope that goes down and looks at the troubled area to see if there is any blockage or perhaps the stent is blocked.   Please pray his fever breaks, his pain gets down to a 1-2 and that the doctors will have w/d/g (wisdom, discernment and guidance).  

The kids are sad that they are not with their dad on his birthday. Please pray for their comfort and peace while we are away.  Garrett has a basketball in Lipan today at noon....go Spartans!  

I will check back later.  Thank you for sending Pat birthday wishes.  His phone is blowing up and  am forwarding messages that you send m.



Hello Balloon Friend

Good Morning and Happy New Year!
Hope you had a good New Year's Eve!  Pat was out at 9:15 and woke up about 12:15 AM.  He had a pretty good night, but at 5:00 this morning he hit his worst pain level I have ever seen.  Right now he is prn on his pain meds, so when he slept for four hours uninterrupted he paid for it.  We finally got the pain under control. The doctor just came in and she is going to put Pat on a pain pump so that he can get relief when he needs it.   Dr. Cheeks has ordered a CT scan today, so I am thankful that we can get this on a holiday weekend. Specifically, we need to pray for answers and solutions to this infection.  

Kelly and Brian came yesterday to hang out with us here at the hospital.  They live in Yukon, outside OKC, so they are pretty close.   Kelly drove me to the mall and so I could get Pat some more t-shirts and sweat pants.   Later in the afternoon Misty drove over from OKC to visit us too.  It was great to see her as we have been friends since my freshman year in college and it has been couple of years since we had a chance to visit.  God hugs again!

If you saw my FB page you saw Pat's birthday balloons that were sent to us from our Life Group and our Kids. Talk around the floor brought in all kinds of nurses to see our balloon surprises.  The picture you see is the cutest little balloon figure that just makes you smile. Pat was so proud of his balloons from the kids too and was bragging on them.  

I will update you later this afternoon after we CT results.  


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Awesome News

I can hardly wait to get this post published as we are so excited about the news we heard today.  By the way, howdy!

Are you ready for this?  (here the music starting?)  Pat's tumor markers are down from 152 to 114 and let me remind you that when we began this journey in October, his numbers were 1142! Below 45 is normal.  Marie, the nurse practitioner said "This is a phenomenal response in such a short treatment!"   Wow!  I even asked Marie if "Wow" was a good word in this situation and she said yes!  She said "well yes, wow is a word and yes it works!"  I just love her. I sounded goofy to me too!

Pat and I are overwhelmed, thankful and just plain teary-eyed over this news. We know without a shadow of a doubt that these great numbers are an answer to prayer.  How humbling to know that so many of you are lifting Pat's name up to our Heavenly Father and asking for healing and His continued miracles.  Thank you for taking our requests to God and now I ask you to thank Him.  Prayer is the biggest gift you could give us.

On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers.  Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answers to the prayers of many.  (2 Corinthians 1:10-11, NIV).   

Pat is about to begin his chemo.  They are going to start the new drug Aredia tonight.  It will take two hours to administer after his chemo, so we will be here for a while tonight.  He will also get the nasty Neulasta injection in the morning before we catch the flight home. This is the drug that causes his bones to hurt.

We needed this news tonight!  We are celebrating tonight and basking in God's goodness and His faithfulness.  What a great birthday gift to Pat two days early!

We Love You!

Pat & Paige

xoxo  xoxo  

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

An Update

Hello!  I hope that you are staying dry!

Okay I could have less doctor visits in my week.  This morning I accompanied Matt to his neurologist.  She prescribed another preventative medicine along with magnesium.  She also prescribed another drug in the form of a nasal spray to be used when he feels a migraine beginning.   If you have known us very long then you know that Matt has battled this since his Freshmen year in high school.  I am tired of seeing him struggle with these as they are painful and they interrupt his school and work.  We really like his neurologist, Dr. Hughes and her compassion.

Elizabeth has been in the bed most of the day and is doing really well. She has a bit of swelling in her sweet cheeks and I think she will be up and around in the next day or so.

As I mentioned yesterday in my post, we are going to Tulsa in the morning.  Overall, the past two weeks after treatment have been really good compared to the previous weeks following chemo, but remember we omitted two drugs (Zometa and the Neulasta). We are not sure if he will receive another drug that we were educated on called  Aredia. It will replace the Zometa.  Aredia is prescribed to treat hypercalcedmia and the damaging effects of cancer when it has spread to the bones.   He had his blood work done this morning and his white blood count was good.  Needless to say, we are a little apprehensive in what Thursday's treatment will deliver.  Please pray for wisdom and discernment for the doctor to make the right decision as well no side effects to either drug they choose.  

I am reading the final pages of Mary Beth Chapman's book "Choosing to See" where she and her husband, Steven Curtis, share their journey when their little girl, Maria, was run over by her brother, Will.  This is what she said to Maria's sisters.  "It's not fair I know! There are lots of things that don't seem to be fair, and they're so hard.  But girls, God has asked us to do hard.  It really stinks and I wish we didn't have to, but this is what our family has been called to.  If we all stick together, we can do hard".  When I read this I just shook my head yes.  

Yes means God asked the Easterlings to do hard.  Her description of hard was said  perfectly and put into words that describe how I feel and I know Pat would say the same.  This reminds me of my life verse since 2008, John 13:7  Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” That is the verse I live by now.  It is all I have for now.
Will check back in from Tulsa tomorrow. 


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Necklace

Daddy's girl
Three days til Christmas!  I only have four gifts wrapped, but I was done shopping until Elizabeth reminded me of one more gift I need to buy. 
What is so cool is that I continue to get God hugs every day.  Yesterday when I was shopping at the mall and walked by the Estee Lauder counter a cosmetic sales lady noticed my necklace.  This necklace is special.  It reads "Life Is Special Handle with Care".  It is unique and has a layered look with the word prayer written on it. She commented on it and asked where I got it and I told her my friend, Robyn, sent it in the mail to me.  I have to share this story with you as it just another example of friends who reach out to us and God uses them to minister to us.  Robyn said that she bought the necklace several weeks before she sent it.  She didn't even think she was going to send it to me after she bought it.  She got that nudge and put it in the mail. The day I pulled in to the driveway and parked by the mailbox (remember it is my job to get the mail)  was one of those tough days.  I opened a card and this necklace fell into my lap. I just started bawling.  Her gift is precious, but the timing is what touched me so much. You see I didn't need this hug the week when she bought it or even the day before.  I needed it that very day....a God hug.   Okay back to Ms Estee with the bluest eyeshadow I have ever seen.  I shared with her my story and then she put her arms on mine and said "I promise to pray for you" and she shared with me more words from her heart.  I told her our name was Pat and Paige and that I would come find her when we get our miracle.  
I am humbly giddy tonight!  I came home after being gone most of the day to a clean house.  My anonymous  angel paid for our house to be professionally cleaned.  Oh my gosh I can't tell you how wonderful it feels.  Girls I think you know!  To have your whole house clean at the same time is usually not the case for me.  So, tonight I am sitting on my couch (one of the reasons I am not wrapping gifts tonight) because I want to smell the clean and enjoy my house and try not to be too much of a nagging mom to my kids in keeping it clean.  Thank you sweet angel!  A clean house is an awesome hug.
I am sorry to say that Pat is not fever free now.  At 1:30 this morning he woke me up with severe chills which lead to fever of 100.6.  I was able to get him warm and he eventually went back to sleep.  His care nurse, Adeline, called today to check on him and she says that she feels like it is from the chemo. Dang.  Just like Matt's migraines, I want to know the reason. Today he said he felt like felt pretty sluggish, but we did have a double date lunch with Conny and Angela.  Conny said he found the best hamburger around, so we went to Dixie House today to check it out.  Pat and I both fasted for our 11:30 date and I am not kidding you, it was the best burger that I have had in so long.  I also judge a good hamburger by the french fries, don't you? I cleaned my plate!
Have a good evening and I will chat with you tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

New Devotional

Wow!  Thank you so much for your words of encouragement!  It does make a such difference in me.   When I woke up this morning I felt so good and loved the joy I found in today.   Each day Pat is feeling better, so I know he will feel fantastic by Christmas!  

I have one or two more presents and then I am done shopping for Christmas and now I just have to wrap...not my favorite past-time.

Tonight Garrett had a game and they played Itasca's varsity and beat them over 35 points.  Good job guys!

Unfortunately Matt had another migraine today as he got to work.  He had to go back to Waco to work until Friday before he returns for Christmas break.  I pray we can find the triggers for them.  He gets frustrated and they really put him to bed for hours along with nausea.  I ask that you specifically pray for him.

Yesterday, my friend Bonnie sent me a devotional entitled Jesus Calling.  During my quiet time this morning, I turned to December 21st.  I just have to share it with you.

My plan for your life is unfolding before you.  Sometimes the road you are traveling seems blocked, or it opens up so painfully slowly that you must hold yourself back.  Then, when time is right the way before you suddenly clears--through no effort of your own.  What you have longed for and worked for I present to you freely, as pure gift.  You feel awed by the ease with which I operate in the world, and you gimpse My Power and My Glory.

Do not fear your weakness, for it is the stage on which My Power and Glory perform most brilliantly.  As you persevere along the path I have prepared for you, depending on My strength to sustain you, expect to see miracles--and you will.  Miracles are not always visible to the naked eye, but those who live by faith can see them clearly.  Living by faith, rather than sight, enables you to see My Glory.  

Psalm 63:2; 2 Corinthians 5:7; John 11:40.

Do you see God's intimate timing of his Word for me through Bonnie and this devotion in regard to my struggles of yesterday? Thank you, Bonnie! 

Nothing is coincidence with Christ.  Thank you Lord for answering my prayer and speaking to me.  

Sweet Dreams!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Rough Monday

Hello!  How is your Monday?  

I debated whether to tell you just how my Monday has been.  You know some days are tougher than others.  A funk or a black cloud can just hover over you and you just can't shake it.  That is the kind of day I have had.  I knew it was present when I went to bed last night and darn it it was still there when I woke this morning. I grabbed my coffee and went straight to my prayer chair I call it.  That is a chair that sits in my cozy red office with all of my books around me. It is a place of comfort and it is where I long to hear from my Heavenly Father.  I really can't put my finger on what is bothering me.  I am just sad.  I want Pat to feel good. He is tired of it and I don't blame him. He wants normal days and I want that for him too.  I told a friend today "you know, it feels like we should be done with this by now." My transparent face is hard to hide at times.

I know all of these feelings are part of the journey.  What I am learning from the pain is that God is the only one that can comfort me the way I need it most.  If I am lonely, sad, angry or just tired, he wants me to come to him first.  He can give me that sweet peace and joy I crave, which was what I have prayed for all day. Encouragement came to me in several ways throughout the day and I actually expected it and looked for it.  God always shows up. The cloud lifted by the time I was cooking dinner and all five of us were eating.   

A couple from Alaska joined us for breakfast Thursday morning in the cafeteria in Tulsa. Pat said to the man "I don't see how anyone can go through this without God in their lives".  He is right.  We can't.  We are thankful he has us in His grip and He knows what tomorrow holds for you and me.  We have to trust Him.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Cards

Hello!  As I sit here tonight, all three of my kiddos are here...what a great feeling!  School is out for the boys and we are so proud of their good grades.  

Tonight we had our Life Group Christmas party which was a lot of fun with good food, Chinese Christmas exchange (Pat and I came home with the Starbucks gift card) and laughter.  I love this group so much. Their love and support are never ending.  

Pat is feeling drained and is very tired today.  He feels pretty good, but has slept most of the day.  He is trying a new pain medication, Dilaudid, that he thinks is working better.  I pray that he has more energy tomorrow and has a really good week.

I love going to the mail box during the holiday season as I love Christmas cards, especially those with photos included!  My family hopefully knows that it is my job to get the mail each day! I am so proud of our pictures that we had made for the Christmas card! Chelsea Williams of was the photographer and she did a fantastic job. Thank you Chelsea! 

 A prayer from "Don't Waste The Pain".

"I am counting on You, Faither, to walk with me through this day, into and through each situation.  I know that You can handle it all.  I so readily try to take things into my own hands, especially when I feel responsible.  I refuse to do that today.  Please keep me strongly aware of Your powerful, loving and peaceful presence."

I pray you have a great week and you feel his powerful, loving hand upon you.

In His Grip,

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Aw Hico!

Hello from Hico! 

So glad we are here! We attended the breakfast at Lonnie and Charlene and with our Hico neighbors. We ate at 10:00 and I was still full until the afternoon. I doubled up on the biscuits and gravy that's why! 

It has been a lazy afternoon today that consisted of a great nap and a trip to the local grocery. You get spoiled with our fancy stores in the metroplex. 

Garrett brought his buddies with him and we are all watching the movie Elf. I am cracking up again at Will Farrell at his best! Pat is going to start the grill for some juicy cheeseburgers. He surely will gain sone weight after today's menu. 

Hope you are enjoying your weekend. It's is hard for me to believe Christmas is next Saturday. This girl needs to crank it up a notch to get finished, but it will happen. 

Have a good night! 

PS. Cash is happy he is in Hico too!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

We Are Home

Hello!  We made it back home safely today about 3:00.  It was an uneventful day of travel and that is a good thing.  Thanks to Dianne, Pat's sister, for the ride home from the airport.  

Garrett had a game tonight at home, but it wasn't pretty.  One thing cool did happen. The clock was running out and he made the shot at the buzzard.  His look of surprise was priceless!  

Tomorrow if Pat feels good, we are headed to Hico.  Each year our neighbors in Hico, Lonnie and Charlene, host an annual (our third) breakfast and we really do not want to miss that.  Charlene is quite the cook and our friends and neighbors are the best!  It has been several weeks since we have been to Hico, so it will nice to be there. If Cash knew we were going tomorrow morning, the dog would be so excited he couldn't sleep.  If you mention the word "Hico" to him, he goes nuts!

We hope you have a great weekend.  I am sure many will be finishing up their Christmas shopping.  I am not through either.  You know what, it always gets done doesn't it?


Thursday, December 16, 2010


Hello from Tulsa!  I would prefer not to live in Tulsa, but everyone we have met here are wonderful and kind people, particularly at this center.  Each day we meet a new person and then see the ones that have become friends.  Right now I have six couples who are treated here at the center that I pray for.  One of the ladies, Lydia, is now cancer free from her breast cancer and she will not have to come back until three months from now.  Just yesterday I heard of a man from Burleson who is currently in the hospital right now here at the center that I hope to meet.  He works with a friend of Elizabeth's and he too has pancreatic cancer.  It is certainly a place I recommend for anyone dealing with cancer even if it is for a second opinion.  
I am currently reading four books, but the one I read today on the flight here is one that I mentioned several posts back called "Don't Waist the Pain". (This book is written by a sister and a brother who share their intimate journals as the sister fights ovarian cancer and the brother has a 12 year-old son with an aggressive childhood cancer.) The chapter, Praying for Your Doctor, gave me an aha moment.  Pat and I went to four different oncologists for their opinions.  Without a doubt I knew God had a doctor just for Pat,  but we had to rely on God to show us who that doctor was going to be. Pat said we began the search, "whoever we pick there is no turning back".  After we choose we have to put our trust in them.  "Praying for our doctors is one of the most practical ways we can work out this dilemma of trusting so much while depending entirely on God". Many times I have prayed generically "please guide the doctor, give them wisdom" or something similar, but they encourage me to pray specifically.   We can pray for strength and we can even pray for them to change their mind.  Doctors can be instruments to be used to heal, but ultimately God is the one who will heal Pat.  "Doctors can be the beneficiary of our prayers".  
As Dr. Stresdta was examining Pat, I was praying.  Pat's fever is a concern and she wants to know the source of the fever.  One idea she has is that the Zometa could be causing the fever. Each time Pat received the injection he was hospitalized the following week.   ZOMETA is an injection that can work to slow down bone-destroying activity that cause bone to wear away.  This injection is given once a month.  So, Pat will not get the injection today.  

We met with naturpathic and nutrition today. Since Pat lost 5 lbs last week, they are concerned and want to make sure that we continue to give him the best nutrition possible.   Since Pat's stomach is so small, we have to make good choices.  He currently takes 14 pills (also supplements) in the morning and 17 in the evening.  Those pills alone fill his stomach.  So, he is challenged with his meals and fluids.  I like meeting with the nutritionist because she gives me ideas or reminds me of different snacks to give him since he has to eat six small meals a day. I have to say that this is one of the most intimidating parts of this journey.  It is easier to not eat than to decide what to eat.  

Pat is currently receiving chemo now.  When he gets his chemo, he also gets Benadryl, fluids, nausea medication and steroids.  It takes a little over two hours.  (That is why this post is lengthy!).  We are still on the every two weeks treatment plan, so we will return on the 29th of December.

Many of you have mentioned to me that you want to know what to pray for specifically.  I ask that you join me in praying for no more fever and ER/hospital visits.  I also pray that this week he feels exceptionally good because of the Christmas holidays.   

Your encouragement, support and prayer serves us, but you are pleasing God.  It is amazing and humbling to hear from you that are praying and thinking of us daily.  Please know that his great medicine for all five of us.  I know that commenting on this site may be intimidating and we thank you brave ones for  your words of love written for us to read. 

Have a great night!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Quick Howdy

Hello!  Just want to pop in really quick and say howdy!  Been busy doing laundry and getting ready to leave in the morning.  It has been a really, really good day for Pat.  It is just the difference of night and day compared to how he felt two or three days ago.  We are thankful for the good days. 

I had some sweet God hugs through out my day today and yesterday and I am telling you that they are pure gifts.  God has put into my path some pretty special people this week and they all make me smile and I felt their love in their hugs.  Also, your sweet comments here on the bridge are such comfort and encouragement.  Days like today make the harder days earlier in the week fade away. I will be reporting back in from the great state of Oklahoma tomorrow and it is going to be cold.

Good night and sleep tight!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My New Devotional


Boy do my feet hurt tonight.  Yes, I went Christmas shopping today for about five hours and I did make a dent in my list, but I have more to go.  

Congratulations to the entire Spartan team  for their 1st ever win vs. a varsity basketball team tonight by beating Diamond Hill-Jarvis' varsity 51-44.   Good game G!  More basketball Friday vs. Frisco at home.

One more congratulations.  I have been giddy all day long waiting on the birth of Caden Matthew Fanning who entered this world tonight at 8:03 PM.  Congratulations to Matt & Ashley and proud grandparents, Angie & Jordan!  Wow! Knowing that you are going to meet your grandchild has to be one of the most exciting moments here on this earth!
I have to agree with what Pat said today.  He is dreading Thursday when we travel to Tulsa as he has to face the whole cycle again.  Today was the first day that he has felt really good since his last treatment two weeks ago.  My prayer is that his next chemo treatment will have less side effects and better days following treatment.  I am so proud of Pat and his fight. He is so faithful in following doctor's orders.  He takes his medicines, drinks his water and eats healthy.  Once in a while, we cheat and have something sweet, but not very much.  
The past two weeks have been tough with the side effects for Pat and his hospital stay.  There are days it is hard for him to leave his chair.  When he has bad days, it is hard for me too.  I have found one of the toughest part of this journey is keeping my mind focused.  I have to choose to trust God.  I may be scared, but I remind myself that God knows all things about me.  He knows of my fear, my hurt, and my frustration.  God also knows when I want to pout or take my toys and go home because I am tired of this new game.  

Last week I went to the dentist and was chatting with my hygentist, Cari.  I could tell she hadn't heard about our news, so I told her.  While she was cleaning my teeth (she always asks me questions when she has her cleaning utensils in my mouth) she asked me if I could share one thing that I have taken from all of this what would it be?  I have to trust God. God is good and all things go through His hands. I have to trust Him in every aspect of my life whether it be small or large.  All of this was planned for us.  He has a purpose.

Below is part of the devotion that was in my inbox today that I want to share. 

Jesus calls us to a level of intimacy that can only be sustained by his constant presence in our lives. Discipleship without Jesus is no discipleship at all. We may not understand all that discipleship involves or all that it will cost us, but Jesus calls us to take the first step, and, through that obedience, we develop the additional faith necessary to take the next step.
His call is a command for you to comprehensively and absolutely walk away from the way you do life now so you can follow him down an exclusive path through the narrow gate that leads to the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus wants you to know him and, through that relationship, He will empower you to live an extraordinary life, full of grace and truth. He calls you to a miraculous life, one that requires edge-of-your-seat faith to follow him, where you find yourself asking in joy, "What's next, Jesus? What are you going to do through me today?"

God is real and each days he knows exactly what I need.
In His Grip!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Woot Woot! Great News!

Hey guys!  I am so excited and just did the happy dance on the elevator, but my kids would be happy to know that I was on it by myself!  That makes me grin!  Are you ready for the good news........Pat's tumor markers are down and let me give you the numbers so that you can celebrate with us.  When we came in here in October during our first visit, his tumor marker was 1145.5 and today it is 152.2! I wish I could draw the trend line for you.  God is so good and he hears our prayers. I wonder if I could do a cartwheel here in the infusion center? Better not!

Pat is beginning his chemo now.  It has been an easy going day!  Pat's Uncle Mike & Aunt Jeri drove us to the airport this morning.  Jeri, you did an awesome job and we are so glad that you don't drive like the taxi drivers in NYC!    

On the flight here I was just closing my eyes, as I was crammed in the middle seat trying to keep my elbows to myself, and was just thanking God that I actually looked forward to coming to Tulsa to the Cancer Center.  Now, I am speaking only for Paige, not Pat.  After visiting three cancer centers in Texas, I am so thankful that we are here in Tulsa.  I truly felt so depressed when we visited the other places.  My thought was "we will be just another patient without a name" and "I don't want to be here".  When I am here at CTCA I feel at home and secure.

It has taken me a while to get this blog finished! Pat and I have new friends and nurses here, so I have been chatting.  There is a couple, Carolyn and Ray, who are in their early forties from Dallas they have only been married three months before coming to Tulsa in October.  He has Pancreatic cancer also and they have not been home at all since they arrived in October.  Carolyn and I have become fast friends and it is nice to have someone to share the journey with you that is experiencing the same.  She just popped over for a quick visit and a hug.

I hope that you have a good weekend.  I just got a text from Natalie that the boys are playing now in Santo and they are behind by 1, third quarter, so kick it up a notch Spartans!

I smile as I say goodnight!


PS  I have attached a picture of the living tree here at the center.  I heard Pat tell the bellman at dinner that his name will be at the top of that tree!  You are right baby, you are right!