Wednesday, June 30, 2010
By God's grace and the help of family we made it safely down to Mexico. I was originally booked for a Sunday flight so I could start getting radiation. 15 minutes before we were supposed to leave for the airport we got a call saying the flight was cancelled. We didn't get on anything for Monday either. The storms made all the Monday flights fill up quickly. We thought a good friend might be able to get us a good deal heading out on Tuesday but that would mean us flying standby. Because of the storms there was no longer room on that flight either. He told us that Milwaukee has a very reasonably one way direct flight to San Diego. We called Katelyn's family to see if someone would be willing to drive us there in the morning to catch an 8:30 flight.
Josh and Hannah were picked for the task. My wonderful father-in-law took several seats out of their big van and put a mattress in there for Katelyn and I to sleep in on the way up. We met them at 3:20 and were on our way to Wisconsin. The bumpy ride caused some discomfort in my back, but I slept pretty well on the 4 hour drive. It sure beat being crammed in a seat on a connecting flight. We made to the airport in great time. We checked in and the lady ended up bumping me up to first class free of charge. What an enormous blessing, thank you Jesus!
We made it to our gate and I got drugged up for the flight. Vicodin plus Morphine still didn't take away the pain I had. The back wasn't as bad, it was the pain radiating down my whole left leg from pressure on a nerve. The flight started off smoothly. I was pretty comfortable, and thought I would be able to get some sleep. Wrongo! I had had a hard time driving to Dr. Schock's office in the week and that was just sitting for 10 minutes. How would a 4 hr flight go? One minute at a time it felt like. Luckily I had enough room to kneel down in front of my seat and put my arms on my seat and get some relief. The people around me probably didn't know what was going on. We finally arrived in San Diego around 11 am. We were picked up and I was able to lay down in the back of the van for some much needed relief.
We crossed the border and headed straight to radiation. By this point my left leg is extremely numb from sitting on that long flight. It had not gotten near that bad at home. Radiation went fine and we came back to the clinic for some more treatment. They gave me some detox and I tried to rest. The back pain has been slowly getting some relief but the sensation in the leg is getting worse. When I try to sleep in any position pressure gets put on the leg and I can't sleep. I probably got about 3 hours of sleep last night. Still far from ideal.
Dr. Rubio talked to us about the previous culture and said that it was mainly dead cells that were causing the inflammation. He said it doesn't help either that you are skinny because you don't have any fat to cushion the swelling. We are planning an MRI for sometime in the next few days to see what we can find. He also is going to call his physical therapist to see if she can help relax my leg and bring me some relief. All I want to do is sleep. No pain med I have taken in the past month has been able to allow that to happen. No number of times during the night spent crying out in pain to God has allowed that to happen.
That has been the hardest part. We know we have so many people praying for us, our friends, families, church families, complete strangers. Katelyn and I cry out to God every night. We put on our spiritual armor. We pray in the name of Jesus, we cast off, we declare death on the cancer cells, we come against anything standing in the way of the healing, and `all we get is a dial tone coming from the other end. That has been so very difficult. I know God has been there and is with me at all times, but during the hardest times I want to be able to feel him the closest.
We know that He has a purpose for all this. We trust and cling to His promises. We know that He will never leave us or forsake us. We know that all power is given to him in heaven and earth, and lo he is with us always. We just don't always feel it. I know someday I will look back and see His hand throughout the whole journey, but for some reason in the midst of the suffering you just don't see it. Jesus endured it. Job felt it. God didn't give him answers, just more questions. Like Job I know that my Redeemer lives, and that is what keeps us going. Through all the tears, sleepless night, pain meds, IVs, flights, everything. He is with us. In Him we live and move and have our being, so I'm not going to give up now. He has a mighty plan and purpose for our lives, and I'm not going to let some disease of the enemy keep my family from doing what we are supposed to do. We have all been purchased with a price, not of something incorruptible, but the precious blood of Jesus. A lamb without blemish. Let us all live knowing that we are His!!!
Friday, June 25, 2010
Well, it's been a pretty rough past few weeks. Last week I fought fevers on and off. By the fourth night we decided we should probably get it looked at. We drew blood the next morning to check counts and look for infections. The counts came back pretty normal and they never found any growth on the culture. Once the fevers passed the tumor site started to become painful again. The inflammation is causing lots of discomfort, to the point of not being able to sleep again. Apparently my body started to get used to the Vicodin I was taking, and it was no longer as effective at controlling the pain. We hesitated to go back down to Mexico because chemo and radiation can cause swelling. We were very thankful that there were no infections as well.
I went into work on Monday a little bit, but other than that I spend my days trying to catch up on the sleep I lost at night. It is very disheartening. A typical night includes me going to bed at 9, rolling around til about 11. Getting up and either using a heat pad or icing the tumor. Maybe taking a hot bath. Four or 5 times a night crying out to God on the living room floor asking for some relief. Sounds like fun, huh?
Today we went into Dr. Schock to get some more blood drawn so that Rubio can test it and see what he thinks. Schock upped my meds to Vicodin along with time-released Morphine. I had my first tablet today and I am still in lots of pain. My left leg is tingling quite a bit from the inflammation and it makes it hard to sleep.
I try to play with my girls but even that is painful at times. They can't jump and climb on me like they used to. It is very difficult. Thankfully Katelyn has been wonderful at keeping my hopes up, but being in pain for that long is exhausting. We hope to hear good news from the blood culture in Mexico. We will probably get the results back on Monday. We will be getting another MRI in July to see what's going on.
Please pray for supernatural grace, wisdom, and discernment as we battle this ugly disease. I am tired of what it is taking from me. Pray for hope and that God would clearly speak to us and manifest His presence each step of the way. Katelyn had a dream a while back that she was writing my temperature down and fighting fevers. She remembers that it was a big spiritual battle that was going on. Pray for us. We need it. We thank you all for your faithfulness and may God richly bless you in this life and the life to come!
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
We had an amazingly refreshing time in San Diego. Pretty sure Jordan's favorite part was the very superior mattress he got to sleep on. Yes, sleep! Praise the Lord! And mine was the highly superior toilet paper. :) It was so good to see my man re-energized. We frequented an organic market & deli, the beach, a few little seaside restaurants, & thoroughly enjoyed reading and relaxing at our hotel. We also were so blessed to go to church and worship and be renewed in the proclamation of the Word!
We arrived home on Thursday night. Arawen was an amazing traveler, our flights were all on-time and our final stop before home was in Goodfield to reunite with Jaycee! She enjoyed her time with both sets of grandparents, but today she queried "Where am I?" when looking through our San Diego pictures. It's so completing to be all together again, and we're thankful to be getting back into a routine.
Jordan's doing ok. He's not bouncing back like I think we both assumed he would. We wanted the quick fix. In this case, the 10-day fix. But, the disease is serious and healing takes time. However, we're more than willing to persevere in helping his body heal!
His energy level is still fairly low, but he's not dragging himself around. He still feels what he calls "sensations" in his tumor site, but the painfulness is nearly nonexistent. He's struggling with some pain in his shoulder muscles, but the blame is on a horribly uncomfortable plane ride, not a mass of multiplying cells. He's also experiencing some fevers, but they break and depart quickly. We're counting our blessings and are so thankful for how much better he is doing!
We've both had scriptures laid on our hearts to give this battle against cancer to the Lord. Jordan shared 2 Chronicles 20 with me yesterday. Great story! Amazing example of how God wins the battles and how non-dependent He is on us! You should read it. Maybe Jordan will feel so moved to expound upon it later.
We're learning to release it to Him and let Jehovah set the ambush for us. Thanks for joining us in the fight, or rather, the surrender. :)
...For the battle is the LORD's, and he will give you into our hands. -David to Goliath (1 Sam 17:47)
Friday, June 4, 2010
We talked with Dr. Rubio at length yesterday after the blood results came back and just wanted to update all of our pray-ers.
The blood cultures did reveal some "abnormal cells." (This means cancer cells- it just doesn't sound as bad.) There is also a significant amount of inflammation and necrosis. Inflammation meaning swelling of body tissue mostly due to the biological warfare of good cells and bad cells. Necrosis meaning death; in Jordan's case a bunch of dead bad cells are still floating around in his body. Thankfully, it's mostly the bad (cancer) cells that are dying!
On the whole, we were greatly encouraged, so Praise Jesus for His divine design of our immune system! Jordan's is still putting up a valiant fight.
Why the pain? Yeah, I'm still struggling with this one. This was the first time Jordan's Mexico followups had been stretched out to 3 months. In order for the healing process to progress smoothly, the body needs a lot help in getting rid of the large amounts of cells that are being attacked and killed by the immune system. Detox. Detox. Detox. His treatment in Mexico includes a lot of detox (chelation, rife therapy, oxygen, etc.) We hit a speed bump. Besides the cleansing vegetable juices we were doing daily, he went the longest his body's been without heavy-duty detoxification. We have already discussed ways we can step up his home detox program which will allow his 'sewer system' to work efficiently and keep us on track to continue lengthening his checkups. Taking into consideration that Jordan's tumor site is uncomfortably close to major nerves, & all of the activity & build up going on right there, his body began protesting.
Although Jordan's pain has drastically decreased since we arrived, his energy and appetite are nearly nonexistent and his body continues to defy sleep. He wrestles with stiffness & his pillow all night. He does sleep, he just doesn't sleep for very long at a time, waking nearly every hour.
In classic Jordanian humor, when asked by another patient how he felt, my husband replied: "Oh... like I need a 6-day nap." Even at his worst, he's tossing out some chuckles. It's so hard to see him sapped of strength and to have his responsiveness chopped in half. But, he really is a champion! Never once have I had to fear he would give up. He has buoyed my spirits and pointed my gaze to eternity more times than I can count, and I'm not even the sick one. He has embraced the promises and actively pursued the good that we know God will bring from this. Last Thursday, after we got the MRI results back, he came home at lunchtime to be with me. One of the first things out of his mouth was something about how God was going to use this in our lives. He has truly surrendered to God's purification process and has become better, not bitter. It's been amazing and humbling to see Jesus so up-close in him. He is my best friend, my lover, and, next to the promise of eternity, my greatest earthly blessing!
In the toilet paper aisle of life, I never would've chosen the scratchy, one-ply, nauseatingly scented Mexican brand with which I've been re-acquainted. Nope, I'm headed for the upper-class end of the aisle; 3-ply, quilted, UNscented, uber soft, practically a disposable egyptian cotton would be lovingly placed in my cart. Give me comfort, and give it to me all day, every day. But I don't get to pick. After all of my coaxing, protesting, and temper tantrums, God re-stocks the toilet paper, not I. He's the one on the throne, knows what's best, knows how much comfort I really can do without. I've slowly taken advantage of the grace to be thankful for the glory-factor of our circumstances. Not what I would've picked, but thankful to illuminate a little bit of His glory. I'm dwelling in a strange paradox: praying the suffering ends and rejoicing at being counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. (Acts 5:41) In the end, when all that really matters is God's magnificent glory, this promise blows my mind:
the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Rom 8:18) Be blessed!
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Well, we made it to Mexico safely. I was in quite a bit of pain for the first flight to Chicago because I wanted to wait for the longer flight to take my medication. When we got to Chicago I popped some Vicodin & that helped a little bit. There was a very nice Indian man that gave up his aisle seat for a middle one so we could have all three seats to ourselves. What a blessing! We were able to lay Arawen down on the floor and then I could stretch out by lying on Katelyn's lap.
Dr. Rubio Jr. looked at my scans and talked with us on Monday afternoon. He believes that the fingers affecting the nerves in my spine which are only about 1cm long could be due to inflammation and necrosis. We will not know for sure if it's new cancer growth 'til tomorrow when my blood cultures come back. I will be getting 6 rounds of radiation and 4 bags. The last 2 days of treatment will be cleansing my body to diminish the side effects of the radiation.
Katelyn and Arawen are doing great. I'm so happy to have them here. It's so fun to watch Arawen lift everyone's spirits. She's learning so many new words and makes us laugh all the time. Katelyn's been there for me every step of the way and she is such a wonderful wife.
Last night we had a special time of laughing, crying, remembering, and joking around. We talked about how amazing it is to have a faithful God through all of this. We talked about being so thankful to have my wife and daughters that mean the world to me. These past couple of weeks, Jaycee would just randomly come up to me and give me kisses on the cheek and lips. Everyday when I get home, I'm bombarded with 2 screaming, running girls. What a welcome! I'm so thankful to have 3 girls that love me so much. I want to take the time to treasure what’s really important in my life. Over 2 years ago I had a brother with the gift of prophecy pray over me. He prophesied that there would be a turning, something that seemed bad, but that God was going to use to bring Himself glory and fulfill His purposes for me. Now that word that he gave is starting to make sense. We strengthened each other with God's promises. Everywhere we go in the Word confirms to us that we are going to get through this. We've been reading through Acts and have been so inspired by the power of the Holy Spirit in that book. I love how Paul is so bold and faithful when he says that no matter what trials will come, he will press through without fear because of the Holy Spirit. We talked about the dream my dad had about my scans coming back clear. This has encouraged me so much because he doesn’t usually remember his dreams. It was great to reflect on the past few years.
We are planning on getting away for the weekend in San Diego. We rented a car and Pricelined a hotel for really cheap. Pray that it will be a good time of relaxing and refreshing.
We thank you for all your prayers. Please pray for good rest. I think it’s been over 2 weeks since I slept through the night. Not sleeping at night affects my energy levels and appetite. I just want to sleep soundly like I used to. Pray that God would grant that request.