Saturday, June 7, 2008

Home from the Hospital

Praying Friends,

For those of you who have missed a few emails, my apologies. We had trouble with forwarding to everyone on the blackberry while we were in the hospital.

To catch everyone up, Ray completed his first chemo treatment at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago last night.

We were admitted Tuesday to get fluids and have more tests and after consulting with MD Anderson on the course of treatment, we went forward Wednesday night with Ray's first chemo treatment.

To quote a friend who's son has cancer, "cancer is not for sissies." It's rough.

We are so thankful to be home and to see the girls. We are so thankful for our sisters, families, friends and neighbors who have helped out and continue to help out. We are so thankful for your emails. They were literally like manna from heaven and helped sustain us in the hospital.

Here are our prayers: Ray's chemo runs on a two week cycle. Week one is the chemo fighting the cancer. Week two is the restoration to prepare for the next treatment. So, for this week we are praying for incredible impact of the chemo on the cancer cells. We are praying for Ray's liver to get more and more healthy. We are praying that there will be no infections. We are praying for Ray's strength -- that his appetite would come back so that food and drinks can sustain him. And for his body -- just to strengthen it as it does all this work. Add his heart to the list here. It has to work even harder because of all this.

For the girls, patience, normalcy and special moments with their dad.

For all of us: that we can cast our anxieties upon the only one who can truly hold them and run with endurance this race that has been set before us.

Above all, our continued prayer is for Ray's healing.

Our verse for tonight:
"...let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus." Hebrews12:1-2

Love to you all.

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray

Friday, June 6, 2008

Running and Not Growing Weary

Loved Ones --

At 2 am tonight Ray will complete his first chemo treatment. Praise the Lord. He has tolerated it well, with a few side effects. It's tiring for the body to do all that fighting! (However he is not too tired to ask me from his sleep if the White Sox are ahead!)

They have him pumped up with fluids and a unit of blood and we are heading home tomorrow. Hooray!

Here are our prayer requests: the chemo will continue working in Ray's body for the next two weeks -- keep praying for that liver and for a dramatic impact on the cancer cells. Another big prayer is for Ray to be hungry enough to get down some nutrition. He needs it! Last, just that the Lord will keep him from any infection due to the drop in white cells due to the chemo -- he's running a slight fever tonight.

Thank you also for your prayers for our family. We are looking forward to being together again.

Here are our verses for tonight:
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak... But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Isaiah 40:28-31

Not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Battle Rages

Loved Ones --

We have had a good day fighting cancer! Ray is tolerating the chemo well. He has had some nausea and is pretty tired. It is a two day regime but normally he will only have to do a few hours in the clinic and the rest from home. His first time we are going to complete in the hospital. We hope to go home on Saturday.

We are praying nonstop for the chemo to have a huge impact and for Ray's liver to get healthier and healthier (which helps process the chemo). We are praying for the nausea to subside and appetite to return.

We continue to commit his healing to the Lord.

I was able to see the girls today which was wonderful. God has held them in his arms and they are doing great.

Here are our verses for tonight:
“Because he loves me, says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation”.
Psalm 91:14-16

Not alone and not afraid --
kristin and ray

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Warriors at Your Station

The battle begins tonight!

We want to ask you all to pray as Ray has his first chemo treatment tonight and over the next two days.

We have had an amazing day. God moved the earth through a few good friends and we were able to have the top GI Cancer doctor at MD Anderson review Ray's case and confer with our doctor here. What we were praying for was agreement or else a clearly superior course. The two doctors agreed that the course our doctor here has outlined is the right course. Praise the Lord.

This cancer is a fast growing cancer. We did not want to let it grow one second longer and so we are beginning treatment tonight.

The way Ray's body responds to this chemo will determine the success of this treatment.

Here are our prayers: that the chemo would have a dramatic effect on the fast growing cancer cells, that Ray's liver will respond quickly and grow more and more healthy, potentially allowing additional therapies to be added, for Ray's strength and fortitude in fighting this cancer.

Above all this, we continue to pray that God will cure Ray.

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”

Thank you for standing with us in this battle.

Not afraid and not alone --
kristin and ray

Prayers for Today

Loved ones --

Ray and I want to thank you for your prayers. It is so clear that God's hand is on us. We feel your lifting us up every moment.

We are here in the hospital probably for a short time while Ray gets fluids and has a port a cath put in for chemo.

The meeting today was a good start on helping us find the right treatments for Ray. We have all hands on deck trying to get us in to consult with MD Anderson as soon as possible. Ray's symptoms are worsening rapidly and so this needs to happen quickly.

Here are our prayers. For Ray's liver. It's ability to process chemo will determine what treatments Ray can take. For Ray's continued nourishment of body, mind and spirit. For wisdom for us and for the doctors as they advise us, and that we will speedily be able to talk to the right people. For our girls to have patience and feel our and everyone's secure love for them.

Here are our praises. Ray has been able to drink a little bit more today.Debbie Ray's sister was able to come and be with us.

Through all this we know that only Christ has the power to heal Ray. We ask for this healing and for unfaltering belief in the power of Christ to perform it.

We love you all so very much.

Not afraid and not alone --

Kristin and ray

Monday, June 2, 2008

Prayers for Today and Tomorrow

Loved ones,

First, Ray has not had any more vomiting, praise the Lord. However, even with that he is getting dehydrated as he is not drinking very much or eating at all. We gave him IV fluids at the nutrition doctor today but he is still very weak. Please really pray for his strength and spirit. The doctor from Northwestern will see us tomorrow at 12:30. Please focus your prayers on us then. We are happy that we will start to get some idea about a treatment plan. But we need wisdom and guidance as they advise us, God's perfect timing in seeking second opinions while still speedily getting things started, and courage as we listen to what they have to say.

We also ask for prayer just for our family. They were pretty close to wanting to admit Ray today at CDH, they may want to do so at Northwestern. So we just need wisdom as to how to prepare the kids without really knowing all that is before us. We ask for moments together today that will rejuvenate the kids and us.

We ask for bolstering of our spirits. We ask for continued confidence in the Lord to halt the progress of this disease and heal Ray. And, through all this, that the Lord would carry Ray securely in his arms.

Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders. Deut. 33:12

not afraid and not alone --
kristin and ray

PS Thank you for your continued emails. They feed our spirits.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Loved ones,

I am writing early because we need specific prayers now.

We have been to the ER for much of the day because of nausea and vomiting.

Here's what we are told that is helpful. This is not Ray's cancer worsening, it is most likely simply the result of the biopsy in the stomach. This irritates the stomach, bleeds and then makes you throw up.

But. We need prayers that Ray's nausea and vomiting would calm and that we can make it through the night and even the next few days with no more! He is on medication to help this. This is our urgent prayer.

We are thankful today for wonderful doctors that helped us to understand what is happening and helped to calm our fears.

We are thankful that even today the Northwestern doctors have been in communication with us.

Our top priority for this coming week is meeting and talking with the right doctors to determine Ray's treatment and getting that going.

Here is the verse that is encouraging us today:

2Chr. 20:17 - You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf ... Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them and the Lord will be with you.

And this one:
"The Lord your God is with you; He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with his love, and rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17

Thank you for flooding us with verses and songs. When we sit in the ER, Ray says, are there any more emails? And I read them all aloud. We love you all.

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray

Our hope is filled with nothing less...

than Jesus blood and righteousness!

This song has been with me all day.

Here are our updates from today.

Even while we sleep people are hard at work on our behalf. Our dear friend Amy put us in touch with the FDA Administrator and former head of the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Andy von Eschenbach, who is researching Ray's case.

Just this afternoon the head of Northwestern Cancer Center called me and told me that because of Andy's email, he was emailing two top doctors there to get us in. One has already emailed me and says she will arrange for evaluation ASAP.

Praise the Lord!

Ray had a tough night and an ok day. It is hard for him to keep anything down and to sleep. Please pray for these things.

In all these things we know this: Jesus Christ is our hope. The best medicine in the world is what we want for Ray. Our hope and trust however, is in Christ to heal him!

not afraid and not alone --

kristin and ray