Saturday, July 5, 2008

Another Day Fighting Cancer

Loved Ones,

Ray had a quiet, appetite-free day today. We know his body is busy fighting cancer! And so we are happy for him to focus completely on that. His sister and I are however, sneaking high calorie supplements into all his food! So hopefully he'll get a little nutrition!

The girls had a great day. While Ray and Lucy were napping I took them to the local beach pool with a big sand area. They loved making sand castles and swimming and they can't wait for their Dad to accomany them on a return visit.

They are also spending a lot of time catching butterflies and riding bikes. We write messages on the driveway for Daddy to read from his room. Right now our driveway reads, "From the Butterfly Team -- We Hope You Get Better Soon -- With Butterfly Love." Nora is the composer of all the messages.

We are so grateful for your continued prayers. We feel so strongly God's encouragement through all of you. And, we continue to be filled with hope for Ray's healing.

"These things won't happen right away. Slowly, surely the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair. It will not be overdue a single day." Habakuk 2:3

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray

Friday, July 4, 2008

A Happy Fourth

Loved Ones,

We had a happy 4th of July. The girls decorated their bikes and our bike trailer and we took part in our neighborhood bike and pet parade. Ray was able to watch (and videotape). It was so nice for Ray to see the girls and say hello to neighborhood friends.

Round three of chemo was finished at 3 pm and disconnected by the home health nurse.

Our family even watched some firecrackers together, put on by our across the street neighbors.

Now all the exhausted members of the family are asleep! Soon to be followed by me.

Thank you for your prayers today. We continue our fervent prayers for Ray's healing and we delight in being together as a family.

"But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you." Psalm 5:11

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Lilies of the Field

Loved Ones,

We had a quiet day here on the homefront. We are starting to get the hang of the appetite changes, tiredness, and the rest of it so as to be prepared and keep Ray from dropping too much weight. Even with a smaller appetite Ray has done great today. We've got the protein drinks going and Ray even had a piece of apple pie!

On that note, we just wanted to say a special thank you to the many friends and family who are taking care of us. The emails and cards of those far away, the tasty foods dropped off, the art supplies, movies and teddy bears mailed to us, the many friends and family members who have pitched in to take care of us and our kids, the swingset coming from our friends in DC, the continued prayers of all... We feel cared for in the most tender of ways.

We know this is part of God's plan for us, to gently assure us of his anticipation and provision of our every need.

We are so hopeful today. It was so encouraging to hear of the progress. We pray continually for God's healing hand on Ray.

"Therefore I tell you, don't worry about the food or drink you need to live, or about the clothes you need for your body... Look at the birds in the air. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, but your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? And why do you worry about clothes? Look at how the lilies in the field grow. They don't work or make clothes for themselves. But I tell you that even Solomon with his riches was not dressed as beautifully as one of these flowers... So do not worry saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink' or 'What will we wear?' But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Mathew 6:25-33

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Good News

Loved Ones,

I have good news! I have so many good things to report!

Here's the most exciting news: Ray's bilirubin in his liver is almost to the normal range! The bili went down by 50 percent in the last week! We are overjoyed! All of Ray's liver numbers are improving, even the one that lagged behind last time. Praise the Lord!!!

More news: Ray is going to have another scan on July 11 to check the progress! We are so excited! We will be praying without ceasing for this round of chemo as this (and the last two) will be reflected in the scan.

Ok, and last, in the last ten days Ray gained six and a half pounds! He went in for this round two pounds higher than last time. This is wonderful!!

It's pretty exciting to have all of this to report! So as you can see, round three of chemo at the clinic went very smoothly!

I don't even know what else to say except thank you for your prayers and WOW, they are being answered!!

We know that the next few days will be tired ones for Ray but it sure is exciting to think of the reason for the tiredness! There is a battle raging and the Lord is on our side!

Here is our verse for tonight: "I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders." Psalm 9:1

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Round Three

Loved Ones,

We had another good day here at the Fitzgerald home. Ray is a weight gaining machine!! Grand total of fruits and vegetables consumed today: 14!! Seven of those were by 10 am this morning! Rock on Ray! The two pounds from yesterday stayed on and he went up another half pound. We think by tomorrow it may be 3-4 pounds for the week!!

My favorite email of the day was one from Ray's cousin that said, I believe Ray is already healed. His body is just catching up with his spirit. Amen sister!

It's so easy to be encouraged, simply by the number of prayers answered already. When the nurse came today Ray's heart rate was 82. In the hospital it was 130. They were so concerned they did an EKG. Ray's improving liver numbers, increased energy and appetite, and weight gain, all of these are answers to prayers.

So, as Ray begins round three of chemo tomorrow at 1:30, we just wanted to remind you of all of this. We believe God is showing us his faithfulness in all of these areas and that he will continue with this work until the day of completion! And so, together with you, we pray for healing tomorrow. That the chemo will work in Ray's body with holy power -- beyond all that we could ask or imagine -- eradicating all cancer and sparing his healthy cells.

This verse I have quoted before but I can't help but quote it again. It is the right one for tonight and it was prayed over Ray today.

"And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up." James 5:15

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray

Monday, June 30, 2008

Depending on God

Loved Ones,

The highlight of our day was a "Princess Party" for the girls. Each girl was able to dress up in a princess dress (including mom) and got their hair and nails done. Our royal videographer (daddy) accompanied us. The girls loved it.

Other bright spots -- Ray gained two pounds!! We'll see if he keeps it on tomorrow, but it was exciting for us. And of course, the White Sox. We are beginning to notice that the Sox seems to win when Ray feels good and lose when he is under the weather. Another great night tonight.

Ray continues to show improvement -- feels pretty good and has energy for more than before. We are thrilled and thankful for this progress! However, we know that this is a waiting period. We won't really know the impact of the chemo until he has another scan and it isn't clear when that will be. Most likely sometime between the 4th - 6th round of chemo. Even with a scan, which will show the liver, we won't see the progress in Ray's stomach without another endoscopic procedure. We haven't even asked yet about timing for that.

I said last night that we depend on God for continued progress and healing. Those words are not said lightly. For those of us who are often self reliant, it can sometimes be uncomfortable to rely solely on God's provision.

When I was in college I listened to a prisoner tell his faith story. He was utterly convinced of God's gracefulness, feeling completely unworthy. As I listened I thought how lucky he was. He didn't think he could do it on his own. He knew just how needy he really was.

That is a parallel to how we feel now. We know that our very lives rely on God's mercy and provision.

And so, we depend on God for Ray's healing. For the God who healed the sick and made the blind see to reach down in our little corner of Naperville and make this husband, father and friend whole again.

"But I trust in you, O Lord; I say "You are my God." My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me. Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love." Psalm 31:14-16

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Happy Birthday

Loved Ones,

First, thank you for all of your birthday greetings. My greatest birthday present ever is your prayers for Ray.

And Ray is doing very well. No weight gain but I've been on him all day with foods so hopefully tomorrow. We are hoping for at least two pounds before chemo on Wednesday. Let me just say, I don't know too many people who would so willingly eat all the things that are put before them. There are even spices on the anti-cancer list so some things are pretty creative. He's the best.

Today was a good day. The girls had a special movie screening of "Molly, An American Girl" at dad's home theater in his room. They had a great time and want to know when they are getting a TV in their room.

We went to church, had some visitors and went out for ice cream. A big day! Several weeks ago Nora had said going to ice cream was the activity she most wanted to do this summer. Well, we can't do everything, but ice cream, we can do!

Everyone who sees Ray says how good he looks. And, he really does look good. We are so happy for every improvement. We depend on God for continued progress and healing.

"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge."
Psalm 62:5-8

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray