Saturday, August 2, 2008

White Blood Cell Counts

Loved Ones,

Well it is great that Ray got his white blood cell boosting shot today because he is going to need it!

Lucy has been fever free for more than 48 hours so I think he's probably avoided hand, foot and mouth virus. However, shortly after arriving at our sweet friends' house for dinner, Nora came down with a virus of her own, stomach flu. Goodness we hope that Ray can avoid this one also!

Other than all these happenings, it was a good day. Ray was pretty tired this afternoon, but that was nothing a nap couldn't solve. Though he lost weight today, his weight is still two pounds heavier than Thursday. So we're feeling happy about that.

Even though our dinner was interrupted, it was so nice to be with friends. And the girls and I had some fun today at the children's museum and later at the pool.

Our prayers for Ray's healing continue tonight and just this evening I got another email about others being healed from cancer. Oh that we'll be able to send an email like that to all of you! For this we pray!

And we of course pray that Ray will stay healthy, allowing his body to focus on beating cancer! Instead of stomach flu!

"Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."
3 John 1:2-4

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray

Friday, August 1, 2008

Round 5 Concludes

Loved Ones,

Round 5 concluded at 11:45 this morning. Ray had a pretty good day. He gained weight this morning! A lot!! Which makes us think that the lower point yesterday may have just been a fluctuation. We'll see how it goes tomorrow.

Ray had some visitors today which he enjoyed. He was pretty tired this afternoon and evening but hopefully with good rest tonight he will rebound tomorrow.

We continue to be encouraged by Ray's progress and we continue our prayers for total healing -- that the chemo would be working miraculously all through this week. We pray for trust and for the ability to take joy in our days without knowing the future which is unknowable. We pray for the ability to maximize our energy and time together as a family while still getting necessary things done. For God's wisdom to guide us all the time in decisions big or small.

Lucy's fever has been diagnosed as hand, foot and mouth virus so we pray for protection for Ray from these germs and any other things our kids are carrying! And that his platelets and other cells will be able to rebuild successfully before the next chemo cycle.

We are thankful for all of you and that we are not carrying all these prayer requests alone! I took a little bit of liberty with this verse but it really expresses how we feel.

"I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership... from the first day until now." Phillipians 1:3-5

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray

Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Good Quiet Day

Loved Ones,

Round 5 is going well. Ray's chemo was so early in the day yesterday that the steroids didn't keep him up late. That was good because he wasn't as tired today.

He's eating well today which is great because he is starting this round a bit lower than we hoped.

The girls are doing well and earlier this evening were happily watching "Shark Week" on Animal Planet up on the bed with their Dad.

Miss Lucy has a fever so we are trying to keep her away from Daddy but luckily it was his platelets that were low, not white blood cells. Still, we are hoping that he does not pick up any germs while his body does the cancer fighting!

It was a quiet day but a good one for thinking, hoping and praying. We were reminded by email that the Congressional Prayer Caucus is also praying for Ray each Wednesday. We are so embraced by our DC community. We feel so loved both by our former home and our home community here. We are very very blessed.

"The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." Isaiah 58:11

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Round 5 in Progress

Loved Ones,

What a long day!

Our meeting with the genetic doctor went well. They do not believe that Ray's cancer is due to hereditary factors. With such a large family and almost no cancer history it is extremely unlikely, and most gastric cancers (70%) are simply unexplainable. And unexplainable it is as Ray has no risk factors for gastric cancer except for being male. Of course now that it is in the family we'll have to watch carefully. Hopefully our great new cancer fighting diet will help.

Chemo Round 5 is in progress as I write this. When we arrived they were a little concerned about Ray's low platelet count but they decided to hit him with the full dose of chemo anyway. We were glad. That's on our prayer list for tonight as if the platelets get too low it can cause bleeding and delay treatment.

Ray's liver fuction numbers were mixed. Two have continued to improve, one is holding steady and one fluctuated the other direction. Ray's doctor tells us not to worry as liver numbers tend to move around a little bit. But that is another prayer. That these are simply fluctuations and that the cancer in Ray's liver and stomach will continue to be miraculously responsive to the chemo! And that the numbers will reflect this!

Each time Ray goes for chemo we renew our prayers for total healing. Especially today as we jolted back to the cancer reality from our wonderful time at White Lake, our hearts were filled with prayers.

Thank you for yours. Just as we went in for labs, we got an email from a special friend saying that she was fasting for Ray each Wednesday and hoped that others would join her. Thank you. Each prayer that is said, each sacrifice, we know that God hears.

This is a different battle we fight. Victory comes not to the strongest one, but to the one in which the enemy cancer can be defeated. We are doing our very best to fight but truly the battle in Ray's body is the Lord's. And thus, we take comfort in these verses:

"Let them give glory to the LORD and proclaim his praise... The LORD will march out like a mighty man, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies." Isaiah 42:12-13

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Chemo Round 5 and Genetics Update

Loved Ones,

We had a wonderful time at White Lake. The kids had a great time swimming, fishing, and boating. Got some great pictures and video of them with daddy.

Thank you for your prayers. Just during the time we were there we got a very helpful email from one of our advising doctors. That seemed like an answer to our prayers. We got several emails about healing too.

Tomorrow morning we meet with a genetics doctor to talk about hereditary factors. Just in our pre-call some huge questions were answered. There is a highly hereditary stomach cancer marked by a particular gene. This would have likely necessitated genetic testing for our girls and Ray's family.
This does not appear to be the cancer Ray has. Though we will know more about this tomorrow, we are already thankful for God's provision here.

We are ready for Round Five to begin. With each round we renew our prayers for miraculous impact of the chemo -- eradication of the cancer in Ray's body and continued protection of Ray's healthy cells. Counting tomorrow, we have four more rounds till Ray's next scan. We are praying for a completely clean scan of Ray's liver.

We will have lab work before the chemo begins so that will be an indicator of the chemo's continued impact on Ray's liver (and vicariously his stomach too). We pray for clarity in those numbers so that Ray's doctor can have continued guidance as to his treatment.

Your prayers are our joy. No matter the greatness of our requests we know that nothing is impossible for our God. But the greatness seems a little less daunting knowing the echoes of your voices and ours.

“The Lord your God is with you; the mighty One will save you. He will rejoice over you. You will rest in his love; he will sing and be joyful about you.” Zephaniah 3:17

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray