Saturday, September 20, 2008

Indian Summer

Loved Ones,

We had a good day today. It felt almost like a day without cancer. Ray was up getting bagels this morning and we all went to Nora's soccer game this afternoon. Though he was pretty tired for parts of the day, he was able to rest which is always an answer to prayer.

We continue to pray that his body is able to recover enough for chemo this Monday -- especially those white blood cells. And we pray for the chemo to work even more miraculously in Ray, healing his body of cancer.

A friend emailed this morning that she hoped we could give some of the prayer load to them and focus on having a good day. We did! And that was nice to do.

Here is our night's verse:
"I will both lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety." Psalm 4:8

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Good Day at Home

Loved Ones,

It is so good to be home. Our day was filled with little joys. The bus stop. Dinner at our table. Bathtime. Movie night. Gosh it's nice to be home and have those moments together.

We are all tired from traveling and will do our best to rest up over the weekend.

MD Anderson highly recommended physical activity so we took a family walk today while Nora was at school.

We continue to pray for Ray's body to be restored this weekend so that chemo can progress as planned next week. Unless something changes, Round 8 is planned for Monday. Meanwhile Ray is really enjoying his chemo "vacation." He seems so strong! Amazing what a whole point of hemoglobin will do!

And, our prayers for Ray's total healing continue without ceasing. We pray that the coming chemo will continue to be miraculously effective on every cancer cell -- those in his stomach, liver, esophagus and anywhere else. With metastatic cancer we have been told that growth is always a risk. So we pray for no more growth! And that any area that is even thinking about growing will be defeated by the chemo. And more importantly, our prayers!

We pray also for continued hope and encouragement. That we continue to be bolstered in our fight so that we do not grow weary!As always, we are ever grateful for your prayers.

"For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves."

Colossians 1:9-13

not alone and not afraid --
kristin and ray

Home Sweet Home

Loved Ones,

We're home!! Can you believe it!? Thank you for your constant prayers during our trip. It was clear in so many ways, that God's hand was on us.

Our time at MD Anderson went well. It was good that we went. Though we had heard that MD Anderson was famous for its delays, our time there went very smoothly with very few waits. I think due to the hurricane! God works in mysterious ways.

After completing CTs and labs on Wednesday we met with the GI Specialist today. It was a good meeting. He is very pleased with Ray's progress. In May, Ray's liver lesions measured 4 cm. Now they are 1 cm. This is great news. This incredible response to chemo is God's answer to our prayers, we have no doubt.There are still however, "innumerable lesions" in Ray's liver (the stomach cannot be seen in CTs -- progress is assumed to be similar). And thus, our prayers for miraculous healing continue!

We traveled to MD Anderson for a couple of reasons. One, to verify that Ray's continued course of treatment is the best one. Two, to check out any potential treatment options.Our meeting with the doctor was successful on both counts. The doctor there completely agreed with our doctor's treatment course and clinical judgment as to when/if to change such course. In addition, he suggested several other ideas for additions to current treatment and options for the future. This was very reassuring. We love our doctor here and traveling to MD Anderson made it clear that she is the right fit for us and is on the right track!

We have so many thank yous. In Houston so many homes were opened to us. Electricity or not! We appreciate it. We had many offers for childcare as well. Today a friend from high school who is now a child psychologist right near MD Anderson took off work to watch the girls. This all means so much to us.

We returned to a clean house, a new bed, a really clean car and a stocked refrigerator. You people are good!!! What a welcome!

We have so many other stories from the trip and we will share them in the coming days. If only you could watch our Maggie dance walk down the halls of Midway Airport. It would make you smile I promise!

As we return, our prayers are always for healing. In addition, tonight we continue to pray that Ray will be ready for the next round of chemo -- his white blood cells are still low. And, that Ray will be powered by the Holy Spirit for this journey -- in every aspect -- emotional, physical, spiritual, mental. These are the prayers we say tonight.

"You are awesome, O God, in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!" Psalm 68:35

not alone and not afraid --
kristin and ray

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

On Our Way to Houston

Loved Ones,

We are on our way to Houston! We heard this afternoon that MD Anderson has been able to reschedule all of Ray's labs and tests for tomorrow, with a meeting with the doctor at 10 am on Thursday! Yeah MD Anderson! Yeah God!

So probably as you get this email we will be traveling to Houston with the girls and Ray's sister. We are staying with friends who have no power but supposedly this is fun?! They are having a no power party on their lawn at 8. Hopefully we'll make it for that!

And, very importantly, they have a nanny who can help with our kids! Hooray!

I can't email very long because we have to load the car. I'm not sure about updates tomorrow night, but we will email Thursday night to update you. For sure!! And now you know the times to be thinking of us.

Keep praying for miracles!!

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

Romans 8:28

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray

Monday, September 15, 2008

Still in Austin

Loved Ones,

We are still in Austin and had a very good day today. We heard from the doctor's assistant at MD Anderson. They expect to reschedule Ray's appointment to see the doctor to Thursday but will do their best to get his tests in ahead, potentially shortening the amount of time we need to be there. We think only one doctor visit may be necessary if the tests are completed ahead of time.

We do not know when we will hear about our schedule. We pray for sooner but even if we haven't heard we will likely travel to Houston early Wednesday morning to be available for tests. Right now most of our lodging options nearby the medical center have no electricity! So we are praying for great progress for the city!

Meanwhile, we are really having a good time here in Austin. Today was restful. After going to the Austin Zoo in the morning. both Ray and I got to rest in the afternoon and we had a dinner out this evening while the kids played with their cousins. A real treat.

Our prayers are focused on Ray's healing and what we will hear on Thursday. And, we pray for God's hand to be on every detail preparing the way for us as we travel to Houston.

"But the man who makes me his refuge will inherit the land and possess my holy mountain. And it will be said: "Build up, build up, prepare the road! Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people."

Isaiah 57:13-14

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray

Sunday, September 14, 2008

MD Anderson

Loved Ones,

MD Anderson will be closed tomorrow. So we will not be traveling to Houston yet. We're making an effort to see if some of Ray's scans and tests can happen ahead of our first meeting with the doctor. Otherwise, we've been told that the appointment will likely be rescheduled till Thursday (9/18) with a follow up next Monday (9/22).

Until then, we will remain in Austin at Ray's sister's house, which is far more fun anyway! The girls are having a blast with their cousins.

Ray is resting up. Still tired, but not as bad as our first Texas day. We are praying for lots of good recovery for his body with this rest from chemo.

We pray that our schedule would work out according to God's plan and that in the meantime we can enjoy our time together as a family! We also pray complete healing for Ray and echo all our prayers from last night regarding the coming meetings with this doctor.

"Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me;or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. I tellyou the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have beendoing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am goingto the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that theSon may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in myname, and I will do it." John 11-14not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray