Saturday, November 15, 2008

Another Good Day

Loved Ones,

It was another good day. After a quiet morning we had a "High School Musical" date with the girls, Nora's soccer game, and a special dinner with friends.

We are glad for the fact that the chemo is not as hard on Ray this round, however we pray special strength for him in the mornings as those seem to be the time he struggles the most with fatigue.

And we pray tonight that God will continue to hold Ray in his hand, sustaining him in every way, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Cry out, "Save us, O God our Savior; gather us and deliver us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name, that we may glory in your praise." Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Then all the people said "Amen" and "Praise the LORD."
1 Chronicles 16:34-36

not alone and not afraid --
kristin and ray

Friday, November 14, 2008

A good day

Loved Ones,

We had a good day. Precious visitors. Ray is still tired from the chemo but not as bad as usual. And he is doing his best to eat.

We continue to learn more about where we are with the progress of the treatment. Ray's scan on the 24th will be a key indicator. Apparently there can be some fluctuation in numbers sometimes, but the scan really shows.

We are praying for no new growth, no spread, no regrowth, just maintenance of our last scan (or improvement!). We are praying hard!! And especially for Ray's protection during this time before he starts the next treatment. We don't want the cancer to progress at all!!

Tonight we did an exhibit at to the Multi Cultural Fair at Nora's school. Can you guess our culture??

Thank you so much for your continued prayers.

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. If you make the Most High your dwelling— even the LORD, who is my refuge then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent."
Psalm 91:1,2,5,6,9,10

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Peace in the Change

Loved Ones,

We are doing our best to adjust to the change that is in front of us. It is a time of uncertainty, but an opportunity to really trust that our God is able for the task. And that he will strengthen us.

We are so grateful for each other, helpmates in the battle.

Things we are praying about:

Wisdom for Ray's doctors in everything -- timing for new chemo, combinations of drugs, etc.
That the new chemos will quickly arrest any growth and battle anew.
For God's healing power, more powerful than any possible chemo!
For peace, trust and joy in this time before the new regimen begins.
For wisdom in preparing our girls for side effect changes, etc.

We are ever grateful for your prayers.

"I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them." Isaiah 42:16

not alone and not afraid --
kristin and ray

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Round 11 Concludes

Loved Ones,

Round 11 concluded today. Ray is certainly feeling the effects of the chemo but it isn't as bad as usual. He is a little less tired, and has a tiny bit more appetite.

Ray's doctor called this evening with the news that the allergic reaction will indeed mean a chemo change. Both chemos will change however, as his CA-19 numbers show that the cancer has adapted to these drugs. His CA-19 has only risen slightly and is a fraction of what it once was, so they caught this very quickly.

So December 1 will mean two new chemos with different side effects and a different regime.
We'll still do the scan on the 24th but we have a preview of the results with the CA-19 numbers.

We're going to do our VERY best to enjoy these next three weeks including Thanksgiving!

We are so thankful for your prayers.

"When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid." Psalm 56:3-4

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Round 11 Continues

Loved Ones,

Round 11 continued today. Ray was less tired than usual and he seemed to have more of an appetite. We'll see if that changes; it will be interesting to see what side effects come from this chemo without the other.

We are doing our best not to worry about what this new development will mean! Especially since we won't know for three weeks!

In the meantime, we are maximizing Ray's eating while he has an appetite! Pumpkin is the food of choice for Ray and our neighbor brought us pumpkin bread and dip! Yum! Plus, our pumpkin soup came today so we are defrosting our first bag! We can't wait for that!

We pray and pray for healing for Ray.

"May the LORD answer you when you are in distress;

may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion.
May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.
We will shout for joy when you are victorious

and will lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the LORD grant all your requests.
Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed;

he answers him from his holy heaven
with the saving power of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,

(or we could say chemo and doctors...)
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God."
Psalm 20:1,2, 4-7

not alone and not afraid --
kristin and ray

Monday, November 10, 2008

Round 11 Progress

Loved Ones,

It was a very long day at chemo today. Ray's platelets were high enough to proceed, for which we were very grateful. Due to some of the side effects, the doctor decided to reduce the dose of oxaliplatin, one of Ray's chemo medications. We are relieved that she did as when the chemo began, Ray had an allergic reaction to the medicine.

Ray is ok. We are told that allergic reactions are fairly common and that they come in the later rounds as the toxicity builds up in the body. Common they may be, but nonetheless, serious and scary! Ray did absolutely great and they were able to treat him with steroids and antihistimines and the reaction resolved.

They gave Ray some time to rest and then began the other chemo medication as planned, so Ray brought home his chemo bag today as usual.

Given the already long wait, it was one of our longest days at chemo ever. It was wonderful though, to arrive home to a hot meal from our neighbor! This was quickly devoured!

The allergic reaction is likely to mean a change in the chemo regime which the doctor will discuss with us at the 12th round on December 1.

We await the news of the tumor marker tests that were taken today. One of Ray's liver numbers has been on the rise as of late, but the others have held steady. We are not sure how to interpret those numbers as they can be due to the chemo or many other factors. Ray's scan on the 24th will offer clear guidance as to his progress. Those results will come on December 1st as well.

So December 1st will be a big day and we are praying for all those things tonight.

We were never so grateful for your prayers as today.

"O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. O LORD, you brought me up from the grave; you spared me from going down into the pit. Sing to the LORD, you saints of his; praise his holy name." Psalm 30:2-4

not alone and not afraid --
kristin and ray

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Ready for Round 11

Loved Ones,

It was another good day. The first after Round 10 where Ray just seemed totally himself. We're glad we now have some three week cycles. One day of Ray is not enough!

We look forward brightly to tomorrow for God's healing power in the chemo of Round 11.

My cousin sent me this verse last week:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Along with it, she sent this definition:
Poor of Spirit - This word was taken from a Greek word meaning "to crouch." It can mean lowly, afflicted, helpless, powerless to solve a problem, lacking wealth and education, or begging.

Who among us aspires to be the "poor in spirit??" Though I thanked her for her email, I put the thought aside.

This verse and its definition came back to me today. Especially this part: "powerless to solve a problem." Well yes, we are that.

So it is that Ray and I are the poor in spirit. Something we never wanted to be, something that for most of our lives, we weren't.

Here's the thing about being powerless. When we cede that power, we must rely on someone else. Someone else who has more strength and power.

Today I rocked Lucy to sleep for her nap. Lucy doesn't just want to be held, she wants to be secured. She wants her arms tucked underneath her little body snuggled tightly to me.

Somehow, I believe that in becoming powerless, we are able to be secured more tightly to God while we wait for his power to save us. That vision of God, securing us, like we secure little Lucy, makes it feel a little better to be powerless.

And so, we wait, for God's healing hand on Ray.

"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!" Isaiah 49:15

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray