Saturday, December 13, 2008


Loved Ones,

We had visits from special friends today that really lifted our hearts. We adore our friends!! And, we got a Christmas tree! The girls are overjoyed, even with it still drying out in the garage!

Ray is working hard to eat. He hasn't been vomiting which is great, but he isn't quite back to normal food intake yet. And that really tires him. He also has no taste buds to speak of, so eating is a difficult chore.

Tonight we pray for strength, for rebuilding for Ray. And we pray for healing for his body, mind and soul. As we anticipate the birth of Christ in Advent, we eagerly anticipate Ray's return to health.

"My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
...for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation." Luke 1:46-47, 49-50

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray

Friday, December 12, 2008

Continued Prayers

Loved Ones,

We continue to be so grateful for your prayers.

Ray is hanging in there. We felt so good about the amount he consumed yesterday, only to have him get sick right before he got in bed! Discouraging! We did a better job spacing out all his medicines tonight so hopefully the same thing won't happen again. He really needs to keep down a few of these medicines that are so important in healing from the pneumonia.

We are giving him IV fluids to assist in keeping him hydrated; he still needs to make a large improvement in what he's consuming to stabilize his weight.

So many people have made such an effort to bring us glad tidings this Christmas. We appreciate it. The girls and I visited a live nativity at our church tonight. It was a joy to be there. We fix our eyes on that perfect baby whose peace and power transform us. How glad we are that he shepherds us tonight.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12:1-3

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Another Day at Home

Loved Ones,

Ray is doing his best to eat and drink. This is his main challenge, taking in enough food to stop losing weight. He's pretty tired too from the hospital and not eating, so we continue to pray for freedom from infection and the gaining of strenght.

It was a big day, lots of events, Nora's birthday party being the main one.

Home health will come tomorrow to assess him and give fluids if needed. While we really wish Ray could take in enough fluids, we hate to waste his time drinking when he could be eating!! So we are glad they are going to come.

We thank you so much for your prayers as we resume our life and enjoy the Christmas season.

"One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving." Psm 62:11-12

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Home From the Hospital

Loved Ones,

Praise the Lord, we are home from the hospital!

We are so relieved that Ray is doing better and that we are at home.

We had a very good day. In addition to Ray's release, it was Nora's birthday! Long before this, we had planned lunch at American Girl and it really came in handy that it was only a block away from the hospital! The girls had a fantastic time and though Ray was not able to attend in person he got an animated review of all of the day's events and a fashion show with Nora's doll and clothes.

Though Ray is much better, we have a lot of prayers for him tonight so that he can stay out of the hospital for awhile! First, we pray for adequate fluid and calorie intake so that he can gain some weight -- or at least not lose any more. We pray for protection from additional infections or complications due to the antibiotics and other medicines. We pray for regulation of Ray's potassium and magnesium levels which are off from his long time with no eating.

We pray that we remember all of these medicines!

Most importantly, we pray for continued healing for Ray from cancer, and for encouragement for all of us, as we continue to fight hard against this disease.

We also pray for wisdom in the timing of Ray's next round and dosage which may be bumped to December 26 to give all of us a break and allow him some extra time to recover.

We want to say again just how much all of you mean to us. Just coming home and reviewing the emails again overwhelms us with your love and encouragement. Know that it always refreshes and strengthens us to hear from you and to be reminded of your constant prayers.

"With God is my safety and my glory, he is the rock of my strength; my refuge is in God.Trust in him at all times, O my people! Pour out your hearts before him; God is our refuge!" Psalm 62:7-8

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tuesday Update

Loved Ones,

Ray made more progress today. His white blood cells, hemoglobin and platelets are all rising.

His bronchoscopy confirmed the doctor's theory that Ray's pneumonia came from breathing gastric juices into his lungs. They washed his lungs out and sent the material for tests but do not expect to find anything other than bacteria which is being treated with antibiotics. He continues to eat, mostly clear liquids like broth and jello. We have some work to do here!! Ray really needs to build his strength so we want him to increase his food intake as much as he can without causing any difficulties.

We continue to pray for healing in Ray's lungs and protection from further infection. Because of the antibiotics he is at high risk for infection of his GI tract. If things contine to go well, Ray will likely be released from the hospital tomorrow! Time for a little birthday celebration for Nora at home.

We are so grateful for Ray's recovery from this first round of chemo. We pray for continued restoration for him and for wisdom for his doctors in setting the timing and dosage of his next round.

We pray for rest and recovery for our whole family from the stress and separation of this whole ordeal. And that God would give us time together to renew our hearts and spirits.

"I lift up my eyes to the hills- My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip- he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” Psalm 121:1-4

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray

Monday, December 8, 2008

Monday Improvements

Loved Ones,

Ray is doing better!! He had a much better day. We started the day with the news that Ray's white blood cells had started to rise. Hooray!!

We saw another lung doctor who said he did want to scope Ray's lungs but not until the following day due to Ray's counts.

Next, the GI doctor who said he preferred not to scope Ray's stomach, hoping for improvement today.

And improvement we had!! Ray ate three meals! Just a little chicken broth and juice, but we were thrilled. And he had very little coughing and no vomiting.

Ray also got two units of blood with no reactions or other problems, which should boost his hemoglobin as well.

So. Based on all of these improvements, we did not have to do IV nutrition and assuming things go well tomorrow with the lung scope, we are looking at heading home in a few days. Hooray!

We saw our girls today. They are doing great and boy were they a sight for sore eyes. We are so looking forward to being reunited at home.

We are so grateful for your prayers and emails. Ray's doctor said he turned around much faster than she expected. To God be the glory! It reminds us of how VERY strong our God is and how nothing is impossible for him.

“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sunday Update

Loved Ones,

Ray is looking a little better. He had a stable night and his fever is gone. We just saw the ICU doctor who is discharging Ray back to the oncology ward.

He continues to cough up small amounts of blood but he is breathing well. They want to do a scope of Ray's lungs to look for infection tomorrow.

In the meantime, they continue to treat Ray with antibiotics and antifungals to try to clear up the problems in his lungs and throat.

It is still not clear exactly the issue with Ray's throat. His doctor says it is unlikely to heal until his white blood cell count increases. And thus Ray is still not able to eat or drink.

However, due to Ray's low counts, they do not plan to scope his stomach but are hoping the inflammation and infection are causing the trouble.

So, for now we are giving the medicine time to work and waiting to be transferred.

We pray for healing for Ray's throat and lungs and that his white blood cells respond and help him to heal. We pray for wisdom and guidance with our kids because we are likely to be here until later this week. We pray continued peace, patience and strength for all of us. We continue to be so thankful for your prayers.

"By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life." Psalm 42:8

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray