Friday, December 19, 2008

In the Hospital Tonight

Loved Ones,

Well the scope today did not show a blockage in Ray's stomach. However,while we were here, they took some labs that showed that Ray's liver numbers are rapidly climbing.

They did a CT to check for a blockage in the liver but did not find one. It does appear however, that the tumors in his liver are growing.

We are back in the hospital this evening so that Ray can be closely monitored. They are going to get him chock full of fluids and potentially start IV nutrition. Then they are planning to start another round of chemoto really attack this cancer.

We are praying for many things tonight. Number one, sometimes being dehydrated impacts liver numbers. So we are praying that his liver numbers come down somewhat due to the hydration. Number two and very importantly,we pray for Ray's doctor -- for wisdom and guidance for her -- that she willknow the exact right medicines to use to beat these tumors without overlytaxing Ray's liver.

Last, and most importantly, we pray for Ray. That God will strengthen him for the battle and that he will intervene to assure a victory. We ask for God to heal our Ray.

"We must hold tightly to the HOPE that is ours in Christ." Hebrew 10:20

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Waiting for the Scope

Loved Ones,

We eagerly anticipate Ray's scope at 11 am tomorrow to determine the source of what is robbing him of appetite! Today he hardly ate at all, just such a full feeling. No vomiting though and we are glad for that. And his IV fluids will get him through until tomorrow.

There is supposed to be 6-14 inches of snow tomorrow morning so we have an elaborate train plan to get us there without a huge traffic snarl that would make us late. And, we've been told that the GI doctor lives across the street from the hospital. So he will be there. But we pray God's hand upon us as we travel as it will be more strenuous than just hopping in the car and jaunting downtown. We are so grateful for the many hands to babysit and take us to the train and then back from the hospital.

We pray for wisdom and guidance for the doctors tomorrow that they will be able to correct any problems they encounter. And for safety in the procedure and quick restoration for Ray. Our hearts ache for his healing.

When we prayed yesterday my uncle reminded us of verses from 1 Kings where God had promised rain. The rain was a long time coming but it came. And in the meantime, the smallest of signs encouraged the prophet that what had been promised would indeed come to pass.

"Go and look toward the sea," he told his servant. And he went up and looked. "There is nothing there," he said. Seven times Elijah said, "Go back." The seventh time the servant reported, "A cloud as small as a man's hand is rising from the sea." So Elijah said, "Go and tell Ahab, 'Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.' " Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain came on." 1 Kings 18:43-45

We pray for "a cloud as small as a man's hand" tomorrow.

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Problem Solving

Loved Ones,

Today was a little better for Ray as he did not get sick. Unfortunately that may be because he didn't eat very much!

But, we talked to his doctor about his continuing symptoms. She has scheduled him for another scope of his esophagus and stomach, suspecting that some type of blockage is causing the vomiting and fullness. If there is a blockage, they can fix it with a stent. We'll do the scope Friday at 11 am.

We are praying that the problem will be evident and fixable and that the scope will be completed safely and without any issues. Blockages can be fixed. If it is just that the stomach isn't working well, it is much harder to address. We are praying for a fixable problem!

We also talked to her about Ray's chemo schedule. It is her great hope (and ours!) that the scope will alleviate some of his symptoms and that this should make him feel better for Christmas. His liver numbers are looking great except for an outlier that is quickly rising. She things that might be due to a blockage as well.

So, we are eagerly anticipating Friday's scope and solving this problem.

We are so grateful for your prayers! Our family had time together in prayer today and it touched our hearts and lifted our spirits. Joy!

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light andmomentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on whatis unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Daily Bread

Loved Ones,

Well despite increasing Ray's medicines, he still had trouble keeping things down tonight, even after eating only a small amount. We've emailed his doctor to see what else we can do to help him so that he can keep enough food down, etc. She'll also make a call soon as to whether we should go forward with chemo on the 19th of this week or hold until the 26th. We pray for wisdom for her and for us.

Ray had visitors today and that was so nice for him. And I've had a visitor all week -- a dear friend who works her heart out! We are so very blessed by so many. As we put the girls in the bath tonight I heard the buzz of our neighbor snowblowing our driveway. Many hands lift our load.

Tonight we beseech our God for relief for Ray so that he can take down the daily nourishment he needs to stay strong. We praise him for all of his work in our lives and for the healing thus far and we wait in hopeful anticipation for all that is to come.

"Then the LORD said to Moses, "I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, "In the evening you will know that it was the LORD who brought you out of Egypt, and in the morning you will see the glory of the LORD." Exodus 16:4,6-7

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray

Monday, December 15, 2008

Blessed and Lucky

Loved Ones,

Ray and I were opening letters and cards last night and one in particular was very touching, a family member that really hoped to lighten our load. Ray was so touched by the card and he said to me, "We are so lucky to have such incredible family and friends." Amen to that! We are both so grateful for the love, kindness, compassion and generosity of our friends and family.

However, I mention this story because it is noteworthy to me. That at this time, with all these obstacles, Ray's first thought is gratitude. As I have always known, he is a remarkable person.

Today was a harder day. We were so excited by an uptick in Ray's eating only to be disappointed by nausea and vomiting. And, difficulties with Ray's IV line caused momentary panic that was quickly resolved, but nonetheless stressful. We adored watching Maggie's Christmas pageant, but we missed Ray who wasn't up to the trip.

However, we are thankful for our video recorder, the constant aid of our family and friends, and God's mercies new every morning. What a comforting thought for tonight.

"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:21-23

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A New Hairdo

Loved Ones,

Well the day finally came for Ray's new "hair do." Nora and Maggie got to help out with the cutting and even Mommy got to finish the job. Ray's head looks nice and clean and round! And the girls are taking it well. They each know kids in their class who have crew cuts and there is always Uncle Joe!

Our day also included decorating our tree and watching ourselves as dancing elves in a "jib jab" email sent by a friend. The girls loved that!

We continue to pray for strength for Ray as he is finding it very difficult to eat enough to even stop losing weight. We supplemented today with IV fluids so he's at least not dehydrated, but we pray for appetite and endurance. We pray always for healing.

"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor." Isaiah 61:1-3

not alone and not afraid --

kristin and ray