Thursday, October 10, 2013

Mama Bear | Update 15

"The Lord did not have a tough week last week."
Matt Chandler

Since my last post in May we've had some news in our household!  Mama Bear is officially a Grandma Bear!  After a long labor, our little guy was born on June 14 and he has been the joy of summer.  Every single member of the family is smitten with him and he can makes us laugh no matter how sad, teary, tired or blank we are.  He's the best little bundle of boy and we are delighted by him.
I do wish that Rowdy's birth was the only "medical/hospital" news to report.  Unfortunately we have an update about mom and it's not particularly pleasant.  She has been doing chemo for about nine months -- actually she has done four or five different chemos over the last nine months.  None have them have been working and her cancer seems to be growing (the biggest area of concern is the growth in her liver.)  Her lungs have also continued to fill with fluid and she's continuing to have them drained so she can take mostly-full, deep breaths and not be winded and coughing constantly.  The latest chemo was probably the hardest on her physically (and her hair fell out again :( no fun) and we were really optimistic that it would be having the most effect.  

Since it too wasn't working (big bummer) her doctor ordered to end that treatment and start a new kind, which was supposed to start this week.  However, she was feeling light-headed and not quite right so she asked her doctor about it.  They ordered a brain scan and she received the results yesterday: there are three spots of cancer in her brain.  They are halting all chemo to do immediate brain radiation. She'll do ten treatments over two weeks' time and hopefully the brain spots will be GONE and they can continue working different chemos to find something that will really zap that cancer and teach it a lesson.
 "Every fear has no place at the sound of Your great name. The enemy, he has to leave, at the sound of Your great name."  Please pray for her and for us.  Full disclosure?  I hate this.  I've told a few people that for the first time I can remember I don't "look forward" to the future.  I'm happily married to my very best friend, with the sweetest son and I see my family every day.  Finances are stable, I enjoy work, I physically feel great and I just like life so much right now.  I don't want anything to change.  I don't want mom to get more sick.  I don't want it to get harder.  I don't want think about it.  It's hard to call God "My Healer" when I know that healing is a promise, but it may not happen until heaven. "Quit pretending like you're not scared. Be honest. Walk in the light."  (Matt Chandler)  I think I speak accurately for us all: we are scared.  It'd be fair to say that this hit us hard.  In some ways it feels like watching a tornado funnel head your way.  It's been stormy, but what is coming?  How bad is it going to be?  Maybe it will all just stop and the sun will shine and we'll marvel at the miracle?  We know and believe good things, but we are also feeling sad things.  One of the best lessons Rowdy has taught me is the lesson of crying and yelling when you're upset.  It doesn't cross his mind "What will mom think if I respond the wrong way to my practical need or fleshly desire?  What if I don't approach her with patience?  What if I ask too angrily? Or ask too much of her?"  He calls, and I come.  There are no rules to calling for mama -- if he feels like he needs me, he cries for me.  It's so simple.  And I'm so happy to be the one to answer his struggle.  To feed and hold and refresh and clean and talk to him.
 So I'd say we're calling and maybe even crying and yelling (sometimes literally and sometimes mentally and inwardly) and we're asking for miracles and mercies and strength.  Though He slay us, we praise Him - and news like yesterday's stings with its lash but news like yesterday's has purpose and didn't catch God off guard.

 "All the weak; find their strength; at the sound of Your great name 
Hungry souls; receive grace; at the sound of Your great name 
Sick are healed; and the dead are raised; at the sound of Your great name."

ps.  People have asked if there is any way they can help -- meals, helping with laundry + carpools/rides are the most practical needs.  Don't feel like you have to do anything!  But as people have asked, we wanted to let you know :) Tracy Branchaw has been the go-to for meals + you can get in touch with me if you'd like any other information (kristen leigh photography at gmail)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Mama Bear | Update 14

"Let us lift up endless praises,
Let us sing Him endless song."
It's been about 15 months since we discovered and announced that Mama Bear's breast cancer had returned.  The past year-and-then-some I've slacked a bit on updating this blog.

But here the scoop:

We found out at the end of the summer that her cancer appeared to be gone (at least her cancer number had gone from 54 to somewhere between 0 and 5.  Truly a miracle! And better than the doctors were expecting!)

Her chemo was done and they set to work on the condition of her lungs.  The surgery and recovery for that, in early fall, was rough but it appears to have been profitable.  Her x-ray this past was still very positive (the left lower lobe is still in bad shape, there is scarring, etc... but all in all everyone is pleased.)

Sadly, we found out a few months ago that her cancer that we had hoped was gone or at least dormant was growing/living again.  It had popped back up in her liver and bones.  Certainly disappointing news... especially so quickly :-/

Her wonderful wonderful doctor put her on a plan to have chemo just about every week for 12 treatments.  The chemo "recipe" was going to be a little different than her past ones.  It wouldn't cause her hair to fall out, and shouldn't make her feel sick.   Currently she's about 75% through that plan.  On Monday she had a PET scan to check the status and to see if the chemo was helping.

She got called in this morning, and she and my dad went to meet with the doctor and to hear the results (which we all assumed wasn't going to be 'happy news'...).  Dr. Raj let them know that the chemo wasn't working like they had hoped and the cancer seems to be growing still.

SO. She has a new plan, and will be visiting another more "specialized" doctor, and trying a new medicine (including oral chemo.)  They'll be stopping the 12-week-chemo-plan altogether since it's not working.

Thank you for praying for her and us, and thank you for asking about how she's doing!  We're currently keeping busy with lots of house projects and making room for Baby Boris Morris (just his nickname, don't worry ;).  Grandma Bear is as tough as ever, and never makes a "big deal" about any of this.  But she is tired and "feels weak."  Pray for strength and energy and lots and lots of joy.

And the Lord will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail.