Archive for January, 2011


Time to go home :)

The Lord has been so good and I have progressed very well over the last week. ¬†It looks like I will be going home tomorrow (Thursday). ūüôā ¬†I have been in the hospital since December 20 and Keli and I are so ready to be home with our girls. ¬†Today, I am being switched over from IV antibiotics to pills and they have removed the TPN (the bag of fluid that has been giving me nutrition for the last 5 weeks). ¬†It is a big day!!! ¬†I have been eating everything that comes on my tray and the doctor feels it is time for me to go home. ¬†We will have frequent visits to the clinic, as we have in the past, but it is so awesome to think we will be out of the hospital.

Because of the TPN, my blood sugar has been checked four times a day and I have been receiving insulin shots when my levels have been too high. ¬†It is my understanding that I will not have to be checked anymore since they are taking me off the TPN. ūüôā ¬†The shots are that bad, but it is nice to think I will not have to keep getting insulin. ¬†I have a new appreciation for people with diabetes.

Prayer request…over the last few weeks we have been in the process of applying for long-term disability. ¬†I never would have thought that I would be on disability at age 45, but it is a reality that we are now confronting. ¬†I need to have full recovery and not press myself to go back to working a 40-hour week for the time being. ¬†Please pray that all goes smoothly in the process and that it is a quick approval. ¬†We are also applying for social security benefits. ¬†It is my understanding that approval can take months, so pray that it goes quickly, too. ¬†It is my hope ¬†to go back to Trevecca in a position that may be available at that time.

On a positive side to disability, I look forward to being a stay-at-home dad for a while. ¬†It will be nice to be home everyday when the girls come home from school. ¬†I think they are excited about Daddy being home. ¬†ūüôā

I want to testify to you that the Lord has and is answering prayer.  I have experienced a peace throughout these last several weeks about my health, about the life-change of going on disability, and about the future.  Through these weeks I have learned more about patience, trust, hope, and faith.  He has ministered to me during the and during the night.  One night, while awake, He assured me that all of this is temporary.  Not only are my health issues temporary, but being gone from Trevecca and having a full-time job is temporary.  I have always been driven and these coming months will pose a challenge to me on how I remain engaged in something.  I do not want to sit around the house and just wait for the day to go back to work, so I look forward to seeing what I may find as a new focus and challenge while being home.  Pray that the Lord will direct me into what He would have me focus on while I am on disability.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support you give me and my family. ¬†I don’t know how I could have made it without the prayers of the people. ¬†The body of Christ is an amazing phenomenon in the sense that as we lift up each other, He is lifted up.

I love you,

Sam

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Angel food cake…yummy!

Last night we had a wonderful visit with our dear friends, Rick and Gail Foster. ¬†Gail came with a precious gift…angel food cake. It was so nice to have some dessert last night and it tasted great. ¬†I look forward to having more today.

Yesterday was a great day with continued signs of improvement.  I was able to eat food for the first time in over one month.  I was a little nervous at first, but everything settled great and nothing upset my stomach.  Dr. Berdejas as just in doing his rounds and if all continues to go well, I should advance to a stage 4 diet over the weekend.  I know it seems trivial, but yesterday I was able to eat a potato, english muffin, apple sauce, angel food cake, and graham crackers.  It felt so good to chew something besides jello.

It is amazing what we take for granted in life, but this last month has helped me realize some things are day-by-day and patience is very important in things (stomachs or whatever) that need to be restored. ¬†I am so quick to want to just “fix” the problems of life, but not all situations can receive a quick fix. ¬†Isn’t it cool how the Lord can do transforming work even through a month long liquid diet? ¬†The first couple weeks of being on no liquids or limited liquids was very frustrating, but the last few weeks of the liquid diet didn’t bother me and I realized I could not rush the healing of the intestines. ¬†I praise the Lord that I am now able to eat and that I am responding so well.

Blessings,

Sam

Over the last few days there have been great signs of recovery. ¬†I was able to move to the stage 2 diet a few days ago and this morning Dr. Berdejas said he will move me to stage 3 tomorrow, if all goes well today. ¬†That means I will be able to eat angel food cake, graham crackers, bread, and even jelly. ūüôā ¬†I am very excited to actually have something to chew besides jello. ūüôā ¬†I have not had food for one month…only liquids. ¬†Keep praying that the recovery moves along as it is now. ¬†Yesterday, Dr. Flinn said he was encouraged. ¬†It means so much to a patient when a doctor is the one that says that rather than the patient asking what their thoughts are when they are in the room. ¬†Praise the Lord that I am improving!

Yesterday was fun. ¬†For the last three years I have been an adviser for four doctoral students at Trevecca. ¬†Throughout my illness I have still been able to advise them and I have been blessed to get to know each of them. ¬†Two of the students defended their dissertations yesterday. ¬†The students came to the hospital and presented their defense in the conference room located on my floor. ¬†They will have a story to tell down the road…”I defended my dissertation in a hospital.” ¬†I can just hear them share about their experience. ¬†For me, it was awesome to have the afternoon to not only fulfill their requirement of a defense, it also allowed me to have a great mental focus. ¬†Next Monday the other two students will present their defense. ¬†One of the students encouraged her peers to bring items for the initiative Anna-Laura started…Simple Acts Touching Lives. ¬†Both students brought items to be added to the collection. ¬†Their act of kindness meant so much to me.

In case you are not aware, Anna-Laura saw the need for cancer patients to have a soft blanket, slippers, head coverings (the head can get really cold), and soft tissues (the ones in the hospital are like sandpaper).  It has been wonderful how people have responded.  There is a closet where these items are stored and the nurses are able just to get what the patient might need and give it to them as a gift.  Anna-Laura also has a scripture on each item.  I am so proud of her and the desire she has to help others in need.

It would be great to have more of these items.  The desire is not that it be a short-term expression of kindness, but an ongoing ministry to those who are hospitalized in the cancer center.  You could bring any items to Anna-Laura if you would like to contribute.  This is a great time of the year to find clearance items that could be added.

Okay, I have been a little wordy today. ¬†Keli is working, so I guess this is my way to have some communication with someone. ūüôā

Thank you for your continued prayers and support.

Blessings,

Sam

Day by day…

It has been a week of some changes and good reports.  Up until now, everyday has been fairly boring and we have just been patient as my diet continues to be clear liquids, but nothing else has really been happening.  This week, however, I learned that I had a blood clot in my right arm.  That meant I had to receive a new PICC line in my left arm.  All went well with the switch, but I was anxious in having it done.

The good news is that I am showing signs of improvement in the stomach, so they have decreased the level of steroids I am on and have decreased the level of another drug. ¬†The doctor said this morning that he may even change my diet to stage 2 tomorrow. ¬†That would include adding rice milk to my diet…yippee!!

Overall, it has been a good week of continued progress.  It is definitely a slow process of healing and I would ask that you continue to pray for my stomach to heal and that I will not get any infections.  My blood work is very good and I am so thankful for that.  As a matter of fact, some of my level are totally in the normal range.

If you are reading this…thank you. ¬†I appreciate how you are staying connected with my journey. ¬†I know the Lord is at work.

Blessings,

Sam

Great news…

God is at work…I truly believe it!!! ¬†Yesterday showed great improvement in my stomach and Dr. Berdeja was very pleased to see the difference when he came in to do his rounds this morning. ¬†I am very encouraged this morning and am praising the Lord for positive changes in my body.

Last night was sleepover night. ¬†Anna-Laura, Sophie, and Bella all had sleepovers. ¬†What was fun for Keli and me is that Bella slept here at the hospital. ¬†Keli is working today and I get to have Bella with me almost all day. ¬†It will be awesome! ¬†Right now she is playing a video game. ¬†Recently, Keli brought a video system to the hospital so we can have some play time. ¬†I don’t know why we hadn’t thought of that before, but it is fun to have some distractions for the day. ¬†Bella has been my caregiver this morning similar to what Keli usually does. ¬†She is so precious and is growing into being such a wonderful young lady. ¬†She even had a breakfast tray from the hospital with eggs and bacon and other foods. ¬†I think it will be a fun day for her. ¬†I hope. ūüôā

You will never know how much your prayers and support mean to me. ¬†I was very discouraged last week and I know the prayers of God’s people were lifting me up and giving me the encouragement and strength I needed to make it through each day. ¬†This has been a week of challenges, but God has given me a great peace that it impossible to explain, except it is His grace and His grace alone.

Be encouraged today.  Whatever adversities you are facing, whatever doubts are going through your heart and mind, know that our Savior is with you.  As you lean upon Him, He is faithful and will minister to your spirit.  He wants good for us, not harm.  Trust in Him and know that He is God.

Blessings,

Sam

An Urgent Prayer…and Praise!

I am writing because we have seen some new progress in Sam’s stomach and intestines in the last 12 hours. ¬†Last night, Sam was anointed with oil as we prayed around him. ¬†It was during the night that we noticed a difference in how “things” were…and he was able to sleep so much better. ¬†I really expected a fight this morning to convince Dr Berdeja to keep him on the same diet for one more day to ¬†see if he would progress and improve as he desired. ¬†To my amazement ….he did not fight me. ¬†He agreed to give Sam another day to see if his intestines had, indeed started the healing process.

On the flip side, he said if he did not see a big improvement by tomorrow, he would add a treatment tomorrow that would further immunosupress Sam.  This would make him more susceptible to infections. I know that God can work either way.  He can protect him throughout a new treatment.  Or he will show his powerful touch in improved function of his intestines today!

I am praising for God’s touch on Sam last night, for a great night of rest, for a Dr that listened. I am also praising for a family and a church and friends who believe in the power of prayer. ¬†I believe that it is not in the words that we say…(if that were true we would have figured out the words…like some kind of incantation…like magic)…but truly in the holy God that we serve, who is all knowing, all powerful, healer, deliverer.

 

I would ask you to pray that Sam would not worry, that Sam’s stomach and intestines would heal. That the colitis that he has from the GVHD would truly disappear…that we would see the evidence of this. ¬†That we would see absorption of the food he takes in today increase drastically! ¬†That Sam will not have any infections. ¬†That Sam will remain strong. ¬†That our girls will be encouraged.

Thank you for your continued prayers…God is able…He will do it!

Keli

I need your prayers…

For the last 12 days I have been on high doses of steroids to help heal my stomach.  Currently, I am not able to have any food or drink in hopes that my stomach will rest and be restored.  Dr. Berdeja shared with me this morning that he is concerned that my stomach is not recovering after this many days and is looking at changing the treatment in the next few days if things do not improve.  He said that a change would also mean that my immune system would be more compromised for risk of infection.

I would ask that you pray for a miraculous touch from the Father. ¬†I am feeling good and my blood counts are continuing to improve, but my stomach has not been showing any change. ¬†I believe the Lord can heal my stomach and that I will be completely restored. ¬†I must admit, I am discouraged after hearing the doctor’s report this morning and I know that what needs to happen is a healing touch from the Lord.

You have been so faithful in praying for me over this last year and a few months. ¬†I would ask that you once again pray for this situation. ¬†Please pray for my emotional state, too. ¬†This was a blow this morning and I don’t want to lose the confidence I have that I will be completely healed.

Blessings,

Sam