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. 🙂
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.
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!
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.
Well it is Wednesday, and we have been here for a week and a half. Sam looks great! Anyone who saw him previously and who sees him since he began treatment for GVHD is amazed at the improvement! His color and skin look so much better. He hasn’t been nauseated in over a week. He even said how good the popcorn, that another patient was popping, smelled. Sam has continued to gain strength and has more energy than when we first arrived in the hospital.
I say all this to say….it is really hard to be patient. The doctor said today that it was as if his gut had gotten a bad sunburn….so it has to heal ….that takes a while. He also said it is more “art than science”…so that we would just have to go slowly and see how things progressed. So Sam remains on IV nutrition….mostly clear liquids, with almond milk and fruit juices. He is anxious to progress to the next stage of his diet which would include angel food cake…..He mentions this pretty regularly to the doctor (the angel food cake part). I think he is getting pretty tired of broth, jello and the likes … 🙂
I know that Sam would love for you to pray that his stomach makes a huge turn for the better. That he is able to absorb the liquids and medicines that they are giving him by mouth without any trouble. Pray that God is using this part of our journey to cure Sam of his disease. Pray that Sam’s counts continue to improve as they have been, every day. Pray for the doctors, as they make decisions…that they will be wise. Pray for our nurses, that they will not make mistakes.
Praise God for his presence with us. Praise God for the renewed strength and energy that Sam has, and that he has been on this nutrition for a while, which has kept him from loosing more weight. Praise God for those increasing blood counts, they are a sign of engraftment and they make Sam feel better and stronger. Praise God for family and friends who are so much a part of our journey. We love you so much!
I wanted to mention that SIMPLE ACTS TOUCHING LIVES…is up and running. The nurse manager has designated a space up here on the third floor for us to put everything in. The nurses have already started to hand items to patients in need. Thank you so much to those who have donated to this cause. For those who are wondering…Simple Acts …provides blankets, soft tissues, house shoes, hats, for cancer patients who need them. Each item has a message of hope with a scripture verse. We pray that this ministry will be ongoing, and that it will encourage not only patients, but nurses that hand these things out….If you are interested in getting involved. Contact Anna-Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org she would be glad to have more drop off sites or let you know of larger items that the nurses would like to have donated.
We are very anxious to be with all of you soon. Sam said he feels like he can see the light at the end of the tunnel! That sounds good to me!
I hope that you had a wonderful Christmas celebration! We did! Nashville was blanketed with snow for the first time in 17 years. It was a winter wonderland. The girls were able to stay at the hospital with us in a suite provided by the hospital… What a blessing! It will be something we never forget! It was not what we wanted or expected, but it will be a Christmas that will always be cherished. From the aches and pains from sleeping on hard beds…to the fresh homemade cinnamon rolls our neighbor drove down to the hospital the next morning. It was truly wonderful!
This week begins with a new doctor. Doctor Flinn, who we have spoken of before, will be the doctor this week…he is happy with Sam’s progress. Sam’s counts and condition continue to improve…Sam is stronger than he was even two weeks ago. It has been so wonderful that he has been able to receive nutrition in his IV. So he hasn’t lost any weight! Every nurse that sees him says how great he looks. It is so encouraging.
We are praising God for his faithfulness in all of these answered prayers. We are also praising him for his provision for our family. We are praising him that he continues to protect Sam.
Please continue to pray that Sam would not have any infections, that his strength would increase, that he would tolerate the increasing amount of food that they are offering him (yeah!!) pray for the cancer to never return!!
Thank you for your many prayers, we are so blessed by your continued presence with us throughout our journey!
As Keli has shared, I have GVHD (graft versus host disease). We are thankful that it was caught early and the treatments are already showing positive signs. Praise the Lord! We thought we may be able to be home for Christmas, but found out earlier today that we will be here at least 10 more days. So you know what that means…Christmas and New Year’s will be in the hospital.
I have an amazing wife. Even as I type this Keli is decorating the room with Christmas decorations. When we first got the word that we would have to be in the hospital…we cried. Christmas is such a special time for family and being together and that means being at your own home or your relatives home. When Keli called the girls to let them know that we would be in the hospital they said “let’s bring all the presents to the hospital and celebrate together there.” Wow! It made me cry with happiness that my girls would want to bring Christmas to room 3312. I am so thankful for my girls and the way they are responding to the journey our family is on.
I praise the Lord for the way He is at work in my life. This Christmas will be special in a different way. We will celebrate the Lord’s birth in a different setting, but that won’t matter in the big picture of life. Just being together as a family will be the joy of the day.
I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas. Thank you for your continued prayers and support.
It is late…but I wanted to post an update because we finally have the biopsy report. Sam does have graft versus host of his gut….A mixed blessing. Those who have graft versus host, who are well managed, and respond well to treatment, have less of a chance of ever relapsing again! So we are praying that Sam gets just enough gvhd to fight cancer…but not so much that it would be to hard to treat. So that is the news of the day! Treatment will be with steroids, hopefully not more than that…Dr Berdeja is hoping to still get us home by Christmas. Things will have to go VERY well in order for that to happen. Soooooo, please pray that Sam responds well to treatment. So far, so good. I will be sure to let you know as I know more details about our week!
Thanks for your many prayers!! Blessings to you all.
I can’t believe that I’m writing from a hospital room again…but I am. Sam has had some stomach troubles over the weekend, so in order to expedite diagnosis with the holidays approaching, they opted to admit him and get him on the road to wellness in a hurry!! I’m for that! Our hope is to be home and feeling better by Thursday.
I would ask that you pray that the Dr’s will be able to figure out what is going on and be able to treat Sam quickly and that he will respond well. We are so excited to see that his blood counts are returning to near normal (except for platlets…they are always the last to rise…pray that they will join the rest!) If we can get this stomach thing figured out, than maybe Sam could gain strength, feel like eating,…and get on with getting well! It would be a great Christmas present!!
Thank you again for praying for us throughout this year, we are so blessed. We simply could not have survived without your support. There were times that your prayers went up to heaven, when I had no words to say. Thank you so much. This journey has taken me to places that I would not have gone, but God has been with me at every moment. I am thankful, we are thankful for the grace that continues to sustain us from day to day, moment to moment.
We pray for you, that you will find yourselves surrounded by the ones that you love. That you will put differences aside. That you will forgive…and forget. That you will hold loved ones close…and longer than you have in years past. That you will eat a little extra…(for Sam) and worry about it tomorrow, and laugh a little harder! We pray that you will remember to take a little time out of the business of this week to anticipate the coming….of the precious Christ child! Merry Christmas!
Just a quick word of praise to say we are home! Sam and I could hardly believe our ears this morning when Dr Berdeja said we could go. I was expecting another “no”. When it was otherwise… We were so happy! Tonight we are sitting with the girls and enjoying being together.
We are still going to walk this evening… And we have to make sure we get milk and bread like everyone else bracing for the snow storm that is expected tonight. It is exciting… Since we are at home!
We are still praying for increased counts… Slow to rise from the infection, no return of cancer (ever 🙂 ) , a Christmas season spent with family and friends void of illness!
We are seeing prayers answered. This is such an encouragement after such a long journey. I am anxious for you to see Sam. He looks thin, but his color and energy are better than they have been in a long time. It is so good to see! We are truly blessed!
Thank you praying fearlessly!
Another day…will evaluate day by day. That is the word we got this morning. It is hard to hear that. We are anxious to go home to our girls. The Doctor is looking for Sam’s counts to go up and for Sam not to have any trouble….So that is our BIG PRAYER FOR TODAY!!!!
Please pray: for Sam’s counts to increase without any trouble!!
for Sam to continue to be able to have good energy and appetite!
for the antibiotics to do the work that they need to do!
for me and the girls!
that the Dr will see fit to let us go home to be with our girls tomorrow!
that we will see an increase in Sam’s counts by tomorrow! (white cells…PLTS)
Praises! Sam has not had blood in three days and that portion of his blood seems stable
his energy and appetite seems to be increasing!
his cough is going away!
This morning has been incredibly disappointing. We had so hoped to be packing our bags. I am very aware that God walks with us through our moment by moment, day by day disappointments. I am thankful for his sustaining grace this morning. I need it! I need HIM! I hope that when I write to you again…it will be to report many answers to these prayer requests!