Tuesday, July 31, 2012

7-31-12

Hello everyone!  Thank you so much for all of your prayers for Richie and I...we feel so blessed to have such a wonderful "family!" 


Today we went to see the doctor for a blood test and he said that everything is looking good.  Richie's creatinine level is back to normal, his white blood cell count is normal, and the "cancer markers" have gone down as they should.  God is working though all your faithful prayers!!!


Next week we will be going back to the hospital for the second round of chemo.  It's going to be easier this time I think, just because now we know that the treatment is working, and it feels more "worth it" to Richie to be so sick for those few days.  (It will be nice to be there for 5 days instead of 7 too ;-)  Richie's feeling really well now, and can eat just about anything since his white blood cells are back up.  He's missed eating salad...that's one of his staples.  They told him to avoid any "raw" foods when he has no immune systems...that includes berries and salad from the gardens!     


When you pray for us, please also pray for the nurses and doctors that are on "our" floor at the hospital.  They see so many sad cases and have to deal with some pretty grumpy folks sometimes.  It's been really wonderful to talk with and get to know some of the staff.  They are all such nice, friendly folks.  We know that God has us there for a reason.  It's our mission field right now.  Please pray that we would have many opportunities to share what Jesus has done and is doing for us...and that through this trial we would show the hope, peace, and joy that He has given us though the prayers that you all have prayed!  We hope that you all feel as blessed as we do to see what God is doing though your prayers!

This was a rather pretty sunset we saw from the hospital room last time we stayed there.  Not as pretty as home, but it just shows how God is in the city too! lol



Saturday, July 28, 2012

7-28-12

Hello there, sorry it's been awhile since I've posted any updates.  The last few days have been kind of crazy. 

Tuesday we went back to Seattle to meet with Richie's doctor.  They did a blood test and determined that he was pretty dehydrated, so we had to stay there for several hours while they gave him a litre of water though IV and then drank a litre.  The doctor instructed us to do another blood draw at the hospital in Centralia on Wednesday, and they would send the results up to Seattle.  On Wednesday afternoon the Dr. called and said that Richie's creatinine level was still higher than he would like, so Richie was to continue to drink lots of water and get tested again on Thursday.  So Richie drank, and drank, and drank and drank (gallons) and we were all worried he was overdoing it! 

To make a long story short, Richie ended up being hospitalized in Seattle again on Thursday because the blood draw that day indicated that his creatinine was still going up, rather than down and that had the doctor concerned.  So several hours after arrival at the hospital in Seattle they took him down for an ultrasound of his kidney (the one with the stent) and found nothing abnormal.

We weren't happy to be back in that place , especially since the hospital floor was too full to put us in a private room.  They told us that Richie's white blood  cells are 0 right now, so that was our main concern.  We didn't sleep more than a couple hours that night because of our room mate and all of the nurses he was calling in, not to mention the normal hospital goings-on.   

Thankfully, Richie's creatinine started dropping that afternoon, and we were able to go home around noon Friday.  They dont' seem very concerned about it...I guess there are several things that can cause your creatinine to rise; the chemo, low hydration, and the breakdown of proteins from the cancer cells.  The communication was really bad unfortunately, so we didn't exactly know why the doctor was suddenly calling us back to Seattle, what they were doing to do until they were 2 minutes from doing it.  It was a little scary, but it all turned out ok!  And I know it us because of all of your prayers for us!!!








Monday, July 23, 2012

7-23-12

We're so happy to be home!!!

Richie is doing pretty well.  He's been feeling tired and nauseous, but is glad to be here rather than in the hospital.  He said this morning that smells really affect him, so we need to be careful with what soaps/smells we have around the house.  He is still able to eat good meals though, and food still tastes good to him. 

Yesterday I disinfected EVERYTHING we brought into the hospital.  I even washed the clothes we never took out of our suitcases, wiped down my laptop, Richie's shaver and Cpap, and all of the cords to everything with disinfectant wipes, and sprayed down all the bags, suitcases and shoes with disinfectant.  Maybe that's a little overkill, but it makes us  feel a lot better!  It was also nice to take a shower at home.  The shower water at the hospital will get to  just over lukewarm, and when we'd finish our showers we'd almost feel just as dirty as before we took them.  I won't go into details about why, don't know how strong everyone's stomachs are ;-)   (*Hint...it's a shared shower with the neighbor*)

We had a great nights sleep last night.  No alarms, beeping, buzzing, banging, sirens, other traffic noise, nurses coming in to make sure we're still alive, people yelling and laughing in the hall, or noise from the neighbor's cage fighting TV show every day.  It's amazing how much more I appreciate the peace and quiet of the hill after living at the hospital for 6 days.   

Today we're just taking it easy.  It's just so beautiful up here.  Did I mention how happy we are to be home?!  Right now Rich and Janet are out putting chips around the blueberry bushes.  The berry patch is full of berries right now.  The wildflowers are blooming and the garden is growing well!  I'll be posting some pictures soon!!! 

   

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Prayer Request

Tonight Richie's feeling pretty crummy.  Please pray for him!  One of the 3 drugs (one called Cisplatin that he gets in the afternoon) makes him feel yucky in the evening...and after 5 days of build up, it's yuckier than usual.  Please pray that he would sleep good tonight, and that the "head cold" feeling will go away.  Also, please pray for our journey home tomorrow, that it would not make him feel sicker!

Thank you so much,
Lydia

7-21-12

It's almost time to go home!!!

We're both so anxious to get back to our little place on the hill.  Not that we haven't just LOVED trying to sleep and live in a hospital room for 6 days...

Richie's still feeling pretty good.  He's been on lots of drugs to keep the nausea down, so those tend to make him tired.  He still has quite an appetite...he's actually gained several pounds since being here, which is great since he lost so much in the last month, and especially in the last few weeks.      

The worst of his side effects so far were hiccups and heartburn.  The doctor gave him meds for the heartburn, and the hiccups didn't last any more than a couple days. (Knock on wood :-)  The worst thing about all of the meds are, Richie has a horrible gag reflux and really struggles to get them down.  Torture!

I went down to the pharmacy to pick up all of his drugs today, and the doctor who is getting our discharge all in order just came in our room to tell us that we can leave tomorrow as soon as the last drop of Ifosfamide drips through the line.  Yippee!!!!

Thank you for all of the SWEET, thoughtful cards you all have sent us.  They BRIGHTEN our day!  We're looking forward to seeing everyone again, but it may be another week or so before we can have visitors or go to church.  Because of the way the chemo kills rapidly multiplying cells, it kills off his red and white blood cells which in turn leaves the patient very susceptible to viruses and infections.  We'll need to be very careful for a couple days to keep his exposure to a minimum.  He can't eat any raw fruit or veggies because of the risk of bacteria on them.  That's sad for Richie, being as the blueberries and raspberries are just coming on and they are his favorite!  As he says, things are going to be really rough since he can only eat cooked fruits and berries...which means lots of pies!!!!
And as far as veggies go...don't worry...I'd have him on a vitamin supplements before I torture him with stewed tomatoes and cooked broccoli :-)   (Which are, coincidentally, his least favorite foods on the planet.)

Love to all!


Thursday, July 19, 2012

7-19-12

Hello all!

It's the 3rd day of chemo, and Richie's still feeling really good!  He had maybe a little nausea yesterday, but the nurse gave him some medication to make sure it went away and didn't get any worse.  He still has a great appetite.  I wish they'd bring him more food though...the portions are 96 year old lady size.  He's learned  to order several things off of the menu to ensure his belly actually gets filled.  We're both looking forward to eating good food at home in a few days!

The nurses must have been busy and not had as much time to kill last night.  We weren't interrupted more than a couple of times, so we did get several solid hours of good sleep.   

It looks like we're going to be getting out of here on Sunday morning.  It was originally going to be Saturday, but since the chemo got started on Tuesday instead of Monday, they had to move that estimate departure date back a little. 

Some good news we heard a couple days ago is that the MRI scan of Richie's head came back negative.  That means they didn't find any cancer on the brain.  Or as Richie says "They scanned my head and didn't find anything in there." ;-)

                                        Here are some pictures of the view out our window.



Tuesday, July 17, 2012

7-17-12

Today has been a good day.  Besides the nurses coming in every few hours to check on us and to do whatever they can to disturb a regular sleep schedule...it was an ok night.  There are all kinds of entertaining things to listen to at night, if you are so inclined.  The noise of things being rolled up and down the hall, nurses and doctors having their midnight chats, (I can tell from their loud or laughing voices that they're only discussing the most critical of medical information of course) and the sirens and traffic noises outside.  Yes, we had a great sleep. lol  It was a challenge for Richie to try to keep from tangling or strangling himself with the various lines and cords from monitors and such throughout the night.  I guess when we get home he'll be thankful for the advantage of being able to toss and turn as much as he wants to without the fear of getting unplugged or unhooked.  There are so many things like that ya never knew you'd miss ;-)
I've been spending the day resting, reading, blogging, and writing wedding thank you notes.  I hope you all will  understand that we are SO grateful for ALL of the beautiful, wonderful and generous gifts you gave us, and that we were thrilled to have each of you there.  It may be awhile before I can actually thank you personally through a note though....I still have a good 200 notes or so to go ;-)  I'm sorry!

Chemo is supposed to start in the afternoon today.  We've been waiting for a few hours for them to get the ball rolling on that.  Oh well.  It'll happen when it happens and everything will work out.

We have plenty of reading material for the next few days thanks to Uncle Darrell and our good friends Jeff and Jodi! 
Thank you's! 

Richie picking out his breakfast from the hospital menu. 

Pictures From The Hill!

Monday, July 16, 2012

7-16-12

Today is our 1 month anniversary!

It is also the first day we are to spend inside the hospital. 

This is not exactly the way we would have planned on spending it, but we are happy to be together, thankful for all of the prayers being prayed for us, and satisfied with God's perfect plan!     

Today has been a good day.  There were a couple of procedures done on Richie today...the insertion of a port catheter for the chemo, and also a stent that will help drain the kidney into the bladder.  There was pressure put on the kidney from one of the tumors, so that had to be cleared before the chemo can start.  Everything has gone smoothly, save for the 3 hrs Richie had to spend in the recovery room due to mis-communication and complications.  When I asked my man how he was feeling he said "I don't have any pain at all...except that my butt is sore from sitting here for hours!"  It is amazing how sweet and friendly ALL of the nurses and doctors all.  They apologized profusely and gave us a whole stack of free meal and parking vouchers!  It has been a good experience, all things considered.  One sweet, smiley, bubbly, little nurse apparently snuck me into the pre-operation waiting room before they took him into surgery.  I guess normally they don't allow that at all.  So many little blessings God has showered us with...they make a huge difference!  

Today our wonderful family stayed with us most of the day.  They decorated our room and brought us all kinds of wonderful food!  They are incredible, encouraging, and always know just what to say to brighten us up. 
We even have a nice view out the window.  Nice for the city I guess.  I already miss the view from our little place on the hill though.  We're definitely "fishes outa water" up here...it's hard for us both to be away from home.  Well, most of you know that...we only took a 2 day honeymoon because we wanted to get back to our little place where the chickens sit outside the door for scraps, the horses happily mow the lawn, and Sandy the 3 legged dog and Lucy the puppy come with tails wagging to meet us.  I miss the garden already, but I am so thankful that Janet has been taking such great care of it.  Later I will post pictures of it ;-)

There are good days and bad days, and really--it's a roller coaster of emotions throughout the day.  Sometimes I wish we could be spending our days like any other newly married couple.  It hurts to see and think about the person who I love most having to go through all of this.  Sometimes I wish it was all just a terrible nigthmare that I desperately want to wake from.  But our God is faithful, He is with us, and He is blessing us, and showing us His love every day.  And really, I'm exactly where I want to be.  In the center of God's will, and sitting right besides my amazing guy.  I couldn't be happier anywhere else.  For me, the most difficult part is over.  I hate being away from Richie for more than a few minutes, and of course that is necessary during operations.  For the next few months anyway, we're done with those!

Please pray that Richie's body will respond well to the chemo in the next few days, and that he would still have an appetite.  Pray for our "mission" up here as well...that we would have opportunities to share who Jesus is and what He has done for us.  Pray that we won't go crazy in this extremely liberal, busy, over-crowded, and most least-favorite place in the entire state!!!! :-)

Pretty flowers and wonderful food my folks brought us!

Verses they taped on the wall

Sign they taped on our door

Richie enjoying his chocolate milk shake!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Pray for Us!

Hello Friends and Family! 

I'm sorry for not keeping ya'll updated here on the blog.  Most of you know what has been going on in our lives these days, but to sum up for those who don't...

We found out a couple weeks ago that Richie has Testicular cancer.  Yesterday we were told that it has spread to Richie's abdomen, lung, and possibly kidney.  The outlook is good though, because this is pretty typical of this testicular cancer, and the advances made in the last few years are exponential.  They say they can really hit it hard with chemo since he is young and strong, and then afterwords he will probably have more surgery/ies to ensure the cancer doesn't come back. 

He had the first surgery last Tuesday to remove the cancerous testicle, and is healing very well.   

I will try to keep ya'll updated, but things will probably get rather busy when the chemo begins next week. 

Thank you so much for all of your prayers...they mean so much to us! 



Tuesday, July 3, 2012

7-3-12

How firm a Foundation

How firm a foundation ye saints of the Lord
Is laid for your faith in His excellent word
What more can He say, than to you He hath said
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled

Fear not, I am with thee oh be not dismayed
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid
I'll strengthen thee help thee and cause thee to stand
Upheld by my righteous omnipotent hand

When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie
My grace all sufficient shall be thy supply
The flame shall not harm thee I only desire
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine

The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I will not desert to His foes
The soul though all hell should endeavor to shake
I'll never, no never, no never forsake.