Thursday, January 31, 2008

City of Hope

Hello All!

Well, we have been blessed once again with the gift of a referral to City of Hope.  We had an appointment with Jay's oncologist the other day and he told us that he was going to refer us to City of Hope for further consultation.  Praise God!  Now this came, of course, after Dr. S spoke to Dr. O (our second opinion doc and new best friend) on the phone.  I believe that this was the true reason why Dr. S has decided to refer us out.  I didn't dare think that I was going to get an admission of guilt for not telling us that the tumor in Jay's lower abdomen was gone!  But, whatever his reason, it does not matter...I just see it as the Lord guiding us to where we need to be in order to get the best care possible for my honey.  Prayer works people!  If you've never tried're missing out!

Anyway, this whole thing seems to have done wonders for my guy.  His spirits are really lifted and he has found motivation to be active again.  It's amazing that if you tell someone that they are really sick, whether they really are or not, they will become sick!  The mind is a strange, mysterious and wonderful thing.  It is a gift and an awesome creation from God.  But, the Lord can transform the mind so that it is not so heavily influenced. 

Greg Laurie, my pastor and a wonderful evangelist once said, "Faith over circumstances; NOT mind over matter."  I have it written on a post-it and stuck to my monitor at work because it is a solid reminder to me that it is the Lord alone who created our minds and we are to be focused on what He has done for us.  It is my faith and not my mind that gets me through this trial.  My circumstances do not make me who I am, it is my faith in a God who walks beside me through it all.  He formed my heart and He resides in me.  He is my strength.

It's hard to say how I would react if I became very sick, and I pray that it never happens...but my bigger prayer would be that the Lord transform my heart and mind to stay focused on Him being in control over everything in my life, including my body, and surrendering it all to Him. 

I am just so grateful to my God that loves us so much.  There is no greater peace and joy.

Father, thank You for a love that is never ending.  I praise Youfor paving the way for Jay and I to go to City of Hope.  I lift the insurance up to you and pray that they would cover it.  I know above all else, YOU will provide.  I lift our circumstances up to You and pray in FAITH that You will help us to overcome our circumstances.  I love You, Lord.  In Your son's precious name.  Amen.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Some Good News

God is a God of HOPE!  Praise the Lord!
Well, I can tell you that we've had some pretty good news as of Friday.  We got our second opinion and the opinions of many doctors from the tumor board conference.  Basically, what we found out was that the tumor that was in Jay's lower abdomen in the August scan did not show up in the November scan and pathology report.  Can you say "What??"  And what this means is, Jay's current doctor missed that because he has been telling us that nothing has changed.  The tumor was still there and it wasn't any smaller or bigger so no changes and that meant that the chemo is probably not working.  I don't know what Jay's doctor was thinking when he read the report, but he was wrong. 
So, our second opinion doc and our new best friend, read the report to us and showed us the scans so we could see what he was talking about.  Jay and I were so shocked to hear that and we even challenged him and said, "you need to call Dr. S (I will leave his full name out for privacy reasons) and talk to him!"  We wanted clarification and we wanted both doctors to be on the same page.  So we will see what Dr. S has to say on Tuesday because we have an appointment with him.  What did show up on the November scan is a new lesion in Jay's lower left abdomen.  So it is the start of another tumor.  It is possible to have that one removed surgically...which Dr. S told us that he would never recommend surgery again because of the severity of the first surgery.  And our second opinion doc also told us that there are some other forms of treatment and surgery that Jay could be a possible candidate for and one of the procedures could be a potential cure, yes I said cure, for Jay.  That is the first time a doctor has ever mentioned "CURE".  You should've seen Jay's eyes light up.  What a blessing that was!  I haven't seen him like that in so was B.C....Before Cancer.
Now, of course, we have become very jaded in this process and although we both were given a considerable amount of hope on Friday, we are both really reluctant to put too much of our hearts into it.  But, I have to tell you that it renewed my strength to fight on and I'm pretty sure that it did the same for Jay.  It was just what we needed to carry on. 
We were beginning to think that we didn't have any other options.  We even had "the talk" about not knowing how much time we had left together.  That was a toughy.  But we now realize that even if there isn't a possibility of a cure, there is still a very good chance that Jay could live for many more years on chemotherapy alone.  There are so many combinations that we haven't tried and Jay told me that he wants to keep going until he can't any longer.  I have let him know on several occasions that all he needs to do is tell me when he has had enough and I will stop trying to find solutions to this.  I won't stop until then.
The bottom line is, the Lord is a God of HOPE and he gave us a miracle on Friday.  The gift of more time.  The Lord is going to work miracles in our lives and I have faith in that and take comfort in it.  It may not be miracles by the world's standards, but I know that my God can accomplish so much with very little.  I am grateful for the fact that He loves my honey enough to give him more chances to live a full life.  We'll see what the Lord has in store for us on this new path that we are journeying.  Praise the Lord for the very small word that evokes miracles...HOPE.
Father, I love You and praise You!  Thank You for the miracle of hope.  I love You and surrender everything I have and everything I am to You.  I thank You for the work that You are faithful to complete in me.  May You receive the glory.  In Jesus precious name.  Amen

Thursday, January 17, 2008

When The Lord Answers...

Ephesians 3:20-21 "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." NKJV

When the Lord answers, He answers in a BIG way.  We're seeking a second opinion and the doctor that has offered to give us an opinion for free, has just informed us that he will be presenting Jay's case to a board of doctors next Thursday so that we may receive counsel from not just one, but many doctors.  I don't know how many doctors, but it's more than just one and that makes me so happy.  The Lord really is looking out for my Jaybird and He is showing me, and hopefully Jay, that He is in control of this situation.  I have a peace in my heart that even I, a believer in Christ, don't understand.  And that is exactly how it should be.  I don't know what the consensus will be with these doctors, but I've been praying for the Lord to give us an answer that will really tell us without a shadow of a doubt, what path we should take or if we should accept that there may be nothing further that we can do.  I believe that we will have that answer very soon.  In the meantime, God IS in control and I am leaving it with Him.  He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think!

For those that are praying for us, please pray for the Lord's wisdom for the doctors, peace for Jay, and ultimately the Lord's will be done.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Catching Up

It has been a while since I have written anything about Jay...and there is good reason for that.  I needed time to process all that is happening these days. 

Jay went to a doctor appointment the day after we got back from our vacation in Kauai in early December, and I chose to go to work since I had already been gone for a week...a decision that I will have a twinge of regret for the rest of my life.  Jay seemed distracted but otherwise fine after his appointment so I didn't think to ask him about or push the issue further. 

So fast forward to New Year's Eve...Jay and I are sitting in a restaurant having a lovely time talking about the next vacation that we want to take in May and I made a comment about having to schedule the vacation around his chemotherapy.  And then the bomb gets dropped here...Jay says, "Oh don't worry about that, I'll be done with chemo altogether in March."  HUH???!!  Just very matter-of-fact, oh let's just throw this out there to see how Jamie reacts kind of thing...

Well, it turns out that the day Jay went to the doctor, it was discussed that by March he will have met his tolerance level with the chemotherapy and his body will not tolerate any more, it will completely reject it by then and do more harm to Jay's body.  Jay's body is already rejecting the therapy to a certain degree.  He is suffering more and more side effects.  Nothing severe, or so I thought anyway, but the doctor is still saying that he is going to release him from treatment in March.

So, in talking to Jay about what to do now, Jay has said that he is not done fighting this thing, but his body can't tolerate much more.  I asked him if he would be willing to go to City of Hope or something if I can get an approval from our insurance and he said if I can find the doctor who can help him, he would go.  So, now my mission...and I choose to accept to find a doctor willing to give us a second opinion and then pray that our insurance will approve it.

Well, after much prayer for the past several days since finding out this information, the Lord has actually provided us with a wonderful doctor willing to give us the second opinion for free.  This doctor is a wonderful Christian man and when he found out that we needed help, he was more than willing to help us out.  He told me, "Jamie, you are my sister in the Lord andI am not in this for the money.  Get me the information and I will review it and give you a second opinion for free."  What an AMAZING God I serve!!  To receive such a blessing is overwhelming. 

Jay and I have both gone through our range of emotions about this decision of the doctor's to stop treatments.  Jay has been making a list of all the things that he wants to do.  Not necessarily a "bucket list" (all the things you want to do before you kick the bucket) but it is a list of things that he has always wanted to do and now that he is not working, he has more time to plan trips and do the things on his list.  I accused him of making a bucket list, but he swears that it's not.  Fair enough.  It's not.  But, I can't help but think about how long the Lord will keep him here..especially if there are no treatments that Jay's body will tolerate.  How long can he survive with the cancer still in his body and no chemo to kill it?  I try not to go there very often because I want to trust that the Lord has something truly wonderful and miraculous in store for my honey.  He could be here for another 15-50 years for all I know.  Only God knows the number of our days so I can't focus on that.  I can focus, however, on spending all the time I can with Jay and making the most of that time together. 

The Lord has given me so many scriptures to hold in my heart so as to not allow me to think about the "what ifs."  Psalm 70 and 71 have been particularly helpful.

Psalms 70 Lord Do Not Delay

70:1 For the director of music. Of David. A petition.

Hasten, O God, to save me;O LORD, come quickly to help me. 2 May those who seek my life be put to shame and confusion;may all who desire my ruin be turned back in disgrace. 3 May those who say to me, "Aha! Aha!"turn back because of their shame. 4 But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you;may those who love your salvation always say,"Let God be exalted!"
5 Yet I am poor and needy;come quickly to me, O God.You are my help and my deliverer;O LORD, do not delay.

Psalms 71 Forsake Me Not When My Strength Is Spent

In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge;let me never be put to shame. 2 Rescue me and deliver me in your righteousness;turn your ear to me and save me. 3 Be my rock of refuge,to which I can always go;give the command to save me,for you are my rock and my fortress. 4 Deliver me,O my God, from the hand of the wicked,from the grasp of evil and cruel men.
5 For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD,my confidence since my youth. 6 From birth I have relied on you;you brought me forth from my mother's womb.I will ever praise you. 7 I have become like a portent to many,but you are my strong refuge. 8 My mouth is filled with your praise,declaring your splendor all day long.
9 Do not cast me away when I am old;do not forsake me when my strength is gone. 10 For my enemies speak against me;those who wait to kill me conspire together. 11 They say, "God has forsaken him;pursue him and seize him,for no one will rescue him." 12 Be not far from me, O God;come quickly, O my God, to help me. 13 May my accusers perish in shame;may those who want to harm me be covered with scorn and disgrace.
14 But as for me, I will always have hope;I will praise you more and more. 15 My mouth will tell of your righteousness,of your salvation all day long,though I know not its measure. 16 I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign LORD;I will proclaim your righteousness, yours alone. 17 Since my youth, O God, you have taught me,and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. 18 Even when I am old and gray,do not forsake me, O God,till I declare your power to the next generation,your might to all who are to come.
19 Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God,you who have done great things.Who, O God, is like you? 20 Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter,you will restore my life again;from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. 21 You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.
22 I will praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, O my God;I will sing praise to you with the lyre,O Holy One of Israel. 23 My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you — I, whom you have redeemed. 24 My tongue will tell of your righteous acts all day long,for those who wanted to harm me have been put to shame and confusion.

I will carry on with the mission of finding the best care for Jay.  He is the love of my life.  It is the least I can do.  And when I am weak the Lord makes me strong.  I can do nothing without Him.