Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Day comes

Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year;
 but to the honest man it comes as frequently 
as the heart of gratitude will allow.
We are very grateful for our friends and family:
for your prayers, support, gifts and most of all, 
for holding us in your heart during this time.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Love Terence & Sherry

Sunday, November 21, 2010

When you are overwhelmed, remember: three is better than two.

When you are overwhelmed,
remember: three is better than two.

When Terence's father passed away, my mother passed away 2 days later. We understood the pain of losing a parent and we grieved in concert.  In 22 years of marriage, Terence & I have always understood the others’ pain and suffering and have been there for each other. 

That’s the power of two!

This week was heartrending and frustrating for me.  Terence was downcast.    

That may not seem like a big deal- 
but anyone who knows Terence knows that he is not a downhearted man
He is strong in spirit and a happy man. 

 But because he has been dealing with constant pain and systemic itching with little or no relief he reached a physical, mental and emotional peak.   

At his wits end; “How long, O’ Lord?  How long?” was his frustrated outcry.

For the first time, I realized that I didn't understand Terence’s pain, which left me unsure of how to help him. 

 I’ve never been on that peak; I’ve never had my mortality shoved in my face.  

 I looked into his face that was contorted by frustration.......... what should I do?
Periodically, I find myself at a loss of knowing what to do or how to respond. It's then that I call out to the Lord, and He gives me more than intelligence, ideas or good old common sense. He dips into His well of wisdom and allows me to drink from his cup.

So the Lord quietly reminded me of 4 things:

1.     Even if I don’t understand Terence’s pain and    suffering, God does,
2.     That even though we may be, He is never at       His wits end,
3.     He never leaves nor abandons Terence ,
4.     And finally, He reminded me of our wedding  

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12   “Two are better than one, for they can help each other succeed.  If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble”.

 “Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? “
“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer”.
 “And three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken”

Keep him warm?  Check.

Encourage him when he is down?  Check.

Be his loyal advocate in the oncology office or hospital?  Check!  (This means not allowing nurses to stick his arm 8 times. Sometimes this means I will have to keep his pain management diary because he can’t remember. Sometimes this means I need to run beside him when he’s running out of the Emergency room because “enough is enough!”  Check! Check! Check!).

But what about the things I can’t do? What do I do when things are beyond my ability to comfort him?

 The Lord reminded me that when Terence and I read our vows, we wisely braided a cord of three strands together as a symbol of inviting the Lord God himself into our marriage.  

That simply means:
When we are weak, He is our strength.
When we are afraid, He is here.
When we are sad, He is our joy.
When we are in despair, He is our hope.

When we’re alone, His presence stays.
When we don't understand, He is our Teacher.
When we hurt, He is our Healer.

My interpretation-
When we are clinging on, He is our Rock.
When we are overwhelmed, He is our Peace.
When we unsure, He is our Guide.
When life is too much, He is all we need.

  Two are better than one, but three is even better!

Saturday, November 13, 2010


By Sherry, November 13, 2010

The list of side effects for cancer treatments include common ones such as nausea, fatigue, headaches, insomnia, body aches, hot flashes -well let’s just stop there.  We were told about most of them, but there were some side effects no one mentioned.  These included a new appreciation for our family and friends, and a deep tenderness between Terence and I.  And new sense of gratefulness to God for the simplest of things!

Everyone has been fabulous; sending cards, gifts and encouraging emails.  But what astonished me was how we felt their prayers.  There are many times either Terence or I are awake in the middle of the night- just lying there.  He, suffering one of the many side effects and me, dealing with the uncertainties of tomorrow (sleep robbers/peace stealers).   The next day,  I would run into to someone and they would excitedly say, “I was praying for you last night when I got up to pee!”.

Ah.  The Powerful Pee Prayer!  Why this isn’t a chapter in  the many “how-to” prayer books, is beyond me.  That middle-of-the-night appeal whispered between getting out of and getting back into bed.  A prayer said while performing a humble bodily function; the opposite end of the spectrum from having an entire High Mass said for you.  I think Jesus likes this.  It’s totally up His alley, right up there with the manger and lowing cattle.  Ordinary.  Simple.  And powerful.

 Between nuclear hot flashes and systemic itching (for which Terence can find no relief), the yellowing of his skin and 4 hour naps (all of which are ‘in your face’ reminders-the cancer screams “I am here! I am here!”), we have no choice but to press in to Christ who is our Peace in the midst of  mayhem.

A sigh of relief comes over us when we remember how simple  it can all be.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Praise God.  Move on.  Pray while you pee.  He hears. 
A side effect commonly overlooked: SIMPLICITY.


Recent blood draws show continued strain on his liver.  Not necessarily alarming, however it is directly related to the experimental drug TOK-001.  And that has consequences.

Our last conversation with the clinical trial team was in regards to whether Terence can continue on the trial due to the strain on his liver.  Meanwhile, he is still on the same phase I dosage of 1,950 mg of TOK-001
until further notice.  I think one, two, three or four things will happen in the near future: (1) Dr. M and the TOKAI team will remove T from the trial due to danger to his liver, or (2) T will make the decision to get off of the trial- not willing for his liver to be compromised any further or (3) a miraculous healing will happen (we still believe in miracles people), and (4) the unexpected (not sure what it is).

Outside of TOK-001, there is no known treatment for Terence, but we will wait and see  what comes up the turnpike-  as usual, we are in the somewhat dreadful “wait and see” situation. All things out of our control.  But I am hoping that the delay in action will provide the opportunity for a miracle (miracles usually happen when we are waiting and looking the other way).

Medical schedule-
Nov.16- Pain management review
(T is allergic to all the approved opiods). Re-scheduled!

 Nov.17- Blood draws (local office).

 Nov. 29- New bone/CT/MRI scans (Seattle Cancer Care Alliance)-review of old tumors, on the
  lookout for anything new.

Nov. 30- Oncology appt.(University of Washington Urology oncology), TOK-001 review.

Thanks for your continued prayers and support!

~Sherry & Terence

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hawaii did us both good

I recently left the beaches and sunshine of Oahu in route for home in Seattle.  My city greeted me with rain and 56 degrees.  Sigh.  What a difference a 41/2 hour plane ride makes!

 Now I am at home, my Seahawks hoodie keeping me warm, reflecting the recent past.  Without a doubt the best moment in Hawaii was hearing Sherry laugh with her sisters as they recalled places and events while growing up.  And much more belly laughing ensued when her brothers Randy and Wayne added their stories to the mix.  It was good to see her happy.  She even danced the hula! - first time in years.

Hawaii did us both good:  rest, peace, diminished sense of responsibility.  We are consistently advised "not to worry", and "be not anxious", according to the Bible.  God obviously knows that mankind is prone to these issues, and that is why the topic is so clearly written in scripitures.

So, my course was set in the “Aloha state”-and with the help of O’hana (family) and the good Lord watching over me, my peace and rest began.  I awoke every morning to the waves breaking on the shore, my nephews encouraging me on a variety of outdoor pursuits and evenings filled with poi and lau-lau.

You know what?  I just feel better now.  My outlook is better, some strength has returned and I am spiritually strong.  My immediate future requires even more faith and physical strength and this trip reminded me that the Lord knows everything I need.