Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Maybe it’s a ‘man-thing’

Terence finds himself in some considerable pain.  Fatigue, aches and pains in the joints & bone- you name it; he walks with a small limp because of hip pain (he won’t admit that, he just says, “I have sloppy joints”).  Perhaps it was loading the firewood, or rolling around under his truck (to fix something)?   He pushes his body over the edge (in my opinion).  I quit yelling at him, because I figured (1) I’m not his mom and (2) maybe he needs it.  Maybe it’s a ‘man-thing’.  I don’t know!!

He takes morphine once or twice a day (that’s the only thing that works) and he is able to get through the week.  He basically slept through Eric’s homecoming.  Two things happened; one he picked up some kind of virus and basically spent the week-end on the couch feeling achy from head to toe. Additionally, his hip started hurting with a bit more severity than he has experienced in quite some time.  Must be those  ‘sloppy  joints’.  Ha. ha.

Most of the time it is impossible for him to get comfortable  (at times he can hardly move). Ibuprofin, Tylenol , Oxycodone, oxycontin dilaudid-don’t help (that’s where the morphine enters the picture) and helps him sleep somewhat  at night.  He doesn’t  have full leg motion but he still walks a mile or two every day on the treadmill.  His last bone scan show  continued/ extensive arthritis/bone degeneration throughout his entire body, especially his joints.  This is due to the continued use of Lupron- and lack of needed hormones. 

Additionally, cancerous lymph nodes push against his bladder and is another source of the pain & discomfort  he experiences pretty much all the time.

Because of all of this- (limited physical abilities ) there are times when we just have to realize that he can't do everything he used too- and let people help us.  We’ve have always been the type to help our friends, family, etc. (regardless of what the need was) but Terence  finds it difficult to ask for help.  I keep telling him “other people like to lend a hand as well!” .  He nods, “yes, I know”,  but keeps pushing himself.  *sigh. Oh well. Like I said, maybe it's a 'man thing".

Well- that's it for today. I've got dinner to get ready. He's in the house, showered and ready to eat.  I'm guessing tonight will be a movie night!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Umbrellas are nice

By Sherry 3.24.11

I was wondering what I should write about today.  I decided to write about things that make me happy.
This is one way to live above cancer.

I took this picture yesterday, because the landscape, angles and colors caught my eye.
The sight of all of them collectively together made me happy. The umbrellas added a nice touch .

  I am happy because my youngest son is home and doing well at school and work. 

I am really happy that Eric is coming home after being gone for a year- from serving in the navy.

I am happy that little Annie came over today and did her yoga class on TV.

                 I am happy that Callie has cleared off the dinner table to make room for her puzzle.                 This is something she used to do with her great grandma 
and I am happy she has good memories.

I am happy that Terence's friend came to Seattle  to see him.  
It's been 30 years and they picked up where they left off.

I am happy that in my dad's old age,  he is close by. 

I am happy about all these things, and none of these have anything to do with cancer.

 I can finally see things other than cancer,
and that makes me happy.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A miracle every day

March 18, 2011
A miracle every day.                                                 
Today Terence feels well enough that he’s out in his shop changing the spark plugs on his truck.  Who knows when and why he gets surges of energy and strength. 

  Earlier this week, he was down for the count; no strength, no energy, and in ‘morphine-land’  because of pain.  I am learning to go with this flow and not allow it to upset my emotional well being.   For many months prior to this, the heaviness of the of cancer would weigh in on me until I would barely speak during the course of the day. I became quiet and self absorbed (anyone who knows me, knows that I am not a quiet person!).  Terence was shocked at the answer to his question,  "how  do you get through the days of his dark illness without being broken hearted"?

My reply was, “Terence, my heart breaks 86,400 times a day.  Every second of every day my heart breaks. But the bible promises me that the Lord heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  So I start every day with that prayer, and every day, I receive a miracle, because every day he heals my heart”.

What a journey.  If anyone would have told me 2 years ago that I would need healing for a broken heart every day, I wouldn’t have believed them.  Cancer seems so foreboding that it can become overwhelming. It  never leaves our side, never letting us forget. 

Who’s heart wouldn’t break when watching someone you love wrestle for their life?

Some days I wake up and say to myself, “Crap- I can’t believe we’re having to do this again today”!  Other days, I wake up feeling thankful because cancer is teaching us how to be a better people, we’re able to see what’s really important and it’s teaching us about mortality and eternity.  But grateful or not, cancer is still here, and either way, my heart is still broken, best case scenario is that I’m grateful for a broken heart!

I also find myself mourning the loss of our old life (“The vibrant days of Terence & Sherry”!).     When I look at Terence now, I think how different he looks and say to myself “He’s not supposed to look like this”.  And then I think, “This is not our life”. 

 But it is.  It’s what we’re walking out with strength given to us by the Lord.  Some days, I get mad. Others I get sad, but all days, nowadays I am thankful.  It has been 20 months since they told us he has 18 months. It's been  9 months since they told us he has less than a year. The last 6 months have been almost enjoyable. The last 3 months have been a time of respite.  

But his PSA has started rising- again- a sign that the therapy he is on is probably losing it's effectiveness.  He has a oncology appointment next Wednesday.

Today I am thinking, “Crap- I hate cancer and I hate what it does to people"

I pray for a cure. I pray for miracles.  Every day!

Isaiah 40:29-31
He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength…Those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.





Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Month 20: sometimes hugs are in order, For everybody!

              When Terence is weak, our daughters Nadine & Callie share moments of hugs

 & prayers for Terence.

Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers,
But to be fearless in facing them.
Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain,
But for the heart to conquer it.
Let me not cave in anxious fear,
But to hope for our future.
Grant me that I may not be a coward, 
but let me find the grasp of your hand. 

Medical up-date-
Terence pretty much stayed in bed today- 
he woke up dizzy, weak and unable to shake off
the sleepiness.  I took his blood pressure several times during the course of the morning: 99/55 (low).

A call into the dr. and we spent the day hydrating him- and after about 10 hours, his BP rose to 114/78- finally.

He got up, showered and went straight back to bed,
very weak.  We'll see what comes of tomorrow.

Thanks for your prayers!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

(20 month report): PSA up

By Sherry 3/10/2011

Evident by the hour this is being written, I haven't been getting very much sleep!  Terence hasn't been feeling well for about 5 days- not sure what's up.

After having such an awesome streak of well being, it seems weird to see him like he used to be; tired, achy, sluggish.  He went to see his primary caregiver (and good friend); blood tests were taken and a current PSA.

His red blood cell counts are down and his PSA up and on the rise by about 10 points in just under a month.  His PSA has been on a downward trend (as hoped) since January. We have been hoping it would continue for as long as possible!

Terence has his oncology appointment on the 23rd; so we'll see what Dr. M has to say.  Keep Terence in Prayer, we're hoping that the therapy he is on hasn't reached it's end date. If so, we're on to the next thing.

Meanwhile, Terence is trying to balance rest with exercise.  He is staying plenty busy with the ministry (preaching at a new church in Seattle in a few weeks) and has a goal set on a spring bear hunt in Montana with his brother Dan.  I decided to tag along and stay at the cabin. Actually it's spring break, so Nadine, Mike and the kids will be joining us! That will be really fun.

Thanks all!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

“How can you mend a broken heart?” (The Bee Gees)

Sherry- March 1, 2011

“How can you mend a broken heart?”  (The Bee Gees)
What becomes of the brokenhearted?  I’ve spent the last week reflecting upon the psalms:  a book that reflects the honest struggles of the brokenhearted. 

 It unveils to me an area of life that brings heartache, but more importantly, it’s there that I can find hope and encouragement in times of struggles.

Not that my heart is entirely broken.  But ‘dashed  hopes’ run along those same lines.   Cancer does that.  It changes your life on the drop of a dime, trying to steal your future and dreams.

 Getting over it, overcoming it- takes more than will power.   HOPE is at the center of living above cancer.

But what if no one gives you hope ?  How can you mend the heart that is broken from anticipatory grief?   
In  the midst of our trials and grief, “Our hope is in God (Ps. 39:7).
A heart mended is a heart  that hopes in God.
Ask me, I know.

Terence’s medical update:
·       Oncology appointment in 2 weeks with a full metabolic panel taken, including PSA (last PSA 89- down from 141)
·       Increased pain and fatigue, again!
·       Fighting off a chest cold, fluid in his lungs

Thanks for prayer!!!