Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas 2012

Here is our Christmas thoughts for all of you,

December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas to all, and our wish for a Happy New Year.

This Year has been a special one for us, with all the surprises we could want and God’s blessings through all of the year. We didn’t send a letter last year because when I put one together, it seemed much too sad, and in reality, 2010 had some bright spots too, brought into focus by looking backwards over time.

We celebrated our twentieth wedding anniversary in 2010 and decided to go back to Montreal and see if anything had changed. Our trip had all the mystery of France, with a convenient North America location, coupled with a side trip to Quebec City, for the crowning Francophile experience. We stayed at the Queen Elizabeth, as before, and got caught up in the Montreal, Philadelphia hockey play off game excitement. Chicago won the Stanley Cup, the first since 1961, and I was very proud to be able to watch the games and root for the Blackhawks.

A year ago Deb was diagnosed with right side breast cancer, confirmed by a biopsy, a shock really, especially since all the exams had been normal. Chemo started in early December and a mastectomy followed in May. The good news is that Deb is doing well and getting her strength back, slow but sure and still working full time. The breast cancer had attached to her liver but is thought to be stable. She will have another CT scan Monday to see how things look.

I had my right hip replaced in May, so for almost a month we convalesced together, enjoying our time together at home. Deb returned to work and eventually so did I, for a week, and then retired on August first. Not only do I really like being home, Strider is thrilled to have me here so she can nap on the love seat next to me.

I was in Michigan in August to visit Kathi, Erin and Kris. Kris and Bud live in the Grand Rapids area so I spent some time with them and the grandkids, Mitchell and Madelynn. Then I went to the Pontiac area to visit with Kathi and Jim and to attend a Pontiac Central High School band reunion. I think my friend Peggy and I were the oldest ones there. I’m glad I wasn’t asked to play anything.

Erin and Quinn were visiting in the area so we all congregated at Kathi’s and later had dinner at the Clarkston Union restaurant. Erin’s husband Rob, a career USAF member, returned from his yearlong duty in Korea, and they have now moved to his next duty station near Pensacola Florida. Erin hopes to be there long enough for Quinn to complete high school. Quinn is sixteen.

Sadly, we put Gabby, our cat, down in June. She was sixteen years old and had come to have just too many health challenges to go on without being miserable. Our vet and her team sent a nice sympathy card and Gabby’s paw prints to help us remember her. It is so difficult to lose a loved pet, after so many years. It’s hard to believe Strider is nine years old now.

We are part of a great small group through church that has helped us keep our balance through all the ups and downs. There have been times and days in the past year that we were scared, overjoyed, angry, in denial and riding the roller coaster of emotions as our situation evolved, but through it all we were comforted by great friends, family and most of all our Lord, who marked a path for us through this year and gave us the strength to survive.

Someone wrote that the secret of happiness is to walk slowly through life, savoring the exercise, and to make no left turns while driving. Three right turns make a left turn, as you all know. And statistics show most senior driver’s accidents come during left turns. I want to be around to continue my driving Deb up the wall.

We have enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving and look forward to Christmas and New Year. We hope and pray for healing for Mary as she battles leukemia, Jack as he treats for skin cancer and keeps an eye on his lymphoma, currently in remission. We mourn the passing of our friends Jill and Herman from cancer, and the health problems that seem to visit everyone we know.

This year we have tried to look at our life and feel the contentment that comes from knowing that God has given us so many blessings, and that He has only asked us to be good stewards of those blessings and to share them with others. We are certainly blessed by your prayers and petitions to our Lord asking for healing for us and we’ve seen the results of those prayers in the recent positive medical exams.

God Bless each of you in 2012

Dan, Deb and Strider, the wonder dog

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Another Christmas Reflection

Happy Thursday everyone,

I sit here today looking at Christmas present and back at Christmas past, reflecting on all that has gone on since we started this epic battle with cancer.

I read through some of the past posts and I enjoyed reliving the emotions I felt at various times, certainly a roller coaster, but tempered by the lens of time.

I guess I look at the last five years as a test in some ways. We've tried to meet head on the challenges of cancer and then it's return, and I honestly can not imagine someone with a better attitude and more grace than Deb has shown throughout all of this. Where others may have given in or given up, she has been the epitome of courage and focus. I'm so proud.

The fight has taken it's toll. She is spooked by the cancer that remains in her liver and will always believe that her future is compromised by the probability of further cancer. And that's not to say anything about all the side effects that she has endured and remain.

Her hair has come back beautifully, and everyone marvels at her appearance and energy.

We believe that God has brought us through this season for a purpose. He has blessed us with so many gifts and we must remember to thank Him in everything and be content, because he is our Lord and Savior and will guide us with His word.

He will be with you also, all the way, that faithful God. Every morning when you awaken to the old and tolerable pain, at every mile of the hot uphill dusty road of tiring duty, on to the judgment seat, the same Christ there as ever, still loving you, still God.

"Although the wor
ld is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it." - Helen Keller

It makes no difference how deeply seated may be the trouble, how hopeless the outlook, how muddled the tangle, how great the mistake. A sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all.
Emmet Fox American Unity Minister, Metaphysician

By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. [John 13:35]

We mourn the loss of Herman and Jill to cancer recently, and dear friends Mary, Jack and Logan who are fighting cancer. It seems this fight will never end.

Thank you for your prayers. Having cancer is sometimes lonely, sad too, not knowing the final outcome. But knowing someone with cancer gives each one of us the opportunity to make a difference. So call and be available, give love and hugs as they are the best medicine.

God Bless,


Thursday, October 27, 2011


October 26th and while the grass is still green, the leaves are either in color or on the ground. Isn't it something that time seems to go so fast except between November and March? Strider is curled up beside me, while Val cleans our home. Deb is working and, John is here to do some electrical work for me. The sun is bright and a gental breeze blows. Deb is getting her strength back and continues to amaze me with her positive attitude and reliance on good doctors and our Lord to see her through this cancer thing. She goes to the various doctors who then examine her and give her a clean bill of health. My retirement is still a novelty to me, but I'm liking it more all the time. Please pray for healing for Jill Bryan, Mary Krummery, Mary Keller and Tom Brown. So many people with medical issues. Thank you for keeping up with us. Without all of you, we wouldn't stand a chance to continue our feeling that this too shall pass. God Bless all of you, Dan

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A little of this, and a lot of that

Hello everyone, This is a quiet Thursday evening with Strider snuggled up beside me and a warm laptop computer keeping me, well, warm. Deb is out to dinner with dinner group two and so here I sit felling very content and peaceful. Deb had a CT scan a week or so ago and the results were good. She was told that her lung nodules improved, but she doesn't remember ever hearing anything about her lungs before, so that's a puzzle she will have to solve when she visits the doctor. The cancer med she takes each day is starting to bring about side effects including irritability. She continues to work, God bless her. Treatment continues for lymphedema in her left arm, and there has been progress. There will be a transition to something she will wear daily and something different for night time. This will replace the therapy she gets at Centegra three times a week. Nothing else much going on with us. I'm enjoying retirement. Lots of little projects and I've taken Strider to the park so she can explore being a dog. We continue to get great support from our small group and others from church. Friends old and new pray for us and we feel the warmth of love and good wishes. God has blessed us with abundance and we are grateful. It seems to me that giving thanks is more than a seasonal thing. I'm convinced that I should start each day with my personal thanks for a great mate, my family and my health. And for the friends that have suffered through this last few years of Deb's trials with understanding and patience, we couldn't ask for more. Our friend Jack is still treating for skin cancer, but his lymphoma is dormant, while Jill Bryan suffers through chemotherapy and the side effects that brings. Please pray for them as they battle the uncertainty of health and healing. God Bless you all, Dan

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Earthquakes and Rain

Dear Friends,

This afternoon finds me watching the earthquake coverage for the east coast and being thankful that we are not involved. What fear something like this must generate in people who remember the recent Japan quake.

Fear is something that we know first hand, and fight all the time. Fear of suffering, death, losing loved ones and being out of control. We all realize that we should calm ourselves and have faith, but when the bottom is dropping from the market and homes are selling for 60 percent of the asking price just two years ago, it creates plain old fear.

So I can understand how Deb would feel about the liver scan scheduled for September ninth. There is already cancer present, we know, and the last scan was several months ago, so a bit of fear or concern would be expected. We will know more after the scan.

We see some good results in the lymphedema therapy, with a steady decrease in the retained fluid. That has Deb feeling better.

With September 11th coming soon, it's not too early to remember those who died in that terrible tragedy.

Being content is the hardest thing to do, but if you can pull it off, you will find much more satisfaction in life.

God Bless,


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The routine continues

Good Morning!

It's a bright and sunny day here in the Chicago area, with Arizona type temperatures and Florida humidity. As I sit next to a snoozing Strider and sip coffee, I'm counting down the days to my retirement on July 31st. I'll be at work next week and then gone forever.

Most of you may remember I had a short retirement in 2000 at the end of my career at Kemper. But now, at 66, I imagine my employment days are over.

I continue to recover from my hip replacement. I feel good except for a lack of stamina. I'm at my best pushing a cart around a store, something that frightens Deb a bit.

I have three more therapy sessions this week. I've discarded all walking aids.

Deb is going to therapy three times a week to reduce the swelling in her left arm. She also is taking some occupational therapy to help with range of motion in her right arm.

We feel as if we've received a special blessing from God. Our health continues to improve and we hope for further good results. We have been doubly blessed by your prayers.

Our friend Jack is having tests again for his non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Please remember him in your prayers.

God Bless each of you, and bring you health and grace.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Nothing Startling Out There For US

Hi everyone,

I'm reporting this as I sit and wait for my car to be ready at the dealer. Oil change. At least they have Wi Fi.

Deb is in her second week back to work. She was so tired last week. This week is a short week and when she has therapy, she takes a half day of vacation, so it is easier on her and she gets home early. She continues to have therapy on her right arm for range of motion and the left arm for lymphedema. Her arm is wrapped in gauze, foam and sport elastic bandages each day and will stay that way until the swelling goes away. The path for lymphatic fluid was disrupted when several lymph nodes were removed at the surgery in 2007. Up until the bout with shingles everything was fine. The shingles resided in the left arm.

She soldiers on without too much to say one way or the other. I'm trying to help since I'm still home. I will do the laundry, the trash and get dinner ready, and try to do things I've put off. I think she is convinced that while cancer is still in her liver she is not out of the woods.

I expect that she will be working as long as she can, and we have no idea how long Kemper will want her. I'm retiring July 31st. My hip replacement is coming along fine. I'm having therapy three times a week.

I am aware of how God has blessed us with good medical care, and so much more. Without him how could we go on with our lives?

Thank you all for prayers, cards and good thoughts. It does make a difference. God hears each one.

God Bless

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Improving day by day

Hello everyone,

Since I last wrote, Deb has had a couple of doctor's appointments and is starting a physical therapy program to help with range of motion in the right arm and lymphedema in the left arm. We think her bout with shingles called the lymphedema.

So, she is going to a specially certified therapist for this at Centegra Hospital, three times a week. Yesterday she went to the prosthetic store for some new stuff to wear. She still is very tender.

The doctors conferred and believe that no radiation is necessary now. They will monitor the liver via a scan every three months or so and she will take Arimidex, an anti cancer drug in pill form, every day.

Deb seems in good spirits, but she will have to be better to return to work on 6/20.

We seems to be enjoying being home together. The days are filled with medical appointments and therapy it seems. We are thankful for the continuing prayers and good wishes that keep us positive and focused.

We are blessed by all those who lift us and we are confident that all will be well as time goes by.

God Bless,


Friday, May 27, 2011

Post Surgery Update

Good morning everyone,

I have to apologize for the late update. I became preoccupied with the day to day issues that cropped up prior to our surgery.

I had my right hip replaced on 5/2/11 in Centegra Hospital in McHenry. On Thursday I went to the rehab facility in Lake Zurich for a couple of weeks instead of doing rehab at home as I did the first time (2004). I'm home now and getting alone. Not too much pain.

Deb had a mastectomy on May 18Th at Centegra Hospital. The pathology report indicates that the tumor in the breast was gone, due to the chemotherapy. Six of six lymph nodes were cancerous and there was some involvement in the armpit, although there were clear margins. Today her doctors are going to conference her case to decide what to do next. There is still liver involvement and we should hear more next Tuesday when we go to the surgeon.

Deb has pain in the right arm and shoulder area that will last for a while. She is taking a shower now and that always helps the spirits. She is resting as much as possible. Her mom was here for several days after she came home and was a big help with everything.

We have been blessed with meals delivered by friends and those meals we ordered through, thanks to the generosity of the Kemper team.

We have also been blessed again with so many people praying for us. We've been added to prayer lists all over the country, by some gracious people.

We feel blessed by God with healing and support, and we know that all is in his hands.

Thank you for reading this,


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Another Milepost

Hi everyone,

Deb called just now, after meeting with her surgeon, and told me they selected May 18th as the date for her surgery.

My surgery (hip replacement) is scheduled for May 2nd, so we will both be off together for awhile.

Surgery is only one step in the process, of course, but after the subsequent radiation treatments, she will start the follow up treatments and we hope a full and permanent cure.

Deb is so happy to be finished with chemotherapy and to be able to start tasting food again, without the terrible metallic flavor associated with the chemo side effect.

With the start of warm weather we hope to spend more time outside enjoying the yard.

We continue to be blessed by our friends and family during this season. Our pastor and small group also are a great source of comfort to both of us as we move from one phase of this to another. Your prayers and thoughts, the cards and gifts, have reminded us of how kind and considerate loving people can be in times of stress and doubt.

For now we try to stay as close to God as we can. We try our best not to worry about tomorrow or any of our tomorrows, but instead we give thanks for our many blessings and praise Him for loving us so much.

God Bless everyone,


Friday, March 25, 2011

How we cope

Hello to friends and family,

Deb sent this recently, and I think it summarizes how she feels going into her last chemo infusion.

Well, if you’ve been following the blog, you pretty much know what’s been going on. I had chemo last Thursday and have been coming into work the Monday after with the days after chemo pretty much being lost. I just lie around, watch TV and sleep. Of course that is what my body needs, but I hate it. It looks like the chemo is having some positive impact; I’m going to be really happy when I complete my final treatment in 3 weeks. I’ll feel like I can start moving forward even though surgery and radiation are not something I’m particularly looking forward to other than a means to an “end”.

I’m thankful to still have a job here. I think having to get up and have a place to go each day helps me get through. And, of course, it’s been year-end, so it’s been busy. Also a good thing, except when I feel like I’m not pulling my weight because of the time I have to take off. Everybody has been good about it though.
My step-daughter Krista and her family visited March 3 – 6. Fortunately it was the weekend before my next chemo, so I felt pretty good. Mostly we talked, ate and watched movies, so it was pretty low key. They had been to the water parks at the Wisconsin Dells earlier in the week, which was non-stop action, so I think they were ready to just relax. It worked out well for all.

This time of year I start craving corned beef and cabbage. We are going to friends on Saturday for dinner and I can’t wait. I won’t enjoy it as much as I’d like because of my sense of taste being off, but I know what it’s supposed to taste like! That will be good enough for me.

Deb’s attitude and patience is legendary, as you can imagine being married to me for almost 21 years. In spite of all that goes on she manages to keep up at work and at home and still have time for Strider and me.

Next Thursday is her final chemotherapy. We will learn then about a surgery schedule.

Thank you all for your prayers. We appreciate all the words of encouragement and love. We’ve had some great notes from our two exchange students, Masha in Russia and Sebastian in Augsburg Germany, assuring us that they pray for us and love us too!

God Bless Everyone

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Some good news

Good Afternoon,

The ultra sound of the liver shows that the chemotherapy has reduced the size of the liver cancer. Also, the lymph nodes are much better. The breast MRI was inconclusive, but her oncologist suggested completing the last two chemo treatments.

So, we put everything on hold for now and revisit after 3/31, the last chemotherapy treatment.

Obviously the prayers are working. Thank you!!


Monday, March 7, 2011

Just a Ramblin' thought or two.

Happy Monday Morning.

It’s the little things of course that makes the picture whole. A random hug or kiss, an unexpected compliment, or someone calling to say hello. A get well or thinking of you card that brings a smile or a tear.

Deb has a special ability to do life without complaint. She enters each day with all the side effects of chemotherapy, especially just after an infusion. She is tired, and unable to taste food for a couple of weeks, but each day she goes to work, does her best, and comes home to rest. And the stress of not knowing the outcome or how much sickness and pain is yet to come. The disruption of normal life due to treatments and I can imagine how easy it is to dwell on the negatives, because there are many.

She is one example of so many people who do the same thing each day. Men and women who don’t shut down their life because of a terrible disease, but continue to be productive husbands, wives, fathers and mothers for as long as they can. Breast cancer isn’t the only catastrophic disease, of course. HIV, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s), Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and so on. The list is very long.

But I’m hoping that each of us today will take a moment to reach out to someone who is battling a terrible disease with a phone call, a card or if possible, a hug. Tell them they are not alone, that no matter what happens next, you will continue to pray for them. They need to know they are still special to you. Don’t worry about saying the wrong thing. They know they are sick, and more than likely, the finish line is not in sight. Just to hear a friendly voice means so much to them. Your voice!

If you are their caregiver, you need to take some quiet time and remember you are God’s caring hands here on earth. That you have all the gifts you need from God and he will help you use them. Don’t be discouraged, because you will be given strength to finish the job.

My sister and her husband cared for my bedridden mother for two years. Day and night, 365 days a year until she died. Sure they had some outside help, but they had the responsibility every day, rain or shine. I can’t fathom being that strong.

Deb gets the results of her tests this week, so I’ll have something to share later.

Thanks for the wonderful comments you add to this. They make us smile.

God Bless,


Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday Morning Again

Good Morning Everyone,

More daylight every day it seems. I especially notice it on the train. While we had periods of snow over the weekend, the warmth of the sun does a great job of melting it quickly. We are looking forward to spring.

Deb will have a breast MRI Thursday and a liver scan. This will give the doctors something to compare against the prior studies. A decision will be made whether to have a mastectomy or continue with the last two chemo infusions. We would like to know more detail on what we can expect with either option. Deb is scheduled for chemo a week from this Thursday.

There have been better weekends for us. Deb went into work Saturday and we rested in the evening. Sunday we had a play at the Marriott, Guys and Dolls, which was terrific. We attended our small group in the evening.

Deb started to develop left arm swelling and pain. Considerable pain. She put on her compression sleeve and took a couple of Advil but it didn't do much. When she took off her sleeve this morning she saw the tell tale spots of a shingles reappearance. She will start taking medication for that.

Her immune system is compromised of course, and it will be easy for her to get shingles through her chemo treatment, I fear. Stress is another risk factor with shingles. She has stress.

We are braced by your prayers, lifted by your love, and granted peace by our Savior. We draw our comfort from the certain knowledge that we can't know the future, and so how pointless is it to worry about it. Would our worry change one iota of Deb's health or circumstances, we would fret the day and night away. But as the birds begin singing before dawn, we too must have faith.

Love one another and help others to rise to the higher levels, simply by pouring out love. Love is infectious and the greatest healing energy.
-- Sai Baba

Kris and Aaron will be here Thursday with Mitchell and Madelynn for a couple of days. I'm certain that will help Deb heal.

God bless each of you. Make this a random hug day and seek out someone who seems down and needs a lift. Hugs are such great inventions.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Fork in the Road

Hello everyone!

The snow is melting, and Strider has her yard back. All of us feel so much better with all the recent sunshine and even though we know winter is not over, we can endure because of the promise of spring.

Deb had chemo Thursday and now will have a liver scan and a MRI of her breast. Dr. Weyburn asked if surgery was still an option that Deb preferred, knowing that there is virtually no chance that the cancer in her breast will disappear. So there is a discussion that the last two chemo sessions may be skipped and go ahead with surgery. I'm not sure of the reasoning involved, but after the scan results there will be a full discussion of options.

There may be more than one cancer spot on the liver. We did get the results of the liver biopsy and there is no doubt that the cancer on the liver is the same as the tumor in Deb's breast. So there may be some thought to get the breast removed and get the tumor out of the body.

Deb is feeling the effects of the chemotherapy as usual. She has pain that derives from the chemo and some that is caused by the booster shot she had Friday.

This time feels different to us. It is more difficult to be optimistic. It seems that we don't feel the energy to fight like we did last time. It's not as if we're giving up or feeling down and out, but it is different.

Time seems to drag on because we can't and don't know what the future holds. But in other ways the world is upside down. Gravity has lost it's power over the universe. Our lives race beyound any control.

But we know that there is one who controls the universe. One who knows the future and can heal the most greiveous hurt and injury. Someone that hold the power of life and death in His hand. It is to him we entrust this battle. He will prevail against all odds. Even the demons tremble when he speaks. What is cancer to such a being? Indeed!

Our love to everyone, thanks for the prayers and the cards.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Yea! The Weekend

Hi everyone,

Nothing much to report except praise for my friend Jack who was told that his cancer is gone. Gone! No evidence of cancer anywhere. Everyone is so happy for him, including Deb and me.

Deb is starting to taste food again and is looking forward to a relaxing weekend. She went to the doctor yesterday and he told her she has an abscess in her groin. Just what everyone needs. She is taking antibiotics and should be fine.

We are thankful for God's grace and your prayers. We read your comments both here and on Facebook and are thrilled to have you as family or friends. Kindness is a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see. Mark Twain.

Good Weekend all, God Bless,


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

More of the Same

Hi everyone,

There is a certain routine about our lives right now. We mark time by chemotherapy treatments and their effects.

Before the treatment Deb takes steroids. The day of chemo she is given something to lessen the possibility of nausea and something to relax her. A blood test is performed before the actual chemo application. The day of chemo she feels good, but tired. The next day she is very tired but must go within 24 hours of the actual administration of chemo to get a shot to boost her white blood cells.

It's after the chemo, the first week or two that her taste is gone and most things she eats have little or no taste or a bad taste. She is tired the first week and just about the time she gets some energy it's time again for a dose of chemo.

This time,so far, she hasn't lost all her hair. She has some fuzz on her head and some eyelashes.

The weather hasn't been very helpful. Twenty two inches of snow last Tuesday and Wednesday and four inches on Friday. Snowed yesterday too! How wonderful it would be to sit outside.

Last time the weather was better during the chemotherapy.

Tonight she has her monthly dinner with friends. She is trying to keep active and she is working except for the day of chemo and the day after. She says that the drugs given this time have made her more tired than the last time.

Still her spirits are good and we believe in the power and grace of God. We trust in Him and petition Him for healing and comfort.

Our friend Jack and another friend Chuck are battling serious health issues right now. If you could include them in your prayers they would be blessed.

God bless all,


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Moving down the line

Hi everyone,

It seems like a month since we heard the verdict on the spot on Deb's liver, but in reality, it has only been three days.

Doctor Weyburn, Deb's oncologist, offered to talk with me if I had any questions. So far I haven't called him. It seems apparent that with organ involvement Deb will always have cancer with her. Sometimes it will be in remission, other times it will flare up and need treatment. What all that means is not clear, but I doubt the doctor can look into his crystal ball and give us specifics. Deb will speak with him prior to her next chemo, and that will give us some time to compose questions.

He did say that even with the liver involved, Deb should have many years ahead of her. Thank God for that.

Deb had a lot of general body pain yesterday. She was in bed early and slept until 8 AM. We were talking about the need to follow through on a prior discussion about wills and things. A living will and a power of attorney, plus giving some thought to distributing the little things, that will only mean something special to certain people. Who should be the executor? Things like that. It's something that everyone should do and then update. We have wills, but need to make sure everything is in order and complete.

Today, Sunday, she is in the shower now, getting ready for church. We go to the 11 AM service at the Chapel campus in McHenry. I can't imagine going through this without the love and support of our church, friends and family.

This is difficult for us because we only know here and now. It is not impossible for us because we have faith that we will live an eternity without pain and separation with the one God of the universe. We all will die, but the more important question is how we spend the time we have left.

Have a great day, filled with many blessings,


Dan and Deb

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The results.

Here is Deb's e mail from the doctor's office as she waited for her Chemo treatment on Thursday, 1/27/11 at 11 AM.

I'll start with the news we've been waiting for. My liver biopsy result is positive for cancer. Obviously not the result we were hoping and praying for. Apparently when breast cancer spreads to another organ, there is no ultimate cure. So, we will continue with the current chemotherapy as we still need to work on the breast and it should also have an effect on the liver. After my fourth treatment I'll have another MRI on my breast and ultrasound on my liver to gauge progress.

There would still be breast surgery planned after the sixth treatment. There typically is not surgery or radiation performed on the liver. The liver cancer is estrogen positive like the cancer in my breast, I will ultimately be taking a drug like Tamoxifen, but not Tamoxifen, to keep the cancer at bay.

To top all this off, they haven't been able to start administering my chemo yet because my port is being uncooperative. It's letting fluid in, but not letting the blood out so they can do my CBC to make sure all my levels are okay. Now we are trying something called cathlo to try to keep it open for drawing fluid. So another 15 - 20 minutes before trying again. I assume if this doesn't work we'll do it the old fashioned way via a vein in my arm, which is usually an adventure with my veins.

Until I have more to report, that's it for now. (Hopefully I'll be home before midnight.)

Sent from my iPhone
Deb Harrell

We are laying all this at the feet of our Lord. He will be our comfort, our hope and our guide.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Random Thoughts Today

I saw this photo of my father and Deb and decided to post it. It was taken in the Carbondale Illinois area in 2001 when we took my father to the place of his birth. We were having lunch with some other family members and started to walk to the cars. It was a beautiful day and as Deb and Dad walked in front of me I saw him slip his hand into hers and I happened to have my camera. Dad liked Deb and she always listened to his stories and talked to him a lot. He was starting to slip at this time, but still was able to get around and his mind worked.

I think Dad liked having a steadying hand as he was 87 at the time. Wouldn't we all like to have someone slip their hand into ours when life hurts and we are alone.

Our heavenly Father will be there for us if only we ask. He will provide comfort and healing for us and answer our prayers.

God Bless everyone on this beautiful Sunday.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Little Something Extra

Good Saturday Morning, everyone

Snow coming down gently, joining the other few inches on the ground. It IS January in Illinois!

Deb had a liver biopsy yesterday. She made it through like a champ, but was tired an had some infrequent pain if she moved a certain way. They took her into the room about 10:30. A couple of scans done to give the radiologist the correct target. Some topical annesthesia followed by an incision, more pain killer and finally the needle. After all that was said previously, I'm sure she expected it to be about 8 feet long, but it wasn't. The needle went in, she held her breath as requested, and the pathologist checked to see if the sample was sufficient for a good examination. It was, so they buttoned her up and into a holding area, where I joined her.

It was perfect. I had a table for the laptop, a power outlet if I needed one, and then we both ordered lunch. Lunch was good too, something no one expects in a hospital.

They held her to 1:30 PM to make sure nothing happened and then I took her home. She rested and seemed to feel OK. I saved shoveling the driveway for her, so she'd have something to do on Saturday. Kidding.

Thank you one and all for the prayers to our Maker, the Great Physician. He hears them all and will answer each prayer.

We get the results next week, more then.

Love to all,

Dan and Deb

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Good Weekend

Hello everyone, and happy Monday.

I'm off today for Martin Luther King day. Deb's working so I'll have time to do some things around the house, or maybe shovel snow, as they predict four inches or so.

We had a very nice weekend. Our friends Jack and Dee came over for breakfast Saturday. He seems to be doing well except for th lack of energy.

Sunday at The Chapel, we heard a wonderful message about why sin exists and how sin started in this world. Sunday night we had small group. For those of you that have never experienced small group, it is eight to ten people who come together to share a commitment to experience the word of God and become friends. Food is usually involved and often you form deep relationships with each other. Our group includes four couples and three singles. We have a great time with a lot of humor and prayer. It starts the week on a positive note.

We begin to understand the strugles each of our small group has in their life. Their strugles mirror what you may find in any group of people. Most of all we face each day wondering what is in store for us. Will we have trouble or joy. No one knows.

God Bless

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A New Complication

Hi everyone,

Thanks for reading this and your prayers. We both imagine lots of prayers being generated by those kind folks who take the time to read this and reflect on it.

We know that we can't change what is to be, but God knows exactly what will happen and we pray for His will to be done. We know he will answer all your prayers and ours.

The ultrasound found something on the liver. On further review it isn't a cyst, as it was the first go around, but something else. Deb will schedule a biopsy in the next week or so.

Today is round two for chemotherapy. Tomorrow she gets the shot to boost her white blood cells. Anemia is an enemy that can cause delays in the chemo schedule.

Jack, our friend had his third dose of chemo. He's getting some of the side effects, but handling it very well.

Deb, as you all know, is going to beat this thing. That I believe. What we are going through presently is intended to encourage all of you focus on asking God for mercy and healing.

Love to all,


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Accepting the unusual as usual.

Hello everyone,

Well, Christmas has come and gone. We had Deb's family for Christmas eve, and it was a blast. Great food and fun, some of the kids are still young enough to really get into the presents thing. Someday it will change as the kids get older, and have independant plans. But for now I'm glad we can all get together and celebrate the holiday.

Christmas day we had Deb's parents and our good friends Jack and Dee. probably nineteen years we've all been together. We're praying a lot for Jack because he too has cancer. Lymphoma. He and Deb both will have chemo treatments next week. Jack's third and Deb's second. They compare notes and side effects. Jack has lost all his hair.

Deb had all her hair buzzed to day. Her scalp has been very sensitive and it was apparent that her hair was going to start coming out in bunches. Last time I cut it for her, but I was able to do it outside. This time we went to Great Clips.

Deb has been blowing a lot. We thouht it was a cold but now we think it is a chemo side effect. We were a little unsure of the exact side effects because this is a different chemical than the last time. We expect that she will be very tired on Thursday after her chemotherapy and also on Friday. The weekend will be a mixed bag. She also has to watch what and how much she eats. She has some gastrointestinal issues along with not being able to taste much. The second week after her treatment she should have more energy and less side effects.

We have been getting great support from so many people. Our small group has been very sympathetic and we get lots of hugs from our friends and lots of prayers. God has been very good to us in providing such great comfort.

So we continue to plod along with faith and hope in God's plan. Thank you all for your love and support.

God Bless,