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,