Stan and Diane’s Journey Entry #9

Greetings all in the POWERFUL NAME OF JESUS!!!!!!  I began my radiation treatment today and all went very well.  I need to share with you all, what an amazing team I am working with.  They are Dr. Xu a young Chinese woman, Lisa, Lucy, Sandy and Heather are the radiologist team.  Heather is the manager.  They are young, professional, compassionate, thorough, and two of them are Christian.  They are the ones who will be doing the treatments and instead of 10 they are going to do 15 in order to cover all the bases.  The treatment itself is NOT uncomfortable or scary.  They have so fine tuned this process that the patient is on the table all comfortable while the machines around me do all the moving.  I am in a large room in the open and so it is not evasive at all.  I can hear the girls voices as they are in another room and speak to me through a speaker.  When the treatment was done they came in the room saying what a great picture they got of the brain and how well everything went.  They even used the word “perfect”.  They were all smiles and gave me hugs.  You cannot get better than that.  I know we will be getting closer through the weeks ahead.  I am so very grateful for each one and their skills and abilities and great bedside manner.  That treatment was on the brain and then they did the lumbar and that was just as smooth.  I go again tomorrow at 3:30 but from now on instead of 45 minutes it will be 15 on the brain and 15 on the lumbar.  I have had no changes in me yet.  They say my immune system will be weakened through this but I am not focussing on that.  Instead I am praying God will protect it and even make it stronger.  He definitely is holding me in the palm of His hand and all the love, support and prayers are carrying me in such a beautiful, peaceful, powerful way every day.  I am sleeping well.  I have a good appetite.  I am taking naps in the afternoon and sleeping well.  I am doing a lot of reading of Scripture, praying and singing and playing the piano.  Also enjoying being outside as much as possible. Andrew and I have had great times being together and in fact he is the one who accompanied me today for my first treatment and it was wonderful having him by my side.  We are on this journey together as immediate family and global family and for that I am eternally grateful.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Love and hugs, Diane

Diane and Stan’s Journey: Entry 8

In the past week or so we have met many new people in the medical field and everyone of them has had bad news, BUT NOT TODAY!  The first good news was received with a loud “Praise the Lord!”  We have been praying that the lab would find a mutated cancer cell and thereby allow Diane to be able to use an oral chemo rather than an IV administered chemo, and TODAY WE FOUND OUT THAT SUCH A CELL WAS FOUND!  So Diane will be on Tarceva.  This is an oral chemo taken once a day for the rest of her life, or until changes occur.

Tarceva is said to be more effective than regular IV chemo.  There are side affects that can happen, but we will be praying for minimal.   She will begin taking this type of chemo after it has been cleared through the insurance companies, but we were not told that would be a problem.   We are very thankful this positive news

Tomorrow Diane will begin radiation therapy on her brain and her lower fourth Lumber disc.  She will have ten treatments, five a week.  We are also praying that the side affects here will be minimal.


Diane and Stan’s Journey: Entry 7

After meeting with the radiation doctor Diane said, “I have never met with so many people who have given me bad news.”  The MRI shows that there are more than twelve cancer lesions in the brain.  This, obviously, is not what we wanted to hear, but it is what it is.

This Wednesday we have a planning session with the Radiologist and then on Thursday the radiation begins, twelve session, five per week.   The radiation will be on the brain and on the 4th Lumbar disc, the lower back.  Dr. Xu, the Radiologist, said that the treatments should deal with these, but that they might come back but will be easier to deal with.

Prayer:  1.  That the side-effects will be minimized and that Diane will not lose her hair.      2.  That the lesions will be dealt with by the radiation.  3.  And whatever else the Spirit might lead you to pray for.

The shock continues, but so does the strength of the Lord.

Diane and Stan’s Journey; Entry 6

(Stan writing)  Stage IV.  Non small cell lung cancer.  No cure.  It has spread to two bones and the fluid around the lungs.  Wow.  Worst possible scenario.  There is no way to to say such a diagnosis with sugar coating.  Dr. Dennie tried his best to ease us into the diagnosis, but in the end it is what it is.  More can be said,  but right now I do not even want to write about it.

Diane and Stan’s Journey Entry 4

48 hours Mom has been in heaven.  What an amazing life she had.  What wonderful experiences she had.  What beautiful places she was able to see and visit.  What loving people she served and who served her.  We have so much to be grateful for in the midst of our great loss.  What an amazing life she is having. She is now seeing what no eye has seen and hearing what no ear has heard.  She is dancing with my heavenly Father and my earthly father, her beloved husband of over 50 years.  Thank you Jesus for her life and the wonderful experience of being her daughter.  Blessed be her memory.

An update on me is that they have cancelled my oncology appointment for tomorrow because the doctor’s wife is having a baby.  They have rescheduled  me for Friday afternoon at 1:10 so at least I don’t have to wait until next week.  One step at a time.  Thank you all for your continued thoughts and prayers.

Diane and Stan’s Journey: Entry #3

In the middle of grief and loss there is also Joy.  Yesterday afternoon at about 4:15 p.m. Diane’s mother Hazelle finished the race and received the commendation, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”  Hazelle was truly a servant of others with the spiritual gift of service (Romans 12) and this was definitely her “seat of joy.”

Even now as I write this I hear Diane and her sister-in-law upstairs going through Hazelle’s cedar chest.  I hear a lot of reminiscing and laughter.  Yes, joy and loss can be present at the same time.

Yesterday’s attempt to draw the fluid from under Diane’s left lung was not very successful as they were only able to get 6 cc’s instead of the liter or two that they wanted.  Today’s Pet Scan seemed to go much better, but now we wait until Thursday morning for the results.

Diane had a hard time going to sleep last night.  All she needed was to be held and soon she was receiving God’s gift of sleep.

Diane and Stan’s Journey: Entry 2

(stan writing)  It’s Father’s Day.  It’s Sunday.  It’s the day I told the congregation that Diane has cancer.  Cancer is such a scary word, a word straight from hell.  We woke up this morning and Diane and I looked at each other, both saying that we wished we could just hibernate and not face people today, but we did face people today.

Grace Lutheran, at both morning services heard the word “cancer” and the sigh and groans broke the silence.  We both received so many hugs, kind words and promises of prayer.  It was affirming, comforting, helpful.  We are not in this journey alone.  Not only is God with us, but a whole host of people, people scattered all over the world journey with us.  Thank you, Lord, for brothers and sisters in the faith who pray, who love, who affirm and comfort.

And then there is Hazelle, Diane’s mother.  “Mom” has taken another turn in her turtle race toward her eternal home.  After worship, after a presentation on Guatemala, after all the hugs and supportive words, I raced to New Angel Adult Care Center in Federal Way.  There I saw Mom Hazelle in a way I have never seen her, laying so still, so peaceful, hardly breathing, unresponsive, but very much at peace.  The time is short, and yet who knows how long it will actually take her to “race” to the finish line.

And then there is Father’s Day and a great time at Peter and Paulie’s with barbecued scallops, shrimp, and vegetables and FAMILY!  In addition, extended family…church family Gary and Martha Sirguy stopped by on their way from Spokane to Port Angeles.  Another blessing.

The day began wanting to hibernate and the opposite happened.  Man, I’m thankful that I got out of bed.

(Diane writing)  I woke up this morning thankful again for not coughing through the night.  I have now had three nights of good sleep.  Even though I felt rested, I was emotional and felt very vulnerable.  Happy to have had my brother Bill and his wife spend the night and attend worship with me, I entered the sanctuary feeling pretty weak.  The worship service was so powerful.  My brother and wife on one side of me and Peter and Paulie on the other side of me, and Stan in front of us.  I was surrounded by my loving family except for Andrew, refereeing soccer matches, and Mom resting peacefully at New Angel Adult Home.

By the end of the service I felt loved, strengthened, and surrounded by my church family at Grace.  The hugs and words of encouragement and promises of prayer were such a gift.  I am not on this journey alone and I felt like a different person when I left to visit Mom with Bill and Sylvia.  Thank you Jesus for your constant presence and love that come through so many people and many varied ways.

To spend the rest of the day with Stan, Peter and Paulie and Andrew and Kristi was so much fun and relaxing.  Just what I needed.  Now we can face tomorrow and the beginning of the tests.  Thank you for the many prayers which will carry me through this coming week.

The Breath of God: Diane and Stan’s Journey

June 14, 2013 is the day to remember, but it is not the beginning of the journey.  No, this particular journey might have begun as long ago as two and a half years ago as  microscopically small cancer cells began forming in Diane’s upper left lung.  Yes, that demonic word “CANCER!”is now a word that is slowly beginning to sink in.  Lung cancer for a person who once tried to smoke one cigarette and failed, but this cancer belongs to those who have not smoked, this cancer is now part of Diane’s body.  Diane is more than cancer, but it is part of her reality and mine also.

Dr. Mann was extremely compassionate, caring and also gave us plenty of time to ask questions, be alone and then outlined the process ahead, at least for the first part of next week.  There will be fluid withdrawn and analyzed on Monday, June 17th, a Pet Scan to determine if the cancer has spread on Tuesday and then on Thursday we will meet with the oncologist.  Here we go, the journey has begun.  Our life journey has taken us on a new road, but a road travelled by so many others through time.  We are not alone on this journey; family and friends, church families, those we do not even know, as well as friends scattered throughout the world accompany us, but above all, we continue to travel with the One who has always been with us, Emmanuel, God Almighty.

This is the beginning of our on-line journal and we invite others to travel with us, comment and especially to pray and to grow with us for this will be both educational and spiritual.