Beauty is not so much what you see, but what you dream.
~Old Proverb~

Friday, December 27, 2013

Our December

Our December has been a good one, and a hard one a few times!
My parents planned and paid for a trip to send us all to a resort at Eagle Crest for a week, the beginning of December. It was a wonderful time of relaxation and fun. We had a cooking contest and every couple made breakfast and dinner one day of the week. My parents did the grading and we were scored on everything from presentation to food flavor. It was awesome! We had all kinds of different things, but Dan and Liz one the honors on Wednesday night with a beautiful Hawaiian Luau Style dinner. Everything was beautiful with seafood kabobs, grilled potatoes, platters of tropical fruits fashioned into palm trees and tropical fish and a delicious creamy drink served in hollowed out pineapples. It was nothing short of amazing. The guys spent time playing pool, Settlers of Catan and Monopoly and one day we ladies got treated to an afternoon at the spa. We all came home refreshed with such great memories!
      Starting pretty much right after we got home, Andy experienced a week and half of rather miserable nausea and chemo side effects, that up until this time, had been mostly nonexistent. It came on fairly suddenly. He woke up feeling yucky and nauseated one morning and it pretty much got worse through out the day. I did my best to keep him nourished, but despite all my efforts he dropped all ten pounds he had gained in the last month and a half. Sad day. I admit to feeling very discouraged and unqualified for the task of taking care of my sweetheart. I took him to see the nurse about three days into it and she was pleased that despite Andy's nausea and vomiting, he was still well hydrated and his blood and immunity looked wonderful. I breathed a sigh of relief and took my husband home. Turns out that the chemo side effects started to diminish as soon as his cycle of oral chemo was over and he has gotten a little better everyday. Those were hard days for him and me, as Christmas got closer and closer and we felt discouraged ,thinking that we were mostly likely going to have to spend the holidays by ourselves. ( We were both having a pity party) ;) The day before Christmas Eve we made the decision to stay home because Andy was still feeling so ill in the evenings and we were afraid that going out might make him worse. The day was gray and rainy and I was having a hard time in general just watching Andy lay on the couch looking gloomy. I knew what he was thinking and how he was missing his family and wishing he could just beam himself there with them. ;)  Suddenly the whole idea of staying home just seemed ridiculous. I knelt down by the couch and smiled at him. "Lets go" I said..." Shall we just go?"
  "hmmm, maybe? Guess I'm gonna be sick no matter where I am and Id rather be with our families for Christmas. "
  It was settled in a matter of minutes. We packed some clothes and got in the car and in a few hours we had made it to his parents. It was a wonderful time! We spent a few days with his family and then a few days with mine and the long drives were pleasant and totally worth it! I found a new appreciation and awe for our mothers who, pretty much single handedly, prepared amazing meals for the families they love so much. All of the work they went to, to take such good care of us! Mothers are truly amazing! And the fathers too! I definitely seen two wonderful fathers, thoughtfully deboning the turkeys after dinner and helping with the cleanup. We came home thoroughly spoiled and so encouraged! It is amazing how uplifting Godly families can be to tired hearts and sick bodies! :)
   Today we came in for Andy's next chemo infusion and a check up. Doctor Kornfeld did the regular labs and then cut two of Andy's chemo meds in half. He put him on a new one that is supposed to shrink the small cancerous spots by his left kidney. The nurse told us that hopefully this will get everything contained/small enough that they can perhaps operate to remove it. We are looking at one more infusion for the middle of January and then another CT Scan. Andy's labs again came out looking fabulous and the Doctor said that he is very surprised, but very pleased. Andy is continuing to maintain good health despite everything. Praise God!
   We are supplementing the chemo with as much natural medicine as possible. We took a break from juicing when I was sick with pregnancy, but thankfully my nausea has been leaving and we have commenced once again. Andy thinks it helps him and I am pleased because I can get so many nutrients into his blood stream. Please continue to pray as we experience the ups and downs that come with Chemotherapy. Things are looking very encouraging and we are hopeful that soon the chemo will be over.
  Lots of Love from us to you! Thank you for praying!
                                                    Andy and Trin

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

More Wonderful News :)

"Do not be afraid for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. "

  Hopeful...I guess that sums it all up! We were just so hopeful that things would look good on Andy's CT Scan today. I was trying to hard to curb anxiety and trust God and sometimes it is SO HARD!
  The day started out with sweet husband passing out after his lab draw! He has never done that so it was quite a surprise. They think it was because his blood pressure dropped suddenly, but it was much better within about five minutes and he was up and ready to go! He was laying on the clinic bed asking me if I thought he could just walk out there and tell them he was ready to start his chemo. :)  About then the doctor came in and told us that there was good news. I breathed a sigh of relief. :)
 He told us that the large mass of cancer in Andy's abdomen had shrunk significantly. "Well how much is that?" we wanted to know. 
   Dr. Kornfeld smiled:  "About 80-90%. "
Wow! Just WOW! We couldn't quite believe it!  This was way more than we had expected!
We had both agreed that we would have been happy with any amount of shrinking! To have so much was above and beyond what we had hoped for! But then isn't that how God works! He is always there, ready to bless us above and beyond what we could have EVER imagined! He is so amazing and we are in so much awe of his amazing work in Andy's body!
   The doctor is very optimistic about Andy's progress. He is pleased that blood work is consistently coming back looking fantastic and vital organs are functioning just as they should. He is pleased that Andy is finally gaining weight and all around, just looking well! I'm sure there are people out there who are thinking, "WOW what a powerful drug! Medicine has really come a long way!" To you I would say...yah, medicine is a good thing, but God is so much more powerful and as a dear friend reminded me last night, HE is the great physician and the only true HEALER!
  As far as other news goes, we are still loving our new home in sisters! I had hoped to have pictures ready to post at this point, but alas, I have not even thought of putting them on the computer! :)  We had a wonderful Thanksgiving visiting my side of the family, this year. We ate much delicious food and took many naps. :) There was much laughing and conversation and we came away with many good memories. We are looking forward to our first Christmas together this year and enjoy spending lots of time talking about the baby to come. :) We are due on May 28th and can hardly wait to meet this little one, but at the same time enjoying the wonderful journey of getting there. SO IMPORTANT to enjoy each day in its own since we've no guarantee of tomorrow or even another breath! This is something Andy reminds me of almost daily as I try to get ahead of myself or start voicing my concerns about this or that in the future. :)
  Thank you to every one who is praying! We still have a few more concerns, especially with the two lymphnodes by Andy's left kidney. The cancer in them has grown  about a centimeter since his last CT scan, even thought the rest has been shrinking and the doctor thinks the cancer there has mutated slightly. He is going to try a different drug at Andy's next infusion, and cut back on the two he is taking now. His next infusion is scheduled to be sometime around the first of the year and then he will have one more after that before having another CT scan. After that the doctor said we will be talking about some other options, although we don't know what at this point. Possibly biological trials or even a surgery to remove what is left of the mass in his stomach? It is all a mystery for now, but it IS comforting knowing that God knows exactly what the future holds, and on that note I have to get going, but thank you once again for all the prayer and support! We love you all!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Praises! Praises! Praises! :)




Today was Andy's third chemo infusion. He hadn't had a check up for three weeks (his last chemo infusion) so we were a little nervous about what his blood tests and immunity would look like. It started out a little on the tense side when it took four different nurses a total of six times to get an IV in poor husbands arm. Poor guy! :(
  About twenty minutes late the blood test results came back and we met with Dr. Kornfeld. He was just as pleased as he could be as he sat there smiling at us and told us that his blood tests and immunity look great. Everything is functioning as it should. They also weighed him and he has gained three pounds. It may not seem like much to most people, but I was practically jumping up and down. The doctor was happy about this as well. He said that weight gain is an excellent sign.
 He is having his chemo infusion now. Its long ( a little over six hours) and boring for him. His parents and grandparents came to sit with us and keep us company. This really makes the day go by so much faster. :) He is already tired because the chemo just wipes him out. It will probably be a week or so before he gets back to his normal self. In the meantime, lots of naps, which I LOVE! :) This is the last chemo treatment before his ct scan and the scan is scheduled for the 4th of December, with a DR. Appointment and another chemo infusion scheduled for the fifth. We are all anxious for the result of the scan, so hoping for lots of shrinking of this mass. Dr. Kornfeld says that he cant imagine that its not shrinking, just by Andy's diminishing symptoms, but of course he cant see inside, but he thinks we will have good results. Praying for just that!


As Far as other news goes...


 By Gods grace and with LOTS of family help we got moved into our new apartment in Sisters this past two weeks. We have both been so exhausted lately that we couldn't have done it without everybody! The men ended up having to lift our couch up through a second story window since it wouldn't fit through the doorway up the stairs! It was quite the feat and I was so impressed!  A week later my wonderful mama came over and pretty much completely unpacked us, making things cozy and hanging things on walls just so. She is amazing and I was so thankful for her help!  
  All in all it has been a very good month. We feel so blessed and are daily amazed by Gods wonderful provision and care. Please continue to pray and may the Lord bless you all!
   Much love from us!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Encouraging News

Today was Andy's three week appointment after starting chemo. We both felt pretty good going into it and maybe just a little anxious. They did some labs first thing and then we got to talk to the doctor. He started out by saying that his labs were excellent, almost unbelievably so...his white blood cell counts were down and his red were holding normal. There was no hit to his immune system at all, even with the chemo. We already really knew that since I got very sick last week with a bad cold and Andy never got it! Praise God! :) Doctor Kornfeld asked how Andys nausea and pain were. How surprised and pleased he was to find that Andy has been taking pain medication and nausea medicine hardly at all...about twice a week at most. He said that logically it sounds as though the cancer is shrinking since we KNOW that the pain was caused by the tumor and the pain is, now, mostly nonexistent. We will be doing another six weeks of chemo and then he will have his next CT Scan to check the progress...after that he said he will most likely have another nine weeks and then we will decide wether to do the biological clinical trials at OHSU. So far Dr. Kornfeld is very impressed and encouraged. He told us at one point that what he has learned in cancer treatment is AWE! AWE at all that happens that just simply cannot be explained. Well Doctor Kornfeld, we have an explanation for this one! Our LORD JESUS CHRIST!!! :) And we are so in awe of all he has been doing in our lives and the way he has provided/is providing for us! Its too amazing for words! We feel so blessed and encouraged by all who are praying! Thank you so much for your support! As of now, Andy is having his three week chemo treatment and then we won't have to come back for an entire three weeks, unless Andy feels sick, but the doctor says that right now he is doing so well that he doesn't see any need to schedule any appointments until his next chemo round. Andy sat there grinning when he said this, pleased to be unleashed from the "every other day appointments" .:)
  All in all, thank you Lord and praise your name! All glory is yours!
  

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Lately

Lately ~
        Blessed is he...whose hope is in the Lord...Who Made Heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them: who keeps faith forever.
                                        Psalm 145:5-6
Lately things have been different than I ever would have imagined  in my first year of marriage...but they have been really amazing too. Andy started chemo on Monday and
 he has been feeling better. Today he hasn't even had to take half of the nausea medicine that the doctor said he would... I know that probably won't be true of every day, but Andy reminds me to just take it one day at a time and enjoy each little win. :)
  Andy isn't exactly enjoying his new eating plan... ;-) heehee, but he eats like a trooper and is so positive and sweet about it, although he still grimaces when I bring him aloe vera juice twice a day. I just smile and tell him how good it is for him and the grimace goes away. I did tons of research about what we could do nutritionally that would 'compliment' the chemo and the nurse at the infusion clinic also gave me a ton of information. We decided to go entirely organic and start using food as a medicine as well. I juice about 15 pounds of veggies and fruit for him every day so far and though he doesn't particularly LOVE the fresh carrot/apple juice, like I do, :) he drinks it up, no problem. :) He also drinks ALOT of fresh chicken broth and eats creamy soups and as many steamed dark green veggies as I can get in him. Today he had steamed spinach and toast for breakfast. Definitely not a breakfast of choice, but he ate it up without a complaint. :) I think I may have even gagged on that one.
  Anyhow, lately things have been different, but in lots of good ways, with the hard ones. I spend LOTS of time in the kitchen, making things from scratch and its tiring, but then I also get to snuggle up next to my husband for and hour or two at a time and we chatter and nap...he tells me stories about hunting and his childhood and I get to spend more time with him than ever before! Its such an amazing blessing despite the sickness, and Andy reminds me lots of times that God's timing is impeccable, he never makes mistakes. Things are NEVER out of HIS control, and when we belong to HIM we never have to be afraid. We cling to that on so many days when we get scared of what lies ahead and all the unknowns.  Those unknowns will drive you insane if you let them. So much better to put them in God's hands and let him keep you safe, surrounded by his peace. Besides, Andy and I were just talking today, that in spite of the illness and the fear it likes to inspire there are so many little blessing to this time, like the way it has brought us even closer to the Lord and to each other. Maybe its not the way we would have chosen for that to happen? Surely, we think, there must be better ways, that don't involve so many tears! But who are we to question God's sovereignty and the beauty of his timing? We are HIS and he is the author of our lives. Just need to keep trusting and hoping and praying, after all, HE is the GREAT PHYSICIAN.
 
    FOR LO I AM WITH  YOU ALWAYS, EVEN UNTO THE END OF THE WORLD.
                                                            Matthew 28:20

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

It has been so long since I last wrote that I hardly know where to begin!
  As most of you know, Andy and I got married a little over seven months ago. I suppose it was very much a whirlwind courtship and engagement and I am happy every day that it was exactly how it was, I wouldn't change a thing! :)
  We had met online in September of 2012. He had "winked" at me and I replied via email about a week later. I liked him right away with his simple, down to earth personality, and could see his love for the Lord immediately. We emailed for a few days before my Dad gave him permission to call me. I was so nervous before that first call! ;)  I answered the phone to the most country accent I had ever heard...right away he was dubbed "the mountain man" in my mind and to every one that I talked to about him. Because we were right on the cusp of hunting season I didn't actually get to meet Andy for about a month or so, although he did write me letters and call EVERY night except when he didn't have cell service in the mountains. :) A few weeks after we started talking he told me that "he kinda liked me" hee hee :) and wanted to meet with my Dad about pursuing me. Needless to say, I was THRILLED. He and Dad had a wonderful conversation, I was later told, and showed up at the house a few hours later. He strolled through the door looking nervous and oh so handsome! My heart definitely went a mile a minute. :)  We all had dinner that night and I introduced him to my family and we sat around the living room all jabbering and enjoying each  other. Thus was the start of many sweet visits. Andy would brave storm after storm that winter coming over the mountain passes  just to come see me, even if it was for only a short time. Once he came over early just to take me to see the doctor and then drove home. A four hour round trip! I felt so blessed I couldn't even describe it.
   In December my parents had planned a family shopping trip and banquet type dinner with our whole family, Andy came down for the weekend and after dinner we all went driving around looking at Christmas lights and listening to Christmas music. I knew that Andy had wanted to talk to my Dad that weekend about asking me to marry him and he did...they went away to talk at the mall and Andy came back with a  big smile, but NEVER said a thing! :) You that know me, know that I'm not terribly good at waiting on things, but wait I did. I didn't ask and he didn't offer up any information. Even my Dad wouldn't say anything! By the end of the weekend I had pretty much given up that I was going to hear what happened in their mysterious conversation. Right before Andy was to leave we usually always took a quick walk down the lane so he could stretch his legs before the long drive. As we were walking Andy stopped at a road sign where I had once stopped to "get a rock" our of my shoe. He reached down to "get something out of his shoe" with me standing beside him completely oblivious to his plan. There it was....the most beautiful ring ever made, and his handsome smiling eyes, and his voice asking me if I would be his wife.  "YES, YES, and ABSOLUTELY YES! :D
   The rest of the story you all know. We got married! It was a wonderful day, we look at the pictures of that day often and remember the sweetness and blessing and how good the Lord is to his people. :)
    After I married Andy I moved to Bend. I loved and hated it...sometimes it hard to decide! :) I mostly missed my green valleys and lush forests and abundant water, but I am definitely getting more used to it and learning to love it here. It just takes a while for a place to become home.
   In June Andy began having some back pain which he thought was because he had pulled a muscle, perhaps that was in part what it was, but it persisted into July when I finally took him to see a chiropractor. The chiropractor made some adjustments and that seemed to help, but by this point Andy's appetite had decreased dramatically and he had lost about fifteen pounds. He woke up one day throwing up blood and I rushed him to the ER.  "An Ulcer, A peptic Ulcer." They said. They put him on some antacids and pain reliever and sent him home. About five days later the throwing up had still not stopped and one night he was crouched over on the couch in so much pain that he couldn't even straighten up. Back to the ER we went. It was a miserable four hours for him as they ran the same blood tests as the time before and then sent him home with a new antacid and an over the counter pepto as well. For a few weeks he felt better although the throwing up continued off and on...every one told us that it was just taking time for the ulcer to heal and we thought it must just be normal, so he endured. No one had any idea yet of the disease lurking beneath the surface.
    All the while Andy was still having pain and nausea and was quickly losing weight at the rate of 5-7 pounds a week. I was beginning to get very concerned. Andy had decided not to go back to school in the fall and take a job at a Ranch where he had been offered, what we thought, was an excellent opportunity, so in the midst of all the sickness, that we thought was getting better, we gave a months notice at our apartment and he gave notice at work. As the end of August approached Andy's conditions was really no better. We could keep the symptoms under control for a while, but that was all. Two days before we were to move out to that Ranch and he was to start work, we got some information that the Ranch was involved in some tax evasion and some other illegal matters. I called the state to get some clear answers and they told me that the ranch wasn't even listed as a business and was clearly not licensed. Needless to say, we DID NOT sign that contract. Andy talked to the manager and pulled out completely. At this point Andy was feeling pretty much awful, physically and we had to be out of our apartment in a day. My friend from work offered a part of her big beautiful house to us to rent and stay as long as we wanted. My parents came up and moved us and we settled in over the weekend. On Monday morning I went back to work and Andy went job searching. He searched diligently for days and even worked some temp jobs, but he was daily feeling worse and losing more and more weight. We had been recommended to a gastroenterologist in Bend, but it was 400 dollars just to get in the door and 2000 for the endoscopy that that they wanted to do. We couldn't afford any of it as we were barely making bills at this point. After a hunting trip where Andy was sick the whole time, I had had enough. I called around until I found a MD Naturopath that we could afford. I told them the situation and they made him an appointment as soon as they could. It was for a week later.
  The doctor was concerned for Andy right away, mostly because he had lost so much weight in such a short time. At this point Andy had lost nearly sixty pounds. He ordered a CT scan for the following Monday and gave Andy some things to get him through the weekend. He called every day and checked up on us. On the Tuesday after the CT scan the doctor called and told us about the mass in Andy's abdomen that was "likely cancer" . We cried for hours that day...we were scared. The doctor was awesome and said that he was pulling some strings to get the doctors in Bend on our side and set us up with an appointment to see an Oncologist the following day. Enter Doctor Kornfeld... the amazing, compassionate guy who sat down with us and explained the CT scan slide by slide until we understood what we were looking at. He encouraged us and told us that we were gonna lick this thing. Also, on this day, we discovered that I am pregnant. We cried some more . God is so amazing in His plans and the care of his own, we just have to trust him as Andy encourages  me to remember every day.   :)  So basically that catches you all up to where we are right now...we are still waiting...waiting to find out what kind of cancer this is, what kind of treatment Andy will need, where we will go next, what we will do next...All in all we are still giving thanks and praising God. Not that we don't have our down days, the ones where fear almost wins out, but we are getting better about not letting the enemy get the best of us, because after all God is still in control! He still has a plan! and it was he who said:
     BE STILL AND WAIT ON ME... :)

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