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

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 ~
        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.
                                                            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: