Monday, April 28, 2008

All Day Long

Decisions, decision...postponed

We still haven't made any decisions yet.

On Friday, Andrew had his feeding tube put into his stomach. Last second, despite giving him all kinds of relaxants and pain meds, they decided given Andrew's history of complications, it would be safer to use anesthesia on him. And since it's not advisable to mix anesthesia with Erbitux, one of the chemo drugs that Andrew was supposed to get a loading dose of afterwards, Erbitux was postponed until tomorrow (Tuesday). Since radiation can't start for a few days after Erbitux, we are not scheduled to start radiation until next Monday, May 5th.

Of course, there were complications during his surgery. So instead of getting out of the operating room at 9am and going to the clinic next door to get his 11am chemo, we got out of the hospital at 5pm without any chemo.

Cancer, cancer, cancer...
Last week was jam-packed with hospital visits. Originally, we only had doctor appointments for Tuesday. But since Andrew is still an out-patient, we find ourselves still subject to the doctor's schedules just like when we were in the hospital. We were at the doctors' all day each day except Thursday, either for additional questions or concerns. Then this weekend was very busy too. I found myself feeling incredibly frustrated and anxious. I kept going to the Lord about it, knowing no one could fix our problems and no one could provide relief or peace except for Him. Throughout this whole situation, I know that I am at the end of myself, but this weekend I felt even past the end of myself.

Today, I was going crazy. Every day we spend so much time talking to doctors, consulting, asking questions, either in person, or making phone calls, attempting to get in touch with people (to no avail) who specialize in young people who get oral cancer, such as at M.D. Anderson in Texas or Sloan Kettering in New York. We usually are on speaker phone when it's a phone call with one of our many doctors so that both of us can hear. I never go over in minutes until nowadays. Cancer cancer cancer. It felt like all that ever came out of my mouth or into my ears was cancer. And I missed my husband. His new pain med for his excruciating feeding tube has made him so tired and distracted by his pain. I can't even hug him because there's nowhere to hug him. All I want is my husband and to be with him, yet, even though he is right in front of me, cancer is in our way.

I called up my friend Sam, who is in our small group at church and also lives a few blocks away. She is my right-hand (wo)man. She anticipates any of our needs before we realize it's a need, or occasionally I will tell her of a need, and she will delegate it to one of her teams for childcare, house-cleaning, or whatever other team she has. In the process of her always inquiring and planning about our needs, I have come to rely upon her as a confidante as well. Any time I'm incredibly discouraged and can't find my way out of it on my own, I feel safe calling her. She lets me cry and doesn't try to find the right words to say to me. She says things like, "I wish there were magical words to say to you to make things better," or "Every day I wake up wondering, 'What must it feel like to be Grace today?' but I know I just can't even begin to imagine." And so instead of trying to give me a pep talk, which would probably feel like a knife in my abdomen, she prays for me. And the Lord always answers and helps me.

This day, when I called her, aside from crying, I wanted to ask her if she could get some coffee with me, but I knew her kids were already home from school, and I didn't want to bother her. So I prayed that if it was the Lord's will that she would ask me instead. While we were on the phone, her daughter wrote a note to her asking if she and her brother could go over their neighbor's house to play. Then, after Sam prayed for me, she asked me if we could meet for coffee.

I think it was just what I needed. I needed to get out of the house and laugh and talk with someone about something other than cancer. I think the reason why Sam is able to minister to me so effectively, even when I feel so raw anything would hurt me, is because she doesn't rely upon herself to do it. I think it's because she answers everything with prayer. I feel like I can breathe again, and I am so thankful that the Lord takes care of us through so many different means. Sometimes, it's just through His Word alone with Him, sometimes it's through a message that's preached, sometimes it's through another sister in the Lord. We need the brethren so much and we can't make it through life, let alone this without them.

For the past few weeks, I juice all day long for Andrew to supplement his liquid feedings, and I absolutely love it. Somehow, God has given me so much enjoyment in all the different aspects of being Andrew's nurse. As I went to the store today to pick up more veggies for Andrew, I was so amazed at all the different vegetables God has made and with so many nutrients and healing properties. Today, the new vegetable I introduced to Andrew's tummy was red chard. It's a really large, green leaf with red veins. It is super-rich in Vitamins K, A, C, magnesium, manganese, potassium, iron, vitamin E, and dietary fiber, among many other things. I stand amazed at the God who made it all so beautiful with such creativity and variety, and such kindness to nourish us with it.

Please pray:

- That Andrew wouldn't have any side-effects from the Erbitux, long or short-term

- Complete healing


  1. I was thinking this morning of the weight of your decision and was reminded of the magnitude of the decision the early church believers made to follow Christ.
    We don't feel the weight of that decision nearly enough today, as there aren't immediate consequences like there were then. It sweet to know that your ultimate decision to follow Christ has been made and He can handle the rest of the details perfectly.
    Our hearts break for your burden for each other, Andrew for your sweet wife and precious kids, and Grace for your "helplessness" towards the husband you so dearly would love to help.
    God understands, He loves you and He has the most amazing plan for this entire situation, we just don't know what it is yet.
    Thanks for your encouragement to all of us in your blog, and for sharing the "hard to share" parts. God is using all of this to change hearts for His glory.
    God is Good,
    The Weinbergs

  2. We are specifically praying verses 6-7 for Andrew. Love Tony, Priscilla, Kai and Brynn

    Psalm 61
    For the director of music. With stringed instruments. Of David.
    1 Hear my cry, O God;
    listen to my prayer.

    2 From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

    3 For you have been my refuge,
    a strong tower against the foe.

    4 I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.

    5 For you have heard my vows, O God; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.

    6 Increase the days of the king's life,his years for many generations.

    7 May he be enthroned in God's presence forever; appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him.

    8 Then will I ever sing praise to your name and fulfill my vows day after day.