Friday, December 20, 2013

TWO YEARS and GOIN' STRONG!


It's been two years since Harv was diagnosed with "stage 4 colon cancer metastatic to the liver."

And, he's still here.

And, he feels pretty good.

And, the counts that should go down are goin' down.

And, he's still here.

Cancer has not won this fight!

And, Merry, Merry Christmas to you all!

We love you.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Looks like it's workin'


CEA count is down a little bit more!  That's a good thing...

We're gonna keep at it for a little longer!

GoFightWin!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Stirrings of the soul


There is something stirring in my soul... I don't want to say it "out loud" 'cause then it becomes real. 

There haven't been very many times in my life when my soul is stirred, but when it happens, some kind of action must be taken.

While "stirrings" can be exciting, they can also be scary. I'm not totally to the exciting part yet. I know that even when people feel unqualified, they can be used. I haven't figured out my role in this "stirring" yet, but I'm pretty sure I will have a role.

All I'm gonna say is: please pray with me. Please pray for right timing, right details, clear direction. Please pray for everyone who will be involved. 

Amen.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Movin' right along


I don't have a lot to report, but wanted to let you know that Harv went back to work. He is working  part-time at Northrop Grumann (100% from home) and helping with proposal writing. He started a week ago and has been PLENTY busy. 

While I think it's been kinda fun for him to get back into the working world, it has also been an adjustment. Partly, 'cause he jumped in right when they were working on a proposal with tight deadlines...but also just 'cause he doesn't have quite the stamina that he did before cancer entered our world with chemo, etc... But! I'd say he's kinda likin' it overall. We are very thankful that they offered him this opportunity.

He goes back tomorrow for second round of this treatment. He'll have Avastin infused and then continue with daily GMCSF shots. We have an appointment with Dr. Lin next Tuesday.

We are only days away from the 2 year "anniversary" of his diagnosis. TWO YEARS! I wouldn't say they've been easy years, but we have been very fortunate in many, many ways.  And, I believe he's doing very, very well for a stage-4-colon-cancer-metastatic-to-the-liver patient! 

Thankful, thankful, thankful!

Hopin' y'all are havin' a wonderful holiday season. 

We love you.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Giving Thanks


This is the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Throughout my life, I have attended Thanksgiving  church services where people get to voice their thanks. When I was a child, we had services on Thanksgiving day and the whole service was centered around people having an opportunity to share what they were thankful for.  No one in my family ever did it. Not because we weren't thankful. We just didn't want to share in front of the whole congregation. There were families who shared EVERY year. I think it made us uncomfortable that they shared their feelings in such a public way. We didn't think it was wrong, but we squirmed a bit when they shared so openly. And, we held our thankfulnesses tightly.

Today, in the church bulletin, I noticed that there would be an opportunity to share thankfulnesses today. I rolled my eyes in discomfort and dug my heels in, prepared to hold onto mine. But people got up and shared beautiful meditations of why they were thankful and how they practice thankfulness -- even in times of difficulty or times when they don't really FEEL thankful.

And, as I sat there, I felt a nudge to get up and share. I tried to map out my little bit of sharing -- how it would sound, what to include, what to leave out, how do I include everything I want to say in just a minute or two at most?

That part of the service was eliminated at the last minute -- probably we ran out of time -- so my little talk that I had planned "on the fly" would not be said.

Until now.

The very first thing that comes to mind when I think of thankfulness (though it is not, by any means, the only thing I'm thankful for) is that Harvey is still alive. Two years ago today, we didn't know how sick he was. December 20, 2011 we found out. It was scary. We had to talk about things with our girls that we didn't want to talk about.  We had to talk to an attorney so we would be prepared for what seemed to be inevitable. We faced (and tried not face) what seemed really ugly news. His diagnosis was stage 4 colon cancer metastatic to the liver. And, the first couple of doctors we saw did not have much hope in their eyes.

Enter the second thing that I'm thankful for: Dr. Lin and research and progress and HOPE. I remember leaving his office feeling hopeful. Hope is something that cancer patients and their families need.  And, he has given us hope throughout the past two years.... And, Harvey is doing pretty well for someone who thought his death was eminent. Hope continues two years later.  

Sometimes, though, I'm so thankful for so much that I don't want to say it out loud. Sometimes it's too sacred. The thankfulness I feel is very deep. It's not something I can describe. It's too big...too special...too important. You know what I mean? It's as if saying it out loud kinda takes away the specialness of it. 

But understand this: I have been and continue to be blessed beyond measure in ways beyond measure throughout my life... I grew up in a family that I treasure. I married into a family that I treasure. I gained a daughter through marriage that I treasure...and God gave me two little girls that I treasure -- all of those people --- more than I will ever be able to let them know.

Thankful. Deeply thankful.

For much.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Full day -- but good.


It's been a full day -- capped off with the Sehome Cross Country banquet! I am so thankful that Sarah and Hannah are a part of that team!!! Seriously. I mean it.  It's been a great thing for them during these past couple of years... (They just finished their THIRD season with the team...and it was a good one!) Sehome has gone to state every year since Sarah and Hannah have been on the team and the whole team has won twice.  Timing is interesting, huh? :-)

Anyway, we got some good news. Harv's CEA is down to 10 from 15. Which means, we believe, that the immune boosters are working.  The CT scan showed very defined borders around the tumors which is a good thing.  The lesions in the liver are showing a 30% reduction in size. The affected lymph nodes also have decreased in size. 

The PET scan was not conclusive, in Dr. Lin's opinion, because it "lit up" in some areas, but he believes that it's because of the GMCSF (immune booster). He says that the real evidence of progress is shown in the CEA count and the size of the tumors...both of which are going down. 

His plan is to have Harv continue with the GMCSF + Avastin (no more 5FU or pump!!! Weeee hawww!) for a couple of more rounds to see if the decrease in both numbers and size continues.

He'll talk with Dr. Park in the meantime and if Dr. Park thinks surgery is a good idea, he won't stand in the way, but he believes, for now, we need to keep building the immune system to keep fighting the tumors.

We left feeling energized, hopeful AND thankful for Dr. Lin.

I am SO thankful that there are people out there who are trying their hardest to develop a way to cure cancer -- specifically Harvey's cancer.

And, once again, I am very thankful for all of you...your prayers, your companionship, your love.

Many blessings to you all!

We had some good news today... Don't have time to give a full report, but things are progressing it seems. Will give a few more details later. Thanks for crossing your fingers (and toes and eyes) and your prayers! Yipppee!

Friday, November 15, 2013


Won't know anything until Tuesday when we meet with Dr. Lin. He's not in until then.

'Preciate your prayers and will update you as soon as we know what's next.

Love you, people!
-chc


Thursday, November 14, 2013


My brain sometimes is a bit befuddled and I can't remember the sequence of events very well... So, let me just say that over the past week, we have discovered that it MAAAAAAY be possible for Harv to have another liver surgery. We're not sure, but maaaaaaaybe.

So tomorrow, we're going to Seattle so Harv can have CT/PET scans to be sure.  

Now, if the scans look good, then maaaaaaybe Harv can have surgery soon. He just finished a round of chemo which included Avastin so it can't be for at least three weeks, but perhaps before the end of the year. Maybe.

(Over the course of the year, I keep thinking I understand things are gonna happen very soon and then it turns out their "soon" is different than mine. My "soon" is like tomorrow or the next day.)

So, we are hoping that the scans turn out in a very beautiful way.  If you'd like to pray with us, we'll take your prayers. :-)

Thanks so much for loving us. 

Happy weekend to you all!

Monday, November 4, 2013

From this day forward...


I suppose that, even though I knew that we would always be fighting Harv's cancer, I have always kinda continued to hope (and pray) that one day we would be able to have an extended period of time (more than 3 weeks or even 4 weeks) where we DID NOT have to go to the doctor. We're not there yet. And, truthfully, we are both tired of doctors and hospitals and treatments and misbehaving spouses and so forth and so on and what have you....

The other day we met with Dr. Lin. He had Harv do another blood test to check for CEA count. Turns out it was 15.3 a week after it had been 13.2... I don't really think it's in the "alarming" range, but it seems to be increasing rather than decreasing...which I find annoying.

So, today, I got an e-mail from Dr. Lin and he and Dr. Park will discuss possible options....all of which we have known were possibilities. If a miracle doesn't happen between now and the next CT scan, I believe the first choice would be radiation beads given internally and directed RIGHT AT the tumor(s). Then, possibly surgery if the radiation can shrink things enough. If that option, for some reason, isn't feasible, then they'd go for external radiation.

We are approaching the two year mark since diagnosis... TWO YEARS, people!!! On December 20, 2011, Harv was diagnosed with STAGE 4 colon cancer. We didn't know what that was gonna look like, but I think we were all a little afraid that two years was stretchin' it a little bit. But -- we also know that Harv is an overachiever who likes to excel in what he does. He's a goal setter and a person who likes to succeed. 

If you look back over the past two years, you will see some major milestones... His CEA count dropped from 661 at its highest to 1 at its lowest. He hiked all of almost-100 trails of Galbraith Mountain after his colon surgery. ALL of 'em! He also WROTE A BOOK, dammit! A BOOK! THAT GOT PUBLISHED!  He and I were able to take two trips to Hawaii (hopin' for another one :-) ). The family went to the Grand Canyon in 2012 and to the Olympic Penisula twice. 

We have had lots and lots of family togetherness. :-)

The other day a neighbor stopped me in the grocery store to ask how Harvey is doing. I told him pretty much the latest and he said "He looks so GOOD. Every time I see him, he's just BEAMING..." and then he said something like "I think he's gonna be fine." 

And the truth is: I do, too.

But the reality is that we still have work to do... And, as the doctor said, "It's a marathon." (Hey! It just occurred to me that Harvey has actually DONE a marathon before (told you he was a goal-setter!)!!! So, he has what it takes to do another one! But, do I?!) Anyway, we're in the race. We're not giving up. We still have a shot! 

We are praying now for some "easy runs" in this race... :-) Please pray that we can surgically remove the tumor that is the most aggressive. Pray that we will feel a sense of renewal and energy as we continue this crazy marathon.... 

And, please continue to pray for Harv's parents and siblings. Pray for safety for his parents around the house, a spirit of cooperation and behaving for Joe...wisdom for Peggy as she helps Joe... Peace and calm for all of us.

Thank you for reading this blog. Thank you for praying for us. Thank you for your support over the past couple of years. 

WE. LOVE. YOU.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Yesterday and Tomorrow....


We saw Dr. Lin yesterday. Harv's CEA count hasn't changed much at all...pretty much hovering at the same spot it's been for a while. All of his other numbers are good. So... Dr. Lin kinda shuffled some stuff around for Harv's next dose of chemo. It'll either be 5FU or Irinotican as just a shot and then some more immune boosters. So, he'll do away with the pump -- which Harv will be happy about. 

It's possible that we will go the route of radiation beads aimed directly (and internally) at the tumor.  Or, it's possible that external radiation will be the next step. OR... if we're reeeeeeaaaaaallly lucky, surgery without radiation. But, in order for that to happen, the tumor(s) will need to shrink. Have they not heard me say that before?! Do those tumors not understand what is expected of them?! They act like children ignoring their mama!

I fussed at Dr. Lin about making such a big deal about Harv's book and not really being enthusiastic about my helping raise money for research.  He smiled a little (and thought I was crazy, I'm sure) and still was more enthusiastic about Harv's book than my fundraising. :-) And, when we left our appointment, he tried to sound very pleased about my contributions towards the ONE POINT NINE MILLION DOLLARS that was raised for FRED HUTCH RESEARCHERS.  But, I know... he's more impressed with Harv. ;-)

Harv's dad is heading home from the hospital today. He's gonna need to behave -- and sometimes he doesn't. Please pray for Harv's mom as she becomes "the boss of him" (JUST KIDDING!!!) and that it's a smooth and happy transition for them both.  Also, please pray that Harv and his siblings can figure out the best way to help -- and that Harv ALSO behaves with his OWN treatment while helping his parents.

We appreciate your prayers for our immediate family and for Harv's "growin' up" family. 

We love you.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Harv had infusion today... Trip to Seattle tomorrow to see Dr. Lin. Blood work last week showed a fairly steady (and unchanged) CEA count. Today, another drug was added.  Goodness gracious we'd like to see some more progress so that liver surgery can be done. 

Harv's feeling okay. He'll be slightly nauseous and more tired than usual over the next few days, but his spirits are good and we are so thankful that he doesn't have more severe side effects.

In other news, Harv's dad had a heart attack a little over a week ago. Thankfully, he has been well taken care of since then and is recovering nicely. He and Harv's mom have been in Kamloops (about 2 hours from their home) since last Sunday. Not sure how long he'll be staying there. Harv and his siblings have been able to "hang" with Joe and Peggy this past week and that's been good for them all. His dad has made some improvements and has been in good spirits. It is hoped that he will be able to get back home before long. There will need to be a few modifications to the house so that he can get around well and so he can continue to do his many projects. Hopefully, he'll ease back into those and behave. :-)  Please pray for him and for Peggy as they adjust to things. 

We have had a lovely fall this year and are thankful for that.

We also continue to be thankful for all of you.... 

Many blessings.
-chc

Monday, October 14, 2013

A Nice Little Change....

Tomorrow we start the 2nd of our 2 round treatment (this go-round)... And, guess what?! We get to do it all in Bellingham!!! 

We'll go meet a local doctor (but Dr. Lin is still overseeing Harv's treatment plan, etc.) and then Harv will get hooked up to the pump for two days. Then on Thursday he'll start with the daily shot regimen for 12 days. We know that the first few shots will be in Bellingham, but insurance has not granted approval for the 2nd type of shots yet. The nurse thought it would happen and we have a few days. Worse case, I suppose, we'd have to go back to Seattle for those shots.

So...Yay for not having to drive to Seattle anytime soon!

Raney and I got to go to the beach for a few days last week. It was really good for me. I wasted lots of time, walked on the beach, ate some good food, and soaked in the quiet. I was glad to get home, but it was a good thing for me to have that time all by myself.













Harv has been trying to get out most days for a short run with Raney. That's been good for them both. And, the weather has been pretty cooperative.

Hoping that this go-round will show marked improvement and significant shrinkage so that surgery will be possible very soon.

Thank you for your support. 

We love y'all!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Last Thursday, Harv and I took off for a couple of nights in eastern Washington. It was so nice... We took Raney and she got lots of exercise 'cause we went on a few good hikes...She liked that, too. It was nice to get away from hospitals and medicine for a little while.






Today, we're back at SCCA so Harv can get hooked up to the pump for 5FU. There has been a mix-up in the orders getting signed and so we've been waiting for about 2 hours for things to start. (I don't like that.) There's a possibility that Harv might be able to get some or all of his shots in Bellingham. The pharmacist is working on getting that approved through insurance. Wouldn't it be fun if everything could/would get approved in time for Harv's first shot on Thursday?!! (Good thing to pray about.) I think having all of that approved and ready to go would be miraculous, but who knows?! Miracles DO happen.

Not much else to report from us... Harv's hangin' in there. Celeste is still enjoying her job and gearing up for a couple more classes at Whatcom. Sarah and Hannah are just pluggin' away at school. They get to go to a cross country meet in Missoula, Montana this weekend. They are pleased that I'm not going... (They love me, but they're okay with time away from me. Makes me so proud! J

As for our family as a whole: we are still adjusting to this whole little scenario...(Some people adjust better than (I) others do.) Please pray for me to love everyone the way they need it most and for me to rest and heal so that I can be effective at my job of wife, mother, dog-mother, cat-mother, household engineer, etc., etc... And, please pray that everyone in our family feels supported and appreciated... It's kind of amazing how cancer affects so many details in a family's life.  I love Harvey, Celeste, Sarah and Hannah (and Raney and Reba) A LOT!  Sometimes I struggle with all the stuff that's in my brain and my love is poorly demonstrated. BUT! Love them all, I do!

Your continued prayers for Harvey's healing are appreciated and encouraged J.   We would LOVE a little tiny break in trips to Seattle and a break in the medicine.

Thank you all for lovin' us.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Today

We did not get the news we were hoping for... 

Dr. Lin said that the CEA count has remained pretty much the same. And, he thinks that it's because the cancer and the drugs are fighting and it's kind of like a tie right now. He believes that if we hold off on some of the chemo and just do the immune booster + a little bit of chemo that the immune system will start to gain the upper hand.

So, we'll start next Tuesday by getting Harv hooked up to a pump and beginning a few days of the GMCSF shots -- which we MAY be able to start doing at home (gasp!).  Dr. Lin believes that, if this particular protocol is gonna make a difference, we will be able to see within a month or so.

Neither of us feels particularly discouraged, but we were hoping for different news.

Dr. Lin and Harvey exchanged books -- which they each autographed for each other. :-) They had fun with that.



We are thankful for all the progress that has been made and are continuing to hope for even more.

Many blessings and many thanks for stickin' with us!

GFW!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Upcoming


In about 16 hours, Harv will have a CT scan to determine if he is eligible for a second liver surgery...

Calling all family and friends to say prayers, think good thoughts, do dances, shout from the rooftops, beg, run a marathon, act silly, sing songs or do whatever it is you do to cause God to listen and Harv's body to cooperate so that we can get rid of a little bit more of his cancer pretty quickly.

If, for some reason, that is not what happens, we ask you to think good thoughts, do dances, shout from the rooftops, beg, act silly, run a marathon, sing songs or do whatever it is you do to help us face the future with courage and hope and peace.

Thank you.
Lots and lots and lots of love to you all.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Some (sort of) random thoughts --



Almost two years ago, we weren't sure what our future looked like... Harv had just turned 49 and his prognosis was not pretty. But, we met Dr. Lin and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance staff and we began the arduous journey to try to rid our lives of cancer. And, we have made some good progress... Many rounds of chemo, two surgeries and many trips to and from Seattle.

During that time, we were able to take a trip to the Grand Canyon and two trips to the Washington coast and Harv and I were able to go to Maui a couple of times.  For most of the past two years, Harv has felt pretty good (in relation to the fact that he's been on some form of chemo for most of that time). He has set goals and has achieved them. Last summer (2012) he hiked all the trails of Galbraith. (Raney remembers those days with fondness :-) ) And, this winter he wrote a book and had it published. The time he's had at home to focus on healing has, in fact, I believe, been healing.

If I were able to control him, :-) I would, perhaps, make him drink more water, go to bed earlier, eat somewhat better foods and just sit around idly a little bit more. But, he seems to know what his body needs...(even though I'm sure I know better.)

We have had some good family times. In many ways, I believe Harv has had the most fun he's had in all our married days with children. He gets to be at home all the time with all of his girls. A dream he's had for as long as I've known him. And, while his brain doesn't ever turn off, he's been able to live a relatively stress-free life without having travel or work worries.

As for me, I've tried very hard to learn how to live in, what has come to be, the "new normal." (I hate that phrase, by the way.) Some days I do very well. Other days I'm awful at it. And, more days than I can count, I struggle internally with just about everything I do or say or don't do or don't say.  I can't figure out why it's been so hard for me... There are so many blessings in the midst of our lives...DAILY. Still, it has been quite the journey for me.

Monday, Harv will turn 51! Two years ago, we weren't sure if we'd get to celebrate this birthday. But we do!  Yippee!

Next Wednesday he has a CT scan to see if the latest rounds of treatment have made enough of a difference in the tumors that are left in his liver so that he can have another liver surgery. If we got to run the world, we would definitely make sure that those tumors were small enough. (Well, if we were running the world, nobody would have cancer at all.)... 

I suppose I'm praying for a miracle again. 'Cause I really want him to be able to have liver surgery so that we can get rid of most of the tumors that are left in his system. The numbers that we've seen in recent blood work have not been dramatic so we're a little bit cautious in our optimism for the possibility of surgery.  But we don't know that it CAN'T be done yet so I'm 'onna still pray that it CAN happen. I would love it if you prayed with me... Maybe God will get tired of our noise and just give us what we want. :-)

Thank you so much for taking this journey with us...for your tangible and intangible ways of supporting us...for loving us...for praying for us.  If ever there was a gift in the midst of this, it's the love and support we've felt from so many in so many ways.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Two years ago I wrote this post 'cause my babies were starting high school... This year they will be in the 11th grade!!! Eleventh! They are sweet and hard-working and lovely human beings. I'm very thankful for them and I pray these same words once more.  



Dear Heavenly Father,

A "minute" ago, my little babies were heading to kindergarten. Our worlds changed and grew and got more interesting and scary and happy. They loved learning and they made good friends and had wonderful teachers.

And, they took a step or two away from me.

Tomorrow they start high school. 

I pray, Father, that their worlds change and get more interesting and a little happier. I also pray that they'll have opportunities to grow -- sometimes in ways that they wouldn't choose so they learn how to adapt and move on. 

I pray that they learn a lot and that their minds grow. I pray that the teachers they have will stretch them in good ways and help them to become all that they can be as life-long learners. I pray that they will learn to work with teachers --- even if they may not "click" completely. I pray that you will teach them how to resolve any conflicts they may have and that you will give them the gift of diplomacy and a quiet, gentle spirit when dealing with others.

And, Father, I pray that you will surround them with good friends. Friends that build them up and encourage them. I pray for friends that may think differently, but have strong, healthy values. I pray for protection for them -- even if they might make bad choices. I pray for wisdom and kindness and trustworthiness for them and for the friends they make.

I pray that they will love high school and that they will each -- separately -- find their niche. That you will guide them now towards the things that they will do later in life. And, I pray that you will give them lots of successes with just a sprinkling of disappointments to keep them balanced and real.

I pray, too, Father, for me and Harvey. I pray that you will give us wisdom, kindness, diplomacy and a quiet, gentle, supportive and loving spirit. 

What blessings you have given me in these sweet "little" girls. Please help me to be just what they need in a mama as they start high school and throughout their lives.

Amen.

September 3, 2013

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Chemo Day #3


Today we met with Charlie Pietrick, a nurse practitioner at SCCA. He did a lot of review of what's happening with Harv -- as in questions, etc. He prescribed a low dose of blood pressure medicine to help with those numbers a little bit. We'll still have to monitor it to make sure that the blood pressure meds + the injections don't lower his blood pressure too much.

CEA count is slightly higher than it was two weeks ago... I think Dr. Lin might not call it a significant rise, but it also is not significantly lower -- which is what I was hoping for.

Have I mentioned that I'm a little tired of the Seattle trips? There are oh, so many good things about this journey... Harv and I have had LOTS of time together. We've gotten to explore Seattle and get to know it a little better. We've met wonderful people at SCCA who have taken and are taking care of us. I love seeing patients who are maintaining a cheerful disposition in spite of treatment. And, friends in Seattle have been generous with their time and resources. 

But, I tell you what! I do not love seeing sick little children and people so tired and sick that they must be in a wheelchair.  I do not love seeing fear and uncertainty in the faces of young couples as they start their own journey. I do not love seeing older people come in with their family members and face the unknown. And, I do not love all of the unknowns when it comes to our family either.

We have not been given reason NOT to continue to hope and so we will keep on hoping for progress in his treatment and for success in the outcome. 

As always, the support and encouragement from our family and friends is a major part of the success we've seen so far. 

Thank you for loving us.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Chemo week



When you have chemo every-other week it's amazing how fast those weeks can go by... 

This Thursday will be the third in the three round series... We show up early Thursday morning for blood-work and chemo later in the afternoon.

Last time, there was SLIGHT improvement in CEA count, but not huge. We are hoping that this time there will be marked improvement in the numbers.... So, that after this round of chemo, Harv will be ready for liver surgery #2.

I am pooped. (And, I'm not even the patient!) I am so ready to have a break from trips to Seattle. (And, Harv's the one who has to go everyday!) I keep kickin' and screamin' for "normal" but it ain't happ'nin'!

Please pray for our family: 
* for Harv to sleep well and feel rested and for progress in making those liver tumors shrink.
* for Celeste to meet new friends and feel "at home" in her new role at work and continue to be happy with her job
* for Sarah and Hannah to have a good start to their JUNIOR (11th grade!!!) year in high school
* for me to be at peace and just as lovely and pleasant as I can be.  

We love you.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A word from M. Craig Barnes

(whale photo from Google)

This morning, I read the following while I sipped my coffee.  It kinda hit me. I don't totally feel this way right now, but I think you've heard me say that there have been many times when I want to throw myself on the floor and kick and scream so that things can be the way I want them to be. 

And yet... I know there's a bigger plan.  

Thank you, again, for the many ways you have supported and continue to support our family.

Love to you all.
*******************************************************************************************************

Riding Around in Sheol
(from Extravagant Mercy by M. Craig Barnes)

Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice. 
                                                                       -Jonah 2:2

Read Jonah 2:1-11

To avoid the mission God had given him in Nineveh, Jonah tried sailing to Tarshish. Yet God has his own unique ways of getting us where he wants us to be. So Jonah got to ride back to Nineveh inside the belly of a great fish. The three days he spent in that fish did wonderful things for his prayer life, which may have been more important to God than getting Jonah to the right place.

It is easy to get lost in the critical debates about whether or not this story really happened, but that misses the point of the Scripture. Sure, I think it could have happened. God can do whatever he wants. The real question, though, is not whether it did happen, but whether it does happen. Do people still start off in one direction, then get swallowed up in something awful, only to discover that the crisis has actually brought them to the right place with God? You bet that happens. I see it all the time.

Sooner or later, we all spend time in the belly of Sheol. It's the place where you thought you were going to die, or maybe even the place where you wished you would die. It's so dark there that you can't find any reason to keep hoping.

Now you are at the hardest part of the story to believe. Is God really using this for good? Absolutely. Your ability to see that, however, will depend completely on your prayer life while you're riding around in Sheol.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Pretty good chemo day... Harv is pooped, but feels relatively normal. Thanks for your continued support and prayers.  Two days with a pump and then a few more days without having to go to Seattle. Weeeee haw!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Bus ride!



Today was a success! Harv caught the early bus and arrived just in time to take a city bus to SCCA... He was in and out of his appointment in no time. Caught another city bus back to the bus station and enjoyed a cup of coffee and lunch before the return bus brought him back home.

Thank you for your prayers. This is a simplification for us.

Tomorrow it'll be an early appointment so he'll drive down and back. And, then Thursday it'll be round 2 of this chemo regimen...

I am wiped out. I didn't do too much today, but have very little energy.

Please continue to pray for a good night's sleep.

Love you, people!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Home again, home again jiggety jig...

We had coffee this morning at the amazing Milstead & Co. Coffee place.
If you're ever in Fremont in need of delicious coffee, go there!

Yesterday Harv and I decided that we didn't want to stay in a hotel anymore so I checked bus schedules and discovered that there was availability on the Tuesday bus to Seattle. It was at that moment that we decided to check out of the hotel early and come home after this morning's appointment. 

We are home. Ahhhhhhhhh!

Harv will ride the bus down tomorrow for his shot and then ride home in the afternoon. We are hoping for no delays in either the bus trip down or the appointment. He has only a small window between appointment and catching the bus for home at 1:00. Please pray for smooth everything tomorrow.

He'll drive down on Wednesday morning because the appointment is too early for the bus to take him... 

And, then, Thursday we're back to an infusion day. 

Things have gone well overall, but he still has a rash on his stomach where the first few injections were given. He's using Benadryl cream and ice packs to relieve that. His blood pressure is borderline hypertensive, but not in the dangerous area. Just need to keep an eye on it.

We are hoping that his blood work on Thursday shows that there are fewer circulating cancer cells and that progress is being made.

I would appreciate prayer for a little bit of peace and rest. I feel a little bit "keyed up," as my mother used to say. Neither of us has slept really well lately, but I have a feeling that some of the reason is just 'cause we're gettin' older. :-/  Whatever the reason, I sure would love to wake up feeling really rested and refreshed.

Thank you, again, wonderful people of the world! Sure do appreciate all of your support and encouragement.

Love you.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The rest of our week...

It feels like we've been in Seattle FOREVER...and it's only been a little over a week.  We are thankful that we've been able to stay here, but we miss home.

Friday, Harv had his treatment and then we moved out of our 2nd home away from home... It was a lovely place and so generous of our friends to let us stay there.  Later in the day, we went to the Obliteride venue to pick up my packet for the ride.




The festivities that evening included a couple of acts that were great! One, was a guy named Mike Brookshire, a Georgia boy!! He sang some good country songs and he also sang "Dixie." I didn't know that song moved me as much as it did, but I kinda felt like I was in church singin' that song. :-) 

video


And, then Michael Franti and Spearhead performed. They got the crowd jumpin' and dancin' and havin' fun with beach balls.

video

Yesterday, I rode my bike for 25 miles (34, if you count the ride to and from the event) to raise money for Fred Hutchinson Research Center... So far, the event has raised over 1.4 million dollars! It was a well-organized ride (there was a 25, 50, 100 and 180-mile ride for people to choose from). A couple of things that impress me: (1) ALL of the money that was raised by riders is going to research!! ALL OF IT! (2) Someone (I can't remember his name) donated $$ for FIVE years of Obliteride so that we can continue to provide "The Hutch" with research $$. For the next five years, all (as in, 100%!!) of the $$ raised by riders will go to research so that they can find a way to obliterate cancer!  Thank you, again, to all of you who gave to this cause. Somehow, someday there will be an end to cancer. An END!!! NADA. ZIP. ZERO. Sounds good, doesn't it?!







When the ride was over and I was back at the hotel, I was WHOOPED. Partially, it was emotional. And, as you might've guessed, it was also physical exhaustion.

Harv and I are kinda ready to be back in Bellingham. We think we've figured out a way for him to make the daily "shot trips" down on his own. We have some investigation to do about public transportation in Seattle, but I think it's gonna work well. 

And, while he's handled the shots well, he has experienced some high blood pressure (which I don't like) and an itchy rash around the injection site. The rash was sort of expected. The blood pressure thing was not. The nurses don't seem too concerned. They're keeping an eye on it and we're waiting to hear back from Dr. Lin about what, if anything, to do about it. But, I'm sayin' a prayer that it gets straightened out.

Today, we're just gonna hang out...and I'm imagining a nap sometime in my future.

Thank you for loving and supporting us. Thank you for being a part of my team to obliterate cancer.

Love you people!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

So far, so good

Harv started the new injection yesterday... So far, so good with the last set of shots and the first one from yesterday... Still praying for no side effects for the remainder of this set. (Last day -- the 14th. New round of chemo on the 15th)

Sarah and Hannah arrived on Tuesday approximately 3 hours late from New Orleans. SO happy to see them!



They had a great trip and I'm so happy they were able to go. I think they grew up a little bit...which makes me nostalgic, but not sad. They met some nice people and did some good things and lots of fun things. But I will say that I am hap-hap-happy that they're home!

And, while we've been here, Celeste has been holding down the fort in Bellingham... Yesterday, she called to let us know that a proof of Harv's book arrived. We FaceTimed about it:


It was a fun little video chat. Sometimes we forget that we have that capability, but it's always good to have a face-to-face conversation.

And, while we were on the phone with Celeste, Raney got in on the conversation:



That, too, was a fun little "conversation." :-)

Harv slept well last night and woke up feeling pretty good. In fact, he's felt pretty well for most of the days. We are hoping that he continues to feel well and experiences little to no side effects. In addition! We are hoping that the drugs are shrinking the tumors in his liver and that he'll be able to have surgery to remove any tumors that might be there.

We are so thankful for the generosity of friends. Goodness, gracious alive! It's so great!

Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for your friendship.  Thank you for lookin' out for us!

Many blessings.

P.S. Found this card the other day. I liked it.