Monday, February 28, 2011

the latest - surprise surgery tomorrow

Okay, so here’s the news….

Last Thursday I took the kids to see Mike in the afternoon so we could try to take him for a walk and get him some fresh air. Unfortunately, it had been a really rough night – his port stopped working and the nurses struggled all night to find a good vein for him to receive meds which resulted in sleepless night and a lack of proper medication, including his pain meds. He had been having a lot of pain in his right shoulder so they sent him for several tests. The final verdict was severe arthritis, but that doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense to anyone. I honestly don’t think anyone really knows what is causing the shoulder pain. I was hoping that bringing the kids to visit would brighten his day and turn things around a bit… but Thursday was not the day to try to do that. Just seeing how much pain he was in made me cry, which upset the kids, so we decided not to stay. Just as we were about to leave, Mike received a visit from the neurology team. They very quickly explained that the bleed in his brain had started to digress, but the last MRI showed something lighting up under the contrast. They feel strongly that it could be a cancerous tumor but would not be sure until they go in to remove as much as they can and do a biopsy. Just like that, he was scheduled for brain surgery.
All weekend the nurses have been working to get his platelets over 100 so that he would not be at risk for uncontrolled bleeding during the surgery. He has received several platelet and blood transfusions. At this point, his labs look good and he is scheduled for the operation at 1:00 tomorrow. I do not want to get into all of the risks associated with brain surgery – as I am sure you know, it can be a very complicated procedure. I am just trusting God to guide the surgeons hands and to hold Mike (and me) through the entire thing. The process is about 3 hours and then he will be in recovery for about 5 days. During that time, they will be running tests to find out what was in his brain and if it requires further treatment. Please do not bombard my inbox at 4:00 and ask me how everything went. As soon as he is in recovery and I receive an update from the doctor, I will let everyone know. I promise.

Honestly, when I heard the news on Thursday, I was crushed. I cried all the way home – even in front of Zack & Jadeyn (which I always control). But after about an hour of processing it all, praying and talking to the kids, I felt a relief that could have only come from God. I had such a peace in my heart and we spent the evening working on a puzzle and singing songs together. Since then, I have not picked up worrying again. I have been very peaceful and I’m just continuing to trust God. I know there are many people who want me to be realistic and face every “what if” with full preparation of the worst, just because they want to protect me – and I understand that. There should be balance in everything. But I honestly believe that Mike has an amazing life still yet to live and I am pushing him every day with that in mind. I fully expect good things to come from this entire process, that honestly, not one day, not one pain, not one tear will have been wasted. God is going to use it ALL; in this I am confident.

I do need prayer warriors lined up through the evening, tonight and especially tomorrow afternoon. I am not so foolish to think that we can get through this without prayer coverage and that is where I need YOU. I depend on each one of you to help us get through this if you really care – that means encouraging messages, positive words, prayer commitments, fasting, etc… whatever God lays on your heart to contribute will be greatly appreciated! We are ALL a part of Mike’s victory over cancer. I hope each one of you realizes the vital role that you play. Actually, I am collecting cards, messages, emails, etc to put in a book for him, so if you would like to send me something, I will make sure it gets added. Just email me or send it on FB; if you want to send a card to my house, just text/inbox me for the address. I want to fill it with letters from all over the world, so please include your city & state.

Please be careful about what you speak!!! I have said before and I will say it again, words have creative power! Proverbs 18:21 says that the power of life and death are in your tongue. Please speak that Mike is getting better every day and no weapon formed against him shall prosper (Isaiah 54:17). Speak only life and blessings and healing for him. Speak that he is BETTER EVERY DAY (2 Corinthians 5:7) even if we have to walk by faith and not by sight. It IS happening!!!

And in all things I will continue to give God praise, because He is still good – He is still able and He continues to carry me every day. He deserves all of the glory and honor – and when Mike comes through all of this – it will be because of His goodness, grace & mercy; so I am thanking Him in advance! I’m actually really excited about what is about to unfold!! I hope that you all can share in that faith with me or at least support our beliefs with your encouragement.

Love and blessings to you all! Please keep us lifted up – especially this week!!! <3

Thursday, February 24, 2011

count your blessings

Hello everyone,

I hope this update finds you in good health and good spirits. :)

Mike was admitted to the hospital last week due to a fever that went over 104, caused by 2 bacterial infections: e-coli & c-diff. When admitted his white blood count was .02 which means that he had only about 20 white blood cells, where a normal person has 4,000 – 10,000. They have basically set him up with an artificial immune system between 6 antibiotics, vitamins and fluids. Over the weekend I was told that he might be able to come home within a few days, but last night I was told very differently. After a full week, the infections are gone, but his wbc count has only come up to .09. Tomorrow he will have intrathecal chemotherapy which will compromise his counts again and he will need to be monitored closely for up to several weeks in the hospital. At that time, they will also check for leukemia cells in his spinal fluid. After his counts stabilize a little, (wbc need to be over 1000) they will send him for another bone marrow biopsy to see if this round of treatment has killed all of the leukemia cells in his marrow. His marrow has to stay clean for 60 days after that point to even be considered for transplant.
Mike has had a very rough week. The nurses are in and out of his room almost every hour so he is not able to get consistent sleep. He has been unable to swallow easily because of the infection that caused sores & layers of skin to peel off inside of his throat and his mouth. He has lost almost 70 pounds since the first of the year. At times his body goes into some type of shock and will begin to shake violently and he feels like he is freezing. The nurse said this happens because his body recognizes that he does not have a natural immune system and tries to fight. He had almost a full week of upset stomach and uncontrollable diarrhea. His body has been very weak, so to even turn over in his bed takes all of his energy, much more trying to stand or get a shower. He has been in and out of consciousness, talking in his sleep and not remembering much. On top of all of that he has been unable to move his right arm. No one is really sure why, but he has had an x-ray and sonogram to check his bones and make sure he did not have a clot. Last night he was sent for an MRI, but we have not gotten the results yet. This has been causing him a lot of pain. When I called to check on him this morning he told me to call his nurse because he was too weak to talk. The nurse said they had problems accessing his port last night and he has been unable to receive all of the meds that he needs – including pain medication.

I tell you all of these things so that you might thank God for your health or take a moment to count your blessings. Mike has been through Hell and every time I talk to him all he wants to know is how everyone else is doing… and if everyone else is ok… He cares so deeply for people, so much that he looks past his own situation and offers prayers for the ones he loves. I am so broken by this because I’m seeing, more and more, the man that he truly is. One day when I laid across his lap on the hospital bed crying, and even in the midst of being barely awake, he spoke very clearly to me saying, “I was just talking to Him and He said not to shake in your armor”. I know that God is with us. I know that we are in a war and I can tell you that we will continue to fight with all that is within us. I believe that God is doing something amazing through this entire thing and not one day will go to waste. Mike is going to come out of this with such a tremendous testimony – it is going to amaze and inspire everyone who hears it.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

videos of our journey on youtube

I am not sure who is on Facebook and who isnt, but I have made some videos of our journey and just wanted to share them with you. If you are on FB, make sure you join our group to get all of our updates!

Just click the link to see each one: (While I'm Waiting) (Praise You In This Storm) (Because You Loved Me)

Friday, February 18, 2011

fighting a bacteria infection - the full story

It was Thursday night…. I was looking forward to our Thursday tradition – a nice family dinner – Family Game Night & watching American Idol together. Mike started feeling ill around 4pm – by 10:00 he had spiked a 104.2 fever. We were told to call if it went over 100.4, so I was concerned, to say the least. I was advised to rush him to the closest emergency room as quickly as possible. We checked in at Community Hospital at 11pm and finished the paperwork somewhere around 1am. By 4am they determined that his WBC was 0.02 and they should start antibiotics. As stressful as the situation was, Mike and I actually enjoyed some quiet time together, talking and making fun of all of the crazies that were coming through the ER all hours of the morning. Sometimes we don’t always see the answer to our prayer in test results, but just in a more peaceful perspective, which makes ALL the difference in the world as we walk this out. They decided that he was going to be transferred to Moffitt first thing in the morning, so I drove home to get some sleep. Between my mind racing & the phone ringing every hour, it wasn’t much. The nurses were just calling to keep me updated as I requested, but every time the phone rang, my heart would race and my mind would run through all of the “what ifs” before I could even get out a groggy “hello”. He was transferred to Moffitt early this morning and has since received several platelet and blood transfusions, 2 x-rays, a sonogram of his abdomen & a CT. His blood cultures are showing bacteria in his blood stream, yet to be identified, so they are continuing to treat him with antibiotics. He is extremely weak and having a lot of pain. The doctors have done well with pain management, but it is difficult for him to make even the slightest movements. His fever has been going down slowly, then back up, and back down again. Right now he is at 100.4. His blood pressure has been very low 90s/40s so they are keeping an eye on it to determine whether he needs to be transferred to critical care overnight. I really hope that he does not have to move. I am here beside him tonight, glad to have the opportunity to help if needed and not have to be anywhere in the morning. He has been resting most of the evening and I am staying busy with work and emails. Thanks to everyone who keeps up with all of our updates and prays accordingly. We know when people are praying because we feel it all around us. Never doubt that God hears your prayer.

Fighting a bacteria infection

I'm sorry I am too exhausted to type a full update, but Mike has been battling a fever since yesterday - today was up to 105. Many tests came back fine but the blood cultures are showing a bacteria they have not identified yet. He has received several blood and platelet transfusions and they are keeping a very close eye on him. He is extremely weak and if he does not improve soon, they are going to transfer him to SCU. I am staying here with him tonight - we appreciate everyone's prayers and support!