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9/6/2016 Latest post:
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. Some of you know parts of this story, but for this new website, I will reiterate how we came to this place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.
As many of you already know, Paul was in good health until August. He was tired, which was not unusual, and would run an occasional low-grade fever, but never over 99 degrees. We finally went to our family doctor August 11. He did bloodwork, which was normal, and a physical, but everything seemed to point to a virus, although his symptoms had been two weeks in duration already. A few days later, we both started noticing his tummy was getting bigger. He blamed it on too many sweets, but within a few days, it became obvious this was far more than too much ice cream. The fever returned, again not going higher than 99. On Wednesday, August 17, I came home from chaplaincy training and told him he looked nine months pregnant. He was miserable, and had trouble getting a deep breath. We were supposed to leave the next day for Oklahoma City for more chaplaincy training, but I cancelled everything and made him a doctor's appointment with Ask-A-Nurse. When I related his symptoms to the nurse, she advised me to take him to the emergency room immediately, but I told her I wasn't going to get him out of the living room tonight. I went ahead to another chaplaincy class the next day, and he was to go to the family doctor at 4 p.m., but when the doctor saw his symptoms, he called Paul at home and told him to come to the office immediately. He did some testing in the office, then sent him to outpatient Shawnee Mission Medical Center for bloodwork and a CT scan, and had him return to the office. He already had the results of the CT scan, which showed a tumor on his pancreas, abnormalities in the liver and the abdominal wall. He scheduled him for an MRI the next morning. Paul and I both got home around 6 p.m. that night after he had spent the majority of the day in testing. We went for the MRI Friday morning, which was miserably painful for Paul with his back compromised with scoliosis, and his tummy bloated beyond anything I've ever seen, and he could not get a deep breath. I called the family doctor again, and he advise us to enter the hospital through the ER, so they could hopefully do a paracentesis which is a removal of the excess fluid in the abdomen. He was admitted to the hospital, but they didn't do the procedure until Saturday morning. They drew off 4.5 liters of fluid. He felt a good deal better after that and was able to eat breakfast. The doctor told us we needed a biopsy of his abdominal area on Monday, but that we could go home that evening. They scheduled us with an oncologist the following Tuesday.
We went to church together on Sunday, and our congregation was wonderfully supportive in prayer and offered to do anything we needed.
Monday morning August 22, we had the biopsy, an additional paracentesis which removed 1.5 liters of fluid from his abdomen, and additional blood work. Tuesday, August 23 was our first visit with Dr. Tracy Miles. She was kind, caring, and gave us the diagnosis of stage four pancreatic cancer involving the liver and lining of the abdominal wall. She scheduled Paul for a surgical port implanted in his right upper chest on August 29, at which time they did another paracentesis, removing 3.5 liters of fluid. Paul had his first round of 4 kinds of chemo the following Wednesday, August 31. The Shawnee Mission Cancer Center is a place we never thought we would have to be, but the people there are deeply caring, informative, and helpful, and pray for all their patients. It is such an unbelievable blessing to be in a place where Christ is honored and included in the treatment of this insidious illness. There is always hope there.
The chemo went relatively well, with the exception of one of the four kinds. It's unaffectionately known as "I-run-to-the-can" and it lived up to its name. A shot and 2 Imodium did the trick to stop that. He takes chemo every two weeks, and returns home with a chemo pump for the next two days. Paul is scheduled for chemo treatments on September 14th and 28th, and will have one more treatment in October, with several other dr. visits in between to monitor blood levels, oxygen, etc. So far the worst part of the chemo was a bad case of hard hiccups the two days following. Thanks to our church family who hit their knees on behalf of getting rid of those hiccups, which were very painful. Bone weary tiredness is also a side effect. He dozes all day, so is unable to sleep well at night. I've tried to keep him up more in the daytime, but it's hard for the body to get tired enough to sleep, when it doesn't move all day.
Paul is scheduled for another paracentesis tomorrow, Tuesday, September 6th. He is quite overdue and yet is doing his best to deal with this. Doing this procedure too often causes kidney stress.
On a happier note, our 45th wedding anniversary is September 11, and we are having a renewal of our vows at Leawood Baptist Church, where I am the worship director. We were going to do this anyway, but on a much smaller scale. My dad and I had no relationship when Paul and I got married, so he didn't get to walk me down the aisle. Thanks to the good Lord, my Dad and I have a wonderful close relationship now, so I asked him about a month and a half ago if he might walk me down the aisle at his church, and we would have his Pastor David Everly renew our vows. Pastor Dave was the intentional interim pastor at Leawood Baptist for two wonderful years, before we got our permanent Pastor Adam Carter. Pastor Dave agreed to do this for us, and we are still having Pastor Dave along with Pastor Adam renew our vows at Leawood Baptist church Sunday afternoon, 4 p.m., with a simple reception following. All who know us are invited to come. Please do RSVP how many people you will be bringing so we can have enough cake, nuts, mints, and punch for everyone. You can rsvp by Wednesday evening, September 7, to Peggy's cell phone (texting is great, phoning is great too, just leave a message if I don't answer). 913-568-6921.
I will no longer be updating facebook on Paul's status, as there is too much to weed through to get the information out.
Here are our prayer requests: We know the Lord will heal Paul, either here on earth, or in heaven. We would so love to see it here on earth, but are at peace with the Lord's sovereignty and His decision. In the mean time, please pray for:
no bad side effects from the chemo no hiccups after the chemo return of Paul's appetite fluid buildup in the abdomen would cease The Lord's presence with our children and grandchildren, and two great-grandsons, extended family, and friends
Paul and I want to thank everyone for your continued prayer, the get well cards of encouragement, and the practical help that has been extended to us by friends and family. We are so honored and blessed by you.
If you wish to visit Paul, PLEASE call or text Peggy's cell phone - 913-568-6921. If you have a virus, a cold, or a sniffle, please understand we will kindly ask that you only call rather than visit.