When Pancreatic Cancer Turns Your World Upside Down, Prayer Makes a Difference

The following email arrived this morning.  It was good to get this update about Wayne.  He and Glynn are the perfect role model for walking down this horrific cancer path, holding hands with each other and with God.  They are not alone.  In addition to God’s Presence at every test, procedure, and treatment, we, their church family, are also beside them standing in solidarity, supporting them with our prayers, our thoughts, and our love.

Good Morning everyone,

What a wonderful day here in West Texas.  Sure does feel nice and breezy our side, about 57 degree.  Wanted to thank everyone for praying so much for Wayne and Glynn.  They can certainly tell your prayers are being heard by the way that Wayne is feeling right now.  For the past 2 days he has felt really good.  He has gained about 4 lbs since he doesn’t have that pain that takes his appetite away.  Yesterday was frustrating day for them.  The computer wasn’t working properly so he couldn’t do radiation, seems there is always something but he is doing chemo since Monday.  They see the doctor again today.   I think things look positive for now.  Haven’t talked to him since late Tuesday but he sounded like he is eating every think he can get his hands on, Praise the Lord!!  If all continues to go well they will be home on Friday evening.  We are so ready to see them again.  2 weeks seems soooo long, huh?

Love to you all,

The Ditto’s

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Update on Kenny

I just received the following information via email about Kenny:

Kenny went back to San Antonio yesterday and was to start his treatment today. He is not doing chemo, They are treating him with a virus that is suppose to kill the cancer. So far they think it is beginning to work but it is still to soon to know. At least he is still in the study group. Others have had to get out of the program because their tumors got to big. They think Kenny’s tumor’s are shrinking but don’t know for sure yet.

If you remember he was diagnosed with “synovial sarcoma”  metastatic to the lungs.  Please continue to pray for him and his family. 

“When one person in a family gets cancer, the whole family gets cancer. ” Dr. Phil

It affects everyone on the family.

Cancer and Pain

 This email came from Dot, Wayne’s sister, yesterday.  Please read my comments below.

Ok everyone, I am finally sitting down long enough to get an update on Wayne & Glynn out.  On Monday afternoon Wayne had to have a new stint put in.  The mesh one was barely dripping any bile out.  One good thing about that was that the doctor looked at the tumor situation again.  It is still the size it was and not anywhere else.  That was a very good thing.  The doctor still thinks that the cancer cells had blocked off the stint.  We will take that, right?  Before his surgery he was in lots of pain and they had to give him 2 demarol shots.  He did not eat a thing all day yesterday and when I talked with him this morning he had only had a banana.  I think his weight loss is really bothering him.   He was still hurting really bad around 8:30 when he called me.  He said he did not think he could do this and I really had to do some talking and trying to build him up.  He was really far down with his pain.  Glynn called me around 11:00 today and said they had given him a shot of morphine and then they changed his pain meds to a stronger dosage.  Whatever they gave him should last for 12 hours instead of 4.  I know Glynn is really having to fuss with him to keep him from wanting to just give up, but he has to keep looking down the road and toward that light at the end of the tunnel.  Please call them and give them words of encouragement and hope.  Wayne doesn’t need sympathy, he needs building up.  Please don’t be afraid to call because you just might be the person he needs to talk to at that down time.  We love you all and thanks you over and over for being here for them, as well as for me and Loy.  You are all in our prayers also.

I know the plan I have for you says the Lord…

To give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11

Hope in the Lord is what Wayne and Glynn need right now!!

Dot-Mom-Grandma

As I write this post, commenting on what is currently happening with Wayne, I fully realize that I have not walked in his shoes.  I do not know first hand; I have not experienced the level of pain that he is having.  I have not personally faced his grim prognosis.   My comments are based solely on my parents experiences and my observations of their days of pain.

No one wants to hurt even a little.  We will do many things to make pain stop.  We will spend money, and travel to far away places in search of relief from pain. Pain changes our attitude and outlook.  It can make us grumpy and cranky.  We are not much fun to be around when we are hurting.

Pain, serious pain, excruciating pain, pain that goes above the 1-10 scale, is frightening.  I am sure that Wayne is frightened.  Not of dying.  He has that base covered.  When he passes from this life, he will be with the Lord.  No, he is in the midst of pain and can not see a way to make it stop.  His desire to ‘give up’ comes from a desire to make the pain cease.  Because we are on the “outside of Wayne’s pain” we understand, we know the doctors will be able to give him relief, and from the email above, we know that Wayne did get relief.  However, because the pain was so severe, he is afraid that it will come back and indeed it may.    Wayne is a big strong man.  He has always considered himself to be a “man’s man”.  He has always had very good health and has been in control of his life.  Now everything in his world is spiraling out of control, and the pain is more than he can handle.   I can understand those feelings of dispair, can’t you?

Again, I have no first hand, personal experience here, but this is how I see Wayne’s pain situation.  His pain is temporary.  If God is gracious and  Wayne’s pancreatic cancer goes into remission, the pain will decrease and probably completely disappear.  If the cancer is not cured and Wayne goes to be with the Lord, the pain will immediately be gone.  Either way, the pain is temporary.  These comments do not show a lack of sympathy for Wayne, but perhaps a perspective that might give comfort to him, his family, and readers of this blog who might be walking down the same path.

Be Nice to Them—They Carry Needles!

This last month I have spent 10 nights with Mom, my grandmother, at the hospital, and 2-3 days a week with her at the skilled nursing facility.  Once again my respect for nurses and related medical staff has been renewed.  They work long hours, have many serious responsibilities, and still make time to do the small things to help make patients comfortable. They fluff the pillow an extra time.  They put on socks and take off socks.  They wipe posteriors for precious little old folk who can’t do it for themselves.  Yes, I am amazed at the ladies and gentlemen who work day after day with a caring spirit and kind heart.  I know there must times when they are fatigued, but they do their best to not show it when they walk into our room.  They work with a smile and caring hands no matter how stressed they may feel on the inside.

Yes, I admit there are nurses who should not be nurses.  I have seen them also.  I am not talking about them.  In every profession you will find people who should find some other job.  I choose not focus on them.  They are few in number and do not influence my feeling about medical professionals as a whole.

When I am in a hospital setting with someone, my parents, my husband, my mother-in-law, or my grandmother, it is my desire to become part of the team, working as one with the nurses and aides to care for my loved one.  I help get ice and water. I help the nurses when my family member needs to be repositioned in bed.  I do the things I can to help free up the nurses and aides so they will have time to do the things I can’t.

I like to get to know these caring angels, building relationships and even friendships with them.  I want them to get to know me, but more importantly, I want them to know my family member.

I want them to understand that my presence is not a threat to them. I am not there to evaluate their work or try to catch them if they make a mistake.  As I said, I am part of the team.

Next blog: What if the nurses do make a mistake?

Yep, That’s my Grandmother!

I am sitting here with my grandmother. She has been away from home 4 weeks today; 2 weeks in the hospital, then 2 weeks in a skilled nursing facility. She has been to death’s door, looked it in the face, and returned to us stronger than ever. We get to keep her for a while longer. She has “shocked” (his word) her doctor, and amazed her family. She has given us inspiration and joy.

Barring unforseen problems, she will be able to go home on Wednesday! Her home. To live alone once again. Just as she has done. It has been her dream to be able to live at home until the “upper taker” (her word) comes to get her.

The doctor tells me that the obstruction in her small intestine will most likely happen again, and if/when it does, she might not survive. We are not going to let that dampen our thankfulness or curb our joy for Mom’s recovery.

I have heard doctors talk about something called the “step down” process. When a person reaches a certain stage in life, and certain health challenges arrive, then that person may not be able to recover to their ‘pre-crisis’ level of health. Hence, a ‘step down’. A friend of mine asked me about how my 96 year old grandmother was doing. He said to me, “Now you realize, she is not going to get much better.” Weeeellllll, she has not only recovered to her ‘pre-illnes’ level, she truthfully appears to be stronger!

I told Mom, that I was writing this blog about her and asked her if there was anything she had to say to any of you who might be facing serious illness. She immediately replied, “Thank God and count blessings and not pain.” Yep. That’s Mom.

The Chemo Has Begun for Wayne

 
 This email came from Dot, Wayne’s sister.  She shares not just some of the events of this week, but also the feelings, and some of the struggles.  She also shares the pride and love she feels for her brother and the way he is completely trusting in God’s Love and Care in his cancer crisis.

Well, Wayne & Glynn are once again on their way home for the week-end. Wayne said that at least it breaks up the routine of the week!You never know from day to day how things are going to take place. I talked to him this morning round 9:00 and he was so great sounding.

Said his itching was better and other related things with the bile duct were better. He is hoping that the stint is opening up on it’s own. But he still thinks that he would rather have the procedure done on Monday so that it is not something he has to continually worry with. He is learning that what he eats effects him greatly and that he has to just simply behave himself and not eat what makes him sick. He has just always been able to eat what ever he wanted and so this is a hard lesson for him to learn. But OH My, I feel so privileged to have him for a brother. He is so uplifting to me and just has such a good attitude and testimony of what God is doing in his life. That should be what it is all about. What a lesson for all of us to learn. To bad we wait for these kind of things to happen, but as the song “Through It All” says,”If we never had a problem, we wouldn’t know that God could solve them, we would never know what faith in God could do”.

Once again thanks to everyone of our friends and family for your love and prayers. We are all here for you guys too if you need us.

Love you all,

Dot-Mom-Grandma

     

 

Why Does It Have to Take So Long?

Please, God, give me patience.  No, don’t give me patience.  Make everyone hurry up!!!

You have been diagnosed with cancer.    You may have had to make appointments with several different doctors and wait for the appointments.  It may have taken several medical tests and several weeks or months even, before the diagnosis came.  Once you finally know that this thing, this cancer is in your body, growing and destroying your body. You want to start treatment immediately.  I mean, right now.  Not tomorrow. Not next week. Right now.  Every day with no treatment is a day that the cancer grows unchecked.  What do you mean, I have to wait for one more test, one more appointment, one more doctor? No. Right now.  On the outside you are trying to be calm, civil, and understanding. On the inside you are screaming, and perhaps even cursing, trying to get everyone to understand that you don’t want to wait.  Oh, my, it is so hard.

Wayne has had his cancer diagnosis for a month.  His pancreatic cancer is agressive and inoperable.  His radiation treatments just began this past Wednesday and chemo begins on Monday.  Wait, wait, wait.  There have been all kinds of reasons for delays, trying to get in to see certain doctors, waiting to see if he would be admitted into an experimental chemo program, waiting to get the port put in his shoulder, getting the markings for the radiation treatments, and the lastest delay, having to have a stint put in to open up his bile duct.  So, again, chemo treatment finally begins on Monday….unless there are more roadblocks.

How do you handle delays when this thing…this cancer….is still growing….is still growing….is still growing.

There are no easy answers here.  I think there are times when you must stay ‘on top of things’.  You must remain assertive…..”nicely assertive”.  You must make phone calls and ask questions.  “Have the test results come in yet?”  “What is the soonest appointment you have?”  Will you call me if someone cancels their appointment so I can get in sooner?” Ask questions.

Then there are times when you must accept the fact that everyone involved in your medical case is doing everything they can to make sure you start your treatment ASAP.  Even when ASAP seems to be taking longer than you would like.  In those cases, there is nothing you can say or do that will make any difference, and so, once again, you place your illness in God’s hands, in His Care. You wait, knowing that God’s grace is sufficient for this also.