My Regret

I had no second thoughts about my decision to not treat Ronnie’s cancer. I still believe that was the best choice in the midst of difficult options.

However, if I could do one thing differently, it would be to have allowed the doctors to biopsy the tumors in Ronnie’s lungs.  True, it would not have changed the decision to not do chemo, but it would have given his doctors more information about the type of cancer with which they were dealing. They would have known if it was a cancer that grew rapidly or slowly. They would have been able to better predict which direction it would go and how fast it would get there. Having that information would have assisted the doctors as they strived to keep Ronnie comfortable.

Yes. More information is always better.


Wayne’s Battle with Pancreatic Cancer is Over

We are never happy with this kind of ending to valiant battles waged against any terminal illness. Our church prayed for Wayne.  We prayed first that initial diagnosis would be something other than cancer. It wasn’t.  We prayed that God would miraculously heal Wayne. We thought at first that He did, but He didn’t.  We prayed that the chemo and radiation would work.  We thought at first that it did, but it didn’t.  Finally, we prayed that God would be merciful and keep Wayne comfortable.  He did, and He took Wayne home just a few days ago, leaving a huge hole in our hearts, and our church.

We don’t understand why it has to be that way.  As our pastor said, we just know that God is still a loving God, and he cares for us in so many ways.  We were all blessed as we watched Wayne’s courage in the midst of his fear and pain.  We saw him share his faith in miraculous ways to people that he would not normally have even known.

Yes, we are sad and we miss him tremendously, but we know that for him, life is so much better.  Because now he is standing tall and whole, because his pain is erased, because we know Wayne has seen His face, we would never want him to leave heaven.  No, not at all.

Kay’s Battle is Over

A few months ago, I wrote about my friend, Kay. She had been diagnosed with an agressive form of bladder cancer.  She was given a couple of years to live.  Even though she battled with chemo and radiation treatments, putting her cancer into remission was not to be.  She passed away this week about 18 months after her diagnosis.  She leaves behind her husband, a daughter, and two sons.

The one of the especially sad aspects of Kay’s situation was that approximately six weeks ago, Kay’s father passed away with cancer.  Kay’s mother lost both a husband and a daughter in less than two months.  I can not comprehend what must be the depth of her grief.

Once again: Lung Cancer is No Match for God’s Healing Power

During surgery the doctors removed the lower lobe of Rayford’s right lung which contained the a malignant tumor.  They also did many biopsies which have all been clear of cancer cells.  At this point in time, Rayford will not need chemo or radiation!  We are all thrilled and praising God for his goodness. I talked to Rayford a couple of days ago and he is slowing getting his strength back, and looking forward to resuming his previous busy lifestyle, serving the Lord as he loves to do.  We are totally grateful for God’s care of Rayford.

Update on Rayford: Surgery today on His Cancerous Lung

The doctors are to be commended.  They have wasted no time; let no grass grow.  They have scheduled almost on a daily basis tests and procedures for Rayford.  It seems that for so many patients getting these things done take months.  Not in Rayford’s case.  I think it has been about three weeks since his diagnosis and he had surgery today!

It appears that his lung caner is localized in the lower lobe of his right lung.  The plan was open up Raford’s lung and check to see if the cancer had appeared to spread.  If so, the doctors were going to remove the entire lung.  If not, then they were just going to remove the lower lobe.

I understand that there was also a spot on the upper part of that lung that was of a concern.  During surgery it was decided that the cancer was indeed contained in the lower lobe ,and so that  was removed.  Also when they went to check on the spot located in the upper lung area, they couldn’t find it!!!  Thank you, Lord.

I think there is a possibility that Rayford will not even need chemo or radiation.  Post surgery tests and procedures will indeed confirm that.

Thank you, Father, for your presence today with your servant, Raford.  We praise you for taking care of him and taking away the extra cancerous concern.  You alone are the Great Healer.  Be with Rayford this evening.  Keep him comfortable and give his wife comfort and rest.  In the name of Jesus, amen.

Pancreatic Cancer is No Match For God’s Healing Power

I spoke with Wayne last night.  He had been to the doctor to get the results of his latest CT scan.  The doctor told Wayne that his tumor could not be seen on the scan!!! There was considerable scarring from the radiation treatments, but no tumor!  Wayne asked the doctor, “So God performed a miracle?”  To which the doctor replied, “I’m not going to say that, but something miraculous did happen here.”  Our response? “Well, whatever.”  We are all taking this as God’s miraculous healing power.

The doctor wants to continue chemo for about three more months and then do another scan just as added ‘insurance.  He told Wayne that he was not going to say that the cancer is gone, because it could be just reduced and hidden among the scar tissue.  However, he did admit that Wane was doing amazingly well.  In the midst of the latest round of chemo Wayne has felt well, suffered no pain, and has gained weight.

We are all excited, praising and thanking God for his Grace and Goodness to Wayne and Glynn.  We all realize that because pancreatic cancer is usually aggressive, it could raise its ugly head at any given point in time, once again placing Wayne in front of its life threatening jaws.  For this reason, we are all, especially Wayne and Glynn, enjoying this moment of strength, and yes, healing which is a precious gift from God.

Our Family’s Next Feeding Tube Experience

When Daddy was diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer, one of his doctors mentioned that at some point the cancer would close off Daddy’s esophagus, and he would be unable to eat.  At that point we would need to make a decision about whether or not to insert a feeding tube into Daddy’s stomach to keep him alive.

After Daddy made it through two rounds of chemo and it became evident that the cancer was still growing, we decided not to do any more chemo.  Because Daddy’s mind was still clear, I determined that  It was time to talk to him about the feeding tube.  I reminded him about the doctor’s comments several weeks earlier.  I told Daddy that he didn’t need to make a decision right then, but just think about what he wanted to do when the time came.

Daddy’s pastor came to see him on a regular basis, and we always looked forward to his visits.  Bro. Burtis was always very perceptive to Daddy’s moods and never stayed long unless he felt like Daddy wanted to talk.  During one particular visit, Daddy asked Bro. Burtis to pull up a chair which meant “I have some things on my mind, and need to talk to you”.

After Bro. Burtis was seated near Daddy’s bed, Daddy began to talk about the feeding tube dilemma, stating that though he wasn’t sure what to do, but felt like he would probably refuse it because he didn’t want to be just kept alive.  Daddy then asked Bro. Burtis to share his opinion of should be done.

Bro. Burtis so wisely and gently shared that flatly deciding to refuse it at this point was not wise, because there were really many aspects of the results of having or not having a feeding tube to take into account.  For example, if the cancer closed off his esophagus, but otherwise he was still feeling good and felt like he would have more time to live with a reasonable quality of life, the perhaps accepting the feeding tube would be a wise choice.  Hmmmmmmm.  I know Daddy had not thought of it in that respect and I hadn’t either.

As it turned out, we never had to make the decision because in the end Daddy had a stoke which ended his life.

From this experience I learned that refusing or accepting a feeding tube for myself or a precious loved one, needs to be based on several aspects of the situation.  If a person will have a reasonably good quality of life and be able to have pleasure from being with people, then perhaps a feeding tube is appropriate.  If that person wants a feeding tube, then their wishes should be granted.

If, on the other hand, that person is already past the point of knowing anyone, or is not conscious and will never be conscious, if that person is no more than a person lying in a bed, or if that person has expressed the desire to never have a feeding tube, no matter what, then I believe that inserting that tube is cruel.

One of the most important lessons I learned from this experience and from Bro. Burtis’ wisdom, was that this type of decision can not be made ahead of time in most cases.  It is best to make that decision and cross that bridge when you come to it.