14 May 2008

Russ' Latest

Here's the last two emails from Sue:

13-May-08 4:00pm - untitled:

Teeth are pulled, denture is weird (ill fitting), keeps falling out, no molars to chew with, only denture on top (it looks great though) not happy camper but still smiling off and on. More tests tomorrow, results of PET scan, hearing tests, a heart scan (MUGA they call it), get fitted for a mask to hold his head still. We decided to do the clinical study or trial or protocol or whatever they call it and leave it in God's Hands, whether Russ is accepted or not. Hopefully they will keep Thursday free. We need some rest from our 60 mile round trip everyday. I went 54 mph and got 32.1 miles to the gallon. Usually we go about 68 and get 24. So we will save some by doing that.

Praising Him in the midst of pain.

Short and not so sweet.

Love, Sue

15-May-08 - Update:

Dear Ones:

Have you ever felt like you are in the furnace walking through the fire with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego? A very powerful story in Daniel 3. Read it if you have a chance. The last verse 3:25 says," Look! I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the 4th is like the Son of God." I feel that is where we are, as I was praying that image came to my heart. We are not alone in the furnace.

The denture is a problem for Russ, he can't talk right, no pain really with the extraction of the 16 teeth, Praise the Lord, just getting used to that "spoon in his mouth".

There are 2 ways this Clinical Study can go: one is accelerated normal therapy (chemo and radiation), or the addition of another drug which is supposed to strangle the cancer cells. A computer in Texas will randomly pick who goes where so there is no bias. He can opt out of the study at any time. We have again put which one he will be in, into God's Hands, the Author and Maker of all things good.

Yesterday he was mapped and fitted for the head and shoulder gear (net mask like material and hardens to his likeness) that holds him in place. He had another C.T. scan, I guess it is 3-D. to help the physicist map out the tumor. Several things to pray about here. Not only could he be burned by the radiation but he could have loss of hearing, loss of equilibrium, damage to spinal cord, voice box, many other areas that could be touched by the radiation and chemo.

Next we went to his ear, nose and throat doc to have his hearing checked, so they have a baseline. He already can't hear me (sometimes I think it is intentional, that's a Ha,Ha) and it was proven on the test, his high range of hearing is gone. I will learn to just lower my voice. Then we came back to the other building for LAB work and the MUGA scan to see his heart function. In the meantime I had to go down and reschedule a few things, set up a few more app't. and just keep everyone involved on their toes. Ya know you really need a secretary or an advocate if something like this happens, it is impossible to keep everything straight with out a larger pocket calendar (thanks Dick) and someone with a halfway clear mind.

We had 2 hours before we had to go see the dentist, we had some soup at Blackwoods, yummy, then off to get the dentures worked on. They are better but not perfect, we made it just in time to see Mitchell's puppet show and the Spring concert, in which both Brad and Mitchell participated. Saw many people there who hardly recognized Russ, clean shaven, new teeth and 25lbs lighter. He had been trying to lose weight because he was pre-diabetic and was doing a good job of it, being dedicated but now they want him to add on as much as possible and he can't because of his teeth or lack of.

Tomorrow is another big day. The PEG tube goes in, a tube directly into his stomach so he can receive nourishment when he can't swallow. Ya know, I think all of this stuff he is going through in the past weeks is so minor, I can't imagine what the next 7 weeks holds. He has his first Chemo and Radiation tenatively set for 22nd.

Matt is coming up on the 23rd-28th, Suzanne and family come June 1-12, Matt is coming again for awhile, then Ann is coming, then Wendy. We are so blessed by this, I can't tell you what it means to know we won't be going through this alone, in the physical sense. I know you are out there praying and holding us up, there is an Awesome Sense of Peace within us.

I have to get ready for my walk, first time in many days and it is gorgeous out. My legs have been aching from lack of exercise and sitting in the car and in the waiting rooms. Then I go to Cotton Pickin' Losers to weigh in. Russ said he might go too but I am letting him snooze as much as he wants today. We have a day off today, so will enjoy the beauty of God's Creation, do some yard work and maybe fish off the dock.

Love and blessings to you all. God Bless you.

Russ and Sue

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