Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining

Yesterday afternoon Jane had a blood draw to check her renal panel (kidney function). The doctor called back this morning, and said that he was pleasantly surprised that her blood work looked good, and that there is no sign of starvation yet.

The hospice nurses arrived almost at that same time, and had the same news for us. They accessed Jane's port and began the IV infusion, which has been going now for the past 5-1/2 hours. She will be finished with the infusion shortly, and we will flush her port, and leave it accessed until tomorrow, when she'll have another infusion. We'll do this for the next 6 days if all goes well.

Jane is feeling fairly good right now, so that will be a blessing for her sister when she arrives this afternoon; we also have a couple more family members coming later this week and next week. Brent, Shelly, Lily and me visited the hospital today where I work. The nursing staff (my dear friends and colleagues) have been so wonderful to us, and they were all excited to meet my family.

I dropped them back off at the hotel, and came home for a nap. It's about time for us to disconnect Jane's infusion pump for the day, so I'll post later as things go on.

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Rough Night the Norm?

Hello Friends. It's early morning (3:20AM) and I was up with Jane again for the past 45 min. or so. She had another bout tonight. We were talking afterward, and decided it's probably a good thing that it happens in the wee hours of the morning; that way the kids don't have to witness it.

Today, Jane will receive an IV infusion of D5 saline with some potassium to help hydrate her a little, and perhaps make her more comfortable. The infusion will start around 10:00am and go for about 6 hours (slowly). During that time Jane will be resting and maybe catching up on some needed sleep.

Everyone has been very gracious an honored our request to not stop by or call. I imagine it must be very difficult for you to have to stay away; Pam has told me that some have expressed a strong desire to see Jane one last time. We do understand that, but Jane is not up for that at this time. If things change, I will let you know.

"I anticipated the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy words." --Psalm 119:147 ASB.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Family Arrived

My son Brent, wife Shelly, and granddaughter Lily arrived from Michigan today. We got them settled in to the Salbasgeon Inn, and headed back to our home for a quick visit.

Each time we have talked with Lily on the phone over the past two years, she has grown so quickly in her speech. It was awesome to see her in the pink (and as a little girl, she does wear pink)! She is so beautiful; and Jane was pleased to see her. We visited for about half an hour, and I took them back to the Inn; upon my return Jane was very tired out.

You see, last night was not a very good night for Jane. I will spare the gory details, but suffice it to say that the doctor is pretty sure her bowel is obstructed now. We awoke at 2:15AM and Jane was sick to her stomach. We finally got settled back down about 3:15.

It was very difficult for me to go back to sleep (even as exhausted as I was) and while I was laying in bed, I began to count on my hand the number of days until her sisters will arrive. One, two, three, four . . . five . . . . . six. "Oh Lord, will Jane make it another six days?" We called her sisters this morning and urged them to come earlier than planned, so they're driving from California tomorrow and will be here tomorrow night.

It's late now, and Jane is settled in (I pray for the whole night this night) so I'll sign off for now. Please pray for her to have a good night if you're still up.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Packing for the Journey Home

This past week has been surreal. Jane and I have spent a lot of time talking about her journey "home". At times, our conversation has been sprinkled with humor, and the other day I asked her, "Do you have your passport?" We had a laugh. Then, I looked at her and it hit me, and I said, "I'm really going to miss you," and I broke down again in her arms.

It's hard to believe at times. I wake up in the morning and wonder how this could be happening. I am not angry, or afraid, but deeply saddened. I know Jane will be in Good Hands.

I was thinking yesterday about our wedding day. When the doors to the back of the sanctuary (at our church in San Jose) opened, and Jane and her dad started the walk up the aisle to meet me. I began to tremble and cry. She was so beautiful! Her white silk wedding dress, bouquet in hand, and her father proudly walking her to me.

It made me think about how Jesus must feel the same way. Waiting expectantly for His bride, Jane, to walk down the aisle toward Him. I guess I'm going to be the father giving her to Him.

I wish that I could see His face when she meets Him at the altar.

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Fund Raiser at Woodstock's Pizza

Our dear friends are organizing a fund-raiser at Woodstock's Pizza on May 5th.
Friends of Jane and Doug can go to Woodstock's Pizza on May 5th, no matter the time, take out or dine in, and 50% of the money spent on food (pizza, drinks, etc.) will go to the fund to help support us. The fund-raising could not happen without the restaurant being so supportive and generous, our friends spreading word, and people coming to support that day.

Jane is hoping to feel well enough to attend the fund-raiser, so if you'd like to see her and support our family at the same time, please plan to attend. We will post the time we anticipate Jane will be there in a future posting on this blog and hers.

Thank you dear friends and Woodstock's!

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Some Suggestions About Etiquette

Blessings to our friends! I will be trying to update my blog on a more regular basis (every other day or so). As I mentioned in my previous post, the boulder is rolling, and it's rolling rapidly.

Jane and I had a frank conversation with the Hospice nurse and the oncologist on Wednesday, and both agree that Jane may only have 3-4 weeks left. The hospice nurse told Jane, "It's up to you to prove us wrong." We laughed.

Some of you may ask as we did, why? One explanation for the seemingly sudden change is that Jane is not tolerating any food intake at all anymore; about the only thing she can keep down now is ice chips/water. This had been happening over the past month or more, but has really come to a head in the last 2 weeks.

We asked about TPN (Total parenteral nutrition) which is essentially IV food, and the oncologist is concerned about two factors: one is fluid overload, which could be detrimental to Jane's current condition, and the other, harsh as it may sound, is needless prolonging of suffering. At this point, Jane is in little to no pain thanks to medication (The role of the hospice nurse it to keep it that way), and is in good spirits.

My son Brent and his family are coming sooner than originally planned. We were able to get an emergency exception to the non-transferable tickets purchased for the 16th of May, and they will now be arriving on April 29th. This change was also a result of the accelerated sense of urgency.

Jane and I have developed the following "etiquette" list for interactions with our family in the next few weeks, and trust that each of you will understand, and be respectful of these wishes.

  1. Please, no drop-in visitors. We will be having a rather full house with family coming from various parts of the country, and it can get overwhelming.
  2. If you would like to visit, please call in advance and we will let you know if Jane is up for it.
  3. NOTE: One of the best types of visits, and something Jane thoroughly enjoys, is receiving little cards with a brief personal note.
  4. Jane has requested that people not ask her how me or the kids are doing. It's difficult for either of us to answer that question. Generally speaking, they (and me) are doing as well as can be expected.
  5. Finally, although we appreciate the intent behind nutritional (and even survival) suggestions, Jane feels confident that we are doing, and have done, everything we can.

We continue to be amazed daily by the unending outpouring of love and support from everyone, and we hope that will continue. This is true evidence of the Love of God that dwells in each of you.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Turning Another Corner

Jane and I called Benton Hospice Service, and they came Tuesday afternoon and did an intake appointment. Our Hospice nurse, Danise, is wonderful, and spent the better portion of an hour talking with me and Jane about the services that Hospice provides. It's incredible having such an organization to support us!

This journey of Jane's cancer and treatments began just 15 months ago, and during the course of the past 15 months, time has seemed to drag on, excruciating, painfully slow; almost at times a feeling of standing still. In retrospect, that was probably a good thing. For those of you who have lived with cancer, or with someone who has/had cancer, you probably know what I mean. We have tried to live our lives as if we were not prisoners to this "thing" but I'm not sure how well I have accomplished that.

The part in this posting about "Turning Another Corner" is this: as I mentioned, the past 15 months went slowly, but since yesterday, it feels as though a large boulder has been set loose, and is in motion, and there's nothing now that can be done to stop it. I am afraid of how quickly it will roll over me.

I went to work today, and had to leave early because I just could not bear being away from Jane at this juncture. Last night was a terrible night for her. Up until 1:30am, and then vomiting everything she had swallowed all day. She is on a liquid diet now, and even liquids do not seem to want to stay down.

I got home, walked to Jane's bedside and fell to pieces. And being the amazing woman she is, she comforted me.

We continue to receive wonderful support from all of our friends; at church, at the hospital, and family as well. Thank you everyone, from the bottom of my heart, for all that you do for us during this difficult time.


Monday, April 21, 2008

A Sad Day

Today, we received word that our friend, Bruce Alexander passed away. It's still hard to believe. I took a nap this afternoon, and awoke thinking "maybe it was a dream." But it was not. Our deepest sympathy and condolences go to the Alexander family at this sad time.

On another note, Jane had a PET scan last Friday, and we received a call from the oncologist with the news. Jane's cancer has shown a "significant increase in peritoneal carcinomatosis." The radiology report says a whole lot more, but the bottom line is that the chemotherapy that is wreaking havoc on her is not working.

We have the option of going back to the original chemotherapy regimen, but that would mean Oxalyplatin, which causes severe neuropathy in Jane's hands. After tearful consideration, Jane has decided not to undergo any more chemo, and will concentrate on her nutrition; not for curative effect, but so that she will feel better. Her digestive tract is not working very well right now.

We had tearful conversations with our kids this afternoon/evening, and we're going to try to take things one day at a time. The prognosis is that we're looking at a few months (3-6) or maybe a little longer. Time will tell.

Please continue to pray for Jane and our family.

On a more upbeat note, my son Brent, his wife Shelly, and our granddaughter Lily are flying here from Michigan on the 16th of May. This is a trip that neither we, nor our son, could afford to pay for, so many have stepped forward with financial donations to help make the trip a reality. We want Jane to see our only grandchild one more time.

If you are interested in donating any amount to help defer expenses for their travel, please contact me via the blog, and we can make arrangements.

Blessings to you all,


Friday, April 11, 2008

Another Loss

Our son, Daniel, finally got his driver's license about 2 weeks ago. Hurray! He hasn't been too concerned at all about waiting so long to finally pass the test, and it was really special to have him reach that milestone.

Well, once he was licensed, our insurance increased by over $100 per month, which we cannot afford to pay; besides, he doesn't have a car he can drive anyway. So we called the insurance company to drop him from our policy, and it turns out that in the State of Oregon, a person of Daniel's age who has a driver's license, and access to our vehicles, must be insured or surrender his license.

So today, Daniel drove me and him to the DMV, and surrendered his license. I had to walk outside before I broke down in front of him and everybody else. It felt like another loss in the series of losses in my life. Daniel was not too concerned about it; he can get around to everywhere he goes either walking or riding his bike. But for me, it felt like another failure on my part as a parent.

As I sit here composing this entry, I am beginning to lose my composure. I just hope and pray for one thing in my life to go according to the "norm" or the "plan". Keep me and us in your prayers.


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