I’m sorry it has taken me so long to get this update to you. I’ve had the flu and am slowly crawling back into the work.
Back in February, Eileen and I went to Seattle to talk with a gastric cancer specialist. He told us that the only trial we could participate in would require Eileen to be in Seattle for a shot (one hour), three out of four Mondays for six months. We didn’t think we could do that, so we aren’t going to do it.
Also, the doctor told us that Eileen was right on the edge of losing all feeling in her hands and feet. Once that happens, life will become very difficult. So, as an alternative to that situation, he suggested that we cut out the most aggressive and active chemo drug and just go with a “maintenance” dose of chemo. Which is what we’ve been doing.
Since then, Eileen has had two doses of the chemo. This is because her white blood cell counts and her potassium levels have been low, also a couple of weeks ago she caught the flu. As you know having the flu when your white blood cell counts are low, is a bad thing. I called our family doctor and he talked with the cancer doctor and they agreed with my request to give Eileen theraflu an anti viral drug. She came down with the flu symptoms on Sunday night and took the drugs for five days. The flu symptoms were minimal for that week and when it was over, she was well.
Two weekends ago Eileen received two infusions of potassium and magnesium, then on Monday she took another infusion of potassium with her chemo. The next round will be next Monday.
Overall, Eileen is in good spirits. She loves Jesus, hates cancer and chemo. Her hands and feet are numb and hurt at the same time. She tires easily and when she naps it doesn’t revitalize her.
The doctor described the future for us: we will stay on this maintenance course until Eileen can’t handle the chemo anymore, or until the cancer begins growing again. Then, we will make adjustments in the chemo so that she can function as well as possible. This will be an ever downward process until she goes to be with the Lord. It’s a sort of race: will the cancer grow and kill her, or will the chemo kill her first?
But through it all, God is with us, he is more real than ever, more present, more our Lord and glorious God. Though we grieve, curse the devil, ask for healing and thank God for whatever is coming, we constantly remember to draw near to him. Samuel Johnson, when facing being hanged said, “Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.” This cancer thing has concentrated our minds wonderfully.
Also, as we prepare for the future, we can’t help remembering with joy what D.L. Moody said on his death bed, “Some day you will read in the papers, ‘D. L. Moody of East Northfield is dead,’” he said. “Don’t you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now; I shall have gone up higher, that is all, out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal — a body that death cannot touch, that sin cannot taint; a body fashioned like unto His glorious body. That which is born of the flesh may die. That which is born of the Spirit will live forever.”
We’re hoping for another year or more. But we don’t know the plans of God other than to remain faithful, joyful, and grateful. And to continue ministering to everyone around us.
The church has been incredible. We haven’t cooked a meal at our house in six months. The brothers and sisters of our church, Trinity Reformed Church, and Valley Covenant Church have provided every meal with amazing faithfulness, good food, and great attitudes. Also, every time Eileen needs a ride to Lewiston or home, the women in the church hop in their cars and joyfully give her a lift. We are very humbled and profoundly grateful to God and to our church family.
Thank you for praying for us and especially Eileen.