"Your greatest contribution to the Kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise." ~Andy Stanley

January 31, 2015

Friends and football

We've been wondering if Hubby would be watching the Super Bowl from his hospital room or from home.
A few years ago, Hubby's best friend gave him a monstrously large flat screen TV for his birthday, which was for the viewing of all future Super Bowls together.
A few days ago, I had to let him know that this years' might have to be watched on only a 36'' screen, in a small  hospital room.
And I got a text back from him that said "I would rather watch the game on an iPod with John than on the biggest screen without him.' How sweet is that?!
So, we made plans to have a little hospital Super Bowl party,
but then his doctor said he could go home tomorrow!!!! Hooray!

Football, friends and HOME!

January 29, 2015

Update: Good news

My Hubby's heart is back in rhythm! It hasn't been in rhythm since surgery on the 5th! Hooray!
The doctors believe it was the fluid around his heart that caused the afib. (we knew he didn't have heart problems!) :)
The tube that was put in his heart to drain the fluid was suppose to come out this weekend, but they were able to take it out today! Yay!
 He says this is the best he"s felt since the first surgery!

 Its been a good day!


January 28, 2015

Surgery went well

Seeing your loved one on a ventilator is something else..and watching it be removed is even worse, but thank heaven the Lord is 'keeping' him.
Honestly it was a rough morning and he was in a lot of pain.
During the surgery they drained a half a liter of fluid from around his heart and a whole liter from one of his lungs! -which sounds like an awful lot to me!

But, this evening is a different story. He has the breath and the strength to talk again! Absolutely amazing! I'm like 'who is this guy? I haven't seen him like this since Friday.' Whoo-hoo!

Believing for smooth sailing from here on out!


Wednesdays in the Word

When God Keeps You:

Oh my goodness, I love this!
 Psalm 121 mentions 'keeps' 7 times.
'Keeps' in the Hebrew, is shamar and it means "to exercise great care over or watch closely."

Here's how God keeps us:

"He who keeps you will not slumber,
Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper...
The Lord shall keep you from all evil. (Love that!)
He shall keep your soul.
The Lord shall keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore."

How awesome that He, the God of Heaven, exercises such great care and watches us so closely!

My favorite of those is "The Lord shall shamar (or keep) you from all evil."
And evil here is Ra which means "immoral or unethical actions performed by others." How awesome is that!?

Adam was told to keep the garden of Eden in Gen. 2:15 and guess what we are suppose to  shamar? 

"Keep your heart with all diligence, for out it spring the issues of life." Prov. 4:23


January 27, 2015

Another surgery

We are waiting with Hubby as he is about to be taken into surgery to have drains put in his chest. One for the fluid around the heart and the other for one of his lungs.  The procedure is two hours late  but we sure know that Hubby has been well covered in prayer, since so many dear friends started praying about it hours ago. Very blessed with so many praying friends!

January 26, 2015

Take two in ICU

Sunday afternoon, I brought Hubby back to the cancer hospital for an emergency visit. He had been very weak all weekend and vommiting every morning after the feeding tube came out. He also felt some congestion in his chest. He looked haggard and his skin looked a bit yellow to me. (the nurse has since corrected me and said his skin looked "dry' not yellow and it was from dehydration) His white blood count was high and they decided to admit him to find the infection. Then his heart went in aFib and they put him in ICU. Late last night they did a CAT scan and today we found out it showed fluid on one lung and fluid around the heart caused by the swelling from surgery. They want to drain the fluid around the heart before it starts  causing problems. This could have been a big problem if undetected. God is good.


January 25, 2015

First week of recovery at home

Recovery from this surgery is not easy, bless my Hubby's heart!
Just when we thought it might not be that bad, the tube in his stomach started leaking. This turns out to be normal but they still had us come to the hospital at 11:30 Sunday night to do an x-ray just to make sure. I think we've been sleep deprived ever since because the leaking adds a new dimension to his care. There's a dressing to change a few times a night, meds to take and a feeding pump to turn off when the cycle is over etc..
But as far as his surgeon is concerned, everything looks great and is healing well. He said Hubby is suppose to feel like he's been run over by a truck. Good to know, since he does.
They decreased his time on the feeding tube from 18 hours to 14 hours and now he is on a full liquids diet, which is a little more fun than the clear fluids diet. But he can only handle a few sips of soup or a few bites of Greek yogurt right now.
 He's been really nauseous lately and is still very weak. He does go for little walks around the house or in our driveway. He watches lots of home improvement shows, which remind him of the joy of hard work and making customers happy. (he really misses being able to work!)
One night when he felt good, I thought a ride in the car might be nice for a change of scenery, but every bump in the road hurt his stitches, poor thing. Bad idea.
The kids took turns taking care of him, so I could dash out and run some errands that I needed to do after being 'gone' for 11 days.
 Joy took care of him one evening and I went to the fabric store and bought some fabric and sewed a new valance for our bedroom window. I bought some pillows for our bed to match our new comforter. Our old one reminded us of the chemo and radiation days. Maybe that's weird, but they did, so they had to go! It looks brighter and happier now, which reminds us that this is not that season, but a new one and we are closer to the end of this journey!

Andrew was invited to go on a family vacation with his best friend's family, who live in CA now. That blessed guy has been on a cruise to Mexico all week! He's flying home today and I can't wait to have his sweet, talkative, helpful, funny self back in our home! Love that guy! And looking forward to hearing about his travels!

We'll be nursing and healing around here, if you don't hear from us.


January 21, 2015

Wednesdays in the Word

This verse kept going through my mind during Hubby's hospital stay.

"HE is your praise, and He is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things which your eyes have seen." Deut.10:21 '


One of those great and awesome things we have seen is that on
January 5, 2015 
at exactly
2:00 PM 
All the cancer was removed from Hubby's body! 

Thank you, Jesus!


January 20, 2015

Those 11 days

When I think of Hubby's hospital stay, there are a few things that will stand out in my memory.

-What an amazing calling the nursing profession is. Wow and wow!
 I interacted with so many in 12 hour days for 11 days straight and they were all awesome! Every one of them added their own touch of wisdom to Hubby's situation that made him more comfortable. So thankful for each every one of them.

-How my always sweet husband was so polite to every tech and nurse and called each of them by name even when he could barely talk. (not to mention that's a lot of names!)  But he is always so polite. He even says 'please' and 'thank you' to Seri. : )

-The cleaning lady, who prays with her grand daughter for all the people on 'her floor' to be healed. She was a dear woman and we promised to keep praying for each other.

-How happy I am not be eating cafeteria food alone anymore!

-The wonderful pastors from our church who visited and texted and prayed. And the sweet friends who came to visit and encouraged us and made us laugh. (And even though he could barely talk, I watched him encourage a lot of people too)

-The friend of Joy's who insisted she not be alone on Surgery Day (she was getting over the flu) and risked some germs to come over to keep her company all day long with Disney movies.

-How the Lord made my path cross in the lobby with some very dear friends, who were there for their own check up and were hoping to visit. Divine appointment!

-Overhearing this: "I just wanted to call you and say that it is cancer. It is in her lymph nodes and in her liver. They have given her 6 months to a year." Heavy situations are going on all around you in a cancer hospital... It changes your level of compassion for sure!

-A wonderful morning when a nurse gave Hubby a new route to walk
 (because having to circle the nurses station 9 times a day gets boring)
 and how she led us to a wall of windows with a great view and then brought us heated blankets!
 It was like a date!!!

-How the nurses sang when we watched this:

-How this sign had lots of signatures on it before we left and how many comments the hospital staff made about it. It sparked spiritual conversations with so many people. Thank you, B. Family!

-How I came home to a clean house every night.

-Joy and Andrew cheered me on every morning as I left for the hospital and tried to find ways to serve me when I got home late every night. And how they diligently did their school work without their home schooling mom.

-How Zac spent as much time as he could at the hospital between work and school and how he gave the kids rides and kept groceries in the house.

-How Andrew finally finished French! LOL That is kind of a family joke.
But I kid you not, finishing that class was the best thing he could do for all of us! LOL!
 Because there have been only two things going on in this family lately and they were:
Hubby's surgery and Andrew finishing his French class! ; ) Oh my stars, they are both over now! Hooray!


January 19, 2015

Mountains moved

To catch up:
Thursday, Hubby's heart was still not back into rhythm. The doctors tried all kinds of meds but they didn't seem to be working. The cardiologist decided that on Friday, they would 'shock' it back in with cardioversion if it didn't go back in on Thursday. Having his heart shocked and flat-lining for a few seconds did NOT sound ideal and many dear people prayed.

Friday morning rolled around and Hubby was scheduled to be 'shocked' but at the very last minute, the cardiologist changed his mind!!! It was very odd.
And we knew that God had intervened!
He said that the staff at the cancer hospital weren't very comfortable doing cardioversion and that we should have it done at one of the very good 'heart' hospitals around town that do it all the time instead. But he said to wait 3 weeks because he honestly feels that this was all caused by the trauma to the esophagus during the surgery and the swelling. Since they are right next to each other, when the swelling goes down around the esophagus, he said the heart will go back to its normal rhythm on its own. Yes, and amen! Praying for that!
Then miracle of miracles, he said we could go home!!!! 
Now that is my kind of 'shock.' ; )

Right after that a case worker came in to tell us that one of the many meds for helping keep Hubby's heart rate down was going to cost $300 a month after insurance but after making some calls, she somehow got the price down to $10. How fabulous is that?!

Then we learned that insurance usually covers the feeding tube pump to use at home, but not the actual 'food' that goes in the pump. People usually have to pay for that out of pocket. But ours does cover it! Yay! It also is covering nurses to come over and help me learn how to use the pump!

Happy home-going
Zac came to help us leave the hospital. He said he was happy to help 'break Dad out.' ; )

And using this has not turned out to be as scary as I thought! Yay!

We serve a mountain moving God!


January 17, 2015

Hubby is home!!!

Sorry for the long silence.
My Hubby is home from the hospital, Woo-hoo!!!
I just haven't had time to write about it.
For now, I'll just say:
There's no place like home
There's no place like home

~ Becky 

January 14, 2015

More Moffit

Hubby had another episode of Afib this morning so we are not headed home today after all. : (
On the bright side, a little more practice for me at inserting food and meds into the tube in Hubby's stomach, isn't a bad thing!

Here is hoping we are headed home tomorrow!


January 13, 2015

The big scare

So...if your Hubby is going to have heart attack symptoms, then the hospital is a good place to be!!!
But, it was still really rough!
 My goodness!
The chest pains turned out to be caused by the tube that was in his chest and by the trauma that area of  his body suffered during the surgery.
And the shortness of breath came from a bit of pneumonia in one of his lungs.
They removed the tube,  administered more painkillers and gave him a bunch of tests.
And all is well now.
The best part is
WE ARE STILL going home tomorrow! Hooray!

~He was able to have some broth for dinner tonight and he was in heaven!
He said 'This broth is killing me!" And I told him he definitely needs to use a different expression! ;) LOL


January 12, 2015

The good news abounds

Hubby passed the swallowing test this morning! No leaking!
They took off most of the tubes he has been connected to also.
The best part was permission to eat ice chips and sip a little bit of water. -He was the happiest guy ever to eat an ice chip! ;)

And Lord willing, he will be going home on Wednesday!!! Whoo-hoo!

In the meantime, I am learning how to inject medicine and nutrition into the 'J' tube in his stomach.
We could use prayer that he doesn't develop pneumonia and grace for me to become an instantly awesome 'home health care nurse.' :-)

Thanks be to God!

January 9, 2015

Out of ICU

A hospital room opened up today, so Hubby is finally out of ICU!
Oh, happy day! : )

A sweet friend of ours made this poster for all of Hubby's visitors to sign, which we hung up right away. Such a thoughtful idea!
Then I bought a some balloons to make the room look happier and went to pick up this guy, who really livened things up. : ) 
Here's our hospital bed selfie -LOL

Have a great weekend!

January 8, 2015


1. Early yesterday, Hubby's heart went into a-fib and the doctor said that he couldn't leave ICU until his heart rate went down. Today we found out that his heart went back into normal rhythm at NOON, which is after we asked everyone to start praying!!!!  PTL!
(a soon as a room comes available, he will be out of ICU)

2. They have him up and walking now. He has done several laps around the ICU floor now!

3. Hubby's voice did not change! So glad since I love the one he has! :-)
Just in case it did change, Andrew had a great idea! The night before the surgery, he picked some of his favorite chapters in the Bible and recorded Hubby reading them while he quietly played guitar in the background. Such a sweet idea!

I'm sure this LIST will grow but this is what we are thankful for right now!


January 7, 2015

The missing letter

Hubby wrote me a love letter to read during the surgery at a specific time. How sweet and thoughtful was that?!
But things kind of went wrong in the delivery of that letter
that will probably make us laugh in years to come.come

Hubby gave the letter to one of our kids and told them what time to give it to me and he wrote it on the envelope too, in case they forgot. He wanted me to have it 'in case the surgery went LONG.' But, this dear kiddo thought he meant 'in case the surgery goes wrong!' Oh, my stars!

So, when Hubby came to and I was finally able to see him, the first thing he said was 'Did you get the letter?' and I didn't know what he was talking about!!!
Since the surgery went well, they never gave it to me or even mentioned it. Oh my goodness, what a mix up!!!

I guess they thought it was an: 'If you are reading this then that means I didn't make it' kind of letter. LOL
But it was a sweet letter to comfort me and to remind me of how awesome our future together is, when this is all over. :-) Amen!


January 6, 2015

All is well

Nine hours of surgery later, and my sweet hubby is recovering in the ICU.
Wow, what a day it was.
I had a sweet crowd with me in the waiting room for all of those hours. -What a blessing! Their presence made time speed by.

The surgeon told us that morning, that if he were to find that the cancer had spread when he opened him up, then he would not do the surgery. (I guess at that point maybe more chemo is your only hope)
So, as the first hour or two ticked by, I rejoiced that the surgery was happening at all! What a relief!
And they were able to do it robotically as they had hoped to. PTL

After it was all over, the surgeon hugged me and then told me that at 2:00 PM he took the cancer out of his body!!!! Whoo-hoo! I love that he wanted me to know the exact time!
~But, I didn't exactly love seeing a photo on his iPhone of the cancer on Hubby's esophagus. Blah! 'TMI,' as the kids say!:-)

I wasn't able to spend the night in the ICU and Hubby vetoed my plan to sleep in the lobby, so I went home at 10:00 PM. The ICU nurse gave me the number so that I could call a couple of times during the night to see how he was doing. The answer both times was that he was in 'a lot of pain.' But they have worked out those pain meds and he is comfortably resting today.

To do the surgery they had to collapse one of his lungs! So, they are monitoring his breathing closely ttoday as well as his heart, because of all that they did right next to it.

For some reason, they want him to be sitting up in a recliner and not in the hospital bed. So,  I can tell you that a hospital bed is a pretty comfy place for a worn out wife to nap. ;)

If all goes well, hubby will be moved out of ICU tomorrow. He is resting peacefully and we have a lot to be thankful for.
Thank you All for your prayers! God has answered. :-)


January 2, 2015

The fun continues

It is just amazing to me that 10 weeks ago, our life was in such a hard place and now it isn't!
Just amazing!
Back then, Hubby was so weak from chemo that I had to push him in a wheelchair. There were days when I had to spoon feed him and he was in too much pain to talk or eat or be touched.
Who would have thought that would all be in the past and we would have such a lovely Christmas season with Hubby back to being his normal self ?!?! (Minus his lack of energy from the chemo)
He enjoyed every moment of the holidays with us! It was fabulous! I'm so thankful!

He's enjoying eating whatever he wants right now, -for the very last time in his life! Is that heavy or what? He will loose 20 lbs due to the surgery on Monday. Too bad I'm not going to magically loose 20 lbs on Monday. LOL!

Nathan flew home this morning and I put away 'Christmas,' which caused one of our boys to say 'there's nothing left to live for.'  ; ) ~So, glad they love each other so much!
Nathan will be back at the end of February for a really quick visit to see how Hubby is and to attend the wedding of a dear friend of his. That fact made saying good-bye much easier on this mom.

We spent New Years Day celebrating Zac's birthday early, because Nathan was still here. Not to mention it falls on Surgery Day.

Zac is the guy in the family who never wants to have a party thrown for him ever. So, I had it pretty easy! : )
Dad and the birthday guy!
We celebrated at Downtown Disney, which was lots of fun!
 We saw a movie, had candied apples and then went out to dinner.

ordering their apples

(Hubby had just barely enough energy to walk to the car after all that fun)

New Year's Eve was spent having pre-op tests done on Hubby's heart and lungs to be sure that they can handle the surgery. I promised not to post the picture of the contraption he had to sit and breathe into all while wearing a lovely blue clip pinned to his nose. ; )

 Then that night we went to a party at the home of Zac's girlfriends' parents, who go to church with us. Great party and fun fireworks with these sweet young people!

Monday is the big day!
As always, we are so thankful for Moffit Cancer Center! Hubby couldn't be in better hands! (they do 80 of these surgeries a year)

And we are absolutely, eternally grateful to my husband's employer who has continued to pay him throughout this whole ordeal. How amazing is that?!?
I had the chance to thank him in person the other day, and well, 'thank you' will never seem to be enough, but I'm glad I had the chance to. He's such a humble man. We are praying that will God richly bless him in every way for his abundant generosity!

Looking forward to good things in 2015! ~Most of all, my Hubby being cancer-free!