Change of Plans

"My grace is sufficient for you; for my strength is made perfect in weakness." - 2 Corinthians 12:9

"I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection." - Thomas Paine

It's been just over a month since Mother's Day. I would like to apologize for the less frequent updates. I have thought about writing many times, but have found myself in front of the computer less now that it is summer. We have welcomed summer with open arms. Swimming pools, Vacation Bible Schools, going to the park, road trips, and even ice hockey skating lessons (what better way to cool off in the heat, right?!). One of our recent road trips was to Texas. We traveled with Mrs. Barbara and Coach to visit Chad, Tricia, Jessi and Ella on their ranch and also met up with Nick, Brittney and Easton. We all spent a long Father's Day weekend together fishing, digging with a backhoe and Bobcat, riding on a 4-wheeler, feeding chickens and goats, riding a pony, star-gazing (I have NEVER seen so many brilliant stars!), eating some fabulous food (including bonfire s'mores), and swimming in their new pool. Ranch life is pretty exciting, especially for the kids, and it is one of Mrs. Barbara's favorite places to be. It was a fantastic break from treatment. Probably one of the best treatments for her cancer - She visited with her boys and got to watch her grandkids play together, while resting and relaxing. They left for her to head back to Nashville for her most recent CT scan.

We met with the oncologist today to go over the results of her scan and 2 genetic tumor profiles (one from MD Anderson and the other called Foundation One) and to start a new cycle of chemo. However, after reviewing the CT scan results, it was decided to stop her current chemotherapy plan. The scan shows growth...growth in the existing tumor and lymph nodes that they have been measuring (just slight growth, like the size of a kidney stone), but also shows new growth of tiny lesions widespread in her abdominal cavity. The doctors expect cancer to stop or shrink with treatment, so if you have any growth, they consider the treatment to be a failure and move on to something else that might work. In the doctor's opinion, these particular meds will only make her sick while NOT killing her cancer. So...she believes her next plan is to try clinical trials again. The genetic testing came back helpful in that it identified 4 mutations, 3 of which have potential clinical trials that she may qualify for. Mrs. Barbara has been referred to clinical trials within her current oncology group, which means her current oncologist will work with this new doctor to find the best treatment for her. By the grace of God, they had an opening to see him...TOMORROW. She will have to wait a minimum 4 weeks from her last chemo dose to start anything (this allows the previous chemo drugs to get out of the system), so, though we are discouraged some by the CT results, we are encouraged that she will have a couple more weeks to rest, get strong, and enjoy some additional time with family, and that this new doctor will bring additional knowledge to the table. I will post additional information on the new plan after we see the clinical trials doctor tomorrow.

A few weeks ago, Mrs. Barbara came to watch the boys in their ice hockey skating lessons. They LOVE hockey, but had not figured out yet how to stay up on the ice with all the gear on. She saw them fall...ALOT. (Thank goodness they wear gear or they would have been black and blue.) Hockey is the one sport my boys haven't complained one bit about putting on all the gear, and they fall off/on the entire lesson and keep coming back for more! She mentioned to me that she wished they would play something else because she just couldn't stand to see them fall so much. I told her that she would know better than anyone how NOT to give up when something is difficult. Now, my boys LOVE hockey, but to us outsiders, there is admiration in their determination to learn this sport they love. Mrs. Barbara LOVES her life, and to us outsiders, there is great respect and admiration in her determination to live her life. It then made me wonder how many of us miss that point in our own lives. You feel weak, physically and emotionally and sometimes spiritually, need help from other people, and you fall down. But to some outsider who sees your journey through something difficult (cancer, divorce, lawsuit, addiction, grief, infertility, chronic illness, etc) you are a source of strength to them. That is God in you and working through you. That's where there is goodness in the battle. And remember, most likely there is someone out there who sees your journey and their life is changed because of it.

Heavenly Father, I am sad about the results of the CT scan today, but I know You are at work in this Pilgrimage. I pray for continued Peace and Comfort beyond understanding for Mrs. Barbara today. I continue to pray that the same healing hands that were nailed on the cross for me will heal my Mother in Love's cancer. Lord, take it from her body! Lord, I pray for the man we will meet tomorrow, that he is guided by You. Thank You for showing up in ways big and small, and thank You for Your continued Grace and Love as we put our trust in You. In Jesus Name I Pray, Amen.