The purpose of this blog is to keep friends and family updated on Sandy's health situation. We will periodically post updates so you know what is going on. While we know that you will likely have questions that aren't answered on this page, please understand that we have unanswered questions as well. Your concern and support are very much appreciated. We realize it can be difficult to know how best to help, so we will offer some suggestions along the way.

(**UPDATE 10-5-14: Sandy asked that we let you know you are welcome to call her if you want to. At some point we may again request only cards or emails, but for now, chat away!**)

September 2014: At this time, it is difficult for Sandy to receive numerous calls and texts, even those simply letting her know she is prayed for, because they serve as constant reminders of all the unknowns and the things about which she is trying not to worry. For now, it is a better option to "simply" pray (we know that is the BEST thing any of us can do!), and/or send a card or even an email. Please give her grace, as this is unchartered territory, and she doesn't know what would be most helpful!

As you all know, Sandy is a giver. She loves to give of her time, attention, encouragement, and support. It is very hard for her to be on the receiving end, and even harder for her to have to temporarily step out of some of those giving roles. While she has not told me this, I imagine she still wants to be involved in your lives, caring and investing, and she would still like you to interact with her apart from health issues - in other words, just have normal conversations and share life, rather than always bringing up what is happening next with her health.

We look forward to shutting down this blog and celebrating her full recovery very soon!

Link to January 2015 video:

Link to September 2016 video:

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Out with the plastic

Sandy returns to MD Anderson next week to have the plastic stent removed and two metal stents inserted. Please pray for safe travels, an enjoyable trip, and for the procedure(s) to go well.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Mixed bag from Houston

Update from Sandy:

"This week's MD Anderson trip resulted in a mixed bag of answers. Some key indicators improved; some were not favorable.  The biggest and best news: Imaging revealed no evidence of cancer growing or spreading! That's super good news! I don't need to start back on chemo...extending the chemo vacation is a giant PLUS! The existing malignant tumor was found to be without avidity. (That's a new word for me - it essentially means that the tumor has no 'energy' or 'enthusiasm.' I applaud unenthusiastic tumors!)

Because of some questionable indicators from yesterday's tests, I am going back to MDACC in December for repeated testing. The next day, a Houston GI will remove the plastic drain and stent and replace them with two metal stents. That procedure will be done at St Luke's Hospital in Houston. The expected outcome of this procedure is to reduce - maybe even eliminate - trips to the ER due to infections. And the metal stents should never need to be exchanged. Won't that be an early Christmas gift!?!

May we approach all we do with AVIDITY for the Lord!

Ephesians 6:7 (NLT) 'Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.'

Thank you for your love, encouragement and prayers."

A friend asked how she can help Sandy during this time. I told her that her prayers are vitally important. When you know someone is praying for you, the enemy can't catch you with the lie that you're alone. Knowing that friends and family are lifting Sandy up is very comforting. Don't ever minimize the role of prayer.

Sandy is very thankful that both of her new grandsons were born prior to her Houston trip. She was able to give each of them a of her favorite jobs as grandma. She's thankful for the mild weather we've been having. And she'd thankful for each of you, and prays for your encouragement, peace, and salvation.

Sandy isn't feeling the greatest. Her drain isn't working properly, so her fever is up again. Please pray this can be resolved without an ER, ICU, or any other set of letters that indicate a hospital stay.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

When Good Isn't Best

Sandy fought a fever and discomfort for several days before finally being admitted to Wesley Wednesday evening. We fully expected her to stay the "typical" 24 hours and then be released to carry on with normal activities. She had classes scheduled for Friday, after all, followed by an event at church. Saturday included an event scheduled with that included delicious homemade cobbler and ice cream. All of these things are, arguably, good. There was no reason to think she ought not to carry out these plans!

However, good isn't always best. God alone knows what is best, and in this case that included an extended hospital stay. Sandy's lab results indicated that she was sicker than she realized or first presented. She has been given several doses of various antibiotics, an IV iron drip each day, a test to check for blockages, and finally, today, a new stent. The drain she already had in place was taking care of about 75% of the need, but over the past few weeks, the missing 25% built up and brought us where we are today. Today's stent was smaller than expected due to either scar tissue or the tumor. Of course we'd prefer that the problem is scar tissue; perhaps the next TX trip will reveal more in this area. 

Right now she is resting, working on hanging on to a positive outlook, continuing to connect with and invest in the nurses, doctors, and staff, and trying to come up with an endearing name for the oxygen monitor that is, honestly, annoying :)

She thanks you for your prayers. The latest goal is to be dismissed tomorrow early evening. Oh, and to be allowed to have more than clear liquids! ...Like the homemade cobbler mentioned earlier!

God's way is the best way, whether or not we see it or believe it or understand it. We just have to lean in, look for the good, and trust that everything is proceeding as it is supposed to.

Thursday, August 31, 2017


Today's procedure resulted in the successful removal of the stuck stent. A new drain was put in, which will handle the jobs of both the previous drain and the stent. This is good news - hopefully long term good news. In the short term, however, Sandy has some recovering to do. The procedure was more invasive, more rough, and will require more healing than her previous exchanges. She had to stay overnight at the hospital, which really disappoints her, largely because of missing classes and observations with students on Friday. She is thankful for colleagues who cover for her and for flexibility of those affected by this change. She is also very thankful for her medical team, including one doctor who checked in on her just because he cares, even though he did not have hands-on involvement with today's procedure. And of course she is thankful for all of the prayers and kind words from each of you. We're a community of people who take turns holding each other up in times of need and rejoicing with each other in times of joy. God is good...all the time!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Stubborn Stent Still Stuck

Many of you have talked to Sandy in the past several days or even weeks, and know that her latest stent exchange did not go well. Basically, it didn't happen because the doctor was unable to remove the stent in order to replace it. A second attempt, made last week, was also unsuccessful. The current plan is for her to have a third attempt to dislodge the stent next week. There is talk of switching to a more permanent metal stent during her next trip to MD Anderson. Please pray for wisdom for all involved, for physical comfort and rest for Sandy, and for the stent to be removed safely and easily, well before any problems or infections could set in.

Her first week of school went well, though she is ready for a weekend of rest...but we all know resting is not her strength! She is thankful for the ability to continue the vast majority of her activities and is slowly becoming better at accepting her limitations and setting boundaries. She wants things to be as normal as possible, and appreciates opportunities to bless others especially in their times of need. Sometimes being allowed to help others is wonderful medicine!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Unprecedented news

At Sandy's appointment at MD Anderson this morning, she was told that everything is stable. Her doctor reminded her that in 2014, she (Sandy) was told that this kind of cancer is never cured and never goes into remission. However, the doctor then said that it appears that Sandy's cancer IS in remission! Aren't we ever so thankful that God is not limited by even the most advanced technology or the most experienced and intelligent doctors? Sandy will continue the break from chemo and return for the next round of scans and tests in October. Please join us in praising God for this news that is as we had hoped.

Sandy has a "routine" drain exchange tomorrow back in KS. She has yet to undergo a drain exchange without following it up with a trip to the ER/ICU due to extensive infection. Please pray that this time is different, and that her body handles the procedure without complication. Throughout all of this, she has developed positive relationships with numerous hospital staff, to the point that she remembers their names and stories when they come into her room. That is likely one of the hidden blessings of this whole ordeal - a new group of people to be exposed to the grace, mercy, comfort, and power of God.

Look for the good in your day - it really is there. Philippians 4:8 tells us to think on things that are true. However, it also says to think on things that are excellent, admirable, and praiseworthy. While our difficult situations are true, by only dwelling on the hard parts, we are missing out on the whole picture. It reminds me of many of the Psalms, which begin with the hard details of life, then have the small but critical word "but,"signaling the switch into the still true but also positive, promises of God. Yes, Sandy has been battling cancer for three years. Yes, she has landed in the ICU over and over again. Yes, her health has been compromised, energy depleted, side effects experienced. All of that is true. But it's not the whole story. She has grown closer to the Lord, had opportunities to share Him with people who may otherwise not have had ears to hear, been gratefully humbled by the prayers of countless people, and seen His provision in multiple ways. All of that is true.

Thank you for your continued prayer and support.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Home again

Sandy's back home! She had a great team of doctors and nurses during her stay at Wesley. They agreed to let her go home this evening, which allows her to give her final exam tomorrow morning. Few people are excited about not missing a final...Sandy is one of them :)

She'll be on antibiotics for a few weeks to combat the bacteria that have caused this latest set of problems. She'll continue to feel better as the medicines work in her system.  Each of these episodes is a big deal, even though there have been so many by this point that they feel somewhat routine. Sometimes it's good to have a new set of eyes on her case to remind us that while she is a walking miracle, we're not out of the woods by any means. Either way, we're thankful for another positive outcome.

Thanks for your continued prayers!