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, 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!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Bed and Breakfast...kind of.

Sandy had a drain exchange the day after returning from Texas in March. Five days later it was blocked, so she had another one put in. 22 days later it, too, was blocked, so she had yet another drain exchange. That brings us to this weekend...while we always hope she feels great after an exchange, all too often she ends up with a high fever and infection. Today (Saturday) she progressively felt worse and worse. So she's back at Wesley, at least overnight. Please pray for her healing, for cooperative insurance people, and for her team of doctors to figure out a solution to this recurring problem.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Vacation time

Sandy's trip to MD Anderson this week was about as good as it gets. Her tests came back "unremarkable," which is absolutely remarkable! The doctor recommended Sandy take the next three months as a chemo vacation, returning in June to do the normal 3 month tests and go from there. She'll likely continue to have regular labwork taken here in town at the Cancer Center to keep tabs on everything, and she'll have drains and stents replaced as "usual." In fact, the day after returning from TX, she had a scheduled stent exchange. She doesn't feel super right now, but that's somewhat to be expected after a long trip and a procedure. We're all very thankful for a great report, and looking forward to her body having a chance to recover a bit from all these months of chemo. We know others who have not received positive news this week, and we are reminded that this whole thing is God's story...He alone knows the purposes He is accomplishing and how He is bringing good out of each situation. If it's not yet good, it's not yet done!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

On the mend

Sandy returned home this afternoon! She had a night of not-so-bad rest and a day of great nurses.

The five different types of bacteria that grew from her cultures are still in the process of being fully identified, and she will be going to the doctor on Friday to learn which antibiotics will be most effective.

She's headed back to class and is so thankful to be back to normal...whatever that means!

As always, thanks for the prayers, cards, phone calls and texts, visits, and well wishes.

Sandy and her medical team are throwing around some questions and ideas about how to prevent some of these complications; prayers for wisdom would be wonderful.

The next thing on the calendar is Houston toward the end of March.  Hopefully things will be pretty uneventful between now and then!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Drain #10

Sandy began experiencing some issues with her drain last week. On Monday, doctors determined she needed a new drain, but weren't able to work her in. So Tuesday afternoon she went to St Joe for drain #10. Despite some challenging experiences and people, Sandy was encouraged by a conversation with a kind and compassionate nurse who asked about Sandy's journey. God continues to open doors, letting her see at least a small piece of His good that He promises to work out of all situations.

Shortly after the new drain was in place, Sandy's fever spiked. By this point, we all know what that quickly, start IV antibiotics, monitor closely. And they did.  Something is still not quite right with the new drain, however, and she is spending the evening at the hospital.  She anticipates receiving some answers on Wednesday.

As usual, she is most concerned about missing class on Wednesday, and not following procedure for procuring her substitutes. All is well, but not to her. :)

She has had to take her thoughts captive many times over the past few days, choosing to dwell on things that are not only true, but also praiseworthy. We can either live in fear or in love. Which will you choose?

Please pray that the problems are quickly and painlessly resolved, for the medical team to have wisdom and compassion, and for Sandy to continue recognizing invitations from God to share His story of her life with those she meets. It wouldn't hurt her feelings if you also pray that the IV in her hand can be removed asap! And while we're at it, that tomorrow morning's coffee arrives promptly and tastes delicious :)

Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Update from Sandy:

First of all, praise God for safe travels to and from Houston Dec 19-21.    This is the 9th trip we've made to MD Anderson.  Rod is a wonderful chauffeur and I would be lost -- literally lost -- without him!

Secondly (drum roll!!!), labs and scans are either stable or improved!  This is the fourth consecutive time in 2016 that we have received a "mostly" great report!  One of the cancer markers is even down to a single digit!  That has never happened before!  Except for a declaration that I am cancer free, these results are the best we could hope for!  I will continue chemo every other week and return to Houston in 3 months.  

My MDAnderson oncologist said she'd much rather share results of my labs and scans  instead of share bad news with her patients -- especially during the week before Christmas.  She only sees patients with pancreatic, gall bladder, and/or bile duct cancer.    She looked tired and concerned for her patients.  And it was just the morning.  I need to remember to pray for her and her medical team.   It must be very hard to deliver bad news. 

So, while I am giving thanks and celebrating the good news I received this week, I am also remembering those who are struggling, maybe with recently hearing the cancer diagnosis for the first time this week.   Or waiting to hear results of tests.   Or getting a dismal prognosis.  I remember what that was like (September 2014).  I know what it is like to get a dismal report (November 2015).   We all just do the next step.  Thankfully, God directs those steps.    

Someone recently texted me a message with the comment:  "There are so many things I can't do like I used to do as I get older."  I agree completely.  But there are two things we ALL can do as we get older.  We can love more deeply,  and we can thank God more often for His amazing plans for our future, whatever those plans may be.  

Thank you for praying for me and for being so encouraging to me.  TO GOD BE ALL THE GLORY!

Merry Christmas!  May JOY invade every moment of this season and the New Year.