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: https://vimeo.com/115013190


Link to September 2016 video: https://vimeo.com/c3media/review/185699250/24bdbf13d2

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 means...work 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.  
Love,
Sandy

Saturday, October 8, 2016

In and Out Again

Many people were praying for Sandy to remain in good health so she could speak at an event at church last Friday (Sept 30). And God said yes! She faithfully shared some of the lessons and truths she's learned or been reminded of as a result of this cancer journey. Around 250 people attended, and many have commented that they left encouraged, inspired, and challenged. Sandy left the event feeling honored, encouraged, loved, and greatly supported. A link to the video is below, as well as on the bottom of the intro section of this blog.

https://vimeo.com/c3media/review/185699250/24bdbf13d2

On Tuesday, October 4, Sandy had an already scheduled, routine drain exchange. Everything went well, and around 3pm she was home. However, around 4pm, she began having chills, shakes, and a quickly rising fever. We've been down this road enough times by now to know that an immediate trip to the ER was required. Thankfully, the skilled medical team was able to help, and she was released Thursday early evening (October 6). Her team discussed how to prevent this from happening every time she has a drain exchange, and they seem to have landed on the option of giving her an antibiotic prior to the drain exchange to ward off infection that results from the goopy, germy drain being slid through the inside of her body. Those were not technical terms, by the way. :)

True to Sandy-style, she not only taught her classes on Friday but also was a sub for two classes, in addition to a trip to the infections disease doctor, where she was given the meds to finish off this new infection. On Saturday evening she lamented that her weekly grading had not been finished...somehow, not even a rough three days was enough reason for her to easily accept not being able to complete everything she had planned!

While this up and down journey can be more than tiring at times, as Sandy says, it's better than the alternative! This is one example of the blessing being found in the difficulty - we'd be foolish to wait to have peace and joy until this undesired journey is over, because even if God heals her on this side of heaven, we would be wasting learning opportunities, and if He heals her IN heaven, we'd be short-changing our time with Sandy. Knowing our ultimate future allows us to live in the today and both look for and soak in the blessings that are in each day. 

2 Corinthians 4:17
"For these light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all."

Monday, September 19, 2016

Yippee!

Text from Sandy:

"All scans and tests are GOOD! Keep on with chemo every 2 weeks. This maintenance chemo appears to be keeping the tumor at bay. Praise the Lord!!"

Shortly after receiving this text, she sent another text that said another lady in town, who, six months ago, received the same diagnosis Sandy received two+ years ago, died last week. Same diagnosis, different earthly outcome. Please keep this other family in your prayers while you are thanking God for a good report for Sandy.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

On the Road Again

Sandy heads to Texas for the next round of scans this weekend. She is understandably apprehensive and dealing with some anxiety about potential results. While knowing truth from God's Word is powerful, doubts relentlessly whispered in her ear by the enemy can be exhausting.  Please pray for peace, a smooth trip, laughter, and wisdom for her team of doctors and nurses.