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

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Home again

Sandy returned home this evening. She is thankful to be in her own house, to sleep in her own bed, to be unhooked from the IV, and to be able to taste foods, though she's currently on a very limited diet. She won't be at church Sunday but plans to teach on Monday. I'm guessing many of you are kind of shaking your heads in a mixture of wonder and confusion about that last part :)

There were many things about the past week that were exceptionally difficult. Sandy might share more about that in a later post. She is thankful for your prayers, calls, texts, flowers, and cards, all of which helped her choose thankfulness in spite of everything going on.  She had her first ever latte on Friday, branching out from her usual black coffee. That's living large, I tell you! She also enjoyed listening to piano hymns and country hymns on Pandora and YouTube. Music can be a powerful way to connect our hearts to God, especially when our minds and emotions are struggling to hold on to hope. She spent some time looking through a picture album of Bible verses, and was reminded that reading God's Word is the antidote to fear, worry, and anxiety - three things that steal our attention from where it ought to be.

Another 4.8L were drained from her abdomen this morning. It's incredible to think that nearly 10L of unnecessary fluid were in her system this week. We're hoping it does not continue accumulating so quickly...or at all!  It is likely caused by the disequilibrium of pressure between the vessels of the liver and the surrounding abdominal area, which is a common side effect of decreased liver function.

We'll leave you with this truth, gleaned from a telecast Sandy heard about today: God is not (ever) withholding good from us. He is preparing us to experience His goodness. We can trust what His hand allows, and forever look with hope and even anticipation toward what He will bring.

Here's a song you might enjoy:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8TkUMJtK5k

You unravel me, with a melody You surround me with a song Of deliverance, from my enemies Till all my fears have gone I'm no longer a slave to fear I am a child of God I'm no longer a slave to fear I am a child of God From my mothers womb You have chosen me Love has called my name I've been born again, into a family Your blood flows through my veins
I'm no longer a slave to fear I am a child of God I'm no longer a slave to fear I am a child of God I'm no longer a slave to fear I am a child of God I'm no longer a slave to fear I am a child of God I am surrounded By the arms of the father I am surrounded By songs of deliverance We've been liberated From our bondage We're the sons and the daughters Let us sing our freedom You split the sea So I could walk right through it My fears were drowned in perfect love You rescued me and I Stand and sing I am child of God You split the sea So I could walk right through it You drowned my fears in perfect love You rescued me and I will Stand and sing
I am child of God, yes I am I am child of God I am child of God, yes I am I am child of God, full of faith, yes I am child of God I am child of God I'm no longer a slave to fear I am a child of God I'm no longer a slave to fear I am a child of God

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Getting closer

Sandy anticipates going home Saturday. She is on a clear liquid diet...plus coffee :) Visitors are welcome, just keep in mind that she is still regaining strength and energy, so please keep visits fairly short.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Stent is in!

Around 11 this morning, Sandy went down to radiology. They replaced both drains and inserted a metal stent to keep the intestines open, allowing food to properly process and move through her system. As of 4pm, she was back in her room, eating a lemon icee. This is a huge step in the right direction. Doctors anticipate she'll be in the hospital two more days. There was still barium in her digestive tract, but apparently not too much to impede the placement of the stent. I'm not sure I was clear in a previous update - the barium was given to Sandy on purpose last week Thursday in order to do a test to check on the function of her digestive system. It should have left her body within hours, not days, but because of the extent of her blockage, the barium has just lingered. It isn't good to have barium in your system that long; hopefully this stent will allow any remaining barium to exit.

Please pray for her body to heal, for the stent to work, and for the stent and two drains to remain clear and unblocked. Also pray for her body to correctly process fluid so she does not continue to have the build up of fluid - it is not ideal to need to remove 5 liters as was done yesterday.

Thank you for continuing to support Sandy and our family.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Hunting for the Good Things

Latest report is that radiology will take Sandy down at some point on Tuesday to scan her abdomen, checking barium presence and exact proximity of the two drains and the blockage. Assuming all goes well, a stent placement will be attempted on Wednesday.

It was a rough day. Being uncomfortable, with possible hard things ahead, many unknowns, having to make plans for others who cover in your absence, and not having answers you or anyone else wants to know is quite a challenge.

We are striving to look for the good. We're looking to see God at work, whether it looks like we had expected or not.

Specific prayer requests include total removal of barium with zero lasting effects, joy and hope to increase, easy insertion of the stent with immediate positive results, and comfort as she is largely confined to a bed, struggling to reposition in the sea of tubes and ever-tangled bedding.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Stomach drained

We haven't known what to post on here for awhile, in part because nothing new has happened. Those of you who have talked to Sandy know that the summer was pretty rough. While there were definitely things for which to be grateful, memories made, and better days here and there, overall it was plain hard. Sandy continued to have immense abdominal discomfort, with minimal hope of improvement, of course other than God's miraculous healing. Appointments would be scheduled two or more weeks out, then a procedure or test a few weeks after that, never resulting in improvement. This week she had a test that determined that not only was her stomach full of "stuff" that had been there far too long, but there is a blockage preventing food from traveling as it should in her system. Friday afternoon she had her stomach drained. In case you were wondering, that is not a fun experience. It took five attempts for the tube to reach the proper place, and it was a painful process each time. She later said that it was the most painful thing she has experienced to date...and that is saying a lot. One overnight stay was guaranteed, and we are hoping that is the extent of this visit. Hopefully today (Saturday) the doctors will place a stent to keep the intestines open. The other option is a surgery that of course comes with its own risks. There is a chance that the stent, if it is the route doctors decide to take, won't be placed until next week since we're now into the weekend. You can imagine her lack of excitement about that possibility.

Please pray for her healing, comfort, placement of the new stent, quick recovery and release, and for her to see the good God is bringing out of this new development. We know He always brings good, though we're not promised to see it.

Sandy requested not to have visitors at this point, as she first needs to feel stronger.

All along this journey she has chosen faith, courage, and thankfulness. Those are still her choices, though it is harder right now. It reminds me of the Bible story of Moses, in Exodus 17 -- as long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning the battle. But when his hands grew tired and lowered, the Israelites began to lose. So Aaron and Hur held up his hands until the battle was over. We have the opportunity to hold up Sandy's hands right now. We can pray for strength, stamina, peace, courage, determination - all of the things we've seen God display in her life. And we can strive to demonstrate those qualities in our own lives, that others may see God's power in us.

We'll update as things progress. Thanks for your continued support and friendship.




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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Rough going

Sandy is not feeling well. This has been going on for quite some time, and there isn't a known solution yet. Between abdominal pressure and pain, weakness, and overall just feeling gross, she is struggling. This week she had a drain replaced due to a blockage. A CT scan revealed additional lesions on the liver. One medication was increased to hopefully help with the discomfort she feels after eating. Discomfort is not a strong enough word, though she continues to strive to be positive and not complain. Maintaining a smile is both very beneficial and very tiring.

Please pray for physical comfort, quality sleep, ability to eat and absorb the nutrients, and for some doctor - any doctor! - to come up with a plan to help her.

She is teaching one class every day this month, and is working on plans for the fall semester.

Several people have asked how they can help...and she appreciates each offer. Right now she is able to do what she feels needs to be done, and she wants to be able to continue doing those things. She acknowledges the strong possibility of needing help down the road and will gratefully accept help when that time comes.

Thank you for your continued support.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Latest Trip to TX

Sandy returned from TX this week with new results and a new plan. New to us, but not new to God. Cancer markers were significantly higher and new lesions on the liver were present, indicating the chemo has not been effective. Inflammation is suspected to be the reason she has been unable to keep food down for several weeks, which has led to continued weight loss.

Chemo has been discontinued, new prescriptions have been started, and we're awaiting the results of additional tests that will determine her eligibility for clinical trials of an up-and-coming treatment.

This is discouraging news, though we remember that our hope is in God and not in tests. Outcomes are not limited by what doctors, with all of their experience and knowledge, tell us. Sandy is planning to enjoy several days on the lake with a friend for their annual vacation before teaching in July and gearing up for the fall semester. And there are quite a few grandkids looking forward to their sleepovers at Grandma Sandy's and Papa Rod's house. She is going to keep going as long as she can, striving to enjoy each day, as we all ought to do.

Thank you for praying for the end of the semester's workload - she was able to attend classes and final exams, complete grades, and attend graduation. The TX trip went smoothly, and they made good time coming home. She has pretty flowers in all of her flower pots, she found a couple pairs of capris that fit regardless of the ever-changing size of her abdomen, and she has been able to attend church each week.

Please pray for physical comfort, absorption and digestion of food/nutrients, wisdom, peace, and physical strength.

Below is the link to a song that she wanted to share with you:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNkDdXhjFy0

Natalie Grant
"More Than Anything" I know if You wanted to You could wave Your hand Spare me this heartache and change Your plan And I know any second You could take my pain away But even if You don't I pray Help me want the Healer more than the healing Help me want the Savior more than the saving Help me want the Giver more than the giving Help me want You Jesus more than anything You know more than anyone that my flesh is weak And You know I'd give anything for a remedy And I'll ask a thousand more times to set me free today Oh but even if You don't I pray Help me want the Healer more than the healing Help me want the Savior more than the saving Help me want the Giver more than the giving Oh Help me want You Jesus more than anything When I'm desperate and my heart's overcome all that I need You've already done When I'm desperate and my heart's overcome all that I need You've already done Oh Jesus Help me want You more than anything Help me want the Healer more than the healing Help me want the Savior more than the saving Help me want the Giver more than the giving Help me want You Jesus more than anything Help me want You Jesus more than anything