Leslie's Journey.....

Thank you for being a part of the journey.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Surgery Information - Please Pray

Surgery info
I just got the call from the hospital. We need to be there at 5:30 AM tomorrow (Friday). The lady couldn't hang up fast enough, so I didn't even get to ask her the time of surgery. My guess is around 7 or 7:30. I'm sure God will acknowledge your prayers early if you start later than that!We are feeling pretty laid back about the whole thing. Just want to get it over with. I will most likely be in the hospital for 2 days just to be monitored. They are planning to take out 2 plates, the one that is exposed and another that seems to have had the tissue all around it break down as well. This could have been caused by infection or a number of other things. I am a little nervous about possible infection. I wouldn't be surprised if I had some, but I am praying that there isn't a significant amount that will make the surgery more complicated than we all think it should be. Please pray for the following:1. For no infection. 2. That the surgery will go smoothly and quickly and there will be NO surprises I need to hear about when I wake up.3. For peace for Tyson and my mom as they wait through the surgery.4. That this will be the last surgery/procedure so I can be on my way to recovery.5. That I will be comfortable during my hospital stay, not in too much pain (whether by the surgery or painful roommates!).Those are the basics. I am sure Tyson will keep you updated with any more info you might want to know. Thanks for your continued prayer, support, and constant encouragement.God bless! Leslie

Friday, January 25, 2008

Does the "Fat Lady" still sing at the end?????

This drama seems to have way too many scenes in it for my taste. Remember I like endings, preferably happy ones!I have been flying under the radar the last several days trying to make a fast recovery from radiation before this next surgery, which is scheduled for next Friday. Tuesday morning, my first morning free of treatments, my body just decided to fall apart. Well, not really, but my energy level was so low that I had no idea how I was going to take care of TJ, much less myself. I had a few angels sweep in to take care of TJ over the next couple of days so I could get some much needed rest, and I am feeling MUCH better. Already I feel like the swelling in my face has gone down a little, and I am able to breathe a little better through my nose. My energy level? I am functioning. Thank God!About this hole in my head that is now the size of a small pea. It's a little unsettling, to say the least. Dr. Prabhu called the other day to apologize about this "small hiccup" and said they would take care of it. Well, thank you! At a glance he said that my CT Scan from Wednesday night looked good. I have been experiencing some "clouded and blurred vision" which we are going to be keeping an eye on. Please be praying that this is no big deal. It is most likely from all of the tearing that my eyes are experiencing, again from the radiation. But, I may have to have an MRI next week if the "clouded vision" still remains to be a problem.Emotionally I am doing pretty well. I've laughed and cried and have expressed my anger and frustration over having to have this next surgery. But, it's beginning to sink in that God is never surprised by anything even if I am. He will carry me through this next phase just as He did the last few months. This next surgery seems to be more of a hill as opposed to the last 2 mountains I just climbed. We shall see. I heard a great quote the other day that has really impacted me. This was said by a man who was hit by a drunk driver and left permanently disabled at the same time his wife was battling breast cancer. He said, "I have learned to see beyond the physical reality in this world to the spiritual reality. We tend to think, 'Life should be fair because God is fair.' But God is not life. If I confuse God with the physical reality of life-by expecting constant good health, for example-then I set myself up for crashing disappointment." I may not be able to handle what life throws at me at times, but God can. He doesn't want this to happen to me either, but we live in an imperfect world. And He will help me get through it. I hope and pray there are easier times ahead, but we will keep living one day at a time. Leslie

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Coyote and the Anvil

So I haven't been angry the whole time since my last post. Indeed, we've had much to rejoice in. Today Leslie felt like @$! again (or still, or whatever). But she almost had a relieved sense about her as we hugged for awhile before I left for work. "I made it," she sighed. Today is her last day of radiation. Praise God for his faithfulness, and for his blessings of endurance. And for a new day... and a new adventure, as it turns out... I'd love to sit and reflect and rejoice with you about how wonderful it is for her to be done with radiation. And indeed, we are rejoicing... but as I've foreshadowed... on to the next adventure...She had a last-second, semi-emergency appointment with Dr. Zender today after her final visit to the Loyola Radiology department for treatment. Last night, we discovered what can only be described as a hole in her head. (no, not her nose, or some other hole that's supposed to be there.) It was about the diameter of a small finishing nail-- slightly bigger than a pinhead. Right in the middle of her scar from the incision along her hair line above her left eyebrow. There was no blood. Previously, a scab had covered up that place for an oddly long period of time following the surgery. And last night, there was a hole. I could see all the way down to what appeared to be bone. Like I said... no blood... just weird. So Dr. Zender said he wanted to see it. Turns out... Leslie has another surgery upcoming. The "bone" that is exposed through the hole is one of the "plates" that she was patched up with during her surgery. Apparently, the radiation has deteriorated the skin and tissue to the point where it has opened up that part of the scar, exposing the plate, bringing the risk of infection or other complications. So they're giving her a couple of weeks to "recover" from radiation, then they're going to have to do some reconstruction-- re-insert or at least reinforce that plate, re-sew her up, etc... It should be an out-patient type thing. She'll be completely anesthetized for the surgery, but no additional hospital stay. Dr. Zender seemed very up-beat about it... This is nowhere nearly as serious as the original surgery. But immediately necessary, all the same.So... crazy day... I'm not sure if it's the joy we're filled with, having "conquered the radiation beast", or what... but our initial reaction is almost to laugh about the news of this next surgery. God has again prepared us for this. Just this weekend, as we pondered how close she was to being finished with radiation, I was sharing with some good friends, asking for prayer, about some anxiety I was dealing with. "Now what?" I was asking. "What does 'getting better' look like? What's the 'next thing'?" Likewise, at the "dawn" of her post-radiation life, Leslie's prayers over the past few days have been eerily focused on asking for perseverance for "the next step", whatever that step would be. Well, I guess now we know what the "next step" is.I'm sure we'll wrestle with anger and do at least a little head-scratching as we pray over the next few days and weeks about these developments... but now, we're kind-of laughing about it... as if to say, "of COURSE! ANOTHER surgery! Why not?" It's like the old Roadrunner cartoons, where Wile E. Coyote is just about ready to get that crazy roadrunner, has his plan to drop his anvil off the cliff at just the precise time... and then the cliff crumbles beneath the coyote. Wile E. crashes painfully to the road below, but manages quite well, considering... but then he comes to his senses just in time to look up and see his anvil falling to knock him deeper into the ground. "Of course! The ANVIL fell on his head! Why wouldn't it?!" But our coyote always lives to fight another Roadrunner. The anvil is really just another proverbial (and literal) lump he endures. And we all live to laugh (and blog) about it. We learn to stay dependent on our Lord and Strength through it, and are thankful for the spontaneous laughs and senseless feeling of peace which we stumble upon in the midst of it all... as ironic as it all may seem to our mortal minds. Tyson

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Down the mountain...one step at a time.

yi....en......un.....uno.....bir.....ein.....um.....unu.....egy....and one.
No matter what language it means one.

One by one you have each lifted Leslie, Tyson, & T.J. and their families up to God. There have been prayers asking for healing, to give them strength, courage, peace, wisdom, & patience, to relieve pain, to give them a peaceful rest, to lessen fears. There have been prayers that have thanked Him for the many blessings along the way.

Leslie's journey Monday will take her in that same room for her last radiation treatment. She will see very familiar faces. Faces of those she has a sort of comradery with and those that understand.....better than those of us that have not traveled into that arena.

January 21st....a joyous day- yes! An emotional day - quite likely.

Please lift them up in prayer throughout the day.

Phillipians 4:13


Friday, January 18, 2008

2 Down one to go.....

-Leslie has 2 treatments left - Friday and then on Monday....continue to lift them up in prayer


Thursday, January 17, 2008

3 remaining

3 treatments left ....your prayers have been heard...God is so good.
Thank you for all those sweet creative things you have done...many received were from people they did not know personally. Your acts of kindness have blessed them so much. They have love and support from all over the world.
Please, please continue to lift Leslie up in prayer...

The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. James 5:16c


Thursday, January 10, 2008

There is Light...

Prayers must be pouring out of your hearts because our spirits have been lifted the last few days. My symptoms were much more bearable Monday and part of yesterday. I only have God to thank for that because there is no other explanation. I am now down to 8 treatments left and am feeling like I will be able to finish strong. Well, finish anyway. The strength will come later. Still I am reminded each morning after a lousy night of sleep that I can only tackle one day at a time. But the end is near, and I can almost taste it. I can almost believe that I will feel good again soon. Thanks for all your latest emails and cards. And thanks for kicking the prayers back in to high gear. I just wanted you to know that God is listening! Leslie

Friday, January 4, 2008


I cussed at my pastor today. It's gotten to that point. He asked how the morning was. I was honest, and used the only word that came to mind to describe it. I think he realized that it was not the right time to confront me about it and he let it slide.

There's something ironic about the bright sunlight blasting off the snow and into my office window as I type this. Reminds me of how thick my skin is, that it can be so dark inside. I'm struggling for the first time since this whole thing started with what I can only tag as anger. Perhaps violent frustration is a more accurate term.

I wouldn't say I'm shaking my fist at God. I've been too humbled by this whole thing to really think that would do any good. It's more like I'm just really frustrated with this whole situation that I feel like I could just put my fist through something very hard but breakable... somebody's face, maybe. Or maybe just a wall, or something.

"How long, oh Lord...?" My pastor quoted that psalm to me this morning after I cussed at him. It's been echoing in my mind ever since. I'm right there with you, King David. My aggression, I know, is a byproduct of seeing my wife suffer and not being able to do a thing about it. Tears on my shoulder that never have a chance to dry before being replenished. Looking at a calendar and wondering how it is we're just barely half-way through radiation-- haven't we been here for a month or two already? Knowing that "successful treatment" during the day means "misery and suffering" at night... and in the morning... and into the next day. Leslie and I were just laughing about how the easiest minutes of her day are when she's strapped into her straight-jacket-mask thing, immobilized, being blasted by gamma rays. Maybe it's something about doing nothing, but knowing that those 5-10 minutes are what she's living for right now... the 5-10 minutes of actual (albeit intangible) progress. When she's done, she just wants to ask... "can't I stay here just a few more minutes"?

The radiation is causing an ulser insider her nose, now, the doctors tell us. There's nothing they can do about it. There's nothing she can do differently to make it better. There's nothing I can do. Nothing our family can do. Nothing freinds can do. We've had so many thoughtful gestures and offers to watch TJ, help out around the house... people ask every day how they can help. And there's nothing anyone can do. While TJ requires so much of Leslie's energy during the day, and of both of us on nights and weekends... he's really the one truest glimpse of God's joy and love we are blessed with day in and day out, and the prospect of going a day without hearing his laughter or his singing voice or seeing his smile or dancing with the Wiggles... it's just unbearable. I only hope he never learns or senses the weight he's bearing on his little shoulders-- the hope and joy and emotional stability of his parents. No pressure, little man.

I will add to that thought that the other thing that's getting us through the days right now is the random phone call, email, blog response, etc... of a friend just asking what they can do. While the response is a redundant "nothing", the truth is, you've already done it. Just to hear in people's words that our "yoke" is being shared. It's a wonderful image of the modern-day Body of Christ, community, etc... Just to be thought of. To be prayed for. To be cried over. To know we're not alone. In those moments, those comments, those phone calls and emails... therein lies the answers to our (and your) prayers. Believe me... as I said to a friend today... I've been too humbled to argue with a generous offer to help. We've gladly accepted help, where help can be given-- meals, help around the house, creative ideas to "give us a break". It's just that there's not really much that can be done. By friends, loved ones, or even ourselves.

And every day we cross off another day on the calendar. And someday it will be April, and Leslie will be feeling better, and we will be helping TJ build a sandcastle on the beach. God willing. Please, God. The day cannot come soon enough. It just seems so far off right now. And cussing or punching a hole in the wall won't bring it here any more quickly. Nothing will.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

What Can I Do??

.......I have been asked "what can we do besides pray?"

They are making numerous trips to the doctor and/or hospital which we all know means gas station stops are more frequent. They have a home to care for, meals to cook (many which have been provided by their wonderful church family) and a beautiful little boy to play and love on. All of this while being totally exhausted because of the cancer.

Tyson and Leslie would not and have not asked for anything but your prayers.

That is where the "be creative" part comes in!

Blessing to each of you - ginny