This week has had its ups and downs... When I last wrote, my health issues seemed to be in check and I wasn't experiencing any real problems with the chemo treatment. On Sunday that changed a little. I started running a fever Sunday morning and it kept me down all day and over night. I called the doctor on Monday to get an appointment but instead he sent me to the hospital to have a few tests run. What I expected to be a few hours in the ER turned out to be a three day stay and could have lasted longer had it not been for my whining...
Friday, December 19, 2008
Posted by Russ at 12:59 PM
Saturday, December 13, 2008
I've been thinking, for some time now, about what I should write about in this next update. I don't really have any exciting news or dramatic swing in my health to really talk about. Fortunately, I'm feeling very good and my recovery is going better than ever expected. I've seen my doctor recently and he is truly amazed at how I've recovered. I'm continuing on with the chemo treatments and I haven't had any real adverse reactions or setbacks to speak of. So, things are going extremely well!
Posted by Russ at 2:07 PM
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Yes, it's been a while since we last updated the blog... There just wasn't much to share as things have been going very well lately. I went through my first two chemo treatments with hardly any effects. My blood tests stayed positive so there was only a minor adjustment to the chemo dose. My physical response to all the treatment has been so surprising to me that I feel a little whimpy for even worrying about the treatments. However, that has proved to be short lived...
Posted by Russ at 9:53 AM
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Praises to our Heavenly Father!!! I remember the day so clearly, May 16th, 9:30am, sitting in the doctor’s office after receiving a call that morning to come to his office. Russ and I looking at each other, holding hands and waiting for the doctor to enter the room with the MRI results. The doctor enters the room. Russ and I look up and we knew……..nothing had to be said. It was not going to be good news. A very rare aggressive cancer. Prognosis not good, not good at all. The tears came, along with fear, panic and it just can’t be.
Why share all of the above with you again? To share with you God’s absolute goodness in all of this!!!! Never on the day of May 16th did I think I would be sitting here sharing with you that Russ is rounding the 6 month stretch since his diagnosis. God is ever so faithful! Ooooh these 6 months have been a roller coaster. My family knows I do not like to ride the roller coasters at the amusement parks. I am the one sitting on the park bench “people watching.” However, with that being said this current roller coaster ride has been one of God’s love, blessings and joys that overtake the low point you hit every now and then on the ride. (Stomach feeling like it is in your throat and you want to get off now.)
I could write a novel about all the love and blessings we have received. I will only share a few but God is to be praised for many:
Your prayers…oh my goodness….not a day…not a day goes by that I am told that you are praying for my dear sweet husband. God is hearing your prayers. Thank you!
The care and love you show is incredible through cards, food, books, phone calls, a romantic dinner, 2 nights at the beach. A laugh or a hug at just the right time.
God’s provision and timing is amazing. I must share how on several, yes several, occasions we would receive a bill and then within 24 hours God would provide the means. One time was within seconds. We opened the bill, “ugh forgot about this one coming due” and then the next envelope I opened included a check for exactly what we needed. I love God’s wonderful handiwork in everything.
Thank you Lord!
Russ is on the chemo journey right now. He has had 2 treatments and is doing extremely well. Very little side affects. After his first round of chemo his white blood count was rather low so the doctor is making adjustments to his treatment. Please pray that his count can stay in the “safe zone.” As you read in the last blog posting he went in for an MRI due to some back and abdomen pain he had been having prior to starting the chemo. Which I have to say I was thrilled for the MRI being done thinking now we will get an accurate update on all his organs. Well the good news is his MRI came back clear but the MRI was solely focused on his spine, no organ updates. Not sure why the doctor did it that way.
Ya know, Russ was helping me clean house yesterday morning. I stopped what I was doing and just watched him with tears coming to my eyes. It was wonderful to have that moment. By the grace of God he is still here…even if he did miss a spot on the window. He’s a keeper. J
Blessings to all of you. Thank you for continuing to ride the roller coaster with us.
Posted by Russ at 9:40 AM
Thursday, October 23, 2008
I may have faked some of you out on my last posting when I said my chemo starts on the 22nd. Well, I was wrong... It actually started today, the 23rd, as if one day makes any difference. The bottom line is that I went in today and was given my first of many doses of chemo. I'm not yet sure how many doses I will have because the doctor is not sure how my body will respond. It's probable that I will receive the treatments through the end of the year.
Posted by Russ at 3:26 PM
Thursday, October 2, 2008
After a visit with the Oncologist on Tuesday we have reason to be cautiously optimistic. The doctor reviewed my CT scan results with us and there were no indications of cancer remaining in my body. That means I'm good for now but it doesn't mean the cancer can't come back. The type of cancer that I have has a history of hiding in a tiny cell form in the body and then returning later. To combat that possibility, I'm going to go ahead with chemo therapy treatments starting October 22nd. The chemo should increase my chances of killing any remaining cancer cells. This is all great news overall, but I don't want to let my guard down just yet. Once the chemo treatments are complete, (probably in January), I will have CT scans every 3 months for a year and then twice per year after that until I've passed the 5 year mark. That's when we can relax...
Posted by Russ at 4:22 PM
Monday, September 29, 2008
Have you ever had someone in your life that consistently showed their faith in God and gave grace no matter what the circumstance? We all meet people like that here and there but having a long standing relationship with someone like that is a unique opportunity. A couple of weeks ago in this blog, I asked you to pray for Barb Moulton because she was battling cancer. Barb and her husband Ken are the kind of people I'm talking about. Never thinking of themselves and always thinking of others. Always praising what God is doing and giving Him the glory for what has been done. Always trusting Him for what was and is to come.
Posted by Russ at 4:27 PM
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
As you can imagine, there is a lot of time to think while recovering from a life threatening illness. In my case, there hasn't been a lot of time spent on "why me" or "why now". I believe that's because of our faith in God and the support of family and friends who remind us quite often that God is walking by our side during this illness. Many of you who read this blog are among those who boost our spirits by these kinds of reminders. I've spent some of my time thinking about your faith and the example that each of you are to us. Your encouraging comments have been a demonstration of your faith to us and a reminder that God is faithful.
As I began to think about what it means when God is "faithful" I realized that it is very easy to misinterpret the word. It is easy to relate God being faithful with Him solving the problems at hand and making everything all better. But nothing could be further from the truth. When God is faithful to us He is fulfilling the promises that He has made to us.
It is important to remember that not one of the promises God has made has ever failed. He has always been faithful and will be faithful forever. What is easy to forget is that He has never promised to make our lives easy. On the contrary, Jesus warned us that "...In this world you will have trouble." John 16:33. But He followed that up by reassuring us that He has overcome the world. In other words, we will all have trouble in our lives but God will be with us to walk by our sides through it.
I think that it is easy to confuse faithfulness with the grace of God. God is faithful when He fulfills His promises but He chooses when to give grace. For example, He chose to give grace by giving eternal life, to those who believe, through the death of His son, Jesus Christ. He didn't have to do this therefore, He wasn't being faithful to us. However, now that He has promised eternal life He will be faithful to us by granting eternal life to those who believe in Christ.
To bring this full circle, if you consider that each of us is expected to be a reflection of Christ, then each of us should be faithful to our promises and show grace to those around us. In our case, we have been the recipients of your faithfulness and grace in countless ways. So many of you have been faithful to "uphold us during our fall" through prayer and have shown your grace through encouragement and financial gifts. You have all been such a testimony to us and have taught us so much. But more important than us, your words of encouragement have been seen by more people than you can imagine and have had an effect on the lives of many, thus, God is being glorified through your faithfulness and grace. Glorifying God through this challenge in our lives is our one and only goal. Thank you again for being faithful and gracious in the name of God.
Russ and Robyn
Posted by Russ at 8:54 AM
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Here's the latest... Robyn and I saw my Oncologist yesterday and we developed a strategy for the next course of treatment. As you know, I was struggling with the decision to continue on with additional chemo therapy because there isn't any factual data that it would be beneficial. During our meeting with the Oncologist we all agreed that the next step is to get another CT scan to see if there is any indication of additional cancer in my body. That scan will happen over the next two weeks and once we have the results we'll discuss the chemotherapy again. Chances are I'll be going through the chemo regiment just to do everything I can to avoid any repeat of this disease. But this doesn't mean I have to like it...
For those of you who read the comments from the last few days you would have read about Barb Moulton who was recently admitted to the hospital in Kentucky. Barb and her husband Ken are like family to us and we are very concerned about her. She went into the hospital early last week and by Friday was transferred to ICU. She developed serious complications overnight and the doctors had difficulty in determining the cause. Saturday they confirmed that the problem was lymphoma and they administered a high dose of chemotherapy. Initially, Barb's health continued to disintegrate but she has responded very well to the chemo and she is now doing better. I share this with you in hopes that you would add Barb and her family to your prayer list. Barb and Ken have played a very critical role in our spiritual lives over the past 27 years and we are deeply concerned for them and their daughter Kendra. We can only hope that God will be glorified again by the coming together of His children to pray for another one of his flock.
Blessings to you all,
Russ and Robyn
Posted by Russ at 2:56 PM
Sunday, September 7, 2008
You're all probably wondering "when is that guy going update his blog?" Well, I have to tell you it's been a very long week and a half for me and I just haven't had the energy to belly up to the computer and sign on... Thankfully, the radiation treatments are over and I've lived to tell about it. Although, at times I didn't know if I would live or not... The last three days of radiation were coupled with a dose of chemo each day and by end of those treatments I was in bad shape. I spent the next 5 days curled up in a ball either on the couch or in bed. But, here's the good news! I began to feel better on Wednesday of last week and now I feel great! I'm actually feeling like I'm getting back to my "pre-surgery" self.
Posted by Russ at 11:24 AM
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Robyn and I met with my Oncologist today and discussed my treatment options. On Thursday I will be finished with my radiation/chemo treatments and now have to make a decision on how far to go with additional treatment. The Oncologist explained again that my type of cancer is very rare, therefore there haven't been many studies on it. The studies that have been done are not very accurate because many of the people have died during the study because of the cancer... So, as you can imagine, we were a little taken aback today with that information. What was encouraging was the doctor's response to all my blood work and his reassuring words that I'm not the norm and that I'm doing great! He went on to describe the next course of treatment which is 4 to 6 months of chemo. But, since the studies are limited, there is no information that indicates whether or not chemo will do anything for me. In other words, it's just a shot in the dark... He said from his perspective there is no right or wrong answer here and he would completely understand if we decided not to continue with the chemo treatments. He also said that if we chose not to continue with chemo he would continue to monitor my health with a CT scan every three months since this cancer can be aggressive.
So why am I sharing all this with you? Because, as usual, we need your prayers. We ask that you pray for God to give us wisdom through the next three weeks as we weigh our options. We ask that you pray for God's peace and comfort in knowing that He is in control and His plan is sovereign. Most importantly, we ask that you pray for us to never rob the Lord of His glory through this event. He is to be praised at all times and lifted on high for this situation. We trust in Him and trust that He knows exactly what He is doing and where this is heading. For that we are truly grateful.
Thank you again for all your support!
Russ and Robyn
Posted by Russ at 8:44 PM
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Our family has enjoyed watching the olympics this summer. We would pick our favorite athletes as we watched in our family room cheering them on as if they could actually hear us encouraging them to run faster, dive straighter, spike better...come on you can do it!
Posted by Russ at 6:55 PM
Monday, August 18, 2008
I know it's been several days since I last wrote so I just want let you all know that I haven't forgotten about the blog. I've been out of sorts for the last few days with a cold and haven't felt like doing anything other than sleeping. Today was my first day back to work and I'm feeling better but haven't kicked it yet. So, please forgive my lack of communication. I'll try to write during the next few days.
Posted by Russ at 3:59 PM
Saturday, August 9, 2008
For some reason this is one of those nights when I just can't sleep. I just can't turn my mind off. Maybe its the anesthesia they used yesterday morning for my "port-a-cath" surgery, (which went well by the way). Maybe I've left a small window of opportunity for satan to use his tools of fear, worry and deceit, to infiltrate my thoughts. Or, maybe, its God whispering to me, prompting me to lean on Him even more. I don't have many of these nights but, when I do, they usually last late into the night and result in a blog update the next day. Apparently, this one can't wait until the morning...
Posted by Russ at 2:36 AM
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
I just want to give you a quick update since I haven't written in a few days. I went to the Oncologist today and he was very pleased with my blood work results. The best news is that the indicator that tells us how my liver is functioning, (the bilirubin), is within the normal range. That tells us that my half of a liver is functioning as well as a complete liver! Praise God! Everything else seems to be going very well also. I'm continuing on with the radiation treatments and I'm about half way through them. I get tired and kind of queezy but nothing that I can't tolerate for a few more weeks. We also discussed the upcoming chemo treatments but I won't start those until mid September. On Friday this week I'll be going into the hospital to have the "port-a-cath" installed. It's an outpatient type surgery and should only take an hour and I'll go home that afternoon.
Here's some more great news!! I've received an offer of employment with Cornerstone Community Fellowship in Chandler. The offer at this time is a short term contract as the liaison to the staff for the new construction projects. That means I'll be facilitating the design stage with the staff, architects, builders, and project manager. I've been working with the staff for a couple of days now and it looks like this will be a good fit for me and the church. Now all we have to do is close the deal by signing the contract. It definitely won't be the income I was making before but, praise God, it's a job that I'm interested in and has the potential to grow into a career at the church in the long run.
So, that's it for now. Please continue to pray for us and keep in touch. I'll try to write a little more over the weekend.
To Him be the Glory!
Posted by Russ at 9:02 PM
Friday, August 1, 2008
I was just driving home from my radiation treatment and I began to wonder how many cells I've lost through these treatments. That led me to think about the losses that I've suffered over the past 78 days, since my cancer diagnosis. I began to list them in my head...
- I've lost half of my liver.
- I've lost about 35 pounds, (I'm not sure if I can count that since I didn't need them any way...)
- I've lost my strength and stamina.
- I've lost my job.
- Along with the job, I lost the ability to support my family.
- I've lost thousands of tears.
- I've lost the ability to sleep soundly.
Posted by Russ at 2:37 PM
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Did you happen to read the comments on our last post? If not, I recommend you go to the last post, scroll down to the end of it and click on "comments". Lori, we love your comments too, but I want to point out something from Laurel and Kim's comments. As I mentioned at the end of that blog posting, God is working through our situation to touch the lives of others. In Laurel's case, I've never met her and have no direct connection with her but she and her family are reading our postings and being touched through our battle against cancer. As for Kim, I worked with him and the rest of the guys at Upland Fire and haven't kept in touch with them since I left in 1994. The guys have been following the blogs because they were alerted to my illness just after I was diagnosed. Laurel, Kim and Lori, I really appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with us.
Posted by Russ at 10:17 AM
Saturday, July 26, 2008
It's been 10 days since our last update and since then I've completed 8 days of radiation treatments and my first, 3 day round of chemotherapy and, overall, I'm feeling good. The chemo gives me a bit of nausea and the radiation makes me a little tired but both just give me a good excuse for afternoon naps... I'll be going back to the surgeon on Thursday this week to have the final drain tube removed. Amen! I can't wait to get rid of this hose hanging out of my side. But, on Friday, August 8th, I go in for surgery to have another tube installed... This tube will be the "port-a-cath" that will be put in my clavicle area and will provide easy access to a vein for the rest of my treatments. So, I'll get rid of one tube and get another...
Posted by Russ at 2:51 PM
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Not 5 minutes have gone by since I posted the last message and I've already received a phone call reminding me that I didn't include anything about my health. I guess I should use this blog more for updating you on my health rather than a soap box for saying what's on my mind... But if you want to know what's on my mind please continue to read the next posting after you read this quick health update.
Posted by Russ at 11:07 AM
I'm sure, at one time or another, you've all heard the old saying "he's not the sharpest tool in the shed" and if not, you've probably heard something similar. Maybe "he's one taco short of a combination plate" or "he's a few fries short of a happy meal". Cody, my son who works at In-N-Out Burger might say something like, "Dad, you're two patties short of a double-double!" My all time favorite though is the one my old college roommate, Paul Hamilton, used to sarcastically chide me with quite often. He used to say, "Russ, you're about as sharp as the leading edge of a meatball!" If you picture in your mind the typical meatball I don't think sharp is the first thing that comes to mind... Each of these sayings implies that we just aren't all there or we're off base just a little. The bottom line for me here is that I think all of these sayings, (and any others like them that you can think of), can be used to describe everyone of us when comparing our own knowledge of our future to what God actually has in store for our lives.
Posted by Russ at 8:31 AM
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
A couple of hours after Robyn and I were first told about my cancer diagnosis I found myself lying in a hospital bed wondering how could this have happened so fast and how can I slow down the process. The facts as we knew them at that point were that I now had a drain hose hanging out of my side and that I had a "very serious and aggressive" liver cancer. My human instinct was to say "Wait! Back this train up and slow down! I'm in control and I can't process this!" I couldn't help but think "at what point did I lose control of this situation?" Oddly enough, I never asked why or why me? I just thought of how I could regain control of the situation and stop this runaway train.
Posted by Russ at 9:01 AM
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Good morning to you all! I haven't written in a few days so I thought I'd give you a quick update on our lives. Things have been getting busier around here the last few days but not back to normal yet. I'm healing up very well and feeling really good physically. I've been to the Oncologists this week and had a couple of more tests done and they've set my radiation treatments to start on July 16th. I've been told not to expect much discomfort but a little loss in my energy level. I'll believe it when I feel it... Mentally, I think I'm still reeling from the loss of my job and trying to figure out what's next. Fortunately, I have the best support system ever in the form of family and friends. Most importantly, my wife of 27 wonderful years, Robyn. If not for Robyn being by my side over the last two months I think I would have simply gone off the deep end and never came back. She's my encourager and my strength when I think I can't go another minute. I thank God everyday for allowing me to be a part of her life and a part of such a wonderful family.
Posted by Russ at 8:49 AM
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Well, it's official... I heard late this evening that I've been laid off from my current employer. The official word is that my position no longer exists even though I have a return to work release from my Doctor. We sure could use a little added prayer from all of you regarding this matter. Specifically for God to open the right doors for us and to lead me to the perfect job and also for us to navigate through the Cobra insurance system over the next few days to keep my health insurance going.
Posted by Russ at 7:32 PM
Seeing my surgeon this morning brought a little bit of good news today which helped us through the rest of the day. The surgeon removed the bile drain bag this morning and clamped off the hose. He said the drain was no longer needed because my liver has kicked into full stride and is working very well! All other indicators are looking great and I was even given a return to work order with no restrictions! Wow! That was unexpected but surely welcomed. He said that his phase of treatment is complete and I should begin the next phase as soon as possible. I'll have to return to the surgeon in 5 weeks to have him remove the hose but aside from that I'm done with him!
Posted by Russ at 4:08 PM
Monday, June 23, 2008
Good Monday morning to everyone. It's been a few days since we posted an update so I thought I'd take a moment to write one to fill you in on the latest and what we have coming up. Since my return from the last stay in the hospital I've been losing the battle with trying to get consistent sleep but I believe that has a lot to do with the medications that I'm on. The good news is I'm almost finished with those medications and look forward to getting back to a good sleep routine soon. Aside from the sleep issue, the most difficult thing to get used to is the heightened sensitivity to my senses. Every touch, odor, sound, and taste is magnified and creates an unusual and unpleasant response. Even my sense of sight is affected when we go out in public. The shear numbers of colors we see in a grocery store create a slight level of confusion and discomfort. Again, all of these things are more than likely caused by the medications so I really look forward to getting off them.
- Please pray for us as a family. As you can imagine this event has placed a lot of uncertainty and stress in our lives. Please pray we will continue to trust God for everything.
- Please pray for my employer this week. They have been very generous thus far in this situation however, decisions will have to be made this week as to what future, if any, I will have with the company.
- Please pray for our finances as well. Depending upon the decision made this week at work we may be in a very difficult financial place. Of course, nothing God won't be able to handle.
- Finally, please pray for my Doctors appointments this week. I will be meeting with the Radiology Oncologist to discuss the process and effects the radiation treatments will have. I will also be meeting with the surgeon to discuss clamping off my bile bag to see if I can go without it. Both of these appointments will be on Thursday.
Posted by Russ at 9:01 AM
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Just a quick update to let you know that Russ is home. He is feeling good and was able to get some good rest last night. Continuing on to the 2nd phase of the journey. We love you Lord and Lord, thank you for all of our wonderful friends!
Posted by Russ at 9:33 AM
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Praise God!!!! The fever is no more, the infection is not serious and can be controlled by antibiotics and the pain is being managed. Russ is feeling better, however, he is very sore around the right lower area of his lung, so please pray for that pain to go away.
The doctor feels he will probably be able to return home Wednesday morning.
Thank you for your continued love and prayers.
In the palm of His mighty hands,
Posted by Russ at 4:32 PM
Monday, June 16, 2008
Russ has been admitted to Good Samaritan and is getting some rest, per the doctor's orders. He is fighting an infection, so visits are very limited to protect his immune system. Please pray for healing and some good rest. We will post more when things change.
Posted by Luke Little at 11:23 AM
Good morning, this is Lori G. Robyn asked me to post this morning that Russ was taken via ambulance to Good Sam early today. He is being admitted and will return to the 9th floor. Russ has an infection and his temperature is spiking quickly. Please pray that his fever would be controlled and that he would receive excellent care from the doctors and nurses at Good Sam. Thank you for bringing the Bishop family before the Lord!
Posted by Russ at 7:16 AM
Friday, June 13, 2008
Robyn and I walked out of the Oncologist's office today and just sat in the truck for a few minutes trying to gather our thoughts and feelings. The only way to describe how we feel after the last 4 weeks and today's office visit was to use the word "Numb". We are absolutely numb to everything that has gone on in 30 days and our heads are spinning at the speed at which everything is going. The good news is we still have that tingling sensation and we know that hope still surrounds us!
Posted by Russ at 3:44 PM
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Russ said jokingly, "Robyn, couldn't you have gotten the appointment on a different day?" Yes, the oncologist appointment is on Friday the 13th.
On another note, Russ is enjoying being back at home and healing well. He was able to take a short walk up and down our street this morning enjoying some fresh air and exercise. He is getting lots of rest and missing food with texture. (Soft foods right now)
Russ got on the blog breifly the other day to read your comments. He is so humbled by all of your love and prayers. Russ and I love being in our Shepherd's care and love being in the same "flock" with all of you. Even though there are some rocks here and there in the meadow, the meadow is so very, very green. We praise you Lord.
Next posting will be on the 13th to let you know the outcome with the oncologist.
Posted by Russ at 12:11 PM
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Dr. Cashman gave Russ the OK to come home this morning. It is so nice to have him home and he is very glad to be home.....as Dorothy in OZ said, "There is no place like home!"
The next step is an appointment with the Oncologist to get a treatment plan in motion. However, Russ will need time to heal before any treatment can start.
When Russ is feeling up to it he will post a letter to all of you and I will update you next week to what the Oncologist shares with us.
To God give all the glory! I see His thumbprints all over this. We wouldn't want it any other way.
Please continue to pray for continued healings from our Heavenly Father. We love and appreciate you all. Please come for a visit if you are in the neighborhood. Russ will enjoy the company.
Posted by Russ at 12:03 PM
Monday, June 2, 2008
Thankfully, Dad had a very restful night! He is feeling rested and has some energy back. However, the doctor had to share some bad news. The pathology reports came back and sadly some of the lymph nodes are cancerous. This is all we know at the moment, Dad will be seeing his oncologist in a few weeks to discuss the next few steps. My family and I would like to thank you again for all the prayers and we ask again that you continue to pray! Despite this news dad feels rested and he would like you all to know that he is in room 935 at Banner Good Samaritan if you want to visit, however, we do ask out of respect for the staff that visitors come between 5:30 - 7:00 pm only. Thanks again for everything you have done for my parents... It has become obvious and overwhelming the amount of people who truly love my parents! THANK YOU!
Posted by Russ at 2:18 PM
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Despite a painful and sleepless night Dr. Cashman believes Dad/Russ has been making some good progress, therefore he is no longer in ICU! Although he has been moved the doctor and nursing staff have asked that visitors be kept to a minimum. Right now the goal is to get pain under control with the new medicine and get some restful sleep in order to continue healing. Another praise, as you can see, Dad has been disconnected from a majority of his tubes/wires! Please continue to pray for more progress and the results of the pathology reports of the lymph nodes. Thank you again for all the thoughts, prayers, and words of encouragement, not only does my dad appreciate all the love but so does my family! We appreciate you all.
Posted by Russ at 5:44 PM
Saturday, May 31, 2008
It looks like another day in ICU. Thank you for your patience, we know everyone wants to come visit. Maybe tomorrow.
Posted by Russ at 8:46 AM
Friday, May 30, 2008
Dr. Cashman stopped in today to check on Russ. He is progressing well. Due to the aggressive nature of the surgery, however, they are going to keep him in the ICU for at least one more day. That is about it for today. We will give you an updated status tomorrow. Thank you again for walking through this with us and for all your prayers.
Posted by Russ at 9:59 AM
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Dearest family and friends,
Wow, I just don't know where to begin. Russ is the writer of the family so please bear with me! You have truly immersed us in your love. We truly, truly have experienced a part of Heaven. We have been surrounded by people that love the Lord. Your presence has been constant and unselfish. Oooohhhh how you have prayed and prayed and prayed. Thank you - you dear sweet brothers and sisters. Our cup truly runneth over!
What a precious Heavenly Father we have. He has heard our hearts, He has felt our tears and He has answered. We praise you Father the Glory is ALL yours, you are the great physician!
Russ is doing well. I was at the hospital early this morning in hopes to not miss the surgeon. When Dr. Cashman came in to check on Russ I thought he shared an excellent analogy to Russ's situation. He said, "Russ, you are like a car that has 8 spark plugs. I just took out 4 of them. It is going to take a while for your body to figure out how to function on just 4." Russ remains in ICU, he is very groggy and tired but just can't seem to get any quality sleep. We will not have the pathology reports back until Monday, June 2nd. As soon as Russ is moved out of ICU we will post it to the blog and let you know the floor and room number so you may visit if that is your desire.
There is so much to share, so much to rejoice in. Please continue to praise our dear Sweet Heavenly Father and continued petitions of prayer for my wonderful husband of 27 years.
Feeling so under His wing.....blessings,
PS: Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would have a blog site....I am just learning how to text on my phone.
Posted by Russ at 4:21 PM
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
The surgery went well past the anticipated length - over six hours. But praise God, things went very well. The doctor said he removed everything he wanted to (that's good) and he tested the right side of the bile ducts and liver for cancer - all negative (that's even better). So prayers have been answered and Russ is in recovery. The doctor removed some lymph nodes to test for cancer - we have to wait for the results on that. While no one knows for sure yet if the cancer is 100% removed, all in all it has been a good day. We will post more when we have more technical information. Please continue to pray for recovery and healing for Russ.
Posted by Russ at 3:58 PM
We had the opportunity to get some family photos taken yesterday. Check them out at www.melissajill.net. Thank you Melissa! They're amazing!!!
Posted by Russ at 8:00 AM
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Just received a call this afternoon... Surgery has been moved from Thursday afternoon to early Wednesday morning at 7:30 am. The procedure will still take place at Good Samaritan in Phoenix. Please continue to pray for God to guide the doctor's hands and for Russ' health. Thank you again for all the support and encouragement you all have provided my family. Your words and prayers are with my parents continually. Continue to visit the blog for more updates, and hopefully some good news after the surgery tomorrow!
Posted by Russ at 12:22 PM
Deborah Hightower was sweet enough to create a prayer card for the Bishops. We didn't have it at the prayer meeting, so I thought you could print it from the blog and use it when praying for them (if you want to of course).
Thank you for praying for the Bishop family! There were 67 people at the prayer meeting last night. Thanks for coming.
THE BISHOP FAMILY
We enter in this season of prayer not having a righteousness of our own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. (Phil 3:9 NIV)
As Your children made righteous through Christ, may our prayers be powerful and effective on behalf of the Bishop family (James 5:16 NIV).
Lord, You beckon us to "Come to You, when we are weary and burdened, and You will give us rest. (Mat 11:28 NIV)
You encourage us to “Take Your yoke upon us and learn from You, for You are gentle and humble in heart, and we will find rest for our souls. (Mat 11:29 NIV)
For Your yoke is easy and Your burden is light." (Mat 11:30 NIV)
Lord, help the Bishops to do these things, that they may find rest for their souls during this time of great challenge.
Help them to cast all their anxiety on You, Lord, because You care for them. (1 Pet 5:7 NIV)
LORD, today we pay attention to what You say; and listen closely to Your words. (Prov 4:20 NIV)
We do not let them out of our sight, but keep them within our heart;
(Prov 4:21 NIV)
You promise that they are life to those who find them and health to a man's whole body. (Prov 4:22 NIV)
You are the LORD, who heals us." (Exo 15:26d NIV)
You invite us to "Ask and it will be given to us; to seek and we will find; to knock and the door will be opened to us. (Mat 7:7 NIV)
We ask, therefore, that your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven on behalf of this family. (Mat 6:10 NIV)
We ask that these prayers offered in faith, will make our friend who is sick well; we ask You, Lord to raise him up. (James 5:15a NIV)
(2 Cor 12:9 NIV) May God’s grace be sufficient for Russ, for His power is made perfect in weakness."
Father, help Russ to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given him—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.
(Acts 20:24b NIV)
A Psalm of Comfort
for the Bishop Family
May the LORD answer the Bishops as they are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect them. (Psa 20:1 NIV)
May he send the Bishops help from the sanctuary and grant them support from Zion.
(Psa 20:2 NIV)
May he remember all their family’s sacrifices and accept their offerings.
(Psa 20:3 NIV)
May he give them the desire of their heart and make all their plans succeed.
(Psa 20:4 NIV)
We will shout for joy when we are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the LORD grant all our requests.
(Psa 20:5 NIV)
Now we know that the LORD saves his anointed; he answers him from his holy heaven with the saving power of his right hand.
(Psa 20:6 NIV)
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
(Psa 20:7 NIV)
We are brought to our knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.
(Psa 20:8 NIV)
O LORD, save Russ! Answer us when we call!
(Psa 20:9 NIV)
May the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Pet 5:10-11NIV)
Posted by Russ at 12:19 PM
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Yesterday, we heard from Dr. Cashman's office about my surgery date. They will be doing the surgery on Thursday, May 29th, at 1:00pm. As you can imagine, I wanted to get it done earlier but we are very appreciative that I'm getting in so soon. Please continue to pray with us and we will continue to provide updates as new things arise.
Posted by Russ at 10:09 AM
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Well, if this ride we are on is best described as an emotional roller coaster then on Tuesday we hit the bottom of the valley and today we are screaming upwards toward the next crest of the ride! We met with the Surgeon this morning and were greeted by a very confident but not cocky man who was about my age, (47). He introduced himself and then said lets get this thing out of you, okay? Robyn and I looked at each other in disbelief and tears began to well up in both our eyes. Doctor, we said, you don't understand that we've been told this tumor has progressed to a point where surgery is not an option but you are telling us something different. Why? He went on to tell us that if the rolls were reversed and he was facing this serious of a disease he would want someone like him to be as aggressive as possible and do the surgery. He had reviewed my MRI and felt that there is a very good chance that he can remove the left side of my liver, including the bile duct system and then connect the right side back to my intestines. So, our prayer over the last couple days has been for God to provide some hope through the visit today and he has absolutely done just that. We are so thankful for all of you walking by us and holding us up in your prayers. We are so encouraged by all of you and the way that everyone has truly laid this situation before our God and allowed Him to do the rest. We know the battle has just begun and there will still be many peaks and valleys on this ride but we feel as though we have a team of thousands, some right in the thick of the battle and some standing on the sidelines, praying their hearts out and cheering us on. There is no way in this earthly world that we could go through this without all of you. Thank you so very much! We hope to learn tomorrow when the surgery will be scheduled. We hope it will be sometime next week but are not yet sure. Look for our next posting tomorrow to get the surgery date. Also, if you have a minute, click on "comments" at the end of these postings to read some of the great and inspiring comments that we've received. You can't help but be inspired!
Posted by Russ at 11:42 AM
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
We can’t say thank you enough for so many kind words, thoughts, prayers, cards, letters, flowers, meals and all around encouragement that we’ve received over the last few days. We definitely feel your presence and the presence of God as we go through this trial in our life. Even through a tough day like today we are encouraged through the knowledge that all of you are praying and petitioning God on our behalf. This morning, Robyn, Ashley and I went to the Oncologist to see what the next step is in the treatment of this disease. We learned that the cancer is actually located within the “bilary tree” which is in the liver. This presents a serious challenge and it seems that the primary treatment is surgery. We now have a consultation with a surgeon at Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix on Thursday morning at 9:00am. As if that weren’t a stiff enough blow to our hopes we received a call from the Mayo Clinic just after we returned home. We had applied to be seen by their liver surgical team to see if we could get a consultation with them. The call was to inform us that the surgeons who reviewed the file felt as though surgery is not possible given the advancement and agressiveness of the tumor. Now, we are on pins and needles wondering if this is just a prelude to what the surgeon at Good Sam will tell us on Thursday morning. Until that meeting we'll be resting in the words from Psalm 20 and the knowledge that you are all petitioning on our behalf. Thank you again for your outpouring of love and support.
Monday, May 19, 2008
For those of you who have heard and are praying for us we want to thank you so much. It is great to know that there are so many praying for us right now. Some of you haven’t heard yet so I’ll give you a quick synopsis of what is going on with me. Just over a week ago Robyn took me to the ER to investigate why my skin and eyes turned yellow. I spent the night there only to be released the next morning without any diagnosis. On Tuesday I saw a GI specialist who told us that I did not have hepatitis but something was blocking my liver bile ducts. He sent me for a MRI and more blood work on Thursday and on Friday morning he called us and told us to come right in. We went at 11:00am on Friday morning and by 12:00pm I was checked into the hospital to have a tube installed to drain the liver. They are saying I have Cholangiocarcinoma which is a cancer of the liver. He says it is very serious and very aggressive. So, needless to say the weekend was a blur and we are nervously waiting for a call from the oncologist and surgeon to meet with them to discuss options. Apparently the options are limited but we anticipate there may be more than one. We know that God is in control and our prayer is that He will be glorified through this event in our lives. Please keep us in your prayers and we’ll try to send updates as we find out the next course of action.
Posted by Russ at 2:40 PM
There will be a prayer meeting next Monday, May 26th at 7pm in the Surrey Garden Christian School cafeteria. Please join us to pray for the Bishop family. See the link to the right for directions to the school. Everyone is welcome to come!
Posted by Russ at 1:54 PM
If you are interested in providing a meal for Robyn, Russ & Cody, please call Lori Burr at (602)859-7391.
Posted by Russ at 1:53 PM
An account has been set up at Compass Bank to help Robyn and Russ with some of their expenses.
Deposits may be made at the Val Vista & Elliot or the Higley & Baseline branch.
Simply reference the Russ Bishop Benevolence Fund at either of those locations. If you are unable to make it to Compass, Lori Greene at SGCS is happy to make deposits of checks that are made out to Robyn and Russ Bishop.
Posted by Russ at 1:50 PM