Thursday, June 26, 2008

A little added prayer needed

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.  

Thanks again for all your prayers!  Russ and Robyn

A little bit of good news goes a long way!

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!

The next phase is the radiation treatments.  We met with the radiology oncologist this afternoon who described the process and impact that it will have on my life over the next few months. He said that I should be able to work a normal work schedule with the exception of going to their office every day for a 15 minute treatment for 7 weeks.  The treatments are not overly invasive but can cause flu like symptoms for short periods of time.  Those treatments will start in about 2 weeks.
So, this evening, Robyn and I are hanging our emotions on the good news from this morning and praising God for the work that He continues to do through our lives. We are so thankful that He is with us and in control. We remind ourselves often that He never promised any of us an easy life or a life without pain but He did promise to be with us through every trial and tribulation. Without a doubt, we feel His presence and are reminded of Him every time we read your notes of encouragement. Thank you Lord for being with us and may your name be praised through our lives!
Russ and Robyn

Monday, June 23, 2008

Stronger day by day

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.

Pain has really not been an issue thus far so the only pain medication I take is one tablet at night to help me to fall asleep.  The only discomfort that I feel is from the drain bag that is connected to my liver to help drain the excess bile. That bag is destined to be removed in about 2 to 3 more weeks.  So as you can see, I'm making very good progress and get stronger every day.  I'm really looking forward to getting back to a routine of sorts including work and catching up on a few things around the house.
Many people ask what they can pray for at this point so here are a few things that we are truly concerned about but know that God is in control and He will work through them in His time.  
  • 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.
Once again, Robyn and I want to thank you for every prayer, word of encouragement and thoughtful gift that we've received.  We wish you all could see what affect you are all having on each other through this blog and emails. We cannot calculate the number of people who've been encouraged by your words and prayers and that is what all of this should be about.  Lord, even though this church has no building to hang a sign on, your church is alive and well through your loving people who praise you and give you the glory for this event in the lives of one family of believers.  May you be glorified!!
Thank you all again and keep the comments flowing!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Back Home

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!


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

June 17th Update

Good Afternoon,

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,

Monday, June 16, 2008

An Update - June 16th

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.

A Call To Pray

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!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Numb, but still tingling...

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!

The news today wasn't particularly unexpected.  The Oncologist described a course of treatment that will truly increase the survivability of this disease but hearing him describe the severity and aggressiveness of my particular cancer brought about a very heavy dose of reality to our situation.  The doctor started out by saying how impressed he was with the results of the surgery and pathology reports.  He is very optimistic, as is the surgeon, that all the cancer was removed.  However, this type of cancer has a habit of popping up in other areas of the body if aggressive radiation and chemotherapy is not started as soon as possible.  So, now that the first phase of my treatment, the surgery, is over, the second phase of my treatment will begin as soon as I am healed from the surgery.  In about 3 to 4 more weeks I will begin 7 weeks of daily radiation therapy.  The doses will be concentrated to the area around my liver and in short intervals of about 15 minutes each day.  That will be combined with 3 days of chemo therapy at the beginning of the 7 weeks and 3 days at the end of the 7 weeks.  Once that is over I will have chemo therapy treatments about once per week over the next 3 to 6 months.  By that time, we hope it will be all over.
Okay, enough of the tough stuff, the good news is that I'm healing very well and getting stronger everyday.  There is almost no pain now and just weakness and fatigue which will go away with time.  The other good news is that I should be well enough to go back to work on a limited basis in about 3 to 4 weeks.  I spoke to my supervisor yesterday about that and there is a possibility of that happening depending on the amount of work available at the time.  
As Robyn mentioned to you all in the last posting, I'm absolutely humbled by all the prayers and comments that we've been receiving since all this started.  We truly appreciate all of you and would humbly ask you all to continue with the prayers and encouragement.  We both draw so much from your words and feel as though we are not going through this by ourselves.  Thank you all for everything!  Russ

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Friday the 13th!!!!

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.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Yea...Russ is home!

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 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.


Monday, June 2, 2008

Well with the good... Comes some bad.

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!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Some good progress...

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.