Wednesday, March 30, 2016

First Day Out

Debbie has been feeling a little better everyday. Today the nausea and headache plagued her all day...sometimes worse than others.

She did drive today (can't drive for 72 hours after treatment) and went to her oldest grandson's (Preston) chapel service at Kings Way HS. It was a prayer service to send the kids off to Haiti for a ten day mission trip. Debbie's parents (Russ & Carolyn) came too and they all went for fish tacos at Woody's.

She is trying to get back to normal and be as active as she can.

She is a mighty warrior and I am very proud of her!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Turned the Corner

I am happy to report that Debbie has been feeling better this afternoon.

The last two days have been filled with nausea and headaches. The Lasix that was supposed to help her shed the water weight made her heart beat faster and irregular.  She couldn't sleep even though she was exhausted.

We were finally able to get a prescription this morning for the nausea. It makes her sleepy, but that was a good thing. Debbie slept for a few hours and woke up without a headache and wasn't nauseous. She was hungry and ate a good lunch.

Thank you Jesus!!

She has been feeling better this afternoon and has been moving around a bit.

Can't wait for her to get a good night's sleep and feel even better tomorrow!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Jesus Paid It All

Easter is here and I have to share the importance of this day. 

Jesus was crucified on a cross for me, you, everyone... He didn't deserve it...He was perfect. (1 Peter 2:22) He didn't have to do it. He could have changed His mind.  He prayed to his Dad to take it away. (Luke 22:42) He volunteered to do it. He didn't complain about it. (Isaiah 53:7) He was beaten beyond recognition (Isaiah 52:14) and then took all sin upon himself to set us free. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Three days later He rose from the dead!

Jesus is The way, The truth, and The Life - No one comes to the Father except through Him. (John 14:6) Without Jesus' birth, death, and resurrection, no one would have eternal life.
We have made Jesus Christ the Lord of our lives. He gives us comfort and strength to go through anything that comes our way.

Thank you Jesus!

Worst Day Yet

It was great to be home, but it ended up being the worst day yet.

The fluid buildup and swelling was painful. Different areas of her skin were inflamed and tender. Areas were starting to peel and flake off. Her mouth is very dry and her teeth hurt. Her lips are dry and cracking. The diarrhetic she took caused her heart to beat rapidly and irregularly. This caused her to feel bad through the night. We spoke to the on-call doctor and the nurse that discharged her. They said to drink lots of fluids and get lots of rest. Not a lot of help for us at the moment. They prescribed the diarrheic to help get the extra fluid out of her body. She isn't going to take that again, so we need to an alternative to be prescribed.

She woke up with the worst headache of her life and had to just sit in the dark with her eyes closed. She could't do anything... Couldn't even pray. All she could do was say Jesus - over and over.

They told us that the IL2 would come home with us. They were right.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Home At Last

My mom came home this afternoon. She has some side effects from meds, swelling and peeling skin but doing well overall. Looking forward to her own bed and a shower (which she has to wait another 24 hours to take). Rick was by her side the entire week and is able to be home for another couple days before heading back to work to take good care of her while continuing to recover.  She should be sleeping a lot over the next couple days since you don't get much sleep while in the hospital with people coming in to take your vitals, give you meds, etc. She has two weeks to "enjoy every moment" as she explained to me today before heading back to the hospital for another week of treatment. Thank you for your continued prayers. We have felt every one of them! So blessed by all of you and Happy Easter!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Done with Doses

Debbie had her 3pm dose yesterday and it ended up being her last dose. So she ended up receiving 5 of the possible 14 doses. This is average. The main objective of this treatment is to push her body as much as possible and get as many doses in her as safely possible while boosting the immune system.

Doctor Smith came this morning and told us that they have pushed her hard enough for week 1. He said her CO2 was a little low and her Blood pressure wasn't stabilizing (also the Neo dose was too high) He told us no more IL2 doses this week. He is happy with how the treatment has gone.

Now, her blood pressure needs to stabilize and she needs to get weaned off of the Neo. Her electrolytes and phosphorus levels need to be acceptable. She has to be able to walk around without passing out. The triple lumen PIC needs to be removed.... I'm sure I'm missing some of the steps.

The goal is to be home by tomorrow evening.

Thursday, March 24, 2016


Wednesday was a challenge to try to keep Debbie's blood pressure stable enough for her body to receive the IL2. We had to skip the 3pm, 11pm, and 7am doses. The title of this post reflects the status of Debbie's doses. She has had 4 out of 9 so far of the possible 14 for the week. The doctor is encouraged about her progress. They said her immune system has been boosted already and so they aren't concerned about the number of doses she receives.

Her skin is starting to react more and more to the IL2. It is a ruddy color with a rash. It is itchy and uncomfortable. She says it is a really strange feeling to have her skin really hot and feel cold at the same time.

She has been put on additional fluids - Calcium, Potassium, electrolytes... There are at least four bags hooked up to the IV at all times. They have a pill or a fluid for anything and everything...

She has begun to retain the fluids being pumped into her, so she is getting puffy. 

Her level of uncomfort is still only around a 3 (10 being the worst) She is still positive and staying strong!

The staff here is amazing! Every single person that comes into contact with Debbie is very kind and considerate. 

Thank you all for your prayers and support!!


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Video From Kiara

     This is beautiful Kiara.  If you want to follow her journey go to Prayers for Warrior Princess Kiara on Facebook.  She had Metastatic Medullablastoma and has been cancer free now for 6 months.  She has gone through and is still going through a lot, all while remaining so brave.

     Her dad talks about how she recently had an IV attempt that failed that resulted in tears from the both of them.  Everything was delayed and Kiara went nearly 17 hours without food before sedation.  However post MRI and lumbar puncture she was all smiles waking up to her treat of oreos and chocolate milk.  He said "this girl is resilient beyond belief, she is a champion at facing and doing the hard things."  He said "I'm being taught lessons daily by my daughter, and I'm thankful I'm her dad."

     Not only is Kiara strong, she has a heart to pass her strength onto others.  She sent my mom this video message.  My mom said it was such a gift she wanted to share it with all of you.


This is the official video "Multiplied" by NEEDTOBREATHE.

We went to see NEEDTOBREATHE at their tour-de-compadres outdoor concert at the Portland Zoo in July. They were amazing!!

Kelly had us listen to this song on Monday. We envisioned Debbie's T blood cells multiplying in her body...killing the cancer cells.

We love music and believe it is a powerful medium. Music speaks to people in many ways and stretches across borders and cultures. God can speak through music. Does this song speak to you?


Continuing on the road to victory...

     We want to keep you updated with the latest information.  Yesterday went well.  My mom has not experienced most of the typical symptomsi of IL2.  No vomiting or diarrhea, no chills or shakes, no severe headaches, no confusion or muscle aches.  She says on a scale of 1-10 (10 being horrible pain and discomfort) she's at a 3.  Her main complication that we need specific prayer for is her blood pressure to stabilize.

     Her blood pressure is too low and she is on medication to keep it where it needs to be.  If the dose of the blood pressure medicine has to stay high to keep her blood pressure up, she can't get her dose of IL2.  She gets a daily dose at 7am, 3pm, and 11pm.  Because of her blood pressure, she wasn't able to get her 11 pm dose the first or second night or her 3pm dose today.  We are praying for it to stabilize so she doesn't have to miss another dose.  Her systolic pressure needs to be over 85.  She needs as many doses of IL2 as her body can tolerate during this 5-7 days.  Please pray with us NOW for her blood pressure to stabilize and thank Him with us for all of the miracles thus far!


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Peace That Surpasses All Understanding

The first night was interesting.

The second dose of IL2 was scheduled for 11pm. All was well until Debbie went to the bathroom with the nurse (she is confined to her bed unless assisted by the staff) Debbie passed out in the bathroom and was quickly taken back to bed by three staff members. Her blood pressure had dropped and they started to give her fluids to bring it back up. After three bags of fluid, she was switched to "Neo" (neosanephrin). When on Neo, she is hooked up to machines and constantly monitored for her vitals. They are able to control the flow of the Neo and thus control her blood pressure.

This balance of controlling her blood pressure went on for a couple of hours. After consulting the on call Doctor, they held off on dose #2.

This may sound like bad news, but it is actually very good news.

Apparently, patients that have a drop in blood pressure and go on Neo have a higher response rate to the IL2. They kept assuring us that everything was fine and that the IL2 is working.

They have been able to get the Neo down to an acceptable level to administer dose #2 (or is it dose #3 because we skipped # 2...?) This dose is scheduled for 7am.

Debbie is in very good hands. God's got this! He is comforting her and giving her strength. He is giving her peace that surpasses all understanding. She is being lifted up in prayer by so many!

The scripture from yesterday was Romans 6:23 - But now that you've found you don't have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more life on the way!

Thank you Jesus!

The staff has been wonderful! Debbie is in the best human hands possible.

My bride is amazing and I love her madly!

Monday, March 21, 2016

More Than Conquerors

     God is so good.  He has been preparing us for this.  Yesterday I saw that our journey up to this point was like boot camp.  Preparing the solider for war.  We'd been getting mentally, physically and spiritually stronger knowing all the while we would be deployed. I saw us graduating bootcamp and getting our gear, our weapons and getting on the helicopter to fly into battle.  As we rode in the helicopter,  getting closer to the battle field a strange thing happened.  There was an excitement and our hearts started pounding in anticipation. There was a feeling of "lets go!  We have all we need to fight and win. There is freedom for many on the other side of this victory."

     In the last few days we have been able to spend time with many of our family and friends and we have been loved on, prayed over and blessed.  We have been reminded over and over that "God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of POWER and of LOVE and of a SOUND MIND." 2 Timothy 1:7.  We trust Him.  Completely. One of the wonderful things spoken over my mom to comfort her was the scripture, "Peace, be still!" And the wind ceased and there was a great calm." Mark 4:39.  As I write this now, I feel that peace.  In days to come we will call on that peace.  And when we feel the wind and the waves, as the storm starts to rise we will proclaim, "Peace, be still!" 

     The truth is God is preparing us all for battle.  The war is all around us.  We've ALL been "deployed".  My mom decided the day she found out she had stage 4 cancer a few weeks ago that she only had 2 choices: to fight or to give up.  She chose to fight. What do you choose?  What is your battle?  

"Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angles nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the LOVE of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."  Romans 8: 37-39  


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Prepared for battle.

Debbie was diagnosed with kidney cancer (renal cell carcinoma, clear cell) in October of 2012.  The cancer was limited to her kidney so she had a radical nephrectomy, or the full removal of the kidney and cancer mass. Most patients who have a radical nephrectomy remain cancer-free and need no further treatment. 

As is usual for her type of case, Debbie had periodic follow-up CT scans in the months and years following her successful kidney removal. About 2 years ago, her doctors discovered some small spots on her lungs that looked like they could be caused by the original kidney cancer having metastasized. However, they were too small to biopsy so no conclusive diagnosis was possible. After an extended period of slow or no growth, the spots began to grow and multiply toward the end of 2015. The spots became large enough to biopsy and in February, doctors confirmed the diagnosis. Debbie has stage 4, metastatic renal cell carcinoma.

Debbie and the family consulted with her medical oncologist about different treatment options.   Debbie’s doctor was hopeful that she was healthy enough for High-dose Interleukin-2 (“IL-2”) as a first-line treatment option. This treatment has been proven to offer a small number (8-10%) of patients a complete and durable response, leaving them cancer-free while another 8-10% have a partial response. 

After a series of tests, including cardiac and pulmonary organ function, she was found to be eligible and strong enough to endure the IL-2 treatment. IL-2 functions differently than chemotherapy, which is not effective on this type of cancer. IL-2 is an immunotherapy that supercharges your own immune system in hopes that it destroys the cancer cells. 

Due to the level of toxicity, IL-2 is administered in the hospital, usually in the intensive care unit.  Patients require close monitoring.  The doses are given every 8 hours over a five-day period.  However, most patients do not receive the full number of doses, as each individual’s ability to tolerate the side effects varies. The side effects are severe and include: vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, general fatigue, difficulty sleeping, itching and peeling skin, flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills and muscle aches; weight gain/fluid retention, low blood pressure and rapid heart rate. 

Debbie begins IL-2 treatment on Monday, March 21st.   Due to the nature of the treatment, visitors are not allowed.  She and the family invite your prayers in lieu of visits. 

After the 5-day period of doses, Debbie will be released from the hospital after 1 or 2 days of recovery.  She has two weeks to finish her recovery then heads back to the hospital (April 11th) to repeat a 5-day period of doses all over again.  After 30-days have passed, a follow-up CT scan will determine if her body has responded to the treatment.  If it has, the 5-day/2-week/5-day treatment cycle will be repeated once or twice again. 

Our ongoing prayer for Debbie is 1) She will be completely healed; and 2) She will have minimal side effects and endure them well.  We will keep you up to date as she progresses.  We love you all and thank you for joining us in this fight. #preparedforbattle.