Friday, December 4, 2009

Update - We Are Home!

Kelley got to come home yesterday around 5:00 PM and had a pretty good night. Looks like Kelley is going to be spending a lot of time on the couch. It's much easier for her to get up and down from it rather than the bed.

She was most excited about seeing Carver. This was the first time they had been together since Saturday night. Carver is used to me being gone for a week or so at a time with students, but this was the first time he had to be away from mommy for so long. He was SO happy to see her!

Thank you all for your prayers. We are so thankful to be home and to begin her recovery.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Update - Pathology Report

I know all of you have been waiting anxiously to hear this news. God, as we have experienced so much this past week, has continued to hear us and prove Himself faithful. The report shows that the cancer in Kelley's body was very, very small. In fact, it had not yet formed roots (forgive me if that's not the correct terminology).

Kelley is feeling SO much better tonight. Her pain continues to lessen and she sounds better and better every time we talk. If everything goes as planned, she will be coming home tomorrow evening.

Again - thank you all so much for your prayers and support. I know that they will continue for the next several weeks as she recovers. And thank You, God, for your faithfulness.

Psalm 31

Update - 1:00 PM 12/02/09

Just left Kelley's room after a quick visit. Last night and today have been the roughest so far. The level of pain she feels has increased significantly, and rest is challenging for her at best. Still awaiting pathology reports.

Took Carver for a follow up visit for the tubes he had put in six months ago. They look problems at all.

Thank you all for your prayers.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Update - 1:00

Just left Kelley's room to go pick up Carver from Weekday at GBC. Kelley is looking so much better today and aside from some pain, she is feeling well - all things considered. She had some ice cream to eat earlier today and was about to get some solid food for the first time just as I was leaving. Hopefully she will be able to keep this down and they will be able to get her some longer lasting pain medication orally. (She's currently using a morphine pump).

She logged on to her email for just a minute or two, but bending her arm kept setting off her IV alarm. I know she would like to update you all personally, but for now she's keeping her focus on rest and recovery. I know that would be your encouragement to her as well.

It's looking like we may not get the pathology reports today as we had hoped. We are not alarmed by this as we were originally told they would take a few days to process. I think we may have received some inaccurate information yesterday when we were told they might show up this morning. As soon as we have them, I will post the results here.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Update - 6:00 PM

Dr. Dudley stopped by Kelley's room around 6:00 PM to see how she was doing. He went over much of the info we have relayed today and confirmed all went just as he had expected. We should have the pathology reports tomorrow and are praying they will confirm all we suspect to be true about Kelley's condition. If that is the case, this surgery will be the extent of treatment for her cancer.

When I left her this evening to pick up Carver-man, she was alert. Naturally she had a bit of pain, but she was in good spirits and relieved to hear the progress reports. I tried (as best I could) to relay every single message we had received today. More than likely she will be able to log on tomorrow and catch up on her blog. I know we have said it a bunch - but, again - thank you all for your support and prayers.

Little C had a bath tonight when we got home from Mimi's (my sister, Lisa) and was able to talk to his mommy and say his prayers with her over the phone. He is currently lying in his bed doing what he does almost every night - fighting sleep! :-)

Kelley is in room 765 at Saint Thomas Hospital.

God, we thank You again for hearing our prayers and proving Yourself so faithful. Psalm 31

Update - 3:45 PM

We are in a room now and Kelley is still sleeping. We should be
seeing her doctor pretty soon. Will post room and other info after we
meet with him.

Update 12:30 PM

Just spoke with Kelley's surgeon - everything went just as expected
based on what the tests had shown. He feels confident that the cancer
was isolated to one area having not spread to other tissue and
allowing Kelley to keep both ovaries.

I told him that he had been bathed in prayer today and his response
was, "Well, I could sure feel it and I believe it makes a
difference.". Our family and friends were privileged to have prayer to
thank God for His faithfulness and for answering our prayers for
Kelley's health.

She will be in recovery for a couple of hours and will be here for a
few days. Thank you again for your prayers. Will update again when
we get to see her.

Update - 11:35 AM

Kelley is still in surgery and things are going very well according to
the nurse who is keeping us updated.

They are wrapping up and expect to be about another 45 minutes.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Prayer points & other info

Kelley's surgery is at 8:00 AM Monday at St. Thomas hospital. Her
doctor is Stephens Dudley.

So many of you have asked how you could help us and we are so
grateful. Kathy Browning has agreed to coordinate this for us. You
can reach her at the church office: 444-9550 or via email at

Updates on Kelley's condition will always be here first. Even If that
means a very brief post - I will update this blog from the hospital as
we have information.

Thank you again for all of your support and prayers.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

November 28, 2009

Well, the scope of the discussions Kelley and I have had over the past few days continues to broaden and deepen. Sure, in the wake of our decade of marriage there can be found significant discussions on faith, life, death, and all manner in between. But our communication over the past few days has had a depth that we had not yet together shared. What a rich experience we have had unpacking all of this with each other.

The pinnacle of this so far came last night when we were able to eat dinner alone after Christmas shopping for our little guy. We discussed all of the possibilities that could be ahead for us and how that impacted our lives, Carver's life, and all of those with whom we are sharing this journey. We shared with each other our fears surrounding the whole experience. We even talked about the guilt we each feel for being scared while knowing we are in the firm grip of His hand and secured in the shadow of His wing. My, how human we both are.

But we ultimately discussed the "why's" that get attached to receiving the type of news we have received this week. Why us? Why now? Why have us walk through this? Why only one child for us? And about 50 or 60 other spoken and unspoken "why's" we were feeling. Thankfully - we landed right back on maybe the most assuring and sobering "why" question of all: Why would either of us "deserve" even the first glance from Him or even the smallest portion of His grace? This is also, of course, the most humbling.

God is continuing to shape us through this, and it has been my privilege to watch my wife thank God for how His Kingdom will advance as a result of this unexpected circumstance in her life. As He molds and shapes her, she is responding and reacting as His child and servant. What a testimony she has modeled for me over the past few days.

Psalm 31:3 has been special to me for over 20 years (a story for another post). This entire Psalm, however, has become my prayer many times this week.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

We are blessed...and thankful

I have stated so many times to high school students that it is easy to say, "Blessed be the Name of the Lord" when things are going well in your life. I have shared my prayer with them that in the darkest of seasons I would wish my faith to be unshaken and remain capable of saying, "Blessed be the name of the Lord." I have even wondered if I would ever be in a place where my heart would choose to say it, but my mouth and mind just wouldn't let me.

On the incredibly wise advise of my trusted friend and partner in ministry, Ralph Cook, I have positioned myself through this process as a listener and husband to Kelley. Refraining from any pastoral or spiritual guidance has allowed her to receive that from someone so gifted with the right words at the right time - thank you Bruce for being our pastor and friend. This has allowed me to just experience Kelley's feelings and questions without coloring them with my own thoughts, experiences, or theology.

I have wondered, however, how this process has been shaping Kelley and what God will be teaching her through it. I have wondered how she might process it and if she would be able to hear His voice through the emotion and anxiety that has been her life for the past few days. I have prayed as hard for her faith in God to remain unshaken as I have for her healing. She has not one time been bitter, angry, or defiant - even before these positive reports started coming in from the doctors.

If you'd like to see how God is shaping her and what she is hearing, read about it here.

Blessed be the name of the Lord. Blessed be Your glorious Name.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

November 25, 2009 - Results

Your encouragement has been so humbling to us. Thank you again for lifting us up and sharing this with us.

The results from Kelley's tests are back and have confirmed the doctor's initial assessment. The cancer in Kelley's body is isolated to a small section of her cervix and has not spread to other organs or lymph nodes. Her chest X-ray revealed that her lungs are also clear and cancer-free. Given the type of cancer she has, though, the procedure that would provide the greatest chance of removing all of it remains the radical hysterectomy. This is the route we are taking as advised by the oncologist.

It is worth noting how God has provided for us in such a short time. As I mentioned yesterday, it is difficult to convey all of it in a concise manner that makes sense, but I feel obligated to share it in some fashion for the sake of God's glory.

Kelley's original Pap smear several weeks ago showed no pre-cancer cells at all. The report was simply "abnormal." In fact, the level of "abnormal" was so low that standard procedure would dictate that Kelley should have been told to go home, enjoy the holidays, and come back in February. Had that happened, we would be facing something very different. Instead, Kelley's gynecologist called her back in for a biopsy. This sample is what revealed the cancer that has attacked her body.

Upon receiving this news, we were struggling to get an appointment with the oncologist. Due to a cancellation, however, we were able to see the doctor, get these tests run, and have the answers reported above in about 48 hours. The nurse is amazed at how this was discovered, diagnosed, and action taken so quickly. We are amazed and greatly humbled by His provision.

It has been our joy to give thanks to Him for providing these avenues for treatment and for His peace. We would continue to covet your prayers for our family and ask that you give thanks as well to God Who proves Himself so faithful.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

November 25, 2009

I am so thankful for your encouraging notes, text messages, and emails yesterday. Kelley and I were at St. Thomas well into the evening, and your communication with us throughout the afternoon was so comforting to us. We are so richly blessed to have you as a part of our family and lifting us up to Him. Please forgive us for not responding to you as we were focused on processing all that we were learning.

Their best guess at this point is that Kelley has a cervical cancer that's at about Stage I - B, and less common that what they typically see. We will be back at St. Thomas at 6:00 AM Wednesday morning for a CT scan which they will process with all the other tests she had run Tuesday evening. We are hoping to get all those results by around lunchtime on Wednesday to confirm what they believe to be true about what we are facing and that we are on the right road to treat it.

All of these tests will help them be as prepared as possible for her surgery that will take place this coming Monday on November 30th. She will have what they term a "radical hysterectomy" in an effort to remove all of the cancer. This will require a hospital stay of about 3 or 4 days and a recovery time of about 6 weeks. We should get the pathology reports about 3 days after her surgery which will be their best chance at knowing the extent of the cancer in her body. If all they suspect is true and is confirmed by the pathology reports - their statistics reflect that her chances of beating this thing are about 90%.

It has been amazing to watch God unfold some opportunities for us throughout this process. They are extremely detailed and difficult to convey in a concise manner. Simply put - His hand can be easily seen in the way her case is being handled by her doctors. That, along with your encouragement and prayers, has been so reassuring to us. Thank you so much.

As you would imagine we are feeling a bit overwhelmed, confused, hurt, anxious, and scared. In all that, though, we trust in One who is so faithful. We are thankful for His presence in our lives and that He has not charged us to walk through this alone.