A Prayer for my Husband Lord, bless and preserve my cherished husband, whom You have given me: Let his life be long and blessed, comfortable and holy; let me ever be a blessing and a comfort to him, a sharer in all his sorrows, a consolation in all the accidents and trials of life; make me forever lovable in his eyes and forever dear to him; unite his heart to mine in fondest love and holiness, and mine to him in all sweetness, charity, and submission. Keep me from all ungentleness; make me humble and obedient, that we may delight in each other according to Your blessed word. May both of us rejoice in You, having our portion in the love and service of God forever. Amen.
Prayer to St. Anne Good St. Anne, you were especially favored by God to be the mother of the most holy Virgin Mary, the Mother of our Savior. By your power with your most pure daughter and with her divine Son, kindly obtain for us the grace and the favor we now seek. Please secure for us also forgiveness of our past sins, the strength to perform faithfully our daily duties and the help we need to persevere in the love of Jesus and Mary. Amen.
Prayer for the Spirit of Work Glorious St. Joseph, model of all who pass their life in labor, obtain for me the grace to work in a spirit of penanceto atone for my many sins; to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my own inclinations; to work with gratitude and joy, considering it an honor to use and develop by my labor the gifts I have received from God; to work with order, peace, moderation, and patience, without ever recoiling before weariness or difficulties. Help me to work, above all, with purity of intentionand with detachment from self, having always before my eyes the hour of death and the accounting which I must render of time lost, talents wasted, good omitted, and vain complacency in success, which is so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all for Mary, all after your example, O Patriarch Joseph! This shall be my watchword in life and in death. Amen.
Paul and I met while working at a summer camp in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. We had both gone to Franciscan University of Steubenville. We share a passion for Christ and discovering the people and world He created. After our "camp themed" wedding in May of 2008, we embarked on the adventure of married life. We have spent the past year on honeymoon. Paul took a job as a tractor trailer driver so that we can pay our bills and see the U.S. and Canada. We now live and work at a beautiful Catholic camp with two lil' super heroes and a princess. Our life is always fascinating and exciting!
We have been wanting to update everyone, but it has been more than a little crazy around here. We've had daily visits with some wonderful doctors and have been waiting for results from a lot of tests. The emotional roller coaster hasn't really been from fear, but more from love. I can't tell you how often we've cried over the outpouring of love we've received during just the past 2 weeks. It really has been beautiful! Paul and I can never thank all of you enough for the outpouring of prayers, masses, sacrifices, blog posts, calls, texts, messages, cards, grocery gift cards and contributions you all have made to support us during this time. I don't know that Paul has ever felt so loved- thank you! Its almost impossible to be fearful when we know that we have an army of prayers behind us!
Paul's surgery on December 26th went well. It took longer than we had anticipated due to the tumors in Paul's lungs. They were worried about his breathing during the surgery, so he was intubated, but that was the only "hiccup". My cousin Will's amazing wife, Bre, works there at the hospital and came to sit with me in the surgery waiting room for a while. The somber air of the room was quickly changed as Bre regaled us with her own, humorous stories of her cancer surgery. It was such a blessing to be able to laugh that day!
Bre & I cutting up in the surgery waiting room.
Paul came out of surgery ready to run a marathon! He has been so sick since Thanksgiving that he came out of surgery feeling more rested than he had in a long time. You've got a love a good pain killer every once in a while. By the time we got home he was pretty tired, but in good spirits.
We were blessed to have Uncle John Coakley and "Uncle" T.K. visiting for the next few days to keep the kids entertained while Paul recouped. They hiked around the farm searching for buried treasure, jumping in puddles and playing up at Paul's ropes course.
Uncle John & Caeli Grace
"Uncle" T.K. and the kiddos on the tire swing.
Physically, Paul had a rough week. The tumors in his lungs are just really painful. The percocet only works for a few hours and then he has to wait to take the next dose, so he's in a good deal of pain and losing sleep. The pain has also made him lose his appetite (not that it was big to begin with!). He's lost about 10 pounds, but we think at least 5lbs of that came from him trimming his beard. ;-)
Early in the week he was coughing up a lot of blood, but, Praise God, its lessened a bit. He ended up going in for his CT scan early because of the blood and they found pretty much what we already knew was there- innumerable masses in both lungs.The three largest currently measure 6.5cm, 5.3cm and 5.7cm. It was a huge blessing that his heart, bones, abdomen and pelvis all appear clear of anything according to the CT scan.
Yesterday, Friday Jan.2nd, we were headed to another doctor appointment, but on the way they called us and said that the pathology report was not back still, so we had to reschedule for later in the afternoon in hopes it would be done. Luckily, they came back a mere 30 minutes before the appointment. Our wonderful doctor was very positive, but also very blunt that Paul's cancer is very serious and very aggressive. As we understand it, Paul has a non-seminoma biphasic choriocarcinoma type of testicular cancer. Try saying that 5x fast! While the results of most of his tumor markers weren't bad (for all the doctor friends who've asked: WBC 10.3, AFP 1, LDH 860), We had really been hoping that after his surgery his beta- HCG levels would drop. Instead of decreasing they increased from over 232,000 to over 303,000. I only put all this out there because several friends who are doctors have been asking. To the lay people like me, Paul has cancer, no cancer is good, but God is and He will be carrying Paul and our family no matter what! How awesome is that? :-)
Because the pathology came back so late on Friday, the oncologist office wasn't open. Hopefully they will have a clear date for the start of Paul's chemo. He will have 4 rounds of chemo (BEP) every 21 days. After that they may have to do a final surgery to clear out anything remaining in his lungs. Who knows...W are so blessed that friends are coming together to finish work on the house. Paul's immune system will be really compromised so he and I will hole up there during treatments to keep him healthy. For those who don't know the situation, I am the oldest of 8. 5 of my siblings are married with families. Currently all 5 of those families are living between to farms. By June my parents will have 13 grandchildren living here! Its awesome, but all these kiddos are carriers of all sorts of fun germies and we need to keep Paul away from all those germies.
We have been reading about Blessed Margaret of Castello. She is such an example and inspiration of redemptive suffering. We are so thankful to those who have joined us in saying her novena or any of the other many novenas people have been saying. Our pastor came out last Sunday and brought Paul communion and he also received the Sacrament of the Sick. Shortly after, we got a phone call that a friend of mine was allowing my aunts to bring a first class relic of Blessed Margaret for Paul to be blessed with. I can't tell you what a blessing its been! Paul holds it to his chest whenever he is in pain.
Paul with my sister,Peggy,and my cousins,Valera and Theresa, who drove Blessed Margaret to us!
Once again, we can not thank you all enough for rallying around us during this time. We have been so encouraged by all the blessings and graces we've been seeing in our life. Paul's favorite quote right now is from St. John Paul the Great, "Life in Christ is a wonderful adventure"- its not easy, but its not meant to be either. We have good times and bad, but we rejoice in the opportunity to grow in strength, faith and trust in the Lord. "Our Hope is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth"!!!! Paul's wedding band is a crown of thorns. The man is ready and willing to take up this cross with joy and hope in God. There is nothing else. Just continue to pray for us that we will be open to God's Will and fortified by grace. WE love you all and thank you all for standing by us during this time.