Saturday, January 3, 2015

Pray, Hope & Don't Worry -Padre Pio

                                                       Paul's Surgery    Dec. 26th, 2014

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.

God bless!


Megan Workley said...

Your positive thoughts, attitude, and actions are amazing and I believe you'll all come through this with flying colors :) You're in my thoughts!

Mary @ Better Than Eden said...

Thank you so much for the update! Prayers for the graces to just keep flooding down in the next weeks.

Maurisa said...

Oh my gosh, Annie! I had no idea about Paul's cancer. It's been awhile since I've visited your blog. Be assured of my prayers for his recovery! I'll add you to my blog list so I don't miss any updates. Peace be with you!

Amy Romberg said...

Well, that is a beautifully written update. Thank you for sharing your story of strength and commitment to God despite the difficulties life has thrown at you this past year. How incredibly inspiring. Our family will continue to keep you close in loving prayer. XO The Rombergs

The Gugg Family said...

Prayers for you and your beautiful family! I just came across your blog and am so moved by your love for our Lord. May you continue to find strength from God during these difficult times. I pray that Paul may feel wrapped in the love of our Savior and draw strength from the blessed mother during his time of recovery.

Bee said...

Dear Ann,

I don't know you, but I came across your blog through someone else's blog who asked us all to pray for Paul the other day. I am so sorry to read about your husband. He sounds like such a joyful, wonderful human being…how lucky you got to spend time with him! :)
As someone who is not very religious (but I do believe in God), I am very inspired by your faith. I will keep praying for Paul and you, and your family, and I wish you lots of strength and trust and all the best, for your whole family.

Sarah said...

You don't know me, but your sweet family has been heavy on my heart. We have been praying for you all regularly during this difficult time. From all that I have read, it seems that your husband was a holy man and is now your family's own personal prayer warrior in heaven. Your family is a beautiful example of what it means to live a faithful life and I am certain many have been lead closer to God because of it. I am so sorry for your loss. Be assured of my prayers in the coming months and years.

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