12-26 Update

Hi Friends and Family–

Thanks so much to all of you who tune in to Susan’s blog updates.  Your constant encouragement and interest means a lot to us and our family.  Susan’s had a more uneventful day today, but is still struggling with her breathing.  Yesterday was a long day of respiratory teams and breathing treatments.  They feel like she has clear airways and is not in any distress, but it’s still hard when you feel like you can’t breathe well and there is rattling going on.  And there is a lot of rattling in her throat and chest.  She’s sleeping half sitting up right now and each breath sounds like a congested rattle.  But her oxygen level is good, and she is actually sleeping.

They believe it could be due to the radiation she’s receiving at the base of her skull.  Radiation can cause mucus linings to get irritated.  We are going to keep a close watch on it, because it has gotten significantly worse yesterday and today.

We’ll see the doc bright and early in the morning, and (so far) the only thing on the docket tomorrow is a radiation appointment.  Six more of those.  We’re hoping to see some results from those this week.  Her vocal chords are not functioning right now, and still no swallowing improvement.  Our regular oncologist, Dr Boyd, gets back on Tuesday.  It’s been awhile since we’ve seen him and I’m looking forward to his assessment and where he sees this going.

I guess we are all adaptable as humans to our environment, and spending so much time in the hospital, you get used to it to a degree.  (A cafeteria lady tonight asked me if I worked here.  I said “uh, no, I’m just trying to get out of here” or something like that)  But I’m also constantly reminded of how scary this all is.  Whether it’s the next scan, bloodwork report, O2 reading, doctor’s visit, or (like right now) the next breath I hear, the prospect of bad news is always right around the corner.  I’m not trying to depress you, it’s just that I can’t remember the last bit of good news we have had with Susan.  And that is scary for us.  It’s not how we envisioned life, and it’s not anything you adapt to.  (At least, I haven’t yet)

I am continually proud of Susan.  She is facing a really difficult battle right now with such grace.  She is tired, though.  It’s hard to watch this cancer take away so many things from her, us, from her family.  I am reminded, though, that it can’t take away her spirit, her heart, her faith.  Those are the places where cancer cannot win.  A tumor can’t grow on her soul.  This thing really is from the devil, you know.  I’m convinced of that.  And the Bible tells us not to fear what can harm the body, but not the soul.

So we will try to cling to that truth, and in the meantime pray for strength and encouragement for her.

Hero of the Day

I guess I’ll be keeping this segment around for awhile, considering all the good feedback I’m getting.  I hate to have a “blanket” HOD today, but since it’s so hard to pick just one, today’s Hero(es) of the Day are Oncology Nurses.  We have met some amazing nurses at the hospital these last days, as well as in all the doctors’ offices we’ve been in.  There are so many of these angels out there taking care of patients.  Susan has had some terrific nurses who know so much about how to help cancer patients deal with stuff like chemotherapy, radiation, pain meds, high blood pressure, and the list could go on and on.  They carry out the doctor’s orders and also take orders from the patients (and their spouses, mothers, and sisters sometimes too!).  They are patient and helpful.  Some of them that I know even read this blog!  So here’s a shout out to (and I’m sure I will forget someone, sorry!) – Kim, Helen, DeLois, Janet, Linda, Mary, Jeanette, Jennifer, and Gloria.  WE LOVE YOU – it seriously takes a certain type of person to work in this kind of environment, and that’s why you are our Heroes of the Day.

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14 Responses to “12-26 Update”

  1. Lynn Marshall Says:

    Thanks for your perseverance in updating your blog. You and Susan and your whole family are constantly in our prayers. The faith that you and Susan have during this “walk through the valley” is glory to God. We will pray that God will provide strength to you both and carry you when can no longer walk. We will also pray for some good news.

  2. shannon austin-ball Says:

    Susan and I went to elementary school together and reconnected on FB….my husband, girls, and I are praying for her, you, and your children and families….for strength and healing. We check in daily for the updates. After knowing her when we were children, its so hard to grasp, and you are right, we don’t envision this for our lives. Hold onto your faith, it is inspiring to each of us and we will continue to pray that for you and for Good News, discernment and guidance and peace!

  3. Sheryl Says:

    I am praying that the radiation this week will restore her vocal chords and help with her breathing!!! You are amazing and I so appreciate all that you share!!!

  4. Julie Martin Says:

    Hey Jerel – I nominate YOU as hero of the day! Thank you so much for faithfully keeping us posted on how you guys are doing. We will be praying for Susan’s ability to breathe and speak, as well as for strength and encouragement for all of you. Much love, Julie

  5. Kathryn Dickerson Says:

    Prayers continue to flow for you, Susan, and the kids. Susan was such a blessing to me during my fight with cancer last year, and her faith continues to amaze me. You must be so proud of her.

    And I echo your HOD…my chemo nurses Sarah, Sheila, and Susan are amazing women. I’d have never made it through my treatments without them.

    May God continue to grant Susan peace and may He offer you comfort and peace as well.

  6. Connie Says:

    I am praying for you and your family—

  7. Charlotte Lennartz Says:

    We keep praying and yoou are and encouragement to us – I agrre with Julie – Jerel you are the

  8. Charlotte Lennartz Says:

    We keep praying and you are and encouragement to us.

  9. Cathie Bowers Says:

    Jerel, thanks so much for your posts. You don’t know me and I barely know Susan, but have been at First Baptist Charlotte since 1984 so I know your in-laws quite well. I check updates daily and pray all the harder when I read them. I so very much appreciate your honesty. You can’t help but be frightened. You are human, after all. You have been watching the love of your life deteriorate over time and suffer extreme pain. Nothing is worse than that because you can do nothing to alleviate that. We DO know with certainty that God IS in charge and loves Susan far more than you do but it still hurts so very badly. And unless a person has been through this with a spouse, we can’t imagine what you’re going through. Be assured of my prayers.

  10. sherrie cockram Says:

    I’m thinking of you daily. I have talked to alot of different people about you Susan and alot of people are praying for you. People you don’t know, but they are all praying for you and your family. Get better, I would love to hear your sweet voice again and see your wonderful smiling face! I love you kiddo!

  11. gillian Says:

    As requested, praying for strength and encouragement for Susan – and for the Laws (and in-laws!).
    Blessings, sweet peace and rest tonight for your dear family.

  12. Shayla Says:

    Jerel, you and your family are in my prayers. I can’t imagine how difficult this all is for you and your family. I will pass this along on our prayer chain at my church. Praying for rest and peace for you all.

  13. The Jonases Says:

    Praying for Susan, you, your children and extended family. We are holding you close in our hearts and prayers daily.

  14. Alison Lillard RN Says:

    Taking care of wonderful patients like Susan truly makes my job so much easier…my patients give more to me and teach me how to love everyday and not to take anything for granted. I think about Susan everyday and pray for her and your family.

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