Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Good minutes

Daniel warned us there would be dark days; the last few have been just that. On Saturday and Sunday he tolerated his tube feedings but was plagued by mild nausea. We anticipated a good week with weight gain, but at about 4:45 and then again at 5:30 on Monday morning, Daniel experienced extreme and sudden nausea followed by intense vomiting. We all know how unnerving it is to vomit, but for Daniel the irritation is exacerbated by his cancer. Every time the vomit contacts the tumor, his pain worsens. This drains him physically and also mentally because he anticipates what will happen if he "eats."

Daniel was scheduled for radiation on Monday at 12:30, and we kept that appointment. His tongue had developed a white coating a couple of days prior to that, and so we saw the doctor to ask him about it. He explained that Daniel was experiencing mucositis, a common side-effect of radiation. Briefly, radiation breaks down the cancer cells, which makes the mucosal tissue susceptible to ulceration and infection. Thankfully, the doctor said he saw no infection yet. The trade-off for Daniel is that the radiation has lessened the pain of the cancer itself, but now he is beginning to experience its nasty consequences. He is constantly irritated by mucous; unfortunately, he doesn't have the strength to clear his mouth as he would like, and honestly it just hurts. Tonight, he's using a suction machine, which is providing welcomed relief. We will be getting one for home soon. The doctor weighed Daniel, which brings us to today's hospitalization. He had lost another three and a half pounds since last week. You must remember, though, that he had chemotherapy last Tuesday, which meant little or no food the following couple of days, and he had the PEG tube placement last Thursday, which meant no food eight hours prior to the procedure. He didn't get to eat anything until Friday morning at about 10:00 - a couple of bites of JELL-O and one practice tube feeding. So really, last week was a bust food-wise. Daniel has lost almost 24 pounds since April 9.

On Monday evening and again this morning, Daniel consumed very small amounts of tube feeding, but this morning, he vomited again. He had decided last night that he would ask Dr. Gilbert today to admit him to build up his strength and hopefully help him adjust to the feedings; he also thought he should be switched to a continuous pump rather than intermittent syringe feeding. His visit with her started out something like this, "I don't mean to tell you how to do your job, but . . ." She said he was exactly correct. What else would one say to Daniel! He went to radiation after that and then was sent to the chemo infusion area for fluids. Unlike last Thursday, we were given a room within a couple of hours.

He has rested for most of the evening but is actually channel-surfing at the moment. The new chemo he's on causes ringing in his ears and magnifies other noises, so he's wearing earplugs. I'll probably have hearing loss because he's really cranked up the volume on the TV!

Daniel is very sick. As much as all of us are hurting, I can only imagine how he feels. All of you know how he loves life, strangers, adventure, running, climbing, music, worship, friends, and family. Every day he fights for all of that. His stalwart faith inspires us all, but he really needs you now. Pray for him. He covets that. We covet that. I know you are praying, but lift him up to the Father even more. While he is weak, help us stand in his place. Daniel may be slight in body right now, but his spiritual shoes are hard to fill.

For now, I praise God for suction machines, continuous feed pumps, loud TVs, and a few good minutes.

Specific prayer requests:

1. success for the new method of feeding
2. courage and increased faith
3. manageable side-effects
4. to stay close to God and focused on Him
5. healing
6. prayers of thanks for Daniel's medical team

Blessings to you all,


"Bless the Lord O my soul and forget not all His benefits." -Psalm 103:2


t said...

Keep fighting for the things you love, D. Keep channel surfing, crank up the tv, and we'll just get sasquatch some of his own earplugs if we need to!
I'm so joyful for continuous infusion, for suction that can go home with you, for your wisdom to ask to be admitted today, for your dear family, for the fact that the tumor is responding... We will keep praying praying praying.
love t

Randy Smith said...

Oh Daniel. Hang in there my friend. You are in my thoughts and prayers throughout the day. I can't wait until you are better so we can get back to cookouts, swimming pools, and telephone calls. Very soon your "good minutes" will turn into "good hours" and then into "good days". Good times will come again. Let's anticipate that day!
Randy Smith

Tammy said...

Keep fighting the fight! You are truly a warrior. I am thankful that you are admitted to receive a "boost". You will remain in our prayers by NAME and we will continue to ask for improvements in feeding, as well as pain control and for your wonderful medical support team. We will continue to pray for your amazing courage and faithfulness, as well as for healing for you. You are such a blessing to all of us. I am so thankful that there is no infection noted at this time. I pray that the nausea will become under better control.I pray that the "Good Minutes" will turn into "Good Days" very soon. Your MS family loves you and we are praying for you. In Him, Tammy

Rachel said...

I love it when we have really random things in our lives to be thankful for...suction tubes, loud TV's, etc. Shows that God gives us every single thing we could possibly need in whatever situation we find ourselves in. We'll keep lifting you up to the Father while you rest. Know that you are being well represented before the throne.
Rachel McRae

Anonymous said...

Daniel...Oh I pray you literally feel the Father's strong arms holding you...comforting you...strengthening you. He is faithful and you are His. I continue to pray.
Jen Pinkner

Anonymous said...

I stand in Awe of our Lord. Your fight has been inspiring to many. I would be willing to say that your faith has convicted the hearts of many of us who take life for granted. I thank you for allowing Him to use you in this way. You have made me want to be a better Christian. My heart goes out to you during this time. I know that your life has affected many many lives. You are amazing. We are praying for you daily in our household. May the Lord Bless you and Keep you Always in the Center of His Will where the peace abounds. Glory to His name Forever.
Staci Dunavant (LA class of 92)

CCC said...

Dear Lord,
Please be with Daniel today. Give him the strength he needs to get through this day. Give his doctors, family and those in his presence right now the guidance to help direct his treatment. Give everyone a peace that you are in control and healing will come!

Daniel...I've said it before and will continue to say it...your walk of faith through this time is so encouraging to me. I'm so grateful to call you a friend!

Love you,

Amy Creech said...

Will continue to pray on Daniel's behalf. Thanks for the updates that let us know how to pray specifically.

Amy said...

Thank you so much for continuing to update us. I have never met you, but I had the priviledge of working next to Daniel for a few years and I've heard so many stories about you that I feel I know you.
We're in constant prayer for healing, pain relief, wisdom in the decisions you and your medical staff make, strength, and faith. You know what strikes me as I read your blog and see all the comments--everyone that knows you feels like they are your best friend. You're amazing.
I went to a baby shower at the Cheesecake Factory last week. I just couldn't eat the banana cream because I kept thinking about you and how you couldn't enjoy it right now. But just so you won't worry, I picked another flavor that I didn't think you would like too much. :)

Tiffany Madish said...

Hello Daniel, my heart aches to hear about your experiences over the past few weeks. I encourage you to keep fighting, and to remain positive during this process. Your experience over the past couple of weeks prompted me to research some scriptures that I wanted to share with you. I hope that it helps you as it did me.

Psalm 103: 1-5 "Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits-who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."
Matthew 8:2-3 "A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean. Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man, "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" Immediately he was cured of his leprosy."
1John 5:14-15 "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us- whatever we ask- we know that we have what we asked of him."
3John 2: "Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well."

Daniel, I pray that your new method of feeding brings strength and nourishment to your body. I pray for your healing, and the guidance of your medical team. I also pray that the Lord lift any fears you may be encountering, and that He gives you and your family the courage you need during this phase of your journey. I pray that He heals you completely and wholly.
In Loving Christ,
Tiffany Madish
P.S. You are thought of and prayed for daily.

Heather McCormick said...

I know you. Even in this horrible time, you shine. You will continue to shine and be one of God's ambassadors by spreading His word and saving souls. I so admire you for your ability. As I heard a preacher say on Sunday, "If you come to God with your hands full, how do you expect Him to give you anything?" It is all in His hands. I pray for your comfort and your healing. I thank God that you have your family and that He has lead you down paths to prepare you for this journey. God Speed. I love you all so very much and continue to keep you in my prayers. KF

Sandy Webster said...

I think about you so much throughout the day. Our women's study group met tonight. They feel like they know you now! I told them of how you are in the hospital and witnessing to others. I am truly amazed by you. Keep remembering that when you are weak, He truly is strong. We continue to lift you up to the Father daily. I love you!
"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Isaiah 41:10



Anonymous said...

Hang on Daniel, hang on. "This too shall pass."
warmly, jenny

Sharon said...

What can I say. I have been reading your blog and it continues to amaze me how strong you are in this. I know that having faith in God will carry you through the struggles and bring you to better days. I have been praying for you and will continue to do so.

Sharon Rowland
(From the old FHBC Allen's group)

The Lee Family said...

Hey Daniel my brother!
Just want to tell you that we love you and are praying for you. Mostly want to know that we miss seeing you! Although, Brad got to see you, Samanatha and I miss our D.
Love you- Rebecca

Travis said...

You are constantly in our prayers! Please know while you are regaining your strength that we are lifting you up in prayer! We will pray that you will tolerate the TF and it will help you regain your strength! Love, Beth & Travis

Travis said...

We are praying that you feel God's presence and that you feel the peace that can only come from above. We will pray for you to tolerate the TF and that it will help you regain your strength! Keep fighting! You have been so encouraging in your faith through this difficult time! Love, Beth & Travis