Monthly Archives: September 2008

Update on Livestrong Challenge

After discussions with Lauren and Clay and forlorn glances at our bank balances, Kat and I have decided to cancel our trip to Austin this October to do the Livestrong Challenge. Although we feel it is a great charity and a good opportunity to raise awareness about cancer, between new jobs and buying a house, we simply do not have the time or the money to go.

We apologize to anyone who has given money or is planning to go to the Challenge. If there are any questions we can answer, or if there is anything we can do to expedite that process, please let us know.



One of you must have prayed for patience, maybe it was me . . . because here we are waiting   . . . again. Maybe it was when I asked God to help me find joy in the moments I have and not the answers/things I was waiting for.  So here we are waiting  –

Waiting for the chemo to continue to work even though the treatments are over.

Waiting for clarity so the second PET/CT scan in two weeks will be more definitive about Clay’s condition.

Waiting for Dr. Einhorn to give his esteemed and respected opinion about the next step – more chemo, surgery, or all done (?).

Waiting for the Lord to meet us right where we are because it hurts to watch someone you love be sick and not be able to do a dang thing about it. Waiting for God to rescue us from this broken place where cancer exists, knowing that in heaven it won’t.

We are all waiting, with hope, but waiting none-the-less. And in the meantime we still have to buy groceries and love our children and be nice to our spouse.  I am praying for myself that He will teach me to wait differently, perhaps with more trust and more peace. He is big enough. He is enough.


Although I have no new information to add, I suppose it’s only natural, being “the writer” and the only seminary grad in the family, that I would be called upon to blog about Clay’s current news. The truth is, though, that I am mainly dumbfounded, and am at a loss for pretty words.

Clay, of course, has accepted this setback with his usual sunny stoicism. At least it reads like stoicism, but maybe it’s just simple faith. Lauren is bearing up as best she can. Everyone is reeling; no one saw this coming.

And let me reiterate: Clay is going to be fine. I think this is a major setback, but I also think that he has all of the advantages in the world: loving family and friends, youth, good health, and the best medical care available. I don’t look forward to the weeks and months ahead, but I hope for everything.

Eight years ago, on New Year’s eve of 1999, I took a walk down a Cloverdale street in Montgomery, Alabama and waited for the world to end. You remember the forecasts: crashing mainframes, plummeting stock market, market mayhem. But the world did not end, because then, as is now, grace underslung everything. That is what I confess, and I try to live into that confession: grace underslings Clay, like grace underslings us all.

I have no perspective to offer save this: grace still underslings the world, and God is still King. This is not a pious maxim or a refutation of pain and grief, but my only hope, and yours as well. In the days and months ahead, as we love the Kirklands and pray, sing, and grieve with them, let’s live into that truth together.

Difficult news…

Hello everyone,

  Just wanted to let everyone know that Clay had his PET scan today, and it didn’t go as well as we had hoped. The mass in his retroperitoneum only shrunk about 1/2 cm with the chemo. Originally, Dr. Einhorn thought that with his type of tumor, the chemo would basically destroy it. Now it looks like there might be more than one type of cell involved, which obviously did not respond as well to the chemo. The next step is probably surgery to debulk the tumor, and both the oncologist at UAB and Dr. Einhorn want him to have surgery in Indiana. We think the surgery will not be until October or November, to give Clay some time to recover his strength and let his white count improve. 

  Naturally, we had hoped for different news. It was pretty discouraging for us. We know God is in control, but obviously He doesn’t want this to be over yet. The plan is for Clay and Dad to call Dr. Einhorn and find out if they still need to drive to Indiana for his appointment next Tuesday, or if he should just wait and come for the pre-op visit in a few months. 

  Thank you all for praying. David will add more later on to the blog. 



Back to life…

Hello friends,

  We just wanted to post a quick update about Clay’s return to work. He went back to work full time last week, and he also tapered off of his steroids and other drugs he was taking during chemo. We could really tell a difference in his energy level when he stopped taking the steroids. It gave him a lot of what I call “artificial energy”! So he was pretty exhausted last week. He had some sort of flu like symptoms a few days, which we think was just his body adjusting to finishing chemo and coming off of the other drugs. So please continue to pray for strength for him. This weekend was a good time to relax.

  I started my new job on Monday, and I had a good first week. It will take a little while to feel fully comfortable seeing patients by myself, but I feel good about the people and the position. The long hours and the driving took a toll on me by the end of the week, so I guess I could use some prayers for strength too! But I am grateful that God provided this job.

  The big thing, as we have mentioned, is Clay’s scan on Thursday (the 18th). The insurance will not pay for another CT scan, so it will actually be a PET/CT scan, which is more comprehensive. We are fine with that! So please pray that the mass in his retroperitoneum will be completely gone. We are praying that the chemo did its work. Clay will let you know (on the blog) what the results are, as soon as he gets home.

  As always, thank you for praying!


    Lauren (and Clay)

The end of chemo!! (hopefully)

Dear loved ones,

  Clay had his LAST chemo treatment yesterday (Lord willing!). Although we are so grateful for the quality of care he received in Birmingham, we are both really glad to not have to drive downtown anymore. The infusion nurses at the Kirklin Clinic were so good to him, and so encouraging. The nurses have a tradition to dance and sing a song (“It’s your last treatment day…”) for the patients who are finishing chemo, so Clay got to experience that yesterday. Wish I (Lauren) could have seen it- I was in the waiting room. 🙂 Still, it must be an encouraging thing for them, also, to see a patient complete chemo and do so well. To God be the glory.

  Clay will have his CT scan and X-ray done on September 18th. As Katharine said in the last post, I don’t think that we will fully be able to rejoice until the report comes back that the chemo has eliminated the cancer in his abdomen. So please continue to pray for that. I start my job on Monday, also, so please pray for peace for me. I’m a little nervous!

  Regardless, praise be to God that He has brought us this far! It feels pretty awesome to know that the worst of the treatment is over for Clay. We are ready to get back to “normal” life.

  Much love,

   Lauren and Clay