Monthly Archives: February 2011

“Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” Psalm 27:14

Hi everyone,

I am pretty tired tonight, but I did want to write a brief update. Everyone has been so kind about checking with us and praying, so I am doing my best to keep you informed.

I hope everyone had a good Valentine’s Day; I was thankful to be able to see my hubby, although the setting wouldn’t have been my choice! Dr. Yeilding came to see Clay this morning and made some changes to his care plan. He put Clay on a medicine called Reglan, which both helps to control nausea and hopefully will stimulate his bowels also. He is getting it every six hours via IV. He is also getting fluids and electrolytes, since he hasn’t really eaten anything substantial in a week. Dr. Yeilding also started him on clear liquids today. He was positive and encouraging about the ileus resolving fairly quickly, so that was uplifting for us.

Clay drank some clear liquids and ate a few bites of broth, popsicle and jello today. His appetite still isn’t good, but at least he is able to tolerate a little bit of food without vomiting! He is still pretty uncomfortable, though. He also walked more today, and one positive is that his pain level and mobility are much improved since the surgery. He doesn’t have much endurance, though, and gets tired easily.

I used this verse in Psalms as the title of this post because I need to hang on to this promise today. Clay and I were both discouraged today, so ready for him to feel better and to come home. He was telling me that he doesn’t understand God’s plan right now, and I am struggling with that as well. Like the psalmist, we are struggling and wrestling with God’s purposes, but by God’s grace He continues to point us back to the truth that He is sovereign and good. I HATE this cancer more than ever, but I have to hold on to the promise that God is love, and He is good. He is the ultimate lover of our souls. Now that is a reason to celebrate Valentine’s Day!

Love,

Lauren

Advertisements

Day 3 and outta there!

Hi everyone,

Clay was just discharged from the hospital and we are back at the hotel. He was able to take a shower for the first time, and I think he feels more human now! He is still pretty sore and it will definitely take a while for him to build up his endurance, but he has made a lot of progress. Once again, we can’t tell you what your prayers and encouragement have meant to us!

Clay was able to walk some more this morning. He is able to get around with less discomfort, although it will be a while before he can walk without any discomfort. He has a really long incision from his chest to his belly button, with a lot of staples. He also still has a drain in his abdomen, which he will have to travel home with; the doctor says we can remove it ourselves when the output is less (meaning the blood and fluid it is draining from his abdomen). He still doesn’t have much of an appetite and will have to stick to bland foods for a while. He was having some problems with the pain medication, so the nurses told him that he could just alternate Tylenol and ibuprofen, as well as nausea medicine when needed. He will have the staples removed in two weeks, and of course he has restrictions about lifting and driving for a while.

We will leave Indiana tomorrow morning and start the drive home, travelling with Clay’s mom; not sure how far we will get! We will just have to see how Clay is feeling and decide if we need to stop. I’m so ready to get home, and I know we are both missing our son. Missing all of you too!

I am so thankful for the excellent care that Clay has received here, and in Birmingham. Our gracious Father has definitely watched over him during this surgery and recovery. Please pray for the trip home, that his discomfort would be minimized as much as possible and we wouldn’t have any complications.

Love,

Clay and Lauren

Day 2

So far today has been much better than yesterday.  The doctor can by early this morning and said it was time for the Foley catheter to come out.  He also removed the IV pain pump and placed me on oral pain killers.  The hardest adjustment today was getting out of the bed to walk around.  I am learning how to get out of the bed with the least amount of discomfort.  I was able to get up a total of three times:  2 times to the bathroom in my room and once a short walk down the hallway.

I am so appreciative of all the support I have received through this blog and other forms of communication.  I know your prayers are one of the reasons I am doing as well as I am.

The doctor just came by and said everything is going well.  He inquired if I would be interested in being released tomorrow if tonight continues to go as well as today.  He said he would be by early in the morning to talk more about it.

Much love,

Clay and Lauren

Day 1 and great news!

Hi everyone,

Before I start this post, Dr. Einhorn just came in to say that Clay’s pathology report came back, and the tumor was pure teratoma. That is great news, because he expects that the surgery will be a 100% cure, and that Clay will not need any more treatment! We are praising God that He led us to this team of doctors and that the surgery was curative! God has been faithful to us throughout this whole process.

Clay has had a good day, relatively speaking- praise God for that! The doctors came around this morning and recommended that he sit up some and have clear liquids. He sat up twice in the chair today and did pretty well moving around, although it is painful to move. He was a little nauseated this morning, but he was able to drink lunch and keep it down. He still needs medicine for nausea and pain medicine fairly frequently, especially since his pain block has worn off now. His pain has been manageable, though.

We are so thankful that he was able to come to IN for the surgery; the doctors and nurses are taking great care of him! The nurse just removed the central line in his neck, so these are all good signs. 🙂 The surgeon said that today will probably be his worst day, in terms of pain.

Clay wants me to thank you all again for your prayers and encouragement to us. We appreciate all the support from home and hope to be back soon!

Love,

Clay and Lauren

A lighter heart

Praising our Father tonight- Clay is out of surgery, and everything went as smoothly as Dr. Foster had hoped. In fact, he was finished in 2 1/2 hours! He removed the occluded section of vena cava and Clay tolerated it without significant blood loss, change in blood pressure, or other stress on his body. Dr. Foster said the tumor was easily separated off the aorta, and no other organs were involved. He said that all Clay’s other organs looked healthy. So thankful to God! We won’t know anything about the cell type in the tumor until Clay’s pathology report comes back in a few days.

Clay is in a regular room now, and the doctors placed a pain block in his back to help with the pain for the next 18 hours or so. He has had some discomfort, but no significant pain or nausea. He isn’t allowed to eat yet, which he isn’t happy about! 😉 My hubby loves to eat. He also has a drain in his abdomen to keep fluid from building up in his abdomen. Dr. Foster said that he will likely travel home with the drain, and we can just remove it ourselves; it’s just a small incision. Crazy what modern medicine can do!

I’m so incredibly thankful to our gracious Father for watching over Clay, and we are once again completely overwhelmed by the fellowship of believers. I know that I could feel your prayers today as I waited. We really can’t ever thank you enough for the encouragement that you are to us.

Praying that this surgery and recovery are the end of our journey with cancer, and that maybe somehow God will use this story! Please continue to pray for a smooth recovery for Clay. We will keep you posted, and I will try to get Clay to write a blog when he is more awake.

“Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation; O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation…”

Much love,

Clay and Lauren

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14

I read this passage last week during my quiet time and was struck by it, and since then, the Lord has impressed it on my mind through various people all week long. You ever feel like maybe God is trying to tell you something?? Just like the Israelites in the desert, are we so afraid of what lies before us that we would rather go back to known territory (Egypt and slavery) than trust that God has a plan for our sanctification and growth (even when we don’t want to go there)? That is what we are struggling with. As believers, we are promised that God will never leave us or forsake us. Unfortunately, we are also promised (and even supposed to desire) to share in Christ’s sufferings. Paul actually asked to share in Christ’s sufferings; some days I wonder if I will ever feel that way! Right now, I feel like we would both quite happily go back to Egypt and slavery. But that is our fear talking, and God does not call us to be fearful; He calls us to come boldly before the throne of grace.

We arrived in Indiana safely yesterday, and today Clay had his appointments with Dr. Einhorn and Dr. Foster, the surgeon. Dr. Einhorn spoke with us briefly about the tumor; he feels that it is likely either a slow-growing seminoma or a teratoma. Either way, he expects that the surgery will likely remove most or all of the tumor, and he does not think that Clay will need chemo again. Praise for that!

Dr. Foster was intense but patient with our questions. We felt that he was very knowledgeable. Clay’s surgery is the only surgery scheduled for tomorrow, so that he can take as much time as he needs. That is definitely a blessing. He said it would be a three to six hour procedure.

Dr. Foster is going to actually remove the occluded section of Clay’s vena cava, since he has all the collaterals taking blood back to his heart anyway. He does not expect Clay to have any long term effects from the removal, especially since he has not really had any symptoms up until now. There are some potential complications regarding reproduction, which was not really surprising, but still sad.

Dr. Foster does not expect that there will be significant involvement with Clay’s aorta or with his other organs, such as his kidneys. There is a small chance that there will be some involvement, and if so, of course the procedure becomes more complicated. If there is aorta involvement, he will call in a vascular surgeon to replace Clay’s aorta, and if there is kidney involvement, he might have to remove the kidney. He doesn’t expect those things to happen, though.

Please pray that there would be no significant involvement with Clay’s other organs, and pray for little blood loss during surgery. Pray for all the people involved in the surgery; Dr. Foster, scrubs techs and nurses. Pray for me, my family and Clay’s family as we wait during the surgery. Pray for us as we are missing our son this week. Pray that we would be used as a conduit of grace and our hearts would be open to God’s will in all of this.

Clay wanted to include these last two verses: “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them [the Egyptians], for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 3:6

“It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 3:8

We are so incredibly thankful for your prayers. We will keep you posted.

Much love,

Clay and Lauren