Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Post-Op Report

Jen and I just got back from Madison a little bit ago, and I wanted to give a quick update as to how the post-op meeting went. The appointment was scheduled for 12 (noon) and we were only running about 40 minutes late, so that was great.

The incision is healing extremely well. They removed the one stitch and tape that was left and are impressed with how well the recovery process is going so far.

We got the pathology reports back as well. Overall the news was positive. The tumor that they had found on my heart is called a Thymoma and it was totally encapsulated, which is very positive and means that it has not spread anywhere else.

When they removed the lobe of my lung they also removed a number of lymph nodes as well. Some of these had been infected with cancer, and some had not. Some of the ones infected were only partially infected. So the good news here is that not all of the nodes were infected and they cancer has not spread outside of that lung area. They also did some scrapings of the lower lobe of the lung and there was no cancer there either.

They grade the level of cancer with a number and a letter, depending on the size of the cancer and how many nodes were infected. When I left the hospital they thought I was a stage 3B, but after this meeting they said I am a stage 3A, which is better. I talked with a family friend who is a doctor and he said that this is better than he expected as well. The surgeons team also said that they got all the cancer out, and now the chemo and radiation will be done so that we can wipe out any little bit that remains so that it will not return.

On Monday I meet with the the oncologist and will get my chemo and radiation schedule. Now I am asking for prayers to make sure that this is gone and through treatments it will not return.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Getting back to normal - sort of

The past week has been a good time of rehab. I have been resting, reading, getting out for walks, stretching my right side, and remembering that healing is work in and of itself. Overall there has been very little pain, with the exception of a cramp that keeps appearing in the middle of my back a few times a day. I have also moved from the recliner back to the bed, and that was a true joy, being able to sleep in my bed once again.

More than anything, I have a strange sensation where they did the incision. It isn't pain or even discomfort, it is just an odd sensation, esp. when I move that side of my body.

Tonight I will be easing back into work. I will be doing a wedding rehearsal tonight and a wedding tomorrow morning. I will be taking Sunday off, then next week I will be back for half days. I plan on presiding the first weekend in May and preaching the second weekend in May.

We have set up our follow up appointments as well. Next Wednesday we go back to Madison for a post-op with the surgeon. On the following Monday, May 3, I will meet with the oncologist in town and get the chemo and radiation schedule in place.

Overall healing could not be going any better. I keep reminding myself that having the larger incision is a true blessing, because they were able to find the tumor on my heart and remove it, and the chemo and radiation are the treatments that need to be done so that this will not come back.

Thanks again for all of your thoughts, prayers, and support. They mean the world to me.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Home Again

I got home on Saturday, a little after 1:00. The docs and nurses all thought I was doing very well, so I have come back to continue on the journey here. Overall I am feeling quite good. I do not have much pain at all, physically everything seems to be getting back to normal after the surgery, and i am getting some decent rest and little bit of walking around in.

Right now the main task is recovery from the surgery. In just over a week I will be heading back to Madison to meet with the surgeon and learn about the new tumor that was removed from my heart. I will also be setting up an appointment with the oncologist in town to see about starting chemo. From what I understand that will be in 4-6 weeks.

Thank you to everyone for your visits, cards, prayers, and all the other support. You have all be a true blessing and I will continue to update.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Surgery and recovery

Well surgery went well yesterday, but there were a few surprises. It turns out that they had to do a larger opening on my side to get the lobe and nodes out, but that was a good thing because as they were about to close they saw another tumor sitting on my heart. It is a different type of cancer, which was good because the lung cacner had not spread. So they removed it as well. They also ran some tests on the lower lobe on my right side, but it turned out to be inflamation and not cancer. So the right upper lobe is all that they took of the lung.

The recovery has been going well. I was up and walking a couple of hours after surgery, got to eat dinner - grilled cheese, salad, and pudding - and actually got some decent sleep. The nurses say I am doing great and I may be able to get the chest tube out later today.

Thanks again for all the prayers. I will update as things develop.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Surgery Time Set

This morning I talked with the hospital and found out that my surgery time is 7:20 am - I believe it is the first one of the day, so that is good. I like the idea of being first so that I don't have to wait if others were delayed. It also means that I need to be at the hospital at 5:30 am. Since we have to be there so early, Jen and I are going up tonight after confirmation and staying in a hotel. Makes the morning a little less early than it would be if we stayed in Beloit. Jen's mom will be coming in tonight as well, so she will take care of the girls and get them to school tomorrow.

As I mentioned earlier, the surgeon is Dr. Weigel. I ask for your prayers for me, Jen, the girls, and the doctor and her team as they do this surgery. I will update when I can after the surgery. Thanks.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Breeze of the Spirit

The healing service tonight was wonderful. Our friend Mary came and led it for us and the congregation and she did a great job. I am so grateful that she agreed to come and all she did, and that Al come up with the idea to do the service - it was a moving experience tonight.

The healing services we do are a little tame compared to what many see on TV. But there is a part in the liturgy where people can come forward and the leaders of the service will anoint with oil, lay on hands, and pray for healing. Tonight Mary invited everyone to come forward and lay on hands with the leaders. I don't know how many people were laying hands on me and Jen, but I felt a lot of them there. And through this I felt the moving of the Spirit.

I know that healing comes in many ways, and tonight I felt that healing presence in a very profound way. I know going into the surgery on Thursday that God will be walking into that OR room with me, using the surgeon as his healing presence in my life, and that cancer will be removed.

Tomorrow i find out the time of the surgery, when I know I will post it as well. Thanks for all your prayers and support.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Healing Service and other thoughts

As I mentioned in the last update, tomorrow night we are having a healing service at the church. This started with one person asking if they could do this for me and has grown to be a service for all who are suffering in any way. I am blessed to have people who care so much to think of this and are willing to step in and provide care during this time. I am really looking forward to the service tomorrow night, and again, I invite anyone who is able to join us for it.

I was asked earlier this week how my prayer life has been through all of this. I think it is quite similar to many peoples as they go through trials - there is the crying out, the lamenting of the situation, the prayers for healing and health, and even the strait forward talk to God about how I trust in his will through all of this, but there is still some fear.

Lately the focus has changed. I spend more time praying for the doctor who is doing the surgery, Dr. Weigel, and her team - that they will be the healing hands that God has sent to care for me, prayers for my family, that they will have the strength needed to walk this walk, prayers for the congregation, and, of course, prayers for health and healing.

I truly believe that God hears our prayers and answers them, sometimes in ways we least expect. Tonight I pray for all I have listed above as well as for the strength to make it through the surgery and treatments and come out on the other side healed of this disease.

I thank all of you for your prayers and continue to ask for them. I will update after the service tomorrow.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Back to Reality

We just got back from our annual post-Easter vacation. We had gone down to Florida with Jennifer's family and had a great week at the beach. My mom came over for a few days as well, and it was nice to see her too. It was a great week to just get away from everything that has been going on around here.

And now we are back. This week will be a busy one to say the least. Tomorrow will be clean up around the house, then on Tuesday we get back into the swing of things at church.

On Tuesday night we will be having a healing service at the church. Right after I announced that I have cancer, the president of the congregation asked if we could hold a service like this for me. After some thought Jen and I agreed that this would be good a thing to do, but not just for me. Instead it is a service for anyone who needs healing in their life. One of our friends who is a pastor in the area will be leading the service. I invite all who are able to come and join us. It will be on Tuesday at 7pm at the church. If you need directions, please let me know.

On Wednesday I find out what time the surgery will be. Jen's mom will be coming down to watch the kids on Thursday, during the surgery. As of now, Jen is planning on coming back Thursday night to take care of the girls. She will then bring them up on Friday after Sierra is done with school. They will spend the night at a hotel in Madison. Hopefully I will be coming home on Saturday or Sunday.

As i learn more, I will update everyone here. Right now I am feeling pretty good about everything. I am sure that the nerves will kick in later this week, but I am in good hands and have a lot of support. You prayers are still appreciated.

Until later ...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Video - Diagnosis and Hope

Earlier this week we shot another video for our web page series - FaithSteps Videos. In this video I talked about everything that has been going on over the past month and the hope and blessings that I have seen. Today I decided to link it into the blog as well so that all of you who have been praying for me can see that I am doing okay.

Enjoy the video and have a blessed Easter.