It’s Killing Me!!

Short and Sweet!!

Lori is busting her hump this week on two major projects. She is swapping out winter clothes and we are in a major push to get all of our junk off the floor. We are having the exterminators to spray the house. I have been struggling this week and I just can’t help her doing what she doing. It hurts my heart to just be here “in case”. She is an amazing woman and there is NO WAY I could have found one this good on my own. I had to be led to her by Divine Intervention. Just one more way God has steered my life long before I hit the rocks and really needed Him.path prepared

God is good and it is hard to see His timing until you turn around and look back. So have faith when God moves and you don’t understand what He is doing. One day you will look back and things will be crystal clear. Practice looking back to see what God has done. When you do this it gives you a confidence in His work. Lori, to me, gives me confidence that He has already prepared a way for me.

New Cocktail to Fight the Beast

Let me set the mood … Lori is crocheting in the rocking chair, and I am blogging away. We are on  the 5th floor (Penthouse) of CTCA, an open breeze pavilion decked out with teak furniture, cushions and a wonderful breeze.

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Today we heard most of the things we were expecting to here from Dr. Randolph. The cancer under my arms and in my armpits is the same as the cancer we have been battling. This has some good ramifications. The Gemzar we were taking was effective on this cancer so we are starting our cocktail off with it. The Erbitux was allowing the cancer to grow so it is out. Abraxane is the new elixir we are going to throw at it. We are looking at 3 weeks  – on and 1 week – off. This will make one cycle. After two cycles we will have a PET scan to see if the cancer is retreating, maintaining, or progressing. If the cocktail is too hard on my blood counts, we have the option to drop to a 2 weeks – on and 1 week – off. If we do that, who knows when the PET scan will come.

Got some prayer requests that really need to be lifted up…

First is a dear friend, Gene. He has recently been diagnosed with cancer and is dealing with a lot of pain. Secondly, Lori’s niece Jessica was in the hospital last night and her symptoms point to the beginning stages of congestive heart failure .Also, Jessica’s husband Bryant was diagnosed with the same type of cancer I have except his is on his back. I am such a clod of an uncle that’s all the details I have on that. Next, our friend Doug I.. has taken a turn for the worse according to his wife. We don’t have any details beyond that. Also a distant relative, Jimmy lost his wife during surgery for cancer in her abdomen this week. Jimmy and his daughter can really use the prayers in their time of loss. Our dear friends Carroll and Sharon who lost their husbands to the beast this year. Jenny and Cran, and James in the too too soon loss of their son and twin brother John. Also, take some time to pray for the care givers at CTCA, specifically the following… Kelly, Shelly, Kim, Brion, Harris, Joey, Randy, Amanda, Richard, Claire, Taylor, Kathy, Leah, Marcia and many more.

I thank you for keeping up with what is going on. I really appreciate those who take time to pray for me and those I mention. God constantly shows us He is in control and I would have it no other way,

God bless, Good night,

Alan

IT’S BEEN A LONG YEAR…since being diagnosed

August 8, 2013

 

It has definitely been a long rollercoaster ride of ups and downs, twists and turns but

praying we are now on the healing side of this ugly disease. From repeatedly going

to the doctor knowing that something is not right trying to find an answer– to being

told you have cancer and it is curable– to this is being very aggressive and this is not

the norm for this type of cancer– to being told that your cancer is not curable but it

is treatable can be a little taxing, mentally and physically. After going thru a year of

various surgeries and chemo that all the while the cancer continued to grow and spread,

we finally had gotten one that is beating it back. Thank you God!

 

It’s been a while since Alan has posted in his blog. I believe after battling this

disease for over a year now that it finally caught up with him, mentally, physically and

emotionally. Dealing with chemo, fatigue, pain from surgery, bone pain caused from

previous radiation, sinus infection and realizing that a major surgery that you just had

didn’t take care of ALL the problems is just too much for any one person to have to go

thru.

 

We are praying that we can get a handle on all the pain Alan is having so he can get

back to some kind of normalcy. We just met his new pain management doctor this

week and we are so excited to see what all he can do to help Alan combat it. It’s hard

to see him hurting so bad the way he does sometimes and all I can do is sit and cry with

him.

 

We have met some wonderful people on this journey. Some of the amazing people are

part of our staff/family at CTCA and the others are the ones who are walking the path

like Alan. While going through treatments you meet people from all walks of life and

from all parts of the country that are dealing with some of the same things you are going

thru. As strange as it sounds, it’s kind of like a “club” whether you want to think of it as

that or not. Although this is one club that you won’t see people standing at the door

trying to knock it down to get in, BUT once you are a member, you will not meet anyone,

more understanding, more supportive, more compassionate than those that are walking

the path with you.

 

Life can be tough and it can get you down but just when you think you have it bad

there’s always someone else out there that has it a lot worse than you and are in a

more difficult situation than you are. We have a praise report. One of our friends

at CTCA and someone I knew from years back got a clear report, Asa and Laurie,

thanking God for what he is doing in your lives. Asa is a wonderful Christian man that

helped my family many years back and I will always be grateful to him for that.

On a sadder note we lost a friend at CTCA but our praise is that John had a wonderful

“home going” to be with his Heavenly Father. John was a medic and his mom Jeanne

told me that there were over 30 fire trucks and ambulances leading the procession and

along the interstate, en route to the graveside, the overpasses had trucks with medics

and fireman saluting (chills…tears). At the service when the preacher gave a salvation

message he asked for every head to be bowed and eyes closed, about 12 people

raised their hand in making a decision. Praise God!!! Please be in prayer for Jeanne

and Cran, his parents and his twin brother. This is a very difficult time in their lives. His

mom Jeanne is a wonderful Christian lady who I think the world of!

 

Doug I., you and Connie are a constant fixture in our hearts, thoughts and prayers. We

love you so very much. Please be in prayer for Doug, for God’s will to be done and for

Connie peace and strength.

 

Deborah F., you are beautiful inside and out. Praying for total healing and God’s

blessings abundantly! Love you!

 

Carole N., we love you, lady. You are so very dear to our hearts! Praying for you and

the kids that as time goes on the pain of losing Jimmy lessens.

 

Please be in prayer for Alan and all the people that are battling this ugly disease and

also be in pray for the loved ones that are left behind. A friend of ours wrote; “It’s

strange to think cancer can be a blessing, but when one goes through the trials this

disease creates, yet one finds people like you and places like CTCA, you know God is

real and true.” (thank you Deborah F.) This is our sentiments, exactly. Thank you for

reading Alan’s blog. Praying in some way it can help you too.

 

Words from My Wife, My Friend, My Rock

Ok, Alan asked me to write about something for his blog so I thought I would give some insight into who he is. I have to apologize ahead of time for I’ve never been good at putting my thoughts & feelings into words but I will give it a try.

HOW WOULD I DESCRIBE ALAN: When I met Alan, I was so impressed at what a gentlemen he was. He has such a love for Christ and is strong in his faith. He has a very loving and caring heart that extends not just to his family but to others that he meets. He is a wonderful father and husband. He has inner strength that can come only from God. He is smart, articulate and has a great sense of humor. Always grateful for everything, never complains. He has an amazing ability to draw but doesn’t enjoy it, loves hockey, hunting with his buddies, and spending time with his family.

People ask me how can he remain so strong since he has been diagnosed with cancer, and the truth is, he depends on Christ to help him through each day to give him the strength to keep facing the challenges that lie before him. Deuteronomy 31:6 says “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you.”

I believe that this has been the most difficult time in my (our) life and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Watching someone you love sick and hurting and there is nothing that you can do to make it go away is the most helpless feeling. All the ups and downs and in-betweens can sometimes make you a little crazy. Having test and waiting on the results is so stressful wondering if this will be the chemo that works. He is in constant pain though those that cross his path would not know that. He always smiles when asked how he is doing and the usual fine, great, or good just rolls off the tip of his tongue. People think because of his cheery outlook that this cancer must not be that bad on him but I beg to differ. He has tumors in both sides of his neck that cause constant pain and that along with previous radiation has limited the mobility of his neck. Most nights he sleeps sitting up. Tumors pressing on his airway and esophagus that makes his voice hoarse and difficult to swallow but has learned not to panic with things don’t go down as they should. Intermittent bone pain in his jaw that can be excruciating that so far the doctors haven’t found medicine that completely takes away the pain and that’s just to name a few. My heart hurts for my husband having to go through this and yet he apologizes to me for putting me through it…bless him!

Going through something like this brings you even closer to God, depending on Him like never before. I know He is present in our lives, I feel Him with us and I put all my faith and trust in Him that no matter what He will always be right there beside us holding our hand telling us to lean on Him. I’ve never thought of myself as being very strong, able to handle situations like this very well. Some days I do well and then there are those days I just have to get on my knees and beg for strength because I don’t know how I will get through the day. It is great knowing that we have such an Awesome God that He is always there for us. Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Mark 16:15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to all creation. Alan told me in the beginning of being diagnosed that he wanted his walk with Christ to reflect through this trial and for God to get the glory. Alan, I feel with all my heart that you are a good and faithful servant. I have watched and listened to you tell others about what God is doing in your life and sharing His word wanting to win lost souls to Christ. You have been there to encourage others that are struggling, some with this dreaded disease, others with trials and adversities of their own. You have definitely let Christ shine through you to reach others by being an example of what a Christian should be.

I am so blessed to have you in my life, my husband and best friend. There is no where I would rather be than to be right here with you.

I love you…bunches…mean it!

God Starts To Prepare Me

When I decided to do a blog I knew that I would want to go back and talk about what has happened so far and how God has made his presence known through out this trial. That raised the question, “When did God start moving in my life to prepare me for this?” Well, we could go all the way back to providing me with godly parents, grandparents, a childhood in church, etc … We could go back to God drawing Lori and I together. For there is NO WAY that I could manage any of this without her. What about when he blessed me with two wonderful children? However, I think the most logical place to start is where God really grabbed my heart. In 2008 around Christmas I was given an opportunity to go to Mexico on a mission trip with Hands and Feet Ministries. I was paired up with a great group from Burnt Hickory Baptist Church from Acworth/Kennesaw area. It was an amazing trip and blew me away. It taught me that even in my everyday life that I must rely heavily on prayer and guidance from Christ. On the flight home, a new friend let me listen to his iPod and suggested I listen to Matt Chandler, a young gun reformed Baptist preacher out of Texas, and I was hooked. Chandler spoke to me on many different levels and quickly became a staple on my iPod and I listened to him almost every time I was in the car. While listening to some of his archived sermons, I found a sermon about one of Matt’s parishioners that had been diagnosed with a nasty cancer. The thrust of the sermon talked about how this guy “suffered well” in the face of a devestating diagnosis. With a family to worry about, his health, finances, funeral planning, treatments that were rough, all the bad things … this man always turned his conversations to Christ and how God’s blessing flowed even during this horrible time in his life. This sermon stuck in my head and I thought about it often.

During Thanksgiving a few years later Matt collapsed and after numerous test, was diagnosed with his own “nasty cancer”. A brain cancer that had to be removed, most likely would leave him unable to speak, and one with a heart breaking prognosis. Matt was very open about his health, through video and text blogs, even in his sermons. He talked about his disease and always talked about how God was working in his life and how blessings flowed even during rough time in his life. He gave me a week by week example of what it meant to “suffer well”.

To be honest, Chandler has sort of slid off my radar. I listen to him from time to time and he still sets me on fire every time I listen to his sermons. He truly is a man on fire for God. His sermons and testimony of his life made a huge impact on me. And to think, God is filling me with this several years before I would ever need to tap the strength and confidence that came from this young gun pastor, fiery sermons, and a new friend I met in Mexico in 2008.