But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
~Isaiah - Chapter 40:31
We are never forsaken. No never. Don't ever let anybody let you think otherwise. Because when times seem bleak or when you seem lost, there is always someone who will be there for you. Always.
Having been at the hospital since Wednesday, July 23rd, this second round of pain control, things seemed pretty rough. The pain Tiffany was having was being managed by pain meds, but if we got behind on the meds, the pain would come roaring back. It was Friday evening, and Tiffany's parents had left a few hours previously. They had stayed with her for a couple of days that allowed me to get some good sleep and get some work done. But one can only stay away from ones loved one before they just want to go and be with them. As the evening started to wear on, I had a surprise visit from Dr's Glenn and Nguyen, her most recent fellow. Tiffany had been struggling with the pain off and on the last few hours and when she was 'awake' she wasn't really with it. The drugs really produced a haze over her, and was unable to really understand what was going on. It was at this time that we received the message that no one wants to hear; nor do the doctors ever want to give it...
The most recent treatment hadn't worked, like all previous treatments before it, and that there were no more options left. The liver had grown 5 cm over the last week. The CT scan had confirmed this and the doctors suggested the only reason was that the cancer was infiltrating it. It was time to treat the pain, and wait.
No harder news, I am sure, hits you like it did to me then. Up until this point, there was always something we were hoping for. That if one treatment didn't work, we would go on to the next, and then the next, and the next.... never really thinking or believing, that eventually the options would run out. But each time we tried a treatment, the cancer would come back, quickly, and aggressively. It was killing off platelets and blood while creating tumors and pain. But the next treatment would take care of it... we were sure of it.
But there is no next treatment.
Friday night was a lonely and painful night. Tiff was in and out. When she was in - her pain would flare up and she would push her pain button and within a couple of minutes - off to sleep she would go. It was apparent, which was confirmed later the next day, that she did not recall the doctors visit. After the evening wore on, holding on to her hand - I eventually called it a night.
Saturday morning came, and the doctors came in again, to see how things were going. Tiff was having hard and labored breathing. Her oxygen she had been wearing for the past week and a half had been upped from 2 liters of oxygen to 5. The doctors took a look at her and we had discussed a few things that would help her feel better. The doctor turned to me and asked if we should give her some steroids. I know in the past that many of the treatments would be helped out by giving her some steroid that would help perk her up and make her feel better. I said 'why not, it has always perked her up before". She agreed and made plans to start her on a regiment of steroids. As the doctor was about to leave, I needed to ask her a series of questions. Mostly so I knew where to go from there. Questions that I couldn't ask the night before. Questions that when asked, seem to have some finality to them. I didn't dare ask them the night before. But a good night sleep gave me the strength to ask such questions as, What's next? Where do we go from here? How long do we have? Is there no other way?
Answers came, but not what I was hoping for. They talked about setting her up with hospice care, treating the pain, and allowing friends and family to come and visit with her. Based on what they were seeing it could be as short as a week, but maybe up to a month.
Calling family and a few friends, we asked for prayers, faith, and fasting on her behalf. There were no more treatment options to have hope in. Now is the time to rely upon our Father in Heaven to produce a miracle, as I can rely no more on any treatment to take care of our Tiffany.
As Saturday progressed, Tiffany came out of her haze a little bit, and I had to explain what the doctors had told us. It was an interesting conversation - one I hope no one has to ever do with their spouse. It was a moment though that will be profoundly written in my mind, and one that as I spoke the words to her, it felt like I was taking a sacred part of her away. But it also became a tender moment between the two of us.
I had called upon Tiffany's sister to come and sit with her for a while. I had decided I needed to get to the temple to seek answers and peace. While there, the overwhelming thoughts and feelings of peace came... that He was in charge, that everything would work out for our good. A sweet reminder that the Lord is in charge. That He will direct our paths.
When I came back, Tiffany was a little more awake - and the pain had subsided substantially. The rest of the night was like that. I almost didn't want to go to bed, scared that this awareness would wear off. For, as I would remember, she was given some steroids earlier that day and that was perking her up. Or so I thought.
Sunday came and the doctors, doing their rounds, came in again. As they came in, Tiffany greeted them with a hearty smile and a sweet, "Good morning".
Doctor Glenn was astonished! She said right back - 'Well - Good morning to you!' Her face was just in shock. It took a few seconds to finally understand her shock... The steroids she had given to Tiffany was more to control some inflammation, not so much to perk her up, though it would do that as well, though only slightly. She said that there shouldn't be any way the steroids would perk her up that much and was dumbfounded at how she was responding.
Dr. Glenn pointed to our sign we had hung on our window -
And said - 'keep that poster up - it is working!'
No more was said about next steps other than to continue to take the steroids, and other pain medication and we would do a follow up later in the week.
Suffice it to say, we left that poster up (created by our new found friend in New Jersey who sent it to us - she makes these things as a side business but was kind to send this to me for free - go here to see her stuff). It took Tiffany two more days to keep herself pain free, be able to get out of bed, and she came home on Tuesday evening.
There are continued prayers we put up. We know of many, even hundreds of people that are doing the same thing. And we feel the presence of those prayers.
On Thursday we went to see doctor Glenn - and she was pretty excited to see how Tiff was doing. However, Tiffany continues to be a mixed bag of tricks. Some of the labs from the blood continue to look good. However, her liver still is enlarged and, at least until we can do a new MRI - there are still tumors in her spine. The problem exists still that there are no more treatments... However - what she did put back on the table was a possibility of a bone marrow transplant!
There is no guarantee - but we will be going in on Monday to get another fun and exciting bone marrow biopsy. Tiffany can't wait for those painful tests to happen. If the marrow comes back 'clean' enough - they will continue to look at doing a liver biopsy and other tests and see if we can prep her for transplant.
Again - there if there is strong evidence of continued growth of the cancer this may all be for naught. But we feel we have seen a miracle. A week ago, I was in the depths of despair seeking peace. Today, I have peace, hoping that darkness doesn't descend upon us. And we continue to hope and pray for this continued miracle.
For any and all those who read this - pray for our beloved Tiffany. That we may seek with all energy of heart that we might witness a miracle.
For - They that wait upon the Lord - shall renew their strength. And Tiffany shall mount up with wings as eagles, that she will run and not be weary, and walk and not faint.
May God grant it unto us, is our prayer....