Monday, September 19, 2011


I hope my readers understand that it just is not possible to address this blog every day; however, I do hope to continue to keep everyone informed of anything significant or remarkable along our journey.

The course of radiation originally scheduled is behind us. It was terminated before completion partly because of several missed sessions due to the machine breaking down, but there were other reasons too.

First, further discussions with the oncologists about the various recent scans helped us to understand the significance of the findings. For purposes of review, here a few way points. (1) A CAT scan prior to the hysterectomy did not reveal more than a faint shadow of metastasized cancer except for a spot in the upper sternum. That was the target of the subsequent radiation series. (2) An MRI scan done to assess the cause of her back pain caused by a fall also revealed multiple cancer sites in her spinal vertebra and more. (3) The PET Scan, done with radioactive isotopes of fluoride which gravitates into the tumor sites showed the cancer had invaded virtually all the bone. Meanwhile all the pathological reports identified a Grade 3 cancer (the most aggressive) at stage IV-B (the most advanced). There were only seven weeks between the CAT scan and the PET scan, also suggesting a rapid advance.

Since Betty has elected to not undergo chemotherapy, there was little reason to continue radiation on just one small location. Basically, there was no purpose to it.

Today we began the process of transitioning from direct care by her oncologists to the care provided by Hospice which becomes the doctors "eyes" at home. Although we all feel it is a bit soon to need all of the services Hospice can provide, it was expedient to get into the system for purposes of the coverage and the equipment they can immediately provide. Thanks to a visit from the Admit Nurse today, their care is now available to Betty on an “as needed” basis.

Actually, Betty has been doing well over the past week. She has had some nausea associated with beginning stronger pain medications, so she is still trying to rely on Advil and resting. We have had wonderful company for several days; a special Christian sister from Boise, dear friends from Alaska, our son David from Kennewick, and a few other drop-ins. Other friends have brought meals or joined us for meals here at our house. Betty’s mobility is limited, but she can navigate around the house somewhat, and she was able to attend Sunday morning worship services and visit a precious friend who is in the hospital. Of course these efforts were quite tiring, but she did accomplish them.

She still feels well much of the time and enjoys visiting, and working on jigsaw puzzles, and skyping with the grandsons in Alaska. Too many of our friends and family are also in medical or personal crisis or other discomfort, and Betty spends considerable time keeping up with them and being an encouragement wherever she can. Mail-call is often the highlight of the day, as are phone calls and e-mail messages.

More than ever, we solicit your continued prayers for God’s Mercies and Compassion and for comfort and successful management of her daily condition. We have absolutely no way to know now what the length of this journey will be, nor what will be its degree of difficulty. For the moment, we know that God is good, and we are having a chance to include our family and friends in preparing for both the reality of coming days and for solidifying our confidence in an eternal future. Please join us in those hopeful activities.


At 2:28 AM, Blogger Jenna Bunner said...

We join you in these hopeful activities! We love you and Betty and of course your family. You all are showing the way to living with Grace. Please give Betty and Patty too a hug and kiss from me.

At 8:11 AM, Blogger Jina Hinson said...

I am a friend of your daughter, Patty, from her St. Louis days. I and my husband met Patty and Edwin as they were training to go to Africa. Our family has been in Snohomish for 14 years now and I love reading Patty's blog.

I am so sorry to hear of your wife's battle with cancer. I am praying with you and for you in this.

I especially wanted to thank you for your focus in your writing on our spiritual reality. Your last line of this post was so powerful to me: Please join us in those hopeful activities. Indeed, amidst all the difficulty and trial, we are a people who have hope and that is where we should focus. You blessed me today with renewed vision. Thank you.

At 8:58 AM, Blogger Marlette said...

Oh, John! I had no idea of the battle you and Betty are fighting! I will be praying for you daily. So glad that we have eternity to look forward to - aren't you?

Marlette Estes

At 9:19 AM, Blogger Janet said...

Betty and the rest of your family are in my prayers. Time together right now is the most comfort for everyone I'm sure. I have been on this journey and understand how important it is to share this time with family and friends. May God comfort and strengthen you all right now. Love to you all.

At 6:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Friends: I am so sad for you,and what you are going through. I wish I was nearer to you so maybe I could be of some help to you, John. Please give Betty a hug and a kiss from me. She is in my prayers, and I love your family.

Margaret Clark


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