Nan Mustard's Recovery

This blog is a record of Erin (Nan) Mustard's recovery.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Art and Connie visit, We learn more about Nexavar...

Dear Family and Friends,
Last night Nan slept downstairs on the rented hospital bed. She slept comfortably with only a couple waking times. I slept in her recliner and was surprisingly comfortable. Starr slept beside me and kept me warm. We made the moves to the bed and then back to the recliner today without reopening the bleeding area.
Art and Connie were in town this morning and came over for a very welcome visit. Art gave me some advice about replacing the dog run ramp and Connie spent time with Nan. Both were surprised at the size of the most visible tumor which tends to be a shocker to see. Right after Art and Connie left I took a call on the cell and found I was speaking to a rep from Bayer. She wanted to bring us up to speed on side effects of the drug. Her call was extremely helpful. She mentioned the fact that the drug can cause pain in the feet, Nan has certainly had that, also that it can cause thinning of the blood and bleeding, well we are certainly experiencing that. It can also cause a skin rash and they are sending a cream to help if that helps. I was also told how the drug works and basically it interupts the cancer cells ability to create new blood vessels and also the ability to multiple cells. It was suggested that cream be used on Nan's hands and feet to keep them soft. They are sending a kit of info about the drug which will arrive in a couple days. So I am going to see if we can stop using the Lovenox shots which thin the blood since the new drug is also thinning the blood already. I will email Alice who can run it by the doctor.
Terry came this morning about 7:30 to draw blood, change PICC line dressing, do vitals and assess Nan's condition. We will hear about the results of the blood work tomorrow.
Nan and Marilyn have napped, watched some TV and taken it easy today. I have worked some and drove to Walnut Creek to collect a check, then to Antioch to do an appraisal, then to Taco Bell to get Marilyn's dinner and home. Wonder of wonders, a check came in the mail today, yes!
I am going to insert something Roger send me today that Tony Snow wrote about his experience with cancer. I found it very profound and I hope you find it helpful too.

.This is an outstanding testimony from Tony Snow, President Bush's Press Secretary, and his fight with cancer. Commentator and broadcaster Tony Snow announced that he had colon cancer in 2005. Following surgery and chemo-therapy, Snow joined the Bush Administration in April 2006 as press secretary. Unfortunately, on March 23, 2007, Snow, 51, a husband and father of three, announced the cancer had recurred, with tumors found in his abdomen,- leading to surgery in April, followed by more chemotherapy. Snow went back to work in the White House Briefing Room on May 30, but has resigned since, "for economic reasons," and to pursue " other interests." It needs little intro... it speaks for itself.

"Blessings arrive in unexpected packages, - in my case, cancer. Those of us with potentially fatal diseases - and there are millions in America today - find ourselves in the odd position of coping with our mortality while trying to fathom God's will. Although it would be the height of presumption to declare with confidence "What It All Means," Scripture provides powerful hints and consolations. The first is that we shouldn't spend too much time trying to answer the "why" questions: Why me? Why must people suffer? Why can't someone else get sick? We can't answer such things, and the questions themselves often are designed more to express our anguish than to solicit an answer. I don't know why I have cancer, and I don't much care. It is what it is, a plain and indisputable fact. Yet even while staring into a mirror darkly, great and stunning truths begin to take shape. Our maladies define a central feature of our existence: We are fallen. We are imperfect. Our bodies give out. But despite this, - or because of it, - God offers the possibility of salvation and grace. We don't know how the narrative of our lives will end, but we get to choose how to use the interval between now and the moment we meet our Creator face-to-face. Second, we need to get past the anxiety. The mere thought of dying can send adrenaline flooding through your system. A dizzy, unfocused panic seizes you. Your heart thumps; your head swims. You think of nothingness and swoon. You fear partings; you worry about the impact on family and friends. You fidget and get nowhere.

To regain footing, remember that we were born not into death, but into life,- and that the journey continues after we have finished our days on this earth. We accept this on faith, but that faith is nourished by a conviction that stirs even within many non believing hearts - an intuition that the gift of life, once given, cannot be taken away. Those who have been stricken enjoy the special privilege of being able to fight with their might, main, and faith to live fully, richly, exuberantly - no matter how their days may be numbered. Third, we can open our eyes and hearts. God relishes surprise. We want lives of simple, predictable ease,- smooth, even trails as far as the eye can see, - but God likes to go off-road. He provokes us with twists and turns. He places us in predicaments that seem to defy our endurance; and comprehension - and yet don't. By His love and grace, we persevere. The challenges that make our hearts leap and stomachs churn invariably strengthen our faith and grant measures of wisdom and joy we would not experience otherwise. 'You Have Been Called'. Picture yourself in a hospital bed. The fog of anesthesia has begun to wear away. A doctor stands at your feet, a loved one holds your hand at the side. "It's cancer," the healer announces. The natural reaction is to turn to God and ask him to serve as a cosmic Santa. "Dear God, make it all go away. Make everything simpler." But another voice whispers: "You have been called." Your quandary has drawn you closer to God, closer to those you love, closer to the issues that matter,- and has dragged into insignificance the banal concerns that occupy our "normal time." There's another kind of response, alt hough usually short-lived an inexplicable shudder of excitement, as if a clarifying moment of calamity has swept away everything trivial and tiny, and placed before us the challenge of important questions. The moment you enter the Valley of the Shadow of Death, things change. You discover that Christianity is not something doughy, passive, pious, and soft. Faith may be the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. But it also draws you into a world shorn of fearful caution. The life of belief teems with thrills, boldness, danger, shocks, reversals, triumphs, and epiphanies. Think of Paul, traipsing through the known world and contemplating trips to what must have seemed the antipodes (Spain), shaking the dust from his sandals, worrying not about the morrow, but only about the moment.There's nothing wilder than a life of humble virtue, - for it is through selflessness and service that God wrings from our bodies and spirits the most we ever co u ld give, the most we ever could offer, and the most we ever could do. Finally, we can let love change everything. When Jesus was faced with the prospect of crucifixion, he grieved not for himself, but for us. He cried for Jerusalem before entering the holy city. From the Cross, he took on the cumulative burden of human sin and weakness, and begged for forgiveness on our behalf. We get repeated chances to learn that life is not about us, that we acquire purpose and satisfaction by sharing in God's love for others. Sickness gets us part way there. It reminds us of our limitations and dependence. But it also gives us a chance to serve the healthy. A minister friend of mine observes that people suffering grave afflictions often acquire the faith of two people, while loved ones accept the burden of two peoples' worries and fears. 'Learning How to Live'. Most of us have watched friends as they drifted toward God's arms, not with resignation, but with peace and h op e. In so doing, they have taught us not how to die, but how to live. They have emulated Christ by transmitting the power and authority of love. I sat by my best friend's bedside a few years ago as a wasting cancer took him away. He kept at his table a worn Bible and a 1928 edition of the Book of Common Prayer. A shattering grief disabled his family, many of his old friends, and at least one priest. Here was an humble and very good guy, someone who apologized when he winced with pain because he thought it made his guest uncomfortable. He retained his equanimity and good humor literally until his last conscious moment. "I'm going to try to beat [this cancer]," he told me several months before he died. "But if I don't, I'll see you on the other side." His gift was to remind everyone around him that even though God doesn't promise us tomorrow, he does promise us eternity, - filled with life and love we cannot comprehend, - and that one can in the throes of sickness point the rest of us toward timeless truths that will help us weather future storms. Through such trials, God bids us to choose: Do we believe, or do we not? Will we be bold enough to love, daring enough to serve, humble enough to submit, and strong enough to acknowledge our limitations? Can we surrender our concern in things that don't matter so that we might devote our remaining days to things that do? When our faith flags, he throws reminders in our way. Think of the prayer warriors in our midst. They change things, and those of us who have been on the receiving end of their petitions and intercessions know it. It is hard to describe, but there are times when suddenly the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, and you feel a surge of the Spirit. Somehow you just know: Others have chosen, when talking to the Author of all creation, to lift us up, - to speak of us! This is love of a very special order. But so is the ability to sit back and appreciate the wond er of every created thing. The mere thought of death somehow makes every blessing vivid, every happiness more luminous and intense. We may not know how our contest with sickness will end, but we have felt the ineluctable touch of God. What is man that Thou art mindful of him? We don't know much, but we know this: No matter where we are, no matter what we do, no matter how bleak or frightening our prospects, each and every one of us who believe, each and every day, lies in the same safe and impregnable place, in the hollow of God's hand." T. Snow
There is a lot to digest in these words.
Please keep our precious Nan in your prayers. Her life is not easy in any way right now and she needs God's courage, comfort, healing and hope.

love

tim and nan and marilyn

2 Comments:

  • At 10:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    WHAT KIND OF GLASSES ARE YOU WEARING? DO YOU NEED A NEW PERSCRIPTION?

    It seems that Tony Snow has on the right glasses. But can it really be that simple? The same thing happens to someone else and the response is so different. Is it the glasses?

    I think it is. Don't the roses smell sweeter when you think they might be the last ones your going to smell. Everything can be better. Only the pain is in the way of a truly enlightening illness. Nan, you and Tim have born witness to the joy that comes with these triblulations.

    I pray that God will give you and Nan a double portion of strength, joy and peace for todays journey.

    Wes

    ps your rose colored glasses are on the coffee table. Be sure to put them on.

     
  • At 11:27 PM, Anonymous Marilyn in Lincoln said…

    Hi Tim and Nan ~
    Boy, I loved the words of Tony Snow and he sums everything up beautifully - "when everything is said and done, we all want to be in hhe hollow of God's hand."

    Nan's journey has been one filled with challenges and trials and she has been a trooper through it all. My prayer is like the prayer of Wes - that God will give you and Nan a double portion of strength, joy and peace.

    Love, Marilyn

     

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