Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Such a Precious Gift

Honestly, i don't know how to begin this post....i just finished reading the 46 comments of our friends, family and so many loved ones to Colin here in our bed. Our hearts are SO full of gratitude...we literally feel filled up with love and encouragements, and God has used each one of you to strengthen us for the fight ahead. We are in awe...speechless at the generousity and support, where to even begin to find the words of thanks and love that we feel....We have prayed so many times for God to SO richly bless each one of you, and i wholeheartedly believe our prayers will be answered!
With each passing day Colin is requiring more care and it's getting more and more difficult to get him that level of care at home...God knows, and the Doc and nurse were by from Palliative care today and they see the need for Colin to be in a hospital bed. I've been dreading this for some time, i guess the time has just felt like it's gotten away from me, and i've been trying to keep Colin in our bed, for my selfish reasons of just not wanting to let him go....i feel like all i have left is being able to sleep and lay beside him each nite, his arms are not able to wrap around me anymore and although he tries so hard, his kisses are just not the same. So now, we face moving him to a bed that will keep him more comfortable and my number one priority is his comfort, BUT God knows, and the Doc saw how it pained me to have to get to this point so quickly, so he's going to do his best to find me a hospital bed to clamp together with Colin's so we can still be beside each other. What amazing care, and love for others, these Palliative Care people provide, we are so thankful!
Today Colin had a nice long nap this afternoon, and i was able to get my bathing suit on and get into our blow up pool with the kids for a while....i can't believe how cold that water was but how much fun we had...then into the sand box for all sorts of Digger Fun!!! Today, Corban was struggling, we could tell all day he was just holding in his emotions and needing to just have a good cry, but trying to find the appropriate timing to do so, he almost seemed so angry towards me, which made it so hard on me....i just have been struggling to find the balance with and my boys, it just sucks that the two have to be so separate. I just think we thought we'd have more quality of life for Colin left, but he's just not able. AFter i finally grabbed Corban and just hugged him so tight, he just started to cry, and from there i asked him to forgive my having to separate my time between him and Daddy.....i just pray no damage is done and that we can have that open communication that i so desire, he's allowed to have his difficult days, too, we all do. Keegan is also visibly reeling...so clingy with me and not smiling too much, just being tentative with everyone, and just wanting to be held, so he's hitched a permanent ride on my hip for the time being, i hope he can deal with this and find some comfort along the way.
Tomorrow is a new day, and i pray we get Colin's comfort figured out with the bed situation...For now, i need to get my cuddles in and be with Colin while he's bright eyed, it's not always the case for our evenings, so i have to take advantage.
Each day we are so blessed by our support system, and the bigger family we are apart of, thank you and we love each of you!
Luv, Melissa

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hopefully a Good Night..

Once again i marvel at the encouragement and support of so many. There are no words, we are so thankful for your your support. God knows when we need to lean, and He has sent so many for us to lean on. What a day and what a great ending, your prayers have been answered....Colin is resting comfortably upstairs in our bed...i made sure he stayed in bed all day and loved ones came to him, to save his strength and alleviate the stress on him. Palliative Care changed his pain meds to a constant drip, the drugs are strong, but he was pain free for most of the day, God so graciously answered our prayers. Today was such a great day, we laughed and cried and prayed and loved the people who came to see us, Colin just mentioned to me how thankful he was that our loved one's have come and made time to share with us today! We both realize our days are numbered, but i know we do have at least a few left, so we make sure each day we have some funny times...like when the Doc's told us with the new pain meds that he would be hallucinating, but they are more like little side tracked points in conversation that don't make sense. We have laughed about those little things, and Colin is even joining in because he knows how random his thoughts have been, i think it's cute. His little laugh that comes up, with the combination of his face not moving, the sound is so refreshing, just little shoulder shakes and belly giggles, i love being apart of that! Today we are reminded to be thankful for the little time he has left, because the suffering will be much and we want JESUS to take him and fully restore him like only our Savior can. Colin is peacfully sleeping....today he is not able to really have any mobility with his hands at all, just more signs of deterioration, but his mind and his beautifully kind and loving spirit are very much here and we are soaking in those precious moments with him. Speaking of which, i want to go up to bed to be with him, even when he sleeps i love just having him in bed with me, close, i want to hold on to these times!
I read your comments and encouragement to Colin each day, he cries at the generousity of our huge Body of Christ and beyond, what amazing people we are privileged to know and how amazed we are for those who we don't know to even take the time to follow our journey....Thank you!
Sweet Dreams, i pray we have a restful night, i don't know how many more sleepless ones i can handle! That's where i end and God begins:) Acutally, these days it's just God doing the work..i'm just along for this bumpy ride.
Luv, Melissa
I have made it my priority each morning to read our blog comments....because we are truly drawing and leaning on your prayers and encouragement through this fight. My worst fear are coming to reality that Colin's battle with intense pain is beginning. Last night before bed it started and i have never witnessed him in such agony, even with all he has been through this past year...he told me through tears that he has never felt such pain....and then he was broken with gratitude for what our Savior, Jesus went through for us on that dark day that he died for our every sin. All that Colin could do was Praise God for what he did for us and ask him to help him carry this burden of pain as well.....As i prayed for God to protect him through his moans, we just cried and held each other's hands and said how much we loved each other and how he loved our boys...he wants to hang on for us, but i told him our deepest desire for him is to be whole and healthy and to be with Jesus.
Yesturday we got to take some pictures of our family, and candid moments of being together out in our backyard...my cousin Steph was so gracious to just take pics of whatever she could capture. What a blessing....our time is running out, we both can feel it, but our prayer is that there would be no anger towards our Powerful Heavenly Father through this time, Colin nor i have an ounce of anger....we are so sad that our time is cut short, and we are so broken with how our future will be separated, BUT our prayers are being answered and our miracle is that Colin will have an end to this ever-growing burden....he can lay it at the feet of JESUS and be whole with the One who has created him....true perfection....I agree, Colin is quite a man, his love for his friends and family, and his desire to be the best daddy he could be was something he worked on daily, and i admire the fact that he was constantly not content to be complacent in his faith...there was always more growth, something more he could do to be closer with our God.
I so desperately want him to stay with me, i don't want to be left alone...it isn't fair, it's not how life was supposed to turn out, but i'm not the judge of when God wants someone home, and i am SO blessed to have been SO enriched by having him in my life. My one True love....i need to go be with him, he is just in so much pain, today we are having Palliative care come in to change his meds to liquids to get it in faster and stronger and more constant....so little time, i hope our boys do ok through this...gotta go
luv, Melissa

Saturday, June 26, 2010

More Time...Please....

Well today all of Colin's siblings and immediate family will be here....it will be good to spend some time together, altogether since it has been so long.
Yesturday was one of the hardest days, of making palliative care arrangements and helping me have a "plan B" and also making funeral arrangments...Wow, never at our ages did i ever dream of having to do something so incredibly painful. God is good and HE held us up and kept us strong for the entire day....we had a rough night last night...at one point we just wept in each other's arms....so sad, just don't want to have to say goodbye this soon....today is an emotional day for me in particular, i'm sure it will be with Colin's family as well....so much to do in soo little time....LORD give me and the boys some more good memories...give Colin's family great memories to hold on to, and for my family as well!
Corban and i talked about Daddy going to be with Jesus....i am profoundly amazed at how he has understanding for such an adult issue....i think he has more clarity than us adults do at times! Our term that we are using is "passing away" Corban wishes to use, so we will make that our term....God has given him such a smart mind to process this right now, and i am so lucky to have this special little boys as my oldest, he and i will get through this together, he is such a big helper with Keegan! I am so lucky to have little pieces of Colin in our boys, i am so honored to bring them up...my wish would not to have to do it alone, i pray i can give them what they need and help them hold on to their Daddy. I have been getting such sweet little moments on camera and video, so hopefully it will help them as they get older to see how much they were loved by such an amazing Daddy. Oh Lord give us more time! Ok, right now, i am going to go and be with Colin, i will keep posting as we keep processing, we thank you all so much for your impact with support and prayers through this time! I truly am so thankful to each one of you!
Luv, Missy

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Moment We Were Never Prepared For...

I have always dreaded this post, or ever having to write a post like i will this evening....Tonite we are home, i know it's Thursday, and treatments go until friday. We recieved news back yesturday that more lymphoma has come back in Colin's spinal fluid, more than 77% is full of the cancer again. It is with incerdibly heavy hearts that the Doc's told us there was no need to go any further with any more treatments. It comes to a point when enough is enough, and all Colin wanted more than anything in the world was to come home and be with our boys.
At the beginning of August 2009 when Colin first came up, he made such a mark on the medical staff, his bravery and calm amidst so much pain just blew them away and his soft spirit and gentle smile spoke to so many of what a loving and caring man of God he is. In their history, they have no record of having a patient with Burkitt's Lymphoma grow resistant to treatment. They were so burdened and sad for us, with what was supposed to be such a full life ahead of us...we are now faced with a number of weeks before things get really bad. Today we took care of our legal lose ends and tomorrow we meet to make funeral arrangements. More than anything we want Colin to speak his final wishes and then record them, so we can put it to rest for as long as we go on living. All of us know our days are numbered, but nothing is worse than hearing a Doctor tell you, you have a matter of weeks to make a lifetime of happy memories to hold on too. Each day Colin deteriorates....The scary part of Burkitt's Lymphoma is how fast growing it is, and she did say that he would lose his cognitive abilities and have much pain in his last days...I don't anything could have prepared us for this kind of news, we drove home this morning and it was the most emotionally taxing drive we've ever done. Talking about everything we both wanted to say to each other and crying because we couldn't possibly have this limited amount of time to share together. To be honest, it comes in waves...this is such inchartered territory for all involved, friends, family, loved ones. More than anything we want to be real and not have a huge elephant in the room that the end is near....we talk, we cry, we hug, we laugh and we hug a while longer. We don't know how to do this...another steep learning curve to say the least....unfortunately this is the one aspect of life, we can't really get an easy way out of. Don't misunderstand...Colin is very much at peace with death, he knows Jesus is waiting for him, and to be honest i'm a little jealous we can't meet Him together! There is so much pain in grieving a loss before it even happens....Constantly wondering if this day was the last we would be able to just sit and talk, or for him to tell me that he loves me....i feel robbed of enjoying him fully, his smile, his mischiveous expressions, his hugs and kisses. Nothing is how it should be right now, honestly it's not fair, BUT God is still in control, HE is still here with us carrying us through another open door. We are relieved to be at home, Colin is already SO much better in his own space around the boys, fun and laughter....the boys don't know anything, the adults are doing our best to keep our composure...Colin and I are praying God will give us the right timing with the right words to explain to Corban what is happening, right now, all he know is that we're home and that we don't have to back up to Calgary anymore, that's all he needs to know right now.
My thoughts are so scattered, as i think of things, i type them. Doc's are never right on their time estimations, but please pray that our family has some great times, enough to make some incredible memories, enough for us all to hold on too for our lifetime....Please pray for God's strength for each loved one and for appropriate closure to be felt by all involved who love Colin. It's overwhelming to say the least, and i find myself on teh verge of just yelling for someone to take us away to hide from this whole mess, just make it all go away. But that's not how life works. I don't have control over Colin's days, i was so very to have had him for 10 of the most amazingly wonderful year of my adult life, my one true love, my best friend and my most valuable treasure. Each day i have known him, i am in awe of his patience and kindness towards me and our boys...such a teacher and my fear is that can't possibly raise our kids without him, or go through this life without sharing each day with him. Oh God, there are no words, I know YOU, God are here, please send more peace, please take care of the details that seem to look like mountains. Our God is SO good, We have not one regret, our journey has made us different people, better people....I have such an intimate understanding of how God desires HIS Body of Christ to operate, and i have never in my life been so grateful and felt so safe to be apart of that! You have been the Hands and Feet of Christ, and your prayers and support are carrying us right now....Praise God today that we could come home, and that Colin could give the boys hugs and kisses and cuddles, and that we could all join and eat a really yummy supper together....Oh yes my friends, God is still SO SO incerdibly good!
I promise we will navigate through these rough waters together, i will update on tomorrow.....
Luv, Melissa

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Today We Are Thankful....

I just wanted to update really quick so if i don't get too later, then you're all up to date!
So like i said yesturday the MRI was done last nite and this morning hematology came to do the spinal in Colin's crammed little room. It went good...the Doc said there wasn't any increase in spinal fluid pressure (which is a good thing) and it was looking pretty clear, which is also a good thing, but to the naked eye, it only tells so much. We may be lucky to get some preliminary results today, but i'm not holding my breath. Colin is resting now, and he will continue to lay flat for a couple hours to reduce the risk of those wicked spinal headaches. Sleep is the best thing for him, so i'm happy he's resting. Radiation was rescheduled today for 4pm and then they told us I COULD TAKE COLIN HOME TO ANDY AND NAT'S!!!!!! YEAYEAYEYAYE I am so excited to have him back with me full time, and for his mind, he does SO much better at our home away from home! See? there was no point last night to worry about today because today we have so much to be thankful for! I think every day we have so much to be thankful for, but as for today....it is a good day!
Just wanted to let you know where things are at!
i'll be in touch if not today, tomorrow with how things are going and if we've heard anything from our Doc's!
Luv, Melissa

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What Tomorrow Will Bring...

Not much new to report on today, Colin had his treatment as scheduled this morning at 1130 and then he had his MRI this evening around 7pm..tomorrow sometime should be his spinal tap, so again we just wait. Ironically enough it's been more difficult on him to function in the hospital than out. At home, we have our system, our ways of doing things, and he just can't handle having to try to do things in the hospital. It's not good for him mentally to be couped up all day long, a home is so much better, and our nurse Karen told us today that she saw nothing wrong with us being able to have things back to normal by friday to get back home to our boys! We're just wanting to be done...so tired of what is ahead and seeing no improvements just makes things tough. Things are getting to the point now where it's sometimes just easier for me to feed him his meals, and walking is limited only to the bathroom and back or to get himself as far as the wheelchair. This is why home is better, he gets around easier and he forces himself to be more active.
The Doc's are looking into Colin's spiratic blood sugars, today they were up over 25 and they should be down around 4-7...so they are thinking this is diabetes being chemically induced by the steriod he is on. BUT he cannot be taken off of the steriods because of the swelling going on in his brain, so he will have be on medication and restricted diet to combat the evil effects of the high sugars, just one more thing to an already teetering pile. We're both just feeling overwhelmed today, we just wanna go home and have it all go away. BUT God will use our much needed rest tonite to strengthen us for a whole new day tomorrow. For now, i need to get to the rest part, and we'll take tomorrow when tomorrow comes! Thank God we have a hope and a safe place to "rest".
No word on when the results come back from the tests, hopefully by the time we drive home on friday we should know something more than we know now, i won't promise anything:)
i'll update when i can! Hopefully it will report that Colin can come back to Andy and Nat's for the duration of the week! Please pray for that, he needs to get out of that hospital!
ok, Good Night!
Luv, Melissa

Monday, June 21, 2010

How Bad is Bad Before Better? AND when will better be?

I wish i was coming to you with better news, and well, i guess if i try to see the glass half full, this can be good news....After Colin was done treatment today the medical staff in radiation were concerned with Colin's growing lack of dexterity in his arms and hands, more so on his left side. Within 3-4 days, literally he has lost all mobility and function in his entire left arm and hand....not good. We thought this was a result of things getting worse before they were to get better, but our Doc told us he was concerned and that this symptom does not add up...so he admitted Colin on the spot, in hopes of getting him fast tracked to MRI and another spinal tap. I guess what they are wanting to know is if there is any more lymphoma growing and also, what, if any, improvements are showing with radiation treatments so far. He seemed a little dissatisfied with the lack of any improvement in Colin's symptoms so far. He did say that each patient is different and that he hopes we will see something get better this week.
Our hearts have dropped at this news, we both just got the wind knocked out of our sails with this...poor Colin, now that he is admitted under the radiation department, we do things the normal way....he is tucked away on some trama unit which is on constant lock down due to brain injury's and we aren't allowed any cell phone activity with all the life support machines and everything else...wow, a far cry from Unit 57! BUT the nurses seemed nice, also the young female roomate Colin is sharing a room with seems nice. Not sure how she is without her percocets but i hope we're out before we find out:)
With yet another "new" weird symptom that no one can explain, it's just making Colin's way of life more frustrating.....don't get me wrong, he'd sooner do it out at home than ever have to stay for an extended hospital visit....we just were SO hoping to find some exciting new improvement before anything else went wrong.....now, yet again, we sit and hold our breath until they come back and tell us what 'else' is happening.
As we were sitting, so sad, and so homesick having supper down in a little cafeteria, we cried as we talked to the boys, who were also crying telling us they missed us and that they needed us to come home....we just wanted to get up and go home and make it all go away so badly! This really nice woman handed me a kleenex....after i was finished on the phone and collected myself after talking to the kids i looked up and just happened to overhear them talking about the flooding that is bringing so much damage and displacement to Medicine Hat. So i caught their eye and asked if they were from Medicine Hat....they said YES, as i looked at them, they looked like people i had seen before, and i said as much. They said Hillcrest Church! WOW! They have a loved one who has been battling her own cancer, with not much hope or help from the medical profession. I actually didn't ask their permission to share their story, so i won't use any names, and please forgive me if i have said too much.....but through this "God ordained" encounter we felt the loving arms of Jesus coming over us in their love and well wishes and in their renewed hope and joy, because God did a miracle of healing their loved one!!!! PRAISE GOD, we cried with them, tears of happiness and hope and joy and relief!!! I pray they sleep good tonite! I also prayed that they be blessed with how God uses the Body of Christ to be HIS HANDS and FEET and HIS HUGS!
I don't know that those people will read this, and i know they will know who they are if they do, but thank you, for giving Colin and i HOPE. Our God is a God of doing the unthinkable, the impossible, and we PRAISE YOU FOR THAT, LORD!
Miracles are happening all around us, Colin and i are reminded of them often, and today we were reminded that when we need a hug from God Himself,He'll have someone there to make sure it get's to us, at the exact moment we need it most!
So tonite Colin is sleeping in the hospital and he will continue with his treatments for this week and we hope the MRI and spinal tap will be soon, so that he can get out of there and back to Andy and Nat's, our home away from home!
i plan on getting him outside in the sunshine as much as possible tomorrow, and again, God is a GOOD God, ALL THE TIME....i need to sleep now.....so tired from this day, i will keep you posted with how this all plays out....it sucks, and Colin and I are concerned, but God is in that room with Colin, sustaining him and giving him strength and keeping him at peace with whatever news may come!
I just wish some good news could come soon, something to give us some momentum to keep going strong....God give us strength this week, please prepare us for whatever may come, and thank you for all the support we have around us, and thank you for the amazingly warm hug of being apart of the Family of God!
Good Night! I hope this all makes sense, but since i see it as our journal, i hope you'll look over any spots that don't make sense, i won't make a habit of being up this late very much anymore!
Luv, Melissa

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!!!!

Hello All!
Once again we are at home, taking it easy and enjoying our surroundings. Just being able to be with the kids is such good medicine! We are 7 treatments down and 13 more to go! Colin is feeling ok, he is getting a great deal weaker, but his fighting spirit hasn't gone anywhere! We were able to put our new "borrowed" wheelchair to great use yesturday and we all went for a walk as a family! Nat and the kids were still here and now Colin's mom is here again, so we ALL got to go, and get some sun and some fresh air! This morning he also tried out his new shower/tub chair also borrowed but AWESOME...it's amazing how these things make life so much easier! I even straight shaved Colin today for the first time in our married life, and there was no blood! haha....he looks like a million bucks for Father's Day today! The kids gave him his cards and his new hoodie this morning and for supper mom is bringing over BBQ ribs and all the fixin's so we'll have a great Father's Day supper!
Tomorrow we head up again for another week...our appointment is at 3:15 so we'll leave just before lunch. We hope to get Colin out in the warm sun and fresh air again today, he's resting now, the shower and shave took a lot out of him, so he's trying to keep the little energy he has left to be able to eat with all of us for supper, and if he can't, we'll just all have a picnic in his bed with him:)
For now, Corban and i are having some much needed cuddles so i should go and maximize my time with him while the house is quiet!
i'll update this week with how Colin is doing with his second full week of treatment, i sure hope it goes as fast as the last week went!
I'm starting to get that sad feeling about leaving the boys, but they are in good hands and it's only for a short time, still easier said than done! We've had some good cry's together this weekend, it's good to make sure we're all getting that out especially for Corban....those dosages of emotion are good for him, so we've been told, so we'll just keep talking lots and loving each other and making all the good memories we can:)
I just want to mention to both Colin's Dad, Neil and my Dad, Glen, that you guys are the most amazing Dads Colin and I could ever have been blessed with....please know we are thinking of you both today and that we love you both so very much! Thank you for everything you've done for us through this process and your unwavering love and support as we continue through this!
I hope you all have enjoyed a great Father's Day weekend! Wishing all of you Dad's out there the bestest day today!
Luv, Melissa

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Keeping Up With Our HOPE!!!

Forgive me, tonite's post is going to be quick, this day has just gotten away from me, and again i should be getting to bed. Today we spent the better part of the morning at the hospital. Along with Colin's treatment, he will also see our Doc every thursday just for checking in to make sure all is going ok. Today they had some other options for managing Colin's pain levels and staying on top of things rather than playing catch up, like we've been spending each day this week doing more of. It'll take a good day or two of the new meds getting into his system, but he actually fell asleep this afternoon for 2 whole hours, he hasn't been able to sleep this whole week so far, so this is HUGE!!! He actually felt good enough to come for a car ride to the Marble Slab so i could get him an ice cream snack after supper. He is definitely getting weaker, the stairs sometimes prove to be too much for him, but that is when he's trying to rush, so i keep encouraging him, to just take his time. So today was ok, again the Doc's explained to us that their main objective with this radiation treatment is to get him relief from his symptoms, they are not confident they can get him into remission or to a 5 year cure....but to try to keep the Burkitt's at bay.....kinda the same unnerving details at the beginning meeting....we know it will work, but we don't know how long it will work for....BUT God is SO good TODAY....Colin has SO much hope....God doesn't stop where medicine has it's limits, our God has no limits, how cool is that?!?!?! Each day is our miracle, and we are still asking God for a total healing, and we haven't stopped doing that since August 2009, so we'll keep on....God knows, we will just take each day, and fill it with hope and joy and happiness and laughter and hugs and all those great things that HE has blessed us with!!!
Tonite we talked to the boys again....Keegan said "Daddy" and "Mommy"....another first time for his new words...before it was just Dad and Mama, so we were just beaming over the phone, it brought so much joy for him to show off his new words...Corban is just concerned about his cousin leaving him tomorrow and the fact that Auntie Natalie has to leave....but i hope he's excited to have us home for the weekend:)
I will update when we get home....but our first week is almost over, and God is Good!
Thank you again for your prayers!
Luv, Melissa

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

No Complaints

All i can say is that it's a good thing Colin was doing better at the beginning of the week. By "better" i should clarify that it's all mentally, physically, he is usually always the same. Bedridden except for meals, and him being determined to keep moving. The nurses are always telling him each day, "make sure you keep resting, get your rest in at every moment possible". Each day this week has been getting progressively worse, more exhaustion (like, that is even possible), and more and more pain BUT we were told that it would be getting worse before better, so i am holding onto that, that this somehow could get better, soon. This morning we had an early appointment and i was concerned about how i could get Colin up and moving in time to be there, and factoring in Calgary traffic, we actually did ok, and he even got in early for his appointment. I found a wheelchair close by where i parked, so God was taking care of us, for sure!
Once i got Colin home and made him breakfast, i got him settled in bed again for a nap, and then went and ran some errands and came home just in time for lunch and then after Colin's nap #2, he had enough energy mustered up to stay in the tub for a quick cleaning before having to get back to bed....while he was resting, i changed his PICC line dressing (used more for bloodwork and chemo, but they haven't removed it yet). Tonite he has been having a lot more pain and discomfort so i'm praying we have it under control enough that he can get a good sleep. He's tucked into bed for the night now, and i'm headed that way myself very soon. I just wanted to update and let you know what the week is looking like for us. Still no nausea, PRAISE GOD, as for the rest, i'm learning that my role as a caregiver has only just begun, and there was SO much that i took advantage of when Colin was up in Unit 57! Those nurses are AMAZING, i sure know nursing is NOT my calling, but there is nowhere else i would rather be than by my husband's side getting him through each day....we make sure we are able to laugh, even if it's just his shoulders that move, and that we can crack jokes and keep things light....tomorrow is our last full day up here, and i can't believe we're already 1/4 of the way through, well this schedule anyway, we'll see what they decide to do after these four weeks are done.
I've been talking to Nat and she is doing fantastically with the kids, after mom is done work each day this week, they have been loving all the kiddos together....we are so thankful for that! When we talked to boys tonite just before bedtime, Keegan actually said "ya you Dad" it was supposed to be, "Love you Dad", which is the first time i've heard him say that to anyone, so it lifted Colin's spirit's SO much!
Today was ok, we have nothing to complain about so we'll just pray tomorrow goes ok, and make sure Colin is resting lots....he's started doing some squats at bedtime, he has lost almost all of his muscle mass in his legs just skin and bone is all that's left, and it's such a struggle to get him up stairs, so we have to keep that up....so there isn't so much physio needing to be done at the end....see, Unit 57 was on top of all of this stuff, and now it's my turn, so the learning curve isn't too bad, i'm just trying to remember everything that needs to be done each day:) There are so many out there fighting this cancer battle that have no support of a Unit 57, they do every step as an outpatient...AMAZING, i keep thinking of all of those all around us trudging through this painful journey. We are so lucky to have had the teaching and knowledge of the Staff of 57....We are so blessed!!
Anyhoo, i should lay my head down for the night, hope my brain shuts off to take a break as well!
Sleep tight!
luv, Melissa

Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday's Don't Always Have to Be that Bad!

Happy Monday Everyone!
Today we left Medicine Hat around 11am and headed back up for the first full week in Calgary for Colin's treatments. He had radiation today at 3pm so we made it in good time and even had a little extra time to grab a snack in Strathmore. Today is a good day! Colin has been feeling good, we had such a great time talking and sharing our thoughts with each other on the trip up....much needed for us to just connect again and get ready for the week to come! The weekend actually went pretty good. We are both finding we have to get back into the mind-set of just "getting through" each day rather than the "recovery" mindset. We are not quite at the recovery stage yet, and we've been here before, with chemo, but it still is a routine we didn't want to have to get used too again. Colin was rested and comfortable for most of the weekend, some of his nights were a little rough, but nothing we couldn't handle. Last night we ALL got a great restful sleep, God is good!
Now that we've had our first weekend under our belts with how it's gonna be with the boys and me trying to handle things around the house, it's gonna be ok....just one day at a time, and it's exercising for me to reach out and say i need help...mom and dad and Steph(my cousin) helped us so much this weekend, and Dad got his hands on a wheelchair for us and a chair to fit in the tub, so life will be a whole lot easier now at home, we are SO thankful for that!
On the way out of the hospital today, Colin was being a funny guy, cracking jokes, i could tell he was feeling ok, and that's so good to see him with all he's been going through lately! I had to fill gas before we got to Andy and Nat's and Colin wanted to go on a "car-wash" date with me, so we drove through an automatic carwash at the gas station and had a quick date...lol:)
So, for now, we're cuddling on the couch and watching some TV.....hopefully we can have an equally good night. It's certainly not getting any easier to leave our boys, but with this, there is an end in sight, so we'll keep praying this goes quickly until we can all be together again at length!! i'll update each day as the week progresses! Thanks again for your thoughts and prayers!!!!
Luv, Melissa

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Down to Business...

Hello All!
well, we're home, Colin is doing as well as he can be, extrememly exhausted, just to eat a meal makes him ready for another nap....we had a meeting with the Radiation nurses and therapists(the people who actually do the treatment each day) yesturday and they had said that this would be the most difficult treatment and fight of Colin's life....in her words radiation is going to kick Colin's butt! They have gone through with us what resources we have available to us....she said Colin should be getting phyical activity....like a wheelchair ride around the block....i asked her if she was kidding, and she told me that would be all he will be able to do. So, i am in the process of setting up the house and getting in touch with homecare to make sure we have things at home here for after treatment is finished, it will only be worse for a couple 2-3 months after he finishes as well. There was an indication of Colin possibly doing more treatment to his spine after this full brain radiation. The reason they are not doing it all together is because the Doc took one look at Colin upon meeting him and said he was positive he would not be able to handle both treatments at once. BUT we know for sure the treatments are for the next four weeks, and we'll take the rest as it comes, they will decide once they see how Colin has responded to this four week process.
Honestly you guys, Colin's activity is limited to getting in and out of bed to get to the bathroom, sitting up to eat meals, and if he is feeling good, he'll venture downstairs to sit on the couch and be around the boys for a few hours. Aside from this he is in and out of sleeping all day and all night, and this will be the extent of how he will physically cope with getting through this process. It will only get worse from here, but we are getting a handle on how to function both in Calgary and here at home....our goal is to do this without Colin having to be hospitalized, they also said that it was likely that hospitalization could be needed.
There is so much to be overwhelmed about at the front end of this, but Andy and Nat have made their home in Calgary our home for the weekdays, which we are SO grateful for, and we have my parents and Colin's mom coming out again for help while we are all at home, and to watch the kids while we are away.
This next week Nat (my sis-in-law) will be staying with her kiddos here and taking our boys on as well, and then by the end of the week Darlene (Colin's mom) is flying in to Calgary and we will pick her up on the way back home for the weekend!
To each and every one of you who is helping us out with watching the kids, Darlene, Nat, Mom and Dad....we thank you so very much....to each one who is helping us out with meals, we thank you so very much....The little cards and notes of encouragement that we have been getting is SO apprecaited....you have no idea how much it means to us and to Colin that people are thinking and praying for him. It makes all the difference when he comes to the end of his rope, God gives him the strength he needs to endure and to hold on to HIM!!!
i am learning that we will be needing help, and that i need to speak up and ask. God has been so faithful with sending the help before i even have to ask, for that i am so very thankful, all of you are so tangibly showing us God's provision...God is using you to bless our family so much. You have brought us so much joy and you are showing us God's faithfulness when we pray for him to continually provide for us! You are the hands and feet of Jesus, i don't know if you really understand how powerful that is!!!!
We love you!!!! i will be in touch, i will try to do each day, but i can't promise anything at this point....on weekends especially with being with the boys, i will have more time hopefully on the weekdays when we're up in Calgary for treamtents to let you know how we are making out!
Luv, Melissa

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Kinda Mellowdramatic...

Well, today was an off day....We went to Colin's 1015 appointment and it was so fast...he was in and out in less than half an hour, and they told us it would usually be faster than that, but today they had to take some pics of his initial state. He was feeling exhausted to begin with but as the day wore on, it only increased and he's been on morphine pretty steady since his treatment....he got sick only once so far, but he was in some pretty intense pain in his eyes. They told us that there would be some swelling around the brain initially, and that everything was going to get way worse, before it gets better....i pray it doesn't get any worse for his sake. Once we got into the groove with getting his nausea under control, and getting ahead of his pain, then he fell asleep and got a few good hours of rest, and now he's had a couple pieces of toast and he's sitting beside me on the couch. I pray we can get some rest tonite, and i just hope i can keep up on his symptoms, because we've learned the hard way along this journey that playing catch up with pain is an impossible thing. For now, we are just trying to be normal and watch some TV...he doesn't really watch, his eyes don't work too much for that right now, but he's just such a trooper!!! I can't believe how much he endures without an ounce of bitterness or complaint or anything else i would be doing if i was in his situation!!! IT's tough to watch, but way worse to be going through....my brain isn't working much for writing right now, just making sure Colin is ok, so i should go, but thank you for your prayers today.....it was a surprise to us that he would feel any different from just one treatment, and feeling worse he is, BUT PRAISE GOD THAT it is working, and making a difference and doing exactly what we've been told it will do....GOD is at work here, HE is using this to bring healing and relief to Colin...i pray it comes soon, so very soon!
I will update tomorrow from home, Colin's appointment is at noon and then we should be on the road headed home for the weekend....
Luv, Melissa

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

You Make The Difference!!!

i need to be super quick here today, but i wanted to let you know what's happening...we got a call this morning, from radiation that Colin's first appointment is this Thursday morning, and again on Friday...then we come home for the weekend and head back up on Monday and get right into things. Although we knew it could come, i don't think Colin or i was really prepared for that news....just a lot more to do, in a little amount of time, but we are glad things are starting...Colin is NOT doing well today, VERY uncomfortable to say the least and he's having a lot more numbness in his arms and fingers as well as his face seems to be getting worse, if that even is possible. By that, i mean i can see his lips sagging even more and his eyes are really having a hard time adjusting and he's seeing blurred more often than not. Since the lymphoma has been effecting his central nervous system, these symptoms will only get worse until he is treated, so again, we are so glad it's starting sooner than later! We head up to my brother's house tomorrow night.
I took Corban in to the Doctor today, and since we know them well, they looked at me and said they were going to get me looked at as well....good thing...Corban was swabbed for step throat, it might not be, but they put him on antibiotics as his ears and throat were VERY red....He showed me, they were awful, poor little guy hardly complains, so i didn't even know how sick he actually was. Considering the situation, i am also on some antibiotics just to get me over this once and for all, so i'm ready for the road ahead. Now...i am just begging God for this to be it, and that Keegan and Colin stay safe from Step throat or whatever else this was!
Anyhoo....i need to go play diggers with the boys, Colin is up trying to rest...i hope the pain meds kick in soon. Not sure what kind of night we will have but i have to PRAISE GOD for last nite, a whole glorious night's rest without any interruptions until 8am this morning, that was what we needed, but i wish i could say the same for Colin, he was up but only once....we just need to get him started and i pray relief will come, sooner than later!
ok, i will let you know how everything is going once we get to Calgary! Colin asked what i was going to do in the waiting rooms each day and i told him that of course i was going to updating all of you!!!! Thanks for all of you support! I had a thought today that it is the picture of God using each of you to help carry us with your prayers and meals, and encouragments and hugs......we love you, we couldn't do it without you!
Luv, Missy

Monday, June 7, 2010

One Little Request...

ok, so i am coming to you all today to ask for some prayer but honestly, it's having to do with us here at home. When we were headed home 2 weeks ago, i felt i was getting run down and sick, and sure enough i was, except, it hasn't gone away....Unfortunately the kids also got whatever i have had and we've been sick now the entire time we've been at home....please don't get me wrong, i do not want to complain, but i'm getting nervous for the rough road ahead and the time crunch to get us healthy before we head into what could be the most difficult part of our entire treatment. Miraculuously Colin has been unscathed from our germs, PRAISE GOD!!!! we have been so careful with washing and covering up and with Colin wearing a mask to protect himself, but our God is protecting him, i believe that whole heartedly!!!

I also need to say the biggest thank you to those of you who have been helping us out with meals, with us all being run-down and sick, you have no idea how much this helps, not to have to worry about that, God's Richest Blessings on you all, THANK YOU SO MUCH!
I know better than to worry by now, and i don't want to down play any of you out there being sick, this cold/flu going around is a nasty one! So instead of worrying, i am just asking if you could pray a little pray for us to get better and to get strong for what we are headed into!
I won't take any more of your time, I do want to say that Colin is doing ok, still having rough nights with pain and having to take meds for that....we are anxious but we are confident that God is going before us, we are as prepared as we can be, and we know where our strength comes each day....so for that we PRAISE God....for a few more days at home, we are so thankful for our many blessings!
Haven't heard yet for sure when our official start date is, but we are prepared to go whenever they call, or in the medical system, i'm calling tomorrow to see if they have any info for us...heehee, sometimes you gotta be a squeekie wheel, right?!
Thank you in advance for your prayers! I better go get Colin off to bed, he's sleeping beside me on the couch:)
Luv, Melissa

Friday, June 4, 2010

Not even sure what to think....

Whoa, i have to take a deep breath before i start typing this one....i'm kinda at a loss for words. Yesturday was a very mixed day for Colin and I. It was incedibly long, and so very draining, both physically and emotionally. Let me start at the beginning. Colin was feeling "off" upon arriving at the hospital so we took it slow and once we got down to the basement and followed the mazes of hallways and signs, we were led to a waiting room for them to call us to meet the Radiation Oncologist. Well Colin was still feeling "off" and we later learned that the steroid he is on can sometimes mess with your blood sugars, and mixing with anxiety and the early morning with travels, it doesn't make a person feel so hot!
Once we finally got down to see the Doc, it was a quick in and out meeting. Basically he said the standard side effects of radiation were likely to happen, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomitting, etc. Cataracts can develop over the long term, but that most everything else will subside within the months following the end of treatment. The duration of treatment will be 5 days a week for 4 weeks straight, for a total of 20 sessions of full brain radiation. Those of you who have gone down this road, Colin was measured for a brace-like mould for his head and chest to ensure he doesn't move during treatment. There is a cage-like mask that will cover the front of his face that attatches to this hard foam mould to ensure the exact position. He had CAT scans done to establish exactly where to align the X-ray- like radiation. This "x-ray" is exactly that, an x-ray but at the most intense magnitude. It will only be on him for less than a minute, but the appointment takes up to an hour, with making sure he is in the exact placement needed.
So there was the business side of things, then we went upstairs to Unit 57 to check for bloodwork and assessment by our Doc's, and when we got there, bloodwork taken, they sat down with us and said they were formally discharging Colin from their service. Oh....usually this takes place when a person has a clean bill of health and everyone is happy for you to be going home to start your new life. In our case, there is nothing more they can do for us....These next 4 weeks of radiation is it. The last of Colin's treatment whether it works or not.....whoa, not entirely what we wanted to hear. Actually we just felt like curling up together and crying right there. Instead we gathered our meds and shook their hands and thanked them so very much for the help and treatment they provided and we walked slowly out to the parking lot and headed for home.
We were assured that radiation treatment had about an 80-90% chance of relieving Colin's facial peralysis and relieving his headaches and back pain, BUT he just could not give us anything on how long it would work for.....so we have been processing, talking it out, crying it out and just enjoying THIS day, THIS gift of time and family and being at home. We are continuing to pray for our miracle, that this radiation will work and be effective for the long term. What we do know is that Colin will not ever have the option of a transplant, at any time. This treatment will be the last, and our hope is that after this we will be home together on the road to recovery! Our God is SO very BIG and SO very powerful, and right now, we're working through this information to pick each other back up and keep on fighting!
So, i leave you with that....i'm not sure what else to say, but treatments won't begin until June 14th so we have another week at home, i hope Colin stays comfortable so we can enjoy every moment of being together! We have to praise God in everything, and today, we PRAISE HIM for opening and closing doors and for taking on our sickness and pain and experiencing each minute of it before dieing on the cross for us! HE KNOWS, and HE is going before us, still leading. Praise God for that!
Please continue to pray for Colin, for him to be prepared for treatment, and for him to be protected from the side effects short and long term ones. Pray protection around his whole body but also his mind and his heart and his emotions....he is still fighting, but God's strength is what he is relying on each day!
I will let you know how we are soon! Thanks again for taking the time to read...
Luv, Melissa

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

We're Doin' OK....

Man, oh Man...what would we do without such amazing encouragement from our family and friends?! THANK YOU FOR YOUR COMMENTS!!!!
Today is a good day, obviously Colin's night was a little rough, he needed some morphine to get him through....but he is doing ok today, he even came for a short walk to the park with us after we got the kids their immunizations this morning....we had a good lunch with some great friends, and now he is resting comfortably in bed. He is determined to stay home until we HAVE to go back up tomorrow. I keep telling him, he can just say the word, and we'd be on the road within the hour to get him back up, so i just have to leave that up to him. He knows his body and he sure doesn't mess around with being in pain and his health, so i know he's taking care of himself and he knows when he needs more medical attention!
Today the sun is shining and it's been good to get fresh air and be outside for a change....the boys are getting couped up with being inside for so long with the rough patch of weather we had.
Other than that, there's not much news to report today, which indeed is a good thing...no news is good news with us lately!
Hope you enjoy your wednesday, and i will be in touch with you when we get back from Calgary tomorrow night, to report the plan for the coming weeks....
luv, Melissa

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

God, Go Before Us...

Well, here we are again.....The past few days the boys and i have been feeling much better, but now again, Colin's pain and symptoms from the lymphoma have begun....we were told to just moniter them and keep him comfortable with the pain meds they sent home with us....but we are tossing around the possibility of having to head back up early just to get him looked after. Such an unsettling feeling....the 4mg dosage of the steroid WAS working fine and now, it's not working so good anymore, man, i'm just praying like crazy that this radiation works.....it's a different kind of agony to watch the person you love most go through life in such discomfort and constant pain. Our GOD is Bigger than this, and i keep praying God's Healing Promises over Colin.....despite all of this, we are trying to keep things light; to have fun with the kids and be distracted by them....each day Colin and i sit together in the morning and drink our coffee and process a little bit more....i love those times, just to sit and talk about anything that comes up. The kids have been clingy, kinda fighting over my attention, i'm not sure why, maybe cuz they know Colin just can't right now....i'm trying to make sure i can find balance with each of my precious boys, both big and small:) I just wanted to let you know what we're dealing with here the last few days, it always lets me rest assured that someone somewhere is praying for us, when i get an update out, and you have no idea how comforting that is for us! The Heavenly impact you're making by praying is so great, i pray we can all get a glimpse of what God has planned.....scary and exciting all wrapped into one. Please keep praying that Colin can somehow find pain relief, i've been reading up on radiation, and this has been mentioned as a mode of pain relief...Colin also experienced this relief with his chemo back in August 2009 when he was first diagnosed. God can use SO much for HIS good and HIS glory, so God, please use this treatment oppertunity that You have placed in front of us, go before us so we don't have to be afraid, calm Colin's nerves and continue to do what YOU do best, CARRY US!!! Pour YOUR healing rain down upon Colin and restore him once again! AMEN!

i need to go and get our bags packed so we can go at a moment's notice, seems to be something we are getting good at these last few months....i will keep you updated as we go through this week! Love each of you for your time and willingness to read and pray! THANK YOU!
Luv, Melissa