Sunday, August 02, 2009

A CaringBridge Prayer Request

Six or seven months ago, one of the program managers at my work (at one of our offices at Cape Canaveral in Florida), a guy named Dan that I've had the privilege of working with a lot over the past seven years, was diagnosed with a type of clear cell cancer that doesn't respond well to chemotherapy. He had surgery, where the doctors took out part of his intestine and bladder, I believe, and they hoped they'd gotten it all. A week or so ago, July 24th, he had been having some fluid build-up around the intestinal region, and he went in for a procedure to remove the fluid. When he did, he was informed that the cancer had returned.

Since that time, his wife, who is a fantastic writer with a background in English and teaching, has been giving updates through the CaringBridge website. She's updated the journals seventeen times, and I've gotta say, these have been some gut-wrenching, tear-filled entries. I have no clue how she's held up enough to write these updates. From what I heard, she has had one breakdown, and I think people need that every once in a while for their own mental health and to be able to function going forward. What I'm writing here doesn't do the story justice, but I did want to summarize their story and ask for prayers for this family. I know a couple of this blog's readers/lurkers have read some of the journaling, and really I wish everyone reading my lame attempt of an update could read her words, because what she's written is remarkable.

And what she's done is tell Dan's and their family's story in these last few days. Hearing these journalings, it's hard not to put yourself in their skin and just totally empathize and sympathize with them. Hurt for them. At first Dan tried to go back to work - I even e-mailed back and forth with him during those couple of days - but that didn't last. It's amazing how fast one can go from feeling "healthy" to being basically bed-ridden because of this disease. In the last couple of days, they met with a doctor from MD Anderson, and he essentially told them there was nothing they could do. Any chemo treatment would have Dan out of commission full-time instead of the part-time he's "enjoying" currently. Basically, it's a quality of life point he's at now. All this in just over a week.

They have a daughter who is scheduled to go to college in the Northeast, but now she has to decide whether or not she should put that off. What a huge decision for a seventeen or eighteen year old. You don't go, and you may regret that decision for years to come, but leave and it might be the last time you see your father. Man oh man. Also, he has a couple of boys who aren't sure during this time how to approach their father, who probably doesn't seem like the same person anymore. They see him on the couch or floor, curled up and hurting, not really able to respond. I can only imagine what it's like for them. Dan's parents have been informed and have been prepared, but she wrote that Dan's not prepared to face them. Every single thing they have to go through, it feels like another punch in the gut (at least to me reading it). And these are just a few of the multitude of issues facing their family at this point.

Reading the guestbook and just from what I know myself, Dan's such a great person, a great boss, a great friend, and a great worker. In my business, I wish there were a hundred more Dan's. Please, please, please pray for Dan and his family.

And if you're hanging in with that, please also pray for these other cancer patients and their families (and THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!):

my Aunt Patsy, my mom's sister
Millie's sister
Becky's sister-in-law

Lastly, I don't expect this but thought I'd offer it anyway, if anyone else wants to add someone they know to our Realm of Possibility prayer request list, please let us know in the comments. Cancer's a killer, but there're other killers out there, too. Not everything's life and/or death, but if you have something troubling you that you don't mind sharing, we will pray for you. And hope with you.

8 comments:

Milly said...

My heart and prayers go out to this family.

Hearing the words “To make her comfortable” almost took me to my knees. Had it not been for the desk to hold on to as the doctor said it over and over again using different words so that they got that this rare kind of cancer is inoperable.

MD Anderson is one of the best hospitals. My family is hunting for the best doctors to help and they are looking at MD Anderson.
I’m doing the basics of taking care of her. I can tell you that this family has seen things and had to do things that you never think you’ll ever have to do for anyone. You praise God for those wonderful folks who take care of your loved one. She was asking for one of the guys last night. I was so happy to see him today.

Cancer Sucks!

I have to tell my children Sunday. They would move in with her given a choice.

Milly said...

Thank you for the prayers

DugALug said...

Man is that rough.

My heart and prayers go out to that family.

God Bless
Doug

Rich said...

Doug,

You remember that The Call song, It Could Have Been Me? When stuff like this goes down, I think about that song.

I know the Apostle Paul said "To live is Christ, but to die is gain..." or something to that effect. Maybe if I had no kids I might feel that way, but to be honest, still probably not. I'm not sure I'll ever be that spiritually mature. I'm starting to ramble here, but anyway... I may feel one day, and I'll quote another song here, that my time has come, but like Mark Heard's Nod Over Coffee:

The dam of time cannot hold back
The dust that will surely come of these bones
And I'm sure I will not have loved enough
Will not have loved enough


I'll feel like I never did enough, especially loved others enough. Mainly, because it's true.

Rich said...

Milly,

All that hurts to hear, and I'll continue to pray for you girls and your family. You're exactly right: cancer does suck, and I hate it. And yeah, the nurses, care givers, and, I remember the Hospice folks with my grandparents, they are incredible and a huge blessing in times of darkness.

How did your children take the news?

DugALug said...

Rich,

As Mark said: 'Isn't that the curse of the second hand?!' As you know, that is one of my favorite songs.

Our investment in others could never be enough and our commitment to others will also never be complete. We are imperfect, fragile, and need the encouragement of a loving Father to invest in others: to put ourselves to the side and allow the pouring of ourselves into our fellow man.

The pain of loss, and the reality of all the things we could/should have done can be unbearable. I am reminded of Kate Bush's This Woman's Work:

I should be crying, but I just can't let it show.
I should be hoping, but I can't stop thinking

Of all the things I should've said,
That I never said.
All the things we should've done,
Though we never did.
All the things I should've given,
But I didn't.

Oh, darling, make it go,
Make it go away.


What we do with this is the literal difference between Peter and Judas. In their own way, both betrayed Jesus. Both wept bitterly but one gave up hope and killed himself, while the other rectified with a loving and forgiving Lord.

All I can say is turn it over to God. I believe He weeps with us every bit as much as He rejoices in our triumphs. We can acknowledge this and allow God to work through us, or we can turn away and spiral into an endless guilt-circle. I'm not implying this is easy or revolutionary: I do know only He can answer these ultimate and unanswerable questions.

I am so sorry for your grief. I pray that you are comforted and I also pray for that dear family and the horrific decisions they have to make.

I wish I had more wisdom to share, but my heart goes out to you and this family.

Love you brother!

God Bless
Doug

Rich said...

Great thoughts, Doug. Stuff like that makes blogging worth it.

Anonymous said...

Prayers and cyber hubs to you and your family.

WandaV