Archive of Brad’s Prayer Blog – (click to open)
April 12, 2009 - Today is Cheryl’s birthday and also Easter Sunday. No doubt this a difficult time for Cheryl. You can send her your birthday wishes at email@example.com or to their mailing address (108 Bayberry Rd., Greer, SC 29650). Of course she will gladly accept all gifts and money (she is too modest to ask for help)!
(From Stephanie) Dad was outside in a wheelchair today for the 1st time in 6 weeks! It was his idea…we had a big party with cake and candles and a big hat for dad to block the sun! He was so happy to be outside…and keeps calling mom “the birthday girl!” We loved it!
April 14, 2009 - Brad & I travel back to Greenville Wednesday (4/15) after a month at MUSC Hospital. I am so thankful that BJU has agreed to care for Brad at their hospital! What an incredible blessing!!
April 15, 2009 – We got the pathology report back and I have shared the news with our kids and relatives.
The prognosis for Brad is not good. The cancer is merkel cell carcinoma, which is very aggressive. They called the tumor that they removed quite progressive. They found cancer in all 4 local lymph nodes that they tested. He is supposed to start radiation four weeks after surgery, which would be April 29. The doctor has suggested that we get another PT scan at that time. If they find more cancer, then we will need to decide at that time what treatment options we think would be best for Brad. We’ve seen some improvement in Brad’s vision and speech. We are praying for much more! God is able to heal Brad totally if it be His will. Please pray with us for this miracle, if God wills.
April 19, 2009 – Oh, it’s good to be back home again! We spent exactly a month at MUSC in Charleston—March 15-April 15. Many doctors and nurses worked hard to finally diagnose Brad’s illnesses and treat him. Three Baptist churches down there adopted us and prayed and cared for us! All in all, it was a long but profitable month, as they finally figured out what was happening with Brad!
After Brad’s cancer surgery on April 1st, we now have yet another time of waiting. Before we start radiation, which is typically 4 weeks after surgery, they want Brad to have another PET scan to assess the cancer. Then we will make decisions as to the treatments Brad should have. Meanwhile, Brad needs physical therapy and speech therapy so that he will be able to walk and talk again.
Bob Jones University has so graciously taken Brad at their campus hospital. What an incredibly peaceful and caring atmosphere! I can leave Brad at night with such peace that he will be so wonderfully cared for! I can’t tell you how happy I am that Brad is here! I haven’t returned to work yet, and spend much time with Brad in the hospital, but I will eventually be able to go back to work at least part-time to start out.
Let me give you a little update as to how Brad is actually doing. Before his April 1st surgery, he was at a low spot as far as his vision was concerned. He had a vertigo-type thing going, so the room was constantly spinning and he was continually nauseous and pretty miserable. He had to keep his eyes shut most of the time. The surgery was very intense and quite long—about 3 ½ hours—so they knew he needed some long recovery time. But when he still wasn’t bouncing back from surgery, they put Brad in ICU on April 5th for a couple of days to watch him closely. That was a real low point with speech, respiratory, and lethargic issues. I say all that to say that we’ve seen some good improvements since then! His vision, speech, and balance have improved some, and we’re praying for continued healing of these neurological problems.
Since I haven’t sent a good update in so long, let me tell you about one more big day! My birthday was Easter Sunday, April 12. Brad started planning (or should I say conniving?) for the big day with our kids. He planned a picnic where he would go outside in a wheelchair. (You must realize that he had never done this, and for Brad to sit up like that for that length of time was like running a race for him!) Brad did not rest until we had our picnic! The doctor cautiously ok’ed the plan, doubting that Brad should really push himself that far! But our awesome nurse went out with us, and we had about a 20-minute picnic outside in a park in front of the hospital… and it was a beautiful day to be outside and was the best picnic ever! Brad also had red roses and a card for me! Under the circumstances, it was absolutely the best birthday I could ever imagine!
The last week of April should be an important time in determining what steps we should take next in Brad’s care. Please continue to pray for a miracle! I would love for the doctors to be baffled at Brad’s healing! Thank you so much for coming along side of us in your prayers, cards, and support in so many ways! We have wonderful friends and family and we serve a wonderful God!
P.S. The night nurse just came in early with 3 Colorado t-shirts that she picked up for Brad! Need I say more?!!
April 29, 2009 - My pastor, Garry Reimers, spoke tonight from Mark 10. It says in verse 27, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” This is not only referring to Salvation, but all trials and problems we face. It is wonderful to think that we serve a God of the impossible.
Tomorrow at 3:45 pm dad will be getting a Pet scan to see if the cancer has spread. The pathology report from April 1st said he has metastatic neuroendocrine carcinoma. We are praying that the Lord gives healing and gives the doctors wisdom in treatment. If healing sounds impossible…perfect. Sounds like its just what God needs to work. If God is getting glory, even if the cancer spreads, seems impossible…His will is perfect.
May 1, 2009 Wow. Quite a day this has been! We were at the oncologist’s office by 8 a.m. and listened with him as he received the PET scan report. There is NO CANCER showing on the PET scan! We are praising the Lord for taking that from Brad, and we truly believe that the thousands praying are responsible for that! Praise the Lord!
I have to say that our excitement is stifled however. All doctors involved are confused as to why Brad has the continued severe neurological symptoms! At this point, they are not 100% sure that it is paraneoplastic syndrome; if it is, they are concerned as to why we haven’t seen more improvement, and that we have actually seen some worsening of some symptoms. It seems that Brad has been cancer-free for a month now! But since paraneoplastic syndrome is so rare, there are not a lot of cases to examine; it could be that his nerve damage will just take months to heal.
Brad will start radiation right away, and they haven’t decided about chemotherapy yet. They will continue with physical therapy and speech therapy. I am fairly certain that we will be seeing a neurologist again as well. Just for the record, Brad still doesn’t walk and his speech is extremely limited. Spending time in a wheelchair for 15 minutes wipes him out, as sitting is also very hard on him! We have seen some improvement in his eyesight, but he still doesn’t like to use his eyes much, and he is extremely sensitive to light. He doesn’t read or watch TV. He struggles with swallowing and lack of appetite, so is receiving nutrition through a PEG in his stomach.
We do rejoice in the clear PET scan! We pray for continued healing for Brad and wisdom for the doctors involved. As I see the days turning into months in the hospital, I see the need to return to work, so pray that Brad and I will adjust to that as well. I have been Brad’s spokesperson through some pretty important days, and I’ve been a “nurse” to him as well. I am very thankful for the time I have been able to be with him! I am very thankful for the care that he is receiving at Bob Jones University!
May 6, 2009 – Thank you again for your prayers and loving support! God is in control and continues to show Himself strong. He is good! I really wanted Brad to see “his house” and thought it would be neat to do this week before his class left. I asked Doug Garland if there would be a “final” given for that class this week. Well, yes, they had to report at 1:00 today! So a night nurse, Carol, and I planned the field trip for Brad! Little did we know that the University was informed and the official camera guys were there to take pics! Deneen Lawson, the house owner, was there as well! It was really really neat (and I only cried once.)
May 10, 2009 – Daddy asked Matt to get Mom red roses and a Starbucks card for Mothers Day! She was very happy and so was Dad. Mom is reading her cards and sitting on her new vibrating chair next to Dad’s hospital bed. Note: The picture appears dark due to the need to keep it dark because of Brad’s vertigo and double-vision.
May 13, 2009 - Brad moves to Roger C. Peace Rehab Center in the Greenville Memorial Hospital complex tomorrow at 12:15 (when ambulance transport arrives). They have agreed to take him, and the amount of time they keep him will depend on the progress (or lack thereof) that they make with him. These will probably be the hardest days for Brad so far physically with lots ot grueling physical therapy, so I’m sure he would appreciate our prayers! The average length of time they usually keep a patient is 10 days, and they typically don’t keep someone longer than 2-3 weeks. He will be having radiation as well. His mom is also coming for a 3-week visit! We’re glad the Rehab Center is willing to work with Brad, even though it may be for just a short time! Right now, the plans are for him to return to Barge when finished there.
June 3, 2009 – Brad’s mom is able to spend time with Brad at the Roger Peace Rehab Center. His progress is to be measured on Thurday (June 4) and the doctors will decide if he will be able to continue with the program. Meanwhile Cheryl was able to go back to work.
June 15, 2009 – (Update from Cheryl) After four weeks… yes, FOUR weeks at Roger C. Peace, we have moved back home… to Barge Memorial Hospital on Bob Jones campus, that is. During the four weeks, Brad was under the care of a physiatrist–a doctor of physical therapy. Brad had speech, physical, and occupational therapy daily, as well as radiation treatments. It was a beneficial time in that we feel Brad was strengthened through all these activities. Although there were no huge improvements in Brad’s ability to walk, talk, see, or control his hands, we do not feel it was wasted time at all!
Brad’s mom visited for three of these weeks, and it was good to have her here. Also, during this time, Michael graduated from high school! So my dad and Brad’s sister and her husband also came, and we had some good family time then as well! My dad was also able to stay ten days, so it’s been a busy time! The therapists are also looking into getting Brad some sort of high-tech wheelchair with some way for Brad to communicate.
We are settling into the peaceful atmosphere of Barge and are once again so thankful for this provision for us! God is so good! Please keep praying.
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