Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Darrell is doing great! He went back to work in mid- November. The work week is somewhat hard for him to get through, however. His strength is not quite where it should be. But overall, he is able to do everything that he did before his bout with illness.

As an update to our 2006 story, both of our mothers passed away in October. Darrell and our son Jason were able to fly out to California for his mother's funeral. Darell had a close time with his sisters, brother and their families as they mourned the loss of their mother. We know she is with the Lord which is a great comfort.

The day my mother passed on to be with the Lord, both my sister Sheila and I, as well as my nephew David and Darrell, were at her bedside. We felt that we were able to see her walk into the presence of Jesus.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas season with our families. We are so grateful to the Lord for all He has brought us through this year! Here are a couple of pictures of our grandbabies at Christmas:

Nora and Lydia having fun with their presents!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Darrell has finished his radiation treatments and is doing great! The radiation of course, was not nearly as debilitating as the chemotherapy was. However, with the weakened condition he was in from the chemo, the radiation was able to add its own side effects: overwhelming weakness, some gastric issues and highly increased blood pressure. Three weeks later, he is slowly getting back strength but the high blood pressure (which causes some pretty bad headaches) is not yet back to normal. Our main prayer need at this point is that all the feeling in his hands and feet will return. This is a side effect from both the chemotherapy and the radiation. The radiation doctor said the numbness is a common side effect and sometimes never returns to normal. We don't believe that, however, because we know the Healer of Darrell's body!
A big step this week- Darrell came back to church for the first time in months. Praise the Lord!

Here's a couple of pictures of Darrell's favorite activity- hanging out with the babies!

Lydia and Nora with Lydia's Snow White doll!

Pa-Pa and Nora looking at a turtle!

Fun with babies!

Nora, Pa-Pa and the turtle!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Darrell has completed 9 radiation treatments and so far it has not been too bad! He even started driving the car again last week! The weakness that they warned him about has slowly been creeeping up on him- but all in all this is much easier than the chemotherapy was.
Eleven treatments to go and then the healing process can really take over. Praise the Lord!
Thank you for all your prayers, love and conern for us!

Here are a couple of pictures from Darrell's recent visit to California to visit his family:

Darrell's sisters: Paula, Pat and Tracey

Four generation picture: Darrell, his mom, Amanda and baby Lydia

Friday, August 11, 2006

Oh my goodness! Time flies!
Since I (Cindy) went back to work in June, it's gotten a little more difficult to manage to squeeze in everything in that needs to be! It actually appears that this blog has been squeezed out a bit! Sooooo.....finally, here's an update!

Darrell's PET Scans came back negative- Praise the Lord! This means there is no growth or return of the lymphoma. God is faithful- and we trust Him!

However, as a precautionary measure, and because there was "an area of interest" around the margin of the tumor, Darrell will be undergoing 20 radiation treatments beginning next Wednesday. The treatment and side effects the doctor described to us seemed a little more than we were thinking, initally. But we will see! Thank you for continuing to lift up Darrell's name to the Lord as begins this stage of treatment.

On a related note: Darrell's mom who lives in California is also suffering with cancer: colon, breast, lung and liver. The doctors gave her 6 months to live in February. Of course, Darrell has been very, very concerned about not being well enough to get out to California to see her. Finally, three weeks after the final chemo treatment, the doctor gave him permission to travel if he felt he was up to it. So, last Saturday, Darrell, Nora and I flew out to Riverside, CA. The night before we left, Darrell ran a high fever. The morning we left he did not feel well. We even had to pull off the side of the road on the way to the airport so he could vomit. But somehow, he was able to get on that flight and make it out there with no incidents. That night he got a good night's sleep- and the next day for the first time I can remember in a while- he actually looked rested. I really believe that God intervened at just the right season so Darrell could have a good visit with his mom. It seems as though he has finally begun to shake loose the overwhelming side effects of the chemo. He will return from California next Tuesday, the day before the radiation treatments start.

Nora and I had a really quick trip out there and returned 2 days later. Following are a couple of pictures I took on my phone. When Darrell gets home with the camera, we'll publish some additional pictures of his trip.

Here's Nora when we're trying to put on her seat belt. She's saying, "No buckle! No buckle!" We hadn't even gotten off the ground in Atlanta yet!

Alright, now this is more like it! This traveling thing is OK after all!

Darrell's precious sister Carol and her husband Joe pulled their motor home out so we would have a comfortable place to sleep while visiting in CA. Here's Nora and Papa going "night-night" the first night we arrived.

Darrell and his mom, Ann Weinberg
A big thanks to my sister, Sheila for giving Darrell 50,000 SkyMiles for Christmas last year. Who could have known what this year would hold and how timely this exact trip was in this particular season of our lives? God did.

I will do better about keeping this blog updated!! Thanks for the patience and love you show to us! God bless you.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

It's Amanda posting again! I'm here with Daddy because Mama, Jason and Brandy are at Camp Rocks this week.

We had to go to the hospital on Sunday because his temperature got up to 101.4. The doctor told us if it gets to 100.5 it's time to go to the ER. We were only at the hospital for a few hours. They gave Daddy some antibiotics and let him come home. That made him feel a lot better!

Daddy had a PET scan on Monday. We will get the results from that on Friday at his doctor's appointment. We, of course, know the results---no cancer, no problems, no nothing!

Continue to pray for Daddy's body--this is the end of his LAST chemo, but he's still very weak. We want him to bounce back quickly! Also, they are suggesting 22 radiation treatments after the chemo. All of this is just a matter of prayer--we want to see Daddy's completed healing. Remember, this is a spiritual battle that Jesus has won!

Lydia is here too, of course. Daddy said she makes him feel better. Here's a picture of her trying to crawl on the couch with her Papa!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Our prayer for this week is that Darrell (and his blood counts!) will be well enough to take chemotherapy on time this Thursday. This should have been the week he feels the best during the third round- but he actually has felt pretty bad this entire time- fever, headaches, high blood sugar and severe weakness.
Would you please join us in prayer that things will go as scheduled for this fourth and final round of chemo?
Thank you!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

We're home from the hospital finally- five days total! However, within just a few hours of returning home. Darrell's fever spiked up again- all the way to 101.3 degrees. So, we're going back to the doctor today to see what's going on. Although Darrell is much more comfortable at home than in the hopsital, he is very, very weak and even shaky when he walks.

God is in control. Nothing is too big for His healing power to overcome- and that's where we stand- within the shadow of his wings of protection, healing and comfort!

Here are a couple of pictures from the recent hospital stay:

Nora sitting on Grandpa's stomach!

Nora and Grandmama!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Hi! This is Amanda posting today!

Daddy had a doctor's appointment today with the oncologist to check his white blood cell counts. They are at ZERO! He also had a temperature of 100.5. So, the doctor sent him directly to the emergency room. The doctor doesn't want him around anyone or anything that could give him germs/sickness/disease. So, they put him in a private ER room and is now being moved to a private hospital room. They have been pumping him full of antibiotics to protect him from sickness. He may be in the hospital until Saturday.

We are praying that God will protect Daddy from any germ or sickness! God has already healed Daddy of cancer...we've seen that with our own eyes! A tiny germ is not too hard for Him now! Philippians 1:6 says that God will bring His good works to completion. So, let's believe that Daddy's healing will be completed!

This is Daddy in the ER today.

Mama wearing her garb to protect Daddy!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Today was Darrell's third round of chemotherapy. It's 9 PM now, and he's already worn out, pale and his blood sugar is way up again. Yikes!
This has been a good week with Darrell's sister Paula, her daughter Michelle and Michelle's newborn son, Evan visiting with us. Paula spent all day today at chemo with Darrell.

This is Darrell, his sister Paula, our niece Michelle and her 4 week old son, Evan.

Tonight, Amanda and Lydia came into town to visit. Jason, Brandy and Nora also came over. We dressed all the babies in coordinating outfits. What do you think?

Nora, Lydia and Evan

Left to right: Jason with Nora, Amanda with Lydia, Michelle with Evan!

Thank you again for standing with us in prayer for Darrell's healing and victory over the effects of the chemotherapy.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The last two weeks have been very similar to the first two weeks of the first chemo round. The main difference is I have gone back to work, so Darrell is at home alone more now. He was very, very sick for most of the first two weeks. Lots of yucky symptoms. The third of the three weeks was much better as his white blood cell count came back up within normal ranges and his blood sugar counts came down closer to normal. This week Darrell's sister, Paula and her daughter Michelle and her newborn son, Evan are visiting us from California. The timing is good for their visit because Darrell is stronger this week. Darrell also got to go to church on Sunday for the first time since this whole thing began. Our church family was so warm and gracious to him as they expressed their love and concern for him.

Nora spent the night with us and made Papa feel better!

Aunt Paula allowed Nora put lipstick on her. Then Nora got to put lipstick on herself. Makeup is Nora's very favorite toy!!

Anyway, Thursday is the third round of chemotherapy. We are standing on these words of Jesus as found in Mark 16: 17-18. "And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well."

Would you agree with us in prayer as Darrell approaches this next round of chemotherapy? Thank you so much for your kind comments, prayers and love extended to us!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

We have great news! The bone marrow biopsy results were negative. The lymphoma did not spread to Darrell's bone marrow. God is so faithful!
The report did reveal a long-standing anemia for which Darrell is now taking iron. That should make him feel a little better, we hope.
Last week was the best week since the chemo began. Darrell seemed to gain a little more strength each day. The bad part for his, though, was some significant thinning of his hair, including his facial hair!
This past Thursday was his second chemotherapy treatment. It's already knocked him down a little. Weakness, sky-high blood sugar counts and a low-grade fever are the main symptoms right now.
We haven't seen our granddaughters this week, so we didn't have any cute pictures to publish. Instead, we thought we'd try to take a picture of ourselves. Below is our feeble attempt!

We look really happy, don't we? Actually we're concentrating on trying to get both of us in the photo!

Darrell wanted to make sure his shirt got in the picture!!

Thank you so much for your love, prayers and concern. Your thoughtfulness towards us means more than we can tell you.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Darrell went for his weekly blood test today and the results were great! All the blood indicators related to the chemo, including his white blood cell count, were back in the normal range! Praise the Lord!
He has been feeling somewhat better for the past two days- but the previous part of this week was very hard on him. Please continue to pray for a lowered blood sugar count. Even though Darrell is taking Insulin and has doubled the dosage of Glipizide, his oral medication, he still has not had a day (or hardly a daily result) within the normal limits. Of course, overall the count is much lower now that he is taking the Insulin. However, his eyes are still blurry from the extremely high counts he had previously. Once the sugar count lowers and stays within the normal range, we're sure his blurriness will clear up.
Additionally, Darrell is still having much stomach pain. However, the good news is that during the last two days he has been able to reduce the number of pain pills he is taking.
We're expecting a good week with lots of improvement and strengthening!
Thursday, June 1st is the next day of chemo. We'll keep you posted!

Here's a few fun pictures from this week:

Baby Lydia was dedicated this past Sunday at Faith Family Church in Acworth. This is Les' childhood church and where his dad is the pastor.
Here is Amanda, Les and baby Lydia after the dedication.

Nora gives her cousin Lydia a Dedication Day outift with Zoe on the front. Uncle Jason is holding Lydia and Pa-pa is pulling on Nora's skirt!

Here is Nora inspecting her cousin Lydia:

What does her face feel like? She doesn't have any teeth!!

Pa-pa and Grandmama with their two babies.

Pa-pa and Lydia are having a serious conversation.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Well...this has been a harder week. The chemo side effects are in full swing, it seems.

The main difficulty was caused by Prednisone, one of the drugs used in the chemo combination. It can elevate sugar levels in the blood. Since Darrell is a diabetic, the Prednisone did just that; raised his blood sugar levels dramatically. When we finally suspected what was going on, Darrell's blood sugar had already reached 333. The normal range is 90-120. Over the next two days, he averaged in the 300s and even went over 400. High blood sugar levels cause Darrell to be very weak as well as effect his vision by causing great blurriness. On Monday morning, we began calling our doctors. His primary doctor said this was a complex situation between the chemo and the diabetes, so he referred Darrell to an endocrinologist. We were finally able to get in to see this new specialist on Tuesday afternoon. Darrell was just miserable by that time. You know, usually when a patient knows they have to get a shot, they don't really look forward to it. But when Darrell saw the doctor bring in an injection of insulin, he was sooo glad! Anyway, Darrell has now begun giving himself insulin injections up to four times daily. It has begun to lower his blood sugar, not rapidly, but a little each day. Today, (Friday), his average is around 200 and we're looking and praying for around 150 tomorrow. If his sugar count is below 150, he can rely just on his oral diabetes medication and suspend the shots.

Also, it seems that the nasuea from the chemo is trying to creep up on him. The last couple of days have really given him trouble with stomach cramps, constipation and headaches. Also a fever between 99 and 100 every night. Yikes!

We also went back to the oncologist on Thursday to check on his blood levels. The main indicator they are concerned with is the white blood cell count. The normal range is 4.5-10.5. Darrell's white blood cell count is .9. So, they gave him a strong bacterial (not viral) antibiotic to counteract anything he might pick up during this time.

Today was also the final follow-up with the surgeon. He gave Darrell a clean bill of health as far as the surgery goes.

Well, the good news is the worst of the side effects is supposed to be between 7-10 days after the chemo. Today is Day 8, so hopefully Darrell's body will begin to start some recovery in the next couple of days.

Thank you for praying and standing with us in this fight. Thank goodness we are on the winning side because of the victory of our Healer and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Darrrell underwent chemo for the first time this week. It was not difficult, just long and a little disconcerting. We were there over 8 hours; but thankfully, they have recliners! Darrell listened to his I-Pod, read and slept some. I (Cindy) stayed with him to see what this was all about and make sure he was getting good care.

The disconcerting part was all the medication and chemicals they pumped into him. For those of you are interested in these kinds of details, here is what one round of Darrell's chemotherapy drugs include:

By mouth- Prednisone (steroid) & Emend (powerful anti-nauseau medication)

Pre-medication IV to help ward off some of the possible side effects include intravenous Bendaryl, Tylenol and one other medication I can't remember to work against any flu-like symptoms his body may try to produce. In addition, they gave him a regular IV bag of fluids.
When that was all in his body, they began the IV chemo drugs which include Rituximab, Vincristine, Adriamycin and Cytoxan.
That all sounds pretty serious, doesn't it?! Thankfully, the medical staff knows what they are doing!
Darrell's main symptoms after the treatment were headache and weakness.
On the day after the chemo, we had to return to the doctor for Darrell to get a shot of Neulastin to counteract the potential drop of his white blood cell count. The side effects of Neulastin are also flu like symptons and bone pain. Oh my goodness- the cure is almost worst than the disease!!
Today is the second day after the chemotherapy. The anti-nausea medication must be doing its work, because so far so good on that front. The overriding feeling Darrell is having is of weakness, lack of endurance and generally feeling a little "under the weather." We, however, are encouraged by God's Word and reminded of His promises for Darrell's healing:
Is anything too hard for the Lord?
Genesis 18:14

Here's pictures of the JOY of our lives! Our grandbabies!

Nora is 2 years old and loves to hang out with her Pa-pa.
She belongs to our son and daughter-in-law, Jason and Brandy Hunnicutt.
Thankfully, they all live nearby.
This is our baby girl, Lydia, who is 4 months old now. She was 3 months old in this picture.
Her parents are our daughter and son-in-law, Amanda and Les White.
They live in Birmingham, AL.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Unbelievable, but true!
Darrell cut his hair! In anticipation of the most notable chemotherapy side effect, Darrell decided that "short to bald" would be less dramatic than "long to bald!"

The bone marrow biopsy was probably a little bit harder than we anticipated. But at least it's done. Test results will be available in approximately 3 weeks.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Today we finally went to the oncologist for Darrell's first appointment. The doctor said based on the pathology report and the PET Scans, he finds NO CANCER in Darrell's body! Isn't God faithful? Basically, the surgeon "got it all" and nothing has spread to other lymph areas. God had previously showed us in our hearts that he was changing this situation from the first reports- and here is the proof!

Anyway, the doctor still said Darrell needs to undergo chemotherapy to eradicate any microscopic lymphoma cells. We feel like this is an important step to complete his entire healing process. So, this week, we ask you to join us in prayer regarding two more "big" doctor's visits:
Wednesday: bone marrow biopsy (to rule out lymphoma spread to bone marrow)
Thursday: first chemotherapy treatment
The chemo is a five hour treatment. Of course there are all sorts of possible side effects while the chemo is being given and more seriously, 10 days - two weeks after administering it.
Darrell will receive 4 cycles of chemotherapy, each three weeks apart. Would you continue to stand with us in binding the enemy from this situation? Just because there are possible serious side effects from the chemo doesn't mean Darrell has to experience them!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

These are just 3 of many Scriptures with which God has strengthened us. We'll add more in the upcoming days.

Romans 4:17-20
That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, "I have made you the father of many nations." This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who brings into existence what didn't exist before. When God promised Abraham that he would become the father of many nations, Abraham believed him. God had also said, "Your descendants will be as numerous as the stars," even though such a promise seemed utterly impossible! And Abraham's faith did not weaken, even though he knew that he was too old to be a father at the age of one hundred and that Sarah, his wife, had never been able to have children. Abraham never wavered in believing God's promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God.

Isaiah 58: 7-9 ... share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-- when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

Psalm 41:1-3 Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble. The LORD will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies. The LORD will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness.
We've been home for the hospital for a full week. Darrell is recovering from the surgery. He's doing well, although quite weak and doesn't have too much endurance. But that's to be expected when recovering from major surgery! The big part of the recovery, however, is that we've been doing remodeling and work on the hour house for the past 2 months or so...and our house was torn up when Darrell got sick. So, it's been quite a week as several people helped us get our house in a little bit better order. When it's all done, our house will be very nice. Right this minute though, it's a little crazy- but with some improvement everyday. Here's Jason "mudding" the walls from which Darrell recently tore off the wallpaper.
The fun part of the first couple of days home was our kids, their spouses and children were with us, assisting us at every turn. Amanda and Les who live in Birmingham stayed with us. Jason and Brandy who live near us in Marietta were also here most of the first few days. We spent time working on the house, playing with grandbabies, encouraging ourselves in God's Word and praying together. See the Scripture section of this Blog to see what God has shown us to speak over Darrell's body.
We went to the surgeon this past Friday and he took Darrell's staples out of his abdomen- 16 of them! He also showed us where the tumor was. It was located directly under the "v" that the ribs make in the upper abdomen. It was behind and between the colon and adjacent intestines and had actually broken into the colon. It sounded like kind of a complicated surgical procedure. However, the doctor reiterated, and the pathology report stated, that he had "gotten it all."
Darrell will be taking a couple of tests before chemotherapy starts.
Wednesday, May 3: MUGA Scan at Northside Hospital, Alpharetta
If you're interested in reading details about what a MUGA Scan is and what it does, click on the link below:
Thursday, May 4: PET CT Scan at the main Northside Hospital, Atlanta
Here's a link with an explanation of what a PET CT scan is:
The big day this week, however is our little grandbaby, Nora's birthday is on Friday, May 5th! It's hard for us to believe our little "Noreo" is 2.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Dear Friends and Family,

This is kind of long, but please read to the end!

As you know, Darrell was rushed to the hospital for an emergency surgery last Wednesday morning. The surgery was to remove a mass/tumor found in his colon. We had several potential diagnoses during the time Darrell was in the hospital. Finally, however, our doctor called us at home today (Tuesday) and gave us the final pathology results. Darrell was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer. Although that sounds scary in the natural- to me, it already shows the hand of God in turning Darrell’s health situation around. The original diagnosis of advanced stage colon cancer was much more severe and “final”. Lymphoma is the most curable by medical standards than the other two potential scenarios the doctor had given me. Personally, I believe the original diagnosis was correct and God has already begun a healing process in Darrell’s body.

Darrell will be going for a beginning battery of tests to help the doctors gather the information necessary to begin a course of chemotherapy treatments. Evidently, he will begin chemo as soon as possible because lymphoma is a very aggressive cancer. As many of you know, we protected Darrell from this news until we had the final pathology report. This evening, as soon as we had the report, we did reveal the diagnosis to Darrell. He was understandably upset since it was new to him. However, we want all of you to know where we stand regarding this diagnosis. The physical part of this situation is the less important part to us. The most important is that we feel God has revealed to us the significant spiritual battle we are in. We feel that as the enemy is bound from Darrell and this situation, God’s desire and ability to heal Darrell is on its way.

The most important part of this e-mail follows. The night of Darrell’s surgery, my sister, Sheila had a spiritual dream that I believe gave us insight into the actual battle. Please read the following:

April 19, 2006
I asked the Lord to give me a message he wants for Darrell. I proceeded to search the scriptures but received nothing from the Lord. However, that night I had a dream, which I believe is from God. I believe he asked me to write this down:

Far in the distant sky I saw from the east to the west an expansive line of something that looked like white storm clouds. The clouds were high up in the horizon. I could see flashing (as in light hitting metal) and movement but no sound. It mystified me, as to what this really was.

Suddenly the Lord appeared to me in the foreground. He was not Jesus the “Good Shepherd” he was Jesus, the “Warrior”, mounted on a battle horse. My impression was the horse was white and had wings. The horse appeared to be restless as if he was ready to move ahead.

I asked Jesus about the flashing storm clouds to help me understand. Jesus said, “These are my angels”. I wondered about the meaning of the angels, and he answered by reminding me of the verse during his arrest in the garden saying:

Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? Matthew 26:53

I was still confused about the angels, because I thought I was really seeking His word on healing and did not understand what angels had to do with healing. At the same time, I was given the impression that heaven was ready for a battle, but no action had yet been taken (or the battle cry had not sounded). It was obvious that Jesus was the leader of those ready to do battle and then Malachi 4:2 came to my mind, which says:

But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings.

I still did not understand about the angels and healing, but Jesus reminded me of Psalm 91:11-12 which says:

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone

I was also given the impression that the heaven’s were waiting on someone to start the battle. In the morning when I woke I read the remaining text of Psalm 91, which says:

Because he (Darrell) loves me, says the Lord, I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he (Darrell) acknowledges my name. He (Darrell) will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.

I believe the Lord is waiting for us to call him to warfare. When we do, he will come with his armies to overcome the evil one.

So, friends and family we love you and appreciate your kindness, prayers and support of Darrell and our family. The main thing we ask from you is that you continue to stand with us in binding the enemy from this situation. Beyond that, of course, we covet your prayers for healing and wholeness for Darrell’s body. We want you to know that we have confidence and peace.

Matthew 16:19

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.