Monthly Archives: June 2013

A “Mourning” Exercise

jeremy-mainsA few days ago Jeremy and I were able to have some quality time at the hospital. It has been a tiring few weeks and life with cancer has been keeping us very busy. At the hospital, Jeremy is dealing with medical care and interventions, resting and gaining strength, and engaging his spiritual and mental faculties to understand what is happening to him and why and making sense of what he is going to do with this gift. When he is able, he writes back to people on Facebook, or spends time on the phone or with visitors as days in the hospital can be monotonous and lonely. When he is feeling especially good, Jeremy will engage with a few family responsibilities, like advising on how to sell the car or negotiating the past price for labor with our contractor working on home improvement projects.

For me, the days have seemed crazy-busy. I am back to working 32 hours per week while trying to visit Jeremy at the hospital as often as I can (which involves an hour or so drive one-way in Chicago traffic), plus I’m working with contractors completing projects at our house, getting permits, going to the DMV to transfer car titles, managing finances, “overseeing” our children’s schedules and trying to get in quality time with them whenever possible. I have a new appreciation for single moms and I recognize that most of them do not have the kind of support we have been blessed with during this past month.

This past Friday was a calm night for Jeremy and me, another “date night” at the hospital and we were able to connect in our normal way, the way in which our love and support for one another rings loud and strong, the way in which we focus on what is real, true and good. Even before this cancer came into our lives, we have relied on this God-given connection, and our opportunities to relate to each other on this level have been fewer in recent weeks than we have liked. This is why we were especially grateful for Friday night, when the nurses were less intrusive because they, too, are slightly checking out as they look forward to their weekends.

One of the major highlights of the night for us, besides Jeremy getting his head shaved, was taking time together as a couple to engage in a “mourning” exercise. While that may sound strange, this is something we have done before and it has been a helpful tool for us when it comes to navigating a difficult situation, especially ones where we experience some kind of loss. Neither Jeremy nor I are especially emotive people and we have been accused of being somewhat emotionally distant or lacking emotional depth in certain situations. Even during this crisis, a person close to me continues to mention that “It is OK to cry. Even if you are not weeping in front of me, I am sure you go to your room alone and break down.” While Jeremy and I have cried together and have cried alone, as I mentioned in a previous post, we are not that devastated by this and we truly feel we are being blessed because of it. It is rather difficult to be weepy when you feel that way, and most of the time we do, which is why we are not crying all that much.

But we are experiencing rapid and significant losses, many of which are minor in light of our crisis, but losses nonetheless. We have learned from previous experiences that if we do not at least acknowledge the disappointment that comes from the loss, it may be difficult to manage those feelings should they pop up in the future. Here are some of the items we included on our list of losses during our mourning exercise:

• Lost time connecting as we usually do
• Plans we made for this summer; transitions we were working towards
• Jer’s hair
• Living together
• Jer (and to some extent me) missing Anelise (our baby)’s growth – she’s changing so quickly
• Touch
• The entire month of June 2013, likely the entire summer and all the things we love to do as a family: bike rides, the pool, gardening, walking the dogs, sitting by the fire pit, visiting friends
• Control of our house and family schedule
• Preservation of our family culture (something we feel keenly with Jeremy’s absence)
• Breastfeeding the baby – that stopped abruptly when Jeremy went to Rush hospital and I wasn’t able to be with the baby and Jeremy at the same time.
• Children not being around Spanish-speakers and losing their ability to speak Spanish – although their English is greatly improving
• Regularly attending church, especially our church, St. Athanasios Greek Orthodox Church.
• Our morning and evening routines, reading books and praying together
• Special projects with the kids, one-on-one time – Jer can’t be with them often and I am rarely around.
• Loss of control in virtually every area of our lives.

We listed other things in addition to these and talked through what it meant to have these losses and what we may gain back at some point in the future. It was a good exercise for us as so many of these things are just happening and we can quickly let these things go without acknowledging that they are significant.

One key concept that is getting us through this crisis comes from the theology of our church which emphasis “martyrdom” and “death of self” as we become more Christ-like. This concept is so prominent that during the marriage ceremony in the Orthodox Church, the bride and groom are given wedding crowns that symbolize this martyrdom, with marriage and process of becoming one a sacrament in which we continue to die to self for our spouse; the same way we are to die to self to become like Christ. While marriage is wonderful and beautiful, the part in which we die to self is usually the difficult part of it. But this is an important process. As Jeremy and I mourn the things we are losing, we are acknowledging that cancer is part of that “dying of self” process in our marriage and God will use this cancer and the things we are losing for His glory in us and through us.

We expect to have more losses in the near future, some of which we can’t yet anticipate. We continue to be glad, though, and have continued to feel strength due to the prayers of so many and the blessings from above. God continues to be Good to us and our family. We pray that in spite of where you are in life, you are able to experience that Goodness, too.

~~ Angela

My Daily Dose of Meds

jeremy-medsJust a shot of a few of the meds from the daily routine of pills and injections including:

2 acyclovir capsules (antiviral antibiotic);
1 tablet Bumex (decrease gadtro intestinal upset);
50 ml IV every 8 hrs of cefepime (antibiotic);
daily injection of Neupogen (growth factor for white blood cell count recovery);
daily orally administered syringe of fluconazole (antifungal antibiotic);
1 folic acid tablet;
2 tablets Keppra (anti seizure medication);
2 tablets melatonin (for sleep);
orally administered syringe of Flagyl (for abdominal infections);
1 tablet Protonix (to prevent ulcers);

before each meal 1 swish and spit medication cup of stomatitis cocktail (to prevent mouth sores);
1500 mg IV every 12 hrs of vancomycin (a bacterial antibiotic);
and previously 50 ml IV for 2 hrs of magnesium sulfate (to increase electrolytes);
one 4 hr. IV infusion of potassium chloride (also to increase electrolytes) Bumex tablets (decrease gastrointestinal upset);
1 tablet of senna-docusate (to promote bowel movements);
multiple tablets of Bumex (a diuretic to cause me to pee off 31 pounds of excess water weight gained in my abdomen, legs and feet while receiving kidney dialysis to prevent Tumor lysis from kidney failure as well as 27 pounds of actual fat lost from being an out of shape middle aged man prior to the cancer diagnosis.

In addition I have received blood platelets transfusions, red cell transfusions, and of course intravenously cycle A of the first round of introductory chemotherapy.

Altogether that comes to about 20 forms of pills, syringes, IV infusions, injections I have received since my arrival on the Hematology Oncology unit of Rush University Medical Center and excludes any procedures I have received in the room or on other floors (such as an MMR, EEG, chest ex rays, blood draws, picc line operation, CT scan, spinal tap, Ommaya Reservoir operation, checking vitals every 4 hours (temperature, heart rate, blood pressure and pulse oximetry reading, respiratory rate); in case of any fever over 100.5° blood cultures, IV antibiotics, urine testing, and a chest x-ray, monitoring for signs of infection or bleeding, taking weight every morning, check lab reads, measuring liquid and and food input and output and then each morning anywhere from two to six teams of physicians complete their rounds evaluating and updating me on the current state of my treatment and speculate about the future course of treatment.

~~ Jeremy

The Shaving Ritual

This was a sweet act of love and I kept thinking of Christ washing the disciples feet as nurse Mary saved Jer’s head. When it was over Jer looked in the mirror and said, “It’s not too bad. I kinda look like Bruce Willis.” 

We all know Jer has a good head on his shoulders and we’re delighted to actually see it.  

~~ Angela

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Car for Sale

jeremy-mains-car-for-sale

004 fully loaded Saturn Vue with trailer package, AWD,V6 engine, leather seats, sunroof and more. 160k miles, good condition. $2600 OBO. cash or money order only.

If interested call six one five – 390- nine six nine two.

Location: West Chicago

Preview of Coming Attractions

Tomorrow (possibly Thursday), Jeremy will undergo a 45 minute procedure in which a neurosurgeon will insert a semi-permanent stint into his brain. This will allow doctors to send chemotherapy directly to the brain. Having a more permanent stint will minimize complications of repeated punctures to the brain or spinal cord. While this may sound scary (and there are risks), doctors are pretty confident about the procedure. Jeremy’s hair will eventually grow over the stint so it will not be noticeable and it will not require any special care at home. Previously, we were told the doctors didn’t find any lymphoma in the brain or spinal fluid. However, Jeremy’s MRI indicated there were several small brain bleeds (nothing alarming). Because the kind of lymphoma Jeremy has is notorious for spreading past the blood-brain barrier, the doctors are taking these extra steps to ensure they kill all the cancer, even trace elements that aren’t easily detected in the MRIs or other tests. Since the ultimate goal is to kill every cancer cell in his body, we welcome this procedure and the risks, while scary, very rarely occur. Please be praying for Jeremy over the next two days as he and the doctors prepare for and complete this procedure.

We scheduled an appointment for July 10 in which we’ll meet with the doctors that will be performing the bone marrow transplant. While it seems pretty early to begin these conversations, I was told the sooner we can begin preparing, the greater the chance of success we will have in the end. Success in this case means that the first part of the bone marrow transplant, which in Jeremy’s class involves removing his own “clean” bone marrow cells, needs to happen at the point in which 100% of the lymphoma has been killed. This could be a narrow window of time and it often comes sooner than expected. This would be the point in which the doctors would say Jeremy’s cancer is in remission. There can be no trace elements, no cancer cells present. (Since Jeremy’s cancer originates in his bone marrow, no cancer present does not mean that they have eliminated the potential for cancer at some point in the future.)

During this window of time when no cancer is present, doctors will harvest the clean bone marrow cells and then Jeremy will undergo chemotherapy that is 10x stronger than what he is currently getting (which is pretty strong stuff in its own right). This goal of this round of chemotherapy is kill off the remaining bone marrow completely, even healthy cells, so that there is nothing left. This will ensure no cancer producing cells remain that could create lymphoma cells that aren’t yet in the bone marrow. Lastly, the doctors will take the “clean” bone marrow cells that they had previously harvested from Jeremy and put them back in his body. The beauty of this is that there are fewer complications from an autologous (bone marrow from one’s self) transplant than if he had to receive bone marrow from someone else.

Now, let’s just take a quick break in awe of what modern medicine can do. Aren’t we so fortunate to be alive when doctors are able to do so many amazing things – take away cells, kill others, return them to the body, etc, etc, etc…? If this doesn’t give us all a moment to reflect on the miracle of creation, including the miracles of science, I’m not sure I can think of anything else that would.

Once we get through this process, assuming everything bad was killed off and only good, clean cells were returned, Jeremy should be “cured”. Yes, the doctors use this word, my new favorite word, “curable”, to describe Jeremy’s lymphoma. (My favorite question to ask the doctors when they make their morning rounds is, “Can you tell me again how this lymphoma is curable?”. I just love using that word!).

None of this means we are out of the woods and there are no dangers in the path that lies before us. It does, however, mean we have a lot to be hopeful for and that is wonderful. It is where the will to say, without hesitation, “YES! Put that stint in my husband’s brain” comes from. Please keep praying for us and this hope and the unexpected twists that may lie before us.

In practical news, we are still waiting to learn what our health insurance will cover and what we may need to pay out of pocket. We have an HMO through my employer, Outreach Community Ministries, and I can’t say enough about how awesome my OCM family has been. They are doing a lot of work to advocate on our behalf for coverage and to investigate for us any potential insurance issues. It is a blessing to work for an organization that cares about its employees and their families so much. In addition to this, they have been incredibly kind and understanding as I’ve been away at the hospital for such a significant amount of time. If you’re looking for a quality community-based agency to support, I encourage you to check them out. They have been amazing to us.

We are working on finances. We’ve been told Jeremy will probably not be able to work for about a year because he will have little to no immune system once we get through all of these procedures and his risk of a serious infection would be high. We have begun the process of getting disability income (which has a six month waiting period). We are selling cars and determining where we can cut other costs. We have cashed in some retirement funds (I know those of you finance freaks know how bad this is for taxes and long-term implications) but we are putting some money into our house in the event that we may need to downsize and sell at some point. While I don’t think that is likely, we want to be in a position to do that should we need to and not be delayed by updating and repairs.

We are a two-income household. However, we have never had our children in childcare (all age 5 and under and not yet enrolled in school) for more than 25 hours per week. Our work schedules allowed us to share the additional childcare duties between ourselves. With Jeremy’s on-going treatment and future hospital stays, we need a new childcare plan. This is challenging because we will have an increase in cost but less income as Jeremy won’t be working. We are praying for a good, feasible solution for this dilemma. Jeremy only speaks Spanish to our children so we have always had a Spanish-speaker in their lives. Given my work schedule (which often includes evening and weekend meetings) we are exploring the possibility of having a Spanish-speaker live with us for free room and board, plus receive a stipend, while providing childcare. Please pray with us that we find someone suitable or that another, equally feasible option will come to fruition.

So here we are. Lots to pray for, lots to be grateful for…
And, doing the happy dance for the Chicago Blackhawks….Jeremy wasn’t sitting around in that jersey for nothing 

– Angela

Thank You for the Gifts

jeremy-mainsSo grateful for the generous gifts from others. Jeremy received an iPad, thanks to my aunt, to use during his hospital stay and my wonderful brother gave me an iPad mini so Jeremy and I could more easily stay in sync. Here’s a pic of Eliana and using FaceTime to talk with Jer. It is so easy to use, it’s like he’s right in the room with us.

– Angela

There is Tremendous Beauty in Crisis

During these past weeks we’ve had the opportunity to interact with many people, from old friends to strangers reaching out in the midst of our recent crisis. Inevitably, the conversations become serious in tone as our dialogue dances between sentences like “How are you doing?”, “I’m so sorry you are experiencing this”, “This is so shocking. I couldn’t believe it when I heard the news” or “This is devastating.” Usually these expressions are shared through tears, some more constrained than others, and often ending with me comforting those reaching out to comfort me. Now that we have entered a somewhat more stable phase of this journey, I’ve had a little bit more time and space to reflect on what has happened and how we have processed it.

When we first got the news on June 4 that Jeremy’s body was being attacked by a very aggressive form of lymphoma that had begun to compromise his kidney function, that was BIG news. I’m not denying that, nor will I deny that I wept in agony and fear for four straight hours as I tried to rest in the still small hours of that first night. Prayers wove in and out of my aching heart and mind and I was immediately reminded of a few very basic things, things Jeremy and I have discussed many times during his treatment and care at the hospital, things I think about knowing lymphoma is now part of our children’s life stories and the impact of this on their future is beyond my comprehension.

We are mortal. While this isn’t new information, a diagnosis of lymphoma is a loud reminder. This news shouldn’t be shocking or devastating. It should be centering. Our mortality is the key to the human experience and it is the catalyst that forces us all to reach out to the Divine and seek to know what is beyond our ability to comprehend. The “Why?” and “What happens next?” are the prayers of every man, woman and child, from the deepest places of our souls, when we are faced with our own mortality or that of someone we love. The news on June 4 was a call to pray. A call to cry out. A call to surrender and “Be still and know that I am God” and accept…and trust, because God is, and always will be, Good.

We will celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary on October 11 of this year. This is almost exactly 11 years to the day from our first meeting. It is two days after our oldest daughter, Eliana, turns six, three months after our son, Nehem, turns four and the very same day as Anelise, our youngest daughter’s first birthday. (She was lucky enough to be born on 10/11/12). During these past ten years and more, our relationship has been solid and has only gotten better. We have directly experienced God’s presence in our lives through His care and protection during life overseas, job changes, financial crisis, the birth of our children and other major life events. Time after time, He has been Faithful, He has been True, He has been Good. And He still is. And He will be during and after this. And while He may not have always led us down the paths we wanted to take, we have always ended up exactly where we were supposed to be. And that is where He is. And it is Good.

We have a strong solid marriage. This crisis has only made us stronger. We have three healthy, beautiful children…who continue to grow and shine brighter. We have friends and family that love us, who are there for our joys and our suffering. There are no complaints, no bitter feelings to work through. We are oozing with gratefulness. We are profoundly thankful for the gifts of our lives together, our family, friends and ways the Lord has used us in the past and during this crisis for His glory. And while we do not know what the future holds, we know that God is just as Good today as He was yesterday and as He will be tomorrow. We have the blessing of simply enjoying that reality and understanding it a little more each day.

There is tremendous beauty in crisis. I can’t think of a single crisis of my past in which I can’t describe some part of with profound affection. That’s not to say that all the horrors of the past left no scars or battle wounds…They had their share of grief, sorrow and tears. But each story has a magic moment; a moment when, through the darkness, something happens that changes everything.

When I was sixteen and my grandma passed away somewhat unexpectedly at the age of 65. I clearly remember her funeral, watching my 70 year old grandfather sitting by her casket and holding a three month old baby, smiling at the child, looking at his sleeping wife through tears, and smiling at the baby again. I remember the dozen red roses my grandfather asked my father to purchase to place on his wife’s casket along with the note that read “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I love you.” And I remember watching my father read the letter and begin weeping like a child. And it was beautiful. One of the most beautiful moments of my life and it came during a crisis.

At the hospital, Jeremy keeps referencing a song from a movie soundtrack that I used to sing to Eliana when she was first born with the chorus:

The world exploded into love all around me
The world exploded into love all around me
And every time I take a look around me
I have to smile

We are swimming in this sentiment. We are surrounded by such an amazing outpouring of care that we truly feel as if Love has exploded all around us. We are overwhelmed with joy because of the prayers, love and support of so many. I am in awe that we should be so lucky to have the opportunity to experience something as sweet as this tastes. It is Beautiful.

God made us stronger than we know; we should be better than we’ve been. One of the biggest impacts lymphoma has had on my life is that it has highlighted how trivial, simple-minded, petty and lazy I have been. We have been blessed with so much – so many support systems, resources, gifts, talents – yet I have spent hours complaining, “suffering”, “struggling” with minor annoyances, items that have little eternal value. The grace and kindness people have shown us has during recent weeks has only highlighted for me how little grace and kindness I have shown others. I am embarrassed by that and I am sorry. Because of that, I feel tremendous inspiration to be a better person, a better wife, mother, daughter, friend, employee, servant. And with that inspiration comes recognition of the strength I have that I haven’t exercised. Strength to work through a difficult conversation, strength to let petty things slide and instead be grateful, strength to actually try to be Christ-like, not just use those words in conversations. The beauty and love we are swimming in is not for us alone – it is to be shared, to be passed on, to overflow. I pray for the strength to be ever-mindful of this gift and to be a good steward of this Grace – to be better than I was before because we’ve been given this tremendous gift of Love.

We continue to receive encouraging reports from the doctors and have no doubt it is because of the prayers of so many. Thank you for your love, concern, tears and prayers. We are grateful, oozing with it, and we want to share that with you all. And we want you to know that in the midst of what some may call a “devastating” situation, we are doing really well, probably better than we were before. God is Good. And this Beautiful.

– Angela

Battle Gear

jeremy-mainsSo very early in this journey Jeremy was inspired to create a t-shirt to wear as battle armor. He remembered an old U2 song, “Bad”, in which Bono the lead singer writes about a friend of his in Dublin who was so depressed he committed suicide on his 21st birthday with a heroine overdose. Bono’s life affirming words that resonated with Jeremy were:

But I won’t fade away
I won’t let it slip away

I’m wide awake
I’m wide awake
I’m wide awake
I’m not sleeping
Oh no

The photo from the album shows a very defiant young boy who looks a little like a young version of Jeremy. The model is the same age as Jeremy and Jeremy has a 6th grade school photo in which he looks an awful lot like the kid. All this to say, Jer’s got his battle gear, he’s defiant, and if the cancer comes knocking, he’s wide awake, he’s not sleeping…oh, no.

– Angela

Glorious News

Some encouraging news from the last few days:

Jeremy’s MRI and EEG came back clean. No worries there.

The results of the lumber puncture indicated that no cancer is in his spinal fluid or brain. This is glorious news.

Lastly, the oncologist overseeing Jeremy’s case shared with us that as of June 5 (since we’ve been in the hospital) the FDA approved a new oral drug that has shown promising results in managing mantle cell lymphoma (MLC) should Jeremy relapse in the future.
It cannot be said enough…God is good!

– Angela

God Answers Prayer

During the first round of chemo of the first cycle (this is a strong treatment–sort of like feeding the patient controlled rat poisoning–my words), Jeremy became extraordinarily ill (Just imagine your body responding to rat poisoning. You’ll come close but you still won’t really get it unless you’ve gone through it). He contacted a praying friend in the middle of the night who prayed for him (maybe on the phone). That friend later said that it felt as though a bolt of lightening went through him. This is really Jeremy’s story to tell, but some sort of divine intervention occurred and his body–feeling that rush that comes from a healing infusion not the steriods–normalized. The pain he was experiencing left and by the time he face-talked with us this morning, said on a scale of 1-10, he was a 10, the best. This in brief, to encourage those of you who pray in faith believing, to continue to do so. The ones we love and the world we love needs our prayers. God answers.

- Karen

Updates on Jeremy

Jeremy spiked a fever Tuesday morning and the doctors have said, “No visitors.” As I pray about this, I know that we will have many yo–yo days on the journey forward. One of the chemo patients while walking the hall went into a Code Red and died.

For the past 16 hours Jeremy has been experiencing the difficult side effects of the chemo. He has had a fever off and on all night and he is in a lot of pain. One time he even curled into the fetal position and thought he wouldn’t make it through. He has had brief periods of comfort. The doctors told us that while they are “concerned”, they are not alarmed as all of the things Jeremy is experiencing is very common. They told us these next three or four days will be the very worst but we can have hope as it will all pass. The doctor specifically said this will be one week when we are thankful time keeps moving forward.

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Pray for Angela who went back to work yesterday, now the sole breadwinner in the family, she rushed down to Rush University Hospital in Chicago. What a torture this is for a loving wife––and how many are experiencing this pain. Pray for us to be settled in our spirits and at peace with the process. Jeremy’s family is all just recovering from the first adrenalin pump––a dying son and brother; we need to be strong and settled and resting in God’s comfort so that we can help, lift spirits, not be overcome ourselves (and not get cranky with one another due to fatigue).

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? …For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present (like acute lymphoblastic leukemia), nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 35

Our gracious friend, Rose Iverson, assebled and manges a website where friends can help Jeremy and Angela in practical everyday ways. Please go to this lotsahelpinghands website. To start the registration process, click on the link and enter your email address under “Interested in becoming a member of this community?”

In partnership with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), Lotsa Helping Hands™ is a simple, immediate way for friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors to assist Jeremy and Angela with their everyday needs. It’s an easy–to–use, private group calendar, specifically designed for organizing helpers, where everyone can pitch in with meals delivery, rides, childcare, and other tasks necessary for life to run smoothly during this time of medical crisis for their family, when family caregiver exhaustion can creep in so fast.

For those of you looking to “see” Jeremy and hear him talking about his situation check outwww.helpjeremyandangelamains.org. This site was set up by his brother and it will be updated with photos, videos and more.

Thanking you for your prayers,

~~ Karen Mains

 

A Difficult Day

This is turning into a difficult day. For the past 16 hours Jeremy has been experiencing the difficult side effects of the chemo. He has had a fever off and on all night and he is in a lot of pain. One time he even curled into the fetal position and thought he wouldn’t make it through. He has had brief periods of comfort and he is sleeping as I write this. The doctors told us that while they are “concerned”, they are not alarmed as all of the things Jeremy is experiencing is very common. They told us these next three or four days will be the very worst but we can have hope as it will all pass. The doctor specifically said this will be one week when we are thankful time keeps moving forward.

Please continue to pray for Jeremy. What he is feeling is not just physical discomfort but mental and emotional pain as well.

– Angela

7th Day Since Chemo Started

Today will be day 7 since Jeremy began chemo. Some of you may have noticed that he has become more active on social media. He’s been responding to emails, writing replies on Facebook and connecting with friends new and old.

In most respects Jeremy is doing well. He has been blessed to have many visitors since he has been at Rush. While that has been special for him, he has become increasingly more tired. The fatigue has been the most difficult and obvious side effect of the chemo. Jeremy has begun to have some other side effects as well, mainly flu-like symptoms. These seem to come in waves. These are difficult because each symptom requires additional monitoring by medical staff meaning more tests, more interventions and the less time for him to rest for long periods. Please keep praying for Jeremy now that these issues are present. At times he can be quite discouraged.

Jeremy received some of the best news yesterday. For the past 5 days the a/c in his 11th floor room was not working and the thermostat was reading between 75 and 80. Even I was sweating during visits. We brought in 2 fans to take the edge off. Yesterday evening the HVAC man arrived and finally corrected the problem, getting the room to 72 in just about an hour. Jeremy was so happy he could’ve kissed the man.

Jeremy is now in the neutropenic phase. This means his white blood cells have been nearly eliminated. This is the goal of the chemotherapy and we are happy to know it is working. It also means that Jeremy has virtually no immune system until new, healthy white blood cells return. He is at greater risk for infection and other complications during this time. Thankfully this is a short period, about a week, but requires more vigilance on all of our parts when it comes to keeping Jeremy healthy.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support. We’ll continue to provide updates so you can pray more specifically. God Bless!

– Angela

Yo-Yo Days Ahead

Jeremy spiked a fever this AM and the doctors have said, “No visitors.” As I pray about this, I know that we will have many yo-yo days on the journey forward. One of the chemo patients while walking the hall went into a Code Red and died. Pray for Angela who went back to work yesterday, now the sole breadwinner in the family, she rushed down to Rush University Hospital in Chicago. What a torture this is for a loving wife–and how many are experiencing this pain. Pray for us to be settled in our spirits and at peace with the process. Jeremy’s family is all just recovering from the first adrenalin pump–a dying son and brother; we need to be strong and settled and resting in God’s comfort so that we can help, lift spirits, not be overcome ourselves (and not get cranky with one another due to fatigue).

“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? . . .For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present (like acute lymphoblastic leukemia), nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 35.

Quite a list.

Karen

Practical Ways to Help Jeremy and Angela

If you’d like to help Jeremy and Angela in practical everyday ways, go to the lotsahelpinghands website below, assembled and managed by gracious friend, Rose Iverson. To start the registration process, click on the link below, and enter your email address under “Interested in becoming a member of this community?” https://lls.lotsahelpinghands.com/c/705465/ 

In partnership with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), Lotsa Helping Hands™ is a simple, immediate way for friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors to assist Jeremy and Angela with their everyday needs. It’s an easy-to-use, private group calendar, specifically designed for organizing helpers, where everyone can pitch in with meals delivery, rides, childcare, and other tasks necessary for life to run smoothly during this time of medical crisis for their family, when family caregiver exhaustion can creep in so fast.