Rick's blood sugar is doing very good - with little to no medication - on this new diet program.
Which is great cause for rejoicing and praising the Lord!!!
It has been a challenge to cook without potatoes and tomatoes - especially for this East Texas Irish girl! But, God has given counsel and wisdom - and creativity. :-)
Most mornings, Rick's blood sugar is between 90 - 140 ... occasionally a bit higher - depending on what he ate for supper, or after supper.
The dietician told us that as long as we can keep his blood sugar below 200 - mostly below 150 - to "play around" with the food ... what he eats, when he eats, and how much he eats. That is the only way that we will know for sure what has a positive or negative effect on his blood sugar.
<Surprisingly we have found that a candy bar will make his blood sugar be around 164 the next morning ... but saltine crackers will make it be over 200!>
The blood pressure? Well, that is another story!
Before his medication it is averaging 170/90 - too high.
And after his medication it is averaging 150/85 - still too high.
There have been times it has been higher both before and after medication.
And times it has been near "normal".
He is going to finish this prescription, then talk with Dr. Arneke.
Rick has cut out all salt - I don't even cook with it anymore. His sodium level in his blood is normal.
His potassium is now normal.
He has also cut out 95% of all snack foods - corn chips of any kind, crackers, and such. His snacks now are fresh baby carrots - raw, apples, plums, peaches ... all within moderation
according to the diet.
Hopefully we will be able to add an exercise program to all this soon!!! That should help more than anything.
Still praying ...
We met with Dr. Cochran yesterday morning. More of a time to talk with him than anything. He did check Rick out - said he looks good. Rick has had no major complaints (other than the cough/congestion crud).
Dr. Cochran had more blood drawn - with Rick protesting! LOL
Rick keeps telling the doctors and nurses that no wonder he is anemic! As much blood as they are drawing out - anyone would be! He is such a goober! LOL
Dr is testing Rick's iron levels and iron stores. Test to be back on Thursday this week (tomorrow). The results will determine if Rick begins the shots to help rebuild his red blood this next week, or if he has to take an IV of iron first and then the following week begin the shots.
So, we wait ... again ...
Update with Dr. Tobin
Saw Dr. Tobin today at 11:30 a.m.
Not everything that we had hoped for -
but then, not everything that we had feared either ...
Some of his numbers were better ... some were about the same.
Dr. Tobin was well pleased with the calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and potassium numbers - all down from when Rick was in the hospital.
Dr said that we were doing what was good and right with the diet :-). (Which felt good to hear after all the hard work we have done to make these changes!) And to keep on doing it!
I told him that for this East Texas country girl to learn to cook without tomatoes and potatoes has been a challenge! But due to a lot of prayer and God's wisdom and counsel - we have
done it! :-)
Dr. Tobin is still concerned about the toxin levels ... the numbers aren't as low as he had hoped. Some improvement he said, but not as much as he had honestly hoped for.
Rick's blood count is still too low - indicating serious anemia. Rick has been taking 50 mg of iron 3 x a day for a month now. But Dr. Tobin said that his kidneys just aren't allowing for the iron absorption at this point. He is going to recommend that Dr. Cochran give Rick an iron IV to boost the iron stores and levels. (We see Dr. Cochran tomorrow so we should know more after that ...)
Dr. Tobin did say hat if Rick's toxic levels do not come down significantly in numbers and in time that most likely within 2 years he will have to be on dialysis.
Next appointment with Dr. Tobin is April 16 @ 11 a.m.
Please - help us pray!!!
We are doing what we can to work with his body and the doctors for healing and recovery.
We are asking that God will intervene and show His might and His power - healing Rick's body and restoring it to health and strength.
About a week ago Rick started getting ??? ... seems that everyone is dealing with the changing weather "junk" (I don't know any other word that truly describes all this!) ...
and Rick has been no exception. Sadly.
Sneezing. Running nose. Burning and itchy eyes.
Ears that itch and feel like something is crawling inside them. A cough that seemed to be from a "feather in the throat" at first, and soon becomes deeper and harder. General achiness and just don't feel good junk.
I called Dr. Arneke and he said for Rick to use the saline solution nasal spray - every hour or two, in order to keep the sinuses moist and flushed. Also, told him to go ahead and take the prescription antibiotics (Z-pac). Take Delsym to help quiet the cough. Drink lots of water. Rest as much as the job will allow (which is hard to do when dispatch sends him out for a LONG run ... SS to New Orleans ... then back to SS and on to Bentonville, AR. Sigh ...).
Rick has had to use his inhaler to help keep his airways open enough to just breathe.
He seems to be feeling a bit better - ??? - hoping and praying that the worst of the "junk" is over!!!
Today he goes to the hospital lab to have blood drawn. Time for a work up ...
Monday morning - 11:30 - see Dr. Tobin (kidney specialist) ...
Tuesday morning - 11:30 - see Dr. Cochran (hematologist) ...
**Praying for GOOD and EXCELLENT labs and reports!!!
Just to let everyone know - Rick says that he is feeling GOOD!
Says that he feels better than he has felt in a LONG time! :-) Praising the Lord!!!
He is taking 50 mg of Iron 3 x a day - per Dr. Cochran's instructions. Rick will have blood drawn to check his labs on the 27th of this month - and we will meet with Dr. Cochran on the 28th to go over the results.
He is also scheduled to see Dr. Tobin on the 27th. I will call on Monday this next week to see what prep work he wants done before that appointment.
Rick is still losing weight - not fast tho. Just a little at a time - 1 to 2 pounds a week at the most.
He has a healthy appetite :-) ... but it is a HEALTHY one.
He is drinking LOTS of water ... little to no diet soda's, limiting his coffee and his tea.
He is really doing good to stick to the diet program :-). Says that he doesn't feel all that "deprived" - ever so often really missing tomatoes and potatoes.
But, it is all do-able. :-)
...Prayer requests --
That the iron IS working to rebuild his iron stores, and helping to rebuild the red blood cells.
That the blood count is coming up - it needs to be at least a 10, better to be closer to 12.
That all his other numbers are better - up where they need to be, and down like they should be.
That his kidneys have picked up the pace of filtering the toxins from his body.
THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR THOUGHTS, YOUR PRAYERS, YOUR CALLS AND TEXTS, YOUR COMMENTS ON FACEBOOK.
Just to know that there is a support system all around us!
Ya'll really are the WIND BENEATH OUR WINGS!
February 16, 2012
Sometimes trusting God is the hardest thing to do.
Not because of GOD - but because of my own humanity.
God is faithful. God is just. God never changes.
But the stubbornness of my own heart ... I can't SEE God ...
He doesn't have SKIN on for me.
So, it is hard to believe. Hard to trust.
Especially when I listen to the voice of my own humanity.
God, forgive me.
God, help me!
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Read the Word - feed the Spirit.
Trust in the Lord with
all my heart.
Lean not on my
In all my
ways, acknowledge Him -
will direct my paths and make them straight.
Lord God - thank you for being so patient, so kind, so loving to me ...
February 11, 2012
Results are in...PRAISE GOD!!! PRAISE GOD!!! PRAISE GOD!!!
About a year ago, I broke a tooth. I should have gone into the dentist way before now. But - with everything this last year, I just kept putting it off and putting it off. Waiting for that "better time" to go.
The tooth decided that the "better time" was this past Thursday!!!
I couldn't sleep Wednesday night - had a horrible headache. I figured it was just all the stress with Rick's health. Guess I should have paid closer attention. It was my broken tooth causing the headache.
As Thursday progressed, so did the pain.
Finally Thursday around lunch I was in so much pain that all I could do was sit and cry. Called a couple of dentists in the area to see if they could (or would) work me in due to an emergency. One said that they could see me next Tuesday. Dr. Danny Lawrence's office said that he had an open appointment - work in - around 3:30 that afternoon. I took it, and off we went to the dentist.
I do not "do" dentists very well. Not that I am afraid of them -
but my mouth does NOT heal well at all. And I can handle any pain in my body - except when that pain in my mouth crosses "the line".
After a short wait to be worked in - turned out that I was to be his last patient - I was called back.
X-rays were taken. No abscess seen. Crooked root tho.
Dr. Danny explained that he would do what he could, but if it broke then I would have to see an oral surgeon.
A shot ... numbed the tooth - welcome relief!!!
A wiggle, a pull, a tug, some pressure, and out it came - NOT broken! Praise the Lord!!!
Dr. Danny said it looked good and clean. Gave me a prescription for pain medication - Vicodin.
Just about 30 minutes in the chair and I was on my way out.
Shortest time EVER in the dentist chair!!!
Also the least amount of deadner!
Dr. Danny was so patient and gentle ... more so than any
dentist I have ever been to.
I have already decided that whatever dental work needs done now - it will be Dr. Danny that does it!!! :-)
Rick told me to take a couple of days and just rest. No major lifting. No major anything. Just resting more than anything else.
Rick's dad came in and out all day yesterday feeding the fire for me. :-)
Rick is off today - so he has been doing most of the fire ... they are working some wood up now.
Weather forecast is for 20* tonight with a north wind of about 15 mph.
Brrrrrrr - especially in this old house!!!
Tomorrow night and Monday the forecast is calling for sleet/snow - 60 and 70% chance. Brrrrrrrr again!!!
We went to the doctor this past Wednesday to get the results of the PET scan.
The P.A. came in - sat down. I felt like I was literally holding my breath.
She explained what the PET scan looks for - mainly cancer cells. Then, she explained how that just like a TV sometimes has black and white snow and how that looks, that is how a "normal" PET scan looks.
And that any abnormality at all - especially cancer - will glow bright.
She went on to say that 90% of the time PET scans are right. Only occasionally and under extreme circumstances are they
(Me still not breathing, but hanging on every word ...)
She took a deep breath ...
And said -
"Rick, you are black and white snow from head to toe! You do not glow!!!"
The one time in Rick's life that we did not want him to shine! And he doesn't!!! :-)
She said that Dr. Destarac wants to have Rick do a repeat of the CT scan in a couple of months. Just to see if there are any
changes at all to the lymph nodes in his chest.
If there are any changes - the next step will be a biopsy.
She said that from all indications, the doctor is leaning towards it being Sarcoidosis. Which if it is, basically we will treat the symptoms if he has a flare up. Otherwise - just
AIN'T GOD GOOD?!?!?!?!?!?!!!!!!! :-)
Waiting and praying ...
We wait ... we pray ... we struggle not with flesh and blood - Ephesians 5-6, but with the worries and fears of humanity.
PET scan results are tomorrow afternoon ... so we PRAY!!!
We have committed to Bless the Name of the Lord no matter what - but still! We want to see and to hear an EXCELLENT report that Rick will LIVE and not die!!!
The more research I do into health, the more concerned I get - for us, for our kids and our grandkids. As well as family and
friends and even strangers all around us.
We live in such a "food-oriented" society.
When did food become what we LIVE for???
When did we cross the line from "eating to live" to "living to eat"?????
When did food become the idol of our worship?
Oh, but you say - "I do NOT worship the idol of food!"
Perhaps some do not.
But for the most - we do.
Whether we want to admit it or not.
IDOL - any thing regarded with blind admiration and/or adoration excessively, or devotion. - something visible but without substance.
Now, with that definition in mind (not nice, huh?) -
Think about the last 30 minutes you watched TV.
What are the commercials about - mostly?
And think about the last magazine you picked up. How many ads were NOT about food? How many articles?
When you get up in the mornings - what is your first thought?
If you are bored - where do you find yourself? Too many times, I have found myself in the kitchen ... looking in the cabinets, the frig ...
If you are stressed?
There are a thousand "good reasons" to eat!!! How many "good reasons" are we assaulted with every day???
I am NOT against food! Goodness!
Anyone who sees me (all 250+ pounds of me) knows that I am not against food!
And anyone who has spent more than 5 minutes around me, or in my house - knows that I am not against food!
God has been dealing with me on all of this.
Food is to be what gives us the energy and fuel for our bodies so that we can live.
Live for HIM.
Food is to be enjoyed - the good and right foods in the good and right and just amounts.
Bring it all back into perspective ... Worship GOD.
Enjoy His blessings - including the gift of taste and the taste of good food.
So, now I am on a journey to better health and nutrition ... as well as education. Education to be passed to my children and
grandchildren, and to anyone else who will listen.
God has not put these illnesses and diseases and conditions on our bodies.
Our choices and decisions have!
When will we grow up and take responsibility???
When will we "admit it, quit it, and move on"???
O Lord! Help me now!!!
I have been so busy with Rick and doctors and tests and research ... haven't had a lot of time for anything else. And we still aren't "done".
We are to hear the results of the PET scan on Wednesday afternoon (2:45) at Dr. Destarac's office. Praying so hard for an excellent and good report!!!
This was my devotional this morning - (from Jesus Calling) ...
Bring Me your weakness, and receive My peace.
Accept yourself and your circumstances just as they are, remembering that I am sovereign over everything.
Do not wear yourself out with analyzing and planning.
Instead, let thankfulness and trust be your guides through this day;
they will keep you close to Me.
As you live in the radiance of My Presence, My Peace shines upon you.
You will cease to notice how weak or strong you feel, because you will be focusing on Me.
The best way to get through this day is step by step with Me.
Continue this intimate journey, trusting that the path you are following is headed for heaven.
Psalm 29:11 ... "The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless his people with peace."
Numbers 6:24-26 ... "The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace."
Psalm 13:5-6 ... "But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord,
because He has dealt bountifully with me."
My thoughts and prayer after reading it ---
**And God our Father - you know just how difficult this is to me!!!
I can bring you my weakness and even receive your peace.
I have a hard time accepting myself and my circumstances just as they are.
Yes, I remember that you are sovereign over everything - but still!
You know me - analyzing and planning is what I do! It's who I am! You know that!
Everyone knows that!
So, to just let thankfulness and trust be my guide? O Lord!!!
I want to stay close to you.
Does this really work???
Step by step ... little by little.
Help me - please.
In Jesus' Name...
The waiting ...
Dr.'s office called a few minutes ago - nurse said that due to the PET scan being a diagnostic tool, that they cannot give results over the phone. Whether it is good or bad, negative or positive.
But to keep us from having to wait 2 weeks to hear - they did change Rick's appointment to this coming Wednesday at 2:45 to meet with the Dr.
Please pray for us in all of this.
We are stressed with it all ... with the waiting to hear.
Trusting the Lord - but wrestling with the humanity. Sigh.
I know that God already knows the results of these tests.
Nothing is going to catch him by surprise.
But I also know this wife's heart!
And I want my husband to be ok.
He is already dealing with so much.
I don't want to be afraid - But I am.
I am shaking like a leaf.
So very scared and worried.
Everything in me is screaming and crying -
PLEASE GOD!!! Let Rick be ok - no better than "ok" ... let him be GOOD!!!
PLEASE GOD!!! Make this to be an AWESOME report!!!
I have NEVER been noted as a "patient" person ... Momma used to say that I didn't have "patience to pee"!!! LOL
And now ... we hurry up ... so that we can WAIT.
Clinging with the last ounce of my energy to the Promise ... "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength ..."
We went to Dr. Cochran in Paris, TX on Monday. Hematologist.
(BTW - we ADORE Trudy ... his nurse :-)!!!)
Dr. Cochran came in and talked to us about how the body works ... Kidneys function.
The kidneys produce a hormone - Erythropoietin - that is sent to the bone marrow.
Bone marrow produces the red blood cells.
The lab reports were showing that Rick's kidneys were not producing the hormone, so the bone marrow was not able to produce the red blood cells as needed. Hence, the anemia.
Dr. Cochran talked to us about the shot - which is basically the hormone. However, he said that Rick's iron levels and iron stores had to be at the level which would make the body hold the shot and help it to work.
So, before the shot could be given, blood had to be drawn and tested.
Result of blood work?
Rick's iron was low - no surprise. Considering the Anemia
However, his iron store was low - too low.
Dr. Cochran said that with the numbers being what they are - that the shot would not work.
(Info on iron in the body - Iron deficiency, from the CDC, and from Mayo Clinic)
So, he is putting Rick on iron therapy for one month to start. 50 mg of iron 3 times a day for a month.
More blood work. See what his iron level is, what the iron stores are. Then, at that time, will discuss the shot again.
Dr. Cochran said that he thought maybe Rick had a good chance of recovery. :-)
He said that it could take as long as 6 months to see a good recovery in the iron stores, though. So just be prepared for that.
Rick's blood count last Wednesday at Dr. Arneke's office was 8.3 - Dr. Arneke said that at 8.0 or below is when he would be re-admitted to the hospital for more units of blood.
Monday at Dr. Cochran's office - his blood count was at 8.7!!! Praise the Lord!!! :-)
Rick worked on Tuesday - went to Shreveport. He called me yesterday afternoon and said that he had a voicemail from Dr. Destarac's office (the pulmonologist). PET scan today in Tyler.
When Rick was in the hospital - chest X-rays were done, because he had a cough that sounded deep seated. (Which is why we had gone to the doctor on January 10 ...)
Nothing was shown to be in the lungs. However, there was "something" showing in the center of his chest. Dr said first that he thought it might have something to do with his heart - because of the high potassium numbers.
Dr. Arneke had a heart monitor placed on Rick, ordered an EKG, and a CT scan.
Heart monitor showed normal and stable ... EKG showed normal and stable.
CT scan showed that the lymph nodes in the center of his chest were swollen to a 1 cm. ??? Not just one lymph node, but several.
Dr. Arneke said that there were 2 types of cancer that showed up like this. Cancer tests were done - both were negative! Praise God!!!
He said he didn't know what would cause the lymph nodes to swell.
So, he referred Rick to a pulmonologist - Dr. Destarac.
When we went to his office and saw him, he looked at Rick's X-rays and CT scan.
Said that he had seen a lot of cancers in this area of the body, but this did NOT look like cancer to him.
Wasn't sure what it was.
Told us that he would like to get Rick in for a PET scan - just to rule out cancer, as well as to get a good picture (short of a biopsy) of what is going on there.
After 2 weeks of his office and Rick's insurance him-hawing around ... authorization was given this week, appointment was made, and we are going to Tyler today.
Rick can eat a couple of eggs this morning before 6 - meaning I have to get off here! LOL
Then, only water until after the PET scan.
I know that the 2 hours he is back for the PET scan will be 2 of the longest and hardest hours in this journey so far for me!!! Sigh.
Melanie (at Dr. Destarac's office) said that I could wait 3 days and then call her for the results of the PET scan.
Rick has an appointment to see Dr. Destarac on February 15 to discuss the findings of the PET scan.
Please - pray for Rick.
Healing. GOOD reports.
So why "Scattered Feathers" ? ? ?
You can read it here