Friday, June 23, 2006


Thursday night 6-22-06 update from Nancy

I want to thank you for your prayers yesterday. I went with Jenni to the oral surgeon to get the 2 hurting teeth pulled. I talked with him for a while and he eventually agreed that it would be a good idea to get them out before chemo starts. It took a while to get me numb enough, but eventually I did. I am on strong antibiotics and a special medicated rinse for the week. The good news is that there isn't much swelling at all yet (he said there may be tomorrow), and the one tooth didn't penetrate my sinus cavity. He thought it probably would, so we were happy when it didn't.

I stayed in bed today nauseous and very headachy, but finally was able to eat and keep my dinner down tonight. I hardly noticed my sore side today at all! Tomorrow is set aside for getting ready for the mountains and on Saturday we leave. Thank you for praying for me and us! We will get back on July 1st, so I don't plan to be writing again before I leave unless something comes up.

Josh, Allison's boyfriend, is here and we are enjoying getting to know him. He is 6'4" and helped her make some great cookies today.

I have talked to the "wig lady" and we will be able to connect in time to get what I need before I loose my hair. God is very good. Several friends and my girls are planning to go with me.

God bless you mightily!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Dear friends,

Laura has taken the time to develop a BLOG web site for us to keep you updated on what is happening and how to pray. My understanding is that it works like going to any other web site. You enter this and you are there. The latest update will be at the top. I am still learning, but I think you can leave comments there for us. Emailing me at works well too. I will include this email there, but will put it here anyway since we are already connected. This will put you in the driver's seat to get updates. I will need to worry less about keeping up the address list, since you can go look there on your own. I would like to know if you are unable to go to the BLOG for some reason. I wouldn't want you to miss out on getting the updates. Like I said, I am still learning, and will let you know more as I learn more.

Update Wednesday morning, June 21, 2006

It is Wednesday now and time for an update. I haven't written since last Tuesday and today is when I go to have 2 teeth pulled. They have been hurting for months and since my immune system will be low during chemo and radiation, I decided it would be good to get them out of there before we get going with all of that. Dealing with them during chemo would have been dangerous. One has its roots in my right sinus cavity, so please pray that wouldn't cause extra problems.

I had an impression made of these teeth yesterday by the dentist who will make a replacement for them later. I got my x-rays and antibiotic for today as well. Since I now have a port for chemo (implant), I have to take antibiotic as a pre-medication for dental procedures. Jenni will go with me and my appointment is at 1:30. I have some pain medication left I can use if/as needed.

I have been healing well. I went and saw my surgeon early last week because the drain they put in during surgery wasn't draining as much as it needed to. She had me leave it in for a few more days and took it out on Thursday. The very nice thing is that it was the first time out of the 6-8 times I have had them, that it didn't hurt a LOT to take it out. I braced myself and held the nurse's hand, but it was over without me even feeling it! Maybe that was because it wasn't working well and had lots of fluid around it. Regardless of why, I am thanking God for that. I haven't had any build up of fluid to cause problems and am healing well.

The pathology report from my surgery on the 9th said all was clean of cancer and that there were no nodes that were taken out in that 7 x 7 x 2 cm piece of tissue. The area healing now basically feels like a big bruise. My port is less sore than it was, but gets achy when I move certain ways. I assume it will continue to feel better as time goes on. I can move my arms freely now and have been able to achieve "walking" my left arm up the wall further each day. It can go almost totally straight now but is still tight and sore.

I still feel extra tired and have taken a lot of naps in these 11 days of recovery. I am not up to full steam yet, but maybe 50-60%. The kids and Greg have helped in all sorts of ways, and friends have brought some meals, flowers and many have sent cards and emails. Extra gifts have come, or are coming to cover the medical expenses. We have been prayed over and for and basically have been loved well by so many. Thank you all for touching us in such tangible ways!

Prayer Requests
**Please pray for dental surgery today, quick healing there and everywhere else.
**Pray for no infections from the dental surgery
**Pray for Tim, our HR director at Caleb Project for wisdom as he finds a new health insurance plan for our new organization. Because of our merger with ACMC, we have to switch medical insurance plans. This will probably happen in the middle of my treatment and will impact me and a few others very directly. I have been with my surgeon and oncologist for 7 years and wish there was a way to stay with them. I feel very vulnerable and need to trust God with this big issue.
**Pray for me to be able to connect with the wig lady who helped me last time. I figure I have about 3 weeks of my hair left and I will be gone all next week.
**Our family is taking next week (June 24-July 1) as vacation in Steamboat. It has been planned since February. Allison's boyfriend Josh will be joining us for a week starting today. Pray that we would have a fun relaxed family time before chemo starts on July 5th.
**Pray that Jesse will have a good week at Boy Scout camp this week. His time in Canada with youth group last week was extremely good. We got to have a 3 hour debrief with him before taking him to Boy Scout camp Sunday evening. The Lord worked in his life.

On July 5th I am scheduled to see Dr. Bourg, my oncologist at 9:00 a.m. and then start my infusion at 9:30 for about 3 hours. My friend Janet who is a trained PA, is planning to go with me.

If you want to help with meals-
Since I have only had one of these 2 types of chemo before (Cytoxin), I don't know what symptoms to expect or how I will feel. Last time I felt like I had the flu for 3-4 days and I am being told the Taxitere part will effect me most on days 3 and 4. So for this first time, we think 5 days of meals would be helpful. When we see how I do this time, we can make plans for the next cycle 3 weeks later. Laura will be gone for a week or two right after this chemo, and she is the main cook around here (besides me). It would be great if I didn't have any side effects!

If you want to bring something and switch it into our pans or dishes and take yours home with you, that would be fine. Please label any dishes you want to leave here. I am lactose intolerant and that means no dairy. If you want to bring something with cheese or milk in it, maybe you could bring that ingredient on the side, or just leave my portion out. (I usually use almond or soy milk and Smart Balance cheese to work around that allergy.) Other than that, we are easy and like anything.

Two friends have offered to help with organizing this:
Sharyl from Caleb Project (, cell: 720.934.5307) and
Diane Mueller from our small group (, home: 303.683.5318 cell: 303.324.9419) Sharyl will be going out of town on Friday, but would like to get meals lined up for the first round of chemo before she leaves, so please call or email her today or tomorrow (Wednesday or Thursday). Thanks!

The dates we would appreciate meals this time are: Wed., July 5th, Thursday, July 6th, Friday, July 7th, Saturday, July 8th, and Sunday July 9th.

Thank you, dear friends, for taking the time to read this and pray for us. We are very appreciative! May the Lord bless you and make you a blessing to the nations!

Thursday, June 15, 2006



Nancy's Update
Tuesday June 13, 2006
2:00 p.m.

Dear friends,

I just got a call from my surgeon, Joyce Haun, and I wanted to pass on the news. She just got the pathology report back on the tissue removed during Friday's surgery, and there was no more cancer in it anywhere! She used the word "miracle" and we all can agree with that! So the metastasis was only in the first tissue she took out on May 22nd. It was on my chest wall, but hadn't gone very far. But because it was in my torso, we have to still consider it systemic and I still have to have chemo and radiation. I still have to get word on my lung, but that probably wasn't anything new, as I know something has been there for these 7 years and hasn't changed or grown. They were probably just seeing that. Dr. Bourg, my oncologist will make sure that is the case next week when he gets back.

I spent the weekend home and resting with very limited use of either arm. I decided that I felt like Barney, just being able to move my arms from the elbows down. No lifting or more movement than that. My family did everything for me and a few friends brought meals. Saturday evening I went to Jenni's vocal/piano recital with the family. My surgeon told me that would be OK if that was all I did. It was a very special time and Jenni did a great job. That was a once a year event, so I didn't want to miss it. I didn't go to church- I slept.

So I am healing, and am moving into the itchy stage. My drain will come out on Thursday morning. I am still sore, but better every day than the day before. I am letting the pain meds lapse now and then to see if I still need them, and so far I have needed to take them. Dr. Haun explained that my port was tricky because I am skinny and have no breast tissue there the put it into. It is healing well but is still sore.

Chemo starts July 5th at 9:00 a.m. I am learning about what side effects these kinds of chemo have. I know to expect nausea and neuropathy in my fingers and feet. The oncology nurse told me that day 3 & 4 can be the worst, but it is unique for each person. I will have to see how it effects me once I go through it. I will let you know more when that gets closer. We can pray for minimal side effects. Some people have very few side effects. In the mean time I need to keep healing from surgery and deal with the 2 teeth I may need to have extracted next Wednesday when I see an oral surgeon. They are hurting and we can't risk them getting bad when my immunities are low during chemo. Pray we'd have wisdom about just what to do about that.

Thank you again for your willingness to read these reports and pray. God is answering them faithfully and getting this good news today and hearing the surgeon call it a miracle is a HUGE PRAISE!
"Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord O my soul, and forget not all his benefits- who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases..." Psalm 103:1-3



Hey everyone-

I think we finally got the pain meds right tonight and I am doing OK for the moment. I will be able to sleep tonight! This will be short- for me anyway.

Surgery started about 3:30 and I was aware of the time at about 6:00 p.m.. I had to have general anesthesia. The port I wanted is in, and that is no small thing. Apparently because of my reconstruction from 6 1/2 years ago, there was a possibility that it wouldn't have worked. But it did. Please pray that it would heal well with no complications. There are several things that could go wrong, so this is a critical time to pray for it to heal well. I go to the oncology nurse Monday for her to flush it or something like that. I was foggy and didn't catch it all.

The surgeon took out a lot on my left chest wall, and I have a drain. She said this cancer loots like fat, so she took what looked questionable. The drain should be in for around 5 days or until the amount draining goes down to a certain level. I am not discerning any noticeable nerve damage which is a huge praise. So far my left arm has no extra swelling. More praise!

I am in a lot of pain, and it is worse at the port (upper right chest) site than my left side. I feel like I was hit by 2 Mac trucks. I will be resting a lot but will get the family to help me send out updates so you won't need to wonder how I am doing.

Thank you for praying. I felt the Lord's presence in a huge way. We should get the pathology report early next week, and I will let you know.

I need to heal for at least 2 weeks before starting chemo and my oncologist will be back on the 19th. The surgeon gave us the written PET scan results and said nothing showed up to cause concern. Something 3 mm's (so tiny it is like the tip of a pen) showed in my right lung, but is miniscule and may be the nodule I know I have somewhere in my lungs that is not cancer. We discovered one 7 years ago that hasn't grown or changed. I will get more details from my oncologist when he gets back. My cancer sight showed up, but that could have been due to the fact that I just had surgery there. So, very good news on that front.

I'm fading. The girls are getting Jesse ready to leave for a church student ministry trip to Canada early in the morning. They have been especially helpful and loving today.

By the way, I am finally able to announce that Caleb Project has officially merged with another ministry called ACMC. So, as you can imagine, Greg has a LOT on his heart and mind these days. Please pray for him as he leads us all through this lengthy merger process, which is just one of the things he is dealing with. He is excited about the merger.

I will sign off for now and thank you again for praying. You mean so much to us! May God be glorified through this situation!
God bless you,



I forgot to tell you that the ultrasound last Thursday showed that the cysts both got much smaller. That means they couldn't have been cancer, so I don't have to go through that complicated abdominal surgery. We are very grateful for this news. I don't know how miraculous it is for a complex cyst to go from 6x5x2 cm's to 1.5x2 cm's, but I told the technician that many people had been praying, and she was excited with me. Just wanted to let you know so you can rejoice with us!




Dear friends,

Thank you for all of your prayers as I have completed my tests and anticipate surgery on Friday. I am supposed to be there at 1:50 and they will start between 2:30 and 3:00. My surgeon will try to get out more cancer by "scraping off the muscle and skin" in that area under my left arm and on my left chest wall. She may also take some muscle if she feels she needs to. This cancer is not discernable to the eye, so she will have to go with her discernment and experience. They might do some lab testing during surgery, but I don't know. It is supposed to last about 2 hours.

Please pray that the Lord would show her exactly what to do.

My oncologist said that I might have some permanent nerve damage. We can pray for that to be minimal.

Anything done there could also cause lymphadema (swelling due to a build up of lymphatic fluid) in my left arm. That is a very costly problem in time and financially, so join us in praying that the Lord protects my arm from that.

Pray that I would heal quickly.

She will also put in a port. This device will enable easier chemo infusions without IV's. Pray that it goes in well with no infections. I should be able to start chemo within a few weeks after the port is put in. Maybe the week of the 19th. My oncologist gets back that week and we want to get started so we can get it over with.

I have a sore tooth. I need to decide if something needs to be done with it before I start chemo. It may be getting infected and need to be pulled. Once chemo gets going, it would be dangerous to do any dental stuff. Pray for us to know what, if anything, to do about this.

I had a MUGA heart scan on Friday and that went well. My number was good enough for me to have chemo, but I don't know any details other than that. They told me this test would make the metal detector go off at the airport.

I had my PET scan yesterday. That was the hardest test for me so far. I was dehydrated so the IV wouldn't go in, so after many pokes I got sick and almost fainted. It took quite a while to feel better. I got through the scan OK but felt sick the rest of the day from the nuclear contrast they injected. Today I am fine. I got preliminary results today, but my oncologist was out of town. It sounded like there may be something in my left lung, but they didn't seem to know for sure if it is metastasis or not. I will check with my surgeon either tomorrow or Friday. Maybe she can give me some more information.

Thank you for praying! We will send another update after surgery on Friday or Saturday.
God bless you!


From Nancy
Tuesday night, 5/30/06
Dear friends,

Let me start off by saying that we had a very nice time in PA this weekend and Greg is now officially inducted into the Benton High School Hall of Fame. Laura and Allison are now home. Allison just drove in from FL a few hours ago. A friend brought a delicious dinner to us tonight. We have gotten so many cards and emails that have really been ministering to us. Thank you for your expressions of love, prayers and support. We are so blessed to have a network of incredible friends to come around us at this time.

I had the CT scans this morning which were much quicker than the ones I remember from years back. I got there at 7:30 and I think I was done by 9:15. The actual scanning only took a half hour. It went well and the contrasts didn't bother me too much other than a headache in the afternoon.

Greg and I saw Dr. Bourg, my oncologist, at 4:30. The good news is that from what he heard on a taped version of the radiologist's report, they saw no sign of cancer in my pelvis, chest or abdomen. The caution is that they didn't see the cancer we know is on my left chest wall either, and we couldn't tell if the ovarian cysts we are watching have changed- smaller, same or bigger. (Cancer wouldn't get smaller, so that would be a good clue.) Cancer wouldn't show up if it is in nodes anywhere either. It would be too small to show up. So....

Here is the plan. I will have the repeat of my pelvic ultrasound ASAP to see if there has been any change in the 2 ovarian cysts. Especially the left one which was 6 x 5 x 2 cm's and complex. IF they haven't gotten smaller, and definitely if they have gotten bigger, we might do a surgery to remove the cysts to be sure they are not lobular cancer metastasis. That is a rather complicated surgery they would have to send me to another hospital for. If the cysts are smaller, no cyst surgery and we can move ahead with the rest of our treatment plans being confident that it isn't cancer. I will also have a PET scan at another hospital which would show any other cancer in bones, etc., as an extra precaution. I have a heart scan this Friday to make sure my heart is in good shape for all of this.

I am scheduled at this point for surgery on June 9th at 3:20 p.m. Dr. Joyce Haun, my surgeon, plans to go back in under my arm and clean out more tissue on my chest wall, maybe removing some muscle (and there is a possibility of nerve damage), to get out as much cancer as she can. That day she may also put in a "port" for my chemotherapy treatments. That is a line into an artery (I think) to make it easier to give me chemo without having to do IV's every time which are painful for chemo. That was one of my worst memories from last time.

Then, at least a week later, probably sometime toward the 20th- 30th of June, I will begin chemotherapy. He wants to do either 4 or 6 rounds of Taxitere (I don't know the spelling) with Cytoxin. This would make my hair fall out again and has its own set of side effects. I know what they are as so many of my breast cancer support group friends have had this type of chemo. It has more long lasting negative side effects than what I had last time.

Then, when I am done with that, I would have probably 6 weeks of radiation, 5 days a week. For this I need to drive 30 miles round trip each of those days. That may damage my reconstruction. Usually the main side effect of that is getting very tired progressively as the weeks progress.

Then he wants me to take hormone therapy for the rest of my life- like Tomoxifen which I have tried to take but couldn't due to the side effects. The other 2 options for that only work for post menopausal women. I am not in menopause yet, so I would have to become that way either surgically or chemically. Greg and I don't know about this whole idea.

My outlook for beating this cancer is very promising. This is way more treatment than I had to do the first time, but the positive thing is that even without radiation the last time, it has taken 7 years for this to grow to a point that we discovered it. Dr. Bourg considers it slow growing. Since it has hormonal receptors, certain chemos work well on it. The tool box is more full than it is for some cancers. By God's grace, (and if God doesn't choose to miraculously heal me first!) if I do all of these treatments, the doctor says from experience that I have an 85-90% chance of surviving 3 years. It is possible to completely beat it, he feels, and he hopes that I would get decades, not just a few years. That sounded great to us!

So let's keep praying...
- for miraculous healing and for the Lord to use all of this for His glory
- for clarity in knowing what is going on in my body through these tests.
- for wisdom and skill for my surgeon on June 9th and for minimal nerve damage.
- for the cysts to shrink on my ovaries so I wouldn't need more extensive surgery for that.
- for finances to come in to cover these costs. Co-pays for all these things are coming out of our pocket until September due to my jaw surgeries this year. We expect it to add up to about $3,000. (Let us know if you would like to help and we will tell you how.)

May the Lord who holds us in His mighty and tender hands, be glorified today-


May 24
Dear friends,

I got a call at 5:15 this evening from my surgeon and she started off by asking where I was & if I could sit down. The biopsy I had taken yesterday under my left arm was positive for lobular cancer. It is a matastisis of my original breast cancer. She told me I am looking at more surgery very soon under my arm, scans, chemo, radiation, etc. She told me how sorry she is. I got a call from my oncologist a few minutes later telling me the same thing and asking me to come see him ASAP and how sorry he is. A recurrence is never good news and the fighting this time will have to be harder.

We know I have cysts on both ovaries- one of which is 5-6 cm's and "complex" (blood supply and solid). My abdomen hasn't been feeling right, and I have been to the doctor for that recently. I am very sore from yesterday's small surgery (not a surprise as there are lots of nerves under there), which I honestly thought was just a routine procedure to rule out cancer- fully expecting it to be clear. I have had that done before and it was nothing. I really thought that it is always nothing. So I am in shock. Some tears, but feeling secure in God's loving arms of comfort and protection. I am overwhelmed with His love and that He is right here with us. Allison gets home next Wednesday. We just told her and Laura over the phone. Jesse and Jenni are quiet and went to Tuesday night church.

We are scheduled to leave at 6:30 a.m. for Benton, PA. Greg is being inducted into his high school hall of fame on Saturday night. Laura is going to meet us there on Friday and fly home Sunday also. I am actually glad for the trip as I can make calls on my cell phone to some of my doctors who do alternative treatments and get information before seeing the oncologist on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. The surgery schedulers are going to call me and I will call tomorrow to get the scans scheduled- first I should think, so we know what we are dealing with. So pray that I will get to talk to some key people in the next few days about treatment options. I am glad I have time to do that.

Here is a God-thing...I was in the grocery store parking lot when the surgeon called, and inside when the oncologist called a few minutes later. Jenni and Jesse were filling a cart and I was wandering around by myself in a daze thinking, "I wonder if anyone can tell that I am in shock and just got terrible news?" Then I decided that I needed Shredded Wheat. I walked down the cereal isle and at the end was my friend and fellow breast cancer support group member, Judy- standing by the Shredded Wheat. Even more strange than that was the fact that I had just stopped to talk to her at her desk at church today for who knows what reason. I don't think that I have done that more than once or twice ever in the last several years. Anyway there she was, just after I heard this news. Greg was walking home, so I couldn't even call him. Anyway, Judy was God's gift to me at that moment. She told me when I was checking out all the stuff Jenni and Jesse had filled the cart with, that she NEVER shops at that grocery store, and didn't know why she did today. Now we know why.

God is powerful and mighty, He knows all and He loves me and my family. He knows the number of all of our days. He is a comfort and help in times of trouble. I love and trust Him implicitly. Oh, and He is GOOD! He is very, very good!

Thanks for praying for me. I will keep you posted.


May 23
Dear Everyone,

As many of you know, Nancy had surgery this week to remove and biopsy a small nodule that had developed in the scar tissue under her left arm. This is a routine procedure for cancer survivors and usually amounts to little more than reassurance that the tissue was not a recurrence of cancer. This evening Nancy’s surgeon and oncologist both called with the news that they did find cancer in the tissue that was removed. We are stunned and gearing up to fight this disease with the same vigor as we did the first time around seven years ago. Even though the odds of survival decrease after recurrence, we are not without hope. We trust that the Lord has a purpose in this and we intend to continue to trust him with this unexpected turn of events as we trust him in every area of our lives.

We plan to proceed with our planned trip to Pennsylvania. We will leave tomorrow and be home late Sunday night.

We appreciate your prayers. Please particularly pray that we will have wisdom as we research and choose treatment options.