Day 33, 34, 35 & 36
December 6, 7, 8 & 9th, 2018
Last Day in Santa Barbara
Travel Days & Home
Thursday, December 6, 2018…
Glen was exhausted. The night was the same as usual – brutal. We wanted to make it to the comic book store together so Glen gathered all his strength (and I truly do mean all his strength) and together we drove to the comic book store. We browsed a bit but Glen was almost falling over so the browsing was limited. We picked out a whole lot of “Marvel” comics and while I went to pay Glen went back into the Santa Fe to rest. I then went to the “Youth Initiatives” store where youth make paintings, jewelry, leather goods – all kinds of crafty things – and sell them. It is an initiative to get youth at risk off the streets and doing something good and productive. It’s an initiative I don’t mind supporting when buying gifts for the friends who have helped me out so much. It’s too bad money is tight because I couldn’t buy the things I wanted – but I settled on a nice pottery piece for my “personal assistant extraordinaire” Rowena and a silver shell necklace for her daughter and my friend Genya who has also been so helpful and generous with her time! They even set up the Christmas tree downstairs in my client waiting area. Above and beyond the call of duty are friends like that! We made another stop at the pharmacy to pick up some pharmaceuticals for Glen. This took longer than anticipated because they weren’t allowed to give it out until December 11 – could we wait until then? Well… no actually! We are leaving tomorrow… The pharmacist made a call to Dr. Kim and then thankfully over rode the State law!
We drove back to the Casita where I made a quick lunch and then ran out the door again. I had to go to “Ross Dress for Less” and buy another suitcase for the extra gifts, extra supplements and a few border worthy food items we were taking home – yes, an entire suitcase for that! Walking in there were hordes of people and I remembered that people were actually doing Christmas shopping! Imagine that! It’s almost Christmas and it feels nothing like Christmas to me with the warmer Santa Barbara weather and the pain of seeing Glen so very ill and near death… I don’t much feel like celebrating a “season” – yet I am still so very thankful that Jesus came! It’s a weird mix of feelings for sure.
I grabbed a suitcase as fast as I could, then ran to another pharmacy to pick up items Glen needed for the trip that the other pharmacy was out of stock for. I hopped back into the Santa Fe and found myself speeding for a few seconds and thinking “Wow! I must be feeling at home here in Santa Barbara!” and promptly slowed down. It wouldn’t be wise to get a speeding ticket nor into an accident because I was rushing around! I made a quick stop at Whole Foods Market and bought a few grocery items (one of which we forgot in our Casita when we left – the Glenn flour sour dough bread! ☹). I also said goodbye to the young man I saw most of the times I went into the store. He was always very friendly and asked how Glen was doing. Saying goodbye to people is actually really hard because for the most part we know we won’t see them again.
I made a beeline then for the Issels Clinic to pick up more of Glen’s supplements and bring back our Kangen water bottles. Doris could tell I was rushing and feeling stressed. Saying goodbye to her was hard too… I drove back to the Casita and hurriedly unpacked the groceries and then was out the door again to my appointment with Katya with the magic wand (lymphatic wand) treatment. Ah! An hour and a half to relax before I packed everything up and tried to figure out which suitcase to put what! Walking out of Katya’s there was still some light left so I took another drive to Trader Joe’s to pick up a bouquet of flowers for Jan and Joanna.
I arrived back to the Casita and got the flowers ready. Joanna wasn’t feeling very well but was ok for me to stop in quick. I wanted to say an in person goodbye and thank you. Delivering the flowers and a thank you note I was met by Shelby, their golden retriever dog who is only 9 or so months old. She is the sweetest dog and immediately stuck her head into me for a good pet and began licking my fingers. I love animals and golden retrievers are definitely up there on the list! We said our goodbye’s making sure that they knew that they have a home with us in Canada if they ever come for a visit. They are very sweet people and we are absolutely blessed to have met them and been allowed to stay with them on their property for close to four weeks. I know that everyone we met, including Jan and Joanna, were preordained by God. It was a huge gift from God to stay in such a place of peace and solitude.
I went back to the Casita, made supper, and spent the rest of the evening packing. Glen was not well…hopefully he would be okay for the trip tomorrow. His stomach was now hurting and this was something new. “It’s just the treatments,” I kept telling myself. “This will get better. In Jesus Great Name, this will get better! Glen will get better!” I will strike the ground for Glen a million times in prayer because I know a God who heals!
Friday, December 7, 2018
We awoke to a sunny morning in Santa Barbara. This makes it all the more difficult to leave because we know that it’s raining at home in Abbotsford! I hauled the four suitcases to the car and we both did a last minute check. Glen ate a very sparse breakfast because he was worried about his bowels – I don’t blame him!
We made it to the airport with no problems and after standing in line at Enterprise handed back the keys and got the bill – yikes! I was taken in by the “extra insurance” that I’m sure, in hindsight, I didn’t need. Glen told me I didn’t need it but the guy convinced me that my credit card insurance would not be enough. Live and learn – to listen to Glen!
Next we stood in line to check in. Glen managed to stand there because it was reasonably quick in the small Santa Barbara airport. It reminded me of Abbotsford airport. Santa Barbara is actually only 88,000 people (I think that’s right) so definitely not as big as I thought it might be. We waited for our plane and then boarded with a request for a wheelchair when we got to San Francisco. I’ve never been to any of these places but the quick change from plane to plane in San Francisco doesn’t really count! It was another half hour before we boarded the second plane. Glen was doing decent but was definitely tired and still a bit feverish. As always, I was concerned. I gleaned the window seat on all the flights because the planes were very small and Glen still needed frequent trips to the small little bathroom on the little plane. There were only four seats across on all our flights with the aisle separating those four seats down the middle so it was a tight flight. I watched the scenery change from blue skies and sunny beaches to colder weather and then to snow topped mountain peaks and rooftops as we landed in Calgary.
By the time we got to Calgary it was dark and local time was 5pm ish. I was beyond exhausted and Glen looked about ready to pass out. Though we both just wanted to keep flying home we were thankful that we just had to make it to the airport Marriot hotel for the night. I hijacked a wheelchair for Glen because they forgot even though all along everyone said they would have one for him. I then pushed him to customs where I filled out the forms making it through the customs with no problems. I think it helps when we both look so utterly helpless though that’s certainly not how we were trying to appear!
I gathered all four of our suitcases and loaded them on a cart while Glen sat in the wheelchair – helping where he could of course. Then the daunting task of pushing all the luggage AND Glen. Oh boy! Sadly, though we asked directions to the airport hotel people were more than willing to direct but no one offered to help me push the heavy load. Glen was too weak to push himself in the chair so he held onto the luggage airport cart and I pushed all of it all the way to our hotel room. This was no small task as the hotel hallway turned into rug and was extremely difficult to push around 350 pounds all the way there. We walked in and I collapsed on the bed exhausted and thankful to make it that far. Glen collapsed in the bathroom and shower also completely exhausted. The pain level in his stomach was getting worse and worse in awful cramping waves.
I ordered supper and then welcomed Glen’s parents and sister in law Dianne in for a little visit to our room. Glen is originally from Alberta so that was part of the reason for staying in Calgary a night as well. The visit was good, just heart breaking because we are all so concerned about Glen. I am holding to the hope that the treatments in Tijuana and Santa Barbara will actually work and that Dr. Kim is right – that the cancer spiking will then decrease just as rapidly. It is difficult to hold onto hope when what you see with the naked eye is really bad. This is nightmare material. We are literally warring in the spiritual realm and physical realm for Glen to not only pull through but to be completely restored to better than before health, strength and wellness physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Our precious family left and we were left alone with our thoughts and words. We talk a fair bit but at that point our words were not much. Glen fell asleep on top of the covers of the bed so I got ready for bed. I tried waking him but it was an hour after I climbed into bed that he roused himself and crawled under the covers. I lay awake a few more hours until sleep finally had mercy on my brain.
Saturday December 8, 2018
We both awoke around 8:30am after a few times of being awake during the night. I called the number we were given for breakfast, a direct line to the kitchen. It appears it is no longer possible to get a simple breakfast, as everything is so gourmet. We would love gourmet but just can’t do it so I was able to order a breakfast of just plain eggs and plain toast…it’s the best they could do and we were thankful for it. I did however send the man back for jam – I’m plain but still need jam! ☺ He was gracious in running back and forth and making that delivery.
We packed up quickly because we had not unpacked much and headed downstairs. I had already checked out so we just needed directions to the West Jet departures. The concierge looked at the heavy load I was again pushing. “Do you need help Ma’am?”
Why yes I certainly do please! He pushed the luggage cart and I pushed Glen all the way to West Jet which was a huge blessing in many ways as then I didn’t have to figure out where to go as well! We checked in for our flight while having a conversation with the check in lady about her elderly mother who has cancer. She took a fall and looking at the picture it didn’t look pretty. Everyone has a story. I love hearing people’s stories even though it is heartbreaking I am glad to be able to listen with a caring heart and hopefully give encouragement.
The flight was again on a small turbo prop jet plane. Apparently it’s more economical. We were sitting right by the propeller so it was a loud flight. I was thankful for a short flight. Our son Donovan met us at the airport and I was again thankful that he is a strong man. He hefted the suitcases into his vehicle and off we went. Home. Home is a wonderful thing when you are sick and haven’t been home for awhile. We walked in and took in our surroundings. We have a beautiful home and the best part was that both Donovan and Joshua were there with us. Josh had come home from CBC and was waiting to see us. That blessed my heart more than anything ever could in this world.
I spread out lunch, which consisted of a cooked chicken I had picked up on the way home from Save-On-Foods knowing I, if no one else, would be hungry. We visited and I ate, Glen ate some, and the boys had already had leftover pizza. Glen retired to the easy chair for the next twelve hours collapsing into sleep except when he had to run to the bathroom. Other than that he was out. I changed into my barn clothes and drove to see my horse. Other than my boys my horse was deeply missed by me! I was met at the barn by Lauren who enveloped me in a big, long hug. It was wonderful and made me feel very loved. I then walked into the field to see DeOrro (after saying hi to Zoe who came running to stick her head into the aisle when she heard my voice – the rest of the horses were outside). DeOrro looked up as I walked purposefully towards him. I think I may have even broken into a jog a bit and then remembered he’s still a horse and they don’t like to be run to. He looked for a bit as I came towards him and then he walked quickly to me and nuzzled my hand, then nuzzled into my neck a bit. That was all I needed. The smile was huge as I hugged my buddy and communicated to him how much I missed him. We “talked” a bit and then I walked around the pasture with DeOrro freely walking beside me and following my every move. I love it when he “joins up” with me and follows without a halter. Some days I have to work harder for that to happen but not this day. He missed me too, which warmed my heart to swelling. I put his halter on after a bit and lunged him, then walked into the barn to grab his bridle and my helmet (safety first!). I couldn’t resist a ride. I hopped on and felt his body energy swell and said a prayer for safety. I don’t have time to be injured. The other horses by now had heard my voice and come running so DeOrro’s energy was up more as well. I chose to just ride in the pasture. I had already brought Shorty in, the little cute as a button pony that is also at the barn. Because we all help each other out in our awesome self board barn Shorty and all the horses are deeply loved by all of us. He also seemed happy to see me and was following me around. This is unusual for Shorty because he gets less pasture time (ponies tend to gain weight quickly which is detrimental to their health) when he is outside he generally just eats and does not pay attention to anyone else. This time I was honored that he was indeed happy to see me.
As I rode it was clear that DeOrro had a lot of energy. He wanted to run but I know that he has a fair bit of pain from navicular (his navicular bone under his hoof is degenerated which is very painful) so he tends to buck when we go into a canter. I took the advice of my very good friend who also is a horse trainer and sold me DeOrro and asked for a canter riding in a small circle. It’s harder for a horse to buck going in a circle and I was riding bareback. Sure enough he gave me a few little bucks so I slowed him down right away. I knew I would be stiff just from having not ridden in five weeks and now holding on tighter. I hopped off after twenty or so minutes with a smile on my face and walked along beside him for a bit. He was anxious to be beside me so I brought him into his stall. It was close to supper anyway so I brought him his food and then cleaned out Kenny and Shorty’s stall. It was cold and dark by now so all the horses wanted in. Lauren had already done my stall. I love all my friends at the barn! So supportive! I then let them all back into their stalls and they all gave me snuggles (except Kenny – he can be a bit stand off-ish sometimes especially when he is mad at you and sometimes horses get a bit miffed when you haven’t been around for awhile – he’ll warm up again, the silly boy!). Chilco, who just had to have his eye taken out, came and greeted me too. He doesn’t see very well with the other eye either but he is such a beautiful and gentle big boy. Elizabeth was there before I left and I got and gave another hug. She informed me that Zoe was sold and leaving tomorrow or the next day. She was heartbroken and I was feeling her pain and loss right with her. Saying goodbye to our beautiful animals is always difficult even if the reasoning is logical. I mourn Zoe with her.
I headed to the other barn to give Susanne a hug and was again enveloped in a bear hug. I feel loved and supported by this barn family. I am very blessed to have so many people in my court.
Sunday, December 9, 2018
I awoke after a restless sleep. Glen was still in bed so I simply assumed he was not well enough to go to church with me. He had passed out into a sleep on his favorite chair half an hour after we got home only to be awakened by his bowel and the pain. There was no way I was going to wake him up. I headed to church feeling uneasy about leaving Glen and the week of work that was planned for me. He was not well. Glen was in a lot of pain and not eating unless I brought him food and drink. How was I going to care for him while working and seeing clients? Arriving in church a few minutes late I looked for a place to sit. Donovan was by himself to the side, probably waiting for me as his friends were sitting farther down. I plopped down beside him, grateful for his presence. Half way through the service Josh came in on my other side. Better late than never and I was feeling surrounded by my boys, now young men who felt protective and loving over me. My friend Iona was speaking on this advent Sunday about hope. It was a good sermon that I enjoyed because hope is what I have right now. Hope is the thing keeping me going. Hope that God will do a miracle for my beloved man who I can’t bear to even think about being without.
The service ended I chatted with people trying to give a positive update but the reality is still that Glen’s cancer numbers are up and now he is even more weak and in pain. We are still holding onto the hope that Dr. Kim said – that the numbers will start to go rapidly down. And that God will intervene. I made my way down to Iona and as with any good friend who loves you I felt safe so the tears began to flow and flow hard. The entire church I’m sure witnessed me breaking down. I sobbed on my friend’s shoulder and the worries for the week and care-taking Glen all came out. She cried with me. She empathized with me. She put to words some of what I was feeling – utterly and completely alone and helpless. We feel God and then we’re numb at times. That’s ok. I know He is holding us.
I went home to find Glen somewhat conscious. I went out to do chores and enjoyed my time at the barn. Dad and my step Mom Margaret came over for a bit when I got home to see us after our time away. I thought of going to see Aunt Melinda who lives in a nursing home and I am her POA (Power of Attorney) so I take care of her. I was too exhausted. Tomorrow would be a busy day with chores, a doctor’s appointment for me (the dermatologist checks me every year for cancer spots because my Mom died of melanoma in 2010), and then six scheduled clients. I tried unpacking and making sure things were somewhat in order for the next day but the house still looked in disarray when I collapsed in bed with a still very tired and in pain Glen. Lord, hold us please! Heal my man! We petition before the throne and the courts of heaven, heal my man and extend the boundaries of Glen’s life to a healthy old age!
December 5, 2018
Issels Clinic – The Last Day of Treatment in Santa Barbara
Jeremiah 17:7-8 “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”
The day dawned again. They tend to do that. Somehow the two of us had trouble dawning today. We were both exhausted. Glen had been up and down too many times to count. I had “slept” in a very restless state as a result and woke up at 6am with an excruciating migraine. I had also been having my usual migraine night with multitudes of dreams; sleep talking (telling Glen to keep his eyes open) and doing spiritual warfare in my dream state. This is not abnormal for me when the pain is that bad. I began using the chiropractic laser on my head and neck pretty early and did that for at least an hour before it calmed down even slightly. I moved from that laser to standing in front of the mirror with a normal laser pen and a round black belt on my lower stomach moving the laser in clock-wise circles inside the black circle on my stomach. It’s also a real chiropractic treatment that causes whatever is touching the mirror to “want” to go back into place. I do both lasers pretty much daily in order to function but today it was really bad and not wanting to budge. Today I was wishing for a chiropractor because that seems to be the only option when it’s that excruciating. I ended up taking a migraine pill once we got to the clinic, which today only took the edge off the pain. I’m still thankful for all my tools or I wouldn’t be moving at all today!
Glen was also moving slowly having not slept much all night. He was weak and shaky. Having had another mistletoe shot yesterday he was again feverish last night. Glen is feverish most nights because in order to heal they are actually inducing a fever to stimulate the immune system. It seems very wrong and is hard to observe night after night but it is the right way of waking up the body to fight. We arrived at the clinic and Glen was led away for more testing because one didn’t work out quite right yesterday. It took awhile because there was a line up for testing. Star did the testing again today. I didn’t watch today because I didn’t want my “magnetic personality” to shut down any machines! I plopped down on the couch and waited while talking with Ken, Jimmy and Wileen. As we all talked my “personal assistant extraordinaire” Rowena, texted me asking if the 11am would still work to “see” a client. I almost forgot! Good thing she asked – so I moved onto the floor in the hallway and talked with a sweet client.
By then it was 12pm and I walked to the back to see how Glen was doing. Glen was not doing well. His body was done with treatments – I think because he was so exhausted and the complete lack of sleep that does not help one heal! Roberto was trying to find a vein that worked for the IV as his catheter line had started leaking! It took around 20 pokes to find a vein so that Glen could get his last set of IV’s today. The IV’s were the only treatments on the agenda today besides meeting with the doctors one more time. I couldn’t stand to watch even though Glen is extremely tough. Most people would have refused the IV after poke seven. In fact I witnessed them refuse because they are almost screaming in pain. I’ve had a lot of IV treatments in the past for Lyme Disease and my veins kept popping the needle out with the last one I had so I’m a little nervous about doing more as well! Sadly, IV therapy is one of the big protocols for Glen when he gets home. Poor guy! Good thing those pokes don’t bother him!
I had lunch at the Casita and then packed up all our laundry to go to the Laundromat, then rushed back to the Clinic because apparently Carly the nutritionist was skyping again. I like her so wanted to be there for that. I missed the first half hour but at least got the last half hour and got to say goodbye to Carly. Today I learned that “tiger nut” flour is not a nut but rather a root. I had never heard of tiger flour but it’s a good substitute for nut flour that I will be looking for because I am very allergic to nuts.
I waited at the Clinic until Glen was done the IV so that we could talk with Dr. Kim and then Dr. Issels. The first meeting was with Dr. Kim. We were hoping beyond hope that the blood tests from yesterday would show that the cancer markers were going down. Our hearts sank when Dr. Kim shared that the cancer markers were again going up. Really?! He pulled up a chart to calm our fears.
“We used to panic when the cancer markers went up so quickly instead of down. If you look at this chart of another patient you can see that the cancer markers spiked, and then after a few weeks went rapidly down. We think that the spiking is because the many treatments are causing the cancer tumors and cells to break down and fill the blood stream with cancer markers. This means that the treatment, according to experience, is probably working. We will want more blood work done in about three weeks,” Dr. Kim explained as he wrote down the exact things he wanted our doctors back in Canada to check for, “And then make sure I get the results. I am only a phone call away.”
Wow. Dr. Kim is amazing. He is often in his office researching and I wonder if he’s in there praying a lot. He went over the home program and different pharmaceuticals to look into if what we’re doing isn’t working. Since we live right on the border if our doctors don’t co-operate we can always have him send stuff to us in Washington – but hopefully our doctors back home will be on board and work together as a team. We’re praying for that outcome! Glen got up and went to the bathroom and I asked a few more questions sharing how disappointed I was that we couldn’t see the markers going down while we’re here. Disappointed is an understatement. He understood and shared in our obvious hope of wanting evidence to keep the hope alive. I remain hopeful. My roots are firmly grounded in Christ and so are Glen’s so this will not make our hope go dry. If God said Glen will be healed then Glen will be healed.
We then met with Dr. Issels who confirmed that according to his tests Glen is looking better. He also affirmed what Dr. Kim said. We have so very much to remember! Dr. Issels is also just a phone call away. He prefers phone consults so that he can ask more questions and be more helpful – he would just prefer that we book it with the front desk so that he’s ready for us with file in hand. I certainly understand that. I was also wondering if we have to pay more for consults and the answer is no! We have these doctors for the rest of Glen’s life and what we have paid is all-inclusive – unless of course we come back for more treatments in Santa Barbara. I guess with that being said it’s not a bad deal and it’s a deal we will certainly be utilizing!
Dr. Issels then explained that he needed to go home because he lost his wife this past summer and there were some people coming to pick up some kitchen equipment. Talk about a bomb drop!! I knew there was something that just didn’t add up and grief certainly explained what that something was. He was doing an amazing job in spite of dire circumstances. He was still doing what he has been called to do. We will continue to pray for him. Now we know how to pray more specifically.
Saying goodbyes at the Clinic were bitter sweet. We kept our “Kangen” water bottles (perfectly balance PH water to help the body become alkaline) so I have to bring those back tomorrow but we wanted to say our main goodbyes today. The staff and the patients we met have become very special to us. We have bonded at a level that is very deep and happened very quickly. I’m not even sure that we, even now, know a ton about each other (depending on whom we hung out with the most), yet when you bond on a life and death level with dear people like these it is for life. We have exchanged email and phone contacts with most of them. It is our desire to stay in contact with them. Jimmy and Jennifer said if we need anything out here to just contact them. They are from Los Angeles and are also believers. Ken and Ada are also leaving for home tomorrow. They are amazing and I will truly miss them all! Jimmy and I were both the comic relief at the clinic. It was my goal from day one to make everyone smile – staff and patients alike. If I can come in and tell a funny story about how my hair suddenly got curls and make everyone smile, why not? Life is way too serious and these people, though in pain, know all too well that life is too serious. They don’t take life as seriously in a way. They know life is fragile and treat it with respect. They smile when the world thinks there is nothing to smile about. They find purpose and reasons and look at life different. Life is too short to live bitter. These people live better and I have a high and huge respect for each one of them. We all have to go sometime…and it’s hard to let our loved one’s go. I think that for most at the clinic God has more… He’s just teaching us all a valuable life lesson on what is important.
I dropped Glen off at the Casita and made my way back to the Laundromat. I was definitely looking forward to doing laundry at home! I can’t believe how blessed we are. Back home I have two incredibly amazing sons, a crazy amazing horse (boarded out), a huge house that also holds my growing counselling business, supportive friends and family – and it’s all because of Jesus. The years have been filled with trials and I am thankful that Glen and I have been able to face these trials and grow together in Christ. They have also been filled with much joy. May He grant us the keys not only to Glen’s healing but also healing to many more who come through our door. By the grace of God we grow those roots deeper in Christ and thrive. Without that grace, we are nothing. “Thank you Jesus for adopting us! Now we again claim healing on Glen and expand the boundaries of his life into a healthy old age in Jesus Christ Name! Amen.”
December 4, 2018
The day dawned with blue skies but sadly by noon it was starting to cloud over. I know I shouldn’t be complaining but I was really hoping that our last few days would be warmer, bright, sunny… so yes, I will stop complaining! We spent the sunny morning at the clinic. Glen was getting more testing done so instead of hitting the beach while the day was warm and sunny I stayed with him to hear the results. The testing went very slowly today – probably because I was antsy to get to the beach!
The testing was everything he had tested on day one to measure the progress results. This time I wrote it down…. He had “digital body analysis” (AO); the ESTECK scan that scans the body with four plates to read pretty much everything that is going on in the body. Dr. Issels said it doesn’t tell us if someone has cancer but they look at things on the scan that are missing or prominent. He also had the ZYTO scan done which is the same scan my naturopath Dr. Tracy Park uses. This one scans a hand and also is a great tool to see what is going on in the body. Today I also asked more about what each therapy does. The BRT (Bacon, relish and tomatoes?)…just kidding – it’s a “Bio resonance therapy” which actively gets the cells to communicate with each other. This is the therapy that Roberto jokingly said was like marriage therapy. The CC otherwise known as “Cellular Communication” is the passive way to get the cells to communicate by “clearing” the pathways of junk in the way (that’s my words minus the passive word…my weird way of trying to understand what it does!) Glen also had “Acoustic light wave” therapy sessions done quite often – it also facilitates cell communication. This basically means it’s all giving the body a little kick and saying, “Seriously!? This is cancer. Cancer is not your friend. Now start fighting it!”
We met with Dr. Issels and I planted myself in the farthest corner of his office to not disrupt his computer system for another test…I forgot to ask what this one was. These are not blood results but according to all that testing Glen has improved. The extreme exhaustion is his body getting better and detoxifying as we keep targeting the cancer, which is apparently the only thing wrong with him. Getting better is hard work with any disease. I definitely understand that with all the hard work I’ve done and will continue to do to ditch the Lyme Disease. People ask me if you can heal from Lyme Disease. The answer is that it depends on to whom you are asking the question. Just the same as the question, “Can one heal from stage 4 terminal cancer?” If you’re asking me, the eternal optimist who is always filled with hope, the answer is yes – to both questions. This song from my childhood comes to mind: “Because HE lives, I can face tomorrow! Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know who holds my future…And life is worth the living, just because He lives!”
Jesus is the great Physician. Jesus is the Word that was made flesh and was with God the Father creating the world. (John 1) Jesus the Son and God the Father made us in their image (of course with the Spirit of God there too), so if we are made in their image we are made perfectly. Our bodies know how to heal. Yes, we live on this imperfect earth. Yes, bad things happen all the time – believe me – I think I may have heard most of them already in my 23 years of counselling. Bad things happen because we have an enemy. God doesn’t give us bad things. God uses those bad things for good for those who love Him to mold us and make us more like Him – to “sanctify” us is what that means. Whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger and we are called to be stronger. We are called to work out every day not only physically (a good idea) but spiritually! Flex those muscles of trust and faith! Flex those disciplines of prayer and reading the Word! Flex those muscles of listening to the still, small, peaceful voice of the Spirit giving us words of absolute life. And man, are we flexing out here in treatment and on this roller coaster ride of cancer coupled with Lyme Disease!! God has called us all to flex and become strong men and women for Him. Battle on!
When I finally did make it to the beach the wind was so strong and the waves rushing in one on the other in rapid succession – I was actually cold. There were no surfers out today for the first time since I have been coming here. In an effort to remain as adamant as possible to take in the free negative ion treatment from the ocean I took off my shoes and socks and waded along the shoreline walking for around an hour. It was still breathtaking even though the water was shocking my toes with the chill! God has made some amazing scenes!
I made it back to the clinic and visited with Jimmy and Ken in the waiting room for a bit before moving into the IV room. Jennifer’s numbers are looking better! That is so awesome! I’m not sure about Ada but I am hoping her numbers are looking up too. She is such a sweet woman with a gentle nature. She had a rough day today with a sudden onslaught of nausea, headache and throwing up. I am praying she’s ok for her last day of treatment tomorrow!
Though Glen started the day exhausted and barely moving he certainly perked up by the time we came home. That was unusual but we will take it! He had a little nap and after a supper of the fresh salmon I landed at the “Fish Market” (almost as good as real fishing when you pay $4.82 for enough salmon for two!), Glen even had some coconut milk ice cream for dessert. He needs it. He’s down to 160 pounds, which for his frame is skinny.
Tomorrow is also Glen’s last day of treatment. As we started today with blood tests again we will get those results before going home. I think we may be holding our breath…
December 3, 2018
Glen had a better night even though the extremely low dose chemotherapy caused his feet to go red with rash and on fire on only day 4 of taking it. When he took the same type of chemotherapy in 2015 the entire bottoms of his feet went fiery hot and peeled off entirely. Glen didn’t take it again this morning. When we told Dr. Kim he said just stay off of it entirely for now – probably for good – as Glen is obviously very sensitive to it. He is still on the “Tykerb”, another pharmaceutical that is supposed to be a non-psyto toxic chemo agent and will also attack the cancer without all the nasty side effects. I pray that it does. Whatever Glen is taking I, and an army of prayer warriors, God’s children, are also praying for his healing through the means of doctors or direct intervention by the hand of God.
We arrived at Issels Clinic slightly after 9am because I had a hard time getting out of bed this morning. I took an allergy pill to sleep and once I fell asleep I was out until my alarm at 7:30am this morning. Of course when it went off I promptly turned it off and rolled back over falling asleep again! As one who suffers from insomnia forever it is really hard to get up most mornings. When I was in Bible College my roommate and I would regularly turn the alarm off in our sleep and not even remember doing it. That made it pretty hard to make it to an 8:00am class but usually I made it by rolling out of bed by 7:55am, throwing on sweats and a sweatshirt and running to class! Strange method of survival but that’s what I did! One morning I was so very tired that I got up and walked across the room to turn off my alarm – my solution to turning off the alarm in my sleep – and then sat on the floor of my room and fell asleep sitting up. Wish I could fall asleep at night so easily!
This morning Glen went straight into the hyperbaric oxygen chamber. I decided to park on a farther away street where I could leave my vehicle for longer and go for a walk to the comic book store to buy our boys each a comic book. I ended up parking a fair ways away and then just started walking, connecting back up with State street. I got to the comic book store turn off but everything was closed so I kept on walking. I was also looking for a store where they had winter looking suede jackets on sale (polyester really, not even suede!) because my jackets were done being useful and it sure would be nice to have something a little bit warmer for the trip home! I walked through an outdoor mall that I had spied from my vehicle trips driving down State Street, then arrived at the bridge which is really close to the beach so I figured I may as well keep on walking! I arrived at Stearns Wharf and eased myself down onto the sand removing my shoes for good measure. The seal popped up and down again but didn’t hover anywhere in the water for too long so I just enjoyed watching him pop up and slide back gracefully into the water. The sun was wonderful and I just enjoyed sitting there. Eventually I got up and waded in the water a bit but today I just needed to rest my feet!
After a half hour of soaking up the sun I made my way back up to the sidewalk. Stopping at the man who “works for tips by creating art” I asked him if he could be in the picture with the sand sculpture of the paramedic helping another man he had created. It really is a work of art. Though he moved very slowly because he forgot his cane (I wouldn’t have asked him to stand had I known how hard that was for him!) I think he was proud to be in the picture. Of course I gave him a “tip” but felt pretty cheap as I had put other small cash in my pocket to hand out as I walked back down State Street. There are so many homeless here, as in other cities. It really does break my heart no matter what city I’m in.
On the long walk back to the Clinic I found the jacket I wanted to buy for really cheap so didn’t feel too bad spending money. I then got handed a sample of moisturizer and got enticed to walk into a store. I ended up getting my hair curled entirely by “GO Royal” (pronounced G-O) who was trying to sell me either ridiculously priced skin care or the ion flat iron he was using to curl my hair. Once I explained that every spare cent was going for cancer treatments for Glen and necessities he became a real person and started telling me more about him. He recently lost his mother because of liver disease. He was about to finish production on an album – he has a really nice voice, I know because he was singing – when he met a really big star that he was not allowed to tell anyone about…yet. This “big star” is debuting him in a massive concert on December 11 with thousands of people and helping him finish his album! I kind of felt bad not buying anything but he didn’t push it after knowing my reason for being in Santa Barbara for which I was very thankful! I made it back to the clinic having given all my spare change to two different homeless people and buying a smoothie because my blood sugar was pretty low by then!
I walked into the IV room to show Glen my new curls before finding lunch but Glen and Ada both gave me their chickpea salads so I figured that should suffice for a light lunch. Glen had to finish up his IV’s having already done various other treatments including a new one called a “hemo” shot which involved them taking his blood and adding something to it and then re-injecting him with his own blood again. Weird stuff but Lord please bless it! Visiting with Kim, who had to leave tomorrow after only a week there, I only walked back into the waiting room when all the chairs were filled. In the waiting room I met Willene who was new there.
“I thought I was the only woman here who wasn’t a patient! All the men went out for lunch,” she said in a Southern drawl. Her and her husband Bill are from Missouri near Arkansas. I laughed. I could have joined the men she was referring to but I prefer to eat cheaper food back at the Casita as my norm. The men would have included Ken (Ada’s husband), Terry (Kim’s husband) and now we finally met Jimmy who is Jennifer’s husband. I found Glen again to see how long he would be then took off for Trader Joe’s to buy a few groceries. By the time I got back to the Clinic I was probably more ready than Glen to get back “home” because I was so hungry my head was going into a migraine.
The evening brought us chicken for supper instead of fish, and another calm evening of writing, a movie “Ant Man”, and spending time with my beloved. It was a day where God had to instill more hope in me through a friend who has lost her beloved texting me and giving me encouragement. This is a journey I would not wish on anyone yet too many walk through it. I am so very thankful that we do not walk this journey alone. The verse of the day echoes in my mind.
Nahum 1:7 “The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him.”
I believe. I trust. God is our refuge.
December 2, 2018
Rest Day, Santa Barbara
I took a muscle relaxant again last night so finally – I slept through most of Glen getting up and down. He said he slept really well last night too in spite of getting up around seven times. The nights are consistent with Glen’s bowels being nightmarish yet we are very thankful that he is able to fall asleep quickly virtually every time he has to do the up and down thing. Glen was still sleeping when I woke up at 7am and ducked back under the covers to warm up and shade my eyes from the sun. Glen was still sleeping when I awoke again at 8am. This time I lay as still as possible so that he could sleep longer. I gently rolled over to grab my laser and began aiming the chiropractic strength laser at my head, then neck for the next hour. It really helps my pain levels as it works a few centimeters down to relax the soft tissue. Finally at 9am Glen woke up and headed for the bathroom – which meant I had to wait for the bathroom! Oops!
Glen was again exhausted but slightly less exhausted than yesterday so after a lazy morning I made us some plain and simple turkey gluten free wraps (mine a little less simple with added lettuce, mayo and Dijon mustard – sorry honey!) and we headed for the beach. I headed down to the beach while Glen went to the public bathroom. I finished my wrap and was about to go for a walk having given up on Glen joining me when I saw him slowly making his way down the steeper pathway to the beach. My heart lit up when I saw him coming! I knew he wouldn’t be able to walk with me today but if he can sit in the sand with his bare feet and soak up some 17 degree weather sunshine I was sure it would bring some semblance of healing to his body and perhaps his soul too. Glen gave me a kiss and sent me on my way for a walk in my bare feet again while he settled into the sand.
As I walked I began to warm up a little. I was one of the few wearing shorts on the beach but as it was the surfers’ area there were quite a few of them in their wet suits enjoying the waves. To my great delight I saw dolphins swimming across the shoreline again! This time there were at least three sets of two to three dolphins swimming side by side in perfect synchronism in and out of the water with a grace unequaled. I was again mesmerized and watched as long as I could see them before walking along the beach again. Today I walked further deciding to dip my feet up to my knees if need be to get around some rather large jagged rocks jutting out of the sand and water. I walked carefully here because I could see that at certain spots I would land hard in deep holes of water and crash my foot and leg against a sharp boulder so wanted to avoid a broken foot or leg for sure!
I love the ocean. It is mesmerizing and puts my soul at peace even though it is thunderous with the constant waves and surf coming in and out. The wind whipped my hair around as it blew directly into my face. I chanced taking my hat off to feel the wind whip through my hair more thoroughly and feel the hand of God kiss my face with His strong wind. I prayed as I walked. I listened to my Father God, as it’s been heart breaking to see Glen so sick and tired. We know if it weren’t for those nasty improperly working bowels Glen would feel better but so far that healing isn’t seeming to go anywhere – at least not that we can see yet. There is so much that we don’t see that goes on in the spiritual realm. It is that unseen battle and unlocking of those healing doors that we are literally counting on to save Glen’s life.
“Next year will be different,” I hear. “Hang on child. Trust Me.”
How many times have I heard my Father God tell me to trust Him? A lot. I do trust Him and He knows that His heart is safe with me. I appreciate the reminders to consciously trust Him with all things. My mind wanders as I see birds, dogs chasing balls their owners are throwing for them (not a lot of people here but enough to keep my squirrely brain occupied!). I see large birds in a tree and try to take a picture. As I’m walking through the water I see ocean life attached to the rocks and try to take a picture. I keep listening to the sounds of nature, of the ocean and of my Father God. He’s whispering how much He loves Glen and me. He’s speaking almost in a voice I can’t understand yet I do understand it – it’s like a massage for my mind, my soul, my inner sanctuary is being buffered for whatever is to come next. I know there is more coming for this world that isn’t going to be pretty. Just like the storm changed the landscape here on this beach, more storms will come that will continue to change our landscape in the world that we know. I know that God is preparing us. I am thankful that I am His child and on the winning side. I know that He is coming soon. How soon only God knows but I am choosing to live ready. When He comes He will make all things new again…I can’t even imagine what that will be like! The world is already so beautiful and yet this is just a shadow of things to come. The words of the song, “I can only imagine…what it will be like…” come to mind. What is to come will be beyond our imaginations capabilities and I have a pretty good imagination!
I arrive back to find a very relaxed Glen sitting in the sand listening to music. Chris Tomlin is playing “How Great is Our God” in his ears so he graciously puts one of his ear buds in my ear to listen and praise Jesus together.
The afternoon involved Glen crashing between bed and bathroom, yet I am so thankful for the little bit of time together on the beach! At this point I will take what I get even though I am missing more cuddles because it is uncomfortable and verging on painful for Glen – I am thankful he is here and for every kiss, cuddle, hug and touch I get. I love him so much and really can’t imagine life without him.
I settled outside for a bit to try to finish up an online counselling course on “Somatic Experiencing”. It was an hour and a half of video, then a test. Two more videos to go. It’s ok but it is not what God has taught me in Levelling Prayer Technique, which is so powerful in setting people free from trauma big and small. God is so amazing! But, I have to do “Continuing Education Credits” every year so I have to put in the time and find things to glean and learn each time.
Supper was fish, potatoes and zucchini again…And again, it tasted fantastic. There is nothing like fresh! We spent the evening the same – writing, sports on TV and then found Captain America on TV to watch together. We are grateful and we again claim healing for Glen is Jesus’ Great Name.
December 1, 2018
Glen had another rough night. It seems to be the norm right now and we now know for sure, as if we didn’t know before that, why people choose to go back to an ileostomy bag. Glen is not getting the sleep he needs which makes it very difficult to heal. Of course with me being a light sleeper when I’m able to sleep, it doesn’t help me sleep either. Glen is also reacting to the dendritic immunotherapy shot he got yesterday. It was made out of his own blood, cultured and trained to kill the cancer cells. I still believe yet the belief is more and more difficult when the cancer markers have gone up and not down. I choose to believe that this is working, that Glen is healing, that Glen being feverish and exhausted and having a rash from the injection site is the treatments working. I CHOOSE TO BELIEVE!
We were both hoping that Glen would be up to going out today but that was not to happen. He was absolutely exhausted. We figured that he would probably not be doing well but it was a calculated timing for the immunotherapy vaccine. If we left it for before we need to fly home next week he would not be functional at all and I don’t think I can do all of that on my own…so he has a rough last weekend here. Sad. That’s the only word for it. On the other hand though, as I force myself to be positive, Glen needs his “cave” time. The clinic at Issels has been extremely busy this week and he was the only male patient there which meant that there were a lot of women there who visited more…which is awesome…It just meant that Glen didn’t get his quiet time to nap – which is his saving grace because he doesn’t sleep much at night.
We both love the new people at the clinic. Kim and her husband Terry are both Christian people and it is very refreshing. Martha is also a Christian and is at the clinic without a person there to support her. They are both fantastic. Simmon and her husband Ki drive in from Los Angeles and they had amazing results – her cancer markers are completely down! They are praying for us as well. Then there’s a woman from China there who is a retired pediatrician (I can’t remember her name). She is there with her daughter in law whose English name is Fiona. Jen from Los Angeles is still there as well. She scared us last week when she didn’t show up on Monday because she had been in the hospital. She had some stints put in and was there from Tuesday on. It is always nice to see Jen. She is obviously in pain yet smiling, positive, kind and empathetic. I never cease to be amazed at cancer patients who just embrace life and choose to live. The Issels Clinic has that picture of the frog with his head in the stork’s mouth yet his arms trying to choke the bird whose trying to eat it. Never give up! That’s the motto along with “Keep Sisseling with Issels”. (Catch the Issels imbedded in there? ☺)
Because the morning dawned bright and clear with blue skies we sat out on the patio where the wind is not so windy. We were able to be together when Glen was not in the bathroom. We were able to talk with Donovan and I was happy to hear that my wonderful friend and “personal assistant extraordinaire” at Wellspring Christian Counselling made him two lasagna’s so he would be ok. He loved it. He is also tired…he’s worried about his Dad and I don’t blame him. It’s been a long journey. We talked again about how God has this – yet as he said, it’s hard not to worry because we are human. We choose to trust and believe and if Donovan is anything like his mother and other human beings we need to choose it over and over. Some days it’s easy. Some moments it’s easy. Other moments it’s a definite choice. Today for me it’s a definite choice. I do believe Glen will be healed. It’s just hard to see that when he’s not doing so well…
By noon I was pretty sure that Glen was not going to be able to join me and I actually had to go out. We were out of enough groceries that I was forced out the door. Looking at my tired beloved I decided I would take my time. The Casita is wonderful but if I’m around I’m keeping him awake. I headed for the beach for a walk to begin my afternoon adventure. The ocean waves had picked up again with a thunderous velocity. The landscape at the beach has drastically changed. I made it past the point I couldn’t make it past yesterday and walked in the water and sand barefoot (very detoxifying and healthy) for about twenty minutes and then my sandy beach became rockier and more difficult to traverse. I took more pictures as I stood atop a rock. I’m in awe of nature. This place is so beautiful. I told Glen that when he’s better we should take every November off and come here.
Getting back to the car I hopped in and drove only a mile or so. Stopping at the harbor I parked in a 90-minute spot and hopped out. I was in search of the fish market. Kaitlyn, a receptionist at the clinic, told me that you could get fresh fish for cheaper by asking for “trimmings”. I ended up walking another half mile before getting close. A homeless woman asked me if I could spare a dollar on my little excursion. I stopped and smiled and said, “Can you give me directions?”
Her face was sunburned and peeling and my heart broke for her. I don’t know why she’s on the street begging for money but I just find it so sad to see all the homeless and how skinny they are.
“Sure,” she replied smiling back.
“Where is the fish market?” I asked as I dug in my wallet for some change for her.
She pointed me in the right direction.
“Are you hungry?” I asked as I handed her some money.
“Yes Ma’am,” she said politely.
I nodded. I bet she was. I would be dead as a homeless person. I fetched the tangerine out of my pocket that I had packed along because my blood sugar tends to drop rapidly and I need something quickly. I had just picked it before coming to the beach. I handed it to her.
“Freshly picked,” I smiled.
It looked like she almost burst into tears. “Thank you. God bless you,” she intoned.
“God bless you too,” I said and quickly kept walking before I cried.
I stopped in a little store and tried on a cute sweatshirt that said “Santa Barbara”. It was adorable but somehow I couldn’t get myself to spend the money in light of my recent encounter with that sweet homeless lady…
I did manage to find the Fish Market. I did manage to buy a fair amount of fresh white fish and some fresh salmon for $20.00 in total. Looking at the prices of the fresh fish I’m pretty sure I scored a really good deal! I headed back to my car walking with my bag of fresh fish and ice in hand. Driving back down Shoreline Drive I turned down the street I knew – State Street – driving down the downtown core slowly (cause that’s what you have to do), and found a gas station. Searching for the magic button to press to open the Sante Fe’s gas tank, and, I might add, finding it – I hopped out ready to fill up the tank. But of course the machine told me “no – go see the cashier” so I walked into the gas station and purchased the gas. Filling up a tank shouldn’t be newsworthy but it was refusing to work and a gentleman beside me came and did exactly the same thing as me, and it worked. I’m just impressed that someone noticed and came over to help this poor maiden in distress!
I hopped back into the car and drove all the way to Whole Foods without the aid of google maps – yay! By this time I was getting really hungry so quickly bought what we needed and looked for the young man at the till who I’ve seen every time I’ve been at Whole Foods and who always makes me miss my boys. He wasn’t there which, weirdly, made me feel sad. I got back in and drove to CVS, the pharmacy to pick up some stuff for Glen, then drove back to the Casita having forgotten to buy bananas. Back out I went again but just drove to the little deli across from Issels this time. I was starving and still had to make supper but Glen really needed bananas for the protein drinks I was encouraging him to drink because he just keeps losing weight. He’s down another five pounds making him 165 pounds too light for his frame so I will go back out into the now weather turned wind and cold and buy him bananas!
The evening was chill with me writing after making and eating supper, Glen crawling under the covers and going back and forth to the bathroom. I rubbed his poor neuropathy ridden feet that were freezing and we enjoyed watching a whole pile of TV… there’s not much else to do here so I write and Glen kind of watches TV on and off. And by the way, the fish was amazing! I love walking out the door to pick a fresh lemon for dinner.
So today, though it’s rough, we again choose to believe.
Day 26 & 27
November 29 & 30, 2018
Issels Clinic Treatment Days
The days seem to be blending together. The evenings are very relaxed in our little Casita together yet we’re not really as together as we would like to be. Glen’s bowels are having minimal improvement and it goes up and down.
This whole journey is not an easy one. Glen has started on the non-toxic pharmaceutical and the low dose chemotherapy. He said he actually felt slightly better but he is also so fatigued from the treatments all day and the regular bathroom visits that are literally “pooping him out” – pun intended. Glen having a terminal diagnosis scares me yet I am determined to stay firmly entrenched in “Camp Hope” – trusting God in all things and thankful for each and every positive step that moves us forward. We will do blood tests again next Tuesday, as next Wednesday is Glen’s last treatment day here at Issels. Dr. Kim wants to see those cancer markers come down as well, which gives me some comfort. We all want to see Glen live and live well so it is nice that so many are praying and rooting for us, including the doctors.
When Glen got this second diagnosis and we discovered just how very bad it was we spent a lot of time on our knees. This is not something that we blame God for. God does not inflict something evil upon His children, His bride. God allows things to happen to allow for our growth. There are many times when things don’t turn out as we would like it to. The Bible says that God works “all things” out to His glory for them who love Him. We love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, strength, and as long as our bodies last, these temples will be the “place” from which we serve our Lord while here on earth. We know that one day we will get new bodies – new places for our souls and our spirits to find their eternal dwelling place. We are just asking for Glen a “not yet” prayer. I believe I heard God say that this is a big mountain to get over. We are to live as if we are on the other side of this mountain in victory because the victory is already won. We know that we are still getting over the mountain in our earthly “real time” situation, which is our “present day”. We also know that God views time different than we do. We know that God has this. This mountain is HUGE. God is BIGGER. We choose to trust “bigger”. We choose to trust God completely. No matter how tired we are of this relentless journey we will trust the Lord and serve Him with our whole hearts.
Thursday evening Glen was mostly in the bathroom. It sounds strange but we are hoping that his bowels getting worse is actually the cancer disease causing it because when Glen beats that then the hope is that the bowels will also become better. After his last surgery when the doctor got rid of the ileostomy bag life has never been the same. We are praying for not just healing of the cancer, but also healing of and re-growing of a rectum. Jesus raised people from the dead. Jesus healed the blind, made the lame to walk, the deaf to hear. I have read about people re-growing nerves and other body parts because of God’s miraculous healing power. God wants us to heal. God wants us to grow. We just keep asking for the “more” of that healing from a God who loves us.
Thursday was quite stormy outside. When I was about to move my car so that I would not get a parking ticket it was gale force winds and rain. I decided to take my chances with the parking. Today is windy but sunny again. The beach today was a different scene than when I went before the storm. The waves were coming in very large and the surfers were in their glory. The water was up very high because of the large waves and the tide. The beautiful sand was washed and eroded by the beating of the thunderous waves. The waves erosion had left three to five foot drops in the sand when before it was a nice gentle slope down to the beach. In the farther part of the beach that used to be sand it’s now a beautiful mixture of sand and exposed rock jutting out from the sand in intricate and jagged formations. The beauty of nature at it’s very finest is awesome and amazing! God is at work everywhere I look. There is nowhere that is untouched by God. The pettiness of humankind is pure silliness in the light of the big God that we serve. We are humbled and in awe.
Today, Friday, Glen received the dendritic injection again that I was supposed to do. Again, I am SO thankful to the angel nurse who got the permission to give Glen the injection. It was quite an involved process and the last thing I would want to do is mess that up! That also means we don’t have to stress about finding dry ice which wouldn’t be enough to keep it frozen on our journey home because it will be a two day journey. We are both sighing in relief that it’s done even though we know that it may give Glen a bit of a fever tonight…as long as he sleeps…
We are also pretty ready to go home. We love it here, but here is not home. We have two wonderful sons at home whom we miss. We (more accurately I but Glen likes him too) have a horse at home that I miss. I drove past a saddle shop yesterday while out running errands and buying groceries. While driving back again I had to stop and walk in. The wonderful smell of leather made me miss the barn and I literally stood there inhaling for a minute before walking fully in. The barn is a place of safety and peace for me. We are so thankful that we came and got the help we needed. Now it is the weekend and I am praying that we both sleep tonight. We are both exhausted and both need the healing power of regenerative sleep that evades us many nights. Though this has been a difficult week in many ways with the bowel battle, we are also counting a multitude of blessings. The inflammation is down. We are here getting Glen the treatment he needs and we couldn’t have done all of this in Canada. We are alive and we are in love. We have a wonderful support group back at home and now also all over the States with the people we have met and the doctors in Tijuana. We have so much to be thankful for!
‘Thank you Lord! Please cover us with Your hedge of thorns and wall of fire as we rest in your perfect peace being filled with Your love and Your resurrection healing power. As we say daily, By Your stripes we are healed.” Amen.
November 28, 2018
Issels Clinic, Santa Barbara
Today the sun was actually hidden by the clouds. Glen was up most of the night so I’m sure the weather matched his mood a bit – although he always feels more optimistic in the morning even after a bathroom filled and sleepless night. The evening was really rough for Glen and it’s incredibly difficult to keep one’s spirits up when your butt is as bad as it is for him. I am at a loss and don’t know what to do, what to say, how to help. To feel so utterly helpless when your beloved is in pain; when he continues to lose weight, when it’s such a socially inappropriate thing to discuss – to say that this is difficult for Glen and I is an understatement. We are learning to treasure each and every good moment.
We made it to the clinic and had a slow start. I was going to walk and find that cute little comic book and games store that caught my attention last week. My boys would probably love a comic book on Star Wars or something Marvel. The morning walk was not to be. We met with Dr. Kim and received the good and not so good news. The good news is that Glen’s inflammation is finally going down – not enough but significant enough to cheer! The bad news is that the cancer markers are still up, even slightly higher. The good news around the bad news is that cancer markers being slightly up could actually mean that his body is responding to treatment and fighting the cancer so we can’t really “trust” the markers just yet. Dr. Kim put Glen on more pharmaceuticals to attack the cancer. We are hoping that the bowels getting worse and worse is a condition caused by the cancer disease, so if we exterminate the disease hopefully the bowels will also not only improve but become new. I am praying for the ultimate miracle – a brand new rectum. I know God can and I’m just going to keep praying that He will. I’m a bit leery of the one pharmaceutical though as it’s the same chemo that Glen took with the first round of cancer in 2015. He will be taking it at an extremely low dose and Dr. Kim said that if he starts getting any symptoms, including worse neuropathy because that’s already bad from stuff from the naturopath in Canada as well as the past chemo, then he just simply stops taking it.
I also mentioned to Dr. Kim that my heart keeps racing so of course we went over all the things that could be the cause including anxiety, thyroid issues, and infections. It could also just be Lyme symptoms coming back as I have been in much more pain again and the heart symptoms are not new. This just tells me that I’m ok. I’ll just continue to blame Lyme because I’m pretty sure it is the culprit. This too shall pass!
We went from Dr. Kim to Dr. Millar the psychologist to chat some more. We talked a long while and got to know him better. Glen is an amazing man and handling something horrendous with as much dignity and thankfulness as is possible in this circumstance. He is growing closer to the Lord. He is taking a mitt full of supplements when he hates taking “all that stuff”. He’s doing it all out of a simple faith. Everyone’s faith looks somewhat different because everyone has a unique relationship with our Father God. We all hear from Him differently because He created us each with specific hearing abilities. I believe that Glen hears from God through creation and through his incredible empathy for others. God’s kindness and compassion shine through Glen to others and wraps them up in love when he simply walks in a room. That’s my man. When we got married we sang to each other during the ceremony. “He has chosen you for me. Take my hand and we’ll agree, that He has chosen you…for me….He has made us. Washed us white as snow. And now, we’re together. Cause He has made it so….” You get the idea. The song fit then and the song fits now. It was a beautiful expression of our love for each other and our love for God. We dedicated our relationship to God the first day we started dating through prayer initiated by Glen. I knew then that Glen was the man for me – a man of God after God’s own heart. I can’t imagine what God has in store for him by making him even stronger.
I headed back to the Casita for lunch and Glen headed into more treatments. He got more IV’s with a new IV line because his old one was hurting and not working. He had the BRT and Light Wave Therapy, and finished off with a hyperbaric oxygen treatment. I drove back to the Clinic and starting walking downtown mostly because I needed a walk.
Glen’s afternoon was also rough with his bowel. As I was waiting for Glen to finish up I noticed Dr. Kim wasn’t busy so knocked on his door to pick his brain about anything else we can do to help Glen’s bowels. I am thrilled to know that Dr. Kim will be Glen’s doctor even back in Canada yet it won’t be simple there. Dr. Kim is not licensed in Canada so he can give us suggestions and then we need to make it happen with the doctors at home. That sounds like a long process to me… Dr. Kim and I chatted for quite awhile as he began grasping just how awful Glen’s bowels are and how it has literally changed our lives. We can’t go out because Glen is in constant need of a bathroom. When we have some good hours it is literally a miracle. We discussed a j pouch and what that would mean (a surgical procedure that would give Glen a bag again). He also mentioned another pharmaceutical that had eight benefits including attacking the cancer and supposed to help the constant pooping. It’s called “octreotide”. I put that in my mind as something to try if all else keeps failing. A j pouch or ileostomy is a last resort but right now it actually looks way better than what he is dealing with. We are really appreciating the open door policy of the doctors here. It makes it so much easier because we don’t have to think of everything at one appointment.
I took a look at Glen and decided, along with him, that instead of going to the pharmacy we would head straight back to the Casita. Glen was beyond exhausted from the treatments and the massive bowel day. I also couldn’t stop yawning. The evening was spent making and eating a simple supper, watching a few shows, Glen watching hockey and me writing. I am very thankful for my man! As we sit together now we can hear the rains coming down – much needed in drought ridden Santa Barbara. May God grant us His healing rain as we continue our time here at Issels Clinic.
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
True to Santa Barbara the sun dawned with bright and blue skies again. Glen had a “decent” night, which meant only in the bathroom about 6-7 times. We really don’t know how much we have to be thankful for until it’s taken away and we realize just how much our bodies do for us when they are working properly. I slept better so woke up a little more rested. We were off to the Clinic again today.
I walked in with Glen this morning. He walked right into treatment and I sat down to chat with Ken. We were both wondering how we were going to make it into Tijuana in February for another round of immunotherapy with thousands of people at the border vying to get into the States in order to escape Honduras where there is so much corruption and persecution going on. I don’t blame them at all. It truly is a matter of life and death for them and I am thankful I’m not the President to have to figure out that mess. I can’t help but wonder why these beautiful countries are so corrupt. They could easily produce enough food and have clean water for everyone with their amazing climates. The greed of the wealthy and the few with the most, make those with more oppress those who have little instead of helping them. It breaks my heart. We have to go back to Tijuana around the first week of February so have started to look at flights directly into Mexico – none of them look quick and easy! I guess the Lord will have to figure that all out because this too is a matter of life and death.
By 10:30am I excused myself and drove back to the Casita. Joanna’s wonderful people were cleaning it for us so I settled myself on the patio to do a bit of writing before talking with a client. The rest of the time with my client via telephone was spent hearing of wonderful miracles that we have been praying for together for many years coming to fruition! Praise God! It takes patience sometimes, yet God always answers our prayers. With so many people praying for Glen’s healing I just know God is hearing our prayers and will answer with more time here on earth for my beloved man, my best friend.
I quickly ate my lunch of vegan eggplant Parmesan that I had made last night before we watched the movie. It wasn’t nearly as good as what a wonderful woman brought to us one evening! I didn’t quite have all the ingredients but considering that, it wasn’t bad. It’s definitely sad that Glen can’t eat it with me – too much tomato and vegan cheese for his fragile system right now. I still had to make it though because I had bought what I needed to make it. I guess I’ll be eating eggplant Parmesan all week!
I made it back to Issels Clinic on time to catch the nutrition talk with Carly. Today we discussed blood types and how each blood type means much more than I even thought it did. Type O is the oldest one and goes back to the cave man. They were carnivores, hunters and highly athletic it appears, as they had to move most of the day to ensure their survival. Group O have no antigens so they are the least likely to have auto-immune issues. They can also donate blood to any blood type person. Then came blood type A, which originated with the European descendants. These are the type that don’t have as much physical stamina – farming probably wouldn’t be a good idea for them because no matter what they do they just can’t seem to build up endurance. Type A’s could be vegetarian. Type B blood type does best to eat a balance between vegetables and meat. Type AB is the most rare blood type and the “newest” one around. That’s all I got down in my notes on my iPhone but I’m sure there was more! I wonder what blood type I am? Strange that I don’t even know. I used to give blood a bit back in Bible School but now I actually feel bad about it because who wants Lyme tainted blood? Lord please protect anyone who got my blood from Lyme! Hopefully the Lyme spirochetes were hibernating when I gave my blood.
I stayed in the IV room caught up in conversation with some of the newcomers this week – Martha, a nurse; and Kim along with her husband Terry. Terry and Kim are definitely Christians and it felt good to have them join the ranks at Issels. I think God is targeting Dr. Issels. God is using him whether he knows God or not. (We also soon discovered that Martha is also a believer in the Lord.)
Glen headed for the far infrared sauna and I was going to head out to Whole Foods for a few more groceries. I spotted the man who was videoing Jennifer, another patient, for her GoFundMe page and said hi, introducing myself. I commented that my shots wouldn’t be nearly as detailed as what I saw him do so he must be professional. He was. His name was Corbin Billings and he works in the film industry in Los Angeles. He is also wanting to get his fiction fantasy book published so I assured him I would definitely want to know when that comes out because I love a good fantasy book. We discussed my books; psychology (his Mom is also a counsellor); theology (because he asked what I do and what books I’m writing – how can you not discuss theology when one is writing a book entitled “Levelling Prayer Technique – Bringing people to Healing and Wholeness”). We also discussed my sons who are probably not too much younger than him (at least within a decade ish) and Joshua’s struggle with Lyme Disease which made him have to give up his Premier Soccer and dreams of going further with it, as well as having to quit grade 12 after the first semester because he just wasn’t making it out of bed (so he claims to be a high school drop-out – he’s not, he still graduated but he has fun with it). This led to me sharing the blessing that came from Josh not doing soccer and being stuck in bed all the time. Josh has written many songs and him and his friends formed a band called, “Fountain”. He had the time to learn guitar and his creativity in writing and singing are amazing alongside his incredibly talented friends. (Of course I’m not biased! Really, what are you thinking?! LOL) Seriously, they are pretty good. Then Corbin shared that he is a rapper. I looked him up and listened to his stuff. He warned me that in the three years of rapping he’s getting less and less angry so it’s good therapy. He’s good. Look up “Floowood” on Spotify, Apple or YouTube. So long story but now you know how I met someone “famous” (which I have no idea if he’s famous or not but it was a fun experience). So many divine appointments! We have no idea how much we impact others and the impact they have on us.
Because I didn’t make it to the Whole Foods store Glen drove with me and sat in the car calling MasterCard. I had tried to pay the Issels Clinic again for the week’s treatments for Glen but it was rejected. Even though we had paid a massive chunk down recently we were over our limit. No surprise there I guess! When you’re spending $8500.00 US a week out here in Santa Barbara on top of the $28,500 US in Tijuana it really adds up quick. Lord bless these treatments by magnifying their power to heal Glen!
I was tired by now. I could not stop yawning so stuck the ground beef in cold water to thaw and called Josh. He was home from Bible College doing laundry. We had a fun chat and played with the messenger faces a bit. Donovan was also home. He was on the computer playing games and headed back to the office while we were on the phone because he is also one of my NeurOptimal technicians (neurofeedback; brain training). My clients really seem to like Donovan and Josh (who did that job for me for a little bit as well). I have to admit my boys are pretty special! I sure do miss them!
I made another blah supper of fried hamburger, potatoes and carrots again. It’s the first time I’ve had beef in many weeks so I was craving some red meat! Glen spent the evening between the bathroom, shower and Canucks game while I got my writing in.
A friend shared a song with us today by Tenth Avenue North – “I have this Hope”. The words “through the flood and the fire, you’re with me and you won’t let go” really stick out to me. I started belting out the descant and then became teary as the words really hit home each time I sing it. God is with us through all these floods that threaten to tear us apart. God is with us through this fire that Satan wants to kill us with but God uses to refine us. God saved Shadrach, Meshach and Abednago from the fire and walked in that fire with them to keep them safe. I know we are in a fire. God is walking in that fire with us to keep us safe and protected so that not even a hair on our heads will be singed. We serve an amazing Lord who is working for us continually and is more than worthy of our praise day and night.
A friend sent me this today as she was praying Daniel 10 for me under “the anointing of the Spirit”.
“Daniel 10:8 …so I was left alone…saw…retained no strength. Then I heard the sound of his words – and fell on my face to the ground. Then a hand touched me and set me, trembling on my hands and knees. Saying…Oh Daniel, man greatly loved, understand the words that I speak to you. Stand upright, for now I have been sent to you. Then he said, “Fear not Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before God, your words were heard, and I have come because of your words…I have come – to make you understand.
Then I opened my mouth…and I said…Oh! My Lord! By reason of the vision pains have come upon me and I retain no strength. No strength remains in me and no breath is left in me. Again, one having the appearance of a man touched me and strengthened me and said, “Oh man greatly beloved, fear NOT, peace be with you; be strong and of good courage. As he spoke I was strengthened.”
“From your Daddy; My dear child, my dear Laurel, I’ve been there every second of your trial, bowed low with you when you felt crushed to your knees. You are just as valuable to me as my servant Daniel. His words are just as precious for you today, at this time and for this trial. I have extended your time of rest for the inner strengthening to take root deep in your being. You are not only humble in My hands, you are willing to understand My ways, even when it’s not made any sense to you. I am greatly encouraged with you my child. I am giving you more and more strength that I promise will sustain you, right to the end. The shock and despair that has cut right to your heart, is small in comparison to the understanding and reward that awaits you. Your depth of JOY will outweigh the crushing agony and despair that’s been your portion.” (SP)
I am deeply humbled to receive those words over me. Beyond words humbled. That my heavenly Daddy would count me precious enough to entrust words to a woman of God, who in turn has enough faith to share it with me, is an encouragement beyond words. I am so in love with my God!
Monday, November 26, 2018
It’s Monday again. Amazing how fast those Monday’s always come! Glen is back at the clinic for more treatments again today. We both had a lousy night of sleep, or shall I say, lack of sleep. Glen was up and down and just not able to sleep. I was simply restless and not able to sleep. I know my mind was thinking a lot but on what I couldn’t tell you. We groggily got ready and headed out the door. Today’s first stop was the lab for Glen to get more blood tests done.
Fortunately we got in and out of the lab pretty quick. I dropped Glen off at the Issels Clinic to begin his treatments there and I headed back “home” to grab our laundry. I sure do miss having my own washing machine and dryer! I punched in the directions on my Apple map and true to form lately, my directions refused to talk to me so I was again forced to look down quite a few times in order to arrive at “Modern Laundry” – but arrive I did. I threw the laundry into the one available machine all at once. It’s not my usual style but necessity calls. I went and bought some more detergent and then sat down on one of their chairs to read a book about miracles.
God does a lot of miracles and most of those I read about (just started) were in other countries. It makes me wonder what on earth is wrong with us here in the West? Do our unbelieving hearts, spirits and minds stop Jesus from doing the miracles we seek? Do we doubt too much? I cringe against that because I believe with all my heart that God can and will heal Glen. I think sometimes though, when you’ve prayed for healing for so many years for yourself it gets hard to not feel left out. We know that God can heal us, yet sometimes we don’t think He will for whatever reason. I know that we are to grow through these trials and the pain, physical and emotional pain that come with Lyme Disease and cancer, yet I still long for complete healing for both of us and for Josh too! Lord, if there is some unbelieving part of us, I yield all of me to you. I accept your resurrection healing power Father!
My heart has been speeding along a lot lately too. Today it has been particularly racy going from a pulse rate of (according to my calculations) 140 to 100 and back up again. While at the Laundromat I sat in the car and renounced it sending any demonic that might be encouraging any weakness in my body to get worse to the pit in Jesus’ Name. That helped but did not take it away completely. I was feeling exhausted already and it was not even noon. The headache was trying to go migraine again too. I took a migraine pill yesterday so definitely wanted to avoid another one.
Finishing the laundry I drove back to our little Casita and ate some lunch. Glen texted that he was done early so I drove back to the Clinic to pick him up hoping that he would join me at the beach. Once I got there he had that look of, “I really want to come but…” I drove him home. His bowels were ramping up for another blast. Dropping Glen off at “home” I hopped back in the Sante Fe and drove to the same beach where we saw the dolphins yesterday. It was so gorgeous. There are always surfers there in wet suits and I again found myself watching them and comparing surfing to water skiing – seemed similar in the balance part. Slower than water-skiing but just ride the wave. No problem. Except that I don’t have a wetsuit and a surfboard! I have surfed behind a boat with no issues though so how hard could it be? I probably won’t find out – this trip anyway! I walked a long way again and then decided I should turn around and head back. I hate leaving Glen when such beauty surrounds me and he’s stuck in the bathroom. Dusting the sand off my bare feet I headed back to make supper. My heart didn’t race nearly so much on the beach. Maybe it is actually just stress. I can’t imagine what I have to be stressed about…!
I made it home with lot’s of time to make our blah supper which actually tasted pretty good. Pan fried fish with a fresh lemon that I hand picked from the tree outside my door, and boiled potatoes and carrots. Boiling the potatoes and carrots seems crazy but the strainer here is broken and I don’t want to bother Joanna with more requests. She is already being so incredibly kind to us. When I asked her if we could stay another few days in order to make up the third week of days we were missing for treatments because of the Tijuana to Santa Barbara travel day and the Thanksgiving holidays she said no problem. When I asked her today to be sure to let us know how much we owed them for the extra days she said we don’t owe them anything. Wow! To say that I am completely overwhelmed with the generosity of people, even almost strangers, is a complete understatement. We have received help from family, friends, co-workers, strangers and others. It feels awfully awkward and weird yet God says, “These are my gifts to you. As you have given so now receive.” Somehow it’s easier to give. The human psyche is definitely interesting!
The evening was spent with two tired adults watching another movie on TV – ‘Xmen – Apocalypse’ I think it was called. I am so thankful for this down time. Even through all my years of fighting Lyme Disease, and especially when fighting it when knowing what it was I was fighting, alongside fighting and treating Josh’s Lyme and this nasty thing called cancer, I have been going nonstop. I’m pretty sure God knew how much I needed this break and change of scenery! Our God is a good God!