Nov 26, 2011

Life Interrupted...

My world has been knocked off its axis.  No, it isn't about the ongoing unemployment.  That's just been a little bump in the road.  We've been down that road before, and eventually it will smooth out.  There are options we haven't even begun to explore.  Something will come together and we will survive unemployment one way or another.

A few weeks ago Bob and I were enjoying dinner at Olive Garden with my brother and his wife.  They were treating us in celebration of our 35th wedding anniversary.  Don winced every now and then...his back was still bothering him and physical therapy wasn't helping.  He was disappointed because he had hoped to be training for his 12th marathon. At age 59, he was the picture of health and vitality.  He had been running for fitness and stress relief  for decades.  But this new pain in his back was bringing all that to a screeching halt, and he was having all kinds of scans and tests run to see what was going on.

One night he ended up having to go to the ER, the pain was so great he felt he couldn't move.  He was admitted to the hospital for more tests and morphine.  A few days later he sent us a text message late at night.  "got the test results.  news not so good."  As my husband read the details to me, I was at first stunned and then angry.  I wanted to start throwing things.  I felt sick to my stomach.  I thought I was having a nightmare and I just wanted to wake up to my normal life again...life as it had been before this news.

I'd heard of multiple myeloma before. Our grandmother died from it 40 years ago.  It is an incurable blood cancer that settles in the bones.  It is very rare, representing only about 1% of all cancers.  And just a few years ago I had done a little research on the internet when I had a small tumor removed from my inner elbow area.  Mine was not malignant but I was curious as to the symptoms of multiple myeloma.  That was when I found out that in spite of many new experimental drugs, radiation and chemotherapy, not much progress has been made in finding a cure or in survival rates. Still, the doctors are saying this cancer is "very treatable".  So we hope.

In my brother's case, a tumor was found on his L5 vertebrae, and had in fact crushed it, causing the severe pain he is experiencing.  More scans, more tests...  The good news so far being the cancer has not metastasized in any other bones.   Chemotherapy begins in just a few days.

As I sat before my brother yesterday while he rested on the hospital bed that has been set up in their family room, he held both of my hands for a long time.  He is taking a liquid morphine every 2 hours so he faded in and out as we talked.  He wanted to tell me about the good things he sees happening already as a result of his suffering.  "God stories" as he calls them.  His faith is strong.  He is determined not to "waste his cancer".

We don't know where this road is leading.  It's not a journey any of us would choose to travel.  Only God knows the end from the beginning and the number of our days.  In spite of the shock, the pain, and the uncertainty, as individuals and as a family we will choose to say "Blessed be the name of the Lord."  And we would so appreciate your prayers for healing, for strength, for faith to remain strong through the storm.  Thank you friends.  I know you will.

 Don Lichi 
Sept. 2011

11 comments:

Jess said...

Oh Jacque our hearts go out to your brother and the whole family!
We praise GOD for the faithful testimony of such a godly man!
The fact that he is determined not to waste any opportunity for blessing on this difficult journey, speaks volumes about his relationship with our living CHRIST.
Praying for continued Hope and Healing. Love you~

Shirley said...

Oh my! Life sure has a way of smacking us around sometimes! I'm so sorry and pray it will be treatable.

Rebecca said...

You know I'm praying....It was good to see his picture here. Helps me "visualize" him as I pray....

Debbie said...

I have written several things and erased them; they all seem so benign in the face of what you and your family are going through. I cannot say anything helpful, but I know the grace and confidence you have in our Heavenly Father and I am so glad your brother knows Him too. My siblings do not, and it pains me greatly. We don't know what His plans are but we know He has great plans for us. I am really looking forward to having my tears wiped away some day. Please keep in touch with us and I know there are people out here praying for you.
Hugs, Deb

Walking on Sunshine... said...

I am praying.

Bernie said...

Your faith is such an inspiration. You never complain, always reaching out to help everyone, your loyalty to your family stands strong and is wonderful for me to observe, as well as others. I am praying for your brother, his family, you and your family. All will work out my friend, God will take care of everything. It may not always be the way we want it to be but God knows what he is doing. Please take care to yourself, sending big hugs...

Jacquelyn Stager said...

thank you ladies...I will try to get to all of you individually soon...grateful for your love and caring and most of all, your prayers.

Pat said...

Dear Jacquelyn, first of all, I will be praying.
What a strong testimony you have, through it all you will bless the name of the Lord, I too will do the same as I call out for his mercy and grace and HEALING for Don.
May the prayers of all who love and care for you be felt be you and your family and may the precious Lord make Himself present every moment.

Dee said...

Sad to hear about your brother..this must be very hard for you and your family. I hope you will find some comfort in knowing that your brother will be covered in prayers for healing.((HUGS)) Dee

Judy said...

I am so sorry to hear this.
Praying...

Vicki said...

Thank you for sharing your emotions on this. I am sure it is hard to be so transparent, so real and raw. I can see what a close relationship you have with your brother. What a treasure that is!! I continue to keep you all lifted up in prayers.