Monday, April 30, 2012

1st MRI done

We had a good trip up, Mom Sauder came with Leann and I.  The kids are in Eureka.  My first MRI only took about an hour tonight, and I was expecting a 2 hour deal so that was a good surprise.  Tomorrow is another MRI, some blood tests, and a hearing test.  Then on Wednesday we meet with the oncologist and surgeon, so we won't really know anything until Wed morning.

Thanks for your prayers this week,
Derek & Leann

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Be prayerful for next week

Time keeps flying by.  We had a good time last week.  My cousin and her family was here from Texas and we have a lot of good memories of summers when we were kids.  It was good to see her kids doing some of the same things with ours.  Sunday we had invite-a-couple at church.  It was good to have so many visitors, a wonderful singing Sunday evening, it was just a good weekend.

I went to the eye dr yesterday, everything looks fine to him in my eye.  The shingles are mostly over, a few scabs left yet, but not much pain if any at all.  My right eye is still a bit puffy though.

Monday we leave for Mayo's for followup with my surgeon and oncologist.  I have MRI scans Monday afternoon and Tuesday, and then we meet with the doctors on Wednesday.  The hardest part about this is thinking ahead to if they would recommend chemo.  It's just a decision I've never wanted to have to make.  I see so many people suffer through it with poor quality of life with questionable benefit.  But then some people have gone through it and lived a long time.  Just pray that we can ask the right questions, understand the options, and have wisdom to make good decisions.  And then maybe they won't even recommend it and we won't have any hard decisions at all.

Thanks again for your loving support and prayers,
Derek & Leann

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Shingles update

Just a quick update on the shingles.  Yesterday I noticed some of the blisters had dried up, this morning I woke up and all but a small one are scabby and dry now.  I'm hoping it will be less itchy now.  The pain and itching would come and go, some times I hardly noticed it, sometimes it was rather painful.

Looking forward to my cousing and her family coming for a visit late this week, and then we have a family we got to know in Indy coming for an invite-a-family weekend we are having at church.  So it will be busy the next few days but lots of fun for us and the kids.

Thanks for all your prayers,
Derek & Leann

Monday, April 16, 2012


Well, seems like there are always some unexpected turn of events!  I got a rash over the weekend on my forehead and my eye was somewhat swollen this morning.  Thanks to my wife for worrying about things sooner rather than later.  We emailed a picture to my radiation doc and he said we should get to the eye doctor soon as it looked like shingles to him.  Sure enough, it is, and now I'm on some medicine that should take care of it.  They don't make too much of it.  Guess it is the chickenpox virus that shows up in adults with weakened immune systems.

So far it's mildly painful, and like a burning itch on my forehead and right eyelid.  It should become less painful over the next couple days.

Thanks again for your loving support,
Derek & Leann

Sunday, April 15, 2012

2nd Week

The second week at home went relatively smoothly.  I went in to work 4 afternoons this week.  That adjustment is going really well.  As far as knowing whether to live as if I only have days or as if I have years, it seemed easier this week.  I know I have to be prepared at any moment to go.  I don't have any scripture for this but I believe God built within us the need for dreams and things to look forward to.  But we don't dream and plan in a selfish way for our own pursuits, but rather we are making sure our dreams are things God would be pleased with.  At the homeschool convention this weekend, we met a sister who told us a little about her fight against cancer.  10 years ago she thought she was attending her last conference, and was trying to pick out curriculum that would ease the childrens' transition to private school.  Her cancer had spread to her liver.  What a miracle!  Ten years later she is telling us about it!  And yet she still never forgets what the medical community told her and lives with the realization it could come back again.  It as really encouraging for us to hear, and that alone was worth going.

Derek & Leann, Lexi, Wesley, & Whitley

Friday, April 6, 2012

First week home

We've already been back a week!  It's been an adjustment, maybe more for me than for Leann and the kids.  Overall it's gone pretty good.  I went in to work 3 afternoons, and that went pretty well for me.  Didn't really wear me out or anything.  We did school in the mornings.  Some mornings go better than others, but I've enjoyed the chance to be with the kids more.  My birthday (38) was Wednesday so Leann invited a couple families over for supper and we had a really nice evening.  In general I'm feeling pretty good, headaches have been non-existent lately.  I do have some pain in my back at times.  It's not constant, and it's not sharp.  I just sometimes get dull pain and sort of a tired feeling in my back and neck.

Yesterday was the hardest day for me.  After I got home from work Leann was helping me clean out and organize the tool room in the basement.  The combination of pitching some stuff, and thinking about how much work to put into making this room nice was hard on me.  On one hand I could totally get rid of everything thinking I don't have much time to live so I'll never need it again.  Or I could make plans to use my tools for the next 15 years, in which case I would do things differently.  Add to this that at work we've been discussing what my role is and how we organize the group as we plan that I am not there forever.  I don't know why, but all of this just really affected me yesterday, was really hard on me, and made me cry quite a bit.  I think what I realized is that even though we know we might not live to see tomorrow, and God can take us home at any time, in reality we all live as though we are going to be here for many more years.

So I think this will be the hardest part for me of being back home, and the biggest struggle I have for this next phase of life.  How to have the right perspective.  As an engineer, I'm trained to think logically.  So I think about my medical situation, and it seems like I should plan for the likely future.  And at work we can plan for me to not be there.  But at home, they can't replace me, so there's no sense in living like I'm not going to be there in the future.

Romans 14:8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.

Philippians 1:21-23 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.  But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.  For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.

James 4:15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

So this morning I'm reading the above verses, trying to decide how these apply to my life, and what attitude and outlook I should have.  I'm not discouraged, just trying to sort things out.

Thanks again for your prayers & love that you have all shown to us,
Derek & Leann