Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Day Before My Colonoscopy

Deb and I are concerned about my colonoscopy tomorrow, We are praying it won't discover any additional areas of colon cancer other than one discovered earlier this month. And we're praying that there won't be any complications that could prevent my coming home from the hospital after the procedure.

She only managed to sleep a few hours last night. I intermittently slept a little more than that, but one of the times that I awoke was due to the BiPap oral mouthpiece having slipped down below my upper lip, setting off the air leakage alarm.

In about 45 minutes I will start drinking the 4 liters of the "Nulitely" liquid, 8 ounces at at time every 10 to 15 minutes, to thoroughly empty out my colon. Tomorrow morning two of the men from church plan to drive me in to the hospital, and bring the new BiPap with us.

Deb just suggested I try using the full face mask when I can today. That's a good idea because it might be more apt to stay in place and not leak. She is such a blessing to me in so many ways. She does all she can to look after my needs, whether they be for my health, or encouragement, or refreshment, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

She so wishes she could at the hospital with me tomorrow. But since we don't know when I'll be coming home, if she took the paratransit van in she might end up being there or in a time consuming shared ride home if I get to return home early tomorrow afternoon. So she'll have to stay home and wait for a call as to how things go.

An anesthesiologist will be on hand during my colonoscopy, and a pulmonary doctor will see me when I arrive and will be available if and when needed, so precautions are being taken to help assure things will go as smoothly as possible.

The medical staff will do what they've been trained to do as best they can do it. But we know that God can both enable them to do their jobs well, and He can do things they are not able to do. So we ask for your prayers for them, and for Deb and me.

Deb and I are members of the mission's committee at our church, with the monthly meetings usually held at our apartment. This month's meeting was last night and before the other members left they prayed for both of us. We very much appreciated both their being here last night and that they prayed for us.

OK, Deb just reminded me that it is now noon. Time to start drinking the "Nulitely". So I'll close for now and hopefully be able to do at least a brief post late tomorrow, or perhaps the next day.

Thanks for reading this and for your prayers.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Husbands, Love Your Wives

Eph 5:25-30  Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,  so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.   ESV

 I became a husband when I was 52 years old, nearly 10 years ago. Both then and now I consider this to be one of the greatest blessings, privileges, and responsibilities of my life.

The longer I've been a husband, the more I realize my standard for loving my wife DebbieLynne should be measured by how Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. He did what the church needed and no one else could do. He went to the cross as the only sinless sacrifice whose death could pay the penalty for our sins.

Jesus did that because He loves us and that was what we needed.

That's the example all who are husbands should follow. We should love our wives by doing what we can for them to care for them. Just as we would do what we can for our own bodies.

I long to do all I can for DebbieLynne. I ask for your prayers that I can continue to do for her as much as I can.

Today when the personal care attendant coming to get both of us up called to say she'd been in a car accident, it shook us. I so wished I could get my darling wife up out bed and into the bathroom and dressed. But I couldn't even get myself up. All I could was pray with her and make some phone calls.

God did provide somebody to get me up and somebody else to get DebbieLynne up, and then I did what I could for her, like feed her breakfast. I did what I could for her today until it was time to lie down and get some rest this afternoon.

There will be times when I won't be able to do even what I did for DebbieLynne today. I ask you to pray for us during those times. And for those of you who are able to help in practical vital ways during those times I hope you will do so.

I also urge all of you who are husbands to not take your wives for granted. Be thankful you have a wife. Love her. Love her like Christ loves the church and gave Himself for her. Do it while you can. Do what you can for her while you can.

OK, that's all I can post for today. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Deb Shared This Video With Me

DebbieLynne and I have met with Joni Eareckson-Tada both individually before we got married, and once more after we got married. We've read books she wrote, seen the movie about her life, and our church helps support her Joni & Friends ministry.

We prayed for Joni when we heard she had breast cancer and was treated for it surgically and then by chemotherapy. So this short video is especially meaningful to us as we face what will be needed to combat colon cancer.

I hope you'll take time to view and be blessed by this video.

Reporting Progress On Two Fronts

Last night for the first time ever I made it through the entire night using just the Trilogy BiPap machine that I'll need to use during my colonoscopy, surgery, and for sleeping with afterwards. Like the previous two nights I slept for about 60-90 minutes at a time, and then had to make adjustments to make it possible to get back to sleep. But unlike the previous nights, last night I didn't ever have to switch over to using the negative pressure motor to finish getting through until morning.

One difference last night was that I used an oral (just the mouth) mask instead of the larger face mask (nose and mouth) that I'd used on Thursday and Friday. My respiratory therapist thought the oral mask might work well for me. I will also try to get used to the other mask in case my pulmonary doctors want me to use it in specific situations. But we are so happy that this is working well enough to make it possible to go ahead with the colonoscopy on Thursday.

The other area of progress is in the matter of the debt we incurred when DebbieLyyne moved here from California nearly 10 years ago and we legally married rather than just live together. In order for her to get on Mass Health and get coverage for personal care attendants we had to spend a certain amount of money on disability related expenses in a certain time frame.

I had to use credit cards to meet those requirements, and by the time they were met we had about $7,000 of debt. Over the years we have been paying it off as best we could, but when it was discovered I had colon cancer a couple of weeks ago our debt still amounted to about $3,000.

I hope God will allow me to survive the treatment of this colon cancer, but I don't know if or when I will ever be able to get back to earning any income other than the Social Social Disability income that is based on my late Dad's earnings.

That's why I posted a request for help with our debt, and in less than two weeks, we've been blessed with gits amounting to $500. I thank you so much for your generosity and for the prayers of all those who are asking God to meet our needs.

I will continue to do whatever I can on my own to eliminate our debt, and whenever it is gone we will post that news here and on DebbieLynne's blog.

 If you choose to help us with a gift, you can do so via Paypal. I'd ask that you use DebbieLynne's PayPal email ID rather than mine in case I'm in the hospital and not able to use a computer to go online. Her PayPal ID is:

Thank you again for your love, your gifts, and for your prayers.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Cannoli For My Darling Deb

 The full colonoscopy that was scheduled on Wednesday to determine if I have more than one area of colon cancer was postponed until I can be set up with a BiPap machine that can breathe for me all night and during surgical procedures.

 On Thursday a respiratory therapist came by with the BiPap machine and mask my pulmonary doctors want me to use.

This new machine will take some getting used to. I only managed to use it about one and a half hours the first night, but about 2 and a half hours the 2nd night. If I can get through an entire night or close to it then my colonoscopy can take place this coming Thursday.

Yesterday, Friday, I had no medical appointments and the weather was sunny and mild. DebbieLynne and I used our power wheelchairs to go up to the bus stop in the center of our town. That took us to the MBTA subway station where an employee got a bridge plate to help us board the train that had just pulled into the station. At our request he also radioed ahead so when we got to the Downtown Crossing station another MBTA employee (a long time friend of ours) was ready with a bridge plate to help us get off  the train.

DebbieLynne and I love to roam the parks and historic areas of Boston. Yesterday we got to talk briefly with one of the Freedom Trail Walking Tour guides with whom we became friends and now keep in touch with online. We couldn't talk long because he was getting a group together to give a walking tour. But we got to see him a couple more times while he was giving that tour.

Next we rolled through Boston Commons and part of the Public Gardens.I donated a dollar to a lady singing Amazing Grace. We sat for a while on the pedestrian bridge to look at the dry lagoon bed and the newly blossoming willow trees.

Then it was back across the Commons where we stopped briefly to see what sort of rally was taking place across from the gilded dome of the state house. Next we roamed around the Grainery Burial Ground where famous and unknown patriots are buried. We even took a picture of the large memorial in the center that bears the name "Franklin" where the parents of Benjamin Franklin were laid to rest.

Next it was time for lunch at our favorite eating place in Boston, Quincy Market. In approaching it we were delighted to see that there  is now a permanent wheelchair ramp for Faneuil Hall. (Unfortunately the door the top was locked due to a private event taking place.)

After a flavorful meal from a Mexican American kiosk that we have frequented often over the years, I bought a cannoli at the North End Bakery kiosk. Cannolis are one of DebbieLynne's favorite tasty treats. One of the gals who works at that kiosk doesn't even have to ask what I want. If I stop there she knows
what I'm getting and whon it is for.

At Quincy Market the large tables are shared but as many as 10 people at a time. When we began our meal yesterday a couple from Iceland sat across from us. They were gone by the time I got the cannoli, but a gentleman from New Mexico was happy to take our picture so we could share it on our blogs.

I am so glad God gave us such nice weather and a day without medical appointments so together we could enjoy a day in Boston and a cannoli for my darling Deb.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Do All Things Work Together For Good?

Rom 8:28  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. ESV

This verse from the Bible is one I know quite well, but I can't say that I was thinking about it last week on Monday when I learned I had colon cancer and knew that when I got home I would have to tell my darling DebbieLynne that difficult news.

But now, a bit more than a week has passed. During this time Deb and I have hugged, and cried, and talked. and met with medical people, and talked with friends from church who have experienced some of what we're going through. So now we are better prepared to take a look at Romans 8:28.

Notice that the verse says "we know" not we "we feel" that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.

Jesus is the creator of everything that has been created. He is the One who determined the properties of everything that has been created. He can create new things when He has a purpose in doing so, such as when He walked among men, giving sight to the blind, healing the lame, and even raising those who had died.

Jesus is my Savior and Lord and He can heal me of this cancer. He can do it miraculously or He can do it through medical people using things God has created that can be used to treat and rid a body of cancer.

I acknowledge that God can be glorified by healing me or by not healing me, and I want God to be glorified. I want to praise Him and thank Him for being with me and helping me be a testimony to Him today and every day.

Yes, I want you to pray that I will be healed and can have many more years together with DebbieLynne. I also want you to pray that we will be a good testimony to our Lord each day, for as many days as He gives us.

Today I am thankful that I am feeling good, and that I'm still home with DebbieLynne. I am also thankful that later this afternoon the respiratory therapist will come to set me up with the BiPap machine which I will hopefully be able to use to sleep with tonight.

As soon as I can sleep with the BiPap, the doctors will reschedule the colonoscopy and then together we will decide on plans for the surgery and follow up treatment.

I am thankful that medical people are working to help me through this. I'm thankful that men from church are helping me with visits to me here and  trips to medical appointments. I'm thankful for those of you who have contributed to help us eliminate our debt. And I'm thankful for all the people who are praying for Deb and me.

Please include in your prayers that Deb and I will cling to knowing that God is working all things together for us even at those times when we do not feel that way.

We love you and greatly appreciate your love and prayers.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Things Don't Always Go As Expected

Early last evening I went to the Spaulding Rehab Hospital to be evaluated for using a BiPap machine and face mask that would enable me to breath when sleeping or when sedated during the colonoscopy on Wednesday.

DebbieLynne couldn't come with me, so after we kissed each other good bye we didn't expect to see each other until the paratransit van brought me back home in the morning. After I left, her attendant arrived and got her washed up and into bed for the night. DebbieLynne found the bed quite empty with me not there.

Meanwhile at Spaulding things were not going smoothly. The BiPap machine couldn't be set for what I needed to sleep with. After a phone conversation with one of their pulmonary doctors it was determined that a different BiPap machine was needed and since I wasn't going to be able to sleep with the one they had for me at the sleep lab that I should if at all possible find a way to get back home.

I was in my power wheelchair, so my only hope for affordable transportation was with the MBTA RIDE service. I called and the dispatcher was somebody who has known DebbieLynne and me for years. He put me on hold for a few minutes and then let me know a van would pick me up within 45 minutes.

A few minutes later I left the sleep clinic and went out to the front door of the hospital. A RIDE van pulled up and sure enough the driver was there for me. Some schedules had been rearranged and this driver was available to take me home.

So DebbieLynne and I got to spend the night together after all. She was very happy to see me, and happy to hear that the Spaulding pulmonary doctor was confident about which BiPap machine would work for me once one was obtained and I was set up with it.

As I write this on Monday afternoon, the colonoscopy scheduled for Wednesday morning has been postponed until I can be set up with the BiPap that can breath for me during that procedure and for when I'm asleep. Today I've been calling doctors and talking with their secretaries and trying to help coordinate things with the respiratory therapist who could set me up with the equipment I need once He is given the authorization to do so.

Please pray that the right phone calls and emails between the medical personnel go through so I can be set up with the needed breathing support and can reschedule the colonoscopy and everything that will will be needed afterwards.

Deb and I would like to get going on the treatment of the cancer as soon a possible, so delays are frustrating. But the negative pressure ventilator that I've used to breath with when sleeping may break down for the final time very soon so it is crucial that we find something that will work for me as soon as possible.

The postponement of my colonoscopy also allows more time for me me to take care of some important paperwork that needs to be done by specific dates. Hopefully I can finish it off this week.

The delay may also mean DebbieLynne and I will get to go enjoy a day together in Boston. Maybe a stroll on the commons or lunch at Quincy Market. Those day trips that we enjoy so much might not be feasible during periods of cancer treatment.

Things didn't go as expected last week, and they're not going as expected this week either. But God is still God and many people are still praying, so we'll go forward one day, one hour, one moment and one prayer at a time.

Thank you all for your prayers, kind words, and gracious help.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Deb Is Irish and So Am I

Today is St. Patrick's Day. Deb and I have a variety of nationalities in our ancestry including, of course, Irish. (As it happens, we still have Irish ancestry every other day as well.)

We'll be staying home and taking it easy today. My cousin who lives nearby invited us to her corned beef and cabbage get together, but she'll send some of it over later since we don't have enough stamina to go out again today.

The year before last Deb and I celebrated St. Patrick's Day in an actual Irish Pub...but we did it the day after so it would be a mite less boisterous. It was a mild day so we took the bus and subway into Boston and then wheeled along the city streets to get to the M.J. O'Connor's Irish pub in the Back Bay.

We picked that particular Irish restaurant because it was wheelchair accessible and it had her grandmother's maiden name.

We love our dates in Boston, and we make the most of them. In addition to going out to eat that day we also strolled through the Boston Public Garden where we saw for the first time the Swan Boat Lagoon with almost no water in it.

Apparently the water is drained sometime before the new season of Swan Boat rides begins. Perhaps to clean the bottom of the little pond.

The Public Garden has been one of our favorite places to visit when in Boston. It keeps changing through the seasons, with new flowers planted and cared for throughout the spring, summer and fall.

After passing through the Public Garden we wheeled our way through Boston Commons and then on to South Station to take a commuter train back to our home town.

The commuter trains are our favorite way to travel because the same people use the same seats every day and thus we have become friends with other passengers. Talking with people and hearing their stories makes the travel time more enjoyable. Before we know it, it's time to get off the train.

That was a really nice way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day a couple years ago. This year we'll be staying home both today and tomorrow so I can rest up for my overnight sleep study session at Spaulding Hospital tomorrow night. (I need to be evaluated for being able to use a positive pressure ventilator to sleep with at night and possibly also to use when sedated during the colonoscopy next Wednesday.)

I hope all of you have a wonderful St. Patrick's Day. Thank you for your prayers for us. Thank you also for reading this blog.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Having Deb With Me Today Was So Good

On Monday and Wednesday when I went for the initial exam in Boston that discovered I had colon cancer and then the follow up cat scan in Chelsea, DebbieLynne couldn't come with me because I was was driven in by men using their cars which couldn't transport her in her power chair.

But today we scheduled the para-transit service to take us to Mass. General Hospital, which meant we both could go, and both be in our power wheelchairs. Although DebbieLynne had to be in the waiting room during my tests, she was able to be with me during the talks needed to get all the information from us and to us to help things go smoothly on the day of the colonoscopy next Wednesday.

The nurses and technicians and therapists were all very helpful and supportive. They helped calm some of our concerns, and together we came up with some ideas that might help with the breathing support I will need during the procedure.

It was good to know that they are are confident (even though we know they can't make guarantees) that it is unlikely that I will have any serious complications, and if for some reason I had to be admitted to the hospital it would probably be for just a day or two.

When we were done with the tests and interviews, there was still about 45 minutes before the paratransit van was due to bring us back home. So DebbieLynne and I had time to share a roast beef and cheese sandwich and some dried apricots and cranberries.

Although it was a rainy Friday afternoon the ride home on the van went fairly quickly because we were the only passengers. We got home and now she's on her computer in the living room and I'm lying down using my positive pressure ventilator typing this blog post.

Thank you for taking the time to read our blog posts. And thank you for your prayers.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sometimes I Need Help To Show Love To Deb

Our marriage vows on August 24, 2002, were commitments to one another in all the circumstances that might come our way. Both before and after the wedding we agreed that when difficulties arose that  we would try to turn to God and to one another. And by the grace of God we've done a fairly good job of doing that, and are doing that now as we deal my having been diagnosed with colon cancer.

When we married Deb and I were both receiving Social Security disability benefits based on our deceased dad's incomes. I also had a modest income from catalog sales of AVON products. Because we became legally married with a marriage license and an official wedding, Debbielynne could not become qualified for Medicaid (Mass. Health) benefits to pay for personal care attendants until after we had spend several thousand dollars in medically needed expenses.

DebbieLynne is quadriplegic so she needs help for almost everything. I have enough use of my hands and arms so I can help her with some things like feeding her when we're out on a date. But I am physically unable to do transfers, dressing, showering, and such for her. So we needed to pay for medically necessary things so that she would be qualified to have personal care attendants paid for.

Since we didn't have that kind of money we had to use credit cards and get receipts to show what we'd spent. It took quite a while but eventually DebbieLynne was approved for Mass. Health and attendant care coverage.

By then we had about $7,000 in credit card debt. I thought for sure that I'd be able to pay that off within a few years. After all, we had Social Security income and I had the income from my AVON catalog selling.

But things don't always go as planned. AVON sales gradually dropped off until I had to decide to give up selling it even before I learned this week that I had colon cancer. (A new Avon rep's name and phone number were on the final catalogs I arranged to have given out to my customers this week.)

Over the years, other expenses cropped up from time to time like some dental and equipment costs that were not covered by Medicare or Mass. Health. And then there was the repair and replacement of broken computers. Computers have enabled me to earn a little money and do a little blogging even during the hours I have to lie down to give my back a rest and use my ventilator. Computers have also made it possible for DebbieLynne to keep in touch with people, be creative with artwork, and do her wonderful blogs.

So although we've made a dent in our debt, there is still a sizable amount to be paid off. My ability to pay off that debt by my own efforts seems to be coming to an end. Even if things go well there will likely be surgery, and follow-up treatment of chemotherapy and/or radiation.

I don't know whether God will allow me live on for more wonderful years with DebbieLynne or whether it will be much less than that.

To say that I don't want to leave DebbieLynne would be by far the biggest understatement I'd ever made in my life.

But whenever I go to be with the Lord in heaven I do not want to leave DebbieLynne saddled with debt in addition to her being without the one who sought to show his love to her as best he could.

If there is anyone who would like to help eliminate our debt, but you want to be sure that what I am sharing in this blog is real, I urge you to contact either of our pastors at Brookville Baptist Church in Holbrook, Massachusetts. Both Pastor Dennis Bauder and Pastor Larry Smith know us well. You can do a search online to get contact information for the church and our pastors.

If you choose to give a gift to help us eliminate the debt, please know that we are not a charitable organization so it would not be a tax deductible donation, but simply a gift to help somebody in need.

You could give a gift via Paypal by designating that you want to give a gift to the member of Paypal whose email is

Any sized gift would be greatly appreciated. And once the debt is gone I will post the news on this blog if I'm not in the hospital, and DebbieLynne will post the news on her "The Things That Come Out of My Head" blog at:

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. It wasn't easy to write it. Please keep us in your prayers.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I Met Deb in a Chatroom

The first time I had a conversation with Deb was in a chat room that she set up. She'd mentioned the chat room in a forum that I'd been reading.

There were only a few people in that chat room when I dropped in that evening. I joined in and chatted away. I guess I chatted about an hour, and did my best to impress the host, Debbicute, with my wit.

That was the start of our friendship. We got to know each other and like each other and we even started talking on  the phone. Then she came all the way from the San Francisco area to the Boston area to visit me for the first time. She came for a second visit the next year. And again to visit the following year which is when I asked her to marry me.

Deb is in a wheelchair due to cerebral palsy, and I'm in a wheelchair due to polio. We got married in August of 2002. Since then we've been very happily married and enjoyed being active in a Baptist church in the next town over from where we live. We love doing day trips to explore the historic sites in and around Boston.

Our life entered a new stage as of yesterday, when I was diagnosed with a serious medical condition that is complicated by the disability caused by the polio.

Deb and I are still very much in love. I still want to do everything I can for her, and that's why I started this blog. If you want to read about us, our lives, and our love story, I hope you'll come back to read the posts will make.