08 DecPost Birthday to Monday’s Chemo

After Leia’s birthday momma was exhausted! It was more of a mental exhaustion than physical. Leia’s birthday was the first day Lisa had been away more than an hour or two from Chris. We tried to make this a special birthday. We knew she had been struggling with everything going on with the cancer diagnosis. Unfortunately, Leia said she did not feel as special throughout the day as we had hoped which led to momma feeling defeated. Birthdays have always been special and hearing it was the best birthday ever at the end of the day makes all the craziness worth it but thus year it is not what we heard. Maybe next year she will feel it more but we did the best we could and let her call the shots to decide what she wanted to do the whole day. Nonetheless, there was not a single picture snapped for 3 days due to the pure mental exhaustion, despite the fact Grandpa and Deedee spent a couple days with us, the Requena-Comfort’s came in town Saturday to celebrate Leia’s birthday too, and a couple other picture worthy moments happened.

Friday, Chris suggested we go out too breakfast when Darrell/Gene returned from taking Ivy and Lisa returned from taking Leia to school. We were all surprised! Chris has not gone out to eat in months so we all were happy to go First Watch. We dropped him off at the front door and picked him up at the front too. It was nice getting out of the house for a double date and enjoying eating in a restaurant again. Midday Lisa headed to Mimi’s to love on her and spend some precious time together. Today marked 9 years since Papa went to Heaven. It is hard to believe it has been 9 years! When I close my eyes I still can hear his laugh, see his smile and the way he looked at Mimi. He loved his girls! He is missed daily! How we wish he was here now but know he is in Paradise, walking the streets of gold, and praising God in Heaven. I still do not know why he had to go so soon and did not get the opportunity to spend more time with his grand-girls but know God has a perfect plan and it was His plan to call Papa to his final home. I hope we live a life that he would be proud of until we are reunited. Grandpa took the 4 grand-girls to get ice-cream Friday afternoon. Thankful our girls still have a grandpa here on earth that loves them well and spoils them. 

Saturday, Grandpa and DD headed home after breakfast. Kelly, Diego, and the kids arrived at lunch time. They gave Leia her present and hung out with us for the day. We did not do much but the time together was sweet. Lisa and Kelly made a run to the Pig to get wine and food for the SEC Championship game. We enjoyed all cooking together and a mixture of small plates for lunch. Lisa was falling asleep not long after we ate so at everyones encouragement went to take a 30 minute nap. The short nap turned into a longer nap where Chris came to wake her up at half time. AL was up at half and Lisa was told if they started to lose she had to go back to bed. Surprisingly, AL won the SEC Championship; they were the underdog and not expected to win this year. The Requena-Comfort’s headed home soon after the game while we headed to bed. 

Sunday was another low key day for us! Leia had her D-group Christmas party. She said she had a great time and came back with lots of goodies from it. Ivy had Evelyn over to entertain her while Leia was gone. Chris had Mark over to watch football then Wes over when Mark had to leave. Lisa entertained herself cleaning out the cars, turning off the water outside to winterize everything, and then took Leia to DSW for shoes for her band concert that was coming up. We had dinner delivered to us that evening and ended up calling it an early night again knowing Monday would be school and a chemo day. 

Monday morning came quick. The girls all were up getting ready for the school day. Mimi came by to help take the girls and relieve some of the morning stress from Lisa as she also was making sure everything was ready for a day at the hospital. We left our house just after 9 and were thankful Mimi offered to drive us to the hospital since it was pouring rain the time we arrived and since we were dropped off we escaped getting drenched. It was a long day there! Lisa had to go ask twice for a update on chemo time as we were over an hour late getting called back to start it. Thankfully we did get it and lab work looked good. We did not get home until close to 5 pm. Chris was exhausted and slept most the night. Ivy went to see Sara dance at the basketball game with Mimi but they came back to eat dinner with us. Lisa and Leia got quick baths. Mimi headed home. The girls entertained themselves in the den while momma and dad hung out in the bedroom for the evening. We had a sweet family prayer time just before the girls’ bedtime. So thankful to be home! Oh Lord I pray you are near to us. Thank you God for your faithfulness and unconditional Love for each of us. Thank you for another day that we get to hug one another, talk, and be together. 

The next couple days Lisa worked to catch up before our system at work blocked us out for 3 weeks. Chris slept a lot! The girls went to school and horses on Wednesday. There were cold sweats from the chemo. Days where Chris felt off or clammy. Lisa did what she could to help Chris. There are days were we are just tired. There are days where we just praise God for another day together. There are times where we get angry, times where we are sad, times where our faith is strong and we know that God has this and His plan is perfect. God help us! Help our unbelief when we struggle. Increase our faith. Heal Chris, oh Lord and he will be healed! Save Chris oh Lord, and he will be saved! For you are the one that we praise!!

 

02 DecLeia’s 12th Birthday

Leia woke up multiple times throughout the night. About 5:30 momma saw her up and said happy birthday then she climbed in the bed to snuggle and we snapped the first picture of the day. Daddy woke up a few minutes later telling her happy birthday too but he would not let us post the morning picture of him. Ivy heard us all talking and woke up a few minutes later. The girls headed to the den to see what our elf, Cupcake had done since she normally has her birthday clothes on ready to celebrate. 

There were 12 balloons on the white rug; thank you Mimi for your help in getting those. The girls surrounded themselves with the balloons. Momma started cooking chocolate chip pancakes and little round sausages per the birthday girls request. Daddy ventured out right as momma was finishing up cooking breakfast for us all to gather around the table. We sang happy birthday to Leia then enjoyed a sweet family breakfast. 

Present time was on Leia’s agenda next. She always is so sweet in letting Ivy help her open them. This year she got horse earrings, chess game, checker game, sleep mask, and money for her Kendra Scott jewelry she wanted to pick out that day. We gave the girls a choice on weather or not they wanted to go to school today. Leia opted to spend her whole birthday at home while Ivy opted to go to school since she had a field trip. Ivy hitched a ride with the neighbor while momma and Leia snuggled up on the couch watching Hallmark as daddy napped on and off. 

Mimi called after she dropped off Sara and Katie at school; she was keeping them since Stacy and Mark went to Ross Bridge hotel for their anniversary. Mimi asked if anyone wanted her to pick up breakfast. Surprisingly Chris wanted something so she brought it by and Leia opened one of her presents. When daddy woke up, we asked him to play Leia in a game of chess. She loved it! He is a great teacher. As they were playing VHEW counselor called Lisa and we determined Ivy should come home for the day too. Mimi picked her up then we had sweet family time the rest of the morning.

Midday we got dressed for momma and Leia to have some one on one time at lunch and doing anything Leia wanted to do. Grandpa and Deedee arrived to hang out with Chris and Ivy while momma and Leia headed out. As we pulled out, Leia’s teacher, Mrs Boykin called to make sure everything was okay at home and see if we could swing by the school. Leia said she wanted to so we did. Her whole class came out to sing happy birthday to her, give her cards they made, and special gifts. It was so sweet! 

From that surprise we headed to lunch at “The Ridge” per Leia’s request. We lingered over lunch. It was nice hearing her talk and enjoying some precious time with her. From there we headed shopping. We went to Fun Stuff, Kendra Scott, Belk, Loft, and TJ Maxx. It was a lot of shopping! Momma did not rush her in Kendra Scott and Leia ended up designing a necklace of her choice. The rest of the stores we were looking for a red dress but struck out. The frustration of not finding one left the end of the shopping trip on a sour note. 

We arrived home to a full house. Leia was excited to see her sister. She showed everyone her necklace and told them about her day. Momma headed to a neighbors to show up since she had been having a bad week. Somewhere in the middle of the excitement though, Leia’s emotions took over and it did not look or feel the way she wanted it to on her birthday. Daddy hugged and loved on her; he texted momma to come home. We all three sat in the bedroom talking and trying to separate facts from feelings and get the birthday girl back in a celebration mood. 

Grandpa got back with dinner from Pita Stop. We all enjoyed dinner and sweet fellowship. Leia face-timed the Requena-Comfort’s then opened her presents. She, Ivy, and Katie started playing checkers as they waited on Sara to finish dance to do cake. We all sang happy birthday to our girl, enjoyed cake, and snapped a quick picture of everyone here celebrating our 12 year old before calling it a night. 

Last picture as a 11 year old and first as a 12 year old

The birthday girl had 12 balloons on the white rug; of course we had to get a picture with them all
 
Cupcake made a hat since she lost her birthday hat for Leia’s 12th birthday

Birthday breakfast: pancakes and little sausages

Presents before Ivy left for school
Daddy asked if every present was an elephant


  Daddy teaching Leia to play Chess. It was her favorite present
 
Mimi brought Chick-fil-A to us since Chris said he wanted a biscuit from there. She ended up swinging by VHEW to get Ivy since her school had called and said she might need to go home. She did not want to talk but we hugged several minutes then simply enjoyed sweet time together. 


On our way out for lunch her teacher Mrs Boykin called and asked could we drive by the school. Her whole class sang happy birthday to her and gave her cards. Such a sweet and thoughtful thing to do! 

Enjoyed sweet one on one time with our birthday girl at lunch and shopping; doing whatever she wanted to do on her special day

Leia designed her own necklace at Kendra Scott

12th birthday dinner

Presents after dinner

Love that Leia always lets Ivy help open, takes time to thank people as she goes, and tries out gifts

That two and one kept turning…mommy laughed herself for straightening it but doing it backwards

Cakes, games, and fun … loved celebrating our girl!!



 
Thankful for the family who came to celebrate with Leia! Also, thankful aunt Stacy suggested a selfie of everyone and had Mark take pictures for me because Leia’s momma has not been good at pictures recently 

01 DecOncologist Appointment

Wednesday, December 1st we had an appointment to see if the first round of chemo appeared to be working and the doctor would allow us to continue treatment or not since the infusions appeared not to have impacted the tumor. Chris and Lisa arrived at 8:45 for blood work and scans. We questioned the scan since the week before they mentioned no contrast and the radiologist said they were doing scans. We had to wait longer for the scan to get the current blood work. We also called Chris’s oncologist to make sure he was ok with it since the contrast can put stress on the kidneys and the levels were questionable the week before which is why they had said not contrast previously. 

After what felt like a long time, a lot of discussions, and getting the latest kidney blood work levels it was determined we could get a scan with contrast. A scan with contrast shows more detail than without it. After our scan we headed up to our appointment with the oncologist. Of course our appointment was over an hour away so we had to wait to check in for the appointment. We were called back 30 minutes later and sat in the room, anxiously waiting news. We know there were people praying because we felt it. The peace that only could come from God over fell us. We drank water, talked, and waited. 

Our doctor, Dr Basu finally came in and sat down. He is pretty direct and upfront. He immediately said I know you are waiting on news on the scan so I want to start with that … the tumor looks to be responding to the chemo and the volume of the tumor shrank. Chris looked a little confused so Lisa repeated to him the tumor shrunk and we celebrated. As we were celebrating, our doctor reminded us that this is good news and that this can add time to Chris’s life but the diagnosis still is stage 4 and terminal. We need someone to keep us level and be direct with us. However, we will still say BUT GOD! 

One might ask what we mean when we say BUT GOD … it is simply really. God is in control and nothing can happen without God allowing it. God gets the final say! God is our Savior! God is the beginning and end! God is Alpha and Omega! God is the Great I AM! God has the perfect plan for each of us! God is the Great Physician! God is a Miracle Maker! God is the Way-maker! God can heal! God can give us a miracle! God is able to do anything! We trust in His plan! We know God will give us a healing … God gets to give it to us here on Earth together or Chris his healing in Heaven since Chris has put his trust in Jesus as his Lord and Savior! We trust in God and put our faith in Him! He is providing what we need each day, each moment! We trust in God! 

 

01 DecGigi, Joy, and Dan visit

Chris had mentioned after being diagnosed that he would love to see Gigi. As fate would have it she was visiting aunt Joy for Thanksgiving and they said they could come down afterwards to visit a few nights. It was a short visit but so sweet! They arrived Monday afternoon and headed home on Wednesday morning. We did not do much other than fellowship and eat but it was just what we needed.

Chris stayed up talking with Dan later than he had been up in a long time. Mimi got to come see Gigi, Joy, and Dan. Lisa got a lot of training for work done. The Batson group reminisced on memories growing up. The ladies went to a local store and got some Christmas gifts. We enjoyed yummy food throughout the couple days and sweet fellowship. Thankful they were able to come visit! 

Our girlies love having aunt Joy and Gigi here!

Enjoying meals at the table together was sweet

Group picture before heading home

Cupcake did not get to move with all the action in the house and daddy/Dan staying up late catching up
 
Of course we got some sweet pics before they headed home and Gigi got to use Chris’s transport chair
 

28 NovWeekend after Thanksgiving

Friday after Thanksgiving was a fun day for the kids and a good day for the mom/dad’s. Grandpa and Deedee took the four grandkids to High Point to climb and then to Chick-Fil-A for lunch. Lisa was done with the house being a disaster and was determined to clean. Diego and Chris got some quality time talking and hangin out while sweet Kelly helped Lisa clean. When Diego got done talking he joined us cleaning. So thankful that they pitched in to help! A clean house is a good way to help Lisa destress! That evening, Chris said Indian food sounded good so Kelly and Diego went to get it and treated us to dinner too before they headed home. Such a great day for all!  

Saturday after Thanksgiving is Iron bowl Saturday! Before game time though the girlies found the cookies our elf, Cupcake left them and got to go to a neighbors house to play on a new jumpy they had bought. Mimi and the Rhoads come over for the first half of the game. Leia ended up going home for a one-on-one with Mimi. The Talley’s headed down for the game too but watched it all with us. We had given up on the game as Auburn lead most the game but after 4 overtimes Alabama pulled off a shocking win. 

Cupcake made yummy cookies and the girlies had a great time playing at the neighbors house


End of the game excitement that AL pulled it off and won to our surprise

Sunday morning momma cooked chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast and Chris joined us at the table. Afterwards, Ivy had the idea to play headbands afterwards. We made it a family game. It was fun with a lot of laughter. Midday we got dressed and headed to Mimi’s to help decorate her Christmas tree. Lisa loved looking at the ornaments and reminiscing of sweet memories we have had over the years. we enjoyed soup for lunch then headed home. After an afternoon of rest we decided to have a fun family game night with “Grounded for Life”. So thankful for the sweet moments, getting out of the house, and laughing with our little family. 

 
Headbands with momma, dad, and Ivy since Leia was at Mimi’s house

We headed to Mimi’s after a few rounds of headbands to see Leia

Chris supervised us decorating the Christmas tree
 
Family game night fun

 

25 NovThanksgiving 2021

Thanksgiving was different this year. It is the first time that we have ever had it at our house. Chris has not left the house recently except for the doctor office visit and hospital thus the change of location. Even though it was at our house Mimi still did the prepping, cooking, and essentially hosted. Thankful for her willingness to host at our house so we could all be together. It is not the location or the food that makes this holiday or any day for that matter worth it but the people you get to spend the time with that makes it special. 

Mid morning our girls went to Star Lake with the Requena-Comfort crew. As Lisa and Chris sat in the house, she decided they were going and told Chris to get ready, we were going to meet the rest of them at Star Lake. It was his first outing other than the doctor/hospital in weeks. It was nice to get outside for a little while! We snapped several pictures and went a loop around the lake. We were only there 20 or 30 minutes but it was fabulous! As we got back to the house Mimi and the Rhoads were there finishing cooking our thanksgiving meal. 

This year we are most thankful for time together. Time is something that everyone gets the same amount of throughout each day. Money cannot buy you another hour. It is a gift and a thief. It is something that needs to be spent wisely. As we think about the finite time in life with the diagnosis hanging over our heads we treasure time more than ever. It took the diagnosis to slow us down again; similar to the slow down and refocus we received when Papa went to Heaven. Why is it that we are so hard headed we have to have learn these lessons repeatedly. None of us are promised tomorrow. We all should live each day thanking God for the time, moments of life He blesses us with to life, offer forgiveness and love to people freely, live fully in the moment and enjoy life with the people God blesses us to live it with and lets us call friends and family. 

Family pictures at Star Lake


Cooking Thanksgiving yummies and reserving chairs

Yummy meal

Thankful hearts
 


Family Pics with the cooks … thankful for the strong women in our family


Thankful to spend the day with our family! 

 Silly face pictures are always fun!

After lunch fun … playing outside, downstairs and enjoying sweet time together


 

24 NovRequena-Comfort Visit

Wednesday before Thanksgiving the Requena-Comfort family came to join us and spend a couple night. Kelly loved seeing how much stronger Chris looked than when she was here just a week or two before. The girls were super excited to see their cousins. Thankful that we all would be spending Thanksgiving together for the first time in several years. Lisa had been praying for this day and reconciliation. Praise be to the Lord for softening hearts and extending forgiveness and love. Thankful to get to be with our families this Thanksgiving. 

The girls were excited to get fun surprises!

Spoiling the whole family with an amazing gift basket from their friends

 Cookie Decorating


Hot-tubbing fun

22 NovSecond half of 1st round of Chemo

Chris had a doctor appointment and his chemo scheduled for Monday morning. The whole morning started off on a rough foot! We managed to get there right on time for blood work and 15 minutes before our appointment time to see the nurse practitioner. Unfortunately, after 30 or 40 minutes waiting Lisa went to go ask and found out the front desk neglected to finish checking us in so. An hour and 5 minutes after our appointment Lisa went to find a nurse to try to see if we needed to skip this appointment to go to our chemo or what since chemo time was in 10 minutes. The CRNP came in at 10:13 with news on Chris’s blood work did not look idea which was not what we wanted to hear. Instead of going straight to infusion area, we talked and determined we needed to get more blood work, fluids, and more blood work to see if we could even continue chemo that day.

Very thankful after the fluids and additional blood work, we were  able to get chemo! After this treatment Chris had additional blood work. If numbers from the last draw done after chemo are not closer to normal range we will have to go back this week for more IV fluids and nutrients.  Our CRNP also told us next week we go for CT and more blood work to see if chemo is doing anything. Per our understanding if there is not some improvements on CT and/or blood work we may no longer be eligible to continue chemo. So thankful today worked out, we got to get chemo, praying for healing, and praying for wisdom to know what to do. We need some big prayers going up!! continuing to lean in trusting God and the plans he has for each of our lives! 

While momma and daddy spent the day at the hospital the girls enjoyed it with Grandpa and Deedee. They took them to the ranch for private lessons and hung out at home. 

21 NovWeek Following our Hospital Stay

After we got home we tried settling down. Tried to rest back up from the three nights at the hospital with little sleep. We know that Grandpa and Deedee came in town and hung out with the girlies while we were at the hospital. We face-timed the girls regularly. Stacy and Mimi brought stuff to us while we were at the hospital. When we got home they all were there while we tried to get back to normal. Mentally exhausted as we tried navigating FMLA papers, insurance calls, and nurses. There were sweet moments and we even managed to have a few pictures of them. Outside of the pictures the next week or so is hazy in our mind. We made it by the grace of God. I am sure we missed thanking people for blessing us this week with food, help, and loving on us. We missed work and getting things done at the house. I wish we could remember everything to personally thank each person for their kindness and prayers. As things come back to us we may randomly send thank you notes or a text but please know we are thankful for all of our friends and family. We leaning into God, each other, and drawing strength from friends and family praying to God on our behalf. 

 

Monday evening, Mimi and the Rhoads came over for dinner. Chris had said he was going to lay down as the smell of the food was getting to him. Lisa walked out to eat with everyone. As we were close to finishing dinner the phone rang and said “hubby”. She immediately started walking to the bedroom as Chris did not sound right. Upon entering the room there was cold sweat, the ned was soaked, Chris was saying he did not feel right, slurring words, and then his eyes rolled back in his head. Lisa’s heart was racing! As she remembered Stacy was in the den she yelled and her sister came running. It was a chemo reaction but neither Chris nor Lisa knew what to expect with the reactions. We got cold clothes to wipe Chris down and cool him down. Stacy continued talking calmly to him and getting him to drink water as Lisa went to make a protein shake for him. He drank the first shake and then a second. As he started re-hydrating he started talking more normal and freezing. Lisa convinced him to stand up while Stacy and Mimi striped the bed to put on new sheets. When he was back in the dry, clean bed we wrapped him in blankets to warm back up as he drifted off to sleep. Lisa was still nervous. Stacy massage her sisters feet with oils and soothed her fears letting her know it was a normal side effect. Dr Willey texted too confirming the same thing. That night Mimi and Stacy stayed at our house just in case to help ease Lisa’s mind. 

 
Thankful our sister is in medical field and stayed with us though the night after a rough evening. It helped Lisa sleep a little more knowing if she yelled Stacy is a light sleeper and would come running. Mimi and Stacy enjoyed their morning coffee together the next morning.

After a scary Monday night Tuesday we needed a calm Tuesday morning. Lisa was able to snuggle on the couch with the girls before school. That afternoon we wanted to have fun and laughter in the house. We still had not gotten to celebrate Deedee’s birthday with her so decided to celebrate and add a little joy in our life and celebrate. It was not as big of a celebration as normal but it was sweet time. Mimi went by to get Crumbl cookies for us on her daily visit to make sure we were okay. Leia played “Happy Birthday” for Deedee on the clarinet while Ivy and the rest of us sang. We enjoyed the cookies and celebrated being together for the day. It was a great ending with our little family snuggled up together again in bed. So thankful for sweet gift of time and any moments we get together! 



Wednesday, Kelly came to town. It was sweet to see her. Lisa was still in a fog so there are not many pictures but that evening the sweet night snuggles with daddy’s baby girl was snapped and chris reaching out just to hold my leg was captured. We still are holding each other for dear life; God please heal Chris! 

 
Leia and Ivy has always gotten 150+ items for their schools can food drive. It was important to maintain this to Leia. At 7:30 Wednesday evening she came into our bedroom to tell momma that we forgot to go to the store. Lisa asked aunt Kelly to walk in and asked her to please go to Walmart. Leia went with her. They did a math game to figure out how to maximize her budget. So thankful Kelly took her and drove her to school the next day to drop them off.  Sisters are blessings! 

Chris was having trouble in the shower so Grandpa headed to Home Depot Thursday to get a shower head that had a removable nozzle and installed it for us. Thankful for a dad who loves us and willing to help during this difficult time. 

Uncle Johnny holds a special place in each of our hearts. He was the first family member that Chris introduced Lisa too; she had to pass his review before Chris inducted her into meeting the rest of the family in Gatlinburg. When we were entering the hospital, Johnny was boarding a cruise but called each day to check on Chris. When they returned to port Wednesday morning Johnny texted to see when it’d be okay for him to come up or if we would want him too. When Lisa told Chris about the text, Chris’s response was to tell him to “get his booty up here” (with more colorful language not fit for our family blog). Uncle Johnny went home unpacked and repacked. Thankful uncle David let Johnny take his car to not lose time and start driving since Johnny’s car needed an oil change. Thursday afternoon, uncle Johnny arrived. We loved seeing him! He had told us in 2019 he was coming to visit; it took his favorite AL nephew getting sick to make it up here but we are glad he made it! There were hugs, tears, big smiles, and laughs.   

Thursday afternoon the Rhoads came by to give Chris a happy, “Chris Strong” bracelets they had made to show support for him during his treatments

Ivy showed daddy a happy surprise of a cookie basket Ricky, Dawn, Isla, and Kellen sent us then teaching uncle Johnny hand claps (Leia said: He was not that good.) 


Friday evening was the Jinga night. There were belly laughs! First time we had the belly laughs like that in a while. Momma’s heart was full of joy hearing the girls laugh and being part of it. We did bless uncle Johnny playing with hurricane Ivy who wanted to make sure Johnny lost. 



 

Saturday, momma’s heart was full watching Leia teach Ivy to play her clarinet and enjoyed watching Ivy have fun playing Jinga with Grandpa
  
There was snuggles all around
 

Momma went to get a massage and by Mimi’s to install the birthday gift we gave her too. Chris felt good and we all got to enjoy sweet time together. Grandpa and uncle John took the girls to ride bikes at StarLake. We all ordered in Indian food and shared sweet fellowship over dinner. Chris ate some of the chicken and naan as well. Blessed for a great day with some of those we love dearly!

Sunday was beautiful day! Chris, Gene, and uncle Mark enjoyed Sunday football. Mimi, Deedee, Lisa, and uncle John took the girls to StarLake to ride bikes. It was the first time in a while Lisa got to walk more than a mile. Thank you God for blessing us with the time and health to enjoy the day. The girlies built an amazing fort in the basement to hide out in when they needed to escape. 

What a beautiful weekend!!

14 NovWorst Wednesday Ever = First Ambulance Ride

Wednesday, November 10th we were cruising along, still praying and uncertain of what the future held but getting in a more comfortable routine. Mimi and aunt Stacy had been helping us for weeks and we finally struck a balance of what we needed/wanted, when they cooked home cooking to bring to house since the smells make Chris sick, and giving us our time just to be the four of us. We were thankful Lisa’s stomach was finally feeling better following the liquid diet and strong medicines ahead of our trip to TX the following week.

We went to get additional CT scans at UAB in preparation to go to MD Anderson. Chris got pretty weak when we arrived at radiology after walking. Stacy was working that day and had texted so got someone to cover her room and walked down with us. Lisa requested a wheel chair. Thankfully the tech that was with Chris agreed to walk down to the front with us so we did not have to wait for transport and we got home early that day. Mimi had picked the girls up and gave Lisa a massage she had to help Lisa’s back/hip that had been having muscle spasms, again stress does crazy things. 

Lisa was adamant Chris was not to be left alone. Mimi agreed to stay. She and Chris sit in the den visiting, talking, and enjoying sweet fellowship. Lisa called and reminded Chris to take his medicine for appetite stimulate since she was heading home. Lisa got caught in a little traffic but when she was 2 miles from home Mimi called. There was something off in her voice. She tried to play it off that she was just waiting on me for dinner but Lisa was not buying it and she ended up telling Lisa that they had to call the ambulance but Chris was okay just to be safe driving home. 

Lisa arrived and the stress of everything hit her like a ton of bricks. Her muscles tightened from massage she just received as she saw the stretcher in front of our home. Rushing in Chris was alert and talking with oxygen. They were loading him into a transport chair to get him down the steps and onto the stretcher. Our girls stood watching, shocked, crying, and uncertain what to do. They said Lisa could ride in the front of the ambulance while Chris was in the back. Lisa gave them a hug and kiss and told them she was going with daddy. We were able to gain approval to go to UAB since they were on diversion since Chris’s oncologist was there.  The conversations eased both of our nerves as we traveled and we were thankful to be together. Lisa texted Gene, Darrel, Kelly, and Diego to let them know they were on the way to the hospital to alert them. 

When we arrived Lisa blew Chris a kiss at the back of the ambulance, handed him his phone so we could stay in touch, told him she loved him as the medics wheeled Chris in the ER and Lisa headed to the front waiting room. There was tears with uncertainty in the front waiting room; thankful for the people who prayed with Lisa. Chris had his phone so he texted when he was awake to help ease Lisa’s fears. Due to his cancer diagnosis and current infusion treatment he was put in a private ER room. After a few hours Lisa joined him. So thankful to get to be together! So thankful to get to hold his hand! Thankful to be able to read the monitor to check on him. Throughout the night there were ultra sounds of his legs, feet, lungs, and heart. Cardiac doctors came in to inform us the fluid in the lungs from the clots were putting pressure on the right side of his heart. Oncologist team came to tell us the clots in lungs were bigger despite the blood thinner he had been on. The night turned into morning. 

The morning nurses name was Anna and Jordan. They were better than the night team. We continued getting visits from cardiac, pulmonologist, and oncologist. Each time they assured us there was a room coming available in an hour or two. That evening Chris’s oncologist came to see us and everything hit us like a ton of bricks. He had to be blunt, he had to be honest but it did not make it easier to hear. He told us the infusions were not working and we needed to be prepared to either enter hospice or try the last ditch effort of chemo. We still desperately wanted out of the ER. Our doctor pulled his weight and made it happen finding us a room on the oncology floor. We moved to it; the nurses were great. We were thankful for a more comfortable place for Lisa to sit and sleep. We prayed, we cried, we talked … ultimately the decision was Chris’s on if he wanted to enter hospice or fight. Lisa told him she would support his decision no matter what and simply prayed for agreement in our decision. Ultimately, he opted to start Chemo on Friday evening. 

Chemo was long! Chris was malnourished! Before they could start chemo they had to give him nutrients to get him strong enough to take the chemo. We started in the late afternoon and the last chemo went in the next morning. The nurses worked though the night. After all the nutrient infusions Chris’s color returned. Chris was able to stand stronger. Chris is strong. Chris is a fighter. We were able to come home on Saturday, November 13th. Although it was just 3 nights in the hospital it seemed like longer.  We asked Grandpa and Deedee to keep the girls out of the house so we could get Chris in and settled before our girls saw him. They arrived within 10 minutes of us getting Chris in the house. We were so very thankful to be home! Loved getting to see our girls. Savored the moments with them. Then on Sunday had to tell them the hard truth that infusions are not working so that daddy started a new treatment. We know that God will heal daddy with a miracle on earth or with his home coming in Heaven. It was a hard conversation but we pray they have wisdom beyond their years and God’s peace on each of us.  

Just over 24 hours in the ER. Hard chair and tiny room but grateful to be together, holding hands, praying for mercy and healing. I have no doubt the hospital has had more prayers prayed than a church building. This trail is drawing us closer into God and helping us lean on Him more than we have in years.


So thankful to be out of the ER. I always have heard you never know what a smile maybe hiding. This picture was taken less than 30 minutes after we were told the infusions were not working. We mustard the smile to send our girls and family as we were clinging to the hem of Jesus asking for a miracle

Face-timing our precious girls, how we long to get home to them 

Momma was so thankful for a room with a shower, comfy place to sleep, and clean clothes!
Thank you Lord for the blessing of both. 

Chris was able to sit in a chair for 5 minutes and we were touched by a mentee that Chris has that sought out the hospital and managed to get a balloon to Chris just to let him know she was thinking of him. We are blessed to have sweet friends, family, and co-workers! 

Nurse Tyler was our favorite nurse. He genuinely seems to care for his patients and celebrated with us when we got to go home
    
 The girls were just as excited to see us as we were them! 

Family back together; momma’s heart is full of joy!
Grandpa and Deedee had come in town the day after Lisa texted Chris was being transported to the hospital to help out while we were focusing on Chris at the hospital. 

Family snuggle time is momma and dad’s favorite!  

Home in our bed still clinging to each other and our Savior … sickness of life or death helps you focus on what is really important