Terri Gray's Update

Hello. Welcome to my Blog. I will use this form of communication to keep all my family, friends and others who are interested in my life experiences living with cancer up to date. I have been battling inflammatory breast cancer since May 2003. Every day I pray "May I be a blessing to you in each word I write today!" Please subscribe to my Blog by entering your email address in the subscribe box located in the right column below my book.

Monday, April 03, 2006

New Week

Good afternoon,

Thank you ALL so much for your patience. I know my e-mails are getting farther between, and that silence brings with it so many questions. But before I begin to share where I'm at right now, I just wanted to begin with my thanks to you all. Your outpouring of love, caring and compassion truly have sustained me through this portion of my journey through cancerland. How blessed I am! Thank you.

As you are well aware, we have had an outpouring of out-of-town/out-of-state visitors since my last message which explained the cessation of chemotherapy and my entrance into Hospice Care. And in between all of those wonderful visits, we have had those of you who live here in town pay your visits as well. So with just that said, I have been pretty pre-occupied. Then, my induction into Hospice Care has taken up several hours in my day as well. I was given the "introduction to Hospice" tour, via all of their staff, coming on different days, explaining their roles in my care. They have been marvelous. We have them coming here to do all sorts of things that are so tremendously helpful. In fact, after the visit with their Social Worker, Hospice will begin sending out a respite care worker today, not for me, but for my dad! Yes, that's right. For 16 hours each week, this person comes and will occupy Dad, whose dementia has kept mom running, so that mom can be of more help to me. And once a week, a homemaker will come and help with household chores, to give Dave and Mom a reprieve, too. Today, the two of them are going to the commissary together, while Dad's respite worker is here. Then, of course, Hospice sends out a nurse to care for my medical needs, including care for my Port-A-Cath, exchanging pain med cartridges, and overseeing my overall health.

As for my actual health, I do have to be honest with you, it is declining. The fatigue I have mentioned is worsening. I seem to see a pattern happening. As I fatigue, then I rest more, which seems to weaken my arms and legs. This makes it difficult to push myself in and out of bed. I've never had skinny arms before, but my right arm, especially, is skinnier than ever. The left still has some lymphedema, so it looks "healthier" than the other. The pain meds, although working great, cause me to be sleepier, which adds to the fatigue. There isn't much we can do about that. I do now have skin mets on my chest again, and they are itching up a storm. I haven't had them since 2004, so that was such a nice reprieve. Since I cannot take chemo therapy any longer, there isn't anything we can do about this. I also have swelling in my lower legs, due in part to the clogged bile ducts, caused by the liver tumor enlarging. The yellowness from the jaundice seems to be stabilized as well.

OK...enough of the somber stuff...let me tell you about some good things! First of all, my precious Pastor Ron, has been here every day, offering his support in every way possible. The first thing he did after that Wednesday appointment, when Dr. Lossing said he'd done all he could, was to show up at our house. He asked Dave and me if there was anything they could do for us. Well my goodness, he already does so much, I couldn't ask for anything more, except what he was already doing, which is to pray. Then, Dave took Pastor aside, and shared that for years, he has wanted to do a paint job in the master bedroom, but couldn't move all the furniture by himself. So Pastor and Dave came back inside, and asked if I'd like my bedroom painted. That sounded really nice, because I knew that I'd be spending more time in my bedroom as the days rolled one. Well, if you know Pastor Ron, he does nothing in a small way. He spoke with our church board, and before you know it, he had a complete "Extreme Makeover...Home Edition" happening right here. They repainted our entryway, hallway, and bedroom. Because I couldn't tolerate too much excitement, it needed to be done within a 5-day period...not enough time to make oodles of phone calls and arrange to include everyone. But in his very loving and kind way, he had our master bedroom transformed into the most peaceful place you could imagine. Dave took pictures and put them up on the photo gallery at our website:
www.graystarcity.com if you'd like to see just what they did! That was so marvelous, because Dave's family was here during this time, from N.Carolina and Texas, and they were instrumental in assisting with moving stuff in and out of the bedrooms, etc. Thank you EVERYONE who assisted with this project.

Now, to top this off....something awesome occurred while Dave's family were here (and I haven't already mentioned this...my mom took a leave of absence from work and my parents are living here and all a huge part of everything now) at church. Some things were shared by Pastor and another member of our church about what God put on his heart. Most of you received an e-mail about this so I won't go into great detail. But the bottom line is that throughout the month of April, there is someone praying every hour out in front of our home for some specific requests, including my healing. How can I not be joyous and thankful? I am so blessed by everyone. Every time I try to be a blessing, God blesses me through all of you, one hundred-fold. Thank you.

No matter what God's answer to our prayers is, I know He will do the very best for me, and for you. Don't walk away from Him because of this. He has great things in store for everyone who believes!

Sorry this is so lengthy. I had to make sure that I didn't forget to mention anything. And perhaps I forgot something, but you can always e-mail and ask me, OK? I love you all,



May I be a blessing to you in each word I write today.
The past is history, the future is a mystery, but the present is a gift! Enjoy today.