After going through the surgery to remove the bladder because of the cancer and recently surviving a heart attack, God has given me a new understanding of what Faith is all about. Below is a link to a message I delivered at Berachah Fellowship Church in Albany, Ga. just a week and a half after the heart attack. The link is to an Audio File Only. It is a rather long presentation (52 minutes). Copy and paste the link into your brower to open then hit the play button on the player that appears.
I hope it is a blessing to you.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Helen and I made a trip to Gainesville today for my first follow-up since being released from the hospital. We were hoping to have some of the staples removed but will have to wait until next Wednesday due to the amount of swelling that is still present. A very minor problem that should take care of itself.
The good news that we had been praying for was the results of the pathology report. To a high degree of certainty, it appears that the surgery was successful in removing all of the cancerous tissue. This is an answer to prayer and a tribute to the faithfulness of our Lord.
Please continue to pray for the recovery from the surgery. I am still quite sore. It is going to take a few weeks to regain my strength. I want to thank each of you who have held our family up in prayer during these days. You are our real friends in the Lord.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Let me start off by apologizing for the lack of updates the past week. Our brothers had to leave to go back to TN and so my sister and I were running back and forth between G-ville and J-Ville and just didn't have much time to get to the computer. We do thank you all for your continued prayers and support during this time.
To catch you up quickly, Dad was released from ICU to a regular room on Monday night. At that point he was still unable to eat or stand up on his own but he was off the ventilator and most IVs. Over the next few days he began to regain his strength and was able to try very small amounts of liquids and solid food. Dad was released to come home on Friday afternoon.
We are thankful that he is able to continue his recovery here at home and that he and Mom can enjoy the comforts of home (and their own bed) while dad continues to heal. He is still struggling to get his blood pressure stabilized and is dealing with a good amount of swelling. Of course his pain is still quite significant as well but he is managing it well. He is able to maneuver himself around with the help of a walker and his spirits are good. He has a home nurse and physical therapist coming by several times a week helping to ensure he continues to have a healthy recovery.
Mom is also doing better being at home. Numerous nights sleeping in a hospital chair left her with aching legs and back. She is still quite tired but overall she has been handling all this great!
They want me to let everyone know that they are up for visitors and are looking forward to getting back to church and time with friends soon.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
This is Willis' daughter, Natalie, with a brief update. Dad is still in the ICU but he began rehab today. He got out of bed, took a few steps, and sat up in a chair for a while. He was anxious to start moving around again. Another tube, one draining his stomach, also came out today, all of which is good news! We will let you know when he is moved to a regular room. We are just waiting for the doctors to sign off that he is in no danger of getting pneumonia.
Thank you for your continued prayers!
Saturday, December 4, 2010
This is Willis' daughter, Natalie. The doctors were able to take the breathing tube out yesterday! Dad is breathing really well on his own and his incisions are healing well. He is in some pain, which is to be expected, and his mouth and throat are pretty sore from the breathing tube. BUT all in all, he is doing really, really well. They are keeping him as comfortable as possible while also keeping him alert. They are planning to get him out of bed today and begin physical therapy. He is still in the ICU but once he becomes a little more mobile, they will move him over to a regular room. We are hopeful this will happen this weekend. The greatest sign of his healing progress is that he was ready to watch FOX news again this morning. : ) He is also beginning to make jokes with the doctors which is an even better sign. : ) All in all, he is doing better than he feels. He is sore all over but he is healing well and the doctors are pleased with his progress.
Helen is doing well, too. We (her kids) are keeping her fed and making her go to the hotel to get some rest and let us relieve her. She has a hard time leaving his side but she knows she needs to keep her strength and energy up, too.
The whole family appreciates continued prayers! Once he is moved out of ICU, he should be able to have visitors. Hopefully, he will be back in Jax before too long.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Today's post is coming from Willis' daughter, Natalie. He is still in the ICU. In terms of removing the cancer, the surgeon was pretty confident that all was removed. The pathology report will determine whether any further chemo is needed. Also, the ICU docs are pleased with his healing from the incisions and the surgery. His white blood cell count has been high so that is very good.
The reason he is still in the ICU is because he had a few other complications from the surgery that the ICU docs are still monitoring. He lost more blood than expected during the surgery and his lungs have some fluid on them. His blood pressure was too low the past few days. He was given a blood transfusion yesterday; and, today, his blood pressure is back into normal ranges and his heart rate is looking good. He is still on the respirator today but they are weaning him off. While they are trying to keep him comfortable, he is not heavily sedated now and he is very aware of the respirator. He was just asking the nurse questions about how long he will have it in and when he will be able to go home. How was he doing this with a tube in his mouth, you may wonder? She and I had to read his lips. : ) Needless to say, it took a while to understand what he wanted but he made sure we knew! He has a strong, fighting spirit and will, hopefully, be able to get off the respirator tomorrow.
In sum, it looks like he will be spending a little more time in Gainesville than we originally anticipated. I'm not sure how long yet but please pray he can be weaned from the respirator tomorrow (he just hates that thing!) and be moved to a regular room by the end of the week. Luckily, he's a huge Florida fan so a little extra time in Gainesville is not so bad. : ) And the doctors and staff at Shands are so professional, competent and diligent that we are all very confident he is good hands. Continue to pray that God blesses the staff with wisdom in treating him and that God Himself lays His healing hand upon his body and speeds his recovery.
We are all very thankful for the continued prayers and support of our family and friends. Thank you so much. We will try to make sure his blog is updated daily. Hopefully, he will be able to put up a post very soon.
In Christ's Love,
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Last night was a rough night. Dad's blood pressure dropped dangerously low and his breathing became very labored. The Dr's. had to give him significant amounts of medication and increase the ventilator to get him stable. Thankfully they were able to stabilize him and take the meds and ventilator back down to more acceptable levels. As of this morning his nurse told me he was stable for someone so sick. She said he has received so much fluid that he will have a great deal of swelling, which we are already beginning to see, and that it is likely he will need another blood transfusion at some point. They will be doing an Echo on him today to check his heart function and he will remain on the breathing tube for at least another 24 hrs. While Dad is heavily sedated his is able to open his eyes briefly, squeeze our hands and shake his head yes or no in response to questions. He did look at me and shake his head yes when I asked if he was comfortable.We praise God for his provision and protection during this time. The recovery process already has been much more difficult than expected, however, there is a great amount of trust in the hands of the Dr.s and nurses here. Last night as I attempted to sleep, a song that my dad loves kept running through my mind - In Christ Alone. The first verse of the song is below and I feel it is a true expression of where Dad, Mom and our families find strength and comfort.
In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand