Friday, January 30, 2009

Yes yes yes, we are home.

Thursday at UAMS was promising to be a long day. They always are on clinic days. My dad had a rough night on Wed and I was so anxious to get home to he, momma, Lisa and my family.

We shared our family situation to Deena and within minutes things were in motion for us to get out of there. Frank got Invanz, platelets, and Dr. Barlogie said we could skip our discharge meeting with him. We got our cd copies from radiology, and a weeks worth of IV Invanz for me to administer to Frank from home.

UAMS is wonderful and we love them so so much. But we thank God for working through each one of them to meet our needs, big and small. Frank's physical needs, my emotional needs.... God knows it all.

While all this was going on, the kids had packed the car and we were ready to hit the road within 30 minutes of getting back to the hotel.

After dinner I went to see my daddy. I wasn't prepared for the unloading I did on his shoulder when I saw him. I have been holding everything in all week. Bottled up stuff is a specialty of mine these days. I took one look at him and lost it. Which of course, if you know my mother, made her lose it too. And if you know my dad, I got the calm reassuring pat on the back as I cried, "Now now, we'll get through this".

He is still very sick and it's complicated. I could go on and on about oncology from a caregivers perspective, but I don't know much about cardiology from any perspective. RN or not. As I've mentioned before, it's a lot of heart and lung issues working together. He now has Cough Syncope, which means he faints when he coughs ~ which he does a lot from the pneumonia.

I've had many texts and emails asking for an update about my dad, and we thank you for your concern for him as well. Please pray for him and for momma. She won't take her eye off him for a minute. She is tired and worried.

Frank is doing well today. Being home always gives him a special boost. We got up early to go to hospital and get labs drawn. They came back and said his platelets were 75. How many have stopped to reread that??? No way we said, including the doctor. They were 12 yesterday. They got a new sample and they came back 57. That much of a change in 1 hour? Still fishy. Doctor thinks so too. We don't know enough to wonder where the problem may be. We've never actually seen anyone count platelets. Our doctor doubted a platelet count a few weeks ago from the same facility. But anyway, we left and ran errands, visited daddy and went home. Frank even ran an errand tonight with Zach without the walker.

It was a good day for him and we are thankful and grateful and most humbled by the love and prayers you have shown for us. Good night.... from our home.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

One of the goals and prayers that Peggy and I have had these past few weeks has been that God would give us confidence and wisdom as we make treatment decisions. Well, after meeting with Dr. Barlogie, there still is only one choice. Our plan will be to continue our treatment and care in Memphis. The results of the tests here at UAMS confirmed pretty much what we had suspected. This last round of chemo didn't hold back progression of disease, but the places where I got radiation improved those specific lesions. In fact, the lesion behind my eye has almost completely resolved.

Now, as to why we had to come to Little Rock a bit early: my low grade fever and lung infection situation is getting much, much better. In fact my CRP dropped from .32(Tuesday) to .20(today). So if my levels drop again by morning, I expect to be turned lose. We have enjoyed our stay - but it is time to get back to Memphis.

Oh yea, and there's also the matter of platelets. They were 16 today, but they let me wait till tomorrow to get my bag. One for the road. For some reason I still have not been able to keep making platelets. It seems like I make enough to skip a day or two, but then I stop making them and my levels drop. Who knows why this is occurring, but regardless the reason, platelets can be given in Memphis. This issue should not hold us up.

Finally, Go Cardinal’s…….I haven’t declared my favorite team for this weekend’s SuperBowl, so I hope Arizona wins. I don’t have a reason to pull for either team so I’m hanging my hat with the underdogs. They’ve never won a championship so I hope they can bring it home over the Steelers………

I'm drifting in and out of sleep so I'm passing off to Peg for more details... good night.

Good evening,

We've had a good day today. We were thrilled when we woke up this morning and weren't iced in like most of AR north of us. We had to be at the hosp at 6 for a PET scan. Even though we had ice on our car, and roads seemed clear, we still saw a few people stranded from sliding around just in the 5 mile drive to the hospital. The good news for us was: get there early, get out early! We got the Invanz (antibiotic) right after the PET scan and headed to get the kids.

We ate out at Cracker Barrel for lunch. The cold aggravates Frank's pain, so we asked to sit by the fireplace. Sitting comfortably in a chair is an issue, and he stood a lot of the time. First of all, from our vantage point, it is helpless and awful to see him uncomfortable. We each want to help and know that nothing we do can make it go away. We all try to balance how to help him with out irritating him and hovering, etc. But second of all, on a lighter side of it ~ I observed today how others observed us. When Frank would stand up for some relief, the staff all looked around at each other like he wanted something, and eyed for our waitress. So... we got very attentive service. We had also asked to be near the fireplace for warmth. To be nice, they put a few more logs on the fire for us. After a few minutes Frank's back was hot and he had to move seats.

Yesterday was a tough day. Even though we were not shocked with the news, it is still always very hard to hear it out loud and read it in black and white. But like Frank said, nothing much has changed in his decision since Jan 2. We talked with Dr. Barlogie, who called Dr. Weir, and then we talked privately with Dr. Weir. We tried to stay quiet last night and off our phones, and be together and pray. And we had a good talk with Deena this morning. Frank does have confidence in his decision and I am confident with him as I support him. I have prayed that God would give him a peace that no human mind can comprehend - peace that only comes from the Holy Spirit as Frank seeks God's will for himself and our family.

Please forgive me if I've not been able to return your calls or texts. I have been trying to work with Chase in the evenings with school and I haven't been using my phone much. But for those asking about my daddy, I have a quick update on him as well.

His is still in ICU. Momma said it was hard for him to breath all day. He has pneumonia, but the doctors are also saying they think it's COPD. Both the atrial fibrillation and COPD will need to be addressed of course. Please keep him and momma in your prayers too. Our dear friends here at UAMS are always hard to leave, but I am anxious to get home to Momma and Daddy too.

We thank you so much for your prayers for our family! God has been good, and we have had a sweet time together. Hopefully, the next post will be made from Germantown. Love to you..... Frank~n~Peg

Monday, January 26, 2009

Phil 4: 4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I'm sitting in our room at the hospital. His antibiotic is already done infusing and Frank is sleeping on and off, watching TV. We have a private room with a bed today, instead of being in the open room with 15 chairs or more. We're thankful for days like these.

I don't know how the rooms get doled out, but God knew we needed this room today.

Lisa called me at 3 am to tell me Momma was taking my Daddy to the ER for chest pain and shortness of breath. He's in Cardiac ICU now and stable. It's pneumonia and fluid on the lungs, but the Atrial fibrillation he's trying to get over isn't helping the situation either. Lisa is with Momma and they are sweet to keep the phone on so I could hear things going on in the room from time to time so I don't feel so far away.

Frank and I prayed for Daddy. We prayed for Frank. And we longed for answers today that would send us home.

Hebrews 4:16
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Frank had to have platelets yesterday. They were 19. They had been 20 for several days. He must have lost one. We looked everywhere for it, and couldn't find it, so a replacement was in order.

After we got home last night, he didn't feel well. He slept for a long time, and still felt bad. I took his temp and it was 101.8. Not good. He took a shower and got in the bed. I checked it often, and it came down pretty quick. After talking with the nurses today, they think it may have been a slight reaction to the platelets.

His CRP (inflammation marker) went up again today. It's 44. It was 48 when we got here. It had been going down, but in the past 2 day, it has gone back up. His blood work looks good today but the nasal washing he did the other day came back positive for mold. Huh? Positive for mold. How do you get that? You breathe it in the air. Oh. Whose air? Any air. Hum, good to know.

So, as I type, and Frank rests and watches TV, we are awaiting orders for how to treat ~ how do I say ~ mold in your nasal cavity? When we know, you'll know. See now, there just may be some educational benefits to reading the blog!

We had a long talk with Deena, our APN and dear friend today. She has always had a special way of being able to talk to Frank, and me too, in a very candid, real, yet sensative way. It meant a lot to hear her not only affirm but agree with Frank's decisions and be supportive, esp from her vantage point. She has been a wonderful caregiver, advocate and friend, and feel so blessed to know her.


Well, we've left the hospital ... with no new meds. They said come back tomorrow. There's winter watch tonight in effect for Little Rock. Frank and I left to pick up some groceries "just in case" - but so did everyone else in Little Rock. :) He kept the car warm and toasty for us and we got in and out of there pretty quick.

Tomorrow will be a big day. As you pray for specifics, please pray for my daddy, Bill, for complete healing and for my mom and family as they care for him. Please pray for wisdom as Frank see's the infectious disease doctor about the nasal washing results that came back and with Dr. Barlogie. We are still praying that any sign or hint of infection will go away, so we can go home.

Isaiah 55: 8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD.

Phil 1: 3 I thank my God every time I remember you.

With much love from our heart to yours.... Frank and Peggy

Saturday, January 24, 2009

As Peggy, the kids and I sit down in our Residence Inn residence, we are happy.

Today (Saturday), we were able to get in and get out of treatment in a mere 3 hours. To some that might seem like a long time, but in the Oncology world, that is a quick trip. The reason things went so quickly is because I didn't need many "suppliments", only the Invanz antibiotic.

My labs today showed that my platelets held steady - that's 2 days in a row. I was 20 yesterday & 20 today. The WBC was 1.8 and all my red values went up, so again today was so good.

Now, let me describe a long day. A long day is where you arrive at 10:30am, sit in the lobby for 2 hours waiting to be called back, and then once you get back in the treatment areas, you don't leave until 7:30pm at night. That's long day! Actually, that was yesterday.

Friday we reported for duty in the Chemo Room. This is where I get the antibiotics. While we waited, we had the good fortune of bumping into a couple that we have developed really good friendship with over the summer and keep up with Susan & Mike from Houston, TX. It was a joy seeing them, but it was unfortunate that we had to see them here again so soon. We've also been visiting with other patient friends here from Collierville that we keep up with . So, life in the waiting room isn't all bad. About the time we finished catching up with them, I got called back for the anitbiotics and we raced to get the bag hung so we would not be late for the MRI.

Mission accomplished, because we walked in for our MRI appointment on time. I was ready, Peggy was ready, but the MRI wasn't ready. We had another 1 hour wait on the MRI, which was our good fortune again because Karen Green and her friend Lisa dropped in on us for a surprise visit. Karen is our friend from Memphis we go to church with and a "fighter" like me. We've been praying for each other and it was really good to see her. It meant a lot to us that she would take time to come see us at the hosp on her fun weekend away from all that.

While Karen, Peggy, and Lisa caught up, I got inside the MRI 'tube' and went to sleep. Yes, after 6 years, I've learned to sleep in an MRI. I guess I've been in them so many times that the noise doesn't bother me anymore.

I woke up thinking I was done, but not so fast. The chemo room had called while I was asleep and asked us to come back for 2 bags of red blood. That doesn't sound like a lot, but as you already know we didn't get home until 7:30 last night.

No one had any trouble getting to sleep Friday night, that's for sure. We ate out and then Chandler and Peggy met Heather at her shop and got their hair done. How very gracious of Heather to be so flexible with them.

But all that was last night.... I was only there 3 hours today remember?

I don't get out much because sitting up is so uncomfortable. I decided to try a movie today for the first time. We hit a matinee and I did better than I thought I would. Then we ordered pizza and went to Heather's house to hang out for a bit. It was nice to get out of the hotel room. We just relaxed. The kids played Rock Band and games, I got to surf the net for MSU states on the game

In His grace,


Friday, January 23, 2009

Frank’s Friday Morning (non-detailed & incomplete) Posting

Well everybody yesterday was really busy, we started by…………………………….

Once we were through that ordeal, as if that wasn’t bad enough, we saw the valet parking guy who was flagging us down. If I had of known what was up, I would of run the other way because……

Anyway, once the cops left, we just had to take a break. Lunch sounded good so we took a vote and decided that The Purple Cow has the best milkshakes but Arkansas Burger Company has the best fries. Since the sandwiches are about the same we decided………

Did you know that hydrogen-peroxide will get blood out of a shirt? That stuff is amazing. Anyway, the guy apologized and all, but we still had to find a way to get the wet clothes back to……..

The kids spent the afternoon finishing up some schoolwork so that hopefully our evening would be clear of obligations. I can’t move around very fast, but I can get around so we thought a movie would be fun. Well, our plan was good, but it didn’t work. I wasn’t counting on someone else messing things up. Once we got to Radiology Dept. I found out the system was 2 hours …………..

Finally the longest day was over and since we were so exhausted we just decided to go to Sonic and play the card game - Old Maid. The game is pretty simple really, but we play competitive Old Maid and wear army fatigues when we do it. It’s really fun.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner….Zach won, Chase won, and finally ……………..won and then we had to quit to get some beauty sleep.

Of course by this time you have to know that this posting is a joke. We have had so many heavy posts latley that I wanted to lighten up the mood. We've been spending time laughing and enjoying being together just like we had planned. We're doing well!

We love you guys and can’t wait to see you.


Ecclesiastes 3:4a There is, "a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance".

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Good morning from Little Rock.....

Technology has changed so much. Facebook got the news out before Carltongang. Sorry for the delay. Frank tried for an hour to update last night, but he admits that details aren't his strong suit, so he deleted it and pushed the computer over to me.

His fever had been consistently going up and his congestion hadn't gotten any better. Yesterday, as he was getting ready to see Dr. Weir we noticed his temp was 101. By the time we got the office, it was 102.7.
He also had a pain in his right calf, sensitive to the touch. Dr. Weir ordered test to be run at Baptist Outpatient: blood cultures, chest xray, and an doppler/xray of the leg (to rule out a clot). But before we packed up we discussed with him our options.

We were suppose to be in Little Rock Friday for test and again on Tues to see Dr. Barlogie. We didn't want to miss those appointments. Treatment in Memphis would mean IV antibiotics as an impatient in the hospital. (Can you believe in over 6 years, Frank has never been admitted as an impatient?) But in Little Rock, they can be administered as an outpatient. So, as a practical matter, it made more sense to just come to AR and get IV drugs and not miss our tests. Dr. Weir being the gracious man that he is, didn't have a problem with that, called to speak with Dr.'s in LR, set up orders, and said "keep in touch with me." When we count our blessings ~ and there are MANY ~ Dr. Weir is at the top of the list.

The kids were great. We called and told them to pack up. We chuckled at how we looked like people running from the FBI as fast as we got out of Memphis. But we are very grateful for everyone that made it easy. With one phone call we got dog, cat, mail, paper, etc taken care of. Thank you so much.

We stayed up late watching TV with the kids, playing on the computers, and hanging out. Chase even took a quiz. We talked again about how God went before us to organize this year with school the way He did. Zach mentioned last night how glad he was that we were all here together. Amen to that.

So... with all that history, welcome to the confusion.... We are here. Suppose to be in the chemo room at 9 for labs, etc.

Frank woke up with no fever. The pain in his leg is gone. All gone. He said his congestion is better today.

We believe in miracles! Prayers have been lifted. Praise the Lord for improvement.

Walking into UAMS was like coming home to family for the holidays. Lucrecia stamps our parking sticker, David, drew the labs. We hugged Sandra, one of the nurses, and talked with Deena, our APN.... all just walking around in the hallway. Not that all their names are important..... It's just to show how very familiar and at home we are here. It's a 6 year history, a comfort level, emotional security and confidence, etc.

We're waiting on labs to come back and then Frank sees the infectious disease doctor.
Please pray for wisdom for him, and definitive diagnosis and clear cut answers about what we do next.

Proverbs 2:6 For the LORD gives wisdom, and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Psalm 9:10 Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Love, Peg, Frank and the kids

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Good morning... and a good morning it is! IT'S SNOWING !! Big fat flakes!

Memphis seems to get passed by every time there is of snow so we are thrilled and so excited to see the beauty of it ~ no matter how long it lasts. The kids and I are going to watch the inauguration of our new president today as part of their school day. At least they'll have a pretty view if "watching an historic moment" gets boring..... maybe I should make them take notes.....

Frank's moving around a little more independently over the past few days. He's relying on the walker a little less, willing to venture away from it for short distances around the kitchen or bedroom. We are thankful the radiation has given him some relief. Sitting up can still be painful so he rests on the couch or in the recliner most of the time.

He started running fever over the weekend. Mostly in the 99's but got up to over 100 Sunday. He also has some head and chest congestion. We've been in daily contact with Dr. Weir, even over the weekend, who is watching him closely. Please pray with us that this clears up quickly.

Friday we went to Baptist Outpatient services for platelets (they were 12). We went back yesterday for labs, expecting to need more platelets. But we were shocked, as well as the staff, when they told us his count was 30. Yeah! What a blessing!

His white count was under 2, which makes him more susceptible to infection and the other values are a little low, but not too low.

Frank mentioned being irritable in his last entry. There are times that sitting at this computer is challenging. Being honest about what we're going through isn't always easy, but it's not something we've ever regretted either.

As we talk with friends, we've realized that many are wondering how they can be praying for us, wondering how we're dealing with where we are. This is tough indeed. And I'm at a loss for how to explain what's going on inside our hearts. Actually, I couldn't truly answer that for anyone else other than myself.

But overall, I think we are doing OK under the circumstances. We are dealing with this and not ignoring it. We're talking about it, showing emotions, and adjusting to the our new normal pretty well. How can one judge how well we're doing this? I thank heaven that we don't have a lot of heavy experiences with grief, but it gives me no guidelines? I do know one thing we'd all agree on. It hurts. As Chandler said the other day, we're looking for the blessings in each day. And they are there! We're in our own home for treatment, we see Frank more during the day, the kids are home and have a flexible schedule, there's more support around us. The list goes on and on.

The kids have been sleeping in our room a lot. It started b/c Chandler was having bad dreams. Then, they started taking turns with who got to sleep in our bed. "Calling it" wasn't working out, so now they all sleep in the floor together. I exchanged our coverlet and put a comfy duvet on the bed so Frank could lie down whenever he wanted without having to turn down the bed. Another nice result of that has been more family bed gatherings and a lot more snuggling. Another blessing.

We cry. We laugh. We get frustrated. We get angry. We feel guilty. We apologize. We make up! You know ~ normal! We've all had to learn to balance trying to help Frank. I think it's hard for him to not be able to do the things he wants and is used to doing. Big things: like getting dressed, grabbing your own shoes out of the closest, driving. Little things: like the change in your daily routine. Being the one to get the paper and feed the dog, take out the trash, etc. Frank might even switch those examples. What I said was a little thing, may actually be the "big" thing. Watching someone else do something you'd rather do yourself isn't easy. And even though he admits to being sharp with us at times, we all understand and I think it bothers him more than us. I'm trying hard to balance letting him do for himself and be as independent as possible and be there when he needs me.

But it's the little things that can "get you" and cause a waterworks moment. And after we have one, we feel better, and we go back to living a normal as possible. And we only do that with the Lord's help.

Romans 8:31-39
What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.
Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

It stopped snowing already. But it's still going to be a GOOD day.

With love from our house to yours,

Saturday, January 17, 2009

This past week has been pretty busy, but I think we’ve done a good job managing things.

Of course my challenges are very different from most people’s challenges. For instance, one of my goals for the morning has been to stand up, and without assistance, walk from the bedroom to the kitchen and then back. For most people that’s no big deal. But for me, I haven’t been able to do it in nearly two weeks. I’ll have to report back my progress on reaching that goal later.

For Peggy (and the kids) managing things mainly means staying on track with home school work and getting me shuffled around to my Dr’s or clinic visits. Unless the family is just telling me something to keep me quiet, everyone really did do their jobs this week and I am proud of them.

We enjoyed a visit by my parents this week. And they helped us enjoy all the visits from so many friends that have been dropping off “happies” at the house. By happies I do mean food, which we have enjoyed. We appreciate it so much ~ thank you.

Health Update – getting better has been kinda frustrating for me this week. Up until last Monday I was taking chemo and radiation. Now we have to wait to see how much good all the treatments have done OR did for me.

Right now, I do seem to be making slight improvements each day. I’ve gotten a little more agile this week, there are fewer and fewer episodes of shooting pains, and I am getting a fraction of the feeling back in my foot. Being patient is not an easy thing to do, especially when you are cooped up.

Unfortunately, being cooped up can also lead to frustration and anger. In my case a bit of misplaced anger. At different times this week, I have had to apologize to everyone in the family for harsh things that I’ve said. Did you know that a 30 second outburst of anger really can do a lot of damage?

In the book of James we are counseled that we should have self control over our mouths.

James 3:9-12 9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. 10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11Can both fresh water and salt[a] water flow from the same spring? 12My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

This is not a new lesson for me, but for some reason I have to learn it over and over and over. As you pray for me, please add having better control of my tongue to the list. If I am going to be a blessing to others I need to have my heart and my tongue under God’s authority.

Well, I have to go now……I hope I didn’t “say” too much,


5:12pm ***UPDATE..... I did it and I had a glass of water in my hand too!***UPDATE

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hey there!

Hope your day's been great! This is the first day Frank didn't have an appointment to be somewhere today. We've been busy at home catching up on school, cleaning and getting things done here. Frank's been making phone calls, and trying to work from home too. Zach ran off with the youth leaders for a bit, but we're mostly jealous of Chandler, who made time in her day for the yoga and ab classes at the gym. I'm glad she's making good use of her time.

Frank is doing so much better! Thank you Lord! Yesterday was busy, going to 3 different places for treatment. Chemo at Dr. Weir's office. Radiation at Bapt Cancer Care, and a platelet transfusion at Bapt Outpatient Center. (His platelets were 10 yesterday) He didn't use his walker when we went for radiation, and has been getting around easier and without a lot of pain. We've been so excited to see him more comfortable ~ but as excited as we are, I'm not sure it can't compare to the relief HE feels. Other than his pain patch, he hasn't even taken extra pain medicine today.

Frank has been given so many tests over the years. We've learned about the most detailed procedures and wonderful technologies that effect his treatment. So this sort of... different... The bumps on his scalp where you can see the myeloma pushing out are actually the visual "gauge" to see how effective the chemo is working. No fancy tests. He gets a kick out of that. The smaller ones are gone and only the bigger one is left. Yeah!

The radiation is also helping. His eye looks like normal again. And because he's walking better we know it's working on this hips too. We're excited about that because Dr. Lee said it continues to work 6-8 weeks afterwards.

Thank you so much for your prayers. We feel it, we really do. In our devotion today it talks about trusting God with each moment, whether we sense His presence or not. It reminds us to be thankful for today, because it's a precious and unrepeatable gift. (Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young) That's true, not matter what you have going on in your life! And we are thankful for today! And we're also very thankful we're not alone on this journey.

Frank's parents are coming in tonight for a few days, and Scott's family and Neely are coming on for the weekend. It'll be great to see them.

May God richly bless you today. We're sure asking Him to!

love, Peggy and Frank

"In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." Romans 8:37

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Psalm 118

1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. 2 Let Israel say: "His love endures forever." 3 Let the house of Aaron say: "His love endures forever." 4 Let those who fear the LORD say: "His love endures forever."5 In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered by setting me free. 6 The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? 7 The LORD is with me; he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies. 8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. 9 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.

10 All the nations surrounded me, but in the name of the LORD I cut them off. 11 They surrounded me on every side, but in the name of the LORD I cut them off. 12 They swarmed around me like bees, but they died out as quickly as burning thorns; in the name of the LORD I cut them off. 13 I was pushed back and about to fall, but the LORD helped me.

14 The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. 15 Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: "The LORD's right hand has done mighty things!
16 The LORD's right hand is lifted high; the LORD's right hand has done mighty things!" 17 I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done.

18 The LORD has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death. 19 Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter and give thanks to the LORD. 20 This is the gate of the LORD through which the righteous may enter.

21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. 22 The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; 23 the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.

24 This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 25 O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success. 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. From the house of the LORD we bless you. 27 The LORD is God, and he has made his light shine upon us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar. 28 You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God, and I will exalt you. 29 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever."

And today I thank you Father, because your love does endure forever!

Lord, thank you for your blessings, you refresh my soul!


Friday, January 9, 2009

January 9, 2009....the evening edition…

OK, now the details…. First off, I have to give a BIG OLE "thank you" to my local oncologist Dr. Al Weir. He is just a fine person all around and we really appreciate his attentiveness. All week long he has called me (or made me promise to call him) to give him an up to the minute status of how things are working out. His attention to detail has made the switch to Memphis much, much smoother.

If you recall, we recently made a quantum leap in our approach to treatment by deciding to do our treatments here in Memphis instead of Little Rock. As in the past, Dr Barlogie still is in charge of "managing" my case, but the actual treatments themselves will take place here in Memphis.

In Little Rock, everything is on auto-pilot, one goes to see Dr. Bart, then you march down the hall and everyone just knows what to do. Here in Memphis, the drugs are a bit on the fringe, the staff has to “think” about what labs to run. It seems odd to some that we would want to run an MRI after a week of treatment, etc….but basically, the oncology world in Memphis doesn't revolve around Myeloma. In Little Rock, it's all they do and it's second nature to them.

Sooooo... it has taken us this week to get everyone into a groove. Peggy mentioned this in her previous post, but it was almost funny talking to the nurses. They sat down with us to “explain” our drugs, etc. as they read out of book. We would start laughing (just between us of course) because we knew more about the chemo, the side effects, and how often to give the drug, etc. than they did.

Yet we don't consider these issues as important, we both have said more than once how good it is that we are here. It's working out fine. And again, we have Dr. Weir, our family & friends, and our Lord, to thank for the difference.

As for me and my physical condition, I have had a miraculous turn of events. As late as Tuesday evening, I was suffering from extreme pains that were shooting down my leg. Everyone thinks it was/is the cancer pressing on the sacral nerve. There are lesions pressing on the L3-L5 area. But let me tell you, what ever it was/is, when the pain hits, it's like getting shot through the leg with electricity. Ever seen one of those taser videos? Well, I could be on TV with the way I was twisting on that nerve.

I am happy to say that I haven’t had one of those since Thursday…..thank you for your prayers.

I am also now using a walker. I can make it around without it, but "safety first" I always say.

We are getting lots of offers from people that are wanting to provide meals. If you are one of these people, contact Jennifer Young. She's been sweet enough to coordinate this for us and has a schedule so that we don't wind up with too much food and no one to eat it.

Her email address is And thank you in advance!

BTW – I do like fruitcake. If your Aunt Grandie gifted you, then you can re-gift me. I was told that six week old cakes provide extra anti-oxidants and that those are good for my health. Bring em on…..

To top off this week of activities, the Carlton-House Academy of Sciences (CHAOS) started back this week.

We are very happy to report that no one was tardy to home school and that the kids have really stepped it up and got down to business this week. Esp with us gone every day with appointments this has been a big help. I am very proud of my kiddos. They started out on a roll.

We love you guys. Thank you for all you do, and as things roll, we shall carry on.

Is it Friday already? Wow, the week really did fly past.

Today, Peggy and I make our way through the healthcare maze by starting at Baptist Healthcare’s Outpatient Center. The chemo that I’m currently taking is really working my platelets over so Dr Weir has ordered a transfusion. No big deal, just takes us getting in line and letting the professionals do their thang.

The plan is to hit the Outpatient Phlebotomy Lab to give them samples to type & match, then I’ll go and get “radiated”, and then we’ll go back to the Blood Lab to actually receive the blood. That should take till at least noon-thirty.

After that Peggy and I were going to go to GPAC and play racquetball. If anyone wants to join us, come on over, we can play mixed doubles.

Speaking of this week, each day has brought so many new and wonderful surprises. I continue to be blown away at the generosity and downright passion that God’s people have for me and my family. There are many verses in scripture that encourage us to care for one another so I should not be surprised. It seems that this week everyone has been working overtime and the love has just been pouring out.

We will have to fill in more of the details a little later, but I did want to post this Friday morning update as a way of saying thank you! We love yall too!

All things considered, Friday is going to be a great day!

1 Thessalonians 3:7,8 Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution we are encouraged about you because of your faith. For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

This is the week everyone gets back to their old routine. Vacation time is over. School is back in session. The decorations are back in the attic. Back to normal.

We have a new normal. We have gone through new normals before. And over all, we are each adjusting pretty well. Our decorations are not up yet. I still get up and turn on the tree lights each morning. School time was sporadic today between appointments, and Frank's vacation time is about to morph into disability. But all these "new normals" come with new blessings as well.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7

I am so appreciative of the decision to home school right now, and I think the kids are too. The time together is good, and hopefully we'll have some flexibility with our schedule.

Frank got the second dose (of 4) of Velcade on Monday at Dr. Weir's office. Getting chemo in a new place was sort of different after 6 years of the same routine. Another new normal. Our nurse couldn't pronounce Thalidimide. And the Velcade had to be special ordered since they don't "give it very often". In contrast, Little Rock has Velcade sitting on the shelf, in bulk, with their own full time nurse that does nothing but handle Thalidimide. Frank filled in the gaps for them and now she's a pro on all the above. It's a beautifully equipped and quiet facility. Everyone was nice and it all got handled as it should. Best of all, we drove back to our house and slept in our bed at the end of the day. Blessings..... Awesome!

We also met with Dr. Lee about the radiation to his pelvis. They measured him and got him all ready yesterday, and he stared today. Dr. Lee says he's planned 5 treatments. This should shrink the tumors that are causing the shooting leg pains and give him relief. We are looking forward to that! I have been so worried about the stability of his hips. I hope this makes him stronger and reduces his discomfort.

This week is filled with more appointments. We see Weir again and get labs Wednesday and Thursday is the 3rd installment of Velcade.

The kids are doing okay. As parents we are watching them closely to see how they are handling things. I am seeing healthy signs out of them so far. Emotions are showing that have been stuffed in the past. Chandler sleeps with us about every other night. We are saving money on electricity... one more person makes it hot, so we don't need our space heater! Another blessing... We've told the kids to come to us anytime no matter what and I'm glad they are listening.... that is the real blessing ~ I was just kidding about the heater.

I have told you this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.
John 16:33

Frank and I are in good spirits. Frank tells the same kind of stories, but sometimes, without any warning, you just start crying. I'm pretty good at holding things together - at least I used to be. I'm ok until I'm alone. In the shower or the car. (I can feel you nodding your head in agreement.) I took Zach for a haircut Saturday and started crying in the salon and couldn't stop. I'm was so thankful that 2 of the girls that worked there were Hope people and were very understanding.

Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.
John 14:1

Thank you so much for the comments on the blog. Frank really does look forward to reading them. Thank you for the emails, calls, hugs, meals, Facebook messages, etc. We feel loved and cared for in so many ways.

But most of all for your constant prayers as you lift Frank and the rest of our whole family up to our heavenly Father. We feel it. We couldn't live without it. And we are so appreciative.

For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!
2 Corinthians 4:17

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Hebrews 4:16 - Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Oooops yall did it again!

Our prayers for smooth meetings with the Dr's was answered, our desire for more and better pain management was answered, and our request for more wisdom in making decisions was also quickly answered. All of these things and several other prayers were answered almost immediately. I really think the answers were already being taken care of before I (we) had a chance to even ask about them. I am so joyful!

Speaking of joy, Peggy got word Saturday morning that Dr Ravi Zacharais was in town. So we made plans to attend and we slipped down the road with Jim, Lisa, Sandy, and cousins Mac & Theresa to listen. Dr. Ravi Zacharais spoke on the topic "Where is God when life hurts". I thought that if he wasn't doing a good job explaining things, I could get on stage and help him out a little. Needless to say he did a great jod and it was totally awesome.

If you ever get an opportunity to hear him, go. Ravi is a converted Hindu, that moved to Canada back in the 60's and has developed several international ministries since that time. His thinking (and speaking) are on par with some of the greatest Christian minds ever. He has developed his mind and his public speaking abilities into what is called a Christian apologist. He spends a lot of time debating atheists, poly-theists, muslims, and mother earth types on college campuses.

We love you and may God bless you on this day,

Frank & Peggy

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the plans I have for you, "declares the LORD”, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Dear Father in Heaven,

On this day, I claim your promise of prosperity, your plan of hope, and your promise not to harm.

In Jesus Holy name I pray, Amen

ALL, I am a living, breathing, walking, talking example of how God’s ways are higher than mine.

I bear witness to the fact that God has been so, so merciful to me and has repeatedly blessed my family during this fight with cancer these past 6 years.

Today, Peggy and I met with Dr. Barlogie in Little Rock. He explained to us that we have exhausted all the therapies and treatments that would successfully suppress the Myeloma for long periods of time. We have returned to Memphis and will continue taking chemotherapy locally to slow things down as best we can and manage my pain.

We want to thank each and every one of you for all the wonderful ways that YOU have ministered to us. And, for all the prayers that have been lifted. Please continue to pray for us.

As the Lord declared, He still has plans for me (and you) and my kids and I sure do want to see a few more blessings poured out on His people before I catch a Holy chariot ride out of here!

In His Name,


Thursday, January 1, 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
I imagine that we Carlton’s did the same thing that most everyone reading this page did today…that is,..we slept late, watched too much TV, and ate a lot of food that we normally don’t prepare for ourselves.

For us it was Seafood Gumbo, Black-eyed peas (with slimy okra), fried oysters, and omelets. Yes, dear ole dad cooked omelets early at the special request of Chase.
And what a day the first day of 2009 was for Memphis. It was such a sunny and wonderful day to start this new year. The sky could not of been any bluer.

As for New Years Eve festivities, the kids spent the early evening with us. We played some games and sat around talking mostly. We usually love having friends over, but a real laid back evening was just what the Dr. ordered.

Speaking of doctors, Peggy and I visited with Dr. Weir on Wednesday. We asked him a lot of questions about the different treatment options that are being planned for me and then asked him for more help managing my pain. We are trying to change up, add to, or possibly take away various pain medicines to come up with something that helps me. Without boring everyone with the details suffice it to say that I really am in excruciating pain without all the medicines. In particular my left leg has shooting pain that runs down the back of my leg that I can’t seem to resolve. The only thing that helps is not standing up. (I’m typing this sitting down)

So, all day long I’ve been sitting around thinking of how I can get things accomplished in short little runs. It goes like this, “If I can shuffle to the bedroom and change socks, I might have time to walk back to the kitchen to turn off the oven, and then go fall on the couch.” After 5 minutes rest, I can plan another excursion.

Anyway, at the stroke of mid-night the kids hooked up with the Varners next door to shoot our traditional fireworks. We had a good time, but for the first time in my life I went back and read the verbiage on the side of fireworks that says, “Adult Supervision Required”. Huh!

We had all been shooting mortars when someone placed a small mortar in a large launch tube. Normally, the explosion creates pressure and sends the firework shooting out into space to explode. However, when the tube is too big, there is little compression and the launch doesn’t go so high. The mortar we lit flew about 30 feet into the air an exploded right in front of us. WOW. Needless to say we were all pretty happy that no one got hurt. It was exciting though! Happy New Year ! After the show, the kids left for a spend-the-night party and we got our second wind to play cards till 3 am.

On Friday, Peggy and I will be traveling back to Little Rock to meet with Dr Barlogie.
We really, really need God’s wisdom and guidance to be with us tomorrow. There are few options and some really tough decisions that we are going to have to make.
Please lift us up in prayer with us as we sort though the issues.
James 1:2-8 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.
Col 3: 15-17 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.