And now the Rollercoaster

Thank you Lord for being with us this week, for giving us wisdom and also perseverance. Thanks to all of you for keeping us in your prayers and walking with us.

It has been 10 days since the last blog, much has gone on during that time, and I was too tired Thursday to write. A friend of Theresa’s took her to her first chemo appointment on Monday. Monday ended up being a pretty hard day. The nurses were a bit more telling on what to expect from the chemo which was more dishartening than what her oncologist stated, but as it turned out Theresa tolerated it pretty well. The infusion was pretty painful so they had to start and stop it and slow it down at times. She had nausea for about a half hour but came home in good spirits, though wiped out. Chemo takes away her energy, so she slept the rest of Monday and Tuesday. Most of her days this week are spent sleeping or resting. She feels she can’t get enough sleep. She does eat some.

Her coughing has increased. If she stays still, she does pretty well. Every time she moves she goes into a coughing fit and there are times when it last 30 minutes or more, causing her to vomit as well. Those times are really hard and you wonder if they will ever end. We had hoped the chemo would cut down on her coughing, but that hasn’t been the case yet.

Thursday she went to the cardiologist on follow up. Her EKG showed continued heart irritation from the pericarditis, the reason for her continued chest pain. As she didn’t tolerate the other medications to help with the inflammation, he felt she should start prednisone, which she did.

As you know, Theresa reacts poorly to most medications and we really didn’t want to add prednisone as she already was having GI upset. But so far she has tolerated it reasonably well and her chest pain has diminished slightly. She had an Echo on Monday and she still hasn’t had re-accumulation of the fluid, which is very good. Her cough is probably a mixture of the pericardial irritation and probably seeding of her lungs with the cancer.

We have found taking a handful of pills for nausea, pain, GI distress on a regular basis has been the most help in controlling her symptoms.

It seems that nights are the hardest. For the past two nights after going upstairs to bed, she gets into coughing fits, with last night’s being over an hour. The fits get pretty violent, causing irritation of her throat, making it harder to swallow. Neither of us slept much last night. My insomnia is from worrying about her, and praying for her. Her insomnia being from intermittent episodes of coughing all night. Early this morning her coughing stopped so she was able to sleep.

Theresa is still on hospice and we have found it helpful. Theresa has had a few massages, and nursing visits. She will get her next chemo infusion on Monday and if she tolerates it and wants to go further with them, she will need to get another port placed. This particular chemo is very destructive to veins, so they have to have a better way of giving it. Some days it feels right moving forward the way we are going and other days you want the suffering to stop right away. My office staff can easily tell if the rollercoaster is going up or down on any given day.

There is a significant amount of emotional fatigue in this process. Questions readily find their way in our minds. Are we reading the symptoms right and treating them appropriately? Are we making the right decisions or prolonging the suffering? Are there going to be worse symptoms with the chemo, that in hindsight, we wish we never even started chemo? Are we just delaying the inevitable or are we really gaining? Will it only be another week before God takes her home or could it be a few more years? Is tonight the night? Some days it is easy to be strong, other days you really feel tested like Job.

In the end though, I always come back to what I know to be true, the one and only constant in life. God loves us and walks with us through all of life. His promises are solid. He comes through at the right time, not a minute early or a minute late. His spirit lives in us, intercedes for us, and is our guarantee of life eternal with Him. It all comes down to Christ’s statement of submission of will “not my will but Yours be done”. We accept this path, wishing it was different and not as hard, but willing to go down it, for we Trust You Father. We know you care deeply for us, you travel this with us, and you intervene at the right times to provide yourself, your peace, your joy, your comfort. We can’t imagine going through this without the relationship You provide through Christ’s selfless love.

And not only are we grateful for God’s loving arms, but also all of your loving arms. We cherish your prayers, your thoughts, your walking with us. Your comments encourage us, your thoughtfulness comforting. Thank you for your love. We are humbled and honored to be lifted up by so many.


  1. Alene Palmer says

    Dear Dr Paul and Teresa we pray for you and your family as you go through this journey with God’s help and assurance that He does all things well. My Grandma wrote in my bible “God’s clock strikes on time” I have found that to be true. May God continue to wrap you all in His arms each day. Alene Palmer

  2. Debbie O'Connor says

    I pray you feel God’s peace and comfort surrounding you. I pray He directs every step you take. I pray you know how much you are loved, Theresa…by Him and by us.

  3. Toni says

    Please know you both are constantly in my prayers. Thank you for blessing all of us with your faithfulness. Toni Belveal

  4. Glenn Palmer says

    Praying for Theresa, you and all your family……..that the roller coaster will be more like a nice smooth new freeway.

  5. Julie gamewell says

    I pray for rest, comfort, healing, time…and rejoice in hope, patience in tribulation,…perseverance in obstacles and the power of God’s grace…You continue to be a testimony as you go through this arduous trial. May God’s strength and peace be with you.

    With love and prayers, julie.

  6. DeAnna Rooklidge says

    Praying that God would continue to give you His wisdom in each decision you make and peace that He is guiding your steps and holding you in the palm of His hand.

  7. Sherrie Conrad says

    Thanks for the update. So sorry for all the dips along this coaster. I know you are all so weary. Praying for God to surround you with love & peace as he Carrie’s you through this rough ride.

  8. Candace Horch says

    We are walking this path with you… praying daily for her comfort and for a miracle… May our God carry you all through the days ahead.

  9. Nannette Hoile says

    Dr Paul, you, Theresa and your family continue to be in our daily prayers. May He meet every need, ease the way and give the grace to follow the path He is guiding you through.

  10. Bill and Doris says

    Oh Dear Paul and Theresa,
    How we wish for comfort for you both. Your questions and worries are so much a part of both of our former experiences that we feel so much empathy and love for you both. Our fervent wishes and hopes for healing, peace, and comfort are sent with our sincere loving care.

  11. Colette cox says

    Dr Paul and family. My heart aches for you. Ron and I pray every day that things will get easier for .. Forever in our prays. Ron and Colette

  12. Linda says

    My heart hurts for you all. Such a hard thing to go through. Your faith keeps you strong. I pray for restful nights for you both.

  13. Debbie O'Connor says

    You are in my heart and prayers constantly. I’ve tried to post here a couple of times since the update, but I struggled finding any words. I hope that your symptoms are improving and that this treatment is bringing relief now.


    Saying many more prayers to our creator, Father God. I praise Him so much for holding you both tight and for carrying you through all of this. Your words express deeply your true faith, love and belief in Him, The Almighty, and what He can and is doing in your lives. Thank you for sharing with us. What a blessing to know so many are holding you both up in prayer. Prayers are priceless. I will keep praying to Him for relief, comfort and healing for precious Theresa and strength for you, Dr. Paul. God bless both your hearts tremendously.

  15. ken schwartz says

    Dear Dr. Paul God bless you & your family You are one of the strongest men I have ever met. With personal regards, Ken

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