Tuesday, December 25

There is so much to say but somehow, this photo just speaks for itself.
Thank you for joining us on this journey of illness, mercy, hurt, grace, love, forgiveness, healing and proof of a Savior!

"10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." 
Luke 2:10-14

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!  May God bless you!
With hearts filled with gratitude and love,
James and Amy Abell

Wednesday, December 12

My oh my...

where did a month go???  We've been busy since James was discharged from the hospital.  Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas photos and decorating and a hunting trip have kept us busy this past month.  James still struggles with low blood counts.  He is weak and rests often but overall, he is doing well.  It is my prayer he will stay healthy and out of the hospital for the Christmas festivities.  Home health comes weekly for blood draws and PICC line dressing changes.  This has been a huge blessing as it keep us out of the doctor's office and hospital.  As it is scheduled now, James will see the doc and get his Avastin treatment next Tuesday.

I would like to remind you all to keep your focus on the importance of this season.  Trees, lights, Santa, Elves on shelves are so much fun but please, keep the true meaning of Christmas in your heart and share it with someone.  Christmas changed the world then the world changed Christmas.  The birth of Jesus Christ is why we celebrate Christmas.  Share the real Christmas story with a child!  

Slow down.  Relish the moment with your loved ones.  Cherish every moment.  Love.  Forgive.  Smile.  Give.  Let it go.  Let Him have control!  
This Friday, we celebrate the two year anniversary of James' cancer diagnosis.  I have been blessed to put the experiences of the past two years in writing.  I pray you've been blessed by reading it!  I love you all and hope you know it!

Monday, November 12

In and Out and In and Out and Back In again...

We were discharged Saturday morning.  We had a pretty good day.  Lots of rest and quality time with James' dad, sister, and our nephews.  For this, we are thankful.
Around nine thirty on Saturday night, I attempted to flush the line to the port to start his antibiotic.  As I pushed the saline into the line, James cried out in pain.  This is uncommon so I called Dr. C.  Due to the swelling around the line and the tenderness/pain, she sent us to the ER.  We were admitted at midnight, just fourteen hours after our discharge.
Blood cultures were drawn, lab work, and more antibiotics.  Today, we learned the cultures have come back positive.  The port needs to come out.  A new pic line will be placed.  This should be an uneventful procedure.  Our only hiccup would be James' low platelet count.  He will have a platelet transfusions pre-op, in the OR, and post-op.  
Prayer request - 
  • Pray for an easy procedure without complication
  • Pray for James' team of doctors
  • Pray for those hurting and struggling to deal with James' health condition.  May the Lord become evident and real to them.  Ask Him to cover them with peace.
  • Pray for patience for the patient's wife...they are trivial gripes but I am so tired.  Exhausted physically, mentally, emotionally.  This has been a long road.
  • Pray for those along the east coast still struggling.
Praise God
  • For sending His Son
  • For unfailing, unconditional love
  • For carrying James and I this far
  • For every nurse, PCA, and doctor caring for James
  • For our church family!  They brought Thanksgiving dinner to us since we were unable to attend yesterday afternoon.  So thoughtful, so kind.  It is a small church BIG on love.  We are so grateful for everyone there!!!
I will update again after the procedure!
Much love and appreciation to all!!!

Wednesday, November 7

James was discharged from the hospital yesterday morning around ten thirty.  We rested well during the afternoon but James grew increasingly uncomfortable as the day wore on.  His belly is distended and feels yuck.  He has been nauseous and vomiting since yesterday evening.  His port has still been sore and tender.

We went to MD for an Avastin treatment and Dr. C thought it best to treat his symptoms inpatient.  A blood transfusion is not needed at this time.  He had an abdominal xray to check for an obstruction of the bowel. 

For now, his nausea and vomiting are controlled with medicine and he's resting comfortably.  Dr. C and Dr. M (his inpatient doc) will continue to do all they can to keep him comfortable and pain free. 

On the upside, we were given our lake view room with our pet spider!  We appreciate your love and prayers.   I will update again tomorrow!

Monday, November 5

Day 4

Happy Monday, Friends!
It is day four here and we are getting a bit restless!  We are waiting to see his docs this morning.  He did get a second blood transfusion yesterday.  His counts are slowly trying to make it back up.  We had a great day yesterday visiting with Lauren most of the day and watching our spider friend.  

This guys lives outside out hospital window.  We've watched him keep house and catch his food.
I think he needs a name...what do you think?
I will update again 

Saturday, November 3

Day 2 from our lake view room

Things are starting to look up today.  WBC and platelet counts are still low today but his hemoglobin has improved with the transfusion.  He's about to start his third dose of IV antibiotics so he should be up for well visitors tomorrow. He is still having waves of nausea and vomiting but we're trying to control it with meds. Praise the Lord the Doppler done on James' left leg is normal.  The swelling in his leg/foot is likely due to the long travel home on Thursday.  Dr. N, Dr. C's partner, says he'll likely keep him through the weekend then continue IV antibiotics at home with our home health nurse.  

Tonight, I am thankful for thirty minutes of smiles and laughter with my older sister.  I am thankful for a brother in-law willing to entertain two kiddos in the car so Carrie could visit us.  I am thankful for the innocent smiles and questions from Jefferson and Harper and the excitement when they got to wave to Uncle James at the window!  I am thankful the swelling has gone down in James' legs.  I am thankful we figured out how to change the input source on the hospital TV so he play games on his PS3 to pass the time.  I am thankful he is relaxing comfortably.  I am thankful we serve a mighty, mighty God!

A trip to KY...a trip to the hospital...

Dacus Baptist Transportation Ministry delivered James and I from Kentucky to our home Thursday evening.  A super huge thank you to Cory and Bro. Chris for making the long drive and an equally huge thanks to Uncle Paul and Aunt Cathy for taking in four crazy  Texans for the night.  We also appreciate Jon and Angie Young for offering up their     vehicle so James could be as comfortable as possible.  We enjoyed our time with James' family but we're thrilled tobe home after being gone for 13 days.  I thank you all for praying for us and helping us and loving us!  
James was admitted to St. Luke's yesterday.  We had blood work drawn and a visit with the nurse practitioner on    Friday afternoon.  Blood work revealed James to be critically anemic (low hemoglobin), neutropenic (low white blood cell count) and potassium/magnesium deficient.  We also think he has an infection in his port-o-cath.  We could        handle each of these situations individually but all at once is a challenge.  With the possibility of infection, the port   is off  limits so James is getting a blood transfusion through an IV in his arm.  I Vs in his arm usually last less than a day before blowing due to weak veins.  He was given to units of blood and a bag of magnesium and potassium           during the night.  His first round of antibiotic is dripping now.
We will likely be here all until Monday.  James is on neutropenic precaution.  He is allowed well visitors wearing      masks and gloves.    

Please prayer for comfort, rest, and strength.  

Monday, October 8

God is good all the time...

all the time, God is good!  I have to sing his praises today.  Today, I am thankful:

  • for the encouragement of a church member.  Ms. Nancy said the most encouraging words I've heard anyone say to James.  I have no doubt the Lord gave her the words to speak to touch my heavy heart.  She simply said, "Thank you for trying.  Thank you for doing your very best."  So simple but so touching.
  • for another church member, Ms. Delma, willing to take a moment to pray with James after the service yesterday.  He heard our cries and he has answered with a wonderful day.  James has not been sick today.  He's had some pain but overall, this has been one of the best days we've seen in a while.  The Lord knew what we needed and all we had to do was ask.
  • for the sermon that filled my cup.  He met me right where I was and he touched my heart. Today, I feel a renewed strength.  My cup runneth over!
  • for the two meals James has eaten today!!!  Bacon and fried bologna!!!  
  • for God's promise to meet all our needs!  
  • for every single person helping us along this journey
  • for the time with family we have planned later on tonight.  I pray God will bless it and make it great!
  • for the safe, healthy delivery of my dear friend Heidi's son, Case.
What are you thankful for today?  Have to you told Him?
Much love to all,

Sunday, October 7

A picture is worth a thousand words...

This photo was taken at Light the Night Pink at Market Street.  
We celebrated Breast Cancer Awareness Month with our MD Anderson family.

Sunday, September 23

Happy Sunday

It has been a rough go since my last post.  The radiation treatments are tough for James.  Currently, he has twelve done and eight to go.  The treatments make him tired and leave him with little to no energy.  He's been sick more on radiation than he's ever been on chemo.  

We stopped the oral chemo drug a week ago due to low counts.  It has taken some time but his counts are slowly making it back up.  

We had a big scare late Thursday night/Friday morning.  James woke me up with pain in his chest and difficulty breathing.  I got him some pain meds and he asked me to call for an ambulance.  It was scary but I think I managed my panic well.  The paramedics took him to the hospital and the ER doc did a full cardiac workup.  They sent us home saying it was just cancer causing the pain.  However, Dr. L believes differently. She is almost certain the sudden pain was caused by acid reflux.  Since this episode, I have heard of several other people saying it feels like a heart attack and it takes your breath away.  A couple of which have even gone to the hospital which makes me feel better to know I wasn't just panicking.

I am sure with all of this, you are wondering why I would title a post "Happy Sunday", but it is.  Church was great.  James was well enough to hunt.  We've spent the afternoon napping and will spend the evening with James' mom.  It is a happy day!  

James will continue radiation this week as well as visit Dr. C and Dr. L.  Pray his counts are up and he can resume chemo.  Pray that his eating habits improve and he does not lose anymore weight.  Pray for the lost souls reading this blog.  Praise God for this day!!!
Much love to all,

Tuesday, August 28


Yeah, its been a while but here's the latest:
  • Vacation was AWESOME! Glad we came home when we did...that storm is looking rough!
  • James will start radiation to his abdomen on Thursday.
    • He will have treatment 5 day/wk for 4 weeks.  Total of 20 treatments.
    • Nausea and tiredness can be expected with radiation.
  • While on radiation, he will take an oral chemo.
  • If everything continues to as planned, I will return to work next week.  
Please pray for the following:
  • Baby Wyatt - Now, almost 5 months, he is ill with fever, cough, runny nose etc.  His parents have had him at the doctor and ER twice in the past five days. =(
  • A family that lost their home over the weekend.
  • For everyone along the Gulf coast threatened by Issac.   
Praise the Lord:
  • Papa's most recent scan showed his tumor to be shrinking.  He will continue his oral chemo and will scan again in two months. 
Much love!

Sunday, August 12

All is well...

in our world today!  Last night found us lounging on a pontoon boat with our friends Kevin and Katie to watch the meteor shower.  It was relaxing, peaceful, and good for the soul.  For a moment, all was right.  The wonderful weekend continued with church this morning, grocery, nap time, and Sunday supper with the family.  To quote a favorite song of mine: "In the middle of my little mess, I forget how BIG I'm blessed!

James is doing well.  Tomorrow is the last radiation appointment until August 27.  After tomorrow's appointment, he will have completed ten chest treatments.  At the end of the month, he will resume daily radiation treatment to his abdomen.  He's had a couple bouts with nausea but far less than some.  We will see Dr. C tomorrow morning and James should start chemo on Tuesday.  

Tonight, I am thankful for:

  • Time with our family  
  • The love and support we have felt from so many for so long.  
  • A great message from The Word...check out Ephesians 4:17-29
  • James' good days
  • Love and forgiveness
  • The success of Pawpaw's cataract surgery
  • Every day the Lord has given James and I together
I seek prayer for:
  • The lost souls
  • My Nanny suffering from bronchitis
  • James' upcoming chemo treatment
  • Healing for Carrie's (my sis) ankle injury (she fell while vacationing in Hawaii)
I hope everyone has a blessed week.  
Love to all,

Thursday, August 2

Almost made it...

...through this week.  Its been a rough one but we're still trucking along.  James started chemo Tuesday and came off the pump today.  He had radiation Tues-Thurs and one more tomorrow will complete the week.  He's pretty sluggish and tired.  He will have radiation treatments to the chest everyday next week then he'll start treatments to the abdomen.  For now, I strive to keep him cool, comfortable, and hydrated!  
Please pray James will have limited nausea and side effects from radiation.  Thank God for the special time we were able to spend with my cousins and baby Wyatt, the celebration of Papa's birthday, and the family supper we had with his mom, step-dad, sister and our nephews!  
Have a happy Friday!  

Tuesday, July 31

Yesterday found us with more bad news...the cancer has spread even more.  James is no longer a candidate for the proposed surgery.  There is cancer above the diaphragm which wouldn't be covered in the surgery.  We don't really even ask where or what size anymore.  We just know it is alive and well.  Yesterday, James was simulated for radiation.  He may have the place in the chest done or his entire abdomen.  Dr. L was going to study his case a little more before deciding.  Dr. C started him on the maintenance chemo he was on last year with an extra drug to attempt to starve the cancer cells and prevent them from reproducing.
James has grown very tired and lacks energy.  He doesn't have much of an appetite.  He relies on pain medicine round the clock to keep comfortable.  This road just keeps getting rougher and rougher.  

Thursday, July 26

Transfusion Thursday

We saw Dr. C this afternoon for a routine visit and blood work.  It was decided what chemo James will take until it is decided if he will have surgery.  He will start FOLFOX chemo regimen on Monday.  He had this therapy last year and tolerated it well. You'll have to look back to a post sometime in July of last year to learn more.  I can't remember much about it but I do know his counts didn't drop and he felt well.  As of now, he will have one treatment.  We see the liver surgeon on Wednesday, August 1to learn if/what he can do to treat/remove the liver tumors so James can qualify for this BIG surgery.  We were happy to talk to Dr. C about the plan Dr. HJ proposed.  This BIG surgery is the most aggressive treatment available to treat James.  It will do far more than any chemotherapy available.  It is a BIG, MAJOR, HUGE treatment.  I will discuss it in further detail when we know if it will take place.
As for today, James is anemic.  So our 1 PM appt, landed us in the short stay unit of the hospital for a blood transfusion.  No worries.  We've done this plenty of times.  James is sleeping away.  If all goes as planned, we should be out of here by ten, home by ten thirty, drained and to bed by eleven fifteen and headed downtown by six in the morning for James' eight o'clock check in/prep for his ten o'clock CT scan!!!  I'll update if there is anything unusual on the scan but mostly, it is scheduled for the liver surgeon to have a current image to decide what is next...Stay tuned as I am sure August, month 20 of this disease, will prove to be an interesting month...BTW, did you listen to the song James posted below?  Beautiful!  
Have a great night!

Wednesday, July 25

So True

I have really fallen in love with this song. It reveals my heart. I first heard this artist with her song In My Arms. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
-James E

Wednesday, July 18

A fork in the Road

We are at a fork in the road.  Yeah, yeah, I know we were all set to start radiation tomorrow but there may be a BIG change in plans.  
Dr. L called yesterday to let us know she presented his case downtown and had a response from a doc regarding an alternative route.  We had a consultation with Dr. HJ today to learn about the new treatment.  The new treatment involves a big surgery on the abdomen to eliminate all the new growth floating around.  If we get clearance and participation from James' original liver surgeon, we will be headed for this surgery by the end of August.  This treatment plan is still considered a clinical trial but is no longer in the Phase I stage.  Dr. HJ said she has not encountered problems with insurance.  Please pray for the following:

  • The liver surgeon to agree to this treatment plan.
  • We can stabilize James' disease until surgery.
  • Insurance will not cause a hiccup and will cover this procedure.
So as of now, we are waiting for an appointment with the liver surgeon.  His decision will determine what road we take....New treatment or Radiation. 

In other news, James and I are Vacation Bible School group leaders at our church this week.  James only survived Monday but will return tomorrow.  Please pray he can finish out the week with his group!

Sunday, July 15


Praise the Lord - The cath was placed on Friday.  James has been a bit sore from the procedure.  He's had some pain and trouble sleeping but all in all, he's alright.  Praise the Lord - We have faithful family, friends, and church family to help us along the way.  A bit of testimony for ya:

As of June 24th, the company no longer carries James' insurance benefits.  I have done my very best not to worry about how on earth we would pay for insurance.  Essentially, we have taken on a bill the size of our mortgage.  I am human so the thought did creep up but I made a decision to:

 "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

I began Family Medical Leave as of July 5 so you can imagine it hasn't been easy not to worry.  But this is what I know, for 19 months:

 "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

And that He has...

Insurance payments- 
June - July= PAID
July - August = PAID
August - September = PAID
September - October = PAID
October - November = 1/2 PAID

It is truly amazing what God can do when I step out of His way and give Him the reins.

 "Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens." Psalms 68:19

I want to thank everyone for helping us, loving us, and praying for us.  
You are a blessing to us!!!
We love and appreciate everyone this blog reaches!

Friday, July 13

Man, this week has really gotten away from me.  Lets catch up, shall we?

  • James was drained on Monday.  He had 6.5L of fluid removed from his abdomen.  Due to fever, the cath was not placed.
  • On Wednesday, we met Dr. L, James' Radiation Oncologist.  I couldn't be more pleased.  She seems like an awesome doc and I look forward to her treating James.  Dr. L and Dr. C put their heads together, modified some treatments, and came up with an exciting new treatment plan.  Hopefully starting next week, James will have a low dose of radiation to the entire abdomen in combination with an oral chemotherapy drug.  The hope/goal is to slow/stop the growth of the cancer cells flowing around in his abdomen.  So I know what you are thinking...Why haven't we done radiation before?  Answer: Because the cancer in the omentum is new.  Until recently, the cancer was in different defined locations.  It was not possible to treat one location, such as the liver, without neglecting other tumors, such as the bladder or lymph nodes.  With the cancer pretty much everywhere in the abdomen, we can treat it entirely.
  • Thursday found us at the dentist and sleeping.  It has been raining a lot here and it makes for some lazy days.  We seem to have our days and nights mixed up right now.  We've been staying up late and sleeping during the day.  I am hoping we'll get back on track soon.
  • Today - We are at St. Luke's for another drain and hopefully, a cath placement.  The cath is important to starting radiation.  Because the radiation treatment is so precise, we need the cath to keep James' belly the same size from day to day.  If they do place the cath, we will head to the MDACC office for his radiation simulation.  There, he will be marked and prepped to start treatment Monday.  He is in the back now for the procedure.  All these plans, rely on the cath...
I'll be back with more soon...Stay tuned, my friends!!!

Sunday, July 8

Here's a quick update...
  • James did not have the cath placed on Friday.  He was still running fever and the surgeon was not comfortable doing the procedure due to infection.  He hasn't felt great but  mostly, he just been uncomfortable over the weekend.  We took it very easy and stayed in with the exception of church this morning.
  • We will try again tomorrow to have the fluid drained and the cath placed.  We check in at noon with the procedure scheduled for one.  Please pray everything goes as scheduled!
  • James will see the Radiation Oncologist on Wednesday.
We love and thank you all for your support!  May God bless each and everyone of you!Amy

Thursday, July 5

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July!  We had a pool party at my grandparents house and were blessed with a less than blazing hot day!  James, Lauren and I rode to New Waverly to watch the fireworks show!

James started running temp late yesterday evening.  He had a restless night and fever still this morning.  I have been in touch with MD and we are going in for labs and a clinic visit today.  The drain/cath placement was to be scheduled for today but the hospital was book due to the holiday.  We were originally scheduled for Monday at noon.  However, James belly will pop by Monday and we would like to avoid the ER this weekend.  Dr. C was able to move somethings around and have the drain/cath placement moved to tomorrow, Friday at 9AM.  

Please say a prayer for this fever to break and James to get some rest!

Tuesday, July 3


from our home to yours!  That's right, we are home!  James was discharged late yesterday evening.

Yesterday...oh yesterday.  Lets just say I am glad it is done and over!!!  To catch you up, James was still having back pain.  We heard an announcement saying the hospital was in "internal disaster" mode.  There had been smoke, maybe fire, on the fourth floor.  This wouldn't effect us except they were not allowing people to move from one place to another.  We were on the third floor and not going anywhere while our docs were somewhere else and unable to get to us!

Finally, we see Doc C late in the afternoon.  Here's the new plan:

  • She is working with Radiation Oncology to get James in ASAP.  We are going to give the place on his back a dose of radiation to stop the pain.  Oh yeah...the spasms are being caused by lymph node involvement in the area.  The enlarged cancer-filled lymph nodes are causing pressure on the muscle which is causing the spasm.  
  • The fluid from his abdomen is the type of fluid caused by the cancer cells and likely to collect again.  For this reason, James is scheduled for another tap on Thursday.  Depending on the amount of fluid collected during the tap, it may be decided to insert a drain to keep the fluid off.
  • After the dose of radiation, James will resume chemotherapy plus another drug to try to slow/stop new growth.
We are hoping to have the radiation appointment today.
Stay tuned, my friends!

Sunday, July 1

Back from Vacation...Back to Reality

On June 20th, James and I headed to KY to visit family and relax on the house boat!  We enjoyed a week long stay with Stan and had a great time fishing.  On Sunday, June 24, we had a big (57 family member) fish fry at Granny Abell's house.  I will post pics soon.  We came home Tuesday, June 26.  I worked Wednesday, Thursday and Friday then reality set in!

Let me interject here...during our trip, James had some mild pain on his side while we were gone and his last chemo treatment was May 21.

Friday evening, I get home from work to find James complaining of pain and discomfort in his belly.  We eat a light supper and chill for a while.  Around eight thirty, James says he thinks his belly is getting bigger.  It is much bigger, firm and tender to touch.  I contact Dr. C and we head to the ER for blood work and CT.  The CT showed a large collection of fluid in James' abdomen.  He is admitted and a paracentesis is ordered for Saturday.  The CT also revealed increase in size of all tumors, new tumors and new lymph node involvement. This news hit us hard.  Much harder than we expected...

Saturday nearly comes and goes before the procedure to remove the fluid.  Once the doc arrives from downtown, nearly 3L of fluid is removed from James' abdomen.  Almost six pounds.  He felt immediate relief from the pain in his stomach but severe spasms in his back are now a problem.  The back pain kept him up most of the evening.  At 2 AM this morning, James experienced the worse pain he's ever been in.  His back was locked up and having intense spasms.  When the internal medicine doc came in this morning, she thought kidney infection or stones.  That is not the case.  We are now waiting on another type of scan to find the source of his pain.  

Though she has not been on call, we have been in touch with Dr. C and she will see James tomorrow.  He should be discharged from the hospital and get set up for a new chemo sometime this week. 

I do want to speak of a blessing - James and I haven't had a church home.  Through our married life, we have tried different places and attended church but never had a home.  Recently, we started attending Dacus Baptist Church and I feel we have found our home.  We have been welcomed and loved from the first day we attended.  We were kept in constant prayer long before that.  Today, our pastor came to see us.  Our church family prayed for us.  I feel in my heart, we now have a home.

For all the bad and wrong, we have that and so much more to be thankful for.  Please continue to pray for comfort for James and a quick discharge.  I will update again soon.

Tuesday, June 19

Please remember no news is good news!  

James is doing well for the time being.  Because of the infected skin rash, he has been taken off chemo completely now.  Two antibiotics and oral steroids seem to have cleared the infection.  Once again, we are looking for a new treatment plan.  The heat is too much for him to bear the drugs he was on and I can't ask him to stay cooped up all summer. We will meet with the doc at the end of the month to decide what is next.

Papa, Meme, and Bethany are all doing just fine!

Please say a prayer for our friend, Joanna, as she faces her third surgery in eighteen months tomorrow.  Pray for God's will for her and Justin as they continue this journey to fertility.

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer!  
Love to all,

Friday, June 1

Time to catch up...

It has been a while and it is time to bring everyone up to speed!  Here we go:
  • James had round three of this chemo treatment May 21-23.  He suffered through a lot of nausea this round. I am hoping we can stay ahead of tummy upset for round four.
  • On May 22, we celebrated James' 29th birthday!  We enjoyed a great time at our house with family and friends!  

  • On May 23, James had a scan.  We haven't met with the doc to discuss the final report but as of now, we know the cancer is "stable" and has NOT spread since the last scan in April.  Praise the Lord!!!  On the same day, we learned the results of Papa's biopsy were not so favorable.  A spot was found during a routine PET scan and he had a biopsy on May 21.  He has a GIST tumor near his colon.  Papa had a large GIST tumor removed in 2005.  He was then diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma in 2010.  He underwent surgery in September 2010 then chemo in Januray 2011.  For now, he will take a chemo medication by mouth then have scans.
  • On May 25, we left it all behind for a morning of fishin.  We didn't catch anything but I believe a bad day fishin' with your best friend beats a great day at work!!!  We headed to the hospital around lunch time for Meme's minor surgery.  She spent one night in the hospital and was home by Saturday.  Late Friday evening, I went to my little sister's house because she didn't feel good.  Some sister loving and a few meds and she should be fine, right?
  • May 27 found us at church to celebrate Memorial Day.  James had serious nausea during church.  Of all the things in my large purse, I have no medicine.  Lesson learned...I bought small pill boxes and will not be caught unable to help him again.  I am a walking pharmacy! After lunch and a nap, he was feeling better. We accepted an invitation to a wine tasting at a local winery.  We enjoyed beautiful weather under a shade tree and heard an awesome jazz band.  

  • Meanwhile, Bethany has spiked a 103.7 temp and is at the minor emergency clinic.  I put James to bed and head out around eleven to be with my sister.  
  • May 28 - Memorial Day- 1:00 AM- It is decided Bethy should be admitted for pneumonia.  Breathing treatments, antibiotics, blood work, and meds are ordered to get her on the road to recovery.  I spent Tuesday night with her so her husband could head to work Wednesday.  She was discharged late Wednesday.

So between all my patients, surely you can understand my lack of time for posting?!?!?  
Me, you ask?  I am exhausted but its okay.  Exhausted has been my normal for eighteen months.   The beginning of the week was hectic running between Meme, Bethany and James but I managed and better yet, everyone is on the mend tonight.  I do my very best not to worry but I do keep the ones I love close to my heart and always on my mind.  I am the nurse that doesn't collect a paycheck but I am wealthier than any of the rest.  I wouldn't trade it for anything!    
James will have treatment again on Monday.  The skin rash is terrible.  He started a fifth medication today to, hopefully, clear it up.  It is very painful and worsens when he is in the sun/heat.  
Tonight, James is watching the Astros play with Pawpaw, Mr. Bob, and Aunt Vicki.  
I thank God for every opportunity James has to do the things he enjoys.  I thank God for every opportunity I have to be with James.
I thank God for everything. Most of all, I thank Him for sending His own Son to save me!  
 Its not for us...its all for Him!!!  
How's that for catching up?  There you have it, the last two weeks of our lives and a couple of pictures too!  So what's new with you? 
Much love to everyone!

Wednesday, May 16

It really is better to give...

So excited...After James' surgery last fall, we were stuck with lots of leftover medical supplies.  They were just in boxes taking up spaces in my bathroom and closet and I was just about ready to trash it all but God had others plans.  Thanks to Him, these supplies will be going to Nicaragua this summer!
"In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
Acts 20:34-36

In other news, James had treatment last week and is doing fine.  He is suffering from the skin rash we were warned about and will see an MDACC dermatologist tomorrow.  He will also have AFP checked tomorrow and we will determine if he will have another round of chemo or just continue on the antibody therapy.
In the meanwhile, I went to the doctor today and have bronchitis...yUcK!!!  I got two shots, two prescriptions, one cough syrup and three days off work to allow my voice/throat to rest.  The doc said to limit my talking...haha!  I'll let you know how that works out!  

What's going on in your world?  Thanks for love and prayers!!!
Love to all,

Saturday, May 5

Relay for Life

Our team, Always Abell, dominated Relay for Life Conroe.  We walked away with awards for: #1 Fundraising Team, #1 Fundraising Individual awarded to James Abell, and 2nd place Most Spirited Team!  We started the night with many and ended this morning with few.  However, we had 15 all nighters on the track this morning at seven!  Our Always Abell team flag never left the track from 7PM until 7AM.  Great big thanks to everyone for supporting our team!!!  

Also, my sweet husband has set the bar high for next year.  As of now, we are scheduled to have 4 teams.  The event will take place the same weekend next year so mark your calendars!  We need everyone!

Sunday, April 22

Kickin' off the week

...with inventory at work, treatment for James and a root canal for me.  It will surely be a Monday for us!  
James saw the doc last Friday and everything is set for his second of four treatments.  I saw the dentist on Thursday and everything is set for a root canal on a tooth causing me a great deal of pain.  
James is over his cold for the most part but I seem to have picked it up.  Yuck!  It is more annoying than anything.  
Here's to a great week, my loves!

Monday, April 16

on the mend...

james had an awful cold last week after treatment.  he was a sick, sick, fella!  he still has some congestion but overall, he is on the mend.  if all goes as planned, he will see the doc this friday and have his second treatment next monday.  
have a happy week, my darlings!

Monday, April 9

New Stuff...

James started his new therapy regimen today.  He will be on antibody therapy and chemotherapy for the next eight weeks.  The chemo should drive down the AFP and the antibody will act as a switch to "turn-off" the cancer cells.  The antibody should prevent the cancer from growing and spreading.  His chemo cocktail consists of a new drug and one drug he's had previously.  Here's the thing...James' hair had started growing back and he's not that excited about losing it...AGAIN.  He will also have the pump bag with him for two days.  He doesn't complain much but he truly hates the bag.  Neither therapy should have severe side effects for us to contend with so that is good news.  

Don't forget...if you are on the Relay for Life team, we have a team meeting tomorrow night at 7PM.  If you need more info, call/text/email me!  

Please say a prayer for comfort and peace for my step mother's family.  Her father passed away on Friday.
Also remember Pops, James' step mom's father, in prayer as he is in ICU this evening.  
Thank God for a beautiful wedding for my little sister, Bethany, and ask God to keep her and her husband safe as they travel this week!

Hope everyone is well and had a nice Easter weekend!
Love to all,

Sunday, April 8

The truth...

This is what we believe!  
He is Risen!!! 
Happy Easter, Friends!  
Love to All,
James and Amy

Tuesday, March 27

Relay for Life

Alright folks...we are closing in on the Relay for Life event happening on Friday, May 4!  We have set some pretty serious goals and we need your help...

  1. Sign up today...Join Now
    1. Click the third purple tab to join
  2. Please honor a loved one with a luminaria..  Click here to donate a luminaria
    1. This is a really neat ceremony.  The lights go out on the field and the entire track is lit by candles in honor or memory of a cancer patient.
    2. Aunt Donna is determined to make our team shine the brightest and is hoping for 100+ bags.
  3. For those that have already signed up, please continue to raise money and encourage people to donate luminarias.  Also, we have a team meeting scheduled for April 10 at 7 PM in Conroe.  Please be on the look out for an email with more info.
Thank you to everyone for your donations and participation!  It is my hope this event will show James just how much he is loved and supported through this battle.  It is also a great opportunity to celebrate Aunt Donna and Papa's victory over this dreadful disease!
May God bless you and yours!

Wednesday, March 21

I took James to the clinic this morning with back/side pain and nausea.  She ordered xrays and blood work.  Blood work proved his hemoglobin was pretty low.  We registered at the hospital, went to lunch, home then came back for a transfusion in the TCU of the hospital.  James is halfway done with the transfusion now and resting.  
We are waiting for the profile testing to be completed then we will move on to his new therapy.  Hopefully this is the last time he will need a transfusion for a while!  
Love to all!

Monday, March 19

just gotta keep on...

...keepin' on!  James went for scans last Wednesday.  We were hopeful but we did not receive the news we wanted.  In addition to the four spots we found after surgery, he has two new spots on his liver.  We are done with chemotherapy.  Dr. C is working with the lab and other docs to determine a specific treatment for James.  We heard it last June and again today...what we are dealing with is not curable.  Our goal has shifted focus from cure to minimizing/slowing the growth while improving James' quality of life.  The chemo he's had for the past fifteen months has taken a toll on him and it just is not worth it anymore.  I will update you when we learn more details about the new therapy.

Praise - 
 "Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever." Psalms 136:1 

  • Praise God for the time James and I have spent while he's been well.  It has been AWESOME.  
  • Thank God for James' amazing doctor!  She is our favorite and we are hers!
  • Praise God for the improvements my cousin's son, Wyatt, is making in the NICU.  
Prayer -

  • For the lost to find the way. 
    • "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—" Ephesians 2:8
  • For James and I to continue this journey.
  • Pray for baby Wyatt to go home so his family can be together under one roof!
  • Say a prayer for Justin and Joanna as they deal with her illness as well.
I love and thank each one of you for your thoughts, cards, calls, texts, love and prayers.  You all make my heart happy!  It is my hope that God will bless you all for your thoughtfulness and kindness!

Wednesday, March 14

Hello all!!!  James' counts were not up enough to start treatment this week.  We will likely start on Monday.  He had scans today so we will meet with the fav doc next week to see what's going on.  For now, we are enjoying the spring weather and the time James feels well!!!  Please enjoy the rest of your week and check back on Monday!!!  Much love to all!!!

Tuesday, March 6

Feeling better...

Just a quick update to let everyone know James is feeling better than he did last week.  He is still weak and tires easily but overall, better.  We see our favorite doc tomorrow and if his counts are up, he will have chemo as scheduled next week.  

Friday, March 2

Care Calendar - Guest Post

Hi friends!

Just wanted to remind you that you can sign up to help with meals, yard work or sponsoring the cleaning crew to come in.  The Care Calendar has been updated for the next two months reflecting these needs.  I know it might seem easier to just list the login info on this blog, but for security reasons, we don't want that information readily available.  I hope you understand.

Feel free to email me - lwrude96@yahoo.com for the login information.

If you already have the info, here's another link to the calendar.

Thank you so much for sharing God's love with James and Amy!


Thursday, March 1

Almost doesn't count...

James almost made it through this round without a hospital stay.  However, he was weak, dizzy and shaky today so I called the clinic to have blood work ordered.  His hemoglobin is "critical" and everything else is low.  Don't panic, you can only go so low then they call it critical.  After a transfusion, he should go back to low!  So let's talk numbers...ya wanna?  Hemoglobin should be 14-18 in adult males.  James' hemoglobin reached an all time low for him coming in at 6.8.  His platelet count is also low but I can't recall the exact number.  Dr. C ordered a blood and platelet transfusion in the Temporary Care Unit of the hospital.  However, this particular hospital stays full people that use the ER as a doctors' office so of course, the hospital is too busy treating people with colds and stomach bugs to care for someone that really needs it.  So we registered at the hospital  at 4PM and were told we could go home or wait among the general population in the ER for three hours.  Really?!?!?  Three hours?!?!?  With the guy throwing up in a bucket?  Or the lady coughing up God only know what?  Three hours during cold/flu season in the ER waiting room with my husband's compromised immune system?  Someone should be slapped!  Or maybe someone visiting the ER for a common cold should be sent elsewhere and asked to take their misbehavin child with them!  *Please excuse that little outburst*
Ok now that I have that off my chest, we opted to go home and wait.  I packed a bag as we will likely be here all night and I will head to work from here.  As it goes now, we will likely be here until the end of time if these people don't start making things happen!  We've been here over an hour and James hasn't been touched....at least we are not in the waiting room. 
Please, my lovelies, pray for comfort and rest for James and patience for me. 
If I haven't told you lately, I hate cancer.  I am over my husband being sick.  I want him well!

Monday, February 27

Rough Weekend

James has been sick since the end of chemo Friday afternoon.  Lots of nausea and upset stomach.  He saw the doc this morning, started new antibiotics, and got a bag of fluids.  This has helped him feel a little better this evening.  His counts are down but if he remains fever free, he can stay out of the hospital. 
Please pray for comfort and rest.  Pray for strength to continue fighting this battle.  The road is so long...
May God bless each of you with a great week!

Thursday, February 23

Relay for Life

The event will be held May 4-5.  It is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.  Because the first team is full, we have started a second team.  All you gotta do...
We have two months until this event takes place and I will continue to bug you so you might as well join the team!!! 

Treatment Week

I am sorry for the delay in my post.  Blogger changed its layout and I am learning how to navigate. 
James is getting treatment this week.  Just one more day to go.  He is experiencing a bit more nausea this round.  I pray this goes away and he can enjoy a weekend fishing with his dad, who will be in tomorrow night!  We are looking forward to his visit!
Much love to all!

Thursday, February 16

Treatment Delayed

James is not getting chemo this week.  His bloodwork showed his platelets to be too low so he will go in Monday.  Good news...his AFP has made a nice drop!  This chemo concoction is working for now!
I am exhausted after Valentine's day!  For those readers who don't know, I am a florist.  It has been a very busy week for me!  I am also coming down with a sore throat.  I have beefed up on the vitamins but will go to the doc if I can't shake it.
Much love to all my dear readers!!!

Saturday, February 4

there's no place...

like home!  James was discharged yesterday afternoon.  Counts are looking better.  His WBC is still low but he is on antibiotics for prevention.  It is rainy and cold so I do believe we will stay home today!
Give thanks...
  • To my neighbor for the supper!  Such a treat to get home yesterday and not have to cook! 
  • To Lisa for the care calendar and jazzing up the blog for me! 
  • To God for protecting us and loving us!
Have a happy weekend! 

Thursday, February 2

climbing out of this hole...

the numbers are slowly making their way up.  hemoglobin is better after the transfusion.  waiting for the wbc/anc to come up a little more before we can bust out of here. 
james has perked up and feels better this afternoon. 
thanks for your love and prayers.
we love you all!

A story of Hope...

James was admitted to St. Luke's December 13, 2010.  On the morning of the 14th, I am a mess because we were up all night and he was going to be seen by an oncologist.  I headed to the cafeteria for my morning Dr. Pepper and there she was...my angel in a hairnet.  The cafeteria cashier.  She hugged me, asked me why I was so sad, and she said, "My baby, you must never, ever, lose..."  She held out her name badge and said, "Hope".  I promised never to forget that day because I knew God put her in my path to comfort me.

Fast forward to February 2, 2012, I headed to the cafeteria for my morning Dr. Pepper and guess who was waiting for me...Hope.  She said since she hadn't seen me is so long, she thought my husband was better.  I told her I wished that were the case.  I caught her up to date on James' condition and ended by saying, "We've just got to keep on going."  Hope said, "My sweet baby, everyday you wake up breathing, thank God for it and just keep on going because that day is His gift to you.  He will see you through, my baby!"

Wednesday, February 1

...rock bottom...

James' counts hit rock bottom today.  The good news...we can only go up from here.  His hemoglobin, platelets, WBC, ANC potassium, and magnesium are all extremely low.  We saw our favorite doc this morning and she recommended coming into the hospital for a couple of days for IV antibiotics, fluids, other meds, and a blood transfusion.  James is very weak and run down more so than usual.  As always, James is at a high risk for infection so he is on isolation and not allowed visitors at this time.  Tonight, I pray for restful sleep for my JamesE.  Please pray for his counts to rebound quickly so he won't have to stay here long. 
Here's to a goodnight from our construction site view hospital room!
A very tired caregiver

Must give thanks...Papa is home tonight and Mawmaw is finally out of the hospital downtown and in the nursing home for therapy.  Praise the Lord!!!  Two of my three patients are ok!

Monday, January 30

We made it through the weekend.  James is a little weak but otherwise good.  Papa is recovering nicely and should be going home soon.  Mawmaw had a rough weekend but things turned around for her yesterday and she is much better now.  We are still unsure when she will be released from the hospital. 

Don't forget...Relay for Life!  Get signed up to walk or please consider donating to our team to support the American Cancer Society!  Click here to sign up or donate!  Thanks in advance for helping us reach our goal!!! 

I think James and I will catch the afternoon showing of Beauty and the Beast 3D!
Have a great day!!!

Friday, January 27

James completed his 5 day round of chemo!  He is feeling pretty good tonight, tired but good.
Papa is doing very well!  The nursing home arranged for he and Mawmaw to be in the same room while they are there for rehab so I helped him move to his new room today. 
Mawmaw was not released from the hospital today.  She is having complications tonight.  I won't go into great detail but I ask that you say a prayer for her. 
Thanks for loving us through this!

Wednesday, January 25

Relay for Life

It is that time of year again!  Time for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life in Conroe!
Aunt Donna has started a team in honor of James.  We would like to be the biggest, best team there to show our support for James as he continues to fight this battle!
Here are the details...
  • To join our team, click here
  • There is a $10 registration per team member
  • Our goal is set for each walker/participant to raise $100
  • Our next goal is to have a participant from our team walking the track from 7PM - 7AM on May 4, 2012
  • If you are unable to walk, please consider donating or join the team to participate in the festivities by passing out water, snacks or cheering on our walkers!
If your business or company would be interested in donating items needed for the team, please email Aunt Donna alwaysabellrelay@gmail.com

Let's raise support and awareness for the American Cancer Society! 
Let's show James we've got his back!!!