Thursday, May 8, 2008

What matters most

This tab will be used to post updates regarding my daddy's current battle (the second time) with cancer.
Here is the link to the Prayer Warrior shirts for my dad. They are NOT a fundraising thing, they are a prayer awareness scheme of mine, and that's it! FYI, there's a typo on the back, my friend spelled Thessalonians wrong, and I have not uploaded a correct version just yet!
If you would like to send him a card of encouragement:
Robert Reaves
116 South Chestnut Ave.
Wilmar, AR 71675

“Anything is possible. You can be told that you have a 90-percent chance or a 50-percent chance or a 1-percent chance, but you have to believe, and you have to fight."

“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.”.... Lance Armstrong, Cancer Survivor
UPDATE! August 2009
My daddy is scheduled for a CT scan at the end of Sept; at this appointment we are hoping and praying to learn that the mass has shrunk enough for another chemo break.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Daddy has resumed treatments. He's on his third one today, which is my mother's 60th birthday. I hate that she's spending it at the VA, but they did get good news on his bloodwork, so that was a good gift for her. The pain is better, and he is doing very well, considering. Tires fairly easily, yet still full enjoys his days.
Monday, January 5, 2009
Together, we have celebrated a new year, and my oldest child's 9th birthday. He is still enjoying his break from chemo! He is still being closely monitored, and we know he will eventually have to take more, but for now, we don't talk about it. He helped Michael install my new stove, and is just as handy around the house as ever. I think he enjoys these little projects, and I obviously benefit from having a crafty daddy! Continue praying that we have a good year in '09.
Monday, October 6, 2008
The updates are getting fewer and far between. This is because he is doing really well! He is LOVING his break from chemo, and has been helping out on home improvement projects at my house. He is looking forward to his new shop being delivered tomorrow. I am so glad he is planning his FUTURE!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Today is my dad's appt with Dr. Safar, his oncologist. We are praying he will come home with a wonderful report, and with news that he will get a break from chemo for a while. I will update when I know more.
Wednesday, Sept 3, 2008
Tomorrow is a chemo day. He is getting to actually see his oncologist tomorrow, and is hoping to find out that this is his last treatment for a while. Pray that that will happen for him. He needs a break.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Last week was a chemo week. The new medicine they have him on has helped immensely. He is still having a rough time shortly after getting a treatment, but is doing well. Please keep him in your prayers.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Tomorrow, my daddy goes back to the VA for a CT scan to check out whether or not the mass has indeed been shrunk by the chemo. The dr's aren't really thinking so, but my dad is. His pain is better, and we are praying that is a good sign.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
I have not had any updates, because there's been little to say. He is still doing well, considering, and hanging in there. I know him well enough to know that he doesn't like being the topic of conversation, and I know he appreciates, yet doesn't like, that people begin every instance of seeing my mom with "How's Robert?" He doesn't like being in the limelight. This is a chemo week. Yuck.
Monday, June 30, 2008
Today my parents got out of the house for a change. He is looking into getting a small building to replace his old shop. Future plans are always good :) He looks to me as though the weight loss has ended. His color is better, and he is spending time outside. This is a chemo week (yuck) and pretty soon they will do more tests to see if the mass has shrunk. The dr's tell him not to expect it to, at least not that fast if at all, but we hope they are wrong. He is still loving his daily mail people send to encourage, and I appreciate you all sending it.
Friday, June 20, 2008
I haven't updated much because there's been no real changes. He is still okay, considering, and has even started to take less pain medication. Chemo was yesterday, so today isn't a great day, but he is still hanging in there. The spot on his lung was NOT cancer, and his liver is fine as well, we found out this week.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
She was very very happy. She didn't play her best, but she was cheesy.
We have achieved a victory in his aquiring his presence.
Monday, June 10, 2008
My parents are still getting up relatively early in order to get his daily walks in. He has also started doing a little yard work here and there, that probably isn't the best idea, but he hates staying in, so more power to him! He is hoping to make it to Jordan's game on Saturday, and we are praying he will be up to it, and it won't be 100 degrees. We'll see....
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Today was chemo day. Although that's no fun, he handled it well. His vitals looked great. He hasn't regained his weight at all yet, but his eating is really good most of the time. They are back home now.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Still hanging in there, doing his best to get out and walk when the heat is not too bad. No news at this point, really.
Friday, May 23, 2008
When I called to check on him this morning, he was out walking. YAY!
Thursday, May 22, 2008
First chemo treatment is done. So far, so good. No bad side effects at the moment. Still having fever, but he did eat supper! WOO HOO!
Monday, May 19, 2008
With the fever, he now has vomiting as well. A too much information type thing to throw out there, but I wanted people to pray that he not be dehydrated, and to understand the magnitude of yet another stumbling block in his illness. He is trying to hard to be strong, but he is tiring. He did have lunch with two of his brothers today, Kenny and James, and I know that did him good, to visit with them, if only for a short bit. Oncologist (Dr. Safar) is saying stop the antibiotics (he cannot tolerate any more of them) and to still plan on chemo Thursday. That's all I know for now.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Same ol' same ol. Still having fevers, still not resting well. Emotionally spent. He had a visitor today, Larry Tucker. Although he hasn't really been up to seeing anyone, I think he was glad to see him for a brief minute. He is still enjoying the steady stream of cards. Thanks for sending them.
Saturday, May17, 2008
Same old news, fever and sweating, and occasional chills. Last bout of fever lasted 4 hours. I don't think the antibiotics are working. It may actually be the tumor causing the fever. I hope not, or this may be how things are going to be for him forever. We had hoped he would be up to spending an hour or so with my kids today, but he wasn't able to. It was quite disappointing to me, but my kids weren't told it was ever an option, so they didn't get upset.

Thursday, May 15
He has been prescribed antibiotics for the fever. They still are not sure what is causing it. Chemo is rescheduled for next Thursday.

Wednesday, May 14
Today is the day for bloodwork, xrays, and etc. They are trying to get rid of the fever. More updates when he's done at the VA.

Monday, May 12
My dad has run a lot of fever this weekend. He is supposed to begin chemo on Thursday this week, but now, due to the fever, he has to go to see his oncologist on Wednesday at 1:00. He (my dad) thinks it may be better to wait another week on the chemo, until he gets to feeling a little better.
I will let everyone know more info when I have it. As for now, he is eating pretty well, and is still pushing himself to get outside and walk as much as he can.
I greatly appreciate the cards he has been getting from my friends. They mean a lot of all of us.

I firmly believe that some of the most memorable, most important moments of life are insignificant to nearly everybody else.

The ones you love the most may not even remember them as the “best” moments in their minds, either. And through the years, those memories may be painted with careful strokes in your mind that make them prettier or more valuable to you than they were even on that day. It’s funny how we learn to value things more and more over time.

In March this year, my Daddy (I never say “Dad” so I might as well stop referring to him that way) went in for a routine checkup because he was at the 5 year mark from beating cancer the first time, and they found NOTHING. Clean bloodwork, all is well. We breathed a sigh of relief. Shortly thereafter, he became seriously ill, with major back pain, which has led to us finding out that he is in fact NOT cancer free, but much worse this time around. Once we got over the initial shock and the anger, my family and I were able to strengthen each other through prayer and through hope. Through surgery, and now through chemotherapy starting soon, we are trying to be there for him, as he’s always been there for us.

The doctors think Daddy’s got a 50% chance of the chemo shrinking the mass. They say that will help the back pain, too, since the mass is compressing his backbone. They say these medicines may increase his life by two more years than he would’ve lived anyway. His dr says he doesn’t give people calendar dates to “make it to” and I am glad. I won’t be marking my calendar even if they do.

I know some aren’t as blessed as we’ve been so far, and that hurts my heart, because I know the pain of a lost loved one. None of my grandparents are alive anymore. But I think we are supposed to rejoice the gifts in our lives, and my daddy is quite the gift.

Now, this weekend, we will be finding out Jordan’s softball schedule. If he was healthy, he would not miss a game. You know how I know? Just like I mentioned above, it’s because some of my “unimportant” memories are from the million softball games my parents attended. I don’t think they ever missed one; not even the ones WAY out of town. We may have been imperfect players, perplexing and frustrating, but they came out to support me. They hung on every single play, every single call. We disagreed some and agreed more. (I happen to be a lot like him) We cheered and griped and hoped and prayed that we would come home with a win. But most of all, looking back, I am glad I was one of the kids that had parents there.
When cancer comes, it tries to sneak in and take everything you own. It tries to saturate your existence, the ones you love and weaken the faith you have. But it can’t take away hope. It can’t take away a relationship, and it can’t take away memories. It also can’t keep you from making more. My mother says we are living day to day now. I can handle that. Because I have to.
We’ll pray that the Jordan will win on the field this summer, but we won’t pray hard. There are things in this life more worthy of prayer, more worthy of attention and more worthy of hope than a softball game.

My Daddy’s illness hasn’t dulled the passion I have for softball, it’s just prioritized it.
Just having him home and getting stronger and having faith that we’ll be able to see the good times again together should trivialize softball, but it doesn’t exactly. It enhances the experiences and memories a little more, if anything.
Pop & Sarah

Win or lose, we will fight this fight together. I appreciate the prayers and emails very much. And I appreciate the friend that had a lengthy messenger conversation with me yesterday. You are my rock at times, and I value you greatly.


Sarah May 8, 2008 at 12:13:00 PM CDT  

What a wonderful post, Shelley. Keep having faith and hope! Let me know if you want to chat.

ashley May 8, 2008 at 12:13:00 PM CDT  

What a wonderful post! That is so well written and said! Cole and I will continue to say prayers for "Shelley's daddy" every night.

dean May 8, 2008 at 2:07:00 PM CDT  

you just crushed me with this one, shelley... for a couple of reasons.

7 years ago i lost my dad. he had been sick awhile, and we thought we were going to lose him almost exactly a year prior to that, but he pulled through and actually had a pretty amazing year under the circumstances. because of the nature of my ministry and work at that time, i was only able to go to FL and visit my parents once a year, but i talked with him on the phone every week. he always said he was feeling well and doing fine, and my mother never said anything different. at 5:00 on the morning of my birthday in '01, i got a call saying he died during the night. my folks always send me a card and $100 for my birthday, and i got the card 2 days prior. i was going to call that day and thank them, but decided since my birthday was 2 days off, i'd just wait and call on my birthday. i never got to talk to him, and i get to be reminded of that every time i turn another year older. but we did have a good relationship in my adult life, after i gave him fits as a teenager, so i have waaay more good memories than regrets.

the 2nd thing about your post, is that it reminded me of my current frustration with my job/ministry. because for reasons i won't go into here, i am the sole provider of transportation for all the kids on campus, and most days i have no time for just about anything else. i take all the kids to all their appointments, games and practices, which has made it virtually impossible to actually ATTEND any games, including those of the ballplayer that lives right in my own cottage. and because my wife is then left with the job of having to supervise the other 6 guys in the cottage (and at least one of them is always on some sort of restricted schedule), she has made only one game this year. don't get me wrong, i know i'm more fortunate than a lot of folks who have no job at all, and i knew this was part of the job when i signed up (what i didnt know was that nobody else was going to share the responsibility with me), but it does bother me to no end that these kids are out there playing and most times not a single person from here is in the stands cheering them on (with the occasional exception of our rec. director who tires to make games when he isn't otherwise tied up with on-campus duties himself).

just like you have memories of all the times your folks WERE there at your games, i wonder about the memories these kids are going to have of all the games they played with no one there hollering their name... while i know what a terribly difficult time this is for you guys, you have been blessed with a dad(dy) that made you feel more than a little special, and i know you are acutely aware of that from what you've written here!

K.T. is Mommatude May 8, 2008 at 2:18:00 PM CDT  

Beautiful post,Shelley!!

I will continue to pray for you guys...

jenny May 8, 2008 at 2:33:00 PM CDT  

that was a great post! keep up the hope and faith...there are so many prayers warriors in have a great group of people on your side and your family are in my prayers!! hey and if you are selling those "Pray for my Dad" shirts I would love to have one...

Maury May 8, 2008 at 4:13:00 PM CDT  

What a blessing it is to have these great moments/memories with your daddy.

I'm praying, Hang in there girl!

Mandy May 8, 2008 at 4:18:00 PM CDT  

Absolutely BEAUTIFUL. What you're going through, and your ability to be so transparent through it all has helped me do the same thing you mentioned here, prioritize life. Still praying, still here if you need ANYTHING. I'm just an email, a phone call, or a blog post away. Never hesitate to call if you are in need of a shoulder to lean on, support, or someone to pick up a child. I am quite experienced at all of the above. ;)

Laken May 8, 2008 at 4:46:00 PM CDT  

You are such a good writer. Hang in there and continue to hand it over to God. You are still in my prayers.

jaime pott photography May 8, 2008 at 8:46:00 PM CDT  

You are always in my prayers. Wonderful post.

Michael May 21, 2008 at 1:09:00 PM CDT  

This is a really great post. Never can take things for granted....

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