Not the news we were expecting

This is a hard post to write. So forgive me if it lacks cohesiveness.

Over the last few days Kevin was showing several signs that he was very slowly improving. He was eating more, staying awake more, a bit more conversational, stronger too.  So, this morning when he said he wasn’t feeling well and wanted to go to the doctor sooner than their scheduled 10:00 am appointment, I wasn’t overly worried.

Unfortunately, when they went to his oncologist’s office to have his blood levels tested, the news was not what we had expected. While his hemoglobin (red blood cells) and white blood cells were slightly improved from Friday, his platelets were worse.  His docs believe that Kevin’s platelets are not likely to recover as his liver continues to struggle (which is causing his spleen to be enlarged) and doesn’t appear to be recovering function.  They have made it clear that from their perspective, there are no treatment options remaining, and that he is likely to continue needing platelet transfusions.

Rachel and Kevin talked in depth about this news, what it really meant, and what to do from here. They decided to go ahead with the planned interventional radiology procedure to replace his leaking drain (again!) and to also ask the I/R doctor to see if he could do anything else to help while he was in there.  He will possibly perform a paracentesis procedure to drain off some of the excess fluid that has been building up in his abdomen and causing discomfort, trouble breathing, and loss of appetite.  Their oncology team said this procedure would not help liver function at all, but the I/R doctor said that it could.  He’s also going to have a look at the spleen and see what’s going on.

For now, the plan remains the same:  Keep checking labs and getting platelets when needed, and then continue with trying to get him to eat as much as possible, rest as much as possible and pray that the Lord grants them a miracle – either to heal him or to bring him Home as quickly and painlessly as possible.

There’s many many more details surrounding all of this but either they are too confusing or they aren’t really relevant.  Rachel is doing better than she or I expected.  They’ve known the poor prognosis from the beginning, and have had two years to prepare for this.  But can you ever really be prepared?

I’m doing about how I expected.  We are both ok.  God (and our parents) made us problem solvers / trouble shooters / planners so we are busying ourselves in the necessary details. It helps us cope, and feel helpful and useful – its one of the many amazing traits my sister possesses that has allowed her to support and help and in some cases save Kevin over the last 2 years.  Even as I write this, she is emailing his other doctors that he has seen across the country to see if any of them have any ideas.

For those who don’t know her – she is a ball of determination and passionate love for her husband and the Lord.  She is smart, funny, resourceful and very transparent. All of which makes reading her writings so poignant, and funny and honest.  I know that regardless of the direction their path takes, the Lord will use these traits and the ways He made her to carry her through.

Please pray.  There are always the ‘ifs’ in every situation, and God can use one of those to make a way for Kevin to recover. And then, of course, the Lord is a God of miracles and should He choose to, He can miraculously heal Kevin as well.  But if He chooses not to heal Kevin this side of heaven, we pray he makes this as painless and quick as possible.  Pray y’all. Please Lord, have mercy.

25 thoughts on “Not the news we were expecting

  1. I so with you and your family. Even now I am sitting beside my Down’s syndrome brother as he deals with double pneumonia, after confirming my family’s DNR. My prayers are with the Hill Family Fighters.

  2. I don’t know you, but just wanted you to know that I’ve been praying for Kevin and family. There are many out there fighting the same battle, but it sure does help to know that people are lifting you up in prayer. We have a BIG God and I couldn’t imagine going through these trials without Him. Praise God that Kevin and family do have that! Keep everyone posted. You probably don’t realize how many out there are praying from your blogs on Facebook! May God bless you all and strengthen you through this.

  3. Kevin and Rachel, as I am writing this Marty is coming out of surgery and we are rejoicing in his 3 month recovery with colon issues. Our hearts are breaking and crying out to our LORD for a miracle that only he can provide! You a loved by many and our AWESOME LORD, he is in control. We will continue to pray for you and your families in this journey you are on. Marty send his love! Love because of HIM! Dawn Frendt

  4. Rachel and Kevin — you are in our thoughts and hearts always. I wish for you strength during these difficult days. Much love to the kids.

    Crystal and Teague

  5. The outpouring of love and prayer that contiues to flow in support of my daughter and her sweet husband, simply astounds me. From the bottom of my heart, thank you all. God is Love, always and forever.

  6. Sending my love to you. I prayer for the strength of the Hill Family during this trying time. Rachel-I don’t know you, but I want you to know that there is no better wife than you. Your fight and courage has given your family, Kevin. Your husband is a man of character and faith. Your love for each other has taught me many things. Praying at every thought for God to continue to hold all of you.

  7. Hi, I’ve been following along this story for a while via Vanessa and Ian blackwood. I myself am a 2 time cancer survivor, who has also had a stem cell transplant, within the last 3 years, with a two year old girl and a three yr old boy… I hate, hate, hate cancer, but I have also seen some amazing things in the last three years that I know are experiences from The Lord. I know that He will use every part of this family’s story for His Glory and that He is obviously using them to witness to the world. My doctors are excellent!! May I ask where Kevin has been getting treatment? Who his dr is? If I may help in any way possible with people that I know, I would love to… I truly don’t understand why some are given a second chance at life and others are called home… Survivorship is something that I am struggling with and I am trying to find my new purpose. I have a deep passion for those suffering, so, if can help in any way, please let me know. I really would love to help, if I can. Xoxo, Sharon Donoghue

    • Hi Sharon, Kevin is being treated by Dr. Antoni Ribas at UCLA. He is a top doctor in the field of melanoma, but we aren’t sensing much enthusiasm for continuing to focus on getting him well enough to get back onto a treatment these days. May be wanting to look around to see if we could get opinions from any other melanoma oncologists in the LA area, so if you have suggestions, please do let me know. Thank you!

  8. We will continue to pray.
    I am sure you have heard every solution presented to you. I do want to share what I do. Several years ago I developed kidney cancer. Kidney removed. I was declared healed. Cancer came back. They put me on medicine. At the same time I started acupuncture and natural medicine and a strict diet. No sugar (fruit ok), no diary, no turkey, no chicken (hormones, no coffee, little meat, lots of fruit and veggies, lots of green tea and water. I read about natural medicine (herbdoc.com with Dr Schulz has lots of product I use and books for free). Now after three years they took me off medicine and no more cancer.
    My acupuncture doc treats many cancer patients and several had been given up as too weak for surgery or so. After going to my doc they regained strength and could undergo surgery.
    God bless you,
    Gerard

  9. Kevin, I’ve been unable to get you and your precious, dedicated, loving, amazing sweet family off my mind and heart. You are so blessed to have them. They are so blessed to have you. Your story has taught me many things and has changed the way I think about this life. I honestly just don’t know what to say. I know that God is with you and he will never leave you or your family. My thoughts and prayers are with you and yours. God bless you all.

  10. Sweet Hill Family,
    You are constantly on my heart and in my prayers. I am crying out for a miracle for your family- that the Lord would heal Kevin. We love you. What hard days with each moment bringing ups and downs. I’m praying you can stay present with each other through these moments, and continue to cling to the Lord who is our Great Healer. I’m praying your doctors and nurses will have faith to see what God can do, and dig deep to help facilitate Kevin healing. This is not the end of our stories.
    Love you, Amanda

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