Sarah here. As promised, I’ll aim to keep the blog up to date as best I can. And as Rachel has the strength and time she’ll write too. For today – its just me.
As you probably know, I flew out to LA and got here Tuesday afternoon. (My husband and I are blessed with some pretty awesome family and friends who banded together to help my husband take care of our kiddos while I’m away and made the arrangements very quickly.) A friend of the family drove me from the airport straight to the hospital to be with Rachel and Kevin. When I arrived Kevin gave me a hug and I met a few of his friends who were visiting him. He looked… well, he looked like a man who has stage 4 cancer, shingles, thrush (a fungal infection of the mouth) AND pneumonia whose been through more medical procedures and treatments than I care to count and who is feeling just a tad bit better today.
A lovely couple came a while later who had heard about Rachel and Kevin through a prayer letter, had gotten a sitter (for their 6 children) and driven into the city to pray over Kevin. The sincerity, sweet words and blessings that they poured into Rachel and Kevin was beautiful. We were all deeply moved by that time, holding hands and praying together for our brother.
That night I stayed with Kevin while Rachel went to Kevin’s cousin Claudia’s house to get a good nights’ sleep and have a night off. Kevin rested well. He and I had a quiet and enjoyable morning in the hospital together. He cracked a few jokes (which I enjoyed immensely and took as a good sign) and we worked alongside one another a bit on our lap tops.
Rachel slept really well (late even) and joined us around 10:00 am to hear the good news that the doctors felt like he had improved to a place where being in the hospital wasn’t going to help his recovery further and wanted to send him home. Rachel was excited that he was doing so well so quickly (the previous Sunday night he had been in really rough shape), while Kevin, I think, was a bit bummed to be leaving his comfy hospital bed. The doctors switched all his medications from IV to pill form, re-attached his bile drain and bag, gave him 2 more units of platelets, wrote out his prescriptions, and sent us home.
On the way home, another set of cousins (Kevin’s mom’s cousin Elizabeth and her family) called and invited us to dinner. Kevin felt he was up for it so we met them at a classy burger joint. Almost as soon as we arrived Kevin started to feel odd. We had been there about 30 to 45 minutes when he said he needed to go home. I was tired still from the time change so I offered to take him home. When I asked him in what way he wasn’t feeling well, he said he wasn’t really sure. He wasn’t in pain and was only mildly nauseous. He thought it was a bit of sensory overload with all the people there. When we got to the house, as I was helping him out of the car, he lost his equilibrium and therefore his balance. He almost fell but caught himself on the car hood. This had not happened before and it frightened him a good bit.
We got him inside and into bed to relax while I brought in the luggage from the hospital and got things unpacked. I checked on him fairly often and he seemed alright. He dozed a great deal and would even fall asleep in mid conversation. I could only imagine how tired he must have been. Rachel and Kevin’s family arrived and then left again to go fill prescriptions and get supplies for the next few days while I chatted with one of Kevin’s cousins, a really neat woman our age who shared mine and Rachel’s love of chatting.
Kevin called me in and said he was feeling strangely again, as if he was going to pass out. I called Rachel to see when she might be back and to get her thoughts. We assumed low blood pressure (as his BP has been pretty low lately) or possibly his body attempting to metabolize all those pills – he HAD taken a lot of pills in the hospital. Rachel returned with Elizabeth and he told her how he was feeling. He was fearful and afraid that this odd feeling, like he would pass out while lying down, was an indication that this was the end. Elizabeth, who is a retired ER nurse who has had experienced her own pain as a cancer patient herself and loss of her husband when her children were very young, spoke kindly with a quiet strength to Kevin and answered all his questions. Kevin seemed calmed by her presence and kindness and her assurance that given his pulse and other indicators he was indeed NOT going to die tonight.
They had to go home and so we said our good byes. Rachel sat by his side for a while encouraging him and promising him she would fight hard for his life but that when the time came she would let him go, if that’s what it came to. Rachel had said these things to Kevin several times since I had arrived – making sure that fighting hard was still what he wanted to do, and ensuring him that she would fight hard for him – all he had to do was keep accepting care. She is hopeful for him but also fully understanding the circumstances as they are. She knows God can and does heal and perform miracles. She knows that some very smart doctors have suggested looking into hospice. She knows he doesn’t want to be a burden on others for years to come. She knows that she wants to do everything she can to get him well, and if not well, at least feeling better and comfortable. I heard the heart of a woman fighting for the love of her life. Fighting to keep her faith and hope strong. Fighting to be realistic and not in denial. I saw the face of a man who has fought hard and long for his wife and his children.
I helped get his medicines, water, heating pad, humidifier, etc. and said good night. We all crawled into bed and I fell asleep thinking about my to do list tomorrow – finding a hospital bed for him to have at home, organizing his pills and prescriptions into his daily pill boxes, cleaning the house, writing a blog post and praying.
I awoke at 6:00 am to hear Kevin throwing up. He hadn’t thrown up for several few days. Again, a new symptom. I got him cleaned up and back into bed for a bit. I did some work on my laptop and woke Rachel and Kevin at 7:00 with coffee for Rachel and oatmeal for Kevin. Kevin sat with me in the living room while I worked and he nibbled on oatmeal. He said he only slept a little bit but had terrible nightmares when he did. Rachel got up and started preparing for the day while I helped Kevin eat more. As we were preparing to leave and I was helping him get out of the chair, his bile bag caught on the chair and he lost his equilibrium again. It frightened both of us a good bit and Rachel decided they would go back to UCLA to get his counts checked again after their visit with the wound specialists.
They left and I got to work on my to do list.
I thought many times about the conversations I’d witnessed last night and this morning. I am blown away by this couple. How deeply they rely on their faith. How determined my sister is. How tightly they hold to one another. How well they love each other. How open and honest they are. How hard they have fought.
Will you join them in the fight? Will you pray for them? Pray often. Pray hard. Pray honestly. They both understand the direction this fight seems to be going. But maybe, with many many prayers, God will grant them a bit of wind against their backs, a boost to their spirits and fresh dose of hope. Please join me in praying for His mercy and that he would grant them a miracle.