The hope throughout all of this was that the cancer would not grow or mestastasize. Prospective surgery dates were scheduled while the prosthetic was being made. Then things took another devastating turn. Repeat testing of everything was scheduled at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN on Dec. 20 and 21st. These tests showed that the tumor had grown since the August diagnosis. While at the time the decision was made to remove the tumor, hindsight shows that it would have been more prudent to have sent what the doctor suspected was a cancerous tumor to be biopsied and not go forward with the hip replacement surgery. The decision to move forward caused complete disruption and cells were spread everywhere. Because of this, the risk of mestatases has been almost guaranteed. The issue now is that because the cancer cannot be treated by conventional methods, there is only one shot at treating it. Once it spreads it goes to the lungs, spinal cord and brain. If it spreads it comes back more aggressively and in a higher stage and this would result in Gary having to go into palliative care if there was nothing short of a miracle. The surgery suggested in Salt Lake City while less invasive, was still experimental and would have involved cutting the hamstrings and quad muscles leaving no place to reattach them on the prosthetic pelvis. This would have left his leg nonfunctional. The other issue at hand was the contamination of cancer cells as a result of the tumor disruption. It is almost 100% certain that the cells have now spread into his bloodstream. Because of this, the specialists feel that a very aggresive approach MUST be taken in order to save Gary's life - and thus has come down to a question of life over limb. Now the family is faced with the reality that the surgery will involve removing his left pelvis along with his entire left leg.
Gary's surgery has been scheduled to take place on Feb. 7th at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City. The joint decision to move forward with the surgery and to have it done there has been based on the amazing care that has been shown by everyone involved. They feel confident with Dr. Lor Randall, the orthopedic oncologist who has shown great empathy for Gary and who wants the best quality of life for him. Gary, Rayanne and Taylor (who is homeschooled) will be travelling to Salt Lake. Thankfully provisions for child care have been made for Elijah, Sam and Lynsie. There is still a need for someone to be able to stay at the family home to care for Julius and Lexie. Care is needed for them and for the family's pets. This will also help provide the kids with some much needed stability and familiarity while their parents are away.
The power of your prayers have already brought about so many blessings already but there still remain many things to be prayed for:
1) Gary's complete healing
2) a home to accomodate their big family as well as the prompt sale of their existing home
3) the wellbeing of the kids as they process the reality of what is going on
4) a job for Rayanne or the financial means for her to go back to school for occupational therapy
5) that Gary's disability will be approved upon the initial request
6) continued support from Gary's workplace where he has been employed for 22 years.
In reading this you can see that I have taken much of the information and wording (with her permission) from what Rayanne has shared on the Caring Brige page. I wanted to be able to clearly and accurately relay the detail of events up to now. Now, I would like to speak from my heart. Though they have endured many challenging situations throughout their marriage, this has been the biggest. Now more than ever they need all of the love and support from friends and family. I have seen firsthand how this amazing couple has poured out into the lives of others over the years. From serving and working in their community and helping people in need, to fostering many children in need of a safe and loving home to adopting children that are now their own that now make up their family of eight!
Their faith has always been their foundation and it has been God's faithfulness that has helped them through every storm. What they face now is a torrent of fears and uncertainties and that is only human. We know that God will continue to provide for whatever may come and walk alongside them on this journey but one can only imagine what lays ahead for them emotionally, physically, spiritually and financially. They truly covet your prayers at this time.
This is not a family who want to ask for help and it is hard for them to accept it even under these circumstances. It is for this reason that I am the one doing the asking. For those who read this and want to help in a financial way, I wanted to create this page. Their needs for future things will be many. From moving costs to day to day household expenses and funding to cover tuition costs for Rayanne. The expenses will add up quickly and I hope we can ease some of that financial burden by having people contributing to this fund.
Some may not be able to help financially and I can appreciate that so please keep them in your prayers. We are a part of their village and we need now more than ever to hold them up in every way possible. There are many other ways to show your support as well. Needs on their prayer list have been mentioned already but even if you can provide in ways of preparing meals for the family or some hours of childcare when they return home and in the coming months. They will need some quiet moments to process and heal from all that has happened. A note or just an encouraging word would also mean so much. Let’s do our best to keep the blessings coming. Thank you again for all of support and love already given to this very deserving family. Let's do our best to keep the blessings flowing!
Thank you for taking the time to read this lengthy post. I hope it has provided answers to some of the questions you may have had. I'll end this by using more powerful words from my friend of almost 30 years because it sums it all so perfectly. Everything is and always be;
"In His Grip"