Bits of Joy…and Other Blessings!

5 – Update on Harry – Oral Cancer


We made it home safe and sound on Wednesday evening. As Dorothy said, "There's no place like home!" We were greeted at home with boxes of supplies. Yesterday we discovered five cases of food for Harry's new gourmet diet on our porch. Our home is now an official infirmary! (Where will we store all this stuff??)

Yesterday was a steep learning curve for both of us as we developed a schedule for the "new normal." From the stack of papers and instructions for Harry's medical care "Nurse Carol" created a spreadsheet complete with what to do when, how to do it, and what supplies are needed. Much easier to manage and keep track of all the tasks.

We are truly blessed to have great insurance (as far as we can tell) and a great U of M Discharge Staff who made arrangements for us to have everything we needed...and them some!

Visiting nurses were here yesterday and today, and confirmed Harry is doing very well indeed.

U of M follow-up visit is scheduled for November 3rd. Hoping to have all tubes removed -- that would be awesome!

Thank you all again for your continued caring and support! We are blessed beyond belief!

Harry & Carol

P.S. We have discovered that we have incorrect e-mail addresses for some folks, so we would like to ask you to reply to this message so we know you received it. Thank you!


Our follow-up visit to U of M Hospital was a full day yesterday! The surgeons were very pleased at how well Harry is healing. All stitches (leg and neck) were removed, final two drain tubes were removed, the trach was replaced with a #4 (was a #6) and a cap was added to allow breathing only through mouth and nose.

Because Harry was able to swallow water and applesauce, we celebrate that the feeding tube was also removed!! We are now experimenting with a variety of soft and pureed foods…the possibilities are endless!

We met with Dr. Eisbruch, the Radiation Oncologist, and discussed the process for radiation. Because three of the lymph nodes which were removed during surgery tested positive for cancer, chemotherapy is a necessary part of the plan. Since Dr. Eisbruch and his team are dedicated to treating only oral cancer, we feel this is the best possible treatment for Harry. Therefore, we will be making the daily trip to Ann Arbor for the next 6 weeks. We are continuing to trust the LORD for this part of the journey as well: That Harry would respond positively to the radiation and chemo, that he thrive as well through this part of the process as he has so far, and that we be blessed with good roads, travel mercies and affordable housing when needed!!

Once again, I must tell you all how touched we are by your unceasing thoughtfulness, support and prayers! While we know our strength comes from the LORD, you are His ambassadors here on earth!! May you be blessed with the same measure of love and compassion which you have shown to us!

James 1:2-3 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

As humans, it’s really a challenge to wrap our head around the possibility that one could be “joyful” during trials and difficulties; but, we have had the pure privilege of experiencing this joy on more than one occasion; and we have found that the joy in trials comes from experiencing a very personal relationship with our Creator God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit! Knowing He has gone before us to prepare the way for this journey by putting the exact right people in our path, ready to do what needs to be done to bring Harry to full health, answering our (and your!) prayers sooner and more complete than expected, and granting us total peace as we begin this second leg of the journey!

Harry is “strong like a bull” as a friend said recently, and that has served him well. But we both know that we are not strong enough to do this on our own. God’s Word tells us that in our weakness, He is strong. We trust in that and find our rest in that!

Blessings continually abound!

Harry & Carol