Thoughts from Kay on Her Journey

Friends of the Nunnery family:

What follows in this blog are the emailed updates from Kay (and Kevin) throughout her journey over the past couple of years.  All the updates appear on this page.  Although not originally a blog, the entries are now catalogued in the left column by date.  Click the arrows to expand specific months, or click an entire year at a time.

On behalf of the family, we pray you are blessed by Kay’s faith and courage.  Expressions of love and sympathy can be posted in the comments sections below.  Click the comments link to add a comment.

Kevin’s Message at Kay’s Celebration Service

I want to thank you all for coming. Kay, Andrew and I are truly blessed to have so many caring family and friends.

It’s impossible to say everything I want to say about Kay. She was a loving mother, daughter, sister, friend, coworker and wife. She loved her family and friends.

When we got married it is an understatement to say I was not as spiritually grounded as she was. I thought I was. But I soon found out the she was in the pros. And I had apparently been stuck in the developmental leagues for many years, because I certainly didn’t have the skills she had.

She wanted to find a church home right away, and to me it was a matter of much less urgency, frankly. So she guided me, shepherded me, sometimes gently and sometimes needing the staff, visiting many churches in the area.  And then one Sunday morning we came to Providence Baptist Church.

I parked and we got out and I remember saying that the place looked like a hotel, and that if there was a cult inside, they weren’t doing a very good job of disguising it. I REALLY thought attending even one service in this church was something that I DID NOT want to do. But we attended the service, and I escaped successfully. The next week we didn’t discuss where we were going to attend church, we just got in the car on Sunday morning and started driving. And she wanted to GO BACK  to Providence.  And I explained that I was from a small town, and grew up in a comparatively small Methodist church, and knew for sure that I didn’t want to go to Providence again, and potentially be asked to drink anything that looked like Kool-Aid, punch or juice. But she asked me to come for one month, and then we would reconsider. Being a reasonable man I agreed to her bargain.  And during the next two services I started looking for all the reasons why we could mark Providence off the list. By the end of the month, all I could really come up with was, it’s too big. But the last week, we were spoken to by members who made us feel like we were welcome, and that made me less apprehensive to come back. It took me a while, but Kay led me to the point where I agreed to join Providence. But to join, I had to be baptized by full immersion. By David Horner (and by the way, he wears fishing waders under the robe).

I also had to give my testimony. And I remember being uncomfortable about it, but I knew it was the right thing to do, and I did it one Sunday night. And Kay told me how proud she was of me. But SHE was the real reason that it happened. She did me the greatest service anyone could do.

A few months later Kay and Dottie Haynes signed Bob and me up for Johnny Evans and Charles George’s Monday Night Bible Study, and then told us what time we needed to be at church. Kay and I had heard Johnny speak here, and she knew I needed to hear more of what he had to say. So she took the initiative and signed me up.  That was 10 years ago and now Bob has been a huddle leader for 8 years I guess. And I have been blessed by her foresight and leadership in helping me find God through that ministry over that same time.

So she really was instrumental in my spiritual well-being. For that I will be forever indebted to her.

But I want my part of this celebration of her life to emphasize what both Kay and I realized over a year and a half ago was an important calling she received from the Lord. And that calling is about you guys out there.

Let me begin by saying that Kay was a person who held herself accountable to high standards. She expected a great deal from herself.  She wanted the best for those she loved, she wanted us to have her best.

It is also true that she was quite self-conscious and she placed a high value on her privacy. So when she was diagnosed with cancer, a never-ending struggle was introduced into her life, in addition to the physical ailments. And it was a very personal conflict of having to deal with her self-consciousness and personal need for privacy, and the need to address the ever-present concern and desire of others to know about how things were going with her.

For several weeks it was something that I tried to help her with as much as I could, without a great deal of success. I tried to answer the phone as much as possible and many times we just let it ring until voicemail picked up, because we were exhausted.

Then one day, she wrote an email to a list of people she had compiled. In it was information on what had been happening and what we knew about procedures to come. And she asked me to proof read it before she sent it out.  And at the end was a sincere thank you to all for their concern and prayers and a bible verse she had picked out.

That message represented a huge effort on her part, with chemo and radiation treatments in full swing, to not only let loved ones know how things were going but to begin to share her faith with those who read her messages. Some of those people were not believers in God, and she wanted them to know how much the Lord meant to her in her time of need.

In all she was going through, she was thanking those who were praying for her, and trying to convey to many how precious her faith was. I realized she was doing for all those who were reading those emails what she had done for me.

The distribution of those emails and the responses to them snowballed rapidly. I was amazed and humbled by both her strength of commitment to this calling she felt, and to the surprising responses of people who were reading her messages and marveling at her faith. There were responses from people who her messages had been forwarded to. People I didn’t even know.

I want to read an email she sent out on January 31, 2009. It’s a snapshot in her journey that helps make the point I want all to leave here with, a point I know Kay wants me to make.

It reads-

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! -- 2 Corinthians 9:15

So many times and under so many circumstances we keep coming back to this verse that it truly has become our heritage – our family’s life verse.   Often our family relies upon this verse to describe so many situations in our lives. Our miracle child, our church, school, neighborhood, and friends.

How do we thank all of you who have been with us through all these treatments? There simply is no way, other than to say “Thank You” and hope that you somehow get a tiny glimpse into our hearts to see how truly grateful we are for each of you and your role in this process.

This treatment plan has not been easy and we knew that going in. At times it has seemed insurmountable. But we have seen God’s hand at many turns and He has seen us through many, many times of difficulty. We still have lots of work ahead of us in terms of recovery – weight issues, strength issues, and medication issues – but we know where to go each and every time we need assistance. Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we go forward in this ongoing process.  There is much work to do and many prayers to be answered!

Thank you for helping us arrive at this place. And of course, the ultimate thanks always goes to God. What a truly indescribable gift!

It is unmistakably clear to me that the suffering that was so real to Kay was being used by the Lord to mold the content of those messages and to make them a powerful tool for His purposes.

She continued to write them until the last of her days here with us. She didn’t ever, ever shrink from that very difficult task for her personally, and she did it out of love. Love for God and love for all of us who read them. She was a wonderful wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend and servant of her Lord. She loved God and she loved others, and she went to great personal sacrifice to try and convey the importance of faith in God. And that is the thing I hope everybody gets. Andrew and I are so very proud of her and very fortunate to have had her in our lives. I hope that those of you here, who were like me before I met Kay, hear her message to you. God Bless You All. I thank you for coming.

March 2, 2010

I feel a huge responsibility to call each one of you, you have been so faithful and such a indescribable blessing, but I just don’t have the strength right now. Please know that our family loves you all.

Kay went to be with the Lord last night at 12:20 AM. Please pray for Andrew and her mother now, if you will.

March 1, 2010

They cannot see a clot, although a small one could be present. They think she has pneumonia in her good lung and she is in respiratory failure due to infection. She is on a ventilator now, and is “quasi-stable”. This is very serious. I covet your prayers now. Thank you for being so faithful to my family. I’m not sure what I would do without the prayers-


March 1, 2010

We have had to make a trip to the Emergency Room and they are assessing Kay right now. She has had trouble breathing today and they are testing for a pulmonary embolism or blood clot in her good lung.  I am praying there is no blood clot, but we won’t know until after a CT scan is done.

She is where she needs to be and they are monitoring her very closely. I will send more info when I get it and get the chance. Your prayers are greatly appreciated-


February 25, 2010

We are going home today, praise the Lord!!!!!   We’ll see how the pain relief goes, I went to the CVS back in Raleigh last night and had them print out all Kay’s meds so the Drs at Duke could see what her baseline was. They finally relented and wrote her new scrips with larger doses, so I  think we are going to be OK. Thank you for your prayers through all of this, we couldn’t have been more blessed than to have friends like you guys.  More later, the nurse is back to start training me!!!


February 24, 2010

As I write this Kay is resting in the bed, after a very long day of trying to adjust her pain medicine so that she can get some tolerable degree of pain relief on a consistent basis. The challenge is that she can only have liquid pain relievers, no pills, because she can’t swallow (NPO). Liquid pain relievers work fairly quickly, but not for very long. Also, they don’t want to give her too much and possibly knock her out or depress her breathing. So in erring on the conservative side of the dosage see-saw, they do not medicate her enough to control the pain breakthroughs. On every 2-3 hr dose cycle last night and today, by the end of the cycle she was miserable. It is very hard to watch.

My prayer is that we can get this problem resolved before we go home. They have told us she can go home either Thurs or Friday. I can’t wait to get her home, but I sure don’t want to go without enough pain medicine!!!!

Everyone has been praying and we feel so very very blessed to have such caring friends. No one could ask for more. We love you all-


February 22, 2010

The power of prayer will never be lost on us. Kay is walking without oxygen, 1,400-1,500 yards per day. I can assure you that each one of you account for some of those yards. She’s VERY sore and still has one drainage tube in her chest (the smaller of the two they inserted), along with various IV’s and a feeding tube, but she is making progress.  I really don’t know how to explain being up here in this section of the hospital where so many people have had such major surgeries, and we are also right beside  the ICU, so we see a lot of the same folks every day. They all need prayers and  we are trying to pray for each other as much as possible. Incredible place.

I can’t express my appreciation for such wonderful friends as you all. There just aren’t words. We love you.

We are tired and are going to try to get some sleep, between alarms, code reds, and tests. More later, I promise-


February 20, 2010

The Lord has been with us today, thanks to so many prayers. I’m just overwhelmed with gratitude for all that everyone has done for us.

Last night there were issues through the night with low blood pressure, but they finally got those resolved after several hours. She managed to get a few hours sleep, which is most since we’ve been here.

Another very hectic day, with more progress. The large drain in her chest, her epidural and her jugular IV were removed today. With less metal and plastic poking her, her comfort has increased. She has walked 8 laps and will go out on the “track” one more time before bed. There’s still several more IV’s and one smaller drain in her chest cavity, but we are definitely over the hump.

They just  told us they will give her the first “meal” through the feeding tube sometime tonight. She hasn’t eaten since supper Wed. so she’s REALLY looking forward to that.

We both feel so blessed to have such wonderful friends and good medical care. I will try to update again tomorrow if I can find some time. God Bless you all!!!!


February 19, 2010

All the Drs came by this morning. To a person, they say Kay is  doing “great”. Glory be to God! Your prayers and love have benefited her immensely and we cannot begin to express our gratitude. Today will be a very strenuous day of more walks and breathing exercises every 6 minutes. Thank you so much for your support.

So now it’s off to x-ray then a lap around the “track”. Busy, busy busy. Good Bless you all!


February 18, 2010

Kay was moved out of ICU today at about 1 PM to a “step down” room in the cardio/ thoracic unit of the hospital where she will stay until she goes  home! So I’m very thankful for that and that she is able to get up and walk a little, with a stable blood pressure. She’s breathing on her own and her oxygen/gas levels are in the acceptable range. I was waiting until after I spoke with the surgeon before I wrote the update, but he still hasn’t come by, so I’m not waiting any more.  Thanks so much for all the prayers, they have been and continue to be  a huge blessing, which we will be forever grateful for.  She hasn’t been evaluated on her vocal chord condition yet, so no news there. Gotta run, time to try another walk! Thanks to you all-


February 17, 2010

I just talked to the surgeon, he was able to remove her lung. There were some complications, when he separated her bronchial tube from her esophagus, her esophagus tore, so he had to sew that up and put in a feeding tube, that will stay in for a few weeks. It will also prolong her hospital stay by a few days. Her vocal nerves could have been affected, we won’t know more until tomorrow. She must be evaluated. Please pray for that. 

Our whole family is so grateful for your exceptional care and prayers. I feel unexpressably blessed. I must go to recovery now, I just wanted to get the good news out about her lung being removed before I go back. All the Nunnery’s love-


February 16, 2010

How quickly a week passes when you are eating wedding cookies, filet mignon, pound cake, pizza, homemade macaroni and cheese, brownies, choc chip cookies, gourmet sugar cookies, cheesecake, doughnuts…the list goes on and on.  Thanks to all of you who helped me accomplish my mission to gain weight in such a mighty way!  And yes, let me assure you, the mission has been accomplished! ☺

We have just learned I am scheduled for surgery tomorrow (2/17) at 8:45 am with an arrival time of 6:15 am.  We covet your prayers and we thank you for your dedication to us. 
Once again, here are our specific needs:

1. That we would glorify God in all that we do

2. That Dr. Harpole would be able to remove ALL cancerous matter

3. That I would be free from blood clots or infections

4. That my healing would be complete

5. That my loved ones would walk in a hedge of protection, free from worry or exhaustion, safe in their travels and feel the Lord’s presence in a special way.

We have really felt your prayers over the last week.  I have truly experienced that peace that comes only from the Lord.  Thank you, thank you, thank you as we embark on what I pray is the last leg of this journey toward healing.  We will update you as soon as we can.

“This is my comfort in my affliction, for your word has given me life.”  Psalm 119:50

Kay and family

February 9, 2010

Hello all—

As it turns out, my Dr. Harpole has to be in Japan this weekend and has decided he would prefer to delay my surgery for 1 week (2/17) since he is going to be away.  We appreciate his sensitivity to us in this regard.   In some respects we would have preferred to go ahead and get this behind us, but we also know that our situation has been covered in much prayer and we know God is not surprised by this turn of events.  So, I have another week to do my breathing exercises and continue on my weight gain mission! ☺ 

Thanks to all of you for your continued prayers.  We promise to keep you posted.  Much love and God bless –

Kay and family

January 22, 2010

All –

Here is our latest news:  We met with surgeons at Duke on Tuesday of this week.  The primary surgeon, David Harpole, believes I will benefit from surgery to remove my left lung and some surrounding tissue.  We are thrilled that God has seen fit to grant us this opportunity!

Doctor Harpole is one of about 3 surgeons nationwide who do this type of extensive surgery regularly.  He averages about 20 per year and trained with the doctor who developed the procedure.  He is in his words “the surgeon of last resort” in the southeast US.  His interpretation of my tests is that my left lung is not functioning very well at all, and is not oxygenating the blood flow as it should.  Essentially a “dead” lung that is working at about 5% capacity.  If he can go in and cut the blood supply to that lung and remove it, my remaining lung function will be more efficient.  And the remaining cancer in the left lung will be removed.  Those are his plans for Feb 10.  We will do pre-op work on Feb 9. 

The chemo drugs I am currently taking are good, and could continue to work indefinitely, but I have really exhausted most of my chemo options.  This surgery is my best chance for the long term, a curative approach.

Doctor Harpole went through the possible complications with us and I am including them below, among the things that we ask you to cover in prayer for us, please. 

1. There is a chance that the scarring done to my lung and other tissue from the chemo and radiation could be too extensive to remove.  If that is what he finds when he begins the surgery he will not proceed with the removal.

2. The risk of blood clots is great with this surgery and given my circumstances.

3. The risk of infection is always a threat with any surgery and especially one this extensive.

4. Please pray also for my family;  my sweet little boy who doesn’t want his Mom to have her lung removed, my dear husband who just WOULD NOT GIVE UP until he found a better option for me, and my awesome Mother who works tirelessly to hold us all together.

5. That God will close the doors that lead down the wrong path.

We have been praying #5 for awhile now and on Tuesday am before the appointment at Duke I was praying that God would not only close the wrong doors but would PUSH us through the right ones.  We believe He has done that and it is with much rejoicing and thanksgiving that we approach this surgery.  Dr. Harpole is a Christian and we told him about you, our prayer warriors.  He welcomes that intervention.

Yes, I am scared.  But I know I am not alone and it is thrilling to see how God is working on our behalf.  Thank you for your part in that too. 

In the meantime, I was instructed to “get fat” before the 10th so I am working hard on that.  Andrew celebrates his 11th  birthday (Oh. My. Goodness.) on Feb 4th and we will be celebrating the “goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13) as we go forward.  Once again, we covet your prayers and we thank you dearly for them.

“…Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God, my God, will be with you.”  I Chronicles 28:20

Kay and family

January 12, 2010

My dear Prayer Warriors,

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had great holidays.  We certainly did.  Andrew declared ours the “best Christmas ever!” (as he usually does) so I know you have all been keeping the prayers lifted for us.  Thank you. 

At my last writing we were preparing to have more tests done and investigating the possibility of some extensive surgery.  Overall my tests came back pretty good.  The area of concern has decreased in size and contained in its original location.  There is no evidence of metastasis!  The fluid around my lung is still present but continuing to decrease in volume!   Both of these were very good results.  My pulmonary function test however showed a decrease in my breathing capacity.  We were surprised by this development as I have been told that my breathing function all along has been “superb”.  Unfortunately it seems the chemotherapy drugs can have an adverse effect on “good lung” tissue.  The UNC surgeon did not feel that my lung function was good enough to pursue the surgery.

Doctor Socinski (my oncologist) has suggested we visit a surgeon friend of his at Duke and we are awaiting that appointment to get another opinion.  In the meantime I have been exercising my lungs to try to see if the good lung capacity can be increased and re-visit the surgery option.  I will be seeing a UNC pulmonologist to discuss this further.  For now I will continue to have a lighter version of the chemotherapy I just finished, since it seems to be working to keep the disease contained.  The fluid level has decreased significantly and we have been very encouraged by that.  Overall I am feeling pretty well, actually getting back into my office some starting this week. 

We thank you so much for your continued prayers.  While we wish we could go ahead and get the surgery question answered, we are learning that waiting on the Lord may be just what He intends for us to do.  Seeing the fluid level reduction as we wait has been an important lesson.  Please continue to keep us in your prayers.  There are several things that need our Lord’s attention:

1. Encouragement and peace of mind for my dear family

2. Wisdom for us and the medical team as we pursue future treatment options.  Please pray that the Lord will close all doors that lead down incorrect paths.  Please pray also for a hedge of protection around us as we continue on this journey.

3. I am developing some sensitivity to one of the chemo drugs.  Please pray that I would be able to continue receiving this drug.  We are on a schedule of treatment every 3 weeks, beginning on 1/19.

4. Vein access (enough said!)

5. My overall endurance – physical and mental

6. Restoration of my health

We want you to know that your prayers mean so much to us.  And please know that God hears your prayers.  We are convinced of this many times over as we see God’s fingerprints all over our situation and the many blessings that continue to pour our way.  We thank God for you and your dedication to us.   And we trust Him with all the details and with the outcome.   

Psalm 57:3  “He sends from heaven and saves me…God sends His love and His faithfulness.”

Kay and family

December 1, 2009

“Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever.” 2 Chron 21b

We received good news today with the results of my scan from yesterday.  And I really felt all your prayers carrying me through yesterday and today.  I truly felt the peace of God, the peace that “surpasses all understanding” (Phil 4:7).  Thank you, my dear prayer warriors, you have helped us beyond measure.

The scan from yesterday looked good (chest and abdomen), revealed no new tumors, the existing areas of concern were smaller, the area of fluid was smaller although not gone as we had hoped, and the lung appeared to be somewhat more inflated.  While all of these were positive developments, the fluid remains a problem.  So where do we go from here?

Our options are basically down to two.  One, continue on the chemo indefinitely in sort of a “maintenance” mode.  This is somewhat complicated by the fact that at my last infusion I had an allergic reaction to 1 of the chemo drugs.  Option two, a surgery to remove my entire lung, the left part of my diaphragm, the lining of the lung and the lining of the heart.  This surgery is extensive and would require a 2 week hospital stay.  It is possible that the surgery would remove any remaining cancer and “cure” the cancer for good.  There is always a possibility that the cancer could recur in another area and we would then go on chemo again.  The surgeon is confident he can perform the surgery but does not know if it is the best route for me.  He has performed this surgery only 5 other times, but with success.  Given that my situation is very unique and not textbook, they cannot say for sure that the surgery would work.  Praise the Lord that He is the God of “uncharted waters”!

We were advised to think about this for a few weeks.  So in the meantime, I will have another chemo round on Monday and will begin more in-depth scans of my brain, body, and also a lung and heart function test.  They want to make sure that I am a good candidate for the surgery and that there is no cancer in any other area of my body before they proceed.  They believe that if the surgery is successful my quality of life would be very good, even with just 1 lung.  A target date for the surgery would be sometime during the week after Christmas.

So, while we are encouraged with the results from the scan, clearly we want to make a good decision regarding the surgery.  Whew! 

We covet your continued prayers as we go forward.  God has always been faithful to provide us with the direction we need.  Obviously we are going to rely on His direction as we make our decision.  Please pray that He would make His will known to us and close any door that leads in the wrong direction. 

Thank you again for all your prayers.  You know it and we feel it – those prayers make all the difference!  We’ll keep you posted. 


Kay and family

November 29, 2009

My dear friends—

Please remember us this week as we go in for our “re-assessment”.  We start this process tomorrow am with a CT scan at 11:00.  Then on Tuesday morning we go in for the scan results and consultation with the surgeon and the oncologist.  The fluid around my lung continues to accumulate, although it is less volume than it was when I first started the chemo back in August.  The oncologist tells us that we are in “uncharted” waters as my case has not followed the normal progression they generally see.

We met today with the elders in our church for a special time of prayer.   We did that back in August too and today’s meeting was just as special.  Those meetings have been very encouraging  for me and just a sweet time with the Lord. 

As you would imagine, we are eager to see where we go from here.  The waiting is difficult but we know that God is still in control.  He is not surprised by our “uncharted” waters.  Please pray for wisdom as we go forward.  As always, we thank you for your prayerful support. 

Philippians 4:6  - “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God”

Kay and family

November 22, 2009

Dear NCLM friends and colleagues,

While my traditional southern upbringing would dictate that I write to each of you individually, unfortunately that is not very practical at the moment.  So please overlook the obvious faux pas of this group email.  For some time now I have been meaning to send a note of THANK YOU to all of you for the overwhelming acts of kindness and generosity you have extended to my family and me this past year. 

I have worked for the League of Municipalities for nearly 20 years.  (Oh. My. Gosh!!)  During the course of my tenure, I have witnessed many extraordinary things accomplished by the NCLM, it’s staff and boards.  While I have stood in awe of many of those accomplishments, I have been even more amazed at the support extended to my family over this past year.  Ours is truly a remarkable organization. 

“Thank you” seems painfully inadequate to express the depth of our gratitude to you.  These words cannot convey our appreciation nearly enough.  We have been so richly blessed by your generosity– the many notes, emails, cards, gifts, phone calls, the awesome gift of meals, accumulated TIME, that priceless birthday video and of course the many prayers offered on our behalf.  The list goes on and on.  These and countless other gestures have helped to make our difficult path a bit easier.  Thank you!

As we approach this Thanksgiving season, we wish for all of you a very happy holiday.  Please know that the numerous acts of kindness from each of you are among the many blessings my family will celebrate this year.  I look forward to being back in the office soon.  Until then, please accept our heartfelt thanks and may each of you have a very happy Thanksgiving. 

Kay Nunnery

October 29, 2009

Hello all—

Sorry to be so incommunicado but I have had a rough couple of weeks following my treatment last Tuesday.  We had to delay that treatment by a week due to a low white cell count, but the count rebounded nicely after a week’s hiatus.  My next treatment in scheduled for Nov 9.  After that treatment I will have another round of x-rays and scans for a “re-assessment”.  There has been some continued discussion about removing my lung even if we get the all clear signal after this treatment.  The fluid around my lung continues to be a problem and although the volume has decreased it has not completely cleared up.  We will likely have to make some serious decisions going forward, but God has never failed to provide us with clear direction so far. 

We remain so grateful to everyone for your continued prayer support.  The most critical of needs right now is resolution of this fluid issue.  Please pray also for my physical and emotional strength, and for my family, especially my Mom who is under significant stress.  And as much as I try to protect Andrew from all my issues, he is quite the little worrier even at such a tender age. 

This is so hard.  I confess there are times I don’t think I can do this.  I don’t want to even consider how difficult it really would be without your prayerful support.  Once again, “thank you” seems painfully inadequate. 

So, we march on.  Clinging to the Lord.  And thanking Him for the gift of you.     

Kay and family

September 14, 2009

False alarm.  I was not able to take chemo today after all, we’ve been delayed a week.  My white cell count was too low, not severely low, but low enough for concern.  The doctors didn’t want to risk me getting some type of infection that could really set me back.  They seem to think the white cell count will come up on it’s on over the course of the week.  They advised me to get plenty of rest and stay away from crowds until then.  One piece of good news is that they were able to get my IV started with no issue!

So, we will try again next Monday at 9:00.  Hopefully all will go well and we will be back on track. 

Thanks for all your prayers for today.  I felt everyone of them and was very calm throughout the process.  You guys are the greatest and we thank God for you daily!

Have a nice week!  ☺

September 13, 2009

Here is yet another apology for being so late with my update, but I have been quite “under the weather” following my surgery, chemo and esophagus dilation over the last several weeks.  I have begun to feel better this past week but have rationed my limited energy over the course of the day to doing things for Andrew.  So MANY of you have written me and called me and emailed me and I promise to get back to each of  you as I can.  Please understand that I so appreciate your care and your prayers and I feel awful that it is taking me so long to reply to you.  I will eventually so please don’t hold it against me.

I go in for my 2nd of 4 chemo treatments tomorrow.  I am hopeful that I will not be out of commission longer than next week since I won’t have the additional procedures to complicate things.  I am eager to have this week behind me and hopefully start getting back to normal next week.  With your prayerful support I am optimistic that will be the case.

Please continue to pray for a successful treatment with endurance for the journey.   We continue to thank God for each of you standing along with us. 

“Therefore we also pray always for you…”  II Thess 1:11

  Kay and family

August 25, 2009

I’ll apologize first, for the late arrival of this update.  You have all been so nice to call, send cards, emails, notes, etc and I am sorry to be so late in getting back to you.  Everyone is so kind and considerate to reach out to me so often and I do thank you.  I will tell you that I had just an awful week last week after the surgery and that is why it has taken me so long to get back to you. 

As you saw from Kevin’s email after the surgery we were not able to do the TALC procedure because my left lung would not inflate.  So, Plan B, insert a catheter that has to be drained every 2 days.  Kevin has taken on this task admirably!  (I must admit - managing this process certainly takes “high maintenance” to a new level!)  Adjusting to this catheter has been a real, REAL struggle for me, aside from just the soreness from the surgery and the disappointment over the situation I find myself in - hence my difficult week last week. 

So we set out for our appointment at UNC today a bit undecided as to what we needed to do.  After all the tests were in the team decided on a new chemotherapy they offered to start today and we had looked at a few other treatment options and wanted to discuss those with my doctor.  I was still feeling pretty puny and wasn’t sure I was ready for it on that basis alone.   We asked God to order our steps and after the discussions with the doctor decided to go ahead and start the chemo today.  I am due for another esophagus dilation soon and we were trying to schedule around that too, which ultimately got scheduled for Sept 1.   The new chemo is said to have easier side effects than the last ones were I had and the hope is it will kill the final cancer cells and my body will recognize no need for fluid production and then the catheter can be removed.  We’ll do this chemo 1 time every 3 weeks for 4 treatment cycles and then reevaluate my condition.  We feel very blessed to have such highly acclaimed medical care right here at us and feel like we made a good decision to stay at UNC and begin therapy today. 

So, I got one behind me today!  It was a long day, we got there at 9:00 and got home at 6:30.  My wonderful Mom and my neighbor extraordinaire Brenda, kept things moving at home. 

As for specific prayer requests:

1. That we would glorify God in all we do.  We always ask God to help us with this as we are so challenged by this but know this is what we are meant to do and what we want to do, regardless of the outcome. 

2. Peace and comfort for Andrew and Kevin.  Their lives have been so disrupted only to have to confront this again so soon.

3. Complete healing and restoration of my health!  We are asking God for a miracle.


5. Vein health – it took 4 sticks today to get my IV started  (due more to operator error than vein health I think)

6. Good health during therapy – this particular therapy is prone to decrease my blood count levels more than the last one and the risk of infection is great, particularly with this catheter in place.  You all prayed me through this last time with my blood levels never getting too low to receive my treatments.

Thanks again for your notes – I’ll get back with you all as soon as I can.  Thanks too for your prayers which I always feel as I head over to UNC, update email or none.  You guys have been awesome!

“Reach out and touch the Master’s Throne, there’s healing for your mind, your body, and your soul”  from Broken But I’m Healed by Byron Cage

Kay and family

August 12, 2009

Hello all,
I'm sending this update out to let you all know Kay's surgery was completed this afternoon. The lower lobe of her left lung did not expand back to normal size under inflation by the surgeon, so they did not do the talc procedure. Instead, they inserted a catheter in her side which we will use to drain the fluid from between her lung and pleura every 2-3 days. The surgeon explained that there are some patients whose lungs reinflate on their own after 2-3 months. If that should occur and the fluid stops being produced, then they will take the catheter out, is my understanding. However, the fluid is most likely being produced by malignant cells, so that has to be brought under control also.

This development should not interfere with her next line of treatment, and we were told that if the results from the testing of her biopsied cells returns this week, she will most likely start chemo next week. Thank you for your continued support and prayers, we couldn't ask for better friends and family. Love to all.


Romans 5:3-5 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.

August 11, 2009

Thank you all for the kind emails, cards and phone calls you have been sending me.  I appreciate every one and they are a real encouragement to me. 

I am scheduled for surgery tomorrow (8/12) at 3:00 pm at UNC.   This surgery is designed to drain the fluid in my lung and perform a “TALC” procedure to prevent the fluid from returning.  The final test results are not in yet from my original biopsy, so there has been no decision on how to treat the cancer once we get past this surgery.   And they do want me to recover some from the surgery tomorrow  before starting a new treatment.  Given the late start of the surgery tomorrow,  I’ll likely not come home from the surgery until Saturday. 

A number of you have asked how you might pray for us specifically.  Thank you for being so considerate – here are the specific requests:

1. Andrew – that he will be comfortable and “worry-free” while he stays with my sister during my hospitalization.

2. Kevin – for his stamina as he tries to care for me and keep up with work, home, etc.

3. That the medical team would work with a Divine precision tomorrow.  That the surgery would be a success, the fluid would remain gone and my lung would re-inflate.  That I will be able to endure this surgery both mentally and physically. 

4. The doctors – that God would guide their steps as they determine the best course of action to treat the cancer going forward.

Our needs seem so great, but we remain convinced that God is able to do abundantly more than we can ever imagine in this situation.  Thank you for continuing to stand with us. 

Psalm 3:4  “I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me…”

Kay and family

July 29, 2009


I am sorry to have to share this with you, but there were some cancer cells found in the fluid drained off my lung last week.  We got the call on Monday am and since then have had a PET scan, chest x-ray, MRI of my brain and consults with the oncologist and surgeon.  The doctors are very surprised by this turn of events.  And so are we as you can imagine.  Last week I was “cured”, this week I have moved to Stage IV lung cancer.

The MRI of my brain was clear.  The cancerous cell count in the fluid is low.  The PET scan showed no cancer anywhere except in the fluid. There are no masses or tumors in the lungs.   It appears we have caught a recurrence early in the game.  All of this is considered good news. 

The fact that it has returned so soon after such an aggressive treatment is not good news. 

The tests this week reveal that the fluid has begun to accumulate again.  The surgeon has suggested a surgical procedure to drain the accumulating fluid and eliminate future fluid problems with a TALC procedure.  We are scheduled to have this done on August 12, followed by a 2 day hospital stay. 

The doctors are performing some additional tests on the tissue samples collected last August during my biopsy.  Once this tissue test is complete and all test results are in, the doctors will meet collectively to determine the best course of action.  We expect to begin some type of chemotherapy in late August, allowing for some recovery time from the surgery on Aug 12.  There is talk of removing  my left lung but no one seems to really want to do that, but that option is still on the table. 

Obviously we are saddened by this news.  This is not going to be easy.  We need a miracle.  But, at last check, God is still in the miracle business. 

I am thankful to I know if I die today or 20 years from now, I will spend eternity in heaven.  Everything in me wants to be here (and be well!)for my husband and son.  I have so much more I want to do here.  And I intend to fight for that opportunity.  But ultimately the outcome of this situation is up to God.  Whatever He decides, I will respect and accept His decision.   He is the God of the universe and this is His call, not ours.  We have long ago put this situation in His hands and we trust Him with the outcome.  I know that He works everything to our good, He loves Kevin and Andrew even more than I do, and He will care for and provide for them either way. 

Yes, I want that miracle, but I submit to God’s authority in this.  That is just the only way I can walk this path.

Thank you for your love and concern, thank you for standing alongside us, praying for a miracle. 

For now, we have decided to go to the beach for some quiet family time this weekend before the hard work hits.  We will likely not share this with Andrew until next week.  On Monday I go in for another esophagus stretch. 

I promise to keep you posted as I can.  Please remember us on Monday, Aug 3 for the endoscopy procedure and again for the lung surgery on Aug 12th, along with the following hospital stay.  

“Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul”   --  Horatio Gates Spafford

Kay and family

July 22, 2009

Thanks for your prayers yesterday.  I felt every one of them as I went through my procedure.  Sincerely, I did. 

The final result of our appointment yesterday was that I had 1 liter of fluid drained off my lung.  The fluid has been sent off for testing and is not due back for 5 days.  The fluid was not actually inside my lung, but on the outside around the area of radiation damage.  It is believed that the fluid is a result of that damage.  Because of the lung damage and fluid accumulation, 1/3 of my lung was collapsed.  (It’s no wonder I have been feeling so miserable!) 

Per an xray after the procedure, the lung has re-inflated. (Praise God!) I am breathing easier and did not experience the same level of pain in my side last night as I had been before the procedure.  We are told that all of this is not unusual and they see it happen many times.  One of the nurses we work with asked a special favor of her “best” surgeon to perform the procedure for me and he agreed.  So we were in good hands physically and spiritually! 

It was a long day but worth it.  I am encouraged that now with the fluid accumulation gone and the newly inflated lung I will really begin to feel better and gain strength.  What a wonderful thought!!  Please pray that the fluid and cancer are gone for good.

I have to share with you that yesterday as I was waiting for and dreading my appointment and procedure, I got this mental image of myself and God.  In the image I was like a toddler clinging to the leg of her parent.  And then I was reminded of the story in Genesis 32 where Jacob wrestled with God.  Then finally , after many hours of wrestling with God, Jacob stopped wrestling and started clinging.  Clinging to God for His blessing.  And so we cling.  And are blessed.  And again God used you to bless us.  

Thanks for all your emails and phone calls and prayers and support and other assistance.   The list goes on and on.  Once again you’ve helped me overcome an obstacle.  

Psalm 34:17  “The righteous cry out and the Lord hears them”

God bless---

Kay and family

July 20, 2009

Dear Friends,

Just to let you know, I will be going to UNC tomorrow for a minor procedure.  I covet your prayers at 2:00 tomorrow (Tuesday). 

Last week we started investigating a rather intense pain that I have had for 4 weeks now on my left side underneath my arm and around my shoulder.  After an X-ray, CT scan, and 3 trips to CH the doctors are perplexed as to what may be causing the pain.  The CT looked good (Praise God!) and the only notable change was an increase in the size of an area of fluid that has been present outside my lung for some time.  Given the scan didn’t show anything in the area of discomfort my doctor has requested the entire thoracic team gather and review the scans to provide direction.  That will take place tomorrow.  (It was nice to hear that the areas visible on the scan did not reveal any cancer.)

We met with my radiologist on Friday and she said she is going to recommend that the area of fluid be drained, likely tomorrow directly after my appointment.  She is not happy that the fluid is there.  It could be hiding something on the scan or could be completely innocent and just a product of the radiation damage in my lung.  While we have been told that the fluid doesn’t always cause pain the radiologist thinks it is worth a try to see if draining it will alleviate the pain.  They will test the fluid as well. 

So off we go.  Our prayer is that this procedure will alleviate the pain, make the fluid go away, not return and that the fluid and affected area will be benign.  Thank you for praying with us as always.  I certainly don’t want to head off tomorrow without your prayers going with me. 

By the way – my esophagus burns have healed!  The last dilation (number 6) opened my esophagus to 16 mm.  Their minimum allowable is 18mm so I have a few more dilations in my future, but the burns have healed and it is much easier to eat now. Thanks for your prayers over this issue.  We’re finally seeing the light  and it is a blessed relief for which we are VERY grateful.

I’ll let you know how things go tomorrow.  Thanks again for praying us through this latest issue.  As I tell anyone who will listen, it is prayer that has carried us this far!  May God bless all of you----

Kay and family

May 26, 2009

All –

Late this afternoon I had the reading of my CT scan from Friday.  Dr. Socinski tells us it looks “good” with “no evidence of metastasis”.   He could not comment on the original tumors given the “radiation changes” seen on the scan which are clouding the area.  (They don’t call them radiation “damages” but when asked what “changes” means the answer is “scar tissue, fluid accumulation, collapse, etc.” so damage is an appropriate term.)  He feels that with my overall improvement and the fact that there does not appear to be any new tumors that I am still a candidate for “cure”.  He wants me to have an Xray in 2 months, a repeat scan in 4 months.  The radiation “changes” are likely to continue to heal some more even this far out from the radiation therapy which ended 6 months ago. 

I am on stretch 4 of the esophagus, with likely 2 – 3 more stretches needed to correct the problem.  I am eating better and my weight is picking up (I can’t believe I am actually happy about that!) which are both HUGE praises.  Also, I am encouraged that Dr. Socinski is still expecting a cure in my case and still some improvement with the radiation “changes”.  I continue to struggle with strength and stamina, chest pain which is ongoing between the esophagus and radiation “changes” in the lung, and my overall morale. 

This has been a long hard road for all of us.  Our lives have been turned upside down and inside out.  But I remain so grateful to everyone for their prayers, concern, love and support.  I am reminded each time I visit that hospital how truly blessed I am and for how much I have to be thankful.  No one can tell me why I got lung cancer.  And no one can tell me it is gone and will or will not return.  The only thing I can be certain of is that God is in control of this situation.  And I am learning that is enough. 

Our news today was good.  Praise God!  Thank you all for your prayers and many other efforts that got us here. 

Have a great summer –

Kay and family

May 6, 2009

Dear Friends,

It’s been a little while since my last update and I thought it might be a good idea to check in and let you know how things are going. 

I am actually back at work on a very limited basis, and it feels great to be there.  My organization and its staff have been so good to my family and me, it’s incomprehensible, really it is.  They have just been there for us at every turn, like all of you.  We are so grateful for God’s continued provision.

My esophagus has continued to give me problems.  Scar tissue has formed and constricted the area, closing it up completely at one point.  I have had it “stretched” 3 times now (small procedure done under heavy sedation) and that has helped significantly.  It is wonderful to be able to eat a full meal!!!!  Consequently, I am feeling stronger since I am now able to get the nourishment I need.  Praise the Lord!  They expect that I will have to have this procedure done at least once again in the near future, but for now we are making progress with the esophogitis. 

I go in on Friday, May 22 for another CT scan, results to be given on Tuesday, May 26.  This scan is given at the 6 month anniversary of the beginning of the treatment.  The doctors will be comparing this scan to previous ones to see if there has been any change.  Please keep us in your prayers as we go through this process.  (Whew!) 

Once again, please know how grateful we are to each of you for your support and consideration of us.  God has raised a virtual army to care for us and we are continually amazed and thankful for all He has done.   We know your prayers have made all the difference!

We’ll keep you posted. 

Kay and family

February 16, 2009

Dear Friends,

We continue to thank and praise God for the encouraging reports we have had regarding my treatments.  Overall the doctors are very pleased with my progress, but there are certainly a number of areas that still need addressing as my recovery continues.  We have had much good news and I am feeling a bit better and have begun to eat and drink a bit more easily. 

It is only by His grace that we find ourselves so blessed, and we thank you with all our hearts for crying out for us as we have walked through this place. 

So many of you have asked how you can pray specifically for us and we thank you for that too.  You continue to be a true blessing and we are so grateful. 

Thank you again for taking time to  hear our requests and pray over them.  Here are the latest:

• Total and complete restoration of my health

• Healing of esophogitis and other radiation effects as I am still having some severe pain issues and require a good deal of pain medication

• Regaining weight and strength

• I am participating in an anti cancer vaccine program at UNC and have begun to see some sensitivity to the meds associated with this vaccine.  We are blessed to be a part of this program and would really like to continue but have 6 more weekly administrations to go before we are complete with the 1st phase.  Please pray that I would not be so sensitive to the drugs and can continue on with this valuable program.

• That God would continue to have His hand of love and care on my family, especially Andrew who has been through so much this year. 

Again, you are so dear to ask for specific requests and I can’t thank you enough for your dedication to all of us.  God has blessed us with so much, including entire communities of folks to love us and pray for us.  We stand in awe of what He has done.

Kay and family

January 26, 2009

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! -- 2 Corinthians 9:15

This has become our life verse and often our family often relies upon this verse to describe the relationship we have with so many situations in our lives.  Our miracle child and family, our church, school, neighborhood, and now again, the designation of “cancer survivor”.  What sweet words to hear today as we received the results of the scans I had last week.

We were told by our oncologist, Dr. Mark  Socinski, that the reports indicate “no evidence of disease”, with “evidence of radiation” therapy still active in my lungs and doing its job.  We will follow up with another CT scan in 4 months, then  x-rays every 2 months.  After that, we will follow up as needed, based on my individual circumstances at the time, for 5 years, then I will be considered cancer free.  He both opens and concludes that my “CT looks wonderful!”  Again, sweet words that we know are the direct result of Divine Intervention --  requested by so many of you with  prayers on our behalf.

How do we thank you?  There simply is no way, other than to say “Thank You”  and hope that each of you somehow gets a tiny glimpse into each of our hearts to see how  truly grateful we are for each of you and your role in this process. 

This treatment plan has not been easy and we knew that going in.  At times it has seemed insurmountable.  But we have seen God’s hand at many turns and He has seen us through many, many times of difficulty.  We still have lots of work ahead of us in terms of recovery – weight issues, strength issues, medication issues – but we know where to go each and every time we need assistance.  Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we go forward in this ongoing process.

Thank you for helping us get here.  And of course, the ultimate thanks goes to God.  What a truly indescribable gift! 

Kay and family

December 23, 2008

Dear Friends,

To follow up on our last email notice, I ended up having an endoscopy late last week which revealed a viral infection in my esophagus.  So now after 4 days on a new medication the virus seems to be getting better, I am feeling better, eating and drinking better, and just better overall.   Just in time for Christmas! 

I know you have been praying for me and for my family, and I know your prayers have been answered, yet again.  What a wonderful gift we have been given.  I am convinced that for you to make time to pray for my family, or anyone for that matter, is one of the purest expressions of love to be found.   Thank you. 

For now It seems nice to have completed the full treatment plan and to finally be feeling more like myself.  We’ll go in for  testing near the end of January to where we are and what additional steps, if any,  we need to take.  We have been praying for a cure, as I know many of you have too.  Thanks again!

At this point, we are looking forward to spending a quiet (sort of) Christmas celebrating the birth of Jesus.  We wish for each of you a very happy Christmas and time to enjoy the holiday with your family and friends.  We hope you enjoy safe travels and fun times with you and yours.  It is indeed a happy season!

Thanks again for all your prayer support and all your care that we feel every day.  It truly makes all the difference!  Happy New Year---

Kay and family

December 13, 2008

Dear Friends,
Please accept my apologies for being so late in getting out this latest update.  As most of you know, I had my last chemo infusion on November 17, nearly 1 month ago.   I had my last radiation treatment on November 25, last oral chemo on November 26. 

While we had expected to be “recovered” from the treatment plan by now, that has not been the case for us.  We have had a very long 2 weeks.  I have experienced some extreme nausea and fatigue, which has led to dehydration, etc…..    Many trips to UNC for IV fluids and anti-nausea medication later, they tell us to expect about another week of this before it finally subsides.  We are exhausted with our situation.   Apparently the radiation created quite the case of esophagitis in my chest and there is a lot of pain involved in eating, drinking, etc.  The sooner this esophagitis clears up the sooner I will be back in normal land. 

While all this has been problematic, and a REAL pain to deal with, we are grateful that we were able to complete the treatment plan without missing a single treatment, the UNC staff has been so supportive and kind in helping me with the rehydration process, and my doctor says this development does NOT indicate to him any reason to think the program did not work.  (Good news!!)

We are trying to make it through the weekend without another trip to the ER.  Given my suppressed immune system we try to stay away from places like ERs, but have had to make a few trips there nonetheless.  As today comes to a close I have to say it has been a pretty good day for me,  so maybe we are reaching the point where things are going to start improving. 

Please pray that this esophagitis will heal, quickly, and I can get back to having more “regular” days with my family and preparing for/enjoying the Christmas season.   Your prayers have proven invaluable to us many times over, and we thank you for your willingness to take care of us in this way.  We know it makes all the difference and has repeatedly.  Thank you all so much for your concern and prayers. 

Kay and family

November 15, 2008

My apologies for such a delay from my last email update.  Unfortunately I have developed a pretty painful case of esophogitis over the last 2 weeks.  The esophogitisis led to some pretty wicked nausea --- can’t keep anything down --- dehydration – you get the picture.  On Sunday, 10/2, I ended up in the UNC ER for 3 liters of fluids, anti-nausea meds and morphine.  Whew!  Monday morning rolled around and it was time to go in for another chemo infusion and extra fluids.  We skipped fluids on Tuesday, but had them on Wed – Fri of this week.  They seem to be helping, although slowly.  What a long week!

Even with all the trauma of this week, we still see God’ provision at so many turns.  My veins are still holding strong (THAT is a miracle!); and only 1 more day of chemo infusion, 7 more days of radiation, and 6 more days of chemo pill.  We have come a long way from where we started on Aug 25.

We so appreciate your prayers and unwavering support in getting us here.  Where would we be without  you?   We thank God so much for the gift of you and your dedication to us. 

On a sad note – we said good bye to our long term friend Macy on the evening of Macy 10.  She was a good and loyal companion for nearly 14 years.  I have often said we should all live as well as Macy!  The timing is never good on these things, this time particularly so since it followed a long day of treatment at UNC.  But we knew it was time and Macy is all the better for it.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers over these next 2 weeks.  We’re close, and we’re ready!!  We promise to stay in better touch.  We’ve got better drugs now – and strict instruction to use them!   Take care--- we love you.  

KSN and family

October 21, 2008

Hello all—

I thought it might be time to check in and let everyone know how things are progressing. 

I had my 3rd chemo infusion of Phase II yesterday, 5th chemo total.  All went well!  My blood counts are good (the chemo can really get these counts out of line and cause you to have to suspend treatment if it gets too bad), my weight is steady (THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR ALL THE GIFTS OF FOOD!), no nausea, and it only took ONE STICK to get into my vein!  Last week took only 1 stick as well.  Given that I still have bruises from my sticks 3 weeks ago, the one stick status is a huge answer to your prayers.   Only four more sticks to go! 

My weekly pattern is setting up such that I am pretty much confined to bed/sofa on Wed thru Sat.  My side effects are extreme fatigue, pain in my feet (those thick fuzzy slippers rock!) and shortness of breath along with general flu like symptoms.  Between the pain in my feet and the shortness of breath it has become a real struggle just to walk up/down our stairs and also to make it to my daily radiation appts in Chapel Hill.  But so far I have not missed one appt although I was wondering if I would make it last Friday.  My spirits take a real hit during this time since I basically have to check out of all family activities, which is difficult for a Mom.  But I had a sweet and timely note from a dear friend last week who reminded me that it is ok to be weak.  In 2 Corinthians 12:9 God says “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”  And it is surely His strength that has gotten me this far.  Thank you for praying for me – getting me to this point. 

Then on Sunday I wake up feeling much better, and feel pretty good on Sun – Tuesday.  What a great reminder that at some point I will feel better –what a great anticipation!  Those days are such a blessing. 

And so, after this week is finished I have 4 more weeks of treatment.  We were told yesterday to expect the last 3-4 weeks to be the most difficult, but I am determined to see this through.  This aggressive treatment plan is my best hope for a cure and that is a great motivator!  So far I have had no esophagus inflammation to speak of, although this becomes a real threat the last few weeks of treatment, making it difficult to eat and stay hydrated.  

I know I will walk those days covered in your prayers and we are so grateful to you in every way.  We thank God daily for you, our prayer warriors and partners. I will keep you posted as I can.  Thanks again for everything.

Kay and family

October 7, 2008

Dear Friends,

We wanted to share with you the good news we received yesterday from my doctor.  The scans from last week show improvement in the 2 tumors in my lung.  The primary site is smaller and the secondary site has “vaporized” and is barely visible on the scan.  No new sites were seen.  The lymph nodes in my chest did not show much change, but overall this was a very good report.  We are told that this was a good response to the 2 chemo treatments and we are right where we need to be to begin this next phase. 

My infusion went well yesterday, they got my vein on the second try and it held throughout the treatment!  This was huge because the drugs they are using are so strong and so irritating to the veins that accessing them each week (6 more to go!) can be a real issue.  And the veins in my arms are quite irritated at this point.  My doctor does not want to put in a “permanent” port because of the risk of infection.  (A special thanks for praying me through this!)

We praise God for this good report!  We know that God led us to this treatment plan, but we also know that ultimately all healing comes from God.  To say again that we thank you for your prayers is a gross understatement.  I hope you can see answers to YOUR prayers in this report. 

Obviously we are very happy with this good news.  We continue to pray – and praise!  Thank you for joining us. 

Kay and family

Psalm 28:7   The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him and I am helped.

October 5, 2008

Dear Friends,

This last week has been a week of scans, x-rays and other tests as the doctors prepare my radiation treatment plan.  On Monday, I will begin daily chemo and radiation treatments.  Each Monday will be a chemo infusion plus radiation, then Tues – Friday I will receive radiation along with a chemo pill.  This is scheduled to last for 7 ½ weeks, ending the week of Thanksgiving.  So far I have had 2 “mega-doses” of chemo that have hit me fairly hard to be honest. 

This is an aggressive course of treatment as we knew it would be.  “A curative approach” as the doctors say.  That is certainly our prayer!

We continue to be so grateful to everyone for all their love and support, and most of all for all the prayers being said for us.  Your prayers are a wonderful gift and we thank you with all our hearts.  They have most certainly carried me through to this point.

Please continue to pray for me as I start this next phase of treatment.  Many of you have asked me for specific areas of concern and there are several.  Please pray for

1. My veins - that they would be easy to access and not so sensitive to the medication (I’ve already had some issues with this although God blessed me with a good experience last week!)

2. My endurance – that I would weather this treatment well and without complications (bleeding/blood clot issues, pain in my feet and hands, burn issues from the radiation, fatigue)

3. My family – especially Andrew, that he would not be too traumatized by this situation and that we can keep things as normal as possible for him

4. My mindset – that I would be mentally strong and have a positive attitude during this tough treatment

Again, we thank you for your kindness to us during this difficult time,  and we are especially appreciative for all the prayers.  It is truly a special blessing to walk through those hospital doors covered in prayer.   

Kay and family

September 14, 2008

So, we’re off to Chapel Hill tomorrow for my second chemotherapy treatment.  This will be another 6+ hour day.  We are told they are prepared to prevent any adverse reaction like I had last time, and have a few more meds in store to make the after effects a bit easier this time.  Good news!

While tomorrow will be a long day, I am so grateful to know that as I walk through that door, I don’t go alone.  An army of prayer goes with me and I want you to know how thankful we are to each of you.  An army of prayer -- that is powerful.  And we feel it!

Every day I receive encouraging notes, phone calls, cards, emails, hugs and support that just continue to amaze me.  While I must confess the “Why me?!”  question comes to my mind way too often, I also have to ask the same exact question with regard to the outpouring of kindness and support we keep receiving.  At every turn everyone just keeps giving and giving and giving.   We can’t thank you enough. 

We are told in James 1:17 that “every good and perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father”.   Please know that as you continue to care for us, we thank God daily for the gift of you.     

So, again, we’re off to another round of healing tomorrow.  With God and your prayers alongside us.  What more could we ask for really?? 

Kay and family

August 27, 2008

Well, we have completed one treatment.  Actually treatment 1 on Monday turned into treatment 1A and continued on Tuesday am with 1B, given a brief adverse reaction I had to the first chemo drug.  The staff was quick to react on Monday and got everything under control and I was able to receive all of the necessary drug.  But we were there from 9:30am to about 6:00pm, long day!  We got home and Mother had spent the afternoon at our house picking Andrew up from school, doing our laundry, changing our beds, etc.  Our precious neighbor Arrin Dutton had dinner ready for us when we got home.  With all that waiting for me, I was immediately feeling better once I got home!  Tuesday’s treatment went along much better. 

Today has been a pretty good day, I’ve felt well and I was very HAPPY to get up and go to my office on today (Wednesday).  I am privileged to work for such a great organization and with such a terrific group of people.  They have been beyond supportive. 

My next treatment will be on Sept 15.  It feels good to me to know I now have some drugs circulating that are starting to work against the bad guys. 

So far I am feeling well, although they tell me to expect reduced energy by tomorrow.  We’ll see how it goes.  We’re hoping for and expecting the best. 

Our continued thanks so much for all the prayer, love and support  extended to my family and me.  We continue to see God’s hand at every turn, and He is working through all of you to bless us.  How I long for words more adequate than “thank you”!

Philippians 1:3:   I thank my God in all my remembrance of you!

We’ll continue to keep you posted.

Kay and family

August 24, 2008

What a difference a week makes! 

At my last update we were scheduled to meet with the Duke University oncologist on Wed which we did.  In a manner that can only be described as a “God thing”, we were quickly scheduled with the UNC oncology team on Tuesday. 

The meeting on Tuesday at UNC was impressive.  They have a true team approach and we met with the head of thoracic oncology, one of his associates, an associate professor of radiation oncology, one of her associates, and the research nursing coordinator.  Dr. Mark Socinski is the director of the clinical trial I am recommended for and he met with us at length, assuring us he believes this program is the type of approach that can cure my illness.  He does not believe surgical removal of my left lung lobe will improve my outcome, although he will reassess that periodically.  They use a combination of 3 chemotherapy drugs for 9 weeks and then add 7 weeks of radiation.  Their radiology program is one of 3 in the county that can effectively deliver the very high dose of radiation they use in this program.  We were impressed with everything we witnessed at that meeting. 

Then we went to Duke on Wednesday.  They recommended  a compressed course of 2 chemotherapy drugs, surgery to remove the lower left lobe of my lung, then more chemotherapy and additional radiation.  We met with an associate of their oncology program who stressed to us that surgical removal of the lung was the best way to ensure a good outcome in my situation.  We never met the radiologist, be we were told that the 2 chemo drugs were not the same ones offered to us at UNC but were standardly used in cancer treatments.  They were insistent that I needed surgery. 

So, we were quite confused.  But we, along with many of you, took it to the Lord.  I relied on this verse:  “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’ – Isaiah 30:21 

God was so faithful to answer us and we have definitely felt led to UNC.  Thanks to all of you for the prayerful support that helped get us to that decision.  At the end of the week we both felt like the UNC program was more cutting edge, more aggressive and where we need to be. 

We go in tomorrow morning for the first chemotherapy treatment.  They have told us to expect a 6 hour day there, a little longer given some final blood work we need to complete.    The next administration will be in 3 weeks.  They assure us that while this is a very aggressive and difficult program, they have lots of tools to help me get through it. 

Again, our many heartfelt thanks to all you for your care, concern, prayers, many offers of help, cards, emails, phone calls – the outpouring of love has been just overwhelming to us.  We are thankful to the Lord for providing you to us.  He continues to be with us at every turn and we are grateful to serve such an awesome God. 

So, we’re off!  It’s time to start getting well.  We’ll begin that journey tomorrow.  In God’s hands. 

Please join us in praying that the treatment will be successful.

PS  You know I can’t resist --  “Go Heels!”

Kay and family

August 17, 2008

My dear friends,

“Thank you” is a painfully inadequate expression, but regrettably it’s all I have available to let you know how much we appreciate the extreme outpouring of love and support we have received from each of you and many others.   Please, please, please know that we think of each of you with tremendously grateful hearts.  And even greater is our thankfulness and praise to God for providing each of you to us to partner with us during this difficult time.  What an amazing gift!

Last week was a full week of additional tests and meetings with the DukeRaleigh oncologist.  We have been offered a course of treatment to be conducted at DukeRaleigh, but have also been referred to Duke University for an oncology consult there as well.  The University has a program that is similar to the Raleigh program although it is conducted on a “compressed” delivery schedule and is considered a bit more aggressive.  Our consult there is on Wed morning of this week, 8/22.  We are also still trying to schedule a second opinion consult at UNC and are hopeful to have that appt early this week or perhaps next week at the latest. 

Our main prayer this week is that God will lead us directly into the treatment program He has planned for us and that we will be able to get started with that asap.  Timing is critical.

We are in a difficult place and my heart grieves at the path that lies before us.   Given that, still we know we are in God’s hands, and there is simply no better place to be. 

Thank you all for your prayerful love and support. 

Kay and family

August 7, 2008

I have added several folks to this list, and I apologize in advance for not keeping everyone up to date with what's been going on. It was a choice Kay and I made about a month ago to keep folks from worrying. I know you would all want to know what the doctors found yesterday. I wish I had better news. Kay has been diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer. She was allowed to come home yesterday after the biopsy surgery and is resting now. Details haven't been worked out, but she will start radiation and chemotherapy next week.

She has had a persistent cough, not a pronounced cough, really pretty mild, since November. She first went to the doctor last November, and in the months since they have treated her for asthma, pneumonia, and allergies. They didn't do a CT scan until June because she didn't fit the cancer profile-young, healthy and a life-long non-smoker. If you or anyone you know has had a persistent cough that doesn't seem to go away, don't ignore it and be insistent that the Drs follow up with a CT scan. It can make a huge difference.

Sorry for conveying news like this in an email, but this seemed like the best way to reach a lot of folks at one time and free up time for me to take care of Kay and Andrew right now.

Thank you all for being our friends, we love you all. Sorry if we have been distant and hard to reach lately, we have been working through this situation as best we knew how. 

Kay will still be working through the effects of the anesthesia today I'm told. Feel free to email or call, but please keep in mind that we haven't told Andrew what the diagnosis is just yet, he's been over at a friend's house since yesterday, so talking in detail over the phone may be difficult until tomorrow.

If I could ask for one thing from y'all, it would be to pray for Kay and for her doctors.


August 5, 2008

Well, the results are in and while the conditions in my lung have improved overall, the surgeons are still concerned about the suspicious “spot” in my lower left lobe that remains unchanged.  The good news is that my scans show the pneumonia/pleural effusion has improved significantly so my lung is in better condition for the surgery.  This is a complicated surgery given the position of the area in question.

The surgery is scheduled for 2:00 tomorrow at DukeRaleigh.  We have been told we can expect anything from minor scar tissue to advanced malignancy.   The length of the surgery will be determined by the severity of my condition, anywhere from 1 hour to 4 hours.  Whew!

We are stressed and concerned, but we are confident of one thing and that is we KNOW God is in control of this situation and we are so thankful for that.  And also we are thankful for all the support and care you continue to give us.  Thank you for your prayers and we will keep you posted as we can.

I’m sorry that my absence from the office is going to be extended.  I can tell you, I miss being there!  Thanks for holding down the fort.

August 5, 2008

The scheduling has finally taken place, at least partially.  I am headed over to meet with the surgeon this morning and have another scan at 1:30 today.  The surgery is tentative for tomorrow. 

Of course we are praying that the scan will show significant improvement and we can avoid the surgery.

Thanks to all, once again, for all your support and concern, and especially your prayers.

Kay S. Nunnery

August 3, 2008

All –

It's been such a whirlwind week at my house.  First the news regarding my most recent xray was no change.  Then the surgeon and pulmonologist agreed, very slight improvement.  More antibiotics.  Then on Friday the surgeon was again suggesting biopsy sooner rather than later.  At this point it looks like we will be trying to have the biopsy sometime this week.

I can’t tell you how much I would prefer to be in the office this week!  Please forgive my absence and I will hope to rejoin all the fun very soon.

I appreciate everyone’s concern, well wishes and most of all your prayers.  I’ll keep you posted. 

Kay S. Nunnery