I'm writing to give you an update on Dad. Dad has dealt with nausea and vomiting quite a bit in the last few weeks. However, it has been progressively worse in the last few days - enough for the Drs to postpone his chemo treatment by a day. They were comfortable starting the treatment yesterday and were confident that the nausea and vomiting could be controlled by meds. Yesterday, dad began his second round of chemo treatment at Mayo. All went well and he arrived back home late afternoon in time to watch the Cubs play the first game of the World Series. That game was terrible enough to make anyone feel ill. :-) Around 9pm things started to get worse and Dad was up all night with uncontrollable symptoms. He was brought to the ER this morning around 6am and they have now admitted him to the hospital. They have placed a NG tube through his nose and down his throat to keep his stomach clear as he is unable to do this on his own. They are now checking for potential blockages that are causing these symptoms. His chemo treatment is still running its course and will be disconnected tomorrow.
We are back into the unknown. Actually, it seems like we have lived in the unknown since diagnosis. We aren't sure how long he will be in the hospital or what the steps are moving forward. We're trusting God. Your prayers are so important right now. Please be praying for Dad to get stronger and to respond to the treatment. Pray for Mom to get rest. This is an incredibly hard road for her. Your prayers for the Bernard and Falvo families are coveted as well.
Dad is especially sad to be missing the Pastor Appreciation service that they were planning in Eagle Bend for him this Sunday. His heart is there, but for now he has to remain in Rochester.
Thanks for praying.
Today, Dad begins Chemo Round 2. It is slightly less aggressive than his previous dose. It is our hope that his body receives it without the extreme side effects of the 1st round. Please continue to pray for him in that regard.
I wanted to share just a bit of joy that we are experiencing this October while we are all on this journey together. As I write, it is Tuesday, October 25th and tonight the Cubs will play Game 1 in the 2016 World Series. While he has lived in MN and been a Twins fan his entire life, the Cubs play a significant part of in our lives. We moved to DeKalb, IL straight out of Bible College (I always say that I went to North Central twice, the first time - well, I was a toddler! lol). We lived in the Midwest our entire growing up years. There were so many times - we would be given tickets to a Cubs game for one reason or another. Mom and Dad would pack a bag of snacks (including hot dogs with the fixins!) and off we would go! We would park in someone's converted yard and walk into Wrigleyville. (This part always brought such angst to our protective Mama Bear! I get it now, btw.) Bob and I always thought this was the grandest adventure. We grew up watching the Cubs of the 80's. My first school girl crush - Ryne Sandberg. Bob learned to read by reading Cubs baseball cards. As a 3 yr. old, he would even introduce himself to new people as "Jody Davis!" - the catcher for the Cubs.
I can't tell you the amount of games we went to, the amount of times we walked around Wrigley just to take it all in, or how many times we have all sung, 'Go Cubs Go!" Far too many on each account to tell. It was a beautiful way to grow up. Wrigley is a place that you can go - and many of the troubles and worries - get set aside for a few hours - while you watched the greatest game being played by the greatest team on Earth. Baseball and the Cubs - bring us all to a place filled with joy and great memories.
So, while you go about your week and you see World Series news, or maybe you even watch a game or two, please remember Pastor Bob. He is cheering for the Cubbies this week!
Thank you for your Grillin' Magic orders! Each one is so encouraging to us all! Don't forget us as you start your Christmas Shopping! GM is the perfect gift for that hard to buy someone in your life - or the Dad, Son, Brother, Nephew....basically, anyone that EATS!
Continued Prayers appreciated for...
1. Dad - as he continues Round 2 this week and for a peaceful recovery next week.
2. Mom - that she can rest, has strength, and peace in her heart.
10/15/2016 0 Comments
Just realized I can't define normal any longer, or at least not in the way I used to. All is well here, or getting well. After ten long days, I was released from Mayo, but have now become their patient in every area. Dr. Heller in Melrose has been my primary physician for seventeen years - the friendship will remain for much longer! We're camping out at Bob and Rachelle's home in Rochester. They have been an incredible help and strength for CJ and me throughout the past couple weeks, the past month!
We're on the road to our next round of chemo . . . next Thursday thru Saturday. I'm supposed to be resting from last night's blood infusion. On Tuesday, my wonderful uncle, Clyde Masters - Bud to those who love him, is coming for the week and we're heading up to Eagle Bend for a couple of days of visiting and face time with my beloved congregation. Then back for the chemo. Rest the next weekend, and then home to my pulpit for Sunday, October 30th.
A word about the Lord . . . He's the One who drives me! I mean drive, as in motivates. In reality, Jesus doesn't drive us, he motivates us, he moves us, He's "Savior, like a shepherd, lead us!" He's been very precious in the night time. Little moments of his presence get me through the night. My friend wrote about the darkness of the night, like walking in the fog. Yep, I'm in the fog, but I do feel Jesus' presence. I long to be in a worship service. Last Sunday I was working through the whole hospital thing - endless days and nights with busy nurses coming and going . . . if it hadn't been for the visitors, the Lord's day would have been empty. People actually brought in to my room the presence of God last Sunday. Tomorrow, I'm supposed to be resting from the blood infusion . . . but rest will include being in Bob's church in Rochester, Mercy Hill. I'm going to teach Bob's adult class. Our passage is from Hebrews 4. Entering into God's rest! But aside from the opportunity to teach the Word, I am most looking forward to the praise and worship. Anyway, God's been good to me this week, even through the pain and the other issues. God is Good, all the time!
A friend of mine just text me, told me he was cooking ribs for supper. Mind if I share my rib technique with you? I boil a thawed rib rack in water for about an hour . . . with a generous portion of Grillin' Magic in the water. The flavor of the meat is enhanced by the magic seasoning. When the meat is nearly ready to fall off the bone, I take them out of the water and spread them on a cookie sheet for the oven, or foil for on the grill. I know they're about ready because I see the meat separating from the bone. Ok, shake a couple or three shakes of GM on the rack of ribs, both sides, and give them another hour very slow, very low heat. You are now prepared to be amazed by your creation! You can add your favorite bbq sauce for that last hour on the grill or in the oven if you want to . . . CJ likes them with only Grillin' Magic . . . I like a little sauce. Enjoy! Give me a little warning and I'll be at your house for supper!
Just a quick word about nurse CJ . . . other than her wheel chair pushing talent (or, non-talent, in her case) she's doing a great job taking care of me! Only Jesus had done a real good job taking care of me better! (that's a song title by Levoy and Cleon Dewey, by the way). Pray for her. I'm wearing her out, for sure!
Well, I need to get this off.. Stay in touch. Thanks for all of you who are new to the website, new to Grillin' Magic, new to the Bernard family . . . Keep your eyes on Jesus, who for the joy set before him, despised the cross, endured the pain, and is now set down at the right hand of the Father in heaven making intercession for us!
It has been a few days since we updated our family and friends on how dad is doing. Dad came home from the hospital on Thursday evening. He was so glad to be able to get some fresh air and a little bit of freedom. We ate dinner together and lit a fire in the fireplace. It was a good way to celebrate the Lord helping dad through a pretty tough time. We have started to settle mom and dad into our house for the time being. So many great friends have helped us get our house a little more comfortable and safe for dad. We could never say thank you enough.
Today they met with the oncologist. Dad is having a blood transfusion and will come home late tonight. They feel that this will give him the boost he needs before starting the next round of chemo on Thursday. The pain has been pretty steady so a few days of recovery will be key. Please pray with us for the following things...
1. That Dad (and Mom) will be able to rest at night without pain.
2. That Dad would be able to enjoy some days of recovery and make it back to Eagle Bend to see their church family on Tuesday and Wednesday.
2. That Dad would be able to tolerate this next round of chemo without infection or too many side effects.
I want to say how proud I am of my Bernard parents. I know how many emotions Bob and I have circled through in the last few weeks. We've pretty much hit them all. Mom and Dad have had all of those same emotions - and much more intense. But, they faced each of them with such a reliance on God. There's not an anger in the prayers, but a sense that God will provide for them just like He always has. I'm learning a lot from a front row seat.
I think one of the hardest parts of all of this is that you never know what the day will hold. For people like me, who like to plan their lives to the "t", something so unpredictable can take you into a tailspin. It's a complete lesson in trusting God. Dad wakes up each day (no matter how hard the night was) and finds the strength to call a few of his pastor friends and share a few words. He finds the strength to pray with my boys before they go to school. I know that each day God will give both mom and dad the strength to do what that day requires. When things become day by day you draw on the years of God's faithfulness to get you through. And that is all you need.
I'm trying to find scriptures that I can lean on and pray when my mind begins to get the best of me. This one has been important to me. Maybe it can encourage someone else who is going through a battle and reading our family's blog.
Psalm 62:1-2 Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
Thank you for your prayers and support. We'll update again soon.
P.S - Thank you SO much for your Grillin' Magic orders. They bring a smile to our faces to know that so many people are enjoy dad's seasoning. It's a cool way for us to support mom and dad while giving a back little bit of our family. Thanks for your support!
Sunday dawned bright and sunny in Rochester and in Room 411 of Mayo's Methodist Hospital. Dad woke up having slept 7 hours straight through! He showered, spent time with Jesus, and began calling friends to pray prior to their services. He has taken several walks today , eaten 3 small meals, and "bathroom issues" have also begun to slow down.
Personally, we have watched both Cubs games together. Much shouting and singing have resulted in their wins! Several nurses are fans and watched with us! Such fun! Over the last several days, we have been blessed with many doctors and nurses who share in our faith, that have joined us in prayer. Also, we have prayed over many staff members. (Several have even been blessed with some Grillin' Magic!)
Each visitor has prayed for Dad and been prayed for by Dad. He continues to be Pastor Bob. He speaks life to every visitor and has enjoyed sending texts and emails to many relaying his love and affection. The Glory of the Lord has truly filled this place. We are hopeful with Daddy's progress. At this point, he has at least a few more days in the hospital. Other decisions will made closer to discharge.
I leave for Pennsylvania in the morning. I leave knowing that Daddy is getting the best care available. Love for my Daddy runs deep... so I know there will be tears. But, I know Jesus is holding him. I trust in the promises of the Lord.
Bob and Rachelle are being wonderful in opening up their home for my family, Mom, and Aunt Beth. We so appreciate the gift that is their beautiful home! I have included some pictures of several friends, some beautiful pastors, and some favorite staff members that have all been a blessing over the last several days. Thank you for all the wonderful prayers and well wishes that have come through this past week. They have been rejuvenating to Daddy!
Finally, we continue to believe REMISSION BY CHRISTMAS!
Friday update... Around 3:30 pm today, we met with the oncologist. The oncologist has consulted with the gastric and medical teams. As it stands, Daddy will stay in the hospital until he is able to eat solid food, drink, and not have consistent diarrhea. They are not convinced that the current bowel issues are not chemo related, as there is signs of colitis. He is currently being treated with many meds to treat hiccups, antibiotics, etc, as well as the obvious fluids. They believe this process could take several more days. No further decisions will be made until he is significantly improved.
We appreciate continued prayers and support. We need it more than ever as this is starting to become very taxing for Daddy and everyone else. Our belief is strong, but frankly these last days have been so hard. We are resigned to continue to look to the Throne of Grace for our relief and comfort.
We appreciate your prayers.
Good evening, friends. Here is our latest family update.
Thursday morning started with Dad finally getting the endoscopy done. He didn't have a good nights rest as hiccups started around 10pm Wednesday night. (Anyone who knows our family, knows that when we get the hiccups...they are heavy duty commercial grade hiccups that often last for days.) The scope took much longer than normal but they were able to stretch the lower portion of the esophagus to help with reflux. They did find a fungal infection (caused by the chemo) that was leading to the discomfort. Previous discomfort is being blamed on reflux.
Unfortunately, we won't be seeing the oncologist until tomorrow. Currently, the Mayo oncologists are consulting with each other to see what the best plan will be going forward.
Daddy has enjoyed reading all of the comments, posts, and emails. He has always told us not to wait until someone is gone to tell them how much they have meant to us, but rather show appreciation while a person can enjoy it. I know that hearing from so many dear friends (and even friends of mine and Bob's) these last few days has been a boost to his spirits. With that in mind, if you would like to send a card of encouragement, please send it to Bob's church. Bob will make sure, no matter where Dad is, that he gets them. The address is Mercy Hill Church, 6301 34th Ave NW, Rochester, MN 55901.
Our family is strong. We are seeing each other through this together. We each have our moments, but find strength in each other and the promises of the Lord. I am personally so grateful to Josh and Rachelle who are taking on additional family responsibilities to allow Bob and I this time with Dad and Mom. Also, our respective churches who are being so understanding and loving. We also have friends who are sending meals to both our MN and PA families. What a blessing.
Our most immediate need is for the hiccups to go away. They haven't let up yet. As you can imagine, it is discouraging for Dad. Second, please pray that our visit with the oncologist tomorrow is productive and answers our questions. Finally, a good night's rest for Dad and Mom is so needed. We remain ever hopeful in the Lord. He is the one who holds our tomorrows. He is our Good, Good Father.
May He find us faithful.
Here is another update regarding Dad. I continue to be thankful for all of your prayer and support - and I know I speak for Mom and Donna that they are extremely thankful as well. I will give info. today in the form of prayer requests.
1. We just spoke with the Medical Team and the plan is to now focus on Dad's espophogal issues, pain and colitis. I listed those in the order of priority as an espohagal blockage is not only restricting Dad's ability to take nourishment on his own but is causing excruciating pain. The colitis was found not to be infectious and so is being treated as well. Dad will be going in for an endoscopy (throat scope) at some point mid-morning or early afternoon. Please pray for him - pain saps his energy and makes him miserable. The other issues are difficult to bare from a psychological standpoint. The best way I can explain what I mean is this: Dad is a very dignified man suffering through a very undiginified disease. This is hard on him... it's hard on us. We need the Peace Speaker (God ) to grab a microphone.
2. Dad's blood pressure is stable! This is big from being out of an "imminent danger" status. He will remain in ICU through today. We are praying that these other issues listed above will not prolong his ICU stay but will instead be treatable on a general hospital floor. That said - Mom and Dad will be in Rochester through at least Sunday night (10/9). I am privileged to say that I will drive them home when the time comes and I pray that time is no later than Sunday afternoon. Dad is not a fan of hospitals. I remember him standing on the platform many times as a kid and telling his congregations "I'd rather be in church than in the best hospital in town!" Well...I'm pretty sure he really meant it - even as he sits in maybe the best hospital in the world. Please pray that his body will co-operate and allow for a release from the hospital by the weekend.
3. Mom, Donna and I are taking care of business - along with Rachelle and Josh. We are holding up well and appreciate the visits, calls, texts, social media comments and meals. We are strong, but not superhuman. We are facing several hard decisions in the coming few days and need wisdom and courage to face them. Please pray for us.
In closing, one last thing - in the midst of this I am so greatful that our family remains united and at peace with one another. Dad used to tell us growing up, "family is all we have in this world." If I heard that once, I heard it a thousand times growing up. Now, as an adult the saying changed a bit to, 'Call your mother!" But the point remains - Dad has lived and modeled love, acceptance and forgiveness for 60+ years. The fruit of his example has created peace in the midst of this storm. There is stress, but there is no relational stress. For that, I am thankful! I bring that up because Dad would want any of you reading this to hear him - let no offense stand in your life. To love is always the best choice.
We'll continue to keep you posted.
p.s - Here's a little picture of Dad with our youngest grandson, Jackson. These grandsons love their papa!
You'll see articles from all of the Bernard family here. Maybe even a grandson will post now and then!