It Begins, Again

Posted October 24, 2014 by Louis & Bonnie Rushmore
Categories: Back at the House, Cancer Treatment, Good Friends, Sickness

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The Other Version of the Picture (Louis the Joker)

The Other Version of the Picture (Louis the Joker)

Thursday morning on October 23, Bonnie and I left Winona, MS for Jackson, MS. She has a 9 a.m. appointment for consultation with her Doctor of radiation oncology. He gave Bonnie a brief physical examination, and she was “marked up” for future radiation treatments with the aid of a CAT scan. We will return to this doctor’s cancer clinic at least once next week for further “markup” and computerized preparation for radiation treatments. The procedures will begin either later that week or not later than Monday, November 3. Later in the day Thursday, we received a phone call from the oncology office, advising that Bonnie’s chemotherapy treatments will resume Thursday, October 30. Radiation will run Monday through Friday for 28 treatments, and chemotherapy will occur once weekly for several months – six months last go-around.

Instead of buying groceries and other items on our outing, we returned to our Winona home because Bonnie was feeling poorly. We did pause, though, for lunch, but Bonnie ate very little.

The next challenge for the day was to get Bonnie’s three prescriptions filled in Winona. Two of them could have been filled the day before, except that the oncologist forgot to relay the information to her nursing staff, and the prescriptions were not called in. The one prescription had to be picked up in person because it is a narcotic. However, the oncologist office knew nothing about any of the three prescriptions upon our arrival there while in Jackson, and the doctor was off work. Finally, two prescriptions were called in and the other was handed to us.

Back in Winona, another set of challenges met our effort to have the prescriptions filled. First, the understaffed pharmacy was closed “for lunch” between 1 and 2 p.m. Later, the little local Wal-Mart was able to fill the diuretic medicine, but it did not have the pain medication in stock, and the insurance company refused coverage of Bonnie’s nausea medicine – which it has been covering to date. Bonnie will have to dicker with the insurance company, and we took the pain prescription to a small Winona drugstore and had it filled.

The last two days, friends and coworkers have visited us at the house, bringing cheer and gifts for Bonnie. Daily, cards and email come our way to boost Bonnie and me. For all of this we are thankful.

As Bonnie and I went to bed last night and were about to go to sleep, Bonnie said to me that this was the first time in months that she was without any pain. Imagine that! Today (Friday), is not a good day for her, however. She is groggy from the pain medicine, but we were about to go to the office for half a day. Shortly after eating a bowl of cereal, she suddenly became nauseas and began vomiting. No office for her today, and I have my mobile office up and running from the comfort of my half of the love seat in the living room.

Thank you always for your kindnesses, encouragement and prayers. We are serving and will serve our Lord to whatever extent we can wherever we can as long as we live.

In my case, our Asian trip set aside for 2014, I have finally gotten around to writing a first principles book that I was asked to write two years ago. I am confused respecting the providence of God, because I thought (2 Kings 5:11) that our 9-week effort in four Asian countries would certainly be something that our Heavenly Father would want us to do. Yet, maybe in fact the providence of God has something else in mind for us, and this set of circumstances is the way to make it happen (Genesis 45:5). It may be that Bonnie and I need to be in the right place at the right time to come in contact with a truth seeker (Acts 10:1-24). Maybe God is protecting Bonnie and me from travel dangers, kidnapping, beheading, disease, etc. At any rate, Bonnie and I are in no position to question the providence of God. All we say is, “Here am I! Send me” (Isaiah 6:8 NKJV).

Pestering

Posted October 19, 2014 by Louis & Bonnie Rushmore
Categories: Back at the House, Cancer Treatment, Literature, Magazines & Books, Sickness

Bonnie & Louis (India 2008)

Bonnie & Louis (India 2008)

After pestering doctor’s offices, on Friday Bonnie obtained an appointment for the initial consultation with a radiologist as a precursor to beginning several weeks of radiation treatment. Evidently, we are a little more self-absorbed with Bonnie’s health than some of the medical professionals we have encountered since 2012. Perhaps you remember that after several surgeries and procedures in three hospitals spread over Mississippi and Tennessee, Bonnie’s doctor at the time dismissed her. He said that he didn’t know what the blockage was in her bile duct, but he managed to put a stent through it. We were to come back in a year or two, and if the mass had spread by then, it might be cancerous. Or, he advised, if concerned about it, we could begin chemotherapy just in case or seek a surgeon have it cut out. Being proactive for Bonnie’s health and appalled at the dismissal and failure by doctors to identify the problem, we sought competent medical help elsewhere. The rest is history; Bonnie has been battling pancreatic cancer upon discovery of the true nature of the blockage, which had already spread. When standing at the counter, doctors’ offices make appointments when they can; out of sight, out of mind, apparently is the norm if an appointment with medical professionals must be scheduled after we leave the doctor’s office. We don’t like to do it, but “pestering” is a part of being proactive to receive competent and timely medical attention. Thursday, October 23 Bonnie and I meet for the first time with the radiologist.

Bonnie has had her ups and downs since becoming ill in 2012. She beat pancreatic cancer once, but it has returned. We are getting ready to fight it again. Bonnie’s days lately have been characterized by pain and nausea. Hopefully, shrinking the cancer with radiation will alleviate some of the pain. We continue to covet your prayers and encouragement. Bonnie and I remain immersed in the behind the scenes relative to our overall labors for the Lord, namely literature at the moment in absence of domestic and foreign travel for now – The Voice of Truth International, shipping literature and writing an outreach book that I have been asked to write.

On another happy subject, a young man – a high school student – asked to be baptized at the conclusion of worship this morning at the Old Union Church of Christ in the woods of Carroll County, Mississippi. With neither parental encouragement nor example, he made the most important decision that a person could ever make. There is always hope, often in this life, and certainly in eternity.

PET Scan and Surgical Consultation

Posted October 16, 2014 by Louis & Bonnie Rushmore
Categories: At the Office, Cancer Treatment, Sickness

Sheila & Bonnie

Bonnie Rushmore with Sheila in Yangon (2008)

Two days before Bonnie and I were to leave the USA for a 9-week mission trip to four Asian nations (plus changing planes in three other countries) our trip was stalled and eventually cancelled. A routine follow-up CT Scan to monitor Bonnie’s recovery from pancreatic cancer indicated the cancer may have returned. Dancing with doctors and our insurance company eventually resulted in a biopsy that confirmed the return of pancreatic cancer, a PET Scan and consultation with a surgeon.

Friday, October 10, Bonnie and I traveled to Jackson, MS for her to obtain a PET Scan. Yesterday, Wednesday, October 15, we returned to Jackson, MS to meet with Bonnie’s surgeon to learn the results of the PET Scan and to learn if surgery again was an option.

Typically, surgery a second time for cancer is not an option. However, the PET Scan revealed that the cancer is localized and has not spread. Yet, the surgeon said such a surgery would be risky, and that we ought to pursue radiation and chemotherapy instead.

We are waiting now for an appointment with a radiologist. Radiation usually involves daily treatment Monday through Friday for five weeks or so. The oncologist will decide whether chemotherapy (once weekly) occurs concurrent with radiation or after completion of radiation. We are still in the hold pattern, shuffled between acquiring appointments with doctors and dancing with the insurance company, which previously denied one PET Scan following the CT Scan and preceding the biopsy.

All in all, the news from the surgeon and the results from the PET Scan was positive and encouraging. Bonnie wasn’t looking forward to another extensive surgery and recovery period from it. In addition, we were relieved in an otherwise bad situation to learn that the cancer is not spreading. Today, we are back at our office in the World Evangelism Building in Winona, MS. Various duties relative to our overall evangelistic effort are ongoing irrespective of whether we are aboard an airliner or on some foreign field. Our coworkers are on the road to a mission forum in Georgia, and we will ship packages stateside, handoff a display to an associate headed to another forum in Memphis and work on literature. We will serve in whatever way God through His providence permits anywhere and as long as God allows.

Holding Pattern

Posted October 8, 2014 by Louis & Bonnie Rushmore
Categories: Back at the House, Cancer Treatment, Magazines & Books, Sickness

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Bonnie & Louis in the mountains of Myanmar (2011)

Bonnie & Louis in the mountains of Myanmar (2011)

Yesterday, Dr. Young’s office (oncology) notified us that Bonnie has a PET scan scheduled for Friday. It will ascertain whether the reoccurring cancer is localized or has spread. Presuming that the cancer has not spread, Bonnie also is scheduled to meet this coming Wednesday with Dr. Copeland (surgeon) for consultation and possible scheduling for surgery again. A second surgery for cancer is atypical, but if the cancer is sufficiently localized, it is possible to undergo the procedure a second time.

In the meantime, Bonnie’s health vacillates by the hour each day. Last night, she graduated from Tylenol to prescription pain medicine due to the severity of pain in her abdomen and back. Nausea, too, presents its own challenge. Eating anything contributes to both pain and nausea, and hence, Bonnie eats little and continues to lose weight. She and I both aim to reduce our terrestrial footprint, yet ideally not in such a way as this.

Despite interruptions to sleep and bouts with the illness, which variously manifests itself, both of us continue to apply ourselves to the behind the scenes aspects of publishing The Voice of Truth International (volume 82) and Gospel Gazette Online. Our part of preparing The Voice of Truth International is nearly complete, and I just published to the Internet the October edition of Gospel Gazette Online.

Thank you for your interest in us and the prayers and well-wishes extended on our behalf. May God richly bless us all – on earth and in heaven.

Biopsy Results

Posted October 6, 2014 by Louis & Bonnie Rushmore
Categories: At the Office, Cancer Treatment, Sickness

Bonnie RushmoreAbout 9:40 a.m. today (Monday, October 6, 2014), I received a call from Dr. Tammy Young, Bonnie’s oncologist. Bonnie and I had just arrived at the World Evangelism Building and were about to start the workday. I called Bonnie back to our office and put my phone on “speaker.”

Last Thursday, Bonnie underwent a needle biopsy that was aided by another CT scan. We were awaiting the results over the weekend, and we hoped to hear back about the results maybe Monday evening or sometime Tuesday. We were caught off guard to get the call Monday morning, and surprised, too, to receive the call from Dr. Young herself.

It’s official! Bonnie’s pancreatic cancer has returned. The good news is that, like before, it appears to be localized and not to have spread throughout her body. The first corrective attempt will be to seek authorization from Aetna Insurance Company for a PET scan to determine more accurately if the cancer is localized or has spread; last week the insurance company refused to pay for a PET scan, but with the results of the biopsy, perhaps it may now authorize the test.

Presuming that Bonnie experiences another PET scan, and that scan confirms localization of the resurgence of cancer, her surgeon Dr. Copeland will determine if he thinks additional surgery will be useful; typically, cancer patients go through a single surgery, after which treatment relies on other tactics.

Irrespective of whether surgery again lies in Bonnie’s future, it is probable that she will begin chemotherapy anew. This time, though, it will probably be accompanied also by radiation.

Bonnie and I are wonderfully blessed with so many supportive Christian friends as well as blessed with a degree of comfort and the availability of medical resources afforded in the United States. It is hard to estimate the value to us of the opportunity to serve our Lord in whatever capacity we might do so, part of which redirects our minds from the obvious crisis in our lives to something outside of ourselves and more enduring. We covet your prayers. Bonnie may be contacted directly at bonnie@gospelgazette.com.

Biopsy and Day-to-Day

Posted October 3, 2014 by Louis & Bonnie Rushmore
Categories: Back at the House, Cancer Treatment, Good Eats, Good Friends, Hospital, Moral Encouragement, Sickness, Travel

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Wednesday morning, Bonnie and I made our way once more from Winona, MS to Jackson, MS – a journey that has become ever so repetitive especially as we seek medical treatment for Bonnie in her bought with pancreatic cancer, etc. I invited Bonnie and me to lunch with Ken and Johnnie Gardner at Cracker Barrel at their expense. How brazen of me! Actually, brother Ken had ordered a dozen of my book Beverage Alcohol, and in exchange for delivery charges I requested lunch and some quality time with these good brethren. Through the generosity of a Christian family, we are able to provide that title for free plus shipping while supplies last; we have distributed nearly 20,000 copies. I also included in the handoff some copies of my tract “To Drink or Not to Drink.” Bonnie and I enjoyed the meeting with these dear ones with whom we have been acquainted for nearly four decades.

After making a few purchases, namely refueling the Gospel chariot, we made our way to the meetinghouse of the Siwell Road Church of Christ. Before evening Bible class, Bonnie and I met with the elders, a preacher and a deacon regarding our mission work, which the eldership oversees. These fine men always encourage and uplift us.

Following Bible class, two of the elders and additional church members and we supped at McAlister’s; Bonnie and I each tried a variety of soup, which was adventurous for us since we had largely restricted our menu sampling at that eatery franchise to baked potatoes. Once more we were encouraged and enjoyed ourselves. Then, we tailgated one of the elders to his home where he and his wife hosted us for the night. That put us in a comfortable position to meet Bonnie’s morning appointment at Baptist Health Systems for a biopsy. We are grateful to brCoke Machineother Andrew and sister Dana Dulaney for their hospitality. I snapped a picture in the morning on my way out the door of a big, big, adorable knickknack in their kitchen – an old Coca Cola machine.

Thursday, October 2 was spent mostly at the hospital for Bonnie’s biopsy. We arrived back in Winona at 3 p.m., and Bonnie promptly went to bed – cold and with shivers. Hours later, she resurrected and came to the living room, whereupon she ate a little soup. Not long after that, she became nauseated and returned to bed. Every day for her is one of abdominal pain, back pain, sometimes nausea and off and on low-grade fever, but none of the medical personnel have a solution or even a diagnosis. The best we have been able to ascertain so far is that Bonnie is part of the 20% who undergo Whipple surgery for pancreatic cancer who have these or similar lifelong difficulties. Still, most days find Bonnie putting in full days at the office or until she needs to resort to the recliner, couch or bed for a little pep-me-up rest. Working and doing something meaningful helps one focus on something besides discomforts.

Maybe sometime next week we will be apprised of the result of the biopsy. The plausible possibilities are a resurgence of cancer or scar tissue. It remains to be seen if either of us presently will be able to resume what’s left of our mission trip to Asia in 2014; we are only cancelling our flights a little at a time to see if we can catch up to our schedule. Thank you for your interest and prayers.

Upended Again!

Posted September 28, 2014 by Louis & Bonnie Rushmore
Categories: Back at the House, Cancer Treatment, Hospital, Sickness

Bonnie RushmoreCome now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. (James 4:13-16 NKJV)

Recently, weeks of intricate planning and coordination with brethren in several foreign countries for our 9-week, fall mission trip to Asia was interrupted by circumstances beyond our control. Bonnie’s routine checkup and CT scan delayed our departure if not cancelled it altogether.

Next, we reported that further procedures would occur to further diagnose abnormalities discerned by the CT scan. Wednesday, September 24, Bonnie was to undergo paracentesis to drain a fluid sac in her abdomen. However, the amount of fluid was too minimal to permit draining or even to subject some of the fluid to further analysis. Frustrated plans once more!

Friday’s scheduled PET scan to more clearly define the irregularities observed in the CT scan was cancelled by our insurance company – it refused to pay for the test. Exasperated again!

Now we wait. Perhaps by Monday we will be apprised of when Bonnie will be scheduled for a biopsy as an alternative route to ascertain if Bonnie’s pancreatic cancer has flared up again. In the meantime, we fully realize that we are not in control of much of anything at this point (cf. James 4:13-16). Meanwhile, Bonnie continues to experience an array of varying degrees of pain in different parts of her abdomen, stomach and back. She persists on taking nothing stronger than an infrequent Tylenol. She is tired, and we are sometimes a little distraught, but well wishes and encouragement by Christian friends bolster us.

It remains to be seen how the next few weeks will unfold and whether we will be able to salvage any of our planned mission trip. We have already missed our appointment in Sri Lanka, and it is nearly certain that we cannot go to Myanmar either. In any case, we remain servants of our Lord and are at His disposal as He sees fit.


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