Archive for the ‘Hospital’ category

Bad Days/Good Days

April 14, 2015
Part optical illusion, the computer dwarfs Bonnie these days.

Her computer seems to dwarf Bonnie these days.

The week beginning April 5th was not a good week for Bonnie. She was nauseated daily and in general discomfort. However, Friday, we returned to Jackson, MS for her to undergo yet another paracentesis – drainage of fluid from her abdomen. Consequently, she enjoyed mostly good days the balance of Friday through Monday. Her bad days have little good about them, but her good days characteristically have some bad aspects to them, too (i.e., lesser amounts of nausea and pain).

Though we have missed more midweek Bible classes and Sunday evening worships than we have in a lifetime, so far Bonnie and I have not missed worshipping on Sunday because of her illness. Sunday morning we attended Bible class and worshipped with the Old Union Church of Christ in the Carroll County woods. That evening, we attended the West President Church of Christ in Greenwood, MS (Leflore County). Brother David Lipe was speaking in a Gospel meeting there.

Monday, Bonnie felt well enough for us to go to the office at the World Evangelism Building. Brother and sister Wayne and Janet Barrier drove down from outside of Florence, AL especially to visit Bonnie. They are coworkers with us and others in World Evangelism; they just returned from several weeks in Asian countries. They, sister Betty Choate, sister Barbara Oliver and we lunched together at the local Chinese restaurant. Immediately thereafter upon returning to the office, we were joined by brother Therman and sister Sadie Hodge from outside of Meridian, MS. They, too, made a special visit to bring comfort and cheer to Bonnie. Following some hours of pleasant interaction, we all went our separate ways; Bonnie returned home to rest.

Tuesday, we got a late start because of typical symptoms, but we did go to the office for a few hours. Actually, our office in practice is wherever we happen to be, including at the house.

Over the past few days, Bonnie and I concluded the layout of the volume 84 edition of The Voice of Truth International. We passed it on to Betty Choate who will proof it as well. Then, she will return it to me for finalization and to send it to the printing company. I have also begun working on the May edition of Gospel Gazette Online. Bonnie printed labels at the office for future mailings of correspondence by sister Choate to hundreds of brethren regarding her aspect of World Evangelism. A few other office duties, and then we returned to the house to eat a small, late lunch and for Bonnie to rest. If Bonnie feels well enough, we will attend the Gospel meeting again tonight.

So far, Bonnie has lost 56 pounds! Looking ahead, she begins a new regimen of chemotherapy on Wednesday, which will be an all day and into the evening affair. Friday, we are to return to Jackson, MS for the removal of a chemo pump. Sunday, Bonnie will receive an injection to boost her blood counts. In addition, on Sunday we are to be in attendance at the Siwell Road Church of Christ for its emphasis on missions; the congregation is our sponsoring church. If Bonnie is unable to attend, I will go without her (Rebecca will stay with Bonnie). However, we will remain in Jackson from Friday through Sunday afternoon if Bonnie is healthy enough to do so.

For those who follow us online or through our newsletters, thank you for your continued interest – and prayers. It is always our aim to do the best we can in the service of our Lord as long as we live, and many of you make that possible.

Sad Irony

April 4, 2015
Bonnie at her World Evangelism office

Bonnie at her World Evangelism office

Wednesday, April 1 through Saturday Bonnie has felt good health wise. Thursday, she had a ¾ day at the office in the World Evangelism Building. Our offices are on the second floor over a warehouse, and Bonnie voluntarily used the chairlift for the first time to the second floor. However, she insisted that she can still walk down the stairs.

Friday was the big day for us. Rebecca who was not teaching school, Bonnie and I made our way to Jackson, MS once again. At 11:00 a.m., Bonnie had another CT scan, which was to determine how to proceed in the future regarding treatment of her pancreatic cancer. Her oncology appointment was scheduled for 12:30 p.m., whereupon she was to meet with her oncologist to be followed by chemotherapy. Between the first two appointments, we squeezed in a quick lunch of a baked potato apiece from the hospital cafeteria.

Dr. Young informed the three of us that the CT scan was not good. It revealed that the tumor has increased in size, cancer cells are floating in her abdomen and cancer has spread to her liver. Consequently, the current chemotherapy was suspended. Bonnie was given the choices of no further treatment and to receive what the doctor called “comfort services” at home, or on the other hand, Bonnie could begin a rigorous different chemotherapy regimen. We opted for the latter.

On Wednesday, April 15, Bonnie will begin receiving a combination of two chemo drugs and probably nausea medicine and a steroid intravenously over the space of five hours. At the conclusion of that session, she will have a pump affixed to her, which will supply two additional chemo drugs over the next two days. On Friday, we will return to Jackson to have the pump removed. Sunday, she will receive an injection to boost her blood cells. Treatment will be every three weeks, and the strength of the medicines will be increased as long as Bonnie can handle the increases in dosages. Between treatments, Bonnie will continue to receive a paracentesis whenever needed.

In addition, Bonnie has a small blood clot in an artery near her heart. Therefore, an additional medicine—a blood thinner, has been prescribed. After the initial shock of the results of the CT scan, Bonnie and I are doing well, moving forward in treating her health and working for the Lord as much as we can.

Today, Bonnie has been very active compared to much of the time previously for months. She cooked us a fine breakfast, worked on the computer (office work) for many hours from a recliner, sat in a camp chair in the yard and trimmed dead leaves from flowers Rebecca and I were transplanting into a new flowerbed for Bonnie, and we three ate grilled hotdogs with trimmings on the screened porch. This has been another good day for Bonnie amidst many days over the prior months. That’s a sad irony, don’t you think?

One of our recent visitors

One of our recent visitors

Besides building an 18 foot long flowerbed in the front yard, Rebecca and I also rearranged Bonnie and my living room furniture. Now, we can more easily see and appreciate from our loveseat recliners through the picture window the blooming, hanging flower baskets and birdfeeders. That is my kind of workstation! All the comforts of home, able to attend to domestic tasks, with my best friend in overstuffed recliners with our laptop computers blazing away.

We are thankful for our friends, family and Christian brethren who lift our spirits with cards, emails, calls and visits. Thank you.

A Good Week!

March 20, 2015
All women volunteers so we pressed some of the women into roles into which we normally put men. Here working in the warehouse is the preacher's wife at the West President church of Christ, Sheila Shiers.

All women volunteers so we pressed some of the women into roles into which we normally put men. Here working in the warehouse is the preacher’s wife at the West President church of Christ, Sheila Shiers.

The week beginning Sunday, March 15 was a good week from various perspectives. I am happy to report that Bonnie acclaimed this week the best week health wise that she has experienced in many weeks. That is not to say that health related challenges have not punctuated her daily life, but overall Bonnie has felt better than she has felt literally for months. In addition, it has also been a good week regarding the visitors who have come by the World Evangelism Building in Winona, MS to help us.

Sunday between Bible class and worship with the Old Union church of Christ, the preacher inquired of me regarding the possibility of forthcoming assistance to Bonnie and me with our mounting medical expenses. Likewise, before Wednesday evening Bible class with the West President church of Christ, an elder approached me regarding the same subject and the possibility of the congregation also helping us with our burdensome medical bills—mostly relative to Bonnie’s ongoing battle with pancreatic cancer, but this year also my emergency surgery for an inflamed and enlarged gallbladder. Though we have not been campaigning for medical funds, we appreciate the thoughtfulness of individual Christians and congregations of the Lord’s church who voluntarily have offered to help. Furthermore, the non-stop flow of get well cards, texts, emails, etc. uplift our spirits in a very trying time to our morale.

Tuesday, a sister in Christ representing the Old Union congregation came to the World Evangelism Building to help Bonnie and me to process for mailing our most recent Rushmore Newsletter. Sister Betty Choate helped, along with sister Barbara Oliver and a sister in Christ visiting from Tasmania. Besides our mailing, we finished preparing for shipment single issues of Volume 83 of The Voice of Truth International; that included double rubber-banding packets of 10 envelopes and placing them into mail sacks.

Thursday, sisters in Christ volunteering from the West President church of Christ met us at the office/warehouse to help with additional mailings. Many of the ladies processed sister Choate’s newsletter for mailing. A couple of other ladies helped me prepare about 75 packages (mostly cases of The Voice of Truth International) for shipment throughout the States and to American territories or military posts abroad; one of those sisters in Christ helping me is from Nigeria. We also packaged hundreds of Spanish books and Spanish editions of The Voice of Truth International magazine that eventually will make their way to Peru; I made arrangements to hand off this literature to a congregation in Tuscaloosa, AL in a few days on my way to a speaking appointment in Huntsville, AL.

Throughout the week we have fulfilled orders for English and Spanish language Christian literature, which we have packed and taken to the local post office. Thankfully, the day I took around 75 boxes, two of the ladies helped me load the van as well as unload it onto the post office’s back loading dock. Bonnie has worked on Volume 84 of The Voice of Truth International and I have worked on both the April issue of Gospel Gazette Online and a new book of mine on sermon outlines.

Friday was a medical treatment day an hour and a half away from our home in Jackson, MS. First, we had a 9:30 a.m. appointment for yet another paracentesis for Bonnie; another 3+ liters of fluid was drained from her abdomen. Following that, we shared a sandwich at a hospital eatery (it has several) before heading for her next appointment for chemotherapy. Between the distances we travel each way and the appointments, we certainly consume a whole day. We also use these outings to do some necessary shopping and, of course, the car wants fed, too. Since Bonnie’s appetite came back this week, too, and she was hungry, we shared a nice meal at Olive Garden on the way out of town.

Overall, Bonnie is trudging forward with its accompanying emotional ups and downs. She and I are both thrilled that she may be on the verge of feeling a little better more often. Bonnie still tires easily and continues to lose weight. On April 3, she will have another CT scan to compare with the previous CT scan, by which the oncologist will reevaluate future treatment. We continue to covet the prayers of our brothers and sisters in Christ around the globe. Thank you.

Another Week Whizzed By

March 15, 2015
Louis & Bonnie at Gospel meeting in Paramakatoi, Guyana 2014

Louis & Bonnie at Paramakatoi, Guyana in 2014

Sunday, March 8, after worship with the Old Union Church of Christ, a sister in Christ, a registered nurse, gave Bonnie her second injection of a medicine to boost her blood counts. This is necessary following each chemo treatment on Friday to enable Bonnie to have the next chemotherapy session. Bonnie is having chemo treatments every other week.

Our daughter Rebecca came down Friday for the week she was off for spring break from teaching school. She accompanied us to worship, kept us company and helped us at the house and the warehouse/office.

Tuesday, the three of us headed back to Jackson, MS for Bonnie to undergo another paracentesis. On this occasion, 3 liters of fluid were drained from Bonnie’s abdomen. Unfortunately, this did not make her feel significantly better, and most of the week has been rough for Bonnie.

Wednesday, the highlight of the day was waiting for a tractor-trailer to arrive so we could load a pallet of books on it. Eventually, those books will make their way to various locations in India. Finally, the truck arrived about 5:50 p.m. Rebecca and I loaded between 500 and 600 pounds of books onto a wooden pallet and wrapped it with plastic. The inclement weather throughout the day, the question of whether a truck was actually going to show up and whether the freightliner would have a lift gate precluded preparation of the shipment before the truck came. (We do not have a loading dock, and the entrance of the World Evangelism Building cannot easily permit movement of a pallet prepared ahead of time inside to the outside.)

Thursday morning, two sisters in Christ from the Old Union Church of Christ visited Bonnie to bring her cheer. That evening, a Christian couple from the West President Church of Christ came by with supper and ate with us.

Friday, Rebecca, Betty Choate, and Bonnie and I processed for mailing Paula and Jerry Bates’ newsletter. The Bates left a few days ago for about six weeks of mission trips in various Asian countries. The outgoing shipment that was loaded on a truck on Wednesday was arranged by Jerry, too, but he had to leave before a truck could come to Winona. I took the mailing to the local post office, along with boxes of The Voice of Truth International; sister Choate has been taking most of the recently mailed boxes of VOTI to the post office.

As she could, Bonnie worked on the next issue of The Voice of Truth International from time to time. She also prepared labels for mailing Betty Choate’s newsletter next week; our newsletter will also arrive next week and be mailed back out to nearly 1,000 Christians and churches of Christ. I have been working on layout for a book of sermons for use stateside and abroad. Some of our preaching brethren overseas have not had much training or experience; therefore, full sermon outlines that thoroughly treat a host of biblical subjects will be helpful for them. This effort is the outgrowth of over 40 years of preaching and has been requested. The volumes will be translated into other languages as needed to make them effective in foreign countries.

One of the nice things about having more to do than one can easily accomplish is that should one thing become tiresome, we can simply give it a rest and apply ourselves to something else that needs to be done. There is never a reason to be bored regarding either necessary domestic duties or serving our Lord Jesus Christ. We covet your prayers.

Flurry of Activity

March 7, 2015

Bonnie & Louis RushmoreThis week, Bonnie and I collectively worked on volumes 84 and 85 of The Voice of Truth International; volume 83 arrived in Winona, MS on Friday while Bonnie and I were away in Jackson, MS for her chemo appointment. Bonnie is doing the primary layout for VOTI 84 while sister Betty Choate is doing the layout for volume 85, which will be in color throughout. I also started work on the April issue of Gospel Gazette Online and readied two books for future publishing—one by brother Wayne Barrier and one of mine. The Barrier book is an outreach book, whereas mine is a class book and resource material; together, the books take one from becoming a Christian to providing a solid foundation in the Christian faith.

Along with the delivery of The Voice of Truth International #83 came also reprints of a couple of book titles. Brethren from the Huntsville Church of Christ outside of French Camp, MS helped Jerry and Paula Bates as well as Betty Choate (all fellow Winona team members) unload the tractor-trailer and reload it with boxes of books destined for delivery abroad. Aside from the stateside and foreign travel, we keep literature flowing to brethren and non-Christians in this country and to numerous overseas destinations. We have around 500 titles between books, tracts, booklets and magazines in our warehouse that we keep in print and share around the world.

I devoted several hours this week to formatting and submitting printing to a printing company for team member newsletters (Betty Choate, Jerry and Paula Bates as well as Bonnie and mine, too) and business cards. By the time the Bates’ newsletter arrives, they will be on a mission trip in India; so, Betty Choate and we will process for mailing all three newsletters. Of course, Bonnie and I worked together in writing our newsletter and reporting income and expenses.

Friday, Bonnie had full blood work, met with the oncologist and received her one-two-three-four punch of two chemo drugs, accompanied by two additional medicines. The doctor also prescribed three new, additional prescriptions for Bonnie and scheduled another paracentesis for Tuesday to drain fluid from her abdomen. April 3, Bonnie will have another CT scan, after which, the oncologist and we will regroup and plan what treatments we will pursue. CT scans will be compared, as well as cancer markers in various blood tests will be reviewed, too. Please pray that all indications will be favorable.

Bonnie has lost much of her hair and wears scarves to compensate, especially in the cold, winter weather. Most of her days are painful or punctuated with nausea, and she is very tired. Still, she applies herself to the fullest possible, mostly doing computer work from her side of the loveseat in our living room; we purchased a printer to use at the house to increase our productivity when Bonnie doesn’t feel good enough to leave the house.

Today (Saturday), I officiated for a funeral, which was conducted at the meetinghouse for the Old Union Church of Christ, back in the woods, reached by traversing gravel roads through the woodlands and kudzu in rural Carroll County, MS. Burial followed immediately in the church cemetery nearly abutting one corner of the little chapel nestled in a serene surrounding away from hustle and bustle or major thoroughfares. No place is more ideal to be the temporary repository for one’s spent body while awaiting the general resurrection at the return of Jesus Christ.

Looking ahead, tomorrow, Bonnie will receive an injection to boost her blood counts so that she can continue her chemotherapy without interruption. A sister in Christ who is a nurse will administer it following a.m. worship with the Old Union Church of Christ. As mentioned already, Tuesday we will travel once more to Jackson, MS for another paracentesis.  We will continue to work on VOTI 84, in conjunction with its Editor, Byron Nichols, in Springfield, MO, and it should be ready to send to the printing company within two weeks.

Cautiously, we are beginning to populate our upcoming calendar some. The last Sunday of March, I will be speaking at a congregation in Huntsville, AL, and I may speak at a second church that day, too, also in Huntsville. We have marked our calendars to participate in the next India Missions Conference in Florence, AL in April, as well as to be a part of Missions Day in April at the Siwell Road Church of Christ in Jackson, MS. We are looking ahead to the annual Maywood Missionary Retreat in May outside of Hamilton, AL. Furthermore, Bonnie’s oncologist has given me the go-ahead (and Bonnie has concurred) for me to go on a foreign mission trip of one or two week duration sometime in the future—as long as I make sure that someone (likely our daughter Rebecca) is available to be with Bonnie while I am gone.

In the meantime, we have sent thousands of dollars in the hands of fellow missionaries or by registered mail to ongoing mission works in which we participate in various parts of India. Money ultimately provided by Christian families and churches of Christ will provide tracts, Hindi language Bibles and Hindi language TV programing in New Delhi, India. Thank you for making it possible for Bonnie and me to serve our Lord on your behalf in these ways.

The many cards, the emails and the visits are a great source of encouragement to both Bonnie and me, particularly as we continue to fight her pancreatic cancer. Imagine our surprise that one church of Christ overseas is fasting and praying for Bonnie’s improved health. (We are also thrilled at the several pieces of correspondence praising our work stateside and abroad in various media and literature that brethren say is making a real difference in their lives; all we desire is the opportunity to glorify God and edify precious souls as we serve the best we can to the fullest we can.)

The picture of Bonnie and me on this page is our most recent and best. It is one of the better photos of us lately.

Diagnoses and Treatment Changes

January 23, 2015
New Delhi 2008

New Delhi 2008

Early Friday, January 23, 2015, Bonnie and I, with our son Raymond driving us, headed for Jackson, MS so Bonnie could receive treatment for pancreatic cancer. Since Sonic wasn’t open yet, we diverted to McDonalds for a quick breakfast en route to a series of three appointments at Baptist Health Systems.

Following our 90-mile drive down I-55 from Winona, MS, we three arrived at the cancer center about 8:34 a.m. – only about four minutes late. However, Bonnie and I didn’t get in to see the doctor until about 45 minutes later. Her oncology radiologist explained the significance of a recent CT scan following 28 doses of radiation. In addition, he clarified the findings from analysis of the 4.6 liters of fluid drained from Bonnie’s abdomen a week ago.

The tumor on Bonnie’s pancreas did not shrink so far from radiation, but neither did it grown any bigger. The fluid that was drained developed as the body’s defensive mechanism to fight off cancer cells that broke off of the tumor and that are moving about in the abdomen. Some swelling has reoccurred since last Friday, with attendance discomfort and pain, but there was insufficient fluid build up to drain any more at this time.

The second appointment was scheduled for 9:30 a.m., though we did not see the nurse practitioner until about 10:45 a.m. The oncologist, although not scheduled to see Bonnie today, also participated in the session. New pain medication will be tried to help find elusive, consistent relief from pain. Chemotherapy was adjusted to combine a second cancer drug in the treatment, and because of the expected toll on blood counts, for now, treatment will be once week every other week.

Since there was no room in the inn, so to speak, Bonnie could not receive chemotherapy today in the oncology department, but had to go instead to the hospital’s outpatient infusion department. Only one family member could accompany Bonnie for treatment, so I had Raymond go with his mother, and I waited elsewhere. The appointment was for 11:00 a.m., but treatment didn’t begin until around 1 p.m.; treatment ended about 3 p.m.

Bonnie has lost considerable weight over the past months, though some of that is masked often because of bloating for various reasons. She lost 16 pounds this past week, in part due to the removal of the fluid buildup.

Following chemo, Bonnie was tired, but eventually the steroid that accompanies her chemotherapy buoyed her. Saturday or Sunday she will crash physically. Tonight, however, she probably will be too wired to sleep. Bonnie advises me that she will use this as her special prayer time.

Raymond treated us to a nice meal at Cracker Barrel before our return trip to Winona. During the time today for treatment, I was able to make proofing corrections on sections from two upcoming editions of The Voice of Truth International; before going home, we stopped by the home and office of Betty Choate and passed the proofed pages to her.

On the way home, Bonnie traded texts and phone calls with dear brethren and friends to update them about her health and treatment. In addition, Bonnie found the courage to comfort one of those dear friends regarding the crisis with pancreatic cancer that her husband and she are experiencing a few states away from us. God sent Bonnie to Martha and Bob via cell phone to be His comforter for them (2 Corinthians 1:3-4), and that was only possible because of the practical experience Bonnie has known with her pancreatic cancer.

We lean on each other to limp through this low world toward the glory land reserved for us. All of God’s children lean on each other and upon God Himself. Thank you for allowing us to lean on you, Reader, Friend, Christian as well.

Paracentesis

January 22, 2015
Bonnie & Louis Rushmore

Bonnie & Louis Rushmore

This blog entry was written by Bonnie Rushmore at my (Louis Rushmore) request. The following is Bonnie’s firsthand account of one recent day in her life.

Friday, January 16th I was scheduled for a CT-Scan in the morning and chemotherapy in the afternoon in Jackson, MS. I was in a quandary what to do. I needed to keep these appointments if possible, but Louis returned home Thursday afternoon from emergency gallbladder surgery, and I was hesitant to leave him all day by himself back in Winona. Finally, we decided that we accept Paula Bates’ offer to take me to Jackson (I cannot drive that far), and Betty Choate would check on Louis throughout the day. Rebecca was to arrive around 5:00 p.m. Louis, being independent, he refused any offers of help from Betty for meals and any assistance. I am sure he overdid things since no one was there to try to stop him.

Paula picked me up around 9:15 a.m., and we were on our way. The CT-Scan appointment was uneventful, and we went to the cafeteria for lunch before my scheduled appointment with the oncologist and chemo. While waiting for this appointment, Louis sent me a message that our son, Raymond, was flying into Memphis at 12:30 p.m., and so Rebecca would wait to come to Winona after she picked him up at the airport.

The oncology office was running behind schedule. I did not see the doctor until 3:00 p.m. The CT-Scan showed a large fluid sac in the abdominal cavity, which explained the excessive bloating, pain and swollen abdomen. It was decided that I should skip chemo and immediately go to radiology to have a paracentesis to drain the fluid. This procedure could take 3-6 hours. Again, what to do? Louis is sitting home by himself, and Rebecca will not get in until the wee hours of Saturday morning. I called Louis, and he assured me that he was fine and to have the procedure. So, radiology was called to perform the procedure; however, they would not be able to stay late enough to drain all the fluid. They suggested I go to the ER, and the radiologist would stay long enough to insert the drain tube, and the ER nurse would monitor the drainage. A nurse from oncology wheeled me down to the hospital ER. Finally, around 8:00 p.m., after draining 4.6 liters of fluid from my abdomen, I was discharged, and we headed home.

The CT-Scan shows no significant changes from the scan in September that discovered the tumor and recurrence of pancreatic cancer. I will continue on chemotherapy for at least another three months, and I will have another CT-Scan to look for changes.

Thank you for all the cards, phone calls, text messages and most importantly prayers as we travel along life’s bumpy highway. As one good brother in Burma said, “Why should humble and hardworking people get sick? Oh! We are still in the world.” As long as we are on earth we will face trials and tribulations. They can make us stronger, more dependent on our heavenly Father or they can pull us away from God. The choice is ours!