Updates & Prayer for Ginny Smith

November 2, 2009

new blog:

Filed under: Uncategorized — by ginnysmith @ 6:49 pm

About a week ago my moms condition has changed again…  The cancer has returned and we are facing an uncertain path right now… We will be updating her condition on a blog that is easier for me to update as we learn more about her condition……http://prayingforginny.blogspot.com/

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June 8, 2008

Update June 7, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — by ginnysmith @ 4:27 am

Hi Everyone,

The past three months have brought gradual strengthening and change.  When I look back I can see it much better than when I look day by day.  I had my first haircut yesterday.  It was a challenge to work with the new naturally curly look I am sporting.  However, my hairdresser did a good job of styling it so I no longer have the “Little Orphan Annie” look. 

 Today was a significant, one of a kind, and heartwarming day.  I spent the morning with Valencia friends at a brunch to celebrate my retirement.  We reminisced, laughed, and enjoyed being together.  I felt so appreciated and affirmed.  It was the best retirement party I have ever attended.  My daughter said it was probably because it was mine.  Such wisdom!!

Dr reports and  blood work continue to be normal.  Praise God for continued health and strength!  I am so very glad to be feeling “normal”.  What a change from a year ago. 

Thank you to you all for your encouragement, prayers, and love expressed.

Love,

Ginny

February 20, 2008

Update – Feb. 19,2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — by ginnysmith @ 4:31 am

I want to share good news I had from Dr. Vescio (my oncologist) the last time I went to Cedars.  He did a bone marrow aspiration and found no multiple myeloma cells visible.  My blood work was perfect, he said.  Also the protein was very low, but a little was visible.  He felt that was my body  working overtime to make up for my cells being so low.  I go back in March so he can monitor the maintenance medication I started a week ago.  Studies have shown that Thalamid and Prednisone are effective in destroying m.m. cells.  I am taking those two drugs right now.  I continue to enjoy more independence and more strength.  I’m walking farther and longer and I have graduated from only one stop at the mall to three without tiring out.  Retirement is looming and I am going through the process of  appointments and paperwork needed to do it in a timely manner.  I’m enjoying going to bible study on Wednesday morning with women and on Wed. evening with Don.  Needless to say, I am wonderfully encouraged and am so thankful for the miracle of healing that God has done in my body.  Prayer for me would include neuropothy to continue to decrease in my feet, no side effects from my medication, and my back to continue to heal.  I am able to do stretching and a limited amount of exercising on the floor which seems to help my back.  Feeling so much more like normal is encouraging.  I am so very thankful.

Love,

Ginny

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January 25, 2008

Update January 25, 08

Filed under: Uncategorized — by ginnysmith @ 8:42 pm

Dear Family & Friends,

When I came home from the hospital in November I told Don I wanted to write the next entry on the blog, and as you can see I am much slower getting the job done.  I am so deeply grateful to each one of you for your prayers, gifts, visits, and encouraging words. Without the support of friends and family this whole process would have been much more difficult.  God has used each of you to encourage me and speed my recovery.  Since coming home I  have gained a surprising amount of strength.  Daily looking at the progress it seems slow, but when I look back and compare I see great strides.  I am walking without the walker completely, and I am now driving around San Clemente and on the familiar freeway treck to Valencia, church, and the mall.  I am walking daily and now doing some up and down hill stints.  My goal is to build muscle.  On Feb. 7 it will be three months since the stem cell transplant.  The Dr. says that is when we begin a maintenance program.  We will address the compromised bone issue and the  control of the multiple myeloma cells.  Prayer requests are for my back to be stronger and without pain and for the neuropathy in my feet to continue to gradually go away. (Sometimes it takes about a year)  Something that I have been blown away by is the dedication by three different people who have raised money for cancer research in my name;  John Dindinger from Muscatine, IA  who did a walk for cancer research, Dionne Petzold, who dedicated her whole season with TEAM in training to me with a goal of raising $3,000 for cancer research,  and Re Grams, who also trained with TEAM, did a marathon in January and raised almost $3,000 for research!  Thank you to these three.  I am humbled and honored!

Thanks be to God and love to you all!

Ginny

December 3, 2007

December 3, 2007 Update

Filed under: Uncategorized — by ginnysmith @ 6:12 pm

Dear family and friends,

 Ginny is now back home! She was released from Cedar Sinai a week ago. Her blood counts are very good. Her stem cell was a huge success! She is left, however, extremely weak and fatigued. Some of her early troubling symptoms have gone. For this she is grateful. She has started to eat solid foods after almost two or three weeks of basically a saline drip. Needless to say Ginny has lost almost thirty pounds and some of her hair. She still tries to walk around the house with the help of a walker to get back her strength. She even ventures outside for a very brief walk. It will take months for Gin’s recovery but her prospects look good.

There is no place like home! It is decorated for Christmas and anticipated time around the tree with Christmas music playing. We missed being with our family for Thanksgiving so much. This Christmas promises to be a joyous time celebrating our Savior’s birth and hopefully spending some limited time with family and friends in the church. She will need to restrict her visiting and public outings even though she can hardly wait to return to church and to her former school to see her friends. Ginny will not return to teach but will officially retire next June.  

We are overwhelmed with gratitude for all God has done, is doing and will do for us.  Christmas is a wonderful time to remind us of the love of God.  We join with the heavenly host, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased”. We know our Lord is pleased with those who are of faith, for without faith it is impossible to please Him. We also know that we are pleasing to Him only because He is pleased with His Beloved Son with whom we identify.

We wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas! May our days be filled with the love of God and the joy of Christ!

Don & Ginny

November 17, 2007

Update November 17, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — by ginnysmith @ 6:44 pm

Dear family & friends,

 This morning I marked off another day on the calendar hanging on the wall at the foot of Ginny’s bed. We do this every morning rejoicing one more day is behind us and having the hope of another day. It is day 13 since she entered the hospital. The days have been long and tedious. She has pretty much hit all the markers they anticipated for her. For example, yesterday, as predicted, her white blood count dropped to .02. Basically that is as low as it can get. That meant she would likely get a fever. She did. They gave her antibiotics. Her fever this morning is down. They said her blood count will start bouncing back tomorrow or Monday as her stem-cells start doing what they do by making white, red and platelet blood cells. Amazing how God made stem-cells to produce exactly what is needed to protect her body from infection. She will not be able to go home until her counts are much higher. We hope that will be by Thanksgiving.

We would appreciate your prayers for us to be able to go home by then. I am not sure we are going to make it but it would be one of our greatest celebrations. Our daughter Christy and her husband Craig are planning on having all the family over to their house this year. This has been our privilege for over 30 years. How nice to have our kids assume the tradition. It is another reason to be thankful.

I hope to update this report when we know more about her being discharged from the hospital. We feel blessed and cared for by you and especially the Lord. How awesome to rest in His safe and strong arms.

With gratitude

Don & Ginny

November 11, 2007

Update November 10, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — by ginnysmith @ 1:16 am

Dear family & friends,

 I am now updating this report from Cedar’s Sinai in a stem-cell isolation room with Ginny. We entered the hospital on Monday as planned. Since then everything seems to be going as anticipated. She had stout chemo on Monday & Tuesday. On Wednesday the nausea began and continues to about 30 minutes ago. She hasn’t really eaten for about three days but still struggles with nausea.

Ginny shows great stamina and determination. The days are long. We look at the calendar on the wall and can’t wait to mark off another day. Right now we are looking at least ten more days. That is pretty daunting. The old worn out saying, “take one day at a time” is absolutely true and necessary. I have been able to use my laptop to study, plan, write and surf the net. It is a window to the family, church and world. I’ve also enjoyed using it for playing music to break up the routine. I have been able to leave her at night to sleep at a near by condo offered to me during our stay. What a blessing this has been to get a good night of sleep!

We have had to limit visiting because Ginny’s white cell count has dropped (as anticipated) to about zero. To this point she hasn’t had a fever yet. That is expected in the next two or three days. Infection is common. They are prepared to assault the infection with various antibiotics. With all the medication she goes in and out of sleep during the day yet still sleeps hard at night.

Your prayers are much appreciated. Pray for Ginny’s physical, emotional and spiritual stamina. This is an ordeal that tests faith and resolve. We believe prayer is carrying us along every day. We look forward to getting out of isolation and returning to our wonderful home to see all our family and friends on Thanksgiving…. even if it means looking through a glass window.

Thanks for all your care and concern. I’ll try to keep you informed as we progress.

Don & Ginny

October 27, 2007

Update October 20, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — by ginnysmith @ 4:39 pm

Dear family & friends,

 Please excuse the delay in posting this latest update. Much has happened since our last report. We are glad to report that not only was Ginny approved for a kyphoplasty but she had this procedure done. Seven spots on her spine were filled.  This has already strengthened her.  She has not had to walk with a walker or with a brace the last week or so. Her pain has also decreased. Needless to say this has been encouraging to Ginny.

Last week, Ginny was admitted to Cedars Sinai for chemo and blood harvesting.  She entered the hospital with a fever and was very sick. She was placed in isolation due to her immune suppression condition. But with antibiotics and nausia medication she regained her health. They also were able to successfully harvest more than enough stemcells for her upcoming transplant. Before she was discharged from the hospital her blood count was sufficient enough that she didn’t have to be in isolation and eat the strictest diet.  That too was a relief to us all. She, however, still needs to avoid any public gatherings, sick people and anything that would be risky to eat.  Ginny is also slowly trying to adjust to her new hairstyle. She was given some nice head coverings and wraps which will give her a new look.  All of these adjustments are very difficult but she has faced each of them with courage and a few tears.

When she returned home the conditions in our county were dark and smoky. We tried to keep everything closed up and clean as possible. Today the air seems cleaner and there is even a glimpse of blue in the sky. For the next week her job and ours is to get her and keep her as healthy and strong as possible. She will be readmitted to Cedar Sinai on Monday, November 5  for her stemcell transplant. This is the great and big event she has been preparing for.  For three days she will undergo strong chemo treatment.  This will place her in extreme immune suppression. On the third day they will infuse her captured stemcells back into her system to “rescue” her.  Then she will be isolated off from the general public in a special wing of the hospital. She will again occupy an isolation room designed for this time.  Only family and a few care-givers will be able to visit her during this time.  The doctors are very encouraged not only at her progress but her prognosis.

As we await Ginny’s stemcell we look back with awe on the journey we have been on. On April 26th we learned of her cancer. A few days later she was very sick and hospitalized.  Next came the months and months of chemo treatment and all that went with that.  At the end of this phase the doctors pronounced her in remission, which was a major answer to prayer.  She has gone through immune suppression. She has even had her stemcells successfully harvested ……and now we await the next essential phase…the transplant.  Ginny will be hospitalized for at least 2 1/2 weeks in isolation. Depending on her condition she may be released as early as Thanksgiving or by December.  She will then need to be in isolation at home for approximately another 6 weeks through Christmas. It will be another time of immune suppression and extreme healthcare conditions.   After this she will await tests and her doctor’s assessment.  The journey has been long and difficult but her destination of health is finally in sight.

As we look back over the last six months we can see the hand of God in our lives. We have seen His hand as the hand of wonderful doctors and nurses. We have felt His hand as the hand of the most gracious care-givers possible.  They have dedicated themselves to caring for Ginny five days a week, sometimes eight hours a day. They have loved and cared for her with exceptional attention. They have driven her to doctor’s appointments and encouraged her with a lunch at a place of Ginny’s choice. She loves these women as true Christian sisters.  We had one family let me use their condo near Cedar Sinai during Ginny’s stay. We have had people clean our house, wash our cloths, make our beds, prepare our meals and love us in so many ways. What a testimony to the love of Christ in and through His church. The elders, pastors, staff and beloved congregation have stepped up to help us in so many ways. Some have taken up the slack for my absence while others have lifted us up with their prayers. We have also experienced God’s loving hands through our family.  Our girls, Christy, Carrie and Katie along with their spouses and children have lifted our spirits and provided whatever was needed to make this time possible.  We are so grateful for their shopping, encouragement and help. They are the joy of our life!

 It is hard to explain to someone what it is like to be covered in prayer unless you have been the target of massive prayer but it is an unusual peace and a definite comfort hard to describe.  So to all of you who have sent cards, flower (by the way she can’t receive any more flowers at this stage of her treatment) and gifts we send to you again our deepest thanks. 

Pray for our health and perseverence as we enter the next phase of Ginny’s life. With your prayers and the mighty hand of God we shall look back with gratitude and a renewed desire to serve you.

 “We thank our God in all our remembrance of you, always in every prayer of ours for you all making our prayers with joy, because of your partnership with us in the gospel from the first day until now” (Phil. 1:3-5)

Clasped in God’s stron caring hands.

Don & Ginny 

September 12, 2007

Update September 11, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — by ginnysmith @ 9:21 am

Family & friends,

 September 11 th is a day of rememberance for our nation. It is also a day of gratitude for our family.  After 6 cycles of chemo, Ginny’s cancer specialist at Cedar Sinai has said she is very likely in “remission”. Those were important words to hear! Her blood markers are now in the normal or even below normal range at this point. She is a good candidate for a stem cell transplant. She needs some time to recover from chemo and regain back some of her strength before proceeding.  Tentative dates for the transplant are either October 4 or the 11th. The process will take approximately 30 days to complete once it has begun, including 2 1/2 weeks of hospitalization.  It has its risks and side affects but is much more of a standard proceedure at the hospital than it used to be.  The doctor was quite pleased and hopeful.

We are also pleased that a request for a kyphoplasty (spinal infusion)  from our insurance company was approved.  With this approval the doctor urged her to get an epidual steroid injection to cut back some of her constant pain and a kyphoplasty as soon as possible before she begins her stem cell transplant.  These dates are yet to be determined but the sooner the better. Ginny’s pain is now manifested particularily in her legs and knees.

Thanks for sharing your lives with us. We continue to request your prayers as we pursue further these important steps to her recovery.

 We have found great hope and comfort in God’s Word. These words especially keep us praying and hoping: “Remember the word to your servant, upon which You have cause me to hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life.” (Psalm 119:35-37)

Grateful and hopeful in Christ

Don & Ginny

September 7, 2007

September 7 Update

Filed under: Uncategorized — by ginnysmith @ 3:09 pm

Dear Friends and Family,

 We are pleased to announce that Ginny has been approved by her insurance company to have the spinal procedure she needed. This request has been pending for months. It finally came thanks to the Saddleback Valley School District. We are deeply appreciative of their consideration and positive decision.  A decision on when to implement this procedure however has yet to be made.

Next Monday, September 10th Ginny will have completed her six cycle chemo treatment. Wow! What a journey! With that completed she will consult Tuesday, September 11 with the specialist at Cedar Sinai Hospital. He will evaluate her and her blood tests to see if she is a good candidate for a stem-cell transplant.  We are hopeful she will be able to enter this program and press on to remission. The next day on Wednesday, September 13 she will also consult with another specialist about her need for a cortisone spinal shot to help ease her pain. All three doctors appointments are important steps to Ginny’s health.

A medical update will be written next week when we have more information. Until then we thank you for all your support during this long ordeal. We also would appreciate your prayers.

Hopeful,

Don & Ginny

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