03/5/20

Update On My Husband’s Cancer Treatment – Surgery

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

The good news is they still think Garry is in remission. But the doctors have continued chemo because they say they don’t have an adequate baseline of comparison with the cancer clinic in Oklahoma. Garry will be requesting his records again to go to the surgeon and cancer doc here so they have a better handle on what has gone on previously with his case.

The cancer doc has reduced the chemo a further 20% but it is still occurring every two weeks. They have also stopped Avastin as part of chemo because it stops the healing process. Garry has to be off it for at least six weeks prior to surgery. We took him off his blood pressure medications because we thought that was what was making him so tired all the time and his bp was too low. His bp is now normal but he is still exhausted. It is probably a result of cumulative chemo.

We met with the surgeon last week but he does not want to do anything until he gets Garry’s records. Garry will see him next Thursday. At that time, they will do an MRI, as well as a physical and camera examination of the tumor. He does have a large hernia around his ostomy now and it is not a normal one. The doc says he wants to see if he can reverse the ostomy but when he gets in there, I’m sure he will find it is permanent.

Garry will definitely have the hernia surgery. It is also likely he will have to have the rectal tumor removed because of discharge, bleeding, and pain. That is a harsh surgery that will have him down for almost three months. It’s also a dangerous surgery so prayers are appreciated if we have to go that route.

If you want to help Garry out, you can give at GoFundMe. You can donate here. You can also donate on PayPal. My email there is [email protected] or you can use the PayPal link on the upper right side of NoisyRoom.net to get there. If you would like to donate some other way, email me at [email protected] and I’ll send you instructions.

To give you some insight into what gives on the financial end, we paid over 22k in medical bills last year out of our own pocket. We paid almost 11k in additional insurance charges and another 8k to move back to Reno. Without your donations, we would not have made it and frankly, it was a miracle that we did make it. God was looking out for us. We are still 10k in debt and are trying to handle that before we do the surgeries. If you can give, we would really appreciate it as this is a major struggle for us now.

Garry will get through this and I still have faith that the cancer will be eradicated and he will live many more years. We always rely on our faith and take it one step at a time. It’s just that the next step is a doozy.

Thank you to all of you. You give us the strength we need to keep fighting this every day. And you are helping us win this fight.

02/17/20

This Too Shall Pass

By: T.F. STERN | Self-Educated American

My remarks are tied in with a talk given during last October’s General Conference, “Thru Cloud and Sunshine, Lord, Abide with Me! ” as given by Reyna I. Aburto.  She described being on an airplane high above the clouds with the light bouncing off those clouds; but as the plane descended and they were surrounded by these very same clouds, darkness surrounded them and took over.

(Image: There is no timeline for healing courtesy of tinybuddha.com)

“Some of those clouds are of depression, anxiety, and other forms of mental and emotional affliction. They can distort the way we perceive ourselves, others, and even God. They affect women and men of all ages in all corners of the world.”

I was on my way home from Florida many years ago, flying into a storm system that had delayed our take-off and delayed my arrival in Houston. The closer we got to Houston the worse the storm got; lightning flashing off the interior of the plane as we sped through the night, the plane being bounced like a toy with each passing air mile.

It came as no surprise when the Captain got on the intercom and explained that our flight was being diverted to New Orleans because the weather in Houston was not suitable for landing. As we made our approach prior to landing, the flight attendant gave the customary instructions, “Please place your seats in the upright position and secure your tray tables. We’ll be landing in New Orleans momentarily.”

About that time a woman near the front of the plane jumped up, having slept through the nasty storm and unaware of our having been diverted, yelled out, “Oh my god, I’m on the wrong plane!” Most everyone let out a huge belly laugh, a much-needed relief from the sheer panic of having ridden out the storm. It took the airline janitorial crew about two hours to clean up the inside of the airplane and deodorize it before we could re-board and resume our flight.

Sister Aburto then related an experience, “A friend described it this way: “Since my early childhood, I have faced a constant battle with feelings of hopelessness, darkness, loneliness, and fear and the sense that I am broken or defective. I did everything to hide my pain and to never give the impression that I was anything but thriving and strong.”

“My dear friends, it can happen to any of us—especially when, as believers in the plan of happiness, we place unnecessary burdens on ourselves by thinking we need to be perfect now. Such thoughts can be overwhelming. Achieving perfection is a process that will take place throughout our mortal life and beyond—and only through the grace of Jesus Christ.”

There is so much wisdom included in that last statement, one that we all need to take into our minds and hearts. Whether we’re looking into the mirror, wondering how we’ll survive the challenges that seemly have taken control of our lives, leaving us with doubt and minimizing our joy; or, perhaps we experience these challenges through the lives of family or friends, it’s important to be aware of the ever-changing mental environment which we all must pass through while on our way back to our Heavenly Father’s presence.

Elder Jeffery R. Holland had this to say, “Broken minds can be healed just the way broken bones and broken hearts are healed. While God is at work making those repairs, the rest of us can help by being Merciful, Nonjudgmental and Kind.”

He also admonished, “For caregivers, in your devoted effort to assist with another’s health, do not destroy your own. In all these things be wise. Do not run faster than you have strength.7 Whatever else you may or may not be able to provide, you can offer your prayers and you can give “love unfeigned.’”

I’m reminded of the soberness of thought contained in 2 Nephi 4, starting in verse 16.

“Behold, my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard.”

If you’re paying attention, this is a man who loves the Lord and has been following the path as almost perfectly as can be done. But then he looks into his own soul…

“Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.  I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me. And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.” (extra spaces included to permit breathing)

He goes on pleading with the Lord to strengthen him, to keep him on the path of righteousness and to avoid sin; being aware that at any time he might fall into transgression should he forget to include the Lord in all his doings.

If you would, make an effort later on to read the entirety of 2 Nephi 4; especially since it’s part of the lesson included in this month’s  Come Follow Me home study manual.

I’ve marked this in my scriptures as a “must-read regularly” and have since joined the Church back in 1978. I am, as yet, unable to read it aloud without forming a lump in my throat and sniffling away as moisture gets in the way.

Quoting Sister Aburto, “Sadly, many who suffer from severe depression distance themselves from their fellow Saints because they feel they do not fit some imaginary mold. We can help them know and feel that they do indeed belong with us. It is important to recognize that depression is not the result of weakness, nor is it usually the result of sin. It “thrives in secrecy but shrinks in empathy.” Together, we can break through the clouds of isolation and stigma so the burden of shame is lifted and miracles of healing can occur.”

While contemplating how to approach sharing this difficult topic, at first I couldn’t place myself as having ever been in a state of depression, ignoring a one week period of time when I’d been ‘Indefinitely Suspended’ from the police department, which for all practical purposes was the same as being fired since up until that time no officer had ever gotten his/her job back from the Houston Police Department after such a ruling. My infraction was summed up in one word, Insubordination, followed by a list of untruths intended to make a solid case against me.

I’d been placed in the awkward situation of performing my duties fairly, while at the same time having supervisors who wanted me to ignore a member of the ‘Good Old Boys Club’, someone I’d been issuing parking tickets to for having parked his limo in the fire zone in front of his hotel. Ever hear the term, “You can’t beat City Hall”? That’s what I was up against.

Long story short, I no doubt exhibited a lack of respect for my superiors and after my appeal was completed, did end up with a 40-day suspension; but during that time I had no gainful employment and the odds were slim on getting back on as a police officer. The first couple of days I must have been in a fog, similar to the black clouds described by Sister Aburto.

It took a couple of more days to snap out of it, mostly with the help of my loving wife who encouraged me to use the skills I’d learned as an apprentice locksmith, to simply move forward with the idea that I could provide for my family, just in a different setting.

I began in earnest the task of looking for locksmith customers and being in business, going out and obtaining small used car dealerships that were not being properly serviced by other locksmiths and not worrying about how my Civil Service Hearing would turn out.

I put aside my depression in favor of life, not the one I’d planned; but the one which the Lord had prepared me for. I did get reinstated as a police officer and decided to work night shift because my fulltime locksmith business had become the real breadwinner and my priorities had been made clear as a result of this challenge.

This all happened in the early 80’s and I completed the requirements for a 20-year retirement from the Houston Police Department in 1992, all the while working my locksmith business in the daytime. I joked that I got my four hours of sleep every day whether I needed it or not. I went on to complete roughly 40 years being a self-employed locksmith specializing in restoring lost automobile and truck keys; putting myself out to pasture a couple of years ago and moving up to our property in Buffalo, Texas.

Returning to the wisdom found in that wonderful Conference talk, “If you are constantly surrounded by a “mist of darkness,” turn to Heavenly Father. Nothing that you have experienced can change the eternal truth that you are His child and that He loves you. Remember that Christ is your Savior and Redeemer, and God is your Father. They understand. Picture Them close by you, listening and offering support. “[They] will console you in your afflictions.” Do all you can, and trust in the Lord’s atoning grace.”

Your struggles do not define youbut they can refine you. Because of a “thorn in the flesh,” you may have the ability to feel more compassion toward others. As guided by the Holy Ghost, share your story in order to “succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.” (emphasis added)

I’ve opened an old wound and shared it with you all, one that kept me awake many nights when I should have been sleeping peacefully. I’ve often wondered how I might have handled it differently; should I have bitten my tongue when confronted about writing a silly parking ticket, certainly. Would that have ever happened, not likely; I know myself too well. Perhaps my having shared this will help someone; but even if it’s only one, how great in the eyes of the Lord is the saving of one soul?

In Matthew 11:28-30, this sentiment is recorded for all of us.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

“I testify to you that “thru cloud and sunshine” the Lord will abide with us, our “afflictions [can be] swallowed up in the joy of Christ,” and “it is by grace that we are saved after all we can do.” I testify that Jesus Christ will return to the earth “with healing in his wings.” Ultimately, He “shall wipe away all tears from [our] eyes, and there shall be no more … sorrow.” For all who will “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him,” the “sun shall no more go down; … for the Lord shall be [our] everlasting light, and the days of [our] mourning shall be ended.”  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”

01/13/20

Update On My Husband’s Cancer Treatment – Remission

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Today we received the wonderful news that Garry is in continuing remission. He will need to stay on chemo every two weeks for now, but that will probably change. We will meet with the oncologist surgeon next just to make sure all is well.

Our challenge now is covering the medical bills… if you can help, please see below. We could certainly use it after the deluge of bills that have rolled in. If we can get a handle on some of the medical debt, we will come out of this fine and God will have answered our prayers.

If you want to help Garry out, you can give at GoFundMe. You can donate here. You can also donate on PayPal. My email there is [email protected] or you can use the PayPal link on the upper right side of NoisyRoom.net to get there. If you would like to donate some other way, email me at [email protected] and I’ll send you instructions.

I just told the whole family who are beside themselves with happiness and gratitude over this. There are no words to thank all of you. You have helped save his life and I am in your debt forever. I get to stay with my best friend for many more years and adventures to come. I am so happy I now have to find more Kleenex. Lol.

01/12/20

Update On My Husband’s Cancer Treatment – A New Year And A New Hope

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

We had a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving and Christmas. Garry has settled into a routine of chemo here and I wanted to give you an update on how things are progressing.

All of Garry’s indicators are very, very good according to the doctors here. The only thing that concerns me right now is how easily he tires. That worries me an awful lot but he is able to be up and around. He just has to rest more.

The other thing still plaguing us are the medical bills. Aetna has tried to massively overbill us and we are still fighting that. It’s a daily struggle but I am determined to win this fight on all fronts.

Today, Garry is getting a CT scan to determine if the cancer has moved forward or has halted and put him in remission. If the outcome of the scan is good today, the next step will be a PET scan to see if the tumor in the lung is gone or dead and if the rectal tumor is dead as well. If that is the case, they will ease off chemo and Garry can begin to recover his strength.

If you want to help Garry out, you can give at GoFundMe. You can donate here. You can also donate on PayPal. My email there is [email protected] or you can use the PayPal link on the upper right side of NoisyRoom.net to get there. If you would like to donate some other way, email me at [email protected] and I’ll send you instructions.

All prayers are greatly appreciated towards Garry’s cancer being cured and gone. He loves it here and we are beyond grateful for where we are and all those who support us. I will give further updates as his test results come in.

12/11/19

Restoration and Repair

By: T.F. Stern | Self-Educated American

Recently we found a television show produced by the BBC, The Repair Shop. Talented artisans receive a wide variety of keepsake items brought in for restoration and repair, their owners hoping these treasured items can once again be enjoyed as they had before time took its toll.

Each piece brought to the shop has a story, something which makes it personal and priceless to that individual. Watching the item being worked on creates a link between the owner and the artisan performing his/her skills while bringing it back to life.

Through the magic of Netflix, this television program, along with others, can be viewed as if newly released, opportunities to enjoy shows which otherwise would never have been seen. The Repair Shop is such a show.

Speaking of priceless…not once during the show was the cost of restoration or repair brought up. I’ve no idea how much it would cost on most of the items presented; however, from my own experience in restoring an old Steeple Clock that’s been in our family for as long as I can remember; expert craftsmanship doesn’t come cheap.

On our Christmas tree are several hand-me-down ornaments which we’ve been able to keep safe over the years from the cat’s attempts to destroy. This one is from the 1950s and didn’t cost that much, even when it was brand new; but seeing it allows my mind to travel through time, back to my youth. It’s only for a short trip; but the vision provided is real and no price can be affixed to it.

I was distracted by another thought, one from an old black and white television series; can’t remember if it was from the Outer Limits or the Twilight Zone. If memory serves, the story had an older couple reaching the end of their lives, bent over and disfigured from the process of aging, presented with an opportunity to be restored to youthful bodies so they could enjoy an extension available at considerable expense by a company providing this service.

As the story developed it became apparent they only had enough money to permit one of them the miraculous transformation and it was decided the husband would go first; his coming out of the procedure a handsome man in his early twenties. His wife, encumbered by old age, took his hand and it became obvious the results were not what they had envisioned or intended.

The last scene, at least as I recall, showed the husband, having been returned to his aged body, walking hand in hand with his wife as they return to the life that they had enjoyed for so many years as a couple. They choose to grow old together and appreciated the memories more than the opportunity to extend mortality separated by age.

We re-live pieces of our lives, happy moments from our youth, a wedding or birth of a child by touching photographs or items associated with these moments in time. Our spirits are healed, restored and repaired if you will, by visiting pleasant thoughts related to physical items, items that most of the time have no intrinsic value to anyone other than ourselves.

11/1/19

Update On My Husband’s Cancer Treatment – 11/01/19 – Happy Bday To My Hubby!

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Garry’s birthday is today. We are thankful for all of you and you have made this birthday especially memorable for my husband and for myself.

We are still downsizing but the new place is great and we are quite happy here.

Garry likes the oncologist he has now who is Indian. We’ve now had one American doctor, one from Australia, one from Lebanon, one from Vietnam and one from India.

He has to get a ton of labs done. Then they want to cut back on the chemo. They prefer he goes with oral chemo as opposed to a pump. The doctor says that to run full tilt at it will wreck Garry’s body and cause neuropathy which it has. His feet are numb all the time. He says that if they go full bore all the time if something resurfaces the chemo won’t work. Makes sense.

In three months Garry will have a CAT scan and a PET scan to make sure the lung tumor is gone and the rectal tumor is dead. This doc says that the surgery to remove the rectal tumor may not be the way to go. It does not improve things and is a monstrous surgery that is dangerous and would put him down for two months or longer. It also has a high failure rate.

All of that sounds good and right to me, the only thing that gave me pause is he will not call this curative as the Tulsa docs did because it is stage IV and has metastasized. But Garry can go into full remission and will just have to be checked frequently to make sure it does not come back.

Right now he feels good and is doing well. On his birthday that is more than he asked for and a real blessing.

If you want to help Garry out, you can give at GoFundMe. You can donate here. You can also donate on PayPal. My email there is [email protected] or you can use the PayPal link on the upper right side of NoisyRoom.net to get there. If you would like to donate some other way, email me at [email protected] and I’ll send you instructions.

We have been up to Lake Tahoe to go on short walks and take pictures and just enjoy the beautiful surroundings. In Washoe Valley and in Genoa on any given day we can see hundreds of deer. Wild horses roam the countryside here. The people are friendly and amazing.

Living in a place you love truly puts all things in perspective. To get where we are now we had to just turn it all over to God and that’s what we are still doing and will continue doing. We’ve lost so much but have gained so much in return. Thank you to each and every one of you!!!

10/16/19

Update On My Husband’s Cancer Treatment – 10/16/19 – Settling In

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Well, we made it to Reno and now we begin the long task of unpacking and settling in. It feels great to be home and Garry loves being back here.

Garry has seen his new general practitioner who says he is doing pretty well considering. We are still waiting on the records to be transferred from Tulsa. We signed a release before we left but it still got tangled in red tape. Garry cannot start chemo again until the records are here. The oncologists in Tulsa swear they should be here by tomorrow, we will see. We have a team of oncologists here just waiting to get started.

Garry had a bit of a relapse on the trip. It was hard on him but he’s now beginning to bounce back since I have him on supplements again. We will also need to get him a PET scan to see if the cyberknife procedure took care of the lung tumor. Then we wait a few months and have the final surgery. Garry will need to stay on chemo until then to keep the cancer at bay.

I am positive there will be a full recovery here but this has taken its toll on my husband. He’s aged quite a bit during all this and it breaks my heart. But he will be with me for a long time and we feel blessed.

The trip was even more expensive than we thought and we still have mounting medical bills. If you want to help Garry out, you can give at GoFundMe. You can donate here. You can also donate on PayPal. My email there is [email protected] or you can use the PayPal link on the upper right side of NoisyRoom.net to get there. If you would like to donate some other way, email me at [email protected] and I’ll send you instructions.

I can’t explain it but we feel much freer being back in Reno. We can see the mountains and deer again. The air and water are clean as well. Things aren’t perfect… that applies anywhere you go. But this is home for us and we practically kissed the ground once we got here. Thank you to all of you who have helped financially and who keep us in your prayers. We could not do this without you and you have literally helped save my husband’s life.