July 9, 2020 Update on Don and Ilene

Our world has changed so much. One of the things we miss the most are hugs.

Today both Don and Ilene went to doctor appointments. Ilene to her oncologist. Don to an Infection Disease physician. Our daughters accompanied each of us to his/her appointment. We were not anticipating positive reports.

Ilene's report:

Dr. Schmidt ended our session with his hands pointing up? Yes! we are seeing progress!

Dr Schmidt said that I am one of three people in the world today who have the type of cancer I do. This tumor is a conglomeration of multiple cancers in one large mass.. Only two of the mutant cancers have targeted medicine.

After discovering metastatic cancer in the brain in May surgery was not an option. Dr. Schmidt started me on a "novel" drug called Ibrance, an oral chemotherapy pill that targets one of the mutant cancers in my left lung...breast cancer. I am the only person in the US with lung cancer and being treated with a chemo for breast cancer. No president for this move, but there really was no other option. I do well on the pill, few side affects.

Today the imaging reports showed, much to Dr. Schmidt's delight, showed that this tumor which "grows quickly and very difficult to control" was not growing, in fact was smaller. The brain cancer was reduced in size to around half of what it was when discovered in May. So it seems the Ibrance is effective in some way in reducing the size of the tumor and growth.

The plan is to continue the Ibrance. Dr. Schmidt will contact the oncology surgeon at OHSU regarding future possibility of removal of the entire left lung. He is cautiously optomistic and expects the surgeon will want to see a stable reduction of the cancer over two more months. The next imaging (sand MRI) will be in September.

This has been my first positive report since the diagnoses.

Don's report:

Don was hospitalized two weeks ago for a urinay sepsis. The offending bacteria is the same bacteria that caused septic shock 4 days after his amputation in 2018, Unfortunately it is resistant to most all antibiotics. He relapse after 5 days on an IV antibioticand the doctors dug deeper. They found the sepsis was an infection in a small kidney stone in his bladder. The antibiotic was changed and he came home in two days. Because of COVID, the medication could not be given in an infusion clinic. Medicare and secondary insurance will not financially cover home infusion. So the only option was to pay for it ourselves and that I administer the infusion at home after teaching. That is what we are doing.

Today Don's lab tests showed that he no longer has the infection in his blood and urine (at this time). Don has been hit hard with fatigue from these antibiotics. We are filling him with probiotics in the early mornings before his infusions.

Don is scheduled to have the metal plate and screws removed from his right humerous. They have been a pretty constant source of discomfort. That is a day surgery, probably the end of July . He may also be looking at a total left shoulder perhaps in August. This shoulder has a non-union fracture (from the August 2 accident) and arthritis that is quite uncomfortable.

I will be writing shortly on the continued ministries in Mexico. We are amazed how the Lord has matured His chosen workers and they have really stepped forward.


  1. Our family has been constantly with us, supporting in every way. We are so grateful.

  2. My siblings and cousin provided us with an amazing 50th anniversay party in Gates, OR. We were careful to do it COVID style. A very blessed day. We and gathered with our children and grandchildren for a sweet time of remembrance together on our June 6th anniversary day.

  3. We have had many major adustments since August 2019. Our heads are still swimming. We are constantly learning of God's care and provision for us. Please pray that we, as Paul, "can be content wherever we are and in any circumstance."

  4. We are so homesick for Mexico and miss the people we love there. We so desire to return some day if only to say good-by. Right now the border is closed and there is rising COVID illness in the San Quintin valley. We keep in daily contact with many. Remember them in your prayers

Lamentations 3:22-24

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!

His mercies never cease.

Great is His faithfulness;

his mercies begin afresh each morning.

I say to myself, "The Lord is my inheritance;

therefore, I will hope in him."

We love you all. Please understand that we are so very grateful for notes and scriptures of encouragement. Often because of medical demands and physical demands and fatigue, we do not have the energy to write.

En Sus Manos (In His Hands)

Ilene and Don

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