When I got back from Russia, there are habits you form there that you have to break. For instance, the tap water over there does NOT go in your mouth. Yes you bathe in it, but that's all. You brush your teeth from a cup of bottled water. One of the wierdest things was to force myself to put my toothbrush under running tap water. It just didn't feel natural ... much less rinsing with tap water. I don't remember feeling that in years gone bye.
And we ate soooo much at breakfast, but we'd walk from 3-6 hours that day. When I ate my usual bowl of cereal or oatmeal, I was famished by 9:30am! I guess you get your metabolism ramped up with all that walking and it doesn't know that you're planning on sitting in front of a computer for the next 8+ hours. I wish Dallas was built so that walking WAS an alternative. But walking 20-30 minutes will get you nowhere in Dallas, but in Ekat it can get you to almost anything you might need.
Maybe I'm just part European trapped in an Amerikanets body? Excuse me while I go sit on a stationary bike. :-/
It's been a great two weeks in Russia again ... trip number 5! It has been a typical two weeks and it has been anything but typical for two weeks. It was the best of times .... ooops, I digress. :-)
It has been interesting only having 2 people on the team for the first week. But that in itself was good. It was good to have Chris and Holly join us for the second week. They communicate with their students a lot better than I do after we get back to the states. That is challenging to me to see that since I am not a great communicator by nature.
Forest Fun Party here we come! I hope Jerry doesn't mind me sharing this .... when announcements were made for the "Forest Fun Party", he took it as "Forced Fun Party". :-)) You WILL have fun and you WILL enjoy yourself ... or ELSE!
No, not Forced ... Forest. What we do is load all the students that can go onto 2 or 3 busses and go out of the city to a retreat center. Darin and the stinters have games and activities for us. It is a non-stop 24 hour fun fest. Sadly we have to leave the party at midnight to get back to the hotel for some sleep and to get to the airport in time for our flights out. I would like to be there for the whole thing, but it isn't realistic with our departure schedule. Every year the students tell me what fun they had. I even have some students coming with us from 2 years ago. So it definately leaves an impression.
Please pray that the students would have a fun time and realize that a life following God isn't all hard work and sorrow. Please pray that the students will come to the Bible discussions that the Compas students and stinters will have. These discussions will be in Russian so that they can better understand the topic (whether they are good English speakers or poor English speakers).
Thanks and see you soon ... Rod
This is some information I am forwarding from my sister:
Robbie's left kidney and right adrenal both tested as renal cell (kidney) cancer. The specific type of renal cell is called Clear cell renal cell carcinoma. There are 5 types of renal cell cancer with clear cell accounting for about 80% of cases.
Kidney cancer is given a type(above), a grade, and then a stage. Robbie's grade is 4 on a scale of 1-4 with 4 being the most aggressive. The stage of this cancer is called the TNM Staging System with the letter T describing the tumors size- 0-3 describes size, N followed by 0-2 indicates whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, and M followed by 0 or 1 indicates whether or not the cancer has metastasized (spread). Robbies stage is T2,M1,N0. That is a little complicated but its the info from his pathology report if you want to research anything.
The doctor is hopeful that he got all the cancer as it was contained in the kidney and the adrenal but due to the spread to the right adrenal there could be other cells that traveled thru the bloodstream. So, he advised that Robbie take Sutent - an oral chemo as a preventative measure. We will be seeing an oncologist in Harrison who will give us more info this follow up treatment. Then Robbie will be tested with upper and lower CT scans every 3 months.
We were told that if this cancer returns that we would be talking treatment but not cure so please pray with us that all the cancer is gone if that is the Lords will!!!! Robbie is doing great after surgery - got his 31 staples out today and his Doctor said he wished he would have brought his camera for another picture as he is very proud of his work! The doctor said his mentor from MD Anderson was coming to visit in 2 weeks and he was editing the video of Robbie's surgery to show him! Robbie will be selling copies! ha!!
Thanks for all your prayers and support - they have really sustained us!!!
Rhonda, Robbie and family
Robbie update from Ekat
First, I posted an update on our Talk the Talk classes on our missions blog: Ekat Friday Update
I know I posted a lot of news in one blog last time, I hope you could take it all in. Here are some more details that I did not know. Thanks to Roxie for being our family's "Great Communicator". 8^)
Robbie & Rhonda have been led to believe that if the pathology reports show cancer that has metastasized insurance will pay for chemotherapy treatment. If the pathology reports show that there is no metastasized cancer, the insurance will state that the cancer was completely removed via surgery and no chemotherapy is needed. If Robbie is approved for a clinical trial, the chemo treatment would be free. This is an issue that we ask you to pray about.
Robbie & Rhonda have been told that "renal cell cancer" does not respond to chemotherapy; however, the clinical trial is for a new type of drug that inhibits the cancer cells from being able to attach to other cells and metastasize (spread). At this point, Robbie & Rhonda would like to pursue this treatment.
The surgeon said that leaving the left adrenal in Robbie was a judgment call that he had to make during surgery. He felt the health benefits and improved quality of life for Robbie were important enough to leave the adrenal. We have been told that you can live with one adrenal just as you can live with one kidney. Since Robbie has an adrenal gland, he will not be required to be on medication for the rest of his life. We are overjoyed with that outcome!
Rhonda was still a little nervous about leaving any tissue that had even remotely touched the cancer tumor or kidney. Melissa Chu, a friend and doctor from Harrison, called to follow up on Robbie this afternoon. Melissa shared that the kidney is encased in a thick protective cover and it is really possible that the cancer was contained in that cover and did not infect the left adrenal. Rhonda had more peace about the situation after visiting with Melissa. Even if the left adrenal has been exposed to renal cell cancer cells, we are praying that the chemo treatment will resolve that issue.
Thanks for all your prayers about Robbie and about the Ekat trip!