Friday, March 24–One Week back on Targeted Molecular Therapy

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Prayer Requests, Updates at 10:43 am by Al

Just a brief update on the re-try with the targeted molecular therapy.

It has been a week and my feet tingle, itch and even have hot spots, but so far no blistering or severe redness. However, each day they are a bit worse. I have been staying off my feet as much as I am able, even using a wheelchair when I go out. I’ve also been icing them.

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Going Back on the Targeted Molecular Therapy

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Prayer Requests, Updates at 8:05 pm by Al

Tomorrow morning (Friday) I will begin the targeted molecular therapy drug again. My feet are 90% normal—trying to catch someone, I even ran through the library and then across the parking lot today. The prayer is that I won’t have the same reaction this time. I may have blisters, but perhaps without the severe sensitivity.

I am not spiking a fever anymore as of yesterday, but I am fatigued. I really feel it if I am not timely in getting an afternoon nap.

As always, thanks so much for your prayers. Your constant words of encouragement are well appreciated.


Prayer Requests: Timing for Restart of Therapy and A Clear Mind

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Prayer Requests at 7:14 am by Al

Just a quick update today. I have continued to be a bit more fatigued than usual and to run a low grade fever each evening. Both products of the chemo therapy I had and signs of ongoing work of the chemo in my system as toxins are cleared out. Not the end of the world at all!

The first prayer request for today is that we need to decide about when to restart the targeted molecular therapy. The six or eight deep blisters on each foot (like the ones on the balls of my feet and big toes in the photo) are much better, but some still make walking and standing unpleasant (though NO COMPARISON to what I was experiencing Thursday and Friday). In some cases the reaction does not repeat as the drug is restarted. That is our prayer request.

Related: Rash and scalp problems remain as irritants. With foot pain abating I am discovering that the itching and pain on the rest of my skin is enough to keep me awake at night. There are some medications that can help me with these. But I would still appreciate prayer.

Second request: As I have experienced in the past, I am finding that my underlying fibromyalgia (a syndrome I have had for years) still acts as an ampliphier for pain and discomfort. So no relief there. The real issue is that when I am not feeling well I find it hard to concentrate on anything, most significantly reading scripture. So I would ask that you pray that even in the midst of pain that the Lord’s word would penetrate through. Indeed, his word is able to create a universe and holds up that universe now. It can surely penetrate through this pain.

Blessings, Al


Update (WTS work)

Posted in Prayer Requests, Updates at 11:43 am by Karyn

The aggressive treatment therapies have been producing difficult side effects and leave Professor Groves in a state of considerable weakness. Many of his administrative and academic responsibilities at Westminster Theological Seminary have been delegated to colleagues.

Please pray for healing. And pray for God’s grace, sustenance, and mercy to Al, to Libbie, to their family, as well as to the extended Westminster community. Messages for Professor Groves are being received by his assistant, Martha Dunson.


On the way to Amsterdam

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Prayer Requests at 2:07 pm by Al

Dear praying friends and family,

A real quick note before we head out to Amsterdam this afternoon. First, thanks again for all the encouragement and prayer. God is using it mightily in our lives.

PRIMARY PRAYER REQUEST: Pray for our children while we are away. This is a difficult time and our being away makes it more difficult. To those of you who are at New Life Glenside, if you wouldn’t mind giving our kids, especially Alden, a hug, we’d be grateful. The difference between 14 year old girls and 12 year old boys when it comes to knowing how to comfort a friend and talk about hard things is noteworthy. So Alden hears through us that people are praying for us, but it would encourage him to hear it straight from others too. Thank you!

1. God’s hand has been evident—we are able to go to Amsterdam! Providentially on Tuesday morning the pulmonary specialist had a cancellation so I went in for my consult in preparation for the biopsy. Then tickets were still available (at a reasonable price) for a Thursday to Monday trip to Amsterdam. Someone has helped us with the airfare. Someone else has stepped in to help us with the children. We have a place to stay (in fact more than one if we need it). The flight times are good, especially on the return (i.e., not crack of dawn arrival at the airport on the way back.)

2. My biopsy is scheduled for Wednesday, February 15, 2006 at 8:30am. It’s a “needle” biopsy done in conjunction with a CAT scan. I will need to be at the hospital most of the day. Not sure when results will be in, so we will let you know the first moment we know anything. There is something to note here: Even if the initial biopsy comes clean both the oncologist and the pulmonary specialist independently indicated the same thought—they will continue to test until all possible tests come back negative. That is, a needle biopsy may give a false negative. So, until cancer is definitively identified, I will undergo testing (PET scan and then surgery to do a fuller biopsy). If all these come back clean, then the verdict would be it is something else. At the moment I don’t sense anyone expecting this. But God is able to imagine more than doctors!

3. How Motown muted my madness: Claustrophobia is one of my great challenges in life. So, when I had an MRI of the brain yesterday, which involves having my body inserted into a tiny space for the process, I felt a real clutch of fear, even though I had my eyes closed (I could still feel the closeness of the walls, etc.) They provide you with music, and the radio was tuned to Motown. I”d asked about classical, but apparently Motown was what the Lord had in mind as the answer to my prayer… 35 minutes later I emerged sane to tell the tale.

Well, this turned out longer than I expected!

Next week I will only be in town Tuesday and Wednesday. So I may not get much emailing done. Let me rephrase that: I almost certainly will not get much emailing done!

God is sovereign. And he is good. This is great comfort.

Blessings, Al


Growth found on lung

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Prayer Requests at 2:03 pm by Al

Dear friends and family,

Once again my family and I are in a place we need your prayers. (We are all always in need of prayer, but this is one of those providential moments where we are a little more needful!)

You may recall the melanoma I had removed last year. The Lord heard your prayers and the prayers of others and brought me safely through that time of trial. You all were so encouraging to us during that time, for which we are deeply grateful. Through that experience we learned afresh how important it is to share with the community our need and to see the Lord work through the prayers of his saints.

As you have already guessed, something that may be related to the melanoma has “surfaced,” and we are again asking you to join us in prayer.

Because melanoma is dangerous when it spreads to internal organs, physicians have developed a protocol of ongoing “surveillance” for those who have had a melanoma removed—e.g., quarterly appointments with a dermatologist (to watch for external signs of recurrence) and then annual chest x-rays and blood tests (to monitor for internal signs at the sites where the cancer most likely spreads if it is going to do so.)

Like the results of the surgery in October of 2004, my initial blood work and x-rays in January of 2005 were fine.

Last Thursday I had the January 2006 x-ray of my lungs. On Monday I learned that the x-rays had revealed a 3cm growth that had not been there last January. My physicians have been quite concerned and I have already begun a series of tests to identify the nature of this growth. Read the rest of this entry »

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