Long Day

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Updates at 10:23 pm by Libbie

This will be brief, because I need to get to bed a.s.a.p.

Today was a hard one for Al. He is experiencing constant pain and nausea. The hospice team is working competently and professionally to determine the right medicines to help bring both under control, and I’m sure they will be able to do that, but during the process it’s hard to see Al suffering so.

Just wanted to let you know. Thanks for your concern and prayers–



Posted in From Al & Libbie, Reflections, Updates at 6:17 pm by Libbie

Hello again after a few days.

The kids are feeling much better and are back in school now after both of them being home sick on Friday and then lying low over the weekend. Alasdair’s bronchitis, which was, as usual, pretty bad, is on the mend in time for the start of the semester on Thursday. And so far neither Al nor I have caught any of the above. Thank the Lord for that! Becky has had more car troubles, but our mechanic has again gone above and beyond the call of duty to help us out and keep her on the road. If anybody in the Philly area needs a mechanic, call us for his name–he’s amazing! Read the rest of this entry »


Listen in…

Posted in General at 3:37 pm by Karyn

Psalm 138 reminds us to bow humbly with King David and “all the kings of the earth” before the Lord’s holy temple and give thanks for his steadfast love and faithfulness. You can listen to Al as he meditates on these words in a Westminster Theological Seminary chapel address delivered last winter:

Reflections on Psalm 138 by Al Groves


From the sick ward…

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Reflections, Updates at 3:18 pm by Libbie

Well, today Alden is finally well enough to be back in school (hopefully, since he’s feeling neither terrific nor strong), but last night Eowyn woke up in the middle of the night with chills and fever, so she’s home today. (And coincidentally Alasdair has developed bronchitis.) Please pray that Al will not catch any of the germs in this hive of sickness!

Al felt a little better yesterday than the day before, it seemed to me, which was great. Today he’s pooped and not feeling great. He is increasingly unsteady on his feet and lacking in any kind of energy, and typing is becoming extremely difficult. But he’s a tough old guy, and he keeps on truckin’, if you’ll pardon a 70’s expression. Read the rest of this entry »


“A little too fast, and in the wrong direction…”

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Updates at 3:48 pm by Libbie

(That’s a quote from a version of the Pinnochio story that my older sister Louise and I grew up on. She and I used to quote it a lot, and I still think of it often, although I never say it because no one else remembers it–which makes me miss her. Anyway, it seemed a propos for this situation.)

Al is feeling distinctly less well than he was a week ago. He is experiencing extreme fatigue, significantly compromised coordination and balance, and a great deal of abdominal pain. Whether or not his fall (see 1/18/07) directly contributed to the latter is unclear, but he is very uncomfortable. Read the rest of this entry »


More of God’s protection…

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Updates at 3:53 pm by Libbie

Yesteday the Lord protected Al from being run over in the middle of Limekiln Pike (see entry below if that is news to you). Today Becky hit a patch of ice on the way to work, banged into the curb and broke a tie rod on her car. But thankfully she was going very slowly, and thankfully she slid to the right, not the left, so she didn’t hit any other cars. The mechanic said that as such accidents go, the damage was about as minimal as possible. Another example of God’s protection as he watches over us. Thank you, Lord!

Al’s parents are on their way here from Florida for a visit, and tomorrow one of our nephews will also join us from California. Looking forward to a great weekend. Too bad the unseasonably warm weather left before their arrival…


News from the day…

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Updates at 10:34 pm by Libbie

Al took a fall today. It was because he tried to run a short distance, and apparently his equilibrium and coordination, which are okay for walking, aren’t up to running. He hit hard, scraping his chin, hands, and knees, but taking the brunt of the fall on his abdomen. In fact he landed so hard that at first he wondered if he had broken a rib, though that turned out not to be the case.

The complicating factor was that he was crossing a busy street when he fell. The fall was so sudden and the impact so forceful that he ended up sprawled in the middle of the street, stunned. Thankfully there was a big enough gap in the traffic that he hadn’t actually needed to run, which meant that the oncoming cars had plenty of time to slow down and stop before they reached him. (We are thankful for that!!) He couldn’t get up, even to his hands and knees, but he slowly army crawled to the far curb, and a passing driver stopped and helped him get to his feet. Read the rest of this entry »


One year anniversay, January 16

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Reflections at 8:47 am by Al

A year ago on January 16, 2006, Martin Luther King Day, we learned that there was a suspicious growth in my lung which had showed up in an annual chest X-Ray (the X-Ray was a routine, precautionary follow-up to monitor possible—though not expected—spread of cancer to the rest of my body after I had had a melanoma lesion removed from my shoulder in 2004). After a month of doctors’ appointments and tests, the diagnosis was melanoma metastasis to my lungs (and later, ultimately, to my brain.) Medically incurable. I was told that I had a year or so to live.

Needless to say, this was hard-hitting news. We have grieved, but always with hope in the resurrection we have through faith in Christ. While we would not have chosen it this way, we have seen God’s goodness, nearness, steadfast love, and faithfulness in unprecedented fashion. We have rested in the reality that he is absolutely in control and he is good. Read the rest of this entry »


Checking in, 1.14.07

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Updates at 1:11 am by Libbie

It’s been a while since I wrote, so I thought I’d bring you up to date.

Actually there is not too much to report. Al’s health continues to be relatively stable and steady. He has reduced the steroid dose by two tiny increments so far, and although he had quite bad headaches the first day of the first reduction, since then they have been okay. He said he thinks his legs feel a little bit stronger but that that might all be in his head. He has a lot of superficial (skin-deep) numbness on his right side, and he occasionally has bizarre visual episodes in his left peripheral vision, both of which are caused by the brain tumors. But most of his symptoms are just intensifications of the kinds of things he’s struggled with for years with his fibromyalgia: being very tired, needing to nap, foggy thinking, etc. Al now naps several times a day, with work or visiting periods in between. Read the rest of this entry »


Libbie’s Birthday

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Reflections at 9:27 am by Al

Yesterday, January 6, was Libbie’s 49th birthday. It’s hard to believe. I can still remember the first time we met (30 years ago, when she was 18, arriving at a square dance in an orange calico dress–while it was not love at first sight, she did leave a lasting impression.)

Yesterday was a day of family celebration of God’s gift to us in Libbie as wife, friend, mom and so much more. All the kids were here from the afternoon on: Alasdair and Lauren helping around the house with various needful tasks, Becky and her roommate Melissa taking charge of birthday cake preparations, Alden wrapping gifts, and Eowyn being her usual servant self. Read the rest of this entry »


Happy New Year 2007!

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Updates at 3:17 pm by Libbie

Happy New Year, everyone!

Just wanted to let you know that Al’s health is stable and that we had a very nice Christmas break.

For the last several weeks Al’s symptoms have been pretty steady and not too bad, for which we are very grateful. Sometimes it’s even hard to believe that his condition is as threatening as it is. I catch myself thinking that things will go on like this for years, and then I have to remind myself not to take this period for granted but to savor each day and to make the most of it. Al continues to be tired, and sort of weak and shaky, but we learned yesterday that some of that muscle weakness (myopathy–I just leaned the word) may actually be from the steroids. So we’re going to see if it will be possible to gradually lessen the dose he’s taking. At the moment his headaches are quite mild, not even requiring Tylenol, but that could change with reduced steroids; we’ll see. All of the doctors are in agreement that it is best to stay off of any chemo or radiation treatment until such time as symptoms develop that might call for reconsidering them, so that’s the game plan. Read the rest of this entry »