Wednesday, April 29, 2015
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
2nd Timothy 4:7-8
Clifton B. Fincher, my very dear husband has gone on to be with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Much has transpired these past few weeks, Clif became very ill and confused, ultimately the graft vs host came on him like a storm and swept through him taking from him his very last breath. We truly did fight a good fight and we have no regrets. Our doctors felt treatment to manage the gvh was no longer working and they had basically run out of options.
On Saturday, April 25th, 2015 Holly (Clifs sister) and myself made the decision to bring Clif home to the house. We arrived by ambulance to many many very dear close friends. He was brought into the heart of our home where he was flooded with love for the next 32 hours before The Lord himself took his spirit. Being at his bedside and seeing firsthand his gradual and painless departure from this world to the next, was truly a blessing. An empty tent was left behind, he was not there any longer. Sadness did not fill that room, a quiet atmosphere of peace settled in. I will forever be grateful to be witness of that moment in time, I will miss him deeply and his company on this side of heaven. I do however look forward to the day that I too will meet up with him. So, tears are here........... weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5
Death did not win a battle, God raised up one of His own faithful soldiers, who stayed on the front of the battle line up until his very last breath! Truly a warrior.
Our continual prayer throughout this entire affliction was; Lord, we pray fearfully for your will to be done, but we do also ask that our hearts desires might collide with your will and allow for a long healthy life on this side of heaven. Gods will and plans for Clifs life were different than our hopes. Because and only because of our faith in His plans am I able to move forward with great confidence in knowing that His plans are always better than ours. Clif does get to be in heaven, I will remain here with our kids and press on with our lives. My faith is such that I know God picked a really great guy to have on His side of the playing field.
Moving forward; Please join as we celebrate Clif and his life;
Saturday May 2nd from 4pm - 8pm. Services will start promptly at 4. Please arrive a little early to allow for parking.
Santiago Canyon Estate
8011 E. Santiago Canyon Road
The following day on Sunday May 3rd you are welcome to join us graveside at 1:30pm at Fairhaven Memorial Park, located at 1702 Fairhaven Avenue, Santa Ana.
Please visit this websiter for any donations you would like to make; Ourhope.cityofhope.org/cliftonfincher
If you would like reach me, my personal email is; Doreenefincher@ca.rr.com
God Bless all of you and thank you for helping us move onward and upward. Please continue to pray for our family as we redefine our new life.
at 5:58 AM
Thursday, April 16, 2015
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 THESSALONIANS 5 : 18”
April 29th this year will be 1 year since Clif received his bone marrow transplant, can you believe it!!
We are still on the battlefield! Clif was readmitted to the City of Hope on Tuesday night April 7th, 2015, he continues on an inpatient basis and I am uncertain when he will be discharged.
He and his "Roomate, the Graft" are still struggling for interior territory. The primary problem has been the attack on the vascular system, a form of Graft vs Host (GVH). Fluids continue to leak out of the vascular system and into 3rd space areas like the sack around the heart & lungs and into the abdoment & legs. He has had Parasenthesis a few times to drain fluids off the body. Treatment for this is increased steroids.
This form of GVH has caused Clif to want to sleep, he has also experienced confusion related to additional drugs given like; prednisone, limotil, morphine and more. I hope to see the weening process begin soon. He is being watched very closely and I continue to feel he is receiving the very best medical treatment!
It's been a difficult year to say the least. Charlie has taken a semester break from ASU, his help with Clif has been a blessing. Clif requires much physical assistance in standing and in overall transport and Charllie is the man! Sydney is finishing up her senior year in High School and college choices are winding down, William is preparing to depart Junior High and begin his first year at Foothill HS. I am continueing at home as the "Controller" literally, we have caregivers, therapists, many appointments and a home to keep a float and businesses to keep running. God has been faithful to lavish upon us HOPE and to sustain our every need. No complaining, just explaining as Clif would typically say.
Prayers are always appreciated.
Love the Fincher Family
at 7:22 AM
Sunday, February 22, 2015
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 PETER 5 : 7”
Last Week Clif started having some mild stomach cramping, by Tuesday of this week the cramping had intensified to a very painful level.
A drive to he closest ER; Western Medical to be inpatient there for 4 days than another transport ride over to City of Hope. Our week has been full of X-Rays, CT's, Ultrasounds and No Food By Mouth.
Its been challenging. The series of tests have concluded a certain Ileus;
A Non-mechanical blockage in the intestines, meaning there is not a physical blockage but movement has stopped. Mechanical blockages are more common than non-mechanical blockages. Ileus is an example of a non-mechanical blockage. They do not see an obstruction in the intestines, but something is slowing and even causing the bowel system to sleep a bit.
So we wait...........We've seen all the right doctors and all are hoping this clears on it's own. There are many many causes of Ileus and without speculating the long list of possibilities, we've narrowed it to probably long term pain meds and slower mobility.
Unfortunately, Clif is on morphine and atavan and the two mixed does cause confusion and anxiety. Trying to keep him encouraged and quiet. We are doing PT and trying to get as much physical movement as we can to help things along. But for now this is a waiting game until doctors feel another course of treatment should be taken.
Please keep up a specific prayer for movement, for the roads to clear and for traffic to start moving on the backed up intestinal highway!
Will keep you posted.
In His Grace,
at 5:33 AM
Sunday, February 1, 2015
““Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
It was Super Bowl Weekend last year when Clif began to feel very sick. I remember the weekend well........He began his transition from 12 years with Myelofibrosis over to Acute Myeloid Leukemia. A bone marrow transplant was coming and we knew it. We had searched, traveled, prayed and prepared for decisions and days ahead. The term; "Ignorance is Bliss" has become a clear rememberance of difficult days gone by. Not Knowing the magnitude of medical difficulties can actually be a blessing. Going through this last year of affliction has shed much insight & wisdom and ignorance is now not allowed at this stage of the game. Our doctors, all excellent, have done their jobs with precision and perfection.
Clifs current health status is; fluid around the heart, lungs and abdomen. Weakness in the legs and very thin skin on the arms caused from increased steroids and low platelets. (There are other minor things going on in his health, but we don't major in the minors here).
Since Clif went septic this past December 30th, he spent three weeks at City of Hope and the consequences of treating this infection are still hovering. Close observation via CT and Ecco are performed frequently to monitior if fluids are reducing or increasing. Doctors all believe it is a form of graft vs host (gvh) making an attack on the vascular system, again. The increased steroids to heal the gvh are being weaned down. Unfortunately, the steroid use has stolen even more strength from his already fragile muscular system. Clif has been receiviing more platelets and blood due to this event and we are grateful for so many of you who have recently come back to donate, again.
Much has happened and thankfully much has passed. Difficulty days still remain but we are pressing on.
Thank you for continuing to pray for all of us!
Blessings and Happy New Year,
Clif, Doreene, Charlie, Sydney, and William
at 6:19 AM
Sunday, January 4, 2015
“Look to the LORD and his strength;
seek his face always.”
Yes, we are back at City of Hope! Took a detour first and tried out St. Josephs in Orange, got great care, but ultimately, we needed to be back in the environment that can specifically treat Clif with the specialized care a transplant patient needs.
On Tuesday December 30th, 2014 Clif spiked a fever, blood pressure dropped, he felt lethargic & dizzy and basically looked and felt really bad! Dr's all agreed, it's time for another visit for inpatient hospital care. We were encouraged to go first to the local hospital and get him stablized than transport to City of Hope by Friday January 2nd, 2015.
Upon our warmly welcomed arrival here, our team of doctors including; Nepherologist, Pulmonologist, Cardiologist and Hemotologist were all on site and literally at the door of his room once he was settled in. What a blessing, it's a Friday late afternoon, approaching the end of a big holiday weekend and God had it such that a team of experts were here to put a plan of attack together to handle Clifs serious health care needs.
Clif has Sepsis, again. This is a bacteria that attacks all organs of the body, I've noticed the biggest attack on the brain. He has been disoriented and very very tired. So tired we have to wake him up to feed him and take his meds. A low immune system person such as he, walking around in a world of sick people that we all live among was just too much. His mind is willing to go go go, but his body is not ready! Keeping him down these past 3 months since discharge in September has not been easy.
So I ask you all to continue to pray.
Blessings and Happy New Year.
at 11:45 AM
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
"They will call him Immanuel" - "God with us". Matthew 1:23
"Prince of Peace". Isaiah 9:6
It's been just about 8 months since the transplant and Clif is regaining strength. This past 3 months at home we have seen a steady progression of improved blood counts and physical ability. Still being a high fall risk, life keeps all of us on our toes, literally. Weekly visits to City of Hope continue, Clif has needed only a few transfusions of blood since discharge, platelets still remain low, but he has not needed a transfusion of those, thankfully! We continue to look forward to a full recovery, God Willing.
Below, is a picture we took earlier this week at Convict Lake near Mammoth Mountain.
Our lives during these holidays are busy. Charlie is back home returning to ASU in mid-January.
Sydney has completed her college applications and the college return mail arrives daily. She is very popular and enjoys spending time with her boyfriend Alex. William finished his 8th grade semester strong and earned his 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
Doreene is our family's anchor and continues to be my advocate for everything important in life. Honestly I do not believe I would be here if God, City Of Hope and Doreene were not at my side.
Physical therapy is going well and I plan to be at full speed and at work soon.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We all need to be grateful in 2015.
at 8:06 AM
Thursday, October 23, 2014
“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
JEREMIAH 29 : 12 – 13
Clif has been home for a little over a month now. We are all adjusting to an ever changing health environment. It has not been easy but we are all very glad DAD is home. His attitude continues to be good and he is determined to win the race.
His weekly routine incudes; Monday/Thursday visits to City of Hope (COH), and Tuesday/Wednesday/ Fridays he does Speech Pathology, Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy at Winways Rehabilitation in Orange Park Acres.
The hospital visits each time include a visit to the VAD (Vascular Assist Device). Here is where the picc line is serviced. Back on February 3rd, 2014 when Clif first arrived at COH a picc line was installed into his right upper arm to push or administer all needed medications in fluid form and also to pull blood draws. He has a single line/double tubes which means 2 seperate access lines can feed into the blood stream. The picc line itself is a line that runs straight to the heart for immediate access into the blood stream. Each Thursday the device is cleaned and redressed. The device will remain until we are absolutely certain we are in the clear. Once finished with VAD we head over to Dr Snyders office, our oncologist for review of the blood counts that were just drawn minutes before and to discuss any existing or new symptoms (like a recent infection on his elbow). This place has got it together! These visits also include an in depth review of all blood counts, if something is minutely off in his blood, modications are made to the myriad of drugs and supplements taken. Steroids, Immune Suppressants and Magnesium have been the most volatile.
Clif has had some struggles this last month. Several falls and one visit to emergency for observation. Because of this, all walking requires a shadow, that means someone is behind him every step he takes. We have hired an in home health care assistant (Lazelle, a wonderful Philippino helper) she comes at 9pm and leaves at 9am Sunday through Thursdays. Clif is not sleeping well and in order for me to give him my best, I need to get some sleep.
The Graft vs Host Disease (GVHD) is still attacking but we are managing it from home. The Prednisone used to fight it after long term use weekens the muscles, especially in the upper quads of his legs making it a very difficult task to recover and rebuild strength in his legs. So, while a fall risk and able to be home, sit out front, do homework with William, have meals with all of us, and slowly reclaim his life, careful mobility and strict discipline and obedience to NOT WALK AROUND SOLO from Clif is required.
Folks, its not been an easy road and we continue to ask you to pray for all of us. Charlie is adapting to College life, Sydney is now preparing College Apps and William has had some struggles at school but we are working diligently to improve his academics. I am holding down the fort, my grip is strong and my strength comes from quieting my heart, sitting still and listening, it is not always easy. Time is spent first thing with The Lord, it has been life sustaining to me personally. I have found that a quiet spirit is of priceless value, stillness has allowed me to accomplish much in my days.
Thank you also for bringing meals, Clif has had some great food since being out of the hospital and we are all very grateful.
Our faith is deep and we are pressing on towards the goal of a God Willing full recovery!!!
Let us run with Patience. Hebrews 12:1 (KJV)
at 6:07 AM
Sunday, September 14, 2014
Day +145, "Celebrating and Praising Him Who Is Able To Do Immeasurably More Than All We Can Ask or Imagine"
“When I called, you answered me;
you made me bold and stouthearted.
May all the kings of the earth praise you, O LORD,
when they hear the words of your mouth.”
Clif is scheduled for discharge this Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014, Praise God!!!
As I write this; many many thoughts swirl around in my mind. Today is 145 days past the day Clif received his German stem cells, it is 231 days since he was admitted to the City of Hope. It will be just about 34 weeks since he has slept in our bed, stood in our kitchen, pet Buddy & Cocoa our dogs, picked up his socks, got a glass of water from the refridgerator door, used our bathroom and many other simple comforts that he will experience very very soon. Clif is coming home, Hallelujah, yes their will be much rejoicing when he steps across the threshold of our home!
A recent week long trend of good blood counts has rewarded us with a departure that we have anticipated for a very long time. We have possibly turned a major health corner, a corner we have been waiting and praying to see.
Physical Therapy (PT) has been going very well. Clif now wears Nike cross trainer shoes to walk the halls with his trusty walker that needs to be painted and customized with flames painted down its metal framework! This past week PT has included practicing getting into a car. Clifs first request as he approached the car was, "Can I practice sitting on the driver side"? it was quickly squashed! His reply, "Well I guess Doreene can drive me to work", hmmmmmm like I haven't done enough driving already! This was revealing of where his mind is. He remains on many drugs, ones that would prevent anyone from driving! Although disappointed, he completely understands and will continue to wait patiently as life slowly returns some of the benefits he has not been able to enjoy. PT will become much more rigorous, our hope is to immediately begin a very regimented schedule to reclaim the old body, "give it some new upgrades" but operate with an entirely new source of fuel, German Jet Fuel!
Health still has concerns; fluid accumulation is still our main issue, elevated blood pressure is being addressed, pain in the tailbone area from a recovering bed sore continues to scream for the most attention and a few other things. Fortunately, we will monitor these things on an outpatient basis, with bi-weekly visits to begin immediately this Thursday.
Today, the forecast is good. God has been beyond gracious! Friends and Family, you have held us up and we are grateful. We look forward to celebrating very soon with all of you!
“Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”
at 7:11 AM
Friday, September 5, 2014
Blessed are all who wait for Him. Isaiah 30:18
In our last update we shared an upper/lower GI was being performed to hopefully shed light on why Clif was having a large degree of stomach cramping, abodmenal distention (again) and plumbing issues. The findings were nothing. There has been a great degree of mystery the last 2 weeks but today we feel a new discovery was made.
Dr Ali, one of our "Team 5" of oncology/transplant doctors shared a new word; Serositis. He explained this was a manifestation of GVH. Serositis is the medical term for an inflammation of the lining of the lungs, heart, or abdomen and abdominal organs. In a nutshell, Clif is accumulating fluids again around these areas. The treatment; marketly increased steroids over the next 3 days and administer a new drug called Rituximab (Rituxin) delivered once a week via IV for the next 4 weeks. Prayerfully this issue will not slow his progress made with Physical Therapy.
Today, he was introduced to the Viking Lift (see picture below), a piece of equipment with wheels and a sort of Jumpy harness that allows Clif to walk with a walker but be a little lighter on his feet. It continues to require 2 assistants but definitely gives a more liberating feel to the art of walking. Yes, it is much like the jumpy swing we all used with our babies, only it is not stationary this one travels.
“I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in his word I put my hope.”
at 6:46 PM
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
JOHN 14 : 27”
We've had a few more challenging days, both physically and mentally. "Recognizing Change" is the banner over my head, literally. When appointed caregiver, you actually become an extention to ones body and their mental perspective in some cases. For Clif, since he has been here for so long and taking such a variety of drugs, one is likely to get confused, lose track of time or sometimes hit rock bottom. Many of the drugs that are meant to help with anxiety, nerve issues or even help you sleep all affect the mind. So when we see the mental behave out of the norm, the red flags go up. A slight form of depression was starting to reveal itself, but I think it's been addressed quickly with much wisdom and thought.
A blessing this past week was having Holly here, Clif's sister from New Hampshire. I must say, she is insightful with her observation of the mental. Her husband Peter, an ER doctor has also been an extra benefit and their collective wisdom has been comforting for myself and has allowed the three of us to make some pretty good deterrminations that have benefited Clifs overall health. Having them to turn too daily has made us a great team! God really has provided some extra special support in this area. I am truly thankful.
Clif had an upper and lower GI yesterday, results will be forthcoming. Having recent and new abdominal pain called for further investigation. With this, his appetite has decreased over the last week and we have seen a bit of weight loss. Being creative on the food menu has also become increasingly boring! We need to be gentle on the intake, so any thoughts on gentle menu items safe for the intestinal system are completely welcome.
As he continues with rehab, he attempts to take "one step up". Jose pictured to the right of Clif has a certain gentle spirit and the strength of Hercules! Knowing this, Clif trusts him completely to be his strength. Yes, we will leave here with people who have deeply touched our lives and that we will keep in touch with.
Thank you all again and again for encouraging us to win this battle, for praying for our strength and courage, for routine emails and texts that keep us integrated with people, for meals in abundance to the house and for bringing joy and company and much more.
“You are my refuge and my shield;
I have put my hope in your word.”
at 5:25 AM