Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

I'm closing the year by adding new articles for Jimmie and me both under our respective tabs above.  That sounds so strange.  Jimmie has written numerous articles and tracts over the years that have been published many places, so nothing strange about that for him. I actually ran into this new one online and realized I did not have a copy of it.  But me?  I have been writing stories, journals and poems for most of my life and newsletters for the last 25 years.  I wrote things all the time while at TFTW - but my name was rarely on it for anyone to know.  So a published article for me sounds very strange . . . but I like the sound.

This morning Jimmie wrote on his Facebook wall that he plans to be saving souls from Hell in 2012, then issued a challenge for others to join him.  Sounds like a good way to spend the year to me.

- Linda

Friday, December 30, 2011

Chemo #4

It's been 6 whole weeks since Jimmie had his right kidney removed and he has made tremendous progress, so much progress that his surgeon actually released him earlier this week.  Hmmmm. . . . Does that remove the "No Housework" restriction?  Jimmie has tried to convince me that the doctor meant that one as a life-time taboo, but I don't think so.

Yesterday's chest X-ray showed that Jimmie does have some pneumonia in the bottom of his lungs.  That was a surprise.  His lungs partially collapsed during the surgery in November so he has been puffing on that breathing machine ever since, as instructed.  He has exceeded the target set by the doctor and not had any congestion or other problems so we really thought he had managed to bypass that hazard.  But apparently not.  He goes to the pulmonologist next week for follow-up.

Today's blood work was also disappointing because Jimmie's hemoglobin has dropped once more despite the iron pills he has been faithfully swallowing again for the past 2 weeks.  So today's chemo was followed by an iron infusion. 

But the good news - no mouth sores yet!

- Linda

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas - Part 1

Jimmie's reaction to chemo #3 was shortened again - only about 36 hours this time.  Yeah!  Unfortunately, the side effects were delayed and didn't begin until the afternoon of Christmas Eve.  Boo!   There are some who might suspect that Jimmie's intense pain might have been caused more by his attitude toward Christmas than by the chemo.  Afterall, his favorite literary character has always been Ebenezer Scrooge - right up until Scrooge starts dancing on his bed.  Of course, I would never suggest that . . .

Actually, despite Jimmie's skyrocketing pain level we had a lovely Christmas.  The weekend was quiet - a roaring fire in the fireplace, a glass of eggnog and watching one of my favorite holiday movies "White Christmas".  The real festivities won't begin until Cole comes, so Christmas is on hold here until the middle of January.  Just as well . . . I haven't even finished wrapping all of the presents yet, but please, don't tell my sister that.

I had a lovely suprise on Sunday when a sweet friend mentioned that she really liked my article in the newest Christian Woman magazine.  My copy has not arrived yet so I had no idea it was there!  Now I'm anxious for the post office to get to delivering again.

- Linda

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Chemo #3

Jimmie's chemo came a day early this week since tomorrow the doctor's office will be closed for Christmas.  Is it really this weekend?!   Oh, my . . . 

We actually had questions today, but did not get much info because Jimmie's doctor had already left for the holiday and the practice partner spent most of the few minutes we had with him trying to figure out how to find Jimmie's lab results.  So, we decided to wait on the questions.  This doctor did warn us, though, that Jimmie can expect mouth sores to begin appearing within the next week.  Something lovely to look forward to.  Jimmie's regular oncologist had been checking for foot swelling - and that arrived this past Sunday night for an indefinite stay.

The chemo treatment room was packed with patients today since all of the typically Friday patients had to be bumped forward.  32 recliners each with an IV stand and a patient fighting for their life.  The lady in the chair beside Jimmie noticed that the IV line was leaking from just below the bag and naturally she reached out her hand to confirm that the line was really wet.  It was an automatic gesture, one I would have taken without a thought.  But it put the nurses into panic mode when they learned she had touched the medicine.  They cleaned her wet fingers and warned her never to do that again before they ever started to fix the leak problem.  I was impressed at how quickly they reacted and took care of everything . . . and then it hit that they were pumping this dangerous liquid into her.  A  sobering thought.

- Linda

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Tuesday!

I felt like celebrating today for several reasons:
  • I heard a beautiful sound - Jimmie playing the guitar and singing.  It had been much too long since he had felt like picking it up, and longer still since he had enough breathe to sing along with it.  It is truly a blessing to see these signs of strength returning. 
  • Chemo #2 only made Jimmie feel lousy for 2 days this time - a definite improvement over the 6 days last time.  By Monday he was bouncing back.  I hope it will get easier on him each time.
  • I think I have finally dug out of the mountain of office work that piled up during the week I was at the hospital with Jimmie.  I managed to keep the student assignments current then but everything else just grew quietly.  Now if I could just catch up on housework and Christmas.
- Linda

Friday, December 16, 2011

4 Weeks Post-Op

What do you get when there are 4 Hill boys in the house?  Lots of talking and laughter, of course.  Jimmie's 3 brothers - Bob, Jarrod & Eric - drove down from Tennessee yesterday to take care of some yard repairs for us, which was wonderful.  Jimmie was supposed to just be "supervising" but when I found him up on a ladder in the garage as he searched for something - I almost had a heart attack!  I'm afraid that he and I have different definitions of "taking it easy".  On the other hand, I'm thrilled that he had enough energy and zeal to be there.

Today was his second chemo and it went smoothly again . . . after they located some meds to infuse.  (Somehow his chemo didn't get ordered but they got a rush delivery from the hospital next door.) 

His blood work continues to look good.  Now the only portion that is not yet in the normal range is his hemoglobin.  But the thing that had his doctors smiling broadly again today was the fact that Jimmie had gained some weight.  Over the course of the last year or so Jimmie has lost 95 pounds.  The first half of that was by design, but the last 50 fell off rapidly due to the cancer.  So, Jimmie's reaction to gaining a couple of pounds?  "Uh-oh, I don't want to get fat again!"

- Linda

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


There may have been a lot of rain this fall, but there has also been some wonderful sunshine . . .

Cole always brings sunshine!
The 12th Doctor Who ready to use his sonic screwdriver on the Halloween crowd!

Julie and Cole spent a week with us after Jimmie came home from the hospital.
- Linda

December 2011 Report

Dear Brethren,              

            Shortly after our return from the South Pacific gospel campaign in April and May of this year, my life has become filled with doctors and numerous medical tests.  After being diagnosed with thyrotoxicosis and anemia, several cures were tried to no avail.  I was referred to a hematologist (who is also an oncologist) who ordered two different full body scans.  On October 17th, Linda and I were told that I had stage four renal (kidney) cancer and that it had spread to my lungs.  Linda and I were shocked!  After having thyroid cancer in 2008, I thought I was a cancer survivor.  Now, that remains to be seen.  However, God is in control and whatever happens will happen.  I have reconciled myself with everyone and everything and like the apostle Paul, if my departure is at hand, “I am now ready to be offered” (2 Timothy 4:6).  But, enough of that!

            I am in my fourth week of recovery from the surgery and everyone says I am doing very well.  (I wish someone would convince my insides of that.)  The surgeon said since it was major surgery, it would take about eight weeks to recover and that I was not to push it   However, those of you who know me know that I cannot not push, at least, to some extent.  I am feeling stronger every day and working as I can but looking forward to getting back to our work together for the Lord on a full-time basis.
            Yes, medicine is wonderful with what can be done today but it is certainly expensive.  I received a notification from the hospital in the mail that said I was responsible for $56,000 plus owed to them.  That didn’t even include the pulmonologist, the physical therapist, the two surgeons, and the host of other specialists involved.  One cannot afford to be sick these days.  Oh well, “Jehovah-jireh,” God will provide (Genesis 22:8, 14).

            May our God bless each of you and please accept my heartfelt gratitude for your prayers, words of concern, and financial support in our work.

In Christ Who Saves,
Jimmie B.Hill

Greetings from Georgia!   

We have not been able to send out a newsletter since mid-September, so here’s a brief timeline of our fall:

9/28 – Jimmie’s anemia worsened so he was referred to a hematologist.
9/30 – Emergency infusion treatment – Jimmie’s calcium level was almost to the coma-inducing level.
10/3-13 – Lots of blood tests, visits with specialists and finally 2 full body scans.
10/17 – Diagnosis:  Stage 4 Renal Cancer. The tumor was already involved with the vena cava so surgery might not be an option.
10/26 – Biopsy attempts on his lungs failed, but the kidney sample confirmed malignant renal cancer.
10/31 – The urology surgeon decided the vena cava was too compromised for him to tackle.  He referred Jimmie to a team at Emory Hospital. 
11/1 – Jimmie had 3 MRIs needed to evaluate surgery options.
11/3 – Jimmie’s first chemo was scheduled but his oncologist insisted on reviewing the MRIs first – then cancelled chemo.  He decided surgery should be possible and chemo would interfere. A few hours later Jimmie got a call from the first surgeon. Based on the MRIs he was willing to operate, provided a vascular surgeon agreed and would assist.
11/4 – Jimmie developed severe hiccups from the cancer. 2 different medications from the doctor gave only short respites from the horrible muscle spasms.
11/10 – The vascular surgeon signed on.  We got a call scheduling surgery!
11/11 – The oncologist almost cancelled surgery when he saw first-hand how sick Jimmie had become due to the hiccups.  But a CT Scan of Jimmie’s lungs showed no additional cancer growth there so he allowed plans to go forward. 
11/14 – Jimmie received 2 units of blood to try to make him stronger before surgery.                 
11/17 – Jimmie’s right kidney was removed.  During the 3 ½ hour operation he lost and received 6 ½ liters of blood - more than his whole body’s volume - so was sent straight to ICU on a ventilator.
11/18 – The ventilator came out but more blood had to go in.
11/19 – Jimmie left ICU for a surgical room.
11/20 – His blood counts dropped again so he got 2 more transfusions.  He was only allowed out of bed to take 2 steps to a chair, then back again.
11/22 – Jimmie got his first sip of water since surgery and was allowed to walk a bit further.
11/23 – Jimmie came home!
11/28 – 28 staples were removed from his abdomen.
12/9 – Chemo began.

Jimmie receiving his first chemo treatment.

Jimmie’s progress since the surgery has been nothing less than astounding to me, but his oncologist has been almost as happy about it as me.  He confided that he had really been afraid Jimmie would not survive the operation, but we all knew it was Jimmie’s only option.  As Jimmie said, it was definitely the right choice this time.  His remarkable recovery is also due to God’s grace and your prayers.  Thank you!  And thank you too for all of the cards, calls, emails and gifts we have received.

Now, we have a second battle fighting the cancer that is left.  His oncologist believes that our best weapon is a chemical too long for me to pronounce, even though this drug will not kill cancer cells.  Its purpose is to prevent further growth.  But we are praying for better results than that.  We know there is a stronger weapon. 

The day the doctor said “cancer”, the first question Jimmie asked was, “Can you get me well enough to go back to Africa?”  Please continue to pray that this will be possible.

In Christian love,
Linda Hill

Monday, December 12, 2011

Thank you!

We have received many, many encouraging phone calls, cards and emails in the weeks since Jimmie was diagnosed with renal cancer.  We truly appreciate each one.  Knowing that prayers were going up for Jimmie literally around the world was amazing, but also a tremendous comfort.  Thank you.

We have also received several wonderful gifts in the past few weeks that were greatly appreciated.  Most were sent anonymously so I will have to express our "thanks" here.  Fa'afetai tele lava (as we grew accustomed to saying when we lived in Samoa)!  There's just one small note to the dear, unknown friend who shipped us the fruit tower - those chocolate cherries were addictive.  Wow!

- Linda

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Chemo #1

Jimmie's first chemo treatment on Friday went smoothly, but he has felt quite a bit rougher since.  I suppose that is not unusual.  The doctor assured us that this particular chemo would not make Jimmie sick - although the Internet does list some typical side effects that Jimmie experienced this weekend.  But since it is not a poison he did not need to have a port installed and it should not cause him to loose any hair.  All good to hear. 

The down side is that this chemo can interfere with healing from the surgery and it is an ongoing, weekly infusion.  Worse, it will not kill the cancer cells.  Renal cancer is a tough one and does not respond to either the typical chemos or to radiation treatments.  So, this medication strives to prohibt any additional growth in the cancer, but in the process it sometimes shrinks it.

We are praying for better results than that and for the strength to accept whatever God's grace provides.

- Linda

Thursday, December 8, 2011

3 Weeks Post-Op

It has been wonderful this week to see Jimmie getting back to work - one of the advantages of having his office at home.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Yep, Jimmie definitely overdid it on Sunday.  For the first time in months he was able to attend both morning and evening worship - and he drove both times.  In between we enjoyed the noon congregational potluck, and Jimmie talked so much that we were one of the last to leave.  The transformation between Jimmie now and Jimmie before surgery is absolutely astounding!  Jimmie may still be frustrated with being weak and tiring easily but I am amazed at how quickly he has progressed after such major, invasive surgery.  We both thank our Lord daily for His grace and your prayers.

So, even though Jimmie overdid on Sunday and is still completely wiped-out energywise, it was worth it.  But now the order of the day is to get him rested and ready for his first chemo on Friday.

- Linda

Sunday, December 4, 2011


I can't believe this is the 200th post I've written on this blog!  I am so thankful that it is with encouraging news this time . . . cancer, surgery and the worry that comes with them can be downers.  But the trip to the oncologist yesterday was definitely a pick-me-up instead. 

First, Jimmie's doctor seemed geniunely thrilled to see the wonderful progress Jimmie has made since the surgery.  He literally beamed from ear to ear the whole visit.  He told Jimmie that he had actually been afraid to send him to surgery, afraid Jimmie would not get through it.  But Jimmie assured him that surgery had been the right choice this time - and the doctor very happily agreed.

Second, all of Jimmie's bloodwork Friday showed wonderful improvement, especially the hemoglobin that has been such a problem for so long.  Obviously, it was that huge tumor that was destroying Jimmie's red blood cells,

Last, chemo has been scheduled to begin next Friday.  This variety is not expected to make Jimmie sick, but the oncologist thought another week of healing would be a good thing before beginning the weekly infusions.  I know it feels like we just won, but that was only the first battle.  There is still a war to wage so Jimmie was pleased to have a starting date.

- Linda