Update: Monday, July 2, 8 pm - Dewey (France)

O.K. We finally arrived home safely! after 2 hours delay on the runway, and turbulence that reminded me that I'm not afraid of dying, as long as it's not in a plane crash! The trip went very well, and easily. I have a travel tip for all of you, order a wheel chair, and you will go straight through every line, passport and customs, and be treated like royalty. Thank you Air France!

Our Friends Hugh and Celina Arnold picked us up and brought us home -- to our house that they had already cleaned up -- and bought us groceries, the jetlag problem has gone well as Aurora is asleep at the moment, and will be on French time by morning!

As usual, she travels well!

Debbie is very well, very happy and very tired. Tommorrow she will be a new woman.

I have a few photos for you, just to whet your appetite. The virtual house tour will come soon. That's all for now. I've been up 30 odd hours and im a bit tired now.

Bon nuit
Dewey

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Update: Saturday, June 30, 9 pm - Dewey

Well Everybody,

It looks like we leave tomorrow for home! Wish us luck, keep a thousand fingers crossed, and pray Debbie catches no infections on the aeroplane, ...we are going first class on Concorde...(NOT!...but we are blessed to have so many friends, one of whom is helping us to be able to do this! and a direct flight, what more could one ask,...and Aurora gets her own seat!). Debbie is very excited to see home again. She has kept her 'regularity' on a first priority yellow-alert basis, and it has gone well this time, enough about that!

At this time I would like to mention a few special people. About 10 messages down on the wesite, there is a message from Eduard Verna, in French. This man lived in our house "Les Meurs" up untill 1946, it had been empty since then, until we bought it. He was a farmer, had a wife and children, no electricity and well water. He's over 90 now, and has many stories of their life at les Meurs, like the time the barn door fell down and broke his pelvis (the door is still on the floor in the barn), or the German prisoner of war who lived in our bathroom, and kept stealing their eggs, till the kids found out and changed them for rotten ones, and how the Nazis never came to our house, because the road was always too muddy!

Anyway, it was nice to get a message from him. Secondly, there are the couple who were sent from heaven to rent the house next door to Tami and Fritz, where we now reside. Kirk and Tina. Kirk is the undisputed king of barbecues, he made me a wonderfull hamburger the other day. You may not think of hamburgers being particularly wonderful, but try not having one for about 6 years! and Tina who set up a swimming pool for Aurora on their patio, and came over to give Aurora a new Winnie-the-Pooh swimsuit!, not to mention the fresh blueberries.

And of course Kevin again, the guy who gives Debbie the chemo, who traded pants with me last week. I came out better on the deal, with a pair of Emory hospital trousers! By the way, chemo #4 did happen on Tuesday, as Debbie's counts were good at 3,400 and 24% monocytes (above normal!). Her exam showed all organs looking good and, although no real change in the breast, the nodes were smaller and "soft" - a good sign! Debbie will have scans done upon our return from France to see where we're at. She's really concerned about her organs staying healthy as they deal with the cancer and chemo.

As for the Healing Beauty CD project, it is going better than we thought it would. there are great musicians and great songs going to be on it, and there's more to come. I hope to come back from fFance with two more songs, from two French musicians I admire very much. Wish me luck on that. We have put a short bio of each band on the healingbeauty.org website, but on the CD itself there will be some words from Debbie reflecting what each artist and each track means to her. The final mixing will be done in Nashville, and we have set a release date of August 30th all being well.

I apologise for the lack of pictures with this update, but I will be sending Fritz lots of pics from France to post, so watch this space soon. I'll write in as soon as we get home, and during the next 2 weeks, will be giving you a visual tour of our home, our friends, and our life in France.

Dewey


Update: Deb's Thoughts on Love and Forgiveness. Monday, June 25, 6 pm

Having a disease that is life-threatening creates a brand new pair of lenses through which to view the world. All of my life I have heard the message "Love is the answer" through songs, statements, sermons, stickers, etc. Although I always liked it when I’d hear it, it has taken on a whole new meaning of late. I find myself saying it out loud to anyone who will listen, and to the sky and the trees as I walk around. I am experiencing love on a daily basis and feeling its power rush through me, like a warm safe river. It is melting away any sadness and pain that have stagnated inside. It is just washing them away and leaving behind it’s own energy and strength. Love is so powerful, in the best sense.

I have no time to feel hurt or upset with people. My energy is needed to fight the disease and to generate positive thoughts and to hope. I have prayed to let go of any pain and the answer has come back, "Love and forgive." It is so simple. It is so real. Love is truly the answer. It is freedom. Love brings God so close. When we are loving, we are looking at the face of God. And that is healing.

It is making a difference for me. If I can encourage anyone who is hurting to forgive and to love instead, healing will result. God’s love is stronger than the most evil hatred. It is bigger than fear. It casts out fear!

Only love, my friends. Love is the answer!

I want to thank all of you for the love you are sending my way, in so many ways. I am filled with wonder at the love that inspired the CD project (thank you John!) and the love each of the artists pours out in sharing their music (you are all so beautiful – thank you!!) and the love Dewey, Fritz and John share in their dedication and hard work to make the project come to life. I get to see this love in action and it fills me with delight and warmth. I feel held inside your love, all of you. I want each of you to know how much your many ways of letting me know you are there for me, how much this means to me. I am lifted up by each message I receive, each call or letter or gift or visit (I had a surprise one from Patrick Vanderplanque today, all the way from Lille, France!) and all of the prayers and thoughts that I can feel… thank you so much.

I am praying for high white counts tomorrow so that chemo number 4 can take place. We will again be trying Aredia + chemo for the first time. I am well prepared to prevent any unpleasant and painful side effects this time! Thank you all for being with me through these sessions. You are my angels.

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Update: Monday, June 18, 4 pm - Tami

A behind the scenes view this week revealed a bit of a traumatic time. Debbie had her worst side effect ever and the culprit was constipation. The treatments had been going so well that she’d let her guard down a little and forgotten that both the chemo and the anti-nausea pills have a cumulative effect on one’s regularity. For two days (Thursday and Friday) she experienced terrible pain and had the entire household scrambling for a remedy. Fortunately our sister-in-law, Kris, knew what it would take. (A mineral oil enema, if any of you should ever require it.) After desperate calls to both Dr. Eley and Kris on Friday night, Debbie got some relief. It took several days for her to be back to ‘normal’, but we are certain that this will not happen again.

The next day was Mark (Wadsworth) and Angie’s wedding. Fortunately Debbie was still able to attend...although she didn’t dance. Mark and Debbie had been in eighth grade together in Germany and our families have been very close ever since. (They enjoy seven siblings - all similar in age to the Bridges.) It was a great celebration and the closest thing we’ve had to a reunion with the Baca/Wadsworth bunch. A welcome event after all these years wondering if Mark would ever tie the knot. We love you Angie!

Debbie has this week been feeling much better, we’re praying that her counts are recovering in time for her next chemo scheduled Tuesday the 26th. A highlight this week was her meeting with Dr. Eley at the Borders cafe to have a chat...where’d this oncologist come from?! He’d been mentioning that since their appointments were always so in depth that next time they should meet over coffee...we like this man.

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Update: Thursday, June 7, 11:30 am - Debbie

Hello all of you beautiful friends! Thank you for your prayers regarding my white blood cell counts - they went from 700 last week to 5,500 on Tuesday!!! I was able to get my 3rd chemo and everything went smoothly. I had a great long question/answer time with Dr. Eley and have a clearer picture of things now. He always patiently answers all of my questions, even the silly ones. I am so blessed to have such a caring, compassionate, knowledgeable and so very human doctor caring for me.

Kevin was back from his trip and administered my chemo again. It was wonderful chatting with him and I felt completely taken care of. I always learn many things on these days. We had a lot of laughs during the day with Michael (who works with Dr. Eley) and the nurses. It is always an encouragement to see Brenda Roberts, and Myrna came by to say hi as well. I do feel surrounded by people cheering me on - it's great.

I had a lower dose of chemo this time. Dr. Eley explained that they have standard doses based on weight and height, but that everyone reacts differently. My body seems to "accept" the chemo readily, both the cancer cells (all of the improvements show this) and the bone marrow. At one time, oncologists had thought higher doses would do more, but found out that there was really no difference of outcome between standard doses and high-dose chemos for breast cancer. By this same token, less for me could produce the same results with regards to the cancer cells as the standard dose. The only difference would be that my body would have less to deal with overall and hopefully my counts won't suffer as much. This sounds good to me!

Something else I learned: metastatic breast cancer is not the same as primary breast cancer (one that has not spread). That is why surgery is not in the picture. Doctors do not consider metastatic disease as curable and this changes everything. Instead of doing everything they can to cure the cancer, they focus instead on extending life and improving quality of life. But the statistics of extending life more than a couple of years with conventional therapies are pretty slim. As all of you know by now, I intend to be around a long, long time. I shared with Dr. Eley my plan of using this chemo to bombard the cancer cells and to shrink the cancer to a point where I can then build back up my immune system so that it can take over the job. There are many therapies around that are non-toxic and that can help the immune system do its job better. I have been researching all of these things and will keep you abreast (oops, no pun...) of my discoveries and plans. I would ask that you pray for continued cancer cell death and elimination as well as guidance as to how we should proceed.

This chemo has had even less side effects, although some different things have happened like my limbs feeling really heavy Tues. evening and Weds. morning. I have been so blessed throughout my treatments so far. Taking walks, acupuncture, the complementary protocol, the juicing and organic live foods diet, meditation, and most of all the love and prayers from all of you have helped me so much on this journey. I cannot thank you enough.

My next chemo is scheduled for June 26. We hope to go to Florida again the week before, all being well.

I love you! Debbie


Update: Monday, June 4, 8:38 pm - Debbie

Here we are the day before chemo # 3 (again) :). I've had a good week with no side effects from the Aredia to speak of and still no return of pain. I did get a bit tired the last few days but was also able to do more research regarding low counts and what one can do during this "break". It's been a productive time.

Aurora is spending the night with her Aunt Sherri and cousins, who she's been asking for the past two weeks. Dewey and I are spending the evening re-applying henna to my head and we promise to post a photo this time.

Please pray that the counts will be up again tomorrow and that the chemo will again work it's magic against the cancer. I know your prayers have made a huge difference to how well this is all going and how good I am feeling today. Thank you so much for your love and thoughtfulness and diligence in prayer. I love you all! You will be in my heart as the treatment takes place.

Pray for Ron Bamburg too on the 9th as he competes again for the gold - go Ron!


Update: Tuesday, May 29, 6:00 pm - Debbie

The good news is that Dr. Eley is as happy as we are at the improvements. He says that no pain and more strength is excellent news and proves that the chemo is working and that many cancer cells are dying. My breast shows physical improvements too - less redness and reduction in the tumor mass and node swelling. My heart still sounds good and liver and spleen are fine. I did the Aredia infusion (the drug that helps my bones; see earlier update for details) before I saw him, doing it over 2 1/2 hours rather than 1 1/2 like last time. Hopefully, that will ensure that we won't have a repeat of side effects.

The not-so-good news is that the chemo did SUCH a great job last time that it managed to really attack my white blood cells too and my counts were too low to do chemo today. So I have another week to relax and enjoy and let my white counts get back up! I am now scheduled to have chemo on Tuesday, June 5th. Thank you for your prayers and all of your messages of love! Have a wonderful week.


Update: Tuesday, May 28, 9:00 pm - Debbie

I hope everyone is having a relaxing Memorial Day weekend. We had lovely visits from our dear friends John and Marcie Castleberry and from Simona and Beth, former students of mine who are more like little sisters. They drove from Tennesee, Maryland and Florida and brightened our weekend!!! The love and laughter flowed. My brother and sis-in-law Earl and Pam also popped in for a couple of late night sessions. We are so blessed to have them near enough for such visits. Making the most of it.

I had a lovely birthday on Tuesday. After a gorgeous time at a wonderful spa (a treat from Tami and my mom!), the day was "crowned" with Dewey beginning the henna designs on my head. He finished them the next night. It took some five hours! I love wearing one of Dewey's creations. Thank you to Michelle for preparing the henna potion and for expert advice on how to apply it (Jevin too!).

Tomorrow is my third chemo treatment, combined with the second Aredia infusion. It may turn out to be a longer day and a bit crazy as Emory Clinic is closed today. I ask for your prayers that having the two treatments together will go smoothly, and that the side effects will be manageable. I thank God for continued improvement in my health. I feel better today than I have in a long time! I thank all of you for your faith and all of your prayers. Thank you for your messages of encouragement, your cards and gifts. Your love surrounds us and we are strengthened daily by it. Thank you!


Update: Tuesday, May 27, 10:00 pm - RON RUNS AGAIN!

Ron Bamburg, who won the silver medal last month for Debbie (although Aurora wears it more often, usually in bed!) will be competing again soon in another meet. As his self appointed coach, I will not alloew him to re-retire from the field untill he has that GOLD. Following is the meet Ronnie is planning on competing in on June 9th.....

2001 USATF Illinois Masters State Championships Lisle, Il. at Run-Wilde Field

Website: www.usatf.org
Date: June 9, 2001
10:00a.m

He will be competing in the following:

Weight Pentathlon - Hammer Throw; Shot Put; Discus; Javelin Throw; Weight Throw.

Individual Events - Hammer Throw; Shot Put; Discus Throw; Javelin Throw; Weight Throw.

Here are the U.S. All-American Standards:
1. Weight Pentathlon - 3,000 Points
2. Individual Events - A. Hammer Throw - 127' 11"
B. Shot Put - 41'5"
C. Discus - 123'0"
D. Javelin - 154'2"
E. Weight Throw - 39'41/2"

He has also entered another meet in Dallas scheduled for June 2. I'm not sure of all the information yet.

It is all for Debbie if for nothing else, just to let her know he is running the race with her -- showing his love for her. (in his words). We'll have more news on Ron's progress soon.


Update: Mon., May 21. 10:30 pm EST - Dewey

This week, my parents returned to see us on their way back to the U.K. Not wishing them to get too bored, we put them to work. Planting flowerbeds around our apartment at Fritz and Tami's, digging and landscaping the back yard, cooking, making yummy cookies and deserts, etc... the sort of activities one saves for willing house guests. They go home tomorrow, with my thanks for their help to us at this time. Another event which took place recently was the building of the garden shed, or to be more precise, "Dewey's Studio". Never again will I be embarrassed when I meet people at parties, who ask me, 'oh, you're an artist, have you got a studio?" as now, I will be able to say.......yes.........., (so I must be good.) My Dad and I aided Fritz as he expertly and meticulously followed the construction manual, until it was lost in a rainstorm. Lucky my Dad was there to encourage Fritz that whatever he was measuring or doing was "close enough". We have been very happy here so far, at Fritz and Tami's house. (For those of you who don't know, Fritz is the creator and maintainer of this website!) Tonight we finished it, and tomorrow I will begin my work, building canvasses, and painting. I am content with the life we are living here and now, and thankful that I am capable at this time to help my wife, and baby, and spend as much time with them as I do.

But I am also looking forward to doing a bit of what I was created for, Why God bothered giving me breath in the first place, and that is to create myself, to paint. At the same time, it makes me feel good to earn money from my work, to help provide for my family. The shed is at the bottom of the garden, but I have set up a baby monitor, in case Debbie or Aurora needs me. If any of you ever stop by, please knock before entering, as it is my "Studio".

Dewey


Update: Sun., May 20. 9:00 pm EST - Debbie

I hope you all have seen the interview by now. It was conducted while we were in Florida and it took a while for it to be transcribed, etc. Still, it tells the beginning of the story and hopefully answers some of the questions you may have.

Feel free to ask more. I just want you all to know what a great few days I have lately had. I did have a bit of a scare earlier in the week when I felt a bump on the back of my head where one of the bone tumors is... why was it growing?? However, over the following two days it shrunk back down again! Also, I have NO PAIN anymore!! I no longer limp when I walk and I have no trouble going up stairs. My hip is getting stronger! And my breast is showing more positive improvements! Praise God with me at how He heals!!! I understand that the side effects of chemo are cumulative, and therefore, I should be feeling worse this time around. But I don't - I feel better than the last time! I want you to know that your prayers are being answered in a powerful way in my body and in my life. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! I look forward to turning 37 and to having another good week before my third chemo + Aredia on May 29th. Dewey, Aurora and my family join me in sending our love to each of you. Gros Bisous!


Update: Wednesday, May 9, 11:00 am -- Dewey

Today Debbie had her second round of chemotherapy. She is in bed sleeping as I speak, resting peacefully after we watched the video of our wedding with Fritz and Tami. We had found a copy of it in Florida. What great memories!

The day went really well overall. Debbie's had a CBC (complete blood count) followed by an examination by Dr. Eley. The blood counts were just as he hoped they would be. She rebound nicely from the first chemo. Debbie attributes this to all of the prayers, good nutrition and complementary protocol she is able to do. Dr. Eley was pleased by the physical improvements - a little less redness in the skin, the tumor slightly smaller, and especially the lymph nodes under her arm were less swollen. Her heart, liver and spleen were doing good. With improvements each few weeks, we are on the way to healing!

Debbie's mother Judy was there, as well as Tami, her sister, myself, and Aurora, who enjoyed the day, as she does every day.

Dr. Eley was very patient in answering Debbie's myriad of questions, and was very helpful throughout the day. She actually got to see him several times during the chemo treatment too. If his medical expertise is as great as his heart seems to be, we have found the best oncologist in the U.S A. We certainly feel good enough about him to put Debbie's health in his hands. Thank you Dr. Eley for today.

A big thank you also to Kevin, the needle guy who administered Debbie's chemo with finesse, expertise, patience, good advice and good humour. Most of the people who work at this clinic have real servant hearts, and deserve praise. It makes a big difference to how the day goes. All the laughter really helps too.

We are sad that Brenda Mason, a nurse at the clinic, (she has written in to the website a few times) will be moving on in a few weeks, and Debbie will miss her.

Debbie thanks all those who fasted for her today, you were all very much with her throughout the day. It wasn't till five o'clock that I was informed that I was participating too, but it did remind me that I was in fact hungry, and at seven we all gorged on lentil and rice casserole...yummy!

What's in store: a good rest, taking care of Debbie, feeding her all the good things we can rustle up - lots of vegetable juices, herbs, essiac tea, meditation, supplements, enjoying the life we have and can enjoy everyday... three weeks, and a hope and a prayer for another improvement just like the last one, or better!

Dewey

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Country Garden by John Castleberry

(A song for Debbie, Dewey & Aurora)

"...walking with my darlin' in the middle of a country garden,
from our back porch you can see a country mile.
We get refreshing news every morning when we wake up,
walking with our cat and our angel child.
She's as pretty as the daisies blooming in the summer fields.
She's as precious as a rose, a grace to everyone.
We're dancing to a music that is soft, yet so clear,
growing in our garden, faces toward the son.
"...walking by the miller's stream, it might be wise to take a plunge,
could be on an island in the midst of a green sea.
Time to rest, time to pray, stress can take a holiday,
growing in our garden, faces toward the son.
She's as pretty as the daisies blooming in the summer fields.
She's as precious as a rose, a grace to everyone.
We're dancing to a music that is soft, yet so clear,
Growing in our garden, facing toward the son"

John C. Castleberry


Update: Tuesday, May 5, 7:40 pm -- Florida

Debbie is spending some time in Florida with her family before her next chemotherapy treatment this Tuesday.

Sherri Senffer-Nee proposed a 12-hour fast for Debbie on May 8th seconded by Tracy Seal, Celina (and many others not on the site). On this Tuesday when Debbie begins her second chemo, please join others in fasting and prayer for Debbie Franklin. Debbie has been, and continues to be, extremely encouraged by the posts to this website. Thanks to all of you. Please continue to visit and upload your messages for her -- as I've mentioned before, she logs on throughout the day to read all the messages.

For those of you who would like to know more about Debbie's situation, Dewey is preparing a series of questions and answers which address many aspects of her condition, past, present and future. It will likely be uploaded in portions and friends and acquaintances are encouraged to email questions for Debbie.

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Update: Tuesday, May 1st, 5:00 pm -- Fritz

Well, she went through with it...

Debbie's brother, Mike, drove out with his sons, Michael and Matthew, from South Carolina. (With three regular crewcuts in his family, he is quite handy with the razor). He cut Debbie's hair quickly and efficiently. The only complaint Aurora had was the itchiness of the hair falling on and around her. Other than that, she has been remarkable unfazed.

We're off to Florida in the morning with the Doctor's permission.

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Update: Mon., April 30. 10:00 pm EST - Phyllis

Debbie had a blood test and infusion on Friday, April 27th. Her white blood cell count is low, as expected, but the rest of the CBC looked good.

The infusion of Aredia was a 2 hour IV treatment. This is a treatment for the cancer that is also in Debbie's bones; it is in her skull, rib, hip and lower back. According to the Aredia pamplet, IV bisphosphonates or Aredia, help prevent cancer-related breakdown of bone.

In almost all types of cancer, cells can break away from the tumor, a process know as metastasis. Some cells move to the bone, or they may begin to grow in other parts of the body. As tumor cells start to grow on the bone, they release substances that attract and stimulate cells-called osteoclasts, which break down the bone.

During this process, chemicals are released that help the tumor cells grow. If these tumor cells are left untreated, a "vicious cycle" of tumor growth and continued bone destruction can result. The bisphosphonates in Aredia are attracted to areas where osteoclasts are breaking down the bone. In doing so, they absorb these bisphosphonates who in turn block the activity of the substances that attract and stimulate the osteoclasts.

As a result, the osteoclasts are thus disabled and eventually break apart. The vicious cycle of bone destruction is interrupted. In short, this is a good drug !!

Debbie is very pleased to have Aredia in her system, yet the side affects were unexpected and more unpleasant than the first chemo. Saturday was Debbie's day to get ready for Aurora's party, instead it was an emotional sick day for Debbie. She slept most of the day and cried when not sleeping. By late evening she realized that her family had taken care of a lot of the details for Sunday's party, but again, this came with mixed emotions as this was something Debbie wanted to do for Aurora herself. After a bit of discussion, Debbie got up and Phyllis took her to the store to buy the party hats, bubbles and favors.

When she got home she was determined to make Aurora a beautiful birthday card, and indeed it was. Debbie was worn-out and tired, yet emotionally feeling great and ready for the big day!

Phyllis


Update: Mon., April 30. 6:00 pm EST - Dewey

Sunday was Aurora's birthday party, and as you can see from the pics, a good time was had by all, especially Aurora. We made it a surprise party, and she played the surprised birthday girl perfectly, although I think she may have suspected. Thanks to Keeleigh and Kaylin for helping her open the mountain of presents, or we would have been there all night! Thanks to Garret for bieng the video cameraman. She got a set of Wizard of Oz dolls, (her favorite movie until she discovered those annoying Veggietales... Thai dolls, a red dog, some books, a white bear, I think, a swimming pool (she loves water - she was born under water, but she doesn't float, I was told babies float, but its not true, I found that out when I dropped her in a pool in Spain last year to test this theory.)..., a Minnie Mouse, lots of balloons, which she liked the most at the time, and many many more. Tonight she took Dorothy to bed with her, and continued to press her ruby slipper, which makes her say the words, "Toto, I have the feeling were not in Kansas anymore", until Debbie had to put a stop to it. Aurora is not in Kansas anymore, but she is holding up as well as Dorothy ever did. She even has her own pair of ruby slippers! Sherri made a lovely cake for her, with strawberries, and "Aurora" written in raisins. we had a bunch of bubble blowing acutriments, and had a fun bubble time in the garden, then we did a barbeque. Then we had a family meeting, with Phyllis, to organise the things needing organising. Many thanks to Phyllis Rokus, for all the love in her heart for Debbie, and for all her help to us thus far, taking care of reality, so we don't have to. Then a prayer time, after which, Debbie was ready for a nap. The Doctors willing, we plan to take Debbie to Florida to swim in the ocean. We will leave Tuesday, for about a week. During that time we hope to do an in-depth interview with Debbie, revealing all details of her life at this time. And we will publish it as soon as possible. We also are thinking of creating a question and answer page soon Thats all for now, so stay tuned.
Dewey

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Beardless Dewey: Thurs., April 28.
There have been several requests of a picture of Dewey without his beard. So here it is...

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Please stop back tomorrow for a report on Debbie's latest treatment (on Friday), and Aurora's 2nd birthday party tomorrow (her birthday is May 1st). Debbie hasn't been feeling too terribly well today since the Aredia treatment yesterday. The only consolation is that she is feeling pretty much how the doctor said she would - and it's supposed to last for two days.


Update: Friday, April 27th, 5:00 pm -- Fritz

A Step in That Direction...

Debbie didn't quite go through with it yesterday. But her hair was so long that it's safe to say she had two thirds of it cut off. Missy Willis, hairstylist and long time friend of Fritz and Tami, donated her professional services to Debbie. Jeff and Carissa Craven brought dinner for the entire family. Also present were Dewey's parents and Missy's husband Brad, and their daughter, Caroline.

Missy began while Bono sang and Aurora cried, and so commenced a "celebration" of sorts. We weren't sure when the decision was made to not cut it all, but I think it was somewhere between cutting off the two-thirds length and the final presentation. The complete bound length of hair was gently bagged by Tami and promptly placed in the freezer at Dewey's suggestion (we're still trying to figure that one out).

Later Jeff and Carissa helped close out the evening with prayer with Debbie and the family.

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Update: Thurs., April 26. 5 pm - Frank (Dewey's Dad)
Gloria and I arrived in Atlanta on Tuesday. Debbie made the reunion as painless as possible, I did very well. They are doing everything possible to keep Debbie as healthy as possible during this treatment. She is doing her best to keep me happy as well. These two are much, much stronger than I ever dreamed. Tonight is the big night of the week. Debbie has just noticed her hair starting to fall, so at seven thirty this evening we shall put an end to that problem. Someone is coming over to remove it in one fell swoop! So far the only good thing that has come out of this disease is that many of us have learned that we can pray with much more furvor than we ever imagined. Watch this space for tomorrow's report.
Frank and Gloria

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Update: Weds., April 24 - Sherri

Sunday evening, April 22nd, was a beautiful time of fellowship and worship, as people from several different churches were gathered to pray for a member battling cancer. Debbie, Dewey and Aurora were invited to be ministered to and prayed for as well. Debbie had an opportunity to share her situation. As prayers were lifted for her, new prayer warriors were engaged in the battle she is facing. We all felt the arms of God around us through the encouragement and inspiration of others who are walking through this battle with cancer and disease or have walked it with spouses, children or friends. The outpouring of love Debbie receives through so many of you, whether in person or through her website is such an important part of her fight. Thank you from all of her family!

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Update: Thurs., April 19. 10:45 am EST
Please see Debbie's message posted today under "MESSAGE FROM DEBBIE".


Update: Weds., April 18. 5:39 pm EST - Atlanta
In addition to prayers, encouragement and support, many concerned friends, family and "well wishers" have asked how they can best help Debbie, Dewey and Aurora financially. As most of you are aware, Debbie and Dewey live and work in France. Debbie, Dewey and Aurora arrived in the United States in December, to spend their first holiday season with Debbie's family in over 10 years and to establish new commissions for Dewey to work on back in France. If all had been well with Debbie, they would be back in France today! They left France packed for an extended holiday and work opportunities, but not prepared to live in the US for an uncertain time.

Along with other means of assistance, they and the Emory staff are trying to work on medical coverage with their British Health Insurance provider in the US and Britain. Except for a few frustrating experiences in California, all seems to be going well, as the folks at Emory are proceeding with treatment, while these details are being worked out. We are trusting God to intervene and to establish a good relationship between these ongoing efforts, as these concerns need to be the least of Debbie's worries.

For those interested in helping Debbie, Dewey and Aurora financially, please make your checks payable to:

Church of Christ
201 North Lima
Sierra Madre, CA 91024

Note: Please note on your check or in a memo that the funds are for Debbie Franklin

On behalf of the Sierra Madre Church of Christ, Joe and Tari Rokus will be overseeing this account for Debbie and her family. In the near future we will be posting all wire transfer details, as well ! If you would like more information, questions or ideas on how you would like to help, please call the Sierra Madre Church at 1-626-355-1817. Thank you and God Bless you.


Update: Tues., April 17. 7:54 pm EST - Atlanta
Debbie still feeling no nausea and has a good appetite, but some fatigue. Many people have asked how they can help Debbie and Dewey while they go through this. Please visit this site tomorrow afternoon, (Wednesday April 18), for important information on how you can help.


Update: Mon., April 16. 7:20 pm EST - Atlanta

Debbie did very well her first night. She did feel nauseous for a few hours but after taking a pill and realizing that by not completely reclining, she could keep from feeling this way. Her first couple of days have been pretty much nausea-free. On Easter Sunday, she spent a good part of the day with her family in Douglasville (at her sister, Sherri's house). Her brother's family, Mike and Kris and kids, surprised her by already being there when she arrived. Earl and Pam were able to spend the weekend with her, too (these pictures were taken Easter Sunday just before they returned to Charleston).

The pain in Debbie's back has disappeared (about a day before she was diagnosed with the tumor in her back, she had begun feeling pain there).

Today she was able to go out with her Mom to do some errands -- shopping and such.

Her hair is still on but she is scheduling a hair cutting party to celebrate her new look.

[ VIEW PICTURES ]


Update: Fri., April 13. 10:00 pm EST - Atlanta
Earl R

Today was Deb's first chemo treatment. It is Good Friday (the 13th). Good for us, bad for the cancer cells! Dad, Mom, Fritz, Tami, Earl (me) and Pam went with Dewey, Debbie and Aurora to the chemo ward for support. There was laughing and joking and good spirits as she approached her first tangible step of treatment.
Despite the practice of only allowing 1 person to be with the patient during chemo, Deb was able to convince the staff that she could use the extra support, and 3 of the group at a time rotated turns to be with Deb during the process.

When the time came to begin, Deb was having a difficult time until she asked one of the nurses to pray with the family before she started the process. It seemed to make all the difference in the world.

And so began the treatment ...with prayer and family members laying their hands on Deb. The treatment was via I.V. and consisted of Adriamycin (the red devil) which is pushed into the vein in about 5 minutes, and cytoxan which drips in over about an hour's time. There is no pain during the process, and despite a few emotional moments, Deb stayed in high spirits. It really helped that the hospital staff took the time to come by with humor (Brenda), their own experiences, and encouragement (Kevin and others). One of the admitting personnel, Brenda (another one), who is a 3 year survivor, spent quite a while with Deb, and told her story of her battle and success with breast cancer.

Aurora was not able to be present, and stayed out in the waiting area while each one of us took turns amusing her (and the rest of the staff) with songs from the Wizard of Oz (which Aurora loves), and funny impersonations.

After starting about 2 hours later than expected, the entire procedure lasted a bit over an hour.

We came home and had a great dinner, and since Deb is not feeling the effects of nausea, she is able to enjoy the food. Nausea usually begins to affect the patient within hours of the treatment. From now on, she is expected to have noticable hair thinning and loss about 2 weeks after treatment. Deb is now considering shaving her hair off before that time to keep it, and be proactive.

She will have her second dose of chemo on the 8th of May. It will consist of the same drugs, and after that treatment, her doctor will analyze how things are progressing and whether any changes to her chemo are needed.

Deb says she feels spacey but fine, and is remaining strong and positive. From the laughter in the other room, it sounds like any other day we all get together. The only difference is that one of the group has drugs in her which are killing millions of cancer cells. And that is better.

[ VIEW PICTURES ]



Ron with Debbie and Aurora


Ron and wife, Michele, with Debbie and Dewey

Run Debbie Run
by Ron Bamburg

Debbie Franklin is running an awesome spiritual race for Jesus. Seeing her look into the face of her husband and into the beautiful eyes of her two-year-old daughter has brought encouragement into my life. Debbie is in stage 4 in her race against breast cancer that is now in her bones. Debbie is thirty-six years old. She is beautiful with long blonde hair that the doctors say will fall out soon. She is even more beautiful within. Her glowing faith and hope in God is touching the lives of many, including the heart of this former Decathlete-turned-evangelist. And though it has been twenty-six years since I have competed in the decathlon, I would like to compete once again in honor of Debbie Franklin. Every throw in the U.S. Masters Track and Field Weight Pentathlon, consisting of discus, shot put, javelin, hammer throw, and weight throw, (in Raleigh N.C. at North Carolina University, May 5th, 2001) will Be for Debbie. It will be done to share her story with others; in thankfullness for the years she and my wife, Michele, have shared together; in hopes of her healing, and in awe of her beautiful smile and bright hope throughout all eternity. Jesus said; "Let your light shine before men" Matt.5.16. While Debbie is shining, loving and encouraging others, may we help her beautiful smile grow even brighter by sponsoring me, and contributing financially to the needs of her little baby and the family necessities that are so overwhelming, due to medical costs. I only pray that my competition in honor of this wonderful young lady will play a small part in others hearing about Debbie's courageous race and in participating with her in her race to victory. Run Debbie Run! May God bless you as we run this race together with Debbie.

Ron Bamburg

(Information about the Debbie Franklin Fund may be received at www.debbiefranklin.com - any further information about sponsorship will hopefully be available here on Saturday.)

If you're interested in sponsoring Ron, please email Dewey at DFranklins@Compuserve.com.


Update: Wednesday, May 9, 10:15 am -- Dewey

Ron Bamburg takes the silver!!!

Ron won the silver medal at his competition in north Carolina saturday. He will send a full report on the event soon. He and Michelle passed by Atlanta on their way home to Luisiana to drop off the medal He won for debbie, before her second Chemo treatment on tuesday. Ron was dissapointed not to have won the gold, untgil Debbie told him that silver was her favorite metal. And as Rons new self appointed coach, I impressed on him the fact that as it was his first competition for twenty six years, i consider it a warm up, and fully expect him to take the Gold next time round. Well done Ron.
Dewey


Update: Wednesday, May 9, 4:45 pm -- Michele Bamburg

Sometimes life has a way of bringing to light inner awakenings and priority reality checks in the most unexpected ways. One such event has occurred in my life recently. I received news that about a month ago one of my dearest friends was diagnosed as being in stage 4 of the most aggressive forms of breast cancer which had already spread to her bones. Debbie Franklin (formerly Debbie Bridges) and I met in 1979 in our at a church fellowship as freshmen in high school. We were extremely close through high school spending most of our free time together and experiencing life together in so many ways. A large amount of our association was spent together doing church-related activities and being with other members of our youth group. Debbie was someone I relied and depended on heavily during the many ups and downs of teenage life. She was always there; always the same; always so dear to my heart.

After high school graduation we decided to attend the Adventures In Missions program at Sunset School of Preaching together, and while there we were roomates. After the six month biblical training period I married my husband, Ron, and Debbie departed for France where she continued her "Adventure " in the mission in the field. Our paths took different courses, but throughout the last 18 years both of us have remained committed to Jesus who is our binding tie. Time and distance separated us physically, but now more than ever I see her worth in my eyes and what she means to me.

Debbie's life is an example of sacrifice and dependance upon God. She recently shared with me some of the spiritual truths God showed her throughout her life as she has ministered to others. I know of many others who have been touched by her love, her sincerity and her inner peace and confidence and her reliance on God. She has brought so much joy to others by her simple ways and precious spirit.

Even in the face of this devastating disease she exemplifies that same spirit and the same reliance on and trust in God. We visitied her recently and I was the one uplifted and encouraged as I watched the way she faced this situation with the grace and beauty I had seen in the past. Even as she spoke of the loss of her beautiful long blond hair which had been one of her trademarks throughout most of her life, her peace was unsurpassed. She is indeed so beautiful--a beauty that begins from within--a beauty that most of the world cannot comprehend.

During Debbie's battle she faces with this cancer my husband and I have wanted to try to be blessing, encouragement and support to her. My husband, being a former decathlete, decided to compete once again in honor of Debbie on May 5, 2001 at the U.S. Masters Track and Field Weight Pentathlon in Raleigh, North Carolina. It had been 26 years since his last decathlon competition, for he has been an evangelist for over 20 years. But even after all these years God blessed Ronnie with a silver medal! He had the gold throughout the whole competition until the final event , the javelin, where the gold medal winner inched ahead by only thirteen points. All-American status is determined by accumulating a total of 3000 points. Ronnie's score was 2957 points--just 43 points shy of All-American. Of course, I was so proud of him and he is All-American in my book.

Every throw was for Debbie. In fact, he wore a shirt in her honor during the competition bearing her picture and the phrase "Running the Race With Debbie". (1 Corinthians 9:24). For as she runs her race of life with cancer, he wanted to bless her and show his support of her in whatever way he could. He was striving for the gold and received the silver, but God has plenty of gold stored up for Debbie when she receives her heavenly reward. Part of the purpose of his competing in her honor was to try and raise support for a fund in Debbie's name set up at her website by friends and family. It was a way to inform people of Debbie's physical and financial situation. Debbie, her husband, Dewey, and her two year old daughter, Aurora have temporary residence in Atlanta, Georgia where she is receiving her chemo treatments. They have some living expenses and of course large medial expenses to meet. Of course, any encouragement anyone can give through prayers, e-mail or messages would be of great benefit to her at this time. Any who can contribute anything at all financially to their needs would bless her tremendously as she courageously faces whatever every day holds for Debbie, Dewey and precious little Aurora. Debbie wants to fight for she knows Dewey and Aurora need and want her with them, and it is Debbie's earnest desire to remain and love them as long as God gives her. If you can share in her fight in any way through prayers, messages of encouragement or through financial means please visit her website at www.debbiefranklin.com or e-mail her at DFranlkins@compuserve.com. T-shirts like the one Ronnie wore for his competition may be available if there is enough demand. Follow updates on the web site. Any enouragement you can give would mean so much to her and to me. I love her so. God bless.

Michele Bamburg