Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Current Situation

It is hard to put all this into words, and when I try to make sure the words sound okay, I get stuck.  So I'm just going to write...

Billy is my brother.  He's 25.  A newly-awarded blackhawk pilot in the army.  He just finished flight school in Alabama, and is on leave until mid-October, when he is supposed to report to Hawaii.  He's been visiting friends, and had plans to stop and see several of you.  As we all know, sometimes life doesn't go according to plans.

There are many details in this story.  I will give the basics now, and share more in future posts.

Billy (or Cooter, as many of you know him), just spent the past weekend in the Florida Keys with friends.  He was losing his appetite, and his stomach was hurting more and more.

Tyler and Melissa went with him to the ER on Monday.  They found lots of fluid in his abdomen, some sort of mass, and a bunch of "nodules."  He had a CAT scan on Monday.  They drained 2 liters of fluid from his abdomen on Tuesday, and did another CAT scan.  They saw a bunch of masses in the CAT scan, but weren't sure what all that meant because of the fluid.  On Wednesday, they did an endoscopy.  During all this time, he was on pain meds, and the frequency started increasing.  But the pain meds are harsh, and they made him throw up.  He's been throwing up since Monday night.

Billy was diagnosed with poorly differentiated gastric adenocarcinoma on Thursday morning.  In basic terms, that means stomach cancer.  It's in stage IV (highly advanced).  The doctors say it's incurable and inoperable.  It's too big and too far spread to get it out.

We have lots of friends and family with connections trying to help out with information and options.  And we're trying to filter through everything to make the best choices for Billy.  At this point, he's in a lot of pain.  He's hot a lot of the time, and he's very thirsty.  He's now on pain meds every hour (instead of every 4), and he's counting down the minutes until they can give him more meds.  We're trying to get some nutrition into his system, as he hasn't eaten since Sunday.  His body needs nutrients if it's going to heal.

If you pray, here are some things we need:

  • We're going to try to sell his car (which he had planned to do in preparation for going to HI).  Pray that we'd get an excellent price for it.
  • We're working on alternative options for treatment.  Pray for us to know what's true, and what's the best.  Pray for healing.
  • We want to get a 2nd opinion.  Pray that we'd find gracious people who are willing to go above and beyond expectations to advocate and fight for Billy.
  • Billy is in a lot of pain.  Pray for his body to settle down, the medical staff to find the best pain medication possible, and his body to hold onto any nutrition that we're able to get in him.  Continue to pray for healing.

We're heading out now.  I will update more later when we're able to see Billy and I have more information.

Thank you for all of your prayers and support.


  1. Praying steadfastly and spreading the word through my blogs.


  2. I love you brother, I will see you soon!

  3. Billy, you're the brother I never had. As my mom has always said about you and I... "two peas in a pod" Praying and thinking about you every minute of the day. I will see you on wedenesday. I love you!

    Michelle, thank you for this. I love you! Let me know if there's anything I can do. See you Wednesday! Love you!

  4. Bry...Thank you so much for everything. I'm excited you're coming. See you very soon. If there's anything you need in the meantime, let me know.

    Saw Billy this morning. He seems to be doing well, all things considered. They keep talking about moving him up to the 5th floor tower, but we're still waiting to see it happen. I think a lot more will happen once Monday comes (when the official work week begins).

    Love you too...

  5. Aunt Wanda passed this along. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with everyone listed above plus the whole family who are providing lots of support for Billy and each other. Love, Aunt Joyce

  6. hey michelle,
    so shocked and sorry to hear this. treating cancer is an art, not a science, so def. get lots of opinions and options on this journey. i'm sure billy is tough like you--that will help. will be keeping you and your family in my prayers. you all look great in the photos. so grown up!

  7. Michelle,

    I do not know if you remember me but I am a friend of Will's through Rob Smith. My husband was a UH-60 pilot and We have many friends at Rucker. I was able to introduce Will to some of them and I also came to his WOCS graduation. It is an absolute honor to know Will. I work with advocacy issues for Army families. If there is any issue that your family runs into and you can not seem to find the answer you are looking for please contact me. I would be more than happy to put you in contact with the right person that can make things happen concerning military related issues. On a personal level please know that I will constantly pray for Will as well as all of you. Making decisions is a difficult task but never doubt your decisions because they are the RIGHT ones...your heart will guide you through this.

    Kristy Stanley

  8. Kristy,

    I completely remember you. We went out to eat at that Brazilian place in Enterprise last April (2009). Thanks for your encouragement! And I'll definitely be in touch if we need anything. Thanks for your help!


  9. It's me Jeanette Hohnke. Michelle, while cruising through fb I noticed your post with the family. I clicked on the photo and discovered that it was Billy in the bed. I had no idea this has been going on with him. Thank goodness for this blog so I can now start to pray for Billy, you and your family. Please tell him that he now has another prayer warrior, going to bat for him.
    Thanks so much for sharing your life.

  10. Jeanette...Thank you for your prayers! I will tell my family that you said hello, and that you're praying for him and us.


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