I remember Angie saying a few weeks before they found out Will was ill, “I think I’m at my breaking point, I don’t know if I can take anything else.” And then the news came that Will had cancer. And suddenly all those things that were crushing them became meaningless in a battle for one’s life.
And a battle it has been. I don’t think anyone could have predicted how intense this fight would be. From receiving the news of cancer. To having the tumor removed and getting note of clean margins. To the news of the cancer’s return. To the intensity of chemo and radiation. To the spread of the cancer and a short timeline to live. To being sent home on hospice.
To not giving up. To finding another way. To nursing Will back to a level of strength. To getting on a plane. To entering another place of healing. And to see such great progression.
Only to see another setback take place and the question again of if they would like to return to hospice.
A battle indeed.
These two are such beautiful children of God. And I am so amazed at their fight. I’ve had the blessing of visiting several times. And it has helped me to understand the seriousness and intensity of each moment of the battle. The fight isn’t just everyday — it’s all day, every minute, and every second. And when people suggest that Angie take a few minutes or hours for herself, that is unquestionably not even an option for her. “If Will is fighting every moment, I am fighting every moment with him”… “Why would I need a break from my love?” I often witness Will being poked and prodded, having oxygen hooked up to him, two tubes in his side, lines in his arms, he’s at the end of his strength and willpower and then is asked, “Will, we need to do XYZ, can you do it?” Will will bow his head down in anguish, sometimes getting emotional over the strain, the fight, the amount he has to go through (with those around him thinking, “I couldn’t do it,” “I would stop now”) and then he will bring his head back up and say, “Yes. Yes, I can do it.” Everyone here in Arizona admires Will and Angie so much. I’ve heard other patients at the clinic look Will in the eyes and tell him, “You are so strong,” “I admire you so much.” And they inevitably look at Angie and say the same.
Will and Angie are indeed fighting with everything they have. But the battle is getting much more difficult. Each time we see progress, another obstacle comes along. And yet, there is still much hope. Hope, because as Angie and Will put it: “Our hope for his life is still in the same God who could have delivered him then and can choose to deliver him now if he is willing.”
This past Monday, Will was released from the ICU and moved into a regular room. On Tuesday, he had tubes inserted into his sides to drain the fluid around his lungs. They drained 3 more liters of fluid after putting the tubes in and have drained about 600 ml daily since. On Wednesday, Will had a blood transfusion and finally after some wrestling with the doctors and nurses (you know Angie), they were able to get Will discharged. Being the fighter he is, he headed straight to Oasis that evening to continue treatments and was back the next morning. Leaving the clinic was quite the sight, walking across the four lane road was Angie, as she does daily, pushing Will in his wheelchair, me holding a can of oxygen, and our sister Kelli pushing Will’s IV pole. Meanwhile, mom and dad are rushing back from the clinic to get jars of juice and smoothies into the refrigerator with a vehicle they are borrowing from Julie. We get back to the hotel safely and Will back into his recliner given by Chris and Stephanie, using a hoyer lift provided by Joel — all amazing people Will and Angie did not even know before arriving in Arizona. It’s truly a #Goteamgray effort out here. Each day is like that, from Amber picking them up at the airport, to Bryan, Andrew, and a bunch of other guys helping to move Will from chair to chair. It’s a beautiful picture of community, indeed.
On Friday, Will continued his treatments and had another out of town visitor. Saturday, Will awoke quite exhausted and in pain. He had the option of simply calling a nurse to come to the hotel rather than going to the clinic. We all assumed he would stay in his chair as we prepared for the nurse to come, when Will chimed in and said, “No, I want to go to the clinic.” Angie echoes, “You are one tough cookie.” It’s a blessing to have a clinic that Will desires to be at – with patients who are now friends and fellow prayer warriors/fighters for one another, and with nurses and doctors who are a joy to be with. Will had a couple more visitors that evening. And today was a day of rest.
Each night, we gather around Will, whether it is a prayer team or a few people and pray for Will’s healing, read Scriptures, and share what we feel the Lord is doing.
Will and Angie are very tired, wondering how much longer they can continue as is. And as we all pray and hope and throw our thoughts, doubts, and fears into this beautiful, cohesive symphony bound in love, we ask for the healing and breakthrough that we have yet to receive. But what Will and Angie have continued to receive is perseverance, strength for the day, hope for the coming day, and an overwhelming support system with an outpouring of love.
- Will will be receiving some critical blood results on Monday (7/22)
- Will has had fluid build-up not only around his lungs, but throughout his body creating swelling and trouble breathing
- For Will’s mobility (and safety while moving him from chair to chair) along with increased strength to be able to stand and walk again
- For Will’s red blood count and protein levels to increase
- Again, for complete healing from all cancer and all the effects of the cancer
- Having both family and friends visit. Will was able to enjoy some company, play a couple of games, and watch some comedies (per doctor’s request, yes!). Angie was able to have some support and help in getting some things taken care of and organized.
- #Goteamgray is a huge blessing. I wrote a few names down just to get a picture of all that are loving, supporting, and giving Will the best chance at life. These are just a few of those who are praying daily, fighting with, writing letters, visiting, donating of money-time-resources, and being available to help in LA, AZ, and wherever. You are #Goteamgray and we love you.
Tonight, Will was ready and able to read some of his Birthday cards and letters written to him. I handed him a pile. And another pile. And another pile! And he read them all. And then I said, “Will, are you ready for us to ask the people for some more cards?” He smiled, nodded his head and said, “yes.”
You can still mail your encouragements, hopes, and prayers to:
Will & Angie Gray
10153 Riverside Drive #519
Toluca Lake, CA 91602