If We Could See
From the start, let me apologize for being overdue in this update. I know many of you check this site frequently, and you are concerned and curious as to what's going on!
To be honest with you, I seem to have been experiencing "writer's block" and it wasn't until a divinely arranged meeting earlier this week that I was brought out of it. So here I am again. Thank you for your patience.
My last chemo treatment was June 14, and I'm happy to report that I did not experience the neuropathy that often accompanies the drug that was administered. Thank you for your faithful prayers to that end.
My strength has been gradually returning, and I've been exercising diligently. It's been encouraging to see my endurance increasing. Our family even took a 10-mile bike ride last Saturday, and although I was tired at the end, it wasn't too much for me!
One of my doctors ordered blood work last month, and we were pleased that most of the tumor markers were within range. One of them is still elevated, but I'm praying that it will also return to normal.
So what's next? In addition to my check-ups with the oncologist every three months, I am working with some doctors to rebuild my immune system and receive treatments that will hopefully make my body an unwelcome terrain for cancer. Certainly, all this is in the Lord's hands, but I'm trying to do the best I can with the knowledge He's given me and these doctors.
Your continued prayers are certainly appreciated. My specific prayer requests: 1)The cancer to be gone completely 2)Wisdom and God's provision as I follow up with various doctors and 3)That I would be sensitive to the Lord's leading in my life.
The words of the following song seem perfect today, reminding me that God sees and knows all. We never have reason to doubt His plan.
If we could see beyond today
As God can see;
If all the clouds should roll away,
The shadows flee;
O’er present griefs we would not fret.
Each sorrow we would soon forget,
For many joys are waiting yet
For you and me.
If we could know beyond today
As God does know,
Why dearest treasures pass away
And tears must flow;
And why the darkness leads to light,
Why dreary paths will soon grow bright;
Some day life’s wrongs will be made right,
Faith tells us so.
"If we could see, if we could know,"
We often say,
But God in love a veil does throw
Across our way;
We cannot see what lies before,
And so we cling to Him the more,
He leads us till this life is o’er;
Trust and obey.
Above: crabapple blossoms in our yard last month
Today I completed the seventh of the eight treatments! How exciting that the end is nearing. Besides fatigue, the main side effect of this drug has been intense bone pain on days 3 and 4.
Would you please pray with me that I won't also experience peripheral neuropathy (numbness and pain in the hands and feet)? It's the side effect that they are most concerned about as it can last for quite a while and can be rather limiting.
This morning, I appreciated today's entry in Streams in the Desert:
I implore you to not give in to despair. It is a dangerous temptation, because our Adversary has refined it to the point that it is quite subtle. Hopelessness constricts and withers the heart, rendering it unable to sense God's blessings and grace.
It also causes you to exaggerate the adversities of life and makes your burdens seem too heavy for you to bear. Yet God's plans for you, and His ways of bringing about His plans, are infinitely wise. (Madame Guyon)
My dear friend Stephanie is running tomorrow in the 5K Walk 4 Faith at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. She and her friends are raising money for my cancer treatments. Isn't that incredibly kind of them?
I've seen increased traffic and donations on my website this week and want Stephanie, Jennifer, and the their friends to know how much I appreciate their efforts and generosity. I wish you runners the best!
A Trusted Lot
Treatment number 6 is tomorrow (Wednesday, May 18), a change from the usual Tuesday treatments. I am grateful to report that the last treatment went pretty smoothly. Although the body seems to react differently to each treatment, the fifth treatment wasn't nearly as hard as the one before. Thank you for praying!
Before going into chemo, I've found it helps to have my mind focused on Scripture or encouraging words that are Scripturally based. Last treatment, thanks to an email from my friend Jennifer, I was thinking on the words of William Cowper's hymn "God Moves in a Mysterious Way." Powerful words that have encouraged me many times!
A few weeks ago, my sister Heather sent me some poems that she had written. Here's the one I'm thinking about now; it's entitled "A Trusted Lot" and seems to be based, in part, on Psalm 121. May it be a blessing to you too!
A trusted lot from God above,
A measure from His hand,
Is thine from Him whose name is Love
To keep at His command.
From Him Who raging seas did still
This lot to thee is giv’n.
And trusted too can be this God
Who rules oe’r earth and Heav’n.
From day to day His shade can rest
Upon thine own right hand;
And in His shadow may you find
Some light to understand.
In every step He bids you take
Along this rocky steep,
Love guides in every upward climb
For you, His precious sheep.
This trusted lot from God above,
This measure from His throne,
This portion meted out from Heav’n—
Is thine from Love Alone.
Thank You for Praying
Earlier this week, I was reading Psalm 55 and read these familiar but powerful verses (15-18):
As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me.
Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.
He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me.
I was reminded of the many people who pray for me. So many of you have told me (or family members) that you are praying. From the bottom of my heart: Thank You!! I know God has been answering your prayers.
I can honestly say that the measure of His grace, available to me over and over, has been more than enough. I'm not implying that it's been an easy path, but I am attesting to the fact that we have a great God.
His strength is simply amazing, as I'm sure many of you can testify with me as you face your own set of challenges in life.
Right now, I'm halfway through chemo treatments. The next one is scheduled for Tuesday, May 3. Only 3 remain after that. Even though the fourth treatment was the worst so far, it's a good feeling to be halfway through!
In closing, I'd like to borrow the final sentences in a recent letter from some missionary friends serving in Germany. They seem to accurately capture my thoughts at the moment:
I never understood the term "prayer warrior" before. But I do now. The Lord has blessed [me] with an army. Thank you for enlisting.
Yes, THANK YOU!! May God bless you.
Our Great God
The last treatment was more taxing than the first two--the side effects longer-lasting. As you could probably imagine, nothing about chemo is pleasant, but I am thankful for God's strength, especially in my weakness! Isaiah 40:31; 2Corinthians 12:9.
There are lots of ways we can encourage one another, and there have been so many times people have put forth the effort to encourage me. (Thank you!) A few weeks ago, a friend sent me this...
You are a great God.
Your character is holy.
Your truth is absolute.
Your strength is unending.
Your discipline is fair.
Your provisions are abundant for our needs.
Your light is adequate for our path.Your grace is sufficient for our sins.
You are never early, never late.
You sent your Son in the fullness of time and will return at the consummation of time.
Your plan is perfect.
Bewildering. Puzzling. Troubling.
Focusing on God's character gives such peace to the soul, especially when things around us are unpleasant. I'm thankful God's ways are best and His plan is perfect. He allows each of us to go through unique situations and sometimes hardships so He can be glorified through our lives. What a blessing that we can lean on Him!
“My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Yesterday morning I woke up with that thought. Truly, God’s grace continues to be enough and more than enough. Thank you so much for praying for me.
Since my last entry, I’ve completed the first 2 of 8 rounds of chemo. I go to Northwestern in downtown Chicago Tuesday of every other week for treatments, and although it’s pretty much an all-day affair, I’m able to go home the same day. I’m very thankful to report that the anti-nausea drugs have been quite effective for the most part.
The most challenging side effect is the sheer exhaustion that accompanies the toxic chemotherapy. I’d equate the exhaustion with how you might feel the morning after pulling an “all-nighter” studying for an exam or completing a project...a foggy brain and not much stamina. Thankfully, I’ve had lots of help from family and friends, and this has made the load much lighter. I’m so grateful for those who have prepared meals, babysat the children, cleaned the house, sent notes of encouragement, prayed faithfully, or given sacrificially.
I can tell you that I have sensed the prayers of God’s people over and over. The evening of my last treatment, I posted a twitter & facebook message requesting prayer and soon after felt much relief from the nausea that was overtaking me. In fact, the next morning, when I woke up, I was amazed at how good I felt!
In addition to fighting cancer with the chemo, I’m working hard at keeping my immune system strong. I walk about two miles daily and try to eat wisely. These two things help me immensely, and I’d appreciate your prayers that I could continue in these. Please also pray for my doctors to have wisdom. The latest blood work revealed some information that will require further testing and possibly additional treatment. My husband and I certainly appreciate your prayers in this.
On Sunday, Pastor Schlagel read Psalm 30. What a beautiful, God-focused Psalm filled with hope and thankfulness. It concludes with this verse, “To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.” No matter what our circumstances, God can fill us with praises as we rest in Him! Isn’t He so good?!