Thursday, April 28, 2011

Leg 3

Ever been on an international flight that has multiple legs? You start out feeling pretty excited and don't mind getting up at 3:30 am to catch your 6:00 am flight to Chicago that connects you to Frankfurt that takes you to Mumbai. Once you step on the plane going to Mumbai, you're just about out of that smile-inducing adrenaline that got you started.

Lance and I, we're on leg 3 with an untold number of flights ahead of us.

We started out the week full of fight-the-good-fight energy. Ready to tackle our cancer and everyone else's at OHSU! Today we both feel tired and irritable. He's been working hard to get better and I've just been working hard.

I wish I could say I've kept my smile on and felt complete peace and comfort. I waffle between "We can do this!" and "What are we going to do?"

Outside the hospital walls my world continues like nothing happened. Life goes on whether we are fighting cancer or not.

I can't help but say, "we have cancer". It may be Lance's body but it has absolutely rocked my world, too.

We are anxiously awaiting the results of the pathology test. The report will determine our next flight plan.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 has been running through my mind all day.

8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

As irritated and tired as we are, as nervous about the flight plan as we may be, we can NEVER be crushed, NEVER in despair, we are NOT abandoned. We may be struck with cancer but it CANNOT destroy us.

He is in charge of the flight plan and we just need to sit back and trust our pilot. Just like we do on any flight. I am never handed the stick, no one expects me to read the charts, we sit back and enjoy the flight with our seat belts securely fastened until the Pilot says we are free to move about the cabin.

Destination: Health and Wholeness

Monday, April 18, 2011

What The Donut Said

Today we spent the afternoon at OHSU for several back-to-back appointments. Following our carefully laid out instructions for how to get to each office, it began to feel like an episode of Amazing Race! We followed the clues, crossed the sky bridge, up and down elevators... OHSU is such a maze! Just trying to find your way around will take your mind off of being sick!

After filling out forms, drawing blood, taking vitals multiple times, we finally got to the appointment we had been waiting for. Just what did the donut say?

"Clean as a whistle!" That's what the donut said. Clean, that is, in every other place in Lance's body except for his neck and throat!

We are rejoicing. So thankful that there are no other organs involved.

The donut also revealed that there is another growth of cancer that has spread to his left tonsil.

Next part of this Amazing Race is April 25 when Lance will have surgery to remove the tonsils, a part of his pharynx wall and the lymph nodes on the right side of his neck.

Recovery, we've been told, is a bear. He will come home with a feeding tube and an extremely sore throat.

After surgery they will send the tissues off for examination. There is still a chance that the cancer may have spread through his nervous system. Something the donut cannot tell us.

We'll have the pathology in about a week after the surgery.

Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for your support and encouragement. We are feeling it from all over the world!

God is good...all the time!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

We're Not Those People

Friday was an interesting experience. Lance went in for a PET scan to take a look at his entire body. This will show us how far spread the cancer is and if there are any other problems in his body.

I admit, I wouldn't mind having a PET scan! I think it would be kind of cool to see my insides and get a jump on anything that might be lurking.

Lance reports that the procedure is pretty uneventful. After being shot up with radio active isotopes in his arm, they waited for about 45 minutes (while he took a nap) before putting him on a platform under 2 big metal donuts. The donuts took an hour to slowly inch their way up his body making all kind of noises (that prevented a second nap) and that was it.

Meanwhile, out in the lobby...I set up my mobile office, stuck in my earphones and put my head down to work. It was difficult not to be distracted by the patient traffic. Especially since this was not your typical waiting room. The patient parade was a disturbing, reality gripping scene.

"We're not those people." I kept saying to myself. I scanned the room and caught sight of the wall lined with brochures and hand outs on cancer nutrition and counseling services. "We're not those people. We don't need these materials!"

I wept inside for the family members wheeling in their loved ones dressed in ill-fitting pajamas, mere shadows of a whole person. I'm sure they felt the same as I did at the start of their journey. They weren't "those people" either.

My mind started to wander to the 'what if' questions and fear began to rise. And just before the inside tears manifested outside, I softly heard the Lord say, "Fear no fear."

I pondered how to apply that. Scripture is full of 'fear not' passages. From the shepherds in the field witnessing the angel's glorious announcement of our saviors birth, to the disciples seeing Jesus walk on water.

Fear no fear. A word for all of us, as life is full of uncertainty. Living in fear of 'what if' is no life. Not the life that God has in mind, anyway.

Instead of giving into the fear I gave into the courage and peace that God offered. I can choose. I am not out of control. Lance and I can choose.You can choose.

So we choose to be brave. We choose to breathe peace and exhale anxiety.

Tomorrow afternoon we'll see the results of the donut's work and choose to be brave no matter what they say.

Isaiah 44:8
8Fear not, nor be afraid [in the coming violent upheavals]; have I not told it to you from of old and declared it? And you are My witnesses! Is there a God besides Me? There is no [other] Rock; I know not any.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I Never Knew

A couple of years ago a friend of mine encouraged me to start a blog. "Not interested." was my quick reply. But after more prompting from Gina and others, I opened the blog January of 2010.

I started thinking it would be a great outlet for a book I am working on 'I Could Be Holy If I Weren't So Human', thus the name.

I never knew I would be using it to give updates on my sweet husband's cancer treatments.

What we thought was a bad case of strep throat was actually stage three viral carcinoma in his right tonsil and inside his neck. To say we were shocked would be an understatement.

If you know me, you know I am a planner. So, we have a plan.

Plan A: God gives us a complete miracle. Psalm 103:3 He heals our diseases!

Plan B: We have a PET Scan on April 15, get results on April 18 to see how far the cancer has spread, and then have surgery on April 25.

Isaiah 55:9 So are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.

So if God's best plan is for us to walk through this and experience His loving hands through medical professionals we'll take it.

Lance and I agree - whatever brings God the most glory will be for our betterment.

God knew we would need a joyful distraction. Nothing could be better than a new grandbaby. Our daughter, Megan, and her husband Kyle, gave us Lillian 'Lily' Katherine. I'm sure we will get a call from Mr. Clean at any moment. She can magically erase any sadness or self-pity with just one sweet sigh and a snuggle.

Thank you, Jesus. You know how to bring healing in even the smallest of packages.