Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Day 2011!

Merry Christmas! It has been a long day (week, month...) And I am ready for bed, but thought I'd better quickly do another update that is a little happier than the last!

Last night we are all able to go to church together for the candle light service. It was amazing! I cry every year as the one candle ignites the rest and there is a crescendo of light causing the sanctuary to glow and radiate warmth. We end with singing Silent Night holding our candles high. I was overcome with the emotions of the last four months, barely comprehending all my husband has endured. Then to wrap my head around that one "silent night, holy night" over 2000 years ago. He came to earth that we may have direct access to God.  Overcome again.  I realized those around us, holding their candles high, were some of the very ones God used to bring light to our dark journey with cancer.  How we have been blessed by our friends and family, what an incredible difference they (you) have made.

We have been trying to live life as "normal" as possible for the sake of our kids...okay for us too (what is normal anyway?).  We gave our traditional Christmas Eve present of pajamas to the kids.  Then stockings and a few gifts Christmas morning at home.  This year Julia wanted to use her own money to buy us gifts.  We went to Ross the other day and Daniel and Julia were at the jewelry counter.  I stood back to give them some "space" and let them pick out my present.  Julia ran over to me and held out a $10 bill.  She said a man handed it to her and said "Merry Christmas".  She had been trying to get Daniel to fork over $1 to help pay for his gift to me (which she was buying for him to give to me!)  And this young man just gave her $10!  The best part is they used it to buy me earrings.  Not the best as in "hey cool, I have new earrings", but as in "hey cool, my kids were just given cash and they still chose to use it to buy a gift for someone else"!  Thank you to the stranger that chose to bless our family.  Julia made a penguin out of craft foam, attached a yarn scarf and put my earrings in it.  It is way groovy!  I love it.  I am so grateful Dave was home for Christmas so he could figure out the Transformers that Daniel received.  See above pictures.... 

My sister Lily (along with husband and son) came over from Pullman (via Seattle) to celebrate with us.  This is a picture of the new sweater Christopher received from his grandma : )  Their daughter, Kaileia, moved over to Hawaii this fall so she celebrated with us via Skype.  I sent her a package that included some molding clay.  I gave the same thing to my children, so tonight on Skype they all made a bird's nest.  The picture below shows Daniel and Julia's bird's nests and Kai's is on the computer screen!  It's hard to see hers, but it is really good!

We also went to see Dave's dad at the nursing home in Tacoma and got to see my H.S. BFF and her whole family (5 siblings, spouses, kids, dogs..Anne it was so good to see you and hug you today!  I miss you so much, why does North Bend seem so far away?)  We ended at my parents, enjoying a yummy ham dinner and opening more gifts.  It was a great day.  I think having things to do and getting out was good for Dave.  I noticed a big difference today compared to earlier this week.  He still is experiencing quite a bit of pain and he gets tired so quickly.  He fell asleep about the same time we walked in the door!

So yeah for good days!  Oh and thank you to my "Russell" family who came over to sing a Christmas carol and deliver homemade caramels and fudge!  That also encouraged Dave (and the rest of us!). 

I do have to admit there was another "Nancy" moment at church last night.  (Those of you that know me well, know just what that means).   We were singing "O Holy Night" and there is a line that says "Long lay the world in sin and error pining"  and I laughed singing "pining" since I think I said "pinning" and thought instantly of "pinterest" on the Internet and wondered What would Jesus "pin" on pinterest?  Then I thought what does "pining" mean and aren't I weird to understand "pinning" and not "pining"?  Don't worry, I'm shaking my head too...I sincerely hope you had a wonderful day also.   Goodnight!



Thursday, December 22, 2011

Not much new

A few of you have asked so I thought I'd give a quick update.

Nothing has changed, there you go, all done!  Really, not much has changed.  Dave is in pain and healing slowly.  It is to be expected, but is still discouraging.  I think we've been riding on the adrenaline rush from diagnosis, to treatment, to surgery and now it feels a little like we've "crashed".  I feel like the only thing I can do is bring him water and juice.  We go see his PCP tomorrow, it will be good to get out of the house (I know, after waiting so long to get home from the hospital, we want to get out of the house now!)

I'm grateful for Christmas break and the relief it brings from the business of life.  Grateful for all the yummy Christmas cookies we've been given so I can "feed" my sadness.  (I'm totally using this circumstance for the excuse to eat whatever I want!)  I'm continuing to trust and be grateful for God's good plan for us.  And choosing to believe that He is working in and through us.  We have so much to be grateful for and now it's almost Christmas Day and we are reminded to be grateful for the greatest gift of God's only Son.

I know the Truth and find great comfort in it, but life is hard (and I don't want to sugar coat that).  The great thing about being a follower of Jesus Christ is that though life is hard, we have Hope.  I think I'm a little nostalgic since today was the funeral for the pilot from our church that died in the helicopter crash on December 12.  That is hard.  He has a beautiful wife and four young children.  Yet we share  the Hope for tomorrow and Hope for eternity.  So we will get through this and even find joy in it.  And maybe tomorrow I'll have a funny hospital story to tell you!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

First Day Home

We've been home almost 36 hours, but who's counting? While it is definitely good to be home, it's no walk in the park! Dave is still trying to figure out pain management (thanks Kirstin for being our "home health nurse"). I'm frustrated I can't do more to help him, I think some of it will just take time. It feels like one chapter of our journey has closed and this next chapter is not quite as "exciting" as the last. Practically since diagnosis I have anticipated surgery, looked forward to it actually. Now surgery is over and it's like we don't have something to look forward to...I can't quite explain it.

The other day at work a man came in the office, at first I thought he was homeless and he might ask for money or food. He asked to talk to our Pastor. Jim was not in that day, so he posed his question to me. He asked me what it meant to take up your cross daily and follow Christ. I immediately had to silently repent of my instant judgmental thoughts and switch gears to try to humbly answer a great question. I had a nice brief conversation and found out quickly that this sweet older gentleman loved Jesus and desired to grow in his faith. As I ponder that question myself in light of our circumstances, I wonder if taking up my cross is daily dying to my selfish whims and wishes and patiently serving my husband, with no knowledge of a "turn around" day. Please don't get me wrong, Dave is being fantastic and I am beyond happy to help care for him. It's just hard seeing him in pain and spending Christmas break on pain killers (Dave, not me, just to set the record straight!)

I realize we haven't even been home two days, it will get easier (right?). Please pray we can manage Dave's pain and he would not get discouraged with the time it takes for healing to be complete. Thanks once again for your encouragement and support, it is difficult to imagine walking this road without you.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Coming Home Today!

Dr. Klatt came in this morning and said everything looks good!  Dave gets to come home today!  Pray it won't take too much out of him, his first elevator ride was yesterday to walk his dad out to the front doors.  He did fine, but was pretty tired.  (Well, not his FIRST elevator ride, as he says, he has been on them before...first one since surgery to be more accurate)

I'll let you know how it goes : )  Thank you Lord that he is home before Christmas!!!

Fish and Chips

Dave had fish and chips for dinner!  Which is great news even though they were rubbery and gross.  He even tried pop for the first time since surgery.  He was expecting it to taste and feel good, but not so much.  That is fine, he had some of all of that and so far so good! 

Dr. Klatt will come by Monday morning and let us know when Dave will be discharged!  I can't wait.  Please pray for a smooth transition home soon. 

Thank you!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Yummy food!

Eggs, pancakes, bacon, orange glazed chicken!?  What?  Who is this man eating all this food?  Why it is David Shaffer!  Yippee!!!!  Yes, this is what he has eaten so far today.  He just asked me to bring some cash to the hospital so he could go to the cafeteria with the kids...I guess when you basically don't eat anything for 18 days, you get pretty hungry!

Lord willing, all will go well today and maybe, just maybe he can come home tomorrow afternoon!  Please pray for continued victories today and that he can come home Monday.

I'll try to update more later, right now I have to go get my husband some more food! : )

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Top 10 reasons you know your husband has been in the hospital too long

So when your husband is in the hospital far too long...you begin to list the reasons that will prove your point.

1. You know every route to Tacoma General, which one is the fastest and which one passes a Starbucks on the way. (yes, all routes lead to a Starbucks...)
2. Your kids know how many steps it is from their daddy's room to the end of the hall (256).
3. You know which valet drivers take the longest to get your car (this is helpful information, since if one of these drivers goes to get your car, you know you can make it to the bathroom and back before they return).
4. You have the cafeteria menu memorized and you've even tried the sushi.
5. You hold a contest to name your husband's stoma, and have multiple entries! Top Contenders: Stomama, Gus, Tunga the Stoma, Poop Faucet, Oscar the Pouch, Stanely...however the winner is Don Loverin with "Innard Skynard"
6. You can find things in the supply closets at the hospital faster than in your own closets at home.
7. You stand in the hallway talking with other patients about their bowel movements.
8. You've been asked multiple times if you work at the hospital, you reply no and yet proceed to help them anyway.
9. You kinda like throwing away your husbands stylish hospital socks everyday (disposable socks, brilliant invention, never have to worry about finding the match from the dryer!)
10.  You haven't been to a store in so long, you forget which stores have automatic doors and which do not...

The good news for today, is that I may not have to come up with any more reasons.  I think a discharge date may be in our near future.  Dave has been able to "process" the food he's received so far these last 24 hours, granted none of it was solid food.  Baby steps, we'll get there.  I'm hoping he'll go to a low fiber diet today or tomorrow and be home early next week.  Ahhh, these long couple of weeks will make coming home even sweeter. 

Thank you for walking along side us, giving money, food, cards, meals, hugs, prayers and encouragement.  While I was taking my aunt to the YMCA yesterday, I told her I had friends buying, delivering, setting up and lighting a Christmas tree for us.  She said, "You have the nicest friends".  Yes, yes I do.  My kids were sooo excited to get a tree, it smelled so good walking in our house.  (Thank you Bankes and Van Houtes that was a bigger blessing than I realized)

So onward Christian soldier...a new day has begun!  Love you all ~

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wednesday

Quick update:

The days are really blurring together and more than one time a day I am wondering what day it is.  So I am going to report what I think all happened today.  Dave had a horrible night last night, I'll spare you the details, but it wasn't pretty and I'm sad I wasn't there to help him.  Dr. Klatt came in this morning (after being called through the night for Dave), they took him off all liquid/food and put the NG tube back in, they drained several liters of liquid which gave him some relief.  Feels like we are back at square one.

What it sounds like that is happening is that his bowels did wake up (hence the good day the other day), but now his stomach is "asleep".  Now we have to wait for that to work itself out.  Dave is pretty discouraged, but still trying hard to do all that is necessary to help his body heal.  So here we are waiting still (hey, but I'm getting better at waiting!).  The kids are being troopers and don't seem quite as weepy. 

We are continuing to trust that God has purpose in this and we are thankful for all the evidence of Him at work in our midst.  We will be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, we will let our requests be known to God.  And we will rest in the peace of God that guards our hearts and minds tonight as we sleep. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Perspective

Dave is slowly improving, all the tubes are out (again...) and he is having full liquids (creamy soup, pudding etc).  He still has quite a bit of gas, bloating and pain, but seems to be coming along.  The doctor wants him on a low fiber diet (white bread, white rice...all the things we try not to give our kids :) ) before he comes home.  And I am absolutely fine with this.

I found out this morning that a soldier from our church was killed in the helicopter crash at JBLM (Joint Base Lewis-McChord) last night.  This sweet family is new to our church, they just moved here with their 4 children, their latest special needs child arrived just this summer with adoption finalized days ago.  Talk about sobering.  Surely the Lord knew this day would happen, this did not happen because God was busy with other things.  No, I think He was watching ever so closely, He was there.  And for some reason, this is part of His plan...there is purpose in this, great purpose.  Yet my heart is deeply grieved for this sweet, young, generous, gracious wife and their very precious children.

I told Dave about the crash earlier today.  I told him I didn't want to minimize his pain, we'll get through this. However this family will not see their husband, daddy, son again until they see him in heaven. What we are dealing with is minimal and Dave agreed. Our road is still going to be rough, but now we have a little better perspective. 

I told my kids about this in the car on the way home from the hospital tonight.  Julia said she would like to write cards to the kids (she has met them a few times in Sunday School), then Daniel chimed in and wanted to send a note to the toddler.  We came in the house and I sent the kids upstairs to get ready for bed.  I went to check on them and this is what Daniel had already written. "Hi, I am sory that yor dad died it is so sad.  I no haw it wad feel.  It wad feel sad.  I am prayinge for you.  God loves you and He wel be ther iny time.  God loves you. like I sed He will be ther for you."

There was some very exciting news when I got home.  This family still needed $11,000 to pay off the adoption fees.  The agency, Project Hopeful that they are affiliated with, put a cry out for help after the news of the dads death.  Today alone they received ALL the funds needed!  What a sweet gift from the Lord.  And the other piece that has me smiling is that my tender-hearted son knows the truth that God loves us and He will be there "iny" time we need Him. 

Good night dear ones and as Daniel said, God loves you and will be there for you too!

Monday, December 12, 2011

New Room

Today I went back to work, it was good to be there, I really love it.  I missed Dave though, wondering how he was, wondering if he needed ice chips, wondering if he'd done his laps around the 6th floor.  Makes me thankful for phones, texting and facebook!  I went to see him this afternoon and he was gone...to a new room :)  This really isn't a big deal, he was fine with where he was and he never complained.  The way his bed faced though,  his view was of the other wing of the hospital.  Now he overlooks Wright Park, he'll see the sunrise and if he stands he can see Mt Rainier and Commencement Bay...not too shabby!  I hope this makes his time there just a little bit sweeter. 

Dave had a good day.  The NG tube is out, he is back on a clear liquid diet and it looks like his bowels are "waking up".  We are seeing progress!  Thank you Lord.  The beef broth tonight though was not good to him...mental note, no beef broth (at least from TG).  We'll see how the night treats him and just maybe coming home will be part of the conversation with our doctor.

Tonight was our staff/elder family Christmas Party.  It was so great to fellowship with this incredible group of friends...family.  I sometimes want to pinch myself because these people are truly amazing and we are so blessed to be in this community of believers.   The surprise of the night was a magician...wow!  He was incredible and shared such a great message of hope, I was not expecting that.  He even got Daniel on stage to help with a trick.  I don't think he'll ever forget it (Daniel, not the magician).  I am so grateful for tonight, would have been perfect if Dave were there.  I did get to have Dave's mom there though and that was great.  (Thanks for coming Janine!)

Heading towards bed (via folding laundry, cleaning kitchen, checking the pile of mail, cleaning the cat box, checking on the kids...makes me wish I had a laptop to blog in bed so I could just turn off the light and bypass all of the aforementioned!)

Goodnight friends, praying you saw God at work today too...thank you Lord for showing me Your love today...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Guilty

So I didn't post on my blog yesterday.  It was a little intentional, you see, yesterday was Day 10 in the hospital and that was my max.  Pre surgery I thought, "5 days should be fine, maybe 7, but no more than 10 days in the hospital."  Not my plan.  So I was a little mad yesterday.  It's hard to blog encouragement when I'm mad. It is getting old going back and forth twice a day to the hospital, the kids miss daddy like crazy though they see him every day.  I feel awful for Dave, he is tired of being sick and tired!  The sweet nurses today offered to find him a room on the other side of the floor so he could see the water (yes, please!).  They have been so good to him, mostly I think because he has been a fantastic patient, but it is still hard.  While most days we are pretty good, there are moments when it's just hard.  And that is okay.  We weren't promised easy.

The Lord gently convicted me today though.  My eyes turned away from Him and onto our circumstances.  Guilty, head bowed and shaking...why is that so easy to do?  You see people say that God doesn't give us more than we can handle.  Well, I've learned the opposite to be true.  God often gives me more than I can handle, and this is what we are living now.  We can't handle this (though I've tried).  God can though.  And really, I'd rather Him deal with all this anyway : )

God does say some things that are true: He will never leave me (Ps 37:28, Heb 13:5), He is my strength (Ps 37:39), He gives wisdom (James 1:5), He loves me (John 3:16, 1 John 4:19), He has a plan for us (Jer 29:11) and so many more promises that are right at our fingertips...

So I'm shaking the dust off of Day 10, and now Day 11 and I'll stop counting.  When Dave's body is ready to come home, it will be time.  So I thought I'd do a little show and tell.  No not the stoma yet (maybe after he has been officially named, there have been some great entries!)  Here are some of the current tubes hooked up to Dave.  That "tree" has liquids (3 kinds) going into his picc line you can see on his arm.  He has to push that beast every time he takes a walk (he went over 4 miles today, that's over 44 laps around the med-surg floor).  The plastic container on the wall gathers green gunk from his stomach through the NG tube in his nose.  He is getting a shot of insulin and blood thinner also.  (Insulin because there is so much sugar in one of those bags and his glucose level is too high, not sure why they don't lower the level of sugar going in, must be a good reason)

So I'll go back to being grateful.  Grateful that the doctor again today said he was pleased with the surgery and there were no traces of cancer, grateful this ileus is common and as Dr. Klatt said "Dave is NOT the special case", grateful my mother-in-law is here to take "shifts" at the hospital, grateful the rest of us are healthy, grateful we get to see Dave every day, grateful for friends that have rallied to bless the socks off of us, grateful for my job and the incredible staff that is supporting me while being gone so much...wow, this is actually easy to do! 

Thanks for quickly turning my heart around Lord...you are good, and that has not changed.  Praying for a good night for Dave and for his body to start working at just the right time, whenever that may be...

Friday, December 9, 2011

Dr. Nintendo

Quick mid-day update (shocking I know : ) )

Nothing has moved since yesterday morning (through Dave's colon).  They are taking him for a CT scan pretty soon here.  They want to rule out an abscess (infection) that could be the culprit.  Otherwise, Dr. Nintendo wants to hit the "reset" button on Dave and put an NG tube back in his nose.  (Can't remember where I made that comment, but the "young" doctor said using the NG tube is just like hitting the reset button on the Nintendo...not quite Dr. Nintendo, but we'll try anyway....)

Dave is in a lot of pain/discomfort today, very distended.  He did make a new friend down the hall though.  There is a man staying with his 19yr old son and Dave and the dad have been talking.  Turns out we have mutual friends!  (Pritchards)  He came down to tell Dave about the Lakers, but Dave was not up to hearing about basketball yet.  We'll get there, hope is still in front of us, I just feel bad for Dave.

To distract us though, I've been thinking about having a contest.  The ostomy nurse said that people "name" their stomas : )  (This is his guts that are hanging out of his side into a bag - was that too graphic?)  So if you have a great name, you can enter to win the bragging rights for naming Dave's stoma.

Please continue to pray for relief for Dave.  I'm praying relief doesn't come in anything to invasive, the doctor said he'll get there, it just is taking time.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tube out, tube in

Tubes.  Who knew we'd become so well acquainted with tubes.  Dave did not have a good day today.  He tried oatmeal for breakfast and lunch and now nothing is working.  (I think it clogged his colon...)  They put him back on the IV and he can't have anything by mouth. It feels a little like a roller coaster ride, bad day, good day, bad day, good day...this picture is of the roller coaster in Sea World.  I took Julia on it and we both freaked out!  Told you I  am a wimp.  Needless to say I'm not completely happy about this up and down part of our journey, but I don't need to be happy.  This life is not about us being happy.  It is to know God, be known by Him and then make Him known to this dark world and this is definitely keeping me very close to Him.  I am still standing on the truth that God is in full control, that He is the God of Hope and Healing.  I have a joy that is unexplainable even though I am tired and my husband is in pain.  So we will continue to wait.  Please, please pray for relief for Dave.  Pray for our kids too, they miss their daddy (though they see him daily).  The last two nights I had to wake up Daniel in the car after driving home from the hospital (it's not quite as easy to carry an 8 year old as it is a 2 year old!)

Thanks for another dinner tonight, for encouraging messages, for Gift Cards to the cafeteria, Starbucks cards : ) and mostly your prayers.  We will persevere! 
 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pathology Report : )

I realize most of you are probably fb friends of mine so you've heard the word, but to quote myself from facebook:

"Our bright hope for today you ask? Pathology came back, No Cancer, our giant has been slayed and the victory is the Lords.."

I just love how the Lord knits our hearts to His.  Last night as I was blogging I just knew there would be something about today that would give us more hope.  Then I talked to Dave this morning and he said the doctor came by and the Pathology report came back, No Cancer.  They took out some lymph nodes also and looked at those.  They did not find any cancer there either.  I guess if the lymph nodes had cancer and the radiation killed it, they would see evidence of cancer being there before, but there was nothing!  This is great news since cancer spreads quickly through lymph nodes.  It is a big relief to have this hurdle behind us.  However...

Dave had a high pain day.  They took out the NG tube this morning and put him back on clear liquids.  I think the pain is caused by the bowels beginning to work, the gas pressure in his belly, pain from laying in bed for a week and hunger!  He hasn't eaten since last Wednesday.  He is still being a star patient, but I can tell he is just about done with this.  While I did sing the praises of the staff yesterday, today was another story...don't know what was wrong with this group of  nurses/CNA's today, but I hope they get good sleep and take their happy pills tonight.  It's amazing how my hackles can come up when someone doesn't treat my family well...

Please pray for relief from the pain, complete healing and solid food to be on the menu soon.  I am tired, I think I hear my pillow calling for me, better go check on it...good night!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day 5 at Tacoma General

So before surgery I had hoped to be coming home on Day 5.  Now I am extremely grateful for hospitals and medical staff (and researchers and manufacturers and dare I say drug companies...).  I really do believe Dave is receiving the best care and we just need to wait for his body to "kick in gear".  He is in quite a bit of pain as his bowels are "waking up".  Oh!  And you will be so proud or impressed (or grossed out), but I emptied Dave's colostomy bag today!  (Kirstin, you were right, it is a little fun...sorry everyone else, that must be another reason we are friends)  The shocking part of all this, is that I'm not grossed out anymore.  God must have given me an extra measure of grace for this moment, because it is not pleasant and I am a big wimp.

On another fun note, the nurse came in tonight to give Dave some morphine and she said, "You are narcotic naive."  To which Dave replied, "huh?" ...exactly...  I guess that means he doesn't typically use narcotics!  They are good for the pain, but for some reason it hurts to process through his system and it makes him feel yucky.  I am still so proud of him though, he is getting up and walking and doing all he can to get better.

Thank you again (hope I can't say this too much), the outpouring of your love and prayers is sustaining us.  It's so nice to know you care!

This song is stuck in my head right now:

Great is Thy Faithfulness, Great is Thy Faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy Faithfulness Lord unto me!

Don't know if I've ever felt the truth of this song like I do tonight.  Praying for strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow for each of you also.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Poop

(Note: if you get queasy easily, I just wouldn't read this post if I were you, but for some odd reason, I'd like to remember some of these details!)

Remember when I said I have a hard time with titles for the blog?  Well, this was easy, just maybe not appropriate for the faint at heart (TL).  Dave was a trooper enduring a long day of discomfort with a 12 foot tube stuck up his nose.  I grimaced just looking at the tube, I cannot imagine what that feels like (nor do I want to...).  I lost track after about 3 liters of how much fluid was removed from his stomach, but it was enough to definitely tell a huge difference. 

One of the reasons he needed this NG tube was because of his "sleepy bowels", basically, they are not doing their job!  However, Dave just called and said his stoma pooped!  This is good news, probably not quite the medical term, I actually call it his "guts".  I can't remember if I've mentioned Dave has a temporary colostomy bag.  It's see through.  Be super happy I do not bring my camera to the hospital!  They basically pull out part of his intestines, put a hole in them, then leave them hanging outside his stomach attached to a bag and let his colon resection fully heal before allowing anything to pass through.  We have been waiting for something to exit his upper intestine and enter his colostomy bag.  And this is what happened tonight!

On a nicer note, because this has been quite the post...Dave's mom came today!  It's so nice to have her here.  We had a wonderful homemade dinner made for us with love by a dear friend, then my MIL did all the clean up while I went next door to help my aunt.  We were able to get back to the hospital in record time (for what it would have taken me to do all that myself).  I really hate to be away from Dave, so thank you for doing so much for us to ease the stress of this cancer journey.

Today was filled with more blessings than we could ever deserve.  We continue to be humbled by your lavish love.  A friend gave me a bag filled with gifts and wrote, "may these pampering gifts remind you of the sweetness and comfort of Jesus" and that is just what you are all doing for us.  We are more and more mindful of God's extravagant love for us.  (But God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8)  He has given the greatest gift in His son Jesus, but you are each a gift to us also.  Thank you.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

NG tube

One more apparatus to add to our repertoire!  Yes, an NG tube (nasogastric for you lay people...yes, I just googled it).  Dave was so uncomfortable from all the gas/air in his stomach.  I guess this is very common with any kind of bowel operation, his stomach looked like it would pop if he even looked at a porcupine.  Thank you to all of you that have endured his almost constant burping.  So after the kids and I left tonight the nurse tried to put the tube down his nose, yes, tried.  It was so painful they stopped then tried the other side.  Success.  Pretty quick like, they pulled out 1500 cc's of fluid.  There is finally some relief, except now his throat is really sore.  They'll keep the tube in at least through tomorrow if I understand right.  Dr. Levin (which has the same letters as "evil" he says) will come by tomorrow and check on him. 

Dave continues to be a star patient.  He got up about 5 or 6 times to walk around the hallway.  Because of this issue with the bloating, Dave has been on an all liquid diet.  This has been fine for him since he is not hungry at all.  The problem though is, he can't go home until he eats solid food for 24 hours.  And he can't eat with that NG tube.  So my hopes of him being home by Tuesday, I think, are dashed. 

Tomorrow is a brand new day, praying this tube will be effective and when I see my husband again, he will feel well.  Good night my friends!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Message from Faith (my kindle)

So I've been playing with my new kindle, I'm loving it.  I just read a devotional I wanted to share.  This is from Daily Strength for Daily Need.

Nay, all by Thee is ordered, chosen, planned; Each drop that fills my daily cup Thy hand Prescribes, for ills none else can understand.  All, all is known to Thee.

"I will be glad, and rejoice in Thy mercy: for Thou hast considered my trouble; Thou hast known my soul in adversities."   Ps. xxxi.7

I think I want to try to bring the word "nay" back  isn't fun to say?  This was a timely devotional for us and I am grateful it was literally at my fingertips!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Cancer Free - Day Two

Well, this hasn't been officially stated, but looking back at today sometime further down the road, I think I will see that this is Day Two of being cancer free for Dave.  It feels so good to be post-surgery.  In a way, I feel like I was holding my breath the last four months. We still don't know what the next four months will look like, each day will tell as it unfolds.  One thing that hasn't changed is that we are still waiting.  Waiting for the pathology report, waiting to find out when Dave can be discharged, waiting to find out what our chemo treatment will be...waiting for Dave to heal fully from being sliced open : ) 

And I am still grateful too.  Grateful that the surgery went so well, thankful we had the best possible surgeon, thankful that Dave is working so hard at getting better (doing everything the nurses ask - he is being a great patient).  I'm also filled with gratefulness for my amazing friends and family.  I have been cared for in every possible way.  I don't think I have one need tonight.  I am sure I will not be able to thank you all for everything you've done, you've turned a very difficult situation into something very bearable. 

I ran into a friend tonight at the hospital deli.  Her husband has a malignant brain tumor that was removed this morning.  I felt an instant kinship with her and my heart ached.  Do you ever feel like there are so many hurting people or problems in the world that you can't possibly make a difference?  I think of the orphan crisis, natural disasters, the homeless in Pierce County, friends that have lost loved ones recently...it can be overwhelming.  I gave my friend a hug, told her I have a name of a great oncologist, tried to encourage her and hoped I made a difference.  Then I thought of all of you, how you've prayed, sent encouraging words, given meals, money, childcare, chocolate...you have made a difference.  You have shined the light of Jesus in a world that is filled with selfishness, pride and pain.  I am challenged by you to live my life to make a difference, even one life at a time.  Thank you!

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.  Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.  Psalm 37:3-4

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Now you have it, now you don't

Well, surgery is over.  Dr. Klatt did a beautiful job.  Everything went according to the plan.  This morning my husband had a cancerous tumor, and now he doesn't.  Granted he is in a great deal of pain. This may be premature, but I am rejoicing that the cancer is gone.  We should receive the pathology report in about four days.

Hopefully Dave won't read this while he is feeling bad, but today was kind of fun.  I had several friends stop by, two that work here! I had two Starbucks delivered to me and I sat doing nothing for 9 hours...well longer now.  I'm pretty relaxed.  I'm using my  new cool kindle and hanging out with my college buddy!  Seriously, I feel a little guilty, but hey I'm on vacation!

Okay, I wrote those last two paragraphs at the hospital, but Dave kept needing ice and pain meds and a smile : )  So he took priority over you for a little while!  I am home with the kids and my friend Kathy from Portland.  They will be getting Dave up tomorrow to walk around.  I felt so bad leaving him tonight, he is so uncomfortable and tired.  I'm hoping he will sleep through the night, I know I will!

So rejoice my friends!  We have been praying God's will and this is His will (phew...), we have just checked off one more stop on this road and are getting ready for the next leg of this trip.  Recovery.  We covet your continued prayers as we start dealing with the daily mundane responsibilities of getting Dave healthy and strong enough for chemo. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you (including the tangible ways you have shown your love to us).  We are blessed beyond what I ever thought possible!

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all,
because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.  Romans 1:8

Praying that your extravagant love for my family shouts the Lord's faithfulness to a watching world!  Love you all!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

ONE! (aka 9 hours eek!)

Well our bags are packed, tomorrow is the day!

Okay, nothing is packed, but I had to blog quick like so you wouldn't know how late I was up.  It has been a whirlwind of a day.  I wish I could be so productive every day!  Well, no I don't I'd be really exhausted then.  In fact in the middle of the day today, I pulled up to a stop sign and waited for a green light.  Fortunately, I figured it out before there was a line of angry cars behind me...or angry people in cars?

I can't begin to express the supernatural joy-filled day we had today.  (Probably can't express it since I can't remember most of it, so here are two highlights.)

So my friend Michelle and I try to get together and pray for our husbands a few times a month, she called and asked if we could meet today so she could pray for me.  Yes please!  She was very patient as I changed plans a few times.  I show up at church and lo and behold, her she comes marching up the sidewalk with her posse.  The little sneak gathered together a few of my friends to surprise me, what is it with you guys surprising me?  : )  They showered me with gifts and love and then handed me a small bag with lots of names written on the outside.  These gals went in together and bought me a Kindle Touch!  (Seriously, I don't even know what it is, but I'm just going to act like it's super cool right now, since I know this is the right reaction and I'll figure it out later) What I know though is that I can access the internet at hot spots (not like Tahiti, Shari) and read about 4,124 books.  This was amazingly generous and I am completely unworthy.  I was overwhelmed and tearful.  I really do understand the sacrifice my friends went through to do this for me and I am humbly, eternally grateful.  However, the next part was over the top.  They gathered around me, placed their loving hands on me and prayed for Dave, the kids and for me.  This just caused my heart to soar.  Thank you ladies, I can't express the depth of my gratitude and clear vision of Jesus I witnessed through you all. (including those that couldn't be there!)


The next highlight was tonight at 6:30.  Our Pastor sent a shout out to our Pastors and Elders to meet at church tonight to pray for us.  These men and a couple of their wives gathered around Dave, Julia, Daniel and myself and placed their loving hands on us and prayed.  Again I was overwhelmed at the beauty of the body of Christ in action.  I'm doubly blessed.  I have an incredible "biological family", godly parents, brothers, sisters (including in-laws) and extended family of 3 generations.  We have a second family too though.  It is our church family and we love them so much.  Thank you for taking the time to pray with us.

Okay, seriously, I have got to work on getting to bed, so here is today's verse:

The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble;
and He knows those who trust in Him.  Nahum 1:7

Right there in that verse it says God is good and we have trouble, they do co-exist!  Not all the time fortunately.  This life is no walk in the park, unless maybe it's Central Park in NY : )  You never know which way the Lord will lead, but He will lead and He knows those who trust in Him.  What sweet comfort.  Thank you, all of you for your prayers.  We definitely feel them and have great peace.  I'll try to update tomorrow after surgery/recovery, which should be after noon.  I'll be the cool one using my New Kindle Touch to blog!  Love you all ~

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Two!

Peace ~ Two Days

Was I the one that said "let's get this party started" and get this surgery going?  Yup, guess that was me.  Now my song is more, "uh, two days?!"  For some reason I feel like I have to have it all together.  Okay, fine, this is nothing new, I just seem to hide it better when cancer is not part of the picture.  I want to cross all my T's and dot all my I's, and what I need to do is just "let it go".  Let me just ask for your grace right now (not that you haven't freely lavished it on me already!), I am completely sure I've forgotten to say thank you to someone, or that I missed a meeting, or that I didn't call when I said I would, or that my shirt was on inside out today (seriously, tell me if this really happens).  I dont' feel guilty, I just feel bad that someone could feel neglected!  So with your permission, I've let it go, it's done.  Clean slate, thanks I feel better already.  Just send me a reminder if it's something important, please : )

Dave met with another nurse today to get "marked".  He has a big green dot by his belly button, he'll have a temporary colostomy and he was given instructions on how to "maintain" it.  I'll spare you the details, but I think I'm about to learn more about something I was fine not knowing!  Actually, I have to say again, I am grateful.  If this all is to restore Dave to full health, then bring it.  God is our strength and sustainer and this is not too much for Him.

Today's verse:

The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace.
Psalm 29:11

Thank you Lord for giving us strength for today and for infusing us with Your peace.

And Happy 8th Birthday to Daniel!  What joy you bring to our lives, love you little buddy!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Three

Three days to go...



Today we went in for the pre op, yesterday I think I said I was glad about this fact.  It wasn't that great.  It was a little depressing, sobering, scary...lots of instructions, do this, don't do this, bring this, go here, don't forget... something, I don't remember.  The bright spot of the hour was when the nurse went through the list of questions: do you take medications, do you smoke, do you drink, do you take recreational drugs, do you have your own teeth...what?  Whose teeth would he have?  She left the room a few minutes later and we both busted out laughing.  Dave said, "I wanted to tell her I had your teeth". (Before you all get frustrated trying to comment, we realize they were asking about dentures, for some reason it was really funny the way she asked.)

I really want to get this over with.  It's getting old and it's only been four months.  I feel like I'm winding up like a spinning top as the day approaches, my to do list gets longer every day not shorter.  So I was completely grateful when my friend sent me the song "Still", so today's verse was inspired by her : )

Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.
 
Psalm 46:10

or as the NASB says, "Cease striving and know that I am God..."  Thank you Lord for this gentle reminder.  He will be exalted and that is what is truly important.  I'll end with a prayer just shared with me by another dear one:

God, I can't understand why You're doing this. But I know that, unlike me, Your actions cannot be inconsistent with your heart, and I know Your heart is loving, good and faithful. Somehow, some way, somewhere all these things are for good. If I could just know you better through this, that is all the good I need.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Four

Four Calling Birds
So by now I think everyone has heard Christmas music playing on the radio, in the elevator, at the stores, at church.  In fact Daniel is in bed now singing a song from our Children's Christmas Pageant coming up in a couple of weeks.  "Gotta keep the main thing, the main thing!" (now repeat those same words 498 times, yup that's what I'm hearing, surely there are other words to this song.)  I don't think I've heard The 12 Days of Christmas yet, but today's number four is brought to you by this song.

And today's verse, well, I think it is inspired by Daniel's song. 

Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.  Brethren I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3:12-14

Christ has "laid hold' of us for a purpose and I want to grasp that tight.  I don't want to rely on the past, or be stuck in the past to miss this moment God has for us in the present.  As a zillion details swim in my head of things to accomplish this week, I need to remember one thing, that I "Gotta keep the main thing, the main thing."  That main thing is my upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Thanks Daniel for the reminder.

P.S. We have pre-op tomorrow!  This was a long span of not seeing doctors, it felt very strange, uncomfortable almost.  I'm oddly happy to go to a medical appointment (shhhh, don't tell Dave, I don't think he is very happy about it.), I'll let you know any grand details we receive, if any.

 

 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Five




Five, hmmmm, we are down to counting on one hand.  I had a nice walk and talk with Kirstin today.  (Happy Birthday! Two more years till we do our colonoscopies together!)  She let me talk and verbalize lots that has been in my head.  I confessed to her that I didn't really understand how Dave was feeling (sorry honey, wish I did ~ well, no I don't, but I wish I was more compassionate).  Anyway, Dave has been struggling. He isn't feeling good (and any of you with chronic illness out there, know how draining that can be) and he's worried about the surgery and the kids.  My attitude has been, "Surgery? Great! Let's obliterate this cancer!" I haven't really pondered all that surgery means.  This is all new territory for us.  Dave has been very positive and brave that it hasn't been that hard on me.  There have just been so many reasons to praise God, that my focus has been there and not on the "what ifs".  I just can't let my mind formulate things that could go wrong.

  That's why this is my verse today:

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.  Philippians 4:8


My Young Life leader in High School had me memorize this and it has saved me many times over the years.  So what are you thinking about right now, what thoughts have been running through your mind?  Are they true, honorable, right, pure?  If yes, praise Him, if no...you better do a 180 because you are headed down danger highway.

Yet even as my thoughts dwell on what is lovely and worthy of praise, I need to be practical also.  How is Dave feeling, what can I do to bring peace?  How can I plan well for several days in the hospital, how do I prepare my kids emotionally?  What should I make for dinner?  Yeah, you are right, I can't do all that : )  So feel free to give me advice or ideas.  Pray I remember to do the important things, that I'll be patient and compassionate and pray for Dave to have peace these next few days.  We love you!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Six

 We have a cute number six in honor of the unicycle we saw at the parade today!  I woke up at 6am (hey, another six!)  to see how awful the weather was, and it was decent...well, I could see the stars so I figured it wasn't raining.  I was feeling a little bad that my kid's memory of this Thanksgiving was cleaning their room, so Dave and I decided to take the kids to the Macy's parade!  We took the bus from the Tacoma Dome to Westlake Center, with one other passenger.  We got great seats and sunshine, perfect combination for a parade.  We saw floats, princesses, bands, bagpipes and St. Bernards.  (Now again, if you know me, this does not sound like a good time...crowds and cement, not my first choice for a vacation day...but it was a blast!  It helped that for candy they threw Frangos, yumalicious.)  After the parade we window shopped at Westlake and Pacific Place then walked down to Pike Place to see a fish fly and to sit on a pig.  It was such a beautiful day.  We walked over to see the Sound and the Olympics and to listen to the Dickens Carolers.  I think it was a day that we all needed and I am so grateful.


And today's verse (from one of my favorite books):

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you
were called in one body; and be thankful.  Colossians 3:15

I think there is a direct link between being thankful and letting the peace of Christ rule in our hearts.  As we decide to be thankful for all that God has given (good and bad), His peace begins to rule.  I just read it is like having an umpire make a decision.  Did someone hurt your feelings today?  Ump, what's the decision, make the call.  "Peace".  Things didn't go as planned?  Ump, what's the call?  "Peace".  Storm raging?  What is the decision? "Peace, be still". Find out you have cancer?  Decision?  "Peace".  You get it.  Whatever you are going through, peace is waiting, it's yours, let it rule and be thankful.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Seven

And the number seven is brought to you by the number of stuffed animals my kids can part with - out of 143...

So instead of "doing" Thanksgiving this year, I cleaned my kids room.  If you know me, you know this was a good day : )  We had hoped to go to Pullman for Thanksgiving, so I didn't make any plans for today.  Alas, we opted to stay in town and get our acts together before the surgery.  I tried to pull together a few ideas for the day and none worked out and I'm so glad now!   Do you know this is the first day that I can remember since summer that I have stayed home the entire day?  The fruit of my labor is pictured below.



And today's verse:

Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass, Unless the Lord has commanded it? Lamentations 3:37

I think I've mentioned this verse before, it is so powerful.  All of Lamentations 3 is packed with encouragement and admonishment.  Verses 22-23 are the key passage to the song "Great is Thy Faithfulness".  Verse 37 though is sobering.  Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass?  Who of us can tell our future or "plan" our way?  Our steps are ordered by the Lord (we could get into a great long discussion here!), yes we have choices and consequences, but God is ultimately in charge of it all.  So, if I believe this verse to be true, then God is very intimately acquainted with our circumstances - in fact He commanded them.  Hard to wrap your brain around that one right?  Well, His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.  (Isaiah 55:8)  I have an inkling He knows best, so I will rest trusting Him along this road.  Praying you can rest in this truth too Dave, I love you!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Eight

The number eight is brought to you in honor of Daniel's "fake" 8th birthday!

Daniel's birthday is two days before Dave's surgery.  We've been trying to figure out how to do a party around Thanksgiving, that close to surgery.  It worked out that today was a 1/2 day and a couple of Daniel's friends were available!  So voila, we had a party.  We went to Odyssey and played laser tag and bonus ~ Wednesdays adults get to play for free with their kids!  We are so proud of this creative, tender-hearted, musical, silly, joyful, God loving little man!  Oh how very grateful we are for his life.  (Some of you may remember, we weren't sure of his future when we were told he had meningitis at his one week appointment.)

And today's verse is brought to you by my friend Hope.  She was making Christmas presents for her family and the Holy Spirit said, "give this one to Nancy".  I LOVE that Hope said, "don't know why, but sure!".  It is (of course) a beautifully crafted Christmas ornament made out of a "vintage" spoon, beads and an engraved scripture reference.  My verse is: 

Nevertheless I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand. With Your counsel You will guide me, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:23-26

This sweet little ornament will be out year round as a testimony to God's faithfulness:  how He uses sisters in Christ to encourage, how He uses His Word to remind us of Truth and how He is my (and your) portion forever.

Goodnight day 8, today was a good day.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Nine

And then there were nine days left.

For today's verse I picked up My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers, I went back to "the beginning".  The day the cancer was confirmed (by an oh so delightful colonoscopy) was Dave's birthday.  So I just read the devotion for August 2.  The verse is:

In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
                                                             John 16:33

I must quote some of the rest of the devotional:

"The typical view of the Christian life is that is means being delivered from all adversity.  But is actually means being delivered in adversity, which is something very different."

and

"God does not give us overcoming life-He gives us life as we overcome.  The strain of life is what builds our strength.  If there is no strain, there will be no strength.  Are you asking God to give you life, liberty, and joy?  He cannot, unless you are willing to accept the strain.  And once you face the strain, you will immediately get the strength."

and finally

"God never gives us strength for tomorrow, or for the next hour, but only for the strain of the moment."

So tonight I will choose to be of good cheer as we face the strain of the moment, because the victory is the Lords.
 

Monday, November 21, 2011

10 Days!




Okay, we are on the countdown (...still, but at a cool number).  I can see the concern in Dave growing as we get closer to the surgery, so I'm going to try to post a verse every day for the next 10 days.  Today's verse:

The heaven's are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.   Psalm 19:1

I heard this verse today and it reminded me of the Sovereignty of God.  God's creation tells of His glory, He doesn't need us to boast in Him, His own creation does that itself!  However, He does give us a voice and an opportunity to tell of how great He is.  And He has been great in our lives.  Dave is still feeling the effects of the radiation and chemo, but has been a stellar patient.  He continues to work hard, help the kids with their homework, do the dishes and so much more.  Ten Days until surgery, ten days to sing God's praise for what He has done and what He will do.  Go God! : )


Monday, November 14, 2011

17 Days

Patience...just took a deep breath after typing that word.  You know you are not supposed to pray for patience since God will put you in a situation to teach it to you : )  And no, I did not pray for patience, but apparently God wanted to teach it to me anyway.  I'm doing this amazing study at church called Living Beyond Yourself.  We are studying the Fruit of the Spirit.  Last week was on Patience.  There are two kinds in the Bible.  Patience in circumstances and patience with people (the second is probably harder right? - I wrote in my notes that this kind of patience waits when it wants to whack!)

I learned that Patience in circumstance is inspired by hope.  Of course the pinnacle example in God's Word is Job.  When Job doesn't have a clue why God has allowed him to experience extreme hardship he says, "But He knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.  My foot has held fast to His path..." (Job 23:10-11)  {notice even God likes paths}

Even though Job could not see God (or see why this was happening to him), he had the hope that God saw him and his circumstances.  So we have 17 days until surgery, then 6-8 weeks recovery, then 4-6 months of chemo, then follow up appointments, and so on and so on....while I cannot see the future, God can and He sees us and we have that hope. 


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Family Photos

God is amazing. Most of you know that already though don't you? : ) Through this journey God has continued to "wow" me. You know what I mean? God is really cool and when cool things happen, I shouldn't be surprised. A couple of days ago I needed $145 for two different things, and they were not even "necessities". I could have done without, but God sent $150 in the mail via one of my dearest friends. 

Another friend offered to take our family pictures, before Dave got too sick, so we'd have some sweet photos to make us smile on those dark days.  WOW!  What a complete blessing.  I was last minute and a little "demanding" in what I really wanted...if I believed in magic, I would think she had a little black wand that she waved over her camera.  Not only did she capture incredible scenery, laughter, smiles, my family...but somehow she captured my heart.  I look at these photos and I see God's faithfulness.  It's almost too much.  I've attempted to insert the link below, I hope it works.  If you need pictures, you must call Chelle...she has her own story of God's faithfulness to her and her kids and maybe that is what makes her so good.  (plus she has a great eye!)  And it was a blast, not painful at all...(except for when Dave had to sit on the bridge, that hurt, thanks honey for sacrificing your comfort for another one of my crazy shenanigans).

http://chellenicole.com/WP/2011/11/09/shaffer-family-tacoma-family-photography

It's a strange sensation to be dealing with cancer and yet be so full of gratitude in one little heart.  We are not out of the woods yet, but definitely know and feel the presence of the One that leads the way.

For You are my rock and my fortress; For Your name's sake You will lead me and guide me.  Psalm 31:3

Honey, I Shrunk the Tumor!

This is the hardest part about blogging...thinking up "titles" for each post : )  We are breathing out God's praise right now as we just found out Dave's tumor shrank from 10 cm to 2.6 cm.  What a relief.  Dr. Singh continued to be very positive and pleased with Dave's progress and prognosis.  The words are a little blurry in my mind still, but this is really good news for surgery, recovery and long time wellness.  We are so grateful for God's continued goodness to us (we are mindful that He would still be good if we had bad news today, but will rejoice in His hand in shrinking this tumor).

Thank you so much for your prayers of healing and for your prayers for us to be strengthened in this process.  Your love and encouragement abounds! 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tomorrow

So we meet with Dr. Singh tomorrow morning.  He said it'd be about a 5 minute appointment to look at the results of the CT Scan.  I have no idea what we'll see.  Or what we won't see.  My last post was a Matt Redman Song, towards the end the words are: "Every step we are breathing in Your grace, evermore we'll be breathing out Your praise, You are faithful, God You are faithful."  Taking in deep breaths of grace tonight so we will be breathing out His praise tomorrow.  He is faithful.



 

Never Once

Periodically my dear friend Debbie sends me songs to encourage me in my journey.  I think every one has been a message from the Lord to speak to my heart.  This is the latest.  I hope you have 4 minutes and 33 seconds to be given hope and truth.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

CT Scan

We met with our Radiation Oncologist yesterday (I finally figured out his title by looking on the Internet just now...).  He's a really nice guy and great at explaining very complicated jargon into everyday language for the common man...and woman.  Everything seems fine.  He asked if we would like a CT Scan before surgery.  Yes!  I'd like to see with my own eyes that God has healed Dave.  Dr. Singh would like to make sure the cancer hasn't spread.  Uh, what?  I didn't think that was an option.  He said in the very slight chance that the cancer has spread, then it wouldn't be prudent to do the surgery.  Slap.  That came out of no where. 

You know when you have lots of really bad news and then there is this little ray of hope,  you just cling to it will all your might.  Well, I feel like we've had consistently good news (in the world of cancer), then this ray of despair is introduced.  I have to choose not to cling to it, but rest in all the goodness that God has shown thus far.  There is so much hope it's ridiculous that I would give space in my thoughts for this small idea of the cancer spreading. 

My friend said this news (or thought) is like the thick fog that rolled in this morning, it had distorted my vision.  It left a heaviness in my heart, but praise God, the fog lifted and it was a beautiful day with an amazingly clear view of Mt. Rainier!  (If you live in Lakewood, you know just what I'm talking about)  God has allowed the heaviness to leave my heart and He has given me a clear picture of who He is, the Creator, the Sustainer, the Healer, the God who is Mighty to Save, the Way, the Truth and the Life.  There is no one like Him. 

So the scan is next Monday and we meet with Dr. Singh on Wednesday to find out the results, and whatever we see, or don't see, God will still be the same and I can cling to that.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Message from Julia

 

So Julia has a blog, I keep forgetting she has one since I think she has started several : ) She left it open just now so I read the last entry. Thought I'd share with you what is on her heart.

Life
Hi everyone,
Well as you know my dad has cancer and he is having surgery on December 1st.  At times life will be hard but I know God will keep care of our whole family.  Please pray for this process and my family.  Remember always have faith in God!!!
- Julia
I love this girl!  God is at work in her and through her and it thrills my heart.  She definitely has been more clingy to Dave these last couple of months and as the surgery date approaches I know her concerns will grow.  She cried the other day when I told her she couldn't come to the hospital with us on the day of surgery.  Ugh.  We still haven't figured out what would be best for them that day.  We have all kinds of options thanks to some great friends.  Maybe I'll try to get something out of Daniel for the next post : )

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Excerpt from my Devotional

There are not words to communicate the depth of the meaning of these words to me:

"I, the Creator of the universe, am the most creative Being imaginable.  I will not leave you circling in deeply rutted paths.  Instead, I will lead you along fresh trails of adventure, revealing to you things you did not know.  Stay in communication with Me.  Follow My guiding Presence."

(from Jesus Calling, October 27)

I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Psalm 32:8

The above quote encompasses all God has been teaching me these last few weeks.  (It's like the cliff notes version!) He is so good and patient with me. Oh how He loves us, how He loves me.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pumpkin Patch !

In an attempt to keep things "cheery" around here, we decided to take advantage of a 1/2 day at school and go on an adventure.  We went to Hunters Pumpkin Patch.  All the way there, the kids kept saying, "We want to go to the one we went to last year..."  (add a little whine with that statement).  I don't know what it is about us (humans) we tend to settle into the familiar and comfortable.  I'm often looking for ways to change things up or try new things, just to shake us up a bit (granted nothing has been dangerous or wild...my ideas have been things like trying fruits we can't pronounce or visiting a neighborhood park we've never been to or trying a new pumpkin patch...maybe I'll try something more adventurous after all this cancer stuff is in our past!)

Anyway, it ended up being a great afternoon, lots of laughs, smiles, goats and "normal".  Here are a few pictures of the day.


And we can't have a day with a camera and nature and not a "path" picture, so here it is:
As I just reread the above post, I had to giggle a little.  Maybe this is what God is doing in my life.  I do like "comfortable" and just maybe God wants to give me an adventure, shake things up a little.  Do a new thing.  Let me just say cancer is way crazier than a weird sounding fruit, but He is definitely more wild than I am.  So I will quit my whining and stop asking "when will we get there" and trust His leading.  He knows where we are going and the adventure that is before us.

Behold, the former things have come to pass, Now I declare new things..... Isaiah 42:9

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

December 1

There it is.  The surgery date.  Dave got his way.  I guess it is only fair since he is the one with cancer.  44 days from today.  That seems almost an eternity.  So we continue to wait.  Maybe I should look at this as a gift.  We have 44 days! : )  There, that is better.  Daniel is learning punctuation in school, maybe I should try to end more of my sentences with an "!". 

Let's make the best of these next 44 days!  Almost sounds exciting now doesn't it : )  Let's see how it goes...  !