Wednesday, August 31, 2011

All is right in our world again...

We saw Dr. Senecal again today (best Oncologist ever).  He relieved some of our concerns, he has never seen a perforation in cases like ours (as mentioned by our surgeon Monday) and he was very calm about our other concerns.  We were able to voice our questions and fears and he eased our hearts.  We left once again confident in his care of us.

We went on to meet with a nurse for a "chemo teach".  We were taken into a sterile, colorless, quiet room, where about 5 chemo patients were receiving IV treatments.  Seriously, this room needs an Extreme Hospital Room Make Over or dance music, either would help. A nurse walked up to another patient and in the exact voice as Barbie in Toy Story, told her she wouldn't be helping her today since she had a "chemo teach".  Dave and I looked at each other and knew we were in for something entertaining. 

I would take up too much of your precious time telling you all the funny things she said and did (as in airhead funny, not Steve Martin funny).  I wish we had video.  The first thing that happened:  She was explaining that Dave needed to use rubber gloves when touching the medicine.  She pulled out the bottle from the white bag and then put it quickly back in, and said "even touching the bottle burns my hands".  She went to scratch her face, stopped herself and said (in her slow Barbie voice), "I probably shouldn't touch my face?"  She proceeded to hug the bottle of lotion she gave to Dave for hand foot syndrome and told us how wonderful and valuable it is, so valuable in fact that someone "stole all the samples".  The whole 30+ minutes went on just like this.  Dave had to bee line for the door when we left so he wouldn't laugh in front of her.  We laughed almost the whole way home.  Laughter is good medicine, so thank you Barbie, you made our day!  Okay, I have to tell you one more... she said "I would never want to take XELODA, (the oral chemo Dave is taking), in fact I would never want chemo".  Yeah, we don't really want it either...you just have to laugh.

Oh AND Dave starts radiation tomorrow!  In all seriousness, please pray.  He takes his first dose of chemo in the morning, then radiation at 1:30, then another dose of chemo in the evening.  Radiation 5 days a week and chemo twice a day, 7 days a week for 5 1/2 weeks.  Here we go Lord, hold us tight.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Dr. Johnson and big words

Today we had an appointment with our surgeon, Dr. Michael Johnson.  I figured we would go in say hi, ask how Peru was (he just got married) and be on our happy way.  Not quite how it turned out. 

He had talked with our original Oncologist before he left town.  He was in agreement to do surgery first before treatment.  We told him what our new Oncologist said about radiation/chemo before surgery and the benefits to Dave with this plan.  What we didn't understand (or know) is that with this new plan there is a higher risk of Dave's colon perforating which can cause infection throughout his body, which by the way is really dangerous.  We were also told Dave would need an ileostomy (a temporary colostomy) for longer after surgery than we anticipated.  This also means a second surgery to stick Dave's small intestine back in his body where it belongs (that's in layman's terms).  While there are benefits to doing radiation/chemo now there are also risks, that are new to us.  After a long conversation, Dr. Johnson agrees with Dr. Senecal that we should go ahead with the radiation/chemo.  Then he ends with, "Do the kids understand what is happening?"  I'm thinking, "No, we don't understand it!"  It felt like he wanted our kids to know the seriousness of the situation, but I couldn't really tell.

All that mess (aka the previous paragraph) to say, we felt a little overwhelmed and confused when we left his office.  We drove most of the way home in silence, soaking in what we just heard.  We have another appointment Wednesday with our Oncologist and we will run all this past him to see if he can clear any of it up for us.

A friend of mine shared a "vision" she had of me, this is what she wrote: As I was praying for you, I could see that Jesus was asking you to carry this burden of cancer; this cross of illness, but at the very same time, I saw Him literally holding you in the palm of His hand. He was lifting you up, so that although you bore the burden, it was weightless under the strength of His hand. He was bearing the weight of the burden while holding you up. 

While we continue to feel held in the palm of Christ, today I "felt" the weight of the burden.  My wise friend Niki said this is causing us to lean harder into Him.  We are continuing to trust and be thankful.  We'll let you know how Wednesday goes...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Blog help needed

Several of you have said you tried to post a comment to me.  You type a beautiful and poetic, thoughtful and challenging, adoring and wise message only to not be able to post it!  I want to see them : )  So does anyone know of a reason someone could not post a comment on my page?   I have "anyone can comment" under the "Who Can Comment" tab.  Anyone?  And if you can't comment to respond to this, please email or fb me!  Thanks (and thanks Joanne for verbally telling me your comment!)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dave has tattoos...

Quick update, we saw the radiologist today, loved him too!  They gave us the low down on radiation and want to start next week, though there isn't an opening for two weeks, but they are working hard to try to make it happen sooner.  They had to tattoo (seriously) Dave's belly so they know where to place him for radiation treatments.  He was going to ask them to put an N (for Nancy....) over his belly button, but I don't think they do that there. 

This doctor gave us great hope.  It sounds like he is expecting Dave to be cancer free after all is said and done.  I feel like we've gotten off "easy"...so many people suffer so much more than this or for so much longer...those are the ones I truly admire (you know who you are...several of you are reading this).  Not to say that I am not completely proud of Dave, he has been AMAZING.  He has been positive, funny, strong, wise, proactive.  He has encouraged me and others and he is doing the dishes right now!  I know there will be tough days ahead, but I believe God has led us and made the beginning of this journey smooth to "ease" us into the days ahead.

Thank you to all of you who have prayed for us, encouraged us, given us gifts, watched our kids, cleaned for us, brought food and walked along side of us, this is what this life is about and you are living well.  With a full and grateful heart....Nancy

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

New Oncologist!

It's official, we have an Oncologist, and we love him!  (as much as you can love a doctor that is treating your husband for cancer...)  We immediately sensed a different atmosphere in his office. The first Oncology office was a little hoity toity (sp?), flat screen TVs everywhere, filtered water, fancy receptionist area...not bad things, but not our gig.

One of the first things I saw at Dr. Senecal's was a bright green t-shirt that said, "Cancer Sucks".  I pretty much knew this was the place for us (and the free Starbucks coffee pretty much knocked it out of the ball park).  In the room were pictures of Dr. Senecal hiking, fishing, hanging out with friends.  Then he walked in...we just knew (like love at first sight : ) ) he was the one for us.

The short story of his plan is: do radiation and chemo (simultaneously) for 5 weeks, wait about a month, then have surgery, followed up by chemo.  The last doctor did not want to do treatment ahead of time, but there are too many benefits to not have the treatment first.  We feel great about this plan and we are told that Dave is "young and healthy" and should do well with treatment and surgery.  The doctor even said that Dave should not miss much work (just around surgery time).

So tomorrow we meet with the radiologist to get set up for radiation (Dave goes in 5 days a week for treatment and it only takes a few minutes!)  The other good news we received is that our insurance is covering most of the cost of the chemo, I guess not all of them do.  We will only have to pay a co-pay.

Isaiah 11:2 was the verse in my devotional today: "The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord."  Then it reads, "Throughout His ministry, Jesus relied upon the Holy Spirit to direct Him as He made crucial decisions...". then, "You need God's wisdom for the decisions you face."  As I drove this morning, I prayed God would give us wisdom and clearly direct us in a decision and I believe He did just that. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I cried over a cookbook today...

We received a package from Amazon.  I thought, "That's weird, I looked at a cookbook yesterday on Amazon, but I didn't order it did I?  Julia had the package in the back seat of the car, so I asked her to open it.  It WAS the book I looked at yesterday on-line, The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen.  I am sure I did not order it and it couldn't have come 16 hours later.  How did that happen?

There was a note inside, it was from my cousin Kim.  The timing was amazing.  I dropped off the kids at hula and drove to the store.  I picked up the book and looked through it, it looks great.  Then I looked at the invoice and there was a note, it read: " Dave and Nancy, a friend gave me this book when I was first diagnosed - it's full of information and I hope you can use it well.  Kim, Bill and the girls."

My cousin has breast cancer, she just finished months of chemo and surgery is in a few weeks.  I was so touched that she did this for us and I immediately realized that some time down the road I will be ordering this same book for a friend newly diagnosed with cancer.  It hit me at that moment that cancer will be part of all our days this side of heaven.  The next months we will feel consumed by it at times, but even in the coming years, what I feed my children will be different, how I pray for my children will be different.  Every medical form I fill out for the kids will say they have a "history" of cancer in the family.  And I cried.  We have been entrusted with this gift of cancer, what will we do with it?

Hopefully we will have the story book ending and five years from now, in 2016 the doctors will say Dave is cured.  (They don't say that I guess until you have been free of cancer for 5 years)  And we will be giving encouragement and cookbooks to those walking down a similar road.  Thank you Kim for choosing to encourage us, even in the midst of your own journey with cancer.  We are forever changed and grateful.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Since Dave was diagnosed...

"A person who lives in faith must proceed on incomplete evidence,
trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse." ~ Philip Yancey

I feel like I've been sitting in a holding pattern, waiting, waiting, waiting.  In some ways it seems like an eternity since cancer has been confirmed.  Yet it has only been 20 days.  Why haven't they done anything yet?  If we were a TV drama, Dave would have made it through surgery and we'd be planning our daughter's wedding by now.  I've come to realize life does not imitate art (not that TV dramas are art!)  and also that the dreams I've held close may not be the dreams the Lord has for us.  This is not the life I planned.  And I'm glad.  Life would have been orderly, sorrow free, neat, tidy, wrapped in a bow...and empty.  I am more in love with Jesus today than I was yesterday and even that is all His doing.

So I don't forget some of the sweet memories of the last few days, here is a short recap:
  • We enjoyed sunny weather, jet skiing, kid kayaking and had yummy dinners on the porch with family and friends.  Last night we even enjoyed a performance by the children, a drama they wrote about princesses, bad guys and blood (aka blackberries)...I don't think it will make it to Broadway.
  • I soaked in the sweet conversation in the back seat of the car between Julia and her BFFFAE (best friend forever for all eternity), Brenna.  They talked about being roommates one day in college.  Julia said she didn't want to go far, she wanted to be close to us.  (Unless the University of Hawaii has a good program for teachers!)
  • I read a book in 3 days (273 pages), this is a big deal for me!  AND I cried through about 200 of them.  My dear friend gave me Choosing to SEE by Mary Beth Chapman
  • Countless people have recommended Dr. Senecal as an Oncologist.  We go to see him on Wednesday for a "second opinion".  Right before I started this post a sweet friend (Melissa) wrote me a message that said she used to work for him!  And she highly recommended him also, wow
  • I started researching recipes for Dave, to help fight off this cancer, or prevent it from spreading
  • I have continued to be encouraged by friends and family (thanks Sharon H for the gifts!)
As my friend Kathy shared, "I am finding that I'm not "sweating the small stuff" since Dave was diagnosed. I am enjoying the beauty around me more since Dave was diagnosed. I am not taking my days for granted since Dave was diagnosed..."

I do believe my life has been made richer since "Dave was diagnosed".  I am making the choice to live by faith, not knowing what tomorrow will bring (or the next day or week or month), but trusting (at a new level) in God's perfect plan for us. And trusting that His dreams for us will come true.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Daily Bread

Well, I woke up at "O dark thirty" this morning as I said in my last post...and who knew it is actually light out at 6am? Okay, probably all of you (just K. E. and I were unaware) Anyway, I opened today's devotional to read,

Matthew 6:11, "Give us this day our daily bread". The first few sentences read: Jesus often reminded His followers not to worry. He told them not to be anxious about tomorrow's needs or potential problems (Matt. 6:25) Rather, Jesus stressed a daily reliance on the Father, who provides for His children day by day...God is aware of what tomorrow will bring and how we should prepare for it. He knows the problems we will face, and He has already made provision for us to overcome them. (exerpts from August 18 Experiencing God Devotional)

So today, once again we will rely on the Lord and trust Him with our future. Dave is in right now for his PET scan. I don't know if they will tell us any results today or not. I'm choosing not to be anxious for tomorrow and asking God to give us today our daily bread. Trusting you are doing the same. Love you all!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

PET scan

Dave called today to ask about his PET scan that is scheduled for Thursday.  He was wondering if our insurance covered it or not and shock of all shocks, they are covering it!  (or at least 80%)  So Thursday morning at O dark thirty, Dave is getting a scan to find out exactly what stage the cancer really is.  I'm a little numb to all these tests.  I'm praying that it shows that the cancer has not spread anywhere else and maybe it could be a stage 2 instead of 3 OR even better, the cancer would be gone, cause my God can do that.

AND the other good news, after several phone calls, we were able to get all Dave's records sent to another doctor for a second opinion.  So that's enough medical stuff for today, I wanted to show you a "Picture of Cancer"




Clearly, Dave is having fun!  Thanks to our super duper cool friends with a jet ski - who really want a boat.... It was a beautiful day (finally) and we took advantage of it!  Love you all!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Wait

Each Psalm in the Bible has some kind of explanation about that Psalm or a note if it is "of David" or "for the choir director".  I am certain that a few hundred years ago, under Psalm 27 a note was left out.  I think it said "A Psalm for Nancy Shaffer".  This passage had been life for me at pivotal times during my journey with the Lord. 

In my Bible, verse 1 has a note next to it, "Retreat 2001".  This was the first Women's Retreat I led and the theme verse that God gave for that year.  (The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?) Next to the last two verses I wrote, "my promise for Julia Grace".  They were verses the Lord gave to me when I didn't know if we'd ever have children.  (I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord..)

Pastor Jim read "my" Psalm over Dave and me when we were in the hospital.  The last verse says, "Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord"  Next to that passage I wrote the date that day: 8/2/2011, the day we were told Dave had cancer.  I remember Pastor Jim saying we had some waiting to do.  I don't remember why he said it, I just remember it penetrating my heart. 

And that brings us to today...we are waiting.  Waiting to see when surgery will be, waiting to see if we will get a PET scan, waiting to see if they can get out all the cancer, waiting for treatment, waiting for the next doctor appointment, and the latest: waiting for a second opinion.  After several phone calls we are waiting to see if the Oncologists office we saw on Thursday will FAX over Dave's record to another doctor.  They said it would take 7-10 days.  Really?  I wanted to say, "do you know we are dealing with cancer?", but then I realized who I was talking to and of course they know it.  What they don't know is that it took a lot of courage for me to even make that phone call!  I don't want to rock the boat and get them mad at us!  I know, ridiculous...again.  It took awhile to muster up that courage to ask for a second opinion(for treatment, not diagnosis, we feel like that is accurate) and now that I've done it, I really want it!  I so desperately want to meet this other doctor and see if we "connect" better with him than with the first.  For crying out loud, his name is Dr. Senacle, doesn't that sound like a name of a doctor for Dave?

If I can get enough courage tomorrow, I'll call back our doctors office and see if I can help expedite the process, by picking up the paper work or anything else.  We really want to meet with this doctor before we meet with our surgeon on August 29, if this is the Lord's will, may the doors be made wide open right away!

Friday, August 12, 2011

August 12

I'm at a loss for a title of this post, so today's date it is. 

I don't know why today seemed a little harder than the last few (guess I didn't think they could get much harder than a cancer diagnosis?)  I think my adrenaline rush is gone.  The swirl of information is spinning around in my head looking for a place to land.

I think I just figured it out.  I've let my eyes veer a little to the left (or maybe it's to the right, I need new glasses).  The onslaught of information and thinking how we are going to do first day of school (at two different schools), surgery, work, trip (I have a ticket to go to Texas in Sept. for work...) have all received my affections.  Matthew 6:21 says, for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  I've started to value or give priority to the temporary.  Hebrews 12 says to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.  Okay, I feel better now. 

Eyes fixed - check.  Pressing on - check.  Still feeling frail - check.  Still confident we are held in the strong arms of Jesus - absolutely.

Our surgeon called this morning.  He wanted to be make sure we were doing okay after our oncology appt yesterday.  It actually was a very good conversation, I like him even more now.  He explained that because of the location and the size of the cancer they don't want to do radiation ahead of time.  Radiation causes inflammation and if that happens, Dave could have a total obstruction in his colon.   We anticipate surgery in September.

We are waiting to see if our insurance will cover a PET scan, so either we will have that or a CAT scan on Dave's chest (what's with the animal references?).  Then we meet with the surgeon on August 29 to discuss the surgery.

I don't know if we'll have many updates before then, probably just some more of my random musings.

I have to include this fb message, you can stop reading now if you want...I need this here for me : )
Michelle wrote:
My friend, Lori, in Nevada wrote in her letter today about you.....
"I had a little vision of the four of them out in a row boat in the dark on the big sea. Then guess what came up alongside them so they didn't have to be alone through this dark & scary time? A big, huge cruise ship w/ all of their friends, family...a big Jesus party to cover them and pull them in. May they not feel alone, but always know their God is near. Verses for them: Nahum 1:7 'The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in Him.' and Jeremiah 20:11 'The Lord stands beside me like a great warrior.'" Made me cry.....loved it. God is with you all.... ♥


There you have it, you all get the cruise ship!  Thanks for pulling us in, can't do this without you.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Home Again

We are home from our first Oncology Appointment : )  Not sure how we are feeling yet, so here are the facts.  The doctor looked over our charts and said Dave has Recto sigmoid Cancer, not Rectal Cancer.  Nope, didn't mean a thing to me either.  It means it is higher in than first thought, just not quite to the colon.  They don't do pretreatment with this kind of cancer, so we meet with the surgeon on August 29 to schedule surgery.  He seemed hopeful that this is curable.  I feel like we have had a course correction or change...God is still leading, we are following (though we are considering a second opinion again).  More later...

My mother-in-law just arrived and dinner is ready, so I need to go!  So I think we have two weeks of "normal" Lord willing. 

First Oncology Appt.

Today is a big day.  It's a day that I have been longing for and a day I've been dreading.  We just want to "get this party started" (as the nurse said as he walked in our room shaking the "Go-lytly" drink before Dave's colonoscopy - he was having way too much fun!).  I want this cancer destroyed and removed as soon as possible.  Yet I don't want my husband to suffer, or deal with the unknown side effects of radiation and chemo. (or for our kids to see their dad sick)  Again here we are, not our will, but Yours Lord.  As far as I understand we will meet with the doctor to make the plan of action and then set up all the appointments for treatment.

Please pray for God's peace to guard our hearts (Phil 4:6-7), that God would be glorified (Matt 5:16), that God would hold our family close, especially our children (Psalm 91:4) and we would go forward in His plan for our lives (Jer 29:11-13)

Thank you for being part of this journey, we are humbled and blessed.

Humbling

The week before we found out about Dave's cancer we were looking at the humility of Ruth.  I love to study God's Word with friends, it has to be at the top of my list of favorite and filling activities.  Here is a quote from our book that I underlined:

Seasons of hardship and humbling don't show up in the "how to feel good" articles, but let me appeal from the pages of Scripture that perhaps nothing is more beneficial for us in the long run.

I remember our agreement on the fact we are often closest to God when we are in hardship or trial.  Yet, how does this humbling process take place?  This experience with cancer is teaching me humility.  It is really difficult for me to ask for help, or to even receive it graciously.  I think I should be able to "take care of myself" because people have other concerns that need  their attention.  (I know, I know...ridiculous) 

We are only a week into this adventure and already we've been given gifts, cards, prayers, hugs, tears, child care, meals, welcomed advice, anniversary $, quality time and more.  Today though just about did me in.  In the mail was an anniversary card from my niece, Kaileia.  Inside she wrote that she deposited our deductible for our medical bills in our bank account as an anniversary gift. (that sneaky sister of mine...getting my bank account #!)

I read the note out loud and cried (again).  This is a 22 year old young woman, that could have bought any number of wonderful things for herself (and deservedly so, she is a hard worker and wise with her money).  This is humbling.  Every part of us cried out, "don't take it, give it back!"  Yet the Lord gave her the heart to be generous, loving and kind to us and we can't take that away.    James 4:6 says, "...God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble."

So, we graciously say thank you Kaileia, you have blessed us beyond words, not only with an extremely generous gift, but with your amazing heart and love for us and for Jesus.   We love and adore you. 


Humbly Yours,
Uncle Dave and Aunt Nancy (aka FAN)


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tuesday Update

Thanks for praying, the appointment went well today (see previous post for details).  I cannot say enough how wonderful every hospital staff person has been to us, it has made such a great difference.  If you are a medical worker, I want to commend you for the work you do and tell you how much your smile, kindness and encouragement mean to your patients.

Okay, the procedure was quick and there were no surprises.  (The only surprise we wanted was for the cancer to be gone...).  The cancer is 10 centimeters long and they did find one lymph node that was cancerous, but it was close to the tumor so we are told that is good (?).  They label Dave's cancer as T3N1Mx for those of you that know what that means.

So we've made it through one more procedure (oh and the hospital didn't even ask for any $, they just said, "Do you want us to send you a bill?"  Dave said "No" ) They will bill us and so it will begin.  We are continuing to trust and rest in our wonderful Savior.  Thanks for praying, please don't stop.

Why Lord?

Today Dave returned a call from the hospital to start all the paperwork they need for us to go down this medical road.  Towards the end they informed him they had looked how much our portion of the hospital bill could be and they would like us to pay $550 tomorrow.  If we couldn't do that, then a significant portion would be fine.  What?!  I'm not even going to share the thoughts that streamed through my head, mostly ones that were not so nice.  Dave called a social worker we met in the hospital and he assured us we didn't need to pay anything.  It is a script they read to try to get people to make a payment up front.  We were told we can wait to receive a bill and arrange payments, it will be fine.

As I was driving (I'm thinking that God will be speaking to me lots in the car...) I realized that one year ago we did not have health insurance.  Can you even imagine the weight we would carry if we didn't have health insurance?  I was overwhelmed once again with the grace and goodness of God and I said "Why Lord?"

Why do You give us good things, why do You care that we have cancer when others are suffering in such greater ways, why do You hold us close, why do You answer our prayers, why do You strengthen us when we are weary, why do You give us a future and hope?  Why Lord?  It is because He loves us.  Oh how He loves you and me....

I admit, the hospital bills and the thought of Dave not working seems daunting, okay overwhelming.  But God.  He is Jehovah Jireh, our provider.  He is our strength and strong tower.  He is our helper, our song, our life, our joy, our portion.  He has shown Himself faithful to us.  He loves us.  He loves you.  All glory, honor, power to Him.

Pray for us tomorrow (or today...Tuesday), we go in for an ultrasound to take a better look at this beast.  Pray for Dave, that he wouldn't experience too much pain.  Pray for peace that passes understanding.  Pray we would continue to place our trust in the Lord.  Thank you so much for coming along side!  We love you.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Press On

I realized that this blog is supposed to be about Dave (yet it sure seems to be a lot about me!) and I haven't included a picture of Dave.  I guess under "About Me" I have a picture of him and the kids walking, however that is from behind.  (Which makes me think of the many jokes we've already heard about rectal cancer, like being the "butt" of many jokes...I digress)

Tonight Pastor Reg shared a message, What to Remember; What to Forget.  The photo above is from almost one year ago, down in a park in Olympia.  We had a really wonderful day.  I love when the four of us get to go out on little adventures, I think those have been some of my favorite moments.  So in the message tonight when we are commissioned to Forget Past Failures and Past Successes, I wondered how this sweet memory fits into the message.  Sorry, but I want to cling to this picture, to this memory BC (Before Cancer). 

The scripture Pastor Reg used was from Philippians 3:13-14 here is a piece of those verses: ...but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead...
It dawned on me.  If I dwell (or camp) in the past, I will miss out on today and whatever tomorrow may bring, which are better things.  We are to press forward (pursue relentlessly) and there you have it.  The joy is in the journey, in the pursuit.  How can we do that if we only look back?  There is so much more in store for us, in this world and in the next.  So we will press on, making new memories, serving God through our cancer, getting out of bed on those days we just want to hide, and rejoicing in all circumstances.  There is a prize that awaits and it is better than any day in Olympia!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friends - pint size

Julia has been begging for a birthday sleepover for months (it feels like).  I finally said sure and limited the number to four - my interpretation: four total, Julia's interpretation: four friends plus her!  Of course I said yes, I love to celebrate my children.  We decided to invite only friends from church (we had to narrow the choices!).  That was all BC (before Cancer).  I decided to cancel the party since it seemed all too much.  Then I came to my senses and realized we needed tonight.  I am completely spoiled, these are amazing girls (with absolutely amazing moms).  How incredibly blessed we are to be surrounded by godly friends.  The desserts are compliments of our friend Marilyn, she gave the most incredible tea party in honor of her "friends" and we reaped the benefits! 

I am so grateful for friends and am realizing I will need you even more now.  And my kids will need their friends also.  Thank you Michelle and Kirstin for giving my kids very fun days (forts, swimming, smores for breakfast, Starbucks) this last week.  I wouldn't have made it without you.

Oh and Happy 11th Birthday to our Julia.  We adore you with all our hearts.  You are kind, funny, thoughtful, caring, a servant, compassionate, patient, smart, silly, tender-hearted, gracious and so much more!  You make our lives rich.   Love you sweet pea!
Oh and just for fun, here is a picture of MY friends from that most incredible tea party!

Safe

Lost it totally in the car today when this song came on, thank God for red lights and quiet moments.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZAUq1-c8dw

Where is Dave?

So I think I failed to mention to those that don't know...Dave is home right now, well, he is at work right now, but he is out of the hospital.  After he was treated for the Bacterial Blood Infection, he almost immediately began to feel better.

It's strange, he looks and feels great, he went to work, I went to a tea party.  It is almost like life was before last Saturday, except now we know he has cancer.  We are trying to take full advantage of these good days.  Don't hesitate to talk to us about all of this, we are receiving great advice and encouragement from all of you!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Looking Back - July 28, 2011

Looking back and noticing God's work in our lives is a good thing.  I have several (okay lots) of journals starting back in High School through many of my adult years.  Occasionally, I'll read through some of them and notice God's leading, discipline, protection, and presence.  Yes, I admit there are LOTS of entries that are selfish, prideful, shallow and quite embarrassing, but we won't talk about those...yet.  Maybe when I need a laugh, I'll share one of those with you!

All this to say, God did something very powerful that I have to get into words so that when the days or moments come when I want to give up, I'll remember.  I woke up this morning thinking about today's post, but I wanted permission from a friend to quote one of her facebook entries.  Well, guess who I sat next to today at a most special tea party?  Drea, my friend I wanted to quote!  I did ask permission and she graciously said yes.

Here is her fb post from Thursday, July 28:

"Hebrews 11:34 tells us how the men and women of faith "from weakness were made strong, BECAME mighty in war" (Heb 11:34). They didn't start strong, but BECAME strong as they fought their battles. Do you feel too weak to face your battle? So did the great men and women of faith. But, trusting God, they faced their battles and each battle made them stronger! You will become stronger as you fight the enemy." 

I wish there were words for what happened to me when I read this.  I still don't comprehend it myself.  I told my friends today it was like I got punched in the gut, the kind of punch that takes the wind out of you.  I commented, "...struck me to my core." 

At that moment I knew I would be experiencing a battle and was keenly aware of my weakness.  That was Thursday, two days later, a perfect stranger (ok, he is a doctor) in an emergency room told us he thought Dave had rectal cancer.  Yup, I feel too weak to face this battle, but know without a doubt He is strong.  The battle is His and I can breath again.  (which is good since I need to go hide my journals now...see ya)

First Post

How do I begin?  There is so much I want to remember in this journey.  First I need to say, I am so proud of my husband.  He has been amazing in these days of revealing.  As each new piece of information was given, he continued to be strong and positive, trusting God is in control.  Dehydration, fever, bacterial infection, cat scan, inflammation, x-ray, lesions on liver, bad news...cancer, colonoscopy, biopsy, treatment, surgery, chemo.  All these are words that did not shake him.  And when the rectal cancer was confirmed he held me as I cried.  Wow, I love this guy.

As a quick summary, what we have been told.  The colonoscopy showed the cancer, Dr. Lee was able to show Dave the mass.  Don't think he meant to...Dave was looking at the screen and he said,"What is that?".  Dr. Lee said, "Are you awake?!"  Not the words I would have wanted to hear : )  Dave did not have any pain or physical discomfort during the procedure, and he was able to view everything on the screen.  A biopsy was taken, it will be ready on Friday, but it is clearly cancer.

An ultrasound showed that the "lesions" on Dave's liver are just cysts, there is one on his kidney as well, but they are fine and staying put.  This was good news as the doctors believe the cancer is localized (that is has not spread).

We have an appointment next Thursday with the oncologist, Dr. Chris Chen (anyone know this guy?).  The "nurse navigator" will set up our appointments and help coordinate treatments. We are told we have 5 weeks of treatments and in 3 months (from now) Dave will have the cancer removed.  Then more chemo.  However, I'm holding these things loosely since we haven't even met our "quarterback" (word described by our surgeon for the oncologist).

I just need to stop right here.  I just giggled.  Did I just type all that?  Cancer, doctors, treatments?  Seriously?  Is this our life?  We would never have chosen this road, but it has been chosen for us.  Yes, truly, I am grateful.  There I said it.  Of course I do not want my husband to suffer one bit, I'd like him to complain about an achy back or a sinus infection maybe, but cancer...I don't want that for him.  HOWEVER, I believe with every ounce of who I am that the Lord is good, that He is in complete control, that not one thing is allowed into our lives without His okay.  How can I not praise Him?  We are facing our giant, his name is cancer, but the Lord Almighty is on our side and the battle is His.

There is so much more I need to share, but I should also try to sleep.  Lots more to come, lots more.