Monday, June 6, 2011

an update

Hey, there! Hannah here. So, long time no see. Sorry for not posting here in f.o.r.e.v.e.r, but it's been crazy. My birthday is this Sunday and I'll be turning 14, then we're going camping since Dad has a vacation. I'm so excited!!! Anyways, since we've been gone, here's what's been going on: in either March or April, (i can't remember which) Dad got pricked with a needle for Hepatitis C that had already been injected into one of his patients. The doctors have already said that he's probably out of harm, but we'd really appreciate your prayers just in case.

And now for some pictures, which I'm sorry you all haven't seen in f.o.r.e.v.e.r.!

My confirmation in April

Great Wolf Lodge vacation

But as far as we know, the cancer hasn't come back so we're all definitely happy about that one. Please continue to keep us in your prayers. Ciao for now!


Monday, February 28, 2011

grace, thanksgiving, JOY

I still feel a little shaky saying it out loud.  I will choose to give thanks even in, as Ann says, the hard eucharisteo.  I spent the last two weeks, examining my heart, asking myself the hard questions and asking God, too.  Would I give thanks for the grace, even be able to recognize His grace in the middle of cancer?  What if the scans weren't clear?  What if the cancer had spread? 

I gave thanks before.  I was fall-on-my-knees-grateful for the way God provided for us when we learned Craig had cancer.  I was so thankful He was with in me in the car as I drove to meet the ambulance carrying Craig from one hospital to another.  I knew I was blessed beyond measure when God sent dear friends to sit and pray with me for two days through risky procedures.  Thankful doesn't seem a large enough word to encompass the immense love I felt for my Father and the way He provided for me and my family during one of the most difficult times of our lives.   But I was.  I was so thankful.  I knew I could never have survived without Him. 

Because it was hard, I have thought maybe I wasn't really surrendered, you know, on my knees, completely emptied of myself.  I sure didn't want to suffer anymore.  What does that say about my faith?  Did I learn what He had wanted to teach me the first time around?  What about the second time, when the scans weren't clear and we thought the cancer had metastasized to his lungs?  I know what that treatment looks like; it killed my dad.  Could I still see the grace, trust Him, cling to Him and give thanks if the cancer had spread???

My beloved's scans were clear.  No cancer.  But I can say with a fair amount of certainty that I would choose to see the grace, give thanks and receive joy.  Joy doesn't always come immediately.  If you have suffered great pain or loss in your life, you know.  It feels like you will never feel joy again.  The dull ache that remains after you have been through the fire feels like it will never leave.  As I was searching scriptures for Truth to face my fear about Craig's scans, He reminded me that joy follows suffering.  God promises that the other side of suffering is joy.  Let me say that one more time, for myself as much as for you: HE PROMISES THAT JOY COMES AFTER SUFFERING.   

Weeping may last through the night, 
but joy comes with the morning.  
Psalm 30:5

Please believe His promise if you are in the middle of hurt that is breaking your heart.  Joy IS coming.  It may feel like the pain will never end but it does; suffering is temporary.  Keep counting the grace-gifts, the multitude of ways He cares for you while you suffer.  And the joy that comes, after that kind of hard eucharisteo, is sweet grace indeed.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

We have good news!

Craig phoned me yesterday afternoon on his way home from work to say he was getting his ct scan. It was all very last minute but I did phone my mom and Margaret to pray and they passed the word along. The kids and I prayed, too.

Within the hour Craig called after completing his scan, telling me THE NODULES ON HIS LUNGS ARE GONE! Yes! Praise God! We don't know what the spots were; possibly an infection or the kidney meds he started after his surgery. After his kidney was removed in December, Craig had persistent throat clearing and cough. I have to admit, it was completely unnerving to listen to. With each cough I wondered if it could be. . .

I feel like we had been through so much with Craig's initial cancer diagnosis, surgery and the weeks that followed. Our faith has stretched and grown in ways I never dreamed possible. But these past six weeks have certainly been just as hard. Getting to a place of surrender, to quit struggling against the current of God's plan for our family's future and just float with the current-oh! this has been so hard! And I don't even think I am "floating" all the time. I forget that He is holding me up and I start to struggle all over again. Trusting God with the outcome of these tests, whether the results were good or bad, and believing that He was in control, that He works in all things for good for those that love Him. . . Well, it was hard to get my tiny brain around the idea that there could be any good in Craig having cancer in his lungs. I too easily forget that God sees the big picture and knows our destination.

For me, it ultimately comes down to this: do I believe the Word or not? Those promises were written for our family, for this time and for this battle. I DO believe God is and has been working in all of the details of this journey. FOR GOOD. It has been painful, excruciating at times, but I can see, even through my swollen, teary eyes, that HE IS AT WORK and HE LOVES US.

You, dear family and friends, are evidence of that. Thank you for keeping us on your prayer lists and for passing our needs on to those you love. We are humbled by your love and prayers on our behalf.

And we know that in ALL THINGS God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

Monday, July 12, 2010

biopsy results

We had a break from all the test talk over the weekend when we celebrated Hansie's birthday and played around at the lake's parade and carnival. Sometimes a belly laugh really helps :)

The pulmonologist called Craig today with the results from his biopsy: good news, they are all negative except for some non-specific inflammatory changes (which is what we saw on the scan). The doc is cautiously optimistic, and we will need another chest ct in four weeks for comparison with the June scan. If there are changes, Craig will require a surgical biopsy. So, pray for NO CHANGES! This is good news, Craig assures me.

We have come to realize this, this up and down, waiting, fervent praying, anxiety/peace, may be our reality for the next few years. This is what it looks like to live post-cancer. You, our friends and family, have been so amazing; you get it. You know what this has been like for us. It did not all magically disappear when we walked out of the hospital last December. This battle is physical, spiritual and ongoing. Thank you for continuing to pray with us. I am afraid I sound like a broken record but we need your prayers as much today as we did in December. Some days we are courageous, ready for the battle. Other days (speaking for myself) I just want to stay in bed and pull up the covers. But then a friend calls to pray with me or our family gets an encouraging card in the mail and our spirits are lifted up. I am rambling now but what I am trying to say is this: Bless you for going into the battle with us.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

waiting again. . .

Craig's biopsy went smoothly and he is doing well. It was all very quick; in and out in less than three hours. He's taking a nap now but will be able to go to work tomorrow. He will be in the clinic for the first time and seeing his own patients as a DOCTOR. What an amazing thing! We are so thankful this day has arrived because back in December, I wasn't so sure.

The dr. got five tissue samples and a fluid sample that has been sent to the pathologist. He said we should know something Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. There will be a ct scan in three months (around September 21) for comparison.

Our nurse today was Kathy. She was so attentive and sweet to Craig and even to me. She felt bad that we would have to wait until next week for the results but I told her, "We are in a perpetual state of waiting. It's just the way it is." Isn't that the truth! But God has been with us, even or especially in the waiting. Some days were surreally peaceful; others gripped in icy fear. The waiting has given us time to really lean on and cling to Him. All of this crying out to Him is transforming us, showing us how faithful He truly is. For all of you who are praying with us, I hope it is transforming you, too.

I want to share some verses Margaret gave to me last week. Don't you just love friends who give you bandages of Truth?

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds. Psalm 73:28

When I said, "My foot is slipping," Your mercy and loving-kindness, O LORD, held me up. In the multitude of my [anxious] thoughts within me, Your comforts cheer and delight my soul! Psalm 94:18-19 AMP

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

pray tomorrow

Craig's biopsy is scheduled for tomorrow morning at 8 am. Pray for peace for all of us, for the dr. to "hit the mark" and retrieve good tissue samples and for Craig to have no complications following his procedure.

These past couple of weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions for all of us but I am humbled and awed by what God can do for those who cry out His name. He has sustained us in a mighty way, carried us when our faith was weak, poured new hope into us, restored our weary spirits. God is listening and working in all of this and you have helped us by your prayers. Bless you.

And we know that IN ALL THINGS God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

Friday, July 2, 2010

happy 4th!

fourth of july 2009

The pulmonologist looked over Craig's scan and does not feel that his nodules are cancer. That said, there is no way to be sure; medicine is not an exact science. He wanted to wait three months for another CT scan to see if there are any changes. He did not feel that a biopsy was necessary at this time. But Craig did. So Craig is having a bronchoscopy next Thursday morning. The procedure is similar to a colonoscopy; a scope is inserted into the lungs and a tiny device will take several tissue samples and a fluid sample. The doc did say it is difficult to get a sample from the exact tissue, so pray for the scope to hits it's mark! The test is an outpatient procedure and, with recovery time, lasts just a few hours. He will be able to go to work the following day.

If you want more technical medical details you will have to contact Craig (or he may post on here later to clarify). We feel good about today's visit. Craig feels that docs like to err on the side of caution and this doc really did not feel Craig needed the biopsy. I hope that he is correct!

I believe there will be a comparison scan in three months to look for changes, regardless of the biopsy results.

Thank you, all of you, for your continued prayers. They have sustained us this past week.

Craig and the kids will be heading out for their traditional "explosives run" on Saturday to stock up on all things that go BANG!, ZOOM! and KAPOW! With this latest news, I think we all enjoy the holiday a little more.

I hope your 4th is sparkly :)