Life comes at you fast, but God is sovereign

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Thanksgiving 2013 

Ps 100:1 ¶ «A Psalm of praise.» Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. 2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. 3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. 5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

From Pat & Phil:

Happy Thanksgiving to all. 

We are thankful for all God has done.  We rest in that.We are blessed by our special daughter, Bettie.  God brought her to us.  We are blessed by our family.                                                                    We are blessed by the outpouring of love, thoughts and actions of so many.  You will never know how special and important each kind action has meant to us.  Thank you.

We are blessed to know that several have prayed to God, acknowledging their need to place their faith in the Way, the Truth and the Life:  Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Most of all, we are rejoicing in the knowledge that Sam is in Heaven right this moment rejoicing with saints in glory.

Have a blessed day.

All Things Work Together for Good…

          It has been two weeks and three days since I lost my husband to an acute lung infection. Anyone who has been reading his blog knows that he had been struggling with some pain issues, mainly in his back and down to his legs. Sometimes the pain was moderate and he could manage to complete a full work day, sometimes it was so severe that it woke him up in the middle of the night screaming. There were also times when there was no pain at all, and times when it was more of a numbness than a pain. We had come to expect all these symptoms as the after-effects of his bone marrow transplant which he had undergone in February-March. Also, he was receiving a monthly chemo infusion which yielded some of these side effects, but slowly the pain started to creep into the pelvic area, which for his type of cancer, is a well-feared danger zone.

          We recently had some MRIs done to find out exactly what was wrong. The results revealed that the cancer was back. On the day I broke the news to him, he had not been feeling well. We would later come to find out that this was due to the infection but because he was on so much pain medication and steroids with side effects similar to what he was experiencing, we had no idea at the time. I will never forget the look on his face when I told him that the doctor had found more tumors; it didn’t just break my heart, I felt like it broke my soul. We prayed together and when it was his turn, he began by breaking into thanksgiving to God, which he always did in circumstances like this, but this time it amazed me even more.

         Sam has been through so much, thinking of another round of fighting cancer for him made me sick to my stomach. It was later on this same day that I called for an ambulance because he wasn’t breathing normally and it was evident that he wasn’t getting enough oxygen to his brain. Exactly six days later, God took him home to heaven. Yesterday, I found myself curious to know what the near future would have been like with Sam’s cancer had the infection not killed him first, so I asked his oncologist, Dr. Paul Kent (who has been nothing but a blessing throughout Sam’s journey with cancer, and who we had grown to consider more as a big brother than just his doctor). Even though he would never be able to say for sure what exactly would have happened, his extensive experience as a pediatric oncologist gives him a pretty good idea of what the rest of the fight would have looked like for Sam. His prediction of Sam’s case was that “He would have had terrible pain as the tumors pressed his spinal cord and then become weaker until paralyzed from the waist down. In his lungs, he would have struggled to breath more everyday as the tumors there increased. Maybe we could have done radiation to some tumors and tried more chemo, but we probably would have had to do palliative care and hospice.”

       What an act of love, what an act of mercy! How God loves Sam! Having the bigger picture of Sam’s situation, I could not help but be amazed at how good God is. Oh how I love Sam, but my love for him is nothing compared to how much God loves him. If it were up to me, I would still have Sam with me, and I would take care of him until the very last day, but God knows infinitely more than we do, and He spared Sam from the pain that was to come. He always knows how to work all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to his purpose

Oct 9

Update

For everyone who has been praying- THANK YOU!!!!!!

I was able to sleep through the night without waking up. When I woke up i felt as though I’d had a load of bricks on me, but as a whole I’m seeing improvement. I was able to walk from the bed to the chair without Betty half carrying me,  which is more than I could do yesterday. Thank you so much,  I’ll keep you posted.

Matthew 7:7, 9-11
“Ask,   and it will be given to you;   seek, and you will find;   knock, and it will be opened to you.  Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Oct 8

Please pray

Please pray for Betty and I right now. I’ve been struggling with leg pain for the past couple weeks, & yesterday night it woke me up for 2 hours and I was screaming in pain. I tried taking the drugs, but nothing has been helping me. The pain has left me immobile all day.

God always gives grace, and i ask that you beg him for a little extra for Betty and I.  Thank you!

Day +84

psalms 117

praise the Lord , all nations! extol him, all peoples! for great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. praise the Lord!

it is encouraging to see the light at the end of the tunnel. i have 6 days of radiation left, after which i will only have a monthly visit to get a preventative infusion. i remember hoping at the beginning (of this whole [second] process) that i wouldn’t have 9 months of treatment like before. well, after 8.5 (not 9) months, it is drawing to a close. words really can’t describe how badly i want for “the end” to truly be the end.

however, no matter what is in store, life continues to move- and i continue to move with it. shortly after returning to work, i moved to a new position. this answered a prayer that i had not yet completely developed- where to go next in my career. the move has enabled me in many ways: i have a new role/ area to learn, develop in, and pioneer at my location, and i also have fewer personnel responsibilities which allows me to recover more effectively.

i am looking forward to the summer- visiting my lovely fiance bettie in early june and meeting her dad, her moving to my town chi-town shortly thereafter, and being able to enjoy a non-long distance relationship for the first time. :) she has been an angel from heaven throughout this whole process, and I love her dearly. oh yeh, and the sunny warm weather is nice too…

i have been hearing rumors on the grapevine asking what has been happening with me, hence this post. i do apologize for the gap…. i tend to be rather forgetful sometimes, and my blog is something i forget about. one thing that i never forget, though, is all the prayers which you all so faithfully and graciously offer for me. i can see them at work every day- whether receiving my new position or figuring out my fiance bettie’s lodging when she moves- i can feel and see them at work! thank you!

day +56 (cruising along)

eight weeks after being admitted for my bone marrow transplant, I am back home in chicago, working, and feeling (overall) very well.

my recovery has been a bit of a maverick case, in have recovered much faster than most people have expected. I attribute it wholly to the overwhelming number of those who have been praying for me.

i’m still currently under some restrictions- i am not able to go to high population areas such as church, restaurants, grocery stores, etc. due to the fact that my new immune system is still not fully developed, ordinary places such as these can pose threats to my immune system. fortunately, Parker (my employer) is being exceptional as they have been through this whole process, allowing me to transition smoothly and avoid major contact with people so i can continue to work and be functional.

at the end of april, i will be able to go to restaurants again, provided I stick to my low bacteria diet (basically, no fresh fruits and vegetables). I will also return to church, though wearing a mask as usual. by the end of may, I will be free of all restrictions. I’m quite excited for that time. :-)

next steps: i have two weeks of lung radiation which will essentially finish up the treatments. after that i am basically finished other than a monthly visit for a mild cocktail of drugs to keep my toxicity up (one final precautionary measure to help my body as my immune system regains its full potential).

a good quote from a devotional that my aunt gave me: “the best way to handle unwanted situations is to thank me for them. this act of faith frees you from resentment and frees me to work my ways into the situation, so that good emerges from it.” (“Jesus Calling” -sarah young)


As always, i thank everyone so much for your prayers!

Unscheduled Acts of Grace (Day +34)

Pat and Phil want to wish all a Happy Easter.

It was a bittersweet time when Sam returned to Chicago on Friday with Betty.  After 2-1/2 months of activity involved with the BMT, it is a transition.  Many people have asked us how we handle this.  The answer is, we don’t, but it is the grace of God that allows us to endure.  It seems appropriate on Easter to invoke ‘grace’—God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense—unmerited favor—getting what we don’t deserve.  Over the past several weeks, we have experienced unscheduled acts of grace:

  • Calls, notes, cards, prayers from all over the world
  • Meals arriving at the time we needed them
  • Visitors coming by here to be a blessing
  • Visitors at the hospital when we needed them
  • Those who felt compelled to drive great distances
  • Those who took time out of their day to stop in to see Sam
  • An absolutely amazing group that took care of Sam at the Clinic
  • Sewing the drape for the window in Sams’ room to block the light
  • The email I would get every week asking how everything was going and offering help
  • Perfectly timed phone calls or texts
  • People telling us they felt compelled to pray at specific times which were times when Sam was experiencing his most difficult time

We wish we could go on, but we simply wanted to say, ‘Thank you’ and keep praying. You will never know how much of a blessing you have been.

Have a blessed Easter.

"16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

John 3:16-18

finally- no more hoses hanging out of my chest! 

some of my surgery team: surgery resident, anesthesiologist, and the surgeon, Dr. Frederico Siedfarth (aka Mr. April)

finally- no more hoses hanging out of my chest!

some of my surgery team: surgery resident, anesthesiologist, and the surgeon, Dr. Frederico Siedfarth (aka Mr. April)

day +23 (and counting!)

let me please say the support I’ve received post-discharge has continued to be be overwhelming- much thanks to all!

i got discharged from the hospital last thursday, march 14th, which is about a week and a half faster than most people get out; and for me, quite nice b/c it means I did not have to spend my birthday, which was last Saturday, in the hospital.

so what’s next?
I’ve been continuing to recover at home with my parents, and the two followup appointments I’ve already had show that each day continues to bring improvement- praise be to God!
I’ll be at home another week or so, and when I finish up the follow-ups, then I will be released to go back to Illinois (provided everything is looking good).

I’ll be on a special “low bacteria” diet for the next 2 months, and I also have to avoid high population areas (church’s, grocery stores, airports, etc.) as much as possible, but overall everything is looking better and improving faster than expected.

as for the transplant, I really don’t remember much of it. what I do remember is somewhat fuzzy, which is actually quite fortunate in my mind b/c i can’t really remember the worst times. I was pretty baked lol

my sincerest thanks to all who are praying; I know personally that it has and will continue to make the biggest difference in my recovery. :-D

home at last!  :-)

home at last! :-)