Great test results – A concert in Fresno

December 7, 2009

It’s been awhile since we posted an update, and no news is good news, ladies and gentlemen!

Rich is doing really, really well.

Last week, he had his first haircut in 6 months. His hair came in curly, a bit darker…and substantially grayer. I can post this because I admit that MY hair has some stubborn gray streaks beginning in it, as well. Cancer has officially kicked us into the “middle aged” bracket. We were looking at photos of us just 3 years ago when Asher was a baby…we both look SO MUCH YOUNGER. Oh, well…at least we’re still alive…and Proverbs says gray hair is supposed to be a “crown of splendor”…I’ll cling to that description.

Rich had a CT Scan a few weeks ago, and it came back with the mass even smaller than the last scan. It’s now 1.0 by 1.2 cm…shrinking is GOOD NEWS.

He also had a PET Scan the following week, and we just recieved results from that last week…also good news. There is still a bit of glow around where the cancer was, but it is less than the last PET Scan, and it could simply be inflammation, or scar tissue…less glow is GOOD NEWS.

We meet with the oncologist on Thursday to find out the next steps in monitoring Rich. The urologist told us that he thought the current course of action (monitoring for changes in the mass) still seemed like the most prudent course of action. We’ll see if the oncologist agrees!

There have been a lot of milestones lately, and here are a few:

– Last week, Rich drove our family up to Yosemite…we played in Wawona…drove to the valley…he hiked about a mile…photographed…chatted with some friends we saw up there…and he drove us home, with a bit of energy to spare. This is a huge improvement. Just 2 months ago, it was a big deal for him to even accompany me up to Yosemite.

– He is able to think much more clearly and intensely. The old Rich is coming back, complete with 5 million ideas and thoughts per minute. I’m finding that MY mind is the one that can’t keep up, these days.

– He is able to play actively with the kids; read them bedtime stories; and be a part of daily family life in a meaningful way. There is a lot of joy in our house, these days, because of this!

– One of the highlights of Rich’s time in the oncology department was the pharmacist there, Randy. Randy was truly, absolutely made for his job. As he mixed chemistry that could kill cancer, and created drug regimens to fight the side effects, he built relationships with his patients…he brought humor, and a light hearted feel to the clinic, and always left everyone in the clinic shaking their heads and smiling at something funny he’d said. Laughter is a huge gift in an oncology clinic. He brought videos in for Rich and I to watch. And he told us about the Fresno Youth Orchestra, and how his daughter played the cello. We told Randy that our daughter loved classical music, and he encouraged us to bring her to a concert in December.

December seemed extremely distant at the time…and to envision Rich being able to endure a trip to Fresno for fun…let alone going to a concert…was hard to imagine. Well, tonight we did it. Rich drove Allison and I to Fresno. We went out to dinner…enjoyed the concert (it was amazing! You should check it out if you like symphonies…EXCELLENT and budget friendly)…http://youthorchestrasfresno.org. He then drove us home. Then, he drove my mom home (she & Poppa watched Asher for us…thanks guys!)…and now he is eating a snack and probably won’t go to bed for another hour. It was an amazing milestone…to do something we talked about doing throughout the cancer treatment…to have our little girl with us…to have Randy at the concert, and introducing Rich to his family as “one of his success stories…” It was an amazing night, and a great gift.

There are a lot of things we wouldn’t have experienced, if it weren’t for Rich’s cancer. Tonight was just one of God’s great blessings from this journey. And the holidays have never been sweeter.

Thank you for loving us, and for your continued prayers. Recovery is one tough road, but Rich is enduring it well.

Monumental Improvements Every Week

October 9, 2009

Rich is doing amazingly well. Each week is a huge improvement over the former week, when it comes to his energy, stamina and mental acuity. Six weeks ago, it was a big deal for him to sit up all day. This week, he’s been walking around our loop, which is a mile of rolling hills. He’s done the loop 3 times, each time a little quicker and stronger. Rich is really good at wearing himself out, but it’s taking much more to wear him out today, than it did even a week or two ago.

He’s working again, as he is able. Some days, that means 2 hours…some days it means 7…and some days that means not at all. It really depends on his energy and stamina for the day. His first priority is to take care of his recovery…everything else is icing on the cake, after that.

His hair is returning…his muscles are getting stronger…and his smile is still on his face.

Recovery is a long, hard journey. It’s hard to know what to expect of yourself…and what you’re able to do can change from day to day (either for the good, or the bad). When he was going through chemo, we didn’t expect to get much of anything else done in our lives. Now, without active treatments, we’re in a strange limbo between being sick, and being healthy. It’s not an easy place to be, and it continues to be an exhausting journey. Yet, there are respites…

Yesterday was our 14th wedding anniversary. Normally, I work on Wednesdays. Not yesterday. We dropped the kids off at school, then headed to Yosemite for the day. It was our first time being able to really enjoy Yosemite since March or so…what a wonderful blessing. It was like going to see an old friend…comforting, refreshing and invigorating. I kept thanking God for the fact that I still have a husband…that he was able to walk beside me to explore Happy Isles…and that he was looking healthy and happy. I watched Rich rock hop across the Merced River…we probably walked about 2 miles yesterday (a TON for Rich). We wandered…talked…saw some old friends…breathed the fresh autumn air…and just felt happy to BE…and happy to BE TOGETHER. After sunset, we ventured to Oakhurst and went out to dinner at Bass Lake (thank you, Mom and Dad for watching the kiddos). I love my husband.

This marks the first year that we haven’t gone to the High Sierra (Tuolumne Meadows; Mammoth Lakes; etc)…not even once. Not even for a day drive. We tried to drive up to Glacier Point a few weeks ago, but Rich experienced some sharp chest pains. Not in his heart, but in his sternum/chest muscles…not sure what that’s about. Yesterday, he did great on the drive to the valley (The road goes over 6000 feet on the way there…and Rich actually drove us there, which was his first time driving outside of Oakhurst), but on the way home, we had to turn around and take HWY 140, which has a much lower elevation. So, there is something going on with his body…it seems that fatigue and high elevation creates some sort of issue that causes his chest muscles to cramp. The good news is that it was better yesterday than it had been in previous weeks. The bad news is that it probably won’t go away enough to venture to the High Sierra before the snow falls. The funny thing is that it doesn’t really matter. It’s strange to type that, because we normally LIVE for the summer; hiking; exploring; being up in the mountains. And a part of me feels like summer didn’t exist, because we didn’t get to participate in any of that…the other part is just thankful to have a husband…thankful to hopefully have more years up there, when he’ll be healthy.

Prayer requests for us:

– Pray for us while Rich is in recovery. It’s a frustrating and challenging time, in many ways. As we poke our heads above water, there is a lot to take care of that’s been ignored for the past 5-6 months. It can be overwhelming. We are learning a lot about prioritizing. We are also getting a pretty serious blow to our perfectionistic natures (because we just can’t be perfect…or even very good…at much of anything right now). It’s frustrating, but we’re also learning a lot from it.

– Pray for Rich’s health. Pray that the residual mass is cancer free, and even that it continues to shrink. He’ll have a CT Scan next month (November), and it will show whether there are any changes. His bloodwork and chest X Ray in September looked great. He’ll have more labs done next week, prior to his next appointment with this oncologist.

– Rich has been having some pain in his stomach/intestines after eating lately. The pain is reminiscent of the pain he felt when he was initially diagnosed. The big difference is that TUMS helps with this pain…and it didn’t help prior the cancer being discovered. Pray that this pain is just acid reflux, and nothing more serious.

– Keep our kids in your prayers. They are doing great…but keep them in your prayers.

Thank you for caring! It is so wonderful to be out in the world again…eating lunch at Pizza Factory…going to work more often…NOT driving to Fresno (I haven’t been there in 3 weeks, I think!)…seeing friends. We’re so thankful.

Love, Rich & Susan

In remission (with close monitoring)

August 22, 2009

Rich and I met with the oncologist on Wednesday morning, and she confirmed that Rich is, “In remission, with close monitoring.”

The tumor has shrunk to a state where the doctors feel safe just monitoring it for growth or changes. They will do blood work and a chest x-ray every 2 months, as well as CT and PET scans, as needed (probably every 3 months).

We move from fighting cancer, to monitoring it. Being active, to being passive. Waiting and watching. Another step of faith.

Kaiser sent Rich’s films to Stanford for a second opinion. Stanford’s tumor review board looked at them, and thought the residual mass looked like scar tissue (not cancer). The only way to prove whether or not there is cancer left, is with surgery. Since Rich’s mass isn’t a nice solid mass, but rather blanket-like over his small intestine, kidney and vena cava (major artery), and seminoma creates extremely difficult scar tissue to navigate surgically, they are opting to NOT recommend surgery right now. It is less risky to wait, than to go ahead with the surgery at this point.

Our initial reaction to Rich being done with treatment was a feeling of being overwhelmed in a good, but extremely tentative way. Part of us didn’t believe it…it seemed to good to be true. Another part was waiting for the doctors to change their minds, calling us to tell us they had scheduled surgery…yet another part was feeling a bit scared to transition from actively fighting the disease, to simply trusting that it’s gone.

How do you live with the idea that the cancer can reappear? That there might be some left? That regular monitoring will be a part of Rich’s life for the rest of his life? Well…you pray. And then you come to the same conclusions that we’ve been realizing through this entire journey:

1. Every day is a blessing, and a gift. Tonight, the oppressive heat of August day is giving way to the cool mountain breezes of the night. It’s a gift to breathe the soft, fresh air…even if it’s only for a few moments while I take out the garbage.

2. Life is fatal. There is a 100% chance of death at some point during your life. Growing old is not a right, but a privilege that many will never experience. Cancer is just one way people die. That’s where the 18 words come into play…and there is peace there.

3. God is faithful, has good plans for us, and he loves us. We can trust in that.

When I was driving home from work the other day, marveling over the fact that we still have a business, though we’ve been virtually absent now for 4 months…and our staff still shows up to work, and does their jobs as if they themselves own the business (thank you!); and we still have a home, and food on our table; and our kids did not get sick during Rich’s chemo, even though they were in full time daycare; a simple fact struck me: God’s love, grace and mercy is not about what I do. Or how hard I work. Or how well I can promote our business to make sure it stays in business. Or how good of a mom I am, or wife, or home owner.

God’s love just simply is. No expectations. No strings attached. He loved me first…even before I acknowledged him. It’s a type of love that cannot be matched by a human…even my husband, whom I love, love, love. It’s both humbling and awesome. It’s a love you can trust in. A love that provides. A love that surpasses human comprehension. A love that sustains you, and comforts you, when life makes no sense at all.

After we talked to the oncologist, we went to visit several of the nurses and the oncology pharmacist, to tell them Rich’s good news. The pharmacist told Rich that he did the best on his specific chemo regimen (BEP), of anyone he’d ever seen. He said that 50% of people who begin the regimen quit because the side effects (particularly nausea) are so strong. (I’m glad he didn’t share that statistic with us when we started this journey!) He was amazed at Rich’s attitude during treatments, endurance and lack of side effects from the chemo, and will be duplicating the anti-nausea medicine schedule he prescribed to Rich for all future patients who receive the type of chemo Rich did. What he cannot duplicate, however, area all of the prayers that interceded on Rich’s behalf to make life endurable, despite the severity of his treatment. We believe the prayers made all of the difference between what science can prove (that Rich was on a very intense, yet very effective chemo regimen); and what it cannot predict (individual reactions to the chemo).

This week has brought other milestones:

Last Saturday, we went to Yosemite for a picnic in El Capitan Meadow. It was “Fee Free” day in Yosemite, and there were thousands of cars on the twisting roads, which made for many Prilosec moments. Still, we managed to find a quiet, private spot in the midst of the chaos, and it was a gift to eat in the shade of an old grove of Oak trees.

We went to The Forks at Bass Lake for burgers, and Rich ate normally and quite happily. His appetite is almost completely back now, and our grocery bill has escalated accordingly.

He’s been playing and reading to the kids, and they are LOVING having their Daddy off the couch, and in their lives. Rich even went to Kindergarten roundup with us last week, which made Allison feel very special.

His hair is starting to grow back, so if you haven’t seen Rich bald, now is the time to do it.

Today, we worked for a good chunk of the day, and while his mind is still a bit scattered, he accomplished many, many things that only he can do…

Life is beginning to fall back into place. Sort of. It will take awhile to have a normal schedule again, but there is a huge sense of freedom in the fact that we do not have even ONE doctor’s appointment next week.

It was also a huge gift to know that Rich is in remission as Allison started kindergarten this week. Since July, I feared that his surgery would fall during these first few weeks of school. It’s been a huge burden lifted, to know that he does not need surgery, and instead can work on recovery. Allison LOVES kindergarten…seeing friends every day…and especially loves her teacher. But, it’s been quite an adjustment for all of us…waking up early, having a tight schedule, and going to school for 6.5 hours a day (it’s full day kindergarten here).

We’re all happy for the weekend…for life slowly being restored…and especially for healing. Though the cancer is in remission, the journey continues, and we hope to post more as Rich recovers. Please continue to pray for us as we go through this time of transition.

And, here are some photos of our sweet kindergartener on her first day of school:

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GOOD NEWS! “The chemotherapy worked”

August 13, 2009

An email from the oncologist:

Dear Susan and Rich: GOOD NEWS on the PET scan results which show only mild post treatment activity. The CT scan report also shows continued shrinkage of the area in the retroperitoneum which is also good news. Based on these results, it appears that the chemotherapy has worked and that we can continue to monitor the CAT scans, and if necessary PET scans.

I will also send a CD to Dr.Presti at Stanford. He looked at the films from July and just got back to me about those. His inclination from those earlier films was to just closely follow the CAT scans since the changes appeared to represent scarring. I expect that based on these studies his recommendations were remain the same.”

This means:

– No surgery for now (and the urologist from Stanford said he wouldn’t recommend surgery, even based on the OLD pet scan from a month ago…the tumor has shrunk even more since then. It is now 1.1cm by 1.8cm…originally it was 10.8cm by 5cm by 8cm. Amazing.)

– No chemo for now

– We move from fighting cancer, to monitoring Rich regularly to make sure there is no cancer activity. What does that mean? We’ll find out next week!

– We can maybe, possibly, start our new life!

We meet with the oncologist for a formal appointment on August 19th, and we’ll find out more details then…we are so thankful she took the time to email us these results before the official meeting.

PRAISE GOD who has sustained us through the biggest trial we have yet to face.

Thank you all for your prayers. Thank you all for your love, support, meals, childcare, words of wisdom, acts of kindness and the many ways each of you made this journey less lonesome, and easier to persevere.

The journey is still not over…there is much recovery to be done. What a gift, however, to be able to focus on recovery and rebuilding our lives, instead of enduring the fight. We’re still trying to wrap our brains around this new beginning…Keep us in your prayers!

I’ll write more soon…It’s time to take our kindergartener to meet her teacher at “Kindergarten Roundup.” School starts on Monday!

Love, Susan

Swimming and waiting for test results

August 8, 2009

This week has brought healing and rest. Rich finished his 6 days of Neupogen injections on Tuesday night, and is beginning to get his appetite and energy back. Yesterday, he even went to the public pool with me and the kids. It was his first fun outing with us since this entire ordeal began in the spring, and it brought much joy to his heart (and ours!) He lasted a little over an hour, before he was tired and needed to go home. He has virtually no muscle tone, so even sitting in the pool, and moving his arms made the muscles near his ribs ache. It looks like physical rehabilitation starts with just incorporating normal movement into his day.

On Wednesday, I took my kids to a waterpark in Fresno with some other friends and their kids. It was so much fun to just play with the kids; see their big smiles; and have a carefree day. It was the first day like that all summer, and it was such a gift.

Rich had a CT Scan on Thursday, which was fairly uneventful. It will take about a week for results, the doctor said. His PET Scan is on Monday. Again, this will take a week for results. We have an appointment with the oncologist on August 19th…basically, if the tests show any remaining tumor or mass, or cancer activity, then surgery will happen. Please continue to pray that the mass is completely gone, as it is a major, major surgery, and if Rich could be spared this, it would be wonderful.

I kind of feel like if your family is going through cancer, you should get a pass on any other drama in life. But, life goes on, despite cancer. There have been a number of unexpected events and obstacles (not cancer related) in the past few weeks that have us praying in entirely new ways for entirely new things.

In all of this, I’ve realized that whatever challenge you’re going through, it can consume your thoughts to the point of paralysis. Cancer is no different. Any one of the other issues we’re confronting would consume our thoughts on their own, let alone adding them together into one giant pile of craziness. It can be oppressive.

Yet, as I sat here this morning, I once again realized that worrying does nothing…it only robs me of energy and joy in this day. It all comes back to taking one day at a time…focusing my thoughts on all of the blessings in my life, and really cherishing them…and being glad I can enjoy another cup of coffee…cool Sierra breezes…birds chirping in the trees.

A year ago, we had problems and struggles, too. And in another year, we’ll be facing entirely new things…and hopefully not cancer. We have been carried through many storms, and God has shown himself to be immenently faithful, comforting and true. Knowing this brings peace unlike any other…and it is much easier to just rest, and trust God, even when his plans make no sense to me.

Happy weekend!

Yes, we are alive!

August 4, 2009

Just a quick post to let you all know that we are alive! We’ve had quite a few phone calls and emails in the last few days with all of you checking up on us…THANK YOU!!!

Rich has been doing better every day. Last week, he worked a few hours each day from home…his mind was definitely coming back, and it was such a welcome thing! His appetite was better, and he actually ate dinner with me and the kids, which he’s been unable to do since even before the diagnosis in April.

Rich has been taking neupogen shots for the past six days. Neupogen is the drug that makes him feel horrible, cranky, anxious, feverish, nauseous….just plain sick. He’s been taking anti-nausea drugs for it, as well as Vicodin, to help with the severe aches in his back. BUT the Neupogen works! His white blood cell count was 1.0 last week (very low). We just received lab results online, and his WBC count is now extremely high (over the normal range). He took his last shot tonight, and is looking forward to feeling better again, once the drug wears off, and having an appetite. He has now lost 40 pounds, and is at the same weight he was when we got married almost 14 years ago. Crazy.

This week, the kids are off preschool, since it is closed for the week for a summer break. It’s a welcome break from the routine. I like having them with me all of the time. Even if we’re just doing mundane tasks, like going for haircuts and buying new shoes (have you seen how much kids shoes cost these days? Holy cow!), I always feel more complete when I’m with them. But it won’t last long…kindergarten starts in just two weeks!

This Thursday is the CT Scan, and the PET Scan is on Monday, August 10th. It generally takes 5-7 days for results…

If the tests show any mass, then they will do a major surgery to remove it. If it’s gone…then it’s gone!!! And that would be the best news in the world.

Thank you for all of your prayers. Please keep them coming! We truly are feeling them!

Blessings,

Susan

Stent removed successfully

July 25, 2009

The urologist called yesterday, and asked if Rich could make it into the clinic today (Friday) to remove his stent. Of course, we said sure! The stent had been placed in his ureter, between his right kidney and bladder, in early May. It’s a bit uncomfortable, and since it constantly drains the kidneys, it creates a constant urge to use the restroom. It’s like being pregnant…only I think a bit worse!

The stent removal was a quick 2-minute procedure with local anesthetic. We were glad that Rich didn’t need general anesthesia for the procedure, which would have been required if they had to replace the stent.

While we were waiting for the anesthetic to take effect, the doctor showed us the CT scans, and compared what the mass looks like now, versus the original mass. It’s truly a remarkable difference. Amazing. We also saw the residual tumor’s location, and how the vena cava (major artery) is obscured behind the mass.

We talked about Rich’s upcoming CT Scan on August 6th, and the doctor said that if they see any residual tumor, they will want to do surgery. Leaving the mass in would give a 10-15% risk of the cancer spreading or coming back…surgery would minimize this risk.

We’ll find out more in mid-August about this next course of treatment.

Rich is doing really well, considering all he has been through. The urologist today even said he thought Rich was doing really well, considering the intensity of the treatment he’s undergone. Rich has also developed a reputation at the Kaiser Fresno lab as the “bald guy who always has a smile” and apparently is one of the favorite patients in the lab. They see thousands of patients a week there, so that’s quite a compliment! It also shows you how much labwork he’s having done! That’s a lot of pokes with needles!

On Wednesday, Rich stayed up the entire day, with no naps…then did it again Thursday and today. Yesterday, we actually went out to breakfast and it was a real treat to talk again about more than just our current circumstances. Today, his brain was back even more, and he said that if we didn’t have to go to Fresno, that he’d want to head up to Summit Meadow on Glacier Point Road in Yosemite, just to enjoy an afternoon in the high country. This is huge. Rich hasn’t had the energy to even entertain the possibility of going up to the park…so for him to suggest it, means he’s feeling better, every day.

Next week, Rich has an audiology exam on Monday, to see if the chemo as affected his hearing. He’ll also have labs done that day, which will determine whether he’ll need neupogen (which increases his white blood cell count) or not.

This week has been good…lots of rest, and time to catch up on things…and tough, since there has been time to think and begin to digest all that has happened. God continues to teach us new lessons, and reveal new depths of His faithfulness, and we’re thankful (understatement!) for his gentle presence in this time.

Happy Weekend!

Love, Susan

Asher is better!

July 19, 2009

Asher’s sickness was a random one-night fever…after a dose of Tylenol before bed, he slept through the night and woke up Saturday morning with his temperature at 98.8…and it hasn’t spread to anyone else…yet! AMEN!

Thank you for all of your prayers and thoughts. It’s been a very restful weekend.

My biggest fear, as a kid, was of black widow spiders. We had a National Geographic book about spiders, and I remember my sisters leaving the black widow page open on my bed to torment me…and then reassuring me that black widows lived NOWHERE near Michigan (where we lived), and I was completely safe. Well, black widows are plentiful in California.

I spent the morning today on black widow patrol outside. I found a HUGE one on the kids’ wagon. She looked JUST like the black widow in that National Geographic book, with the red hourglass visable from 5 feet away. She was tangled up in a huge web, and was very hard to get to. I dug down deep, let out a lot of screams that I’m sure the neighbors were amused by, and got her. Sorry, Miss Black Widow. I love nature, but poisonous spiders on anything that comes close to my kids will die.

I only bring this up, because Rich is the black widow hunter in our family. Not me. Never me. I will have nightmares about this tonight. I hate black widows that much. In the midst of the black widow hunt, I found myself telling Rich, “I hate cancer because I have to kill this black widow now, and you can’t do it.” But, a black widow bite on an oncology patient probably wouldn’t be good…plus the fact that Rich’s energy level this morning was just enough to be barely awake, watching TV, meant that if anyone was going to do the job, it had to be me.  And so I did the job…I find myself doing lots of jobs I thought were only Rich’s these days. I don’t mind, but it’s definitely getting me out of my comfort zone in many ways.

Rich is doing well, considering how he spent the last week (in chemo every day). His taste is completely off, and his mouth has a constant metallic taste that overwhelms every other taste. His energy level is completely depleted, but today (Sunday) his appetite seems to be coming back a bit. So, the challenge is finding foods that taste OK, despite the metallic overtone.

Thank you for all of your prayers and encouraging notes. We are so blessed by all of you!

Love, Susan

Rich Finished Round Four – Now Asher’s Sick

July 18, 2009

Rich took his last chemo today, and has no more chemo, until further notice. He is tired, and has no appetite, but is SO HAPPY to be done!

His CT Scan is on August 6…his PET Scan is on August 10th. The results of these tests will show the size of the tumor (PRAY IT’S GONE!!!) and whether surgery is necessary.

I was just marvelling over how healthy everyone in our family has been through this journey. No sicknesses, despite a nasty stomach flu circulating in Oakhurst, and two kids in preschool…

Well…I got home and had a message from the preschool. Asher had a fever of 101.7, which suddenly developed after naptime. Thankfully, Rich finished chemo at 2:30, so we were home by 3:45…and I picked up Asher shortly after that. I was glad I got the message at 3:45 instead of 5, which has been the normal time we’ve been getting home!

An hour later, the fever rose to 103.6…so I called Kaiser. Asher has a history of ear infections. If he’s still sick in the morning we’ll drive to Kaiser Fresno (my home away from home, these days) to have his ears checked out. It may just be a virus, though…After Tylenol, his fever dropped to about 100, and he’s tucked into bed now, singing to himself.

We’ve kept Asher in his room (which actually has been really easy, he’s been so sick), to prevent  the spread of germs to the rest of our household. Please pray that Rich, especially, doesn’t get this. Chemo wipes out your immune system, and if Rich gets sick, he may end up in the hospital until he’s better.

Thanks for your prayers!

Love, Susan

The Power of Prayer

July 14, 2009

Last night I experienced the power of prayer in an incredible way. Last week was a tough week, between the bad reaction to the chemo on Tuesday, dealing with the frustration of some cancer still being present…to emotionally thinking I was done with chemo and preparing for major surgery, then finding I needed to continue chemo (all the while feeling sick from the neupogen…like a bad flu.)

I felt led to have the Elders of my Church pray for me again, for healing in this new phase where we are trying to get rid of the last of the cancer. Sunday evening over 12 of the Elders came to our home and prayed for me after I shared with them how things were going, and how I don’t want my life back, but I want desperately to live so that I can serve God with a new life, one that is built on all he has shown me over this journey.

Pastor Bob started with James 1:2-4
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

That was just what I needed. Then, the Elders prayed for healing and strength and endurance.

I do not have words to describe the deep and sincere love they poured out in their prayers, beseeching God for healing for me and strength for Susan and I. I have never felt a more powerful time of prayer, and I am in awe of the faith and love of these men, and the power God pours out when we call on his name in obedience to scripture.

A short time after the Elders left, I realized that all my worries and fears had left me and I experienced the peace of God, truly the peace that transcends all understanding. Instead of feeling like I was shuffling into this week on fumes, I felt recharged and ready to go in fighting, and to take it one day at a time, relying God’s strength for today and hope for tomorrow.

This morning I woke up at 6:10 ready to go (quite a feat in itself for me!) and went into Chemo feeling more mentally ready than any day so far. Believe me when I say that this strength is not me, it’s all God. I’m just trusting Him, and giving over my fears and worries to Him. It’s not easy, especially when I’ve been worn down from over 2 months days of chemo, surgery, and neupogen, but it’s the only thing that works, and it works beyond any strength I could ever have myself.

Thanks for all your prayers….and don’t think I don’t need them because I need every single one of them in this day by day journey. It’s not a magic pill that I get to take once and then it’s all good, but a daily walk. Know that God is listening and there is amazing power in prayer. May His grace and blessing be upon you.

Rich