It’s definitely been quite awhile since my last post. Often things come to mind that I think would be good to share, but taking time to sit and put into words what I’m thinking gets set aside for other things– or a thought to wait until I have a little more perspective. Wowowow do I have a fresh batch of that! Sound familiar in any of your lives?
This has been the most challenging 4 months of our lives– in the last 30 years for sure. Just as I think I have a handle on things, something happens to pluck me off my “now, I’m there” state— I know one of the main contributing factors to feeling vulnerable and overwhelmed– is mismanaged expectations in any area of life.
When we returned from Houston, I felt like we had escaped the worst of the side affects from all the treatments. The docs kept “warning us” that the affects would accumulate, and most likely appear tho we had not seen any of consequence. We lived pretty much in a bubble in our little world there and stayed “prayed up” and lifted by the thousands of prayers of everyone and the amazing guest book on the blog. That has been the most encouraging gift to all of us. Jim and I would read and share and pray for those in their own battle– pulling us out of our state of “self absorption” that seems to sneak up on anyone in a crisis– tho we know that is not healthy or comforting!
We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Many of you apologize for writing or making suggestions — concerned that you are filling up our email or blog– although we understand and appreciate your consideration, I assure you we are very grateful and some of the ideas and books we have gotten and used. Everything is a help because you took the time to do it and you care.
Continuing on the mismanaged expectations thought, we were surprised when a week ago, Jim had the predicted burning when swallowing and increased lack of appetite. He also has had two bouts of infection that required antibiotic, and a stressful trip to see the gastro doc in Atlanta following two days of really intense , painful “gut aches”. That was a sobering experience as the doc reiterated the possible causes. I would have given myself a “C-” on “peace and comfort” that day.
The fact that I want to be a calming, peaceful comfort to Jim compounds my situation. I was “spinning” inside , yet trying to speak reassuringly to him as he was in pain, and trying to intake what was being said. It’s at these moments I would love to be able to push the “hold” button and scream and sob and run into the arms of the Lord to be scooped up and assured. Due to years of experience with the Lord in crisis situations, I took a breath and allowed myself to go through my check list that Eric and I used for years when he was a little boy. Everyday when Eric was in the hospital, I would say to him, “Eric, let’s look for the hand of God”…. and we would list some of the blessings that we could see…. small or great…like the intensive care nurse on duty that night that was tops at starting IV’s on his very small veins….or a funny card in the mail, a skipped X-ray, a favorite take out food that Jim brought for Eric’s dinner- a sunny day and a pass to go outside- a private quiet room- a great scan indicating his shunt was functioning well,– etc etc. Next, I would say-….if we see a blessing, we know He’s here-….if we know He’s here we know He’s in control… if we know He’s in control we have No Fear! We can praise Him ! We did that for years ….a deliberate act that put an end to our spinning out of control. Remember to build dependence on the Lord in yourself and your children– not circumstances.
As Jim and I adjusted to the reality of post treatment, we began to pray and regroup. This was not an indicator that he would not be healed and free of the “invader”. Peace was reestablished, and we got on with the restoration and rebuilding of his body. Weight gain has started to come back and his energy is very good– for which we are so grateful!!
As I write this we are on our plane returning to Houston for what they call ” restaging”– that’s just the repeat and evaluation of the PET scan and the endoscopy to see how the radiation and chemo did. We will have the PET today and the endoscopy tomorrow. We so so appreciate all of the encouraging messages and the prayers.
The last week was a roller coaster for us– we have been exploring the surgery options that are used for an esophagectomy. This surgery is the 3rd part to a curative treatment– chemo, radiation, and surgery. Of course, God can heal in such a way that the esoph is totally restored as if there never was any tumor. In that case we praise the Lord and flee the scene, immediately!! I am standing on that promise. About 6 years ago I had a 2 cm growth that showed up on a PET scan– I had the elders of my church in Florida lay hands on me and pray– went back for another test and it was gone– miracles do happen today.
Regarding the surgery, the doc in Houston does a traditional “open” esophagectomy, and another leading edge doc in Penn does the same surgery using a “minimally invasive” approach where he uses 6 small incisions where he inserts instruments that work with robots to do the surgery. This is a very brief explanation of the 2 surgeries, but we are praying and seeking wisdom for which is the approach God would have for Jim– IF he does indeed require it.
We are very blessed and so grateful as we move to the final phase of this saga!! No question, our whole family is changed, and that includes our Network 21 family. I thank you for praying for our children– as you can imagine, none of them ever expected to be confronted with any possibility of a serious challenge to their father. They are all very close to Jim and have special relationships with him He is such a loving, stabilizing presence for all of us and they are walking through it with faith and reliance on the only real comforter — the Lord. I am very proud of all of them and grateful to our priceless business partners who have reached out to love and encourage them– it has made all the difference….I assure you.
Neither Jim nor I want just a healing “physically”– we want to be strengthened and deepened and made instruments that God can use to help others…. and number one…. to show His glory.
We will keep you posted and again we thank you for praying.