Dad

Dad

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Rib and Company

The power of prayer is really amazing! I have had broken ribs before and I know that the healing process is lengthy and painful. This time, it was very painful but I am nearly pain-free after only 2 1/2 weeks...without any pain meds!  I think that is absolutely amazing, and I give glory to God! We have been out on our bikes and I have to say that I have less discomfort than I have had since the end of February.  It is almost like I needed to do nothing but heal for a couple of weeks. Broken ribs sure slowed me down! Well, sort of.

Early Friday morning, June 2, we went to Baltimore with Bill and George, two men from church. We ate crab cakes, toured the stadium, and saw the Red Sox get beat by the Oriole's. The next morning we hit the road for home to take in a graduation party for C4.  We were tired!!  But what a great two days it was.  Being with our wonderful family and celebrating our awesome grandson's graduation was like icing on the cake!

"I told you I'd be back!"

Because of the blood clot, ribs, and my well-being in general we were hoping (guardedly) to go to Seattle to our niece, Anna's wedding, but trying not to get our hearts too set on it in case we couldn't. But with all the good news and progress, we are going to go! We will fly in and out of Portland, visit family around the fourth of July in Salem, then drive up to the wedding. We will visit Richard and Becky (Anna's parents) before and after the wedding. We'll also get to see Reynold and Doris (my brother and wife) before we head back to Portland and home.

The latest is that yesterday was forecast to be over 90°, the second day of a three day heat wave. Since we had the day free, we got in the car and headed for Cape Cod. We had seen on the weather channel that the temperatures would be lower out there, and that was correct. It was beautiful, and there were nice breezes.  We ended up riding our bikes toward Brewster and we found a seafood shack along the path where we could eat clam chowder on the deck. It was wonderful!  By the time we got back to the car, we had ridden 23.9 miles.  We couldn't believe it! And the amazing thing was, we were still able to walk and move around even after we rode two hours in the car to get home. What a fun day!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

"Though he fall he shall not be utterly cast down."

 The steps of a good man verse from Psalm 37 is a wonderful promise. It gives us hope that the Lord is our safety net when things get out of hand, when things get out of control.  There is never a hint of a promise that everything will go perfectly, or that we will never make a mistake or slip. The promise is that we are not destroyed or wiped out when trouble does come because we have the Lord to turn to.
 I had been feeling so good after the prostate surgery 13 weeks before! I had gotten back to riding my bike and doing just about everything I did before, just a little slower and a little bit more calculating. So last Thursday I decided to take some tools up to the church and fix a leaky toilet.  As I was carrying my shop-vac down the rain-soaked wooden steps on the back of our house my foot suddenly slipped and I fell down seven steps. The pain was incredible on my entire left side, but especially in the flank area. After a short time Christina asked if I wanted  to go have an x-ray. I gladly agreed!
At the hospital they did not find anything broken but told me I was just bruised and sent me home with some medicine  for pain.  Since they said nothing was broken I figured my left kidney must be bruised, because that is where the pain was. Thankfully I did not hit my head, and I wasn't bleeding.
Since I was still a world of hurt, two days later we went to a walk-in urgent care facility near our house. They did more X-rays, and discovered I had three fractured ribs. Somehow my pain felt more justified, but the treatment was the same; wait six weeks until they heal. I wonder if they could wrap me in bubble wrap until everything is all set?
Anyway, I have been so aware of God's presence. All the calls, prayers, emails, and other expressions of compassion are deeply appreciated. Though my foot slipped, I know my steps are still ordered by the Lord, and He has a purpose in all this. I am not down for the count. I will rise again, because my Lord upholds me with His hand! I will be able to attend our grandson's (C4's) graduation on June 1. I will get better and be pain-free in the next few weeks.
I hope to meet many of you who have read the blog, followed my ordeal and prayed for us. Prayer has gotten us through. But if we should happen to meet sometime, somewhere, I do have a request. Please don't squeeze too hard.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Numbers

Yesterday was a cold, drizzly day in contrast to some very warm days we had last week. Christina and I went to Foxborough to have my blood drawn to check the PSA. I had to take a number. It was 13. I'm not superstious, but when they called 13 it was not the number I wanted to hear!
Later in the day we heard the wonderful number that we did want to hear. We expected it and my surgeon expected it, but it was sweet to hear anyway. 0. Nada. Zilch. Nothing. Gone. As Amy had written earlier; it is finished.
Anyone who has been infected by the cancer of sin (that's everybody!) can hear that too. Our sin can be gone by the grace of God, through the blood of Jesus. God, the righteous judge, declares us clean and sin-free if we ask for forgiveness and cleansing.  Gone. 0. Ancient history! "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness." I John 1:9  Ask God for your number.


Sunday, May 21, 2017

SIX MORE WEEKS

Well, here it is six weeks after that wonderful day in April when we heard those wonderful words, "Well, the PSA is zero." My feeling that day was that, as good as that news was, I really wanted to be past the pain. About three weeks ago it was as though I turned the corner and the pain faded out to nearly nothing. What a relief!
Though it was short rides at first, I have been getting back on the Rockhopper. It is like my old buddy. I call it my aluminum steed. I/we have ridden over 45 miles in May. I know it isn't much, but it represents a lot to me. I ought to be ready for a cross country ride by October. Don't believe me? Ok, how about a 20 mile ride by then?
But I have to do tomorrow first. Tomorrow will be very similar to the April 10 visit. Except this time I am able to get around with no pain and I'll just be looking to know the score. I'll put up the numbers after that visit.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Don't Miss the Journey

Back on April 10, as I prepared to go to Boston and the appointment to see what the PSA was doing, I was eager to know what the next step would be. I just wanted to be finished with this cancer business. Perhaps I was doing what many people and groups like sports teams before me have done; looking too far ahead and missing something. As I told several people, in the words credited to Roberto Duran, "No mas!"  Sometimes you just get tired of the fight.

So when my doctor came into the room and said, "Well, the PSA is zero," I wasn't prepared for how great it would be to hear those words. My mind was thinking of the next step...but there was no next step. As I later processed and thought about it, I believe the pain level was much less right away and I felt stronger, just knowing the cancer was gone. Now I know the 'Other details' is the periodic checking to make sure everything is still going well.

It is now three weeks since that wonderful appointment. The pain is less and I am doing most of the things I did before, just more slowly and for not as long.  I am so thankful for the incredible, competent care I have gotten from the medical staff of Dana Farber and Brigham and Women's.

I have slowly accelerated to nearly the speed I was going prior to surgery; 2 Bible Studies and 3 sermons each week and ministering in the Pierce Home as well as church. I haven't quite gotten all the way back, but almost. Yesterday, May 1, was another milestone. I rode my bike up the road and back for a total of 4/10 mile. In that microscopically short ride I proved to myself that I was nearly recovered, that it didn't feel too bad (without a special seat), and that I could begin building strength in my body that has been lying around most of the last 2 1/2 months. It was sort of an iconic return to living instead of just trying to find a position that was somewhat comfortable!

I see God's faithfulness every day. It is a joy to be alive. Praise His holy name!

His mercies are new every morning.
 Three Sky Pilots
 Ah, the life; watching others work!

Monday, April 10, 2017

It Is Finished

As Dr. Trinh did at our 10:30 appointment this morning, let me just get right the results:
PSA level is ZERO, which is the news we were hoping and praying for!  Good news!  Exhale and a fist bump from Tim!

Now, as Dr. Trinh did, let me back up and unpack this a bit.  Back at diagnosis in December, Dad was presented with basically two options: treat with hormone therapy or have a total prostatectomy.  After weighing the pros and cons of each and praying for wisdom, he elected the surgery.  It seemed logical- if the prostate is full of cancer, then get it out!

On February 23rd he had the surgery.  The doctor was very optimistic that day about things 'looking good' and initial pathology yielded good margins.  The date was set for April 10th to recheck PSA levels via bloodwork.  We were told that zero was the goal.  Anything more than zero would require further action to be taken by means of hormone therapy.

I know this has been a burden for Dad, after all, it's cancer.  And cancer is no respecter of persons.  It doesn't matter your age, gender, ethnicity, religion, creed, socioeconomic status, or even if you're a good, bad, healthy, or unhealthy person.  It doesn't even matter if you are a pastor.  It's terrible!  But since surgery day, I had confidence that he'd be ok.

Last night, we had our 2nd of 5 performances of "The Passion of the King" at my church.  During the performance, today's appointment weighed on my heart and I began to grow anxious about the pending results.  But then I watched the "whipping scene", and thought, "He took those lashes, those stripes for Dad."  Then during the crucifixion scene, as they dragged Jesus to the cross, Isaiah began to prophecy,

But he was pierced through for our transgressions
He was crushed for our iniquities
Our sins and transgressions fell upon Him
And by His stripes we are healed.

As the scene finishes, above the thunder and lightning and building music, Jesus screams three words.

It  is  FINISHED.

I didn't hear the audible voice of God, but He spoke to my spirit, "It is finished."  I burst into tears.  He took it ALL upon himself- sin, sickness, shame.  The work was complete.

So, we rejoice today!  PSA level is ZERO.  Dad walked out of the office like he was 10 years younger and 100 pound weights had shed from him.  Tim, Dad, and I went to lunch to celebrate.  (Christina was home sick.)  When he told the server his good news she literally danced for him.  Twirled and threw her arms up in victory and then threw them around Dad's neck and hugged him.  And then she danced again.  She did on the outside what I was feeling on the inside.

So now it is our responsibility to grow from this, to learn from this, and to give God glory through it.

Dad still has a ways to go in recovery.  Pray for him.  He's still experiencing some pain and other side effects, all of which the doctor assures us is 'normal' and should be resolving in the coming weeks.  Good thing because he's anxious to get back on his bike!  They will monitor him closely for a while to be sure nothing else creeps in.

It's unbelievable to think that our immediate family was touched by this twice in the last couple of years.  We are incredibly grateful for those of you who have loved us so well.  Thank you for the cards, visits, for standing with us, for meals, for filling the gaps, and mostly- for the prayers.



Have a blessed Easter as we celebrate the RISEN King of Kings, the HOPE of all the world.  Enjoy this song from another cancer survivor.
Click here.

At the cross the work was finished
You were buried in the ground
But the grave could not contain You
For You wear the Victor's crown

Love,
Amy

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Pain

 As the Easter week approaches, I have been thinking about how purposefully Jesus went to Jerusalem and ultimately to the cross. I think it is so amazing that He would do all that intentionally. He took all our infirmities and provided for our healing. I am trusting Him to continue the healing work in my body.

But I was thinking of  another healing that is maybe bigger than physical healing, and that is healing of hearts.  There are many people who walk around with broken hearts. I know there is a lot of pain with a broken heart, even though it is not evident to others. But He gave Himself for all our brokenness; broken bodies and broken hearts.

 My abdominal pain is pretty much a thing of the past. All that is visible is six small scars on my belly. I still have a lot of pain when I sit or walk. Riding in a car is especially tough, and that really limits my going and coming.  The surgeon told me the pain would last about two months, and I am counting on that! Today marks five weeks out from surgery at this point, so that is only another three weeks!  I have a very important appointment with him on April 10 to have blood work done and have my PSA level looked at. I will have a consult with the doctor then, too. Still dealing with the clot in the leg.

 Thank you all for praying for me and all the kindness you have shown. It really is a boost to know that people are standing with me. Many of them are people I do not even know, but they know my family or friends. What an amazing network!!  I love you all and I will update again soon.