Updates for John, February 4-18, 2004

Posted Monday, February 16, 2004 at 8:39 pm

John had blood tests today and his white blood count is back to normal, he has had no mouth sores, and his energy and appetite are rebounding...answered prayer anyone? In anticipation of his hair falling out, he and two friends buzzed off their hair today. We're looking for some non-toxic markers for scalp graffitti. We have an appointment with a surgeon and an oncologist in Indy on Thursday. Otherwise we are looking foward to settling into a nonmedical mode until the next chemo blast next week. We would love to see that tumor shrivel-up... we'll keep you posted.

As we come off the sprint of the last couple of weeks I'm coming to realize that this is a marathon we're looking at and we need to keep a marathoner's mindset. Part of that is not slacking off after we have come up a steep hill. "Be self-controled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8) On the level ground, where it is tempting to coast, it is all the more important to not drop our guard, remembering that our enemy never rests...and be totally obsessed with Jesus.

God bless you for upholding us in your prayers...

Posted Friday, February 13, 2004 at 6:35 pm

John is feeling good! Eating well, no vomiting, sleeping well, cheerful. Plugging away at school, Bible quizzing, and a Star Wars novel. His white blood count is low as expected. He is at increased risk of infection meaning no group activities, lots of hand washing, and prayer. Pray with us that his counts come up quickly for his safety and so he can get his next dose of chemo planned Feb. 23. No other signs of nasty chemo side effects...thanks God. God's peace is here.

We know everything is going to be OK because God is in control and He loves us...He loves John. The world offers up quite a menu of things to run to for comfort. "Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false Gods." (Psalms 40:4) I have witnessed people in crisis running any direction but to Jesus, and finding only increased desperation and brokenness. Running to Jesus brings us the life and wholeness we need and desire.

God is answering your(our) prayers... heart-felt thanks...

Posted Wednesday, February 11, 2004 at 11:11 pm

John woke up feeling great this morning, then during our family Bible study as he was sucking down a power milk shake he suddenly vomitted. Mental note: John's constant companion...vomit basin. Really, John is doing well. We won't miss the stealth hurling, whenever it stops. He has long spells of feeling pretty good. It's interesting to me how easily I trust God with my soul for eternity, but trusting him with life during these short years on earth is a struggle...go figure. If I can't trust God with John's well-being and all the other details of life now, I'd better find a different answer for my eternal destiny. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5,6)

Thanks for your prayers...

Posted Tuesday, February 10, 2004 at 11:55 pm

John has done great today. Some nausea but no vomiting, cheerfully working on school, playing a friend's Playstation, twinkle in his eye. I'm back seeing patients in the office. Many express concern and support. God, make my peace and joy in you a contagious disease so that other broken people can catch it and find wholeness in you. Jesus said,"I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10) Our family is experiencing life in Jesus in the midst of this trial...what if others find their life in Jesus through it as well. Now that gives meaning to what might appear to be senseless suffering.

Thanks for praying...

Posted Monday, February 9, 2004 at 11:48 pm

John had a check-up today and is doing well. He can quit the IV fluids...his labs are normal. We expect his immunity to drop later this week. He has periods of feeling pretty good punctuated by vomiting out of the blue...normal I guess. Pray that the vomiting stops so he won't need IV fluids. Other prayers are that the things we are doing to prevent mouth sores work and that there will be no infections and minimal suppression of his immunity.

Ever just want to wake up from a bad dream? John and I were talking about how this seeming nightmare has actually awakened us to a new found reality of God's presence in our lives. It's like we were asleep before and now we are more fully awake. Nothing like being put into a position of flat out dependence on God to wake us out of our spiritual slumber and bring us into an awareness of God's presence and love. Is it possible that rotten situations in life help us "to grsp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that we may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God"? (Ephesians 3:18-19)

Thanks for your prayers...

Posted Sunday, February 8, 2004 at 10:50 pm

John felt too pooped-out to go to church today. He listened to some sermon tapes while the rest of us went to church. Nothing like the body of Christ at church to mend our wounds...we came home refreshed, encouraged, and loved. John was nauseous until mid afternoon when he thought bacon sounded good. Laura cooked up a pound and he ate half of it. Reminds me of having a pregnant wife in the house. John's spirits are good...I told him he doesn't have to fake it and he assures me that God is close...this warms my father heart and builds my faith.

As I unhooked John's IV this morning I wished we could turn the clock back to a less complicated time. Under the surface of confidence in God there are lingering doubts, a yearning for comfortable living and ease. I liked my life three weeks ago better. Then I read in my Bible "For with you is the fountain of life, in your light we see light." (Psalms 36:9) Lord let me be so satisfied from your fountain of life that I no longer long for counterfeit satisfactions. Let me be so blinded by your light that the commotion in my life fades into its proper place. As I was driving east toward church this morning the sun was right in the middle of the road, straight in my face, blinding, unavoidable, blurring my vision of my surroundings, warm on my face. OK God, I get it...here comes the the joy.

Thank you for prayers...

Posted Saturday, February 7, 2004 at 4:50 pm

Today, John has been able to eat more...mostly out obedience to his mother rather than hunger. The prefered item seems to be Carnation Instant Breakfast, a banana, two scoops of ice cream, and enough milk to blenderize it. Make every bite count is the rule of thumb until his teenage appetite kicks in. John's knee pain where the tumor is has been minimal since the chemotherapy finished...prayer plus poisons. Good attitude, not much energy, lots of naps, little nausea,....thank you God. John and I wept together as he shared with me how real God's presence is in his life right now. This earthly daddy is grateful John's heavenly daddy is taking good care of him.

"You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance." (Ps 32:7) Thank you God for giving my little boy a good hiding place... thank you that it is big enough for everyone who will come to you.

God is here...

Posted Friday, February 6, 2004 at 6:13 pm

Hurray, John and I got home mid afternoon. He's tired but eating some and hasn't vomited since this morning. We met with home health to train us in running an IV fluid while while John sleeps. This will keep him from drying out and should help him feel better without us having to force feed him fluids during the day. Now you can pray for his energy level, his appetite, that his white blood cell counts don't get to low, that he doesn't get infected while his immune system is down, that he doesn't get the mouth sores that often develop, and of course that nasty old tumor...die sucker.

Many people have commented that our strength of faith during this trial has been an encouragement to them. I have to weigh in with Peter as he answered Jesus question as to whether he too would leave Him as many others deserted Him. "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." (John 6:68) I know there is nowhere else to go. Its normal to think of eternal life as eternity in heaven with God after death. Jesus tells us "now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." Eternal life is also knowing God here and now, a living breathing relationship between the finite and the infinite. God confirms this reality to us every day. We would be fools to run any way but toward Jesus.

Your prayers for us make a difference...thank you for caring...

Posted Thursday, February 5, 2004 at 8:44 pm

John finished up this week's chemotherapy today. He is experiencing occasional waves of nausea, vomiting twice, no appetite, little energy for anything other than Nintendo or watching TV. Dr. Hill is pleased with how John is doing, especially with his attitude. "I don't feel as bad as I look." God bless that kid.

Hopefully John will come home Friday and get a few more days of IV fluids until his appetite perks up. Laura and I don't cry often now, but when we do it is usually in response to the awesome reality of faith in Christ, displayed in God's faithfulness and in the outpouring of love from our family in Christ. "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:34.

Thank you for your love...

Posted Wednesday, February 4, 2004 at 10:03 pm

Laura spent last night, today, and tonight with John. He's having occasional waves of nausea now but doing well overall. He'll get another 24 hours or so of chemotherapy and hopefully get out of the hospital Friday. God's peace and comfort are such a blessing and answer to prayer.

I ran school at home today...it's definitely easier sitting in the hospital with John...my admiration and respect for my wife compounds whenever I step into her shoes. I talked with a surgeon in Indy who does the surgery we are interested in for John, a procedure that moves the ankle to the knee and produces a strong, activity-tolerant leg. This takes place after 4 cycles of chemotherapy. I'm doing well if I don't think much about tomorrow... but we still have to do a certain amount of planning ahead. Jesus specificly said not to worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:34) God's grace is here for each day's trouble, not tomorrow's. The trick is to plan without worry.

Thank you for lifting us up in prayer...