Updates for March, 2004

Updates on John Chase from March, 2004

Posted Wednesday, March 31, 2004 at 11:15 pm

John's transfusion went well. He got home with pinker cheeks and promptly started jumping rope with his sisters...quite a feat when you are supposed to stay off one of your legs. The MRI of his leg showed some response to the Chemo but was short of the hoped for miraculous response. His chest Cat Scan however showed no nodules other than one small one and the irregularity near his esophagus that they doubt is tumor. In other words the multiple small nodules seen before no longer show on Cat Scan. This is good that they disappeared but bad that they were most likely cancer. After his surgery John will need an aggressive course of Chemo to finish those little buggers off for good. I'll see if I can't get John to post something in the near future...he's doing great.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably (infinitely) more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." (Ephesians 3:20, 21) How's your immagination? Mine is in rare form, especially when my asker is engaged talking to my Heavenly Daddy. There's no question in my mind...He is able. This power that makes him so capable is also at work within us. And the bottom line...His glory...not my comfort.

Thanks for praying...

Posted Tuesday, March 30, 2004 at 6:49 am

John's blood test today showed his white count is climbing, but unfortunately he has developed anemia. The anemia requires a blood transfusion tomorrow. He is also going to have an MRI and a Cat Scan tomorrow. The MRI is of his leg to evaluate the tumor in preparation for surgery (or to document a miraculous healing by God). The Cat Scan is of his chest to get a better look at the nodules (or lack of them). John continues in good humor and just goes with the flow. We talk often of not worrying about tomorrow and not getting sloppy spiritually.

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." (Lamentations 3:22,23) Though I feel weak and tired - no matter what the storm may bring - God's great love will sustain me...I will not be consumed. He feels my pain; He'll carry the load for me; He really does care... His compassions never fail. Every morning they are new... never running out, never exhausted... I don't have to wonder if they will be with me today like they were with me yesterday and tomorrow will be the same. I can depend on Him, first and foremost, without qualification or hesitation...great is His faithfulness. I'm so glad I know God.

Thank you for praying...

Posted Friday, March 26, 2004 at 8:16 pm

John has been post-chemo vomiting the last few days, but now he has started obediently eating for his mom. He says an ice cream sundae tastes like water, and he has no hunger... imagine that. His white blood cells are low, as expected, so we pray that he gets no infections or mouth sores now. His joy in the Lord is evident to all...thank you God for touching John.

"Give me a sign of your goodness, that my enemies may see it and be put to shame, for you, O Lord, have helped me and comforted me." (Psalms 86:17) While immediate miraculous healing for John would be my first choice for a "sign of God's goodness", God continuously showers signs of his goodness on our family. Pinned down for specifics, I could write a book, but right at the top of the list would be God's close abiding with John. As we walk this journey with him, he's the one taking the beating, and God showers on him grace, confidence, and peace. Another huge sign of God's goodness is the love and support extended to us by others. Each time someone says to us "I'm praying" it's like soothing ointment on an open wound. Thank you, God, for signs of your goodness.

Thanks for praying...

Posted Sunday, March 21, 2004 at 4:28 pm

John got back from the hospital Friday. He says he can't remember the hospital stay even though he was up every 2 hours for outputs and had a few short conversations. Aren't drugs great. He's occasionally vomiting and feels tired but his attitude remains good. He gets hooked up to IVs at night until the vomiting stops. He'll have a few blood tests this week but otherwise not much medical. Thank you for your prayers that his good cells be protected while the cancer cells croak, no mouth sores, protection from infection while his immunity is low, and his continued faith and strength in Christ.

"Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings." (Psalms 63:7) That's our family. What a great word picture of baby chicks under the wings of our Father. Not just protected and secure but singing.

Thanks for your contined prayers...

Posted Wednesday, March 17, 2004 at 9:18 pm

John is snoozing away his hospitalization...punctuated by the cruel torture of being awakened every 2 hours for an output measurement. We got some good news that his kidneys and heart are not showing ill effects of the chemo drugs...thank you God! If all goes as planned he will be released from the hospital Friday.

I was expressing to Laura a while back that I feel disoriented. Routines are upset, perspectives are different, I feel off balance. As we talked I began to realize that rather than disorienting, this trial is having the effect of correcting my orientation. When all was comfortable, it was hard not to settle in as a citizen of the world and feel at home in this life. Scripture points out that the more appropriate posture for people of faith is that of an alien and stranger in the world. (1 Peter 2:11, Hebrews 11:13) Home is heaven and in the mean while I should expect a certain unsettled feeling, like that of a traveler in a foreign land. I suppose a case could be made that red flags should be waving if the world is feeling too much like home.

Thanks for your prayers...

Posted Tuesday, March 16, 2004 at 10:06 am

Sleep deprived from two overnights away from home this weekend has left John looking foward to his four day nap at the hospital this week during his chemotherapy. I hooked him up to IVs at home this morning to hydrate him for the start of chemo tomorrow at Lutheran hospital. Several of you have asked what the game plan is right now. Here is what we know so far:
John needs two more weeks of chemotherapy. Then in late April he will (barring a miracle) have an amputation of his knee at which time his ankle will be moved up and rotated so his toes point backwards. His ankle will then function as his knee joint. Later he'll be fitted with an artificial lower leg/foot. After recovering from the surgery for a couple of weeks he will have some more chemotherapy (don't really know how much more). Tests along the way help define the treatment course. Right now his knee swelling is nearly gone and he has no pain there which are signs that the cancer is responding to treatment. At surgery they will take a closer look at the tumor to gauge response. Thank you for your concern and prayers. John is doing great in his attitude and faith... God is near!

Truth be known, my heart yearns for my old pre-cancer life... no sense in denying it. By the same token I recognize that through this God has awakened in me a dormant yearning for knowing Him and this is the path toward that end. "...let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus..." (Hebrews 12:1,2) This is not the path I would choose but it is clearly the path "marked out" for me and my family. Now is the time to persevere and fix our eyes on Jesus.

Thanks for your prayers on our behalf...

Posted Friday, March 12, 2004 at 9:04 pm

John and I spent the day at the hospital getting tests. We got good news and bad news. His hearing hasn't been affected by the chemo and his blood tests look great. The heart and kidney test results won't be read until monday. The test for histoplasmosis was negative...meaning the nodules on his lungs are still of uncertain origin...I'm glad its no mystery to God...we'll let Him carry it. John feels great and is sleeping over tonight at a buddy's house and then Saturday night with his brother at Taylor U...time to romp while he feels good.

"...we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:3-5) My actions and very being are dominated by my thoughts. Where I allow my mind to go is a good test of my commitment to Christ. I understood this before cancer but now I am realizing that everyday is filled with forks in the road for my thought life. As I decide between worry and Christ, or fear and Christ, or self pity and Christ, or bitterness and Christ, or doubt and Christ...I am finding the road toward Christ gives life and peace. While the other alternatives are tempting they ultimately lead to death. I choose life.

Thank you for your prayers...

Posted Tuesday, March 9, 2004 at 6:24 am

John's white blood count is back up and we all breath a sigh of relief...especially John who is sick of being home-bound and hand washing. He had only minimal mouth sores and really feels good. He has tests Friday to see how his hearing, kidneys, and heart are holding up through this. Judging by the decreased swelling and absence of pain in his knee the tumor is responding well to treatment. He remains cheerful... even during school.

"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." (Psalms 37:7) What an interesting verse. What comes first and what is to be my focus...delighting in the Lord. What is the promised result? I know some of the desires of my heart are not God-pleasing and are unlikely to be given to me by God. I also know that as I pour myself into delighting in the Lord, He will transform all the desires of my heart into ones that He is pleased to give me. I need only preoccupy myself with delighting in the Lord and trust my desires and their fulfilment to Him.

Delighting in God's answers to prayer and in your prayers on our behalf...

Posted Friday, March 5, 2004 at 7:20 pm

John's white count dropped as expected...lots of hand washing and no excursions out of the house for a few days now. John has had a couple of mouth sores, but as soon as he washes his mouth out with some "nasty" antibiotic rinse they dissappear. His energy and spirits are good. Our family got first dibs at scalp graffitti. The markers are water soluble so there will be plenty of creative opportunities...we really need to have a contest for most creative entry.

"Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." (Psalms 73:25-26) What does it mean to have God as my portion. If many ordinary treasures are denied me I will be content. Or if I am allowed to have them, the enjoyment of them will never be necessary to my happiness. Or if I must see them go, I will scarcely feel a sense of loss since I have the source of all satisfaction, pleasure, and delight...I have God as my portion. (stolen from Tozer)

A good solid trial has a way of testing these things. I have been found wanting...but I'm moving in the right direction with God's help.

Grateful for your prayers...

Posted Wednesday, March 3, 2004 at 11:42 pm

John is getting to the tail end of the chemo related vomitting. It doesn't hurt when he puts weight on his bad leg now which is a good sign that the tumor is responding to treatment. He isn't supposed to be putting weight on it because of the risk of fracturing his weakened bone and causing spread of the tumor...his mother was not shy about reminding him of this when he announced that he was painfree. Next hurdles this cycle are low white cell counts, possible mouth sores, and risk of infection for the next five days or so...thanks for praying.

John's attitude and faith remain inspiring. "Jesus said,'I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.'" I'm taking notes on John. He is so good at resting in the Lord and his promises. I worry that he hasn't known the Lord as long as I have...that he isn't very "spiritually mature". Hmmm, seems to be an advantage rather than a handicap. Oh God, give me childlike faith in you.