Updates for John, January 28-February 3, 2004

Posted Tuesday, February 3, 2004 at 11:57 pm

John and I slept in short snatches last night. He has to be up to the bathroom every 2 hours because of the IV fluids they are giving to protect his kidneys. Adding to that vital signs and other nursing comotion left us hoping for some naps today. I had hoped a glance at John's knee today would reveal a quick miracle, end of trial, lessons learned. That doesn't appear to be God's plan. Once we start down the chemotherapy trail there really isn't any turning back.

The chemotherapy started today and John has suffered none of the expected nausea and vomitting...Praise God! The nurses are pleasantly surprised...they know we're all praying. John's spirits are good though he figured chemo side effects would get him out of school work.

I play Candyland with my kids from time to time and those who have played will remember that there are several short-cuts in the journey to the final goal. I was asking God if there wasn't some short-cut to knowing him intimately, to having a relationship with God of heroic proportions. He's helping me understand that the road of adversity is the short-cut. Chemotherapy and whatever lies ahead is the fast track to intimacy with Christ for John, our family, and perhaps all you who suffer with us. Everyone has trials in their life. It seems that God isn't nearly as concerned about our comfort and pleasure as He is about our relationship with Him. The Apostle Paul communicates this truth in Phil 3:7-11 "...I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord..."

Our family can never thank you enough for your prayers, cards, and various expressions of love and concern.

God is soooo good...

Posted Monday, February 2, 2004 at 6:07 pm

Today John had more tests in preparation for chemotherapy. He will be given a bunch of fluid IV overnight to prepare his body for the CIS-Platinum, which is one of the chemo drugs. This medicine is very harsh on the kidneys and typically causes nausea and vomiting. When I was told chemo wasn't until tomorrow, my head didn't feel like exploding like it had with previous delays. I suppose that is a sign of complete surrender to Jesus...Whatever, Lord. We met Dr. Hill, the pediatric oncologist who will direct John's care here. He is a Christian and prayed with us. John is plugging away at schoolwork.

Here's how you can pray: That the chemo kills the tumor. Pray also that John's body will be protected from these poisons. You wouldn't believe the potential side-effects.

Scripture for the Day: Psalm 27:4,8,13,14, one thing we ask of the Lord to dwell in his presence, to gaze on his beauty, to seek his face. We are confident that we will see the goodness of the Lord. Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

Thanks for your prayers...

Posted Sunday, February 1, 2004 at 5:07 pm

Great day of being in the company of other believers. Starting with church service and Sunday school, then the pastors and elders laid hands on John, anointed him with oil and prayed for him. Then a small group meeting with our friends this evening. We are so blessed with a family of believers in Jesus, who hold us up in prayer, encourage us, and help in too many ways to count. We know many weep with us, thank you for your compassion and love. How do people do this without Jesus and his family. God's peace is so real and so available if we just go to Him. Check out Phil 4:6,7; John 14:27. You should see John, same sparkle in his eyes, same cheerfulness and smile. Thank you God for peace in your presence.

Tomorrow we have some tests in the morning and then chemo starts in the afternoon.

Thanks for your prayers...

Posted Saturday, January 31, 2004 at 10:24 pm

Quizzing went great today. Four of our kids, Corrie, Paula, Marta, and John participated. John even managed to get some questions right while taking Vicodan for pain. Thanks for your prayers...it was a great family day.

Tomorrow after church several elders and pastors at our church will pray for healing for John and anoint him with oil. This is something mentioned in James 5:13-18. The Bible has come to life for our family these days. Passages we've read numerous times before, now bring overwhelming peace, reassurance, and joy. Consider Rom 8:28 ....in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose..

I don't pretend to know what God's final plan is for all this, but I know it will be for our good--for John's good--because God has promised and He keeps all his promises.

Thanks for your prayers and concern...

Posted Friday, January 30, 2004 at 10:25 pm

Surgery went smoothly today and no post-op puking. John even downed a Blizzard on the way home. The pediatric surgeon who did the port is a Christian and was a Bible quizzer when he was a teen. He prayed with us and was very kind.

John is sore but intends to quiz tomorrow. We worked on Hebrews while we waited for his surgery...oh to be able to memorize that quickly...an uncluttered mind.

Laura and I have crossed a sort of threshold in this process. It involves surrendering John to God and knowing that we can trust God to do what is best. As parents we often give lip service to our children being God's and holding them with an open hand, but sometimes life reveals the heart. We also have an assurance that everything is going to be OK. We're not sure what that means other than God is good and in the end we know that everything is going to be OK.

Thanks for your prayers...God answers...

Posted Thursday, January 29, 2004 at 9:49 pm

We had a fun day of goofing off. A port to use for John's chemotherapy will be placed tomorrow (Friday) under general anesthetic at 1:30, pray that this goes smoothly. The general anesthetic he got for the biopsies made him pretty sick for a few hours so you can also pray that he recovers quickly enough to go to the quiz meet Saturday. We talk a lot around here about the paths that we can choose to allow our thoughts to take through the day. I recognize in myself a background whisper wooing me to self pity, fear, bitterness, anger. I know that these paths only lead to destruction and that the better, life-giving alternative is to run to Jesus and ask Him for more of Him to heal my brokenness.

Thank you for praying for us that we might continue to run to Him instead of taking refuge in thoughts that would ultimately destroy us. Today God also pointed out to me that He loves John more than I could ever imagine, and that through all this He will see John through; comforting him, holding him, surrounding him with his love, and protecting his tender little spirit. I'm so glad we have God!

Thank you for holding us up in your prayers,

Posted Wednesday, January 28, 2004 at 10:31 pm

I want to thank all of you for praying for me, you can't imagine how much your prayers lifted my spirit and kept me from getting depressed. As I read your cards and remember your phone calls I am almost moved to tears by how much you care for me.

When my Dad and I came home this afternoon, I was immediately deluged (I am not sure what that means but it sounds cool) by a horde of siblings overjoyed to see me again...and competing to play with my crutches.

Although I am home (and pretending to feel great) I am still worried about what is coming. Please pray that God will give me peace in the days to come. When some of you see me walk into church...bald, please sign my head (Taylor came up with that idea, I'm not sure what Mom thinks).

Thank you for all your prayers, if God choses not to heal me it won't be from lack of prayer :-)
In Christ,

Posted Wednesday, January 28, 2004 at 9:20 pm

John and I are back home after going to the othodontist to get his braces off. We had a great reunion, it's nice to be able to tuck my kids into bed again. Laura acts like she's glad we're back. Taylor and Corrie are on break till Monday so we are all together. It turns out that the surgeons won't be able to install the port for the chemo until Friday and they don't do chemo on the weekends...so no chemo until Monday. Not our first choice but I'm slowly coming to grips with "this a God thing." If I can't believe that God is in control of every detail of this process I would dispair. Only God is a rock firm enough to place my trust.

The delay in chemo answers another desire I had...John is a Bible quizzer and has nearly memorized Hebrews. His team has an invitational this weekend and he wanted to participate...thank God. A delay in chemo that God orchistrated isn't going be a factor in the healing we hope He intends to accomplish for John. It's interesting, in the midst of trial, how easy it is to get all focused on the trial and forget about all of God's blessings in my life. 10 of them surrounded me when I arrived home. Ps 13:5-6 "But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me."

Thanks for your concern and prayers,