Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Called To Be Quiet -by Heidi

I am definitely in a new place in my walk with God. He has been telling me for some time now that I am called to be quiet. I am still not quite sure what that means. I have been trying to do contemplative prayer, hiking and praising God in nature, building an attitude of thankfulness for each day and to give myself permission to let go of all the "to do" activities that I see around me or want to participate in. That has gotten me part of the way. But this ratcheting up of our distressing circumstances (the failure of my moderate chemo causing me to move to a much stronger chemo to combat growing cancer in my liver and bones; Joe's diagnosis of a second kind of cancer leading to a radical prostatectomy complicated by an additional surgery for possible bladder tumor removal in March) has caused me to seek more.

How DO I Glorify God when my brain is foggy, my body hurts, I grieve for myself and my beloved husband? Somehow, I always thought, "well, if I can't DO anything, I will be quiet and lay on the couch and pray and read and write encouraging letters to people". Doesn't that seem holy? And yet, the reality on those days is that I can't think well enough to pray, I have little energy to read anything more difficult than light fiction and I can't put words together to write to anyone. I don't even want to talk to anyone on the phone.

So I sought God's answer. A friend reminded me of a castle in her part of England that was besieged and it fell because it's source of water was outside it's walls. I asked God to remind me of more ways He could strengthen the well of life within me. I thought of the children's song: " Spring up Oh Well, within my soul. Spring up Oh Well and make me whole. Spring up Oh Well and give to me, that life abundantly".

Act 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Rom 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helps our
infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Original photo by artist Sid Armstrong
sent to us as a symbol of hope.
So I am adding a time of using prayer language to my daily time with Him. So far it seems helpful because: I don't need to be intellectually steady, all of it is from Him, it requires nothing but obedience from me, and I am strangely calmed and strengthened by it.

Thank you again for your prayers and support of us.
We know we could NOT make it without you.

Love & Blessings,

Friday, February 17, 2012

Handling Challenging Bad News For Us Both -by Joe

Heidi receiving her first dose of her new chemotherapy, adriamycin
 Tough times ahead..
A wonderful mystical hike on Valentine's Day

Since my last blog entry, our hopes for Heidi's new chemotherapy changed to disappointment when scans showed continued progression of her bone and liver tunors. She started weekly adriamycin this past Monday, a more toxic, more powerful chemo.

On the summit of challenging Jefferson Ridge on New Year's Day!

As with the chemo that failed, they'll have to wait 2 months to determine if this chemo is working via more scans and lab work.

My new prostate cancer is Stage 2 according to my biopsy, but during my upcoming surgery (radical prostatectomy) on March 12 they will check surrounding lymph nodes to make sure it is not Stage 3.

During the same procedure, they will go into my bladder, removing any new tumors found there.

So we have a lot to deal with. Prayer and support from family & friends are keeping us afloat these days. And humor.

Our easiest setting to pray remains on hikes in the two magnificent mountain ranges nearby. We have already done 5 hikes this year! What a contrast between a day at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and a day on a hiking trail. 

Enjoying a beautiful creek below this beautiful wooden bridge

We need both.

We are grateful for both.
We are grateful for you.

Heading up a ridge to reach a beautiful river gorge

As always, thank you for your prayers and/or positive thoughts.. your compassion.

Love & Blessings,
Joe & Heidi