Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Round 2.... DING!

This Monday was the start of Round 2. I had 3 long hours of laying completely still in a tiny tube to get MRI images of my spine, pelvis, and leg. Good thing I’m not claustrophobic; however, 3 hours will make anyone feel trapped!

Today I got the MRI – radiology reports from Dr. Casas. My spine is completely tumor free! PRAISE the LORD! So many prayers have gone up to Him to stop this cancer and He is being so gracious and faithful right now. The scans highlighted some areas around where the old tumor was that might be suspicion; however, Casas has told us all along that there might be some lingering cancer cells in my leg. No noticeable masses were noted which is great!

Dr. Casas explained the next surgery for us. He said that they are going to cut around all the old stuff and remove the old scar, scar tissue, and anything that might be swollen, along with about ½ inch of surrounding muscle. All that stuff adds up! It’s going to be a good chunk, but I agree that it’s not the time to be conservative. We definitely don’t want to do this again.

While in surgery (May 1st by the way) my doctor and the pathologists are going to examine the muscle for any irregularities. They won’t be able to see actually cancer cells at this time, but they will be looking for abnormal soft tissue. They will basically keep cutting until the muscle looks normal. After surgery, it takes about 4 days to be able to examine the muscle cell-by-cell. So God willing, the perfect amount of muscle is taken out in this next surgery.

My cancer is low-grade, which is a good thing – it means it’s not aggressive. We are praying that NO cancer cells are found but if there are a few left than we definitely want them to be low-grade as well. Dr. C said there is a chance that they could find cells that are more aggressive than what was found in the tumor. That would roll out a whole new wave of issues, so pray that I stay at the low-grade stage!

Because I sucked at post-surgery recovery last time, they are going to keep me overnight again. We’re going to switch up the type of aesthesia so I don’t get so sick after surgery. This time will probably be a little worst and I little longer recovery, but I’m determined to get better! I leave for Europe with my best friend Stephanie on June 21st, for a 16 day vacation!

If all goes well after this surgery, I will have a follow up & MRI with Casas every 3 months for the next 2 years, every 4 months for the following 2 years, twice a year for the 5th year, and than once a year after that. Casas and I are going to be good buddies after this! I’m glad that he’ll be keeping a close watch on me.

Thank you all so very much for your cards, letters, blog comments, prayers, meals, movies, flowers, gifts, and love! It has truly blessed and encouraged my heart! Please keep them coming, I’m still just half way done! Here are some specific prayers – please pray these as you read through them:
FIRST – Praise the Lord! He is sovereign and He alone is in control of this cancer. Thank Him for answered prayers
That God continues to get the glory for this. That his will – above my health – be done.
NO cancer/tumors are found in the first cut and that only one cut needs to be made
That my cancer stays low-grade
The Lord continues to calm my heart and mind, along with my parents and family - Debra (mom), Henry (dad), Tricia (sister), Jonas (brother-in-law), JoAnn (step-mom), Vince (step-dad)
Good nights of rest (I’ve had trouble sleeping and with nightmares lately)
Wisdom of doctors
Projection from the enemy and his various attacks on my body and mind.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

One Body...

Wednesday, April 16th, my best friend Stephanie organized a “Prayer Party” at my apartment with the purpose to gather as the body of Christ and worship the Lord for being our Healer. From 7:30-10:00pm about 30 people from my church (The Village Church) sat in my small living room and prayed that the Lord would heal me from Cancer. We also prayed that above all God would bring glory to himself and be gracious with the salvation of lost hearts.

One-by-one people sat with me in my dining room and prayed over me. Men and women who I had never met came with broken and burdened hearts to pray over me as their sister in Christ. The tears of a close friend feel on my hands as she prayed over me and pleaded with our Lord for mercy. My heart was stirred and tremendously blessed that night. I could feel the prayers of many and the presence of the Healer. Christ said “where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” Mat 18:20.

This was the body of Christ at work. 1 Cor 12:12-31 compares our physical bodies with the way God created his followers to function as one. There are many parts – all with different functions, skills, and gifts – but the body is one. “But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” (v.24-26) What a beautiful thing to experience!

The state of my heart is this: I’m walking through a refining fire with my sweet and loving Lord, who I call my Husband, my protector, and my comfort. Hosea 2:14-23 displays God’s desire for Israel – the same is his desire for me. He has drawn me into a wilderness (the scary unknown of cancer) and in this desolate place the Lord speaks this over me: “April, YOU are my joy. You are saved and placed in my arms of safety for eternity. I will pursue you like a husband – showing you my faithfulness and steadfast love. I will destroy the enemy against you and in its place there will be joy and fulfillment of my covenant with you!”

It is not by our own efforts that we know how to love the Lord, but by His grace and guidance that teaches us to fall madly in love with Him. The Bible says some of the craziest stuff – but ask Him to give you understanding on the parts that are hard to grasp and the Lord will be faithful to show himself to you. God will clarify his Word for you. It is perfect, flawless, and everlasting. Praise the Lord that He left us with the Bible and the Holy Spirit until He returns!

Friends, take comfort that I am resting in His arms. From Him comes peace in the roughest of seas!

Please continue to pray this:
That God would continue to move in my heart through this trial
That God would be merciful and gracious with salvation of lost souls!
That NO more cancer be found in my upcoming MRIs and surgery.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Brief update:

In the next couple of days I'll update this blog with a little summary of what God's doing in my life, but for now here's the surgery update.

My doctor's wife had a baby which bumped my surgery back to Thursday, May 1st. We received our second opinion from Harvard last week and it showed that both the type of cancer and phase are correct - so YEAH for good doctors! It is good to know that many people agree on the diagnosis and treatment.

More to come soon :) ....