Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Round Two

We just got back from a trip to Seattle with Angela's parents. We had a great time at Woodland Zoo and Pike Place Market. We paid homage to Claim Jumper's and ravaged the breakfast bar at the Holiday Inn. Charlie got his arm stuck in the automated door at Cabela's. Ruby fell face first into a deceiving window at the penguin exhibit. It was a memory-filled trip.

We got back just in time for our family doctor to come over and give us an update on Angela's most recent stomach scope. The results are not what we hoped. They discovered some new cancer cells back in her stomach. The news is obviously deflating.

The silver lining in the matter is this makes our decision regarding an optional surgery in Calgary much clearer. The surgery promises odds as high as 35% that Angela will live a long life (with this type of cancer odds are usually about 1% with other options). The surgery will most likely take place one to three months from now in Calgary. It is quite invasive and risky in and of itself (lasting 5-10 hours). There is a very high possibility that Angela's stomach and other parts of her body may be removed (they won't know for sure until they have made the incision and look inside). Once they complete the operational part of the surgery they will wash out the inside of her abdomen region for an hour with hot chemo and then repeat the chemo for five straight days.

The recovery from surgery will be just as brutal. She will be in the Calgary hospital for three to four weeks recovering and adjusting to life without whatever organs/parts they remove.  After that we can transfer her home where she will be light duty for three months.  After the recovery from surgery there might be a bit more chemo, but they are not sure at this point.

This is obviously a huge undertaking for Angela, but we feel the reward and possibility of a much longer life warrant the risk of the surgery, pain of recovery, and discomfort of adjusting to a different body. It's not what any of us wanted or expected, but we will continue to lean on God and look to Him for strength, wisdom, and healing.

What about God? While we obviously hoped and believed that all of this was done and over, we cannot deny God's goodness in and through out our journey. We are grateful to Him for the last nine months and especially the last three. James 1:17 says "Every good and perfect gift is from above.."  We thank God for the good work He did and through her body... the last nine months have been filled with miracles. We are grateful to God that we have the option of this surgery. (This surgery is quite new and our surgeon is the nicest man who is also a pioneer in this surgical process [many doctors are studying under him to take this option to other parts of the world as many people are clamoring for it] and has performed over 300 of them.) We are grateful to God that no matter how long we live or what our quality of life we may have, because of Jesus the best is always yet to come. We are grateful to Him that we can pray in faith for Angela's complete healing.

We know that thousands of hours have been spent in prayer over Angela and would love for folks to continue to pray. As we begin what will hopefully be the last round we need strength, wisdom, peace, and healing.

It's like the last three months have been a chance to catch our breath and get ready for the next leg of the race.

Hebrews 12: 1b-13 NIV "...let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."


Friday, July 13, 2012

Blog Block

I've attempted to blog a few times over the past month, but have struggled. So much going on internally and externally that I've experienced a case of writer's block. I still have no idea what to write so I figured that I should simply start and see what comes out.

Over the last few weeks, I've discovered that this past season of Angela's stomach cancer took a lot out of me. In hindsight I think a combination of adrenaline and strength in God got me through. Now I feel tired.  It hit the night before we had our big celebration. The last couple weeks have consisted of sleeping a lot and not getting much more than the essentials accomplished. Call it a funk, burnout, or the result of going through a difficult season, I am being to recuperate.

Angela and the kids are doing remarkably well in spite of us being at another medical crossroad. On July 2 we drove to Calgary to see a specialist about Angela's case. He said that in his experience, even though we have this good news, the cancer will come back. He advised us to engage in a proactive surgery where he would cut out parts that had the cancer. It would be a pretty invasive surgery that might result in her losing her stomach.  The recovery required would include spending three weeks in the Calgary hospital and another 3-4 months at home on light duty. His surgery tactic is cutting edge and reports say that many surgeons are learning from him and a few others on how to offer this to their patients. Since this approach is new(er) there isn't much data, but in his 300+ cases they have seen exceptional results.

We have as long as we want to consider this option. In dialogue with our local oncologist, scope doctor, and family doctor we are beginning to weigh all the data. Angela goes in for another scope this Tuesday to collect more information.

We haven't made a decision as we are still considering all the options. We continue to seek God's wisdom and leading. Please remember us in prayer.

In other news, summer is in full swing. Ruby enjoyed a VBS at Northside Community Church this week, Angela picked three gallons of raspberries yesterday, and Charlie is having "fun" learning how to live life without a diaper.

Intern Isaac is working on lots of different projects and doing a great job. Yesterday he helped Peter install fence posts around our five apple trees to protect them from bears. He learns more in an hour with Peter than he does with me in a month.

Life with our Church has been awesome. I love our Church family so much. I haven't laughed so hard as at our "Moose the Dam Over" game. It makes me look forward to our disc golf tournament this Sunday and even more so to our water fight on the 29th.

Things are beginning to heat up over at Pacific Life Bible College as we've begun a dorm renovation and as we ramp up for another great year of seeing men and women further equipped for ministry. I love being a part of what this school is and does.

Well, hopefully the blog block has been broken. I hope you have a fantastic weekend.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

How Canadian Are You?

Last Sunday we played this video as a primer for the message.  It was inspired by the July 9, 2012 Maclean's edition.

Christians in Canada? from Parkside Church on Vimeo.