Saturday, January 2, 2010

January 2, 2010

It's been a few days again since I've blogged. The reason: Anne continues to do well. In fact so well that she tends to overdo it and has been getting a bit sore sometimes. But, Praise God, everything is progressing. She tends to forget she had such major surgery (2 weeks ago already!), but still has 4-6 weeks to go.

We had a wonderful time at the Dorey's house New Year's Eve. We all were there. Of course, I ate too much (not hard when you put beef and King Crab claws in front of me). Anne pooped out early, as expected, so we were home just after 10:00pm. At my age, I could care less about seeing a ball drop down in Time's Square, so we hit the sack early. Anne slept very well. We've had a quiet couple of days, but I'm getting ready for a barrage for the new year. My schedule already looks pretty busy for the month of January. I'll be going out of town a couple of times too. On January 15th I'll be heading to Lansdowne, Va for a weekend Centurions meeting. I'll be commissioned to head out into the world promoting a Biblical Worldview--so watch out world! I'm also going to New York City toward the end of the month for a short meeting--I'm also hoping to catch a Ranger's Hockey game while I'm there.

Both Heather and Michelle have been home--Michelle and Greg just got back from Orlando, Florida on New Year's Eve, after spending some time with his family down there. The girls will both be back at school in about 2 weeks--Heather finishing off yet another great academic performance and Michelle starting her student teaching. It's hard to believe she'll be ready to get a real job in June. Unfortunately, the job prospects in Michigan are so bad, she may be heading out of the state. Hopefully to warmer weather so we can visit in the winter--a lot.

Speaking of commissioning:

21 It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us,22 and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

I'm convinced that God has commissioned Anne and I to spread His word and to tell of His unimaginable love for all of us. He is comfort in times of need.

I personally don't think it was a coincidence that Anne was diagnosed with cancer at Easter, and was cured at Christmas. Death and birth. Dying to the old and birth to the new. We plan on dedicating ourselves anew to His purpose. We didn't really need this kind of "scare", but it sure opened our eyes to His goodness. And now we get to tell everyone! What a great commission!

God Bless,

Sunday, December 27, 2009

December 27, 2009

Unfortunately, I didn't get to blog last night. As I had mentioned, we set out from Rochester, MN at around 10:20am local time (11:20am Eastern time). Anne was anxious to get going. We drove basically straight through with only 3 stops total. So I couldn't write because I was DRIVING. Forever. The roads weren't all that bad for the first 3 hours, but they were pretty slushy for the last 9 hours. What I don't understand is why people who are afraid to drive in bad weather don't just STAY HOME. Or at least stay in the slow lane--that's why they call it that.

Anne indicated that she didn't want to stop overnight anywhere else but home. So I obliged. Unfortunately, she doesn't have much of an appetite, and I do, so I got to starve for a while until I convinced her to stop to eat when we hit Michigan, about 8 hours into the trip. I had set up a little bed for her in the back of the Enclave (which performed quite well in the snow, by the way), but she only spent about 3 hours there in all. She was a bit stiff and somewhat sore, but the Superstar did extremely well. She hit the sack within 20 minutes of getting home, but slept in and didn't come to church with me this morning.

Of course, everyone and their brother asked me about her at church today. Most people were surprised to see me home so soon, as they thought I wouldn't be home until tonight, but they seemed happy to see me and happier to hear that Anne was doing so well. The prayers of everyone at church and all of you reading this I think helped her to recover so quickly.

I'm sure I've used this one before, but it says it all:

"Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits." Psalm 103:1-2
God Bless,

Friday, December 25, 2009

December 25, 2009

Well, I hope everyone had a great Christmas day today. Ours was quiet, as would be expected. We had coffee and muffins in the room (from the hotel restaurant--somewhat cheaper than Starbucks). At about 1:30pm we went to the hotel restaurant again for Christmas dinner. They had a nice buffet--nothing special, but there was plenty of food. They got their money out of Anne, so I tried to make up for it, but I also tried not to overeat like I usually do. We "rested" until around 5:20, then went to the movies! We saw Sherlock Holmes in a very nice theater, with stadium seating. It was very comfortable and the movie itself was really good. It didn't get the best reviews (2 1/2 stars), but we really enjoyed it. I'm sure they'll have a sequel, so they can get Dr. Moriarty.

I'm typing this on Anne's laptop (Michelle's old one) which she fortunately brought with her on this trip. Mine must have a swine flu virus or something on it. Every time I tried to get to the website to write a blog it gives me an error message and then restarts Internet Explorer. Maybe I should just give up. I tried to install Firefox on my laptop, thinking the problem is with Internet Explorer, but I keep getting the error message and it shuts down. Not being as computer savvy as I guess I should be, I'm going to have to get the computer geeks to bail me out again. There goes my Christmas bonus I guess.

I read about the terrorist who tried to blow up the plane going into Detroit today. Thankfully it seems he only succeeded in burning himself, but I guess the guy who tried to stop him also was burned a bit. The plane originated in Nigeria. I guess there are wackos all over the place. He said he was on a mission from Al Quaeda. I wonder if Obama will admit to terrorism this time--he didn't when the idiot shot all of the people at Fort Hood. We had been safe for 7 1/2 years--I hope this doesn't portend bad times to come on the terrorism front. The plane we usually take to Nigeria and back is with Lufthansa. Their security (at least when you have to switch planes in Frankfurt to get to Detroit, which is really a pain in the patootie) is probably a lot better than in Amsterdam.

Today's verse is from Isaiah 9:6:

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

Maybe if enough people believed in Him and followed Him, there wouldn't be so much violence and terrorism in the world. Jesus was the model of peace for people like Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr. who believed in peaceful demonstration and resistence--and still got the job done. Salvation in Christianity is based on God's grace--there's nothing we can do to deserve it, nor can we repay Jesus for dying for us. Other religions believe that you have to earn your way to paradise, through works (dying as a martyr in Islam buys you a free pass--no judgement to decide how many good works you did). I wonder how many good works are enough? If you only did 99 and you needed 100, can you still get in? With Christianity, all you need to do is truly believe that Jesus is your Savior--He's taken care of the rest for us. He was born to die for us as redemption for our sins--to give us a second chance. Now that's a Christmas gift we can all use.

From what I can tell the weather is going to be better for driving on Saturday, so we plan on heading to Saginaw then. I'm planning on taking two days, but I'll take 3 if I need to. I'm not going to be in any rush, even though we are both VERY anxious to be home.

God Bless,

Thursday, December 24, 2009

December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Eve! Well, we're still here. The town of Rochester only got an inch or two of snow, but apparently the roads were pretty bad, so I'm not complaining that we haven't started out for home yet. From what I can see from all of the forecasts, it will be better for us to wait until Saturday to leave as we had originally planned. We can't wait to get home, of course.

Anne had a reasonably good day today. She was a bit stiff and sore, but has still been going forward and not backward. She rested well, I think. Her appetite is still small, but that's expected. I actually slept in this morning, so we went to Starbucks (or St Arbucks as Pastor Dan once said) and had a lovely coffee and muffin (pumpkin cheesecake--yum). Yeah--2 cups of coffee and two muffins for $13--who can afford to go there? I'll take my 50 cent cup of instant next time, thank you! We wound up skipping lunch, mainly because Anne wasn't hungry (and she was napping). I fortunately had plenty of Christmas goodies with us (thanks to Karen Zirkle) to munch on. We then actually went outside to go to church. We decided to go to the chapel at St. Mary's Hospital. It was a Catholic Mass, but I figure it's the same God, and the roof looked good and strong, so I figured it wouldn't fall in on me. It was lovely. Unfortunately, from where you park to where the chapel is is about 3 blocks (all inside--so you can imagine how big the hospital is) and it pooped Anne out a bit. But, she got to rest in church. They kept making us stand up and sit down (like Episcopalian calisthetics) but she did recover. I picked her up after leaving her by a different exit and going to get the car by myself. Of course, here we are far from home on Christmas Eve, and now I'm pretty darn hungry, and Anne's pretty tired. You'd think you could find an open restaurant to eat in , but nooooo. So, we went back to the Kahler Hotel and ate in the restaurant there. The food is adequate but nothing special. Plus, I've only eaten there a dozen times this year, so I was actually looking forward to something different for a change. Ah well, I'll survive (actually with this shape, longer than most people).

We had a fun time getting Skype to work tonight so we could receive a call from Michelle who was at the Dorey's house with the Zirkles. They went there after church. I had to reboot this stupid computer (I'm actually afraid to insult it since it's working now--I've been having problems with this stupid keyboard that sometimes doesn't register letters I've typed--go figure). Mind you, it has been getting a workout lately, but isn't that what it's supposed to do? Heather had to work today at Sears--then they told her they no longer needed her after this Saturday since she was only seasonal help. She's home tonight making cheesecake to take with her to the Garners' home tomorrow for Christmas dinner. Thanks, guys for hosting my daughters since we couldn't be there.

Our Bible verse for today:

[An angel of the Lord said,] “‘Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.’" Luke 2:11-14

Merry Christmas, everyone! Christ is born!

God Bless,

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

December 23, 2009

Today was a pretty quiet day. The girls didn't get rolling until fairly late this morning, so instead of breakfast, we had an early lunch. Anne slept pretty well last night and only got up once during the night. She was fairly sore so I got her a pain pill. She did great all day though, and only took one more pain pill--and that was just before going to bed. She's been sore in her right shoulder again--like she was last time we were here when she had her portal vein embolization. I guess her side effect of doing anything to her liver is right shoulder pain. In fact, going back to before her diagnosis, she had right shoulder pain and thought that was from exercising but in retrospect was probably from a liver tumor. Funny how that works. She's got a small appetite, which is normal, and her bodily functions (I'm not allowed to mention her bowels) are good.

God came through again for us today. The girls got off the ground without a hitch, including no problem with the weather. Interestingly, it's been snowing here from about an hour after they left--and probably won't stop until Friday night. They made it to Detroit OK, but had a long layover of nearly 3 hours. They made it to Saginaw without problems, and so did their luggage! Praise God for that. Again, we won't be with them physically for Christmas this year, but we will be spiritually. We had a good time with them these past few days besides the fact they were just sitting around.

I've been getting a fair amount of reading done, but unfortunately I also spend a fair amount of time on the computer. A lot of what I read online is devotions, and I'm spending a lot of time on the Colson Center for Christian Worldview website ( There are daily devotionals there and a lot of interesting articles and commentaries, as well as a vast library of Christian material. I highly recommend it. Santa brought me "The Signature in the Cell" by Stephen Meyer, which is a book about DNA and intelligent design. It's very "heady" and a bit of a slow read, but goes along well with the cass I co-taught at church about creation and evolution. I'll actually be hearing him speak at a Centurions conference I'll be attending in January. I'll hopefully be getting commissioned as a Centurion then as well. I've also been reading about political stuff, but this health-care fiasco has gotten me sick, so I'm not so sure I want to keep doing that.

A Bible verse I thought was appropriate for today is:

For our present troubles are small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 2 Corinthians 4:17, NLT

Although it didn't seem that Anne's cancer was a small thing, I guess it could be considered that in the general scheme of things. Certainly were were blessed in the outcome, as many others are not so fortunate. But the trouble we have been through has given us an opportunity to tell others about the greatness of God. The devotional I got this verse from goes on:

Our troubles should not diminish our faith or disillusion us. We should realize that there is a purpose in our suffering. Problems and human limitations have several benefits: (1) they remind us of Christ's suffering for us; (2) they keep us from pride; (3) they cause us to look beyond this brief life; (4) they prove our faith to others; and (5) they give God the opportunity to demonstrate his power.

I couldn't have said that better (so I just copied it!).

God Bless,

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

December 22, 2009

What you are about to read is true, albeit amazing. Anne was dicharged from the hospital today! Three days earlier than originally planned by her surgeons, no less. She has done so incredibly well. They were still calling her "Superstar" today. She has been eating regular food, and walking short distances at least. She had her mediport removed today as well since she no longer needs chemotherapy. We're supposed to stay in town a couple of more days just in case, but actually we'll probably stay in town until Saturday. We're expecting a huge snowstorm here starting tomorrow night--at least I hope it holds off until tomorrow night since the girls are supposed to fly out tomorrow at 1:45pm. I'm not interested in driving in a snowstorm with a wife who just came out of surgery, so I think we'll just stay here and spend Christmas together at the Kahler Hotel. The girls have been invited to have Christmas with friends, so I feel good about that. We've had a good visit with them out here--even though there wasn't much for them to do except read and stare at Anne.

I still cannot say enough for the Mayo Clinic system and I can only wish their philosophy would be adopted nationwide, but especially in Saginaw. I am working on that, having been asked to be on a new committee--the OR Satisfaction Committee--at Covenant. We'll have to see how much influence I can muster. Our nurses and physicians on this trip were awesome. They all express the Mayo philosophy of "the needs of the patient come first" to the ultimate degree. For their concern and care of Anne I can only be truly thankful. May God Bless them forever.

We had a visit from one of the hospital chaplains today. It was a nice visit. Anne basically did most of the talking and told him of the many miracles we have witnessed since she was diagnosed with cancer. He especially liked the story of Anne's being annointed with oil by a Catholic priest as we were starting our journey to Mayo Clinic last April. Interestingly, he had written a chapter for a book about that very subject. Blessed again!

This following verse is so appropriate now.

For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.
~ Romans 10:10, NLT

I can only pray that you all believe or come to believe in your hearts that God is our Father and Jesus is our Savior. I have seen with my own eyes how awesome He is and the miracles He can do--and Anne is the best example of that. She went from "palliative care" to "Cured" through His love for her. He alone directed the physicians in what medications to use (He also helped investigators to develop these drugs). He alone caused the cancer to be driven out of her body. He alone guided the hands of the surgeons to remove the necrotic tumor. And He alone has heard your prayers for Anne's healing.

God Bless,

Monday, December 21, 2009

December 21, 2009

"Superstar". That's Anne's new nickname, given to her by her surgeons. It sounds like they've almost never seen anyone recover so quickly from this kind of surgery. They're even talking of potentially discharging her tomorrow---3 days early! She is a superstar! She was up walking all over today. They yanked her foley catheter, pulled out her central IV line, and disconnected her from her IVs. She still has her drainage tube in, but that should be coming out tomorrow. They even advanced her diet quicker than they usually do. And, most importantly, she's even moved her bowels--earlier than expected! What a woman! We'll probably have to stay out here a couple more days before starting home, but that's still cool.

This morning, I missed her two surgeons who visited early, but I was there when the oncologist showed up. He had great news. The pathologist looked at the liver and found only necrotic (dead) tumor tissue, as we expected. They did find a small amout of live tumor in the colon, but the surgeon had cut everything out, so she doesn't even need chemotherapy now! She'll need followup labs and scans, of course, but they were very encouraged by the results. If only they knew our connection with God and all of you prayer warriors. They will actually be removing her port tomorrow that was used for the chemotherapy since she doesn't need it any more.

My verse for you today (I might have used it before):

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NLT

Well, I can tell you that we are very joyful. We have been blessed beyond compare, and we are very thankful. I think we would have been thankful for all that God has done for us no matter what the outcome of all of this, but obviously, I'm not complaining about how this has worked out for us. We may never understand God's will, and I wonder if a lot of us will really find out what it is, but if it is His will that Anne is cured from this major cancer scare, there is good reason for it. I think we are to witness to everyone of God's greatness, and I hope this blog has helped some people to see how good (great, awesome, magnificent...) He is.

God Bless,