Sunday, May 31, 2009

May 31, 2009

Back again. Sorry I haven't been posting daily like I did at the beginning, but thankfully, there's not a lot to report on. The purpose of this blog was to keep everyone (who cared) about the trials and tribulations of Anne's cancer, and our faith, journey. I could blog every day about things important or interesting to me, but that isn't why I started this thing (with Jenni Sternberg's help).

Well, Anne is doing great, so there hasn't been too much to say about her, other than I love her more than ever--even I couldn't imagine that. She is an incredible trooper. We went to a funeral today (a former collegue and friend [and fellow Mickey Mouse freak] Dr. Nick Koenig passed away this week) and here Anne was asking everyone else how they were doing: "This isn't about me, you know" was what I heard her say the most. We ran in to a bunch of friends she hasn't seen in a while. I'm still amazed at how many people she knows, first of all, and how many have been praying for her. It definitely picks you up.

Tomorrow she'll try again for chemo round #3. Let's all pray that her WBC count is up high enough to be able to get the chemo. Of course, I'd appreciate prayers that she doesn't have any complications during receiving the chemo and for the week or so afterwards as well. My inlaws are still here with us. They wanted to be around while Anne gets the chemo, so they're staying a week longer than they had planned. Thankfully, I was able to come up with a project for my father in law that consumed a bunch of time for him. He did a beautiful and professional job of it and I am forever thankful for that. In the meantime--my clothes are cleaned and pressed, thanks to my mother in law! So how can I complain! The girls are home this weekend, the Wings won the first game against Pittsburgh, and we had a wonderful progressive dinner Friday night with my community group from church. Life is grand. We also went to a fantastic piano recital today--our friend's son, Mike Wechter gave a beautiful concert. With all this kid does, I don't know where he finds time to practice, but he is awesome (as are his parents Dan and Alice--and the other 10 kids). Anne's brother John is back on the surgery schedule in London, Ontario, Canada for this coming Wednesday, so be sure to add him to your prayers.

I started to include a verse from 2Corinthians in the blog today, but decided that the entire passage would be better:

"Praise be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort." 2Corinthians 1:3-7.

We have been comforted by all of you who have been praying for us, just as God has comforted us. And I can only hope that someone is comforted by us in return. Our current struggle is a big one, but by the grace of God, and the prayers of all of you, we will get through this with flying colors. I know this because "the Bible tells me so", but also because of the amazing response that Anne has already had to the chemo, with minimal side effects. The comments I hear about how people are responding to this blog are encouraging. If I can use this blog as a witness to the greatness of God and what He does for us, that is wonderful, and well worth it. I have given maybe a small insight to what He has done for me especially, and I would welcome the chance to be able to witness to anyone interested, as I am the true prodigal son, and can't begin to explain how amazing that is.

God Bless,

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

May 27, 2009

I just finished watching the Red Wings beat Chicago in 5 games--in overtime. I'm a bit of a hockey-freak so hockey will take precedence over a lot of stuff, but tonight we had the whole family (except Michelle who's still at school doing a student teaching thing) sitting on the couch enjoying the game. That included Anne, me, Heather and Anne's mom and dad. Thankfully, they won early in overtime so I can get to bed for work tomorrow (office--yuk).

Anne is doing great--still feeling well and eating better. Unfortunately, she couldn't have her chemotherapy on Tuesday because her white blood cells (WBCs) were too low--a consequence of the chemo unfortunately. Funny, she thought they gave her a placebo 2 weeks ago because she felt so good after the chemo, but obviously they didn't and it suppressed her bone marrow. Her hemoglobin is down too, which probably explains a bit of loss of stamina. Fortunately, it also means that the chemo is working--it is most likely attacking the tumor cells big-time as well as her bone marrow since they are faster-growing cells. They'll try again on Monday of next week, so please pray that her bone marrow kicks into high gear and pumps out those WBCs.

Anne's brother John will be back on the schedule for his back surgery next week. We'll pray that they don't cancel him again and that everything goes well for him. Greg has been doing well since his surgery too.

This following passage continued the theme of my last blog:

Hebrews 10:35-36:

So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God's will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.

If we don't keep faith in God we will be missing out on so much. A dear friend of mine (a lot of my patients are now friends), lost his wife nearly 3 years ago. They had a marriage like mine and Anne's, but unfortunately, his faith was no where near as strong, and he has fallen away from God. He is very alone and uncomforted, and I feel terribly for him. I'm hoping that over time (maybe on a trip to Nigeria with me?) he will regain his faith and understand that God didn't hurt him--and never would. But He promises us great rewards (Heaven) because He loves us so much. One of Anne's cousins recently went through some family health issues, and like Anne, her faith got her through those hard times and got stronger as well. God Bless her and all of you.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

May 24, 2009

Wow! I just realized that it's been nearly a week since I last wrote a blog. Sorry for the lack of updates, but I've got good news---there really hasn't been a lot to update you all on. Anne had been feeling tremendous since the last chemo nearly 2 weeks ago. That means no nausea, vomiting or even much in the way of fatigue. Mind you, she does have some fatigue--she didn't do all that well at Meijer's yesterday, although she made it to the check-out at least and then had to sit down. Another thing she's noticed: her hair is starting to go a little bit at a time. Mind you, she has to have it thinned out everytime she gets it cut, so there's a lot there to lose, and I can't see that it's gotten any thinner myself. Of course, compared to me she has a freakin' forest up there. At least women look better in wigs than men do--maybe I'll get one if she needs one to keep her company--just kidding.

Last time I mentioned that I was going to a Wings game (hockey, David. I know that you New Yorkers don't know what hockey is after the regular season--you guys call it golf!). Well, they won in overtime. They played poorly but still pulled it out. They then lost Friday night in overtime in Chicago, but then beat the pants off Chicago this afternoon. Go Wings.

I thought this verse was pretty appropriate for our situation:

"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help
us develop endurance."
~ Hebrews 13:8, NLT

Can you imagine giving up?Examples are endless. I don't think someone seriously running a marathon gives up because of a heel blister. Thomas Edison tried around a thousand times before coming up with the right combination of things for a lightbulb. I remember when I was in high school when a little old lady who lived next door to us fell and broke her hip. She lasted 3 days in the hospital after refusing to be treated. And then there is Rosemary, one of the nurses at work, with the same problem that Anne has--tumor free and back to work. She never gave up and never gave up praying. And the last thing we should do is give up on believing that God loves us and cares for us. If we don't have true faith, it would be easy to give up and blame God for our troubles. We know that God didn't cause this to happen--but He will be with us throughout this ordeal to comfort us and help us.

"So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. "
~Matthew 10:31, NLT

How's that for hope? We are the only creatures God made in His image, even though He created a gazillion creatures. He wants us to be around to worship and praise Him. He is love and wants to love us more than anything. Whatever God has in store for us, we shouldn't be afraid. I can only think that all of the prayers for Anne and me have reached God and that He has listened, and that through His love, He is taking care of Anne in ways only He can. I believe He is now protecting her from having side effects. While that may not last (although I truly hope it does) at least she has had a break from them for now--Praise God for that!

Anne will be having her 3rd chemotherapy session on Tuesday instead of the usual Monday because of the Memorial Day Holiday. I'd like to personally thank all of our Veterans out there who have served to keep us free. My heart goes out to the families of those Veterans who did come home, but sacrificed for us by having their loved ones away, and to those who's loved ones did not come home while fighting for our freedom and safety. In my old age, I've been looking back at my college days when I wasn't drafted to serve in the Vietnam War. At the time I was overjoyed. Now, however, I wish I had the opportunity (or brains) to have served my country as these brave young (and older) men and women have--they deserve all of our respect and praise. And they deserve the medical care they need paid for by our taxes for their service. I only hope that our government doesn't screw with our Veteran's healthcare as they have intimated they might. THAT will be cause for a fight.

God Bless,

Monday, May 18, 2009

May 18, 2009

Sorry I haven't "blogged" in a few days. Too busy again. Anne has been doing fantastic after her chemo this time--no tiredness or nausea. Praise God! She had some lab work done today and everything looked really good. The main thing is the white blood cell count, which was within normal limits for that lab. They'll be checking bloodwork on her weekly to make sure the chemo doesn't do a number on her bone marrow.

We wound up having a pretty busy weekend. Friday night Annete and TJ Dorey stopped by for a nice visit. Anne's parents wound up leaving for home Saturday morning early. After I finished dictating Thursday's office notes, we went to lunch at Tim Horton's (got my favorite Boston Cream donut!). We then went to Nouvel High School where they were holding the American Cancer Society Walk for Life. We spent a wonderful time with the "Orange Blossoms"--Linda's family, and met a bunch of friends that had turned out to raise money for the event. At least when we went it was sunny but it was very windy. It apparently got really cold at night, so they lost a lot of participants, but I'm sure they raised a bunch of money. I won't mention any names, but Mike Pappenfuse looked adorable! Saturday night I got to go grocery shopping and then Anne and I settled in to watch a movie--"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button". If you missed it, don't worry, it stunk. I'm still not sure what the purpose of the movie was, but it had to do with a guy who was born as an old man and got younger the longer he lived. Basically it was some sort of love story, or at least there was a bunch of love-making going on once he got started.

Sunday after church and lunch we went to a graduation party (Julie Nease's daughter Laura from nursing school). It was nice to have Anne see all of the folks from Mackinaw that were there. We then went to a business meeting at church and then to the Olsen's house for our Sunday night community group meeting. We had a fun time there--lots of laughs, as well as praying. We didn't get home until almost 9:00 pm, so it was a long day for Anne. Of course, I had to watch the Red Wings game (thank you TiVo) so we didn't get to bed until after 11:00.

Today's verse is from Philippians 4:6-7:

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

As all of you have been praying for us, I thought this was appropriate. God is listening to all of your prayers and giving us the comfort of having Jesus in our corner. We couldn't do this without a strong faith and all of your support. Giving our worries over to God lifts a tremendous burden from us--I feel free to take care of Anne without worrying whether she will be alright--because I know God will take care of her as well. He's doing the worrying for me. My job becomes easier--make sure she gets the best care possible, be there for her (I still need to work on this as work takes me away too much), and just love her as much as possible.

Heather got home from Poland tonight. She had a great trip, and already misses the food. She got us all some neat gifts. I guess you can tell your kids are getting older when they bring you back booze. Looks pretty good to me, though--a cherry-flavored vodka that they apparently drink (and drank) a lot of over there.

I won't be writing Tuesday night--TJ got tickets to game 2 of the Red Wings vs. Chicago and invited me to go. Thankfully Heather will be here to keep Anne company. I'll just have to dictate Tuesday's office notes on Wednesday....

God Bless,

Thursday, May 14, 2009

May 14, 2009

Anne continues to be blessed by feeling well. Praise God for that! She has done so much better than her first session of chemo at Mayo Clinic---maybe we do it better in Saginaw! She's not really even had any significant nausea, which she had a lot of last time. I wish it were possible to see the tumors shrinking on a daily basis, but that's only because, as most of you know, I'm not the most patient person in the world. She made dinner herself tonight--one of my favorites--Black Bean soup (sorry, Curt--I ate it all), and she ate a good portion of it too.

Work was it's usual today, although for some reason or another, it seemed like I got done early, and I met Del DeHart for coffee at the Magic Bean. We had a great conversation. I got home later than I thought I would and decided to leave dictating for tomorrow. Unfortunately, I'll probably forget who I saw today. Maybe all of my notes will look the same. It would be cool if I could just use the "copy note" feature of my electronic medical record system. Dictating would only take 30 minutes a night instead of 2-3 hours.

I guess I've started a trend of daily devotionals, so I'll keep going. The following came from a friend and patient of mine, Phyllis Oomen, who also went with us to Nigeria in June of 2008:

There Will Be a Day by Jeremy Camp

I know the journey seems so long
You feel you're walking on your own
But there has never been a step
Where you've walked out all alone

That's only the first verse of one of my favorite songs, from my favorite Contemporary Christian artist. It goes along with a previous blog I wrote about God being there for us no matter what we go through (Isiah Chapter 43). The devotional she sent went on to mention the story about footsteps in the sand:

Footprints by Mary Stevenson
One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints; other times there was one only.
This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life,
when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow, or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints,
so I said to the Lord, "You promised me, Lord, that if I followed you,
you would walk with me always.
But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?

"The Lord replied, "When you saw only one set of footprints, my child,
it was then that I carried you."

God is carrying both Anne and me at this point in time, of that I have no doubt. He can do that for all of us in times of trouble and need. I don't really think we need to ask Him, although it wouldn't hurt. On the other hand, He is so awesome He would do it for us anyway.

God Bless,

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

May 13, 2009

Hi. Anne had a pretty good day today. It's amazing how she's already adapted to the chemo--she was awake for most of the day (she only took a short nap) as opposed to her first go around when I could barely get her out of bed for 2 days after the chemo. She was even able to go out to her Bible study group, which is usually held here, but thankfully Ann Turk has moved it back to her house. It was good for Anne to be with her friends and out of the house. Anne's parents will be here until Saturday when they will go to London, Ontario to be with their son John who gets operated on tomorrow (5/14).

Greg had his surgery today. It turned out to be a bit more than the surgeon expected but, praise God, everything turned out OK. Looks like he's going to make it!

I had a pretty short day in the OR today--only 6 cases. More importantly, I was done by 3:30pm--earlier than usual. But, just when I thought I could get home early, I remembered I had to do a deposition for one of my patients, so I didn't get home until 7:00. Sucks to be me sometimes. Fortunately, as I mentioned in yesterday's blog, I have the world's most understanding wife, and supper (and Anne and my in-laws) were waiting for me when I got home so we could all eat together.

I thought I'd use the following verse today:

"In the past you have encouraged many a troubled soul to trust in God; you have supported those who were weak. Your words have strengthened the fallen." Job 4:3-4.

I guess I can look at this from two different angles. One, is that a lot of people have told me that my blog is kind of an inspiration of sorts, and they can sense God's strength from what I have been writing. It means a lot to a lot of people, and that is truly awesome. The second way is that the prayers and thoughts and emails and hugs and everything else that you all have give to Anne and me during this very troubling time for us has been very encouraging and strengthening. Maybe you don't realize how much this means to us, and there's no way I can thank all of you enough, but you have helped us to trust more and more in God, and we have that special peace that comes in knowing that He is there to protect and comfort us. Having all of you send up your "arrows" of prayer makes us feel truly loved and cared for--all "warm and fuzzy inside" if you know what I mean.

I hate to mention that I have been following American Idol this season. My favorite was Danny Gokey who was kicked off tonight. Of the 3 remaining guys, I thought he had the best voice and also the best character. Doesn't help that he's a worship pastor, who unfortunately didn't get to sing any of the truly great Christian songs out there. He will definitely have a great future.

Until tomorrow. God Bless,

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

May 12, 2009

Sorry, guessed I missed another night. I didn't have too much to report on anyway.

Anne had chemotherapy session #2 yesterday, the first at Dr. Balcueva's office (10 more to go). She unfortunately had a pretty significant reaction to the Avastin, the drug which works on contracting blood vessels to starve the tumors. She got red and hot all over. This was controlled by Benadryl, but afterwards, when she got up to go to the bathroom, she developed shaking chills that really scared her. This was also fortunately corrected by medications. Last night she slept extremely well (probably the Benadryl) and, Praise God, she had a very good day today. After her first session of chemotherapy, she slept for 2 days, so she has done much better this time. Dr. Balcueva's office called me while she was there yesterday, but of course I was operating and couldn't come to see her. They didn't tell me there had been a problem, or I would have run over. I want you to know that my job sucks when I can't leave to see my own wife during her chemo. It's something that most people don't have to deal with--as much as I love my family, my job takes me away from them because of the committments I have to my patients. It's something I've never been able to resolve over all these years, althoug I have in the past often been able to rearrange my schedule to accommodate things like soccer or volleyball games. But, in general, I have been taken away from the family more times than I would like to admit.

I've been trying to find a daily Bible verse or song that has spoken to me that I have wanted to share. They have either been sent to me by friends or by emails that I prescribe to. One that I got yesterday was awesome:

"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.... She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” Proverbs 31:10, 27-28

Does that describe Anne, or what? I hope that all of the men out there are married to someone as wonderful as Anne. She is my best friend, and has been almost since the day I met her at Mountainside Hospital in April of 1981. She worked there as a nurse on the indigent floor, and I was rotating there as a 1st year orthopaedic resident. I wasn't originally supposed to rotate there, and really didn't want to go, but as God would have it, I did. I was actually already married at the time, but having major marital problems (from day 1 of meeting my first wife in college, actually). Anne and I hit it off as friends, and several months after I broke up with the first wife, after Anne broke up with her then-boyfriend, we started dating, and the rest, as they say, "is history".

I would also hope that all of the women out there have husbands who feel about them as I feel about Anne. Anne is my angel. I don't know how she actually puts up with me--I work way too much, am sometimes too tired to pay attention to her, and have given her the burden of taking care of the household. I don't have any idea where the checkbook even is. I don't have a clue about doing banking stuff on line, and she'll let you know that I don't make phone calls--for anything. I'm never home in time to eat dinner with the family for the most part (she's usually starving waiting for me now that the kids are gone), and I almost never cook or even do the dishes. For a while I was going to Meijers for the family shopping, but I don't even do that much anymore (apparently I bought too much extra stuff anyway). Believe me, I could go on and on, but I'd better stop here or no one will like me any more, but you get the picture. I am the luckiest man in the world, and don't have any problems letting you know that. That's why, in her time of need, I want to spend as much time with her as I can. She has done so much for me--including re-introducing me to Jesus--that I could never repay her. Kind of like the Grace we receive from God--given freely despite our not deserving it, but there for all of us.

Please pray for Michelle's boyfriend Greg who will be undergoing surgery Wednesday, and Anne's brother John who will be having surgery Thursday. Pray also for all of the other people out there who are having health problems. And pray for those who do not yet know Jesus.

God Bless,

Sunday, May 10, 2009

May 10, 2009

Hi again. Happy Mother's Day to all of you Moms out there. Sorry I haven't been able to blog for the past couple of days, but we've been busy and I've been too tired to stay up late enough to write. On Friday night we drove down to Albion. We checked into the Hampton Inn in Jackson and were going to meet the girls for dinner in Jackson when I found out that I still had more to empty out of Heather's dorm room--and it had to be done by 9:30pm. I didn't realize she had so much stuff still down there, and wound up filling the Enclave to the brim. We finally got to the Outback restaurant for dinner, and I finally got back to the hotel at 10:30 and crashed. Anne actually fell asleep during dinner after taking a Compazine to curb nausea.

We attended Greg's graduation at Albion on Saturday. We were expecting 75 degrees and sunny weather, but boy were we wrong--I forgot I was in Michigan. Rather, it was 45 and rainy. Thankfully, Greg's mom brought some coats for Anne and the girls, but we still froze. We still had a lovely day, and I enjoyed meeting the rest of Greg's family including his grandparents and aunts and his brother. Dinner was at a very nice Italian restaurant named Ernesto's in Plymouth (there are no Italian restaurants here in Saginaw other than Olive Garden--and that's not Italian really). It was wonderful to be included in Greg's special day. He'll be attending law school at Michigan State University in the fall.

Heather took off for Poland Saturday with her classmates. They will be visiting several Holocaust sites and will be working in a neglected Jewish cemetery that Albion College has "adopted". One of the guest speakers at the graduation was a Holocaust survivor who is presently a professor of theater at Jackson Community College. Her speech was very interesting. She compared "passive goodness" with "active goodness". Passive goodness means you don't do anything wrong, and active goodness means you actively do something for others. It reminds me of the letter of James about works (James 2:14-26). They will learn a tremendous amount on this trip about doing for others. She arrived safely, and emailed me that she ate a fantastic dinner. I can't wait to take Anne there.

Church was fantastic (as usual) today. Pastor Dan's sermon was entitled A Mother's Legacy and was as usual excellent. Lots of friends came up to us to offer support (and more hugs!). Rhonda Garner, who now works in my office, led the worship and chose some fantastic songs, one of which is one of my favorites by Chris Tomlin, and very appropriate for what is going on with us now:

How Can I Keep From Singing

Verse 1
There is an endless song
Echoes in my soul
I hear the music ring
And though the storms may come
I am holding on to the Rock I cling

Chorus 1
How can I keep
from singing Your praise
How can I ever say enough
How amazing is Your love
How can I keep from shouting Your name
I know I am loved by the King
And it makes my heart want to sing

Verse 2
I will lift my eyes in the darkest night
For I know my Savior lives
And I will walk with You
Knowing you'll see me through
And sing the songs You give

I can sing in the troubled times
Sing when I win
I can sing when I lose my step
and I fall down again
I can sing 'cause You pick me up
Sing 'cause You're there
I can sing 'cause You hear me Lord
When I call to You in prayer
I can sing with my last breath
Sing for I know
That I'll sing with the angels
And the saints around the throne.

Now that's how I'd like to be able to write.

Speaking of writing, my blog for the Mayo Clinic is now online. You can look it up at: It has a video of Anne and me giving our comments about our experience at Mayo Clinic. One comment: man do I look old!

God Bless,

Thursday, May 7, 2009

May 7, 2009

Wow! I finished dictating at 11:00pm tonight. Not bad for an office day. I even got to visit with Karen Zirkle who stopped by for a while. Michelle made dinner tonight (pasta) and Anne was able to eat quite a bit of it. She even got out today. She drove to the bank and even visited the girls in my office today. It was the first time she's driven in about 3 weeks, so that was good.

Anne did have some more nausea after dinner (I didn't, so I assume the pasta was OK--sorry Michelle, just kidding) and she took a Compazine which put her right to sleep. She even missed one of her favorite TV shows--Hell's Kitchen. Thankfully, though, she is really feeling a lot better. Cards, flowers and phone calls, along with all of the prayers, have kept her cheery and positive. She was tired going out but did well with it. Michelle (who thinks she is the new supermom) did 6 loads of laundry (her own) and actually went grocery shopping today, cooked dinner and even did the dishes. Wow.

We're getting ready to go to Albion tomorrow night for Greg's graduation on Saturday. She should feel even better by Saturday, and will have an opportunity to nap at Greg's parents' house in Canton if she needs to. We will unfortunately miss Matt Zirkle's graduation from Central on Saturday. Congrats to him. Heather leaves for her school trip to Poland Saturday, so I'll have to get her to the airport in Detroit by 3:00 pm.

For some reason or another, office hours actually went by pretty quickly today. I guess I didn't look at the clock too much. A lot of patients asked me about Anne today--they miss her in the office and of course, wish her well. It may be a while before she gets back to work. The girls miss her there (and even Jason does). I keep thinking I need to somehow slow down a bit, but I can't say I know how. My practice is out of control. Every time I turn around, I get busier, and now I want to be less busy. If anyone has any ideas, let me know.

I received a note from my friend Fred Lipdo and his family from Jos, Nigeria. They had come to Saginaw last year so I could operate on their daughter Salama. He brought to my attention Isiah 43:1-7. Verses 2 and 4 are wonderful: "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you are precious and honored in my sight and because I love you." He is always with us--especially when we are most vulnerable and need Him the most.

God Bless,

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

May 6, 2009

Hey everyone, sorry I missed yesterday. Unfortunately, office hours were long and I didn't get home til 7:30. After eating (and watching American Idol with Anne and Michelle) I dictated office notes until 1:00am. Needless to say, I wasn't about to write anything then.

Anne has had two good days in a row after some rough ones--sleepiness and even nausea. She sat outside for some time both days, and talked to a few friends as well. We've enjoyed our delivered meals enormously since they were cooked with the love of God as seasoning. We met with Dr. Ernie Balcueva tonight (our oncologist here in Saginaw) who was supportive and mapped out our treatment plan for the next 6 months. The chemo she is taking is going to be delivered in his office every other week for 12 treatments. Somewhere along the line (3 months and 6 months) Anne will get new abdominal CT scans to monitor shrinkage of the tumors. Ever want to have your life fly by quickly? I'll take 6 months right now, please. When that's over, I think Anne and I are going to have to go to Australia--we've both always wanted to go there.

I thought this would be a good Bible verse for today:

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

Confirmation that prayer is what we need to be doing at this time, so keep 'em coming!

God Bless,

Monday, May 4, 2009

May 4, 2009

Today was my first day back at work (yuk)--although thankfully I was in the OR and not the office (that's tomorrow--worse yuk). It was the first day since this all happened that I didn't spend all day with Anne. I did get home at 6:30 which for a Monday is pretty early for me--I had to stop and pick some things up for her at the store including some anti-nausea meds at Walgreen's. She had a pretty good day today, but she doesn't have much energy. And tonight, she was nauseous, took some meds and proceeded to fall asleep watching House--she can watch it tomorrow--it was TiVo'd.

I must say--I was not into work at all today. Thank God, He watches over me in the OR, otherwise it wouldn't have been pretty. Actually--I kind of work by memory, I guess. I've done enough total knees and other surgeries, that I feel most of the time I can do it without paying too much attention (don't let my patient's know!). But again, with God watching over me, things usually go pretty darn well. I got a bunch of hugs today (from women only, thankfully) and everyone was asking about how Anne was doing, but me too. Anne's doing as well as could be expected--I'm doing fine, I guess. I'm not thinking about me so it's a bit hard to answer, really, but knowing God is taking care of us, I can't worry--and "it doesn't add a minute to your life" if I remember.

This Bible verse was sent to me today by Becky Powell, a Centurion who lives up the road from me in Midland:

Jeremiah 29:11 (New International Version)
11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Yup, another great one. If you read the Bible, you will find a ton of phrases like this one that serve to comfort you. I (we) have plenty of hope and are still planning on the future (God willing, as I mentioned yesterday). We have never been to Australia, but I'm hoping to get there by the end of this year, depending on how her treatment goes. We've enjoyed travelling, and for our 25th Anniversary went on a Mediterranean cruise that was awesome. Most of the time we've travelled with Michelle and Heather, but now that we're empty-nesters, we can get away without them (sorry!). Isn't it interesting that a lot of empty-nesters drift apart--their marriage was only held together by their children. But Anne and I have been best friends since we met in April of 1981. We've only gotten closer over the years. There's no one whom I'd rather spend time with, and I plan on spending a lot more years with her.

God Bless,

Sunday, May 3, 2009

May 3, 2009

Today was our first full day back in Saginaw. We were able to go to church this morning. Let me tell you, there is not much better than a great church family. Anne (and I) got a gazillion hugs and we talked to even more people, before and after service. It was truly wonderful to see all of our friends again. Steve even had my Boston cream donut waiting for me! The sermon today continued in the Authentic Faith Series of the Letter of James. We have been studying James for several weeks now. It is a tremendous letter and I would highly recommend studying it. The sermon centered on Chapter 4 verses 13-17. Pastor Dan Davis had an awesome sermon (as usual). It seemed to be very appropriate to our situation, and we pray that it is God's will (as we are confident it is) that Anne will be cured completely.

Another verse came by email today from Zondervan (the book people): "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Also appropriate and a verse to remember (Romans 12:12). It is extremely difficult to be patient at this point in time. We want this to be over with NOW. But we also understand 2 things: treatment can take time, and Anne will be healed in God's time. She may have to go through about 12 sessions of chemotherapy and may or may not need surgery. So, we will be "patient in our affliction" but most importantly, "faithful in prayer". And we continue to be prayed for by so many wonderful people.

Several people have told me that I'm a good writer. Wow, that's a stretch! I've also been told that this blog has affected many people--that they are positively affected by our witness. If some people are challenged to examine their relationship with Christ, and can see the love that we have for Him and the confidence and comfort we have in Him, and want that too, that is awesome. Now, if that is indeed what is happening, I couldn't be happier! Praise God for that. When Anne is cured of this, you will see how I will shout from the mountain top of God's awesome power.

We are already benefiting from some of the food we have gotten as well. The refrigerator was stocked (thanks Linda) and we had some leftovers from last night to get us through today. Our community group from church will be providing us with meals for the next few weeks. Now THAT is Christian works in action (James 2:14-17).

Unfortunately, tomorrow I'm back at work again. I usually put in some long hours, and I'm going to hate leaving Anne alone. Thankfully, she understands that my practice is my ministry, but I'm going to work even harder now to get home early. Thankfully again, she knows that we have many friends just a phone call away, so if she gets lonely, she just may make a call.

God Bless,

Saturday, May 2, 2009

May 2, 2009

We're finally home!!!! We had to stop and pick up the stuff from Albion College today, and all I can say, is that if not for Tom Zirkle and his truck and trailer, and TJ and Chandler Dorey, we'd still be there--and I'd be on my back in bed for another week. Apparently girls need a lot more stuff to go to college with than guys do (or did at least), but there was a lot! Thank God I've got a big garage to hold all of the stuff they don't need now, but I still wish I had my Surburban to get the stuff back down there for next semester. Karen Zirkle was nice enough to have dinner for us when we got back too. They are like family to us and you can't get much better than that. And Linda Orange, who I consider a younger sister to me, had the house all ready for us including groceries! Even muffins with worms (inside joke). Wow!

Anne had her best day of the week today, thankfully. She got a good night's sleep (thanks to some Lunesta). She was even able to eat a lot more than she has been. You can't believe the number of cards and letters that were waiting for us at home. Thank God for you all. I'm hoping that we can now get back into some sort of routine, but I doubt Anne will be working any time soon--she may not have the energy for that yet. The chemo really knocks her down, but she bounces back and seems to be doing fine right now.

There are a couple of Bible phrases I get emailed to me on a routine basis, and one of them today was very special: 1John 5:14-15: "This is the confidence we have in approching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us--whatever we ask--we know that we have what we asked of Him." I know that God hears us, and that we have all been asking for healing for Anne--so it seems logical that if it is His will (and I can only pray that it is), He will heal her. It doesn't get any better than that.

Anne heard about a man who was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer--his doctor told him he has about 6 months to live. The saddest part of this (besides the poor prognosis, and I will have to pray for him too), is that he may not have a strong faith in God, and unfortunately, wouldn't have the hope that we have. I feel so sorry for him. I unfortunately know what he must feel like. When Anne went through 4 miscarriages, and I, at least, was an atheist, we had nothing to fall back on--it was one of the hardest things we ever had to deal with. Not that this has been a piece of cake, mind you, but we do have tremendous faith and comfort knowing that all we need to do is "Call My name and I'll be there" (Third Day). And He is there. One of the most comforting things is knowing that God is. That means He does exist, and His word is true--He is there for us and always will be--all we need to do is ask.

God Bless you all,

Friday, May 1, 2009

May 1, 2009

Hello! We're in Michigan but not in Saginaw yet--we should be there tomorrow night after stopping at Albion to pick up some of the girls' stuff. We drove to St. Joseph and are staying in a Hampton Inn for the night. I had actually hoped to see some of the Red Wings game--but the Hampton doesn't have Versus on the TV. Darn!!!! (notice how I'm cleaning up my act a little--gotta watch out now that God's really got His eye on us). Ah well, Sean Hannity will have to do, and they obviously have internet capability so I can write this. The Zirkles and Doreys are coming down to Albion to help with the move of the girls who will be finished school this week. Since I was coming from Minnesota, they offered to bring down a trailer and their strong muscles to help. Funny how times have changed--only 30 (actually 38) years ago I could fit all of my belongings from college in a VW Beetle--and now kids need trailers! Michelle's boyfriend Greg graduates from Albion next Saturday, and we plan on going to the graduation. Heather will be finished with her freshman year (sorry, I'm having a hard time believing that) and then leaves on a school-sponsored trip to Poland to check out some Holocaust sites--and do some work on them too. Michelle will be finishing her junior year and will be taking classes at Michigan State this summer--so she can graduate in 4 years with a teaching certificate (yea! No more tuition payments for her).

Anne tolerated the drive quite well--no nausea fortunately. She actually napped for only a short time. She actually sleeps most of the time when we travel, so she was really doing well today. She doesn't have much of an appetite, so I'm thinking we need to get some Boost or Ensure and the VitaMix thingie that Carol Van Kirk has mentioned to me.

We had a neat experience before we left Rochester this morning. Actually, last night I got an email from Helen Laack, a fellow Centurion, who asked if I would be willing to meet with a representative from the Mayo Clinic. Lee Aase is in public relations for Mayo and asked if Anne and I would do a little blurb for them. He met us in our hotel room before we checked out and interviewed us (actually just let us ramble on) on a videocamera. He will then upload the video to their blog site. I will also write something for the blog soon which will go over a lot of what I've written here and a bit about how we liked Mayo Clinic (we did). I'll put the link to that site on this blog when I have sent in my blog for them. They will also link from their site to this one so we might get even more visitors. Very cool. By the way, I checked out job opportunities while I was there, and unfortunately, they don't need me, so I guess I'll have to stay in Saginaw (darn, again--there were some very nice restaurants there).

Well, we continue to get contacted by new people daily and by a lot of our "regulars" as well. I love it, so don't be shy. I can't wait to see each and every one of you sometine in the near future. I hope you don't mind, but you will get a huge Christian hug from me. I want you all to know that we continue to be comforted and blessed by all of you, and continue to pray for all of you as well. While driving I had my iPod going with some good Jeremy Camp and Casting Crowns music. Their stuff is so uplifting, but some songs can bring a tear even to tough lil-ole-me.

God Bless,