Tuesday, September 29, 2009

September 29, 2009

Well, now it's 11 down and only 1 to go!!!! It seems like a long time to get to this point, but obviously a lot has happened from the first diagnosis to now. Anne continues to amaze me with how incredibly well she tolerates the chemotherapy. She has had basically no complications from the chemo for a very long time. She's not even tired after the treatments anymore. And her spirit is high (praise God). Now we just have to get through the next chemo dose, and then a CT scan of the abdomen to see how things are going. Then, hopefully back to Mayo Clinic for her colon resection. That's our plan--we'll see what God plans for us.

We were able to get away--out of state this time--for a few days last week. We went together to a meeting in Boston for a new surgery that I have been wanting to do for a while. It requires going to an instructional meeting which included lectures, demonstration of the surgery on a cadaver, and then we were able to do the surgery ourselves on a cadaver. Thank God that people donate their bodies to science. The training is invaluable. You get "hands-on" experience with real anatomy (instead of plastic models), and if you make a mistake, the patient doesn't complain (or sue you). I actually had the surgery scheduled on one of my patients for this past Monday---and it went great thanks to the training. The best part of the trip was the fact that we were finally able to travel. We have been to Boston a few times in the past. This time we met up with a few friends. We had great fellowship and great meals. I tried to stay on my diet (really, I did). It was hard to pass up the Boston Cream Pie at Legal Seafood--so I didn't. We did a bit of sight-seeing as well. We went on a "duck-boat" which is amphibious and can go on land and sea. It's a leftover from WWII, actually, and was used for troop transport. We happened to be on a replica, but originals are still around. We drove around the city, then got into the Charles River for a tour that way. It was quite fun. We walked the "Freedom Trail" as well which is well worth it--there are a number of sites in Boston related to the Revolutionary War that are still standing--like the building where the Declaration of Independence was first read from.

At the meeting, I happened to mention that I needed to get back for my class on Creation and Evolution at church on Sunday night that I am helping to teach. I had to speak about Biblical Worldview and why it matters, which I am learning about in the Centurions program. One of the engineers overheard me talking and now we are new friends. He was involved in teaching the same subject years ago. It was great to speak with another Christian in a secular setting where you don't expect to hear about God. But, as I've found out, if you don't bring it up, you might never be able meet Christian friends, or start a discussion about God with a non-Christian.

Anne drove to London, Ontario on Sunday to go to her sister-in-law's baby shower. Rebecca and John are expecting their first child in a couple of weeks. It's very exciting as this will be the first baby in the family in 18 years. We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our new neice or nephew. They don't know the sex of the baby yet--I think that's cool. Anne and I were happy that we didn't know until the last moment. In fact, one of my patients told me today (who is also expecting in a month or so) that she knows she's going to go through a lot of pain, so to be surprised with the sex of the child is a bonus she is looking forward to and will help to take away some of the pain. Neat-o.

"Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it."

1 Peter 3:15, NLT

Yes, Anne and I have lots of hope, from hoping and praying that the cancer is all gone (I'm thoroughly convinced that it is of course) to the hope that someone who reads this blog will come to Christ because of the witness that this blog brings of God's greatness. I have gotten deeper and deeper into the word of God and feel reasonably comfortable speaking about my faith with others. I will bring it up frequently in the office (actually almost every patient). I guess I used to be embarrassed, but if I can help one person, it is worth it. So far, no one has said anything negative to me, so I will continue to plod along witnessing to others. And I said early on in the blog that I would shout from the mountain top when Anne is cured--so be ready.

God Bless,

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

September 16, 2009

Ten down and two to go! Anne just completed her 10th chemo treatment with flying colors. Her labs remain normal (WBCs, neutrophil count, hemoglobin is 11.2 which is good for her). She made it through this dose with no problems whatsoever.

We've been blessed by a few visitors recently. First, my sister Anna came to spend a few days with us. We had a lovely visit. Anna herself is a cancer survivor--both breasts. She is doing and looking fabulous. I don't know how she made it through all of the chemo and surgery as a single mom--it's hard enough with a loving husband around (thank you, thank you), but to do it by yourself has got to mean great stamina and determination. I'm so happy she's doing well now. She's been back to work full time at Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center (where I started medical school) as a cardiac operating room nurse. She scrubbed on the first-ever in the world totally implantable mechanical heart. Very cool. We had a great visit. It was awesome to see her again and find out what she has been doing with her life. I was especially interested in learning more about my nephew, Brian, and what he has been doing.

Next came my other sister, Margaret. It was a lovely visit--too short of course. We reconnected after many years of not seeing each other enough. It was wonderful to see her and get to spend time with her and get to know her more. She is truly a great mom and now grandmother, as well as a gourmet chef! If you looked at her, you'd never guess she was only 2 years (to the day-we share Nov. 19th as a birthday) younger than me. Of course, she had to bring brownies and cookies--now that I've started a diet!

Anne's Aunt Helen and Uncle Doug came this past weekend. They are tons of fun. Helen has got to be one of the happiest and busiest people I've ever met. She is very selfless and volunteers for just about everything. Doug is outrageously funny--quiet yet a riot to be around. It was great to see them as well. I did go off the diet with them around-- and gained back 3 of the pounds I had lost.

My verse for this blog is:

"You thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done."

Psalm 92:4, NLT

I am thrilled in so many ways: visits from family and friends, food brought to us by neighbors and other friends, the number of prayers and cards we have received, and the miracles that God has provided for us. Office hours have been longer than expected because so many of my patients are asking about how Anne is doing. We are overwhelmed by the love we have been shown by all of you. I am totally convinced that God has heard all of your prayers and responded with His miracles for Anne. This is all about God's grace--something we don't deserve but God gives to us. How can anyone not believe He exists? I ask myself that all of the time. When I was an atheist, I had no idea what I was missing. As I have been preparing for a class I am helping to teach at church (The Beginning--discussions about creation vs. evolution), I am more and more convinced of His existence. God has so much love to give us--and I am thrilled! "Praise God from whom all blessings flow" as a popular old hymn says.

God Bless