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,

Sunday, December 20, 2009

December 20, 2009

Anne continues to do well, in fact, she's way ahead of schedule. She got up and walked around 5 times today. She actually walked a fair amount each time. They progressed her to a full-liquid diet, which means she can have broth, juice and pudding. She has done very well as far as pain goes, although it still hurts for her to move around in bed. Her blood pressure is getting better too and her pulse rate is coming down. She was apparently pretty dehydrated which was not a bad thing, and that is also getting better. No bowel sounds yet, and she did have one episone of a sharp pain in her right upper quadrant, but even that didn't last long. Who knows, we might get to go home early.

The girl's luggage was delivered about 15 minutes after I finished writing the blog last night. They were already fast asleep, so I just left it in their room, which is adjoining to mine. I got up fairly early today and went over to see Anne around 8:00am. I wound up going to church at Trinity Presbyterian Church with my friend from Centurions, Helen Laack, whom I finally got to meet in person today. It was a very nice service with a wonderful sermon. It was quite nice to attend a more liturgical style of service than I do at Hopevale, but it was different than St. John's Episcopal Church which had a more high-church atmosphere, with all the pomp and circumstance that goes with that.

I arrived back at Anne's hospital room around 1:00 pm. I basically got there, said hello and took the girls to lunch across the street at a small family restaurant. The food was lovely. After lunch we took Anne for a walk around the nurses' station. Again, she is doing amazingly well. Thankfully, she's taken good care of herself over the years, so being so healthy has really helped with her recovery. She was able to sit in a chair for about 2 hours in the morning too. She looked even better today than she did yesterday, and I expect that to keep improving.

At church this morning, we sang the Doxology:

Praise God from Whom all blessngs flow;
Praise Him, all cretures here below: alleluia, alleluia!
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host,
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost:
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

We don't sing it at Hopevale. I don't necessarily miss singing it, nor do I miss not saying the Lord's Prayer and all of the other things we used to do at St. John's. It's just a different way of worship, and any worship is a good thing. They certainly do things differently in Nigeria, and I like that too. It is a wonderful song, however. And so true. All blessings do flow from God, as Anne and I are fully aware. And we sing His praises repeatedly.

God Bless,

Saturday, December 19, 2009

December 19, 2009

This should be a pretty short blog since not a real lot happened today. If you remember I wrote yesterday's blog this morning. I went over to see Anne shortly after that. She was propped up in bed smiling. She had been up in a chair already, mainly because her bed needed to be changed because of leakage of blood around her drainage tube from the liver area. To my amazement, her NG (naso-gastric) tube had already been removed, and they were already letting her drink some clear liquids. When I was an intern in general surgery 30 years ago, you'd be lucky to get clear liquids until 3-4 days after surgery. Her puffiness had gone down considerably. She was comfortable all day except when she tred to move around in bed. She was getting sore lying in bed, but sitting up made her "fuzzy" mainly because her hemoglobin had dropped from 12 to about 8.1. They don't like to transfuse unless it gets down to 7 which is OK by me. We got her up to walk around 5:00pm and she made one lap around the nurses station. We almost had to run to keep up with her. What a trooper.

The girls arrived at the Rochester airport at 1:00pm Minnesota time (2:00 Saginaw time). We waited for their bag to get on the carousel. And waited. And waited. Well, their bag (they had put their clothes in one bag to save money) never showed up. It apparently made it to Detroit, but not to Rochester. I'm hoping they get it by tomorrow. We stayed with Anne until a little after 7:00pm then went to dinner at Victoria's--my new favorite Italian restaurant. You can't eat an appetizer there and expect to finish dinner. In fact, you can't finish dinner even if you don't eat an appetizer. So, we packed up the "remains" to eat for lunch Sunday, and got to the hotel around 9:30pm. Still, a pretty long day, as a lot of it is sitting around waiting--now waiting for Anne to recover from the surgery. With God's help, I expect that to go incredibly well, as she has already shown after only 24 hours. I'm hoping she gets some rest without us there. We'll spend all day with her tommorow. I was invited to church by Helen Laack, a Centurion who lives out here in Rochester. I think the girls would like to come but their luggage hasn't arrived yet so they may not go since they don't have a change of clothes.

Here's how I feel now:

"Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song." Psalm 95:1-2

Only, I don't think you really want to hear me sing!

Interestingly, last February, when I was last in Nigeria, I was talking to my friend Andy Wallace about how blessed my life was--great wife, great kids, great (not always) job, good health (of course that was before Anne was diagnosed with cancer), you name it, I had it. Well, I can honestly say that my life is still blessed--in even more ways. I have a God and Savior who loves me unconditionally and I have a hugh number of friends who have helped me and Anne and the girls get through the biggest challenge of our lives with flying colors. Talk about a Christmas present!

God Bless (and He blesses all of us)

December 18, 2009's actually the 19th, but I didn't get to do this last night so here I am this morning.

We were to get to the hospital (Rochester Methodist Hospital) around 7:45 Friday morning, so I knew that Anne wasn't the first case of the day. We got up to the pre-op admission unit around 8:00, and they did the usual nursing stuff (interview, filling out paperwork, starting IV, taking pre-op meds, etc), and at 9:30am I took my leave as they took Anne up to the OR. They have a smallish family waiting area with TV, magazines and coffee. It was packed, but I was able to find a corner to plant myself (actually I sat under the TV, but I at least had a socket to plug in the computer). I was told that surgery would take aroud 4 hours, so I figured that she would be done around 2:00pm. At 11:30 I went down to the cafeteria and had a sandwich (or as my mother would say sangwich) and a cup of soup, then ran back up to the family waiting area. When I got there, a "nurse communicator" was actually just looking for me. "They just started her surgery at 11:43" he told me. Ok, they won't be done until nearly 4:00pm. No problem, I have my computer and a bunch of books, and I could look at one or two magazines. So I sat and waited, and waited and waited.

At 4:30pm, Dr. Wolff, the colorectal surgeon came down to talk to me. Surgery was over--they were just closing her up, he said. He did find the colon mass and was able to get it all out along with the surrounding lymph nodes. Everything looked fine from his standpoint, but he wouldn't know until the pathology report came back as to whether there was any viable tumor. Mainly, he did not need to do a colostomy (Praise God for that--I think that was what worried Anne the most), and he thought she did and will do fine. At around 5:00pm Dr. Nagorney came down to talk to me. From his standpoint the surgery went great. He got everything out that he needed to, including some lymph nodes. The intra-operative ultrasound of the liver showed no remaining tumors, and most importantly, all the tumor tissue that he took out was dead. The chemotherapy had killed everything! Is God awesome or what!!! He mentioned that one of his collegues wrote a recent article that showed that a response to chemo like this had a tremendous prognosis. Here's my shouting from the mountaintop!!!!

A little after he left, a nurse came and got me and brought me up to Anne's room. We didn't get the private room (yet) that she wanted (she was worried having me and the girls there would disturb her neighbor), but her roommate is leaving this morning so she may be in the room all by herself anyway--at least until Monday. "She should be here in about an hour or so" she said. I sat in the room and waited. And waited. And waited. Well, you get the picture. At 8:00--so she had been in recovery about 3 hours--they wheeled her down to the room. "We'll just be a minute" the nurse told me, as they had to transfer her to the bed. So I stood outside the room and waited. And waited. Well, anyway, after a while I was let back in. Anne was awake but pretty sleepy and sore. Her back was bothering her from laying flat on it for so long, so I helped her to get to her side. She was pretty puffy from the meds, but looked beautiful to me. We spoke for a bit, and at around 9:00pm, I left and went back to the hotel, sat at the bar, had a glass of wine and a salad for dinner. What a day. But thank God, this part os over. Now all she has to do is heal up, which should take all of 6 weeks or so. Then we can start our lives over again, and leave this all behind us.

My friend from Hopevale, George Puia, sent me this:

"I pray that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be
strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, and
that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you,
being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all
the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God's love, and to
know Christ's love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the
fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we
ask or think--according to the power that works in you--to Him be glory in the
church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen" Ephesians 3:14-21

God Bless,

Thursday, December 17, 2009

December 17, 2009

How about this? Two days in a row!

Anne and I met with Dr. Alberts, an oncologist here at Mayo today. He basically said that as long as all of the pathology looks good, Anne may not need any more chemotherapy. That would be cool, of course. We met with Dr. Nagorney, the liver surgeon this morning as well. Unfortunately, we had hoped she could have her surgery done endoscopically, but apparently they won't be doing it that way because of he extent of what they have to cut out. Also, the combination of needing to do the colon with the liver makes it better to do it open. Apparently, on a good news front, the embolization procedure Anne had a month ago did what it was supposed to do--shrink the right lobe of the liver and make te left side grow bigger. Dr. Wolff, the colorectal surgeon will be starting he surgery tomorrow, with Dr. Nagorney following. We will be checking in to the Methodist Hospital at 7:45am--which means that she won't be going first at 8:00, but probably their 2nd case of the morning. I mentioned on the previous blog that we had checked in to a hotel across the street from St. Mary's Hospital. That's because we were under the impression that that was where she was having the surgery. We were wrong. So, we checked out of the SpringHill Suites and into the Kahler Grand, where we've stayed both other times we were here. They actually recognized us--we've got to stop coming here. This is an older hotel but it's in a perfect spot. You can get just about everywhere you need to go underground which is a good thing considering it's cold enough to freeze off body parts I really can't mention in a blog. I wound up reserving a second room for the girls for when they come.

I found this Bible verse recently:

"A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person's
strength. "
Proverbs 17:22, NLT

I think this is where they got "laughter is the best medicine from". I've been trying to keep cheerful throughout this whole journey of ours--and trying to make Anne laugh as much as I can. We have had a lot of fun, spending a lot more time with each other than we have been able to over the past many years--mainly because of my work. Anne was asked if she would contribute to a new study they're doing here about colon and pelvic surgery. There were a lot of questions about sex in it--and boy can I do lots of jokes about that. She kept "shushing" me when she started filling it out in the exam room while we were waiting--which only made me crack even more jokes about it. The other side of this is how your strength can be sapped from you if you are constantly worrying, fretting, or whatever else you want to call it. There's no benefit from walking around being depressed, but if you have faith in God, you will give your troubles over to Him, and rejoice in the fact that God ("Father") knows best, and His will be done.

Thanks again for all of your prayers.

God Bless,

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

December 16, 2009

I promised I'd write this blog while we were out at Mayo, so here goes. We actually got in late last night. We left Saginaw at 8:50 am and pulled in here around 8:30 pm--so it actually took about 13 or so hours to get here. We did stop at a Bob Evans for lunch (yum!--Anne's choince, not mine). We were the youngest couple in there by at least 20 years. The lunch stayed with me until we got here. Our original plan was to stop somewhere along the way and sleep but since we didn't need to stop for dinner, we decided to keep going. I passed through La Crosse Wisconsin and figured we only had an hour and a half to go. I also thought that there would be somewhere along the way to stop for gas. Boy was I wrong. Can you imagine passing about 10 intersections on a highway with no gas stations on the exits? The Buick Enclave I was driving (actually it used to be my car--a substitute for my usual Surburban--but that's a whole different story) gets about 18 miles per gallon on the highway (not 21 or even 24 like they advertise). The "you're going to run out of gas soon" light came on and I checked the on-board computer. I had about 40 miles of gas left, and 33 miles to go. I don't know about you, but I didn't trust the car at all. So I prayed and prayed--and God came through as usual. This time it was with the Amish. They have a truck stop a few exits ahead of Rochester Minnesota, thankfully. I was so happy I almost bought a few pies from the service station!!!

Anne had booked a room at the SpringHill Suites for us, right across the street from St. Mary's Hospital, where we are pretty sure she will be hospitalized. The room is quite nice, about the same size as at the Kahler Grand where we have stayed before. The hospital is literally across the street. I probably wouldn't really even need a coat to get there, except it was -7 degrees out there last night, and I'd prefer that I not freeze off any body parts, thank you.

Anne had some bloodwork done today, as well as an EKG and a CT of the abdomen. Tomorrow we meet with an oncologist and both surgeons. She's already got a list of questions for them. Boy, do I hate it when a patient comes prepared like that! But, actually here they seem to enjoy it. Maybe because they're employees and don't have to worry about generating enough money to pay the rent. I guess I'll have to check if they're hiring orthopods.

After dinner I took Anne to the chapel at St. Mary's. I mentioned it in an earlier blog, but it's really a very large Catholic Church. It's absolutely beautiful. There was another couple there with a small child when we arrived, but after they left we were alone in a very divine place. You could certainly feel the presence of God there. I must admit that I do really love churches like that--especially the ones in Italy. I'm happy with Hopevale, of course, because it's not the building that makes the worship, but the people inside, but there is no question that there is something to be said about the grandeur that some of these churches have as part of their worship.

Today's passage is from Psalm 100:4-5:

"Enter [the Lord's] gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give
thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures
forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations."

I give thanks to God wherever I am these days. What He has done for us is unbelievable. Please pray with us that Anne does well on Friday. I also want to pray for all of the other people that have been brought to my attention that need His help.

God Bless,


Sunday, December 13, 2009

December 12, 2009

Yes, it's that time again. I haven't written in a while because Anne has done quite well, but I wanted to get this one in before we head out to Mayo Clinic this coming Tuesday (the 15th). I'll ask right up front for some extra prayers for her: that she doesn't come down with a cold before the surgery which would postpone it, that I do a good job of driving us out there Tuesday whithout any "incidents", that Anne keeps a positive attitude (she has been somewhat down over the past couple of weeks, worrying about the upcoming surgery), that we have our questions answered by the 2 surgeons on thursday (that we haven't even met yet!), and that God guides their hearts, hands and minds while doing her surgery on the 18th.

Heather and Michelle will be coming out to visit on the 19th and will return home on the 23rd. We won't be together for Christmas for the first time ever, but they have been invited to spend the day with some of our best friends. Heather will be going to Pastor Mike and Rhonda Garner's house, and Michelle to Tom and Karen Zirkle's house. I am very thankful to their families for taking care of mine. Anne and I will most likely be out in Rochester Minnesota still. However, I spoke with my sister Anna yesterday, a surgical nurse, who said she recently scrubbed on a Hepatectomy case (removal of part of the liver like Anne will be having), and the surgeon told her he couls take out as much liver as he wanted by a laparoscopic technique. I know they can do solon resections that way. So, we'll have to all pray they can do that for Anne. Recovery and pain will be so much easier for her! And I assume we might be coming home earlier. We'll see, I guess. I have to leave that one in God's (and the surgeon's) hands.

This past few weeks we have been going over the Apostle's Creed at church. Pastor Dan, who is an awesome preacher, mentioned the Manhattan Declaration today, as something that we should read. It was written by a few religious leaders, including one of my favorites (and mentors) Chuck Colson. I believe it draws a line in the sand for us Christians over 3 specific topics: the sanctity of life, marriage, and religious liberty. Please check out the document at and sign it if you agree.

I promise to keep everyone posted while we're away at Mayo. I want everyone to know how great God is through what miracles He has done for us.

"Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations
what he has done." 1Chronicles 16:8