Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sayin' Thanks

So, it's been a while since I've checked in. And, in that while, I had a little surprise hospital stay, Thanksgiving happened, and various other issues have creeped up in life.

It pretty much wiped me out, but it also was so refreshing to see my family all together again. Even if I did go to bed around 9:00 nightly, which seemed like a lot later than the 7:00 I'd been hitting the hay before they got here.

People who know me make fun of me for the amount of things I "don't believe in." (Some random examples include Thanksgiving and reading more than one book by the same author.) Generally, I avoid all trending pop-Christian ideas (I'm looking at you, Jesus Calling). Not because I think they're wrong, but because I am drawn to and like to celebrate the little unique corners of life. And I'm rebellious and defiant.

So, while everyone else was daily logging onto Facebook to list their items of thankfulness through this month, I was Thanksgiving scrooge. Some of that was harmless, but my heart definitely wandered into sinful places.

I would be remiss to skip it completely because I am so incredibly thankful.

I am thankful to be alive. This time last year I was feeling the strange hard-to-describe feelings that turned out to be indications of a brain tumor.

I'm thankful for my husband who has literally emptied himself of everything "him" to be "us." He did that on June 2, 2001, and a million times since then, but over the past year, he's been especially Christ-like in the way he has stepped aside, given up, assumed whatever posture he's needed to to serve me. He's created quite the monstrously needy wife!

I'm thankful for our families. They've all dropped everything to be with us, help us, travel across the country just to remind us that they love us.  For being long-distance, we've enjoyed the benefits of their love as if they lived close by. So, PMCA and Dr. & Maggie Carber, I'm thankful for you too. Because you've let them come. Every time. And I've really needed them.

I'm thankful for doctors and technology and smart people. For breakthroughs and research and new ideas.

For AIA and our financial supporters. We can't wait to be back full-time doing what we love. Your grace in the meantime has been precious.

For friends. Friends make you feel normal - remind you that life is still going on, and make you feel like you're part of it. Friends let you be scared and cry or pray prayers filled with curse words. Friends lay in bed with you and feed you milkshakes and wait patiently when your brain can't form coherent sentences.

For art and music and reading and tv. For outlets for my mind into beautiful or imaginative spaces. Seriously, for Parenthood where I can see my moments on a tiny screen.

I'm thankful for the Body. This has been a weird church year for us as we've begun a transition from our home church (which we love and continue to connect with) to a local church (my loyalty to Fairborn knows no bounds). But both places have been what we've needed. And, of course, the Body extends far beyond the walls of either of those buildings. Into churches and houses and places and countries we've never been. I'm thankful for you.

Whew, that was a long one. Sorry about that. When my brain shut down recently, it became challenging to read and write.

I start chemo again in a week, so it might be another long while until I say hi. Until then, here's my question for you: How do you trust God for big, miraculous things while still maintaining a heart and mind submissive to His mysterious will?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Heading home

Thank you all so much for your prayers, Susie and I are overwhelmed at the response from all of you. We feel loved and cared for. Thank you. We are on our way home. We knew coming here that we might not figure out what was causing Susie's recent symptoms. However, we also knew we could rule out several things. Thankfully, they have ruled out scary things like a stroke, new tumor growth and seizures. At this point, their best guess is this must be an adverse reaction to her chemotherapy. We will address this in the weeks ahead. I am also happy to let you know that Susie is working her phone again! She has been practicing and working hard to be able to do this. It still may take a few weeks before she is back to where she used to be, but she has made tremendous progress. She has also made progress with her speech, memory, balance and other cognitive issues. We will continue to observe her at home and see if she will need any further physical, speech or occupational therapy. Thanks for praying for us. Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we navigate the next few weeks to see how Susie does. We are hoping and trusting that the Lord would heal Susie completely and restore her to full strength and capacity. We are excited to go home today and see our kids. I'm very thankful to bring mommy back home to them. Blessings, Ben

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Heading to the hospital

Thank you all so much for your prayers today. 

At the beginning of our journey, the Lord used the story of Him providing daily manna for his people in the Old Testament as an encouragement and guide for me.  That still remains true today.  God provides for me and for us each day.  I asked for prayer today for Susie.  I was hoping we would make some progress in figuring out what was going on with her cognitive issues. 

Well, after consulting with our doctors, they agree that this is abnormal.  What she is experiencing goes beyond normal fatigue from chemo and something else is going on.  They also agree that further testing needs to be done to determine the cause.  So tomorrow morning we will be admitted to the hospital to begin this round of tests.  I don’t anticipate being there for more than a few days, but we’ll see.  One day at a time. 

Thanks for your continued prayers for us – Susie, the kids, and me.  We truly appreciate them.   Please continue to pray for healing for Susie – both for her long term health and the immediate cognitive deficits.  I’m praying the Lord would restore her memory, speech, strength and balance.  Please also keep the kids in prayer as they adjust to some changes over the next few days.  Please also pray that the doctors may be able to determine the cause of what is happening and that it would be fixed.  I’m especially praying that she would be able to work her phone again.  This has been one of the results of what has been going on, she has lost the ability to navigate her phone.  For those of you who know Susie, you know how much she loves her phone.  The day I bought her an Iphone for Christmas she said to me, “Now that I have an Iphone, there is nothing in the world that I can’t know!" 

I’m learning more and more that with brain cancer, ups and downs are part of the normal course of the journey.  There are good weeks and bad weeks.  Although I was hoping we would have had a longer stretch of good weeks, I’m thankful for the opportunity to be loved by God each day in the midst of the good things, scary things and hard things.   Thanks for lifting us up in prayer. 



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A call to prayer

The title to this entry seems redundant, as I know so many of you pray for us. 

I wanted to ask for an extra measure of prayer on behalf of Susie over the next 24-72 hours.  She continues to deal with fatigue from the chemo.  She still has no appetite.  Those are all normal and expected. 

Beyond these, there have been some other symptoms she is having that are causing some more concern for me.   Please pray for God's healing hand to be on her.  That He might restore her health and specifically her cognitive function.

Thanks for praying.  Please also pray for Simon, Talya, Charlie and Annie.

Thankful that our God hears us, knows what we need before we even ask.  So thankful that He loves us. 

Bless the Lord O my soul and all that is within me, bless His holy name!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A tough week

This past week was Susie’s first week on chemo at a higher dose.  It proved to be tougher than we expected.  Please keep her in your prayers as she has finished this course.  She is very fatigued and has spent the better part of the last 3 days sleeping and in bed.  The good news is she will be off for the next 4 weeks until her next round in December. 

Also, please keep our kids in your prayers.  Talya has had a little cough.  Charlie has had a cough and has had trouble keeping his food down as a result of it.  I’ll be taking him to the pediatrician tomorrow. 

Thanks for your continued prayers and support.  We were told to expect these sorts of side affects for Susie, but going through this last week was hard.  We pray and hope for the Lord to renew Susie’s physical strength in the days to come.  We continue to be thankful for how He provides for us each day.