Thursday, April 28, 2011


I love the stories God leads me to in the Bible. He continues to have things to teach me, but in this case, it was simply a story of affirmation....God telling me that I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing.

One day this week I was drawn to Genesis....the story of God's improbable promise to Abraham... when he was told by God that he was going to have a son by his wife Sarah well into old age. I will bless Sarah and will surely give you a son by her. (Gen 17:16)

Abraham falls face down, laughs and says to himself, Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety? (v.17) God reiterates his promise: Your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. (v.19).                                  

How does a nearly 100-year-old man take that promise? From a human standpoint, he would perhaps be filled with cynicism (Yeah, right, God), or consider God someone who preyed on people's emotions (I know what Sarah's infertility did to her emotionally), or be filled with a complete sense of disbelief. I mean, the utter ridiculousness of the whole idea. Sarah is around 90, for goodness sakes. This is folly. From a human standpoint.

Later, God appears to Abraham near the entrance to his tent. Sarah is in the tent, eavesdropping. She hears God tell her husband that in a year's time, he and Sarah would have a son. Well past the age of childbearing, Sarah laughs to herself as she thought, After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure? (Gen 18:12). 

The Lord hears Sarah and says to Abraham, Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son. (v. 14)

Faced with a promise from the Creator of the universe that was utterly impossible for them to fathom, Abraham chooses faith. He chooses to believe what he could not see and would not see for many months. Heb 11:11 tells us: By faith, Abraham, even though he was past age, and Sarah was barren, was enabled to become a father BECAUSE he considered God FAITHFUL who had made the promise!

Abraham takes God at his Word. There was nothing believable about the promise.....but it was spoken by the only One who is totally believable and trustworthy and faithful. 

Gen 21:1-3 Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. 

As per God's instructions, Abraham and Sarah name their son Isaac, which mean laughter. I can see them both now, giddy with chuckles and gratitude for this improbable baby boy. Laughter. The perfect name.

It tells us in Romans 4:18-21: Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations. WITHOUT WEAKENING IN HIS FAITH, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead... and that Sarah's womb was also dead. YET HE DID NOT WAVER THROUGH UNBELIEF regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that GOD had the power TO DO WHAT HE HAD PROMISED!!

Through this story that I have always loved, God reminds me that his promises for healing are laced throughout His Word, and that He is a God who keeps his promises. Healing of incurable stage 4 lung cancer could, on a human level, make me roll my eyes upward like Sarah did. But I worship a God who specializes in the impossible and I will be an Abraham, unwavering in my belief that God will do what He has promised, and have total faith in something that I cannot see or feel or hear or touch. And I have complete faith that my day of laughter is within reach.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Today I want to reprint this post from early last fall, and tell my parents and brothers how much I love them, and how much their faith and support and love have meant to me, not just since August, but my whole life. 

Circa 1962

July 2010

We really haven't changed so much, have we??? Hugs across the miles to each of you. Love you all past the moon.

Friday, April 22, 2011


As I ponder this day, somber both in weather and in significance, I have such different thoughts about Good Friday than I ever have before. I have been avidly studying Scripture as to what it says about healing, and I have also spent many many hours in other theological books regarding healing. What I know to be true…….and what is NOT stressed in the Christian church today….is how Christ died not just for our sins, but for our diseases as well.

We were given two redemptive blessings by His death on the cross; salvation and healing. He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses (Matt: 8:17) In Isaiah’s 53rd chapter prophesying the death of Christ, he says the same thing. Salvation from sin is universally accepted; healing from disease is not. But the Bible is filled with proof that God’s will for His followers is to be well. Christians claim their salvation, but they do not readily claim their healing.

Our substitute, Jesus Christ, was made sick and sinful for us. I have come to understand that neither sin nor sickness can be laid on us because Jesus bore them both on the cross. And therefore, they do not need to be borne by us. So easy is it for Christians to accept their salvation by faith in God’s sacrifice of His son, but we also need to accept our healing of disease by faith in God’s sacrifice as well. He bore BOTH sin and sickness. The Word does not lie. And His Word confirms this.

Bless the Lord, Oh, my soul…..Who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases. (Ps 103:2-3).

I am grateful for this day, where I can thank my Savior for what He has accomplished on the cross and for the faith to believe wholly without wavering in His desire to heal me.

Happy Easter to you all.

Monday, April 18, 2011


My infusion went perfectly today. My nurses were SO welcoming, sweet and knowledgeable....they put me at ease immediately. They even got a good vein on the 2nd try!!

I love the private rooms. I never really minded the open room concept that I have been used to, except for the fact that I was always the youngest person in the room with still-keen hearing and the decibel levels from the TVs of the older patients on each side of me sometimes made my brain was also hard to read. Today I was able to read my novel with NO noise distraction!

My room also had a heated recliner and a nice-sized flat screen TV. There are two snack bars, and a family room where there are sofas and a computer to check email. It is a beautiful set-up.

They gave me a different nausea med than I have been getting. It is meant to give you 48 hours of relief. I hope it does! My nausea has never been real bad, certainly not enough to diminish my appetite, but this drug sounds like a good choice.

The entry


All the private rooms look out over the balcony to the entry below and the outside----love that open feeling----this was my view

Lisa and Katy, the nurses who checked me in
and got me needled-up

IV in and good to go....

Snack bar

Marcia, my infusion nurse 

Coffee shop in the main entry

Coffee shop

Grand piano and fireplace in the first floor lounge

I also met the nurse-----a sister-in-law of a friend----who originally recommended this new doctor to me. She knew I was coming in and she came down to meet me and we visited for quite a while. She is a great gal!!

So grateful to God for orchestrating this change in my medical care!! I believe it was meant to be.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Tomorrow morning is my first infusion at the new place. I have to admit that it is a bit unsettling.....just the newness of it all. I loved my old infusion nurses, they knew me, they were really doing well accessing my disgustingly small veins, and the environment was just so nice.

My over-active mind does things like: Do I need to have the new infusion nurses double-check the dosages I am getting (since I learned that an overdose of the drug I am getting can kill you...ahem)? Will they not be any good at veins and have to do 2 or 3 sticks before they can get the catheter in?

I will be happy to have the initial session behind me. My only prayer request is that side effects would continue to be minimal. A little nausea and a little fatigue are so tolerable, and I just pray that it remains that way.

I won't see my new doctor tomorrow since I just saw him last week, but will see him next month. He even let me do my lab work here at home on Friday, so I don't even need to deal with their lab (where they is sure to be much waiting). It'll be great to just go to infusion and get out.

Thanks for your prayers!

Oh, Lord my God, I called to you for help, and You healed me. Psalm 30:2

Friday, April 15, 2011


I have been thinking about how easy it was for me to decide---on the spot----to transfer my care to the doctor I consulted with last week. I am usually not a snap decision maker. I have an innate tendency to cogitate over options before committing. I think I am doing less of that with age, and I’m glad. Maybe I have finally learned that few things in life are irreversible.

My dad was the first person who influenced my decision-making. After working 1 day in the local nursing home (senior year) as a nurse’s aide, I came home and said I was not going to work there…..I was going to quit. I did not like old people, I did not like the smells, I did not like the hard work. My dad said to me, “You will not quit after one day. You are going to give it a week. You work 5 shifts and if you still feel that way, fine. But you need to give it a chance.”

What was my career choice? Gerontology. It was an easy choice. Dad, have I ever thanked you enough for your tough love that day?

When it came to deciding on my first job, I had several options. Once again, Dad said to me, “Mary, all other things being equal, take the job that scares you the most. It will be the one that challenges you the most.” I did just that. And I grew by leaps and bounds.

Deciding to marry Dick was something that evolved after the two of us dated for 2 years and had many long and winding discussions about the subject. It was a decision long in the making, but it was the right decision, and easy to make once we were sure.

I think the easiest decision I have ever made was deciding to put my career on hold and stay home to raise our son. With a goal of getting back to work in 2-3 weeks, I was absolutely blindsided by the intense love I felt for this precious miracle, and I knew right away that I wanted to be the one to raise him. I was a fairly large fish in a fairly large pond career-wise, but it all paled next to the option of leaving my boy in someone else's arms every morning.

We knew that the greatest day care in the entire city could not give Sam what I could. Who would spend hours reading books to him each day? Who would stimulate him intellectually like I would? Who would spend long lazy chunks of time snuggling together, whispering words to each other that only we understood? Who was going to spend one-on-one time with him building forts, talking about Jesus, teaching him about consequences of actions, and singing silly songs? I wanted my shoulder soaked with his tears. I wanted my camera to capture his first step. I wanted my voice to comfort him and laugh with him during the day. Who could love him like his mama could?

Yes, he would be safe and fed and have activities at day care, but he would not have his mama, and in that role, I knew we only had a one-shot opportunity to give him the best start in life we could. We had a 5-year window before he would be influenced by peers and teachers. And I wanted to fill that window with the security, love, family values, confidence, creativity and structure that I knew all children needed ( I loved Developmental Psychology!) and that WE felt was best given by a parent. 

Dick and I believed without a moment’s hesitation that putting my career on hold and going to a one-income family was the absolute right decision for us and for our son. Jobs are always there, we decided. I was given this incredible honor and gift to be this baby boy's mom and I wanted to savor every single moment. It was an easy decision, Oh, such an easy decision. And one that still bears fruit today.

The philosopher Pythagoras once said that choices are the hinges of destiny. I like that image. You open doors and you shut doors with your decisions. Which way the hinges bend is always in your hands. I feel as though I opened a large door with my decision about “hiring” a new oncologist. It feels right. I feel that “peace that passes all understanding.” It too feels like a decision that will bear fruit in years to come.

As for our decision to remodel our bathroom and rec rooms? Perhaps not wrong, but certainly painful. As I put on my Facebook status, if I EVER mention home renovation to anyone again, please shoot me. The only thing THAT decision is bearing is our frustration and impatience!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Life is nearly back to normal (we are still living in home renovation chaos). Dick got home from the Dominican Republic last night. Sam came home yesterday so he could hear all of Dick's stories first hand. The house feels full again! Grama Della's barbecue ribs and blueberry pie for dinner..... 

...and speaking of blueberry pie, I feel like a little pocket gopher with my bags of wild blueberries from this summer still in the freezer. We came home this year laden with so many raspberries, strawberries and blueberries from picking sprees that we had to go buy a freezer at Lowe's!!! And then, to find out a couple weeks later that berries are one of the major anti-cancer foods. God knew all along that I would need to eat lots of berries every day and boy, did He provide! 

Dick had a great trip, but is happy to be home. 

Dick with the 3 students he supervised in the clinic.

His casita.....he was the only man in the faculty group, so he didn't have to share it!

Walking path behind his casita

He said he sat under the cabana in the bugs!

A family who lived down the road invited him to visit when he walked by.

The Dominican Republic physical therapists in the clinic where he worked.

Lush vegetation!
He has well over 200 pictures and each tells a story....thought I would just put a few here.
I am so grateful he had this chance for such a rich inter-cultural experience. And now I am grateful to have him right beside me!

Friday, April 8, 2011


Today was my consultation with a new oncologist. It was meant to be a second opinion. It was meant as a jumping off point to possibly going to a large cancer center somewhere in the country for additional input in ongoing treatment. What it ended up being was an hour of grace which led me to ask Dr. A if he would assume my care. His response, “I would be honored to take over your care.” How often do you hear THAT in an exam room?

He is warm, knowledgeable, kind, thorough and affirming; and far beyond that, he fit every criteria I had asked for. He is a born-again Christian, a man who believes in a holistic approach to cancer, and believes in God's will and power to heal. When he said, “I know you know this is an incurable cancer from a medical standpoint, but we never lose sight of healing miracles from God,” he sealed the deal. When I told him that I was standing on God’s promises for healing, he said, “That’s where you need to stay. That is more powerful than any chemotherapy I can give you.” He fed my spirit in a way that I cannot even describe.

Dr. A even prayed for me before I left. He prayed for healing, he prayed that he would have wisdom in my care, he prayed for my family, and for God’s mercy and grace on my ongoing treatment.

I may have incurable cancer, but now I have a doctor who will stand with Dick and me and our inner circle in absolute faith for healing. This journey just took an unexpected turn, and the road ahead looks clear. We will continue on my current chemo regime…..he agreed that this was a good choice. And we will stay on this until the tumors grow, OR, as he said, until I am healed!

All glory and praise to God for this turn of events today.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


For a long time my niece Rachel kept telling me not to grab the pen out of God’s hand……that He is not done writing my story. I don’t do it any more. I thought I was writing my own ending. And the final chapter was a funeral.

What I realize is that my story has to have God’s ending, not mine. And I believe with all my heart, based on God’s Word, that the ending is a good one. God wrote the first chapter while my tears stained the papyrus pages. The chapters kept coming at a pace I was fairly comfortable with, and kept being surprised by. The chapters He writes are of my ever-changing cancer journey, but more importantly, each page is filled with my journey in Him. His words have been tough and gentle, reassuring and challenging. The times I have tried to take the pen out of His hand were the times that fear became my overstrike key and I wanted to wish away the story that He was writing. I didn’t want to see the story. I didn’t want to live it out.

I find myself now seeing the current chapter, and feeling so strong, so full of faith in healing. The story he has allowed me to live out is a story I would never have chosen to be the protagonist of, but I am. I read what He has written, and I look back at chapters of fear and pain and worry and grief and see Him carrying me; and now I look at the newest chapters He is writing and I see words of belief and strength and fight and faith and normalcy and humor.

He has asked me to come away with Him in fellowship these past months and be renewed in Him. He has required me to sit idly by while He cuts a new pattern for my life, and then writes the storyline and plot. He has asked me for trust, and I have given it to Him. He has asked me to be still, and know Him and His healing promises. I have been still. Every single day He puts pen to the paper of my soul and writes this story in the way only a sovereign God could write it. I let Him write now. Rachel was so right. The author of Life can be trusted to be the author of my life. And when the final chapter is done, I intend to take pen to paper (or, keyboard to monitor) to bring His story of healing to the masses. And become that person who tells others cloaked in fear not to take the pen out of God’s hand.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I spent the morning taking advantage of the “sunny and 65” day by getting all the yard work done in the front of the house. I trimmed back all the shrubs about 6 inches, blew out all the leaves from under and through the bushes, cleaned the rocks and raked the yard. Feels so good to have that done. Think I'll wait til tomorrow to tackle the back.

Thorough, dependable, but not cheap.


There are moments when I am amazed at the levels of faith God has brought Dick and me to throughout the past 7 months. In August, we were pleading for my life. In September, we were praying for healing. In October, we began to stand on the Word of God for healing. By January, we began thanking God in advance for the healing that we believed was going to happen. And now, God has infused us with the certainty that His Word is true and that I am, indeed, healing. We stand on Mark 11:22-24. We believe it has happened and we await the “proof” (by medical standards) in His time. 

I read another wonderful devotional recently. It described our faith journey to a T. It said you must “pray your way into full faith, coming to the point of assurance, while still praying, that your prayer has been accepted and heard, and in advance of the event, with confident anticipation, actually become aware of having received what you ask.”

And further…..”Let us remember that NO EARTHLY CIRCUMSTANCE can hinder the fulfillment of God’s Word. We must look steadfastly at His immutable Word and not at the uncertainty of this ever-changing world. God desires for us TO BELIEVE HIS WORD WITHOUT OTHER EVIDENCE, and THEN He is ready to do for us ‘according to our faith (Matt 9:29).’”

That is what is so sweet about this. Dick (and Sam) and I have reached the point in this faith journey that we believe God WITHOUT OTHER EVIDENCE!! Even with a PET scan that shows unchanged tumors, we have evidence of healing because and ONLY because of God’s promises. Faith is the evidence of things unseen (Heb 11:1). The healing has not been seen by human radiological eyes, but that means nothing to us. We have God’s Word, which does not lie, and that is all the evidence we need.

No fear. All faith.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


I will be consulting with another oncologist on Friday up in Sioux Falls. When I spoke with my insurance’s case manager, I asked her about them paying for a consult at some larger cancer center across the country. She said she preferred that I get a consult in SF first, and then if they feel that I could benefit from some treatment being given elsewhere, they can refer me and the insurance would pay for it. Dick and I want to make sure we have considered all options in my care.

I am looking forward to meeting this SF oncologist. The sister-in-law of a friend of mine works as an oncology nurse in SF, and I called her to “screen” the various doctors they have at one of the cancer centers there. When I told her I would really like to talk with someone who is into holistic mind-body-spirit approaches to cancer along with medical approaches, and someone who is a Christian and someone who knows lung cancer, she immediately said, “I think I know a good match for you. He fits all your criteria, plus he is very knowledgeable about clinical trials across the country.” So….I will let you know how it goes!


I get my staples out tomorrow morning. Sure hope that the soreness around my wound starts to ease up once they are out. Lesson learned: when about to faint, lay the heck down and don’t try any more heroics. And I will have the scar to remind me of that!!

Saturday, April 2, 2011


I miss my husband!
I miss his presence around our home.
I miss his smile and the way his forehead crinkles when he laughs.
I miss the tender and loving way he treats me every day.
I miss talking to him at the dinner table.
I miss his warm feet in bed.
I miss rubbing the top of his head when we spoon.
I miss doing the daily crossword puzzle with him every night after dinner.
I miss his, "Can I do anything to help you with dinner?" after he comes home.
I miss our Saturday "honey-do" lists that we work on together each weekend.
I miss his heartfelt prayers when he prays for Sam and me.
I miss standing next to him in church as we worship in song.
I miss the sound of his voice.
I miss holding the hands that I could pick out blindfolded from a thousand others.
I miss my rock.
No absence can make my heart grow any fonder than it is. Our love can't get 
       any deeper.
I miss him, but I am so thrilled for him to be able to have this opportunity.
Only 8 more days!!