Thursday, June 10, 2010

Yesterday - Just Fluff! Today - Deadly Serious!

Yesterday's post was "fluff" if you please. Today's is more serious. I guess you could call it "deadly serious".

Unless you've been following my blog for awhile, you may be unaware of the following:

1) I'm a lot older than most of my readers...except for my mom, who obviously is older than I. *waves hi to mom!*

2) I have ovarian cancer, diagnosed about 18 months ago.

3) I am well into my second series of chemo...carbo/taxol/Avastin... and hope to finish up with the heavy guns the last week in July. I'm thinking my Oncologist may have me continue on with the Avastin. He recently attended a conference in Chicago where results of a clinical trial show that continuance with Avastin has efficacy in extending "stability"...that means it extends the time of non-recurrence. It is not a cure. I'm all for extending time of non-recurrence. On the other hand every drug has it's risks...including Avastin. So I'm happy on one hand to have it available and I'm a bit apprehensive on the other hand as to whether the possible benefits outweigh possible risks.

4) My hubby, who has been bearing the brunt of being "caretaker" during this time has himself now been diagnosed with a major health problem. That means we both are looking at serious stuff in terms of treatment, well-being during and after treatment, and...if you wish to really terms of the end of our lives.

Some of you, being younger, may look at us as "old" and therefore "naturally" close to the end of our lives. But from our perspective, we are still "young" relatively speaking! We have many friends and relatives who are much older than we, and who are still living stable, healthy lives...people who are happy and hale. So even though we may be "old" in your eyes, it is startling to be advised that we have suddenly shifted from "well" to having "serious health issues".

(Some of you, being younger, may be blissfully unaware that either of our two ailments can happen to people in your age bracket...the twenties, thirties, forties, etc. Please be advised that I have become acquainted with many of your age who are dealing with the same health issues with which we are dealing. Youth is not a safety net when it comes to the peculiarities of disease!)

I want to say this...during this time we have had to look at "life" and "death". We've looked at the "what-ifs" and the "whens" and the "why-fores". And I, at least, am astounded that we are moving through this with grace...a God-given grace that precludes anxiety or despair! We're certainly curious about it all, educating ourselves as to the ailments and the treatments, learning to eat in ways that enhance our daily lives, setting aside things that used to be "important", and recognizing a little more truly that "life here on earth is short".

We are almost, but not quite, surprised to be able to look back and see God's providential care (Divine Providence, if you please) through all of this. We see circumstances taken care of almost on their own...or at least in a sequence that has eased us through the past 18 months. Happenings that brought us to good health care and diagnosis at the right time. Responsibilities that were taken off our shoulders at the right moment. We have seen God's providential care for us in all of this. We rest easy in His care.

I'm not saying this past year and a half has been without concern or fret. We (at least I) have been forced to look carefully at our faith, at the promises of Scripture, at the hope we have in Christ. I've been forced to bend my knee in prayer, bowing down to God through all of this. And I have had to conclude that it is not about me. It is all about Christ. It is not about us. It is all about the good and perfect will of God.

I've been reminded of such words as Job's "Even though he slay me, yet will I trust him".

And Isaiah 43:2 "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you: and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you."

This past couple weeks I've begun reading through Kevin DeYoung's book on the Heidelberg Catechism. Question #1 in that catechism is "What is your only comfort in life and in death?" The answer to that question could be summed up in "I belong fully to Christ and He provides all that I need, both here and now, and in the hereafter. That is the ultimate comfort in life. And it is the ultimate comfort as we go into death.

The Heidelberg Catechism itself includes scripture references below each question/answer (DeYoung's book does not include the scriptures) and I've been reading each of those scriptures. They remind me and reassure me of the good promises of God. Scriptures such as: (You can hover your cursor over each scripture to read them.)
I Cor. 6:19-20
Romans 14:7-9
I John 1:7-9
I John 2:2
Hebrews 2:14-15
John 6:39-40 (I love this one!)
John 10:27-30 (and this one as well!)
Matthew 10:29-31
Romans 8:28
Romans 8:15-16
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (this one!)
2 Corinthians 5:5
Ephesians 1:13-14 (and this!)

My prayer for you is that you know and understand that our salvation is found in the work of Christ...and that you understand more fully each day the promise of God's providential care for those who are His. This is where true comfort lies.



Linda said...

Our only hope is in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Thank you for saying it so eloquently. I will be praying that your words will plant the seeds or bring others to the saving knowledge of Christ.
In continued prayer for you,

Marydon said...

Sweetie, I cry today & ask for healing for you both ... I am sorry that is now a double issue.

Without God we are nothing ... we must trust, believe & listen to His word ...

Prayers are lifting as I write. Hugs of love to you both ~ Marydon

Gregg said...

This was a wonderful post! Thank you. The truth is that God doesn't have to give any of us life. What grace he gives by giving us his Son. We all need to live each day as if that is the last day that we have. James, the first pastor of the Jerusalem Church, the half-brother of our Lord, said, Life is like a vapor, it is only temporary.

Praying for you!

Scott said...

Amen, may I learn from both you and your husbands words and example. And I mean that - may I LEARN what God is teaching through you both. Thanking God for you. Truly thanking him. What time I am afraid I will trust in him. I really do hope that I will trust in him then, and I truly do hope for greater grace in greater need to wait patiently and comfortably upon Christ through all discomfort glorifying him by faith and joy. - You are doing so and your doing is our blessing in Christ also.

S. Etole said...

Yes, in Him we live and move and have our being ...

Kelly said...

Very good post!

For the record, I don't think of you as old at all. The older I get, the older "old" gets.

I'm sorry both you and your husband are facing health challenges at the same time. Interesting how many couples I know in that same situation. I'm glad you share a faith that sustains you.

I'll pray for you both.

Caroline said...

Health issues have no age limits - young or old. I was first diagnosed with cancer at 19 and the second time at 46. My husband had a brush with it himself this past year. The roller coaster we call life gets bumpier with each diagnosis. We need to look within ourselves for strength to pull through.

melissa said...

Life is hard, no question. Praying for you to find moments of peace slipped inside the burdens.

Hope you have a restful night.

Debbie said...

Very excellent post.

Glenda said...

"We rest easy in His care" . . . what a powerful testimony of your faith in the God who does all things well - even when we don't understand His ways.

Your life and words remind of the song that says: "Grace alone,which God supplies, strength unknown He will provide. Christ in us, our cornerstone - we will go forth in grace alone."

Debby said...

Oh, WhiteStone. I read this post and I am, as always, amazed at your wisdom and grace.

Tina said...

Sorry to hear your hubby has health problems also. I will pray for him too.
This was a great post (as usual!) I think one of the hardest things for a Christian to understand is that its not about us, but about GOD. I need to remind myself of that almost daily!

Karen said...

Praying for you both, friend. Beautiful post.

Pilgrim Mommy said...

Your testimony speaks volumes to the glory of God. Thank you for testifying to the hope that you have within you. I am praying for you and your husband.

Diane said...

God is indeed being glorified through you, sweet friend. Praying for continued peace for you both, the glorious display of God's on going providence, and solid hope in the reality of the life to come.

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

A beautiful post and one to ponder....and you are so right..I hear more young people with horrible diseases far too often..

Have a great weeekend...

Whidbey Woman said...

Amen! Keep on trusting Him. I love that scripture from Isaiah. It gives me such strength. I will pray for you and your husband.

jim said...

My favorite poem

Before the world's creation, He chose me for His own,
and this He did without a cause, by Sovereign Grace alone.

My place He then appointed, my special work He planned,
and what He wills He'll bring to pass, by His almighty hand.

Sometimes by many trials, He works His will in me,
Sometimes in quiet pastures, He leads me tenderly.

His ways I cannot fathom, I do not need to see,
By Grace all work together, work only good for me.

And through eternal ages I still shall be His own, His loved,
Redeemed, and chosen one, by Sovereign Grace alone. Author unknown

Bill said...

Yes, deadly serious. And when you spoke of kneeling, I could feel it - and I could feel the sustenance in it.

What is both good and bad for young people is that when you are young, you never comprehend how quickly you will be old - providing you survive long enough.

When one is close to a truly old person when that person's time comes, he realizes how great the loss of that old life is to him - no matter how long or accomplished that life was.

Oh, here I go, trying to sound wise. I'm not.

Courage, and may God always be with you and your husband for however long this struggle may last.

Relyn said...

Thank you for sharing your heart here. Please know that I will be praying for your complete healing. Our God is a God who heals.

rozetta said...

Old is in the mind of the beholder. I have known fairly young people who seemed old.

My father just passed away in Sept. at the age of 87. He was in excellent health and physically active until he was 84. Shortly before he died, he told me "life is just too short". At 87, he still had things he wanted to learn and study and things he wanted to teach his great grandsons. He found joy in all the simple things, like planting a tree or fixing things around the house. I think one of the joys of growing old is appreciating all the small things. You slow down enough to stop and smell the roses.


Carmen said...

Excellent post! I didn't know of your health situations. I'm 52 and considered old by my kids, but I still feel 20. God truly has planted eternity in our hearts. I loved hearing your heart today!

Sandy said...

Yes, I, in my mid forties thought my husband and I had nothing to worry about except planning our future! Well, as you know, those plans came to a halt last year when he passed away at 49 and left me a widow at just 44. Faith is sometimes all we have.