December 31, 2013
Dearest praying family and friends,
It is a year today that began the difficult journey for Janice and us all with glioblastoma multiforme. We now know more about this pernicious brain cancer than we ever imagined we’d know or needed to know. It is hard to put into words our feelings as we walk this very bumpy path, hence our lack of words over the past few days updating you on things in ICU. We knew the joy of being together as family at the same time we experienced a sense of weakness. (Tim Challies’ blog has a great piece worth reading today on Strength = good; Weakness = bad and More…)
I will do my best to update those of you who love us and pray diligently for us. Thank you for praying for supernatural strength for us as we seek to rest in the strong Arms of our Eternal God. Please do not stop praying for us; your faithful acts of intercessions carry us to the Father and in ways we cannot describe, give us stability in spite of our sadness. We know less now about explaining the dynamic of ‘prayer’ and ‘praying’ but know of more of the comfort of the Spirit as the Lord answers your prayers on our behalf. Psalm 73 has helped us this week to understand a little better the mystery of the grace of God toward us as we pray, especially vv. 23-29:
‘Nevertheless, I (we) are continually with you, you hold our right hand. You guide us with your counsel, and afterward you will receive us to glory. Whom have we in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that we desire besides you. Our flesh and our hearts may fail, but God is the strength of our hearts and our portion forever…But for us, it is good to be near God. We have made the Lord God our refuge that we may tell of all Your works.’
It is now almost 10 days since Janice had her second surgery to deal with the new growth of the tumor that returned this past fall. The surgery was a major resectioning of the aggressive tumor and she continues to need to be in ICU at Desert Regional Medical Center. Her speech has improved and she is gaining more strength in her right side. Her arm and hand are gaining strength slowly and with her right leg, will require daily rehabilitation. This is due to the spasms in her brain. A brain angiogram yesterday showed that this should improve as her blood pressure is stabilized and meds are monitored carefully.
Visitation is limited to her immediate family because of Janice’s need to not be overstimulated; she tires very quickly by even simple conversation. As well, ongoing procedures that occur throughout the day so she requests privacy. Knowing you are praying for us and thinking of us as you let us know through e-mails and notes, is encouraging. We read them to Janice and they serve as a reminder of your kind thoughts.
Our requests for prayer are:
- that Janice will be able to maintain a reliable blood pressure level so she can move into a normal ward
- that the brain spasms that occur would diminish
- that her right side would gain strength – her hand is still week though she can lift her arm
- that she would begin to sit up for longer periods and that rehabilitation would happen soon as she learns to walk again
- that all this would happen in a timely manner so she can come back to Redlands to a rehab facility and be near us
- that Janice would continue to know the Lord is with her – our times talking about the Lord are sweet and she loves to be reminded is safe in the Arms of Jesus
- that Morgan and Connor would continue to know the love of God in their hearts
After being with us for a wonderful week, Steve, Jula and family have left as has Cat. Heather and her children are still here. Heather is helping us with many details related to matters concerning Janice’s work and home. Connor and Morgan are still basking in the warmth of having been with ‘the cousins’ during these days. For that we are grateful. We cannot describe how wonderful it is to be part of the body of Christ and your presence in our lives is a treasure.
In Christ, Gary, Elizabeth for the family