Starting to really see some light at the end of the tunnel here. I am done with chemo, that’s official as of yesterday, and now I’m just going to be in a season of healing. I just wanted to thank every single one of you for faithfully praying for us during this season — please don’t stop 🙂 — we would not be making it without you, and the power of Christ that you all have “released” through your prayers and your participation in the intercessory work of Jesus (cf. Heb. 7:25)! To be honest I feel really invigorated; I feel like I’m starting to slowly wake up from a bad dream or nightmare, are we totally through this yet? I don’t think we’ll ever totally be through this. Cancer is something that is always a concern; but you know what, all I can do (like all of you) is trust the LORD for every breath that I take — dependence on Him is even that much more intense in light of this horrific disease.

Some folks have already started to ask what I’ve learned from this season? And frankly, at this point, my head is still spinning (and my feet hurting); the only thing that really emerges as something I’ve learned is that Jesus is IT! And my family is the greatest gift I’ve ever been given, besides Jesus Christ, of course! I look at my wife, I look at my kids and just am floored by how precious they are; the idea of leaving them early is the worst idea I have had to ponder throughout this season — I love’m!!! This makes me think about THE Father, and how He felt as He sent His Son; as Jesus opened the door of heaven, knowing that He was leaving to die — the Father’s love is greater than I can imagine!

I will be posting more thoughts and thank yous in the days to come. I thank you all for your continued prayer; the greatest prayer request is that this cancer will never come back again — please pray that it won’t!! Thank you all . . .

**Here is a repost from when this whole thing was just getting started (just a few days before I started my first chemo cycle), I first posted this December 1st 2009; and I just wanted to note that this cry and prayer to the LORD by myself and all of you guys has been answered (the tumor is gone and so is the cancer!). I wanted to add one more prayer request: I really need prayer for my feet (they are hurting me quite a bit, just pray for a speedy recovery in this regard; and then of course that the cancer will never come back — just that we will experience the peace of the LORD even and especially in this recovery time). Anyway, here’s that repost, I really like the prayer of Hezekiah:

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I’ve been praying like Hezekiah; interestingly the disease, the deadly “boil” he was stricken with sounds very similar to the kind of thing I have (I looked up the description of his boil). I am not saying that every circumstance between Hezekiah and myself is the same, but that I can certainly resonate with his situation; and I am crying out to the LORD for the same kind of healing (albeit I would prefer more than 15 yrs, as the LORD tarries 😉 ). Here is what Hezekiah said:

10 I said,

“ In the prime of my life
I shall go to the gates of Sheol;
I am deprived of the remainder of my years.”
11 I said,

“ I shall not see YAH,
The LORD[a] in the land of the living;
I shall observe man no more among the inhabitants of the world.[b]
12 My life span is gone,
Taken from me like a shepherd’s tent;
I have cut off my life like a weaver.
He cuts me off from the loom;
From day until night You make an end of me.
13 I have considered until morning—
Like a lion,
So He breaks all my bones;
From day until night You make an end of me.
14 Like a crane or a swallow, so I chattered;
I mourned like a dove;
My eyes fail from looking upward.
O LORD,[c] I am oppressed;
Undertake for me!
15 “ What shall I say?
He has both spoken to me,[d]
And He Himself has done it.
I shall walk carefully all my years
In the bitterness of my soul.
16 O Lord, by these things men live;
And in all these things is the life of my spirit;
So You will restore me and make me live.
17 Indeed it was for my own peace
That I had great bitterness;
But You have lovingly delivered my soul from the pit of corruption,
For You have cast all my sins behind Your back.
18 For Sheol cannot thank You,
Death cannot praise You;
Those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your truth.
19 The living, the living man, he shall praise You,
As I do this day;
The father shall make known Your truth to the children.
20 “ The LORD was ready to save me;
Therefore we will sing my songs with stringed instruments
All the days of our life, in the house of the LORD.”

21 Now Isaiah had said, “Let them take a lump of figs, and apply it as a poultice on the boil, and he shall recover.”
22 And Hezekiah had said, “What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the LORD?”

I am being assured by the LORD, and I am believing that He has been speaking, that He will extend my life as well. As I read the passage above, verse 14 probably is the one that most resonates with me; this is an exhausting experience, but one that continues to be met with God’s grace — which is inclusive of all your prayers and encouragement. I never thought I might have something in common with Hezekiah, I never thought His prayer would become my personal cry; but it has! The difference between Hezekiah and myself, that I am hoping for, is that I will finish strong (like Paul); and not finish life like Hezekiah who seemed to become very egocentric, and self-consumed (which astounds me, given the grace He received from the LORD). Please join me in praying like Hezekiah.

We have decided that it’s time for me to stop my chemo. As many of you know I had surgery in May to remove my cancerous tumor; that surgery, because of all of your prayers, was a total success! We have been doing some follow up chemo since then — I’ve done two cycles since surgery (a total of nine cycles including the seven prior to surgery). Before we started the post-surgery chemos, the doctor told us that how many we decided to do was basically up to us (he said he expected to get through a few cycles). Given the side effects of the chemo, and the fact that the surgery was totally successful, and the fact the doctor said all of this follow up chemo might be for nothing; we decided (I kind’ve decided, and Angela is supporting me in this decision) that IT”S ENOUGH!

We are following up, now, with some major lifestyle changes; I am following an alkaline diet, taking some supplements to help my immune system to be highly bolstered, supplements to help alkaline my body, following some “alternative” protocols, and simply trusting the LORD to take care of us as He has thus far.

One more concern with “over-doing” chemo is that, as the doctor told us before we ever started, the chemo I’ve been on (besides the terrible side-effects it produces short-term) can produce other kinds of cancers in the future; and beyond that, the chemo can actually make my cancer resistent to future treatments — if over-done now.

We thank you all for the continued prayers and support. Now I will be in a period of recovery. My feet still have neuropathy, and will need some time to heal (please pray that that is a quick process). And please pray that I have years ahead of me on this earth, as the LORD tarries His return. I have a total peace from the LORD about all of this, and believe given the risk-benefit — relative to the chemo treatments — that this is the right timing to go ahead an move forward with life.

The author to the Hebrews says:

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” ~Hebrews 4:16

I know so many of you are praying, and just this way too. I need to remember this when I am praying to the Lord; I have never ever felt so desparate in all of my life. At this point it “feels” like we’ve been doing this forever, and that the end is nowhere to be found. Then you throw in some side effects (like this ridiculous neuropathy), and everything only becomes that much more magnified.

My wife and I went boldly to throne of grace tonight; we are both tired and we need the Lord to intervene and expidite this whole process. We need to have some sort of sense of normalcy again (which at this point is all too elusive). So we’ve gone to the throneroom. Please go there for us! At this point we are almost beyond tears (almost), beyond talking, beyond anything; there is nothing else to do but try to find rest in the Lord’s throneroom.

P.S. I go in for my 9th cycle of chemo tomorrow (it’s only a 1 day chemo, thankfully, out-patient too); please pray that this all goes well, with no added side-effects. And just a reminder, please pray for the neuropathy in my feet (it’s terrible: it feels like the bottoms of my feet right by the edge of my toes is “asleep,” and then my toes also have a “numbness” and there is some burning sensation as well).

Thank you, everyone, I know we’re going to get through this; it just doesn’t “feel” like it alot of the time.

Just a quick prayer request. One of the side effects of chemo is to get neuropathy in the extremities. Fortunately Unfortunately I am now experiencing this joyous (yeah right) condition in both feet. Would you please pray for my feet, that the Lord would just touch them and allow this neuropathy to quickly subside (even before I quit the chemo)? We just saw a really good naturopath doctor who works specifically with cancer patients (out of Providence Cancer Center in Portland, OR); and he has me on quite a few supplements that are going to support my body through this last bout of chemo. A couple of the supplements are supposed to deal with the neuropathy (amongst other things); please pray that these supplements deal with this condition, indeed!

There are so many “little things” that accompany chemo, and this is one of those. Apparently neuropathy subsides once the chemo is over with; but with the prospect of at least a couple more months of chemo, I really would like to enjoy a life that is absent of things like neuropathy. I know your prayers are powerful, because the Lord you pray to is powerful; so please shoot those up for me in this instance! Like I’ve said before, I’m the worrier of worry-warts; so of course, when I started experiencing some of this tingling/numbness in my feet my mind immediately runs to the worst case scenarios (even though I know this is a temporary thing). Anyway I share this about myself so you might know how to pray even that more specifically. Love you all, and thank you in advance . . .

Something that has plagued me at points through this season is the question of “why” some folks die from cancer and some folks don’t. At moments the “enemy” has said ‘look they’re a good Christian, and yet they have died from their cancer; so will you’. The reality is, is that death has indeed been conquered by our Lord; so in moments like those, at the depth, I can say so what . . . but that’s usually not my response, truth be told — I want to continue to live!!!

But it does cause you to wonder “why;” why do some die and some don’t? The Lord has pointed me to a particular passage of scripture to help with this real life issue:

15When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

20Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) 21When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”

22Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” 23Because of this, the rumor spread among the brothers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”

This passage of scripture doesn’t necessarily answer the question “why” in detail; but it does say something to what can look very random (i.e. the fact that some die from cancer and some don’t). And that is that the Lord has a different plan for each one of us; He has tailored exactly how it is that He wants us to live out our lives in service to Him. For some that means He’s going to call us home (sooner) and for others of us later. This is what the Lord has constantly been impressing upon me through this season; that He’s in total control, and that just because “this” person or “that” person is taken through cancer, does not mean that I am necessarily going to go home through this cancer. In fact this cancer might just be a catalyst for something else the Lord has in mind for me and my family while on this earth.

Now I’ve applied what Jesus said to Peter in this context to my situation; but this is just as easily applied to any and all of our situations and life circumstances. The reality is, is that there is nothing normative about any circumstances we face in life; in other words there is a special plan laid out for each one of us, and our particular life stories and circumstances all differ one from the other — according to the plans and purposes of the Lord for us. I think sometimes we all fall prey to wondering why that person or this person seems to “make it;” and others don’t. The bottom line is that the Lord is in control of each of our lives in very personal and intimate ways.

We are at a real turning point. I have started into my last cycles of chemo (potentially 6 more), and to be honest it is very depressing! The doctor said that we would take one cycle at a time, and that how many more we do is kind of up to us. Please pray for wisdom for the docs and us on how far to push this. At a certain point I would think the chemo is doing more damage than good; and so we need real concrete wisdom on when to say enough is enough (I’m ready to say one more cycle and enough). We are going to take one cycle at a time, and make a decision from there; again though, that’s the hard part (please pray the Lord would make it clear when we should call chemo quits). And please pray that the cancer never comes back; i.e. that as I type this to you that I am cancer free even now (and as far as we know, given the surgery, I am).

Beyond all this, my wife and I are completely beat — we are spent, and completely on the edge. We know the LORD is sustaining us through His grace and provision; but you would think that we were in the easy part now, I’ve come to realize there are no easy parts to this season of life. Please continue to pray us through this! You all are awesome, and it is so great just to know you’re still there with us — we can’t bear this alone (cf. Gal. 6). Love you all  . . .