28 January 2011

finding comfort

i can't find many words today.
i'm home after 2 long days and nights waiting with my dad. being home is good. i need to be with my family and rest. but it is hard to not be right there. so this morning as i was praying for dad and baby luke*, i found comfort in these 2 places.

Psalm 147

Praise the LORD!
For it is good to sing praises to our God; For it is pleasant and praise is becoming.
The LORD builds up Jerusalem; He gathers the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them.
Great is our LORD and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite.
The LORD supports the afflicted; He brings down the wicked to the ground.
Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; Sing praises to our God on the lyre,
Who covers the heavens with clouds, Who provides rain for the earth, Who makes grass to grow on the mountains.
He gives to the beast its food, and to the young ravens which cry.
He does not delight in the strength of a horse; He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man.
The LORD favors those who fear Him; Those who wait for His lovingkindness.
Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem!
Praise your God, O Zion!
For He has strengthened the bars of your gates; He has blessed your sons within you.
He makes peace in your borders; He satisfies you with the finest of wheat.
He sends forth His command to the earth; His word runs very swiftly.
He gives snow like wool; He scatters the frost like ashes.
He casts forth His ice like fragments; Who can stand before His cold?
He sends forth His word and melts them; He causes His wind to blow and the waters to flow.
He declares His words to Jacob, His statutes and His ordinances to Israel.
He has not dealt thus with any nation; And as for His ordinances, they have not known them.
Praise the LORD!

John 16:33
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!"

our troubles make us weep and wail as our hearts break. but we can take that to our Father. He will take us in His arms and give us true comfort.

this song kept popping into my head, and when i turned on the radio, there it was.

*for those who are interested in praying for baby luke, he is about 3 weeks old now. he was born with a valve problem in his heart. he has had surgery to repair that and all was going well. he is currently not doing well, as he got an infection and has sepsis. this is not good. please pray for him to be healed and for his parent, abby and ryan. this is their first baby.

also...the update on my dad...there's been alot of waiting. we think he will have the surgery today to his femur. mom and dad had a consultation w/ a specialist from hershey today. he thinks surgery is the right decision. then radiation and chemo. one day at a time. one hour at a time....sometimes we need to only be in the minute. thanks for continuing to pray.

26 January 2011


this is the hard part.
waiting for results.
waiting for surgery.
waiting for tests.
waiting to eat.
waiting to sleep.
waiting to ..........

last night brought devastating news. the preliminary results of dad's biopsy revealed a very rare and difficult cancer. sarcoma. maybe.

chris, the kids and i went to the hospital right after our dinner. dad was fighting sleep, as he was receiving more blood, and with that benedryl. the benedryl makes him tired, dry and anxious. he wanted oxygen and his heart monitor again. chris took the kids home and i stayed with mom and dad. mom tried to sleep in the recliner chair next to dad, and i slept on the "bed." i say that, because it's really glorified concrete. harder than a wood floor, i tell you. well, from 11:30 until 4 am, dad was up almost every half hour with anxiety, needing to urinate, wanting the tv on, not wanting the tv on....it was rough. at 4, mom was so exhausted that we switched spots. she might have slept a bit in the bed, but at 4 dad was ready to be awake. we tried to rest a little. i helped him roll over onto his side, where he is more comfortable. he reached out and we fell asleep holding hands. i want that to stay in my heart and brain forever. when sleep left...about 45 minutes later, we sat up to read the bible. then came the time for "action news"...a snow storm coming.

my sisters both struggled to get here. the roads were terrible. however, they both arrived in (God's) perfect timing. dad was taken down to pre-op around 9. they drew more blood to cross check it again. as we waited, andrea arrived. we went upstairs to meet with the oncologist. as we got off the 8th floor, lura arrived. as we waited in dad's room, dr. reddy (the oncologist) arrived. he began to show us dad's pet scan and talk about just what it is he sees when the phone rang. the surgeon called off dad's surgery due to new pathology results. not just a sarcoma, but an angiosarcoma. this involves blood vessels going to the tumor, and had there been surgery, dad could have blood profusely...perhaps fatally they said. dad came back upstairs and we all started to process the news.

angiosarcoma doesn't respond well to chemo and radiation. the typical treatment is surgery, but dad's is appearing in at least 3 places, perhaps more already.

right now, he is having an angiogram. this is where they look inside his arteries to see if there are any vessels feeding the tumor. i just spoke to an x-ray tech who said they were doing well, and just started embollizing. this means there are blood vessels involved. they are blocking them so that they can do the femur surgery without bleeding. this might happen tomorrow.

i feel like i was punched in the stomach. this is hard to take. however, we are comforted. it feels like the most chaotic rollercoaster...yet there is peace.

so now we wait.

I remain confident in this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
-Psalm 27:13-14

17 January 2011

cold january.

as i did last year, i am waiting for january to be over again this year.

january 4th. at 11 weeks pregnant, everything seemed good...until that fateful moment of "let's hear the heartbeat." my midwife searched for a bit, got a "better doppler," all to no avail. there was not a heartbeat to be found. the following day confirmed my greatest fear. the baby stopped growing at 9 weeks; however, my body hadn't accepted that truth yet.
january 7th. my mom and chris sat with me in pre-op as i waited to have a d&e. it was a long hard day.
the weekend was one of recouperation. much needed rest, time with chris and the kids...rest with family.

monday, we began a new path.

my dad has had a difficult 7 months. he had broken his back in the summer. spinal fusion surgery in october. december delivered some good news...a negative battery of testing for bladder cancer. we celebrated christmas together feeling relieved. however, in the back of our minds, we knew something was askew. he was going downhill, and we didn't know why. january 10 began the road to discovery. x-rays, cat scans, mri's, neurosurgeons, neurologists....by thursday we were dealing with the fact that my dad has a brain tumor on his brain stem. his chest is filled with enlarged lymph nodes, adrenals, an "infiltrate" in his right lung (i've been told since that that is fluid of some sort), and a node on his thyroid. tomorrow we will accompany him to an oncologist to learn more.

yesterday i drove chris and the kids to the airport to head to orlando. our family was to be in orlando and go to disneyworld this week. instead, i drove back to my parent's to help my mom, as care for my dad is intense. my nephew and sisters have been bearing the load...i was anxious to get there and be with them. i have had a wonderful time with them. last night we were all there...lura's small church came over to worship in my folk's living room. dad was exhausted, but we got some good conversation in before bed. it's been a long time since lura and i slept over together! but what a joy to wake up at 6am to go with him to wawa for his daily coffee! his mornings are his best times. alert, strong, and able to get around. we got coffee. donuts. came home for breakfast together. we talked and helped him write and check email. he wanted to go again, so my mom, dad and i went out to the carwash and for lunch. by this time, he began to get very tired. by the time we were home, he was absolutely exhausted. my mom and i got him in bed for a nap and he began to weep. he asked me to please read psalms to him. i read psalms 118 and 93before tucking him in.

i want to count this all joy...but it is hard sometimes. i continue to look to the example of peter, as he walked on water to jesus. he looked at the waves around him, and sank, fearing he would drown. i know that suffocating feeling of despair and hopelessness very well. however, i also know the comfort and peace of our Savior and God. i know that keeping my eyes on Him, he will reach out His right hand and pull me up out of the waves so that i can walk on water again.

Isaiah 41:10, 13

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.