Wednesday, May 22, 2013

More Than I Could Ask or Think

I have been meditating on how small I pray in light of how mighty God is.  Let me explain what I mean.  From the beginning of Dennis’ battle with cancer, I have prayed for time – that Dennis would beat the horrible statistics on this cancer and live and be one of those rare long-term survivors – and I have prayed that the tumor would not return – ever.  Very reasonable prayers that I think anyone who claims Christ would pray for someone they love who is battling a deadly illness.  They are reasonable and actually, they are asking for something beyond what would normally be expected by human standards. 
But recently, I have been convicted of how very small my view of God is in these prayers.  Yes, God can answer those prayers and it would be amazing BUT He is God .  He can not only prevent the tumor from returning and give Dennis a long time to live; but is He not able to do far more than that?  You see, God is not limited to simply maintaining where Dennis is right now, He is able to do far more.  He can fully restore.  We see this power on display on several occasions in Scripture.  Job, after having faced incredible loss was fully restored two fold.  When Jesus healed, he not only healed but on one occasion the Scriptures tell us the leprosy was gone and the skin renewed as a child’s skin would be.
You see, I believe I am guilty of praying within what I see possible rather than saying, “God, please heal Dennis completely and restore him fully.”  This reflects what Ephesians 3:20-12 says, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen."
As I was meditating on how small I pray, I remembered a message I heard on this passage and re-listened to it.  In it, Priscilla Shirer suggested that prayers should be more like this, “Lord, please restore Dennis completely or even beyond that to encompass more than I can even imagine you can do.”  Whether or not God chooses to heal and restore Dennis is part of God’s sovereign plan for our lives.  We don’t see the full picture of how He is working in our lives but He does tell us as his children to ask Him for our needs.  I’m going to do that.  I don’t want my faith or my prayers to be small.  I want to see God continue to work in our lives in ways beyond what we could ever imagine.  We have already seen that in so many ways this year and believe God will continue to do far more than I can even imagine. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Going Through the Motions

I recently read the blog of a woman whose husband had suffered a traumatic brain injury.  Her experience and feelings so well described how I live most days.  Her description included several points that struck home with me.  

I cherish days or more accurately, the moments, when life seems normal.  Just doing the simple things I used to take for granted are welcome respites from the constant changes that are going on around me.  However, little things that used to require little to no thought or preplanning now can take a great deal of planning.  Here is a simple example from this week.  Mother’s Day is around the corner.  Normally, Dennis and Brooke would have gone shopping and had a great time together while I would have had a few hours to do whatever I desired.  This year, we had to plan a time when I could take them, I needed to find something to do while they shopped, plan this to include supper and still get Brooke home in time for bed because it was a school night.  It worked and everyone enjoyed the time – I even got some new sandals while I was killing time at the mall but it was not a simple as it used to be. 

But back to the point of this blog, when life looks very normal to someone looking in, it often is just going through the motions.  Underneath it always is a layer of fear and uncertainty.  I am always watching for signs that Dennis is getting tired or is struggling with words.  If we are out with friends and I’m not right with him, I will be checking in often to see how he is doing.  If you have been with me and I suddenly step away or check my phone– it is not that I am bored with the conversation but rather that I need to check in and frankly, if I am worried about how he is doing, I’m not paying attention anyway. 

Frankly, I don’t think there has been a moment since Dennis was diagnosed almost a year ago when I was not acutely aware of the diagnosis hanging over us.  It takes a conscious effort for me to live in the moment and enjoy it.  I try very hard to do this.  Dennis and Brooklyn both need that and so do I.  I want to cherish our time together and make lasting memories.  I want to firmly implant in my mind and heart what this time of our lives is like, to do the ordinary things like watching a movie together or snuggling on the couch. 

We hope that there are many more years ahead but we just don’t know, really no one does but for us this thought is in the forefront rather than an afterthought.  So for now, I will live, even if at times it is more like going through the motions.    

James 4 says this about life:  Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”

Your prayers and encouragement help us to live in the moment.  It is not always easy but we are so grateful for this time we have right now.  Most people with this type of cancer never have this. 


  • Dennis’ continued health and clear MRIs.  His next one will be at the end of June.
  • Increased stamina for Dennis.  Fatigue continues to be an overriding concern.
  • Complete restoration.  Although by human standards, this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.
  • Peace.  On a day-to-day, moment-to-moment, we need to have an awareness of the peace only God can give. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Good News

I will make this post brief as it is getting late and has been a long day which followed on the heels of a poor nights sleep for both of us.  It seems as if each MRI is more stressful as we approach it and wait for the results.  I think some of this stress is due to the fact that we start thinking that according to statistics on this type of cancer, it often reappears around this time.  If you look at statistics, it is not good and we try to avoid dwelling on them but when it is time to "take a look" with an MRI, it is very difficult.

With that said, we were thrilled when the doctor called this morning to tell is the MRI was clear again.  We breathed a sigh of relief and made some quick phone calls and posted on Facebook with the good news.  We saw the doctor later this morning and the news continued to be good.  There has been a spot on the MRI since Dennis' surgery in June.  The doctor told us he thought the spot was most likely residual material from the surgery but could also have been tumor.  Whatever it was, on the MRI from Tuesday it was GONE!  We were thrilled to hear and see that change.

Dennis will have another MRI in eight weeks.  We tend to live in eight weeks chunks of time.  After the stress leading up to an MRI we are always glad to have some time to just live.  There will be several milestones between now and the next MRI.  Dennis will celebrate his 50th birthday at the end of May and on June 8th we will celebrate the one year mark since this all started.  Many people with this type of cancer never reach that milestone.

Dennis is now eight weeks since his last treatment.  He is doing well but still battles fatigue.  In addition, he struggles some with finding the right word for things. Rapid conversations also can be challenging and contribute to the fatigue.  We are waiting to hear from the long-term disability company regarding his on-going disability.  We should hear from them later this week.  Please continue to pray that this will go through easily.

Dennis hopes to be somewhat more mobile next week.  We ordered an electric bike for him and he should get it next week.  This will allow him to get around town and if he gets tired, he can get home without having to expend too much energy.

We appreciate all your prayers and words of encouragement.  Please continue to pray that this cancer stays away and that Dennis gains some strength as stamina.