fostering a grateful spirit

"If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams, and you will always look lovely." -Roald Dahl


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sweet Harlow surgery info

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Today my sweet friend Harlow is having surgery to remove her tumor. The great news is that Harlow’s tumor has become small enough that they believe they can remove it. The hard thing is that they do not know what they are going to find when they get her opened up. They are pretty much positive that they will have to remove Harlow’s uterus and at least one ovary. They are trying to protect her other ovary, but they aren’t sure whether that will be possible. There is a chance, depending on what the tumor is attached to, that they may need to remove part of her colon (which could possibly lead to a colostomy bag). They believe that there are probably cancer cells in the tissue around some of these organs, but because they are just individual cells and not masses, they are not going to be able to remove those. We have to pray that the remaining chemo and radiation will kill those off so that the cancer does not start growing again. There are a lot of complications that are possible (as is always true), so please join me in praying for those involved today.I am praying for the doctors, that they would be wise, that they would find everything that they need to take out, that they would aggressively remove the affected areas while protecting her healthy organs and tissues so Harlow’s life can be as close to normal as possible but with as little chance as possible of recurrence. I am praying for Harlow, that she’d be strong and that they’d be able to explain what she needs to know in a way that her five-year-old brain would be able to process. And I am praying for Jamie and Ben, that they would have peace (even though it makes way more sense to be terrified), that they would have a strong support system to help them deal with whatever complications come after this surgery (although we are certainly hoping that they are minimal), and that they would have unnatural strength to help Harlow deal with the physical and emotional complications of the surgery.

Thank you for joining me in loving and praying for this family that I love so much.

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healthy {day 233} (late)

This week has been a doozy. It started, as you may remember, with a call from my mom early last Sunday saying that my dad had been taken to the hospital by ambulance because of bad pain in his chest and left shoulder. I know you don’t all know my dad, but he’s pretty tough/stubborn about pain, and does not really ever complain. This made it unbelievably alarming to hear him continue to say his pain was rising from a 5 to a 6 to an 8. Thankfully by midday Monday they had identified and diagnosed pericarditis. My dad had an infection in the lining of his heart, but they had caught it early and he was going to be fine. Finally, we could breathe again.
And then Wednesday came. I got a text from my friend Jamie. Hoping it was news about my sweet friend Harlow ‘s Kindergarten, I eagerly opened the message. I started shaking as I read the words I never wanted to hear and that no parent should ever have to say about their child: “They did an ultrasound yesterday and they think they saw a mass. They think Harlow’s cancer is back.” Devastating, heart-breaking words. I’ve struggled to process this since then-both big and little things…will she get to go to kindergarten? how does a just-5-year-old understand that she has cancer? again. how do you comfort her when she feels fine, but is going to have to get sick to get better? how do you comfort a young family facing the worst news a parent could ever imagine, and for the second time? so many hard questions. so few answers. On Thursday Harlow had a ct scan which confirmed the feared-there is a mass in her abdomen. She will have a cystoscopy and a biopsy on Wednesday and they will place a port for chemo in case she needs it. The last few days I’ve struggled to come to some kind of peace with God about all if this, but it just feels so wrong. I don’t know that I’ll ever get it, so I have to learn to just trust what I know- God is good. Even in the darkest moments when it feels the least true, there is something in me that cannot and will not stop knowing this. I am thankful that the Holy Spirit reminds me of this when my head and my heart can’t quite reconcile the world to that truth. I also know that God made Harlow and Jamie and Ben and that He loves them more than I ever could. I know that He is with and goes before Harlow every single day. I also believe that prayer is powerful and that God does not ignore the cries of His children.
That being said, will you please join me in praying for my precious friend Harlow? Pray for healing, for peace for her family, that God would somehow give Ben and Jamie the impossible words to give their sweet girl, for wisdom and skill for the doctors, that they found this mass early and that it is treatable, that Harlow would be treated and healed quickly and effectively so that she can experience normal 5-year-old things like first days of kindergarten.

Yesterday my mom and I went to visit my aunt in a rehabilitation program. She’s doing great, and after just three weeks she looks the healthiest I have ever seen. I am grateful for this, both for her and for the reminder to me that what seems impossible (she has struggled with addiction longer than I’ve been alive) is not impossible to God.
He saves. He defeats death. He heals hard hearts and infected hearts and recurrences of terrifying cancer
Thank you, Jesus.

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much less important, but something I was also grateful for yesterday, was spring temperatures and sunshine. It’s refreshing to my body and soul to breathe in some warm(er) fresh air and soak up a few rays. I am thankful that winter does not last forever.