June 24, 2011 § 2 Comments

john 1:16
from the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another.

i am so thrilled to tell you that the results from last week’s mri confirmed the surgeon’s diagnosis: a massive infection in the perotid gland and lymph node which is resolving!! the mass was smaller than on the previous mri and he expects that given a little more time it will completely heal.

no surgery!
no tumor!
no cancer!

hooray!!! this is such blessing! but really, the blessing upon blessing is already ours – it is God Himself. the outcome of these circumstances, while fantastic, is not the source of my joy. He is my joy. and while i am so grateful for this blessing, i am most grateful for Him.

i can’t even find words to tell you how much we appreciate your concern. thank you so much for your encouragement, your phone calls, texts, facebook and blog messages, emails, cards and especially your prayers. they have been His hand of grace sustaining us through these last two months. david and the kids are especially grateful for the great meals that have been given to us while i have been sick. unfortunately, they now want me to cook.

i am looking forward to writing about things He is doing around me that have nothing to do with my health! i hope you stick around here for that. click on that little button on the right hand side and you’ll get these fascinating words delivered right to your inbox!

a blessing from may: liza's graduation!


let’s do the twist!

June 20, 2011 § 3 Comments

seriously, if i had known what these last two months would entail, i would’ve started taking dramamine. twists and turns are great for roller coasters, novels and dance moves but in life, it is…disorienting! (and why is the word “drama” included in dramamine? i must look into this.)

we returned to md anderson expecting to schedule surgery to remove the tumor. but instead, the surgeon informed us that the pet and ct scans of the tumor looked “ill defined” and he was reluctant to remove it due to the resulting facial scarring and deformity. (uh, HOORAY!) he thought that it could just be a mass of infection! (more HOORAY!) he and the oncologist decided that they wanted to repeat the mri and compare those results with the mri from a month ago. i had the mri on friday and now, once again, we are again waiting on test results.

since this health crisis began on may 2nd i have seen numerous doctors, had a kajillion tests and the diagnosis attempts have gone from staph infection, abscessed tooth, perotid stone, lymph node infection, tumor indicating lymphoma, benign or malignant perotid tumor and now back to infection, potentially perotiditis. i have seen more doctors in 60 days than i have in my whole life! and i am grateful to have had all of these wonderful minds try to figure this out.

though not loving the process so much, i have loved the way i have experienced God…in waiting rooms, in lots of resting(even napping!), in mri tubes, in loss of plans and in constant weakness. He is beautifully faithful.

i think the tendency is to try to understand why this is happening and what God is trying to “teach me.” this medical mystery was not my plan for may and june. among other things, i wanted to finish the book i am writing and spend july in uganda at musana children’s home. it seemed to me that both these fit nicely with “God’s will.” why would He then allow this? i have absolutely no idea.

i can’t understand His mind but i can know His heart. and i can trust and surrender my heart to His heart. His heart can orient mine in this disorienting life…

because He builds the best, most exciting and gut-wrenching roller coaster ride lives; He writes the most thrilling, page-turning stories in our stories and He gives grace to twist and turn to the best music ever written, His song of love.

one of the blessings of our trips to houston has been spending time with david's brother john (and his dog, ellis!)

q & a

June 10, 2011 § 4 Comments

1. any results?
yes and no. the pathology from core biopsy, like the fine needle biopsy was inconclusive. soooo the results are no results yet.

2. what does that mean??
good question!! here’s how dr. oki, the lymphoma dr explained it to me: “we can see the cells in the tumor are abnormal but not what the structure of the abnormal cells form.”

3. what happens now?
i’ve been bounced over to the head and neck department for a consultation and surgical plan to take the tumor out and then they will biopsy the whole stupid thing. after many phone calls, lots of waiting and much frustration, i have an appointment back at md anderson next thursday. because the tumor is in the perotid gland and lymph node which sits on the facial nerve it is a pretty delicate surgery. we’ll find out at the appointment when they will do the surgery. (here’s some random trivia and a tip, lebron james had a similar tumor which was benign and never google surgeries. especially without blocking images.)

4. how are you doing?
i have a lot of weird side effects from the tumor messing with the nerve, from tingling and numbness to shooting pains and general discomfort. and today i have been tired and teary. i knew this part would come, where fatigue sets in from waiting and not feeling well, blah, blah, blah. so i let the tears come and know that this feeling will pass.

5. what helps?
focusing on His truth instead of my feelings, remembering His faithfulness and letting His grace roll over me always helps.

i got some strange satisfaction today from finding and fixing the bad smell coming from the dryer. you don’t want to know the details of that. but thanks max, for being my macgyver assistant.

and laughing of course. this made me laugh; i tried to type teary in a text on my iphone and it autocorrected to “testy” and then to “reset.” thanks autocorrect for that accurate summary and good advice. :0)

and if you are a seinfeld fan, this scene from the episode about frustration and waiting for a table at a chinese restaurant always makes me laugh!


June 6, 2011 § 1 Comment

home again, home again, jiggity jig. my mom used to say that and so i do too and i’m not sure where it came from but i now understand what it means. i am so glad to be home i could dance a little jig! but i didn’t because it would frighten the neighbors and horrify the kids. and i am so grateful for the kids! they have kept my doggie alive and held down the fort while we were gone. and they teamed up to welcome us home: mike mowed the yard, liza cleaned the kitchen and max tidied the house, wow!

they even kept my tiny little orchid alive!

friday started with a surprise when we received a call from the hospital to come on down, they were ahead of schedule. that was evidence of God’s sovereignty – only He can speed things up in the medical world! and He had a lovely surprise for us: He coordinated our dear friends bob and elizabeth’s schedule at mda with ours so we could hang out together before i went into surgery and bob went off to chemo! e and i chatted in my little cubicle while bob and david were ejected to waiting area; i was in violation of the 1 visitor code. shocking, huh? what a beautiful gift in a hard, hard day, to get to talk and laugh and pray with a dear friend. as i was being wheeled back to the procedure room i apologized to my nurse for being so raucous and he responded by saying, “it is actually wonderful to hear laughter. we don’t get a lot of that.” the biopsy took a lot longer than expected, was crazy painful and alas, no discovery of my twin. (if that makes no sense, see the video in my last post.) we flew home on saturday and are now in the waiting stage for the pathology results.

as i have been talking with the Lord, the word that keeps coming to me is endure. and as He often does with me, He repeats it all over the place to make sure i remember. apparently i am slow on the uptake and He is gracious with me. :0) so the sermon at church included that word:

romans 5:3-5 (nlt)
“we can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. and endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. and this hope will not lead to disappointment. for we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”

and then david sent me his devotional this morning:

psalm 136:1 “Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good. His love endures forever.”
“God’s love endures our fickleness, persists through our unbelief, remains during our rebellion, continues endlessly, and it does all that without flinching. the steadfast love of the Lord is something that we can rely on completely. It never comes to an end.”

endurance sounds like something i must do. but like most every other spiritual truth, i find that He is the source. i don’t have to manufacture it, He supplies the endurance i need. it is Him filling and me receiving.

both of these verses remind that i am dearly loved and that He fills my heart with that love, a love that endures all things. this is the vital element, allowing His love to fill me, unclenching my fists to receive…then i discover, miraculously, that i can endure, i can rejoice, and i can give thanks. jiggity jig!

bi-bop, biopsy

June 2, 2011 § 5 Comments

yesterday was gross. i had a ct scan with contrast and then a pet scan after that. let me just encourage you to run from anyone who says the word barium to you. yikes. but today we had a pre-op appointment only then had lunch and dinner with friends. awesome fun!

the biopsy is tomorrow at 3:00. we are praying for a benign tumor or maybe even this outcome from the movie my big fat greek wedding. :0)

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