I'm back at home now. I actually got back last Friday night but we've been so busy that we havn't been able to blog. Plus I didn't pay our internet bill while in the hospital so we got it up and running again today. I can kind of type now. They changed out my cast on my right arm for a splint so I have some motion with my fingers. By the way, for the record... I didn't know I had 4 surgeries. I thought I only had 3. Grace informed the the other day that it was 4. Apparently I was so drugged up that I was in and out of the operating room before I got over the previous surgery. I really only remember surgeries 1 and 4. I do remember bleeding a whole lot somewhere in between. though.
The past few weeks have been the darkest thus far in my life. I've really struggled to believe the goodness that lies in our suffering, and to find hope amidst disappointing news. I woke up this morning crying out to God for help to face the day. It seems as if each day I'm crying out with all of my might for help to face the battle which is today. I am convicted that it takes intense suffering for me to cry out to God to face the daily battle, when this battle always existed but when I was healthy I was numbed to it. Reliant upon myself and my own capabilities. The devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking ones to devour. He'll devour us when we are not watchful, numbed by the comforts of this world.
The surgeons had to remove much more of my tongue and floor of mouth than we initially thought. Thankfully they saved my vocal cords and a sliver of my tongue so that I can speak some. I cannot swallow anything at all right now, so please pray that I would miraculously be able to swallow and eat again.
Unfortunately, even with such a large removal effort, there is still microscopic cancer in my body. The pathology shows that the cancer was actually skipping around and not just in one solid mass. The doctors say I should do radiation and chemotherapy again even though you are supposed to only be able to radiate a single area of your body once in a lifetime. Radiating twice comes with great risks to the healthy tissue that is left. But I suppose I have no other options.
I've been feeling like a little child lately. I could relate to my son who sometimes whines or throws a fit. Thats how I've been feeling about this trial. Like a little child kicking and screaming, not wanting to do what I'm supposed to. I know that this if my service of worship to God, and that I have so much to be thankful for. God spared my life through my teenage years until I became a Christian and received the forgiveness of my sins through the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross. I was watching the news and saw that a bunch of teenagers had been killed in a bus accident. At that moment I felt so ashamed to be complaining in my heart to God. What if that had been me on a bus when I was 17 years old? Not only would I have perished without the forgiveness of my sins and gone to hell forever, which is infinately worse than dying of cancer. But I also would have missed out on the past 9 years which have been so rich and wonderful. Even if I suffer for the rest of my life, and perhaps die at a young age, I am so thankful for the past several years that I got to have. This past year after my first bout with cancer was the richest of them all. Why should I believe that God does not have a rich future ahead of me either on earth or in heaven?
Last night I got to go to church for a night of singing and although I can't sing much I mostly listened. It brought tears to my eyes for the first half hour of the night because I was just so happy to be reminded that this is so much bigger than me. This is about God and His divine purposes. Not about Andrew Mark and his family's comfort. Grace told me today that when she gets to heaven she's going to feel so stupid for leaving earth kicking and screaming trying to hold on to the comforts that we have here.
We used to pray that God would teach us to trust Him fully and that we wouldn't waste our lives. Then we would gulp because we had a feeling that it would be answered through suffering. And it was. This is my service of worship to God. I don't know what the future holds, but I know that today if I don't have the ability to accomplish anything but change my wound dressings, get 8 cans of formula through my feeding tube, take my various medicines, and take a shower I've accomplished much for God. This is how God has called me to serve Him now. Like a child, I fuss about it, but who am I to complain? I have much to be thankful for.
1) That God would heal me of cancer. We are going to do research on treatment options, but ultimately God is that one who can heal me of the remaining cancer.
2) That I would be able to swallow, eat and speak normally again.
3) For courage for my family to face each day through the strength that God provides.
Here is one of my favorite songs that I hope to one day sing again:
Alas, and Did my Savior Bleed
Bob Kauflin / Isaac Watts
Alas, and did my Savior bleed
and did my Sov'reign die?
Would he devote that sacred head
for such a worm as I?
Was it for sins that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity, grace unknown
and love beyond degree.
My God, why would you shed your blood
so pure and undefiled
To make a sinful one like me
your chosen precious child?
Well might the sun in darkness hide
and shut his glories in
When Christ, the mighty Maker died
for man the creature's sin.
Thus might I hide my blushing face
while his dear cross appears.
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness
and melt my eyes to tears.