View From The Ridge

View From The Ridge

Saturday, December 31, 2016

 Ecclesiastes 3:1,4   There is an appointed time for everything.  And there is a time for every event under heaven - a time to weep, and a time to laugh;  a time to mourn, and a time to dance.    

  Job 23:14  He will fulfill what He has planned for me; that plan is just one of the many he has.

Billy Graham, speaking at the memorial service for those lost in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 

Speaking of tragedies in our lives, Billy Graham said: "Times like this will do one of two things: They will either make us hard and bitter and angry at God, or they will make us tender and open, and help us reach out in trust and faith. I pray that you will not let bitterness poison your soul, but that you would turn in faith and trust to God, even if we cannot understand. It is far better to face something like this with God's strength than to face it alone and without Him. My prayer for you today is that you will feel the loving arms of God wrapped around you, and will know in your heart that He will never forsake you as you trust Him."

Yes, it is a time to dance!  2016, which has been a dog of a year for the most part,  has ended on a high note. The results of the PET-Scan are that the tumor in my left lung is GONE, the cancer in my lymph node on my right rib cage is GONE, and the cancer in my left sinus below my left eye is greatly reduced.  Most of the sinus reduction is due to the radiation to stop the bleeding, which has worked like a charm.  The fact that the cancer in the lung and right rib cage is gone indicates that the Immunotherapy is working.  

I had the PET-Scan on the 27th but didn’t get the results until late afternoon on the 30th.  Seems that the last week of the year is when most of the doctors at OHSU take off for vacation, which means if you have a scan during this week, more than likely your doctor will not be available to read the report and call you with the results, and he is the only one that can do that. 

I, unfortunately, fell into this “black hole of no information” and it was only resolved  by my calling for 3 straight days, sometimes 2 or 3 times a day begging for the results. I knew that if I didn’t get the results by Friday, I would not get the results until next Tuesday because of the three day New Years Weekend.  It is bad enough waiting two or three days for the results that are usually available after 24 hours, but to have to wait seven days, that is unacceptable.  My doctor’s nurses finally got him to check his phone messages and he called me Friday afternoon at four.  We had just left our appartment to pick up a prescription when the phone rang so I pulled over to hear the results.  It is a good thing I did because emotionally I was unable to drive.  Jeri and I sat in the car and literally cried.  There is a tremendous release of emotions when you are expecting bad news and instead you receive the best news possible. 

The “elephant in the room” had  started moving out of his corner about three weeks before the scan, moving to the center where you are.  He lines himself up and about a week before the scan he starts lowering himself to sit squarely on your chest.  By the time of the scan you can hardly breathe or even think of anything else until you hear the results. 

The problem this time is that I have been through this so many times over the last 10 years that I expected negative results.  The type of cancer, very deadly with low survival rates, the low success rate with Immunotherapy, my age, all played a role in my low expectations of the results.  Yet the God that I serve and worship has again answered the thousands of prayers that gone up on my behalf by all of you. 

A couple of days ago, my dear friend Tammy in Ecuador posted the following on face book.  I don’t know if it was meant for me but it surely applied to me. 

God has promised to be with you always. Trust and rest in his promises!
Definitely yes there is someone who will never fail you.
Will be with you always, no matter the circumstances or your actions.
What he has promised you, God will fulfill it.
So rest and trust in God.
God is good!
" know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God,
Who keeps his covenant and His loving kindness to a thousandth generation with those who love him and keep his commandments.
" Deuteronomy 7:9

 So for 2017 we have a new plan.  On Jan. 9th we will start the first of 6 more infusions of the Immunotherapy, one every three weeks, then another PET-Scan.  No one has any idea if this will be successful, but it is all we have.  It doesn’t really matter because God is in control as He has already demonstrated.  God has already determined the number of my days and no one can change that.  It appears that I have more ahead than I thought I had last week.  Yet God could call me home today, tomorrow or next year.  He is in control.

Before all of this was Christmas week end.  All our kids and their spouses and our grandkids and their spouses were able to assemble at Randy and Lani’s for Christmas eve and Christmas  day.  What a great time we had visiting, reminiscing and playing games.

 I think all of us were thinking that this just might be the last Christmas that I would be 
around to celebrate.   And it still might be, God only knows that.  But for now we had a Christmas to remember.  If I am to be granted another, praise God.  If not, then I will be in heaven, praise God. 

Please pray for Jeri, as her Parkinson’s is not any better and will not get any better.  We are still adjusting her medication but it has been a challenge because we aren’t getting consistent results.

Again, we both thank you all for your prayers, visits, cards, emails, etc., etc.   It all means a great deal and we appreciate it so much. We pray that the new year will be a year of joy and good health for all.

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