Do we place our expectations on God? Are we so arrogant to think we can advise Him – tell Him what He ought to do? Could it be that we have convinced ourselves that it’s “OK” to make plans and just assume that God will bless?
James has a harsh warning: Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. James 4:13-16 (NIV)
We continue to learn that God wants all our expectations, all our hopes, and all our plans. He expects us to trust Him for every minute of every day. Totally – nothing held back. We are learning to say, “OK, God, we know our very next breath is in your hands, now take that knowledge and make it a reality in the way we live.”
Wednesday we had a scheduled CT Scan, lab work, and a consultation with our oncologist. This is what we learned:
· Most of the tumors have grown. The largest two look the same size as June 24, but the small ones (there are scores) have grown – some by as much as a centimeter. (If there are 40 tumors and each one grew by half a centimeter you can imagine how much that increases the size of the liver)
· The CEA tumor marker is 29 – up from 18.6 two weeks ago and 13.4 on June 24.
· The intermittent fevers Lois has been spiking are tumor fevers. Nothing can be done except treating the temp with Tylenol and Ibuprofen.
· The cancer is no longer contained in the liver sac. There are tumors growing outside the liver.
The conclusion: The Chemo is no longer working and there will be no more.
You may recall that over six months ago there was an extensive study of cultures from the tumors they removed in the surgery in May of 2008. That lab work resulted in a list of Chemo drugs which would be most effective with the exact type of cancer in Lois. We have tried all the combinations. There is no other medical protocol to pursue.
Our Dr had a difficult time admitting we were done. In the past 14 months we’ve become friends and the difficulty did not come from pride or from missing out on some personal gain but because he realizes that now it’s only God who can make a difference.
We’ll begin working with a local Dr to manage symptoms and pain (when it comes) and continue to consult with Palliative care specialists. Since both Lois and I have taken the Hospice Volunteer training, we anticipate involving them when the time is right.
Over fourteen months ago, when Lois was diagnosed and had surgery, we began preparing for this. As we shared the news with Joy and Tony, Peter, and Kari and Jeremy, we all had an overwhelming sense of peace. We know that God is in control. We haven’t been fighting this cancer, just learning to live with whatever God allows in our lives.
We’ll take one day at a time. We’ll watch for the “signs” from Lois’ body about what the cancer is doing and let God be God. The prognosis from the medical community is 2-6 months. Only God knows the exact number of days. For right now, we won’t change any plans for retreats or conferences or working with pastors and churches. We will trust God! He is rock-firm and faithful!
When I was beleaguered and bitter, totally consumed by envy,
I was totally ignorant, a dumb ox in your very presence.
I’m still in your presence, but you’ve taken my hand.
You wisely and tenderly lead me, and then you bless me.
You’re all I want in heaven! You’re all I want on earth!
When my skin sags and my bones get brittle, God is rock-firm and faithful.
Look! Those who left you are falling apart!
Deserters, they’ll never be heard from again.
But I’m in the very presence of God— oh, how refreshing it is!
I’ve made Lord God my home. God, I’m telling the world what you do!
Ps 73:21-28 The Message