I don’t question why God has chosen to do it this way. I’m just thankful that He has provided a way to keep Joe in remission. So do I think that God didn’t heal Joe after all? Absolutely not! God did not give Joe a miracle, He gave him a healing and He used the doctors to do that. This next round of treatment is just another part of Joe’s healing and I am so thankful for it.
If you haven’t read our story, read on to see where God has taken us and the AMAZING way He ordains people, places, and events in our lives, For us we see His hand 20 years ago when He began moving people for this very time in our lives.
The following are posts I wrote at different times in this journey. I am so thankful I have a Father in Heaven who loves us so much and cares for us each and every day.
|Life prior to MCL|
This doctor thought it was a fatty tumor—nothing to worry about. But at the last minute (and I'm sure the looks of concern on our face played a part) he said, "Well, there is no way to know for sure without a biopsy. So I'll send you to a surgeon to have it biopsied."
Two days later we are sitting in the surgeon's office and he is telling us it is in the wrong spot to be a lymph node. He thinks it is a benign fatty tumor, come back on Friday and he will remove it. So we returned on Friday. Half way through the surgery he said, I'm beginning to think this is a lymph node. Several minutes later he reached the lump and confirmed it is a node. He sent it off and told us it isn't big and he isn't to concerned that it is cancer.
A week passes while we wait and pray. We return to the office to find out Joe has a rare form of Non- Hodgkins Lymphoma called Mantle Cell. Suddenly our lives are turned upside down!
This was a barn raising! Friends came and helped
us put up a barn for our horses for shelter while
we were gone.
The 3 month reprieve is an answer to prayer. We are now juicing and eating fresh fruit and vegetables trying to get Joe's immune system up along with lots of vitamins! Everything we read tells us that building his immune system is the key to beating this 'so-called' incurable disease.
But I know God is bigger than MCL and I truly believe God is going to heal Joe. Now whether it is through divine healing, healthy eating, or the wisdom God has given doctors, I don't know. But I do know Joe will beat this!
The first thing I did as a Christian, I fell to my knees and cried out to God. I don’t mean just pray I cried out—out loud—pleading with God. I contacted every person I knew who would pray and asked them for prayers. And God moved. First He guided us to MD Anderson. A dear friend and nurse practitioner from Dallas called when she heard about Joe. She convinced us to come to Houston to MD Anderson for a second opinion. She then called her best friend in Houston and got us a place to stay when we came.
|George W Bush Library|
It seemed every time my faith got low, God sent someone else to remind me He had this! It was so amazing. I’m a person who believes in ‘bugging’ God. I remind Him of His promises. I am like the man in the bible who has company come in the middle of the night and so he goes to his neighbors and won’t quit knocking on his door until he gets up. God wants us to cry out to Him.
|My babies happy to see me|
In the lowest valley we’ve ever walked, God has been there every step of the way. We never said why us? Things like this can bring a person closer to God. I know I want God to use me through this. It has been amazing to watch God move. I’ll quick give you some ways He blessed us.
Friends, neighbors, and family stepped up to the plate to help. It was unbelievable. You see I have 3 shelties, 1 German Shepherd, 1 cat, 5 horses (one is a young colt), and a miniature donkey. That’s a lot of mouths to feed. Friends and family take care of our animals when we are gone.
|Some of our other 4 footed family|
Joe has probably had MCL for 2 to 4 years. But God wanted us at MDA at this time. Because it just so happened that Dr. Wang was starting a clinical trial for MCL patients and Joe was immediately accepted into the study! Had his Mantle Cell been discovered earlier we would have missed the trial.
|Our PA daughter, Kacie, Dr. Wang, Joe and me|
We fell in love with the woman we were staying with. She’s like family. She offered her home to us every time we come down and even when we have to stay for 5 months!
God has been so good to us and I am so thankful for all His blessings. That’s not to say we never have hard days. We do! We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t. But keeping our eyes on the Lord is the key to keeping a good attitude. I don’t think God is disappointed with us for hurting sometimes or getting discouraged. But what He does want is for us to know where to turn when that happens. He wants us to look up and run into His open arms.
Today I’d like to share what it is like after the chemo and the words remission. When we first heard those magical words a weight lifted off our shoulders and
|Ringing the remission bell!|
God healed Joe—he just used MD Anderson to do it. So when we return every 4 months for those rechecks Satan wants us to live in fear that the mantle cell has returned. He wants to rob us of the joy and assurance the Lord has given us. It’s hard sometimes not to look over your shoulder to see what is there, but God wants us to look up rather than back.
So how does one go on after beating a cancer like MCL? Joe and I have found that keeping our eyes focused ahead of us and on God keeps us putting one foot in front of the other. It’s been a year this month that Joe was declared cancer free. When we walk out
But as the weeks creep by to the next four month checkup, there is Satan whispering fear and negativity into our ears. I am the one who sees a glass half-full and Joe is the realist. LOL! His words. Mine are more like pessimist. We agree to disagree on that title. So I expect him to worry but not me! No, I am the positive one. I’m not supposed to have these doubts. However, try as I may to keep my faith and not let fear get a foothold, many times it does.
Like countless other things on this journey, God had already put things in place, this time a scripture to cling to when my faith waivered. Several years ago our pastor chose Mark 9:24 for our verse that year. Many of the sermons throughout the following months tied in to that verse. Mark 9:24 is a short verse and reads, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
It’s a reminder to me that though God wants us to have faith and trust Him, He recognizes that we are human and at times our faith is going to waiver. For those times He has given us a verse to cling to. It’s a verse that shouts out to us that God wants to help us when we face hard situations where our faith wanes.