Love

I know a lot of you have been waiting for an update and I really appreciate the prayers and concern. It turns out we won’t find out what the PET scan showed until Thursday. I thought waiting that long might kill me, but it’s not so bad. The truth is that in the grand scheme of life, God’s plan, and PET scans, it doesn’t matter. God could choose to use that as a demonstration of His power and love, or He could use it to show that we need to cling to Him harder, pray more. Love more. Because above all else, God is love. He has been forever, and will be for always.

I think I forgot about love lately. I’ve been increasing my efforts to be really present with the kids and Yaacov, so there have been times that God hit me over the head with it. Like the other day when Naomi was napping. I normally try to rest at that time so Abi takes quiet time but instead we sat outside on a blanket, enjoying the beautiful day God created, and talked about important 4-year-old girl issues. It was so much more meaningful and memorable than anything else I could have done. 1 John 4:8, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” God made that day. That child. Gave me the time to enjoy it. Yes, God is love.

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Things

“My God is so great, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do.
My God is so great, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do.
The mountains are his, the rivers are his, the stars are His handiwork, too.
My God is so great, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do, for you!”

I’ve been a little sick lately so haven’t blogged as much as I would have liked. It seems like a lot has been going on so here is the good, the bad, and the ugly…

Last week Yaacov’s car broke down and we learned it had been sparking. The workers said it was amazing that it hadn’t caught on fire. They say “amazing”, I say, “miracle”.

“My God is so great, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do”

A few days after that, Yaacov’s brother’s house burned down. Yes, for real. Their precious dog Nana woke them up so they were able to get out of the house with the three girls without harm. Unfortunately, Nana and their two cats did not survive. However, we praise God that He sent Nana to save them. Details about the fire, etc. are here: http://thepetschers.blogspot.com/

“My God is so great, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do”

Some of you have heard about the Anti-Cancer diet Yaacov and I are on and I wanted to explain a little more. I spent a long while praying and reading about different options for healthy lifestyles to fight this battle. I finally found peace, joy, and relief when reading Anti-cancer (sent to me by Lindsey Parsons, thank-you!), so that’s what I went with. I was waiting to start it until after the Texas trip in case they had different recommendations, or some sort of fancy tests where I’d want to be measured at baseline. They had nothing to recommend besides a casket size there, so we just started the diet upon our return. But I don’t want people to think we started a diet as our solution to doctor’s inability to help me. Anyway, I like the diet because there are data behind aspects of it. Not a lot, but enough that it won’t hurt anything to try as long as it doesn’t interfere with my pursuit of God and His will.

“The mountains are his, the rivers are his, the stars are His handiwork, too.”

I have mentioned a few times that a positive attitude is really important for fighting diseases. There are a lot of data out there, but one illustration is from a study in which people with the very same ailments but different reports of them were tracked over time. Those who said they were in excellent health lived much longer, healthier lives than those with the same ailments who said they were in poor health. Those with critical minds will remind me that these data are just correlated, not causal. But so what? There is still a reason these people do better, so I’m going to do what I can to make sure I always feel like I’m in excellent health. Before the diet I decided I would select “good” health on a questionnaire. Since reading that I have tried to exercise every day, get rest if I do feel crummy, and follow my diet. I felt excellent for a few days, but chemo did bring me down a bit. I think when I shake this cold I’ll be back up there.

My God is so great, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do, for you!”

God has been working in so many ways it’s hard to describe. I have lost a bit of my oomph and excitement about the upcoming PET scan but that’s just satan bringing me down. I know God has tons of miracles and surprises up His sleeve and I can’t wait to see them all come together. I also can’t wait to hear about what He’s been doing in everyone else’s lives. One of my favorite things these days is to get your emails or notes about that sort of thing.

I have been praying a lot for everyone who reads this and feel it’s important we all remember there’s no prayer to big or too small for God. If you have faith the size of a mustard seed you can move mountains in His name! If you have a stupid stubbed toe that’s driving you crazy, He will relieve that too! Don’t insult our creator by keeping Him locked up until you finally find something you can’t do on your own. This is His world, we are His people. Believe what He says, today and always. Let Him comfort you today. Let Him wipe your tears and blow the ashes off your lovely face. Accept the crown of beauty He has for you. You deserve it, not because of who you are or what you’ve done, but because you are His child. Now, and forevermore.

Isaiah 61:1-3

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
   because the LORD has anointed me
   to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
   to proclaim freedom for the captives
   and release from darkness for the prisoners,
 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
   and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
   instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
   instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
   instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
   a planting of the LORD
   for the display of his splendor.

BEST DAY SO FAR

Chemo treatment #4. The best I expected was to go in quickly, hear my lump is very small and get a quick dose of the “red devil juice” (they call it that, I don’t). I was already excited because after this I have just 12 weeks of a gentler drug.


God had better plans for me today. I asked Dr. Rassam about his recommendation for my surgery and out of nowhere he mentioned that it might turn out that I actually have stage 3 instead of stage 4 cancer! That is literally the difference between a death sentence and a curable illness! We scheduled a PET scan for Thursday (1/26), and I will get the results within a week after that. I’m so excited, so excited, so excited.


I know some of you will think it’s a bad idea for me to be excited about this, because I should actually expect the worst. However, I don’t think that’s biblical. How can I have all this hope and joy but stifle it in case I get disappointed? First of all, I would be doing that just to protect myself. I don’t need protecting, that’s God’s job! Ps 127:7 says, “The Lord will keep you from all harm–He will watch over your life.” I also don’t want to  think it will be bad because that’s a lack of faith. I believe God will heal me. I don’t know that this is the start of it, but it very well could be. There are many cases in which this happens. Instead of sudden healing, it’s gradual, with restaging to lower and lower stages until it’s gone,. Then the doctors say it was due to misdiagnoses. In my case, three oncologists reviewed the case and told me unequivically, “there is a 0% chance you will be cured of cancer”. We’ll know the truth–that God healed me.


Anyway, it hasn’t happened yet, but I’m hoping and praying that it will. This is THE time I need everyone we can to pray. I know it’s selfish but I also know a ton of people have offered and are praying already, so this is really specific. At this point, it’s the most important, time-sensitive prayer I’ve ever had. This could be the beginning of my healing! Please, please pray and ask those people you have praying for us that: the results of the next PET scan will accurately demonstrate that there is no cancer beyond my breasts. My lungs, spine, and all other bones and organs are entirely cancer free. I’m so very hopeful that God will choose now to answer this prayer. Please remember that this is the time to BELIEVE God will answer. James 1:6 “But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” That belief is called faith, and James 5:15 says, “ And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.”


Many thanks for the prayers and support, I love you all!


Children

Abi turned four today! I am thrilled to have known and raised the most amazing little girl this whole time. It is a complete honor and I can’t wait to see how the next four pan out.

I was praying this morning about precious Abigail and what a blessing she has been, and got to thinking about how we all should have faith like little children. Matthew 18:3 says, “Truly I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”. Abi sets an amazing example of faith–no bad things have gotten in the way of her belief or tainted her pure, unadulterated passions. She doesn’t understand everything about God or Jesus, but she does believe the truth about what they’ve done for us. She doesn’t know the extent of my illness, but she believes Jesus will heal me.

So if I am to be like a child in my faith, I will take the living word of God and believe what it says. There are many examples in the Bible of Jesus healing people. In fact, it happens nonstop in the new testament, not just one in a million times. I am aware that Jesus didn’t heal everyone, but using that as an excuse for unbelief contradicts behaving like a child. The Bible doesn’t refer to all the sick people off somewhere who Jesus ignored, people just grow up and realize there must have been some, then put God in a box accordingly. I don’t think that’s the point of having faith like a little child. The point is you don’t need to overanalyze everything, or let common sense (which is actually learned by life experience) get in the way. To be like a child you just do it now and ask questions later.

Matthew 21:22 says, “If you believe, you will receive anything you ask for in prayer.” 1 John 5:14 adds, “now this is the confidence we have in him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He will answer us.” In John 14:13-14 Jesus said “And I will do whatever you ask in my name so that the father will be glorified in the son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

So, I’m tossing out about 28 years of jaded, biased, negative thinking and getting back to the faith I might have had when I was 4. I will keep praying, and most importantly, believing, that I will be healed. Cured, actually. Not by doctors, not by diet, but by God Almighty. By the sovereign God whose wrath I deserve but will not face. “Be exalted, O Lord. We will sing and praise your power.” (Ps 21:13)

Dayenu–Treatment 3

Our family celebrates Passover the way Jesus did, and there are always eye openers about how certain components of it were fulfilled by Him. Parts of it get boring and feel ritualistic because I’m a sinner with a short attention span. However, throughout this cancer process (I really need a good word for it!) I have often prayed “Dayenu” and thought of that part of the passover.

Dayenu means “we would have been satisfied”, and the head of the household reads a list of awesome things God did for the jewish people and the people in turn cheer, “Dayenu!” to indicate that what He did was more than enough for us. Of course, we are all sinners so those are just words. We know from experience that no matter what we say, we forget the awesome things God does frequently. For example, “No sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals. They set up Baal-Berith as their god and did not remember the LORD their God, who had rescued them from the hands of all their enemies on every side.” (Judges 8:33-35)

It’s a little late to type the list of 14 examples of what He did from our Haggadah, and there’s no magic number to it anyway. But an example is, “If He had merely rescued us from Egypt, but had not punished the Egyptians, DAYENU”. I am so touched by the Lord’s mercy and love I’m going to make my own list.I added a few extras because God is that good.

“If He had merely saved my soul but left me without a partner, DAYENU”
“If He had introduced me to Yaacov but left me without children, DAYENU”
“If He had blessed me with Abigail for even a day, but hadn’t given me 4 years with her, DAYENU”
“If He had given me Naomi but gave me less than 9 months with her, DAYENU”
“If He had put friends and family in my life but not allowed us to grow together from an advanced cancer diagnosis, DAYENU”
“If He had moved my Dr. Perry to order an ultrasound for my lump, but it was left with a false negative and thus shorter life, DAYENU”
 “If He had Dr. Perry refer me for a surgical consultation, but didn’t have Neenad tell me it should be with Dr. Crooms, DAYENU”
“If He had introduced me to Dr. Crooms but didn’t get him to secure a proper diagnosis so quickly, DAYENU”
 “If He had merely allowed satan to threaten my life but chose not to give me the warnings, DAYENU”
“If He had given me the warnings via proper diagnoses, but didn’t get me to Dr. Rassam, DAYENU”
“If He had convinced us to go to the hospital in Texas but did not secure insurance approval, DAYENU”
“If He had secured insurance approval but not a fundraiser to help with other expenses, DAYENU”
“If He had moved people to raise funds for us but it was no incredibly successful, DAYENU””If He had helped me cover my head but not to overcome the shame from losing my hair, DAYENU”
“If He had allowed me to go through chemo but hadn’t made my tumor shrink 2 cm, DAYENU”
“If He had just comforted me through three rounds of the worst type of chemo but didn’t make me feel better than ever, WE WOULD HAVE BEEN SATISFIED!”

Praise the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Psalm 150:1

New Year

We made it through 2011 and I have some hair left, too! I can’t believe how long ago last New Year’s seems. Despite the circumstances, I am confident that 2012 will be the best year of my life. I normally have a long list of resolutions and goals, but this year I just plan to be healed, and to be the most amazing mother, daughter, wife, friend, and sister I can be.

Some people have asked for specific prayers and as we only have a week before traveling to Houston I thought I’d put them out there. I suspect I will have a PET scan or another way of searching for cancer, so we’re praying specifically that it will show supernatural healing in my spine. Chemotherapy can not destroy the cancer there, so this is asking for a miracle. James 5:15 says, “And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.”  Of course, we also are praying for the doctors to be wise and that we will have clarity about what recommendations (if any), and other steps to take. Proverbs 3:7-8 says, “Do not be wise in your own eyes, fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.”

They say you need to keep a sense of humor during these tough times, so I’ll end 2011 on a lighter note. I have been doing some silly things lately which I blame on a phenomenon people call “Chemo Brain”. Hopefully you can see the humor in my ditziness–here’s a list of the goofiest moves I’ve made since my diagnosis:
–used the men’s room at the Mayo Clinic (without noticing until hours later)
–put baby Naomi in her big sister’s carseat and drove down the road with her tiny peanut head peeking at me from the forward facing chair.
–put 2011 on Abigail’s 2012 birthday invtations
–forgot where I hid all the Christmas gifts (found them hours later)
–wrote a bunch of thank-you notes that disappeared…we’ll see if they reach their destinations!

All States Have Prayer Coverage!

Thank-you all so much for your help finding people to pray for us in every single state. There are a ton of international pray-ers as well. I’ll paste the colored map below and am so very grateful. I know God hears all our prayers.

Ephesians 6:18
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

John 15:7 
But if you stay joined to me and my words remain in you, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted.