Healing Day!

We’ve always celebrated major holidays and birthdays. Yaacov and I started dating and were married in summertime. So why on earth did Groundhog’s Day skyrocket to the top of my favorite days’ list? It’s the anniversary of the day we learned about my healing!!! The third anniversary, in fact! It was such a perfect reminder of the Lord’s gracious, precious love for me! And of His love for Yaacov and our girls! 

Every thing about that day was perfect. I have goosebumps remembering when I got to call so many people to tell them I was healed. And to think how much I wanted to keep the whole illness a secret at the beginning. I don’t even like talking on the phone, but God put it on my heart so I had prayed and begged for such an opportunity. It was hard to keep it together enough to get the words out. And the next day…the next day!!! I went to pick Abi’s preschool, all the teachers and staff had heard the news and ran into the hallway to applaud. That was one of the first times anyone had ever clapped for me. It would normally be embarrassing, but it was joyous and precious. How many people have ever gotten a terminal diagnosis that resulted in an entire preschool cheering for God? How many people have ever been worthy of a blessing like that? Only Jesus. 

Revelation 5:12 Saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”

Sweet, sweet Jesus. The sinless lamb. The perfect one, who died for my sins and loves me anyway. He intercedes for me and has blessed me more than He was blessed on earth. Sure, He was loved deeply and worshipped, but He was still abandoned and betrayed without just cause. And I complain about a few unanswered prayers.

I spent the day with the girls, reminiscing about the highs and lows. This year felt extra meaningful because Naomi is the age now that Abi was when I was diagnosed. It’s like I’m living it again, but with the joy flowing more easily this time around. There are other similarities, too. I remember how Naomi stopped sleeping through the night when I was diagnosed, and every day at 2 am she would cry until I rocked her. She would sleep on my shoulder while I cried. Every night. After cancer I got her to sleep through the night again, but now we are working on nighttime potty training. In the middle of each night I wake her up and carry her on that same shoulder to the bathroom. The conditions now are completely different, but every time she rests her sleepy head on my shoulder for the walk down the hall, all the emotions come flooding back. My cup overflows. My joy is complete.

Psalm 23:5-6

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

It seems like all my posts lately have been lamenting tragedy and heartache. My foolish flesh observes worldly devastation and wonders aloud where God is. Why He stopped caring. It’s written evidence of my own short sighted selfishness. How quick I am to forget! How weak my faith is to wonder. And to wander. He hasn’t left us. He doesn’t change. He didn’t reach His quota of miracles and move on to punishing the world. The same God who healed me is still alive. His word is true. And truth is in the word. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it. 

Ecclesiastes 3:14 I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him.

I’m including pictures this time around. The first is Abi and me when we found out I was healed, 2/2/12. I couldn’t find the digital file so it’s from our scrapbook:

We tried to re-create the 2012 pic today so I’m in the same outfit, and Naomi is wearing the shirt Abi had on that day. Clearly there are some other inconsistencies but it’s still sweet:
The others are just fun:

Advertisements

Circumstances

I have found myself in the midst of a war. The very first battle, between good and evil still continues to this day and I was blissfully unaware of much of it until recently. One thing is that I have been called to minister to and pray for sick people, mostly those with cancer, and it sometimes takes a mental toll on me. I start feeling like I’m praying the same words day after day, but just for different people. Like a broken record I pray from necessity rather than from the deep, wounded brokenness that overflows from the soul of an unworthy sinner. So I pray to care more, pray to break more, pray to yearn more. Then the worst thing happens–He answers those prayers. My circumstances change and I care more, ache from the inside out, cry out to the Lord for the ability to even comprehend the evil that surrounds me.

Psalm 34:15-18
“The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to blot out their name from the earth. The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

I’m so saddened by the circumstances around me, and I am trying not to allow them to interfere with the celebration of the season. We should reflect on the amazing gift of Jesus. He came willingly into the world, and didn’t sin. He was the only one who didn’t deserve death, but He carried our sins just because He loved us. And He is now the only way to get to heaven. None of that will ever change. Our interpretation, understanding, or circumstances all change, but those truths will stay the same.

Malachi 3:6, “For I am the Lord, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed O sons of Jacob”

I am supremely excited to tell you that Debora and I will be giving our testimonies on January 16 at Four Oaks Community Church. I’ve been honored to share it at many other places, but Four Oaks is our church home! I’ve been praying for and waiting on this opportunity for almost two years now. It will be well worth the wait, because we get to boast about His awesomeness there! If you’re in town please come rejoice with us about the amazing God we serve.

I’m going through some really difficult circumstances right now but I have to be vague about all the details. So instead I ask that you join me in praying for protection for my family and the families of all those we’ve prayed for in the past, that they would increase in faith and peace, and for help in focusing on the Lord. Pray also that the Lord will use us all for His good, and that we would see Him in all things. I have some prayer updates and new requests that I’ll put below:

Barbara–We were praying for her clear PET scan. We didn’t get that miracle yet, but we will not lose faith. Her liver looks better but it grew in other places, so they are trying to remove some to assess what best destroys it then use those drugs on here. Sounds pretty cool to me. Pray she will have total relief from pain, doctors will treat her properly, and for a complete and miraculous removal of all cancer cells

Sally–PRAISE: A long time ago I talked about her on here. She was diagnosed with stage 4 BC soon after I was, and hers disappeared. It’s been over a year without cancer and she had a bad PET scan recently, but HOORAY, the Lord had that disappear and further tests showed it was nothing.

Alison–PRAISE! At her 6 month scan they saw she has been cancer-free for over a year and a half! Glory be to God!!!!

Ryan–He has stage 4 stomach cancer and has been on chemo forever. He has a baby and has battling this for two years. Enough is enough, it’s time for this miracle. Let’s believe it for them because they are weak, tired, and worn out. We will carry him to the Lord and the Lord will heal him because of our faith (Mark 2:3-5)

Crystal–She and the others below are new on this list. She is young and was suddenly diagnosed with stage 4 BC. It’s all over her body and the chemo didn’t work so they are radiating most of her torso. They fear it is in her brain and are awaiting a CT scan. Please pray for her comfort and that she will lean on Him, as well as for her family’s peace, faith and comfort. Pray in the short run for immediate relief from her vomiting and that her brain scan shows absolutely nothing is wrong, and again for long run total healing.

Marlena–She is young and has already seen the Lord do great things with her diagnosis. There were fears that it had spread but He put those to rest. However, she’s undergoing chemo and has had a really hard time recovering from that. Please pray He will strengthen her so she can maintain her role as a mother and that He will make anything she needs to give up or modify very clear.

Jenny–She is a pastor’s wife who has had a recurrence of BC. She has a long list of awesome things the Lord has done to show her that He is in charge and is running things smoothly. She will have a bilateral mastectomy on Friday because she already had radiation. Please pray that the surgery goes well and with a smooth recovery and that the doctors have wisdom for all the proper treatment.

Teri–She loves the Lord and her triple negative BC did not spread, which is great. She’s going through chemo and trying to stay positive, but it’s really hard to work while undergoing treatment and she cannot take much time off. Please pray for her supernatural response to the chemo, that she would stay healthy and not struggle with the normal side effects of the treatment.

Contessa–This is the young mom whose home burned down a few weeks ago. She is doing well and has a new place to stay. We are collecting money for her utility deposit. Please pray she gets everything she needs and draws closer to the Lord through this experience.

NOW is the time to pray

My amazing friend Debora, who knows pretty much everyone in Tallahassee, is having a PET scan today. At 1:30 actually. I think in the past she got her results faster (maybe immediately, but that might have been a different type of test) than I have but we’ll see. So please, please devote a minute to praying for her accurate test results to show that all of her stage 4 breast cancer has disappeared.

Debora prayed for my miraculous healing then was diagnosed with the same thing just three months later. A ton of things have happened since then, and we have been amazed at how the Lord used her journey to draw others close to Him.

With that said, I know she was healed and I want this PET scan to show it. I know, we should be content in all circumstances. And God doesn’t heal everyone. And we all have to suffer. But do you know what else? Jesus healed all who came to Him. And He told His disciples to go out and heal the sick (Matthew 10:8). Are we bigger sinners than the disciples? Probably. Well, we might be better than Judas. Sometimes. But sin is sin, and there is only one Holy Spirit. It’s the one who came down as a dove and rested on Jesus. Then at pentacost the rest got it. So…was that Holy Spirit more powerful than the one we have today? NO. Did He care about healing back then but change His mind? NO. Did He love the people from back then more than He loves us today? NO. NO. NO.

James 5:14-16
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

I wasn’t healed because I deserved it. He did it so all could see His glory. How He answers prayer. How He provides hope in a hopeless world. I want everyone to get to share that hope and joy that comes when you get to share His miracles. There is nothing like it. I can’t think of a better day than October 9, 2013 for Debora to get to do that. And for all of us, who have prayed without ceasing for her, to get to hear it.

A few other little things–I was honored at the Cards for a Cure event that is a fundraiser for the TMH Cancer Center. It was so cool. We had a lot of friends there which made me so happy. And it made the small talk, etc. much more fun. Before my little speech they showed a video that I’ll put the link to here. It’s on Facebook so if you aren’t a member and it doesn’t let you see it tell me. Cards Testimony Video

I don’t have time to brag about all the awesome stuff God has allowed me to witness lately, but it’s a lot! At that event there were 450 people, mostly those I didn’t know, gathered there to fight cancer. And they all got a brochure with my story, saw the video, and applauded when I gave a speech that said God was the hero of my story. It was a secular event so I was surprised I didn’t get booed off the stage, let alone to have people clap! And tons of people approached me later and said it was so brave of me to say that. I guess in their world it takes more courage to share the truth than I was aware. It was SUCH a huge blessing, I get tears in my eyes just thinking about it.

The last thing is that a few weeks ago I missed noting an important day on here. I feel really awful about it. It was Mesothelioma Awareness Day. You know, breast cancer gets a whole month of press and everywhere you turn you see something pink to raise awareness. People with Mesothelioma just get one day and who even noticed it? It was September 26. Apparently most people diagnosed with it get just 7200 hours to live. That’s 300 days. The man who sent me the information about it said his wife is a rare survivor of it. So, please check out this website and keep that awful disease in your prayers.

I love you all. Seriously. I do.

Recovering from DIEP Surgery!

I’m home from Gainesville! The surgery was on Monday and went well. I was surprised by a few things so wanted to blog about it before I forget, so others can be aware. First of all, the most pain I have ever been in is when I woke up from the 8+ hour surgery and my arms burned like crazy. It turns out they are held perfectly still in some awful position throughout the surgery. If you only have one side done, then it’s only one arm. The pain meds don’t help and you’re not allowed to stretch them, which is the only thing that helps. It was so bad I would sneakily stretch when the workers were turned around. They’re still sore today, five days later. I heard that the reason the pain meds don’t help is that it’s nerve pain instead of surgically caused.

I was also very, very swollen from all the IV-fluid. My fingers looked like juice was about to burst out of them. That took two days to get back to normal. The last bad surprise is that I was not allowed to use my pectoral muscles at all once I could start using around. Not to brace myself when sitting up, to keep balance, etc. It’s hard to do that when your ab muscles have recently been removed then replaced into their cavity and only a binder is holding them in place. So the first day they had me move around was really, really hard. But I got the hang of it quickly.

The good surprise is that the nurses told me the recovery from this surgery is considered excruciating and they’d never seen anyone do so well with it. I’m pretty much fine. I feel like I had the surgery, and the 4 drains hanging from my body are very annoying. But I don’t feel much worse than I have after any other surgery, or like I did after 6 months of chemo. I stopped taking my pain meds more than 24 hours ago and am still managing.

My discharge note says not to lift more than 5 pounds or drive for 6 weeks. That has already been hard so I’m not sure how it will work. So far when Naomi needs something someone else has been around to help, or a few times I’ve let her climb on my back and I lift her that way. But it’s all going to get harder after the holidays when no one is around anymore, so please join me in prayer about that. I have a follow-up appointment on December 27 and hope Dr. Rosenberg will change my instructions at that time.

Anyway, before the surgery I started getting nervous about putting myself at risk for a cosmetic improvement. I prayed about it and God surprised me by filling me with true and complete peace about it. I never got concerned again. He took such great care of me. It shouldn’t surprise me after all He’s done for me, but I’m still shocked. He is so kind and loving. So gracious and awesome!

John 14:27  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid
.

"Crazy" Prayers for a Crazy Girl

I just wrote half this blog, pressed the wrong button, and lost it all. Usually I would take that
as a sign that I’m being too bold, too pushy. Not this time. This time I feel there is a reason the enemy doesn’t want me to spit out what’s in my heart. So I will carry on…

If you didn’t already think I was crazy, you probably will after this post. That’s okay, I am no longer trying to serve men, but I serve God instead (Galatians 1:10). I have a new prayer request that is bolder than any I’ve prayed before. The good news is that our God is bigger than what I realized before! There is no limit to His power, but only a limit to our perception of Him. He created me, my ancestors, and my DNA. Now I am asking Him for evidence that He has CHANGED my DNA. I have been praying about whether He might want me to pray for my genetic mutation to be gone, and whether I should have a test done to confirm it. As soon as I forgot about it, a bunch of doors opened and I have found myself in a great spot to get a new genetic test done–for free, no hassle, no worries.

I am aware that this could be a set up–a snare by the enemy to make me look like a fool. Bad results could discourage me and cause me to lose focus. That’s why I need prayer. I need to make sure it is His mighty will for the test to be performed, and that I should be praying for proper, BRCA negative genes. Ps 25:21, “May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you.”

Here are my thoughts: My doctors still want me to have my ovaries removed, and I’m extremely resistent to this. If I’m not BRCA positive, they won’t care nearly as much about that. And, honestly, it would help me be more comfortable in my refusal to have them removed. More importantly, if God removed the genetic mutation from my body, there is no way my girls would have that mutation. When they turn 18 they wouldn’t have to be concerned with those tests and deciding what to do about potential results (it would be recommended for them to have prophylactic mastectomies, ovary removal, and hormone therapy very early on). Finally, and MOST importantly, I do believe God has answered my prayers of a total healing and forgiveness of the generational sin I think started it all. If so, it makes sense to me (can’t speak for God, of course), that the genetic mutation would be gone as well.

The more I pray for and attempt to minister to people who are in pain, the more convinced I am that we have not because we ask not (Luke 11:9), and because we do not believe He will answer us. People make really good arguments for not believing He will answer, but I can’t find those in the Bible. Instead the Bible is filled with promises that if you believe, He will answer! People see what they consider to be unanswered prayers and attempt to explain them away. Those become whispers and arguments against true belief (Gal 5:10, “The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty”). Those arguments are just fears though. Perfect love drives OUT fear! I don’t want to limit God by setting parameters on what I believe or expect Him to do. He is El Elyon, Sovereign over ALL!

So, that’s that. I plan to continue praying to ensure that my heart is aligned with His (James 4:3, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives…”), and in the meantime I will proceed with the test and pray for BRCA negative results. Obviously if it comes back negative this time the doctors will just say the first test was wrong, but we’ll still know…and they might start wondering a bit more…

“And I will do anything you ask in my name, so that the Son will bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” John 14:13-14

Always something to whine about…

So, I never asked it while dealing with the diagnosis or treatments, but now that God has a tiny, insignificant request of me, I find myself a tad depressed, moaning, “Why me?”. It’s embarassing to even type it, but there’s no point in pretending I’m something that I’m not…over the past few weeks God has put it on my heart to stop watching tv. I sort of swept it under the rug with a variety of my own solutions: I tried watching a bit less, not watching for a day or two and only watching while I work out. I thought the issue might go away. It didn’t. Last night, after cutting my Bible time short to watch Netflix, I couldn’t fall asleep for hours. When I did I had nightmares and felt very strongly that I was surrounded by evil. I prayed it away but lost 4 hours of sleep total. Somehow out of that I was quite certain that God had allowed it because He wanted me off tv, so I promised not to watch until He said I could. Today of course, that didn’t make any sense so I watched an episode of Bridezillas. I realize it is a ridiculous show, but I had no other options. Anyway, I tore myself away to listen to a message about Exodus (still studying the Old Testament), and the second I thought, “when this is done I’ll watch one show”, Jon Courson said somehing like, “Your motto should be, ‘there’s no time for leaven [sin], I’m on my way to heaven’. You know, you can’t take communion on Sunday then go home and watch a bunch of junk on tv.”

You can call that a coincidence, but if so it was about the tenth one since I started suspecting He wanted me off tv. That equates to some sort of memo from God reminding me, “No tv. Tv doesn’t feed your soul, I do.” Message received. Finally. I imagine if God wasn’t so perfect and patient, He would be rolling His eyes at me right now.

But….why me? Why does everyone else get to watch tv but me? Why can’t I enjoy some lighthearted entertainment? What does it hurt? As I type this, my husband is in our bedroom playing video games online against his brother. I actually hear them shooting each other. How is that better than my watching an innocent tv show that only shows a few “minor” sins?

As much as I hate to admit it, God’s answers are clear. His motives are clear. I just don’t like them. It is so hard to embrace things we don’t like! I am so wrong to take issue with being asked to sacrifice a miniscule part of my life. For one, I can’t compare myself to other people, I must instead strive to be like God. 2 Cor 10:12, “But in measuring themselves by themselves and comparing themselves to themselves, they lack understanding.”. I have also clarified that I wasn’t watching quality, life-giving television, but I don’t know if that matters. He may just want more of my time, be watching to see how much of my own desires I am willing to give up, or be unpleased with the specific entertainment I was selecting. I don’t know what shows I have access to that are filled with joy and love, and that’s because I don’t seek them out. If God gives me the “okay” to watch things again, maybe I need to pursue those, but I’ll take one step at a time. For now, I have more time to spend pursuing eternal goals and I will embrace that without questioning Him about it.

To the One who saved me from eternal damnation, I am fully devoted. By the One who blessed me with an amazing husband and two perfect children, I remain awestruck. For the One who chose me to display His miraculous power with supernatural healing, I am humbled and grateful. And when  am tempted to forget I will remember that “I love the Lord, for He heard my voice. He heard my cry for mercy.” Ps 116:1

Miracle Stories

I received the “Hero for Hope” award tonight from The Ride for Hope (www.therideforhope.com). In my acceptance I stumbled over my words and didn’t say exactly what I had planned, but Yaacov says it was good so I’m not going to worry about it. They surprised me by having Dr. Crooms come to present me with the award. He was literally between surgeries–after finishing one he put on a suit and raced to the fairgrounds, then back to TMH for the next procedure.  It was so nice. Plus, I actually saw him yesterday for the post-op visit and he didn’t clue me in that he’d be there.

Tonight was great. We couldn’t get a sitter so took the girls with us. They were a bit ansy because it spilled over to bedtime, but I can’t tell you how sweet it was to sit up on the stage and watch them. Abigail was cheering me on and making faces to entertain me. Naomi was walking around, eating Cheetos (anything to keep her quiet!) and smiling with true joy. This is what I’ve been fighting for. TOTALLY worth it.

The organization honors someone new every year. It was set up in honor of a man named Lou Farrah. If I understand correctly, he had some type of really bad, inoperable cancer (not sure if he’d been fighting already or it came out of nowhere), and everyone said there was nothing that could be done, he was going to die really soon. Then he saw Dr. Crooms. It was really late at night and Crooms checked him out and left for a minute. He came back into the room and said, “I can operate but it has to be right now”. So surgery started at something like 10pm and was successful. He lived three years or so more because of Dr. Crooms taking the chance on him. Dr. Crooms was the first recipient of the Hero for Hope award, and I think Lou was able to present it to him. I met Mrs. Farrah today and she was putting on a brave face. She is very kind but misses him terribly. She said she should be over it (I think it’s been 7 years or so), but it’s still very hard.

I have been hearing a lot of stories like this, and they get me thinking. A few people have mentioned how nice it would be to document things like that. It leaves a legacy, which seems comforting. Maybe it would give Mrs. Farrah great joy to tell Lou’s story again and have tons of strangers read it. The stories also give people hope and it’s good to get all the details on paper to distribute rather than let them get distorted through word of mouth. I’m not sure I can do the stories justice, or what kind of format to put them in, but maybe I’ll start collecting them then figure it out. I might be able to submit them as articles to magazines or put them in a book at some point. So, if you’re reading this and have a cool miracle story, please email me at epetscher@gmail.com.

I am so happy. Overjoyed by all my blessings. Abigail prayed for salvation the other night. Do you know how bittersweet and heart-wrenching that would have been if I still had cancer? One of the things I had prayed for through cancer was to see that moment before I died, so it would have felt like one box marked off the to-do list before I ascend into heaven. As it was I got to truly enjoy the moment instead of thinking like that.

Abigail’s always been a happy “Christian”, but we weren’t sure when to make it official. We wanted to make sure she understood what she was praying, but there’s no magic age we could decide on. So, because of all the questions she’s been asking lately, salvation came up a lot. She jumped at the chance to secure hers and we went for it. We videotaped it so at least she’ll have that if she doesn’t happen to remember it as an adult. I thought maybe once per year we would have an anniversary celebration of that day and watch the video and reminisce. Not that I (or any of us) have assurance that I’ll be around next year, but I also don’t see anything getting in the way. Certainly not cancer!!!!

    “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21)