He Leads Us Step by Step





It has been four weeks since Rob had his surgery; and he is recovering well.  There still are periods of extreme fatigue and weakness; but they occur after a full day of work or when he has physically expended a lot of energy.  This is all to be expected as his body is recovering and getting used to the thyroid medication he has started.  We are so thankful.

Through the course of this time we have prayed for many things.  One of them being that the Lord would give wisdom to Rob’s doctor.  This past week we have seen evidence that God is answering that prayer and we are so thankful.  I called the doctor to find out what our next course of action should be and if it was me who was supposed to schedule with the next doctor to get a date on the calendar for Rob’s radiation appointment.  (I thought the doctor had said that the new doctor’s office would call and get an appointment set up for us; but it had been two weeks since that appointment and we still had not heard anything – so I figured I would check in.) 


 The doctor told me when I called that I was on her list that day to call and that the reason for the delay had been from their end – I had understood correctly.  She then went on to explain that she had sent the referral and the orders to the new doctor on Tuesday.  However, after she had the orders sent she felt that she might be missing something and that she needed to get another second and third opinion in regards to Rob’s next course of treatment.  She told me that she was referring him to a team of Endocrinologists and would have them take a look at everything and together as a team they would take over Rob’s care.  She explained that Rob’s cancer is so rare and so seldom seen that she wanted to make sure there was not something that she was missing.  (Only 3% of all thyroid cancer is the type that Rob had.)  I breathed thanks to God; because to me it was obvious that He was at work in giving her wisdom.  She told me that she had canceled the orders to the radiologist and would have the new team of doctors get in touch with me by the following day.

Well, on Friday I got a call from Rob’s doctor’s office about the appointment.  The nurse told me that the team of doctors that they had wanted us to meet with did not accept our insurance.  I was a little disappointed at that information; but I heard the nurse perk up and tell me that she had “exciting news though!”  She went on to explain that there is an Endocrinologists Conference where lots of different Endocrinologists come in and meet for lecture and meetings along with radiologists and Nuclear Medicine doctors. The conference just “happens” to be on Tuesday and they have agreed to hear Rob’s case and make recommendations and establish a plan for his future treatments.  The nurse told me that this was an excellent opportunity and that if it was her husband with the cancer this was exactly what she would want to happen for his care! 

So, they meet on Tuesday and will develop a plan for treatment and follow up care for Rob.  The doctor told me that with the type of cancer he has we are looking at long term care and monitoring his cancer.  So, we are brought face to face with the fact that cancer will be part of our lives for a while; but also encouraged because it is obvious that God is going before us, opening doors that we did not even know existed and is giving us complete peace to trust Him as we go through the next several months.  God is so good!

So, if the Lord would prompt you to pray on Tuesday morning – we would appreciate it!  Pray that the doctors will have wisdom as they discuss and plan and that they would develop a treatment plan that will be exactly what the Lord would have for us.  We are so thankful that God gave us a doctor that is willing for input from others and is doing her best to make sure that she covers all of her bases.    We most of all are in awe with our God who cares about us and daily shows us that we are under His care and protection. 

Thanks for your prayers with us.  They have been an encouragement to us .

Blessings,
~Martie

Finding Normal



Just the other day I was driving home from taking James to do his chores for the farmer he works for, when I noticed that some of the leaves on the bushes that stand alongside of the country road were turning red.  I thought that odd that they were turning colors –already – in the middle of summer.  Then it hit me – that summer has just about ended and fall is ready to begin.

I keep forgetting that.

To me, it feels like summer has just started. 

I feel like I have lost the entire summer.

Taken Spring '14

In the spring Rob and I had been busy planning out our summer.  There was the camping trip that we were going to get in this year.  This would be the year that we would go camping all together as a family.  There were the hikes that we had planned up South Mountain.  Several weekends were set aside so  we could spend time as a family hiking and packing picnic lunches.  Then there was the trip to the ocean.  Together as a family we would see the water together and take it all in.  There was the garden we were going to plant and tomatoes that we would harvest come fall to can and have for the winter months.

Then we heard the word ‘CANCER’.

Life seemed to stop. 

My computer time was not looking through Pinterest to get ideas on how to pack the car, or awesome camping meals, or looking for pictures of the ocean.  I spent my times in front of the screen researching types of cancer and options for treatments.  Then there was the garden plot that was dug up fertilized and ready for the tomato plants that has turned out to be very fertile soil this year for a wide variety of weeds .  I look out my front window and some very healthy, hearty and thick garden of weeds growing in the garden area!
Instead of my summer unfolding the way we had planned, my summer has been divided up into segments:    waiting for a week to go by so we can get in to see the doctor for the appointment, waiting for the date for the biopsy, and another week for the results to get back. This has been the summer that I have waited.  Week by week – test by test – appointment by appointment - and without realizing it time was going by while I was waiting. 

Getting Ready to start First Grade!


With the cancer surgery behind us, life is starting to take on a normal feel.   The past few weeks I have felt completely and totally drained.  It has been hard to even put to words an explanation for my thoughts and feeling.  On one side I am overjoyed that Rob’s surgery turned out the way that it did and that we saw God work in a wonderful way; on the other hand I find my brain filing away all that has happened in the past several weeks and trying to find a new sense of balance and order in our everyday lives. 

This past weekend I came down with a cold.  God sometimes brings sickness to us to help us be able to have time to think and to rest.  I have rested – deeply rested (and it has been just what I needed).  I have had time to regroup myself emotionally and mentally.  On Sunday, I was still not feeling well and stayed home from church to rest and cough in private by myself; and not share my germs with the rest of the congregation.  The house was so quiet and it was wonderful to sit on the porch in my robe and PJ’s and just read my Bible and talk to the Lord.  Again, the Great Physician came and poured out His medication on my heart and soul and brought a real sense of balance to my thoughts.  It was wonderful!

So, I have wrapped my mind around the fact that summer has gone – and it has been one of the most eventful and growing summers we have had as a family.  Fall is here and with it the new school year needs to take shape and be planned out.  We will start next week – (Lord willing and the creek don’t rise).  I am busy getting our school schedules figured out. *** On a funny note, I took a few moments to take a quiz on Facebook to see how much of a control freak I am – and found that I passed that test with an “A” – if they were giving letter grades for the quiz scores.  Hmm, that explains the notebook that is being assembled for our new fall schedule containing detailed lists of all the rooms that will be cleaned, when they will be cleaned and how they will be cleaned.  It will also explain why the school schedule will be color coded for each child.   I am getting just a little bit excited to start school; and it is not because I like to control  organize things!  I was not sure if I would be able to find it in me to get enthusiastic about the new school year; but it has and is happening!  

Abbey treated me to a Manicure/ Pedicure and Sweet Frog Treat

It feels good to finally feel like we are getting back to a normal again. Yes, we still have Rob's radiation treatment coming up - and that will make things different again for a while; but life is starting to feel 'even'.   I have had time to look through Pinterest to figure out how to store the kid’s boots on the front porch, have looked up some homestead blogs that have brought about ideas that I would like to try with next year’s garden.  I had James order me some chickens and have been busy looking at coops and types of feed I will need – and picking out names for my girls.    Slowly, it is feeling good to getting back to living again.  

 God is so good! 

The Great Physician



Yesterday we met with the surgeon to discuss the findings in the pathology report from Rob’s cancer surgery two weeks ago.  We did not know for sure what we would be told and what the future plans would be in regards to the cancer.  Needless to say, the trip to Charlotte was rather quiet and we were busy thinking about the appointment.

When the doctor came in she looked at Rob’s incision and said it looked fantastic.  Everything is healing well and we have had no complications there.  Praise the Lord!

She then pulled out her swivel doctor’s chair, opened up her notes and started shaking her head.  She said that the pathology reports were odd and apologized that so much of the information that we have been given about his tumor and neck have been confusing.  She then went on to explain and brought light to why we were dealing with so much conflicting information.

First of all there were two different types of cancer on the thyroid.  There was the tumor that we all knew (and could clearly see was there); but there was a small tumor on the other side of the thyroid that turned out to be cancer – and a different type of cancer all together than the tumor.  She said she was able to remove all of that and feels that we got all of that cancer.  (Papillary Cancer – the most common and easily treatable thyroid cancer there is.) She also said that she feels we will not need to go in for another surgery to remove lymph nodes in the neck because the looked good during the surgery and the biopsy did not show any concern with the lymph nodes.   Praise the Lord!

Then she shook her head again and said, “Now we can talk about the tumor.”  The tumor was a Hurthel Cell Carcinoma (one of the rarest forms of thyroid cancer).  She said it was the oddest thing that she has ever seen.  The tumor had lost it’s source of blood supply and was dying by the time she got in to remove it.  She said that as a doctor this just ‘does not make sense’ because they had biopsied it only four weeks before the surgery and had found a solid mass (so solid that they had to use larger needles to penetrate the mass to get a sample of it for a biopsy).    I asked her what would cause there to be a loss of blood supply to a tumor.  She replied that she had no idea it just did not make sense.  She went on to explain that many many pathologist had looked at his biopsies and studied them.  For two reasons – this type of cancer is not often seen – and a solid mass of a tumor does not usually loose its blood supply and die within a month.  Praise the Lord!

God is a great God.  We KNOW this is HIS doing.  We are rejoicing in His mercy and goodness to us!
We still have decisions to make as far as treatment goes to make sure that this has not spread.(Hurthel Cell Cancer does have a tendency to spread and be a more aggressive cancer.)  We also will need to monitor his blood work, as most all cancer patients do, to make sure we are not seeing signs of the cancer coming back or reoccurring.  We also are still getting the dosage for his thyroid medication adjusted to where he needs it to be.  So those are all still matters of prayer and decision for us at this time.


From the moment we heard the word cancer we determined that we wanted God to be the focus of this – not the cancer. Rob has had a peace going through this that has amazed me.  Truly His trust has been in the Lord.  It has been amazing to watch how solid Rob’s faith is in His God.   For me, there have been times when this has been difficult.  It is so easy to see the here and now and lose sight of God.  I also have learned that dependence upon God is a choice.  I must choose to depend upon Him for each situation – and EVERY TIME He is faithful to give the strength and grace to go through the day ahead of me.  God has grown my faith in Him during these past couple of months.   God has become so big to us during this time; and cancer has been the avenue that has allowed God to be magnified in our eyes.  God is good all the time.  I must be honest that yesterday while I was sitting in the doctor’s office my first thoughts were of disappointment that we *still* did not know if the cancer has spread.  When we got in the car Rob looked at me and asked me how I was feeling about the doctor appointment.  I told him I was disappointed that we did not have more answers.  He started laughing and told me I was failing to rejoice in what we did know.  At that moment – cancer was bigger than my God.  I sat there in silence and realized that he was right.  God has done a wonderful thing for us in this – and *WE* are rejoicing today in His goodness to us. I can not explain how wonderful it was to sit the kids down last night and tell them the news from our doctor's appointment.  To watch their eyes grow big as we told them about the tumor loosing it's blood supply and to see them connect the dots and realize that God had done something wonderful.  Truly last night's conversation with them will forever be etched in the gallery of my mind and cherished forever.  Last night I got to see cancer build the faith of my children in a God that can do more than we can think or imagine!  Praise the Lord! 


We know SO many have prayed and have held us up in prayers.  God has answered your prayers!  A solid mass of a tumor lost it’s blood supply and was dead in four weeks time because God heard the prayers of so many and chose to answer in this way.  He is so good!  He truly is the Great Physician!  We have been safe in His care this entire time and will continue to receive the best health care from Him in the days ahead.  God does not practice medicine – He truly is the best ‘doctor’ we could have.  Thank you for praying.  

 

"Be still and know that I am God.."