Archive for July, 2008

The Long Vigil

Every day more lymph fluid has been gathering in the mass because cancer cells are blocking the normal flow.  The mass is now pressing on his hip…creating additional pain.  But Dan’s mood remains calm.  God is helping us both be calm most of the time.

 I heard Dan singing in the shower this morning.  He has hope that God will choose to heal him, and let us return to our home in Sfantu Gheorghe, (St. George) Romania.  But for now, we are in Texas, and Dan has cancer.

 Becky S. wrote today, “The task ahead of you is not as great as the POWER behind you.” And she gave us this Word from the Lord —  “I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”  Isaiah 41:10  So, I say to you, our Beloveds who care enough to read this blog, “Be encouraged!  We are all in the palm of God’s hand.”  — Anne and Dan


July 31, 2008 at 5:08 am Leave a comment

Dan’s First Chemo – Part 2

To continue –  Dan’s first chemo treatment using Gaspar went well.  He is quite tired, but no other side effects at this moment. He has medication to take if nausea becomes a problem.  The 2nd treatment will be next week Tuesday, Aug. 5.  Gaspar and Taxitar will both be given intravenously that day.     The next day, Wed., Aug 6, he will receive a shot to boost his white cell count. That will complete his first round of chemotherapy.
The 2nd round of chemo will begin August 19 or 20.  Dr. Anderson, Dan’s oncologist, at Texas Oncology, said that if Dan’s “count” is good next week, he thinks it is a fine idea for Dan to visit Scott and Michelle, our “kids”, and family near San Francisco as originally planned. They live on the side of a mountain overlooking the Pacific.  It’s cool & peaceful in their little town.  
If any problem arises, we are to phone Dr. Anderson immediately.  There is an oncologist on call 24 hours a day.  They can triage with a doctor in California if needed.  We are optimistic.  We thank God for your prayers and for His goodness. — Anne and Dan

July 30, 2008 at 1:52 am 1 comment

Dan’s First Chemo – Part 1

We have made it through Day 1.  The next treatment will be in 8 days.  Things went well with Dan’s first chemo treatment this morning.  He went in at 9:45 a.m., and left at 12:45. Dr. Anderson, the oncologist, told him that the cancer mass is not very large…but there is a large amount of lymph fluid collecting in the mass.  Cancer cells are blocking lymph drainage.

It is hoped that chemo will decrease the fluid as well as the tumor.  Today Dan received first a saline solution drip, then an anti-nausea solution.  That was followed by a drip of Gemsar chemotherapy solution.

I will write more details later.  But I wanted to get this out now so our friends in Europe can read it before they go to bed.  Please, continue praying that the mass will shrink and that the fluid will drain well instead of building up inside the cancer mass.  God is faithful. He never sends His children more than they can bear.  — Anne and Dan

July 29, 2008 at 8:58 pm Leave a comment

In the Shelter of His Wings

I hope you will find this as comforting as I did. Thank you, Vicki, for sending it to me today.  Times are very challenging right now.  Dan begins chemo in the morning.  We needed this!  — Anne and Dan

  by Max Lucado 

“He will shield you with his wings. He will shelter you with his feathers.”  (Psalm 91:4)
My college friends and I barely escaped a West Texas storm before it pummeled the park where we were spending a Saturday afternoon. As we were leaving, my buddy brought the car to a sudden stop and gestured to a tender sight on the ground. A mother bird sat exposed to the rain, her wing extended over her baby who had fallen out of the nest. The fierce storm prohibited her from returning to the tree, so she covered her child until the wind passed.
From how many winds is God protecting you? His wing, at this moment, shields you. A slanderous critic heading toward your desk is interrupted by a phone call. A burglar en route to your house has a flat tire. A drunk driver runs out of gas before your car passes his. God, your guardian, protects you from
“every trap” (Ps. 91:3);
“the fatal plague” (Ps. 91:3);
“the plague that stalks in darkness” (Ps. 91:6);
“the terrors of the night…the dangers of the day” (Ps. 91:5). 
One translation boldly promises: “Nothing bad will happen to you” (Ps. 91:10 NCV).
“Then why does it?” someone erupts. “Explain my job transfer. Or the bum who called himself my dad. Or the death of our child.” If God is our guardian, why do bad things happen to us?
Have they? Have bad things really happened to you? You and God may have different definitions for the word bad.
God views your life the way you view a movie after you’ve read the book. When something bad happens, you feel the air sucked out of the theater. Everyone else gasps at the crisis on the screen. Not you. Why? You’ve read the book. You know how the good guy gets out of the tight spot. God views your life with the same confidence. He’s not only read your story…he wrote it. His perspective is different, and his purpose is clear.
God uses struggles to toughen our spiritual skin.
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.(James 1:2–4)
Trust him. “But when I am afraid, I put my trust in you” (Ps. 56:3). Join with Isaiah, who resolved, “I will trust in him and not be afraid” (Isa. 12:2).
God is directing your steps and delighting in every detail of your life (Ps. 37:23–24). In fact, that’s his car pulling over to the side of the road. That’s God opening the door. And that’s you climbing into the passenger seat.
There now, don’t you feel safer knowing he is in control?

book coverFrom 
Come Thirsty

July 29, 2008 at 4:27 am Leave a comment

A Sudden Storm

Can things really change so rapidly?  Two weeks and two days ago, we were in our home in Romania looking at a bulge protruding from Dan’s lower abdomen.   Terror struck my heart when I saw that large, hard mass.  I knew, but I refused to say the C word.  Five days later we were on a plane headed back to Dan’s doctors in the U.S.

It feels like we have been caught in a whirlwind starting with travel arrangements, then doctor appointments and a multitude of tests beginning the afternoon we landed at DFW.  Dan has had blood work, C T Scan, two MRIs, and Venous Doppler Scan of his right leg.  And CHEMO begins net Tuesday.

Our Christian friends here have helped keep us sane.  Through them, God has provided all that we need.  Phone calls, messages and visits from our sons, grandchildren, siblings and friends who live far away have lifted our spirits greatly.

The last two days have been a welcome interlude in the midst of all the struggle.  Friday during the 3 hours we had the energy to be at Global Missions Forum, we were blessed to see Glenn Boyd, Dan’s beloved cousin, and Mladen whom we first met in Zagreb in 1973.  To top it all off, Friday afternoon, Dan’s siblings all came to visit us!  All our cares melted away immersed in their love. 

Robert and Jo Ann Scruggs, in the midst of Jo Ann’s battle with lung cancer, reminded us that the way to make it through hard days of illness is found in Romans 12:12, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Please, keep praying that God will shrink the mass, and heal whatever is causing it. -– Anne and Dan

July 27, 2008 at 8:28 pm 2 comments

Curious Happenings

Because he continues to have constant swelling in his right leg, Dan was sent for a Venus something to see if there is any deep vein problem causing the swelling.  (That’s the leg where the sarcoma was.)  There is no problem. However, the technician said, “While I have you here, I’m just going to take a look at the tumor.  “Then he said, “There is a lot of fluid in that tumor!”  

I called the oncologist’s assistant.  She said  she will tell the Dr. about it.   Could it be that God is dissolving the tumor into liquid…or is this just a collection of trapped fluid that cannot go further?  What we do know is that the muscle mass of the tumor is not as large as it was thought to be. That has got to be good news.

Today Dan had two MRIs – one for his leg; one for his pelvis. He had to lie perfectly still for about two hours…not an easy thing to do.  We’re hoping to know what we are dealing with before they begin chemo. Please pray for Dan’s healing, and pray for Dan’s medical team that they do exactly what Dan needs.

Tonight God gave me this encouraging message from Matthew 8:27, when speaking about Jesus, the disciples said, “What kind of man is this?  Even the winds and the waves obey him!” And, in Matt. 10:26 – 28, Jesus said, “Do not be afraid of the servants of Satan.  There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known….Do not be afraid of those who kill the body, but cannot kill the soul.  Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”  We are safe in Jesus. There is nothing to fear.  — Anne and Dan

July 25, 2008 at 3:47 am 1 comment

A Plan Evolves

We are relieved that a treatment plan is in place at last!  The Oncologist here, Dr. Anderson, discussed Dan’s case with Dr. Lin, Dan’s sarcoma specialist, at MD Anderson (MDA). They decided to begin chemo here next Tuesday.  After 50 – 60 days, Dan will go to MDA in Houston. 
Dan had blood tests today. His Family Physician, Dr. Hendrickson, ordered studies of his swollen right leg to make sure there is no deep vein involvement.  He will have an MRI on Friday.  With the two oncologists conferring with each other, we believe Dan will have the best treatment possible. But, obviously, Dan is in a tough battle.  
We want to share a message from Larrell Shutt, now retired elder at Saturn Road in Garland: “Try to occupy your minds with all the good things you have said to others as they met similar circumstances.  Try to remain in as ‘peaceful’ a state as possible in a stressful world of so many ‘unknowns’.  Medical science has come so far, but has so far to go, often leaving us in the end with relying on our Faith & Trust no matter the outcome.  It is sufficient for His children when we can remain in His peace.”  To which we say, “Amen!”
Our Lord said, “Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7 — Anne and Dan

July 23, 2008 at 7:58 pm Leave a comment

How Dark Is the Valley?

The doctors here cannot operate. The mass, though in one piece, is in a place very difficult to reach.  They are not sure about more radiation due to the fact that Dan had radiation on his groin when fighting the sarcoma in his thigh.  If this is another sarcoma, chemo has only been effective against 5% of sarcomas. The oncologist’s office is working non-stop to get Dan into MD Anderson…without success so far.

This looks like a situation similar to the time when the Israelites were being pursued by the Egyptian Army, and came up against that great wall of water known as the Red Sea.  It appeared to all that no matter what they did, certain death awaited them.  Yet, Moses held out his rod, and the Lord caused a strong wind to blow.  Suddenly, the waters parted and about 1,000,000 Israelites walked across the sea on dry land.  The Egyptians, seeing what the people of God had done, thought they could do the same.  You know the story?

When the entire Army was racing across the dry land of the Red Sea, victory nearly within their grasp, God intervened.  The wind stopped.  The wall of water collapsed burying The Enemies of God’s people – without hurting one Israelite!

What does this have to do with Dan’s battle against cancer?  God is the Great I Am…the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  If He chooses, He can remove all cancer cells from Dan’s body.  People all around the world are contacting us to say they are praying for Dan. About 20 people from the Mission Committee gathered to pray over Dan Sunday evening.  Jay, a former mission teammate, drove for over an hour today to pray for Dan.  Three of our elders came tonight to pray for him.

Moses interceded on behalf of the Israelites one time…God changed His mind and granted them life. We are asking God to grant Dan longer life.  We still have much work to do to help the good people of Covasna County, Romania, and beyond.  Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God interceding for us. Please keep praying. — Anne and Dan

July 23, 2008 at 3:24 am 1 comment

Deeper into the Valley of Shadows

Well, I’ll get right to the bottom line…the cancer is too large and in a too difficult area to operate right now. The mass is 7.6 X 6 cm located in Dan’s right lower pelvis area beginning in the groin.  Chemotherapy and radiation will probably be used for 6 to 12 weeks.  If and when the mass is small enough to operate, Dan will have to have an oncologic surgeon – probably go to MD Anderson for surgery.  

The good news is that it is all in one piece, not in the bones, not anywhere else in his torso. We are waiting to hear from the Oncologist who is arranging for the chemo/radiation.

We don’t understand why this is happening, but we know we are in the hands of God.  He will use this somehow in a positive manner. Thank you for your prayers.  Please, continue praying for God to remove whatever is causing cancer in Dan’s body, and to shrink the tumor, even take it away completely without surgery…if it be His will.  God continues to surround us with His angels.  God is good. — Anne and Dan

July 21, 2008 at 8:10 pm 1 comment

Thinking About Romania


Portable Bee Hives Go Where the Pollen Is

Portable Bee Hives Go Where the Pollen Is

Red Cross Campers

Red Cross Campers

Zoli, Andrea, and Lilla live here across the street from us in the new style apartment building.

Zoli, Andrea, and Lilla live here across the street from us in the new style apartment building.

Janos, Social Worker, chooses a stuffed animal for his office

Janos, Social Worker, chooses a stuffed animal for his office

Memories of our new home, a place of beauty and people with good souls.

The blog from earlier today began a short series about Cancer’s Unexpected Blessings.  We hope you will read it before this entry.

God bless you.  We are okay.  We get the surgeon’s opinion in the morning…is it operable or not.  Please pray for Dan’s complete healing. —  Anne and Dan

July 21, 2008 at 3:55 am Leave a comment

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July 2008