Archive for December, 2008
Are you waiting for THE BIG MOMENT to be happy? Did you know that there are many things in your life every day for which you can choose to be grateful, even happy? It’s all about what you choose to do. If you are reading this, that means you have some extra coins to spend for computer, e-mail, internet. Tonight, we are grateful, even Happy, that the bandage is holding which Lisa, the Home Health RN, put on this afternoon! We are grateful to God that the new tiny hole in Dan’s thigh is letting the lymph fluid drain. Yes, it creates a problem – Dan has to have an extra bandage on his body, but it solves a bigger problem. Maybe his leg will not swell up so much that the skin splits and peels any more.
The Home Health agency seems to have it together now. Dan has a daily bandage change. Friday an LVN will begin coming to help him have a regular sponge bath. Dan has an appointment with an oncologist in San Francisco who has experience with sarcomas. And in the midst of all this illness, he still carves out time to have his Bible study, and mentor Christians in far away places.
People are still writing daily that they are sending checks to help the Covasna County Red Cross provide crutches, walkers, wheel chairs for the needy in Sfantu Gheorghe, Romania. This brings us much joy! Maybe you want to help spread a little joy around. It’s never too late to make a donation by check or ONLINE through God’s Children. Or, maybe you want to do something big…like take a medical or dental mission to Sfantu Gheorghe? Or maybe you want to take an LST Team there in 2009. Or maybe you want to pray for the good people of Covasna County. God knows your heart, and will bless your faithfulness to His wishes.
Sherrie wrote, “On the earth, we all have difficulties, but in the heavenly realm God is working something good for all the difficulties we endure. Jesus verifies this reality truth in John 16:33 saying, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33-NIV).” Jesus wins the victory now for believers.” The small things in life that you do because you love Jesus add up! Amen! – Anne and Dan
Pain has taken a big toll on Dan. We have discovered that much of his pain has been caused by bandages being put on wrong, or coming loose and causing pressure on the open wound. There are many reasons for this – nurse in a hurry; nurse not skilled in this area; incision in a very difficult place; tape poor quality. Tonight, after I put on a new bandage, Dan’s pain level went down to a 2 (on a scale of 0 – 10).
A new development is that a tiny hole 1/4 inch long opened up in Dan’s thigh where he had radiation with the first sarcoma. We are grateful that the drainage has already taken most of the swelling out of his right leg. The oncologist warned us that the hole may never close because of the radiation.
Today has been a very hard day. But two good things happened — we saw a real Zeppelin gliding high above the house , and Dan’s pain level went down to a 2. The Scripture God gave me tonight is Isaiah 49. There is much in that chapter, but in particular, this comforts me – “The Lord comforts His people, and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.” — Anne and Dan
How is Dan? We wish we knew…is it just trapped fluid causing his hip to hurt, or is the tumor growing? He is in so much pain that he has to take pain medication…and sleeps a lot. It is hard for him to walk. The big question is how much are we going to choose to worry?
I Peter 5:3-11 has good advice, “Be self-controlled, alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
Seeing Dan struggling to walk, fearing that the cancer is growing, I went to church full of tears. Dave’s lesson from Psalm 37 gave me new courage! What turned my feelings around so quickly? Let me share with you — Don’t fret. It’s temporary! Fretting leads to you not being at peace, unable to lead, to not focus on the good you can do. Be Still and Wait Patiently for the Lord.
Keep your focus – do good. Cultivate a spirit of contentment. Be grateful for what you have. Don’t focus on what you don’t have. Find your fulfillment in God. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. God will fulfill or take away your desire. (How cool is that?)
Here’s something to think about — I Peter 4:1,2 tells us that it is good for us to suffer because then we give up desires that aren’t good for us. If we commit our lives to God, when the time is right, He will make our righteousness shine like the sun. How do you do that? Fast and pray in secret. Do good things for the least important of our family in Christ.
Quiet your heart, be still before the Lord, refrain from anger, do not fret, wait patiently for Him. Wait patiently for Him…believing His promises. If you don’t know His promises, I suggest you read the book of Luke, then Acts of the Apostles, then the book of Philipians. That is what I am doing to keep sane. — Anne and Dan
In late September, as I looked out Dottie’s window in Texas, the golden leaves drifting to the ground reminded me of, “September Song.” ”…I miss you most of all…when Autumn leaves begin to fall.” We’d only been back in the States 8 weeks, but I was missing our friends in Sfantu Gheorghe, missing teaching therapists how to help bring healing to hurting people, missing the dear people who came to practice English by reading the Bible with Dan, missing our church family.
And, now, December 27, we are in Montara, CA, with family who love us and take such good care of us. But we still miss the good people we’ve come to love in Romania. Today while Dan was taking a nap, Michelle took some of us to a beautiful mountain forest of giant Redwood trees. Walking up the forest trail, my eyes filled with tears as I remembered the times in the lovely forests of Holland or the Carpathian Mountains.
We are on a different path now…taking care of Dan. Many times, the Home Health nurses put the bandage on in ways that create deep pain. He doesn’t want to bother me. But I ask him anyway to let me check the bandage…just in case the bandage is loose, tight, or wrinkled — all of which cause Dan to hurt. Tonight, it took an hour for me to change the bandage the nurse had put on 4 hours earlier.
Michelle made the day brighter by preparing a lovely dinner with long red tapered candles glowing in the center of our table. Leann, Michelle’s mother, organized the fridge with all of Dan’s organic veggies in 2 drawers. Scott entertained us after dinner with a Marx Brothers movie. Raymond and Emily delighted us with tea and conversation. AND, WE ARE NEARING $2,000 TO PURCHASE CANES, CRUTCHES, WHEEL CHAIRS in Romania, for the needy in St. George, Romania. We have much for which to be thankful.
Paul wrote the Christians in Philippians 3:20-21, “…our citizenship is in heaven. We eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” One day, we’ll be with all our loved ones who are in Christ. No more tears, no more saying goodbye. — Anne and Dan
This morning, Christmas morning, we were all gathering around the Christmas tree at our son’s home in California when a blast shook the roof, jolted the floor, causing the house to sway! The children ran to get away from the great stone fireplace in case it began to fall. Thinking it was surely an earthquake, I didn’t know what to do next. Our son told us all to be calm, and then he checked on the web to see what had happened.
It turned out to be a powerful blast of air and rain as a wild storm swept in from the Pacific! Suddenly the lights went out, and we were without power for 3 hours. Praise God, the house stood firm! Instead of complaining that our day was ruined, they chose to light candles, make a cheery fire in the fireplace, bake sweet potatoes in the coals, and go on with our celebration! Later Dan said, “This is the most wonderful Christmas I’ve ever had!”
How often do we choose to go on celebrating life when challenges come? This past 12 months, our “house” has been hit so hard that we felt like it might fall apart. But we turn to God each time with our shock and fear. Our faith in Jesus and His Father has helped us stand firm.
Dan has been free of fever for two days. The rash is going away. The nurses have finally learned how to fix his bandage. His right leg is retaining too much fluid, and the sarcoma is still pushing against the open incision. On a day like today, we go to Psalm 5 again which ends with “But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.” Amen! — Anne and Dan
Today Dan’s temperature was normal! The nurse came to change the bandage. Dan is recovering from the rash, but still scratches his head, his wrists, his hips. The infected area in his wound is smaller. His main concern now is that the radiated area of his right thigh is swollen and has a very sore spot…maybe too much fluid collection because he has not been able to walk enough…or is it something else?
A year ago, we were here in California visiting our son and his family just like we are now . We had planned a longer stay, but cancer changed our life. January 8, ’08 Dan had surgery in Texas…and we learned that a rare form of cancer – sarcoma – was removed from his thigh. Radiation followed which was supposed to take care of any sarcoma still in his thigh and groin. Well, maybe it did? But now, Dan has another sarcoma just above where the first sarcoma was…and there is nothing doctors can do for it. It has been a challenging year, but God keeps on carrying us.
We truly live one day at a time. All plans are tentative, and often have to be changed. But, really, isn’t that true for everyone? Who among us has a guarantee that life tomorrow will be what we have planned? We are finally learning what it means to live the surrendered life…”your will be done, O God,” are not just words we memorized to mindlessly repeat when we pray. We have today with no promise of tomorrow. Dan said tonight, “I’ve had the best day today that I’ve had since we arrived Dec. 11!” That’s a real gift. We can have a Merry Christmas as long as we remember that each day is a gift, and that it is our job and privilege to glorify God by our lives daily. “Whether you eat or drink, do all to the glory of God.” I Cor. 10:31. That is our gift to Him. — Anne and Dan