Posts filed under ‘Cancer’s Dark Valley’
Dr. Akbani, my Oncologist/Hematologist/Internist at Arlington Cancer Center stunned me with the news yesterday, “Half of the cancer that was in your body is now gone.” God is answering our prayers! Yet we are still in the middle of this battle. In the last few years, darkness has nearly overwhelmed me at times. In a way, my life has been no different than many others. We’ve lost loved ones through death or breakup of family. We’ve fought life threatening illnesses. Everyone has a story.
The question comes again and again…how dark does it have to be before there is no more light? I’m discovering in my walk with Large Muscle B Non Hodgkins Lymphoma that it is pretty much up to me how much darkness there is. I’m a Clinical Social Worker. I’ve helped many people work their way out of the “black dog of depression.”
However, knowing what to do when it is my darkness, has been a challenge. (It is said that Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill spoke of struggling with the “black dog of depression.”) This is too deep of a subject to be dealt with lightly. I just want to share with you what is working for me.
God has sent many angels disguised as humans to me because I keep crying out to God. I learned all over again when the darkness is overwhelming, turn on the light in the room, pray for help to deal with the pain, the fears, and then make myself begin to thank God for any and all blessings in my life. In a few minutes, the room and my soul are flooded with Light. It takes practice, but God is always here with us…maybe waiting for you to ask for His help. He cares, but you have to let Him in. — Anne
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God…” Philippians 4:6 (Did Paul know what he was talking about?)
Please, take a minute…or more, and pray for Rachel Andererg, of Pacifica, CA. I first met her several years ago at the congregation where my son and family worship. A tumor was discovered on her kidney only a couple of days ago. Surgery will remove the kidney Thursday morning. Godly wife, and mother of 4 children still at home, she is a living example of the woman in Proverbs 31.
This message just came from Blake Anderberg,Rachel’s husband:
“I visited Rachel this evening. Her chest x-ray was clean so there is no apparent cancer beyond the tumor. There is a very small chance that the tumor is benign but that will be determined by biopsy after they remove it with the kidney on Thursday. She is experiencing some pain in her right side where the tumor is and has been having headaches. But, these aches and pains subside after a small dose of a vicadent like drug. Her platelets were lower than normal so she will need blood during the surgery.
No apparent cancer in other areas of her body.
She is in the hospital, a controlled environment, where her pain is managed and her body is monitored.
Pray that there is no other cancer in her body. They will test tissue and lymphs once she’s opened up.
Pray that she recovers well from the long surgery, 4 to 5 hours.
To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
Today, our eldest son and his sweet wife drove my sister and me back to Texas. We kept our promise to bury Dan’s ashes in the simple country cemetery in the plains of Southwest Oklahoma. I still have difficulty grasping the fact that Dan is truly gone from this earth…nothing is left. But is that true?
Think about it. What is left? There is much more left on this earth besides his ashes. There are hundreds who have the Bible as their Guide, and Jesus as their Lord because Dan cared enough to help them understand God’s will for their life. There are hundreds of solid marriages because couples came to Dan for Godly counseling. There are now countless intentional followers of Christ who have studied the great books from his personal library that Dan donated to Ghana Bible College.
Dan helped establish Lake Cisco Christian Camp in Texas, and Camp Manatawny in Pennsylvania to bless children. These camps are still going strong. The Bible Chair where students study God’s Word for College credit at Cisco Junior College is still in operation. Thousands of Christians in Ghana (W. Africa) can say “thank you” to Dan for helping The Cedars Church began the work there of presenting the Word of God to the nation of Ghana.
It would be easy to list many more things. But God knows what Dan accomplished. That is all that matters. Dan’s labor is finished, but his influence will go on and on passing from generation to generation like the quiet ripples in a lake . His name will one day be forgotten, but his positive influence for God will go on and on.
And, what about me? Wednesday we begin sorting what Dan put in storage. Boxes of business papers must be shredded, and, frankly, I don’t remember what else Dan put in that storage room. But it must be disposed of one way or the other. Thursday, I hope to be able to sort and pack things we left at Melissa and Paul’s house. Some boxes go to Romania, some to California. This cannot be a time of rest. This work has to be accomplished before I return to California next Tuesday.
God will help. How do I know? Tonight, He gave me this message from His Word in Matthew 8:26, “Jesus said, ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.” He can calm the storms in the winds and sea…and He will calm the storms in our heart if we but turn to Him. — Anne
How I wish each one of you could have shared with us today in the beautiful, loving Memorial Service for Dan at the church in Hobart, Oklahoma, and at the sweet country cemetery near where his walk on this earth began. Together, Dan’s two sons who were here, placed the handsome marble box containing Dan’s ashes in it’s final resting place beside his family members who went before him — his mother’s parents, his father, his brother, and his mother, Juanita. Dan’s ashes are buried right next to his mother’s grave.
All of his siblings, their children and grandchildren, as well as a number of relatives on his mother’s side arranged to be with us on this work day. I have not counted how many people attended, but I’d estimate around 100.
The rest of the afternoon and evening, this large family spent in the church fellowship hall, talking, eating, playing games, remembering Dan, laughing, crying, bonding…together. We will all be together again in the morning for breakfast as we continue to celebrate Dan’s life and thank God for bringing us to this time as Family.
I’ll close with a message from one of my great encouragers through this long, dark valley —
“The boys and I prayed for you throughout the day, knowing today was the day you were to bury what remains of Dan’s physical body. We prayed this memorial service there blessed you and that you felt the presence of God in tangible ways….
I know you are grieving the loss of Dan. I know you will continue to do so. Never having lost a mate, I cannot know just how gripping that grief can be; how roller-coastering it can seem. Like Sherrie so abley put it, grief is a process, and it seems to be cyclical. But there IS recovery in this way: you WILL find a new norm. It will take time, but you will. And I believe with all my heart you will learn to live vibrantly as your gift to the LORD (the alternative only pleases the enemy). But, take it one day at a time. This journey/process is part of expanding your trust, refining your faith and clarifying allegiance. There’s no telling what else the Lord has to teach you….and we’re never to old to have a teachable spirit!
By the way, I wanted to ask you how your study time went with A. He asked for a toughy. It is such a necessary one, though. I hope you get to share questions and answers together in the weeks ahead.
This day is kind of a special one for me: it’s my spiritual birthday. 36 years ago I was buried with Christ and raised to new life, my sins forgiven. God’s goodness!…..how I’ve been blessed!! How much more I long to know….
Now…..(sigh)……where do you go from here? The horizon is wide before you. Wherever he leads, you follow! (I reckon he’ll let you walk along the Pacific at least a few more times!!!!)
Blessings on your sleep and on your waking,
Amen — Anne
At church this morning, I was looking for Dan and suddenly realized he was not going to come walking into the auditorium. Tonight, when we got to the motel in Altus, Oklahoma, I wanted to phone Dan and tell him that we had made it this far with no problems. Then I remembered, he is not “at our home.” (In fact, we don’t have a home except in Sfantu Gheorghe.)
Monday, in about 15 hours we will bury the beautiful urn in which his ashes lie in the country cemetery near where he was born. How fitting…to honor his family by choosing to be buried with his ancestors. I can understand why some people want their loved one’s ashes with them. I know he is in heaven. I know he is now well and strong and happy. That is important. But I want to have Dan beside me.
That sounds a bit crazy. But I miss him so much. At this moment, I’d take anything I can have of him…even if it’s only ashes. God will help me. Advice – to think about where he is; be happy he is in heaven; keep busy so you don’t think about him. All of that denies that God made humans in such a manner that we are supposed to grieve when we lose a loved one. I do not plan to go sit in a dark room and feel sorry for myself the rest of my life. But neither do I plan to act like I simply lost a sock, or a dime, and move on with no time to acknowledge my God-given feelings.
God will help me get beyond this. This just happens to be where I am tonight. I share this because there are 150,000 people who die every day in the U.S. Their loved ones need to know that God expects them to grieve, shed those tears that cleanse their soul, and come out of the nights of grieving stronger people who walk closer with God. — Anne
Marilyn expressed it well, “The service for Dan Boyd was incredible! The chapel was standing room only as many poured out their love for Dan – so sweet for Anne to hear all these wonderful words, too. Jonathan did an incredible job!”
Nancy Lawrence wrote, “Yes it was a service Dan would have enjoyed. It spoke so well of family and friends and God’s love and scripture and Anne. Dan was a lucky man to walk side by side Anne for 56 years. Anne will continue to walk with Dan by her side within her heart for as many years as God blesses her to teach and pray with us. God bless our dear friend, Lord, she’s doing okay.”
And, now, to bed. God bless each and every one of you! — Anne
On this day, Tuesday, 23 June, Dan’s ashes are in the house with us. The cremation has taken place.. I cannot push my feelings down deep inside me today. I know where his earthly remains are…they are simply ashes. He is not here. He is alive. He cannot come to us, but God has provided a way for us to go to Dan, to spend eternity with God and Dan.
Walking on the beautiful beach, talking to God, my peace was interrupted by a big boxer that ran up behind me full force and slammed my back hard. (It is a law that all dogs on Montara Beach must be kept on a leash but some people do not like laws. Their pets are more important than people.) I’m hoping that one trip to the chiropractor for an adjustment will fix the problem.I really needed comfort.
Two things happened: First, a young minister and his beautiful family were on the beach. Even though he did not see me get hit, he stopped to ask, “How are you?” This led to he and his wife praying over me for healing of my back, and for my sorrow over losing Dan. They prayed for my work and loved ones in Romania. He invited me to come speak to their Women’s Group about God’s work in Romania. Do you see? My suffering led to prayers being offered to God for all those who are hurting over losing Dan, and for everyone in the entire country of Romania.
The God of All Comfort spoke to me Tthrough this message that came today:
“Judy and I received the news of Dan’s passing with the mixed feelings.
We were saddened for you and the entire family, yet consoled knowing
that he has now fulfilled God’s purpose for his life. I know he is
with the Lord, which gives those of us who wait hope for a grand
I do hope that will comfort and sustain you in the days ahead. I must
tell you that it was Dan whom God used to help me come to more fully
appreciate II Cor. 1, where the apostle Paul speaks of the “God of all
comfort”. I’m sure that he reminded his audiences of that many times,
but for us, it was at the time when Ron Keller was suddenly and
unexpectedly taken from us. I offer it to you now in the hope that it
will bless you just as it has us.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father
of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our
troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort
we ourselves have received from God.” II Corinthians 1
Most lovingly, Mike and Judy ”
To that, I say, “Amen!” — Anne