Monday, January 9, 2012

Texas

We got in last night, right before a storm. It started this morning, just in time for my appointments at MD Anderson. There was a tornado watch and flooding everywhere. The signage here is awful so I trudged through the rain (without an umbrella) for half an hour before finding the place. Soaked and frozen, I texted with friends that it could only get better.

I was wrong.

Now that I've lost my hair, at my best I feel like a hideously disfigured clown, so it wasn't hard for the cruel doctors to crush what was left of my spirit. Still, they did everything in their power to make sure I was utterly devastated. It worked. First, the nurse practitioner met with me and told me there was no point in my ever having surgery to remove my tumor, because I'm going to die of cancer anyway. Then the esteemed Dr. Litton came in with two witnesses to drive it home. "Don't look at this like chemo will be done in 6 months and the you'll move on. Think of it like you're chronically ill and maybe you'll be on chemo until you die." When I became teary eyed she pursed her lips, tilted her head in an exaggeration motion and said without emotion, "I know." Just like she learned from reading the back of an empathy book. I didn't bother taking notes on all the helpful tidbits she shared, but she repeated them all for me so I wouldn't forget or get confused. "I would hate to give you false hope...our goal is not remission, it is just to control it... Metastatic means it spread. If it hadn't spread, it would be different...cancer is smarter than us..." Then she sent me on my way.

I wish I had been strong enough to say something awesome about how God is smarter than her and cancer. Instead I thanked her profusely. Then I ran to our rented minivan and sobbed until I was dry heaving. The agony and profound sadness I felt was incomprehensible. I knew there was a chance there wouldn't be good news here, but I didn't need to drag my family over here to be pounded with negativity. And why on earth did I feel such peace and joy about coming here?

I'm barely even breathing so haven't worked much out yet, but the general thoughts I have are that God gave me the excitement about coming so 1) I would come and 2) I would feel hope when I needed it. Maybe for some reason when the trip came together, God knew I really needed that good news. And of course there is a time for every season, "A time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance..." (Ecc 3:4).

A pessimist might think I'm here to learn that I'm going to die. But I don't see a point in that. I've heard it before, and don't see why I would need to go through all this hassle to get it engrained in me. It is well-documented that people with the most positive outlooks stay healthier and respond better to treatment, so I'm going to reject the hypothesis that God would send me here to learn to shut up and die. Instead, I'm going to consider it more documentation that humans aren't responsible for my imminent, total, (unexpected to the medical community) healing. Selah! 

Before my appointment, God showed me a verse I now think pertains to these doctors trying to get me down. I'm going to cling to when I get upset about this experience: Col 2:8 "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ."

Please note that Yaacov and I are trying hard, but this one is still a pretty deep wound. If people are looking for something to pray about, I would really appreciate a focus on lifting our spirits. I very much appreciate all the prayers so far, and we'll continue to pray for supernatural healing as evidenced in my next PET scan (didn't have one here yet but probably will in Tallahassee in the next month or so). 

We were scheduled to be here through Friday, but I'm done here so we're going back in the morning. 

Jeremiah 14: 19
"Have you rejected Judah (Erin) completely? Do you despise Zion (the Petschers)? Why have you afflicted us so that we cannot be healed? We hoped for peace but no good has come, for a time of healing but there is only terror. We acknowledge our wickedness, Lord, and the guilt of our ancestors; we have indeed sinned against you. For the sake of your name do not despise us; do not dishonor your glorious throne. Remember your covenant with us and do not break it. Do any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain? Do the skies themselves send down showers? No, it is you, Lord, our God. Therefore our hope is in you, for you are the one who does all this."

13 comments:

  1. Oh, Erin, I am so very sorry. I have my own personal experiences with MDA--scientifically, they are very, very good. In dealing with the whole person, not so much. You are in God's hands, and no one else's. I am so sorry that you went through this experience at MDA. They have a lot to learn.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh Erin, what a miserable day! I am praying earnestly for you and Yaacov. I can't imagine how devastating that was. Thank goodness our Creator, Sovereign, Saving God is bigger and smarter than cancer and can do anything.
    "The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
    a stronghold in times of trouble.
    Those who know your name will trust in you,
    For you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.". Psalm 9:9-10

    ReplyDelete
  3. Erin,
    I am so sorry to read this news. You and your family have been in our daily prayers, and today we will pray, just as you've asked, that God will lift your spirits. You have SO MANY people praying for you, and you are an inspiration to us all.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Erin,

    You don't know me but I stumbled upon your blog somewhere. I do not have cancer but my mom does. Like you, she was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer which spread to her spine and ribs. I was absolutely devastated to find out and immediately packed up my house, put it up for rent and moved from Texas to Florida. Two days later, she went through a nine hour surgery to remove one of her vertebrae that would have paralyzed her if it remained. That was the second worst day of my life after finding out about her condition. I don't know why I am telling you all of this. I just feel a connection having been through all of the same emotions so recently. She does have a good prognosis as long as the cancer doesn't spread to her liver. We're hopeful it doesn't. I just wanted to let you know that I would be praying for you and your battle while I'm alongside my mother helping her fight the same one.

    Melissa

    ReplyDelete
  5. Erin, I am so very sorry. I will pray that God lift your spirits and that He will comfort you during those times when hope may be fading. I also pray that he will give you the strength to fight, to fight even when they say there is no reason left to do so.

    "All I have needed Thy hand hath provided. Great is Thy faithfulness Lord unto me."

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a horrific experience. I am so thankful that our God does not rely on the wisdom or compassion of the medical community. I love you friend, and will be praying that God be the lifter of your head.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Dear Erin,

    I am so sorry that you had such a rough time in Houston! You are right that a positive attitude will make a difference for you. What those doctors failed to say is that there are always exceptions to the rule; always patients that have outcomes that are different than we expect. We can never know for sure. Perhaps the overall message is to prepare for the worst, but hope for the best. And there is hope. Don't lose sight of the hope, and don't lose the positive attitude. We'll hope for the best. And the whole army of people behind you will hope and pray for the best.

    Think healthy thoughts!

    Hoping for some good news for you from your upcoming PET scan!

    Lots of love and hope,
    Andrea

    ReplyDelete
  8. Erin, I am so sorry for the news you received. I know the Lord is holding you in his arms as He walks you through this enormous struggle. As I read your posts, I'm amazed at how much you are leaning on God throughout it all, even in the reality of how hard it must be. I am praying that the Lord keeps your heart, soul, and mind on Him. May His intimate love and grace surround you in your most difficult times.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh, Erin, I am so sorry that you are suffering under the weight of not only this cancer, but also the weight of the sin in the world around you. This morning, as I read through 1 Peter, where he recounts the sufferings of Christ and the sufferings that believers experience in this world, I thought of and prayed often for you and Yaacov. I have been praying that as Christ "continued entrusting himself to God" (2:23), you also would be able to "entrust your souls to a faithful Creator" (4:19). I know you have been doing so already, and am asking Him for His continued strength for you to do so.
    Your Christmas card is on the wall by our door, and as we leave and enter our house, we pray for your family. May you have supernatural joy and peace today!

    Katie Hughes

    ReplyDelete
  10. im so sorry to hear this erin. Keep believing, and hold on to your family. Im still thinking about you every day.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh, Erin. My goodness...there are no words I can type that might suffice to comfort your pain. The Lord hears you and loves you. You are an amazing woman with unbreakable faith. Thank God that you have Him to cling to.

    With Christ's love,
    Elizabeth

    ReplyDelete
  12. Erin,
    I am so proud of you and your strength! I know there is nothing I can say to make you feel at complete peace, but please know that you are an encouragement to me. I will be praying that God will lift you and Yaacov up and give you a continued spirit of peace and joy. I find encouragment in the promise that "God will never leave me nor forsake me" (Hebrews 13:5), and I pray that you can find encouragement in that promise as well. Our God is an AWESOME GOD who does AWESOME works and I will not stop praying for that work in your life.

    Your sister in Christ and prayer,
    Charlene

    ReplyDelete
  13. Dear Erin, please be encouraged by our Lord and Savior and His living word along with our community of faithful believers. There IS miraculous healing in God's power. My fiance was healed of a form of cancer of his bones that doctors thought was incurable. He went to Canada to undergo a special, natural treatment, after doctors here in the U.S. said it was incurable. He gives credit to God's healing power as he grew spiritually close to God in continual prayer. The doctors called the disappearance of the cancer a miracle, and they could not explain it! That was about 3 years ago, and this summer it came back. He underwent chemo again, and the cells are almost gone. He is confident in God's healing power, and so am I! I cannot begin to know your pain, but i feel it and just wanted to offer you hope and share his story of healing, because God truly can heal. Only the Lord knows the number of our days, and it is up to us to make them count as we rejoice in His salvation. You are an inspiration to all of us, and your life is a living testimony of God's grace. I wished i could have been in the doctor's office with you, so i could look the doctor in the eyes and tell her what i told my neurosurgeon when he told me i may never be able to use my right arm again after a disc in my neck popped out and damaged my nerves to the point my right arm and hand were useless... I looked him squarely in the eyes and said, "Well, you just do what you know how to do, and let God heal the rest!" I knew God would heal me, and He did. Continue to raise your head, your hands, and your heart in praise, and trust in the Lord, not in these mere mortals who are jaded by the world. "The Lord will keep you from all harm. He will watch over your lives. He will watch over your coming and going for now and forever." -Psalms 121:7-8. Love, your sister in Christ, Cynthia

    ReplyDelete