One week ago today, we walked into the Chemo Room at Dr. McCanless’s office to visit Chris and Jenna. The first words out of my mouth were, “I’m so thankful that we don’t have to do this.” Five days later, guess what we’re doing?
I mentioned in my last post that our doctors were petitioning our insurance company to allow Clay to start a new drug called Avastin. Avastin is administered with Temodar (the chemo pill) in some patients. When Dr. Russell originally called Dr. Friedman at Duke University, Dr. Friedman suggested the Avastin right away. But, our insurance wouldn’t agree to pay for it, because it is not in the standard of care.
When we got less than satisfying results on the MRI, Dr. Russell told us he believed God was going to use this to help us get the approval for the Avastin, which is what we wanted, anyway. He is a Godly man who encourages us at every turn. Love him!
While we were waiting, I sent a copy of Clay’s MRI to his Neuro Surgeon at MD Anderson. Remember Dr. Weinberg? I’ll never in a million years forget him. I hope to goodness I get to see him in heaven one day because I want to remember him for eternity, too. He was used mightily by God to save Clay’s life and I love him for it.
He was very kind to me over the phone. He reviewed the results of the MRI with me. In his opinion, the tumor has grown some during the radiation. He assured me that radiation is a proven tool with Glioblastoma and he is convinced that the radiation helped. Which probably means that the tumor would have grown faster had we not been radiating.
He reminded me that more surgery will be an option if the tumor continues to grow. He has operated as many as 4 times on some of his patients. Patients respond differently to treatment and there is always such variation in each case, so he really can’t predict what will happen next. He asked me to have a follow up MRI in 4 weeks, instead of 8 weeks. Dr. Russell agreed and it is scheduled for Oct. 5.
He also asked the Oncologist at MD Anderson to call me. Her name is Dr. Weathers. She is wonderful. She stayed on the phone with me for over 20 minutes. She agreed with the decision to add the Avastin right away. She agreed with Dr. Weinberg’s assessment that there is most likely some growth. She explained possible side effects and signs to watch for. It helped me a lot to talk to her.
She thinks that the Avastin may actually make Clay feel better, rather than worse. Avastin prevents the body from producing blood vessels. The reason it helps Glioblastoma is because the tumor is a vascular tumor. My understanding is that it grows new blood vessels in order to increase it’s mass. The doctors talk about the tumor like it is alive. Like it is a demon. Dr. Weathers said that this tumor is very intelligent. So, eventually, it will learn how to grow blood vessels, even with the Avastin.
I hate the devil. I hate him so much. He is so evil and wicked. It makes me so angry to think about him taking pleasure in this process. It’s like he literally made that tumor and gave it evil characteristics. Sometimes when I think about the tumor, I get chills when I imagine that thing growing inside of Clay. The only way I can stand it, is to bring my thoughts to what the Word tells me about Satan’s end. He loses. He loses big. As hard as he is trying, he will fail. My God is greater and stronger than anything he can bring against us.
And, I smile when I think about how he was hoping to destroy us, but he is failing at that, too. God has given us supernatural strength to stand and praise Him in this storm. Satan will lose at every turn. I wonder if he ever gets used to it?
Now, don’t misunderstand. Although the Lord has enabled us to praise Him, it is still the hardest thing we’ve ever done. If you think I’m always strong, think again. I have my fair share of moments. Today was one. Yesterday was one. The day before was one……let’s just say that I have cried plenty of tears. But, every time I cry, the Lord comforts me. The Word says He is near to the brokenhearted and I am a testimony that this is true.
I have learned that it is ok for us to have emotions about our situations in this life. God made us with these emotions. It is not a sin for us to feel the pain of our sorrow. God longs to be our comfort and be our friend, so He draws near when we feel these emotions. We fall into sin when we allow ourselves to just stay there. If we remain in our pit of despair, and we don’t allow Him to comfort us, we fall into sin and depression. We eventually become angry and we will find ourselves on a downward spiral.
David wrote so many Psalms like Psalms 39:2 – 3.
“He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be astounded. They will put their trust in the Lord.”
In order for the Lord to lift David out of the pit of despair, he had to be there in the first place. So, even David went into that pit that we sometimes find ourselves in. And it doesn’t say that God came along and reprimanded him. It doesn’t say that God punished him. It says He lifted him out.
The miracle of God helping us out of our pit, is just as great as the miracle of healing. He helps us in our difficulties so that the world can see and be astounded that we can walk through our fires and not be burned. And this is what He is doing for us right now. The pit is real. I face it everyday. And, sometimes I find myself just sitting in it. I’ve cried so many tears and my heart has imagined every possible outcome of our situation. But, the Lord always comes. He always comforts me. Always. He is so faithful.
“We try so hard to please God by things we do FOR Him, but He receives His joy by what He does THROUGH us. Because His glory is in what HE does. The rewards we earn are for Him alone.”
I found this note in my notebook that I use during church. It is most likely that Pastor Lee said this. I wrote it on the back of a page. I do this when he says something that really jumps out at me. Look at the date. Do you know what happened on May 2, 2016? This note was written in my notebook just hours before Clay’s first symptoms and one day prior to his diagnosis. Wow. God is so amazing. He gives us everything we need to live this life He has called us to live. He was feeding me these words of life, just hours before my world would be shaken.
Look at the note. Everything we need to do comes out of just being with Him. Do you love me? The back page says, “One thing I desire!” I have prayed that prayer so many times. In the altar, crying to the Lord that I desire to be closer to Him. To know Him more. To be used by Him.
This past Sunday, Pastor Lee preached about spending time in the presence of God. Not just reading our Bibles or saying a rehearsed prayer, but really sitting in the presence of God. So, you can imagine, the altar time was amazing. We just sang and prayed for a long time while the Lord refreshed us and helped so many of us who are struggling through life right now.
While I was singing along with the song, I noticed the words I was saying. They were something like, “You are my everything. All I desire is you.” I clearly heard the Lord ask me if that was true. He asked me, “What do you desire more? To know me? or to see Clay’s healing?”
Please don’t misunderstand. God is a loving God. He is not holding Clay’s healing over my head as a ransom. I promise. He is coming to me in a very loving way and He is searching my heart. Which is what I was asking Him to do. He doesn’t invade us. We have to allow Him to do this. And, I want it. I’ve asked Him to do it so many times. So, I sat there. Silent. While I asked myself the same question. I searched for the truth.
Although my heart is in a thousand pieces, the truth is that I desire Jesus more. And, by the way, so does Clay. He has told me many times that he would not want God to heal him if it wasn’t God’s will, or if it would require us to lose out on anything God wants to do through us. He has truly given us a heavenly perspective and our hearts are in heaven, now. I know, with every fiber of my being, that we are going to be with Jesus soon, and nothing in this life will matter. Only what we’ve done for Him. Rather….only what we’ve allowed Him to do THROUGH us.
So, I’m begging Him to keep our hearts and give us endurance to run this race. I’m begging Him to keep our eyes fixed on heaven when they are so easily pulled back to this earth and our desire for this life to be comfortable.
I’m sitting on the floor in the chemo room, right by Clay’s feet, reading my Bible and typing this blog. I’ve been crying all morning because he has not been feeling well. He has been in bed for two days and just getting up to get dressed and come here this morning was very difficult for him. I valet parked at the hospital and he walked in the door and just laid down on a bench. He’s so tired and I can’t really do much with him when he is like this. So, I got pretty emotional.
By the time we made it up to the doctor’s office, via wheelchair, the tears had started flowing. The sweet nurse just brought me my own box of tissue and I have used it. I hate to be emotional around people that don’t know us because I never want anyone to think that we are devastated. We are not. But, sometimes I just have a hard time holding back tears. And, even while I’ve been sitting here typing, the Lord has lifted me out of my despair. I’m about to throw all the tissue away.
They decided to put him back on a high dose of steroids because the symptoms are most likely from swelling. He got a big dose via IV before the Avastin and he’ll continue the pills at home for the time being. The Avastin has finished and now they are giving him fluids. He hasn’t eaten much the past few days and was a little dehydrated. He looks better already. I’m encouraged that the Lord will use these tools to help him.
Thank you for your faithful prayers, for your love and much needed support. All glory to God, who is our strength and our friend. We should be on our way home very soon. We love you all and feel so loved by you. Thank you.