Hi everyone. I want to thank you for being such faithful readers and friends. I’ve been writing this devotional blog for nearly ten years, since March 2013. The time has flown by, and yet a lot has happened, especially while Tony and I were in South Africa as Iris missionaries, and in Toronto as HFN missionaries and care-givers to my nearly 94 year old dad. Thank you to all of you who have prayed during our journey. We cannot fully live the Christian life on our own. We desperately need God; but we also need each other. A very dear Anglican priest of mine, Fr. John Bridges, used to always remind us that we grow in community. Our faith is not just our own. I think of the paralytic who was lowered through the roof by his four friends so that Jesus could see him face to face and heal him. Other than the kindness of God, it was the active faith of his friends that made the difference! Right now, we need your intercessions. We have hit a difficult time where I can’t write (although I have ideas), because of various challenges we are going through. It’s been at least three things at once. When I had inflammatory breast cancer, that and the medical funding were our major challenges, other than full time ministry. During this season, all three of us in my dad’s house are ill. Some of us very seriously ill. We are hopeful, but know that we need your prayers.
- My dad has vascular dementia. He is nearly 94 now, and has had many multiple TIAs (mini-strokes) for at least a year now., maybe much longer. Each time he has one, he loses more of his memory and of himself. Add to that increasingly bizarre behaviour. We as care-givers have been able to catch most of it, but we can’t be awake 24-7. I remain in the house most of the time, apart from church (and I often stay home and watch online if necessary). The only other times I leave is for medical appointments. He refuses to go into a care home, and to stay in his home, even though he doesn’t always recognize it as his home or even if it’s day or night. He does recognize me, but I’ve been with him nearly all the time. My husband is even more devoted in doing a lot of grunge work, cleaning, laundry, and pastoral care with him. I cook, grocery shop online (deliveries), plan the meals and cook nearly all the home-made suppers. We know our time with my dad is an assignment for God and we are content with this. We can handle the incontinence, behaviour, feeding, guiding and making sure that my dad is safe, loved and cared for. He does not yet know Jesus. I have asked him, but he has said no. I will ask again at the right time, hopefully in a way that he can still understand. Vascular dementia is not a disease curable by medicine – but God. God can heal. Need I say more that this is not beyond God? Perhaps there is more as he is prepared for a good end of life. Knowing Jesus! That’s what we want, to know his love in this life.
- Tony has mesothelioma cancer in the lining sac of his left lung. The tumour has basically pushed his lung in such a way that it has taken over that space. It’s also not operable at this time. He has been on immunotherapy to boost his immune system but also to shrink the tumour. Unfortunately, the tumour has slowly grown. So his oncologist has switched him to chemo, as of today, Tuesday, January 31. It’s not the same extremely harsh chemo that I was on during my cancer journey, but Alimta and Cisplatin are still chemo drugs, and he may still lose his beautiful head of hair. We can deal with that. However, he is also head caregiver for my dad right now (in grunt work that I can’t do due to being disabled). Immunotherapy and the cancer made Tony weak, but chemo is a whole new level. Please pray that Tony is given strength to do the tasks he must, but also that this tumour shrinks. We need it gone (or so small that surgery can happen), so his life can be spared longer. Mesothelioma (the cancer caused by asbestos exposure) is not curable by medicine – but God. God can heal. Need I say more that this is not beyond God?
- I have had no reoccurence of breast cancer, although have had a few challenges that make my oncologist watch carefully. We also had to have extensive dental work in order for me to take zoledronic acid infusions to prevent breast cancer resurgence into my bones. Meanwhile, our new family doctor did some bloodwork on me, and found that all of my liver ensymes are three times what they should be. I was ordered to have a liver ultrasound, and ALT test and more bloodwork and it was confirmed that I have Non-Alcholic Fatty Liver Disease, which is another disease that is not curable by medicine – but God. God can heal. Need I say more that this is not beyond God? I am being referred to a specialist, who will likely do a liver biopsy to see how far the liver damage has progressed. If it has progressed past the NASH stage, it can lead to cirrosis, which means I would need a liver transplant. Yet, that is the worst case scenario. We are trusting God, stage by stage. He saved me from advanced inflammatory breast cancer, and I still know there is more for me, I have seen impressions of it in dreams and visions. So I’m trusting that this NAFLD can be reversed by:
- weight loss (something I’ve been trying for many years without much success – but God)
- A daily food regimen (Mediterranean diet) with less salt, no added sugar, reduced fat (just olive oil), less red meat etc. So far I’ve lost 8 pounds in two weeks. We pray that this downward trend will continue. It will be good for my liver, and my knees.
- Being alcohol free as much as possible (even though wine did not cause the problem)
- Drinking a lot more water, with added lemon
- The required weight loss will help me be more mobile again, and to get behind the wheel of my dad’s car. Tony is doing the driving because I simply can’t fit behind the wheel. It’s embarrassing to share that, but it is true. This is a time where I must lose the weight and inches – for my health, and to help Tony. He shouldn’t be doing all the driving, especially not when impacted by chemotherapy.
So I thank you in keeping the three of us in your prayers! Deep healing for the three of us, for vascular dementia and its complications, end of life issues, Tony’s journey with mesothelioma cancer, and his continued help needed in this family, and me with the NAFLD, desperately needed weight loss, with healing all around in other issues not even mentioned. Perhaps it’s not a surprise that my writing inspiration and words wouldn’t come for a teaching, when my liver shuts down my body in sleep and is in pain from more than one Tylenol – the same OTC drug needed to decrease the osteoarthritis pain in my knees. All I can say is, this is a BUT GOD situation. I wrote about “But God” as an article earlier. You will find in the August 2021 article https://waystogrowingod.org/2021/08/ Please check it out, if you’d like to grow along with me in these situations (by learning about it).
I pray a blessing on all of you, my dear friends. Thank you for reading, for praying, and for taking your own growth in God seriously. It matters. YOU matter. See you soon in another article.