July 4, 2006

I have said more than once that it feels like it has been raining for years. Every once in awhile, the sun looks like it might come out, but sure enough, the thunder isn't too far behind. Most of you know the details of the summer of 2004 by now. If not, read through Jeff's entry dated August 5, 2004. The past few summers have changed our lives forever. My own personal story began on June 8, 2005. That was the day I noticed I had a small lump about the size of a dime. I was supposed to leave for vacation with my husband, Mike, and his family on June 25. This could not happen again. I did not want this to affect another family vacation, so I did not tell anyone. I thought about it everyday, but I also thought that it would go away if I wanted it to bad enough. I finally called a doctor in August. She referred me to another doctor to get an ultrasound and a mammogram. The first measurement taken was about 4cm, roughly the size of a ping pong ball. That is how fast it had grown in two months time. This doctor told me I needed to find a surgeon to perform a biopsy so we knew what we were dealing with. My father in law works at Akron General Hospital, so I asked him to ask around about good general surgeons. He gathered a few names, I prayed about it, and everything fell into place. My biopsy was scheduled for September 12, the day after my birthday. September 11 was a Sunday and my family all came over to celebrate my birthday. This was the first time I mentioned anything to Jeff about what was going on. I didn't want him to worry about me for no reason, considering what he was going through. 

My husband's job often takes him out of town for a week at a time. He stayed home that Monday, however, to take me to the hospital. He would leave the following morning for Columbus. My surgeon assured me that I would have the results of the biopsy the next day, so I stayed home from work so I would not miss the call. I waited and waited and finally at 4:00, I called the doctor's office. No results were in but said I would know the next morning, Wednesday. Just after 10 am on September 14, the phone rang. The caller ID showed the doctor's number, so I prepared myself. The receptionist told me that the doctor needed to see me and my husband in his office that day. I knew then that the news was not good. I called Mike and he made it home by 1:30. Our appointment wasn't until 4:30. I will never forget sitting down in the doctors actual office, with him at his desk, and hearing the words "breast cancer". He must have known that the rest would be a blur to me, so he wrote everything else down for me. At the bottom of the paper were the words "prognosis: depends on stage of tumor." I wanted so badly for him to say everything would be okay, and instead, I hear "it depends" . It had been over 3 months now from the time I found this, and I was so scared that I had waited too long. About this time, I started getting a pain above my left collar bone, the same side as the tumor. I knew that there were lymph nodes in that area, and I was sure it had spread. By Thursday night, the pain had spread down my arm and into my left hand. It felt numb, just as if it had fallen asleep. I called the Doctor's answering service just after midnight on Thursday night. My doctor was the surgeon on call, so I spoke right to him. He suggested I go to the emergency room. By the time I got there, it was about 2:30 am. The staff there told me that my surgeon had been calling to see if I was there, and sent his own resident down to examine me. The pain was so real, but they could find nothing. The next night, Friday, we were having a going away party for Mike's sister, Jesse, her son Cory, and her husband Jason. Jason is in the army and was being stationed in Alaska. Two of Mike's aunts and one of his cousins prayed with Mike and I that night. His aunt Laura prayed for these "lying symptoms" that I was experiencing in my arm. She believed that Satan will cause symptoms that can scare us into believing we are very ill or to  steal our peace. I agreed with her on this, and by the time the prayer was over, the pain that I had for 3 days was completely gone. God spoke to me that night and told me to pray for nothing but total healing. I believed my family was battling spiritual warfare, and Satan was trying to take us as prisoners. My parents came over that night and prayed with us again. God gave me the verse : Mark 5:34 " He said to her, Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering." I believe in my heart that I was healed that night. The tumor may have still been there, but the cancer was not. From the very beginning, I prayed for a miracle. I wanted God to get the credit for this, not the doctors or the medicine. Prayer has been my #1 defense. I was scheduled for 6 cycles of chemotherapy to begin on September 26, and continue every 3 weeks. After my fourth treatment, the tumor was gone. I was scheduled for surgery on December 20 to make sure no cells were left behind. A sample of tissue was taken, along with one lymph node from under my arm. The lymph node came back negative for cancer, which meant that it had not spread. I was not surprised because I knew I had already been healed. The next day I got a call from my surgeon. He informed me that the tissue sample still showed some cancer cells, so a second surgery was necessary. Immediately, I thought back to the lying symptoms. God's promise to me was "your faith has healed you", and I was holding onto that promise. I prayed about this for days. My next surgery would be on December 28th. This time everything came back totally clean. 

My oncologist suggested we continue with 4 more cycles of chemo anyhow. This would mean 8 total, more than originally planned, and after a good report. I struggled with this but agreed. After 2 cycles had been completed, I really felt God tugging at me. He whispered Psalm 118:8 "It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man." I made an appointment to speak to my oncologist to ask if I could forego the last 2 treatments. Before I could say anything, she said that there was no need to continue with treatments. She thought it was gone and that I wouldn't have any problems with this again. That was an answer to my prayers!

In the past year, I have heard God's voice more clearly than I ever have in my life. I never believed in spiritual warfare like I do today. I have so many more incredible stories to share of how God has worked miracles in my life, which I will share at a later time. The purpose of this entry is to let you all know where I am coming from in what I am gong to ask. 

My brother, Jeff, had finished all of his chemotherapy a few months back. He was still on one medication that was being used experimentally. Jeff had felt that God told him he was healed and that this medication had the potential for more harm than good in the long run. He was feeling good, and ultimately knew that he needed to trust in God. If He told him he was healed, then he indeed was. He also made an appointment with his doctors, and they fully supported his decision to stop this medication. He had an MRI a few weeks later that showed his tumor was again smaller. This was all wonderful news. I believed in my heart the same thing for Jeff that I believed for myself. God healed him of cancer, even if parts of the tumor were still there. 

Recently, Jeff has been experiencing more symptoms than what he had in the past. His doctors simply attribute this to his condition, but I on the other hand, believe it is not. If Jeff has been healed, he no longer has a "condition". I wholeheartedly believe that Satan is using these lying symptoms to shake our faith and make us doubt God's promise that Jeff has been healed. Believe it or not, we are scheduled to go on another family vacation this Saturday. And once again, we are left thinking it may not be possible to go at this time. I don't want you to think I care about the vacation itself. But the timing has always been at a point that we want to spend time as a family. Our whole family is in this battle. I said at the beginning of this entry that it feels as if it has been raining for years. The other day, I felt as if we were about to drown in it. The same day, God gave me this scripture: " Master, Master, we're going to drown! He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. " Where is your faith?" he asked his disciples." 

I am asking for the body of Christ to come together and pray with me for Jeff. Hold onto God's promise of healing with me. God can break off these symptoms with a touch of his hand. He is stronger than any power Satan may believe he has. I refuse to let this shake my faith, or doubt God's promises of what he has done. I know that many of you have been praying for our family for years. We appreciate every single one of them. But I am asking you to pray now for complete healing, and that Satan's hold would be permanently broken. Please include my parents in your prayers. They seem so strong through all of this... they are without question warriors leading this battle. I am praying for God's love and support to flood over them as we continue to fight. 

Psalm 16:8-9 "I have set the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure."



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