“I will lift up my eyes to the hills—From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psalm 121:1–4)
Last week we took Eileen in to the hospital because her stomach had become distended and was giving her much pain. The doctors did some tests and found that the cancer was no longer playing well with the chemo treatments. It had gone off on its own and was ravaging, not only her liver, but now also was spread through her intestines. The swelling in her abdomen was the result of the new lesions releasing fluid (ascites) into her abdomen. When they drained it, three liters (just over ¾ of a gallon) came out. She went to the hospital on Monday and had the procedure done again. We have an appointment to go in tomorrow for another go at it.
When we found out that the cancer had spread we met with our oncology nurse friend. She told us that there is another chemo approach we can try, but it would only extend what we are already experiencing and wouldn’t make any long term difference. In addition, it would probably make Eileen’s neuropathy worse, which would mean that she would lose the ability to walk.
Eileen doesn’t want to go away in the winter because winter is already a pretty dreary time of year and she doesn’t want to make things worse for folks.
When writing his letter to the Philippians, Paul said, “…to depart and be with Christ, which is far better…” (1:23). And Jesus said, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).
We had a family pow-wow and came to the conclusion that, apart from a miraculous intervention by God (for which we are enthusiastically praying), the options seem to be either go to be with the Lord with the current cancer and chemo complications, or stay for a month or two with more misery and side effects. So, in light of the glorious promises of the Gospel that being with Jesus would be far better, we’ve decided to forgo any more chemo treatments. Eileen is going to be with Jesus, with a new, healthy body, visiting with all the friends and Christian family members who have proceeded her. And she will join in with that “great cloud of witnesses” that are watching and rooting us on in our races to Christ, so she won’t miss any of those things anyway. We’ll just miss her enjoyment of them.
We don’t have a time line for how or when this will play out. What we do know is that Eileen is taking pain medication, having her stomach drained every three or four days (so far), and is dealing with a lot of dizziness, nausea, and other related issues.
If you have a mind to pray for Eileen, and/or for Rachel and I, you might keep in mind what Paul said just before he mentioned that it would be better for him to be with the Lord:
“For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:19–21)
We would all like Eileen to completely healed of the cancer and the chemo effects. We would like her to live another 30 years, or more. We would like her to see Rachel get married and have many children. We would like her to care for me when I get old(er). We would like her to continue visiting with all of you and sharing Jesus with you for many many years to come.
If God continues to say, No, to this we would all like to do nothing that causes anyone to be ashamed of Jesus or the Gospel. We want to be bold in our faith. We want Christ to be magnified in our bodies whether in life or death. We want to say and mean, “for me to live is Christ, to die is gain.” Please pray that God would be magnified in our joy, in our peace, in our confidence in the great grace and provision of God who love us.
Thank you all.