Here We Go Again…

IMG_1148I’ve had the hardest time trying to think of what to name this post:

  • What I’ve dreaded is happening…
  • Hope is in the future…
  • I don’t know what to think…
  • God is in the details…

Yesterday was my oncology appointment. And, yes, as we talked about last time, chemo is starting Monday. It’s no surprise. Just a reality.

I have multiple myeloma, what is considered an “incurable” cancer. We knocked it back 7 years ago. 70% relaspe in 3 years. God has been so very gracious in my life. My M-protein jumped 6 months ago and has slowly, steadily increased since then. They delayed treatment because of the broken leg, but now it is time.

How do I feel about it?

I’m ready. I’m ready to fight. I’m ready to go. We took a road trip to visit Roger’s mother, our youngest daughter and experience ArtPriz with a grandson. We’ve intentionally made memories with friends, kids, grandkids. We’ve advice from a counselor. We have support groups. I’ve focused on eating well and working out. I’ve contributed to ministry. We’ve grown personally. We’ve walked with the Lord. We’ve done our prep work.

Will it be enough? What is the goal? Is it to live longer?

That would be nice and I would love to make more memories and serve the Lord longer. But, bottom line, I don’t know his will for the future. I only know it for today. And that is for me to abandon myself to his will. I’ve lived the last 7 years with the thought that God has given me grace for today and will be with me in tomorrow.

What he asks of me is to be faithful.

I know that’s simple. I know I don’t live it perfectly. I know others may not “get it.” I know it will be harder in the days to come when I don’t feel so good. Like any temptation, I’ve been here before, tempted to be anxious, to lean on my own strength, to think doing the “right thing” will conquer the disease. Bottom line, it’s all up to God’s will. I submit myself to it this morning and every morning.

I do know I am not alone. I have this community of readers who walk with me. You know me — I’ll be honest when I’m not doing so well. Even now, tears flow as I anticipate the future. Faith is not without fear. I appreciate your prayers however the Lord is leading you.

I wonder, are there simple statements of faith that embolden you in your walk with God? I’d love to hear them… (comment button just above the picture)

PS – For those who are interested, the drug is Revlimid which I take orally for 21 days and then 7 off for 2-4 months. That will be followed by an autologous stem cell transplant, another 2-3 months process similar to 7 years ago. Pray for all the approvals, especially in light of healthcare changes.



IMG_5215 copyThe word for right now is October. We went to the oncologist last week and, as pleased as he is with the healing of my leg, he feels that we should not wait much longer to begin chemo. My next orthopedic appointment is October 1st, so he want to start immediately after my release from that doctor.

What does treatment mean? 2-4 months of chemo followed by a stem cell/bone marrow transplant (6-9 months total).

The good news: I can now schedule and actually make plans. We’ve been given a green light to celebrate vow renewals with my daughter and her husband in September. I know what time I have to finish projects before becoming fogged over in the chemo zone. People know how to pray.

The bad news: It is a reality check. It’s been a wonderful summer of grace. I’ve enjoyed the freedom of driving and accomplishing. I’ve connected back with friends. I’ve felt relatively good. But the truth is, I still have a disease living within me.

Spiritual truth: Even when I’m doing well spiritually, I still have the disease of death/sin within me. At any moment, it can tempt me to not focus on Jesus or desire to do His will. While I love His grace, I should never take it for granted or think “I’ve made it.” My life is always in His hands.

Thanks for your prayers for me. I don’t take them for granted either. Each day is a precious gift. Who would want to waste it with sin?

July Newsletter

July 31, 2013

 Dear Friends,

Thank you so much for your prayers this last month. So much has happened, it’s hard to capture it in a letter.

First, Maggie is walking! She has been walking with a surgical boot, and last week we got the word she can start walking with a regular shoe, starting with a few hours a day. She’s been going to rehab to try to regain a natural gait and has some pain, but overall it’s given her (and me) an incredible amount of freedom. We’re defining a new normal for which we are grateful.

Secondly, doctors have not been able to locate the source of the cancer and therefore, have not begun treatment. For some, this would be a stress builder, but having been through chemo before, this has been a window of opportunity for us to do some things before hard times come. We keep praying that if God wants us to find it and treat it, He will make it high visible. And if He doesn’t, we will continue on the path before us and trust Him.

Third, we had an amazing time at our staff conference and Maggie was able to join me for part of it. Alastair Begg, a pastor from Cleveland, spoke from Jude, encouraging us to stay true to our calling and the faith to which we have been called. I had the privilege to speak to 4 of the ministries that report to me, encouraging them to continue to trust God for the future was we continue to transition them for even greater effectiveness.

Fourth, Maggie was able to complete a project as our President, Steve Douglass, made a report before the Board. There had been confusion on statistics that Maggie waded through and figured how to communicate in a way that affirms our values and goals. She enjoys working on big challenges, but she is also glad when they are over.

Lastly, God is providing the resources to pay for Maggie’s medical and staff conference expenses. We have hit our yearly “out-of-pocket” so Cru is paying 100% of her treatments, for which we are grateful, but we still have a deficit we are trying to cover. Wonderful friends of the ministry have already donated 2/3 of the cost, but we still need about $3000. Could you pray with us that it will be covered.

And if you have not signed up for Maggie’s blog at, I really want to encourage you to do so. She’s done a great job summarizing the spirit at staff conference as well as her thoughts and feelings with her health. I know she’s inspired me through the transparency of her walk with the Lord.

Thank you so much for partnering with us in ministry. We are grateful each day for our partnership that keeps us going. It’s been a good month, and we want you to rejoice with us —

Roger and Maggie

P.S.  If you would like to give towards our medical deficit please go to htpps://

Taking in Good News

First, the good news — The CT scan showed no myloma in my neck! So with nothing else to check, I’m good to go until August! I’m so grateful to God!

But as I try to take in the good news, I’m flooded with thoughts and feelings. Why was the PET scan positive and the CT scan negative? Which is right? I still have blood tests that indicate the cancer is active. How can I be sure what is true?

There have been so many ups and downs. As I have been transparent in this blog, I wonder if others are weary of my ups and downs?

Then I started to realize that it can be hard to receive good news. We get so use to living in our fears that we fear what we would do without them. Somehow there is safety/ boundaries in fear. We don’t know what to do when we are freed. In fact, it’s hard to believe that we are free.

When it come to news, I realize that I emotionally try to block out most of it, lest it be bad.  I don’t like it; I don’t want to hear it. Bad news has a way of jolting us back to reality whether we want to hear it or not. We can’t escape it. It affects our life.

So then our fear of bad news gets associated with any news, it makes all of it hard to embrace. Good news no longer feels “good” but more “neutral” (the absence of bad). I have a tendency to try to ignore it, and unlike bad news, I often can. I can choose to continue to live in fear, afraid to be excited about good news.

It’s kinda like a girl not wanting to smile back at a boy lest it not be real…

As I think about this good news, right now, I’m choosing to embrace it. If it was that boy, I’m running over to him with abandonment and throwing my arms around him. Yes, bad news may come later and maybe this is a false moment of hope. But it is a moment of hope.

God has allowed this moment of hope in my life in the same way he has allowed the suffering.

To live fully, I choose to embrace both.

PET Scan Update

noname copyWe found out last week that the PET scan showed “activity” in my spine of my neck. Since insurance could not approve it before we left for our family vacation, I’ll have a CT scan as soon as I get back. In the meantime, we’re having lots of fun, enjoying what God has given!

After the tests, Roger will leave for Staff Conference July 11-22. We had hoped I could join him for it, so pray that God will give us wisdom.

A Longer Leash – Good News!

2011-5-22 Great WallI just got back from the cancer doctor with some good news! The bone marrow biopsy came back negative, not showing any cancer. The doctor made sure I didn’t get too excited – it doesn’t mean I don’t have cancer, it just means that it did not show up in that test. However, I can’t help but get a little excited.

Basically, he said I am “complicated” (no surprise to all of you in my process group!). I still several indicators for cancer including elevated/spiked M Protein in the blood, a genetic chromosome #17 which is a “high risk feature” for MM, have had multiple bone lesions, a recent IGG spike and my Lambda Free Light Chain is abnormally high and increasing.

He rattled off 2 possibilities with big names which we could not capture but basically meant:

  • It is in the bone marrow, just not where it was tested.
  • Or that it is cancer that is a complication of Multiple Myeloma

He game me my choice to

  • Continue to monitor until it becomes more definite (do nothing)
  • Repeat a PET scan taken a year ago to see if there are any active bone lesions the Xrays are not picking up (like the first one I had 7 years ago)

I choose to take the PET scan. He wants me to do it next week. He is also going to do more tests on the bone marrow biopsy sample already taken. If all is normal, I won’t go in for 2 moths! (YEA!) If not, he will call me back and we will start chemo after family vacation/early July (which is still good news to my ears!).

So, you can imagine that I am smiling. Thank you for your prayers. The doctor wants to make sure I know what is coming, and I assured him I am realistic. However, I told him that I felt as if my leash had gotten longer, at least for a little while. And I will, like most dogs, walk as far as I can to take full advantage of it!

I’m sure you are smiling too — Maggie

Bump in the Road

climbI hit a little bump today. I felt like while I had the 3 weeks reprieve in my hand looking at all the “candy” (things I could do) someone said, “Is that real money?”

A little after 8am this morning, sweet nurse Mary called to tell me the Bone Marrow Biopsy came back “inconclusive” (in other words, something happened to the sample so that they could not get valid results) and I would need to do the test over again. Let me remind you, this is the one that hurts, where they bore into your hip and pull bone marrow out with a needle…

I took a deep breath and said a tentative, “O…K…?” She told me they would put me asleep this time (thank you!) but that my appointment with my doctor might need to be rescheduled if results are not back in time (so what do we do with the plane tickets we just bought?!?).

Soon afterwards I got the call to schedule the procedure and (Praise God!) they can do it tomorrow (a new Friday tradition – that’s when I had it done last week!). But hopefully this means we can move ahead with the plans we have made and results will be in by 6/12. At least pray for us for that end.

Life is full of bumps, isn’t it? Just when we think we have some amount of control, God reminds us it’s an illusion. But his control is never an illusion and he’ll help us walk around, through or over whatever he allows in front of us. I’m so glad I have friends I can share this with!

What bumps are in your life? Let me know so that I can be praying…