Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

Update #2 (of 2)

To pick up where I left off at the last post, I paraphrased a C. S. Lewis quote that talks about God being good, but not safe.  That quote has never felt more real or true to me than it does now.  For those of you who haven't heard, my sweet mom was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer a couple weeks ago.

To give a little background:  Mom had breast cancer 19 years ago (I was 9 years old) and she beat it easily with radiation.  This time, it's not going to be quite as easy a fight (although she is so strong and we know she will beat it again!!!).  She has a rare form of breast cancer that only 5% of breast cancer patients get.  The doctors did an MRI and a PET scan to determine if the cancer was contained to the breast, or if it had spread (if it had spread, it would be Stage 4, meaning it would be treatable, but not curable).  The doctors believed the MRI results showed that the cancer had spread to her liver.  However, they did not tell my parents this right away, as they wanted to get the more conclusive PET scan results first.  Before those results, there was a service of prayer and healing for my mom at our home church on Signal Mtn.  We made the trip with Jackson to be there, and we are so glad we did.  To say that this prayer service was POWERFUL is a total understatement.  Can't really be put into words except to say that I left with such a calm assurance from the very real presence of Christ that, whatever happened, God was good and loved Mom even more than I.

The next day, we got the PET scan results back.  My dad explained it best in an email to some friends, so here it is:

In talking with both Jackie's surgeon and oncologist, I had been troubled by what seemed, at least to me, to be a more guarded and less optimistic tone. Today, I learned from both of them individually that an MRI done last week appeared to suggest a spread of the disease to the liver. However, the PET scan results we received today showed no spread beyond the affected breast. The PET scan did show a concentration of blood vessels in the liver. It was suggested that this concentration of vessels appeared in the previous test to be cancer but was not. I, however, choose to believe that the prayers of many actually changed the condition of the liver.

Had the cancer spread to vital organs, the prognosis and treatment plan would have shifted from eliminating the disease to attempting to limit its spread so as to extend her life. Now, a full cure is still possible.

Jackie's condition remains serious and we are by no means out of the woods. However, by what I believe to be the grace of God, she can continue treatment with the hope and expectation that it will be rid from her body. Praise be to God!

I absolutely believe God worked a miracle and healed mom from liver cancer due to the prayers of his people.  (He is good!)  But, mom still has Stage 3 breast cancer (He is not safe!).  But, I never thought I'd be so happy for a Stage 3 cancer diagnoses...

Mom has already begun chemo, bought a rockin' wig that she will look gorgeous in, and will have a mastectomy after chemo, perhaps followed up by even more treatment of some sort.  The road will be long, but mom is strong (yes, that rhymes) :) and we claim that she will beat breast cancer once again!!

Here are some great photos of mom with Jackson.  She spent nearly 2 weeks with us after he was born (before her diagnoses), and we could NOT have done it without her!  What precious time Jackson (and Ryan and I) had with her!  

Mom, you are so beautiful!

Jackson holding Mom's finger.

Jackson loves his Gramie! (or whatever she decides to be called) :)

Update #1 (of 2)

Sorry it has taken so long to update the blog...who knew having an infant would be so time consuming??  There is so much to say because SO MUCH has happened in the last 5 weeks.  I will keep this post to talking about Jackson and the next one will be devoted to my mom.

Jackson has grown up so much already!  Here are his stats:

Birth weight:  7 lbs. 6 oz.
Left hospital:  6 lbs. 15 oz.
2 weeks:  8 lbs. 12 oz.
4 weeks:  11 lbs. 2 oz!

Needless to say, the kid loves to eat.  In fact, the pediatrician encouraged me to feed him a little less (he's at the very top of the chart for weight).  Whereas some babies pull away from feeding when they are full, I've learned that Jackson would eat ALL AFTERNOON if I let him.  There is no pulling away for him.  So, mommy has to do it for him.  But, he has adjusted to his "baby diet" quite well, and is starting to go for a longer stretch at night, which makes mommy and daddy very happy.

Here are some recent pics:

His first real bath...he liked it!

Most adorable kid ever!  This is right after his bath.

Classic Jackson pose...he loves to sleep like this.

God has used Jackson to teach us so much already.  Ryan has been learning a lot about breath and it's significance in Scripture.  It all started with the fact that Jackson wasn't breathing when he was first born.  In fact, he gave a really awesome talk about it last night at a local college/young adult gathering.  But I'll let him write about that some other time because I will not do it justice!

I'm not really sure how to sum up exactly what I've been learning except to say that now, I feel everything so much more deeply than I did before.  I feel like I understand the depth of God's love a little bit more now (although I'm sure I have still only scratched the surface with my understanding).  My depth of joy and love and appreciation for Ryan, Jackson, my family, and my friends has risen to a whole new level.  The depth of passion for others to know Christ is far greater.  The depth of my sorrow over the brokenness in the world and in others is far deeper too.  It's good to feel such intense emotions, for I believe they help me live closer to the heart of Christ.  Yet I realize in the midst of it all that I am, therefore, all the more vulnerable.  But, I would rather experience this depth of emotion than live more "safely" on the surface.  As C. S. Lewis put it in the Chronicles of Narnia (and I paraphrase), "He [God] is good, but He is not safe."    

And speaking of God being good, but not safe, onto my mom...