Memo: April’s Breast Cancer Update (4)
We have reached cruising altitude for April’s treatment plan. And the wheels of decision-making have retracted into the hull of the plane with a solid thump. Though she is soaring safely through the clouds of pills and test, April and I still do not know where and when this particular leg of her hormone-based-treatment flight will end.
We wish we knew the particulars and details of all that was going on in April’s body. We desperately want to be able to speak authoritatively about all that is happening on the ground. But, we can see only vaguely from our vantage point. And the doctors with their sophisticated radars and instruments can only offer conclusions clouded by uncertainty, promising time will reveal more information.
Admittedly, we still intimately interact with the cancer as if we were still on the runway. We are struck by days of turbulence that bounce April against the ceiling of the plane. When the pain shoots through April’s hips, chest, and legs, she struggles to shuffle from her bed to the chair. The routine trip up and down our staircase becomes exhausting. And when the air is smooth and conveying rays of sunshine, April can tackle laundry, wrestle our kiddos into bed, and make the occasional trip to the store, catching a glimpse of life before cancer. Life appears to be a constantly changing paradigm.
As we fly in and out of the rough skies of her treatment, we attempt to take the thirty-thousand-foot view. We know that a week of bad days and the occasional day of pain do not mean her treatment has failed. And, we also are slow to assume that a great week or two equals a complete healing. We are attempting to guard are hearts and emotions from being tossed to and fro by every change in the wind’s direction.
We imperfectly look at her cancer landscape from high above. From thirty thousand feet, we are able to piece together what all the days, weeks, and months mean. As we look over all the plains of normalcy, the valleys of sorrow, and the mountains of success, we can begin to draw some general conclusions. The combination of April’s last weeks of activity and her medical reports that tell of good blood counts, softer tumors, and limited side effects indicate that her treatment is working in some measure.
During the week of August 18th, we will descend out of the clouds to detailed understanding of where the cancer treatments have taken April. April will spend two days that week at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester learning the results of her latest scans, blood work, and bone biopsy. After that visit, we will be able to provide our friends and family with a more detailed picture of how April is responding to her treatment and comment about the next stop on her flight plan.
Though we do not know our destination, we do know our pilot. We know Christ reigns supreme and is working all things together for our good.
And we know that he is accessible. April and I have spent many hours on this flight talking with him. In June, the elders of Amissville Baptist Church and I prayed for April. We lived out James 4:14-15 which states,
“Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”
We sought to encourage April in her faith, anointing her with oil, laying hands on her, and asking God to heal her and to sustain her and our little family.
April also hosted a prayer time with over 25 ladies from our church in July. They praised God for his goodness, love, and sovereignty. And then, the ladies implored Jesus to heal April. We truly take comfort in the verse 16 of James 5 which states, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
Though, we do not know exactly how God works through prayer, we know he works through the pleadings of his people. We have been meditating and praying through Psalm 86 the past couple of weeks. We know that we are poor and needy and that nothing special resides in us. We are prone to fear, exhaustion, and complaining. Even our eternal righteousness is a gift of the Lord. We relate to Psalm 86 when it states, “Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me for I am poor and needy.” Yet, we call out to our divine captain,
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you…In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me.
Though we lack surety in our flight plan, we have full confidence in our savior.
Please keep praying with us these next several weeks!
- We have asked for God to “Show me [April] a sign of your favor.” We ask you to join us in asking God to shrink April’s cancer to such an extent that the doctors are without explanation so that God will be glorified.
- We also ask for you to pray for our hearts. Pray for April and I to find our joy and confidence in Christ. And pray that our joy and confidence will open doors for the spread of the gospel. Long nights, cranky kids, and ever-changing medical, personal, and family expectations threaten our joy at times. As my favorite preacher, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, “A miserable Christian is…a contradiction in terms.” We want to avoid being that contradiction. We are asking God to “unite my heart to fear your name” and give thanks to Him “with my whole heart.” We desire to collaborate with the gospel even during the toughest seasons of turbulence!
- And please pray for our God to allow April to see our kiddos firmly established in the faith. Above all else, April desires for Luke, Lily and Lacey to repent of their sins, embrace Christ, and walk in holiness before the end of her life.
We are deeply thankful for all the people on the ground who have loved and cared for us and who continue to care for us during this flight! Thank you for standing by us on the bad days and the good days.
We are thankful for April’s doctors and medical teams who have been forever gracious and kind though we have often switched seats, bumped into the carts of medical protocol, and have had schedules fall out of the overhead bins.
We are thankful for our families who have sacrificed their time and schedules to help us load our bags for everyday life and recharge our hearts so that our kids can have a semblance of normalcy. Three small children do not make for orderly trays in upright positions, but loving hearts have brought peace in the midst of our chaos.
We are thankful for our brothers and sisters in Christ who have seemingly done it all, even pulling the plane onto the tarmac through sheer muscle power. You all have prayed for us, written to us, cried with us, sat with our sick kids, driven hours to encourage us, brought us meals, paid our bills, and covered our responsibilities at ABC. When the days have been particularly bumpy and the view outside our windows has been dark, your letters and kindness have warmed our hearts. There are few greater comforts than knowing that those with whom you have labored with for the gospel are praying for you.
Truly, we have the best family, church family, and Christian community our souls could desire. We have seen the mercy of God in your words, hugs, and actions! We love you!
Thank you for flying with us through this time!
Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can reach us via snail-mail at : P.O. Box 637/ Amissville, VA 20106
You are also welcome two reach out to the elders of Amissville Baptist Church, Mark Hockensmith and Bill Brown, at: 540-937-6159.
Though April and I welcome inquirers and emails, calls, and texts of support, they can be overwhelming at times. We appreciate your patience with our responses.
We plan to also keep posting updates here at witkowskiblog.com
Thank you for your love, prayers, and never-ending support.
Sustained By Grace Through Faith,