Memo: April’s Cancer Update – Christmas 2020

As we wait for the glories of the Christ child to once again pierce the darkness of Christmas Eve, April and I want to bear witness to how the Christ child has blessed us this December. This past Monday, April endured her latest set of scans replete with needle pricks, swallowable dyes, and not so comfortable beds that drift in an out of large machines. Then like children bouncing around the house the night before Christmas, we waited to unwrap the results. On Wednesday, December 23, 2020 with the help of April’s talented UVA medical team, we unwrapped the latest report and found good news! Though a few new nondescript nodules have dotted the scans like misplaced Christmas light, the overwhelming majority of her tumors have either shrunk or remained stable. One has even decreased from 4.5 centimeters to 3.2 centimeters. The favor of Jesus rests upon my sweet bride.

But that divine favor does not eliminate all sorrow and hardships. Much like the reformed Ebenezer Scrooge, April and I find ourselves living in the past, present and future. We look back at the pain and uncertainty that hovered over our last Christmas and give thanks for the radical improvements that have occurred in April’s body. She just made a Yule Log Cake (Hello Christmas!). We seek to stay in the present reveling in the good news of the day as we watch our three kiddos open Christmas presents, embrace Christmas cookie decorating, and sing “Joy to the World” at the top of their lungs. Lastly, the future also hangs about us like a damp, ill-defined midst. We know April will have to endure more scans, back pain, and days away from our children. April wishes she could reshape her future like Scrooge. Sadly, it remains both fixed and elusive.

Though we do not know what the content of the next report will be, we do know something of the sender’s character. He is our savior, the Christmas child, Christ the Lord! Psalm 100:5 declares, “For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever.” We know this is true because the baby in the manger, lived, died, and rose again to save sinners like April and me. He humbled himself to the point of death on the cross so that we might be exalted to live with God. And he guides us through life with more love and power than even one of Scrooge’s spirits. The famed pastor and theologian, John Calvin, rightly noted that when God’s people descend into hardship, “[God] will not desert them, but will powerfully help them should they need his aid.” In short, the light of Christmas morning reminds us that our future will be snuggly wrapped in the love of God. Though the results of April’s scan will invariably contain variation, we know the love of God will remain fixed. Because of that first Christmas long past, we too can sing with the angels, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased (Lk 2:14)!”

Thank you for rejoicing with us this cold December day. We covet your prayers and support. They warm our hearts, manifesting the love of God. We hope our good news infuses a little gospel cheer into your Christmas celebration.

More importantly, we pray that you too will discover the joy of the Shepherds, and of Mary and Joseph who knew that Jesus, “the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people the sheep of his pasture.” God is good all the time!  

Merry Christmas!  

Contact Info:

Email us at: biblefighter@gmail.com 

You can reach us via snail-mail at : P.O. Box 637/ Amissville, VA 20106

You are also welcome call Amissville Baptist Church at: 540-937-6159.

GOFundMe Page

We will posting updates here at witkowskiblog.com

Thank you for your love, prayers, and never-ending support.

Memo: April’s Cancer Update – September 2020

As 2019 spun out of our control, we longed for normal. Even boring sounded nice as we ducked in and out of ER rooms and traveled 900 miles for medical appointments seeking to realign April’s health which had been rocked by stage four breast cancer. Earlier this week, God blessed April and I with the gift of normalcy.

Her latest round of CT and bone scans revealed that April’s cancer has continued to weaken. The tumors in her breast and lymph-nodes have gone down every so slightly.  The tumors in her bones remain stable. And, the small tumors in her liver continue to shrink. One has disappeared. Though the cancer still rumbles about in the background of our lives, both the medical team and the Witkowskis breathed a deep sigh of relief this week wound down. God had heard our prayers. April’s health has mostly returned.

Though the Coronavirus has reduced the American way of life down to an one lane traffic zone, April and I have been able to maximize the slowdown as we merged back into the life that we once knew. I’m able to keep somewhat stable offices hours under the watch of mini Calvin and Luther statues. April has jumped back into the kitchen equipped with a knife and a wealth of culinary knowledge. Hello, fresh meals! Every Monday-Friday, our kids bounce down the stairs to the kitchen table to report the weather, sing songs, and recite Bible verses that define their homeschool circle time. The simplicity that seemed forever out of reach has returned to the Witkowski family in a large measure.

The quarterly cancer checkups will remain a fixture on our calendar for the foreseeable future. April will continue to work with her Mayo Clinic Team and her University of Virginia Team to track her cancer, update medicines, and maintain her health. But in the coming days, April’s health visits should shift away from thoughts of life-saving collision repair to intense-but typical maintenance. For example, her back-pain and fatigue are some other areas that require constant checks. But none prove life threatening. Though her medical teams embrace her with the warmth of heated leather seats, the tests themselves remain cold, possessing the charm of drills removing lug-nuts. They will never be her or mine favorite activity as they point to the brokenness of this world. We much prefer driving through the scenic Blue Ridge mountains to sitting in an office with a gurney, a bench, and a nondescript watercolor painting on the wall. But we rejoice that these visits have begun to transition from being THE thing on our calendar to being merely a thing on our calendar. God has been faithful.

When He calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.

Psalm 91:15-16
April At Mayo

Thank you for praying for April. Thank you for rejoicing with us. Please join us in offering up thanks to the Maker of heaven and earth. Please keep praying for April’s healing. Her back pain and fatigue rumble out of alinement at times. Her back pain remains a symptom of her muscle fatigue and the initial tumor growth. The doctors think her fatigue which can bring her day to a sudden stop during the early evening hours is caused by her medication. Adjusting dosages will be one of those ongoing maintenance issues.  Pray that God will bless her with strength. Lastly, please ask God to give us wisdom as we seek to engage in hospitality and to love of our neighbors in this time of COVID-19.

P.S.

If the space between these updates grows, please rest assured no news is good news. We are busy traveling through the world of normalcy.

Contact Info:

Email us at: biblefighter@gmail.com 

You can reach us via snail-mail at : P.O. Box 637/ Amissville, VA 20106

You are also welcome call Amissville Baptist Church at: 540-937-6159.

GOFundMe Page

We will posting updates here at witkowskiblog.com

Thank you for your love, prayers, and never-ending support.

Sustained By Grace Through Faith,

Peter and April

Memo: April’s Breast Cancer Christmas 2019 Update

witkowski-christmas-updayApril’s cancer has settled into place like the soft Minnesota snow.  According to the last round of tests, April’s cancer has become “stable.” The tumors in her breast, back, and liver have neither grown nor shrunk since her October scans. April and I wish her hormone therapy drugs would have further melted her cancer. But, the doctors consider stability a win and a further proof that her treatment is succeeding. We will happily snuggle into this message of good news this cold winter morning.

More importantly, we remain hopeful this winter season because the God of Christmas reigns. These past few weeks. April and I have learned afresh that the story of Christmas is the story of salvific hope. God sends a baby to Elizabeth and Zachariah after a lifetime of infertility. God transforms a poor, no-nothing girl named Mary into one of the most revered women of history. And, the king of heaven sends angels to bring Good news of great joy to lowly shepherds. With all our hearts, we know that this good God of Christmas is our God. We know that he never distances himself from us and that he never becomes to distracted by world events to care for insignificant people like us. Moreover, we know that God can do the miraculous, answering prayers years after they have been prayed. God delights in giving his children good gifts. Thus, our hearts overflow with hope because the God of Elizabeth, Mary, and the Shepherds is our God as well.

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In a small way, we have seen the goodness of God this past week in while exploring the frozen plains of Minnesota. Our three amigos took to the airport with enthusiasm, riding the trams, moving through security, and watching the planes with eyes filled with amazement. They were wowed by the size of Mayo, finding its massive expanse of hallways to be a wonderful maze filled with elevators, chairs, and food. They loved the mall of America. Our oldest got to explore the spinning rides of the Nickelodeon theme park while his sisters and parents embraced shopping and some pastries from Carlo’s Bake Shop.

Throughout our travels, we enjoyed these precious moments which reminded us of our precancer selves. April and I loved watching our five-year-old become more and more of a little man, carrying suitcases, opening doors, and hopping onto rides that would have scared him silly a few months ago. We have smiled at each other as we listened to our three-year-old lead her siblings in rousing renditions of Mary Had a Little Lamb and Jingle Bells. And we have been warmed with joy as our one-year-old freely dispensed hugs and smiles. Moreover, we have loved seeing our newly engaged cousin, one of ABC’s former interns, and one of our dear sisters-in-law. This past week, we had the unique opportunity to unite with old friends and family in a new place. God has been so very good to us these past days and always.

unnamed-17.jpgThe good days have grown in length. But they still remain tainted by the occasional snow storm. April falls into lows after every high, suffering from back pain, fatigue, and nausea. We still do not know what April strength level will be in 2020. We will be seeking wisdom from above as we attempt to create a new normal lifestyle for our little family in the early weeks of January. And, we do not know how long the bulwark of “stability” will keep the wicked blizzard of cancer from sweeping back down into our lives. The shadow of vagueness resides over our lives. But the hope of Jesus shines every clearly across our horizon. The God of Christmas reigns. Our God reigns. We have every reason to rejoice this Christmas.

We are also deeply thankful for the many dear family members, friends, and church members who have helped us navigate our stormy 2019. You have selflessly watched our kids, brought us meals, supported us financially, and covered our church responsibilities. To borrow from the medical world, April and I have the best support system that we could ever ask for!  Thank you!

Please continue to pray for that our hearts will remain fixed upon the things of above where Jesus resides. Please continue to pray that our kids will come to know the baby in the manger as their Lord and savior. And pray that God will heal April.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 

Contact Info:

Email us at: biblefighter@gmail.com 

You can reach us via snail-mail at : P.O. Box 637/ Amissville, VA 20106

You are also welcome two reach out to Amissville Baptist Church at: 540-937-6159.

GOFundMe Page

We will  posting updates here at witkowskiblog.com

Thank you for your love, prayers, and never-ending support.

Merry Christmas!

Sustained By Grace Through Faith,

Peter and April