Memo: April’s Cancer Update – June 2020

Invisible smiles. To unmask the secret workings of April’s cancer, she and I had to cover our faces with blue, three-ply fabric bound together by elastic string seemingly designed to afflict one’s ears. Though the masks hid our smiles, they could not damper the gleam of hope in our eyes.

While the Coronavirus crisis has been a season of death, hardship, and unrest for many, April and I have found these last months to be a fruitful time of hope. April has been able to disciple and educate our children and manage a majority of the day-to-day tasks of our home. She still battles fatigue and muscle pain as she fulfills her goals for her life and for our family. Though few have been able to peak behind the outside mask of our house, April and I can both affirm it has been filled with smiles both small and big.

God has been faithful and kind to us. We have found the words of Psalm 118:5 to be true:

Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.

Though we have been weak, frail, unbelieving, confused, and depressed at times, God has been faithful. He has heard our sad souls and has sustained us by his mercy these past few months. When the coronavirus restrictions landed, we could have been laid bare. Instead, we have been infused with hope and faith as God has done more in April’s body and in our souls than we could ever imagine. Our hearts echoed the words of Psalm 118:1,

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!

Though our souls have been often hidden from public view these last few months, they abound with hopeful smiles.

We arrived at the Mayo clinic somewhat nervous to be at Mayo (after all no one truly likes hospitals). But, our disposition was still decidedly more hopeful than not. As we moved about the elevators decorated with yellow tape and sat in chairs spaced six feet apart that reduced the chances sharing either germs or causal conversations, the faint smiles on our faces grew. When the doctor unmasked the latest, findings, we smiled with joy.

According to April’s Mayo team, the treatment is working. All of her tumors have either stabilized or shrunk since her last scan. Most of the cancer spots have also decreased in either size or intensity. Though our faces were rendered invisible by masks, we could not help by secretly smile because we know God has heard our prayers and your prayers!

Most likely, our smiles will remain hidden for the foreseeable future since the Coronavirus refuses to surrender to the assaults of modern medicine. April and I will continue to follow social distancing and mask protocols. Because of her cancer and treatments, April remains susceptible to the Coronavirus which has claimed more than 120,000 lives this year. We long for the return to normal. But we know that day is not here yet.

We ask you to join us in praying for that day, for April’s medication to keep working, for us to have wisdom as we seek to live out the gospel in this COVID19 world while balancing love and safety, for us to have opportunities to share Christ, and for our kids to be drawn to Christ through this ordeal.

Though our smiles remain hidden because of the masks of space and time, they remain full of hope. Thank you for praying with us and for smiling with us today!

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