Memo: April’s Cancer Update – April 2020

covid 19 blogThe world we spoke of last December has been transformed by the COVID-19 crisis. In our last update, we talked about airplane rides, hospital excursions, and theme park rides. Now, we wear masks to the grocery store, avoid airplanes, and enter hospitals with trepidation. The world of April’s healthcare has also been profoundly shaped by the coronavirus pandemic.

Though the coronavirus threateningly flies above our world, April’s health remains secure from the present threat of cancer. Her latest bone scan and CT scan have arrived full of good news. The tumors in her bones remain unchanged, having neither grown nor shrunk. And the tumors in her breast, lymph nodes, and liver have shrunk. We praise God for this good report. April can continue on with her current treatment plan.

Despite the good news, our home remains on high alert because of the COVID-19 threat.

April resides in the high-risk category because of her cancer and because her medications suppress her immune system. Were she to contract COVID-19, her chances for survival would be substantially lower than the average person. Moreover, doctors have noted that women with estrogen tend to be less susceptible to the virus. Since April has Her2- PR+ and ER+ cancer, she takes medicine that eliminates all of the estrogen from her body, placing her at greater risk than most. Not wanting to chance her health, we have embraced the quarantine, turning our home into a little fortress.

Because the COVID-19 dragon roams about our state, we have temporally shut our door to hospitality. We no longer accept the gracious offers of our friends to clean our house, cook us meals, and to watch our children. To strengthen our defenses, we stepped away from birthday parties and other social gatherings more than a week before the President recommended that all groups be limited to ten or less people. We limited Lily’s butterfly, dance, birthday party to our two fairy princes and one knight. We seldom cross the drawbridge of isolation into the COVID-19 world, visiting stores about once a week without leaving our car. We spend the remainder of our time, working from home, Cloroxing packages, and playing with our little kiddos. Luke, Lily, and Lacey have become acquainted with the virus, telling neighbor that they can’t play because of the coronavirus. Though we lament the need to fortify our home, we do not want April’s health to be undone by secondary causes.

IMG-7678 (1)We have not been the only one to mobilize our defenses. Both the Mayo Clinic and the University of Virginia have locked down their campuses. As the spread of the virus swept across the nation, April remained in contact with both medical teams. With one voice, the doctors at Mayo and UVA recommended moving April’s scans from Minnesota to Virginia, breaking protocol so that April could continue her treatment in the safest environment available.

Though the trip to Charlottesville takes about an hour, April found her trip this past Tuesday to be just as daunting as her six plus hour trips to Mayo. For the first time in her cancer journey, April had to go to an appointment without me. We did not want to expose our family to the outside world. When she arrived at the hospital, she went through numerous screenings. As she walked through the hospital that bore an eerie resemblance to this dystopian movie, she saw orange warning sign after orange warning sign requiring patients to keep their distance and to report their symptoms to a healthcare worker. She then sat in the “high-risk” waiting area, catching only glimpses of fellow, mask wearing patients being overseen by medical staff and security guards. Spaces that usually contained 30 to 50 patients now held only her. Thankfully all the precautions proved effective. April crossed the drawbridge back into our little fortress seemingly untouched by COVID-19.

Though the world suffers under darkness, our little fortress bustles with joy because we have seen God answer our prayers. He has blessed April with good scans. Moreover, as challenges related to the COVID-19 crisis have arisen, God has given April the strength to meet them. When the year began, April lacked the strength to cook meals, to clean, and to care for our kids. The past ten months, we have prayed for God to bless April with the ability to clean and to manage and teach our children at home. Today, she is able to do both.  We can say with the Psalmist, “Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free.” Our hearts are full of thanks! Thank you for praying for us.

Please continue to lift us up to the Lord.

  1. Pray that God will heal April and keep her and our family safe from COVID-19.
  2. Pray that God will give us wisdom as we seek to balance caring for April and caring for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
  3. Pray that God will continue to give April daily strength and energy.
  4. Pray that the quarantine will strengthen our marriage and our relationships with our children.
  5. Pray that God would save our children.

 

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 August 2019 Update

IMG-0355A touch of hope has returned to the sails of our souls this afternoon.

As April and I accessed the waves of pain and doubt that violently rocked her soul these past few weeks, we began to fear that her voyage to health would soon break against the rocks of failure. On Saturday, August 3, 2019, an MRI revealed that the storm that enveloped her body had grown in both size and location. Seeking to clarify the shape and intensity of April’s cancer, the medical team at Mayo performed both a CT Scan and a bone scan yesterday, August 13, 2019.

Those tests renewed our hope in her current treatment plan, revealing both good and bad news. The tumors in her lymph nodes appear to have shrunk a few millimeters, some of her bones have grown stronger, and some of tumors in her pelvis have decreased in size. Conversely, the scans revealed that the spots in her liver have grown slightly and are indeed cancerous, that some of the tumors in her back, hips, and chest have increased a millimeter or two, and that three potentially cancerous spots have appeared next to her lungs. In short, some tumors have decrease a have few percentage points and some have grown between 1% to 5%. Essentially, the tests reveal that April’s cancer formation has shifted little since our last Mayo visit in June. For the treatment to be considered a failure, the cancer has to grow by 20% or more. This afternoon April is sailing a safe distance from that rock of disaster.

Though we and our doctors wished April’s cancer had decreased in both size and intensity over the past two months, the report of an essentially unaltered storm offers us more medical hope than when we began the day. Her hormone treatment could still be working. The drugs power her body to health require time to beat down the winds and waves of her aggressive disease.

For the next two months, April will continue to battle against the winds of her cancer with the help of the hormone blocking pills. In October, we will head back to Mayo for another round of tests to see if her cancer has grown or shrunk. The additional eight weeks should definitively answer the question of whether or not the hormone treatment will meaningfully aid April in her quest for health.

April has defined today as being a “gray-day.” Going back to May 17, all previous major scans had contained only the black discouraging news of metastatic cancer and tumor growth. In a little yet very meaningful way, this gray report has pushed the needle a mark more towards hope. We are thankful for this success.

We thank you for joining with us in prayer these past few days.  Going forward, we hope and pray that we will have some days of gloriously clear, and bright news.

IMG-5716Before her next trip to Minnesota in October, April will see a radiologist. Her Mayo and UVA doctors believe localized radiation should prevent additional bouts of intense back and leg pain. She will also have an outpatient surgery to remove her ovaries to ensure that her body will no longer produce estrogen and progesterone.

April and I have found living life in two-month increments to be taxing. The tests she endures are physically and emotionally exhausting. As our five-year-old said the other day, “I don’t like cancer.”

As we seek to keep our hearts from being tossed by every wind and wave of medical news, we ask God to help us to see with eternal vision. In Mathew 8:26, Jesus rebukes the disciples for having, “little faith” because they saw the world through only their physical eyes. They were consumed with the waves instead of their powerful savior. They should have known (and we should know) that Jesus is far more real and powerful than any storm. Jesus is our salvation and our guarantee that all of our life is under God’s all powerful, all wise, and all good care. Because Jesus reigns,  we have no reason to be afraid even if our boat is swamped by the waves of cancer. We pray and ask you to pray for us that the eternal realities of our savior and of our salvation will be more real to us than the medical images we can see and touch.

We thank you for joining with us in prayer over the last few days. Please keep praying for April’s healing. Your notes and messages have been a blessing to our souls as we geared up for and walked through this last series of tests and doctor’s visits. Thank you.

We hope to have more good news to share with you in two months.

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 the elders of Amissville Baptist Church, Mark Hockensmith and Bill Brown, at: 540-937-6159.

GOFundMe Page

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,

Peter and April

Witkowski Memo: Amissville Baptist Church

peter-and-april-1I was elected by unanimous vote to become the next Senior Pastor of Amissville Baptist this past Sunday, February 25, 2018! For past several months, April and I have fervently sought God’s will for us and our family. We are firmly convinced that God has led and is leading us to serve with the wonderful people of Amissville Baptist church located in Amissville, Virginia.

Over the past five plus years, April and I have learned much about the character and power of God as we served at First Baptist Church, Eastman. We have faced some of our darkest days at FBCE, burying our first born son, Peter Alexander Witkowski, and walking through a variety of trials that have stretched and shaped us into the image of Christ. But we have also been blessed by our heavenly Father and by the amazing love, support, and generosity of God’s people at FBCE. Though April and I have experienced some of the hardest times of our lives, we have also experienced some of the greatest moments of our lives while at FBCE.

downloadWe will leave behind many cherished friends who have lovingly worked, laughed, and cried with us as we sought to reach the families of Eastman, Georgia with the gospel. We thank God for our church family and for all those who have lovingly served in the nursery, on Wednesday Nights, in Sunday school, and during the summer months! FBCE is filled with many amazing, men, women, and youth! Thank you!

I especially want to thank Joe Daniel (former FBCE Pastor of Discipleship), the M4G Kids’ Ministry Leadership Team, and the Bus Ministry team for their selflessness, kindness, and support. The success of the FBCE’s Kids’ Ministry is directly tied to their ideas and to their never ending labors of love that have shaped everything from the Wednesday Night Quest to the Back to School Connection. April and I have been blessed to call all of you our friends these last five plus years. We will miss you as we move to Virginia. If we could take you with us, we would. But we are excited to see how God will use you at FBCE in the days ahead!

Our last day at FBCE will be Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018. During the next few weeks, we will be vigorously working to equip our FBCE family to continue the FBCE’s Kids’ Ministry. We will also be diligently working with our ABC family to prepare for our arrival in Mid-April, 2018.

am_baptWe know that many things in our life are about to change. We enter this new phase of life with hearts full of joy and excitement, trusting in the sovereignty of God. We have seen the hand of God preparing us for ABC and leading us to ABC. We look forward to partnering with our new ABC family for the purpose expanding our shared faith and for the purpose of reaching Northern Virginia with the gospel!

On to Virginia!

To God be the Glory!

Peter and April Witkowski

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