The Week that Was…

25 08 2008

Sorry I haven’t posted for over a week, but the last 7 days have been…um… taxing, to say the least.

A few months ago my mom’s blood sugar started going crazy (she was at work one day with a blood sugar level over 500).  As the doctors began trying to figure out what was going on, they discovered a tumor in her pancreas.  Last Monday, my two sister and I accompanied my mom to the University of Washington medical center where she underwent a 10 hour surgery to remove the tumor.

Halfway through the surgery, the doctors came out to talk with the three of us and explained that the tumor ran through the entire length of pancreas.  Since they couldn’t wake my mom up and ask her, they were asking our permission to take out her whole pancreas.  As we learned, you can live without your pancreas.  No pancreas just means welcome to diabetes… and insulin dependence.  The doctor explained that he believed the tumor was a carcinoma and, if it was left in, we would be leaving in a “ticking time bomb.”  When faced with the decision of diabetes vs. pancreatic cancer, the decision wasn’t too difficult.

By the time the surgery was completed, not only had they taken the entire pancreas, but they also removed her spleen, part of her stomach, and part of her small intestine.  Like I said, the entire process took over 10 hours.  My sisters and I outlasted everyone else in the waiting room and were still there when the janitors arrived.  That was last Monday.

Tuesday through Friday was spent in three worlds.

First, I wanted to be there for my mom (who spent two days following the surgery in the ICU) and my sisters.  This meant daily trips to Seattle and the UW.  It is a drive I feel I have now mastered and understand that much of it will be spent sitting and waiting on the freeway.  This world was a new one, but God gave me gracious blessings in it- being able to spend time with my mom and sisters and have some wonderful conversations about our life together and our life with the Lord.

The second world I walked through this last week was one that I’m much more familiar with and, thankfully, was portable.  Our Senior Pastor is away on vacation, so I have the responsibilities of our church ministries to care for.  With the invention of the cell phone and the laptop, I was able to have a portable office and work on my sermon, on email, and help people work through ministry issues.  Honestly, it wasn’t easy to get my brain into this world, but (again) God was gracious and so the church is still standing and a sermon was preached last Sunday.

The third world is that of my wife and daughters.  This was the world that I gave little to this week, but in return it gave so much to me.  My wife was so supportive and such an encouragement.  During a week like this, you really see and understand why God said “It is not good for man to be alone.”  The blessing of a gracious and support spouse is one I was praising God for over and over again this week.  In addition to Amy’s love, it was such a blessing to come home after a long day in worlds one and two, and see two smiling little girls and hold them in my arms.  It is amazing how hugging your children can make so many of life’s cares and concerns melt away.

Then came Saturday…

Saturday we received the pathology report and my mom’s tumor was an adenocarcinoma.  That is not a good diagnosis to have.  It is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in America.  Of those diagnosed with it, less than 20% survive 5 years.  I didn’t know all of this when I first heard the news on Saturday.  All I knew was that we’d been praying that it wasn’t an adenocarcinoma ever since we found out about the tumor.  Everyone had been telling us that this type of tumor was the kiss of death, and one doctor told my mom that if it was that (and he thought it wasn’t that type of tumor) you just plan your funeral.

But here is the good news.  Of all that they took out of my mom (pancreas, spleen, stomach, small intestine, and numerous lymph nodes) the tumor was only in the pancreas.  Everything else was clean.  We’re praying that the cancer was contained in the pancreas and, now that it is out, the cancer is gone.  As I have read about this type of cancer, this is often not the case, but this is our prayer.

And here is the better news.  God is in charge and He is good.  He will not leave us nor abandon us in these difficult times.  My mom knows Him and loves Him.  She’s looking to Him for her strength and I know He will give it and in a measure beyond what we fathom.  Here are two passages that she shared with me this week, two passages she is calling her life verses:
Jeremiah 17:7-8
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
Ephesians 3:20 ” Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us”
I praise God for His comforting and sustaining Word.

Sunday came and God blessed.  I was able to preach and God ministered to my spirit through the time in the pulpit.  He also ministered to me through the music, specifically the song Beneath the Cross of Jesus. After the two morning services, Rylie and I then went to see my mom and, although she wasn’t feeling well, we were able to have a good visit.  We then returned home and my lovely third world loaded up the family car and headed out to a beach cabin where I sit this morning writing this post.

This afternoon, I’ll be heading back home (world three will be staying at the beach for a few more days) and we’ll see what this next week holds.  However, whatever I meet there it is comforting to know God is with me and it is His good plan I’m walking through.




2 responses

25 08 2008

Ryan, we were praying for you all and glad to hear she came out of her surgery. We’ll continue to pray with you. God is good, and what a good time for all of you to be able to strengthen your walks with him! It’s always at my hardest times that I come closer to Him. Hoping that this week will be a little easier of a workload for you.

Love, Rachel
Isaiah 40:31

25 08 2008

We love you Ryan! We will be continuing to pray for you and your family!

Cris & Jess

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