Saturday, February 18, 2012


It has been a few weeks since the Gamma Knife so we are just in a waiting period until the next MRI. That will be in a few weeks before we go back to Duke.

I have felt ok, but have a cold at the moment. Major life stressor + scary drugs + cold = eggshell moments for me as far as my thoughts and feelings are concerned. I have been laying in bed dwelling on NOT painting and chewing on the place I find myself in these days. It can taste bitter. Everything has changed. I have questioned God's call on my life and wandered into some dark corners lately. It has been seven months since my trip to the ER. When it gets pitch black I wonder if I will be here this time next year. But we could all ask that and should be mindful of that possibility.

I know God is working something in and around me through brain cancer. I see it in glimpses. Waiting to see what it is in fullness or what the outcome will be requires surrender. Sometimes we never know the why. In difficulty we have to let go of expectations for our lives, of ourselves and of others. All we have is Our Maker. The Lord Himself. Though it is so antithetical to our own nature, and of course our culture, it is in losing what we thought was so vital that we are released enough to accept God's will as perfect. It is how He designed us.

Listen, my friends, whatever that thing you are afraid of, the thing that has plagued you your whole life, the thing you are certain you could never endure, God already knows. He sees what's coming down the pipe and into your life. Jesus will already be there waiting. That has been my experience through this. He is faithful. Without exception and at all times.

Love you all......more than you know.

(For those of you beautiful people who don't know anything about Jesus or are unsure find out who He is. Don't let your bad church experiences or personal opinions keep you from doing the good work of seeking and knocking. Email me if you want to hash it out. I don't have all the answers but I'll walk with

"The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?"

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Gamma Knife Day with Jesus

A week ago today we traveled over the UVA for the Gamma Knife surgery. I've been laying low and feeling low since then. Or maybe up and down is more accurate. In some ways I think the gamma knife was harder than the craniotomy I had back in August even though this was non invasive.

What was supposed to take 4 or 5 hours took 9.

Everyone knows the first thing you do when you prepare for surgery is put on nothing but a paper gown, sit in a freezing cold room and wait. At least they let me keep my hat on!

First I was sedated and the stereo tactic frame was screwed on around 10 a.m. Thus far, I am fine, my head good and numbed up.

The Gamma Knife team came in and took measurements of my head to work out my treatment plan. Things seemed to be moving along. Plus, Craig is problem.

I was then wheeled up to MRI around 12:15 where I proceeded to sit for another two hours. At this point the local anesthesia of my scalp is beginning to wear off and my catheter blew and had to be removed. I had the pleasure of being stuck four times that day.

I am finally put into the MRI machine a little after two and then taken to the Gamma Knife waiting area. I finally went into the Gamma Knife at around 4 p.m.

Then the frame was removed. By that time I had already been given three Vicoden but when they took that frame off.....I had THE worst headache of my life. One of the pin sites was squirting blood was quite a show. Dr Poffenbarger, the surgical wizard that he is, put a stitch in that in less than 10 seconds. Amazing.

So back up to finally eat after 24 hours and wait to be released. We are so happy because it is over. See how happy we are? This photo was taken at about 5:30 p.m.

Ok, so I say all this not only to give you the rundown with neat photos, but to tell you that the Lord Jesus was most faithful in the midst of this trying day.

First, my MRI I had that day showed the tumor has shrunk from 10mm to 6 mm. All my fears about Avastin (of which there are many), the tumor starving drug, as real as they are, must submit to what we have asked of God: to lead us down the right treatment path to kill GBM. That drug is a powerful drug in the hands of an even greater more powerful God. Each time I am tempted to run over in my mind the list of scary side effects, I must choose to return to what we asked of God and believe He is doing: running the show. Jesus is walking with us, going into the MRI machine and the Gamma Knife with me. Feeling how I feel getting poked over and over.

I was feeling pretty low sitting on that stretcher waiting for the MRI for two hours. Cornered, waiting, with some heavy ridiculous contraption on my head. He is good to force me into places which I cannot run from and have no other to run to. These tight spaces reveal what I am really putting my hope in. They are the pits of refinement by fire and how He brings forth the pure gold. Humility, empathy....truth in the inward woman. He knows how best to build those things in us. Does it hurt? Yep. Is it fun? Heck no. But on the other side is the the fruit of righteousness. You can count on it.

The pain in your life, whatever it is or wherever it is from, either the consequences of your own choices, the choices of others or those of a fallen, dying world, is an opportunity for God to show Himself great for His glory, your good and the good of those around you. All you have to do is cry out to Him.


It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness." Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed."

Hebrews 12