Today we received the results from the biopsies that were taken from Mike’s pancreas during his surgery two weeks ago. They indicate that he has pancreatic adenocarcinoma (the most common type of pancreatic cancer that accounts for about 85% of all cases). This isn’t the news that we were hoping for. It means we have a very tough road ahead of us, unless God provides a miraculous healing. Fifteen years ago He did just that, so we have no doubt He can do that again, if that’s His plan.
We so appreciate your continued prayers, now more than ever!
“Let your unfailing love surround us, LORD,
for our hope is in you alone.” ~ Psalm 33:22
Corrie Ten Boom once said, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
We like to plan and to imagine that we know what tomorrow looks like, but not one of us really does. Letting go of my need to know and simply trusting every step of life’s journey to Christ’s leading is a lesson that one day, I hope to embrace as my greatest freedom and blessing.
Laying awake, listening to the comforting assurance of my husband’s restful breathing beside me, like a rhythmic symphony written by the One surrounding us with His peace. So much to pray for as song birds begin to wake up Rome… no words, just stillness, warmth, and a deep gratitude for every moment we have together.
I had hoped to update everyone when we had news from Mike’s latest biopsy results, but we are still waiting. We were able to leave the hospital late Monday afternoon, so I’m packing things up at our apartment. Mike will have another blood test and see his doctor on Monday, then God willing (when his doctor gives Mike a thumbs up to travel) we will head back to Washington in the next couple weeks.
Mike is still in a lot of discomfort as he recovers from his surgery. His incision is healing nicely and his post-surgical edema is going away slowly, but he still struggles with digestion and nausea. His last blood test showed that his bilirubin level is back to normal. (His high bilirubin level was the first indication that something was wrong.) His lipase level (which was very high after his surgery) is also coming down, indicating there may not be an obstruction that would require a pancreatic stint to allow flow from his pancreas.
We’re in a place where taking one day at a time is the only option open to us. Living in the moment is a good lesson for this chronic planner.
Our prayer requests are pretty much the same, but include a huge answered prayer: It looks like our international insurance through Aetna will be a lot better coverage in the States than we originally thought. Initially (when we bought the plan through Shepherd’s Staff) we were told that it would be great coverage internationally, but would likely only cover about 50% in the states. It now looks like we may only be responsible for 20% and that may even have an annual cap. That’s really good news! Please pray for continued grace to cover all those details.
- Please continue to pray for opportunities to encourage others and point people to a saving faith in Jesus Christ
- Pray for our family as they eagerly await our arrival back in the states
- Please pray the tests reveal a treatable variety of cancer and for Mike’s complete healing!
- Please pray that all Mike’s medical records will travel safely through the mail, as we were told this is our only option. Mike’s doctor assured us he will give us copies of everything his doctors in the states will need
- Pray we can easily pack up and wrap up all our accounts here (rent, gas, electricity, garbage, phones and internet)
- Please pray for travel mercies and turbulence free flights
- Please also pray for our dear friend and co-laborer, Jen Birkey, as she searches for a roommate to share the rent in our apartment. She moved in with us in December because her roommate got married and she didn’t have the resources to cover the rent of their apartment on her own. She went back to the states for the holidays and her sister’s wedding, then returned a couple weeks ago while we were in the hospital. She has truly been a gift from the Lord, even bringing me some real home cooked meals while I was staying in the hospital with Mike (living mostly on peanut butter, crackers and apples).
Thank you Lord, for our amazing friends and family!
Mike is recovering so nicely from Monday’s surgery that he may be able to check out of the hospital this weekend. His doctor didn’t preform the resection surgery that he had planned because he found diffused cancer cells throughout Mike’s pancreas and in several lymph nodes, indicating the cancer is advanced and therefore the resection wouldn’t benefit Mike. He did take out his gall bladder and put in a permanent stint to keep his bile duct open. He also took tissue samples from several areas and sent them for analysis. Mike’s doctor and radiologist are not sure why the cancer didn’t appear on the PET scan and other scans. There is a possibility that it may be an endocrine pancreatic cancer that might respond better to chemo than the more common exocrine type of pancreatic cancer. We are now in waiting mode again as these test results won’t be in until next week.
When we have the results and Mike is well enough ,we’ve decided to travel back to Washington so we can be near our family while he goes through the next steps of his treatment.
- As we walk through this journey, meeting medical professionals and other patients who need to know the reason for the hope we have, please pray that God will continue to use us to encourage and point people to a saving faith in Jesus Christ
- Please pray the tests reveal a treatable variety of cancer (or better yet, a miraculously disappearing cancer)
- Please pray we won’t have any difficulty obtaining all Mike’s medical records before we leave
- Pray we can easily pack and tidy up everything here
- Please pray for travel mercies and turbulence free flights
- Please pray for our dear friend and co-laborer, Jen Birkey, as she searches for a room-mate to share the rent in our apartment
- Please pray we don’t run into issues with our global insurance coverage during Mike’s medical care in the States
- Pray for our family as they walk through this with us
- And most of all, please pray for Mike’s complete healing!
A prayer gathering for Mike is scheduled for this Saturday, February 20th at The Gathering House, meeting room #2 (733 w Garland) in Spokane. Feel free to drop in anytime between noon and 3:00pm.
“For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them.” – Matthew 18:20
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” ~ Romans 15:13
The results from Mike’s biopsy indicate that he has Cholangiocarcinoma, cancer of the bile duct. They are confident that it’s in the early stage and that it hasn’t spread, so they are preparing him for surgery on Monday at noon. From a medical perspective, a surgical resection offers the only potential chance of cure in cholangiocarcinoma, but we know that “nothing is impossible with God!” (Luke 1:37) We are thankful that Mike is a candidate for this surgery, because few patients have this surgery as an option since this cancer is so difficult to discover in its early stages. It is a major operation that will take around 6 hours. We are so glad to have so many of you, dear friends and family, holding Mike up in prayer!
- Please pray for wisdom and divine guidance for the surgeon and medical team
- Pray for God’s complete healing for Mike as well as a speedy recovery
- Pray that the God of hope will continue to fill us and our family with all joy and peace as we believe in Him, so that we may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit!
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
This promise is getting a lot of personal application lately! After almost a month of various tests and scans, we are still waiting for a specific classification, stage and prognosis of Mike’s cancer. The most likely areas for its origin include his biliary system or his pancreas.
The good news is that Mike’s blood work and bilirubin level improved enough that he was able to leave the hospital this week. Today he went back for a blood test, on Monday morning he’ll have a PET scan, and on Thursday he’ll have a laparoscopy procedure to get a biopsy of a nodule found in his pancreas. Depending on the results, he’s likely to be scheduled for surgery on Monday, February 15th. We’ll post an update when we find out more.
I can’t help but wonder how we would manage this cancer thing without the peace of God that transcends understanding. This certainly isn’t a battle we would have chose, but knowing the One who provides every breath we take, gives us the confidence that we are in His very capable hands! We know He can bring complete healing to Mike. We know that He’ll provide the strength we need for the days to come. We know that He loves us!
Thank you all for continuing to pray with us through this! Your prayers are certainly making a difference.
Here are just a few of our prayer requests that have already been answered:
- We were able to get all of Mike’s scans and test results from San Giovanni (no small miracle)
- God has opened doors to share the love of Christ with patients and medical staff
- We’ve been able to get some much-needed rest in our own bed
- The peace of God IS transcending all understanding and guarding our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus!