Henry David Thoreau said, “men have become tools of their tools.” At this moment we feel like a tool in the hands of chemotherapy. It benefits us but it kind of controls us too. When we found out in September that chemotherapy was our road to walk we planned to protect Thanksgiving from it as much as possible so as to enjoy our time in Texas with my brother’s family. God was good to let that happen. By doing that and due to her treatment schedule we knew Christmas would be a tough time for Traci. She has learned how to prepare as best she can for treatment’s effects and was even able to move her 5th treatment from tomorrow to today so that she might be all the way back to normal come Christmas morning. That is our prayer and our goal. We see our light and momentary challenges as a true tool the Lord is using to refine our faith, humble our hearts and draw us near to him. We remain thankful for all we are learning. In that way, cancer has been a great blessing. Yes, I just typed that.
Our hearts are indeed focused this Christmas season. An unspoken sort of special awareness is ours we feel like this Christmas as we value more than ever the full life given to us and made possible by Jesus’ arrival some 2000 years ago. Our prayer is that we hold to this conviction long after Christmas and cancer have passed. That will be the real long term challenge. The divided minds we fight right now remain one of our greatest challenges. Stresses with my job, challenges in relationships, questions about our children and the ongoing reality that Traci is now a cancer patient but soon to be a cancer survivor all divide our minds at a time of year when intense focus is what is most called for. I am not complaining or at least I am hoping I am not complaining but I am just sharing that it has been hard to really let our minds follow our hearts fully into this holiday season given what all we feel like we are not attending to in life right now. Our peace comes from knowing that the things of most and highest importance are indeed being tended to.
We are getting very, very close to knowing for sure that radiation post chemo will not be necessary. We just met with our head oncology nurse and she affirmed what Traci and I have prayerfully arrived at in this matter – we have done all we have been told to do thus far and then some. With no clear benefits known from radiation therapy there seems to be no reason to move in that direction. There is one more “fleece” of sorts we have out there right now. We will wait for that confirmation to come our way but we are very much in a place of confident peace at the thought of not pursuing radiation therapy once she is finished with her last treatment on January 12. Her outlook sans radiation remains excellent.
The oncology staff here continues to be amazed how resilient Traci’s bone marrow is. Her “bounce back” quotient is very high as it relates to white blood cell regeneration. That is just about totally due to God’s faithfulness and so many of you praying for her. Our 3 year old daughter Anna, who insists on praying at every meal, every event, every night, before every nap, etc., prays many times a day “thank you God that mommy’s white blood cell count is so high.” Traci pointed out to me last night that she does not ask God for it to be high. She thanks him that it is high. A few weeks ago I thought “oh how cute…she does not even know what that means.” Now I am more like thinking “oh how amazing is her faith to ask and expectantly pray for it to be so.” From the mouth of babes.
We had hoped to get out one of those photo Christmas cards that so many of you have adorned our kitchen with but that has yet to happen. Honestly, it probably won’t. That’s some of the fallout of the divided mind syndrome we find ourselves in. What we have done though as a family is pray nightly for one or two families that sent us their Christmas photo cards this year. Those of you in Hawaii and Arizona and Texas and Tennessee and Georgia as well as a few places in the US and overseas can be confident that we not only admire your beautiful children but we have prayed for your family as well.
Traci did not bring them camera today so you don’t get to see her in a new hat she has and you don’t get to see me sleeping in my pseudo chemo assistant antagonist chair either. It’s an overcast, quiet morning here in Duluth, GA, and while there is much we feel we have left unattended these last few months we are focused on the beautiful gift that Jesus gave and gives to us all – hope!
May the hope of Jesus and of this season be yours in a deeper way and to a greater measure than ever before.
Merry Christmas to you all,
Rob and Traci
Director of Russian Operations
678-935-0220 x103 Direct
1911 Grayson Hwy, Ste 8-344
Grayson, GA 30017