We made it! Thanksgiving at Philip and Kara’s home in Texas was the answered prayer we have been praying for ever since we learned chemotherapy was to be part of our journey with cancer. It has been the only “non-spiritual” thing we have asked for (peace, courage and a more faith than we ever had before being the “spiritual” things we’ve asked for) along the way and God gave to us in abundance the “non-spiritual” together with the “spiritual.” How good he is!
How good my brother and sister in law are too. I think I doubted initially how much they and their kids have been praying/hoping/believing that our plans for Thanksgiving together would come to pass. They were hospitable in every way we anticipated and in a few ways we could have never imagined. Thank you Phil, Kara, Wesley, Peyton, Kyal and Lydia! We love you all.
Chemo #4 is minutes away. Honestly, it has been with a bit of a heavy heart we have looked towards this one. No doubt about it, each one gets harder. Thank you to Heather and Kathy and Tanya and Dana and Susan and Sybil and Kristen and so many others who have encouraged us on this journey for not blurting that out as we celebrated literally no side effects during the first two treatments. While we are thankful indeed for the ease of those first two treatments we now believe that God has girded our faith and Traci’s body for what is ahead. In other words, we’re learning to rejoice in the victories and in the trials. Both are very real parts of what we are facing over the next week and with the (only!) two treatments that remain on December 22 and January 12.
We did decide today with our dear “Dr. H” that will visit with a radiation oncologist next week. Radiation is one of those later questions we have refused to think much about and definitely not worry any about. We need now though to start planning what our transition from chemo to radiation, if needed, will look like come late January. Funny that what Dr. H would not even mention a few weeks ago was a very naturally answered when we asked him today. Truly, this journey is traversed best one step at a time. Any more is, well, foolish to attempt. We are thankful our doctor knows that and are finally starting to see it clearer ourselves.
I have not doted enough on my bride the last few days. Her attitude remains an example to all. She refuses to complain or whine even though I’ve given her permission too. She intentionally looks for ways to bless others and include them in our story of victory and hope as they deal with their own issues. I was going to wait until she actually got hooked up in the chair today to start writing but I just saw something that, based on my short but I think meaningful time in chemo treatment centers, I don’t think happens very often. Our oncology nurse, Christy, just ran towards Traci to hug her and ask her how she is doing. I have shook hands with my doctor and tipped my cap to a nurse before but I have never had either run towards me and hug me when they see me. I think that is simply Traci being Traci. That really blessed me. I think it shows that Traci is seeking to draw as many others into her hope and joy along this journey as possible. She is also thankful now to be drawn into other’s journeys as well. It’s a give give receive receive deal all in all. That’s a good thing about having cancer I think. As you receive bless me and as I receive from you I will bless others. Everybody gives blessings and everybody gets blessed that way.
I’ve got some thank you’s to hand out.
Thank you to everyone for helping our friends the Glissons and the Bartlemes with their adoption story and foster care ministry. It’s fun to include ourselves and so many of you in the worthy endeavors of others.
Thank you to Dawn Wolff for bringing us dinner last night. Thank you Dawn for the way you are loving your mother in the last days of her life. Having done that with my dad 5 years I ago I pray I exuded confidence in the Lord and love for my father the way you are for your sweet mom. We pray your family gets the Christmas with her you are asking God for.
Thanks to the guys at Glory Gym who every morning Traci is able to go encourage her and laugh with her and compliment her. Malik and Todd especially but all of you have really been a boost to her and therefore to me as well. Thanks guys.
Thank you to special people in O’Fallon, Lake St. Louis, Wentzville, Cedar Hill, Amarillo, Eugene, Gainesville, Ft. Worth, Tomsk, Novosibirsk and Rockwood for blessing my family in ways that can never be earned but will never be forgotten. You know who you are and you know what you have done. We are humbled and grateful for you all.
And since these are worth a thousand words, I’ll shut up and let them speak…
Beauty Rest (top left and more needed, I know)
Beauty Period (top right as we started treatment #4 this morning)
The future of the Browne Clan (2nd row left L to R –Peyton, Anna, Wesley, Aidan, Benjamin, Nate, Kyal and Lydia)
A Friend for Eternity (2nd row right – Tiffany Guild and Traci reminding me again what a treasure friends are to my wife)
What? No Boys? (3rd row left – Chris and Tiffany’s girls L to R – Lily, our Anna, Lyren, and Eden Guild)
Oh Yeah! No Girls! (3rd row right – our sons with Jordan Guild who with three sisters seemed to like the guy time a lot)
Nice To Meet You (4th row left – Anna is not shy to wrestle with anyone. Fortunately, Chris is not either!)
Two Tired Girls but One Happy Nan (4th row right – Anna with Lydia)
Handmade Boats (5th row left – sailboats the older kids made at the Heritage Homestead just outside of Waco, TX)
Traci has fallen asleep now. She’s put up with about as much of me at the moment as anyone could hope for her to. As much as I’d love to take a picture of her during peaceful rest she would kill me and it would be creepy anyway.
We love you all. We could not have made it as far as we have without you and we will need your prayers and encouragement more than ever in the days and weeks ahead.
In Him and oh so grateful to be,
Rob and Traci
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