Wednesday, July 20, 2016

With Gusto

There are many thoughts flooding my mind at the writing of this post.
I have some news that I wanted to share in a mass way but feel that it is so impersonal not to tell people face to face.  I also think something is missed in the emotion of the person when reading words and not facial expressions, body language, and tone.  I will do my best to choose the right words to relay the reality of what I am experiencing and please forgive me that it could not be more personal.
I haven't been feeling well for around 6 weeks now. I have been feeling a lot of nausea and fatigue.  I would come home from work and be so exhausted that I would lay down at 7:30.  Of course, the first thing everyone thinks is that it is pregnancy. It was not.  On July 4th I woke up feeling sore in my rib cage but we had plans to go canoeing with the kids, which we did.  Throughout the day the area right below my diaphragm kept feeling more and more sore to the point where it was hard to breath and I ended up going to the ER.
Once we arrived they gave me some pain medication, did an ultrasound which showed nothing and then did a CT scan which showed something.  Dark spots.  The ER doctor came in and read from a sheet of paper that it lined up with cancer and they sent me to the oncology floor.  I didn't believe that because we had done no tests for cancer and in the words of the ER Dr. himself 'they have to assume the worst'.  After speaking to the oncologist the decision was that we would do a liver biopsy to see what was causing the pain and see what these dark spots were.  I was able to go home to wait out the results of the biopsy.
The next week was better.  I was able to work most of the week and went to several appointments to check out the other dark spots.  All the results came back that I was ok.  I was sure that I just had an infection.  I did not.  I do in fact have the dreaded C word.

PLEASE HEAR ME SAY THIS(envision me speaking with gusto):

This is not a death sentence.
Cancer does not get to dictate when I die.  Only God himself gets to decide the day I came and the day I will go.
I could die in a car accident today.
I could die in a year from liver cancer.
I could die in 45 years of old age in my sleep.
No one knows but God himself.  I am at peace with this.

Andrew and I spent yesterday afternoon and evening relaying this news to our children, extended family and a few friends.  We go today to visit the oncologist and learn more about what I have and what the options for treatment are.

So many really wonderful people have asked how they could help.  Right now there really isn't anything we physically need.  There will be a time when I think especially Andrew will have physical needs as he will probably have to manage more than ever before while I am not well.  
But for today what we need the most are PRAYERS.  

There are 2 different stories in the Bible about two different kings.  One is King Asa.  He lived a great life but turned away from seeking God his last few years.  He ended up with an ailment in his feet and because he sought the help of people before God, King Asa died within three years (2 Chronicals, Chapter 16). The second is King Hezekiah.  He too had lived a great life and after many years of serving the Lord well was visited by the prophet Isaiah who told him to put his house in order because he was his time to die.  Hezekiah wept bitterly and asked the Lord to give him more time here on Earth.  Before Isaiah had left the courtyard of King Hezekiah's palace the word of the Lord came to him and said to go back.  He was to tell Hezekiah that he would live an extra 15 years- just because he requested it (2Kings, Chapter 20). 


I want you to pray that I would not die yet.   I would really like at least 15 years. But understand that the only reason I want to stay here on earth is because I love my children and my husband and I do not want them to be without a mother or wife. 
This earth is full of things that reflect the glory of God.  I have traveled to many places on several continents and have seen some of the most beautiful things in this world.  Varieties of plants, foods, animals, and people all attest to glory of God.  However, it is also a very broken place.  Those same travels have brought to light some of the darkest, saddest things on earth.  People have harmed the most innocent and vulnerable people in many ways.  People have created very dark and troubling religions.  There are bombs, shootings, drugs, sexual depravity, and all kinds of evil everywhere.  People have really wrecked this glorious place.  So, because I believe that there is a better place for me after this that people have not wrecked, I am ready to go.  I only delay out the love I have for people here.  Please pray that I will have more years. 

Lastly, I have a second request.  Please do not ask our kids about this.  We have told them what they need to know and I want this to be as easy for them as possible.  Even if well meaning, if person after person sadly ask them how they are doing it would be easy for them to be sad. We don't want that.  We want them to live their normal lives without fear of what the next day brings. 


  1. Heather,
    Thank you for sharing this with us. I did imagine you saying those words with "gusto" as you explain what's very real about God ultimately determining when we come into this world and when we leave. That doesn't take away the brevity of diagnosis but it provides the right perspective we all need to have. I'll be praying for you, Andrew, & the kids that God gives you peace, hope, & joy as we pray for His miraculous hands to heal you from the C-word.

  2. Thank you Damien. We are so appreciative that God has surrounded us with amazing people like you to support and encourage us through this time! Thank you for your prayers!!!

  3. Heather, I don't know you personally, but I know and love Bret and Kelley, so that love absolutely extends to you. I am praying 'with gusto' for exactly what you have asked, and with praise to our Father for your incredible perspective. He is GOOD, and He is NEAR. -Sincerely, Amber Goff

  4. Amber that is so kind! Thank you so much!!!

  5. Heather,
    I was doing my daily Bible reading yesterday morning and I happened to be reading 2 kings chapter 20. Then later Cameron told me to read your blog.You referenced that chapter above.i believe that is a God yhing. I pray that this is confirmation from the Lord that you will have at least another 15 years. We will be praying fervently. Please let us know if you or andrew need anything!

  6. You and your sweet family are in our prayers! Your strength and faith has been so encouraging to me since i first met you and continues to be in these hard times. You are such a blessing to all who know you.

  7. Heather, you and Andrew are near and dear to me. Please know I will pray that God gives you the desires of your heart. Daily, will I lift you up before the healer.

  8. Thank you for sharing this Heather. I am praying for you to have many more years, for your husband and your children and even your grandchildren. I pray that your faith will stay strong and that those near you will be a loving and supportive community. I love you and your entire family.

  9. I pray you live 60 more years. You are a blessing to everyone you come into contact with- not just your family.

  10. You are all so kind and encouraging!!! Thank you so much for these kind words and prayers!

  11. Heather, I am so sorry and saddened by your news. Liz and I will be praying for you and your family. Thank you for sharing this with us. And thank you for your example of faith and gusto!
    The Lord bless you and keep you;
    the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
    the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”’

  12. Heather,
    We haven't talked in such a long time but you have left an imprint in my mind of one of the sweetest neighbors and people I have ever met! Your strength and faith in God is inspiring and Keith and I will be praying for you, Andy and your children. Sending you my love and prayers! If I can ever help in any way please let me know!!

  13. I know God is able and we are believing in His power. Love and prayers for healing.

  14. Yes, Heather, yes. To the glory of God, you are so wise. We are praying.