Tuesday, June 29, 2010

By the Grace of God

The last round of chemo was administered today without any glitches or complications. Our whole family was at the hospital so we could all celebrate when it was over. Ending with us corporately saying “Alleluias” and doing our clap offering, we thanked God for His goodness, faithfulness, mercy, and grace. Eric’s 4 cycles, or 8 rounds of chemo treatments, are now a thing of the past for him.
Praise God!

Ethan instantly liked Eric's doctor, Dr. Rattiya. Please keep praying for her to know Jesus. We just found out that our Christian friend started seeing her as well. A routine check up showed he had cancer also.

We came back from our vacation at the beach late Sunday night. We had a magnificent time and were all rested and tanned by the time it was over. Not only were we blessed with delicious food, good company, perfect weather, and restful sleep, the Lord continued to bless us with His love through His people. The temporary hosts of the place treated us to a delicious seafood meal on our last night and then gave us money as we left the next morning. What a gracious God we have!

Lastly, as an indication of Eric’s stamina, I would like to admit that he beat me in our swimming races across the length of the pool (twice!). On our last race, I even started a few strokes ahead of him but he beat me anyway! It was several years ago but I did use to swim for the school team. I don’t get where he gets all his energy! It isn’t his own but God’s.

I actually wanted a rematch of our swimming pool basketball game since he and Eli beat Eng and I in our game. I told him I couldn’t believe they beat us. I said, “Aren’t you supposed to have cancer? How could you beat us?” Although initially amused, he then took on a serious look and said, “By the Grace of God, Mom.” And that there explains everything.

Eli wore the hospital garb just for fun. While waiting, they spent time watching T.V.

Thank you for praying. Two to three weeks from now, Eric's 3-weeks’ radiation treatments will start. The half hour treatments will have to be done in the evenings so it works perfectly with Eng being able to do it after work. What excellent timing. =) Thank you, Lord!

I am leaving for Canada tomorrow for a 3-week visit with Evan (our oldest son) and my parents. Evan has been living in Toronto with my parents while he works there during the summer. He has been studying to become a writer or editor at Houghton College in Western New York for the past two years.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Deeper Than Any Ocean

Yesterday, I managed to take an hour long walk on the beach. It was so satisfying. The early morning breeze coupled with the right combination of magnificent sky, glorious clouds, soft lapping waves, and powder fine sand on my toes made it perfect. The waves weren’t numerous. At one point the Lord said His love for me was as many times the waves hit the shore and they were coming frequently then! So this time when I saw the waves, my first question was, “How come there isn’t much?” asking God. Then I noticed the sand and He reminded me that His love was as numerous as the sand on the shore. The song that was playing on my randomly playing phone sang, “Your love is deeper than any ocean” and as I looked at the vast body of water beside me, I couldn’t help but feel loved abundantly. Then the waves felt like soft caresses and gentle kisses from God. I wish to be as aware of this great love in the absence of His creation. Surely He is always telling us how much He loves us! If only we always had eyes to perceive and hearts that understood His love easily.

We are now in Prachuab Kirikhan staying at ‘The Pines’, an OMF vacation home. Thanks to a donor who helped us with our airfare, we are here for a week long vacation. It is wonderful to be here! Along with the realization of His love on the beach, I noticed my lone footprints in the sand and remembered the “Footprints in the Sand” poem by Mary Stevenson (http://www.footprints-inthe-sand.com/index.php?page=Poem/Poem.php). I know we’ve had trying times in the last few months with Eric’s cancer but the Lord carried us and is still carrying us. Thank you, Papa God, you are so good.

Eric’s last chemo treatment was scheduled for this Friday but we asked to move it to Monday (June 28th) so we can stay here until Sunday. Just the thought of staying here that long makes me sigh with relief already. =)

Eric hasn’t been wearing his mask since he got here. He’s breathing in the fresh air and swimming and eating lots! Yesterday, he and Eli beat Eng and me (Linda) in a game of basketball in the swimming pool. We played them hard until I was panting like crazy and could feel myself sweating even though I was in the water! Still, we lost badly! Yes, they’re young but he’s got cancer! Even though there probably should be, there is no sign of weakness in him. He is definitely doing very well.

A prophetic friend prayed for him today and declared that Eric will be healed of his cancer through his treatments and it will never recur again in his lifetime. We said a resounding "AMEN" to that! Thank you again for praying.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Worth a Kidney Stone

We were at our mission’s conference last week from Tuesday to Sunday (June 8-13) so it was a little strange going to and back there from the hospital on Friday (June 11). When Eric received his 7th round of chemo, we requested again for a quicker administration so we could get back in time for supper. We got there in plenty of time and Eric soon joined the Teens’ BBQ by the pool and he was soon swimming!

He continues to amaze us with the strength and energy that truly comes from within him! It is God given. The next day, he spent plenty of time sleeping but when the ‘teens’ all nighter’ began; he was again up and about! The Lord also amazes in that what is fun for Eric is certainly fun for Him too! He gives it His stamp of approval by what He allows to happen.

I should add that Eric decided at this point not to take any medication (steroids) for the chemo’s side effects. He did well with all the distractions of activities over the week-end but by today, Monday, he’s had a lot more stomach pain. This is entirely Eric’s choosing, not to take the meds. It’s hard to even imagine receiving chemo without the help of the meds to deal with the side effects. Eric’s always taken them before although he’s been requesting less and less of it the more he received his rounds of chemo. He started with needing to take 16 pills twice a day (for 2 days) when he received his first round of chemo. This is followed by half the dosage for 2 more days (8 pills twice a day). By the 6th round, he only wanted to take 4 pills twice a day and we’ve had to argue about him taking it! On Friday, the doctor indicated that it was optional so he decided that he didn’t want any of them. That he’s made it this far is God’s grace!

The other great thing that happened is that we saw friends (Eric’s former teacher and his wife) at the hospital while waiting for the doctor. We were supposed to have supper with them earlier in the week since they were leaving Thailand for good. They canceled since Eric’s former teacher wasn’t well. What a pleasant surprise that we were able to visit at the hospital anyway! Eric’s teacher also graciously said that seeing us and Eric at the hospital (one more time) before they left was “worth a kidney stone” that had to be removed from him surgically!

What an Amazing God we have! Thank you for praying.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Hair to Nothingness

I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonders.
I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High

Psalm 9:1-2

I (Linda) remember distinctly when we found out in March that Eric had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and would require chemo treatments. We prayed as a family and asked for the Lord to have mercy and have him at least finish his Grade 11 school year. Back then, we didn’t know how many days of school he’d miss because of his treatments and how it’ll affect his studies, especially his AP Stats (a college level Statistics class). Well, the school year ended on June 1st and Eric missed a total of 4-1/2 days, just the days when he was at the hospital! (Thankfully, two treatments were received during the two week April break.) As you may already know, Eric also made it to all of his year end gatherings (Agape Orphanage Party, Art Show, Choir Concert, AP Stats bowling trip), including the Junior/Senior Grad Dance.

Back then, I was concerned that his studies would be affected and that he wouldn’t make it through the school year. I thought if he did finish, his grades would reflect less than desirable grades. Last week, except for one course, his report card showed him acing all his courses (including AP Stats!). How that happened has a lot to do with Eric's ability and diligence but those alone aren't enough! We know it is the Lord’s grace and wonder. We are (grateful and) glad and rejoice in Him!

Two days ago, he cut his hair to nothingness – which is how he posted it on Facebook. We are going away on a six-day conference today where he’d do some swimming so Eric felt that wearing a super short hairdo would be better than his almost-normal-but-thin-on-the-top look. He’d rather not have a photo taken so I took a picture of Eli instead who’s also decided to go short. His hair used to be super looong. It’s also worth noting that Eric’s friend already shaved his head last week and another one will shave his (after his sister’s wedding is over) next week. They’re apparently doing it for Eric and their gesture has warmed my heart. I’m sure it’s why Eric found it easier to do what he did. We sing praise to your name, O Most High. You are so kind and good. Thanks again for praying for us. Eric will receive his 7th round of chemo treatment this Friday, June 11th.

Below are our prayer requests once again. Bless you. =)

1. That the Lord constantly be glorified in Eric’s circumstances.
2. Regardless of what we want, that His will, will happen, and not ours
3. That we rely solely on God and are unified as a family.
4. That Eric will be prepared physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, for what’s in store for him.
5. That we trust the Lord completely no matter what happens to Eric.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Gracious Miracles

My soul proclaims your greatness Lord
Rejoicing in my Savior
Your mercy belongs to those who fear your son
His blessing you have given them forever
Holy is His name!

From the song “Great Things” by Matt Maher

As I listened again to my phone which was randomly playing music, the lines above played next after the song called “Miracle” by a Thai group. I (Linda) was just thinking it in my head that it was a miracle that I was paying the hospital just after 2 p.m. for Eric’s chemo treatment. Last Friday was the 6th time Eric received his chemo and it was also the day of his school’s year end choir concert. The day before, his choir teacher and class prayed for him to make it to his concert but we knew a miracle had to take place for it to happen. After his previous treatments, we’ve often left the hospital after 7 p.m. How could he possibly make it to a 4 p.m. concert? Secondly, Eric is often completely exhausted as we pull out of the hospital. How will he have the energy to sing?

But for God, none of the string of miracles below would have happened. Dr. Rattiya examined him as usual but we requested that she let the nurses know that we were in a hurry that day so Eric could make it to his concert. She agreed and wrote the nurses a note to that effect. (Please pray for blessings for Dr. Rattiya and for her to know the Lord as her savior.)

The next few hours were a sight to behold as nurses came in and out of Eric’s room. Each one proclaimed that Eric was going to a concert that afternoon. Each one did her task efficiently and quickly. Sometimes, (a first!) two would be doing their tasks at the same time. Nurse Kloy was there waiting to change the chemo (4 types) that needed to go into Eric’s IV before any of them were finished. To say the least, the nurses that day worked like clockwork! By 2 p.m., all we had to do was wait for an hour for Eric’s last chemo to finish dripping into him. The first miracle happened! We could actually leave as soon as the dripping chemo stopped around 3 p.m. Nurse Kloy used to go to a Christian university here in Chiang Mai. She said she used to go to chapel then and hear about God. I told her the Lord allowed Eric to be sick so that we would be there to meet her and talk to her about the God who loves her and misses her. She teared up and allowed for me to pray for her. (Please pray that the Lord would succeed in calling her back to Himself.)

By 3:30, I decided to wake Eric up. I figured that if he could shower in 10 minutes, we could leave before 4 p.m. and make it late for the concert but be there in time for his choir to sing. It took him a loooong time to finally get up. When he did, it seemed like he took his time to get ready and he was even singing in the shower! Meanwhile, I was pacing outside the bathroom door waiting to go! By the grace of God, we made the speedy drive from hospital to school just in time for him to join his group during their second song, “Pie Jesu” by Andrew Lloyd Webber. It means ‘merciful Jesus’ or ‘Jesus, have mercy’. Indeed, Jesus had shown mercy as Eric was welcomed on the stage to the applause of the crowd. He then sang with his choir for the rest of their performance, the second miracle.

On Saturday morning, he was able to go to the orphanage that he’s been visiting with his class, to attend their last get together of the year. By Monday morning, he was celebrating the end of the school year with his AP Stats class by playing bowling. While I wondered if he would have the energy to finish all three games, the Lord had seen fit to help him not just finish all games, but have the last three balls Eric bowled to be strikes (a sweet turkey miracle)! It’s no wonder that by Monday night, Eric was dancing once again. What an amazing God we have! His blessings, He has given us.

Thank you for praying. =)