Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Our Healer

I believe You’re my healer.
I believe You are all I need.

From the song “Healer” by Hillsongs
Last night, I watched Eric’s “Thank You All” video for the third time. [It can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0FxopvsU2c. Just want to point out that Eric came up with the video idea by himself. As parents, Eng and I had nothing to do with it but we are glad he did it and are extremely proud of him. Over the summer break he’s been pondering how he can thank everyone for helping us until he came up with that. For those who may be watching it for the first time, he just finished his last radiation treatment when he recorded it so his throat was very sore. It explains why he kept clearing his throat to speak.] It was when I was informing a friend’s son (who prayed for Eric) that I decided to have a look at it again. I think what stood out for me this time was how Eric started out by thanking God for healing him. He said it all starts with Him. Amen, and rightly so. He then ended his video by saying he couldn’t repay all those who helped us but he could pray for them.

Eric started with God and ended with God. Over the last few months, I’ve seen the Lord’s love and goodness, His provision of friends who helped us, and His healing of Eric. I know He’s not going to do anything differently for us in our future. I don’t just mean physical healing but healing of relationships, hearts, and minds so that we think better. I’ve had a lot of heart ache in the last few weeks. I realize I’ve been hurting for many reasons; friends who left the school, the situation with my parents, and relationships that aren’t going well. For a time, I’ve wallowed in my grief. I even found a verse (Proverbs 14:13) that says “Even in laughter the heart may ache, and joy may end in grief.” That verse made it even easier to hurt. But, the good thing about pain is that after awhile, you can get numb. The choice then becomes choosing to dwell in that numbing pain, or moving on. I choose the lines above and move on.

Nothing has necessarily happened just yet but He is my healer and He is all I need. He will make something happen. He will heal; He will fill all my need.

I’ll end this with the following lines that I read in three different successive email messages. The Lord is on the move already to point me in the right direction. =)

The journey has been difficult. Many voices have tried to stop you from proceeding. The reward for you in this next season is great. Proceed into celebration. You need to celebrate the victory now over the things that you are praying about and that you are concerned about. Celebrate the victory now, and when you get into that place where you see what you have been praying for, the victory will manifest before you. Chuck Pierce

Your response determines your future. Your goal is to just finish well, not losing your joy. Theresa Phillips

God wants His children well and joyful. Joseph Prince

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Back to School

In less than three days my four month stay in my grandparents' basement will come to a close. It seems so much longer this time around, though maybe it's because my mom's visit was so short, or because I was both employed and unemployed for equal lengths of time. Either way, I feel like I have been here for much longer.

As I begin packing up my room down here in preparation to move out, I think about the time I've been able to spend with my grandparents.

I spent a number of my unemployed afternoons helping my grandfather do construction on the front porch. In spite of his age (he's eight-nine) he managed to continue on long after I'd started going to work. His commitment to this personal project is impressive, and definitely something to admire.

My grandmother, on the other hand,has proven that Alzheimer's can progress in front of your very eyes. During my time here I've watched as she has forgotten how to eat with both hands, an action that should be both simple and natural. Throughout this time, however, she has become very comfortable around me. I know that somehow, deep in her mind she knows that I belong in the house with them. I've actually watched her check the basement several times while I'm upstairs, so I suppose she's realized someone lives down there.

I've tried to help them out whenever and however I could, and I feel like that's something I've managed to accomplish. I care deeply for both of them, and hope that while I'm away at college they won't miss me too much, and will be able to get along on weekends without me.

Please pray for both of them, as recently my grandmother has begun eating very, very little. It's very worrying to see her eat only half of whatever tiny portion we put on her plate. Also pray that my grandfather would be able to finish the porch, and that his sons would come up often to help him out with that.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

End of a Journey

Well, to the 8 rounds of chemo and 16 radiation treatments, and the cancer cells, we've reached the end. But, for the next five years, Eric will keep seeing the doctor to get tests done to ensure that cancer is kept at bay. His next appointment is on September 6th then it'll be followed by a PET scan in Bangkok in three months. We don’t expect for those next tests to reveal anything but continue instead to praise the Lord for His goodness in helping Eric get well.

As noted in last week’s post, we celebrated with a party last Saturday. It was hard to know how to go about it with so many people to thank but we ended up with a handful that we knew had to be with us celebrating. The Lord will have to bless the rest of you and those that couldn’t be with us in other ways. It is our family’s prayers that He will bless you abundantly for helping us go through Eric’s journey with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Although extremely shy, Eric made a 5 minute video that he posted on YouTube as a way of thanking everyone. Please check it out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0FxopvsU2c

<-- With Phillip who also had a buzz cut, RJ, and Kurt who shaved his head even before Eric decided what to do with his hair.

As I also thanked everyone during the party for their part in helping us, I realized that I left Eng out in the acknowledgement since we hosted the party. I should point out that his astute leadership and decision making helped us as a family to put things in perspective. I probably would not have gone back to Toronto at the time I did (because of Eric’s treatments) but I’m glad he “pushed” me to go. It was the right thing to do; for Evan, for my parents, for myself. I’m grateful for the balance that his wisdom provides for us as a family. Thank you, Eng!

On the issue of finances, would you please pray for the approval of the insurance claim to cover Eric’s chemo expenses? We were asked to register as an In Patient at the hospital during his chemo treatments even though we didn’t stay overnight. Apparently however, the treatments are only covered by the insurance if received as an Out Patient (something the hospital doesn’t do). Since the insurance has initially denied our claim, we are currently appealing their decision. Please pray with us for a favorable response. Thank you!

Lastly, some of you know that my mother has Alzheimer’s. Please pray for her. Our son, Evan, has noted a few weeks ago that she’s forgotten how to eat (as in she no longer uses her left hand to hold the fork to help her eat and she no longer puts catsup on her meat, etc.). As of late, she seems to have forgotten the value of eating as well as she’s not doing a lot of it. Thanks for praying for wisdom to know how to care for her best. Bless you and thank you again for the part you played in our journey. =) We appreciate and thank God for you!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Amazing Goodness

But I trust in your unfailing love, your heart. Please help Eric to at least graduate at GIS. Thank you, Lord. You said, “Nothing is impossible with God” and I believe it. I know you can turn this around for good. Please use it to glorify yourself, to unite us as a family, to strengthen our faith, to not lose hope and to be a constant source of encouragement. Please help us to be able to use this to point people back to you. Thank you, Papa. Please use it for your purposes however the enemy might have attacked us and want to use it against us. Kindly help us know how to resist well and submit to you.
I wrote and prayed the above on February 20 while away on a Silent Retreat. At the time, we just found out that Hodgkin’s lymphoma couldn’t be ruled out as the reason for Eric’s swollen lymph nodes. In the end, he did have it (we found out on March 3rd) and so began our journey with his cancer. There was a LOT of unknowns then. It was easy to be overwhelmed, to be afraid and to be gripped by fear. But for God, that’s where we would have easily been. Thankfully, He answered my prayer and more; He blessed us as well. A teacher at GIS who was not there last school year gave me a hug yesterday and said she was sorry for what we’ve been through. I had to honestly tell her, “No Marge, it was good for us. It was hard, but good.”

I won’t even attempt to summarize what the Lord has done. I’ll likely forget something and to really capture the Lord’s goodness, it is best to read the full stories. They are all documented here. Please check out the older posts dating all the way back to March.

I do want to point out that Eric never lost his hair the whole time he had his treatments. The side effect of all four of his chemo medication is hair loss but only the top part of his hair thinned out. He currently has short hair but it’s because of his choice to have a buzz cut. Praise God for His goodness. Eric did not want to lose his hair to chemo and he didn’t!

Tomorrow is Eric’s last radiation treatment. This afternoon, I was able to go with him and see where he receives his radiation. I met the little, old lady that he mentioned in last week’s post. She has nothing but love in her eyes for Eric. Please pray for her, Yay Samon, that she will know our Lord and find healing in His arms. They have been writing one another since she cannot talk and Eric was able to say that it is the Lord who helps him. May she know the Lord as her helper as well.

Towards the end of the Silent Retreat mentioned above, I listened to what the Lord wanted to say and wrote what I sensed Him say, “I will send people/friends who will be there for you. They will help you. You will feel my love and compassion on you through them. Be strong and focus on me. Keep looking to me. I will never leave nor forsake you. You will know my strength and my love will be revealed to you in a (new) way you’ve not seen before. Trust me, I love you and am not giving you more than you can bear. This time in your life will be used for the furtherance of my kingdom. I am good. You can and will taste and see that I am good.”

Aye, then He did what He said. Good, He definitely is.

Thank you for praying with and for us. After tomorrow, Eric will periodically go for check ups (blood work) to ensure that he is cancer free. We will celebrate this Saturday (with friends) and together say "Goodbye" to cancer for good! =) YAY!!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Eric's Break of Silence

My name is Eric Yeong. About 5 months ago my family and I discovered I had cancer. Cancer is a fairly scary word. A loaded word, I'd say. I say this because whenever people hear the word cancer they think, "Woah, someone's gonna die!" I can tell you now, though, that I will not die. At least not from this. After catching our breaths and doing some research we learned that Hodgkin's lymphoma although being a cancer and although being worse than non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, was a "nicer" cancer and wouldn't take my life away. God has given me an opportunity to be around a little longer. We caught it early enough that it wasn't very serious but I still had to do chemotherapy, 4 months of it, (8 treatments every 2 weeks = 16 weeks.) and 3 weeks of radiation. (5 treatments each week. I guess even cancer takes the weekend off). My last treatment is August 10th, just 8 days away.

All this information, I wish I could tell to the little, old lady at the radiation clinic. Sadly, even after 5 years of Thai study I can't communicate well enough to be the other half of an intelligent Thai conversation. Maybe Thai isn't my forte and maybe I wasn't paying enough attention. It's the past and now I'm taking Spanish.

Today is my mother's 49th birthday and we started the day EARLY, much too early for a summer day. I woke up, skipped the shower and stumbled to the car. We drove up the mountain to eat breakfast at Lanna Resort, as well as enjoy the scenery. I was much too tired to enjoy anything except go back to sleep but we walked in the garden and my mother asked us to ask God for ways to bless her. We ate a breakfast of ham, eggs, toast, and sausages. As we drank our hot chocolate, we prayed and blessed my mom, sharing what each of us had heard from God. Afterwards we drove back down the mountain and I caught up on lost sleep while my family went to go do their own thing.

Later that day my mother drove me to the hospital for my daily radiation treatment. I was a little late because I had watched a movie earlier at the mall with some friends. I watched "Avatar: The Last Airbender" and like the reviews said it wasn't one of M. Night's best but I do disagree with people saying that it's racist. Because of my lateness, I had to wait longer than normal but because I was waiting, I got the opportunity to see the little, old lady and stumble through some form of communication. On most days I'd pass her on my way out and I'd give her my best smile. She'd return my smile and give me a thumbs up. Today she stopped me to try and say something to me. She couldn't talk because the radiation was affecting her throat. I also have a sore throat, courtesy of the radiation. She told her friend to tell me, from what I understand in Thai, that I was good for being alone. That's exactly how it translated but I think she meant something more like, "You're brave or strong for being able to go through treatment by yourself." She may also have been addressing the fact that I'm so young having to do treatment. She may have noticed that I was the youngest person in the cancer treatment ward. I was glad to be able to communicate with her and maybe in the future I'll be able to say more. I'll try to give her a note that I can copy off of Google translate.

My mother was able to enjoy the rest of her birthday by taking us to eat a meal at a new pizza and pasta place that we had not tried before. The food was very flavourful and we all came home satisfied with a couple of slices left over. We're all glad to have had her for all these years and hopefully we'll all see many more together. I'm glad to have been able to write you all tonight and I thank you for all the prayers and thoughts you've dedicated to me. I am truly grateful, touched, and feel very blessed. God bless you all.