Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Define "Are you Worried?"

There has been a little confusion about the date of the scans.  CJ will have the MRI on Monday October 21st at 4pm. 

A few people asked me why we didn't do it sooner and if it was a good sign that they were in no hurry.  I will give you an honest answer. 

When I called to make the appointment they offered me the very next day and a few others the same week.   As I sat there looking at my calendar trying to find an open date, three (selfish) thoughts went through my head.

 In no particular order:

First selfish thought: CJ has already given up enough for cancer.  I won't do it on a day he wold miss something important to him. His schedule was full with things he loved.

Second selfish thought:  I will not let anything cast a shadow or distract me on my son Brett's birthday.  (A few years ago my father committed a tragic suicide on Brett's birthday and it took me until now to get my mind solely on the joy of my son's birthday and not the sudden loss.  I wasn't willing to go backwards.)

Third selfish thought: If my life is going to change..... I am not ready until next week.

How's that for good reasoning and planning?

"Are you worried?" seems to be the question of late. 

Yet, for the first time, thanks to the follow up questions and conversations, I realize we all define worry in different ways and I am not always being asked the same question each time.  Some of us define worry as experiencing fear of what might happen.  Some of us consider worry when something is consuming our thoughts to the point we are unable to concentrate on anything else or think positively about it.  Some of us define it as being anxious.  Look up the word worry and interestingly you will find many different definitions.

Here is my absolute favorite I found: (that was sarcasm for those that didn't catch my tone)
Worry is thoughts, images and emotions of a negative nature in which mental attempts are made to avoid anticipated potential threats.  As an emotion it is experienced as anxiety or concern about a real or imagined issue. 
Most people experience short-lived periods of worry in their lives without incident; indeed, a moderate amount of worrying may even have positive effects, if it prompts people to take precautions  or avoid risky behavior.
Excessive worry is the main component of generalized anxiety disorder.

I just love the "mentally attempting to avoid anticipated potential threats" part. I don't know about you but my mental state and thought life is the least trusted part of my entire being.  My thoughts are selfish (as demonstrated above), corrupted by my deceitful desires (Eph 4) and overwhelmingly negative and just plain wrong most of the time.  That is why we are told to renew our minds. (with Scripture) I think this sentiment is right up there with my other favorite expression of "Following my heart"  as if it can be trusted.  I tried that a couple times too.  Didn't go so well.  So trusting my mind to protect me surely isn't going to happen. 

My other favorite part of that definition (more sarcasm) is "worry may even have positive effects if it prompts people to take precautions".  You just gotta love when something God plain out said, Don't do! Like ever! suddenly becomes something that can have positive effects in our lives.  

I agree there are some things God said you can and should do in moderation with wisdom like; eating, drinking, exercising,  working, and enjoying the fruits of your labor.  But I can't find that said about worry anywhere in the Bible.

My definition of worry is much shorter.  I define worry it as: "Not trusting God". 

So if when I answer you,"No, I am not worried," you hear......"I don't think it will be cancer this time, or  I haven't even thought about it too much, or I am not anxious about all the changes this could bring, or I have spent no time thinking about the what ifs and consequences of relapse That is not what I am saying. I am saying:                No, I am not worried. I trust God with the result. 

That said, many have asked how you can pray for our family and CJ as we wait and prepare for this MRI and the results.  I would say pray however the Holy Spirit leads you. If you feel strongly to pray for negative results, please do. If you feel strongly to pray for wisdom for the doctors and those reading the scans, please do. If you feel praying for CJ's continued healing, please do. If you feel strongly to pray that God would grace my kids considering the mother they have, PLEASE DO!

For those that want to join me in prayer, I will share how He has lead me to pray although it hasn't been quite what I expected. My prayer has continually been this: (so far!) see note

"I pray for the result to be whatever would bring You the most glory in our lives." 

I shared that I was praying this with CJ after he overheard me answer the question "Are you worried?" to see how he would react. And he said, "Wow, that's cool. Now, no matter what the results you will know God answered your prayer." 

"Who of you, by worrying, can add a single hour to his life?"
(Mathew 6:27)

Note: (so far) as stated above is my clause for "subject to change if the Holy Spirit allows".  I am not that Godly.  Just bound. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

I Hear a "BUT" Coming

I guess this is my go to place when it comes to all things CJ and needing prayer.

CJ went in this past Monday (October 7th) for scans.  These were not exactly routine scans since he is now at the point that he only goes to the oncologist once every 6 months for blood work and a physical. However, at his last physical, which was about a month ago, he was having some back pain and the doctor decided to order a CT scan to be on the safe side.  The doctor actually said, I really don't think anything is wrong and the odds are it is not a relapse but I know how hard it is to look at a cancer mom and talk about odds and her take me serious to any real extent after how many times she has been told by doctors 'it is nothing'.  I liked that he acknowledged that.

So the scans was on Monday afternoon and by Tuesday I got a call from the doctor. He began by saying that his back looked good and the original tumor site at his spine had no signs of disease. He also said there was no disease present in the kidney, liver or stomach.  All those organs looked healthy and normal.  Praise God for that!    

BUT he entire time he was talking I could sense the "BUT" coming.  But is not usually a good thing.   Unless you are reading Scripture! Then BUT is the most beautiful word you will ever read.  It is actually my favorite word in the entire bible because it is always a word that brings hope and answers not confusion and fear.  But not this time. 

This time the "but" actually turned out to be the spleen. The doctor said "but CJ's spleen presented with some concerns." I won't use the fancy medical terms but needless to say, the doctors and radiologists decided that it is best to go back and do more detailed scans to rule out recurrence of disease and see what is going on with the spleen.   I will say that they don't seem overly worried. Just cautious as they should be.

Therefore, CJ will be scheduled for an MRI in the coming days as a follow up to his CT scan.

The timing of this turn of events was actually interesting to me because CJ literally just completed his two year commitment as the National Youth Ambassador to Hyundai Hope on Wheels.  He has spent a good part of the past two years of his remission traveling the country visiting children's hospitals to share his story and bring hope to families in the world of pediatric cancer. 

September was particularly busy with several trips all over the country culminating with a trip to Washington DC to speak at a press conference on Capital Hill for National Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month.  He met several congressmen and women dedicated to the cause. And he shared the podium with the Korean Ambassador to the United States, Sung Kim.  When the Koren Ambassador looked at him and said, "CJ, we are fellow Ambassadors," I don't think CJ could truly grasp the significance of that moment and how cool it was. 

He did a great job with his speeches and we are extremely proud of all the hard work he has done to continue to push forward the cause of pediatric cancer awareness and funding.  He worked really hard on speeches and sacrificed his personal time for something bigger than himself.  All that sacrifice has been multiplied into incredible blessings. He has had so many neat opportunities as the National Youth Ambassador for Hyundai including speaking twice on Capital Hill in DC,  visiting NY City for events and interviews, appearing on FOX News, ringing the closing bell of the NASDAQ in NY City, speaking in hospitals from coast to coast, interviewing celebrities in California that are supporting the cause, starring in a national commercial for pediatric cancer awareness, and most importantly meeting some really incredible kids fighting cancer all over this country, many of whom he still keeps in touch with through the world of social media. 

There is so much to share on that end but if I start now, this blog post will get really long really fast.  So for now, I ask for prayer for CJ as he continues the fight..... his own personal fight to stay in remission as he faces these scans and his continued fight for the cause.

So as I leave you  praying for our "but"...let me also leave you with some of my favorite "buts" which is where we will be camping our thoughts and prayers in the meantime as we wait.

For the wages of sin is death, BUT the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. 
Romans 6:23

All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.  BUT because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.  Ephesians 2:3-5

Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. BUT now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  Ephesians 2:13

 "My flesh and my heart may fail, BUT God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73:26

 "You intended to harm me, BUT God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." Genesis 50:20