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April 6th, 2010 Update

April 6th, 2010

In my last update, I told you that Cindy had completed whole brain radiation on Friday and that the net result of both the Gamma Knife and the whole brain had left her extremely exhausted and somewhat confused.  I also mentioned that she was scheduled to have a PET scan today with results tomorrow during our appointment with Dr. Wendt.

However, as we began our day, it became apparent that Cindy was simply too tired to make the trip to St. Joseph’s.  We plan to reschedule the scan as the effects of her radiation treatments continue to subside.

Since she hasn’t recovered from these treatments as quickly as we had hoped, her wonderful team has changed some of her medications and I’m happy to report that she is already resting more comfortably.  We are encouraged by the quick results of these new meds.

I have learned that with every bit of disappointing news, God is faithful to give us some hopeful news as well.  Cindy has been accepted into the treatment program I told you about — one that we hope God will use to aid her in the recovery we continue to pray for.  In addition, I understand that many donations have already been received to her fund, something for which I am extremely grateful.  If you’d like to participate in this fund, go to www.pray4cindy.com for more information.

Prayer Points:
• Pray for the return of her energy and that her confusion melts away.
• Pray that her appetite returns. 
• Pray that the next several days brings a restoration of her strength.
• Pray for wisdom on the part of her caregivers…and her husband.
• Pray for stamina for our entire army of selfless servants.

Father, I pray for the complete and breathtakingly swift healing of my dear Cindy.  I want to grow old with her.  I want to walk on more beaches with her.  I want to share more worship times with her.  I want to spoil our brood of grandkids with her.  I want to watch our adult children blossom into mature men and women who love You with her.  With her…that’s the desire of my heart.  I take my delight in You…but my desire is to do my life in You…with her.  God, with all that is in me — and in the authority of none other but Jesus — I ask You:  Give me that desire.  Amen.

 

April 4th, 2010 Update

April 4th, 2010

Cindy and I need your help.


By the time you read this, Cindy will likely have been accepted into a treatment program that holds promise for her recovery.  We’re excited about this opportunity even though we are convinced that God alone holds the keys to her healing.  It’s also our understanding that He is more than able to do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine {See Ephesians 3:20}.

That’s the good news.

The bad news?  Because the treatment is a collaborative treatment, incorporating both traditional and non-traditional methodologies, it will not be covered by our health insurance.  Worse, it is very expensive.  The total costs could reach into the tens of thousands of dollars.  Beyond those initials costs are the additional costs of travel and housing during the weeks she is receiving treatment.

We have cautiously continued to pursue this option – knowing that we don’t have the resources necessary to cover these costs.  The past 14 months of costly treatment have already decimated our savings.  But we strongly believe that where God’s hand leads, His hand will also provide.  How and from whom?  Only He knows.  We also sense His leadership in opening the doors to this opportunity.

Thanks to the help of some wonderful people on our voluntary support team, a fund has been established through an organization called, Happy 2 Help.  Through H2H, all donations to The Cindy Wyatt Fund will go directly to cover her medical costs — plus every gift is also tax-deductible.  This great group of people have also launched a web-site [now live] that tells Cindy’s story, has a wonderful photographic tribute and offers details regarding how you can help us, should you feel prompted to do so.  Cindy’s web address is:  www.pray4cindy.com.  Would you please click the link and check it out?

Beyond any personal help you might provide, I’m praying that God will also prompt many of our dear friends and family members to adopt The Cindy Wyatt Fund and encourage support from the people in your sphere of influence {churches, para-church organizations, civic groups, other associations}.  It’s amazing how Cindy’s journey has prompted many people who don’t even know us to pray for us.

We are humbled by that outpouring.  But now we find ourselves facing another crossroads — and we must ask for another type of help.  So…if you can help…would you please help?

CINDY’S UPDATE


•  Cindy completed whole brain radiation on Friday.  The last several treatments have taken quite a toll.  She is very exhausted and now requires constant care and attention.  Thanks to some wonderful helpers, I was able to speak at our three Easter services yesterday – a diversion that is more healing for me than for the people who hear me, I’m sure.  But for the most part, if I’m not speaking?  I’m with Cindy. 
•  Here’s some great news.  Cindy has actually gained weight these last two weeks.  After a low of 101 pounds, she now weighs a hefty 105!  Yes!
•  However…swallowing has become an issue {primarily as a side-effect to radiation}, so eating and taking her meds has become an even greater challenge these last 48 hours.  The eating part is especially frustrating…given the hopeful news above.
•  In response to some pain issues Cindy was having, Dr. Brachman ordered a PET-scan {which will happen Tuesday, April 5}.  On Wednesday, we see Dr. Wendt to discuss her post-radiation treatment plan. 
PRAY!!!!
•  Pray that the PET-scan shows no additional cancer. 
•  Pray that she regains her stamina and her ability to swallow. 
•  Pray that she will be strong enough for a much-anticipated trip to St. Louis.  Our daughter, Libby, was married in New Zealand last December, and April 17 is her stateside wedding reception.  Most of our family will be there and Cindy is determined to attend.  But if the trip was today?  She wouldn’t be able to make the trip.  But we’ve got 10 days…and with God all things are possible, right?
•  Pray that God provides the financial resources we need to offer Cindy this new and promising treatment.

This blog is about Cindy, not me.  But this entry has been hard for me to write.  It’s weird, I have no trouble asking people to generously resource some ministry need.  I’ve done that hundreds of times during my years as a Pastor – and I rarely even hesitate to ask, because I am convinced the kingdom is so deserving of our deepest sacrifice.

I don’t do nearly so well when I’m asking for me.  This hard-driving, high-achiever seems to feel that asking for a personal need is selfish and wimpish.  I have beaten myself up for two weeks now, feeling as though this is a need I ought to be able to meet on my own.  I guess I’m like Peter with his dirty little toes:  “You shall never wash my feet!”

I told a friend about my apprehension and added, “I guess I’m just being prideful.”

Do you know what my “friend” said?  “Of course you’re being prideful!”  Then he reminded me about a teaching I had done on that topic {I hate it when people quote me} – one that had impacted a significant place of pride in his life.

Then he added, “Steve, you need to let go of your pride and just ask.  Trust God and let Him meet this need.  You do what you can do — take care of Cindy – and let the people who know you and love you do what we can do.”

I have no other choice but to do exactly that.  Thanks Jim, for slapping me around.

I cannot express to you how much I appreciate your prayers.  We know that Cindy’s life, ultimately, is in God’s hands {Psalm 31:15}, and there is nothing more significant to me than your prayers for her healing.  But if He lays it on your heart and you are able to help us financially?  It may be a debt we will never be able to repay…but it’s also an act of love that we will never forget.

 

March 27th, 2010 Update

March 27, 2010

When I asked Cindy what I should blog about today, her instructions were both concise and directive:

“Be Positive.”

I immediately understood. See, this journey we’re making has had enough twists to rival a Snyder’s Bavarian pretzel. In fact, in the last week alone, nary a day has passed that we haven’t felt both an optimistic “fairly okay” about things but also a much more pessimistic “deeply discouraged.” All in the same 24 hours.

We’ve learned – or at least we’re trying to learn — that we can’t evaluate this struggle in real time. Neither can we make our response based on whatever our most recent experience happens to be — whether encouraging or otherwise.

But in the midst of that roller coaster, we have found one wonderfully “positive” constant: The love and support of our family and friends.

We cannot begin to express our gratitude for the many loving gestures that were sent our way in just the last seven days, but those gestures include:

  • A friend took me to a Suns game so I could have a guy’s night out. His wife came to the house and loved on Cindy while we enjoyed watching Stoudamire and Company demolish the Knicks.

  • Another friend helped us complete some necessary documents that we had needed to get done, but couldn’t seem to find a way.

  • Another friend put together a team of “helpers” who have done every kind of chore you could imagine.

  • Our friends on The Crossroads’ staff have carried a double burden in prepping for Easter…without us and without complaint.

  • A friend I hadn’t spoken with in nearly two years left a warm voice message.

  • Another sent a Facebook message with a beautiful prayer he penned just for us.

  • One dear friend has assembled Cindy’s records and sent them to a clinic we are hoping will help us. She has traveled all over the Valley tracking stuff down – and had it been up to me to make that happen? I can’t imagine how it would have ever gotten done.

  • Another friend, not wanting to pry – but concerned, asked about our finances.

I could go on and on — which is exactly my point. The kindness of those who love us HAS gone on and one. Which means, even in our darkest moments, what we can never doubt is that we are loved. And knowing that…has been so very healing.

After all my years in ministry, it took this experience to realize something about those who suffer. What someone who is suffering needs is not great answers to weighty questions, nor a well-timed theological tid-bit. What is required is not some major, earth-shattering investment.

It’s the small stuff.

Stuff, as it turns out, that isn’t so small after all.

So…there you go, my love. Did I get close enough to positive to make you smile?

 

Prayer Points:

  • One week of whole brain radiation remains. Pray for minimal side effects and maximum deadly force against those lesions.

  • Pray for a speedy decision about next steps.

  • The afore-mentioned records have been delivered. We await a consultation {hopefully this week} that will help us determine what those next steps should be.

  • Pray for Cindy’s nausea. We still have to manage her tummy with great care. I don’t want to be negative…but I REALLY want this one to just go away!

  • Pray for the resiliency of our friends who have willingly climbed down into the trenches with us. Pray for their stamina, too. We can’t imagine doing this without them.

 

Let me mention one more thing we’re grateful for. This is thankfulness not everyone will understand, but we DO feel it. Cindy and I are grateful that God has counted us worthy to endure this journey. We really do believe that if all we have is Christ – and only Christ — we, gratefully, have all we could ever truly need.

 

 

March 20th, 2010 Update

March 20, 2010

 

Even though no one knows how long we may live in this life, here’s what we do know — our lives, whether short or long, will experience pain. For some, that pain is light and momentary. For others, it can be downright catastrophic and unrelenting.

But the good news behind our pain is that such pain is like the “pains of childbirth.” Yes, we do “groan” sometimes, but as we groan “we wait eagerly” for “the redemption of our bodies.” {See Romans 8:22-23} In other words, our pain is like labor — it is what carries us into a better and future life. A life that will know absolutely no pain, no sorrow and no crying. {See Revelation 21:3-4}

Cindy and I are trying to root ourselves in such truth. So that whether we hear good news or devastating news, we find great comfort in knowing “that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” {Romans 8:18} And given the nature of Cindy’s suffering, I feel great peace in imagining just how exciting her future glory is gonna be.

And I want that glory for her — just not yet. Selfishly, I would much prefer she has to wait for it. I’d rather we get to grow old together. And so, God, I pray my solemn prayer all over again: “Please heal her. In the name and under the authority of Jesus — I ask You to dramatically, miraculously and completely rid her body of every alien cell, every poisonous lesion, every destructive tissue.



Last Week

Gamma-knife went well {Tuesday}, but very long. Cindy had over four hours of actual treatment. As a result, she has been exhausted…absolutely tuckered out…ever since.

The radiation targeted all but six of the lesions — but those six will get their worlds rocked starting Monday, as we launch into another round of Whole Brain Radiation {two weeks}. We are praying that this 1-2 punch will shrink and/or resolve these 25 spots and give us the time we need to address her systemic issues.

Next Week

Would you pray for us this Tuesday as well? We meet with our oncologist to discuss what we do next. And as Dr. Brachman cautioned us last week, “The brain is a concern, but we must build a comprehensive plan to treat her lungs and lymph nodes.”

We are seeking God’s direction – and deeply covet your prayers on our behalf – as to what next steps we should take. Traditional chemo has wreaked havoc on her body – without having the impact on the cancer that we had hoped.

Thanks to the efforts of some very dear friends, we have been assembling her treatment history for submission to two clinics that specialize in a collaborative treatment — both traditional and alternative medicines. That packet will be mailed early next week. Then, after consultation and much prayer, we hope to have a strong sense of God’s leading.

The scariest part of any collaborative treatment is that it is very, very expensive. Would you pray for us concerning this need as well? By asking God to not only make clear His path for Cindy’s treatment, but that He would also provide the necessary resources as well?

Next Steps

Sometimes all you can do is walk the step He has shown…and then await further instructions. That’s what Cindy and I are doing right now.

We walk…and then we wait.

We wait…and then we walk.

And yes, it is a painful process. But we are determined to suffer well. And we really do feel grateful that God has counted us worthy to endure this trial.

Even more, we strongly believe that whatever happens is God’s will and He has His reasons. So…rooted in that truth, we fight. We fight for life.

 

 


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