Friday, March 18, 2011

Off to MDA again...Prayers MOST Welcome!

The plane ticket is reserved. The motel room is reserved. The Super Shuttle from the airport to the motel & back is reserved. The leaving time from James' apt. in Jackson to the airport is decided. A piece of couch @ James' place in Jackson is reserved on the way back to keep from having to drive home late. The appts. for the scans, bloodwork, & the latest most-important-Dr.-appt-in-my-life are set.

Now it's time to wait. And pray. And pray some more. And ask my friends & acquaintances to pray. Again.

Sunday afternoon (3/20) I'll drive up to Jackson & drop my car @ James' apt. He'll run me over to the airport for my evening flight to Hobby Airport. (Flying is a new wrinkle to the MDA runs...with gas prices going ever upward, I'll wind up getting there & back for roughly the same price, and will do so without the 16-17 hrs. of driving time as an added bonus. Flying also adds the new transportation wrinkle of something called "Super Shuttle" that'll take me from airport to the motel & back.)

Monday (3/21), I'll either ride a shuttle or walk to MDA (depending on motivation) for a fun-filled day. Bloodwork & P.E.T. scan. The real bummer is, no food nor coffee until after the scan is over. Do-able, but I'm not happy about it. *smile*

Tuesday (3/22) is the all-important appt. w/ Dr. Homsi to get the results of Monday's scan. An easy day physically. The most stressful day mentally & emotionally by a long way...My BP is managed between meds & Short Ribs the bicycle. But the meds & the biking fall well short of keeping the BP down on P.E.T. scan results day. *sigh* I fly back to Jackson Tuesday night, & will drive back to H'burg Wed. a.m.

Emotions? Yep.

Fears? Yep. (Sorry to disappoint anyone with that confession.)

Faith despite the previous two? Absolutely!!

That faith is what pulls me through the emotions & fears & keeps me looking ahead with ultimate hope.

Trips back to MDA always draw me back to Paul's words in 2 Cor. 4:6-8 & 16-18 (which have become my life verses & life goals over these past couple of years; the last time I got to preach a sermon, this was my text)

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair...So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

Trips back to MDA also draw me back to Moses' words in Psalm 90:1-3 & 12-17. (One of the wisest men I know quote a good portion of this in prayer when he turned 50 some years ago at one of the most moving & significant birthday celebrations I've ever experienced. I've been captivated by the Psalm since then.)

Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. You return man to dust and say, “Return, O children of man!”...So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Return, O Lord! How long? Have pity on your servants! Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil. Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children. Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!

MDA trips also draw me back to Isaiah's words in Isaiah 41:9-10 & 43:1-3a, 10-11. (At my first appt. w/ my local oncologist--who was already a friend--he shared some of these verses with me while telling me, "I am merely a tool in the hands of Almighty God; the outcome of your cancer journey is not ultimately in my hands, but His. Here are some verses I share with all of my patients at the first appointment." Easily one of the most awesome Dr. appts. I've ever had, in the true sense of the word "awesome" as in, "struck with awe.")

You whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand...For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, 'Fear not, I am the one who helps you.'”...
But now thus says the Lord, he who created you...he who formed you...“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior..."You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior."

Thank you SO much for praying for us! ("Us" is the key word; I strongly believe that it's FAR easier to be the patient than to be the loved one of the patient. Thank you for praying for Lisa too! Likewise, the children of the patient...Thank you for praying for James & Anne as well) Would you do it again these next couple of days?

I have no reason to expect bad results. But melanoma is a nasty cancer that is always prone to come back (like mine did). I know that the God of the universe, Who created it all & Who upholds it by the word of his power, Who sees the end from the beginning, Who is outside of time yet is involved in time, Who has gloriously redeemed me & is transforming me into the image of His Son, my Savior...I know that He is well aware of all of the ins & outs of metastatic melanoma & that He is well aware of all the fits & starts & many flaws of Mike Madaris & that He knows with absolutely certainty what the P.E.T. scan will show Monday & what Dr. Homsi will tell me Tuesday.

Here's one more reality check: last Fall, a HS classmate of mine went in for her followup P.E.T. scan. It didn't go well. She went to MDA for surgery in December. Her funeral was this morning. She leaves behind a husband & two sons. THAT is the reality of cancer for so many; I am already a very extreme outlier statistically.

Thanks again for praying!
With love, humility, faith, & hope,

p.s. - for those who are interested, I'll be "live-tweeting" this trip on my Twitter feed (@mmbeachbum), including, of course, the results of Tuesday's appt. Caution: trips to MDA evoke a rather odd & borderline inappropriate sense of humor in me as a fun coping mechanism. You've been warned! *grin*

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