Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Mercies of God

As I was starting my chemo treatment, Arlene was reading Psalm 18 to me. This verse was such a comfort: "In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry for help before Him came into His ears." -Psalm 18:6
God always knows what we need to hear! He is actively involved in our moments of distress, and I am so thankful that my cries for help ascend to His ears and He lovingly responded with mercy! My first chemo treatment was successful! They were able to administer all 5 chemical agents and my body received it without any reactions.

It was a long 9 hour process but the LORD carried us through sending us affirmations of His kindness throughout the day. Before I went in to the back while I was registering, the Lord had me cross paths with an old high school friend whose mom had the same exact kind of cancer as me. Her mother was in the advanced stage of this cancer, very frail and sickly and had gained a lot of tumor weight. In fact, she wasn’t diagnosed until 2 weeks before she could have died, and has been undergoing many months of chemotherapy. God used this to reaffirm his merciful kindness to me in how mine was caught early on in its development. Moreover the Lord answered a very specific prayer request from the day before, for Him to set up “divine appointments” for me to be able to minister to those He puts in my path. This friend was also a good friend of Arlene’s in beauty school and in high school. We definitely have been & will be praying for her and her mother as we hope to see her again.

Shortly after I got settled in and hooked up to an IV, our doctor sent us the good news of all my tests. He informed us that the PET scan, sigmoidoscopy and bone marrow biopsy all came back normal! This is HUGE!! This means that I am truly only at stage 1 of my cancer development and will only need the 3 chemo treatments, not 6!! Praise GOD for his infinite mercies!!
The Lord also sent my way a wayward jolly nurse who happened to pop in and introduce herself to us. She stood there and rambled on about other “younger” patients who have had successful treatments with similar types of cancer. How encouraged we were to hear these stories. Again, the Lord knew what I needed to hear as those foreign chemical agents were being pumped into my veins! And as Arlene was going about her business picking up prescriptions and such, she, too, was greeted by familiar faces from church in the hallways to fellowship with and let us know that they are praying.

How we thank the Lord for giving us eyes to see His loving hand of mercy at work in our lives as he takes us through this journey.

Okay, Paul...Let me share some prayer requests! (If you haven’t guessed, Paul is dictating and I’m typing!)

  • It’s only been 48 hours so far, but we praise God that the only side effects he has been experiencing has been very minimal. He’s sleeping a lot, eating well, and has been able to take nice brisk walks outside with Silas.

  • Regarding the prayer request for the health of our family, last week on Saturday, Jenna came home from work feeling very weak and tired. Her condition seemed to worsen through the weekend into her school week and we had multiple visits to the hospital to get some lab work done. We thought we were in it for the long haul as this bug would need to run its course, but by Friday, the day Paul began chemo, Jenna’s health was on the mend and was actually able to go to school that day and sang the National anthem for the 3 consecutive rallys held at Vallejo High School! We weren’t able to be there of course but her friend was able to tape some of it. Isn’t God so amazing! Perhaps now we ought to pray that God would guard Paul in the midst of the sicknesses in our own home!

  • Another request would be for Paul’s glaucoma in his left eye. The pressure in his left eye has been stabilized with 4 different eye drops for quite some time but as of last Thursday’s appointment with his ophthalmologist, the pressure has increased from 14 to 38. 38 was the same level that his right eye was at before he needed surgery. Please pray that his eye would respond to the new 5th prescribed medication, that his eye pressure would drop and prevent possible vision damage and/or blindness. The need for surgery on this left eye and chemotherapy would make things complicated, if it’s even possible, due to the effects of chemo and low blood counts.

The Lord has continued to keep us dependent upon Him. We are all dependent upon His mercies, but it has been made more evident to me since He has ordained this trial in my life. This was so clearly stated in a line from a poem a sister (who survived breast cancer recently) at church wrote and gave us this morning: “There is a certain glory of the Master that can only be seen when the wind is contrary, and my ship is being tossed by the waves.”

“Behold we count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.” James 5:11


Sarah said...

WOW!that's all I can say as the Lord WOWs me.

Cathy said...

Hi Paul & Arlene,
We are so thankful that the Lord has shown His mercy to you in every detail that has occured. Our family will be praying for you guys and our deepest desire is for continued healing, strenght, and peace.
Love in Christ,
Cathy Bonifacio

AmCan Arrietas said...

Praise the LORD, Paul and Arlene! We will keep praying for you all. He is faithful!

Bob & Liz Arrieta

Jean said...

It's a privilege to witness yours and Paul's steadfast faith throughout this trial. Not only is it an encouragement to me and other believers, but it truly gives God glory. Our hearts and prayers are with you. . .

Marcel said...

All of TCBC is praying for you, Paul, and your family. You continue to minister to me in your steadfast love for our Father as you did when you were my discipler so many years ago. Your example is dear to me and I treasure all the Lord has blessed me with in our friendship. May he continue to bless us with many, many more years on this earthly plain. Trusting He will completely heal you,


Anonymous said...

Hi Paul & Arlene, good to hear things are going well. I thank our Great God for His faithfulness. Just think of His unfailing love for us. Isa. 49:15-16 says "I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands. " I know the road is long for us but praise God we know where it ends. May your days be filled with Jesus, we will continue to keep in touch. Our prayers are with you. Love Vern & Pat