Monday, April 14, 2008

Thou Hast Taught Me to Say...

It's been over a month and a half since our last update..time sure flies! We so appreciate all the prayers, encouragement, and support even till it's been over four months since we first got the news of Paul's cancer.

In a nutshell, Paul's radiation plan was increased to 20 treatments rather than the 15 we were originally told, which he will complete by tomorrow. YAY!! Praise God! And apart from a very dry, painful, raw feeling down his throat, he's been trying to hang in there. Sleeping and eating has been a chore, and it's been a challenge to find something that he can put down without too much pain. Applesauce and mashed potatoes don't cut it. Yogurt burns, fruit smoothies are too cold and acidic, even water is tough to swallow! Mashed bananas, noodle soup, soft scrambled eggs-we've tried it all! (He's definitely losing the weight he gained from not working for over 4 months!)

This last week of radiation has left Paul feeling more fatigued as expected but it doesn't help that in the past 5 days, he's been running a 102-103 fever with a cough, the classic flu symptoms. Silas also got a fever lasting about 4 days and had to stay home from school. Thankfully, today, Paul's fever has left and we were able to pick up a prescription that somewhat eases the pain so he can at least sip a room temperature milkshake but unfortunately leaves him very drowsy and tired.

As far as his left eye goes, it still hasn't gotten any better though it hasn't gotten any worse either....just kind of at a stand still in its healing process. If this Wednesday's appointment still shows no dramatic progress, Dr. Lee may either tell us to continue to wait some more before Paul can resume normal physical activity for work, or decide to perform a reversal operation to "tighten" things up again (which will mean another 6 weeks of recovery.)

With his post-ops being more follow up intensive, the burning side effects of radiation down his throat, battling the flu with uncontrollable coughing, and the many other unmentionable things life has thrown our way this past month, I'm sure many of you can relate of having had to undergo multiple trials simultaneously, too. Don't you sometimes wish that trials would just come one at a time? I must confess, it's been tough for me as I keep trying to rush in thinking that things can go back to normal when they're not. I am in such great need of endurance & patience....(and I'm technically not the one going through it!) Please pray for me to not lose heart though I must admit I've been battling discouragement. How I know I need to wait patiently and place all my expectations on Him, who knows what's best and when it's best. I am so grateful that when my mind turns heavenward, He captivates my attention and reminds me that this is only temporary and makes the longing for His very presence my heart's desire above all else. "And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure" (1 John 3:3).

For Paul, he's had to remind himself more and more that this trial is for our good and His glory as he's been battling despair, being stuck either in bed or on the couch in painful discomfort. The song that keeps running through his mind is the well-loved hymn, "It Is Well with My Soul," specifically the following verse: When peace like a river attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, "It is well, It is well, with my soul!"

He's had to consciously say, when he's been feeling so out of it, in the delirium of his fever, often in the middle of a sleepless night, "I am not giving up on you Lord!" It has prompted him to dwell on God's faithfulness, pray for His mercy and healing, and fervently plead for the salvation of our children and loved ones all the more.

(Hey I did it...I updated the blog..finally!! And now you know how you can specifically pray for us in this last stretch...thank you so much!)


Lir said...

Hi Paul and Arlene,

We continue to pray for your current situation. The Lord knows your need and He will give comfort, peace and joy during this difficult time. Our shepherd is always there ready to place you in green pastures and lead you beside still waters (Ps 23). Your steadfastness in this trial is a strong testimony and strengthens many of us. We bear this trial with you.

Ray and Lir

Bern said...

yeah! a post! We so love you guys and continue to pray for perseverance to walk through this valley right now. We are so encouraged by your desire to honor the Lord and praise Him still!

the Kawazoes

Angeli said...

My sweet friend! Thanks so much for sharing the burdens of your heart. My prayers are with you. If you need to take some time out to pray I'd love to have you over...or I could come over...or we could go out and take a walk...get some coffee or tea and pray. Our God hears us...He is so good! Love you!

M. said...


I'm Jean and Billy's mother.I read your blog and I must say you both have strong faith in God. Trials can make you closer to God and with your family by your side - strength comes. How else can we prove our Love for God except when trials come; only then that we become more closer to Him.

Jennafer said...

Thanks for the update Arlene. We've been reading your blog since Kristi sent it to us a few months ago. You're right about trials coming in clusters! All of the strong believers in our life have gone through long physical trials- and have not ceased to trust in God! I know it's miserable, but you're right that God does a work through this that changes your understanding of Him forever. So it's a hard, miserable, wonderful gift. It may seem like God is being really harsh with Paul, but He endured pain like this when He was here, and He's so sympathetic for our pain. Remember when He cried when Lazarus died? He loves you guys!!! We love you guys too!

-Jen RIppee