Harder Family

Harder Family

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Biopsy Results

“I feel like I got punched in the stomach” Rebecca said when I asked her how she was processing the news we had just received from the neurosurgeon. The diagnosis: an anaplastic astrocytoma grade III brain tumor (cancerous tumor). For reference, a grade II tumor is considered noncancerous and a grade IV is a severe cancerous tumor. Unlike other parts of the body, a grade III tumor is not comparable to Stage III cancer. The stages of cancer in other parts of the body refer to how far they have spread. Brain tumors don’t spread to other parts of the body. A grade III tumor will respond to chemo and radiation. 

Thankfully, they believe they can get to 90-95% of the tumor through surgery. However, it is in a very delicate part of the brain. They have to cut near the motor processor and won’t actually cut anything that will leave permanent damage (or at least they have a 96% rate of not doing permanent damage). Although they expect me to make a 100% recovery from surgery, the rehab is about a month. There will be about ten days with loss of all right-hand motor skills and my voice. Two to four weeks of intense rehab at Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago will follow. 

Chemo and radiation will come after the rehabilitation. They told us it will be 6 weeks of oral chemo and 5-days a week of radiation. This is to smother the remaining 5-10% of the tumor they won’t be able to get through surgery.. The prognosis is good for a 10 year survival rate, for my demographic. Beyond that the surgeon didn’t want to speculate (I will let your mind ponder on that). 

Rebecca and I are still processing this news and will probably still be up until March 9th when I have surgery. The next eleven days will be a whirlwind trying to fit a lifetime into a few days. We covet all your prayers and petitions before the Lord God Almighty. ”But you, O GOD my Lord, deal on my behalf for your name's sake; because your steadfast love is good, deliver me!” Psalm 109:21

Psalm 90:12 "Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom."

None of us know how many days we have here on this earth. Anyone of us could die at any time. My accident a few months ago proved that to us. We were on our way to a field trip and my rear tire blew. God's sovereign hand protected us that day, but we knew that God could have had a different outcome for us. All of our lives are in His hands and He numbers our days. 

That being said, hearing from a doctor that your husband has a cancerous tumor in his brain came as a huge shock. I think we both knew it was a possibility, but both of us were clinging to the hope that it would be benign. I told Wayne that I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. The past few hours have felt like I have been in a crazy nightmare. 

I have to be honest, it has been a hard few hours. Since a brain tumor is never entirely gone (can't be cured), this will be our cross to bear for years to come. We have been told that this will eventually kill Wayne. They didn't say it in those terms, but we were told that a "good" prognosis is about ten years. It is hard to think of the man whom I've loved since I was nineteen being given a "death" sentence. There is a good possibility that we won't grow old together, enjoy grandchildren together, and he may not even see some of his kids graduate from high school. It is hard to imagine my life without my best friend.

BUT, I also know that in the midst of being given this diagnosis, I had a peace that surpasses any understanding (Philippians 4:7). The God that we love and serve is Jehovah Rapha, the God that heals. He is more powerful then cancer and if it is His will, He could remove it without surgery or remove any residual tumor after surgery. God will still be good, even if He decides to take Wayne home. You see, God is also El Roi, the God who sees. He sees our pain, but He also knows the future since He is omniscient. If He decides to take Wayne home, we know that He has a greater plan then anything we can comprehend. Whatever happens won't change who God is and I will cling to who He is. 
"Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forevermore." Hebrews 13:8

The next few weeks and months are going to be challenging. I know that God has prepared us for this and that He will sustain us through this time, but I also know it will be hard. We've already experienced highs and lows during this two week journey. We will cling to our Rock!! This song has been going through my head tonight as we've been "processing" this news. 

"Solid Rock" by Edward Mote: 
When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace; In every high and stormy gale, My anchor holds within the veil. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand, All other ground is sinking sand.

My other favorite song right now that God gave me the other night is "Jesus Draw Me Ever Nearer" by the Gettys.

Jesus draw me ever nearer
As I labour through the storm.
You have called me to this passage,
and I'll follow, though I'm worn.

May this journey bring a blessing,
May I rise on wings of faith;
And at the end of my heart's testing,
With Your likeness let me wake.

Jesus guide me through the tempest;
Keep my spirit staid and sure.
When the midnight meets the morning,
Let me love You even more.

Let the treasures of the trial                                  
Form within me as I go - 
And at the end of this long passage,

Let me leave them at Your throne.


  1. You and your family have been in my prayers and will continue to be. God is the great physician, not man. ♡

  2. Oh Wayne and Rebecca! What hard news to hear. Thank you for sharing the news and how you are processing this. I so wish I could be there to give you a hug and pray with you in person. Our family will be lifting you all up in prayer every day as you go through this journey together. God holds your sweet family in His hands and loves you so much! Our thoughts are continually with you.