Harder Family

Harder Family

Friday, May 15, 2015

Finish Line

Hebrews 12:1-3 "Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

Maybe it's the runner in me, but I always see things as a race. Finishing up this school year with the girls has been like that last sprint to the finish line. You push extra hard to reach that finish line. Once you cross the finish line you are exhausted, but you feel such an accomplishment that you finished the race strong. Today marked the end of our school year. The girls will be finishing up a few math lessons over the next two weeks, but we are officially done for the year. I feel like I just finished a marathon!!

This same race analogy can be applied to Wayne's battle with brain cancer. Instead of the end of the race where you sprint, I have found that this race requires a slow, methodical approach. If you run too fast, you'll wear yourself out and you will not be able to make it to the end. It reminds me of Aesop's Fable of the Tortoise and the Hare. Slow and steady wins the race. As Hebrews 12:2 says, we are to run the race of life with this kind of endurance keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus. One step at a time, one day at a time until you reach the end of the race.

Today marks the end of Wayne's radiation treatment. After taking one day at a time and adjusting to a wild and crazy schedule for the last six weeks, we have reached the end of this part of the race. As with any race, there were some moments where it was easy and other moments where the race was difficult. There usually comes a point in running a race that you hit a wall. At that moment you have a choice to push through and keep going or to quit. The beautiful thing about being a child of God is that He gives you the strength you need to keep persevering when you hit that wall. Sometimes that strength came from God's Word, sometimes from the encouragement or prayers of others, and sometimes it was Wayne and I encouraging each other to keep going. So far when one of us has hit a low moment, the other has been at a place of strength, which has been a blessing. We would remind each other in those low moments to take it one day at a time. God has been good to us throughout this whole process and has kept Wayne extremely healthy through all of his treatment, with a few minor bumps along the road. It is hard to believe that this first step is over, but it feels good to have reached this finish line.

The next step of this journey is a trip to Minnesota. Wayne and I are driving up to Mayo Clinic on Monday. We have meetings scheduled with a neuro oncologist to get a second opinion and find out if there are any trials that Wayne might be eligible for at this time. While we are in Rochester, there is a half marathon. Since my bucket list includes running a half marathon in every state, I decided to sign up for the race. I plan on running to help bring awareness for brain cancer. I recently learned that brain tumors are the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in males between 20-39. Any attention we can bring to this cancer to get more funding and research, the better. Every mile I run will be for Wayne and all those fighting brain cancer. They experience pain and discomfort every day as they fight this beast. With each step I will be fighting for you. When I want to quit, I will remember each one of you and push through with God's help. 

Our most urgent prayer request right now is that God opens doors for the treatment that He wants us to pursue and that He gives us the wisdom that we need. Please also pray that we continue to take a day at a time and enjoy every day that God gives us, giving Him all the glory. In about four weeks Wayne will receive an MRI to follow up on all of his treatment. After that point, Wayne will be begin a 5/23 chemo treatment plan. He'll be on five days of heavy chemotherapy a month. This will continue for one to two years. He will continue to receive MRIs every two months to see if the cancer has stayed away. The key during this time is to live life to the fullest for God and not fear the "what-ifs". 

Last radiation check up!!

Radiation graduation.

Pulling the last ring off for our radiation countdown. Only two days left of chemo!!

Custom shirt my mom made for my race (front)

Back of the shirt

**Reminder: Please send me any pictures of you in a beanie for Brain Cancer Awareness (rebeccaharder35@gmail.com). See this post for more information.

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