Harder Family

Harder Family

Tuesday, October 16, 2018


Romans 8:28 "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those that are called according to His purposes."

Cancer. This five letter word carries a huge punch. Many of us have at least heard of someone who has had cancer. Maybe it was a co-worker, a neighbor, a family member, or maybe you are the person with cancer. Whether you hear this word personally or on behalf of a loved one, the word cancer carries devastation. I will never forget February 11, 2015 when we learned that Wayne had a brain tumor and that it was most likely was cancerous. Then on March 26, 2015, we met with the surgeon who revealed to us that Wayne's cancer was Glioblastoma, the worst form of brain cancer a person can have. Our world felt like it was crumbling underneath our feet. How could this be happening to us? This cancer is the same one that has taken the lives of John McCain, Beau Biden, and Ted Kennedy. It doesn't matter your political status, your financial status, it just moves in and takes lives. The standard treatment can help prolong your life, but death is inevitable with this disease. The life expectancy with GBM is 12-18 months. I have seen this vicious cancer take two of my friend's moms, I have seen it take countless spouses from friends, and even some children. No matter the age or status, it brings and leaves devastation in its path, like a wild tornado leaving death and destruction in its path. 

Wayne is far exceeding the life expectancy. He is at 44 months. Wayne's latest MRI came back clear and we are thrilled. But in light of the above information, where does this leave us? First of all, it is a daily reminder that life is a precious gift and that we are to make the most of every moment that God gives us. We know that God is not done using Wayne or our family, since God has mercifully allowed Wayne to live. As I've mentioned before, back in 2015, we felt like God was preparing us for something, and we thought maybe it was to be missionaries. Instead, God has lead us along this difficult journey of terminal cancer. Brain cancer is not the mission field we would have envisioned, and yet this is where we find ourselves. 

This leads to another thing that we have learned on this journey, do not miss any opportunities to share with others and obey God in whatever "crazy" thing He calls you to do (Hello? Adopting two boys in the middle of dealing with a terminal cancer, that is crazy!). Wayne and I have met countless different individuals and families that we have been able to encourage because of the difficult journey we have taken the last 44 months. Being able to pray with others and encourage them in the middle of their storm is such a privilege. This doesn't mean that it is easy. It is hard to see people that you have been praying for die. We all know that we could all walk out of the house and be hit by a bus, the only difference with a terminal illness is that we see that bus coming. In many ways, this is a mixed blessing. We know that death is imminent and that we need to make the most of our days. Many people don't think about this as they busily live each day of their lives.

Last night, Wayne and I attended a brain cancer forum at Northwestern. We were able to listen to speakers talk about the advances that they are making for this disease and how they are improving DNA testing for tumors. At the end of the event, they split us into two groups: patients and caregivers. As I sat in the room listening to others share, there was one message that I gleaned and wanted to pass on to you. The message is this: do not waste your life! It was clear from countless stories that they wish they would have spent more time with their loved ones. Don't wait for your loved one to be diagnosed with a terminal disease before you decide to make the most of the time that you have with them. Make memories with them now and don't hold off for tomorrow what you can do today! I'm not saying just party like their isn't a tomorrow. I am talking about being intentional with your loved ones today. For me, that is learning to stop and tell my kids, "Yes, I'll stop being busy and spend time playing a game with you" or "Yes, let's go out for ice cream".  

Let's make the most of each moment of our lives and be intentional with our loved ones. Life is a gift and not something to be squandered! 

Prayer Requests:

* Please pray for my friend Lindsey that I met on a GBM Facebook page. Her sweet husband, who has been fighting brain cancer for six years, has now been sent home on hospice. He is very young and they have two little children. If that isn't enough to endure, Lindsey just found out that she has renal cell carcinoma kidney cancer!! I am wrapping this precious family in prayer and I was hoping that you would join me!

* I am running state #25 this weekend with my friend Michelle, who was DJ's host mom when he came to America. I cannot wait to meet her in person and run this race to help raise money for Little Leo's adoption. It isn't too late to sponsor our run. We will be dressed up like Superwoman and Wonder Woman. We will be posting live videos on Facebook, so make sure that you check Facebook for live posts!! 

* Finally, please pray with us for Shan Chen. We found out today that we need to see a doctor about scoliosis in his back and meet with a surgeon for another health issue. Please pray for him! He has endured so many surgeries and health issues, more then any 11 year old should face. Thank you for always being willing to hold our family up in prayer!

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful post. I love how you always point to God in the midst of devastation and good news. Hurrah that the MRI is still clear. God definitely has plans for your family and for Wayne. I'm so grateful to know you and to be able to see God work in your life.