Harder Family

Harder Family

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Brain Cancer and the Deadly Effects

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 "So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the tings that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."

(above:) MRI Picture of Wayne's brain. The black space is the part of Wayne's brain that is missing after surgery.

May is brain cancer awareness month. Before 2015, I had heard of brain cancer in passing, but it had never hit close to home. A wonderful, godly man at our church had brain cancer when I was in college. It is one thing to hear about brain cancer and it is another thing to experience it first hand. Over the last few years, we have had numerous friends lose their loved ones to this disease. Two of my good friends from Moody Bible lost their mothers to this beast; a missionary friend, Andrea, lost her brother to the disease; countless women have lost their husbands to the disease (Lynnie, Jan, Rebecca, Cathie, Lynn, etc). This morning, my friend Mary just lost her sweet husband to brain cancer. They have two children who now have to face life without their earthly father. The one common theme is that all of our journeys with brain cancer has forever changed our lives.

Brain cancer isn't talked about as much as breast cancer, colon cancer, leukemia, etc. They are all awful diseases. Recently there has been more attention given to brain cancer in light of "famous" people who have had brain cancer: John McCain, Beau Biden, Ted Kennedy.  I saw this posted on my friend's Facebook page and I thought it summed up brain cancer very well. 

"Tomorrow starts Brain Tumor awareness month. Unlike most other cancers you hardly ever hear about it, it comes in silently and kills with a quickness and cruelty unmated by other cancers. With Glioblastoma particularly there is no hope of cure. The options of those diagnosed are to go quickly to death or subject themselves and their loved ones to treatments that are almost more violent and cruel than the cancer itself. Treatments that will at the most get them 14 moths of life and will most likely steal their mobility, personality, and quality of life. Their brains are frequently ravaged by seizures and swelling while the brain tissue slowly dies from round and round of radiation treatment. Less than 5% of those diagnosed live to see 5 years, while most survive 6-14 months (the average is 6-18 months). Those who are so "lucky" will subject themselves to multiple treatments, continual tests and a constant waiting in fear for the inevitable dat that the dormant monster that is glioblastoma claims their life. This disease shows no mercy based on age or gender. It affects men, women, adults, children, rich, and poor. The person diagnosed with glioblastoma often requires 24 hour care making it impossible for either person to work. The simplest of tasks requires planning and preparation. Not matter what treatment choices are made, chances are you will lose your loved one piece by piece. A little bit each days as the cancer and treatment agave their brains. Doctors can be of some help, but even the best of doctors are bewildered by this ever changing and mutating cancer that becomes resistant to even the treatments that work at the beginning, always changing and evolving to continue to grow."

Four year difference: (above) Wayne after brain surgery and biopsy. (below) celebrating our 20th anniversary and 4 year brain cancer survivor. We are 10 months from being in the 5% group that makes it to the five year mark. We want to live every day to the fullest for God and make precious memories with each other and our children!

Brain cancer, like all cancer, is awful. The difference with brain cancer is that it truly affects everything about you - your personality, your speech, your mobility...everything. It is hard for outsiders to see because many times the person looks "normal", but brain cancer is a thief. It steals your loved ones a piece at a time. 

Please continue to pray for Mary and her children as they face this new chapter in their lives, pray for my friend Lynnie as she continues to mourn the loss of her husband, and pray for the many other women I have met who now face lives without the love of their life. Please also pray for us. Whenever I know someone who loses their loved one, fear begins to creep into my heart. Wayne's next MRI is June 7. Pray that we, mainly me, would just trust God and know that He is in control. He has determined the number of days for Wayne, not the doctors. 

To help bring awareness to brain cancer, you will see me wearing grey a lot in May. You will also see me wearing my Brain Cancer bracelets. Wear grey in May and help bring awareness to this awful, deadly cancer!

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