Harder Family

Harder Family

Friday, July 26, 2019

Brain Surgery Prayer Request

James 5:13-16 "Is anyone among you suffering? Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over hi, anointing him with oil...The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working." 

I am asking for all of my prayer warriors to pray with me this morning. Do you remember the story I shared over a year ago about Wayne's "chance" encounter at the Southwest Terminal at Midway? Wayne was waiting for a flight out for work and started talking to this young girl, who about Abigail's age. She clearly had brain surgery and Wayne was pretty confident she had brain cancer because she was wearing an Optune device. He started talking to her and found out that she had brain cancer in the same spot he did. He was able to encourage Emily and her mom. Wayne's flight was announced and he quickly left, forgetting to get their contact information so that he could stay in touch. He literally called me when he landed and pleaded with me to put it on social media to try to find this girl and her mom. All we knew was her approximate age, that she was from Nebraska, that she had brain cancer, and that she was a patient at Lurie Children's Hospital. Thankfully, God worked everything out and after the post was shared on the Lurie Children's Hospital Facebook page, a nurse saw it and sent my information to her mom and the rest is history. 

We have been staying in contact with Emily and her mom Hilary. We met up months ago for lunch while they were in town. Emily and her mom are such sweet women and I know that Wayne found a connection with Emily. I think he looks at her and thinks of Abigail and cannot believe how hard she's been fighting this awful cancer. 

While we were in Chicago this week, Emily has been at Lurie Children's Hospital while doctors run some tests. Wayne had to take Shan Chen downtown on Wednesday for a doctor's appointment and they met up with Emily and Hilary for lunch. After meeting with them, Wayne said I should take Abigail and Grace and go see Emily. She has been at the Ronald McDonald House for almost two weeks and hasn't gotten out much because she is tired. I took the girls last night and we brought them dessert. It warmed my heart to see Emily smile and laugh with the girls the night before her huge procedure.

Emily is having brain surgery this morning, her third surgery. The trial she was on stopped working and the doctors are attempting to stop the growth of this tumor. I am requesting that everyone pray for Emily, her mom, and the neurosurgeon who will be doing the surgery this morning. Pray that God heals her body and that she has many more years. I'm thankful that God has allowed us a unique ministry with those with brain cancer. We understand the journey they are on and we were able to pray with Emily numerous times. We rejoice that God is able to take our trials and tribulations and help encourage others! Please join me in prayer for this sweet girl!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Glioblastoma Awareness Day (7/17/19)

Psalm 18:6 "In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came before Him, into His ears."

On June 11th, Congress passed Glioblastoma Awareness Day. They designated July 17 as a day to bring awareness to this awful cancer. The U.S. Senate was directly impacted by GBM as Senator Graham publicly commented, " Glioblastoma is a devastating brain disease that has taken the lives of two of my very close friends and colleagues, Ted Kennedy and my dearest friend John McCain. This Senate resolution shines a light on the terrible disease." This resolution was passed unanimously, which is amazing given the divided nature of our country.

Over the last four years that Wayne has battled brain cancer, we have known many friends who have lost their fight against this awful disease. Over 13,000 people are diagnosed each year with Glioblastoma, which makes up over half of the cases of brain cancer. The average life expectancy for a patient is 15-16 months. What most people do not talk about is how devastating this disease is to both the patient and the loved ones caring for them. Wayne is considered "lucky" by the medical community because he has exceeded the life expectancy and he lives a relatively "normal" life. I say "normal" because his normal has changed since surgery. He woke up from his brain surgery a different man. Those who knew him before would notice the changes, but to an average person he probably looks normal. What are some of the things that have changed? The biggest change is in his ability to clearly communicate. He used to be able to clearly present information before boards and answer questions (tax work). He now needs notes to present and cannot answer questions clearly. He loved to teach and fill-in preach. Now he struggles with this and has to have notes. He gets frustrated because he knows what he wants to say, but it doesn't come out the way it should. He used to be able to go at 110%, and now he takes naps and needs his sleep. He now is more prone to have a seizure and takes medicine to prevent them. He also has right side body weakness that has never recovered from surgery. He daily takes multiple vitamins and supplements. 

We are so thankful to God for his health and how well he is doing. I am daily reminded of what could be our "normal", which is many of my friend's normal with their husbands. Dealing with GBM is unlike other cancers since it is in the brain. Think about all that your brain does. Now imagine that organ is sick and being overrun by cancer. It affects your mood, behavior, speech, movement, thinking, your body systems, etc. The toll it takes on the caregivers caring for their loved one it high. Many times the caregiver is left with a shell of a person to care for. There are quite a few times where the caregiver is subject to violence and verbal abuse as the tumor takes over the brain. As I read these wive's stories, I am reminded how to pray for them as they persevere in a terrible situation. There are many times that I struggle to keep trusting God with Wayne. I have shared before how fear can trickle into my brain and I have to surrender that to God and trust Him!

Please take time to read about and learn about Glioblastoma today. It is time for more research to be done and awareness to be brought to this horrible cancer. It is one of the most understudied cancer and nothing has changed in the last 30 years for the standard treatment. Most importantly, please pray for the many families impacted by GBM. These are pictures of the men from our Facebook group (just a few), who have lost their lives to GBM. There are a few in the pictures, like Wayne, who are still fighting, but over 99% of the men in the pictures have passed away in the last year or two from GBM. 

Prayer Requests:
1. For all of those who have lost loved ones this year. Specifically, please remember my friend Lynnie and Mary.
2. Please pray for Emily, the girl Wayne met at the airport and God worked out the details for us to find her. She is fighting hard, but the tumor is winning right now. Pray for us as we try to meet with her when we travel back to Chicago. 
3. Please continue to pray for our family as we daily trust God with Wayne's health.