Harder Family

Harder Family

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Update 8/20/23: Changes

“I am not a theologian or a scholar, but I am very aware of the fact that pain is necessary to all of us. In my own life, I think I can honestly say that out of the deepest pain has come the strongest conviction of the presence of God and the love of God.” ~ Elisabeth Elliot

This morning at life group, the discussion about suffering and God's presence came up. Most Christians would admit that it is during their darkest hours when they have felt the closest to God. I've often wondered why that is true, even in my own life. I think it stems back to our tendency to want to do things on our own. We may say that we are trusting and relying upon God, but do we really depend 100% on Him? But during the dark hours or a terrible trial, we have nothing left in us. It is in those moments that we depend fully and completely on God and He meets us there. Really, He is there all the time, but in those moments we sense His presence and experience Him in ways we otherwise wouldn't. 

I know from experience that what Elizabeth Elliot says above is 100% truth. Even this last week, which has been one of the hardest of my life, I have felt and experienced God's peace and presence like never before. I know that is mainly due to all the prayers going up on our behalf. Once Tuesday rolled around, I felt the anxiety and fears just slip away. Jesus was right there holding me and carrying me through the deep, dark waters. As I shared, He showed up and revealed that He sees me and that He is there. How amazing is that? The Creator of the universe cares so much about me that He not only died to save me, but He intimately knows my deepest thoughts and emotions. It blows my mind. 

If you do not have a relationship with Jesus or haven't experienced this kind of love, peace, or hope, please contact me. There is nothing I would love more than to share what Jesus has done in my life and what He can do in your life as well. He meets us in our brokenness. We don't have to clean ourselves up before we come to Him. He loves you just the way you are, but He also loves you enough to not allow you to stay in that place. He wants to walk beside you and carry you. This life is hard! I don't know how anyone does life without Jesus. He is my source of hope, peace, and joy, even in the midst of some of the scariest, darkest days of my life. 

I cannot explain the peace I have apart from Jesus in me. How else could I face a cancer diagnosis, on the heels of Wayne's terminal cancer and chemo treatments, not to mention raising 8 kids, one who has severe mental health issues? From a human perspective, it is just too much and it is unfair. Believe me, I wrestle with these feelings. I told someone the other day that even though I have had moments of questioning God and being upset with this new trial, along with all the other trials, I chose to set those feelings aside because I know that Jesus has me in His hands. I am confident in who God is and His character because I have studied it in the Bible. Because of that, I can set those things in His hands and trust Him, no matter what comes our way.

Since we have so much going on, I figure that I will try to give an update on both of us to help keep everyone in the loop.

Rebecca Update: I finally received a call from the oncologist’s office on Friday. They scheduled for an appointment Tuesday morning. Some people have asked if I'm going to Chicago for treatment. The answer is no. I am seeing a doctor here in Lexington. The only reason why we drive up to Chicago for Wayne is because they have been his doctors for 8+ years and know his case. In my situation, it is all new, so I will stick to Kentucky for treatment. 

My sister will be coming to the appointment with me to help take notes and make sure that I don't miss anything. I have discovered over the years with Wayne that it is helpful to have someone that isn't the patient with you to help listen to the doctors. 

I have shared before that I love to plan, which has made the past few years so difficult. Many times I have to make plans with open hands, knowing that it may or may not come to pass, like our trip out west this summer to see family. This waiting to see the doctor the past week has been so difficult. I want to know what is coming and make a plan since my life will be turned upside down for at least 6-8 weeks for recovery (from what I have read). It is hard to be patient and wait, but by God's grace we made it through the week of waiting.

Meanwhile, Wayne and I have discussed things that I can do on my part to help give my body the best chance at fighting this cancer and preventing it from coming back.  I mentioned the other day that God put this amazing friend/doctor in my life. She has been studying functional/integrative medicine. I met with her on Saturday for almost two hours to discuss a lot of different options for natural things to use along with traditional medicine. The next few weeks will be difficult as I adjust to this new way of life. I am still doing research to see if there is anything else I should add to my arsenal. So far this is the plan:

*Remove from Diet: this will be a slow transition so that I have a better chance of success

    - Alcohol (easy for me since I don’t drink)

    - Dairy (good thing I ate all the ice cream on our anniversary trip)

    - Processed food

    - Red meat

    - Sugar (reduce as much as possible)

    - Gluten

    - Limit chicken/eggs. 

* Add to Diet

    - Fermented vegetables (will be making my own-thank you to the friends helping me navigate this new adventure)

    - Kombucha (anyone have a scoby they can share?)

    - Frankincense rubbed on my abdomen and taken orally (Longevity:Young Living)

    - Daily vitamin and other vitamins

    - Happy Juice, Mentasync, and seed fiber from Amare

    - Truvani protein powder (thankfully it only has six ingredients that are clean)

    - Homemade Elderberry syrup for my immune system

- Detox tea and greens from Arbonne (as you can tell, I’m not a one company girl. I am trying to use what has been best for me from different companies).

*Stress Reducers

    - Praying/Reading the Bible

    - Exercise

    - Sauna

    - Reading

    - Walks

    - Sit in the sun to get some vitamin D

Making different soups that are compliant with my new "diet" to make life easier this week.

I'm looking forward to trying to make fermented vegetables. We will see how it goes.

Wayne Update: Wayne finished his chemo on Thursday night and has slowly been recovering. This round of chemo was hard on him. He was nauseous almost every day, which affected his ability to eat. He also slept a lot! We know that rest is important for his body as it tries to heal and deal with chemo. 

Thankfully, Wayne was feeling well enough to go to church this morning. I know he always enjoys being in fellowship with other believers. 

Tomorrow I have to call the pharmacy to address a refill issue that we have. The original prescription was filled in Chicago, but I need the refill to be done in Kentucky. Please pray that it is a smooth transition since tomorrow is the last day we have for the one prescription, so it is essential that I get it filled tomorrow. 

Wayne will start PT again this week. I signed him up at a local PT clinic in town so he can at least be working on PT. The doctors would really love him to be doing OT and speech, but our previous place is closed for now. If anyone knows of adult OT and speech in the area, please let us know!

We have just under three weeks to go until Wayne's next MRI in Chicago. It will be a long, busy day filled with appointments. We will start the day with blood work and then a chest CT scan to follow up on a 10mm nodule in Wayne's lung. Then Wayne will have his MRI followed by an appointment with his neuro-oncologist. Finally, we will end the day with a follow up appointment with the radiation doctor. At least we are able to fit it all in one day while we are in town. 

School is in full swing. It will be interesting navigating all of this in the upcoming weeks, but we have already been offered help from other homeschool parents, so that takes some of the worries away. Plus, when it comes down to it, spending time as a family is our priority, especially right now.

I snagged this picture of Grace's travel team (blue team) off of Facebook. They are getting ready to start traveling after a summer of training and service.

I snagged this photo off of Facebook too. Shan serves with the tech team at church as a camera man. Look at his smile! No wonder why he gets tips at Arby's in the drive thru!

Prayer Requests:

Thank you for continuing to pray for our family as we navigate all these different challenges in our lives. We know that God has this and He will be glorified no matter the outcome of any of it. Please just continue to pray for Wayne that he gains his strength back after chemo and as he starts PT again this week. Also, please pray for my appointment on Tuesday. Pray that we get some answers and some dates lined up so that we can make appropriate plans moving forward. Please also pray with me that the cancer is contained just in my uterus so that we are just looking at a hysterectomy. Despite my prayers for that, I am trusting that no matter what, that God will be glorified through our lives.

Finally, please pray for our children. Pray that they lean into Jesus and that they are able to express their feelings and thoughts clearly to us and others to help them process. We know God loves them more than we do, but they are the hardest part of this. We want to be here for them and watch them grow. Pray that we continue to point them to Jesus with our lives and through our trials.

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