Harder Family

Harder Family

Friday, September 22, 2023

Update 9/22/23: Pathology Update

 Philippines 1:20 TPT “No matter what, I will continue to hope and passionately cling to Christ, so that He will be openly revealed through me before everyone’s eyes. So I will not be ashamed! In my life or in my death, Christ will be magnified in me.”

This morning, my doctor called me with the pathology from my surgery. There was some very positive news and then some not great news. We are choosing to focus on the positive news from today! Hopefully I have remembered all the details correctly.


* My lymph nodes tested negative for cancer!! 

* The cancer in my uterus didn’t penetrate the walls, which means the other spot probably isn’t metastatic.

* The other areas she got samples came back normal or just endometriosis. I find it interesting that I had endometriosis when no doctor ever told me that and I was actually told issues I had were just normal. I guess they were wrong…


* I don’t know if this is positive or negative, so I’ll put it here. The other tumor in my pelvis appears to be the exact same type of cancer as in my uterus, but happened on its own in a separate place. So, I’m a rare case where two tumors appeared around the same time, the same type, but in two different places.

* They found something genetic with my tumor. She didn’t know much beyond the fact that I need to meet with a genetic doctor and figure out what this means.


* The cancer cells they found were a mixture of endometrial carcinoma (common) and clear cell (uncommon and more aggressive). They always treat the higher grade cells, so that means that I will need chemo and radiation.

* I have to have a bunch of CT scans to rule out spread anywhere else in my body. 

As you can see, the good news outweighs the bad. I don’t look forward to chemo, but I told the doctor I’m all in to be aggressive as we need to be to kick this to the curb. I’m praying that between the natural things I’m doing and traditional medicine, that we can beat this thing. 

I am sad because tomorrow, my best friend, Sue, will be heading back to Chicago. She has been such a blessing to our family and spending time with her has helped pass the time. True friends are a gift! 

Sue came bearing gifts from friends from Chicago. I have many things to keep me busy while I’m laid up and I have some great items that will help me through chemo.

We have also had the joy of spending time with our friends from Florida, the Edwards family. Our friendship began years ago back in California. We always enjoy our time with them and the kids always make a ton of memories together.

Pizza, swimming, s’mores, and friends

Serious game of Murder in the Dark going on!

Some of the kids went to the Ark today with the Edwards. They all had a blast.

We try to find ways to keep some of the heavy things light around here. So, we used Naomi’s phone to see how we all look bald. I got a preview of what I may potentially look like in a few weeks. My doctor isn’t certain if radiation or chemo will come first. We will discuss all of this at my appointment in October. These pictures show which kids favor Wayne. 

Naomi is on the screen…Wayne’s mini-me. Wayne is doing really well since his two seizures. It’s been kind of nice to slow down and relax with him.

We decided Joella bald with a beard looks like Blake at Resilience (IYKYK)

That’s my brief update for today. I’m just trying to keep everyone updated and it’s easier to write it once than a million texts. We love and appreciate all of you!!

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Update 9/20/23: Dark Moments

Isaiah 43:1-3a "But now thus says the Lord, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: 'For not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior...'"

Darkness. When we hear that word, I believe many of us think immediately of a dark night sky. Maybe driving out on a backroad where you need your brights on in order to see the road. But darkness can be so much more than something we physically see. I think darkness is something that we can experience as well. Sunday was a dark day for me. I woke up feeling nauseous and the physical pain reminded me of all the pain I had been trying to process since I heard the words, "Your cancer was not contained in your uterus, and we actually found another rare cancer in your pelvis." On Thursday night, in my post-anesthesia brain, I could hear my family talking about me in hushed whispers and I could hear crying. I figured I must be dying in the next few days and I felt physically ill to think about that. I wanted to grow older and hopefully meet future grandchildren. I had a million thoughts floating through my head as I drifted off to sleep that night...darkness and fear threatened to swallow me.

On Friday, I felt a little better and my mind felt more clear. After meeting with the doctor, I felt a little more confident and not like the walking dead. I mean, don't get me wrong, I have a huge battle ahead of me, but I felt like there was some hope in our conversation with her. But fear and dark thoughts kept creeping into my mind. 

But Sunday was when I felt the waves of darkness completely drowning me. I didn't feel well, I allowed my fearful thoughts to take hold, and I was questioning God at this point. Why would He allow so much hard in our lives? Part of my dark fearful thoughts I think also stemmed from a support group I had joined. I was reading other people's stories and felt overwhelmed by the "what ifs". It was a difficult morning and afternoon. But then God stepped in...

Corrie ten Boom once declared, "If it's dark everywhere, you can become so discouraged. You might doubt whether light still exists. But even if you can't see the Lord, He sees you and me. Jesus said, 'And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age' (Matthew 28:20). When it's necessary, He suddenly says, 'I'm still here!'"

God showed up and revealed to me that none of this has surprised Him and He was with me. He encouraged my heart and strengthened my faith.

First, one of my sweet friends dropped by after church to check in on me and visit. It was nice to have my mind taken off of my nausea and focus on someone else instead of wallowing in my own self pity. I'm not saying that I can't and shouldn't have times of pity and fear, I am human after all. But when we can take our eyes off of ourselves and our own burdens, it helps not get stuck in a dark rut. 

After she left, I still had these waves of fear coming and going. My phone rang, but I didn't want to pick it up at the moment because I was engrossed in a movie, which was keeping my mind busy. After the movie ended, I listened to the voice message and it was one of my long time friends from Chicago. She left me a long message where she prayed over me and my family. She prayed that the peace of Jesus would surround me, that He would protect me from fear overwhelming me, and that I would know that He is with me through this dark trial. Slowly, the darkness and fear started to subside.

Not long after that, another sweet friend texted me and told me that the Holy Spirit was asking her to walk along side me in this journey. Not only was she called to pray for me, she wanted to join me in my "eating adventures" so that I wasn't alone in this. She asked if I had a moment to speak and I called her right away. Before I share what she told me, I want to explain how God weaved this friendship together. Amy and I were in the same support group on Facebook for families with adopted children from China. I remember seeing a prayer request in the group by another friend. She mentioned that Amy's husband had just been diagnosed with brain cancer. I knew that God wanted me to reach out to her and offer her support since I had walked that same road. That was the beginning of our friendship. 

Amy is the one who told me about Inheritance of Hope (IOH) and encouraged us to apply for a family trip, which was the beginning of our family's involvement with IOH. Unfortunately, Amy's husband was healed on the other side of heaven. We were finally able to meet Amy in person in July of 2021. God continued to weave our lives in unimaginable ways. I was able to share with Amy the difficulties of adoption that we had experienced with DJ's mental health issues. Throughout the last two years, we have checked in with each other and have prayed for issues that we were each facing with our families. It was comforting to have a friend who understood some of the really hard issues with a husband with brain cancer. As you can see, God had a plan and a purpose when He crossed our paths years ago.

Back to Sunday...Amy asked me if she could share verses that God had given her to encourage me. She shared with me Psalm 34 from the Passion version. It is a little long, but it was exactly what my soul needed to hear.

God’s Goodness

A song by King David composed after his escape from the king when he pretended to be insane

Lord! I’m bursting with joy over what you’ve done for me!

My lips are full of perpetual praise.

I’m boasting of You and all Your works,

so let all who are discouraged take heart.

Join me, everyone! Let’s praise the Lord together.

Let’s make Him famous!

Let’s make His name glorious to all.

Listen to my testimony: I cried to God in my distress

and He answered me. He freed me from all my fears!

Gaze upon Him, join your life with His, and joy will come.

Your faces will glisten with glory.

You’ll never wear that shame-face again.

When I had nothing, desperate and defeated,

I cried out to the Lord and He heard me,

bringing His miracle-deliverance when I needed it most. 

The angel of Yahweh stooped down to listen as I prayed,

encircling me, empowering me, and showing me how to escape.

He will do this for everyone who fears God.

Drink deeply of the pleasures of this God.

Experience for yourself the joyous mercies He gives

to all who turn to hide themselves in Him.

Worship in awe and wonder, all you who’ve been made holy!

For all who fear Him will feast with plenty.

Even the strong and the wealthy grow weak and hungry,

but those who passionately pursue the Lord

will never lack any good thing.

Come, children of God, and listen to me.

I’ll share the lesson I’ve learned of fearing the Lord:

Do you want to live a long, good life,

enjoying the beauty that fills each day?

Then never speak a lie or allow wicked words

to come from your mouth. 

Keep turning your back on every sin,

and make “peace” your life motto.

Practice being at peace with everyone. 

The Lord sees all we do;

He watches over His friends day and night.

His godly ones receive the answers they seek

whenever they cry out to Him.

But the Lord has made up His mind to oppose evildoers

and to wipe out even the memory of them

from the face of the earth. 

Yet when holy lovers of God cry out

to Him with all their hearts,

the Lord will hear them and come to rescue them

from all their troubles.

The Lord is close to all whose hearts are crushed by pain,

and He is always ready to restore the repentant one.

Even when bad things happen to the good and godly ones,

the Lord will save them and not let them be defeated

by what they face.

God will be your bodyguard to protect you

when trouble is near.

Not one bone will be broken.

Evil will cause the death of the wicked,

for they hate and persecute the devoted lovers of God.

Make no mistake about it:

God will hold them guilty and punish them;

they will pay the penalty!

But the Lord has paid for the freedom of His servants,

and He will freely pardon those who love Him.

He will declare them free and innocent

when they turn to hide themselves in Him.

After reading these verses to me, she prayed over me. When she was done, I was brought to tears over God's kindness and faithfulness to me. He saw me, He was walking along side me, and when He knew I was in a dark, fear-filled place, He stepped in by using others to encourage my discouraged heart.

I never want to give the perception that it is always rainbows and unicorns around here. I will be the first one to admit that although I trust God's sovereign plan, I don't understand it and I think it sucks. BUT, the one thing I have learned over the years walking with the Lord is that He never wastes anything in our lives. I know that He has something good planned in this hard. It is my prayer that years from now I'll be able to look back and say, "Ahhhh, I get it Lord. I see what you were doing." 

For example, although I do not want this other tumor in my pelvis, I was telling a friend that I can even see God's hand in that discovery. I literally have not had any symptoms of cancer: no weight loss or crazy symptoms. What I was experiencing could have been explained away with me just getting older - perimenopause. If I had not gone to the doctor to follow up, who knows how long the other cancer could have grown before it was beyond taking care of it. There are no coincidences in my life. I didn't want to hear any of the news that my doctor delivered, but the alternate news could have been even worse. So, I will focus on the positive - they found cancer that none of us knew was there. And I am not completely naive. I could show up to my appointment in a few weeks and find out I still have a poor prognosis, but God is teaching me things now to prepare me for whatever news I hear. And once again, my favorite song right now "Worthy of My Song" declares that no matter what we face, I will choose to say that He is worthy and deserves my praise.


Sophia attended home coming with a friend from church. She looked so beautiful! My sister Rachel was able to help her get ready since I was stuck on the couch.

We are finding ways to enjoy the beautiful weather while getting school done and I keep my feet up. Joella’s my main recovery buddy. We do our dot art and color together while enjoying some Hallmark movies. 


- I want to thank my sister, Rachel, for coming and staying with me the first few days after surgery. She was a huge help and made some amazing meals for me! I realized after she left that we never got a photo together! Micaela and Joella decided to show her some love and appreciation by giving her a back massage.🩷

- I want to thank my sister, Sarah, for being there for my surgery, for providing meals and support to my family.🩷

- I want to thank my best friend, Sue, for driving down to KY to take care of me for a few days and just love on my family. I guess she didn't get enough of me when we lived with them during Wayne's surgery and treatment. Ha!

- I want to thank everyone for their prayers, their support, and everyone who has done so much for our family. We couldn't do it without all of you!!

Prayer Requests:

- Wayne: pray for him as he continues his PT. He has been struggling with some communication issues and he also had a seizure tonight. Those things always scare me and I might have jumped off the couch too quickly to grab his rescue seizure medicine. Never a dull moment. 

- Rebecca: please pray for me as I continue to heal from my surgery. Pray that I can endure six weeks of not doing much on the couch. I have been doing what I am supposed to, but I am only at almost a week. I feel better and better, which is a praise, but I don't want to get up and do anything that will jeopardize my healing.

- Please pray over my follow up appointment on October 11th. Please pray that we receive some positive news and if it isn't positive, that God gives me the grace and strength to face whatever is coming my way. I know radiation is in my future, and that has some nasty side effects. I will do whatever the doctors recommend, plus all my natural things, to increase my chance of beating this thing. 

- Our children need prayer as they continue to walk this difficult road with both of their parents having cancer. Please pray that they lean in hard into Jesus!

Friday, September 15, 2023

Update 9/15/23: Discouraging News

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

Deuteronomy 31:8 “It is the Lord that goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave nor forsake you. Do not fear or be discouraged.

Yesterday was a difficult day. Wayne was unable to come with me to my surgery since he was just ending chemo. He prayed a beautiful prayer with me before I left with my sister for the hospital. Both of my amazing sisters were there for me during this difficult day.

Surgery is not for the faint of heart. It is weird to fall asleep and lose 4-5 hours of your life. I could hardly stay awake for anything yesterday. I got home around 6:30 and went right to bed and slept until 8 this morning. 

My pastor stopped by and prayed with me before surgery. That helped calm my nerves a lot.

Unfortunately, yesterday did not go as planned. The surgeon ended up performing a radical hysterectomy after discovering some extra things that should not have been there. The cancer was not contained in my uterus and they actually found another mass in my lower pelvis. When the doctor called me today, she told me that my job is to heal up over the next few weeks. Then I will be receiving some scans and meeting with her and the radiologist for a plan. The radiologist seemed confident that the radiation could target the other mass they found. Chemotherapy isn’t off the table either until we learn more from the pathology. The doctor is concerned because the extra mass I have is rare. Leave it to me to be unique (including the fact that side effects of these cancers is losing weight, and that didn’t happen to me). 

Waking up and hearing that I had cancer other places made for some mental gymnastics. When I woke up during the night, I had to just pray until I fell asleep. If I’m honest, my first reaction was, “Lord, why? Why couldn’t it just be contained? This is so unfair” I had to listen to praise music to settle my restless brain. Let me tell you, the surrender to God’s sovereign plan is moment by moment right now. I want to scream and pitch a fit. This is so unfair for my kids! I want to be around to watch them grow up. But then I take a deep breath and remember that God is working all things out in my life. My days are numbered by Him, so this may just be an unfortunate hiccup in my life. That’s at least my prayer! 

It’s always been the my prayer that my life would point others to Jesus. As much as I don’t want to walk this road, if others see Jesus in me and follow Him, it will be worth all the pain and anguish. I know God will use this in our kid’s lives in order to help them grow deeper roots in Him. 

Bo was excited that I’m back home. He hasn’t left my side. I’m going to just bask in my kids over the next few weeks. We will enjoy every moment together before life gets crazy with appointments and treatments for me. 

Meanwhile, Wayne is slowly recovering himself from his last chemo dose two days ago. He’s doing his best to take care of me. I told him we are both a walking mess right now. 

Prayer Requests:
- Strength for Wayne as he recovers from chemo. My diagnosis has been super hard on him too. 
- Please pray for my recovery and that the doctors come up with a solid plan to treat this extra mass in my pelvis. 
- Pray that I don’t lose heart or grow weary. I feel the temptation to be angry and doubt right now. I don’t want to do that, I want to cling to the God that I know is faithful and true.
- Pray for our kids as they process this and watch both of their parents endure difficulties. 
- Praise: Wayne’s dads surgery went well and our friend Mary’s surgery went well (the doctor believes they got all the cancer they could see). 

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Update 9/14/23: Fear

Psalm 139:4-6 “Before a word is on my tongue You, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and You lay Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.”

Deuteronomy 31:8 “The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

I woke up this morning with a little fear in my heart. I’m human and I’m scared of surgery and what we may discover afterwards from pathology. But then I remembered who I serve and who loves me more than I can imagine. He is not surprised by any of this. When He created me, He had my days numbered. So whether I live to 90 or 45, He knows what is to come and He hold me in His hands. That brought my soul comfort. 

When I opened my phone, I saw numerous encouraging texts of people letting me know that they are praying for me. That was my first confirmation today that God has this. 

Then as I showered, the first praise song that came on my playlist was “Good God Almighty” which declares “Good God Almighty, I hope You’ll find me, praising Your name no matter what comes, ‘cause I know where I’d be without Your mercy, so I keep praising Your name at the top of my lungs”. 

Right after that song, “O My Soul” came on. God knew even what songs I needed to hear this morning. Listen to this chorus: “Oh, my soul, you are not alone, there’s a place where dead has to face the God you know, one more day, He will make a way, let Him show you how, you can lay this down, ‘cause you’re not alone.” God was reminding me that He is walking with me into that surgery and that He’s with me all the way. Doubt and fear have no place in my heart, I am choosing to lay it down and trust Him.

I spoke with my friends from China yesterday and they both told me that God has me and everything is going to go well. They said they have seen Him work in our lives and He will continue to do so. It was amazing to hear their trust, which encouraged me so much.

Yesterday, Wayne and Sophia went on her birthday date. Wayne gave her a special ring. We then picked up my sister, Rachel. She is going to be helping out the first few days at home. 

As I was typing, I received a call from the surgeon’s office. She’s running ahead of schedule, so we are leaving now for the hospital and my surgery time may move up from 12:45! Please pray for my heart to keep trusting and waiting on God through all of this. 


Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Update 9/12/23

 1 John 4:7 "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God."

1 Thessalonians 5:11 "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as you are doing."

Romans 12:10 "Love one another with brotherly affection."

Micaela snapped a picture of Wayne sleeping as we came home from Chicago. 

Yesterday, these verses described what we experienced as a family. We watched in amazement as four men demonstrated their love for God and us by sacrificing their time to serve us. One of the hardest lessons I have learned over the years is how to be on the receiving side of giving help. It is a lot easier to be the one serving others who have a need, than to be the one with the need. It is humbling. But something Wayne said years ago stuck with me. He said, "Don't steal someone's joy in giving or serving by denying them." In other words, if someone is joyfully trying to love you through service, humble yourself and accept it because otherwise, you are stealing their joy. 

I know I have expressed it before, but I literally cannot say it enough times. I DO NOT know how anyone goes through a difficult time without Jesus and without a church family. And to be honest, we have experienced love and help from the entire body of Christ throughout the nation, not just our local church. It has been astounding. People are quick to criticize churches for all their mistakes, and there are plenty of them. I'll be the first one to admit that churches are full of sinful people who needed Jesus and still need Him every day. But that is the beauty of the gospel! Honestly though, nothing compares to the love and sacrifice that true followers of Jesus demonstrate to others. We have experienced this first hand.

After my last post, I texted someone from church to let them know about the ramp situation, since they were helping us try to figure out a solution for Wayne. Within an hour, someone stopped by the house and checked the ramp and said it would be a good fit. The next day, Saturday, it was taken apart, loaded up on a trailer, and set aside for us. By Monday, a team was put together to install the ramp in our garage. That same evening, the wheelchair we purchased from a gentleman at church was delivered right to our garage. God continues to show up in big ways.

A friend wrote me today and said, "Some days are just hard days where you trust the Lord 100%, but your tears in your eyes are fighting the battle of faith over reality." This resonated so deeply with me. The hardest days we've faced in the past few months were also a chance for me to dig my anchor deeper into the foundation of Jesus. It reminds me of Hebrews 11:6, which is also known as the 'Hall of Faith' which is a list of those who were determined to follow God. "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must earnestly believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him."

Wayne is on day 4 of chemo tonight. This round of chemo has been knocking him down. He is tired, nauseous, and just worn out. I hate seeing what chemo does to him, so I am thankful for the last scan which showed a little improvement to make all of this worth it. 

Shan and Wayne enjoyed some football together on Sunday. Shan is a huge football fan. I love seeing them interact and enjoy something together!

Chemo is wiping Wayne out!

I am about 36 hours from my surgery. I have been trying to stay busy so that I don't have to think about it. A friend told me that before her surgery she experienced what she called "reverse nesting". I told her that is how I have felt. I have tackled projects that I have needed to do, but never get around to the last few weeks. She also told me to expect it to take more than the six weeks to feel normal. The doctor may "release" you at that point, but it will take months to fully recuperate. That was helpful to know so that if I experience exhaustion, I will know that it is normal as my body recovers. 

Another sweet friend sent me the gift of a juicer. I made my first batch of vegetable juice and quickly discovered that you need some fruit in that juice! Beets, cabbage, and kale don’t make for great tasting juice, but it did make a beautiful rainbow of colors!

The best gift I received was on Sunday morning at church. The song that God has given me over and over again as an encouragement is "Worthy of my Song" by Phil Wickham. It was the song I woke up to the morning of Wayne's MRI, it is the song I've sung out to Him when I have felt like I'm drowning with all that we are facing. Being able to sing the song at church was such a blessing. Thank you BJ for that gift! I’m going to share the song again, if you haven’t listened to it. Believe me, you will love the song!

Prayer Requests:

- Wayne as he has another day of chemo and then recovery from chemo.

- Our friend Mary is having brain surgery tomorrow for a recurrence of her cancer. Please pray for the surgeons and for a successful surgery.

- Please pray for my surgery and that if it's God's will, that the cancer is all contained.

- Pray for Wayne's dad, Roy, who is having surgery tomorrow as well. 

Friday, September 8, 2023

Update 9/8/23: Whirlwind

 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 things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

Before my alarm could even go off this morning, I woke up with a song on my heart. “In the blessing, in the pain, You are worthy.  Whether you say yes, or no, or wait, You are worthy. Through it all I choose to say, ‘You are worthy.’ I’ll never stop singing your praise.” Phil Wickham-Worthy of My Song

We had to be at Northwestern by 7am for the start of Wayne’s appointments. He had his chest CT scan first followed by his MRI. Of course the CT machine where his MRI was scheduled broke, so we had to quickly scramble from one side of the hospital to the other in 5 minutes. Pushing Wayne in the wheelchair gave me a great workout. 

While I was waiting for Wayne, I had a quick call with my friend in Taiwan and then a call with my friend from China. 

Wayne was able to say hi at the end of his MRI.

We just finished meeting with the neuro-oncologist. He seemed pleased with Wayne’s scan. He said there was slight improvement, so Wayne is approved to do another two months of chemo. It was nice to receive some positive news! We will have to come back in another 8 weeks for a scan and re-evaluation. 

We are now waiting for Wayne’s blood draw and to pick up his chemo. We also have a quick followup with his radiation doctor. 

The doctor said Wayne’s weakness is tied to where the remaining tumor is located and possibly due to side effects from radiation. Meanwhile, God is so good to us! We will take this positive news and how God continues to provide for us. 

I have to share how much He loves and cares. A lady from church reached out to me when she heard we were looking for a ramp for Wayne. They have a ramp they don’t need and some amazing guys at church are helping us pick up the aluminum ramp and have it set up in our garage! That saved us so much money! God also provided an electric wheelchair for Wayne that is almost new for a very inexpensive price. Sometimes when those dark, storm clouds come it’s hard to trust, but we move forward because we know God is faithful! And then He shows up in big ways like this and shows us that He sees everything and is taking care of all the details! God is so good!!!

Please pray for us as we travel back home this afternoon. A whirlwind trip to Chicago, but we are thrilled with some positive news! Thank you for standing with us in prayer and for always being there for us. 🩷