Harder Family

Harder Family

Thursday, October 19, 2023

10/19/23: Ready or Not

James 5:13-15 “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. If anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. I’d anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders if the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up…” 

On Sunday, I was blessed to have some of the leaders at church pray over me. It touched me so deeply to see the whole church come forward and pray with them. I know it’s just a small taste of all of you praying for us, but what an emotional moment that was for me. Thank you for continuing to pray for us and all the support you have given us!

Ready or not, I am approximately 13 hours from my first chemo infusion. This afternoon I met with a pharmacist and a NP to discuss all the side effects that are possible. I left that appointment feeling slightly overwhelmed. Not only did I feel bombarded with a ton of information, I found out I cannot have anyone back in the infusions with me. So, it’s going to be me and Jesus in that infusion room. Faith over fear…that is my mantra right now. 

I’m praying for a smooth ride, but this whole situation feels so daunting. I know God has been preparing me and encouraging my heart in preparation for tomorrow. Today I looked over my devotionals for tomorrow (I have quite a few now thanks to friend’s gifts) and I was stunned by what I saw. Here are titles from two of the devotionals..."Trust for Miracles" and "Liturgy for the Morning of a Medical Treatment". God is just amazing the way He orchestrates the timing of things in our lives. Who knew that on October 20th I would need to read these devotions. There is never a surprise to God!

This has been a chaotic week of appointments for me. I had a colonoscopy on Monday, which thankfully didn’t show anything at all. 

Yesterday, I met with my radiation doctor, who I really liked. He was able to explain the whole treatment plan with a little more clarity. He said the plan is to do these first 4 chemo treatments to kill off any of the bad cancer cells they found, since they like to travel. He then said that they will do about 5 weeks of radiation. The goal of that is to kill off any “roots” from the tumor that was in my pelvis. He told me that my surgeon had shaved most of it off, but like pulling out a plant, there are always roots left and the radiation goal is to kill those roots. The good news I received today was that regarding staging, everything looks good overall (not in my lymph nodes, it wasn’t found in my lymph vessels, and they haven’t spotted it anywhere else in my body). I’ll take all the positive news I can these days. 

Today at my appointment, I was informed that after radiation, they will run some more scans to see how treatment has gone so far. Depending on what we see, I will either 1) have 2 more rounds of chemo, 2) keep doing immunotherapy, or 3) go to observation mode. I’m trusting God with the results, but I would love for it to be #3. I am so thankful that Wayne and my sister Sarah could be with me at the appointments today. It helped having others there to absorb all the information we were given. 

I told a friend the other day that this whole process reminds me a lot of the feelings you have going in to have your first baby. You do all this training and classes, but until you go through it, there is no preparing for it. I figure the next few infusions will be like having subsequent babies. Now you know what to expect, but you have to mentally prepare yourself to get through it again. The bonus of child birth is you get a baby at the end as your reward. I’m praying the positive of this process is no more cancer! 

Wayne update: Wayne had been doing well. He made it through another round of his chemo. He is back to PT this week. Today we took him to a specialist to get a custom foot brace made for him to stabilize his foot/ankle. Wayne has been such a great support to me through all of this. ❤️

Meanwhile, the kids have been doing as well as they can. We are doing our best to try to keep things as normal as possible for them. I signed Joella up for an online writing class and have arranged for her to do school with some friends. Today Joella went on a field trip to Carter Caves. 

Abigail and Naomi served families with Inheritance of Hope this past weekend. I love how they have allowed God to use the hard things in their lives to minister to others. Naomi’s friend, Sarah, traveled with her. What a treasured gift Sarah is to Naomi. 

A friend suggested this cookbook to me. I’ve already made my first batch of broth to eat during the first week of chemo. It’s supposed to help my body rebuild its vitamins and minerals after treatment.

Little moments like these below make my heart so full. Joella is such a gift to us. I love watching her worship Jesus on Sunday and take notes at church. Watching the other kids serve and attend functions at church while inviting friends are things that I treasure.

Where does time go? It just seemed like yesterday Abigail was a baby. Didn’t she just graduate high school, and yet here she is a few months away from graduating college. She is a treasure!

I’m super excited that Grace will be coming home for a week. God knew that I would love having her around during my first week of treatment. It will be nice to have her around for a week and I know she will be an encouragement to her sisters as well. She’s in her element serving Jesus with Life Action. I love hearing all the God is doing in her life. 

I’ve still been working on the kid’s memory books. I have lots of pictures to sort through. I still have 7 years worth for the older girls. It’s been fun finding some gems and remembering so many good times with the kids. Time is a weird concept: so many of these pictures felt like yesterday, and yet it has been years. Crazy! 

In this season, there have also been difficult times. We had to miss the wedding of a young girl we have known for 15 years. I have also missed out on field trips with the kids and other fun events due to needing to rest after surgery. I'm sure I will miss out of more in the next few months, but I have to remember to just make the best of everything, both the good days and the hard days. God has this and He keeps reminding me that He is holding me and walking with me through this. There are also moments of where He is reminding me to trust Him with my future. He knows the future and I can trust Him, whether He decides to heal me here on earth or in heaven. My job is to trust Him, do my part with the treatment, and stay as positive as I can...He is able and trustworthy!

Prayer Requests:

- Strength for Wayne as he continues to do PT.

- Please pray for my treatment tomorrow: little to no side effects, peace as I sit alone receiving treatment, and that I will be able to keep my hydration and nutrition over the course of treatment. 

- Safety for Grace as she travels home and that we have a great time together.

- The kids to have grace and peace as we enter an unknown time and space in our lives.

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