Harder Family

Harder Family

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Update 4/4/24: Catching Up

Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

After a few texts from others looking for an update, I realized I have failed to keep everyone up to date. Honestly, after months of cancer treatments, the last month has been a marathon of trying to catch up around the house and in life now that I’m slowly feeling better. Remember Covid? Of course, who can forget the virus that turned all of our lives upside down. But if you had Covid, remember how physically drained you felt? I have felt that way after treatments. I felt like I was walking through thick mud the past few months. I had to keep moving forward because being a mom and a caregiver doesn’t stop. I’m sure all the moms out there get that.

Needless to say, I fell behind with the house. I’m slowly reorganizing and putting our life “back together”. I say that in quotes because our life “back together” doesn’t look anything like before. In some ways, that is a good thing. In other ways, we have had to mourn some losses that seem to be permanently different, like Wayne’s communication. If you knew Wayne before brain cancer, you know he was a talker. He loved road trips because he not only loved seeing the country, it gave us hours to talk. Sadly, our car rides now are quieter. Instead of hours of talking, we spend time listening to music and books. Neither of those are bad, it’s just different and we both feel the loss. 

One thing Wayne and I have been doing lately is going to the gym together. He takes the elevator upstairs to walk while I go downstairs to the gym or pool to exercise. I reward myself most days with a visit to the infrared sauna. I’m excited to let everyone know that Wayne has worked up from 4 laps to 14 laps (1 mile). He jokes that his one mile took him as long as an elite athlete to run a marathon. But, he made it to a mile, which is huge. 

Update Wayne: As I mentioned, Wayne’s ability to walk has been slightly improving. He is doing so well that we recently had a few friends take off the wheelchair lift gate from our minivan. Last week, Wayne had an evaluation for outpatient PT and speech at Clark Hospital. He has improved enough that he “graduated” from home health PT. While we were there, the speech pathologist offered to get Wayne an iPad with a program that will help him with his speech. Wayne and I are very excited about the potential this provides him! As she said, it’s not to replace him from speaking, but to help when he’s struggling to clearly communicate what he needs or wants. 

So what’s next for Wayne? He is scheduled in a couple weeks in Chicago to have an in person appointment. I think they’d like to eventually do an MRI to see what is going on, but Wayne doesn’t want one. He’s told me that he is just trusting God with the outcome. 

Funny story: Wayne got stuck in the elevator at the gym. He took it in stride and it didn’t even bother him. The team responded quickly. I didn’t even know what happened. I had called Wayne to tell him to meet me at the car. I went to the pool to get Shan. By the time we got upstairs, Wayne was already “rescued” and was waiting for us at the car. 

Wayne at his PT/speech assessment

A friend brought over virtual reality glasses for Wayne to try. He thought it would be a fun thing for Wayne to try since he has limited ability. It was fun to try…Wayne even visited the pyramids.

Update Rebecca: As I mentioned before, I’m slowly gaining my strength and stamina back. Tomorrow I have a follow up appointment with my oncologist and I have my next immunotherapy treatment. I met with my radiation team last week and he scheduled me to have a pet scan in two weeks. That scan will show if the chemo and radiation worked to kill that second spot of cancer in my pelvis. 

I have to admit that daily surrender is part of my new routine each day. Every time I feel twinges or weird things in my body, I have to pray and trust God. It’s hard not to worry that what I am feeling isn’t something more. I’m learning to live with my hands open in full surrender to God and trust Him, but some days that is very hard. 

The past few weeks I have been experiencing joint pain in my body, especially my knees and elbows. My oncologist said it could be a few things including residual side effects of chemo or side effects of immunotherapy. I’m excited to say that my hair is slowly coming back! I can’t wait until it’s long enough to do something with it.

My garden is coming along. I have seeds in my dad’s greenhouse and I have planted a whole raised garden bed with carrots and beets for juicing. My lettuce grew on its own from last year! That was a fun surprise.

Naomi snapped this picture of me and Wayne. I love the way Wayne is looking at me when I wasn’t feeling well. This isn’t how either of us imagined our lives at this point…but God! He knows what He has planned and why He has allowed this in our lives.

Update Kids: Grace and Naomi had a great time in Florida. Grace loved being back with her Life Action team. Naomi enjoyed time with friends and serving for a week with Ethnos360. God even opened a potential door for her to share about her desire to serve God through missions. 

Naomi was home only a couple days for Easter before flying to Washington to visit Wayne’s parents. Of course the day we had to take her to the airport was the day of the terrible storms. Thankfully, we missed the tornadoes as we drove her to the airport. With all the delays, it took her 16+ hours to make it there.

Abigail and Grace have been working hard with their online classes and working at their jobs. Sophia and Shan are cranking out the last few weeks of their school year through LUOA. They both are also working hard at their jobs and trying to get in more driving hours to get their drivers licenses. Sophia’s ankle has almost made a complete recovery since she has been working hard at PT.

Finally, the youngest two are working hard finishing up their school years as well. They are excited about going to school next year. But meanwhile, we are all looking forward to the summer off. 

We were all home together to enjoy Easter. 

We had to take two Easter photos since we couldn’t find Joella in time.

Abigail, Grace, Shan, and Elijah enjoyed a hike in the woods.

Sophia was having a rough night and decided the solution that made the most sense was to sleep outside in the freezing cold.

The kids enjoying the counseling mascot.

Civil Air Patrol: the kids have been doing some amazing events. Micaela has loved following in Sophia’s footsteps learning search and rescue. She loves the weekend events learning more about this.

Sophia learning how to drive. 

Catching up on birthday dates: Wayne and Shan celebrating Shan. Below is my ice cream date with Naomi.

Naomi had a blast in Florida. Can’t beat spending time with friends and serving Jesus!

Prayer Requests:

- Wayne: For his PT, speech, and speech device to be quickly approved. Also that he continues to get stronger and that his speech improves.

- Rebecca: please pray for my immunotherapy treatment tomorrow and that any cancer cells are removed completely. Please also pray for my joint pain and for all that I have to juggle between being a patient, caregiver/wife, and mom.

- Kids: pray for stamina to finish the school year strong and that they continue to grow closer to God through all the trials. 

- Please pray for the people of Taiwan. My friend Juyi lives there and is okay, but they need our prayers.🩷

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