Carol Wilson Update

Stage 4 Cancer brought many challenges--and also a host of loving and praying friends. Almost-daily postings to this site are to help my friends walk with me through this journey, and to express my gratitude to them and especially to God...On 7/8/08 Carol passed through that final curtain of death and is now healed. We thank God for her life and "arrival"! Chuck

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Our Daily Worms

Karin bought meal worms for the bluebird pair who are guarding their precious blue eggs in the birdhouse between our house and the lake. Chuck attached a feeding tray to the birdhouse. But the birds didn't recognize the new addition as the answer to their prayers for daily worms. Instead they viewed it as a potential weapon of mass destruction, and for almost an hour they swooped and swirled around on reconnaisance missions of desperate nature. Finally the mother slipped inside the house to check on her family, and the father continued to patrol warily. For the rest of the day they would sneak peeks at the alien shape, but even though they are expert worm hunters, they could not see past their terror to recognize the feast that awaited them. We'd have liked to incarnate as bluebirds for just a few seconds in order to assure them that what looked so threatening was actually a great blessing for them.

There's a spiritual lesson here. The immeasurable difference is that the One Who sends us blessings (sometimes disguised as threats) does know our language. And has spoken clearly. I hope I'm hearing Him clearly, and not missing the point of this adventure.

I do so want to be finished with chemo. I feel well again today, but the weird pounding happened in my head again last night. I think it was less intense, so that's progress.

Tomorrow (Thursday) we move to Michigan for a few days to be there for Jeremy's graduation open house. Karin and her family (here in Indiana) will join us there on Saturday. Should be fun.


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Feelin' Fine

I'm thankful to be able to tell you that today is a good day. I was concerned because the racing heartbeat and pulsing head were lasting so many days, but it hasn't happened at all today, and I trust the worst of the effects from last week's chemo are over.

Two wonderful couples surprised us on Sunday. First my brother (the one who hadn't gotten to visit us yet since cancer struck) and his wife came for a very loving 5+ hour visit. Then a half hour after they left, grandson Justin and his girlfriend Lora came for overnight and all day Monday. We were already surrounded with loving family, but these made it even more special.

The swan pair I wrote about when we were at the lake at Easter time are now swimming around with two fluffy cygnets. Yesterday we saw fifteen adult swans fly past from another part of the lake. We treasure the little family that chose our corner!

I'm resting a lot, reading a lot, and smiling a lot. Thanks for your love and prayers.


Sunday, May 28, 2006

Good Morning

Chuck drove every inch of the 12-hour trip, and I slept at least half the way. What's with this constant need to sleep?! We arrived safe and well, and we're soaking in the serene restfulness of this place.

I'm thinking more about the wonderful truth in the Gospel for today (in liturgical churches), John 17. Isn't it amazing that the Creator of the universe, the Master of life and death, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords is praying by name and specifically according to the need of each one of us? What huge hope that brings!

With love and gratitude,


Saturday, May 27, 2006

God Can Do Better

Was I clear? I like to maintain a positive outlook, but I don’t want to be unrealistic. Even though my tumor marker numbers have dropped, they did turn around and go back up a bit last time. As far as the doctor knows, I’m still dying. He simply hopes to provide a nice intermission (known as “remission”) before the next relapse, but he doesn’t think he can affect my survival. Now, of course, we all (including the doctor) know that God can do better than that, and that’s what we pray for. And that’s why I keep telling you how much I appreciate your prayers.

My cousin sent a lovely thought based on the Gospel for this Sunday, John 17. Quoting Diane Bergant: “Today’s Gospel depicts a very tender moment. Jesus prays for us; He prays that we might be embraced by God’s protective love as we continue life in this world. Jesus knew its challenges, its disappointments, even its hostility. We may not be happy with certain aspects of this world, but this is where we are and this is what we have . . . . We live “in between” the world we knew and loved and the one that is yet to appear, but we are not alone. We have a God who loves us, a Redeemer who prays for us, and we also have one another.”

So not only do you pray for me and I pray for you. Jesus Himself prays for each of us. We need Him!

I'm glad this week is about over; it was kind of rough. I think I'm better this morning. We're off for Indiana and several days of rest plus time with family. I'll blog as I'm able.

Thanks for being there!


Friday, May 26, 2006

Higher Ground

I was about 13 when my paternal grandmother died of colon cancer. It was a dreadful dying. On her last day my aunt was with her in hospital, and she reported that Grandma roused from her coma and sang,

"Lord, lift me up and let me stand by faith on heaven's tableland--
A higher plane than I have found--Lord, lead me on to higher ground."

Then she sank back on her pillow and moved up to "higher ground." I have no idea what God intends for me here--whether two more years or twenty--but however long I have, I want to live by faith on the higher plane that God makes possible by His grace. This is what I mean by my daily prayer request to live fully each day.

Our friend with the eye disease received a wonderful answer to prayer yesterday. The doctor at Duke agreed to accept her as a patient, and even better, he believes the eye will heal! We continue to pray for her, and also for a friend in Michigan who is suffering bleeding in his eye.

I hit a very low point of fatigue yesterday--again. I guess it was presumptuous of me to think that after seven chemotherapy treatments I could sail through without effects. I'm not setting very high achievement goals for today. Tomorrow we'll be driving 12 hours to our lake house in Indiana (maybe my blogs will be erratic for awhile). After a few days of rest there, we'll go to Michigan for the celebration of Jeremy's graduation and Chuck's birthday on June 3. By the way, Jeremy has posted a new "rhyming words" at


Thursday, May 25, 2006


I don't like weakness and I don't want to be weak. Yesterday I took a morning nap and then felt I was strong enough to go to work. I shouldn't have done it. I stayed only two hours, but came home totally wilted. Dear Chuck had to prepare his own dinner for the first time in months. I need to learn patience and the grace to live with weakness.

I think today will be better, now that the third day since chemo is past.

A friend sent a beautiful leather-bound collection of Puritan prayers titled The Valley of Vision, edited by Arthur Bennett, Canon of St Albans Cathedral in England. I've taken the liberty of changing "thee" to "you," with apologies to Mr. Bennett, and would like to share a prayer with you here.

Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells the brighter Your stars shine;
Let me find Your light in my darkness,
Your life in my death,
Your joy in my sorrow,
Your grace in my sin,
Your riches in my poverty
Your glory in my valley.

That's what I need today.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

First Day

Remember the old saying, "Today is the very first day of the rest of your life"? That's what today is--for all of us. For me, it's also the third day since chemo, which is typically a low point, but I think I won't focus on that. I did sleep an extra hour this morning, and I won't push too hard, but I'm thankful to feel as well as I feel. Yesterday I worked six hours, and we'll see how today turns out. We continue to pray that the chemo and the nutritional supplements will work together to drive out every cancer cell.

Our Sunday School friend with lung cancer has really suffered from his chemo. Tomorrow he'll have a PT-scan to determine whether his tumor has shrunk to operable size. Dear God, please heal him! Lisa's colleague who had restorative surgery on Monday is doing well. And our friend with the sight-threatening eye disease is seeing a specialist at Duke University this afternoon. Her condition has been getting worse. A series of "God-incidences" made today's appointment happen and we're trusting that He has a healing purpose in all of this.

The Bible promises: "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness." This morning is filled with new mercies from the Lord.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

God is with us -- Emanuel

We're very conscious of God's presence and help these days. Chemo #7 went well yesterday, and today I'm feeling strong enough to be preparing for at least a partial day at work. Chuck was praying hard that the nurse would be able to find a vein, and guess what! That original vein that "blew out" after the first two therapies had softened again, and she was able to use it. Although we're very disappointed that the CA 125 hadn't reached the desired level, I'm happy to report that the other blood indicators (white cells, hemoglobin etc) are all better than last time. And I feel well. So we're thanking God for His goodness and faithfulness.

It was great to have my sister here; she and Chuck had to leave for the airport while I was still hooked up to the I-V. I miss her, and appreciate her for taking the time to be here.

Our bluebird house now holds a beautifully crafted nest with four small blue eggs. This is the second family for this season, and we're really enjoying Mama Bluebird's song and presence in our yard.


Monday, May 22, 2006


The theme of yesterday was love--unmistakably. Beautiful bouquets of fragrant flowers announced all day the love of those who sent them. Chuck, my sister, my cousin and I spent all afternoon together, surrounded and filled with love. We visited some friends from our long-ago shared past who now live in a retirement center a few miles away, and we felt their love for us. Cards received over the past few days are reminders of the senders' love. Phone calls from early morning until bedtime all declared, "I love you." Our Sunday School lesson was based on the book of Jonah, focused on God's intense and forgiving love for the wicked and violent people of Nineveh. And the pastor's sermon from John 15 emphasized Jesus' wish for His followers: "This is My command, that you love one another."

I do feel built up by love as I go for chemo #7 today. I would so much like to be done with this chapter. As always, we pray for God to guide the chemicals to find and destroy each cancer cell. I decided this morning on a new plan of faith action. Just as we have a habit of bowing to thank God at the start of each meal, I will lift up a prayer each time I swallow one of my nutritional supplements, giving thanks for it and asking God to use it to defeat the cancer from the inside out. (I don't know why I didn't think of praying like that sooner.)

Lisa's colleague, for whose chemo we've prayed, is now finished with chemo and will have restorative surgery today (colorectal). I'm asking the Lord to fully restore her to health. (We haven't met yet, but we've become good e-mail friends.)

Thanks for your prayers.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Drawing Closer

Last evening my sister and I were lamenting that for so many years we'd allowed busyness and other people's expectations to keep us at a distance. (It's not that we fought--we simply weren't close.) In recent years we've been narrowing the gap, and it seems that God is using my cancer to show all five of us siblings just how precious we are to one another. I'm so grateful for each one of them, as for each friend and loved one--all gifts of grace! May I urge you to draw closer to your loved ones while you have life--even though you feel you're too busy, or it's too hard.

Someone sent me a card with a beautiful Bible promise on it: Isaiah 46:4--

"I will be your God....I made you and I will care for you."

That's enough to bring peace to a heart that's confused and troubled about rising cancer numbers! The doctor says that nutritional supplements interfere with the action of the chemo. I know that I feel so much better and stronger when I take them. God knows what's really happening in every cell, and I'm asking Him to guide me as to what to take and what not to take.

Thanks for your love and prayers.


Saturday, May 20, 2006


We spent yesterday in the nearby mountains of North Carolina. Beauty to feed the soul!

Our Sunday School class members have signed up for half-hour segments of a "Twenty-four Hour Bouquet of Intercessory Prayer" to God. We had collectively suggested themes for intercession a few weeks ago. This "Bouquet" started at 8 am today, and will end at 8 am Sunday. Suggested requests range from local school issues to famine in East Africa to the need for people around the world to know Christ's salvation. I'll take my turn early Sunday morning. It's exciting to think how God will receive and answer this special effort.

I've mentioned grandson Jeremy and his plan to spend the coming year in mission. On his blog [] I found some "rhyming lines" that cause me to reflect, and I'm copying them below.


The piercing darkness surrounds me
Blank walls where dreams should be
A place to home for the best
Try hard and let God do the rest
But the fire there has faded
The passion for change has deflated
I remember what it was like
To see everything good and right
To live on the silver lining of the cloud
To be unafraid to stand out from the crowd
To know God's by my side
Because I saw him all the time
But my God of night and day
Now seems a million miles away
His absence is deadening
It's a void inside of me
His departure I brought about
Filled my life and squeezed him out
The devotion time is there
But I'm rushed and don't care
I refused to listen to his voice
I did it my way, made my own choice
My life was filled with clutter
No time from one to the other
And when my time for God runs out
All I have left is doubt
I find myself alone and afraid
Still unable to find the way
I've got to focus on him again
The Lamb of God, the Great I Am
----Jeremy Slager

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Smartest Person in the Universe

The smartest person in the universe is not Carol Wilson! I'm committed to that fact. I had my own ideas about the "right" direction for my CA 125 numbers to go (that is, DOWN), and I neither like nor understand the results I received yesterday. So I take my soul by the scruff of the neck and return to bedrock: God is the smartest Person in the universe. He knows all about these numbers, He knows whether or not a slight increase is significant, He knows where every cancer cell is hiding, and He knows His perfectly good reasons for allowing this setback (if that's what it is). Can we continue to ask Him and trust Him for all the things we've been praying for--not only my healing, but also for the many people we all know who face desperate needs?

My sister's plane was seriously delayed last night due to weather, but she's here now and we are blessed. She needs to leave on Monday afternoon, right after my chemotherapy.

Thank you, again and always, for your faithful concern and prayers.


Thursday, May 18, 2006


We need to adjust our expectations. I just got the report from the doctor's office, and the numbers on the tumor marker have actually gone up. This is disappointing, of course. But God is still good, and we'll still trust Him.


Tune my Heart

Yesterday some events and people disappointed me. Naturally (emphasis on "naturally") my attitude turned sour. That's not good. Nurse daughter Sue assures me that cancer and other diseases feed on negative feelings. This morning as I was awaking, one line from a hymn was ringing in my head: "Tune my heart to sing Your grace." (I'm singing it now, as I type.) I find it hard at times to tune my own heart; it likes to trend down any old natural melody, even if it's melancholy. So I'm making that hymn my prayer for all day today: "Tune my heart to sing Your grace."

I'm as eager as you are for the CA 125 results. I called the doctor's nurse twice yesterday afternoon, but didn't get a return call. I assume the results weren't back from the lab. I hope to hear today.

A miracle happened yesterday. A black swallowtail butterfly emerged from what had looked like a failed chrysalis. Several times each summer, a swallowtail will lay eggs on my parsley plants. As soon as I can see the larva, I bring them inside and keep them well fed with parsley. (If I leave them outside, birds like to snatch them--which interrupts the butterfly population.) Sadly, I bumped the vase as one of the larva was in the process of attaching itself to a stick, and it fell to the bottom, helpless. I felt terrible! After a couple of days, I glued its tail to a stick and used 1/3 inch of string to dangle its top side away from the stick as they naturally do. It remained bright green, never turning papery brown like the others. When we left for Washington DC, I entrusted the chrysalises to my darling neighbor boys (the same ones who pray for me when they see a UPS/Urgent Prayer Support truck). Yesterday morning their mother called me with the exciting news: the first butterfly, the one in the still-green chrysalis, had emerged. Beautiful. All the more so because it had seemed doomed.

I feel strong enough to put in full days at work and take care of necessary tasks at home. Thank the Lord. But a collection of chemo side effects reminds me of how wonderful it will be when we can stop that therapy.

My sister is flying in this evening to be with us for the weekend. I am so looking forward to this time together.

Singing grace,

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


I'm sure waiting is good for the soul, but sometimes it's hard. I had blood drawn yesterday, and now I'm waiting for the results of the CA 125, the tumor marker. I know that many of you have prayed that it will be below 15 this time, so I know you're also waiting for news. I'll post an update as soon as I hear. Meanwhile, I'll try to be patient, and I determine to remember that whatever the number turns out to be, it is not the most important fact in the universe. Far from it!

This morning I was reading in the book of Acts, and this verse grabbed my attention: "But my life is worth nothing unless I use it for dong the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus--the work of telling others the Good News about God's wonderful kindness and love." Acts 20:24. My life feels so precious to me these days. I want to keep aware of what makes it really worthwhile.

Lisa asked me to tell you that our dear friend Joan, in Michigan, was the one who gathered the contact information for the people who wrote all those encouraging birthday letters. Thanks, Joan.

You are wonderful to maintain this prayer vigil with me. May God reward you.


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Back in Touch

It's good to be back in touch with you. I won't write much this morning, because yesterday afternoon I posted a fairly long update with some details about our celebratory weekend in Washington DC.

Lisa had collected letters from many friends from our Michigan days (some of them now living elsewhere in the world) and had bound them beautifully as a 69th birthday gift for me. My heart is in my throat even now as I think about all the encouragement and blessing I received from reading those letters. One friend included all 8 stanzas of a hymn by John Newton--a hymn that has strongly marked her life. I'll quote the last two stanzas here:

No strength of our own,
Or goodness we claim,
Yet since we have known
The Savior's great name;
In this our strong tower
For safety we hide,
The Lord is our power,
The Lord will provide.

When life sinks apace
And death is in view,
This word of His grace
Shall comfort us through;
No fearing or doubting
With Christ on our side,
We hope to die shouting,
The Lord will provide.


P.S. How Lisa ever managed to contact everyone and pull this collection together, on top of working, finishing grad school, and planning all the gourmet meals and parties for the weekend I can't imagine. Thanks, Lisa.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Incredible Sweetness

Thanks for your prayers for our trip. We are safely home again, with hearts full of luminous memories.

I can't find words to express what the past weekend did for my soul. The thrill of seeing Lisa achieve her graduate school dream. The sheer fun of visiting with many of her friends at the open house celebration at her home. It's a very small condo, yet thirty or more of us felt so comfortable that the party lasted 2 1/2 hours longer than announced! Her circle is very diverse--a tribute to her, I think. Even better was celebrating Mother's Day with all three daughters (Sue, Karin and Lisa), all of them so expressive of their love. Sue's husband Jeff and my Chuck were also there, and loving notes came from Keith and the children.

Sunday evening we walked the two blocks from Lisa's home to the National Gallery of Art for an outstanding piano concert (Schubert, Debussy and Chopin). Another soul feast! And Sunday morning's worship service still rings in my mind. All the beautiful hymns and Scriptures. The vicar spoke about the high importance of the Bible for our daily lives. The anthem for the offertory was "Still, Still with Thee" by Harriet Beecher Stowe. The final stanza says, "So shall it be at last in that bright morning, When the soul waketh, and life's shadows flee; O in that hour, fairer than daylight dawning, Shall rise the glorious thought, I am with Thee." That attitude is the commitment of my heart. But to be honest, after the incredible sweetness of family love and cultural beauty this past weekend, my heart also cries out, "No! Not for a long while yet! Please, I don't want to leave!" (For one thing, I so much want to be here three years from now to watch Karin graduate from law school. In fact, a whole string of important milestones line up for coming years. Nevertheless, God knows best.)

I'll work at the office tomorrow morning, and in the afternoon I'll go in for a blood test. I know it's only a number, and God's purposes can't be changed by chemo or lack of it. Still, this test feels very important, and I can't tell you how grateful I am for those who are praying for the CA 125 to drop below 15. We'll probably get the results on Friday.

Love to you all,

Friday, May 12, 2006

What a Celebration!

It's late Friday, and I'm borrowing someone's internet access.

I thank the Lord for a good trip here yesterday and a great time last evening with Lisa, Sue and Jeff. Early this morning, Karin walked in and surprised me. (Everyone else knew she had arranged her life to be able to come.) So we all enjoyed the graduation ceremony this morning. We're so proud of Lisa. She did very well in her studies, and was one of only 5 Caucasians in the class. The speakers were impressive and challenged the 110 new social workers to make a difference for the people who are the most needy. I know Lisa would appreciate your prayers as she seeks a position where she can gain her 2 years of supervised clinical experience in order to be certified as a Social Worker/counselor.

This afternoon we toured the Capitol. Tomorrow we'll all help with an open house for Lisa's colleagues, fellow students, neighbors and friends.

I was pretty tired when we returned from the Capitol tour, but feel refreshed now. I am so thankful to have enough energy for this wonderful weekend.

I'm not sure whether I'll be able to connect again before Monday evening. I appreciate you all so much.


Thursday, May 11, 2006

Active Trust

We're driving to Washington DC today. Daughter Lisa will be graduated from Howard University this weekend with a Master in Social Work degree. We feel blesesed to be able to participate in this celebration. As we ask each day, we pray that God will draw all our hearts close to His throughout all the happenings. Sue and Jeff are driving from Michigan and will meet us in Washington. Karin and Keith (from Indiana) tried so hard to get free to come too, but have insurmountable schedule conflicts this weekend.

I may not be able to post any updates while I'm there. Lisa uses only a cell phone, so I'd have to find an internet service somewhere, and I can't promise. Please know how greatly I appreciate your interest and prayers; what a special moment this is each day to connect with you in this way.

We plan to drive back to Charlotte on Monday the 15th, and on Tuesday I'll go to the oncologist's office for the fateful CA 125 test. If it's below 15, we'll give thanks to God and cancel the taxotere (chemo). If it's not, we'll still give thanks to God and proceed with treatment.

In the evening, when my energy evaporates at about 8:00 pm, I hear a nasty whisper, "Hey, you're really going downhill." "Quiet!" I say, and I go to bed. In the morning, when I wake up rested and energized for the day, I can believe the whisper was a lie.

I cannot know why suddenly the storm
Should rage so fiercely round me in its wrath;
But this I know--God watches all my path,
And I can trust.

I may not draw aside the unseen veil
That hides the unknown future from my sight;
Nor know if for me waits the dark or light,
But I can trust.

I have no power to look across the tide,
To see while here the land beyond the river;
But this I know--I will be God's forever;
So I can trust.


Wednesday, May 10, 2006


I've been reflecting on the past four+ months and all the times when we felt so confused and perplexed. Then we asked the Lord to guide us, and He did! Medical tests, doctors, treatments, nutritional supplements, schedules--all these have come together by His grace. May I share with you a few verses from Psalm 16 that express what's in my heart this morning?

I will bless the Lord Who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me.
I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me.
No wonder my heart is filled with joy,
And my mouth shouts His praises! My body rests in safety....
You will show me the way of life,
Granting me the joy of Your presence
And the pleasures of living with You forever.

Please note the last line; eternity with Jesus is where this all ends--whether sooner or later. That's a wonderful hope.


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

A Firm Foundation

I love the hymn that begins, "How firm a foundation, you saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in His excellent Word." That's why I like to begin every day by reading the Bible. It lays a fresh foundation for me to live by faith in the coming day. This morning I read in Acts 14 about the life-change and the overwhelming joy that came to people who put their faith in Jesus. Those are the very same themes as in the stories I'm now preparing for the next issue of the SIM magazine. Elsewhere, the Bible says that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. He really is!

Later in that hymn is this stanza:
When through fiery trials your pathway shall lie,
My grace all-sufficient shall be your supply.
The flames shall not hurt you, I only design
Your dross to consume and your gold to refine.

That's what I want!

We saw the surgeon yesterday for yet another follow-up appointment. He is very pleased with my continuing progress, and a thorough check revealed no new tumors.

I'm feeling well too. Besides six hours of editorial work, and the doctor visit, we also put in a couple of hours of work in the yard. Nice balance!

Thanks as always for your faithful prayers.


Monday, May 08, 2006


Yesterday morning in the Sunday School class, I projected an image of the Chinese character for "crisis," and pointed out that it's made up of two words: Danger and Opportunity. (No, I don't know Chinese; I merely learned that from someone else.) It's important to remember that cancer is truly a crisis. Dangerous? Yes! It can kill. Opportunity? Oh, yes! For me it's given opportunity to learn what's really important, to be still, to draw closer to people, and to discover wonderful aspects of God's character in a far more personal dimension. Here are the childlike words I used as I shared what I've been learning about God: Mystery, Smart, Tender, Big, True, Strong, and Love. He is all of those--and far more besides.

As I sit here typing at Chuck's desk, I see the latest copy of Fortune magazine. Blazed across the lower corner are these words: Dead Zones, Danger Zones, and Safe Havens. It occurs to me that for whatever time I have left to live, the only one of those three that I absolutely want to avoid would be Dead Zones. No growth happens in Dead Zones. Life doesn't even happen there, although one might be in great physical condition. Safe Havens sound lovely, and one might be tempted to cozy in and hide there. In a sense, God always provides a safe haven--but it's not always comfortable. I think we must venture into Danger Zones, both in investing and in living, if we want to see "profit" and growth. (I haven't read the article inside the magazine, so I have no idea whether I've caught the author's intent; it doesn't matter.) With Danger comes Opportunity. I wonder what opportunities lie ahead in this day for you and for me.


Sunday, May 07, 2006

God Is Still

I believe I've experienced a miracle. The sores in my mouth are almost gone, and I'm looking forward to teaching the class this morning. My assignment is to tell what I've learned about God through living with cancer. It will not be a theology lesson! I have always loved the long Greek-based descriptors of God (omnipotent, omnipresent, etc), which are utterly true and wonderful. But when I was almost brain dead from anesthetics, anxiety and chemo, I found myself thinking in first-grade vocabulary. So that's what I'll use this morning. Thanks so much for praying for my mouth.

One of the qualities of God that's hard for me to grasp is His stillness. I can only see the beauty of stillness when I'm still myself--which was rare before cancer slowed me. It's a great lesson!

An older friend, a dear follower of Jesus, lives in Florida. I just read an e-mail from his wife saying that he'd fallen this week (no broken bones, thankfully). I'm sure it was terribly upsetting, but his reaction was a humorous "Who moved that door casing?" Reminds me to keep a sense of humor handy; we never know when we'll need it!

Have a blessed day.


Saturday, May 06, 2006

Friends at the Corners

In the New Testament (Mark 2:4) we meet four friends who carried their sick friend on his bed to Jesus. But Jesus was inside a house tightly packed with people. So they carried their friend up to the flat clay-tiled roof, lifted off some tiles, and lowered him with ropes straight down in front of Jesus. The record states, "When He saw their faith," he healed the sick man. That's the image in the minds of my friends who independently decided to pray that my CA 125 will drop below 15 before the next chemo. Yesterday a neighbor said, "I'll be the fourth." So now there's at least one friend at each corner--"carrying" that cancer reduction by faith.

My mouth sores are much better already. Thanks for praying. And thanks to my neighbors for lending me their soothing medicines. (I picked up my own Magic Mouthwash at the pharmacy yesterday.) I think the tingling and numbness in my fingers is also better. I drop things often, but so far I haven't broken anything. And when I'm typing, extra letters show up every once in awhile. I guess we can live with that!

Proverbs 13:12 laments, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick." A California friend wrote, "Yes, but hope deferred is still hope." So true! Let's keep our hope firmly resting on God.

In His love,

Friday, May 05, 2006

Keep the Song

Today's reading in Streams in the Desert picked right up from my closing thoughts yesterday about praising God. After reading the following verses, I raised my own squeaky chemo voice to sing a couple of my favorite worship songs to God.

Don't let the song go out of your life
Although it sometimes will flow
In a minor strain; it will blend again
With the major tune you know.

Don't let the song go out of your life;
Though the voice may have lost its trill,
Though the quivering note may die in your throat,
Let it sing in your spirit still.

Yesterday my doctor's nurse called me about a scheduling issue, and when I mentioned the mouth sores she said she'd order a prescription for Magic Mouthwash for me. (The pharmacy didn't have the needed ingredients on hand, so I'll pick it up today.) But here's the cool part: a neighbor (also a blog reader) who had cancer a year ago offered her left-over Magic Mouthwash to tide me over. Later another neighbor (another blog reader) who had cancer two years ago sent over a tube of antibiotic mouth salve. (Please don't tell the medicine police that I'm using other people's prescriptions!) Both products were wonderfully soothing, and I was not awakened at all by pain last night.

In the last three days, three friends told me "out of the blue" that they were praying for my CA 125 to drop below 15 before the next chemo so I can discontinue the taxotere which is causing the side effects. But logistically, the nurses always draw blood immediately before administering the chemo, and results on CA 125 take 3 days, so we wouldn't know in time to leave out the taxotere. I felt humbled by my friends' concern, and wanted to honor their faith on my behalf. So here's how we've worked it out:

We'll return to Charlotte from our trip to Washington DC for Lisa's graduation earlier than planned--on May 15. I have an appointment on May 16 for the blood tests that will get the results back to the doctor by the end of the week, in time to make an informed decision about how much chemo to administer on Monday May 22. It sounds complicated!

If you feel comfortable to join those friends' bold prayers, please do. Last time, as you recall, the CA 125 dropped only about 12 points. This is a request for a 25-point drop--from 40 to 15! It's not too hard for God, although it's an unlikely expectation from the chemo. So who's trusting chemo, anyway?

A friend in Australia asked for photos of our family. I posted them yesterday afternoon. If you'd like to see them, please scroll down a few lines.


Thursday, May 04, 2006

Family Photos

A friend in Australia asked if I could show these wonderful family members I've been writing about.

Top: Sue and Jeff, sons Jeremy, Justin and James with his wife Liz and baby Joshua

Middle: Karin and Keith, Calli and Gavin

Lower: Lisa Wilson

I'm so glad she asked!


Urgent Prayer Support (UPS)

My six-year-old neighbor, every time he sees a United Parcel Service (UPS) truck, exclaims, "Look, Mommy, we need to pray for Miss Carol and one other person!" (Several months ago, I wrote here about the way our church used sightings of UPS trucks to remind us to offer up Urgent Prayer Support for our dear pastor in his victorious battle with cancer. He won! Last fall, God called him to heaven. He always reminded us to pray for others in addition to himself.) How I appreciate all the prayers you all are raising on my behalf.

Now I do have an urgent request. Two days ago, sores suddenly appeared in my mouth. This is a common effect from chemo, and at first I was careful to rinse my mouth frequently with a mild salt solution. But after all this time with no sores, I thought it wouldn't happen. They're painful enough that it's difficult to eat (don't worry; I have pounds to spare) and difficult to talk (now that's a problem!). Actually, I do need to be able to talk. I've been given the privilege of teaching our Sunday School class this coming Sunday, to tell some of the things I've learned about God as I've lived with cancer. Thanks for praying.

As I type this before daybreak, even through closed windows I can hear a chorus of singing birds waking the dawn outdoors. It reminds me of a simple chorus we sang as children:
The birds upon the treetops sing their song.
The angels chant their chorus all day long.
The flowers in the garden blend their hue.
So why shouldn't I, why shouldn't you, praise Him too?

We will praise Him. He deserves it!

The friend whose ovarian cancer recurred a few weeks ago has bad news. She can't continue treatment because they can't get her white blood count up to a safe level. God knows how to give her comfort and peace; I pray He will do so.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

He Knows my Name!

A few years ago we often sang a worship song that contained the words, "He knows my name... He hears my anxious thoughts." He's been hearing some swirling and confused thoughts the past few hours. So much advice. So many plans on hold. So many choices to make. Charles Spurgeon said, "I am His servant, not His advisor." It's time for me to quiet my brain, put my hand in God's, and quietly wait for Him to guide me, rather than turn things around and try to figure out myself what I want Him to do for me! Isaiah 49:16 says, "See, I have written your name on my hand." It's exhilarating and comforting to realize that the hand that holds me has my name on it! I think it was tattooed there by a cruel Roman spike.

Good news: the friend who had prostate surgery last week is now off pain pills. What's more, the preliminary lab report shows "all the margins clean," which should mean that the doctor removed all the cancer. It's wonderful to watch God answer prayer.

I expect to put in another full day of work today; I'm so thankful for the strength God gives. And I'm so thankful for your continuing prayers and caring.


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Traveling Mercies

Yesterday some dear friends who were traveling through the area came out of their way to see me at my office. They serve the Lord with SIM in West Africa, and will return there this summer. I think we were all sobered by the thought that we might not see one another again in this life. Oh! Our short visit was so sweet! Before we parted with prayers and hugs, they asked how they could pray for me. I gave them the top two requests I pray each morning:
1. That God will help me to live fully every moment of this day.
2. That God will draw my heart close to His heart.

I worked seven hours yesterday and felt well. (I admit I was very ready for an early bedtime.) I'm planning to work a nearly full day again today. I get to lead staff prayers this morning. We'll be praying for Bangladesh and Benin--our workers and local friends there. We always pray that God will build strong churches around the world for His glory. It's a huge privilege to be involved in His magnificent work among the nations.

I know that each of you is carrying at least one burden today. May I pray for you what I pray for myself? Lord, please help my friends live fully every moment of this day. And please draw their hearts close to Your heart. Amen.


Monday, May 01, 2006

The Big "C"

"I want the 'Big C" (Christ) to conquer the 'little c' (cancer)." With those words, the niece of Sister Sue Tracy, an oncology chaplain suddenly facing her own cancer, put things in perspective for Sue. How often have we heard people refer to cancer as the "Big C"? Well! Cancer seems big, but it's little in comparison with Christ.

That story is in a 90-day devotional for women battling cancer titled, Praying Through Cancer. My young friend Sarah, after her double mastectomy for breast cancer, contributed two of the devotionals. She sent me a copy of the book last week. Naturally, I read her beautiful writings first. And now I'm gratefully reading the rest, happy to be reminded over and over where my hope lies.

Lisa returned to her home in Washington DC last evening. Our time with her was refreshing and encouraging.

Today I feel well enough to be planning a full day of work. Another magazine deadline is approaching. Thanks for your prayers.