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

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Oh! How I wish you all could see this gorgeous place (Bryce Canyon). I don't like to use cliches, but breathtaking is the right word. Chuck and I cut our hike short (due to the other meaning of "breath-taking") and then we simply walked along the rim--pausing often to give attention to the marvels in front of us. We didn't--couldn't--talk. We simply looked. The beauty is enough to bring tears to the eyes. The McGraths continued on for a very challenging and long hike through the bottom of the canyon, getting right up close to those astounding rock formations. They came back to camp raving about what they had seen.

We'll head out early Wednesday morning for Zion National Park. It's unique; the road travels through the bottom of the canyon, and all hiking is done up first. The rocks there are huge and very different from Bryce Canyon.

Today's verses from Psalm 65:

You take care of the earth and water it, making it rich and fertile. The rivers of God will not run dry. They provide a bountiful harvest of grain, for you have ordered it so. You drench the plowed ground with rain, Melting the clods and leveling the ridges. You soften the earth with showers and bless its abundant crops.

I feel so well. Thanks for your prayers. I'm doing my best to eat right and do the right things to promote health.



Bryce Canyon

I'm sitting under pine trees at the campground, bright sun filtering through the fine green branches. After breakfast we'll head into the park for a day's pleasure on the trails of Bryce Canyon. I already know I'll cover less distance than the rest of the family. At this altitude breathing is a little harder--but it's glorious.

Sunday we camped at Glenwood Springs, Colorado. We swam in the hot mineral springs and enjoyed the Colorado River which tumbled past a mere 50 feet from our campsite. "The song of the rapids calling us to tomorrow" is a line from the 1974 slide & sound show we created after our week-long raft trip on the Colorado through the Grand Canyon.

Monday's drive was hard on the van (and driver), carrying a heavy camper up very steep inclines. We drove through the Escalante National Monument, viewing expanses of "carved" rock impossible to describe. We stopped at Fruita, Utah, an area settled by Mormon pioneers in the 1800s. We saw petroglyphs carved by the Indians who lived there more than a thousand years ago. Fruit orchards still thrive, and we got there at the start of the apricot harvest. The deal is that whatever you eat on site is free. The fruit you take with you costs only 50 cents a pound. We'll be eating them for several days. Yum. (Chuck and I had discovered that place six years ago, and really wanted to share the experience.)

Tomorrow we head for Zion National Park, where more hikes are calling the McGraths. Whenever we can find internet access, I'll keep in touch.

Yesterday's verses:
Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your wonders.
From where the sun rises to where it sets, You inspire shouts of joy.


Sunday, June 25, 2006

Psalm 65

We had "church" as we drove this morning. We sang "This Is the Day that the Lord has made." We read a devotional and its related Scripture. Then we read all of Psalm 65 together, then memorized this: "You formed the mountains by your power, and armed Yourself with mighty strength. You quieted the raging oceans with their pounding waves, and silenced the shouting of the nations." (Gavin is helping me get it right as I type this.)

God delivered us from possible trouble on Saturday. A passing motorist alerted us to a problem with the camper. We discovered that one of the tires had thrown off at least half its tread--down to the tube! Why the thing didn't blow out, causing loss of control and a possible wreck, we don't know. We drove very slowly to the next exit, where there was a truck stop. The staff put us in touch with a mobile tire specialist, and three hours later he had us fixed up and on our way. Being Saturday afternoon, with most such stores closed, it was wonderful that he could track down the size we needed. We're all thankful.

We can see the dim shapes of mountains ahead as I'm typing this. Tomorrow we hope to arrive at Bryce Canyon. We first went there in 1973. We pulled in after dark during a magnificent show of shooting stars. We set up the camper and went to bed, waking up in the morning to a vista of gorgeous red rock formations right outside our plastic windows. We've been there since, always with the same sense of wonder. It will be fun to see the children's reactions.

I'm feeling very well--rejuvenated, actually. Wish you could all accompany us on this trip. Care to join us at the campfire tonight?


Saturday, June 24, 2006

Headin' West

Our trip to Indiana Friday was pleasant and we're still in good shape. Following a good night's sleep, we're about ready to head west. We'll try to cover lots of miles across the plains and get to the mountains as quickly as possible.

As we travel, the children and I will try to memorize Psalm 65, which always speaks to me of the beauties of our planned itinerary. Here's part of it:

You formed the mountains by your power
And armed yourself with mighty strength.
You quieted the raging oceans with their pounding waves
And silenced the shouting of the nations.

Those who live at the ends of the earth
Stand in awe of your wonders.
From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy.

You take care of the earth and water it, making it rich and fertile.
The rivers of God will not run dry,
They provide a bountiful harvest of grain, for you have ordered it so.
You drench the plowed ground with rain,
Melting the clods and leveling the ridges.
You soften the earth with showers and bless its abundant crops.

You crown the year with a bountiful harvest.
Even the hard pathways overflow with abundance,
The wilderness becomes a lush pasture, and the hillsides blossom with joy.
The meadows are clothed with flocks of sheep,
And the valleys are carpeted with grain.

They all shout and sing for joy!

We feel so blessed to be able to take this trip!

I think we'll find hook-ups at some of our campgrounds, and I'll keep in touch as much as possible. You bless us with your interest and prayers.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Friday Is a Travel Day

This will serve as Friday’s post.

I stayed home Thursday morning to organize food, clothes, books and my anti-cancer regimen for the 2 ½ week road trip. I’m glad I did; otherwise I’d have been up until midnight getting ready. I’m taking along several articles to write for the next magazine. I’ll have time to read, rest and work while the more energetic members of the party are engaged in strenuous hikes.

Huge storms tore through Indiana and Michigan Wednesday evening. One uprooted a large walnut tree next to our lake house and dropped it on our neighbor’s garage, flattening her nearly new SUV inside. It also left a massive crater in our yard. Karin happened to be in our house at the time; I’m sure it was traumatic. We are so thankful that neither house was touched and especially that no one was injured. Just that easily our plans could have been changed!

The blood report that came back on Thursday showed “nothing to worry about,” in the nurse’s words. My blood sugar is very low and one other thing was borderline; I forget what it was. But the liver and kidney functions are good. (You know, after 8 chemo-therapies I think this is cause for loud praise. So many people suffer damage to their organs, sometimes irreversible, as a result of chemo.)

I had an error in the optional blog outlining my anti-cancer regimen a few days ago. If you’ve looked at it, please don’t take it seriously until you check the corrected version. If you don’t ever look at it, that’s fine with me.

I received a letter from a friend of a friend who wanted to encourage me--and she did! At some time in the past her husband and young son were killed in an auto accident. Now she's living with cancer, and I'm sure she's an inspiration to her nurses and Hospice caregivers. She quoted the same Bible verse I've referred to recently: Whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. It's a comforting and encouraging truth.

May God fill you with His peace and grace.

Carol...for Chuck too


These are pomegranate blossoms. The nursery manager told us when we bought the tree that if we expected fruit, we’d have to water it generously every day. We wouldn’t dream of adding a job like that to our lives, but we liked the picture of the blossoms so planted it anyway. The first few years were iffy, but now we’re getting rewards like these. Aren’t they splendid?

The blood test yesterday looked okay. My white blood cell count has zoomed way above normal, and my hemoglobin is only .1 away from anemia. But the nurse said No problem, Go! So we’re planning to go. One more set of results is due back tomorrow, but we didn’t bother to check the CA 125 this time.

Izak Dinesen, author of Out of Africa, said, “You know you are truly alive when you are living among lions.” If cancer cells can be likened to lions, and they certainly feel like them sometimes, then we’re in a perfect place for being truly, consciously alive.

The son of some SIM workers was wounded by an improvised explosive device near Kirkuk in March. He’s going to be all right, but it’s a reminder again to be praying for both military personnel and civilians in many locations where the “lions” are roaring. I love this young man’s attitude. He writes, “Despite everything that has happened, there is no way I can feel anything but thankfulness, especially as I was the only one hurt in the explosion.” (Now honestly, he could just as well have been saying, “Why me?”) And: “I’m glad that I learned a long time ago that each day happens, and no amount of worrying makes any difference. It is hard to remember all the time, but that doesn’t make it untrue. God really does give you the strength for each day as it comes.” This young man makes us proud.

We plan to leave at 3:00 a.m. tomorrow for Indiana. Then all six of us will head west on Saturday morning. I'll blog whenever I can. I won't forget to pray for you, and I continue to be so grateful for and dependent on your prayers. (My nutritional regimen has gotten to be a good habit here at home, but I realize it will be a new challenge on the road. I'll do my best.)

Carol...for Chuck too

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Empty Nest--Again

Yes, the other two baby bluebirds flew away while we were at work. The whole bluebird family was a charming gift to us!

The magazine layout was so worth waiting for. Jeremy at Relevant Media Group did a brilliant job, and I can’t wait for you to see it. (For those of you who receive the SIM magazine, look forward to it in August-September. If you aren’t a subscriber but would like to be, let me know. It’s free and only 4 times a year.) By the way, RELEVANT magazine (for 20-something young adults) contains creative youth-oriented graphics and deep, sober reflections. We’re blessed to have them doing SIM’s design. (

Here’s a quote by Winn Collier from the March-April RELEVANT: Jesus appeared [following His resurrection] and said, “Peace be with you.” Then He pulled back His robe and offered the fresh wounds to the disciples’ plain view, showing them His pierced hands and ripped-open side. Is this a strange scene, connected to a declaration of peace? Jesus’ peace, we find, is not naïve It is not a way of avoiding what is most heinous or what is most disturbing. The peace Jesus offers is no stranger to violence or abandonment or dread. Quite the opposite, it was won on a brutal cross. And Jesus stands now, in the midst of your nightmarish terror, fully alive, pierced hands outstretched, naming your reality. Peace.

I felt really well yesterday. I know God is answering our prayers. I worked a full day at the office, then had energy left over to make preparations for our camping trip.

We have an 8:30 appointment this morning for a blood test. I’m expecting to be cleared for take-off.

Last evening I posted an optional blog. Several people have asked about my anti-cancer regimen, and I finally typed it up. I really hope you won’t read it, because I’m such an amateur, and also I’m not well yet. But if you happen to be one of the curious ones, feel free to scroll on down. I want to say emphatically that none of these things is a substitute for prayer. I’m merely trying to cooperate with God for my healing.

I appreciate you!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Optional: My Anti-cancer Regimen

I'm really reluctant to do this, because I am not a medical or nutritional expert, and obviously I'm not well yet. So please, if you read this at all, take it as purely a friendly answer to the many who have asked what I'm doing to fight this disease (and why I seem to handle the chemo better than most). My first answer is always that God is answering the prayers of you all. What follows is simply my attempt to cooperate with Him.

Carol Wilson’s Anti-Cancer Regimen

From time to time, someone asks what I’m doing (besides surgery and chemo) to fight my cancer. I’ve done quite a bit of research, helped by my friends, and have made several lifestyle changes. We decided from the start not to get involved in any Multi-Level Marketing schemes, which has simplified things greatly.

The most important part of my anti-cancer plan is prayer. I pray often—day and night, Chuck and I pray together, our family prays, and hundreds of friends around the world are also praying for God’s great power to act in my body and spirit. He is our only Hope for this life and the next.

Here are the basics of our new lifestyle (in no particular order):
Filter on our showerhead to remove chlorine
Filtered water for drinking (64 ounces a day) and for cooking
9 hours sleep per night
No soft drinks and almost no coffee
Daily walk

Foods (everything listed is delicious):
As many organic foods as feasible and affordable
Fresh vegetables and fruits (thoroughly washed and rinsed) at least 7 servings per day
Whole grains only, none refined
Nuts, especially almonds
Sprouted whole grain cereals (e.g.., Ezekiel 4:9 cereal available in grocery stores)
Frequent smoothies (low-fat yogurt, frozen fruit, protein powder, vanilla & honey if needed)
1 T. Flaxseed oil, ½ c. low-fat cottage cheese or yogurt, 1 T. ground flax seed and fruit (3 x day)
OR the flaxseed oil and low-fat cottage cheese or yogurt with herbs, cider vinegar and veggies
(See for scientific explanation)
Small servings ( 1 x day) of wild salmon or skinless chicken, almost no red meat
I eat other healthy foods not listed here, such as eggs, cheese and whole grain pasta; occasionally I cheat.
(It’s smart to eliminate sugar. I read about a study showing that cancer cells that reproduce every two weeks take from 2 to 5 months to divide if deprived of sugar. I don’t have the study. I realize that everything we eat turns into some form of sugar, so I don’t understand this point. But, wanting to live, I have quit eating refined sugar.)

Supplements from pharmacy, SAMS or healthfood store:
Excellent multi-vitamin
Calcium citrate
Liquid minerals
Metamucil (1 heaping tablespoon in water 3 x day)

Supplements from private source:
Zynergy (12 drops per day)
MegaHydrate (4 capsules x day)
Shark Liver Oil capsules (4 capsules x day)
Enzymes (4 caplets x day)
Apricot pits (2 each meal)

Temporary (until chemo stops) to mitigate effects of chemo (all from pharmacy):
Vitamin B complex and Vitamin B12 (for neuropathy)
Iron (for anemia)
Cranberry Juice capsules (to guard against urinary tract infections)

I hope you’ll understand that since I’m not well yet, I can’t give a testimonial to any of these products, except that I have coped extraordinarily well with 8 rounds of chemo at this writing (June 17, 2006) and essentially I feel good. The above regimen takes a little extra time and expense, but I feel it’s worth it.

Explanation of Supplements

Zynergy increases the assimilation of other vitamins, minerals and monatomics, thereby increasing their potency and effectiveness, eliminates waste due to lack of bioabsorption, and increases the efficiency of oxygen, hydrogen, enzymes, amino acids, saccharides and polysaccharides. It takes only 3 drops of Zynergy 4 times a day to get results. There are several testimonies of cancer patients whose tumors and symptoms cleared up after taking Zynergy and MegaHydrate. The combination has also cleared joint pain for several patients. Zynergy ingredients: monatomic gold, silver, indium, boron, selenium, phosphorus, silicon and sulfur.

Megahydrate contains negatively charged hydrogen ions, as does the glacial water that promotes long healthy lives in the Hunza and Villacamba. The primary sources of hydrogen ions for the human body are fresh uncooked plants, fruits, vegetables and water. Due in no small part to mass food production, mineral deficient soil, pesticides, over-processing of foods, chemical preservatives, and over-chlorinating and over-fluoridating water, many do not get enough hydrogen ions. In that state, cell damage occurs as cells become oxidized. Positively charged chemicals are called free radicals or oxidants. These chemicals roam freely through the body stealing electrons from other cells. Free radicals damage cellular DNA. The active ingredient in MegaHydrate is silica hydride. It is the only known antioxidant that does not turn into a free radical once it has neutralized a free radical by donating an electron. Negatively-charged hydrogen turns into benign gas and/or combines with oxygen to form water. Silica hydride positively affects the “zeta potential (X)” of blood cells. Zeta potential is the electric potential, or charge, that exists in a hydrated particle and the surrounding solution. The greater the zeta potential, the more likely the suspension will be stable because the charged particles repel one another and thus overcome the natural tendency to aggregate. Zeta potential is an electrical charge that describes how far apart cells are. Toxins, viral matter, fungi, and bacteria trapped between cells can be expunged more readily. Water enters cells more easily. MegaHydrate is a dietary supplement that is considered a food grade supplement by the FDA. It is safe and has been tested and shown to have no known side effects. Silica Hydride Power proprietary blend: potassium citrate, silica, potassium carbonate, oleic acid, hydrogen negative ions.

Apricot kernels help boost the immune system.

Enzyme formula contains bromelain and pancreatin, which help eliminate dead cancer cells from the body and help the body utilize good nutrition.

Shark liver oil helps to counter angiogenesis. (Angiogenesis is a function of the body where unhealthy cells develop their own blood vessel structure in order to nourish and support themselves. The immune system uses certain compounds in the body to naturally counter angiogenesis. This normal body function is called anti-angiogenesis. Squalamine, a substance found in shark liver oil, is an aminosterol compound which the body readily uses to carry out its normal anti-angiogenesis function.)

We Saw it!

How often we've said, "Oh, if only we could be watching at the moment when the baby bluebirds leave the nest!" Our dear Lord honored that desire of our hearts. This morning when we went to the patio with our Bibles, a head was sticking out of the hole in the birdhouse. For a full half hour it remained there, "still as a bird." I suppose it was contemplating this wide wonderful world it had never seen before. Chuck put meal worms in the tray twice and the mother came and chopped them up, but the baby didn't want to eat. At 6:45, with the mother and father looking on from a nearby tree, the fledgling's whole body eased out of the hole and, wonder of wonders, it took off flying toward its parents as though it had been practicing for weeks. Not a single awkward flutter. The parents joined its flight and they all sat awhile on our neighbor's roof. Two babies remain in the house, but I think we need to get on with our day.

Yesterday I worked at home in the morning and five hours at the office in the afternoon and feel no worse for it. I am so thankful to have some energy back. The magazine designer didn't complete the layout for me by the end of the day. I want to say this kindly: I've been editing the magazine for more than five years now, and have never had a designer meet a deadline--even one that he set himself. It was a hard lesson for this driven worker to learn, that artistic types march to a different cadence and no doubt God has made them that way. I need them so totally, because I can't do what they do. We're growing together. They need God's grace to deal with my picky standards, and I need God's grace to deal with unavoidable delays. By His grace, we'll all make it!

Tomorrow morning I'm to get a blood test. Maybe they'll find low enough hemoglobin that they can give me an injection that will boost my energy a bit. (I really hope they won't find a serious problem.) We're moving forward with our plan to leave Friday for a two-week camping trip through the canyons and mountains of the West.

We're continuing to pray for those of you who have told us about crushing medical concerns. May God touch your lives today.


Monday, June 19, 2006

Light in the Tunnel

Yesterday morning I wrote about tunnels. A dear friend responded with more insight on tunnels, especially this: “We are the light in the tunnel.” And a quote from Dr. Raymond Edman, former president of Wheaton College: “The railroad companies don’t build tunnels on side tracks.” Something to think about!

He also sent part of a hymn by Gerhard Tersteegen:
Midst the darkness, storm and sorrow,
One bright gleam I see.
Well I know that blest tomorrow,
Christ will come for me.

He and I in that bright glory,
One deep joy shall share.
Mine to be forever with Him,
And His that I am there.

Whatever tunnel you’re in, be the light there today. I’ll do my best in mine.

Our friend with lung cancer who suffered so terribly from chemo didn't gain the needed results, so today he begins seven weeks of radiation (five days each week) plus chemo on Wednesdays. The expected side effects are grim. "Dear God, please give mercy and grace to him and his wife."

For me, my prayers today are filled with praise. Every day I'm feeling stronger. God keeps reminding us that He is trustworthy.

Yesterday afternoon I uploaded a couple of cute photos; scroll on down if you'd like to see them.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Several months ago, we found a large parcel at our front door. Inside was this charming pup. The accompanying literature assured us that she would be easy to care for, and it's true. She has a battery-powered mechanism that causes her "lungs" to rise and fall as though she's breathing deeply while she lies there sleeping around the clock. We call her "Zyrtek," because she's so kind to allergies.

Last week our neighbor gave us the next delightful pet. He sits in the sun all day soaking up solar energy, and when dark comes his shell glows. Since I was collapsing long before dark following chemo last Monday, Chuck surprised me the first two nights by bringing Mr. Turtle inside and posing him beside our bathtub. He was a lovely guest during my night-time wake-ups. Now we both watch for him to light up before we go inside for the night.

P.S. The bluebird babies are getting so big, we think they'll probably leave the nest in the next couple of days. They are a gift!


Yesterday a friend reminded us that tunnels, even dark tunnels, are going somewhere. They may seem long and discouraging, but they always lead out into the light. And then we discover that the tunnel was the most direct way to get to the other side of the mountain that loomed ahead of us. Oh, yes!

Then this morning I read, "Pay as little attention to discouragement as possible. Plow ahead like a steamship, which moves forward whether facing rough or smooth seas, and in rain or shine. Remember, the goal is simply to carry the cargo and to make it to port." (Maltie D. Babcock)

We plan to go at least to Sunday School this morning. We love those friends so much, and we need fellowship with them. I'm still registering a slight fever (but no symptoms of infection), my pulse still races, and I don't have much energy. Is that starting to sound boring? I'm sure.

I'm amazed that you continue to love, encourage and pray after all this time. You are a blessing!


Saturday, June 17, 2006

A friend habitually fasts in prayer one day each month; yesterday was his day for this month. His wife told me in the morning that he was dedicating the day to me. I can't express how humbling and encouraging was his rare gift to me. And, in fact, my strength improved as the day went on. I'm still "standin' in the need of prayer," as the dear old slave song says.

A comment left on a recent blog tells about Barb's son Nathan, who had a stem-cell transplant months ago and still needs prayer that the cells will engraft properly and he will regain health. Let's pray for Nathan.

Last evening's visit with Ron and Joan Wiebe was all we hoped for and more. Friends are so precious, as you well know!

Dr. David Zimmerman of Atlanta offers "grief relief" seminars. His acrostic on RELIEF offers good advice for facing cancer or any other loss.

R - Realize the loss vs denying it. Admit "It happened."
E - Experience the pain vs protesting it. Admit "I hurt."
L - Let time help vs. despairing. Admit "I need time."
I - Increase fellowship vs. isolation. Admit "I need you."
E - Evaluate loss vs. lingering in depression. Say "I will work at learning from this."
F - Face the future with hope vs. merely resigning to loss. Say "I will grow through this."

I have some work to do in some of those areas.

It's going to be a beautiful day here. God is good.


Friday, June 16, 2006

To Leave a Comment

If you'll scroll down to the bottom of any posting and click on Comments, you'll get a frame in which to type a message. If you prefer not to register your name and e-mail address, simply click on Anonymous (you can still sign your name to your message if you wish), and it should upload without any problems.

I wouldn't have believed an adult could sleep so many hours in four days! It's been incredible. I do feel stronger this morning. I have had a constant fever (about 101) and my hemoglobin is low, both of which contribute to the fatigue I'm sure. The neuropathy in my feet is quite a bit worse. So much for a new chemotherapy that will be kinder to me! Also, so much for whining and complaining. I'm done with that. But oh! How I appreciate your prayers.

A couple of mornings ago, I came to the end of the book of Romans in my regular Bible reading. Verses 7 to 9 of chapter 14 seemed particularly relevant to my life right now, although I didn't get any clear impression of which alternative God is planning for me. (As I've said so often, I am truly safe in His hands, regardless.) I'll quote the verses here:

"For we are not our own masters when we live or when we die. While we live, we live to please the Lord. And when we die, we go to be with the Lord. So in life and in death, we belong to the Lord. Christ died and rose again for this very purpose, so that he might be Lord of those who are alive and of those who have died."


Thursday, June 15, 2006


Chuck here, soon to leave on my weekly 5:30 AM trip to a bakery warehouse to pick up donated bread for the mission. We are blessed by the generosity of so many that participate in providing for the needs of our SIM family.

Carol has been feeling rather strong flu-like symptoms from the Chemo on Monday, and spent much of the day yesterday in a horizontal position waiting for improvement. I will leave a few thoughts here for the blog this morning, in anticipation that she will be sleeping a bit longer today, encouraging those symptoms to pass.

As we see our lives making many unexpected turns, I have been thinking lately about the prayer of Moses in Psalm 90. The following are portions of the Psalm from the New Living Translation that have especially spoken to my heart recently:

“Lord, through all generations you have been our home! Before the mountains were created, before you made the earth and the world, you are God, without beginning or end…Seventy years are given to us! Some may even reach eighty, but even the best of these years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we are gone…Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom…Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives…Let us see your miracles again; let our children see your glory at work. And may the Lord our God show us his approval and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful!”

It is our desire to make the most of whatever time that the Lord may allow us to remain here. We would love to see more miracles, but regardless, we pray that we will continue to be a positive and joyful testimony for our Lord right up to that end, encouraging our family and friends, and glorifying Him through each event in our lives.

Thanks so much for your love and prayers. You are a fantastic support team!

Chuck…and Carol too

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Ron and Joan Wiebe are two of my heroes. They're coming to town this Friday and Saturday and despite all the important people they could have chosen to spend time with, they accepted our invitation to have dinner with us Friday evening. I am so looking forward to seeing them. They went to Bolivia as a young couple and poured their lives into hurting and lost young people there. Eventually Ron became Director of the Andes Evangelical Mission, and when that mission merged into SIM the Wiebes were given positions of leadership here in the SIM International headquarters. For awhile Joan's desk was only about six feet from mine and she was a true friend. A few years ago they retired and moved near their adult children. Retired? Hah! They're back in Bolivia now, helping church leaders there develop curriculum and teachers for their children and youth.

I have many other heroes, including my parents and grandparents. The same themes echo in all their lives: faithfulness, compassion, patience, endurance, courage, humility and humor. See why I'm looking forward to Friday?

Except for two good hours at the office I spent most of yesterday sleeping, and still I slept well through the night. At one point when we were both awake, I mentioned my pounding head and Chuck prayed for it. The next time I woke up, it was gone. My pulse is still fast, but I'm not hearing it in my head. I still feel wiped out and I'm not planning to accomplish much today. The new chemo is meaner than the doctor expected. Hope that means it's also battling the remaining cancer cells wherever they're hiding.

I appreciate your prayers so much.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Answers to Prayer

Yesterday morning's chemo went well. The nurse found a vein. None of the possible immediate effects from the new drugs happened. They told me that during the first and second days I might feel as though I have a slight case of flu. I decided not to participate. But guess what! I feel as though I have a slight case of flu--nothing serious. I slept well all night.

Yesterday I went to the office, but stayed only a couple of hours. Today I must go, because I have a scheduled telephone conference with the magazine layout designer in Florida. If my body cries for rest, I'll come home.

Last evening I dug out an old video of Victor Borge, the highly amusing Danish musician. We both needed some good laughs, and Victor did not disappoint us.

I appreciate my oncologist a great deal. Still, I resonate with the following which came in a recent card.

A physician will ask you how you feel and what your symptoms are;
The Great physician knows how you feel, and understands wht you are going through.

A physician will have you come to the office;
The Great Physician will stay with you and never leave your side.

A physician will treat you with the best medicine available;
The Great Physician will treat you with the riches of His grace.

A Physician will follow your progress with periodic visits;
The Great Physician will keep you in His constant care.

A physician tries his very best to help you;
The Great Physician assures you that your life couldn't be in better hands.

Thanks for praying for us. We also pray for those of you whose needs we know.


Monday, June 12, 2006

Hungry for God

In all the years we've welcomed bluebirds to our backyard, we've never had a pair like these who are such attentive parents. Before the eggs hatched, we would often observe the male feeding a worm to the mother-to-be. Now they both roam far and wide in search of food for their three babies. Needless to say, Chuck makes their search easier by putting meal worms in their plastic feeding tray several times a day. The mother takes several worms in her bill at once, then drops and chops them on the roof of the house before picking the pieces all up again and taking them inside the house. The little chicks are getting more feathers and louder voices every day.

I've often visualized the Christian life in terms of baby birds. I assume that the chick with the widest mouth and the loudest cry gets the most worms. I want to be that hungry for God and His Word.

Yesterday was a full day--not busy, but full in the sense of "living life fully." Loving friends to encourage us at Sunday School. A wonderfully encouraging sermon. A nap. And the evening with dear friends at the Charlotte symphony summer concert in the park. We are blessed.

We begin the new chemo protocol this morning at 8:30. Thanks for your prayers.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

I'll Borrow None Today

I read the following in the June 9 devotional in Streams in the Desert, and decided to make the last two lines of each stanza my daily litany.

There's a stream of trouble across my path;
It is dark and deep and wide.
Bitter the hour the future hath
When I cross its swelling tide.
But I smile and sing and say:
"I will hope and trust alway;
I'll bear the sorrow that comes tomorrow,
But I'll borrow none today."

Tomorrow's bridge is a dangerous thing;
I dare not cross it now.
I can see its timbers sway and swing,
And its arches reel and bow.
O heart, you must hope alway;
You must sing and trust and say:
"I'll bear the sorrow that comes tomorrow,
But I'll borrow none today."

I did a little yard work yesterday and then the daughter of Chuck's cousin came from Greensboro to spend the day with us. She's a darling, and her visit encouraged and blessed us. She even played the piano for us. Now we're getting ready for church. I'm feeling very well.

Chemo #8 is early tomorrow morning. Since it's a new combination of drugs, we don't know which if any of the predicted side effects will be mine. We're praying the new treatment will be more effective than the old one, and at the same time gentler on my good cells. That's a lot to ask, but we're asking the request of a very powerful God!

Carol and Chuck

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Steady Now

We've landed on our emotional feet, after some hours of dreading the worst. We are choosing to live life fully and to trust God alone. (Maybe at some level we were putting too much confidence in the chemo?) Thanks so much for all the encouraging notes, prayers and virtual hugs.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer has something to say about life:

Each morning is a new beginning of our life.
Each day is a finished whole.
The present day marks the boundary of our cares and concerns.
It is long enough to find God or to lose Him, to keep faith or fall into disgrace.

God created day and night for us so we need not wander without boundaries,
But may be able to see in every morning the goal of the evening ahead.
Just as the ancient sun rises anew every day,
So the eternal mercy of God is new every morning.
Every morning God gives us the gift of comprehending anew His faithfulness of old;
Thus, in the midst of our life with God, we may daily begin a new life with Him.

The first moments of the new day are for God's liberating grace,
God's sanctifying presence.
Before the heart unlocks itself for the world,
God wants to open it for Himself;
Before the ear takes in the countless voices of the day,
It should hear in the early hours the voice of the Creator and Redeemer.
God prepared the stillness of the first morning for Himself.
It should remain His.

Beautiful truth!

Carol and Chuck

Friday, June 09, 2006

Last night I cried

Last night I cried. My daughters and my friends know I don't cry. I think no one has seen me cry in more than 25 years. But last night I cried. And Chuck did too. No, we haven't stopped trusting God, and no we haven't given up hope. But last night we cried.

We saw the oncologist yesterday, and the news is not good. We took with us the report on the CA 125 tumor marker blood test, which again has gone up. In the unguarded first blink when the doctor heard the number, I detected extreme disappointment in his expression—before he recomposed his face into his usual optimistic demeanor. He says that the consecutive rise in numbers indicates that the chemo protocol is no longer working. (That is, it has already killed all the cancer cells it can kill, and the resistant cancer cells are reviving.) So he’s switching to two different drugs (by I-V) starting next Monday. He freely acknowledged that there have been no breakthroughs for ovarian cancer. He also approved the cocktail of supplements that I’m taking, saying, “You’re doing so well, something must be helping.” This leaves us where we’ve always been—safe in God’s hands. It also creates a test case for the supplements. God can use them to strengthen my immune system and bless my good cells to make them more able to search and destroy the cancer cells as the human body was designed to function. Best of all, it creates a larger stage on which God can act. We want Him to get the glory and praise He deserves, whatever He decides is best for all of us.

But still, the rising numbers frighten us, and last night we cried. I think you can figure out how to pray for us.

I reread a stack of cards last evening. One contained these promises, with which I need to close this message:

God gives you everything you need. 2 Corinthians 9:8
He carries you in His arms. Isaiah 40:11
He defends you and protects you. Psalm 12:5
He has a good plan for your life. Romans 8:28
He guides your steps toward peace. Luke 1:79
He blesses you with good things. Psalm 103:5

Carol...for Chuck too

Thursday, June 08, 2006

What does it mean?

Yesterday morning we woke up with the expectation that sometime during the day we’d get word on the latest CA 125 tumor marker (I’d had blood drawn for it on Monday).

In my morning reading, I came to Romans 8. Several sentences leaped off the page and into my heart. Please, may I share them with you?

“If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace.” Verse 6

“The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as He raised Christ from the dead, He will give life to your mortal body by this same Spirit living within you.” Verse 11

“You should not be like cowering, fearful slaves. You should behave instead like God’s very own children, adopted into His family—calling Him, “Father, dear Father.” For His Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God’s children. And since we are His children, we will share His treasures—for everything God gives to His Son, Christ, is ours, too. But if we are to share His glory, we must also share His suffering.” Verses 15-17

“If we look forward to something we don’t have yet, we must wait patiently and confidently.” Verse 25

I’m not sure precisely what God intended for me to take away from this. Oh, I know that it’s general truth that applies to every one of His children throughout the world and in all generations. But I felt He was applying it to me specifically. Maybe He wants to give me the confidence that He intends a longer life for me on earth. On the other hand, maybe He wants to remind me of the wonderful life that succeeds this one. In either case, reading this chapter was great preparation for receiving the CA 125 report. It went up again—to 52.2. You may recall that six weeks ago it had dropped to 40.5, but then three weeks ago it was up to 46.2. Humanly, this is not the news we were hoping for. This morning we’re meeting with the oncologist, and we’ll learn how significant he thinks it is. Our hearts are set to trust God whatever it means.

Thanks for praying.
Chuck and Carol

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Learning the Songs

I thought you might like to see the much-bragged-about great grandson Joshua. (photo by his grandmother Sue) I'm still enjoying the memory of seeing and holding him last Saturday, and wishing it could be more often; also hoping to be able to watch him grow up!

Early this morning (we were both sleepless for awhile, and finally got up to talk) Chuck reminded me that it's been six months since the doctor announced cancer on December 7. We can't remember a more intense, bittersweet, God-blessed half year in our nearly 47 years of marriage.

A few days ago I read in Springs in the Desert the following: "Certain songs can only be learned in the valley. No music school can teach them, for no theory can cause them to be perfectly sung. Their music is found in the heart. They are songs remembered through personal experience, revealing their burdens through the shadows of the past, and soaring on the wings of yesterday.

"Therefore, dear soul, in this life you are receiving a music lesson from your Father. You are being trained to sing in a choir you cannot yet see, and there will be parts in the chorus that only you can sing. ... In the darkest night He is composing your song. In the valley He is tuning your voice. In the storm clouds He is deepening your range. In the rain showers He is sweetening your melody. In the cold He is giving your notes expression. And as you pass at times from hope to fear, He is perfecting the message of your lyrics. O dear soul, do not despise your school of sorrow. It is bestowing on you a unique part in the heavenly song." by George Matheson

All of us are in this "school," aren't we? Someday we'll make beautiful music together in heaven as we praise the Lord for His wonderful grace in our lives and for all His splendid qualities. Today is a tune-up. Hummmm.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Resisting Death

While we were at the lake, I wrote about the swans. I thought you might like to see this charming family. Notice how Mama's eyes are on her little ones, and Daddy is on the lookout for danger. (photo by Chuck)

Yesterday's update was rather sobering. One friend, a cancer survivor, wrote that she had also experienced "middle-of-the-night terrors." Best of all, she had also found instant comfort when she cried out to the Lord for help. My sister sent some paragraphs written by Watchman Nee, a Chinese Christian leader of the last century: "Unless a Christian plainly knows his work is finished and he no longer is required by the Lord to remain, he should by all means resist death. If the symptoms of death have been seen already in his body before his work is done, he positively should resist it and its symptoms. To concede (by sizing up our environment, physical condition, and feelings) that our time has come is an error on our part.... Any call for departure which does not come from the Lord ought to be opposed."

Problem: I find that the impressions I have when I'm fatigued and it's totally dark seem to be the voice of God. But even when I'm confused and despairing, He continues to be faithful! That's enough--all night and all day.

My grandson Jeremy showed me how to change the blogger settings to accept comments, so now I believe you will find it easy to leave brief messages on this site if you wish.

I enjoyed a full day at work yesterday. Thursday I will see the oncologist to discuss his ideas about ongoing treatment. How we need the Lord's wisdom!

Thanks again for your love and prayers.


Monday, June 05, 2006


Saturday was a golden day. It was so much fun to see Jeremy and his friends (many of whom have become our friends too) enjoying his open house. Except for Lisa, our entire family was there including precious great grandson Joshua. Chuck's cousins came too. Even the weather was perfect. Croquet, bocce ball, ping pong, ice cream sundaes and conversation entertained the large crowd.

After it was over, Sue served a delicious dinner for the family and close friends, and we enjoyed play time with Joshua. And then I lay in bed--wide awake and filled with dread--for hours and hours. "No," my soul screamed silently, "I can't leave all this any time soon." I tried unsuccessfully to pull my mind back to rational behavior, but it persisted in dragging me along its vortex of despair. No way was I going to wake Chuck up to cry on his shoulder, as the alarm was set at 4:30 am for our 12-hour drive home. Still, I was unable to comfort myself. At last (why did I wait?) I whimpered, "Lord Jesus, please help me." He answered instantaneously. That was my last conscious thought until the alarm sounded.

He gave us a safe and uneventful trip home, and a good night's sleep. We both feel ready for a day's work today. God is faithful!


Saturday, June 03, 2006


The bluebird pair finally stopped resisting the alien presence in their environment. Once they accepted the feeding tray they'd been so skittish about, they looked at it full in the face and voila! It was literally crawling with blessings--in their case, succulent worms. (Our neighbor is now happily keeping the tray replenished.) The best I am able, I am trying to embrace my cancer as not only a threat but also as a source of blessing. I'm having a harder time accepting the extended chemo treatments, but no doubt I need to look for gifts of grace there as well.

We had a very happy day Friday helping prepare for Jeremy's open house which will be this afternoon. It's so pleasant to be with the family. I'm thankful to feel almost normal now.

We'll be traveling all day Sunday, a twelve-hour drive. On Monday we'll be back to a more normal schedule and, I hope, daily blogging.

I appreciate you so much.