Invitation to Celebrate

I didn’t lose my husband to cancer. I watched him choose his victory to be with Jesus after fighting with the purest bravery.

Jesus, thank You for letting me borrow Your main squeeze for a little:) You give the best gifts.Image

Day Three, Tear Free

I got my typical morning routine down to an art. We probably have very similar morning rituals: start out by waking up, washing your face, brushing your teeth, then hitting up the kitchen for some breakfast, stand there holding your box of cereal weeping uncontrollably, get dressed for the day… wait a second.

Weeping? While pouring cereal? Yes. This is me. Except not this morning, nor the past two mornings. Today is day three of being tear free, and I am proud of it! (Honestly, I am proud of my tearful days too.) Crying is such a foreign thing to me. I consider myself a pretty happy person, I take joy out of celebrating things, and I love life. But lately, I have been crying 1-5 times a day. NBD. Just pass me the greens, and I’ll start weeping.

Jordan has been stone-faced during this entire race. Eyes set on the prize, he wakes up every morning ready to fight. He knows this is only the beginning of his long and happy life. Though I see him flinch every now and then because of the sharp pains in his head, he has his complete gaze set on the hope that comes from the Love that has walked with us every step of the battle. Not a single complain or word of doubt has come out of his mouth. And oh how I admire his strength! He literally is like the action-movie hero that goes out and whoops all the villains, without even cracking a single “Ouch Joker, that really hurt me!”

These days, I have a mind full of questions I ask God daily. Sometimes I get angry with Him. Sometimes I ask Him questions that could make someone cringe (even myself). But after every single time we have a flavorful conversation, I feel loved more than I did before- even with my fists shaking at the heavens, “WHY?!”

Psalms and Job have some great emotional one-liners. Raw feelings right there. No sugar-coated, “Hello God, I feel as if I am currently experiencing a bit of angst because this situation is rather challenging.” Nope. Now with these people, I can relate.

Then I am reminded of My Great Love. He actually started loving me before I even knew He existed. This One has been carrying us through our real-life nightmare, and now I am yelling at Him while He carries me over the shifting seas. I am reminded He has felt what I am feeling, only deeper. Yet I speak to Him with clenched teeth, hoping to make Him flinch. But He holds me closer. I am reminded of what I read about Him: tattered body, barely breathing, He lifted His sweet head to cry through his bloody lips, “My God, my God, why have your forsaken me?

The ultimate emotional one-liner. He knows me and He feels my pain deeper than I do. My tears have been counted, my prayers have been heard. It may sound cliché; everyone says this to everyone who has ever experienced grief. But it sounds the best from the One who is listening.

I am excited for our future because I have made quite the tear-investment as of late:)

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
    we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
    and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us;
    we are glad.

Restore our fortunes, O Lord,

    like streams in the Negeb!
Those who sow in tears
    shall reap with shouts of joy!
He who goes out weeping,
    bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
    bringing his sheaves with him.

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Snow days on the ranch. 

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I was looking at Jordan’s head one evening, and realized there is a bald spot where I kiss him every night and every morning! Oops.

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There was a lot of giggles during our wedding ceremony. I love Dr. Steve Greene’s (our pastor, mentor, loved role model) face in this photo. 

Normal is Different

It’s been way too long since we’ve last posted, and we are so grateful to everyone who has been bearing with us while we went a little underground for a bit while Jordan took the time to rest and recuperate from the surgeries.

Jordan’s 2-day surgery went spectacularly. Our doctor was able to remove 80% of the tumor in Jordan’s head. As a result, there had to be a lot of “creative reconstruction” inside Jordan’s head to aid in tumor removal. Reconstruction of Jordan’s jaw, eye orbit, and his sinus cavities were cleared out and re-patched.

As a result, the recovery process has been hefty and long. For this past month we have been making big decisions about what our next steps should look like. Jordan is still healing from all that was done, and every day we are so grateful that the Lord used our surgeon’s hands to, and I quote, “scoop tumor out of Jordan’s head.”

During this month we prayed about what would be our next step in Jordan’s healing. After some crazy God-incidences, and seeing doors open left and right, we decided it was time for Jordan to really invest every single day wholeheartedly into his healing. A then-acquaintance invited us to stay on his ranch where he provides all organic meals for my husband as well as some other healthy and beneficial treatments. Jordan is on a very intense eating protocol, and he is sleeping about 10-12 hours a day. Every day is entirely devoted to healing spiritually, physically, and emotionally. The entire community is 100% convinced that Jordan will be completely healed. That, in and of itself, is extremely healing (especially to this wife’s soul!) Our friend who invited us to stay on his ranch went through this same protocol after he was diagnosed with cancer, and now he is cancer-free. We arrived at the ranch on Friday, the 22nd and plan on being here for at least 40 days.

My favorite thing about the ranch is that faith is a way of living- not a gigantic leap to take. Every day I see the Lord unravel parts of me that I never knew I was clinching tightly, with white knuckles and sore fists. Jordan and I are so excited for this new adventure together. We know he will be healed. We always say to each other, “seventy-five plus more years baby, hope you’re ready.”

I look back at these past 5 months and have to chuckle when I think about what normal means to us now. We’ve learned that our normal just looks a little different and that’s okay, it’s our normal. When we signed up to follow our Shepherd, we didn’t want normal anymore. We wanted Him.  Can’t wait for the new “normals” up ahead with my super hero and the ultimate Author, writing our new adventures at every turn.

Sweet friends, and dear family, I thank you. I thank you for all of you who have prayed during this past month, and those who continue to pray for us. To all of you who have given, prayed, encouraged, or even thought of us… thank you. I never knew how much community could heal a person until now. It’s powerful and electrifying, yet warm and encompassing. You have given that to us. Thank you so much for being the body of Christ to us and surrounding us with your love. When our hands were too weak to hold, you lifted our arms to fight. When our legs were to weak to stand, you carried us with prayer.

We love you and we thank you.

Jordan 2 days after surgery

Taken October 28. Of course, smiling after surgery and thanking every nurse.

The Cutest Christmas Elf

Celebrating Christmas at our apartment with dear loved ones before heading to the ranch.

Our new view from our front door.

Our new “normal” neighbors- our lovely cow friends!

Round two of Christmas decorating! My fave! (We have 4 Christmas trees in our one-room bunk!:)

Then and Now. The difference in one month. 

Can’t Flip the Pages Fast Enough

Jordan is having the first part of his surgery today. After a very long and chaotic morning, sweet Jordan’s surgery was running over 2 hours late. Of course, he is all smiles and positivity. 

I have been receiving hourly calls from the nurses letting me know that everything has been going smoothly. We are thinking he will be out of surgery after 8-9 tonight. 

Meanwhile, me, my sweet in-laws, and my mother are passing the time by rotating waiting rooms, snacking on Pop Rocks, and drinking cups of coffee… Remaining occupied is one of my first lines of defense I use during my fragile-hearted seasons in order to guard my mind from going down too dark of alleys. Perhaps that is why so many times my sweet Father encourages me to “be still.” For me, this almost seems like a dare. If I dare to be still, I may hurt or wander, but He quickly steps in the clouds of my mind and reminds me of His promises.

In these still moments, I am reminded that He is writing mine and Jordan’s story- not the doctors. The ultimate Author has had His pen in hand for 23 years now, carefully developing every intricate piece of our story… and so far, He’s written a pretty incredible story -if I do say so myself!  

When I was in middle school, I asked the Lord to write me a beautiful love story. One that would turn heads and show others the Love is real. Four months into marriage, and I am still breathless at the fairytale He has given me.

Thank You Dearest, for being my Author.

I was talking to my lovely mother-in-law about how I feel like Jordan and I are at the beginning of our story. I told her how I can feel our happy ending brewing richly right around the corner. I just can’t seem to flip through the pages fast enough to get to our happy ending! 

Later, I felt Jesus say to my heart: I just can’t flip through the pages fast enough either

I love that He not only writes my story, but He waits for me at the happy ending and is eager to see me read every page He meticulously worded and pieced together. It’s like He’s excitedly waiting for me to discover what is in our next chapter. 

 

Waiting rooms are brutal. But I know this is just a page. The next page has something sweeter.

 

 

II Chronicles 20

“…For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” - Judah (vs. 12)

“Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s.” - The Lord, in response (vs. 15)Image

Prince Charming ready to slay the Dragon. See ya cancer.

Stupid Faith

 

 

 

 

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This was captured right before Jordan proposed to me.
He said, “Cady this is where I want our relationship to begin, to end, and this is where we will always run.” Then he asked me to be his wife.
Thank you Sean Frank Photography for capturing this moment.

 

Friends, family, and even new family members we have yet to meet:

 

Thank you for your prayers. Your overwhelmingly loving response to our post has truly touched our hearts and primed our faith even more. To those of you whom we’ve yet to meet, thank you for the prayers and fasting- it already feels like you are family! Family in spirit is very true to say. Thank you all for the arms of love and support. Jordan and I have felt your prayers (many I have felt in the middle of long nights, during horrific doctor’s appointments, and as soon as I wake up.) Thank you. 

Jordan and I went to countless amounts of doctor’s appointments last week. An average of 5 a day. Over and and over again being reminded of the severity of my husband’s condition, and how his vision and even death are very near in our future. Looking at the scans, I would have to agree. And I would have to thank the doctors for their excellent and professional opinions. We appreciate their work. But now we’ve come to a place where our doctors have admitted their limitations, and only a miracle is what will save us.

So this is where I stand: I have stupid faith. I am drawing the line. Cancer will not take my husband’s life, and it will not take his vision. In fact, it will not even touch our children and grandchildren. It stops here. It stops at the feet of Jesus. It amazes me how my sweet Savior collects my tears and takes what I have to make something breath-taking from my own grisly attempt to put my faith together.

Stupid faith is a beautiful thing. It acknowledges the facts, the scans, the percentages, the diagnosis, and then it lifts its heavy head to the face of Jesus and says, I still know You will touch this. Stupid faith is all I have, and I know that somehow He will use it.

Lord, when my head is too heavy to lift to Your face, take Your hands and make my eyes meet Yours. 

Stupid faith isn’t a state of denial. I’m definitely not in denial. Stupid faith is quite apt on the severity and practicality of the situation. However, it is stupid, so it chooses hope anyway. Another reason why stupid faith is, well, stupid is because when you have to have it, you don’t really want to be in the stupid situation in the first place. :)

Jordan and I decided to come to Redding, CA to attend Bethel’s healing services. We are baffled at the peace and joy we’ve experienced here. Another cool thing that has happened while we’ve been here is that Jordan’s eye swelling has decreased a little every day. :)

 

We are expecting a miracle. We know this is not the end, but just the beginning. It’s so odd, because I know where Jordan and I are now is exactly where I know the Lord wants us. He will protect us, He will restore us. He will save us.

Let every thing that has breath praise the Lord.

 

 

You have kept count of my tossings;
    put my tears in your bottle.
    Are they not in your book?
Then my enemies will turn back
    in the day when I call.
    This I know, that[d] God is for me.
 In God, whose word I praise,
    in the Lord, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
    What can man do to me?

I must perform my vows to you, O God;

I will render thank offerings to you.

 For you have delivered my soul from death,
    yes, my feet from falling,
that I may walk before God
    in the light of life.

 

A Call to Arms

My apologies for taking so long to post with an update on what’s going on.  This post will unfortunately not be one with good news and reports but I am confident that what I am going through is nothing but a light momentary affliction which is preparing me an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison (2 Corinthians 4:17). 

For the past seven weeks, I have been going through chemotherapy treatments that have combined three different chemos – weekly Erbitux, tri-weekly Cisplatin, and tri-weekly Taxotere.  Side effects have been difficult, but manageable and have not affected my work schedule.  The most noticeable side effects are fatigue, skin rashes, and hair loss (although i’m not bald yet!).  When I finished my sixth treatment cycle, my oncologist wanted to order some scans to see how the cancer was responding to the chemo, so last Wednesday I had a brain MRI, and a chest/neck/ab CT done.  

On Thursday my wife, mom, mother-in-law and I walked into the oncologist’s office confident that we would receive a good report of the cancer shrinking and chemo working.  Unfortunately, we did not get that report.  The oncologist showed us the radiology report and we were told that the tumors in my head are not responding to the treatment and have grown significantly.  There are 4 tumors in my head all of which have grown with the largest being 6 x 4.2cm in size.  The two large tumors in my lungs have remained stable in size, but new smaller tumors have appeared in different places within my lungs. Immediately my confidence was shattered and emotions of sadness, disappointment, and anger were prevalent.  As we talked about future treatment options we decided to schedule an appointment with a radiation oncologist to see what other options were available.  

As we waited to see the radiation oncologist I let the bad news sink in that the chemo was not working and something new and drastic had to be done.  The tumors were aggressively growing and a new immediate action needed to take place.  Despite feeling beat up and down, a small sense of confidence started to rise up that the radiation oncologist would be able to offer a new and effective treatment plan.  

When we met the new doctor she told us that there are a couple options that she could do to try and get rid of the cancer, but all came with very, very bad news.  She said that because of the placement of my head tumors, blindness in my future is inevitable.  No matter what way I am treated (or not treated) I will go blind.  She said because the tumors are wrapped around my optic nerve and growing so fast that without treatment I can go blind in as soon as 10 days.  One option she offered was to remove the tumors through a cyberknife treatment.  This is a non-invasive alternative to surgery that should be able to remove the tumors but once again would cause me to be permanently blind and would most likely be immediately following treatment.  Another option offered was to use proton therapy to try and get rid of the tumors.  In this case blindness may not be immediate, but would happen at some point soon in my life.    Once again my confidence was shattered and a new wave of discouragement set in.  

With all that being said, my ultimate confidence is not in any earthly doctor but is fully in the Great Physician who will never disappoint.  I’ve never been at such a low point in my life with such bad news staring me directly in the face.  At the same time I have never been set up so perfectly for a miracle.  Doctors have admitted their limits and say they cannot heal or cure me.  I have never so desperately needed a miracle.  

Currently I do not know what my next steps are.  I know that decisions need to be made fast and I am exploring all my options.  Blindness is not an option.  Death is not an option.  I will live a long prosperous life with perfect vision.  I write this as a call to arms.  A desperate plea for prayer and faith.  Prayer for God’s intervention and for a miracle to take place.  Thank you all so very much for your continued prayers and support.  You don’t know how much it means to Cady and I to receive so much love and care from you all.  Your prayers are priceless and we love you all.  

Closer than Fear

We haven’t posted in a while and apologize for the hault in updates! We have been travelling back and forth between MD Anderson in Houston to get Jordan’s treatment plan and are hoping to take this plan back to Tulsa, where Jordan will be doing the cancer-smackdown once again.

Today we are expecting a phone call from our main doctor in Houston, who will look over all of Jordan’s scans and assess what kind of treatment needs to take place.

Today is also our one month anniversary.

These past four weeks have been filled with the most odds and ends; the deepest joy that can only escape your body through tears, the dreamiest moments where you know you can fly, simple contentedness in burnt omelettes and our new lamp installation for our apartment. All of these different joys I could replay in my heart over and over again. But in between all these highs, I have honestly felt the deepest sense of grief and fear I have ever experienced. There are moments when the looming battle rears its head and reminds me that our greatest enemy is very real and wants my husband to lose.

The thing that has amazed me most about these spontaneous moments of bête noire (that seem to strike at the most inopportune times- such as during action scenes in movies, sharing an inside joke, a random conversation, or even while I am washing my hair) is that I will always simultaneously feel another quick sting- but of something stronger- peace, hope, joy, faithfulness. And that is when I remember who is protecting my husband and who is holding me. Every time, my sweet Jesus runs just a bit quicker than my stray thoughts, and hovers just a bit closer than my fears. And then I remember: He is closer than my fear.

In one of our appointments, we heard some rather disheartenting news- the cancer was in more places than we had intitally thought. As my heart began to race, I was kindly reminded of the quick pace of my Savior’s gait. Sudden peace in the middle of a doctor’s office. So sudden, I literally thought: Jesus, you are in this very office with us.

You know when you can feel someone walk up behind you and you know they are there, even before they tap your shoulder? That is how I felt Him. I even turned my head to see if I could see Him standing between our chairs.

So today, on our one month anniversary, as I wait to hear the doctor’s report, I am kindly reminded of my Anchor.

 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul,

a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,

where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf…

And I am filled with hope.

Photo cred: Allie Jean

My super hero and I, exactly one month ago today.

Thanks to the YBT!

Cady and I were so humbled and honored by what the Young Businessmen of Tulsa did for us last night.  They threw a benefit dinner at Riverside Grill, with a sold-out crowd and even Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett in attendance.  Jim Stovall, founder of Narrative Television Network, spoke as did others, all in an effort to invest in our journey.  Many of my Regent Bank colleagues also came out to show their support.  Thanks to everyone for all the love and support!