Ok, this post is a long one (but a good one!)
Got a cup of
coffee, I mean green tea?
OK, so we spoke with Dr. Block after we returned home from Chicago. We had a three-way conversation with him. We love him, by the way. While Ed and the doctor were talking, I was listenting, but I had a thought I had never had before.
"Lord, did you turn me away from chemo right after my second diagnosis so that I would be led away from Cedars and their form of treatment only for you to lead me to the Block Center? Was 'no chemo' temporary or permanent words from you for my healing?"
Oh, what a heavy heart I now had.
The next morning, I learned my CA 125 number taken in Chicago was now up to 215 from 133. It's a climbin'.
It needs to be under 9.
I had prayed that I would see a glimpse of God's healing in all that blood work that was drawn. But that was not His plan.
I'll be honest. I had a rough day. Really rough. Though through all my tears, I was wrestling with myself, not God. I know God is faithful. And I was mad at myself that I had lost it. Did I really feel His healing hand on me? I was beginning to doubt me, not God.
Just then, a sweet friend of mine had come over. I told her my story through my tears. As she was leaving, she said, "You know, instead of you going to Chicago for chemo and getting an apartment or flying back and forth, why can't you see about hiring one of their nurses to come to you?"
A girl who thinks outside of the box. I like that.
(Remember, the Block Center is the only cancer program in the country who does chronotherapy, or a way of coordinating the body's biological rhythms with the application of chemo. They feel every drug has an optimal time of application when the chemo is least toxic and the most effective. In Europe, there's over 40 centers that do this).
After she left, I started reading a book I had ordered last year called Living God's Will (Reading and Applying God's Signs for Your Life) by Eddie Rasnake. I began reading the chapter on Wise Counsel:
"So how does wise counsel relate to God's will? It is my conviction that we should not base a conclusion about God's will or leading from only one area. Although God does give us leading through His peace (which He has certainly blessed me with during this whole cancer thing!) and because of the danger of misinterpretation, it is unwise to draw a conclusion based only on God's peace. "
I just happened to underline that paragraph in my book, when the very next day, one of my most treasured friends came over. Oh, and thee most bibically wise woman I have ever known.
She began telling me that God doesn't just drop us a "clue" and leave us there to figure it out. He continues to lead us down His path. She was telling me this because she felt God has clearly led me to the Block Center. And to their chemo. And to their integrative/nutritional program that I was so drawn to.
And she also reminded me of a few more things:
that I was the one who felt God leading me to the Block Center,
that I was willing to fly to Chicago even though I NEVER
(repeat never!) want to fly.
(Note: we've given trips away that we've won because I won't get on a plane!), that both Ed and I were very impressed with their approach to cancer,
and that I've prayed that Ed and I would both have peace with my path to healing.
I was beginning to see her point.
But I still didn't have peace with it.
I told her that God would need to throw a big rock through my window with a note that read, "I meant no chemo temporarily!"
I hugged her good-bye and knew that God had brought her into my kitchen that morning.
Two hours later, my other wise friend came to drop Rachel off from school.
She asked how our morning together went. I told her my friend's perspective. I asked her what her take on all this was. She paused, and then said it was very clear to her that God had led me to the Block Center. And to chemo. I again told her that God would have to throw a rock through my window for me to have peace with doing chemo.
As I closed the door, tears stung my eyes. "Lord, I feel if I do chemo, I'm being disobedient to you. Did you mean no chemo? Or no chemo back then? I have limited time to make such an important decision. Please continue to guide me."
And I knew He would.
The next morning while I was standing with my daughter waiting for school to start, another wise friend of mine-slash-teacher at her school asked how my morning went with our mutual friend. I repeated the story again. She also agreed that God was leading me to the Block Center. And to chemo. (In case you're keeping score, that's three wise women in a 24-hour period who feel they clearly see God's hand in all of this). I had also mentioned to her about my other friend's idea of hiring a nurse to come to me.
Now, this is where the story gets good...
A few seconds later, my friend says, "Ruthie, I don't know if this is a God thing or not. But do you know a mom here named Audrey? I was with her last week in the school kitchen and she turned to me and said, 'I don't know why I feel led to tell you this, but I'm an R.N. and I want you to pray for me as I feel God is nudging me back into the nursing field."
I thought, OK, that's interesting.
Just then, as the second bell rang to start school, my friend sees Audrey walking out to the parking lot. As I saw her run after her, I noticed there was not one other Mom anywhere on campus. Just Audrey. She brought her back, quickly introduced the two of us and walked her class into school.
Audrey had looked familiar to me as we've passed each other in the parking lot, but we had never met.
So I sat down and told her my story.
I ended with, "If God is really leading me to Chicago for chemo, then I pray that the Block Center would be open to sending us a nurse trained in their form of chemo so I don't have to fly there 24 times or live there on and off for 4 months."
And that's when she told me that she was a med/surg nurse with a background in oncology. That she had just recently gotten
re-certified and had felt God gently nudging her back into the nursing field.
Oh, and did I mention, she LOVES to fly? LOVES it.
So we both just sat there in amazement.
I felt she was an answer to my prayer. And she felt I was an answer to her prayer.
God threw the rock. And I believe her name is Audrey.
So this is the deal. We will be contacting Dr. Block and proposing a plan. A plan that's never been done before to our knowledge. I pray that he is open and willing to think out of the box on this one. I think it's about time that he has a nice satellite office in beautiful Southern California! Maybe at the Longevity Institute? No harsh, below-zero winters here! Heck, we'll even put some of his patients up at our house who come in for a day of chemo! And serve them a Block-approved breakfast, of course!
And just to let you know, my claim to fame while working at UCLA many moons ago, was that my colleague and I were the first two employees to job share there. So ya see, age-old protocols can change if you just think out of the box.
So... all of this to say that I know God is still leading me. This big journey is new to me and I'm willing to stumble along the way because I know He will pick me back up. He has brought so many special women into my life who encourage me with His scripture. Bringing me just what I need when I need it. Lifting my name to Him in prayer.
Thank you all.
You are using your gifts!
So I believe another trip to Chicago is in my immediate future. I did love it there, right? The flight wasn't all that bad, right? We flew Virgin American and they had little tv sets on all the backs of the headrests. I actually watched The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (my guilty pleasure) all the way there while eating wheat crackers and almonds. I can do that again, right?
I just pray that I continue to be obedient.
May He be glorified throughout my entire journey.