Sicks Pax


Arg — mouth issues!

Posted in Cancer by sicks on January 20, 2011

Hey gang —

We’re still doing pretty well here mentally and emotionally with my recurrence and my treatments. We are so thankful to the Lord that everything is going so well and that chemo seems to be doing its job.

The only new (and annoying) thing is I am struggling with mouth sores, which is quite common for those going through chemo. Chemo kills the bad stuff and the good so that has caused the departure of good cells in my mouth that keep it free from sores and such. So a bit icky but I would appreciate any prayers on this front! I am trying to get a prescription filled for “magic mouthwash” –ha!– to help reduce the pain and discomfort. Hopefully that will help.

On another front, I look forward to more time with the Lord to learn what he wants to say. Things have been quite crazy on other fronts so I have not had quality time with the Lord. I would really like to spend some good time like I did 3 years during that cancer battle where I learned so much from Him. I don’t want to miss anything that the Lord would want to say.

Love to you and yours!
Sara

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2011 begins with hope and peace

Posted in Cancer,Sara by sicks on January 1, 2011

Hey gang —

Happy New Year!  We had an incredible Christmas in Naples, Florida, with Chris’ side of the family.  It was a huge blessing to be all together, to enjoy many fun activities outside, and to simply enjoy the weather and unique vegetation.  Thank you, Don and Susan, for this great gift!

We start this new year with hearts that feel incredibly calm, peaceful and hopeful.  This episode with cancer differs so greatly than the last go-around three years ago.  I am so grateful to be protected from the feeling of fear and never-ending thoughts about cancer.  I do not feel fearful and do not think about my cancer often.  Amazing!  Thank you, Lord, for guarding my heart and for the prayers of many.

We also feel hopeful because we can see the chemo working.  My neck and upper back pain that originally drew my attention to the area is now gone, the rash that I had in the area is also gone (we didn’t and don’t know if this was cancer-related), and the two little bumps in my neck are smaller.  Hooray!  I see my oncologist on Monday, the 3rd to determine if she will keep me on these chemos.  I think she will be pleased and am hoping that I stay on these two since they would allow me to keep my hair.

So we are grateful to report all of this good news.  On another note, Chris and I will be taking a three-day intensive seminary course (I am auditing the class) at RTS on the doctrine of suffering taught by a Wheaton professor who is in a wheelchair.  The reading so far has been excellent and thought-provoking.  We are both really excited to learn more about this topic.  This course comes at an interesting time.  God has used these cancer battles tremendously to give us a greater understanding of Himself, His kingdom and some of his unwanted gifts.  We have a lot more to learn.

We are grateful for you and feel the Lord has put many at our side.  What a gift!

Love,

Sara

Chemo starts Wednesday, Dec. 15

Posted in Cancer,Sara by sicks on December 13, 2010

Hello Dear Ones —

My oncologist has chosen to treat my cancer recurrence with two different chemos: Doxil and Navelbine (for you medical folks).  We were glad to learn these two chemos do not tend to have huge side effects.  But since chemo affects everyone differently, we’ll just have to see how my body responds.  I will also be given wonder-drug Herceptin since I am indeed HER2 positive.  I am excited that these two chemos to do not cause hair loss — yippee!  But … if the cancer does not respond as my oncologist wants it to, she will change my chemo drugs to ones that do cause hair loss.  So we are praying that this trifecta of powerful drugs do the job.  If you could pray that my cancer cells are super active so that the chemo can find them and DESTROY THEM! (that’s how chemo works — by finding rapidly dividing cells and killing them).

I am feeling mostly relieved to be starting to fight this beast (but also a little bit sad).  I have not been sleeping as well because of some pain in my neck and shoulder that could be related to where the cancer is located — on the side of my neck.

I also would ask that you pray that I would be willing to stay still while God has me in this wilderness and not try to get out from under his thumb, so to speak.  I know he has some important things to say and I want to hear what’s on his mind.  I’ve been asking him to keep “showing up” in my life every day.  I need to be willing for him to show up in any way that he chooses and not be bound to the way or ways I would expect him to.  So pray that I would have eyes to “see Jesus” each day and be thankful for the ways he shows me he’s present.

Thank you for your prayers and for walking with us!

Love, Sara

Here we go again…

Posted in Cancer,Sara by sicks on December 7, 2010

It feels quite strange to write for the blog again two years after my previous entry.  But it was always a huge blessing for us and we pray it will be used again for God’s glory.

This week we’re busy getting ready for next week’s chemo on the 15th.  I had my second biopsy done today so they could see if I am HER2 positive (they need to know this before adding wonder drug Herceptin to my treatment plan).  Tomorrow (Wednesday) I have a medi-port put back in so that the chemotherapy can be administered safely and easily through that port.  And then we learn on Friday what exactly my treatment regimen will be from my oncologist.

Now that the brass tacks of the cancer stuff are stated, here’s how were doing internally:

We’re feeling calm in the midst of the storm.  I have always loved that word picture and it perfectly describes how we’re doing.  When the news first broke late last week that I was going to start chemo soon, I felt gripped by sadness.  It felt like I was underwater and was struggling to see or hear anything from the Lord.  I kept asking him to show up somehow.  I spent a good amount of time driving around Saturday due to lots of children activities.  I was still feeling under water with sadness, and suddenly a flip was switched, so to speak.  I no longer felt sadness had a grip on my heart.  Usually when a change like that happens, it’s because of a special song or a sermon, but this was just out of the blue and very sudden.  Quite wild.  And since then I have felt at peace.  So while I am still mentally sad and bummed out about the return of cancer and the reality of starting chemo next week, my heart feels calm and at peace.  I know this is not from me (only because I know myself too well) and is only the Lord’s firm grasp on my heart and the gift of a new disposition.  I am grateful for this gift.

Thank you for walking with us on this journey.  We appreciate your friendship and your prayers.

With affection,
Sara

Wrapping up the blog

Posted in Cancer,Sara by sicks on January 12, 2009

Dear friends —

This is likely my last post.  If you’ve been checking in, sorry I haven’t kept up since my last day of radiation in October.  Writing posts here reminds me of having cancer so haven’t felt like keeping it up.  Plus, since I am now in remission, it seems like we are moving past this precious resource.  The Lord continues to teach us so much about his character and purposes and we are grateful for that.

In short, we are doing well and enjoying 2009 so far.  We are happy to leave 2008 in the past and move forward with hope and expectation as to what the Lord has planned for us this year.

We continue to be amazed at how much this blog has blessed us and kept us tied into the body of Christ.  We cherish your friendship and faithfulness to us.  Thank you for your prayers and encouragement.  Feel free to e-mail or call to stay in contact.

With affection,

Sara & Chris

Radiation is done — cancer free!!!!

Posted in Cancer by sicks on October 29, 2008

Hey gang —

I just finished radiation today after 5 1/2 weeks of daily treatments! That brings 8 months of major treatments (chemo and radiation) to an end. It’s a bit of a presumption, but the doc tells me I can start talking about cancer in the past tense now—remission, survivor, cancer free and all that. It’s quite fun! Today is such a huge milestone that it’s hard to take it all in. I’m sure it will take a while. While I don’t feel any different physically, it’s quite a change emotionally and mentally.

I’m not done with all the drugs … I will continue to be treated with miracle-drug Herceptin until Spring 2009. I will also take osteoperosis drug Zometa as part of the bone trial I am in for another 3 years. And I will at some point start Tamoxifen, which interrupts the production of hormones, for 5 years. I am so thankful for the opportunity to take these amazing drugs. Lastly, I will have my final reconstruction surgery maybe in a month or so (I see my plastic surgeon in a week to schedule all of that).

I am so grateful to have made it through radiation without having to have surgery because of the hole in my incision (for all of you who have been keeping up on the gory details). God has been so faithful. Christ has been so present. He has provided so abundantly in so many categories. To him be glory!

I look forward to continuing to become the woman God intends me to be. Cancer has changed me. I wish change didn’t have to come this way, but I am grateful for what I have learned so far (I have a lot more to learn still). I look forward to more time with my family, less doctor appointments, getting my energy back, days filled with hope, and receiving my first haircut! I have a lot to look forward to …

THANK YOU for your prayers and for keeping up with us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love, Sara

Thoughts on suffering

Posted in Cancer,Sara by sicks on October 13, 2008

Oh boy, what a topic. I am quite a novice on this topic and I know I have a lot more to learn. But one of my biggest “aha!” moments came earlier this year as I was pondering suffering and how hard it is to understand that God often chooses it to accomplish his goals in his followers. But there was a time without suffering, when things didn’t have to be this way. Suffering comes from the Fall, not from the Garden of Eden. It was there that God invited us to live in sweet fellowship with our Creator, forever. It was life in the King’s palace.

But Adam and Eve chose life outside of the palace by choosing their own path. They decided to try living independently. However, the life of joy and peace is one that is utterly dependent on God. We just don’t like that, we want to be autonomous, self-sufficient. But if we are to look more like Christ, we have to live dependent upon the Father, and that includes suffering. Big changes in our lives often take place in the crucible of suffering. But suffering was not part of God’s original creation. It exists because of human choice. Learning this made me a lot less angry with God.

It is through the crucible of suffering that we can change and slowly become more beautiful and more like the people we were intended to be. I heard a story once about an interaction between Mother Teresa and one of the people she served who had lived a life of suffering. She told him that his afflictions were kisses from Jesus. His retort: “Could you tell Jesus to stop kissing me so much?” I feel a bit like this man this year. Suffering ain’t fun and it isn’t something we would choose. But is it effective? Yes, it is. I wonder what this year would have been like if I wasn’t diagnosed with cancer. I am quite grateful for Christ’s close presence, the reality of who he is and what he has done. I’m grateful for God’s stunning provision for us and showing me that I can trust him. I wouldn’t trade those precious jewels that I received through suffering. I knew a little about these things beforehand but now they go so much deeper. I have a lot more to learn. If you are suffering too, don’t waste your suffering. If you are like me, my goals are often just to get through the day so that it is behind me, but God has so much more in mind for these days of hardship. May God have his way with us so that we turn into the people we were meant to be, people who are joyful and satisfied with our place in God’s family (we are his beloved!)

In other news … I am a little bit past the half-way point in radiation, which is quite cool that the end to the major treatments is just two-and-a-half weeks away (if I don’t have to go into surgery before I finish). I started the bone trial last week and was assigned the drug Zometa. This is an osteopeorosis drug in the Bisphosphonates family and is being tested to see if it can help prevent recurrence in the bones for breast cancer patients. It is administered intravenously every 4 weeks for the first 6 months and then every 3 months for the next 2 1/2 years. I am quite grateful to have access to such cutting-edge drugs. Also, a little prayer request: I have had a twitch in my left eye for nearly 2 months now. The doctors say it could be stress related and might very well be around for a while and then go away. I am very aware of this little annoyance and I need God’s help to get through it, or it would be great if he took it away! Lastly, Chris’ folks are here for 3 weeks and have been quite busy taking care of the kids and with house projects. God provides!

Love, Sara

Radiation going well; hair update

Posted in Cancer by sicks on October 3, 2008

Hey gang —

I have made it just fine through my second week of radiation, which means I am a third of the way done. Hooray! I am tired but I think it’s just having three kids and life with cancer and not yet the effects of radiation. Hard to say.

My hair is getting down right “long” — I have just about an inch these days. It’s great to have my own hair back. It’s still quite curly but this time I have some gray hair mixed in with my old light brown color. My hair is not quite a cool doo yet but I’ll take what I can get. I can’t wait for my first haircut!

Love, Sara

The children celebrated my new hair by adorning me with bows.

Birthday #2 for our G-girl.

You are my beloved

Posted in Cancer,Sara by sicks on September 28, 2008

I grew up in the church and have heard all my life that the Lord loves me — and if I just understood that, it would really change my every day life. I think I struggle knowing this truth deep down. Part of the problem is familiarity breeds indifference. Have I heard that too many times that it can’t penetrate the way that it should? Also, the fact that God loves us because of Christ is quite hard to believe. Lately, the Lord has used the word beloved to hit a home run. Isn’t that a beautiful word? For me, it penetrates down deep.

Henri Nowen writes how important it is to spend time with the Lord in solitude as “it’s the place in which you can listen to the voice of the One who calls you the beloved. … Wherever you have gone, whatever you have done, and whatever people say about you, you are my beloved. I hold you safe in my embrace. I touch you. I hold you safe under my wings. You can come home to me whose name is Compassionate, whose name is Love.”

He goes on say that if we aren’t hearing and knowing that we are God’s beloved then “you will run around begging for affirmation, for praise, for success. And then you’re not free.”

When I don’t understand or live like I am Christ’s beloved, I am a walking gaping hole that seeks to vacuum in praise, affirmation or anything that will make me whole. It’s painful and downright annoying to not be whole, which is why we spend so much time trying to figure out how to be satisfied. But we are meant to be whole, to be satisfied. Our creator says, only I can make you whole, only my living water can fill you up and satisfy your thirst. It’s amazing what a difference it makes when I preach to myself: I am his beloved. When I do, I am filled and become less dependent on what others can give me because I already have what I need. I look less to my husband to be my god, less to my children, my friends, my schedule or to do list to fill me.

If you are in Christ, then you are his beloved too. May this reality change how we live and feel.

In other news … my first week of radiation is done. So far so good. It’s still a bit wild to think of medicine as coming from a gigantic machine that zaps you daily. My incision hole is actually worse but all the doctors want to keep marching forward with radiation to see if I can make it through these next 4 1/2 weeks without surgery. I am a bit emotionally worn out and so I could use prayers for perseverance. Thankfully, I can turn to Christ each day for strength. I would prefer to get my strength in monthly or yearly installments, but the Lord only promises to give us what we need for that day, while promising that He’ll also be there tomorrow with tomorrow’s allotment. As always, thanks for checking in!

Love, Sara

4 new tattoos

Posted in Cancer,Sara by sicks on September 17, 2008

When I was in college I always wanted a Jesus fish ixthus tattoo on my heel. My mom forbade me to do it. However, one day when I was a junior, my friends descended on my apartment declaring it was the day to get our tattoos. I have never regreted my decision since.

I have recently had a couple of pre-radiation appointments to get ready for next week’s start of treatment (Sept. 22), and I had NO idea that receiving tattoos was part of the gig. I now have 4 small tattoo dots on my chest so that they can line up the radiation machine properly (should I have asked for smiley faces or flowers instead?). I suppose I am fine with these additions but, my goodness, how odd to now be a woman who technically has 5 tattoos! Does that mean that we should start watching one of those tattoo shows on TLC? Am I now a member of some type of tattoo club? Will high school students now think that I’m really cool? Too funny and also too weird.

My prayer for radiation is not only that it will be effective, but that the holes along my incision will hold up so that I can get through treatment without surgery, which would delay and alter the radiation schedule. My oncologist said that radiation might even help the holes and create scabs. Oh boy do I want scabs — nice big ones! Cancer sure does change what you hope and pray for at times. Sorry to be gross but please pray that those holes scab over nicely!

You’re sweet for reading up on the latest and perhaps even praying for such a weird thing for me. Thank you!

Love, Sara

Radiation begins September 22nd

Posted in Cancer,Sara by sicks on September 6, 2008

Hey gang —

It’s been a huge week of doctor appointments (5 in 10 days) and getting ready for the next phase of treatments, namely radiation.  It’s also been a big emotional week of change with the potential risks of my next treatments and all the changes that are happening this fall (Lucy and Chris started school this week).

I got the nod from my radiation oncologist and plastic surgeon that my six-week, every-day radiation schedule will begin on the 22nd.  That doesn’t mean that I am out the woods yet with the openings on my incision from my old June surgery, however.  I am grateful that we will be able to begin somewhat on time but there is a chance that my holes will open up more during radiation.  If my expander (put in when I had my mastectomy) starts to show through the holes during radiation I will have to go into surgery to have it taken out so my wound can heal properly.  That would be quite a bummer.  So one of my prayer requests is that these holes would hold up during radiation so that I can make it through the six weeks without surgery.

I am also trying to get into a 3-year bone trial that uses a group of osteoperosis drugs as a preventive measure against future recurrence (breast cancer most often recurs as bone cancer).  It’s a really positive, promising and exciting trial.  I hope be a part of this trial but I have to have a thorough dental exam (Monday) so I can get in.  I also am praying for the Lord’s input on this one as there is a low risk but pretty awful side effect involving your jaw that comes with being in the trial.  Since I seem have a lot of health issues for my age, I am starting to pay attention to these “low risk” health risks.  It’s scary at times.

We desire to drink deeply from Christ and not our own strength to get through these next few miles this fall (Chris also has a lot going on and currently is enrolled in two seminary classes).  Although I have never run a marathon, I feel like we are are mile marker 20 physically, emotionally and spiritually.  We have hit the end of our human strength and need to draw 100% from Christ’s resources.   He is the vine and we are the branches.

Thanks for your prayers and your on-going encouragement and support!  We have needed you far more than we had expected at the beginning of this process!

Love, Sara

The question of God’s goodness

Posted in Cancer by sicks on September 1, 2008

I have wrestled with this question a good bit this year, and I imagine you have as well during times of your life.

We were just given two great gifts. Yesterday, for a few hours we wondered if our son had diabetes (I am a diabetic). I spent a few hours wrestling with God and shaking my fist in a don’t-you-dare-do-this-to-us-this-year type of fashion. Thankfully we were able to test Campbell’s blood with my tester and see that he is not a diabetic. First blessing.

Then, this morning we learned that a long-time builder friend of ours is going to purchase and install badly needed new windows on our house (we would not be able to afford this on our own). Wow! What blessings and amazing abundance! God is good!

Here’s the thing: When I am being honest, I want God to be good primarily because of his blessings–not because of who he is. If I had my choice, I would choose a life that includes 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night, children who obey my every word, a pedicure twice a month, comfortable finances, and gifts of free windows for my home on a regular basis. There is a part of me that longs for this kind of life, free from any challenges. I won’t go into it here, but these longings are the beginning of a longing for heaven.

It’s tempting to say “God is good!” only when we’ve received recent blessings (and we should be praising God for them). But was God any less good in January when I was diagnosed with breast cancer? Is God still good when children die of malaria and all sorts of terrible tragedies happen daily?

Author Dan Allender discusses this topic in his book, “Bold Love”: “If God’s goodness is looked for primarily in turns of fortune–a car screeches to a halt a few inches from your child, a check comes in the mail at the right moment from an unknown friend, a diagnosis of malignancy is found to be incorrect–then the verdict on His heart toward us will always be pending on the arrival of a new set of facts.”

The fact is that the foundation of God’s goodness is his forgiveness of his wayward children; that he rescued us while we were running away from him in pursuit of our own way. The Lord has brought this truth to me this year, and upon first re-examination (all my basic theology has been tested this year), I was not too thrilled. I want God first to be good because he blesses me, and then I want him also to be good to forgive me. The first seems like a bigger deal than the second. But the reality is that my forgiveness is a FAR BIGGER DEAL. “His goodness shines bright in the light of his redemptive love,” says Allender. I still have a ways to go in realizing my great need of forgiveness for my sin, which is the cancer of my soul.

Is God good because he just gave us these two beautiful blessings? Yes he is! But our recent “fortune” is not the basis for his goodness. God’s sending his son, The Rescuer, to earth to walk the same paths that we do today, to suffer greatly and to offer his life so that we could have a relationship with our Father the way we were created to, and that I can wear Christ’s robe of righteousness on a daily basis–that’s the real reason God is good.

-Sara

Chemo is done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted in Cancer,Sara by sicks on August 25, 2008

Hooray, hooray, hooray!!  I finished my last chemo today!  More soon on what is to come. … But in short, I start radiation in September and I will be on miracle drug Herceptin (administered through my port) until Spring 2009.  We are so overjoyed to pass this huge mile marker.  Thanks for your prayers, encouragement and love, and as always, thanks for checking in with us.

Love, Sara

Summer blessings, treatment update and a prayer request

Posted in Cancer,Sara by sicks on August 12, 2008

We have had a great few weeks and are enjoying the summer. It has gone a lot better than I thought it would (energy wise) and I have had a lot of good time with the children, Chris and dear friends. At the end of July, we had a great visit with my parents and sister’s family in Fredericksburg, VA. The children thoroughly enjoyed their cousins and daily time at the pool. Also, I joyfully turned 38 last week (it was great to turn the page on a difficult 37th year). Lastly, we really enjoyed attending my 20th-year high school reunion this past weekend. The Lord has done some really cool things in the lives of some of my classmates. It was neat to hear their stories and to connect with others that I didn’t know very well. I felt the Lord’s leading in several conversations and that was so cool.

Here’s the latest on my treatment schedule: My last chemo will be August 25th and I am terribly excited about this date. I will begin radiation in mid-September for 6 weeks. I will soon pursue trying to get into a promising medical trial using osteoperosis drugs to protect your bones (breast cancer most often recurs as bone cancer). Lastly, I will continue to receive Herceptin (a miracle drug) treatment through early spring 2009. More to come!

So here’s my prayer request: Some of you may remember that I had a minor surgery back in June. Because I am on chemo, my incision still has not yet healed. The final stitches were just removed last week and the incision is beginning to open further. It has been a bit disconcerting to have an open hole (or two) in your skin for the past 3 months. Not only am I tiring of caring for it so meticulously, but I don’t want this to delay the beginning of my radiation. Radiation tends to begin 3 weeks after your last chemo. While they are willing to wait one more additional week for it to heal, they won’t wait any longer. Would you please pray that my incision heals completely soon so that I can begin radiation on time? For those who have been praying for my ability to sleep — thank you! — I have had much improved sleep in the past 2 weeks. As always, thank you for your prayers, encouragement and commitment to us!

Love, Sara

Our circumstances and our hearts

Posted in Cancer,Coping with Cancer,Sara by sicks on July 22, 2008

Now to him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

These verses have always been some of my favorites—words that give great hope and excitement. In my mid- to later-20s, I read these passages a lot as I prayed for a husband, and the Lord certainly provided in my husband Chris. More than 10 years later, I have reflected on these verses again during my battle with breast cancer. I realize now that I have always viewed these verses only in regard to circumstances. I still believe that they can provide hope when we long for help with a particular circumstance. But, I now think these words are more about the incredible things God can do in our heartsin the midst of our circumstances. The verses that precede these all refer to our hearts and our inner being, not our circumstances.

Through this ordeal with cancer, I am witnessing changes in my heart as a result of the direct intervention of the Lord—changes that are quite stunning and above what I could have imagined he could do. I know the Lord is turning me into a different woman and I am thankful. God receives glory—i.e. he is seen for who he really is—when people are transformed by presence in their lives. It is always inspiring to witness the peace, contentment and joy certain believers possess as they face trials. They are an inspiration to all of us and hopefully create a longing in our hearts for the same possessions.

May we all surrender to him the circumstances of our lives, whether they be paper cuts or the blows of a sledge hammer. We need him for both. Let’s let him accomplish what he’s after, which is always “exceedingly, abundantly above all we can ask or imagine.” It’s a tall task to surrender but he will create in us this ability if we ask. Then our job is to witness the exciting and incredible plans he has for us, sometimes in our circumstances and always in our hearts.

Lastly, I have a couple prayer requests for my “circumstances.” I am feeling mostly pretty good but naturally, my blood levels (white blood count, red blood count and a host of other elements) are declining as a result of 4-5 months of chemotherapy. This is very normal for cancer patients under treatment and is a good sign that lots of good and bad stuff is being killed in my body. Would you pray that the Lord would protect me from illness while I am immuno-compromised and that I wouldn’t dip too low? Also, I am having trouble sleeping even though I take prescription sleep meds. As I type, it’s 1:30am and I am awake. I know I need plenty of rest during this time so it’s frustrating to be awake! Thank you for your prayers and for checking in with the Sicks family!

Love, Sara

Beach & Wedding Photos

Posted in Photos by sicks on July 14, 2008

Here are some pics from our recent vacation at Lake Michigan, and from Brennan & Kate’s wedding. (Brennan is Chris’ brother.)

Sara just finished week 18 of the chemo, only 6 to go!

Less Like Scars

Posted in Cancer,Sara by sicks on June 23, 2008

I was thunderstruck yesterday when listening to a Sara Groves song in the car called “Less Like Scars.” I have never had the experience of thinking a song was written for me, but this one takes the cake. This song is now a personal treasure so I thought I’d post the lyrics below.

In other news … I’ve completed 4 of 12 “chemo lite” rounds and it’s cool to be 1/3 of the way into this regimen. For the most part, I’m feeling well but am still healing a bit from my minor surgery two weeks ago (the healing process takes longer when you’re on chemo). Chris’ cousin Amanda leaves on Wednesday and we’re all going to miss her a ton. Lastly, we figured out today that my favorite chemo nurse lives right around the corner from our house and has three kids around the same ages as ours. What a cool thing the Lord seems to be doing.

Thanks for checking in with us! Love, Sara

Less Like Scars

It’s been a hard year
But I’m climbing out of the rubble
These lessons are hard
Healing changes are subtle
But every day it’s…

Less like tearing more like building
Less like captive more like willing
Less like breakdown more like surrender
Less like haunting more like remember

And I feel you here
And you’re picking up the pieces
Forever faithful
It seemed out of my hands a bad situation
But you are able
And in your hands the pain and hurt
look less like scars and more like character

Less like a prison more like my room
Less like a casket more like a womb
Less like dying more like transcending
Less like fear, less like an ending

Just a little while ago
I couldn’t feel the power or the hope
I couldn’t cope, I couldn’t feel a thing
Just a little while back
I was desperate, broken, laid out
Hoping you would come

And I need you
And I want you here
And I feel you…

And I feel you here
And you’re picking up the pieces
Forever faithful
It seemed out of my hands a bad situation
But you are able
And in your hands the pain and hurt
look less like scars
And more like character

To listen Click Here

The Rescuer

Posted in Cancer,Sara by sicks on June 14, 2008

Over the past 5 months the Lord has used Scripture as well as a number of great books to speak tenderly to me and to teach me about his character. One of the books that has deeply affected me has been our children’s Bible, “The Jesus Storybook Bible” by Sally Lloyd-Jones. This version of the Bible beautifully goes through many stories and speaks at a child’s level. It also takes well-known Scripture and puts it in different language, which can wake you up and see truth from a different angle. My special love for this book probably tells you a lot about my need to review the basics right now!

To silence and move me, the Lord has especially used a certain name for Jesus. He is repeatedly called The Rescuer. And God’s redemptive plan through Christ is called the “Secret Rescue Plan.” I have become so used to referring to Jesus and his salvation by other terms that these terms have caused me to think long and hard. Because to be quite honest, I sometimes forget that I need rescuing. I know full-well that I need rescuing from my cancer, but the “cancer of my heart” (sin) required a much larger rescue plan. This rescue is God’s first priority in my life, even though he cares deeply about my body as well.

If I can borrow our pastor Tom’s thoughts from a recent sermon … all it took were Christ’s words to create this incredible planet and creatures with all their diversity. But it took Christ’s blood to rescue (or redeem) his children. One flick of God’s wrist to create the galaxy—death on a cross to rescue. This was God’s secret rescue plan all along so that we could run toward him rather than from him.

The Lord has been using my cancer experience to teach me more about His great rescue plan. May the Rescuer also use life’s experiences to teach you the same.

Physically speaking, I am recovering well from my minor surgery (see previous post). Although this chemo regimen is easier, it still has some side effects, which at times can be challenging emotionally and physically. I can see tiny hairs beginning to grow in my thinned-out eyebrows, which is kind of cool. So for the most part, I am doing well and am being encouraged by my Rescuer and his children.

Love, Sara

Minor surgery & new chemo round is going well

Posted in Cancer,Sara by sicks on June 8, 2008

Hey gang —

I had minor surgery today to help with a weird development located around the site of my mastectomy. Basically, my skin is so thin that it tore causing the plastic port from my reconstruction expander to become visible. Also this hole had become a little bit infected. So today the the plastic surgeon removed that port with the hope that the hole will now close. Would you pray that the skin heals, that hole goes away, and that my infection leaves through an antibiotic I’m taking?

Also, I began my new round of weekly chemo last week and this regimen is much better than the last. There have been minimal side effects so far, which is great! I’ll be on this one until mid-August.

Lastly, Chris’ cousin Amanda has been here for a week and will remain for another 2 1/2 weeks. She has been a huge help with the kids and the daily operations of our household. She is a great blessing!

God continues to teach us many things and to provide for our needs. Thanks for checking in with the Sicks gang!

Love, Sara

Caterpillars, butterflies and a new round of chemo begins

Posted in Cancer,Sara by sicks on May 28, 2008

“Any transition serious enough to alter your definition of self will require not just small adjustments in your way of living and thinking but a full-on metamorphosis. I don’t know if this is emotionally stressful for caterpillars, but for humans it can be hell on wheels. At times you may feel it’s the end of the world. Just remember that what the caterpillar calls the end of the world, God calls a butterfly.” -Martha Beck

A good friend of mine shared this quote with me and I love it. I think if caterpillars could talk we’d hear lots of painful shrieking and confusion in our backyards: “My skin! It’s so tight! It’s falling off … what is happening here? Why in the world am I building this silk cave cave around myself? Why is it so dark in here? What in the world is happening to me?” Before these caterpillars know it, they are transformed into totally different creatures that are very different than the old ones but are beautiful to behold. Their new identity and reality is what God intended them to be all along but it came at a price.

That’s how I feel about this season in life. God is transforming me into a different woman (thank goodness!). I am not suggesting that I am going to look like a butterfly but simply that metamorphosis is painful and hard work for all of us. The Refiner is passionate about turning us into something beautiful—someone he had in mind when he created us in our mothers’ wombs. He wants us to look more and more like his son Jesus. He has great plans in mind, and needs to turn us into different people for those plans to come to their fruition. So let’s let him have His way with us when he allows circumstances that change us. “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21.

On another note, I start my new 12-week round of chemo on Monday, June 2nd. This chemo (Taxol, combined with an amazing new drug called Herceptin) is supposedly a lot easier to take and doesn’t have as many side effects. Chris’ cousin Amanda comes in on Sunday, June 1st for 3 1/2 weeks to help us with the kids and such. What a blessing! God continues to provide for us internally and externally. He is good.

Thanks for checking in with the Sicks family and for your faithful prayers!

Love, Sara

Yucky chemo done & Happy Anniversary

Posted in Cancer,Sara by sicks on May 20, 2008

It’s really cool to feel like I’m starting to make progress through my treatments.  The 4th and final of the hard chemo is done and “chemo lite” starts in the beginning of June.  That means I’m about half-way through chemotherapy!  Last week was a bit easier than I had thought but lasted longer than expected.  It was a huge blessing to go to my folks house for tons of rest and quiet.  I also was able to spend some good time with my parents.  And now it’s good to be back in the saddle at home with Chris and the kids.

Chris and I are celebrating our 9th anniversary this week — hooray!  While Chris’ folks were here, we went to an incredible French inn near Middleburg, VA from Monday-Tuesday.  Not only did we feel like we were in France, but the 4-star restaurant in the inn was out-of-this-world wonderful.  We had fun eating, shopping in Middleburg, and enjoying the luxury of being with each other without children.  What a blessing!

Much love and gratitude for your prayers and checking in with us.

Sara

4th round of chemo on Monday

Posted in Cancer,Sara by sicks on May 10, 2008

Hey faithful gang —

I have my 4th and final round of kick-you-in-the-pants chemo on Monday, May 12th. Although I will start a whole new round of chemo in June that will last for the whole summer, I am quite thankful that the really hard stuff is almost over. Hooray!

We have mentioned this before, but if you are so inclined, we always appreciate prayer: active cancer cells so that the chemo can identify them and blast them!; grace during the side effects; smooth week for the family; and being open to what the Lord wants to communicate with us.

Chris’ folks are in town for a few weeks, which has been great. I head down to my parents’ house for a few days for this round of chemo so I can recover in peace and quiet and then rejoin the family at the end of the week.

I am grateful tonight for the privilege of being a mother of three incredible kids, wife to an amazing husband, and being surrounded by the Body of Christ. These blessings take my breath away and are daily reminders of Jesus’ abundant love for me.

Love,

Sara

To rest between His shoulders

Posted in Cancer,Coping with Cancer,Sara by sicks on May 2, 2008

“Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him,
for he shields him all day long,
and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders.”
Deuteronomy 33:12

We were created to lean back into the Lord like a woman reclines her back into a man’s body with his arms around her. It is a loving body position and shows intimacy between the two people. In this position, the woman rests in the man’s strength and feels secure, protected and loved. I think this verse is referring to the kind of relationship his beloved children were designed to have with the Lord, where we are leaning into him in all areas of our life. I believe this was perhaps our natural positioning with the Lord before the fall of man. But after the fall when sin entered the world, our body position with the Lord changed. The Lord still desires that we would rest between his shoulders–that we would be completely dependent on him. But because our sin and waywardness, we choose to put distance between ourselves and our first love and seek other things to satisfy us. As it says in Isaiah 53:6, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

Through my ordeal with cancer, I have realized that I have run into the arms of other lovers. I am not speaking of my relationship with my husband Chris, but about my relationship with the Lord. There are other lovers that I seek because I think they will bring me comfort, satisfaction and joy. Some of my lovers are having nice clothes, an organized home, constant fun and laughter with others, a respectable to do list, children who obey me. None of these things of course are bad in an of themselves, but making them into a lover takes it beyond a healthy point. So even though I am a follower of Christ, my life at times is filled with dissatisfaction and emptiness. Part of that reason, I believe, is because my heart is wrapped around other lovers.

I have struggled tremendously this past week with the whole idea of suffering. This struggle is not at all limited to my personal battle with breast cancer, but lies more in why a loving God allows so much suffering in this world. This is hardly a new question but it has hit me so hard. I have not only been terribly angry with the Lord, but confused and quite scared of him. I couldn’t even sing praise songs in church this past week because I couldn’t say any of those words to him.

One of my conclusions is that the Lord allows suffering because it hopefully sends us running back into the arms of our first love to resume that loving body position I described earlier. The Lord doesn’t need to be in that position, but we were made to live like that. It is in that position that we are fully satisfied and we are our true selves. We were made to be bound to his presence. He is a jealous God and will go to great lengths to show us our dependency on him. He is jealous for our satisfaction and joy.  Through Christ’s death on the cross, I now have access to God’s loving arms and am able to resume that intimate body position.  I still do not understand a lot about suffering but I know that the Lord is using my suffering to pry me out the arms of my other lovers so that I can rest fully in his arms where I belong.

Sara

3rd round down and thoughts from a chemo brain

Posted in Cancer,Sara by sicks on April 24, 2008

Tonight I am pulling out of the haze of AC chemo #3 (out of 4) and it’s a good feeling. This week wasn’t as bad as I had thought it would be and I am grateful. No walk in the park but not bad if you have to have chemo. Your prayers about killing all those nasty cancer cells and other prayer needs continue to be of great comfort. Thank you, thank you!

Two random things on my chemo brain tonight … Okay, regarding the wig … I have gotten a number of “great new doo” compliments (I’m not bragging here) from passersby who don’t know what’s going on. Because I don’t know what to say and don’t want them to feel bad, I just say thank you and move on. What would you do? Random question.

Also, what’s the deal with the tons of cancer references in TV drama world these days? Every show Chris and I watch has some sort of cancer battle mixed into the plot — my goodness you can’t get away from it! Are the writers short on disease ideas? Has it always been this way and I have never noticed? I hope this isn’t a round of self pity, but I just had to comment because it’s so weird!

Much love,

Sara

New wig and 3rd round of chemo

Posted in Cancer,Sara by sicks on April 20, 2008

Every man and woman would agree that the relationship we women have with our hair can be very a complex thing. We have bad hair days, good hair days and everything in between.

When I set out to get my first wig at the beginning of March, I thought every wig shop was the same. Who’d-a thought otherwise? Well, there is a difference. Back in March, some dear friends and my mom accompanied me to two local shops nearby. To keep the critique short, one shop in particular clearly felt they were the best wig shop around. Moreover, they were extremely pushy and tried hard to convince me what I needed and why. Thankfully, we finished the day on a lighter note and I walked out of the shop with a decent wig.

After I lost my hair, I started to wear the wig and felt it just wasn’t me: it was a bit too long (I don’t really want a bunch of hair around my neck that isn’t home grown), it was constantly in my face and eyes, it was horribly uncomfortable, and there was this strange mound that was just too high at the crown of my head. Although I didn’t think it was possible, I was having a bad wig day.

While I was at my first chemo appointment, another woman who was also getting chemo asked me where I’d bought my wig. After I told her, she said: “That’s where the prostitutes go!…. we’re not doing that!” Too funny. She told me where “we” (i.e. cancer patients) go—to Bravada’s in Fairfax.

My dear friend Barb went with me to Bravada’s and the experience was like night and day. The staff was so kind, compassionate, helpful and non-pushy. I ordered a snazzy shorter wig that is much more my style. My daughter Lucy can now use my old wig as a fun accessory for her dress up clothes or I might give it away. You can see her—and Chris—in my old wig in the pictures below. I love my new wig (even though it still is a bit uncomfortable after wearing it for a few hours) and am grateful for my new doo.

In other news, I start my third round of chemo tomorrow, April 21st. This is the 3rd out of 4 kick-you-in-the-behind-chemo. I’m told the effects get worse with each progressive treatment. So I am fully expecting a rough 4 days. At the same time, I am grateful that I have access to such amazing medicine that is fully paid for by health insurance. So on one hand, I look forward to this week when more cancer cells will be killed, but in the process I will likely feel crummy.

So if you are willing, please pray for active cancer cells on Monday and Tuesday as that is how chemo identifies them and then blows them to smithereens! Please also pray that I will be able to weather the storm with grace. And finally that the children will get through the week well and I that I will be able to interact with them and Chris more than I am anticipating. Like before, Ginger, our 19-month-old, is with my parents for the week to lighten the load. Thank you dear friends!

Much love, Sara

“The Healing Power of Afflictions” article

Posted in Cancer,Coping with Cancer,Sara by sicks on April 11, 2008

I would like to include a link to a wonderful article about affliction by David Wilkerson. My friend Rachel shared it with me yesterday. It blew my socks off and I will be marinating myself in it for months. It you want a good read, click here.

Love,

Sara

In the wilderness: emotions up and down, and God speaks tenderly

Posted in Cancer,Coping with Cancer,Sara by sicks on April 7, 2008

I thought I’d give folks a snapshot of how we’re doing these days.

Chemo was harder last week than the first go around. Thankfully the effects last for about four days so you can count those down. For me, the harder road is the emotional and spiritual side effects of this cancer–the battle in my brain. I go up and down, back and forth, and at times I feel like the waves in an ocean. A friend of ours just wrote on this blog a quote from a pastor named Rob Bell: “Maturity is when your convictions and beliefs drive the bus and tell your thoughts and feelings ‘you sit there’.” Pretty cool. I would love this to be true of me all the time. Our friend Sarah credited us with living out this quote but I am not so sure that is accurate (sorry Sarah!). So I guess my prayer request would be that it would be true of my heart and that I would not be so subject to my emotions.

Our pastor Tom Holliday preached yesterday that God leads his bride into the wilderness to speak tenderly to her (from Hosea). Wow. It had not occurred to me that he allowed this so he could speak tenderly to me. Tom said that when we are in the city our ears can get plugged and we can’t hear the Lord. So at times, God leads us out to the desert where we able to listen to him. Well, the Lord certainly has my attention in this wilderness and I want to fully hear and receive the words he wants to share. Speak tenderly, Lord, speak!

More to come soon on bad wig days and my journey to find a different wig. You know how it is… women and our hair…. well, it can get complicated. We’ll also share pics!

Love, Sara

The (bald) eagle has landed

Posted in Cancer,Sara by sicks on March 31, 2008

In short — I’m bald! My hair started to come out 4 days ago so I had it all shaved off yesterday by a friend so that I wouldn’t have to watch it all come out strand by strand. But I am not alone! My dear husband Chris surprised me by shaving off his hair the day beforehand. One of the cool things is that his act made me feel better about losing my hair. Another cool thing is that taking it off was not as hard as I thought it would be. Several friends and my mom came over for the occasion. We prayed, made mimosas, played ABBA on the stereo, and then I let Lucy start chopping off hair with a pair of scissors (when else can a 5-year-old do whatever she wants with mommy’s hair?). She did a surprisingly good job. After that, my friend Vicki gave me a mohawk with her clippers, and then that went too. (pics below) I put on my wig and Lucy played beauty school for two hours with scarves and brushes. We actually laughed and had a good time.

I had already cried a number of tears about losing my hair so the act itself of taking it off was better than expected. Once again, how good of God to transform a difficult day into something that surpassed my expectations and was actually fun. I must admit that it’s pretty wild to see yourself bald, but I know I will get used to it. One wild thing — it sure gets cold without hair! Thankfully, I have some great hats, scarves and a wig so I will get by just fine. I’m sure there will be hard days with no hair but for now, it has been okay.

Another blessing is that I was able to receive my 2nd round of chemo today. Who knew that getting your chemo would be such happy news! In just three days, my white blood cell count shot up enough to allow another round of chemo. Once again, my dear friend Lori came with me. We had a great time talking and, before I knew it, we were ready to leave. I will indeed receive the Neulasta shot tomorrow that will cause my bone marrow to crank out red and white blood cells to keep me on my 3-week chemo treatment schedule. Our prayer requests for this chemo round are similar to the last time. If you wish, you can find them in the entry below. I am feeling pretty crummy right now so: Off to bed!

Love, Sara

Here are three pics for ya:

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Putting my chemo schedule in God’s hands

Posted in Cancer,Sara by sicks on March 28, 2008

I’m a rules gal. I strive to organize the details of life so that they follow a pattern I can count on. Don’t get me wrong — I love moments of surprise and spontaneity. One of the trials of this cancer experience has the days that were far from normal and that don’t fall into a routine. That’s why I have been somewhat relieved to have the chemo schedule, because it is predictable.

So today, when I went to get my blood checked to make sure I was good to go for Monday’s chemo, I was surprised to learn that I am more immuno-compromised right now than I was last week. Last week is when my white and red blood cell count were supposed to be at their lowest. It’s hard to know why my counts are low now, although it isn’t something that really concerns my doctor. The issue is that my body may not be ready to receive chemo on Monday. If that’s the case, I’ll receieve a shot of Neulasta that cranks up my bone marrow to make red and white blood cells. Supposedly it makes you feel like you have the flu — great. I would then receive my chemo on Wednesday or Thursday. My oncologist is not at all concerned about the delay of a couple of days.

I was a bit frustrated and upset at first because I thought, “Lord, do you have to take away the comfort of this new routine, too?” We had thought out that Mondays would be best for our family but this could move us to a permanent Wednesday chemo schedule, causing us to reorganize child care situations and such. Okay, Sara, this can change and it’s not a big deal.

I realized later in the day that all these little details are in the Lord’s hands. He is the master of timing. Maybe he has a purpose for me to receive chemo on Wednesdays that I can’t yet see. I have to be willing to surrender all of my comforts to him. Do I trust him, even in some of these minor things that frustrate my plans?

As before, we still covet your prayers for my chemo:

1) For active cancer cells. These cells have to be active for the chemo to find them and then kill them. Fry cancer cells, fry!

2) I will likely have minimal side effects from the chemo like I did last time. That would be a nice bonus this go-around.

3) Grace and perseverance for Chris and all those who are caring for our children while I am recovering.

4) My hair has started to go. I will get it all shaved off on Saturday or Sunday by a friend to ease the stress of seeing it go strand by strand. Would you pray that I will get over this emotional change swiftly and just accept the change with grace?

Thanks, gang, for hanging in there with us for this journey. You are precious to us and we are so grateful for you even if we don’t personally e-mail you back.

Sara

Stomach flu run amok

Posted in Cancer,Sara by sicks on March 25, 2008

The gastroenteritis virus has taken up residence at our house, affecting everyone but me (Sara), although I have experienced some minor effects. My sister and brother-in-law bore the brunt of care for Lucy and Campbell over the weekend as they were down visiting in Fredericksburg, VA. Thankfully, Campbell is well now and others are headed in that direction. We are praying that I don’t come down with this later in the week as my second chemo treatment begins on Monday, March 31. Other than that, the big news this week is that I should lose my hair. I keep tugging on parts of it to see if it is time, but so far it’s hanging in there. 🙂 Time is going ever so slowly here in the Sicks household. I suppose that is how it goes in the valley. Thankfully, there is the knowledge that all things are temporary and that this too shall pass. Whether time is progressing quickly or slowly, may God be seen for who he is in our lives, and may we stop to worship him.

Sara

“Causing you to hunger…”

Posted in Chris,Coping with Cancer,Scripture by sicks on March 20, 2008

Here are two words, which do you prefer?
Suffering, or Glory?

None of us want suffering in our lives, right? But it’s remarkable how intertwined these two concepts are in scripture.

Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory? (Lk 24:26)

Jesus was explaining to the confused disciples that his death was not a deviation from God’s plan, although it was contrary to their plans. They thought they were getting a Messiah king who would overthrow Roman oppression and lead them back the glorious days of David and Solomon.

Instead, they got a guy who touched lepers, spoke to adulterous Samaritan women and ate with the rejects of society. Then, he was executed with a couple of criminals. No wonder they were bummed out on Easter morning.

We, too, would prefer glory to suffering, but scripture repeatedly tells us that you can’t have one without the other. Think of Joseph–sold into slavery, imprisoned wrongly, but eventually running all of Egypt. Think about Ruth and Naomi. And Hosea’s cheating wife Gomer, who brought into the home children that weren’t his. And King David hiding in caves from his own murderous son. And the Egyptian first born, slain while the Jewish children slept.

And those 40 years in the desert. Talk about suffering. But it was suffering that God brought upon them for a purpose. Note that God caused them to hunger, for two reasons:

He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. (Deut 8:3)

His reasons were 1) To humble them, to shake them out of their self-reliance and make them fully dependent upon God. And 2) To teach them that they needed more than bread to live, more than material resources. That a glorious life is one lived in full reliance upon the Creator.

Sometimes we need to suffer to remember this, to be made helpless enough to seek divine assistance. But he loves us enough to cause our hunger, our suffering. Because that’s when we see the glory of the One who suffered everything, so that we can endure hardship in the secure knowledge that we are safe in his loving hand. Safer and more loved than we ever knew before the suffering came along.

-Christopher

Settling into a “normal” week

Posted in Cancer,Sara by sicks on March 19, 2008

Since my immuno-compromised numbers were close to normal, I was able to return home yesterday — quite unexpectedly.  I had thought I would be away from my family for the entire week.  Yet again, another blessing that has surpassed my expectations.  It is so good to be at home with all the kids and Chris getting back into a normal routine.  I have never been thankful for my normal routine but I am now.  God is good.  Ginger has a cold so I am trying to be diligent about hand sanitizer and such so we’ll see.  Otherwise, I feel absolutely normal and strong.  My hair should fall out next week and I am sort of dreading that.  The plan is I need to return to 100% health next week so that I can be ready for my next chemo treatment on March 31.  Again and again, we are so thankful for your prayers.

Love,

Sara

So far so good

Posted in Cancer,Sara by sicks on March 15, 2008

This week has gone far better than I expected. I experienced minimal symptoms from the chemo–mostly fatigue and thirst–and no nausea (I was on four anti-nausea medications)! I took at least one nap each day and I was able to interact a lot with Chris and the kids. Life seemed close to “normal.” What an answer to prayer! I am so grateful.

I was supposed to head down to Fredericksburg, VA, to spend the week with my parents while immuno-compromised. However, my Mom just had the flu, so this plan is now changing.  Chris and the children will remain at our house. We will receive great help this week with the children from our friends and family. You can pray that Ginger doesn’t bring the flu back from Fredericksburg to infect Chris, Lucy and Campbell.

The day I received chemo also far surpassed my expectations. The Lord has given me the perspective that all my treatments are the path to healing. Because of that, I looked forward to beginning chemo. A dear mentor friend from church, Lori Joyce, went with me, which transformed the experience. Although weird at times, what was amazing was the peace and calm I felt, which can only come from the Prince of Peace. I felt healthy, upbeat, and alive. Lori and I had packed a number of books to keep us entertained but we didn’t open one of them. Instead, we talked and laughed. We even joked that we needed to bring in a disco ball the next time to hang from the ceiling to spice things up. Why not? We enjoyed a picnic lunch with another friend from church. Before we knew it, chemo was done. We joked that it was like we had been at the spa — well, kind of. With that in mind, Lori suggested we get a pedicure to round out the day. So we did.

The Lord orchestrated a very good day that surpassed my expectations and went so smoothly. That’s just like him to transform what could have been a very difficult day into something that was positive, fun at times, and memorable. To God be the glory!

Thank you for your prayers!

Sara

Prayer requests for chemo

Posted in Cancer,Sara by sicks on March 9, 2008

Hey gang —

I start chemotherapy tomorrow, at 9am on Monday, March 10. This series of four chemo treatments will occur once every three weeks, for a total of 12 weeks total on this go around. We would greatly appreciate specific prayer in the following areas:

1) Pray for active cancer cells. Sounds strange, I know, but chemo attacks cells that are actively splitting, not those that are dormant. Please pray that the cancer cells in my body are highly active so the chemo can identify them and kill all of them.

2) Chris is going to have a lot on his plate with work, children and household responsibilities. Please pray that he handles the pressure with grace, leaning into the Lord for strength.

3) We have a pretty awesome volunteer schedule in place to take care of Lucy and Campbell this week and next. Please pray that they roll with the punches of seeing me sick, being with others each day, and that we can discern their needs considering all that is happening. Ginger will be with my parents for this week.

4) I imagine that chemo will be difficult in a number of ways. Pray that I will tolerate it well and be able to participate with my family to some degree. Also, that I would avoid illness while my immune system is weakened, remembering to wash hands etc in order to avoid picking up anything.

5) That God would be shown for who he is — first in my heart and then in any other way that the Lord would choose.

Thanks so much for your prayers. They are precious to us!

Love, Sara

So many appointments, so little time!

Posted in Cancer by sicks on March 3, 2008

We have a load of appointments this week and last minute things before chemo starts next week. I bought a wig on Saturday with my mom and some good friends. That experience was a bit strange and overwhelming and I was glad to have some good company to lend opinions and some fun to the experience.

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I had two appointments today, and tomorrow I go into surgery to have my port put in (all my chemo treatments will be administered through my port, which will be inserted nearby my right collar bone). This should be minor as it is out-patient surgery.

“Chemo class” — how fun! — is on Wednesday and the list goes on. This is one of those weeks that we feel a bit overwhelmed at all there is to do. But we know the Lord will guide us through all these to do items. I broke the news to Lucy about some of the things that are to come with my treatments, and we decided to use the word “cancer” for the first time with her. The conversation went well and I am grateful.

Thanks, gang, for your prayers and support. They continue to be a great source of encouragement.

Dealing with Fear

Posted in Chris,Scripture by sicks on February 28, 2008

A week after Sara was diagnosed with cancer, she woke me in the middle of the night, sobbing and trembling, overcome by fear as she cried out to me: “I don’t want to die!”

The reality of having cancer was bad enough, but uncertainty about the future has been one of her fiercest battles during this journey.

Where can you look, when the present is full of bad news, and the future looks even worse? I think Psalm 77 may have some answers. It was written by Asaph, a man appointed by King David to lead worship before the Ark of the Covenant. He was a performer and a worship leader, he sang and played instruments as a part of his ministry in the tabernacle (1Chr 15)

He was also the composer and publisher of psalms. He wrote 12 psalms himself, and he collected and distributed King David’s music (1 Chr 16:7-37).

So, we have this important man doing “kingdom work” every day of his life. He is close with King David, and his job is to sing, write and play music to the Lord. You might think he’d be a happy man without many problems, right?

Clearly not. Look again at how the psalm opens:

1 I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me.
2 When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands and my soul refused to be comforted.

Just like Sara, Asaph was having trouble sleeping at night because of his problems. We don’t know what he is going through, perhaps an illness, or a rebellious teenager. Whatever it is, he is really distraught.

3 I remembered you, O God, and I groaned; I mused, and my spirit grew faint.
4 You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak.
5 I thought about the former days, the years of long ago;
6 I remembered my songs in the night. My heart mused and my spirit inquired:

7 “Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again?
8 Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time?

In his distress and sleepless anxiety, he begins to doubt God. This Levite priest, this man who sings the praises of God each day of his life, he questions whether God can or will help him. “Will the Lord reject me forever?” he wonders. “Is this situation ever going to get better? Has God’s unfailing love vanished forever?” Look at that. Has his unfailing love failed? He acknowledges God’s great character, and doubts it—all in the same breath.

And then he starts to blame himself, and doubt God’s compassion for him.

9 Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?”

Maybe God’s mercy has run out. Or he is too busy and doesn’t notice that I’m suffering down here. Or, maybe God is there, but he won’t help me. He has forgiven me so many times for so many things, maybe I pushed him too far the other day. Maybe he’s dropped me from his list. Maybe it’s all my fault.

Asaph is struggling. Today is confusing him. It’s difficult. And tomorrow is scary. For some people, tomorrow is terrifying, wondering if your child is going to get things right, what the lab results are going to say, or where the next meal is going to come from.

So where can you go when you are overwhelmed with anxiety? A lot of the people I encounter in my work struggle with addictions—alcohol, drugs, bad relationships. Disappointment and anxiety trigger relapses into bad habits. Folks who are addicted to something have a habit of seeking comfort there, so when life gets hard and things don’t go right, that is where they instinctively turn.

Where do you turn? This time, at least, Asaph doesn’t turn to food, alcohol or another false comfort—he looks to the past. Lost in his anxiety, the past is the only concrete thing Asaph can cling to. He begins preaching—to himself.

10 Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years of the right hand of the Most High.”
11 I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
12 I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.

Asaph appeals to “the years of the right hand of the most High.” I love that. He ponders God’s right hand—the hand of action. He thinks about that hand that created the universe, that crafted human beings, that parted the Red Sea. He forces himself to remember what God has done.

Asaph doesn’t understand today, and tomorrow is scary, so he reviews what has happened to God’s people in the past. Notice that in verses 1-9 it’s always I, me and my. He is consumed by his problems and focused on himself. But from verse 10 on, he turns his thoughts from himself to God, and God’s faithfulness to all his people, not just Asaph.

Asaph doesn’t just remember these past events, he meditates on them. To meditate is to contemplate deeply and continuously, to ponder. You may think of a Buddhist monk, sitting cross legged and chanting a mantra. But the purpose of Eastern meditation is to empty your mind, while Godly meditation is filling your mind with the truth of God. True meditation is a spiritual discipline, when you marinate your mind in the Word of God, when you float in His Living Water and let it wash over you. When you do that, the anxiety and fear that consumed you are pushed to the corners of your mind, and put in perspective.

Sara has been devouring scripture like never before, and has said repeatedly that God’s Word is the one thing sustaining her during this trial.

12 I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.

Asaph is forcing himself to stop thinking about his present problems, and focus instead on God’s past deeds.

13 Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God?
14 You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.
15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.

Asaph tells himself about God’s character, and his faithfulness. He preaches the truth to himself.

Preaching to yourself is not whistling in the dark. It isn’t mustering up the courage to get through a tough time, or pretending things aren’t as bad as they are. It isn’t a self-help, and it isn’t just some cliché about God being good and nice. “Oh don’t worry, God will take care of everything.” Oh, good. You’re right. I’ll stop worrying now.

It is more than that. It is intentionally turning your thoughts from your circumstances and pressing concerns, and thinking instead about the character and faithfulness of God. It is meditating on his good works in history, so you can understand the present and future more clearly.

For more on this idea of looking up at Christ instead of down at your circumstances, download Tom Holliday’s sermon from Feb. 24.

Thanks for being with us on this journey. It means more than you know.

-Christopher

Do I have to be so dependent?

Posted in Cancer,Coping with Cancer,Sara by sicks on February 26, 2008

To be quite honest, I wish I didn’t have to depend on God so much. One of the reasons I didn’t want to be stage 3 was because I wanted the best odds of being healed by man, rather than depending fully on God for my healing. (I have chosen not to know any of my “odds,” by the way, so please refrain from commenting here about ANY of that. Stage 3, by the way, is curable). But the fact of the matter is that I need him desperately on many fronts: to heal both my body and my sin. For my peace. To battle my fears and to see my situation through the lens of his reality.

I suppose I am being shown God’s reality — that we were created to need him and depend on him fully. I am so accustomed to relying on God AND my gifts and resources. But he has removed everything else and only his mighty hand remains.

The fact of the matter is that God is the sustainer of my life (Psalm 27), and he has determined the number of my days before my life began (Psalm 139). My job is to believe these Truths, not any “truths” about the percentages or odds. If you choose to pray for me, would you please pray that I am enabled to believe what God has said to me and not what my fears say? Also, that I will rest in those promises and surrender to him. When I surrender to him fully, that’s when I find peace. Peace is possible when we allow God to rule areas of our lives. God’s ruling our circumstances and our peace are directly linked.

These battles of the mind are the areas that I fear much more than the tough chemo in the next six months. (Chris has said that he’s more concerned about my heart than my body.) May Christ be victorious in the battle for my mind — and in my body.

Sara

Will God Heal?

Posted in Chris,Coping with Cancer,Scripture by sicks on February 24, 2008

A couple of weeks ago, Sara was reading Psalm 103, and asked for my opinion on a verse:

2 Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits–

3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases

“Can I take this as a promise that God will heal me?” Sara asked. Good question. In our doubt and fear and anxiety, scripture has been a great encouragement. God’s promises mean a lot when everything else is shaking loose. But what to make of Sara’s question?

Particularly challenging for us was the memory of a dear friend, father of two young children, full-time in ministry to college students, cherished by his wife…well, he died of cancer about 3 years ago. If the Lord could take him, why not Sara? And if this young man died, what do we make of “heals all your diseases“? That didn’t seem to hold true in our friend’s case. What do these words mean in Sara’s case?

I’ve come to a few conclusions. First, this psalm was written by David. He had experienced God’s healing when he was very sick. (Psalm 30.) He knew that God was capable of healing. That’s conclusion #1 — with David we follow a God who can heal.

But he doesn’t always heal. David’s first-born died. (2 Samuel 12:13-25) Our friend died. So, why, we ask, does it say God “heals all your diseases“? Here’s an interesting thing I learned: when you find sweeping, grandiose promises like this in the Old Testament, promises that go far beyond human experience or capability, then you are being pointed to Christ. David spoke about God from first-hand knowledge, but he also spoke of things he didn’t fully understand. David wrote of his descendant Jesus who would come to forgive all our sins, and heal all our diseases. Christ’s suffering and victory mean that we will one day live in perfect bodies that will never be sick, will never perish. That’s conclusion #2. Although our friend did not receive physical healing in this life, he now dwells in perfect painless peace forever.

Does Psalm 103 tell us anything about Sara, her cancer and her prognosis? No. It wasn’t written about her. It was written about the God who can, does and will heal. As we face the uncertainty of battling cancer, and are threatened by doubt and fear, God’s Word is providing us with solid rocks of Truth to depend upon.

-Christopher

Stage 3 Cancer? Super!

Posted in Cancer,Sara by sicks on February 22, 2008

Praise the Lord!! The PET scan results were negative, which means the cancer is not present in other parts of my body (that does not necessarily mean that there aren’t cancer cells floating around in my body). I am so THRILLED that I am stage 3. It was only 5 days ago, on Sunday, when the Lord and I were wrestling big time about being stage 3. On that day, the idea of being stage 3 was a torment. On that day, I called the Lord mean and cruel.

Only the Lord could turn what I thought was such wretched news into pure joy. The transformation in my heart is unbelievable and God gets all the glory. Today, I call him my deliverer and my protector.

We are greatly rejoicing at the first good news about my cancer in 5-1/2 weeks. To God be the glory!

Psalm 30: 11-12: “You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.”

-Sara

PET Results, Chemo Plan

Posted in Cancer,Chris by sicks on February 22, 2008

Just returned from the oncologist, and the great news is that the PET scan found no signs of cancer in other parts of Sara’s body. We are delighted, and grateful. Sara will share more about that in a moment.

As a guy, I figure some of you want to know more about the nuts and bolts of treating Sara’s cancer. It’s actually quite amazing the stuff they can do, and how many treatments have been developed very recently.

On March 10, Sara will begin chemotherapy, followed by radiation and two other treatments. Here’s what the plan looks like:

First, 4 treatments of AC chemo occurring every three weeks (12 weeks). This is the kick-your-butt & make you sick chemo.

Next, Taxol & Herceptin every week for 12 weeks. Won’t make her as sick.

Next, daily radiation treatments for 6 weeks.

Next, Herceptin doses every three weeks for 39 weeks.

Next, Tamoxifen pills daily for 5 years.

Thanks for the prayers and encouragement. We are glad to be at the point where we know everything, and can move forward into battle against this thing.

-Christopher

Pathology Results

Posted in Cancer,Sara by sicks on February 19, 2008

I have a story to tell before I reveal the results of my pathology report.

It has been an intense battle leading up to today. Being officially staged was a big part of that battle. I have been telling the Lord that I did not want to be stage 3 and we wrestled about that one quite a bit. I have felt that he was preparing me for stage 3 and I have been furious with him about that. I told him he was cruel for that.

I knew the Lord wanted me to trust him completely but I was scared what that would mean. Because he knew that staging was a huge deal to me, I believe he needed to assure me in a special way. Today, the Lord gave me two different assurances that I was going to survive this and that I was going to be healed. One was through Scripture, Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

The other experience was quite a bit more specific and mind blowing. I am supposed to follow him where he is leading and trust what he is doing. I won’t go into specifics on this blog. But let me be the first to say that I am not a woman who freely “speaks” with the Lord or has direct assurances by Him. I believe that God uses the Scriptures to speak to his children. But the word came with such clarity and certainty and it will likely be the only time I will ever hear such a specific assurance from him.

I feel he is hinting that he is in the process of building a life-long ministry and needs me to go through all of this in order to make me into the woman he wants me to be. Suffering does that, doesn’t it? It has sometimes occurred to me that God is trying to make me into an oak tree. “They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” Isa 61:3

But I quickly retorted, “I don’t want to be an oak tree! Can’t I be a bush or a nice dogwood tree? Surely you can make a ministry out of that?!”

So, I had to say all of this before revealing my pathology result, which is: I am indeed stage 3. The surgeon removed 3 cancerous masses that added up to 7.5cm. Seventeen lymph nodes were removed, seven of which were cancerous. My diagnosis had been DCIS, but because the bulk of the cancer was invasive, my diagnosis changes to IDC (invasive ductal carcinoma).

I can’t say that I am really “psyched” that he is doing this, but here we are. I know that my work is to believe what he has said and trust him with what he doing. The strength to do this does not lie within me. It is ONLY by God’s strength that I am able to walk one inch of this journey.

Thursday morning we have a PET scan at 8:30am to look for cancer in other parts of the body. This is found 15% of the time. I am feeling confident about remaining Stage 3.

Chemotherapy is likely to begin on Monday, March 10. We’ll get more details on that soon.

I have been overwhelmed by your prayers on my behalf. Today was a bit of a blow but the Lord was so good in ordering it the way he did. He is good and he is with me. To God be the glory!

Love,

Sara

Update from Sara

Posted in Cancer,Coping with Cancer,Sara by sicks on February 15, 2008

I am enjoying days with zero responsibility at my parents’ house in Fredericksburg after surgery. What a weird experience compared to life at our house with 3 little kids. I am loving this opportunity to heal in peace and quiet. I am spending my days by reading and watching movies — how delightful!

At the same time, I sometimes feel like the character Much-Afraid in Hannah Hurnard’s “Hinds’ Feet on High Places.” On her journey to the heights, the Good Shepherd picks for her two companions: Sorrow and Suffering. She is bewildered by this and thinks he surely has made a mistake.

“I can’t go with them,” she gasped. “I can’t! I can’t! O my Lord Shepherd, why do you do this to me? How can I travel in their company? It is more than I can bear. You tell me that the mountain way itself is so steep and difficult that I cannot climb it alone. Then why, oh why, must you make Sorrow and Suffering my companions? Couldn’t you have given Joy and Peace to go with me, to strengthen me and encourage me on the difficult way? I never thought you would do this to me.”

I know some of you reading this believe that this cancer is not the will of God. That’s okay — we can disagree and still follow Christ together. I do not join you in that belief. I believe the Lord did allow this for a reason and I intend to learn from it. Through it all, he joins me in my grief, carries me and offers his presence and loving-kindness.

Staying with the theme from “Hinds’ Feet…”, I haven’t yet fully entered the suffering part of this journey with cancer, but I am now well-acquainted with sorrow. Like Much-Afraid, I also would prefer my companions Sorrow and Suffering to flee, yet I believe God has placed them by my side for a purpose. Thankfully, we are not alone. The great Jehovah, Almighty God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, Prince of Peace is with me. This fact makes all the difference. At the beginning of this journey a month ago, I was somewhat startled at verses that say, “Do not be afraid. I am with you.” I thought, “Don’t be afraid — are you kidding me?!” But I believe it is the second part of the verse that sheds light on the first part. The very God spoken of in Psalms 104 and at the end of the book of Job — it is he who walks alongside me and carries me.

Right now what God offers me is his presence. This is God’s A+++++++++++ gift and it is the absolute best that he could offer. I must admit that sometimes I look at that gift and say, “can you give me your presence AND the assurance of my healing?” I want them both at the same time. While I believe that he will very likely heal me using the incredible treatments available today, I long for his 100% assurance of healing as well. But the answer to that question will come later. Right now he offers his presence in the darkness.

Our pastor Tom Holliday recently preached that it is in the darkness that we see the face of God, rather than when we are in the palace. We think we can see him more in the palace. We’d much rather meet him there! But he is more visible to us when we are in darkness and need. Just yesterday, I was discouraged in the morning and asked if I could see God’s face. I received some surprise visitors, 3 very good friends who drove down to Fredericksburg to visit. After they left, my husband Chris surprised me with 3 dozen roses and a Valentine’s gift. I do believe that the Lord showed me his face yesterday in the faces of loved ones. I know he will continue to show me his face in a variety of ways.

Through this cancer ordeal, I have learned dependency on the Lord. I have never needed him like I do right now. I think of the song, “I Need Thee Every Hour,” and it rings true. This is a good place to be.

In Hurnard’s story, Much-Afraid eventually gets a new name. As for me, there are I feel my name is still Much-Afraid. But slowly, God is giving me a new name. Perhaps it is “God Confident” or “Christ is Sufficient” or “Follower of the King.” Whatever my name is to become, God is leading the way, one hour at a time, offering his most precious gift — his presence. For that, I am grateful.

-Sara

Sara’s Doing Well

Posted in Cancer,Chris by sicks on February 13, 2008

Hey everyone,

Thanks once again for the flood of prayers, messages and love. It’s overwhelming and very comforting. It’s Wed afternoon. Sara is on her way down to Fredericksburg to be mothered by her mother and recuperate until Monday.

What we know is that the doctor removed three tumors about 2 cm in size, and at least 3 lymph nodes with cancer. She is HER2 positive, which means her cancer is more aggressive than others, but there’s also a new treatment that’s like smart bomb attacking HER2 positive cancers. So on balance that’s good. We don’t know her stage yet, and she’s very anxious that she might be stage 3 or 4. We’ll get a pathology report in a few days and will really know more when we meet with the oncologist on Tuesday. It’s likely she’ll begin chemo in about two weeks.

Thank you for all the comments. Sara loves hearing from all of you. It’s amazing how an event like this can reconnect you with people you haven’t seen in ages. Yet another blessing.
God is very kind to us.

-Christopher

Surgery’s Done

Posted in Cancer,Chris by sicks on February 12, 2008

Sara had her mastectomy this morning, and the doctor also removed a number of lymph nodes that contained cancer. This is what Sara had feared most, so please pray for God’s peace and comfort as we plan for chemotherapy and other treatments. She may have a PET scan soon to look for cancer in other parts of her body. Further updates will be posted here as we know more.
She was very calm and upbeat this morning when we arrived, so please pray that she would be sustained and strengthened by the Lord despite her disappointment about the lymph nodes. Many thanks, -Christopher

My Grandma

Posted in Chris by sicks on February 10, 2008

Hey everyone…my grandmother died yesterday. Irene Sicks was 84 yo, married to Ernie for 65 years. (Wow.) The timing is interesting, because my parents are flying here to Alexandria on Monday. My dad (Don) will need to fly to Chicago later this week for the funeral. He’s the eldest, so please pray for him and his siblings Carol, Glenn and Bob as they plan the service with Ernie and mourn the loss of Irene.

Here’s a pic from summer 2007 in Michigan.

-Christopher

with-ernie-irene-7-07.jpg

Seeking God for more than healing

Posted in Cancer,Sara by sicks on February 9, 2008

It is right to seek the Lord at this time for healing. It is right to beseech him and fervently ask him for this. I am doing this every day and I ask you to do the same on my behalf. But, I seem to have gotten stuck here. At times I can’t see beyond the question, “Lord, is it your will to heal me?” I am not at all questioning whether he can heal me, but I am worried whether he will.

I know I need to move beyond this point. I believe the Lord wants me to pursue him first and foremost for relationship and fellowship with him. When I pursue him just for him, he meets me there, he comforts me, loves me, gives me rest and peace, and shows me his beautiful face. It’s here that he offers me his presence. He has not yet revealed the answer to my pressing question. The time for that answer has not yet arrived. I need to wait patiently and let him work.

I do believe that one of the reasons for this cancer is to knock out all the other props in my life and show me that the Lord is the only one who sustains my life and is the only one whom I can completely trust. My strength lies in trusting this way. He is at home in my weakness, he is drawn to my weakness and he supplies me with his great and mighty strength. That is how I want to live right now–resting in Him, believing in what he has revealed about his character and looking to his face rather than believing my fears. I don’t want to “waste this cancer” (see Feb 6 post below). As John Piper points out in that article, I want to work with this cancer. To work with the Lord as he uses cancer to accomplish great things in my heart.

-Sara

Surgery Scheduled for Feb 12

Posted in Cancer,Sara,Scripture by sicks on February 8, 2008

I am scheduled to have my mastectomy on Tuesday, Feb. 12th at Fairfax Hospital. They will also perform reconstruction during that surgery, and look at my lymph nodes to see if the cancer has spread there. Last week, the general surgeon felt my lymph nodes under left my arm and did not like what he felt, which sent me into shock and then 12 hours of fear that the cancer has spread.

Many of you have been so wonderful to ask what you can do to help. Right now, what we need is prayer. Later, when I am going through chemo and radiation, I’m sure I will take many of you up on your generous offer to help with the kids. I have been battling a lot of fear, especially since yesterday’s appointment. I have received wonderful counsel from wise believers and from God’s Word. I am clinging to the Father like I never have before. I realize that I need him each moment to get through this. I first need your prayers for peace in this storm of fears about the future. I so desire to live this life God gave me and want to see my children get older and am scared about all of that. I know that the Lord’s peace is possible because it comes from the Prince of Peace, and that Jesus desperately wants to offer me this blessed gift. There are times I have it and times that my fears take over. I also would desire that you pray that the Lord would heal me—even now before my surgery and subsequent treatments. To that end, please pray that the cancer would be contained in the left breast and that it hasn’t gotten out. Lastly, I want the Lord to be seen for who He is in all of this—that his glory would shine. I desire to meet with the Father and see His face through all of this, and I know I have already seen his face and heard his words through much of your godly counsel. He is indeed holding me and my family. I know this will be a difficult year but I also know that God is good and that He will be with me and that there will be blessings along the way.

I have found great comfort in Isaiah 43:

1 But now, this is what the LORD says—
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.

3 For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
Cush and Seba in your stead.

4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give men in exchange for you,
and people in exchange for your life.

5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you;

Lastly, thanks to many of you for your calls, e-mails and cards. They have been very comforting. If I don’t talk to you or write you back, know that I appreciate all of your advances but am unable to get back to each of you. Thank you for walking with me and Chris in all of this. We know we are not alone. We so appreciate your prayers and offer to help. We love you.

Resting in His mighty hand, Sara

How You Doin’, Chris?

Posted in Chris by sicks on February 6, 2008

Folks keep asking me how I’m doing, which is very kind. I’m not always sure what to say. Sara sometimes seems peeved by my optimism, but I truly believe we’re going to get through this okay. Sure, it’s gonna suck. Lots of it already has.

Yes, I know it will be hard to watch Sara recover from surgery, probably lose her hair to chemo and all that. But we have been so abundantly blessed our whole lives through! And the blessings ain’t over yet.

chris-and-sara-miami.jpg

Don’t Waste Your Cancer

Posted in Cancer,Chris,Scripture by sicks on February 6, 2008

Amazing and challenging article here about dealing with cancer, and reconciling such a difficult thing with the fact that God is good. The authors, John Piper and David Powlinson, wrote these thoughts after being diagnosed with cancer themselves.

2 Corinthians 1:9: “We felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.”

John Piper writes: “The aim of God in your cancer (among a thousand other good things) is to knock props out from under our hearts so that we rely utterly on him.”

God’s sovereignty is tough to stomach at times, but if he isn’t sovereign over all things (including Sara’s cancer) then he’s not really worth trusting, is he?

Hey Everyone

Posted in Chris by sicks on January 31, 2008

Hey everyone. Sara and I decided it might be helpful to start a blog to keep folks updated on Sara’s breast cancer, treatment and recovery. Above all, we strive to glorify God through this trial, by struggling authentically and crying freely even as we praise the One who saves and sustains us.

Posting comments here will be a great way for you to keep in touch with us, so please feel free to respond to our posts. Thanks!

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