Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Unfolding of Things

We escaped humidity for a long time, but this morning when I went downstairs to exercise, the windows were all fogged-up: summer is coming. It gets quite humid in our valley, in spite of the fact that we live in the mountains.  These are muggy mountains!

Would you believe this: we are still waiting on biopsy results?

"...the days through which we struggle, finding no way, but never losing the light, will be the most significant we are called to live." --Robert Collyer

The initial biopsy taken last week came back on Thursday as negative for cancer.  We were all so astonished! And I can't describe the hope that surged in my heart. However, the PET scan had clearly showed activity in the mouth and neck (and my husband has a lump on his neck), so we were back into the office first thing Friday for a deeper tongue biopsy and a lymph node biopsy as well.  Although our doctor expedited those results, we are still waiting for them...the holiday weekend slowed things down.

I literally have no idea if we are spending tonight in our own beds or in another state. Last week I called to get an appointment for my husband at a highly-ranked ENT oncology center for tomorrow.  But without positive biopsy results, we won't go.....

We had a beautiful weekend.  I indulged myself by planting a hedge of lavender around our new patio.  I bought 14 plants at the nursery, but need 5 more.....

...and I also arranged the patio furniture, cleaned the patio, installed two storage benches, and cleaned the front porch.  I love our new patio!  Once the rains stop it will be a lovely place to have supper or to sit and chat.

I found the most perfect yellow rose on our rosebush and placed it on my husband's nightstand.  Then I had to point it out to him because he hadn't noticed.  Ha! Men!

Finally, from a couple of weeks ago, here's the bouquet I took to Annie's ballet recital.  We had the option of purchasing bouquets from $10-$25, but I opted to use peonies, coral bells, blue false indigo, and sage from the yard for free.  

I have the strangest sensation that although we have no idea what we will learn and when, everything is unfolding as it should, in its own time. Like the flowers do.  And wow, let me just say that our doctor and his staff are doing all they can for us and we are so fortunate that they're concerned, proactive, involved.

If you would like to pray, please join us in praying for further negative biopsy results.

In the meantime, I'm taking loads of comfort in the Bible, my husband and children, and our flowers. In the face of the Great Unknown, these are all reliable blessings. 

Monday, May 21, 2018

Though the Fig Tree

After a tense weekend of waiting, we got the call at 8:30 this morning: the PET scan showed cancer. The doctor wanted us in his office for a biopsy at 3:00 (the biopsy confirms cancer, to be sure the PET scan didn't give a false positive). We talked for a long time, and then he performed the biopsy.

We'll get those results back sometime this week, and we go back to the doctor in a week for further discussion and probably for a needle lymph node biopsy because the PET scan lit up not just in my husband's mouth but also on his neck.  And we can, in fact, feel a mass on his neck.

This is such a surreal time.  In the elevator today I told my husband "I never thought I'd come here again."  When we left the surgeon's office in February I figured I was done with him; we all anticipated that. His surgeon is surprised.  We're all just stunned.  After a six-hour surgery with clean margins, a perfectly healthy 42 year old man with no risk factors comes back into the office 3 months later with cancer on his tongue again *and* in the lymph nodes?!  

Earlier this month I was looking at June, July, and August as an idyllic era of drifting between the garden and the swimming pool. Suddenly it is looking like radiation and chemotherapy.  This cancer appears more aggressive and tenacious than anticipated.  But I have news for it: my husband is the most tenacious human I know! He ran a 4:30 mile in high school, he ran Division 1 track and cross-country in college, he's no stranger to tackling challenges, and he's smart and determined.  

So today I was thinking about how we respond to disappointments, and the phrase "though the fig tree" kept surfacing in my mind.

"Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights."

--Habakkuk 3:17-19

I will be joyful in God my Savior. Yes. I will. 

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Easy Hospitality Supper, Key Lime Pie Cheesecake Recipe & A Prayer Request

I'm just wrapping up "peak week" of May in our household.  This month is extremely busy, and this week saw the perfect storm of nearly everything: from the normal (piano, violin, co-op, art, ballet, Bible study) to the less common (haircut, ballet rehearsal, attending a play, houseguests).  

Annie's ballet recital is this afternoon and her costume is enchanting: ice blue over a pinkish-beige, with a pinkish-beige flower in her hair, and blue fairy wings.  She is nervous and excited.  Three-fourths of the grandparents will be in attendance, and I'm about to go pick flowers for her bouquet.  I could have ordered roses from the ballet school, but the coral bells and peonies and lilacs are peppering my flower beds right now! And they're free! 

Tonight we're hosting grandparents after the show, so here's my Easy Hospitality Menu:

*roasted Yukon gold potatoes
*steamed broccoli
*key lime pie cheesecake 

It's simple, healthy (I mean, minus the pie), and easy. This morning I'm prepping the chicken and bacon, cutting the broccoli, and making the pie.  So this evening all I'll need to do is cut and roast the potatoes (easy), steam the broccoli, and cook the chicken!


The key lime pie cheesecake recipe is a standby here and one of my signature desserts, so I'd love to share it:

*Two-Layer Key Lime Pie Cheesecake*

Acquire or make a graham cracker crust. 

Set out an 8-oz package of cream cheese to soften. 

For the baked layer: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together a can of sweetened condensed milk, 1/2 cup key lime juice (I sometimes just use regular lime juice) and 3 large egg yolks. Pour into the crust and bake until set--about 8-9 minutes in my oven. Let cool.

Once the baked layer is cool, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese with 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk  (yes, more of that!), 1/4 cup of lime juice, and a little dash of vanilla. Beat until smooth, then pour over cooled baked layer, and smooth the top.  

Cover and chill until firm--at least four hours or so. If you want, pipe whipped cream around the edges before serving, but I never do it!


And finally, if you feel led, please join me in praying for my husband.  His routine 3-month checkup with the surgeon on Wednesday revealed some anomaly that may be scar tissue from his surgery in January or it may be a recurrence of cancer. He will go in next Friday the 18th for a PET scan.  We always want to pray that God's will be done, but I'm also praying that God's will is that this is merely scar tissue.  I spent a little while in agony over the "what ifs", which are scary to consider, given this particular type of cancer, and now we're just waiting.  God very clearly gave me this Bible verse on Thursday morning: 

I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord. 
-Psalm 27:13-14

And so we do.