Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

As you read this Valerie and I will be in the third and final installment of our drama. She has her 1st surgery on August 29th, and her second on September 5th. The first is to remove the cancer, and the second will be to fix her leg from the removal! I have taken September 1st off so that I can be with her, but we have some help coming for the second surgery so I should be with you again on September 8th. Here are two things that I have learned through this process…

Valerie astounds me. When we go into the hospital or the clinic, for treatments or for appointments, the doctors and nurses comment on her demeanor and her kindness. I notice it too. There are so many that come for treatment that look and act absolutely miserable. Why shouldn’t they? If the disease doesn’t kill you the treatment can. But Valerie’s faith has shown through and been noticeable. We have both been tired and afraid. But she has faced this with a courage and conviction that I find amazing.

I have also been reminded that there are blessings to be found in everything. Everyone goes through the “why me?” stage. Valerie went pretty quickly to the “why not me?” stage. We all face troubles in this life, but they don’t have to define us. During the semi-annual business meeting I shared some of the blessings that we were “counting,” and I’d like to update that list for you.

We are blessed because the doctor’s referrals got us to exactly the right place.

We are blessed that her medical team has numerous Christians on it.

We are blessed that there is a Facebook group for her cancer that supports each other.

We are blessed not to have regular insurance, because some have to fight for treatment.

We are blessed that Froedert was comfortable allowing Bellin to do the treatments.

We are blessed that both the chemo and the radiation drastically shrunk the tumor.

We are blessed that it is in the leg, which makes it easier to treat.

We are blessed that it is NOT in the lungs, and the last scan (8/20) confirmed that!

We are blessed by a wonderful church, friends, and family that have been helping us.

Seriously, you have been incredible. I can’t even begin to express how understanding you have been. We realize that it’s a little strange not having Val around, but, short of me putting her in a protective bubble, we felt like this was the best way to get her through the process! Val is especially thankful for those who have taken on her responsibilities at church. And I want to thank you for being understanding about my time. The wonderful thing about this day and age is that with a cell phone and a computer I can work from just about anywhere, and the elders have allowed me to do that! I also want to say a special thank you to Winnie. She has taken on extra while I have been out more, and I appreciate it very much.

So, what is next? I would ask that you pray for clean margins when they take out the cancer, and that the second surgery and recovery go well. This is also a pretty aggressive cancer, so they will be proactive in checking for it. It begins with scans every three months for two years, and two years is a milestone. Anything after two years will mean that we have beaten the odds. There are many reasons medically to think that may happen in this case, but it is all up to God, and we trust the future to His hands.

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