My Friend Joan Died

August 13, 2016

It hit me like a ton of bricks. I was sending out an email from my desk at Eastside and there at the top of the distribution list was Joan’s name and email address. I tried to delete it but I couldn’t. I started crying. Hard. Fortunately everyone was in a staff meeting so I was alone.

Joan had breast cancer. She fought that battle but it came back-this last time in her brain. She had just recently gotten out of the hospital.

We met in April 2013 on her first trip to the orphanage in Rosarito. She was the kindest, most positive person. You couldn’t help but be drawn to her.

She had the best home-going I could have prayed for. She went to a musical production with her husband, out to dinner with friends. Then went to church on Sunday where everyone was glad to see her, hug her and just love on her. That night she died. I was in Mexico that weekend.

She had been helping me, answering my questions about the tests I was undergoing and just talking about the whole cancer fight.

Then she died. 

I miss her but I know it won’t be forever. Not long at all in the grand scheme of things. It’s nice knowing she’s there waiting for me.



July 25, 2016


 It’s been a wild ride the last couple of months. I am so fat and out of shape that walking to my car makes me sweat bullets. I think I’m having mini anxiety attacks because I find it hard to breathe. God says “Be anxious for nothing” but I’m not doing so well in that. It’s funny but the idea of cancer and surgery doesn’t bother me.

There been a campfire devotional taught for 3 weeks of the 4 where the speaker describes Jesus taking him into the place prepared for him in heaven. Jesus pulls back this curtain there is this fantastic pen and ink drawing of his life. It has some colored highlights and is absolutely beautiful. Jesus reviews his life with him and then they start to leave when a gust of wind raises the corner on another curtain and a flash of brilliant color shows through. Jesus doesn’t really want to but at the speaker’s insistence pulls back the curtain on an incredible, Technicolor masterpiece. Jesus tells him that it was what his life could have been had he listened and obeyed God’s voice.  And he’s a pastor.

I’ve mostly wasted my life making bad decisions from birth. I love my kids and am proud of their kind hearts but they are so wounded. One has such anger issues that they prevent having loving relationships. They’ve been so hurt but in spite of my failures they are good people. They don’t love Jesus and are angry at God. They are so foul-mouthed and angry that it hurts my soul. Because of the lousy fathers I picked for them and my failure as a Christian witness.

I worry about my grandbabies going to hell but the father of one of my grandsons attacks Christianity and religion so vehemently on a regular basis that I’m scared to tell him anything. I’m afraid to talk to them about God. I’ve never been good at it. I’ve always been so overwhelmed by my failures that I just figured they’d laugh in my face and I’d make God look bad.

So after listening to this same lesson about the murals, in my mind I can see Jesus pulling off the Kleenex and revealing the post-it note that is my life to reveal the words,”Mexico ” in pencil. I’m almost too ashamed to go to heaven but it has always been my only hope.

Back in early spring I asked the Lord to just get me through this summer. Before I had any idea of the cancer. It was like I could feel myself losing life everyday. I’m so tired I’m ready.

I dread seeing that post-it note of my life but there’s not much I can do here anymore. I can sit in one place and work the computer. I’m grateful that God lets me use my one ability to still serve Him. Maybe my post-it note will have a little colored Mexican flag. :)

I’m back. I have cancer. Be warned, I’m going to put it all here.

July 2, 2016

I’m one of those people without a STOP sign when I open my mouth. You might see more than you want to see.

If you read the past posts you’ll see the swing of my emotions. I’ll probably be just as bad…but I need a place to put the results of my tests and to answer the question “How are you?”  I’m not currently comfortable discussing this with the world. So, here it is.

On May 20th I had a routine chest xray. Six days later I’m seeing a pulmonary doctor. Dr Nguyen.  A nice guy. He orders more tests. June 29th Dr Nguyen tells me I have metastasized renal cancer in my lung. The next day I had a bone scan.

On July 5, the doctor is going to, by bronchoscopy, take a biopsy of my lymph node near my tumor to see if it has spread beyond the one tumor. If it hasn’t then they’ll just cut it out. That’s what they did when I had kidney cancer back in 2003. If it has spread then things will get chemical.

The day after that I leave for Mexico for five days. One day after we get back I have an appointment with nice Dr Nguyen to get the results of my tests.

Through all of this my daughter has been with me at all the appointments. It has been wonderful having her with me. And my Gage and Kaitlin too. I’m used to doing all of this alone (like when I drove myself to the hospital for an emergency gall bladder removal.) It’s just weird. But my babies have been wonderful. They would have driven me to the hospital for the gall bladder but it never occurred to me to ask. I’m sure now that I hurt them when I don’t ask them for help.

When I told my blessed Compassion team members I was going in for the tests they all volunteered to go with me. It was uncomfortable because I didn’t know what to do with them. I thanked them, I wanted to cry. People who actually wanted to be with me and I hadn’t given birth to them. When the results of the biopsy came back they were perfect. Supportive, loving, but respecting of my roiling emotions. I can’t thank God enough for them.

I feel like a very busy deer in the headlights. I thank God I have the Mexico ministry to keep me moving forward. The last couple of days I lost track of things. I forgot to make a promised call and haven’t answered some emails I would have normally. I almost panicked.

Then my car needed work. I had been meaning to call a Rosarito buddy who owns a shop but I got overwhelmed and didn’t. Arty took it over, called my Rosarito buddy and by the next day my car was fixed and I had two new tires. Did you know that new tires smell like love and heaven? Again I’m overwhelmed. The smell of the tires made me cry all the way home. I’m blessed beyond bearing.

I got caught up with my work today while I spent the day listening to Hamilton and laughing with my Beth’s family. It’s my Easton’s birthday weekend.

More later. We’re going to Wabi Sabi.

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