Fall Update

At this stage in my cancer adventure, no news is good news.

Not that I am about to share some bad news or anything but the fact that I haven’t posted since February is a good thing.

Yes, I am still alive.

I am still having the same chemotherapy treatments every 2 weeks and, contrary to the expectations of my doctors, it still appears to be working.

Back in August I had another CT scan (previous one was January) and the results were unsurprising. There were a few new lesions on my liver which is to be expected considering my reduced dosage and the fact that I have had several skipped treatments due to weddings, holidays and COVID-19. My lungs have shown no growth which I found rather interesting.

My CEA levels still seem to be trending downwards but they are so delayed (4-6 weeks vs. 1 week in previous years) that it is harder to get a good read on the trends.

My oncologist seems to be champing at the bit to get me into a trial he is running. It sounds interesting however I won’t be allowed breaks during the trial and the trial doesn’t seem to have a finite duration.

There doesn’t currently seem to be a good reason to switch to this new treatment and given the restrictions I am not sure I want to join the trial, at least not until I have no other option.

I am still tolerating the treatments fairly well. I now seem to have a little constipation which makes my bowels’ behaviour even more exciting to predict. My rash comes and goes as does my hair but it’s my normal.

We are managing. I thank God constantly that I am alive and get to enjoy my family.

Please continue to pray for us.

  • Pray that my cancer doesn’t get any worse.
  • Pray for Leanne who is obviously very busy looking after us all.

Family Update

We took a short trip to Science North in Sudbury in early July and dragged my mother along.

We are planning to head down to Myrtle Beach to FINALLY execute my meticulously planned Myrtle Beach trip I created back in 2018 but had to cancel due to Hurricane Florence.

Poppy is starting to talk and continues to get into all sorts of delightful mischief. My nickname for her is Grumpy. She is not usually that happy.

Magnolia has been my little helper lately. “Can I help you Daddy?” Leanne says I can’t have a favourite kid but at the moment she is a notch above the other three.

Daisy’s artistic talent is growing as is her sense of humour. At Fair Havens this year she entertained us all at a family campfire with her extensive repertoire of voices which she used to sing Poor Little Bug on the Wall. I have never been prouder of her. This was a stark contrast to the previous year where she hid behind a lawn chair for a good portion of the event.

Harry is currently obsessed with geography. He is constantly creating maps, flags and learning about all the countries of the world on his own.

Leanne is back to work at the library. It’s a nice quiet little break from our wonderfully chaotic household.

I have been extremely busy with my business. I recently incorporated, hired an employee and sold another company.

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One Reply to “Fall Update”

  1. Love the update! That Myrtle Beach plan is an anxious persons dream & nightmare wrapped into one! Planning truly is 80% of the fun of the trip for you, isn’t it?

    Thanking God for sustaining you and your family. Praying for his strength for you both & good memories made on your trip!

3 Years

Well, I just had my cancer-versary on December 26, 2021. The year 2022 will be my fourth year of chemotherapy. I’m very thankful that God in His mercy has allowed me to outlive my doctors’ expectations.

We continue to be amazed and grateful that my treatments are still working. The reduced, more tolerable dosage seems to be having less of an effect on my CEA levels but it is still moving in the right direction (down). I had a CT scan a few weeks ago which confirms this.

I finally received the results of my definitely-not-free genetic test. It took so long because my blood samples got stuck in US customs and were no longer usable. The chances of the test providing any useful information was slim (think needle-in-a-haystack) but data is always a good thing. The test did indicate my cancer has a gene that will open the door to more treatments in the future. I won’t pretend I understand much about it but it sounds like the test was not a complete waste of money.

Since my current (first) treatment regimen is still working we won’t be taking any action on alternative treatments right now but it is VERY nice to have options.

Speaking of my current treatment, it has been quite bearable. I have even been looking forward (a bit) to my chemo weekends when I get to eat hotdogs! (When you’re on chemo you eat whatever you can keep down. Right now hotdogs work for me.) My bowels are mostly under control, and my nausea hasn’t been an issue for a long time now. My rash is bugging me a bit, especially on my face, but I have a new powerful steroid ointment to try.

I have done 10 treatments since September and will have 8 more before another break. I’ll probably take the summer off.

Living with cancer is not fun but it is living. 

The Clark's Christmas 2021

Poppy will be walking any day now. She is a fast crawler and has siblings who enjoy carrying her around the house too. She turns 1 on February 26.

The kids are doing a homeschool unit on Australia and Oceania, which has involved trying many interesting recipes. For my part, I am currently reading the Narnia series to Harry and Daisy in chronological order. We are on the Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Harry has been obsessively listening to Adventures in Odyssey, doing about an album a day. He and Daisy even built the town of Odyssey and a few of the characters out of Lego. As a huge AIO fan myself, I couldn’t be happier to see them enjoying my beloved series so much.

Magnolia has been creating many works of art and writing many books (pieces of paper which she asks Leanne to “stample” together). Daisy, when she is not entertaining us with her nativity puppet show starring Mickey Mouse, is asking delightfully literal questions. Probably one of my favourite jobs as a parent is answering their questions.

Please continue to pray that God will heal me, if it’s His will. I hope and pray that He will continue working through my doctors to keep me alive.

The last time the nurse came to our house to unhook my chemo bottle, she looked at our kids and said, “You guys are so lucky!” Maybe that’s a strange thing to say to a cancer patient, but when I look back on the past three years I have to say, God really has been good to us.

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One Reply to “3 Years”

  1. Great to hear you are doing well John. We continue to pray for you and you family . You are also prayed for by the group every Wednesday evening. God is good and answers prayer. Your faith and attitude is an inspiration. God bless you, Leanne and those beautiful kids.

No more brain swabs

Nasal brain swabs

I receive an appointment schedule from the hospital about once a month. The schedule includes the date and times for all my chemotherapy treatments, oncologist appointments, blood work and COVID-19 tests. On my latest schedule I noticed that my monthly COVID-19 test was missing. It seems that the regular testing of cancer patients is no longer required. Yay!

My 14th and hopefully final COVID-19 test was on Oct. 4th. I’ve been having monthly tests since May of 2020. It will be nice to be free from that particular brand of horribleness.

CEA

My blood test from Oct. 4th revealed that my CEA level has once again dropped. It was in the 50s in August and then after only two chemotherapy treatments, dropped down to 14.

The CEA level is a good indicator (in my case) of the effectiveness of my chemotherapy treatments.

Side effects

My last chemotherapy treatment went very well. During the first few days post-treatment I worked really hard, drinking water to stay hydrated. This seemed to actually encourage my appetite as well so I started eating a bit. Unfortunately the only thing I felt like eating was hot dogs but the fact that I wanted to eat anything was good and more surprisingly the hot dogs tasted good. Of course they normally taste great but the chemotherapy didn’t affect their taste.

By Monday I was back to work and full of energy. I had my last hot dog for breakfast Monday morning and was able to eat a little healthier food for the rest of the day. This was a great start to get myself ready to battle the diarrhea that I was sure would be coming at any time. I felt so energized that day that I installed my new network rack, something I wasn’t planning on doing until about a week later when the diarrhea finally subsided. Speaking of diarrhea…

I had none. Usually it starts on the Monday following treatment, but it didn’t come. I suspect prayer, the further reduction of chemo drugs or both has something to do with this most pleasant change. I’ve been practically giddy since my last treatment. It is so nice to have energy and to not be restrained by the toilet.

Rash

Speaking of good things… My rash is back! It is everywhere and looks horrible. Just a reminder to any new readers, this is not sarcasm. Rash=Good. The rash is an indicator that the chemo is working.

When my rash is at its worst I am rather glad that we live in a time where masks are required in public. The only problem is that, generally, people don’t wear masks on video calls. My solution to that was to buy the lowest reviewed web cam I could possibly find on Amazon. I specifically looked for reviews complaining how blurry and grainy the image was. A suitable camera was not hard to find. I also now resort to wearing a hat all the time. My hair has almost completely fallen out and my head is covered in my rash as well. I still haven’t shaved my head as it brings me a small amount of comfort to reach my hand up to my head and feel some hair there.

I was a little worried that the reduction of my chemo drugs may reduce the effectiveness of the treatment but this rash may be a good sign that the lower dose is sufficient. 

Prayer

My next treatment is Nov. 5.

Thank you for your prayers. They are working! According to the doctors, I should be dead by now.

I thank God constantly that I am still alive and how He has so richly blessed me in so many, many ways. 

Please continue to pray for myself and my family.

  • Thank God that we have such a supportive church who are supporting us in so many ways.
  • Thank God that I had such a great recovery from my last treatment.
  • Thank God for my rash.
  • Pray that the treatment continues to work.
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One Reply to “No more brain swabs”

  1. Glad to hear such positive news John. Prayers are being answered
    and are continuing. God bless you and Leanne and your beautiful children.

Another Break

I survived my second chemotherapy treatment a little better than the first. At least I didn’t need to go to the ER this time. The reduction of the diarrhea-causing chemotherapy drugs may have helped a bit, but I think my weight loss may have interfered with the doctor’s reduction calculations, which may explain why my diarrhea was still very present. I was able to work a little more in the week following chemo but still not as much as I would have liked.

Next time will be better. I met with my oncologist a week or so ago for my monthly check-up. He is going to further reduce my chemo drugs. I also learned that part of my problem was that I was dehydrated. Apparently lack of hydration can affect your appetite which explains why I was having trouble eating. I have now resolved to force myself to drink my required amount of water, as I understand how important drinking water is to my recovery, especially when I am losing so much from my bowels.

My oncologist also gave me another break over Thanksgiving to get my weight back up. I’m about 10 lbs. lighter than I would like to be at the moment but Leanne cooked a turkey yesterday so I will spend the week eating hot turkey sandwiches smothered in gravy and that should do the trick. (I rather enjoy trying to gain weight.)

My next chemo is scheduled for this Friday, October 22.

On another note, my oncologist recommended a (definitely not free) genetic test which may open the door to other treatment possibilities down the road. Unfortunately, it may also be a complete waste of money. It will be good to have options when inevitably my current chemo drugs stop working.

It’s almost time to shave my head again. I was surprised that my hair would fall out so quickly after only 2 treatments.

My ostomy wound appears to still be healed over and I have yet to experience another abscess in my abdomen which means my fistula has also finally healed.

  • Please pray that I can stay hydrated and that the diarrhea will not interfere too much with my quality of life.
  • Pray that the genetic test will be useful.
  • Pray for Leanne; it has been tough for her taking care of everybody.
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First treatment

One week and a day after his chemotherapy treatment, John is finally starting to feel better. Due to the diarrhea, nausea, and loss of appetite caused by the chemo, he has lost 23 lbs. this week. The doctor sent him to the ER Thursday night to get rehydrated with some IV fluids. He was able to come home the same night and is gradually starting to eat more and actually keep it down.

Here are some specific requests as you continue to pray for us:

  • that John would be able to eat and regain his strength
  • that we would find the right balance of medications and nutrition to alleviate his side effects (diarrhea, nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue)
  • that the cancer cells in his body would continue to be destroyed

It’s been an exhausting week for me too, so thank you to everyone who has sent messages of encouragement, hymns and prayers. I haven’t had time to respond to all of you but listening to some of the songs you’ve shared has been keeping me grounded. Something our pastor, Gary McNitt, said last Sunday has stuck with me too: “A soul that is stabilized by God can overcome anything.”

John’s next chemo day is September 24. Hopefully this week he can get back to working at his desk and playing Mario Kart with the kids. (It might sound silly but that’s what they’ve been missing the most!) And hopefully the next treatment won’t be quite so brutal.

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2 Replies to “First treatment”

  1. Thanks for the update John. Praying that the genetic testing will prove valuable and will give you other options. We continue to pray for you and Leanne for daily strength and for your beautiful children. We admire your strong faith.
    Marty and Janet

Life is short

Life is short. I am constantly reminding myself of this fact. For a Christian, this life is also a temporary one, a tiny speck of eternity.

Recently my mother has been diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. She has been told that her cancer is curable, but still, she is finding it a bit overwhelming to be in the patient’s chair this time instead of the caregiver’s. Please pray for her as she goes through several more months of chemotherapy.

As for myself, I am just finishing a 2-month break from chemotherapy. My ostomy wound has once again completely healed and hopefully my fistula has healed as well. I will be starting back on chemo this Friday, Sept. 10.

Before my break, my CEA test revealed that the last batch of chemotherapy is still working which, according to my mother’s oncologist is “amazing.” I get the sense that it is not common for the same chemotherapy drugs to remain effective for this long and that she (the oncologist) was a little surprised that I am still alive. I am thinking that prayer may have had something a lot to do with it.

I had another CT scan last month which, unsurprisingly, showed the cancer was growing again in my lungs and liver. I also had a CEA test which showed levels in the 50s again, confirming this growth. My oncologist thought it would be best to resume treatment very soon.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my break. It was so wonderful to be “off the toilet” for awhile. We were able to get away for a few weeks this summer camping in our little tent trailer. I went canoing for the first time and only crashed a few times.

We also rented a bouncy castle for the girls’ birthdays and hosted a neighbourhood kids’ club in our backyard, run by our church. Both events were a lot of fun for our kids.

Poppy is now 6 months old and getting nice and pudgy. She is working on sitting up on her own and enjoying real food. She is a pretty happy baby as long as no one ever leaves her alone which is not usually a problem now in our household. 

We are year-round homeschoolers, taking breaks whenever we need them, so right now when many children are going back to school, we are just picking up where we left off before our last camping trip. Magnolia is 4, Daisy is 6, and Harry will be 9 in November. They would be entering JK, grade 1 and grade 4 respectively.

In their homeschool lessons this week, the kids learned that God has a plan for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11) and “will put beautiful crowns on their heads in place of ashes” and “give them a spirit of praise in place of a spirit of sadness” (Isaiah 61:3 NIRV). With that in mind, we praise Him for all the beautiful things he has allowed us to experience this year, like Poppy’s birth and our summer outdoor adventures.

Pray that God will continue to do amazing things in my life and that my chemotherapy will continue to work. I know one day it will inevitably stop working, but I am at peace with that because I know I will spend eternity with Him. Until then, I’ll continue to enjoy the life He’s given me and do my best to honour Him with it.

 

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2 Replies to “Life is short”

  1. Dear John & Leanne,
    Thank you for this again authentic and honest update and testimony of God’s goodness and love.

    It was such a joy to see your family getaway photos and how your your precious children are growing. I can’t believe Harrison is 9. I remember him so well from Sparks.
    Samantha was delighted to be a part of the backyard camp at your home this summer, and often came home with stories to share about her joy in seeing the kids and there fun interactions. Always not a huge kid fan in the past (nervous about the not knowing what they will say or do), this year changed that, especially this summer. Now she says “the kids were so sweet “ or “ the kids said ..,isn’t that adorable “.
    I am sorry to hear about your Mom, and pray that treatment works well for her.
    I am also sad to hear of how the cancer has come back elsewhere for you. I trust these things into God’s very capable hands. May he sustain you and bring you moments of joy and comfort even in the midst of treatment.

    You are a dear family, prayed for often.

    Love in Christ,
    Deb Avery

  2. John and Leanne

    Thanks for sharing so freely of your lives with all of it’s joys and struggles.

    So glad your family could have some fun times this summer. You have great kids and little Poppy is so cute and growing so fast.

    I am sorry to hear of your Mom’s cancer diagnosis and will pray for her as she goes through treatment.

    Prayers continue for you and your family and for God’s healing for John and strength for you both as John faces treatment and you homeschool your kids.

    Every Wednesday night the group lifts up your family in prayer as well.

    We admire your faith and hope in God who is the source of all our comfort and peace.

    In Christ,
    Janet Roberts

Spring Update

We’ve been a little busy these past few months adjusting to life with little Poppy. Harry, Daisy, and Magnolia have been a great help, always eager to lend a hand. I haven’t been as helpful as I would have liked to be due to chemotherapy and the symptoms caused by the treatments.

I have survived nine chemotherapy treatments so far this year and they still seem to be working. Since my diagnosis, I think I have had over thirty treatments. 

I had another CT scan back on March 30 which confirmed that the latest rounds of chemotherapy are working. The lesions in my lungs and liver have decreased in size again.

A few weeks ago I had my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. My oncologist provided me with a nice little letter to prove that I am one of those High Risk folk. I am glad I was able to be vaccinated already, not only for my own sake, but also because I believe it is my biblical and civic duty to do so. I will be receiving my second dose early in June. 

My diarrhea is more under control now with the new medication and activated charcoal I am taking. I had come to the point where I only had about two normal days between treatments, which was not a great “quality of life.” Even eating was becoming difficult. My oncologist was kind enough to let me skip a treatment just to give my body a bit of a break and time to gain some more weight.

That brings me to last week’s excitement. Remember my ostomy incision that wouldn’t heal? Well, the wound finally closed up a few weeks ago but in the last week it decided to fill up with fluid. Last Friday, instead of having my regular chemotherapy treatment I had an ultrasound so the doctors could have a good look at my new abscess. It was only on the surface so it was in no real danger of bursting inside me and causing more problems. I was scheduled to see my surgeon a few days later to drain the abscess but it popped open on its own the next day. This was great as the pain went away as soon as the wound opened up again. I still met with the surgeon and he confirmed it’s probably caused by my fistula that is having trouble healing due to my chemotherapy drugs. It still might eventually heal on its own. To fix the fistula the surgeon would have to do a “main line incision.” The risk of that kind of surgery is not really worth the minor inconvenience of bandaging my open wound everyday. Essentially this means that my wound is not going to go away any time soon, and if it does heal over it’s likely I will get another abscess. (I think I’ll try popping it myself next time.) Anyway, I am just going to carry on with my wound as is and pray that the fistula fixes itself.

On the plus side, I got another break from chemo. On the downside, I got another break from chemo.

I have no hair anymore. Well, that’s not entirely accurate as there is a little bit left on my arms and a sprinkling left on my legs and chest. When I started treatment again back in January I shaved half my chest to make accessing my port (and the subsequent taping me up) less painful. The other side (the unshaved part) of my chest now matches perfectly. I had to shave my head again as the patchiness was starting to look ridiculous.

I’m still hoping to have another break from chemo at the end of June. Hopefully these unexpected breaks won’t change that schedule.

Please continue to pray for us.

  1. Thank God that the chemotherapy is still working and pray that it continues to do so. 
  2. Pray that my fistula heals.
  3. Pray for Leanne as she looks after everyone.
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3 Replies to “Spring Update”

  1. Well that’s the cutest turkey I’ve ever seen! That’s got to be a good 15 pounder!

    Thanks for the update, we are praying for all of you.

  2. Great picture of you and your baby girl. Good to hear the chemo is working and we will continue to pray for healing for you and for strength for Leanne as she cares for you family.

Our New Addition

Thank you for all your prayers. The wait is finally over! Poppy Anne Clark was born on February 26, 2021, at 4:14 am, weighing 8 lbs. 14 oz.

Poppy passed all her tests including her glucose tests. Leanne is doing pretty well. She came home around noon today (Saturday). She lost a lot of blood during the delivery so she is supposed to take it easy for a week. She is not allowed to do much around the house including moving between floors more than once per day.

I wasn’t actually able to be present for this birth due to my certain toilet dependency but I’ll never forget one particular phrase in Leanne’s text message informing me of the birth of our new daughter: “…she is so perfect and adorable”. I concur.

The girls were ecstatic to hear the news of Poppy’s arrival. Daisy spent a good portion of the day making cards for Poppy and Mommy and searching the house for baby things Poppy might need. I wasn’t sure Harry cared at all but he surprised us today when he asked to hold Poppy. He probably just wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

I can’t adequately describe how blessed I feel. I have 4 wonderful children, a loving wife and a tolerable dog. I still have cancer but I am also still alive and will not let my affliction prevent me from enjoying these wonderful blessings God has given me.

Thankfully Poppy was born on a non-chemo weekend so I was able to help send Leanne off to the hospital and watch the kids the next day. The lack of sleep was hard as I definitely need a lot of sleep when recovering from chemo but I survived (and went to bed at the same time as the children).

I am still enduring chemotherapy every other week. My next session will be on March 5. I am pretty sure the chemotherapy is working though as I have a rash and my CEA level has started dropping again. My nausea pills are still working but my new challenge is diarrhea. I used to only have diarrhea on a single day but now it is lasting for over a week. This is also one of the reasons I did not accompany my wife to the hospital. Interestingly enough, the hospital bathroom was where Poppy ended up being born, so maybe we could have made it work… I also had to shave my head again as my hair was ridiculously patchy. My head gets really cold.

Please continue to pray for us.

Please pray that Leanne will recover quickly and that she will have the strength (and enough sleep) to care for Poppy.

Please pray for our whole family as we adjust to this wonderful new addition.

Pray that God will keep me around for a long time.

Pray that the chemotherapy will continue to work and that I will be able to withstand the resulting symptoms.

And praise God for the safe arrival of Poppy!

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4 Replies to “Our New Addition”

  1. Congratulations to all on the safe arrival of precious- beautiful Poppy. Thank you for sharing the good news with such fabulous pictures.

    When I was praying the other day, I thought it odd that I hadn’t heard from you in a while. Now I understand why. Be assured of our continued love and prayers.

  2. Our my word, I agree, she is perfect and beautiful. 4th babies do have a tendency to slip right out!! So happy to see your family enjoying this little one and we continue to pray for strength for all of you as you transition & deal with chemo as well.
    (And maybe the bathroom will be her happy place – spending lots of time with dad! Haha)
    Ps. Leanne you are a rockstar!

  3. Congratulations on Poppy’s safe arrival. What a beautiful addition to your family. She will bring you much joy.
    We pray for you regularly and so does your church family and we will continue praying for your health, John and for Leannne to recover quickly.
    Praise God for this great news. Thanks so much for sharing.

  4. We have wanted to find this site as we are friends of Barry and Mary – knew them when we were young and then brought them a lot of broken cars over the years. Haha. Our hearts have been with you – I had stage 3 Colon cancer three years ago and so far so good. What a beautiful family – and what a beautiful attitude – God is indeed on His throne. Have you ever listened to the song “Youre Gonna Be OK”
    https://duckduckgo.com/?q=YOu+tube+youre+gonna+be+ok+&t=chromentp&atb=v256-1&iax=videos&ia=videos&iai=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DLjF9IqvXDjY – it is precious no matter the outcome. May God surround you – and congratulations on such a cute little bundle.

January update

Happy New Year, everyone! May you find many reasons for joy and hope this year.

After about a month off, John is back on chemo again. His first treatment was on Friday, January 8. He lost his appetite (and 10 lbs.) over the weekend, but so far the other side effects haven’t kicked in yet. Basically he just slept a lot.

I gave him his first Grastofil injection today to help keep his white blood cell count up. Six more to go before the next chemo day on the 22nd. Being back on Grastofil means he can probably proceed with treatment uninterrupted until he and the doctor decide it’s time to take a break again. He’ll have another CT scan in about three months to re-evaluate.

Please continue to pray that the chemo will be effective, that God will give the doctors wisdom in their decision making, and that I will have the strength to take care of our family on the days when John is not feeling the best.

Keep praying for the baby too. My last ultrasound the week after Christmas showed she was growing normally, kicking and moving around, and she had a normal heartbeat, so we are very thankful for that. I found out earlier in December that I have gestational diabetes for the first time in my life, so I’ve had to monitor my blood glucose daily and follow a special diet, which so far has helped keep my numbers on target without the need for insulin shots — another thing I’m thankful for.

I’ll close with a little story to brighten your day. Sometimes I use Bible verses for the kids to practice their handwriting, and I stuck a copy of Philippians 4:13 on our fridge back when Harry was memorizing it. It’s been there for months. The other morning, he saw that I was tired and I must have seemed frazzled because he pointed to it and said, “Mom, just remember, whenever you feel weak, read this verse.” I just thought I’d share these words of wisdom from an 8-year-old for anyone else who could use the reminder today.

“I have learned the secret of living in every situation… I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians‬ ‭4:12-13‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot Thou hast taught me to say, ‘It is well, it is well with my soul.’” Horatio G. Spafford

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3 Replies to “January update”

  1. Thank you so much for this update, Leanne. I thank you for your example of a positive and grateful perspective. What a wonderful story about Harry! Indeed, may the Lord continue to Strength for you and John and the kids.

  2. What a sweet kid! Those are moments to be treasured, for sure. Still praying for you and John, and thanks for this update to help steer prayers for the near future. Thank God that He walks with us each little step through our trials, and for every little act of mercy along the way – what would we do without Him!

  3. Thanks for keeping us updated . Praying for John to tolerate the treatments and for you, Leanne for good health and that of your baby. Kids have insight and Harrison is so cute, “Out of the mouths of babes.”

Uncertainty and Emmanuel

John asked me to write a brief update to let you all know how he’s doing. He feels great and has been able to work lots of hours lately. The reason for that, however, is that his most recent blood test showed he did not have enough neutrophils to go ahead with his last chemo treatment on November 26.

The oncologist decided to give him a short break from chemo to allow his bone marrow time to make more neutrophils (bacteria-attacking white blood cells). This will also give his surgical wound more time to heal. John is going back to show it to the surgeon on Monday, then he sees the oncologist again on Wednesday. He has another chemo treatment scheduled for Thursday, December 10, but that will be dependent on the status of his wound and whether he has enough neutrophils. If not they might postpone treatment till January and he will likely need Grastofil injections again.

Thank you for continuing to pray for our family. I realize that we are all living with some degree of uncertainty right now and facing the prospect of a different kind of Christmas than usual, so I want to share something that encouraged me this week.

Our church had sent us an Advent box with activities to do at home with the kids. Last week the theme was Hope, and one of the activities was to have them draw a picture of themselves in a scary situation (e.g. alone in a dark bedroom with a monster’s eyes peeking under the closet door). Then we talked about how Jesus is always with us and how the name Emmanuel, which we sing in a familiar Christmas carol, actually means “God with us.” Finally, the kids were asked to add one more thing to their drawing: Jesus standing right there beside them. To me, that was such a comforting reminder! Whatever our future holds, Jesus will be right there with us. Emmanuel.

“So do not be afraid. I am with you. Do not be terrified. I am your God. I will make you strong and help you. I will hold you safe in my hands. I always do what is right.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭41:10‬ ‭NIRV‬‬

Magnolia, Harry and Daisy
Magnolia, Harry and Daisy

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2 Replies to “Uncertainty and Emmanuel”

  1. Thanks for sharing Leanne. We are continuing to pray for John, you and your family and the new baby to come .
    Your strong faith is a testimony to us all.
    Marty and Janet

    1. Leanne I will be praying for John and your family. By accident I met Mr. Knopf this evening who shared with me many important ways. May God’s love bless you and John and your beautiful family and bring strength and health to you all. I’m not sure if I was meant to share this but if Jon is able to read he may be interested in some adjunctive therapies which I have found useful. The Wim Hof Method is anecdotally helpful for general and vascular health and has helped others. You can find it on Audible and Amazon as an ereader. That said I’m also praying that John’s doctors and therapists bring their good hearts and best skills to help John and your family. In the meantime, wishing you all God’s blessings and Merry Christmas David M.