((WARNING: Lots of photos ahead.))
Tomorrow (Monday, May 2), Scott begins his last week of treatment. As is often the case with these kinds of things in life, it seems in some ways like we’ve been here for months, and in other ways we can’t believe it’s almost over.
The past two weeks since our last update have been a mixture of good and bad; fun stuff and tough stuff. But mostly, they’ve been very good weeks. As I mentioned before, our prayers for this time (besides the obvious prayers for Scott’s health during treatment and the healing of his cancer) focused on our need for solitude as a family, the absence of crises, knocking out a lot of school, time to prepare wholesome family meals, and the opportunity to pour large doses of undivided attention onto our children. God has answered these prayers, and we will leave here at the end of our time with a lot of precious memories, and with some new areas of refinement in our characters and in our relationships with each other. There have been pain and some challenges involved in the accomplishing of these things, but in the words of Mr. Spurgeon, “We need winds and tempests to exercise our faith, to tear off the rotten bough of self-dependence, and to root us more firmly in Christ.”
Scott’s side-effects have continued to worsen, and his radiology oncologist told us this past week that Scott’s symptoms are “way above average” in severity, and that out of hundreds of patients, he is only the third one to have such a tough time. Just to be clear, these symptoms are still not as bad as most cancer treatments, but it has been hard. He hasn’t slept well, and efforts from the doctors to help have resulted mostly in only mild and temporary improvements. So we will pull together and push through this last week of treatments, knowing that we are almost done.
Provision Center for Proton Therapy asked to do a story on our family for their blog. The whole family was honored to have the opportunity to meet Terry Douglass, the founder of this center. He is a man of God who has poured his life into helping hurting people all over the world — including orphans. He has grandchildren who have been adopted, as well as biological grandchildren, and his children and grandchildren are growing up and following in his footsteps. What a legacy. Scott and I have been invited to have a private lunch with him in his office this coming Wednesday so that we can learn more about his areas of ministry. This photo was taken as part of the story they are doing for their blog.
After the photo session that day, we were blessed when the staff at Provision arranged for us to take the kids to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg. Only a couple of our kids have ever been to an aquarium, and this was a fun day for all of us.
The day after our aquarium excursion, our daughter and son-in-law, Kristie and Greg, arrived with their seven children for a short visit. Their kids and our younger kids are all best friends, and they have all really been missing each other. Although there wasn’t room for them to all stay here overnight, we were able to spend time together during the days. The kids did some schooling together, played games, built countless Lego creations, swam, and made up for the time they have been separated.
We have also been blessed to have met, through mutual friends, an amazing chef here in town who runs his own small restaurant. Andras Bartha is originally from Hungary, and is a reputed culinary genius. In fact, he used to work for Arnold Schwarzenegger at one time, and there’s a signed photo of Arnold in which he refers to Andras as “the Hungarian god.” This man blessed our family with the gift of hot strudel from his oven, and we also had the honor of dining in his bistro on the lake with Greg and Kristen while they were here. The food was amazing, and his bruschetta was the best we’ve ever tasted.
Meanwhile, back at home, miracles continue to happen as those involved in our house project work daily to make it possible for us to come home to a new, fully-functional, bigger kitchen. We are being told that countertops will go in tomorrow (Monday!). Here are few pictures of that’s been going on back there. So thankful for neighbors who are keeping an eye on things and taking pictures for us.
Also back at home, All Decked Out returned to donate fencing around the lower side of our pool as a safety precaution for little ones who might try to climb over the side . . .
. . . and our mommy bird returned to build her nest in the wreath on our front porch, just as she has done for the last two years. What a beautiful reminder of hope this represents as this chapter of our life draws to a close, and as we look forward to returning to Cincinnati and picking up our lives again there.
As each week gets a little harder for Scott than the week before, we would certainly cherish your prayers as he moves into this final week of treatment. Thank you so much for every single prayer, donation, and expression of love. We continue to feel awed beyond words by all of you.