Reflections on the Year
Yesterday was the anniversary of Rachel’s diagnosis. Three days ago was when she was rushed into surgery and our lives were rushed into the unknown…But yesterday marks when we filled that unknown with the worst possible news. It’s been a hard few weeks leading up to this, as we process the past year and facebook brings us memories of the things we did leading to what we could have never imagined. I can vividly remember the moments in the hospital at 2am, still thinking that we would be heading home within the hour, because surely this problem was simple. I remember when the word “surgery” was first mentioned. I still thought “hey, surgeries are easy nowadays. In and out.” Then they explained that she would be left with a colostomy that may or may not be permanent and that it would be at least four months before they would know either way.
Then came the pacing in the waiting room. They said two hours…by the four hour mark we still had no word. Then it was done. The surgeon came to update me on how the procedure had gone, which was the first time the word “Tumor” was used. It banged around my head for two days until it was confirmed. Rachel had cancer. It feels like many years since that moment. One of the things that has stood out most distinctly to us since that time is the divine grace we felt in those first few weeks. We didn’t feel numb, we felt prepared. Not panicked, but resolved. When those feelings would begin to creep in, we would ask for prayer, hundreds of believers would lift us up, and we would feel renewed. It was an incredible display of God’s supernatural power over our souls that we felt so privileged to experience.
Today, Rachel sits here with our children. A few new scars and a wiser soul, but here. I recognize that makes her sound old, but if you’ve spent any time with her recently, you know she hasn’t lost any of her youth.
Our treatment plan looks a little different than it did early on. We are still going to Seattle every other week for Avastin, Rachel is still taking a low-dose chemo pill twice a day, and she is still getting high-dose Vitamin C every week in Vancouver. Other than that, we are focusing on eating the right things, exercising and sauna or hyperbarics each week, and most importantly…living the summer like Cancer doesn’t control it. Here are a few highlights:
Camping! We have been to Bend, OR and our church campout so far this summer. We are in Bend again as I write this and in September we have a family reunion at Cresap Bay.
We got a lab/retriever puppy named Oakley. She’s been such a fun addition to the Dye team and has been a great outlet for the kids to spend time.
The garden has been a labor of love and a blessing as we now get to eat from it each and every day. Rachel has worked so hard and learned so much from the Anderson family we partnered with and it has been a great project to direct some of our energy.
We don’t know what the future holds. That sounds cliché as I write it, but it rings especially true for cancer survivors. Will it come back tomorrow? Next Month? Never? It puts a sense of urgency and importance in everything we do and we feel it. Every day spent with the kids, with Rachel feeling good. Honestly, it’s both stressful and deeply rewarding and we’re still getting used to it.
A passage we have been discussing today is the ten lepers in Luke 17:
11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy[a] met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?”19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
Our goal for moving forward is to be the tenth leper. All ten lepers were healed physically, but only the one returned. We want to always return to Jesus in thanks and be told “Rise and go; your faith has made you well”.
Walking in faith and gratitude,
-Jamison and Rachel