Eight rounds of chemo are now complete. It takes a bit longer after each one for Markus to rebound. This week before coming home from the hospital Markus needed his first blood transfusion. While in a sense there was much ado about nothing, it did give me (Mike) cause to reflect once again on the insights God has given to the us when it comes to treating the frailty of the human condition. That doctors have the ability to take blood from a healthy individual and give it to another – in order to sustain life – is something we are grateful for. Seeing the blood flow into Markus brought to mind the need for someone else to take time out of their day to donate said blood. Even though I’ve always felt challenged by the motto, “It’s in you to give” (because in reality it’s in us to live) we are grateful that in this way Markus’ hemoglobin levels could be successfully bumped up to a safe level again.
For the most part the hospital stays are uneventful. Markus has one more round of chemo before the surgery. Lord willing it will be at the end of next week, just a few days before his graduation from Credo Christian High School. Last week his sister Kaitlyn took him shopping and they were successful in finding him an outfit for the festivities. No sneak peaks this time but there should be some photos on the next blog.
Earlier on in this journey we were blessed to receive a hot tub. It’s something that our family had been saving for and it was quite the shock to find out that some of Markus’ uncles and aunts pitched in to make it happen. Markus quite enjoys the hot tub, and even though his central line prevents him from submersing fully he gets in it regularly. In fact, it’s one of the first things he likes to do when arriving home from the hospital, no matter what time of day. It’s always great to see a bunch of others oblige his request to join him, either his brothers or his friends.
In advance of the surgery, which will significantly limit Markus’ range of motion, he has been doing some things that he might not be able to do post-surgery, including some rounds of golf. Fun times for sure!
Among all the little things we are also reflecting on the bigger things of life. Sara and Aidan are all moved into their new house in Devon, AB and Kaitlyn and Reuben’s baby is due to be born in the next few weeks. Life goes on and God continues to go with us as our family experiences other positive developments in our lives. He is good for sure!
And yet, there is much adversity around us. In the past few weeks two other families we know are also dealing with sudden cancer diagnoses. Perspective is not always easy, but we feel grounded by the promises of God found in the written and spoken Word. A few Sunday’s ago Pastor Doug preached a sermon on John 11 and death of Jesus’ friend Lazarus. The message was hard, but essential – hope remains even after death arrives. This hope arrived with Jesus, and it remains because of Jesus. Pastor Doug’s message has been rolling around in our minds for nearly two weeks now. When asking ourselves the question, “what is God preparing us for?” the conclusion we come to is that our hope is to be found solely and exclusively in Jesus alone. He is the resurrection and the life! If our hope is in anything else, even a long life for Markus, the possibility of disappointment is always close by. Living in this paradox, where we pray and long for Markus to get better and live a long life but are also aware that his life may be shorter than we think it should, is hard. But it is what God has called us to at this time. Please pray that we can maintain an eternal perspective as we minister to each other through this trial.
“But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.” (Hebrews 11:16)