I don't know how else to write other than to be totally open. It's tempting to act like everything is great because then I know you'll all be happy. I don't want to be overly pessimistic and discourage anyone. I'll try to be as truthful as possible. It's been a really hard last couple weeks. It seems like every couple of days there is some new handicap. The latest is difficulty swallowing. Thankfully my tongue has improved a little bit and I'm hardly biting it anymore. So the chewing is not the issue now. Now the problem is that food gets stuck in my throat. Eating has become very difficult. We are trying to figure out what foods I can eat and this afternoon I was looking for a baby food grinder to see if that helps.
So I definitely feel like my body is on the decline. I'm right at the cusp of needing to use a walker (I used it a bit today, but not all the time), we are working on putting in a stairlift at home, and now I'm eating soft foods like a 6 month old. I've had some down times with it all, but I'm keeping my spirits up as much as I can.
And then there was the clincher tonight. We are trying to encourage Lexi and Wesley to be in the homeschool spelling bee. Leann got a movie from the library about a girl from the ghetto who goes to the national spelling bee and wins it. I saw a picture she looked at a couple times that I was guessing was her father. There was no Dad around to be seen. At the very end it was confirmed that he was killed when she was 6 years old. Needless to say, I cried a lot. So afterwards we just spent a lot of time on the couch crying together. And then Whitley brought untold joy to my heart. We were talking about the soul going to heaven and being happy in heaven but sad to not be together on earth. And then she said "Daddy will die, and then Lexi die, and Mommy die, and Whitley die, and Lainey die, and he die (speaking of Wesley), and then we all be together in heaven and Daddy be happy" She's 3. This has to be the most amazing thing she has said to me. And obviously the kids don't understand, and I'm not sure we do entirely either. But's it's amazing at what young age they can know about heaven and hell.
Please don't be discouraged or give up praying. We still appreciate it so much and it gives us the strength to make it through when times are hard.
Derek & Leann
What I'm Learning from Cancer #11
It’s about the simple things. Last January, as I lay in the hospital bed contemplating the doctors’ prognosis, I was brought back to thinking about simple things. How much love had I shown my wife? Had I spent enough time with my kids? Had I talked to the unbeliever about his soul? I did not worry about what the explanation was of some tough theological question. Some theology matters, but I came to the conclusion 95% of our discussion of theology could be skipped and we could spend that time just putting into action the simple-to-understand commandments of Jesus about loving God first and then loving our neighbor as our-self. Jesus was questioned by a lawyer trying to trip him up. Matthew 22:36-39 “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”