Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Rebecca's Journey - 134

Dear Friends, 

There are seasons in life when we make plans, knowing well that we are pre-committed to those of the One whose name is Love. This summer, the months of July and August, had been set aside to rest and be quiet here in our beautiful garden. Now into our garden and quiet space, there has come a pain.  We bear it with grace, hope, and confidence toward the One who sets all things in motion.

We received word four weeks ago that our youngest son, Stephen, was undergoing examinations. He's had long-standing back pain which we believed was the result of a rugby accident.  As exams unfolded, it was discovered that the source of the pain was, as he so aptly put it, "that sky-scraper-of-a-word: cancer."  It is solitary bone Plasmacytoma.  From all initial exams, it is in a single location and has not metastasized. 

Stephen was operated on at the University of Michigan Hospital to remove as much of the tumor as possible and to implant a titanium "cage" where the deteriorated 5th vertebra had been. The doctors also fused 5 vertebrae, from numbers T3 to T7.  Thanks to all of you who prayed for him!

He has been transferred to the Cleveland Clinic where his outpatient radiation therapy should start in the next weeks. Stephen began immediately to work hard with the physical therapist to regain the use of his legs.
He and Sarah, and little baby, Laila, have been, with lots of friends to help, sorting all of their furniture and belongings and moving to Phillip's home in Akron.  Philip (our third child) and his wife, Josie, live with their baby, Gabe, only thirty minutes from the Cleveland Clinic. Philip immediately began to make preparations in their large basement for an apartment for his brother. 

It's been a swirl of activity; adjustments, movings, laughter, and tears. Our goal has been for Stephen and his little family to be well-settled before his therapy begins.

I have asked Stephen to write to you in this "Journey", and then to begin to share the writing of future "Rebecca's Journeys" with me. His writing style is beautiful, and what Father is saying to him is even more so. 

I know you will be blessed.

Love, Rebecca

Hello everyone!  

When Mom asked me to write for Rebecca's Journey I really had no idea what I could contribute.  In all likelihood the answer will be: not much. These last weeks have been stressful.  That stress combined with a regiment of Oxycodone and muscle relaxants meant that I had a pretty big chunk of time in which my mental clarity was not what it could be.  Many of the early post-op days are blurred like a half-remembered dream. But I remember a few things clearly.  The most trite was the whole catheter process which was... memorable. The most important was waking up to see my Sarah curled up in a lazy boy next to the hospital bed. Her soft breathing a persistent reminder both of God's providence up until now, and the future for which I must to fight. 

I also remember asking my eldest brother, Matt, to "tilt the bed up a little, please." The exact words that my Mom has said to me so many times. That night I could not sleep and I found my mind wandering across the Atlantic, to Mom in her hospital bed. What an odd thing that as I stepped onto the first step in my stairway of suffering, there was a woman well acquainted with that path praying her heart out for me. The best gifts are usually not fully acknowledged until they have been used and overlooked for years. Seeing my parents endure their legion of trials had been a gift. It had given me a roadmap; and though I'm not out of the woods yet, I am far better off. 

I mentioned "God's providence" earlier. That is another name for "suffering" to those who long to know and love God. Aside from salvation itself, this ironic equation is probably the greatest gift that Jesus gave us.  Because of his suffering, our pain is not only shared by our Creator, it is also dignified and redeemed.  Even a catheter, as vulgar and embarrassing as it may be, is still more "dignified" than the cross. And if our "God of Gods, Light of Lights, very God of very Gods" deemed suffering worthy of His time, how much should we then rejoice?

These are my thoughts, my beliefs, and my constant prayer. 


From Paul: And mature beyond his years!

His e-mail address is: and their their website is:

An account for contributions toward his medical expenses has been set up in IOM. Please put a note on the check: SP Medical, addressed to
PO Box 2140
McComb, MS 39649