Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Questioning Treatments

Today at 2:45 PM we are meeting with Dr. Bob of Boundary Trails Health Center in Winkler about the pros and cons of continuing or discontinuing treatments.Why would I call off any further treatments> (1) The cancer, medically speaking, is not curable. (2) The treatments are making me extremely tired, their is muscle aches involved, and itch that is requires constant attention so it can be kept in check. (3) The treatments are not doing anything that is overwhelming positive. Yes, the tumors did not grow as much as they could have, but I want shrinkage, not slow down in growth. If you ever have had 'faatah haan" (English lierall says fat hen) in your garden, you want to get rid of the horrible weedand not just a reduction in its numbers. (4) Since I have started these treatments, I have been going downhill and I don't like it. Stopping these treatments will (medically speaking) hasten on the advance of cancer. I will most likely die sooner. I am ok with that- I think. (5) I am hoping that stopping treatment will give me a few better months in which I can complete some projects and actually live and not just exist.
The reason for continuing treatment would be the ever present optimism that perhaps a miracle would happen and the treatment would do more than ever expected.
At this point I just don't think that the treatment is doing enough to make the suffering worth it.
Your prayers are cherished.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Plan of Salvation in the OT

Can anyone out there give me a quick summary of the Plan of Salvation According to the Old Testament? In other words, how did the Old Testament believers come to salvation? How were they saved? I am preaching on this June 5th at the Pleasant Valley Church. Yes, this is way over my head, but I am going to prepare for it. Perhaps I can learn it well enough to relate it to others.


They say speed kills. It is not always that way. Speed sure can kill time. Not everything in my biking career is something to be proud of, but traveling home from Abbotsford, BC to Sylvan Lake, AB in about 11 hours is something I thought was a great accomplishment. I lived in Sylovan Lake from March 2000 to June 2oo5. During that time I made some trips with my 03 Heritage Softail Classic to visit my brother in Abbotsford. Good times. On my way to Abbotsford I would drive to Golden, BC and stop for night, then arrive early afternoon the next day in Abby. This time around, on my way back home, I had a long twist on the throttle. The Trans Canada Highway was jammed with traffic.I was passing 5, 6 up to 10 vehicles with one pass, and I was not even close to keeping the Speed Limit. It was a beautiful sunny day, and I was having fun. And I was making good time. Up ahead in the distance I saw another biker who also seemed to have going home on his mind. Eventually I caught up to him, and now we had two "middle aged crisis" guys tearing up the highway passing hordes of vehicles with one pass.
To this day I still cannot believe that I did not see one single cop! Our driving made us stick out like red paint on a John Deere. And no cops!
Somewhere along the ride I noticed that my new found friend lost his clutch case cover on his Harley. We stopped at a 7 Eleven and cut a circle out of some plastic jug and taped it on their with duct tape, added some oil of some type, and away we were.
I was always envious of my buddy back in Morris who always seemed to get away with everything, especially when it came to speed. Well, this time for once, I got away with it. I am still amazed no cop stopped us on that ride home from BC.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Resumption of Same Treatments

Yesterday they resumed the same treatments as the last cycle was- weekly treatments for 8 more weeks, and the reassess. These were not easy treatments before, I hope they are not going to be so hard on me this time around. I will approach them differently this time. I will take a break next week from treatment, and wil take another one at the end of June so I can find time to recuperate more from one to the next.  Too many of such breaks and the doctors would get suspicious, but one here and there will not be an issue.
Today's treatment went quite well. I let Julia drive home though. I was a bit dizzy and lightheaded after it all. And now I can't deal properly with the itch so I am up late typing this post. Can't sleep because of various things, but that's ok, sleep is not promised to be ours. We all have experienced sleeplessness nights in our lives. It's not the end of the world. At least I got to see Vancouver beat the Sharks in 5th period of their game. What a fluukie goal it was.
Anyways, thanks again for your supportive prayers for us

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Good Week

Dear friends,
This past week has been one of the best weeks- no, it was the best week since I started this cetexamub biological agent drug. I will not have had treatment for 2 weeks come Tuesday (when the next treatment is scheduled for). Today I actually never felt "bloated gut pain". Praise the Lord of Heaven and Earth!! I am sure the sunny weather helped!
Yesterday I overdid it, Thursday I over did it, and Wednesday I over did it because I CAN!! because I felt so good. Oh, don't get me wrong, I did not repaint Sistine Chapel's ceiling nor manufacture any Le Tourneau earth moving equipment. But for my circumstances, I did things I would never have done 2 weeks ago.
I am still quite weak, fatigued and listless.
To be brutal honest, I also deal with irritability. At times everything irritates me. And since Julia is the closest to me, she often gets to feel my irritability. I don't like it that I am this way. Kids who kill their mother blame it on the brand of baby food they were fed, and I suppose I could blame it on the ongoing frustration in fighting cancer. But that is not where I am going. It's my fault, and I need to deal with it. Please pray for me concerning this irritation. It's a cancer of its own brand.
Dear f riends, Tuesday I have a decision to make. The treatment I have taken for the past eight weeks was administered once a week for 8 weeks, and it was tough. During the last half of those 8 weeks I was pretty much on my back. I was not really living. Ya, you may have seen me bike to the store and stuff, but I was pretty wiped out during that 8 week period. Do I continue with this treatment? The treatment is not shrinking the cancer- according to the last CT Scan. Yes, it slowed the growth of the cancer, but did not shrink it. If they are going to suggest another regime of weekly treatments for 8 weeks, then I will most likely stop- unless the doc has a very convincing reason to continue. If they prescribe a bi-weekly regime of treatment, then I would go for that.
Please pray that the decision would be clear.
Thanks for all your prayers,

Monday, May 16, 2011

Psalm 73

If you follow the “Our Daily Bread” devotional book as we do, you will have noticed the reading was Psalm 73. This is EXACTLY what I needed today. I have been quite low, maybe almost depressed of late. I don’t like it. I want to be happy.
Comparison conceives discontentment, jealousy, envy and general unhappiness. We usually compare ourselves with others whom we perceive are in a superior position compared to ours.
It’s precisely what the Psalmist is guilty of in Psalm 73. Comparison!
Perhaps I am in one of those stages cancer people go through. I have not read any book that outlines these stages, but here is how I would describe my stages. July 2009- diagnosis of cancer and a numbing stage of disbelief. Anticipation of surgery and hope for the best case scenario. August 2009- diagnosis that cancer went to the liver. Cold shock! August to September 2009- recovery from surgery, a period of getting better. Optimism and sense of hope. October 2009 to November 2010- treatment, a sense of hope that things will get better eventually but slowly realizing it is not improving. December 2010 to present day- slow slide into despair that things are not getting better. The next step I hope will come soon- acceptance of the final outcome and peace, joy and assurance of going to heaven.
Psalm 73:21ff describe me of late- an embittered heart. Since I do not know Hebrew, I am at the mercy of translations and commentaries on the meaning of the word “embittered.”  The TEV (Good News Bible) has it this way:
            When my thoughts were bitter and my feelings were hurt,
            I was as stupid as an animal; I did not understand you
                        (vs 21&22)
The popular NLT says it this way:
            Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside.
            I was so foolish and ignorant- I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.
I like how the Anchor Bible commentator Dahood puts it:
            But when my mind has soured, and when my emotions had dried up;
            I became a stupid fool without understanding, a mere beast in your sight.
Folks, that’s me!
I have a soured heart! Yep, my heart is embittered, and it’s soured!
Sunday morning (yesterday) was a brilliant morning of sunshine and just beautiful clear skies. The first thought that came into my mind was, “This day is not created for you, Chuck. You are not able to do anything to enjoy the good weather. You can’t do this and you can’t do that, so the beauty of the day means nothing to you.”
I was crushed.
Friends, it’s not always pretty what goes on in my head. I must get out of this rut. I want to get out of it. I need to get out of this embittered, soured state of mind and heart.
But look at verse 23 and on:
            NEVERTHELESS I am continually with Thee;
            Thou hast taken hold of my right hand.
            With Thy counsel Thou wilt guide me,
            And afterwards receive me to glory.
            Whom have I in heaven but Thee:
            And besides Thee, I desire nothing on earth
            My flesh and my heart may fail,
            But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Is it not wonderful that God remains faithful even when we push Him aside. Today it felt as if God took hold of my right hand.
Today was a much better day. I could eat pretty good for a change, and my spirits were better. I walked to the store with Julia (and back), but that was about all that was in me. I thank God for this day.
I hope today was the start of a grand turnaround in my life.
Thanks for your prayers.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Answered Prayers

Last night I sat on the porceline god (toilet in plan language) and just wept. I was feeling the itch coming back. The oncologist says its amazing what people will pick for adversity. They usually pick pain. Give me pain, but take away the itch. Give me pain, but take away the nausea. Of all the "pains" to deal with, pain is the most friendly. Itch is horrible! Nausea is vicious! Pain is managable.
I was sitting on the can weeping as it felt as if the itch was returning. My way to deal with itch is to take a shower and lather myself with Aveeno. I should be doing commericals for Aveena. I guess here is one. I got into the shower, weeping as the water hit the sores and stings the spots. Wiping down with a towel shrings the spots. And then on comes the lather of lotion- Aveeno, made from oats- one of the most prickly, itching grains a farmer can grow. Yes, I know nothing can hold a candle to canaryseed for itch. The word "canaryseed" itches. If they would make Aveeno from canaryseed, maybe that would combate itching even better!
I went to bed fearful, fearful the night would be a long one.
It wasn't.
I never once itched all nght.
I slept very well, having only once awoken by a pain spell which tylenol did away with.
Praises be to God Who gave me yet another itch free night. Thank you Jesus Lord of the night!


Wednesday we had a prayer meeting where my Uncle Ken (Loewen) specifically prayed that God would have a surprise for us at the oncologist visit today. Uncle Ken, God showered us with many more surprises.
The surprises began this morning already.
Surprise- I had plenty of energy to bike to the church office on a very windy morning.
Surprise- Pastor Darren invited me to stay for coffee.
Surprise- He had actually prepared a very healthy coffee break of fruit and cheese.
Surprise- I had gotten information about a drug that my good friends in Rosenort had discovered on the internet. A drug used by a Chicago based clinic to treat cancer. It is FDA approved, and not just some internet scam sham like eating 1 lemon a day takes away cancer, or eating the white parts of your fingernails will treat cancer in some people, or sniffing pet hair toasted in a microwave will cure some cancers- you get the idea. The drug is available in Canada, and must have a doctor’s prescription. So I got Dr. Fraser to get me a prescript. My friends found a compound drug store that would make that prescription. I forgot to fax it, and so I called the drug store, in Whyte Ridge, and asked them on the phone if they would start mixing the drug (since I was informed it took a while to make it). Without me sending them a prescription, they started making the drug for me! Surprise, surprise, surprise….which other drug store would do that? Eventually we did scan the prescript and emailed to them.
Surprise- They said it would be ready late tomorrow- it was ready this afternoon.
Surprise- We got to Cancer Care Winnipeg where parking is like finding a vacant ant hole, but a lady pulled out, came running to us and gave us her ticket which still had well over an hour remaining on it! Surprise!
Surprise- I was to have a blood test, and I wanted them to include a magnesium test (which they had not included). I asked the nurse if she could add that. She said she was not supposed to do that, but she did it for me. Surprise!!
Surprise- And this is perhaps the biggest surprise. The tumors are still growing, but not nearly as much as I had suspected. That was a surprise! The tumors grew by about 13% and a 25% growth rate automatically cancels further treatment. The oncologist will have a meeting and decide if I qualify for further treatment. No, I am not worried about what they will say. I am ok either way.
Surprise- the cancer count numbers went down, but the tumors grew. How is that possible?
Surprise- This drug I was talking about before was known by the oncologist, and he had no issue with me taking it. Surprise!
Surprise- This drug had no harmful interactions with the cetexamub (the biological agent I am being treated with).
Surprise- The autopac rebate cheques were in the mail when we got home.
It was a good day of surprises. Thanks for your prayer, Uncle Ken. It did not get answered the way you prayed- God exceeded your request.
Many people were praying for us today. Thanks so very much.
We have mixed feelings. We keep trusting in the LORD JESUS.
My brother Eldon said if they give you any little hope, hang on to it.
We got a little hope today.
Praise to Him Who doeth all things well!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


One ship drives east and another drives west
With selfsame winds that blow.
'Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales
Which tells us the way to go.

Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate,
As we voyage along through life:
'Tis the set of a soul
That decides its goal,
And not the calm or the strife.

              Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Last of Ate

Two day was the last of ate once a weak four ate weaks treatment. Aft her the treatment a CT Scan was take in. That is a diff a cult day, butt God is there four us. He in courages us and strength ins us. Watt wood we do with out Hymn? Then on Thursday we go two Cancer Care inn Winnipeg two get the test results. Know, I am knot anxious. I have piece. I have come plete piece. I no my future- heaven! I no God has my life inn His hands.
Two day went very well. Considering that I had treatment and a CT Scan, I wood say things went well. I could eat a big lunch a round to o'clock, witch did knot make me hung gary at supp her. Over all eating is still knot much of ann in joy meant.  They did ann x ray on my abdominal area, butt there was know constriction two bee scene. Wee still do know no what makes four such a chore two eat. I am thinking it is just cancer taking its toll on me.
Thursday the verdict will bee quite simple- two con tin you with treatment, oar two abort further treatment. If the latter is the case, then I have more options. Thanks two our friends in Rosenort, they have found a drug that must bee obtained by prescription sow it is a drug, knot just sum inter net stuff that has knot real lee been medically tested and tried.
Thank ewe all very much four your prayers.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

One More to Go

Yesterday was by far the toughest day of treatment yet.Physically I was extremely tired. My gut ached incredibly and my back was not without pain. But as treatment went along I felt better. Dexamethasone, the wonder drug! I lost more weight, and I am losing energy. I still have a real issue with eating as my gut is so bloated that it feels like I overate on the last meal. But the doc gave me some advice, and that is helping. Praise God. Yes, it's another pill to take, but at least it helps. The last thing I expected of myself was to be a pill taker like I am now. But at least it helps.
They took some X-rays to see if there is a blockage of some type in the abdominal area that gives me that overeating feeling when I have not eaten anything.
There is one more treatment under this once a week regime. Next Tuesday I have a CT Scan and that will show what the cancer is doing. If it is stabilizing, then I think treatments will be less frequent. If the cancer is still growing, there is no more treatments the medical field has for me.
All the way my savior leads me, what have I to ask besides? Can I doubt His tender mercy He through life has been my guide? Heavenly peace divinest comfort, here by faith in Him to dwell! For I know whate'er befall me, Jesus doeth all things well, for I know whate'er befall me, Jesus doeth all things well.
Thanks for your ongoing prayers.

Tough Passages

There are some extremely tough passages in the Bible. Tough enough to understand that people have abandoned their faith on account of them- supposedly!
Consider Matthew 11:2-6.
John the Baptist is in prison. Jesus is out there within earshot of John. We are never told Jesus came to visit John in prison. But John is hearing of the works of Christ, and this gets his curiosity. He sends his disciples to find the answer to this question: Jesus, are You the Expected One or do we look for someone else?
What prompted this question by the greatest man born of a woman (that is how Jesus describes John)?
It may well be that John is baffled by Jesus not acting on his behalf. John stood boldly before Herod and accused him of wrong doing. It got John imprisoned. But certainly Jesus would get him a free get out of jail card, right?
Doesn’t happen!!
And John is perplexed! And John begins to doubt! And John asks, is this the One we were expecting?
His disciples go to Jesus, and the answer stings like a jagged blade of a rusty saber. Jesus rattles off a list of miracles He is doing among the people and says go and say that to John. It is almost a slap in the face to John.
Everyone is getting a miracle except me in this prison. All those wretched sinners are getting healed and cured, and here I am, a righteous man of God, in this prison. Are You really the Christ?
Can you feel it?
And then for good measure, Jesus says, “And blessed is he who keeps from stumbling over Me.”
In other words, “John, grow up. I am doing what I am doing and you may not understand why or what or whatever, but don’t let your lack of comprehension cause you to jettison your faith.”
It’s a stunning passage.
And Jesus never rescues John.
John gets his head lopped off.
That’s faith- to hold on when nothing makes any sense. That’s faith- to persevere when it makes no sense to do so. That’s faith- when all around people are prospering and here John sits in prison! That’s faith- when faith is all there is left.
Thanks for your prayers!
We continue to walk in faith!

Jesus doeth all things well!