Look Up and Experience Victory

Submitted by Melissa on Tuesday, October 19, 2010 - 20:00

Some days are just difficult--more difficult than others. Today started as one of those days. But the Lord used a comment on the radio (and I don’t remember exactly what was said) to remind me to look up and experience victory. How refreshing to have that change of mind! Although some challenging circumstances surrounded the day, God enabled me to obtain a fresh outlook and then He gave me the energy to do what needed to be done....namely schedule more doctor’s appointments and follow through with the nutritional protocol I’m attempting to maintain.

"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2).

God Has a Way

Submitted by Melissa on Thursday, October 21, 2010 - 20:00

I'm not sure who posted the link first on facebook, but I watched a stirring video of Gianne Jessen, speaking at Queen's Hall, Parliament House in Australia.

She survived an attempted abortion, and has dealt with cerebral palsy since birth. Her amazing testimony shines through. One comment she made really stood out to me:

God has a way of making the most miserable thing beautiful.

God does have a way! And His ways are above ours. It reminds me of Psalm 18:30, "As for God, His way is perfect..."

The Storm

Submitted by Melissa on Monday, November 1, 2010 - 10:00

Someone shared this quote today:

Stop telling God how big your storm is.
Instead, tell your storm how big your God is.

Catching Up

Submitted by Melissa on Monday, December 6, 2010 - 21:54

So many things to write about. So much to catch up on. Where do I start? Lately, when I’ve sat down to write, my sentences don’t seem to form. Yet there’s a lot going on.

This is my fifth week in Atlanta for treatments. Every day has been full. In order to avoid the traffic mess, I leave the house between 6:00 and 6:30 each morning. That puts me at the clinic sometime between 7:00 and 7:15. Although some days are more tiring than others, I’m not nearly as exhausted as I could be.

The Allens are a great blessing too! Their hospitality, kindness, and godliness are uplifting. God had all the details for this trip worked out, and I’m so thankful for the Allens being willing to house me during my entire stay. I couldn’t say enough about how the Lord has used them to encourage both Dan and me during this time.

One of the hardest things about getting treatment here is being away from the kids. I’m so thankful for Skype as we can talk and “see” each other! Matthew and Joanna don’t reallly understand what’s going on, but they do pray for Mommy “because she has cancer.” Dan was able to come down the week after Thanksgiving, and this helped him so much....being able to meet the doctors, see the treatments firsthand, and stay at the Allens too.

My parents and in-laws have bent over backwards to help us out. They’ve watched the children countless times and supported us in ways too numerous to mention. What a blessing to have parents and in-laws who love us selflessly and will do all they can to help.

The bond of Christian fellowship is priceless. Friends have continually encouraged me, and their support is amazing! I’ve met a number of Christians at the clinic who also have this support, and then there are others who can only imagine what it’s like. God has given the opportunity to witness of His grace and love. I pray He will use this experience to draw others to His kingdom.

Cancer is a situation that will cause one to look at life through a different set of lenses. I’m meeting many who are looking through those lenses and seeing how short life really is. I’m thankful for the eternal perspective we can have in Christ Jesus. The hope that He offers is unfathomably different than what this world tries to grasp without Him.

I'll do my best to fill in the gaps that are missing on this blog. If you'd like to keep up, feel free to subscribe and you'll get an email with the latest updates.

Changing Circumstances but an Unchanging God

Submitted by Melissa on Thursday, December 23, 2010 - 22:53

To get everyone up to date, here's a summary of what's been happening the last few months...

On August 30, 2010, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. For any person at any age, the “C word” is a shocker, and for me at age 34, it was no different! With two small children (Matthew age 3 and Joanna age 2) and a husband who recently stepped out to start a business to meet our family’s needs, this diagnosis has been life changing.

September was full of doctor’s appointments, two major surgeries, and further understanding of the nature of the cancer I am now facing. The cancer escaped to the lymph nodes, and I was told my cancer was stage IIB. The tumor markers showed this cancer to be ER+, PR+, and HER-2+. As more than one doctor put it, “This cancer has everything it needs for aggressive growth.”

Although some blood tests after surgery seemed to indicate things were fine and the PET scan looked pretty good, my doctors and oncologists felt we needed to treat this aggressive cancer aggressively.

With surgery completed, we were faced with treatment decisions. After much prayer and numerous consultations with doctors, we found a clinic in Atlanta that specialized in treating breast cancer using an integrative approach. At this clinic, I could get a specialized chemo treatment as well as intense immune system support. My initial six-week stay there lasted from November 8 to December 17.

Over the next year, we plan to work with these doctors as well as my oncologist in Illinois. I will need to return to Atlanta several times over the next year for maintenance treatments and possibly more intense treatments, depending on the blood work and scan results.

Treatments at the clinic cost around $2,500 per week. At other comparable clinics around the country, these treatments usually average $5,000-7,000 per week.  As you could imagine, these costs are beyond our own means. However, we have already seen God miraculously provide, and we look to Him for His continued provision.

We are thankful that God has led us to a clinic where the head doctor is a believer in Jesus Christ as Savior and is unashamed not only to speak of Him to His patients but also pray openly in His name with his patients.

Your prayers for successful eradication of cancer are most appreciated.  If the Lord would lay it on your heart to help with our medical expenses, we would be most grateful. Our friends at Herring Consulting have graciously designed and hosted our website and made it possible for people to donate online (see link at top left of page). For those interested in making a tax-deductible contribution, you can contribute here and designate your gift for Melissa Huizinga.

Choices

Submitted by Melissa on Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - 23:07

It’s been absolutely wonderful to be back at home with the family! We had a special Christmas together--with my family in Wisconsin and then back in Illinois to celebrate with Dan’s family. With the intense daily treatments aside for a few weeks, I’m doing my best to get back into the daily routine with the family.

A PET/CT scan is scheduled for Thursday, January 6, and we are praying for good news. I am scheduled to return to Atlanta at the end of January for two weeks of treatment. However, this could change depending on the results of the PET scan and the blood work between now and then.

It seems we are continually faced with decisions that need to be made. Your prayers are appreciated for wisdom each step of the way.

As we were driving back to Illinois Christmas night, I was blessed by the words of the hymn “Thy Way, Not Mine, O Lord,” sung by David Parker. The words written by Horatius Bonar in 1857 still carry great depth of meaning.

Thy way, not mine, O Lord, however dark it be;
Lead me by Thine own hand, choose out the path for me.
Smooth let it be or rough, it will be still the best;
Winding or straight, it leads right onward to Thy rest.

I dare not choose my lot; I would not, if I might;
Choose Thou for me, my God, so I shall walk aright.
Take Thou my cup, and it with joy or sorrow fill,
As best to Thee may seem; choose Thou my good and ill.

Choose Thou for me my friends, my sickness or my health;
Choose Thou my cares for me, my poverty or wealth.
Not mine, not mine the choice in things both great or small;
Be Thou my Guide, my Strength, my Wisdom, and my All.

Isn’t it encouraging that God’s choices for us are far better than any choices we could ever make? And for all eternity, His choices will always be the best!

Roller Coaster Week

Submitted by Melissa on Friday, January 14, 2011 - 18:29

This has certainly been a week with lots of ups and downs! Saturday, I reviewed the PET scan results with one of my doctors. We had already been suspicious of a 1 cm tumor that was found about seven weeks after surgery. As expected, this spot did show up on the PET scan, and the oncologist wants it removed as soon as possible. That should be a minor surgery.

The delay and scare came when a 2 cm spot was found in the pelvic area. The metabolic rate was suspiciously high, and one of my doctors was pretty confident it was cancer. However, my oncologist ordered further tests, and just a couple hours ago I was able to speak to him about the results. The suspicious area appears to be cystic and needs to be watched closely. This news was certainly a relief!

Further, I’ll be heading to Northwestern next week for a second opinion on the latest events. They’ve asked for all my records ahead of time, including imaging from all tests and pathology slides from surgery. Their team will thoroughly review everything, including these most recent tests. It will be most helpful to have a second set of trained eyes examining my case.

An area of concern the last couple months has been with one of the tumor markers in my blood work. Normal range is between 0 and 9. Mine was 18 a few weeks after surgery then 24 a couple weeks later. A week or so after treatments finished in Georgia, it went down to 9.9--almost in normal range! We were relieved to get that news this week (there had been a delay in getting the results from the lab to the doctor). God knew we needed some good news after the initial scare from the PET scan results. And we know His timing is perfect.

Last night, I heard a preacher on the radio summarize Philippians 4:6 with these phrases: Worry about nothing; pray about everything; and be thankful for anything. Certainly excellent reminders for us as we travel the unique paths God has chosen for our lives!