Journal

Journal entry by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

The stitches came out, the bandage came off, and we got our first look at Robert’s new ear at his post op appointment in Grand Rapids today. It looks a little beat up and there is still a bit of a process ahead, but he has an earlobe again—a work of art! Dr Timek, our plastic surgeon, was really pleased with the outcome. She is still hopeful that Robert may not need another surgery. He will have another followup appointment in a month. We met another doctor today who told us it could take 6-12 months before the ear totally heals. The body is an amazing creation of God. Thank you, again, for the gift of your love and prayers. 

Musings:  

Today was quite a day. A major storm pummeled our area last night and we woke up this morning with no electrical power. We ran into an unusual, major traffic snarl on the way to Grand Rapids and again on the return this evening. 

This morning I received a text from a
friend whose nine-year-old, dearly-loved, special needs child died unexpectedly during the night. This afternoon another friend texted me asking for prayer for a grandchild who just found out that his brain tumor is growing. 

The backdrop of COVID flare-ups in a number of states, restaurants and retailers awkwardly trying to reopen, moms trying to figure out what to do with their kids while they are having to be at work all day, a flailing economy, intense political warfare, the memorial service for the tragically-murdered George Floyd, seething unrest and anger throughout the country ... it all makes our few problems pale in comparison. 

So many are hurting deeply and are mired in the fallout of sin in this broken world. Truly, apart from Christ, life is worse than hopeless. But thanks to Christ, we are the bearers of Good News. Everywhere we go, we take with us the fragrance of Jesus—His life, death, burial, and glorious resurrection. 

Robert and I are blessed beyond anything we deserve—in matters of eternal significance, as well as so many temporal concerns. Among them, Robert who has spent the last five nights trying to sleep upright in his recliner, is beyond grateful to be sleeping in our bed tonight. Thanks be to God. 

Heaven rules. Our Father is good. 


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Journal entry by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

We’re home! All went well. Robert’s surgery took quite a bit longer than expected, but Dr. Timek did more than she thought she might be able to. She believes he may not need to have a third surgery months down the road, which she had told us might be needed. 

The patient is sleeping soundly in his recliner, to keep his head elevated. He badly wants to get through this without pain meds. 

The doctors, nurses, and staff at the hospital were all so kind and helpful. The Lord gave us one opportunity after another throughout the day to encourage and bless others and to share the love of Jesus. This was our assignment and our privilege today. 

We could not be more grateful for the outcome of this day and for the prayers of so many on our behalf. Thank you for walking through this experience with us. 

Heaven rules. 


Journal entry by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

A quick update from the Wolgemuths: Robert has healed really well since his melanoma surgery at the end of March. We could not be more grateful for His mercy and kindness to us in this season. 

Early tomorrow morning (Friday, June 5) we plan to drive up to Grand Rapids for outpatient reconstructive surgery on Robert’s ear. The surgery is scheduled for 10:30 with Dr. Timek, who has been a great blessing. Thanks for praying for her as she operates, and for speedy healing after the surgery. 

Robert and I are heavyhearted for our world that is in meltdown and for the many around us who are suffering in far greater ways than we can imagine. We want to be an encouragement and a light for Jesus wherever He places us each day—including, tomorrow, at Blodgett Hospital. 

May He give you strength and bless you with peace in whatever you may be facing this day, as He has promised to His people (Psalm 29:10-11). 

Heaven rules. 




Journal entry by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Robert and I continue to see fresh evidences of God's grace and Providence at work on our behalf. We could not be more grateful for His mercies. 

Robert had a followup appointment with Dr. Timek (plastic surgeon) on Wednesday, to get his stitches and bandages removed. She was generally pleased, though there is one area of the skin that she wants to keep an eye on for proper healing. We will continue to nurse the wound at home and have a video followup scheduled with her for next Wednesday. She would like to do the next reconstructive surgery at the end of May, COVID-permitting (God-willing), hopefully at her office, with local anesthetic, as we do not know when the area hospitals will open back up for non-COVID procedures.

We had a followup appointment via video this morning with Dr. Melnik (surgical oncologist). She discussed the pathology report in greater detail. She made clear that "there was residual melanoma in the earlobe, so you did the right thing." She indicated that given this melanoma (stage 2B), Robert is at increased risk for other types of skin cancers and melanomas and that it can still metastasize. She wants to see him every three months (COVID-permitting); he also needs to see his dermatologist every three months for the next two years. 

We asked Dr. Melnik how we could pray for her. She asked for prayer regarding the uncertain deployment/employment of the other members of her team. She also mentioned that the hospital where Robert had his surgery ten days ago is converting more beds to be used for COVID patients, and that in addition to not scheduling any elective surgeries, they may soon be eliminating any cancer surgeries. Again, we thank the Lord for His kindness in getting Robert in for surgery during this window of opportunity. 

Our prodigal planet is convulsing under the weight of human rebellion against our Creator. The 24/7 news cycle these days is mostly sad, sobering, and stress-inducing. Death looms large. But the Good News that eclipses all other news is that on a Roman cross two thousand years ago, our Savior put death to death. He lives today and our great, redeeming God is in the process of making all things new. 

Your prayers and encouragement have been a huge means of grace in our lives in this season. We are deeply grateful. May you experience fresh springs of His favor and peace on this holy weekend. 

"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning" (Psalm 30:5).

It's Friday. But Sunday is coming. Hallelujah!

Heaven rules. 

Journal entry by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

We received a call from the doc's office this afternoon with the pathology report. All good news! There was some residual melanoma, all of which the surgeon got. The lymph nodes were negative for melanoma. 

We could not be more grateful for His mercy and kindness to us.

We will go back to Grand Rapids next Wed to have the stitches and bandages removed. (My sweet husband was SOO happy to be able to remove his “head cone” bandage today and replace it with a Cubs cap during the day and a bandana to cover his ears at night. He needs to continue sleeping in his recliner until the bandages and stitches are removed.)

The next reconstructive surgery will have to wait till we get past COVID.

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement in this journey! We are praying for others we know and love who are still waiting, trusting Him in hard chapters of their story. 

“The LORD gives His people strength; 
the LORD blesses His people with peace.” (Psalm 29:11)

Heaven rules.



Journal entry by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

A quick update from the Wolgemuth Ward: My DH (dear husband) is doing great post-surgery. One of the things we are most thankful for is that the surgery did not damage any facial nerves, as we had been told could happen. As you can see in the photo, he still has his wonderful smile. 

Robert has not had to take any pain meds since early Wednesday morning. He is sleeping on his back in a recliner in his study, as his head needs to stay elevated for a week. He has been a model patient—kind, grateful, easy to please. And I am doing my best to be a good nurse. 

Robert is scheduled for a followup appointment with the plastic surgeon in Grand Rapids next Wednesday (April 8) to have the bandages and stitches removed. A second reconstructive surgery will be scheduled for 6-8 weeks later. He will also have a followup call that day (no live appointments being allowed now) with the surgical oncologist, to discuss the results of his pathology report, which we hope to have by Tuesday (April 7).

I love this man. I just walked into his study to take a picture to share, and found him on his knees praying. We know how much we need the Lord—every day—and could not be more grateful for His mercy and grace to us in this—and every—season. 

Over the past two days, three people have sent me the words to this beloved song written by Annie J Flint (1866-1932). May this reminder strengthen and encourage your heart this day. His grace is greater than any challenge or need you or I could ever face. Thanks be to God. 

Heaven rules.

by Annie Johnson Flint

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labours increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power has no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

Journal entry by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Robert’s surgery is finished. I have spoken with the surgical oncologist, as well as the plastic surgeon. Both said everything went well. The oncologist removed two lymph nodes; she did not see anything that looked suspicious to her. We will know for sure when the pathology report comes back in about a week. The plastic surgeon was extremely encouraging about her part. Once this stage heals, she will do a second phase of reconstructive surgery in 6-8 weeks. 

Robert is in recovery now and I can’t wait to see him, share this wonderful report, and give thanks together for His kindness to us. 

We had a sweet time at the hospital early this morning, before surgery, praying, talking, confessing our anxious thoughts, listening to Hidden in My Heart Scripture lullabies (wonderful!), and affirming that we trust Him to write our story. This is not exactly a chapter we would have chosen to include in that story—especially in the midst of the current world circumstances. But it is what He has chosen for us, and we embrace His Providence and worship Him together. 

SOO many people from around the world have let us know they were praying for us. We are deeply grateful for each one. What a wonder is the family of God. 

We know many are suffering complications related to COVID at this time. We pray that in this (and every) season you will experience the strength and peace He has promised to give to His people (Psalm 29:10-11).

Heaven rules. 


Journal entry by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Robert’s surgery is still on for tomorrow (Tues, 3/31). Praise the Lord!
 
We will leave home at 5:15 AM to arrive at the hospital in Grand Rapids, MI, by 7:00 AM. As I understand it (I'm learning a whole new language!), a radioactive tracer will be injected in the morning, to identify lymph nodes where the cancer may have spread. Surgery (with general anesthesia) is scheduled to begin around noon.

Dr. Marianne Melnik (surgical oncologist) will remove Robert’s earlobe, as well as any lymph nodes that show evidence of melanoma. Then Dr. Ewa Timek (plastic surgeon) will begin the process of reconstructing his earlobe (this will require at least one additional surgery and could take a few months to complete). They anticipate that the entire surgery will take 3.5 to 4 hours. The surgery is outpatient, so we hope to be back home tomorrow night. 
 
Please pray that: 

  • God will give Dr. Melnik, Dr. Timek, and the anesthesiologist and radiologist much wisdom and skill
  • all the cancer cells would be removed 
  • no facial nerves would not be damaged while dealing with the lymph nodes 
  • the peace of God will reign in our hearts as we await the outcome (the pathology report should take about a week)
  • we will have opportunities to share Jesus with the healthcare workers who serve us; we are eager for Him to be magnified throughout this journey
Robert and I are deeply grateful for your prayers and encouragement as we continue to trust Him with this new chapter in our story. 

Heaven rules!
 

Journal entry by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Robert has been diagnosed with nodular melanoma on his right earlobe. He is scheduled for outpatient surgery on Tuesday, March 31, at Blodgett Hospital in Grand Rapids, MI.
 
Please pray:

  • That the surgery will not be delayed as hospitals in Michigan are being inundated with COVID cases. We have appealed for it to be moved up if an earlier date becomes available.
  • That the melanoma would not spread between now and the surgery.
We will send you more details and specific requests when we get closer to the surgery. We are deeply grateful for your prayers and encouragement in this season. 
 
Heaven rules!
Nancy (and Robert)

The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned, King forever.
The Lord gives his people strength;
the Lord blesses his people with peace. (Ps 29:10–11 CSB)
Robert’s Story

Site created on March 18, 2020

In 2019, we co-authored a book called You Can Trust God to Write Your Story: Embracing the Mysteries of Providence. It included the stories of many dear friends who shared how a single moment altered the trajectory of their lives, and how they have found God to be faithful in every circumstance and season. In God's providence, on March 8, 2020, we began a new chapter in the story God is writing in our lives, when Robert was diagnosed with melanoma. 

We will update this site as we are able, with further details, specific prayer requests, and what we are learning as we navigate this journey. Thank you for walking with us. We definitely have moments of apprehension, especially with all that is taking place in our world at the moment. But we are counseling our hearts with what we know is true: God is good; He is faithful; He is with us; He can be trusted. We say to each other many times a day, "Heaven rules!" That has always been the case and it is no less so now. My Christ be magnified in and through our lives.

Robert Wolgemuth and Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth
March 24, 2020

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