I'm cross-posting this from my blog. Merry Christmas!
First off – all is well. I saw my oncologist in November and everything looks fine. Back in September we had a bit of a scare which led to some scans a little earlier than we had planned. I had broken out in hives on my legs for no reason. Back in 2013, the week before I was first diagnosed with cancer I had broken out in hives on my legs – so needless to say we were stressed out and scared. My doctor ordered a CT scan (which was normal) and also a brain MRI since I was also having headaches (which also was completely normal). The rash went away after a week (and when the rash went away, so did the headaches! Fancy that) and I have been fine since. Though we firmly believe that God healed me of cancer, we realized that we are still on high alert whenever something is wrong with my body that we cannot explain (just like any other cancer survivor). I trust that this emotional and mental response will get better with the passage of time, as cancer fades into distant memory.
There is the update. Now the announcements. The first is that I have rewritten my story of healing, which is now updated on this website. Please feel free to share it. My prayer is that many people would be encouraged by my story of our God who loves us and who is indeed God With Us. I tried to be brief, but it is impossible – not because I am a wordy person, but because God did such an amazing thing and I don’t want to leave anything out. Which leads to my second announcement – that I am beginning the process of writing a book about my healing. I do not know what will come of it, but I have sensed for a long time that it is something I am supposed to do. I started this website so that I could continue to share widely what God has done, but a book has a permanence and tangibility that a website lacks. Now that our two children are in school all day, I have the time to focus on such a project.
Would you pray for me as I write this book? Pray that God would bless it and be glorified. Pray that I would be attentive to his Spirit and that I would write this book with God. Pray that I would trust God with this. Aside from my children and generations of our family to come, I do not know who this book is intended for; but I will leave those results to God.
God bless you this Christmas season!
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I saw my oncologist back in May, and everything looked fine. I thought I ought to write something here but I didn’t. Three months went by and I saw my surgeon at the beginning of this month. Everything looked fine, and I thought I really ought to write something here but again I did not.
I apologize for keeping you all in the dark. I confess that what kept me from writing was this feeling that if I was going to write, I needed to write something profound to make reading this worthwhile. Yesterday the Holy Spirit nudged me, saying, Ruth, your job is to remind them of something profound that I did, not to create what is profound. That is all you need to do. I had created a burden for myself when really, the main thing is that every so often, I am to remind everyone that God did a miracle and almost two and half years have passed and the cancer is still long gone.
So here I am to simply share that I am alive and well. Both my oncologist and my surgeon examined me, did bloodwork, and everything looks good. Every three months they have been checking a couple different tumor markers (CA 125 and CA 19-9 for the medical folks reading). If these blood tests were elevated, it would then warrant further investigation. They have all been normal or only mildly elevated and stable, so there is no concern. My oncologist would like me to have a CT scan when I see her next but is leaving it up to me. My greatest concern with getting CT scans is the radiation exposure, so I have not yet decided what I will do come November.
I am feeling well, other than still feeling overwhelmingly fatigued a couple times a month. My kids know now that when I tell them at dinner time that I need to lie down, they are on their own for a couple of hours until I have the energy to get out of bed. It has been three years now since I finished chemo, and it is frustrating to me to still feel this way. It is not something that brings me down too much though – I am just grateful to be alive. I would appreciate prayers for continued restoration of my health, as well as praise to God for what he has already accomplished.
It has been a year and a half now since I was healed of cancer by God. I am so thankful for life, for health, and for God's presence in my life at all times and in every moment. I look back on the last three years and I am overwhelmed. We have seen His glory, indeed.
It has been a year now since God healed me. We are thankful for a year without cancer, by the grace of God. Life has found new, happy, ordinary rhythms now, which happens easily when you have health and two little children. Rarely does a day go by, though, that I don't think about how God stretched out His hand to heal me. And so I give thanks once again. Thank You, Jesus.
There are posts that I have written on my new site that I wanted to link to here, for those of you who have praying for me throughout all of this. I am so grateful for your intercession, and it is a joyful thing for me to be able to share with you the answers to your prayers.
- For the medical folks - in which I shared more of the medical details of my case. While there is a lot of medical jargon in this post, what I would really like to highlight are the images taken from my CT scans, which clearly show the cancerous lymph node in April 2015, and then that it was completely back to normal in May 2015. What an amazing God we serve.
- From skepticism to faith regarding miracles - I had alluded to this on my May 27th post here when I wrote, "God has made me aware of my Western skepticism of anything that anyone claims to be a miracle; He has dismantled my faulty presuppositions about what is real and what is not." Here I flesh that out more, to explain what God did to renew my mind in the weeks leading up to healing me.
- An encounter with the Holy Spirit - when the Holy Spirit knocked me to the ground. I had not expected that at all. Wow.
There are a lot of things that happened, particularly in the weeks between when I found out about the last recurrence and when I had the CT showing that I was healed, that I have yet to share with you all but would like to. I look back on the journal entry on here from the night before that scan, and there are some sentences in there that would need a whole blog post in order to expound on them. That is something I intend to do on the new site. I have already had a few opportunities to share some of my story through speaking, video, and writing in other places, and I will link to that content as well on the site.
For those of you who have been following along here, I will still post here when I have a big scan or appointment, or every so often to let you know that I am well. At the bottom of my new site, there is a place to subscribe to my blog posts via email, if you want to be notified when I post something new.
Thank you to all of you who have been such a tremendous support to us throughout this trial. We are so glad that we can rejoice with you now, and we thank God for you.
We give thanks to the One who healed me. Thank you, Jesus.
I saw my surgeon a couple weeks ago and my oncologist yesterday for my regular follow up appointments. Both said that everything looks good. My oncologist wants me to have my next CT scan in November, which will be six months after my most recent scan.
Thank You, Jesus. That's all I can say right now. Thank You Jesus! What other words are there for times like these? Those are the only words that will do. Thank You, thank You, thank You.
PRAISE HIM! PRAISE THE LORD! The LORD is God! Jesus is the same, yesterday, today, and forever!
"Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us. This is the LORD for whom we have waited; Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation." Isaiah 25:9
I'll start with what happened today. For the events of the past few days, I'll paste the emails I'd sent out at the end of this entry. We had a second opinion on Ruth's CT scan of her abdomen that was done on Sunday given to us this morning by my Uncle Phil who is a radiologist. In addition to the findings of a pelvic mass and a few enlarged abdominal lymph nodes which we learned of on Sunday, he also saw a mass in her pancreas that we hadn't previously known about. We brought this to the attention of the medical team here, and upon further review of the images they agreed. This put things up in the air and creates more questions as opposed to answers with Ruth's diagnosis. So, they canceled tomorrow's surgery and did an abdominal MRI and lymph node biopsy this afternoon. The MRI hasn't really clarified anything, and we won't have results from the biopsy until tomorrow at the earliest. Some additional blood tests are still pending too.
At this point, we really don't know anything. There is a wide range of possibilities in terms of her diagnosis, some of which are scary to think about. If you look at Ruth, she looks perfectly fine, save the hospital gown. She was in pretty good spirits tonight. Of course, our minds can't help but think of different possibilities as to what lies ahead, but God is providing us with peace and hope. It's possible we'll have a better idea as to what her diagnosis is tomorrow, but it may still take some time. She may also need additional tests. It's still possible we'll need to go to a higher center (e.g. Froedtert in Milwaukee) for her workup and treatment. It's hard to be in limbo like this.
We've had wonderful support, and we're so grateful for that. We're so thankful for the countless prayers and notes of encouragement we've received. My family has really stepped up and taken care of our kids and helped meet our immediate needs. We had a pastoral visit from Pastor Lee Eclov today, who has been close to our family since I was a young boy. We feel supported and cared for through this trial. And our faith in Christ is our source of strength in this storm.
Ruth's dad is still in the hospital. It looks like he had a stroke. He seems stable at this point, but he has presently lost his ability to speak. Ruth's sisters and mom have been pulled in both directions, and these last few days have been really hard for them. Please remember them in your prayers too.
Okay, all for now. We'll give regular updates of what's happening until things become more clear, which hopefully will be soon.
Thanks everyone on behalf of Ruth and our whole family.
(Prior updates below:)
Ruth has been having abdominal pain for the past 4 days. It was worse today, and this afternoon we went to Lake Forest Hospital's ER. We were in Chicago this weekend, and the hospital is nearby my parents home where we've been staying. They worked her up, which included a CT scan and ultrasound. They found several masses in her pelvis and abdomen. She was admitted, and will be seeing a consultant / specialist tomorrow. There will most likely be some sort of surgery involved to take samples and get a diagnosis, although that all remains to be worked out. We're scared. Please pray for our family. We'll keep you updated as things unfold. It's possible Ruth will be discharged as soon as tomorrow, or that she could be in the hospital for awhile. We should have more info tomorrow.
In addition to this, last night Ruth's dad had a small stroke and is in UIC hospital in Chicago. She had planned to go see him this morning. He seems to be stable, but this is a hard setback after several months of slow progress. Because of the strain of his illness, we haven't yet told Ruth's mom or dad about what's happening with her and plan to wait until we have more information over the next few days. If you happen to know them, we ask that you'd please not discuss Ruth's situation with them at this time. Her sisters, however, are aware.
We appreciate your prayers, notes, and encouragement. We apologize in advance for not being able to respond individually like we usually try to do.
Doug, Ruth, Maddie, and James
Ruth saw the specialist this morning, a gynecologic oncologist based here at Lake Forest Hospital. He went through her CT scan findings with us a bit more, and basically said we can't say anything certain until surgery. He is concerned that the mass around one of Ruth's ovaries could be cancer, although he underscored the fact that her diagnosis is up in the air. As I write, the plan is for her to have surgery on Wednesday around 2:00 PM. The pathologist will look at tissue samples during the operation. Based on what they diagnose, they'll do further surgery as indicated, and then figure out the post-operative treatment regimen that she'll need. Ruth will be in the hospital until she is ready for discharge after her surgery.
So, things will remain in limbo for the next couple days. We're still scared, but feel good about having a plan for getting answers and moving forward. Continue to appreciate your prayers, especially Wednesday afternoon for Ruth, Dr. Pant and his team, and our family.
As of December 2015, I have moved my writing to ruthlindberg.com (http://ruthlindberg.com). This site will remain online, but I will no longer post regularly here on Caring Bridge. Thank you so much for your support throughout this trial!
In mid-October of 2013, I began to have some mild abdominal pain. After three days of gradually worsening symptoms, the pain became severe. My husband Doug took me to the emergency room, and I was found to have masses and enlarged lymph nodes in my abdomen via ultrasound and CT scan. Within days we found out that I had cancer. After numerous types of scans, several biopsies, and scores of tests, my doctors were not able to tell what type of cancer I had. All they could say with certainty was that I had cancer, that it was aggressive and growing quickly, and was in Stage IV. I needed to start chemo right away. My husband Doug and I started this Caring Bridge journal as a way to keep our friends and family informed. Thousands of people, day and night, all over the globe were crying out to God on our behalf.
After two rounds of chemo, a repeat CT scan was done in early December 2013 which showed NO evidence of the masses and enlarged lymph nodes seen previously! We were amazed by our God, not only by His power but also by His goodness and love. Because of the aggressive nature of the cancer that I had, I continued on with a long, intense regimen of chemotherapy which was completed in August of 2014. We were more than ready to put cancer behind us, but a couple months later I was having back pain that wasn't going away. After a thorough workup, no cause of the pain was found, but instead the imaging tests showed a mass in my womb. Further testing revealed that I had uterine cancer, which was a shock to us and all of my physicians. This was a completely different cancer than the one I had the year prior. I underwent surgery in November 2014, and we rejoiced when it was found that the uterine cancer was in its very early stages, and no further treatment was needed. I am now undergoing regular followup with my doctors, recovering from chemo and surgery, and thanking God for the gift of each breath.
This journal is a testimony to His goodness to us during a time of deep pain and suffering.
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