Sunday, December 27, 2009

Update on my father

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  Philippians 4:6

I have meant to blog about my father's progress since surgery for several days now.  Now that the holiday has past, I am finding a moment to breathe and want to update all of you.

Dad is home now and has been for over a week.  I have been amazed at how well he is healing and see the hand of God all over it!  Those faithful prayers have been heard and I thank you for that.  I think what is even more amazing is my father ALSO believes that it is those prayers being heard and answered on why he is healing so well. 

Paul and his granddaughter, Jade resting after all the presents were opened

When dad came out of surgery and we were able to see him in the recovery room, I was already amazed there.  He was coherent and already joking around less than one hour after surgery.  I remember I wasn't doing that well after my own surgery and this was BRAIN SURGERY!  Thank you Lord that you placed your angels around him and are continuing to KEEP WATCH over him. 

Less than 24 hours after the surgery, he was being moved out of the ICU into a room.  Another huge wow!  Daddy at that time said he had really good drs and surgeons watching over him and that is why he was healing so well.  Leave it to me but I couldn't let that moment go.  "No daddy, this is the Lord!  He did this."  He is the great physician.  He is the great healer.  I told daddy that day how many people I had sent emails out to and how many of them had shared his need for prayer with their prayer warriors/lists/circles/churches/etc.  I figured in my own little head that there was easily over a thousand people who at least prayed once for my daddy.  This has obviously made a difference to him.  People that didn't even know him and people that he didn't know had faith were praying for him.  Thank you Lord that you put the needs of others on our hearts and we are given the opportunity to be able to come to you with our requests.  No matter how big or small, you listen to the ones you call yours and hear our prayers.  Thank you for that gift and the one you are giving our family as we watch my daddy heal.

The road ahead is not yet clear though.  He has gotten his prognosis.  The cancer that was found in his lung 3 years ago has metastasized and moved to his brain.  The original cancer is called small cell cancer.  It is known as an agressive cancer. The scan in August of the body, not the brain, had shown no new signs of the cancer.  His oncologist had been hopeful since my father had almost made it to the 3 year mark with nothing showing up.  For now, he will have to undergo radiation treatments.  They are not going to start until he has healed from the surgery.  He will start with 2 weeks worth of radiation (5 days each week) and then assess if he needs more.  At this time, they are not planning on doing radiation on the entire brain, just where the tumor was located.  Praise the Lord!  Due to the fact that this is in his brain, they will not treat him with chemo. 

One of the things the doctor has prepared my father with is the fact that though no cancer is showing up anywhere else, since it has metastasized, there are "seeds" of it in his body.  Though they have not grown, we need to expect that those seeds could grow at any time. 

One of the other amazing things I have watched is my father's attitude.  Though this man has every right to feel many emotions right now, he appears to be fully at peace with everything.  He is calm.  He is not appearing stressed.  He is worried though about my mother and I.  My mother is trying to be strong for him and that worries him.  My brother is worried about her too. 

God was so gracious.  He shut the door in China for me knowing this was going to happen.  I can't imagine how I would have felt dealing with this over there.  He has also given me Jade.  This forces me to keep my emotions in check and keep giving them over to God so they don't impact her.  I can tell you that one of my most precious memories of her and a sign of her heart was the day before my father's surgery.  I stood in the kitchen crying and trying to hide it.  Jade was sitting across the room and said "Mama crying?"  I said "yes baobei".  She said "Shall we pray?"..."Yes, baobei."  She is already knowing that when things are difficult, we pray.  May she always know that this is what we do as He listens and He answers prayers.

Thank you again to all the prayer warriors out there.  It is because of your faithfulness in bringing our needs to the Father that my father is healing and emotionally handling this so well.  On behalf of the entire Rittenhouse family, thank you.   

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