Years ago, on one of the occasions that Gary was preparing to return to Afghanistan for missions work, a friend gave out small smooth stones, about nickel-sized, to remind folks to pray for him while he was away. The idea was that we’d keep them in our pockets or purses, or on our work desks, and be visibly prompted to remember him. Gary’s name was written on each of the stones.
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This past week, on Monday the 8th, Gary, Dad and I went to meet with the radiation oncologist, the doctor who will write and oversee the treatment plan for Gary over the course of the next 6 weeks. When he finally came to the small room where we would have our consultation with him, we stood, introduced ourselves, shook hands. After we had finished telling him our names, he reached in his pocket, pulled out a small stone, smiled, and said, “Yes, I know who you are.”
The choreography of the past three weeks has included moment after moment like our meeting with Dr. Ciuba, and has been filled with reminders that we are in good and loving, if at times inscrutable, Hands. Your kindnesses continue to be among of those reminders and, again, we thank you.
Short version is that Gary is doing well (most bothered by loss of short term memory) and will begin radiation next week – 5 days a week for 6 weeks — during which time he’ll be taking oral chemotherapy (a pill a day). The hope is that the combination will shrink and fight his tumor into submission.
I’ll be taking Gary to the Amos Cancer Center in Columbus each day and consider it a great privilege to be able to be so close to him for the weeks to come. I know that it will be unpleasant and difficult in some ways, but I look forward to being his keeper. As I heard another say years ago about caring for a sick spouse, “I’m doing it not because I have to, but because I get to.”
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Even now, the stones cry out. God is for us. Jesus is Lord.