Thanks for praying for my safe arrival to the states. My travel plans got changed slightly as the flight I was on from Tokyo to Chicago got cancelled (it's never a good thing when you're supposed to be boarding and instead a little motorized tug pulls away the 747. I don't think there were any extras in the garage!) and I had to stay overnight in Japan. So I was delayed a day, but am now safely here and wanted to update everyone concerning my mom's situation.
We've gotten some more information from the doctors and yesterday Mom had an excellent meeting with an endocrinologist who will be monitoring her blood sugars throughout the procedure. She felt encouraged at his determination to help her, not just through the surgery, but to try to determine some of the underlying health problems of her diabetes and muscle weakness. He seemed to take a very holistic approach and spent a lot of time with her, asking questions about her medical history. We hope he will be able to work more with her in the future to possibly bring her diabetes under better control.
The surgery is scheduled for 7am Wednesday (CDT) and Mom will be admitted this afternoon in order for them to do some of the preparatory procedures. My brother Mark, my dad, and my mom's two brothers will all be there during the surgery so we are prepared for whatever may come. As they operate, they will remove the tumor bit by bit and send it off to pathology even as she is on the operating table; if it comes back cancerous then they will also take some of the surrounding lymph nodes. Also, there is a chance that the tumor has grown into her stomach or colon and in that case they will also need to surgically remove part of those organs. So, we're anticipating that it will be a fairly long procedure, though of course there's no way to know for sure.
Please pray for us! Pray for the surgeon to have skillful hands in removing the entirety of the tumor. Pray for Mom's blood sugars to remain stable. Pray for there to be no complications, and pray that the tumor will be found to be benign. Most of all, though, pray that we will all use this opportunity to love Jesus more, to trust Him and His precious promises through this situation. May the gospel become more precious and real to us. May we have patience, wisdom, and perseverance as we face the future, confident in His goodness. And, may we give glory and praise to our loving Father, may even our demeanor and attitudes in the waiting room and in interacting with hospital staff be glorifying to Him and the truth of the gospel.
All these things are especially poignant to me today as I arrived in the States to the news that our dear friend, Chip Stam, has gone to be with the Lord after a four year battle with cancer. His joy in the Lord, enthusiasm for serving Him, and love for teaching and leading worship impacted so many. He will be greatly missed, even as we rejoice that he is now free from cancer, from sin, from pain and sorrow, and truly alive in the presence of our beautiful King Jesus. The family sent out a letter announcing his home-going in the most amazingly gospel-centered, Christ glorifying way. I am encouraged, and remember Chip with joy even through my tears today. Please pray for the Stams as they prepare for Chip's funeral and memorial service this weekend. Chip was an example of someone who lived, trusting and hoping in Christ, and died in that joyful assurance that Jesus is his--forever. Chip has truly safely arrived, to his forever home. Amen!
So as I think about my mom today, I'm inspired to continue fighting the fight of faith, trusting in my precious Savior and loving Father. The Lord was good to give me so much time on the plane and through that unplanned layover to spend with Him. I was especially encouraged by Psalm 34, Philippians 1, and some worship music during my retreat-on-the-road. What a gift to have that time! I feel refreshed and ready for whatever may come this week. I do long to serve my parents this week in a tangible way, to pray with them and for them, to be a light for the gospel wherever we go. Thanks for praying with me.