Friday, 31 August 2012

Wondering in the Wee Hours

Yesterday, at my request, we toured the private school even though Jordan's mind was made up to attend the public school.   I just wanted Jordan to know he had options.  Watching his body language when we registered at the first school, I saw a serious white face with determined eyes.  During this tour, he joked and smiled and was generally animated.  I don't think his mind is quite as firmly fixed as it was initially.   The idea of paying for school was a shock to him.  "Don't our taxes cover everything?" :-)

As I lay down to sleep last night, my thoughts went wild: How will my son enter a new school after living in a world of meds and procedures, tests and recovery for 8 months?  How will he navigate crazy emotions, thoughts and uncertainties?  And how will he physically get around?  These were my thoughts

The wheelchair we have been using, when distances are far, was Jordan's great-grandmother’s with no possibility for self-propulsion. So we are renting an electric wheelchair today for Jordan to practice on before he will be required to be on his own in halls and classrooms....until he has enough energy to use his crutches and then walk on his own steam.

I lay awake wondering where he will park his wheelchair in the class - far enough away so that it won't be a fire hazard but close enough that he can hop to it on one leg with all his books…or can we find a wheelchair that fits under a desk?  And what will it be like to use the elevator and sometimes be late for class just because it takes longer to get around?  Jordan hates being late.  He hates feeling like a burden, or being left behind, or getting special treatment, or quitting. These are things I can't solve for him.  We can do some advance problem-solving, but in the end, he is on his own - something he hasn't really been since January 2nd.

September has always brought mixed feelings for me.  Through the years I have loved having my sons home during the summer and as August draws to an end, I have kept my sadness to myself and chosen to be excited for their new adventures.  While I am thrilled that Jordan is in a place where he wants to go to school, I just can't help but walking through the "what ifs".

I remember hearing a message on the verse: "Cast your cares upon God because He cares for you".  The speaker described it like a game of hot potato.  When cares come, I can confidently toss them into My Heavenly Father's outstretched hands.  Every time they come around, even if it's the same one over and over, holding onto it will only hurt me.  He can and will handle each and every one.  Sheesh! I’m doing a lot of tossing.

Oh yes!  Jordan's mass is creeping down.  Another .6 reduction in the past 3 days….14 cm more to go!  Faster please so the wheelchair is unnecessary, so his jeans will fit and he will be a sign and wonder that points to the kindness, the power and the thoroughness of the good news of Jesus.  "Let Your kingdom come and Your will be done, here on earth, (in Kelowna, in Jordan's body) as it is in heaven". Amen.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Good Times

What a blast the Penticton Channel turned out to be.  Who knew that ducks like Salt and Vinegar chips?  Who knew that crutches could be so versatile?  And who knew Tucker would turn out to be such a water dog?

The day took a while to warm up.  Morning began with our family gathering,  so good to pray, encourage, laugh and share together...all of us.   Jordan was able to pray for his older brothers for a change.  When we arrived at the Channel, the station for filling our mattress and boats was closed down for a city triathlon.  We had crazy times filling them up (thank you Karen and Lance for the loan of your boats) at the Canadian Tire station, stacking and tying them on the car roof.
Joel spent most of his time in the water, rescuing, and keeping us together.  My mom joined us for the second year and I loved watching the grandsons she used to take such sweet care of giving attention to her needs and comfort.

The next night was filled with raucous laughter when we had a family games night complete with extended family.  Afterwards Matt and Joel kept us entertained with their camper stories.  Good thing Joel gains energy from being with kids.  He will need to if he is to pursue Elementary Education.  Matt seemed to love the organizing and leadership aspects for camp programming. Good thing for business if he pursues that after graduation this spring. Sounds like they really had each other's back this summer - good to know after watching them wrestle out their childhood and teen years together.

Then high school registration yesterday morning.   Good news - Jordan gets an elevator key for safer access to the second floor, the administration is very supportive, most classes he desired worked out.  Tough news - only one class each semester with a close friend.  We'll see who God puts in the other classes....just such a wild ride.   It was emotional in the car on the way to our meeting with the school counsellor.  It is a big deal - it is a huge step of faith.  One week today Jordan will have a full day of high school...if he is up for it.  He agreed to give the smaller private school a quick tour - just because we'd like him to know he has options.

Last night was tough again pain-wise.  But we are not relenting because God didn't relent. He went to the endth His Son to rescue us.  Going to bed, I found myself saying "I will not be intimidated".  "Greater is He who is within us than he that is in the world."

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Fresh Start

What a ride the last few days have been!  All systems were go with Jordan's decreasing needs for meds. And then Saturday, a 4 am hit - starting with ridiculous pain and finishing with gut-wrenching nausea.  We hadn't seen anything to that degree in months. And then six hours later, it was a summer storm that just abruptly halts and all that is left is the dripping of the leaves. Jordan's smile and colour returned.  He started cracking jokes and we went for a family boat ride - no problem.

I just end up feeling like a wrung out wet noodle.  Jordan is praising God and thanking Him all afternoon and into the evening while I can't seem to get past the shock of what just happened.  I needed the time on the lake between rocky hills to decompress.  All my men in one boat.  Matthew and Joel, tanned and handsome relaxing from an action-packed summer.  Kim reading behind the wheel and Jordan stretched out on the seats with pillow and Tucker. A good moment.

Today we hit the Penticton Channel with our floaties - Tucker included of course. Originally the forecast was for a cold weekend but now today is the hottest of the week.  Thank you God.

Tomorrow morning we register Jordan for grade 10 at the largest school he has ever attended.  We gave him the options weeks ago.  Online homeschooling was all right out - which surprised me.  Smaller private school - nope.  Jordan wanted to attend the school he would have if he had not been diagnosed in January.  What a kid!  So we have a lot to work out tomorrow morning with the school counsellor.

We are seeking to live as if Jesus has already won the victory. Cause He has!

This morning I awoke to quiet.  A fresh start.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Hey Hey

The mass was down .6 cm Sunday. All in one night!  Kim measured twice and then compared the tape with another tape.  Only 15.4 cm to go!  We have little blue marker lines around the largest part of the reducing mass to keep accurate measurement.  The night before he had such ridiculous pain.  From sorrow to joy.

Matthew is arriving tomorrow morning - crazy flights with air miles so he will be ready for a sleep.  Joel arrives late Friday evening and that means we will have 3 1/2 days all together.  I'm taking it as our 25th anniversary gift.  Just to be together.

Jordan's one desire is to go floating down the Penticton channel with everyone, including Tucker.  Something we've done every year since moving to the Okanagan.  Go FUNRAU’s!

While I was preparing dinner I saw it in my spirit. I saw Jordan's high school convocation play out before my eyes.  He kind of half-skipped across the platform to receive his diploma and a cheer rose up from those of us that love him , "Yay God!"  He gets all the glory!  

Friday, 17 August 2012

Praise when it hurts

I'm writing this enjoying the view of our favourite lake - just a half hour from home.  It is a blue-green like that we've seen in the Caribbean with mountains surrounding it.

At our last gathering, Jordan asked Kim to teach him about perfect love casting out fear.
Fear kind of waits in the wings for an opportunity and we don't want to provide the opportunity.

On Wednesday when nausea hit, Jordan asked Kim to pray and the stopped him before he could say anything.  "Wait, I'll go first".  And Kim said he began to praise - thanking God for who He is, what He has done and what He will do. And then he turned to Kim with a smile and said "There!  The pain is gone".

In the last 3 days his mass is down another .2 centimeter – for a total of 2.3 cm since Redding.  Keep on going down!  Now that Jordan can wear sneakers, he wants to wear his jeans too.

A friend sent us this Psalm recently:
"Our soul waits for the Lord;
He is our help and our shield.
For our heart shall rejoice in Him,
Because we have trusted in His holy name.
Let your mercy, O Lord, be upon us,
Just as we hope in You." Psalm 33:20-22

We love the Psalms.  They often start with viewing the circumstances and end with the choice to trust God…even though sometimes it sounds as with through clenched teeth.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Breathe - Believe - Battle

I think I'd like to add a byline to Jordan's Healing.  It would be the motto from the US woman's beach volleyball team,  "Breathe - Believe - Battle".

Yesterday was an incredible incremental day.  When Jordan awoke I could see that overnight his lower leg and foot were no longer swollen.  He wore his sneakers for the first time in over a month - just because he could.  His meds have been cut by 2/3 since mid June and he is feeling good. Then to top it off, he exclaimed half way through the day that he could feel his muscle flex behind his knee - something he hadn't been able to feel for many weeks.  The swelling has receded another .4 cm.  We freaked out and cheered wildly thanking God each time and throughout the day.

During an evening Skype message to Matthew, Jordan began to grab at his knee and gasp. A pain just came out of no where and grabbed him.  With tears streaming, he begged for prayer...meds just take awhile to kick in and Jordan has asked for prayer first ever since he was a baby. His leg flushed red and his whole body began writhing. We hadn't seen that in a long time and we prayed....he slept well through the night.

I'd like to share with you an excerpt from an email I received last week from Kim's eldest brother.  He was biking from Huntington Beach, CA to San Diego, CA - his very own olympics that would take him about 8 hours.  "I have found that it is easy to grow weary in praying the same thing for Jordan month after month. There are few things as repetitive as pedaling a bike but each of the thousands of pushes are required to get to the destination.  Today as I pedal there will be times when I feel great energy and times when I feel like giving up just like I do in prayer. Jesus told us to "pray and not give up" (Luke 18:1). I am praying and will not give up."

Jordan in the Team GB T-shirt our dear friends sent from England.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Catching Up

I'm typing this out in our backyard where I have dreaded sitting since everywhere I looked there was work to be done.  My amazing cousin and family from Calgary stopped by yesterday - on their vacation, in 33 degree (91 degrees Fahrenheit) sunny weather - to practically love us by cleaning up our bushes and vines.  So now I am not dreading it.  Tucker and I are loving it out here.  Yahoo summer!

Kim and I went on a long overdue date last night while friends from Victoria hung out with Jordan.  It was an outdoor theatre production set in the Depression.  Sitting in the bleachers, munching on cashews and popcorn, I felt normal.  On our ride home, Kim and I talked about our reaction to one young man in a wheel chair in the audience. Where in the past it would have been simply an observation, this time, it struck us both as just not right.  I'm not okay with sickness, disease, infection or whatever doesn’t fit with, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven”.  I've experienced it up close for too long and acceptance just isn't part of the equation for Kim or me any longer.

Jordan really wants to return to school in September.  Being our youngest, he has always been sensitive to feeling behind.  Other than Math, he is good to go.  But as a mother, I want to guarantee he is ready for high school emotionally and physically and mentally.  His well-being still seems so tenuous.

His meds are down significantly...yet there are still moments of cramps or pain or nausea.  The swelling is down a full 2 cm from 2 weeks ago.  For our American family and friends that isn't quite an inch.  And he has 17 more cm to go. Manoeuvring on crutches in crowded halls without us acting as personal body guards is just one of the details that get my mind going. So Jordan needs to be off crutches by Sept 4th.

How realistic is that?  If we look at his progress thus far - not very.  If we look to His Creator, Saviour, Healer - no problem. So practical or not, we will do the latter.  It's time for this healing to speed up.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Little by Little

I overheard Jordan's phone conversation with a friend and his response to a question that must have been about our trip.  "It really wasn't a vacation, more of a business trip.  And the business was to get healed."

Yesterday Jordan's leg was down .1 cm and Jordan cheered.  It was a day with sharp pains and today, struggles with nausea but his spirits are great.  For our Sunday morning gathering, he chose to bring thankfulness.  We each thanked God out loud for the many gifts He has given us in people, things and decrease in Jordan's leg.  Not surprisingly, Tucker ended up in the list. Seriously, that dog gets more affirmation than an Olympic athlete.

Watching the Olympics together we have noticed the emphasis on those athletes that have overcome significant obstacles in order to compete in the games.  It's all a part of their story.

Listened to a great message today that spoke right to the fearful "what ifs" that menace our peace - Stephen Furtick from Elevation Church.  It is on my list of favourites along with one of his quotes "Fear is misplaced faith".  Here’s the link if you are interested:

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Back Home

When I woke Jordan this morning for his medication, I found movement at the foot of his bed.  Tucker sneaked a peak out from under the blankets with a questioning look.  Ever since we started our road trip, Tucker has made Jordan's bed his regular post.

Measured Jordan's leg once again and it is down another .3 of a centimeter.  Choosing to yell and shout thank Father for every movement towards health.  I still vote for faster versus slower.  My tolerance for sickness is lessening.  Was reading a bit of John G. Lake's life and when he watched half of his siblings die and personally struggled with rheumatism and blindness, there was not a lot good he had to say about disease.  The first principle for those he trained to heal the sick was to be fed up with sickness.

Through the years of watching my father suffer, first with his incredible back pain, then weakened lungs from multiple pneumonia and in the last 15 years with cancer and heart disease I saw his patience and resolve to enjoy life and somehow came to accept illness as a difficult by permanent member of our family.  It is so different with my strong and healthy teenager.  Maybe because I did see him strong and healthy for 14 years. Maybe because I am his mother and that is that mother bear in me.  Maybe because I witnessed up close too many miraculous and often instantaneous hearings over the last 2 decades that I know there is an option.  With my dad as part of the great cloud of witnesses now, I cannot imagine he would want us to quit pursuing complete restoration for his youngest grandchild.  Yet these last few days have been excruciating for me...I think for Jordan as well.

The battle in my mind is so loud, I am surprised those near me can't hear it.  It was wild to sit in the gatherings at Bethel and witness people from around the globe receiving instant hearings for their fun! Knees with metal in them that previously couldn't bend were now jumping, cysts were disappearing before our eyes....with everything in me I wanted to see the entire mass on Jordan's leg shrivel before his eyes.  Instead he received more prayer and we returned to Canada choosing to believe before we see.

Jordan had another dream where he was fighting 4 witches.  They were hideous and strong. The battle was extended with no evidence of movement on either side.  All of a sudden, he remembered that he was not alone and that God was in him.  As he reached out to touch each one, his finger or weapon would pierce their defenses and shatter them.

Sometimes from the back of the truck on the way home Jordan would request prayer for his hope.  He and Kim had long talks about battles in the mind.  At those times, I would take the back seat and nap. We did take mini-detours on the way home into redwood country and the California coastline.  Normally the ocean brings me such life - displaying the never-ending majesty and power of God.  But with Jordan initially staying put in the back of the truck rather than struggle over the driftwood and rocks with his crutches, Tucker was the one who went wild on the sand with the waves and made me laugh.  Laughter in the middle of pain...

By the time we reached Deception Pass in Washington, Jordan was up for a marshmallow roast on the beach.  Much more enjoyable and I don't mind my burnt ones at all - maybe I even meant to let them catch on fire.

And at the tail end of the trip, what a treat to make a quick dash into the Abbotsford hospital on the way home to hold my friend's newborn baby girl!  I had not entered a hospital with such joy in...forever.

Someday I look forward to meeting each and every person who has been holding up our arms during this time.  I know for sure that I didn't get many thank you emails or notes out, especially in the first few months.