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For the third year in a row, I am taking a vacation during the first week in January. In January, I get a new supply of vacation days. This year, it’s four weeks, thank God. My husband has been ill since October 2014, when he had a tumor on his bowel that caused a total blockage. He had surgery, but recovery has been slow due to his other health conditions.  I have been his caregiver since then. He has been feeling relatively well the last year. He does some household chores and drives our daughter to work.

This summer he was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer. We have spent time going to University of Michigan to be evaluated for a bone marrow transplant. He doesn’t qualify due to his other health conditions, overall weakness, and struggle with malnutrition.

Since October 2014, I have spent most of my vacation time on appointments for him. So it may seem lavish for me to spend some of it on myself. Because that’s what this is. A break from work. A chance to regroup. To do some fun stuff like go to the theater and watch a movie, crochet, scrapbook, and organize our condo.

Last summer, after his diagnosis, we decided (we were led, really) to go ahead and help our 30-year-old daughter buy a condo with the idea that we would move in with her and pay rent to her. She had been paying rent to us for several years. She was enthusiastic about this idea. We started talking about it on July 3. She signed the mortgage papers on August 11 and we moved on August 20. Six weeks. We put our house on the market in October. We sold it in four days, and closed two weeks later. It has been an amazing how God’s hand was evident in this move. God’s people helped us move, and helped us throw away or give away more than half of our stuff. What a weight off of our shoulders.

Late summer, Ralph had to have two transfusions. This is a sign of his cancer progressing. However, his doctor has adjusted his chemo so that he stays just above transfusion level while controlling his platelet level to some extent. Too many transfusions and blood letting has to happen or medication to take down iron level. Two weeks ago, he had an abdominal CT scan to check for Crohn’s disease because of digestive issues that are robbing him of nutrition. No Crohn’s, but the radiologist did note that his liver had a small lesion. His GI doctor told him it was nothing to worry about. I asked his PCP to send me a copy of the test results. It notes that the lesion/liver should be watched for metastasis, and the PCP said he should have another test. I keep this information to myself. It may be nothing. But the fact that he has bone marrow cancer indicates it needs watching.

As I think about 2017, I wonder how soon chaos will enter our lives. Yet the thing that I must do is trust God. In the midst of our storm, He has been faithful to us. Faithful.

May you have a blessed new year!


Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear[a] when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.

Jeremiah 17:7-8