Since Pink Impact we’ve had some big highs and some big lows in the Greenwood family.
The week after the conference, we began to experience a series of health challenges. My mom became ill and spent eight days in the hospital. During that time, two of our sons also made doctor visits and received treatment for minor infections. A few days later Mark had a heart attack. He had a very frightening 24 hours and spent three days in the hospital himself (at the same time as my mom but at a different hospital). The day after Mark came home, I returned to the chemo chair for round six. A week later I came down with an upper respiratory infection. A few days later my mom fell again and had to have the ambulance come and assist her. Matthew was working out in the gym last week and cut his shin so deeply it required five stitches.
Just writing it out makes me tired.I stood up at Pink Impact and prayed for physical, emotional and relational healing for so many ladies. I went through the conference with a remarkable strength considering my own physical battle. I came home completely pleased and blessed by all the occurred.
Then the fight began again.
I imagine it is the same for many of those who were in attendance (or have recently experienced some kind of breakthrough.) Our enemy hates it when we have a divine encounter with God that gives us the victory and loves to retaliate and try to steal back whatever breakthrough, ground or seed we’ve been able to conquer. I’m sure our family is not alone in contending for our health. I have been praying for those who stood for their own healing and asking God to send divine reinforcements for our faith and for our strength.
I’m so happy to be able to move on from the “lows” to the “highs”.
The good news is everywhere!
First of all, Mark lived. More than that, he has no long-term damage or heart disease. He experienced a blood clot which caused the heart attack. They were able to flush the clot and place a stint in the place of weakness. Within about 25 minutes he went from extreme pain and risk to a perfect rhythm and peace. It was a miracle. He was released to assume his normal activities and will have about a year of close monitoring and follow-up. He’s doing some cardiac care rehab to be sure his heart is performing at its peak. He immediately made some recommended changes to his diet and self-care that are producing a good result. He’s returned to work, playing some golf and getting an awesome summer tan.
(I didn’t take many photos during these days, but these two were so much fun. Here’s our youngest hospital visitor-Emmy Reid-and a beautiful bouquet straight from the garden of Mary Jo Pierce.)
Our kids are well and have been a tremendous help to me. My two college boys are home with us for the entire summer. Ashley has been a constant source of comfort and care. Matthew always makes things better. They have all had to step up and help their dad and me in some pretty amazing ways. They have been with us moment by moment through each challenge and have consistently demonstrated a faith-filled response to our circumstances. My mom has needed a lot of additional support that I have not been able to provide. Our boys have taken care of her medical visits, grocery shopping and general care. I don’t know how we would have handled all of that, but in each situation there has been a person on the Greenwood team who stepped up and stepped in.
My mom is more stable now and has returned to her home. However, she continues to struggle with declining health. We’ve been doing additional cardiac test for her and a MRI revealed she fractured her lower spine. This injury has caused her legs to weaken and her back to hurt. Her mobility is unstable. The other night she went outside alone and took a bad fall right into a wild blackberry bush. Neighbors heard her yell for help and I had to send John to care for her. She was cut up pretty badly and completely exhausted. In addition, we recently discovered she has a skin cancer on her lip and next week we have to visit a surgeon about a surgical procedure. I feel bad for my mom as it seems one difficulty upon another. We are doing our best to keep her safe and cared for.
The previous round of chemo has been the most challenging so far. I think I was just exhausted from all of the circumstances our family was walking through and when I got that infection it really made me feel weak. I had begun to fight some death thoughts again and worry that my slow recovery might be the result of a return of disease that I simply couldn’t detect. Just about the time I was feeling most discouraged my latest tumor marker tests came in.
As for me, I have the best news of all.
All of my markers have returned to NORMAL! That’s right! They are even on the low-end of normal.
This was faster than expected and such a boost to my confidence. As soon as I heard the report I remembered that the devil is a liar and intimidation and threat are some of his favorite tools. When my body is weak, my spirit is so vulnerable to his lies.
But when a word comes from God – whether a good report through man or a revelation of truth highlighted by the Holy Spirit – life rushes in.
Next week I will have another scan just to be sure everything looks as anticipated. Assuming the scan confirms what the blood is saying, my doctor will take all that information and consider where we go from here. Just to be clear – chemotherapy will continue, and probably for quite some time. Any adjustment at this point would revolve around reducing the number or drugs or the variety of drugs to help reduce the side effects, improve my stamina and resistance, all while continuing to kill any unseen cells still hiding in my body. Cancer is a wicked disease that likes to hide and linger in hidden places, waiting for a prime moment of unseen weakness to morph and reappear. It’s no joke that you must be aggressive in the face of this enemy.
I’d like to thank everyone who so graciously served us in the past few weeks. Friends, family and co-workers poured into the hospital and into our home to provide meals, gifts, prayers and encouragement. (I have felt a little like the “prayer hog” these days – constantly sticking my hand in the air and saying pray for us, pray for us.) One minute we thought we were alone and the next minute God’s army surrounded us. I can’t even fathom the depth of care given to us by the family of God. Here’s some gifts from just the past few days – a beautiful purse all the way from Guatemala – flowers and communion from the sweet Jessica Bailey – and a new bracelet from a new friend that is to remind me that God is big enough. Thank you for everything.
I have about 50 blog posts in my head. (That is a slight exaggeration!) There are so many things I want to share and record. Yet I find my creative side tires most easily. Lucky for all of us, I am only capturing about 25% of what I’m living. I’m hopeful I can post several updates in the next week or so. If I flood your inbox, please forgive me (in advance).
I am praying for all who are suffering, whether physical or spiritual. I am crying out with you and for you. I am asking God to pour out his abundant life on each of you, to encourage you and ultimately to heal you.
I came that you may have life and have it in abundance, until it overflows.