Last week was crazy.
Monday I got bad news about a friend who is making some really poor choices. I can't go into more detail than that, but I'm still trying to figure out how to respond.
As I was still mulling over that, I got a call on Tuesday evening from my mom.
"I'm going to tell you something that's going to be hard to hear," she prepared me. "Your dad has prostate cancer."
Ugh. My dad, who is almost 61 and has run multiple half marathons in the last few years, has cancer. The same cancer that took the life of my grandfather (my dad's dad) and my father-in-law (who passed away before I met The Engineer.)
My parents had just gotten the news Tuesday, and they weren't sure yet how bad the cancer was. I felt a deep trust in God when I heard the news, and both of my parents were displaying peace and faith. But I was still stressed and emotional. It was still hard to wait until Thursday afternoon/evening, when my dad would see the urologist and get more news.
Thankfully, the news Thursday was very good! The urologist is 99.9% sure the cancer has not spread. They found it early! My dad has been very consistent with his checkups and bloodwork, paying special attention to his PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) levels. There's a lot of controversy right now about how useful a PSA level is. My dad's was very low, and the doctors did not think he had cancer. But the number was rising, and with my dad's family history, that was enough for the specialist to suggest a biopsy, just in case. Thank God my dad said yes!
So he will have surgery in November to remove his prostate. The doctor expects it to take care of the cancer completely, and my dad has a very good chance of not having any serious side effects. If you pray, we'd love you to join us in praying for my dad (Sam) and my mom (Cathy) during this time!
Let this serve as a reminder to you and those you love--whether you're male or female, get your regular checkups! And ladies, get your men to go in. Make the appointment for them if necessary! Women tend to get checkups more regularly than men, and this needs to change! A couple of years ago, The Engineer started having annual physicals, including bloodwork to check his PSA. When Zoodle gets older, we'll impress on him the importance of regular checkups too.
"It's cancer"--two terrible words. But "We found it early"--those are four words that make the news much easier to take.
So, that's brought us through Thursday of last week. The week wasn't over yet!
When The Engineer and I moved to where we live now, we had already connected with a church. They needed a worship leader, and that's The Engineer's area of passion and gifting. (He plays guitar and sings.) We have been part of that church family for the last 12 years.
And I really do mean that word, family! They were a wonderful support to us during rough times (like The Engineer's brain surgery), and good times (like the birth of our two children and the recent birth of Munchkin, the baby I carried for Ann.)
The church changed through the years, as most churches do. The first pastor moved when Chickie was a year old, and last year the second pastor moved. Through the years people came and went--in fact, The Engineer and I have been at that church longer than anyone else! But with all the changes, it remained our home, our community.
After our last pastor left, things just never really recovered. We called a new pastor but it didn't work out for him to move out here permanently. Many people felt it was time to find new church homes, and our numbers dwindled. Finally, we made a decision last weekend, that it's time to disband this community of believers.
It sounds like sad news, but I'm actually really excited. The gradual decline in numbers over the last year or so was very hard and very sad. But we were stretched in so many ways during that time, and God used it to bless us and grow us. And you know, it's okay for something good to come to an end when it's time for that to happen! It means we are free to find another church where we can grow and serve, to find a new community that, I am confident, will become our family!
And so many of those we've connected with over the last 12 years are still part of our family. The best example is Ann and her husband and kids. Ann and I have been very close for some time now, but when I had the extraordinary privilege of carrying her baby, it knitted our families together in a deep, beautiful way. And there are others, people I know I can call on to share my joy and my pain. We'll keep those relationships, whether or not we share a church with those individuals.
So this ending is really a very cool opportunity to discover a new beginning, and I am excited!
This week there isn't too much going on. Zoodle has a cough. We're studying spiders in homeschool. It's Wednesday morning at 8:30 and we're all still in our PJs. It's been a fairly normal week, and I like it that way!
But life moves forward, and big changes come, whether we like them or not. I'm just glad I can trust a big God to be with me on normal days and days that are full of turmoil. Every day, He is there.