If not for Love

Our world fell down around us one year ago today… Diagnosis Day.

Fast forward one year to the day and I am heading up to the hospital for my 17th chemo infusion. The irony is not lost on me.

It’s hard to know whether to celebrate because I have made it through the year or to be despondent because I have been living with this disease and going through chemo for a year with little in the way of medical results to show for it.

We would have been just about to have our third child now…. but that’s off the table for the foreseeable future. It’s an ache I feel deep inside me as I see Rachel put on her bravest face, though I know inside her mother’s heart is breaking.

So much stolen from us…. so much.

Because of me. Because my body is broken.

All our plans lay scattered on the ground like someone has opened a window and sent a pile of papers flying through the air. Our future as easy to pin down as a mosquito buzzing around your ear in the middle of the night.

Because of me.

God…. save us. Save our family. Restore what has been taken from us… with interest for all the crap we have to endure.

I know your arm is not too short that it can’t reach out and put an end to this madness.

I know you can.

Because through it all, through the burning skin, the vomiting, the nausea, the exhaustion, the nose bleeds, the ulcers, the pins and needles, the peeling skin, the mood swings, the rising markers… I hear the still, small voice of your spirit…. leading me on. Urging me forward…. gently.

…When tomorrow has been stolen and you can’t lift your head
And summer feels like winter, your heart is full of stone.
Though all your hopes have fallen your skin is now your only armour
Wear your scars like medals defender of the faith.

Come, come lay your weary head be still my friend
Come, rise I’ll place my sword upon your shoulder
Come, come lay your faithful head, be still my friend
Come, rise with me.

1 O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.

If not for Love, Love that laid down it’s own life in place of mine…. how would I make it through this? I know that I am overshadowed by the biggest set of wings ever seen. I look up and know that I am covered. I know I will be safe, protected… though I don’t know in what form it will arrive… or when.

In Psalm 91 (The Message) God promises this:

You who sit down in the High God’s presence, spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow,
Say this: “God, you’re my refuge.
I trust in you and I’m safe!”
That’s right—he rescues you from hidden traps,
shields you from deadly hazards.
His huge outstretched arms protect you—
under them you’re perfectly safe;
his arms fend off all harm.
Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night,
not flying arrows in the day,
Not disease that prowls through the darkness,
not disaster that erupts at high noon.
Even though others succumb all around,
drop like flies right and left,
no harm will even graze you.
You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance.
Yes, because God‘s your refuge,
the High God your very own home,
Evil can’t get close to you,
harm can’t get through the door.
He ordered his angels
to guard you wherever you go.
If you stumble, they’ll catch you;
their job is to keep you from falling.
You’ll walk unharmed among lions and snakes,
and kick young lions and serpents from the path.

14-16 “If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God,
“I’ll get you out of any trouble.
I’ll give you the best of care
if you’ll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times;
I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I’ll give you a long life,
give you a long drink of salvation!”

Like I said… I don’t know how it will arrive or when but I know this….. it’s coming.

You wait and see.

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~ by Kristian Anderson on October 6, 2010.

28 Responses to “If not for Love”

  1. This is so not your fault – it’s not “because of [you].” It’s because of a disease that damns so many that we just cannot seem to conquer. A disease that does not discriminate and attacks even the most wonderful, caring, loving people, like you.

    Will continue to hold your family in my thoughts.

  2. Last night I was reading from “He and I”, and came across a paragraph telling me “How much you need to ask for the salvation of souls. All your unused minutes – give them to Me for your brothers in danger. Be one with those who pray on earth like a society of souls that draws its strength from me. Be one, as the father and I are one.” I join in with a whole society of people who are praying for you brother. We all know that by his love you will be well.(I also noticed that this passage from He & I was written on October 6th, 1949.)

  3. it’s not because of you Kris.. don’t blame yourself coz everything happens for a reason. and for whatever the reason is, only God knows.. 😦 more often than not, we used to be questioning Him, for what reason? why me? then later we realized, we need to surrender everything to Him. In His own perfect time, everything will be in place. As you have said, you don’t know how it will arrive or when but you know this….. it’s coming. 🙂 In time..

    “Life is all about timing… The unreachable becomes reachable, the unavailable becomes available, the unattainable becomes attainable. Have the patience, wait it out It’s all about timing.” ~ Stacey Charter ~

    I am so astounded by your strength and courage, and Rachell’s too.. You and your family will always be here in my prayers… Keep the faith!

    with love from Philippines,
    Ires Mae

  4. You are a amazing man, I have just read your blog and you have blown me away, at times I have felt like crying other times you have made me laugh. My thoughts are with you, your wife and kids. And I hope you beat this monster! Rachel you are just as amazing, stay strong and take care x
    With all my thoughts
    Rachell from NZ

  5. I say you celebrate and commiserate the 1 year anniversary. There is a place for both, neither more or less important that the other.

    Then when you have done with the celebrations and commiserations, resume fighting, hoping, and planning for your future. 🙂

  6. Jesus keep fear at bay for my brother and sister, calm their storm – our faith is in You.
    Kristian and Rachel, don’t accept any guilt.
    x

  7. You are both so strong! My mother (53) has just been diagnosed with lungcancer appr. 2 months ago, the first night she got to the hospital the doctors didn’t give her 24 hrs to live. Since then she has been through her second chemo. The doctors said she will live less than a year but we trust God that He will heal her. This sickness drew her close to God and she has found her peace in Him. I think you should celebrate, I hope we will be able to do so when she will pass her first year of fighting cancer. You are a great encouragement and light of hope to me. Please if you can, continue writing. I’ll say a prayer for your boys, your wife and a miracle in your life today.
    Peter from Hungary (currently living in Sweden)

  8. keep your chin up, Kris… my own recent bout with cancer has taught me that every day above ground is a good one. It’s what you do with that day that matters. Keep loving your wife and family and know that you have touched thousands of lives with your story… we all feel your pain and joy and sorrow and fear with you. You are not alone in this fight!

  9. It must really give the devil fits to know that even in your darkest moments, you sing praises to God…You are a beacon of strength, and love to those of us all over the world who do not know you- and through your inspiring words, we’ve found a way to draw closer to God. Thank you, thank you, thank you…for nudging me back His way.

  10. I’d like to suggest that you pray to John Paul II to intercede for you. I know you can speak to the Lord directly, but you and John Paul II have many important things in common – you both built bridges across cultures, nations,and religions through your actions and reaching out for all to witness. You also both suffered a longstanding illness with grace, humility, and unwavering faith. These connections are not coincidence. I will be praying for him to intercede for you with our heavenly Father!

  11. I don’t really know what to say. I have just discovered your blog and am moved beyond words by your honesty in all your posts. My heart breaks for you and your family and the pain you have and continue to suffer. I can only say that I will pray for healing. Please don’t blame yourself.

    If my path be smooth or rugged
    If with thorns or roses strewn
    Where I go the Father seeith
    And He will leave me not alone

    If I take the wings of morning
    far within the silent sea
    Even there His hand will lead me
    Even there my God will be

    Though the gloom of night be round me
    Though I cannot see my way
    Yet the Lord will see and guide me
    Because unto Him the night is day

    If my thoughts are good or evil
    Let me think to hide them not
    there is one above all seeing
    And He beholdth every thought

    And ever more my eyes beholds me
    And all my ways to Him are known
    And His loving arms enfolds me
    He will leave me not alone

  12. I read your blog the first time a few weeks ago. I started writing a comment but then ended up deleting it and shutting down IE. Last night I decided to read it again and I couldn’t help but feel your pain, in a sense.

    Not only is this disease breaking your body but it’s breaking your soul too. And the one thing you still have control over is how you get through each day. Some days are going to suck, others will be okay and some will feel like nothing is worth it anymore. Yet you still have breath in your body and thus the choice of allowing it to break your spirit even more, or not.

    I attended a funeral a few years ago and during the sermon the preacher said something profound. We are taught from childhood that questioning God is wrong and you should just accept things. The preacher told us that day that it is nonsense. God is your father and like normal kids sometimes question human parents we have the right to ask questions too. We have the right to be upset and sad. God might not give you the answer you need right away, or at all, but you have the right to tell him how you feel.

    I remember how much hope I had when my mother got diagnosed and at one stage she was clean for six months. But eventually it took her. That was many years ago and she was a mere 38 years old. The thing is you have no way of knowing how this is going to end for you. Sure your CA marker count is a mere .1 lower than at the beginning. But is .1 less not better than .1 more? It’s hard and no one should ever have to endure this. The reality is it happens. You fight so hard, you suffer. You deal with intense pain, vomiting, chills, fever. You feel like death after chemo but the fact of the matter is as long as you can still breath, there is hope. Hope for another day, week, year or longer. But hope is hope.

    I cannot even begin to imagine just what you are going through but I have seen the effects. There were days I wished my mother dead so she could stop suffering so much. And then there were days I fought so hard to help her feel better. Those are the days I remember now. The hope she had, the days that we made the most of. I remember her smile when I could see the pain in her eyes. I remember the gratefulness for me spending some time with her when I could easily be out doing things with friends. I remember wiping the fever from her face and touching her hair. I remember lying in the room with her watching television and just being content that she is there.

    I have regrets, a lot of them but I have memories too. And they far outweigh the regrets.

    I’m not even totally sure what I am trying to say. I guess it is that you must cry, be mad, be disappointed… You need that. But also save some time to take in the little things. And NEVER allow this to break your spirit too. And like you said; just as your son always trusts you to catch him when he jumps, you need to keep trusting God. He will save you from this when the time is right. You are so brave and inspiring. And however silly it may seem to you, you have helped me to realize I need to move on, 16 years down the line.

  13. cancer is so limited it cannot cripple love it cannot shatter hope it cannot corrode faith it cannot eat away peace it cannot destroy confidence it cannot kill friendship it cannot shut out memories it cannot silence courage it cannot reduce eternal life

    I opened my Facebook page this morning and one of my friends posted this and I thought of you and your family. Since seeing your video I think of you often and know that one day I will see a post on your blog saying that you are feeling better and your miracle has arrived, until then hang in there and know that you are surrounded by love and best wishes not only from your family but from all of us who you have touched with your story. Cheers, from Vancouver Island, Canada

  14. wow. sigh, gasp, groan, sigh,awe.

    i visited after seeing your video on a news website and each time i visit I feel something move in my spirit. you speak, bold, courageous words that are filled with a humbleness and an amazing sense of clarity and trust. We watched a dear friend go through a similar journey, but I can say, he did not do with your attributes. The decision you have made to walk through it openly, sharing your troubles, fears and concerns is amazing, it will really help those around you and indeed all the people who read this blog, its an amazing witness. well done, not many would have the courage you have.

  15. It is “because of you” that I look at life in a much more positive way. You are an amazing man and your never ending courage, strength, honesty and unwavering desire to fight is inspiring.

  16. Keep going Kristian. Keep fighting. But know that regardless of the outcome Christ loves you, he loves your family. You can rest easy knowing that he died on the Cross to save us all, despite the immense pain it caused him. He knows your pain and he won’t leave you alone. God Bless.

  17. I’m sure you are reminded many times of the Footprints in the Sand story, Kristian. When you are at your weakest, God will carry you.
    Your faith continues to be an inspiration.
    Much love from NZ xo

  18. thank you.

    for reminding me of His everlasting love.

  19. Hi Kris,

    I don’t know if you believe in alternative medicine, but please try these two types of tea which is well known in China to fight against the side effects of Chemo.

    The first one is Astragalus root (astragalus membranaceus) (Huang Qi in Chinese pin yin, 黄芪) & Wolfberry (Gou qi in Chinese pin yin, 枸杞) tea. There are two ways to make this tea. One way is just to add a cup of boiling water to 3 grams of Astragalus root and 3g of dries wolfberries, cover and then wait until the tea is cool enough to drink. You can also add cold water to 6-9g of Astragalus root & 6-9g of dries wolfberries and boiling them. Please click this link to see an image of Astragalus root: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081110090619.htm Personally, I prefer the second method.

    This tea is very good to fight against nausea, vomiting & loss of appetite. According to Chinese medicine, astragalus root is also a good cancer fighter and it boosts the immune system. If you don’t have too much fire inside (some symptoms: always dry mouth & thirsty, constipation), you can drink this tea.

    Another tea is five red tea whose ingredients are dried wolfberries, azuki beans, pitted & dried Chinese dates (jujube), raw peanuts with dark red skin ( the redder the skins is, the better the peanuts are) and brown sugar. This tea boosts the immune system and increase white blood cells. Everyone can drinks it and there is no side effects of all. To know and amount and cooking methods, please click this link to watch the video clip of CCTV (China Central Televison): http://web.wenxuecity.com/BBSView.php?SubID=health&MsgID=175082
    This video is about a breast cancer survivor who used both Astragalus root & Wolfberry Tea and Five Red Tea to fight against the side effects of chemo. After knowing these teas in the middle of her third round chemo, she replaced drinking water with them and drank them every day, which helped her a lot. The presentation of the ingredients/amounts of Five Red Tea starts at the place of around 18mins49secs, and cooking method at 20mins59secs. You put all the ingredients and water into a container (a bowl or sth. else), then put the container into a big saucepan with cold water inside (enough but the water level should be lower than the edge of the bowl. Put the saucepan on stove,… let the water boil for 20 mins then the tea is ready to drink. If this sounds a bit complicated, just add the ingredients into cold water, and boil the water for around 20 mins.

    Please add sea cucumber and Ginseng of U.S. (Hua qi shen in Pin yin, 花旗参, a few grams per day) to your daily diet. Actually, you can add Ginseng of U.S. to Astragalus root & Wolfberry Tea. Curcumin is a good cancer fighter. Don’t know if you can get this supplement. If not, use turmeric powder (a spice) when you cook. Other cancer fighting foods include sweet potatoes, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, mushrooms etc

    I know the above is because I’m Chinese. Also, it’s because my uncle was diagnosed Oesophageal cancer stage III in May of this year. I’ve done lots of research. We say knowledge is power. I hope the above would help you to fight this battle. If you have any questions, you can email me. By the way, you can get Astragalus root ( 黄芪) , Wolfberry(枸杞) , Ginseng of U.S. (花旗参) in Chinatown (hope there is one in your city).

    I pray for you and your family.

  20. Thinking positive thoughts that you had a good day and felt the strength of those who love you and pray for you.

  21. Keep the faith Kristian, my husband to is battling what you are he has very little options in front of him right now but he is doing all he can to fight it and knowing that people love him and want him around is all he needs to keep him and me going, stay strong and believe.

  22. I am so sorry you are going through this terrible time. I am sending white light and thinking of you. My thoughts are with you.

  23. As I re-read your blog, remembering what my father went through, it reminds me again, that life is not perfect.
    Keep the faith and try every avenue.

  24. Keep your faith, stay positive! I’m from Canada (Québec – Montreal) and we’re all praying for you 😀 On pense à vous! We’re thinking about you!
    Stay Strong

  25. I came across your blog today (not sure how I got here). I have only had time to read the last couple of entries and have been sitting here crying for the last half an hour. Please know that there are people out here that care for you and your family, even if you don’t know us. Some of us do not have the first clue as to what you are going through, and some of us have been there before. It is good to read the love between you and your family and that is what will get you through this. Big hugs to you all.

  26. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
    Deuteronomy 31:6

    I wish you and your family lots of strength, faith, hope and love. I’m sending you positive energy and you are in my thoughts.

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  28. I started reading your blog when I saw the video you made for your wife. I thought that was the absolute most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. This blog is equal to that. God hears you and I will pray for you. You and your family are so strong and will make it through this with that strength. I have a friend that is a cancer survivor. She found out she had breast cancer when she was pregnant. She was in her early 20’s. I am going to forward your blog to her.

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