Monday, April 30, 2018

One Year of Mountain Trails

One year ago I wrote about attending the Redbud Trail Challenge at Ohio Wilderness Boys Camp.

That post sounded cheery, but I didn't share everything. That was the week that Ed began having severe headaches. We should have stayed home, but we had all looked forward to going to Ohio. Ed pumped himself full of pain meds, fought severe fatigue, and drove our family the five hours to camp. God had to have been protecting us.

Ed was planning to run with our children, but on Saturday he woke up with severe headaches and nausea and spent the day in bed. He missed the elation of crossing the finish lines, but also the downpour and incredible mud. By evening he felt well enough to join us at the campfire. My most precious memory of that weekend are of my dad and two brothers laying their hands on Ed and praying for him. Two weeks later Ed was preparing for brain surgery to remove an aggressive tumor.

In January of this year Ed challenged our children to start running again. If he felt well in April, he wanted to go back to the Red Bud Trail Challenge to celebrate one year. We put a chart up in the kitchen and all of us ran/walked 30 miles in January. It was a great way to fight off the winter blahs.

Then in February Ed began to have less energy. We discovered his tumor was growing and he had a second brain surgery in March, but the dream of returning to Ohio in April didn't die.

This past week Ed began his new treatment of a low dose of chemo combined with an new experimental drug. He had two doses of the new drug and both made him very tired and nauseous. But the side affects were also short lived so Friday found us traveling the road to Ohio Wilderness Boys Camp.

My brother Todd had served as camp staff for several years, but he moved home this past year. But that didn't keep a number of my family from deciding to come for the Run. Here is all who made the trip.

And here are the runners (or walkers.)

The day started overcast and cool with a sprinkle of rain. Memories of the horrors of mud slopping last year came to mind. But the sun came out and it was a beautiful race day -not too hot for the runners; not too cold for the watchers.

I love to see the eager anticipation of the 5K runners at the starting line. 

And the look of accomplishment when they cross the finish line.

It was hard to see Ed on the side lines instead of running with his children. Ed is feeling very well most days, but he is only six weeks from brain surgery and he doesn't have the strength for mountain running. 

It is even harder to think of the "what ifs." What if this is his last year? What if this is our last family trip? What if...? 

Sometimes it feels like cancer stole our future. I know none of us have any guarantees of life tomorrow, but most families are not forced to consider every year as possibly their last. There is nothing kind about cancer.

But I can't dwell on what has been stolen or waste time being angry. That would steal the joys of today as well as tomorrow. We do have much to be grateful for. The fact that Ed feels well one year after a gbm diagnosis is a gift that many don't have. 

On Sunday we worshiped with the camp staff in their little church. With all the visitors the singing was marvelous. My brother shared the story of their infant's lengthy hospital stay. Then Ed shared his testimony of the last year.

One of the verses he shared was  3 John 1:2 "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth." I'm grateful that Ed can say that his soul is in good health. To see Ed fighting up the mountain to enjoy each day without bitterness helps keep me from being discouraged. 

There is a lot of terrible things in this world. Cancer is one of them. 

But we've also found many wonderful gifts from God along this trail. And heart peace is one of the best. 


  1. Praise God that Ed was able to make the trip and enjoy a joyous celebration with your family! You're right, no one knows what the future will bring ... but God knows. God still has work for Ed to do here. You are all so blessed!

  2. I came upon your blog several years ago while looking for a recipe for donuts! Since then, I have been hugely encouraged and cheered by your writings. As a wife and mother, life is already very busy, and you have the extra challenge of your husband's brain tumor. Yet, the cheerful and loving care you show your family is a blessing of encouragement to me also!Thank you for the wonderful example you have set! May God continue to bless you all with His care during this difficult time.Please know I keep you in my prayers. Diane
    "You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for in Yah, the Lord, is everlasting strength. Isaiah 26:3-4

  3. I enjoy your blog so much. Just by being you, you minister to many of us who are readers. I admire your faith even in these difficult circumstances yet you and Ed continue to live your lives as you are able to at this time. It's so hard to rest in peace as so many things are out of our control and can take over our thoughts. I will pray for peace that passes all understanding and that you will be able to look for the little blessings that are there in spite of overwhelming circumstances. Also continuing to pray for Ed's progress in the clinical trial and for you and the kids...disease affects everyone in the family. Diane R.

  4. I'm so happy to read ed was able to travel and everyone had a good time. We are not promised tomorrow let alone the end of the day. I believe we should live every second as if we may not have another. There is alot of terrible in this world and alot of terrible diseases. Cancer has taken my loved ones to the arms of our lord. So I love every post you share on how ed is doing and the good and the bad days. I hope you find this blog as a way to release emotions you feel like you sometimes can't share. You're a wonderful person and god has a plan for you for ed and your whole family. He loves all his children.

    I know on my heart there will be many more trips ed will be able attend. God bless you. Love Ya sweetie

    1. as I read your comment, "I know on my heart there will be many more...", I rejoiced because I sensed the same thing, as I was reading the original post, then this verse, came to my mind. Romans 4:17 "...calleth those things which be not as though they are." You blessed me today, by "speaking" faith and reminding me of our example of Abraham our "father" of faith.

  5. Like so many I am blessed when I read your heart words of struggle and faith. My husband has been ill for a long time - three times we have been advised to "get our affairs in order" or to "call family". It is often a struggle with the flesh and each time I bring it to the Lord and tell Him how weak and selfish I am being - sort of like a pity party kind of selfish. And each time He fills me with His love and grace and kindness and Praise. Oh, the gift of praise!! And in His kindness He floods my mind with verses and songs.A verse I hold on to is Prov. 3:5,6. Know Gina that many are blessed and strenthened by your faith - it challenges us to walk with the Lord and to glorify Him in all things; to be thankful for the good and the hard. Serving Christ together - kellie

  6. What a blessing of a family trip!
    God is so, so, good. Praying that there are many, many more such trips together, and countless beloved memories in between. For healing and for peace, comfort and strength. To God be all the Glory!

  7. Beautiful post. I continue to pray for you and your family. God bless.

  8. I do recall your journey started close to the time of marlita's. Marlita was still getting tests done when we heard about Ed. We didn't get marlita's diagnosis til May 31st. But I totally understand the thought of remembering each step leading up to that diagnosis.
    May God give you peace in this storm.

  9. From UK, I've just stumbled across your blog. Your strength, your smile and your inspiration amaze me. I wish you the best, you're in my prayers. (I'll also try some of your recipes.)

  10. Love this! Hugs & applause to you dear sister. He will continue to demonstrate His unfailing love & kindness thru this extremely hard.

  11. Oh, Gina! As always, your transparency and authenticity is so refreshing even in the midst of pain. Thank you for faithfully pointing to Jesus, and allowing us to live this cancer journey through your eyes in a small way. Continuing to pray for grace and strength for each step, and so glad your family was able to make this trip together again this year!! ~Eunice

  12. Gina I agree with all the posts above. Your transparency and just you being you inspires me. Ed and your family have been in my prayers each and every day since I read the post of Ed's illness last year. I had already been a follower of yours for years, admiring you and your family. Thank you for sharing even when you don't feel like it. Love and many prayers for Ed's complete healing!

  13. I'm glad you all were able to make this trip. This post reminds me, once again, to pray for your husband and you and your family as well. Chris W.


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