Saturday, March 2, 2019

No Separation

Despite my fear of sounding cliche, I'll say that I can hardly believe we are in March already. It doesn't feel much like spring with the snow that has been falling the past week. I appreciate the beauty, but I long for daffodils.

Beginning a new month makes me do the math. It will soon be two years since Ed was diagnosed with aggressive brain cancer. It is almost exactly one year since Ed's second brain surgery and our optimism of new treatment options. Four months have passed since Ed was doing so poorly last November. Our wonderful Christmas is now over two months past. 

Right now, our days are hard. Ed cognitive function continues to decline. Every week he is more tired, more confused, and more unbalanced. Every-day life and Ed's care take more time and energy as we try to keep him safe. 

The children and I try to include Ed in our family life. He can't play a game with the older children, but he can toss a ball to the younger ones. He can't read stories to the children, but he enjoys listening to their schoolwork. He can still enjoy singing and laughing around the table. 

We are asked often why Ed is feeling worse. We don't know. It could be that his tumor is growing and putting pressure on his brain. (I'm dreading his next MRI.)  Maybe he is experiencing side affects from radiation or having affects from his medication changes. His doctors and therapists are trying to figure out ways to help him feel better. 

Even though Ed is doing worse, I'm doing better emotionally than last November. This may be because I've gotten rid of some other life stress, but it also may be that I'm more emotionally prepared and accepting of Ed's health decline. 

Or maybe it is simply that so many of you are praying for us. I feel so humbled by your love when I get an email that one of you woke up at 4 a.m. and prayed for me. You all have sent gifts, casseroles, cards, and so much love. 

Last week this Blessing Box appeared at my door - a whole collection of handmade body products and a packet of verse cards.

I know how easy it is to pray for someone for a while, but when a situation lasts for months and years, other prayer requests push to the front of my mind. Thank you for still remembering us.

Unlike last fall when I could barely concentrate beyond the next minute and meals felt burdensome, I've been flipping through cooking magazines and trying new recipes. It is a joy to awaken this side of me again.

I've also tackled some home projects like repainting our kitchen cabinets. They are badly showing the years of wear. My boys tore out an awkward corner of the cabinets, and my dad helped build a new shelf and doors to make the space more usable. Yesterday my sister spent a couple hours helping clean and paint the doors and already the kitchen looks so much brighter.

I don't usually enjoy podcasts unless they are super-edited since I weary of the conversational pauses. I'd rather just read a well-edited book or skim a blog post for information. But since I have more time on the road, I've started listening to Dana White's podcast  "A Slob Come Clean." My house hasn't looked too bad in the stress of the last months, thanks to habits and my children's help. But I feel like the house is starting to ravel around the edges. Dana White's perspective on de-cluttering and cleaning has been the inspiration I've needed.

But sometimes worry that I'm throwing myself into projects - de-cluttering, new recipes, fun books, editing projects - to avoid thinking. It probably is part of my coping strategy - focus on what I can change since what I want to change, I can't. But I don't want to deny my present circumstances in an unhealthy way.

Sometimes I envy Ed's complete peace. From the very first, he had confidence that whether in life or death, sickness or health, God was caring for us and all would be well. It may be a gift from God that his cognitive decline means that it doesn't bother him that he needs so much help. I'm glad that he just expects life to go on, the taxes to get paid, the children to be cared for, without his input. On the days when the burden feels heavy, I remember verses like these.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35, 37-39


  1. Gina, thank you for sharing with us. You and your family are definitely being prayed for in Hawaii.

  2. Prayers for you and your family.

  3. Thank you for sharing your journey. Continued prayers for you and your family.

  4. I enjoy reading your blog...prayers continue for you and your family.
    We have 2 men in our church family dealing with cancer at this time. One had esophageal cancer like my husband had and he is having a difficult journey now. Isn't able to eat so they are putting a feeding tub in tomorrow. Our hearts ache for these families and we pray and trust God through it all.

  5. Your family has been on my prayer list since the beginning of Ed's illness. God takes care of us during good, bad & rough times. I love the Romans verses you posted; I'm going through a trying time myself now & I really needed to read these verses to put my mind back into perspective. Thank you for posting them. It will be so nice for you to have a "new" kitchen to brighten your day every time you step into it. Your 'plate' is so full right now, it's a blessing to know that God's hands are stretched out to you, just grab onto them when you need to. Another blessing is family & friends who are there for support. Hugs to all of you!

  6. And I am praying for you all in England too.

  7. Continued prayers for you and your family!

  8. Thanks for the update - we continue to pray for your entire family to have peace that only God can provide.

  9. Praying for u in Kentucky too. 🙏🏼❤️

  10. Thank you for your honesty as you share these difficult times in your life. I continue to pray for you, and continue to ask God to give you peace and strength. Blessings to you and your beautiful family.

  11. Oh dear Gina. I would send you a private email, but I know that that kind of communication sometimes carries the obligation of a reply, which I do not intend. I am afraid of saying too much and too little.

    The line in your previous posts that troubled me most, and kept coming back to me, was about you worrying Ed would wander off, during your trip. I was so sorry to hear that he had altered so much; it hurts to imagine his situation, and yours as his wife. I know you are not complaining; I hear your faith and serenity in the middle of intense heartache.

    I bless you for the honest vulnerability of this post, and more for the courage of walking alongside your man as he changes - as you shoulder more of the weight of your family. I wish you grace each time you lose and grieve what used to be. Gina, may the God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, equip you with everything good that you may do His will, working in your family that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever.

  12. This past year was a journey through cancer with a family member. That word 'decline' makes my heart feel heavy with difficult memories. A good memory is the feeling of being carried by the prayers of God's people. And now I will do the same for you. May God bring healing and courage and some daily laughter to your home.

  13. Praying for you and yours from Washington State, may God strengthen you and give you peace.


  14. the warmfireplaceMarch 6, 2019 at 2:51 AM

    Pray for you every morning between 6-7am uk time, I am sure that people are praying at all times of your day and night and lifting you all to our dear Lord. Our dear Lord will give you the strength and support that you need, sometimes distraction helps with the grief you already feel at Eds decline in health. Sending you a hug with my prayers.
    Sue xx

  15. You know, it's so natural to pray for the person dealing with the health problem and not so much their family and all the things they are going through. I will be praying for YOU today. May God strengthen you. I'm glad to hear of the ways He has already. Chris W.

  16. Dear Gina,
    I think of you all often. Even over here on the eastern coast of Australia you are being held in prayer. God has given us a wonderful gift in prayer. When we want to help, but can’t be there physically we can be praying for you. God bless you all.

  17. GRACE....immeasurable, it goes on and on.
    Continuing to pray for you.

  18. Woke up during the night last night and couldn't go back to sleep so I laid there and prayed for you and each of your children!!


  19. Dear Gina,
    I am still praying for you all in this situation, I hope and pray that God's peace and love will surround you all and I admire how you are all re-organising life to accommodate new challenges.
    Blessings to you all
    Hugs shelley p
    from over the pond

  20. I'm listening to that podcast you've mentioned right now - she describes so well the delusion some of us have that all of our bad habits will magically disappear as soon as we got married!

    I usually avoid podcasts for the same reason - not enough editing - but I love great radio shows like This American Life... A lifetime of reading makes a person really confident choosing books; it's strange to be in a different genre and not having an obvious starting point :)

  21. Dear Gina & Ed....
    We continue to think of and pray for you often, and pray God's grace will continue to sustain you for each step of this journey! We love you, and are thankful for the bright spots Jesus has granted to you in this season! ~Randy & Eunice

  22. I don't know you, but have been following your blog, enjoying your recipes and book recommendations for several years. I am continuing to pray for you and your family.

  23. Hi Gina,
    Thru your hospital where Ed has been receiving treatment, he may be eligible for some palliative care nursing help. It is not hospice but it is help for him just to check on him without going out in the bitter weather. Take care, Barb

  24. Ed, you, and yours continue to be remembered in my prayers.

  25. Almighty God created receptors in the brain for cannabis and He made the plant for healing! I have studied this for eight years! Study it and use it and you will heal your husband! The Almighty made no mistake! The chemicals in the “chemical therapy” destroy! Follow Gods creation!

  26. New here from Texas...I will be following along and sending prayer to the whole family...Love in Christ...

  27. Keeping your family in my prayers.

  28. Gina, My husband and I have been praying for your family since Ed’s diagnoses. So has the Bible study group that has met in our home on Thursdays evenings for almost 40 years. We lift Ed before the Lord each week. We pray for the Lords peace for all of you.
    Many Blessings,

  29. Oh my heart! No separation. Despite the roller coaster, the heartbreak, the caregiving, the exhaustion, the unknowns, the losses...You are never alone. Prayers for continued carrying, moment by moment. Much love from Ontario.


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