You’ve Got Mail #11

Dear Jahar,

Tonight is New Years Eve 2016.

Since my last letter, I have had two cancer surgeries. The good news is they got it all and I am recovering quickly with just a couple small scars, very little pain and no deformity. Yet the doctors are recommending I go through chemo.

At first I said no. Then I reluctantly agreed. One night I re-studied my pathology report for hours, googling all those unfamiliar words and phrases. Then I read all I could about chemo and its side effects. Then I talked to the Lord.

And then I made my final decision…

I don’t know if you have been told anything about the presidential election America just endured. It got downright  crazy out here and in many ways still is. Civil unrest, acts of anger, violence, people making statements that reflect sheer lunacy – these things are becoming the norm and are producing fear in the hearts of many.

The winning candidate, for whom I voted, is already doing good things for the country even before he takes office and yet many who did not support him are angry and unhappy. The world is becoming an ever more frightening place.

In the midst of all the noise and chaos I have struggled to carve out a quiet space for myself in order to make this most important decision about my cancer treatment.

I have learned over the years that choosing to trust in Jesus no matter what is the one thing that will carry a person through prolonged seasons of intense trial and suffering.

If you are familiar with the Bible story of Job you may recall that in the midst of devastation and anguish Job gave voice to his faith in God saying “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”

I have made the same decision.

Chemo therapy dumps poison into a person’s body in order to destroy any lingering cancer cells. The drugs used in chemo are so powerful and so toxic that they can and often do cause major damage.

I had already made peace with the fact that I would likely lose my hair, eyebrows and eyelashes and puke my guts out for days on end. But when I read about how it can damage a person’s heart and bones…  When I read about something called “chemo brain” it stopped me cold.

Chemo brain, brain fog, memory loss, never being as mentally sharp as I was before chemo, even the possibility of the onset of dementia – I am not willing to gamble my mental health for the possibility I COULD increase my chance of remaining cancer free.

I have never been more aware that my life, all I am and all I have, is held in the hands of a good God who loves me. I am fully convinced this same loving God only allows those things to come into my life that will further His good plan for me.  I do NOT believe He will allow this cancer to return but if He does, I will NOT stop trusting Him – even then.

So… I am refusing chemo and submitting to a regimen of radiation and pills the doctors also recommended.

And now it is 2017.

Once I made the decision not to go thru chemo, I resolved to begin eating healthy and exercising daily.  I love to walk and just two days after the second surgery I walked three miles around the lake near my house. My fridge is now full of fresh berries with high cancer-fighting properties. I love all of them but the goji berries. I choke them down anyway since they are the strongest of the cancer-fighting fruits.

I read about raw Manuka honey from New Zealand and found a store that carries the strength that is recommended for medicinal purposes. Thank God I have always liked the taste of honey. And I am drinking lots and lots of water.

Tonight I am putting myself on a daily routine and actually writing it down. It occurs to me that maybe God allowed this brush with stage one and stage zero cancer to get me to make the lifestyle changes I have been resisting for a very long time.

I plan to be alive and well when you are released from prison, Jahar.

I know the amount of pain and pressure bearing down on you every second is not what human beings were designed to endure. I also know this in regard to the temptation to give up and despair: 1 Corinthians 10:13  No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man. But God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able to resist, and will with the temptation (to despair and give up) also make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.  

Have you read that Bible yet? You’ll meet Jesus within the pages. You need Him as much as I do, Jahar. He is able to carry you through anything…

In the gospel of Matthew Jesus said “Come unto Me all who labor and are heavy-burdened and I will give you rest.” 

He means that, Jahar, even in the midst of the hell hole you are in.

It will soon be time for me to go walking so I will end this letter with a song I found recently. It gave me hope and courage – the very things we both need right now.


Twila Paris

When you think your dream is dying

He has not forgotten you

When your body aches from trying

He has not forgotten you

When you worry for tomorrow

Even tho the sky is blue

See the sun is shining

And He has not forgotten you

When July feels like December

He has not forgotten you

When it’s painful to remember

He has not forgotten you

When it seems you cannot win

And there is not much left to lose



And hope will spring eternal

In the home of those who know

That loving eyes will follow

Everywhere we go

And even in the darkness

His promises are true

Keep them in your heart

He has not forgotten you

He is faithful, He is present, He is listening, He is love

He is faithful, He is with you, He is listening, He is love

If your tired flesh has squandered

What your spirit would have saved

And your aimless feet have wandered

Far from all you truly crave

Turn and run toward your Father

Do not wait another day

See His arms are open

And He is calling out your name

And hope will spring eternal

In the home of those who know

That loving eyes will follow

Everywhere we go

And even in the darkness

His promises are true

Keep this in your heart:

He has not forgotten you

He is in your heart

And He has not forgotten you

I will write again when I can, Jahar. And I will be praying for strength for both of us. “What times I am afraid, I will put my trust in the Lord.” We both need to do that. I pray we can.


3 thoughts on “You’ve Got Mail #11”

  1. God’s good plan for Jahar moves forward and prevails no matter who sits in the oval office, I am happy to say… Thank you for the well-wishes and Happy New Year to you!

      1. Thanks Zorie. And no, I have not heard anything new happening other than Judy Clarke finally being replaced on the defense team. I read that on Twitter.

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