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Monday, July 7, 2014

Hope

       As some of you know, my two brothers and I are with my Mom at a Euro Clinic in AZ as we try to beat this cancer that threatens to take over her body. The hand of God is evidenced by what I've watched around me; the body of Christ pulling together to encourage, pray, and give a helping hand in a time of need. Praise God.

      A few nights back, I had some thoughts that were coming to my mind in regards to a recent visit to a another clinic in the area, in hopes of getting some relief for Mom's arm, which is currently swollen with lymphodema. 

     It occurred to me how much hope is able lift one's disposition and on the other hand, how discouragement and hopelessness can bring our spirits critically low. 

      Back in NM, when Mom was first diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, we were offered very little hope. The best they could give us with contemporary medicine was "buying time" and "quality of life".  They stamped down a time-frame which, with treatment, could buy her a little time with her family. While even one day more with her was a blessing, this news was not favorable or encouraging. However, this was our reality. In our hands and through man's work, this was the most that could be done...... But God.

      When we did the research, we found a few places Mom could go where they were ready to try more than "buy time", but instead, bring her back to health. Were there any guarantees? No, of course not. But we had that spark of hope that kept us trying more, rather than throw in the towel. The interesting thing is, this in itself improves one's "Quality of Life", which seemed to be a buzz-word back at the hospital.

    So now we've been taking her to a clinic in Arizona and things are going pretty well, thus far. However, Mom's arm has been pretty swollen with  lymphodema, so we took her into another clinic and met with a woman who was going to do some massage, wrapping, etc to hopefully bring it down.

    We sat down with her and began our first meeting, the "evaluation", to determine where Mom was and what could be done to help her. It didn't go too well. The lady we met with was nice; very cordial and explained the situation and how the meeting would work... But it was pathetic. She saw Mom, heard she didn't have any lymph nodes removed or "real treatment" done, and shook her head in pity. Alternative medicine, in general, was not something she put stock in. She told us she was pretty sure she couldn't do much to help Mom's swollen arm but she would wrap it and see if that changed anything.

    Nearing the end of the meeting, I was trying to explain Euro clinic's methods for treatment to kill the cancer. She began to shake her head then looked me straight in the eye.

 "You do realize they're not ever going to get rid of the cancer... They're buying you time but that's it... You know that, right?"

    Yes, I "knew". I knew the clinic has been working towards more than "buying her time". I was very aware of the "Worst Case Scenario", if you will. I knew what this cancer may and should be doing to her. However, I also knew the God we serve is bigger than all that.

    As the meeting went on, the "lymphodema lady", (as we later called her) began to bring Euro clinic further into question. "So, how do they test progress?" Mom couldn't remember. The lady lowered her eyes and gave a knowing shake of her head. "See?" Her gaze fell on these poor, naive folks in front of her who were blindly following a pipe dream.

   At this point, the discouragement of Mom's condition and the lack of hope for progress was wearing on me, but I looked at "lymphodema lady" and manged a few words.

    "Back at the hospital, they gave us no hope with traditional medicine. The best it could do was give us a bit of time, and even then, they didn't expect her to last very long." I stopped as I swallowed the lump in my throat. "Just the fact that she is alive, and breathing, and functioning, to me, is progress."

    As I later thought about that meeting, I realized how much it reminded me of our experience back in NM. Mom was having tests done at the hospital, and the gravity of the situation was just starting to weigh on us. Every day we went, every new test that was done... was a struggle. The more we found out, the worse it got, and it was dismal. But praise God for the hope He grants us through the power of His name and the opportunities he puts before us that gives us the strength we need to go on.

    I don't know what the outcome of this story will be. However, no-matter what comes our way, I know without a shadow of a doubt that we do not walk this path alone. I don't know know what will happen... But my God does and it's in His hands to which our spirit's and our lives are committed.

  I pray that we, as the Psalmist, may declare with righteous fervor: "And now, Lord, what wait I for? My hope is in Thee." Praise Him.


11 comments:

Lilac Bud Gal said...

Thank you for sharing, Kelsey. Losing hope is one of the worst things we can do to ourselves.. and one satan often pushes for the most, I Think. Especially in these situations. And when discouragement is all around, it is so difficult to maintain that hope.
I'll be praying for you that hope continues to find it's way in and that God gives you His blessings every day to remind you of His love and the hope you have in Him! Not that you have forgotten, but it is good to be reminded of it.
Love you and praying for you!!!

Alicia A. Willis said...

Praying for you, Kelsey! May God give you the strength to endure all of this and accept His perfect will, whatever that may be. I love you dearly. Stay strong! We're all here for you.

Anonymous said...

"Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy;" (Psalm 33:18)
Well done, dear. Keep remembering your hope. Prayers are continuously with you. ~Catie

Lisa Dales said...

"However, I also knew the God we serve is bigger than all that."

Your family's faith and hope in the midst of your intense trials has been a huge encouragement to me. Praise God for your family and keep shining!! *big hug*

Mother2many said...

Kelsey, you have captured the essence of this journey in your post, including the realities of the curse of sin and death in our lives, but also the greater reality of the hope of glory, Christ in us, and working through us to bring us hope daily, during the trials He allows for our good. Hope does not disappoint. Thanks be to God who causes us to triumph in Him!

Lydia Willis said...

I love you, Kelsey! Keep staying strong for your mom and your family - God is with you during this hard time!!! Praying, sweet friend! <3

Maellen said...

This is beautiful, Kelsey. It made me cry. Not because of hopelessness, but because of the HOPE we have in Christ, and how you are clinging to that, as am I. We have to cling to that! We have to cling to our God who is bigger than this ugly cancer! We have to cling to each other, too, as the Lord has made us a people who need people. Praise HIM for bringing His body of believers together to serve Him, glorify Him, magnify Him, pray to Him, rely on Him and to seek Him. Praise God! Praise God! Praise God!
You know I am praying for your dear momma, my big sister, for complete healing, as well as your whole family. You also know that I trust our Savior that He knows best. It is in HIM we trust!
I love you!! Keep looking to Him for your strength.

Prairie Momma said...

Kelsey, this was so beautiful written. There is nothing more wonderful than hearing your heart and the love you have for your mom and your GOD!!! We are lifting this up with you and trusting in GOD to care for all of you through this journey!! We love ALL the Hoppmans!!

Daniel Robbins said...

That was great indeed - I especially love that verse at the end! "...Make me not the reproach of the foolish..." See - I have seen MANY people do Chemo and die! Well, your mother? She has done what she can - NOT just letting the doctors tell her what to do, and she is ALIVE! As far as I am concerned, this boils down, at the end of the day, to a battle of the will. "And we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but we also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit - even we ourselved GROAN WITHIN OURSELVES... WAITING!... For the adoption - to whit - the redemption of our body. For WE ARE SAVED BY (or THROUGH) HOPE! For hope that is seen is not hope. For what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for. But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our INFIRMITIES: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself (some say "himself") maketh intercession for us with GROANINGS which cannot be uttered (i.e. he cares BIGTIME!) And he that SEARCHETH THE HEARTS knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God... What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?... Who is he that condemneth (this is quoting from Isaiah 50)?... As it is written, "FOR THY SAKE ARE WE KILLED ALL THE DAY LONG; WE ARE ACCOUNTED AS SHEEP FOR THE SLAUGHTER." NAY! In ALL THESE THINGS we are more than conquers (or more than conQUER!) 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.

See, don't let that medical community get you down or make you feel bad for one moment! It makes me mad that they have tried, but it also makes sense. Your mother made the RIGHT decision! Hands down! I am reminded to remember that, while I am overwhelmed with all the things I have to do - and hope to do, but don't know exactly how (and, to be honest, I actually feel at a loss!)- there is your mother and you... WAITING! Hanging on for dear LIFE! I'm not there right now, but I sure would be if I could! I have got to be thankful for my health, and my mother's; and I am, by the grace of God! Have you ever heard, "I wouldn't have made it", by Don Francisco? Bless you, Kelsey Anne! http://www.rockymountainministries.org/free-mp3s/songdetails/i-wouldnt-have-made-it.html

Jenna said...

Dear Kelsey! I haven't been on blog world in a while, but I saw this today and want you to know that you and your family will be in my prayers. Stay strong in the Lord and keep resting in His strength...He will carry you through the journey.

With love,
Jenna

Caiti Marie said...

Hi, there.

I don't know you very well, but I wanted to let you know that I will be praying for you, for your Mom, and for your family. May God be with you in a mighty, mighty way!