Laura's Battle with Cancer
July 3, 2010
I am pleased to report that Laura and I attended the wedding of my daughter Katie in Florida last Saturday, and Laura was strong and able to celebrate through the weekend!
She had timed her chemotherapy treatments to insure she had recovered by the wedding date. Thankfully God granted her this reprieve and all went well as you can see by this picture of Katie and Laura!
We returned this week and Laura was given her fourth (and final!) chemo treatment on Thursday July 1st. She is now suffering the fatigue and nausea which follows each treatment and lasts about a week. We are thankful that with God’s grace there should be no need for further chemo or radiation.
Over a year ago Laura and I planned a trip to the Village of Oberammergau in Germany to coincide with our anniversary in August. This small town puts on a passion play once each decade and has been doing it for almost 400 years! It began as a dedication to Our Lord for protection during the “Black plague” and has continued ever since. Half of the entire town participates in this massive production which lasts five hours!
When Laura was diagnosed I was inclined to cancel the trip, but Laura has always wanted to see this play and did not want to wait another ten years for the chance. So with your prayers and God’s mercy, we are leaving July 26th for Germany and Vienna!
We are so very grateful that The Lord has provided so much incredible science to the medical profession to help Laura and so many others. We are resting in the certain knowledge that Jesus knows and loves us.
Thank you for your continued prayer, love and support which sustains us daily!
"We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
May 27, 2010
I have delayed sending this most recent report in the hope that it would contain mostly good news. It has been a rough few weeks for Laura.
After her first chemotherapy treatment on April 30th things did not go well. Laura spent the first week afterwards experiencing the expected symptoms of nausea, weakness and lack of energy, however she then developed a fever. Any fever can be dangerous if it signals an infection since Laura’s immune system is seriously weakened by the chemo. The Doctors do not advise taking aspirin to fight the fever since they fear masking the symptoms of a serious problem. We ended up in the emergency room on Friday night May 7th.
The emergency room staff at Hillcrest Hospital was great. When we arrived they immediately began examining her without delay. Laura was put thru a series of new tests trying to identify the source of the infection, but nothing could be found. After three exhausting hours the Doctors wanted to admit her in order to administer intravenous antibiotics. We were opposed to this since we know how easy it is to pick up an infection while in the hospital. Eventually they agreed to send her home with oral medication (Cipro) to fight whatever might have been causing the fever.
Thankfully, the Cipro worked and within two days the fever was gone and Laura was feeling much better. As the side effects of the Chemo wore off she began to get her strength back and feel somewhat normal.
And then her hair began to fall out.
I’m not sure that any man can appreciate the emotional impact that this disease has on a woman. The breast surgery alone is so devastating… and then to lose your hair… by the end of the third week after the chemo treatment Laura and her daughters (with the help of a bottle of wine) decided to cut off what was left of her hair. Laura was now bald, scarred by surgery and physically and emotionally exhausted by the chemotherapy treatments.
We decided to have her next chemo treatment on May 20th at the Cleveland Clinic so Laura could avoid further travel. As many of you sadly know from experience, the actual administering of the chemo is quite simple, just an IV in your arm for a few hours. Laura and I spend the time talking and praying and looking forward to better days.
Life can be so busy with work, children and grandchildren… but when a crisis comes (as they always do!) you have no option but to make time to deal with it. No one would ever choose to go thru serious illness but there is a unique blessing which comes along with it… it is the blessing of special extended times together with someone you desperately love. Of course, Laura and I take vacations together, spend time with the family, go to church together on Sundays, even pray together each night… yet all of these things, wonderful as they may be, fall into a pattern of life which seems to speed by… but all of the rush, all of the business, fades away when you are in a small chemo treatment room focused exclusively on one another. Conversations you have there you may never have had at all without the blessing of that place and time together. God has blessed Laura and I with that special time together, and for that we are very thankful.
Laura is just this week re-emerging from the sickness caused by the latest round of chemo. Please continue to pray for her physical and emotional health. Even as she begins to feel better, we have her next treatment looming just ahead.
Ecclesiastes 3 1:4
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance...
April 30, 2010
It’s Friday night about 7:30 and Laura is an hour into her first five hours of chemotherapy treatment at the Cancer Treatment Center of America located in Zion, Illinois, just outside of Chicago.
Laura and I arrived here Tuesday in the hope of finding a regimen of treatment which was less toxic but still effective. The Cancer Center is a wonderfully sad place… sad because so many are suffering, wonderful because so many are being healed. We were told they had 250 patients from all over the country staying here this week alone. We were picked up at the airport in a limo (sans champagne!) and met two other patients who rode with us to the hospital… “Eddy” was from Michigan and was beginning an 11 week stay and treatment for prostate cancer… “Sue” was in her third round of chemo for lung cancer which had spread to her other organs.
Laura and I keep watch for the Lord’s leading as we walk this path. The Cancer Center built a small hotel two blocks from the hospital where patients can stay at low rates. On our first walk to the hospital we noticed a small church in an old building just behind the hotel. Laura and I often visit small churches while traveling. We were tired after our first full day of tests here, but the Holy Spirit prompted us to attend their Wednesday night prayer service.
God does not disappoint and there are no coincidences.
We were warmly greeted by the small congregation and the Pastor led us in wonderful praise songs with music played by his grandson. The Pastor then preached for ninety minutes! He spoke with clear biblical authority and we were right at home. He asked if anyone needed prayer for healing which we of course were pleased to receive.
After the service a distinguished man approached and introduced himself as Arthur Fossland. He is the President of the Midwestern Regional Medical Center Board of Directors, and one of Cancer Treatment Centers of America's founding Trustees! He told us how the hospital was started by family members of cancer victims who wanted to give patients the most humane treatment possible. He explained that thirty years ago they bought a small community hospital with 200 employees and today they have four regional centers with over 9000 employees. He gave us his home phone number and urged us to call if we needed anything!
We chose the Cancer Centers for treatment primarily because they offered complimentary therapies to build up Laura’s immune system which will be so devastated by the chemotherapy. The Centers combine traditional medicine with alternative treatments to fight the cancer with the “mind, body and spirit”. We have been very impressed by their expertise and their kindness. We are confident that God led us here and are resting in His providence.
Matt & Laura Lynch
You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid, say to the towns of Judah, "Here is your God!"
April 25, 2010
Shortly after my last email Laura developed a severe infection due to the length of time her drainage tubes remained in place. Her surgery site became inflamed and very painful. The Doctors decided to finally pull the tube and put her on some very heavy (and very expensive) antibiotics.
She continues to build up some fluid in her surgery site which must now be removed by a syringe. Thank God the pills worked wonderfully and she is feeling much better and in very little discomfort!
The infection has further pushed back the start of Laura’s chemotherapy. While the delay is frustrating it has given us the opportunity to consider treatments other than the 16 weeks of chemo recommended by her local Doctors. Laura has wonderful, brilliant Doctors, but we must make our own best judgment about treatment options.
Tuesday we are traveling to Chicago to spend the week at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. They are known for their “holistic” approach to fighting cancer. We are hopeful that they will offer a less toxic regimen of chemotherapy to be used in conjunction with supplements designed to boost her immune system. Please pray that God grants the Chicago Doctors wisdom when considering Laura’s case and that Laura remains strong throughout the travel, examinations and testing she must endure.
We are so very grateful for all the prayers and support we receive daily. We are truly blessed!
Matt & Laura Lynch
“…let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us."
April 14, 2010
Laura’s drainage tubes have been in place almost a month. Her surgeon said it was unusual for the surgery site to require drainage for more than 14 days.
However, the amount of drained fluid must decrease sufficiently before the tube comes out.
Each night I put new dressings and ointment on her wound. Laura sits on a stool in front of the mirror while I drain and measure how much fluid she lost that day. I watch her face as she looks at herself and waits for me to announce if she made any progress. Patience has never been one of my virtues but Laura is like a rock.
Over the years I’ve tried all kinds of things to get my kids to go to church. When they were young I forced them from their beds and into the car on Sunday mornings, often encouraging them with threats... not the best way, I know. Now that they are grown, I sometimes tell them that they need to go to church to be close to God, even when they may feel they do not need Him… so that when those times come when they DO need Him, He would be close by. We thank God for the blessing of our Fellowship Church family.
On Sunday our Pastor preached on the biblical characters of Abraham, Jacob and Joseph from the Old Testament. He pointed out how they exemplified the qualities of Faith, Surrender and Perseverance. Christ sewed those virtuous seeds long ago in Laura and now they are being cultivated by her suffering. There is a mystery in suffering I know many of you have also experienced. It seems so pointless… until I think of the Cross! Faith, Surrender and Perseverance… these are the lessons of Calvary!
Please continue to pray for Laura and all those in need of God’s mercy.
Matt & Laura Lynch
“… rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."
March 31, 2010
Laura had a follow up appointment with her surgeon on Tuesday ( March 30th). He was able to remove one of the two tubes which drain fluid from her surgery site.
The drains are uncomfortable and a constant reminder of the cancer, so we are praying that the second drain will come out later this week.
We expect the chemotherapy to begin in about ten days. Laura has had her hair trimmed and visited the wig shop in anticipation of losing her hair. As many of you know Laura’s silver hair has always been very striking. We often have strangers stop her in restaurants or on the street in Chagrin Falls to comment on the beauty of her hair. It is just hair… and a small sacrifice to be cancer free… but still it is hard, and we pray that God will protect her from the worst effects of the chemotherapy.
We are so very grateful for the constant flow of cards and prayers. Each day our postman brings a few cards, each with its own special message or prayer for healing. I once heard a preacher say that while Christ is in heaven his followers are his hands here on earth. This truth has been very evident in the many blessings showered upon us in the past few weeks. We will never be able to adequately thank you all personally, but we ask God each night to bless you for your kindness.
Matt & Laura Lynch
“Come, you who are blessed by my Father, take your inheritance and the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.
Then the righteous answered him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
The King replied, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' ”
March 23, 2010
Tuesday I took Laura to the Cleveland Clinic for her post operative exam. The surgeon tells us that she is healing well and he expects that the drains in her chest will be removed early next week. We also received the biopsy results.
The tests showed a third small cancer tumor in the now removed breast that had not shown up in the earlier mammograms. In addition they tested a total of seven lymph nodes and found that two of them were also cancerous. This means that Laura will need further treatment.
Laura and I often pray that Our Lord grant us clarity, so that we can see clearly the path He wants us to follow. In the past few weeks we have been studying our treatment options and we had hoped to avoid chemotherapy. If there had been no cancer in the lymph nodes we might have opted not to have chemotherapy, even though it is still recommended by some experts. Now that more cancer has been found it is clear we need to go ahead with it. This is not what we would have chosen, but it is clear what we should do. Thus God has granted our prayer for clarity and for that Blessing we give Him all the honor and praise.
We expect that chemotherapy treatment will begin in mid-April and last several weeks. Laura is physically quite strong and we expect she will tolerate the treatment well. Please pray that she suffers with only minimal side effects and that any remaining cancer is destroyed by the chemotherapy. We continually thank God for all of you and your overwhelming prayer and support.
Matt & Laura Lynch
"Praise be to the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will— to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, Jesus Christ."
March 19, 2010
Laura endured 5 hours of surgery Wednesday but the Doctors reported all went well. The physicians, nurses and staff at the Cleveland Clinic were wonderful and helped us get through both the physical and emotional pain.
There were two cancer sites and so two groups or “clumps” of sentinel lymph nodes were removed for testing. If there has been any spread of the cancer it will show up in these nodes. We should get the results Tuesday or Wednesday of next week and I will let everyone know ASAP.
Laura spent one night in the hospital and they were kind enough to allow me to stay with her. Her first night was busy as we learned to deal with managing her pain. I brought her home yesterday (Thursday) and she slept most of the day. She has two drains in her chest which prevent fluid from building up at the surgery site. We expect her to have a restful weekend and will see the Doctor Tuesday afternoon for a follow up visit.
We are so very grateful for the cards, flowers, meals and especially the prayers which have been so generously poured out on our behalf. Although we did not experience a miracle in the form of a bolt of lightning or a spontaneous healing, we still see clearly the miraculous effect of God’s grace in the knowledge and technology made available to us to cure Laura. In all of our prayers of thanksgiving we are struck by the literally millions of events that have led to a time and place in which Laura could be cured. Our Lord and Savior is sovereign and His ways are not our ways and yet we can rest in the knowledge that He indeed loves us best!
God Bless You and Thank you all!!
Matt & Laura Lynch
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:7
March 1, 2010
I wanted to let you all know how much Laura and I appreciate the prayers, love and support that has been so freely given by you since Laura was diagnosed just 4 weeks ago with breast cancer.
The days since then have been full and furious with medical activity as I’m sure many of you have also experienced. Laura has had a number of tests, including an MRI, multiple ultrasounds and mammograms, biopsies, and blood tests. Here is what we now know.
Laura has two confirmed cancer sites in her right breast. These tumors are classified as “invasive” however there is no indication that they have spread outside of the breast. These are “estrogen fed” tumors which are generally very treatable and curable. No other cancer sites have been found.
Laura is scheduled for surgery to remove the breast on March 17th. There is no serious risk from the surgery although it will obviously be traumatic. The Cleveland Clinic doctors are confident that the cancer has been found early and they do not expect to find cancer in her lymph nodes or elsewhere. If no further evidence of cancer is found than Laura may not need either chemotherapy or radiation treatments. If the cancer has spread then one of those will be necessary.
We are blessed to have such wonderful medical care so readily available. The fact that this was found in its early stages we know is part of God’s providence. Our prayer now is that God permits the surgeons to do their work skillfully and remove any possibility of a future problem.
Please keep Laura in your prayers and all those who are also dealing with illness.
God Bless you all.
Matt & Laura Lynch
Psalm 30 "I will exalt you, O LORD, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.
O LORD, you brought me up from the grave; you spared me from going down into the pit. Sing to the LORD, you saints of His; praise His holy name."