Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Not "HOW" but "WHAT?"

James spoke to a suffering group of believers when he wrote, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let Him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reporach, and it will be given to him,"(James 1:5) The point of the paragraph is that Christians shouldn't be asking God HOW they can get out of trials but rather WHAT they can get out of trials. That's what I have been praying these days. Suffering comes to us all in life, but God want to make sure that none of it ever gets wasted. He wants to use every bit of it--to shape, prune and beautify the lives of His children. I am excited about that. God will let nothing go to waste; He will use carefully prescribed seasons of suffering to make us better!

Now for the real issue about how Lenya is doing exactly! We went to the Dr. yesterday to get the low-down on the lab results and what he sees as the next steps. We really love Dr Ampuero. He is a gentleman and cares deeply about his patients. I'm praying the Lord will use us in his life as well. I'll let Lenya tell you the story in her own words:

"Every time Apple comes out with the latest, greatest gadget my guys jockey for position into long lines for the 'must have' upgrade. The iPhone rolls out a 3G and immediately they’re hooked up (I have to confess, I detest electronic devices at the dinner table. Grrrrrr!) It’s no wonder that most of us look at getting an upgrade as a good thing. We dream of a flight attendant calling our name over the loud speaker to say, 'We’re upgrading you to first class. Sorry we overbooked the flight.'

My grandest string of upgrades occurred during 1996 when the New York Yankees competed with the Atlanta Braves for the World Series. John Wetteland, the Yankees clean-up pitcher who led the American League with 43 saves, invited me and Nathan to come see an away game in Atlanta. Because we knew John, his name opened the door to untold opportunity wherever we went in Atlanta. It unlocked a hotel room at the Ritz Carlton after the Marriott overbooked our reservation—all expenses paid! Shopping with the team family members brought amazing discounts. It gained us entrance to the Yankee locker room and even provided seats on the team bus right next to Reggie Jackson. Nathan and I felt like we landed in a dream. And it was a dream come true!

Today I received an upgrade I could live without. I learned that my Stage 1 cancer was elevated to Stage 2. Yes, the pathology from my lymphs, omentum, colon, and abdominal fluid were all negative. On the positive side, it is not a clear cell carcinoma, which are notoriously virulent. Dr. Ampuero was astounded at how quickly I’m recovering from the surgery, saying, “You’re well ahead of schedule.” He added that youth and strength are on my side. However, since my hysterectomy in 1998, there’s no knowing if the peritoneal cancer originated elsewhere, like my ovaries or uterus. That and anything that impacts the colon brings unsolicited upgrades.

This Wednesday I have more blood work. On Thursday, I undergo a procedure to implant a “port” into my chest to receive the chemo. Next Tuesday, August 4th, I receive my first of six rounds of chemotherapy. The toxic cure will be a combo of Paclitaxel and Carboplatin. Most likely I’ll lose my hair, be fatigued, and have a compromised immune system until the first of the year.

On the average, the awesome upgrades I’ve received have far outweighed the aggravating ones. I will rest with Job on this thought, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).


Friday, July 24, 2009

She's Back! She's Beautiful!

Went out on a date to CPK and a nice stroll. Lenya is feeling great
and has updated her status on her blog. (Lenyaheitzig.blogspot.com).
Happy to be out again with my babe!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

What Skateboarders Do When It's Hot

Leaving church yesterday, getting ready to fly West to speak this
weekend, I encountered a group of skateboarders. We were hosting a
skate-park competition and outreach for skaters of different ages.
This guy however was unique. Check out the video!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Latest Update

Lenya made it home! She's doing great. She had all her staples and cutaneous sutures removed yesterday and is at her computer already today. She is up walking and eating (though not usually at the same time), and she is getting stringer daily. Her mom has been a great help--flying in from Michigan and staying with her all six nights in the hospital and helping here around the house (A great mother-in-Law). Nights are a bit restless but even that is a chance for the Lord to speak to our hearts! We are greatly encouraged and firmly rooted in God grace right now. Thanks to the many who have written to add to that encouragement and to all who have been praying--you're the best!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Again a hearty thanks to all who have been praying and writing with notes of love & concern. First of all, I want to say that God is good ALL THE TIME! We know He is the One who is aquatinted with all our ways and hedges us with His love (Psalm 139:3-5), and is ultimately at the helm of every one of life's situations. Even those thing that mystify our understanding never catch Him off guard nor do they escape His gracious gaze.
Lenya's surgery this morning went a little longer than expected (about an hour or so overtime). I will try to be descriptive without too much medical jargon: The tumor was taken out. It was malignant. The Oncologist gave it the designation, "Stage 1", but because it was encapsulated, he was encouraged. This hopefully means it hasn't metastasized (hasn't spread to grow anywhere else), but it's too early to tell without the pathology reports (they normally come a few days later). The complication was it's adherence to other organs which precipitated the need for an anastomosis which was done successfully. As a follow-up, she will be needing chemotherapy as well. To sum it up: she has done remarkably well and the prognosis is positive. She is resting comfortably, dozing in and out, having short conversations and then sleeping. Even in a hospital bed without makeup, she is absolutely beautiful!
Her mom and dad, Nate and I have all been with her most of the late morning and afternoon. I am very encouraged and confident in God's plan for her and for us all. Thanks for standing with us in prayer. We love you all.

Surgery Day

We awoke this morning at 5 a.m. after a good night's rest and got
Lenya go the hospital at 6:15. All the pre-op procedures went great--a
wonderful staff here. I'm just sitting in the waiting room with family
awaiting the results. We've had SO many friends from all around town,
different states and countries calling, texting and emailing who are
praying for her--we're happily surrounded! The surgery team was alert
and confident and so we wait to hear how it all goes.

Monday, July 6, 2009

So Thankful for the "Family"

The family of fellow-believers, called the "church" is one of God's greatest gifts. "He sets the solitary in families" writes the psalmist in Psalm 68:6. Even with a flock of 14,000 people, there is still a warmth and intimacy that we experience especially in times like these. I am so thankful for this. I took Lenya today for a pre-op PA and lateral chest X-ray and EKG. The surgery has been moved up from 1:00 in the afternoon to 7:45 in the morning on Wednesday. (earlier is better than later). The rest of today we're resting but we're resting gratefully to be so bathed in prayer and support. Besides salvation, Lenya is the BEST thing that ever happened to me! Thanks to all who have written and voiced their prayers and love both here, on Facebook and in person.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Update on Lenya

The rain this morning reminded me of God's faithfulness to provide. (Isa 55:9-11) We're doing well and are set for this unplanned journey. After setting a date for Lenya's surgery, we are now focused on the operation and recovery. I'll let Lenya tell you in her own words:

"Good Morning,

Thank you for you words or encouragement and prayers. I have had incredible peace throughout the whole discovery process. Skip has been an angel...barely leaving my side. The Dr.s have been strong advocates on our behalf. To have nearly a dozen test in 4 days...incredible! Also, to move from discovery to diagnosis in a week's time is amazing. I have every confidence in their care. More importantly, I trust the Great Physician with my life!

I have a couple of pre-op tests on Monday. I have a colonoscopy on Tuesday. My surgery is scheduled for Wednesday 7/8 at 1 PM. Dr. Francisco Ampuero GYN/ONC will perform the procedure. It is a small, highly professional facility. I will have a private room and top notch care.

The surgery will require a vertical incision from my belly button to my pubic bone. The mass is so large that it displaces several vital organs. Therefore, they need to open my abdomen wide enough to pull it out in tact and without compromising adjacent organs. Doctors say that the good news is that the tumor is encapsulated. It hasn't adhered to other organs, rather it imposes upon them. It is a consistent density. And it has not created fluid in the pelvic area. The even better news? My surgeon called me "thin with almost no belly fat!" He's now my new best friend.

My mother is flying in on Tuesday. They say I will need someone at the house for 2 weeks to help out. She'll be here for the entire time. Recovery time is expected to be 2-3 months.

Thanks for your love and prayers!



Thursday, July 2, 2009

I Would Love to Have Your Prayers

It's been quite a busy and eventful week at our home and I wanted to let everyone know what is going on in our personal lives. Lenya has been feeling quite a lot of pain lately (and believe me Lenya doesn't let on much when it comes to pain--she just plows ahead). So here's the run-down:

Monday: Lenya's Ob Gyn detected a pelvic mass upon examination. An ultrasound exam confirmed a 15cm mass present (the size of a large grapefruit)

Tuesday: Blood tests and a pelvic CT scan revealed that the mass is encapsulated(a good thing) but displacing other organs in the area.

Wednesday: CT scan of the lungs was done along with more blood tests. These showed an elevation of cancer cells in the bloodstream.

Thursday: We meet today with a GYN Oncologist to assemble a surgical team and schedule the removal of the mass.

The Heitzigs are really doing great. We have complete peace from God and are thankful for the way God sustains us. Honestly, we feel so blessed to have each other and with God's strength we'll march through this battle like we have other before it. God bless you.