Beach Vacation (Not!)

Paula is at (well, near) the beach for a couple weeks, but it’s really NOT a vacation.  Paula has been so busy, that she hasn’t hardly had time to post an update, so I thought I’d share one with you all.

Paula and a dear friend, Esther, are in Seminole, Florida (near St. Pete/Tampa) for two weeks, getting started on the Gerson cancer therapy.  Some friends from Canada (fellow students from our time at New Tribes Bible Institute in 1988) have a condo there (about 15 minutes from the beach) and are graciously allowing Paula and Esther to use it for the two weeks (Feb. 15-28) to have some time away and get started on the Gerson therapy.

I’ve been able to speak with Paula pretty much every day and my impression is that the ladies are extremely busy.  The Gerson therapy involves juicing organic fruits and veggies 13 times a day, plus a daily detoxifying process, plus various supplements, plus the Gerson soup and other organic foods.  So it takes a lot of time to procure, wash, and juice the fruits & veggies and other organic foods, as well as to prepare and administer the various supplements and to accomplish the five-times-daily detoxifying process.

We had researched and ordered the various supplements (from five different places) before the ladies left.  Because of shipping delays, however, we had them shipped to Esther’s daughter, who lives in Clearwater, Florida.  It sounds like the last package arrived yesterday.

Paula and Esther did make it to the beach once (and saw a lovely sunset), but have spent most of their time just keeping up with the rigorous Gerson protocol; most of the little free time they have has been spent watching the Gerson DVDs, which give the background and procedures for implementing the Gerson protocol.

Meanwhile, the kids and I have just returned from a missions conference at our home church in Boca Raton, Florida.  We drove down on Friday, as the kids were also invited to be part of a youth discipleship weekend program (Disciple Now or DNow for short) at the church.  Monday was the first day of the church’s WorldLead training program for national Christian workers (primarily from Moldova, Africa,  and Haiti), so I was invited to sit in on that, then we drove home yesterday.

Another dear friend, Deb McCrary, is helping us put together a Paula’s Partners community at, to help coordinate offers of meals and help with juicing and other daily tasks after Paula returns; we’ll add another post about that as we get our Paula’s Partners community up and running.  In the meantime, we appreciate your continued prayers (for healing, to rest & trust in the Lord, and for Paula to get a good night’s rest each night). 

By His Grace, John  🙂

Learning to lean on Jesus

“The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.  Then I called on the name of the Lord:  ‘O Lord, save me!'”                                        

                                                                  –Psalm 116:3-4

During the entirety of January I underwent test after test and consulted with doctors and specialists and reeled in the shock of the discovery of an insidious, ever multiplying  aggressive cancer within me.  One month ago I did not even have a clue.  I actually thought I was quite healthy but little did I know….  I can relate to the above Scripture.  At times  I feel like I am drowning and huge waves are crashing over my head, one after another and when I can come up for air and get a breath, I am hollering out to God to ”  H-E-L-P!   I am so afraid!   Please save me, Lord!” 

Since then I have struggled and anguished over the reality of my situation,  crying out to God like never in my life before, imploring Him for practical answers,  searching for some option that I can feel at peace about …some viable plan of attack to slay this beast or at least beat it down awhile and allow me some more good, happy times with the people I love.  The truth is I do not like one single option that I have, not one, not a single one.  I hate them all and wish I was not dealing with this and having to make all these hard choices. I want to embrace all God has for me but it sure aint easy when it comes wrapped up in such a terrible package.   The doctors want to take out every big gun they have to attack this: a mastectomy or perhaps two , various kinds of horrible lousy chemo, hormone blockers, radiation, other drugs. Survival is a goal of mine but so is genuine effectiveness and quality of life before going Home to be with the Lord.  I know there are  plenty of “success stories” using conventional therapy but the number of people that I know who had cancer and followed every single treatment their doctor ordered, and despite perfect compliance, things did not turn out well is remarkable . Perhaps as an RN, I have gotten to see and hear up close and personal  more about the suffering and dying connected to cancer than the average person.  I’ve given chemo to patients in the past, held the hands of lots of folks who were dying of cancer,  and having seen all that,  need to feel peace about the approach I choose in fighting this. 

 My bent over the last ten years has become  the natural approach: build up my immune system instead of tearing it down with toxic warfare to my whole body to fight this.  You can chop out cancer and blast away it along with good cells with chemo, radiation, etc, but unless you address what caused it in the first place, what stops it from keep on popping up, especially when you are treating it with highly toxic substances with lousy side effects known to cause cancer themselves?  I examined and researched the conventional approach and a whole bunch of alternatives too with the help of friends–a crash course in Cancer 101, enlisted “expert opinions” in both camps and sought to prayerfully and open mindedly consider the pros and cons of each, asking God for wisdom, pleading with Him to show me His answer.  My personal opinion is that not everything a doctor tells you to do is straight from the mouth of God. There are excellent doctors available who God gives skill to and I am open to choose them as God guides me. I am not a “cancer expert” and don’t pretend to be but I know Somebody Who is and that is Who I’ve been trying to consult with.  It says in the Bible if we lack wisdom, which is absolutely true of me, then just ask God and He’ll give it liberally. 

However, since He designed Paula Oliver personally, knit me together in my Mother’s womb 52 years ago and is my personal “Great Physician” as well as being my ABBA Father, my “loving Heavenly Daddy” He is the One who knows best and is my Ultimate Healer and He can use any tool He pleases.  Honestly, I can’t say I’ve had any specific, big revelations, writing in the sky, audible words from God , mostly a total lack of peace about going the conventional route yet at the same time feeling like every single alternative medicine route is rather like trying to put out a raging fire engulfing a house with a tiny squirtgun. 

I recognize that unless I start treatment soon, even  my lousy options will be gone so after one month since that horrible mammogram this is what I have decided:

1.   I have little confidence in ANY of my options, both conventional and non-conventional but I need to start somewhere and so I am choosing what seems best of all I’ve discovered even though I don’t like it either.  I will begin with the best “Plan A” alternative medicine I could find while my immune system is still intact and give it my all. My ultimate hope rests in GOD.  God id deserving of 100% of our confidence.  It is HE where my confidence lies, not in the tools I choose or don’t choose.

2. My surgeon and oncologist have agreed to monitor me periodically.  If there is not significant  progress with the alternative medicine in a reasonable length of time then I will figure that God is moving me to “Plan B”  those “big guns” the medical experts are offering me that right now I have no peace about.

3. I want to live!  I am not “giving up” by using alternative medicine.  I am trying this and if it doesn’t work, I’ll move to conventional medicine but right now I have no peace about making it my starting point.  I plan to fight cancer for all I am worth and would love to have all of you on my team too and yet I realize this:  You can’t fight with God.  He has allowed cancer in my life for some reason.  It is on purpose and for His glory and honor and my good (and maybe perhaps other people’s good too).  I can not fight against God nor extend my life even one single day beyond what he has ordained no matter what tool I try–chemo, nutrition, whatever.  It’s up to Him to use those things to heal me or they simply wont work despite best intentions and efforts, just like my best efforts to prevent cancer in the first place with an excellent diet and a healthy lifestyle.  Those things help and are wise but you can still get cancer–there are many, many factors and we don’t know them all.   Unless the Lord builds the house they labor in vain that build it, unless the Lord guards the city the watchmen stay awake in vain, unless it is God’s perfect will for me to be healed and He does some kind of miracle to achieve that using whatever tools He wants to use, then my “perfect healing” will be a new body in Heaven.

I choose right now to reject depression, despair, and a sense of hopelessness–all of which have been shouting my name loudly.

I choose instead to embrace God and snuggle up in His love, peace, and hope.  I choose to trust Him through this storm and keep my eyes fast on Him and stick to Him like Super Glue.  🙂

Please pray for me and our whole family.  Sometimes I am so overwhelmed I hardly know what to do and so I just try “to do the next thing”.   We are really hurting inside and I would so appreciate folks coming alongside of us.  I would most especially be grateful for folks reaching out and encouraging  my children and walking with us through this storm.

In Christ, my everything–