Plan B (and C)

Greetings!  As most of you know, Paula has been on the Gerson cancer therapy for an initial eight week trial, to evaluate whether it is effective in her situation.  In late March (at the 4 week midway point), a radiology report had indicated a new large (6 cm) tumor, but that turned out to be a typographical error, so Paula continued with the Gerson therapy for an additional four weeks.

We’ve been encouraged, as we’ve shared, with the positive results we’ve seen relating to Paula’s ovary, uterus, and overall health.  Nonetheless, our main focus (and reason for doing the Gerson therapy) was to help Paula’s immune system fight this aggressive breast cancer.

As Paula reached the initial eight weeks point, she had another ultrasound done on Monday (5/2) and then today (5/4) we met with the breast surgeon again, who also used her ultrasound equipment to examine her.

Unfortunately, it seems from this latest radiology report (and confirmed by our visit with the breast surgeon today) that the cancer tumors are continuing to grow.  Thus, Paula has reluctantly decided to go down the path of Plan B (breast removal) and Plan C (chemo, radiation, hormone therapy, etc.).  A mastectomy is tentatively scheduled for next Thursday, May 12.

We want to say thank you to everyone who has been helping us, being the hands and feet of Jesus, during these past weeks – juicing, produce washing, coffee brewing, providing meals, cleaning, laundry, baked goods, groceries, encouraging cards & emails, etc.  As we head into this surgery and then, after she recovers from that, 18 weeks or so of chemotherapy (then radiation, Herceptin, and hormone therapy), your continuing help and encouragement will be appreciated as well.

We also certainly appreciate your prayers as we head down this path that we are not entirely comfortable with (ok, that’s not strong enough – I believe the word Paula used was “hate”), but that nonetheless seems the best option at this point – prayer that God will be glorified, that we will rest in Him, that He will guide (both the doctors and us), that He will protect Paula (from infections, mistakes, complications, etc.), and that He will heal Paula.

By His Grace, John & Paula  🙂

Praise Report!

Greetings!  In the midst of dealing with Paula’s breast cancer, we had some good news  that we wanted to share with you.

In our last Paula Health Update (on 4/2) we shared the good news that Paula did not have a new 6 cm tumor (as the ultrasound report had initially indicated), but that apparently it was only 6 mm and a typo had been made.  So that has given us a bit of a reprieve to see if God will be pleased to use the Gerson therapy to help Paula’s immune system defeat this cancer.

Our good news today does not relate directly to Paula’s breast cancer, but it is encouraging nonetheless.

First, some Background:

You may recall that Paula has had problems with excessive uterine bleeding in November 2009 (which resulted in a D&C) and October 2010; these were apparently due to her uterine lining becoming excessively thick, perhaps due to a hormone imbalance.  As a result, her gynecologist prescribed  progesterone for Paula to avoid continued problems in this area.

In January of this year, however, when the breast cancer was biopsied and analyzed, we learned that progesterone feeds this particular cancer, so progesterone is no longer an option; in fact, the progesterone (that Paula was on) very likely contributed to the growth of the breast cancer.

So, Paula and her doctors realized that, since (due to the breast cancer) she could no longer be on progesterone, her thickened uterine lining may again lead to excessive bleeding and thus possibly necessitate a hysterectomy.

In late 2009, a medium-sized complex cyst (with a solid component) was also discovered on Paula’s right ovary.  Although surgery was an option, the doctor indicated that it was very unlikely that it was cancerous and so Paula elected to instead have it monitored periodically (via ultrasound) to keep an eye on it.

OK, now onto the good news!

As Paula had been preparing for a possible mastectomy, she wanted to know how her uterine lining and the ovarian cyst were doing (in case she would need to consider a hysterectomy or ovariectomy as well).  So last week she had an pelvic ultrasound done – and the report came back normal – with no mention of a thick uterine lining nor a complex ovarian cyst!

Now that kind of surprised us (but who ever heard of a radiology report being in error), so Paula spoke with the radiologist, who offered to repeat the ultrasound for free.  We received the official ultrasound report and it was in agreement with the first ultrasound.  Her uterine lining has decreased in thickness from 2.1 cm (in Oct. 2010) down to 3 mm, and there is no longer any cyst showing on her right ovary!

For this, we praise and thank the Lord!  It could be that He’s using the Gerson therapy to get Paula’s body back into normal functioning, and we hope and pray He will help her body fight off the breast cancer as well.

We appreciate your continued prayers for Paula’s healing, and we also thank everyone who has or is continuing to help us with juicing, produce washing, coffee brewing, etc.  Our Paula’s Partners volunteer calendar is active again, so we would invite you to visit our Paula’s Partners site (by visiting www.JPOliver.com and clicking Paula’s Partners on the left-side menu).

Thanks again for your prayers, help, and encouragement!

By His Grace, John & Paula 🙂

04/02 Paula Health Update

Greetings!  In our last Paula Health Update on 3/25, we shared that, as a result of a “bad news” ultrasound report, Paula had decided to abandon the Gerson cancer therapy and resort to Plan B (Breast removal) and possibly Plan C (Chemotherapy, radiation, and/or other drugs) as well.

It was Paula’s original intent to implement the Gerson therapy for 8 weeks and then evaluate to see if it appeared to be effective in her situation, but this mid-point ultrasound had shown a large new breast tumor (6 cm in length), which was of sufficient import for Paula to change plans half-way through her Gerson trial.

This past week, as Paula was starting down this new dreaded path (of breast removal and chemo, etc.), we saw Paula’s oncologist on Monday and then went to the breast surgeon on Tuesday, prepared to sign the consent form for the mastectomy.

An interesting thing happened, though, on the way to Plan B.  Upon examining Paula and using her own ultrasound equipment, the breast surgeon indicated that she could not see any new 6 cm tumor.  In looking through the ultrasound photos that had been taken of that area, she concluded that there had been a (typo or transcription) error in the radiology report, as she could see a tumor that was 6 mm in size, not 6 cm.

With this new information, Paula has thus spent the last several days re-thinking her decision, trying to decide whether she should continue to proceed down the Plan B/C path (that she had just resigned herself to) or resume the Gerson therapy (to give it the fair trial, that she had originally intended).  During the week, Paula also had some additional testing done.

After much prayer and agonizing, Paula has decided to continue with the Gerson therapy for at least four additional weeks, hoping that it will indeed be effective (by God’s grace), and trusting the Lord either way.

Since we (Paula specifically, but it involves our whole family) are now back on the Gerson therapy (hourly juicing, five-times daily detoxifying, etc.), we could again use (and would appreciate) some help. 

We have re-activated the volunteer opportunities (to help with juicing, produce washing, coffee brewing, providing an occasional meal, etc.) on our Paula’s Partners LotsaHelpingHands site and appreciate the continued assistance that our friends and co-workers are able to provide.

If you would be interested in helping, you can join Paula’s Partners by visiting our website, www.JPOliver.com, and clicking on the link (on the left-side menu) to Paula’s Partners. 

Thanks again for your continued help and prayers!

By His Grace, John & Paula  🙂

03/25 Paula Health Update

Hi folks,

First of all, we want to thank everyone so much who has been praying for us and/or helping us by:

  • juicing, produce washing, or coffee brewing
  • encouraging and training others to help with juicing
  • helping with laundry or cleaning
  • providing meals, cookies, bread, muffins, or distilled water

With 13 hourly juicings and a five-times-daily detoxifying process, as well as various supplements, the Gerson therapy has been quite difficult, almost overwhelming.  It’s been very encouraging to us, though, as different ones in the body have come alongside to help.

It was Paula’s original intent to implement the Gerson therapy for 8 weeks and then evaluate to see if it appeared to be effective in her situation.  She recently had some mid-point (4 week) lab work done and also an mid-point ultrasound this past Monday. 

We received the ultrasound report yesterday afternoon and, unfortunately, it was not good.  We were hoping to see some improvement, but it appears that the main tumor has grown and another significant tumor has now appeared in the same breast.

As a result, with great sadness and heaviness of heart, Paula has decided to abandon the Gerson therapy and proceed to Plan B (Breast removal) and possibly Plan C (Chemotherapy, radiation, and/or other drugs) as well.

As we start to move down this scary path that we had hoped not to take, we appreciate your continued prayers, help, and encouragement.

We plan to continue to use our Paula’s Partners community website to coordinate offers of meals and help (especially as Paula recovers from breast removal surgery and possibly deals with chemotherapy as well).

If you would like to join Paula’s Partners, you can visit www.JPOliver.com and click on Paula’s Partners (on the left-side menu).  We also plan to continue updating our Pilgrim’s Pathway blog.

Thanks again to everyone for your help and continued prayers!

John & Paula 🙂

P.S. If you would like to be notified when we add a new post here (to our Pilgrim’s Pathway blog), you can click Subscribe on the menu above (under the picture) and enter your email address to be automatically notified when we add a new post.

Paula’s Home!

Greetings!  I want to thank those of you who have joined Paula’s Partners, and a special thanks to those local folks who have signed up to help Paula with juicing, produce washing and/or coffee brewing!

We had expected Paula to return home from the Orange City Gerson Clinic (aka, her friend Esther’s home) this Wednesday, but Esther is expecting a grandbaby and a home birth is planned for the Orange City Birth Center (aka, her friend Esther’s home). 

It looks like the baby decided to head out a little early, so as much as they love Paula, you can only accommodate so many Gerson patients and home births at the same time, so Paula packed up and drove home this morning.

Paula appreciated the opportunity to spend time with Esther, working together on the Gerson therapy, and over the past week, several ladies also came and helped Paula and Esther (with juicing, produce washing, etc.), so a special thanks to Jean, Terry, Laurie, Joy, Kathy, Michelle, and Ruth.

Paula’s sister, Kathy, drove up from Ft. Pierce this afternoon to help Paula this evening and tomorrow.  Several folks from NTM have also signed up to help over the next couple weeks, and a couple ladies from our local church have graciously offered to help for 3 hours on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. 

There are a still a lot of empty slots available on the Paula’s Partners calendar, though, so we’d appreciate prayer that more folks will come alongside to help us during this time.

Thanks too for your continued prayers.  Paula is now at day 25 of her 8 week trial of the Gerson therapy.  We’re hoping and praying that God will use it to strengthen and help her body fight the cancer effectively.

Thanks much, John & Paula  🙂

Paula’s Partners

Greetings! I mentioned in my last post that our friend, Deb, was helping us create a Paula’s Partners community (on the Lotsa Helping Hands website), with a calendar of volunteer opportunities (to help with juicing, produce washing, coffee brewing, providing an occasional meal, etc.).

Our Paula’s Partners site provides a mechanism where folks can sign up online to help with different tasks at different times on different days without having to call us to see when we need help, which slots are available, etc.  The calendar includes a number of volunteer opportunties: juicing opportunities throughout the day, once-daily opportunities to wash produce or brew coffee, and twice-weekly opportunities to help provide a dinner meal.

The website also includes two tabs listing Other Ways to Help (for folks who are close by) and Long Distance Helping (for folks who are not local to us), with lists of ways to help or encourage.

The Gerson protocol is quite rigorous and involves supplying freshly juiced organic fruits and vegetables to the patient on an hourly basis 13 times per day as well as a five-times-daily detoxifying process, and a number of supplements. The daily regime is quite time-consuming, almost overwhelming, so any help we receive from Paula’s Partners will be a blessing.

We invite you to join Paula’s Partners by visiting our website,  and clicking on Paula’s Partners (on the left menu); you then enter your email address to get started.

Paula spent two weeks in Seminole (near Tampa) with a friend, Esther, getting started on the Gerson therapy; she was home with us for four days last week, and is now at Esther’s home in Orange City. Paula plans to return on March 16 to continue the Gerson therapy here at home.

We would appreciate your continued prayers for:

  • Healing – that God would use this Gerson therapy. These first eight weeks are especially critical, as we wanting to see if the Gerson therapy will be effective in Paula’s situation.
  • Paula (and all of us) to rest, trust in, and walk with the Lord.
  • Strength & endurance, as the cancer & protocol are difficult.
  • Folks to come alongside and help us with juicing, etc.

By His Grace, John & Paula 🙂

P.S. If you would like to be notified when we add a new post here (to our Pilgrim’s Pathway blog), you can click Subscribe on the menu above (under the picture) and enter your email address to be automatically notified when we add a new post.

The Guest

We had an opportunity this week to get re-acquainted with a dear lady who stopped by to spend a few days with us.  She arrived on Monday, Feb. 28, after having spent nearly two weeks in a condo in Seminole, Florida, getting started (along with her friend, Esther) on the Gerson cancer therapy protocol.

The last four days have been pretty crazy, but it was good to have Paula back, albeit for just a few days.  It helped me gain a better understanding of just how busy the Gerson protocol is keeping Paula.

Paula’s sister, Kathy, who winters in Ft. Pierce (about 2 hours from us) drove up Monday and stayed overnight, helping us with juicing and other tasks.  On Thursday, our friend, Deb, from Oviedo, came by (with her two daughters, who also enjoy playing with our girls) and they all helped clean and juice veggies.  Then today, two of our fellow missionary friends (who live here at NTM headquarters, as we do) helped with cleaning and/or juicing the veggies.  We really appreciated all the help.

Today we spent the evening packing, and then loading Vinnie (our van – that’s short for Vincent “Vinnie” Van Gogh) with our GreenLife juicer, our K&K juice press, Paula’s suitcase, duffel bags, pots, pans, jars, supplements, various and sundry juicing and detoxifying paraphernalia, and what seemed like an interminable supply (but in reality is probably less than a week’s worth) of organic carrots, apples, assorted greens, and other produce.

Then our guest departed, heading up to Orange City to spend another couple weeks continuing on the Gerson therapy with Esther at her home; thanks, Dick & Esther, for hosting and helping Paula.  Well, at least Orange City is only about 30 minutes away, so we can drive up and visit her sometimes. 

We’re expecting Paula back on Wednesday, March 16, unless Esther’s grandbaby (who is due around March 17) comes early.  I believe that the plan is to have a home birth (at Dick & Esther’s home) and, as much as they love Paula, one home can only handle so many Gerson patients and babies at a time.

In the meantime, our friend, Deb, is setting up our new LotsaHelpingHands community, which we’re calling Paula’s Partners (it’s not quite ready yet, though – we’ll add a blog post when it is), with a volunteer calendar so that folks can sign up to help us with juicing, cleaning veggies, preparing coffee (we’re not coffee drinkers, but yes, we really do need help preparing coffee each day), or to bring an occasional meal.  We’re hoping to have Paula’s Partners up and running in time for Paula’s return on March 16.

Thanks for your love and prayers!  John & Paula  🙂

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 LotsaHelpingHands.com, 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  🙂