Wednesday, September 2, 2015

One Week

My surgery is scheduled for Wednesday, September 9th at 8 a.m. with a Surgical Oncologist from Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto.  Our kind Oncologist from Jurvinski Hospital in Hamilton referred us to PMH mid-summer and after our meeting there, we decided to have the surgery in Toronto.  Princess Margaret is one of the top five cancer centres in the world; we are so grateful to have had such incredible health care access throughout this journey!

Having completed three rounds of chemotherapy as scheduled, we've been eager to find out how effective it's been at attacking the cancer.  This will determine how aggressive the surgery needs to be. Unfortunately, the chemo has not worked as well as they expected.  While some of the cancerous tumours have shrunk around my ovaries, others have stayed relatively the same or spread.  From the recent CT scan it is evident that the concerning tumour on my small bowel is still present and there are now some cancerous lymph nodes present in my chest.  

While the chemotherapy treatments after surgery will be a different type of chemo in hopes that it will respond better, my Surgical Oncologist is prepared to be aggressive in removing as much of the cancer as possible.  There are fourteen items he says could be removed during this surgery, but many of those decisions will be made in the operating room.  He has recruited a Thoracic Surgeon (lung expert) and a Liver Specialist to participate in the surgery.  We are grateful for our Surgical Oncologist's expertise, decisive leadership and collaborative approach to my upcoming major surgery.

The surgery will actually take place in an operating room at the Toronto General Hospital.  We will arrive at 6 a.m. that morning to check in and be prepped.  The surgery is scheduled to start at 8 a.m. and will likely be 6-8 hours.  I will stay at the hospital for a minimum of five nights to be monitored and start recovery.

Please join us in praying, being "faithful in prayer" Romans 12:12.  Pray for skilled nurses, anesthesiologists and surgeons in the operating room. Pray that excellent decisions would be made throughout my surgery.  Pray for incredible strength and peace for Andy as he waits.  Pray for comfort and trust for our families and friends.  Pray that peace, joy and hope will radiate from me before and after surgery because of God's powerful Spirit in me.  Pray for 100% healing that extinguishes all of the cancer in my body while also praying 100% for us all to see God's perfect will unfolding as we seek to glorify Him.

This song, "Good Good Father" by Housefires, has been echoing in my mind, heart and soul the past two weeks.  The simple words bring tears to my eyes because we know them to be so true and because we need to cling to these reminders daily.  It is so healthy and refreshing to meditate on truth.  He is a good Father, the "Father of compassion and the God of all comfort..." 2 Corinthians 1:3.  We're clinging to His promises and trusting Him in whatever is ahead.

Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name;
You are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you; 
When you pass through the rivers,
They will not sweep over you...
For I am the Lord, your God.
- Isaiah 43:1-3


  1. Julia, your courage is phenomenal. The Dion's will continue to keep you at the centre of our prayers. "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

  2. Our prayers will be lifted daily for you Julia...and praying knowing that God hears us and listens. His peace and comfort be with you and Andy and your extended families as you face this huge life changing event. God makes us brave - let his love cover you, wave after wave. Love Heather and Scott

  3. Julia,thank you once again for being so honest with your diagnosis.This helps us to know how to pray for you. We are planning special prayer for you on the morning of your surgery at FV church,Sep.9 and we will commit to pray for all your concerns."We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure." Heb.6:19 Sending love and prayers your way... Sharon Dion xo

  4. Praying fervently for you Julia for all the specifics you requested. Thanks so much for sharing your heart and details. For Andy too, waiting is so tough. God is faithful and true to fulfill His promises.
    Wayne, Beth, Ben, Chris

  5. Your blog encourages and blesses me in ways I could never have expected. I'm so thankful for this! Along with so many others who love you and your family, I join in thanksgiving for you prayer to our 'Good Good Father' who loves you!

  6. Your courage and faith are inspirational.
    ForestView Wed. Night Prayer Group is committed to keep praying for you.
    May Our Father, the Great Physician show you His presence in tangible ways and keep you strong.

  7. I am a friend of Janelle G. Our church prayed for you on Sunday. As a read your blog, I am astounded by your strength (through Christ) and I pray too, that His will be done, and the strength you need will continue to be there as you continue on your journey. May the Lord's mighty hand be on you, protecting and shielding you, wrapping you in His neverending love.

  8. Julia & Andy - Christy and I will keep praying for you. Thank you for letting us join you on this journey. Jonathan Burns

  9. Hey Julia and Andy, our church family on St. Joseph Island will be holding you up before the throne of the Almighty God of the universe this coming week! Much love to you! Heather and Brian Whitley

  10. Julia, i am praying for complete healing for you through this very difficult time.

  11. Julia I don't know you, but your mom has been a good friend to Kerrie-Lee, our oldest daughter at Seneca College.
    Our hearts ache for your situation, but rejoice that you know God as your strength and Redeemer.
    Can I share my favorite verse when I am in hard spots. . . . .
    Nahum 1: 7
    The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble.
    And HE knows those who are called by HIS name.

    Blessings my new friend for today and the coming days..
    We will be be praying for you.
    Say hi to mom and dad from Bill and Joy White please.

  12. Praying for strength, courage, ongoing encouragement and deliverance.
    A song that comes to mind:

  13. Julia,

    I feel honoured that you chose to share your blog with me. As I read through it, I am in awe of your courage, strength and deep faith. It will help you through this journey. It also brought back many memories of my own experiences with cancer. My first diagnosis was June 5 years ago - stage 3 aggressive breast cancer. After sugery I had a year of chemo and 30 sessions of radiation - horrible but it was worth it.

    We will be praying for a successful surgery on Wednesday.

  14. Julia, I am praying for you and Andy, your parents and loved ones, and your whole surgical team that all will go well tomorrow. I know HE will be with you through it all and you will feel HIS presence. I offer up this prayer for you.

    You have soothed us, saying "do not worry about tomorrow".
    Thank you that you pour out your spirit upon us a new each day.
    Thank you that your grace is sufficient for us within each moment that we live.

    So I pray for Julia that she would know your peace in her heart.
    A peace that surpasses all understanding.
    A peace that guards her heart and mind.
    A peace that she will receive from Christ himself.

    Lord, as Julia undergoes this surgery, come and be present, watching, waiting, moving to help and guard every moment during this procedure. May she be held in your loving arms and protected from all harm.

    In Jesus name,

    Sandy Pomeroy

  15. Hi Julia, Just wanted you to know what a huge blessing your blog was to our Ladies' Bible Study this morning. This was our first day of the new school year and instead of starting our study, today I simply shared your blog. God used your words to touch all the women gathered in amazing ways. We had a time of praying for you and also a time of praying for ourselves in the light of the things you had highlighted for us. The truths you shared about God's goodness in spite of our circumstances ... of looking only one step ahead ... of praying for healing ( whether physical, emotional, relational or ... ) and at the same time praying for God's will to be accomplished so that HE will be glorified spoke to the heart of everyone there. I pray it will encourage you to know that there are a group of women in Washington state who have been blessed and challenged by your writing and who will be praying for you today, tomorrow and in the days to come.
    Donna Cleven (M-R's sister)

  16. Praying for you and Andy, your family and friends every time you come to mind...which is often. May God continue to be glorified through you and this journey and may you be filled with the peace that surpasses understanding. Holding you up in the presence of Jesus...He goes before you, behind you and with you every step of the way.

    Isaiah 30:20-21
    And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. 21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

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  18. Holding you and Andy up this morning in prayer, Julia!
    Philippines 4: '6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.'

  19. God Bless and keep you and your family. Will pray for you. I know what you are going through. Stay strong...Jesus is walking this journey with you and your loved ones.

  20. Julia & Andy, you don't know me but because my niece shared this post on facebook, I am now privileged to know of you and pray for you both as you walk this road with God. I am inspired by the deep faith and courage you've shown as you face this battle. I am touched by your transparency as you share these thoughts with us and I'm thankful that you've allowed us to join you on this journey. I have prayed for you today especially and will continue to pray for your throughout the coming days/weeks/months. As I was listening to some worship music today, I was blessed by the song "It Is Well" by Kristine DeMarco. ... I hope it will be a blessing to you as well. ~ Sharon ~

  21. Dear Julia,
    Thanks for sharing every childhood summer with me. I have never forgotten them. I have always been so moved at the incredible person that you are. Your faith, your joy, your love of life and the people in it; anyone who knows you is better for it.
    I prayed for you (and Andy) this morning at 8am and throughout the day. I won't stop.
    Love always,
    your ol' cottage buddy, Jill

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  23. Dear Julia,
    I have been praying for you and will continue to do so faithfully in the coming days! I was laying in bed praying for peace for you this morning and this song came to mind - so just thought i'd share it.

    Faithful One.

    Faithful one, so unchanging
    Ageless one, you're my rock of peace
    Lord of all I depend on you
    I call out to you, again and again
    I call out to you, again and again

    You are my rock in times of trouble
    You lift me up when I fall down
    All through the storm
    Your love is, the anchor
    My hope is in You alone

    Jessica McKnight (Lockhart)


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