Thursday, January 7, 2016

Five Days

The major chest surgery we've been anticipating for four months is in five days. Would you join us in praying faithfully? While there is likely less cancer to remove in this surgery, the risk factors are comparable to the invasive abdomen surgery in September.

The surgical plan is to remove the cancerous lymph nodes in the center of my chest, remove cancer on my chest wall and lining of the lungs and drain the persistent fluid around the lungs. The lymph nodes in my chest are very close to my vocal chords, which could be damaged during surgery leaving me with a low, raspy voice. Despite the recent Star Wars hype, playing the voice of Darth Vader is not a dream come true, ha! The last chest CT scan showed lots of fluid around my lungs, which means the surgeons will need to rely on exploration during the surgery to see the extent of the cancer and remove it. Without the option of doing radiation or continued chemotherapy, my treatment plan relies heavily on successful surgeries.

The Thoracic Oncologist performing and overseeing this chest surgery is someone we trust and are extremely grateful for. He is familiar with my case, having offered his diaphragm expertise in the operating room during my September surgery. We are so thankful for the excellent team of surgeons and nurses who will be collaborating on my behalf.

The surgery is scheduled for Tuesday, January 12th at 10 a.m. at the Toronto General Hospital. Andy and I will arrive at 8 a.m. to get ready. They're estimating a 3-6 hour surgery, depending on how much cancer there is to remove. I'll recover in hospital for a minimum of seven nights, hoping to avoid the strong possibility of pneumonia post-surgery.

So we come to you all again, humbly asking that you'd graciously and faithfully join us in prayer to our Almighty God. While Andy and I have really wrestled with and learned so much through Romans 12:12, we've really learned this part, "faithful in prayer," through all of YOU. Please pray for miraculous healing of this epithelial ovarian cancer, skilled physicians and nurses in the operating room, successful removal of all visible cancer, protection of my vocal chords in surgery, protection from infection and pneumonia post-surgery, peace and strength for Andy and our loved ones, freedom from fear and ultimately for eyes to see the way God is with us and being glorified through it all.

*Here's a prayer sign up for Tuesday, January 12th: 24 Hours of Prayer for Julia

Having experienced a difficult recovery after the September surgery, I am now less naive to the myriad of potential complications that could follow major surgery. Because of this, I have experienced sparks of fear. What if my vocal chords are permanently damaged? What if I get infections post-surgery that drastically extend my hospital stay? What if something goes majorly wrong? What if they cannot get all the visible cancer this time?

Last week I took these fears and turned to my biggest source of comfort, truth and power in this cancer journey; God and His Word. I googled "Bible verses about fear" and then proceeded to copy out 15 verses into my journal. After reading through them and underlining my favourite phrases, it dawned on me how many PROMISES were present in these verses addressing fear. I'd like to share with you God's promises to me and all of us when facing fear of any kind:

God will sustain you. Psalm 55:22
God takes hold of your right hand. Isaiah 41:13
God will help you. Isaiah 41:13
God will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
The peace of God will guard your heart and mind. Philippians 4:7
God cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
God is with you. Isaiah 41:10, Psalm 23:4, Psalm 118:6, Isaiah 43:2
God will strengthen you. Isaiah 41:10
God will uphold you with His righteous hand. Isaiah 41:10
God comforts you. Psalm 23:4
God goes with you. Deutoeronomy 31:6
God will never leave or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6
God delivers you from all your fears. Psalm 34:4
God gives you peace. John 14:27
God fights for you. Exodus 14:14
God loves you. Isaiah 43:4

Whew, God keeps quite busy caring intimately for His people! What incredible promises of comfort, hope and joy. Praise God! As I relished in these beautiful truths, I went back to the 15 verses and noticed that while God seems to take care of all the big details, there are instructions for us when faced with fear. God blesses us with these promises, and it's our choice to receive them as we...

Come to God. Matthew 11:28
Cast your cares on God. Psalm 55:22
Present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6
Trust in God. Psalm 56:3
Do not fear; be strong and courageous. Deuteronomy 31:6
Be still. Exodus 14:14

As this next major surgery approaches in five days, I am relieved to find and grab hold of these promises. It never ceases to amaze me the way the God of the universe chooses to offer grace and love to me, a fearful and undeserving child. While I'm waiting to be rolled into the operating room on January 12th, I will be meditating on this verse of promise, "The Lord is with me, I will not be afraid." Psalm 118:6


  1. Dear Julia, I have been following your and Andy's journey and am in such admiration of your faith, courage and ultimate love and concern for your family and friends. Prayers go with you, my friend, as well as positive and faithful thoughts. Thank you for sharing your inspirational quotes which are a wonderful focus. Love, Deb

  2. Julia - from afar, we are praying for you and your hubby through this journey!!! Thank you for your vulnerability in sharing your story, and more so all your thoughts - you're incredible. ❤️ Xo Richelle Hunter

  3. Julia you have been such an encouragement to me as I have followed your blogs. I read this today with tears blocking each word. God is so faithful and He will take away that spirit of fear and replace it with what he has given you....... the spirit of power, love and a sound mind. A verse that has meant a lot to me as I have had to make some decisions in my life is Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do NOT be afraid; do NOT be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go" Praying on Jan 12th! Blessings

  4. My name is Simone and my son Paul showed me your blog. Thank-you for sharing your needs and encouraging verses. I would like to pray for you. When I get confused and afraid I remember one central thing: the God of this universe loves us so much that He took on flesh and became a human, lived among us and died a terrible death for us. It says in Romans 8 verse 31: "If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" And in verse 35:"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?". verse 38:"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Go, fellow warrior in Christ, into battle and offer your body, that Jesus Christ died for, as a living sacrifice.(Romans 12:1) "This is your spiritual act of worship." Do not worry about your body(Matthew 6:25)but seek first God's kingdom and righteousness(verse 33).

  5. Dear Julia, thanks once again for your honesty and in letting us know how to pray for you and Andy. You are a brave and strong woman, and you are inspiring so many people! Trusting in God and praying for are well-loved!
    sharon xo

  6. Ever time I read your blog I am in awe of the God given strength and courage that you seem to have. All those promises were put there for us we just have take hold of them and trust that He is above all! You and your family have our heartfelt prayers for the journey ahead.

  7. Julia, I've read a few of your posts shared by my dear friend Rebekah Walters and am praying for you! As a cancer survivor now 7 years out from treatment (surgery, chemo, radiation) I can tell you that as believers in an Almighty God, we have the advantage of facing cancer as a win-win situation -something that baffles the world. Praying God keeps you in his grace bubble, riding on "wings like eagles".

  8. Love you Sistah! Lifting you & Andy up! Thank you for letting us journey with you and pray with you. You're a big blessing and I look up to you both in so many ways. You two have authentic faith and stylish good looks, is there anything else that could make you cooler? Heck no! Love you guys :)

  9. I was not surprised to see all of the time slots with names in them for your 24 hours of prayer. Our family will be thinking of you as we always do, but especially tomorrow.

  10. My family will lift you and your family up in prayer.

  11. Praying for you today, Julia!


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