So many have been asking for updates and we give new information when we have it and are certain it is not speculation.

On Monday, 5 December we packed up the van (once again) and headed to Woodstock, Georgia. Having made the 6.5 to 7 hour drive many times before we were not necessarily glad to renew the experience. We began with a sort of "been there, done that" feeling but were glad that we are getting one step closer to getting all the medical procedures behind us.

Our great friend Angie has agreed to let us stay at her home in Woodstock and we made it uneventfully to south Atlanta before anything really interrupted the flow. We were caught in a traffic jam on I-75 due to a truck fire. It just served to remind us that God has protected us in the over 9,000 miles of driving since 1 October. We see how God is working out His purpose and caring for His people.

We spent the night with Angie and headed to Marietta in the early hours for all the consultations and testing. The Dr explained the procedure and what to expect afterwards. Surgery will be a minimum of 2 hours and because of my previous surgery may not be as minimal as he had hoped but we won't know until he gets "in there" and "takes a look". The surgeon is a great Christian brother and we are all trusting God to guide his hands and answer prayers. All of us are hoping for an expecting minimal complications and if everything is working again I hope to go home on Monday. Our goal is to be able to be released from our Georgia stay on 23 December so we can have Christmas with Megan and Justin (first time in 4 years).

After seeing the surgeon it was off across the street to the hospital for all the pre-admit testing. Once again the biggest test was "can you tell me your name and date of birth?" Fortunately it is on the wristband I have to wear until surgery so in a pinch I can check my crib notes. I did get it wrong a couple of times. They tell me a mind is a terrible thing to waste; fortunately for me there is little risk.

Besides having a cold and coughing it appears I am doing well. Guessed my weight to within .3 pounds (I was fully dressed with shoes and pockets filled) and everyone who checked my blood pressure, pulse and temperature told me it was either good or great. Whew, I had been studying for those tests! I told one nurse to just put "yes" in the blank for pulse since I felt pretty certain it was still there.

Because the tumor is most likely cancerous, the Dr is looking and thinking about "what's next"? Obviously we won't know until he gets a look and has the kidney with tumor in his hand. Based upon the pathology report, we will know if there is more that must be done as a follow-up. The CT scan of my abdomen shows nothing much remarkable (insert obligatory joke here) except the tumor on the right kidney and the left kidney looks good.

Since we will want to know if there are any other complications, the Dr wanted me to have a CT scan of my chest. Once again God stepped up and we only had to wait about an hour after all the other testing to get that done. Imagine that, on the same day AND you could walk to the building with the scanner.

Another remarkable thing is that I have been called early for every appointment. Those who really know me are not surprised that I get there early for appointments. The Dr was first and my appointment was for 0830 and I had to be there 15 minutes prior. We got there early because we had no idea of traffic and where we would have to park. So after checking in and sitting down at 0800 Lucy went downstairs for coffee. After she hit the door, they called my in. The nurse said there was no need for me to wait out there. When Lucy returned she did not know if I was in the restroom or had been beamed out of the waiting room. After some search she found me and was there for the meeting with the Dr.

It was the same at the hospital and at the imaging center. As a matter of fact at the imaging center I was coming out of the test at almost the precise time I was supposed to be going in. Only God could have orchestrated all of that.

Many are reminding me (and of course it is in all the paperwork you have to read and sign) that people can and do live long lives with only one kidney. Just this weekend a friend reminded me of that and I told her she had spoken like a person with two kidneys. Lucy's sister (the cancer research nurse) reminds us that God gives us two for symmetry and we only need one to function. I figure God knows what He is doing and I am trying my best to stay out of His way so He can work His plan.

If you have had to sign consent forms you know they explain all the possible outcomes. Irregardless of the procedure it seems as if "death" is listed as a possible outcome for any procedure. Even when they draw blood, the loss of a limb, major paralysis or death is a possible outcome. It could get one very concerned.

As the surgeon put it, our destination is already set and we are on the cruise ship that will get us there. Others are treading water all around wondering if it is worthwhile, but we know it is. The Doctor's goal is to give me the best quality of life with the least amount of follow-up care until that day arrives. He told me on our first visit that his goal was to get me in as good a shape as possible before sending us back out to do what God had called us to do.

So for now it is just preparation time. I have special instructions for cleaning the outside and inside of me before surgery at 0940 Friday morning. Anyone have a good recipe for beef bullion?

The best preparation is already long underway. Every day we hear of more who are praying for this procedure and all who are involved in it. Many of our friends around the country and the world have friends in Marietta, Georgia and our friends have "ratted us out" to their friends. Now churches, pastors and Christians here are contacting us to tell us they are praying and will be visiting. When asked if I desired a visit from a hospital chaplain, I agreed but thought to myself, they may have to take a number and wait in line. God is caring for this child much better than I deserve.

So, we are good and even the weather is making us feel at home (cool, gray and rainy). Good friends and God's care. There is nothing more that we need.

If you want to know how to pray, here is a suggestion. Pray that God will get the glory for whatever the outcome and this event will draw more people to Him. That is our prayer. If He tells you to pray for something else, then follow those instructions but we are hoping people will see Him at work and give themselves to Him as a result of what they see Him doing in His power and through His people.

More to come.

Kyle Goen
12/06/2011 15:23

John and Lucy,

We are thinking and praying for you both. I am sorry I had no idea you were walking through this things at this time. We would love to hear how you are doing following the surgery.

On another note we met a young lady connected to ministry in your area of our small country last week. She spoke of you fondly and how you ministered to her just before leaving the country. Her name is Arielle.

Praying for healing and for God's will to be done.



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