My Greatest Gift, My Bride


I still remember every detail of that August 1987 evening when I first laid eyes on Paula.  I can see her walking into the room, standing at the kitchen counter of her friends home helping to prepare a dinner and even the blue shorts she was wearing.  I remember thinking to myself, “Wow now that is a nice surprise.”  Over the next nine months Paula and I, along with our two mutual friends, hung out together as often as possible.  We shared laughs, food, and dreams for our futures together.  With every moment we spent together I felt myself desire her companionship more and more.  Finally, in April 1988 I asked her out on our first “official” date.  We were pretty poor so it was just a movie and hot chocolate at Burger King but it didn’t matter because we were together.  At that time I was working for Delta Airlines and in August I got the opportunity for full time employment but had to move to New Jersey.  It was six weeks before I could fly back to Kentucky to see Paula.  We talked on the phone often but the new year of teaching was difficult on her.  That along with my departure made her question our relationship.  At the same time I felt more then ever that I wanted to marry her.  It was a confusing time but I just prayed that God would reveal to her that we were meant to be together.  When I finally could fly home to see her it was the weekend of her 24th birthday.  I was determined to make this a memorable birthday for her.  I took her to dinner in Bowling Green, KY and after we ate we walked to the town square.  There was a small park in the middle of town with benches.  I thought this would be a nice place to sit and propose to her.  When we got to the park all the benches were wet from rain and we couldn’t sit down.  I was nervous so instead of talking I just gave her a hug.  When we took a step back from each other Paula looked at me and said, “Man your heart is just pounding.”  Well what was I going to say to that so I took the moment and asked her to be my wife.  With tears in her eyes and no words coming out of her mouth she shook her head yes.  We hugged again but this time both of our hearts were pounding.


That night started a journey that I could never have imagined.  On July 15th it will be our 23rd anniversary.  I can honestly say they have been the greatest years of my life.  Far beyond what I could have ever asked for or imagined. Paula and I never desired to have nights out apart from each other because a night together at home far out weighed a night apart doing anything else.  God gave us many fun adventures.  Some were sweet intimate moments together watching the sun set over the ocean in Hawaii. Others were just hilarious times like when we were trying to train our new puppy, Bailey, to come back to us when we called her.  We took at clothesline and tied one end to her collar and then the plan was to have one of us take the other end and walk across the yard and call Bailey.  Then we would pull the line in to us until Bailey was right in front of us.  However instead as soon as I tied the end to Bailey’s collar she snatched up the bundle of rope and ran.  For the next 45 minutes we chased her all over the apartment complex trying to get ahold of her.  I am sure many other people in the complex got a good laugh.  Then one of our biggest adventures was in July 2002, with a new baby and moving into a new home, we committed to come to Salt Lake City and start K2.


After 11 years of marriage God blessed us with our first child, Kyle.  Paula loved being pregnant and was truly beautiful during the entire time.  I remember the moment she first held Kyle in her arms after just giving birth without taking any medication; she looked at me and said, “I would do that again.” Well she did just 18 months later.  However this one was much different then the first.  You see Kyle started out fast but along the way he decided to take a nap or something.  With Abbie it was only 22 minutes from the time Paula started pushing until we were holding her in our arms.  Those were two of the happiest days we shared together.  Then in 2007 Paula once again showed her love and willingness to follow God as we decided to adopt Tanya.  I remember Paula sharing with me one morning what God had laid on her heart.  He showed her what a beautiful, neat box she had her life in but then asked her if she was willing to step outside of that box and see what more He had for her.  Well she was willing and in March 2007 Tanya became part of our family.  Without a doubt these three beautiful children are a great part of Paula’s legacy.  She poured her all into them each day.


The greatest gift Paula gave me was loving me as purely as I know God intended love to be.  No one has ever had a greater cheerleader spurring them on to be all that they dreamed.  Paula would celebrate my strengths and encourage me to keep stepping out and taking risks.  In my weakness or when I stumbled and fell Paula never condemned me but instead would reach out a loving hand to help me up, pray for me and inspire me to be better and stronger.  I would always see her reading books such as “The Power of a Praying Wife”.  I knew she wanted to learn more how she could support, encourage and help me become all that God created me to be.  How could a man ask for more?  The saying goes that behind every good man is a great wife.  Well I can tell you that for me that was true.  I would never have become the husband, father, friend or leader I am today without Paula.  Without a doubt Paula was God’s plan to complete me.

So many of you didn’t know her as well as I wish you could have because Paula was so content to be in the background and allowing me to take the lead.


However, these last two years were different.  All of us saw the fierce strength and unshakable faith that was within that beautiful little body.  On August 23rd 2010 when we were awaiting the diagnosis Paula was once again inspiring and loving me.  She shared with me that from the moment the nurse left the room she knew God was telling her that He was in control and His will would be done.  Over the coming weeks the intimacy Paula shared with Jesus was profound.  Paula would describe it as being so close to Him that she could smell his breathe.  As we walked out this journey together I never saw Paula’s trust in God waiver.  Even the couple days before she went home to Jesus she told me that she was moving forward, standing firm on what God had told her, she was not going to lay down to the devil and her focus was on God.  On another day when I was struggling with all that she was going through I asked her if she still felt strongly about God’s healing.  With the same fierce strength she looked at me and said, “I will not call God a liar!”  What an amazing woman of faith!


On Wednesday, June 27th Paula received her complete healing and so much more.  I have no doubt that the heavens were in full celebratory mode as she entered in.  I know that she has received her reward for a life of great faith and love.  The kids and I miss her more then I could have ever imagined.  As I held her head next to mine and listened to her take her last breathe I felt as though the greatest part of me was ripped out.  I know with time I will heal and that God has not forsaken the kids or me but is carrying us through this time.  We will miss her smile, the way she made us all laugh and the tenderness of her touch but we have years of great memories to enjoy and share.  Thank you to all of you who are praying for us and supporting us.  You are being a great representation of the love and body of Christ.  May we all continue to move forward with the same determination Paula exhibited so God’s power may be revealed.

Christmas 2011

This year has been a good year for the Winter family. When we started the year Paula was on the road to better health. As 2011 draws to an end it is great to share that Paula is doing great. Through most of the year Paula was on what they call maintenance chemotherapy. On August 23rd (the one year anniversary of Paula’s diagnosis) she had a CT scan. It showed some increase in the size of the places on her liver so they switched her to a different group of chemo drugs. Honestly we were disappointed by this but continued to trust that God was doing what He has promised us He would do. In October was another CT scan and this one was better. In fact, I believe this one was a clear sign that Paula is being healed. When she was first diagnosed we were told that her liver had cancer in too many places to consider surgery. When the doctor was talking to us about the latest scan he told us that everything was now contained on the right lobe of Paula’s liver and the left side looked clear. Praise God! We continue to go every two weeks for Paula to get her chemotherapy and wait for the day when the doctors tell us they see no signs of cancer in her body. You can count on the fact that when that day comes I will post the news on our blog.

This year had many other great events that I will share. In February Kyle joined the Webelos. He has really enjoyed it and is going to receive his arrow of light, which is the highest award you can earn in cub scouts. We are getting him ready to move into Boy Scouts. He has gotten a backpack and new sleeping bag so he can go on hikes and camp outs with the troop. Abbie is our little drama queen so she has joined “Up With Kids”. This is a drama group in the area. She was in a play this summer and is currently working on another one that will be in April. Abbie also continues her piano lessons and is getting very good. Tanya has enjoyed playing with her friends and turn 13 this November. It is hard to believe that she has been with us now for almost five years.  This year also included a couple international trips.  In March Kyle and I were in Manila, Philippines visiting a family from our church who were spending a year there.  Then in November I was part of a team of fifteen from K2 The Church to go to Mekelle, Ethiopia.  They were both great trips.

This summer we took a family vacation to Yellowstone National Park. What a great place! We all had fun camping and exploring the sights. We saw many bison and elk along with a bear. However, I think the most spectacular part of the park was the canyon areas. I didn’t remember that there were such great canyons there and so many beautiful waterfalls. Paula and I also celebrated out 22nd anniversary by spending a couple of days in Sonoma, CA. This is another beautiful part of our country. We toured around the area and found a really good chocolate store. They made great truffles!

Finally, this August we added yet another member to our family. This time it is a chocolate lab and aussie mix. We named him Rophe. We decided to name him this as a marker of what we have seen God do in Paula. One name of God is Jehovah Rophe, which means God who heals. He has been a good dog and a lot of fun. Rophe loves to be with us and has become a loved part of our family very quickly. He has found it fun to play Frisbee, eat anything he can fit in his mouth and agitate the cats.

Well we hope that all of you have a wonderful Christmas and a great 2012. We look forward to seeing all that God has in store for us this coming year and are incredibly grateful for all that 2011 has brought.

Happy New Year

Family Christmas

Well 2010 is gone and a new year awaits.  I must say that I am in hopes that 2011 continues to bring improving health and peace to our family.  It seems like a lot has happened since we last posted to our blog.  Ever since Paula had the stint removed she has been on a continually path of improvement.  Her marker numbers have come down and plateaued around 18, she has gained back almost all the weight she had lost and has her energy back.  In most cases life feels very much like normal.  Paula is getting out, picking up the kids most days and even went to a New Years Eve party.  Of course it took three different parties to find one that everyone was healthy.  That is not to say the one we went to was third string but that it was just the third one we were invited to.  We had a nice time and it was good to be out with others.

Paula’s parents and brother came to Salt Lake City to visit us during Christmas.  It was good to have them here and spend time together.  It was the first time we had seen any of them since Paula’s diagnosis.  I think it was good for her parents to see Paula looking and doing well.  We really enjoyed having her brother Owen here as it was his first visit and the first time we had seen him in over two years.  Unfortunately the weather did not allow us to show off the beauty of Salt Lake City but then I guess that gives us something to do the next time he visits.  Another reason we were glad Owen came to visit is that he will probably deploy to Iraq in June and will be gone for about a year.

On December 30th we went in for one of Paula’s treatments.  We have always seen the doctor before treatment and this time we talked about Paula’s marker numbers and the fact that she was experiencing numbness on the tips of her fingers that was not going away between treatments.  Due to the fact that her marker numbers had plateaued, the numbness and that her CT scan showed that Paula was responding very well to the treatment, it was decided to put Paula on what is called a maintenance regime.  Basically, the only thing that changes is that the one drug that was causing the numbness is removed.  It is a drug that has done a lot of good but also can cause permanent damage if taken to long.  It is also the one that hits the white blood cells the hardest.  So this cuts out about one hour of our time on treatment days and hopefully will allow Paula’s fingers to come back to normal.  This past Thursday we went in for treatment again and her white blood count was good and her iron levels were good.  We have not heard yet about her marker numbers.

Many of you have asked how many more treatments Paula is going to have.  The answer is we do not know.  From the beginning we have been told that the chemo would help her liver but not cure her liver.  Due to that I believe the doctor’s plan is to just continue on this maintenance until we don’t see any more cancer or Paula’s numbers start going back up.  We of course are looking for the first option.  This has been the biggest area where we have had to just trust that God has it all in control.  When you are told that medicine can only do so much and falls short of a cure, then you have no other place to rest then in God.  For us, this is where we have chosen to rest all along because we believe it is the only place to find peace, strength and rest.  I wont kid you, it is a daily decision as many days I am finding myself wanting to try and figure out the future and what it will hold.  This is a futile effort as none of us knows what the future holds but for some reason we seem so determined to try and figure it out and let it rob us of the joy we could find by living in today alone.  As I have shared many times before, the devotional book I am using has had many days of speaking directly to me.  Today was again one of those days.  I would like to share it with you.

My face is shining upon you, beaming out Peace that transcends understanding.  You are surrounded by a sea of problems, but you are face to face with Me, your Peace.  As long as you focus on Me, you are safe.  If you gaze too long at the myriad problems around you, you will sink under the weight of your burdens.  When you start to sink, call out “Help me, Jesus!” and I will lift you up.

The closer you live to Me, the safer you are.  Circumstances around you are undulating, and there are treacherous-looking waves in the distance.  Fix your eyes on Me, the One who never changes.  By the time those waves reach you, they will have shrunk to proportions of My design.  I am always beside you, helping you face today’s waves.  The future is a phantom, seeking to spook you.  Laugh at the future!  Stay close to Me.
Philippians 4:7  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 12:2  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right had of the throne of God.
I hope you all will find encouragement in this as I have.  Thank you again for all the encouragement and prayers you have given to us.  I pray that God will continue show His majesty and strength through the complete healing of Paula’s mind, heart and body.  May each of you be drawn closer to Him and encouraged in your faith by what God has and continues to do.



The Latest

Well it has been an eventful time since our last post.  Right after our last post Paula started experiencing a lot of discomfort.  She was having pain when she stood up, walked and sat down so the only thing she could do to be comfortable was lay down.  So for a week that is all she did.  Two weeks ago today Paula was to have a chemo treatment but when we got to the hospital she was so uncomfortable that it was decided to skip that treatment and see if we could get her into a doctor to figure out if there was something that could be done to ease the pain.  That afternoon we were able to get into Dr. Bossart’s office.  He is a friend from church and the doctor that saw Paula during the first week of all this fun.  He discovered that the stint that was in Paula’s colon had moved down and that was what was causing all the pain so he just took it out.  Now I would say that this procedure was unpleasant (Paula says it was worse then childbirth but I have no frame of reference on either of these) but as soon as it was out Paula felt immediate relief.  Paula has continued to feel better throughout the past two weeks.  With a break from the chemo her hands healed up (they were really cracking and peeling) and she has been eating like crazy.  Seriously, in our 21 years of marriage I have never seen her eat this much.  I guess it all the good food that she has at her disposal.  Kudos to the cook (sorry for the self indulgence).  This is good as she actually lost more weight during the week when she was so uncomfortable.  She had dropped all the way down to 80 lbs.

Yesterday Paula had her first CT scan since starting the chemo.  We have been anxious to see the results as we know there have been so many people praying for Paula.  So this morning we came back to Huntsman for Paula’s treatment.  The first good sign of the day is that when we were driving to the hospital the airbag sensor in the passenger seat didn’t automatically turn off the airbag.  It has done this pretty much since the beginning of chemo because Paula has not weighed enough.  When they weighed Paula this morning she was a whopping 90 lbs!  She gained 1o lbs in two weeks.  I know for most of you this is not something to celebrate but Paula hasn’t weigh 90 lbs since mid September.  The doctor then gave us the results of the CT scan.  All the tumors on Paula’s liver have shrunk by 50% and there were no new lymph nodes that were infected.  The colon tumor we are told is not as easily read on a CT scan but looked to not be to much smaller.  However, they say this is typical and that although it may not shrink much the make up of this tumor surely has.  As this tumor dies the cells die and therefore the tumor my be more dead tissue then live cancer.  We know it has shrunk as the stint came out so this is all good.  Also Paula’s tumor marker came down from 43.5 to 22.1 as well as her white blood cells were at a normal level.   At this point we will continue to do the chemo treatments through December.  Then the thought is to put Paula on a maintenance treatment.  This means that she will still come every 2 weeks but will only get her iron, avaston and then go home with the chemo ball for 46 hours.

So all this to say, things are moving in the right direction.  Thank you for all the prayers and please continue to pray for complete and permanent healing.


November 14, 2010

It has been a while since we have posted anything.  For those of you who are checking the blog regularly we are sorry that there have not been more updates.  The reason being is that these past couple weeks have been challenging.  Paula did really well the week before she went into the hospital and then even the days following her release were pretty good.  However, since her last treatment she has been battling some.  The week following her treatment she experiences numbness and tingling in her fingers.  The doctors tell us this is a normal side effect of one of the drugs in her chemo treatments.  I guess it is good to know it is normal but it makes it somewhat difficult for Paula to do things around the house.  Along with this Paula has not been sleeping well as she is up many times during the night (tonight is seems to be about every 30 minutes or so hence my post at 2:00 a.m.).  This has also kept me from sleeping as well as I should.  Obviously, this creates weariness after several days.  On top of this we seem to be having many other unexpected challenges.  The week that Paula went into the hospital I had an unpleasant experience with a guy that came by the church for help, we received a letter from the State of Utah telling us they were auditing our 2007 tax return due to the adoption and then Paula got the fever.  Yesterday I asked Kyle to vacuum his room and he came up to tell me that his floor was wet.  Kyle’s room is in the lowest level of our home so I thought the floor was probably just cold since his room is on a concrete slab.  When I went down to check his floor was indeed wet.  It seems like the solenoid value on the furnace humidifier went bad and every time it kicked on water ran out on the floor of the utility room right next to Kyle’s bedroom.  It got wet enough that we had to pull the carpet back and get rid of some of the padding.  So tonight he is sleeping on the floor in Abbie’s room while the fans are drying out his room.  So as you can see it has been a bit of a crazy couple weeks.  However, I am thankful for many things.  First, Paula has not had any more fevers and last week her tumor marker came down again to 72!  In just three treatments and 7 weeks this marker has gone from 289 to 72.  I am not sure what “normal” is for this kind of thing but we are pleased with how that is going.  Also, we got a letter today from the State of Utah saying that after reviewing the 50 plus pages of information I gave them that there was no change made to our return.  As a side note I had to smile when I took the information into the State.  The guy doing the review looked at my documentation briefly and then told me that I appeared more detailed then most people.  I figure those of you who know me well would get a chuckle out of that statement.  Anyway, I am also thankful that this morning in the midst of wet carpet I have a friend who owns a carpet business and installed our carpet who was willing to come right over and help me get things pulled back and cleaned up.  He is also having his guys come over on Monday to put things back in place.  We are also thankful that this weekend Paula’s great friend from Michigan, Julie Davis, is here to visit.  She has been a great help and encouragement.

So that is what has been happening around here lately in the physical world.  I know some of you who read our blog are not followers of Christ and may not understand or agree with some of what I share with you from our spiritual perspective.  While I understand this I feel I need to share with you what we believe.  Paula and I both feel like we are in a spiritual battle.  Through this entire experience Paula has felt God’s presence in a powerful way.  She is being transformed and drawn into a deeper relationship with Jesus.  I too have had some great times with God as you have read in previous posts.  However, to be honest with you I have struggled with God these past weeks.  Not in the perspective of believing in Him or knowing He is with us but more in just feeling personally abandoned.  The weight of responsibility through all this has been overwhelming at times and the shear volume of things to do kicks me into my “get it done” task mode.  That combined with not sleeping great has meant that my time to sit and receive from Jesus has been limited.  God has been my source of strength so when I don’t take the time to just be with Him I can really tell.  It changes my outlook on daily life.  Paula has also struggled this week with being more discouraged then she has been throughout this experience.  So this morning I took some time to sit and read through the devotional book that I have been using along with the scriptures that go with them.  One of the days I read this morning shared the following.

Learn to appreciate difficult days.  Be stimulated by the challenges you encounter along your way.  As you journey through rough terrain with Me, gain confidence from your knowledge that together we can handle anything.  This knowledge is comprised of three parts:  your relationship with Me, promises in the Bible, and past experiences of coping successfully during hard times.

Look back on your life, and see how I have helped you through difficult days.  If you are tempted to think, “Yes, but that was then, and this is now,” remember who I AM!  Although you and your circumstances may change dramatically, I remain the same throughout time and eternity.  This is the basis of your confidence.  In My Presence you live and move and have your being.

Isaiah 41: 10  “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

So I ask that you keep praying for us and that we will continue to seek and find God in all things.  That we are strengthen by Him and feel His presence with us moment by moment even when the days are difficult.

Thank you for being on this journey with us.

Eric and Paula

Tonight Paula started running a fever.  It was 101.5 so we had to head up to the Huntsman Cancer Hospital and admit Paula for the night.  They have done her labs, a chest xray and an urinalysis.  What we heard from the doctor tonight about midnight is that her chest xray looked good and he did not see any signs of infection.  Her urinalysis came back good as well.  Her labs looked good but her white blood count is low.  The doctor believes that she has picked up an infection from something that would normally not be a big deal but since her white blood count is low her body was not able to take care of it like normal.  Right before I left they checked her temperature again and it was still 101.5 so our prayer is that the round of IV antibiotics that they gave her will knock out the infection and that her white blood count comes up.  If all this happens in the morning then Paula will most likely be able to come home tomorrow evening.  If not then she will stay there another night.

Please continue to pray for Paula.  Her spirits are good as you can read in her post below.  The kids and I are doing ok but I am a bit weary.  Tanya was the most upset that Paula had to stay at the hospital.  I think tomorrow I am going to take them up there to see her.  This way they can see that it is not a scary place.  I also want to take them down to the infusion area so they can see where we go every other week.  We have committed to keep the kids in the process all the way so I hope this will continue to help them work through all this as well.  They have really been amazing throughout all of this.

Thanks for your prayers.  I am hopefully going to catch a bit of sleep and awake to a new day full of joy and good news.


First, I want to share with you that my cancer markers have gone from 162 (from 10/7/10) to 112.4 (10/21/10)!!!  A 30% drop from the last treatment!!!  I was rejoicing and so was the nurse when she called and told me.  God is so good all the time!!!


It is so easy to rejoice and be thankful when everything is going great but it isn’t when things are not.  As I have daily been on this journey, Jesus has met my every need.  What I am learning from His daily manna for me, is transforming me.  Another thing that I said very early on after hearing my diagnosis was, “I want Jesus to get all the glory and praise through all of this.”  That is easy to say in the heat of the moment but when things are not good it is easy for me to lose sight of praising and giving Jesus the glory.  When things have not been good, when I choose to refocus and direct my praise to Him, my outlook changes.  I know that this is what Jesus is teaching me and I’m so thankful.  He wants me to make the choice to praise Him in the good and bad.  When I make the choice to praise and worship Him, He wants to abundantly bless me.


Truthfully, as hard as this journey has been, I’m finding that I am excited to see what Jesus is going to do along the way.  I’m finding that I do not want to have this journey end too soon.  It sounds ridiculous but when Jesus is transforming me, it is a rewarding blessing to me.


I want to leave you with two verses that I have been claiming and praying lately.  My prayer is that you will also want to claim and pray these verses for yourselves.


~1 Peter 2:24 (NLT) He personally carried [my] sins in his body on the cross so that [I] can be dead to sin and live for what is right.  By his wounds [I am] healed.

~Psalm 118:17 (NLT) I will not die; instead, I will live to tell what the Lord has done.




Well today we went back to Huntsman and had round three of Paula’s chemo.  All in all it was a good day with no real eventful happenings.  Paula’s white blood count was low but the doctor approved her treatment anyway.  We are talking to the doctor about giving Paula a shot that will help with this.  I guess it has to be approved by our insurance as it is very expensive.  We should hear about it soon. We have not received the new numbers for Paula’s marker so I can not share that with you just yet.  However, I really felt God telling me today to not put so much stock in numbers.  They are just what they are and He is who He is.

Paula told me that she was excited to see how God would work through all the treatments today.  She is still at peace and feels more then ever that God has already healed her.  The work has been done.  Paula has been reading a book called A Blessed Journey Through Terminal Cancer. . . into Divine Healing by Cindy Cox.  Cindy Cox is from Shelby Township, MI (for those who don’t know that is where we lived before moving to Utah) and was healed of stage four incurable melanoma.  This book has been inspiration to Paula.  God has really spoken to Paula through this book.  It has been a powerful tool for Paula.  Well when we got home this evening Paula got a call from Cindy.  Her encouragement, prayer, stories of other healings and scriptures were powerful.  Paula was so thankful for the call.  Cindy if you read this, thank you.

I have been surprised at how easy it has been to fall right back in routine and the “busy” mindset.  Life has been very busy for me and some days overwhelming with responsibility.  However, this past Sunday God reminded me that it is in Him that we accomplish all things.  It is in our relationship with God and being in His presence that we gain strength.  During the worship time at K2 I found myself having a hard time keeping my emotions under control.  It was such a great time of receiving from God.  I really needed it.

Well it is late and has been a long day so I better close.  Tomorrow I get to head to the zoo with Abbie’s 3rd grade class.  I think I will need my rest to keep up with them.

Again we say thank you to all of you for the prayers and support.  They really mean more then you can know.


Eric has wanted me to give an update for some time so that everyone can hear from me.  Written communication is not one of my gifts so therefore I avoid it.  With that said, I will do my best to communicate how I’m doing.

First, I want to say thank you again to everyone that has called, texted, emailed, sent messages on Eric’s Facebook page, sent cards, gifts, humbly served us, etc.  Wow!!  I also want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been praying for my family and me.  I know that people all around the world have been praying for me, most of which I don’t even know.  Even though I feel so undeserving of the many people praying, I’m very grateful and have felt the power of pray covering me through this journey.

As many of you know, I have had a peace and calm since the morning of August 23rd, the day this journey started for me.  Two things that came to me on the morning of my ultra sound was first, I know that Jesus is in control of my situation and second, His will was going to be done.  These things have continued to hold true for me everyday since.  I have had a few moments of discouragement or frustration, like frequent trips to the bathroom and aching hips, bum and lower back due to the many trips to the bathroom and sitting on the toilet.  When I refocus on the One (Jesus) that really matters in all of this, I quickly feel His calm and peace, know that He is in control and that his will is going to be done.

Many of you may not understand the peace and calm that I have had. You even may feel that I’m in denial, or not being realistic about my diagnosis, but that is ok.  From the moments after we received my diagnosis, I’ve wanted Jesus to get all the glory and praise through all of this no matter what we are told, how long the treatments last, test results, pain, discomfort, etc.  This holds true for me even today!!

Jesus has been giving me manna each day that has sustained me with the peace, calm and strength that I have needed for each day.  His blessing of this manna has been wonderful and I’m so grateful for his love and faithfulness.  As I have had to lie in bed so much over the past month due to fatigue I have tried to take advantage of this by reading or listening to the Bible, enjoying worship music and praying.  This has reinforced the knowledge of how important it is to spend time with God and how in doing so He is faithful to give us what we need for each day.  In the good days (like this week) and even in the tough days like the first weeks of chemo God is the same and can be trusted to work all things out according to His will and in His timing. (Hebrews 13: 8, Romans 8: 28)

This is getting long so I will end for now.  My prayer for each of you is that you will be blessed and have a stronger faith as you follow my journey.

Love, Paula

Yesterday we headed back up to Huntsman Cancer Institute to see if Paula could get her second treatment.  We are starting to get to know all the nurses in the infusion suite pretty well.  I will have to say that everyone of them have been absolutely wonderful.  For a place where every patient is dealing with such difficult situations the staff could not be better.  They are all so kind and encouraging that it makes you feel better just being there.  We are so thankful to be at a place like this.

Now back to the details that I am sure you are waiting for.  Paula had her labs done right away and then we had to just wait and see how they turned out.  Since it was not to busy there at that point we got to pick our chair.  This is nice because we were going to be there for at least 7 hours so a seat by the window, in the quite room and with the nicer chairs is a blessing.  They gave Paula another iron infusion while we waited.  Obviously the main thing we were looking for was for her white blood count to be up.  Well it was up.  In order to get her treatment Paula’s count needed to be at least 1.5 (this is a combined number that I don’t totally understand but just know what it needs to be).  Last week it was only 0.8 but this week it came back at 4.6.  Wow!  Even the nurse was surprised that she took such a leap in one week.  All her other numbers continued to look good.  In fact the liver enzymes that were elevated back in August and led us to discover the cancer are back into the normal range.  However, I think the best news came after we got home.  We were eating dinner and the phone rang.  Now a days when you see the caller id say that it is the hospital you have to wonder what is coming.  It was our doctor’s nurse who told us that Dr. Jones wanted her to call us tonight.  There is a number that is called Paula’s “marker”.  I understand that this is something they track in Paula’s blood to see how the cancer is doing.  Doesn’t that sound nice “how the cancer is doing”.  Well I hope it is “doing” dead.  Anyway, in people without cancer this number would be about a 3 but when they first ran this marker at the Huntsman Paula was a 289.  As this number comes down it indicates that the chemo is doing its job at killing the cancer.  Last night they told us that Paula’s marker was down to 163.7.  We believe this significant drop is a clear result of all the prayers that have been going up on our behalf so thank you to all who continue to pray!

One final number I will share with you is also one I am proud of. I am proud of this because for the past couple weeks I have been a food Sargent.  I have been pushing Paula to keep eating and preparing her food that would maximize the number of good calories in every bite.  Well this week she actually gained 2 pounds!  That might not seem like a lot to you but when she lost 8 pounds in one week and 28 pounds all together, gaining 2 is a nice start in the right direction.

Well I will leave it at this for now as I have asked Paula to post her own thoughts for you.  So once again thank you all for continuing to encourage and lift us up.  We love you very much.