February, 2015

Touchstone

Is there really God or Heaven?

Sometimes my faith becomes weak with such a question when a bad thing happens one after another, or cancer progresses despite prayers. In such moments, I look back to find God’s works in my life.

Getting married to George.

Two boys grew up overcoming close calls and disabilities.

My parents, who used to mock my faith, accepted Christ in their old age.

Being given a ministry of supporting international organ transplant families, through which I found God and deepened faith.

Being able to change the health insurance before the diagnoses of cancer, and many more.

Those experiences remind me that God exists, but the most significant touchstone is an experience of a healing miracle from hypothyroidism nearly 20 years ago.

Back then my family was attending a small Japanese church, and one day a healer came from Tokyo.

“Anyone who needs to be healed, please come to the front.”
Responding to his invitation, I stood in front of him.

He put his hands on my shoulder and asked me to pray silently with him. I closed my eyes and started praying that God would heal the hypothyroidism.

All of sudden, I felt like something warm was poured from my head and that was running through my body all the way to the toes. At the same time, my body became warm and all muscles relaxed so I could not stand any more, and fell down into the arms of his assistant, who was standing behind me, and was laid down on my back on the floor. The warm wonderful feeling lasted 2-3 minutes, and then disappeared as if nothing had happened.

A few weeks later, as I went to see a doctor, he told me that all numbers of the lab were now normal and asked me with a surprise what had happened. What I could think about was only the healer’s prayer. As I said so, the doctor said, “ Sometimes such things happen,’ and told me to come back next month just in case. Next month, the lab result was all normal again, and I was told that I would not need the medicine any more and I was cured.

The Bible talks about anointing oil to heal or bless someone, also of the Holy Spirit coming down to the disciples to allow them to perform miracles. I feel like I experienced the anointing oil.

Actually when I was diagnosed with cancer, I looked for this pastor wishing for the healing prayer again.
I finally found him, who was still preaching at a small church in Tokyo. I emailed him, but could not get a reply.

“ My Grace is sufficient for you,”—(2nd Corinthians 12:9)

God was telling me so, I thought, and stopped pursuing it.   Whenever I’m tempted by doubts, however, this experience denied them and brings me back the faith.

Writing so far, the memory of the healing became so vivid that now I feel God so close, as if I were in His arms.
Overwhelmed with tears of joy and gratitude, I can’t see the letters any more.

Lost Trust in Oral Surgeon

I made an appointment with a face plastic surgeon in order to ask him to prescribe the biopsy for the mandible, in which an oral surgeon told me about the possibility of cancer.

When I informed the oral surgeon about this appointment, he called me right away after more than three weeks of silence, and said, “ It’s not cancer. Don’t jump too ahead. .. The biopsy is necessary to see what is going on under the implant, but I don’t think the plastic surgeon can remove the implant…You have to go deep to get a specimen, and have to send it to the oral pathology. Kaiser’s pathology is too general and may misdiagnose.“

It’s not cancer? Don’t jump too ahead?
I am a stage IV breast cancer patient and cancer is growing.
Even if it’s rare, isn’t it reasonable to take it seriously if I hear the possibility of cancer?

I reacted in my mind, but asked him if he had said the biopsy would be invasive without removing the implant.

“ You have to remove the implant anyway whether it’s cancer or infection. I want to do everything at once. I can do the surgery on the 23rd, but if you miss that day, I don’t know when I can do it next. “

I felt pressure, so I made an appointment on the 23rd.

“ Would you give me the estimate of the cost including the biopsy?” I asked.

“ I don’t know. I can tell you after you sign the consent.”

After the consent? Then I won’t be able to cancel it even if I don’t like the price, would I?

I said, “ I am wondering if I should ask for the surgery from the dentist who did the implant. “

Then he said, “ He is not an oral surgeon, but a regular dentist, isn’t he? “

Yes, he is, but he did a great job with putting the implant in me.

Maybe the oral surgeon has an excellent skill, but I didn’t like that he didn’t contact me for more than three weeks after he scared me. I didn’t like how he communicated with me. I can’t trust him. I cancelled the appointment on the 23rd, and decided to ask the original dentist to treat the problem.

Good News for Triple Negative & Hormone Positive Breast Cancer

The following news is not directly for me who has a HER2 + Breast cancer. Yet, it is still encouraging.

1. Vaccine for Triple Negative Breast Cancer
Mayo Clinic found a target protein of triple negative cancer. Because scientists could not find targets to attack by chemo until now, triple negative was the most difficult type of breast cancer. Yet, this can be a turning point! The clinical trial of the vaccine will begin this spring.

2. New Drug for Estrogen Positive Breast Cancer was Approved
The name of the drug is Librance. In the clinical trial the Progression Free Survival rate of a combination of this drug and Femara was 20.2 months, while Femara alone was 10.2 months. FDA approved Librance two months earlier than the scheduled.

Curing cancer 100% is still a dream, but the medicine is progressing every day. I pray that the victory will come soon!

He Cut the Throat

If I said so, it sounds so scary, but on the 18th, George and I got up at 4am and went to Fontana Kaiser driving about 90 minutes on freeways for his vocal cord surgery.

Vocal cords have two flaps and they make sounds by opening and closing. Since about three years ago, however, George’s one of those flaps has paralyzed and his voice became weak and raspy.

Up till now his doctor has shot materials in the vocal cord’s gap, which has not closed because of the paralyzed flap, from the mouth using a catheter.

The material is absorbed eventually into surrounded tissues, so he has been repeating this procedure from time to time. Yet last October it didn’t work, and even December when he tried again, it didn’t work, either.

So this time the doctor suggested the different surgery, in which he opened the throat and implanted silicon to push the paralyzed flap to close the gap.

It took about two hours.  Around 11:30am, the doctor came to see me at the waiting area, and told me that everything looked fine, showing some pictures of the vocal cords, which closed perfectly.

After waiting another hour, I finally saw George.   About 3 inch incision in front of his neck looked painful reminding me a victim of ISIS, who was beheaded, but his pain and nausea were under the control and he could even talk with a weak tiny voice.

Despite an assumption of the same day surgery, the doctor ordered him to stay over a night.  I stayed with him until around 6 pm, and came back home.

Perhaps because it was a long day, wearing the shoes all day and I even took a walk in the huge hospital property while the surgery was done, I started feeling uncomfortable and pain under the feet as though there were some small rocks in the shoes, towards the end of the day, and when I got home, I discovered two blisters on the back of the foot.  This is a symptom of hand-foot syndrome, a side effect of Xeloda, a chemo drug I started two weeks ago.

Following the information I read on the line, I soaked my feet in cold water after the shower, applied moisture cream, wore moisture socks, and took vitamin B6.  I have to drive up to Fontana again to pick up George.  I hope this took care of the blisters and they will vanish tomorrow morning!

 

The Body of Christ

I woke up with sore throat, cough, and headache this morning. This is not good. Just one long day made me sick? I can’t help thinking that my immune system became so weak after five years of chemo.

Today I am supposed to pick up George, go to teach piano, and volunteer at a homeless shelter at night, and tomorrow I will have an oral surgery removing a teeth implant. The blisters on the sole are still there and hurting, also.

The night before George’s surgery, at the Bible study, everyone made a circle holding hands, and prayed for him. Then several people offered me help if I would need. I should rest for tomorrow’s surgery. Instead of pushing myself, I should humbly ask someone to pick up George. So I called a member of the Bible study, who is in his 70’s.

It was before 8am. The wife, who was also diagnosed with HER2 positive breast cancer, and started chemo last Christmas season, answered the phone. She immediately understood my situation and switched to her husband.
“ I am so glad that you called me. I am happy to pick up George. “ He delightedly accepted my request.

As I called another member of the Bible Study as well as of the volunteer team to cancel the volunteering at the shelter, she said, “ If you could not get anyone else to get George, I would truly be fine with forgoing my workshop and driving George. Truly!”

The words that I am sick spread quickly and then I received several offers of foods from multiple Bible study members, too. Since George’s lay off became official, the Bible class is getting united more and more, but today I feel their kindness so deep to my core. God is alive!

“Love your neighbors as yourself.”
“ You are the body of Christ.”

They, who are applying what they learned from the study through George, are truly brothers and sisters in Christ. We are becoming the body of Christ. It is so beautiful and encouraging!

Oral Surgery is over with the Newest High Tech

After George’s vocal cord surgery, it was my turn to have an oral surgery removing a teeth implant.

Although I chose the dentist, who had done the implant that other dentists or a specialist I consulted had said was difficult to do seven years ago, over the oral surgeon, I was nervous as I thought that he was not an oral surgeon as the oral surgeon told me, and not young like the oral surgeon, and also he has a bad eye; what if I coughs, mucus comes down my throat, or muscle cramps happen during the surgery?

Then as though he had known my concerns, when I arrived at his office, he said, “ I’d like to show you something. “ and introduced me to a device, which looked like a rice cooker.
“This is a newest technique called L-PRF (Leukocyte-Platelet Rich Fibrion) therapy, FDA approved last year. We will take a small sample of your blood and from that, this machine will makes a white cell clot. I will place it in your bone after I remove the implant, and then this concentrated antibody will fight against the infection, and help the bone heal quickly.”
He explained to me, and added with a victorious grin, “I don’t know if the oral surgeon knows this technique.”

I had no clue if the oral surgeon knew it or not, but became excited and felt better.

Next, he, who is a Seventh Day Adventist, said, “ Let’s start with a prayer.” As he, his wife as his assistant, and I put our hands together and closed eyes, he prayed, “ Please give me the skill and allow me to treat well. “
Now I was no more nervous but got the peace and confidence!

During the surgery, the leg cramps happened as I was afraid of and I had to stand up and step around, but the two hour surgery was done removing the implant, collecting the specimen, and placing the white cell clot in the treated area.
Now I need to wait to see if the newest high tech will work and heal me or not. GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME!