Thursday, February 28, 2013

Day Pass

Sandra has been given a day pass for tomorrow, Friday March 1. This will be her first time home in 51 days! I think we are all feeling a sense of excitement but trepidation at the same time. A wheel chair taxi has been arranged.

We want to make sure no one drives to Mission during the day only to find out Sandra isn't there. It is Sandra's wish to have a quiet time at home.

Please pray for Sandra and the family. This will be an emotional visit for all of us.

Psalm 130:5 " I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope."

--written by Ardie

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Nathan and I ran into Sandra's hospice doctor in the elevator today. She felt Sandra was settling in well at Christine Morrison Hospice and seemed to like it there. It is a very friendly, supportive community which has been good for Sandra and the family.

Sandra has been a part of many amazing communities. It is so beautiful for Sandra to receive emails and notes of encouragement from all over parts of North America, The Netherlands, and even Australia. I began to list today some of the communities Sandra's been a part of:

- Born in Ocean Park, BC Sandra grew up in the Langley/Surrey church and school communities. She had a visitor from that community today!
- Sandra first left home as a young adult to attend Dordt College in Iowa. She became a part of 2 different apartment communities there. They called themselves the Spiderweb and Koinonia. The Koinonia women together sent flowers this week in addition to their emails.
- As a new college graduate and certified teacher, Sandra moved to the community of Woodstock, Ontario. She made some wonderful, lasting friendships there. Those friends have been very faithful in their support.
- Then there's the community in Lacombe, Alberta where Sandra taught for many years. They walked alongside Sandra in her first battle with cancer in 1984 and continue to show an outpouring of love so many years later.
- More than 20 years ago, Sandra moved to Abbotsford to begin teaching at Abbotsford Christian School (ACS). Watch for a blog later on the amazing ACS community.
- Sandra's church community in Abbotsford has also been great--she had 5 visitors from church today. Many women from her church stepped up and stayed nights with Sandra this past year when we as family needed a break.
- An online support group for women with breast cancer continues to support Sandra even though she has been absent from their weekly time together since early January.

It doesn't matter what community you know Sandra from--whether it was included above or not. (I know I've missed some and apologize profusely!) She knows you and loves you! The notes on the blog, the emails of encouragement are loved and well received by Sandra. Please keep them coming at

Since it's not possible to thank everyone, please accept this verse as our thanks.
"The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace." (Numbers 6:24-26)

P.S. Keep the monkey name suggestions coming. There have been so many good ones. Watch for a blog posting soon about how the naming is going.

--written by Ardie

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunshine, Rainbows and Monkeys

Friday was a rainy, miserable day weather wise. Yet, just before Sandra moved, the sun popped out and shone into Sandra's room at the hospital. On the way to Christine Morrison Hospice, while Nathan rode with Sandra in the hospital transport vehicle, Audrey and I traveled behind. We saw a beautiful rainbow pop out over the mountains. Once in Sandra's room, the sun poked it's head out from behind the clouds again. It seemed like the sunshine and rainbow were signs and promises that this move was being blessed by God's hand.

When we arrived at Christine Morrison, we were given a tour. We smelled cookies baking in the oven. After getting Sandra settled, one of the volunteers brought a plate of fresh out of the oven chocolate chip cookies to Sandra's room. We all indulged--even Sandra! She hasn't had a sweet treat like that (especially not anything with chocolate) since well before Christmas. It stayed down and she indulged again since then. They are freshly baked every day for residents and visitors. Sandra favorite thing so far is working on a puzzle in one of the living rooms.

A new companion was awaiting Sandra's arrival, producing a smile and hug from Sandra.

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But we need a name for this roommate. We would like your help in naming the monkey! Please submit your suggestions through comments on the blog or via email to Sandra loves every note and comment!

--written by Ardie

Friday, February 22, 2013

Moving Day

Today Sandra is moving to the Christine Morrison Hospice in Mission around 3 pm. We only had a short notice today, but some of God's daily little miracles were happening last night already preparing Sandra for this move. She had a nurse last night who often works at both the Langley and Mission hospices who was able to answer a lot of Sandra's questions relieving some of the apprehension about the move.

I will update sometime this weekend to let you know how the move went.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Waiting Room

Sandra has spent a lot of time in waiting rooms over the years of her battles with cancer. Sometimes those waiting times were restful with a book to read, knitting to do or Sudoku puzzles to complete. Other times those waiting rooms have been places of anxiety before a test or procedure.

We found out today that Sandra is first on the waiting list for the move to hospice. Sandra's still in a waiting room so to speak. The earth is like a waiting room of sorts where we only get a glimpse of the splendor of God. If you think of the beauty of the waiting room God created for us, imagine what the full glory of God will be like after our time on earth?

Thanks to a parent of Sandra's students who snapped this beautiful picture of Mt. Baker on her drive home from school. This picture and the verse she added have been a great encouragement to Sandra. We hope it is for you as well. We are so blessed to live in this beautiful corner of the waiting room!

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Picture by Tracey Tuin (posted here with permission)

--blog update written by Ardie

Monday, February 18, 2013


I continue to be amazed at the timeliness of encouragement, comments, prayers and verses for Sandra placed on this blog or sent through email. Thank you so much, and keep it coming! (

This morning Sandra received an email that said, "There is absolutely nothing to fear about tomorrow; for God is already there." Sandra paraphrased that to say, "God is already in tomorrow because there is no time with God. He's already there." Little did we know that within hours Sandra would need that reassurance.

Big changes are happening. Today Sandra's IV was removed because she's doing so well with eating and drinking again after that setback last week. She hasn't been without an IV attachment for over a month. What freedom to have one less attachment to the body. In fact she's doing so well, she doesn't need to be hospitalized much longer. Yeah! However, Sandra is still not strong enough to go home and needs a lot of care from her surgery. After the meetings with the family and the Palliative Care team, the decision has been made to move Sandra to hospice in Mission. We don't know exactly when that will happen, but it probably will happen this week. (I will let you know when the move is made.) Sandra really wants to go home. Just because she is moving to hospice, doesn't mean that can't happen yet. Right now, we all agree that hospice is the place to provide the best care at this time with the ongoing medical needs.

Please pray for peace for Sandra and assurance that as she faces uncertainty about tomorrow, she can rest in the God who is already there.

--written by Ardie

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Crooked Paths

Yesterday morning was a good one. Sandra had a good night of sleep the night before, she was able to have the compression machine hooked to her legs removed, and she was sitting up and looking forward to continued variety of foods. But then early afternoon, she started vomiting again. We had a family meeting with her doctor and learned that the progression of the cancer is going to be like that. Up and down, day by day and moment by moment. We made such great strides earlier this week only to have a set back. Sandra's had to say "See you later," to solid foods again. This path of dealing with cancer is a crooked one--never straight and easy.

Today Sandra is getting one of her nephrostomy tubes changed. It has not been working a while--another crooked path of intermittent struggle because of the cancer. That reminds me of one of my favorite chapters in the Bible, Isaiah 40. Verses 4-5 say: "Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it."

Thanks for your prayers, comments and emails. They are very much appreciated and the love has been felt!

--written by Ardie

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Two Sides to Every Coin

There are 2 sides to taking antibiotics--the good in that it takes away the infection. The powerful drugs Sandra has been getting are working. Her infections are getting better. The other side to antibiotics are the effect they have on the digestive system. Sandra has struggled a lot with that in the past year and is starting to feel some of the more unpleasant side effects again. In spite of that, she has been sitting up the past few days for a while each day and progressed past jello to a bigger variety of foods. Soups and soft sandwiches, puddings and yogurt are on the menu now.

With that in mind, I want to share with you specific prayer requests again. We really appreciate everyone's support and prayers for Sandra and the rest of the family. Today's requests are:

- Praise for the progress in healing of the infections!
- For relief from the side effects of antibiotics.
- For wisdom and clarity in meetings Sandra and the family this week with doctors and social workers to determine future care.

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers. Keep the comments and emails of encouragement coming to Sandra at:

--written by Ardie

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Lemon Jello

On Thursday, a room "happened" (the words of the doctors) to open up on the Tertiary/Palliative care ward. We would call it another one of God's little miracles. Sandra was transferred there because the surgical ward wasn't able to handle all of her complications. Unfortunately she has developed 2 infections in the past 48 hours. One is in her blood. It did respond well over night to the heavy duty antibiotics she was given.

Sandra has always been a picky eater. The many chemo drugs she's had over the years have taken a toll on her taste buds. Sometimes her tastes change. She has gone from loving apple juice to not wanting it and back again. Water often tasted terrible to her. She hasn't liked chocolate for a long time now. (Can you imagine?) Sandra really wanted to eat again, so the surgery was performed this past Monday. On Thursday, her NG tube came out (yeah!) and she was able to have liquids. Her first taste after surgery was lemon jello. She loved it and ate it with gusto. Today she was served it again, and didn't eat it. Personally, lemon jello would not be my first request after a couple of weeks of not eating. I guess the hospital cafeteria hasn't wavered from lemon, green and orange jello. Bleh! She is liking water now and eschewing apple juice. No matter how fickle our taste buds, we have a faithful God whose taste in his love for us never wavers.

Today's invitation to worship in Sandra's devotional once again was so appropriate. "Praise be to The Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death." (Psalm 68:19,20)

--written by Ardie

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Taste and See...

Today's devotion passage was Psalm 34, Sandra's favorite! Verse 8 says, "Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him." What a reminder that we can experience God fully with all of our senses. How appropriate as the goal of the surgery was to allow Sandra to eat again.

Even though Sandra can't eat yet--healing of the bowels has to occur first, we are hoping she can in a few more days. She had a fair bit of pain this morning. She is also still very sleepy from all of the pain medication and anesthesia. The plan right now is for the NG tube to come out in a day or two and then once the doctors are assured the bowels are working she can start with liquids a day or two after that. Still just ice chips and the TPN are sustaining her.

Even though the surgery went better than expected, the surgeon did find a lot of cancer in the back lower abdomen that she was not able to remove. We know the cancer is there and is fast growing. Sandra still remains at risk for complications from surgery as well. Her temperature was slightly elevated today.

Today's prayer from Sandra's devotion was just what we needed to pray. (Another one of God's little miracles!)

"Providing God, I easily doubt that you will provide whatever I need for body and soul, and I can't imagine how the adversity you send my way could be turned to good. Help me to let go of my need to control and instead entrust my life and future to your care."
(from Seeking God's Face, by Phil Reinders)

--written by Ardie

Monday, February 4, 2013

With Thankful Hearts

I am thankful to report that the surgery went better than even the surgeon anticipated. Sandra will be in recovery tonight yet a while before being transferred to a room.

Just before going into surgery, Sandra and I recited some verses from memory. One of the verses Sandra recited was, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6) We recited Psalm 23 together and many other verses from the Psalms as well as Romans 8:28. Of course Psalm 27 and 34 were in that list!

I know without a doubt that your prayers today were felt by Sandra and all of us as family. I have been at Sandra's side before major surgeries, dozens of procedures, blood draws, etc. I have never seen her as calm as she was tonight. We all felt the prayers of God's people today from all over the world. Thank you all and praise be to God!

--written by Ardie


Sandra just went into surgery about 40 minutes ago. There was an emergency C-section that bumped her surgery time to much later, but she was still able to go in tonight. The family prayed with her right before she went in and she felt very much at peace.

Please pray for continued peace and rest throughout the surgery and following.


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Penciled In

Sandra is on the surgery schedule for Monday to remove the bowel obstruction. She is penciled in so to speak. That means that while her surgery is planned, she could get bumped from the list because:
- A new x-ray on Monday could reveal new fluid in her lungs that would have to be drained again.
- Sandra's scheduled for the end of the day, so any emergency surgeries could take precedence over her.

Surgery appears to be the last medical intervention that can happen for Sandra. She is a fighter and wants the surgery. In the wise words of Sandra's dad and sister, we won't stop praying for a miracle, and neither will we stop praying "Thy will be done".

God's will is never penciled in. He writes in ink and we know that His plans are exactly what we need.

--written by Ardie