We have great news! It’s working!! The leukemia is now not detectable in the blood or the brain. Wow, God, thank you. Thank you!

Dave still must have a bone marrow biopsy next week and he needs to continue doing the chemo twice a week for now, but it’s WORKING and we have more time! More time to enjoy life. More time to work on getting stronger. More time to serve God and share with others what it’s like to have a real and personal relationship with Him – in the good times and the bad. More time!!!!

Dave is such an anomaly to these doctors. So many of the things that have happened (both good and bad) have been things these doctors have never seen. Today the doctor again reiterated that she hasn’t seen, hasn’t heard of, and can’t find a person in the literature that has survived leukemia-free for 18 months after relapse in the brain. And now after this second relapse, God is giving us the gift of even more time. 

We have no idea what the future will bring, but we rejoice in the blessing of this wonderful gift. Will it be one month, one year, ten years? Don’t know! Our prayer is that in all of this, God will help us to get better at living with peace and joy and fullness in each and every day that He gives us. Even in the really terrible days. There are days where we have succeeded, and there are days where we have failed miserably at finding joy. So much to learn.

We hope you will celebrate with us today in God’s goodness, grace, and mercy. Go hug someone right now and tell them, “Every day is precious. Don’t waste it!”

God’s Got This.

God’s Still Got This. 

God will always, always, always have this.

And God’s got your stuff, too, if you will give it to Him.

The Stoeckleins 

 

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“You are the most resilient man I have ever known.” That’s what one of Dave’s doctors said to him yesterday. This doctor has been with us during the craziness of our journey – the pain, weakness, and extreme setbacks. This doctor has seen Dave work his way back to strength after being pushed to the brink of despair. Leukemia, chemo, stem cell transplant, relapse, chemo again, spinal cord damage, relapse again, and now chemo again. Ugh.

It’s true. The resilience in this man, the perseverance in the face of discouragement and suffering, are truly inspiring. The road we are on is scary. We have no idea what is going to happen. But Dave continues to push beyond the ugliness. If God chooses to give us more time (which we are begging him for every day), Dave will work his way back to strength, he will continue to work on walking again, and we will make the most of every single day.

At this point, we travel to Cedars two or three times a week. Most of those days are really long. There are so many tests – MRIs, blood work, x-rays, bone marrow biopsies, just to mention a few. And then there’s chemo. Ugly.

We don’t have any definitive answers yet as to whether the chemo is working this time, but some of the symptoms like headaches and disequilibrium are diminishing. That’s a good sign. We are hopeful. We will continue to be hopeful.

Where does this resilience come from? Well, it’s just who Dave is. Character in the face of hardship lived out in real life. But more importantly, it’s because of the foundation he has built his life on. Dave depends on God’s faithfulness and strength every day. He looks daily to the profound truths found in the Bible. He knows God is with him in all of this, even the really horrible things.

“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord Almighty. Zechariah 4:6

Please keep praying for Dave! He needs every prayer for healing, strength, and encouragement.

Thank you!

Carol

 

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We have had long days of chemo. Last Friday was a 14-hour day at Cedars and today will probably be about ten hours. The reaction to the chemo is harsh. When we know that a chemo day is coming, when we are driving to the hospital, when we are waiting for the inevitable, we do our best to keep things positive and focus on God’s goodness and mercy. We talk about other things and wait patiently for God’s plan to be accomplished. We are praying through it all that God uses the chemo (or any other means He chooses) to chase the leukemia cells away. Right now, this is what we must do. We completely believe that God can use whatever means He chooses.

On the days between chemo treatments, Dave does his best to get out of bed for short stints of time, but his body is completely whacked. He is saving his energy for loving on those grandbabies and hanging out with his kids. They are his best medicine and they bring life and laughter to his days. His mind and his heart are constantly thinking about and praying for the church, the work of God at IHC, and the people there that he loves so much. He is very hopeful to be back with you soon.

It’s pretty bad when we are sitting right next to each other, but we’re communicating through text or email. Ha! That’s what happened with us today. (Admit it, you’ve done it, too!) I didn’t see his email until halfway thru the chemo treatment when Dave’s body was suffering from uncontrollable shaking and extreme nausea. I looked down at my phone and saw his email to me. Here’s what it said:

For we have no power to face this vast army (cancer) that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you. This is what the Lord says to you: “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army (cancer). For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” 2 Chronicles 20:12, 15

That’s where Dave’s heart and mind are at today in the midst of this treatment, doing battle with this leukemia with the power of God. I believe that is a stronger and more powerful message than he could ever give on a Sunday in church. In the middle of the fight for his life, where we don’t know what to do and we have no power, Dave is keeping his eyes on God and His power. The battle is God’s and we don’t have to be afraid or discouraged.

Let Dave’s message speak strongly into your life circumstance today. I know there are others who need that perspective in their life right now. You may not be battling leukemia, but if you are in the middle of a battle of any kind, we encourage you to turn to God. It may be a relational struggle that is hurtful and overwhelming. It may be a battle with addiction that is so powerful that you are tempted to give up. It may be the fear of financial devastation. Whatever your vast army is today, we challenge you to apply that verse in 2 Chronicles. Don’t try to face the battle on your own. Let the battle be God’s and live in a way that He can do His work. Live with Him and for Him, surrendering your life in obedience to Him so that He can fight the battle.

That’s what we are living and learning today.

We love you and appreciate all of your prayers. We will move forward in the power of God’s healing because of your prayers. Thank you! 

Carol Stoecklein

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