Ways They Have Not Known

I’m sitting in this plastic recliner at the hospital right now, watching the Packers hang in there against the Patriots as Susan sleeps in the bed beside me.  There’s nowhere else I’d rather be than wherever she is, and if that means we have to be here, then that’s okay.  (I wish we were on a beach in St Thomas instead, but this will do for now)

Susan had a really great afternoon – the most alert and energetic she’s been since probably Wednesday.  She got a blood transfusion last night, which is a shot of energy.  But she also got to see the kids today – the first time in one long week – and it was a really good visit.  Both for her and the kids.  I had a great conversation (well, I think it was great – time will tell) with the kids about how she’s doing.  It was difficult but necessary, and it definitely opened the communication lines up for more conversations.  It’s a hard line to walk – be honest with your kids, or try and protect them?  As parents I think we walk this line often, but with certain things, attempting to shield them too much starts to feel dishonest.  Because they know.  More than you think they know.  And I am hoping/betting/praying that at the end of the day, honesty is better than pretending things are better than they are.

So we had an honest conversation today about where Susan is, how she’s feeling, what’s going on, and what the visit would be like.  They asked me questions, which I tried to answer as well as I could.  As for the visit, they did great.  Susan was sitting up and ready for them, and they spent a lot of time writing notes to each other, giving hugs and kisses, and telling mommy all about their week.  (Writing notes because it’s so hard for her to talk right now).  Thanks for praying for our time, I know that so many of you were, and I could especially sense that during my talk with the kids and the visit.

She sees the radiation oncologist tomorrow to begin radiating the brain (she’ll continue getting it on her back)  They believe the tumor is impacting two nerves, that control swallowing and vocal chords.  He emphasized that it was no guarantee, but that she could see improvement swallowing and breathing with this.  He wants to do 10-14 rounds (1 per day) and see if they can see some improvement.  That’s the main thing on the docket tomorrow, as far as we know.

A friend of ours (hi Gillian!) shared this passage with me today, from Isaiah 42:16:

“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness to light before them and make the rough places smooth.  These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”

Our journey with Susan’s cancer began almost three years ago, and it has been a path with a lot of twists, turns, and blind spots.  We do feel, especially recently, that we are walking down “ways we have not known”.  There is a lot of darkness on the path we’re on, we do feel blind, and there are steps in front of us that we do not want to take.  It is unfamiliar territory.  It’s comforting, though, to know that God promises to us his leadership, his guidance, his light, and his presence.  Susan is holding onto these promises, and so am I.

More to come tomorrow.  Much love to you all.



13 Responses to “Ways They Have Not Known”

  1. Curtis Martin Says:

    Jerel–thanks so much for the update–taking the time–we have been praying–and talking to our boys about your journey along the unfamilar paths. We are thinking and praying for you all- In Him-Curtis & family

  2. Mama Henley Says:

    Praise God for a sweet visit with the children. I join you in praying that the radiation will be effective! Love to all of you.

  3. jill Says:

    Thankful w/ you – that your sweet family had a good visit. Praying the children will rejoice and hope in God their Savior today – about their mom, about all.

  4. Rick Says:

    Your faith and strength are truly incredible. I’m not sure what else to say except my prayers are for you and your wonderful family. It is wonderful that the family was able to spend time together on Sunday.

  5. Kristin Brown Says:

    thank you for these posts- david and the kids and I talk about what you are going through, we pray for you guys, and we talk about the way God is with us when life is scary and hard. it was like a little gift to read that the visit went well for susan and the kids.

  6. Adam Olmstead (CSD teacher) Says:

    We are there for you along this journey. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you. I know that this special day was great for the whole family!

  7. Kenny Taylor Says:

    Jerel – you and Susan and your kids are in our thoughts and prayers. May God’s grace in Christ continue to sustain you brother.

  8. Susan Watts Says:


    I have just prayed for all of you. Thank you for sharing your families journey. I know we are told to enter the Throne Room bolding. People all over are doing just that for you.


  9. Harlan Proctor Says:

    Jerel, I just wanted to let you know that we are praying for you and Susan and your wonderful children. Thank you for the updates and remember that we are here for you and your family.

  10. Mona Dooley Says:

    Thank you for the update, please know that your family is so loved. Praying Ps. 91 that on this journey you can …”rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” and 2 Cor 5:16a Therefore we do not lose heart…
    Praying for strength and healing. Love from Mona and Joe Dooley

  11. Scott J Says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  12. Addison Ayer Says:

    My husband Rand and I are good friends of Brian & Dianne. We just wanted to let you know that your whole family remains in our thoughts and prayers. Your courage and faith and love for each other are inspirational.
    Addison Ayer

  13. Mike @ Lake Norman Says:

    Your story touched me. I lost my dear wife of 18 years to breast cancer 6 years ago. The challenges you are going through and the ups and downs sound almost identical to what we dealt with. In the end she was strong and determined to be home on Christmas eve for our 3 daughters. The doctors wanted to admit her Christmas eve but she refused and told them she would be back the next day. She had a huge burst of energy that night and we stayed up until 2:00 am putting together a trampoline that our girls still use almost daily and just reminiscing about our past Christmases together. She had a lot of fluid on her lungs so she went to NC Baptist hospital on Dec. 25th and passed away on Jan 8, 2004. Your wife is very lucky to have you there for her and your children. Good Luck to you on this journey. My family will be praying for you and yours.

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