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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Warm-up the toaster!

Okay, I seriously doubt the folks at MD Anderson call their multi-million dollar Tru-Beam radiation machine a toaster, but that is exactly what I intend for it to do tomorrow to the tumor that has decided to take-up residence on my nerve root. It is high time for this tumor to get fried like no other. And, I hope that's exactly what my lovely warriors have been praying for as well.

I have to admit, this is a first for me. I am composing this blog with my left hand on my iPhone while laying down in the back of our minivan en route to Houston. So fair warning - this could be a total disaster.

I apologize I have not updated the blog sooner. It truly has been so difficult to be in the constant pain I have been in along with the constant rotation of narcotics to even think about composing anything that makes sense. I am so excited about the prospect of being able to sit-up without wincing pain.

Thanks to your many, many prayers and a faithful God, the stage hass been set tomorrow for the death of more evil in my body. Along with this answered prayer, my insurance has approved the procedure without a hitch! I finally got smart and started working with my BCBS caseworker. Sweet Jane Anne took care of every detail for me, and we didn't have one hicc-up. Praise the Lord!


10:55am - Appt with a pain management doc

2:30pm - Stereotactic radiation to the tumor near my T6


-- My post-op appointment concerning my calf resection went very well. My incision is healing beautifully, and I am very close to walking without crutches. Please continue to pray for total healing of my calf and the ability to fully weight bear on my foot when I take a stride.

-- Pray for an encouraging appointment with the MDA pain management doctor. We realize the pain I am experiencing will not be instantaneously relieved by radiation. It may take several weeks. Pray for wisdom for the doc to know what to prescribe for me that would allow me to function during the day and also alleviate the pain.  Throughout this journey, I have been very concerned about long-term damage to my organs. The hydrocodone I take every four hours has acetaminophen in it which is very hard on my liver. I would love to be able to ease up on that medication.

-- Please lift-up Dr. Brown and his entire staff as they perform the stereotactic radiation sequence. I never want to take for granted that this just works. I want to trust God completely with every high-powered beam that is blasted into my tumor. Pray for no short-term or long-term side effects. Pray for total death to this tumor and any other cancer cell that thinks it wants to take host on or near my spine.

-- Pray for my ability to lay very still for over an hour in a very uncomfortable position with my hands above my head.

-- We had our first full week of IV infusions at home. There were several hiccups along the way, but we have some brilliant friends who are helping us with great grace. The learning curve to my holistic therapy is quite overwhelming but with God's grace and lots of laughter, we are making it through.  Continue to lift us up, especially my mom, who helps me with the therapy. My infusions take about five hours a day, so we are also trying to adjust to a lot of time connected to a bag.

-- Since my diet is very restrictive, we are struggling, once again, to help me gain weight. At my doctor's appointment this week, I tipped the scales at 115 lbs. I never dreamed that my weight would be the reverse of my height, which is 5'11". Of course, since I am in constant pain, I have no appetite. Please pray I will stop looking like a member of a concentration camp very soon. I hate looking & feeling so weak & frail.

In closing, I wanted to share a very encouraging devotional from my mom about faith defined. The last couple of months, my faith has been under fire. With constant pain, I question God's hand in this. Doubts creep in as I examine all my body has been through - is healing really possible with this wicked disease? As we commit ourselves to a very aggressive & expensive holistic therapy, I question if we chose the right path. Faith is a constant struggle. 

As this devotional reminds me, faith is never to be placed in the circumstance but the One who controls the circumstance. Lord, help us all to trust you with whatever you are allowing us to face. Remind us you are our ever-faithful, always loving, never-changing God. And help us glorify Your name as we learn to trust You more.


"In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 1:6-7 NASB)

How do we express our faith? We express our love for Christ through worship, missions, tithing, learning more about Him through Bible study and church attendance, but how do you express faith? Our greatest expressions of our faith come when we face uncertainty.

If asked, “Do you have faith?” I am sure you would respond “definitely!” How would your friends, coworkers and neighbors respond if asked how they had seen you express your faith? Uncertainty allows us the opportunity to live out our faith. Daily, sometimes even moment-by-moment trusting God fully and openly. Marriage troubles, unsolvable or long-term illnesses, problems with our children, caring for our aging parents, financial difficulties, and unforeseeable circumstances that bring us to our knees knowing there is not a thing that we can do to fix our circumstances. Not knowing what will happen or what we will face next, we look towards heaven and say, “Lord, I know you have this under control, so I rest in your love and wisdom.”

It has become my opinion that our struggles are our opportunities to glorify God most. Our heavenly director calling out “ACTION!” Sure, people see you each day, some even watch who you’re with, how you drive or spend your time or money, but when hardships come you have the opportunity to show friends and family, neighbors and strangers, coworkers and your community what a mighty God we love and trust. It is faith defined – walking the talk.

When uncertainty tries to take over my thoughts, I go back to what I know and what I want to show. God is my Creator and the author of my days. He is wisdom, and He has a perfect plan for my life to lead me to His glory. He loves me more than I can understand. That is all I need to know. I do not need to know what will happen tomorrow or how things will turn out. I do not need to know what, when, why or how – I just need to know God. My prayer for you today is that you would know God – know that He loves you more than you can understand and know that He has things all under control – just trust Him.

Kathy Branzell


  1. Remembering you in my heart and prayers today and always ~ (((HUGS))) from McAlester

  2. Wow! What a testimony. Praying that this procedure will relieve your pain and that you will be able to do some of the things you would like to do. Praying for your sweet family as they go through this with you.

  3. Kelsey, Tim and I are praying for you! I can relate somewhat to your pain. I have been in chronic pain since 1988. I understand how hideous it can be! May God grant you relief from that torture! The devotion you shared brought tears to my eyes. You are in the Father's everlasting arms! He IS in control and loves and cares for you. We will continue to lift you up in prayer! Love Tim and Melody Hofferber