Monthly Archives: January 2014

Blessings

You’ve just received bad news.  The cancer is growing. It hasn’t moved into new organs and there’s not really any new lymph node activity but there are two new tumors on your liver. To sum things up…the cancer is taking over the liver.  Likely outcome if they can’t find a treatment?

Liver failure.  Within months……..

How do you handle it?

Me? I think I would get angry.  I would get angry and scream out to God….”ARE YOU NOT LISTENING???  Do You not hear the prayers of thousands? Or is it that You just don’t CARE!?!?”  And then I would likely fall to my knees in repentance.  Sobbing out apologies…confessing that His ways are not my own.

And then I think I would go to bed.

I would lie in bed and it would be tough to get out of bed.

That’s how I would likely handle it.

Well that’s the news Travis received last Wednesday.

How did he handle it?

He got on a plane. Flew to Chicago. And told his story to thousands of people.

Wow. What a blessing.

When this all started, back in April, Travis told God two things.

“I won’t get mad at You for this. No matter what happens.  I won’t get angry at You.  I accept Your will for my life”

And…miraculously.  He hasn’t.  Oh he’s human.  He’s gotten grumpy.  Sad.  Grieved to the depths of his soul. But he has put his life and trust in God’s hands.

NO MATTER WHAT.

Second, he told God that, if He gave him a platform, he would use it for His glory.

And he has.  In October, he told his story and gave his testimony in front of a large group of people at a Northwestern Mutual conference.  A moving, motivational speech that touched so many that they asked him to do it again. And again.  And again.  This month he spoke in Raleigh, Tampa and, on Thursday to thousands of people, in Chicago.

In one word…the speech was…amazing.

I actually didn’t hear the speech.  How do I know it was amazing?  Here is just one example of the feedback Carrie and Travis have received because of it…

Thank you both from the bottom of my heart for sharing your story with me and my northwestern family. Please know that the impact of our time together will be something I (and many others) never forget. You’ve forever changed the lives of thousands in that room and consequently millions more through the families we touch. In the months and hopefully years ahead, you and your children will find a home in my prayers, both prayers of supplication for healing and prayers of thankfulness to my God for bringing such wonderful people into my life. 

Wow.  What a blessing.

Trav always has been a bit different.  Handled things a bit differently than others.  He has always been contagious. People are drawn to him.  For some reason…they have always listened to and followed Travis.

It’s one of the reasons you hear his family and closest friends say “this just has to end in a miracle.”

At this point, a miracle is the only thing that can save Travis.  He begins a new chemo regimen on Tuesday and they are looking into Y-90 – a directive radiation treatment.  But make no mistake.  The doctors do this in the hopes to give Travis more time…not to save him.

Only a miracle will do that at this point.

If he can get the doctors to agree to the Y-90 treatment in combination with the new chemo regimen…he will most likely get sick.  Very sick. And it will be a tough road for The Roberts.

And so now we have a request of you.  Below is an email from Amanda, Carrie’s sister.  So many have asked “what can we do…how can we help?” Well…now we have an answer.

You can be to The Roberts, what they have been to all of us as we have watched them travel this road…a blessing.

 
Dear Family and Friends of Travis and Carrie,
 
I want to thank you all for the prayers and the many types of support that you have given Travis and Carrie over the past nine months.  Last spring I set up a care calendar for meals for them, which so many of you contributed to.  I recently asked Carrie if they would like for me to set that up again, which she agreed to with some qualifications that I will explain.  They have recently decided to try a very strict and specific diet. Carrie and Travis have decided that it will work best if the entire family adheres to it. Pursuing this diet for the whole family is going to be like a full time job for Carrie, and while they so much would appreciate meals, they by no means expect everyone to try to figure out this diet as well! I know that so many of you would like to help out the Roberts in some way – I have received messages with appeals to help them, and I know that many of you have reached out to them with similar offers.  I talked with Carrie about a number of options that I thought would help alleviate some stress for them and give the people who love them a way to contribute to their needs.
  1. If you are a member of a CSA  (Community Supported Agriculture), and have extra organic vegetables, consider giving them to Travis and Carrie.
  2. Give them gift cards to Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s to help with the large expense of an all organic diet for the whole family. If you choose to help out in this way, but do not know how to reach the Roberts, you can mail them to their PO Box.
    1205 Johnson Ferry Rd
    Ste 136-312
    Marietta, GA 30068.
  3. If you love to prepare food and would like to bring a meal, they would welcome it if you don’t mind sticking to all organic, hormone-free lean meats and veggies as well as healthy fats such as olive oil. Please no beans, grains, potatoes, or fruits because of high carb content. I have set up the meal calendar, and Travis and Carrie will put a cooler on their front porch so that you do not need to coordinate meeting times with them, in the case that you choose to bring a meal.
    In order to sign-up to help Carrie and Travis with a meal, you will need an access code.  The HELPER logon is used by family and friends that would like to sign-up to help. To access Travis and Carrie Roberts’s personal CareCalendar site, visit http://www.carecalendar.org/logon/148576 and enter the following information in the appropriate spaces:

    CALENDAR ID : 148576
    SECURITY CODE : 1502
  4. Continue following their blog at http://concretefaith.org and pray for them daily.
With love and deep gratitude,
Amanda Pettit-Shaheen
Care Calendar Coordinator

#travsarmy

#travsarmy

An idea born out of #travongameday.

Created by Joe, Travis’ brother-in-law, it simply represented the people surrounding Travis who love him and know him. Those who would fight for him in any way possible.  But what we have since learned is that #travsarmy is so much bigger. It goes beyond the inner circle of Travis’ family and closest friends.

It stretches beyond the company he founded… The friends he grew up in church with… The caretakers who have provided for him these last few months… Past the borders of our country onto England… reaching as far as Australia.

#travsarmy is global.

Below are prayers from this army. If you have been touched by Travis and his story, I encourage you to submit a prayer to kikiganz@gmail.com. It will be published on this “prayer wall” regardless of when you read this or send it.

But know, the prayers listed below do not represent even a fraction of #travsarmy. There are so many more prayer warriors reaching out to the Father on Travis’ behalf. Silently. In the calm of their time with the Father. In the peace of their inner voice.

This. Is just a sample of…

#travsarmy.

I do not know the family personally, but I am praying to a our mighty God on behalf of this family. I am claiming Exodus 14;14, “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” – Pam J.
Dear Lord Jesus, your Word says  that the prayer of a person is effective and powerful, but Matthew 18:19 says that when two or more gather, something extraordinary happens.  We come to you, BOLDLY, asking for complete healing and restoration of health to Travis.  We know that you are the ultimate Healer, Sweet Jesus, and we come to you seeking zero–zero cancer cells in his body, as well as peace, hope, and courage as they battle this disease.  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen. – Kelly

Lord, You tell us that “You are near to the brokenhearted and save those who are crushed in spirit”.  Surround the Roberts family with Yourself, encourage their hearts, and fill then with the hope and peace that comes from you and you alone.  We bless you, Lord, and ask for the miracle than only you can give. Amen – Bonnye W.

Our Father, I am praying for my dear friends, Travis and Carrie Roberts, and their three children. I am praying for strength, for them to continue this fight. For hope that the doctors find the right treatment for Trav. For Trav to remain comfortable throughout his fight. For You, our Lord, has the power to heal. We ask these things in Jesus name. Amen – Tracy S.

Lord, please look upon Travis with eyes of mercy. May your healing hand rest upon him and your life-giving powers flow into every cell of his body, cleansing, purifying, and restoring him to soundness of health for service in your kingdom. Please also give his family your comfort and grace and fill them with your faih and love. May God bless you all. – Donna

Dear Lord, I was blown away by the scriptures I read today in Philippians 2:25-30, about an obscure person, Epaphroditus, who “was sick to the point of death, but God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me [Paul], lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.”  I immediately thought of Travis.  These scriptures encourage me to continue to pray for healing.  Thank You, Lord, that You are the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  Thank You for loving us and providing the scriptures to comfort us.  Help us not to be anxious for tomorrow but to turn our anxious thoughts into prayers so we may enjoy sweet fellowship with You and experience Your peace that passes understanding.  Please bless Carrie and Travis – wrap your arms around them and hold them close. – Beth M.

I don’t know you or your friends but I am praying as together so many are standing in the gap for them. And because. ….I believe in miracles. –Pam D.
I don’t even know Travis, but have been so inspired and captured by him and his family on this life-changing journey. I have cried and prayed for them. My prayer for them now is that they embrace “Give us this day, our daily bread.” It’s so hard for all of us to just enjoy the moment and not think about the future. Daily bread for today — it’s all that we all need. I am praying a miracle for his healing, but if that’s not in God’s plan, I pray for as much good, joyful time for their family as possible. – Debra L.
Travis, Carrie and family…I am praying for you constantly.  Even when I wake up in the middle of the night.  I read this verse today, and immediately thought of you all. Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Praying for strength and courage in the name of Jesus Christ. – Jodi R
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for all of the gifts You have given the Roberts family during these last few months – support of friends and family, strength, hope and time.  Please continue to give Carrie and Travis the strength the keep fighting, to keep going during the bad days.  Wrap Your loving comfit around them when the news is too much to bear.  Please give the Roberts children more time with their father through Your power of healing.  And above all, help us remember that Your plan is perfect and to remember to trust in You. In Jesus name we pray. – Jackie H

Dear Heavenly Father, Please Lord, lift this family up and guide their doctors to find the right treatment to cure Travis.  Take this families pain all away….from his wife, Carrie, to their children, and reaching to his friends….please take away the pain and let us celebrate the Great Physician. Let us celebrate Your healing powers as You use them on Travis, your son. Sweep Travis up and let that monster called cancer leave his body, forever more. Thank you Lord for always being there, and for always hearing us. Lord, you once spoke to me as I started my Cholangiocarcinoma Journey and said to me….”Do not be afraid, for I am right beside you.”  Please be beside Travis as he continues on this journey and let him feel the peace that you gave me, which has helped make this journey a little easier to walk. God BLESS the Robert’s Family!!Patty C.

Dear God, I humbly come to you on behalf of my dear friends Carrie, Travis and their 3 precious children.  Lord, you know their every need at this very moment.  I pray that you bless them in a way that leaves them in awe, Lord God.  God please give Carrie & Travis all the strength they need to love those children.  God please make Carrie strong and give her support to be the awesome mother and wife that she is. Gently remind her who she is is You. And Lord, I lift up Travis. YOU ARE THE GREAT PHYSICIAN.  You can do all things. Please heal Trav’s body and make him whole again.  You O Lord God can perform a miracle. Please God take away all doubt and replace it with comfort and peace in their minds. Let them know that they have so many people here that love them and support them. Please God, heal Travis. Please. I ask all this is His Holy Name. – Lori M.

2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.   Always praying for Travis, Carrie, Trey, Piper and Jake! We love your beautiful family, and our hearts are breaking as you fight the toughest fight.  May God continue to wrap his arms around your family, and we pray that he will heal Travis. We love you all! ~Christine S.

When efforts, thoughts, and treatments seem futile…pray.  God we ask for your divine intervention and that you glorify yourself through Travis’ restoration and healing.  We know that you are Sovereign and in You we place our trust, this family, and their circumstances.  We pray for Your mercy and that You show off Your might!  Lord, bring them comfort and peace that can only come from You during this time.  God, you know our prayer.  I thank you for encouraging and inspiring me through this journey that the Roberts have so boldly taken even when doubt creeps in.  Lord, we ask for Your healing, trust in Your control, and plead for Your glory to be revealed.  Thank You for blessing all of us with knowing the Roberts. Amen. – Clay O.

Almighty and Everlasting God, the eternal salvation of those who believe in You, hear us on behalf of Your servants who are sick, for whom we humbly beg the help of your mercy, so that, being restored to health, they may render thanks to you in your Church. Through Christ our Lord. Amen – Mike M.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd, the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” John 10:10,11….. Thank you Jesus for your amazing Love for Travis, Carrie, and their amazing children in that you laid down your life so that your sheep can live life abundantly. Thank you for being our Good Shepherd. We love you. Pour out your amazing Spirit over the Robert’s family. Thank you that your name is all power and your name is above all names. We come to you in your name of Jehovah Rapha and command that this cancer leave Travis and go to the foot of the Cross. Thank you Jesus! – Clay M.

We pray everyday. We love Travis and Carrie like a brother and sister. I hope they can somehow find some peace during this horrible time. It takes so much courage to fight cancer on a daily basis. We love you. – Jason M.

I have been praying and will pray harder for the Roberts. May God grace them with his power to heal and save Travis. Amen – Mike S.

Heavenly Father and Great Physician, I sit here this morning searching for the words… the thoughts… the emotions. Anything that can awaken hope. Please revive hope for my friends Travis and Carrie. Please stay close to Travis. Please stay close to this who tell his story. Give us strength. Give us time. Father, we know your will, not ours, will be done. We trust in your promise of salvation and that all things work for your good. My prayer is that Travis can continue to be a living testimony to the glory that is found in YOU. Lord, there is great comfort in knowing that you are in control. Thank You. – Clint N.

God we come to you with our love for Travis and his family to comfort them through this difficult time. Thank you for the opportunity for Travis and I to meet this week and share our testimonies of your faithfulness. We continue our prayers in believing for a miracle and it will change meaning lives in a new relationship with you. Travis light shines no matter what he is going through so we ask to make him 100% to do your work and partner with Heaven hear on this earth. I pray over Travis and everyone that reads this that we continue to show our faith in you for this healing and will except whatever you decide. We love you Lord do it in your perfect timing in Jesus Name Amen! – Kendall M.

Praying for healing, sending you peace! – Karen W.

Father, I pray you healing hand be on, over and through Travis! My your peace overwhelm them. Comfort them in all outcomes. You are in control father and thank you for the blessing of time you have given them thus far, but father I pray for complete healing for your child! Guide the doctors, guide this family as they walk down this path! Lord, have mercy! Thanks be to God! – Anonymous

Our Father,  You alone can heal. You alone can take this wretched disease and separate it from Travis as far as east is from west. You know his heart. You know how he has testified in your name. Please give him time with his precious wife and children. I do not know this very special man but the love his many friends have for him speaks for his goodness. We do beg, Dear Father. We beg for you to give Travis more time on earth. But, if you choose to take him home, please give his family the strength they’ll need to continue to live without him. Give him the strength he’ll need to say goodbye. As your son prayed, God, we also pray to please let this cup pass, but in the end, your will be done. – Judy

I come humbly before You now asking for Your powerful healing that is able to transcend any and all obstacles on behalf of Travis and Carrie Roberts. I ask as Your word teaches us to ask, for Travis to be restored to good health. I pray that this weight on the Roberts’ shoulders that is bearing down smothering them be lifted. I pray that they feel, really feel, Your presence at this time. I pray that they know that the plans You have for them are plans to prosper not to harm, plans to give them hope and a future. I pray for Your divine intervention on this family and to heal Travis. I pray all these things in Your Holy Name El Roi.
Amen. – Rhonda

Lord, as your friend Lazarus lay ill, Others remarked to you that “The one you love is ill,” People said, “see His love for him.” Today, Lord Jesus, we pray for Travis because he – the one you love – is ill. We ask you to bring your healing and peace to him and his family. Amen. – Anonymous

I pray Hebrews 4:16, which tells us to come boldly before the throne of grace to find mercy and grace to help in our time of need. He needs you now, precious Jesus.  I pray Isaiah 53:5 for you, which tells us that by His stripes we are healed!  In Psalm 77:14 I pray that you would know and receive the word that says He is the God who displays miracles. Please display your power to Travis’ body God, for Your glory!  In Deuteronomy 7:15 I claim His words for your health; “The LORD will take away from you all your sickness.” I pray for that for you on this earth.  In Jeremiah 30:17 we are told that He will restore health onto you and take away all of your wounds. Please dear Father, I pray this for Travis!  We serve a God of miracles. He is in control and I pray that you feel  His peace and love right now. I pray that He heals you 100% on this earth. – Laurie

Dear Jesus, Please help Travis and Carrie and their family. I don’t know them personally but Travis graduated with my son from Wheeler high school. I have prayed, dear Jesus, ever since I heard about Travis. I trust you in all things and I pray that Travis  and Carrie have the strength to put their trust in You. Please cure Travis so that he might be a Dad to his kids and a husband to Carrie. I believe Travis’s presence here in this world will be such a blessing to so many people. He will be your presence in this world. Please please cure him. – Betsy

Dear Lord, We just humbly, yet boldly come before you. Humbly because we deserve nothing from you. Boldly because you gave us the right to be called your children, you told us to come, and you love us more than we could ever understand. We come humbly because in this world our brother has no hope (and in reality, none of us do, it is only time, which is nothing to you), yet boldly because in You, there is no lack of hope. Lord, we acknowledge your sovereignty and your prerogative to say “no” to our requests, but we will ask boldly because of your amazing love for Travis and your family and because we want to see the name of Jesus and the power of God through the Holy Spirit glorified. Lord, we acknowledge that you do still work in the affairs of men and that it does not matter how it “looks” to you. Lord, you are greater than any disease or life itself. Lord, if you were ever going to move specifically in power, it does not matter how it looks. In fact, from our perspective, You can receive more well-deserved praise now than if You used the doctors, so Lord, we ask that You would make Your name famous to every doctor, nurse, family member, fellow patient, acquaintance or person in the hall. We ask that you would heal our brother, not for him, not just for his family, but for Your name’s sake! Lord, we seek to honor you in all we do and it is in the most precious name of Jesus that we ask. – Mark

Dear Lord,  I am praying for what is seemingly a miracle…to please heal Travis’ body from cancer. Please save him Lord.  Please surround Travis and Carrie with your presence and give them the strength and courage to continue forward. – Stacey

The Wideman 5 are praying for the Roberts family.  Wrapping you in prayer, sending our love and holding firm in faith.  May God send his peace and understanding to all.  – The Wideman Family


When In Doubt…

Doubt is sneaking in again. Enveloping me. Crowding my thoughts. Catching my breath. Disturbing my stomach causing it to jump now and then.

But…when in doubt…pray.

Travis texted me today. The news is in. The results are bad. Real bad. Trav told me his CA19-9 is now at 254,000. And then he said “I’ll see you on the other side.”

Only this time. He wasn’t joking. This time there was no smiley. This time his emotions were raw and I could tell…he is hurting.

He is doubting.

But…when in doubt…pray.

Can you blame him? Doubt is suffocating me and I am not the one dying.

There are not many other options. They will try some other chemos…but…that’s the end of any chemos that have shown to have any impact on Cholangiocarcinoma. Notice I said impact. Not cure. Nothing cures this disgusting disease. It just slows it down. Knocks it back. buys time…

And there it is again. Knocking. Nagging. Shouting. Stealing peace and comfort. Doubt.

But when in doubt….pray.

The genetic testing came back as well. Also bad. Of the million plus cancer markers (which I believe are just mutated genes) that make up Travis’ cancer, they were able to identify two. Two. Dr. Hamerick is searching the country for trials that are working on treatments for these two identified markers.

Knock knock.

It’s doubt. Again. So it’s basically impossible. Not basically. It IS impossible. Give it up. There’s just no way. Even if he finds something, in order for Travis to be cured, all markers would have to be identified and given treatment. Which obviously isn’t happening.

But when in doubt…pray.

And so it seems we are at the end of our options. There is not much left. And so. It’s knocking. Again.

But this time.

This time. I think I’ll answer.

Heavenly Father,

Forgive me for entertaining my doubt. Forgive me for forgetting that Your ways are not my own. Forgive me for rationalizing.

I humbly come before You asking…begging…for a miracle. I recognize that You and You alone can step in and choose to heal Travis. There is no doctor. No medicine. No chemo that can cure.

Only You.

Please Father, please.

Please grant his children time with their father. I beg You Father to allow Jake to not only remember his father but to know his father. May Piper have the joy of her daddy walking her down the aisle. May Trey have daddy teach him to drive race-car-no-top. May Carrie know what it is like to grow old with her life long love.

All impossible.

Completely and totally impossible. Father.

Impossible without You.

If You choose…You can heal. And so I both humbly and boldly ask You, in the name of Jesus Christ whose blood can heal all, to physically heal Travis.

In the precious name of Jesus I pray.

Amen

The Roberts are struggling. Struggling with grief. Struggling with doubt. Just struggling. And so it is our job to step in the gap and pray for them. Even when doubt creeps into our minds. We must pray.

Send me your prayers. The Roberts are deeply hurting and even doubting. To pray as a group, to encourage Travis and Carrie, to simply beg your Heavenly Father…email me your prayers to be published on a Prayer Wall on the blog – kikiganz@gmail.com

Because…when in doubt…pray.


Update from Carrie

Hi All, I just wanted to give everyone an update…

Trav is feeling so much better compared to a month ago. He has a little fatigue, anxiety, nausea… But, that is nothing in comparison to the trial. When I mention anxiety, it is because we will find out if this chemo is working in the next week. Yikes !!! Praying hard for that right now.

Dr Hamrick received Trav’s Foundation One tumor test results about a week ago. It wasn’t super exciting. There are a few tumors markers that Dr Hamrick aka Dr Rockstar is going to use to try to locate trials around the country. He truly is awesome and will do anything to fight for Trav.

We were actually really excited because we received a Christmas card from the Hamrick Family and our Docs wife wrote Trav a personal note. She told him how much Dr Hamrick talks about Trav and how much he cares about him.  We can tell that is the case when we are in the office, but it was still so nice to hear.

January is a really busy month for us. Trav is going on the road with our North Western Mutual Representative, Matt Goodwin… and they are letting me tag along:). Travis and Matt deliver an extremely moving and pretty hilarious speech to the NWM reps about how important it is for them to be persistent with their clients and to believe in the work that they do. When life throws a horrible curve ball into a persons life it is important to be prepared. Basically NWM provides life ins, disability ins, financial planning… The reps that work for NWM have really tough jobs. They have to get people to listen to them and deal with things that most people don’t want to deal with. We all have time later to deal with that junk, right?

Travis was an ins major at UGA and it still took Matt Goodwin 5 months in 2005 to get Travis to sit down and listen to him. It actually took him years to get him to buy into disability insurance, which is really important when you own your own company. Anyway, we are really thankful for Matt Goodwin. He was persistent and we appreciate that now. Not to mention the fact that everything that he promised us about his company has come to be true.

Trav and Matt are speaking at NWM Annual meetings. Last week they were in Raleigh speaking in front of a few hundred NWM reps. This week they will be in Tampa speaking in front of a similar size group and the following week will be in front of a pretty big audience in Chicago. I think about 1,500. I could never in a million years do this, but I’m always proud when I watch. They get a ton of laughs during their speech (Trav honestly abused poor Matt over the years because he always saw Matt as someone that he didn’t have time for, UNTIL he was diagnosed with cancer. Matt gets to put some pretty good jabs in on Trav during the speech. It is really funny.) and then when they get to the “cancer story” section there is not a dry eye. They do the speech on stage together and go back and forth with their story. The reps that are watching are used to hearing the same old motivational sales speech so this real life story really means a lot. We are so thankful that Travis is healthy enough to share. It is exhausting yet therapeutic to share his story.

Lastly, I have mentioned my support group CC Wives in the past but I will remind you of who they are. There are 6 ladies whose husbands have or had Cholangiocarcinoma. We are all in our 30′ or 40’s, and we created a group on Facebook. One of the wives lost her husband a few days before Christmas and that was just horrible and sickening for all of us.

Another one of the wives, Dorien, had a really cool idea. She asked all of her Cholangio family to share our personal stories and she is allowing us to be guest writers on her blog. We can tell our stories in our own way. That way her blog readers are able to hear other voices of those who have the same cancer. Great idea! Today she featured the newest member of our group of 6, Becky. Becky’s husband was just diagnosed in November but his Cholangio is really messing with him. Cholangio can present itself in many ways. This blog post gives us a glimpse into a day in her life. Please take a moment to read it if you can.

thisiswhativegotfortoday.blogspot.com

Thank you to anyone who is reading our blog. We love you all and appreciate that you are still following our story. We will not quit praying for our miracle and we thank you all for praying too!!! This week you can specifically pray that this chemo is working. We will let you know! Through it all, God is Good!


Chapters

Welcome 2014.

We welcome you with both anxiousness and anxiety.  With both joy and fear.  With “are we ready to face the next chapter?” and “thank You Lord that chapter is over!”.

For the Roberts, 2013 was simultaneously the best and worst year of their lives. It brought a lot of heartache.  But it brought a lot of joy as well. The Roberts felt more than they knew was possible in 2013.

Fear. Sorrow. Regret. Sadness. Sadness that cut to the bone and brought out grief they did not know was possible.  Days they had to remind themselves just. to. breathe.

But those weren’t the only new feelings.

Friendship. Peace. Hope. Love. Travis experienced love in 2013 he never truly experienced previously.  Love of family. Love of friends.  Love of His Savior.

Travis has had two treatments of the new chemo and the trial medications are, for the most part, out of his system.  They were brutal to say the least but the only remnants are some scaring clearing out from the rash and a bit of white fuzz in his facial hair.  They are thankful that chapter has ended.

The new chemo treatment is not too bad.  It comes with the typical side effects of chemotherapy…some nausea, headaches, fatigue and the occasional, spontaneous vomiting. But, compared to the trial…it’s a piece of cake.  They can handle this chapter for a while.  Hopefully…for a long while.  They have decided to give it a full month before checking the CA19-9 to determine its full effect.  It’s been two weeks.  They have two to go.  Hopefully, this chapter will be a long one.

The holidays were as to be expected.  They so desperately wanted to enjoy every second.  To soak in every moment.  Enjoy their children laughing as they opened their presents.  Giddy with excitement.  But it was always there.  In the back of their minds.  

Is this the last Christmas?

Will I be here next Christmas?  

Will I be doing Christmas alone next year?

Always there. Always in the back of their minds.  Unable to skip the next few chapters and read the end of the story.

And, at the turn of the New Year, the rest of us were reflecting on the passing year and making resolutions for the new year.

I will get organized.  I will lose weight.  I will start going to church.

It didn’t occur to us to wonder…

Is this my last year?

Will I see the ball drop on Times Square next year?

Will he be here to kiss me at midnight net year?

There is no looking ahead to the next chapter.

With the holidays behind us and routine setting back in we will likely forget our silly resolutions.  The gyms will clear out by February.  Churches will be less full with each passing Sunday.  Our closets will start to overflow.  But, for the Roberts, the questions that came on New Years will continue to ring fresh in their minds.  Come February…April….July…the same questions will remain as they can’t peak ahead and see how many chapters are left. 

And so there is one resolution I ask that you not forget.  One that I ask you not give up on.  One that I hope you will remember come February…April…July.  And that is simply to pray.  Pray for the Roberts and all that they deal with every day.  As they try to give their children the best and most normal life they can despite Cholangiocarcinoma.  As they try to encourage one another. As they try to just. remember. to. breathe. And, finally, pray for Travis’ complete healing. Pray for the miracle.  If you have prayed it a hundred times.  Pray it a hundred more.

Because we are unable to read ahead.  Unable to skip this chapter.  Unable to peak at the ending.