Loving Louise – Beginning Chemo

Louise shaved headI’ve entitled these updates about Louise and her battle with cancer ‘Loving Louise’ to help our church family and others praying for her know better how to love and help Louise as she deals with cancer.

Aggressive treatment

Louise began chemo last Monday.  She is taking a powerful once-a-week oral treatment, two weeks on, one week off.  She will be evaluated after this first round to see if she is tolerating the drug and if it is helping.  The doctors want to be aggressive with her treatment so surgery is a possibility if the chemo seems to have no effect.

There goes the hair!

Last week Louise shaved her head in anticipation of the hair loss she was told was “98% sure” would happen.  Imagine her delight when three ladies from the church chose to shave their heads with her in a gesture of solidarity and support for all Louise is going through.  They even had a head-shaving party of sorts where they sang hymns and quoted scriptures and thanked God for His goodness.

Smells and nausea

What is Louise experiencing right now?  As pastor mentioned on Sunday, Louise is very sensitive to smells.  We can show her love by avoiding scented lotions, cologne, and grooming products when we know we’ll be around her.  Garlic breath, chewing gum scents, coffee breath, and most other strong smells can also evoke the gag reflex.  Louise has little to no appetite and is having trouble keeping down the miniscule portions she can eat.  Let’s not add to her troubles by carelessly triggering this problem with strong odors.

Louise is also sleeping a great deal, and when she is awake finds she is weak and unable to tend to regular household tasks.  She has been blessed by friends and family helping with cooking and cleaning.

Keep the notes of encouragement coming!

Many of you have called her and sent cards, text messages or facebook notes.  Louise is grateful for them all but is not always able to individually thank you for each expression.  Don’t take it personally if she is unable to acknowledge your note.  It’s a blessing to do things like this as unto the Lord without expecting any recognition for it.

Currently dealing with…

Louise’s dizziness makes it hard to lie down and get up without help.  Going up or down the stairs can be a major victory in her day.  She appreciates your continued prayers as she battles dizziness, fatigue, nausea, and weakness.

Struggling to always be thankful

Even the strongest Christian can struggle to always be thankful in difficult circumstances.  Louise is so utterly transparent in her reactions to what God has allowed in her life.  She has moments when she pours her heart out to God, telling Him she wants to be thankful in this trial, but not knowing how to.  She mentioned she has begun to understand more clearly that this cancer, as with all diseases, is a result of a sin-cursed world.

The gift of life

Louise was born very prematurely – about 4-1/2 months into her mother’s pregnancy.  Her family was told that if she survived, she would be a vegetable.  Not only did she survive, she thrived.  Those of you who have met Louise know she is intelligent, vibrant, and personable.  Though visually impaired, Louise is an eager reader, and allows very little to slow her down or discourage her.  Her take on this battle with cancer?  “I was supposed to die or be a vegetable at birth.  God has given me 29 wonderful years thus far, and I am so thankful for that gift.  I know that God is allowing this current struggle with cancer for my good and His glory.”

Praying and helping

So, dear church family, there are still many unknowns as Louise and Brian wage this battle against cancer.  Please continue to pray for wisdom, healing, effective treatment, strength, courage, decrease in nausea, and energy.  Keep the cards, notes, calls and other expressions of love coming.  If Louise is unable to chat with you because she is too weak, she’ll let you know.  If you want to help with meals or cleaning or errands, check with Michelle P and she will let you know what is needed and when.

Loving Louise: When a Friend Has Just Been Diagnosed with Cancer

A dear Christian sister???????????????????????????????

A dear sister in Christ from our church, a young woman in her 20’s, has just been diagnosed with cancer.  This post was originally written for our church family but Louise has given me permission to share this here in hopes that it may be helpful to others.

Diagnosed with cancer

We are all impacted by the latest news about our dear sister, Louise. After miscarrying three babies this year, she now has been diagnosed with stage three bladder cancer. This news has caused us all great sadness to the point that some of us struggle to engage in our daily obligations as we wrestle with the reality of this burden. And we find ourselves asking why. Why are such terrible tragedies and burdens laid on one person, a person who wholeheartedly loves God and seeks to honor Him in every area of her life?

We may never know why

Could I encourage you, dear brothers and sisters, to lay this burden at the feet of our dear Savior? The reality is that we may never know why. God ordains all events for our good and His glory, even when we cannot understand the purpose.

Messages from the book of Job

Most of you know that Pastor Bud has been preaching Sunday evenings on the book of Job. When he began no one was aware of Louise’s cancer. God directed him to begin this series and Louise has expressed how listening to these messages has helped her. Maybe they will also help you as you consider Louise’s situation. You can access these messages at www.sermonaudio.com/lightaudio.

How can we help?

Louise begins her treatments today. How can we, as her church family, help during these days of treatment? Let me offer some suggestions:


Be praying for Brian and Louise each time God brings them to mind. Pray that the treatment will be effective. Pray that Louise would be spared from any nasty side effects. Pray that she will maintain her strength so she can have the treatments. Pray that Louise will have such a wonderful testimony in all of this that people will be drawn to Christ through her radiant testimony. Pray that she will continually find her encouragement and strength in the Lord her God.


We can also be doing things to help. I will check with them, but things people in her situation usually need are meals, housekeeping, money for parking, transportation, people to stay with her during treatment, and notes of encouragement along the way.

Be Sensitive

As Louise begins treatment she may become very weak and not feel up to chatting with any of us. We need to take direction from her in the matter of personal visits and phone chats. We need to respect her privacy about details of her condition or treatment she may not wish to share with everyone.

This Impacts others

We need to remember this impacts Brian every bit as much as it impacts Louise. What godly husband does not wish to ‘fix’ things and make them easier for his wife? In this matter Brian has to watch as his wife endures a treatment which may bring its own set of difficulties. Pray for Brian to continue to have godly responses to his wife’s suffering.

Let God use this in your life

So, dear church family, please allow God to use this to draw us closer together. Allow this to soften any hardened place in your heart as you cry out in prayer to Him for Louise’s situation. Praise God for His goodness and trust in Him through this time of suffering.

We serve a great and loving God, One Who loves Louise more than we can ever love her. “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”

Bearing One Another’s Burdens

Bear One Another's BurdensDay of Prayer

Saturday we’re having a day of prayer at the church. This provides an opportunity for the church family to set aside distractions, meet together, and pray for each other and for the needs of our church.

If you do not have other obligations, please try to come, if even for part of the time.  Shy about praying? Come and join in as others pray.

Bear Your Own Burdens

Last week’s post brought up some questions about what it means for a church family to share the burdens and blessings of its members.  How do we bear one another’s burdens and show compassion for the body of Christ we have been placed in?

Bearing burdens does mean that you dump your worries, concerns and problems onto someone else and expect him to fix everything for you.  Galatians 6:5 reminds us that ‘every man shall bear his own burden.’

Remember, God allows troubles to either correct us or to teach us. He promises He will not give us more than we can bear. (1 Corinthians 10:13) and promises that these things are to glorify God and cause Christian growth in the believer. (2 Corinthians 4:17.)

Bear One Another’s Burdens

But we are also instructed to bear one another’s burdens. (Galatians 6:2) There are times when we are so overwhelmed by heartache, sadness, grief, disappointment, or fear that we need others to pray with us as we go through a trial.  God wants us to ‘rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.’  (Romans 12:15)  People do not know to pray for you if you do not let them know that you need prayer.

We have many first generation Christians in our church.  A number of them have been saved for only a few months and are excited to learn about Christ and godly living.  These dear brothers and sisters live their joys and trials in front of us.  If someone is having a rough week their burden is shared with the church family so we can all join in and pray with them.

Our pastors encourage a transparency which is both refreshing and challenging.  If I am struggling with something in my life and share that with others, won’t that case them to be discouraged?  I kind of had that idea for a long time.  If you are in leadership, you should appear as if you have it all together, regardless of any struggles you may be having.

Without Me Ye Can Do Nothing

How does that model dependency on Christ?  It doesn’t!  If others cannot see that leaders as well as the average church attender must depend totally on Christ, we are not pointing people in the right direction.  Christ tells us in John 15:5, “Without me ye can do nothing.”  Nothing.   Not one thing.

How to Connect with the Church Family

So what’s involved in bearing one another’s burdens?

Get to know one another.  Come to church.  Come to prayer meeting.  Invite people over or out for coffee.  Participate in special meetings, studies, and events sponsored by the church.  Take a few moments to talk with people after church.  We’re not typically going to meet someone and have them immediately pour out their burdens for us to share.  It takes a bit of time and effort to connect to people in the church.

If you are prevented from regularly attending church, ask for the church prayer sheet.  Contact one of the pastors and ask for your requests to be included on the weekly prayer sheet.   Make this a reciprocal ministry – you ask others to pray for your burdens, and you pray for theirs.  Make sure you understand enough to know who and what you are praying for.  Ask for updates when you see that person.  (If it’s something too personal just ask for an unspoken prayer request to be remembered – God knows what it is!)

Praying throughout the Day

Some people make lists and divide requests so some are prayed for each day.  Others pray for urgent matters of health and safety and others may remember requests as God brings a person or situation to mind.  When I am unable to sleep at night I often ask God if there is someone specific He wants me to pray for.  I pray as I drive along in the car or as I’m busy with mundane chores at home.  It’s not an exact science – we just need to be talking with God throughout the day.

So as we refine this process of showing compassion to each other by bearing one another’s burdens, let’s ask God to help us model our dependency on Christ as by praying for the needs of others as we ask them to pray for us.