Updates on Nanci Alcorn
These updates are reposted from Nanci Alcorn's CaringBridge. On that page, you can sign to receive email notifications when a new update is posted, leave comments in response, and read past updates.
December 24, 2019: A Christmas Update
Journal entry by Randy Alcorn
Their consensus was that before starting further treatment Nanci should wait two months and get another CT scan to indicate the possible progression of the spots on her lungs. Yesterday Nanci’s oncologist, who isn’t on the tumor board, expressed to Nanci, Angela and me her agreement that this is the best approach.
Because the spots are small and they are not causing any symptoms at this point (shortness of breath, pain, etc) they would like to keep her as strong and healthy for as long as possible before introducing the toxic effects of chemo to her body again.
They are also considering doing targeted radiation if only some of the spots grow. (They are currently too small for that.) This would minimize harmful side effects as well and give her body more of a chance to get stronger should further chemo be considered necessary.
This delay in starting chemo is encouraging for several reasons. First, the doctors do not believe the delay will have serious adverse effects. Second, Nanci will hopefully be able to feel better longer and increase her strength. Lord willing, she will also be able to go on a few trips she wants make that had been doubtful with impending treatment schedules.
Her next CT scan is scheduled for late February. If anything changes between now and then we will share it here on CaringBridge. Otherwise, our request continues to be that you join us in asking God for her healing, and for increased energy and strength in her daily life!
THANK YOU for your partnership in prayer. It means the world to Nanci and me and all our family.
Like many of you, Nanci and I have the joy of gathering with our precious family. On Christmas, I will pick up at the airport our oldest daughter Karina Franklin, and her husband Dan and three sons, Matthew, Jack and David. They will join Nanci and me along with our daughter Angela Stump and her husband Dan and their two sons, Jake and Ty. Nanci and I are thrilled!
No matter what troubles and distractions and weights are on you right now, we pray that you and we will experience a truly Jesus-centered Christmas. The holidays can be very tough, and they may be that for you right now. But Jesus is the one who can lift our burdens and brings us joy when our hearts are heavy. He says, “In the world you will have troubles; but be of good cheer: I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33)
“To us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” ―Isaiah 9:6
“A God who was only holy would not have come down to us in Jesus Christ. He would have simply demanded that we pull ourselves together, that we be moral and holy enough to merit a relationship with him. A deity that was an “all‐accepting God of love” would not have needed to come to Earth either. This God of the modern imagination would have just overlooked sin and evil and embraced us. Neither the God of moralism nor the God of relativism would have bothered with Christmas.” ―Tim Keller
December 7, 2019
Journal entry by Angela Stump
This means that we will be meeting with her oncologist and her original colon cancer doctor to come up with a plan, but we anticipate her starting chemo again once she's completely recovered from surgery, probably late January.
She is continuing to heal well, and is slowly feeling better each day. She's completely off pain medicine and has been sleeping better, no doubt because of your prayers! Please keep praying for continued energy and for strength--physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual--for the battle ahead.
As my dad has explained in past updates, this prognosis is not filled with hope. But this does not mean that we are not filled with hope. The "percentage of a cure" and "survival rates" do not have the power. We know the One who does. God is on the throne and the odds mean nothing to Him. So we pray with confidence, knowing that the God who created heaven and earth with simply a word is listening to us.
And yet we also pray knowing that even though He is fully capable of complete healing, our ultimate hope is not in this life. "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness." God has already had victory over death. And it's because of Jesus' death and resurrection that we have hope not just in this life, but in the life to come. "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
The attached picture is of the Bible verses I've had on my fridge ever since we suspected that my mom's cancer may have returned. These truths are an anchor for my soul.
Day by day, we will speak truth to my mom, to ourselves, to each other and to anyone else who will listen! Thank you so much for your prayers. We will keep you posted along the way, and we'll continue to take one step at a time, and trust that God will give us grace for every one of them.
No Place Like Home
Journal entry by Angela Stump — November 30, 2019
There’s no place like home! Mom was able to be discharged early and is doing really well. In fact, today was her birthday and she was able to eat her traditional famous chocolate log birthday cake while sitting in her very own recliner.
Please continue to pray that her body heals well from this surgery and that she can get good rest (sleeping at night has been a little difficult).
She and my dad are so encouraged by your well wishes, your support and especially your prayers. Thank you dear friends!
Out of surgery
Journal entry by Angela Stump — November 26, 2019
Family and friends, thank you so much for praying for my mom today! She is out of surgery and still a bit groggy but she's doing well.
Her surgeon was able to remove 2 of the suspicious nodules WITHOUT removing an entire lobe of her lung! For those of you who are medically inclined--he did a wedge resection not a lobectomy :) This means that her recovery (that was expected to be 6-8 weeks) is now potentially only going to be 3-4 weeks instead.
Unfortunately the surgeon said that he is 95% certain these nodules are malignant. We were definitely aware this was likely the case, but the biopsy results will tell us for certain in about 7 days.
Most likely chemo will be the next course of action after she fully recovers from surgery, but we'll have to wait to hear from her oncologist and the surgeon managing her original colon cancer.
We deeply appreciate all your prayers. We'll continue to update you as she recovers.
November 25, 2019
Journal entry by Randy Alcorn
Thanks so much for your prayers for Nanci. She is feeling good, a real answer to prayer, and she is in good spirits! Her surgery is scheduled for 10:00 AM tomorrow, Tuesday. We are asking God for the best outcome, and are trusting in His sovereign love.
"The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him” (Psalm 28:7).
A Note From Nanci's Daughter
Journal entry by Angela Stump — November 23, 2019
Friends and family, thank you so much for your prayers for my mom! Her head cold has already improved, but please continue to pray she'll be 100% healthy for surgery on Tuesday.
I’ve had many people ask about tangible ways to care for my parents during this time, so I will update the "Ways to Help" tab on this website periodically, but I wanted to be sure to share this with you:
My mom's sister Donna will be staying with her for about a week after she's home from the hospital (starting 12/1) so she will take care of cooking for them initially, but they'll need help with meals in the following weeks. Instead of setting up a meal train, we decided it would be best for people to bring a freezer meal on any day that's convenient. That way they will have more flexibility on which nights they need/want help with dinner. I’ll be over there a lot so people can coordinate with me a time to drop food off (email@example.com).
All gift cards can be sent digitally to my email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I will keep them all organized for whenever they are needed!
Thanks again for your prayers and love for my mom and for our family. We are so very grateful.
November 21, 2019
Journal entry by Randy Alcorn
We just got back the second test results from yesterday. The good news is that the MRI shows the spot of the original cancer is still clean and there are no indications of disease. The challenging news is that the CT scan shows the nodules in Nanci’s lungs are still present, Some have remained the same size, one has grown and a new one has appeared in another lobe. This means the surgery scheduled for Tuesday, two days before Thanksgiving, is on.
We are very grateful that the cancer in her colon has not reappeared. The nodules in the lungs are not what we had hoped and prayed for, but our infinitely wise and loving God is on the throne and we trust Him. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9).
One important request, Nanci has had a head cold for five days, and while they prefer her to not have been sick for a week before surgery, they at least want to make sure she is well before the procedure. She will be calling in Monday to tell them how she feels.
We have been waiting a long time already and don’t want to delay the surgery more now that we know for sure it is necessary. So please pray that her cold would pass quickly and the surgery would happen Tuesday as scheduled.
Here are some notes Nanci shared with me from her journal:
“God is love.” 1 John 4:8 God continually gives of himself to others and seeks their benefit (ESV Study Notes).
The Father’s supreme gift of his Son sacrificed for us is itself the guarantee of his giving everything else to us which will demonstrate his love and ensure our benefit and our purposes to be filled. (Nanci’s notes on J.I. Packer’s chapter on the love of God in his book Knowing God.)
“Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?” Romans 8:32, NLT
We remain deeply grateful to God for His kindness and grace, and to you for your prayers and love. Thanks so much for walking this journey with us, precious friends.