The Wilton’s trip to southern Ontario in February was the perfect timing to surprise Linda with more Aussie visitors. Linda is hard to keep secrets from which made it exciting and satisfying to pull it off! We’re not sure what Linda was expecting when Hadassah knocked on the door and said she had something for Linda that was too big for her to carry in… but from the delighted shock on her face we’re pretty sure she wasn’t expecting us… it was such a special moment.
7th Round of Chemo
Linda had her 7th round of chemo at the Mindemoya hospital during our stay. As the chemo infusion is underway, she can already feel the sensitivity to cold increase. The days following chemo are difficult. Linda experiences extreme fatigue, severe dry mouth, tingling fingers, cold sensitivity, pain in her back and legs, suppressed appetite, headaches… she feels unwell and really struggles emotionally. She doesn’t complain. As she picks up, she pushes herself to do more and interact with the family when she probably feels like being curled up in bed.
Winter on Manitoulin is freezing and long, allowing limited opportunities to bask in the sunshine. The chemo treatment has also heightened Linda’s sensitivity to cold, making going outside hard and not enjoyable. Linda even needs to wear gloves for getting things out of the freezer. So… to warm up Linda’s day following her 7th round of chemo, Hadassah came up with the ‘Sunshine Project’. It was so exciting to be here for it. The surprise was a huge visual reminder that hundreds of friends from around the world are thinking and praying for them all. It totally brightened up the whole family’s day. (We won’t say anything more about it since it was mentioned in the last post!)
Day to Day Life
To help Linda with her recovery, a nurse visits the two days following chemo to give her fluid. It was encouraging to see that she’s surrounded by kind and caring people on this journey. Over the three weeks we were there, Linda had numerous appointments and tests. It’s such a difficult time with conflicting messages from different Doctors, inconclusive results and more tests needed. Over the past few weeks they’ve had increasing concerns in relation to swelling on her upper back. Since her last chemo the pain in this area has gotten a lot worse. Tests are ongoing with no explanation as to why she’s getting this increasing pain. Dan and Linda are struggling with a scary and unknown future. It’s their reliance and trust in God that gets them through each day. Dan is being pulled in a million directions at once and feels unsure which way to turn first but he is doing a great job of meeting everyone’s needs, working and keeping life as normal as possible for the boys.
Manitoulin winter is very different to hot, muggy Brisbane! We had a lot of fun playing in the snow with the Wilton boys and the Styles’ children from across the road. We ice skated, built a snow man, made colourful ice bricks for an igloo, and visited a beach covered in ice and snow at Providence Bay (thanks Dass). We had snowball fights whilst snowmobiling (thank you Ethan & Zach), and enjoyed tobogganing and fireworks. We learnt lots of interesting Canadian facts, from different types of snow, to the fact that Canadian’s buy milk in a bag! And if you run out of room in the fridge you can put your left-over casserole on the back deck in the snow. One Saturday we joined Dan and the boys on a sleigh ride in the snow (thanks Aunt Mary). It was a great distraction for them and a beautiful way to see the winter wonderland. Unfortunately, Linda wasn’t up to coming out in the cold for that long but joined us at Uncle Dave and Aunt Mary’s that evening for a feast. Our last week there we also enjoyed a delicious lunch at the Anchor Inn (Little Current) with Linda and Aunt Mary.
We shared many laughs, tears, chats, foot massages, reminiscing and prayers with Dan & Linda. Our last day there we kept super busy. We made rag mats out of old t-shirts and painted wooden plaques with the words ‘The Best is Yet to Come’. Any spare minutes in between we played Phase 10.
A Spontaneous Trip to Michigan
The Thursday we left, Linda had an oncology dentist appointment and a CT scan in Sudbury. At the dentist she found out from her blood test that a part of her blood cell count was up higher than it had been previously. She immediately got excited as it could mean that going out in public places wasn’t so risky (her white blood cell count has been so low lately that she’s had to avoid large gatherings). And so Saturday saw Dan and Linda on a last-minute trip to Midland, Michigan to attend a ‘Lamb of God’ presentation they’d dreamed of going to. The performance (we hear) was AMAZING and they had a spiritually uplifting time there with Peter and Karly, giving them all a much-needed boost.
We thank God so much for the time and opportunity to visit Linda and her beautiful family, to ride the roller coaster with them for a short time and hold their hand. Please continue to pray for the whole family as they travel down this difficult road.
Praying for the time when the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in his wings.
With much love
Sarah & Tammy