Lana Elder

I'm believin'!

Lana’s Hope

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the title of my blog, “I’m Believin’!”

I picked that title because I had so many people praying for me and I would always agree in prayer with them and end by saying “I’m believin’!” I really do believe God can do anything, absolutely anything.

I have believed in God for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until after college that I decided to really get to know Him better. I joined a Bible study and found a great church to join. And through it all I have come to know Jesus as the savior of my sins, my healer, my friend, my everything! My relationship with Him has grown over the years so much so that I trust He is helping me to help me make the best decisions each day.

So being in a situation like this, where death could happen at any time, I have no worries for myself if that happens. I’ve spent so much time with Jesus already that it’ll be like going home to see my friend.

I love to take walks in the country and many times I’ll listen to some worship songs or contemporary Christian music or podcasts. During these times, I’m often overwhelmed with how much God loves me. I’ve been memorizing Scripture and listening to great worship songs for over 25 years.  The words to these songs and so many scriptures are embedded deep in my heart. So when cancer came, I didn’t question God’s love for me. I already knew He loved me to pieces, just like I know He loves you to pieces.

But lately I’ve been wondering what people will think if I were to die from this cancer. I wonder if people would lose their faith in God or lose their faith in His ability to heal people miraculously. I would be so sad and disappointed if anyone lost their faith, or part of their faith, if I’m not healed.

I pray often for my children and others reading this that their faith would not be shaken if I were to die, but that they would know that God is in control and is always looking out for what’s best in each person’s life. I am quite confident that He who began a good work in me will carry it on until completion.

My faith isn’t dependent on whether I’m healed or not. My faith is dependent upon the fact that Jesus died for my sins so I could spend eternity with Him in heaven and I know God loves me and will work all things for good in the end.

I’m sure the early disciples, who were martyred for their faith, prayed that God would deliver them. And many times, God did deliver them. But other times God had a plan to use their suffering and death to bring about the salvation of many people. God really does have a will for each of our lives that is unique and purposeful.

I have great hope that God can heal me, but my hope is in Him completely no matter what. I know I can’t go wrong by putting my hope in Him. As Psalm 25:3 says:

“No one whose hope is in You
    
     will ever be put to shame…”

Having said all of that, I’m still praying that God would heal me completely, and I’d love for you to continue praying for my healing, too. My appointment yesterday showed my blood levels were too low to receive any chemo. So I will be having a blood transfusion tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon at 3:00 pm. Please pray that my platelets will also come up. Right now they are at 30,000 but they need to at least double or triple before they can continue with any treatments. And lastly and most importantly (at least for my body) please pray for my bones because they seem to be giving me the most pain. Some new pain medications have helped but the pain is still there. BTW, I’m starting to get feeling in my left thumb and left foot again, since switching to this new chemo. Praise God and thanks for your prayers! They are a little numb but I can tell they are on the way to recovery.

Before I close, I wanted to share a link with you to a new video Eric recently did for a film project called Nouvelle Vie (New Life) to give hope to families facing cancer. This video was filmed a few months ago when Eric was in Dallas, but we just found out you can watch it online. I was surprised when I saw the title they gave it. It’s called “Eric’s Hope.” I had no idea what they were going to call it when I first started writing this note to you and titled it “Lana’s Hope.” It’s like God had it all planned out, to share a message of hope with you today from both of us! Here’s the link to the video (just to warn you, you may want to get a Kleenex first!)

As you can tell from the video, my life has been so blessed to be married to Eric. It’s like being married to Jesus (I’m not kidding!) He’s the rock in our family and he’s been a super caretaker these last few months. He’s kind, tender-hearted, and just a great godly man.

There’s so much I have to be thankful for in life, from my great husband and my wonderful kids, to the friends and family like you all that have been so gracious in your care for me and in your prayers.

I love you all!
Lana

39 Comments »

Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!

Hi, this is Eric with a quick update on Lana.  We had a great trip out west, taking Makari out to college in California, and visiting family and friends along the way.  You can see a photo album of our great adventure by clicking here.

But during the last week of our trip, Lana started battling some intense bone pain.  So since we’ve been back, she’s been going through a number of tests.  So far, it looks like the tumors in her breast, liver and lungs have stayed relatively stable, but it looks like the cancer in her bones has progressed significantly.  They’re still waiting on the results of one more test, but at this point, their plan is to start her on a stronger chemotherapy starting today (Friday, the 5th) at 8:30 a.m.

Lana’s been a trooper through all of this.  She wanted to update you herself, but she’s getting some rest now for the chemo that she might be starting later this morning.  She wanted me to tell you that she keeps thinking of the verses in Ezekiel where Ezekiel spoke to the dead bones and they came back to life.  She wanted to ask you to pray that her bones would come back to life, too!  Here’s what happened to the bones that Ezekiel spoke to:

The hand of the Lord was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “O Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”

Then He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

Then He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

Hallelujah!  God gave this insight to Ezekiel so He could restore hope to the people.  They had been saying, “Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.”  But their hope wasn’t gone.  They could still trust in God to fulfill His promises.  Please pray that Lana’s bones will be restored,too, and that God will give us, and the doctors, the wisdom we need to know exactly what to do next.

Lana also wanted me to tell you thanks so much for carrying her through this time.  She’s been reminded frequently of the verse in Galatians 6:2 that says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”  She and I are both so thankful that you would help bear our burdens with us, especially at this time.

With much love,
Eric and Lana

31 Comments »

California, Here I Come!

Hi from Montana!  We’ve just arrived at Eric’s sister’s house tonight on our way to California.  We’re taking our daughter Makari to start school there next week.  We’ve had a great trip so far seeing a horse auction and Mount Rushmore and of course, Wall Drug, where everyone seems to stop on their way out west.

Thanks for praying for me. My hemoglobin came up enough on its own that I didn’t have to have a blood transfusion before we left.  But it was still low enough that they recommended I take a shot of aranesp to increase the red blood cells. I’ve also recently been having a lot of bone pain, so I’ve been taking some stronger pain medication, which  causes nausea, so I was taking anti-nausea medicine (which causes… just kidding… actually I’m not just kidding but you know how that goes.). All to say, please send up some prayers for healing in my bones.  The last three days have actually been a lot better.  But during this painful episode I really had to fight the battle in my mind, thinking “Is this going to get worse? Should I really be going on this trip to California?  Are my bones going to break? Is the pain from the cancer or from the bone treatment, which also causes pain?  If I keep taking the pain medication, will I become addicted to it?” At times like this I really have to stay focused on the Word of God.  God’s Word, the Bible, has really helped me get through all of this.  I have an app on my phone from YouVersion.com that has the whole Bible on it in many different versions.  I love it because I can read it while waiting at the doctor’s offices, or waiting to pick up the kids at an event, or lying in bed contemplating my situation.  God’s Word always gives me hope.  During this recent painful episode, I was reading from Ephesians 6:10, reminding myself I’m in a battle and I need to keep my battle gear ready.  It says:

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” (Ephesians 6:10-18 NIV84)

So I spend a lot of time praying.  Thankfully I have been feeling a lot better and decided to go on the trip.  I haven’t had to take the stronger pain medication for a couple days now, just ibuprofen from time to time.  I’m so thankful, but would still appreciate your prayers for healing from this bone pain.

Thank you too for praying for the blisters on my feet.  While my feet are still sensitive, the blisters are gone, and I’m more aware now when the chemo builds and I need to be more careful.

I also wanted to update you about my hair, just as an advance warning if you haven’t seen me recently.  It’s turned silvery-white in the last couple months.  I guess all the brown fell out and left just the gray.  When I look in the mirror, I have to look twice because I don’t recognize myself! I am starting to see some short dark hair grow back in.  Anyway, in case you see me, feel free to say, “Oh, my gosh, I can’t believe how gray your hair is!” I won’t be offended, because I can’t believe it either!  I’ve posted a picture Eric took of us in Wall, South Dakota last night, just to break in the new look.

Lana and kids in Wall, SD

That’s my update for now.  We’re here in Montana for a few days and then head west to California.  I’m glad I’m not traveling in a covered wagon on this trip, but still appreciate your prayers for my bones to remain strong, my hemoglobin to keep increasing, and the sensitivity in my hands and feet to subside.  (As long as I’m asking for prayer, you can also prayer for my left thumb which has gone numb from this chemo.  Thanks for letting me be super specific with you!  It’s just that I keep seeing God answer when I ask you to pray!)

Love to you all and a big “Thank you!” for helping me to fight this battle.

35 Comments »

Great News!

Dear friends,

I have great news to tell you this week! The latest test results show that ALL the tumors are shrinking. Praise God! I know this is a direct result of your prayers. Thank you for praying and believing with me for my healing. The CT scan showed that even the tumor in my lung shrank from 2.3 x 2.2 cm to 1.8 x 1.1 cm. I was so happy to find out it is getting smaller. On the previous scans, the tumor in my lung had been continuing to grow, even while the others were shrinking, so this is great news. The primary tumor in my breast has shrunk to just 5 mm, having started at 1.5 cm. All of this means the chemo pills that I am taking, as well as your prayers, are working to shrink the tumors. Thank you Jesus!

I will be adding this story to the many other stories I have of Jesus working in my life. It makes me think of the last line in John 21:25 that says, “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” That is so true. Jesus has done so many incredible things in my life and in the lives of so many people since He walked on this earth. If we wrote down every story we would be reading testimony after testimony of how good He is! If Jesus has done something in your life, I want to encourage you to write it down and share it with someone. When you do, it really honors God, and it can really help others, too.

I’m feeling so much better than two months ago when I was still on the other chemo agent. Back then I couldn’t move my right arm, my heart rate was steadily increasing to the 120’s and 130’s and I was having shooting pains in my legs all throughout the day. They weren’t sure if these issues were related to the chemo or the disease. But since I’ve switched chemo agents (from Taxol to Xeloda), I can now fully move my right arm, my heart rate is now in the 80’s and 90’s, and I’m only having one or two pains in my legs each day now, if at all. The doctor thinks it must have been the chemo that was affecting my nervous system and this new chemo is less toxic to my nerves. Whatever the reason, I’m praising God for His answer to our prayers and His wisdom for us and the doctors.

While I’m feeling better, my blood work (and my frequent desire to take naps) indicates that I’m slightly anemic. I would love your prayers for my hemoglobin to increase, preferably before I have to have another blood transfusion. And although this new chemo is less toxic to my nerves it still has some side effects, like sensitive hands and feet and numbness in my fingers. But overall, I’m feeling so much better than a couple months ago and I’m planning on taking a road trip with my family to California to take my daughter to college. I wouldn’t have even considered doing this two months ago when I was on the other chemo, so I’m thankful to God for your prayers that they found a chemo that is working and still allows me to do the things that are important to me. Please pray too that we are able to make the trip and that it is safe and fun for our whole family.

Thanks again for your continued prayers and encouragement. It makes this road so much easier to travel.

25 Comments »

Always Pray and Never Give Up

Dear sweet friends,

God is so faithful to hear your prayers (and mine!). I am feeling much better since the blood transfusion. Thank you so much for praying. My shoulder continues to work fine and I have more energy and strength. I continue to take the oral chemo (one week on the medication and one week off) and my body seems to tolerate it much better than the first chemo. One of the side effects of this new chemo, though, is sensitive hands and feet. And this morning after my usual daily walk, my feet started getting  painful blisters on them. 😦 Please pray for quick healing so I can walk pain-free again. The good news about this is that hopefully that means the chemo is doing its work of killing the cancer cells, too.  We’ll find out more near the end of next month (after having been on this new chemo 2 months), as they will do some tests again (CT’s and bone scans) to see if this chemo is effective. Please continue to pray that this chemo is working and eliminating any tumors or trace of cancer in my body.

My sister-in-law sent me an article recently about some research on a possible cure for triple negative breast cancer. I’ll post the article here for those who are interested in reading about it. I was encouraged by the article but also at the thought that your prayers are causing a cure to be found. I do believe your prayers are helping to bring the healing that my body needs, as well as a cure for this type of cancer in the future, so thank you again for praying. I also want to encourage you to keep praying for whatever you’re needing prayer for in your life as well. Jesus encouraged His disciples with a story telling them to always pray and not give up. It’s found in Luke 18:1-8:

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’”

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Jesus used this story to encourage His disciples to keep praying and never give up, saying that even an uncaring judge would hear and answer their plea if they persisted in asking. It’s not that we need to keep knocking on God’s door to get Him to answer, but just think what He would do for you if you continued to ask for something, since He is the best, most just, honest and caring Judge. We can trust that He will always do what’s best for us. So keep praying for whatever it is in your life you need prayer for. And if you want extra prayer, please email me. I would be glad to pray for you as well. Thank you again for your concern for me and for continuing to bring my case before THE Judge! I know He hears and will answer.

22 Comments »

Nuthin’ But The Blood

Lots of praises this week! My shoulder is better. I am able to use it again which makes me very, very happy! Praise God! I also had a CT scan done this week and it showed two of the tumors in my body had shrunk slightly! And I have some new medication to help with the pain in my legs. More praises to God! So overall, I’m improving thanks to your prayers and some medical intervention.

Here are a few things you can pray for me this week. I had blood work done yesterday and my hemoglobin came back a little low so I’m having a blood transfusion this morning.  (I’m having it now as I write). Please pray that all goes well and the new blood is just what my body needs. Also, the CT scan showed one tumor in my lungs had increased slightly. Please pray that it starts to shrink like the others. 🙂

I also want to say a big “Thank you” to those who donate blood because it is helping to save my life and the lives of many others. May the Lord bless you for your sacrifice.

As I’m laying here watching the transfusion, I just keep singing…

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!

Oh! Precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!

I’m very thankful for all that Jesus has done for me and for all of you who continue to pray for me and encourage me. May the Lord bless you as well.

29 Comments »

Renewing My Youth

Hi everyone! I wish I had better information to update you all on.  My MRI reports from last week came back inconclusive, meaning they still can’t tell why I’ve lost strength in my right shoulder.  The good news is that it’s not from a torn rotator cuff, and not a problem in my neck or my brain.  It may still just be the side effects of the first chemo agent, although they thought that would be unusual, too.  So my doctor has set up appointments this week with an orthopedic doctor for my shoulder and also with a neurologist to see if they can offer any help for the pain in my legs.

In the mean time, they’ve just started me on a new chemical agent that I take orally now. This medicine is supposed to be less toxic to the nerves, so they hope that might help with these other symptoms as well.  One of the other nice things about having an oral chemo is it saves a few hours of my time each week (instead of doing an infusion) and I may not have to go in as frequently to have my bloodwork done.  I take it for seven days straight then get seven days off (repeat).

My current prayer requests are that the doctors have wisdom in knowing what to do for my legs and shoulder and that I experience no new side effects from this new medicine. Also, I have just been having more pain throughout my body and I would like some relief without having to take lots of pain medication. One of the pain meds I tried this week made me ill, so I’m back to ibuprofen.

God continually encourages me through His word. A verse that I often meditate on is Psalm 103:1-5:

“Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

I love that it says God forgives ALL our sins and heals ALL our diseases.  I also love the idea that God can renew my youth again, as I’m going to my 30-year high school class reunion this weekend!  I’m looking forward to seeing many old friends.  Thanks for your prayers, as always.  They keep me going!

12 Comments »

Quick Update

Just a quick update. I ended up not having my chemo yesterday because of the lack of strength in my shoulder. The doctor wants to do some further testing to see if the problem in my shoulder was caused by my chemo, the cancer, or something else. So I’ll be doing some further testing next week. I feel this was an answer to our prayers as I’d like to find out what’s going on too, and I was glad to not start a new chemo agent with new side effects!

I know God hears all of our prayers. As it says in Psalm 66:19, “…but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.”

Thanks for your continued prayers!

9 Comments »

Doing A New Thing

We had a wonderful time last Friday at the Night of Praise and Feasting thanking God for all He has done in our lives. We had spectacular food and some extended time of worship. It really was wonderful. And since my appetite is back it made it even more enjoyable. 😉 A big thanks to Gary and Lucas for leading us in worshipping and to Laura for adding her talented violin playing to the mix. Thank you to all who came and to those who worshipped with us in spirit from wherever you were. I know God’s name was lifted up.

Eric mentioned that night that we have to remember to not let our past (bad) experiences influence what we believe God can do for us in the future. This reminded me of what God said in the book of Isaiah, “Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!” (Isaiah 43:18-19) That encouraged me to continue to believe for my complete healing even though I still have a few symptoms.

I ended up not doing chemo last Friday because of the pain in my legs. The pains came back even stronger with my last treatment so I was thankful to not have to do another one. We are now looking into the next chemo agent we will use, as each one has different side effects. Please pray as we meet with the doctor on Friday for wisdom to know what to do next.

Also, my latest bizarre symptom is that I’ve lost strength in my right shoulder. I can still use my hand and arm up to my elbow but I am unable to lift anything using my shoulder. So please pray that my strength comes back.

Just after our Praise and Feasting Night, we celebrated Josiah’s 14th and Bo’s 12th birthdays with a Phineas and Ferb Party. (For those not familiar with Phineas and Ferb it is a cartoon that my kids watch and is quite funny.) We had fun and it was a great way to start our “104 days of summer vacation” as well!

We also put Lucas back on a plane Tuesday to head back to school. It was great to have him home but I know he loves what he’s learning at school so I’m glad he’s back doing what he loves.

Thank you all again for your encouragement and prayers. They continue to bless and encourage me. Love, Lana

11 Comments »

Night of Praise and Feasting!

You all are THE BEST prayer team ever!! The results of my MRI’s came back showing there’s no impingement on my nerves and no fractures of my bones. YEA!! That means there is nothing pressing on the nerves to cause the pain in my legs. Unfortunately, I still have the pain, though.  I went ahead with chemo on Friday, but the pain has just gotten worse since the chemo. Thankfully, God has provided some relief in the form of Ibuprofen. But I don’t want to just mask over the pain, so if you could pray for the pain to go away or the wisdom to know what to do differently.

Ever since we had our day of prayer and fasting for my healing, we’ve wanted to have a night of praise and feasting to celebrate God’s goodness even in the midst of it. My son Lucas is home from Hillsong College, and he and one of our former worship leaders (Gary Marini, who lead worship with Lucas for our trip to Israel a few years ago) are going to lead us in a night of worship here at our house this Friday night, June 1st. I’d love for you to come join us! We’ll start the feasting about 6 pm and the worship about 7. Bring a lawn chair, or a blanket to sit on, and a dish to pass for our feast (if you want to) and  we’ll have a nice night under the stars. Just send me a note at lana@theranch.org if you’d like more details or directions. I’d love to have you…really!

I know I keep saying it, but thanks again for all your prayers and acts of kindness. I was really blown away this week by a package of cards that came in the mail from a church we attended about 20 years ago. I honestly cried just seeing what was in the package…lots of cards and and gifts from people in the church. I actually couldn’t even open any cards at first because I was so overwhelmed. When I did open them, I saw that some were from people I knew well, and others from people I’ve never met before. It immediately made me think of how the body of Christ works, and how some people are especially gifted at being able to help others in their time of need.

“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others…” (1 Corinthians 2:27).

To all of you who have prayed, and sent cards and gifts, and brought meals, and watched the kids and prayed, prayed, prayed…thanks! It means so much. Hope to see you this weekend if you can make it!

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