Conductive

Do you know what graphene is . . . ? Neither did I.

It is the most conductive material on the earth. Discovered in 2004, graphene is nicknamed the “miracle material”.

“Imagine a material mined from the earth that is stronger than steel, harder than diamonds but as flexible and transparent as saran wrap, with a higher intrinsic mobility than silicon, 100 times more conductive than Copper and comes “packaged” as a thin sheet only 1 atom thick that you can actually see with the naked eye and form into any shape you want. This is Graphene, a form of Graphite being hailed as the miracle material and is breaking through historical scientific limits changing the way we live.”
-http://energizerresources.com/graphite/about-graphene.html

Graphene is the thinnest and most conductive material known to man.

I loved the use of the term “miracle material”. When I read about this it made me think of how we are called to be conductors of Christ. We are called to be vessels carrying Christ love to a lost world.

Am I graphene, the most conductive material in the world? Do I allow Christ to flow through me to others? Or am I more like rubber? Soaking up what Christ would like to do for me and others.

Unfortunately, many times I find myself trying to take control of a situation myself, insulating or even blocking Christ. . . being more like rubber.

Yesterday (June 11, 2013), I saw my wife Jasmin as a beautiful example of miracle material. In the wake of having both of her breasts removed, she was so still in the middle of the storm around her.

That does not mean we both did not cry about what was about to happen and could not help but think of what things might be like in the future. However; in spite of this, Jasmin had a peace about her that conducted Jesus’ love and joy right through her and on to the world. It was an awesome experience. God is so good.

We arrived at the hospital, checked in, and then waited. You know, the usual start to a medical related activity.

On a side note. . .Why is it that no matter what time you show up at the hospital, they are behind? How can you be behind at 6:00 in the morning?

Anyhow, Jasmin’s two sisters, Jennifer and Julianna and her mother Beth met up with us in the waiting area. We were sporting the “just beat it” t-shirts in honor of Jaz.

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A little background on a procedure performed on Jasmin back in October. . .

Before chemotherapy began, a radiologist inserted a metal pin the size of a pinhead into the tumor in Jasmin’s breast. The purpose was to help the doctors locate the specific area where the cancerous tissue should be removed.

Fast-forward to the day of the surgery.

Jasmin’s surgeon sent her to an imaging center where several mammograms were performed to help locate the pin. Once it was located, the radiologist inserted a wire into the breast where the metal pin was located. The wire acted as an arrow to allow for the doctors to observe the location of the pin. The surgeons job is then to remove the pin along with a clear margin of surrounding tissue.

The pin location process took longer than expected. Jasmin arrived back from radiology to a team of doctors and nurses waiting on her. . . a little ironic. Before she went back, Jasmin asked the reconstruction surgeon, who is a Christian, to pray for her. What a powerful moment to see a surgeon praying over his patient, his nurses and staff and himself.

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There were two surgeons performing the surgery. One had the job of removing the breasts (cancer surgeon) and the other was there to begin to reconstruct new ones (reconstruction surgeon).

The cancer surgeon began his work and had a challenge in front of him. Under normal circumstances, women have a layer of fat between their breast tissue and their skin. The fat layer allows some wiggle room for not damaging the skin when removing breast tissue. As Jasmin’s surgeon put it, there was no fat to work with. There were times when the breast tissue was almost directly touching the skin. In those cases, it made it difficult not to damage the skin but still remove the breast tissue. They took their time and did a great job. Praise God!

One concern heading into the surgery was that the tumor may have breached the chest wall and into the pectoral muscle. The physicians would have had to remove muscle tissue in this scenario. However, it turned out that there was no such invasion into the muscle.

During the surgery, there was some internal dialogue in the operating room as to whether or not Jasmin is a marathon runner due to her body shape. When the reconstruction surgeon was sharing this story with us, Jasmin’s response was, “no, but I probably do a pretty good 5-K when I am shopping at Target.”

That’s my girl :)

Surgeons completed the double mastectomy in a little under two hours and the reconstruction took about the same amount of time.

Those four hours in the waiting area felt like F-O-R-E-V-E-R. I was not so much scared as I was sad. I prayed, read, worked on the blog and checked emails. Nothing seemed to make the time go by quickly.

They removed both breasts and several lymph nodes. She now has tissue expanders in her chest. If all goes well, she will have one more surgery in 3-5 months and the tissue expanders will be replaced by implants.

I will try to write more about the actual reconstruction process in the future.

The removed lymph nodes were sent off to a lab for testing. If the results show no observed cancerous activity in those nodes, Jasmin will not need any radiation treatments. If there is evidence of current or past existence of cancerous cellular activity in the lymph nodes then she will go through radiation treatments on her chest.

Most of the time, radiation after mastectomy is not necessary; however, when the patient is young or the cancer is aggressive, sometimes you have to do both mastectomy and radiation. The test results will be back on Friday and will let us know what comes next.

The Lord willing, Jasmin will be out of the hospital on Thursday. She is very sore and in a lot of pain. However, she is in high spirits and glad to have this behind her. There is such a peace about her. Thank you Jesus.

She is a champ.

FYI, Morphine can cause itching and blurred vision. Jasmin came out of surgery and was itching all over. It seemed that no matter how many times she hit the Morphine button, the itching would not go away. So for all who are reading this, take note. . . taking more Morphine does not take away the itchy side effects of. . . more Morphine.

So now, I am sitting in the room and Jasmin is sleeping well for the first time in two days. I am so grateful for God’s provision of wonderful Doctors, nurses and other medical staff. I am grateful for our wonderful church family and pastors whose prayer, presence and support means so much. Thank you Lord for your provision.

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Hopefully, I will be able to update you soon on the results of the lymph node testing.

Before I sign off, I would like to mention a true blessing we experienced this past Sunday. Jasmin and I had an opportunity to jump (not step) outside of our comfort zones. Jasmin was asked to give the testimony of her journey with cancer at our church in New Braunfels, Oakwood. In an effort to be more like graphene and less like rubber, she and I spoke of the walk that began in October. I have included a link below to the service if you would like to watch it:

http://www.oakwoodnb.org/obc_stream_last.html

Please be in prayer for the following:

  • Lab results that show no traces of cancerous activity in the removed lymph nodes
  • Speedy recovery and no infections for Jasmin
  • Protection and peace for our children in their understanding of what is happening to their mommy
  • Intervention with my work while I am away and multiplied time when I return
  • Praise that Jasmin is out of surgery and on to the next chapter
  • Continued praise for our HEALTHY baby girl Hadassah who was Jasmin’s constant companion through her first 12 weeks of chemo
  • Glorification of our Lord Jesus Christ through this trial

I would like to leave you with the following scripture. . . it really hit home!

1 Peter 1: 3-9
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Thank you friends for your continued prayers and support. Thank you for your texts, messages on Facebook, voicemails and visits. We love you so much.

God bless.

21 thoughts on “Conductive

  1. i will continue to pray and am so incredibly in awe of the amazing family that you are. God has blessed you both in so many ways. Please let her know that the Merz, Marcum and Van Horn families are praying for a fast recovery. Love you all.

  2. Simply beautiful, Jeff. Your words and love for your wife and family inspire me. You all are in my thoughts and prayers. Mayra

  3. Jasmin, continued prayers are being sent your way. Jeff, thank you so much for the update. That means so much! Love to you and your precious family!

  4. My husband and I were truly blessed to hear your testimony Sunday night. And I was especially glad to say a quick hello and hug from Jasmine–plus we got to sneak peaks at each others precious newbies!

    You all are certainly glorifying The Lord in each step you take together. What an amazing example for your children and our community.

    Prayer for continued healing continue, as well as praise for all He has done and continues to do.

    Love to you all,
    Natalie (Drake) Downing

  5. Hey Jaz! This is Amber from Christian Academy. I just heard and I am praying for you girl, I know so many amazing women that have overcome breast cancer. Jesus loves you!

  6. Jasmin, you have been continuously in our thoughts and prayers. I praise God for your strong testimony of faith. I am confident you are leading many others to the Lord by your walk through this very very difficult trial. I Praise God that I know he will see you through and that he will shore you up daily through the remaining battles you have. It breaks my heart to hear all of what you are enduring, but I Praise God along with you for the good and the bad and pray that He will continue to give you peace, mercy and grace through the storm. You have glorified him daily and I know He is with you and saying look at my beautiful child who is glorifying me in the storm. I also praise God that he has given you Jeff to hold you up and continue to point you to the Lord. What an amazing couple you both are. Please know we are standing in the gap and believing alongside you. All our love,

    Anne and Eddie

  7. Jasmin & Jeff, Praise to God that she has come thru surgery and is doing well. God has placed you both on my mind several times in the last few days. We will continue to pray for healing and health. Jeff, thank you for taking the time to update us on her condition. You both have been shining examples throughout this journey. Much love to you both and your children.

  8. What a blessing Jeff! You are such an amazing example of God’s light shining through you and your family. We will continue to pray for all of you as always! Lots of love and blessings. Xoxo

    Your big sister Chris

  9. Just finished reading your updates and want to let you know that all of you have been on my mind and in my prayers. I strongly believe in miracles and in the mysterious ways of our Lord. All your strength in this chapter of your journey together is from LOVE–it truly does endure all things .

  10. Beautiful, beautiful words from a great husband and father. Bless your sweet family and prayers will continue always!

  11. This is such a love story, Jeff, and you’re writing captures everything so well that though I’ve never even met Jasmine, I feel like I know her. She is my sister in Christ and I will continue praying for her. What an awesome picture of human strength and love. Thank you for sharing the details, and you guys have my prayers. –Lacey

  12. Lots of love and prayers for your sweet family!
    God really is so good, and what a blessing you all are to share this with us all!

  13. Very touching – Prayers are sent your way – Your faith inspires, your strength encourages – thank you for sharing and may God grace you through this!

    God Bless,
    Sandy Small

  14. J & J & J(Jesus): loved your explanation of “graphene.”.BUT there is an additional analogy to be sought out here…Graphene may be stronger than steel, and harder than diamonds…but NOTHING surpasses the LOVE a Mother possesses for her child! Looking at those photos, my heart was heavy…but yet joyful. Jeff, you possess so many treasures in your Godly wife. Most men search their whole lifetimes for a wife such as Jasmine. What a beautiful and holy woman! You are blessed way beyond your ability to grasp what you have in her. And then to boot your beautiful children. In life, you will discover that is all that really matters, a job…a house,,,a car,,,a bank account…that all comes and goes. But a Godly husband and wife can withstand the shaking of the earth. And that is what you and Jasmine, combined with your strong Faith are doing. You are continually in my thoughts and prayers, and most especially Jasmine! Happy Father’s Day! Love, Mother