Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Reflections from Ericlee: Moving forward after the hospital

This last week has been rough - physically and emotionally and spiritually. We have cried and poured our hearts to our Lord and Savior.

On Monday, part of the tumor started to balloon out like a volcano.  By Wednesday it was black and looking angry.  Wednesday night I woke up to go to the bathroom. When I stood up in the bathroom, blood was squirting out from the the volcano that was on my hip. Dorina and my mom were able to help me bandage it up and control the bleeding, although it continued through the night. My local doctor is on vacation this week. Through a miracle, my mom was able to get me into another doctor in the same medical group. The doctor saw me at 2 p.m. Thursday and took me into emergency surgery at 5 p.m. to stop the bleeding. Apparently, a hematoma blood clot had occurred, which caused the bleeding. The surgeon was able to open that up and stop the bleeding. I had to stay in the hospital until Monday morning when my blood count was up again.

While in the hospital, words of death were spoken over me by the surgeon and oncologist. The cancer appears to have moved to different parts of my body. Surgery is too complicated to remove it. The doctors continue to prescribe these only recently-approved drugs which have many known and unknown debilitating side effects.

The difficult question was asked of me, "At what time will you stop the nutrition and go to drugs?" That time will not come. Because you see for me to switch over now would say to my God, "I do not trust the way you have led me."

We had many friends, family and even a nurse speak life into us while we were in the hospital. This is what I still believe and trust. God created an amazing body that has more than a trillion cells in it which are constantly regrowing, rebuilding, and replacing one another. This is what Dr. Max Gerson, George Malkmus (Hallelujah Acres), and many others have figured out. My plan is to continue the Gerson Therapy with this in mind. I believe that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. When I asked Jesus into my heart, it was more than just an assurance to heaven, He actually lives in me through the Holy Spirit.

I was reminded today in my "Streams in the Desert" devotions that there are three levels of faith. The first is being able to believe only when we see some sign or have some strong emotion (Gideon). The second is being able to believe without relying on a sign or a strong emotion. Finally, the third level, believes God and his Word when circumstances, emotions, appearances, people, and human reason all point the other way. My wife and I are at the crossroads today believing for a miracle.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Reflections from Ericlee: Our journey to Stanford

On Wednesday, we traveled to Stanford to get a "second opinion" about surgery from a new doctor. Dr. Reddy was more compassionate and had many options for cancer treatment to share with us. We were impressed with his staff and the welcoming atmosphere at Stanford. The option we are focusing on now is surgery. A needle biopsy will be done on the nodule in my right lung and a brain MRI before they can carry out surgery. The large mass on my hip/groin is more complicated and will be a more risky surgery. Dr. Reddy is helping to find the best surgical team to see if this would be possible. We are praying and ask you to also pray that God will give us the PEACE that transcends all understanding if surgery should be the next step while continuing the Gerson Treatment. 

Following my appointment, the next morning I read "Streams in the Desert," which is a daily devotional written by a missionary to China. Each day God uses these words to be such an encouragement to Dorina and me. The passage that resonated with me was: "Once the Lord has give us great faith, He has been known to test it with long delays." As the Gilmores wait, I hope your prayers will persevere and your faith be encouraged as you face those "Walls of Betrayal" in your own lives. Remember that God loves you more than you can imagine and He has a plan for His Kingdom that is much better and bigger than our little minds can fathom.

I have been doing a lot of reading lately due to the fact I have to stop five times a day to do the coffee enemas required by Gerson Therapy. I have chosen some inspiring books that I have wanted to read for a long time. "First" was the first book I read.  It is written by a three-time CrossFit World Champion named Rich Froning.  He is a humble man who has a great love for fitness and testing his body.  He also has a great love for Jesus.  The second book I am still reading is "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall. 

I've been reminded that when you have a true love for something it should be invigorating and joyous every time you take part in it.  It should not be dependent on money, pride, or power.  You do it because you love it!  In both of these books I have realized that when you take away the business side of things, you are left with just the love of the game, the relationship, the hobby.  I love this idea of being really good at something.  Furthermore, I love the idea of being tested in what I think I am really good at. 

My greatest loves in life are Faith, Family, and Fitness.  There are two areas in fitness that I love:  running fast and complete fitness (strength, gymnastics, endurance).  I love coaching in these areas.  The first time I was tested in my speed was my 6th grade year at the AAU Regional Meet in the 200-meter dash.  I was fast but that day I realized I was not elite.  In 2010, I was tested again in my overall fitness, and failed miserably at the CrossFit sectional meet in San Jose.  However, these were not the true tests. 

My true test came my senior year of college. Some people call it the "wall of betrayal."  You know that point in your life where you pray with persistence for something specific and God does something else. At that point, I also began to question my faith. So the question is: when our faith is tested how will we respond?  I could either give up and walk away from my personal relationship with God or I could take it up a notch and pursue Him that much more. 

That senior year, when I had all goals laid out (to qualify for the NAIA nationals and the Olympic trials in long jump), I could not even muster a performance that was better than my junior high days.  I chose not to walk away but to press in more.  Then four years later, I hit that "wall" again.  After training full time for 2.5 years to qualify for the 2000 Olympic trials, I came up short again.  It was another test.  In life we learn to love and hate the tests because they make us better, but they are so painful.

Now I face a test I never imagined - the test of cancer at age 40.  This test had to be hard because my faith is strong.  This past year has been very difficult as I directed this non-profit in Haiti while working two other jobs.  Just like with many injustice issues, it can challenge a person's faith. But this year, God was preparing me for something more personal than challenges in Haiti.

In both of the books mentioned earlier, the authors describe how an athlete must embrace extreme pain. The athletes tackle running 100 miles or a doing back-to-back-to-back Fran workout. These athletes make friends with the pain so the next time they encounter that painful spot, he/she can better cope with it and overall be a better athlete. I am taking my cues from these athletes as I face cancer and treatment today. I am pressing in to hear God's voice.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Self Talk the Gospel: The intersection of Fear and Faith

I was standing in the middle of the community garden for a “serve day” with my daughter’s second grade class when I received the phone call. I hardly remember what my husband said but I remember I stopped breathing. Results of biopsy. Melanoma in the lymph nodes. My healthy, athletic husband had cancer. At 40.

I stood there frozen, somewhere between the corn and the kale, holding a diaper bag and several water bottles for the kids on the field trip. What should I do? Text our family? Call our life group? Cry? Sink into a heap in the dirt? Scream? Pray? Leave the kids and go to my man? My head was swirling but I was stress paralyzed. Couldn’t move. The fear started to suffocate me.

In the days that followed, my mind could only imagine the worst. I spent my days weeping, imagining myself a widow raising our three daughters on my own. I envisioned my CrossFit husband in a hospital bed, writhing in pain. Every song on the radio, every commercial, every meal was a trigger for me. My mind would race to the worst-case scenarios, my worst fears somehow coming true.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Reflection from Ericlee: On coaching & the Next leg of our journey

When a good coach speaks, the athletes listen! Why? Because we trust they know more than we do and they want the best for us. After meeting with Dr. Azar, M.D. and Certified Gerson Practictioner, for two hours we were hopeful and encouraged. She listened to my story and then she explained to me more specific protocol to follow. She did not downplay that what I have is serious, but rather, she encouraged us that with the right mental attitude and the right plan need to be implemented to overcome this cancer. She is now my coach!

We made Ericlee an orange "beer" aka organic carrot juice!

The training has definitely been kicked up a notch. Early bed times, juicing every hour, CrossFit (lower intensity) training, supplements, and coffee enemas. For those of you have not checked out the Gerson Therapy or the Beautiful Truth documentary, here it is in a nut shell. Due to our polluted world, including the water, air, and soil, we as humans are deficient and toxic. If the Immune system cannot keep up by killing the invaders or mutated cells, then cancer strikes. It is impossible to track because there are so many factors that go into people getting cancer now. Max Gerson discovered 60 years ago that if you take care of these two issues (deficiency and toxicity, the body will heal and repair itself. Thus, Gerson floods the body with pure nutrition (organic juicing) every hour of the day for a total of 13 times. Then 4-5 times a day the body is given a coffee enema which detoxes the body. This one-two punch has healed many patients from not only Cancer but Diabetes, Arthritis, and High blood pressure.

Ericlee's meals consist of a combination of organic vegetables and fruit. We are so grateful for all the friends who have shared Whole Foods gift cards and organic produce from their own gardens!

Dr. Azar also suggested we get a second opinion about surgery from Stanford University doctors. Join us in prayer as we wait for a call about an appointment.

While in San Diego, we stayed with dear friends Bill (right) & Treva Yaccino. They hosted a prayer night for Ericlee in their home and former pastor from The Bridge, Ed Noble, also joined us for a time of prayer!

I will leave you with this thought from one of our favorite devotionals: The Lord only builds a bridge of faith directly under the feet of a faithful traveler. He never builds the bridge a few steps ahead, for then it would not be one of faith. 2 Corinthians 5:7 says we live by faith and not by sight.

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