Update: April 24, 2015

Posted on: April 24th, 2015 by Christy Jansma


Dear Church Family,


We have intentionally waited to communicate further with you. We intend to be authentic and tell you the truth about our circumstances, without having to retract misinformation. In the meantime we are being carried by your prayers and petitions on our behalf. We feel that keenly. We have lived our lives openly before you these seventeen years and intend to continue in that manner.


This is a very challenging time for us and our family. The support we receive from you by way of messages, timely visits and acts of kindness is overwhelming. We are blessed with numerous circles of relationship beyond our church family – our five children; our seven siblings; Briercrest; Compassion; previous churches. Thank you for keeping your visits appropriately brief. A full afternoon of visiting can be emotionally exhausting. Thank you for respecting those times when our family is in Lethbridge.


How is Connie doing? The surgeon is pleased with the healing of the fracture. Physiotherapists work with her daily to improve mobility and are encouraged. The blood clots, which were the presenting problem that brought us to the hospital, are shrinking with medication. They are not a significant threat now that they are being treated.


Tuesday, late afternoon, was difficult for us to receive the pathology report – “Metastatic Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer”. The cancer is considered terminal, but life can be extended with treatment. There is no predicted timeline. This is not what any of us ever want to hear. We wept together through that evening. This is not the story that we would have written for ourselves. But then again, we remember that all of us are terminal. We dream and plan as if we are here forever. But we know we ought to be prepared to enter eternity at any moment. “Lord, teach us to number our days.” We all look forward to the eternity promised by Christ, but none of us want to die!

Over these days we have cried and prayed together. We’ve had precious moments with our children, when Connie was able to give each her final thoughts and prayers for them. We talked about our short term dreams, whatever time God gives us. We also began the conversation about funeral plans. This is all very surreal, especially as Connie is feeling well. There is no pain, apart from what is expected from the surgery. There is no shortness of breath or cough, or any of the signs one would associate with lung cancer. It feels like a cruel hoax.


A couple of “reality checks” took place this week. On Wednesday an oncology team arrived in our room to talk through the next steps. Our first oncology appointment is Tuesday (April 28). We understand this to be an initial consult with a treatment plan to follow. A true “reality check”  occurred on Thursday when the palliative doctor arrived in our room. While he too is shocked at the sudden appearance of the cancer, he talked through the purpose of palliative care and spent an hour doing an intake interview.


Our kids are amazing. We both feel exceedingly grateful that our kids are all walking with the Lord and belong to a caring church family. We are cautious about saying this about our kids, knowing that such is not everyone’s experience. As you have heard me say, we take too much credit when our kids do well, and too much blame when they do poorly. Our kids are one decision away from disaster, and so we pray for them.


Thank you for praying for us. Please continue:
– Pray for God’s miraculous healing; pray that God will use the prescribed treatment to reverse the cancer.
– Pray for our kids and grandchildren in their disappointment; pray that their trust in God will be strengthened through this journey.
– Pray that the shadow cast over Ruthie’s wedding is minimized; pray that we can dismiss the cancer cloud while planning her wedding.


“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:4-7


Because Christ lives,
Ian and Connie

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