I am writing without a report from Don to ask all of you who love Don & Heather:

1. Pray for Don right now;
2. Write to him directly. donvalencia@gmail.com

Don is at an important crossroad in his courageous fight against this cancer. Yesterday he was having side pains and a burning sensation in his lungs when he breathed in. He recalls some of the same pains at the very outset back in September 06. He went in to see Dr. Doug Lee, who checked him for an aneurysm or blood clot as a possible cause for the breathing issue. They did not find any, but did find fluid outside the lungs. Today Don is going into the hospital for a procedure at 2pm to remove the fluid. They will analyze the fluid to determine if there are any cancer cells in it.

There have been ups and downs throughout this experience. What’s different about right now is that there are some big question marks on what is going on. Up to this point the medical team always had an answer, even if that answer was wrong (the initial amoeba diagnosis). At this time they really don’t know what’s going on, and they’re not even venturing educated guesses. That uncertainty is draining emotionally and spiritually. Physically, Don has been very tired the past few days, and sleeps a great deal. He wakes up with feelings of guilt over loss of time without doing anything “productive.” We can tell him this is his more than full time job right now, to sleep and rest his body, but as he told me a couple of days ago, “it doesn’t feel good to sleep.”

Early on, we “protected” Don from being overwhelmed by emails, and encouraged people to send cards and notes that he could read at his own pace, without being confronted with dozens of emails when he logged on. In conversations over the past couple of days, Heather and I both sense and agree that Don really would be energized by hearing from friends, and interacting with them by email, or through the blog site www.donvalencia.com if you are blog-literate.

Thank you for all your prayers and practical help (and offers to help) during these months.

Skip, for Don & Heather

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2 Comments so far

  1. Pat & Patti Watters on April 18, 2007 12:24 pm

    Dear Don & Heather, this morning I received an email from Annie Fish (forwarded several times) with the Whidbey Escape blog in it. Patti and I have been kept updated via the Domichs, Jessups and Fish’s, but now we are “here”!!! I used the email as my morning devotional, then sent it out to a list of Brothers and Sisters (about 170 people)! I needed to hear your words Don, even if they were from past “posts”. And, I have already received affirmations and prayers for you from others via that little email. Patti and I will definitely be praying, and as our “kids” are all off at college, we have some wonderful, uninterrupted quiet times together in the morning. 🙂

    I know this is a very long post, so I hope Heather or Skip, or someone can read it to you depending on how you’re feeling at the time? We are well and daily grateful for God’s Grace in our lives . . . true salvation stories for both of us. Yes, God is Good, always, God is sooooo Good!

    Kyle is a PhD guy in Physics at Stanford these days (I know Don can identify with that stuff!) Cody is at wonderful Westmont College studying environmental biology, he will be at Au Sable in Coupeville this summer (June-July 5) and Patti and I will be staying and visiting the last week of June. We can’t wait to revisit an area we both missed from our college days in Sea-Tac area. Karly is at Sonoma State. We are chairing YL Urban Sacramento, among many other things, and hoping to do some of our marriage/parenting ministry, if God wills it?

    It is so good to be a more direct part of your journey, and be able to pray for you, and give thanks for God’s Grace and Love in all our lives. May He continue to be your strength in all things. Blessings to you, Heather and the boys! Pat & Patti

  2. pneiswender on April 18, 2007 4:31 pm


    First, just want you to know that we are praying for you vigilantly. You inspire me in so many ways and I am so grateful to have you as a friend and mentor.

    Second, I just want to encourage you and remind you that your only job right now is to fight this disease. I can only imagine how stir crazy you must be feeling. For people like you and I, feeling “unproductive” is a VERY difficult state of mind. I empathize and just want to let you know that being productive right now requires you to focus your heart and mind on one objective, getting better. I know you must feel like you’ve been focused on that for too long and you feel the need to work on other things, but this marathon isn’t over yet and you must finish the race. The streets are lined with your supporters carrying banners, playing music, and shouting cheers of encouragement. We even have cups of Gatorade, bananas, powerbars and other nutrients to hand you as you run past. Just keep on going and we’ll continue to cheer you along the path and give you the nourishment you need. I hope you can visualize this scene, because you literally have people across the globe who are HERE with you in this fight.

    We love you!

    Phil, Lauren & Lincoln

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