Dr. Doug Lee spoke to Heather this morning. Since Don has had all his radiation treatments, the medical team had hoped to see positive indications by now. Instead, the signs are in the opposite direction. Don’s bilirubin count is very high 23-24 today, and his blood platelet level is very low even after a transfusion yesterday; ie, his clotting and anticoagulant systems are awry.

Heather explained all this to Don, and he understands what it means, and has been processing it. He spoke tonight about realizing he is in a state of transition, and used the analogy of being a trailer in tow, definitely moving and going somewhere, but without any control over where he is going.

The 1-5pm quiet time has worked well, and has been restorative. Heather takes a nap with him almost every day during the earlier part of this time, and the boys come over during the latter part of this time. Visitors are very welcome during other times.

For the past 10 days Don has been unable to update the blog himself. I am increasingly asking Heather to help me think through and decide what to say in the blog. We know so many of you are relying on the blog for information. We want to maintain Don’s transparency of the past 16 months. We realize that there have been more downs than ups during this prolonged hospital stay. And yet we do not want to focus on the downs either, because Don’s spirit continues to be strong and his heart is increasingly tender, even as his body may be growing weaker.

Please post comments for Don on the blog. Don really enjoys them, and is blessed by things you write. Sometimes he is unable to read them himself, but in those times others can read them to him. Blog posts are easier for him to read, or for others to read to him, than emails.

And please continue to pray persistently.

Skip, for Don & Heather

««Previous - Next»»


29 Comments so far

  1. joshuaepperson on December 1, 2007 12:28 am

    Don – You’re a good, good man. I am sure you’re probably thinking, “God is good…all the time.” I can hear you saying it right now! And I whole heartedly agree with you and say again, “Don. You are a good, good man.” Strong and courageous. So full of hope! God is with you. I love you brother. Josh

  2. betsy b mullen on December 1, 2007 12:58 am

    Hey Don and Heather,

    It is wonderful to hear that spirits are strong and hearts are tender. I like the trailer on tow analogy. I suppose we are all to some degree trailers on tow. Good thing we are hooked up to Jesus and not to, I don’t know, some bull named Fu Manchu. We keep praying like crazy. God bless you all.

    Betsy Mullen

  3. gregu on December 1, 2007 1:14 am

    Hey Don! Man, I think about you all the time…and the family too. I see God so clearly in what you are experiencing and that deeper relationship w Jesus that this situation has brought to you. When I feel sad and overwhelmed with what seems like tough news in this journey, I just picture your smile and read through your thoughts and prayers from earlier in the process and just KNOW that this is all part of his good will. You and your family continue to be such an encouragement – it is impossible to explain how impactful and important this has been in my own life. Praying for you! We love you!

    Greg U.

  4. Randor on December 1, 2007 1:17 am

    Dear Don, I couldn’t sleep, so I got up to pray and write you a note. First, I want you to know what a profound impact you have made on my life and so many others! You have set a new example to me of how we are to live and love for Jesus. Everyday is a gift and an opportunity to serve our Lord and to love those He has brought into our life. You have given me just a glimpse of it is really like to do that! Second, I would love to trade places with you for a day, so that you could go on doing the special things that God has empowered you to do; and then there would be thousands of others who would do the same, day after day after day. But God has even better plans for you than I could ever dream of and I rejoice that He will carry them out through you.
    You, Heather, Johnny, and Bo are continually in our prayers and until I see you again, may God richly bless you all!


  5. AnnieHartsock on December 1, 2007 8:00 am

    We sure love you Don. It has been a privilege to learn so much from you and Heather… for years, but especially in this last year. Your example of Faithfulness, Trust, and Peace continue to astound me and I thank you for that. Our prayers for you are many and full of joy because we know that we are praying to a God who knows you and loves you and who IS so good. Bless you today.
    Annie (for Luke & Pearl & baby Sock too)

  6. tamiparker on December 1, 2007 8:12 am

    Hi Don and Heather,
    There has not been a day that has gone by that I haven’t thought of you and prayed for you whenever God puts you on my heart since you got the news over a year ago. I’m praying now for continued peace with whatever God’s plans may be, and that you would still get to experience joy in the midst of your circumstances…all of you. Thank you Don for sharing your close, intimate relationship with God. I want that (without the cancer please!!). That is the bar you have set for me. I love you all and am still praying for some amazing miracle. God can do anything. Love, Tami, Tom and the kids

  7. brooke on December 1, 2007 8:51 am

    Thinking about you this morning. It was such a sweet thing for us to be able to sing with you the other day. To experience the presence of the Lord with you in worship.
    God bless that Heather of yours too. She is an amazing woman. Do you know that she just weeded my whole back yard the other day?! That was such a treat for me. I always think of Heather as a little fruit tree – there is so much fruit in her life as she loves people and is so herself. She is 100% genuine and it blesses those she is with. I love that about her. Your house continues to be a place where people are loved and cared for.

    Take care today!

  8. Bruce Hosford on December 1, 2007 10:25 am

    As I read back over your journey this morning I’m in awe of many things but foremost is your enormous faith and the greatness of our God who has surrounded you with his faithful to travel this journey with you. I have this vision of you walking down this road accompanied by hundreds of your friends – you are not alone my friend.

    Blessings to you and all your family,


  9. gordy.anderson on December 1, 2007 10:42 am

    Don: Haven’t written until now but have been praying. We are still believing that in his stripes you are healed, and praying that way. You and Heather and the boys have been in our thoughts. Thank you for the gift of including all of us in your journey.

    His blessings,
    Gordy Anderson

  10. Jim Caldwell on December 1, 2007 12:13 pm

    Don and Heather,
    Watching, praying and waiting with you all. Your journey is heroic as you share your heart and soul with us. Thank you for letting the light of Jesus shine so brightly through you.
    Jim & Sara Caldwell

  11. Lynnee on December 1, 2007 1:12 pm

    Don and Heather – We continue to pray for your healing and that we can accept God’s Will as gracefully as you and Heather are. I have such fond memories of drinking wine and GOOD coffee at your home in Gold River (you had to put in the 220 outlet for a coffee maker!). And of you making the “baby balloon in mommy balloon” at the IC pinic in our backyard to announce Heather’s pregancy. Your creativity and passion for life continue to be an inspiration. Sending love to you and the entire family.
    Lynnee & Bob

  12. whitney tyner on December 1, 2007 1:19 pm

    don-i write on behalf of the many, many, many college students to whom your life has touched. while you may not know each of our names, we know yours. and we know your story about how jesus is actively transforming you. Don, i remember two years ago when you, skip, and wes shared at a SOHO house meeting about how you became friends and what that friendship means in your life. I know that us girls left that meeting inspired and encouraged by you. The same is true today.

    Thank you for teaching me more about Jesus, friendship, and faith through this blog and your journey.

    Whitney Tyner
    SOHO alum

  13. Jaime Hestad on December 1, 2007 2:41 pm

    What a BLESSING to get time with you on Tuesday. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I love getting to just sit with you. I keep thinking about what you said, that you are SO grateful that you have had the opportunity to learn that it is simply about loving Jesus and being loved by Jesus. What more could the Lord want us to learn in this lifetime, but these truths? We are LOVED! What more could we want our kids to know, but these truths? They are loved! We don’t have to run the rat race of life, but rather rest in the confidence that He just wants us to love Him! I love that you said again on Tuesday that you would not go back – that knowing these truths with stage 4 cancer is worth more to you than living life NOT knowing these truths yet being completely healthy. You are a changed man, Don! What a privilege to get to know you and be walking with you!

  14. Polly Urquhart on December 1, 2007 4:43 pm

    Just want to join all the others in expressing my love for you and your family. I also continue to knock on that door and ask. I am grateful to know how wise and loving our Father and Savior are and how peaceful you are in that. Truly your witness of that has gone forth and will help many of us to overcome also by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony of Jesus. Yours has been such a blessing as have the comments of your wonderful friends. Igained from reading their experiences with you and knowing you. That is a big regret for me….I want to meet you. You stay on my mind and thus my prayers.

  15. Kellie on December 1, 2007 5:42 pm

    Thank you so much for the updates on Don. Even though we’ve only met a few times, I find myself checking the blog at least once a day. What an impact he has had on my life. I think of him often…wondering what he might think or do in a situation given his incredible faithfulness and his amazing perspective dancing on the edge. May he know that we are cheering for him and loving him.
    Kellie Garnett

  16. stan on December 1, 2007 6:37 pm

    From one of today’s devotion:
    ” Being led by the Spirit often means we must not use the world’s standard for success as our measuring stick. One never know what an act of obedience will yield at the time. Our role is to obey. His role is to bring results from our obedience.”
    The results to me, Don, are pretty clear. Through this longer than expected ordeal, you have been a steady and bright light for all those around you to witness. In addition to those we know of, there must has been many more life changed because of your steadfastness.
    Now, it is His turn to turn your health around, to be a solid and healthy vessel to further His plan.

    We pray and press for the Lord’s will to be done and He grants the desires of OUR hearts !!!


  17. hollythompson on December 1, 2007 8:20 pm

    Hey Don!
    I was just thinking about you and wanted to say hi. We pray for you and think about you a lot. I’m trying to teach Judah to pray and we like to practice on you. 🙂 Judah’s only 14 months old, but I think he kind of gets it! I tell him that you met him during the summer and that you held him and liked playing horsey with him. I tell him that you knew his mommy before he was born and that mommy had fun times with the Valencia’s! We love you, Don and Heather! We will keep the prayers comin’!

    Holly, Dave, and Judah

  18. Carl Snell on December 2, 2007 12:16 am

    Hello Don and Heather,

    I just want you to know that your entire family is in our/my prayers! A day hasn’t passed without my thinking of you guy’s. When you get the time follow this link.


    The link is a video of Ethel Waters when she preformed for a Billy Graham crusade back in 1975 in Jackson Mississippi. The song is His Eye Is On The Sparrow. By the way I was at this crusade, and gave my life to Christ there.

    “ His EYE IS ON THE SPARROW AND I KNOW HE WATCHES ME” He wathces us all.

    God Bless.

  19. JimBecky on December 2, 2007 1:07 am

    We send our love and blessings this early morning from a snowy Oslo, Norway! After ten days with dear friends in warm Dubai…it is nice to feel the freshness of chillier days here in Norge… we continue to think and pray for you along our journey…. knowing you too are on quite a journey yourself…we are behind you all the way. And..send huge hugs this day……..love and blessings always, Jim and Becky B

  20. Carlos on December 2, 2007 12:13 pm


    It’s about time I said hello and to let you know that I too am praying for you and Heather and the boys.
    I think of you whenever life gives me opportunities and I have to decide whether to pursue them or not. I think “Don froze coffee in the lab freezer and look where that got him!”. That is a gift beyond price. Thank you.

    spring follows winter
    the mountain passes are open
    the trailer moves forward


  21. Connie on December 2, 2007 12:16 pm


    I have been reflecting on our days at Immuno ( ’cause I miss working with you so much…)and remembering the great times we all had; being so innovative. Remember how excited we got looking through the scope,and discovering an amazing new antibody pattern! I loved working those out with you and working with Marv (Hi Marv!). You set the pace for all in the ANA world to follow. ( oh and yes the coffee world and the faith world and all….)They were great times of growth in all of us. Thanks for your inspiration and telling us there were no bounds on what could be achieved. I carry that attitude still now….
    I am praying, praying praying for you and yours.

    Love and hugs to you and Heather and the boys. You are so special to me.


  22. maryaustin on December 2, 2007 6:09 pm

    Dear Don & Heather,

    We are constantly praying for your family, and giving God no rest. You have touched our lives in an amazing way.

    Much Love,
    Mary, Paul, Max & Mitch

  23. georgerc on December 3, 2007 10:43 am

    As I was praying this morning, I wondered what God’s purpose in all this is… I have my ideas, and as I read I see the flood of people you have reached and inspired with your faith and transparency. I continue to pray that come what may (full healing being the best outcome), peace and love will grow as a result. May you and yours continue to be blessed with special time together, making memories for years to come.
    Blessings in Christ our Mighty Savior,

  24. luke.h on December 3, 2007 12:32 pm

    Your life is a blessing, your heart an example, your family a legacy!

    I keep thinking of the song, Come Thou Fount… such a touching worship song.
    here are the lyrics which are so relevant:
    Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
    Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
    Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
    Call for songs of loudest praise.
    Teach me some melodious sonnet,
    Sung by flaming tongues above.
    Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
    Mount of Thy redeeming love.

    Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
    Till released from flesh and sin,
    Yet from what I do inherit,
    Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
    Here I raise my Ebenezer;
    Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
    And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
    Safely to arrive at home.

    Jesus sought me when a stranger,
    Wandering from the fold of God;
    He, to rescue me from danger,
    Interposed His precious blood;
    How His kindness yet pursues me
    Mortal tongue can never tell,
    Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
    I cannot proclaim it well.

    O to grace how great a debtor
    Daily I’m constrained to be!
    Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
    Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
    Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
    Prone to leave the God I love;
    Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
    Seal it for Thy courts above.

    O that day when freed from sinning,
    I shall see Thy lovely face;
    Clothed then in blood washed linen
    How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
    Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
    Take my ransomed soul away;
    Send thine angels now to carry
    Me to realms of endless day.

    “Samuel took a stone and…named it Ebenezer, saying ‘Thus far has the Lord helped us.’” 1 Samuel 7:12

  25. Ricky Johnston on December 3, 2007 2:21 pm

    I want to let you know how much of a blessing you and your family have been in my life. I have enjoyed some many wonderful times at your house always felt welcomed and loved. It has been great to have you as a family when I was away from mine. Thank you so much. My whole family is praying for you and yours.

  26. David Carlson on December 3, 2007 6:35 pm

    Don, Heather, Johnny, Bo, Skip & Art, and all others gathered around Don and his family tonite,

    As the storms outside have been a deluge, an outpouring from the heavens above, so too are the prayers of us all a deluge surrounding Father’s throne with the flood of our petitions. You Don, our beloved brother, and Heather his beloved, have been weathering this storm against your lives, with such tenacity, courage, peace, and power that all who’ve stood with you know from whence has been your source…the very throne of grace we’re petitioning, as we bow before Him who sits on that throne, Jesus, the lover of your soul and ours, the savior of your life and ours, the light of your heart and ours…we ask you to flood Don’s room with your loving presence on this dark stormy night, filling it with your light, life and peace and bring him your healing, be it for living in heaven or among us, for in you we place our trust. Amen

  27. Erika C on December 3, 2007 7:38 pm

    Dear Don and family,
    Your story has made such an impact on my life and on the lives of the students in the community as well as their families and friends. I know that I personally have shared this website with family members and friends and they have been encouraged by your faith and honesty.
    We are praying constantly, lifting you up to the LORD and asking for Him to give you His strength and comfort.
    We will continue to trust the LORD for He is sovereign over all and as you constantly remind us, He is good. All the time, God is good.

    Erika Cederlind
    South House

    Psalm 100: Know that the LORD is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of his pasture.

  28. carly bovenkamp on December 3, 2007 11:24 pm

    Even-though I have met you only a few times you have blessed me so much. Hearing about your life this last year and how much God has done through you is so encouraging. I am encouraged every time Inga, Jaime, or whoever else talks about you and what the Lord has been teaching you. Know that I am praying for you along with the other South House girls. Your faith through the trials inspires me and I long to live like that. Thank you for your love, your light, your faith, and living for Jesus every day. Like you always say, God is good, all the time, God is good. We love you Don.


  29. barryrowan on December 5, 2007 10:16 am

    Mr. Valencia,

    You probably don’t remember me since we only met once, when you had my family over for dinner, but I wanted to share with you how you have impacted my life.

    When my family went to your house for dinner, I did not know what to expect; and you exceeded my expectations far beyond what I thought was possible. I entered your house a complete stranger, and felt like a friend upon leaving. You cooked an amazing dinner that was the basis for our discussion.

    Meeting to talk about Agros, and what our family could do for Agros, I was overwhelmed by Agros. The opportunity to help people so distant from the city of Seattle was monumental. Our discussion revolved around what Agros did, how they helped, and dreams of the future that left my mind racing. I was thinking of all the great things they could accomplish. In addition to meeting your family, we met Greg Rake, who has also impacted my life in a monumental way.

    Without your consideration of us and your desire to follow God’s will, my dad and I would not have been presented with the chance to share similar dinners with great people within the Agros community in Central America. Last May, my dad and I had the privilege of visiting some small communities that Agros helped build. While we were tucked up in the hillsides, so far away from civilization, I thought of how wonderful it was for these people to own land, and to actually have something in they could call their own; something no one can take away from them. They now have the ability to pass on their knowledge and skills to their children, who will one day do the same work as their parents.

    The trip with Agros in Guatemala has made me realize that I yearn to learn Spanish. I do not know why, but I do know I too want to help people in need, and I feel like God is calling me to work with people in the Spanish speaking countries of this world. With your hospitality and introduction to Agros, you helped me to realize this.

    The long and short of it is this: Thank you. I wanted to thank you for impacting my life. Although you did not directly show me what to do, or how Agros operates up in the hilly terrain of foreign and distant countries, you provided a door; the portal to see great things in this world.

    You gave me hope that people of the world do not have to live in the world. I will not forget Skip Lee’s words about Agros when asked why he wanted to help. At our dinner, full of discussion, I distinctly remember this, “Just because we live in the world we do not have to be people of the world. If we love God and follow him, sometimes blindly, then we will become great people doing mighty things for Him.”

    Hopefully you can see how you have helped me, even through our brief encounter of a single evening. Even though we did not speak for a great length of time, you did not have to. I just wanted the chance to say thank you for all that you have done; and all that you have put in place. Thank you for simply inviting me, a stranger, over for dinner one summer night in Seattle. I feel blessed that I was there.


    Mark Rowan

You must be a registered user and logged in to post a comment.