A number of you have already heard the news that Nate is going to be undergoing brain surgery in a couple of weeks. We have been greatly encouraged by the number of people who have contacted us with assurances of prayer. Everyone in our family is doing well, but we are still eager for the prayer that will help keep it that way. We all want to live out the trust in God’s gracious sovereignty that we have taught, but are not too proud to ask for your prayers that we would in fact do so. Ironically, Nancy’s newest book, Learning Contentment, was scheduled to be released on May 2—the same day as Nate’s surgery.
For those who missed the announcement from Nate, here it is:
Over the last year or so, I have been dealing with a variety of small but strange (and apparently unrelated) health issues. And then, during a publishing meeting in November, my left ear suddenly turned off. It rebounded slightly, but hasn’t stopped ringing like a fire alarm ever since.
After months of tests and check-ups, and various theories that didn’t quite make sense, a recent MRI finally revealed the underlying cause of everything I’ve been dealing with — a large brain tumor (“farm egg” in shape and size according to one neurologist). The tumor originated in my auditory canal and is now compressing my brain stem and unpleasantly butting into my cerebellum. Although no biopsy has been conducted, three different specialists have ruled out cancer based on the MRI (which is obviously an enormous blessing). That said, it is still killing me (as they say) softly, and new symptoms have been multiplying rapidly over the last couple weeks. So I am now scheduled for invasive brain surgery in LA on May 2nd.
This is obviously a fairly momentous trial for our family, but by the grace of God, Heather and the kids and I will be hitting it head on. It is likely that my tumor had already begun growing while I was writing Death by Living, which means, as my sweet wife pointed out, that this is a great opportunity for us not to be hypocrites. God is good. God is faithful. This is the storm we were meant to weather. This is the bull I was meant to ride. I can’t hit my characters with pain and hardship to spice up their stories and not be willing to face anything life threatening myself!
This type of surgery obviously has substantial risks. Assuming that it goes perfectly, I will still be permanently deaf in my left ear, and vertigo, headaches, and facial paralysis are all potential lifelong consequences. So I covet your prayers for healing, especially when it comes to recovery time. I’d love to get back in the saddle and keep providing for my family as quickly as possible.
Obviously, as an author, I’m self-employed, and this tumor comes in a season when I am supposed to be promoting two new books — one this week (Outlaws of Time 2 on the 18th) and one in June. But I definitely won’t be able to support either release at anywhere near my normal levels. So <ahem> feel free to buy everyone on your Christmas list a pallet or two of everything!”
In a recent sermon, I said that because of the truth of Romans 8:28 God’s elect can only experience two kinds of events—pleasant blessings and hard ones. The pleasant ones, like a bowl of hand-cranked ice cream, have a certain sweet immediacy about them, but the hard blessings are far more durable. More can be done with them, and much more can be done from them. We are instructed to thank the Lord always and for everything, and that includes this kind of test, this kind of hard blessing (Eph. 5:20). We are not just to be thankful in the trial, but also thankful for it. And so we thank the Lord, giver of all good things. As Nate once said to his mother in the middle of some other trial (which now seems puny, ain’t it the way), “baskets of fruit are heavy.”
Many of you have wanted to know if there is anything you can do to help. The prayer requests are specifically these: 1. That the surgery would be successful, straightforward, and routine, no surprises. 2. That the recovery would be swift. The nature of this surgery is such that some people are able to start returning to normal within weeks, while others take months. Our prayer request is for the former. 3. That any secondary consequences of the surgery would be minimal. 4. That his livelihood would not be interrupted, but simply slowed down a tetch. As a writer, Nate is self-employed, and his big concern is to continue to provide for his family through this stretch.
Secondly, while Nate does have insurance that more or less covers the surgery, there will be costs associated with all of it that will not be covered by the insurance. The elders of Christ Church have authorized disbursements from our Deacons’ Fund to help with those expenses. Tax regulations are such that we cannot simply transfer gifts received “straight across,” but donations that are made to the Deacons’ Fund will certainly be a help, and will be responsibly handled. Those who feel so led can send a check to Christ Church Deacons’ Fund, PO Box 8741, Moscow, Idaho, 83843.
And last, Nate alluded to this in his statement, but because it concerned plumping his own books, he had to be winsomely coy about it. I am not laboring under the same constraint. While a writer can’t write while he is out of commission, in the mercy of God it is possible for a writer’s books to sell while he is out of commission. And so, as God’s providence would have it, the news of this tumor became entirely public the day before Volume 2 of Outlaws of Time releases. Outlaws of Time/Song of Glory and Ghost is releasing tomorrow, and the prequel to the Cupboards series, The Door Before, is releasing on June 27. That second book, as I mentioned in a previous post, ties the worlds of Hylfing and Ashtown together. (Incidentally, for those laboring to stay up to speed, the first book in the Outlaws series is currently for sale on Kindle for $1.99).
And for those here in Moscow, the fun folks at BookPeople are hosting a “one day early” book release party, tonight at 6 pm. Hope to see you there.
And thanks again for your many prayers.