We have known since Clay was first diagnosed that this moment would come. I wondered so many times how I would feel, and what I would think. And, now I know. It’s here.
You know…that moment when they tell us that the doctors and medicine can’t help us anymore. The end of man. The end of treatment.
But, not the end of hope.
Our hope is in Jesus, and He never changes. He never fails. He is never surprised. He is never confused. He is never dependent on medicine. He is never dependent on man. He is never dependent on me or Clay. He is in control, and always has been.
When we saw Dr. Weathers last week at MD Anderson, she told us the full truth about where we are in Clay’s treatment. Because the cancer has spread to his spinal fluid, there is no more treatment available. She recommended we call Hospice. Even though we both knew this day would come, if God did’t heal Clay, we had to catch our breath. When you receive news like this, you don’t know what to say or what to think. You run out of questions really fast. And the room gets quiet while you try to compose yourself and talk more because you really don’t want the conversation to end because that’s when you’ll have to let it sink in.
We drove home dazed. Our faith was sure, but our minds were dazed. We were digesting the information just a little bit at a time. It took several days for me to process and accept it.
In the meantime, Senator John McCain was diagnosed with Glioblastoma. Because of his diagnosis, this disease has been on the news, a lot. Many doctors and patients have been interviewed and new treatment options have been highlighted. This caused us to wonder if there really is something out there that can help us. One of those is CAR-T therapy being performed at City of Hope Hospital in Los Angeles. I called them. And, this is not going to be an option for Clay.
Dr. Weathers mentioned that there was one chemo pill, Lomustine, we haven’t tried, yet. But she spoke with great caution, so not to give us hope. The potential for side effects is much greater with this medication. At best, it would slow the progression slightly, but not significantly.
Clay’s deepest desire is to enjoy quality of life while he is still here. He has made that very clear from the beginning. This medication could cause a drop in white blood cells, which increases risk of infections and it usually causes flu-like symptoms with nausea/vomiting. But, we decided to take at least one round of it. We planned to take it this week and just see if the side effects were manageable. If not, we would stop it right away. Well, we had multiple issues getting the medication. Each time there was a problem, I felt more and more unsettled about it.
I became more and more restless in my spirit about all the options. I was restless about even the idea of trying find an option. It is so difficult to know how to continue to believe God for a miracle, while accepting the truth. Am I giving up if I face reality and begin to prepare for the worst? Am I letting Clay, his parents or our kids down if I can’t find a cure? Am I making the right choices? What will people think of me if we accept the diagnosis and stop trying to find an answer?
I grew more and more unsettled, until this morning, when I was on my swing just praying and asking the Lord for wisdom. He spoke to me from Psalm 27:
“One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.”
The same Psalm speaks of the protection of God from our enemies. It reminds us that He alone is our salvation. We don’t have to fear. We can remain confident and assured because our God is stronger than our enemy. He will hide us in His sanctuary when troubles come. Surely, God will not leave us now, if He has been our help and strength all along the way. Then, this. I love this verse….
“I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”
God is not going to leave us. He is going to continue to direct our steps and we are going to continue to see His goodness NOW…in the land of the living…today. I was so encouraged as God gently reminded me that this uncertainty, fear and all these questions are not from Him. He is my peace. So, I gave it to Him this morning, and I set my heart and affection on Him. I inquired in His temple and purposed in my heart to continue to do so.
We were scheduled to see Dr. Russell, to get his opinion. He is so gracious and we’ve always felt so comfortable with him. We told him at the beginning of the conversation that we feel unsettled. We don’t have peace about the options with which we’ve been presented. He agreed and highly recommended that we NOT take the chemo. He believes it is going to make Clay sick and that it won’t help.
There are other treatments and experimental things being done for Glioblastoma, but we have now had several doctors confirm that the worst case scenario has happened. Cancer in the spinal fluid is not treatable. We are at the end of man. Dr. Russell’s team came and stood in a circle to pray for us. These people have meant so much to us during this time. I’ll never be able to express it. Clay got choked up several times today trying to tell them.
When we left Dr. Russell’s office today, Dr. Gummadi (our dear friend from church who has walked with us the entire time) came to see us. He said, “This is the first time I’ve felt peace in a while.” I agreed. Clay agreed. We just know in our spirits that God has brought us here. He is continuing to direct our steps and He wants us to be in His hands. Only His hands. He is the ONLY answer, now.
The answer to our need is in Him. He has used medicine and doctors to give Clay a really wonderful 14 months. Y’all, we have LIVED. Clay has enjoyed his life for 14 months. We’ve had great family time, incredible visits from friends and loved ones, great vacations, opportunities to minister and share our testimony. The list goes on. We have lived life.
And Clay has been a shining example of how to live a life submitted to the will of God. He has never been afraid. He has never wavered in his faith. And God has blessed him abundantly for it.
Why is God allowing this? I don’t know. And, I don’t ask. I just trust Him. He sees what we can not see. He knows what we can not know. And He loves us more than we can comprehend. So, the only logical conclusion is that He is using this trial to accomplish something that He couldn’t accomplish any other way. And, He chose a very willing, very capable servant through which to accomplish His work. I’ve been amazed to be by Clay’s side.
I want to thank all of you for your prayers. Thank you for your love and support. It has been life changing for us. I truly believe we could not have remained strong without your prayer and love.
Now, please press in and help us continue to pray. We are desperate. We are praying for a miracle. But, we are also praying for endurance, strength, and willing hearts that will allow God to do whatever He wants to do. We are praying that our faith will be strong to the end and that God will receive tremendous glory through our lives. We are praying for the faith of our children. God is ministering to them, but please help us pray for spiritual maturity and strength.
Our church is holding an all night prayer meeting tomorrow night. The timing was ideal, so I know it is God. We will be calling out to Him. And, His Word promises that He will hear our cry and draw near. Thank you, Jesus!
This past Sunday, we had a semi-surprise visit from 23 precious people from Victory Academy. The Lord just put in on their hearts to come and pray for us at our home. It was such a sweet time. Clay spoke from his heart and really encouraged the young people that they are not too young to know the Lord. He begged them to give their lives to Him and LIVE for Him. Everyone prayed over him and prayed for our family. It was a really special time. We love you, Victory Families.
We had several visitors last week, when we got home from MD Anderson. Every time someone would knock on the door, he would perk up. The visits are so good for him.
We spent Friday evening with my family at Amy and Jason’s house for Janet’s birthday party. It has meant a lot to me to see how much my family loves him.
We have had some incredible times of prayer with our church. Our church has prayed so hard for us, and others who are suffering right now. The body of Christ has been so important to us during this time.
We finally made it to Top Golf when we were in Houston last week. Andy and Brooke took us that evening and we had a great time. Clay couldn’t see the pins, but Andy would line him up and tell him the direction to swing. He actually did really well. Each time he would sit down and ask me, “Just please tell me I hit the ball?!” Although difficult circumstances, we managed to have a really great time together in Houston. (I love the picture of Andy watching Clay hit. They’ve always had a cool friendship.)
I know the one very difficult question on many of your minds is, “How long does he have?” That question is on our mind, too. But, I have truly learned that only God knows the answer. Our doctors don’t know. Every case is different. Statistics say that we have between 1 and 6 months. But, we believe that God only knows. And, in His mercy, we believe He will prepare us and help us.
I will continue to write and keep you all updated. We love you!
We are continuing to pray for Clay, you, and the whole family! You and Clay have been so inspiring for the rest of us. You can express your extreme devastation, but you wrap it in faith, trust, adoration, and praise for our Savior! God has truly given you both a spiritual insight that some never understand until later in life, or sometimes, not at all. The way that you and Clay have blessed, and continue blessing so many that the result will never be known until eternity. We thank God for you daily, and you are always in our prayers. We love you beyond measure.
What was taken away from was replaced with God…
Although you cannot see the road ahead God is there guiding every step of the way…
Though your world may be dark to others God shines his light unto your path…
I do not know you but my prayers are with you and your family during your trials…my our God hear our prayers are show you grace, love, compassion & peace in the days yet to come…
I am friends with Jessica from the Shreveport area…
Praying for you and Clay and your family. Praying life and hope over you all. May God continue to.cover you all in the shelter of His wings as you rest in His embrace. You are deeply loved!
Praying continuously for Clay’s miracle! Always on our hearts!
Another beautiful testimony to the enormous love of God and His Son…never-changing…always there..to guide you through this journey. Because you know God and Jesus so intimately, you are surely eternally blessed. You have allowed them to soothe your fears and doubts. Here’s praying for your continued peace and strength…
I’m with you guys it’s in Gods Hands now,when he’s ready ,it will be on his own time. Thoughts and Prayers continue like I said before I’ve been there! It’s not easy,sending hugs for both of you and thanks so much for your post and pictures.
Kristy, I know back some time ago I shared a song that the Lord had given me. When I read this blog, another came to mind. It’s called The Dark Nights of Our Souls.
The pain of life was close at hand, so much I didn’t understand,
Through the silent flood of tears that fell, through the agony no words could tell.
Waves of pain from head to feet, my patience gone, the wound too deep.
When it seemed there was no end in sight, You held me through that long dark night.
As I cried “Abba Father! Spirit! Savior! See me through this trial and make me whole.
Send Your mercy and goodness, protect me in this bitter test.
Lead me through this dark night of my soul.”
Soon the darkness seemed to clear, gentle voices drawing near,
Christian brothers, sisters too, had heard my cries of pain to You.
Their tender hands a healing balm, like the sacred oil in David’s Psalm.
You sent them Lord, to guide this sheep to Your healing waters still and deep.
As they cried “Abba Father! Spirit! Savior! See her through this trial and make her whole.
Send Your mercy and goodness, protect her in this bitter test.
Lead her through this dark night of her soul.”
Sorrow’s arrows leave their mark even on the strongest Christian hearts.
Their lessons painful, hurts so deep, sometimes it seems there’s no relief.
But there’s nothing we cannot endure with the Love of Christ, Whose Word is sure.
Joy will come; we are not alone. He’ll guide us down that long road home.
As we cry “Abba Father! Spirit! Savior! See us through this trial and make us whole.
Send Your mercy and goodness, protect us in this bitter test.
Lead us through these dark nights of our souls.
Lead us through these dark nights of our souls.”
Copyright 2003 Finnsong Music Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved
May God’s peace descend on you, Clay, Grace, Sam and Ben. I see the same look of peace and calm on Clay’s face that I saw that day of middle school open house way back last August at Victory when half of the Baton Rouge area had to travel through their own dark nights of the soul just one day later. That expression has never changed. It is truly amazing. Perhaps one day I can come over, bring a keyboard, play some music for you, Clay and the family. Just let me know and I will come.
God ….. please bless this wonderful, strong family.🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏
I’ve read every one of these. Sometimes I’ve laughed and sometimes I’ve cried. I’ve watched you both walk with such trust and grace that it’s clearly supernatural. I also know that regardless of how transparent you are, there are still so many things you’re dealing with that most can’t comprehend. You have been unwaiveringly dedicated to Clay and your family and it’s not only inspiring, it’s challenging. After all, when we marry our vows don’t have the same weight they do when we’re actually tested. You have shown Clay your commitment to him in every breath you’ve taken and word you’ve written and I can’t imagine any other example of devotion that compares. Clay’s willingness to minister through his illness is above and beyond. Just amazing. Most of the time I don’t know what to say and this time is no different. Matt and I pray for you all everyday. We love you both and your kiddos. We are taking your lead and trusting the sovereignty of the Lord and pleading for a miracle. God is still good and He is still capable.
Tina and I are both praying for a miraculous healing for Clay in the MIGHTY name of JESUS ! 🙏🏽😢
Trust….to walk by faith… I will continue to pray for you and your family…. Your faith walk has strengthened mine. With love through Him and me, Roxanne
My love and prayers are with all of you Kristy
Praying for peace for all.
Just wanted to leave a note. I remember when a little guy would get on a bike too big for him by standing on a block of wood and jumping on the bike. That was many years ago. I worked with Clay’s dad for many years and have always valued the Furlow family friendship. I have been inspired by your family’s faith and strength. We have been praying for Clay and will continue to do so.
Dear Kristy & Clay,
I pray God’s peace for y’all. The peace that passes all understanding. I am Stacey Webb’s mom. Your church has been praying for me. Clay you were in the group of men that laid hands on me and prayed for healing for me earlier this month. Thank y’all so much! I got wonderful news Wed. about my illness. News that I know was a miracle from God, so I know without a doubt that God is still performing them today. I just wanted to share that through out all of this from the 1st diagnosis on 6/29 of Stage 4 cancer to the call I got Wed. that I don’t have cancer but Serous Borderline Tumor I had such peace. I knew I was in a win win situation and that if it was God’s will to take me home sooner than I thought I was good, even excited to think of being in Heaven with Jesus and with my Mama & Daddy. I know my family is saved so I knew I would be with them again. My only sadness was knowing that would suffer the pain of loss but only for a short time. I keep asking “Why me Lord” ? Why have you chosen me to be so blessed all my life. I don’t know the answer but I hope He will show me how I can spend my days honoring Him and giving Him the Glory. I truly pray the same peace for y’all. Kristy I know this is much harder on you than Clay. I pray for strength that can only come from Jesus. I pray for joy for y’all as continue your journey, a journey that doesn’t end but as Christians is to be continued into eternity. Much love and prayers to y’all and your family. God Bless.
Kristy and Clay, your family is in our prayers. I think of you all everyday when I see ‘Clay 8:38’. Your journey is already nothing short of a miracle, praise be to our Lord!
Kristy – I can see God’s work just from Clay having you as a caregiver. I pray for your continued feeling of peace and know His filling your hearts with peace is one of his many blessings upon you and your family. That feeling truly lifts you up from this earth to His arms. I have felt that myself and it is a sweet and unique gift from God. I will pray that both of you continue to receive His gift every single day. ‘Thy will be done’. Bless y’all. Melanie
You have been a blessing dear Sister and Brother. We exist in the human time frame of this world…..but God is eternal! Soon we will all be in His presence…in His eternity…no beginning and no end! And earthly time will be no more. We will no longer be seeing through a glass darkly but we shall see Him face to face. We will be enlightened with His full and perfect Light and His fervent love will be made known as we are knit together in Him. We have a future and a hope! ❤️
I write this message through tears! You two have truly shown us how to walk through the valley of the shadow of death, for that time will come also for each of us in this life, probably multiple times. Thank you both for being so open and sharing your journey with us. I saw you and Clay together in the altar praying. What is branded in my mind is his hand patting you on the shoulder. As a husband, father, provider, protector, he is confident in leaving you and your children in the care of the Lord. I am also!
My prayers for your family will continue on as they have since the day I learned of Clay’s diagnosis. May you all feel surrounded by God’s love in the coming days and may he continue to be your rock. Love to you all.
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