The Call.

For months and months I've wanted to get back at writing.
I've missed it.
I need it.
It's how I process.
It's my memory bank.
It's a creative outlet for me.
I love writing.

And so,
because of two phone calls,
eleven days apart,
I've decided to put pen to paper -- or  rather fingers to keyboard --
and share from my heart.

With Dad's blessing, he's letting me share.

December 19 | 3:50pm

I knew it was coming, I just didn't know when.
And in my heart of hearts,
I knew it wasn't going to be good.
Just had that sense.

We got the first call on December 8th.
Colon cancer.
My dad.

At first glance the doctor was hopeful,
the cancer was contained in the lower colon,
and in 4-6 weeks he'd remove it.

But he wanted to do a full body scan,
just to make sure it hadn't spread.

So last Thursday, Mum and Dad braved
a brewing snowstorm, driving into Stratford's hospital
where the CT Scan would happen.
They made it there, but would then be stuck for
hours, killing time in McDonald's, a mall, and eventually
a friend's home, until the roads opened.
Through white out conditions they finally made it home.
Monday afternoon - the 19th - I was snuggled on the couch
with Jackson (home sick from school),
and the phone
rang and it was mum.
And I picked it up and instantly knew.
 A weak hello.
And then quiet, consistent tears.
Over the decades I can't think of too many times where
I've seen or heard her cry.
But that day.
That afternoon.
There were tears.

Slowly she shared the news.
It was the call that no one wants to receive.
Stage IV.
In the liver, too.
No known cure.
Oncologist appointment will hopefully be scheduled
in a couple weeks.

Of course,
my phone was almost out of juice so I was tethered to a wall with
my very short phone cord.
Go figure.

What I wanted to do was fall in a heap on the floor and sob.
Instead, I braced myself against the kitchen wall,
phone to ear,
trying to catch my breath amidst the tears.

I remember covering my mouth,
trying to hold in the gasps,
trying to hold in the vomit,
trying to hold in the groans.

At some point Dad got on the phone
and said, through tears,
"I'm doing okay. I'm at peace with this.
It's just hard having to tell the news."

I think at one point I whispered,
which was all I could do in the moment,
"How are you holding up?"
Mum's words
"Well, we now get to live out
what we say we've
believed all along about God."

And dad agreed.

We stand on God's promises.
We stand on God's goodness.
We stand on God's trustworthiness.

The road ahead is long.
And hard.
But as I overheard Dad say on the phone today,
"We'll pray for a miracle or the strength we'll need if a
miracle doesn't happen."
Within a few minutes of getting the news on December 8th,
I found myself lost in Psalm 66.
The Psalms are my instant 'go to' when I need to feel God's nearness.

"You laid a crushing burden on our backs ...
yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance."

And I tell you what,
while there is most definitely
deep sadness that hits in waves and hits at random times,
I can honestly say God has given me an
abundance of His peace.

He's good like that.

So my prayer is that we will continue
to know that place of abundance that He promises.

I'm praying for an abundance of His peace.
And His joy.
And His hope.
And His wisdom as we begin talking with doctors.
And His crazy love for us,
even though this circumstance sucks.

"Blessed be God, because He has not
rejected my prayer
or removed His steadfast love from me!"
So we're officially on this road called cancer.
One that, sadly, all too many of you know all too well.

It's surreal, and I keep walking up in the middle of the night,
wondering if it's a dream, or if dad really does have
Stage IV cancer.

Hard to fathom.
But not despairing.

Psalm 33:22 "Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
even as we hope in you."


Kim Ferguson said…
Wow! Praying for you all.
Irja MK said…
💕how grateful I am too for the Psalms! All of Psalm 84 seems another appropriate one-
...Better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favour and honour; no good thing does He withold from those whose walk is blameless. O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in You. ❤
Praying for you and that the Lord would fill your hearts with singing -Adrian 😘
I'm glad you are writing about this journey. It will be a long, hard journey, but your testimony will shine through like a light in this dark world. God is good all the time.
Liliana Mejia said…
Thank you for sharing with us such painful news. You are all in our prayers, as we walk this road with you. Praying that you have special times of sharing during this Christmas season. Our love is with you. Wanda & Guillermo
Anonymous said…
Alysa, you may not know me. I am Joan Carpenter, I used to be Joan Elliott. One night at Galilean Bible Camp, He spoke about being sure we were saved, clearly and gently. It was that night that , after the lights were out in the red cabin, Wannacumback..or however you spell it..that I truly placed my faith in Christ.He also encouraged me everytime I would talk with his. I think he would call me Joanie. We have walked through this hard journey with my dear Mom..please know we are praying for you. Please tell him hello and give him a hug!! Thank-you God Bless you and walk with your family through this.
Bev Smith said…
Dear Alysa.... We were so sorry to hear this news. I so appreciate your beautifully written response and testimony to the love and grace of God. We love you all so very much and will be praying for both a miracle and also strength, wisdom, peace and great assurance in our Hope. Give our love to your Dad and Mom..... Bev and Brodie
Anonymous said…
Hi Alysa! Your dad spoke at the Larchwood Bible Chapel many times. He also helped the chapel through a very difficult transition. My daughter and I came to the chapel in Guelph to hear him speak. Please know that we are praying for your dad and your whole family. I have passed on a prayer request to my email Prayer Warriors. My husband Ray went to be with the Lord on June 1st (sudden heart attack at 63). I know firsthand of the peace and comfort the Lord gives in times of adversity. I love to remember that God catches all my tears in a jar (and there have been many) for they are precious to Him. Sirpa Ducharme
Hello dear Correll family,
So good to find this update on your dad . Been thinking of you all and wondering what was happening.
Thank you for the many points that we can pray for him and for you all as you stand with him through this.
Hugs and prayers to you all
Gloria Desjardins
Karen McClain said…
Thank you for sharing your family's story. We experienced the same thing with esophageal cancer in my dad in Feb of 2014. Twenty eight days later, he went home to our Lord. It was so fast. These pictures of your family are treasures and a blessing to all of you and future generations. Hugs and prayers from me.

Karen - mom of Katie, grandma of Liv and Luke from your recent session.

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