Monthly Archives: November 2010

Thanksgiving

The picture above was a cute picture Karen took  of Trae (Dave’s youngest) and I reading about a week ago.  I have had some great family time the last couple of weeks.  Karen invited her sisters, their husbands and our youngest niece (Adrianna) to come over for dinner.  I wasn’t feeling great that night but still managed to eat dinner and spend a little bit of time with them.  I don’t have any pictures from that night as I am not allowed to touch that camera.

This year we did Thanksgiving a little different.  First off we just decided to stay around home.  Brenden, Jaxson and Karen actually skipped the traditional meal altogether.  I volunteered to help at our church during the day and then we went to Dave’s house that night.  Sam (from work), her daughter and I were in charge of the refreshment table so we got off easy.

The night before the big day, I was asked to give a little testimony in front of our church.  We have a Pre-Thanksgiving sermon at our church that is led by Pastor Pat, our pastor of care ministries.  She asked me to give my testimony about 3  1/2 days before the event so I scrambled to get it all figured out on time.  There were 7 testimonies being given, 3 went on stage like my self, the others were read or were on video.  It was a little nerve racking but I felt peaceful about it before I was asked to go on stage.  Now I would like to say I delivered a powerful, enthralling speech delivered with an amazing and captivating voice, but the truth is my emotions got the best of me.  I didn’t break down but my voice was strained and weak.  I made it through and was blessed for the experience.  Many people came up to me after the service to meet me and share some time together.  It was fun getting to officially meet all of the pastors that were in attendance( 3 of them I had never met before-including our senior pastor).  My brother Dave came to give support.  I told him it was the least amount of people I had ever seen in attendance.  He said there was still over 600 people there-even with the weather and pre-thanksgiving travels.  If they put it on to video, I will get you the link and feel even further humbled by my performance.  Here is transcript from the event-just imagine it being read in the voice of James Earl Jones:

Hi my name is Chris Baty.  I am married to Karen and have two boys, Brenden age 7 and Jaxson age 6.

In July of 2008 I began two separate journeys simultaneously.  One was a journey of darkness and cancer but the other was a journey of faith and light.

At the age of 39 I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon Cancer.  The diagnosing doctor said that this could be incurable as the disease had already spread to my liver.

Since that diagnosis I have had 3 major surgeries, radiation and 34 rounds of chemotherapy.  I have spent 36 nights in hospitals and many more days.  I have watched 7 friends succumb to this disease. I have been sick, bald, and filled with pain and nausea.  I have been unbelievably filled with fear.  This past June the doctors confirmed that with their medicines, they could no longer cure me.  The cancer had now spread to my lungs and the cancer in my liver was growing.  I continue to do chemotherapy but it is not as often and is not powerful.  My Liver and Spleen are both swollen and are causing pain; in fact not a day goes by without me taking 2-3 pain pills.

But, in July of 2008 I began that 2nd journey too.  That journey was one of trust, hope, inspiration, love, patience, forgiveness and being born again.  I would like to share with you some of the things I am thankful for along this journey.

First, I am just so thankful for this day.  I wake up every morning and just say thanks to God for what he is doing and what he has done in my life.  I am so thankful for my life and everything He lets me experience.

I am thankful that my life is in the hands of God and not the hands of doctors

I am thankful to God for lifting me up after every time I get knocked down.  I am thankful for His Wisdom.  When I am weak He gives me strength.  When I am afraid He gives me peace.  I am thankful for HHHHis grace, love, forgiveness and mercy.  I am so thankful that I have a personal relationship with Him.

Brenden said to remind them that I am thankful for His Healing

I am thankful to Jesus for the sacrifice He made for you and I so that if we believe in Him, we will spend eternity in Heaven.  I am so thankful for Jesus’s  life and ministry.

-Brenden  also told me to tell you that I am thankful for our prayer time each night.

I am thankful for God’s Word.  I am thankful for His truth.  I am thankful for all the promises of restoring health that are within the Bible.  I have highlighted every one of those verses and now my bible looks more like a coloring book.

I am so thankful that God guided me to this church.  I am so thankful for our pastors and worship team.  The amount of wisdom, talent and love is amazing. From the first minute I walked into this sanctuary I could sense God’s presence here, it was and is emotional.

I am thankful for my wife and children and all the time I get to spend with them.

I am thankful for not only my walk of faith since I was diagnosed but also the walk of faith my family and friends have been on as well.

I am thankful for all of my friends and family that have ran forward to help me during this battle.  Karen’s family, Pat Groeper, my brother, my family and many, many more have been amazing!

I am thankful for all the love and prayers and gifts my family has received.

I am thankful for God’s provision.  Through all of this I have been able to maintain a full time job.  Many of my co-workers donated over 300 hours of there own personal time so that I could maintain my employment and still do my treatments and surgeries and get my rest.

I am very thankful to the Pray for the Cure Ministry that is run by Mary Nelson at this church.  Through that ministry I met my first friends here at Hosanna.  Through that ministry I have been given peace, love and healing.  Specifically I am thankful to Mary Nelson, Pastor Pat Moe, Vicki Starbeck and Tony Caterina.  All of them remind me to keep looking up even when the doctors try to convince me to look down.  I am so thankful for all of their prayers and the prayers of so many within this church and other churches.

I am so thankful that God allows me to do His work on earth.  I pray he continues to use me for His good.  I am thankful that this disease has allowed me to witness to other people and try and explain who God is and why he is so relevant to their lives.

Lastly, I am so thankful to one other person within our congregation.

5 Months ago I took part in the cardboard testimonies.  Basically about 30 of us walked up on stage and shared our struggles with all of you.  A woman within our congregation couldn’t make it to those services but she watched it sometime later on the internet.  A few weeks ago that same woman had a dream about one of those people. The man had stage 4 colon cancer.  God told her within her dream to find that person, tell him that God loves him and then pray for healing for him.  She didn’t know the person, didn’t know his name and had no idea what she would say even if she saw that person.  She had never prayed out loud for someone.  A few nights later she dreamed about this guy again.  This time in her dream she was actually praying with him.  Again she didn’t know what to do or say if she saw him in church the following Sunday, she was almost afraid to run into him.  But God continued to work on her heart and mind and on the following Monday God put her right in front of Tony Caterina. She explained to Tony her dreams and didn’t know what to do or how to make contact with this guy.  Tony was filled with excitement as he explained how well he knew me.  Tony made the connection and Shari filled God’s request.  Now Shari Och and I have prayed together several times over the past 2 weeks.  I am so thankful for God’s love for me, Shari’s courage and her obedience to the Lord.  All glory and honor goes to Him!   Amen.

This coming Tuesday it is time for more scanning.  We will be checking on the cancer and also the hernia.  I think I will need surgery for the hernia, but just not sure how they will fit it all in.  Still in a lot of pain from the hernia and the spleen.  I will get results and do blood work on Wed. morning.  They it will be decision making time on how we proceed.  Please pray for me/us this week as it will be yet another tough one.  Sorry for the length of this post.

Chris

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The dreams

Over the past 2+ years I have gone through a lot.  Many of the things have been horrible both physically and emotionally.  But there a have been a lot of things over the past 2 + years that have been nothing short of amazing.  I need to do a better job of relating those things to you.  This next one tops them all…

I got a call a little over a week ago and it was from Tony, one of my Prayer Ministers.  Tony is one of the people that comes and prays for us at Pray For the Cure.  He also is one of the Prayer Ministers on Sundays at our church.  This past summer Tony and Linda, his wife, came over to our house to pray for our family.  Tony has been a great mentor and friend throughout these past 2 1/2 years.

Tony sounded pretty excited when he called me.  He said there was a lady named Shari that I needed to meet.  Tony leads a Small Group at our church and Shari is someone who is in his group and attends our church.  At the beginning of the meeting Tony asked Shari how here week was going.  Shari explained that she had had some interesting dreams over the past week and wasn’t sure what to do about them.  She explained that she had had two dreams about a guy whose name she didn’t know and had never met.  Tony asked her to explain more.  Shari explained that the guy in her dream has Stage 4 Colon cancer and had participated in a service at our church last June.  She explained that she never saw the service live, but rather had watched it on the internet this past summer.  (All of our Hosanna Sermons can be watched online).  In the dream God told Shari that she needed to find this man and pray with him for his healing.  A couple days later she had another dream, this time God told her to pray for this man, tell him God loves him and in the dream she did pray for that man.  Shari is a shy person.  She didn’t know what to think.  She had never prayed for another person out loud in front of them.  When the first Sunday rolled around after those dreams she was scared she actually might run into that man.  She had no idea what she would do or say or how he would react.  I mean how do you start the conversation, ” Hi I’m Shari and I have been dreaming about you…”  She was afraid that the guy would think she was nuts.

Of course, as you have figured out, that guy was/is me.  And Shari had just her dreams to one of the 6,000 people in our church who knows me pretty intimately.  Tony said, “His name is Chris Baty and I can contact him to set something up for you to meet.”  As nervous as Shari was, she agreed.  Shari and I and her daughter met a week ago Tuesday to pray together. This past Monday at Pray for the Cure she came with me to pray again for my healing.

The whole story has been mind boggling to me and I’m living it.  The sermon that Shari remembered my face from was from over 4 months ago.  I was one of about 30 people who took part in the 3 weekend services.  My role was a non-speaking part in which I held up a piece of cardboard explaining the challenge I was currently going through.  Shari is a loving, caring, courageous person who stepped out of her comfort zone to be obedient to God.  God is at work, alive and interacting.  I feel humbled and blessed.  Too many times I get caught up in all the yucky stuff that is going on and lose focus on what is really important in this life and the next.

If you want to see my very small part of the service was asked to be a part of last June, here is the link:

http://www.vimeo.com/13707263

Chris

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Hunting and Chemo

I went hunting with our deer party last weekend.  It is just a great time to take in nature and spend some time visiting with people I have known for a very long time.  My Dad started hunting with Larry at his property in Backus in 1970.  Back in 1970 my Mom, Dad, myself and new baby sister were living in Backus.  Rhonda was born Nov. 13th 1970, right in the middle of a beautiful deer hunting season.  That didn’t slow down the hunt.  After Rhonda was born in Brainerd, Dad drove back up to Backus and went back out hunting.  Later that night Dad went back up to see how they were doing.  No matter what life has brought us, the hunt just goes on.

All that being said, I’m not much of a hunter.   My grandfather was an amazing shot.  My Dad followed in his footsteps and Dave seems to follow in his.  Somewhere along the way I missed that gift.  Dave and Dad once again showed off their marksmanship this year.  Dave dropped his deer at 200 yards across a swamp.  Dad shot a buck running away from him, not once but twice.  Dad’s second shot wasn’t needed as the first shot went through the lungs and the adrenaline just carried the deer further.  Dad got caught off guard by his 7 pointer as he was busy taking pictures of the scenery around him.  I just took in all of the beautiful sunshine and nature and spent the time resting in the mild temp.’s.  I saw 8-10 deer but all of them were Does or Fauns.  The only excitement I had was face planting myself into the soft earth while preparing to jump over a puddle from a dead fall.  The branch I was balancing on gave way just as I went to jump.  I found myself crashing into the soft earth face first while placing my gun in mid-air on some neighboring trees.  The gun was safely waiting for me there as I rolled off the ground yelling/laughing “man down” to my brother.  All of that excitement didn’t do much for my Hernia.  Yup I said it, a Hernia-well actually two, but who is counting.

I went to the doctor today to review how my blood work looked and how I was handling all of my challenges.  So we just started down my list…

1.  My Cold is slowly getting better-it has been a long 4 weeks and I still have a cough.  That cough was so violent last week that it caused a hernia.  I thought I pulled a groin muscle but the lump was a dead give away. I hadn’t figured out what it was until Jeannie at work ventured her guess, and she was right.  The doctor checked it out and pointed out a 2nd hernia I actually have higher up.  Only the lower hernia hurts right now and he told me just to take it easy.  I guess over time it will heal itself.

2.  My Hives…I haven’t had Hives for two weeks now and the doctors don’t know why I got them or why they went away.  The gave me a prescription to take just in case they came back, but I decided to skip it.

3.  My spleen…The pain in my spleen first cropped up about 6 weeks ago.  Basically the spleen is enlarged and is growing into places that it shouldn’t and has caused pain.  That pain has worsened over the last 7 days.  I have pain med.’s and the doctor said to start using them.  Pain causes stress and higher blood pressure and generally wears you out.  I need all the energy I can get, so the doc said take the pain med.s

4.  Blood work…After taking an extra 2 weeks off my blood work bounced back.  My white blood cells, red blood cells, hemoglobin, platelets and liver numbers headed in the right direction. My platelets moved to 69-the highest they have been in over 3 months.  My Bilirubin remained elevated but dropped to 2.0, down from 3.3.  Since everything improved, he gave me the light round of chemo.  I still am not eligible for the heavy stuff as the Bilirubin would have to be around 1.4 or lower to get that stuff.  I don’t stress about it.  If my body/blood work can’t handle it, I can’t handle it and will take what the doctor prescribes.  After this round of chemo, I then will have scans 11/30 and then chemo again Dec. 1st.

Life just keeps going on and I feel blessed to be a part of it.  Other than the recent pain,  I feel pretty good.  I get worn out a little easier now but am just so thankful that I can continue to take part in being a Dad and Husband, Volunteering at Church and Helping out at Work.  There is a lot of people that make all that possible, but number one is God.  That is the only explanation for how I can continue to move forward.  I’m no Superman (Of course you may have figured that out already from my face plant story noted above).

Love,

Chris

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