Lisa Gruber's Health Update

Lisa Gruber’s journey from grim to grateful

behind the scenes of a 10-year old church plant in San Diego!

As we shared in a recent newsletter, Converge Southwest’s Legacy Church in San Diego celebrated their 10-year anniversary in February, 2018. Lead Pastors Curt Gruber and Todd Molter, their wives, support staff and church family spent the morning reflecting on what God has done, while embracing their ministry vision ahead. Bruce and Kym Sumner attended services and festivities at both La Mesa and Tierrasanta campuses to congratulate the leadership and worship together.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Pastor Curt’s wife, Lisa, has wrestled the raw reality of a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Here’s her courageous story, in Lisa's own words.

"I'd like to say that my story begins with early detection of a breast lump. But it does not. Because of my involvement with an out of state criminal trial of a family member, I ignored a growing lump, taking care of what I determined 'most important' to honor my family. At the time, I thought this to be the right decision. Now, not so much.

October 13th - a routine mammogram. The result: a horrified technician.

October 17 - an ultra-sound, followed by a biopsy and PET scan, confirmed a very large mass: Stage 3 cancer with lymph node involvement.

Many tests and appointments over the net three weeks brought me to chemotherapy. Because of the size and aggression of the tumors, I was placed on a dense-dose regimen of chemotherapy beginning Friday, November 17, 2017. Two months of Adriamycin/Cytoxan (every 2 weeks) followed by Taxol, every two weeks. February 23rd concluded this part of the pre-surgery journey.

A large "blip" on the path for us was spending Christmas in the hospital due to my white blood cells plummeting to zero, as I became neutropenic. Masking and gloving became my way of life, as well as isolation. Pretty tough for a gregarious extrovert like me!

During these four months I did a lot of soul searching in my relationship with Jesus. How could I ask Him for healing when I had waited so long to get help? I talked with Him constantly about my regret for not honoring the beautiful temple He had entrusted to me. It took weeks of these conversations before He guided me to a favorite verse, Psalm 32:5, "Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the Lord' and you forgave the guilt of my sin." I was instantly filled with peace; at rest with my Lord once again, who loved me in spite of everything. 

I have been rocking the bald/hairless look with humor. My husband, Curt, and our son, Michael, are champtions, having embraced the diagnosis, treatment and many side effects with bravery and unwavering encouragement. They have run toward the fire, not away! Their Lord and Savior fills them with huge proportions of courage and strength that could only come from a loving, warrior, almighty, sovereign God.

Michael lives and works in Nebraska. His company has become a real family to him. So much so, that co-workers surrendered sick leave and vacation to get him home for my surgery. They also took up a collection and paid for his flight! Love comes from such unexpected places.

Legacy Church has stepped up with countless people providing help including meals, rides to appointments, house cleaning, errand running, flowers, cards, calls. My responsibilities - which as the Pastor's wife in a church plant are many - have been covered by volunteers and staff members who show their love for God's work in His church by their service and support. How can I possibly every fully express my gratitude?

On my Caring Bridge page, I have recorded significant moments along the way. Here is my entry from March 5, 2018:

I can't even take in what I just heard from my doctor calling with my MRI results. She said, "The lymph nodes are gone and your tumor has shrunk to 1/6 the size it was. Your results are amazing!" God has been at work using these awful/wonderful chemo drugs to poison and kill this cancer and give me a chance at more life! Your prayers are everything!

Whatever life I have left, I will live it fully and loudly for the glory of my Savior and friend, Jesus Christ! You'll find me each Sunday ministering at Legacy Church La Mesa, fulfilling the call on my life. Come join us, I'd love to meet you!" 

- Lisa Vanzo Gruber

Update: Lisa's most recent surgery date was Tuesday, April 10. We received this report from Pastor Curt the following morning: "Great results!  Surgeon says he "got it all."  Sentinel node is clear Huge praise!. Final pathology will be back by Friday. Lots of pain, but praising God!  Thanks for praying."

Please join us in continued prayer for complete healing.

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