Sunday, May 15 — All systems clear

Hi friends,

So, it has been almost two months since we have offered an update, and we remain so, so grateful for your continued love and care for us – in the past, and now.

The medical update. We continue to have VERY MANY follow-up appointments. On Wednesday, Heath had his 3-month CT scan and, in the words of the text from our oncologist at about 9:30pm Wednesday night, “All systems clear!” There are always details to tend to, but this is very, very, wonderfully good news. Heath continues to get stronger, gain weight, and most importantly to him, his hair is growing back.

Heath will also have minor leg surgery Tuesday, May 17. The bones in his right leg are longer than in his left, and this, as well as some muscular stuff in his right calf, have made walking and running a little more complicated. Until about a year ago, this was the thing we spent the most time and energy on an average day. Until. But now that he is cancer-free we are circling back, and that will happen next Tuesday. It should be four weeks or so of healing, but we are very hopeful that in the long term this will get his legs much closer in length, and therefore help the rest of his body be in better alignment. He will also have a post-chemo heart catheterization on June 1.

An update on the rest of things. In the grand scheme of things, we are all doing pretty well. Wilson is playing a lot of South Durham Little League baseball. Heath is back at school and was confirmed on May 1. That was pretty special. Ella Brooks is relieved to have completed the two AP exams she needed to take. Everyone is eager for school to be over. Carrie is very busy at First Presbyterian in Burlington, with all of the usual things, as well as a number of retirement events for our friend and colleague Ron Shive. This has been great fun, and it is such a gift to be able to celebrate his extraordinary ministry. But as those of you who are church folk know, pastoral transitions create a lot of anxiety in the system. That is surely an extra layer, and you all would be surprised to know when people are anxious they track Carrie down and want to talk. 😊 She’s doing great work, but it is a heavy load at times. I’m so grateful for how things continue to go at WPC, but will be ready for a nap after the public launch of our capital campaign on Sunday. Both of our churches are – like every other church I know – full of people who are so faithful, but are also pretty weary. I don’t know anyone who isn’t pretty tired right now. And all churches, and all institutions, are pretty uncertain about the future. It is hard to see too far ahead, and hard to know what the future holds.

As I said back in March, re-entry is hard. It still is. You have this 7-8 month season of extraordinary intensity, and then, “hooray, no more cancer!” And after that you pivot right back to life and work and carpool. We are both so, so grateful for the work we have the privilege to do, and all of the other juggling. But it is hard to figure out how to make all of the pieces fit together, sometimes. I suspect you, dear reader, know something of this feeling. We had the chance over spring break to go to Tybee Island, then Savannah, then Jacksonville Beach, for time away together and with dear cousins. We were so grateful to have had the chance to stop and see our beloved Grandma Betty (Strow’s mom), who died a few weeks later on Easter Sunday. Her great spirit and smile live on with us, and we will celebrate her life later this summer in New Jersey.

Carrie and I went to New Bern for a fun evening then a half marathon (I’m not sure this was a good idea. 😳 ). I spent a week with my preaching group after Easter. We have had a handful of great family visits, for Palm Sunday and for Easter and a handful of other times in between. We’ve been able to see friends for lunch, and catch up with others on the side of the baseball field. That has been a gift, to be able to see people more, to enjoy laughter and conversation about NORMAL things, and to enjoy the sunset and breeze and that dirt from a baseball diamond that seems to get everywhere.

That might be the most important reminder in all of this – even with the Covid uncertainty around. People matter. The people in your lives that you may take for granted. The people you see as you walk in the neighborhood. The people you pass in the grocery store. The people you work with. Friends, old and new – whether you see them often or not. I think a lot about how one of the most important pieces of the incarnation for me is how I get to imagine Jesus doing a lot of the stuff we enjoy doing. Yes, there were all the fancy healings and stories we read on Sundays. But there were also plenty of other moments when he went for a walk with friends, or they pushed out onto the water in a small boat. When Jesus and a few friends were settling in to stay the night somewhere new. When they built a fire and had dinner, maybe played some music and laughed as the stars came out. Those ties that bind matter so, so much, and get us through.

Thanks to you all for being some of those people for us, and for so many more.

29 replies
  1. Heather Hale says:

    <3. Celebrating the challenges and the joys from south of y'all… Gratitude for your perspectives and the manner in which you share them with your world…

  2. Eliza says:

    So excited for you all. I can only imagine how difficult “re entry” is for the “normal” routine but I love your message. We all need to reread this daily to remind us to stop and smell the roses…appreciate everyone/everything around us.

    Hope to get to see you all in Montreat!

  3. Sharon says:

    I love your pondering and great thoughtfulness. I’m so very glad all are well, and that Heath and the family will have a fun summer! It’s so easy to take “normal” for granted, as you say. Thankful for a good normal!

  4. Ruth Caccavale says:

    Thanks for updating us. Grateful for so much good news and the beautiful spirit of the Tuttle family.

  5. Patricia Hill says:

    So happy to hear your great news
    Getting back to “normal” is a wonderful thing …what ever your “normal “ is
    God Bless you all
    May Gods light continue to shine on you all

  6. Mark Brainerd says:

    What a good word. Prayers for Heath’s surgery this week and for a good, strong recovery in the days and weeks ahead. Love and light to each of you from Dallas.

  7. Betty M Rissmiller says:

    It is really good to hear that some pressure is off for a while, and that you can enjoy the more “normal” things life has to offer. Continued prayers for Heath’s health, and for rest and peace for all your family. Sending love…

  8. Nancy Rozak says:

    A wonderful update! I loved the photos. I am wishing you a wonderful summer. I hope you get to Montreal! Many blessings, Nancy

  9. Scottie Cannon says:

    So glad to hear that life for your family is returning to a busy normal, as tiring as that can be! Love to you each and all.

  10. Linda Hobson says:

    Celebrating normalcy returning for your family! Normal with all its glorious grace notes of joy and appreciation and all the messy, complications that come with it.

  11. Jenn Wilson says:

    Love to the Tuttle Family! I am so happy ya’ll got to get away for a minute…you are super loved 😍

  12. Ann Flagg says:

    Such good news! We continue to keep your family in our prayers with love. We are so grateful to have Carrie back to help us through this transition at FPC.

  13. Kim and Daryl Fisher says:

    Thank you for sharing and keeping us all updated. We continue to pray for each of you and are always holding Heath and your precious family close. Hugs to you all!

  14. Diane Hill says:

    Grateful for these words about your “normal” challenges. Love the photos! Prayers continue for the pivot!

  15. Terry Hammersley says:

    I am so elated to hear all this good news!! NORMAL just sounds happy and light and filled with relief and not holding your breath!! Your faithfulness has sustained you and inspired the rest of us! More good days to follow!!!

  16. Linda Johnston says:

    🙏 Prayers and Praise follow you in Heath’s Healing. So thankful you have had some family time together to love and laugh! Love ❤️ you all! Constantly hear praises for Carrie wherever I meander on my journey, and I jump in to AGREE…She’s Amazing!

  17. Barbara Gaw says:

    Thank you for sharing your good news as we need to always be thankful n hearing good news also as well as prayers for healing n hurting..hoping to see y’all around this summer…sending hugs with Thanksgiving!!!

  18. Bonnie Maready says:

    Precious Precious People….
    I had been thinking and wondering how you all were doing and mentioned you to Libby Inman at Faith just this morning.
    This entry is such wonderful news to read. Happy and elated for you all….
    Even for the good kind of being tired.
    Thank you so much for the update.
    You All continue to be in my prayers.
    Much Love and Warm Hugs


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