Thursday, January 24, 2013

Antarctica Part 12 - The Grandeur of Antarctica

Each day in Antarctica brought new wonders and new lessons from God. Before I left people asked me, “Why do you want to go to such a cold place?” And I answered, “Because it is one of the few pristine wildernesses left in the world, untouched by man.” And that it was! No cities, no pollution, no more whale and seal hunters, no towns, just research stations. We did see a few reminders of man’s presence. In Wilhelmina Bay we saw a Norwegian ship that sank in 1915.  It had caught on fire and the crew had to sink it to put the fire out. Then they camped on the cold snowy shore for several months until another ship came to the same bay and rescued them. We also went ashore at the site of an abandoned research station, called Base Brown, in Paradise Bay. It consisted of a few small buildings and a foot bridge.
I was impressed by the grandeur of nature and the smallness of man.
It was like a classical Chinese painting. Such paintings would show a huge landscape consisting of green mountains and fields, with a tiny figure of a man sitting on the side of the mountain. I was the tiny figure of a woman, sitting on the snowy edge of a steep slope. Now I have seen Mount Everest in my younger days, when I traveled to Nepal. The Nepali airlines offered a 45 minute flight to fly along the Himalaya Mountains and you were guaranteed to see the summit of Mount Everest. It, too, was a majestic, breathtaking creation of God. But there were cities, temples, fields and livestock, all signs of civilization in Nepal, and I took an easy route to get to the summit. 
Antarctica is different. This trip was more like a trekking expedition than a luxury cruise. Other than the two signs of man mentioned above, it was just me and God alone in His beautiful grandiose masterpiece of mountains, snowscapes, sunshine and clear blue ocean, dotted with icebergs of all sizes and colors. Here are pictures of our ship, the Ocean Diamond. It is 124 meters long and 16 meters wide, with seven decks. Although it is a small cruise ship, it looks large and impressive next to the little zodiac boats. Yet it appears almost minuscule next to a snowcapped Antarctic mountain. And here are pictures of a zodiac boat, appearing small and insignificant next to the edge of the Antarctic glaciers, ice sheets and mountains.
Yet, no matter how small and insignificant I felt compared to God’s creations, I knew that God cares as much for me as He does for this white continent, as much for me as he does for the little penguins and the large whales! He cares for me so much that He has given me health and energy to enjoy His wondrous world!
Four days ago I emailed my prayer warriors because my tumor markers and enzyme blood levels had risen. The tumor markers went from 6.5 to 13, and the enzymes went from 155 to 185. My doctor reordered the tests and said if the levels are still rising, it’s time to do a PET Scan. This test will indicate new tumors and/or growth of existing tumors. I asked for prayers that no new growth has occurred. Today I talked to my oncologist's medical assistant. She said one of the numbers has gone up a little and the other one come down - a lot! The tumor markers went up from 13 to 14.8 but the alkaline phosphatase came down from 185 to 165!! Yea, God! Thank you, prayer warriors! Please keep praying! The doctor still has to review the labs and decide if a PET Scan is needed, but I am not worried. God Cares! Need I say more?

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