Update July 23

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Prayer Requests, Updates at 10:11 pm by Al

Our apologies for being tardy with an update! I wrote something mid-week last week, but then we had a power-outage at Westminster, where the blogsite is hosted, and I never was able to finalize it. Then, directly after my Friday appointment with our oncologist, we went away to the New Jersey shore for the weekend. Forgive me for not being more timely!

We had an appointment with my oncologist at Penn on Friday. (My mid-week update was a request for prayer for wisdom to know what to do about future treatment.)


1. I have been feeling better the past week than I have in a couple of months. It seems that the residual effects from the chemo and other earlier treatments are finally flushing out of my system. I had been very weak, shaky and exhausted, and now I am much less so. This has been most encouraging. I didn’t expect to feel “normal” again. (A week or so ago as I reached the end of being weaned off of steroids [which I was taking to reduce the swelling around my brain tumor] I experienced ferocious headaches, but the oncological nurse practitioner has helped me adjust the dosages to solve that.)

2. The doctor suggested that we continue the respite from treatment and monitor the progress of the cancer in order to determine any further treatment. We were most happy to agree.

3. I will have an MRI of the brain in August and then a CT scan of my lungs and abdomen in early September.

Items for praise and gratitude:

1. That I am feeling better than I have for weeks.

2. That I have a most understanding employer and community at work at Westminster. The support and care has been exceptional and encouraging. We are well taken cafe of.

3. For our family all being back in the area. We have had wonderful times of being together. This past weekend at the NJ shore was one example. Friends generously loaned us the use of their house in Ocean City, and everyone came down and joined us. I was even able to get in the water and experiment with body-surfing–something I love to do. I wasn’t able to do all I that I’ve done in the past, but I did catch a couple of waves. Two weeks ago I could not have imagined even attempting this!

4. The kindness and prayer of friends, family and church.

5. An opportunity to visit my parents in Florida recently. We had a wonderful time.

6. For wonderful, caring and insightful medical professionals, who have worked with us so well and shown unflagging concern, dedication and hard work on our behalf.

7. The energy and concertration to work on writing. We are making some progress.

8. And so much more! We are grateful for the gift that every one of you is in our lives.

9. How God has kept so many others we know (or know of) in the midst of illness and trials in recent weeks.

10. And much more than I can list at the moment.

Prayer requests:

1. For ongoing hearts of gratitude and eyes to see the Lord as we continue to walk in this situation. We don’t ever want to take anything for granted!

2. For ongoing stability in the disease itself. Even for healing!

3. For wisdom in living out our lives–how do we continue to serve the Lord and others in this time?

4. For our family that they will see God’s grace and continue to find hope in the midst of grief.

Blessings, Al


  1. Mark A. Stone said,

    July 24, 2006 at 7:35 am

    Good morning.

    It was wonderful to hear that God has provided you with a respite from the effects of your cancer treatments. Not knowing what He has for you in the future, it is wonderful that you are able to feel more normal, spend time with your family, and continue with your writing. I continue to see the glory of Christ shine through your actions and testimony (including that of your family). Thank you and may God be more precious to you each day.

  2. Craig Higgins said,

    July 24, 2006 at 12:14 pm

    Thanks be to God! This was a most encouraging email, and an answer to all our prayers.

  3. Jan Kreft said,

    July 24, 2006 at 4:29 pm

    Praise God for the wonderful respite, and for the precious times with your family! Will continue to pray and watch grace have it’s way.

    Loads of love, Jan.

  4. Michaela said,

    July 24, 2006 at 6:31 pm

    Hi there…I found your blog via Mark Traphagen, who is a friend of mine…along with Art Boulet, who had mentioned your situation the other week, when I was visiting my grandmother (who is late stages of pancreatic cancer).

    I feel like there’s nothing I could really say here, but I did want you to know that you’re words, along with the words of your family, are honestly some of the most encouraging, amazing words I’ve read in a while. I don’t know if that’s helpful to hear, but it certainly puts my small daily stresses in perspective, along with giving me a greater understanding while watching my grandmother’s last few months on earth. Please know that you have a distant “internet” sister in Scotland who is praying for all of you.

    And as a church youthworker, I can safely say that your kids give me INCREDIBLE hope for the now and future church. Wow.

  5. laurie hartman said,

    July 24, 2006 at 9:24 pm

    Dear Al,
    Thanks for the update. I have been thinking of you and your family…..
    Things have been non-stop for our family over the summer – the end of synchronized swimming, family visits, and anticipating a trip to Connecticut to see my family. Heaven has been on my mind as I anticipate the death of my dear Grandmother. Her day off from her beauty salon was Wednesday and so she spent the day at our home – and I always wanted to be sick on Wednesday…. she has been someone who has loved on me well…. And, I have been working with those who have less than full emotional/psychological capacity… how tough for them…. how relationships elude them…. how lonely… how frustrating… how unfathomable….. And, I am longing for being with them in a place in which there is no sighing or sorrow…..
    Yet, I am here and you are here….. How then shall we live? or ….How shall we then live???… Sounds like the title of a book…..
    And, it sounds like you have been living well…. Oh how wonderful to have a trip to Florida to see your family. I can still picture your parents…… and a sister???? I hope that it was a blessing to you and them…. And, Ocean City…… Mark’s brothers love that location…. In addition to body surfing… did you indulge in salt water taffy? snow cones? hot dogs with everything?????
    Oh, Al, may our Lord give you and your family unfathomable peace, grace, and wisdom during these next months. And, may the words that have been building in you – find the expression they need.
    And, on a funny last note…. I believe that the last blogger…. Michaela…. pulled in a circular connection…. It may be that Mark Traphagen was David’s teacher at the Covenant School in Charlottesville, Virginia.
    Much, much love to you and your family,
    Laurie Hartman

  6. John Eddy said,

    July 24, 2006 at 9:54 pm

    Thanks for the update. I just want to tell you and Libby “hello”.
    with love.

  7. Rick said,

    July 24, 2006 at 10:23 pm

    We keep praying for you. Please thank Libby for “leading” us in worship out of Psalm 23 on Sunday. It was a rich time and her words were an encouragement. We love you.

  8. Thomas Mak said,

    July 25, 2006 at 12:12 am

    Thanks for this encouraging update. Cheer up. We always remember you and your family in our prayers.

  9. Roderick Poore said,

    July 26, 2006 at 7:48 am

    Mary, our four kids, and I are praying for you and your family, Al! You are a terrific man, and the Lord has influenced thousands through you! You were a fantastic teacher and a good friend to me, and I just wanted to let you know that. I’ll never forget how well you treated me. You were one of a few who didn’t pass judgment on the new kid with the mohawk, dressed in “jams”, and thinking he could rap. On a lighter note, how ’bout them Celtics? They may actually have a good team here before long. Good to hear you were able to bodysurf. I love that also. We send our love to you, Libbie, and the whole family. May God continue to bless you and all around you, The Poores

  10. Wageeh Mikhail said,

    July 26, 2006 at 10:37 am

    My name is Wageeh Mikhail. I am a Westminster graduate (2002) I serve the Lord at a seminary in Cairo, Egypt. I had Prof. Groves for one course in 2002. From the first class, I realized that he is such a great teacher, and a humble man. I learned a lot from him, and I still have all the notes.

    It makes me so sad to hear of Groves’ health problem. I do not know what to say! But just as I was taught at Westminster and especially by Prof. Groves, I am confident that “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not cry: Mine!”

    Prof. Groves, we all love you and we pray that the Lord will manifest, in your situation, His “domain of our human existence.”


  11. Barbara Finlay said,

    August 2, 2006 at 2:48 am

    Dear Al and Libbie

    So encouraging to hear that Al is feeling so much better, we praise God with you for the many answers to prayer. The womens’ prayer groups here continue to meet and pray for you all. We will indeed pray for ongoing stability in the cancer and continue to pray for complete healing. May you continue to know God’s grace and peace in your lives at this difficult time.

    much love

  12. Kent said,

    August 2, 2006 at 7:36 pm

    Dear Al and Groves family,

    I have just seen your July 23 posting; I started to lose track when we went on vacation in mid-June (without any network connection — good in many respects, but not necessarily all! ). Other absences and deadlines have extended the disconnect, and I am finally managing to get back into the rhythm that I had before that. I must say it is a wonderful one to “come back to” — especially after reading many of the challenges you have faced in the past 6 weeks! You have not been absent from my prayers, but clearly my prayers have not been in full sync with your journey during that time!

    Al, I’m so grateful that you are feeling much better! I find it ironic that you re-discovered body surfing, since I have recently decided I really shouldn’t be doing that anymore! Too many shoulder injuries over recent years. I guess I am becoming more risk averse, whereas you are clearly looking for and enjoying every opportunity to taste life to the fullest and experience once again things that you thought were beyond your reach. Makes sense.

    Love, Kent

  13. Chi-Yin & Chin-Fei Hsu said,

    August 2, 2006 at 9:45 pm

    Dear Professor Al, Libby, and family:

    We praise and thank God for you all. It brought so much joyce to our hearts that Professor Groves was able to do water surfing and felt much better. We will press on in praying, praying, and praying, and will remember medical appointments, checkups and treatments in our prayers. God is good and He alone is to be praized! He is our portion and inheritance! (What an amazing blessing this is and how can we ever comprehend it!)

    Love in Christ
    Chi-Yin and Chin-Fei

  14. Ray & Judy Parnell said,

    August 9, 2006 at 8:22 pm

    This is an encouraging update and we are so glad that you have been able to enjoy all the happenings during these past weeks.
    Al, thanks so much for coming to the seminary when we stopped by. IT WAS A PRECIOUS GIFT TO US. It was great seeing so many of our Westminster family but it was certainly an extra special treat seeing you!
    Love to you and Libbie.

    Ray & Judy

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