Thursday, December 31, 2009

"To you I lift up my soul..."

Psalm 143:8, "let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul." This has been a day of mixed blessings and joy and sorrow. We had a time of blessing by being with old, dear friends...we had word of one of my cousin's death and this was of great sorrow as we had grown up together and been very close. I loved him dearly and even though we had not been together much as adults, the childhood ties kept our hearts united. I would spend a week every summer with his family on Signal Mountain and he and I would ride bikes all over the mountain, pick blackberries and blue berries, which made wonderful pies. We would go swimming in the lake there and just have fun, walking all over east Chattanooga. The other cousins were younger, the ages of my sisters, so he and I as the oldest two, were able to roam and explore. I have a picture of us at ages 6 and 4, arms around each other that I have always kept on my desk, just because we were so innocent, the essence of childhood. So day of joy and day of sorrow...God has healed him now.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

We are children of God...

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!..." I John 3:1....How precious to be God's child, to fall asleep on His shoulder, to be that child again, totally dependent on Him (this is what I would love to be like and totally depend on God) This has not been too bad a day 2, I'm a little shaky, lack of sleep last night; following the bag of steroids, I slept about half the usual amount. The strange taste of all foods is back, even water tastes like something unreal. The arthritis hit my left hand this time, and it is really sore and swollen. But still, a reasonable day considering the "rat poison" (my pet name for chemo) yesterday...I took all the Christmas decorations down today and wondered if I would be putting them up this next Christmas. I cannot help but wonder over things like this. I asked my oncologist yesterday what I should say when questioned about the growth of the cancer or whatever, and he said, "tell them you should have been dead 5 years ago--and God has kept you alive and He knows when your time is up"...and meantime, we are doing the best we can to prolong my life and see what God has planned for me. It is an awesome feeling to know I am so certainly in God's hands, and to know I am His child.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

In the beginning, God...

John 1:1-2..."In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning"... I feel in such awe that God was in the beginning, before there was anything--too much for our minds to wrap around! He loved us so much, He came as our savior, and that is too much to wrap our minds around! Thank you God for your presence, your love and your grace. Today was the first chemo of the third round--more than I have ever taken. We were gone the usual nearly 12 hours, which included many blood draws, two EKG's, a heart echo and the two bags of zofran and steroids, and the two bags of chemo. The other two rounds of chemo lasted about 2-3 months each, then I got over it, hair grew back, life went on totally normal. This is so different, as I may have this as a life style for who knows how long. My hair still has not fallen out but it is really thin, presenting a hair-style problem, but I hate to shave my head until I have to. Having a 3/4 amount of chemo , I think, is going to make a difference. Tonight I feel much better than my usual first chemo night and I hope this remains. This year is nearly gone and I am excited thinking about 2010 and what the year may bring. A new great granddaughter is a wonderful happening any day now! We have a new grandson-in-law and that is also exciting. Glory to God as we welcome the new year and His blessings, we pray, for our family.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Psalm 139---my favorite psalm

I probably use verses from this Psalm more than any other. It gives me more peace than any other because of telling of God's care so especially..I guess it "speaks" to me. "Search me O God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (verses 23-24). When my sister died of cancer eight years ago, I gained comfort from this psalm and nearly daily, I also now gain comfort from it. The Bible tells us to not be anxious, yet this passage assumes we will be anxious at times. Of course, I am ready for another round of chemo and I dread the sick feelings that go with it. I had almost gotten back to feeling normal in these two weeks.John begs me to rest more and do less in daily activities and I tell him..."this may be the way I will always be, for the rest of my life, especially if this chemo cannot beat the cancer."... I think the next CT will really tell if this is working, especially by cutting back to 3/4 dose of chemicals. I know there are lots of people praying for me and that means more than anything. God knows our hearts. My heart and soul thanks all of you. To God be the glory!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

"O Lord you know me..."

"O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise, you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways..." Psalm 139:1-3...this is one of my favorite Psalms and one I have in my thoughts frequently, partly because it tells that God knows our "days before we are born". When I think of dying, this is comforting because it reminds me of how God has our lives planed and is in control of these lives. I could quote the entire psalm, all 24 verses, and they are all such meaningful verses for my stage of life especially.
For some reason, I was thinking today of the "farm life" we kind of had when Grandpa was alive. We had hogs and I can remember the hog killing with the hog hanging from a big tree, bleeding out. Grandma made bags of muslin for the sausage, and she made "souse" and they hung the hams in our smoke house. All this is pretty much a lost art unless you live on a large farm today. One time our one cow had her calf in the front yard and that was exciting. We had another calf to be raised for eating, but we made such a pet of him, I cannot remember his being killed--I think Daddy just sold him. Grandpa raised some tobacco for a few years--this was 65 years ago--and he had a wonderful tobacco barn with lots of levels of 2x4's and tobacco sticks for hanging the tobacco on...what a great place to play--all those levels to climb and the sticks became anything you needed them to be--swords, guns, props for a tent, lots of play area. We had the chickens I have talked about and a big creek, which after a large rain was just right for swimming. I think the "swimming hole" was maybe two feet deep but it was floatable! When the creek was low, there were lots of tadpoles and these were fun to put in a jar and watch it become a frog.
Grandma and Grandpa built their house out of cedar slabs. They had lost alot of things in the depression and built this house in the country and it was very special, even featured in the newspaper one Sunday. It looked like a log house from a distance and had a big porch all around, and rock foundation and porch posts. The porch was perfect for climbing up to and sitting on the log railings. Most all I knew as a child, I learned from the evenings on that porch, half asleep while the grown-ups talked.
I depend on these memories of my charmed childhood, my dependence upon God and His knowing me and what I need. I beg God for healing and know He will do what He thinks best...after all, He knows me better than anyone else ever has or ever will.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas cooking

I have always been a great recipe collector, and especially those I have used for 50+ years at Christmastime. The jam cake was my grandmother's recipe (the one who died when I was 9) and Mama used it and I always have also. The secret to the blackberry jam cake is the addition of pear preserves to the mixed up cake, making it very moist. Then the addition of Mama's caramel icing makes it perfect. I used to make a fruit cake which was from Grandma and we always made it at least a month ahead and "soaked" it in a lard stand. The cake itself was steamed in an oven for about three hours. No one bothers with a fruit cake any more, and few eat it, so this is a lost art! I do make fruitcake cookies which recipe came from a dear friend. She also gave me the recipe for the pfeffernesses and several other wonderful concoctions I no longer make. The boiled custard which is an absolute "must" was Grandma's sister's recipe. One of our children's favorites is candy cane cookies, kind of a sugar cookie, with half the dough colored red and the two colors made into "snakes", wrapped and curved into a candy cane shape, and baked. We call the cereal-nut mixture, "nuts and bolts", and always have to have this, which you cannot just eat one handful!
This has been another quiet day, seems I cannot get enough sleep, napping for two hours each afternoon. I guess I am still recovering from the infections of last week. Always in the back of my mind is the thought of resuming the chemo, dreading the feelings that follow, knowing I must do this. I started a baby dress today for our newest "great" due in a few days, and that is exciting!
God has given me a wonderful life, so far and I pray for more days, weeks and months. Psalm 118:28-29 says "You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God and I will exalt you. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever."...

Friday, December 25, 2009

Reflecting on Christmas night

This has been a quiet day, again unlike most Christmas days and nights in my lifetime. We have enjoyed just "being", tree lights on, Christmas music playing, wondering what next year will be like??? One of my most memorable Christmas memories was driving up to Grandma's house and it had snowed that year (one of our rare 6 inches of snow) and seeing through the windows, family already there, lights and activity and the promise of family fun within. I rarely speak of Grandpa as he had died when Grandma was 73 and she lived another 25 years after that, most of it in her home.
I love the fairly new song, "Mary, Don't you Know" and especially the line that speaks of "when you kiss your baby, you've kissed the face of God..", thinking of that 14 years old young woman (which is what historians think Mary was) having a baby nearly alone in a stable, and the burden she was mature enough to understand and to carry. Luke 1:46-55 tells her response to God when the angel told her of the impending birth...She immediately says "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.."
Oh, to have that faith and assurance of being in the right relationship with our savior. I love going to sleep at night as I am praying. Someone said, "is that putting God in a bad way, to go to sleep in prayer?" I feel it is comforting, to fall asleep talking to the most important being in my entire life. So I am praying alot, fearful that I won't be here next Christmas, and who will take care of John? I have three more almost normal days until chemo starts again next Tuesday..will I ever be able to live without chemo? maybe not..but maybe we can live with it and make a fairly good life with it for a while. Forgive my rambling thoughts on this wonderful night commemorating our Christ's birth. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A cat called "mouse"

First of all, you have to understand our family--we have a really weird sense of humor and laugh at really non-laughable things--our way of dealing with life that sometimes hurts and we laugh so we can handle it. Secondly, you would have had to know our Johny to understand how "nearly normal" he was, and how much fun we all had, sometimes at his expense because he enjoyed teasing and laughing also. (He was diagnosed "brain-injured", finally, after years of searching, at about age 7 or 8). But as the children grew up, we expected his behavior to be normal as the other two were so we had lots of fun stuff we remember.
We had a gray angora cat and Johny named him "mouse" because the cat was really mouse colored, and the cat would run and hide when Johny would come in and holler "mouse"! The poor cat had a wretched life when ever he was caught and "loved" on. One day, some church ladies came for hot cocoa and cookies, Johny was on the back porch eating his cocoa with marshmallow, and holding the cat---he came in and reached for a cookie with hands COVERED with cat fur! Needless to say, not a lady there ate a cookie after that!
Johny loved snow and watched incessantly for it during winter. One day especially, every time I looked he was holding the back door open looking for snow, with my saying "close the door!". After several hours of our heating the outside, God must have taken pity on us and a few snow flakes fell, just enough to satisfy our Johny and make him happy!
A favorite trick the other children would do is knock under the table and ring a jingle bell and say "oh, is that Santa?" and Johny would get really excited and look out the window for Santa to be there any minute.
You may think our family is weird, but we have these wonderful memories and Johny had so much fun and he loved Christmas above all other times of the year. He relished every minute of it and when he died, he took part of the "color" from this time of the year. We would go friend's open houses and Johny knew everyone there, looking forward to this every Christmas, cherishing these friendships for all of his 29 years.
So this part of the joy of Christmas lives on in our memories, and we smile remembering Johny and his cat called "Mouse".
I think God looks on us and smiles at our sadness and memories and comforts us in all our weaknesses , especially as He sent His son to save us all...."and the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken..." Isaiah 40:5........Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmases past

I was napping today and semi-asleep and remembering the past 30-40 years or so...I started college ( as many of you know) when our children were about 9,12 and 15 and worked as a school secretary in the day and attended school at night (it took 6 years), getting a BS in Art Education, then I taught school for 14 years, getting an MS in Art Education also. Then when Johny died, I quit teaching and started working with our daughter in her fledgling sewing/decorating business (just the two of us) and this has grown into a shop and four workrooms, of which I am one workroom. As our grandchildren came along, we would take a "grandchildren trip" each summer, meeting to pick up the three from Texas (at that time) and then along with the ones here would go to the mountains, camping, or Florida for a week or so every summer. What fun we had, being with our grandchildren for a while, just us and them!Along the way, John and I operated a Bed and Breakfast for 11 years in our home, and two of my student/friends from Goodpasture and I, along with another friend had an heirloom sewing business for about 10 years. During these years I decorated the house and our cabin in the back so beautifully in an old fashioned way, lots of greenery and red bows. After Codes took our B&B away from us, we sold our dream home and moved to where we are now.I still have a workroom for our daughter's business and hope I can continue to work in that way for a long time. We never know where we will be a few years from now. I look back and cannot believe all the ventures John and I have been involved in.
I know sometimes I write in a despondent way, but all in all, I stay pretty cheerful and appreciate each day to be able to go and do somewhat. We were able to have dinner with friends tonight and what a blessing old friends are. So tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and the emphasis should be on our redeemer...Isaiah 48:17, "This is what the Lord says-your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go..."

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

..."and they will call Him Immanuel..."

When I woke up early this morning, thinking about the CT (is that all I can think about??) and praying it would be good and that God would receive the glory for this, then I thought, if it is not good, don't I need to also give God the glory for whatever He decides is right? My faith is being stretched every I ponder, pray, reason in my feeble brain, and grow in trust. Well, the oncologist was pleased with the scan, even though it was not "perfect". I still have tumors in my liver, but most of them have shrunk and only one increased in size(these are mg sizes, very tiny) and he feels the chemo is working. However I still have vestiges of pneumonia and sinus infection and urine infection left over from the near death experience last week. He felt I was too weak for chemo today so we have a "week off" to feel half way normal. My cracked fingers are nearly well, I am just still coughing alot. When the chemo starts back next week, he will only give me 3/4 of original dose, seeing if I can handle this better, without the low blood levels.
So back to my original premise, would I and could I glorify God for a bad answer? I think at this point I could because only He knows how much my body can stand and how much is worth going through. Only God knows my inner heart and when I will reach the "give-up" point. I am not there yet. I am still fighting for health and long to feel good again and have stamina to do the usual activities. I pray to live for another year and have a "normal" Christmas next year with the cooking and shopping and the gifting and the entertainlng. I guess above all, though I long to be the person God wants me to be and the example He wants me to be, to show anyone that he is with us, no matter what.
In Matthew 1:22-23, "....the Lord had said through the prophet, 'The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and they will call Him Immanuel-which means "God with us".'

Monday, December 21, 2009

Nearly Christmas

We were with family last night, and nothing is as excited as a 5 1/2 year old! Lots of good food, (wish I could have enjoyed it) and lots of love , which I did enjoy. Christmas has always been the most wonderful time of year for me and our family. I have put up as many as 10 trees (scaled back now to five small ones), each one with a theme. I had a "cat" tree ( all ornaments cats), angel tree, snowman tree, bird tree, Santa tree, sheep tree, gingerbread/kitchen tree, a large tree with all shiny ornaments, and one with ornaments that were my parents and heirloom tree. I used to bake the entire month of December, making jam cake which was put in a lard stand and "soaked" with a liquid wrapped cloth for a month then iced with caramel icing. Fruit cake cookies, thumbprint and candy cane cookies, pfeffernesses, and of course, coconut cake. We would take these goodies to dinners at other's homes, and at Mama's and Grandma's, and of course, have an open house. All of this with three small children, but I never seemed to run out of energy... and it was all so much fun to get ready for Christmas. I really miss all this, the fun of cooking, sharing, having friends over, decorating everything in the house that does not move! This phase of my life is over, regardless of how this CT turns out and we find out tomorrow. Now the next generation has the dinners and does the baking, and it is just came sooner than I thought it would. Some things never change, that is the Christmas story ; I especially love reading Luke 2:16-19"so they (the shepherds) hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart..."

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Family and more family

While I was in the hospital last week in a more or less semi-conscious state (not unconscious but sleeping a LOT), I kind of dreamed and remembered tales of family history. I remember how my grandmother (the one next door) told of growing up, one of 11 children, and how they took care of each other. Each younger one was taken on by the next oldest. My great grandparents married when she was 14 and he was 20. She was so short, she stood under his arm when he stretched it out, and he was very tall. My mother was, and my granddaughter is, the same statue as she was, barely 5' tall. She had a baby every two years and died at age 44. When she was on her death bed, an owl came in the window and sat on the bed headboard (a sure sign of death--old timey). As she died, great grandmother said "I see light". The children, some still very young were taken by aunts and uncles and raised, the older ones went to work. My grandmother was in the middle, so she was nearly old enough to work and was soon the first telephone operator in Franklin,KY. As they were growing up, to entertain the young ones, the older kids would set a baby on her shoulders and walk into the pond (cow pond, I am sure) feeling for the bottom, because no one knew how to swim. Miraculously, no one ever drowned! They would set the little ones on the bank and once sat one beside a "cow pile" which was not that! It was a large black snake coiled up! Some how they survived and grew, living on a farm, they always had food, just not many luxuries. Grandma said her father would go to town and buy a bunch of shoes and bring them home and whoever could wear them, got them. Oh, my we take so much for granted, don't we!
This week we have had the luxury of being with lots of family, in fact from Thanksgiving to now, we have been with each family member...which is unusual for such a short time period. The shame of it is I have felt so bad, I could not enjoy it like I wanted to but did enjoy it all I was able to! I am so blessed at this Christmas season to be abundantly covered with love by friends and family. Tomorrow is probably the most important day of the rest of my life---the CT will show if the chemo has, and is, working this time. I have cried and prayed and silently known the Holy Spirit is interceding for me. As Romans 8:26 promises, "..the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express."
I don't guess the rambling about great grandmother has much to do with now, except, she always sounded so young and so brave. She is part of who I am and I hope I share that same bravery and courage.
HER mother was the one who fed the Union officers ( I think I told of that earlier) so strong women run in our family. Please pray for me and the scan tomorrow. Please pray I accept God's will whatever it is.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

"good news of great joy..."

If you are a cancer patient or survivor, you probably find what I write to be interesting and can identify with it. If not, I hope you do not find my struggles boring. I am telling my honest struggles with my faith, trying valiantly to keep my eyes upon Jesus and trying to find healing for my body, from God's grace and from medical help. This journey is very tiring and very strenuous and I can see why one might "give up" at some point. I have not reached that point yet...but see how it is possible. Hope of family and plans for the future keep me going, as well as the hope of medical miracles. I worry that friends and family will tire of praying for me. I wonder if the CT will be good on Monday. I would love to be free of this infection and quit coughing. I think if I could be cancer-free, I would never ever worry about anything else in my life. I feel cancer is the most horrible, life consuming entity in this world.So I will not be negative---now that I have "vented". I will play Christmas songs, light the trees, lie on the couch and read and enjoy the "now".
Luke 2:10-11 says.."But the angel said to them (the shepherds), "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the city of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord."

Friday, December 18, 2009

" One thing God has spoken . two things have I heard.."

"One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you O God are strong..." Psalm 62:11...Well, I am back in the land of the living--semi that is-- I have never been so sick and lived through it. I honestly thought I would die while I was in the hospital. On Monday December 14, my oncologist took one look at me and put me in the hospital. While there for five days, I was given unlimited bags of fluid, bags of antibiotics, white cell shots every day, anti-blood clot shots, and two bags of blood. I had my body attacking itself (the natural bacteria taking over my body because there were too few blood cells to fight infection) and resulting in lung inflammation, urine infection and severe sinus infection. I had a mild "melt-down" there and cried a bit. I came home yesterday, still coughing and not feeling very good. I am still on antibiotic, wondering what each day holds now.
There has never been a Christmas for me like this one. I have done no shopping, no cooking, (except the cookies one day that my granddaughter and I made) and still Christmas will come and go on even without my efforts. Family has stepped in and taken over many duties and helping in so many ways. So I am sitting here thinking about next week and hoping I will get a good CT and be able to have chemo--will another round kill me?? I have to keep remembering God is in control and He will keep me and He will do for me what is needed. .."you,O God, are strong.."

Saturday, December 12, 2009

"Glory to God in the highest..."

Luke 2:14 ..."Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests..."Thank God for promises like this to depend upon when all else is going wrong.
This has been a week of changed plans every day! Our son and daughter in law were to be here tonight, and we had to call and tell them to not come today...I am so sick! I had the regular flu shot but not the H1N1 so this may be what I have, or pneumonia. All I know, I have not been this sick in many years.I have 4 degrees of fever, aches, coughing until my stomach feels it is "falling out"... I slept all day long...and am ready to go back and sleep all night. I really hate to feel this badly!!! My doctor gave me an antibiotic, so it should kick in by tomorrow, and I will see him on Tuesday, so Iam always praying for better days ahead. I am always trusting in God to see me through and know He knows best...Glory to God!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Psalm 9:1.."I will praise you, O Lord.."

No matter how bad I feel, I want and need to praise God...tonight is the shortest entry ever---I am so sick--nauseous and bad, bad cold...The doctor gave me some more meds so maybe tomorrow will be better..."I will praise you O, Lord, with all my heart...I will tell of all your wonders..."
I tried to do a little Christmas shopping today, just to join in the "fun" way...I was miserable, so that is out of the question this year. I love all of you, friends and family, and this year you will just have to take my word for it!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

post chemo--day 3

Same song, how many verses??I am not complaining, just stating facts. Fingers cracked, feet cracked, sores inside mouth (even with the soda water gargle), face broken out a little, stomach still upset, food still tastes horrible, and I wake up in the mornings so hungry but nothing tastes good. So this is what I/we do to survive. Would you do the same? How much do you want to stay on this earth and enjoy grandchildren, as well as grown children's companionship? As I said earlier this is the first Christmas season I have had chemo going on and feeling this bad. I should have no problem eating too much goodies during the next two weeks, should I... This is not all about me, even if I seem sometimes to be looking within too much. I feel if you share this journey with me, I need to tell you occasionally just exactly how I feel physically, and emotionally.
I am sewing, making Christmas pillows from X-stitch designs I have done. I am making dresses for two great grandaughters. Then I also sew for our daughter's shop. I do not just lay around even when I feel bad--it is easier to get up and get busy, and it takes your mind off the effects alot. Each day is exciting, another day alive and hope is here and I love the last half of this verse in Isaiah 11, verse 9..."for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." The 50 foot waves in Hawaii this week, surely speak of the Lord's glory and they really "cover the sea".

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

"Therefore we do not lose heart..."

II Corinthians 4:16-18..."Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
We seem to think this life is going on forever and place so much importance on everything in this life; yet, it is so short compared to eternity. I believe God placed in our hearts such a strong love for family, creating a deep attachment to all things on this earth.
And life is good, even with cancer, there are such wonderful times still, being with family, friends, sensing strong love and ties over the many years. I have been blessed with an abundance of friends, some of whom we played together when we were three years old, went to school together and still are strong friends. Over these years, we all, as friends and family, have had many sorrows, many joys, all of our friends are Christ believers and I am sure, even if some do not attend a church, all our family members are also Christ believers. These are thankful blessings.
Many family members have had deep losses of siblings, parents of course is expected as everyone ages, but the loss of children is especially difficult, but we all have overcome the tragedy of much of this, with God's help. A church friend found out this week her melanoma has spread to her very sad. So tonight I am rambling, feeling pretty tough, cracked fingers, nauseous, bad
cold, but thanking God for life and strength to be the person He
wants me to be...trying hard to keep my eyes on Jesus and not lose heart...praying the chemo is working.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I missed a day!!!

I was all set, to write, and feeling pretty rotten...and comcast was out again! I did not feel like doing that battle, so Monday was lost this week...So last night, fighting the beginning of a bad cold (the first cold I have had in at least two years) I hit the bed and suffered runny nose, chills and all that all night. Today was chemo day and I just KNEW they would not give it to me....would you believe, Miracles of miracles---my white count was normal, no temperature, no problem, gave me the chemo, we were home by 3:00 (only a seven hour day this time) and shaky, wobbly, nauseous, but thankful to have another series behind me. Also, another thankful "thing" is my right leg has not swelled in over a week now. Maybe the tumors are shrinking! I feel very blessed. Food tastes horrible, I had lost two more pounds, but now I have two weeks to gradually become a little normal. I look really forward to the CT on December 21 and see what wonderful miracles God is making in my body.
Today, at Sarah Cannon, I was sitting there watching people talking, drinking coffee, reading, lounging, (no matter that most had chemo running into their bodies) and you could imagine that it was an ordinary social gathering! Yes, this is quite a society of hope, prayers, cheerfulness, telling how long each remission has lasted, where people come from for this "Hope"--Birmingham, Jackson, Murfreesboro, all around for seeking a cure.
A friend sent me a card with one of my favorite verses, that always bears repeating: Zephaniah 3:17 "The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing."
Please, God, sing over me tonight!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Colossians 4:2 "Devote yourselves to prayer..."

In reading Colossians 4:2,"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.." I was studying the explanation at the bottom of the Bible page which says that "our persistence in praying is an expression of our faith that God will answer prayers...that faith should not die because God does not answer in our time frame, but that God is listening and working the answer in His time frame..."
This being thankful is because of the way God will answer the prayers. We are so caught up in "our way" being the correct answer to prayer and Our way is not His way.I have said how John prays several times a day for my healing. I know his faith will remain strong regardless of how God answers these prayers.
Today was somewhat better than yesterday. I have lots of little side effects, cracked fingers, dry skin, dry throat, in addition to the things mentioned other days. The list just goes on and on! But I had a great day with my daughter and great granddaughter coming over and our making Christmas cookies together. The icing was everywhere! The sprinkles were everywhere! I surely hope this special girl remembers making cookies with her great grandmother, when she was five. So even when days are not totally the best, there is always something good in that day. I am praying now that I can take the chemo on Tuesday, even though I will probably feel Really, Really bad after having two straight weeks of that! In two weeks there will be a CT and I am anxiously awaiting the results of that to see if this is working! I have said it before---with cancer, you live from scan to scan, no matter how strong your faith is or no matter how badly you want to depend totally on God and His will and each day is a thankful day.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Jars of clay

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us..." I know this "treasure" is salvation and any power or strength is from God. Boy, do I need this extra strength--another bad day...making me wonder just how bad this chemo will get and just how much I can stand. I am not quite as nauseous as the first (cisplatin) five years ago, but there is just a "can't hardly stand up-just want to lie down-have absolutely no energy-just leave me alone" feeling. This is the first Christmas season I have felt this bad, even with the four surgeries and now three chemo times. I have always loved entertaining and having friends and family come over, cooking and open houses, all of that and this year seems so strange to be doing nothing except existing. I have to be optimistic and look forward to having my "clay pot" not so cracked next year

Friday, December 4, 2009


A friend brought over a new book she had purchased and was reading parts of it about hospitality. The Bible says a lot about being hospitable, as in Hebrews 13:2--"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.."..We think we have entertained an angel a long time ago,(another story) but specifically, this reminded me of people Daddy became friends with in Belgium during the War. I think they were the angels! Daddy was in a train station and he saw a lady in distress with luggage she could not handle. he approached her, found she could speak English and he carried her luggage for her. It turned out she was the local Mayor's wife. She invited Daddy for tea and she and her family entertained Daddy several times while he was stationed in that area. She was an artist and painted and sent Mama a beautiful watercolor of the Arden Forest. These two families corresponded for a number of years.I have that watercolor hanging in our living room and treasure it very much. It is representative of kindnesses between two strangers and their resulting friendship, not necessarily angels but still kindnesses that will never be forgotten.
I have read that one should always be "a little kinder than necessary" because you never know what hurt or what kind of day another may be having. I had a real treat tonight and got to see/hear the Gaither's Christmas special. Wow, I have been to two concerts in a month! This is very unusual --must be because I am "sick" matter, it is great. I have been weak today, aches, nauseous, little appetite ( family and friends are telling me to eat because I look thin) but I managed to go to this concert and it was really wonderful. Tomorrow is day 4 or 5 (depending on whether the actual chemo is day 1) so it should be a better day. Who knows, I might entertain an angel tomorrow!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Not a feel-good day...disappointment

This is probably the worst feeling day of this chemo experience. The zofran is not totally keeping the nausea down, and my back aches, my fingers are cracking open, my face is "breaking out" and I am dizzy at times. My hair is slowly getting thinner. These are prices I pay for the hopeful working of the treatments. Food tastes very strange, nothing tastes normal. I eat because I know I need to, but if this is like the other weeks, gradually, things revert to near normal, just in time for the next chemo.
Friends call and ask how I am feeling and I usually say "pretty good" or "not too bad"...hating to go into details like this and really, relating how you feel is really very boring. So this is the only place I really tell it like it is.
My husband looks at me with such sad eyes and he prays at least three times a day for God to heal me and take this cancer away (and probably other times I don't hear him). John says I am a "fighter" and that "I refuse to give up". I hope to keep this attitude. So I am ,at this stage, so totally dependent on God's mercies. I love how Zechariah prophesied in Luke 1:68---"Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has come and redeemed His people". I need this healing, kind of like a redemption...O God.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Chemo round #2, day 2

Well, this day started out pretty good, but as the night got here, the aches and pains began. I kind of know what to expect, but the two weeks "off" was a spoiler and I forgot how bad I might feel.I am looking at Christmas decorations around town and cannot get too excited. I did get some of mine up and they are cheerful in my home, but without shopping---now there is the excitement! I really missed doing that this year and am just giving gifts of money to the family, which I hate to do. I just could not shop this year. There is an inner being that tells us when "enough is enough" and when your limit is reached, whether it is endurance to clean house, shop, cook, or do any of the daily activities. It is amazing how little work one can actually get by without doing.
Maybe I am getting lazy? No, not at all. With the "excitement" of the chemo, it is easy to forget that there was major-major surgery less than three months ago.I actually miss being busy, doing physical work, especially outside (much of that could not do now anyway in this weather). So this is rambling, thinking, hoping I am able in a few months to do all the activities I have always enjoyed and can have the exuberant outlook I think I have always had. Like I said earlier, when faced with a life altering illness, you think differently than you normally would do and possibly do more self examination of life goals, life strategies, and relationships. There is more of "I love you"s to friends and of course to family. There is a sense of urgency to make sure you do and say all you meant to do and say.
Proverbs 9:10-11 says "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For through me your days will be many, and years will be added to your life."
I pray I have this holy fear and deep respect for God and that He will give me more years...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Chemo Day

I realize this is the second blog for this day---the other one was a "catch-up" of sorts. Today was an answer to prayer for me to be able to start the second round of chemo. I will hopefully have another one next Tuesday, December 8 (depending on white cell count) and then a PET on December 21 to determine how I am doing and if the cancer is receding. If the chemo is working, I will start another round on December 22.
I had a really good day (if a chemo day can be good?) and was not sick at all. Tomorrow will tell the tale, of course. I will start taking the zofran tonight to prevent the nausea. My hair is beginning to thin quite a bit (eyelashes gone already) so wig day is coming soon. I feel blessed beyond measure, for treatments, doctors, nurses and my husband who is my rock...besides the friends, and church families. I have echo heart tests each week because the experimental can do heart damage. My nurse there today, Connie, about who I wrote several weeks ago, told me today she and her husband are blessed with the adoption of two children ( siblings) and the "wow" experiences of having this family this Christmas. God and His goodness is everywhere. I am praying for a good day tomorrow, and for our families and our grandchildren, who are awestruck with the wonder of Christmas. Continuing with Luke 1:46, spirit rejoices with God, my Savior.." REJOICE!

Family memories

I will try to remember what I wrote yesterday ; for some reason, we lost our comcast for a day or so and they deleted the blog. I spent the day with my younger sister and we talked about our favorite Christmas memories when growing up. She is 13 years younger than I am so we have very different memories. Our other sister was in between us. One of my favorite Christmases was the year I was eight and received a miniature Singer sewing machine...I made lots of doll clothes with that (and I still have it!) The next Christmas my middle sister was 4 months old and Daddy was drafted into World War II, so we moved next door and lived with my grandparents for nearly two years until Daddy came back in the fall of 1945. While he was gone we had that Christmas at Grandma and Grandpa's, and both of us girls had scarlet fever for three months from January until the end of March. This was the bad kind, not the scarlatina of now. While Daddy was gone, we wrote to him and he sent lots of letters and drawings of where he was, and occasionally boxes of things he purchased for us. I still have a beautiful blue glass vase he sent from Paris (he painted our initials on each vase--sister, mama and me). Daddy also built me a jewelry box from packing crates and sent that. All our letters were made into small versions called "V mail" and that was cost less to mail...I still have many of the V mails he sent to me. Much of this was at Christmas that lonely one he was gone but other things throughout the years. The year he came home, the Christmas of 1945, I got my first bicycle! Two Christmases later, my younger sister was born that November, making that very special. The year I was 14, we got our first PINE tree! Up until then we had always cut a cedar tree from the fields behind our place and so it meant so much to have a bought tree like "everyone else".
My youngest sister remembers (me, too) how we would cut bunches of "buck bushes", milkweed pods, and other dried weeds and flowers and Mama would paint them gold and silver and place them in vases and buckets on the porches and in the house. Lots of wonderful memories and Christmas past with my sisters will never be forgotten. Luke 1:46, Mary says "My soul glorifies the Lord..." Oh, indeed it does!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Visiting family

Along with being with our son's extended family for several days was the pleasure of going to church with them. Their church is small, almost like a large "care group" and they really care deeply about each other. They also treat us like members since we are there several times a year. Today was so special--they all gathered about me, laid hands on and one prayed for me, for my health and for John and I together and our family. This wonderful friend who prayed for me asked God specifically to heal others have also done. He and others have begged God to take this cancer away. As time goes on, maybe, very soon (depending on how the chemo goes and what the next CT shows) we will know kind of what my future may hold. We, as a christian group of church and friends and family, will have God answer our prayers as we desire and I will be healed and this malignancy taken away---or, God will answer as His will desires and I will see this through til the end. Either way, I pray I can glorify Him and give Him the praise for being my Father, my God and praise Him for His goodness and giving me courage and strength to live for Him forever.
I have been so lifted up by so many and this is very humbling to be loved and cared for by many friends and family. I was so hugged and loved by all the children this weekend, by grown grandchildren, by our son and daughter (in law), and, all the time by family close by--daughter and son(in law), other grandchildren and my great, and my sister.
If you who are reading this have never had a malignancy, you may not understand the urgency and continuing absorption in what is going on--but this is life on a different "plane" can never totally put this out of your mind. So forgive my "moaning and groaning" as I try to write what is on my heart and mind each day.
Psalm 25:1 says "To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God..."

Saturday, November 28, 2009

"My soul shall exult in my God..."

My doctor gave me a very strong antibiotic, and said "go and enjoy the children.." so we did, and are enjoying the children!...I have had fever every day, even with the antibiotic, so my blood count must still be very low..I wonder if I will be able to take the chemo next week. But, for now, what fun to be with five of our great grandchildren who we do not see regularly. There are four boys and one girl of this part of the family with another girl due in January. These are our oldest son's grandchildren and they range in age from 3 months to being five years (next week). I have been attacked and jumped on and hung on and I love it!!!This is such a blessing to also be with our grown grandchildren and their husband and wives. My daughter in law and I had a time of tears and prayers and hoping so much for more of these thanksgiving days...but we just do not know God's plan for my life ,especially. So each minute is very special. I am having trouble with one leg swelling and the doctor also gave me a diuretic for that but it is not solving the problem, whatever that problem is, so next week at the doctor's should be very interesting to see just what is going on . Also, I am so ready to see if the chemo is working.

i awake in the night and pray...I have thought, maybe this cancer is like being "demon-possessed" like in biblical days. I cannot think it would be much different! But for now, Isaiah 61:10 gives me joy in reading "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness..."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,"

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His love endures forever..." Psalm 136:1
Thanksgiving Day is like none other..We have multiple holidays, many to celebrate days devoted to Jesus and God, many devoted to our country and various public or family members...but none other to totally thank God for His bountiful care of us and all the wonders of living in this nation.
This is such a family day, coming together to eat (of course)from this bounty, play together, and discover the joy of our relationships. I pray all will have a very special Thanksgiving Day.
I had two degrees of fever last night, but "armed" with my antibiotic, I'm able to see the grandchildren today!

Decorating the House and children's times

I had two unexpected pleasures today-- first I had breakfast with my sister and her twin grandsons, age 3 1/2, were what action figures! They are trying to realize family relations and that we are sisters like they are brothers.That was sucha treat to be with them. Then, one of my great granddaughters spent several hours with me and we decorated the house for Christmas. She is five years old and how special to see how she is maturing. She helped carry BIG boxes from the attic, and ADVISED me on where to put balls on the tree, and told me lots of useful information. She also is apparently in a growth spurt because she is hungry all the time, especially for treats she thinks I might give her that she does not get at home (sorry..I am not that clueless). But we had fun and read a book, watched "Beethoven" on TV, and just had a treasured time together.
I am so aware of times like this..wondering if I will have many more times like this (sorry but these morbid thoughts do drift in). I am so thankful, even more so than usual, as we get ready for Thanksgiving tomorrow. I had a fever tonight, but the doctor started me on the antibiotic to get ready to be with the children, so I think it will be taken care of by that.
I pray for these and the rest of our family children that they will choose wisely as they grow and make their paths with God. In Psalms 16:11...."You have made known to me the path of life, you will fill me with joy in your presence..." Just think, if we have this much joy in earthly families, how great will be that joy in heavenly families.!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Those who hope in the Lord...

"..those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31
I would so wish and hope and want, to be able to run, and walk even, like I used to, and not feel work all day and not be tired. I did not get to have the chemo today (the thing I did not want to do?) yet I feel if I miss these two weeks, the cancer will start growing more. My white and red cells were too low and other minerals in my blood were low, so I could not have the treatment. I am hoping now for next week and praying the cancer will not get more aggressive.
I hate living in fear--which I should not do. I hate being "bound" to hospitals and treatments and not feeling free to just "live"! But I suspect if you asked any cancer patient or survivor, they would tell you the same thing--how this disease wants to consume your life. I do hope in the Lord, and enjoy the times when I feel half way normal. By taking some antibiotics ahead of time, I will get to be with grandchildren during Thanksgiving...what a treat this will be. Because of being so susceptible, I have avoided all children for six weeks now, not touching anyone at all hardly, except close family members. So this will be a time of joy and family hugs.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Doll houses and Sleeping in peace

I think I mentioned several weeks ago that as we are trying to sell our house and move to our daughter's, that we are getting rid of furniture and other treasures. Several very beloved pieces of furniture found new homes with family and that is a blessing to see them loving things that are several generations old in our family. Family in Missouri took my doll house and it will be much loved by our cousins with many granddaughters! All my life I had wanted a doll house (and found there are many adults who have this hobby). I built the house, putting many details into it, and built the furniture piece by piece over 20 years. When we traveled, I found very special items, like Stafford shire dogs in England for the mantle, red ware bowls in Ohio, carved wooden bowls in Shaker town, KY, and things like that. So it was very special and I love that it will become equally special and beloved by more of family, and more generations. Tomorrow, the chemo starts again. I dread it so terribly, knowing now the side effects that were unknown three weeks ago: the aches, the arthritis in my hands and one leg (one?), the cracked fingers, the digestive problems, swollen feet, low blood counts, very susceptible to germs (which so far, we have avoided), fevers at night, very low energy to name the main side effects.
I must be brave, in order to fight this enemy. I claim the promise in Psalm 4:8--"I WILL LIE DOWN AND SLEEP IN PEACE, FOR YOU ALONE, O LORD, MAKE ME DWELL IN SAFETY."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Give thanks --in all circumstances--

One of the Bible passages mentioned today was from I Thessalonians 5:18, which says "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." Boy, is that a hard one! I can be joyful pretty much of the time, for I am generally a positive person. I pray kind of generally throughout the day, short sentence prayers for persons, family, occasions as they come to mind., then pray at night when I do my Bible reading. But the "thanks in all things" part??? I really, really have trouble with that part of this commandment. How can I give thanks for this cancer? How can I give thanks for this circumstance I am in, with the hated chemo, the loss of health, the loss of freedom to live a "normal" life? Well, I have and still struggle with this. One thing about this is allowing others to do "for me", which goes against the grain. Grandma once said that when you let someone do for you, you allow them the grace of giving. That is a profound way of looking at the loss of doing for oneself. I am thankful for the grace of giving prayers which others do for me and for John. I am thankful when someone says I am showing my love of God in the way I approach this cancer. So maybe, someday I will get a handle on being thankful for all things--I am trying--

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Birthdays and friends

Well yesterday was my birthday and not a very good day--today was a much better day and John took me to see/hear Mannheim Steamroller in their Christmas music tour. Oh my, was that great! The music was all the favorites they are famous for, plus some oldies like "White Christmas", part of the "Hallelujah Chorus" and lots more. I am so glad we did not have tickets last night. There are more side effects showing up from the chemo--the ends of my fingers and toes slightly cracked open, and sore. When this started, I knew part of it is experimental and the other part is fairly new and the experts don't know how each person will react to each chemical. So we were not sure just what all might happen, so each day is like a "surprise". But I am determined to focus on 100% and not let any depression leak in.
I have had so many friends send birthday wishes and I feel so blessed. Many are praying for me and I am eternally grateful. Proverbs 17:17 says "a friend loves at all times" and Proverbs 18:24 says "there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother."
I pray I can be the wonderful friend to others that so many are to me. Two friends have called me this week who were close when we were growing up (and our mothers were friends) and we have not seen each other in many years. What fun to hear from old friends and what blessings all our friends are, many, "closer than a brother"...

Friday, November 20, 2009


Tonight I have a fever...also had one two nights ago. This is part of having low white cells in the blood, caused by the chemo treatment. This low white cell count is called 'neutropenia". When this low blood happens, you need to stay away from people, not touching anyone (besides family) and do lots and lots of hand washing. The low white cells is usually accompanied by low red cells and platelets in the blood. All of this causes extreme tiredness, little effort to accomplish much of anything--all seems just too much. Also the body is very, very open to infection. Before the last surgery in September, I asked our Elders to pray over me and anoint me with oil. James 5:13-16 speaks of this. We have done this four times and I feel I owe my life these five years to believing in this passage in the Bible---"pray for each other so that you my be healed."
Today is my birthday. I do not feel "cheated" by having a less-than fact, I feel very blessed to be alive. I know God is handling all the days of my life, whatever, however whenever they may be. I have received many, many cards, flowers and facebook greetings for which I am so tearfully grateful. I did not know so many cared and I am overwhelmed. Thank you all so much for reading this "journey" blog and for caring about me. I feel very loved. I hope tomorrow is better and I can think of lots to write about.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Do not be afraid--be courageous

There are courageous people all around us. As I was driving to art class tonight(so glad I felt like going for a little while)...there was a man standing on a divide in a very heavily traveled highway, holding a cross, like Jesus would have been crucified on, and preaching that "Jesus is the light of the world, and in Him is no fear"..I thought about the courage that man has and how often we hesitate to mention Jesus in case we don't say something the right way, or feel shy and not knowledgeable enough. This man was trying, being courageous and certainly not afraid. One of my friends at art class, who is such an encouraging christian said just what I needed to hear tonight. I was in my 1% negative mode, worried about my low white count and what if the chemo is not working; she told me I needed to fix my eyes on Jesus and not focus on the negative. This friend's daughter had leukemia as a child, so this is a road she has traveled also. I needed to be reminded to be more courageous and less fearful. There are many passages in the Bible about this subject, but in Joshua 10:25, Joshua tells his men what God has told him---"be strong and not be afraid.." I hope I can be more courageous to share my faith, to share how God has rescued me four times from this cancer, how we are praying for a fifth miracle, and firmly believe, never doubting (not even 1%) that God can keep me safe.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"But you , O Lord are a shield about me.."

Wow, do we need shields about us!! I talked to at least six cancer victims after church tonight...I could have found many more if I had walked around. It is everywhere and we all have different, yet similar stories. We are all in prayer, probably more than at any other time in our lives. All our friends and families are praying for us. Some of our church friends are losing this battle and yet, they win, when God takes them home to Himself. We are all in some stage of chemo or radiation or recovering from surgery and many of us cannot touch others because of low blood counts. The low counts make you feel very weak, nauseous, and you lack the incentive to do the usual daily activities. This has not been a very productive day for me--I judge my days by how much work or household things I get done in a day. I only had energy for "staying alive" today. "But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the Lord, and He answered me from His holy hill." Psalm 3:3-4....please Lord, lift my head!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"Under His wings..."

Part of Psalm 91:3-4 says, "....He will save you... from the deadly pestilence...Under His wings you will find refuge..."....What a beautiful picture of God and His protection, which I really needed tonight. I had a minor meltdown tonight--some days are just so difficult, not that the treatment today was bad. Today was just an echo cardiogram and then one blood draw, not bad. I just have felt pretty rotten (no other word will do) and I found out today, my white cell count is very low, and also low red cells, making me anemic and prone to catching anything that comes along. I will have to be even more careful to not touch anyone or anything that might have germs on them or it. The nurse told me that hand sanitizer is my new best friend and I told her it already is. I am glad this is a no-chemo week, giving my body a chance to rest and maybe catch up on the cell count. If the cells don't come back enough, I cannot have the chemo scheduled for next week, and I really hate to miss a week, and not kill the cancer cells as quickly as possible.
Reading these verses about God sheltering us under His wings reminded me of taking care of chickens with Grandma.. the same one who taught me most of all I know! She raised chickens and sold the eggs, also allowing hens to "set" with their eggs and raise the baby chicks. One particular time, there was a very hard rain and one of the hens was way out in the yard with her babies under a bush and we were afraid they would drown. We ran around in this rain trying to rescue the babies, which the hen did not want us to do. There she was, in a pouring rain , holding her wings way out and all the babies crowded under those wings, fairly dry! Over her opposition, we finally did drag all the bedraggled hen and babies back to the henhouse. That mother hen was definitely a picture of how God would shelter us "under His wings"!

Monday, November 16, 2009

When did I grow old?

One day, I was just going along, enjoying life, doing lots of fun things, keeping busy, traveling, gardening, and the next day---all of a sudden--I was old!I looked in the mirror one morning and there I was--I said I was never growing old, that old is a state of mind, that years mean nothing when you enjoy life. Circumstances have a way of changing viewpoints. Cancer is one of those circumstances. This demon changes your entire life, and everything you do is focused on "is it back?", "when is the next scan?", "is that pain caused by a tumor returning?". This demon is "seeing the pain in family members' eyes" as they see you suffering through chemo or nausea.
In addition to being ill, realizing that I am the "top of the totem pole" in my family line ---the matriarch, so to speak,gives an awesome feeling. My parents, all my aunts and uncles are deceased and I am the oldest of my siblings and the cousins. Then there was the day not long ago when our children started advising us on changing living conditions. They are becoming the parents and we are becoming the children---not completely, but there is definitely a "changing of the guards". Preparing to move in with a child is a move I thought was 20 years in the future--when I really was old!
Old is still a state of mind and I will fight against changing that as long as I can. In the meanwhile, I am thankful for wonderful children and grandchildren who want to take care of us; and as Matthew 15:4 says, "Honor your father and mother", which they certainly are doing.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Trying to be positive

99% of the time I am a very positive person. The other 1% pops up too often while I am on this chemo. I feel pretty rotten part of the time and it is difficult to smile and say "I am fine" when you feel like a wind would blow you away, your stomach is in bad shape and today, first time ever, I could not get my breath really good. Was this a panic attack? I don't know but it was very scarey. We made it to church but I came home and slept all afternoon. Today someone told me they missed my smiling self, and did I feel my faith would pull me through. I don't believe God will automatically heal me, just because we ask, not do I believe He will answer the way we want Him to because we pray long and hard. God has a plan and a purpose, which I have talked about--I firmly believe this. I also believe whatever the outcome, we give Him the glory and praise for living in His plan. Our prayer, as humans, is to be allowed to live and be with family and friends. The process to get this life is going through this chemo and praying it will kill this cancer. The process is so rough, at some point we will have to decide if the treatment is worse than living with cancer and letting it take me away. So that is the 1% negative, and tomorrow will be better, no chemo this week, just the rambling thoughts of a "chemo-brain".
Isaiah 49:13 tells us that "The Lord comforts His people and has pity on those who suffer"...I pray for that pity!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Family Reunion and people who look alike!

"Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture." Psalm 100...What a joyful weekend! Some families have such distinctive characterisics, that you walk in the room and they all look at you with the "same eyes"!!!That was partly the way this weekend has been. Our family is not totally look-a-likes , but many of them have the large dark brown eyes we call our main feature that identifies our "clan". Men in this family tend to be very tall and large and the women have a regal bearing, carrying on the pioneer spirit brought over the "mountains" by our forebears. We learned more about this spirit, not only of strength and courage, but of carrying their joy in the Lord across those mountains. Many families buried babies, struck down by disease, and spouses by natural disasters. Yet they persevered, and kept their joy in living, kept their communion in the Lord, and built churches, homes in the wilderness, and served in government office. So this weekend, we shared our common heritage and delighted in the oldest cousin age 91, and the youngest, aged two. I was so blessed to be able to go, not knowing until the last minute if the nausea and stomach problems would keep me at home. Again, thank you God for zofran! I was very carerful to not hug anyone, due to the lowering blood counts. ( When white and red cell counts get low, then it is easier to get infections.) Thank you God for families.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Lord is my Shepherd

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul....." Psalm 23:1-3....this beautiful day , another autumn colored day, sunny and warm, finding flowers still blooming, has restored my soul. Walking in the yard with family, finding potatoes coming up where we dug them and missed a few, now they are growing just like it was spring! God renews everything. There is always hope for tomorrow when we see how each season renews itself. But, who would have thought--zinias, roses, potatoes in November! "He restores my soul!"

Thursday, November 12, 2009


This day was supposed to be a really good day since yesterday was better than last "second day after chemo"...wrong! This day went downhill pretty steadily. I was more nauseous, unsteady, weak than yesterday. Our grandson and his wife came over and ate lunch with us, and it is always fun to be with family, then I went to art class, but did not feel well enough to stay long. I napped, then our Missouri relatives arrived to attend our big family reunion close by here this weekend. (I have prayed I would feel well enough to go and maybe I can.) We ate dinner together and enjoyed being with family. Family is what it is all about and I constantly feel their love and prayers and support of us. I feel like I cannot write tonight and my hands are experiencing some little bit of neuropathy even though the doctor said that is not supposed to be a side effect of this chemo.
So even with the love and concern of family and their prayers for my healing, the road traveled is really my road, no one can do this but is lonely and tiresome, and sometimes, makes you feel like giving up. But I won't! That 1% depression pops in every so often then the 99% positive side says "NO we can do this." Colossians 4:15 says "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts....and be thankful." Not always easy to be thankful for some things but always thankful for relatives!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Being Proactive in your health

I have been thinking about being very proactive on your health and taking charge of your body. Many of us grew up believing that when a doctor told you something it was like the gospel truth. I also believe that today's doctors are a much different "breed" of educated and caring physicians. Fifty years ago, I had had a miscarriage and when getting pregnant again, the doctor gave me a "new" med to stop another miscarriage. It worked and my daughter is here to prove it! However, the miracle med of that day was DES--diethylsylbestrol. To look it up on Web MD, there is very little information, except that it was used on mice as a cancer agent...not sure if it was to cause cancer or cure it (quite a scientific document with little the average person could understand). When my daughter was age 10, we discovered that she and I were at risk for cancer and we have been very vigilant over the years. Of course, I am the one who got it, even after a complete hysterectomy ...and I can remember my surgeon saying "you will never have to worry" . Little did he know! When some of the cells left over from that surgery, 30 years later clumped together, they formed a mass called a mixed mullerian tumor and classified as an ovarian sarcoma. This type of tumor cannot be detected by normal pelvic screening, but requires a CT or ultrasound. This is where the proactive part comes in. If anyone ever suspects (read the warning signs of cancer) she has cancer, run to your doctor and insist on a test of some kind. There is also a CA125 test which sometimes gives false positives so it is not used routinely. This is not to scare but to inform. One of our ministers asked me if I was angry and I said no but I am sad...sad that such a disease exists that can rob you of many of life's pleasures. So I will get off my soapbox and forgive me if I was being too "preachy" but
I believe one of my purposes now is to inform women to not be complacent with their health.
Today was a blood drawing day, and that part was most unpleasant--the veins were not cooperating and it took five "sticks" to get two vials of blood, so I was not a happy camper! Otherwise, today, the day after the chemo, was not as bad as last week. Maybe the zofran is the magic bullet. It surely helps with the nausea. Food tastes strange, even water does not taste like water. So this completes one "round" of chemo. Next week is just blood drawing and resume chemo the next week. In three weeks I will have a CT and see if the chemo and other chemical will have done wonderful things to remove the cancer!!!
I will always have hope, as long as I breathe, for Romans 5:5 says "And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom He has given us."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hats and Bracelets

Today was a very long 12 hour day. There were the bag each of steroids, anti-nausea, the irinotecan, and the experimental chemical. I also had over a dozen blood draws, with four needle punctures to find two places that worked. My veins are few and fragile...we have found out that most redheads have these fragile veins, for whatever reason! There were two EKG's and an echo cardiogram. The day I dreaded again really went pretty fast with all this activity. I had wonderful, caring nurses who show their love in every way. The down side is the nausea and dizziness, and I have to hold on to something or someone to walk, and thank goodness for zofran! Sitting there all day, I watched people walking by, coming for the same reason I am there, hoping for miracles, for healing, for God's mercy. Nearly all wear something on his or her head (mostly her) like baseball caps, wigs, turbans, scarves, stocking hats---bald heads are cold! I will join this crew in a week or so. I am noticing a few hairs falling out when I brush. As I said in an earlier post, losing hair is traumatic the first time, the second time is a routine "get out the razor" experience. I guess the third time will be like the second and I don't intend to cry.
I have written also about the bracelet I wear every day that has the words "With God all things are possible". Some dear friends gave me two more bracelets to wear with this one--one has the word "Believe" on it and the other one is colored beads representing the phases of Jesus' life and a tiny mustard seed attached. The mustard seed refers to Jesus telling His disciples .."if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain,'move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible..." Matthew 17:20-21...I believe we have to trust God and believe in His miracles.

Monday, November 9, 2009

"A wife of noble character who can find?"

There is a chapter of Proverbs in the Old Testament, that speaks of the characteristics of a "wife of noble character". It is found in Proverbs 31:10-31 and I would rather have this spoken of me after I am dead than anything else. I love the fact that this woman is a busy woman, she is "crafty", she is resourceful and energetic. Also, she sews and weaves! You know I am/was a weaver and I cannot remember when I did not sew. One of my earliest memories is sitting under my grandmother's sewing machine, "working" the foot treddle! Boy, was she the patient one!This is the same grandmother who let me stand under her arms while she cut up chickens for dinner. Anyway, I was always sewing doll clothes, received a small Singer machine for Christmas the year I was eight and was making my clothes by age 14. It was a normal progression to teach our daughter to sew by the time she was eight. We had some tears, a few disagreements (?) but she learned well and today has her designing/decorating business. I guess this rambling point is that none of our busy work is wasted. There is always something to be made--tiny "quilts" for the preemies in the hospitals, and sewing for my daughter's business, sewing for my grandaughters and fun- sewing making Christmas pillows. As I consider tomorrow's chemo, dreading the feelings that will follow, thinking of lots of fun stuff to be sewed, praying for years to be well and able to do lots of this "fun stuff"...these are my thoughts tonight.And above all, to be thought of as a "wife of noble character...her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also..."


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sunday--"set apart Christ as Lord"

Today was a little better than yesterday..if this goes as most chemo I have had goes, then I will be feeling pretty good when it is time for the next one! That makes for really DOWN feelings--to KNOW you are going into another 5 or so day period of feeling pretty rotten! But today was another beautiful day, warm, leaves nearly gone but still colorful. Friends at church ask "how are you feeling?" and I think,"do I say the truth? or say,fine?" as we usually do when we are superficially talking to most people. I wake up at night and pray and ask God to heal me and take this cancer away. I wonder how many thousands of people are doing the same thing? I wonder if God will answer this prayer the way we want Him to, or will He allow the world to follow its' motion and routine, and let nature take its'course and also have another plan for my and our lives? If I do not live, what effect will it have on family and friends? If I do live, will God's mercy help someone who is lost to come close and seek Jesus? Either way, I am praying to be who He wants me to be. "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have..." I Peter 3:15

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Autumn days

Psalm 19:1 says "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands." As we go through this autumn week of nearly perfect weather, blue skies, wonderful sunsets and leaves prettier and more colorful than in many years...this verse came to mind. Since I am a "practicing artist" I look at the colors in the sunsets and wonder HOW would I match that color? WHAT paints would I mix to try and come close to these colors? Matching God's sunset would be next to we do the best we can to come close to these marvelous hues. Am I avoiding the obvious subject??As another chemo day comes close again on next Tuesday, I am getting nervous..wondering if I will feel worse than this last week. I am still shaky, nauseous, sleepy...and food tastes strange. I am hungry but really don't enjoy what I eat. I have not lost much weight which is a "big" thing-- nurses always check for that. Friends and family tell me I look thin and I wonder "do I look sick?" Next weekend is a family reunion and I really would like to be able to do that. So, various emotional feelings--trying to not worry, or obsess, or "borrow trouble"..... and always, HATE the loss of a "normal" life, which Cancer takes away. So I am thankful for the prayers of many, praying also that I will do as God wants me to do. So today, is a rambling mind! Maybe tomorrow, another wondrous autumn day will sooth my mind.

Friday, November 6, 2009

End of a long week

Today was the fifth day(Monday-Friday)of going to the Clinic for treatments and checking on blood and heart, etc. This has been a very, very long week!!!I have been steadily going "down hill" since Tuesday's chemo. I asked the nurse today if the effects would be cumulative over the weeks and she did not know. That is the way of experimental drugs--not enough people have been treated to know what all the chemical can and will do. I am shaky, unsteady on my feet, nauseous, and "cold". My right knee is swollen half again more than normal, due to arthritis settling in that spot. All three times the chemotherapy has caused this to happen in various joints and places on my body--hands, feet, knees usually. There will be another treatment next Tuesday then a week with none. I will have to focus on that week . Times like this I think, "can I really do this any longer"? Then, of course, the will to live kicks in! I will pray for a good day next Tuesday to be as good as the last one--with lots of spiritual help and prayers from family and friends. I have a bracelet,given to me by a deceased friend whose daughter died of cancer a number of years ago. The bracelet says "With God all things are possible" and I wear this bracelet every day, to show the world I believe this to be true and also to remind myself every day that as Luke 1:37 says, "With God, nothing shall be impossible." I wrote last week that I sold my Loom, and met the lovely lady who bought it--God just keeps putting wonderful caring Christ-followers in my path for encouragement! I received a package from this new friend today with a hand-crocheted "Prayer Shawl" ---I was just overwhelmed by this gift. The card with it tells how this ministry was begun in 1988 by Janet Bristow and Victoria Galo. There is a website on the card: . I had never heard of this ministry. So whenever I am "down" God provides. Yes, it has been a long week but I can do this, I can go another week, I can "do all things through Him".

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"Under the mighty hand of God--"

Today has been a "going downhill day"...I think the chemo has caught up with me. I am shaky, weak and tired. A friend told me to picture the cancer cells being eaten up by a bunch of little "pokemons" I am mentally telling myself this!!! I had my daily blood draw at the Center, did not feel that bad, but as the day has gone on, down hill big time! I missed going to art class tonight..did not feel like it. Maybe tomorrow will be a better day. "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God---casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Trust in the Lord with all your heart---

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6
Today was a followup to the treatments yesterday, an EKG, and more blood drawing ( everyday things nearly). There was a listing of side effects, so far a few minor, I pray they stay minor! A little neuropathy in my fingers, a sleepless night last night due to the bag of steroids yesterday, a little nausea--not bad--so in light of what we are praying this will accomplish, the side effects are things I can LIVE with! The hair loss will happen about week three..I have had this twice and it is really not so bad..I have a good wig. Tonight was a good church night, lots of prayer affirmations and I knew this is what so amazingly got me thru yesterday!!!
We went thru Christmas decorations this week and are getting rid of about half our usual decorations--at one time, I had a tree in every room of the house..I will try to limit myself to several small trees in one room. This downsizing of possessions is we try to sell our home and move into an apartment in our daughter's home. I know things on this earth are temporal, but it still "hurts" as we give or sell so many "things" and move into one of our final places to live on this earth. My memory of my grandmother as she did this, was to see her go from a very nice large home to a nursing home with her most prized possessions in a basket she carried from her room to the sitting area of the home--in this basket was her Bible, large print Reader's Digest and a few greeting cards from family. We shall all be downsized to a basket at some point , trusting in the Lord to guide us along these steps in our lives.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chemo Day + Lots more

Well this is the dayI had dreaded so much--and anticipated for so long. The first bad CT was in August, so it took nearly three months to go thru the surgery, get approved for the "Study" at Sarah Cannon Center, and receive the experimental chemical first (AZD7762) then today, finally, the first Chemotherapy (Irinotecan). Today's injections involved a bag of steroids, a bag of anti nausea, the bag of irinotecan and the bag of AZD---,plus two skin biopsies from my arm, multiple blood drawings and vital-signs check all day...we were there from 6:45 AM until 5:30 PM . I just KNEW today would be horrible and such a long day, and so much pain--needle sticks, etc.. Wow, did I ever misjudge God's power to keep me uplifted beyond all expectations! Two of my nurses shared their love of God and their personal relationship with Jesus and we nearly cried, being so aware of God's goodness and being part of His plan for our lives. Daphne told me of her singing in church and I found this on You Tube--what a blessing! This was a trememdous answer to prayers--to have this day be such an "upper" day and not the "downer" day I had anticipated. I am so lacking in faith, even "--for I KNOW whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day" II Timothy 1:12. So thank you to my wonderful nurses, even those who did not mention being Christ followers who showed their love and care in every thing they did today and do every day at that Center. One nurse, Connie, talked about two of her church friends who are suffering cancer: one a young woman,Vicki, who has three young daughters, the other an older woman,Adie, suffering cancer for the 5th time and the inspiration the older woman is for the younger. Please pray for these women and give Vicki the wisdom to choose the treatment that will give her many more years to raise her daughters. I realize nausea is ever-present, and other side effects, but we are excited to be part of God's plan and know this chemo will make a difference in ridding my body of cancer.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Friends and Remembrances

Wow, I am doing alot of remembering lately!!A friend and I were remembering when we did alot of camping and what fun we had playing "spoons". Four-six of us families would camp together, pulling old picnic tables up close, circling our tents around the campfire, and play games up to midnight. We would stop short of broken fingers but play pretty much "to the death" with spoons. You pass cards around the table (having one less spoon than people) and when a set of certain cards was achieved, that person would "slip" a spoon from the stack, then bedlam breaks loose...this proceeds until only two people are left with one spoon between them. Of course, the loosers are busy making "s'mores" so they really don't care. One of our favorite places was Falls Creek Falls..lots of hiking and long ago, there were no steps to the bottom of the falls. There was a cable and we would tie our smaller children to us and all of us would climb down the cable; good swimming at the bottom!This was a perfect fun place for us with our Johny..he was equal to to everyone else in the woods!! So my friend and I were remembering all these fun things, and when I went for the blood- drawing today, it did not seem so bad..I guess my mind was full of wonderful memories. We remembered one really hot August weekend, when we sat in the creek all day, kids playing, and our just sitting there talking. One friend was a great fireside cook and made the best pancakes on a griddle over the fire!Well, I can talk about these good times again sometime..and always "Give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy endureth forever." IChronicles 16:34 ;and, know tomorrow is an adventure, starting the chemo, hoping this chemical will really, really make it work even better! I will NOT be anxious!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday musings

I got to go to church today--first actual Sunday service in six weeks at my home is very difficult to not hug many friends..lots of just touch hands, then lots of hand sanitizer...flu is rampant, so are colds and viruses. A very quiet day, sunny but cold, good nap day! I am very lacking in ambition these days. I know there are lots of things to do--notes to write, books to read, I am two days behind on my Bible-in-a-year reading! I have not skipped a day, some days just cannot get through the entire reading without going to sleep... and I confess I go to sleep praying! I was reading a blog and the writer spoke on this. Does this make me a bad person??Frankly, I feel very comforted going to sleep while talking to God. When I wake up during the night and cannot sleep, I get back to sleep praying and talking to God. I hope and pray He does not feel I am being disrespectful, but comforted as a child being with her Father! So these are my musings today, thinking about not being grateful enough for my strong, healthy body when I was younger. When I was growing up, my Mother said "I had a sturdy body"...well, no teenager wants to be thought of as "sturdy"! However, my sturdy body has been my "life-saver" making me able to do treatments a weaker person could not have done. Thinking about being grateful for the life I have now, even though it is being gradually limited...I am grateful for the great grandchildren and being with them when ever we can...never thought we would have GREATS! As they get older and can really interact it is so fun to be with them! Thinking about friends and the fun and good times we have had over the years.
So, this is not really about anything except, thinking...and going for the blood "stuff" tomorrow... and grateful for the restful Sunday today..."Just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do." I Peter 1:15

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Anniversary celebration

Monday November 2 is our wedding anniversary, and next week is a daily "doctor/blood letting/chemo/chemical infusion" week; ( I guess chemotheraphy is kind of like childbirth--time erases the memory and how bad it really was)Now I am saying "well, I guess it won't be so bad, and maybe I won't really be so sick" and John is looking at me like I am feeble minded and saying things like "it was really horrible, don't you remember?" All this to say, we celebrated our anniversary today instead of Monday. John took me to a wonderful old hotel in town--the Hermitage, built in 1910, and restored in 2002 to beyond its' original glory...really a magnificent landmark here. We had a delicious brunch in the dining room and walked around the hotel, looking at old pictures, seeing the "rest rooms" which have won awards for the "best in the US".. then spent the rest of the day, shopping and just doing whatever came to mind...It has been a great anniversary day. I am really not feeble minded, just in denial, dreading the start of this round of chemo again. The first set, I said "never again", even had my port removed then when the cancer came back, the doctor said it would be sad to just sit back and die, so here we went again; so for the third chemo, here I am again. Sorry if I am being repetious; when you have cancer, the things you do to stay alive kind of become focused on your mind. I thought I had gotten through the crying spells after the surgery but today, I find myself almost "teary", not quite...I have to stay focused and positive, strong and full of faith. Somedays this is easier than others. I know I have an out-of-this-world husband and family, church and friends praying and being available for whatever needs I have. Deut. 31:6, taken out of context, yet the words are comforting (I have read that the Bible says more about "do not be afraid" than any things else!!) Anyway, this says "Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or terrified--I will never leave you or forsake you." So, I will wipe away those tears, put on rose colored glasses, and gear up for the treatments on Monday... and look forward to next year's anniversary!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Whatever your hand finds to do---

Today has been an unusual day---stay at home!!!What a treat, to not leave the house, to "piddle", sew on a grandaughter's dress, listen to music, read a little...Friends call and ask if I am able to do things, and I am surprised that others think I cannot do for us/myself. At this point, I am still fully functional, doing housework, cooking, running errands, sewing and doing all the household things and I wonder, "do I look that sick?". Last night was the weekly art class I go to (oil painting) and this is one of the highpoints of my week. I really think most people hear the words "cancer" and "chemo" and assume I am in the bed, and by next week, I may be there!! But for now, life is nearly normal, except that food is not "good to the taste", has a metallic taste and I am sure this is due to the experimental chemical. It is difficult to plan meals if nothing sounds good, but John and I have not lost any weight so I think we are doing ok with food. I am being careful to not hug anyone at church, and hope to stay away from flu; after next week, my white cells count will probably go down, making me more vulnerable to germs. So what a nice day, which I will probably end up with some cross stitch, doing as Ecclesiates 9:10 says, "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might."

Thursday, October 29, 2009


My older son calls me more often than he used to--something about worrying that "mama might not be here as long as I thought she would" or something like that...anyway, I am enjoying it thoroughly for whatever reason! He always has words of wisdom for me and I appreciate his knowledge and his encouragement. Today, he observed that the doctors would only give the experimental chemical to those they felt would benefit the most and those who would probably give the best "performance"...makes sense, because they certainly want the best outcome for their drugs!!That was encouraging to me, because I ,of course, want to be one of their success stories!!! The oncologist had told me earlier that the fact that I had been successful with two prior chemos meant that my body might be likely to respond to another chemo. We are counting on that, along with the many prayers that friends tell us every day they are offering to God on my behalf. I can tell that the chemicals are making a difference on my body--nothing really bad, just a feeling of malaise, just not my best , yet I don't sleep well at night. You would think when one feels a little "poorly" that sleep would come easily and last a long time--not so. I wake often during the night and have lots of intercessory prayer time for family and friends.So I am trying to persevere, as in James 1:2-4....."--Whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything." So I am hanging on...........................

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Wait for the Lord"

Psalm 27:14 says "Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."...I think the repetition is an emphasis to which we need to pay attention. Today as I sat and waited for blood to be drawn, then waited for a shot to give some relief to side effects of the pre-chemo chemical, I watched many cancer patients, all coming with hope, and despair, on their faces. Tears came in my eyes as I saw the ones who visibly pushed themselves to be there, to receive a few drops of hope in the chemo , to live a few more days and months, my realizing the resiliency of the human spirit. I wonder if I will be one of those who push themselves to the utmost limit. I and my family and friends are praying for a miracle, as I am sure, many of those today are doing...We have to "wait for the Lord" and for His plan, for His purpose for each of our lives. Today was a good day, lots of things to be done, nearly a normal day. I am sure that will not always be true, so today was fun!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Long Day at Sarah Cannon Cancer Ctr.

We left home at 7 am and got back home after 4pm---long day....blood letting, chemical infusion (not to be confused with chemotheraphy) and two heart tests. Heart problems seems to be the major side effect of the experimental chemical. How blessed and fortunate I am to be able to have this chemical and this chemo...Just think how many thousands all over the world do not have this blessing. We (John and I) had a private "room" for the day, TV/VCR at our disposal, cold drinks and coffee whenever we want them, nurses who really care and do all they can to make me comfortable, and doctors/PAs available to talk to. We have wonderful health care that also takes care of our needs--expensive, but worth every penny! I may complain and talk about how tired I am, and how weary of treatments, but "let's face it", with this care and God's blessings, I have lived 5 1/2 years longer than nature would have dictated. So I am home and gloriously thankful for all this day has afforded. Tomorrow is another "lab" day--blood letting! So we will see how that goes. "And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8

Monday, October 26, 2009

Waiting and feeling "poorly"

If you are "older" you can remember when people (usually older people) would say they felt "poorly"...I guess that is a good description of how you feel when nothing is really wrong, you just don't feel like you could do anything you want to do. So this is how I have felt today--slightly out of sorts. I have kept busy, and never am bored. I used to say (when I was teaching) that I could have a month of snow days and never run out of something to do. Alot of friends say they would not or could not do Facebook...I had such a nice surprise today-- a friend of my children's (from way back) found me on Facebook and wrote such a wonderful "letter" and this just made my day. What a fun way to find old friends and stay in touch with new friends...I have not seen this "child" in 40 what joy!!So my day ended up not so "poorly" and tomorrow comes soon and the anticipated second infusion will be given and we shall see how it reacts. I have had more sickly feelings than I was supposed to from this first one so I am ready to see how the second one reacts. then the anticipated chemo is to be started a week from tomorrow. A friend sent me a set of Bible verses in a holder--such a nice surprise and one of these verses is just for me today: "Indeed, the very hairs of your head are numbered. Don't be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows." Luke 12:7

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Autumn Day in the Country

"The Lord is near, to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth." Psalm 145:18... What a glorious day in the country---trees of gold, red, russets, with green pines interspersed, cool, but sun shining...and family together, all ages, enjoying each other and God's creation. Children getting to touch cattle, to see a new born baby calf and rub his back, and then all of us enjoying a meal together. Just think of the small graces and gifts from God we take for granted, the miracles of daily living we toss aside as normal days and never think of what gifts they are! Maybe when life may be limited by illness the occasion comes to really, really appreciate the mundane, to look at what we daily do and see these tasks as special, the ability to do this work as true gifts from God. As I feel the experimental chemicals doing their work in my body and feel not as well, I am even more "frantic" and that is not good, as God tells us to "not be anxious"...but there is so much I need to do and wonder when, if, how, why, and all these things-- that would mar this wondrous autumn day.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I sold my loom!

Today was traumatic!!I had learned to weave when I was working on my MS and weaving became the emphasis of my Masters degree. I immediately purchased a Loom (machine on which to weave) and I have enjoyed doing this for a long time--about 27 years. I have made rag rugs, overshot weavings for table runners, and even a bedspread. It is very sad to think I will never do this again, to know that this phase of my life is over. There was always a plan to make more rugs, even do another spread, like the coverlets seen in antique shops, more baby shawls...but life moves on and plans do not always work out. John and I need to "downsize" more and move into smaller quarters, enabling life to be simpler no matter whether I live or not. So this is part of the down sizing..the loom is gone to a very good family (that helps me not be as sad) and they will enjoy using it as much as I have.. "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" Philippians 4:4

Friday, October 23, 2009

Date Day

Today was just an ordinary day (in the life of a cancer patient) and we went for my morning blood-letting.....then we forgot that anything was wrong and had our pretty usual Friday "date day". When we retired and quit working (outside the home), we realized after a few months that life has a way of just consuming each of us. You can get so busy doing "things", good things, worthy things, necessary things....and lose each other in this chaos of doing. We realized that the first priority for us is each other (after the first priority of God in our lives, of course). We set aside Friday to be our day for each other, even if we do nothing but work in the yard. We usually eat lunch out, we used to go to movies but find hardly any good ones anymore. Sometimes we go to small towns around middle Tennessee, look for antiques, small collectibles, go to state parks, just anything to be together and shut out the world for that day. We do our best "planning ahead"---even if we never carry out some plans--it is fun to sit and make lists of what we dream of doing, places we dream of going to, ideas for projects at home or for family. We have several small trips --2-3 day trips that involve playhouses and only a few hours drive from here, and those are always fun. We love driving to see family, although that involves more time and planning. So for most of today, we forgot that next week will get here and more "stuff" to endure (which I do in order to hope and pray it will work and kill this cancer). I don't mean to be negative, but I do need to "vent" occasionally--I hate the cancer but I love life and family and if this is what it takes to be with family longer then I am willing to do whatever it takes!! This is John's favorite verse: "This is the day which the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24

Thursday, October 22, 2009

It is easy to Forget I have cancer!

Except for going and having blood drawn every day, it is easy to forget there is cancer lurking inside my body! I am sure (remembering how bad the chemo has been in the past) that in two weeks, I will be VERY aware. For now, though, staying busy, doing the ordinary things, I feel very normal and very healthy. Maybe the scans were wrong!!Maybe the surgery was a mistake, a bad dream!! No, that is not again, my mind is wandering. John and I were talking about our parents, grandparents and how we always remember things they used to say, and wonder if anyone will say about us, "remember when Grandma used to say-----?" or "remember how Pops used to ---"? We will never know. John's Dad used to say "if you have a roof over your head and food to eat, you are blessed", or "if you have time, I have a five-minute job for you" (of course, the job often took five HOURS..) He was an interesting and dear person. He was one of six children from Alabama, left the farm life at age 17 and went to telegrapher's school. Then World War I started and he went in the Navy. He used to tell us how their ship went thru the Panama Canal in 1917, when it was fairly new. He wanted to be a lawyer and we still have his law books, but the depression "happened" and he went to work for the L&N Railroad and worked there until he was 79 years old---longer than anyone ever had worked there. He was such a fine christian man. One of his favorite recommendations for raising boys was to have them move a pile of rocks then move it back...keep them busy!!!This must have worked for he raised two fine sons. So this tribute is to "the Judge" as everyone called much loved father-in-law. So today, we "Praise ye the Lord--Blessed is the man that fears the Lord, that delighteth greatly in His commandments." Psalm 112:1