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