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!