Monday, May 30, 2011

"...are you not the God who is in heaven..."

Strange week...I spent Sunday night into early Monday morning at the ER and part of that time was having a CT which showed nothing especially new...but this pain has to come from somewhere! I have to talk to my oncologist tomorrow! There is probably no place in society more strange and different than the ER, especially on a weekend night. A nurse told us there are more people coming in with psychological problems on a holiday weekend than most any other problems. Maybe they think they should be in a family gathering and don't have that for some reason or another.

This is a strange Memorial Day. Of course it reminds us of Daddy being gone in World War II and of John's brother being killed during that time. For as long as I can remember it was a family day, picnics and/or camping, or family at my sister's home with swimming and food and lots of kids. They all grew up and now each family has their own time of picnics and swimming. Things change and nothing ever stays the same.

I am hesitant going to an ER (I believe this was the 4Th time in my life I ever went to one) and the place is always crowded and you wonder who will check you in, etc...and of course God took care of me and the nurse checking me in shared that her mother has cancer and would I please pray for her. Of course a Christ believer would be there for me! God is so good!

O Lord, God of heaven, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hands..." II Chronicles 20:6

Friday, May 27, 2011

"My days vanish like smoke..."

Psalm 102 1 Hear my prayer, LORD;
let my cry for help come to you.
2 Do not hide your face from me
when I am in distress.
Turn your ear to me;
when I call, answer me quickly.

3 For my days vanish like smoke;
my bones burn like glowing embers.

I am could be a. cancer b. age c. being sick d. John being sick e. results of chemo f. all or any of the above! I long to have energy. I hurt so badly last night. The doctor does not know what this hurting is. Nothing shows on the CT to have this pain. I have taken the strong pain meds and they are like nothing and the pain kept me awake last night. I am praying for relief, and asking God if this is how I will end my days?

Maybe tomorrow will be better. Usually I don't have this pain during the day, just at night. This is so strange. We got to have coffee with grandchildren this morning. What fun to be with grown up grandchildren. I love my family. Thank you God for blessings

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"Therefore... we have a great high priest..."

Another day at a doctor. john was not getting any better and our daughter and I were getting really worried, so we did "an intervention", called a doctor and got John to go. He grumbled all the way! But he has bronchitus and needed another round of antibiotics, and another OTC med for coughing. He has been sick just way too long! I got over this crud in a week and he is longer than that.

My oncologist made an eye doctor appointment for me. This chemo just goes on and on with the side effects. I really wonder if I will get over this one! I have these fuzzy spots before my eyes occasionally, which the chemo said was possible. I think I did not miss a single after-effect listed on that protocol.

I am so tired. I don't know why. When I don't feel good, I always think "it is the cancer" and "it is growing". Maybe I am tired because we have been sick for two weeks! Maybe I am tired of just doing everything because John does not feel like doing anything. I might just lay in bed all day tomorrow! No I cannot do that, I need to bake pies for a church happening. As Scarlett said "tomorrow is another day"

Seriously, I am so thankful for our God our "high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we possess." Hebrews 4:14

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"Shout for joy..."

Grandma and Grandpa went fishing every Saturday. He loved it and I guess she did also but I think they just enjoyed being together. He always called her "mother" probably because of speaking of her to the children and it just "stuck". So they were getting a boat at a lake and he was saying "mother, get in the boat, etc..." and this old man helping them said "So this is your Mother?" This really hacked Grandpa bad! He called her the most beautiful woman in the world every day as long as he lived and the idea of her being his mother----and he was 8 years older than she was! We fished with them some when I was small and once a tornado came up while we were out and we took refuge in an old shack by the lake. As tornadoes go, it would not have done us any good, just kept the rain off!

I saw the oncologist today and told him about this weird pain I have in the middle of my abdomen, and he may have a CT earlier than he was going to. He also will get me an eye appointment. I hate-hate this all! I know we should not hate anything but maybe cancer does not fall into that category! Please Lord, consider me afflicted and comfort me!!! John is slowly getting over his illness. He usually recovers quickly, but not this one.

Isaiah 49:13..."Shout for joy, O heavens, rejoice , O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the Lord comforts His people and will have compassion on His afflicted ones."

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Lord is good to all....."

I go to doctor tomorrow...I am kind of blah....I am having some eye problems and need to tell him...the last chemo in January, which nearly killed me, had eye problems as some of its side effects...I hoped I had escaped that side effect. Maybe not? Maybe getting old? No, not me! " The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; He has compassion to all He has made." Psalm 145:8-9

Saturday, May 21, 2011

"Carry each others' burdens..."

"and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2 How pleasant and personal, sister-like is it when someone helps you and carries some of your burdens, if only by being there to talk or pray, or send a note. I have a friend whose ministry is sending notes. She probably sends hundreds each year. They are not just a note card, but personal, caring, hand writing that shows she knows your situation and truly cares.

Each of us has our own ministry that shows others our love for them.

John has been so sick! I think he was depressed today and I just MADE him get out of bed and go to the garden center. At one point I looked back at him and he was leaning over the basket, and I almost felt guilty! But he felt so much better in the afternoon because he got out of bed! We came home and dug and planted lots of flowers. Tonight he is relapsing and feels terrible. Maybe tomorrow he will be better since he has taken 5 out of 14 antibiotics. so far.

We were talking today about how children can no longer play games like we did--"Red Rover", "Kick ball", "dodge ball", because they might get hurt! How sad, that children cannot be free to go out, get hurt, get over it, and "be sure you are home by dark". We sure did have fun in that freedom.

Prayers for children everywhere, for safety, for parents who care, and praying for John to get well. As usual off chemo, I feel very well! Thank you God for the rest and for the good CT in 2 months!

Friday, May 20, 2011

"Surely this is our God..."

I was with friends tonight, leaving John at home. He is so sick! He did not feel like going and no one wants to be close to him anyway. I have slept on the couch two nights so far...and I rarely do that. He is coughing worse than I did. He is taking an antibiotic so hope and pray for his health to return soon! . We were supposed to meet part of our family at Falls Creek Falls this weekend. We cannot do that! We are so disappointed, to not be with family and that is one of our all time favorite places in the world. I made family favorite cake (the buttermilk pound cake with buttermilk caramel icing) and we were to be part of vacation for our daughter and son in law and birthdays for two grandchildren. Well, these things happen and we would not go there and infect them for anything!

John went to the eye doctor today and he is about the same, which means he can see with the right eye, and the doctor thinks he will never be totally blind. That was wonderful news. He probably should not have gone, being sick, but eye appointments are hard to come by, and this was with the macular degeneration doctor.

I was looking at a magazine and it asked "what was your happiest day ever?" What a question! Would it be possible to take one event and say that was the happiest ever??? I think there are a hundred happiest days in a life time! I could go back to a day at Falls Creek with all the grandchildren young and all of us camping and a fire going, making s'mores ..does it get much better than that? Or the day one of your babies was born? Go back to the day you married? Above all, the day of accepting Jesus and becoming a christian.

I was talking to these friends tonight about my being off chemo and wondering if, maybe?, wondering?, do I?, will I?, It would be so easy to just stay off. Life is so good off the poison. I still don't know. I do know this--I will not do any more that nearly kill me. One friend talked about how we all pray for one person and they live then we all pray for another and they pass on. Why is this? Only God knows these "why" questions and only He has the "time" for each of us!

"Surely this is our God; we trusted in Him, and He saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in Him; let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation." Isaiah 25:9

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"Surely He has done great things..."

"...Be not afraid, O land; be glad and rejoice. Surely the Lord has done great things." Joel 2:20-21

I lost my Bible last week...looked EVERYWHERE for it. We went back to church and looked in the parking lot, went to a restaurant we go to on Wednesday night and looked there, no Bible! I was just sick! Tonight there it was lying on a shelf just inside the sanctuary. I KNOW I did not leave it there. I am so thankful to find it. My very favorite Bible with all my notes from Israel ended up given to a trucker. I told about that last year. I just really hated to loose another one!

I finally am back in the "land of the living". I will be glad to see what my blood counts are next week because I got this flu/pneumonia too easily and got too sick to have normal cell count. But I am afraid John is getting it now. He does not feel good now. Getting older is not for the faint at heart!

About two weeks ago I called that cool spell "blackberry winter". I was WRONG. This COLD spell is definitely blackberry winter. Two weeks ago the domesticated blackberries were blooming and that does not count. This week the wild ones were blooming and that is the real blackberry winter! We had a 39 degree low one morning and highs in the 50's, way too cold for this late in May, but maybe all the winters are over now. John's tomatoes are blooming--wow--last summer with the really wild highs and no rain we did not have a bloom until July! Then almost no tomatoes. I think the potatoes are about ready to bloom which means they are making potatoes. A friend asked "How large is your garden?" John said "About 4'x8'"...they just laughed. But we have always had some sort of a garden, regardless of where we lived. So laugh on--as we eat our green beans and new potatoes, fresh tomatoes, mint for out tea, and onions to cook on a roast. The green thumbs are here!

We just sit in awe every day in God's goodness and His keeping us alive and able to enjoy each other and all the things we do together. He absolutely "has done great things"!

Monday, May 16, 2011

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God..".

I John 5:14, "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us..." I realize the key to this verse is in the "according to His will" and so much we seem to think anything goes...just ask! When we were at Pepperdine, we heard a very well known preacher who said that "no one lives without receiving something good given from God, even evil people. Anyone who lives receives pleasure from God and His gifts, even bad things evil people do. What a gracious God we have who gives good things to everyone, even those who reject Him.

Have you even thanked God for fingernails? Neither had I! You never would believe what you cannot do without them: Pick up pins, coins, specks of something on the floor, get an eyelash off your eye lid, fasten buttons, separate pages in a magazine, undo coke cans, food cans with flip tops, after opening tin cans, lifting the lid. When I sew, I cannot catch the bobbin from the bobbin holder and have to use my one remaining nail on my left pinkie. You cannot fasten earrings, bracelets and necklaces without the nails. I know there are more I realize each day, but these are just a few.

Here are two funny stories from "just living"...years ago we came to put stuff in the garbage can and there was a dead possum lying in it. We could not believe he got in there and died and went to get a shovel to bury him. When we came back he was gone! He had just been "playing possum"! A little sparrow at our daughter's home was outside our sewing window and we loved to watch him build his nest each year in a bird house. This time, he came back one day with a large twig which after trying several times we knew obviously it would not go through the opening. He sat there on the post of the bird house and you could just "see the wheels turning". This sparrow turned his head to sideways and put that twig through that way. We could not believe that tiny bird could reason that out! How amazing!

Today was the first day I have felt better so maybe I will get over this whatever I had. John was coughing tonight and I said "OH, NO!please don't get sick..." We hope and pray we won't. Blessings...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

"Great are the works of the Lord..."

"...they are pondered by all who delight in Him." Psalm 111:2

I started to write two days ago and the computer would not cooperate--google was down. Then I really got worse with this bad cold/flu/whatever I caught on our trip. I have become complacent on guarding against being too close to people and not using the hand sanitizer as much as I should. Being off chemo for 4 months makes one feel "normal" .

But we did have such a good time with the cousins in Missouri as we went through there on our way home from California. We found out more about that part of the family. I have written about Anna, John's first cousin who passed a little over a year ago. She was the mother of the cousin we stayed with and this cousin and I enjoyed Mother's Day together which is a bitter-sweet day for us. I found out that Anna's Father died of TB at an early age. He was a lumber-buyer and they said he could just look at a tree and tell you how many board feet could be gotten from that tree. So many people died from TB in the early 20Th century, because the cause was still not certain. (One of John's step-grandmothers and two of his uncles died of TB in the early 1900's)

When Anna was returning from World War II, she was with a group of other nurses on the front of the ship as they came into New York harbor, and a photographer took their picture which appeared in a newspaper . Then one of the crew on that ship was a returning seaman (returning to his prior job as a chef in the Waldorf Astoria in NY) and he took some of the nurses to the Waldorf for a meal! She had such an amazing life and we still, and always will, miss her.

So after three days much of it in bed, feeling really bad I might feel a slight bit better..hope and pray so. I have coughed my head off so maybe the ZPAK will help. Blessings!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

" will take me to glory."

Who said "God is more willing to forgive than we are to be forgiven?" I sure do miss my brain! Isn't that a wonderful saying! While we were gone to California, and on the long plane flight, I did thinking and memories popped up...One is when my Grandma and Grandpa used to entertain visiting preachers, even had a "preacher room" for them to stay in. At one of the dinners, my uncle (who was about 5 years old) held up his napkin and asked "Mama what is this?" My grandmother was very embarrassed because she always had napkins. When I was growing up, she always had cloth napkins for every meal, usually ones she had made.

Daddy was a preacher and also an "artist" (of sorts). He would go out in the country to a small church and paint the baptistery for them. It was always a mountain in the background and a few hills, meadow and a stream coming to the front. It was always pretty and he derived great pleasure from this. He was a man of many talents, wrote poems, tried at short stories, played the violin, painted and sang very well. What a really wonderful heritage we girls had. Mama was an accomplished pianist and loved to do embroidery. She was like the southern belles who sat in the afternoon and did hand work.

When we had our Bed and Breakfast, many years ago, a guest just happened to tell me she had lost a young son in a bicycle wreck. I had told her we had our middle child to die and then I said, "but the comfort is we will see them again in heaven". This lady said "I don't believe in heaven" and I just went "cold" and all I could say was "Oh my dear".

Our precious Lord gives us families and memories, blessings of health, and blessings when we are sick. " Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me to glory." Psalm 73:23-24

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"...from everlasting to everlasting, you are God.."

John and I had the opportunity to attend the lectureship at Pepperdine University last Tuesday until Saturday, May 7. What an awesome experience. We have attended two other times. You can attend lectures from the most and the best of preachers, authors, noted speakers, university professors, all in a christian setting. Each day has two keynote speakers and wonderful worship singing, then about 4-6 classes you may attend each day, and various fun things to do, entertainment by music groups and lots of good food. Our friend, Cathy Messecar, whose latest book, "A STILL QUIET SOUL--embracing contentment" was there and spoke one day. Her book is the one in which she included a chapter on my fight with cancer.

Because of her encouragement and several people I met while at Pepperdine, I have been urged to put this blog into a devotional book. Cathy and a Doctor at Pepperdine who has just authored another book gave me so much advice to do this. Then John and I came back through Missouri and visited family. A family member who writes many books, mainly Civil War era, also talked at length about how I should proceed. I feel this is laid out by God for an encouragement for me. I pray this endeavor will turn out for the good. I also pray if I can do this, that many who have cancer will feel encouraged by seeing that life does not end with a diagnosis.

I heard from my friend, Gene (in Florida) and he is still fighting and making through each chemo which is giving him a really tough time. We always pray he can get through and have a wonderfully good diagnosis. I don't know if I am any better, hands and nails still very disfigured and still cracking open. This truth may not be encouraging! But REALLY. I feel good and can do what I want to do. How many can say that? I do get tired some more that I used to, but after all, age does catch up with each of us.

The lectureship was based on the Psalms and each person spoke from one..the one here was Psalm 90:1-2 and the preacher talked about how this Psalm was written by Moses in the midst of the 40 years of wandering. Moses said, "Lord, you have been our dwelling place through all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God."
This knowledge is what sustains me or any of us who battle the unknown and impossible. Thank you O Lord for all blessings!

Monday, May 2, 2011

"When I was desperate, I called out..."

One of my recent blogs, I talked about downtown NASHVILLE when I was a young girl and a friend continued with her remembrances of being "up town"...she recalled the Arcade, a lovely iron ceiling area cutting through between two major streets (5th avenue and 4th avenue)that used to be the main area of Nashville. The iron was French and the largest standing arcade at this time , early 1900's, designed by Italians. A friend of mine's aunt had a button shop in the upstairs. It seemed so unique. When you walked down thru the arcade, a man dressed like a large peanut would hand out teaspoons of peanuts to passersby. (He worked for Planter's Peanuts)

At the 5&10 store, I think it was Kresge(?) which we called Kresses, you could buy anything. I loved to go there and get paper dolls. I had some of the most beautiful paper dolls--each one was a baby and had wonderful baby clothes. When I had Scarlet fever and played with those, they had to be burned up when I got well! I cried!! While I was sick my great aunt sent me some things that had been her daughter's (who died early at age 22). They were about 6-8 pearl buttons, some ribbons, a china head doll, and I cannot remember what else. I still have the buttons and the doll. I know now what a sadness for her to send me these few things she had saved from her daughter!

Psalm 34: 6-7 says "when I was desperate, I called out, and God got me out of a tight spot. God's angels set up a circle of protection around us while we prayed." THE MESSAGE... Sunday we sang the song, "We are standing on holy ground, and I know that there are angels all around...Let us praise Jesus now..." I honestly can feel arms around me when we sing this song!!!!

We are going to be doing family things for a few days, but I will be back with exciting things to talk about...take care...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

"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." II Cor.4:16-18

I have had writers block lately..just cannot think of anything to say. I have had the pain that I hope is gall stones; if not, I am "in a heap of trouble" as an old southern saying goes! My fingernails look like someone chewed them beyond the "quick" and this drives me crazy. I always enjoyed having nice nails, not beauty shop kind but just "nice". My skin is still acting like I am deficient in something and any tiny bump makes a terrible cut or bruise. As I am working in the yard and bumping into bushes or twigs, I get scratched and my arms look like I have been "dog-bit". The occasional acne rash the protocol promised has turned out to be a bunch of raw or red places on my face. This has been the WORST chemo of all six I have done! It just keeps on doing things to me, and it has been four months since I had the last injection! So I feel like I look terrible, covering up my arms alot. My hair is growing back pretty good, and I hope by June I will be able to be ME again!

In all of this, as friends ask "how are you feeling", I truthfully tell this I feel good and actually I am gaining strength. I am walking , working in the yard. My daughter said today, "can you believe you can do all this?" God is giving me good days, good times and ability to feel normal in the midst of all this. So I will not "lose heart"...