Thursday, June 30, 2011

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you..."

I cannot decide if I really have no pain anymore, because the one first new chemo is so wonderful...OR I am taking the time-release pill to get rid of pain. I am sure it is the pill!Anyway, I really do not like taking medicine. I avoid it as much as possible, which many times I just have to do it. Well I am very thankful for the absence of pain on a daily basis!

I remembered a quilt we have that an elderly lady made us many years ago (she was probably about my age then...:-) She took scraps of fabric from my Mother in law, and my daughter and mine, scraps of dresses, table cloths, household fabrics, and when I look at this quilt I can remember each of us wearing a particular dress or skirt. Something not made to be special , just a four-patch quilt, but it is very special for memories.

I talked about Grandma and Grandpa being married in 1910, and I have a picture of each of them on that day. Wonder why they did not have a picture taken together? He is facing the camera, wearing a handsome suit, a white shirt and a dark bow tie. His hair was dark and parted down the middle. I can see many features of various family members who look like him, (maybe the shape of an eyebrow, an expression from his eyes...) Like John says, I love to look for family traits in each child, or family member.

Grandma was facing the side with a profile view. She did not have curly hair and so she wore fake curls tucked under her bonnet and hanging out the side. I still have these curls! She had a dress maybe silk, or pongee, with cutout neck and a sheer fabric set in this neck. There is a velvet ribbon high around her neck and she is wearing a gold cross. I never saw her wear a cross...wonder what happened to it. She told my sister that her hat was periwinkle blue, with red cherries to one side, then the curls hanging out the side. I wonder if she loved him. She waited four years to marry him, so maybe she was not sure. But as I have said, he told her every day of their lives that she was the most beautiful woman in the world! What is not to love!

Isaiah 43:1 continues, "I have summoned you by name; you are mine." How marvelous to belong to our Father, our God who knows us by name!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

" not fear; I will help you..."

Isaiah 41:13..."For I am the Lord, your God,who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you". and a friend sent me this verse in her email, Isaiah 41:10 "so do not fear, I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

Can you remember how comforting it is/was to have your Dad hold your hand and how safe it made you feel? One thing I miss with parents being gone, is the feel of their holding my hand!

I have told about Grandma and Grandpa that I grew up next to but not how they met. She lost her parents at an early age and lived with an aunt until she could work. Grandma became the first telephone operator in Franklin, KY when she was about 20 years old. She said she was so conscious of being "an orphan" and wanting to uphold her reputation, she would not go out with anyone. She was very poor and had two blouses (I suppose the Gibson Girl kind--this was early 1900's) and she washed one each night and wore the other one that day. She had one skirt and maintained a frugal lifestyle. Grandpa was a "traveling salesman" for a paint company and he saw her and asked her to go out with him. He drove a horse and buggy. She would not at first but finally did and they "dated" for four years. He finally told her they either married or he was not asking her again. She finally said yes. They married in 1910 I think. After they married they moved to Nashville and he opened his paint company I have told about, and my mother was their first child.

Oh the wonderful memories of grandparents and parents to be a comfort. Someone said "as long as one is living who knew these past generations, makes these past ones still alive!" They certainly held my hands, but I still have God to hold me and comfort me. I cry so easily these days, but God will keep me and give me strength.

Monday, June 27, 2011

"How can a young man keep his heart pure?"

We were visiting our granddaughter and her family last week. Looking around her home I could see so many things that were her great-great grandmothers' and what joy it did for me to see Grandma's dishes and pretty things in another generation's home. When our new great (a girl) is born next week, and these pink dishes are in her room, it gives such a sense of continuity! What wonder it would give Grandma to see these pink depression vases, bowls, plates placed around the bedroom, and being so beautifully displayed. It keeps me from missing these items when I know they are being loved and used.

John laughs at my looking at the babies and saying "she looks like this grandmother" and "he looks just like your Dad" etc.,, John says babies don't favor anyone at first. I beg to differ and love to look for family favor! I am sure the in laws see their favor in the babies!

We all pray for the greats to be looking toward God and praying for His guidance. Psalm 119:9-11 says "How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."

We see from the children of Israel how easily it is for a generation to fall away from God. We pray earnestly that ours will stay close to God and follow His precepts.

The time release med is working well and I am not suffering as much pain. The stint is working and I am feeling better except for drowsiness due to the time med. Well I cannot have everything! Everyday is a blessing!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

"O God, my body longs for you---in a dry and weary land..."

Psalm 63:1, 4 "O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. ...I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands."

I feel like I am living in a "dry and weary land". O God, I seek you in every moment, every day, I do not know how to pray. I think the stint is working and now if the chemo is working, maybe God will grant me a few more days, weeks, months, years? I do not know how to schedule my days. Am I to just live normally? Do I go shopping? Do I plan for future things to do? I shall have to re-do my thoughts of living. I feel I nearly died for some reason. There was nothing like that but I do not feel "normal" for some reason. I pray for so many friends and family and know we are each in God's hands. We are frail and just here by His will. Please God, I long for you, and for your will!!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

continuing Friday, June 24

When we got to the hospital, I found out it was REAL SURGERY with the deep sleep, breathing tube in the throat, the whole bit! This was a shock. So we did all this and the surgery was good, and successful. The doctor said the stint was very necessary to save that kidney and it was a successful surgery. I also found out that in the last abdominal surgery, they had cut a piece out of my bladder to remove part of the cancer. So I feel more and more on "borrowed time" and wonder how and why so much changed so quickly. I wonder if this chemo will relieve the pain, and pray it does. I know with my mind set, I must "keep my eyes on Jesus" or else, I will not be happy nor show His love and my faith in my every day living.

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus..."

"...the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, scorned its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12: 2 This verse jumped out at me for the necessity to "fix our eyes on Jesus". My eyes have been every where else lately. I have been sad, mad, worried, consumed with doctor's visits, avoiding talking to friends (because I hate talking about myself so much). How could so much change in two months!? The middle of April, we were so excited about the great CT and PET and how the tumors were shrinking, and one tumor had gone and just such good news. Then all of a sudden, there are more tumors, they are growing, there is much pain, tumors are impinging on body organ, surgery is out of the question, and all is dismal!

This week has been a very busy one, with the start of the new chemo yesterday. I have not had much side effects yet, but just a little nausea last night. I have a new pain medicine that is time release which will keep me at a higher level of relief all the time and not let the pain get away from me. Today we went in for what I thought was a minor shot in the arm type put to sleep and put a stint in my ureter (between kidney and bladder.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

"Keep your eyes open for God, watch for His works..."

The Message. Psalm 105:1-4 "Thank God! Pray to Him by name! Tell everyone you meet what He has done!Sing Him songs, belt out hymns, translate his wonders into music! Honor His holy name with Hallelujahs, you who seek God, Live a happy life! Keep your eyes open for God, watch for His works, be alert for signs of His presence."

We got to the oncologist early this morning, and he was so ready to start the chemo--I will be on Doxyll which is not experimental. Because of that he can adjust the dosage and we will start with a low dose. The main side effects are to be blistering of the hands and feet (no pedicures or manicures as long as I am on this) and also nausea. A slim possibility is loss of hair (NOOO, it is almost back!!!!!) I got the usual premeds to save my insides, and then the chemo, so this took about 2 hours.

Then we wemt to the urologist and he determined that there is no cancer inside my bladder so tomorrow, they will put me to sleep and insert a stent inside
the ureter (between bladder and kidney). This will be done to keep the cancer from mashing on this kidney and making it "die" . I would hate to lose a kidney. This stent will have to be changed out every 3 months because otherwise, a stone would form in the stent.

While I was waiting for the urologist to come and look up into the bladder, I started crying, and the dr and nurse both held my hands and put their arms around me. I was such a baby. I said "I guess this is the end and I won't live long now, and my husband needs me and I hate to not be with our babies..."Anyway, I really just "lost it!" but they were very understanding.

So here we go again into my 8th year, with new situations, a new chemo and things done to me that are different. I had to come home and think of what blessings there were today, oherwise, I would be too blue! 1. My oncologist is ready to start on anything he thinks will prolong my life. He does not wait and think about it! 2. God led me to a new doctor (urologist) who was very supportive and patient with my meltdown! and he did not wait but wants to do the stent tomorrow. 3. This nurse asked if she could add me to her church prayer list! 4. I am getting so many emails of encouragement and I cannot help feeling good. 5. John is always with me, totally supportive even when my moods happens to be kind of "snippy" Do I sound "snippy"? I pray tomorrow turnsa out ok and not too painful and that I can save that kidney. I really feel like "I am watching God's works"!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"I will always have hope..."

"...I will praise you more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long." Psalm 71:14-15

Even though I do have hope, and salvation, and praise God and His goodness, the days are full of pain. Last night, I took pain meds every 4 hours and they did not stop the pain. I have never had this kind of pain. I looked back in my writing, and on March 5th I had written that if I did not know there was cancer, I could not "feel" it. Well, I really spoke "too soon" and the spreading cancer is now giving it's evidence with this pain. I pray for sleep tonight because there was very little last night!

Tomorrow is oncologist day and I pray he will have something to hopefully slow this cancer spread. I remind myself of God's goodness and I know He is my "hope" and my "rock"

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"This is what the Lord says..."

" I will extend peace to her like a river..." Isaiah 66:12, then 61:11 "For as the soil makes the sprout come up and the garden makes the seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations."

The Bible refers to gardens so much. God must love flowers and gardens. Also the idea of rivers and gardens brings such a feeling of peace. My flowers have really grown and I cannot believe one year ago there was just a pile of rocks and dirt here. John has his veggie garden with green beans and a few carrots and a few beets coming along. We have already had two meals of our green beans and a have a big bag in the freezer. We dug our potatoes and will probably have half a dozen meals from these. And the tomatoes are almost ready. I have some squash growing everywhere. The holly hocks are tall and beautiful several shades of pink. There are zinnias, marigolds, butterfly bushes, cone flowers, some flowers I just have but do not know the names. All these things are soothing and bring joy.

I have not written for several days because I have been so sad and so mad! I hate this cancer and I hate what it is doing to my body. I hate all the things it is robbing me of. I hate the sorrow it creates within me. I could sit and cry my eyes out at any moment! I know God only allows things like this for a purpose. I realize now that the lesson taught me is that I was so proud of my accomplishments and my ability to maintain a strong body and to be "young" and this cancer has certainly brought me to my knees! I have lost all that I was PROUD of and I did not really think I had this pride. But God knows our hearts and He knows our inner thoughts. So here I am, kneeling down for His guidance and ready to live and do as long as He allows it.

We took a few days to go and visit the grands and greats in Augusta. We will have a new baby girl with all those boys in a few weeks and being with the great is such fun. God is good and He gives us opportunities to be with and love our family. I pray for His peace as my oncologist tries to find another chemo to hold back this cancer.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

"A voice of one calling: "In the desert prepare the way for the Lord...."

"...make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. ..And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it." Isaiah 40:3 and 5

I went to the oncologist today and he and the chemo nurse are deciding on a chemo for next week. He also wants me to have a stent surgically put in place to keep one kidney from atrophying due to the cancer pressure. I am in lots of pain every night and some day time. I can cry at the drop of a hat! I am so tired of everything. I told the nurse today she must think I am such a baby--"I don't want this, and I don't want that"...she said "no you are just defining quality of life."

I am to be on the first floor this time with the chemo being already approved, and that way, the doctor can change dossage if it is too harsh. That will be a nice change. Experimental has a protocol and you do what that says. I am tired and sleepy...seems always...I feel like I am lost in a desert. I do not mind dying, but hate this "suffering" which is really nothing when it is all in perspective! Hallelujah!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"...when you reach the edge of the Jordan River, go and stand in the river..."

When we were in Jordan and going into the Holy Land, we crossed the Jordan River. In the spring, the river is in flood stage and the normal looking creek becomes a raging river. Joshua was told by God for the priests carrying the Ark to step into the river and wait for God to tell them what to do...they did and the water piled up and ceased to flow .... They had to be fearful...this is one of the books of the Bible that repeats so many times---"do not be afraid", and "be strong and courageous".

There are few bodies of water I have not been in..creeks, rivers, lakes, oceans, I always loved it all, and would swim anywhere I could. This is a different kind of "river" in which I have only dipped my toes, so far. I have only Thought I was being faithful, and being courageous. I go Thursday seeking my last chance of anything for healing. I am down to the only chance left if God allows me to live longer and get a little bit cured for a while longer. The pain meds are working very well, and I am not near hurting so much, but I am sleepy alot more. I hate that feeling. I have less ambition. But you cannot ask for everything! So I ask for another chance to be here and take care of John and be with our babies a little longer. I am ready to "step into that river" . Thank you God...Joshua 3:8 "Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant, "when you reach the edge of the Jordan River, go and stand in the river..".16 "the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap..."

Saturday, June 11, 2011

"He will be like a refiner's fire..."

A friend sent me a devotional based on Malachi 3 in which Jesus' coming will be like a "refiner's fire". When I was working on my Masters I took an art class working with silver, making jewelry. The silver must be heated in fire, and like the Bible says it must be purified. The devotional reminded me of what I learned at this class, that the silver is heated until (as it is poured from the crucible) you can see your face in the molten silver. The analogy is that God will refine us in His fire until we see His face, in its purity. Malachi 3:2-3 "For He will be like a definer's fire or a launderer's soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver..."

I attended a friends' luncheon today, came home and slept for 3 hours. I have a strange abdominal pain tonight, so hopefully the pain meds will work . They did not help much last night. I hate all this pain and focus on "Me" and would so love to be back to normal! Tomorrow is a special big service and lunch at church, and I hope to feel like going! John is so worried about me and I also hate to see that pained look in his eyes when he looks at me. My God is in control. Blessings to each...

Friday, June 10, 2011

" train the younger women..."

"...the older women to '''teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one can malign the word of God." Titus 2: 3-6

Today, if older women are friends with, or help, younger women it is called "mentoring". I like to call it "friendship"! John and I are blessed to have younger friends who could be our children. I have several young "girl friends" who could be my daughters, and we do have fun! What an absolute blessing to be accepted by those who "speak the language on FB" and to have coffee with and shop with, on an equal basis. Many weddings don't include some of the "obey" doctrine, or being "subject to your husband". Why not let him be the one in charge, as it is a big world to be in charge of! Anyway, rambling as I am, I think younger women have a tough world and seeing older women who have traveled it and can still love their husband after 50 + years inspires these younger ones to keep trying,

I have not written in several days, as I have been too heart sick and sad to write. The cancer has grown, it is spread over my abdomen and mashing several organs, and blood vessels and nerves. There is pain from this, which is the trying to sleep at night-pain. I have had every scan,etc. so this is a very definitive diagnosis. The surgeon said to operate would be life threatening and might not succeed after all. He has given me a stronger pain med for nights.

I go back to the oncologist next Thursday and he will decide what is next. I am down to chemo being my only option now. I still KNOW God is my rock and my defense, my saviour, and He is still in control. He prevented a disastrous surgery. So we will see what He has planed for me next. Thanks you all who pray...God bless!

Monday, June 6, 2011

"The Lord is near to all who call on Him..."

The Lord is righteous in all His ways and loving toward all He has made. The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cry and saves them." Psalm 145:17-19

Our flower beds are amazing to go from "0" to blooms, spires of hollyhocks, roses with blooms, ferns, herbs , oak leaf hydrangea. zinnias, marigolds, and on and on in less than a year. It is just unbelievable to see this. Our green beans will be ready to pick by two more days and we dug a few new potatoes today. (To dig our potatoes, I took a little trowel and pushed dirt around and found 3 ready to be eaten) Remember our vegetable garden is about 6 feet X 6 feet. We have fun with this though.

I hurt so badly last night, I did not think I could go to sleep but I finally did. Thank goodness for pain pills. I have sewed today and napped twice. I do not hurt as badly in the day time. I think tonight may be another bad night! I was looking back when this last chemo started in October, and all the possible side effects and how bad they could be!!! I knew it could be rough but they all tell you bad things that are possible. This one, really MEANT it!

I call on the Lord, all through the day. I pray for His guidance. I pray for the doctors and their decisions. I am sad and tired of pain. "He hears their cries and saves them."

Saturday, June 4, 2011

"...Jesus said, "Take courage. It is I..."

I am in more pain, and will see the surgeon this Thursday ...see if he can operate ONE more time...this will be the 5Th! He told us the last time this cancer is like a spider web that is just fiber all over everywhere inside my abdomen. The pain,(unless he tells me otherwise this time) is coming from the pressure of the cancer on various organs. I hurt worse at night for some reason. A good friend, dear one in art class, called and reminded me of Peter who took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink when trying to walk on the water. She reminded me to just keep my eyes on Jesus. This is such a wonderful friend! All my friends tell me continually that they are praying for me. I know this and I am trying so hard to not be downhearted. I do really good even with chemo problems if I am not in pain. I do not handle pain very well, even though I have a strong pain threshold. So it must be really bad if I hurt this much!!!

"...Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." "Lord if it is you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." "Come" He said. Then Peter got down out of the boat , walked on the water and came toward Jesus." Matthew 14:27-29 then Peter took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink...I pray I can better keep my eyes and mind and heart focused on Jesus. I could cry my eyes out any second of any day. I could scream and have a fit any second of any day. That would solve nothing. This is a mind-sorting-out disease in which one thinks alot about life, priorities, the goodness of God and His blessings, what is really important, what do I do in time I have left. I still have optimism that cures are possible. God is my hope and my promise, my faith and my life.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry for help come to you..."

I am certainly crying for help this week. This week, John took me to ER on Sunday night/Monday morning, then called my oncologist on Tuesday, got an MRI on Wednesday. Today (Thursday) saw my oncologist and found out the news from the MRI. The small cancer in my lower pelvic area is spreading and pressing against organs. It is causing colon problems and I had a seigmoidiscope today (put to sleep). This growth is causing my bladder to back up and might need a stint. We are ignoring the liver tumors right now. The idea of chemo is not even talked about just now. My next step is to see if the surgeon will operate and do what he can to slow/remove/do something to this growth. Part of my problems come from the radiation last spring. I knew I hated that radiation! The doctor who did the colon "seig" today was so nice. John and I have gone to him several times over the years and he sat and just talked to us and explained what I needed. Then he said, "We can do it today if you want to". So John and I went out for lunch and came back, had this done and were home by 4:00.

I had several minor "melt-downs" today. I hate this cancer and it is so difficult to be thankful for this as God tells us to. I am more of a "cry for help" right now. I will work on the thankfulness part! May 31 was my 7Th year anniversary for the cancer. So I am working in my 8Th year now. I am not ready to give up. I am not ready to be really angry, I am sad at something evil like this that takes life away. I would never blame God because He is so good to me and gives us such wondrous blessings. Also, we have two more "greats" coming in the next two months so I pray for them and their safety more than me. God knows my needs and He will do what is needed to be done!

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