Friday, September 30, 2011

"Be joyful in hope..."

Will I ever learn to not second-guess this cancer!!! Here I was saying " no pain in a month, maybe it is gone" and it hit me again this night. Two of the strong pain pills helped me sleep. Now I think about what is going on! Actually, the pills kill the pain but I do not sleep well. So I will be dragging all day. Now at 5 am I am awake and ready for the day.

Yesterday was one of the great days (sunshine and breezy) to remember when it gets gray and gloomy. I am super busy with sewing, but I sat on the porch a while and read, just to be outside. I finished the outfit for one of the new greats and now am starting 3 dresses for sisters (greats) but I love the being busy. I am so anxious to get the outside gardening done, but can't rush this. I need to pull up summer flowers but they are still blooming so well, I just cannot pull them up yet. When I do, I want to put out pansies and violas for the winter. I have several more plants to move to different places in the flower beds. John is planning what he will put in his vegetable garden space.

My kidney doctor called me today and told me what the ultrasound (last Monday) showed and I can wait three more months to get the stint replaced. I sure am glad for the wait. He also said I have a bunch of gall stones, but we won't bother that until we HAVE to! so I feel good about that right now. I hope for no pain tonight. I also love this verse in Romans 12:12..."Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"...let all the earth be silent before Him."

One day follows another, sewing, working in our flower garden, every so often, a tiny thought creeps in..."will I be here doing this next year?" Is that terrible to think that? Is that depressing? I know no one knows day by day what can happen, but when you live in a terminal condition...(are we all terminal?)it makes for a strange "bedfellow".

I have tried two new recipes this week, one is Apricot Squares in the "Cake Doctor Cookbook" and it is decadent, kind of like chess squares. The other was a banana bread recipe ( a new one that contains cream cheese) and I think it will be very good. I love winter cooking. There is nothing like a crock pot of stew or vegetable soup or chili, along with a pan of cornbread and there is a meal. I have had several friends ask for my cornbread recipe...which is regular cornbread. The secret is in the skillet or pan and the oil heated in the oven, then adding that hot grease to the cornbread mix. Then pour all back in the hot pan. It kind of "pre-cooks" it.

I am reading a wonderful book by Randy Harris (teacher/preacher/speaker) called "Soul Work" (confessions of a part time monk)...It is great and I can hardly put it down. I started the BSF class on Wednesdays (the book of ACTS) and that requires lots of Bible study. On Sundays in Sunday School we are studying the book of JOHN so I feel I am reading more Bible and studying more that ever.

One of the points in this book by Randy Harris, regards prayer. We pray, asking, seeking, begging, praising, doing all the things we feel/ have learned/ necessary in praying , but what if we just sit and wait on God. Habakkuk 2:20 is a verse learned long ago, indeed I have seen this verse written on the wall of churches. "The Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth be silent before Him." Can you imagine walking, sitting, lying in bed, your mind drained of all thought, waiting on God and His thoughts? I want to try this and see if I can empty my mind, and truly wait "on Him".

Sunday, September 25, 2011

" will fill me with joy in your presence..."

This passage in Psalm 16 is among my "favorites", and I love the song that uses the last part of this verse.
I might be feeling a little better as to food. I still feel nauseous when I think of eating but manage to eat better the last few days. I still have a raw feeling in the back of my throat. My fingers are cracked open again. I take a step forward and another backwards! I have to go for an ultrasound of my kidneys tomorrow and see if the stint is still OK.

Yesterday was our art league big day and it involved most of our local town, booths, food, things for sale, antique roadshow, and it was a beautiful day and great success. I helped with that, but came home part of the day and took a nap then went back to help close up. Today has been a lack of energy day as a result of yesterday. I am trying to learn to not do too much , too many days in a row. I have lots of sewing to do and will be busy the rest of the week. John will say, "why don't you rest" and I say, "I will rest when that is all I am able to do". I still have lots of outdoor plants to move and replace but need to wait another week or so until the weather changes and we get more rains. I started going to a Bible class on Wednesday mornings and that is very good.

Psalm 16:11 says..."You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, and eternal pleasures at your right hand." I always want to sing this when I read it!

Friday, September 23, 2011

"..He will wipe every tear from their eyes..."

Revelation 21:4 continues..."There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain ,for the old order of things has passed away." And yet we do all we can to stay on this earth---to be with family!

I have had about 2-3 degrees of fever nearly every night, which makes you feel bad, no energy, ready for bed early, going to sleep when I try to read. I have done all that HAD to be done this week, by sheer willpower. Now that I have passed the one week mark, (since chemo) I pray for the next week to get better. I did dig some in the flower beds and moved a big bunch of "ornamental grass". I have two more bunches to move. They grew more than I realized they would and need to be out of the walking path. I am still getting yellow squash and red peppers from my tiny patch. We pulled up the green tomatoes and wrapped each one in newspaper, put them in the basement, and they will turn red in a few weeks.

I have gone to two classes (Bible classes--the BSF class) and they will be really inspirational. I hope I can make it to most of the classes. Tomorrow is our art studio/Festival along with part of Goodlettsville. I have 10 paintings in the show. Our theme is "100 for $100" letting the public realize that original art does not have to be expensive. As last year, 25% or all proceeds go to charity. There will also be restaurant "tastings" and antique appraisals. (But you know I think the art show is the best part!) I am so proud of all the people I paint with and we have so much talent there. I will love it if anyone sells paintings!

So, praying for family, friends, especially my Florida friends for whom I am very worried, and heading for bed, rest, praying for no pain, for appetite to return, and God's in-dwelling Spirit to keep us safe.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

" God in whom I trust..."

I am so thankful I cut the chemo in half...I am so nauseated, so just imagine how sick I WOULD have been on full dose! Yesterday was a blur, but I was busy. Today, I sat in a doctor office for 3 hours ( a sign of things to come) The urologist told me there is a government mandate for doctors to put everything on a computer that is between doctor and patient and send it to Washington for a government data base. He was running slow since he was not used to doing this extra computer work. So I waited all that time for him ...probably not the last time this will happen. He said I could wait three more months before we do the stint replacement, depending on an ultra sound to be done next week. If it is still clear we will wait until December to do the switch.

I had a temperature today and feel like it. I am just wiped out! My blood count is not that low but just a feeling of want to lie down all the time. This doctor was pleased that the MRI showed the main tumor was receding but it is still causing lots of problems.

I had a minor melt down a couple of nights ago. This does not happen very often, but some times I just want to scream! I want to cry and holler and tell the world how vicious this cancer is! It is truly of the devil! I try to handle it with God's help and I usually do but sometimes I just have a difficult time not letting go!
This is when I find Bible verses that are calming and speak to my soul....John 16:33 says "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." When I get upset, John will rub my face and calm me, telling my how good I do! Sometimes I am not sure!

Psalm 91 :1-2 "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust."

Sunday, September 18, 2011

"Do not let your heart be troubled..."

Chemo is never fun or trouble-free, even in a lower dosages. I had 1/2 dose on Thursday and of course, the decatron (steroid) gives me a "high" for two days and nights. I did not sleep well until Saturday night (last night). Catching up on FB and email at 4 am is not sleeping well, at all! I really get lots done during these times, but then the let-down is rough! I sat on Thursday watching the various people waiting anxiously for their chemo and one older lady nervously wondering how her new port would work! The nurses are so wonderful and showed the older lady pictures of the port and how it would be used and gave her much re-assurance. I did not have any bad side effects other than the nerves until today. The nausea set in and thank goodness for nausea med! The bad rash on my body and still some cracked fingers and the throat that feels raw---these are the worst things right now (along with the nausea). I totally came out of my wig this week and lots of people at church were amazed I had been wearing a wig for a year! Anyway, it feels so good to be out of that!

I go to the urologist this week and get the surgery set up for the stint exchange. I hate the idea of being put to sleep again. I know ,as always, my life is in God's
hands and He controls everything that is done. People ask me how I keep going and have so much energy. I don't know except it has to be all from God. I could not do anything alone! When I had to heart echo last week, it showed a little bit of fluid in my heart...never had that before. The doctor said the chemo can do that. that chemo is a real "killer" Let me see--- do I want to die of cancer or chemo??? I will continue to be led by the Spirit...and go as long as God leads me.

John 14:27-28, Jesus tells us "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"I will lift up the cup of salvation..."

One day follows another and I do not write. I am not depressed. I am tired. I am tired of being "sick" and wondering how to think ahead. I realize none of us knows the future, but the average person does think ahead and "plan" for next year, wonder about next Christmas, think about birthdays, etc...I find myself wondering if "I will be here by then" for certain times. That is realism. I had a heart echo test this week and I have a small amount of fluid around my heart, which the nurse says follows chemo. Do I die of cancer or chemo? Do I have a choice? Tomorrow is chemo day and I never look forward to that except for the fact that (bad as it is) it keeps me alive! Sorry for the morbid thoughts. So those are my dark thoughts.

Good things: I have finger nails, my hair is enough that I "came out" of my wig and am just me now. Mu hair is pretty short but a year of the wig was enough! So hair and nails...enough to make me happy! I "talk" to my granddaughters on FB often and for that I am thankful. I call my in laws my granddaughters...I love them all and don't count "in-laws"! I get to have coffee and sew with another granddaughter and share flowers. That is fun. We had birthday dinner for another this last week and that was fun. God is so good and family is wonderful. So many things to be thankful for that I will just not worry about the other stuff!!!

"How can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord." Psalms 116:12-13

Sunday, September 11, 2011

"If my people who are called by my name...I will hear from heaven..."

On this 9-11 I think about the young men who die to protect our freedom. Many of them so young and how blessed our family is that our grandsons are not over in the war. I think about the brave ones who died in that attack. I remember our country as it was when I grew up and we never thought about terrorists or plane bombs or car bombs or anything like we have now. I pray there are enough who trust God in this country that He will return us to the way it used to be, where He is honored.

"If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." II Chronicles 7:14

The past several days have been good, just easily tired. I have enjoyed food! The rash is more, but I now have wonderful fingernails! So I win some, I lose some! I just want to pull on my hair to lengthen it ! It is growing so slow! This week I have a heart echo test and chemo and next week see a urologist for getting ready to change the stint. Not fun stuff! But each day is a blessing! We spent time with our great this weekend and that is always fun. Thank you God for each day!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

" not worry about tomorrow..."

Matthew 6:34 says "Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Isn't that the truth!..We sure do have enough each day.

I talked to my oncologist today and he agreed readily to cut the chemo dose in half next week. He also said he would set up an appointment with a urologist for the stint to be replaced. He got that done and I go see this doctor in 2 weeks. I hate going from doctor to doctor. I would love to be going to just one, once a year, just for a check up. Wouldn't that be great! Well anyway, John is getting sick and thinking he is beginning a really bad cold. I think I shall sleep on the couch tonight, even though he probably was contagious last night. We worked in the yard this afternoon and I dug up and moved several plants that "were not happy" and put them in a different place. He always asked how I know plants are not happy...I tell him "you just know". Things we moved over here last year, we did not know how the sun was situated in the summer and it baked a few things. The veggie garden is about gone except for the peppers coming in and the squash still doing well. The green beans gave up in the 100 degree heat.

I am beginning to eat well, and it took three weeks this time. That only gives one week for good eating. An acne type rash is all over and that is agravating! I hope the cut back will help that go away. I went to art tonight and I am working on a painting for our friends in Florida. Each day is a blessing and God alone knows our days. So I thank Him for each day!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

"..Your love, O Lord, endures forever..."

Our local "great" spent the night with Cathy and Ronnie and as usual came over here for breakfast. Her first comment was "your hair is growing! You can almost go without your wig!" She is like an adult. She helped me make biscuits and made a "kitty cat biscuit" which turned out very cat-like and was enjoyed along with the others. We looked at old pictures and I gave her some of her Daddy as a child. She thinks he was so cute!

I bought a white knit cloche type cap for the youngest great and cannot find a white 1800's dress to go with it ANYWHERE so I need to make that. The concept should be really pretty--white dress with no lace, just ruffles on neck and sleeves. We hope (if I feel like it) to go to west TN to see her and that family. We hope to see the Augusta bunch in November. I just wonder what it will be like when I "wind down" and cannot do anything any more. I love being busy. I love doing more than the day has time for. I love taking care of John. His eyes are about the same but he gets exasperated and says "I just cannot see this!!!" so often!

I ate today, somewhat. I pray for better eating this week. I usually lose about 5 pounds week 1 and 2 then gain it back week 3 and 4, but not sure this week. I am still relatively pain free since 2 weeks ago. I am so thankful!!!

"The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever--do not abandon the works of your hands." Psalm 138:8

Sunday, September 4, 2011

"From the fullness of His grace..."

I am sorry to have not written the past three days. I am just tired! At night I just fall in bed and cannot think of anything else, except rest! I have not gotten over the nausea this month since chemo. I have prayed about what to do regarding chemo and asked for prayer from our Prayer Care ( a group of elders hold prayers in the mall area between services). Today I stopped there for prayer and I am going to ask my doctor to lower the dose to 1/2 on the chemo. If there is not equal amount of good days, then it is not worth it! I pray I can do this and have a better quality of days next month and there after. I pray the energy level will improve and the nausea decrease. I finally have nails mostly (two are still not good) and it is so good! I almost have enough hair to go wig less but not yet. I still have acne like places on my back and face. I still have to be put to sleep and have the kidney stint replaced, in September. There is no end to "stuff" and this is part of the fatigue! Oh how I long for normalcy! I probably will never have it in this life!
That is alright, as I am blessed beyond measure with love and friendship all around me. John 1:16 says "From the fullness of His grace, we have received one blessing after another." I still need to see those two new "greats"...thank you Father!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

"...if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us..."

Our lesson Wednesday night at church was about "If I should die before I wake" and it dealt with the loss of children, especially David and Bathsheba. A profound statement was concerning our response to God's answering "No" when we pray for a specific answer. "Can man, a fallen and sinful human judge the legitimacy and divine rationale/judgement of a divine God?" We only see the "Now" and God sees the forever. I can see the wonderful blessings of our Johny and how his death was not the end of good things that came from his life and death. It was not a depressing lesson but emphasized the forever that only God know and we only imagine.

John and I, and friends and family, pray for my life and I think most days, how God is allowing our prayers to be answered "yes" but some day, He will say "no" and I will still, I hope, be thankful for all these days He has given me. Every day is a blessing, even a day like today when my stomach never felt ok and I could not feel really good. Everyone asks if I just "push myself" to keep going. To a large extent, I do, but life is such fun, and there is so much to do, and I really hate to miss any of it. I know some day, when God wills, I will say enough is enough...but not yet I hope. I still need to see those new greats!

My main problems this week are my eating/non eating. Food is just not good. My throat is still yucky feeling.

I John 5:14 says "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us." And if it is not His will, then?......can man a fallen and sinful........? Thank you God for this day!