Tuesday, April 24, 2012

"I have finished the race ..."

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
(2 Timothy 4:7)

Beverly Faye Grayson

November 15, 1934 - April 24, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

"Rejoice in the Lord..."

Philippians 4:4-7

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 also says, "Give thanks in all circumstances..." so here we are, with a very bad CT, in fact, there is nothing left for us to do except let God and nature take its course. I have fought for 8, going on 9 years in May with 7 surgeries, 5 of them major, and 8 chemos, 2 rounds of radiation and there is no fight left...my body is worn out.

I have struggled over the years with these Bible passages--how can I be thenkful for cancer? I have come to peace with the answer...this time has brought many blessings, and I have lived to see our 9 "greats" being born, I have drawn closer to God than I believe I ever would have, in a much deeper walk, been able to co-author a devotioonal book which Cathy Messecar and I hope can find a publisher and come out this fall. I pray the book will give anyone in this battle, the courage and knowledge that God is there, with you, all the way.

I see other blessings, as my body wears out, that I will not outlive the other physical problems that would arise in me, creating more physical ailments. God is removing me in time to prevent kidney failure, and other illnesses I praise Him each day as I walk closer to my God and depend on my saviour Jesus to welcome me home sometime soon. I am sad to leave John but not sad to leave this beast--cancer--that has inhabited me for so long now.

Other family stories coming up as I think back over the years.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

"I love the Lord, for He heard my voice..."

For a week, all I have done is "crawl " from bed to couch and back again, too tired at night to even think, let alone write. Today was minimally better, in that I might feel a little more strength. I need to because tomorrow I go for CT, head, chest, abdomen and trunk..the whole works. My doctor wasts to see if there is any cancer in my brain, causing this continuing nausea. It has been 3 weeks since chemo and I did not "bounce back" at all!

As I am semi-awake, I think of more memories...snippets of happenings..like when Cathy took Agriculture class It her high school, the first girl to ever do this. That was he sophomore year and by the time she was a senior, there were lots of girls in the class. They learned how to saw beams/rafters, how to castrate bulls, how to do much of what is done around the farm. She loved it. Years later when she started her decorating business, guess who knew how to cut boards and "dress" curtains on them! No knowledge is ever wasted.

One little thing Grandma used to say--to me, "are you my child or Mary's?" I was over there so much it was hard to tell!

Another thing, she would have "sinking spells" occasionally and she would say, " if you come in and I am lying on the floor, just step over me, ignore me, and I won't cry"...how funny, I guess these were depressions? who knows.

Psalm 116:1-2 says..."I love the Lord for He heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy. Because He turned his ear to me, I will call on Him as long as I live."

Thursday, April 5, 2012

i have not written for 4 days because I have been too weak, nauseous, shaky, crawl from bed to couch, sick...Also, because this was my 3rd week off chemo Cathy Messecar came for us to finish the layout of my (and our) devotional book that is based on the blog and life of a cancer patient. Part of the time, I lay on the couch and we went thru manuscripts and part from a chair. Either way, Zofran is keeping we going some what, but food is not very good.

I went to Dr Infante today and "everything depends on what the CT shows next week." He wants to also do a scan of my head to make sure the cancer has not spread. Anyway, he keeps reminding me that "by all rights I should have been gone 6 years ago". He is very honest with me and I will update as I find out more.

For now, I am so blessed to be alive and have taken part in the 9 "greats" lives. God is still in control and I depend on Him....Isaiah 55: 8 says, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord..."

Later in 55:12 He says, " You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace..."

Saturday, March 31, 2012

"Jesus is the same yesterday, and today and forever..."

This verse is Hebrews 13:8 and I depend on this truth...

A horrible weekend, lots of throwing up and just on the couch or in bed...I do not know what is going on and why I am so sick! I have never done all this before. That is all I have to say, just that I wonder if my liver is failing and causing the extreme nausea. Whatever it is, I cannot function like this. Please God, ease me................

Thursday, March 29, 2012

"Fear not for I am with you..."

I realize I have not written in several days, but I have been too "sick" to say anything except negative stuff!Mon, Tues, Wed were for the most part on the bed or couch..just too weak and nauseous to function hardly. Today was Dr day and we had a good discussion, regarding where I am and what to do. First I had lots of blood drawn, then a thyroid function test to determine how the chemo is affecting my thyroid then the Dr. thought I needed some fluids so I got that with some steroid and another something ( I failed to write that one down) and he agreed with us that the amount of chemo was affecting my quality of life, (besides I get a CT before we start back on April 12). So if that shows that the chemo is working, I can stand most anything! But we also agreed the dosage needed to be adjusted down some. The side effects are just too much to handle. Just think---in one month, I start into my 9Th year of all this!!!God has kept me alive for whatever wondrous reason, but I surely am thankful!

As I was leaving there was a small older lady (my age) whom I had never seen before--said she had been there 4 years--who was sitting waiting for chemo and reading her Bible. I spoke to her and she said "God bless you" I asked her how long, etc...then I said we are only here through God's grace and she again said "God bless you"
Was she an angel sent to encourage me? I have never seen her in the 6 years I have been at SC but I felt especially blessed to have talked to her.

I very slowly drove to art tonight and sat and talked to everyone for an hour then came home--did not try to paint. They were all so loving and welcoming and oh, how I miss them! I don't know when I will be able to go back, since chemo is always on Thursdays, but they are saving my "place" for me! I love them all so much and really miss our fellowship! They are indeed like a "care group".

"Fear not for I am with you...be not dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you. Yes, I will hold you up with the right hand of my righteousness. Isaiah 41:10

Sunday, March 25, 2012

"Be merciful to me , O God, be merciful to me..."

When John graduated from high school, his mother suggested she and John take a train trip to California and back. John's Dad said "no way, and he certainly was not going"...(Remember Grandad worked for the rail road for 60 years) at that time he of course was not that old...well so Gertie (John's mother) and John planned their trip including going to see one of her girl friends from growing up, and two cousins who lived in Nevada and they got all excited. After a few weeks, Grandad took over and got ticket, planned the entire itinerary, bunks for sleeping, dining cars and the whole bit!

The route included going northern from Nashville, to St Louise to Salt Lake City , Nevada and on into California, then coming back thru El Pa so Texas, New Orleans and back to Nashville. They were gone at least two weeks. There are some great old pictures and Grandad looked like he was having fun!

When they were in Nevada they went to La's Vegas, and at that time, it had maybe 3 cassino's, and was just getting started but they really enjoyed themselves. Just think--that was 65 years ago!

Well, my legs are still swollen, and "weep", which is distressing...I guess the wraps and stockings will be a comfort. I am going to ask Thursday "just how bad a shape am I in?" Last night's pain was pretty bad but today has been good and I think I can sleep without a pain pill. I cannot figure it out! I have always told my doctor to be honest with me and I am not sure lately if he is or not.

We did yard work today and it felt so good to be outside and doing gardening, painting the porch furniture, etc. I may pay for it tomorrow! I have to move very slowly and I certainly am not my usual self in doing things like that.

"Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge, until the destroying storms pass by. I cry to God most High, to God who fulfills His purpose for me. Psalm 57:1-2

Thursday, March 22, 2012

"The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him..."

"...to the one who seeks Him; It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord..." Lamentations 3:25-26 Yesterday was a "draw blood and see the doctor" day..less than 2 hours ...I love that kind of day.
Well I have been diagnosed with lymphodema, in my lower legs and will have to wear stockings...forever...The abdominal cancer pressing against the upper legs has shut down the lymph nodes from draining properly...and if left untreated, would cause infection known as cellulitus, which is really bad. I am really upset over this. Also, a cause could be the radiation I had in December-February, or the repeated surgeries, and the lower cancer. Anyway...I really need to know---if this chemo works, and the cancer goes away (dream) wouldn't that let the lymph nodes drain properly? No one seems to really know. I am so totally in God's hands and in His care. There are only 90+ of us in this STUDY all over the US and I think 3-4 there at Sara Cannon..No one knows the side effects, long term effects, etc of this chemo. I know that I was so glad to be on "vacation" for 3 weeks! After this 3 weeks, and the CT, I will have the next cycle of 3 chemo, 2 days (weeks) off, 3 chemo, 2 "days" off and another CT, making it about June by then. No one knows what to expect after that. I guess by then, there should be a definitive answer as to whether it is working or not!
Meantime, I am up and down, feel good part of the day, then nauseous and in pain the next hours or so.
So, "guide me, O Lord, as I hope, pray, make it through the sometime sleepless nights," ...I have (in between pain bouts) dug in my flowers, planted a few things, cautiously because it is bound to have a freeze between now and May 1! God is good!!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"May your hand be ready to help me..."

"...for I have chosen your precepts...Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me..." Psalm 119:173,175...

I have had terrible 3-4 days and nights...cannot sleep, pain enough to take the strong pain meds at night...nausea and cannot eat, I am so thankful this is an "off" week and two more to follow!!!I know my body could not stand one more chemo this week! We tried to go to Sunday night Care group and had to come home, I felt so bad.Well, things will be better this week, I KNOW!!!

I have told you about our cat (gray, Johny called him "mouse") and he was a much loved cat, when I had flu every quarter in college, the cat would lie on the foot of the bed all day, even though he really was not a house cat, but I could tell he felt sorry for me. I was working, going to college at night, etc...and got sick very easily; I guess I was exhausted, but a different kind from now!

Well one day, I made a lemon meringue pie, and Mouse got in the house and was on the cabinet, eating all the meringue! I opened the door and threw him across the yard to the neighbors, but he just picked himself up and eventually came back home! I was so mad at him! Grandad was over one day (they lived 2 houses away) and Mouse wound himself around Granddad's legs once too often, and he kicked Mouse over to the same driveway! Poor thing, he must have gotten used to "sailing"!Eventually some dogs got hold of him and we had to take him to the vet and put him to sleep. I cried so hard, I could hardly see to drive.We really loved Mouse!

Well these sleepless nights, lots of praying gets done, lots of thinking of God's precepts,lots of asking the Spirit to help me...thank you God for always being there..

Friday, March 16, 2012

"...the present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that ....[awaits us]..."

In Romans, this precedes a favorite verse that I depend upon, in fact this week, I was sad, downhearted (in the middle of the night) and prayed this verse..."...the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit (the Holy Spirit) himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And He who searches our hearts....intercedes ...in accordance with God's will." Romans 8:18,26-27....

This is so powerful and gives a peace beyond any other.

I had the fourth chemo yesterday and did OK, all day again, and got home about 4:30 in a raging storm. I have three weeks with only blood draws each week and that will be a VACATION and hopefully regain strength, eat better and all that good stuff.

In the sleepless nights, I was remembering (why? who knows what memories come out) From about 12 or so on to teens, I would walk the half mile to the main highway, catch a bus and go into Nashville and meet friends for lunch and a movie. Of course, going to 5 and Dime stores, walking around town, just having a fun day. This day out could be done for $1.00....unbelievable at today's prices. The bus was 10 cents each way, the movie was 12 cents, a Krystal was 10 cents, a coke probably 10 cents...total of 52 cents, leaving me about 48 cents for "spending! Town was safe, streets were the same, and what fun we had! Life was so simple then... Town no longer has movies, and stores like then, as all in moved to malls. But that was a school memory from about 1946-52....

Tomorrow should be less rain and I hope to feel like digging in my flowers..always fun! Thank you God for each day John and I have, each fun thing we get to do.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

"The Lord will guide you always;..."

"...He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthened your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden,like a spring whose water never fails."Isaiah 58:11

Don't you love the Lord's analogies! He knew what would sooth us and appeal to us...no one can resist a garden with a stream, and flowers. I have a bad day, total exhaustion-- then today was good and I had more energy for which I was thankful. Tomorrow is chemo #4 then I have 3 weeks "off" without the chemo. I am really looking forward to that and hopefully less nausea and tiredness.

A friend responded to my blog about "Doc Cummings" and she remembered her coming to their family restaurant in this area from 50's to early 60's. She drove the same touring Model T Ford--there could not have been two alike! Interesting to find that out.

John remembers the Gypsies coming through this area (I do also) and they would camp below where John grew up in a creek area. They came through every year and would hit all the stores and any house not locked...sorry to say, they made a living by taking what was not theirs. They were all good looking and beautiful children. I believe they came from eastern Europe originally. I guess they are no longer a "group" or a "people".

Our friend, Gene, was laid to rest in the ocean today, and our hearts are still sad for their family.

I pray for God to strengthen my frame and I already KNOW He satisfies all my needs!

Monday, March 12, 2012

"Cast all your anxiety on Him..."

Sunday our preacher used this passage for a "stress release" Bible verse and it occurred to me I really need this...I Peter 5:6-7 "Humble yourselves,therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you."..........A key here might me to be "humble" because how can you cast all anxiety if you are still in charge? I really try to not be in charge, because frankly there is not much of me left to take charge of anything!!!

Walking down memory lane, John reminded me of his Mother's friend, "Old Doc". When Gertie (John's mother) worked at Loveman as a milliner, she would walk up to the YWCA and eat lunch at their cafeteria. One day she shared a tale with a very genteel older lady who was Doctor Cummings, or Old Doc. This lady drove a touring Model T (this was in the late 40's and early 50's) and she and Gertie became good friends. Doc claimed she had been to China and studied Chinese Massage for sinus problems and since Gertie and John both had sinus, she would come to the house and treat them. Grandad thought she was a fraud, but who knows! For the massage, she would seat you in a darkened room, and massage your head and neck, then have you drink a cup of hot tea. John claims it would work for about 2-3 days. Doc and Gertie stayed friends until Doc died in the late 50's. Another of life's strange little occurrences! John claims she taught him how to do this...I don't have sinus trouble so I would not know!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

"I will sing to the Lord all my life;..."

I had the Doppler on my legs yesterday and the girl who did it could not tell me anything but she said "I don't think you have to worry..." in other words, there were no blood clots..for which I am thankful. The swelling is down some today, so maybe it will get better each day...as we Pray it away!!!

When Grandma and Grandpa moved to their country house in the depression, she did their laundry on a wash board, on the porch...sheets, his shirts, everything, to save money and then she bought chickens and sold eggs for years. When we wanted chicken to eat, she would wring that neck in a minute! Every morning she would get up and make Grandpa homemade biscuits, then when he went to work, she would do her morning chores, washing, work in the vegetable garden, or mow the back yard with a push mower..the old kind. She did this until she was about 90...as well as keeping boarders after Grandpa died. Then about 10 or 11 she would come in take her bath and PUT ON HER CORSET! This was like a ritual, with her lying on the bed, and lacing it up tightly, then dressing for the day, and she was ready to do whatever! We grandchildren were in awe of "the corset". Every few years a lady would come to the house, measure her and make her a new one. Grandma's afternoons comprised of hand sewing on the porch (in the good weather) or in the house, calling Grandpa about 2:00 to ask what he wanted for supper, and always taking a short afternoon nap. She always said if she "could just lose consciousness for about 5 minutes, she was rested!" I never saw her "stressed" or really unhappy even though she had plenty of heartbreaks in her life. She always sang church hymns as she cleaned or went about the day.
"I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing unto Him, as I rejoice in the Lord." Psalm 104:33-34

Thursday, March 8, 2012

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow..."

"..for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. " Matthew 6:34

Well it seems I go one step forward and two backwards. The pain is relatively gone, and I am going to sleep without pain pills tonight. My feet and legs are very swollen and I am to have a dopler tomorrow, to rule out blood clots. He does not think there are any but wants to be sure. My oncologist believes the cancer in the lower pelvis is pressing on the lymph nodes in my abdomen and legs and closing them up, causing the swelling. In about 10 days I am to see a lymph doctor...I hate getting involved with another doctor! I may have to wear "stockings" ...that will be fun! Maybe this is short lived, I pray it is...I had chemo #3 today, one more in this series, then 3 weeks "off" and I will have a CT around April 1 and see what is happening. When I come home from all day chemo, I am really wiped out! I sure do hate missing art class, but maybe the three weeks of "off" I can go.

Our grandaughter 's family is raising chickens and a cat ate one of them! First catastrophy in the chicken business. The boys were devastated. John got our potatoes planted yesterday and today has rained like crazy. John found our "grandog" lying in the middle of the potato patch--in the rain--and when John scolded her, she could not find her way out and messed it up even more! I guess we will have to find them and re-plant them!

Well I just pray for God to guide us through another small "whatever" and pray for the chemo to have a chance to work!

Monday, March 5, 2012

"Praise the Lord, O my soul;"

I am looking at my desk, with memories of "treasures" there. I love the "Willow Tree" angels, and have collected over a dozen in the past few years. We also have the Nativity set of Willow Tree. I have told about the friend of Daddy's in Belgium who painted the "Ardene Forest", which hangs in our living room. I have a plaster model of a scene in "relief" that Daddy did at some time, painted green, showing a house setting in the Ardene woods. It is very heavy, and can hang on the wall or set on a shelf. Another memory of 60 years ago! I have a set of bronze/gold lions head book ends, a gift from Mama and Daddy one Christmas. They especially give wonderful memories. When John and I travel I usually find a Willow Tree angel. I have a small wooden box that holds pins..it says " Salzburg" on the bottom and is painted with tulips on the top. I remember the day I went shopping all by myself in Salzburg and felt so adventurous.

I am feeling more like eating but not normally, just barely tolerating food. I am having a time with swollen feet and ankles, and wonder if it is the Aleve? I will leave it off tonight and see if there is any difference...Every day is a challenge. I sew awhile and sleep a while. I read some and do X stitch...I hate to just sit.

"..all my inmost being, praise His holy Name. Praise the Lord, O my soul and forget not all His benefits..." Psalm 103:1-2

Friday, March 2, 2012

"but godliness with contenment is great gain..."

"...for we brought nothing into this world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that." I Timothy 6:6-8

Well the chemo on Thursday, was not bad, I was still in lots of pain and had been for weeks. There is a really Practical-sense PA whom I see and she suggest a simple over the counter pill after each meal and save the strong meds for bedtime. That way I am pain free (relatively) and not as sleepy all day. It is working very well. Also another PA is a nurse and also preacher and we know many of the same people and just enjoy talking to each other. God just gives me all these wonderful helps . Care group has provided dinner for several nights and that really helps John especially ..my appetite is still not very good, but a little better. I think I told our daughter in law came one day and it was so good to be with her. Her mother is very ill and needs prayers. Also our friend, Gene in Florida, passed away this week and we are so sad...He leaves two teens and a wonderful wife. Our prayers go out to them.

A year or so ago I gave a jello recipe and several friends wanted this again..very easy and so good any time of year.
Dissolve jello in boiling water, cool slightly. Add cranberry sauce and mix well. Add nuts and sour cream. Blend but leave sour cream streaked. Pour into mold and chill. A good dressing is half mayonnaise and half whipping cream.

Food is beginning to sound good...now if it starts to taste good!!!I pray for contentment...and peace...and thank God for blessings!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"I want you to know how much I am struggling..."

"...for you......that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ.." Colossians 2:2......
I have had such intense pain and had to take the strong pain killer I hate to take. I really thought the pain would go away when the cancer (growing in the liver) would take care of this.
apparently not...I have lots of questions tomorrow with chemo#2..I am wondering if there will be much reacion tomorrow.So I really don't know what to write and what to say. I am praying so intensely for this CURE.And as always, I know this is all in God's hands.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

"..be filled with the Spirit..."

"...always give thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 5:18..20...that is a really tough commandment. It does not say "sometimes" or "when good things happen", but "ALWAYS". I am not sure I think to do that. I would like to try...

Well our grandson and grandaughter and their four children, ages 6 months to 5 1/2 came Saturday , we had breakfast and opened Christmast presents, and made candy cane Christmas cookies. (well the shapes were very different, but they were good!) We had fun and we loved getting to spend that time with some of our "greats" and our grandson and his wife of course. He was one of our bunch whom we took camping or Florida every summer until he was about 14 and had a job and could no longer go. What wonderful memories we have. Our oldest great spent the night with her grandmother (where we live) and we got to be with her some.

I have had an up-and-down time. Friday night I had a severe back ache (they had asked if I had any aches and up til then I had not)...I finally took a pain pill and got a heating pad and was able to get relief, but it happened only that once..mainly I am continually exhausted and sleep alot. I make myself eat, which is not much fun. I have to remember I am still coming off the 8 weeks of radiation and may still have some of those side effects. I go tomorrow for blood work to check my antibody reaction to the chemo. I am so thankful for wonderful doctors, and medical care, the experimental chemo which is paid for by the drug company...and support from my care group at church. I am having to miss art now, because the chemo is Thursdays and I cannot come in from hours of that and go anywhere else. Maybe it will get better after I have a few more treatments and it gets to be more "routine"...Thank you God for family and friends.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

"...we have a building from God..."

"For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.."II Corinthians 5:1

This was a 12 hour day, starting with leaving home at 6:30 and getting back at 6:30...the infusion itself only took two hours. There were 8 blood draws, involving about a dozen "sticks" because they could not get a vein to work. My veins are so used up from 8 years of needles. I cried at some that hurt so badly!. The port can only be used for the chemo and not for blood draws to check its progress....I am so exhausted and yet hate to go to bed because I have sat in a recliner chair all day!

I have a schedule and go at least once a week thru the April 11 day. That takes me through two cycles, I think. We all have high hopes for this to work.

I have sad heart because my friend, Gene, in Florida is in hospice now and it is so sad to see such a vibrant, healthy man being into this. We love the family so much and pray for their strength, and faith to uphold them.

John and I are so blessed to have friends and church to stand behind us and be here for us when we need it. So far, I can still do anything I need to do. I pray the chemo works and gives us many more days together. One family of grandson, grandaughter in law, and their four are coming Saturday and we will get to do "Christmas"...Too much happened in December and January so better now than not at all! Time is what you make it, anyway! The kids and I will make Christmas cookies like last year, so can't wait!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"Keep me safe, O Lord...."

"1 Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge. 2 I said to the LORD, "You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing." you have made my lot secure. 7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. 8 I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, 10 11 You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. "
16 Psalms

I could not leave off part of this passage from Psalm 16 ...I am sad, at peace, and knowing I am in God's hands. The CT/PET was not good at all. The cancer has grown and is covering over half my liver. It is spreading into other places also. I said to my oncologist today--"I guess this is my last "stand".." and he made no reply. He has always been so positive and I could read his feelings. I get two bags of blood tomorrow, because I am anemic, and start the chemo Thursday (probably an 8 hour day). I am not afraid and know I am living within God's will, as I have for nearly 8 years now on this cancer journey. Who knows what a miracle this chemo might be! I am ready for it to be! Anyway, "My heart is glad" and "my body will rest secure".

Sunday, February 19, 2012

"Shout with joy to God."

"Shout with joy to God, all the earth! Psalm 66:1 when I was growing up I had a cousin my age and we were like sisters, especially since mine were so much younger. Shirley was the granddaughter of Grandma's sister Aunt Emma. She and her brother became wards of Aunt Emma when their mother died of heart trouble in her 20's.Aunt Emma had a large boarding house near town and Shirley and I would ride the bus to visit quite often. When she came to see me, she always brought a quart of water (we had well water and she did not like it) and her overnight bag then Grandpa would take her back going to work on Monday morning. I would go there and we would explore streets near town. Later I even rode my bike there-about a 10 mile round trip.We always had such fun together. She is the cousin with whom I spent the week at Aunt Clara's when we were 16 and we met our future husbands. but that came much later.
When she was with me, we were country-kids. When I was with her we were city kids. We played hop-scotch on the side walk, walked to her school and played ball, and just had more fun that anything. She and her brother, Wilson also went to Aunt Clara's a lot.;everyone felt sorry for them because they were "orphans". Wilson died young , do not know what and Shirley died about 60 of heart trouble. She married John's friend Jack and they had 2 children.We spent lots of fun times together over the years. John and Jack stayed best friends until Jack died about 5 years ago.

Friday, February 17, 2012

".that you may live a life worthy of the Lord.."

Today was a long day of four hours, going in to town, being prepped (drinking the "lemonade" ) to get ready for the CT/PET.Then blood work, and being given the isotopes/sugar water that will at rack cancer cells. After this I lay in a recliner for an hour, with a pillow and blanket (not bad) while the isotopes scatter. They "glow" under the scan from these isotopes, and they like sugar. That might tell us something, about the nature of cancer? Then we took CD's to radiologist, and went to chemo nurse to sign up for the new chemo. She wrote to the company since I have had so many treatments (I think 6-8 and they said my cells matched so well, they want me in the study. According to the literature, there are virtually no side effects, except maybe the first time. As the infusion goes in there may be some allergice reactions but they will be there and can give me demoral, etc. for any problems. I receive 4 straight weeks of infusion and then 4 weeks off. Also the first time, I go almost every day for blood work, to see how the drug is metabolizing.

On the down side, I am stil weak and nauseous from the radiation and anxious to see what Dr Gray says about this. I wory about doubling up on treatments, sort of. But then I know God has planed this chemo for me, and it is the very last chance I have to kick this cancer. So I would not miss out on this for anything if I can crawl in there!

".and may please Him in every way; bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power acording to His glorious might." Colosians 1:10-1

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"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." Zephaniah 3:17
Oh how I need God to sing over me and quiet me with His love!!! I just cannot get back to normal. So day after day, I lie on the couch...not me!!!

While lying there I was looking at a clock I have that hung in Grandpa's paint store 100 years ago. It is rectaglular in shape, with a pendulum at the bottom half. The top half has the face, hands and very faint writing (in gold of course) that says "COCA" around the top and "COLA" around the bottom . The middle has script that reads "delicious" "drink" "coca cola" and "5 c "...What a period piece! Nothing is 5 cents anymore. I can remember going in the store and seeing that clock always hanging there. We also inherited a railroad clock of a different shape from John's parents and our granddaughter has it.

I love these antiques that were family and enjoy remembering where they came from and to whom they belonged. Someday that clock will pass on and I hope it is continually loved as I have loved it.

As always I pray for tomorrow to be better, for appetite, for ability to eat, for increased strength, and lessened weakness.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, rejoice!"

(I did it again, did not mean to close out the first verse!)
..John and I got to go to Florida for 2 weeks, just lie in the sun. That is all I felt like doing. I had lots of pain and nausea, inability to eat, very weak every day. Was that fun? John said it was. At least we were in the sun, and warm every day, usually about 80 degrees. I will anxiously await the PET/CT results this week. I have that test on Friday and see both doctors the next Tuesday. Maybe we wil know the cause of all the pain and nausea. I am not really hopeful right now, because this is the longest I have felt this bad without being on chemo. Maybe the new chemo is a miracle drug! Maybe it is what I have been praying for. I am trying to rejoice, and take hope in God and His mercy.
"The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Phil. 4:4-6

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, rejoice!"

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, rejoice!"

Thursday, January 26, 2012

"For who is God beside our Lord?"

"...And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect..."Psalm 18:31-32

I saw the oncologist today, and he told me that I was in the 4 out of 10 who qualified for the new (tissue-tested) chemo based on strengthening the immune system. He also said there are few side effects. It is supposed to kill any cancer it finds! This is experimental. I believe the 4 treatments involve 60 days and then a CT. It is a great hope which all cancer patients wait and pray for. I feel this is a gift from God for me to be able to do this. It gives how many more months? or a year? That much longer to be with greats and grands and children. Yesterday was Johny's birthday so we thought of him a lot all day. He would have been 56 and I am sure he is much happier where he is. Not much is sadder than an aging retarded "child" to me. Maybe because I see beyond the happiness they bring, to the sorrow they suffer in trying to make their way in a world not made for them.

Anyway, happiness and sadness to an extent--what life is made of. Thank you God, my Rock, who gives all the wonderful gifts of life...........

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"Rejoice in the Lord always......"

A rough three days, fevers of 100 and 101, hard chills, extreme nausea, just almost inability to eat, but I force myself to eat something! I sleep all night and most of these past 3 days, weak and shaky. When my oncologist called and said he wants to see me tomorrow, I was so glad...I really need to find out if this is normal. Well, Dr Gray did say it would take 8 weeks to get over the radiation---why did I think I could just whiz thru this in one week? I am an over achiever! I think I can no more than expected, only this time I am not able! I hope my oncologist is telling me I made it into the experimental study. If not, then he has something else to offer. Anyway, a repeat of a favorite, comforting Bible passage...

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, rejoice!Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:4-6

Monday, January 23, 2012

"Delight yourself in the Lord..."

"...and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noon day sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently before Him;" Psalm 37:4-7 Can you just picture this---God and sunshine as you wait on Him? A good friend sent me this passage today...

This was the longest I have gone without radiation since December 14Th, 4 days now without it. I think I can tell a millimeter difference in how I feel. I really think I might LIVE this time, but was not sure last week! My oncologist called today to ask how I made it through the radiation and how I am feeling! Did you know doctors do that!!!I was so impressed and it makes me love that man even more! The nurse will call me tomorrow and let me know if I am eligible for the new tissue-based chemo.

I miss all our babies so much and some of them we have not seen since November and some since October. They all have too many children to travel and we just have not been able. These pretty days make me long to get outside and dig, looking for spring flowers that might come up early, but nothing yet. The brave pansies are being beautiful and giving color in the garden of brown! I have to just be "still before the Lord" and remind myself that He is definitely in control!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

"I will fear no evil..."

Psalm 23 " 1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. "

I cannot say anything else. I am weak, sick, wonder if I will "pull out" of this...Thank you Lord for this comfort, for being my shepherd...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

"...we are the clay, you are the potter..."

We have a friend who makes lovely pottery. I have done that in school years ago. It is awesome to take a lump of clay from a creek bank, mold it in your hand until it is soft then make a "ball" and turn it on a potters wheel, until it is a wonderful object you see in your mind's eye. Do You think God saw each of us as a ball of clay, and he "turned" us on His wheel until He fashioned us into the being each of us is. Isaiah 64:8-9 says "Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. ....O Look upon us, we pray, for we are all your people."

I read the other day that God made each of us so individually that there are no two alike (maybe twins?) but even then there are differences. Only an omniscient God could do this for how many billion beings!

I finished the 25 radiation treatments today. The radiologist said the radiation keeps working for 8 weeks, killing cancer cells all through that period. Is this not a wonderful invention? By the reverse of the wonder, the nausea, extreme fatigue and lack of ability to eat can also continue for a long time! That is the good news and the bad news all together. I just sleep and sleep, being very lazy. This is not my nature to lie around, so I pray I am over this when spring gets here and I can dig in the yard and work in flower beds! I pray I can recover and live fairly normal.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"...hope in our Lord Jesus Christ."

A friend sent me this Bible verse this morning. After yesterday and in fact the entire weekend, horrific days and nights, I needed this encouragement! 1 Thessalonians 1:3..." We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ"... I think I can identify with the "endurance" and pray I can show God and His hope in my endurance. Yesterday was 3 degrees of fever, not the usual side effects. Tonight is a little less. I pray for better days ahead and recovery from this radiation. Also, I am praying the cancer has shrunk. I have "Hope in our Lord Jesus Christ."

Saturday, January 14, 2012

"Be imitators of God..."

I go from good days to horrible days...no rhyme or reason, except that is just the way radiation is. Yesterday I said, "this has been a better week" then the day went downhill from there. Severe stomach upset to be polite...all day...all night...on into today. Lomotil, Imodium, paregoric, I pulled out all the "big guns" and they minor helped. So I have slept most of today, and cannot wait to get back in bed! 4 more...I keep that in mind and think, "I can do 4 more"...So I am a big baby, whine, whine...No, I am really thankful for this technology and as I lie on the table every day, I thank God for the doctors, for His giving man this ability to help cure this disease. This is all just the way it is.

A few more memories...Lately, there have been some "Chef Boyarde" commercials on TV. While Daddy was gone in WWII, some foods were not in the grocery, including Chef Boyarde spaghetti, and I loved that. Grandma would buy it for me when it could be found. She always used my special plate, a pink depression "ribbon " pattern plate. I can remember how exciting it was when that spaghetti was once again in the grocery. Was I spoiled? Not really, just the only grandchild at that time, and much loved by my grandparents. I found a card I had saved from Grandma and she wrote..."I could not love you more if you were my child" How I treasure that memory, and my grandparents.

During the war, when lots of foods were not available, Grandpa would go over to the Adventist school and buy "Not Meat". It came in a can and Grandma would slice it, dip it in milk and meal and fry it. We had catsup on it. I remember it being good...don't know I could eat it now.

Ephesians 5:1-2..."Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and give a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice for God."

Thursday, January 12, 2012

"Praise the Lord from the heavens..."

"...praise Him from the heights above. Praise Him all His angels, praise Him all His heavenly hosts..." Psalm 148 continues and lists everything on and above the earth , commanding them to praise God. We sing a song that follows this Psalm, ending with "Let the whole earth praise Him".

This has been a better week, for some reason, still exhaustion, with 2-3 hour naps every afternoon, but eating slightly better. I am being very careful to not eat, fried, lettuce and salads , green stuff, meats for the most part, leaving not a lot, but manageable. Only five more!!!

I have a few tid-bits about the Gray family then off that. One cousin, was always fearful of storms after seeing the tornado come thru Edenwold, and built a storm shelter in his home. They say it had a snake problem...let me see...what do I do???I think I would take my chances with the storm!One time all the kids played hookey from school and played along the railroad tracks. They had an aunt riding the train home from Nashville, who saw them, later asking them "how was school?" When they told her all this story about school, she let them know she knew where they had been.

John and his cousins used to play touch football ON the Gallatin Road. Back 75 years ago it was a 2 lane road, in fact, when we first married, it still was. We used to take our children sledding down Gallatin Road back then, it had a great smooth, hill just right! Well, traffic sure does change!

One time John's mother was going to show all the boy cousins how to have manners and how to properly set down a goblet on the table...(they were being boys and not mannerly) and when she did it, the stem fell off!!! Apparently, the boys had cracked it already. They still laugh about that!

One sad thing that happened...John's aunt, had a new born and whoever was helping her, let the baby fall out of her lap onto the fireplace, and the baby died! Don't you wish you knew just what did happen!

Well, it is snowing tonight, most we have seen in a year or so. I cannot remember what we had last year. It is coming down so pretty. Psalm 51: 7 says "wash me and I will be whiter than snow..."

Monday, January 9, 2012

"Search me, O God, and know my heart;"

It is hard to know when I have been more miserable. Everything "hurts" kind of. The nausea, the total lack of desire for food, hiccups that come and go, almost or actually vomiting, every so often, during the day. The pain under my rib that tells me my gall stone is acting up. On and on, just misery ...I took my night med last night then lost it all...do you re-take it? I did not...7 more after tomorrow...

OK, back to the Gray family...At one point Grandfather Gray had a small grocery store, down on Edenwold Road, and when it was torn down, John's mother saved some of the wood from it. When John's Dad retired from the RR, they gave him a (really priceless lithograph) picture of Union Station, C 1900 and John made a frame from the grocery store wood...quite fitting, we thought. One more thing about the old house--there was a dome on top, that the boys thought looked like a "castle" when they were young. The family owned land from where the rail road goes behind Rivergate toward Amqui now all the way to the Cumberland River. Years ago the railroad crossed Gallatin Road up toward the county line, and angled over into Edenwold, and was called Edgefield Junction, then cut back into Nashville from there.I have told earlier about my great Aunt Lizzie Patton who also had a store in Edenwold. All the kids used to sit on her store porch, eating cracker and drinking Big Orange, watching the train go by. She was tiny, barely 5 foot tall, and wore a gun on her hip. She was the wife of Grandma's oldest brother Amos, and because there was a sister named Lizzie, we called her "Aunt Lizzie Amos" .

Later, Grandfather Gray owned a painting company, (he was a master painter) He did BIG jobs, like Cheekwood, bridges, big buildings up town, etc. My grandfather owned a paint company and they did business...Isn't that coincidental? Would they ever have dreamed their grandchildren would marry?

Well I pray every day for strength, for our family, for our children and grandchildren. Psalms 139 is such a comfort and favorite of mine. God is so taking care of us! Chapter 139:23-24 especially..."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. "

Friday, January 6, 2012

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life..."

"...No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6

I finished another week today, only 9 days to go. The dr. said the really bad side effects are probably as bad as they will get.(being cumulative) I think I can make it now. I am taking another zofran in the afternoon for nausea. I am to have a CT the middle of February (the radiation keeps working for a month after you finish) to assess what it has done.

Back to the Gray family saga...It is probably confusing, but the names "Gray" and Grayson" are not connected at all, these two families just happened to marry.
Grandfather Gray (John's grandfather) was an austere gentleman. He had many good things in his life and he lived with many sorrows. He came from his family place in Gallatin to what used to be Edenwold, near Rivergate today. He had a very nice home, along with several family members and a tornado came through (maybe the one that devastated East Nashville in the early 1900's?) and took away his home. He rebuilt on land on Gallatin Road, and had acres up and down the highway, with family building all through there. He smoked a long curved "Dutch" pipe. He raised turkeys and black Angus cattle. He still in those early days, drove a horse and surrey to take his children to school (in Goodlettsville)

Grandfather Gray's first wife died after four children, (Gertie,John's Mother, Mae, Frank and Wylie). He remarried and had Louise, Barney, Johny and a baby girl who died. Frank was poisoned with gas in WWI and Wylie, was in kind of questionable occupations. Both these brothers died in Texas early in life. As these families married and had children, they always got together on Sunday's for dinner.

Grandfather Gray's home on Gallatin Road was built like the Hermitage, but there are no pictures of it. It had a wonderful black iron fence with lots of filigree around the house. The third wife, somehow mismanaged a lot and the house burned and everything in it. I can remember the porch still there and another house built behind it. He had a rock wall all up and down Gallatin Road in front of every home and Iris planted all along that bank. At one time we lived in the family land, and had that fence and iris all in front of our home.

Well, more about this branch of the family later. I need to find out something about my Mother's side. I have lots of pictures of Daddy's side, back 4 generations from me, including my Cherokee Great-great Grandmother.

The second Zofran today helped and I could eat dinner tonight. I am just so tired, tired, tired! Only my faith and knowing I have Jesus keeps me going!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

"The Lord is my helper..."

I had a major melt-down tonight! This has not happened in quite a while. John feels so helpless when I do this. He just holds me and gets a washcloth, tried to ask "what do you need?" and usually I just need to cry and get the emotions out of my system. I kept saying "I am just so tired" and being sick at your stomach is no fun anytime, and especially when there is nothing in your stomach. I am trying to eat, but having little success on the 3 meals/2 snacks a day. At least I am over the "hump" and tomorrow is "day 16", only 9 more after tomorrow. Obviously I missed my art class which started back tonight after the holiday break, so that was a major disappointment.

Tomorrow I hope to resume the Gray family saga...not up to that tonight.

Hebrews 13:6.."The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

"Surely the...Lord..."

I know, I don't usually write every day, but I found out lots today from my oncologist. Half of my tiredness, exhaustion, lack of appetite, inability to eat more than half portions on my plate, is from the liver cancer. So I have twice the usual problems with the radiation and that explains it! I passed the half way mark today, so I think I can do 12 more! The doctor gave me hope for a new (as of December 2011) experimental chemo. They will do tissue testing on tumors saved from the first surgery in 2004 and if I have certain antibodies, I can be in this test. This chemo is supposed to kill any cancer it find, anywhere! What about God's timing! Just what I need, just when I need it! I will finish the radiation, and rest about a month then see him the middle of February, hopefully to start this experiment. I think this is exciting. Maybe I was born for this. Who knows what lives may be saved if this chemo turns out to be really good!!!

Isaiah 59:1 says, "Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear..."

Monday, January 2, 2012

"O Lord, be merciful..."

"Hear my voice when I call, O Lord; be merciful and answer me. My heart says to you, "Seek His face!" Your face, Lord, I will seek. Teach me your way, O Lord; Lead me in a straight path...." Psalms 27: 7-8, 11.

Did I say, "I am tired!"???So tired I can hardly function, also nauseated? I think this is the "same song, tenth verse!" Tomorrow is radiation # 13. I really can barely eat anything, food "turns my stomach". I wonder what the Dr will say tomorrow! Enough about me! We are trying to function somewhat normally hence the lunch today where I tried to find something I could get down!

John and I had lunch today with one of his first cousins. We found out lots of family information from John's maternal grandfather's family. When we first married, I would ask John's Mother things about her family because I have always loved to search family history. She was always very vague and now I know why! Her grandfather named Francoise Strother McCabe, came from Ireland to West Virginia with his wife and eventually 10 children, in the early 1800's. Somewhere in this transition he killed a man and his wife suggested he leave, which he did, changing his name to his Mother's maiden name, "Gray".

He ended up in Ohio and later joined the Union Army. (I do not know of anyone else in our families who was in the Union Army!) During the Civil War, great-grandfather Gray, ran a prison boat on the Ohio River, and was in the Ohio 35th Infantry. After the Civil War, he remarried and his first son was John Houston Gray, John's grandfather. This is also John's name and one of his uncles. No one knows where the name "Houston" came from...Sam Houston perhaps? He moved to Gallatin, TN and lived there and later in what is now the Rivergate area.

Lots more on this branch of the family next.
Meantime, I range feelings from optimism to discouragement. Above all, I KNOW God will be merciful, and will take care of me and us. Praying this will be a wonderful, blessed and exciting year for all!