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 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 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!