Monday, November 30, 2009

Early Christmas Present!!



Well...you never know what a day will bring! After all my dread leading up to today, I woke up with perfect peace. I know that is a result of your prayers. We went to the oncologist today expecting to begin treatment number five. Unfortunately my platelet count was too low and I was unable to receive the treatment. I don't like having to postpone treatments, but I feel like I got a reprieve this week - one more week to feel good!


And then the oncologist gave me the best early Christmas present ever!! He told us that we will be doing eight treatments and not twelve! Current research is showing that in cases like mine eight treatments are effective. That means I am now halfway done with chemotherapy!! I am so happy I can hardly stand it!! If I stay on schedule then I should finish by late January or early February! 


They are also planning to give me lots of IV fluids with the next treatment, and to set up home health for me so that I can give myself IV fluids in between treatments. This will keep me from becoming dehydrated like last time which will make Mark and I both feel better! As rough as the last treatment was for me, it was even harder for Mark to watch!


God is for me!



Update on Bruce:


Many of you have been praying for my friend, Bruce, as he has been fighting colon cancer. Tomorrow he will receive his last chemotherapy treatment. He is CANCER FREE!! What a great and mighty God we serve! Thank you so much for praying for Bruce and his family! Please continue to pray for strength and endurance this week as he receives this 12th treatment. It won't be fun, but then he will be done!! 


God is for Bruce!




Sunday, November 29, 2009

He is for me

I go back to the oncologist tomorrow to begin treatment #5. It would be an understatement to say that I am not looking forward to this week. In fact, I have been dreading it since the end of my last treatment. It is a constant battle in my mind to choose peace, to choose to trust, and to choose to submit my desires and my life to God's hands. It seems like it should be so easy. Knowing who God is and knowing how much He loves me, and yet I struggle. 


The crazy thing is that even through my struggle I have found Him here, faithfully calling out to me and giving His strength and encouragement to me. For the past 72 hours the song "You Are For Me" by Kari Jobe has been playing literally non-stop in my head. Every time I wake up in the night the lyrics are still going through my head. At first I thought this is just a song that I like so I am singing it. And then I realized that it wasn't me. God was singing it to me. He has been reminding me that I can trust him with this treatment and with this week. He is for me. He will be here. Whatever happens, however I feel, He will be here and carry me through. 


You are For Me - Kari Jobe

So faithful, So constant, So loving and so true
So powerful in all you do
You fill me, You see me, You know my every Move
You love for me to sing to You


I know that you are for me, I know that you are for me
I know that you will never forsake me in my weakness
I know that you have come down, Even if to write upon my heart
To remind me who you are


So patient, So gracious, So merciful and true
So wonderful in all you do
You fill me, You see me, You know my every move
You love for me to sing to You


I know that you are for me, I know that you are for me
I know that you will never forsake me in my weakness
I know that you have come down, even if to write upon my heart
To remind me who you are

He is for me. That's all I need.


Family update: Our son, David, is sick with swine flu! He and his wife have been here for Thanksgiving. Thankfully, Mark and I have had swine flu vaccines, but no one else in the family has. Please pray that the girls will not get sick. They have three weeks left in this semester that will be full of research paper deadlines and exams. They don't have time to be sick! My immune system is weak due to chemo, so pray that the vaccine actually provides immunity for me! And, of course, please pray that David will feel better soon! Thank you!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Glory of God

I love flowers. I love to have fresh flowers in my house, and I love to have flowers blooming in the yard. I love every type of flower and every color. I just love flowers. I have received so many flowers in the last six months from people who had no idea of how much I love them. But God knows, and to me they were an expression not only of that person's love for me but also of His love. An incredible picture of the beauty and joy of our Creator. A sweet reminder that He is here and a sweet reminder of so many who are praying for me.


So, I thought I'd let you see the flowers I have received! I hope you love them too!





"The heavens proclaim the glory of God. 
The skies display his craftsmanship.
 Day after day they continue to speak; 

night after night they make him known.
 They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard.
 Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
      and their words to all the world."

Psalm 19:1-4

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I was trying to think of something profound to say about Thanksgiving or gratefulness. But I don't have anything. All I know is that I am grateful to be alive. I am grateful for the sounds of laughter in my house. I am grateful for the scent of pies cooking in the kitchen. I am grateful for books scattered on the kitchen table. I am grateful for my husband and my children. I am grateful for my family. I am grateful for the love that has been showered on us this year. I am grateful for amazing, compassionate doctors and nurses. I am grateful for my faithful friends. I am grateful for my church. I am grateful for the chance to see the Body of Christ in action. I am grateful for all the things I am learning. 


More than anything, I am grateful to be a daughter of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I am grateful that He knows me and He loves me completely. I am grateful that He never leaves me. I am grateful that when I am weak, He is strong. There is no other God above Him and I will serve Him and praise Him forever.


"Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other." Deuteronomy 4:39



"Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength belong to our God forever and ever! Amen.” Revelation 7:12


The cooks



The feast!


Family


A game of kitchen basketball


Sweet friends!


More family





Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Letters


Dear Friends,

As most of you know, I was honored a couple of weeks ago by an
organization called Inspire Women. It was a nice luncheon and they
gave me a beautiful award to take home.

Yesterday, as I was at the doctor's office getting IV fluids, I
received a phone call from Inspire Women. They said they had a gift
for me and they wanted to bring it to the house. When I got home, I
found a beautiful red leather box waiting for me. When I opened it
up, it was full of letters from family, friends, and COF staff. I spent the next hour
reading your kind words and crying. They were good tears! I can't
tell you how much I love and appreciate each one of you! Your
encouragement came at the perfect time, after a very difficult week
for me. It always surprises me how God knows what we need right
when we need it! Thank you for taking the time to write to me. I'm
pretty sure I could never measure up to all the things you said,
but I will continue to strive to be all that God wants me to be as
He walks with me through life.

I am so thankful that God brought each of you to my life and that I
have the opportunity to serve Him with you. You each are amazing
and gifted. I love seeing God use you. I am blessed beyond measure!

Thank you!
Laura

p.s. Lalo - please give my thanks and love to my sweet la carpio
family! Talk about tears... what an incredible blessing to read
their words and to have them reminding me of God's goodness and
quoting Scripture to me!!  God has been so good to allow me to see
the transformation in their lives! Love you!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Rehydrated and it feels so good!

I can honestly say that the last week was the worst I've ever felt in my life. Granted, that's not really saying much because I've rarely been sick in my life! I had pneumonia when I was ten, and I get migraine headaches, but other than that, I just haven't been sick. So, this has been a whole new thing for me.


Thursday, Friday, and Saturday I was so weak that I rarely moved from my spot on the couch, and I continued to sleep away the hours. Apparently most of this weakness has been due to my inability to take in enough fluid to remain hydrated. Today I spent four hours at the doctor's office where they drew blood for lab tests and infused two liters of IV fluids. That's a lot of fluid! Think of a two liter bottle of Coke - pumped into my thirsty system. My body was so low on fluids that I didn't even need to go to the bathroom after having that amount of liquid added to my circulation! I felt much better afterward, and everyone agreed I definitely looked better! I'm not sure that's saying much either at this point! : )


We are looking forward to Thanksgiving with all our kids, family, and a few special friends! Sarah is already home. Ashley, David and Sydneyann will be home Tuesday along with their friends Samantha and Geoff. I know that having everyone home has the potential to tire me out, but I think the strength of being surrounded by family will overshadow anything else! I am looking forward to lots of laughs and hugs and making new memories!



Sunday, November 22, 2009

Side Benefits

Little-known side benefits of chemotherapy:
  • You can stay in your pajamas all day (or all week!) and no one thinks less of you
  • You don't have to brush your hair - no one cares
  • You can fall asleep at any time making napping very easy
  • You have no short-term memory - this can be bad, but it can also be a good thing!
  • The hair on your legs and under your arms stops growing - no need to shave!
  • You always have a good excuse for anything...
  • Lifetime Membership in the "I survived cancer and cancer treatment" Club
  • You develop a deep empathy for all those fighting cancer
  • You meet the most amazing, strong, courageous people along the way
"I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from?
 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth"
Psalm 121:1-2

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Still Standing

CHEMO ROUND 4 - AND THE WINNER IS...    LAURA SHOOK!!!!


      Chemo - 0        Laura - 4


It is Saturday morning. I have been through a huge physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual battle this week. But I woke up this morning with the knowledge that I am still standing. I am weak and exhausted, but I survived round 4!


So many of you have been the hands, feet, and voice of Jesus to me this week. You know who you are. I honestly believe that I would not have survived without you. You came alongside me just when I needed you. You gave me rides, watched over me as I slept, held my hand, gave me hugs, brought me flowers, spoke encouraging words, enticed me to drink fluids, and brought me food at the exact moment that I needed it. I am convinced that if not for you I would not have eaten all week. I just didn't have the strength or motivation to do it. I believe that you gave life to me this week. God used you and I have been blessed because of it.


And so many of you have spoken and prayed Scripture over me. You continue to stand in the gap for me. When I think of you I am overwhelmed by your love. There are no words to express what is in my heart and what you do for me on a daily basis. Thank you.


Donald brought me the new House Blend 2 worship CD yesterday. I have listened to it over and over, letting God's truth wash over me. This morning, as I find myself still standing after round four, I am reminded of the lyrics of one of the songs on the CD, The Stand by Hillsong:


So I'll stand with arms high and heart abandoned in awe of the One who gave it all.
So I'll stand, my soul Lord to You abandoned, all I am is Yours.


I can't raise my arms very high for very long at this point, but my heart and soul are abandoned to You, Lord. Thank you for seeing me through this week. Thank you for your mercy and your grace. Thank you that when I am weak, You are strong.


I am still standing.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thursday morning

The last 72 hours I've spent either sleeping in a chemo infusion chair, sleeping on the couch, or sleeping in my bed. I wake up Thursday morning wishing I could sleep the next 72 hours and wake up next week instead. Before getting out of bed I run a few tests. Am I able to open my eyes? I couldn't open them Monday afternoon due to issues with muscle control. The eyes are working. Next I check the hands and feet for numbness and tingling. Do they move when I command them to? Can I bend my legs? Everything seems to be working this morning. I check the ileostomy for diarrhea. Yes, it's back, as expected.


I get out of bed. I am wearing sweat pants, sweat shirt, gloves, and socks. Protection from the nighttime cold to prevent my nerves from sending needles into my hands, feet, and legs. 


I swallow pills with water  heated in the microwave. My stomach seems to be calm so I drink a little more hot water (you can just imagine how refreshing this is) knowing that I am dehydrated and need to get as much fluid in my body as possible. There is nothing worse than drinking heated Gatorade or Pedialyte...


Stomach remains calm, so I decide to try breakfast. I get it down and return to my spot on the couch. The  pets jump up to join me. They like all the warm clothes and blankets! All four of us drift off on the couch with the TV quietly playing in the background.


When I wake up again, the dreaded nausea has returned. It seems to be a kind of motion sickness. If I don't move I feel relatively OK, but the moment I stand up I am nauseous. I gag often, but nothing comes up. Thankfully, the pharmacist has made a phenergan compound that can be rubbed on my wrists, bypassing the stomach and knocking out the nausea. It knocks me out too, and I sleep more.


With each treatment the side effects seem to hang around longer. This doesn't really give me encouragement for the next eight treatments. I don't like this. I wonder if I can really do eight more. I am clinging to my verse of the week: "But as for me, I trust in you." Psalm 55:23


I start to cry again, but it is painful after the Neulasta injection. I have so many tears inside that can't find a way out. 


Cancer is an awful disease. Every week I see so many people suffering as they fight for their lives. Many are elderly, some are young, some have been fighting for years and years. For some it has become a chronic disease, they continue to receive chemo treatments for months and years, just to keep the tumors at bay. I honestly cannot imagine how they do it.


I pray daily that no one else in my family or extended family ever has to fight this battle. 



“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”  Exodus 14:14

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Polish Your Weapons

Sunday night as I was sitting around dreading Monday I was reminded that I am in a war and I have an enemy. 


"The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy..." John 10:10



So, I thought I better polish my weapons for the fight. I spent the next hour putting together all the Scripture verses that God has led me to over these past six months. I am taking them with me to chemotherapy this week so that I can meditate on them while I'm there. I've even decided to try to memorize one verse each week. If you want to do that with me, here is the verse for this week:


"But as for me, I trust in You" Psalm 55:23 


It's pretty simple, but I think if we carry this verse in our minds this week it could make significant changes in the way the week goes.


"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world." 2 Corinthians 10:3-4


The song Live What I Believe played in my head all night Sunday and was playing in my head all morning before I left to go get chemo. I like how God does that for me.


Monday was a rough day. Thankfully, the new anti-nausea medication seems to be working. However, it is known that the effects of chemo are cumulative, normally getting more severe with each treatment. For me, that meant that by the time I left the doctor's office my muscles were already drawing up. My hands do weird contortions that are out of my control. My calf muscles are tight. When we finally got home, I wasn't sure I would be able to get out of the car. I made it out but had a lot of difficulty walking. I couldn't bend my legs or lift my feet off the ground. My feet were turning in. So, I shuffled along, like the Bride of Frankenstein, and made it to the couch where I immediately fell fast asleep. Later I washed my hands and discovered the effects of a new side effect. The temperature of the tap water let me know that the nerves in my hands are now feeling the effects of the chemo. It felt like needles sticks all over for my hands. Touching anything cold causes this reaction - a door knob, a handle, a glass, the computer keyboard. I am now typing with very nice purple gloves on my hands! The next few months are going to be lots of fun!


The good news is I am one day closer to done! And the weapons of my warfare have divine power!


Thank you for praying, and please don't stop!



Sunday, November 15, 2009

Life-transforming Friendship


We had a great weekend at Community of Faith. We are busy making plans for our 2010 trip to Burundi, Africa. Two years ago we began a partnership with the Batwa people of Burundi. This partnership has turned into a life-transforming friendship for the Batwa as well as for the people of COF. We have learned so much from them about community, about gratitude, about sharing, about perseverance, about worship, and about hope. Sometimes God's blessings and teachings come in the most unexpected ways and in the most unexpected places! We know God is going to do great things again in 2010 as we continue to grow deeper in friendship with our Batwa family.



My road may not lead me to Burundi in 2010. In spite of that, God has definitely been teaching me about friendship, love, perseverance, and hope right here at home. Just today a sweet friend, Amy, brought me homemade ginger bread cookies to help calm my stomach during chemotherapy this week. It is amazing what the thoughtfulness and kindness of a friend can do to strengthen your spirit! These guys will definitely be going with me tomorrow as I head back to the doctor's office in the morning.





I begin my fourth round of chemotherapy Monday morning, and honestly, I am dreading it. I don't look forward to feeling sick and exhausted all week. I don't look forward to drawing blood and needle sticks. For several days I have been fighting a mental battle in preparation for this week. When I even think about walking into the infusion room I immediately feel nauseous. I am telling you this because I need you to pray for me. Please pray for physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual strength this week. Pray that I will recognize God's presence with me and that I will trust in His goodness. Pray that He will shine through me every day. And please pray that I will learn this lesson of perseverance and faith. 


The doctor is planning to give me a new anti-nausea medication this round. I have heard from other cancer survivors that this medication should knock out the nausea, so I am praying that it works as well for me as it has for others. 


Thank you, to all of you, for teaching me what it means to truly be a friend, and what it means to be the body of Christ. 


"There is no room in love for fear..." 1 John 4:18

Lord, please help me not to fear.




Thursday, November 12, 2009

Kitty Kisses

I have had cats all my life. Tinker Tom, Ginger, SiSi, Patches, Blackie, Snicker, Twinkie, Charlemagne, Lolly, Anastasia, Panther, Grace, Shadow, and Demitri, to name a few. Yes, it's true, I haven't been the best at coming up with names, but a few of them are pretty regal! They have been some of my most faithful friends; seeing me through countless moves, illness, adolescent heartbreak, grief, culture shock, and life struggles. Each one has listened without speaking and loved without judging. They seem to know when things aren't going well, showing up at just the right time to curl up, purr, and wipe away my tears with their noses rubbed on my face. Today was another one of those days where kitty kisses seemed to make things better.

I went to the doctor yesterday and the news was good. I had a normal white blood cell count! My platelets are low, but they should be back up by Monday in time for me to receive my fourth chemo treatment. That's all good, but can I tell you how sick I am of going to doctors' offices? I have 1-3 visits to doctor offices every week. And I don't want to go anymore.


I so wish I could go back to my old life, but I know that that will never happen. Everything has changed. Things will eventually settle down and they will probably be better, but they will never be the same. I am different. Mark is different. Our relationship is different. Our thinking is different. All for the better I'm sure, but it's painful to change. There is grief in the process, even when the changes are good ones. I just want to be on the other side of this.


As I was thinking all these thoughts today I came across a verse of Scripture that I've probably read a thousand times, but for some reason today it really spoke to me.


"In my presence you live and move and have your being." Acts 17:28


I am never outside of His presence. Ever. I live in His presence. I move in His presence. My very being comes to life in His presence. How cool is that?! Every time I go to the doctor I am surrounded by His presence. Every time I run to the bathroom I am surrounded by His presence. Every time I swallow a pill I am surrounded by His presence. Every time they infuse crazy chemicals into my body I am surrounded by His presence. Every tear I cry, He feels. Every hope or wish or dream I have, He knows. Every loss, every painful readjustment of my life, every thing I've missed out on in the last six months, He has been there. Filtering everything that comes into my life through His fingers of love. I am never outside of His presence. I will make it through this, because in His presence I live and move and have my being.


And then Demitri wanders over, hops up in my lap, immediately begins purring, and wipes the tears from my cheeks with his sweet kitty kisses. Gotta love him!


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

House Blend Volume 2

We have the most amazing worship team at Community of Faith! They are extremely gifted musically and artistically; but even more amazing is their desire to serve God wholeheartedly and to lead others to know Him and worship Him. They are just real people with real issues who let God work through them and He does incredible things!







For the past few months they have been working on producing the third Community of Faith worship CD. The music was recorded live one weekend at COF and we have all been anxiously awaiting the final product. Well, in just a few short days the CD, House Blend Volume 2, will be here! I can't wait!


One of the reasons this CD is so special to me is that one of the songs was written by our worship leader, Donald Butler, and one of the worship team members, Amos Rivera. They were inspired to write the song from some of the scriptures and writings shared on this blog. The first time Donald shared the song with me it was a rough recording of him singing with his guitar. As I listened to his voice and the lyrics I just cried. It was beautiful and It expressed so well the emotions I've felt and the desire of my heart.


I want to give you a sneak peak of the new CD and share the song with you! Just click the link below. I hope you will make this song the cry of your heart.


LIVE WHAT I BELIEVE 


Donald and Amos, I love you both. Thank you for the inspiration you are to me!



Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Amazing Day!

I had the most amazing day today! 


I am learning to appreciate the small things every day, like waking up and not feeling sick! That is an incredible feeling that I most often take for granted. I hope I will remember to be thankful for each day of good health long after this battle is over.


I spent the morning with Kristina and her six week old daughter, Jaiden. What a fun time of snuggling and playing with a very special little baby! Thank you, God, for new life, and for letting me be a part of this one!


Later I walked down to get the mail and there was a package from my dad's cousin, Mary. I was so excited when I saw it, it felt like Christmas! The package said "Do not bend", and I knew! Mary is an artist. She paints beautiful pictures of flowers, landscapes, and outdoor scenes. I had visited her website before (Happy Trails Studio ) and had thought how neat it would be to have a painting from someone in our family. I knew this package contained something special! When I opened the package I found a beautiful print of her painting "Afternoon Glories" and a copy of the Serenity Prayer, and a very sweet note from Mary. My grandmother kept a small plaque of the Serenity Prayer in her bathroom. It was there my whole life. It was how she chose to live her life every day. Mary knew this, and she sent me this prayer as an encouragement in my battle with cancer. The tears came again. Tears for my grandmother, tears for the sweet love of a cousin, and tears of gratitude for God who is carrying me through.


And as if that weren't enough, God  kept pouring on the blessings today! Our daughter, Sarah, called to let us know that she got the job with Teach for America that she had applied for and many of you had prayed for! She is so excited! She will be teaching bilingual education in Tulsa, Oklahoma, beginning next fall. She will spend a month in Phoenix next summer for her training. This was her first choice of location and position! We are so happy for her and very proud of our girl! She will be an amazing teacher! And I am so happy to see how God is using the experiences of her life to put her in a position where she will be able to encourage and bless many children. Thank you, God, for the good plans you have for Sarah!



"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, 
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference."

Monday, November 9, 2009

View from the Exam Table

I had a check-up with the surgeon today. A fun time was had by all! Can you hear the sarcasm? Thankfully, everything is healing as expected. 


Mark and I walked out of the office building and suddenly I was  sobbing. I felt like my body could just dissolve in a heap! I realized that I had kept myself steeled for the past week through chemotherapy, side effects, Friday's luncheon, helping Mark prepare for the weekend, and my appointment today. Finally, the tension let go and I was a mess! We stopped to pick up lunch at Which Wich (If you haven't been there, you need to go! Delicious!) After we got home Mark collapsed on the couch and slept soundly for a couple of hours. I think he was feeling the same things I was. 


Here are a few pictures of the View from the Exam Table:



The reclining patient.


The artwork.


The faithful husband... waiting... again.


The doctor's headgear for peering into unseen worlds.


The doctor's gloves. 
Why he needs "diamond grip" gloves, I don't want to know. 
Don't even ask about the rubber tubes. Trust me.


Medical instruments of torture.


Reward for surviving the surgical check-up!


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Precious Thoughts

A sweet friend of mine sent me a note the other day and she ended it with these words:


"God hears your name constantly before Him." 


That simple sentence brought such strength and encouragement to me. I am awestruck that the God of the universe would think about me at all, and yet I know that He does. I am reminded of this truth all the time. 


"How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!" Psalm 139:17



Did you hear that? "They cannot be numbered!" He thinks about me so much that it's impossible to count His thoughts. Nothing escapes His notice - not my fatigue or frustration, not my freaky side-effects,  not the days ahead that He has already planned. Nothing. He is thinking about me day and night. He knows what my white blood cell count is doing, He knows how many days I will feel sick to my stomach, He knows about each muscle twitch before it happens! 


And He is thinking of the good days ahead too - the day I finish my last chemo treatment, the day I change my last ileostomy bag, the day I get to eat ice cream again, the day I celebrate His goodness and faithfulness with my friends in Costa Rica, and the day I finally visit the village of Matara in Burundi, Africa. God is thinking of these things because He is thinking of me. My God is good.


I hope you will start your week meditating on the fact that His thoughts about you cannot be numbered!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fun Times!

We had a great time at the Inspire Women Awards Luncheon on Friday. I was honored to be recognized alongside  Beverly Terrell, Lesha Elsenbrook, Debra Lee, and Steven Alvis. These four are all leaders in our community and it was a little surreal to be named among them and standing alongside them. I was especially thankful to have my parents and my brother, Cary, with me, as well as some of my sweet friends! They gave me the strength I needed to be there while still recovering from chemo! 


My special prayer for the day was that I would not vomit when I went up to receive the award! Thankfully, my queasy stomach remained calm. The only issue I had besides fatigue, was the drawing up of the muscles in my hands and legs. I had trouble actually cutting my food and feeding myself which was kind of comical. Then, as I stood at the side of the platform waiting to be called up to receive the award, I was just hoping that my legs would actually cooperate and I would be able to climb the steps and hold the award with my hands and not grab it with my arms! Everything turned out fine and we all had a nice time. Here are a few pictures for you:






One of the sweetest parts of the whole day was that my mother had the privilege of saying the opening prayer. When she did she shared the following verse from Psalm 116:2:


"Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!"



Isn't that a beautiful picture of God's love for us, He bends down to listen; and what an amazing promise we can hold on to! And what a great gift to know that my mom is praying for me! 


Thank you, Inspire Women, for all you do to inspire women to change the world!






Thursday, November 5, 2009

I Hate Cancer

I hate cancer and I hate chemotherapy. That pretty much sums up my week! Today was day four of feeling sick and having an assortment of weird disconcerting side effects. Not only do the chemicals effect every cell of my body, they seem to creep into my mind and emotions as well! I can see that the next five months are going to be a tough mental and emotional battle for me as well as being a physical one.


Mark and I had a good friend, Rich, when we lived in Fort Worth. Whenever Rich was sick he would say he felt like "death eating a cracker." I used to laugh at that statement, but now I completely understand what "death eating a cracker" feels like! Another friend told me that she called chemotherapy "Chemo-sobby" because she cried all the time. I am definitely living in chemo-sobby land! The sad thing is that I feel so sick I want to cry, but it hurts too much to cry! Even the bones in my face hurt from the neulasta injection. 


One of the most relaxing things for me is to sit outside in the sun. I haven't been able to do this since I began this whole journey due to the drugs I am taking. My skin is more sensitive to the sun and can burn and be damaged easily. The last few days we have had perfect weather in Houston. This is not the norm and I was so sad to be sitting inside, again, and missing out on such beautiful days. So, today, I decided to go outside and enjoy the weather, thinking it might help me to feel better.



Yes, that's me! Enjoying the great outdoors! Relaxing in one of our lounge chairs, completely protected from the sun! There's no telling what my neighbor's thought, but it sure felt good to hear the trickle of the water from the fountains, to hear the birds singing, to feel the warmth of the sun, and to feel the gentle breeze! The breeze even blew up under the towel over my head and I knew it was God reminding me of His presence with me. 


The simple things in life are sweet. I am looking forward to a better tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Inspired

I am being honored at a luncheon Friday by a group called Inspire Women . Their goal is to equip and provide training for women to use the gifts that God has given them for His purposes. They raise scholarship money as well as provide leadership training for women in ministry. They have inspired women across our city to plug in and use their talents here and around the world.  I'm not sure exactly why they have chosen me to be one of their honorees this year, but I am humbled and honored by their recognition.



In thinking about the goal of Inspire Women, to "invest in women who change the world", it made me look back at my life at those who have inspired me. Here are a few of those who have invested in my life:

  • My Grandmother - If you follow my blog, you've already read about my Grandmother and her legacy in my life.
  • My Parents - My parents have always encouraged me to pursue my dreams. They believe in me.
  • Mrs. Leon - Mrs. Leon was my high school Spanish teacher. She was an amazing teacher and she instilled in me a love of the Spanish language and latin culture.
  • Art and Mary - These two were the student pastors at my church when I was in high school. They didn't have great training, skills, or experience, but they made up for it with their compassion and their unconditional acceptance of everyone they came into contact with. Their example made an impact on me.
  • Mark - For 26 years Mark has been pointing me to Jesus and encouraging me to live a life of complete devotion to Him. He is honest with me, he always encourages me, and he believes in me.
  • My kids - My kids have always inspired me to dig deeper, to learn more, to try harder, and to be better. They don't even know they do it! 
Webster's defines the word "inspire" in the following way: to influence, move, or guide by divine or supernatural inspiration. 

Who are those people in your life who inspire you and make you better? Take time to let them know!

Chemo update:  
I finished round three of chemo today. I have the usual expected side effects - nausea, diarrhea, hand and leg cramping, cold-sensitive mouth and throat, tingling lips, twitching eyes, hiccups, fatigue, and aching bones. The good news is that I know it is only a matter of a few days and then I will be feeling much better! And the even better news is that I am now officially 1/4 of the way finished with my chemotherapy treatments! Thank you for your faithful prayers on my behalf!