Sunday, January 31, 2010

Live to Tell

Recently I had the opportunity to talk to two people who have been diagnosed and are being treated for the exact same type of cancer that I have. They are a few months behind me in treatment and are following me along the same path. It was so nice to be able to share information, encouragement, experiences, feelings, and hope with others who are facing all the same challenges and struggles. 

In those moments it became very clear to me how God uses our life experiences to benefit one another. He allows us to suffer, to struggle, to stretch, to grow, to learn, to change, and to overcome  in order that we can tell our story with those He brings into our lives. The idea is to "Live to Tell." God has allowed me to walk this way so that I can "Live to Tell."

Tell of my shock. Tell of my fear. Tell of my grief. Tell of my pain. Tell of my struggle. Tell of my feelings. Tell of my joy. Tell of my progress. Tell of my hope. Tell of the lessons I've learned...

Tell of His goodness. Tell of His faithfulness. Tell of His truth. Tell of His strength. Tell of His kindness. Tell of His love. 

We all have a story to tell. What's yours? Who will you share your story with today? How will you live to tell your story this week? 

"Go home to your own family and relatives and friends and bring back word to them of how much the Lord has done for you, and how He has had sympathy for you and mercy on you." Mark 5:19

Greg and Susan, I pray for you daily. 
Live to tell.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Hello World!

I have been sleeping 20 of 24 hours for the past four days. I didn't know that was humanly possible, but it is! It's Friday morning and I feel like I am Sleeping Beauty awaking from a deep sleep. Sadly, there was no handsome prince involved, and at this point I probably more closely resemble a hibernating bear or frog! That could explain the missing prince! LOL! Honestly, the "prince" has been sleeping a lot as well. The endurance marathon called cancer seems to sap everyone's energy! 

This round of chemo  has seemed a little easier. Thankfully I have not been quite as sick to my stomach this time. I am still extremely weak, and I still hurt all over from the Neulasta injection, but things are beginning to turn around. 

The best part is knowing that I only have one more round to go! I try to get excited about that, and I am, but I have experienced so many surprises in the past eight months that I don't want to get too excited yet. I don't really know what the doctor will say yet when we are finished. I don't know what the follow-up treatment will involve. I don't know how quickly my strength and energy will return to normal levels. And I do know that I still have another surgery to go. So, for now, I am cautiously optimistic that we are nearing the end of this part of the journey. 

Thank you so much for your prayers for me this week, even in the absence of updates, and please continue to pray for my platelet levels over the next couple of weeks so that I will be able to get that last treatment on schedule!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Return of the platelets!!

My platelets jumped from 75 to 185 over the last week! So, I started chemo round 7 today and will finish on Wednesday. It seemed kind of weird this week to pray for platelets and to pray to be able to have chemo - in essence praying that I would be able to be sick all week! But, it feels really good to know that after this week I only have one more treatment to go!! Thank you so much for praying with me.

All the usual side effects are back. The doctor said that my equilibrium issues are most likely due to one of my chemo drugs. He told me to be careful of policemen and to make sure that they give me a breath test if they stop me! LOL! Don't worry, it doesn't really effect my driving!

Just wanted to give you a quick update! I'm off to sleep it off! Good night!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Follow Me

We have a magazine with the actor Ashton Kutcher pictured on the front with the words, "Follow me." Of course, he is asking people to follow him on twitter. Due to the fact that I am technically challenged, I don't have a twitter account or follow anyone on twitter (sorry Donald, Lance, and COF!). But it is interesting to see this phenomenon sweep across our country - people connecting by "following."

I had the amazing privilege to speak to the Women of Community of Faith last Thursday night. As I prepared for Thursday I realized that my "chemo brain" was going to come into play. Here was my conversation with Mark on Wednesday morning:

Laura: "I don't know what I'm going to say Thursday night." 
Mark: "Yes, you do. You were sharing with me all your ideas just the other day."
Laura: "Yes, but I can't remember what they were."
Mark:  "Didn't you write them down?"
Laura:  "Yes, but I can't remember what my notes mean!"

So, needless to say, it was a true miracle that I was able to share anything coherent with the women on Thursday night! I decided that I would have to write everything out word for word so that I couldn't forget!

One of the things that I shared with the ladies was a story from the Bible found in the book of John. Jesus is talking to Peter and he foretells how life will be for him leading up to his death. He tells Peter that he won’t be able to dress himself, or feed himself, he won’t be able to see. Essentially, He tells Peter that life is going to be hard, and then you die. I can imagine Peter thinking, “Wow, Jesus, thanks for that.” But then Jesus says something interesting. He says to Peter, “Follow Me.” Your life is going to be difficult. That’s the truth. That’s just the way it is. So follow me. That’s what God wants us to know too. 2010 may be a great year for you, but it may be a really difficult year with unwelcome surprises, unexpected interruptions, heartache or tragedy – and just like he said to Peter, Jesus says to us, “Follow Me.” That’s the only way we can make it through life. We have to follow him.

In my journey through cancer I don't know the future. I don't know what's coming around the bend. I haven't been able to make any plans because I don't know from one week to the next what my schedule will be. My life is totally in the hands of God - His plans, His timing, His  long term goals. I can't see any of it. And the things I can see are scary.

As I have tried to learn to follow this is how my conversations with God have gone:
Laura: "I am all by myself."

God: "Follow me. I am with you."
Laura: "I am scared."
God: " Follow me. I will take care of you."
Laura: "I don't like this."
God: "Follow me. I am working for your good."
Laura: "I can't see where I'm going."
God: "Follow me. I know the way."
Laura: " I can't see the path."
God: "Follow me. Don't follow the path."

Follow me. Follow me. Follow me. That is His instruction for us.  Jesus was the first one to post anything on twitter (not Ashton Kutcher!) all those years ago as He called His disciples! And today He calls us too, to follow Him and connect with Him.

"Then He said to him, 'Follow Me.'" John 21:19
Women of COF

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Perfect Faithfulness

The song in my head all week has been one of Christy Nockels new songs, "Healing is in Your Hands".  The lyrics are beautiful:

No mountain, no valley, no gain or loss we know
could keep us from Your love
No sickness, no secret, no chain is strong enough
to keep us from Your love
to keep us from Your love
How high, how wide
No matter where I am, healing is in Your hands
How deep, How strong,
And now by Your grace I stand, healing is in Your hands

I read this verse this week from Isaiah 25:1: 

"O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; for You have worked wonders, plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness...” 

I sit here this morning contemplating those things. I just read an update from my friend Stacey. She has been in and out of the hospital this week, trying to figure out the source of the deep and constant pain in her lower back and leg. Yesterday, after hours of testing and waiting, they heard the results that they suspected. The cancer has invaded her bones and she has a tumor pressing on her sciatic nerve. In the midst of it all Stacey keeps fighting. Her light shines brightly as she reflects the love and faithfulness of our God. 

Waves of grief and anger wash over me. I wish I could do this for her. I wish I could take away her pain. And then God reminds me that HE is doing it for her. He planned Stacey's life long ago, with perfect faithfulness. He is with her. He feels her pain. He hears her cries. He holds her tears in His hands. He is faithful. He is good. Even when I don't understand. Even when I can't see it. 

The song lyrics come back to my head:

Our present, our future, our past is in Your hands
We're covered by Your blood
We're covered by Your blood
How high, How wide
no matter where I am, healing is in Your hands
How deep, How strong
And now by Your grace I stand, healing is in Your hands

Please continue to pray for Stacey, asking God to do what only He can do - a miracle of healing. If you would like to read her updates or leave her a message you can click on the following link:

Thank you for praying.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Funny Stories

  • One of the funnier side effects of chemotherapy (maybe the only one?) is that my balance has been effected. If I close my eyes or pick up one foot I start to lean. I'm pretty sure no one else notices this but I sure feel it and it makes me laugh. I am afraid that one day someone might think that I am drunk! Don't worry, I haven't started drinking, I am just under the influence of drugs! 
  • The other day I accidentally got waterproof mascara on the end of my nose. Not just a little bit, but a big smear - several big spots. I tried to wipe it off, but because it was waterproof it wouldn't just wipe off. Naturally, I got distracted by something else and never removed the mascara from my nose. A little while later the door bell rang. It was a couple of Cy-Fair High School students selling pizza kits and cookie dough to raise money for their choir. Of course, I am a sucker for the kids out fundraising. I talked to the students for a few minutes asking them all about their choir. They spent time telling me about the products they were selling and I placed my order. Then I gave them a business card from our church, told them my husband was the pastor, and invited them to come see us sometime. Later, I walked into the bathroom, looked in the mirror, and I was horrified! I just spent 10 minutes talking to people at my door with mascara all over my nose! I even told them that Mark is the pastor of the church! I can just imagine them walking away and discussing my appearance! 
So, if you see me stumbling around, or if I show up with mascara on my nose, please be kind and help me out! It takes a village!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

On a Positive Note

On the way home from the doctor's office on Monday I had to practice being positive. It takes practice for me. Here are a few of the good things I came up with.

1. I didn't feel sick when I walked in the house.
2. .........

Well, that's all I got! Like I said, I have to practice being positive. 

But since then I have been able to see a few advantages to having an extra week off from chemotherapy.

1. I get to go to Women of Community of Faith on Thursday night! I am so excited! I have missed my girls!!

2. I actually ate frozen yogurt the other day! Being three weeks away from my last treatment, the nerves in my throat have calmed down. It still didn't taste right due to the constant metal taste in my mouth, but it was COLD!!! 

3. I got to babysit Jaiden! She is precious!!

Hope you are looking on the positive side this week!

"For as he thinks in his heart, so is he."
Proverbs 23:7 

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Loyal Friends

"A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need." Proverbs 17:17

I am so grateful for all my friends. Just when I think I can't go one more step...

A friend shows up with potato soup, with homemade bread, with waffles, with toilet paper, with a text message, with a facebook message, with a timely comment, with an encouraging card, with a verse of Scripture, with a hand to hold, with a shoulder to cry on.

I couldn't do this without my friends. I know some of you feel helpless or like you haven't done enough to help us during this time; but I want you to know that you have. Your smallest kindnesses and your prayers are carrying us through, even when you don't realize it. I am eternally grateful to call you my friend. Thank you.

Monday, January 18, 2010

And...we wait...


That is the sound of me screaming because my platelets are STILL too low to receive chemotherapy.

This is a picture of me pulling my hair out because I am so tired of waiting!

My platelets only came up from 71 to 75 over the course of the last week. I was so frustrated this morning. Not only because I am so ready to be finished with all of this, but also because this was just another reminder of how sick I have been. The problem is that my bone marrow has been so wiped out by radiation and all the chemotherapy drugs that it is having trouble keeping up with blood cell production. Healthy people don't have this problem. Only sick people. And I don't want to be reminded that I am still fighting a deadly disease! Thus, the picture above!

Even my nurse was frustrated for me today. So frustrated that she cussed for me! LOL! She said that she knew I wouldn't, so she was doing it for me! Love you Vickie! 

So, we are back to waiting... again.

I know that God is doing what is best for me, but I am not a very good "waiter". I guess He knows this; and apparently it is a skill that He really wants me to learn!

"We WAIT in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name." Psalm 33:20-21

"The Lord is my portion; therefore I will WAIT for him. 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 3:24-26

"O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; for You have worked wonders, plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness... And it will be said in that day, 'Behold, this is our God for whom we have WAITED that He might save us. This the Lord for whom we have WAITED; let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation." Isaiah 25:1 & 9

Waves of Grief

grief [griːf]noun
deep or intense sorrow or distress
something that causes keen distress or suffering
something that causes great unhappiness
deep mental anguish

In the early days of my diagnosis I experienced a lot of vivid dreams in which I was grieving. These dreams have returned this week.

I had a hard time falling asleep the other night. I used that time to pray for all those I know who are also struggling with cancer. I finally fell asleep, only to wake myself up sobbing a couple of hours later.

I had been dreaming of a big party at our house. All of our friends were there. In my dream I had a collection of porcelain figurines and someone accidentally knocked them to the floor shattering them all. When I looked down at the floor, each piece of shattered porcelain had the face of someone I know who is fighting cancer, or has fought cancer. In my dream I began to cry uncontrollably, feeling such grief for these special friends. My grief woke me up and I found that I was sobbing in my bed, giant tears falling on my pillow, anguished for so many special people who are struggling against this nightmare disease. I finally realized that I had been dreaming and I was able to calm myself down.

Grief comes in waves. It comes unexpectedly. It comes at weird times. It even comes in dreams. It has been a constant companion all these months. But in the midst of the tears I have known the comfort only a father can give. The comfort of my heavenly father - protecting me, providing for me, flooding me with strength, peace, freedom, and hope. Thank you, God, for drying my tears in the night.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Daily Reminders

I am happy to report that all of my recent digestive issues have been resolved. As soon as I started taking Flagyl, everything cleared up. And thankfully the Flagyl isn't hurting my stomach so far.

The worst part of this week was the reminder that I am "sick." I like to think that I am not; but knowing that this bacterial infection usually only effects hospital and nursing home patients, as well as people who have a weakened immune system brought the truth back into the forefront of my mind. Not a welcome thought.

There are so many daily reminders that I am not yet "well." I'm sure this is true for anyone who is struggling with a major or chronic illness. Somehow these things slowly become a part of daily life.

  • Fatigue. This is a constant companion. So much so that it has become my new normal. 
  • No appetite. Sometimes I totally forget to eat because I'm not hungry. 
  • Constant taste of metal in my mouth. This makes it even harder to eat. Nothing sounds appetizing knowing that it won't taste right. 
  • Muscle weakness. I can't open a water bottle. It requires effort to carry the skillet to the stove.
  • My eyes. My vision has steadily grown worse and my eyes water all the time. They get very tired if I read for very long. They tell me this will go away after I finish chemo. I sure hope they are right!
  • Chemo brain. I think this is the hardest to deal with. I can't remember anything. Really. I can see something or read something and literally two seconds later I can't remember what it was. I have to write everything down or I will not be able to remember. I can't remember names or numbers. I can't remember conversations I've had. A couple of weeks ago I bought a wedding gift for a friend who is getting married soon. Sarah saw the wrapped gift  and asked me what I bought. I sat and stared at the gift, trying to remember, and finally replied, "I don't know." I still don't remember what is in that box! That is a weird feeling!
Most people only see us on our best days, putting one step in front of the other, continuing to work, continuing to move forward. They don't know the effort it takes for us right now just to live. I sure will be glad when I really am well and all these reminders disappear!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Live Today

My Mom and Dad occasionally send me "words of wisdom" that they have heard or read somewhere. This is one of those pieces of advice:

Live Today
There are two days in every week which should be kept free from fear and apprehension. One is yesterday with its mistakes, its faults and blunders. Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control. We cannot undo a single act we performed; we cannot erase a single word we said. Yesterday is gone. The other is tomorrow with its large promises and poor performance. Tomorrow is also beyond our immediate control. Tomorrow's sun will rise, either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds - but it will rise. Until it does we have no stake in tomorrow, for it is as yet unborn. This leaves only one day - today. Any man can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when you and I add the burdens of those two awful eternities - yesterday and tomorrow - that we break down. Let us therefore, live but one day at a time. - Author unknown

Good advice for all of us I think. Thanks Mom and Dad! 

Good News!!!!!!  Stacey, who many of you have been praying for, was accepted into the clinical study. This study allows only 420 participants from all over the US! She will start with the PARP Inhibitor beginning Friday at 9:00 am! Thank you for praying and please continue to pray for God's miracle of healing in her life.

Stacey and Family

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"Out of these ashes..."

Well, the humiliating lab testing was worth it! I got results today. I have a bacterial infection of Clostridium difficile. This is a bacteria that normally resides in our intestines, but the chemotherapy has killed off most of the natural flora of my intestine allowing this particular bacteria to grow out of control. This is usually a condition seen in hospital patients and nursing homes, and in people with weakened immune systems. Anyway, I will be taking flagyl for the next 10 days to hopefully knock it out. I am not too excited about taking Flagyl, I've taken it many times in Mexico for parasites and it is hard on the stomach. 

Of course I went straight to the internet to read about this bacteria. One of the more interesting things I read was a type of treatment for severe cases of this condition: stool transplant!

"Stool transplant (fecal bacteriotherapy) to restore healthy intestinal bacteria by placing donor stool in your colon. Although this is rarely done in practice, research has shown stool transplant to be helpful in selected cases."

OK... Can you imagine that? Where do you find a donor? And how do you mentally prepare yourself for such a treatment? I guess I should not whine about Flagyl and just be grateful that is all I have to do!! Things could be worse!

180 degree turn...

On a completely different note, if you haven't yet listened to Steve Curtis Chapman's new CD, "Beauty Will Rise", I highly recommend it to you. The songs are very personal and were written as he dealt with the accidental death of his daughter in 2008. If any of you are struggling with difficulty or grief I think these songs will minister to you. Below are part of the lyrics of the song "Beauty Will Rise."

It was the day the world went wrong 

I screamed til my voice was gone 

And watched through the tears as everything 

came crashing down 

Slowly panic turns to pain 

As we awake to what remains 

and sift through the ashes that are left behind 

But buried deep beneath 

All our broken dreams 

we have this hope: 

Out of these ashes... beauty will rise 

and we will dance among the ruins 

We will see Him with our own eyes 

Out of these ashes... beauty will rise 

For we know, joy is coming in the morning... 

in the morning, beauty will rise 

So take another breath for now, 

and let the tears come washing down, 

and if you can't believe I will believe 
for you. 

Cuz I have seen 
the signs of spring! 

Just watch and see: 

Out of these ashes... beauty will rise 

and we will dance among the ruins 

We will see Him with our own eyes 

Out of these ashes... beauty will rise 

For we know, joy is coming in the morning... 

in the morning... 

I love and appreciate each one of you! Thank you for your continued prayers and for believing with me that "out of these ashes beauty will rise"!

Monday, January 11, 2010

I press on...

I woke up this morning with a raised bruise on my right ankle. This is not necessarily surprising because I bruise easily and I am a klutz, but I thought that it might be a sign that my platelet count was not yet where it needed to be to have my chemo treatment today. Sure enough, when they did the lab work today my platelet count was still too low. It has come up to 71, which is a big jump, so hopefully it will get to 100 by next Monday.

I discussed my other current issue with the nurses today. They decided to test me for parasites and amoebas just to make sure that I haven't picked up something that is causing all this intestinal "distress." Before I left the doctor's office they gave me a big plastic bag of supplies for collecting "specimens" to take to the lab. Can anything be more humiliating that carrying your own stool samples to the lab to drop them off??

Actually having the ileostomy made the whole collection process pretty easy. I can pretty much provide a specimen at any time and it is already collected in the bag, so I just had to transfer it to the specimen bottles. As I left the house I said to Ashley, "I have poop in my purse," and we both had a good laugh. Not many people can say that! Thankfully, it was contained! 

So, I am back to waiting, resting, and trusting. Physically, I am very tired. Emotionally, I am very weary of the fight; and not just my struggle, but the the struggle of so many special friends who are daily fighting for their lives. Spiritually, I press on, knowing that God is good and He has my name written on the palm of His hand.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I will not forget you.

I had a conversation with God yesterday about the fact that I really want to be able to have my chemotherapy treatment this week. I am so ready to be finished and to begin to regain my strength and my life. And then he reminded me that He is in control of my chemotherapy schedule. 

It was such a stark reminder because each time it seems to be controlled by lab results and the oncologist's decision. I've been looking at it wrong again. God is in control. Always has been. Even the weeks when treatment has been postponed. He is doing what is best for me. How easily I start to look at this world around me and forget that I am the daughter of the King of the universe. 

Again, Lord, I choose to trust you. I commit myself to you. I commit my treatment schedule to you. Thank you for doing what is best for me. And thank you for the gentle reminder of your faithfulness.

"But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. 
Psalm 13:5

"I will not forget you. See, I have written your name on my hand." 
Isaiah 49:15-16 

Did you read what that says? "I will not forget you." GOD will not forget me! The Holy God, creator of the universe, omnipotent, all powerful, all loving, King of Kings and Lord of Lords will not forget ME!! And He will not forget YOU! Let that sink in. 

Medical update: I am still enjoying diarrhea and gas. Taking Lomotil around the clock. Otherwise I feel fine - no pain, no fever. We'll see what the doctor says tomorrow! Thanks for praying!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Royal Road

"Thankfulness, also, is a royal road to draw near to Me. A thankful heart has plenty of room for Me... Fill up the spare moments of your life with praise and thanksgiving. This joyous discipline will help you live in the intimacy of My Presence."  -  Susan Young, Jesus Calling

"Praise the Lord!

 Let all that I am praise the Lord.
 I will praise the Lord as long as I live.
 I will sing praises to my God with my dying breath."

Psalm 146:1-2

Friday, January 8, 2010

Getting Ready

News Flash: I put my boots on the right feet today!! : )

The every other week schedule of chemotherapy has become routine now. I have learned that there are certain things that I need to make sure are done before I go back for chemotherapy on Monday. So, today I ventured out to the grocery store. It was a much more successful outing than my last one! It was very cold, so I bundled up with multiple gloves, boots, coat and scarf. Isn't this Houston? Where did this cold come from? I did not feel quite as weak as I did the other day. I walked slowly through the store, depending on my cart to keep me upright! I purchased the necessities: dog food, cat food, cat litter, and food for the pantry so that Ashley will have something to eat next week. Made it home without a single tear! 

Medical update: Apparently I ate something during our staff meeting last Wednesday that has caused problems with my digestive system. - Stop reading now and just pray if you don't want any detailed information. - In spite of the long acting anti-diarrhea injection that I had on Monday, I have had diarrhea  and massive amounts of gas since Wednesday night. Immodium is working to stop the diarrhea, I am faithfully drinking pedialyte, but nothing has helped to get rid of the gas!! This is especially fun with an ileostomy. I have to get up multiple times during the night to empty the bag which swells up like a giant balloon! I'm honestly surprised it hasn't popped yet, which really would be fun! All that to say, please pray that this issue will resolve itself. I really don't want it to effect whether or not I can get my next chemo treatment on Monday. Sorry for all the gory details, thank you for walking through this with me, and thank you so much for praying!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

How it's supposed to work

I have a friend who recently had surgery to remove her colon and have a permanent ileostomy created. We are ostomates! She is home from the hospital and adjusting to her new life. One of the neatest things for me has been the opportunity to share with her my experience and tips for living with an ileostomy. Not something that I ever expected to be one of my life experiences, but something that I am very grateful for! 

God has taken a very difficult situation in my life and used it for good in someone else's life. And that's how it's supposed to work. The difficulties, struggles, and triumphs in our lives are not random. They have been allowed by a loving God and orchestrated to be used for His good purposes. 

Today this friend was experiencing the weird muscle cramping that I experienced during my first two chemo treatments. This was a very scary and uncomfortable experience for me, but because of what I lived through, I was able to tell her that she needed electrolytes and to go get Gatorade or Pedialyte and start guzzling it. 

And then it hit me. God allowed me to go through that experience so that I would be able to help this friend. How cool is that?!! I am so grateful for what I've been through and how God continues to use it for His good purposes. That's how it's supposed to work.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Melt Down

Today we had scheduled a meeting with some of the top staff leadership at Community of Faith. The plan was to pray and discuss our dreams and plans for COF for 2010 and beyond. I normally don't get out and do much of anything the week after my chemo treatments until the following weekend, saving up all my energy so that I can go to church that weekend. But today I really wanted to be a part of this meeting. I thought that if I could just get dressed and get there then I would be sitting most of the day. I should
 be able to do that, right?

Wrong. Most of the morning went well. I was so happy to actually be sitting in a room with some of my favorite people, praying together, sharing together what God has been teaching each of us, and seeking God's direction for our church. But then it hit me. We were walking to the building where they had our lunch prepared when my constant enemy - fatigue - took over. Ignoring the truth, I decided that I just needed to eat and then I would feel better. Of course what I really needed was to go home and keep resting.

Finally I realized that I had overdone things and headed out to the car. Before I was anywhere near the car I was short of breath, I could barely carry my purse (that, of course, may be due to other issues!), and I was hurting all over. I was completely exhausted. This is where melt down #545 began. 

The tears started and they didn't stop all the way home. I was so frustrated and angry. I don't want to be this person. I am so sick and tired of being sick and tired! It feels endless, even though I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I want my life back!! God, do you hear me? I don't want to do this anymore!

I arrived home, drug myself into the house and collapsed in tears. My sweet Sarah was there; we sat on the couch and cried and prayed together. Gradually the melt down ran its course, and I remembered that God is here, he knows and understands, he will walk with me all the way, even when I have no strength and can't do the things I want to do. His way is better.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, 
"plans to prosper you and not to harm you, 
plans to give you hope and a future."  
Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

His purpose

Hi Everyone! Sorry for the lack of updates here. The last chemo treatment really seemed to sap my energy. I have been resting and enjoying time with the girls while they are home. I had blood work done on Monday. My platelets were down to 34 which is pretty low! They need to be back up to at least 100 by next Monday so I can receive my next chemo treatment. That really would be a miracle for it to come up that high that fast. Will you please ask God to restore my platelets? I would really like to get these treatments done and be finished!!

The nice thing for me with all this down time is that I have lots of time to read, pray, study, and meditate on the things God is showing me. I also have had time to watch every college football bowl game that has been televised! How weird is that??!! I normally enjoy watching a few of my favorite teams play football, but I don't normally just watch games between teams that I am not interested in. This year has been different! Somehow it just seemed that I should be watching the games. And the thing that is even more strange is that God even used that in my life to draw me closer to Him. Funny how He is always working and drawing us to Him if we will just take notice.

During one of the games one of the players had a scripture reference on his cheek bones: John 17:17. I decided that I would look the verse up in my Bible and this is what it says:

"Sanctify them by the truth. Your word is truth."

"Sanctify" is one of those churchy words that we don't hear or use often, and because of that I don't understand it very well. I decided to look up the definition of the word and this is what it said:

"sanctification - the process through which a person is incorporated ever more fully into the spiritual reality of Christ; given entirely to a specific person, activity, or cause; the active dedication of a thing to a single purpose"

God reminded me that in 2010 I need to be actively dedicated to a single purpose. His purpose. That's sanctification. And John 17:17 says that the way to do that is by God's truth - His Word. I need to be so bathed in God's Word that is transforms me, it sanctifies me, it causes me to be actively dedicated to His purpose in my life. 

I spent that afternoon praying. Thanking God for His reminder, even through a college bowl game, and asking Him to flood my life and my mind with His words; to invade my thoughts with His truth; to remind me to keep my Bible out and read it daily; to memorize it and put it into practice in my life. 

That's my prayer for 2010, and it's my prayer for you too. I started 2010 cancer free!! There is no better reason to spend the rest of the year praising Him, and letting Him "sanctify" me for His purpose!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Laura & Friends

Quick Update:

Laura: I am slowly recovering from my last chemo treatment. I finished my home IV fluids today. I am feeling much better, just very weak. The weakness seems to last longer with each treatment, so I continue to concentrate on resting and trusting that God is in charge of my time schedule! "How weak?" you may ask... it took all my strength to open a can of biscuits this morning. Seriously. I had to sit down afterward! Two treatments to go! Please keep praying!

Bruce: Bruce is cancer-free! He has completed his chemotherapy treatment and just enjoyed a well-deserved cruise to Cozumel with his family. Please pray for his follow-up care and continued good health. Your prayers have made the difference!

John: John has been approved to be part of a drug test. Please pray that this new drug will effectively shrink John's tumor, and please continue to ask God for a miracle of healing.

Stacey: Stacey went back to teaching in November. She was doing well until recently when she developed abdominal pain. On Christmas Eve it was discovered that her cancer has metastasized to her liver and her lungs. She had a new port put in this week and will begin aggressive chemotherapy, fighting for her life. Please continue to pray for God's miracle of healing, for courage, strength, perseverance, trust, and hope for Stacey and her family. She needs you now more than ever!

Thank you for your faithfulness to pray! Please don't stop!

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12