My Cancer Blog

Monday, February 24, 2014

My island staycation


It is one week since my second chemo treatment. I am feeling well.

One thing I really did not know about before, was how susceptible (to infection/illness) a cancer patient is right around one week after each treatment. This is when the immune system (White blood count) plummets, leaving you with the immunity of a small baby!
Even when you still feel good....Unlike when the red blood cells and platelets drop, there are seldom any symptoms when the white blood cells drop...unless you end up with an infection or fever known as (Neutropenic fever) which is what I had last time.

The shot I received this time will not prevent the counts from dropping...But it will help them to come back up faster...This does take a few days though.
So....This past weekend...
I  had to decline a visit from the grandkids since they have been sick recently...I told my daughter that since they have pretty much been sick with one thing after another, It is best to not plan a visit until the end of cold and flu season.

It has been such a terrible winter for the flu and other illness. The hospital (where I ended up spending most of the week following the first treatment) had signs at the entrance telling people that if they had been recently exposed to the flu or other illness, or had symptoms...not to enter!

So....I am having a little vacation (stay-cation?) On a very pleasant island this week...Thankfully I am not alone, and it is not a deserted island!

I sent the other island inhabitant off alone last Friday evening to get some supplies for the two of us this week...And today he had to venture off to work...So, I am alone once again with the two dogs...I have not ventured out beyond a pleasant drive on Saturday...in which I never left the safety of the van.
I will stay here sequestered amongst the many things that I have to occupy my time, and fill the hours taking in all the Lord has for me in His Word... Here is a little gem I uncovered just this morning:

Isaiah 61

The Year of the Lord’s Favor

61 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.

And here is a translation of that same passage taken from the devotional I am reading:
 'Captivating, Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul'...

God has sent me on a mission.
I have some great news for you.
God has sent me to restore and release something.
And that something is you.
I am here to give you back your heart and set you free.
I am furious with the Enemy who did this to you, and will fight against him.
Let me comfort you.
For, dear one, I will bestow beauty upon you
where you have known only devastation.
This passage is referring to Israel, but I believe it also pertains to all who call upon the Lord during their times of trouble...It describes a renewal...a promise for those who trust in Him.
I just love how it is entitled 'The year of the Lord's favor' since I have been calling this
'My year of grace'.
As always, I am so very thankful to be able to visit with so many friends through this miracle called blogging...I get so much inspiration from each of you...and so enjoy your visits here too!
But, if I start to talk to inanimate objects such as a soccer ball named Wilson...Call for help!
~Blessings & Love~
and remember, we are...
~NEVER FORSAKEN~


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Wigging out!


Today was beautiful outside!
I went for a drive with Jeff while he did some errands. I wore my wig, but at one point I ended up having a hot flash and telling Jeff to park somewhere where I could take it off! And then after peeling off my coat I declared that if I had to wear that wig one more minute I’d be stripping down to my underwear!
I will always take at least a ball cap with me from now on. I really do not like wearing the wigs…Though they look the most ‘normal’ they are horrid to wear…especially when I have a hot flash like today...Normal is over rated anyway.
I am getting more and more comfortable going ‘au ‘Natural’ around the house for sure. And Jeff seems to like it alright too…That was my main concern.
I have been feeling pretty good…just a little tired.
I am happy that my appetite is still good…almost too good…The doc actually warned me to be careful about gaining too much weight. That is funny seeing as how I started out with everyone worrying about my being underweight.
Not long ago, I wrote a post on my blog about friendship. I have since carefully considered what I wrote about, and ended up taking it down. There were too many emotions that had not been sorted through at the time I wrote it, and some feelings got hurt…I actually made someone really upset. I do not wish to hurt anyone with this blog. Sometimes our feelings need to be kept private, and if we are concerned about a person it is best to go to that person with our concern…and if we do and they do not respond, it is never okay to publicize the matter…We always have the option to go to God with it.
I learned a few things thus far in this journey I am on…First, do not take for granted the blessings that God gives each day…And second, do not rub them into the face of one whom is having a harder time with things in their own life…always be mindful that although you are doing well, someone else may not be, so be careful how much you rejoice in the face of their trials. (Choose to help them bear their burdens before expecting them to share in your joys).
And last (most recent) Pick your battles. I haven’t the energy to navigate through all the little complexities that come with trying to muddle through what would otherwise be considered the ‘normal’ waters of relationships…This requires that I trust the Lord to work things out until I am strong enough to handle more.
Bottom line…I was wrong to complain about the relationships in my life…or lack thereof. God knows what I need and how much I can realistically handle right now. The dynamics are perfect for the needs of our little family and me…I really do NOT want the phone ringing off the hook, or people showing up at the door whenever…On the days that we do not have to travel for a treatment or another appointment…It is NICE to relax at home.  
Don’t get me wrong…The few times we have been blessed with visits from family or our closest friends, they were always such a joy… probably because they are rare!

So ends another day of learning….Wonder what tomorrow has to teach?

Titus 3:2 

to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.

James 3:17 

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.


Friday, February 21, 2014

Words


Sometimes I can be careless with my words...Whether written or spoken.
It is not always easy to know what to say or how to say it.
Perhaps that is why is it best to talk to God first.
And then, having talked to God, I will listen and speak His Words instead of my own...
Especially when I am not sure of what to say...Doing this seems so much less complicated doesn't it?

~Blessings & Love~
 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

UPDATE ON TODAY's EARLIER POST

Abundant blessings!

If you did not read my previous post, please take a moment and then come back to this one.

This morning I shared how the Lord gave provision for a need...The provision involved one of the bosses at my husband's work...Actually he is the night foreman/watchman who has the responsibility for calling the guys out for overtime work like in the case of a snowstorm...He also has a wife who needs to have the same shot that I needed today, but because she has lupus...So he understood the importance of the shot, and did what he could to help above and beyond...That was God working...Well, my friends, God wasn't done yet!
The receptionist  had called this morning wondering if I could still make it in...I said I was leaving now, and would be there in a half hour.
When I got to the place where I was scheduled to receive my shot...I told the whole story to the receptionist .
Her jaw dropped...She said, "Well, one of our nurses also has a husband who works with your husband, and her story was almost the same!
As it turned out, the nurse who gave me my shot is my husbands co-worker's wife!  
(not the guy who called him in though)

I had never met her, but we sure had fun talking and getting to know one another!
And as a bonus...I met a nice older lady who is a 6 year survivor of stage 4 breast cancer...She is the third stage 4 BC survivor that I have met.
I am stage 2, and am delighted to be meeting women who have survived the worst possible stage of the disease...the stage where it has spread...and they are still surviving and doing very well!
Even the receptionist at my family doctor's office has a mother who is a five year survivor...Both young women who wheeled me down to surgery had mothers each who had the same diagnosis word for word as mine surviving and doing well!
And sitting in the oncologist's office yesterday was the retired secretary from my husband's work who is a four year survivor...She was there for a check up...I did not even know we had the same oncologist as I hadn't seen her in a couple years!
We might live in a small town...But you've got to admit...This is a lot of connections.

And isn't it amazing how many people of faith the Lord has put in my life through the medical team that treats me?
I had the best talk with my oncology nurse about the Holy Spirit yesterday, and a brief reference with my doctor about our Heavenly Father...It is nice to walk around his office and read prayers and see a crucifix hanging over the picture of a family fishing trip...
And then to go upstairs to the surgeon's office and talk about prayer and blessings and miracles some more...and to be greeted by a heartfelt "God bless you!" from his receptionist whom I always have fun talking to...If this isn't an abundance of blessings, I don't know what is.

I am having so much fun lately that I am almost feeling guilty because a part of me expected to be so miserable through all of this...isn't that what people expect?
Not with God in control...at least not with me...You see, God never intended for me to stay holed up in my little hermitage...That was self imposed...but if throwing me out into the deep end is His way of teaching me to swim in His strength and TRUST in His will for me...To cure my anxiety and fear ridden soul...Well, I am just gonna lean back and float out here in the Fountain of Living Waters.


Thou prepares a table before me in the presence of mine enemies (cancer, storms, fear... are some of those enemies): thou anoints my head with oil; my cup runneth over (in abundance)
Ps. 23:5 (emphasis mine)

The guy who plows your road got snowed in today!

Two down...Four to go!

All went well, though it was a long day yesterday...I had an appointment right after chemo with my surgeon upstairs from the oncology dept. He said everything looks wonderful.
Also, though my blood counts are still lower than they used to be all is well there too...I am still in the normal range.
So, the Benadryl really knocked me out by the time we got home in the evening...I went to bed at 6pm and awoke when Jeff's boss called him for work at 2:45 am ...I told his boss that we were snowed in and I had to get to another appt. to get a shot and an antibiotic before noon today so my WBC did not drop again and I 'd end up back in the hospital... so I would need to try to bring him into work myself.  His boss told me he has to give his wife those same shots because she has lupus, and for the same reason...So he came out and plowed our road and picked Jeff up at 3:15am! And the snow stopped, so I will make it to my appointment today!
God really does take care of us...Sometimes by sending good people our way!
I know it all begins whenever we pray...Thank you for your prayers...You can see how they are being answered every time! 

James 5:16

 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
In all honesty that verse used to scare me...I would often think that my prayers were not effective because I was not good enough, righteous enough...but I have learned that as sinners saved by grace, it is not by our righteousness, but Christ's righteousness and through the Holy Spirit that we pray...as we are His ambassadors here on earth! And the proof is in the many answered prayers throughout my Christian life...The proof is also in the Word of God: ...
But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared,  He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,… Titus 3:4-6
~BLESSINGS & LOVE~
and remember, we are...
~NEVER FORSAKEN~

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

     Happy Valentine's Day!

~Blessings & Love~
and remember, we are...

~Never Forsaken~

Monday, February 10, 2014

Friendship



In this post I am going to bear my heart a little bit.
I have not always been good about keeping friendships alive.
I guess because I have been blessed with such a happy marriage and fulfilling role as a mom to my three children, I overlooked the importance of having healthy and happy relationships with other people in my life...even with my two brothers and my sister.
Recently, I had a phone conversation with a friend who told me that she was receiving several phone calls from some of the women whom I used to attend Bible study with last year asking her about me.
I asked her why were they calling her and not me?...I told her that my heart was hurt by this.
Jeff joked that maybe some people are afraid they might catch my cancer...Bad joke, I know...But seriously, my friends who live nearby (all but one) have avoided me like the plague!
So, I asked my friend on the phone why she thought this was happening, and together we came to the conclusion that...I always seemed like the kind of person who has it all together, has the answer and therefore, does not need anything from anyone...Wow, what a revelation! What a horrible revelation.
Especially when that is completely untrue.
I guess I have done an excellent job of wearing a mask, and fooling people into thinking that I am stronger than I really am...that I am smarter, and more capable than I really am.
I guess it comes from the way I had to grow up...I had to be independent.
Regardless where it came from...It has to end...now.
Even the friend on the phone has recently confessed that she has avoided me because she does not know what to say to me in order to bring joy and happiness into my life.
I am surprised and saddened by her confession...I thought that it was obvious that I already have joy and happiness, cancer or no cancer, and that comes from Jesus himself.
What an unbearable burden for anyone to have to carry...feeling that it was their job as a friend to make someone happy all the time!
First of all, happiness is not a state of being...It is only moments in our lives, a fleeting feeling much like anger, sadness, glee...etc.!
Only joy is everlasting...Being joyful in the Lord comes from knowing the Lord on a real personal level...regardless of our circumstances, our joy never wavers.
But, it is possible for the enemy of our souls to steal it away from us... though he cannot take it unless we allow him to.
One of the first things I realized upon the diagnosis of cancer was that things seemed clearer...priorities shifted into place rather quickly. Now being settled into it a bit longer, I have this sometimes overwhelming urgency to set things right. Get rid of the bull crap...the everyday things that take up space in our lives that have no right to that space...that valuable real estate.
The way that I see it, I have two choices here: I either re-evaluate the relationships in my life right now, whether they are really genuine or not...and then work harder at nurturing those relationships that truly are genuine, or I continue to wear the mask and pretend that I do not need friends at all...so things are just fine as they are.

Real friendship is not like that. Jesus set the example. When His good friend Lazarus died, it might have seemed at first that Jesus either did not care, or did not want to go to him when he was sick.

20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”...

...When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?"  (John 11)

But Jesus, being God, had a plan for Lazarus, and for all who were to witness his death...

38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.
“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” (John11)

Even though Jesus knew that Lazarus was not to remain dead, he was still very deeply moved when he arrived to find his friend already in the grave, and the family grieving.
We are not Jesus...Sure, we are like him the more we learn of Him and follow Him, but only Jesus can resurrect a friend from death...only Jesus can heal a broken spirit, cleanse away our sins, and bring us pure joy.
But, he expects us to do what we can for our friends...

 



 
John 15:12-15 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

I have read the above verse many times, and every time I read it I am impressed by Jesus saying that we must be willing to lay down our lives for our friends...I always thought that this meant, not only a willingness to die for a friend, but also a willingness to put aside (lay down) our time, agenda, wants, and needs in our own life in order to help a friend, in order to spend time nurturing a friendship.
if that is what Jesus means, then I am guilty of not following this command...So, I must work on this before I can call myself a friend of Jesus!

Here are a few more examples, that I for one, need to study more about how to treat my friends:

Luke 6:31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

Romans 12:10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Out do one another in showing honor.

Ephesians 4:29-32 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Colossians 3:12-14 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

I have asked the Lord for forgiveness for neglecting such an important part of life...and I now realize the sorrow of missed blessings...both given and received because of this neglect.
All I can do is to strive from this day forward to try to be a better friend, and to communicate to those whom regard me as a friend, that I will try harder to do what Jesus asks when it comes to laying down my life for them...whether in their times of trouble when I can share their tears and frustrations, or in their times of happiness when I can share in their laughter and joy!

 I am sorry if I ever made you feel that it was your job to make me happy all the time.

I already have a friend who does that... His name is Jesus!

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Prov. 18:24)



~Blessings & Love,
and remember, we are...

~NEVER FORSAKEN~

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Home!



It sure to a looong time getting out of there yesterday...At one point Jeff and I were sitting on the edge of the bed watching most of the other patients on the floor leaving one after another...Jeff said it looked like a parade and I wasn't in it!
I woke up early as usual, showered, got dressed, turned down the offer for the shot to keep you from getting a blood clot from lying in bed too much (I never needed it in the first place...on the 3rd which was Monday, I rearranged my room...when the nurses seen it they said to go ahead, it was my room and if I wanted to switch the bed around they would help!)
I told the nurse to call the doctor as soon as she took my morning temp 97.6 degrees, ordered my breakfast and waited for Jeff.
So when I finally got home Buddy did his usual circle dance around me...all sniff and lick, and ears and tail everywhere...Sasha ran up to me as I was coming towards the front door, and then she gleefully jumped into her favorite snow bank and started to talk...But as soon as I went into the house she tugged on my pant leg with her teeth! I never seen her do that before!

I am so blessed by my online friends who are my prayer warriors and cheerleaders. I hope you all don't mind that I bragged about you to my nurses :)

One of the nurses came into my room and caught me teary eyed...I told her not to worry, I was crying happy tears from reading your comments...I told her my friends are all praying for me.

Before I left I tried to get a picture of the dry erase board so you could all see what one of my sweet nurses wrote me...I wrote -God Bless & Thanks for the great care!-Lisa
I think of them all as angels.

I spoke with the hospital Chaplin and told them about my journey through 'The Rooms' He liked that. It was nice to pray with him. Turns out we have some friends in common.

Well, today is another day to walk through another of those rooms.
After my shower this morning, my hair began to really fall out. Not in huge clumps, but it was non-ending.
So I took matters into my own hands and cut it all off!

& you know what...It felt good!

I put on some make-up, got dressed in some bright cheery Valentine's Day colors, and when I put my wig on it felt nice on my head. (unlike when I tried wearing it over my hair).
That second picture is of me today.

Now, I want to tell you what happened to me last night...
I had a horrible nightmare that can only be described as an attack from the enemy...Without going into too many gory details...
Jeff was carrying me...I had been severely wounded...He needed to go somewhere so he handed me to a kind old man and asked him to please feed me, the man said "of course".....I lay slumped against the old man, too weak to move, but conscious....As soon as Jeff turned his back...the old man said I will feed her and began to eat me.
Because of some of the things the old man said to me in the dream, I know it was a spiritual attack...I rebuked it in Jesus' name and said:
Greater is He that is within me than he that is in the world!
So then I woke Jeff up, told him the dream, and then asked him to pray....I grabbed my Bible while Jeff hugged me and read many scriptures...And before turning out the light I read the little card that is tucked into my lampshade. (Thanks again, Chelle!)

Be strong and courageous; DO NOT BE AFRAID OR TERRIFIED, for the LORD your GOD goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
DEUTERONOMY 31:6

~Blessings & Love~
and remember, we are...
~NEVER FORSAKEN!~
 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Grace in this place

I am still in the hospital.
My WBC fell low yesterday but I am getting rest and care everyday (GRACE) and hope to go home tomorrow.
My oncologist decided not to give me a shot that would boost the white cells after my first chemo. That was a mistake, and now I will receive the shot after each of the five remaining.
Thank you for praying...please continue.
~Blessings & love~ Lisa

UPDATE

My counts are normal and there are no infections anywhere, but because I had a slight temperature last night, I have to stay one more night. Doc says I have to have a normal temperature for 24 hours before they let me go home.
Thanks for all your prayers!
Jeff says Buddy has been sleeping on my pillow in bed next to him every night.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Hair’s the deal…



How in the world do I fit into a few mere paragraphs all the things that I am feeling?
How can I string together the right words in order to convey the feelings, the emotions, and thoughts that fill my weary mind, and yet leave enough room for you to join in the conversation here…and why is that important?
It’s important to express myself, but to communicate, really communicate…it goes both ways!
So here in this post I will be very candid with you.
And please forgive me for not keeping the promise that this blog would not turn into a blog about cancer…It is still about my walk with Jesus…but I am walking this particular path just now…so it must be for a reason.
This cancer is not all about me. It affects everyone whom I know, and anyone whom I may encounter. It affects the person standing in line behind me at the checkout, or seated at the table next to mine at the restaurant…If they can tell that I am sick…in chemo…then they are suddenly forced to think about it. They are momentarily faced with the possibility that it could be them instead.…to steal away even a moment of their peace in order to think about What if?...fills my heart with dread. 
I remember speaking with my sister on the phone shortly after diagnosis…I will never forget how her voice got very low, and I caught a slight catch in it when she asked me what the lump felt like. It was fear that caused her to ask the question…and she wasn’t the last woman that I talked to who asked it…each one with the same catch in their voice…almost whispering the question as though I had an answer that they needed…but dreaded to hear. They were thinking “What if I get it?”
I can’t help but to play in my mind over and over the few scenarios in the past where I encountered a cancer patient…A neighbor, a woman in the hospital waiting room, or walking through Wal-mart…My eyes would catch hers for a moment…and I would wonder: What if it were me? The thought would not be allowed to linger for long inside my mind…It didn’t fit there…not at the time.

This week I plan to walk through yet another door leading into a new room once more.
The Lord has equipped this room with the essential tools that I will need.

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Once the door closes I shall emerge without my crowning glory…I will cry, and probably laugh.
Losing my hair is not really about vanity…But more about identity.…The transition from just a simple everyday woman into the image of a cancer patient daunts me…But I must proceed forward…Always forward.
I have packed away the brushes and put away the hair dryer and curling iron, and shampoo, reminiscent of the days before the surgery when I tearfully packed away all my bras…forever.
At least these hair items are to be stored only temporarily.
This feels like my right to passage…Something that I can do to take some control over this crazy disease.
This disease has stolen from me…but it has not won. It will never be called MY cancer…it does not belong to me…I claim no ownership of it….and God never placed it in my body…so it is not a part of me!
So I will decide when the hair goes…I will decide what to wear to cover my head, and when not to cover my head…But I refuse to carry a banner that fills people with fear when they encounter me.
Instead I will carry the banner of a child of the Living God…A banner raised high that reminds all who see that we are ALIVE in CHRIST…and that God goes before us….And I am dedicating my head covering to the one who wears the crown of glory!

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I will remember as I wear it, that this is just one more gift of grace.
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The ‘Jerusalem’ style head covering

Please pray for me specifically this Wednesday...as I take the next step.

~Blessings & Love~
and remember, we are...
~Never Forsaken~

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BUD!

HAPPY 8TH B-DAY, BUD! I think he's had too many birthday cookies already today!