Archive | November 2008

Trying to be strong

Today I find myself fighting feelings of fear, vulnerability, doubt, confusion.  fightI guess it’s all part of this road, but I know I shouldn’t fear, and yet I DO!  And so I have no place to turn except to prayer, and finding that place within where I know I can draw upon strength I’ve found before, at times when I’ve discovered God was faithful, and when He’s been present.   This road has so many twists and turns, and nobody has ever been down the exact same path, so that’s the hard part.  No one can say “This is exactly how it’s going to go for you, here’s what comes next.”  Because every patient’s situation is unique. Not even doctors can predict how I’ll respond to this or that, or what will happen.  So the unknown is scary.

All I know is that some days I’m just a big wimp.  Sometimes that shows up as anger or sometimes as isolation, and I can’t even explain to myself what I’m feeling.    But today, I’m puttin’ on my gloves and fighting back at that enemy who wants to pull me down.  Inside I may not feel a “fighter”, but I’m diggin’ deep to find her!

tha-1-11   Isaiah 41:13
For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

Thursday, this week is my Oncology (chemo treatment) consultation at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Dec. 4th is a second opinion Oncology consultation at Bethesda National  Naval Medical Center in Maryland. They are both equal distance from the house.

Yesterday I took a walk by myelf just to catch some fresh air ( I feel like I have been inside for 3 weeks!) Here’s some snapshots of my little excursion with Colby:  imgp51942imgp5181imgp51782imgp51822imgp51922imgp51972imgp51962

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God Uses Regular People

mpj043894200001This was written by a Metro Denver Hospice Physician, and well worth the five minutes it wil take for you to read.  I hope it blesses you like it did me:

I was driving home from a meeting this evening about 5, stuck in traffic on Colorado Blvd., and the car started to choke and splutter and die – I barely managed to coast, cursing, into a gas station, glad only that I would not be blocking traffic and would have a somewhat warm spot to wait for the tow truck. It wouldn’t even turn over. Before I could make the call, I saw a woman walking out of the quickie mart building, and it looked like she slipped on some ice and fell into a gas pump, so I got out to see if she was okay .  When I got there, it looked more like she had been overcome by sobs than that she had fallen; she was a young woman who looked really haggard with dark circles under her eyes. She dropped something as I helped her up, and I picked it up to give it to her. It was a nickel.

At that moment, everything came into focus for me: the crying woman, the ancient Suburban crammed full of stuff with 3 kids in the back (1 in a car seat), and the gas pump reading $4.95.

I asked her if she was okay and if she needed help, and she just kept saying ‘I don’t want my kids to see me crying! ,’ so we stood on the other side of the pump from her car. She said she was driving to California and that things were very hard for her right now. So I asked, ‘And you were praying?’ That made her back away from me a little, but I assured her I was not a crazy person and said, ‘He heard you, and He sent me.’

I took out my card and swiped it through the card reader on the pump so she could fill up her car completely, and while it was fueling, walked to the next door McDonald’s and bought 2 big bags of food, some gift certificates for more, and a big cup of coffee. She gave the food to the kids in the car, who attacked it like wolves, and we stood by the pump eating fries and talking a little.

She told me her name, and that she lived in Kansas City Her boyfriend left 2 months ago and she had not been able to make ends meet. She knew she wouldn’t have money to pay rent Jan. 1, and finally, in desperation, had called her parents, with whom she had not spoken in about 5 years. They lived in California and said she could come live with them and try to get on her feet there.

So she packed up everything she owned in the car. She told the kids they were going to California for Christmas, but not that they were going to live there.

I gave her my gloves, a little hug and said a quick prayer with her for safety on the road. As I was walking over to my car, she said, ‘So, are you like an angel or something?’

This definitely made me cry. I said, ‘Sweetie, at this time of year angels are really busy, so sometimes God uses regular people.’

It was so incredible to be a part of someone else’s miracle. And of course, you guessed it, when I got in my car it started right away and got me home with no problem. I’ll put it in the shop tomorrow to check, but I suspect the mechanic won’t find anything wrong.

Sometimes the angels fly close enough to you that you can hear the flutter of their wings…

Psalms 55:22 ‘ Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee. He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.’

This story really touched my heart today to help me realize that nothing goes unseen by our God. He sees our hurt, our suffering.  I am in still in a lot of pain because of some of the surgery complications of fluid build up, but I know He is beside me, helping me be comforted, providing what I need, day by day, always just enough to get me through that day. When Morphine just doesn’t handle the pain, a friend, a smile, a good laugh, a hug, a prayer, can sometimes make all the difference.
♥Thank you to all you “regular people – angels” that  God is using in my life.♥

This entry was posted on November 15, 2008. 2 Comments

Good Days & Bad Days

wecandoitI am two weeks past surgery, and though I feel like I should be feeling a whole lot better by now,I am on morphine and muscle relaxers round the clock.  I’m still in a fair amount of pain.  I am limited as to what I can do each day.  Most days I just lay around on the couch or sit at the computer.  (Like playing around with graphics I like to  create like this) one shown here—->

Yesterday I had another doctor’s appointment, and the good news is there are no infections but I am still having pain at the lymph node biopsy site with fluid build up.  The doctor believes that should begin to subside this week.  I saw the plastic surgeon and he always seems to brighten up things when I feel down.  A great sense of humor is  a must for a doctor in this field! I have a referral to get a second opinion at Bethesda’s National  Naval Medical Center Oncology department, so after next week’s consult with the Walter Reed oncologist I will meet with Bethesda’s.  It will still be another few weeks before that treatment begins. 

My parents left Monday this week, and I hit an all time low the next day.  I felt like I could not even get up off the couch.  I don’t know if I had  a virus, or just an extreme case of the blues, but I slept and cried most of the day.  Our trip to the doctor the next day, my dear sweet neighbor, Deb,  drove me a different route, through beautiful Rock Creek Park in Washinton D.C., which saved us 25 minutes and loads of traffic stress!  (Tim met us there on the metro train from his work.)  Wish I had started driving  this way weeks ago!  It will now be our new route to Walter Reed Army Medical center, for which there will be many trips!  The serene beauty there is a nice  change to the beltway nightmare! We actually drive right over this rock bridge!rocr_rapids375x180 Who knew such a beautiful place existed right outside D.C?

 

 

Today I finished making my medical alert bracelet for a condition I may experience called Lymphedema. It is  due to the lymph node removal I  had during surgery.  I cannot have blood drawn or blood pressure taken on my right arm for the rest of my life.  I am currently working on 4 other bracelets for my Bosom Buddy sisters who have all had or will have their surgeries this fall.  If found unconscious, it would be very helpful to an EMS or paramedic.  So anyways, these and other cancer awareness items I am adding gradually to a new site i opened Bosom Buddies , (and that’s keeping me busy too, while my jewelry business is sort of on “hold” status). It’s also a way I want to give back to a charity that supports breast cancer through my sales there.

Each day now, I am reading through a book called Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach.  On the very day received this book from my  friend, Betty, the quote for that day said this:   Amazing Grace 

“Grace fills empty  spaces, but it can only enter where there is a void to receive it, and it is grace itself which makes this void .”  – Simone Weil

Maybe God Himself wants to fill us with His grace.  He allows the voids so He can do that for us! I know I’m feeling the need for more of His grace each and every day. Your prayers for pain relief are much appreciated.

Thank you to everyone who has so generously given of your love ♥ in so many tangible ways to our family. We, again, feel very blessed. ♥

A new look?

Last night I went with  a friend to the American Cancer Society’s program,

Look Good Feel Better3192505_1a5d1fb0d3

This is a nation wide service free to all cancer patients, which address the common concerns of hair loss and skin care during treatment.

They gave each of us a  bag filled with “top of the line” cosmetics donated by companies.  Then we did complete make overs, which I have never done in my life!  Too bad I had to come home and wash it all off and go to bed!  Actually, we get to keep all of the products  so now I can begin experimenting at home with a new look!  (Hope I don’t get hooked on this new $20 eye shadow!) Next, we tried on wigs, and each of us gets one free from the American Cancer Society!  No, the one in this photo is NOT my new wig!  The wig I thought looked best on me, they only had in a petite head size that evening, but will reserve one for me in the correct size which I can pick up this week.  It doesn’t even have bangs!  I was very happy about that.  I thought all wigs had to have bangs.  It looks a lot like my current hair style.  It was a night of lots of laughs, information that was new to me, and and all around pick me up after a crummy start to my day.

Back to the hospital…

th_bandaidLast night it had become quite evident that my pain had increased more recently, and the morphine wasn’t helping.  Taking a closer look, a baseball sized cyst of fluid had built up under my arm pit at the lymph node biopsy site. Pain had begun to radiate down the underside of my arm.  When they had to remove the drainage tube last week because it had become clogged, they knew this was a possibility since the fluid would now have no place to go.  The doctor had hoped it might resolve itself, but no such luck.  th_sad_dog_face

I called the doctor first thing this morning and he said to come in right away.  So off I went with my friend Carin driving in 1 1/2  hours of Monday morning traffic (I can’t drive while on narcotics), and thankfully he took me in as soon as we arrived.  He was able to drain the fluid and instructed me how to care for the now somewhat open wound there.   I went from feeling like a baseball under my arm pit to a brick of thick gauze bandages under there!  Oh the joy!  I return Wednesday this week to see the plastic surgeon again.  I think I deserve a personal single traffic lane all my own on highway 495, better known as the D.C. Beltway!

This entry was posted on November 10, 2008. 2 Comments

Saturday

visittovirginianov2008008Great day today vsiting Curtis at Univ. of Virginia!! The 2 hour drive was really beautiful for this time of year, and my parents and I enjoyed the scenery and peaceful drive down.  It was really good to see Curtis again too.  visittovirginianov2008006He’s far exceeded his Opa’s height, as you can see!  Being on campus made me wish I could be 19 again!  (Do you think I could pass for a college student there?  Not even a grad student?) 😦 Such a great time in life!  We’re all so proud of him, and of all the kids, really.  Feeling good physically today and getting stronger each day, but realizing my limits.  It’s only been 11 days and doc says give it at least 6 weeks but that is so hard!  There’s much I’d love to do!  Looking forward to going to church tomorrow!  What blessings are in store!

Pathology Complete

My doctor called yesterday to say that all of the pathology has returned mpj043890900001showing that they got all of the cancer during the surgery, no malignancies at the outer margins and our surgery decision was clearly the right one. Curiously, however, they found three additional areas of cancer that they hadn’t known about through any other tests, not even MRI. This is concerning (especially to me, since I have the remaining breast to think about !) because they don’t typically see this type of thing, and so they will discuss my case further at a tumor board next week with my oncology team. I will meet with oncology Nov. 20th to discuss treatment path with chemo therapy, etc. We can’t begin any of those treatments until I am healed from the surgery. On a positive note, he said none of the areas were larger than a centimeter. I am sleeping really good at night, and tire easily during the day, but waking up feeling so blessed and so ready for the day! There’s so much I’d like to tackle, but physically just can’t. Day by day. We had our dog, Colby come back home last night and he was very happy and I was happy he hadn’t forgotten me. 🙂 How could you not just love this face? (Except for the fact that he is 65 pounds of pure energy!) Thank you to the McCaw family for taking him for us for these two weeks! They deserve a gold medal !

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