Sunday, September 13, 2015

Using This For Good

A dear friend of mine recently learned that her son has leukemia and they began the fight of their lives. As she shared her thoughts this week, I found they gave words to many of the thoughts that have been rattling around in my brain for the past few months, so I asked permission to share them with all of you.
Please enjoy these amazing words of truth as penned by Amy Reid.

"I've learned through various trials in my life that I can control very little - but there is one thing I DO get to control.  I get to control my response - to trials, to God's leading, and anything else life brings my way.  I can choose to let my feelings and circumstances dictate to me how I will respond, or I can choose to claim His Truth through His Word.  My feelings and circumstances are not a stable foundation on which to build as they can turn on a dime.  On the other hand, God is always on His throne and can NEVER change!   He is ALWAYS kind, compassionate, gracious, merciful and so much more.  He CANNOT NOT be those things!  That is a much better foundation on which to build than feelings and circumstances! Does that mean my feelings are wrong or useless?  Absolutely not!  God has wired me with those feelings.  I am made in the image of Him!  It just means they are not always trustworthy.  

So, from the beginning of this trial, I've chosen TRUTH.  Have I had tears?  YES!  But never once have I wept without hope.  Never once have I had a moment of paralyzing fear.  Is this all because of some great strength I possess?  A resounding - NO!  I am so incredibly weak.  Apart from Christ, I would be a basket case right now.  But I have spent hours saturating my heart and my mind with HIS Truth and am choosing to claim the promises He has given us.  One of those promises that we talk about a lot, especially with Tate, is that "We know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28, emphasis mine).  Tate surrendered his life to Jesus over a year ago.  He has a personal relationship with Him, as do all of us in our family.  Tate knows God is good - all the time - and to know what God is like, we just need to look at the life of Jesus, who was God with skin on.  Jesus healed.  He cared.  He cried with others.  Cancer was not a part of God's original plan, but we revolted against His plan and sin entered the world.  So God did not cause this cancer to "teach us a lesson".  But the amazing thing is, God can take something Satan means for evil and bring wonderful things out of it for our good and His glory.  In fact, He promises that in Romans 8:28.  He HAS to bring good out of this.  I don't know what that will look like, but I choose to trust Him.  God HAS to be faithful.  He can't be any other way.  He HAS to fulfill His promises - promises for hope, for peace, and to glorify Himself.  But, unless I know those promises, I'm more apt to buy into what my feelings and circumstances are telling me I should be doing - which in this case would be freak out!  Instead, I choose to trust.  It's not a blind trust.  I can look back in my life and see how God has been in and through every aspect of it, and He's batting 100 in the faithfulness department and in making me more and more like Jesus.  I read a quote once that said something like this:  "God is more concerned about my character than my comfort."  His desire is we all look, act,and be more like Jesus every day.  My prayer and heart's desire through this journey we are on is this:

1) God is glorified.  It is the ONLY thing that will give any value and worth to this horrible thing.  I want people to see how great, how good, how amazing God is - however that needs to be done.

2) I don't want to be the same person on the other side of this journey.  I want to glean every once of worth out of this trial.  I want to be refined.  To be molded.  To look just a little bit more like Jesus"

These words touched my heart and I echo them.  I want God to be glorified through my trials and I want to look a bit more like Jesus each and every day.  I can already see glimpses of the ways God is using this for good.  I just pray I can hang on to that and not find myself engulfed by the tidal wave of CANCER and all that has now entered my life.

Thankful thoughts for today:
Master Chef

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Monday, August 31, 2015

"I'm Gonna to Love You Through It"

I'm so thankful to my husband for loving me through this.

Pain Today . . .Strength Tomorrow

Thankful thoughts for today:
Victory in the Valley
Connecting with other survivors
Piano students

Friday, August 28, 2015

Is Cancer Gone?

I realize I've been absent from here most of this month.  That doesn't mean things have stopped happening, in fact just the opposite.  It means my life is pretty full right now and by the end of the day and time to write on this blog, I'm exhausted and just want to sleep so I can make it through another day.

So, let me take a minute and briefly catch you all up on what is going on in my life.

  • Piano lessons start again (I teach)
  • Insurance finally approved and I got my first shot of Zoladex.
  • Side effects have started arriving (post to follow)
  • PET scan complete--It was clear and did NOT "light up like a Christmas tree"
  • Baseline blood work done--no surprises
  • Bone density test complete--Diagnosis of Osteopenia
  • Anastrozole to begin in September
  • School begins
  • Fall church programs begin
My pet scan was clear, so does that mean cancer is gone?  That means there was nothing big enough to show up on the PET scan that needed to be treated with additional surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation at this time.  That does not mean there aren't rogue cancer cells floating around my circulatory system waiting to grow.  That is why I will be taking Anastrozole.  The hope is we can starve and kill them before they have a chance to grow and/or meet up.  So, is cancer gone?  The Livestrong Manifesto says, " . . .the fight never ends.  Cancer may leave your body, but it never leaves your life."  The answer is "no."  Even if there is no cancer in my body; even if surgery removed it all; cancer will always be a part of my life.  Since there is no real way of knowing if there are rogue cancer cells floating around, treatment will be a part of my life for a minimum of 5 years.

So, what do I need from you now?  I need you to continue to love and support me.  I need you to keep sending positive and/or funny thoughts, emails, Facebook posts, comments here, etc.  I need you to understand if my energy level or side effects prevents me from doing all I could do before.  And, I need advice from time to time.  Right now, I'm struggling with the decision between continuing Zoladex shots for at least the next five years OR having a hysterectomy and discontinuing Zoladex.  Any advice?

Also, any advice for managing Osteopenia?  I will be getting shots on a regular basis to help with bone density.  Any advice on natural ways through diet/exercise to help?

Thankful thoughts for today:
OTC Allergy Meds
Victory in the Valley
End in sight

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Acting As If

I'm about to get a PET scan and I'm choosing the "acting as if" scenario.  If I act as if everything will be fine and this is no big deal then that is what will happen right?  I've been telling everyone this is no big deal.  I even sent my husband to work this morning because everything will be fine.  My PET scan will not "light up like a Christmas tree."

I did this when I was called back for further testing after my mammogram.  It was no big deal, I sent my husband to work, etc.  That time, the results were different than expected.

I think "acting as if" is really having faith that all will be well.  Regardless of the results, all will be well.  Jesus promises, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."  (John 16:33 NIV)  The beginning of this verse says, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace."

So, no matter the results all will be well.  I am about to get facts about the reality of my situation.  I can deal with whatever I need to deal with, I just need to know what that is.  I am not alone.  Whatever comes, with Christ's help and the support of family and friends, I can do this.  :)

UPDATE:  PET Scan done.  I'll receive results in two weeks
                   First hormone blocker shot done.  It was Zoladex.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Waiting is Over . . . Or Is It?

The waiting is over.  Well, maybe not completely, but there will be a ton of activity coming up and it feels like the waiting is over and things are finally in motion.  I have at least one cancer related appointment every week this month.

I started this post at the beginning of August thinking the waiting phase was over.  Well, I was WRONG!  I have a plan in place.  I have appointments scheduled for every week this month.  I went to my first one today to learn that the waiting is not over.  You would think your oncologist could make decisions about treatment and once the plan was in place that would be the end of it.  WRONG!!!  I am waiting yet once again, this time because insurance has not yet approved the plan.  They tell me at the office that it's just a matter of paperwork and timing, but my procedure will not be paid for by insurance unless pre-approved.  They have no doubt it will be approved, but it has not been yet.  Why can't the oncologist make a decision based on his years of experience and education and insurance accept that he has made the right decision and pay for it no matter where the paperwork trail got delayed?  This shouldn't surprise me.  I've been jumping through these hoops with my wheelchair related needs (including the chair itself) for years now.  Somehow, I just thought cancer treatment would be a different story.

The waiting is over for one thing--side effects.  Some I understand.  Some are surgery related.  Some I don't quite get.  Then my husband gently reminds me that I already have nerve damage and a traumatic brain injury.  I may have a more difficult time than most determining what is a side effect of cancer treatment and what is a normal part of my disability.  I already have tingling/numbness on the entire right side of my body.  I already get headaches off and on.  But, waking up nauseated is new.  And, I don't understand.  I don't have any new chemicals in my body at this point.  But, at least the waiting for side effects is over.  I just hope a ton of new ones don't appear.

Waiting, Waiting, Waiting.  Waiting drives me crazy.  Just thought I would vent for a minute.