Monthly Archives: March 2012

Praise be to GOD!

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As many of you are aware, I had a PET scan on Monday and was given the results yesterday. I am not going to lie, I was probably more nervous for those results than I ever have been in my entire life. My Jesus Calling devotion the night before talked about how this is a time in my life where I need to let go and give God complete control. It also stated how He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. This was precious to me because someone very close to me had finished her battle with cancer and has been cancer free for a year now. After her yearly PET scan being clean, her daughter quoted this very scripture saying “Jesus Christ is the same same yesterday, today, and forever.” This is so very true because he was with her through her fight and I know he has been with me through mine. He showed up yesterday and I have hope that He will continue to show up throughout.

I also read from another devotion book Tuesday night about having faith strong enough to move mountains. It told a story about concentration came survivor Corrie ten Boom and how she relied on her faith even while she was in imprisonment and her four family members had died in Nazi death camps. She stated “there is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.” I was given a peace on Tuesday night that took all anxieties away. I had given it all up to God and knew that whatever the results would show on Wednesday that God was still on my side and this was all a part of His plan.

A friend of mine met me for lunch last week and shared with me about the new Life Church series called “Why?” She told me I should get online and watch the first lesson of the series and it was awesome. It was called “Why do I not always feel God’s presence?” I watched it Tuesday afternoon and it gave me a lot of inspiration. It talked about the different reasons that people do not feel His presence and I would have to say my biggest reason is just downright being distracted by other unimportant things. It also gave three ways you can feel God’s presence which included: 1) You will find God when you seek God- Jeremiah 29:13. 2) You can do life with God’s presence- John 14:16. 3) You can experience God NOW- Acts 17:27. I purposely did not write out these verses so you all can get into your bible and look them up yourself. πŸ™‚

Okay now for the big news that you have all been waiting for! The doctor cleared me to get a massage!!! Sorry that wasn’t the big news but it is true and I’m very excited about it! The big news is that the doctor went over my PET scan with us yesterday and compared it to my PET scan two months ago. He could not see any of the cancer remaining from that which was there earlier. He did see some residual scarring which he said was just the cancer dying but that was nothing to worry about. He told my family that he was happy for us and the way I was progressing. This means that I will just continue on with chemotherapy as planned and not have to do radiation for the time being. God deserves all the glory in this because soooo many prayers were answered!! He is so good ALL TIME TIME!

Chemotherapy didn’t seem to be as bad yesterday. However, I have been really tired and wore out even today. I am not sure how anyone could work through something like this. I have basically laid around and watched movies today which isn’t good for my mind. Hopefully tomorrow I will have more energy and be able to get back to my normal schedule. My family and I met my aunt and uncle in Branson last weekend to stay at some cabins and that was a lot of fun. Although we didn’t do a whole lot, we had a good time just hanging out at the cabin playing games and watching movies. They are so special to me and I’m so lucky to have them in my life.

This coming weekend is Will’s daughter Ashlei’s birthday! I am really excited about it because I have been doing all that I can to make it fun for her and still be there! We are planning on having it at a park so that I can still watch the kids play but not have to do a lot either. It will be so fun to get to see the kids interact because I have not gotten to be around them much since this all started. It is going to be Lego’s theme and I think we have a lot of fun things in store. She also has a couple soccer games this weekend which I am looking forward to hopefully making one of those as well. She is quite the little athlete!

Once again, I greatly appreciate the prayers you have sent up for me! You have no idea how much they mean to me, especially at a time like this. I am so fortunate to have such wonderful family and friends who I know would do anything they could for me. I have learned so much throughout this experience and I can’t wait to share my entire testimony someday. God really does deserve all the praise! He has been so good to me! I still struggle with doing things to keep my days full but other than that I am enjoying seeing old friends and getting some rest. Please keep up the prayers, they really make a difference!

 

No Pain, No Gain

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Well I had my fourth chemotherapy last week and this puts me 1/3 of the way finished with treatments! The treatment and doctor’s appointment seemed to go well. I had 200 neutrophils this time which is the most I have had yet! Woo-hoo! However, that is still an extremely low amount. I also got sick for the first time immediately after my chemo last week and have felt nauseous ever since. I think my expectations may be a little high and therefore I have been somewhat disappointed by my inability to rebound as quickly this time.

I titled this post “No pain, No gain” because this chemo stuff has definitely been painful but I know it has to be in order to get rid of the cancer! I don’t mean to be a “Debbie Downer” but no one really prepares you for how you are going to feel through all of this. I have just accepted the fact that I am never going to feel 100% normal until this is all over. My sleeping pills are no longer working and I am having trouble sleeping through the night. I also have this burning sensation in my upper abdomen pretty consistently which we think is a possible ulcer that we have been treating since the first week and it just doesn’t want to go away. On a positive note, my energy seems to be a little better today and I finally was able to get out and take a walk!

My sister has been home with me this week on her spring break and unfortunately due to me not feeling well and the rainy weather, we haven’t been able to do much yet. However, we are going to Branson with some family this weekend and we are pretty excited about that! It will be nice to get out of the house and spend some time with my aunt and uncle. I am so fortunate to have such a great sister who decided to stay home with me instead of going to the beach with her friends this week. Although we haven’t done much besides watch episodes of “Boy Meets World,” it has been really nice to spend time with her.

Next week is going to be a really BIG week! I have my next PET scan on Monday and the results of this basically determine my prognosis. Dr. Armor told us last week that with this type of cancer, usually it is all gone within 2 months of treatment. However, if it is not gone, we will more than likely have to do radiation along with chemotherapy. This is something we have been avoiding because it can increase my risk of breast cancer and heart attack before the age of 40. He also stated that while I will still be curable if there is still cancer in my body, it just means that the cancer isn’t responding as well and may be harder to fight. We will find out the results of the PET scan at my doctor’s appointment next Wednesday.

While I am really anxious about next week, I know that God is in control. More than ever, I have to trust in Him that it is all going to work out according to His plan. Isaiah 41:10 states “Don’t worry because I am with you, don’t be afraid because I am your God, I will make you strong and will help you.” I truly believe that He will give me the strength and peace I need whatever the outcome may be. I thank you for your support and prayers and ask that you please pray for the cancer to be gone from my body and that we will be able to continue on with treatment as planned.

Running the Race

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I had some family and friends that participated in a race this weekend called the Run Lucky 5K in OKC where all proceeds went to Lymphoma/Leukemia research. Although I did not participate, I cheered them on from the start line and then the finish line. Normally I get tired after just standing for a short period of time, but there was so much adrenaline that I stood for over an hour! It was so much fun! I have already told several people that I hope that I am able to train for this and run in it next year. Mark your calendars for next March if you want to join me! πŸ™‚ Look forward to pictures coming in my photo gallery from the race!

Even though I didn’t run the race on Sunday, the whole day I kept thinking about how I am running my own race. I am referring to Hebrews 12:1-3 which states “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lost heart.” Although my race seems rather long right now, it will soon end and I too will have overcome the obstacle that was set before me.

This past weekend, we also had some family come down from Missouri. My uncle, his wife, my cousin, and his wife were all here to spend some time with us. We had a lot of fun! We didn’t do a lot but we were able to get out and enjoy some ice cream and play a game which had us all laughing! Did I mention that my Nanny is back?! I am so glad to have her back to be with me during the days! Yesterday was a lot of fun as well. Nanny and I went to lunch with Will and his mom, then Emily and I went for a walk and I walked a whole mile :), then we got snow cones which were really good, then I had a great dinner with my family, and finally I watched the season finale of “The Bachelor” with Will’s mom Jennie! It was a very busy but fun day and luckily I felt pretty good!

Tomorrow is my fourth chemotherapy session and I am very much dreading it! I am going to try to take my nausea medicine before I even enter the room tomorrow and hope that helps but I’m not very optimistic about it. I continue to pray every day for God to give me the strength to endure this long journey. I wouldn’t be able to do it without my faith in Him and I am a walking testimony that He answers prayers.

I was reading in one of my devotion books the other day and the title was “Gratitude: For the Bad.” The scripture that went along with the devotion was Genesis 50:20 which states “As far as I am concerned, God turned into good what you meant for evil.” To me, this scripture means that Satan wanted this whole situation to be bad, but our great and wonderful God can take “bad” situations and turn them into good. As I was talking to a fellow Hodgkins Lymphoma survivor the other day, she reassured me that although this situation doesn’t seem good right now, that I will look back on it someday and be thankful for the experiences it gave me. My devotion was saying just that. It stated that when life throws you a curveball, you should catch it and then thank God for sending it your way.

I am already very thankful for all the blessings I have been given through all of this. As I previously stated, I am still running the race that God has set before me and my endurance seems to grow through all of you that have shown me Christ’s love. Once again I appreciate the prayers and would ask that you keep them coming for the days ahead. I will more than likely have another PET scan in the next couple of weeks to see if the cancer is gone. I am very anxious about this day but also know that God is in complete control. Elisabeth Elliot was quoted saying “When terrible things happen, there are two choices, and only two: We can trust God, or we can defy him. We believe that God is God, He’s still got the whole world in His hands and knows exactly what He’s doing, or we must believe that He is not God and that we are at the awful mercy of mere chance.” I will choose to believe that He knows exactly what He is doing πŸ™‚

Never Gonna Lose Hope

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First off, I want to apologize for not writing a post in awhile. I will be honest and let you know that I haven’t been the most positive person in the world lately and therefore I have refrained from writing. However, even though I haven’t been positive, I still know that God is in control of the situation. As I have told a lot of people recently, this whole cancer thing may be harder mentally than it is physically. I found a quote from Beth Moore in my daily devotion book that says “God’s Word never said we were not to grieve our losses. It says we are not to grieve as those who have no hope. Big Difference.” Do not worry, I have so much hope!

As you know, I had my third round of chemotherapy last Wednesday and an appointment with Dr. Armor. At my previous doctor’s appointment, my blood count (neutrophils) were about 100. This time, my blood counts (neutrophils) were pretty much non-existent. They showed up as 0 on the doctor’s report but he did tell me that the technicians always go back and hand count them to see if there are even a few. He did not seem too worried about it. He said that as long as I stay away from people who are obviously sick and avoid hand contact with things that are touched by a lot of people, I should be okay! He told me that as long as I didn’t have a fever above 100.5 degrees that we would continue on with treatment.

Chemo gets more difficult but easier each time. I know that probably doesn’t make sense so let me explain. It gets more difficult because I now have anticipatory nausea as soon as we walk in the chemo room, before the drugs even begin to be administered. This is a problem that can only be managed by taking nausea meds before I even get there and even that may not make it completely go away. However, it gets easier each time because I seem to start feeling better a little sooner each time. I have said several times that I wish they could just give me anesthesia for the day when I get chemo and then wake me up the next day. There has to be some reason they can’t do that I guess and I will be stronger because of it.

This past weekend, I was able to play games with Will and his daughter Ashlei on Saturday night which was a lot of fun! I have felt as though I have missed out on doing things with her lately since she is always at her dad’s the weekend after my chemo and I usually do not feel very well. However, I felt good enough to sit down and play some board games this weekend and just laugh with her and that was really good for the both of us! On Sunday, we had visitors! Our family friend, Tom Witten, and his fiancΓ© Cheryl came over for a couple of hours and it was nice to get to see them. After that, my parents and I went to Oklahoma City to the Nike outlet. I am so blessed to have such wonderful parents! They just wanted to buy me some new sweats outfits to make me smile πŸ™‚ We also looked at some patio furniture and then headed home. All in all, it was a good weekend.

This coming weekend my Nanny will be back! She went home last Friday for the week to take care of some things and has been missed greatly! She will head back here on Friday along with my dad’s oldest brother and his wife and my cousin and his wife. They are coming down to see me for the weekend and I am so excited! I am not sure what we will do but I just hope that I am feeling good enough to do something fun with them. On Sunday, I will be going to OKC for the Run Lucky 5K. This is a race where all proceeds go to lymphoma and leukemia research. Although I will not be running, I have a lot of family and friends that will be running for me and several others who endure this fight! My friend Emily put all of this together and ordered us all matching t-shirts and I am so thankful for all the work she has done for this!

I have had the opportunity to spend some time with Will’s mom the past couple of days, my parents and sister the next couple of days, and then our neighbor Terry Varnell on Friday and I am so thankful for that. I never have to worry about being alone because someone is always here and I can’t thank God enough for wonderful family and friends. Each one of these people are so special to me in their own way and I have really enjoyed the time we have gotten to spend together this week.

I truly believe that God still has a purpose for all of this. When I get down and start feeling sad, I just say my prayers and count my blessings. I know that if I continue to seek God’s will for my life that His purpose will be revealed to me in His perfect timing. I was reading the bible with Ashlei on Saturday night before she went to bed and I had her read Hebrews 11:1 which states “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” As I was explaining to her what this verse meant, she related it to what I was going through. She said “even though we can’t see what the future has in store for you, we have to have faith in God and hope that things are going to turn out great.” She’s exactly right! Once again, I appreciate the prayers and continued support. I will keep praying just like I know all of you will and I’m never gonna lose hope!