Monday, June 29, 2009

Praying

A while back, there was a discussion that I heard regarding whether prayer really is necessary...or if prayer really works. The person was trying to make the point that if God already has the courses of our lives mapped out and He is almighty and all-knowing, then why pray for the inevitable to change? For example, if God has already decided that the end of my life will be in 3 months, then how could a prayer from little ol' me change that? I'll admit that I don't know the perfect answer to that, but what I do know is that there is a perfect example in the Bible that I came across while I was in the hospital that has just really stuck with me. And it just confirms that prayer is NECESSARY and ESSENTIAL!!
I think it was the third day that I was in the hospital. I was not really in the mood for anymore TV and just feeling empty. This ALWAYS means for me that I need to fill my heart and mind with Jesus so I grabbed my Bible and just started reading in Isaiah (one of my favorite books). In there was a story that either I have truly never read before, or one that I had read but not really focused on until that day. It's the story of King Hezekiah. In chapter 38 it tells that Hezekiah became really really sick...my version says "deathly ill." Isaiah went to visit him and told him that the Lord wanted Hezekiah to get everything in order and take care of everything because he was going to die...that he would NOT recover from his illness. Immediately after hearing this, he PRAYED, and then he wept (that word to me just makes me think of someone crying to the point of not being able to capture a breath...I've totally been there). Guess what God did! He sent Isaiah back to him with this message: tell Hezekiah that I heard his prayer and saw his tears and I will add 15 more years to his life.
WOW WOW, and WOW!!! How awesome is that?!?!? This is yet another example showing how we, as God's children, can go to Him and lay it all out there and know that He is hearing every word we say and seeing every tear we shed. And that prayer DOES change things!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Since my last post, lots has happened. I ended up calling my doc that Friday evening and was sent to the ER then. When I got to Vanderbilt, my temp was 100.8 and I was SICK SICK SICK! I ended up staying for 4 nights and 5 days for a white blood cell count of 1.7 and a neutrophil (ANC) count of 0. My fever continued until Sunday night and then broke...probably thanks to the heaps of IV antibiotics I received while there. I also was the lucky recipient of a head CT and spinal tap to rule out viral meningitis thanks to a severe headache and neck pain. In the end, there was never an explanation for the fever or decreased white count. All of my cultures came back completely normal so I'm a mystery. I joked with my resident that I could be the prime candidate for that TV show "Mystery Diagnosis."

I do feel like I have some reason though for why I was hospitalized. I think my body just needed the rest. I think God wanted me to really have some rest and knowing exactly how hard-headed I am and how much I like to go and do, I think that this was the best way to get my attention and help me realize that resting is essential even if I feel okay. I think I had run myself down so much without really realizing it that my counts bottomed out and I had no reserve.

One pretty amazing thing did happen while I was at Vandy though. On my third day, my friend Kelli sent me a message saying that she had just been in despair over my sitaution. She had gone to the Lord in prayer and was literally crying out to Him so hard that she couldn't even breathe well. She then told me that all of a sudden her tears stopped and she couldn't cry anymore. She said when that happened, she heard God's voice telling her "SHE IS HEALED." Ummm, can you say WOW?!? The next day my counts skyrocketed and my headaches all but stopped. And I don't think this is where the healing has stopped. No way... I truly believe that I am healed fully and completely and the rest of chemo and radiation are just steps in the process that I have to go through to learn, grow, and furthur this process that God has begun in me.

So, all in all. I am thankful for my hospital "vacation." It was hard to be away from my kidlets, but I came home feeling better. I was able to get my chemo yesterday and all went well with that. I did try to hit the grocery store this morning, but on my way, I had a severe headache so I turned around and came home. Now I am resting and feeling great. What can I say? Sometimes it takes a while to break old habits. I will learn though that Fridays (the day after chemo) are for resting no matter how good I think I feel.

Thank you all for your prayers and concerns over me the past week. I have been blessed with an amazing group of friends, prayer warriors, encouragers, and family.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Expect the Unexpected

Went yesterday for my chemo treatment and came home without it. After having my labs drawn, we discovered that I am neutropenic. This means that my white blood cell counts are low (1.5 to be exact) and my neutrophil count is 0.09. My doctor is very aggressive with treatments so for her to hold off on it, I knew it must be serious. I was a little disappointed, but I know it's for the best. She told me that if I had the chemo that I would end up in the hospital and that I may end up there anyways if I get a fever. There is really nothing I can do to raise my count except to pray that it comes up. And what I can do to keep it from totally plummeting is strict handwashing, avoiding crowds, no fresh veggies or fruits, and pretty much just laying low and letting my body rest.

Unfortunately, it's 4 AM right now and I awoke to a severe headache so I got up and took Advil. Then I realized that I should have taken my temp to be sure it was normal before I took the pain reliever. Took my temp and it's 100.6. My oncology nurse told me yesterday to come to the ER with any fever over 100.4. GREAT! So now I am sitting here blogging instead and just trying to decide if I should just wait a few hours to see how I am, or if I should go wake up David and get some bags packed. I mean I know I should go on in probably because without the Advil in my system my temp would probably be higher than that. Luckily, my parents are here visiting so I have them to watch my kids. I tell you, God is in every detail right down to childcare. If my parents were not here, I would be freaking out probably about what I would do with the kids in case I am admitted.

God knew this was going to happen though. He's not surprised. Yesterday, I called my mom while waiting for my chemo and told her about the labs and then asked her to pray that I would get my treatment. She told me that she would not pray that but that she would pray God's will to be done. So that's how I changed my prayers too. I did not get the answer I was looking for at that particular time, but I am so glad now that I didn't get the chemo or I would be really really sick right now.

Well, I'm off to page my doctor on call I think and see what they recommend and will go from there. Updates later.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Just Rambling

Well, the past week has been interesting to say the least. My whole family had the stomach bug and it was none-to-pleasant at our house. Luckily though, we all survived and are here to tell about it.
The new chemo combo is doing really well for me...at least I think it is. I've had no side effects to speak of and have just been feeling really really good physically. After tomorrow's treatment, I will be down to single digits...only 9 more rounds to go. Hard to believe and honestly it makes me a little nervous to think that I will be done with chemo soon.
Next Wednesday, I am going to Vanderbilt to be tested for the breast cancer gene. I'm having mixed feelings about this test. Part of me, as crazy as this sounds, thinks that if it's positive, that at least I will have an explanation as to WHY I got breast cancer at such an early age. Yes, at times I am still wondering why this happened and if I did anything to cause this, or if I could have done something to prevent it. However, I really hope it's negative because obviously I have a daughter and would NEVER want to pass anything like this on to her, and because I have brothers who could also be affected if my test is positive. You see, breast and prostate cancer genes are related. So, I'm praying for a negative test. It takes 6-8 weeks to come back so I'll know right around the time chemo is ending.

And finally, I was able to spend some time with my friend Lynn and her husband this past weekend. She is a breast cancer survivor with a true zest for life and is just a joy to be around. She called me on Sunday and invited me and the family over for a swim and cookout at her house. After having a really crappy day...and I mean really crappy, I took her up on the invite and we headed over. The Lord knew I needed this to lift my spirits and get me going again. We had a blast!!! Chloe and Lynn bonded pretty instantly and played with the pool toys most of the time. Brody ate most of the time he was there. He had his first taste of baked beans and chocolate chip cookies while we were there and he LOVED them...especially the beans. I swear I am still seeing intact beans in his diaper and it's been FOUR days since he ate them! LOVELY... Anyways, it was great for me and David too to just get away from it all and spend time with another couple who has "been there, done that." It was relaxing, fun, and just what the doctor ordered.

Pics are coming. Lynn is strongly encouraging me to take pics of my lovely baldness to document and be able to share with my kids in years to come what mommy went through. She took several pics so I am going to post them when I get them. Be on the lookout.