Monday, November 23, 2009

Sharing A Story

On March 6, 2006 I discovered that I was pregnant with Chloe. This was the most thrilling news for us. Immediately I called my doctor's office and scheduled an appointment and within 45 minutes, I started bleeding. NOT A GOOD SIGN. I instantly called the doctor back and spoke with a nurse named Debbie. Debbie was the sweetest most calming nurse and she really helped calm my nerves. As the days passed and things were looking super grim with that pregnancy, I talked to Debbie a lot on the phone. She never made me feel like I was bothering her but instead treated me like I was the only preggo person in Clarksville. Obviously, that pregnancy ended at 40 weeks with a sweet baby girl named Chloe, and Debbie was thrilled to see her when I brought her in for my check-up.
Fast forward to July 2, 2008 (yes, I remember important dates very well) and Debbie was my go-to nurse again. She called me to check on me when I went into pre-term labor with Brody. We talked several times on the phone towards the end of that pregnancy yet at this time I felt like we were more friends than nurse/patient. And at that point we made the connection that her son was working for David. Her son, Patrick is an amazing young man who you can tell was raised in a Christian home. He's polite, courteous, loving, compassionate, honest, and much more...just like his mom. Anyways, Debbie and I stayed in contact through that pregnancy too.
Fast forward to May 2009 and Debbie and I meet in the most random place of all...the cancer clinic at Vanderbilt. The month after Brody was born, she was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor on her thigh that had spread to her lungs. At this point, she had been undergoing chemo for about 6-7 months. We chatted everytime we saw each other while David would talk to Patrick (he came with his mom to every single treatment). Every time I saw her, she had a smile on her face and if we were talking children you could see the sparkle in her eyes as she talked of hers.
The last time that I saw Debbie was in July. Her chemo had stopped working so they were moving on to an oral experimental treatment. I missed seeing them every week. It was kind of fun to go to chemo and see the same people...especially your friends. I have often thought about her and Patrick and wondered how they were doing. I've prayed that her new chemo was working and that she would be miraculously healed. Unfortunately for her friends and family, she passed away today. My heart aches for her sons and honestly I've cried my share of tears over her as well. Earth was just a better place because of her. I hate that she is gone, yet I rejoice that she is finally cancer-free. I hate that she is not here with her sons, yet I rejoice that she is in the presence of the SON who will continue to care for her sons.
My life was greatly blessed by knowing Debbie and I know that heaven is just as blessed tonight.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Heart Is Burdened...

Tonight was a wonderful night. It was the first meeting of the support group I started with my friend Lynne. All I can say about it is WOW!!! SEE Pink is off the ground and running. We had 2 ladies come tonight who are currently being treated for breast cancer and one of them brought her 14 year old daughter with her. We also had 2 girls who came to support the group and signed up to be a "bosom buddy." This term is what we are calling people who want to help out in some way but do not have breast cancer. We are pairing them with people in the group who are undergoing treatment to be their main go-to person if they need anything. The bosom buddies will do meals occasionally, help make arrangements for childcare, go grocery shopping, get together to hang out with/laugh with/cry with/ pray with their buddy.

Now, on to why my heart is heavy tonight and I am wondering if I really am going to be good at my new "job." AG (her initials) is one of the ladies who came to the meeting tonight. She has had her surgery but may need more and she meets with her oncologist at Vanderbilt tomorrow. She has NO SUPPORT AT ALL. She is not married, her children are grown and not there for her at all (they didn't even help after her surgery), she lives with her brother who does not help her in the least, and to top it off the one friend that she does have who was going to go with her to her to Vandy tomorrow is not taking her phone calls so she now has to go alone. I sooooooo remember the first time I met my oncologist. Even though I was a nurse and knew all of the medical terminology I was still hugely overwhelmed. I just felt like I couldn't breathe when I was leaving the office. Luckily though, I had David there with me to hold my hand, reassure me, and ask the questions that I couldn't ask. So...I pulled Lynne aside and told her that we needed to go with AG tomorrow. She DOES NOT need to go alone. So tomorrow at 12:30 we are meeting her and going with her to her appointment. We have a binder full of questions for the doctor that we give to each of our members and we've figured it out that while AG is asking the questions, Lynne is going to be taking notes and I am going to be listening intently since I have the medical background and can translate it all to AG if she gets home and has questions about the terms used or anything else. I feel great about this decision to go with her tomorrow because I know that she needs this. So I'm left wondering why I am sitting here writing this with this heavy burden on my heart. She has not left my mind since I left the meeting. I cannot shake this feeling. I guess my prayer for God to break my heart for what breaks His has been answered. I just hope now that I don't get so emotionally involved that I allow it to constantly be at the forefront of my thoughts. Or maybe that is the way it's supposed to be because when something affects my heart like this I pray constantly and I know that ultimately prayer is what these ladies need.
So, that's how the first SEE Pink meeting was in short. I'm exhausted now so I am off to bed. Oh, and please ignore any super long run on sentances I may have used. I'm too tired to even proofread this.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Updating

So I just realized that I need to update on some of the things that I wrote on the previous post. So, staying true to the format that I LOVE, here is a list :)
1. Shawnna - her scan showed that the chemo IS working. Her liver is looking better so they are pushing forward and she will continue that chemo. PRAISE!
2. Me - my MRI came back normal indicating that the tingling must be a pulled muscle or a pinched nerve. I'm thrilled beyond belief about that and the reassurance that there is NO mets to the spine. On another note though, while scanning, they just happened to find a nodule on my thyroid. My oncologist is 99% sure it's nothing related to cancer so she put this issue in the hands of my PCP. I'm waiting on bloodwork results and will have several scans next Monday and Tuesday to try to find out what this nodule is.
3. Alfreda- I was informed about this lady who has just been diagnosed with breast cancer in my city. She has no support system and has young children. I'm going to call her tomorrow and talk with her and see what I can do to help her. Please pray for her and me that I will be encouraging to her and know how to best help her.



Philippians 4:19 - And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Nothing Else Matters

We are doing a new study in my church small group called "Crazy Love." It's written by Francis Chan, the pastor at Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, CA. I've read this book before (twice actually), but learn something new each time I read it or am pleasantly reminded of things I had forgotten. Tonight's chapter was about how short our life really is. Yes, we all think that our lives are going to go on forever...or at least 75 years, but the truth of the matter is that I could die before I even finish posting this. Or you could die before you finish reading this. So, let me share some things that have impacted me on this go round...

1. On the average day, we are so caught up in OURSELVES, that we don't consider God very much and forget that life truly is a vapor (James 4: 13-14)
2. Intellectually we all know that we will die but we do not really know it in the sense that it becomes a part of us. We do not really know it in the sense of living as though it were true.
3. When I am consumed by my problems I actually convey the belief that I think the circumstances are
more important than God's command to always rejoice.
4. In the context of God's strength, our problems really are small!
5. Maybe God has allowed hard things in your life so you can show the world that your God is great and that knowing Him brings peace and joy even when life is hard.
6. You never know when God is going to take your life. At that moment there's nothing you can do about it. Are you ready?
7. One second he (Stan Gerlach) was confessing Jesus; a second later, Jesus was confessing him! - this was a story about a man who was giving a eulogy at another man's funeral and the last words he said were the ones I typed in number 6. After he sat back down, he fell over and died. Can you imagine how exciting it would be to be in this position?!? One minute you are telling people who Jesus is and the next minute you are standing before God hearing Jesus say "This is who Kelly (insert your own name) is!"
8. When we face the holy God, "nice" isn't what we will be concerned wtih and it definitely isn't what He will be thinking about. Any compliments you received on earth will be gone and all tha twill be left for you is truth. (Rev. 3:1). All that matters is the reality of who we are before God.

So, I wanted to share all of this with everyone of you because we are not promised one more breath much less another 50 years. We need to get it right my friends and realize that NOTHING ELSE MATTERS EXCEPT JESUS! Not the worries and stress that consume so much of us, not the super fun times that we are blessed with, not the regular ol' run of the mill days...NOTHING...but Jesus!

Love you all. And now as always, I have a few prayer requests to mention...
1. Shawwna - was re-scanned today to see if her chemo is working and if she is in remission now. Haven't heard results yet.
2. Lisa - a lady who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and just started treatment today.
3. Me - lots of tests at Vandy tomorrow (Thursday) including an MRI to evaluate the reason for the tingling in my back
4. Heidi and Joe - a couple whom I have become friends with through blogger world. Heidi's breast cancer came back a few months ago and the chemo this time is really taking a toll on her. And...it's always hard on the support person so please lift her hubby Joe up in your prayers too.