Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tired but STILL Awake...UGH!

It's 2:10 AM and I'm still awake. Can't decide if it's the 3 Diet Dews I had yesterday, my husband's extremely loud snoring tonight, or that maybe God wants some time with me (which if that's the case, I better get off this computer).
Anyways, I have a lot on my mind right now so I'm going to list them here to get them out, pray through them, and then hopefully get some shut-eye.

1. Kate has stopped eating, drinking, and talking all together. My heart hurts for her family.
2. My friend and mentor who desperately wants another baby and who's husband NEEDS another job.
3. Jordan (younger brother) who has a HUGE exam on Wednesday which will determine his career path in the ARMY.
4. I am struggling with a decision I need to make soon. My heart is not at peace and my mind wants to go anywhere BUT there. I haven't even wanted to pray about it to this point because I just don't want to think about it. More on it after decisions are made.

So there's my list. Doesn't look like a lot when I list them...there's only 4. But boy those 4 have burdened my heart. I wish sometimes that we were able to just get a glimpse into how things would turn out. Just a quick peek! I guess if that were to happen though, we wouldn't be living out our lives in faith and trusting that EVERYTHING that God does is perfect and sovereign.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Happy One Year To Me...

That's right! Today marks my "I'm a ONE YEAR SURVIVOR" anniversary. Wow!!! What a crazy busy year this has been, but what an extreme amount of blessings that I have received because of it.
Psalm 103:1-5 is the passage that I have chosen to claim as mine for today and this current season. It says "Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle's."

I do have a fun story to share that I will follow up with pictures when I get home (I didn't bring my camera cord with me). David and I are in Washington DC for the annual CFA seminar. One of the events last night that we could attend was to see Buddy Valastro, THE CAKE BOSS complete a cake that he had made for CFA. Before he started though, we were able to ask questions. So, being in the front row and super excited, I just HAD to ask a question. And of course it was about the bridezilla who ruined the cake he had made for her because she was basically a brat and trying to be funny on camera. He let me know that she ended up "getting hers" because America found her on facebook...and I don't really need to say much more other than the things they were writing to her were none to nice! Anyways, after that, he shared that his dad had died of cancer and how that event had shaped him into becoming the owner of his dad's bakery. So...having a common denominator, I told Buddy that I was a 1 year survivor and that in 4 more years when I am considered cured that I will be coming to him for a pink ribbon cake. He said he'd definitely make it for me. I will hold him to it. I will take my entourage on Feb. 23, 2014 and roll on up to the front door of his bakery in New Jersey to get some of that delicious cake. And in exchange, I may take him some yummy Chick-fil-A. So...I had total conversation with THE CAKE BOSS!!!

OK - pictures to come...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Very Quickly...Kate

I am sitting in Washington DC about to head to the Arlington National Cemetary but what is weighing in my mind right at this moment is to ask you all to pray for Kate as she draws closer to death. She has stopped eating and drinking, and is sleeping a lot more at this point. The family is having a hard time because of exhaustion, decisions, and just grief. Lift them up to our Father with me that they may all be comforted and find rest during this time. Kate's sister told me that they truly believe that the time is very very close.
I will keep you updated as I know things

Sunday, February 14, 2010

For The Joy of the Lord is Our Strength

First of all, HAPPY VALENTINES DAY to all of my blogger-world friends and family. I hope you all spent the day with your loved ones as I did and enjoyed it. For me, it just reminded me that Jesus is supposed to be our first love so that's how we started our day church worshipping and soaking in as much Jesus as we could. Then, we came home and spent the whole day together as a family. The kids were so good today and we all had a blast being together. Those kids are such a joy in my life that I sometimes look at them and wonder what in the world I did to deserve those two precious blessings.
But now, on to JOY! I have been doing a Beth Moore study called "Living Beyond Yourself." It's awesome, amazing, and full of the Holy Spirit. I love it as I strive to be filled more and more with the Spirit each day. Anyways, the second fruit of the Spirit is joy. I have learned new things this week about joy and have been reminded things about it that I had forgotten or been too wrapped up in my own pity party to remember. First, I learned that SALVATION IS OUR JOY (Luke 10:20 and Psalm 51:12)! Nothing else is...simply salvation and it is God's. It's about Him and it's His to give. By His grace we are given this amazing gift!!! So if we have a day where things are crappy and we are feeling sorry for ourselves or our circumstances, we need only remember that we have SALVATION and that's nothing to be bummed about.
The second thing that I learned is the joy of discovery. To quote Beth, "the presence, purpose, and power of God is best discovered through difficulty." Can I get an "amen" please?!? That is SOOOOO true! We only need to look at Paul's experiences in Acts to see this.
And the last thing I will mention is that there is restoration joy. Psalm 71:20-21 says "You have allowed me to suffer much hardship but you will RESTORE me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. You will RESTORE me to even greater honor and comfort me once again." Is that not an awesome promise? That after all of the suffering we endure that we will be restored to an even greater place of comfort and honor??? I know one thing to be true. I feel like my restoration from breast cancer is my SEE Pink ministry. I am able to take that horrible experience and trial and reach out to serve other women suffering the same disease. I have been blessed with about 8-10 new women in my life who I have the privelege of knowing, ministering to, serving and praying for. I can sympathize and empathize with them because of the hardship I faced. I can show them how awesome and loving and faithful God is through every circumstance we face. I have been restored to an even greater place of comfort!!!

I leave you with this...The joy of the Lord is truly our strength. Focus on this when you are tempted to let satan rule your emotions and you won't be down for too long! There is joy to be had!!!
Love to you all.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Updating on Kate

Let me start off this post by saying that my state of mind in the last post was quite abnormal for me. I was hurting, I was angry, and those were just honest feelings that I was journaling. I HAD to get those out and writing is my personal outlet. I just happen to do it publically via blogging. I hope I didn't offend anyone, but God wants us to be real and be true with Him about everything - even when we are mad and don't understand what He is doing. And just so you know, I did go to church that next day and had an amazing time of praise and worship where I was able to just soak up the Holy Spirit's presence and let go of my anger. I still don't understand WHY this has happened to my sweet friend, but I trust God and I have a pure peace. Psalm 18:30 says "God's way is PERFECT."

Now, on to the update...I was able to go see Kate today. Her sister told me a few days ago that Kate had been talking about me and the kids (and our dog) for days so she thought it would be fine for me to come. They are trying to limit visitors because this is truly precious family time that they are having so I feel completely blessed that I was able to share in this time with them. And selfishly, I just felt like I needed to see Kate one more time. The last time I saw her, she was having conversation and was lucid. She could see and hear somewhat and it was just a beautiful visit. It was hard to wrap my mind around the fact that she wouldn't be here with us on earth much longer. HOWEVER, today was different. Kate was NOT Kate. She was mostly in her own world, talking about things that no one really understood, and unable to do much on her own. I was wondering on my way down to see her how she would know I was there...IF she would know. So, after being there and holding her hand for a while, I took her hand and let her rub my hair (last week we were talking about my new hair), then she felt of my diamond. I think that's when she knew I was there. She smiled a little bit and then had tears start rolling down her cheek. Her sister, mom, and mother-in-law all saw it and told me that she knew I was there and that in some of her more lucid moments of the week they had been telling her that I was coming. I don't know for sure, but I really do think she knew...or maybe I just really hope she did. Anyways, I stayed about 45 minutes and had the privelege to meet her dad and her father-in-law (I had met the other family members last summer during chemo). Her family asked me to come back anytime because they know Kate wants me there so I will be going back next Tuesday or Thursday when the kids are in school again.
Until then, I have some different things that I want to pray for and want you all to pray for too.
1. Please pray that God will protect Kate's mind and heart with thoughts of Him and her family while she is "in her own world."
2. Pray that her parents will feel the presence of God and be comforted by the only one who can provide perfect peace (John 14:27). I truly felt so sorry for her parents that they are having to watch their daughter go through this. I thought of how easily it could be my parents suffering in the same way and it's only by God's grace that they are not.
3. Pray for her husband, Tim. He is a wonderful and very loving husband who is hurting deeply. He takes such great care of his Kate and has since I've known them. They are truly in love!! When Kate is gone, he will be here in TN with no family even remotely close. I cannot even hardly think about how he will feel without tears welling up.
4. And finally, pray for me that I will remember through this hard time that God's ways really are perfect - even when we don't understand them

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My Heart is Hurting

Hey blogger friends. I wanted to update you on my dear friend Kate and ask you to keep praying for her. I have been in touch with her sister a lot since the last post so here's the latest.

Kate's health is deteriorating quickly. She has lost her hearing and sight now and spends a lot of time "in her own world." She is not easily comforted because she is unable to hear or see her family. Her sister did say that Kate has reassured them that she is NOT in pain which is a huge blessing! The hospice doctor was in the other day and told the family that this is all part of the process of this leptomeningial metastasis.
I was planning on going to see Kate on Monday, but her family has requested no more visitors except for family. I completely understand this and respect their wishes 100%. I can't imagine how difficult this time is as they watch their wife/sister/daughter go through this. I really never thought that last Monday when I saw her at Vanderbilt that it would be the last time I would see her. But the Lord has revealed the blessing in it to me. Originally, I was going to see her this past Thursday, but I felt a HUGE urgency to see her earlier in the week and Monday was that day. She was awake and alert most of my visit and was able to smile and laugh and talk to me. Had I waited until Thursday to go, I would not have seen that same Kate. I'm so glad that God placed that burden on my heart to go see her earlier.
Now though, I need to be honest with some emotions I am having. Authentic...because I wouldn't be a good blogger if I wasn't honest (maybe even to a fault). I was sitting here thinking about church being tomorrow and about how usually I am thrilled to go to church, worship and praise my Jesus, and then get into His word to learn. However, I don't know how I am going to do this tomorrow. How am I going to sing about how great and awesome and amazing our God is when my heart is hurting so bad? How is it going to happen when my close friend is dying and there is nothing that can be done about it? I hate sin, the fall of man caused this crappy disease and I know its not God's fault, but that doesn't help my heart feel any better in this moment.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Vanderbilt Appt Update

Last month, January, was the first month that I have not been to see any doctor (oncologist, surgeon, etc) in a full year! It was GLORIOUS and I am so thankful for that whole month of not having to go. However, I did go yesterday for my 6 week check up and had a great report.

We started with my ECHO to check how effectively my heart muscle is beating (ejection fraction). They like for it to be between 55-70. Last time, it had dropped from 65 to 57 so that was just a tad bit worrisome. However, this time is was 62 so that is a blessing! After that scan was done, I went and had an espresso in the cafeteria and moved on to the cancer clinic for my labwork. If there is a blessing in getting stuck in the chest with a needle, it's that my numbing medication worked perfectly, and I had the best most fun nurse to draw my labs. I was happy to see him because he hadn't drawn my labs in a long time. Anyways, labwork came back perfectly. WBC's were borderline this time, but they were still okay. Blessing!!!

Next, came the tough part of the appointment. Seeing my doctor...I knew it would be emotional because she is Kate's doctor too and she knows that we are good friends. We talked about Kate for a while and she told me that Kate really struggled with whether to tell me or not because she didn't want me to give up hope for my healing (which I have NOT). We talked a little bit about the future and then the tears flowed. Doctor Mayer is THE most compassionate doctor I have ever been to. She really cares for and loves her patients so much and I could tell her heart is just as broken over Kate as mine and Kate's own family is.

Anyways, I got a good report from her and then headed back to Clarksville. I go back March 18th and then I get to skip all of April!!! Once May is over, I will be officially moved from going every 6 weeks to going every 12 weeks. I feel like I am graduating!

One thing I did learn yesterday...I'm not ready to go by myself to these appointments. I thought that I was because I am perfectly fine now, but realized that emotionally, I still need that support. I won't be stubborn next month but instead will let David go with me:)