Tuesday, March 30, 2010

3 Down, 3 to Go!

Today I went for my 3rd chemo treatment. I am now halfway on the chemo...3 down, 3 to go! All went smoothly. Again I slept through the 4 hour treatment. They are giving me half the dose of Benedryl they usually give people since I am so susceptible to meds and it still knocks me for a loop. (The Benedryl is given because at any point I can develop an allergic reaction to the Herceptin drug.) I am feeling exhausted this evening, but no nausea right now with the steroids and nausea meds in my system from the treatment this morning.

Today I also finished reading an amazing book. It is called "Love Mercy" by Lisa Samson. The back of the book gives this brief description...
"Having lived a life of plenty in suburban America, Lisa Samson and her eighteen-year-old daughter Ty thought they were traveling to Africa to minister to the people and chronicle the AIDS crisis devastating the continent. Their trip, they assumed, would be missional, merciful, giving. Instead, they experienced a life-changing, soul-rattling journey."

One thing that really spoke to me from the book was when she was talking about her life as "her story." God began to show her that this was not the case. Our lives are not about becoming followers of Christ and adding Him into "our story." From the moment of Creation and before, it has always been about "God's story" and when we become followers of Christ, we are mercifully and graciously drawn into "His story." It would be easy to be frustrated or fearful about how my breast cancer is messing up "my life story." However, when I look at it in the light of God wanting to use me and my cancer as part of furthering "His story," that changes things. I pray that I will be found faithful and will be a clear reflection of His love and grace!

On a side note...if you purchase the book to read, 100% of the proceeds go to Children's Hope Chest run by President Tom Davis who wrote the books "Fields of the Fatherless" and "Red Letters."

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Where God Lead, He Provides!

The thought of the cost we are going to incur when I got the cancer diagnosis was just one of the thoughts on our minds as we headed into the new year starting 2010. I cannot even begin to imagine what weekly treatments for 1 year will add up to. Then you add the 2 surgeries, all the extras that go along with that, and the reconstruction stuff afterwards. It can be a bit overwhelming.

However, we have just come back from our adoption experience where God blew us away with His provision...the exact amounts at the exact time it was needed. Over and over again providing in ways that kept us humbly on our knees. We can truly say that our whole adoption experience was a "God thing" from start to finish. Now, the financial aspect of things does not seem too overwhelming for Him to handle. He has led me here, so I believe that He will provide the way. And He has already begun to provide in His usual unusual ways!

Yesterday, an aunt's mother called us and said that she and her neighbor were talking and she mentioned the cancer journey we are on and her neighbor said that he felt like he wanted to help us out. Each month he tries to give away $200 to someone who needs it and this month he definitely wanted to give it to us for our medical expenses! This from a man we have never met and probably never will!

In January, we got a call from a dear friend in our church who is a nurse. She had to organize a "Walk/Benefit" of some sort as a process in her continuing education. When she found out that I had breast cancer, she decided to do a Breast Cancer Walk and Benefit for our family! We have been very overwhelmed and humbled by her wanting to do this. The walk is going to be Mother's Day weekend here in our community and will include a silent auction, craft vendors, entertainment for kids, etc! People can buy a t-shirt, join a team and come walk with my family! I am looking forward to spending that time with our family and friends! If you have not signed up yet, I hope you will join us!

I love that God is so creative in His provision and that many, many times He loves to use others around us to bless our lives!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Well, I thought I would share my bracelet with my first 2 beads, celebrating finishing my first 2 chemo treatments. My sweet husband got me the bracelet for Valentines Day and the 2 crystal hearts are built into the bracelet. There was so, so much to choose from, so I had to decide kind of what look I wanted the bracelet to take. I decided on these antique looking beads. I wanted to pick a different color bead to represent each member of my family since they are why I am fighting and doing the treatments in the first place. My first bead is "pink," of course, to represent me and the breast cancer. My second bead is "orange" for my husband. Since it happens to be one of the colors in his favorite ball team, I thought it appropriate. :) I am definitely NOT looking forward to my next treatment, but I am excited now about my next bead! A special thanks goes out to my friend, Chrystal, who gave me the idea for the bracelet in the first place and then gave me a gift card to "sponsor" my first bead!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Reason for my Hope!

I'm finishing off another rough week. Different, but still rough. The new meds helped with some of the symptoms, but not all. I want to cry myself to sleep every night, but I can't let myself because it makes the head aching worse. Without the HOPE that the doctors got all the cancer and this treatment is mostly prevention, without the HOPE that till May I am going to be sick for 1 week, but feel well for 2, without the HOPE that I can do or face ALL things through Christ who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13), I would feel very HOPELESS right about now. I cannot imagine an inkling of the hopelessness those without a personal relationship with Christ must feel when something in their life goes wrong.

That being said, Jesus told His followers to, "be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you, a reason for the hope that is in you..." (I Peter 3:15). So this morning, I was thinking of a couple of reasons that give me HOPE...

  1. Psalms 139 says it all. God knew me and loved me even before He formed me in the womb and He knew the number of days that I would live. Nothing can separate me from His love! "How precious are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand!"
  2. Jeremiah 29:11-13 encompasses so much! I know that God has a plan for my life, that He hears my prayers and that He is a God who is personal and can be known! His death on the cross gave me the hope of a future without calamity in Heaven someday and I love His promise..."call upon Me, and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart!"
As I go through this cancer experience, I am encouraged by and in awe of those fellow believers in Christ who have not gotten the positive news that I have and yet are singing the praises of their Saviour with gusto. I am overwhelmed by their courage and faith and challenged by the strength of their personal relationship with Jesus Christ through their own cancer stories. My children's pediatrician and his wife, Pastor Matt Chandler, and Zac, the son of some missionary friends. Please click on their stories and read their hearts. I thank them so much for their faithful testimonies!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Hoping for better!

Well, tomorrow I head in early for my second chemo treatment...a process that will take about 4-5 hours. I am hoping for better physical health this second time around. The nurse has given me some different meds to try to see if we can head off some of the side effects I experienced a couple of weeks ago. Lets see...those would be...constipation, headache, body ache, stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, raw tongue, a mouth sore, and taste bud changes. And all that happened in one week! I am trying to think positive and hoping that the different meds work better this coming week. I have also started experiencing the hair loss already. I was a little surprised that it happened so quickly after just 1 treatment.

On a positive note, I did well the second 2 weeks with just the Herceptin doses. I just experienced some body aches, headaches, and being really tired, but I can take a nap and some tylonal and live with those for the rest of the year if I have to. Also, although my blood count went down the second week, so far I have stayed well. My husband has done his best to keep me quarantined at home so that I don't get sick. Of course this week he missed 3 days of school because he was home sick with the stomach virus. The Lord has protected me and I feel well going into my treatment tomorrow.

My girls did not get to go with me last Tuesday. So much happened. The weather did not cooperate and it snowed that day. The cancer patient advocate was snowed in on the mountain and the lady who heads the cancer dept was home sick. Then they canceled school, so my husband had to stay home with all the kids and I drove myself to the treatment. So much for the best laid plans. :) The new plan is to take them with us next week. Hopefully that will all work out.

So, I head to bed tonight to try and get some rest so I will feel strong and rested in the morning!