Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Brief Respite

Yesterday, I was reminded again of God's graciousness in our lives over the last year and a half. As I sat in my oncologist's office for my check-up, a resident doctor came in to observe and review my file. While we waited on the oncologist to come in, the resident asked me about my cancer story and he perused my file. After a minute, he seemed startled and asked, "You mean your cancer was hormone negative and HER2 positive and it was just a stage 1?" Yes. I don't think I have ever been in denial, but I choose to not dwell on "what could be or might be," but to take each day as it comes, trusting the Lord for enough strength for the day. (Matthew 6:34) It had been a while since I had been reminded just how serious my cancer diagnosis was and could have been.
  1. Only about 25% of women get the kind of cancer I got.
  2. It is a highly aggressive cancer and could have only been in my body for a couple of months at most to still be a stage 1.
  3. It was a miracle that I realized something had changed and I needed to talk with my doctor.
  4. It was another miracle that my doctor agreed to send me to a specialist after a radiologist, 2 mammograms and 3 ultrasounds said that there was nothing there.
Whatever the reasons, I may never know, but I got to share again how God had taken care of us and how He had used the delay in my diagnosis, and held the growth at bay, so that we could adopt our youngest son!

So where am I now and what do I have planned for the future? :)
  1. I just finished my last visit with my plastic surgeon yesterday! I get a brief respite. The expanding process with the skin is done and so we have scheduled surgery for July to remove the expanders and replace them with the implants. The whole process from surgery, healing, reconstructing and tatooing will take about 6 months.
  2. My 7th echocardiogram came back showing that my heart is on the mend. Still not all the way there, but heading in the right direction! My heart muscle had been damaged by the year-long treatments.
  3. I am still sleeping in the recliner...since March 16th! Although I love my recliner, I am longing for my bed. The problem is just that the expanders are too uncomfortable to lay on either side and too heavy for me to lay on my back...I can't breath. :(
  4. We have planned my surgery for July instead of June so that I can take a trip to Colorado to see my family and attend my grandparent's 70th wedding anniversary! YES, 70th!!!
  5. As of now, I am considered "cancer free!" With my type of cancer, the highest rate of return is within the first 2 years. I will be holding my breath till January, my 2 year mark. :) The rate is slightly less for it to return within 5 years. After that, there is a 92% success rate! So, for now it is just up to me to know my body and be on the lookout for any strange aches or pains that don't go away. No pressure there. ;)
So, I am grateful for God's blessings and His grace! I am so thankful for this Mother's Day that just passed, and I am looking forward to school getting out and spending a fun summer with my family!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Surrounded by India!

It seems like everywhere I turn lately, India is popping up. I'm not sure why. A friend of mine who is adopting from Ethiopia says that everywhere she turns she is hearing and seeing stuff about Ethiopia. Maybe it's been there all along, but I am just more aware now of things involving India since my youngest son was born there; now that I hold a piece of India in my heart. Here are a few of my run-ins with India lately...

  • In the April 18th issue of Time Magazine there is a small article about India winning the Cricket World Cup! They had not won the title since 1983. I was instantly reminded of our trip to India 2 years ago and remembered seeing little boys playing the game on little patches of dirt by the sides of the road.
  • Slumdog Millionaire was on t.v. a couple of weeks ago. The same day my daughter brought home a new book from her classroom to read for her daily reading. It was a small non-fiction book about the little girl who got chosen to have a leading role in that movie.
  • A friend of mine just got back from India a couple of weeks ago after traveling to pick up their 5th child (their 3rd adopted from India)! While there, they volunteered for a week at a foster-type home for special-needs orphans. She may not know it, but this friend is such an inspiration to me!
  • Ganthimathy, the little girl we sponsor in India, has a birthday coming up soon. I have been working on getting a birthday packet put together to put in the mail for her.
  • Right now I am reading the book "One Million Arrows" by Julie Ferwerda. In it she shares the story of M.A. Thomas or "Papa" as the orphans called him. He was Indian and started a ministry in India caring for the leper's children and orphans in a very desperate area in northern India. Since the 1970's he has cared for thousands of orphans, started "Hope Homes" all over the country of India, set up schools and Bible Schools and graduated hundreds of orphans who have chosen to be nurses, doctors, teachers, pastors, etc., all in their own country so that they could serve "the least of these" and spread the Gospel of Jesus! So Incredible! Papa just passed away in December and his ministry "HopeGivers International" is still going strong. I highly recommend that you check out his web site and also read the book!
  • Yesterday, as I was reading a blog I follow, I came across an add for a free book. Not one to turn down a free book, I clicked on the link. It is called "Revolution in World Missions" by K.P. Yohannan. It is a book by Gospel for Asia and the author is from India! I cannot wait to read it. The reviews are great and say the book is "life-changing!"
Although I am not sure why "India" keeps popping up in my life right now, I am pretty certain that God is slowing growing a love for India in my heart that He began the day we said, "Yes," to a little boy from Kolkata!