Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Answer is...

Does Valentine's Day come in January?  
I didn't think so, but it sure feels like it.

As I think I shared on my last post, my body has responded to the last four treatments with fevers and aches.  Aches like I've been run over by a car and then backed over by a big rig.  

Over the weekend, my sister asked me, "How are you getting through this?"
Well, I'll tell ya.  
It's just one simple word.  


Love comes in many different forms.   

Over the weekend, the doorbell rang.  I brought my make-up less, smelly-haired, mismatched-pajama-clad body to the door to find a friend holding a bouquet of flowers. 

 "I saw these and I thought of you," she said. 

After I hugged her, I saw two more gifts that had been left on my porch.  Someone we know (who?!) must have been to the farmer's market that morning.  A bag of fresh strawberries were waiting to be eaten.  

On the other side of the porch sat another gift.  A little stuffed animal that can be frozen and draped around my neck when that lovely fever chooses to strike.  (Tucker has been eyeing it big time.  I know he wishes this one was for him.)

Love is also:

 "I'm at Costco.  What do you need?"
"Can I take Rachel on Saturday for a few hours so you can rest?"
 "Can I help?  Do you need me?"
"Let me take you to the doctor."
"I'm standing on Psalm 91:14-16 for you."
(By the way, look it up.  It's a good one.)
"Can I hang out with you at chemo tomorrow?"
"Can Jake have dinner with us tonight?"
"I'm praying for you."

I mean, I don't have time to write them all down!

But this is the thing.  This is what gets me.  
That you guys look beyond yourself and think of someone else.  

That just might be my favorite quality in a human being.  

Because I remember how busy my days were pre-cancer.  I had lots of stuff to do on my to-do list.  So I know it's a big deal to put a detour in your day to bless someone else.  It is a big thing.  Just to take the time to write an email and say, "I hope you have a good day today" -- is a big deal.  Because I know our days, even our months, can easily slip away from us before thinking of someone else.  

So all of this to say -- shower me with more gifts!  No, I'm so kidding!  
It's to say, when I receive a gift, a thoughtful email or an offer of help, I see Jesus in all of you.  And it brings me to tears.  Often.

We all know Jesus is synonymous with love.  And I see love in 
each and every one of you 
during this challenging season in my life.

So when my sister asks, "How are you getting through this?"  
I'll be more specific.
With Jesus' love.  His actual love and the love from all of you.  
(And a ton of Advil.)  

Your love will never be forgotten.  
Keep giving it away.  
You have no idea what a gift it is to somene who needs it.

Monday, January 2, 2012

There's Only Two Choices..

Happy belated New Year to you!

I've had so many posts I've wanted to write since my last one, but somehow my words haven't made it onto my computer.  

I'll give you the Reader's Digest version (aka short and sweet) of my last few weeks.  My last two treatments (numbers 3 and 4) have come with a nice little kicker - infection, high fever, unbelievable aches, ER visits and a hospitalization.  Fun, huh?  Those things better not follow me into the New Year.  Three days following chemo, the flu-like symptoms start to rear their ugly head.  I'll spare you the medical hypothesis as to why my doctors think it's happening.  Apparently, it just happens to some of us lucky ones.  And my next treatment is tomorrow.  Yay.  Can't wait.

So I was originally told that I would need 12 treatments.  Tomorrow is number 5.  But I was also told that if by number 6 my numbers are low enough (I need my tumor marker in the single digits), that chemo would end.  My CA125 number at the onset of this recurrence was in the 500s.  After just 3 treatments, it's down to 65.  (That news was my early Christmas present).  So if you would like to pray for me, my prayer is that it's God's will for chemo to wrap up in the next couple of weeks and that I won't have to endure another 7 more of these fun little episodes.

But let me briefly tell you about my week's stay at the hospital.  My first two days were the sickest I've ever been.  Hands down.  Bar none.  You got it.  I felt like a piece of uncooked bacon that had to stand up and walk to the bathroom.  I just couldn't do it.    I remember laying in bed with my eyes closed, too weak to open them, and hearing Ed, my parents and my sister's muffled conversations.  I also remember singing "Praise the Lord, Oh My Soul" (a song I learned 20 years ago, and I only know bits of it) over and over and over again.  For two days.  It brought this piece of uncooked bacon so much peace.

Two days later, once the antibiotics kicked in, I was a new girl.  I went from 0 to 100 and was so grateful.  So grateful, in fact, that I couldn't sleep for two nights.  I was so amped up that I felt so good, that I couldn't settle myself down.   That's what good health will do to a sick person - create insomnia!  And during that time, I met a nurse who I just fell in love with.  We shared our faith with each other every time she walked in my room, I gave her a copy of Jesus Calling and I loaded her down with can't do cancer without God necklaces.  I hope they make their way around every single room on that oncology floor at Los Robles Hospital via my new friend/the Lord's ambassador.

So that's the update on me.  And while I was laying around these last couple of weeks, I wondered what my New Year's message would be to all of you when I got the inspiration to finally blog again.   And I think it's what I told my son as we were talking before bedtime one night.  "When times get tough, you can either run to God or away from God.  That's it.  Those are the only two choices.  And if you pick the first one, your life will be immeasurably better than if you pick the last one."

So maybe if something hits you hard this year 
(or if it continues to follow you into the New Year), 
you can find a quiet place and say, 

"Lord, I give this to you.  I can't do it by myself.  I lay this at your feet and in your capable hands.  I love you and I trust you."

  And mean it.  He will help you make the decisions you need to make, help you to offer the forgiveness you need to give,  help you to face an illness with peace and strength (I can vouch for this one!  Heck, I can vouch for them all!)  

 I recently added a new song to my ipod.  One of my favorites.   It's "Bring the Rain" by MercyMe Bring the Rain.  The lyrics just melt me.  I hope they melt you too.  

Here's to a New Year filled with good health, joy and a heart  that brings you a little closer to God than you ever have been before!