Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A New Plan...

First off, thank you so very much for all of your prayers for me and my family.  You continue to lift us up and we feel it.  

I posted less than a week ago while I was again hospitalized, but I didn't email it out to you guys.  Why?  Well, primarily because I can't send my blog out from my laptop (I usually post from my home computer), but it wasn't really that great of news either.'s one of my most favorite posts I've ever written.  I've read it a dozen times since I wrote it and I cry every time.  But don't fear -- it's not sad.  It's just another amazing story of how God continues to comfort and assure me of His healing.  Read it!  It's a good one!

So the bottom line is that my Cedars oncologist felt doing another regimen of chemo would be futile.  She said she had nothing left in her arsenal for me.  However, we were lead to a new doctor at UCLA this afternoon who felt differently .  Funny, actually, because he's never had one ovarian cancer patient.  Until me.  After explaining to us why he thought a daily regimen of a chemo that ovarian cancer patients never receive may work, we booked my appointment for tomorrow afternoon.    I reminded him, that if my chart didn't reflect it, I do believe God will heal me.  Whether He uses his hands or God's hand.  I shared that as well with the doctor's sweet receptionist who lit up when she saw my "can't do cancer without God" necklace.  She gave me a huge smile and a high five.  What a way to end the appointment.

So as it stands, I'll start tomorrow on a daily regimen of a drug that ovarian cancer patients never receive.  This doctor is brilliant (I couldn't follow a thing the guy said, but Ed could) and thinks outside the box.   My husband fell in love with him right away.  And he doesn't do that very often.  So the fun begins.  Again.  And let me tell you, I am grateful for an Again.

The drag, at this point, is that the chemo has to be administered down at UCLA.  Every day.  But I'm pushing for a change of venue.  I'm going to bat my fake eyelashes and see if I can receive it back at my Westlake Village office again.  Regardless, I'm grateful for another option.  No matter where it is.

As my wise girlfriend reminded me tonight, 
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, and in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight."

Proverbs 3:5-6

Thursday, July 18, 2013

An Amazing Performance...

I ended up back in the ER a few nights ago with the same pain that lead me there last week.  Except this time, my oncologist wanted me transferred from Los Robles to Cedars-Sinai.  So I arrived here on Monday night.   

Upon reviewing the cat scan, my lead oncologist’s opinion was to step away from the chemo as the likelihood of another regimen being successful was not very promising.  Tough news to hear, but I think I knew it was coming.

After I reached for the Kleenex, I closed my eyes and again recounted the many promises and words of comfort the Lord has blessed me with while on this road.  There were just so many to recall.   I remembered each and every one of them.  And as I lay there, His peace flooded my soul.  Again.  Just as it did the day I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer three and a half years ago.  And again, I had a touch of excitement stirring in me too.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.  Then you will experience peace that surpasses all understanding.”  Phillipians 4:6-7.

Oh, how I do.

I just laid in bed and praised Him.  No sound of tv, no outside chatter from other patients, no nurses discussing their charts.  Just me and God.  My door was closed. I hated to open my eyes as I was just basking in my love for Him.

A few hours later, Ed and my Mom arrived.  Just as they sat down, my cell phone rang and it was a pastor friend of mine from Dallas who was calling to pray over me.  I put him on speaker phone and we all heard his words of prayer for healing. 

More Kleenex was used.

In the midst of all this, something else was bothering me.  Don’t laugh, but we had six tickets last night for the Pageant of the Masters.  We had changed the date from August 18th to last night, and due to me being laid up in a hospital bed, no one wanted to go without me.  I begged them.  We had bought the tickets as a birthday present for my Dad.  

“Go!”  I told them over and over again.  I tried to pull the cancer card and everything, but nothing worked.  And not only did they not go, but we couldn’t even give the tickets  away!  It broke my heart.  Because if you remember from last year, I blogged about how utterly amazing that performance was.    And I wanted them to see what I had seen.

“Lord, what could be better tonight than Pageant of the Masters?” I grumbled to myself.

At around 7 o’clock at night, the nursing staff changed.  As my new nurse walked in, she looked like an angel to me.  Just something about her.  I noticed a large cross she wore around her neck and it caught my eye.  Her name badge read, “Esther.”

At about 10 o’clock, my Mom and sister decided to go home.  Right as they were leaving, Esther walked in.  As she was looking over my chart, I told her I had noticed her beautiful cross around her neck.  I asked her what church she went to.  I asked her how long she had been a Christian.  

As she came around to the other side of my bed, she began telling me her testimony.  Before long, she was singing, “Trust and Obey” with a beautiful, beautiful voice.   (How many nurses have you ever had who sing worship songs beside your bed?)  Yeah, I thought so.

She continued to tell me how God speaks to her and how she knows that He is alive.   As I nodded my head, she began singing,  “Be still and know that I am God.”   Tears immediately flooded my eyes and I began to sob.  I laid there, tears streaming down the sides of my eyes, listening to this angelic voice sing “my verse” over me in my hospital bed.  (It’s not even a song!) I looked up to her in amazement.  Amazed that God would use this nurse to again bring me words of comfort -- to bring a stranger into my room who would know how to minister to my soul.   As she was singing, I cried, “This is for me!  This is for me!”  

I had told her with tears blurring my vision that the Lord had promised me healing and despite what the doctors and reports are telling me, I still claim His victory over this cancer.   Her sweet face looked down at me and said, “It is His confirmation.  His Word never returns void.” 

Well, she continued to tell me that she wasn’t even supposed to be on this side of the hospital as she is a floater nurse and is rarely on the same floor twice.  She was supposed to be on the other side tonight.  They gave her all odd numbered rooms and one even.  Mine.  But then she figured, “Well, God must want me to meet someone tonight.”  

And what you don’t know is that after my doctor had left my room hours earlier, I had asked God to give me more words of comfort. More.  I laid there, praised Him and listened.  I never felt led to open my Bible.  I felt in His time, He would reveal His words to me.  Well, did He ever.

Ed walked into my room as Esther was still there.  I could tell when he looked at me he knew I had been crying.  I introduced Esther as the angel God had sent me tonight.  I told him that she sang over me, “Be still and know that I am God.”  His eyes widened and said, “That’s your verse.”  

It’s amazing to me how God orchestrates the details of our lives.  How He shows His love to us.  How He does it in ways I could never dream of.   

A few hours later, I couldn’t help but laugh.  Remember how irritated I was that those tickets went to waste?  I had said, “God, what could be better than us going to Pageant of the Masters?”  Uh, how about an angel singing over me, “Be still and know that I am God” as confirmation of the wondrous work He is about to do.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Comfort and Corn Flakes...

Anyone ever see a human soup can?  Well, come on down to Los Robles Hospital and I’ll lift up my hospital gown so you can say, “Now I’ve seen a human soup can!”

Ed brought me into the ER late Friday night because my abdomen was so distended I could hardly breathe.  Literally.  If a Q-Tip fell on my stomach, I would have screamed.  If memory serves, I look pretty much like I did the day I was diagnosed.   Bloating from side to side, and top to bottom.  All the way around to my back.  Waist?  What waist?  It looks like someone unzipped my torso, shoved a huge tortoise shell in there and zipped it back up.  So sexy.

Found out last night that the chemo needs to be changed again as the lesions continue to grow and are obstructing my intestines.   My first thought was, “Good - now maybe I’ll be put on a treatment that will let my eyelashes grow back.”  (I really miss those things!) My second thought was, “How long until I can eat cheese ravioli with marina sauce?”  (I’m on a liquid diet and hopefully graduating soon to a soft foods diet).  Funny the things that pop into one's mind at a time like this.

It takes a while for my head to get around each new change in treatment.  This is my sixth regimen in three and a half years.  I should be used to it.  Cat scan results take a while to digest, especially when they’re not the ones you had hoped for.  But after some time, I will recall all of the promises God has showered me with.  My soul is again filled with comfort.  And with peace.  And if I didn’t have these trials, I wouldn’t know the amazing beauty of His comfort and His peace.  And I'm telling you, it's amazing.  Utterly amazing.

I woke up this morning at 4 a.m.   I had one of my favorite songs playing in my head.  So I grabbed my iphone in search of it.  To my delight, I found it on video.  Lots of them.  My room was dark as I put my headphones in.  I laid in bed and just wept listening to the lyrics.  If my nurse had walked in, she would have walked right back out.

“With all creation I sing, praise to the King of kings.  You are my everything, and I will adore you.”

If you have a second, pull up The Revelation Song and watch Kari Jobe sing it live.  She is unbelievable.  What talent God put into that girl.  And she gives it all back.  To Him.

(Had to stop writing and talk to the surgeon who just walked in.)  Good news!   I can begin eating soft foods!  If I don’t throw them up, I can go home.  I immediately called Ed and said, “Bring me Corn Flakes!”  (I don't even like Corn Flakes!  Hey, are we sure there's not a baby in there?)  And whoever calls me at lunch and says, “I’m on my way, do you need anything?”  My answer will be, “Heck yeah -- some cheese ravioli with marinara sauce!”   That qualifies as a soft food, right?  Maybe I’ll go a little easy on the sauce.

When I received the news last night from the oncologist, Donna was with me.  She was going to go home and email our friends to pray for me.  She asked me what I would like them to pray for.  I told her for the next treatment to do its job and shrink those lesions near my intestines so I can have a waist line again.  And so I can breathe again without discomfort.  Within minutes of her sending out that email, I could hear all the “dings” of my inbox being flooded with emails.  All friends lifting me and my family up in prayer.   Thank you to each and every one of you.  And to all of you who continue to walk this journey with me, I thank you too.

I want to share one more thing.  I grabbed my Bible before I went to bed last night and my eyes rested on these words:

"He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes His unfailing love on those who love Him and obey Him."
Deuteronomy 7:9

Aren't we lucky? 

Well, I must clean up my tray table.  I believe my cornflakes are on their way!
(P.S.  I wrote this in the hospital.  Happy to report, I am now home and feeling better.  And I've probably eaten five bowls of Corn Flakes.)