Monday, March 4, 2013

Do I have To?

God, I just really don't want to do this. I realize I have to. But Having done this before, I know what to expect. This only makes it that much more difficult to swallow. Why are we here again? I feel like a small child about to face the world on her own. I keep telling myself there must be a better way. But this is it.

Had a little pampering done today. It did lift my spirits. Still, that cloud is hanging right above my head. Finding joy in small things is not a problem. Losing it at the smallest inconveniences is what is getting to me lately.

I foresee being placed in a straight jacket tomorrow. SO much anxiety. Sitting for hours as they drip poison into your veins is something indescribable. How will I do this? How will I keep my cool and not go awol? Those poor nurses. I am terrified. MY nearly 5 yr old is more likely stable and capable to handle what is coming than I. I feel like a helpless child.

If I can make it through several of these treatments the time it will buy me will be worth it. But its the process that I am not sure I can make it through. And why should we be here again? I am not able on my own. I'm not ready to become dependant on those around me to assume the role of mom and all the other things that I should be responsible for. SO many things in life are just not "fair". There is always someone who who has it worse, but it certainly does not diminish the severity of our struggles. Part of me says, put your big girl britches on and do this thing. While the other part says, no! Run, run as far as you can!

I have not lost my faith. But I feel so disconnected from my beliefs. As if I'm a child being rep remanded. Resisting authority. Knowing I need that correction and discipline in love, still not ready to give in. Praise music still plays constantly and I read scripture. I guess maybe its because you are so close at this point and that's why I cant feel you. I cant hear you, nor see you. "Maybe faith isn't a fire as much as it's a glow. Just enough to get me home".

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Plea for Prayer

I come here tonight because I am desperate. I am fearful and in need of prayers from those who love me, and those who may not know me yet. I have sensed what was coming for a few weeks now, but the reality of the likely hood of what I am facing slapped me right across the face today. I didn't take it to well and things may or may not have been broken and many tears cried.

I have spent more time at my Onc. office in the last month than I care to recall. It all started with some swollen lymph nodes in my neck. As of right now my entire lymphatic system is refusing to work. Malfunctioning at best. I am terribly uncomfortable and in pain and have been for weeks.

 I was scheduled to have a PET done over 3 weeks ago. That was until my insurance denied the request. I had planned a trip to Nashville the week of the 4th. And got the all clear to go from my Dr. This was by far the best week of spiritual restoration & rejuvenation I have ever experienced. I met so many wonderful souls. Too much to condense here. That amazing trip will require a special separate post to come soon:) Upon returning home my symptoms only seemed to progress. I have been to the office twice since the 11th. More blood work was done today and I have a "tentative" appointment next Thursday for the PET.

My Dr. is convinced that this is Cancer invading my lymph nodes. He feels treatment (meaning more chemo) is inevitable and in the VERY near future. But would like to have a scan to see exactly what we are dealing with. And to use as a way to gauge how well treatment works. Now before I go any further, there is a small part of me that says this is not Cancer. I am prepared to go forward with treatment if this beast has indeed decided to rear its nasty head again. But I am holding on to the hope that we are dealing with something less invasive. We have a week before any scans are to be done.

I spent the entire ride home fuming. Angry with God. Just overall pissed off with life's circumstances. If there's one thing I took away from my time in Nashville, is that it's ok to be angry and question God. Communication is key. I have a lot of questions. I have been here too many times to recall. This time I am really angry. It is however a process I have learned. In a few days I will hopefully redirect this anger and bitterness towards gathering strength I may need very soon. I am not superhuman and this is me being as real and as transparent as I possibly can.

I would like to ask everyone to please take this next week and pray with me and for me when I cannot find the words. A lot can happen in 7 days. I have hope that these lymph nodes won't illuminate on that scan. If they do, like I said, I am prepared to face the horrible, debilitating, dehumanizing poison that is Chemo. But there is still time pray this thing out. I know what I will be doing this next week. Please join me in praying with me. I know so many have continuously prayed daily for me. I am so grateful for every single prayer said on my behalf! I love you all and thank you for allowing me the freedom to be completely candid and honest here! I will update as soon as I hear any news!

Monday, October 8, 2012

No Less Days

It has been a while. Maybe too long, since I have been able to come to this place and pour my heart out. Countless Countless times I have come here, but leave with nothing to say. You see, I'm not really a "blogger". I don't just blog to blog. When I write something, it has to come from the heart. It must be genuine and real. If I'm being honest, it's not until now that I have felt the "push" or freedom to write. I guess I should go back to June 27th. The day of my surgery.

I felt peace as that day began. There was literally an army of bodies in the lobby praying. But as we entered the pre-op room and my friends and family began to filter in and out of the room, I began to feel vulnerable. I remember my best friend holding my hand and my sister standing over me with her arms around me. Me weeping like a child. In that moment I had become a terrified little girl. The nurses began coming at me with needles and within moments I was on the operating table, staring up at the stark white ceiling talking about the ocean. The last thing I remember thinking before the lights went out was running on the beach with my girl.

I awoke in agonizing pain. The nerve blocks I was given worked perfectly on the right side. But the left side didn't seem to take at all. The morphine only made things worse. From the moment I awoke until I left the hospital, I was wrecked with pain and horrible nausea and what accompanies nausea.

3 days later I finally made it home. That made all the difference in the world! It wasn't until then that I really began to recover. But in all honesty, the last few months have been tough. Physically, emotionally and spiritually. It wasn't until just recently that I have begun to "bounce" back. I still have not regained the use of my left arm fully. Doing the simplest of tasks is sometimes daunting. It doesn't help that I am a lefty.

Less than a month after surgery and before radiation was to begin, I was blessed with an opportunity to head back to my favorite place. Anna Maria Island. A close friend had an unused time share for a week that she offered to me! I could not turn it down! So me and my girl headed off the the island where mommy was able to rest, relax and recover. On the second day I was playing in the sun with my baby, the last thing I wanted to do was make the dreadful hour long drive from the island to Tampa to meet with my Oncologist. Granted I had already received the PET report the week prior from my Radiologist and was using my week at the beach to celebrate the relief of a good report. But my Onc. still wanted to follow up with me.

The usual hour wait took only 2 minutes before I was called back. As he entered the room he says, you look great! I said, well I feel pretty great, considering. He then proceeds to go over the results with me. After about 5 minutes he literally ran out of words to describe his shock at the lack of Cancer in my body. He fully believed that given the 9 months since finishing treatment and my last scan that he would see illuminated locations everywhere. Plus given the aggressiveness of triple negative it was nothing short of a miracle. He said frankly I just don't see this very often. I don't know what to do with you. You are not the norm. Your Cancer is behaving itself very well! I sat in amazement as I could see the pure joy and genuine excitement he displayed over the fact that what he expected to see, just simply was not there. The spot on my hip had progressed some as we expected due to my pain recently. But other than that there wasn't much to note. He said there was no need for any further treatment at the time other than the planned radiation to my surgical site and my hip. He was very pleased and told me to continue doing whatever it is I had been doing. I told him it was a mixture of a major lifestyle and diet change, but more importantly the thousands if not more prayers that had gone up for me over the last few months! The word lucky was never used. I spent the rest of the week rejoicing.

A couple of weeks later I began radiation which caused unspeakable side effects. My anxiety was at an all time high following my surgery and my appetite didn't return until just a couple of weeks ago. My tiny frame was beginning to look ghostly, sickly and unfamiliar to me when I looked in the mirror.

It was during this time that the spirit of fear crept up on me again. And just like a thief in the night, the peace was gone. Anxiety and depression have hung on my back like an unwanted guest for far too long. Something that has haunted me for a while is the fear of death that comes along with the dreaded C word. In 2009 after my first surgery, my Dr and her scheduling nurse spoke some very harmful and evil words over me. Because I was questioning the treatment options they recommended, I was told that "God is not going to take this from you." Those words hung above me like a dark cloud. Everywhere I went. Everyday for the last 3 yrs. I walked into that appointment alone for the first time without my husband or mother with me that day. I believe Satan used that opportunity to wear me down and attack. I walked out and I never walked back in. But the damage was done. As if being diagnosed wasn't enough, death was spoken over me.

So everyday for the last 3 yrs. I have wondered, Lord is this the last time I will have to opportunity to enjoy this with my daughter, is this the last summer vacation I will get to enjoy with my family? And the list goes on. How much time Lord? That is a heavy burden to carry. It wasn't until recently that it really hit me. Only He knows the hour. For each and every one of us. I have watched too many friends lose loved ones suddenly. I have experienced the loss of my closest friend in an instant. There were no goodbyes. No time to prepare. We have no way of knowing the day or hour of our last breath. Why should I allow myself to buy into the stigma that comes along with the C word? I have come to a revelation recently. I am still here. I am still breathing. Some days are rough. But I still have time left here on this earth. Why should I spend it worrying about how many days or yrs I have left? I shouldn't. And neither should you.

We are given life. We are given a purpose. Sometimes we are given obstacles and hurdles that force us into realizing that purpose. I cannot and will not live my life in fear. I must live it with purpose. The fact that I got Cancer does not change the number of days I was given the day I entered into this world. I have no less days because of it. The Lord knows the hour. The fact that I got Cancer doesn't change a thing. It sure has helped me see life in a different light. But it doesn't change a thing for Him for His plan for my life. His plan has always been the same for my life. It just took a few bumps for ME to see myself the way he sees me and to find the course he has set for me. There are things I will never understand this side of eternity. But what I can do is use every breath to praise him and bring glory to Him. I am not perfect. I mess up daily. I have to begin again each day. But that is the beauty of the cross. There are NEW mercies every day! And it's by grace that I am still able to enjoy this life.

God's music is a huge part of my everyday life. It gets me through the day and He uses it to speak to me constantly. In some of my darkest moments, it was singing out to Him that I found peace. This song sums up the past few months pretty well for me.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Carried To The Table

I have been here before. This feeling is all too familiar. This roller coaster of emotions, I know it well. And frankly it is exhausting. You would be hard pressed to get me on any roller coaster at any theme park. I hate the uncertainty of the drops and turns, twists and that horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach, you know the one. Then theres that feeling of unsteadiness as you exit the ride, yeah I hate that too. So ironic how the events of my life resemble that thing that I am so good at avoiding.

One thing we know about Cancer, it sucks. This much has been established. I absolutely despise it.  It has surely taken me for one heck of a ride the last 3 yrs. It make take parts of me and is a huge inconvenience. But it will not steal my joy. I will not become a victim. Yes I have cried, screamed, asked why and begged for mercy. But the fact is, I am here. I am still breathing. And there must be a reason why. If God can take this mess and use it for His glory. Then who am I to complain? I can either shut down emotionally or I can pull myself together and suck it up. As terrified as I am about what lies ahead, I just have to remind myself to put one foot in front of the other and trust that on the days when I just can't make it happen, that He will carry me.

I met with my new Surgeon this past Thursday. Which in itself was a complete miracle and act of God. I was immediately put at ease by his ability to make me feel like one of his own grandchildren. He is about the most "Human" Dr. I have met yet. I am no doubt right where God wants me to be. I am scheduled for a double mastectomy tomorrow at 1.  The nerves, anxiety and unrest that accompany a procedure like this are overwhelming to say the least. I have been to some pretty low points recently. My heart is breaking and the road ahead is unclear. I am a little angry. I am a little bitter. I am ALOT scared. BUT still somehow that peace remains. He has carried me this far and He has promised me He will never let go.

I just want to say a HUGE thank you for all of the phone calls, txt messages, emails, and comments from friends and family! I do not walk this road alone. You all have no idea how much you lift me up. My heart overflows with love for you all!

I will do my very best to update when I am able. Thank you again! I want to share with you a song that has played over and over on my phone, computer and in my head the last few days. It is pretty special. Good night everyone.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I Call Mercy

I have struggled with how to begin this post for many nights now.

Up until about 6 weeks ago, I was doing really well. I still feel pretty good for the most part.
I have spent more time than I would have liked in Dr. offices the last week and will be spending plenty more I'm sure in the next few weeks.

Without going into too much detail, it seems that this nasty little devourer has decided to invade my left breast now as well. It happened rather quickly. I have been in quite a bit of pain the last few weeks, which can be exhausting. I still feel perfectly normal otherwise. Which is so frustrating! Everyone tells me how great I look and I am still doing all the things I love to do.

I will be meeting with a Radiologist and Surgeon in the next week or so to go over my (options). I can't even began to tell you what a complete buzz kill this is. I have been battling some MAJOR anxiety and depression. Nightmares and anxiety attacks on a pretty regular basis. Some days are more bearable than others. But let's be honest, this SUCKS big time! This whole process really tends to wear on you in alot of ways.

This wknd was to be the start of our annual family trip to the Island. One of the few places I am able to find peace and solace. I plan to be there as much as possible. Samantha has been looking forward to this for quite some time now. Speaking of Samantha, I cannot begin to tell you how many tears I have cried lately. It kills me to look at my sweet baby girl and think that I have to go through this again. Satan has been whispering horrible things in my ear on a constant basis. He would love for me to believe the absolute worst. And at times I almost have. But he does not get to choose the verdict here. I am so unbelievably stubborn and just plain refuse to give up. Human will is a funny and extraordinary thing. I may cry and I may scream. I may even refuse to get out of bed some mornings. But this will not get the best of me. One of our pastors spoke about something that really hit home with me last week. He said that sometimes the things that we view as setbacks, are really just setups. A setup for something amazing. God is still up to something in me. I just need a little more grace and patience to see it come to pass.

I will do my best to keep the blog updated. In the mean time, I ask that you all PLEASE pray for me! It has been very hard for me to open up about this right now, but I really need to be lifted up. Some days I don't even know what to pray for. That's where all of you amazing prayer warriors come in! I love you all and I am so grateful for everyone who is sticking with me through this!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why Do We Borrow Trouble From Tomorrow?

Matthew 6:33-34
The Message

30-33"If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

34"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

For the last few days or so these words keep popping into my head "And all these things shall be added unto you". I haven't been able to figure out why. Where is this coming from and what is it's significance?

This week has been less than stellar as far as my energy level goes. I keep wondering "when will I feel better and KEEP feeling better?" It can be so frustrating when you feel as though you could conquer the world one day, then the next be completely useless and drained. I just want to know when. Don't I deserve to feel better already for goodness sake?
Let's be real for a second...if I got what I deserved, I would be in a heap of trouble. I think we all would. It seems lately like I am always fussing and complaining about how crappy I feel, that I forget to just be happy with what I have been given today no matter what it may look like. Another day in itself is a gift.

That's when the importance of this verse started resonating with me. I have been so preoccupied with when, what and how that I forgot to notice the gift of the now. So worried about what tomorrow will look like, and borrowing trouble from tomorrow when I need to be grateful and take notice of the things I have been blessed with today. God has been more than gracious to me in supplying my every need, and I have no reason not to trust that His provision will continue.

Our Creator is not a God of Chaos or confusion. But, of Peace and Love. I must keep my eye on Him and cling to this verse!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Who Are You When No One's Looking?

This past week as I was driving home from my parents one night, someone abruptly pulled out RIGHT in front of me. I tried to hit the brakes and give myself time to stop. I avoided hitting the car but just barely as there was also oncoming traffic. As I got much closer to the rear of this car than I would have liked, I could see the driver throw up a not so friendly gesture. I then noticed that right there on the back of their car was a sticker for the Church they attend. I thought to myself....Hmmmm yeah some Christian you are! Then I caught myself, oh not you don't. Seriously how many times have I acted the fool and been "not so Christian like" by the way I have acted or things I chose to say.

What we do in the privacy of our home, car or anywhere else, is always being observed. Lovingly, the way a parent watches their children make bad choices and cringes at every one. You want them to make the right choice, but you can't make those choices for them. In the same way, God is waiting to see how we react. Not wanting to see us fall and struggle.

Are we living out what we preach in public AND at home. I know for me it is a struggle. I think it is for all of us. After all we are only human. However, if we portray a near perfect existence to the outside world, yet go home and act like the devil we are just as guilty as if it had been televised on national TV. It makes no difference to Him. This a tough one because whether we are willing to admit it or not, we are all guilty. I am just as guilty as the next person.

I think this is why our walk with Him is so important. We have to stay in communication with Him. God desires ALL of us. If we read His word daily and stay in Communion with Him we have more of an awareness of His presence and, when the temptation to act out inappropriately arises we will think twice. This has been so tough for me lately. I was in a really bad place for about 3 weeks. A lot of it had to do with my stubbornness and resistance to just communicate with Him. To really get real and honest, not just pray half heartedly. Once I did the fog lifted, the bitterness and depression subsided, and life became SO much more bearable.

It is not required that we walk a perfect road all of the time. But, it is His desire to see us succeed and excel in life, to resist temptation and compromise. I have come to learn the hard way that the best way to accomplish these things is to stay close to Him. He never leaves. WE choose to turn our backs. We could avoid so much pain if we would just make time for the One who gave us the breath we breathe.