Thursday, June 30, 2011

Smooth Sailing

The days leading up to this mornings Infusion have been nerve wracking to say the least. I did my best to stay positive, but my nerves got the best of me.

I'm so elated though to report that everything went really well! I spoke with the Dr. before hand, and she went over everything with me explaining in detail the way things would be done. She also informed me that I am due for a PET scan to monitor my progress. So next Friday I head in to have that done! Prayers for much improvement!!!

I am so thankful that today went so smoothly and we had no problems. I am feeling 90% better than I did last time right after! I even felt well enough to enjoy a baked potato and frosty during my treatment;) I realize I will have a few rough days ahead of me. However, nothing like the nearly 2 weeks of needless suffering I endured last time! It is amazing how smoothly things can go and should go, when people simply read and follow the protocol!

Thanks to all for the continued support and endless prayers! You all rock!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

My Strength is Not My Own

The events of the last two weeks have taken me to some of the darkest places I have ever been. I found myself struggling to find the surface many times. But they have also brought some of the greatest blessings I have ever experienced!

It began the day of my last Chemo Infusion. Although nervous and anxious,I walked into the treatment room ready to get this done and over with. Long story short, they completely got my pre-meds wrong. They overdosed me and overloaded my system. I had a horrible, horrific and terrifying reaction. With every nurse in the place by my side and my Dr. kneeling in front of me, they shut off all meds. I lost my sight temporarily and had a host of other immediate effects. A while later I was able to complete the infusion and return home.Only to spend the next 7 days in bed or on the couch. I had side effect after side effect, which led me to dehydration and left me in desperate need of fluids! It was honestly the darkest place I have ever been. Satan was after me.

I finally was able to get out and enjoy some time by the ocean with my family! It was so wonderful and I slowly began to feel human again. It has literally taken me 2 weeks to recover. I am still not feeling like myself. But I am getting there:)Even in the darkest moments when the pain was too much to bear and fear and depression were knocking at the door, I could feel His presence covering me and shielding me. He was and is my strength!

I had amazing support during this time and people really stepped up to help out! So many blessings have come our way in the last two weeks! I am just totally blown away by God's love and provision in my life! He never fails to provide for us. We are forever grateful to everyone who has made our life easier and taken some of the burdens off of us!

I am scheduled this coming Thursday to recieve my next Chemo Infusion. Please join me in praying for a smooth and drama free appointment:)

The Task Ahead of You, Is Never as Great as the Power Behind You.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Good Grief Is Now Available!

The much anticipated release of "Good Grief" is here! It is now available for immediate download! This book came at the perfect time for me, my family and loved ones! I encourage everyone to purchase this VERY helpful guide! If you are watching a loved suffer through Cancer, the loss of a child or any other type of grief, this book will give tangible ways to offer support! And also things NOT to do or say:) How to get your best intentions across. And don't forget, for the first 4 months %50 of all proceeds will go directly to my treatment fund!

Buy Good Grief Here!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Only God Possible

I want to share something truly amazing with all of you! I'll try to keep it short;)

As most of you know, I was connected to Erica Mcneal through Gina. They met on the Recreate Cruise and Erica was made aware of my situation. So upon returning home we became acquainted through email. I learned Erica and Todd will be moving to this area in about 4 months and possibly attending our Church! Pretty crazy! They are interested in a neighborhood less than 5 minutes from us!

We finally made phone connections and learned that they would be coming down to house hunt and learn more about the area. We had the pleasure of having dinner with them Saturday night and meeting up at Church Sunday. It was soooo nice to finally meet face to face! It felt as though I had known Erica for years! You know how you can just have that connection with people? I can honestly say that Todd and Erica are two of the most incredible, selfless people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting!

After meeting us, God place some pretty huge, and only God possible goals on Erica's heart! She describes it best! So please check out the latest post from her on her blog. Its simply amazing and moves me to see what God is doing in all of our lives! To learn more about the goals God has placed on Erica's heart and her passions go to My TWO Passions – Too Much?

Monday, June 6, 2011

My Kind of Fairy Tale

Today was a great day, so many blessings packed into one day! Could have gone otherwise, had I given into my human instinct to crumble under the pressure of my circumstances. But I chose to make this day about my family!

Brian and I were able to upgrade our Busch Gardens passes to include Adventure Island! Courtesy of Mimi! I love our families! And I love living in Tampa;) Now, we knew given Sams love for the splash areas at Busch Gardens, that she would flip at the sight of Adventure Island! And she did! While driving in, she sees the ginormous slide and lets out a big "WOW"! Then after entering the park, we heard many times, WOW this is SO MUCH FUN! I cant say that I have ever seen her more excited! Except maybe when she met the Princesses at Disney World.

The most precious moment I think I have ever experienced came today, while we were swimming in the beach area. Samantha does alot of adorable things that make my heart smile on a daily basis. But today she nearly brought me to tears. Brian and I were talking, and just watching her have the time of her life. Out of the blue she swims over to us, wraps her little arms as wide as they would reach around both of our necks, looks at us and with the most grown up, yet innocent voice, and says "I love you guys"! Then gives mommy the biggest kiss ever, and next daddy! Then she turns and heads back to the ladder. We both just stared at each other in amazement! Best ever Parent moment by far!!!!!!!!

On a totally different note, I had to wear my trusty Gator ball cap all day to keep my nearly bald scalp from frying! After exiting the park and getting settled in the car, I took my hat off and looked in the mirror. The tears suddenly and out of nowhere came way too easily. When Brian got in the car, I told him it was time to shave it when we got home. A part of me wanted to hold onto every last strand. The rational part said, girl its just hair, and you look like an 80 yr old women LOL its got to go! So I sat down in the chair and Brian went to town with the clippers. I must say it was hard to watch the rest of my hair fall to the floor. But after he finished, I looked in the mirror and surprisingly still saw ME. I do however realize that most likely, for a long time I will do a double take every time I walk by a mirror:) I learned two things tonight. One being that I have a VERY very small head. The other being that its cold not having hair up there keep my head warm LOL! Sam told us that we (Brian and I) have the same hair now, but that she has different hair! Shes so cute, and for the most part could care less that Mommy has no hair. That's what I love about children. They don't even see the superficial and the exterior. They see to the heart of everyone. And all she sees is her mommy.

So today was just about perfect!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Praise Him in ALL Things

The following verses have been my rock and the inspiration in titling my Blog "Keep Singing" (plus the fact that music and singing are my passion). Their importance was again reiterated today, in hearing the remarkable message this morning at Church! Thank you Pastor Greg for the amazing deliverance of Gods word today!

Philippians 4:4-6

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

The Message Version

4-5Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you're on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!

6-7Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

This was the "take away" or application of the message today.

The area of your greatest weakness can become your greatest strength!

Key: Trusting and believing in God's ability! God's great strength begins when your own strength ends!

There have been so many times when I needed God so desperately to step in and carry my burden, but I was too bitter, in too much pain, or too stubborn to just simply ask. While in TX, the night I was in such miserable pain, I lay in bed crying, having let the entire day go by without once asking God to intervene and deliver me from the pain, or even just to give me the strength to endure it. I know we all face times when we are so angry or hurt, that we cant even find the strength or will to pray. This night was one of those many times. But God knew my heart. He knew my inward desire to praise Him, even in the hopeless moments. Once I got to point were I could no longer stand it and cried out to Him, He stepped in and did what only He can do. I kid you not, within the hour I was able to relax and find enough peace and comfort to sleep. The next day we awoke and headed to beach because I felt human again! And God revealed some really beautiful things to me that day, and I was able to revel in the glory of His creation!

As soon as today's message becomes available online, I will post the link!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Hair Loss and Other Atrocities

Cancer is a nasty beast...I hate to even say the word. But it does not define me nor will I be labeled a victim. I will get through this with the help of my family and friends and all those praying for me and lifting me up. And to those who may have negative things to say, please keep them to yourself. I am in the fight for my life, and ignorance is not something I have time to entertain. I choose to surround myself with positivity. I just simply have no desire for anything otherwise. I am so blessed to have the support system that I have. God is at work in my life. And I can't wait to see what he has for me. Thank you for understanding.

After my initial diagnosis, I used to think about death on a regular basis. I even imagined my own funeral. Had thoughts of not being here for my daughter and leaving her behind. I still occasionally have fleeting thoughts. But that's all they are, fleeting. They no longer consume me. I do not live in fear. I will not give Satan the opportunity to creep into my head in those weak moments. There have been times when I have verbally denounced him in Jesus name. He loves a weak heart.

There are days when I feel so vulnerable and I actually pity myself. But I have to quickly remind myself that I am still breathing, still living and have a future. Cancer does not have the upper hand here.

I never would have imagined myself having to pick out Wigs at the age of 30. I have spent hours on the Internet in search of the best options.
After finding hair all over the house, on my plate, on my pillow and everywhere you could imagine, I decided it was time to take things into my own hands. So today a sweet friend gave me the cutest bob. It may all be gone by this time next week. But in the mean time, I see no reason why I can't rock this cute do!

Simplicity is my middle name (well not literally LOL, it's Deanna). Vanity has never been an issue with me. So when I realized that despite all the positive thinking in the world and precautions, my hair was falling out, it didn't feel like the world was ending. In all honesty, here is my issue. Up until now, the average passerby would never know that I was "sick" or facing this. I looked perfectly healthy. People who never knew, were surprised to find out. But now because of the Chemo, I am losing my hair, which it turn makes me appear sick. I cant stand pity looks or talks, even though I realize people mean well. I don't want people looking at me thinking "oh you poor thing". I am still a confident, beautiful, fearfully made woman. Of course what woman wants to lose their hair? Don't think that I didn't almost pass out when 1/3 of my hair fell in the sink. Make no mistake, it is traumatic. But I will be just fine with or without it. And it will eventually come back. I just may look like my hubby for a while, minus the beard:)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Erica's Upcoming Book Release

Please be sure to check out my friend Erica Mcneal's book, which will be available in 10 days, June 11th! If you are going through, or have ever suffered a loss or been through any type of suffering, this is a must read! Good Grief Release Countdown