Tuesday, January 26, 2016

JOIN THE CLUB

It is time for a health club. The steroids of last year which ravaged my muscles do not have any self-recovery that is worth mentioning. Yes, I can walk up steps now with a handrail, but I am still very unbalanced and weak all over. I should have joined a club last fall but I did not know how I was going to react to the new chemo, so I needed to wait to see if I would feel able to go regularily.

Dick took me to get me started on the machines. He made a point right off the bat by putting me on the leg press and stuck it at a mere 60 lbs. Thinking I could easily handle that, I pushed as hard as I could. It was impossible. I went down by 10's, and when I realized I could only press 20 lbs, I realized how badly I need this. I am totally motivated to improve on all 12 machines in the next months. I am going to teach those steroids a lesson. So this week I am fairly sore; haven't used these muscle groups in so long.

I have gained 5 pounds and am thrilled to be only 3 pounds away from my fighting weight!! 

For anyone looking for a good book to read, I am captivated with BEAUTIFUL OUTLAW: Experiencing the Playful, Disruptive, Extravagant Personality of Jesus. It is by John Eldredge. All the biblical accounts of Jesus put him on a 2-dimensional plane....He is full of love and compassion. Eldredge, who I love as a Bible scholar and a terrific writer, extracts the 3-dimensional Jesus and looks at His fierceness, his cunning, his exasperation, his irreverence, his humor and playfulness, his extravagance and other character traits. I am reading my New Testament in a whole new light. You just may fall in love with Jesus all over again.

Will be seeing our kids in the next couple weeks. Can't wait.                       


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

CHANGING THE PROTOCOL

I just came in from taking a bad fall on my walk today. People haven't shoveled snow from yesterday and I took a step on ice still covered by snow. Landed on my left shoulder and left hip, wrenched my back, and came within a couple inches of slamming my head on the sidewalk. My guardian angel was on duty, I know. It could have been so much worse. I ached all the way home, but decided that long-term soreness is exactly what the enemy wants, so I rebuked his intentions to make me sore in the name of Jesus. Within about 15 minutes, the aching was all gone. I am so grateful.

        Angel of God, my guardian dear
        to whom God's love commits me here
        Ever this day, be at my side, to light,
        to guard, to rule, to guide.
        Amen.

        (Did anyone else grow up with this little prayer said every day?)
          I still remember it. I still believe every word!


I saw my oncologist Monday and told her my decision not to comply with the recommended uppage of chemo dosage. I am at 3/4 of the recommended dose. I am simply unwilling to risk side effects. I said no to a brain scan and to a bone density shot. When you grow up a DK (doc's kid), you probably have a little more moxie when directing your own health care. 

Am still doing well on the new chemo. Except for the chronic chemo-constipation, I am fine! Still praying over every capsule, and will continue to do so!

God has healed my 24/7 nausea of the past 8 months, which is such a relief. He has also healed my lack of apptite and lack of thirst. I am eating as much as my husband. It feels remarkable not to be nauseated. I am drinking milk like the dairy cow population is dying.

For all the prayers, Dick and I can't thank you enough. 

Saturday, January 9, 2016

CHEMO UPDATE

I pray out loud as I hold every capsule between my fingers. "In the name of Jesus, this chemo shall not give me side effects." Then I swallow it and pick up #2 and #3 pill and do the exact same thing.

I have been on it for 9 days. I have had NO side effects. Praise God. Considering the last chemo last fall that nearly took out my liver and had me at home on the sofa moaning, this is wonderful. I feel normal. Yesterday I had to increase my dosage by 50% so I am on the 2nd day of the increase. But I expect NOTHING to come from it. If side effects were to start, I would choose to go back to the reduced dosage I started on.

I am baking again and working (3 days next week) and cleaning and organizing and loving the feeling that I feel like Mary again. Mom and Dad would be so happy about this sacred season of feeling normal. How I wish I could tell them.

My first oncologist told me I could live til November 2011.

If she could see me now.



I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord. Psalm 118:17

Friday, January 1, 2016

HAPPY NEW YEAR

I have just taken my first dose of the new chemotherapy. 4 hours in, I am still alive and functioning. What a cruddy way to start the new year.....putting poison in your body:)

Mark 16:17-18 assures me as a believer that I can "drink deadly poison and it shall not hurt me at all." That is God's Word, so it is a promise and I stand on it. I am imagining these horse pills to be filled with sugar.

I know this 5th trial of chemo will not cure me. I have incurable cancer. But I have a Healer God whose stripes are healing me. I don't know when.....He is slow sometimes.....but there are too many promises of healing in the Bible to quit having faith now.

I can't wait for the day!

Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

POST-HOLIDAY CHEMO NEWS

The new drug has been approved and is available. My pharmacist at the cancer center is trying to get it nailed down as to who has it and where she can order it. It comes as no relief or anticipation to me, as even though touted as much better than chemo #2, it brings with it many side effects. 

I have been off my chemo for one week today, as I told my doctor I was taking a drug holiday for Christmas. I wanted to feel good while the kids were here. Once again, it feels so amazing to simply feel normal. I am not anxious to start chemo #3. I have decided that if it ruins my quality of life, it is not worth taking it.

Yes, you can pray for no side effects!!

Sam and Gretchen came for 2 full days and we had such a great time with them. They left Christmas morning to drive 8 hours to Hibbing where her parents live. We missed them as soon as they drove out of the driveway! Fun traditions and fun memories.

It was a hard Christmas without the folks. I had at least 5 cooking questions for my mom and she was not there for the first time to answer them!! I so wanted to just hug them both and talk with them. Moments of tears would rush in at random moments. We spent the last few years (except last year) going to Fargo to be with them for Christmas. I know why so many people hate the holidays. It is a very bittersweet time of year when you think of people you have lost. I am so glad the radio stations can go back to real music. I am tired of tearing up with every "Silent Night."

Dick and I have a massive downstairs project and are going to spend the weekend tackling it. Why are house projects never done.......

Happy New Year to you all.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

MY TREE OF LOVE AND MEMORIES

I love my Christmas tree.

We got thru the whole decorating-the-tree process without me shedding a tear, even holding all the ornaments that Mom had made for me over the years.

It is a tree of love.

Christmas is love....
     Our creator-God, sovereign over the earth, sent his son as a baby to be born knowing full well that 33 years later, His son would be murdered for our sins, to redeem US, to give US His righteousness, His salvation, His healing, His peace. All for us, a planet full of sinners. If that is not love, I don't know what the season is about.

I have 3 nativity ornaments on my tree. All I see is Jesus's love when I look at them.

I have lots of friends who prefer a monochromatic Christmas tree, the same ornaments, usually all round balls, all decorations on the tree the same color.....the kind you might see in upscale department stores. My preference is a tree of memories. Every ornament has a history and a story and they all speak LOVE to me.

I loved it when my Mom flew down to Tampa to spend a week with me while in grad school. We went shopping and found an intricate "visions of sugar plums" ornament made with felt. We both bought one. We've always loved hanging them front and center.

I see the pop-can cowboy snowman that Sam picked out In Branson, MO as our souvenir when he was about 6 or 7. He loved it so we loved it too. Mom made me an old man when I became a gerontologist. He still hangs. I love her mindfulness with him.

I see crystal hearts which she loved and gave me before she died. I see Sam's preschool macaroni ornament and his kindergarten pine-tree picture ornament. I so loved that time in his life when he was a little critter, just learning about the world. 

We tried to get souvenir ornaments from all our trips. We shopped together until we could agree on a perfect representation of the locale. Our Chicago trip had us hunting on Navy Pier. They did not sell any ornaments anywhere so we decided to buy a key chain with an engraved pier and it was our 2010 ornament. My best friend sent me an angel seashell when she moved to Florida in 1990. It reminds me of how deeply I missed her in a time of no texting and cell phones.

Oh, so much love....such fun stories.

I have my favorite ornament from growing up years and a couple that were left from my Dad's growing up years that he had saved. I am transported back to Grama and Grandpa's house in Kulm. My sweet cousin Mae sent me a little silver butterfly ornament after Mom died. It says, "Miracles happen to those who believe." She stands with me in faith for healing.

And I can't forget the snowflakes. Every since we were little, my great-aunt Bea (I still hear Andy Taylor calling his auntie "Ain't Bay) tatted snowflakes for all our trees. (These snowflakes sold for $5 apiece at Macy's in NYC!) And we all have boxes of them. They beautify a tree like nothing else can. And make us remember the great love we had for great-auntie, who died at 102.

Yeah, I love the love that covers my tree. It is not "classy" as the fancy trees are, but it is a patchwork of our lives.....who we are and who and what we love.

Yes, I really love my love tree.

Friday, December 4, 2015

NORMALCY

I have had the most incredible 7 days. I had to take a drug holiday due to increasing side effects of the chemo. I had forgotten what it was like to feel like me, to feel normal, to feel the joy of being alive. I have had 7 days of NO gastrointestinal issues!!!! Unbelievable. God has just blessed this time. Unless you have "been there" with chemo side effects, you wouldn't understand the gravity of normalcy. 

We went to Minneapolis last weekend and had a wonderful time with the kids. We made Christmas cookies, picked up and decorated their tree, and got totally spoiled with the great meals they made us (my, how things change....the college guy who lived on mac and cheese and hotdogs during college is making maple-glazed salmon for his folks....).

Anyway, I have been in a prolonged praise-fest with the Lord.

The answer is yes, I have to go back on the chemo. It is difficult, not only because of how I feel OFF of it, but because we don't know if this "old" chemo is doing anything. I got off of it because it is ineffective. But we are still waiting on the 3rd generation drug to come out so maybe it is staving off growth of the growing tumors. Either way, I am bummed to go back to the side effects.

For those of you who usually receive my Thanksgiving card, there won't be one. I just wasn't feeling up to the task in early November.

Thank you all for continued prayers.