Sunday, January 29, 2012


     My brother-in-law, sister-in-law, niece and great-niece spent Saturday night with us on their way home to Kansas City. I was so excited to finally meet sweet Phoebe, who was born July 19. She is one of the happiest babies I have ever known. All she does is grin. They walked in, plopped her in Dick's arms, Dick being a total stranger to her, and she just laid in his arms and grinned at him. She is so special!! Rach and I email often, but we rarely get chances to catch up in person, so this was just a great, albeit short, slot of time for us.
     It was fun to get out Sam's high chair, Clorox off the 20 years of dust from the basement and have it be used!!

Me with my niece Rachel and my great-niece Phoebe

The smiley "Feebster"

Dick and Phoebe

     I had my PET scan on Friday. My sweet friend Risa drove with me so she could drive me home (Dick had class). My scan med makes me a bit too drowsy to drive right away. It was just fun to have girl-chat time with Risa. We get the results on Tuesday. The tumor is either bigger, the same, smaller, or I am healed. Any of the first 3 scenarios will be fine with us. We know God has begun His healing work in me, and we do not know His timetable. So whatever the radiologist reports, God still trumps that film, and we continue then to wait in faith. I will be starting the new oral chemo drug on Tuesday. Prayers for no side effects would be appreciated.
     All 9 of my medical problems in January have resolved except my back. I continue to have a lot of pain, and now sciatica has set in as well. I would appreciate prayer for this to be resolved. Dick is treating me and I am doing the exercises he is telling me to do. I can't do any more except wait. So thanks in advance for praying about this. It is hard to spend so much time laying on a heating pad on the sofa.....I am stir-crazy!
     I am the God who heals you. Exodus 15:26

Thursday, January 26, 2012


As I have rested in the pocket of grace that God has offered me while depression’s tentacles loosen their grip around my mind, I have had valuable time soaking in more lessons about faith in the Bible.

If cancer had not assaulted me, I would never have understood the importance of faith as God sees it. I would never have understood that faith is about believing God’s Word, whether or not I see any immediate results, that faith is not hope, but complete belief that God is who He says He is and will honor every promise in the Bible (about healing and everything else). I would never have understood how much lack of faith dishonors our God.

Did Jesus get irked by those who would not believe because they doubted Him? Oh, yes. He even lambasted his disciples a few times.

We all know about the disciple Thomas, who frustrated Jesus because he refused to believe Jesus was Jesus without seeing the nail holes in his hands. He says to the disciple, "Blessed are those who HAVE NOT SEEN (the nail holes) and yet HAVE BELIEVED.” When Jesus told his followers that He was who He says He was, and did what He claimed (rise from the dead), he fully expected great and complete faith from them.

The disciples irritate Jesus just before his ascension into heaven. Mark 9:14 says, “Jesus REBUKED them for their LACK OF FAITH and their stubborn REFUSAL TO BELIEVE [the reports of] those who had seen Him after He had risen.” Jesus had no patience with wavering faith.

Did Jesus honor all those who honored Him by believing with great faith? Always. This week I read again about the centurion who tells Jesus about his suffering servant. Jesus offers to come to his home to heal him. The centurion had enough faith in just Jesus’ spoken word that he says, “Lord, I don’t deserve to have you come under my roof, but if you just say the word, my servant will be healed.” Jesus is astonished, it says, and He tells his followers, “I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. And then says to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just AS YOU BELIEVED it would.”

Back to healing. The great preacher Charles Stanley says that little-faith will say, “Well, I think God could heal me. He might heal me. I’m not sure He wants to heal me. But I sure wish he would do it.” Big-faith will say, “I see God’s promises about healing in Scripture. God means what He says. If healing is what He has promised me, then it is done. I trust Him. It’s a done deal. I will thank Him in advance for it until I see the manifestation of the promise.”

I want to be a big-faith follower of my Lord. I refuse to waver. I refuse to dishonor my Savior with teetering belief based on human senses. What I can see on a PET scan has nothing to do with God’s intent to heal. I stay in big-faith mode, knowing that standing on God’s Word still heals Christians today.

The more I immerse myself in the Bible, the more promises I find about all kinds of things. The more I study and learn about what He wants for my life, the more excited I get. I intend to claim those promises and stand on them. Healing is just one of so many. How sad it would be to get to the end of my life and have God say to me, “You sure did not take advantage of all that was meant for you….it was all laid out in My Word, and you didn’t read it or learn it or claim it. Sorry.”

So I am now an avowed promise-seeker. I will search into the promises in Scripture, and believe that every word spoken is exactly what God meant for it to say, and I know I can take it to the bank. I will write the check for the promise and redeem it before I have evidence of it. Big faith. Maybe it is just that…….belief without wavering…..that will prompt my Lord to say to me those coveted words at the end of my life, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Well done.”

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Like an ugly shroud, depression has found its way to cover me. I have battled my whole life with a link between physical illness and depression. Since January 3, there has just been a steady assault of side effects, symptoms and medical problems which have kept accumulating and I finally fell flat on my face from the weight of it all. I have a tough 2 weeks coming up with a PET scan's results and a new chemo drug, so any and all prayers for emotional wholeness would be appreciated. Thanks.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I am slowly getting better from the bronchitis. I am not using my voice....even with Dick I say little. Every time I converse I cough, so I just don't do it (that's why the answering machine is picking up, friends, and I am not calling you back). Today I am venturing out for 2 errands, the first time out of the house in 9 days. I hope the exertion won't make things worse. My back is still really sore....the pain is emanating from my's a weird one. But Dick started treating it last night and I have full faith in him that it will get better as he works on it.

Had to post this picture for my friends on the west coast and in the south.......this was Sam out shooting hoops on January 5!!! It should have been 10 below zero!! We've had an insane winter of no snow and many 50 degree days. This day, it was over 60!

We snapped this before Sam got in his car and left to go back to school last week. It was awesome having him home for almost 4 weeks. I told him before he left that there will never be a time, til the day I die, that I won't miss him when he is not home......I guess that is just every mother's heart.

Thank you so much for praying. This has been a rough 2 weeks physically and emotionally, and your prayers have kept me afloat. I need to get fully recovered before trying this new chemo drug in less than 2 weeks, so please keep praying that I will be 100% by then. These coughs tend to linger.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


And how was my week? Nice of you to ask. I spent 3 days, Tuesday through Friday, in the hospital for a bowel obstruction....another lovely side effect from chemotherapy (most chemo patients deal with this). Every month it seems that prunes and Miralax do the job, but when my belly resembled my niece Kate's (who is 5 months pregnant with my newest great-nephew), I knew I was in trouble.

At times like these, I am grateful to have been raised in a family who felt bodily functions were just that---functional. Normal, universal, mundane. The subjects of belching, peeing, sex, periods, pooping, and farting were as easily talked about as perspiring, breathing, chewing, and blinking. I always wondered why so many of my friends' families made normal bodily functions embarrassing or secretive to talk about. Our bodies were created by God to do all those things, and many more. So why the big hush-hush? But, I digress.

A poop problem is just a poop problem, and I am thankful that I wasn't uptight about getting it treated. I was in a lot of pain by Tuesday. It took 3 days of no water (just ice chips), no food, IV fluids, magnesium citrate, and 2 powerful enemas (or as my Dad said he used to call them in his medical practice, the Triple H Treatment.....high, hot, and a hell of a lot) to annihilate the blockage.

I learned some things while hospitalized. I learned that hospitals need to cut some of their extravagant advertising budgets and buy some pillow top mattresses. My back is now out because of those rock-hard rectangles. Where do they get those things? From an abandoned Boy Scout Camp from the 1970's? I also came home sick. Sick for the first time in 16 months. Even though they had me on level 2 isolation (everyone entering my room was supposed to gown, mask and glove because my white blood count was very low), it was amazing how many medical personnel did not do it and came in and touched me or touched surfaces I was using. I finally asked for antibacterial wipes to wipe down things when people left. Interesting that nurses take orders so lightly. Even after I would say something. So now I have bronchitis from the germs in a hospital, great for a lung cancer patient.

I also saw startling differences in care from shift to shift. As any other profession, I saw perfunctory only to amazingly warm and professional. If only HR directors had to be patients while interviewing CNAs and RNs, those hired would all make the grade.

I learned that daytime TV is worthless and that even an avid reader like myself cannot read when your back is deeply aching from hard mattresses. I learned that it would not take too much more provocation for me to backhand across the cheek the next person who turns on all your lights at 5 AM for vitals-----and at 6 AM for blood work-----and at 7 AM for x-rays. Clearly, there is a perverse thought that getting well does not require rest. It makes you so angry that the adrenalin then keeps you awake anyway and you can't go back to sleep. One more morning of that, and I think I would have stooped to my lower nature and done it.

Was there an upside at all to the week, you ask? As I lay here on my sofa with Mentholatum on my chest, hot tea, and my back hooked up to electrodes for pain control, I can say yes. The poop chute is pristine and full of air (as seen clearly on x-ray), and I found out that I can count on my Catholic little brother for prayer advice. He texted me that all I really need to do is pray to St. Magnesia, the patron saint of diarrhea.

Thanks for your prayers, friends!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Prayer Request

Chemo has waged a hard battle with me this week. I can't begin to write about all the side effects I have
endured. It is not ending on a pleasant note. Constipation is a usual side effect, but I have managed it. It is stubborn this time, and they are admitting me to the hospital to take care of a bowel obstruction. I hate every thing about this whole situation, and have felt really deflated and shakey this week (emotionally). I covet your prayers for a quick ending to the obstruction.....I guess it could take a couple days. Thank you for praying.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


It was a one-stick chemo day yesterday, people. ONE stick! Thank you all for the prayers (Mama, I think your extra-sensitive medical technologist intercession was awesome)!! But I did come armed with a new trick. I knew I could not endure another 5-stick morning. So, as soon as I got to the infusion floor, I asked for two hot blankets. We folded them lengthwise and wrapped them around each of my arms, roped by surgical tape. Then I got out my trusty 8# hand weight which I had brought from home.

For the next 20 minutes, I did arm curls with the weight, alternating hands attached to these huge white snowman arms. I did not stop the entire time. When my nurse came in to get me started, she marveled at my veins! She said she even had a choice! UNBELIEVABLE! The good vein comment was verified when she went in and I splayed blood all over the back of my hand-----a great sign, she said. She got in that pumped up vein and we were good to go!!

The most astonishing news I got yesterday was that they tested my tissue for the newest mutation (ALK) for lung cancer patients who have non-small-cell variety, adenocarcinoma type. Only 3-5% of patients test positive. And I did!

This means two things. This gives me the cause of my cancer. ALK mutations (My little brother has always thought of me as a mutated mutant, so he will be delighted to hear this) mean that your #2 chromosome has fused itself together and developed an abnormality, which then replicates itself and causes cancer.

This also means that I can now go onto oral chemo which has shown to be effective for ALK mutations. That means no more infusions! The clinical trials have been very promising for shrinkage. The drug stops working at some point in everyone, and then Plan C needs to be thought through, but for now we will try this. I will have a PET scan later this month to determine a baseline from which to measure progress. I am guardedly optimistic, though I have read about some fairly bad side effects of this drug, and Dick and I have already decided that if the side effects are too bad, we will discontinue that regime and go back to infusion. I know I cannot cope with gastro-intestinal side effects which impede eating, and cause weight loss. For me, that would be lethal. There are lots of others, including rash on your whole body and diarrhea or vomiting and some heart and lung stuff. So, this will be a trial.

We are very interested in securing information from the original researchers who may know if this is hereditary. If it is, then Sam would need to get some genetic testing at intervals to see if he carries that abnormality. I pray not. Maybe they don't know if it is hereditary or not, but we intend to find out.

I am feeling a bit punky from chemo.....just low-grade nausea....but the 57-degree weather (I just took a long slow walk drinking in the warmth and sun, and we have 60 degrees coming tomorrow.....unheard of!) helps. I am laying low.

Thanks again for prayers and caring. Looks like we are entering the next phase of this cancer trip, and I continue to believe strongly that God is healing me.

Monday, January 2, 2012


This is the day I have to wage war against the demons of anxiety about chemo tomorrow. Today, and the next few days are the toughest every month. Forces outside of me wanting me to feel like a dying sick woman. Forces within me set to attack those on the outside, but with sleeplessness from steroids, they struggle sometimes. I have high needle anxiety about tomorrow already. Today I have pleurisy on my left side, which is becoming very painful, and making the emotional war tougher. Please pray for the pleurisy to subside, the catheter might be inserted the first attempt, and that my mind can stay focused on healing. It is a delicate dance, staying emotionally where I need to be to live life. Thanks.