Thursday, December 30, 2010

Warm Surprises!

You know, I've been showered with so many blessings in the past two months, that I have to say, it's impossible to keep up! I want to send "thank you" notes to everyone, and I'm realizing I'm in over my head. Please know, I am grateful to all of you!

I was able to be home for Christmas, and it's this smile and my little girl making love to her M&M candy cane that makes it all worth it. That's my little Chelsea who's three. I don't usually post pictures of my kids on here, just to keep some privacy, but I couldn't resist this one. Isn't she cute? tee hee! Definitely worth coming home too!

Okay, now my oldest (SEVENTEEN YEAR OLD), is hurt that I didn't include the rest of the "varmints." So . . . here's a "cute" picture of the others. ALSO worth coming home to! (Happy now, Whitney?)

Say "hello" to Kirsten on the left and Whitney on the right. Aren't they CUTE?

And this is my Aaron. Yes, the ONLY BOY. Poor thing. But, as you can see, he had a GREAT Christmas this year.

Thought it might be nice for all of you to see "who" you've been praying for. xxx

Moving on . . . .

Another blessing came in the form of a quilt. I got to take it with me during my last stay in the hospital. But this isn't just "any" quilt. It's a quilt with my book on it! And it's signed by my writing friends who are praying for me. Several of them wrote scriptures on it, prayers, and encouraging words.

I was literally wrapped up in prayer, scriptures and love!

Allow me to share what happened with this quilt while I was in the hospital undergoing my last round of chemo. I emailed the following letter from the hospital to the ladies who made it:

Last night was rough. I’m in the hospital, and they just hooked me up to a two-hour infusion of chemo, and after that would follow the 22 hour infusion of chemo (which I’m still on now). After my husband left (he so wanted to stay the night but couldn’t), I just bawled. I didn’t tell my hubby because then he would have stayed and that wouldn’t have been good. He’s missed too much work as it is. So, I talked to God and asked Him to please sit with me because I felt so alone. I asked Him to listen and FEEL the infusion with me as it was poisoning my body, to hold me close in His arms throughout the night. During all this, I wrapped myself up in the quilt you all gave me and started reading the verses you put on there.

What a blessing!

I came across Cecily’s verse taken from Isaiah 43:1-3 and the last in 5a “Do not fear, for I am with you.”

I’m crying as I write this. I can’t tell you how much I needed that last night! I just can’t tell you . . . and now I can’t type from crying.

Just know, I love you all so much. Thank you for loving me too.

So . . . it was a wonderful Christmas being surrounded by loved ones and all the blessings that come with family and friends.

I'm doing well after this chemo run. For some reason, this one didn't hit me as hard as the last round. I expect to crash, perhaps next week, but we'll see. Right now, I'm strong, so I'm enjoying it while I can. 

Love and hugs to everyone, and have a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

THE MASTER'S WALL on the SHELF at Loveland's B&N

Thanks to Candee Fick, I have this lovely picture of my book on the shelf at the B&N in Loveland! And just look who my book is keeping company with! Francine Rivers' Lineage of Grace! How cool is that?! LOL

I just thought I'd share this good news before I let ya'll know I'll be going into the hospital on Monday for another five days of chemo. Assuming all goes well, I'll be able to go home on Christmas eve. Pray that'll happen. I want to watch my kids open their presents!

In the meantime, MERRY CHRISTMAS to all of you! I pray you'll have a wonderful celebration with family and friends. This is a picture of a Christmas market. Reminds me of the Christmases in Europe. Miss those German Christmas markets. They were so "cozy."

There's another special something I want to share. I'd share it now, only problem is, it's not on my camera or computer yet! When that happens, I'll let you in on the "warm" surprise I got this week.

You'll hear from me sometime after Christmas.

Hugs to all of you!

Monday, December 13, 2010


By Wendy Chorot

Nothing could have prepared me for the gut-twisting pain of discovering my best friend was diagnosed with stage 4 T-cell lymphoma. I have never experienced such raw, hyperventilating terror as the realization of what she will endure sank into my heart. Brain tumor, chemo, radiation, baldness, bone marrow transplant—these are not the things I want for my friend. And they do not sound like plans to prosper and not harm.

I am grieving a loss, though my friend is very much alive and fighting this battle with courage and godly strength. I am grieving the loss of what used to be, the loss of what will never be again. Just recognizing the various stages of grief in myself angered me. I suddenly hated the idea of putting scientific labels to the things I was feeling. I wanted to change the stages of grief from denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance to stomping, screaming, seething, shock, and suffering.

I have hated the sun for shining when I’m hurting so much. As part of the stomping stage of grief, I’ve asked God why it’s not possible to divvy up the treatments among family and friends so that one fragile little body doesn’t have to endure it all alone. God keeps reminding me that she’s not alone. And He loves her more than I do.

After the cancer tornado ripped through my heart, I stood in the midst of destruction and combed through the debris, realizing that cancer could not create a loss of what mattered most—our relationship. Cancer can not take away the friendship we’ve worked so hard to build and maintain.  

And that’s when I realized that cancer will never win. It prowls around like a roaring lion, but its reign of terror is limited. My friend will be healed. Whether or not her healing takes place on this side of heaven, that’s up to God, but cancer will not win.

Some may think the decision to shave my head was a hard one. They would be wrong. I have felt “bald” in my heart since my friend’s diagnosis more than a month ago. Before the chemo took her hair. Shaving my head just brought the physical baldness together with the emotional baldness. Take my hair, it means nothing to me. But my friend?  She and I need to grow old together. We need to sit in our rockers and laugh about the time long ago that we were bald together. Yeah, take my hair, but my friend, I need to hold in my arms a little longer.

 Thanks Nick The Barber (American missionary serving in France).

Monday, December 6, 2010

He was, He is, He always will be

I have to say that (what's in the subject line) because only God is certain, only God is stable, only God is unmoving. And I need that right now. I may sound repetitious because I mentioned this in my post below, but it's a mantra I've been chanting quite often this last week. I've been so sick. They said this round of chemo would be "light." HA! What a joke! The "harsh" chemo was the one that was "light." I went home last Thursday, and only now (Monday) do I have even a little bit of energy to write this post.

This picture depicts perfectly how I feel. I realize the boy is holding the hammer that pierced Jesus, but just the look of him is exactly how I feel.

It got so bad on Saturday, they had me come into the hospital to check my blood. So, instead of my hubby hanging up Christmas lights on the house with the kids, he and I were left sitting in a waiting room for four hours, only to learn later that the nurse went home and forgot about me! After hunting them down, another nurse came (clearly embarrassed), said my blood levels were fine, and I was just short on potassium, so she gave me two horse pills. Needless to say, I was so UPSET on top of feeling miserable! I wanted Saturday to be a nice day for my kids, and this ruined it. But after talking to my mom, she reminded me it's not going to do any good to get upset. So . . . we cancelled some things on Sunday and Karsten (my hubby) hung lights on the house with the kids and decorated the porch, and I'm happy.

As miserable as I feel, I can understand why patients get nasty. I could have gotten nasty on Saturday. I certainly felt like it. But I reigned it all in and slapped a smile on my face, not wanting to be difficult. But I'm still angry. I can understand that nursing is just a job, where you punch in your hours on the time-clock and go home. But when you're a nurse, helping dying, sick people, how can you afford to be careless? How can you forget someone who's suffering? Why can't we take this type of job as seriously as if they were in the army? I mean, think about all the protocol that has to be met before one can move forward to the next "project." Think of how perfectly a bed has to be made, how perfectly the shoes have to be polished, how perfectly pressed the uniform has to be. Boy, if it's not perfect, there's trouble. Why can't a nurse have a check-list that they have to run through to make sure they saw all the patients they were supposed to see before they LEAVE the building? And this was the head nurse, the one in charge, the "big boss" so to speak! Whatever you call them. I'm not familiar with the terminology.

I understand nurses are busy, and probably even short-staffed. Who knows. But if you're going to have this type of a job, please take it seriously. Please don't forget us sick people who would much rather be home (like you) spending quality time with their family.

One nurse came in to my room the other day last week (these are all young girls, early to late twenties): she had been wondering when she was gonna get her lunch break. It was going on 2 pm. Well, I don't blame her! By the time she did take her lunch, she pranced into my room later, saying, "I can't believe my life." Apparently, she had to cut into her lunch break to help a patient who was having an emergency. I asked her, "Oh, is he all right?" She stopped and hesitated, then proceeded to tell me that the patient was doing a little better now. sigh

Hmm, missing lunch over feeling like you just might literally DIE, which is worse? Forgive the sarcasm. I hold nothing against this sweet nurse. She was wonderful. I just feel like something is "wrong" or "off" about all this. Please don't misunderstand. I know I'm at the best hospital there is for treating this type of cancer. I'm just sad that we can't do a better job at these things.

Anyway, I hope to post something more pleasant in the upcoming days. All I know is right now, I can't seem to get on top of this latest chemo trip. My sis keeps telling me about Medicinal Marjowana (see, I don't even know how to spell the word. This is so NOT ME). I used to roll my eyes. But now I'm wondering if it might be worth looking in to. All I can wonder is how long I'm going to have to feel so miserable.

I know, I know. One day at a time. One day at a time.

It gives me hope to talk to other cancer survivors who are living normal lives. Makes me believe my life will one day be normal.