Friday, May 29, 2009


Today I have felt like I was carrying around a body made of concrete. I slept 10 hours last night and wanted to go back to bed an hour after I got up. It seemed to take an enormous amount of energy just to get showered and dressed. Ironically, I woke up with a scripture on my mind "Come to me all you who are weary and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28). It was on my mind all day. Over and over again those words kept coming into my head.

My dear friend and I met for prayer and devotions for a little while in the afternoon and I was telling her how tired I was but how hard it was for me to rest or sleep in the middle of the day. When I was growing up, that was called "lazy". So I try to push through the exhaustion, not wanting to give in to it. And as I was telling her that, it suddenly occurred to me why God was giving me that particular verse today.

How much clearer did He have to make it for me? He was trying to tell me to come to Him and rest. It's not being lazy. It's allowing Him to give me the physical strength I need to fight this battle by getting the rest I need.

It's funny how the Holy Spirit speaks to us. How He gives us just the right scripture for just the right situation in our lives. It was no accident that I awoke with that scripture verse this morning and no accident that it played in my mind throughout the day. Nothing happens by accident when God is in charge of our lives.

And now I will come to Him and enjoy some much needed rest.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Is God Good All The Time?

Many times when someone experiences a blessing in their life, we hear the words "God is Good!" Someone who was very sick is healed and we hear "God is Good". An answer to prayer that we wanted brings a response of "God is Good. " An unexpected check comes in the mail and we say "God is so Good."

But what about the times we ask God for a miracle and don't get it? What about when a baby dies, a home is lost, a marriage falls apart or cancer strikes, then is God still good?

I love to think of God as a parent and I the child because it is so easy for me to relate to. When my children were small I wanted nothing more than to give them everything they asked for. But there were times when the answer just could not be "yes." When they wanted to go outside and play in the rain whilst lightning lit up the sky, my answer was no.

When they wanted to run the lawn mower before they were tall enough to see over the handle, the answer was "not now."

And, yes there were times when I had to sit by and watch them go through trials because I knew they needed to learn from it. It saddened me to have to see them hurt , but I had a bigger plan in mind for their lives. I knew that those trials would serve to help teach them and mold them into being the best that they could be.

I certainly made more than my share of mistakes along the way as a parent. But one thing I know, I love my children with all of my being. And my love for them doesn't begin to compare to the Father's love for us. "If you then, who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him." (Matt: 7:11)

Jer. 29:11 tells us "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Just as I had a small plan for my children's lives, God has an even bigger plan for my life. When I ask Him to take this cancer away and He says not now, HE IS STILL GOOD. For He Has a plan for my life. One day I will know and understand the plan, but for now I can rest in the fact that "He has begun a good work in me and will be faithful to carry it on until completion." (Phillipians 1:6)

Yes, God is good all the time. He is good through hurt, through pain, through loss, through cancer, through chemo, even through death. He chooses to heal or not heal for His own reasons. All of His decisions come from His love for us and His love and goodness remain constant. He cannot love us any more or any less than He does at this very moment. He is Good and Faithful through every single obstacle we face!


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My Plans

Chemo #5 hasn't been as kind as chemo 1-4. The day started out good. We had lunch for Katie's birthday at Chipotle and I had a wonderful visit with them and baby Cooper. We had a giant sized burrito for lunch and that could have been the start of the problems. Carl dropped me off for the chemo at 2:00, stayed for a bit to see if the port would work and then left to go teach. I had the same nurse Myra as I had last week and she is wonderful. She is both caring, knowledgeable and personable. She also has a passion for oncology nursing and it shows.

Before she puts the needle in the port (the worst part for me) she sprays all around with this so-called numbing spray. I always tell her it must be a placebo because it still hurts to put the needle in. But this time I figured out it must be the real stuff because as I held my shirt over for her to spray she accidentally got some spray on my fingers. She put the needle in the port and it stung like crazy but my fingers were totally numb! (Go figure:)

The port drew on the first time. I think it likes the weekly access. The labs came back and Myra said "did you know you are anemic?" Then she laughed and said "You might look more like Popeye but your labs still look like Olive Oil"

For some reason this time I felt really sick with it. Perhaps it was the burrito right before chemo I don't really know. Katie came down to pick me up and take me home and by the time I got home I was so sick I had to take some Pheneregan. Went straight to bed and when Carl came in a couple of hours later he said I was sitting up in bed talking to myself. Don't even remember him coming in.

Today I woke up expecting to be wired from the steroids like the past few treatments but instead I was extremely tired and fuzzy headed. Not sure if this is what they call "chemo brain" or not. But I really wanted to go to bible study. Carl came and picked me up after bible study because I just didn't feel well enough to drive home. Got home and slept the rest of the day. So much for Wednesday being a good day from the steroids.

I think I have learned something from this though. Just when we think we have our life all figured out, we find out we don't. I had plans today to take advantage of a steroid induced energy; go to bible study, get several errands done, get some sewing projects done and go to choir. But my plans were not God's plans today.

Lately I have enjoyed reading out of the book of Proverbs. Tonight I opened the book and randomly started reading. Here are a couple of the scriptures I read;
"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines His steps." (Proverbs 16:9)

"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:21

And as this day comes to a close, I realize once again that God directs each step I take according to His purpose. And tomorrow I will go with His plans and not mine. Lesson learned.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I remember the main form of punishment when I was a disobedient child was writing sentences. I think I was writing sentences before I could write my name. In an effort to change my behavior, my sentences always began with "I will not..."

I will not flush my socks down the toilet.
I will not feed my green peas to the dog.
I will not send my little brother down the steps in his wagon.
I will not shave the dog or my little sister.

I was convinced that my father had a big book full of sentences to fit everything I did. I started out with 10 sentences as a very young child and distinctly remember writing 1,000 on several occasions when I was older. I'm not sure how effective the sentence writing was on my behavior but I did have the best handwriting in the class.

Today is chemo day. Usually it is at 9:00 in the morning but because of the holiday yesterday it is at 2:00. I think it's better when it's early so I don't have so much time to think about not wanting to go. So I am sitting here thinking about sentences. I just found out that I will need to return to work full-time before I am finished with chemo, radiation and surgery. My company has a policy that if you are out longer than 6 months you are terminated from the organization and lose all benefits including insurance. I wonder if they realize that cancer doesn't always fit into a neat little 6 month package.

I am seeing that each treatment is getting a little harder to bounce back from and I wonder how I will have the strength to work full time through all that lies ahead. And I start to worry about tomorrow, a disobedient behavior I am continually guilty of. Perhaps I should write sentences.
I will not... I will not...... I will not.....

But, my God is a God of grace and love and forgiveness. His word is full of encouragement and hope even in the midst of our trials. Instead of writing "I will not... ", I think I will start writing "I WILL... using the promises He has given to me.

"I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28-30)
"I will direct your steps." (Proverbs 3:5-6)
"I will supply all of your needs." (Philippians 4:19)
"I will make all things possible." (Luke 18:27)
"I will cast all of my cares on Him." (1Peter 5:7)
"I will do all things through Christ who gives me strength." (Phil 4:13)

I think that should be enough to help change my negative thinking into positive thinking today. And I know that my Father has a big book full of sentences to fit any trial I face today and tomorrow and 6 months from now.

Great Is Thy Faithfulness!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Freedom Isn't Free

Today is Memorial Day. It is a day, here in America, when we stop to remember those who have served our country and pay tribute to those who are serving now. For many of us, we remember our grandfathers, uncles or brothers who have worn the uniform of service to their country in years gone by. For me, on this day, I want to take a moment to pay honor to my children. I have three children and they all wear a uniform of service. They have decided to serve their country. One is a police officer and the other two are Marines. They know that wearing the uniform comes with sacrifice and risk but they have chosen to wear it proudly.

Because of them, and so many like them, I continue to enjoy my freedom today. I am able to worship wherever I choose. I can share my faith openly without fear of persecution. I don't have to be afraid because I am a woman. While I sleep at night, my home, my property and my family is being protected. I am a" 911" call away from help anytime day or night. So many times we take for granted the many freedoms we do have in America.

There is a popular bumper sticker out that says "Freedom Isn't Free". For hundreds of years men and women have "paid the price" to give us the freedom we enjoy every day. All too often the ultimate sacrifice has been paid in the "line of duty." I pray that we never forget them.

I know that for many years mothers have watched, with mixed feelings, as their children put on their uniform of service. In a small way, I imagine, they wish they would have chosen something else. But a much larger part of them is proud and thankful that they have decided to serve their country.

And on this day, I want to say "Thank You Eric, Holly and Brent for wearing your uniform". I am incredibly proud of you and I continue to pray that "He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all of your ways, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone." (Psalms 91:11)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Play On

There are things only you can do,
and you are alive to do them.
In the great orchestra we call life,
you have an instrument and a song,
and you owe it to God to play them both sublimely.


Friday, May 22, 2009

A Little Update

I just thought I'd post a little update on the treatment end of this journey.

I have been taking mega doses of iron for over a week now and am starting to look more like Popeye than Olive Oil. We still haven't figured out how to cook the liver and onions without smelling up the house, but truthfully neither of us has tried very hard.

I think after 4 cycles of this new chemotherapy I've got my week figured out.

Tuesday - receive chemo and steroids, mild manageable nausea, sleepiness from IV benadryl.

Tuesday night - awake all night from steroids

Wednesday - mild nausea, bouncing off the walls from the steroids.

Thursday - start of bone pain, feeling as though I've been hit by a car.

Friday - bone pain all over (even jaw bones), numbness and tingling in my head, hands and feet, feeling as though I've been hit by an Amtrak.

Saturday - Fatigue, bone pain and mental fog

Sunday - tiredness but starting to feel better

Monday - work

Tuesday - start all over.

I really don't say all this to complain for I have found some definite advantages!

Before chemo, there were lots of times I couldn't think of what day of the week it was. Now, I can just figure it out by my symptoms.

Being fatigued is a good excuse for drinking Mountain Dew.

We now receive frequent shopper discounts on Advil.

Wednesday is the best day of the week for me to be wired.

Now, I have an excuse for falling asleep in the middle of the day, or not being able to find my keys or remember names or forgetting what I went to the kitchen for.

Romans 8:28 tells us that "All things work together for good for those who love Him." And I believe that there is something good in every single thing we go through, sometimes we just have to look a little harder to find it.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Unwavering Love

The article in this morning's paper read "Pro Golfer Mickelson On Indefinite Leave, Wife Diagnosed With Cancer" . It went on to say "Phil Mickelson was gearing up for his favorite time of year. All that changed Wednesday, along with his priorities, when he disclosed that his wife, Amy, has been diagnosed with breast cancer." Jack Nicklaus said. “No one, especially Amy, deserves to have to face the battle that accompanies cancer. But we know that Amy has this amazing inner strength and spirit,and with Phil’s unwavering love and support, they will fight and overcome this."

As I read this, I couldn't help but think of Carl. Like Phil Mickelson, he has put his life on indefinite leave to be able to fight this battle with me. He rearranges his days to go with me to chemo treatments, doctor's visits, tests. He's by my side when I'm sick, he listens to my continual complaints of bone pain, he fusses when I take on too much and does his best to get me to rest. He tells me I'm beautiful to him, with or without hair and scars. He worries, he hurts, he prays.

His love and support is unwavering.

Before I was diagnosed, I witnessed that unwavering love in a dear friend of mine as her husband battled this disease. As I watched her day after day, I never ceased to be amazed at her unending devotion to her husband. Once, I remember asking her if she needed help and she answered "Nobody can take care of him like I can, he belongs to me." At that moment, I saw in her eyes the love of Christ. The kind of love He shows to us because we "belong to Him."

That is the kind of love that Carl shows to me and for which I am so very thankful.

I pray for Phil Mickelson, his wife and their three young children today. And I know that whatever lies ahead of them will be somewhat easier because of that unwavering love.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Dog Named Lucky

A good friend from work sent me this story this morning and it touched my heart so I wanted to share it.

Mary and her husband Jim had a dog named 'Lucky.'

Lucky was a real character. Whenever Mary and Jim had company come for a weekend visit they would warn their friends to not leave their luggage open because Lucky would help himself to whatever struck his fancy.. Inevitably, someone would forget and something would come up missing.

Mary or Jim would go to Lucky's toy box in the basement and there the treasure would be, amid all of Lucky's other favorite toys Lucky always stashed his finds in his toy box and he was very particular that his toys stay in the box.

It happened that Mary found out she had breast cancer. Something told her she was going to die of this fact; she was just sure it was fatal. She scheduled the double mastectomy, fear riding her shoulders.

The night before she was to go to the hospital she cuddled with Lucky. A thought struck her...what would happen to Lucky? Although the three-year-old dog liked Jim, he was Mary's dog through and through. If I die, Lucky will be abandoned, Mary thought.
He won't understand that I didn't want to leave him! The thought made her sadder than thinking of her own death.

The double mastectomy was harder on Mary than her doctors had anticipated and Mary was hospitalized for over two weeks. Jim took Lucky for his evening walk faithfully, but the little dog just drooped, whining and miserable.

Finally the day came for Mary to leave the hospital. When she arrived home, Mary was so exhausted she couldn't even make it up the steps to her bedroom.Jim made his wife comfortable on the couch and left her to nap.

Lucky stood watching Mary but he didn't come to her when she called. It made Mary sad but sleep soon overcame her and she dozed.

When Mary woke for a second she couldn't understand what was wrong. She couldn't move her head and her body f felt heavy and hot. But panic soon gave way to laughter when Mary realized the problem. She was covered, literally blanketed, with every treasure Lucky owned! While she had slept, the sorrowing dog had made trip after trip to the basement bringing his beloved mistress all his favorite things in life.
He had covered her with his love.

Mary forgot about dying. Instead she and Lucky began living again, walking further and further together every day. It's been 12 years now and Mary is still cancer-free. Lucky, He still steals treasures and stashes them in his toy box, but Mary remains his greatest treasure.

I don't have a dog named Lucky. I don't even have our little Bandit anymore.

But I do have my heavenly Father. This story reminded me in so many ways of how my Father loves me. He is saddened when I am far from Him.When I am in need, He covers me with His love. He has given me His greatest treasure, His Son. I am His treasure and because of that I will live with Him forever.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

1/3 Done !!

I received the 4th dose of 12 treatments today so that makes it 1/3 done! It went really well today. Believe it or not the port actually drew on the very first time. No heparin, no TPA and no standing on my head. My RN today was really sweet and funny. I have had her once or twice before. When she drew back and got blood return on the first try she said, "It was because of the little prayer I said." I told her I said one too so maybe that's the secret. Then she went to get the tubes to put the blood in for the labs and it stopped drawing. I laughed and said "Did you remember to say "Amen" at the end of your prayer? Maybe it isn't quite finished." She and Carl and I all laughed together. She said "Amen" and tried again and it drew without a problem. It felt good to laugh and to pray in there today.

This time my nurse ran the benadryl first and then ran the steroids and for the first time I didn't feel like "bugs" were crawling all over me (a side effect of the IV steroids). It was nice. The labs came back again severely anemic. She called the Dr. to try and get a transfusion but instead he just said he wanted to see me after chemo. Yuck.

While Carl and I were waiting, one of the administrators from Orlando Health walked past my room. She is a three time survivor of cancer and has been in remission for 19 years. I met her in January at an awards banquet, just days after I was diagnosed, and she was truly inspiring. Today, she was there to visit a friend who was in the room next to me receiving chemo for the first time. But she took the time to stop and talk to me and ask how I was doing. She commented on how beautiful my quilt was. I thought about how kind it was for her to take a moment and visit with me despite the busy schedule she had. Soon she left to go up to her office and get some pictures to show her friend.

And then came the best part of the day. I took a few minutes, grabbed my IV pole with all the meds and went next door to introduce myself. As I did so, I started to remember every single thing about my first day of chemo. Every question, every fear, every feeling and emotion. My heart just ached for this lady and I wanted so much to help ease her of her anxiety. We talked together and I told her I was certainly no pro, but I had finished the cycles of what she was getting and shared some things that helped me and some things that didn't. I told her that it helped me not to dwell on what the paper says about all the side effects because I would just convince myself I was experiencing all of them. I also told her that it helped me to "write my own story" as far as how the chemo would affect me. We had a wonderful visit and I told her I would keep her in my prayers. Soon the benadryl started kicking in. It has some powerful sleep properties. I went back to my room, before she started wondering if she should be listening to me at all. I silently prayed for her and thanked God for giving me the opportunity to be able to share with her. I was soo grateful for that.

When the chemo finished we went back down to see Dr. Baidas and he increased the iron again and added Folic acid. No transfusion yet. As before, he said we really need to get the iron counts up. We got finished and headed home in the rain. Carl has almost finished another book while waiting. He is becoming a walking encyclopedia about history, the FBI, war battles and politics in Iraq and Afghanistan. Chemo does have it's advantages :)

Spent a restful afternoon with minimal nausea. GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME AND ALL THE TIME GOD IS GOOD!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

In Awe of You "Little One"

I remember like it was yesterday, my first day as a nurse in the NICU. It can best be described as "shock and awe". Before nursing school, I never even knew such a place existed. I knew there were premature babies but had no idea what that really meant.

Today, seventeen years later, I am just as much "in awe" of God's tiniest miracles, as the first day I laid eyes upon them. I know that my feelings are those of the many friends I work with in the NICU also. For us it is not a job. It is a calling. It is a very big part of our life and our hearts. And we want to pay tribute to you, little one, for we indeed "stand in awe of you."

Dear "Little One",

I stand in awe of you. You are so tiny, yet so perfect. You are small enough to be held in the palm of your daddy's hand and to wear your mommy's wedding ring on your arm as a bracelet. I stand in awe as I watch you work to open your eyes for the very first time.

I am in awe at your unique little personality. You will just lie there and let me do whatever needs to be done without making a peep while your next door neighbor will start yelling as soon as the doors to the isolette are opened.

I am in awe of the way you are able to communicate, even as tiny as you are. You know how to tell us when enough is enough, even though words are several years away. You will sneeze, you will furrow your little brow or you will raise your tiny hand in the air, palm outstretched as if to say "STOP! I can't take anymore right now."

I am in awe of the many unpleasant and sometimes painful procedures you endure, yet as soon as it's over and you are touched with a gentle hand you are so quick to forgive.

I am in awe of your strength despite your frailty. You have an incredibly strong will to live. Time after time you cause us to shake our heads in amazement at what you have been able to overcome.

I am in awe of the unending devotion of your parents. Hour after hour, day after day, week after week they sit by your bed. They pray for you, they long to hold you, they hurt when you hurt, they rejoice at each hurdle you clear.

You are indeed special, little one. "Your inmost being was created by Him. You were knit together in your mother's womb. You are fearfully and wonderfully made." (Ps. 139:13).

"For He knows the plans He has for you. Plans to bless you and not harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future. "(Jer. 29:11)

I am honored, little one, to be a small part of your life. Caring for you brings great reward and blessing to me. And as I close my eyes in sleep tonight, know that I will remember you in prayer, that the Lord who holds you in the palm of his hand will bless you and keep you all the days of your life.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


After 50 plus years. I have finally learned how to treasure the moment. Not just live in the moment but treasure the moment. There is a big difference. Most of my life has been spent quickly living the moment and and jumping on to the next. Many times I was so busy figuring out what had to be done next, I missed the moment altogether.

But God in His mercy, has taught me along this journey, to treasure this moment He has given me, and let Him worry about the next. "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself." ( Matt 6:34)

Today was a day filled with moments to treasure. I woke up still feeling pretty wiped out but as soon as I walked into the kitchen I was greeted with the radiant smiles and "Hi Granny" from little Wyatt and Logan. The first thing that came to my mind was "This is the day that the Lord Hath Made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it." I stopped for a moment as if doing so would "freeze" the moment.

We took Wyatt with us to church and stopped to get sugar cookies with sprinkles for the children. By the time we got to church, Wyatt had red and blue stains from the sprinkles all over his face, hands and little blue suit jacket. Both socks and both shoes were off his feet. Ordinarily, I would have been frustrated because putting him back together would have taken extra time. But today I just looked at him, knowing that this little boy would grow up all too quickly and his little red and blue cookie stained face would soon become the face of a man. And I stopped to treasure the moment.

Today was Baby Logan's baptism. I sat with Eric, Katie, Dylan, Jayda, baby Cooper and Holly. I thought about how it seemed like only yesterday I held Eric in the very same pew as a tiny baby. And now I watched with a grateful heart as Eric sat holding his newborn son, with his family by his side. And I paused to treasure the moment.

Carl sang a beautiful solo from his heart and I closed my eyes and embraced the moment, not wanting the song to end.

I watched as our Pastor and friend took baby Logan in his arms (no small feat) to baptize him. I silently prayed he wouldn't scream when he felt the water on his head. But he didn't. They never do. I think at that moment God takes over and speaks to the babies because they never seem to cry when they are baptized. As Pastor Steve held baby Logan up before the congregation I, once again, paused to treasure the moment. I silently prayed that God would bless this child and surround him with His love and grace.

We went to lunch with some wonderful family friends. Little Wyatt sat practicing taking his shoes on and off. Baby Logan took his macaroni filled hands and wiped them all over Kristy's arm. We all laughed and I thought about how quickly the children in that family had grown up, how it seemed like yesterday when Greg was Baby Logan's age. And I stopped to treasure the moment.

Later that afternoon, after Holly and the boys went home we went to a supper at our church. When I got my plate, Daynin, one little boy who holds a special place in my heart, came up and asked "Can I sit at your table?" We sat down next to each other and talked about lakes and alligators and water skiing and tubing; all of the things little boys like to talk about. He told me proudly how his mom could water ski with one ski and how one day he would learn to ski barefoot.

As little Daynin talked, I thought about how quickly these moments in our lives go by. How easy it is to miss them. How we can't always get them back. And I closed my eyes and whispered a prayer of thanks to the One who lovingly provides those special moments and asks only that I stop and take time to truly treasure them.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Butterfly

Looks as though today may somewhat of a struggle also. I was hoping to wake up feeling better than yesterday, but not to be. I'm struggling still with bone pain, fatigue and a general feeling of blah. I had been told that the effects of this chemo regime would be cumulative so I guess I shouldn't be too surprised. It really goes against my nature to stay lazy 3 days in a row, but I guess I'll have to give in to it. Baby Logan is here with me but he sleeps a good part of the day so we'll just enjoy each other's company when we're awake.

I've heard it said that if we were to help the butterfly remove itself from the cocoon, the butterfly would not be strong enough to survive. It is the struggle that prepares the butterfly to become strong enough to fly. Without the struggle in the cocoon, it could not survive as a butterfly.

The Lord prepares each of us in similar ways. The Lord knows our struggle and will make our life an instrument in His hand if we will follow Him with an upright heart. He does make all things beautiful In His Time if we are willing to be patient.

Friday, May 15, 2009


I woke up this morning feeling like I had been hit by a train. Headache, sore throat, achiness and absolutely no energy. Looks like my immune system is going to get a challenge. I was supposed to receive a transfusion yesterday but my oncologist said that my iron count, which is supposed to be 38, is at 2. He said getting a transfusion wouldn't really help until we got the iron counts up. So Carl and I are trying to figure out how to cook liver and onions without stinking up the house and driving out the piano students.

Carl has literally run circles around me this morning. He started teaching at 7 am. When he finished he cut the grass, edged and ran the weedeater and then went up to the church to work there. He will get back in time to teach again at 3:00. I am somewhat jealous of his energy today but moreover grateful to be married to such a hard working man.

I finally gave in and just went to bed asking God to strengthen me for the upcoming busy weekend with Holly's birthday and Logan's baptism. I have a basket with the many cards that I have gotten from friends over the last few months and I came across one that was so appropriate for today that I wanted to share it. It is folded in the shape of a box that you would find a bottle of cough syrup in. You know the box that has the name of the medicine and all the side effects, etc. This medicine is called Get-Wel. Here are some of the things written on this box:

Get-Wel ASAP now with fast-acting HEALZINNOTIME!

Temporarily relieves these symptoms commonly associated with not feeling so hot:
-Tendency to feel poopy
-blah disposition

You may experience dizziness, drowsiness, incontinence, constipation, bad breath, loss of hair,
loss of appetite, and loss of lunch. Get-Wel causes no side effects so don't even think about
blaming us. There! You've been warned.

In fact, avoid operating all machinery. Go ahead and have someone else turn on the television
for you. Why take a chance?

Through a patented delivery process, Get-Wel works without any effort on your part. Just
relax and enjoy the healing power while you watch game shows, spy on the neighbors, build a
pillow fort, taste- test chicken soups, or aphabetize the items in your refrigerator.

-The capital of Iowa is Des Moines
-Breakfast is the most important meal of the day
-Don't run with scissors

Why would anyone want to include ingredients that don't do anything?

"Get-Wel is the FIRST thing I recommend to my patients" - Dr. Makim Bedder

"Get-Wel immediately!" - Costas A. Lott, M.D.

"Get- Wel whatever it takes!" - Carl's Mom

Hope this brought a smile to your face. I know I feel better already!

Thursday, May 14, 2009


When I was first diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) I had never even heard of it. And for good reason. It is relatively new in the cancer field and it acts very diferently than most breast cancers. It's always been my nature to read everything I can find on anything medical if I don't have a good understanding of it. So I saw no problem in researching TNBC. I set out on the wonderful world of the internet and read everything I could get my eyes on. I spent weeks staying up late at night reading articles and statistics. I was going to take this "bull by the horns." But very soon it became a big problem. Many nights, after reading, I went to bed in tears. The statistics caused me to believe I couldn't beat it. I started to feel sorry for myself. But, what made me feel the worst, was the conviction of the Holy Spirit on my heart, that I was running ahead of God and not putting my trust in Him.

So I decided that I would not read anymore about it. I would bury my head in the sand and leave it in God's hands. For several months I was content with the little bit of knowledge I had. I knew that I would soon have to make decisions regarding surgeries after chemo and radiation. I knew I would need to have some facts before making those decisions, but I tossed it aside for fear I was running ahead of God.

Over the last week, God has taught me another new lesson. I received an e-mail from a friend with a website that was dedicated strictly to TNBC. She said it contained a wealth of information on TNBC with the newest advances and latest research. She recommended I read up on several of the new studies. A warning light came up in my head. I was hesitant at first. Was this God's doing or mine? I earnestly asked God to show me what I should do with it. I prayed about it. I sought counsel from a good Christian friend.I opened my bible, asking Him to give me direction, and started to read what God has to say about knowledge. And as I did that, God began to give me a peace about it.

"It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way." (Pr. 19:2) I realized in my zeal to learn about this disease, I was too hasty. I went running on my own and missed what He would have wanted me to know.

"The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, the ears of the wise seek it out." (Pr. 18:15) The Holy Spirit has given us the gift of discernment. When I seek out knowledge, I first need to pray for His discernment.

"The eyes of the Lord keep watch over knowledge, but He frustrates the word of the unfaithful." (Pr. 22:12). God knows everything there is to know about TNBC and every other medical condition we may face. He keeps watch over all knowledge. But when I run ahead, trying to learn without Him, I will only become frustrated.

God has shown me this week, that He is the giver of all knowledge. He doesn't mind me having knowledge. It's okay to make informed decisions as long as I have earnestly sought His guidance.

And now when I read, I will pray before, not after. I will not run ahead, for I don't even know the way. I will take His hand and let Him lead me along trusting in the knowledge that He knows every step of the way.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


This week's chemo treatment went amazingly well. 3 down and 9 to go. I spent Tuesday, treatment day, sleepy and a bit nauseous, but much better than previous treatments.

Today I woke up feeling wonderful. I was able to go to bible study which I enjoy so much and have lunch with my sister afterwards. I told her that God was giving me extra blessings today because I have never been able to eat on the second day. I even had the energy to go to the bookstore and find a book for a study my friend and I are going to do together. When Carl finished teaching, we sat out in the backyard on the swing talking about the day. After a quiet dinner we both laughed at which one of us would be able to stay awake past 9:00. A perfectly normal day.

Six months ago, I would not have given a day like today a second thought. I have always gone to bible study, I have always gone to a bookstore, I have always gone out to eat. I talk to Carl all the time. Nothing special.

But it was special. It was a gift from God. Having Christian friends with which to gather together and study God's word is a gift. Having sisters to have lunch with is a gift. Even being able to eat is a gift. And most of all having Carl to talk to, to spend time with and to enjoy my life with is a tremendous gift.

How sorry I am that I have taken those gifts for granted so many times. And how thankful I am that God loves me enough to keep on giving them to me anyway.

Father, forgive me for the many, times I have taken your gifts for granted. Lord I know that each day I awake is your gift to me, waiting to be opened, to do with what I will. Help me not only to see your gifts in the everyday activities of my life, but to treasure them as well. And I will give you all the praise for your great faithfulness and fresh new mercies every morning.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Chemo # 3 of 12. Ohh the joys of modern technology. I am blogging right now in the chemo infusion room, on my laptop, in real time, thanks to the world of computers and wireless technology. I enjoyed a wonderful dinner with Eric last night for Mother's Day. I know that pride isn't the best virtue to have but I have to confess that I am proud of the son, husband and father he has become. I think back on all the times in his life that God has gently guided him down the right path, surrounded him with His angels and kept him out of harms way and I am so thankful for that.

I saw my oncologist before coming for my treatment this morning. He hadn't done an exam in awhile. As he was doing the exam, I was holding my breath praying he wouldn't find anything suspicious. I guess the human side of me will always worry that he might find a problem. But some positive things did come out of his visit. First, I can now have grapefruit. There is no hard evidence supporting no grapefruit and this chemotherapy. YAY! Second, I can have up to 10 days off between the end of chemo and the start of radiation. YAY a vacation for us! I took great comfort in the third thing. He asked me on a scale of 1-10 (1 being the worst and 10 being the best) where was my fatigue and shortness of breath? I said "Well, since I just got out of bed, it's at about a 5. He said "Where would you like it to be?" I said "10." He said "Good news! Everyone else has the same answer so you are perfectly normal!" Wow, I'm perfectly normal now? If I had known chemo was all it took to be normal, I might have tried it years ago :)

My port wasn't too much of a problem this morning. A couple doses of heparin and one dose of TPA and it drew. No standing on my head :) Thank you, Lord.

Right now I am getting the IV steroids and benadryl so I thought I might type while I am still awake. My chemo nurse today is wonderful. He gives the chemo treatments for the research patients also and is very knowledgeable and on top of all the new studies. He says it keeps his mind sharp. I like that.

Today I am so anemic they are going to do a blood transfusion. My nurse must have known how much I don't like being in the hospital so he got it set up for me to come here to the cancer center on Thursday for 2 units of blood. Thank you Lord!

I am so thankful for the medical staff that have been involved in my care. I know that God cares about every detail in my life even down to which nurse will administer the treatment. I watched the competent hands of my nurse as he drew labs from the port and thought about our children's message on Sunday. Our hands are a powerful tool and can be used for many good things if we allow God to use them. It is God who gives gentle touch to the hands of the caregivers. It is God who gives wisdom to the researchers. It is God who steadies the hands of the surgeons. It is God who gives the perfect blend of knowledge and compassion to my doctors.
And it is God who holds me in His hands as I continue along this journey.

Psalms 92:4

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Praise From a Blessed Mother!

You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Psalms 139:13-14

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Four days into the 2nd dose of this new chemo has brought on new side effects. I have had a nosebleed since yesterday that doesn't seem to want to stop for more than a few minutes at a time. Last night my bones hurt so bad I finally gave in and took a prescription pain reliever. After sleeping ten hours I woke up feeling like I hadn't slept in a week. Holly and I had planned to go to a ladies luncheon at our church but I was seriously considering just staying home and being a slug. But this has been somewhat of a Mother's Day tradition in our church for many years. I was looking forward to being there with my daughter and visiting with ladies whom I have known since I was a young girl. We got ready to leave and my head got really foggy. I had read about this chemo side effect so I guess I wasn't surprised, but it was bad enough I asked Holly to drive.

The lunch was wonderful and I was thankful for a good appetite today. We brought baby Logan and enjoyed watching him spread cupcake icing all over his face and sing baby songs. After a few minutes my head began to clear and the dizziness subsided.

Now I have to say, before I tell you what happened next, that I am a person who has always had a terrible long term memory, even before chemo. I say that, because I know that what happened today was through the work of God and not my own. I began to look at each of the ladies who were there. Not just glance at them, but really look at them. And one by one, I was able to remember vividly a time in my life when they had taught me something or impacted my life in some way. When I joined our church, I was a young new mom and my mom was far away. For me, many of these ladies became my "mother" in a special way. As I looked at one lady , I remembered clearly the time she showed me how to swaddle my inconsolable crying baby. I looked at the woman next to her and remembered her words of wisdom as she told me that I would not regret being a "little more strict" with my strong-willed little Eric because one day He would thank me for it. And she was absolutely right. I looked across the room and saw one who taught me how to fold sheets and towels so they fit in your closet without being a mess. One lady even tried to teach me to cook. (Well, at least she tried:) Not all the people there had served as a "substitute" mother. Some were friends that I have known for many years but have taught me something in my life by their example. And soon I realized that there were very few in that room today that had not touched my life in some way or another.

And a quiet little voice came into my head. The voice of the Holy Spirit. In His gentle way, He caused me to ask myself: "Why haven't I taken the time to tell any of these special people how they have impacted my life?" Why haven't I said "thank you?" I see many of them week after week , year after year and have never taken a moment to let them know what they mean to me. Why is that?"

I was reminded of a saying that I came across some time ago.

Many people will walk in and out of your life,
But some will leave imprints on your heart
and you will be forever changed.

God places special people in our life all along the way. They teach us, they love us, they leave imprints on our hearts. I have often said at funerals how sad it is that we wait until they are gone to say all the things they have meant to us.

I learned a valuable lesson today. I have taken much for granted. God has placed many special people in my path over the years and I want those people to know what they have meant to me. I want them to know how they have impacted my life and I plan to seek them out and to say "thank you". Not waiting until they are gone, but now, while they are here.

I pray that if there are people in your life who have left imprints on your heart , that you will take that extra moment and tell them. And I'm pretty sure that you both will receive a blessing from it.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Monday, day before chemo, was a very long day. I went to work at 5:30 am. Got off at 1 pm and drove straight to Jacksonville to be with my little grandson, Logan, who had been taken by ambulance to the hospital because he was having difficulty breathing. The emergency room was filled with staff who wore masks and patients who were coughing and sneezing. Even though I knew this wasn't the best place for me to be, I asked God to heal Logan and keep me from getting sick also. I thanked Him that I even had the strength to be here to help. WHAT A BLESSING!

Tuesday, chemo day, started at 5am. Holly called from the hospital and said Logan was feeling and breathing better. WHAT A BLESSING! I went in to wake up little Wyatt and he looked up at me from his sleepy eyes and gave me smile that lit up his dark room. Every day should start like this. WHAT A BLESSING!

I got Wyatt to daycare at 6am when they opened. It was hard to leave him so quickly but I knew I would barely make it back to Orlando for an 8:15 appointment with my oncologist and 9am chemo.

When it got to be 8:00 and I was still an hour away from Orlando, I called my oncologist and rescheduled an continued driving. I made it to chemo 30 minutes late but they didn't seem to mind.

I warned the nurse about my persnickety port but she said she had a bag of tricks for that, and indeed she did. She put the non-numbing numbing spray on and put the needle in the port. That is the worst part of the whole treatment for me. I can get stuck over and over for an IV but hate having that tender port accssed. She told me to raise my left arm, turn my head to the right and cough. And sure enough, the port drew back the very first time! WHAT A BLESSING! She drew the labs and sent them. The results came back quickly and all the numbers passed well enough to start the chemo. The hemoglobin is still very low but had come up 3/10th of a point in the last week since taking the iron supplements. WHAT A BLESSING!

The chemo room was freezing today, but I had my quilt and it kept me warm and gave me pleasure to read all the squares with the kind words from my friends. I get so many comments on how nice the quilt is. WHAT A BLESSING!

This time I brought some phenergan with me and took it at the beginning of the treatment. It made all the difference in the world because I wasn't the least bit naseous. Only bad part is that it combines with benedryl and I slept for the next 6 hours. I don't even remember the conversations with Carl on the way home. But I woke up with no nausea! I think I will make that phenergan a weekly tradition. WHAT A BLESSING!

When I finally woke up, I was able to go to Dylan's little league game and Eric's softball game and not feel too sick. WHAT A BLESSING!

Day 1 of chemo #2 is over. Before falling into bed, I spent time on my knees, thanking God for BLESSINGS abound in my life!

Sunday, May 3, 2009


In the last few days, three different people have said to me, "I just had a friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer and I gave them the link to your blog." And each time I heard this, I thought about the person who had just received that news. I remembered how I felt when I read my ultrasound reports. I thought about how I felt when I woke up from surgery and heard that it was cancer and that it had spread.

I literally felt as if I stood facing a colossal mountain and had to climb over it to get to my normal life awaiting on the other side.

Carl and I love to go to the mountains in North Carolina. As soon as we catch sight of them in the distance we start getting excited. The closer we come to their majestic grandeur, the more in awe we become. We love to go hiking in the mountains. We choose a part of a trail, map out our route, put on our boots, bring our walking stick and some food and water and set out for the climb. When we start at the bottom, the top looks so far away. We can see off in the distance where the trail runs along the peak. We know that the trail will lead us over the mountain but it is too difficult to see until we get closer to it. Though we have a general idea of how long the climb will take us, we're not exactly sure because we don't know what obstacles we might face along the way.

And so we start our hike. The farther away we get from the noise of the highway, the more we can hear the chirps of the birds singing in the treetops, the crackling of the leaves as the squirrels and rabbits scamper around playfully. The babbling of the brook off in the distance. And as we get deeper into the woods, we are no longer able to see the mountain that looms ahead of us. Now we see only a few feet in front of us. We focus on each step along the way, careful not to trip over a rock or falling log in our path. Our eyesight becomes keener. We look through the camouflage of the trees and see a fawn, standing still as a statue, watching us. Our talking now becomes a whisper so we can better hear the sounds around us. We continue to walk. After awhile we stop for a drink and something to eat. Refreshed, we continue along the trail. We know that we are climbing higher and higher because we feel the slight tug on our leg muscles. But the incline doesn't seem overwhelming. We use our walking sticks along the way to knock away hanging limbs above our heads and to probe areas along the path where we are unsure of the footing.

We start to tire and stop to rest before continuing on the path. We are still unsure of how much longer we have to get to the top. We stop to rest again. And just when we feel as if we are too tired to go on,
we see a small ray of light through the trees! We walk a little further and find ourselves at the top of the mountain! The air is crystal clear. The sky is a gentle blue with not a cloud in the sky. And the brilliant sun sets a golden glow on every blade of grass it touches. We made the climb. We made it to the top of the mountain. We could now see the other side.

And I am reminded of the times in our life when we feel like we are facing a giant mountain. We can't see to the other side. We can't conceive of having the strength to make the climb. Even now, with 11 more chemo treatments ahead, followed by 42 radiations followed by major surgery and then waiting to see if it all worked, I feel like I have only walked a few steps up the mountain in front of me.

Are you standing at the bottom of a mountain right now? Our mountains have different names, but they are still mountains. "The death of a loved one". "The breaking of a relationship" "The loss of a home." "Alcoholism" "The loss of a job" "A wayward child". What mountain looms ahead of you?

For me, I refuse to look at the mountain. I will look only at the path that is directly in front of me. I won't try to figure out how much time it will take to get to the top. I will try to be attentive to what God has given me to enjoy along the way. I will take my faith and trust in Him and use it as my walking stick to go ahead of me. When I tire I will rest in Him and ask for renewed energy to go on. And when I reach the top of that mountain and see the other side, I will look up to the Son and give Him thanks for walking with me every step of the way.

And I will remember you in prayer as you make your climb, one step at a time.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Where Two or Three Agree

I have just returned home after a 2 1/2 hour drive and am happy to be out of the van. Partly because of achy bones but mostly because I was anxious to write about the last couple of days.

On Tuesday evening, after the first treatment of Taxotere that morning, I was pretty wiped out. Wednesday morning, I woke up feeling terrible and running a fever. I guess the 3 white blood cells got overwhelmed:) I spent most of the day in the bed, disappointed at having to miss bible study and choir (my two favorite things to do during the week).

Thursday morning, I got up still not feeling well. But, here's where the good part begins. My daughter, Holly, was to be promoted on Friday morning, in Jacksonville, to sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps. I wanted more than anything to be able to see her receive her ranks. So, I started to pray that God would take control of whatever was going on in my body and give me the strength to go to the ceremony. I knew that God would hear my prayer, but what I didn't know at the time was how many other people were praying for me. That very day, I received five different e-mails and two cards from people who simply said "I'm praying for you" or "you are in my prayers". They didn't know how badly I was feeling nor how much I wanted to go to the ceremony, but God did!!

And this morning, the morning of Holly's promotion, I woke up feeling like a new person! No fever, no malaise and feeling like I might finally be able to keep down some food.

And because of answered prayer, I DID attend her ceremony!!

One by one, Marines of all ages and ranks filed onto the quarter deck, standing at attention, awaiting the entrance of the Colonel. As I stood there, I was filled with gratitude for the dedication of our service men and women and a deep sense of patriotism for our country. When the Colonel came in, he spoke to his Marines and then turned to face Holly who was standing at attention. And as he pinned her new ranks onto her uniform, I watched through tear filled eyes, not with pride, lest I should boast, but with thankfulness for what God has done in her life.

As I was driving home this afternoon, thanking Him for answered prayer, I remembered a scripture. It comes from the book of Matthew 18:20 "Where two or three agree together in my name, there I will be also." I thought about the many people who have prayed for me, some that I know about and many more that I don't. And I just want to say, "THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU" for coming to God on my behalf. For I know that, He hears those prayers and will be faithful to answer them according to His will.