5/5-5/19, 2014 So it was finally time to step back from working with clients because my body now had no understanding of anything except how to use the bathroom facilities. Like a balloon,,,what goes up must come down…welp…what went in had to come immediately out. It was the time 5/8-5/10 for my second bout of chemo as well. I can say that it was much more manageable knowing what to expect this time around. I carried my chemo bag, attached to me, home and other than having the weight of it I was not going anywhere anyway except for the couch or diningroom table to play a marathon of Rummykube. The bathroom only steps from the diningroom and my family was very understanding the many times I had to stop and return. The game kept me from focusing on what I could not do. I wanted to write but for some reason your thoughts during that time are to confused or intercepted by the body. I knew I had to be accepting of me and my precious body. It has carried me through so much and I have so much more road to walk yet!
Another seminar 5/17 at Spirit of Truth Ministries…this one “ANGER.” I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Our team was awesome and their passion igniting. I was even brought out a comfy soft chair to sit in for the day!
One of the things on my bucket list that I never seemed to have time for: I had wanted to plant some perennials to honor God for the way they come up every year and to Thank Him for sustaining me in the midst of some tough days. My husband was great and put in a border. My gracious loving friends came and helped me dig holes and put these beautiful flowers in.
6/3/2014 MY LIFE RETURNED as I knew it. My schedule quickly filled and my staff kept an eye on me as not to overdo too quickly. The medical facility flushed my mediport with saline every six months to make sure it stayed clean and usable until 6/2015 when they removed it in a 20-minute procedure. To this day I have my scar that is a reminder of how God walked with me…and I thank Him again.
So today I am busy and loving and serving in whatever way I am called to service. I appreciate EVERY day and the simplest things in life, just like before this all happened. I have things to do and places to go and people to love on. Every day is the best day and not to be taken for granted.
I walked away being reminded that a day is a gift….use it and enjoy it.
June 19, 2016 Today
4/7-4/24/2014 Primary Care visits and the colon rectal surgeon constantly checking to see if the tumor was increasing or decreasing gave me feelings of security but I was also feeling a bit overwhelmed. Every day I had a standing appointment to drive down Essjay Ave and be on time for my radiation treatment. Jim was there to walk me into every appointment. One of the NOT my favorite parts was that the radiation folks had to check my bum to make sure all was well regularly. No matter what though, I was blessed by two things everyday. The first was that it was Springtime and the street that the facility was on was lovely with ponds and trees and winding street. All those ponds drew geese to settle in and lay eggs. Everyday there seemed to be a new family of geese trying to stop traffic for their young to cross the road. It seemed that everyone was used to it and encouraged them with a quick honk if they lingered to long.
The second gratefulness came with the staff in Radiation. From the nurse to the technicians I was greeted with care and concern. The doc came to know me as the “perky” one. One day I was hurting really bad, you know where, and my smile was hiding somewhere inside. The staff noticed and made sure I had gotten all the items I needed to help alleviate the pain. Radiation can burn in such a sensitive area after several weeks of having it hit the same place over and over every day. God gave me a couple days rest when the machine went down right at that time. It was just enough to give me enough umph to take the rest of the treatments. Thank you Lord for your goodness and mercy!
His Love endures forever……
May 18, 2016 Today
I had my two-year mark with the end of dealing with this so I could put it behind me finally. It annoys me to be reminded of negative thoughts when there are so many things to be positive and grateful about. Though I am grateful for the cancer helping me to understand this plight in others I just hate to have it attached to ME. Call me crazy…I probably deserve it lol.
As I sat discussing how exited I was to meet this time mark, the P.A. turned and said…we follow you every 6 months for 5 years. I did not know how to respond. What I can tell you was, “Oh great!” was not in my head’s vocabulary. I said…” two years ago they said I would be followed for 2 years.” She did not respond. I realize today that was probably best. I have to work through the disappointment and ask God if I really have to do that.
God givith and God taketh away…..
May 13, 2016 Today
April 12, 2014 I’m thinking that one more day to sleep with the Chemo wouldn’t be too bad. I was actually starting to get used it making that little rhythmic hissing sound. I kept thinking that every hiss was gonna get me back to where I was and that God would use each hiss for my health. I laid my head down and gave it to God.
When I awoke I had to get up and moving to go see how they would now take this apart and off me. My stomach was a bit queasy and I took a plastic Ziploc bag and put it in my pocket for the ride over…just in case! Watching needle stuff is NOT my strength and the day would be long. I had to take time to dress appropriately because I wanted desperately to be with my IHNO team today as we were to be presenting a Healing Damaged Emotions seminar on Conflict. This was one of my favorites and I knew they each were capable and could all do it without me in case I got sick, I just wanted to at least sit in the seat to support the people they each are and the GREAT work they do for God.
The nurse started to untangle me and disconnect what now seemed a normal part of me…sorta 😉 and minutes later I was FREE again.
Freedom starts to take on a new meaning
April 25, 2016 Today
April 11, 2014 So I had managed to hang my chemo container on the tall light next to my bed. As I slept it did not interfere at all and I was so thankful to have had a good night sleep. As I swung my feet to the floor and went to my closet I grabbed a metal coat hanger and aimed to the bathroom. I actually had a plan and twisted the hanger and hung it on the shower bar. My chemo box fit perfect! It was light enough to hang from my contraption! As I needed to go back and forth around the bathroom it followed me on the bar. Brushing my teeth was NOT a problem and I was grateful for being able to manage this.
The month before this I was able to function fully with control over my body. Slowly it was getting harder and harder to just care for myself let alone take care of the things important to my husband or all those people I have been caregiver to. Moment by moment through the next month a little bit of that would leave and at first I had anxiety a little over not being there for everybody whether I was needed or not. I couldn’t know how I was going to feel. I couldn’t take anything for granted! I laid there drinking the chicken broth and the few things I could stomach and I Thank you Jesus for applesauce. I looked forward to that every day.
The little things became the big things.
April 12, 2016 Today
April 10, 2014 So the oncologist said each person gets a recipe of chemo and/or radiation depending on the person and situation around their personal cancer. I was starting to get used to the reality of where I was today in my life and though I would not say the “cancer” word, it didn’t make it not true. I went into my scheduled appointment with a little concern. They told me that my mediport had to be in 10 days before the chemo was administered and it was exactly 10 days today. It was uncomfortable as it was healing into place and I had to take aspirin from time to time. It seemed strange to me that I had to take aspirin for shoulder discomfort but no pain med for cancer. I had discomfort in the rectal area where the tumor was only in times of elimination. The mediport site was sensitive still. I had to push my concerns back and walk into this new section of treatment. There were lazy boy recliners in portioned areas. Seeing I don’t get to sit and relax often I figured this couldn’t be all that bad!
I was given my own area and chair. The nurse came over and flushed my port. She then injected the first liquid chemo from a large syringe into the port. I was then given a box shaped monitor that was about 4×6 inches. The plastic tube off of it was connected into my port as she explained that the chemo is put through your heart to disperse it throughout your body efficiently. I wasn’t sure I liked that thought but I told the Lord I had to give it over to Him. Those concerns were too much for me to carry. I was told that I would carry this battery operated contraption with me everywhere for 3 days. It made a little hiss every release of chemo. It was rather awkward trying to function with this thing attached. Where do you set it when going to the bathroom? Where do you put it when you want to sleep? I didn’t want to do anything because I felt emotionally confused by the feelings that I had and the awkwardness of this machine…pumping, pumping, and pumping.
I finally crawled into bed propped up against three pillows sitting up. I was tired from this whole experience. How was I gonna brush my teeth in the morning and function normally? Discouragement started to creep in…following it flowed into me the Word of God. I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me!
I was reminded also that His mercies are new EVERY morning.
Tomorrow would be a new day I told myself.
I drifted off….
April 4, 2016 Today
April 9, 2014 I managed to go home and not have much discomfort after my second radiation treatment. Somewhere in the back of my mind I kept thinking about the lady who sat beside me who had lost her hair due to treatment. I knew I had a couple more days before Chemotherapy would start and tried to tell myself it didn’t matter if I lost ALL my hair…I would no longer have to shave…an answer to any girls personal thoughts in the shower. So I made a decision that I would go and get my hair cut shorter soon so that I wouldn’t clog the drain if indeed it started to fall out. I got up and went to the mirror and tried to picture what I would look like. I would be alright with it….right?
I called a friend and we chatted. I shared my thoughts about hair and the next time I saw her she had two bandanas for me. I didn’t even know if I would need them but I felt better having them. Another awesome friend brought me a “Life is good,” baseball cap and the story behind it. I wanted to now go get a haircut and donate my hair to “locks of love.” That would be a good cause and I would emotionally get a JOY power charge for helping another cancer patient. I was disappointed though when I went for my haircut and she said they would not be able to use my hair because I had bleached it with highlights. I got it cut anyway because I could at least save my husband a headache with the bathroom plumbingJ.
God giveth and God taketh away.
March 30, 2016 Today
April 8, 2014 As I sat in the waiting room a woman came in with a scarf that covered her lack of hair as she sat down next to me. I wondered if that was going to be me. I tried to tell myself that it didn’t matter and that vanity had no place in me. Still I wondered if I would lose it. It took me two years to get it to grow half way down my back. It actually was doing what I wanted it to do and holding a curl even! Sure, now I might lose it. How absurd to even think such thoughts. As you sit there your mind automatically wants to stay busy to survive a scary experience. On the outside I didn’t look like I had scary going on and even my mind didn’t acknowledge it. I was just in survival mode going through this first experience of actually having a treatment.
My name was called and the nurse and doctor sat with Jim and I explaining exactly what would happen and that I need not worry about the procedure. We went back to the waiting area and then I was called again and taken back to the radiation room. As I positioned myself in my leg stabilizer and the techs made sure all was well I stared up at the ceiling as the machine started to make its noise letting me know that I was receiving a treatment. I tried to count the tiles and little dots in the tile. Then I heard it…yes, it was Lionel Richie’s voice as he sang “Hello.” The music was now pumping into the room above the dull sound of the machine and it made me smile as I laid there and enjoyed having something to focus on…yes, the oldies!.
This was gonna be alright!
March 23, 2016 Today
April 7, 2014 I had heard many things about radiation and most of them not so pleasant. Jim came with me for my first appointment and every appointment thereafter every day I was scheduled for the next six weeks or so. I had to be fit for leg stabilizers so that every time I got on the table I would be in the same position for the radiation. The women that worked with me were all kind and did their best to make my experience a good one. The mold hardened quickly and I was good to go. They took me on a tour and showed me the radiation room where my treatment would take place. It was dimly lit and not to intimidating.
It would just be whatever I made it.
March 21, 2016 Today
Thoughts I ponder: It is very difficult when you have people that are so connected to you that you know it would throw their world if something were to happen to you. I was always a loner most of my life and connections were few and far between. Because of the abuse and chaos it always was just easier not to trust anyone. It really made sense to me to keep things to myself because if you shared them it seemed that predators came out of the woodwork and would prey on your weakness. All of my life it was really a struggle to overcome these feelings of distrust. As I have walked in recovery from this I have now been able to learn to love and trust my God rather than man. Psalm 118:8. It has been a life lesson that if I come to Him first then I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. It has been healing and I have been growing and thriving. It is an adjustment to share my life and pour into others as a vessel of wisdom. I can’t fathom most days how that happened but it creates friendships and edification creates love.
Now I find that I am not really sure as to what God might have in store for me and I am ok with it but others aren’t. Emotions of mine I can handle rather easily but what do you do with others who see the darkest and look immediately at their own loss or negativity. I did not want to share this journey for I was afraid of hurting those I love. I had to seek God’s face in continual prayer to get past this. I told God that I didn’t want to cause stress in others. I still had to face sharing with my family and close friends. When I shared with my dear sister I watched it shutter through her whole being and fear gripped her. I did my best to reassure her and it took weeks of me functioning normal for her to see that it is really ok. I guess maybe it helped me to keep my normal regimen.
Thank you God for friends and family no matter how difficult truths can be.
March 27, 2014 I checked into Millard Fillmore hospital to have something they called a mediport inserted. As I waited I laid there with no idea other than something would be inserted into my chest so that I could receive my chemo. As the time drew near they gave me a shot that took the edge off. Though my heart was not troubled my blood pressure was still responding and refusing to drop down to normal. They rolled me on the gurney and upstairs to surgery. I laid there with a sheet over my chest as they prepped the area and several nurses were chattering in fun conversation. We got onto talking about roller skating and before I knew it they said I was finished. It must have been the fastest 10 minutes I ever experienced with all the laughing we were doing. I was thankful that this experience was a good one. After a little recovery my husband took me home. As feeling started to return it was an ouchy week or so and I had to baby this new device. I kept thinking that I have too much to do with my life, yet I knew this was going to somehow be a part of me for a while. That night as I climbed into bed I had to become dependent on habitually sleeping on my left side for weeks. I had so many new things to learn!
Flexibility was going to become a very dear friend.
March 12, 2016 Today
So sorry that time lapsed….between trying to tend God’s ministry and take care of mine and my husband’s health issues with his new pacemaker and my physical challenges…it sure keeps one busy…but no complaining, just stating. Let’s get back.
March 22, 2014 As I stood on the stage I knew that I was where God had called me to be. We reached four states and everyone that participated gave a great word to those who were listening.
Now that it was over I spoke a moment when asked about my condition and those Godly women came around and laid hands while praying for my healing. I felt the spirit within me move. I knew I could do this as well as I knew my name.
March 2, 2016 Today
March 21, 2014 Preview! We were to gather at the church to do a run through so there would be a smooth flow to the Webinar. Those in charge did a marvelous job and it kept nerves down to a minimum. I tried to keep my thoughts captive for I knew this was a privilege to speak on Conflict=Growth. Satan tries to use conflict in our lives to steer us into making bad decisions and to be unsettled in ourselves. I had an opportunity to show how conflict can be a positive thing. The enemy does not have dominion over me because I have victory and am not a slave to sin!
I sit in the pew in admiration as each woman goes up to present. I wonder how God has picked each of us? What makes us the recipients of presenting these truths? I thought that I must have a good message if the enemy is presenting illness at this particular time. Stand behind me Satan….He that is in me is greater than you who are in the world!
I will be fine for tomorrow and I will rock this for my Jesus.
Feb. 29, 2016 Today
In those 7 long days I had managed to realize what I was looking at with regards to my health and try to share it in a rational way with my husband. That was difficult and in my world I wish I could have left it there. Now I had to figure a way to share it with my family who is dysfunctional as all families, but aside from our idiosyncrasies we are close and loving, each in our own way. I tried to share it through a planned conversation with my sister that didn’t go as well as I hoped in my mind. I watched it shutter through her as the words hit her ears and it was visible externally. I knew it was a shock to her system and though I wanted to say, “don’t worry, just joking,” I could not. I did my best to reassure her but over the next couple weeks I saw the burden she carried was taking an emotional toll. One day when it finally got to heavy, we were able to hold each other on the couch and cry together in silence.
We are not guaranteed tomorrow.
Feb. 24, 2016 Today
March 17, 2014 was a little intimidating. A surgeon? Was I given a surgeon because something had to be operated on? Did they know something I did not know yet? So many horror stories people have shared and I was more afraid of them than I was my own condition. By not telling many people it was less people who would be scary to me. I learned that each person has an individual walk and I guess this next guy was going to be part of mine. What might he say? As I lie on the table and anticipate a manual exam I was not thrilled to have to go through this. My husband was so kind as to come with me and as I went through the exam and my hands got sweaty from the discomfort of the scope, my husband reached over and took my hand. I knew I could endure whatever I was feeling at that moment. This doctor would come to do this exam repeatedly over the course of my treatment and I came to wait for his “good” report which made it all worthwhile. I was slightly confounded. I couldn’t understand why I had a surgeon keeping track of my condition. I knew of his great reputation as I had researched him before my visit.
I knew I had been given favor.
Feb. 20-22, 2016 Today
March 14, 2014 was a speaking engagement for “Vibrant” a beautiful women’s ministry. I was asked to speak on women and purpose. IT MADE ME FACE THE PURPOSE OF SUCH A CHALLENGE FOR ME! Inside I knew that God had not brought me this far for me to be taken yet with so much to do. Just in case though I did stop and ask if I could hang around to do what I had started. So many things were clanging together in the 6 inches of my brain. I went into the engagement fully assured that as Joshua 1:9 promised me, and I was going to stand on that promise; that I could be strong and courageous, not terrified or discouraged for my God was with me wherever I go! I take that as physically go as well as emotionally or spiritually!
I had another wonderful speaking engagement coming up the next week March 22nd that I had looked forward to for months. The women I was to speak alongside were women of God that I admired. How could this word keep rattling around in my head when I had something so important to do for God be only days away now. I needed God to direct me in a way that would glorify Him. If I was to carry this word then I needed to do it as part of a strong witness. You don’t know where this word can travel in you and where it might gain ground. I didn’t want it to define me by allowing it to consume me. I also knew at the same time that I needed prayer. It’s funny how your prayer list grows when you perceive times are going to be tough. My gastrologist office had made an appointment with a Colon Rectal surgeon just three days away. Everything was happening so fast and time was out of sorts. My schedule all of a sudden seemed overwhelming to try to keep pace AND do this sort of self-care. It was a good time to choose the self-care, and my office and clients were understanding, patient and encouraging with me.
For the next few weeks ahead we still tried to keep things as normal as possible.
Feb. 19, 2016 Today
March 13th-19 2014 Various thoughts: After an appointment on March 17th with the Colon Rectal surgeon and the physical scope exam it was verified that there was indeed a large tumor and that it had split (fissured) which causes a sensation as something stinging going over an open wound. He said that he would be the hub of my care and coordinator of services. I felt quite confident to leave my care in his hands. After I dressed and went to the desk his staff person called oncology for me and though normally it would or could take 6 weeks to get in, as she was on the phone a cancellation opened and she asked if I could take the appointment in two days! After she set an appointment for me to begin to run this race, I knew in the Word that Paul said that I have to run the race as if I will win. Whatever happened had to glorify God. As I walked into the treatment building with my husband and signed in March 19th, I looked around and it became all to surreal. All of a sudden it was too real, like when you love to go on the rollercoaster and as your car creeps to the top you enjoy the anticipation until you crest the top and you know once you start down the hill there is no stopping it. It finally sunk in that I would have a real battle with cancer. I became nauseous and told Jim, my husband, that I needed to sit down fast. As I had a couple minutes I prayed and asked God to take the sick feeling away. It passed and I heard my name called. As I walked through the doors I didn’t know what to expect.
The coordinator checked me in and she said, ‘hey, you are the one who shared the story about the rock! I told everyone that story today!”
Feb. 18, 2016
March 13, 2014 as I woke in the morning and lay in that place between sleep and awake, in my mind’s eye I saw one of the tattoos on my son’s arm. It is an image representing the Rock of Ages. It is a rather large rock. Upon it there is a woman with her arms embracing the girth of the rock as if holding on for her very life. As you scan down her legs that are dangling at the base of the rock there are two demons. Each of the demons is trying to pull her by a leg from the rock. As loud as if it was in the room with me I heard a voice say to me, “and the rock won’t move!” I knew I had a battle to face that was already won. In Revelation it says the victory is won.
I was energized and excited and though I had to make my first call regarding my condition, on the phone with the Cancer Care Coordinator, I couldn’t help but tell her that I wasn’t afraid because God said., “the rock won’t move!” I knew that if I held on tight no matter what the journey looked like I knew it would be ok. For me it was a win-win situation. If I stay alive and well or if I go home to my Father, I knew it would be what it should be. I have had beautiful encounters with the Holy Spirit and am aware of the absence of time.
It would be in HIS hand.
Feb, 17, 2016
March 12, 2014 we had a snow blizzard. It was a relief not to have to face anyone at work today as I try to process through my feelings. The day ticked away moment by moment as I tried to patiently wait for an opening to share my concerns with my husband. I needed a time with him when he would be fully attentive and a way to say it that it does not scare him. One can’t walk into the house saying, “Oh, by the way, the doctor called today and said I have the C word.” I did not want to feed it by even saying the word anymore. An evening opened itself to finally confessing what had been in my heart. During a relaxed evening of board games I came clean. His concern was comforting though I knew I had just placed a burden on him that I hoped would never in our lifetime happen. We cried together and pledged to do this together whatever the road. Then before I went to bed it came as a thief in the night. Fear reared its’ ugly head and for a couple minutes I went to that place of torment inside and understood about all the stories I had heard of others facing this before me. It was a sense of horrific despair unlike anything I had ever experienced. I was able to recognize the enemy quickly and turn it over to my God as I envisioned His hand cradling me.
I needed to sleep.
Feb. 16, 2016 Today
As I am coming up on my two year Anniversary it is now time to share my story with you. I will be feeling it again myself as the words hit the page so if sometimes my emotions are raw… it is real. It reminds me that EVERYDAY is a new adventure and that the journey is not over till it’s over.
There is one word that you never want to hear, partly because you have heard so many stories about it… but mostly because it causes your brain to freeze and your breath to stop.
March 11 of 2014 as I was in a session with a client my phone rang. I glanced down and saw that it was the doctor who had just performed a routine colonoscopy. I had been feeling something not right and had gotten a reminder in the mail that it was the time for this repeat performance. I had made the appointment and just before sedation I asked the doctor to check carefully for something just didn’t feel right.
I excused myself and answered the phone. I did not expect to hear the words, “I am sorry to have to say this over the phone but you have Cancer. There is a good colon rectal surgeon I recommend and will call for an immediate appointment.” It was like the air left the room and that word kept repeating over in my mind. I remembered not to many years ago when the times that word was used were not associated with people YOU knew but now I was hearing that this word belonged to me. I stayed collected enough to thank him for his call and go back into session and stay present with my client and not allow my head to travel into my own thoughts.
After the session I wondered how I would find the words to tell my husband.