Memorial Day…it’s not just another 3-day weekend…

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Memorial Day means something different to me now, as an adult, than it did as a child.  I remember Memorial Day as a day off from school, the “unofficial” start of all the summer activities, opening the pool, having barbeques with friends and family.  But now I know what it really is.

 

Memorial day is so much more than all those things. 

On Memorial Day, we are to memorialize, remember, honor those who have died in their service to our nation.  I don’t personally know anyone who has died while serving in the military.  But I do know two very important people in my life who know someone.

My Daddy was drafted to serve in the Vietnam war.  He was in the United States Army.  He watched, on many occasions, while the men fighting for their lives right alongside him, were killed.  He was actually wounded twice, but made it home.  Unlike so many he knew.

My Son is a United States Marine.  He wasn’t drafted, he chose to be a Marine after high school.  He’s been deployed twice to Afghanistan so far.  He has also watched as those he served alongside have paid the ultimate price.  He was also wounded, like my dad.  He also came home safely.

While I don’t pretend to understand all that they went thru, I can choose to honor them and those like them.

Like so many others tomorrow, we will be having friends and family over and having a cookout and hanging out.  There will be a time while everyone is here that we will stop and say a prayer for our troops and those families who are not “celebrating” Memorial Day, because of their losses.

So, if you’re reading this, please take a moment out of your day on Memorial Day to remember and honor those who have paid the ultimate price for your, for our, for my freedom. 

May God continue to bless this great nation.

 

Cancer? What Cancer?!?

“Index shaft of the left humerus lesion previously noted is not identified on the current study.”

Know what that means? 

The cancer that was there before is NOT THERE ANYMORE!!!

What great words to hear!  After several months of appointments, waiting, tests, waiting, more appointments, more waiting, more tests, chemo, chemo and more chemo…more tests, waiting a little bit more, more appointments…those words were like “a breath of fresh air in a dusty world”.  That last quote is actually something the Lovely Daughter said to the Little Man a while back and they were what came to mind as I was thinking about the feeling I got when the oncologist said, “The Cancer Is Gone.”

My brother, who lives in Vanuatu, flew home for a few days and was able to be with us in that appointment with Daddy to hear those words.  When the doctor came into the room, I told her that he came all that way so she better tell us good news and she said, “It was not a wasted trip then.”

Thank you to everyone who prayed for us and with us, cried for us and with us, allowed us all some extra grace over the past few months, who brought meals to my parents, who laughed with us when we needed to laugh and gave us time to “shut down” once in a while.  You may never know what a relief and encouragement you were are to all of us. 

Even though the cancer is stupid, bye bye, gone, this isn’t over yet.  Daddy will begin radiation therapy soon.  He will have it every day for a couple of months.  The doctor said that really the purpose of the radiation is to give that old cancer a last “kick in the butt.”  So, please don’t stop the praying. 

Here’s the Plan, Man!

Ok…so here’s the plan for Daddy.  I know you’ve been wondering.

We met with Dr. Moore in Kokomo who will be his oncologist.  I like her.  And she loves Jesus!

Basically, he has two types of Lymphoma.  One is the Follicular B-Cell Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma that they found in front of his ear.  It was the original lymphoma diagnosed.  It’s indolent, meaning that it is slow growing but it is also non-curable but also not really the “killing” kind.  Yes, one doctor actually called it that!  The other one, found in his left humerus is Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma.  It is aggressive.  And it’s stage 1.  This one actually came FROM some little very bad, no good, should be ashamed of themselves, rogue cells of the other one.

Daddy’s will look like this, except his “tail” will also be purple.

So…Today we met with Dr. Inder Seekri who will be putting in a portacath.  I like him.  And he loves Jesus!

Basically it’s a port for them to be able administer the chemo.  It will go under his skin and the plan now is that it will stay in for 2 years.  That will be inserted as an outpatient surgery on Monday the 22nd.  Then Tuesday the 23rd will be his first of 3 cycles of chemotherapy.  Each cycle lasts for 21 days.  So, he’ll have one on the 23rd of October, November 13th and December 4th.

We go in the morning for “chemo training” at the cancer center.  Then this Thursday he will have a nuclear medicine heart scan to make sure his heart will be able to handle the chemotherapy.

After the initial 3 cycles are finished, they will do another PET scan to see how the cancer reacted.  Then, decide from there what the next steps will be.  Either more chemo OR begin radiation.

That’s pretty much it for now.  I wanted to be able to give everyone a heads up.  If you have any questions or comments, please leave a comment below.

We are so incredibly thankful for all of you who are praying and thinking about us all during this time!

Cancer Sucks. Answers Help.

Finally some concrete answers. 

Daddy has Follicular Non-Hodgkin’s B-Cell Lymphoma.  It’s in the bone of his upper left arm, his humerus.  He will begin chemotherapy soon.

I had a friend just ask me how I’m doing.  That’s a good question.  When I talk about Daddy having cancer, I feel torn between this need to be strong (because I know that God’s in control) and this feeling that if I could just start crying I wouldn’t stop, like a lump in my throat and waves of sadness.  Like right now, it’s a good thing I’m not eating anything because I wouldn’t be able to swallow it.

How do we reconcile our human emotions with the things we know that we know that we know about the Lord and His all-consuming power, love, sovereignty?  Is it ever okay to cry in fear of the unknown if I truly believe that God’s got this? 

I think yes…Ecclesiastes 3:4 says, “a time to weep and a time to laugh,a time to mourn and a time to dance”. 

 

more doctors…

This Yesterday morning I went with Mom and Daddy to meet with Dr. Daniel Wurtz at the Indiana University Simon Cancer Center in Indianapolis. As I mentioned in a previous post, Daddy had a PET scan done on August 13.  That scan showed an area on his left humerus (upper arm bone) that was “concerning”.  He was then referred to Dr. Wurtz to further explore that area.  So, today we went.  His appointment was scheduled for 9am and he was supposed to get there about 30 minutes early to check in.  (shhhh…don’t tell him I’m telling you this, but he had actually put in the wrong address into his GPS so we were a little lost.  But only by about a few blocks.  No biggie.  Just running a little late.)  We actually got there right at 9.  He checked in at the desk and was immediately called back to get weighed, measured and blood pressured.  After sitting in the room for a few minutes, Dr. Wurtz’s nurse practitioner came in and chatted and asked questions.  Then she said that the doctor would want to do a regular x-ray on his upper arm.  So, they sent him down to another part of the hospital for that.  He was gone for about 30 minutes.  When he came back, the doctor came in and basically said that yes, there is some concern, but he wanted to get another picture.  So he ordered an MRI for later in the day at 2:30.  He told us that on Wednesday mornings a bunch of radiologist and other doctors get together to discuss new cases.  IU Med Center is a top-ranked teaching hospital…but I totally pictured one of those scenes from “House” when they are all sitting around a table trying to figure out what steps to take and trying to figure out what is going on!  Anywhooo…so he said if they were able to do the MRI yesterday, he would have all the tests to present and talk about.  He told Daddy that if his ears were burning in the morning, he would know why?

By now, it was only about 10:30-ish in the morning.  So, we had some time to kill waste find something to do…

So…we left the hospital…o what to do?  what to do?…I mean, really.  We’re stuck in downtown Indianapolis for more than 3 hours AT LUNCHTIME!  Whatever shall we do? India Garden, of course!  So, we drove to Broadripple and ate at my favorite restaurant! (And Daddy’s).

After lunch, we made our way back over to IU Med Center and waited for the MRI.  We still had more than an hour before the MRI so we decided to ride the IU Med Center People Mover.

People Mover

As soon as we were on it, I felt like I was back at Disney World.  I told Mom and Daddy that I wish I had brought my Mickey Mouse ears.  I also thought it would be fun to bring the kids to Indy for a day and ride it with all of us wearing our ears…we could pretend we’re back at WDW.

Anyway, the whole trip from walking to the people mover and getting back to the MRI office was about 30 minutes or so.  So, when we got back Mom and I  just waited in the waiting room for Daddy’s test to get finished.

When the test was finished, we left the hospital around 3:30 and drove home.  And by “we” I mean, Daddy drove home while I snoozed in the back seat.  😉  (btw, I HATE sleeping in the car.  It is so uncomfortable and not restful AT ALL.  I was miserable the rest of the evening.)

Back to Daddy…He has an appointment scheduled with Dr. Michael Robertson on October 1st.  He’s a lymphoma specialist.  Please continue praying.  We appreciate it.  I cannot tell you how much it means that we have so many people lifting him up to the throne at a time like this.  Thank you.  amen.

My Seester is Moving Back!

My seester and best friend – the same person 🙂 is moving back to Indiana!  Image

After more than 10 years of living and ministering in South Africa, Costa Rica and Panama, she and her hubby have made the difficult decision to move back home.  It certainly has not been an easy decision for them to make, but I’m so glad they’ve make this decision.

We knew when they left these grand ol’ United States that there would be times when we wish we could be together…the birth of our children, milestones, illnesses, celebrations.  And over the years, we’ve been able to visit them and they’ve come home for furloughs. 

But I am so excited that they are moving home for this next season. 

I’m excited that our kids will be able to get to know each other better. 

I’m excited to be able to spend holidays and birthdays together. 

I’m excited to hang out together.

I’m excited that she’ll be here during this time while we’re still figuring out what’s going on with our Daddy. 

I’m excited she’ll be able to help me with my new home!

I’m excited to see how God uses them here!

The Peace of God…

It’s after 10pm where I am. 

As I sit here and think back on the day today I can say that, for the first time in several weeks, I can take a deep breath and it feels good.  All the anticipation of these past weeks and days has taken it’s physical toll on me…but knowing that there have been so many people (probably you), literally all over the world covering us and Daddy in prayer I think I will sleep well tonight! 

Daddy had his appointment with the oncologist this afternoon to receive the results from the PET scan done last Monday and the bone marrow biopsy that was done last Tuesday.  I wrote the following while waiting in the parking lot for the appointment.

     1:21pm.  I just pulled up in front of the Oncology Center.  I’m waiting on Mom and Daddy to get here. My heart is heavy, it hurts to take a deep breath.  The anticipation in my car is thick.  What will these next few moments hold?  God give me Your peace.  Calm my heart.  “We Fall Down” is playing on K-Love.  We lay our crowns at the feet of Jesus.  Right now, all that I am I give to You.  Help me to walk boldly in Your peace in these next moments.

Then Mom and Daddy pulled up in their little PT Cruiser convertible, with the top down.  They’re so cute!  🙂 

We went inside to wait.  Brian and Nancy LaDue showed up soon after we got there.  They weren’t there to be the first ones to find out what was going on.  They weren’t there to go meet with the doctor with us.  They were simply there to cover us in prayer while we were meeting with the doctor.  It was nice to have them there before because we waited for about 30 minutes.  Just chatting with them helped us to not dwell on all the what-if’s of the appointment.

Finally we were called back and they weighed Daddy.  Andrea (one of the oncology nurses who goes to our church) weighed him and he weighed 234.8 pounds.  He’s really packed on that weight in the past week!  Not really.  He had a little help from my foot! 

When Dr. Salter finally came into the room it was an hour and 5 minutes after the scheduled appointment time.  We had talked about how long it was taking, but were glad that we were waiting, because that meant, at least we think, that the Dr. was taking time with another family who needed answers also.  He doesn’t just rush in, in a hurry and quickly explain what’s going on and then leave to get to the next thing.  He takes his time. 

He told us that the blood tests all came back normal, except for Daddy’s lymphocytes which were a little low, which is “normal” at this stage of the game.  He told us that the bone marrow biopsy was NORMAL IN ALL RESPECTS.  The marrow is clean!  He then went on to tell us that the PET scan showed absolutely no abnormal lymph nodes anywhere in his whole body!  He did say that basically the PET scan shows areas where there are cells that are behaving in an abnormal/aggressive manner.  There are a couple of areas that he is somewhat concerned about, but they seem to be totally unrelated to the Lymphoma that was found in front of Daddy’s ear.  It was Follicular Lymphoma.  Which, he said, is one of the most benign acting lymphoma’s.  He did order one more test, no biggie, just a scope of Daddy’s stomach, and then he wants to see him again in a month to see how he’s doing, to see if there is any change, and to take some time to really go over all the tests and charts to see if these two other areas are anything to be overly concerned about.

So that’s what we know at this moment.  Praise the Lord!  Thank you for praying, thank you for being there for us, thank you for loving us.

Please know this…if you have any questions or anything at all, please ask.  I am so very grateful of each and every person who has come alongside me and my family these past weeks and lifted us up in prayer.  I really don’t even want to begin to think what it might be like to go through something like this without knowing the Love, Acceptance and Peace of God the Creator.  The One who loves us enough to send His Son for us.  

Also, please don’t stop praying.  There are still some unanswered questions, but today was a HUGE answer to prayer! 

 

 

Philippians 4:7

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

That’s a great verse.  I love the promise found there.  But that “And” at the beginning is a hint that we should read what comes before.  Verse 7 isn’t a complete thought in and of itself.  Here is what verse 6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” 

Is it possible in my humanness to not be anxious today?  About anything?  Can I have thanksgiving today?  I’ve certainly presented my requests to God.  Today we find out the results from my Daddy’s PET scan and the bone marrow biopsy that were done last week.  Today we get more answers.  Am I anxious?  You betcha!  But I’ve talked to God about it.  So…”the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard [my] heart and [my] mind in Christ Jesus.”  What a promise. 

Lowe’s Stop #1

I made my first official trip to Lowe’s yesterday for house stuff.  No, that does not mean that I’ve never been to Lowe’s before.  I just mean that it’s the first official trip for old house/new house stuff 🙂   I knew that getting the house ready to sell would be a big task, but I guess I didn’t realize HOW big of a task!  It all just seems a little overwhelming…being a full-time college student with homework, working, being a wife and mama, going thru Daddy’s appointments with him, packing and going thru absolutely everything, dreaming about the new house…

We decided to hire a painter to paint the walls going up the stairs and then down the hallway upstairs, but I (and by I, I mean myself and my mommy) am painting everything else that needs to be painted in order to get this house ready to sell…which includes all three bathrooms and maybe the kitchen.

Those of you who have been in my house in the past 10 years will remember the little yellow bathroom.  Well, it’s yellow no more.  The paper has been removed, the walls smoothed with new drywall in places.  And it’s primed.  It will look like a totally different little bathroom soon!  heck, it already looks soooo much better with just the white primed walls!  I really hope to have that bathroom finished tomorrow night.  Then I’ll post a before and after photo!

Anyway, here’s what I bought at Lowe’s yesterday.

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Kilz for the bathrooms…a new little angled paint brush for cutting in around trim and such…paint tray liners…paint roller covers…and a lovely little welcome mat for the front door for when this house is finally ready to show/sell.

My Daddy has the appointment tomorrow afternoon to get the results from the PET scan and the bone marrow biopsy that were done last week.  I’m totally praying that there is no Lymphoma, it was all a mistake!

Musing

I thought I would try a little musing today. My Daddy does a daily devotional type thing on facebook every morning called “Max’s Morning Musing”. Lots of people read it. It’s really just what he experiences and learns each morning when he spends his personal quiet time with the Lord.

In the ten and a half years that we have lived in our current house, I have never gone out on the front porch (or the back deck for that matter) and just listened to the morning, the birds, the insects, the wind in the trees, the traffic in the distance.

As I sit here this morning, on my front porch, listening to the morning that has really already begun, I’m reminded of a passage of scripture that I think of nearly every day of my life. I even pray this over my kids every morning either as they leave for school, or when I get up.

Lamentations 3:22-24 says this,

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”

I find a lot of comfort in that passage. The first being the Lord’s great love. He truly does have a great love. I mean, it has to be pretty great in size to be able to love everyone, all at the same time, for all eternity. Now, I’m no Bible scholar by any stretch of the imagination, but that’s how I read it. It’s a great love. A BIG love…for which I am truly thankful. And because of that great love for me, for you, for people we have never and will never meet this side of heaven, because of that great love, we are not consumed. Oh Man! What a promise. There are days that I just feel overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by responsibility, obligations, feelings. Days I just feel consumed. BUT, because of His great love for us, I will not be consumed. I can daily rest in that promise!

His compassions never fail. He will always care about what I’m feeling, He will always care about when I hurt, He will always care about when I cry, He will always care about when I rejoice. He has a great love and unending compassions. for me. and for you.

And not only will they never fail, but they are new every morning. WOW. To never fail, never run out AND to be NEW every morning. Every single morning! Even THIS morning!

And then after all that, His faithfulness! Oh, His faithfulness. How great it is. Even when I am not faithful to Him. In those moments when I struggle with whether or not He’s really there. On those days when it just seems like nothing is going the way I think it should. In those times of uncertainty. His faithfulness is great.

I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” How can I NOT wait for him? After all that He has done, is doing and will continue to do for me, having a great love, not allowing me to be consumed, being faithful…yes I choose to wait for Him.

After all, He knows what He’s doing. I can trust Him after all that. He is my portion. Just what I need, when I need it.