the sunrise

The beauty of a sunrise is a fresh start to a new day!  As I watched the sunrise this morning, I thanked God for the beauty in it and all it represents.  A sunrise is another day, another chance to live life in this crazy beautiful world.  It is a time of peace and grace.  It is a time for me to suck it up and be thankful for my life and to enjoy this day to the fullest.  I haven’t had the best attitude lately and God has given me another day to change that.  Another week has passed, another week of mixed emotions and maybe not the best decisions.  I need to find a balance in trying to enjoy every moment and taking care of myself.  But in that there is a frustration that my body isn’t at its strongest right now.  I have cancer and that is the journey God has given me for a reason.  I can enjoy the moments but I need to take care of myself and the people that surround me.  So that is where I start today!

Thank you to all of you for being there for me!  I took a moment to reflect on past comments and postings from all of your support.  It brought me back to where I needed to be and I can’t thank you enough for that.  Next Thursday, I go back to Iowa City for a full day.  We will start the morning with a scan.  This was moved up a little sooner then we thought because of a little scare of some permanent damage to my nervous system (lots of tingling and numbness in my hands and feet).  Nothing is permanent at this point, we are just taking precaution.  The scan is to see if we can move on to the next step, being that I am not sure my body can handle much more of this chemotherapy treatment.  After the scan, I will meet with the doctor to discuss.  As of now, I will still have another treatment of chemo that day.  So I put it in God’s hands.

Thank you for the sunrise, Lord!

glorious unfolding

Sorry, it has been a while since my last post.  Life has taken over and I have kept busy.  I have also had a mix of emotions and really didn’t know where to start with this next post.  My mood has been a little bit all over the place and I really like to try to stay positive.

Update since the last post – I had a scan to see if chemotherapy has been working.  It was good news, some of the cancer cells have cleared away.  As I should be very excited (which I am), the cancer is still there and I know I have a fight ahead of me.  I struggle with wanting to just enjoy life to the fullest but I know I have to keep fighting.  The last chemo treatment I had was  2 1/2 weeks ago.  I was very anxious and didn’t want to go.  The side effects are kicking in a little more and it seems to be getting a bit harder for me.  Again, the support all of you have given me has a great strength that keeps me going.  Thank you!

This past Thursday I was scheduled for another chemo treatment.  But all of a sudden my white cell counts were just a bit too low.  So no treatment, it will be pushed to this Thursday.  Another mix of emotions.  I am excited that I have a week of no chemo but I am not fighting as aggressively by waiting another week and that changes my plans up a bit.  I know it is in God’s hands though and he has the ultimate plan.

As this journey may be tough for me, I know that many others are struggling with something in their life and I just ask that you take a moment and say a prayer for them.  This weighs heavy on my heart, feeling like I have it pretty easy compared to so many others out there.

That being said, I would like to share the lyrics to a song by Steven Curtis Chapman that has hit me the past couple of weeks-

Glorious Unfolding

Lay your head down tonight
Take a rest from the fight
Don’t try to figure it out
Just listen to what I’m whispering to your heart
‘Cause I know this is not
Anything like you thought
The story of your life was gonna be
And it feels like the end has started closing in on you
But it’s just not true
There’s so much of the story that’s still yet to unfold
 
And this is going to be a glorious unfolding
Just you wait and see and you will be amazed
You’ve just got to believe the story is so far from over
So hold on to every promise God has made to us
And watch this glorious unfolding
 
God’s plan from the start
For this world and your heart
Has been to show His glory and His grace
Forever revealing the depth and the beauty of
His unfailing Love
And the story has only begun
 
And this is going to be a glorious unfolding
Just you wait and see and you will be amazed
We’ve just got to believe the story is so far from over
So hold on to every promise God has made to us
And watch this glorious unfolding
 
We were made to run through fields of forever
Singing songs to our Savior and King
So let us remember this life we’re living
Is just the beginning of the beginning
 
 
Of this glorious unfolding
We will watch and see and we will be amazed
If we just keep on believing the story is so far from over
And hold on to every promise God has made to us
We’ll see the glorious unfolding
 
Just watch and see (unfolding)
This is just the beginning of the beginning (unfolding)

footprints

I have been searching all week for the right words to express my gratitude to each and every one of you. I still don’t know that I have them. The outpouring of support and love I am receiving is amazing and the feeling unexplainable. Thank you to all who were at the benefit and all who were there in spirit! It is a night I will never forget!

I have to start with a huge thank you to the army of people who worked countless hours to put on an outstanding event. Every little detail was put together just perfectly, from the shirts, koozies, bracelets and hairbows to the beautiful decorations and great venue to the programs, baskets and auction items to the food, desserts and so much more!

Thank you for all the hugs, fist pumps and donations! You have given me a gift that I am forever grateful for. You all have given me peace in my life to fight this fight. Not only have you given me an ease in my life to be able to get the treatments needed, you have given me an unbelievable strength from your support. From the bottom of my heart, Thank You!

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same!

 

Dear Lord,

As I thank you for the gift of life, I also thank you for the gift of wonderful people I have met along this journey. They inspire me, stretch me, challenge me, love me and encourage me. All of them helped me to realize how meaningful and beautiful my life is. I love them so much! Bless them Lord with good health, security, wealth, success, peace and joy.

 Amen

you!!!

Update – I had a chemo treatment a week and a half ago. I didn’t feel the greatest and caught a cold. Got through the week, found time to have fun with the kids and now I am feeling better this week. Plans are to have blood work done tomorrow locally to check my counts and if all comes back good, I will have chemo on Thursday.
I want to take a minute to say thank you to each and everyone of you. A minute is not even long enough though. You all are a gigantic part in this journey I am on. Your support lifts me up everyday. I don’t really know how to put it into words. I wish I did to let you know the huge impact you have in my life right now. Thank you for all your time and energy you have given to me!! It truly means the world to me and I can’t thank you all enough. I feel your love and comfort from miles away to nearby and it is a true blessing. One of the greatest test of faith is when you don’t get what you want, but still you are able to say THANK YOU LORD. And I thank The Lord each and every day for all of you that he has put in my life. So I end today with Thank YOU!!!.

choose joy

Three chemotherapy treatments down now.  Third treatment was a little worse than the second but better than the first.  After each treatment, the first week is a little difficult but the second week I start to gain more strength and feel better.  I will head back to Iowa City this Thursday for blood work, doctor visit and if all is well, chemo.  The plan right now is to keep these treatments going every other Thursday, then to do another PET scan in a few months.  After the scan, we will figure out the next plan depending on results.  So just taking it week by week and learning to just enjoy the moment I am in.  There are days I feel fine and think really?!  I have cancer.  Not me.  But then I have a reminder here or there and think, yes I do have cancer and this is the journey I was given.  Find joy in it!  Joy and cancer don’t seem like they go together but I am choosing joy.  And I am not doing it alone.  The support of the people around me near and far is incredible!  That alone is a feeling I don’t know that I can fully describe but I feel so blessed with all of you.  You make this journey so much easier for me.  I wish that you all can find the joy in your journeys as you have given me so much joy in mine.

To share love, trust and friendship. To travel a road shared is the ultimate gift, even if the destination is not the same.

let your light shine

As a new week began, things did not happen like planned. I am fine with that, understanding that it is God’s bigger plan. Monday, my white blood cell count went up but still was not high enough for chemo. So I stayed in Moline and enjoyed the day. I got to work a few more days and enjoyed all those wonderful children that make me smile. I headed to Iowa City yesterday (Thursday) to check blood work and meet with the doctor. Doctor came in and said count is up, we can do chemo today. He also checked my lymph node by my neck and found it didn’t have quite the bulge it had in the beginning, he was surprised but glad. So I received my second round of chemotherapy yesterday. I have the second drug infusion with me at home now and that will come out tomorrow afternoon. Feeling good now and just trying to stay hydrated. I have such great support and can’t thank you all enough!
The beginning of this week started out with the children’s sermon that I was responsible for Sunday morning. As I read the scripture it led me to teaching to let your light shine. Through the good times and the bad times, God gives us the light to shine through, we just have to remember that (which isn’t always easy). Remembering that this past week and always!

eventually, everything connects

Well, I had an extra week to rest and feeling good.  This past Wednesday, I had blood work done in town before I headed to Iowa City on Thursday for my 2nd round of chemo.  Nurse called and said my white blood cell counts were still too low for chemo but to head to Iowa City to meet the doctor on Thursday, anyways.  Luckily, my dad and sister took me and that is always enjoyable.  What a blessing!

The relationship with my doctor (and his nurse) is awesome!  I feel comfort from him every time we talk even if he doesn’t have the answers.  I smile the whole time and it always is a good conversation.  This time we were back and forth a few times.  At one point I think I was about to get chemo that day, a different treatment then I had received before.  But I have had a little push from some great friends to speak up and make some decisions.  So I asked if we could try the same treatment I had the first time.  Doctor said, “Really, you would be up for that again?”  I said, “Sure!”  He really didn’t want to change my treatment but didn’t want me to go through what I went through with the 1st treatment.  So the plan is Monday, we will try again.  Blood work in the morning and chemo in the afternoon if all looks good.  I will receive the same chemo treatment I did the 1st time, just a lower dosage.  Then I will check in with the doctor on Thursday in Iowa City.  This is the plan for now but as I am realizing, it may change.

For now, I am learning to take it week by week.  Eventually, everything connects!

teach me more

This past Thursday, I headed back to Iowa City for my 2nd round of chemotherapy.  Results of my blood work changed that plan.  My white blood cell count was a little low still and my pancreas enzymes count was still a little high.  So after a discussion with the doctor, we decided no chemo for one more week would be best.  It would give my body some more time to rest and strengthen, which I am feeling both.  Also, the doctor would have another week to evaluate a plan for treatment, possibly changing one of the chemo drugs.  God’s plan in God’s time.  Truly feeling God’s taking care of me!

God thank you for today yesterday and tomorrow.  Teach me more.

the rollercoaster

I planned on writing earlier this week but that didn’t quite work out.  The weekend was great and I was feeling strong, I got this no problem. Then came Monday and the vomiting began. Food, water, anything, it would not stay down. Long day but I made it through. Have to say my spirits went down a little bit. But wait, if this chemo is kicking my butt then it must be kicking the cancer. Must find the positive always! Tuesday I felt a bit better and thought I am going to make it to work today, I have to see those smiles on the kid’s faces! I only lasted one hour, realizing I was too weak to carry on. It was so frustrating to me to realize I am not going to be able to do it all.  Positive side, I have so many amazing people in my life that are there to help. So blessed!

Tuesday afternoon, I talked to the nurse in Iowa City. I was told I needed to head to the local ER and get fluids and blood work done. Ugh! Positive, it was the best thing though, finding out I was dehydrated. Blood work came back with my pancreas having elevated enzyme counts. It caused concern and I was admitted to the hospital to keep watch on the enzyme count.  Concerned with it being pancreatitis, I could not have anything to eat and drink. Another ugh! Positive – with my elevated count should come extreme pain, which I had none. The next few days were difficult, more vomiting, enzyme count keeps elevating and not many answers.

Brings me to today, a new day! I am feeling better, a little refreshed. I had some great visitors the past two days to bring me strength, smiles and energy. And the awesome energy from so many others through messages, comments and prayer.  Thank you! Today, the enzyme count is still high, I was able to get a pill to help that count and a clear liquid breakfast.  It will be a good day! As I hope it is for all of you. I realize I am on this rollercoaster ride that has just began but there will always be a positive, I just have to find it.

first day of treatment

First chemo

Yesterday was my first day of chemotherapy. And everything went well. Thinking I maybe would get to rest a bit but being the first day of chemo, I had lots of medical professionals come in with information. Which I am so grateful to have but it was exhausting.  Also, grateful that my husband, Josh was by my side to take in all this info. We were there for about 5 hours but the actually chemo treatment was about 2 1/2 hours. The last chemo treatment step comes home with me. They hook the last drug of the treatment up to my port before I leave and I have a small pouch to carry the bag of the drug around with me. This will pump into me for the next 46 hours but I can be home. Thankful for that. After the 46 hours, Josh was taught how to take the needle out. All that will be left is the port that sits under my skin. The port will be a bit painful for the next week because it was just put in but I am dealing with that just fine. Staying positive through this is a blessing and I can’t say enough thank you to all of you for your inspiring comments and prayers. I truly feel lifted up! Not sure what the weekend will bring but I am ready for it. Feeling pretty comfortable at the moment. Hoping this makes sense, still trying to understand a lot of the treatment myself but wanted to fill you in.