Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Whatever you do.

Last night that was what I thought about as I was falling asleep.

Whatever you do.


That word includes a whole lot of everything.

Dustin shared part of a Mark Driscroll sermon with me.

It was the whatever that stood out to me.

He said, "Even if you are sick, and tired, and have cancer. Even if all you can do is roll out of bed in the morning, if that is your whatever, do it for the glory of God."

Before, when I think of that verse, "Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God," I've never equated sickness with it.

I've thought of my job, or playing my violin, or serving others, or taking care of my kids, or loving my husband.

As with many things in my life, the whatever has changed.

What hasn't changed is the reality that no matter the state of your health, it's hard to do everything to the glory of God.

I would complain about my life before.

I often complain about my life now.

So, as I said, I was pondering whatever....

That means taking my endless supplements and treatments is a whatever.

Rolling out of bed - and yes, sometimes that is all I feel like doing is a whatever.

Forcing myself to exercise, even if it hurts my lungs? A whatever.

Using that blasted nebulizer? Do you know I always feel slightly guilty when I use that thing? I feel like I'm inhaling something illegal every time I suck in a breath of the smoky looking vapor. :-) If anyone is tempted to join me in my "illegal" activity, let me warn you, Cayenne pepper is in no way an addictive inhalant. :-) Anyway, yes, another whatever.

So, all of these whatevers in my life are supposed to bring God glory.

And God doesn't just make idle statements that can't be fulfilled.

If it wasn't possible, it wouldn't be written in the Bible.

Somehow what seems like a drudge in my life, a something that has put everything on hold can be what brings Him glory.

Thinking about it this way may just make rolling out of bed and starting my days living with the reality of what they have become just a little bit easier.

I wrote the above several days ago. It has been so hard to bring Him glory in the whatevers. I can tell this is going to be something I have to work on for the rest of my life. I suppose that is the whole point, eh? :-)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Praying for what seems impossible...

The goal in my treatments at the chiropractor is to obviously whip my body into shape and get the tumor to dissolve.

It's turned out to be a tricky, time consuming, and overall frustrating goal.

The past month I've been fighting off a cold which has taken up residence with my tumor.

At the colds first knock my tumor opened the door wide and said, "come on in, it's a bit lonely in here. Let's have a party!"

And party away they have. The congestion has made breathing a tad more difficult. Some days I've had an almost constant wheeze. Not a wheeze like I had when the tumor was causing it, but a wheeze that comes with congestion.


I did tell the doctor about it.

He agreed it could be a cold.

He also mentioned something that excited me just a tad.

Because of the treatments my body wants and doesn't want at the moment, indicators are that we may be starting to win the fight over this tumor.

I don't feel like it at all physically.

In fact, I feel pretty lousy.

However, many people have said it gets worse before it gets better.

The chiropractor is cautiously saying the tumor may be dying or dead. Which means it may be beginning the process of breaking up.

Hence part of the reason I have so much congestion, as well as why my body is wanting certain medicines.

I pray, and ask you to pray, that this is right. I'd like to march into my lung and toss that tumor and the cold out on their ear. For now I'll have to content myself with giving them 6 to 9 months notice.

Or.... it could be a whole lot longer than that. Thankfully God knows.

I do have a prayer request.

I'm not sleeping well. Partly due to the fact that I can only lay on one side and still be able to breath. It's the side I never sleep on, but I'm grateful that at least I have one side I can actually lay down on. It could be none at all.

Why else I can't sleep I'm not sure. All I know is that I desperately need it. So thank you in advance for your prayers.

I'll be honest. It's hard to have a positive outlook on anything when you need sleep. Tumors turn into unbeatable monsters if you aren't careful, and I know that having a positive attitude is a huge portion of the healing process.

Love all of you!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Headed out again...

Back to Chicago for a week.

A few things to pray for:

1. My mom. She has the girls because Dustin is working all week. They can be a handful, but pray that they sleep well, obey, and are a blessing to Grandma and Grandpa. They are little troopers. It's not easy having a mommy who always has to go to the far away doctor.

2. For Dustin. He is busy, busy, busy, with work. And when not with work, with stuff that needs doing at home. I'm praying he gets a few moments just to relax this week.

3. For me. That the appointments help. That he can figure out a few new things wrong with me. That I won't have car troubles again. And that I can spend the time resting and getting all my conglomeration of treatments in. Something that often gets pushed out of the way here.

Thanks everyone. I'll let you know how it has gone next week!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

You cannot serve two masters...

While this is indeed true in the spiritual world, i.e. "You cannot serve both God and money..." it is also true in the confusing maze of health.

When I discovered just how serious my tumor was I latched on to what my nutritionist said and followed every instruction.

Then I saw my chiropractor. And while they pretty much matched up on what they wanted me to eat, He had a few variations. I could have some dairy. Some fruit. And a couple sweetened drinks.

Then the acupuncturist told me to eat any and all fruit as long as it was grown around here. Some dairy. But otherwise much the same as the other two.

So what did I do? I tried a little of all three, trying to stick to some form of something, and often failing miserably.

In it, I learned a valuable lesson. It took me a few months, but I think I'll be the better for it.

"You have to choose one and stick with it."

Pretty profound, huh? :-)

I was getting the most results eating wise with my nutritionist. As much as it pains me to once again take fruit and dairy completely out of my diet, I'm doing it.

God obviously led me to her without a shadow of a doubt, but fruit was such a kicker for me.

I love fruit.

In the summer I could gorge on peaches, strawberries, nectarines, plums, you name it. I don't think there is a fruit I don't like.

That is why it was so tempting to listen to someone else, that and dairy.

Who doesn't love cheese?

She warned me that dairy is horrible for my lung as it causes mucus. After the cold problems I've had the last few weeks I believe her.

My new plan is this:

My nutritionist controls my diet, period.

My chiropractor adjusts me and gives me the treatments like the nebulizer, which has worked really well to get stubborn mucus up, and prescribe fun little things like French Green Clay and Tea Tree Oil. Did you know that Doctors use Green Clay to pull the shards of glass out of accident victims? I didn't know this. It is put on and as it dries it actually can pull glass and metal out of your skin. I'm using it to hopefully pull out some unwanted toxins from my liver and lung.

My acupuncturist gets to give me a few herbs and help with the circulation and pain management.

My oncologists job is to watch me and see how the above three are doing. :-)

Each of them are great in their respective fields, but confusing when you try to combine everything.

The things I have to learn these days. :-)

So, for whatever it is worth, my advice to one and to all is to find a plan and stick with it.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

She forced me!

See this adorable little munchkin? The potty chair, the underwear, the whole training bit...

Not my idea.


Yesterday she pulled her diaper off and put some underwear on.

I wasn't ready to tackle it yesterday.

Frankly, I'm not ready to do it today.

It was a relief to put her back in a diaper for a nap.

But obviously, it is time.

Beyond time.

Way beyond time to potty train Gabi.

She has done quite well for the first morning.

A few accidents, but just as many times going on the potty chair.

I'm praying that the Lord will be merciful to me and let this whole training thing go quickly.

I didn't do all that much more than watch her drink and watch Pooh's Great Adventure, occasionally doling out the deserved M&M's she earned by tinkling.

I know in a month I'll probably look back and wonder why it overwhelmed me, but for the moment I could use your prayers. :-)

Life happens whether I'm sick or not, and my precious little girl wants to learn to go potty like the big girl she is.

I'm confident that God will see us through this, as well. Thankfully He is interested in everything, including how many times my girlie went tinkle in the potty chair today.

I'll bet He enjoyed her ecstatically proud face every bit as much as I did. :-)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

You know that saying...

Never judge a person until you have walked in their shoes for a mile?

I'm learning a few lessons through this "cancer" journey, but this particular one would be at least in the top five.

These past few years I've not only walked in someone elses shoes, I've tried on:







You name it.

Not a wheel chair, though. So far I've avoided that one, but it may be coming :-)

I don't know about you, but I tend to judge people. It's almost unconscious. Maybe just a tiny little thought.

But it is a judgement, just the same.

Here are some examples.

Because of my lung, exercise has not be regular. I spend a lot of time sitting. Not a lot of activity.

My back has gone into spasms a few times.

Now, I've heard of back pain.

I know there are people who suffer chronically.

I've watched my dad go through a lot of pain with it.

Without even realizing what I was thinking it could probably be summed up like this:

"Come on, can it really be that bad?"

I am here to tell you that YES, it can be that bad.

In fact, I would rather go through LABOR again, then have back pain.

I've walked around swearing that if I didn't get an epidural, and and epidural now, I was going to die.

There isn't a let up point between contractions with back pain that you get when you are in labor.

You don't reach a point where you can push and it is all over soon.

There is no cute baby at the end.

No, you are just in agony until the pain meds finally kick in. A lot of pain meds.

I have never cried while in labor.

I cried when my back wouldn't stop spasing out.

So men, if you have had back pain and a woman tells you you have never experienced labor, I'm here to tell you that you have. Well... only if you feel like you are going to DIE if it doesn't go away, that is. :-)

Since these are shoes I don't care to wear often at all, I'm faithfully doing my back exercises. :-)

I honestly don't know what my judgement has been for people who are sick for an extended period of time.

Sorry for them. Think it must be rough. Vague idea that it probably isn't fun.

Maybe a little jealous that they get meals brought to them and their house cleaned for them....

I'll be honest, I'm sure I've thought that.

Now it's me.

I went to the park with my kiddos and while I was gone Dustin's grandma and his aunt cleaned my house and folded my laundry.

I am so grateful I could cry.

I'm also so sad that I physically can't do the cleaning right now that I am crying.

Now I KNOW how those people I barely thought about feel.

Grateful from the tips of their toes to the tip of their nose that people are helping them. Lending a hand where a hand is needed.

Along with that feeling is the sadness that comes with knowing why they need help. Something isn't going quite the way they want it to in their lives and it is so hard to let go and let God direct the happenings.

Everything in me wants to shout, "No, I can do it! I don't need help!"

Yet the bigger part is saying, "Thank you God for sending help when I just couldn't do it anymore."

And a perk, our laundry has never been folded neater. I'm not a super neat folder. Just enough to get it in the drawer nicely - well, semi nicely.

Grandma Karen folds like my friend Jess. You could put her t-shirts out on the store shelves and they would look like they belong there. Mine..... not so much. Mine are the ones that have been carelessly refolded and are lying by the neat ones on the shelf. :-)

Hummmm.... what are going to do when I take over again? I'm going to have to work on my technique.

There are more ways, but I'm tired.

I'm going to go rest.

And take my supplements.

And that in itself has been another pair of shoes.

Can you really be this tired all the time?

Aren't you faking it just a little bit?

I know I've thought it.

I never will again.

I'm hear to tell you that you can be.

Tired. All. The. Time.

But in it all, that's right. God is so good.

It's not easy.

There are a lot of tears.

And pain.

And fears.

But yesterday He so ministered to me with a verse from Ps. 18.

Vs. 32 says, "It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect."

I haven't chosen any of the shoes He has let me try on these past few years, but He tells me that they are perfect for me in this moment. He will give me the strength to keep them on for as long as they are needed in my life.

I tell Him I'm voting for the flip flops. :-)

My favorite kind of shoe.

And that I'll try not to judge someone until I've walked a mile in whatever form of footwear they have on.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

6 years!

I can't believe it has been six years, already. I have been so blessed to have a husband who supports me in every way and loves me no matter what.

Often I've thought of those vows we made "In sickness and in health."

Half of our marriage has been in the sickness part of those vows. I jokingly say, "If he hasn't left me now, he never will."

What I love is that the statement isn't a joke. He will stick with me. No matter what.

Thanks for that confidence, Sweetie. It makes everything I have to face so much easier.

Christie took some fun photos of us when we went out on a double date. It's been awhile since he has swung me up like that. :-) Guess all those veggies I'm eating are paying off!
I love the look on his face. Life is tough for us right now. So often I can look at him when I'm down and discouraged and I see humor, love, and a solid someone I can trust in. He is continually pointing me to scripture and reminding me that God has a purpose with our lives, in our marriage, and specifically with my health. He keeps me on track :-) both figuratively and literally in this picture. :-)
Eating at my new favorite. Hu Hot. It has a lot of veggies. We actually went to Texas Roadhouse for our anniversary. So yummy. We didn't do much after that because I was pretty wiped out, but it was still fun to do dinner together. Faith and Rae babysat our little girlies as an anniversary gifts. Love those kind of presents. :-)

The lake

Some friends of ours invited us to join them for a few days at their families lake house. It didn't take a moments thought on our part to say yes! This view wasn't hard to wake up to each morning, let me tell you.
Sophie and Gabi weren't exactly sure what to think of each other all the time, but I think these little cheeseballs will be great friends one day.
Gabi being Gabi
Jess's sister came over to take family pictures for us. (an amazing blessing) This is Gabi all dressed up and ready. She is holding her "Maddie" doll. Karis never had a doll that was special to her, so it is fun to see Gabi loving her blanky and Maddie. Fun, except when you are looking all over for them at bedtime. I must say, thumbs are much easier to find. :-)
Karis adores Maddie and Lexie. Convincing her that she needed to go to bed before them was difficult. Somehow my five year old was convinced she was entitled to stay up as late as the big girls.
The daddies firing up for s'mores. I have never seen marshmallows as big as the ones Jess brought.
See the marshmallows coming out the side there? That is only ONE.
Enjoying her first S'more. She is hooked.
Faith learned to waterski. I was so proud of her. It didn't take all that long, either. I think three tries and she was up!
Look at her go!

Faith graciously came along to help. I couldn't have done it without her. She sent me back to bed some mornings. Helped make sure the girls were dressed, etc. Watched them down at the dock. And on, and on, and on..... I'm so grateful God provides help when I need it.
This is where the kids spent most of their day. I asked Karis on the way up if she was excited to see her friends.

"There not my friends, mom, they're my cousins."

And they truly are more like cousins. Since all her real cousins are either older or a lot younger we have decided to adopt the Rivers. :-)

This is where we sat and watched the kids more often than not. Ironically this is just a few hours before we yet again celebrated our time together by going to the emergency room.

For the record, it wasn't because of me. Jess got Polymorphic Skin Eruption. I just love saying that, by the way.
It's sun poisoning. She didn't have a bad burn, it's just some random thing that happens that makes you absolutely miserable. Like stinging nettles all over your skin. She did get some relief, but our last day at the lake wasn't very fun for her.

The adults were the walking wounded. Jared had burst both eardrums. OUCH.
I was just me. Problems, of course.
Dustin was tired, but he was the best out of all of us.
And them Jess had Polymorphic Skin Eruption.

Still, I'm glad we had the opportunity to spend those days together!
Like I said, they lived down here. Swimming, sand buildings, fishing with a net. They caught tons of fish.

Some little kid had told the Rivers kids that if you hummed at the fish it calmed them. Totally untrue. Or so I was told, but the kids were unconvinced.
This made for some chuckles on our parts as our little kiddos hummed all week at their catches. The fish didn't seem to mind as long as they were fed and tossed back in.
Speed boat rides were a highlight.
She would rather be with her daddy, but I did want you to realize that I was actually on this trip and did get into the boat on occasion.
It was a little cold at times.
I was so glad my girls got some quality daddy time. That's what vacation is all about!
Enjoying apples.
Cover me daddy, cover me! It's freezing!
Daddy may not be pretending to be sleeping.... just a guess. Little munchkins can wear one out pretty quickly!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

folding laundry :-)

I just, literally minutes ago, got off the phone with Dustin's grandma.

Months ago she told me she would be happy to help out with anything - even mentioning folding laundry for me.

I've discovered something about myself through all of this.

I HATE asking for help.

I HATE that I need to ask for help.

I HATE that I can't do it on my own.

Always before I've been able to go some place and help other people out - even if it is as simple as doing dishes, cleaning a bathroom, cleaning out a fridge, whatever needs to be done.

I loved doing that for others.

Now I can't even clean out my own fridge without sinking into exhaustion for the next few hours.

And part of me through the last two years keeps thinking "just another month and I'll be better. If we can survive this month all will be normal again."

I'm beginning to realize that this isn't going to be quick. I'm going to need help or my family is going to go crazy.

Which brings me back to the HATE to ask for help thing.

I've analyzed it. Thought about it. Wondered why, when my world is falling apart around me it is so hard to ask for help.

1. I don't like being an inconvenience to people. Having to help me cuts into their schedules and their time.

2. Admitting I need help brings being sick into more of a reality.

But God is showing me that people want to help.

Just like I enjoyed helping others, they enjoying helping me.

I can't do it on my own currently - Let me just say again it is so hard for me to face that fact. So hard!

Not that I could ever do it on my own, really. Sickness just tends to make clear how much you need help. :-)

So, anyway, all this to say I did it.

I called Grandma Karen up and asked her to fold my laundry for me.

It was hard.

I want to be able to fold my own laundry.

Not that I don't want Grandma Karen over here. I love having her over here.

But it is hard to let go of aspects of my life.

And you know what?

I don't even like folding laundry. :-)


You would think I would be jumping up and down for joy over the fact someone else is doing it.

And I am.

I am jumping up and down -figuratively, of course, as we know I don't jump - that people and family are there ready and willing to help.

God has put me in a position where I need the help.

I'm finally ready to ask. Not just to have my laundry folded. :-)

Next post will be all about our lake vacation. Much more fun than folding laundry. :-) The girls decided they wanted to live there, but more about that later. :-)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Some time away....

Just so my faithful few don't worry about me, I'm letting you know Dustin has this week off so we are just going to have some family time - no blogging allowed. :-)

Have a great week!