Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Gratefulness unexpected

I answered our home phone tonight because the caller was unknown.

Usually that means Dustin.

It wasn't. It was Iowa State doing a survey of families in Iowa. (someone must have sent out a memo that today was a good day to survey me:-)

The call would take twenty minutes.

I inwardly groaned, but something made me not hang up, even though she said it was voluntary.

She wanted to ask questions about one of our girls.

Gabi - though she remained completely anonymous.

Do you have insurance for her?

What kind?

Have you ever not taken her to the Dr. because of lack of insurance.

Do you ever worry about your coverage?

Have you ever ran out of food and not been able to buy more?

Have you ever cut back on what you eat at meal time because there isn't enough?

How many servings of fruit do they get?


Does she have any mental or emotional issues?

Learning disabilities?

Is she the right weight?

Is your neighborhood safe?

Do you have neighbors you trust or could call on for help?

The further the conversation went, the more humbled I became. I have never, ever worried about taking them to the doctor because of lack of insurance. Nor had to make a choice between taking or not taking them.

If we run out of food it is because I haven't made it to the grocery store, not because we can't afford it.

My kids are healthy. They don't have the struggles some kids face.

We have wonderful neighbors.

I felt convicted by the things I think I need when I realized that I already have everything that is truly necessary - more than is truly necessary.

I ended the conversation by thanking her for making me realize how blessed we really are.

That is the first time that has ever happened with a survey for me. :-)

Night! Now I'm going to take advantage of my sleeping little ones and go to bed myself.

Do you ever wonder?

In the past two years I have filled out and answered my health form more times than I can count.


Last Monday I filled out yet again that I don't have heart problems, HIV, Asthma, etc, etc, etc...

Last Monday.

What do they do with this information?

Do they throw it away?

Because as far as I can tell they don't keep it.

Either that, or it's something they have to swear to keep a deep dark secret from each other.

Maybe that is it. :-)

Today I got a call reminding me of my liver biopsy coming up.

And I got asked all the questions again. See? Secrets.

The conversation goes something like this.

Do you have_____?????

And I say, "No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, nonononononononononononononn."

Except for the liver and the lung.

But you would think that would be written down at least a million times on whatever form they have about me, wouldn't you?

It reminded me of when I had Karis. I carefully answered each and every health question on the form, sent it in so I would be ready for the big moment. They received it, but when I arrived, dilated to a six, nauseous, and DYING, the nurse pulls out some forms and asks me the very same questions I had filled out several months earlier. I did answer them, only pausing in my no, no, no, no, no's to inform the nurse that I was going to throw up. She quickly handed me a bowl and I do believe the questions stopped. :-) I'll have to remember that on Friday. Cept I hate throwing up. I'd much rather say "No." :-)

I don't really mind - honest.

Enough of my complaints. I should be being grateful that they are thorough and trying not to make any mistakes before they stick a big needle into me.

And I am.

It's just one of those quirky things in the medical field I ponder to help take my mind off the real reason I'm even there and dealing with it. :-)

Pray it goes well. I haven't been nervous about this biopsy like I was about my lung and that makes me nervous.

Can't win, can you?

I figure it is my liver. Nothing can deflate. But what if it is more serious than I think? And it involves a big needle.

A needle that sucks stuff out of your liver.

And I will see it because I won't get to lay on my stomach like with the lung.

You would think all this would be old hat by now, but somehow the nerves always creep up.

Now about my Chicagoland trip.

We are back.

It was such a blessing to have Dustin along this time.

I didn't have to drive, at all.

I got a back rub while I was waiting for my appointment.

Talk about spoiled. :-) I told him he was coming to all my appointments from now on.

It was so much fun to try out a few new restaurants. Dustin fell in love with a breakfast and lunch place called Honey Jam Inn. It was pretty amazing.

And we did get that quality time together both to talk and to pray. :-)

One of my mom's friends grew up in Chicago and her parents still live there. They graciously let us stay in their house, even though they are in LA. Having places to stay helps out our budget immensely.

My appointments went very well.

What I have is such a trial and error thing for everyone.

They all know something is in my lung and liver. It's just how to get rid of it.

I'm trying something else new. We shall see.

I have high hopes, as I have heard some good things from people who have taken it.

I'm just glad I still have some options for trying new things. We could be at a dead end already with nowhere new to turn.

I'm also excited, well, I'm not sure that is the word, but wanting to know what is in my liver. Hopefully the biopsy results will be clear.

Dustin's days off are needed for appointments so I was going to go get the biopsy by myself and have someone drive me home since it isn't allowed.

And there is no cheating.

They wheel you out and put you in the passenger seat.

I can't help thinking if they had that policy with bars there would be a lot fewer accidents. Maybe I should write the police department with my idea....

So, since you can't cheat,(not that I would) I called Grandma Linda to see if she could take me home. Not only is she going to take me home, she is going to take care of me the whole time I'm there.

I love grandmas, don't you?

Have a great day and enjoy this wonderful weather - if the weather is indeed wonderful where you are. I, for one, am glad I'm not currently a resident of L.A. :-)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Precious moments

Dustin and I are headed out to Chicago for a couple of days.

I'm looking forward to it for several reasons.

1. I get time with my hubby. It's been awhile since we have had time just to talk and pray for any length of time.

2. I get to see my chiropractor. I'm not expecting any miracles, but I have been feeling better, despite the tumors increasing in size. I think I've only been going to this chiropractor for 5 or so months. It takes time to tackle tumors naturally, and often it gets worse before it gets better. Does he have an answer? I don't know. But we aren't giving up yet.

3. I get to spend time with my hubby. Oh, I already mentioned that. :-) It's what I'm most excited about, though.

If you think of it, pray we get some quality times of talk and prayer. And pray for the doctors visits. Maybe he will find something new. :-)

It's a beautiful day, God is so good, and we are both excited to see what His plan is for us. It may be scary, it may not be easy, but it is given to us by Him and we are trusting in that.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I know all of you are praying - which amazes me all the time.

So, here are a couple of specific requests.

We have to decide what to pursue - alternative doctor wise. It is so hard when it looks like nothing is working. Pray that God gives us His wisdom.

When we get the biopsy results I'm sure there will be some big decisions to make. Those scare me the most. Pray for our wisdom in that and my oncologist to have wisdom in what to suggest.

Pray that I rest in the Lord and not get discouraged. There have been several times I've just wanted to curl up into a ball, pull the covers over my head, and do nothing but cry. That is not at all helpful in any which way. :-)

I love all of you so much! Thank you for holding me up in prayer and going along on this journey with me.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sometimes denial is easier.

There are harder things than waiting.

It's when the waiting ends and you don't like the news.

Denial is much easier for me.

I love denial.

It's safe.

It's a world in which I can create what is going on regardless of reality.

As I wrote the last sentence to my post yesterday my oncologist called.

My safe little bubble of denial started to shatter.

It is never good when your doctor calls you.

If the news is nothing new, come see me in three months, the nurse calls.

It turns out that my liver's ears had good reason to itch yesterday.

If my lung had known what was good for it, it would have been itching, too.

The spots on the liver have grown, the radiologist thinks they look suspicious enough to biopsy, and I am scheduled for one on Friday the 1st of October.

The MRI also picked up the tumor in my lung. It seems that this tumor has grown by half a centimeter.

I wish I had more news to give you, but the above information is all I was given. We will talk about options when we get the biopsy results.

As always, I was a little numb after I hung up the phone with my doctor.

After a few minutes the news set in and the tears started.

Bad news, no matter how vague, never gets easier to take.

This time it was just Gabi and I at home.

Gabi doesn't have any idea what is going on. She wanted to make birthday cakes out of playdough. We sang happy birthday to Karis, made candles for the cake, played princess, put each other in the dungeon. (aka, the bedroom. And no, I don't put them in the dungeon when they are bad, this is something they came up with on their own)

Somehow we managed to do all of this in between me disappearing into the bathroom and blowing my nose.

I kept thinking, praise God for kids. They keep what is important about life front and center. No time for me to sink into despair.

So, what am I thinking?

My initial reaction is to throw in the towel. I've tried doing all these other things. Special diets, special doctors, special whatever.

From what I can see it has done nothing.

Frustration, bitterness, and anger are just waiting for me to turn to them.

I can feel them lurking, lurking, lurking when things like this happen.

I'm learning that in the midst of my tears, before I can even coherently talk about the latest health news, it's best to turn to God's Word.

"The Word of the Lord is proven." Ps. 18:30 is a promise that hasn't failed me yet.

This time God seemed to be saying to turn to Philipians.

I read all four chapters.

Here is what is helping me keep those lurking emotions at bay.

First, Paul was in prison at the time. When I was in Rome forever ago we went to what was thought to be Paul's prison. It wasn't a nice place all cleaned out and empty, so I'm sure it was horrible when he was in it.

Yet he writes all these encouraging words to the Philippians.

I'm not pretending to be anything at all like Paul, but the being in prison part resounded with me.

In a way it feels like my body is a prison.

I have all these dreams and hopes of what I want to do and where I want to be.

My body doesn't allow most of this to happen, hence the prison.

Knowing he is facing a physical prison while writing these words made them all the more encouraging.

I won't write out the entire passage, but what really got to me was Phil 3:7-16. I'll sum it up.

Paul has lost a lot, and is in prison, but none of that matters as long as he gains Christ. There is nothing good in him, only what comes through faith in Christ. The kind of righteousness that only comes through the resurrection from the dead. He knew he didn't have it yet, and this is what really grabbed me.

vs. 12, "Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own."

I LOVE that. Christ Jesus has made me his own.

I know I'm saved because I have put my faith in Christ to forgive me for my sins.

He has made me his own.

Frankly, I'm scared. I cry when I think of everything that could happen. Tumors in lungs aren't fun. They are painful. Already I have to sleep on one side because it is hard to breath on the other one. What if it gets hard everywhich way?

I don't want to do a biopsy. I don't want to stay on a special diet. I don't want to have to decide if a lung needs to be removed or not. Or decide which doctors can help the most.

But I am going to choose to remember that all that really matters is that He has made me his own.

In a sense we are all in the prison of our bodies. Some may feel it a little more than others, but it doesn't change the fact that our lives here on earth are very short compared to what comes after.

The question is who we are putting our trust in for eternity. Ourselves or Jesus?

Somehow this latest news has brought that front and center for me. As long as I have Him, what happens to my body here on earth really doesn't matter.

Do I want everything to get better? Absolutely!

But He has made me His own, and that is what I'm going to rest in - no matter what happens.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Still waiting :-)

My liver's ears, if it had ears, are burning.

You see... it's pictures are being looked at, compared with past MRI's, dissected, examined, and generally picked apart this afternoon.

I called earlier and was told they were having a meeting to discuss the organ in question and I would be notified of the outcome shortly.

Then I wondered what it would be like to have a job where you meet to discuss peoples livers?

And then I thought of a random fact I learned today.

Did you know that in the time span from Friday morning to Saturday evening your heart pumps enough blood through your body to fill one of those semi tankers that brings gas to gas stations?

I might like whoever's job it is to figure that out, then one that meets to discuss livers.

Then again, I disliked math, so maybe I'd better stick to what I'm currently doing.

And... since I can't tell you the state of my liver, I'll fill you in on a few other things that have been happening around here.

Ignore the grunge around the handles. Someday I'll get to that. The real point here is that for the past six months or so, more water has been coming out of the faucet then the shower head everytime we take a shower.

I've been mildly put out by this, everyone likes a shower with some umph behind it.

Dustin has been deeply disturbed.

The slightly more than a trickle we were getting just wasn't doing it for him.

We debated calling a plumber, but plumbers are so expensive.

Finally he took matters into his own hands.

I will admit I was a doubting Thomas. Dustin doesn't do much with plumbing.

Visions of no shower at all flitted though my mind.

He pulled some parts out. Bought some new ones.

And in about a half hour our water pressure went from a trickle to a well fed water fall. If I had realized what I was missing out on I would have been as disturbed as Dustin.

Way to go sweetie!
When the girls were staying with my mom for a week they started working on something called the HAND.

It's a system to help them remember what they need to do before they leave the house in the morning.

Each finger stands for something.

1. Make bed and clean room
2. Groom (hair, teeth, etc.)
3. Eat a healthy breakfast (pizza doesn't count)
4. Bible
5. Chore (ask mom or grandma)

I wish I could say it always goes smoothly around here, but at least we have some sort of order to follow.

Yesterday was one of those perfect days.

Karis called me back to see a well made, for her, bed, all her toys put away, and wonder of wonders... she had taken out all her shirts and was refolding them so they would be neater.

I was wondering who's child this was?

I am not picky about the order of their drawers. I wish I were, or could be more so, but for right now if it is in the drawer, it's all good.

Far be it from me to discourage neatness. :-)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It's all a waiting game.

Yet another thing I'm learning about myself.

It is so hard to wait.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Phil. 4:6

I quoted that for me just now.

Not because the news I got today was bad.

But because it was another wait and see.

The MRI images were in.

To my oncologist they look like cysts on my liver, not carcinoid.

So Dustin and I asked him what we needed to do? How do we tell?

We wait.

We wait to see what the radiologist says in three days.

We have another MRI in three months.

Which, just so you know, three months puts us at December 21st.

I was more shocked by that fact than anything else.

Christmas is in three months.

My scheduling lady wished us a Happy Thanksgiving, as we walked out.

AAUUUGGGGHHHHH!!!! I need to Christmas shop!

But you clearly aren't reading this to hear me freak out about Christmas.

Nope, you want to know the details of my liver. :-)

Isn't life funny?

I'm all concerned about my lung.

My doctor wants to know about my liver. We didn't even look at my lung. We won't until three months from now when I have a chest x-ray.

Why is the liver so important?

If I don't have carcinoid in my liver than we might be able to do something about my lung.

Possibly surgery.

Possibly something else. I don't know what the something else is, however, so when I do find out I'll let you know. He just mentioned something else, so I though I'd throw it in there. He probably said what it was, but it was technical.

I got a tad distracted when he mentioned that I should consider bowls of ice cream to gain some weight. What? Ice cream? My doctor says I can have ice cream? I wanted to run to Dairy Queen right then. I won't, but I do have to gain weight, but I'll post about that later, maybe. Anyhow....

Now we wait. And I work on not being anxious. And on resting in the Lord. Trusting He knows what is going on and that I don't need to worry about a thing.

Life is all about waiting.

I know this.

In the past it's been waiting to graduate.

Waiting for a trip to come.

Waiting to meet the love of my life.

Waiting to get married.

Waiting for that first baby.

Now it is waiting for the results of a test.

For the blood work to come in.

To see if my liver has cysts on it or carcinoid.

And that kind of waiting is a bit harder for me.

Maybe it is because my life can't quite go on as normal because my health won't allow it.

The wait seems longer, the end results not engagement rings, wedding dresses, and soft baby snuggles.

But... God tells us to give thanks in everything, so today I'm giving thanks that...

18. My blood work remains normal.

19. I probably don't have carcinoid in my liver.

20. For a doctor who is both cautious and proactive.

21. That I didn't have to tackle a hospital gown today.

22. For thunderstorms. I love thunderstorms.

23. For a warm, dry house.

24. Naps, one of which I'm going to take right about now.

25. A God I can trust no matter what.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The hospital gown.

I had my MRI today, but since I don't have my oncology appointment until tomorrow, I have no real news to share.

However, may I take this moment to give my opinion of the hospital gown?

Thank you! I feel the need to vent. :-)


Don't wear anything complicated to your test. It ain't worth it. No matter how cute the outfit.

I've had belts before, jewelry, layers upon layers..... (not of jewelry, but clothes) it takes forever just to get it all off, and that doesn't include the putting on of the hospital gown, which is an art in itself.

My choice today: a favorite pair of cozy green pants, tank top and sweatshirt.

With the correct attire I drove to the hospital and parked on the entirely wrong side of the ginormous building, of course.

By the time I discovered my mistake, I was too lazy to go back out to my car and drive around, so I walked. (ironic, huh?)

At least a quarter of a mile, maybe more - so much for laziness.

It gave me time to:

1. Wonder what was going on behind some locked doors.

2. Question who would be on the waiting gurney, and think it looked really odd sitting in an empty hallway. Yet it had a reserved sign on it. Who reserves gurneys? And did they know their reserved gurney was lost in a random hallway?

3. Be glad I wasn't color blind so I could follow my yellow signs and think that possibly it would help me find my room faster if I had sparkly red shoes like Dorothy.

4. If the doctors, who had obviously just got out of surgery, felt like the ones you see on t.v. Although I don't know how the ones on t.v. actually feel so it probably didn't do me a bit of good to wonder that. Nor to waste your time sharing it. My apologies.

5. Why they put McDonalds in a hospital. Is it to make sure the arteries re-clog as quickly as possible?

6. And forget about the dreaded hospital gown.

I passed Starbucks with heroic restraint. I was fasting until after my MRI.

Although what I thought I would get there, I'm not sure. So maybe it wasn't that heroic after all. :-)

I finally found the place my name was registered.

I waited.

Gave some information.


Thought about my hospital gown....


You see... I didn't bring anything to do, which proves my theory.

You wait longest with nothing to do.

Finally I was called back and asked to change.

They don't waste anytime.

You see? Never dress up. Doesn't do a bit of good, unless you want to put some snazzy underwear on,(usually you get to keep that on, at least)but even that isn't worth it cause not a soul sees it.

Then the real fun begins.

Wrestling with the blasted gown.

It is my humble opinion that they should switch to scrubs, in some situations, like MRI's.

There is nothing complicated about putting on scrubs.

Hospital gowns, on the other hand.....

I'm sure I've put them on frontwards, backwards and sideways in my limited experience.

I've tied them wrong, snapped them wrong, and clutched at them to keep them from flapping open.

They need instructions with pictures in the dressing rooms for people like me.

This time I did manage to get the front in the front.

I debated about what to do with the extra inch long hole by the collar. Did a string go through it?

I always debate that, even though I'm pretty sure it is for some tube you may or may not have inserted somewhere in your body.

What else could it be for?

Or maybe they just put it there to confuse me.

It's a deep dark plot! I knew it!

These thoughts distracted me as I did tie a couple of strings together and decided it was good.

My front was covered. Nothing seemed to be flapping open.

I gathered my things and glanced in the mirror, briefly.

Who wants to look at themselves in a hospital gown?

Why put mirrors in there, anyway?

And at this point I could go on about the color choices, but I won't. :-)

This time I was glad I had at least looked. Which, come to think of it, is probably why they put that mirror there in the first place.

Something was wrong in the back.

I was pretty sure there wasn't supposed to be a rather deep v of exposed skin.


I put my clothes down and decided to tackle it again.

On the second go around, I found a couple of more strings and matched them up in a way that filled up that gap in the back.

I'm pretty sure there was an extra string or two, but, after thoroughly inspecting my person I decided to be content with two out of three.

You can't win them all. :-)

And those are my thoughts.

Tomorrow I will update everyone on the condition of my liver.

Doesn't that just sound so exciting?

Seriously, though. Thanks for those of you who were praying for me today. I was worried about coughing too much, and I hardly coughed at all. :-)

God always gives grace in these situations, and today He pulled me through yet again!

Friday, September 17, 2010

The perfect hair day :-)

The perfect hair day is very rare for me.

In fact, I'm not sure I've ever experienced one.

I have envied, I must confess, people who have straight hair they can just flat iron, and it stays flat ironed.

In the same breath, I'm sure people with straight hair could tell me all the things that can go wrong with it.

Don't get me wrong, curly hair has it's great points.

I don't blow dry for the most part. Ok, never. Don't tell Danielle, who styles it beautifully with a blow dryer whenever she cuts it.

Another great point. I probably get my hair cut.... mmmm.... three times a year??

Curling irons are unnecessary, unless you are trying to achieve those ridiculous bangs of the 90's. I confess I did use one then. Along with plenty of hair spray.

However, as I said before, I don't think I've ever had a perfect hair day.

More like moments.

Brief, split second moments.

The kind only a camera can capture, but rarely does.

This picture is a moment.

The breeze didn't blow it crazy out of control.

You can still see individual curls, no wild crazy, frizzy mass.

And, of course, the little darling in my lap helps the "perfect" factor out a lot.

Oh, and the lighting.... Love modern photography and the photographer who tweaked it. :-)

However, as I shared, these moments are few and far between.

Mostly there are days like today.

I did wash it, honest. I used to be a "wash everyday or I would keel over" kind of gal, but.... I'll admit the last two years have done a number on that one.

I forgot to put gel in it - sometimes you just have to give it a rest, you know? :-)

Then I walked around without putting it in a pony tail.

After exercising, resting, and doing little putsy things around the house.

You get this....
The head tilt helps the left side considerably. :-) It was sticking out far more.

Anyone else care to share what their hair normally looks like when it isn't crammed back into a pony tail?

Facing the world....

A picture is worth a thousand words.
Both Dustin and I have God to lean on, knowing He will never fail us or let us fall.
Here on earth, I have Dustin to lean on, and this picture is a visual of that for me.
He seems to be walking with a purpose and knows where he is going.
Gabi knows all she has to do is ride - she is safe in her daddy's arms.
Karis is unconcerned, as long as Mommy and Daddy are there and she has flowers to pick. She knows mommy has a tumor, but life is fine as far as she is concerned.
And me? It is nice at times just to be able to hold his hand and be told everything will be ok. He makes no false promises, but he assures me that no matter what he will be there, and God will get us through. I'm grateful God gave me a hand like his to hold.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hunkering down and Humbled

Today I feel like the proverbial onion. Only I have no center, just layer upon layer of filthy, sinful self that needs to be peeled off.

I have time on my hands to think on things like this these days.

There is no rushing from activity, to project, and back again.

Yesterday morning I straightened up a bit before my amazing cleaning fairies paid their visit.

I wanted to get a roast in the crock pot before we went to my mom's to get out of their way.

First the meat went in, then I paused for a rest. Honestly, sometimes I just hunker down on the kitchen floor for a bit, willing energy back into my body.

This happened between the carrots and the potatoes, putting in the water, and getting the kids out the door.

It's a lot of hunkering. :-)

For those of you who don't know the definition of "hunker", for me it's squating down on my feet and resting my head on my knees. Wherever I currently am in the house.

Dustin gives me the once over every time he catches me in that position.

I can read his mind, "Do I need to help her, ignore her, keep talking like she is in a normal position?"

These days he usually just keeps talking, trusting I'll tell him if I need help. :-)

And I ask myself, "What's it like to be married to a woman who randomly hunkers down in the middle of things?"

I know the cause isn't amusing, but honestly, it's kind of funny when you think about it.

At least I think it is. I'm not in pain, just fueling up for the next task.

Anyway, that was a rabbit trail.

Having so little energy is a chip at my pride.

Realizing I have to rest between simple activities like putting a roast in the crock pot is humbling.

And then I take a look at my insides during those rest periods and realize I have a whole lot of pride that needs to die in my life.

God is working at it, and I am trying to be willing as those scaly layers come slowly off.

I'm noticing a pattern in my own life - I don't know if it is the same in everyones.

When God gets me to let go of my pride it turns into humility, humility turns to thankfulness.

It took a long time for my pride to admit I needed more help then just my immediate family. They suffered because of it. Not that they would ever say that, but they did more than they needed to do.

When I finally got the pride out of the way.... and doesn't pride so cleverly disguise itself?

I let myself think it was because I didn't want to inconvenience anyone. Or take advantage of someone, because did I really need help?

Those may have been somewhat true, but pride played a big part. I didn't want to admit I needed it. I was going to be the one who could still do it all, even with a tumor in my lung.

I'm glad God didn't let me stay that way. (And so is my family:-)

It is humbling each time someone brings a meal.

But it is also a time of thanksgiving.

Two days ago the deacons and pastors met to pray for me.

Dustin and I felt that this was a step of obedience we needed to take in accordance with James 5:14, "Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him,..."

For some reason it has taken us this long for us to ask for this particular prayer, and I can't tell you why it took us so long. Was it me? It very well could have been. Whatever the reason, we finally asked.

And again I felt pride sneaking in.

I don't want to be one of the "sick" among them.

I knew these men were busy. They have families and things to do on a Tuesday night. They serve the church family all the time. I felt unworthy of bringing them out just for me. And well that sounds humble, I think it is just backwards pride.

It is a command of God, we were following it, and they were helping me obey.

And can I just say it was an amazing experience?

As these men gathered around me, pouring their hearts out before God, I felt loved, humbled beyond belief, and reminded who is in control of all that is going on.

I knew without a shadow of a doubt God could heal me in that instant.

I also knew He may have other plans for me in this tumor.

One of them may be to continue to strip me of my pride and self centeredness.

Because one thing I realized again in those moments of prayer is that it isn't all about me.

I am just a little part of the huge body of Christ.

My hurt affects them - I think I realized just how much as these men were unafraid to show their tears in their prayers.

Prayers for me.

What a blessing to be part of such an amazing family.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Yesterday I went to church twice.

By myself because Dustin was working.

Ok, not technically by myself in the morning because my family was there.

But at night it was by myself.

I'm sharing this because it felt so nice and normal. I hadn't done that for a long time.

I hadn't been able to do it for a long time because I either was in pain or tired.

Yesterday I was tired a bit, cause I just am, and I need to catch up on sleep, but almost pain free. :-)

It was so fun to take the girls to their Shine program last night. To watch them be a little nervous at the beginning.

Then when I picked them up be jumping up and down (at least Karis) with excitement.

I think some of the excitement could have been due to the ice cream they got because it was the first night. :-)

But I felt so normal.

I almost felt guilty when people came up and said they would be bringing meals and wondering how I was doing.

In moments like yesterday I can almost imagine away the tumor in my lung.

But the fact remains that it is still there, and I still need help.

This morning I feel my yesterday a little bit. My body is telling me to take things a little more easy on the good days.

To not try and do it all.

I didn't try and do it all... my kitchen is a disaster to prove it.

But today I will try and take it a little slower.

Try to be patient with the healing process - I'm praying that is what is happening here.

Why I'm getting more energy.

And to be grateful for the three wonderful friends I have who set up THREE months of meals, three times a week.

These ladies are amazing!

And I'm going to accept every single one of them, even if I start getting more energy.

I'm telling myself this because I know me. I'll feel better, then I'll be like, "I don't want people to have to bring meals if I feel ok..." and then I'll wear myself out again and be back where I started.

So, I'll accept the gift being given.

With a grateful heart. :-)

12. Three months of meals

13. Friends who care

14. A church family who loves us

15. Energy yesterday

16. Getting a hug and an "I love you with my whole heart" from Gabi when she first woke up.

17. little girls

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Today I'm going to borrow an idea from a friend, who borrowed it from a blog she reads.

The idea was shared at least a month ago, but I've been putting it off.

Too often, lately, I found myself complaining and not being thankful.

So, here is the idea. Commit yourself to writing down 1000 things you are thankful for.

Since I'm not real good at following through myself, I think I'll keep accountable to you by just posting those random things on the end of my ramblings.

I'm sure many of them will seem odd, might not make sense, but I find I often need the reminder in my life.

So.... here goes the first few. 1000 seems like an awful lot right now. This could take years! :-)

1. I slept last night.

2. I felt like getting out of bed this morning when Gabi woke me up.

3. People bringing yummy meals that I don't have to cook.

4. Beautiful fall weather.

5. The hugs of a little girl who whispers "I love you, mommy" in my ear.

6. Forgetting to ask Gabi all during church if she had to go "tinkle" and discovering she still had a dry pull-up when we got home.

7. Gabi's strong bladder! God knew what I needed in this child!

8. That I can drink without gagging the new supplement drink I'm trying out! So many healthy things make you gag, I'm discovering. :-)

9. God's unlimited forgiveness when I rant and rave, sometimes blaming Him for how I feel. Thank you, God.....

10. Grandma taking Karis on a picnic by the pond.

11. Flip flops ( I will probably wear them until the first snow)

Friday, September 10, 2010


While we were on vacation this summer, we had a special treat.

Jess has a sister, Sarah. Sarah runs a studio which you can check out at

She is super talented, and she shared that talent with us.

Driving an hour, with a detour, just to take some family photos.

On her own time.

Giving us all the rights to the photos.

What a huge blessing.

I only picked a few to share. They were all so amazing I wanted to put them all up, but I don't have the patience to download all of them, so you just get a few. :-)


Yes, we do all adore him!
We randomly found this amazing old rusty truck. Dustin was afraid he was going to fall through the floor board, but he stuck it out and we got some great shots.
I love, love, love, love this man!

And these two little girls!
Couldn't you just eat her up?

Thanks Sara for the amazing shots. I can't wait to get them up around the house!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

PET, CAT, and MRI's

Two years I had no idea what these initials stood for.

Today I have no further enlightenment. My own choice, I assure you. There is a limit to the amount of medical terms you want to know about, I've discovered. :-)

Unless you like medical terms, then I'm sure you want to know what these mean.

I, for one, am content to let my knowledge end with experiencing them.

Though sometimes, in moments where my mind wanders, I do wonder if the person who named them liked pets or especially cats, and made the initials like that on purpose, but that is as far as I will go.

And MRI's.... All I can think about when I hear about an MRI is a story where a metal i.v. stand got into a room while an MRI was on and flew out of the nurses hands directly towards the machine. The results were not at all comforting and very sad.

At my one and only MRI I prayed that if I had to die it would be from natural causes and not a metal i.v. stand. Seriously, I did.

I will probably repeat this prayer several times in the future.

Why are these initials on my mind?

I have a date with one of them the end of this month.

At first it was the PET/CAT.

But you see, I've had about 6, possibly 7 dates with Petcat already.

He is amazing at seeing right through you, probably better than any man around. :-)

Not to mention that the drink he gives me lights my innards like a christmas tree - the downside is that it tastes like I would imagine Windex tastes.

I might have said that before.

However, after so many dates I decided to investigate Petcat.

I was a tad uneasy about my findings.

He is good at seeing the "real you".

However, the Chicago Tribune mentioned in a recent article that of the 70million (I'm not the only one receiving his attention, obviously:-) people having dates with Petcat, he will be responsible for 29,000 new cancers.

29,000! That is a tad bit disconcerting.

I decided that maybe I'd better be cautious about the future contact I had with Petcat when I read several other articles stating much the same thing.

Plus the fact that Mr. Petcat gives you at least 500x the radiation in your body that a normal x-ray does. Just a little fun fact.

Oh, and you receive more radiation from one petcat than you do all year working in a nuclear plant.

And that radiation never leaves your body. I'm told that a 100 years after I die my body will still be glowing. Not sure what to think about that fact.

Now, I hate to rock the boat. I'd rather just be that person who does whatever their dr. says.

I'm learning to be my own advocate, though.

I reasoned that continuing to have dates with Petcat might be detrimental to my health.

With bated breath I called my oncologist and requested a cancellation.

I'm not trying to be difficult.

I want my tumor monitored as much as anyone.

Well, maybe not as much as my husband, but I really want to know what is going on.

Except on the days I'm afraid it's growing...

I'd rather be in denial - that's just how I work. What you don't see isn't real.

My oncologist was very understanding.

He may think I'm crazy, but he doesn't let me know to my face. :-)

Now I have a date with the MRI.

I'm not as worried about him.

Well.... cept for the metal i.v. stand. :-)

But God's got it covered - I'm sure.

Not that I won't remind Him before I go in to have only plastic in the room.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My girls

We used her last diaper sometime last week. I'm going to cautiously say she is potty trained.

We had gone four days without any accidents - even when wearing a pull up. Today she had two, but both times she was outside. We will see how it goes tomorrow. I may be doing a little retraining.

The stinky part was hard. She always sneaks off when she has to go. I can't watch her 24/7 so I would always miss the opportunity. Today she did it again only this time she snuck off to her potty chair! VICTORY! Now we will hope it lasts. I really am grateful. A week is not very long at all in the big scheme of things.

I will say that Chuck E Cheese once again played a big part in the success of this venture. What would we do without that place?
Daddy working on helping Karis learn to ride without the training wheels. She can go about a foot without crashing! :-)
Helping little sister learn to peddle.

What I accomplished doing nothing today:-)

My mom made a comment today.

Let me preface the comment.

I was up at my parents and Karis and Mom went to get Faith at the airport.

I stayed there, put Gabi to bed.

Weighed myself - freaked out! But that is for another post.

Promptly ate everything I could stomach and somethings I couldn't.

Looked around the kitchen and thought maybe I could surprise mom and actually do something for her for a change.

I finished eating, took a call I had to take, and they walked in the door.

I accomplished zero besides talking on the phone and eating.

I shared that with my mom and she just looked at me a little puzzled.

You see, mom's always know you better than you do yourself.

She said, "Did you really expect to get a lot accomplished today?"

Not in a mean way, or a snide way, but in a puzzled way.

I thought of that later as I was getting ready to take a clay bath (once again for another post) and started crying.

The truth is, I do. I wake up every day and think I'll be able to accomplish more. That I'll feel better. That life for this mommy will be normal again.

I don't know why I'm surprised when it isn't that way. I should be used to it by now, or maybe I never want to get used to that feeling because I'll stop fighting for me to be healthy again.

And then my mom reminded me what was accomplished today with my doing nothing.

My house is clean and my laundry folded thanks to Grandma Karen and Aunt Linda.

I have dinner coming to my door tonight thanks to my wonderful church family.

I was able to give my girls lots of hugs.

God is taking care of us, even when there is not much of anything this mommy can do at the moment.

All I can say is a humble thank you to everyone in my life who is stepping in when I am unable to.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

about my sleep.

It's going a little better. That is a huge praise.

Two nights ago I got five straight hours. That doesn't seem like much, but for me it is huge.

Last night was ok. I slept, but off and on.

Thanks for praying.

And pray for our potty training journey.

We did it for a couple of days, then I went to Chicago.

The last two days we have resumed, and today was accident free with mommy reminding many, many, many, many times. But still, accident free! Go Gabi!

She doesn't have the stinky part down, though. It terrifies her at the moment. Hope that passes soon. :-) I've thrown away two pairs of underwear so far.

I know, I know.... I should wash them out. But you know what? I'd rather just buy a new pack for $6 then go through that mess.

So there you have it. These are the things that are going on at the Rankin household these days.