Sunday, November 28, 2010

Forgotten

Remember me, Lord?
your servant
the one you saved from darkness
the one you rescued from wandering the lifeless desert

Remember me?
your servant
who once found your favor
who knew your mercy and grace
who walked in your truth and your peace

Remember me?
your servant
who set her heart to praise you
who gave you glory
and never took for granted the beauty of your presence

Remember me, Lord?
Remember me?

do not forsake me now
I cannot bear it
Where are you, Lord?
do not hide your face from me
you are the Breath of Life
just one breath, Lord
and I will live

do not withhold your favor
When will you intervene?
When will you come and wipe away my tears?
please come to my rescue
deliver me from the depths
let me know once more the goodness of the Lord

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bitterness

I'm depressed. The length of this trial is taking it's toll. The physical suffering is wearing me down. Thanksgiving was difficult. For the first time in my life I didn't feel thankful. For the last couple of weeks, as people shared what they were thankful for, and how God has blessed them, my heart filled with bitterness. I kept thinking, God must really hate me.
And even though I can look at my life and see I have been blessed with so much, thankfulness doesn't come.
I've lost everything that is important to me. The odd thing is that it is all still there, right in front of me. I get to see it, to watch it, but not partake. Every now and then I get a tiny little taste. It's some kind of slow, sick torture.
I've yielded all. No more love of this life, or love of this world. I no longer fear death. In fact, I would welcome it were it not for my three little kids. And even them I've had to detach myself from, more than any mother should.
Just four more weeks of chemo. Then radiation. It seems like eternity. I can't see past where I am right now. This moment. Frozen forever. Tears sting my eyes. My throat constricts. Will I make it through? And if so, what then? Can God heal my bitter heart? What about my doubt and hopelessness? Have I failed at trusting God? Is he still there? Or has he forgotten me?

Psalm 13
How long, O LORD ? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, O LORD my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;
my enemy will say, "I have overcome him,"
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD ,
for he has been good to me.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Second AC Chemo

I had my second AC chemo treatment yesterday (AC is an abbreviation for the names of the drugs they are giving me this time). It was supposed to be on Tuesday but my appointment got mixed up, so it ended up being on Wednesday instead.
I was not excited to be there. I expressed my lack of enthusiasm to my oncologist. I told him I needed some reassurance that this treatment is necessary. I told him I thought the chemo was doing more damage than good.
We had a good discussion. He is very honest about what they know and what they don't. We discussed some other cases I had heard about, and the doctor explained many things about cancer and treatment. He answered questions that I was too afraid to ask in the beginning.
I don't want to go into too much detail, so I'll tell you the thing I most wanted to hear. After discussing some other cases, he said with serious enthusiasm, "but in YOUR case, you responded so well to the first round of chemo, if you stick with the remaining treatment, we can practically cure you."
Now "cure" is rarely a word you hear in the same sentence as "cancer." Usually it is "remission" or "a cancer-free state."
I got pretty excited about that. Praise the Lord!
The doctor lowered my dose by 20%, and assured me this treatment would be much better than the last one. And so far, it has been. I don't feel great, but I feel a million times better than last time. This I can handle.

A Call to Pray

To my dear prayer warrior friends,
To those who have prayed fervently for me,
To those who have the ministry of intercession,
To those I don't even know, who have been so faithful to pray,

Thank you! May God reward you greatly. As we have seen, He hears your prayers and answers them!

I'm constantly hearing new stories of people battling cancer. It disturbs me. It breaks my heart. I like to think I'm the only person in the world battling this disease. If only that were so!
I try not to burden you with every story. It's overwhelming.
But today I found out that another dear friend has cancer. That is four of my close friends who have battled cancer this year. All of us in our thirties. All healthy. All with small children. All in the same circle of friends. Different kinds of cancer. How can this be?

Please pray!
1. That the medical community would find the cause and a cure for this terrible disease.
2. For my friend Andrea. We still don't know all of the details, but the prognosis is very good. Pray for healing. Pray for God's grace, and peace, and comfort as she goes through treatment. Pray for her husband and four-year-old son. And pray that God would provide for all of their needs.
3. For Marla, my distant cousin who is fighting for her life against esophagus cancer. She went through a ton of treatment and despite that the cancer has spread. The doctors haven't given her any hope. She needs a miracle! And you know that our God can do miracles! Pray for her family, and extended family. They are very discouraged. Pray that God would reveal himself to all of them; that he would show them His great love. And that they would find their comfort and hope in Him. Also pray that God would send people their way to encourage them and minister to them.

Once again, thank you! The Body of Christ coming together, from all over the world, to pray, in unity....it's a beautiful thing! What a privilege to be a part of it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Not in Despair

I must tell you, I'm not in despair. The title of my last post was in reference to the torture chamber in The Princess Bride (movie version) not my state of mind. Physically however, it was the worst five days of my life. It was the first time the "why" question attempted to enter my mind.
"Why God?"
It didn't linger. It doesn't matter. My faith isn't dictated by my circumstances. God is still on His throne. He is still in control. He knows why. I don't need to. I trust Him.

I met with my doctor today. I complained. He said he would lower the dose next time around, and talk to my pharmacist about things they can do to help with the side effects. He reassured me that it would be better next time. Otherwise, I'm not sure I could have made myself walk through those doors next Tuesday.
All of my blood counts were low, but not as low as he expected. I suppose that's good news.
I never experienced any bone pain.

I am starting to feel better. Not great, but better.

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
~ 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Pit of Despair

Five days. I spent five days in bed. I can't begin to describe how miserable I felt, and still feel, but this story does a pretty good job...

"Are you really as brave as you sound, or are you a little frightened? The truth, please. This is for posterity, remember."
"I'm a little frightened," Westley replied.
The Count jotted that down, along with the time. Then he got down to the fine work, and soon there were tiny tiny soft rimmed cups on the inside of Westley's nostrils, against his eardrums, under his eyelids, above and below his tongue, and before the Count arose, Westley was covered inside and out with the things. "Now all I do," the Count said very loudly, hoping Westley could hear, "is get the wheel going to it's fastest spin so that I have more than enough power to operate. And the dial can be set from one to twenty and, this being the first time, I will set it at the lowest setting, which is one. And then all I need do is push the lever forward, and we should, if I haven't gummed it up, be in full operation."
But Westley, as the lever moved, took his brain away, and when the Machine began, Westley was stroking her autumn-colored hair and touching her skin of wintry cream and--and--and then his world exploded--because the cups, the cups were everywhere, and before, they had punished his body but left his brain, only not the Machine; the Machine reached everywhere--his eyes were not his to control and his ears could not hear her gentle loving whisper and his brain slid away, slid far from love into the deep fault of despair, hit hard, fell again, down through the house of agony into the county of pain. Inside and out, Westley's world was ripping apart and he could do nothing but crack along with it.
The Count turned off the Machine then, and as he picked up his notebooks he said, "As you no doubt know, the concept of the suction pump is centuries old--well, basically, that's all this is, except instead of water, I'm sucking life; I've just sucked away one year of your life. Later I'll set the dial higher, certainly to two or three, perhaps even to five. Theoretically, five should be five times more severe than what you've just endured, so please be specific in your answers. Tell me now, honestly: how do you feel?"
In humiliation, and suffering, and frustration, and anger, and anguish so great it was dizzying, Westley cried like a baby.
"Interesting," said the Count, and carefully noted it down.


~From William Goldman's The Princess Bride (pg. 206-207)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Praise the Lord!

A couple of months ago, I asked you to join me in praying for my dear friends Cyrus and Jonie. Cyrus was diagnosed with Brain Cancer within a week of my cancer diagnosis. We have walked this bittersweet journey together. Cyrus finished up his treatment about a month ago. Yesterday he received the amazing news that he is cancer free! The tumor is gone! Thank you friends for laboring with me in prayer! All glory and honor and praise to the great and mighty God we serve! Despite my weak body, my heart is dancing with joy!

Check out their testimony at:
http://cyrusmccrory.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Nausea

How many different anti-nausea drugs does it take to keep my nausea at bay? Five, so far, and I still feel pretty horrible. If my memory serves me correctly, it is a bit more intense than my morning sickness.  
I had to go back in for a shot today. This one kicks my bone marrow into overdrive, in an attempt to raise my white blood cell count. The shot can potentially cause severe bone pain, which can hopefully be controlled by taking Tylenol and Zyrtec. I can't help but wonder how many drugs can simultaneously be in my body.
If I can't keep more food and water down, I'll have to go back to the doctor for some IV assistance.
So please continue to pray for me. I need strength. I need God's comfort, the kind only He can give. And I need freedom from these side effects!

My kids can see I'm not feeling well. They've been acting out...like crazy. They need some extra grace right now.

The refiners fire - the fire of affliction - is feeling hot tonight!

"But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.
If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work."  ~ 2 Timothy 2:20-21