Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Exceedingly abundantly. (You know who you are.)

Earlier this evening I got a text from God. I know, crazy. But a friend sent a text that might as well have said, "Everything you need, I will provide. Before you have time to think of it all, I will arrange it. love, God"

What the text was about may or may not be how things are actually supposed to work out, but that isn't the point. I was simply reminded, the night before my first MD Anderson appointments, that my God shall supply all [my] need, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

I can pray big, because God is able.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV

Monday, December 28, 2009

Appointment on Wednesday

I have an appointment at noon on Wednesday at the major cancer center in Houston. This is a wonderful thing, a huge answer to prayer, to not have to wait weeks and weeks just to get an appointment.

We are so grateful to those who are helping with the kids, including Mallorie. John got the information about the appointment, and was told to plan on being there 2 days. I don't know if it was "at least" 2 days, or just plain old "2 days." A friend who has had to go to the same medical center recently said that she had been told to plan to stay as long as 5 days, so that's been on my mind, wondering.

I'm nervous (major understatement here), but more relieved to have this day come because it feels like life is on hold right now, knowing nothing of what to expect. Will there be weekly treatments, more often, less? Can any be done locally, or all out there? I think that some of those answers, if we get them, will help with adjusting our lives to this. Some answers, I know, are just to wait and see. Never has been my biggest forte, the wait and see part, but I am sure I will learn.

The kids are starting to really show signs of problems coping with the news, so please pray for them as you think of us. They are just kids, and it's very hard on them.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I'm sharing a little more, because it feels a little like being a fraud not to update the balance to the last post. Debbie, you wanted updates - well, here is one.

I'm not strong, not really. And since Mallorie, I cringe when I hear it said, because I know more than anyone how weak I am. During the time I carried Mallorie, I had no reason, really, to expect her to be born alive, or if she was, to be with us long. I think it took me a month (because of my habit of "trying" to be strong, I guess) to reach the end of my own reserves, pick up the phone to my OB, and ask for help. She found me the most wonderful priest/therapist to meet with, and both he and the OB learned better than anyone else how very not-strong I was. On each and every appointment with either of them, basically 90% of what I did was sob. It was therapeutic, mainly, because I was not alone, and they patiently allowed me to let it all out, to stay current with where I was. There were no epiphanies, and there was no "resolution" or growth during that point, that I saw, or that they probably saw. I was a dripping wet rag, wrung out weekly, by the time delivery approached.

But God did a work in me that I really didn't see the results of, until this side of delivery. I started the pregnancy as a girl who knew in my head and honestly believed that I was loved by God. But it was more like knowing there is a loving God and that He created me, and gave me gifts ... just as He loved everyone. I had zero doubt about that part. But I never, ever felt very special to God. Yet, the unwavering belief I had when we left that ultrasound where we learned about all the "anomalies," and went over to see the OB, was that the baby I was carrying, with all his/her abnormalities, was all about God letting me know He loved me specially. Where did that thought come from? I have no doubt it was placed in me by God, because it sure didn't follow logically.

I didn't instantly feel special to Him, either. That change took several months to accomplish in me, and lots of ups and downs (mostly downs). I am so grateful for that time, though I think sometimes that if I knew then what I know now, it would have been so different! I would have laughed in ultrasounds, instead of staring up at the ceiling. But, without going through those dark periods during which I had no idea at all of the outcome, I would not be where I am today. Not because Mallorie lived (though I praise God every day when I look in awe at her grin, her healthy body and bright spirit), but because He stayed close to me that entire time, understood me, listened to my prayers, my pleading, my cries, all of my thoughts, and never seemed to not "get" me. I was never abandoned, and I watched first-hand as God provided for our family just the right people in our lives to pray, to support us, and to go through all of it with us.

So here I am, again. After then initial shock settled in, true to form, I sank. I had read that getting lots of sleep was important in fighting cancer, and since I had just had surgery, I did a lot of sleeping, when I felt like it. I got tired really early of telling the same story to everyone in my life, so I stopped answering phones, and left it to my family to do that. I didn't sleep all day, but didn't do a whole lot else, really. THAT is me. I'm not strong, I'm not brave, I'm not really full of faith. And I'm an impatient mother and wife, and sometimes just plain mean if I'm really stressed.

But what I said about the One who knows this road? That part stays true, no matter how much I go up and down. And the difference this time is that I have a history with my God, now. I know Him as a Father and Brother who will be there every time I look for Him. I will see Him sometimes in the faces of sweet sisters and brothers who bring food for my family. In the form of donor milk for Mallorie that arrives just at the right time, and erases my fear of having to deal with dietary changes for her right now. In the texts and emails that arrive to tell me I'm being prayed for, or that include scripture verses that speak truth to my spirit. In my husband's voice when he tells me that for the first time in his life, when he was in a group of men (for his ACTS retreat reunion), he felt that he truly fit just as himself, no effort, felt accepted. In my children's voices when they tell me funny stories that tell me in the subtexts, that others are loving them and watching over them.

I guess my biggest need, besides prayer for healing, is that I will open myself during this time to the people all around me who longed to be God's arms of comfort while I was pregnant. Because THIS time I do know what I didn't know before. That I am not strong, but I don't need to be. That I am not alone, and am not meant to be.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The verdict

I had my follow-up appointment with the surgeon this afternoon, and learned that what was removed was cancer. Well, that was actually a shock, more, I guess than it should have been, but I had no strong feelings that it would be positive. Shows what I know.

I do have to have chemo, now. Talk about a whole new road ahead, and I don't know the route. But I do know Who does, and I am still amazed by His care for me. The tumor that showed up on the CT that led to us finding this diagnosis, was not in the bowel, but nearby. I had several months of recurrent vomiting, that resulted in the CT being done in an ER visit. Then, one more episode of vomiting, and then NOTHING. The last time I had the problem was June. But nothing about this tumor would have caused symptoms, yet. In fact, the surgeon today said that it might have taken a year more for me to start having symptoms, and by then, it would obviously have been more advanced. So I've been thinking that God just wanted it out, and allowed me to have all those episodes just long enough for someone to have a reason to do the testing, so this could be found early enough.

I have prayed during this waiting period, that it would NOT be cancer, and kept adding, that it was because I just want an easier route. I mean, God already knows, but I guess I wanted Him to understand that I feel safer with Him now, since Mallorie. Safer in His choices for me. More confident in His love, so I didn't always say it, but He knows what I meant ... that I knew He knew best for me, and I was deferring to Him. And God loves me, and clearly wants me to grow some more.

So please pray for me while I learn and grow. And for my family.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Home again, home again.

Mallorie's bloodwork looked good enough this morning to go home. Becca and Tamara had set me up with movies & DVD player to help me not be bored in my own recovery period, so I finally got to watch a bunch .. and silly me, got just 3-1/2 hrs of sleep last night before the morning labwork had to be done. Then discharge stuff, then speech therapy, and home. I'm wiped, but Mallorie is just happy, and herself!

And I heard Dr. B got good news today. I think she needs her own blog. :)

My appt with the surgeon is tomorrow, so pray as much as you like for good news for me, too. :) It'll be another long day, because Mallorie sees her kidney doctor in the morning, and I have lots of things to discuss with her, since Mal is back on the potassium supplements along with the sodium. Then my own appt will be in the afternoon.

Anyone else feel this tired?? But I'm such a happy girl, with Mallorie back home and all the other good news around here.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Ida does, too, do scalp IV's. So does Mary.

My turn in the hospital with Mallorie; she began vomiting this morning just before her follow-up appt with Dr. B, and her last labwork didn't look good enough to send her home with. So we have a beautiful scalp IV in place, and fluids going in that way, and through the wonderful g-tube. I am so grateful for good nurses who don't give up, and for the pauses for prayer prior to attempting a "stick," and the praises to God for surprise successes. And for good friends who stop by to check on us (thanks, Pam). And for great medical care.

My follow-up is Wednesday, so I hope Mallorie is discharged by then. And Dr. B's surgery will be Wednesday, too.