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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Brunch at Wendy's?

Today is Easter and no, I did not go to church. I was telling hubby how, for so many years, I would stand up at Easter to assure others could sit. As I read through the many Facebook post every one values Easter because it recognizes a day that Christians have always celebrated. I am on the road, transporting "stuff" from Birmingham to Cininnati, Chicago and Cleveland. Actually Solon, a Cleveland suburb but I like using all "C's" for now. 
Christ, created, crucified and conquered. How awesome is that? And yes, I celebrated by having brunch at Wendy's with others who obviously went to church. 
This year has been an emotional trial for me. I can't seem to get a grip on it, other than to say the end is never the over and done. What do they say? Be careful what you pray for because there could be more than you are willing to handle. After eighteen months of handling, my primary wish was to be cancer free. I failed to mention perhaps stress free, worry free or what other potential free events can pull you down. 
Not dealing with the obvious makes it far from over. Therapy three times a week to. improve my arm range of motion and prayerfully assist in reducing the swelling associated with the lymphedema.
Recognizing that there are follow ups that have to be followed through and Lymphedema stinks.

I have been looking for a song that I did in the 80's. I can barely remember the actual words. It is taken for Psalms 121. I find that there are many versions identifying Psalms 121, Alas it is not the version I remember. 

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills,
From whence cometh my help
My help cometh from The Lord who made heaven and earth. 

The mountain and hills, the stars in the sky 
All of these things have I,
The deep blue sea, the tall tall tree. (That's where it gets really sketchy as to how much is false memories. )

The King James Version:
1 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. 2 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. 3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. 4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. 6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. 8 The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

Psalms 121:1-8 (KJV)

I just recently found out that my surgeon will be honored because of my "Unsung Hero" submission. Wouldn't you know it, there is a dinner and that dinner falls on the same night that the CLMs will be recognized by my district. Of course I chose the dinner, but wow what timing. 

Tuesday I see the surgeon for her to perhaps do a biopsy on these bumps she saw on the follow up in March. Still praying for cancer free. That songs looms over me and right now I can only focus on Psalms 121.
I look up to the hills.Where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the Lord. He is the Maker of heaven and earth.  3 He won’t let your foot slip. He who watches over you won’t get tired. 4 In fact, he who watches over Israel won’t get tired or go to sleep. 5 The Lord watches over you.The Lord is like a shade tree at your right hand.  6 The sun won’t harm you during the day.The moon won’t harm you during the night. 7 The Lord will keep you from every kind of harm. He will watch over your life. 8 The Lord will watch over your life no matter where you go, both now and forever.

Psalms 121:-8 (NIRV)

http://youtu.be/b8VoUYtx0kw 'You're an Overcomer'
 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Lymph-a-what?

Well, I have gotten a lot of attention these last couple of days because of my arm. When I try to explain, the look I get is puzzled. The average person doesn't know about the issue. It is something that I knew very little about until a friend had it.
Mind you. I have seen it but no one put a name on it. I grew up in a time where you saw but you never asked. Even more you never got a response if you had the nerve to ask. 
There are two kinds of Lymphedema. Primary and secondary. Secondary is what I have because it was caused by the cancer complications. A primary is hard to pin point what causes it. The effects in the end are basically the same.

Lymphedema. 

Lymphedema refers to swelling that generally occurs in one of your arms or legs. Although lymphedema tends to affect just one arm or leg, sometimes both arms or both legs may be swollen.

Lymphedema is caused by a blockage in your lymphatic system, an important part of your immune and circulatory systems. The blockage prevents lymph fluid from draining well, and as the fluid builds up, the swelling continues. Lymphedema is most commonly caused by the removal of or damage to your lymph nodes as a part of cancer treatment.

There's no cure for lymphedema, but it can be controlled. Controlling lymphedema involves diligent care of your affected limb.  

No cure but now it is being wrapped with bandages to reduce the swelling. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Don't cloud my memories

Have you ever had someone tell you that your recollection of an event was not correct. Also that they remembered clearly that it was this or that, nothing you remembered. What would be even more profound is that they render your memories as inconsequential and unworthy of having a memory bank location at all.
Well, all memories are important. Some memories we may suppress or re-order, but we recognize that  they have an affect on who we are as a person. Our highs and lows are often dictated by "those" memories and unless your nay-sayer is a psychologist or psychiatrist, then tell them to back off. 

The memory of the risen savior has had an effect on us even today. A couple thousand years later we recant the story as if it happened yesterday. The memory of who taught us about loving Christ is buried somewhere in our physic. We may rearrange or rename the individual or the moment but the memory is there like it was, yesterday?  Yep, as my memory starts to fade into the abyss, I may question the validity of what I actually remembered from one day to the next.  

19 I remember how I suffered and wandered.I remember how bitter my life was. 20 I remember it very well. My spirit is very sad deep down inside me.21 But here is something else I remember. And it gives me hope. 22 The Lord loves us very much.So we haven’t been completely destroyed.His loving concern never fails. 23 His great love is new every morning. Lord, how faithful you are! 24 I say to myself, “The Lord is everything I will ever need.So I will put my hope in him.” 

Lamentations 3:19-23 (NIRV)

And now my focus is on physical therapy for the build up of fluid in my arm from the lymph node disfunction. It is an annoyance to say the least. With my new regiment I have no mid-day appointments, but appointments that will carve time from my work day one or two days a week. For this moment I need time to regroup and reset the priority bar. I honestly thought this was over, but oh well. It's still better than the poison regiment, being sliced and diced and radiated. God is good and this cancer by product is much better than the cancer itself. Of course, I'll take it with the graciousness of a two year old. However I will restrain from floor kicking fall out screaming with this tantrum. 

Oh yes, my first appointment was Wednesday last week and so far, from what I remember, I do like the therapist. I remember she was born and raised in Illinois which gave her some immediate points. She was vigilant in recording my data in the computer, even paused and questioned her accuracy and re-measured just in case. That was several points more and finally she has a great professional personality, which is worth at least 50 points on the positive side. 

Life is good and now I am getting a little more hair, which is good. However, more would be great. I won't complain because there wasn't much there before cancer so an expectation of something greater was never really contemplated. 

I can foresee a busy schedule on the horizon. I pray that I can remain calm, focused, and remember that the Lord loves me very much. I am not completely destroyed and His love is new every morning.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

God Makes No Mistakes

Life happens and when it does we will question whether good or bad, we question. Why is that? The things we take for granted and the things we allow to overwhelm us. Those things carry the same level of importance and yet we can deminish or increase in a seemingly irradic consciousness.

Why?

Early in the morning, Jesus was on his way back to Jerusalem. He was hungry. He saw a fig tree by the road. He went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Right away the tree dried up.When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree dry up so quickly?” they asked.Jesus replied, “What I’m about to tell you is true. You must have faith and not doubt. Then you can do what was done to the fig tree. And you can say to this mountain, ‘Go and throw yourself into the sea.’ It will be done. If you believe, you will receive what you ask for when you pray.”

Matthew 21:18-22 (NIRV)

Finishing the last of my first set of follow up medical visits ended on a good note. I was so glad to see my surgeon and the staff of the breast cancer area at UC Medical Barrett Center. Life has been a challenge with the lymphedema. My suit jackets don't fit the right arm andI I really had not thought about it much. I was making do with what was there. 

 After talking to the surgeon, I felt revitalized. I feel comfortable that she cares about me and my health. That is a good feeling and I hear those feelings are more common than not. My faith has remained constant throughout this ordeal and I know that mountains have definitely been moved. 

March has been a full month. I have been certified as a Lay Speaker under the new rules. That in itself was a personal goal. Next is my CLM (Certified Lay Minister) designation.  I thank God for the support of my fellow candidates. 

Wednesday, I visit with a therapist to address the lymphedema. Orders from my surgeon. Yes in deed. Faith without doubt will move this mountain. 

Prayers would also be great. 

I will see the surgeon in a month because of some prickly bumps she noticed. The road has been long but I can handle it. I am looking forward to summer and loosing a few pounds. My diet today eliminates beef and pork. Working on a seafood only goal. I know I can do it because I had done it  before cancer. 

I have seen others diagnosed and feeling the break through. God has been good and is still very much in the healing business. 

Why? 
Doubt, diminishes our faith. We don't need to put our fingers in the wound to know that God is real.




Tuesday, December 31, 2013

How I Got Over


My Life could have hardly been made complete without God and music. The last Sunday of this year was spent with both as I visited the church where I felt a kinship with the people that live downtown.My  time at this church started off as a convenience and turned quickly to a passion. The people that most never see or know speak to me as I walk along the streets of Cincinnati, Many travel from church to church in search of food and protection from the outside elements. Others have found a home at the church and can be found there every Sunday. This Sunday I wanted to let them know how I am doing and wish them well. 

Not surprising, but the hugs were in abundance and there was much joy in my celebration with them. 

Adding to my wonderful day was a concert by combined mass choirs in the late afternoon. That old time sing. Each song, a woven part of gospel history and my day became complete. 

My theme for the coming year is "Cancer Free At Sixty-Three". I am depending on the prayers to make it so. What a blessing it is to close out this year with all of the procedures behind me for now. No appointments in January and most of February. What a novelty to be without a port for chemo drugs or burned with radiation or sliced and diced.  

The healing isn't over but the the procedures involving medical staff are done. The only physician for me now is God as I pray to be cancer free at sixty-three. 

There is nothing that explains the feelings you have when you reach this point in the journey. Grateful that long waiting hours are over and that you can get on with your life. I can't really say what it is because with this diagnoses my life has been forever changed. So I don't know what life I am getting on with. My emotions are in high alert and my spirit is eagerly awaiting the next task while realizing that in the shadows there could be a reprise. 

Today I just want to celebrate one day at a time. Of course 'my' plans are all the way into 2016. God's plans for me go day to day. So I pray each day to be the witness of his endless love and healing power.  A part of me died in this year and I am renewed for the years to come. 

My son and I spoke about the fears and emotional aspects of cancer. I have never been a gambler but the odds are not really good once you've had it. Which is why the continued care by oncologist.  Each of my doctors have a special place, the poison doctor, the slasher doctor, and the fire starter doctor,  are now my forever doctors. Reminders that I am a cancer patient. 

But I got over, my soul was anchored in The Lord and that is how I got over. 
Listen to How I Got Over, with Yolanda Adams.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Thanks Grandma

As a women what is the worst that.could happen to you? Top of the list for many would be hair loss. The hair for as long as I can remember has been in top running symbol for femininity. Then India Arie sings I am not my hair, I am not this skin, I am the soul that lives within.  http://youtu.be/E_5jIt0f5Z4 

Really? All of my life a wig has represented an untruth. It was okay for everyone else but not for me. I have shaved it down to bare minimum and sported it with pride 
In 2010, my sister locks started to fall out. Even with locks I could not stop the inevitable. One day more that ten years ago,, I was brushing my paternal grandmother's hair and it looked and felt familar. Wow! Was this to be me in thirty years. Same texture same oh my. She had bald and thining spots that everyone wanted to blame on relaxers.

On both sides of my family hair is not the center. I have minimal to no hair on my body and yes now minimal to no hair on my head. Shaving does not come close to the damage done by a double punch of heredity and chemo drugs. 

The eyelashes and eyebrows, did they have to go also, as you can see in the picture there wasn't much there in the first place. And yet I was satisfied with them. Thin but in. 

One thing I recognize is that with heredity we eventually get over it because we have a lot of time to recognize that it will come. But chemo is another issue. For the women that had the long luxurious hair, there is a bit more of a challenge. And for me, knowing what I already knew it is the same challenge. 

I wear my bald, thinning hair just as I did with the closely cut hair. Mainly because I don't walk around with a mirror in front of me. What others see has never been my priority. What I feel inside, who I am and what I have to say from my heart has not changed because of my hair. 

Drivers licence picture is due in exactly two months and  I am wondering if I really want to carry this image for another four years.
Right now I am considering shaving it off for the picture. It is a lot cleaner than the occasional hair that I have now. 

Decisions 

33 We make our own decisions, but the LORD alone determines what happens.

Proverbs 16:33 (CEV)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Eyes have it....

Well, the Port is OUT!  It was.a pretty simple procedure and my surgeon was awesome as usual. She told me she had done so many of these that she probably could handle it blind folded. Surprisingly I opted out on that directive even though my curiosity was killing me. 
Every encounter brings me nearer to closure on this journey. As I reflect back I recognize that this portion of my life, though life threatening still does not compare to other aspects for complexity and adventure. It is a mini-series in my already complicated life. There are things that I must say have caused me more pain and agony. 
As she was removing the port I spoke about my thirty plus years of migraines. Stress, allergies or hormonal, I will never know but years of that took its toll on me. 
I have thought often about Job in my medical adversities. Questioning how long must this go on and growing at the same time. In my worst of time I had continued in forward motion knowing that with evey hurdle there is the possibility of rest. 
This is my time of rest. 

 Psalm 32:1-11 Blessed is the person whose disobedience is forgiven and whose sin is pardoned. Blessed is the person whom the Lord no longer accuses of sin and who has no deceitful thoughts. When I kept silent about my sins, my bones began to weaken because of my groaning all day long. Day and night your hand laid heavily on me. My strength shriveled in the summer heat. Selah I made my sins known to you, and I did not cover up my guilt. I decided to confess them to you, O Lord. Then you forgave all my sins. Selah For this reason let all godly people pray to youwhen you may be found. Then raging floodwater will not reach them. You are my hiding place. You protect me from trouble.You surround me with joyous songs of salvation. Selah The Lord says,“I will instruct you. I will teach you the way that you should go.I will advise you as my eyes watch over you. Don’t be stubborn like a horse or mule. They need a bit and bridle in their mouth to restrain them, or they will not come near you.” Many heartaches await wicked people, but mercy surrounds those who trust the Lord. Be glad and find joy in the Lord, you righteous people. Sing with joy, all whose motives are decent. 


"You are my Hiding Place" by Selah
Enjoy.