Family picture taken 1 week after diagnoses

Family picture taken 1 week after diagnoses

Saturday, December 20, 2014

That you may overflow with HOPE...

This is long overdue.
    July was a real game changer with bad scans showing the spread of cancer in my brain. At the time  we were watching my sweet cousin bravely battle his brain tumor. I was not feeling the bravery he displayed.  It was a huge blow to have the Tarceva stop working so quickly. I had high hopes in that treatment.
    We hit the year mark of my diagnoses early this month. It was very surreal to live out that week and reflect on what that week was like last year. I think the Christmas season will always bring a pang of the blow of that time.
     I've also been reflecting on the changes in my expectations. My desire is still the same: healing. But living with cancer for years wouldn't be horrible either. I'll be honest, I want it gone. The worry, the fear, the scans, the pokes, the poison, the sickness, the tears. But I'm learning to be grateful. I'm grateful this horrible treatment has stalled the cancers growth, I'm grateful the coughing has lessened and I'm grateful that I get to celebrate another Christmas with my kids and my sweetie. Another year of memories to give them. And yes, I had another year with hair.
    I didn't think I cared about that part but I do. That's the honest answer. It's really nice to go places and fake good health. I have also realized how beautiful it is for my kids to forget it at times and see me "looking healthy".
     "Hope" has been our theme through this year. That word has changed for me in these 12 months. It means even more now. Romans 15:13 has been our close companion of strength and comfort. "May the God of all HOPE fill you with all JOY and PEACE as you trust in him so that you may overflow with HOPE through the power of the Holy Spirit." I have always loved the word overflow in this version of the verse. It indicates that The Lord gives more than the just enough, he gives us an excessive amount of it. So much that it overflows.
     My hope was in my healing. And I still hope and pray for that. But my hope is in something more. My hope is in heaven, and that God has eternal good to bring from my suffering and that of my
family's. I see a lot of good in my healing. But God see's the big picture. The good I see is temporal
but the good He see's is eternal. I may never see that good this side of heaven but trust that he has it covered. It's never been so hard to trust, but trust, I will!
      God blessed us with good scans this week. It was beautiful to have this gift right before Christmas. To lay aside the fear for a little bit. The growth that the July scan showed has not recovered but the continued growth that each scan was showing stopped. Who knows for how long, but today, I'm grateful.
       I'm also grateful for the precious man God gave me to love, and to love me.  I get grumpy and tired, but he tirelessly steps in and lightens my load without complaint.  We didn't sign up for this but when Lewis promised "in sickness and in health" ten years ago to God and me, he meant it. And he shows me everyday. He is a beautiful picture of what for better or for worse looks like. This year has been rough and HARD, it has been a year of growing. Growing closer to each other and closer to our Lord. The best part of my day is when we get to sit in front of the fire together with our cup of tea and our devotions, sharing our favorites with each other. I love this man, and pray for years with him.
       My WBC is still not in a good place. They decided to treat me this week anyways in hopes that it will start going back up since we dropped the Carboplatin. Please keep us in your prayers for this and join us as we thank God for the good health he's given me in spite of my compromised immune system. It is simply by the grace of God that I haven't been sick yet. Another item of gratefullness.
    We wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and hope that you are struck this year by the miracle of God's grace and beauty of his love for you.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Raw thoughts on Birthday # 35

Here I am, the eve of my 35th birthday, and gearing up for my second cycle of chemo. Having positive thoughts about it being better than last time but also planning for a good week of feeling crummy and afternoon naps the week beyond that. The little bit of energy I have I anticipate putting into homeschooling the kids, which I love. But it cuts into spending time with my sweet friends that carry me through with cleaning my house, cooking Kerri-friendly-meals, organic produce runs, watching my kids, and anything else my heart desires or needs, they are there. Thanks dear friends and family. What would I do without you? I'm emotional tonight as I know we are going into another season of me being " in need". This morning I had to push down the feelings of mourning what is gone and will never be so that I could take my kids to their co-op.  I know I'm missing out on so much... And I'm missing it.
     I'm begging God for more time and that this chemo is healing the cancer that is ravaging my body. I don't want to go to Stanford tomorrow. I want to be with my kids, my family, eating chips and salsa at Chevys like we normally do. I wonder if this is my last birthday with them... Please God, give me more time with them, each day is a gift. I recognize it fully and cherish each moment. I can't believe we are living this nightmare. Is this real?
     The tears won't stop. With chemo came the emotional flood of tears at the drop of a hat.  I'm good though... The depression I felt when we first heard that there are many brain mets is gone. (Thank you, Lord!) but the tears come quickly. Emotians are raw, but I feel held carefully in Gods mighty hands. Lovingly held.  Because I am.
    There has been sermon after sermon, and devo after devo that has felt just for me. One of the sermons talked about God "sitting" on his throne. Sitting, not pacing because he has it all under control. He isn't anxious or worried, stressed, or nervous, He's in control and unnerved. I can rest in that.
   This may be my last birthday... But I can rest in that too. Because He's in control. I beg Him for more... But also trust His will. Because He is good. No matter what... HE...   IS...    GOOD!  Do you believer that? I do. With tears streaming down my face, and agony in my heart... I believe it! HE IS GOOD!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

"For her strength and encouragement"

    It's been a long time since I've posted. Longer then I intended. I've thought of it many times but was a little afraid of what I would be post.
    These past 4 weeks have been some of the hardest of my life. My emotions have been very raw. I think our whole family has been a bit depressed. I've been a bit "Cancer Cranky". Although life has not suddenly gotten rosy, I feel like I am in a place where I can post a sincere update with some discernment. :-)
   The last scans were not good. To be honest, I was shocked! I felt so good. How could things not be good? But they weren't. The quick Dr. visit before my infusion turned into hours.
    The lung tumor had a slight increase in growth. (We're talking mm.) everything else was stable and the liver even showed a reduction in tumor size, but the problem was that there were more brain mets. I tried to take it stoically but I was rattled to my core.
    When Dr. Neal came in he gave both me and Lewis big hugs and said he was so sorry. He was surprised too, I think. He's really rooting for me, and spent a long time talking with us and even crying with us. I asked him how he deals with such pain each day? He admitted that he holds his kids a little tighter and cherishes his wife a bit more, and that it's hard. I'm so grateful for the guidance of God in handing us over to this Doctor who truly cares. I think I realized it for the first time this day. He was even reminding ME that I had told him where my hope lies. It was convicting, and beautiful, to have this reminder that God, holds me still, from my, oncologist.
    They talked about cyber knife, and a clinical trial, and got me into the radiologist next door immediately. Dr. Gibbs, The radiologist said that I would also be seeing a neurosurgeon as they like to work together when dealing with the brain. Before anything was decided though she wanted to talk this over with the tumor board on Friday because there were a few spots that were not very solid looking, and questionable if they are more mets or not. She would call me and let me know how we were going to preceded.
      I wasn't thrilled about radiation but thought cyber knife sounding better than full brain radiation
and losing my hair.
      Lewis and I drove home stunned and teary. Things can sure change rather quickly. And they did.
      The next day was our 10 year Anniversary. I couldn't stop crying long enough to even put make up on. We cancelled our dinner plans. Neither of us felt much like celebrating. I felt like I was back at that diagnoses week again, but worse. I knew now, a little bit more; most people diagnosed with what I have live around a year in a half. I was hopeful I would break that statistic and this news felt like doom on that dream.
       The next day I had planned to go to the homeschool convention with my cousin, Summur, and
decided that's just what I needed so I didn't change those plans. It was just what I needed.
      This was Friday, the day I was to get "the call". It came while I was still at the convention. Dr.
Gibbs must have called the minute the tumor board meeting was over. She said there were more brain mets than they thought. To many to cyber knife. Full brain radiation was the suggestion. But my Onc, Dr. Neal had plans of postponing that as far into the future as he could. He suggested the pulse dose of Tarceva; take a full weeks worth on one day and then do the same the the following weeks. This helps the Tarceva get into the brain better and hopefully will help control those brain mets.
        The convention was over for me at that point. All of a sudden I was very tired. Summur and I finished up and headed out.
         The first week of the pulse dose wasn't so bad so they upped it to 900 mg. I started feeling pretty crummy Tuesday-Friday, and the cough came back after about a week of starting this pulse dose.  I'm not a huge fan of how this pulse dose makes me feel but if it's working it's totally worth it.
          Fast forward now to yesterday. Lewie and I went to Stanford to talk treatment options with Dr. Neal. In the mean time I started looking at many options other than conventional, and praying for wisdom and direction. We had some life changing decisions to make, but I wasn't worried. I felt resolutely that God would make the decision clear. As we arrived at the Cancer Center I told Lewis that I felt at Peace. I also felt very neutral on each option laid before us.
        We discussed various treatments and possible reasons for the cough returning.  Dr. Neal felt Chemo was the next best option but also knew that I had made it no secret about my dislike of that plan. As we talked about the options, he proposed that we continue with the pulse dose for the next
two weeks and then scan everything again. Depending on what the scan reveals, we either continue
with the pulse dose or begin Chemo, THAT DAY! We discussed many thing and many options. This option seemed very clear to me. This is what I picked. And I'm at peace. So chemo is scheduled for September 3, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to need it with the way I'm feeling.
      Although we have somewhat of a plan, when you're living with Cancer, a lot can change in 2 weeks. I'm learning that the only plan is to take one day at a time. Not to look to far into the future or try to guess what's in it. The plan is to live. Live today. Tomorrow may be a different story, but we have today. So don't think to much on tomorrow. Being a "planner" this is not an easy lesson I'm
learning. I like to know what's coming. Maybe this time, it's best I don't know.
     Daily I have to give the day to God, and purposefully choose to be grateful for it. When I wake up I lay there and make the choice , or don't, those aren't very good days. The "don't" days. The "good choice" days aren't full of happiness and giggles though. They have lots of tears too, but also hope, strength, and beautiful peace.
         God has orchestrated and organized so many things in my life with out my worrying and stressing about it. School this year was heavy on my heart the day we got the bad scan. Before that,  I
felt like I would feel up to teaching, but now the coming weeks and months were completely uncertain and unpredictable. The original plan had to change but the details fell into place beautifully. I felt again the clear direction to home school our kids this coming year. God made it possible and He will make it successful. He is so faithful! I think I'm going to still get to be part of this school year, but if I'm unable, school will go on. Although I don't know what's coming (chemo or not, how sick I'll be...etc.) He does, and He's already on it, making provision.
      I like to choose a theme verse for our school year. This year I chose Isaiah 41:10 "Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." Fear not! Why? Because I, your God, AM WITH YOU! Not just with you, but will HELP you and will STRENGTHEN you.
        Someone prayed for me this week and the prayer touched me deeply. Miraculous Healing was on the list, but my favorite was "for her strength and encouragement". I have been at a loss in the past weeks how to answer when asked " how can I specifically pray for you?". I feel tongue tied. There is so much and yet I can't zero in on one thing. This should be my answer,  "for my strength and encouragement". Because this isn't something you get, and then have to keep. Every day requires a new dose of it.
         My sister, Tena gave me a necklace last week with 2 Timothy 4:17 "but The Lord stood with me, and gave me strength."  That's all that's on the necklace but the verse goes on to say, "so that the message might be preached fully through me..."  I love the necklace, and it reminds me of whom my strength is in, but when I read the whole verse I remembered also why God gives it. Because I still have a job to do, a purpose. He's not through with me yet. So please pray for my strength, and my encouragement, so that the message might be preached fully through me.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


There have been many posts that I have penned in my head that never made it on here. I had that "feeling" again and decided to not let the moment pass this time.
     I was reflecting on some scripture with Lewie, and thought it interesting that 7 months ago when this chapter in our life began, our word was HOPE. It still is, but unknowingly both Lewie, and I, are clinging to PEACE these days.
      There was a theme in the scriptures we were sharing with each other, and PEACE is that theme. Not the word alone, or the world's idea of peace, but a peace that can only come from the hand of God. A peace that is only known when all around you the storm is pounding. That kind of peace.    
    Hope is tied into that peace. Without the Hope we have in Jesus, and His return to take us with him to heaven, what would be the point of all this? What would be the point of the pain, but what would be the point of even the laughter and joy?
   I should share the scriptures with you.
   I saw a plaque in my moms house with this written on it and keep going back to it.

1 Kings 8:56 "Blessed be The Lord, who has given rest (peace) to His people Isreal, according to all that He promised. There has not failed one word of all His good promises, which He promised through his servant Moses."

   Not even one promise was failed to be kept by The Lord. Not one. I have been focusing heavily on His promises these past few weeks as the devil has been attacking my spirit. This has been a huge encouragement to me even as my heart is heavy and my eyes wet. There has not failed one of His good promises... Not one!
    This is one of the things Lewis shared with me from Ephesians 3:14-21.
"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives it name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in
your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And, I pray that you, being
rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the Lords holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge --- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 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."
   Pain helps us grasp this love. It's weird that in our darkest time we feel that love the most deeply.  I love the part, "that you may be filled to the measure with all the fullness of God". Filled. And filled to fullness. ALL the fullness of God. All of it! Wow! Beautiful.
   Peace was what sent Lewis to Ephesians when he found these gems. Ephesians has beautiful promises about the peace that God provides.

Monday, May 5, 2014


I know some people have mentioned that they are having a hard time subscribing to my blog. I think you just need to follow the prompts to become a follower, and then you should get email updates as I send out new posts. Let me know if any of you still have trouble or aren't getting email updates.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

His promises

Stanford week...

 There are things about our Stanford visits I really enjoy. Such as, having Lewie all to myself, eating breakfast at Fraiche, the free 15 minute massage at the Cancer Center, not getting up in the middle of the night with a kiddo...   There are also things I don't like; noisy hotels, missing my kiddo's snuggles, being reminded that I have Cancer... Sigh.
    This was a big trip. It was a scan trip and unlike the last scan, I was uncertain and even skeptical of positive results. I had been so stressed and seemed to have mild morning coughing. The swollen lymph nodes that I could feel didn't feel smaller to me. Were they even more noticeable, or am I just now overly aware of what they are?
    The morning was perfect. Thoroughly enjoyed my, lemon oxidizer and steel cut oats with homemade yogurt at Fraiche, along with my rare treat of a cappuccino. There's are superb! I felt relaxed and happy. It is what it is, it's just unknown to me at the moment.
    After morning labs, Lewie and I waited for the doctor. We need to stop checking in so early. Waiting in those tiny rooms is brutal. The nurse came in and cheerily told us it was a "good scan". Things seem to be stable, she said. I wanted to question her but decided to wait for my oncologist. Was there really no change? I had already plateaued?
   When Dr. Neal came in he told us that Allison had underestimated how good the results were. The tumors were still definately shrinking. Hurray! The report hadn't been written up yet, so I didn't have details on how much and where, but he made it sound like overall, it was looking pretty good.
    It's weird, I was excited with this news after being so unsure, but my thoughts as I headed up to ITA were, "I still have incurable Cancer". It seems that even good news is hard to receive. it's clouded. "Be excited. Be excited" I told myself. I knew everyone else would be.
    I picked my spot and settled in for my infusion. As I waited for the pharmacy to prepare my Zometa, my phone dies . I hadn't brought a book this time. Just my bible and my Trust devotion book that I had already read in the waiting room downstairs. "Perfect!" I thought, and grabbed my Bible.
   I went straight to Psalms, of course. I read a few of my recent faves, and then settled in Psalm 119. I started underlining and writing things down on the back of my return visit sheet.

Psalm 119:50 "My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life."My Bible cross refrenced me to: Romans 15:4 "For EVERYTHING that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the scriptures  WE MIGHT HAVE HOPE." Verse 5 goes on to talk about "the God who gives endurance and encouragement." So again, God is our source of Hope, our source of endurance, our source of encouragement... our source of EVERYTHING! Did I know this before D-day? Yes, but I know this in a new way now, and I will know it in an even newer way next month, and the month after, and the month after that...  "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassion's never fail. They are new EVERY morning; GREAT IS YOUR FAITHFULNESS." Lamentations 3:22-23

Psalm 119:74 "May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in Your word."

"May your unfailing love be my comfort."

"Save me! for I am yours." (v. 94)

After my infusion, before leaving the Cancer Center, we had an unlikely meeting with a local pastor, who encouraged me to cling to God's promises. "Not once have I seen, the Lord, fail to keep His promises."  He said.
  I kind of get the feeling that the Lord, wants my thinking about his promises. :-)
Not about my grim diagnoses. But His faithfulness to me through any suffering.
Not about my future here on earth, or my lack of it, but my hope in heaven.
Not about the difficulty of living with Cancer, but the joy living for HIM
Not about the struggles of fighting for life, but reveling in it. 

This old Hymn has been going through my head:
1. Standing on the promises of Christ my King, 
 through eternal ages let his praises ring; 
 glory in the highest, I will shout and sing, 
 standing on the promises of God. 
 Standing, standing, 
 standing on the promises of Christ my Savior; 
 standing, standing, 
 I'm standing on the promises of God. 

2. Standing on the promises that cannot fail, 
 when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail, 
 by the living Word of God I shall prevail, 
 standing on the promises of God. 

3. Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord, 
 bound to him eternally by love's strong cord, 
 overcoming daily with the Spirit's sword, 
 standing on the promises of God. 

4. Standing on the promises I cannot fall, 
 listening every moment to the Spirit's call, 
 resting in my Savior as my all in all, 
 standing on the promises of God. 

Standing, because I'm claiming His promises as my own.
Standing because I'm confident in the faithfulness of the ONE promising.
Standing, not because He promises to take away my pain, but because he promises I'll prevail against it.
Standing... because I cannot fall.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Quiet moments

    I can't seem to bring myself to write the third installment of diagnoses week. It's just to heavy of a day to re-visit right now. Maybe I'll get to sometime, but maybe it doesn't need to be remembered either.
    Lewis encouraged me to write an update, let everyone know that a scan is coming up, so that people can be praying. Next scan is on April 29th, and we get the results the next morning followed by a bone infusion.
   I am doing well with these infusions now, thanks to all your faithful prayers. Thank you for those.        
   After the last scan Dr. Neal dropped my Tarceva dose down to 100 mg. from 150 mg. It helped for awhile with some of the rash and tiredness but they seem to be acting up again now. I had been feeling fabulous and full of energy, but Easter weekend wiped me out and I haven't been able to recover.
   This fight has gone beyond the physical and I can feel that I am being severely attacked, spiritually. I knew Satan would not be pleased with our desire to glorify God through this trial, I knew the hits would not stop coming. It's weird, I'm doing well physically, but emotionally I'm a mess.
   Easter Sunday was especially hard and I nearly didn't make it to Church. I struggled all morning with that as I rushed around getting kids ready, "what kind of Christian doesn't make it to Church on Easter Sunday?!"  I thought. The Lord doesn't put thoughts of guilt in our minds like this. I recognized that later... Another attack.
    I was able to be blessed by attending Church on Easter Sunday, and I was glad to hear about the joy that awaits us. It gave me something beautiful to ponder. I know my relationship with The Lord is sure, and I am grateful that I am his and held by Him.
    This update is very raw and transparent. It's not always easy to be completely honest. But I need specific prayers. I know the people who take the time to read this blog are faithfully praying for me. It's amazing how many people have not forgotten us after the shock has worn off. Please know that your prayers carry us, sustain us. As you continue to lift our family up before The Lord, please pray for quiet moments each day to be strengthened in our faith.  Pray for good scans, for the anxiety I am struggling with, for quality sleep and rest, that we will not let our guards down against satan's attacks, and yes, that we will glorify God in our response to this trial.
     I know the temptation after reading a post of this nature is to march on over and offer comfort and help.  But know that I have plenty of help, and what I really need are moments of quiet to be comforted by the only one who can. These moments are difficult to find but I think the most important part of this journey, so I put it at the top of the list.
    One day last week I cancelled school, put Nora down for her nap, turned Andy Griffith on for the kids, and locked myself in the bathroom with stress-relieving essential oils, a bath, and my bible. When I opened my bible I was at Psalm 30, so I started there, and then I just kept going. Here are just a few of the gems He gave me:
"In you, oh Lord, I have taken refuge."
"you are my rock and my fortress"
"Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief, my life is consumed by anguish, and my years by groaning, my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak."
"But I trust in you, O Lord, times are in your hands"
"Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in The Lord."
"For the word of The Lord is right and true, he is faithful in all he does"
Psalm 33:12-22 was the grand finale of all the beautiful things God gave me that morning. It's beautiful! Read it. I've always loved Psalms, but it has truly become a treasure to me.
   I will update later this week and let you all know the results of the scans. Thank you for praying. We love you all dearly.

Sunday, March 16, 2014


I neglected to add an important and special part of the day on December 5th.
   While waiting to go in for the PET scan, I pulled out my Trust devotional by Lydia Brownback. I was given this book back in October,and had been enjoying it, so I brought it along. I opened the little book up to the devotion that was next in line. It was titled, "The Goodness of God.".
   "The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made." Psalm 145:9. It starts out talking about this woman's fear of not getting married and her struggle to trust God with it. It wasn't until I was halfway through the devotion that it grabbed me. Lydia says, " If we struggle to trust God, it's because at some level we don't really believe he is good." I was now fully engaged and HEARING. She goes on, "If you are trusting something besides God to keep you safe and to make you happy, you are probably doubting God's goodness. Such doubts gain a foothold in our hearts when God doesn't act the way we think he should or the way we expect that he will.
    But God often acts contrary to how we think a good God should act. The answer we think we need seems so logical and clear to our way of thinking, yet God does not provide it. That is where faith comes in. Real faith isn't the belief that God will do a particular thing; real faith is the conviction that God is good, no matter what he does and however he chooses to answer our prayers. God always has our best in mind, and he works to bring it about, no matter how it may look initially to our way of thinking.
   You can trust him because he is good. And that goodness can be found---right now, today---in the very thing that you are so anxious about. Will you trust him? Will you believe he is being good to you? He is."
   Wow! God had my attention. I knew that trusting God didn't mean believing that he would heal me. This little devo summed it up. Trusting God is believing he is good even if he doesn't. Trusting in God is trusting he is good no matter what, not thinking that he should or will do whatever I ask him to do.
    I knew God could heal me, but I wasn't sure if he would. That made me fear. Fear for my kids and husband. What would they do?  However, trusting in Gods goodness, brings peace. Peace that he is holding them in his powerful, gentle, and loving hands, just as he is holding me.
   I was amazed, as I would be many times over, for his timing in giving me what I needed before I even realized it. That's God. For instance, when I shared with my cousin, Laura how meaningful this gift had been to me. She told me that she had prayed for wisdom and Gods direction on which one to choose for me; Joy, Purity, or Trust?  She felt God prompting her to give the "Trust" one to me. She struggled with that because she didn't think that was the one I would enjoy the most. But God knew... And so Laura listening to his prompting and gave me the trust devotional. I've been so grateful that she did.
    I went into my PET scan feeling cheery and chipper. Quite a contrast from my sad tears earlier that morning as we traveled 132. I would need this truth tomorrow as the results of this scan, I was
preparing to do, was revealed to us. I was resolved to remember what I had read today to matter what came tomorrow.

Friday, February 28, 2014

How do we tell them?

   On our way home we knew that the hard part was ahead... Telling our families. This was the hardest part for me. I knew how sad they would be. I hated to be the reason for that. My mom had just lost her mom, and now I would tell her that her only daughter has cancer.
   How would the kids react. They knew the word, CANCER. It was a dirty word to them. We had prayed, and were praying for many people who were in the middle of their battle, some that had died. They knew...
   We broke the news to the kids over morning snuggles in our bed. Alton gasped, Carter wanted to know if I was going to die. We did our best to reassure them that though we didn't know, we did know that God was going take care of us, so we needn't worry. They seemed satisfied and comforted. I was sort of surprised it went so well. I knew that they didn't really get it, and that was probably best. 
     There were lots of tears and disbelief that 4th day of December. I was sad all day, but it wasn't for me, it was for everyone else. To be honest, I was relieved in a way. Relieved to finally know what  was wrong with me.
    We spent the morning giving sad news, crying with loved ones, and praying together. The day was  busy with visitors and phone calls. A welcomed distraction from the reality of the news we had received the night before. I was exhausted by the time the day had come to an end, and the last visitor was walked to the door. Exhausted. Comforted. Overwhelmed. But not by the circumstances. Overwhelmed by the mass amount of people that loved us, were sorrowing for and with us. That feeling would continue.
    Thursday morning we woke early for our drive to Stanford for the morning PET scan and then an MRI that afternoon. My mood was different this day. As we headed down 132, my heart felt heavy, and the tears started to slowly roll. Lewis misses nothing these days. He took my hand asking if I was alright. " yesterday, I was sad for everyone else... But today, I'm sad for me."
    I cried for a little while longer but then I was done. And I mean done. No more tears that day. We listened to Matt Mahor, "Lord, I need you" the entire way. It felt good to know that we would get no results today. I wasn't sure that I wanted to know the results of these tests, so it was nice that for today, I could just enjoy my husband.
    The PET scan was interesting. I didn't realize that I would be radioactive for 24 hours and not even able to be within a few feet of my kids for a prolonged period of time. Crazy! The gal comes out wearing heavy duty gloves, carrying a metal cylinder that she hooks up to my IV and pumps into me. "And I was worried about eating canned soup", I thought. It was seriously comical to me.
    When the test was over, we had a few hours before my MRI. So we headed to  P.F. Changs for lunch and and did a little shopping at the Palo Alto mall. I remember being pretty tired as we strolled hand in hand, window shopping. I still wasn't feeling well and now it made sense why.
    The day was almost like a date-day with my husband. Like a honeymoon period or calm before the storm. I remember this day fondly. It was special. Lewis and I were more in love then ever, and were cherishing each moment. Holding hands like newlyweds, and I even got public kisses. Anyone who knows Lewie knows this does not happen. But everything had changed, and it would never be the same. The things that used to be a big deal weren't anymore.
   This Thursday was definately one of my favorite days together. I think we both knew that tomorrow the news could get much worse. Today we were still in the dark, but tomorrow, knowledge would come to us. Knowledge we may not want.


Thursday, February 27, 2014

D-day! The journey begins

I've decided to revisit my blog. I think the things I'm sharing and experiencing could be meaningful and helpful to my children in the future. I started journals for each of the kids so that I can write personal things to them, but this will be a different side of things. The day to day side of things.
Here we go:
August- began coughing. A dry cough, with no fever, cold or other symptoms. I thought nothing of it.
September- cough becomes more persistent and Lewis keeps telling me to get to the doctor. I knew they would give me an allergy medicine or antibiotic, and since I was nursing I would do neither. So why bother?
October - cough is annoying me and effecting my sleep. I am now noticing back pain, as well as a pain around my heart. I make a dr. appointment by the end of the month. Was given an allergy medicine (which I didn't take) and an inhaler.
November - I'm getting worse. Cough is horrible. I can't even have a conversation now. I try the inhaler. It doesn't really make a difference. I call the dr. again and this time I asked for the chest X-ray  he had mentioned, and blood work. I get a call that same day. I have pneumonia. Can't avoid the
antibiotics. He also mentioned that both he and the radiologist thought it strange that a young healthy woman would have two occurrences of pneumonia within two years of each other, and he would like me to see a pulmonary specialist. I agreed and requested I be sent to Stanford (just in case it was something serious).
   My appointment was made for January 7th. My doctor followed up with them and told them they needed to see my NOW. I had an appointment the next day. Met with a Dr. Kahzeni. She thought I had valley fever and was wondering why I was even there. I didn't LOOK sick. So I get it, but I thought her rude and unhelpful.
    She strung me along for two weeks with tests to see if I had valley fever that all failed. Finally she said she would have to do a bronchoscopy. That didn't sound like a good time to me, but I was getting desperate to know what was wrong with me. I was feeling pretty crummy by now with very little
energy and a horrible cough. Cancer crossed my mind... Nah! That's crazy!
  Lucky for me Kahzeni doesn't do Broncs. So I was turned over to Dr. Sung. He immediately ordered a CT scan. He wondered why it had not been done before this? Then, depending on the results, he would order the bronc.
December -  Lewis and I headed to Stanford on December 3rd and started the day with a CT scan with contrast. By the time we made it to the Doctors Office he had seen the scan and ordered the bronc. When we met with him he was very nonchalant. He knew... He had to, But he didn't want to believe what he saw till he knew for sure.
    He cancelled a meeting to get me in sooner. I had the Bronchoscopy at noon. It was awful! I was coughing of course and then began gagging on the scope they had down my throat. I kept telling myself that I can breath even though it felt like I couldn't and just stay calm. The Doctors were really nice and reassuring. I still had no idea.
     While I was in recovery, Dr. Sung shared his suspicions of cancer with, Lewie. He told him that if I wasn't 34 he would say its cancer. Lewis cried and told him "you don't understand. She is the love of my life! We have four kids. She CAN'T have cancer!" The doctor cried with Lewis.
   When Lewis came in to see me I was all smiles, but he was fighting tears. "They're looking into the possibility that it's cancer." He said. I was fairly unfazed. "let's not worry about it until we know for sure."  Looking back now I would not have been so calm if I had been putting the pieces together.
   Unbeknownst to me they had put a rush on my biopsy. They said from here they wanted me to head over to get an ultrasound because there was fluid around my heart and they wanted to be sure it was functioned properly before they send us home. Then we would meet back at the office to discuss the results. I was hoping I wouldn't be hospitalized.
   One of the doctors personally escorted us to the ultrasound. I thought nothing of it but Lewis was wondering why they were being so helpful.
    When we arrived back at the doctors office things were pretty dead. It was well after 5pm now and probably getting close to 6pm.
    When the doctors came in Dr. Sung sat knee to knee with me before he said, " this isn't going to be easy to hear... It's Cancer.".
    I was aware of Lewis crying next to me as he tightly held my hand. I stoically was taking in the information:
Surgery was not an option, my treatment would be chemo.
It was also found in my lymph nodes.
My heart was functioning fine so no worries there.
There would be more tests on Thursday,  a PET scan and brain MRI.
Friday I would meet my oncologist.
Don't google anything!
   They also asked about our support system and faith, saying this helped my odds. He also mentioned the possibility of my cancer being part of a mutation that would then just be treated with a pill. Sounding promising, we would hope for that.
   They reassured us that they were there to help us with anything they could. Was there anything?
   At this point the information stopped coming. I think this is when my tears began. When the word, "Cancer" was mentioned, My immediate thought was, "Struck down, but not destroyed". It kept coming to me as if God himself was near, whispering into my ear. And he was near. As He always has been.
    I told them I would fight hard, and do whatever it took to beat this. I had four little reasons at
home ...
    Diagnoses day was dubbed D-day. But the week wasn't over. There was more to come.