Family picture taken 1 week after diagnoses

Family picture taken 1 week after diagnoses

Monday, May 11, 2015

Bedtime prayers

     Post chemo I'm always a bit teary.  Today I was "touched" quite a bit. This morning I introduced my kids to the hymn, "Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus", We weren't even
through the first verse and Alton had his head down in tears. "Alton, what's wrong?" I asked. "This song reminds me of your cancer" he wailed. We plodded through the song but I almost joined Alton when we hit the last line of the last verse, "...And I know that Thou art with me, wilt be with me to the end." I confessed to Alton that the song reminds me of my cancer too, and especiallly that I can trust Jesus through it. I hope they learn the sweetness of trusting Jesus through suffering. I think they are. I think we are learning it together.
     Carter then asked me if I ever cry about having cancer. He was surprised when I told him I do quite a bit. I was surprised he didn't know that. Alton and I have had several cry fests together. Those sweet little loves completely undo me.
     Tonight was the first night in awhile that I felt well enough, and not to tired, to tuck them in and say prayers with them. Alton, sweet little love, "I love you, mommy. I wish you didn't have cancer. We are praying a lot." I don't deserve these little loves, but I'm so blessed they call ME mommy. His prayer was precious. Of course he prayed for my cancer to go away "and never come back, so that mommy can be on this earth with us for a very long time." He included his two other "regulars" and lovingly prayed that they wouldn't have pain, and for comfort.
     Carter was next. I was a puddle by the end of his prayer. He prayers every angle, for the cancer to go away, never come back, but if it does come back, not for a long time, and if you don't take the cancer away, help Mama to live for a long long time, so she can be with us. He prayed for others he knew were struggling with pain or suffering and then for anyone suffering that he's not aware of to pray for, he then prays. Then he moves on to the kids who don't have a mom or dad, or home, or food, or toys, that God would take care of them.
     This completely touched my heart. The prayer of this little boy for others, hurting others, hurting others that he knew and didn't know. I love his heart. I wonder how God is going to use him. How
will he mold that love for the hurting. Ah, bedtime prayers.... I love them! So yes, it's a predictable
teary time, but today was a doozy. I blame those little loves that call me Mom.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Scan week

There is so much that should be said that I too often neglect to say. Going back to my last scan is a good starting off point for this post. It was the first scan that there was not the "struggle" for peace. It seemed just there. I was calm and reading my book while my precious husband sat jiggling his leg up and down.  We both knew that these appointments can be game changers. I kept schooling myself that a bad scan is just a change in course not necessarily bad news. Just a change. Just a change. I was resting in that. And I was comforted by that.
    The nurse came in with little info. But when Dr. Neal came in he was giddy with excitement. And announced that he had good news. Lewis immediely thought, " it's gone!" I was reveling in, "it's not bad news".
     He went on to explain that there seemed to be some minimal shrinking in the main tumor in the lung. Very minimal, but the BRIAN! THE BRAIN! This was the exciting part. Only two of the brain metastases were visible. Only TWO visible. The others seem to gone. That's not supposed to happen. But it did. Looks like full brain radiation is pushed back a little deeper into the future and I'm still praying NEVER. But praise God, I got more than good news. I got a miracle. And my doctor knows it too. Yes, I still have cancer, but all these small victories are answers to my "more time" plea to my Lord.
     I love these lines of JJ Hellers song, "I don't know what you're doing... But I know who YOU are." It always makes me teary. It's truth. I wonder what on earth is going on, everything seems so messed up. But that's when I focus on who HE is. He is the controller, holder, healer, helper, promise keeper, grace giver, and so much more. He is peace. He is the reason I was not afraid of even bad news. Because although I don't always understand what He's doing, I understand who He is and that He
loves me and that He will not stop caring for me.
     There was a lot of prayer wrapped up in that peace. My own and I don't even know how many others. But I know they were praying for peace specifically. And God gave it very specifically. Isn't it amazing that the Lord always does exactly what he says he will do?
      Earlier that day I joined the Lung Cancer Support Group at the urging of my Dr. I rolled my eyes at the thought but when I thought about it some more I had the feeling that it was something I should attend. Maybe I didn't need the group but someone there needed to hear my story. So I went and my sweet husband who wanted to go even less than I did came with. That precious man is always by my side.
     I met some great people and was peppered with questions. Finally this, "so you've been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, and you have a young family, but you have a positive attitude, how do you maintain that positive attitude amongst all that?" Well, here we go. I told the group that though my diagnoses rocked my world, it was because of my relationship with Jesus Christ, that my attitude is able to be positive.  I explained the peace He gives me, a peace that I am held, a peace that I have even with tears streaming down my face and my heart breaking into pieces. I told them that I know his heart is breaking too along with mine. But He also is calm because He knows the outcome and He has a plan. I told them I draw great comfort in the promise and anticipation of heaven and that one day, He will set all things right. I may have said more, I can't remember now. But I was surprised by a
few heads nodding in agreement with me. I wondered their stories and look forward to getting to know these people more. Afterwards, I talked to several of them for quite awhile and told the social worker that I would come back when my appointment aligned with group days. And I'm actually looking forward to that. May 6 is the next one I should be able to attend, Lord willing.
     I am praying that God will use me to point other hurting hearts to Him. He is the only comfort and so worthy of our trust.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

"Be anxious for nothing, but... let your requests be made known to God."

   The topic of "fear" has come up a lot recently; in conversations, in my favorite daily devotion writers, as my kids contemplate which Disneyland rides they like, with old and young.  It's something we all deal with at varying degrees.
    My son, the worrier, will tell me about an ache or pain and ask, "is there such a thing as side cancer? Because my side really hurts." Or foot cancer, or tooth cancer... I'm seeing a trend as to where his mind is spent. Fretting over things he has no control over.  
    I hate that this is such a reality for him. My diagnoses and losing our TJ, has made this very real for him. It seems there is constantly a new person added to our prayer list because of the "C word". I hate this, and I'm grateful for this. Not for the fear but the opportunity it brings to learn, lean, teach, and model.  It gives me the chance to point him back to Christ when fears arise. It also reminds me that how I deal with my fear points him. Where am I pointing? 
   Greg Laurie talked about how we have normal and conditioned reflexes to fear and worry in his daily devotion this week. A conditioned reflex is something you learn or teach yourself to do through repetition until it comes naturally. When fears arise, does it produce worry or send me to the feet of Jesus in prayer? I loved the thought of making this a conditioned reflex in my life. That my natural reaction to fear becomes prayer. I long for my kids to learn this practice at a young age. It reminds of the song, "what a friend we have in Jesus". "...oh what peace we often forfeit. Oh what needless pain we bear. All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer." 
     I can carry the burden of my fear, or I can take it to God and experience the peace that He holds me even when my fears become a reality. I want to choose that! Every time. 
    I've been given a stark reminder that we have no idea how much time we have on earth. With that in mind, may it change my walk, and the way I love my Lord, my husband, and love my children. My time with them is short. Maybe shorter than I had planned. Maybe not, but thank you, God, for the reminder.