Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Update #76

Monday, I had the incredible privilege of being in the delivery room when Danielle and Ryan welcomed their second little boy, Hudson John, into this world.  
How thankful I am for that great joy. 

Tuesday, I had a liver biopsy that went relatively easily.  Minimal to no lasting discomfort.  No scarring. Almost no impact to my life.  
How thankful I am for that unexpected gift.

Today, was chemo.  It was physically fairly easy (other than the Benadryl drip which made me light-headed, a touch queasy and super tired.)  
How thankful I am for that aspect of today.

And of course, I am thankful for others things from today – from medical technologies, to a great husband, to family and friends who love us well - but, even with that thankfulness in mind, the rest of my time there today was anguishing.    

I cried after the nurse put the line in and came back with all the tubing that I needed for the infusion.
I cried after the pre-meds were administered and she came to hook up the chemo agent (Taxol).
Tears streaming down my face and quiet shudders so to not disturb the other patients in the infusion room.

And then, when it was over and we got into the car, the "crying like a baby" turned into "screaming like a toddler."  
In fact, you could say that I had a full-fledged temper tantrum.
[Aren't you proud of me that I waited to do that until I got into the car? :) ]

You see, despite knowing truths about God's power and His never-leaving presence…despite having experienced His tenderness…despite trusting that death is just a gateway to eternal life…despite all those things…I got mad.  (I almost said frustrated, but in reality, that's a cop-out word. The truth is I got downright angry.)

I got mad that, three weeks out of each month, I will have to do this again and again.
I got mad that the caustic nature of chemo will quickly force me into getting a medi-port.
I got mad that soon I will be balding/bald.
I got mad that I'm dumping all these chemicals into my body, after I've been so careful to put good, whole, clean, non-GMO, organic, foods into it.
I got mad that the alternative treatments that I have been doing for the past few years haven't seemed to make an impact.
I just got mad.

And, boy, did I let God (and, probably, all the cars that drove by and saw a screaming lunatic and her crying husband!) know it.

What do you do when you get mad?

Do you keep it inside and stuff it and pretend everything's fine?
Do you let it out, but direct it at the wrong person or thing?
Or do you let it out and bring it before the only one who can do something about it?

Here's what I know: God doesn't deserve my anger. 
But, even so, He willingly lets me pour out my honest – sometimes mad - heart to Him.

How do I know that He's willing to let us to do that?

Because of Psalm 88. 

Psalm 88 is all about being in a situation you don't understand and don’t like and telling God about it - even going so far to accuse God both of being who He isn't and doing what He doesn't.
[If you're resonating with what I'm saying today take a peek at Psalm 88 in two different translations (;MSG)]

You see, just Psalm 88's INCLUSION in Scripture,  amazes me.

God doesn't deserve to be told things like the Psalmist told God in Psalm 88. 
Yet God includes it in the Bible.
Why would He do that?  Why would He allow those unfair, unfounded, accusatory words to be included in His word?

Because He knows us. He knows that sometimes our roads are so hard that we wrongly see Him in it.  
And because He loves us.  He loves us so much that He doesn't just TOLERATE us pouring out our hurt hearts to Him, he PROVIDES us the words to us (like those Psalm 88). 
And because He knows we don't want to stay mad.  We want to move past it. We want to return to a place of contented trust.  
So He helps us get it OUT so that we can get His truths IN.

That's why I love God.

Because the truth is I had a Psalm 88 kind of morning.
And, in His great mercy and deep love, He has allowed me to pour out screaming feelings so that He can move me past Psalm 88 and into Psalm 100:

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful songs.

Know that the Lord is God.
Is is He who made us, and we are His;
We are His people, the sheep of His pasture.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise;
Give thanks to Him and praise His name.

For the Lord is good and His love endures forever;
His faithfulness continues through all generations.

I don't know what in your life has you angry.
I don't what what you're doing about it.
But let me encourage you that your Heavenly Father longs to bend His ear to hear your honest heart and longs to open His mouth to whisper His soothing truths in your ear.
To restore you.
To set your feet on solid ground.
To return joy to your heart.

May we all hear Him.
And may it matter.

Love to you.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Update #75

Slight change of plans. 

Headed to Roswell tomorrow for a liver biopsy.  My doctor wants to ensure that the properties/bio-markers of my breast cancer haven't changed as they sometimes can do.  I will be escorted by my friend Michelle at 6:30 AM (gold star for her!) and will have the procedure around 9 AM. My hope is that I will be home in time to get my kids off the bus as it's Emilie's last full day of 7th grade.   

As many of you have asked….

I am doing well.  I'm actually doing very well.  God has been showing up in huge, unexpected and comforting ways.  I have been greatly and clearly reminded that He goes before me.  He always has and He always will, no matter how it might appear.   He goes before and He is good.  Those are, quite honestly, two truths that have been stretched and challenged and held together tenuously at best sometimes over the past several weeks.  I will never give you the wrong idea and tell you that it is because I dug deep, and I clawed my way out, and I made a choice of my will, that I was able to come back to a place of quiet rest in His truths.  

That would be so incredibly not true.

The fact is that God, in His great mercy, rescued me from living one more second in a place that bordered on despair, certainly crossed into anger and frustration.  
He hasn't (yet) changed my circumstances – I'm still having a liver biopsy tomorrow, I'm still on the books for starting chemo on Wednesday – but He has set my mind within the safe borders of His truths. 
And that is a good place – no, a great place - to be. 

Super thankful for that.

And….Because my husband ROCKS…he willingly and enthusiastically shared his Father's Day day of rest with me. He put up with a repeat dinner from last night; a practical, but not super thoughtful gift; and a free ice cream cone at a local ice cream shop, rather than a homemade dessert. He graciously put up with all that so I could totally take advantage of the perfectly sunny and warm day today and get some chill time on the hammock.  

Dappled shade, a slight breeze, a good book, and worship music playing in my ears.  
A glimpse of Heaven. 
And I'll take it. 


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Update #74

Heard some pretty hard news at Roswell today.  

Scans show that there is now liver and lung involvement as well as new lesions in different bones.  After an MRI on Friday evening, I will meet with my doctor on Tuesday morning to finalize chemo infusion plans and then I will start chemo Wednesday.   It will most likely be a weekly chemo (on for 3 weeks and off for one).  It will most likely be an agent that causes me to be bald, although the final determination of that won't be made until later after my doctor, who was out sick today,  weighs in on the final plans. 

What makes all that even harder is that my bones are really bothering me.  So I will be starting prescription pain meds tonight (and perhaps during the day, depending on if they interfere with my ability to parent). 


I'm being faced with doing two things I have never wanted to do - Rx pain meds and infusion chemo – and I'm adjusting to that reality.  I do okay until I think of my kiddos and then my eyes just overflow.  

This will be very hard on them. And I can't make it go away.  
I can parent them through this. 
I can point them to the only One who provides a real and lasting hope. 
I can surround them with people who will love them and who will willingly pick up the slack for me.  
But I can't tell them the things that I long to be able to tell them.  

I was flying home the other day and just struggling with the fact that my body was feeling worse and knowing that I was going to get my results back today.  I had moved some songs from my iCloud to my iPhone so I could listen to some music on the flight.  I made a mistake and moved an entire album by Casting Crowns (one that, unbeknownst to me,  Chad had just purchased during his marathon training) and this song came one.  It's called, "Just Be Held"  (  It resonated so deeply with me, especially one line. And that one line has run through my head incessantly since that moment. 

"If your eyes are on are the storm, you wonder if I love you still. 
But if your eyes are on the Cross, you know I always have and I always will."

Oh my goodness, does that resonate. 

When I look at the storm, I wonder why He doesn't stop it for me when He has demonstrated a great ability to stop storms, part waters, restore life, heal broken bodies, bind up bleeding hearts, soothe troubled spirits. When I look at the storm, I do struggle with feelings of being unloved – or not loved enough – by Him.  

But, when I look at Christ and the Message of the Cross, those doubts fade away.  The Message of The Cross is all about a radically loving God who does the unimaginable so that we can be forever reconciled to God.  Who does the unimaginable for one reason only: because He loves us. 

The Storm.
The Cross.

As I've said before, this has been and continues to be a battle of where my eyes rest.
This new chapter I'll be embarking on doesn't change that. 
It's still the same battle.

The battle is not with cancer.
It's never been with cancer. 
Cancer is just the backdrop for the battle.

The real battle is for my eyes.

And, I can guarantee you that any battle you may be facing right now is first and foremost about your eyes too.
Do we keep our eyes on the Storm or do we keep our eyes on the Cross?

So, my friends, I thank you for the words of encouragement you've already sent my way and I thank you, in advance, for being willing to continue to walk out this journey with our family. I know it's tough.   May we all see Christ more clearly as we walk it out and may that infuse us all with a joy, peace and hope that are louder and deeper than the sounds of the storm.  And may you have plenty of Kleenex on hand if you see me and I cry like a baby! 

Love to you