OLD FRIENDS

This past weekend, I had a

SPECIAL TREAT

–I was able to visit with a great blogging friend and her family.

We had only met once before, at a wedding reception.  This time, it was at a Regency ball.  I was leader of the dances and Carpebanana and her family were dancing for the first time.

She is a good friend with a lot of wise thoughts and thoughtfulness.  We were shy with each other–sometimes it’s easier to talk through email than in person–but I was super thrilled, and I’m sure she was too!

 

 

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HAIR IN REVIEW

I am officially done with cancer treatment!  It hasn’t “sunk in” yet, as the next months still contain many many medical tests and appointments (physical therapy, cardiologist, orthopedist, etc. etc.).  But at least driving every day for radiation therapy is finished.

It has been a year.

May 2012

 July 2012

 

July 2012

 

October 2012

 

December 2012

 

December 2012

 

January 2012

 

March 18, 2013

 

TODAY

 

 

RIDING THE COASTER

I just spent 5 unexpected days in the hospital, having gone to the local emergency room with chest pains and shortness of breath.  Because I am a cancer patient, I was transferred by ambulance to Magee Hospital in Pittsburgh, where I got such excellent care, had millions of tests, and was determined to have either pleurisy or pericarditis–or both (inflammation of the lining of the lungs and/or heart).  I am home now, but will have continued issues for a week or so.

I had to stop radiation therapy for while; when I start next week, it will be a little past the deadline for when protocol says I should have radiation therapy.
 
It is very disappointing.  But I continually come back to the understanding that God is a loving God who has a loving plan for each of us, even if we don’t understand it right now.
 
I have a semi-quote stuck to the computer from a radio preacher who was talking about Joshua and Jericho, and how totally unnerving it would be to do a helpless thing like march around the city, blowing trumpets–when they all knew the Jericho folks were powerful and strong and scary, and who knows what they were planning to do to the Israelites?  But the preacher said God’s perspective was totally different:
 
That wall doesn’t mean NOTHIN’ to Him.
He can see right over it.
HE knows what they’re doin’ over there.
_________________________________________________________
Meanwhile, let me try to share a funny story from the hospital.  It might be one of those “you had to be there” to see the humor in it:
 
On the second day, they needed to do a lot of testing on my heart, which required no food or drink–a very silly thing for a sick hospital patient, let me tell you.  So starting at midnight, I did not have anything but pain medications through my IV.  And as hospitals go, my turn at the heart center became later and later….  I asked and received pain medication at the right time, but it wasn’t enough, and as I went through the testing, the pain built and built until I was in a very bad way indeed.
 
When I was returned to my room at 3 PM, I could barely speak, but with tears running down my face, I managed to gasp “Acute…..pain” to my nurse.
 
She was so good.  She whipped out pain meds, hot packs, put me on IV, called the cafeteria for food, and got me all set within minutes.  Oh, the relief!  Oh, the happiness! Of course, it was so strong I literally couldn’t see correctly and hardly knew my name, but who cared?  I had suffered strongly and come out of it.  Nothing could have been worse, but it was over now.
 
My food came.  I was very content.  I began to eat…..and was now going to vomit!!
 
When the nurse came walking by, she expected to see a calmed patient happily eating a meal; instead, she found a wild-eyed woman holding a wash basin gasping for control!  The look on her face was priceless.  Now she whipped out anti-nausea meds and damp washcloths and got everything calmed down again. 
 
This was the place where we both laughed:  just when you think the worst is over, it goes downhill even more.  Apparently there is always room for “worst.”        
 

A FANTASTIC GIFT

Certainly one of the best cards that I have EVER received was one from a girl in our church congregation.

Inside:

She also gave me some chocolates, and knowing that I like pigs, I received an online interactive little animal.

HOW COOL IS THAT?!

(I do not have a picture of the chocolates.)

 

UPDATE ON MY CANCER

I am doing well and thank y’all for your constant encouragement—tons and tons of it, it’s fantastic! 

I am entering the 3rd chemo time now, so I pretty much know what to expect.  I was bee-bouncing around the house the morning before I left for the chemo, with quite a bit of energy, and returned home sleepy and slow.  Now the 2 weeks of what the nurse called “feeling punk” will begin—and then I can’t wait for that 3rd week when energy starts to pick up!

This go-round, the promise of energy means a lot, as my husband & I are going on a vacation we’ve been planning for year.  I’d appreciate your prayers for me, that I can still enjoy it even if I’m slow in getting around.

Another prayer request would have to do with all the needles.  If anything can go wrong with needles and me, it will.  They have surgically implanted a “port” under the skin in my chest “to make everything easier”, but there were snags getting it in, and unpleasantness on Friday, trying to use it for the first time. 

Yuk! 

I was angry, citing Murphy’s law to myself, my mind stomping around saying, “Oh yes, of course it has to go wrong with ME!” Later I felt contrite, because I had so quickly forgotten my mantra from the book Jesus Calling:

You are on the path of my choosing; there is no randomness in your life.

I think this will be the main thing for me to learn and grow with during this process. I’m the kind of person who gets mad when I carefully hang up the dish towel and it promptly falls to the floor—GRRR!

But wait:  even then, it’s

There is no randomness in your life.

It’s something I need to practice with every day in order to be prepared for the big stuff. 

Recently I was stricken when someone told me she wouldn’t be a good example if she were diagnosed with cancer.  She would be really angry with God.  She was worried about it, this fear that she would misbehave and be ungrateful.

I do not think so, so very much.  I know that so many of you, my friends, DO have a strong understanding of God’s providence, surety, and care for us, deep down as a good solid base right under your feet.  Take comfort in that, and continue to practice the daily humble submitting to the non-randomness in your life right now.

1 Peter 5:6-7:

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

 

THE GIFT MY SON GAVE ME

In an email I sent my friends about dealing with breast cancer, I said that it seems to me it would helpful to think good and healing thoughts–but how can you do that about chemo?  We all think of chemo as

The Bad Thing, The Enemy, “it does all but kill you.”  

I had just seen the Avengers movie with all the superheroes, so here’s what I’ve decided to do:  I’m thinking of the chemo as

The Incredible Hulk

 

Dr. Bannerman (the man) is really a nice guy, and the Hulk is a great fighter.  If you need some help in fighting of enemies, he is someone you want to have on your side.  It’s just that he goes a little overboard and kills off some of the good guys in the process, poor thing.

But you know, they always win at the end.

My younger son is a quiet person who doesn’t say much, but often expresses strong and dear thoughts in powerful ways.  He was gone over my birthday, and left a small wrapped package for me to open on The Day.  I was so moved by what was inside.

 

And here’s what the package says:  

Though the Hulk is only barely in control of the vast power that boils within his massive body, he is usually able to direct it against the proper target.  His rage–and his strength–know no bounds.  So beware all those who stand against the Avengers:  When you face the Hulk, you face fury incarnate.

PERFECT.  Can you imagine my son taking the time and thought to encourage me in this way?  He is a special gem.

 

THERE’S A LOT OF FREEDOM IN THAT

For at least 40 years, I’ve used a headband when I wash my face.  That’s to keep my hair out of the way.  It’s a habit so long established, it’s difficult to think any other way.

It gives me a lot of laughs now, when I find myself putting a headband on.

 

 Life has gotten easier in some aspects!