Thursday, August 27, 2009

Round 3

Round 3 of chemotherapy was completed on August 10th. That means I am halfway through!

This cycle began with a visit with the oncologist. Dave dropped Jenn and I off at the cancer center as he had a meeting at another hospital. He assumed he would be back in time for the actual chemo treatment. Jenn and I waited for Dr. Coffman to come into the room for awhile. When he finally made it in, he performed his exam, asking questions about how I reacted to the last treatment and assuring himself that my side affects weren't extreme. He listened to my heart and belly sounds and was satisfied that I was healthy enough to take on the next round of chemo. When we left the examination room, the nurse told me to pick a chair and they would be with me soon.

After waiting about an hour, a nurse that was not mine that day, took my blood pressure and temperature and accessed my port for blood. Normally, this part is no big deal. That day I felt the full wrath of the port needle as it pierced my skin. I had applied the Lydocaine to my port right before leaving the house, as always, however the Lydocaine had been on for over 2 hours since leaving the house and had lost it's potency. Ouch! Once that nurse had finished, Jenn and I waited for about another half an hour before my nurse, Rhonda, finally came to begin administering my pre-meds. I had texted Dave and told him not to rush as I had not even started my pre-meds yet, but he arrived shortly after she began administering them. Once my nurse hung the first drug of Taxotere, I told Dave and Jenn to go get some lunch as that would take about an hour to infuse. I didn't want them sitting there watching me while their bellies were growling. Thankfully they complied and left to grab some Thai food just down the road.

By the time Dave and Jenn came back from lunch the second batch of meds had just begun being administered. Dave took several phone calls that day and spent almost the entire time outside on the phone. Jenn brought a book and read. Other than our rocky beginning, the rest was uneventful.

Each cycle has been different for me and this one was no exception. I had the normal queasiness (the drugs they give me to take at home work really well against this nasty side affect), however nothing else about this cycle was normal! But this is a good thing!! I never once lost my energy during this cycle!! I kept waiting for the ball to drop, so to speak, but it never did. I praise God for answering prayer. The last cycle was horrible to my energy level to the point where it was hard to get out of bed. I laid around most days not even having mental energy to want to do anything. I know many of you prayed for me and God was generous in His mercy! Thank you for your prayers.

My next treatment is August 31st then after that one I only have 2 more left!! Thank you all for your prayers, encouraging words, texts, phone calls and cards. You have given me the encouragement to keep on keeping on!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Caution! Serious Pondering Ahead.

With my next chemo cycle quickly approaching, I have been thinking about how God answers prayers. Some prayers have been answered just as we have asked them to be, as in the evidence of the lack of nasty side affects for me, especially during this past cycle. Other prayers are being answered but not in the way we hope for. It's during these times I question my trust in God. I have friends that are faced with job loss, I have family and friends in the midst of serious illnesses some of which are curable, some are not. I have asked God, "How can this bring glory to you?" I don't have the answer but I realize this is where I have to trust God to do what is best. I have to keep in mind that God sees the big picture, where I am selfish and only want what is best for me and mine.

I have read about martyrs in the past and present who have been willing to sacrifice their own personal safety and lives in order to carry out the "big picture" for God. I admire them... from afar. I've never been in a position of being threatened with my life or being beaten and demanded to deny my faith in God or to stop telling others about God. These people have great faith that God has placed them in that exact position for a purpose. I have wondered if I were in that position, would I crumble and do what my captors were demanding of me? Could I trust God that He had placed me in that position to do His will and would I be brave enough to carry it out regardless of the known outcome?

I ask God "Why isn't that person being healed?" or "Why is this other person being put through a job loss and financial hardships?" These people believe in God. In my selfish world, God makes us comfortable, He heals us, makes sure we have enough money...right? Instead of wondering why God isn't doing "good things" for us, I should be wondering what it is I can do for God. Is there a reason why I have to go through breast cancer, or a reason my friend may loose their job, or someone else their life? Are we making the most of the hardships God is allowing by sacrificing our desires to be healed or be financially stable in order to be a part of the bigger picture? It's hard to think that way especially when we don't understand how our circumstances could possibly help God's plan? Are we willing to sacrifice our life for God? If we're honest, most of us would say "No!" It's uncomfortable to think about, yet think about it I do.

I must admit, I've gotten angry at God for not answering my prayers the way I want them answered. I do not understand why He allows certain things to happen. After I've thrown my temper tantrum, God always restores peace to me. Not answers, but peace in the fact that He does love us and like any good parent, only gives us what we can handle. I am always left with the reality that it's not about me (I know it's hard to believe, but it's true), but it's about God and reaching those who have not yet seen the need for a relationship with Him. Reaching those who have not come to the realization that we fail miserably as humans yet God loves us anyway and wants us to have purpose on earth, and to live out eternity in the greatest love that we have yet to experience.

There is a song that I sing that contain the words below;

Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me.

Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.

I want to be filled and used by God, but I have to learn to trust God during the melting and molding stage that what He is doing, as painful as it may be, is for the best. How can we become willing vessels to be used by God if we aren't willing to be shaped into the vessel He needs us to be? Is someone watching me as I go through this hardship and if they are, are they seeing God, or seeing me whine and complain? Am I able to set aside my selfish desires long enough to be used to show God's love to someone else?

God speaks to us in the bible to trust Him:

2 Samuel 7:28 O Sovereign Lord, you are God! Your words are trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant.

Ps 4:5 Offer right sacrifices and trust in the Lord.

Ps 9:10 Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

PS 28:7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped...

Ps 37:5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this:

Ps 56:3 When I am afraid, I will trust in you.

There are many, many more scriptures that speak about trusting God, but for tonight, Psalm 84:12 speaks volumes " O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you."

Oh Lord, I want to be that woman who is blessed for trusting you. Forgive me for making it about me. Forgive me for not trusting that You have all the answers and that you will reveal them to me only when I can handle it. Forgive me for thinking that my life should be perfect when there are so many lives in this world that are not. Father make me the vessel You need me to be, then fill me and use me as You see fit. Help me to not complain during the melting and molding process. Use me Father to reach someone else who needs to see You as a loving God and come into a personal relationship with you. Amen