Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008: Weakness Brings Strength

I was reading this morning 2 Corinthians 12:10. Paul says “when I am weak, then I am strong.” How true is that?! Why do we always seem to wait until we are weak and broken to rely on God for strength? Maybe that is an internal mechanism He built within us so when He sees us straying he can get us back. Sort of like an invisible fence. We can’t see the boundary but we know it’s there. We know we shouldn’t cross it - but we do. We know we shouldn’t stray - but we do. Then…ZAP. Jesus says “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” How awesome is our God?!

So a quick update on Kristi’s new chemo. Other than an occasional bout with nausea and hot flashes, so far not too bad. Of course she would rather not have to deal with it, but it is what it is. God keeps her spirits high and we seem to keep a very busy schedule – so that helps us keep a sense of normalcy.

We would like to thank everyone for all the kind words of encouragement. This has been an extremely challenging time but we realize that we are being made stronger by this temporary time of weakness. Thank you all and God bless!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008: Kristi Needs Therapy

Well, is your cup half full or half empty? That will decide how you view this news:

Dr. Downey feels Kristi's cancer is back - but only at the microscopic level. He didn't find any masses today, but her CA125 level continues to rise so he was inclined to start Kristi on hormonal chemotherapy. We agreed. We feel it's better than just doing nothing. Much of the anticipation each month is the unknown - not knowing whether her cancer is back or not. If we just accept that it is, then we can focus on doing something about it. If we do nothing, the risk is that it will spike up in a very short time (much like it started). If it did that, then we'd be looking at a much more aggressive type of chemotherapy. I'm not defending our decision (I don't need to do that) - I'm just walking you through our rationale. So, we're going to try this for 2 months and meet with him again in January. The drug she will take every day is called Tamoxifen. It is in pill form. The side effects should be quite minimal.

Kristi will continue with her monthly CA125 blood checks so we will continue to monitor her CA125 level. Although he told us not to expect a drop after the first month, the hope is that this new chemotherapy kills the cancer cells or at least stops the growth of the cancer. We actually were quite relieved walking out of Dr. Downey's office. We definitely saw this as good news. The thought of doing nothing and just waiting didn't sit well with either of us. This way we can get through the holidays and Kristi will be able to actually enjoy Christmas this year!!

Thanks again for all the prayers.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008: It's Just A Number

I keep telling myself . . . it's just a number. I just wish that number would stop going up. It has gone up to 80 now (from 67). I have an appointment on Monday afternoon at 1:15 for a physical. If my doctor finds anything suspicious (lumps or spots) then I will need to begin chemo. If he doesn't find anything then we continue to monitor the level and probably run more tests. The rise in the CA125 alone is not enough to start treatment.

For now, we wait. Easier said than done. On a positive note, I feel fine and my last scan was clear. My doctor even said to me last night "don't let the number bring you down". It is so amazing how one phone call can change your plans so drastically.

The kids are handling the news pretty well. We have told them all along that the cancer could possibly return. They know that I am going to need more tests and we are being extra cautious. We are also emphasizing that God is bigger than all of this. And quite often they are the ones reminding us of that.

My parents are in Texas right now until next week Thursday. I had to give the news to my mom by phone yesterday and she handled it pretty well and promised me that she would enjoy her trip and not worry about me (I'm pretty sure she had her fingers crossed though). Please pray that they would be able to have peace and enjoy this time away.

I am feeling a bit numb. It's so hard to even imagine the possibility of returning to chemo. I try to look at the positive side though. We know that my cancer is not resistant to the first line of treatment (the first chemo I had). I am still young (okay, fairly young), I am healthy (with the exception of this stupid cancer thing) and I have walked this road before. If I would have to start chemo at least I won't have to deal with the colostomy! Or have to deal with recovering from major surgery. My port is still in so I wouldn't need surgery for that. I've had my head shaved once before and have had many people tell me that I pull off the scarf look well. There is always a silver lining in every cloud.

I just wish we didn't have to be so broken for God's light to shine so brightly. I feel like I am sliding right back into the deeper relationship with Him already. It's such a wonderful place to be. I would ask for prayers that this weekend we can forget about the cancer and just have fun together. Also that there is nothing suspicious found at my appointment on Monday.

May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you. Psalm 33:22

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008: A Tough Week

It’s hard to believe a month has already passed since Kristi’s last blood work. Time flies so quickly. These are tough weeks for our family. As much as we try not to think and worry about it, we do. Kristi is really quite tired of the routine. She was quite down at times this weekend and yesterday. Please hold Kristi up in prayer.

Also, Ashley told us last night that she is “scared the cancer is coming back”. It’s amazing how much she has grown up the past 2 years. She really understands so much more now than she did when Kristi was first diagnosed. She finally opened up over the weekend and told us something she never told us before. She told us that last summer she was “angry at God for giving you cancer”. This is a big step for Ashley to open up and talk to us – she has never done that before. We tried and tried last summer to get her to talk but she wouldn’t. Out of this entire ordeal, the toughest part to handle is the effect on the kids. Something like cancer or ALS can be a defining moment for a child’s walk with our Father. Please pray for Ashley, Nathan, Emily, Zach and Maddie as they are being forced to face difficulties that children shouldn’t have to. These next couple of years will probably have the biggest impact in their walk with God. Please pray that they understand that God is in control always and that He will lift us up and support us. It must be so hard for children to understand that.

Please pray that the recent trend in Kristi’s CA125 level stops going up. It is entirely possible for it to start to recede. We’re praying that the recent upward trend is only her body still reacting to everything it’s been through the past 2 years. But whatever the result, we know that God is in control. I read the following in my morning devotion: “The advice of Ecclesiastes may seem trite till we remember that true joy and goodness are rooted in a relationship with God. The Lord sustains us through all the contrasting events of a life that runs from birth to death.” How true that is!

Thank you!!