Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009: Update

Just wanted to give a quick update before crashing into bed. Kristi is doing quite well physically. The rash on her face has gotten worse again and it's starting to burn. We're also passing around cold germs in the house so that is making everyone tired and crabby. Kristi is sliding down a little bit on the emotional side. She could use some prayers. She is starting to feel quite overwhelmed with everything going on.

That's all for tonight. We'll try to update the blog this weekend.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Monday, January 19, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009: Chemo Yucks!

Another round behind us - yea! This morning I was quite anxious on the way to the clinic. I was really hungry though so we went through a McDonald drive thru and I got an egg mcmuffin and cinnamon roll (yes, I know, not a great choice). It tasted good but shortly after I started feeling really nauseous. By the time we got to the clinic and about to sign in I lost my breakfast. I felt better after that and they gave me some fluids through my iv to help rehydrate me. My blood counts were good (no CA125 today) so on we went with chemo. Once the Benadryl kicked in I was done for . . . . zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

We were home by 1:30 and I went to bed and slept until 5:30. It brought back some bad memories of chemo days past where I was down for the count. I'm still in a bit of a fog but hope to be back to normal by tomorrow. I think they will be giving me Benadryl in a pill form soon (rather than iv) which won't knock me out as bad. They just wanted to make sure I didn't have any reactions to the chemo before they switched.

Brian took some pictures of the new clinic . . . . .

hanging out in my "pod"

one of the waiting areas

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009: A Quiet Snowy Day

If you live in Michigan I hope you like snow! I took some pictures for our warm weather friends to enjoy. This is what you're missing!! We had a nice quiet weekend. The kids are really loving all the snow. Tomorrow we go in for another dose of chemo. Please pray that this dose goes as well as the first. Kristi is still doing quite amazing. Other than a little fatigue there have been no side effects.

Here's Ashley doing a flip...

And Nathan jumping off the "mountain"...

and of course trying out their new snow boards...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009: Feeling Great!

Just a quick update to let everyone know I am feeling great. In fact, I have had more energy the past two days than I have had in a long time! Yesterday I thought it was from the steroid high that I was on (I receive steroids as a premed before chemo). So today I was expecting the crash and was pleasantly surprised to wake up feeling good. I have no side effects from the treatment and am feeling great!

Also, I received the results back from the blood work they took concerning the rash on my face and it is not related to the cancer - yea! I've been continuing to use olive oil and it is almost gone now. I don't even need to meet with a dermatologist if it continues to fade.

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. Ephesians 3:20-21 (taken from The Message)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009: Chemo Day

What a fast day! The visit with Dr. Downey went good. I had a physical (which I will have every 3 weeks again) and no "lumps or bumps" were found. I don't enjoy the physical part but love to hear the "all clear". Brian asked him if this treatment was to "maintain" or to "cure" the cancer and he said to get rid of the cancer! Once ovarian cancer returns most statistics say that you can't get rid of it again and you just treat it. We know better :)

I am on two types of chemo now. Every 3 weeks I will get Avastin and every 2 out of 3 weeks I get a low dose of Taxol in addition to the Avastin. Today I had both . . . next Monday I get Taxol (January 19). . . the next Monday I get off (January 26)! They will test my CA125 level every three weeks now. It was tested today and has gone up to 217 which did not concern my nurse (I was quite surprised - it has been less than two weeks since the last time it was checked when it was 172). She said hopefully we will see a decrease in three weeks when they test it again but not to be too disappointed if we don't see it drop quite that soon.

I will be going to the Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion in Grand Rapids for my treatments. What a huge place! It is still quite new and is beautiful. There are windows everywhere, waterfalls going from one floor to the next and everything is state of the art. It was quite overwhelming. I sit in what they call a "pod". There are short divider walls and I have my own little space with a recliner, chair for Brian (not the most comfortable!) and we have our own tv. Talk about spoiled! We brought the laptop too and they have wifi available. I receive Benadryl as one of my premeds so I was sleeping quite a bit of the time. It brought back memories - bittersweet memories.

My port still works fine and they ran a ton of blood tests (six vials!). I am low in a few areas but for the most part I am good. They are running some blood tests to try and figure out what the rash on my face is from. There is a possibility that it is related to the cancer. I will be going to a dermatologist as well. On a positive note, the rash is much, much better tonight!

I had a friend pray with me on Sunday specifically for this rash. She commanded it to go by the power of Jesus name. She also felt God was telling her that I should put olive oil on it which I did last night and this morning. This morning it looked better and tonight it is close to resolving! The friend that prayed for me is the same friend that invited me to the couple with the healing ministry. She is feeling called to start a healing ministry as well but has many doubts and Satan is attacking her every chance he gets. I would love it if you would keep her in your prayers. Her name is Jen and she is one of the sweetest people I have ever met. I have to admit I am skeptical but everything she has done for me and with me is biblically based and everything she is doing is because God is calling her to and equipping her to. And it is not just a coincidence that my rash is almost gone.

Physically I am pretty tired right now because of the Benadryl. I also have a stomach ache but other than that I am okay. I was pretty nervous this morning on the way to the appointment. If I let myself think ahead to week after week of this it's overwhelming. So, I'm doing my best to not look past today. Today was a good day. I got to spend most of the day with Brian (as far as husbands go, they don't come any better than him!), my kids were safe at school, Emily was able to have grandma take her and pick her up from preschool and then have her to herself all afternoon (thanks mom!). Also, friends brought us supper (thank you Jack & Ginger - yummm!). I'm already receiving phone calls from people asking how they can help and e-mails from complete strangers that God led to our blog saying that they prayed for us. Our family, friends, church, school and community is simply amazing. Thank you for taking such great care of our family!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday, January 11, 2009: Nothing Much

Nothing new to report really. I just wanted to let everyone know that we are doing well and ready for tomorrow morning. I can't say I'm looking forward to it but I'm not dreading it either. I'm anxious to hear what my doctor has to say about what to expect with this chemo and also to check out the new chemo clinic. It will be nice to get "round 1" behind us so we have a better idea of what to expect. We'll update tomorrow to let everyone know how it went. Thank you for your prayers!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Friday, January 9, 2009: My Morning Invitation

This morning I was woke up by a barking dog. I was very frustrated because I still had an hour to sleep before my alarm would go off. The barking didn't stop and I was wide awake. I had a thought that I should just get up and start my day. I could even at that point hear God telling me to get up and spend time with Him. Unfortunately I am a horrible morning person and groaned at the thought of getting out of a warm bed. While mentally trying to will myself out of bed I managed to fall back to sleep.

Minutes later a car alarm went off. I was rather grumpy then and yet at the same time could hear God asking me to get up. I laid there a bit longer and rationalized that if God really wanted me to get up He would send me another sign. Well, the first thing that jumped into my head after that was "Do not put the Lord your God to the test." (Matthew 4:7). My next complaint was "but I'm so tired" which was directly followed by "the spirit is willing, but the body is weak." (Matthew 26:41).

I wish I could say that I knew exactly where these verses were in the bible but I can't. I did some research on the Bible Gateway website. I also wish I could say that I got out of bed but I didn't. I'm sure if I had gotten up I would have had a wonderful visit with God. He took the time to personally invite me to be with Him this morning and I was too tired to listen.

An hour later I was woke up by the annoying beeping of my alarm. And I was still tired. That extra hour of sleep didn't help me feel more rested and in fact, I think I was more tired! I have such a hard time getting out of bed that I have my alarm clock across the room or I will snooze it endlessly. I have even gotten out of bed, hit snooze, and ran back under the covers. Brian has said it is rather comical to watch me do this.

I clicked on the translation from The Message for the verse I mentioned earlier about the body being weak and it said "There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God. But there's another part that's as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire." That sure says it like it is! And sadly, that describes me.

So, I'll end with asking for prayers that the lazy old dog in me will wake up and be ready for anything!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sunday, January 4, 2009: Let Your Will Be Done

“Let your will be done.” That’s a difficult paradigm shift to make in your prayer life. This revelation came from a recent devotion of mine (the topic was about spiritual maturity):

“I think, though, that Mary’s statement marks a kind of maturity. Yes, Mary was probably very young, but for her to say, “Not my will but yours be done” (see Luke 22:42), reveals that God had already moved her beyond the selfish desire to have things her way.”

Another example comes from Jesus’ final hours. He says to Peter “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” He then goes and prays three times. There is a shift in his prayer style from the first time he prays to the second and third times. The 2nd and 3rd time he prays you can see a shift to a more “let your will be done” attitude.

Think about that in terms of a loved one. Someone very close to you. Let’s say hypothetically your spouse or your child...or you! Are you able to pray “let your will be done” even if it means death?! And in Jesus’ case a horribly painful death. You make a giant step towards spiritual maturity when you are able to pray this way and sincerely mean it. Over the past two years Kristi and I have really been challenged to pray this way. We have come a long way. I have to admit, Kristi beat me to it…not that it was a race. You reach spiritual maturity when God prepares your heart for it. Some of our hearts are just a little harder than others. :) I believe she’s been praying that way since the beginning. I’m much more selfish than her. I started out begging God to heal her…and I still do. But through maturity I have learned to hand it over to God. If it’s His will, He will cure her of this cancer. But…if it’s His will for the other, I have come to accept that outcome as well. I must really be a selfish person if I’m asking God to keep Kristi here on this sick, disease infested, violent, corrupted, sin-filled planet for another 40 years just to keep me company. “Please God, keep Kristi from entering your kingdom where there is no suffering, no tears, no cancer, no sadness, no pain, so that she can keep me company down here”. That sounds cynical, but how true!

Both Kristi and I have been up and down a lot lately. Today was a good day. The past 2 days not so good. For me, it was an innocent comment from Ashley as we were watching Little House On The Prairie that sent me down a slippery slope. A few weeks ago it was a note Nathan wrote in class. When all the kids were writing down what they wanted for Christmas, Nathan wrote “I want my mommy’s cancer to be gone”. I imagine all the other kids were asking for a Wii or a dog or whatever the latest toy is. It doesn’t seem fair that an 8 year old should have to deal with this. But that’s when our prayer warriors step in and help us out…and we thank you for that!! Thanks for covering our family with prayer!!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Saturday, January 3, 2009: One Day At A Time

Thank you to my anonymous commenter for reminding me to take it one day at a time. I had forgotten that. I remember that so well from the past. As soon as I started thinking about all the surgeries and chemo treatments I had coming up I started becoming very overwhelmed. When I stopped looking beyond today it helped so much. Not only does it help, but it's what God tells us to do . . .

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34

Physically I'm still feeling tired and blah. There are so many flu bugs going around that I'm sure I picked something up. The symptoms though were very similar to what I had just prior to being diagnosed two years ago. Naturally my mind started to take over and already had me convinced that the cancer was back and bad.

You know that gross commercial for infected toenails where this really disgusting monster like thing is having a party under your toenail? That is how I picture my cancer - this disgusting creature wreaking havoc in my stomach. Well, like in that commercial how the medication squishes and demolishes that monster, my chemo will do the same with the cancer. And your prayers once again will get us through this.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Friday, January 2, 2009: Bring On The Kleenex

Who was that person filled with so much peace just 10 hours ago? I don't know where she went but I want her back. Early this afternoon I started having sharp stomach pains and seem to have some sort of stomach bug. I've been tired, cold, hot, nauseous and in pain most of the afternoon and evening. I'm starting to feel better physically but emotionally I'm a wreck. Why me? Why us? I haven't used this word in a while, but this just sucks. Cancer sucks.

Brian is still tired too. He runs, he eats healthy and he's still tired. Why? He has to work, take care of me and the kids and so, so, so much more. Why can't he have energy? As you can see I'm in the whiny mode. We had friends take all of our children tonight for a sleepover. A date night and I get sick. Why?

Okay, enough complaining. I know joy will come in the morning but these nights of weeping are so tiring. This journey is so tiring. It's exhausting just thinking about the weekly chemo treatments I have to look forward to and when my mind starts wandering about the statistics, well, I'm trying desperately to not even go there.

So, prayer warriors, please lift our arms up for us now because we don't have the strength to do it alone.

Friday, January 2, 2009: A New Journey Begins

I'll start with the question everyone is wondering . . . my CA125 went from 139 to 172. This being said, I am completely at peace. I don't question why God sent me last week for the prayers of healing. He did heal me then and continues to heal me now. The vision one person had during my meeting last week was a blood transfusion from Jesus to me. A continuous blood transfusion - His blood is always replacing my bad with His good. It's a continuous process.

I also feel confident that I need to go through some more chemo. I will start this new round on the 12th. It sounds like it is a fairly tolerable chemo. I don't know why I have to endure this but I do know that God will use it for His glory.

I just finished reading the book The Shack. I know there is quite a bit of controversy about this book. For me, it was so enlightening. I didn't take it as gospel . . . it's a fictional book but it helped me to think beyond my limited imagination. I have such a peace right now and feel closer to God than ever. I'm not saying you need to go out and read the book because I'm sure it isn't for everyone. For me it was a perfectly timed book for what I am going through.

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Thursday, January 1, 2009: Happy New Year

Wow, I can't believe we have begun a new year. In just 22 days it will be our two year anniversary of my diagnosis. Some days time just seems to crawl and yet when I look back it is just flying by.

I have been meaning to update since Monday and I have been struggling with what to say. I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around what happened on Monday. If I typed out all the God moment events that led up to this meeting it would fill pages and pages so I will just say God made it clear that although this was something completely out of my comfort zone, it was something He wanted me to do.

I had four people praying over me with such conviction. They read scripture and prayed over me demanding this cancer leave my body and that any remaining traces of cancer be burned up by God's holy fire. I have to admit my mind was filled with doubt at first. Even now I am overwhelmed with it all. My mind keeps thinking over and over "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24) I believe that God can do this but I have trouble understanding why He would choose me.

I went in yesterday to have my CA125 checked once more before I begin chemo. Can you imagine if I finally hit that magical number 35?? I will be singing it from the roof tops! For those of you that know me, you know that I prefer to be behind the scenes . . . way behind the scenes! If God has chosen to heal me through these humble servants of His that prayed for me then I will have no choice but to be front and center!

My earthly mind is having such a hard time grasping the possibility and then I think "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isiah 55:9) My simple mind is not able to grasp such a possibility.

Because today is a holiday I won't have the CA125 results until tomorrow. So now, we wait. I am surprisingly not anxious about this. At the beginning of this journey with cancer I said "put your glasses on because God is going to shine bright through me". In addition to that I'm thinking we need to hang on tight cuz God is up to something big!