Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009: Yuck

I'm not sure if I have a flu bug or a late reaction to the chemo. Whatever it is, it stinks. I'm freezing one minute and having hot flashes the next, my head is pounding and my muscles are aching. My stomach has been doing gymnastics all day. I'll spare you all the gross details :)

I was supposed to go on a field trip with Emily's preschool class to Family Fare today. She was such a big girl when I told her I couldn't go. She said "I'm sorry you are sick mommy, I hope you feel better soon" and gave me a big hug. My baby is growing up so fast!

I managed to get her to preschool and thanks to family and friends, I didn't have to leave the house after that. I made myself eat a few things so that I could get some energy back. Thankfully Brian likes to have a bowl of cereal for supper (or so he says) so that's what we did tonight. Of course this was after his typical "what's for dinner woman!" comment. Such a funny guy :) He did get all the kids in bed tonight - what a treat! I'm heading to bed now and hoping to wake up feeling much, much better.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009: Sharing My Testimony

This morning Brian and I went to Grand Haven Christian School (K-8). I was invited last year to come and share my testimony during chapel. Their tagline (which is a word that they try to make synonymous with their school) this year is "Shine". I had the perfect shirt to wear :)

I was pretty nervous but managed to keep my knees from knocking. I honestly don't even remember a lot of what I said. I went there hoping to encourage the kids with my story (they currently have two families dealing with cancer right now). I didn't expect to be so blessed in return. The kids were so sweet and well behaved. After chapel, a class of 5th graders came up to Brian and I and asked if they could lay their hands on us and pray! They circled around us and one child began to pray. Before long they were all praying at the same time - it was like a chorus of angels!

Brian put together a great video to show. He was able to capture the last two years of our lives in 6 1/2 minutes. As he was putting it together I noticed that in the pictures I was smiling. Not just a "say cheese" smile but a genuine happy smile. Despite how awful 2007 was, God gave me the ability to smile and be joyful.

This afternoon I felt rather yucky. I'm really tired and have some nausea. I also have sharp pains in my fingers and toes. This was a side effect of the chemo they had warned me about. Each round of chemo seems to be hitting me a bit harder. I was really frustrated today because it was such a great morning and it felt like reality was slapping me in the face this afternoon. I will need to take benadryl with my next rounds of chemo because my face and legs are terribly itchy. Hopefully the benadryl will prevent that next time.

The kids are doing really good. Just tonight Emily was singing along with the song Mighty to Save. It was so sweet to watch her!

Brian is extremely tired. He is tired most of the time. He exercises almost every single day and he eats very healthy. He's very "tired of being tired". He's been to a sleep doctor but they just can't seem to find the cause of his fatigue. He's been on different medications and nothing really seems to help. I'm getting worried about what could be causing this. We are all too familiar with the serious illnesses that are out there. Please keep him in your prayers. Thank you!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Monday, March 23, 2009: A Great Start With A Crummy Ending

Today started off great. I got up at 6:30 this morning (for those of you who know me well, this in itself is a miracle). I read my morning devotion, took a shower and was completely ready before I had to get the kids up. The kids and I had breakfast together and weren't rushed at all. It was wonderful!

I went to chemo today with my friends Heidi and Merry. We go back all the way to middle school! It was so fun catching up with them. It's not often that we get to visit and it's even more of a treat when we visit without our kids running around.

Chemo was uneventful and we were out of there shortly after noon. We stopped for lunch on the way home - what a treat! Shortly after I got home my stomach started doing flip flops. We'll just say I made quite a few trips to the bathroom. My face started tingling and itching. I laid down at 6:00 and then the headache started. I also have been twitching pretty bad. My arms and legs are having little spasms that I can't control. I had this in the hospital once before. Very frustrating - almost sleeping then jolted awake. Another fun side effect is that my tongue feels like someone sandpapered it. Nothing tastes good and it's sore. I'm also getting some stinging pain in my fingertips which was a side effect that I was expecting. Each round seems to bring different side effects.

I'm going to take a sleeping pill now and head to bed. Brian took care of getting the kids supper and all tucked into bed. He is such a sweetheart. I don't know what I would do without him. Thanks for reading my whiny post :)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday, March 22, 2009: Tears

I have had a lot of tears this past week. Some were happy tears, some were sad ones. We had tears of joy on Monday celebrating my low CA125 level. Both Brian and I were in shock and hardly wrapped our minds around it. We've been waiting two years to pass that milestone!

I was still trying to comprehend it Tuesday morning when Pastor Frank told me that Rich was in Hospice. Talk about going from an emotional high to a deep pit. I was so shocked that he was already gone by Wednesday morning. Rich's visitation and funeral were both very difficult. His wife Mary told me at visitation that Rich prayed for me every single day. I remember him telling me that once. He said "I haven't missed a day yet". He was so dedicated to God and living for Him. I still have tears when I think about him. I can't even fathom the pain his family is going through right now.

Tomorrow is week two of my fourth round of chemo. My doctor would like me to do two rounds of chemo past normal. That means after tomorrow I will have four more visits to the chemo clinic. The countdown is on! My doctor talked about continuing one of the chemos indefinitely. I don't think I like that idea! We'll just get through the next few rounds and see where I'm at then. I had a complete peace when I made the decision to stop chemo last year. I'm sure God will give me that peace again. Last year my body was so weak and beaten up by the chemo that I honestly thought it was doing more damage than good. I had 9 months off from chemo where my body was able to heal and get stronger. I don't have any regrets about stopping chemo last year.

Thank you for your prayers. Thank you also for all your phone calls, emails, flowers, cards and "woohoo's" last week as we celebrated. We had 21 comments on that post! It always amazes me how many of you are out there. It's hard to believe that we are finally nearing the end of this chapter. I have to say though that I am ready for the next chapter. The chapter where I get to share my story of God's faithfulness. He is the reason that I am here today.

I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done. Psalm 118:17.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009: A Quiet Mourning

While we have been praising God this week for the good news we received on Monday, we have been grieving the loss of our dear friend Rich Elling, who passed away early Wednesday morning. You can't sum up his life better than our pastor did this week. Here is Pastor Frank Wevers in his own words on Rich Elling's life:

"Let me also take this opportunity to celebrate the life of Rich Elling, whose journey with Jesus ended early Wednesday morning. Rich was known and loved by so many persons in our church and in our community. I have known few persons who have inspired me more than Rich. It was a privilege to call him my friend, my co-worker, my confidant, and my inspiration. I will deeply miss his gentle yet powerful presence. Rich modeled what passionately following Jesus looks like. He was a disciplined man who began each day in God's Word and in God's presence. The last day of his life, I noticed his Bible and glasses on the tray beside his hospice bed. Rich was a man who modeled devotion to his family . . . he leaves a powerful legacy of faith and selflessness for his family. Rich was respected in the business community for his integrity . . . there was no doubt that his faith followed him out of church on Sunday into the workplace on Monday. Rich was a dedicated servant who worked behind the scenes at Calvary Church as a volunteer staffer for seven or eight years. He also volunteered at the City Mission. Since Rich's death, I have heard so many stories of how he quietly came alongside so many persons in times of difficulty. It was Rich's way to minister to others in a way which drew no attention to him. So many of us were shocked at how quickly Rich went from active ministry, to a hospice bed, and then into the presence of Jesus. We need not be surprised. Rich ran the race set before him with great passion and discipline. He invested as much as he could, as long as he could. Then he quickly and quietly slipped from this life without much fuss . . . that was Rich's way. His death leaves a hole in my heart, in his family, in our staff, in our church, and in our community. But his life has left an inspiring example for those privileged to know him."

Please remember Mary and the family in your prayers. The visitation and funeral are this weekend. Rich and Kristi had a very special connection. His passing came very difficult for Kristi. Please also remember Kristi as we mourn his loss.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009: Thought For The Day

I read this devotion this morning and just thought I would post it because it was insightful. It comes from "TODAY Devotional":

Scripture Reading: Philippians 3:12-16

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me …
Philippians 3:14

A rubber band isn’t much use unless it is stretched. Similarly, we will not achieve the peak of our potential unless we are stretched by God.

Christian psychiatrist Paul Tournier explains that a pilgrimage of faith means having the courage to step out from a secure place into an insecure place. It’s like a trapeze artist who swings from one trapeze to another. There is that breathless moment when the artist is in midair between the two trapezes. The performer has to leap, trusting that he or she will be able to grab the other trapeze. Likewise, we have to stretch to catch the next opportunity God sends our way.

Paul sees himself stretched by God so that he can achieve his full potential. It’s the same with us. We have to be willing to go beyond our comfort zones. We must forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead. We must relinquish our fears and focus on what we can be if we allow God to stretch us.

Stretching means trusting God in moments of surrender. Stretching means walking into our fears and coming out as people of faith. Stretching means believing in God when we don’t see him working. Stretching means trusting God in all circumstances. Then we will be more like “rubber bands” God can use to do his work in this world.

Lord Jesus, help us to forget our past failures and lack of faithfulness in order to press on toward our heavenly prize. Stretch us toward your goals and your glory. Amen.

Monday, March 16, 2009

and the results are in...

Monday, March 16, 2009: Greetings

Sending love from the chemo clinic

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday, March 15, 2009: Another Chemo Eve

I'm whipped and need to get back to Ashley so I'm going to keep this quick. Ashley seemed to be doing better today and was able to eat a little bit. Around supper time her stomach started to hurt again. I think she is very worried and that is only making her stomach pain worse. She said something to me the other day about when I had stomach pain and then found out that I had cancer. She is afraid she might have cancer too and that she might "pass". Oh the emotions of an 11 year old girl! Please pray that she would not only physically feel better but that emotionally she would feel better too.

I have an appointment with my doctor tomorrow at 9:00 and then we head to chemo after that. They will be checking my CA125 level again tomorrow. Could this finally be it? I can't even imagine it being under 35. That would definitely make for a good day! :)

Thank goodness for Grandma's. My mom is coming tomorrow to stay with Ashley. I don't know what we would do without our family and friends.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saturday, March 14, 2009: Continued Prayers

Please continue to pray for Ashley. Kristi brought her to Prime Care tonight because she is absolutely miserable. They checked her all out and took x-rays of her stomach but everything came back negative. She must just have a really nasty virus. She threw up again tonight and is complaining of a very sore stomach...probably from all the vomiting. Your continued prayers are appreciated!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009: More Germs

We have germs in the house . . . again. Ashley has had the stomach flu since Wednesday night. She has been miserable and has a lot of stomach pain. I am praying that this will start and end with her. I have my "big" chemo on Monday and they will check my CA125 level again. If we finally make it under the magic number 35 I think Brian and I will both cry like babies! Please say a little prayer that Ashley will recover soon and that the rest of us will stay healthy. Thank you!!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Monday, March 9, 2009: Grace

Sorry for the long break between updates. Kristi is doing amazing physically. She continues to struggle emotionally with everything going on. This is VERY typical for cancer patients. As I said before, the physical struggles are only half the battle. Depression is REAL. Please pray that she finds peace. Thank you so much!!

I leave you with this thought: As Paul was making his trek around Asia in the early days of Christianity, he was beaten, spat on, flogged, chained, and imprisoned. Yet he always remained faithful and he says "But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God" (2 Corinthians 1:9). Think about that. So often we try to control our own lives, our own destiny. "For it is by GRACE you have been SAVED, through FAITH - and this is NOT from yourselves, it is the GIFT of God" (Ephesians 2:8). Can I hear a BIG LOUD "AMEN"?!?!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Our Store Is Always Open!

All merchandise available at:

here are a few examples of what we're offering:

Wall Clock

Coffee cups too!

Calendar with a different Godscape for each month!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tuesday, March 3, 2009: Renewal

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Monday, March 2, 2009

Monday, March 2, 2009: A Good Chemo Day

One of my biggest struggles with chemo is the hangover I have with Benadryl. They give me Benadryl as a pre-med to counteract any possible allergic reaction. So far I haven't had any hint of an allergic reaction so I asked today if I could skip the Benadryl. My chemo nurse said she didn't think it would be a problem. If I started having any reaction they would simply stop the chemo, give Benadryl through my iv and then restart the chemo. She had to run it by my oncology nurse though. This nurse said she wouldn't recommend it but it was my right to refuse the Benadryl. So, I was a rebel and refused it! Other than a slightly itchy face for a little bit I had no reactions! I was so excited. With the Benadryl I am groggy for the rest of the day. Since I didn't have that today I was able to go out to lunch with the friend that came with me. A lunch with a friend and no kids? What a treat!!

My white counts are rather low which means my immune system is weak. The nurse told me to be extra cautious this week. Thank goodness the germs are finally out of this house!

We continue to be so blessed by our friends and family. I had a friend give up most of her day to hang out with me, my mom picked up Emily from preschool and watched her for the afternoon, we had yummy chicken soup for supper that friends had brought us when everyone was sick recently (they had brought so much I was able to put some in the freezer). As if all that wasn't enough, I was given a beautiful bouquet of flowers from the girls in the Girls On The Run program that Ashley is in! If any of the girls are reading this . . . thank you! And thank you Coach Deb. That was so thoughtful.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sunday, March 1, 2009: Round 3, Dose 2

Just a quick update tonight. Kristi is getting some last minute cleaning done before chemo tomorrow. She knows that for the next few days she will be quite tired and probably a bit nauseous so she wants to get some organizing done. She asked me to give a quick update for her. Not much to say really - just getting ready for another chemo day. Our friend Janna is going to accompany Kristi tomorrow. She is looking forward to that time with Janna. That's one good thing about chemo - it forces Kristi to slow down and she has no choice but to sit down and relax. So she gets a day of guilt-free "quiet time". That's the "glass half-full" attitude toward chemo. We're looking forward to another busy week of school and I go back to work tomorrow after having a week off. It was nice just hanging around the house for a week. I worked on perfecting the art of doing nothing. I have to say I became pretty good at it. :)

I'll leave you with this thought from the apostle Paul: "but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."