Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Hair in The Hoover

December 29, 2011

There appears to be a pattern to the days following chemo. The first four days after chemo Keith does very well, the fifth day through the ninth day he hardly gets out of bed, because his blood levels are at their lowest, but then on the tenth day he starts to rebound and continues gaining strength each day leading up to his next infusion. That means there will be ten or eleven days where he will feel fairly well before he gets the next chemo. Add to that the four days following the treatment when he feels normal and it totals fifteen or sixteen days out of each month when he will be able to participate in life. This first round was very rough, because neither of us knew what to expect, but now that we have some idea of what may occur, hopefully, we will be able to cope better with the next round. However, nothing about cancer is guaranteed. January third he goes for his second infusion of chemotherapy and then we will see if this round follows the pattern. 

It started coming out about a week ago and with each day the pace picked up until there was no longer any reason to keep what  remained on his head. He was fighting a battle he couldn't win and when it becomes necessary to follow your sweetie around with a vacuum cleaner it is time to get out the clippers. His beautiful, soft, white hair is now contained within the Hoover bag less upright. The hair remaining, on his head, is very short, fuzzy and soft. After forty five years of seeing him with a full head of hair, seeing him practically bald, isn't as odd as I would have expected. He's still my sweetie and I just want him to be cured of this cancer so we can get back to the business of living without this Spector hanging over us. 

With everything going on in our lives this will prove to be a trying beginning to the new year but with God close by we will come out on the other side ready to resume our lives. I am convinced there are dark forces at work seeking to destroy my relationship with God by throwing one problem after another in my path in hopes that I will turn away from the Lord. I am trusting in him to protect me and keep me from destruction. There are times I want to run away from some of the issues, they are just too painful, but I will stay the course knowing God is at the helm. There will be times I will scream or cry at the injustice yet still I will praise God for giving me the strength to deal with whatever comes my way. I'll not give in to the evil one, I am a cool weather girl and his abode is way too hot for me.

Fuel To The Fire

Satan gets pleasure when he causes pain.
His motives are hateful and only for gain.

To keep you from God, his greatest desire.
One less for God's kingdom one more for the fire.

He'll feed you deception by filling your head
with thoughts of self doubt, lies, fear and dread.

His mission is clearly to get you alone,
away from God's children, to his hellish zone.

For once he's convinced you that you are no good,
he's kept you from God and added more wood.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Target and I Don't Mean The Store

December 22, 2011

The good news is, Keith seems to be feeling the slightest bit better today. The bad news is, I am not doing so well. I am trying very hard to keep my head above water but pretty soon my nose will be the only thing sticking up. The past few days I have cried buckets of tears. There are three separate challenges facing me and I am trying with every ounce of strength to hold it all together but I have to admit I am growing so weary of being strong. My main focus is to help Keith through this battle with cancer. I need prayer for all of the other issues choking the life out of me so that I can focus on Keith. Life can be very cruel, very cruel. That being said I do know that God is at the helm and pray that he will be glorified when all is said and done.

I called the oncologist yesterday because I was very concerned over the fact that Keith was not getting out of bed, for the last six days, except for necessary reasons. This is so not like him. I know that chemo is rough on the body but even knowing that doesn't make it easy to witness. Before this happened he would spend at least eight hours, of every day, in his office on the computer but since last Thursday he hasn't been on it at all. I feel bad for him because I know that it is his comfort zone, where he feels most natural. These last few weeks have been difficult to say the least and I have had moments where I thought I couldn't go on but I am still here so God must be very near. That keeps me going along with the prayers of family and friends. Thank you all.

There is something going on, of which I cannot speak, that could be serious, so please don't slow down on the prayers. This morning I was so distraught I couldn't seem to get it together, I cried in bed, in the shower, out of the shower and back in After an hour or so of this I finally realized that what has me so upset is something I have no control over and therefore I was not going to let it interfere with caring for Keith. God loves me and will not leave me in this dark hour. When oh when, will I stop trying to gain control. I really don't want it. I am powerless and know that God can turn this mess into something beautiful, so someone PLEASE, just kick me in the butt and tell me to get over it. That might be far less painful and more productive.

December 23, 2011

Another day, another dilemma. Do I get out of bed or do I stay put? I would love to stay put but that's not happening, dilemma solved. Every move I make is an effort lately and it is tiresome, hence the not wanting to get out of bed, but duty calls and people depend on me.  

I feel like I have been thrown in a bull ring and the red cape has been plastered to my body. I'm trying to get the thing off but have discovered it is not a cape at all but a big target, which has been painted dead center, front and back, so no matter which way I turn the bull will like what he sees. As I dance around, trying to slough this thing off the bull just looks at me, steam coming from his nostrils, hooves scraping the ground and prepares to charge. Suddenly, there is movement, and it isn't the bull, it's me running towards the big black, saliva dripping antagonist, waving my hands frantically and screaming at the top of my voice, "get out of my way you don't scared me anymore, God has removed the targets and you, giant mass of muscle, can huff and puff, scrape and drip but my dance card is full and you are not on it! 

I listen for his tender voice
to soothe my troubled soul
and then I hear, "you have a choice,
no need for such a toll.

Give me all that weighs you down
or try to carry the load
I'll give you a smile to replace the frown
and strength to walk the road

Get out of the ring, the battles won
no need to prove a thing
I'll walk with you until it's done
great peace to you, I'll bring

So if the storm clouds gather strength
remember I am stronger
For you I'll go to any length
so worry child no longer.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Moles, Mine Fields and Mazes

December 18, 2011
  Have you ever played Whack A Mole at a carnival? A mole pops its head up out of a hole and you try to whack it with a paddle but there are many holes and many moles and as soon as you whack one another takes its place. You just can't seem to ever get ahead of the game. Well, that is kind of like my life at the moment. One invasive mole after another, popping up and mocking me, go ahead whack me they say but I'll just call for reinforcements. I guess life is full of such menaces and I am sure we are not the only people to be subjected to their intrusive antics, it just seems that way. Okay, time to leave the fairgrounds and get back into the game of life. 
  Keith is having a very good day, still tiring easily but seeming much more like himself. I overheard him on the phone today and for the first time since his surgery the quality and timbre of his voice was normal. No breathlessness or sounding like he is on the brink of laryngitis. Perhaps this is a fluke and tomorrow his voice will slip back into a bronchial whisper but for now he's good.

December 19, 2011
  What was that I said, yesterday, about a fluke? He is not having such a good day today. We had to go to the WCI for blood work, routine for chemo patients, and the results showed his levels were quite low. His Oncologist put him on an anti-biotic to ward off any chance of infection. We headed home and he got into his recliner and promptly fell asleep while I set off for the pharmacy to pick up his prescription. After a few hours of rest, some liquids and his medicine he now seems to be feeling much better. I can tell you one thing none of this has affected his appetite, at all, and that's a good thing because who knows what the coming weeks may bring. 

  Time to check on my mom, who as you may or may not know, has Alzheimer's, be back shortly. Well, I just made sure all of her Christmas cards were filled out and stuffed with the gift cards she wanted me to pick up for her, so now she won't fret about that again, until tomorrow when she'll get that frazzled expression and ask me what she is going to do about Living with a parent with this disease is like trying to walk across a mine field, wearing a blindfold, at night. Emotions run the gamut from giddy to angry in a matter of seconds and sometimes there is very little that can be done other than to wend your way through the obstacle course of explosives and pray you make it out safely. Tonight, my poor mom was feeling very sad about Christmas and the fact that all of her children won't be together, it was heart breaking. She seems to be more childlike everyday and it is becoming evident that she is slipping deeper into this disease and that the pace is picking up speed. For the first time since we found out she had Alzheimer's, a little over eighteen months ago, I felt totally and absolutely helpless. I've felt frustrated, angry, disturbed and resentful but never helpless. How very sad that this woman who raised seven children and just celebrated her eighty sixth birthday is fading away before my eyes. She said she was going to get in bed and cry because it might make her feel better. I couldn't argue with that, so I kissed her good night and said I'd see her in the morning. A little while later I started back down the stairs to see if she'd fallen asleep but heard no crying and decided it might be best to just leave her alone. So back upstairs I went to check on my other patient. It isn't funny but at the same time, it is! If I don't find some humor in this situation my mom won't be the only one crying.
  Keith has gone to bed. He was still feeling drained and had a temperature of 99.7. We were told that if it gets to 100.4 to call the oncologist immediately. He was feeling sick to his stomach and took one of the anti-nausea pills, which were prescribed before his first chemo and about an hour later he looked and felt better. Before he started feeling better I was becoming quite concerned yet somehow I managed to remain calm, not exactly easy under the circumstances, but I thought it best that at least one person in this house tonight remain functional. 
  Well it is time to get some rest, tomorrow is another day, and hopefully one a little less stressful for all of us. As Keith and I travel through this maze of uncertainty there are two things we can count on, everything will remain unpredictable but more importantly, God will have his hand on us, keeping us steady no matter how mercurial the road ahead. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

No White Flags

December 15, 2011

There are days when I should just stay in bed, this was one of them. Unfortunately, that isn't even a possibility right now.  Pause

December 18, 2011

The past couple of days have been very trying for several reasons none with which I will bore you. I was simply unable to focus on one thing long enough to post anything, however, I didn't want to go too long without journaling an update.

Keith is doing pretty well, all things considered. He suffered none of the nausea for which I am so grateful as I'm sure he is as well. I can tell he is not up to going hiking but then again he doesn't normally hike so that isn't a He may not admit it but he is weaker and gets winded pretty easily. He is getting lots of rest and each day he seems just a bit better. This first week after chemo has been enlightening and fairly uneventful, hopefully it is a harbinger of things to come. I realize, however, that chemo is cumulative  and therefore, things will be in a state of flux but I am praying for his sake, that the next chemo will not be any harder on him than it was this time. That is in God's hands and since his hands have crafted all of creation there is no better place to be.

As I understand it he will start feeling most like himself just about the time he is scheduled for his next treatment. That doesn't seem fair somehow, but cancer is a monster, which is by definition frightening and cruel and no where in its meaning is the word fair. We aren't going to play fair either, this monster is going down. Keep us in your prayers as we fight this foe. 

There are other battles being waged against us but by comparison they are mere skirmishes. I would like to hide in the trenches, to avoid the enemies altogether but I know there is no escaping these invaders. They seek to unsettle and destroy our peace of mind and I admit I am an easier target than Keith, more given to waving the white flag, but because God gave me this man I will not surrender. He carries me through this field, crawling with adversaries, and encourages me to be strong and remember who is in control. My husband is a very special man, a soldier for God, and a man of courage. I may shed a few buckets of tears across this battlefield but NO white flags will be waving anytime soon. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Promise Of Spring

December 12, 2011

Keith is having his first chemo session and HE sends ME an e-card. What a guy! He is so used to caring about how things affect me that even during HIS health crisis he thinks of me. I've always known he was unselfish and now it is even more obvious. I am a fortunate woman.

We arrived at The Weinberg Cancer Institute at 8:00, registered and were taken back for Keith to begin the first of six treatments. The schedule, at this time, is one treatment every three weeks. According to how his body reacts to the chemicals this could change. Hopefully, there will be no set backs and he will finish sometime near the end of March. 

 As usual, he started joking with the nurse, exhibiting his typical persona,  the minute we were shown into the chemo area. His particular nurse was pleasant enough but it seemed she was not one to appreciate his sense of humor. Perhaps it's because of the seriousness of her job but if I had to work with people who were fighting for their lives I would think a sense of humor would be a very good asset. Laughter is contagious and in an atmosphere where one's immune system is not functioning at its highest level, it is the only thing you would want to catch. I don't mean to sound like I'm judging her, after all chemo is serious business, I guess I need laughter so much right now that I figure everyone else does also. Any way, after Keith was seated in his chair the nurse proceeded to ask him the standard plethora of questions one is asked while being prepared for a procedure, have you ever had this, are you allergic to that, do you have a cold, did you ever......yada, yada, yada? After the third degree was over she attached the line to his Port and gave him the anti-nausea medicine that is supposed to head off any bouts of the heaves. He then told me, in so many words, to get I was ready to camp out for a while but he insisted I leave, so with my feelings crushed (just kidding) I kissed him good bye and left to run some errands. Around 1:30pm after some shopping and a stop at Panera for a cup of coffee and a bear claw (yum) I called to see how he was holding up. He answered in his typical cheery voice and said he was good but would still be a couple of hours. So, off I went to try to get a little more accomplished while the opportunity presented itself. Christmas presents may not be high on my list of priorities this year but there are some things that need to be done and I decided to take advantage of the moment. When three thirty rolled around I found myself back at the Weinberg Cancer Institute where Keith was finishing up his last round of chemo for the day. He seemed fine, but tired, and ready to go home, which is exactly what we did. The remaining hours of 'Chemo- Day One' are a blur but suffice it to say much of the evening, aside from preparing the meal provided by one of the caring ladies from church (Carol Williams we thank you) was spent doing as little as possible and that felt  very good, very good indeed.

Oddly enough the whole day seemed fairly normal, at least from my perspective, partly due, I'm sure, to Keith's ability to treat the day like any other. I was almost able to forget that this day was only the beginning of this journey and that it will have to be repeated five more times.

I am grateful for the tiniest of blessings these days. Things that would have rattled me two weeks ago are, today, not even worth mentioning. God has a way of clarifying what is and is not important. There were moments, over the past few years, when my problems seemed to loom like Mt. Everest, plunging me into total darkness, but now those same issues cast a much smaller shadow. No more looming Mt. Everest for me the mountain has turned into the proverbial mole hill. How great is our God!

Winter will turn into Spring, by the time Keith's treatments are finished. That seems, somehow, very appropriate. Out with the old in the new. Each year I reach a point where I am sick of shivering and get antsy for the promise of Spring. I look forward to seeing the trees and the grass turning green and the flowers popping up from their winter slumber. The idea of throwing open the windows and breathing in the fresh Spring air thrills me down to my shivering toes. Witnessing new life, in all its forms, is a miracle. This year I am hoping to witness our own miracle, the new life Keith and I get to begin when he is free of this thing called cancer. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

This Battle Is Yours

December 10, 2011

Thirty five hours until the first chemo treatment. I think I am experiencing the calm before the storm. Keith is prepared and is approaching this challenge like he approaches just about everything, it has to be done and therefore, he will do it. I am feeling fairly calm but still would like nothing better than to stop this ride, let Keith off and steer the thing back to Pre-lymphoma days. I pray that God gives us both an extra measure of peace as we head out the door on Monday morning. Mostly though, I pray that Keith is one of those people who do not experience nausea. But whatever happens, after the chemo, we will come home and get on with the business of living. This will be a completely new experience for both of us. Certainly it is one we’d rather not go through, but God has brought it into our lives for a purpose. I’m not sure we will ever know why but in the scheme of things it doesn’t really matter. Sitting around trying to figure out why is a waste of time and time, I have learned very quickly, is too precious.

Sunday December 11th

Church is where the Lord lives. I can see him in the faces of those who love him. I can hear him in the voice of everyone who says they are praying for us. Every time someone wraps me in a hug I can feel his presence. I have to admit there have been times, in the past four years, that I wasn’t so sure that church was his dwelling place. Was God really there? Did he really care that I was hurting so much? In my heart I always knew he had never forsaken me but the evil one was waging a war for my soul, of that I am convinced. Isn’t that what Satan does, try to steal us away from the one who created us, the God who loves us so much…“that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16)? After years of being a lukewarm Christian and running from what I know to be true I feel as though Jesus whispered in my ear “My precious, precious child, I have always been here, loving you through your doubts and fears. I will walk with you through your husband’s illness. I will be holding your hand while you are holding his. I love you, I died for you. Trust in me. I AM GOD.” This experience has renewed my faith. God forgive me for not giving you my all. This battle is yours and we will cling to that knowledge in the hope that whatever the outcome we will be able to say “Thank you Father for drawing us closer to you and for giving us the strength to get through this journey.”

God knows you never asked for this
but He’s there to help you through,
and even when you feel alone
He still is there with you.

There is no heartache, pain or fear,
unfamiliar to the one,
who sacrificed for all mankind
His only begotten Son.

He sees the valley you’re walking,
and the mountain in your way
and He knows the path’s not easy
but He’ll help you through each day.

He knows all that there is to know
and what you’re going through
and though you cannot see Him
He’s walking close to you.

Fear not what the future holds,
our God can see it all
and He is more then able
to catch you when you fall.

Trust in Him as you face this foe,
there is nothing He can’t do.
Let the creator of all mankind
give His lasting peace to you.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Life Goes On Whether You're Crying Or Laughing

December 8, 2011

Yea, no cancer in the spinal fluid so no need to be concerned about what is going on in his head. Keith said he told the doctor he wasn't worried there was nothing up Gotta love someone who can still see the humor even in the worst of situations. He has had a positive attitude since day one. This is who he is and I feel blessed to know that God put him in my life. The way he treated all of the staff at the hospital was not only fun to watch but truly reflected his philosophy of life as well. He was the epitome of the Boy Scout code with a healthy dose of humor thrown in for good measure. I am very proud to be his wife, I only wish it hadn't taken something like this for me to tell him. 

As I write this he is sleeping, worn out from a very long day at the oncologist's office. It was a day filled with questions and answers, which Keith processed and compartmentalized allowing him to separate, catalogue and store all the bits of information so that he can find it when needed. While I, on the other hand, was left feeling like it was all loose in my brain, bouncing around the basal ganglia, which was simply not able to coordinate all the info. Men are able to pick and choose what to think about and deal with and are capable of putting anything, which is unnecessary at that particular moment, away in a neat little box in their head to be dealt with later. Sometimes I wish I was a man, not often, but sometimes.

He is lying beside me sleeping like a baby. How, oh how, does he do that? I am glad he is able to rest, though, because he needs to recharge his batteries after this past week and a half. I will remain awake until my eyes start to cross and focusing becomes a problem at which time my finger will fall on any given key stringing out an endless row of that particular letter. That is the point where I surrender to the rejuvenating power of sleep. This has been my routine for quite some time and even more so over the past four weeks. But it's okay, I have always been a late night person, and at times like this it is a blessing. The cross eyed moment I referred to has arrived so before my words turn into dddddddd or yyyyyyyy I guess I'll stop for now and finish this tomorrow. Good night all!

Here it is December 9th and we have just returned from a short trip to the store for some 'Chemo clothes', which translates into something comfortable to sit around in for hours at a time. So, anyway we conquered that task and then found ourselves at The Olive Garden enjoying a wonderful meal. It was a welcome respite from a bone wearying week. For the first time since Keith's diagnosis, life seemed normal, albeit briefly. After spending the previous day at the Weinberg Cancer Center this was definitely a better day. By four o'clock we were home, tired and ready for a nap. I had decorated the house before any of this happened so I plugged in the tree and the garlands and we settled into our living room chairs, kicked back and dosed off for a little while. By six fifteen we were awake and on our way to pick up my mom from my sister's house. As much as I love her not having to think about her needs, for a change, was a huge relief. 

My mom is in bed, Keith is asleep and I am, well it's obvious what I am Keeping this journal helps me to cope with the unknown and right now there is a lot of unknown with which to cope. We are trying to take this one day at a time and praying for God to give us the strength to do whatever is necessary for Keith to be free of this disease. So, I will continue to record our journey knowing that some who read it will keep us lifted in prayer, some will follow sheerly out of curiosity and still others may lose interest entirely. But which ever you may be I pray that this will open your eyes to just how unpredictable life can be and that you will see the true value of your loved ones without having to go through something like this in order to  come to that realization.

Time to turn out the lights cause the eyes are crossing and my brain is shutting down for the night, tomorrow is another day. We will wake up, put our feet on the floor and move forward one step at a time. Life goes on whether you're crying or laughing. I'm sure I'll do both but I'm hoping to laugh more than cry. I'm good at both, how about you? 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

No Better Arms

December 7, 2011

Wait, wait and wait some more. We are certain Keith is going home today but the doctor has not written the release yet. His porte cath was inserted today so he is ready (as ready as one can be for this kind of thing) for his first chemo on Monday. He has been pretty tired all day, leftover effects of his twilight sleep, I suppose. At one point he was talking in his sleep and making all kinds of faces. Unfortunately, I couldn't make out a word he said, rats! You never know what little nuggets of information you might garner from a sleep talker. Blackmail comes to mind, lol!

We are both so ready to go home and try to resume some sort of normalcy. I am looking forward to a good night's sleep knowing he is back where he belongs. Then, tomorrow, we head to the oncologist for a  discussion with the doctor, a chemo education class and a bone marrow test. Friday, Saturday and Sunday we get to relax, well he does, I still have my mom to tend to but that will be changing in the near future. 

My sister is looking into places for her at the advice of her doctor. She needs more care then we are able to provide any longer. Though I feel sad for her I also know my efforts need to be concentrated on Keith and my mom can be very difficult at times due to her advanced stage of Alzheimer's. It won't be easy for any of us because we were hoping to keep her at home. Things change though and now we have to try to make the transition as easy as possible for her. I fear she will give up and lose any will to live, so prayers for her are much appreciated. 

It is 4:15 as I write this and we are hoping to be out of here no later than six or seven. We shall see! Keith is reminding me that they have been saying he is going home since Monday. As far as I know there is no reason to keep him here any longer. 

Keith is doing well. His sense of humor has not diminished, which is comforting, and it makes this an easier issue with which to deal. He seems ready to do what it takes to send this disease packing. Tomorrow we may learn a little more about what is going on in his body and find out if his course of treatment will be what the doctor told us it would be, on Monday, or if perhaps because of the pathology and lumbar puncture the treatment may be changed. At this time we have no reason to think it will change.

Tomorrow is a new day and we are going to face it together. God has given us this journey for a reason. On this side of the pearly gates it will remain a mystery but on the other side we will understand. God knows what he is doing and when we get to the place where it all makes sense it won't matter anyway because we will be home. For now, my prayer is that we can both be witnesses to the power of God and the fortitude of the human spirit. We will cast our cares upon the Lord and leave the outcome to the one who created us. He is carrying us through this, of that I am sure. There are no better arms in which to rest.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Let's Do This!

December 5, 2011

We are still at the hospital but after Keith gets an echo cardiogram and a lumbar puncture, sometime tomorrow, we will be going home. Wednesday he will have his chemo port inserted, Thursday we meet with the oncologist for further discussion, chemo treatment education class, bone marrow test and Monday will be his first chemo treatment. Sounds like he and I will be rather busy for the foreseeable future.  

When we met with the oncologist earlier today, I found him to be very informative, personable and he did not rush through our meeting. Keith and I have total confidence in his ability to determine the best course of action and we feel comforted by his willingness to spend time with us without making us feel rushed. I like knowing no question is too minor. He leaves me with the impression that he truly cares about helping his patients and not simply about making the almighty dollar. No one wants to go through this experience but if it is necessary it sure is nice to feel like you count as a person rather than a  statistic.

Keith is moving around better everyday and his sense of humor is still in tact. We know we will be needing our sense of humor in the coming months but we are also aware that there will be moments, more than we'll probably like, that will not seem so laugh worthy. For now, we are trying to digest all of the information we were given pertaining to his diagnosis and treatment plan. Wow, overwhelming comes to mind but we will forge ahead and do what we have to do in order to get him well. We are taking a positive approach to this knowing that with God all things are possible. For now, I myself feel ready to do battle, to stay strong when my knees get weak and to be here for Keith. He has always been a fighter and I expect no less from him in the face of this challenge. Judging by the way he has handled this from the time he awoke from surgery, he expects no less from himself. God has been good to us throughout our marriage and we will continue to trust in him as we walk this road. 

I can feel the prayers of so many lifting us up and it is that and God's love which keeps both of us going. There will be some tough times ahead, I'm sure of that, but I hope to help my husband, to support him in any way I can, to be his strength when he feels weak and to be the wife God has called me to be since the day we were married forty four years ago. I haven't always been the best wife but I always meant to be. I guess God is giving me another chance to be the wife Keith deserves. The commitment I made all those years ago remains as strong as ever, for better or worse, for richer for poorer and in SICKNESS and in health, this is my solemn vow. I am looking forward to many more years with him by my side. So sweetie, I know you will read this and I say let's do this! 

Trust in me, even when you hurt and my grace will see you through
far beyond the stormy skies that overshadow you.
I’ll bring you to that sunny day that you have longed to see
when in your pain you call my name and place your faith in me.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

What A Team

Update: December 3, 2011

Three days after surgery Keith is doing pretty well. He is the Keith we all know, the one who always puts others first, makes it his business to put a smile on the face of anyone in his field of vision, is waiting for his next meal, although he has just finished his last one, and wants to be sure that he is caught up on any business in which he is involved. Every day brings improvement but he has a way to go before he is moving normally again. That's okay because I know he will give it his all. That is who he is!

I am, as usual, amazed at his ability to focus on the task before him, even though it may be daunting, with a positive attitude. He inspires me to dig deeper into myself to find that part of me where strength resides. Keith is a glass half full kind of guy where as I am, sad to say, a glass half empty type of gal. Not proud of that believe me. However, I am beginning to see that that is not the best approach to take. 

There have been many times when I thought I couldn't handle one more setback and wondered why God would not give me a break only to have still another trial come along, as if God was saying, 'How dare you question what I am doing in your life and because you still don't get it here is one more trial'. The reality is God can do whatever he chooses and in his time the reason will be revealed. Well, I THINK I FINALLY GET IT GOD. You were preparing me to confront this latest and most difficult trial with an inner strength born from the labor pains of the past few years. Just as labor, though very painful at the time, gives birth to a new life full of promise and potential, the trials I have endured with heartache and tears have given birth to a new and stronger me. God knows what he is doing and I am determined to be the child he has called me to be. I will face this latest trial unafraid of traveling the bumpy road ahead, armed with the knowledge that he is able to keep me from stumbling, that he will be with me every step of the way and that he has given me a new found courage, which would not have been possible but for the lessons learned over the past few years. So, I will praise God through the storm and lock arms with my love as we face the foe together. Three against one. God, Keith and me. What a team.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Give God A Giggle, Make Plans

Wednesday November 30, 2011.

If you want to make God laugh, make a plan. We've probably all heard that before and the fact is it seems to be true. 

Keith was supposed to go for his biopsy on Monday December 5th but his condition deteriorated so quickly we found ourselves in the emergency room Tuesday afternoon. Since then he has undergone six hours of surgery on his back and it was discovered that he has lymphoma. We don't know the type or magnitude of involvement in his body, yet, but by Monday we should be much more informed. After we find out what we are dealing with we will make a plan of action with his oncologist. We are optimistic but realistic. For now, if the lymphoma is contained in the area of the tumor it is entirely possible it can be radiated and destroyed. This is our prayer.

Ordinarily, I would be ringing my hands and pacing the floor, in general an all out wreck. But I am at peace with this because I know that God is carrying us and this load of care we presently bear. There is no other explanation for the peace that has settled over me. Keith, is a pragmatic kind of guy, everything is black and white and he doesn't worry or fret. Instead he feels the best way to approach any issue is to deal with whatever comes up head on, focused and determined to do whatever is necessary.  

The 'C' word, is one of those words you hope to never use in connection with yourself or your loved ones. This only happens to other people, right? Well obviously that is incorrect. So here we are getting prepared to fight the fight of our lives. God is our commander, he has laid out the battle plan and we will follow his orders because he has already determined the outcome. We are putting on the full armor of God. 

No matter what the outcome of this fight we both rest in the knowledge that we have a heavenly Father who loves us and will be with us every step of the way. A God of love and compassion who will never leave us or forsake us. There is nothing  in this mortal life that can even come close to the love of our Father in heaven. 

The Great Physician
With human hands the doctor works, to heal his patient’s pain
but God performs the miracles no doctor can explain.
No mortal in this earthly realm will ever find the cure
for all the ills that plague the world, of that we can be sure.

But God can make a cripple walk and make a blind man see
and He can heal the deepest hurt that touches you or me.
How awesome is the God we serve whose power far outweighs
the knowledge learned by mortal men and only He displays.
A man may study medicine to benefit mankind
but God is the Physician and healing His design.
This vessel is not who we are, it’s but an outer shell
and doctored men of medicine cannot make all things well.
True healing is in God alone for He can touch the soul
and it is there that He begins to make the body whole.
So when you feel like giving up, and all you’ve tried has failed
cast your cares upon the cross, where Jesus love was nailed.
He loves you with a lasting love and waits for you to call
to ask Him to live in your heart, to catch you when you fall.
Once invited in your life, He’ll never leave your side
and when your time on earth is through with Him you will abide.
Jesus suffered on the cross to open Heaven’s door
to break the bond of sin and death so man would fear no more
Trials and sorrows you will face, but with you He will stay,
God promised to meet all your needs, on Resurrection day.