Thursday, January 19, 2023

Bad News/Better News Part 3


Fear is a tricky thing. In a healthy dose, it can warn us. Left unbridled and it becomes an overpowering monster, bent on paralyzing us to our core. I am no stranger to the shackles of fear. It has been my nemesis, my sin, for decades. If there is a fear of fear, then I have it. After all these years, one would think that I would smell the sulphur before I went full in to the web of fear. But after 43 years of following Christ, I still get blindsighted. I still get duped. I still think we know better than the Supreme, Holy Sovereign LORD Who has warned us 365 times in Scripture of the faith crushing sin.

Researching all I could prior to infusion, I compiled all the highlights. Two things seemed to run through all the advice and articles I read: 1. Drink a lot of water. 2. Stay ahead of nausea.  Check and check. I returned home post infusion to gear up for the ride. I started guzzling water and took two different kinds of anti nausea drugs on a religious schedule. Not today, side effects, not today.

For the rest of day and all throughout the next, I kept the routine up. I was positively obsessive about it. That was my focus. Common sense, not so much. Never in my life had I relied on medicine the way I did that day. By mid afternoon, I knew I was in trouble. I could not focus. I could not think clearly. I was trembling and frozen. I hadn't slept so I was near delirious. When I awoke at 3am, I was thrilled that I had slept four hours! I then wondered in a panic if I had thrown off 'my' schedule of meds. I grabbed my little schedule and headed to the bathroom. A swimmy kind of feeling followed me in but I figured it was probably my middle of the night fuzzy. 

The next thing I knew, my husband was yelling loudly at me. He was telling me to wake up. (Wasn't he just four hours ago telling me to go to sleep?) I was awkwardly perched in our bathtub, feet straight in the air. My head was scooched down perpendicular to the faucets. The next next thing I knew, I was back in bed, wondering what in the world? My very rational, very calm inducing hubby of 50 years was clearly losing it. That scared me more than the past ten minutes of unconsciousness. He tried to assess me and I myself. Then a thought hit-my husband lifted a dead weight, unconscious me up and out of a deep tub and onto a bed 10 feet away! He has a very bad back! He'll be 70 in a few months! How in the world! It was all too surreal. Too other worldly, but I knew I had to get to earth and figure out what was next.

Next will come in bullet points:

  • ride in an ambulance
  • 8 hours in ER
  • 3 rides to the CT room
  • 1 doppler on my carotid
  • 4 different blood draws
  • room in the oncology ward
  • met with a kidney specialist and received excellent advice how to undo the situation I got myself into
  • Found out that the huge amount of water I was ingesting, was filling my stomach so that I had no desire to eat; the water literally diluted my sodium so down I went. The amount of meds I was taking was excessive considering I didn't need them
  • had a bevy of caring, tender oncology nurses
  • 2 daughters came to visit
  • 1 son since the other was busy coaching his wife's birth adventure
  • 36 hours released
This is not meant to terrify you. This is not meant to be a poor Deb whiny fest. This is to illustrate the depths of fear and it's web. I count it my own fault that I was so fearful. I have been assured time and time again that He is near and I know it. I chose to settle in on my own mangled control over something that I knew God was in control of, but just in case...

I know now that all that had to happen. Our caring, loving Father wanted me to wake up from my lack of faith to trusting Him with it all, not just what I wanted.  I know now that it was the best way that it would have turned out. Had I mentioned that this 69 year old woman with osteoporois, flipped over a safety rail, landed head up, in a dead weight into a steel tub with ceramic tile all around, with only a tiny cut on her foot? That there was absolutely NO bones broken in the event?? That I didn't even take a Tylenol for pain, it was that small of an amount of discomfort?

When God wants to get our attention and we keep running saying, 'Oh thanks God! I got this part!', believe me when I say, He will get your attention and He'll do it in a way that you will be praising Him in the end.

Our God is a good, good Father.
Praise God!!!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Bad News/Better News Part Two

 The day had arrived for my first infusion. To say I was a little anxious is a little like saying the Pacific Ocean is a little pond. With blood pressure soaring and heart racing, I went forward, not knowing how in the world this health conscious woman, who has eaten clean, taking only a few medicines for years and dismisses most medical interference, was going to survive the next four hours.

But by God's grace and mercy, I pushed forward. I had told my friends that there was no way, if it came to me ever having cancer, that I would put myself through it. I would take my chances and hope for the best. Fortunate for me, I am surrounded by wise advisors. Advisors that asked me to be open. To be thoughtful about the ramifications. To remember that I'm not the only one that is affected by this weighty decision. I looked into the faces of my husband and children and thought about my grandchildren. How could I face them with the answer that Deb/Mama/Mimi didn't want to be uncomfortable. Didn't want to be inconvenienced by the onslought of chemicals that I would be inviting into my pride filled tabernacle of my doing? Last year, one of our pastors gave a sermon on our idols. We were to write it down, pray about how it interuppts our relationship with Jesus, then lay it down at His feet. My idol you ask?


Who among us races to uncomfortable situations? Unless you fly with a flare for drama, the answer will be hardly ever. As it is with me. I THINK I do uncomfortable things for the ministry, but I do it in a way that it fits into my comfort parameter. I do it. Not waiting for Jesus to show me when I need comfort or if I need it to accomplish His purposes. 

I have people around me that have good memory. One of them, kindly reminded me of my idol. And there it was. I could not justify telling myself (and my people) a few years later, 'Well, I guess I shoulda gone through it.' 

So here I am, in infusion room number 4 on a cold January day. All the preliminary work began. Paperwork, port readying, blood work, doctor visiting prep. As I waited for the go on the mixing of the infusion, I sat with my headphones on, blasting worship music and soothing myself with colored pens and sketchpad. I sensed someone looking at me. It was the very concerning eyes of my previously kind and gentle nurse. I removed my headphones to hear her. There was a concern about the two drugs I take regularly and it's devastating clash with my prescribed infusion mix. An astute pharmacist caught it while she perused my chart. Concern and doubt in the heads of my trusted team was not something I could handle. I wanted to run and run fast. I needed confidence and care, not bewilderment. Pat and I hashed it all over the best we could, for it rattled my calm, collected husband as well. I paced and paced while several consultations were taking place. The final agreement was that they suggested resetting my appointment and selecting a substitute.

While clearing and closing my port, I asked my nurse if that had ever happened before. She replied, 'Not on my shifts'. While she went over the new meds and orders, she confidentially shared, 'I believe you dodged a bullet today. The medicine you were to take was one of the strongest.' Gulp.

We went home extremely thankful for a pharmacist that was looking out for her patient. Those two drugs have been on my chart for years and years, yet no one considered the counterindications except for the young woman for which it was her job. I will always be praying for the TEAMWORK it takes to care for patients. To do your job above and beyond what is expected.

Praise GOD from Whom all blessings flow!

And it gets 'better'.....

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Bad News/Better News Part One

Every medical adventure has a story. Some are full of disappointments and sadness. Some are joyful and inspiring. Some are all of it. The following is the saga of several of my recent visits. Be prepared to be in awe of how God works.

After undergoing my first surgery, I faced the second one with a tiny bit of confidence. Confidence in my excellent surgeon, the medical staff, the very hospital. I was at peace and ready to get on with it. 

Then he came into the room.

You know when the danger music in a movie begins, you begin to tense and maybe squint a bit, because you know it's going to get bumpy. You gird yourself and look around to see if everyone else is feeling the same way. The anesthesiologist assigned to my surgery, walked into the room tentavively and awkward, like a kindegartener on his first day. He held himself oddly. His eyes were wide and empty. He stayed away from me but then came to my side to hear better. I smiled and nodded, hoping to reassure him, since he appeared more nervous than I was. It was then I noticed his eyes rolling back and flutter. He seemed unable to comprehend what I was saying and kept referring to Pat as my interpreter. He patternly scribbled something on a scrap of paper, then returned it to his pocket. Again and again. Panic flooded my pre surgery nerves. Knowing that my mind catches all things in a room, I searched Pat's face for an assurance that I was overreacting. There was no affirmation there! He looked as unsettled as my mind felt. As the doctor turned to leave, my anxiety hit a new level, even for me with years of practice. There was only twenty minutes before they would be taking me to surgery. I knew if I reported it to an already bustling surgery center, everything would go to chaos. I was prepped and meds were ready to be administered. My sensitivity versus medical staff. My hunches versus screwing up a schedule. I asked one nurse if she knew much about the doctor but she was not familiar with him. There are a zillion docs in a large city medical facility. Pat and I looked at each other with so much doubt in our minds. At that exact moment, Old Neighbor Friend, in a different time zone, sent this text:

                  'As Joe and I were praying just now, a thought came to me to text you these words:

                    Fear not for I am with you. ( Isaiah 41:10) I will never leave you nor forsake you.' (numerous places in the bible)

And the fear began to fade.

I said to Pat that we might not have any control over what is going on with that doctor but I do know Who does. I do know that the Great Physician has a plan for this surgery and even though I am not privy to all the details, I BELIEVE that He does and that is where my peace comes from. My surgeon came in and instead of storming out the door, I readied myself for what was ahead, knowing my LORD was attending.

Days later, recuperating, I started investigating the doctor. There were many disciplinary actions against him in another state. I knew I had to do something. I contacted Nurse Friend and she gave me thoughts on how to address the situation in the form of a letter. After praying over the right words, carefully assuring the hospital and my surgeon that I have the utmost respect for the institution and its staff. But carefully pointing out the fear and concern I had in this one instance. The letter was delivered at my next appointment.

The offending doctor is now gone from my hospital.

While healing from that surgery, my Quiet Time took me to Luke 8: 22-25, the story of the disciples in a boat with Jesus when a fierce storm arises. Jesus is there in the boat with them, yet they panic as their boat fills with water and they believed they were destined to die while Jesus slept. Jesus was awakened by their crying out and spoke out to the wind and the waves to be still. And there was calm. That was how I felt that day. The storm was brewing around me. Chaos reigned. Jesus was with me, but the chaos distracted me from the fact that He was there. As soon as the text came from my obedient friend, my focus returned to where it needed to be; on the Great Physician rather than the obviously troubled young doctor that I was facing. 

I was meant to be in that surgery with that doctor for much higher purposes than to just get my margins cleaned up after the lumpectomy. 

God is a good God with plans more perfect than we can imagine. Wait for Him. Trust in His ways. Find peace in your storm.

Friday, January 6, 2023

The Backstory

 I have no indications that I would have ever developed breast cancer.

I have never smoked.

Used birth control pills in the 70's for only six years.

I have never drank alcohol. (Thank you parents.)

I never had an abortion. (Controversial, I know)

I never worked in a toxic environment.

I have eaten a whole food diet and eaten clean for seven years.

I drink copious amounts of water daily.

I use non alum deodorant since the warnings came out.

My dabble in 'social' drugs lasted only a few years in the 70's

I recently replaced a bottle of Tylenol that had expired in 2014, so it's rare for me to partake in medications.

I sleep a solid eight hours most nights since menopause.

In short, I am the LEAST candidate for cancer according to health standards and recommendations.

So why? Why did my careful utilization of my life, curve off the plan? Was it a random, crazy run of bad luck? Was God's wrath upon me? Am I being cursed for the judgmental life I lead? Is God a punisher, ready to walk away from me? Is He an unfair God? Why me?

No, no and NO!

My God, my LORD is a Sovereign God. He is over all and in all, whether we like it or not. He is Creator, Healer, Shepherd, a God of order, not chaos. When the diagnosis hit my brain, my thought was, 'okay LORD. I see. You have this in my life. I pray you use it. Use it for Your glory. Use it for Your mighty work. Use me. I have this one life to live and I'd rather live it for Your work than for any other reason. 

Do you think this is a foolish rant of a sick, delusional old lady? Are you ready to see all that I'm learning in this amazing journey my LORD has placed me on? The days where my thoughts drifted toward despair, then inexplicably, He sends a messenger. He speaks to me in His Word. He sends a bluebird. He sends a text with a verse. He awakens my senses because He knows I see Him there. He sends a Shepherd in the form of a breast cancer survivor. Countless stories of His provision and I'm only into this journey four months! And you know what the kicker is in all this? This cancer could consume me and that would be okay too! For I know where I'm headed and that has been prepared for me before I was born. The moment I was reborn, it was sealed. Now I just want to follow Him while I'm here, even if it's where I thought I'd never go.

Stay tuned for more works of His presence, provision and power.

(ps. The photo above is an antique item that has been passed back and forth between my Kindred Spirit Friend during times of distress in our lives. I'm assuming that she will allow me to keep it for now.😉 It makes me smile.)

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Here We Go

 It's been a minute.

Years have passed since I last appeared on this forum.  The things that have been documented on this somewhat archaic platform are precious to me and I was glad to share them. My life in a small town, the newness of grandmotherhood and all the fun of creating and sharing my craft, was covered on this site for years.

Things have changed a bit.

I am entering my 70th year. I have attained 50 years of marriage to my best friend. I am on the cusp of celebrating the arrival of my 12th grandchild. I have lived in the big city of Indianapolis for six and a half years. I have enjoyed watching my grown up children become solid adults with beautiful families. There have been highs and lows, troubles and joys but through it all, I have my Jesus. I have life now and eternal.

And I have breast cancer.

I found out while checking my phone on my My Chart Page. I was on my way to my grandson's soccer game, so it came into my head but got pushed aside while I attended his game and chatted with my son and his wife. Light things. Just those, well, now; that's something, kind of talk. I shared with my children as soon as I received the news and then we all processed it. We still are processing. Processing as each new surgery and each new testing. It's been a part of my life for four months now and it's as startling today as it was then. But not impossible and not overwhelming. Because, you see, I have my Jesus.

These blog posts shall be the journey. Some of you will be interested. Some will be scared for me. Some will ignore it but there are those that might wonder how I'm doing and how Jesus is revealing Himself to me through it all. It is all about Him you know. I'm old enough to realize that you don't get through this thing called life without something! And if you are walking with my Jesus, you will see just how He works in situations like this  and how you can be a part of this wondrous thing called hope that He provides. 

I start chemo this week. There will be times where I will be absent from all the ramifications that chemo brings, but on the days that I can, I will share with you all that I'm learning so that you too, can have hope. Maybe not for a perfect cure but for grace in the journey and hope for eternity. 

Please know that I'm not archiving this for any pity or sadness but only for God's glory. He wants me to share all that He is teaching me and I am humbled to be called upon to do this.

I appreciate and welcome any and all prayers for me during this time. Let me know how I can pray for you and your concerns and trials. I have to not be consumed with me at this time so I would be honored to pray for you.


Here we go...

Sunday, August 6, 2017

House Sounds

A house spoke to me last night.
At first I thought that it was the smell of the summer night or the cicada serenading, that brought me to such a receptive state that is needed when listening to the sounds of life.

We are vaguely familiar, this house and I,  but yet she wanted to share with me.
It seemed she had so much to say and needed to spill it all out to me because she knew I was interested.

So many things she shared with the lifts of excitement and heaviness of grief.  Childhood giddiness  and elderly woes- it all came out...

This house will celebrate it's fortieth year this summer.  I clearly remember it being built and the excitement of watching it unfold as each crossbeam structure lifted into place and rooms became clear.  I remember Move In day and all the joyous chaos that it brought. But there was so much more that the house had to recount.

The House stated that many children tromped up and down the stairs.  Sometimes the cry of a newborn in the night made the house sigh but how she enjoyed the giggles. She told of merry holidays and the aroma of many menus.  The House wondered at her strength when groups of people would gather, warmed by her hearth and welcomed by tables laden with food.  There were so many words spoken, much laughter and the inevitable tears when a family of seven dwell together.

This night, the House wanted to share it's heart.  She gave me a glimpse of every day life, some of which I was familiar.  I do remember when babies came home from the hospital to this home.  I do remember family gatherings.  I do remember remodels and updates.  The normal stuff of life this house, this night, she let me feel.

But then, she reminded me of the Sad Day.  She spoke of the time when grieving came in torrents and silence.  When the overwhelming feeling of hopelessness and unalterable change, came to her.  The horrible day when the house stopped it's normal function and it paused as it's family, as it knew and loved and protected, would be forever changed as it's owner left this earth to his eternal house.

That day had a profound affect on the house and all who entered it in the days and weeks and now years to come. No amount of tears seemed to compensate the loss.  The weeping and pacing and comforting absorbed into the very wood of the home and remains to this very day.

But the House wanted to remind me to keep remembering the joys that made up the majority of the forty years that the house let them call her home.  She told me clearly that so much life took place within her walls, that it was hardly fair to draw such attention to the Sad Day.  Still, she needed to speak of it, needed to make sure we knew how much it took out of her and those she called family.  She wanted me to feel the void.

So, I laid in a bedroom of some child, teenager, young adult, who dwelt there for years, reflecting the sounds, smells, sights of a house well lived in and viewed, ever so briefly, the silent days when grief was born at the speaking of a single word: Cancer.

I drifted off to a dream filled sleep, accompanied by the history of the house and it's story, the sounds of summer and the comfort of family.

Bless and keep all of us as we expose our homes and our hearts to this thing called life...

Friday, January 27, 2017

P31 March for Humility


I have a thought.

I am going to start a Virtual March for Humility; Proverbs 31 Style.
What with all the marching that's been going on of late, I believe I can get my idea to fit in nicely.

There will be no traveling, no hotel reservations or for that matter, you might as well stay in your jammies.  Agoraphobics will not be excluded since they can accomplish this march in the safety of their own home.  In fact, everyone, from sexual orientation, race, gender and political leanings can join in.  No hats required either.

Here's what's involved:

We shall take all the biblical admonitions regarding womanhood, all the downright practicalities of Proverbs 31, and march it right into our hearts and see what we can do with it in our day to day.  See what we can do to accomplish a life modeled on peace, confidence, strength, humility, respect, hard work and family care.

Let us assume that you have read and maybe reread Proverbs 31.  It's the last Proverb in that particular book.  Saving the best for last, let us say.  Before you sign on to the P31 March for Humility, let me zip through some of the principles that we will march in our hearts for:

Verse one shows us that a king's mother taught him about women and which ones could be detrimental to his reign.
Verse two through seven, lets us know that to get drunk might get you in trouble with the press.  Keep the heavy stuff for those that really need consoling, like the dying.

Verses six through nine has been a driving force in much of my ministry and just in general moral living:  Speak for those that can't.  Take care of the poor and helpless.  Plead justice for all.

Ten through the end gives us some guidelines for being a wife and mother.  In general, womanhood.
What can we learn from these verses?

A great wife is more valuable than anything else.  Beyond riches.
If she is trustworthy, she will enrich others.
She will bring others no harm in any way.  Always.
She's busy.
She works hard and long.
She owns a business and runs it with dedication.
She has helpers and treats them well.
She invests and reaps the rewards of that.
With her talents, she helps care for the needs of others.
She is no dowdy chick.  She dresses well.
She is respectable and makes sure that her husband is respected by her actions.
She sells things she makes.
She is fearless.
She is confident.
People listen to her because she has a proven record of wisdom and kindness.
She makes sure the cat is fed and the dog is up to date on his shots.
She knows when it's her turn to speak at her children's class and when to make cookies for the Christmas party.
Without prompting, her kids and husband, sing her praises.  They really like her.
She will grow old gracefully and will not embarrass her family by not.
At her funeral, the lines will be long and their will be many testimonies of her amazingness

Not too much to ask, right?
Simple.  Be kind.  Treat others like you want to be treated.  Know we will have differences and get over it.  Pray for others in so doing, you keep from getting overly consumed with your own concerns.
Be respectful to everyone, including yourself.

Can your heart and spirit march to the rhythm of the good sense mentioned in this dear chapter of this Great Book?  If so, then do this.  Watch how you respond to the next controversial thing that pops up in your news feed. Heck, for some of you, this post could be a pot stirrer. How does it make you feel?  How does it make you want to react?  Search out our hero, Proverbs 31 Woman, and see how this lady would respond.  Chances are, if you wish to emulate this well respected woman, you might reflect just a bit longer, sieve your thoughts another moment and speak as if your daughter was hanging on to every word.  Because she is.

We have a very brief time on this earth, relatively speaking.  Let's make it kindly count in our little square.

Verse Of The Day 2

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