q & a

June 10, 2011 § 4 Comments

1. any results?
yes and no. the pathology from core biopsy, like the fine needle biopsy was inconclusive. soooo the results are no results yet.

2. what does that mean??
good question!! here’s how dr. oki, the lymphoma dr explained it to me: “we can see the cells in the tumor are abnormal but not what the structure of the abnormal cells form.”

3. what happens now?
i’ve been bounced over to the head and neck department for a consultation and surgical plan to take the tumor out and then they will biopsy the whole stupid thing. after many phone calls, lots of waiting and much frustration, i have an appointment back at md anderson next thursday. because the tumor is in the perotid gland and lymph node which sits on the facial nerve it is a pretty delicate surgery. we’ll find out at the appointment when they will do the surgery. (here’s some random trivia and a tip, lebron james had a similar tumor which was benign and never google surgeries. especially without blocking images.)

4. how are you doing?
i have a lot of weird side effects from the tumor messing with the nerve, from tingling and numbness to shooting pains and general discomfort. and today i have been tired and teary. i knew this part would come, where fatigue sets in from waiting and not feeling well, blah, blah, blah. so i let the tears come and know that this feeling will pass.

5. what helps?
focusing on His truth instead of my feelings, remembering His faithfulness and letting His grace roll over me always helps.

i got some strange satisfaction today from finding and fixing the bad smell coming from the dryer. you don’t want to know the details of that. but thanks max, for being my macgyver assistant.

and laughing of course. this made me laugh; i tried to type teary in a text on my iphone and it autocorrected to “testy” and then to “reset.” thanks autocorrect for that accurate summary and good advice. :0)

and if you are a seinfeld fan, this scene from the episode about frustration and waiting for a table at a chinese restaurant always makes me laugh!

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home

June 6, 2011 § 1 Comment

home again, home again, jiggity jig. my mom used to say that and so i do too and i’m not sure where it came from but i now understand what it means. i am so glad to be home i could dance a little jig! but i didn’t because it would frighten the neighbors and horrify the kids. and i am so grateful for the kids! they have kept my doggie alive and held down the fort while we were gone. and they teamed up to welcome us home: mike mowed the yard, liza cleaned the kitchen and max tidied the house, wow!

they even kept my tiny little orchid alive!

friday started with a surprise when we received a call from the hospital to come on down, they were ahead of schedule. that was evidence of God’s sovereignty – only He can speed things up in the medical world! and He had a lovely surprise for us: He coordinated our dear friends bob and elizabeth’s schedule at mda with ours so we could hang out together before i went into surgery and bob went off to chemo! e and i chatted in my little cubicle while bob and david were ejected to waiting area; i was in violation of the 1 visitor code. shocking, huh? what a beautiful gift in a hard, hard day, to get to talk and laugh and pray with a dear friend. as i was being wheeled back to the procedure room i apologized to my nurse for being so raucous and he responded by saying, “it is actually wonderful to hear laughter. we don’t get a lot of that.” the biopsy took a lot longer than expected, was crazy painful and alas, no discovery of my twin. (if that makes no sense, see the video in my last post.) we flew home on saturday and are now in the waiting stage for the pathology results.

as i have been talking with the Lord, the word that keeps coming to me is endure. and as He often does with me, He repeats it all over the place to make sure i remember. apparently i am slow on the uptake and He is gracious with me. :0) so the sermon at church included that word:

romans 5:3-5 (nlt)
“we can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. and endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. and this hope will not lead to disappointment. for we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”

and then david sent me his devotional this morning:

psalm 136:1 “Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good. His love endures forever.”
“God’s love endures our fickleness, persists through our unbelief, remains during our rebellion, continues endlessly, and it does all that without flinching. the steadfast love of the Lord is something that we can rely on completely. It never comes to an end.”

endurance sounds like something i must do. but like most every other spiritual truth, i find that He is the source. i don’t have to manufacture it, He supplies the endurance i need. it is Him filling and me receiving.

both of these verses remind that i am dearly loved and that He fills my heart with that love, a love that endures all things. this is the vital element, allowing His love to fill me, unclenching my fists to receive…then i discover, miraculously, that i can endure, i can rejoice, and i can give thanks. jiggity jig!

bi-bop, biopsy

June 2, 2011 § 5 Comments

yesterday was gross. i had a ct scan with contrast and then a pet scan after that. let me just encourage you to run from anyone who says the word barium to you. yikes. but today we had a pre-op appointment only then had lunch and dinner with friends. awesome fun!

the biopsy is tomorrow at 3:00. we are praying for a benign tumor or maybe even this outcome from the movie my big fat greek wedding. :0)

comfort

May 31, 2011 § 5 Comments

there is something about the familiar that is comforting. whether it is the smell of your regular coffee in the morning or the feel of your sheets at home or even the ubiquitous houston humidity, it is comforting. when we got off the plane and i felt that moist, warm air, it was oddly soothing. and my hair immediately began to protest.

we are staying with david’s brother john, who lives a block from the condo we lived in 22 years ago. more memory lane activity. john has graciously loaned us his car and lives close to md anderson cancer center, which makes a hard situation easier. and spending time with john is always fun! john is a partner in a custom home building company, (urbancraft.org) check out the stunning homes they build! yesterday he took us to a swanky new mexican restaurant for lunch called TQLA. yum.

after that we headed north to our former home town, the woodlands, to hang out with our dear friends, bob and elizabeth vaughn and ty and prissy snelling. bob, elizabeth and prissy all went to middle school and high school together and ty was david’s roommate at ut. lots of history equals lots of laughs. we all lived close to each other in the woodlands when all our kiddos were little and had “pizza night” every friday night for 6 years. the familiarity of longtime friends is glorious and the laughter and joy are probably a little peek through the curtain into heaven.

this morning we were at the hospital at 7:30 to start the diagnostic process. as we walked into the familiar lobby of md anderson, although 15 years later from david’s treatment, we were heading down another memory lane. more twilight zone-ish though. we got registered, insurance hoops jumped through, met with the nurse, met with the p.a., met with the dr, met with the scheduler, got blood work done, had 2 chest xrays and were back in the car at noon. tomorrow i have a ct scan and pet scans and get to drink all kinds of yummy radioactive stuff. yet to be scheduled is another biopsy. we are praying that can be done before our scheduled return to denver on friday. although we don’t have any answers as to what is going on yet, i am grateful and confident that we are pointed in the right direction.

mostly though i am grateful for how God blesses us. even in the middle of this crummy spot in our journey are these fabulous ways He comforts us and shows His love…time with family, lots of laughter with dear friends, mexican food and wonderful memories. even humidity.

2 corinthians 1:3-5
praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. for just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

may: not what i expected

May 27, 2011 § 6 Comments

the first of may i noticed a swollen lymph node on my neck and thought i must be getting sick with the same throat thing liza had the week before. minus the sore throat and fever. by the end of the week i looked like i had swallowed a nerf football, had seen 4 different doctors and my dentist, was on 3 antibiotics, 3 rounds of steroids, had an ultrasound and was not getting better. the next week i had a mri which revealed under all that swelling (which thankfully had started to recede) was a mystery growth/mass/tumor. on to an ent who scheduled a biopsy which revealed “inconclusive” results, not a benign cyst but not sure what it is.

at this point, david and i decided to do what we have advised so many others to do in the 15 years since he had cancer, seek the expert care at md anderson cancer center in houston. we have been praying for clear direction and wisdom on discerning what is going on. when i spoke with mda one of the things they said in response to my uncertainty, was that they would “figure out what is going on. we will give you a clear diagnosis. and we love to tell people they don’t have cancer.” we leave on sunday and are excited to stay with david’s brother and spend time with our dear friends in the woodlands. that is a wonderful blessing in the midst of this. i will be updating here on my blog from houston. i am so grateful for the many, many prayers. through them He is sustaining us with His love and peace.

may has certainly not been what i expected. and i am not sure what the next week will hold for us. but i am sure of more important things.

i am sure of God and His relentless, amazing love for us. (romans 8 :38-39)
i am sure of His sovereignty over all things. (psalm 103:19)
i am sure i will struggle and i am sure He will meet me there with His grace. (2 cor. 12:9, hebrews 4:16 )
i am sure that He has tremendous beauty and blessing to be revealed in this unknown, often dark road. (isaiah 45:3)
i am sure of His peace that surrounds me which i don’t generate or even understand. (isaiah 26:3, phil. 4:6-8)
and i am sure that He is good and i can trust Him completely.

“i trust in you, LORD;
i say, “You are my God.”
my times are in your hands.”
psalm 31: 14-15a

button has been super happy with me being sick because her favorite place to be is in my lap. :0)

He is all i need.

May 24, 2011 § 4 Comments

just a pretty picture, not relevant.

i am waiting this morning on a phone call to hopefully give me answers to some health problems i have been having this month. even that sentence is frustrating…a month , a month of pain and confusion and hard. but as i wait some things have been striking me as beautiful.

i don’t wait alone. He is with me in the deepest places of my soul, where no one else can reach. He is all i need.

worry is like a mosquito. it is a small annoying thing that flits around me and threatens to bite and leave behind an annoying itch or possibly a fatal disease. i swat at it continually. worry is me not trusting, worry is me saying my life is supposed to go this way and if it doesn’t then you are wrong, God. i am grateful for reminders to trust Him. who better to direct my life than the One who loves me and cares for me and knows what is best. i remember and trust. He is all i need.

i rest and don’t feel rested. yet i rest in Him and there is a deep settling of my heart into a place it was fitted for. He is all i need.

memories of His faithfulness are sustaining. i remember the words of the hymn i have sung for as long as i can remember. He has always been faithful. even when i was unaware and exercising a sort of atheism, He was faithful. “all i have needed, thy hand has provided.” He is all i need.

i chose the word “blessed” for 2011. turning my heart eyes, my mind eyes to this truth reminds me of His grace. this life i live, no matter how painful or difficult, is a gift of grace. for even in the pain, i experience Him. what is more grace-full than a God, a Father, a Friend who is present in brokenness. He is all i need.

and always, He is seeking me. how can that be right? that He would seek a faithless wayward heart? and yet He does. and it is all undone by His gentle hands, the impatience, the “what ifs?”, the frustration, the exhaustion. He is all i need.

“our God gives you everything you need, makes you everything you’re to be.”

2 thessalonians 1:2 MSG

resting

February 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

are you busy? we love busy these days. we live in a culture that is hurry-sick. we might even secretly like our super busy, stressed lives because it makes us feel very important, completely indispensible.

but we are not. and how quickly we can dispense what we can’t do with out Him. His perspective to see our lives securely in His hands. all situations. the to-do list. even time. He’s got it all.

and i can rest.

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