Wednesday, January 25, 2006

How Could I Forget?

The Opening of the Floodgates
Well, it is time for a post about another miracle that happened that I haven’t written about yet. I woke up this morning and realized that I hadn’t written about it on my blog! So here goes.

For those who don’t know, David and I have always driven older vehicles since we have been married. During the time of the diagnosis of cancer, we were driving an older Ford pickup with over 300,000 miles on it. It was a club cab so we could get the kids in the back, but it was a workout going anywhere! We had been praying about a new vehicle but didn’t see that it was the time to get one. When we had to start going back and forth to Houston David’s parents loaned us their trusty little car.

On December 18, we got a call from a friend. They said that they would like to come over and drop a little something off. We assumed they were bringing food or something. What they dropped off were the keys to a 2003 Chevy Suburban with only 42,000 miles on it. Talk about shocked. Our friend said that the Lord wanted them to give it to us and it was ours.

The suburban is a big gift from God in itself. However, God had fun on this deal. The whole thing, down to the color, is exactly what we would have ordered if we could have custom ordered one. When we go shopping, it looks like we bought our double stroller to match the suburban. Our diaper bag matches our ride. When I wear my heavy winter coat, it looks like I got dressed to ride in it. And the features! All just what we would have wanted. Right down to the 6 cd changer.

Does any of that stuff amount to a hill of beans?! No. But God did Christmas His way. I believe He did it partly to show us how much He is in control and really knows just what we need and even want. I feel pretty took care of riding in my custom suburban. And the funny thing is that when I prayed about a vehicle I didn’t have a list. I did ask for a new vehicle. I even asked for a newer one. But I couldn’t have even come up with everything God did. There is no way that I could have gone figured out everything and had it all work out so that not only I really liked it but David did too. And he does. We both like it equally as well. (Although, David is cool with just a CD player, the 6 CD changer was for me!)

I should mention in here that God had done some stuff in me before giving us the ‘Burban, (Our pet name that came from Keilah’s mispronunciation), that had He not done I would not have seen how important it was.

I had to be willing to be content with whatever God provided for us to drive. If that meant driving an old Ford pickup into the ground and leaving it on the side of the road before getting a new vehicle, I had to be content with that provision. If contentment comes because circumstances change, I question if it is true contentment. I am not saying that it is wrong to be happy with new, good things or circumstances. But if your happiness depends on everything being perfectly adjusted, I would say that contentment has not been found. Was I always content driving a vehicle that was not dependable? Did I always just look at it as an adventure to see if we would get there or not? No. I wanted to do something and David felt that it wasn’t the time and that we should wait. I had to make a decision to be content in a circumstance that was not easy. I had to decide to enjoy the time I was in and submit joyfully to the Lord in it. Easy? No. But so worth it. Not because now I have a 2003 Chevy Suburban but because of the peace and joy in my heart that I had before we were given the Suburban.

So, if you are struggling with something in your life today, maybe a physical need, maybe not physical, let me encourage you to not worry about it. God is big, bigger than you think. He cares about your needs and knows what you need and want more than anyone on earth. Ask Him for your heart’s desire, but then let Him have the reigns, let Him surprise you with His provision. And be willing to give up control and choose to be content today in the middle of stuff that could or should be better but isn’t. There no better place to be.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Good morning! It is about 7:00 am and I am up and ready to go. Well, ready to write anyway.

I am home now and doing pretty good. I have had a pretty easy time with the treatment this time, which has been nice! I was tired yesterday some, but not totally drained like I have been. God has been so good.

We have so much to be thankful for. While we were in Houston the community held a fundraiser in my behalf and raised money to cover medical expenses, etc. It was unbelievable how many people came. They signed a little book and we were going over it when we got home. Many folks we knew but there were some we didn’t even know who they were.

I also thought you all might like to see our new family photo.

And here are the remains of David’s guns.

I’ll post more pictures later and write more later too.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Happy Anniversary!

Today is David's and mine anniversary. 5 years. Wow. It has been a really full 5 years. So much has happened in such a short amount of time. I have grown so much because of my marriage to David. I have experienced so much that I would not have had I not been married to him. I have been so happy, the happiest I have been in my whole life. We have been through a lot of hard times together. But through it all we have been together and I would never trade the times we have been through for anything. I love you David. Thank you for the best 5 years of my life and for being the special guy you are.

I am doing chemo right now. I started yesterday and will get unplugged tomorrow. I have had an easier time this round than the other times. As for my test results, things are looking very good. They said that there only a few places that still show up on the CT scan. All the lymph nodes have gone down a lot. After 2 more rounds of chemo they will do a PET scan to see if there is any activity that would indicate that more chemo needed to be done. But my doctor was really pleased with my progress. I am so thankful and am looking forward to being done with treatment.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Tests And Such

Yesterday I had my CT scan. Yuck. But God was good in the middle of it. I didn't feel good because of the barium but God gave me many opportunities to talk to people around me. It was really fun actually.

In the morning I start my third round of chemo. I am not looking forward to it at all. But I know that God will be with me and that I will come through on the other side of this treatment.

I got a wig yesterday, too. It is a dark red and about jaw length. A lot different than I am used to but pretty cute really. I'll get David to take a picture so I can post it.

I don't really have a lot to write about tonight. I guess that is about it. Goodnight!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

More Details...

Hello everyone! I am writing to you from my new laptop, and although I don’t show it I am very excited. (No one could tell from how I am bouncing around how excited I am. I hide it very well.) I am now a mobile writer and will be updating my blog more often. I have so much to write.

I don’t know just where to start on all this. So much has happened and I have learned so much. God has done so much in my life in the last few months. I guess I will just try to do a brief overview and give as many details as will fit.

The Worst I Could Imagine
I left you all hanging at MD Anderson during the week of testing. I’ll start from there.

As most of you know, I was looking for a treatment that did not include chemotherapy. We were hoping that MD Anderson would have something like that. They didn’t. They only offered the standard regimen of chemo and told me that nothing else would work. If I didn’t do chemo, I had 6-12 months to live. I could feel that I was getting worse. But I still felt that I wasn’t supposed to do chemo. I really asked the Lord about that while I was there. It was hard to deal with the doctors and would have been much easier to just do the chemo and trust God with it. When I was first diagnosed that was what I had peace about but then felt He said not to do it.

MD Anderson recommended looking immediately into whatever other treatment I was going to consider. So, October 31, 2005, the day we left MD Anderson, we decided to call the Burins clinic. We had heard about them before and their clinic was in Houston. They got us right in and so November 2, 2005, we went to talk with them. They have had very good success treating many types of cancer, combining conventional methods with other research. While we were there in the initial consultation, I felt like the “don’t do chemo” lifted. I was shocked. I had told friends that if God made it clear that it was His plan for me to do chemo then I would. But I didn’t foresee Him doing so at that point. After the doctor left for a minute I told David what had happened. He said that he had felt the same thing.

We did start treatment with the Burzinski clinic that day. They recommended doing their treatment along with chemo. They had research that showed that it helped the chemo to work better than without it. So, I took that treatment for a month while we decided where to do the chemotherapy along with it. We decided to do treatment at MD Anderson and went down there. We hoped that they would be willing to work with the other clinic. They weren’t. In fact they insisted that if I took treatment with them that we couldn’t do any other type of treatment while in treatment with them. No herbs, no high dose vitamin C, no teas, nothing. A multivitamin was the only form of that sort of thing they would allow me to be on. If I wouldn’t agree to that, then they would not treat me.

David and I took the weekend to think it over and pray about it. The worst part about it was that it seemed that God was leading us to do treatment with them anyway. I say it was the worst because all of a sudden God was calling me to walk down a path that was the worst path imaginable to me. I found that I was relying on the things that I was doing more than I had realized. I could trust God to take care of me, but when He called me to trust Him only and nothing else I started shaking in my boots. I had to come to the place that I would trust Him no matter what and would walk even the path that didn’t make sense to me. It was not an easy choice or road for me. I didn’t want to lay down my will on the issue, but as He led me through that “fire” I found a new freedom that I had never had. I was no longer afraid of the chemo when I laid down my fears and decided to follow Him.

I have done 2 rounds of chemo now and although it makes me feel horrible and so drained afterwards, God has been so good and big in the middle of this time. Each time He has shown me things and done things in my life that are so special and precious to me. I am just amazed at how during the worst time in my life God has been so big and good to me.

Also, I am seeing a healing take place in my body. I don't hurt all the time anymore and the tumors that I could feel in my neck are gone. My abdomen is not all swollen anymore and I am wearing size 8 jeans! :-) I am taking care of my kids again and have plenty of energy.

So, to sum up the above, I didn’t want to walk this path. I didn’t want to walk through this fire. But when I submitted to him and did, I found that it is where I wanted to be after all. The things that I have learned and where I am now in my walk with Him is where I wanted to be anyway. I just didn’t want to go through the fire to get here.

The Other FireThe other fire was more what you think of when you think of fire.

Jan 1, 2006 we started home from Houston. I had just had a round of chemotherapy and they had taken me off of it the day before. I was pretty drained really. While on the way home we got a call from our pastor. He was wondering if we had heard about our town being evacuated due to fire sweeping across the countryside. Also, the fire was or had been in the vicinity of our house. We had not heard and were shocked to hear it. David’s parents live close to us and we wondered about them. They didn’t answer their phone.

We drove until we made it to our pastor’s house. David dropped me and the kids off there and he and our pastor, along with another friend, left on the back roads to work their way in to our house.

What David found was shocking. It was all gone. The house, shop and greenhouse were totally gone. The fire had swept across and just burned it all. Our house is nothing but a pile of rubble. Only the metal skirting and anything that doesn’t burn is left.

As you can see from these pictures, there is nothing left. The top picture is our house and beyond the greenhouse. The bottom picture is the heap of metal that was David’s shop.

The miracle is that our new house survived. For those of you that don’t know, in 2004 we moved in a 3 bedroom house to fix up as we had time and money. We hadn’t done much as we have not had the money and then with me being sick and all we had no time and no money.

This picture shows how close the fire got to our house. You can see that the woods beyond the house are burned and that the grass under the trees close to the house is burned. All the way around the house there is not one bit of scorched grass. It is as if that house was in a bubble because the fire was all the way around it. Keilah says that God said, “No fire, you can’t burn our new house,” and he picked the fire up over the house and set it down on the other side. It sure looks that way when you look at the house.

The fire was so hot that it melted our cast iron in the other house. David and I went over one day and dug around in our rubble, looking to see if anything survived. We didn’t find much, nothing really. Then David found something that shocked us both. He found a porcelain cross that had hung on our bathroom wall. It was laying on a rock totally unharmed. It had the words, “This is the day that the Lord has made. Rejoice and be glad in it.” David picked it up and read it and then he said, “Well, I guess we will.”

Needless to say, that cross is now one of our favorite possessions.

Something I learned in the fire is that God is always more than enough. If I am following Him and trusting Him even my house burning down and losing all my things will not devastate me. I know that I am in the palm of His hand and that nothing can move or shake me. It is an awesome feeling to know that I can not be moved or shaken by any circumstances around me.

I am headed down to MD Anderson tomorrow for CT scans and then chemo. Your prayers are much appreciated! I will try to update as I can.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Hello, Hello, HELLO!!!

Okay, I saw you all just fall out of your chairs to see a post from me on here! Sorry for the long time gap of no news. I have been doing great, and quite honestly have had too much to write! God has been working so much and so much has been happening so fast. To briefly some it all up for you, although I will write it all more detail later, the cancer treatment has been going very well. God has shown up and shown His power. I am not able to even find the nodes that were swollen in my neck anymore and the large tumor on my groin is nearly gone. (That is so brief, I am sorry, I have limited time here)

The last exciting news is that our house burned down during the fires down here this week. It is totally gone. But God is big in the middle of that too. The new house that we were going to move into when we were able to fix it stood. It is not even singed around it. We are living with David's parents right now and will be working on our new house in the weeks to come. We did have insurance, another miracle, and so will have plenty of money to fix up the other house. Please be in prayer for the families around us. There were over 100 homes burned in our area.

I am sorry this is so brief, I feel mean posting such a short post, but I will post again in more detail soon. In the meantime, any of you that have my address, send me something or send me and email with your information. We were in Houston when the fire took place, so all I have is what I had with me.

I love you all! Know that God is hearing and answering your prayers in ways you could never even imagine!