Friday, March 27, 2015

Courageous. Beautiful.

This past Sunday, my husband and I crossed another hurdle.  My hair follicles were so very painful that I asked him to shave my head. 

 He set up the bistro table and my daughter's clippers on the patio.  I set Meghan Trainor's song, Close Your Eyes to repeat.  The yard looked so beautiful with trees and flowers in full bloom. 

Then, ever so gently, my courageous husband picked up the largest from the carefully lined up blades and set to his task with loving, gentle hands.  Every once in a while, he'd switch to a shorter blade until, finally, the deed was done.

There were few words spoken, none were needed.  I listened hard to the lyrics:

So I want you to close your eyes

Sing to the world tonight

And show them what's beautiful.


I don't care what they think

No, I’m not listening

Cause I know I'm beautiful

So close your eyes


Show the world the you inside

Raise your vice and close your eyes

Cause you're beautiful


My husband is the most courageous, gentle, tender, loving man I know.
For today, that's my truth.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Reality. Water.

Wow, so much has happened.  My last treatment threw me for a loop, much quicker, much harder....yuck.  Usually I have at least 24 hours after treatment to feel fine.  This time, I felt the "yuckiness" during the last hour of treatment.  The new anti-nausea/vomiting medication seemed like a placebo - no improvement over the last one.  Well, it turns out I have thrush - which puts a whole new spin on things.  The one "spin" that is hard for me is no kissing my grandbabies.  Really?   Really!  Really. Do you know how much I kiss my babies?!  Ok, so no kissing.  I can do that. Reality is starting to hit:  I have cancer, I really have cancer.  Eeeesh. 
 I've been praying for the joy of the Lord, because that is my strength.  I really need it as I face the new limitations, bodily changes and do's and don'ts that come with chemotherapy.  I can accommodate  them with a fairly good attitude.  But I need me my water.  Just yesterday, I listed to God all the hard things that are going on - as if He doesn't know, right?  Then I simply asked for one thing:  Please let me drink water.  I miss drinking water.  Plain old water.  The last time I had a glass of water, I ended up worshipping the "porcelain throne" as they say.  See, fighting cancer is hard.  Life changes.  As much as I'm willing to fight to live, I do have one limit, one boundary, one thing I don't want to give up and that's water.  Well, guess what, just as I was hanging on that last knot on my rope, asking my Father for water, He gave it to me.  I just drank about 4 ounces of water and I don't feel like puking!  Isn't God good?  As we go through this walk together, I chose to continue to have faith, to smile because I really feel like it, and to pray for and to receive the joy of the Lord.  That's how we get through trials:  His joy, His love, His laughter, Him.  I'm blessed to have all these.  
For today, that is my truth. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Dread. Drained. Coloring Outside the Lines. A New Project.

This Day Before Chemo has been a strange one.  I feel dread, real dread. 

dread:  verb to anticipate with great apprehension or fear
noun great fear or apprehension
Yup.  That's been today.  So, I did what I normally do when I'm upset.  I ate the most delicious twistee doughnuts in Las Cruces.  I went to Hobby Lobby and talked with my friends from the yarn and sewing departments.  I perused the aisles admiring yarn, patterns and scrapbooking supplies. 
I passed on the yarn mainly because I have a substantial stash.  Oh!  FYI Polly and Isabel, I just found another box of yarn!  Yikes!  :0

I did find two patterns for chemo hats that I'm going to try. 
M6521, Headband, Head Wraps and HatsM4116, Misses' Turban,  Headwrap & Caps
I don't know if I can make them, but I'm gonna try! 

Yes, my hair has started falling out, a few strands at a time.  My husband says those are the renegade strands.  My head feels strange, tingly and itchy, really weird.  Another thing to dread - losing my hair.  But I'd much rather be alive and bald than dead with a full head of hair.  Do me a favor?  Remind me of those words later on....
I'm a bit drained tonight just thinking of tomorrow.  I'm hopeful because the doctor is changing my nausea medication in hopes that my systems will be greatly reduced.  I hope.
My daughter and I joined our local Bernina quilt shop's $7.50 Club.  It's really cool.  Basically we make a block a month for an entire year.  We pay $7.50 for the first month's fabric and pattern.  Then, if we are "good girls" and make our block, we are rewarded with the next month's fabric and pattern at no charge!  The really challenging part for me is that we chose which colors go where.  So, tomorrow at chemo, I'll be playing with blocks and colored pencils.  Here's a bit of what I've designed so far.  I'm far from done. 
I also decided to use some of my precious fabric from Lancaster, PA to join this Block of the Month project from Clover and Violet Simple Scrappy Quilt ( ).  Here are my own first two squares. 

 The fabric is from a line called Happy, and it does indeed make me happy just to see it.  One of these days, I need to show you my sewing/scrapbooking room.  It's a precious gift from my husband and two close friends.  It's amazing.  Sometimes God just blesses our boots off.  Sometimes, I forget those blessings.  Like now. 
Overall, I'm indeed blessed. 
For today, that's my truth!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Hurt. Healing. Love Grows! Finally - a Routine! An Update.

Well Hello There!

It has been a while!  I absolutely enjoyed my sister-in-law and, quite honestly, got a bit spoiled!  But, here lately, we've been preparing the house for my Victoria to come live with us!  We are so excited to be a part of her transition from Okinawa to New Mexico!  The bedroom is about 90% ready and now we are simply waiting for her. 

My husband and I also had a tough time of it recently.  You know, however, all things work together for the good of those who  love Him and are called according to His purpose - including tough times with our spouses.  Within a day, the Lord brought deeply felt communication and immensely profound healing that went far beyond the disagreement.  After 34 years of marriage we are falling in love again!  We really are!  It's amazing!  Had I not been diagnosed with cancer, our episode might never have happened and we could have missed this great opportunity of healing and falling in love again!  God is so very good!

My chemotherapy schedule has now been finalized so I feel like I have a routine again.  This new normal is wonderful because at least now, I know what to expect for the next six weeks.  I'll be going every other Thursday, then again on Friday's for the Nuelasta shot.  The neat thing is that the FDA just approved a patch that the nurses can put on me after chemotherapy.  Then, instead of driving in on Friday, the computer is programmed to give me the medicine via the patch - without me having to even leave my house!  Isn't that cool?!

Last time, by Friday evening, I was a wreck.  It took about two or three days to come back around again.  Once the turn around happens, though, I'm really back!  We're praying for minimal side effects this time around.

I'm back on my housecleaning schedule, devotions, and such.  I plan to blog on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.   I'm even making plans on what to show you! 

My hair hasn't fallen out yet - thank God!  My husband prays for me every day - including for my hair to stay put!  I did cut it uber short and really like it!  It's so easy to take care of now!

Victoria taught me this cool way of studying Proverbs years ago.  There are 31 chapters in the book of Proverbs.  I prayerfully read that date's corresponding chapter listening for God to show me the scripture for that day.  He never fails - one scripture always stands out!  I write it in my monthly calendar and sometimes "smash" it in my journal.  At the end of the month, I again, prayerfully, ask for the scripture for that month.  What I plan to do is scrapbook that scripture in my Bible Study scrapbook. 

Here is the page I did this morning:

My original thought was that I want to live, to beat cancer.  But then my thought morphed into the type of lifestyle I want to live, hence Galatians 5:22.  It will DEFINITELY be harder to be gentle and self-controlled!  I do want to love more!  Definitely!  Cancer certainly changes one's perspective on life!  Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plan will succeed.  Proverbs 16:3. 
I've been thinking a lot about this little blog of mine.  I want to share updates about my health, but also about my walk with God through all of this.  He is working in all of our lives and it's so precious, I have to share.  Also, perhaps, one day, my grandchildren will read this and know a bit more about their Ama.  A big part of my life is also sewing, gardening, crocheting and scrapbooking.  I'll show you what's in the works.  But, mainly, I want to share my Friend with you and how He's working in my life.  He is amazing!
photo: Raye Wortel
 And, for today, this is my truth!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Laughter. Food. Love. Chemo 1/16 OH MY GOD!

My sister in law got here last Saturday.  She has been on the East Coast for 2 1/2 years, far too long to be away from our colorful Mexican culture, close family and friends and ¡nuestra comida sabrosa! (Our savory food!). 

As soon as she landed, we kicked it off with our beloved Chico's Tacos!   It was a food feast!   Sunday morning was the best menudo in town!  Then a small get together with KFC filling in for my pork roast.  It didn't cook in time, so everyone got to take it home instead. Monday was delicious Vietnamese food.  Tuesday was my first chemo (more on that later) BUT I was able to enjoy a last bite of one of the best gorditas in town.   Yesterday my wonderful family enjoyed tamales!   Today the feast contined with my son's delicious cooking - burritos!   I've even had a few bites!   Here's a picture:   
He's become quite the chef!    He made me these fajitas a bit ago!
I know, huh? Mouthwatering!

Tuesday was my first chemo treatment and I wish I could say I was brave and full of God's grace. Well, I wasn't a whimpering lion, but I did cry. It was unbelievably difficult to sign the consent form to allow the toxins into my body.  But, as one friend pointed out to a magazine cover subtitle to me:   "I pictured the cancer leaving my body!"  So I focused on that image.  But it was hard, really hard.  My respect has grown by leaps and bounds for those who have gone before me.  You're amazing!

I got a Nuelasta shot Wednesday afternoon.  The side affects didn't really hit until Wednesday night.  Thank God it's only been severe nausea and fatigue. I slept 24 hours straight.  

My daughter and I have been apart for awhile - separated by my kriptonite:   Germs.  She snuck around the back yard and brought me a care package - which she hung on my bedroom French door  handles. My brave poodle guard dogs who haven't left my side didn't hear her.  But then she decided she just HAD to see me so she came back to get a better look - and that's when all hell broke looses!   Barking poodles!   Screaming chemo patient!   Laughing chemo patient!  My sister in law running in to see what the commotion was about!   Daughter fleeing the scene!   True comedy!  Hilarious!

We finished 1/16 treatments. This is going to be a long tough journey.  But we're gonna make it.  We really are.  

For today that is my truth.