Monday, August 30, 2010

Many Thanks

Just a quick "Thank YOU!!!"  I appreciate your prayers and encouragement!  Today finds me with more "zing and zang!" emotionally, just still struggling with some physical challenges.  I have an appt on Tuesday morning with my obgyn specialists...praying they may have an answer or at least help me get pointed in the right direction.  Here is a bit of a song that we sang at church on Sunday--May it encourage you as it did me!

I may be down,
    but I will rise.
It may be dark,
    but God is light!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Gremlins gibberish

Please accept my apologies for the sporadic posts and ponderings.  As mentioned in the last few posts, I have found myself in the leaning over the "pit"  stage of my journey recovery.  This past week, I am humbled to admit...I sat in the pit!  The first few days of the week found me in tears and experiencing a deep sadness, which I couldn't understand.  Not to mention, I just don't feel well.  On top of that, I cracked my crown on the tooth that I had a recent root canal done.  Perfect food for the gremlins to start growing.  Those gremlins kept trying to take over my mind telling me all sorts of lies.
1) What did you do wrong now?  You just can't get life right can you?
2) God must be really mad at you.
3) What aren't you getting, that you have to continue to suffer physically?
4) What good are you to anyone when you can't even put on a smile and make life work?

Thankfully through my past experiences, I was able to combat the gremlins and shot them down with God's truth.  Anytime one of them would try to speak a lie...I would take out some scripture cards a dear friend of mine gave me and start reciting them.  God's word to the RESCUE!!  Another pivotal point in my journey this week was that one of most sweetest, Godly woman whom I am so blessed to have in my life, took time to meet in a chapel and pray for and with me.  Have you ever had someone take your hands and offer prayers on your behalf?  Such sweet, tender words praising and seeking our Father...through my sweet sister in Christ...God saw the tears, wiped them away, wrapped His arms around me and carried me until I was able to get up and walk again.  (okay, I am barely crawling right now...but trust that I soon will be walking!)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Breast Cancer Treatments and FDA

Recently there has been talk of the FDA pulling the chemotherapy drug Avastin.  From my limited understanding of it all, according to some of the studies, the life expectancy of a cancer patient who has taken Avastin doesn't increase and since this drug costs lots of mula, the outcome doesn't support the financial expendature.  The concern I have (and I think we all should have as free citizens in our beautiful country) this the first of the many?  If the drug is pulled because of safety, side effects, etc...totally understandable.  But just because of cost??  If the FDA stops approving this drug, than the insurance companies won't pay for it either, thus, for the breast cancer patients who are having success with this drug, they will no longer have this option for treatment.  Maybe Avastin doesn't affect you or your family personally, but one has to ask, what drug will be pulled next? Here is a video that a young man has put together showing how important Avastin is to his family.  I hope you can take a few minutes and watch it...although the message made me sad, the thought of the love this son has for his mom, warmed my heart.  Triple negative breast cancer mom and Avastin treatment

Guess this was kind of a random post??  

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Rejection, Nah…. Refinement!!

I did it! I sent off my first ever article to a magazine for consideration for publication.

I did it! I received my first ever rejection from my first ever magazine submission.

I didn’t do it! Cry that is…I know that I made an important first step by actually submitting…and as my husband so jokingly stated…your rejection email will be the first of many, that is just the name of the game, but it is proof that you are taking a step.

Well, I am off to review the suggestions from the editor on ideas for improvement—what a blessing that she offered constructive criticism so I can improve as a writer.

How about you? What have you done in taking a step towards your dream?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Talking truths

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12

Does anyone remember Lamb Chops and the famous song that was sung on this show?

This is the song that doesn't end,
Yes, it goes on and on, my friend.
Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was,
and they'll continue singing it forever just because...

And thus the song repeats infinite times.

I can’t help but think of this song and how it relates to my cancer journey. The past few months I have had a cancer “holiday.” (And I have been refreshed with the time to let my body heal.) A few weeks ago, I had a follow up appointment with my obgyn/oncologists, which I started seeing in January for abnormal vaginal bleeding and severe back pain. (Chemo had put me in what is called "chemopause" or otherwise known as an early menopause.)  After a laparoscopy it was discovered that I had endometriosis. The last six months, I have continued to have abnormal and excessive menses cycles and increasing back/pelvic pain. Dr S has agreed to give my body a few more months to try and regulate, if this doesn’t happen, he has recommended a complete hysterectomy with oopherectomy. Since I am not a candidate for hormones, this surgery would mean “instant menopause!” Unsettled with this course of action, I proceeded with a second opinion and prayer… “God, please let this doctor look on me with favor and allow me to receive her guidance.” I am not kidding when I say that she wasn’t even in the room for five minutes and stated with a loud and very clear message, “I agree with Dr S, a complete hysterectomy is the best plan for you!” Blinking back the tears, I left the physician’s office and started slipping into “the hole.”

Are any of you familiar with “the hole?” For me the hole is where the darkness starts to crowd out the light, where I start to lose my peace and hope, and it is where I start to hear the enemy’s words, instead of my Maker’s. In my hole there are no rational thoughts and a lot of ugliness. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that this past week has been a real challenge for me emotionally and physically. I blamed hormones. (I couldn’t even stand to be in the same room with me, unfortunately, I couldn’t leave myself.)

Last evening, as gently as my hubby could, he shared with me some of his observations of the past month or so. To sum it up, he stated that it appeared as if I lost “my peace and hope”. He shared  how he has noticed an increase in my anxiety, moodiness, anger and a decrease in my zeal, happiness, etc. I quickly defended, “I think it is hormones, my body is all whacked out.” As calmly as he could, he stated, “I don’t believe it is hormones and maybe you need to think about what is really going on…” OUCH!!! That hurt!!! If it is not hormones, than it must be something wrong with me. So, with tears in my eyes and a prayer in my heart, trying like a dickens to not want to slap the man, I kept my mouth shut and  listened as my hubby shared his thoughts. He stated, “You are repeating some of your old behaviors that I haven’t seen for a long time. What has triggered your spiral into the hole?” In an instant, I stated I thought I had been doing good, etc…but the doctor’s appointments, thoughts of surgery and extreme fear of cancer returning have been consuming all my thoughts. After I made that statement, the sobbing began…God helped me see that I had once again fallen for the LIE! You see, there was a time in my life, when I believed that I had to “do”, not understanding that I just have to “be”. The past few weeks I had allowed more and more activities to creep into my life, to prove that I was “well” again and to prove that I had some worth and value. Through the busyness of life, I allowed myself to get exhausted and away from spending quality time with God. Perfect time for Satan to whisper in my ears…lies of being unworthy, lies of insecurity, lies of rejection, lies of busyness and lies of fear.

So, I took this morning off…spending time reading God’s word, praying, contemplating, and throwing the “lies” in the trash! In my reading I came across the story of Zerubbabel and how he let fear stop him for many years from accomplishing good things for God. Oh, how I want to capture today and not let fear stop me from living out the call in my life.

I would like to share with you my prayer:

Dear merciful Father,

I am praying to you this morning in utter amazement of how you forever keep your hand on us, even when we forget you are there, when we try and do it our own way, and when we fall for the LIE. Thank you for a husband who isn’t afraid to speak truth in my life. Thank you that my heart was open to hearing the truth, even though it brought pain and tears. Sometimes, Father, life doesn’t make sense, but I know that You are there…just waiting for me to call out to you. Please help me to make wise decisions regarding my health. I want to focus on your truth and we both know that I can get lost in research. Thank you for guiding my efforts in seeking out the proper treatment for my body. Lord, it is my greatest prayer that I can keep my eyes focused on you and to praise you, even when life hurts. Thank you for helping me to throw the “lies” in the trash can. Please help me to use your word to replace the fears. Lord, I also pray for those who may be reading my blog. If there are any lies they believe, please help them to see the truth, because it is within your truth, we are set free!

In Jesus Name,

Ps…please know that there are some instants were emotions/anxiety/etc are hormones, but this time for me it was an excuse to not face the truth.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Simply She Speaks

They say a picture is worth a thousand here's the pic that says it all.  I was there! 
One of the greatest things about the conference was the chance to connect with some new friends that I have met in bloggers world. 
This is Amelia who is a blogger/writer from California.  There are people who come into your life that you hope will become a "forever" friend--Amelia's one of those!  (This is really cool, especially since she is so very Type A and I tend to fly by the seat of my pants!)

Okay before the next few pictures...I have to share a quick story.  Guess who forgot her curling iron and hair brush?  Very funny, God!  A women's conference...and one would have thought that someone who was bald the previous would be important!  One can never have too many lessons in humility.

In this next picture is Cindy, who is not only a sister in Christ, but a fellow breast cancer sister.  Cindy has started a non profit organization called Cindy's Hope Chest, that assists and encourages other cancer patients.  I so appreciated getting to know Cindy better and appreciate her sharing her knowledge on starting a non profit organization, etc.  (Yes, the wheels in my brain are spinning on overtime.)

Many of you know that I never attended college, so I haven't ever had the privilege of experiencing a room mate that I didn't know...Too me, this was one of the best parts of the conference.  Oh, how I prayed that the Lord would be part of the selection process...and He showed up in a big way.  I was so blessed to share a room with Tanya from Kansas City.  What an absolute delightful and inspirational sister!  Please join me in prayer as Tanya works on her book, that God would help her complete her deadline and use her words to encourage and inspire others on their journey.

The last few pictures I have to share with you is that of the prayer room.  This room was such a haven to sneak into when the busyness of the conference became a bit overwhelming for me.  The Proverbs 31 team prayers for each of the women attending and they also put our names by a name of God.  It was interesting another breast cancer survivor and I were sharing how we were so hoping that our name would be on "God who heals."  Interestingly neither of our names were on this name of God, we are assuming it is because we are both healed.  (I am still exploring the message that God has for me regarding the location of my name.) For me, the prayer room was an intimate time with our Lord.

Blessings to you as you begin your week...hoping I will have time to post again in the next few days to share more of my delightful trip!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Recently I was blessed the chance to read an encouraging and inspirational book by John C Maxwell.  The Right to Lead, Learning Leadership through Character and Courage is a delightful, easy read that would make an excellent gift for anyone on your list.  Mr. Maxwell prefaces the book by asking the question, "What gives a man or woman the right to lead?"  He than shares guidelines that will help prepare you to become a better leader.  The book includes story's, antidotes and wisdom from many individuals on the character and courage that is necessary to be a leader among men.  Some of the examples of leaders that are shared in this book are US Army General H Norman Schwarzkop, Nelson Mandela, Eric Liddell, Harriet Tubman, Japanese Consul-General Chiune Sugihara, Eddie Rickenbacker and many more. 
Here's a quick glimpse of one antidote that really tugged at my heart:

In Germany the Nazis came first for the Communist, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.  Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.  Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.  Then they came for me--and by that time no one was left to speak up.--Martin Niemoller

This is one book, I will definitely purchase a few extra to have on hand to share with others. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

She Speaks, She Sits, She Shares

Last weekend I had one of the greatest blessings of my life.  Along with 600+ other women I attended the She Speaks conference in Charlotte, NC.  This week has found me with just having to "sit" with the experience and now my plan for the next few blogs entries is to share how God spoke to my heart through this incredible experience.

First, before I share on the conference, let me share that....I absolutely loved flying! (even with a few unexpected delays, setting off the security alarms and getting frisked!) 

She Speaks offered a preconference women's ministry leadership seminar.  Our opening session was lead by Wendy Blight called Taking Your Calling to a Deeper Place.  Here are just a few nuggets that I was blessed with from Wendy's message:
  • Join God where He is at work
  • We need to passionately connect with Christ.
  • We learn by sitting at the foot of the cross.
  • Jesus engaged the enemy and we will face the enemy too.
  • We need to be prepared for the battle.
Here is a prayer that was shared in our handout from Wendy:

"Lord, I am not great.  But You, Lord, are very great.  In Your immeasurable power and greatness, in your absolute sovereignty take my little, insignificant life and make a difference far beyond my capabilities."

When I was preparing for the conference, my prayer was that I would meet God and hear Him, maybe even get a sense of the direction for His plans for my life.  While, I didn't have any "defining moments", what I did hear and experience was that God has a special calling designed for each of His children.  So, right now, I am going to continue on the same path....slowing down so I can hear Him speak.