I’m Home…So What Now?

431072_10151701273696457_888099066_nI had hoped to blog before now but I have not had the time or energy that I would have liked. I am at home but I still have a Tracheotomy and a feeding tube so I’m on a rigorous medicine and feeding schedule that leaves me short times to sleep and rest. My rebuilt tongue is still too swollen to allow me to eat or breathe without these implements right now. (And yes – I pulled out the fuzzy kitty pics again!)

Doctors have said my recovery is way ahead of schedule.  Two weeks out from surgery I was home.  Most patients are still hospitalized. I need those encouragements to remind me that God has this because I really don’t feel ahead of much but I am thankful for those encouragements.

I am unable to speak and frustrated with that. My frustration has peaked since my children arrived home yesterday for the first time since my surgery.  Trying to keep up with a nine,  twelve, and fifteen year old using sign language and white boards surely constitutes some outer ring of Dante’s inferno.  (Okay,  a VERY outer ring.  But still! )

My test results showed that I will need radiation treatment this summer and they have decided to partner that with a run of chemo.  A six week course. Admittedly,  I have some concern about this.  Whenever it has been mentioned to a nurse or medical professional,  they all get this look on their faces. It seems to be a cross between horror and pity. One woman’s response rings in my mind.  She is a home nurse and she is very young and sweet. She grabbed both of my hands and said urgently, “You’ll make it through.  Remember that. You will.” That frightened me but I am holding on to the sentiment.

I will be having another surgery next Friday, the 13th of June.  It’s a skin graft to fix the place on my wrist where they used skin to rebuild my tongue.  I’m not looking forward to another surgery but I will be happy to have it in my past. This will be a punctuation mark to one part of my recovery so that is a good thing.

I have good days and bad.  God has been exceedingly faithful to get me His messages of hope and love when I’m having bad days.  Emails,  notes,  or gifts have arrived at those moments and they have all,  without exception,  led with the phrase “God put you in my heart today.” He is good.  All the time.

I’ve been told by many that I’m some sort of great example of courage and faith. This is a mixed blessing for me.  So thankful to see God using this journey in a good way but I do admit to my moments of wishing I weren’t in this particular spotlight.  I have Moses moments of ‘why me?’ but more often than not I hear the prayer of Jesus from the garden.  “Take this cup from me please.” followed by “Not my will,  but Thine.” I just have to trust that God has a better plan.

So that is where I am. I spend much time listening to the Scriptures. The Psalms are fabulous. Most people focus on the cries for help and soothing poetry, but they are mixed with David’s fighting spirit.  This man after God’s own heart was not afraid to battle with those who came against him.  I get a kick out of that spirit.  It helps my battle as well.

Oh and here’s a random weird fact for you. One of the  doctors this week told me I was lucky they used my wrist for the rebuilt tongue. He said if they had used my thigh, it would continue growing hair! How weird is that?! Phew for one weird thing I don’t have to deal with!

Thank you for continuing to lift me in prayer. Your prayers and friendship are deeply treasured.  For those wondering about specific prayer requests from me,  I would love prayer for grace and supernatural provision during chemo and radiation. Strength for that too. And for my family. I admit to having some anxiety issues since leaving the hospital, so prayers in that area would help as well.

May God’s blessings pour over each of you in abundance!

Category: Faith, Life, Reality  Tags: , , ,  One Comment

Questions Answered: How you can help?

mgysoQcI have been blessed with texts, emails, notes and messages of support. And also with people asking how they can help.  My beautiful friend, Organized SAHM, has set up an online form that people can fill out if they are interested in helping with meals or babysitting, errands, etc. It just asks for name, phone number and email and we promise it won’t go anywhere but here. We both thought this would be an easy way to catalog the offers. (Hey – we have the technology – we may as well use it.)

That form is here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1_Z-eTUdamFdKDcTtuPLX1xEJu8dUgwrGZz9OeCfOLPQ/viewform?c=0&w=1&usp=mail_form_link

My kids are going to stay with some family in Houston for the duration, so we won’t need much with them (beyond prayers please!) until they come home after the surgery. That’s when we’ll really need help with meals, transportation to/from events,  errands, etc.

For those wondering about sending notes or cards or whatnot, Organized SAHM has my mailing address and can handle that.  (I believe she can be messaged through that FB page that I linked to. I’ll update if there ends up being an email address or anything that people can use for questions/info.)

And for others who have wondered if they can help financially, we do appreciate that support as well. We’ve been surprised by expenses we hadn’t thought about that are involved with this. God has blessed us and we’re not desperately in need – thankfully! But some have asked and I felt like I should address it here. The only way we are able to do that right now is the old fashioned way – checks in the mail or gift cards. We don’t have a Paypal account and because this has happened so quickly, we’ve been unable to find the time to set one up and a corresponding bank account to go with it for security, etc.  We never imagined anything like this or that anyone would offer that sort of assistance so we didn’t plan for that eventuality.

Also, one last note. I love each and every person who is praying for me. I don’t know even half of you and that touches my soul more than anyone can ever know. I’ve been moved to tears and thankfulness more times than I can count in recent weeks and I am truly and deeply overwhelmed with this outpouring of love and support. I know that my family is too. It’s been mentioned many times how brave I am while I’m handling this. That boggles my mind a little. I certainly don’t feel brave or amazing or anything. In the middle of the night I can’t shut my brain off and I struggle with the questions and concerns. That’s when I turn on the scriptures and literally have been sitting them on my pillow next to my ear so I can focus on Him – not me.

Right now, there’s no way around this. I can’t get in front of it, around it, or take a detour. I’m on a speeding train and I must go into the dark tunnel that’s ahead. I have no control over how fast or slow it goes and as we’re approaching, I hear more and more about things that might be in the tunnel. We could have to make a turn here or there might be something more that could cause problems. The other day I learned that this may not even be the last tunnel! (Honestly, there are days when I feel like I’m sitting on top of the train – not even in it! I’m just holding on for dear life!)  Unless the rapture happens or someone drops an atomic bomb, I can’t stop this or change it. It’s something I must do. I have looked at alternative treatments, but all of those doors have closed in my face. (Several didn’t even open.) So I’m trusting that God’s got me on this train and He’s in charge of the direction and the speed.  I’m not a fan of roller coasters. I always sit at the bottom and pray while my daughter and  hubby scream and holler in delight. So being on this particular ride isn’t really where I’d prefer to be. But it appears it’s where I’m supposed to be. So I’m doing my best to praise through the storm. I’m not always good at it. But I am trying. And I love everyone who is cheering me on, holding my hand, and loving on me while I do.

And so before my surgery on Wednesday, I leave you with one of my favorite verses:

“You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.” – 2 Chronicles 20:17 

The Good, The Not So Good, and the Ugly: Next Steps for Treatment

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3: 5,6

I know that a lot of people have been waiting for updates since my surgery on Monday. I’ve been honestly trying to work through everything we learned and what it all means for me and I just wasn’t really ready to address it. Then we got close to Friday and that’s my daughter’s birthday. I determined that May 9th would be a cancer free (discussion wise) day for her if I could make that happen at all. So, not wanting to overshadow her special day, I waited for this update. It also gave me some time to settle my heart before dealing with all of the questions. But now we have little time for me to delay. I need to let everyone know what’s happening.

The Good: 
On Monday, my surgeon did several procedures involving my throat, larnyx, vocal chords and esophagus. Because no one can figure out where this cancer came from, he was concerned that it might have started deeper in my throat and come up into my mouth. I’m very thankful to announce that everything was clear in that region. This is a huge blessing because it would have significantly changed treatments and approach. Cancer in the throat and deeper makes a big difference in how it’s handled. So yay! No concerns in that area.

The Not So Good:
It looks as if we’re going to need to do the previously mentioned surgery. On Wednesday May 14th, a good portion of my tongue is set to be removed along with the tissue under it. We will have a plastic surgeon do some level of rebuilding and that should result in me eventually being able to eat and talk again – though it will be a longer haul than we’d hoped.

The Ugly:
This surgery is going to require a lot from me. More than I’d wanted/hoped. I’ve been told it’s 10 days in the hospital (five of those in ICU), a tracheotomy, and at least one other surgery to repair the damage that will come from the transplanted area for rebuilding my mouth. They plan to use the inside of my wrist and take an artery from there that will get ‘plugged in’ to an arterial area in my mouth. This will leave an open area on my wrist for about two months. (Yeah – not real happy about that one.)  They’ll cover it with some sort of shark/pig plasma something or other and leave it there for that duration. And then after two months, I’ll undergo another surgery which will involve a skin graft from my leg to fix my wrist.

The surgeon is a good man. I really appreciate his care and I know that he wants the very best for me. He’s not there to just cut. I told him in our appointment that I was praying for a miracle and my hope is that when he gets into the operating room, he finds that the cancer is gone and everything’s whole and he doesn’t need to do a thing. After all, God is the same yesterday, today, and forever – and He healed people with a touch and in some cases, a word. So I know that He can do this. But I also said that I’m not sure what God wants my testimony to be after this. If it’s the miracle (Hey there’s no cancer here to operate on!)  I’ll be overjoyed. But if it’s a woman who discovers she has cancer and overcomes obstacles to come out on the other side, I have to accept that too. (Admittedly, not wanting that outcome – but understanding it.)

I will say that I’m a little freaked by this. I wish they’d just knock me out, let me heal and then wake me up when it’s all over. I mean I’d happily give them that couple of weeks! Sooo much easier, don’t you think?

I do have some friends who are working on putting together a list for help, meals, offers, etc. I am so thankful for that.  I also have some friends who will keep people updated via my Facebook. For those who aren’t friends of mine on my personal FB page, I’m going to have a friend update my public page as well. That can be found right here and all you have to do is click ‘like’ to keep up on it.

I appreciate the prayers and continued support. In the dark night when things are quiet, I’m struggling to keep my mind out of the bad places – and your notes and letters and emails are helping with that. I love all of you and appreciate you more than you know.

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The Wheat and the Chaff: What do I need to take away from all of this?

Exif_JPEG_PICTURESo I’ve been on this journey for a little over a week and it’s amazing how much my world has changed. New language (oncologists, stage 1, endoscopy…), new people (doctors, nurses, techs…) and new goals (surgery Monday, bloodwork, rest) have completely immersed me in this foreign world. I don’t want to get comfortable here. I plan to just visit for a while and move on as quickly as possible.

When I first got my diagnosis, I called a small handful of people. Tish Tucker was one of those. Tish is an amazing lady who listens, can still make me laugh in the middle of everything, has a deep and abiding love for rescue animals, and is a cancer survivor. At the end of this entry, I’ll link to both of her books about her journey. They are fabulous!) I have always loved and appreciated her friendship, but on the morning after my diagnosis, her advice became an incredible lifeline for me. One of the best things she told me was that this is a mind game. All of it. There’s so much in the middle of this journey that can get you down and spiral you into a bad place, you really need to fight to stay positive. I’m not even two weeks in, but I’ve held that advice close to my heart and I’m so thankful I did. Three new doctors this week – all of them with vast amounts of information that could have sunk me if I’d let it. Tests every day. Bruises all over the place from the bloodwork. It would be so easy to slide into that negative. I’ve always told people that I’m an obnoxious optimist. I guess that’s being put to the test right now.

I know so much more than I did a week ago and still feel like I don’t have any answers. Monday I’ll be having an initial surgery to assess precisely where and how large the cancer is. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about that. The biopsy on my tongue was really unpleasant and this is set to be bigger. But the hope and prayer is that this surgery shows that it’s smaller than imagined and that the previous recommendations of removing half my tongue and all this stuff out of my mouth will be unnecessary. I can’t tell you how thankful I am that the surgeon is concerned with my quality of life post-treatment.

Both the Oncologist and the Radiologic Oncologist were nice. (The Radiologic Oncologist – we’ll call him RO – was the spitting image of Kent McCord – as a Farscape fan, that tickled me to no end. Best part? His nurse reminded me of Edith Bunker. I think she may have been my favorite new person this week.)  The Oncologist threw a ton of information at me and shared his thoughts about where this cancer came from at the same time he made sure to let me know he’s most concerned about my whole health. Anything anywhere that might be a concern needs to be brought to his attention. At this point, he’s the only one looking out for that, so it’s appreciated.  The RO was hilarious. He had a great sense of humor that really helped put me at ease. (At one point he was joking and laughing and literally, out loud, muttered “Okay, this is serious. I have to get serious.” I offered him complimentary PR/Marketing services when we’re done with this whole thing.) My favorite part of his visit was when he said he hoped he would never have to see me again. I hope that too.

The biggest thing I’ve come away with this week is learning what to hold on to and what to let go. Even facts can’t be trusted. I’ve had multiple doctors tell me that it was a really great sign that the CT scans showed nothing, my lymph nodes were not swollen and didn’t show problems, and that everything else looks clear. But one doctor wiped all of that away by pointing out that it’s possible to have cancer in lymph nodes and have them not be swollen, CT scans don’t show everything, and it doesn’t matter that everything seems clear because cancer hides. So those facts that I’d held on to for hope and positive vibes went away in a heartbeat.

I’m separating the wheat from the chaff as I go. The information, knowledge and facts of men are helpful to me. God has placed them in my path for a reason and I do trust in that. But they aren’t the final authority. God’s got me in His hands and that’s where I find my rest, peace and security.

“Truly my soul finds rest in God;
    my salvation comes from him.
 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” – Psalm 62: 1-2

Oh and don’t think I forgot Tish’s books. You can find them here and here. 

Category: Faith, Life, Reality  Tags: , , ,  2 Comments

Surgical Updates: a.k.a. I actually have something to share!

431072_10151701273696457_888099066_nYou know I never intended to blog this entire journey, but the further I get into things, the more I’m realizing that this is one central location where I’ll be able to answer questions and really put lots of info out there with relative ease.  Bear with me while  I navigate this completely new way to keep everyone updated.

I know, I know. Go figure the professional writer/publicist is learning how to make my way through the personal blogosphere. But seriously, my job is to push all you famous, talented, and pretty people out in the spotlight. Being IN the spotlight is totally new for me!

So this morning I met with my surgeon. I can now call him that because I really liked him a lot. He had a sense of peace about him the moment he walked into the room and get this: he listened. Like really, truly, deeply listened to my concerns. And he answered all of my questions and more. For the past week, we’ve been thinking that a surgeon is like a hammer. Present him with a problem and he sees it like a nail. But that didn’t feel like the case here. He was genuinely concerned not only with treating my cancer, but with my quality of life after treatment. I loved that.

He did do a test that showed him that the back of my tongue and throat are clear and all looks good there, so that’s a big plus. He also believes that this is stage one – MAYBE the beginning of stage two. He was very optimistic about treatment, quality of life and my health in general.

So, that said, next Monday I’m scheduled to undergo another biopsy. It will be surgical and I will be under anesthesia (Thank goodness! Being awake during that last one was misery.) and this will give him the opportunity to do more in depth biopsies throughout the area and figure out what the  next steps need to be. That made me feel better because he’s not willing to just go in and cut out half of my tongue like the other doctor said – not unless it’s necessary.

The surgery will be first thing next Monday morning and it will be a few days after that before we find out specifics on pathology, etc. Once he knows that, he said he’ll recommend next steps and see how invasive surgery needs to be.

So that’s what I know at this point. Your continued prayers, notes and encouragements are a balm to my soul and a blessing to my life. Thank you all so much!

Oh and why the picture? Cause I hate posting blogs without pictures and I figure fuzzy, sleeping kittens are way better than just about anything else being discussed here! :)

Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,  you who are God my Savior,  and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.

Open my lips, Lord,  and my mouth will declare your praise. Psalm 51: 14-15

 

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Cancer, Fuzzy Stuffed Dogs, and Slumber Parties

I have cancer.

I’m sorry to start with that, but I felt like I needed to say that out loud so to speak. I’ve had some revelations about my health this week. Some ideas are rattling around my mind about where it came from. (That’s been the major question that most everyone has asked.) One of my doctors and I both believe that we know, but I’m not making that announcement quite yet. Not until I have a handle on it myself. I know that may sound selfish but in the times I’ve shared it, I’ve dealt with some negative backlash from a few. Honestly, that surprised me even more than the cancer diagnosis itself did. I’ve even heard from some that I’m randomly grasping at straws in order not to have cancer. I’m really not. I have cancer. I know that. I know I need to make some big choices and decisions. So right now I can’t clutter the decisions with these other things. For right now, I’m focusing my efforts and time on the cancer, but when I’m ready, I will share. Promise. Whether I intended it or not, it seems that keeping this journey transparent and honest is what it’s going to be about.

Speaking of which, I don’t know if it was faith or sticking my head in the sand about it, but I honestly never expected that diagnosis. Who has cancer…of the TONGUE? How weird is that?? I was truly, deeply, stunned when the doctor told me.  I still have moments of wondering whether it’s a dream or not. I wonder if that will end? Okay – now you’ve seen firsthand the way my mind is wandering this week. There are moments it seems to really jump all over the place and not want to sit somewhere for too long. I can definitely understand. My body feels the same way.

So back to the topic…since I began telling people about it last week, I’ve been practically bathed in blessings and prayers and good wishes. I have days when I just sit and read through all of the beautiful comments and soak them in. I let them soothe the edges of the ‘cancer cancer cancer’ that’s rattling around in my brain. I read the emails and the texts and the comments again and again and I know that people are truly sharing their hearts. That overflows my own heart with such joy and peace that I hope it radiates to those around me through this journey as well.

I went to church this morning with an abundance of emotion. I was honored and blessed beyond measure to have my Pastor, John Hagee, anoint me and pray with me. For those who have seen him on television, he’s a fiery man of vision that has strong opinions and is not afraid to share them. For those who have met him, he radiates peace and grace in person. It was so wonderful to walk into his office this morning, be greeted with his smile, and have him pray those fiery passionate words of healing and life over me. I’m so thankful for his leadership, and this morning, his time, grace, and encouragement for not only me, but my family as well.

I was also worried that I’d be spending a large part of the morning talking about my cancer and I wasn’t ready to do that. But I had no idea that it would also be healing and freeing for me. Admitting it. Sharing my concerns, the prognosis, and talking about it opened up some more avenues for me. There’s something completely different between writing it and talking about it and that was a good lesson for me to learn.

Letting people love on me has been a new journey as well. I’m always happy to love on others and share goodness and peace where I can, but when it comes to accepting it? That can sometimes be different. I think that maybe there’s a struggle with pity in there somewhere? I don’t want people to pity me. But what I saw today wasn’t that. It was hurting for me. With me. Loving me the best way they can. That has been an amazing revelation for me too.

I could see some who hadn’t yet heard the news. They smiled and waved like normal. They didn’t have the heavy knowledge yet. I envied them that. In many ways I wish I still had that luxury. Was it only a week ago that I was out stringing yarn attached to Easter baskets all through my yard for my kids?? It seems years ago.

If you can believe it, the blessings have already begun to pour in on this. One of my clients shared my story with his family and asked them to pray. His son, knowing how often his father has spoken about me, wrote a long beautiful email back to his father about me and his prayers for me. Somehow, my journey piqued something in this man’s son and he shared my request with a woman at a church he’s been attending but not really plugged into yet. Her response was so open, honest, and encouraging that he’s decided perhaps it’s time to truly engage and really connect at this church. How awesome is that?

I have also heard from several people who are going to go to doctors or dentists for things they’ve been pushing aside and ignoring. Good. Don’t end up where I am. For the record, I’ve seen doctors for this same thing – but I’ve heard mixed responses. None of which were cancer. I’ve heard the sores in my mouth were stress, hormones, virus, illness….so though I didn’t ignore them, I did choose not to follow up and press ahead on other opinions. After all, they told me what I wanted to hear…why wouldn’t I?  But if you have a doubt – at all – don’t hesitate. Go. 

People have asked about my kids. It’s up and down with them. They all have moments where I can see it sitting heavily on them. None of them argue with me about holding my hand anymore. Or hugs or kisses. And it’s okay to sit with mom instead of my friends. I admit to selfishly being okay with that part of this.

My son has been the hard one for me. We’ve been sleeping in the game room downstairs together since my diagnosis. The evening after I told him, he tried to sleep but I could see it on his face every time I checked on him. He was lying there – eyes wide open – covers tucked up all the way under his chin – just thinking. I know that face because I’m sure mine mirrors it. He asked if I could sleep with him and I looked at his single twin bed and the floor strewn with toys and said I wasn’t sure if I should. Or could. There was no place. Then I mentioned being concerned that it might turn into an every night thing. When he looked at me with those big baby blues and said “What’s wrong with that? I just don’t want to be alone.” Indeed. What is wrong with that? So we tucked up sleeping bags, blankets and stuffed animals and set up a party in the game room. We’ve been sleeping there every night since and we’ve actually been doing well with that, he and I. We’re keeping each other company in the dark. It helps. His fuzzy stuffed dog with the big blue eyes that he insists I sleep with gives a measure of comfort too. :)

Tomorrow surgeon appointment. Tuesday Oncologist. Prayers still so deeply treasured and appreciated from all. Please don’t ever think I take them for granted. They are blessings to me.

So I’ve rambled a lot here. Not sure if you’ve even made it to the end of my mental meanderings. I’m really intending these blogs to help me during this time, but if you’re reading and they’ve helped you, please let me know. I’d love to hear from you and connect with you.

Let me leave you with a passage that’s been on my heart this week:

As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous….Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.  Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1: 5-9

Category: Faith, Life, Reality  Tags: , , ,  2 Comments

How quickly the world shifts…

Have you ever had a paradigm shift? Complete. Total. Nothing looks or feels the same. Your world is different in a heartbeat.  I’ve experienced this twice. Once, fourteen – almost fifteen now – years ago when I found out that I was pregnant for the first time ever. Everything was new. Colors were brighter and food tasted different. The world wasn’t different. I realize that. I was.

I’ve experienced it again this week.

“You have cancer.” 

It’s amazing how three words can turn life upside down. The things that were important to me on Tuesday morning aren’t now. I have a new vocabulary and a new level of ‘okay’ when people ask how I am.

Right now the report is that I have cancer of the tongue and mouth. I’ve been asked by many how someone gets that. I have no idea. There is nothing I’ve done to cause it. I don’t smoke or drink often or use tobacco. I never have. As far as I am aware, this is just something that has happened. Any further research into it will drive me into a world of “what ifs.” As a writer, I know that I can live in that world and it will poison the now for me so I won’t go there.

Only two days into this journey and I can tell you very little about what’s happening or what will happen. The doctor who told me about the cancer said she recommends surgery to remove half of my tongue and some of the soft tissue under it. She said it will be difficult and hard to recover from but in many cases, that’s all that is needed. This is, according to her, a highly treatable form of cancer. If this surgery is the course of action, I’ll need to learn to speak all over again and won’t eat for months. For anyone who knows me, that’s hard. I have a love of food. Or I did until Tuesday. I’m making very deliberate choices right now. Knowing that months upon months could go by where eating isn’t an option has taken food as comfort out of the picture for me. I didn’t eat at all for over 24 hours after hearing. I’d like to say it was some higher spiritual fasting, but it wasn’t so much a choice as being not interested in eating. I finally gave up and ate last night when my headache got too bad and I was feeling lightheaded and dizzy. I felt better and I enjoyed the meal differently. Choices. I’ve known all my life that choice was involved in eating but I’ve never experienced it this way.

I’ve also been thinking about talking. What does the world look like when you can’t speak? How frustrating will it be for me to not be able to speak for an indefinite period of time? I love my voice. I sang all the way through high school and college. I loved being a radio announcer and sharing my voice with the world. Being on the air was always a great joy for me. It’s a big part of my life. But yesterday someone said that they’ve never talked to me on the phone but they hear my voice every time I post. Thank You Lord that I can still write and share this journey in this way.

My kids. That’s another big thing for me. I’ve already heard some idiotically stupid statements made to me about the cancer. I won’t share them here because I refuse to give them a voice or power. I pray that people are wiser when they are talking to my babies about this.  I’ve already purchased three digital voice recorders that should be here later today – one for each of them. I plan to make time to record me telling them that I love them and they are beautiful and amazing and the best part of my day. Whatever I can think of for each of them to hear and play during the time I won’t be able to talk to them.

So many people have called me brave and told me how amazing that I am. I’ll be honest. I don’t feel very tough or strong. I feel like I’ve been strong for the past few years as we’ve worked through my husband’s injuries and disability and veteran’s stuff…I don’t want to have to be strong anymore.  I really want to just take a nap and sleep but even that seems to be a battle right now. I wonder if there will ever come a time when I don’t wake up in the middle of the night in a panic thinking “Cancer…cancer?!” I’m sure that will come but right now the anxiety is my reality. For now. For at least this moment in my life that’s what I know.

I’m leaning on God for this. There are things at this point in my life that I know about me and I understand a little of what I need. I need positive. I need filled. I have to put the right things ‘in’ in order to have peace. Since hearing the diagnosis, I’ve been running the Biblegateway App non-stop. Listening to Max McLean read the Psalms nearly constantly has become vital to keeping me above water mentally. I have a vivid imagination. If I start thinking too much, it can be a dangerous place for me. That imagination serves me as a writer but makes me crappy when it comes to hospitals. I’ve got to pull in my thoughts and keep them aligned in good.

I’ve chosen not to research the cancer. At least at this point. I’m two days in – that might come later but right now it’s not there for me. The doctor warned me about going to the internet and I know she’s right on that. A few years ago, I avulsed my big toenail. (Great word right? It means my toenail forcibly left my body without my permission.) It was misery. I was pregnant and alone and there was bleeding and it was not good. I called the nurse’s health line to see if I should go to a doctor and they proceeded to tell me every possible thing that could be wrong or might destroy my health because of the injury. I realized at that moment that I really didn’t need that and they weren’t helping my mental state. I know that researching this won’t help me right now. It would be too easy to focus on the bad.  This is my journey. Whatever has happened to the other people who have had this, I don’t need to know. At least not yet. Not right now.

All of my experience, my writing, my talent and the people I know can’t help me with this. As someone who has worked in publicity that’s a tough one. There’s always someone to call to ‘fix’ something or make something work. Not this time around. It doesn’t matter right now how much I know or who I know. THIS is all I know right now and less than a week into the journey, I don’t know much.

I have no idea when the surgery will happen. I’m waiting to hear back from doctors. Today will have a lot of phone calls in it and forcing people to deal with me and not make me a folder on a desk or a file in a computer. When I do know anything, I’ll share it. Facebook has proven to be a lifesaver for me in letting a large group of people know information relatively quickly. That’s where I’ll be with this.

In the meantime, I love and appreciate all of the prayers, support, encouragement and love. Each message is a piece of the puzzle that helps me rise above the anxiety and despair.

Category: Faith, Life, Reality  Tags: , ,  9 Comments

Book Review: God is Able by Priscilla Shirer

God is Able by Priscilla Shirer godisable
Genre: Nonfiction
Publisher: B&H Books
Published Date: September 3, 2013

Have you ever had a bad day? Maybe you’ve experienced some sort of failure in your life and wondered if God had abandoned you. If you haven’t, I have two things to say to you. One is that you are blessed and be thankful. The other is that you shouldn’t assume you’re golden in that realm. Everyone has them at some point.

Okay, sermonette over. Back to the review.

I’ve had those days. In fact I’ve had entire years of them and I can tell you, they are not easy to handle. Sometimes it’s actually possible to believe that God hasn’t just abandoned you, but that He’s forgotten you exist. But as Priscilla Shirer explains, it’s impossible for God to fail. Or forget us. God is able to meet whatever need is in your life. And more than that, God can go ‘beyond’ your way beyond. Let me explain that a little better.

Priscilla shares some very personal experiences with the readers (and really lets her bubbly personality shine while she does it too!) and shows us how we have a boundary in our lives and sometimes there’s a ‘way past.’ In parenting we set boundaries and have expectations that they will be met at a bare minimum standard. God is able (and often does) go beyond those standards. He is able.

If you have those days in your life that are tough, or you wonder if God has forgotten who you are, this is a book that will help you through those struggles. Have a friend going through something? This is a perfect gift. With wit, honesty, grace and humor, Shirer meets us where WE are and shows us how to reach out and take hold of the blessings and the power that God has available to us.

I loved this book. It felt like Priscilla and I were friends and she was sharing this wisdom with me over tea! More than that, it resonated with me in a spiritual way. God doesn’t want us to ever feel abandoned or forsaken. That’s what satan tries to do to each of us. God wants to be our Heavenly Father and as such, we  need to remember that His love goes way past our boundaries.

Review copy provided by the publisher. Thank you!

Category: Books, Reviews  Tags: , , ,  Leave a Comment

Lisa T. Bergren’s Remnants Blog Tour – Stop #10 (with giveaway!)

Remnants Banner for Launch Tour

 

I am a huge fan of Lisa Bergren. I was going to say that I’m a fan of her work, but in recent years as I’ve gotten to know her, I can say that Lisa’s one of the really genuine and sweet people out there in the world. She just also happens to have been created with these off the wall amazing writing abilities too!

When she got in touch with me about joining the team for her new series, Seasons of Wonder, I didn’t even hesitate. My response was to beg her to allow me to do it!  I loved this book. I mean overly, abundantly, amazingly loved this story.

REmnants cover artTHEIR ARRIVAL WAS FORETOLD FOR YEARS….

 Andriana is a Remnant, gifted as an empath and one of the Ailith, destined to act as  humanity’s last shield against the horrors that now plague those who remain.

 After years of training in stealth and warfare, Andriana and her Knight protector,  Ronan, are finally ready to answer the Call and begin the life they were designed for.

 But as they embark with the other Remnants on the first of their assignments, they  quickly discover that the world beyond their protected Valley is more dangerous than  they imagined.

 The Sons of Sheol will stop at nothing to prevent Dri and Ronan from rescuing  anyone sympathetic to the Remnants’ cause. And as the Remnants battle the  demonic forces, still other enemies close in. Dangers intensity, but so do Dri’s feelings  for Ronan–the one emotion she is not meant to feel. In the midst of their mission, Andriana must fine a way to master her feelings. Or risk compromising everything…

Lisa is a very busy lady, so I just snagged her for a fast 20 questions.  Check out what she had to say behind the link. (Oh and there’s a clue for the launch tour at the end AND information on a giveaway Lisa’s doing too…so don’t miss those! Click MORE!)

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Book Review: Merlin’s Shadow by Robert Treskillard

Merlin’s Shadow by Robert Treskillardmerlinsshadow
Reviewed by: Lori Twichell
Genre: Fantasy/History
Publisher: Blink
Publication Date: October 2, 2013

Merlin is now the head of a small, rough and bruised band of outcasts who are determined to bring order and light back into the kingdom. Now that the babe Arthur, is an orphan, Merlin’s role as royal advisor looks more like royal body guard. With Uther’s former bard, Merlin’s fiancée, a knight and a friend, everyone is looking to Merlin to guide their next steps. And the choices are never easy.  There are few who can be trusted and none of them are really considered friends.

And so, in a constant escape, retreat and survive mode, Merlin and his group set off on a new set of adventures. Every moment of their days are filled with danger and there’s no time for any sort of bard training or royal etiquette. Only protecting the young king is paramount. Even Merlin’s love, whose health is deteriorating from an odd illness, has to take a back seat to Arthur’s protection.

I am absolutely in love with this series. Merlin’s struggles and his growing faith spoke to my soul. In the past few years, I’ve struggled through some really difficult times. I had some of the moments that Merlin did – questioning God and His intentions toward my life. Much like Merlin, I reached the end of my limit and yet God was still there. Not judging – just ready to pick me up and move me to the next place. I know, I know. You’re here to see a book review and not listen to a sermon, but it’s nearly impossible for me to separate the two.

These books are filled with fabulous adventure and twists that you’ll never see coming. It seems trite to call them great fantasy because they are deeper than that. This is more than a retelling of an old tale. This is a solid, gripping and steady reboot of a classic. Far more than just a fresh view or a new perspective, this feels like Treskillard shook a snow globe with all of the pieces of the story and waited for it all to settle before deciding a course. Completely new, beautifully fresh and breathtakingly fun, this is Merlin and Arthur like you’ve never seen them before. And it is with a thankful heart that I am able to say that Treskillard kept the bones of this story so as fresh as it may be, it’s still completely faithful to all that Arthurians know and love.

High marks on this adventure! I cannot wait for the next one!

Review copy provided by the publisher. Thank you!

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