Friday, December 18, 2015

A Rich Opportunity

"Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." - Isaiah 30:20-21

"For our light momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory (beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!). - 2 Corinthians 4:17

Both of these timely Bible quotes were in my morning reflection today found in the book Jesus Calling.  They are just so perfect for what I am experiencing through this journey of healing from breast cancer and I imagine it is appropriate for those of you also going through tough journeys of healing from illness or hurt.

Just yesterday as I was mentally and spiritually preparing for what is to come from treatment number 4, I was thinking about how I am the clay that God is molding through this experience. Every experience in life will mold us. If we are in tune with God as the potter then the molding will be for his glory.

I love how the first passage mentions "your teachers will be hidden no more." To me these "teachers"  are my angels. Yesterday was not lacking in angels. They were all around me, from my husband Pete taking me and being with me all day, to the nurses who attended to me, to my dad visiting again with the Holy Eucharist, and David Roman stopping by to visit. And I can't forget all of those who helped with the boys, Mom taking them to school and Christine Roman taking Ricky home in the afternoon until we got home, while Paul got to visit with the Woodrough cousins thanks to Abi. Then another angel, Sharon Nixon, showed up with a delicious dinner and Chris Wilson showed up with some homemade banana ice-cream that Kelley had made for me. (He then took Pete out for a beer which I'm sure he needed.) Not to mention that when we arrived home a package was waiting at the door for me from my mother-in-law, Valerie, with a beautiful pajama and robe combination! God truly spoils me with the many angels around us. I can't forget to mention the many angels who were praying for us all day and continue to pray for me as I go through the side effects. Many of you texted me throughout the day checking in on me. Thank you to each and everyone of you who keep us present in your prayers.

The fourth round was a little different. I had some kind of a reaction to the Benedryl that they give me intravenously each time. For some reason, this time it made my whole body restless and made me very agitated. When I mentioned it to my nurse, Carla, she told me they would give me Ativan to counteract those effects and she said she would request to give me a half dose of Benadryl next time. The Ativan worked beautifully, calming me down and putting me right to sleep. I took a two hour nap in that nice leather recliner covered by the gorgeous quilt that Mary Agnes made for me and resting my head on a wonderful pillow that Joann made for me. I am telling you, all of you angels are always around me and ever present in my prayers of thanksgiving!

I don't have any pictures of round 4 as I was so out of it I barely remember the visits I had from Dad and David. Oh well. That is one reason I am journaling, so that I can remember what happened.
I came home around 3:30 and went right to sleep again. It is amazing to me that I can sleep so much throughout the day and still go to bed at 10 and sleep all night until 4am. My body is definitely healing.

Oh, I forgot to report that we met with Dr. Peacock yesterday and he conducted an examination of the affected breast. Praise God, he could not even sense the tumors nor the affected lymphnode! He was very happy about that and said it shows that my body has responded very well to the treatments. He did still see a hint of redness on my skin which is the tell tell sign of Inflammatory Breast Cancer. Although I tried my best to have him agree to stop at 4 treatments, he insisted that research has shown that 6 rounds is most effective in making sure that the cancer is gone not just from my breast but from anywhere else in my body that it might have been lingering and not detected. I was not going to argue. I would rather go through all of this now to then have more peace of mind later about it all being gone. That is one thing I pray for daily is that when the treatments are all done that I will experience peace about being healthy and not worry about the cancer returning at some point.
Dr. Peacock did tell me that since my white blood cell counts have remained high that I am off all eating restrictions and that I am free to go anywhere I would like! Yeah!! I have missed eating fresh salads. That is about the only thing I had really restricted myself from because of possible lurking bacteria. The only place I had restricted myself from visiting is the schools. But come January, I can go back into schools. I'll still be careful as I carry around my OnGuard hand cleansing spray and OnGuard beadlets to support my immune system.

Today will be a day of feeling kind of high and revved up from the steroid I must take the day before, the day of and the day after treatment to prevent any allergic reactions. It is kind of nice to have a day where I feel I can do ANYTHING! So, I'll be at work getting some things done and having fun celebrating with my friends, as today is the last day of work for most of us before the holidays. Having friends at work who always look out for me and even take care of me has made working through this all the more enjoyable. I look forward to my time at work as I continue to make a difference in the ESOL world for Gwinnett County Public Schools, even if just from my desk.

Thank you for keeping me and my family in your prayers as I walk through the next few days of side effects. They are only temporary but they are intrusive to daily life and some times hard for me to deal with. Pete is great at keeping the boys occupied and distracted and many of you have helped with that as well. Pete and Mom take their turns tending to me when I am totally out of commission. Some of you have pointed out that you know when I am not feeling well because I am not posting on Facebook nor journaling. That is true. On those days it is difficult to even hold my head up and difficult to concentrate on anything. So, thank you for being present on those day by praying for me and the family!

That is all for now. I'll be back in touch in a few days as we near Christmas. What a glorious time of the year. I did think about this yesterday, that I am happy to be going through this trial during all of the holiday season as it provides a layer of happiness for me to focus on and to distract me. I pray that each of you is taking time experience the JOY of the season. God bless you!

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