{All Sufficient Grace, part 2 blog post still to come!}

Hi Friends!!

Although my words have been few here on “His Grace Abounds”, I want you to know that I’m always “writing” blog posts in my head! It’s getting them from my head to my laptop that is the challenge these days.  The Lord continues to reveal so much to me about Himself through this journey through the valley of Cancer.  As I mentioned before, when I’m feeling good I want to squeeze every bit of goodness with my children and husband- taking advantage of being able to get out and make memories with my people!  During the yucky times it’s very difficult to do much more than rest.

But often, as I’m just doing life, the Lord impresses a truth to my heart that I want to share immediately! And usually I share that on social media…instagram and/or facebook.  It’s quick and easy to share a quick photo or a brief reflection through my phone instead of cracking open the ole laptop! I realized that not everyone who reads my blog follows me on IG and FB (and that’s ok! I still vacillate on my own feelings about social media!).  If you would like to follow me on either one, here are my social media names you can search for:

Instagram: brooketurnersc

Facebook: Brooke Arnold Turner

Recap of Chemo 4 cycle

I had BIG chemo #4 on July 16.  I went back to the clinic pretty much every other day for a week and a half to receive fluids, nutrients, and anti-nausea meds.  I also had home infusions during the weekend directly following chemo.  THESE CHANGES MADE ALL THE DIFFERENCE!!!!

Cycle four was BY FAR the best cycle.  I was able to eat and did not spend one full day in the bed!  I only got sick a few times.  Many people have asked “why didn’t they do this from the beginning since it made you feel so much better?”  Great question.  Every patient is completely different and respond differently to this poison they are pumping through our veins.  There is a process to figure out what works.  We tried many, many nausea (and other) meds to try to tame my side effects at home, and it took a while to see what wasn’t working.  This isn’t typical protocol to be in the clinic 3-4 hours every other day for a week and a half.  It’s very time consuming but completely worth it.  (And I get to see my sweet and spunky nurse more which is always a treat!)

Daily Life

A little bit of “daily life” and some of the fun things we enjoyed as a family while I was feeling well:  LOTS of pool time, Justin and I had a couple of amazing date nights, and I got to take Selah to her first theatre show!

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date night at Colas

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Selah and me before Mary Poppins at the Town Theatre. {Samuel wasn’t interested and Hannah was too young for that length of show!}

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We made it a “mostly” girls night with several friends (including my sister who was in town from Houston with her children!). I say “mostly” girls night because my friend BB brought her son Everett. I know he was in heaven surrounded by girls 🙂

I’ve mentioned before that a cancer diagnosis gives a person a new perspective in life.  Our family was big on “memory making” before, but now we are even more so.  We treasure special times of doing fun, out-of-the-ordinary things.  We also treasure our daily routine life in a whole new way.  This is one way that cancer is a gift!  And I especially cherish the days where my health allows me just to be out of bed and out of the house! I’ve had lots of these days recently and I’m so thankful.

Chemo #5

Yesterday, 8/5 was BIG chemo #5.  I cannot believe that my next one will be my LAST BIG CHEMO and I get to ring the bell to celebrate the completion of this most difficult part of my journey.  Oh, I can’t wait to ring that bell and give Myra (my nurse) the biggest hug ever!! And of course celebrate with my wonderful family and friends who have been beside me every step of the way!

Some of you may be wondering, what do I mean when I say “BIG Chemo”?   Every 3 weeks I have to go in for my BIG chemo.  I receive 4 types of chemo drugs, in addition to fluids, Benadryl, anti-nausea, etc.   The 4 types of chemo I receive (in this order, I believe) are herceptin, perjeta, taxotere and carboplatin.  That day I’m in the clinic from 8am – 3pm at least.

On the 2 Wednesdays in between the “BIG Chemo” I go to the clinic for what we call “little chemo”; I go in to receive only the herceptin (and possibly fluids, anti-nausea etc).  After my last BIG chemo on Aug 26, I’ll have no more BIG chemos, and my little herceptins will space out to every three weeks.  I will go every three weeks up until April of 2016.  Herceptin has very few side effects.

My chemo #5 went great yesterday.  I enjoyed time with several special friends!

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Justin was traveling for work yesterday so my dear friend Lori picked me up REALLY early and took me to chemo and stayed nearly the whole day!

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one of the most precious of my kindred sisters in Christ, Maria, brought Lori & me lunch and visited. She is one of the most faithful prayer warriors and encouragers I am blessed to know and the Lord has accomplished SO much through our friendship. I could write a whole blog 🙂 I love her so much.

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It was great to catch up with my friend of almost 3 DECADES, Sarah! Life happened and we hadn’t seen each other in two years so it was great to catch up and spend time together. Sarah and I grew up together, went to school together, and even were both Zetas at Clemson.

I also visited with Marie (a cancer patient I met last time but we forgot to get a picture!)

The only “surprise” of the day was the my plasma numbers were too low; to the point that I almost was not able to get treated.  They want my plasma to be over 100 in order to give a patient chemo, and mine was 94.  Myra had to consult with Dr. Stillwell and thankfully she allowed me to get treated.  (If she had said “no”, they would wait one more weak and let my body bounce back a little more).  My red blood count and hemoglobin continue to be on the very low range and close to where I might need a blood transfusion. My magnesium and potassium continue to be very low also, no matter how much I try to eat foods rich in these nutrients.   This is where we are seeing the cumulative effect of the drugs on my body.    I am AMAZED and count it a miracle that I have felt as good physically as I have the past few weeks, amidst what is going on inside my body.

Today, Thursday 8/6 I went back to the clinic for fluids, anti-nausea, etc and my neulasta shot (white blood cell booster shot).   A friend from college, Ashlee (Carmichael) Moses and I had reconnected after TEN YEARS, and she brought me lunch and visited.  That was by far the highlight of my time at the clinic today!  I’m so excited she lives in Columbia now and we can catch up more frequnetly!  Ashlee was my “big sister” in our sorority at Clemson.

So far after chemo # 5  I’m feeling well and I pray it continues.

Thank you all for your continued prayers and support….we are so well loved by our “village!”

Praises and Prayers:

*PRAISE for how well cycle 4 went; that I felt mostly good and was able to make special memories with my family

*PRAISE that the Lord continues to use cancer to reveal Himself to me, reveal sin, prune me, and make me more like His Son…burning away the dross so more of Him can shine through

*PRAYER~ a scripture you could pray over me is Phillippians 3:8. I especially love the Amplified version:  “I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly].”  The prayer of my heart is that through every part of my life, I am able to know Christ more fully and clearly through it.  I pray through cancer I come to a deeper heart knowledge of who He is to me.

*BOLDLY PRAY~ that this 5th cycle would be as manageable as the 4th cycle!  God is good either way, but I pray for another “easy” cycle! Pray against nausea, weakness, and vomiting. Pray that I could continue to eat!

*PRAYER~ that my plasma numbers stay up enough so that I am able to have my FINAL big chemo on 8/26.  Also pray for hemoglobin and red blood count to stay at a good level.

*PRAYER~for wisdom and discernment as we begin to consider surgery options.  We want the loudest voices to be the Lord and our trusted Doctors.  Many many things to consider.  {more on this later- but some type of surgery will occur likely in October)

*PRAYER ~(unrelated to cancer!) for Samuel and Selah as they start Kindergarten at Center for Knowledge (CFK-Main Campus) on 8/19.  Pray for a seamless transition and joyful hearts!

Thank you, my faithful prayer warriors!

His grace abounds,

Brooke