On this cloudy Friday afternoon, I have an urge to write and update; share and process, but the problem is I’m suffering from a case of “chemo brain”, so this I’m unable to wrap these disconnected thoughts into a nice tidy bow with a beginning, middle, and end. As I’ve decided whether I should write at all, I realized that this type of post pretty much my life. God is weaving seemingly disconnected threads into a beautiful tapestry, but I can only see the backside… a random disorderly beautiful mess.
Here are some disconnected threads for this Friday that I’m trusting God is using to weave together to create something beautiful.
What’s happening in my HEALTH:
I have Stage IV cancer. This has been the case since discovering the sternum metastasis in January. It’s difficult to accept, but thankfully, I have the “best case” of a bad scenario. I have breast cancer with one area of bone metastasis in my sternum. Under the oversight of a team of physicians at MD Anderson, since January I’ve been going through the most aggressive chemo regiment they can throw at me. I had four infusions of “the Red Devil” chemo, and then four infusions of Ixempra. The last three chemo cycles they also added in a daily oral chemo called Xeloda, which involves 6 pills a day. This is the most aggressive chemo regiment to give me the best chance of “No Evidence of Disease”.
The standard of care with Stage IV has been palliative care, instead of curative care. In other words, holding back the disease as much as possible to extend life. However, recently there have been many studies that have shown Stage IV cancer patients who are able to extend their life many many years, especially patients like me who have no “distant disease”. In other words, my area of metastasis is local to the breast area, so it seems we have contained it locally before it spread to vital organs. This is the reason behind the very aggressive chemo, and I’m thankful to be treated at MD Anderson where they are on the cutting edge of research and treatments.
God has been SO gracious to me, and I have tolerated the side effects of the chemo remarkably well! In 2015, my first experience with chemo was pretty horrific. Every single doctor and nurse I encountered was very concerned about how I would tolerate this regiment. It is a MIRACLE and makes absolutely no sense medically speaking. I know it’s my GREAT GOD! I’ve had .some pain, (a lot of) fatigue, a little nausea…of course hair loss. But I’ve been able to get out of bed every day, work a lot of days, and be Mommy to my little ones! Thank you for your prayers for minimal side effects!!
My final infusion chemo (Lord willing) was May 8, and I’ll continue to take my oral chemo for another week. I’ll have a PET Scan (likely May 20) and we head to MD Anderson (Houston TX) May 24-27. I’ll meet with a surgeon May 25, who will assess the PET Scan and determine if I am a candidate for surgery. They want to see the disease contained and inactive. We’re looking at a double mastectomy with reconstruction. I’ll do surgery in Texas, probably in June, and I’m not sure how long I’ll be out in Texas. After surgery, in theory the only cancer would be in the sternum, since the breast will be gone. Doctors have also mentioned radiation for the sternum area.
Lots of questions…we’ll know more after our Houston trip end of the month!
My prayers are that the PET scan will show “No Evidence of Disease” — a complete response to this aggressive chemo I’ve been on for nearly 5 months! My prayer is that we can move ahead with surgery and radiation, and that the Lord would give me many many more years to be Justin’s parter and Samuel, Selah and Hannah’s mommy!
All of this that I share is wrapped in faith, and the knowledge that my hope is not in the medical treatments, but God alone. God is not limited to cancer “stages”. God is writing a story here, and He wrote every day of my life before I lived one! He sees the beginning, middle and end, and has numbered my days! My life rests securely in His sovereignty, and His plans for me are GOOD. His plans for my family are GOOD. His goodness chases me every day of my life, and through His daily grace, I can have joy in the midst.
What’s happening in my HEART:
On motherhood & legacy… just the tip of the iceberg….
At Focus Bible Study, as we completed our study of the book of Romans, we were challenged to consider what kind of “footprints of faith” we are leaving to the next generation. We sang an old (slightly cheesy, but precious) 1980s song by Steve Green “Find us Faithful”. As tears streamed down my face, (and the faces of the other mothers of young children worshipping around me), it occurred to me that the desire of all of our Mama hearts was that we would be found faithful…for our children but also other “children of faith” we have the opportunity to disciple. With my health situation, these thoughts are at the forefront of my mind daily, and I desperately long to leave behind “footprints of faith” for my children to look back on after I’m gone…..whether it is 5 years or 50 years from today.
At the same time, there is the recognition that faith is a matter of the heart, that ONLY God can do. I cannot transform my children’s hearts, only the Spirit of God can do that. Through discipline I can correct their behavior, through teaching and training I can share the Word of God (and faith first comes from hearing of the Word)…but there is an invisible work of the Lord that I CANNOT do. This is hard for a recovering control-freak like me!
This realization is a call to press in and surround my children with “kindling” that the Holy Spirit might ignite into full faith one day —- a passionate, life altering faith that results in a life of extravagant worship. It’s a call to be on my knees for my children, begging God to do the work that only He can do. And it’s a call of dependence for me, to entrust my children to Him daily, and do the next right thing in my responsibility to share the goodness of the Lord with them.
To all of you mothers out there~ press into the hearts of your children. Pray big prayers over their lives; plans and purposes that only God can accomplish. Most importantly , make your spiritual growth a priority…press into the Lord yourself, and by God’s grace, you will be found faithful, only by Jesus – the Faithful One.
Find us Faithful by Steve Green
We’re pilgrims on the journey
Of the narrow road
And those who’ve gone before us line the way
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary
Their lives a stirring testament to God’s sustaining grace
Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
Let us run the race not only for the prize
But as those who’ve gone before us
Let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness
Passed on through godly lives
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone
And our children sift through all we’ve left behind
May the clues that they discover
And the memories they uncover
Become the light that leads them
To the road we each must find