James 1:17 ~ “Every good and perfect gift is from above.” I always found great meaning in this verse when I discovered I was pregnant with my children. Babies seem like a perfect gift. When I held my children for the first time, I KNEW I was not cool enough to have created that little miracle all myself. There was an awesome God with an awesome design who created him from his innermost being. I cherish my children as little gifts. They are perfect reminders right now that life is very much normal. They cried just this morning when we ran out of Mickey Mouse pancakes = perfect reminder of normal.
James 1:17 scrolled through my mind yesterday morning as I met my oncologist, Dr. Lininger. What a perfect gift! He is kind, compassionate and brilliant. He wanted to know about me and my husband and our life. He answered our questions with compassion and understanding with years of experience to back up his wisdom. He provided encouragement and guidance. He asked us if we were spiritual. I simply stated, “I love Jesus. We are a praying people and believe that you are going to be tool in His grand plan.” Dr. Lininger chuckled and immediately quoted scripture. Yeah! He loves Jesus, too. What an answer to prayer 🙂 He spoke of Paul’s trails and tribulations and his great faith during it all. He also reminded us the Paul stumbled some and struggled with affliction, similar to the road ahead of me. Boy, Dr.Lininger was a perfect gift! Roy asked Dr. Lininger how we (and the prayer army, as I like to call you) could be praying for him. His prayer requests were:
Wisdom – He said this is a constant prayer request, but in his profession especially, he desires to be wise and provide the best possible treatment for each patient.
Having the right words – He is clearly compassionate, but He strongly desires to be uplifting and encouraging to his patients and wants to have the right words at the right time.
On the medical side of things, I was diagnosed as Stage II – woo hoo! Stage I is the least advanced and Stage IV is the most advanced. The PET scan confirmed I had no masses below my diagraphm (the muscle at the bottom of your rib cage that helps with breathing), which is another praise report. The chemotherapy plan is set. I will receive my infusions every other Monday for 12 sessions, approximately 6 months. I had Roy count it out for me (Feb.25, Mar.11, Mar.24, Apr.8, Apr.22,May 6 [half way there], May 20, [then comes Branding weekend – woo hoo!], June 3, June 17, July 1, July 15, July 29 [Roy and I will celebrate 10 years of marriage on July 25 and then finish up my last round of chemo on the 29th – yippee!]. Before you go add permanent marker to your calendar, even though I already have, these dates are subject to change. My white blood cell counts have to stay high in order to proceed on schedule. No infections, especially the viral type, can be present.
My first round of chemo yesterday was not so bad…I have heard that from other cancer patients. The nurses do a good job with super power anti-nausea medications. Dr. Lininger’s wife, Margy is one of my oncology nurses = super cool. She said she prides herself on the fact that not one of her patients has ever used the trash can on her watch. I was impressed and did NOT want to change her statistics, despite some early queasiness. They finally removed the dressing from my port and I got to really see that for the first time. I think it might have been a little more interesting to be abducted by aliens and have a strange device that was still in my body. Unfortunately, I do not believe in aliens so that theory was out. Margy gave me some super fantastic Ativan/Lorazepan – it is a relaxer, and I was relaxeddddddd. If it says on the label “may cause drowsiness” I approach narcoleptic-like symptoms. Then she pumped me with her special no-throw-up-drugs: Aloxi, Decadron, and Emend (this last one has a 5 day titrating down effect and is simply a little longer lasting). Then some yummy Benadryl was added to my concoction – this helps prevent reactions and makes me sleeeeeeepy 😉 Then I got my ABVD (Adriamycin – the nurse does an IV push, Bleomycin – 10 minute infusion, Velban – 10 minute infusion or IV push, Dacarbazine – 2 hour infusion). We got to the doctor’s office about 9:10 and left a little after 4:00 p.m., but that included great conversation with Dr. Lininger, visits from family and friends, and my first round of chemo. It will be more like 4 hours in the future.
Mom and Dad are here to help with the little squirts and they truly have been a blessing. I always believed that once parent’s became grandparent there was a new neurotransmitter that was submitted into the brain that made grandparent’s make completely illogical choices. i.e. Letting the grandkids eat candy and cookies all the time, especially before meals, jump on the couch, yell like banchy roosters, and run around like crazy children if they feel like it. I think that neurotransmitter has been put to sleep this week. Mom and Dad have been a kind, compassionate and respectful support system. They rank up there with my husband. My primary job as a housewife is to raise my children, and I have struggled to do that job this week. The struggle was less because my parent’s were here to fill in that gap. I am thankful for the support system I have in place – a friend willing to set up meals, a friend willing to do wig research and make that shopping experience fun, a sister who is a powerful prayer partner, a sister who reminds me to be mad if I want to, a husband who is will to give me a massage at 4 a.m. to calm down a panic attack and has built the most amazing prayer army I have ever experienced, and my little boys who know mom is sick but really want to remind me that my job as mom is nowhere near finished.
Our God is great and gives us “good and perfect gifts”. He provided an excellent medical team yesterday, great chemists who created good anti-nausea drugs for today and promises of a “hope and a future.” Our family verse for this week is the famous Jeremiah 29:11 ~ “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” What a sound promise! I pray that as you read this blog you are blessed, encouraged and occassionally surprised 🙂 May Gods’ richest blessing pour down on you today!