Saturday, November 22, 2008

Future Hope

My skin is reacting to the radiation, as before, since I've finished. Can be quite touchy. I had my Eribtux Thursday and the dr. said it would exacerbate the reaction so I don't know if that's why it's worse. I really believe it would probably be like this anyway as it was summer of last year. Hopefully, it will heal soon, though. I do get the month of December off from the Erbitux. I'm very glad for that. I would like to fully enjoy the Christmas season this year!!

I wanted to share my Beth Moore Devotional from yesterday. I love to hear God's still small voice:
November 21: God does not love us less when He gives us fewer evidences. He simply desires to grow us up and teach us to walk by faith.
Lord, according to Your Word, hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life (Prov. 13:12). Lord, You are keenly aware of any hopes that have been deferred in my life. Help me to put my hopes in You, for You will fulfill my longings.
Wonderful Savior, You tell me that there is surely a future hope for me, and my hope will not be cut off (Prov. 23:18). When I hope in You, Lord, I will renew my strength. I will soar on wings like eagles; I will run and not grow weary, I will walk and not be faint (Isa. 40:31).
Lord, help me hear this word as one from You to me: "So there is hope for your future," declares the Lord (Jer. 29:17).

This takes me back to Everlasting God. Here's the story behind the song written by Brenton Brown:
“The song ‘Everlasting God’ was ‘born’ about eight years ago (2000). The worship teams from our church left Oxford for a retreat in the heart of Wales late on a Friday evening. I thought it would be a quick journey but close to four hours later, way past midnight, we arrived at our lodgings. It was dark and cold and most of us just wanted to head for bed after a long week and the endless journey. Before we did though, we all sat down for a little prayer. We’d brought along percussion and hand drums and as we started to pray we gradually began to pick up the various instruments and play. I grabbed a guitar and not long later the words and melody of the verse came out – ‘strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord’. It took four years to finish the song but basically things continued as they’d started. A few years later Ken Riley, a friend from Newcastle, came to visit Jude and I and added a great bridge to the song. At that stage both Jude and I had been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the scriptures in the verse and bridge took on a significance I never dreamed I’d have to understand. The chorus of the song reveals the ‘punch line’ of Isaiah 40 – God is everlasting, unfailing, unflagging. There is no limit to his strength and energy. More than that, this powerful, always-strong God has compassion and mercy on those who call on Him. He lifts us up when we are enormously comforting and sometimes challenging truth that we have been able to hold on to.”

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I had my last radiation treatment yesterday...33 in all. I was glad my skin held up to get through all 33 without having to stop for a while. Now, hopefully, it will recover without having the reaction afterwards like I did the last time. It was nice that the last 3 weeks there was nobody waiting in the waiting room for their treatments. There were 4-5 every week when I first started. I'm glad the techs were just sitting around reading books and playing solitaire on the computer. I saw one of the techs, the one that has always fitted my mask, visiting church with his family Sunday. He told me yesterday that they have visited the last couple of Sundays. I knew he was a Christian because the first time he fitted me with the mask 3 years ago he made a point of finding out where I went to church and told me where he went. My other tech that did the treatments everyday gave me a certificate yesterday with a cross in the background. She specifically did that background for me. I thought that was very sweet of her. I'll have another Erbitux next week. I don't go back to B'ham till January. My radiation dr. said he wants a PET scan in about 3 months. I'll have a nice break for a while. Hopefully, an uneventful Christmas season with my family this year...the first in 4 years. Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers that have most definitely gotten me through the last 7 weeks.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Well, I'm halfway through my radiation treatments. I'll have another Erbitux on Thursday. The last one I had gave me a pretty rough weekend.
I did get a nice long weekend, though. My daughter-in-law invited me to go with her and the girls to Magic Kingdom and SeaWorld. My radiation dr. allowed me to have Thursday and Friday off. It was great...though my ankles rebelled at all the walking I was subjecting them to in such a short amount of time. Here are some pics:

Waiting for the first Cinderella Castle show

Cinderella Castle by day

Cinderella Castle by night

Scenes from the Shamu shows

Overcome by the bubble machine

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Thank God for small favors

What can I say except that God is faithful! The Mask, as I've said, is so tight. The technician was nice enough to go ahead and cut the nose part out when it dried. I didn't have the mouth part cut out because I don't need a " bite block" since I'm not having radiation to my mouth. It was so tight over my mouth that my teeth were so pressed into the inside of my bottom lip. I even started having a toothache and couldn't help but wonder if it was because of the pressure pushing on my bite. The tech told me on Thursday that the markings to line up the machine were just below that part and would compromise it if it were cut. When my treatment finished she told me she might be able to move the marking a little lower. Hallelujah, it was cut out for me today! Not so unbearable now! I am so thankful. I got Friday and Monday off, too, because they had to do computer software updates. That was a good thing as my skin was already showing signs of redness after only 4 days. I did get my Erbitux on Thursday. I'm not sure if that might have enhanced the redness. It was good to have 4 days off, though. I had a typical Erbitux weekend, though. I felt pretty bad by Sunday. I'm really glad I don't have to have the Erbitux again so soon as when I had radiation last time.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Faith For Battle

I love sharing my devotionals that are so relevent to my situations in life. This one from Henry Blackaby's Discovering God's Daily Agenda:

The LORD our God spoke to us in Horeb, saying: "You have dwelt long enough at this mountain." Deuteronomy 1:6

We will never be the people God wants us to be if we don't spend time with Him.
Everyone of us needs some time on a spiritual mountain with God, but He does not set people free to remain on the mountain. After all, any mountaintop encounter we have with God is not merely for our encouragement; it is also intended to strengthen us for battle. Victories are ultimately not won by extended worship times on the mountaintop, but by going into battle and fulfilling God's purpose for our lives.
Some people are tempted to take up permanent residence on their spiritual mountaintop, but that makes them unavailable for God's service--and they don't experience fresh spiritual victories. Other believers neglect their time with God in order to rush into the next battle for Him. These people inevitably experience humiliating defeat.
During certain seasons throughout our lives and even at occasional points in our week, we need to withdraw from life's battles. At other times we need to leave the mountain and advance on the enemy. God knows which you ought to be doing. Be sure you are seeking His will and obeying His call.

For me, I want to walk in obedience to fulfill His purpose for my life. I want to hear His voice and know when to advance on the enemy and experience fresh spiritual victories; but also when to withdraw from my battles and spend time with Him.

Monday, September 22, 2008

First day, again

Well, I started my radiation treatments today...with The Mask. Three years ago when I had radiation that involved the mask, I listened to Lifesong and Praise You In This Storm everyday on my way to my treatments. I truly wanted my lifesong to sing to Him, to be a good witness. I have to say this mask thing really tries me on that. I want to have a good attitude about it, but I truly hate that thing. I don't want this to be what I take in with me everyday in front of these technicians. They are nice enough, but it's a job and they have the next patient waiting. As hard as it might be for me to deal with this, I don't want that to be the attitude they see from me every day. I posted a blog earlier today with a song that was on the radio when I was going back to work after the treatment. Two lines in the song jumped out at me: "You comfort those in need, You lift us up on wings like eagles." The whole song is timely telling me "Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord." At this point I don't know just how that strength will be there for me tomorrow, but I know I have a lot of people praying for me in my need, and God knows that need and He will surely meet it for His glory.

Building Faith

The following excerpt is from my Henry Blackaby devotional for September 20:
"Times that deeply challenge your faith will inevitably occur in your life. Eventually a situation will require you to trust God to a greater degree than you have ever had to trust Him before. Don't be shaken. Keep your eyes steadfastly on Jesus. He can see you through the storm. And, when He does, you will have grown to trust Him at a deeper level of faith than you ever have before."

I've really had a struggle with the issue of faith, thinking I haven't had enough or it's not strong enough. I guess I was thinking it was up to me to make it what God wants it to be. But with every challenging situation he has allowed in my life (and I'm not just talking my health here), He has been building my faith. As I look back I can see He has done this. If it were not so, I wouldn't be sitting here adding another post to this blog. I won't lie. I don't want these challenging situations in my life, for me or anybody else in my family. But God is God! What greater way to show His realness than to cause me (or somebody else) to trust Him yet another time...and, yet another time, to reveal His faithfulness to my trust in Him. No, it doesn't instantaneously make the situation better, but He lets me know in His special way that He's at work in the midst of whatever it is...when I'm faithful to Him. See Like I started this blog in my very first post, it starts and ends with His faithfulness.

Everlasting God

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

New every morning

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)

God uses people in my life everyday to let me know they are praying for me and care about me. It is quite overwhelming to know the extent that God uses people, literally, all over the world to give me a word of encouragement.

Yesterday was really special. When I got back to work after lunch there was a beautiful bouquet of flowers waiting for me on my desk. A very dear couple from church had sent the flowers to brighten my day...and did they ever! I got so many comments about the beautiful flowers.

I, also, received a note in the mail. It was from one of the staff at Answers in Genesis. AiG held an event in a nearby town on the Sunday and Monday after my surgery. I had gotten a personal invitation to a reception being held on Saturday night before the event. I failed to RSVP that I wouldn't be able to attend. On that Saturday afternoon I received a call that happened to be from the main speaker for the event. He was making calls to let those invited know that the reception was being cancelled because of the stormy weather we were having in the area. I told him how kind it was for him to call but that I wouldn't have been able to attend anyway as I just had surgery for cancer again. He asked questions about my situation, and I explained it to him. He told me that he would take my name back to their headquarters to be put on their prayer list that goes beyond their U.S. headquarters. He told me that I could be assured I would be prayed for by their staff. His exact words, "You can take it to the bank." I thanked him, and he even prayed for me over the phone. I received a handwritten note from "Bill" today to let me know that the staff at AiG had "prayed the Lord place His healing hand upon you and completely heal you". Under his name he wrote Matthew 8:17. That verse refers to a verse in Isaiah 53:4--
This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: "HE HIMSELF TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES AND CARRIED AWAY OUR DISEASES." (NASB)
I don't know who "Bill" is. He didn't sign his last name. I don't even know how to acknowledge to him that I received his note and how much I appreciate it.

As much as I dread the radiation treatments I will start soon, God gives me snippets of Himself through other people to let me know He is caring for me through a dear friend that sent me an email of prayer tonight to encourage me of His unending mercies.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Oh, Mercy!

Well, I saw my radiation oncologist yesterday. The technician took me to the room where they get you set up for the type of radiation you'll be having. When I saw the other technician walk in that was my radiation tech from 3 years ago, I knew the obvious. I asked if I was going to have to wear a mask again, they both said yes. I wore a radiation mask 3 years ago exactly, during the time of Hurricane Katrina. It was when I had radiation to my mouth and neck.

Yesterday they fitted me with a mask as they did the first time. They take a sheet of mesh, put it in very warm water so it can become pliable. Then they place it over your head and shoulders and mold the mesh to fit as closely as possible to your head, face, and neck. It was not a pleasant experience for the first couple of weeks the first time. My radiation onc told me the radiation might make my mouth too sore to tolerate eating well. If I lost 10 lbs, he would insert a feeding tube. So I started adding calories and gained 8 lbs by the time I started the treatments. Well, the mask was fitted prior to the 8 lbs. It was horribly tight, especially across my nose. I ended up getting a sinus infection. I finally told my dr. how terribly uncomfortable the mask was over my nose. He went right then and cut the nose part out of it! After that, it was better. I just had to endure the indentations from the mask for about 3 hours afterwards till they finally faded so I looked normal.

It looks like it will be like that this time, too. The tech did go ahead and cut the nose out of this new one and he said he'd cut the chin out some, too. I had to wear it for at least 5 minutes yesterday while they got everything aligned through x-rays and such. It was especially tight over my left cheek and chin, and I wore the indentations for the next 3 hours.

I also got quite burned on my neck the first time and had to take a week off. I would appreciate extra prayers during this time. I'm due to start Monday, Sept. 22, unless they call me to come on in next week. I will only be getting the radiation this time to the area where the tumor was removed on my neck by my left clavicle.

(I've enclosed a couple of pictures below of my first mask to give you an idea of what I'm in for this time, too. After I lie down on the table, they fit the mask exactly over me as it was molded and then clamp it to the table with the white peg clamps you see on the side.)

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Lord is good

"The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him." Nahum 1:7 (NIV)
I saw my surgeon on Tuesday, and all is well. I will see my radiologist next Friday to set up my radiation schedule. I had my Erbitux treatment yesterday. My oncologist at first leaned toward 8 weeks of Erbitux again to enhance the radiation. He asked me what I thought. I told him I'd do what I had to do but that wasn't my choice. He said there was nothing scientific to go by...that we had been working out of the box anyway. He suggested we could do a treatment again in 3 weeks and 3 weeks after that, then returning to the monthly treatments...or keep on doing it monthly. I told him I was okay with 3 weeks. That, at least, gave me a break. He said that sounded like a good plan to him. With my treatment yesterday and the two in the next 6 weeks that would give my radiation treatments a boost. I'm very pleased with that decision. I was so not looking forward to 8 more straight weeks of the Erbitux. I expect the radiation treatments will be 5 days a week for 5 weeks. I'll know more about that next Friday.

As I started up the car this morning to go to work, what should be playing on the radio...
Voice of Truth...God is so timely.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

He Cares For Me

"Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:6-7

I'm doing very well after my surgery last Thursday. It turned out to be a very long day. We left about 6:30 a.m. to get to Birmingham as I was on the lineup at 11:00 and was supposed to be there by 10:30. After getting in a pre-op room and getting preliminaries going, we were informed that my surgery would be about 2:00 p.m. About 2:00 we were informed it would be more like 4:00. My doctor's surgeries before me had turned out to be quite involved and took longer than expected.

I had exceptionally good anesthesiologists this time. The first one that saw me in pre-op asked all kinds of questions and assured me they would give me the right medications to keep me from being nauseated afterwards (which they have done for me in all of my surgeries at St. Vincent's in Birmingham). Then, by the time they took me into the holding room at 4:00 I had a different anesthesiologist. He, too, asked a lot of questions. He said he might have to leave before my surgery was finished, but another doctor would take over. I got to meet that doctor before surgery, too, and he asked the same questions. So I was confident that whoever was administering the anesthesia knew my needs very well. The second dr. came in about 4:30 to give me something in my IV and said I probably wouldn't remember anything from then on. He was right. I don't remember anything after he gave that to me until I was waking up in recovery.

While in recovery they couldn't find a room for me. The only place available was in MICU (Medical Intensive Care Unit). My surgeon didn't want them to put me there so they found a room on the 6th floor. Then they decided they might need that for the orthopedic patient and put me in MICU anyway. MICU is very strict about their visiting hours. So my husband wasn't allowed to stay with me indefinitely and had to wait till 9:30 the next morning. That didn't go over too well, but, hey, he adjusted...right?!

MICU was another experience. There I was being treated like I really needed to be in MICU until we told them that I'm really not supposed to be there...please feel free to take care of your more needy patients. I did have a very good nurse on duty during the night. She checked on me often. I didn't get awakened by nurses coming in to take vital signs. No, not in MICU. They have you all hooked up to do it automatically. You think you lose sleep/rest with nurses coming in to take your vitals????? (Not to mention they don't close doors to patients' rooms, they sit right outside your room and you hear them talking about everything ALL NIGHT, and, too often, you hear them respond to Code Blues...which thankfully got cancelled each time I heard it...but you hear them go into action until it is cancelled.)

Anyway, I'm doing well. I'll go back to B'ham for my post-op appointment with my surgeon on Tuesday. I'll resume the monthly Erbitux treatments on Thursday. We'll find out next week when radiation treatments will begin. I haven't heard back from my surgeon. I guess he's waiting to see me Tuesday since we pretty much already knew what it was. He said it was in my muscle and he "plucked" it out as not to cut the muscle. So I'm very thankful since I already know what that is like. Thank you for all of the encouragement so many of you have sent my way. It means tons.

Here is an updated list of my history. I carry a list with me now as it's hard to remember when filling out medical history at doctors' offices.
*SCC spread to neck muscle under tip of left clavicle, 8/08 surgery, radiation and continued monthly Erbitux
*SCC spread to neck and gum area, 12/07 surgery to remove 2 lumps in neck, one classified as a dead cancer, gum area-superficial, clean margins, 8 wks Erbitux, then long range monthly Erbitux treatments
*SCC spread through blood stream to knot in neck muscle, 5/07 surgery to remove knot involved removing muscle as well, no lymph nodes tested positive, 6 wks radiation & 8 wks Erbitux
*SCC spread to gum area, 12/06 surgery removing gum area & 2 more bottom molars, superficial and clean margins, no treatments
*SCC spread to lump in neck, 7/05 surgery, one lymph node tested positive, 6 wks radiation treatments to mouth and neck
*Squamous cell carcinoma spread to gum area, 1/05 surgery removing gum & 2 bottom molars, clean margins, no treatments
*Tongue cancer-SCC, 4/04 surgery, clean margins, no lymph nodes tested positive, no treatments
*Breast cancer, 11/2000 lumpectomy, clean margins, no lymph nodes tested positive, 6 wks radiation treatments

Monday, August 18, 2008

Another week, another day

You know I've made it clear in my previous blogs that I don't have much faith in PET scans. I just had one in April and
"all was well". Well, I found out last week that I will be having surgery on Thursday to remove another place in my neck. It either comes up just that fast or it was way too small to detect in April. I don't know.

Anyway, after noticing something different for about 3 weeks in a different part of my neck, I got it checked out. I called my radiation oncologist's nurse last Monday. She asked me if I could come right in. I did. My dr. ordered a CT scan and I went right then for it. It was a contrast dye scan from neck to pelvis. The only thing that showed up as abnormal was the place in my neck. All else was normal. PTL

He had me return to his office as soon as I had the scan done. After he had pulled up the scan on his computer, he called me into his office to show it to me. He said it definitely looked like a lymph node was involved. He called my surgeon in B'ham and talked to him as I sat in his office. It was pretty neat to hear him explaining to him in their medical terms exactly where it was, and..."When can you see her this week?" My surgeon said Friday at 11, but he, also, wanted me to have an ultrasound guided needle biopsy. So I had that done on Tuesday. I got the results on Thursday that it was consistent with squamous cell carcinoma like I have had in my mouth and neck. After seeing my surgeon on Friday, I am on the line-up at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday to have surgery in B'ham. We will leave early that morning, and I will stay overnight as I always have.

It is the consensus of both of my doctors to start radiation on this area about 3 weeks after surgery. It is in a place that has not been radiated before. All of my previous tumors have been on the right side of my mouth and neck. This one is actually on the left. It is just at the bottom of my throat in the center where the two collarbones can be felt. It is like behind the tip of the left clavicle. I will most likely continue with the Erbitux treatments, but I will have to see my medical oncologist to see what he thinks.

I anticipate God's faithfulness in showing His full and complete sovereignty in yet another trial He has allowed. Thank you for your continued support and prayers. I will most certainly share with you whatever my God shares with me. You know, God working in our lives is what we need to hear from each other to give the hope and encouragement of a living God. I would love to hear from you.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

An Actual Word of Praise

Tuesday we went to Birmingham for my regularly scheduled check-up with my surgeon, Dr. H. My check-up was fine other than having a place removed from the side of my tongue that had gotten bigger. I wasn't overly concerned as it was similar to one he removed earlier this year that was benign. I just didn't like that it was getting bigger. His office called me about 5:15 yesterday to tell me that it was plasia, a benign growth like the other one. What good news to receive...and it only took about 24 hours to find out!!...and I don't have to go back for 3 months!!! Hopefully, I will then be telling you about the good news from my regularly scheduled appointment!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Voice of Truth

A Touch of Faith

...the title of my Henry Blackaby devotional on Saturday.
"Jesus said, "Who touched Me?" When all denied it, Peter and those with him said, "Master the multitudes throng and press You, and You say, 'Who touched Me?'" Luke 8:45
If you feel overwhelmed by what God has called you to do or, like the hemorrhaging woman, by the circumstances in your life, be encouraged. God will respond as you reach out in faith to touch Him. He will empower you and heal you, and you will see miracles happen in your life.

Reaching out, touching Him in faith and anticipating God's response of miracles in my life and in the lives of those close to me.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Miracles was the title of my Henry Blackaby devotional a couple of days ago. He was talking about the miracle the children of Israel experienced when they crossed the Jordan on dry ground (Joshua 3). Verse 15 explains that normally, being the time of harvest, the banks overflowed. He stated in the devotional: "God works His wonders and miracles for people of faith. Realize that your faith in God is not something you declare; faith is what God grants you, and faith is brought to life through action. Saying you believe is commendable, but the people who step out in faith are the ones who see miracles."

Thank you, God, for granting faith to me. Continue to show me how to step out in faith, which is bringing it to life by my actions.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Tribute to Tony Snow

I just learned when I logged onto my homepage that Tony Snow passed away during the night of colon cancer. Tony Snow was a man of great integrity, a man who walked with God, a man whose hope was in matter what might lie ahead. I shared in a previous blog an article that he wrote, Cancer's Unexpected Blessings . I wanted to bring that up again as a tribute to what a great Christian man Tony Snow was. He is now with his Lord and Saviour with a new body, free from the ravages of cancer.

I had the opportunity to send him an email through a link with many others about a year ago while he was still serving as Press Secretary for the White House. It was a link for those to let him know they were praying for him after he had just had another cancerous growth removed. I received the following email from him that I'm sure he sent to all who had contacted him:


Thanks so much for the kind note - and for including me in your thoughts and prayers.

I can't tell you how much I appreciate you thinking of me and raising my name in prayer. Prayers have enormous power. They're good medicine - and they certainly have lifted my spirits. I feel as if I have been borne on the shoulders of thousands of friends, all of whom have made the ride easier than I ever could have imagined.

We're blessed to live in a land where people just want an excuse to do something good for someone else. Thanks for taking advantage of that opportunity with me. Please encourage others to do it closer to home for other friends in need. Kind words, notes, emails, and small gestures have a way of lightening the load, while making our own lives richer and more rewarding.

Again, thanks for the incredible gift of caring.

God bless,

You want to make every pundit look bad? Then stand tall for what you believe. Don’t be shy. You want to stun the establishment? Then become a mighty force for conservative principles, and tackle the task with confidence and cheer... This may be a time of testing. But it’s not our swan song. Not by a long shot. Instead... this is our moment. This is the time to do what we do best—turn adversity into strength.” —the late Tony Snow, former White House Press Secretary
Dear God, you've received one of your choice servants unto Yourself this day. God, raise up and give us more men of such Christian integrity in our government and media as this one, Tony Snow.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


I saw my surgeon today in Birmingham for my check-up. I told him the place on my neck hasn't changed. He felt it and said it felt like it was just sitting there. He said he was okay with it just sitting there. We are, too...rather that than showing any change.

I'm trying to get over a yeast infection in my mouth, though. It flared up really bad after treating a sinus infection with a couple of antibiotics. The prescription for the yeast infection (or thrush) cleared it up after about 3 days (though, I continued to finish the medicine as directed), but then it came I've been treating it for about 3 1/2 weeks with a couple of prescriptions. When I saw my radiation doctor on Friday for my checkup with him, he gave me a prescription for something different to try. My B'ham doctor agreed. So, hopefully, this will do the job. My radiation dr. said it's probably an ongoing thing because of my immune system being so low. That explains why my tongue looked so normal after the first 3 days on the medicine. It hasn't looked normal in 2 1/2 years since I had radiation to my mouth, so I've probably been dealing with this all this time and nobody said anything. It explains why my mouth has been so sore and sensitive at times since I'm feeling the same thing right now.

I finished the 8 weeks of Erbitux and have had my first monthly treatment. Most of the symptoms have cleared up and it doesn't look like I will have them so bad with just having monthly treatments. It is nice to have 3-4 weeks between them.
That's all for now.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Defined by who you are in Christ

Beth Moore's devotional, May 31:

You are not defined by anything that happened to you or anything you've done. You are defined by who you are in Christ. Lord, I have no reason to be ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that You are able to guard what I have entrusted to You for that day (2 Tim. 1:12). Even when I've been faithless, You've been faithful, for You cannot disown Yourself (2 Tim. 2:13). Help me not to fall victim to the accusations of Satan, the accuser of believers. He is furious because he knows his time is short. I have received Your salvation and I am in Your kingdom, under the authority of Your Son, Jesus Christ. The enemy is overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimonies (Rev. 12:10-11). Help me never cease testifying of Your mighty work in me.
(Beth Moore: Praying God's Word Day By Day)

The last sentence was just confirmation for my opportunity to ever testify of God's mighty work in me...along with the blood of the Lamb, overcoming the enemy.

But this devotional, also, gave me reason to reflect on the enemy's schemes in others' lives. He may try to cause a person to define who they are by what has happened to them or by what they've done, knowing his time is short, wanting that one to feel defeated and hopeless...trying to prevent a testimony of God's mighty work. Thank God He is more faithful to give us definition through what His Son did for us on Calvary rather than anything Satan may have tried to use to steal, kill, and destroy. Satan isn't privy to the big picture. God is!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I remembered the Lord

The following is the verse and devotional for May 24 in Henry Blackaby's devotional, Discovering God's Daily Agenda:
"When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the LORD; And my prayer went up to You, into Your holy temple." Jonah 2:7

Bittersweet is a word that aptly describes the hard times when we turn to God and find Him to be all that we need. Think about those times when you've had nowhere else to turn but the Lord--and you weren't even sure He was listening or if He even cared. That was a bitter starting point, but the sweetness came in time. Oh, the circumstances may not have changed--the marriage may not have been rehabilitated, the child may not yet be walking with the Lord again, the chemo may not have done what you'd hoped and prayed for--but everything was different because of the sweet presence of your heavenly Father. It's all too easy to forget that we need Him, isn't it? It's generally during the crises more than in the peaceful times that we remember our dependence on God and prayerfully turn to Him. When it feels as if our soul faints within us--as Jonah's did--we remember our all-powerful, ever-faithful God and lift our prayers to Him. Whether your current circumstances are sweet or bitter or somewhere in between, lift up your voice to God today.

After reading the devotional I thought how that word--bittersweet--says it all sometimes. My very first thought was sweet...that God does hear me whenever I call out to Him...whether in a specific time of prayer or in a thought prayer many times during a day. Bitter, though, when my heart's cry is knowing only He is the answer...and that answer may not come in the timing I would choose. Then...again...sweet. How sweet to have that conviction that I can freely lift up my voice to Him and He hears. He knows, He understands my heart's cry...whatever it may be.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Always be prepared

"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." 1 Peter 3:15

We had spring revival meetings at church this week. The evangelist is very good...not to mention our fabulous adult choir! Sunday night his message was from 2 Corinthians 1:8-9:
8) For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; 9) indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves in order that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead;

He started naming some sayings that have been passed down over the years as if they came from the Bible. The last one he mentioned was "God will never put more on you than you can bear." He said you will not find that in the Bible. In verse eight Paul says they were burdened excessively, beyond their strength, despairing of life...but in verse nine he gives God's purpose in allowing hardships to come our order that we should put our trust in God who, by the way, raises the dead!

He named a few things that would be considered hardships for some, a few of which I can relate. I can fully testify that, though, I would choose not to deal with these things in particular, they have driven me to put my trust in the only One who is capable...the reason for the hope that is in me.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

PET news

I heard back from my doctor on Sunday night about the PET scan. He said the PET didn't indicate anything on my neck. That is sign for good news, though PETs haven't always been reliable for me. He said he could still do a needle aspiration or order an MRI. He advised that I "sleep on it" before making a decision. I've got 2 more treatments. I decided I'll just wait to finish the treatments and keep a watch on the place I've noticed on my neck. If I notice a change, we'll do something more. My doctor hates to have to do even more surgery in the area. He doesn't want to take a chance to damage any nerves, and the radiation I've had makes my skin less than pliable. It's hard to know just what to do sometimes. Hopefully, we won't have to do anything.

The LORD says, "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Psalm 32:8 (NLT)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

My refuge

I went to Birmingham for my scheduled checkup with my surgeon yesterday. This was my email verse yesterday morning:

"Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer." Psalm 4:1

I was in a bit of distress about seeing him. I found a knot on my neck about two weeks ago. I've questioned myself for the last couple of weeks whether it's really something, should I mention it to my doctor, would he be able to feel it and think it was anything. So I've been praying for God to work on my be validated. Well, God heard my prayer. My doctor did feel it, and he has ordered a PET scan. I will have it Friday at 11:30. He said that if the PET scan doesn't show anything, he will still want to do a needle biopsy. He wants to be sure. The PET scan hasn't worked for me in that way before. We'll see what it shows Friday and go from there.

A friend sent me some verses today. These say it all:
"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. . . Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge" Psalms 62:5 & 8

Friday, March 14, 2008

In Him all things hold together

My computer has been out of commission for a week, and I've just gotten it back, so I will give you an update. I had treatment #3 yesterday. Last week was the first week after my first treatment and I felt pretty bad all week. Ironically, I started feeling better on Friday, the day after my 2nd treatment. I do think the Decadron I get with my treatment on Thursday may be like a shot in the arm for a while. I do have the rash and dry skin again. I'm taking extra B6 this time per my doctor's advice, and it may be helping. I still start feeling bad about midday on Saturday till about midday on Monday.
My dear daughter told me that I needed to watch a video on youtube. It's divided into segments on youtube. They watched the whole thing in Sunday School last Sunday. She told me it was awesome. It is! I'm including a segment link in this blog. It totals about 8 minutes. The subject matter gets started off with something called Laminin which are protein molecules in our body. Please take a look:

Louie Giglio - Laminin
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. Colossians 1:15-17 NAS

God brings me what I need right when I need it. What hope and encouragement to know that even though I may be battling cancer, He has "millions and millions and millions of microscopic crosses holding me together and one giant, glorious cross of Jesus Christ holding me on to the heavenly Father...forever!" Amen and amen!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Power of the Most High

"For nothing will be impossible with God."..."be it done to me according to your word."
Luke 1:37-38 NASB

Faith that He will

I've just been lying around and taking Tylenol as needed all weekend. As I'm trying my best to understand this whole thing yesterday, this was my devotional last night from Beth Moore's book, March 1:

WHETHER OR NOT WE LIKE THE CONCEPT, CHRIST LOVES TO RESPOND TO US ACCORDING TO OUR FAITH. Lord Jesus, before You healed the blind men who cried out for Your mercy, You asked them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" After they replied to You by saying, "Yes, Lord," You touched their eyes and You said, "According to your faith will it be done to you " (Matt. 9:28-29). Clearly my faith impacts what You are willing to perform in my life. Please help me to believe that You are able. Lord, I want to be like the one to whom You said, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted" (Matt. 15:28). Flourish this kind of faith in me, God!

Oh, for Him to be able to say to me, "Woman, you have great faith to believe I will. Your request is granted." Faith not only to believe that He is able but, also, that He will. Flourish this kind of faith in me, O God!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Covered with His feathers and under His wings

I began a second course of Erbitux treatments yesterday. I didn't have to start with a double dose this time, just the dosage I maintained during the last 8 treatments. This morning I felt like I did before. My legs were bothering me and I felt achy. I took some Tylenol and that helped. My face is flushed, especially on the right side and feels warm to the touch.
As I sat in the room waiting for them to get the IV started I just thought how I sure didn't want to have to do this again. I just had to pray for God to calm me, and He did. Sometimes you just do what you gotta do.

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, ''He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.'' Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. Psalm 91:1-6

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Visit with doctor today

We saw my oncologist today. He consulted with another oncologist in Birmingham about his proposed treatment plan with Erbitux. She concurred with his treatment plan. Though, I don't think she would have swayed his conviction, it was confirmation that this is right for her to agree with him. So I will begin treatments in 2 weeks. I will have 8 consecutive weeks, once a week, just like in the summer. Then the plan is for me to continue with the Erbitux once a month for an extended period. At least I've got this option and there is not a need to go with conventional chemo treatments. I've been blessed with very nice doctors who truly want to see me healed.

I start in 2 weeks so that I can spend next week with my Monkey Boys. The Monkey Boys mom and dad and sister, Monkey Girl, will be going to Hawaii for the week. What fun to get to spend the week with my grandsons while their parents and sister get to enjoy a special time in a special place.

I do have a praise. I returned to Birmingham last week to have a place biopsied on my tongue that looked suspicious to me. Thankfully, my doctor called Saturday to tell me it was only inflamed tissue. He said he had two pathologists check it giving them my history with this cancer. He said he was happy. I told him I was, too :)
It may have never been anything, but who am I to deny that God might have completely healed it before it was removed!

I have set the LORD always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (Psalm 16:8 NIV)

We must offer ourselves to God like a clean, smooth canvas and not worry ourselves about what God may choose to paint on it, but at each moment, feel only the stroke of His brush.-- Jean Pierre de Caussade

Friday, February 1, 2008

"Fight for me, God!"

Read from my Beth Moore devotional last night. Her last words of prayer most definitely speak my sentiments exactly:
"Lord Your power has not diminished since the days when You revealed Your power and glory as You fought for Israel. I am Your child, too. Fight for me, God! Overpower the one who seeks to overpower me!" (based on Exodus 15:9-10)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Steadfast Belief

From Beth Moore's Praying God's Word Day by Day,
January 21:
At this moment, Father, I am choosing the way of truth. I want to set my heart on Your laws (Ps. 119:30). I want to choose the way of truth the rest of my days.
Test me, O Lord, and try me. Examine my heart and my mind, for Your love is ever before me, and I desire to walk continually in Your truth (Ps. 26:2-3). Redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth (Ps. 31:5). Help me remember that nothing and no one can be redeemed without truth: the God of truth!
Show me Your ways, O Lord. Teach me Your paths. Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long
(Ps. 25:4-5).

Oh to be one that He finds walking with Him in steadfast belief! "...You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long".
(I said I was going to enjoy my devotional books!)
We saw my medical oncologist today. We had a good, lengthy talk with him about options, and we agreed with him on everything. All of my doctors have stated that there is not an effective chemo for squamous cell carcinoma. My dr. doesn't believe it is necessary for me to have chemo since there is no evidence of this cancer having metastasized to any other organs. Also, by all indications my surgeon got it all. There have been no studies with Erbitux as a long term treatment to show that it would effectively do anything long term. Honestly, I have had radiation to my mouth once, and the cancer returned; to my neck twice, and the cancer returned, 8 Erbitux treatments and the cancer returned. There are no guarantees. My dr. offered us the option of seeking other opinions elsewhere. He is the president of Alabama's cancer information board (can't remember the actual name of it). He is responsible for keeping up on all new cancer treatment information so he can relay that information to all the oncologists in Alabama. I wouldn't think there would be anyone else to know much more than he does; though, he is contacting a dr. in Birmingham that will be speaking at their conference in April on head and neck cancer. He will be seeing us again February 14th to report to us what she says. It is his suggestion at this time to go 8 more weekly rounds of Erbitux treatments and then go to once a month treatments with it. There is no precedence for this. As a friend told me tonight, I could be the one to help find a cure for this cancer!
Continue to pray for us to know God's direction.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I will bless the Lord at all times...Let us exalt His name together

I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul will make its boast in the LORD; The humble will hear it and rejoice. O magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together. I sought the LORD, and He answered me, And delivered me from all my fears. O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
Psalm 34:1-4, 8 New American Standard Bible

I saw my surgeon last Tuesday to have my stitches removed. He had already planned to take a little more gum tissue to make sure he removed all of the cancer that was there. I, also, asked him to check a place on the inside of my cheek just to make sure. He called Sunday afternoon to tell me the results. The place on my cheek was fine. Cancer did show up in the gum tissue he removed, but he was able to remove all of the cancer giving me clear margins. So no further surgery to my mouth is necessary. That was all great news. He (and I) will just keep a close watch on the area.

My surgeon, also, gave us the pathology report last week to take to my medical oncologist. I have an appointment to see him next Tuesday to see what my options might be for further treatment. Radiation is not an option. I have already had radiation twice on my neck and to my mouth once. It's usually not repeated after the first time, anyway. So we'll see what the oncologist has to say.

I decided to switch from the CD I had been listening to in the car for the past week. I was just thinking it's just so neat to hear God speak randomly to me through music on the radio when I'm in the car. When I started the car to go back to work after lunch (after just talking to my onc's office and finding out my appt. time), "Voice of Truth" was in process of playing on the radio. I think God is really wanting to impress upon me to not let "voices" from here or there drown out HIS voice to me. Don't ever give up. Keep holding on.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A Fresh Beginning

That was the title of the devotional for January 1. It's from a new daily devotional book given to me by my husband for my birthday. It's co-authored by Henry Blackaby. He, also, gave me another daily devotional at Christmas authored by Beth Moore. I know I will enjoy both of them immensely!
The verse for January 1 particularly caught my eye. It is similar to one in an email I got on Monday. After seeing it in yesterday's devotional, I thought I should sit up and take notice. That was probably at least the 4th time, maybe more, these verses have come to my attention in some way or other in the past couple of weeks. God is definitely trying to say something to me through it. After this many repeats in the past few days, it's not meant to be coincidental!

From December 31:
"I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols. See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you." Isaiah 42:8-9

From January 1:
"Behold, I will do a new thing. Now it shall spring forth...I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." Isaiah 43:19
The last sentence of the devotional: "Embrace the fresh beginning God wants to give you."