Thursday, December 30, 2010
It seems to me that having a serious medical issue (like cancer) is just one of a number of struggles people have. Telling people you have cancer evokes a certain amount of shock and sympathy in today’s culture, but it isn’t necessarily a more “important” struggle than the others. People struggle with loneliness, financial difficulty, strained relationships with a spouse or family member, the loss of a job, separation from a loved one in the military, and the list goes on. It’s easy to think about people who are struggling in those ways, but never really contemplate what it is like to be in their shoes walking through their struggles. Every person has his or her own battles that they are fighting day in and day out, and to a certain degree those battles go unnoticed by those around them. Part of what I have been learning through my struggle with cancer is that I need to be more aware of the struggles of those around me and show them the same compassion and love that others have shown me.
But in the end, the support and encouragement of others can only go so far. Everyone needs an ultimate, permanent solution for their struggles. You can ignore or distract yourself from your struggle for a time, but eventually you will come back to realizing that your struggle still remains unsolved. I know this may sound simplistic in a way, but I believe there is a single solution for every struggle people face. It is trusting and hoping in the God who is made heaven and earth (Psalm 121:2), who loves us and has freed us by His blood (Revelation 1:2), whose faithfulness reaches the clouds (Psalm 108:4), who provides for all our needs (Philippians 4:19), who never leaves or forsakes us (Joshua 1:5), and who powerfully holds onto us no matter what happens (Romans 8:35-39).
The band Third Day has a beautiful song called, “Cry Out to Jesus,” that portrays this truth very powerfully as it points to Jesus as the ultimate hope for all those who are hopeless in the struggles of life. You can watch the video for “Cry Out to Jesus” below.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
These six years have been very full and wonderful. We have lived in three states (Missouri, California and Georgia), five apartments, two houses, moved across the country twice, had three kids, and over ten jobs between the two of us. God has blessed us tremendously.
Some of the words I would use to describe Matt as I have known him these past six years are: patient, servant-hearted, joyful, wise, kind, encouraging, and thoughtful. The best way that a husband can love his wife is by imitating Christ’s love and Matt has done that.
for his steadfast love endures forever!
Monday, December 20, 2010
While Erin experienced a certain amount of nausea and fatigue for a couple days following her previous two chemotherapy treatments, it was significantly less severe than what she has been dealing with for the past five days. She got her treatment on Wednesday afternoon and was in bed by 6:30pm Wednesday evening. She remained in bed all day Thursday, Friday, and most of Saturday. She made some improvement Sunday, finding the energy to care for Samuel and to help get the kids dressed for church and preparing lunch. But by the late afternoon she was more than ready to go back to bed. Today she is stronger still, but is continuing to navigate the delicate balance between doing the things she wants to do and allowing herself the rest she needs to recover fully.
Please pray for Erin's continued physical recovery from this treatment, as well as for her personal endurance as she seeks to trust in God's sustaining care for her in the days, weeks, and months to come.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
For the rest of this post I’ll keep a play-by-play diary of my chemotherapy treatment…
I am in the waiting room getting ready to go back for my blood tests to see if my counts are good enough to get my chemo today…
Action in the waiting room…a lady is having a seizure and the nurses are giving her some oxygen.
The lady who was having a seizure is doing much better now. Thank the Lord.
I was just talking to another patient in the waiting room and told her I live in Pooler and have three young children. She said, “Oh, I read about you in the newspaper last week!” Another man overheard the conversation and said, “Hey, young lady…that was you on the TV last night, wasn‘t it?” By this point several people in the waiting room were looking at me and talking about seeing me on TV. It's kind of embarrassing, but I guess it's also a good conversation starter…
Waiting, waiting, waiting. It has been an hour and I still have not gone back. This could be a LONG day!
I finally got back to see my doctor. He walked in and said, “So, you’re like a rock start now aren’t you?” Oh boy…
I am finally back in the chemo room. I am about to get my new drug, Epirubicin. This drug is so toxic that it will give me third degree burns if any of the fluid leaks out of the IV onto my skin! Most people who get this drug avoid this risk by getting a port (basically, a semi-permanent internal IV connection that a surgeon installs). My doctors said I have good enough veins that I might not have to have the port. I guess we’ll see how today goes. I also have to take a medication along with this new drug that costs $100 per pill…yikes! Good thing the Chick-fil-a night was a success!
Matt and I brought our Christmas card project to chemotherapy today, so we’re putting stamps and address labels on the envelopes. It’s a little tricky with an IV in my right arm, but I’m managing okay…
Well, the "poison" is all in and I‘m getting topped off with one more bag of saline solution. The nurse that helped administer my chemo drugs turned out to be a member of Providence Presbyterian Church (which belongs to the same denomination as our church), so we had a good time talking about friends we had in common, etc.
[Matt] We finally got home from chemo at about 5pm. After helping me give the kids dinner and baths, Erin was pretty exhausted and starting to feel nauseated. She ended up taking some nausea medicine and going to bed for the night at about 6:45pm. Compared to her previous chemo treatments, those side effects seemed to come on pretty quickly this time.
While Erin’s cancer treatments aren’t nearly as severe as those some other people must deal with, it is still a serious disease that has effected her body and her life in countless ways and it will continue to do that for years to come. As a husband, it is hard to watch all of it unfold. But it is times like this when theology (what you believe about God) gets practical. I believe God is sovereign over all, so now I have to trust that He is in complete control of my wife’s cancer. I believe God has unlimited power, so now I have to trust that He is fully able to heal Erin completely. And I believe God is faithful and good to His people, so now I have to trust that these hard days are not in vain because He is faithfully working for her good. I’m not sure how all the pieces fit together…and at times I wish the pieces were different…but I must believe that God is fulfilling His perfect purposes in all of it.
“I believe; help my unbelief!”
Praise the Lord! The Chick-fil-a night was a huge success! In just three hours we raised enough money to cover all of my chemotherapy costs! Thank you to all of you who took time out of your evening to come support me and my family. I am so thankful that I was able to be there for the whole evening to meet and catch up with all of you. I was excited to have the support of “celebrity servers” like Jamie Dean (from Lady and Sons), Mike Lamb (Mayor of Pooler), and Alice Massimi (WSAV), but I was just as excited to see my friends and all those who had never met me before!
What a treat to meet Jamie Dean (Paula Dean's son)! Thanks for the cookbooks, Jamie!
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
This past Sunday the pastor of our church, John Fender, preached a very clear and encouraging sermon on this subject based on Hebrews 11:23-31. In his sermon, he suggests that God puts these obstacles in our lives to strengthen "the flabby muscles of our faith." As hard as it is to admit it, we need these obstacles to reveal the weak areas of our faith and to strengthen our confidence in God alone.
For obvious reasons, this sermon was a great reminder that Erin's cancer is not outside of God's control and should not cause us to question God's goodness. Beyond the medical explanations, we know that God is ultimately in control of all things and in His perfect wisdom He has allowed this obstacle to come into her life as an opportunity for her faith to be strengthened and, Lord willing, for the faith of many others to be strengthened as well. That reality doesn't mean the day-to-day struggles of chemotherapy and surgery are fun or easy. But it does mean those struggles are not purposeless. They are all a part of God's work in our lives to draw us ever closer to Him by faith.
You can watch a video of the sermon below.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.
I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
He will send from heaven and save me; he will put to shame him who tramples on me.
God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!
My soul is in the midst of lions; I lie down amid fiery beasts—
the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!
They set a net for my steps; my soul was bowed down.
They dug a pit in my way, but they have fallen into it themselves.
My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast!
I will sing and make melody!
Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn!
I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to you among the nations.
For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.
I have been meditating on Psalm 57 for the past week. The author of the psalm is crying out to God in the midst of sorrow and trials. God responds by pouring out his steadfast love and faithfulness. The psalm ends with singing and rejoicing. This is how my heart feels so often. I will cry out to God in my suffering…He hears me and responds with a gentle whisper: "Be still and know that I am God."
He burns the chariots with fire.
I enjoy listening to Keith and Kristyn Getty. As I have read these Psalms I was reminded of their song, "Still, My Soul Be Still."
Still my soul be still, and do not fear though winds of change may rage tomorrow.
God is at your side, no longer dread the fires of unexpected sorrow.
God You are my God, and I will trust in You and not be shaken.
Lord of peace renew a steadfast spirit within me to rest in You alone.
Still my soul be still, do not be moved by lesser lights and fleeting shadows.
Hold onto His ways with shield of faith against temptations flaming arrows.
Still my soul be still, do not forsake the Truth you learned in the beginning.
Wait upon the Lord and hope will rise as stars appear when day is dimming.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Having a child is supposed to be one of the happiest times of your life but for one Pooler Mom, it's turned into one of the most challenging. Just days after giving birth to her son, Samuel, Erin Fray was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Estrogen Positive Breast Cancer. “I was on cloud nine, having given birth, and he (the doctor) walked into the office looking concerned and he told me that I have breast cancer," recalls Erin Fray.
Fray says she had noticed the lump several months ago, but didn’t think anything of it. Her mind was on her bundle of joy. Now all of a sudden Erin was facing cancer. Surprised and also scared, Erin's husband Matt says it's been challenging. "Going from the high of having a new baby to the low of there is this disease, and then the complication of how do we deal with both of them at the same time," explains Matt.
The Frays' answer to dealing with it all -- faith. "God giving us grace, causing us not to be overwhelmed, giving us patience and understanding," says Matt. Needed especially on the days following Erin's chemotherapy. "The days when I am laying in bed, thinking when is this ever going to be over, I can rest in the fact that I am in God's hands and he is not going to let go of me," says Erin. Even with her deep belief in God, Erin says it’s been difficult... not able to nurse Samuel... there is also a chance Erin may not be able to have any more children.
But for now Erin is focusing on the battle before her. About a third of the way into her chemotherapy treatments, Erin still has a long road to recovery ahead of her. "The plan right now is, I will finish up chemo, and then I will have surgery. Then depending on what kind of surgery I have and what they find in the surgery, I will have radiation," says Erin.
With her family, faith, and the community at her side, Erin believes she can win the battle.
To help the Frays handle some of the medical expenses, the Chick-fil-A on Pooler Parkway is holding a benefit for them on Tuesday the 14th. The event starts at five and goes until eight.To learn more about Erin's journey, you can check out her blog at www.erinfray.blogspot.com.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Last week, Anne Hart, a reporter from the Savannah Morning News, contacted me to ask if she could interview me for a "personality profile" article. I was surprised by the request and pretty nervous for what would be my first "media interview." But I quickly realized that this was not about me - it was simply another way God was using me to point people to Him. So Matt and I (and several others) prayed that God would give me the wisdom and grace to speak clearly about how cancer, though a difficult circumstance, is an opportunity to realize our "idols" (independence, control, body image, etc.) and turn towards the God who alone provides for our every need in Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:19).
The article was published in today's Savannah Morning News. I just read the article for the first time and am happy to say that the article turned out even better than I expected. Anne did a great job of communicating how God has been proving Himself faithful to me, as well as how He has been using my cancer to point people to God and His Word. I am also thankful for the "public" opportunity to praise my family, friends, church, and Pooler MOPS for their incredible help and support during this time. God has been caring for me through you - so thank you for being a part of that!
You can read the article online here.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
|Yes, that's Hudson with an apron and necklaces...what a manly man!|
|Samuel enjoyed his first Thanksgiving...maybe next year he can enjoy some turkey.|
|My sweet seven week-old boy!|
|Hudson the gymnast...the kid can hang on like that for at least 30 seconds!|
|We thought the kids might get excited learning the story of Jesus' birth by dressing up like the characters!|
|Lydia and Hudson decorating our Christmas tree.|
|Lydia and Hudson decorating our Christmas tree.|
|It was a huge help and encouragement to have my two sisters in town this week!|
Friday, December 3, 2010
Thank you so much, Nicole!
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
A few days ago I woke up and was not wearing a hat and all of the sudden Lydia came running into the room. This was the first time Lydia saw my head with NO hair at all. She looked at me for a minute and didn't say anything. I was worried at first that she was going to be upset. But then all of a sudden she got really excited and ran out of the room. She went and got the book and opened to the page where the mom had no hat or hair. She looked at me with the book and said, “Mommy you look just like the mommy in the book!” It is neat to see just how perceptive Lydia is and to see how God is being gracious to help my 3 year-old understand and accept what is happening to me.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
During my first treatment (11/9) I had a slight reaction to one of my chemo drugs (Taxotere). The reaction was painful (lower back pain), but overall it was fairly mild. Today was a different story. After only a few minutes of being hooked up to the Taxotere IV I began experiencing chest pains and difficulty breathing. I thought it might pass, but when the pain went to my back, abdomen, and throat I knew something was really wrong. I told the nurses about the pain and difficulty breathing and they immediately disconnected the IV and administered Benadryl and steroids to counteract the reaction.
About 20 minutes later my oncologist, Dr. Taylor, came to discuss the situation with me. We discussed my options and determined that I need to switch to a different chemo drug (the "A" drug). The new drug is much stronger and will most likely cause more severe short-term side effects (nausea, exhaustion). There is also a slight chance the drugs will cause more serious long-term complications (heart problems, leukemia).
Despite the difficulty of the situation, it was neat to see God’s hand in everything today. When we talked to the doctor just before my treatment today he indicated that I would likely need to have this more intense chemo drug (the "A" drug) after my surgery. But now that my body has rejected this first drug, I will just have the "A" drug now and will not have to have additional chemo after surgery. So as long as my white blood count is okay next week I will begin the new drugs next Wednesday (12/8).
Once again I am reminded that I am not in control…God is. In the last week or two I began to feel like I was finally in somewhat of a routine and knew what to expect with the chemo process. I even had all my chemo days marked on my calendar and thought I knew exactly when I would feel well, when I would need help with the kids, etc. But once again, my plans have changed. God has simply given me another opportunity to trust in Him.
Monday, November 29, 2010
the power and comfort of God's hand in mine.
Season by season I watch Him amazed,
He's always been faithful to me.
He's always been faithful to me.
God has been faithful, He will be again.
His loving compassion, it knows no end.
He's always been faithful to me.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Last Sunday my husband, Matt, delivered an excellent sermon at church on the faithfulness of God. He pointed out that one of the hardest, most difficult times in the entire Bible comes in the Old Testament book of Lamentations. When the author (possibly Jeremiah) wrote Lamentations, he had not only witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem, but he had also suffered great hardships during his ministry. Yet it is in Lamentations that we have the clearest and most beautiful description of God's faithfulness in the entire Bible:
Friday, November 26, 2010
Like a river glorious, is God’s perfect peace,
Over all victorious, in its bright increase;
Perfect, yet it floweth, fuller every day,
Perfect, yet it groweth, deeper all the way.
Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.
Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand,
Never foe can follow, never traitor stand;
Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care,
Not a blast of hurry touch the spirit there.
Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.
Every joy or trial falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love;
We may trust Him fully all for us to do.
They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.
Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.
is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
The first fundraising event is today, November 25th. Hailey Mae, a website (also on Facebook) that sells hair bows, clips, aprons, and other accessories for girls, will donate $1 for every item sold tonight after 6pm. They will also donate $2 if you purchase a tutu bow holder or holiday clothing. Shipping for all items is just $2. This should be a great way to get a little early Christmas shopping done! (Note: If you miss today's sale, they will repeat this fundraising event for us on the evenings of December 2nd and 9th.)
Chick-fil-a of Pooler will donate 10% of their proceeds from purchases made between 5pm and 8pm. In addition to their always-delicious food, Chick-fil-a is making plans for other fun family activities for that night, so keep an eye out for more details in the coming weeks.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
P.S. I just found out that there was nothing of concern on my MRI!! Praise the Lord.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Tonight we had a session meeting. I led the devotion on Isaiah 40:31, “Those who hope in the LORD will…soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” I have soared on wings like an eagle knowing the love of a wonderful wife whom God graciously provided, though I did not deserve. I have been there to see the wonder of my three children being born. My heart has soared to watch them grow in Christ and take leadership in His kingdom.Though I am much younger now than my dad was when he wrote those words, I feel like there are so many ways in which I relate to them:
I have known many other times in my life where I have experienced soaring on wings like an eagle. I have known the thrill of leading someone to Christ and watching them grow in the Lord. I have known the excitement of planting a church and the thrill of watching it grow. I have seen the amazing provision of God for our facility at Twin Oaks Presbyterian Church. I have been to conferences that have made my heart soar. I have experienced missions trips that have given me a whole new outlook on life. I have been to the Holy Land three times and led a tour to Greece to follow the footsteps of Paul. I have known what it means to “soar on wings like eagles.”
I have known what it is to “run and not grow weary” in the fast-paced schedule of a pastor. Many people tell me to slow down, but I love what I do. Getting up at five each morning to prepare a sermon or plan a worship service, spending the day talking with people, visiting the sick, meeting with staff, discipline men, sharing the gospel with the lost, and running the ministries of the church is very gratifying. Coming home late at night and crashing, knowing that eternal things have been accomplished that day, is a most rewarding experience. Sure, I am running fast, but by God’s grace, He has kept me from becoming weary. I have known what it meant to “run and not grow weary.”
Now I am living in the third phrase of this verse. I am learning to walk step-by-step, day-by-day, uplifted by the Lord so that I do not “grow faint.’ He has sustained me through the thirteen days in the hospital. He has kept me from fainting during the additional three days in the hospital. Starting December 20, I will be getting radiation every day. That means that we will drive thirty-five minutes to Barnes Hospital. We will wait in the lobby and then get our treatment, which will take another ninety minutes, and then drive thirty-five minutes home. This will be a big chunk out of every day when there are many other things I want to do. But now I must walk, walk with Jesus. Two to four hours out of the middle of every day for six weeks will not be easy. I am learning the joy of a slower pace, the joy of walking with Jesus by my side instead of running with Him by my side It too, is very rewarding. I am smelling the roses and seeing the sunsets. It is great.
- I have “soared”: I grew up with godly parents who taught and modeled the importance of God’s Word. I have two sisters who are my best friends. I have a wonderful, servant-hearted husband who loves me unconditionally. I have been blessed with three healthy beautiful children. I am a part of a healthy, Christ-centered church. And I have wonderful supportive friends. This list could go on…
- I have “run and not grown weary”: Like my dad, I tend to be constantly on the go - even in my own house! Being a mother of three young children, it is hard not to be “running” all the time, but God continually keeps me from growing weary.
- I need to “walk and not grow faint”: In this next year there will be so many unknowns answers, so many medical tests, more chemo, surgery, possible radiation…all of that while trying to keep up with my life and my family. If I try to look at everything right now, I will grow faint. Like my father said, I need to learn to walk step-by-step, day-by-day , uplifted by the Lord so that I do not “grow faint.”
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Well…a rational voice (my husband) whispered in my ear and told me to stop worrying and just do it. I spent the afternoon with a good friend who helped me to prepare me for this event (and took these great pictures). And Matt, wonderful and thoughtful husband that he is, set up a "beauty salon" in the garage. He wanted to make sure that the atmosphere was right for this occasion. Lydia, Hudson and Samuel took their seats so they could watch as mommy got a really cool hair cut. I do hope that they don’t decide to play barber shop tomorrow!
The first snip was the hard to watch (the fateful moment is pictured to the left), but then it was kind of fun to see my new hairstyle evolve. In the end, Matt trimmed it down to the recommended length of a mere ½ inch.
All in all we had a fun time. Taking this step in the process just makes me remember that true beauty is not on the outside. God looks at the heart and that is what matters.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
I have been reading a great book by Sally M. Knox who is a breast cancer doctor. She shares the thoughts of a breast cancer survivor at the end of her journey:
Cancer taught me I didn’t know if I had a tomorrow. Cancer taught me that true hope and love were based on confidence in God and on faith, not on egotistical plans for the future. Cancer taught me not to be overly optimistic about what I could do and what I could control. Instead it taught me to expect tribulation. Because cancer is tribulation -- but it’s a tribulation that taught me character. Cancer taught me to walk with God by involving my mind, my heart, and my will in that relationship. I learned that even though previously I had the Lord as my Savior, I had missed the best part, the relationship.In these words I see a woman who was able to surrender all to God and truly listened to Him, and that is my prayer for myself as well.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Thank you all so much for your prayers and words of encouragement to Erin this week. I want to give you a quick medical update so that you know how Erin is doing and how you can pray for her.
Erin received her first chemotherapy treatment on Tuesday (you can read about it below). She felt alright on Tuesday evening and Wednesday – she was up and about, but was just a little tired. By Thursday the fatigue and nausea she had been warned about began to set in and she spent more time in bed. On Friday her fatigue and nausea reached their peak and she also experienced side-effects like sensitivity to touch and a perpetual metallic taste in her mouth. Even though she was not feeling well, she did still have the strength to continue caring for Samuel, to eat meals with the rest of our family, and to do some reading over the past few days.
Today (Saturday) she is doing significantly better – much more energy, less nausea, and eagerness about feeling “back to normal.” Even though Erin may be feeling better within the next few days, she will not be able to do many of her normal activities – especially activities that require her to be around other people. The chemotherapy drugs severely decrease her immune system, so she needs to use discretion about everything from what food she eats (no raw fruits or vegetables) to how often she is around other people (at home or in public As much as she would love having visitors at the house and attending events at our church and Pooler MOPS, she will not be able to enjoy those things very regularly for the next several months. So as you continue to pray for Erin’s recovery from this first chemotherapy treatment in the coming days, please also pray that she will not grow too weary of being “housebound” in the coming months.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
1:00PM - Waiting Room
I have always liked the saying, “the simpler the better.” Details are usually good and necessary, but sometimes they are unhelpful. In many ways, that is the case for me today. If I start thinking about the details of what this treatment will (or will not) accomplish or what my side affects might (or might not) be I will definitely start to worry. But I will be just fine if I think of this process as I explained it to my three year-old daughter last night: “Mommy has an owie and is going to the doctor to get medicine that is going to make me better, but it might make me sick a little at first.”
2:00PM - Treatment Room
I met with Dr. Taylor and several nurses, got my blood work taken, and now am waiting in the chemotherapy treatment room. Walking into the treatment room for the first time was a bit strange. There are about a dozen recliners throughout the room. Most of them are occupied by patients who are sleeping or reading while getting their chemo drugs through an IV. It’s sad to think that all of these other people are dealing with some kind of cancer as well. I do feel pretty out of place here, though…I’m easily 20 years younger than anyone else in the room. As much as I wanted to bring Samuel with me today, it is good not to have him in here. He is in good hands with his Aunt Kristin. But I still miss him…this will be the longest we have ever been apart!
3:00PM - Treatment Room
I am finally getting my first drug: Cytoxin. They will give this to me for about an hour and then I will get another drug for an hour. Most people are already finishing up their IV, so I will probably be the last one here. It has been interesting people watching in this room - I wonder what all their stories are.
4:00PM - Treatment Room
I just started my second drug: Taxotere. Most of the patients have left, so Matt is raiding the snack table. Hopefully he'll share some with me...
4:15PM - Treatment Room
Just a few minutes into my Taxotere I started getting strong back pains throughout my lower back. The nurse had told me to tell her if this happened, so I did. She immediately stopped my IV and a couple minutes later Dr. Taylor was in the room deciding what to do. He decided to give me a dose of steroids and then try the Taxotere again. Hopefully that will work - otherwise I’ll be coming back tomorrow or Wednesday to finish the Taxotere.
5:00PM - Treatment Room
I am taking the Taxotere again and am not having any more back pain. Hopefully I’ll be out of here in about an hour.
6:20PM - The Car
We’re finally on the way home. In the future my treatments should only take about two hours. I’m feeling fine so far - just a little tired. The nurses said it would probably be a day or so until I start feeling the true side-effects of the drugs.
9:00PM - Home
Though this has been a long and busy day, it has been so encouraging and humbling to know that many people are praying for me. God has given me an overwhelming sense of peace and joy that can only come from Him. My prayer for the remainder of this week is that I will continue to trust in His perfect peace and rejoice in His all-sufficient strength - even though I might not be feeling well.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
I did end up getting a wig that might work (and just for the record, it is not one of the wigs in the survey). In fact, the folks at the American Cancer Society referred me to a hairstylist in Savannah that specializes in styling wigs - and he offers his services for free to cancer patients. So we took him the wig...it was pretty bizarre to sit in a beauty salon getting my "hair" done!
In fact, just this week I set one of my car radio's preset buttons to our local Gospel music station. As a Presbyterian pastor, some of the theology expressed in Gospel music makes me cringe. But I love the heartfelt and soulful qualities of Gospel music. So I thought I'd share a great song by the young Kirk Franklin called, "Lean on Me." It's been especially encouraging to me in the recent weeks as our family has had the opportunity to "lean on" our friends and family and, ultimately, our God. I hope you enjoy it (and be sure to watch for a certain sun-glass-wearing man from Dublin)!
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Psalm 73:25-26Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Speaking of my health, this will be an important decision-making week for us. I mentioned before that my doctors are recommending that I do my full chemotherapy treatment now and then have surgery to remove the tumor next Spring. Although my BRCA genetic testing came back negative (meaning I do not have a genetic predisposition to breast cancer - making the chances of it returning significantly lower), I will still need about 4-6 months of chemotherapy. So on Tuesday we will meet with Dr. Taylor, my oncologist, to determine what type of chemotherapy treatment I should receive. While I want to be aggressive in doing all I can to treat the cancer, I am also nervous about the various side effects of the chemotherapy. While some of those side effects cannot be avoided, I am praying I will have the strength to care for my children the whole time.
This morning in church I sang a hymn during the Offertory called, "All the Way My Savior Leads Me." The text was written by the famous hymn writer Fanny Crosby in 1875. Crosby, who was blind, writes beautifully of the comfort of knowing God is our guide through every trial:
All the way my Savior leads me; what have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy, who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort, here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me, Jesus doeth all things well.
All the way my Savior leads me, cheers each winding path I tread;
Gives me grace for every trial, feeds me with the living Bread.
Though my weary steps may falter, and my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me, lo! A spring of joy I see.
All the way my Savior leads me, O the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised, in my Father’s house above.
When my spirit, clothed immortal, wings its flight to realms of day
This my song through endless ages—Jesus led me all the way.
UPDATE: The two links above have been fixed. Thanks.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
This afternoon I went down to the Telfair Pavilion for several ultrasound scans of my upper body. Even though getting tests done is not necessarily enjoyable, the nurses there have been extraordinarily kind and helpful to me over the past couple weeks (probably motivated partly by compassion for me and interest in Samuel). The ultrasounds were mostly clear, with the only area of concern being a lymph node on my left side (the same side as the cancerous tumor). I had a needle biopsy done on the lymph node (which was very painful) and we should get those results by the end of the week.
Please pray that God would help me trust in the goodness of His sovereign will, no matter what the test results reveal. As Romans 8:28 promises, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."
Sunday, October 24, 2010
As I fight this disease, my hope and trust is ultimately in God and His promises. He is the one who will sustain me and uphold me. But in His compassion and grace, God also sometimes gives us practical, earthly things that we can be encouraged by and take joy in during the hard seasons of life. One of those practical, earthly things that I know will sustain me through the next several months is the gift of my three precious children.
Last Friday I ventured out of the house with all three little ones for the first time. I would have never imagined that a simple trip to the library could be so traumatic! After I was in the library for a few minutes I began getting “the look." The look that says, "Why are your kids making noise!? Can’t you keep them quiet!? How about you try controlling those kids!?" Well, I was doing my best and we finally made it to the front counter to check out our books. I was hopeful we would conclude our trip without making much more of a scene. I was wrong...
Samuel was sleeping peacefully in his stroller when Lydia and Hudson decided to grab a hold of the stroller at the same time. As they did, the stroller toppled over on it’s side and landed on Hudson. Thankfully, Samuel was safely buckled in his seat. But the scene was still bad: Hudson was crying under the stroller, Samuel was crying in the stroller, and Lydia just stood there saying, “I’m so sorry! I’m so sorry!”
Being a mother of three definitely has its challenges, but I would not change a thing. It's always the little things that bring a smile to my face...even when they are hard.