Friday, December 17, 2010

Great News!!

So my appointment was yesterday with the oncologist.  The spot in my lung has remained the same since the beginning, so it is now officially "nothing to worry about"!!  Whooo Hoo!!!!

I do have fluid in my lung.  This is probably a result of my heart meds for irregular heart rate.  Will see a doctor in January and maybe she will change the meds around.

Everything else is doing wonderfully!  Keep praying.  We will be travelling and doing several meetings until the middle of January.  Then Randy and a couple other men will be flying to Okinawa for 10 days.

Have a wonderful Christmas season and remember to spread the good news that Jesus left Heaven, came to earth and lived in the flesh, lived 33 years, and then went to the cross to pay our penalty for sin so that if we CHOOSE, we CAN have eternal life!!!  Praise the Lord!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I Am Blessed!!

O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. Psalms 34:8



Before Surgery

Before Chemo


 
During chemo

Just after chemo with my father.





Randy after MY chemo!

November 2010

I Am Blessed - A Song
Each day that I live, He gives more than I need
And I could never describe His goodness to me
If you ask how I make day after day
There is only one thing I can say

It's been a long journey but I have been blessed
Walking with Jesus, I have no regrets
He is so good to me, and I must confess
The way has been long, but I'm blessed

All that I need I find at His feet 
When I'm hungry, He feeds me with manna so sweet
When my soul is weary, He sends peace and rest
And all I can say is I'm blessed

Now I've had my share of sunshine and rain
Days filled with laughter and nights filled with pain
But with every mile as I travel this way
The journey gets sweeter each day

It's been a long journey but I have been blessed
Walking with Jesus, I have no regrets
He is so good to me, and I must confess
The way has been long, but I'm blessed

I'M BLESSED
So much more than I ever deserve
I'M BLESSED
He's been faithfully keeping His word
I'M BLESSED
I've been cleansed by the hand of the Lord
I'm blessed, I'm blessed, I'm blessed

This last Monday, I visited with my friend Tereasa Harkness.  She has a brain tumor and is currently having radiation and chemo.  We were in a meeting on Sunday just one hour away from where she is staying near the hospital, so my husband drove me to spend part of the day with her.  I wanted to be an encouragment to her.  As usual in these cases, Tereasa was my encourager.  There were 3 other ladies visiting also from Lakeview Baptist Church (a very special group of people to us).  We had so much fun laughing at Joette, I mean WITH Joette!  I thought maybe we could sing for Tereasa.  We chose a few and then Tereasa asked the ladies to sing this song.  What a testimony this song is for so many of us that have been through trials.  Each lady in the room that day has had their own difficult journeys to travel.  Maybe that is why we were able to laugh so much together. 

As I sat down to write this post, the Lord immediately brought the song to my rememberance (something that is quite a miracle with this chemo brain of mine!)  One year ago today I started this journey of breast cancer.  On December 11, I was laying on the operating table in Okinawa (it was actually the 10th in America still, but for literary emphasis I will use the date on my surgery notes!)  I can honestly and without guile say, I have BEEN blessed!  I have hated the chemo and am not always the best sport, but I see so many great things that have come from this difficult journey through 2010!  Maybe someone is reading this and you are struggling with the Lord about the "journey" He has you on right now.  Don't give up or give in to that devil sitting on your shoulder telling you it is NOT worth it to continue!  Someone needs for you to keep going on your journey.  Don't be selfish with your trial.  God wants you to use it for HIS purpose.  Believe me, there have been times when I didn't really care about His purpose, but I kept going and kept doing what He asked of me.  He has NEVER failed me!  As He blessed Job with so much more after his trials, so He has blessed me with much more! 

There is a poem that my pastor, Dr. Jack Hyles (now in Heaven) use to quote:

THE BRIDGE BUILDER
An old man, going a lone highway,
Came at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm, vast and deep and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.
The old man crossed in the twilight dim-
That sullen stream had no fears for him;
But he turned, when he reached the other side,
And built a bridge to span the tide.

"Old man," said a fellow pilgrim near,
"You are wasting strength in building here.
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again must pass this way.
You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build you the bridge at the eventide?"

The builder lifted his old gray head.
"Good friend, in the path I have come," he said,
"There followeth after me today
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building the bridge for him."
-WILL ALLEN DROMGOOLE

Many times through my journey I have thought about Mrs. Marlene Evans, who is now in Heaven after a long journey with breast cancer.  She was a "bridge builder" for me!  I mean it, I believe that one of the reasons for the Lord's timing in my husband's college years, was so that I could watch Mrs. Evans as she took this journey.  She went to Heaven after we went to the mission field.  Many were the days I wanted to quit and thought, "I just can't do one more treatment, take one more pill, or be sick one more time!"  The Lord brought Mrs. Evans back to my mind.  She had built a bridge in the twilight of her life so that others could make that journey and not fall into the chasm.  What chasm is it that you face?  Who is it that will come behind you and need that bridge?  Take your journey, build  your bridge, and don't give up!

Friday, December 3, 2010

"He had bigger hands than me."

I have had times when my Bible study, prayer time, and walk with the Lord has been tedious - out of duty -knowing that in the end it was the right thing to do.  I am always blessed by my time with the Lord, but not always as right with Him as I should be.  Lately, it seems as though my walk with Him has been extremely sweet.  God is so patient with me and He just waits until I come back around!  The other morning I was reading in my devotion time and came across this story:

A little lad went with his mother to an old country store.  She parked him in front of the counter where the candy jars were all lined up.  While the clerk filled the mother's order, the boys eyes just kept getting bigger and bigger as he viewed all the delightful things in front of him.  As the mother got ready to leave, the clerk told the boy to reach in with his hands and grab some candy.  The boy shyly shook his head no.  The mother urged him and the boy still would not reach in.  Finally, the clerk reached in with both hands and held out the candy to the boy.  The boy stuffed his pockets with the candy.  The mother questioned the boy when they got outside about why he wouldn't reach in and get the candy.  The little boy said, "I waited, mother, because I saw he had bigger hands than me."

This little lad is so much wiser than I am sometimes!!  This last week I had an opportunity to be reminded about how big God's hands are.  I am just like any other woman - I want my house to match and everything to be just so.  I have to constantly battle the urge to buy what I "need" and not wait on the Lord.  Such was the battle happening in my heart the day after Thanksgiving.  I was at Kohl's and my cart was packed with rugs for the bathroom and other odds and ends.  Slowly the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart, I had prayed that morning and asked the Lord to help me resist buying things that were not important.  The Holy Spirit said, "Dec 1st is coming.  You know that you have no idea what your support will be and there are people that are depending on you to help with some needs.  If you buy these things, will you be able to help the way the Lord wants you to?"  Thus began the great "redeposit onto the shelves" adventure.  My friend helped me by doing the running, I was wiped out.  I managed to make it out of there with one item that would end up costing me $10.

A couple of days later, I read this story about the little lad.  The Lord reminded me that His hands ARE bigger than mine and He provides me so much.  Yesterday after arriving home from a meeting, there was a BIG box sitting in my living room.  A friend had said that she was mailing my gloves back that had inadvertently been left in her car.  As I looked at the box, I thought, "These gloves really got bigger and heavier!!"  We opened the box and there were the rugs I wanted for my bathroom in just the right color - red!!!  There was also a set of snowmen flannel sheets (I LOVE snowmen also).  My husband received a Starbucks gift card, Christa received a Starbucks mug, and I also received a Starbucks mug!  I LOVE it!!!!!!!!!!
The mug says, "Stories are gifts - Share"
Wait on the Lord, He has bigger hands!!
That's my story for the day and I'm sticking to it!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy, Happy, Happy Thanksgiving!!



So many blessings, so much love, so great a salvation!!  Thank you, Jesus!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What a Beautiful Creation!!

Romans 1:20-21 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Isn't this tree beautiful!!!!!!!  While we were in Connecticut this fall, I enjoyed the red colors so much.  Little did I know that the Lord gave me one of those beautiful trees that are green, then turn gold, and eventually red, right in my own backyard!!!  We serve a mighty God who loves us and shows us He loves us everyday!

I don't know about you, but it is like adding insult to injury to have the flu when you are getting chemo!!! I am so thankful that since my treatments began in January, this is only the 2nd time I have been sick. Fellowshipping with the Lord's people is such a blessing and those in Okinawa know just how much fellowship I haven't been able to participate in. I am feeling much better and love handshaking time, something that I am afraid I will have to set aside for a little bit longer. Please pray that this week I am well and will be able to have my treatment on Wednesday as planned.

By the way, (just for Netta), you will notice to the left that there is a box that says "pages".  I have added pages so that I can update somethings on a regular basis as they need updating.  I have moved my daily praises to a page!  Be sure to check it out.  Some of you sent some praises to me and I will be working on adding them this week.

Have a GREAT week and don't forget not to miss the things on the journey just to get to your destination this week!

Friday, November 12, 2010

You can dress 'em up, teach 'em manners, take 'em out, and still be embarrassed by YOUR PARENTS!!

I missed praising God yesterday as I wasn't around internet to post anything.  This morning I came over to Panera Bread just to get on the internet (yeah right!!)  While here of course, I had to get a bagle and coffee!  Did I tell you all that I LOVE Panera Bread!!!!!!!  Whoo Hoo!!

Anyway, I had a wonderful day yesterday with my Madrasta and my father.  I was able to be there during his OT time.  My Dad is such an overachiever, even in his recovery from the stroke!!  We had lunch with him and then he laid down for a nap.  We came back and got him up to go the Veteran's Day social.  We watched a video and then went downstairs for fruit, cookies, and coffee.  Dad wanted to sit in the sun, so we took him out onto the inside porch.  Now, you would think that on such a dignified day I could get a serious picture of Dad and Netta!  But noooooooooooooooooo....I guess Dad was paying me back for all the parents out there who try to take family pictures when the kids are little and they inevitably end up with a photo of someone sticking a tongue out or a finger up a nose.  You will notice the mischieveous grin on my Dad's face in the first pic!  I should have known something was up! 

He is holding US Airforce flags representing his time in the service to our country.

See what I mean??  He was doing the "see food" thing!!

Netta's help??  NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am so grateful that I got to come to Minnesota and see my Dad and my Madrasta!!!!!!  I love you both very much!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Few. The Proud. The Marines.

Happy Birthday to the US Marine Corps!! Thank you for serving!

Daily Benefits 11/10/2010

Eddie and Christa around 1991
One of my FAVORITE photos of all times!!

Wow, my heart gets full just thinking of what I am going to put down for my benefits today!!!  What about you!  If you send me some of your benefits, I will post them!

Safety as we travelled from Connecticut to Ohio
A home full of great smells, comfort, and my own bed!!
A wonderful daughter who learned how to cook and what makes a house a home.
Getting to go see my Dad!
Heat on chilly mornings!
Blue sky and sunshine!
My puppy running around so happy to see me!
A neighbor who understands what I am going through and has some helpful advice for the pain!
The great medical care I received in Okinawa!
His Word that always knows just what I need for the minute/hour/day/week/year/lifetime!
Shopping in an American store and not needing a pass!
A husband that loves me even when I am unlovely!

What about you! If you send me some of your benefits, I will post them!




Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Grateful for Steve Curington and his family

Grateful for men living consecrated lives so that others might have a home in Heaven one day.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Gratefulness

Have you noticed that every year the Thanksgiving section at the store gets smaller and smaller?  We go from Halloween directly to Christmas and skip over one of the most important holidays on our American calendar.  Could it be because we, even Christians, are not as grateful for the things we already have???


Psalms 68:19  Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.

Yesterday in Mrs. Patty Peslak's Sunday School class in Connecticut, she shared how she had determined to praise the Lord everyday this past year in writing for the things He had blessed her with.  What a GREAT idea!  So many of us, including me, are more than willing to share our trials of everyday!  Why not our blessings?  I decided that I wouldn't wait until January 1 to start, but I would start it this very day!  So everyday on this little blogspot, I will share a list of the many benefits He has provided for me each day!  I want to be grateful and I don't want to take anything for granted! 

My list of "daily benefits" for November 8th:
My first snowfall in America!!
The beautiful colors of fall in New England!
A thoughtful daughter who listens to the leading of the Holy Spirit and wants to be generous with her time, talents, and possesions.
A Book, The Bible, full of wonderful comfort!
A Saviour who will transform my life, if I let him.
The change in my father since the stroke.  He went from a man of few words to a man of many words.  I love it!!
A madrasta that loves my father and is doing her very best for him.
A beautiful relaxing hotel room provided for us by the church here.
A goody basket from someone in the church full of chocolate from Trader Joes!!
A Garmin GPS system from someone in the church to help us get around!  Too cool!!!
Beautiful bouquet of Fall flowers!
Warm boots!
The best husband and companion anyone could ever ask for!
Cool, curly, thick hair - thanks to chemo!
A morning with less pain!
A new name, Megan, written down in Glory!!!

How about you??  Can you think of something to be grateful for???  I could have written much more.  Once your heart starts praising, it just can't stop!!!  Hmmmmmm, maybe that would help some of us get through those rough days?  Ya think???

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Voice of Thanksgiving!

That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.
Psalms 26:7 
Thank you, Lord, for the beauty of creation that surrounds all of us!!! 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fall in New England!!









What a beautiful time of year to be in New England!  The colors are just bursting!  The trees look like someone hung brightly colored paper mache from their branches!  We are currently in Connecticut at a missions conference with Pastor and Mrs. Peslak.  Dr. Keen is the main speaker and the Lord has really been speaking to my heart.  Can't wait to hear him tonight!

Last Monday we visited with our dear friends, the Mellos!  Fellow missionaries from the Azores.  The next day we went for a drive, saw the gates of the city of Ponta Delgada (recreated from the Azores), and found Portuguese food.  Back at their home we chowed down and had a wonderful Portuguese lunch feast!!!  

The rest of last week was spent with Pastor Beck in Groton, CT.  A local dentist helped us out tremendously and fixed our teeth!!  God really does supply ALL our needs!!! 

Psalms 125:1-2 They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever.

My Bible time was sweet this morning!  It is so wonderful to have the security of the Lord round about.  Even when I am not aware of it, He is protecting me!!!  Have a wonderful week and may you know the securtiy that comes from being a child of the true King, Jesus Christ!

PS  Did you notice my NATURAL curly new hair????!!  I am loving it!!!  A good gift from chemo!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pray for my dear friend, Teresa Harkness.

Philippians 4:7  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

I don't know about any of you, but it seems the devil is fighting very hard and it is through our physical, temporary bodies.  A few weeks ago we were up visiting our friends, Pastor and Mrs. Abberger, in Lakeview, Michigan.  My husband's family lived in Michigan and we would attend Pastor A's church when we were visiting family during Randy's leave time from the Navy.  That was in 1991.  We have grown up with the young families and none of us is really that "young" anymore!  The Harkness family is one of those special ones.  Br. Harkness copied hundreds of tapes with the audio Romans Road in Portuguese for us.  We used to hand these out with tracts in the Azores as the illiteracy rate was so high.  Teresa had fought ovarian cancer a few years back and she was such an encouragement during all of that.  The weekend we were up to Lakeview, Teresa was sick with what she thought was the flu and so I didn't get to see her.  Last week they found a large brain tumor and flew her to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where this last Tuesday she had brain surgery.  I spoke with her last evening!!!!!!!!  Can you believe it!!!!!!!!  She was such an encouragement to me.  It is cancer and she will now have to have chemo and radiation.  What a difficult thing that is to face after already going through these treatments in the past.  I pray for strength, endurance, and continued grace for you, Teresa!  You said it right last night, He doesn't give it to us until we need it.

Two weeks ago we were in Deleware, Ohio, for a missions conference.  The preaching was challenging, the love they showered on us was unbelieveable, and the fellowship was so refreshing!  Thank you, Grace Baptist Church for a wonderful weekend.

We are settled in our home and for the first time in 12 years, ALL of our things are in one spot!  What a miracle.  I had only 1 plate break during the shipment.  We have a lot of unpacking to do, but for now I am doing NO more!  Thank you to my in-laws who drove all the way from Florida to help us this week!!!  We love you and are so greatful for you and all you do for us.  Another BIG thank you goes to my 20 year old nephew, Tom.  He flew up from Florida to help us also and we have worked him to death!!!!!!!  I had not seen Tom in over 6 years and he has really grown up.  He really is a delight to have around.  Thank you Gwen, for letting come and "hang" out with us.

This morning is my next treatment.  The day we were moving in, one of my new neighbors, Tina, came over to visit and meet us.  It turns out she is a chemo nurse at the Cleveland Clinic Campus downtown!  I told her about how they didn't like my Japanese port and she said, "That was you!  We talked about you in the break room the other day and how scary it was that you had a port that didn't get blood return."  Yep, I am famous ALL over!!!!!!!!!  Tina also battled breast cancer a few years ago and we are on the same hormone treatment that causes so  much pain.  I can't help but know that it is no accident that the Lord put us right next door to each other!! The last few days I have been battling sores in my mouth and bleeding fingertips.  Not fun, but really just an annoyance.  Other than that, we are doing fine.

We have several meetings coming up and will be travelling.  Pray for strength and good rest.  Pray for Christa as she holds the fort down while we are gone.  Also, please continue to pray for the situation with my Dad and Madrasta.  Annetta really needs to find a place for my dad and also funding!!!!!!!!!!  I never knew until my dad's stroke, but insurance will only cover a few weeks or months if you push.  After that you are on your own.  Pray that Annetta has peace in her decisions.

Thank you to all who read this, pray for me, write me, call me, think of me!  It means more than you know!!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Where have I been?????????

Time really does fly!!!  We have been so busy since arriving in the States.  Doctor appointments, buying a car, finding a place to live, doctor appointments...  You get the idea!  I will have to go back in time!  We moved in with one of our wonderful Air Force women on August 20.  The Lord has really worked in her life and she has allowed Him to.  She is such a testimony.  Deb, thank you for allowing us to take up space and steal your bedroom!!  Monday, August 30, I had my last evening with the ladies of the church.   

The night before we flew out of Okinawa, 29 people joined us at our favorite restaurant, Sam's By the Sea.  It was a wonderful time and we miss each of them so very much!













Our flights on September 3 to Cleveland went very smoothly.  When we arrived in Cleveland, our dogs were with us, but we were missing a few pieces of luggage.  No big deal, they brought them to the house the next day.

September 9th was my first appointment with my new oncologist at the Cleveland Clinic.  Dr. Moore took all that I brought with me.  As we talked, she made the comment that I was in a gray area and probably didn't have to have the chemo I just finished and she wasn't sure about continuing the herceptin.  After leaving the appointment, I was upset as I wondered if I misunderstood the Lord's leading in this situation.  I also was upset that I might have lost my hair and health for nothing!!!  Before my next appointment, which was this last Thursday, I had a CT scan, mammogram, blood work, and an echo of my heart.  Dr. Moore sent all the pathology slides I brought from Japan to the pathologists at Cleveland Clinic. 

When she walked into the room this last Thursday she said that I was NOT in a gray area.  The pathologist at Cleveland Clinic measured the tumors and they were actually larger than Japan had measured.  Also, I have multifocal breast cancer that was in the lymph vessels.  This means I had several tumors of invasive breast cancer mixed with a huge non invasive tumor.  So chemo was a must and the herceptin will continue until at least next April.  My CT scan showed the spot in my lung, which means that it did not respond to the chemo.  This is a good thing as it means that it is most likely not cancer.  That puts me at stage 1b!!  Whoo Hoooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  They will continue to watch the spot in my lung and if it grows, I will have to have it biopsied.  Please be PRAYING about this.  The lymph nodes on my collar bone are no longer showing up, so the chemo worked on these as well.  God is good.  When I left the office to go downstairs for my treatment, I couldn't help but thank the Lord for giving me just the right doctor in Okinawa and for directing Dr. Ueda in his findings and treatment plan.

Now, treatment was soooo different!  I was in a private room with windows and sitting in a fancy recliner!  The nurse came in and so started the long ordeal about my Japanese port which does NOT allow a blood return!  After much research on the internet, a consult with their "legal" people, and a call to Dr. Moore; it was determined that they could use my existing port.  However, if at some point I need to have more chemo I will have to have a new port put in.  In Okinawa, they push my herceptin at a rate that takes about 2 hours.  At CC, they push it over 30 minutes!  I was out of there and we were on our way home by 2:30 pm.  Of course, we had started the day at CC by 9 am!!

Thank you to all that have prayed for my father and madrasta.  The stroke had a wonderful side effect in that my father now talks a lot about what he is feeling.  He has many obstacles to overcome.  Please be in much prayer for Annetta, my madrasta.  She has much on her shoulders.  I am so frustrated at my inability to help due to my own medical issues.  Annetta is a fighter and will continue, but I know her journey gets wearying and she needs strength to continue.  She needs a ramp built to the house as it looks like they might be discharging dad soon.  If you live in Minnesota near Minneapolis or know someone who could help get a ramp built, please contact me through this website.

Well, I guess I better close.  We are living in a small, but nice apartment in Dr. Cox's basement.  The place we will be basing out of will not be available until after October 4th.  We have had two meetings in supporting churches already and will be in a missions conference at another one this coming weekend.  Due to my fatigue and pain, we are trying to do meetings within just a few hours of driving.  Thank you again for your prayers, cards, love, and support.  They help more than you know!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Saying Goodbye

Psalms 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

This week felt a little odd as we moved out of our home and prepared to finalize our time in Okinawa.  In our ministry we are usually the ones being left behind while the Lord moves others away.  Even if the Lord allows us to return to Okinawa, our congregation is ever changing and we will have all new faces by the time our furlough is complete.  The process of saying goodbye started last Wednesday when I had my last treatment here in Okinawa.  My nurses were all there.  They have been so sweet to me and such a blessing.  I gave my chemo nurse, Keiko, a TY Breast Cancer bear.  She was so happy and excited.  I gave Spot to one of the other nurses that works in the infusion room and has been wonderful about trying to communicate with me.  She always comments on Spot, my chemo buddy, and pats his head every treatment.  These ladies always brighten my day.  When I had my first herceptin back at the end of April, I had to spend one night in the hospital because of the side effects of that first dose.  After their shift was done, they came upstairs to my room to check on me.  My doctor was on vacation this past week, but we will go in Monday morning to say goodbye and thank him.

Tomorrow will be our last Sunday at Foundations Baptist Church.  I have no idea how I will get through that day, but I know the Lord's grace will be sufficient.  We will miss our church family here very much.  Over the last few days I have been remembering all of the people that the Lord allowed our paths to cross during the last 6 years.  Sometimes I feel like I have been such an unprofitable servant for my Saviour.  I don't know if I have made a difference in anyone's life, but I know that MANY people have made a difference in mine. 

My father is doing better.  He is in rehab and the nerves are starting to reconnect in his left leg.  His left arm doesn't seem to be progressing as well.  Please pray for his arm and also for the extreme sharp pain he gets in his leg every so often.  I talked with him on the phone the other day.  It was the first time since we returned to Okinawa.  He was talkative, informative, and full of conversation.  I am anxious to see him again.  My madrasta, Netta,  is doing well.  She is such a blessing to me.  So many times you hear horror stories about what families do to each other during difficulties like these.  I am very happy to say that we have none of that fighting and bickering.  Netta is doing a great job and we love and appreciate her very much!!

Thank you to everyone for praying for us.  Please do NOT stop!  We need the Lord to continue working out the details of our medical furlough.  He has already prepared so many things for us and provided in many ways.  My first appointment at Cleveland Clinic is on September 9th at 2:30 pm.

I guess that is all the current info.  Have a wonderful week and remember not to "miss the journey for the destination."

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Home?


Home? Not sure that I have a physical address that I would call "home" right now. Our house here in Okinawa is almost completely packed. Tomorrow, August 9, our container arrives. My hubby will commence to pack it on Tuesday with the help of Br. McGuire and some wonderful teenage "volunteers"! The containter will depart around August 15 for its month long journey to Cleveland. Christa is in Ohio and busy trying to locate a place for us to hang our hats when we land on September 3.

We settled my father into a nursing home/rehab facility on Friday, July 30.  On August 2, we landed back here in Okinawa and August 4 I had my next Herceptin treatment.  August 23 I will be having a heart scan and August 25 will be my next Herceptin treatment.  September 9 at 2:30 pm is my first appointment at Cleveland Clinic with the doctor specializing in my type of breast cancer. 

Please continue to pray for my father, Ron Wagner. He is paralyzed on his left side.  The doctors are amazed at his memory and speech.  Pray for my Madrasta, Annetta, as she faces many new challenges caring for my dad.  While in the States, I did get to see my brother and sister-in-law.  Also, my oldest sister Carol was able to make it up from Chicago for a day.  My nieces and the great grandsons met us at the rehab on Saturday.  I haven't seen them all for years and it was wonderful to renew our relationship.  They have the cutest sons!!!!

I guess that about raps this up!  Below are some pictures from our time in Minnesota.  You will notice that my hair is starting come in quite nicely.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Prayer

Thank you to all of you for your prayers and notes during this difficult time.

This week has been a real roller coaster ride.  My father had a stroke last Saturday, July 17.  Randy and I flew to Minnesota on Monday, July 19.  Everyday brings new challenges for my father.  Currently there is much brain swelling still going on.  They thought it had stopped last Wednesday, but it has grown.  His right brain is pushing into his left brain.  This causes him terrible headaches.  It is hard to see him suffer!  My Madrasta has been wonderful and is a strong woman whom I love very much.  I can only imagine how difficult it is to watch her husband suffer.  I know the Lord has a perfect plan in all of this.  I just can't see it now.  So, like the song says, "I Believe to See".  I know the Lord is good, whether I can see it or not. 

We have had some fun times with Dad.  The speech therapist was checking some of his cognitive thinking skills one day.  She asked him several  questions:

Is your name Smith.
"No".

Do you live in Milwaukee?
"No, No, No, Heaven's no!"

What's wrong with Milwaukee?
"Have you ever BEEN there?!"

Yes, for a week long conference.
"Did you stay?"

Yes
"WHY???!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Sorry Milwaukee lovers!  We all got a kick out of this exchange!  I sat and watched Twins playing baseball on the TV with him and he was able to tell me all about each player that got up and he also told me what he thought about the manager's style of managing.  I won't share that on here.  I do thank God in Heaven for allowing me to have this time with my Dad.  It has been an honor and a privilege.  Keep praying.  We need this swelling to stop.

I love you Dad!!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Update

Dear Friends,
Thank you so much for all of your prayers and notes.  Nancy, thank you for the phone idea!!!  Tori, I can't wait to meet you one day!  Tomorrow Randy and I will be flying to Minneapolis.  We will arrive at the hospital aroud 2 pm on Monday afternoon.  Please be in prayer for my madrasta.  She needs to feel the love of the Lord surrounding her.  Please pray for wisdom for the doctors and safety for our travels.  Thank you for being our friends.

My Dad, Ron Wagner

Please be in prayer for my father.  He had a stroke sometime in the night Friday or early Saturday morning.  He is in very unstable condition.  Pray that he comes through this and that if he isn't going to that I can see him one last time.  I love you, Dad.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The brethren of the poor hate him:...

Many will intreat the favour of the prince: and every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts. All the brethren of the poor do hate him: how much do his friends go far from him? he pursueth them with words, yet they are wanting to him.  Proverbs 19:6-7


The Lord has allowed me to meet many different people during my fight against breast cancer.  I was so distressed the other day when a woman on the breast cancer website I use, announced that her husband had left her.  He was tired of all the drama in their lives that cancer was causing.  I am amazed at the number of people who are left to face this dreaded disease on their own.  The verse above talks about these kind of "friends".  It is so true that when people are getting "things" from you, they are your friends.  As soon as you can no longer provide what they "want" or "need", they disappear.  How very sad this is. 

I just want to go on record for being so very thankful for the very best earthly friend that the Lord has given me, my husband!!  This fight isn't just difficult on me, but on my husband also.  Most of the days I have absolutely nothing to give him.  Forget about not having tangible things to give; many days I don't even have companionship, affection, or understanding to offer.  Yet, he loves me, cares for me, and sticks by me no matter what.  When I am having a grouchy, frustrating day; he loves me.  When I am having a sick, run to the bathroom day; he loves me.  When I am having a "I need help to do anything" day; he loves me.  He gives and gives! 
Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;  Ephesians 5:24-25

Through the years I have had many people question me about the verses in the Bible that talk about wives submitting to their husbands.  Actually, I think I have the easy part.  My husband is to love me as Christ loved the church!!  Christ died for the church!!  My husband has big shoes to fill and he is a wonderful picture of the Lord in our marriage and in our home.

Randy, thank you for sticking by my side, for loving me even when I am unlovely, and for being an unconditional friend!!!  I love you.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Last Chemo Completed!!!


Well, Spot and I had our last chemo!!  Whoo Hoo!!!  Long day, but so very happy it is over!!  You can see my hair is starting to grow back.  It is a little darker, has quite a bit more gray, is fuller, and is baby soft!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Blahs, Birthdays, Baggage, and Break Ups

Blahs - this last chemo left me a tremendous amount of fatigue.  I also think that my body is just getting to the point where the cells have had quite enough!!  Despite being so fatigued, the Lord has allowed me some fun, frivolous, and fruitful days.

Birthdays - On June 19 the ladies of Foundations all met at the Macaroni Grill on one of the bases to celebrate my upcoming birthday!  Christa did it up like a tea party and so most of the ladies wore hats.  We had a lot of fun and I got to see our two newest babies!  They are so adorable.  It was so nice to be out of the house and doing some laughing.  The ladies did their best to load me up with new Hoops & Yoyo items!!!  Thank you to all of you FBC ladies for making the day so special.


Baggage - On June 20th we had kindergarten graduation.  Christa did a great job with the students this year.  After school let out for the summer, we began the task of packing our belongings.  Christa leaves on July 16th and I need her help to get the shipment ready.  We will load the container around August 13th.  Our departure flight is September 3.  There is much to do and the container is going to cost quite a bit.  Please pray that the Lord will supply for this need.  One huge answer to prayer is that the Lord took care of the medical needs at the Cleveland Clinic.  I am all set up for my care.  This took a lot of late night phone calls, but God gave me a Christian on the other side of the phone and she was a huge blessing.  My father is trying to get a ticket to come here the end of August to help Randy on our flight back to the States.  August is the Japanese holiday month and tickets are quite difficult to come by.  I know the Lord is able to take care of this.  Please be in prayer that he will be able to get a ticket with his miles or that the Lord will supply the finances to pay for a very expensive ticket! 

Break Up - You read right!  Chemo and I are breaking up!!!  Tomorrow will be my last day of chemotherapy!!  Whoo Hoo!!!  I still have the herceptin infusions until April, but this chemo is going bye bye!!  My hair is starting to grow back.  In two weeks I will be going topless again!!  I am so excited about this.  It is still VERY short, but it has just gotten so hot and I am ready to be done with the hats for a while.  I will still need to wear them, just not all the time in public.

Well, I think that is all I have for now.  Hope this fills you all in sufficiently!  Thank you for your love, prayers, and encouragment.  Don't stop!!  This battle is not over and I need to keep fighting.  I cannot do it alone!

Doing their memory passage for this quarter.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

GREAT NEWS!!

Had test today.  Doctor found only a cyst!  Pain is expected chemo related pain from body changes!  Hallelujah!!!!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Job 23:10 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.










One of our dear sweet families                                                     Christa &  I at Sams By The Sea
took us to dinner at our favorite restaurant!


Baby Adam and I!!

One of the hardest thing about this battle is not being able to keep up with the ministry here!  This work is a wonderful, rewarding, and busy life!  I love it!  I hate not being involved in it as I used to be.  My health has just gotten to the point where I have just a few good days a month.  I try to push and do, but this old wretched physical body will just NOT cooperate!!

So the decision has been made that we will be taking a medical furlough on September 3.  We shed many tears about this decision and it was NOT an easy one.  The Lord has shown us that this is His definite plan for us at this time.  We will be basing in the Cleveland area where our home church and mission agency are located.  I am going to be going to the Cleveland Clinic for my medical care.  It is commong for them to see patients from out of the United States.  Also, it is a center where I can be involved in some clinical studies which helps to ease some of the cost of treatment.  I will finish my last chemo here in Okinawa on June 23, which is the date we landed in Okinawa 6 years ago!  However, I still have my biological target therapy until at least next April. 

We will be continuing as MISSIONARIES!!  This is something that the Lord has NOT released us from and I know we would not be happy doing anything different.  During our furlough, Randy WILL be doing meetings at our supporting churches and I will travel with him as much as my health will allow.  We are excited to see some of our former members that transferred off of Okinawa and are now in good churches around the United States.

Christa will have a change also.  She has been hired to teach in our home church's Christian school!  She is excited, but very sad about leaving her friends and work here in Okinawa.  She leaves for Ohio on July16.

Please be in prayer for our church, our family, and the work involved in moving!  One last thing, there is a lump on the other side.  My doctor examined me on my chemo day last week and this Thursday I will be having some more tests.  Please be in prayer about this.  I will let you alll know when I know something!