Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pray for the family of Mrs. R. A. Smith

I just received the following email about Mrs. Smith.

"Today, at 5:00 PM, Mrs. Smith slipped peacefully into the very presence of the mighty Saviour, Who saved her when she was just a little girl. God has kept His promise, and she is safe with Him. She will be greatly missed, but never forgotten. Funeral arrangements will be announced at soon as they are available.

Dr. R. A. Smith, Pastor
Fort Worth Baptist Temple"

Friday, April 23, 2010

Latest Treatment Update

First of all, I want to thank ALL of you that emailed Christa on her birthday!  She has had over 120 emails come in wishing her Happy Birthday and thanking her for the care she is giving her mother.  What a blessing that was for me.  I was up first and then when she opened her bedroom door she said, "Mom, I have over 50 emails!"  That was so exciting!  Then she went out into the garage as a little birdie told her father that there would be a package in there for her.  It was a very nice casio keyboard!  What a BIG surprise!  Then she opened the gift from our extended family and Randy and I.  We had a cup of coffee together and then scrambled to get out the door; her to school and us to the hospital. 

I had my blood work and all was very good.  Then I went to see the doctor who looked at my extreme swelling and ordered some more tests.  My heart test was very good.  I did lose 16% heart function, but I still have 70% left so all is good.  The kidney tests were also good, so the swelling is just a side effect of the chemo.  It is not enough to stop chemo and I really didn't want to delay.  Finally I got to the infusion room and settled down for the herceptin.  This is the target therapy that directly attacks my HER2 type cancer.  The infusion went by without a hitch and I was up on the ward by 1 pm.  Christa came around 3:45 pm to switch places with her dad so he could get ready for the evening service.  The kids surprised Christa at school with a cake and a very nice gift.  The nurses on the floor thought Christa was beautiful!  My two chemo nurses from downstairs came up to check on me before heading home.  I was ok.  By 4:30 pm the high fever, chills, and nausea had settled in.  Around 6 pm my nurse watched Christa help me through a few rough moments.  Christa knew exactly what and when I needed something.  What a blessing to have her by my side.  The nurse brought some meds back that helped immensely and by 6:45 pm, I was asleep.  Christa had to head home at 8 pm and then Randy stopped by after church.  I don't remember much about the visit, but I do have a vague memory of a kiss!  My fever stayed quite high for most of the night.  At 5:30 am I woke up and went for a walk around the ward.  I felt MUCH better and my fever was almost gone.  Randy came around 8 am, as we were told they would start the chemo at 9.  However, I didn't have a treatment until 1 pm.  By 4 pm we were headed home.  I have had no nausea from the taxotere!  I do have extreme muscle weakness and pain, but no nausea!!!!!!  I am praising the Lord for this. 

Well, that is the latest update.  Thank you to all of you for praying and thinking of us.  I appreciate all the emails, cards, calls, and gifts!  I especially want to thank you again for being a blessing to our very special daughter on her birthday! 

Galatians 6:2
Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

One Special Love

Pensacola, Florida

I sit and type this late on Tuesday evening, April 20.  Tomorrow morning I will enter the hospital to begin my next phase of treatment.  Tomorrow is also a very special day of celebration for us.  It is Christa's 24th birthday!  I hate that she has to celebrate her special day by sitting with me at the hospital for the evening service, but I am so grateful that the Lord has her in Okinawa for this time of my life.   

Soon after my mother passed away in March of 1985, I asked the Lord to allow me to have a baby the following April sometime around my mother's birthday on the 24th.  We adopted our son Eddie two months after my mom went to Heaven, but I really wanted a baby by the next April; a girl specifically.  As many women who suffer with infertility, every month that passed and I wasn't pregnant made me feel like a huge failure!  By the time the next April came along, I was bitterly disappointed.  There was no baby.  I felt the Lord had neglected to answer my prayer.  In October of that year we heard about our Christa.  We were told that she was about 6 months old.  I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when the social worker told me that her birthday was April 21st!  We rejoice at the miracle of Christa's life and the answering of my prayer by the Lord who loves me very much!

One Special Love is a song that I heard first sung by the Hutson Sisters.  It really touched my heart and Christa and I would sing it as we travelled on deputation.  We recorded a tape to help raise our shipping funds and decided that we wanted to get a recording of Christa and I singing this song together before she lost her little girl sound.  God truly has given us one special love!

Happy Birthday, Christa!  I love you more than words can express!!  Mommy

I'm so proud of you!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Happy Birthday, a minha madrasta!!!

Happy Birthday, Annetta!!
(This is my favorite photo of you!!  I love your laughing face!!)

Today is my stepmother's birthday.  I've never liked the word stepmother as it seems to bring about such bad connotations due to those fairy tale books with all of the ugly stepmothers!  When we learned Portuguese, I decided I liked the sound of the word they use - Madrasta - and decided to use it when referring to Annetta.  The problem is that then we moved to Japan and no one has any idea what I mean when I say that Annetta is my madrasta!  Oh well.

Dad and Annetta were married in June of 1980 and I actually sang at their wedding - (they surely didn't know what they were getting into!).  Through the years Annetta has had to endure many things that she could have avoided had she not married into this family!  We have some wonderful memories through the years and I have several photos that I will be posting of those times.  Her life is not without it's own struggles.  Annetta lives daily with a disease called myelogenous leukemia.  She has stuck by my Dad through many difficult times and some pretty major health issues.  She has endured his never ending desire to renovate even if it meant sleeping in a basement or not being able to park the car in the garage.

I love you, Netta.  I hope you enjoy the trip down memory lane with some of these photos!!  As Carol Burnett says, "Thanks for the memories!!!"

The picture above were from a time we met in Florida  in January of 2004.  We visited the Kennedy Space Center and St. Augustine.  We had such a great time together! 

Randy took Christa to college in September 2005 so Dad and Netta came to stay with me.  Dad got sick just a few days after arriving, then Netta and I.  We had such a great vacation just reading, watching old movies, and laying around!!  What a relaxing time!!!

In the Fall of 2007, we all met up in California!  Doesn't Netta look great?!

Christa has so much fun with her Grammy!  This is at Christa's graduation last May. 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

God's Hand in Other's Lives

I want you all to see what the Lord is doing at Foundations Baptist Church. Despite this battle and the frustration it brings me, one thing that God has not stopped doing is working in people's lives! Resurrection Sunday was sweet and when I arrived at the church, I didn't recognize many of the people! New families and individuals is a very big part of our ministry. People are coming and going all the time. I'm not going to write anymore just leave you with some wonderful pictures and videos.

The Latest Medical Update

Well, what would a journey be without a few bends in the road? At my last appointment, the doctor told me that he feels we need to change my next chemo drug to one more aggressive. He told me that he had been doing some research and that "When" this recurs, we will not be able to use this strong of a drug so we need to hit my cancer hard the first time. For the first time in this battle, I cried in the doctor's office. I have read this effects of this next chemo and I had already been praising the Lord that my doctor chose something different. I rejoiced too soon. We do really appreciate my doctor's diligence in dealing with my cancer. He is a great listener and has alwasy kept reading about how to give me the best treatment plan for my situation. I know the Lord sent us to the right place. He has decided to wait until August to do the scan.

My silence on my blog has been due to the extreme fatigue and depression brought on from my last chemo session. Much of it is due to exhaustion and medication. My eyes bother me so much now that reading my Bible or anythng for that matter, is very difficult. Praise the Lord for modern technology!! I have an audio Bible on my iphone and it keeps track of daily "reading" as I listen to His word! What a tremendous blessing this is to me. I wake many times around 4 am and have many wonderful talks and prayer times with the Lord. There are so many times when I just don't want to take one more pill or drink any more water, but I do because He gives me the strength. The best explanation of my relationship with the Lord right now is illustrated through that well known and sometimes misused poem "Footprints":

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
other times there were one set of footprints.

This bothered me because I noticed
that during the low periods of my life,
when I was suffering from
anguish, sorrow or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints.

So I said to the Lord,
"You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you,
you would walk with me always.
But I have noticed that during
the most trying periods of my life
there have only been one
set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most,
you have not been there for me? "

The Lord replied,
"The times when you have
seen only one set of footprints in the sand,
is when I carried you. "

Mary Stevenson

The only explanation for me enduring this battle is that the Lord IS carrying me. I know this, I feel this, and I am most greatful for this! Thank you, Lord!

I want to give a special thank you to Rochester Baptist Church. They are so thoughtful! I received another "pink" package recently! It is so much fun to have the mailman knock on our door! I love you ladies and appreciate all that you do for me.

Victory Baptist Church in Missouri also sent me a wonderful package! You ladies are great!

I also want to thank my two very caring "Chemo Angels". This is a program where two people volunteer to write you, and some even send packages, during your six month chemotherapy. I heard about this program and found it online. It is usually for people in the US. I applied for it and was accepted. I didn't expect much as I live so far away. However, my "angels" write to me often and I have received numerous little goodies from them. Tereasa and Erin, you don't know me, but you have reached out to me expecting nothing in return! I appreciate and pray for both of you. Thank you!

One of the things about cancer is that after a while people just get weary of your battle and life goes on. Cancer can be exhausting for everyone involved, not just the patient. My dear friend "Hope" has remained close and there for me. She is fighting her own battle with breast cancer and is in the middle of radiation, yet she still finds time to keep up with me and send me little bits of encouragement. This week I received a beautiful package full of things to remind me of the Lord's goodness to me. Hope, you are a true friend. We may have never me, butI love you and pray for you everyday.