Our Family

Our Family


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Friday, January 25, 2013

"The Great Physician"

My day started with great news about my dad.  He is no longer hooked up to a ventilator or a feeding tube.  One of his doctors said yesterday "surprised healing".  I love it when God shows off and there is no explanation to someone's healing other than Himself, the Great Physician.  My dad will probably be in ICU for a few more days then he will be moved to a floor to begin some rehab.  I am so thankful for the progress he is making each new day and the hope I hear in my mom's voice when I talk to her.  I know the prayers of many on his behalf must have gotten to God's ears and He has shown my dad and our family mercy and grace during these past few weeks. 

I went back to my surgeon yesterday and he explained things in more simple terms about my CT scan and my cancer markers going up.  He said this new chemo I am on is a great one to use and for the first 3 treatments I will see my numbers rise, then after the 3rd treatment they should plateau and start to decline.  He told me not to worry about the CA 125 marker (cancer marker) and trust that this chemo will work.

I am thankful it is the weekend and that I am home with Tony and we can relax and be together.  

"Today is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it."

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

"Home Sweet Home"

I made it back home safely.  God took care of me this morning telling my mom good-bye, I didn't even cry.  I knew it was His peace that gave me the strength to leave without being emotional.  I wasn't expecting that when I saw Tony holding a sign at the airport that said "Lucy", that it would make me cry, but it did.  It was so good to be in his arms again.  We had enough time to drop my stuff off at the house and visit with Jordan a few minutes before we had to be at Highlands for blood work, visit with the doctor, then have chemo.  All went well with no complications.  We were the last ones to leave the facility, but so thankful I was able to have a 2nd round of new chemo.  The nurse called right after we left to let me know that my CA 125 (cancer markers) have gone up again.  I am now at 273.7.  She told me not to be alarmed with the number since I just had my 2nd treatment with the new drug.  I am thankful that I had a little time to read my bible this morning and to read a daily devotional called "Jesus Today".  Here is a small part of what I read this morning.  These are words as if Jesus were speaking to me, with the scripture to back it up:

I carefully control what happens in your life.  I am constantly protecting you from both known and unknown dangers.  And I provide strength, just when you need it, for everything I allow to touch your life.  Many of the future things you anxiously anticipate will not actually reach you.  My promise is for things you face in the present, and it is sufficient.  So when you are feeling the strain of an uphill journey, tell yourself the truth:  "I have strength for all things through Christ who empowers me!"
Philippians 4:13; John 15:4; Psalm 28:7

I will continue to trust God in this journey and know that He has everything under control and there is no reason for me to panic about my today, tomorrow or future.  I am thankful for the grace and goodness He has shown me for the past 50 years.

My dad was taken off his ventilator for about 10 minutes this morning but was put back on it for the rest of the day.  He is making baby steps with his healing and my mom told me the nurses said he had a good day.  I am thankful for the peace of knowing he is in good hands and getting great treatment. 

It seems like forever since I've slept in my own bed and I must admit, it sure will feel good to be in the arms of my "darlin" again and to get a good nights sleep.

"Today is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."

Monday, January 21, 2013

"Mixed Emotions"

What a blessing to see how God answers prayers right before your very eyes.  Last Thursday we were given very little hope that my dad would get better and I think we all thought by the end of this week, a funeral might be taking place.  I am thankful to know that only God knows the days He has ordained for our lives and is the One in control of every breath we take.  Today my dad's ventilator was dropped to 40% and his oxygen level is maintaining in the high 90's.  The machine is breathing 8 times per minute for him, and he is taking 12 breaths on his own.   They still have him heavily sedated but are beginning to drop the sedation to a lower amount later this evening.  At the end of last week, I cancelled my chemo for this week but soon realized that was not the wisest decision, thanks to my caring husband, Tony.  After seeing my dad's improvement this morning, I called and set up my chemo for tomorrow.  So thankful God worked out my flight home to coordinate the timing to get in and have blood work, see the doctor, then have chemo all in one day.  The doctor plans on getting my dad off the ventilator possibly tomorrow and I am sad not to be with him when he is able to talk again, but so thankful to know he will talk someday soon.   

I went back to the hospital tonight for the last visiting hour to tell my dad goodbye.  I was afraid I would be bawling, but God gave me such a peace about saying good-bye, that I didn't cry at all.  I am a very emotional person and I know that was only by God's grace and prayers on my behalf, that I didn't cry.  I am thankful for this past week and the opportunity to be with my parents and to know Who is control of everything.  My dad has a long way to go to be able to come home again, but each new day I have seen small improvements.  I don't want to tell my mom good-bye tomorrow morning but I do know that she will be okay too.  She has a great church family that will watch over her as well as my other siblings.  I am also thankful for my friends that live here that will check in on her. 

I am ready to be back home with Tony and my family.  I wish I could be in two places at one time.  I have only been home 6 days this month and it's time to try and get back to a normal life, if there is such a thing.  I pray all goes well for my trip home and that everything will go smoothly with my chemo.  God has given me so much grace this past week and has been my strength to carry me through each day. 

"Today is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it."

Friday, January 18, 2013

"Update on my Daddy"

It's has been an emotional roller coaster for our family this week.  We were told yesterday, by my dad's lung doctor, that there wasn't much hope and we needed as a family to get together and decide for my dad, what he would want.  We all know he would not want to be put on life support.  The lung doctor said he would have died 2 days ago if it hadn't been for the life support.  We are getting another response from his family doctor and he is telling us that my dad is improving each day.  I go up to see him 5 times a day and have to say, he doesn't look good at all and each day he looks closer to death, but at the same time he is responding better and more peaceful and not in pain.  They have dropped his ventilator from 100% to 60 % and his oxygen levels are maintaining good.  I have cherished several visits with just the two of us and have had such sweet times with him.  The tears are falling off my face onto his, but I want my dad to know how much he is loved and how much I cherish the man he is.  He became my dad at the age of 8 and has always treated me and my brothers like his very own.  He has adored my mom and has shown all of us kids what true love is by the respect he has had for our mom.  He cannot open his eyes all the way but he has them open as much as he can and looks at us now.  He can squeeze our hand and he communicates through his eyes by squinting.  At the beginning of the week he kept trying to talk and now he just lays there and uses his eys to talk for him and can shake his head yes or no.  I thought he was asleep earlier today and was talking with his pastor's wife, Pam, about my mom and her trying to pay bills.  He has everything set up on the computer to automatically draft but she didn't understand how to do it, so she wrote checks and mailed them to the places she thought might be coming due.  I told Pam they would have credits to several places in the month of February and my dad's eyes opened up right away and he had a big frown on his face and started shaking his head no.  He knows my mom and he is very picky about how he takes care of everything and is afraid she might mess things up.  That proves to me that my dad is alert and can comprehend and he is still fighting to live.  I am thankful we have a God we can trust over every area of our lives and that He is the One that has all our days ordanined for us and not man.  I know my dad could leave this earth today but I also know a God that still is in the miracle business and can allow a miracle to take place in my dad's life. 

I received a phone call very early this morning that my cousin Rhonda, daughter and grandson were killed in a house fire.  Her daughter was only 31 and the grandson was only 6.  They lived only 1/4 of mile down the street and my cousin had to witness the tragedy.  I can't or even want to comprehend the sorrow Rhonda and her family are facing right now.  Rhonda's mom, my mom's sister, died only 4 months ago.  Our family is so grieved by this horrible tragedy.  We will probably never know why such things happen here on this earth.  I know so many times life is sad and can be so tragic and scary but I think that is why God said  Matthew 6:24-34 "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life......, And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?"  We may not even see tomorrow and all we can do is pray that we make our "todays" count for Him and His glory. 

There is no way this week would be possible for me to have such peace in the midst of the storms without a Father that is carrying me and my family.  I am so grateful for the prayers on the behalf of our family and I will continue to keep my eyes on Him and my hope and peace will continue to come from Him.  What Satan intends for evil, God intends for good and I choose to say:

"I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.  He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.  Behold, he who keeps Israel,"Janet" will neither slumber nor sleep.  The Lord is your keeper, the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.  The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.  The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore."  Psalms 121

"Today is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it."

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"Hope for my Daddy"

It seems like forever since I blogged last and many things have happened since my last post.  This past weekend, me, Julie Gabardi, Joni Hartman and Theresa Bonds took a road trip to Osage Beach, MO to celebrate our birthdays and the fact that Joni and I were celebrating our 50th.  We left on Friday morning and had plans to stay until Tuesday morning.  Our travel agent, Theresa, did a great job with all the details from planning the trip, driving us there, cooking food in advance and even bringing a blu ray player to watch movies.  We spent most of Saturday at the Outlet Mall and were very impressed with the stores there.  Needless to say, we had most of the stores to ourselves, considering most normal people would have stayed home in the cold rainy weather that started turning into ice before we left the mall.  We headed back to our condo and watched a little of the NFL play-offs and the Miss America pageant.  We really aren't normal with the fact that we go away and we actually turn on football.  I have to say, Miss America was very entertaining to us all.  I'm not sure it was the fact that 4 women were together critiquing other women or for some reason the talent was a little below average in our opinion, especially the singing.  They say laughter is the best medicine and I think that night we had a great dose of good medicine.  Theresa also brought the 2 seasons of Downton Abbey.  We watched a few episodes on Friday night and a few more Saturday night.  I had never heard of this show and I had issues of falling asleep during part of it on Friday night and was afraid I wouldn't be able to keep up with the story line.  Sunday came and we were iced in at the condo.  Theresa's car was covered with ice and we were on a steep slope to drive out, so we decided why not continue to watch the rest of the episodes of Downton Abbey and not risk going outside when we didn't have to.  We were all hooked on watching the show and took small breaks in between each episode.  We were in our PJ's all day long and loved every minute of being lazy and not having an agenda to be anywhere. 

Theresa,Joni,Julie and Me

View from our Condo

Sunday afternoon I received a phone call that my dad was not doing well.  He went in on Thursday morning for an outpatient surgery to put a plate in his broken arm.  They ended up keeping him overnight and his health quickly began to deteriorate.  He was not getting enough oxygen into his lungs.  We found out Sunday night that he had pneumonia in both lungs.  I was at a crossroads about leaving our "girl" trip early or waiting it out until we got home to travel to Abilene, TX. 

We woke up Sunday morning and finished the final episode of season 2 of Downton Abbey and are excited to see the next season.  I'm hooked and a huge fan!  The girls and I decided it would be best for me to try to get a flight out and us leave our "birthday getaway" early in order for me to be with my parents.  We arrived in Bentonville and I had enough time to repack a suitcase and get to the airport and was safely with my mom and brother by 11:00pm last night, Monday.

We arrived to the hospital this morning and I must admit, it was very hard to see my dad lying there with a bunch of tubes in him and not able to communicate.  He opened his eyes long enough to see I was there, but can't keep them open or talk to us.  We are limited on our visiting hours and I take every moment I can to go see him.  He is now on a ventilator and is being fed by an NG Tube.  They are having to keep him sedated due to the frustrations of wanting to pull all the tubes out of him.  It's amazing how a simple "outpatient" surgery has turned into something much greater.  I know Who's in control and I know that God's mercies are new every morning and great is His faithfulness.  I do have a peace and I am so grateful to be able to be with my mom during this time.  It is difficult to watch one of your favorite people in life struggle for his life.

The word "hope" I take for faith; and indeed, hope is nothing else but the constancy of faith.  

I read this in a daily journal Susan Byrum gave me, and it's exactly what I need.  My hope is not in man, but my hope is in the Lord and I can rest in perfect peace knowing that He is the One that has my "daddy" in His hands and will watch over him.  On a side note; the nurse that took care of my dad today was named Janet.  I told my dad that I couldn't stay with him all day, but God put another Janet there to take care of him.
Me and my Daddy.  Please pray for him.

"Today is the day the Lord has made,let us rejoice and be glad in it."

Monday, January 7, 2013

"I'm Glad"

So thankful for God's amazing grace and love for me.  I was able to go to Atlanta, GA and worship with 60,000+ praising the name of Jesus.  I cannot fathom what Heaven will be like, but I feel like I had a small glimpse of it last week.

 We divide into Community groups where all the adults (around 6,000+) are in one large room.  We then divide into Family Groups of 8.  It is amazing how this process always works out.  Jordan and I were in the same group with 6 others.  We all introduced ourselves and shared where we were from.  I shared of how my life was so different from a year ago.  The leader of our group, Ryan, immediately shared with me about one of he and his wife's best friends who was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer in September at only 34 years of age.  People can say this is a coincidence,  I say my God is Sovereign over all things and He put our paths together in this small group.  Ryan committed that the group would pray over me every time we met, which was twice a day.  What a blessing to be with complete strangers at the beginning of the week and 3 days later, you feel a family connection.  So thankful God allowed our paths to cross.  I now have a new friend to pray for that I will probably never meet, going through the same things I am or have gone through.
Danny, Ryan, Kasey, Casey, Jordan, Elizabeth & Me
One thing I wanted to share is that many times people ask us how we are doing and our response is "good".  What would their response be if we answered "I'm glad"?  It might open a door of why we are glad and have an opportunity to share more about all Jesus has done for us. 

I went in for a routine lab work today to check my red & white blood cell count and platelets.  The nurse seemed surprised how good my numbers were after my new dose of chemo.  I wasn't a bit surprised but very grateful for how good I have felt with no side effects from the last round of chemo.  To be in a crowd of over 60,000 people all week and to walk away feeling good.  I believe the God of Angel Armies went before me and stood behind me-I am rejoicing!!!!

I realized the last day we were in Atlanta worshiping, that my biggest desire is to be healed and free from cancer.  I still desire that, but I also realize every day is a new gift from the Lord and He never promised us a tomorrow.  I feel a weight was lifted off my shoulders knowing God is the One sovereign over all my days and any anxiety or worries are not from Him.  Matthew 6:25-34 has a lot of truth about fear and worry and letting go and letting God take care of us.  vs. 34 "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."  

"Today is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it."