Our Family

Our Family


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Monday, August 27, 2012

"Michael Phelps. . . I'm Not"

I went in today to have my blood work checked and received great news that my numbers are back up to where they need to be. I told the nurse that God was in control and how His plan led me to meet someone that I had been praying for. She gave me a strange look, but smiled.

Afterwards Jordan, Susan and I went to work out. We worked on our arms and abs and Susan and I swam for our cardio. I have no idea how swimmers like Michael Phelps makes it look so easy, even when they are racing. All I try to do is make it to one end without running out of breath or drowning. We swam for 20 minutes and I could have sworn the clock stopped a few times. I know swimming has to be good for me because I do not enjoy any of it and my heart rate goes up. I look forward to the day when I can go back and forth and not stop every time I get to one end and look at the clock. I am so thankful to be back to exercising and for the strength God has given me. I am also thankful not to worry about what people think about my bald head.

I have not posted about my loss of eye lashes and eye brows. They have slowly fallen out. I am thankful to be a woman and the ability to wear makeup that can camouflage part of my loss. I know in time my hair, lashes and brows will come back in completely, but for now I can say I'm feeling great and thankful for having great health and God's grace to live each day.

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

Saturday, August 25, 2012

"Thankful for Second Chances"

I am thankful God gives us second chances in life and how He always orchestrates the circumstances in our lives perfectly. On July 12th I went in for my 6th round of chemo. I had seen several people I knew that day and also felt I had missed another opportunity God had placed before me to share or encourage someone. There was a beautiful young lady having chemo that day and she had not lost her hair, so I figured she must have been in early stages of treatment. The sad thing is, I did not speak to her. Satan wants to make me believe that people are private and I shouldn't interfere with their lives. I told Jordan and Tony both that I knew I had messed up by not talking to her. She has been on my heart so many times since and I have been praying for the young lady with pretty hair, not even knowing her name. I have asked God several times that if it was His will for us to meet to please put her in my path again. What a personal God I serve that works all things out for good. I had to leave a wedding shower early today that I was a hostess for and had to drive to Fayetteville to get my 3rd shot of Neupogen (helps rebuild white blood cells). This was my first time to go to Highlands Oncology there and the only reason I had to go there and not to our local office was because ours was closed. When I walked in I saw the young lady pictured below sitting in a chair. I went to tell the nurse I was there and was told to sit and they would be with me shortly. I sat right in front of the nurses and away from the young lady. The thought crossed my mind several times, what if that was the young lady I had been praying for sitting across the room. Satan once again tried to make me think I was silly for even thinking it could be her, but the Spirit inside me said go and talk to her. I walked over and really have no idea how my conversation began but was so thankful to find out her name was Rebecca and that she was the young lady God had placed on my heart for the past month and half. I apologized for not speaking up when I saw her on our chemo day back in July. She was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer back in June. So thankful to find out we share a common bond in Jesus and were able to share our stories with each other. Funny thing is, we both live in Bentonville and had to drive to Fayetteville to finally meet. This past Thursday when my white blood cell counts were so low and I tried to talk the nurse out of giving me shots, God knew all along that I would finally get another chance to meet Rebecca. People can say it was a coincidence but I can say I serve a very personable God that answered a specific prayer for me even when I tried to redirect His path and tell the nurse I really didn't need shots, God had other plans for me. Rebecca has 3 young children and attends Grace Point Church here in Bentonville.

Me and Rebecca

I met another lady at lunch today named Amy. She is going through chemo and has one more round. She sat behind me and Jordan and I was trying to decide if I should speak to her, but after my second chance today, I decided if the thought is there, I better not miss out on speaking to someone. I feel God has given me a platform to share Him more now than ever, and I don't want to live with regrets. I found another reason it's great being bald. I dropped mustard accidentally on my shirt and I feel people are more distracted by my head, they didn't notice my messed up shirt. :)

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

Friday, August 24, 2012

"My Inspiration"

Xander Moore is a young man that lives in Oklahoma City that has been an inspiration to me. His aunt Rachel is our great friend and our childrens pastor's wife. He was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma at the age of 2 and he is now 10 years old. He's been on this journey for the last 8 years and I can't imagine how many times he has been in and out of the hospital in his young life. He continues to fight and trust God for his daily source of strength. I knew his parents before they were married. They were both interns at our church back in 1998. Back in February when I was diagnosed, Rachel gave me a picture of Xander and I keep it in my Bible and I pray for him everyday.

Me and Xander at Rachel's surprise birthday party.

Rachel called me on Wednesday during our youth service to tell me the family did not receive good news. Below is the email our church received from Ricki Lee, Xander's mom:

Xander and I had barely been home 30 minutes today when the dr. called with the results from his MIBG scan that had just taken place at 1pm today. There are a few new spots on Xander’s body. There is also some enhancement of the old cancerous spots. I just kept telling the dr. that God knew this before I even answered the phone. So, here we are again. Progression of disease and in need of healing. This is not the first time we have been here, yet it hurts to the very core of our soul. We serve a powerful God who has a plan for our lives, a plan for Xander, and although we cannot see the big picture, He does.

Xander was a little shocked, but we quickly prayed and asked God to take away all our fears. We had a church swim party to go to tonight and that was a huge distraction for him and Carter. When we got home Xander came to me after his shower and said “mom, with Him (pointing to Heaven) we can’t lose.” I hugged him and said “you are exactly right” then he smiled and said “plus, now I get to go to PE on Monday”.

We ask again for your prayers. Prayers for healing, prayers for guidance, prayers for peace, prayers to take away all our fears. Prayers for Carter, a 9 year old boy who loves his big brother more than anything in the world. We are thankful for you and your presence in our lives, even though it may be from a distance, we know you are with us.

Thankful that this young man is a fighter and knows were his Hope comes from. There have been a few times that I have been a little uneasy about my treatments, then I think about all Xander has been through and continues to go through and my heart is encouraged that if he can fight, why can't I. Thank you Xander for who you are in Christ and that your hope remains in Him.

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

Thursday, August 23, 2012

"Lab Work=Shots"

I went in today for my 10 day post-chemo lab work. The nurse told me my blood counts were at a point of needing NEUPOGEN® which is used to rebuild white blood cells. I will have another shot on Friday and Saturday, then go in on Monday to recheck my numbers. I did my best to talk her out of giving me a shot, but she said with my counts so low, I run a higher risk of getting an infection and could even end up in the hospital. I told her since I'm in the middle of planning a wedding, I need to do everything I can to stay healthy. I figured there was no need to complain but should be thankful for all God has done for me and that He has provided great healthcare for me through the doctors and nurses that have treated me. My prayer is that on Monday when I go back in for blood work, that my numbers would all be exactly where they are supposed to be and that through this weekend I would remain very healthy and have plenty of energy to accomplish all the wedding plans we have planned. There are 72 more days until the wedding and everything is going very smoothly and stress free. Psalm 109:26-27 "Help me, O Lord my God! Save me according to your steadfast love! Let them know that this is your hand; you, O Lord, have done it!"

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

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"Sun/Heat vs. Chemo"

I was going to blog last night about our continued exercise but my body had other intentions, going to bed. Jordan, Susan and I took off Tuesday afternoon to go biking around 4:30pm. It seemed like a great idea until I got home. My body began to go into shut down mode and I knew I had over done it. Well I didn't feel that I had over done it, but being in the sun and heat after having chemo the week before was not a good idea. I was afraid I had messed up and wasn't sure how quickly I would recover. I am thankful to say after going to bed early last night, I woke up refreshed this morning and had no side effects from the day before. To God be the glory, great things He has done.

Me, Jordan and Susan Tucker

Another blessing of being bald, you don't have to worry about a bike helmet messing up your hair. We will continue our exercise and if biking is part of it, we will go later in the evening when it cools off. I already knew that the sun and heat was not good for me when going through chemo, but since our temperatures haven't been in the 100's lately, I felt it had cooled off.

On a side note, if I hadn't had surgery a few months back, I would swear that I was pregnant. I've been craving Dairy Queens snack size chicken basket with gravy and french fries. I have eaten there 3 times in the last week. It's not the healthiest meal, but I am so grateful to have an appetite and Dr. Ivy told me from the beginning of my diagnosis, "If it tastes good, eat it!"

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

Monday, August 20, 2012

"Starting Over"

Today was my first day back to the gym this year. Susan Tucker has been my workout partner for the past 5 years and she has been waiting patiently for my return. I was excited and a little anxious to be back in the gym. Jordan has been telling me that whenever I was ready to go back, she would go with me. It is a blessing to have such a wonderful friend and daughter that are very supportive. We all did arms and leg weights. Susan and I went swimming afterwards and Jordan did the elliptical. I found another reason being bald isn't so bad. You don't have to wear a swim cap when you are bald. I wasn't sure if people would stare at me for being bald while I was working out and not having a hat on. It didn't seem like anyone cared and that was a blessing. I actually felt "normal" being back in the gym.

Jordan, Me and Susan Tucker

After we got home, Jordan and I walked to Wal-mart (it is practically in our backyard). We both already felt the soreness kicking in, so tomorrow might be an interesting day for us and our pain level. We can at least know that some good was done from our workout. I am so thankful to be feeling so good and give all the praise and glory to God for allowing me to feel this way. Psalms 29:11 "May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace." So thankful for God's strength and peace in my life right now. God has been so faithful to our family and we know it is called "Grace". Grandma is loving her new place and my health is going great. I know people continue to pray for me and my family and God continues to show us so much love and mercy, and for that, we are so grateful.

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

Saturday, August 18, 2012

"Grandma's New Home"

Five months later, Grandma gets to move out of the nursing home into an assisted living. Tony, Bryan and Richard (Bryan's friend) moved her furniture out of storage this morning. Jordan and I went out after lunch with Tony and arranged her apartment and put up pictures and nick-knacks. We were able to check her out of the nursing home around 5:30 this evening and when she walked into her new place, she was so happy and pleased with how everything looked. I am thankful she likes her new place.

Happy to be back in her bed.

Living area looking at her front door.

Living/Dining area.

I think she likes her new place.

I am thankful that our family was able to help Tony out today with getting his mom settled. Five months ago, he had a lot on his plate with moving her into a nursing home and getting her apartment packed up for the storage. Psalms 90:17 "Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!" We weren't sure if she would ever leave the nursing home but God has allowed her to get better and we pray this move will last a long while for her. We were blessed with another great day of weather, health and sound minds and we are thankful for His many blessings.

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

Friday, August 17, 2012

"Slowing Down To Be Thankful"

Through all the business of these past few days, I don't want to ever miss the opportunities to be thankful and grateful for all God has done for me. I had chemo on Monday and have the fewest side affects this whole week. I don't like talking about it because I feel Satan waits around the corner waiting to still my joy. Even with a small stomach bug, this has been a really good week. We've had blessings of rain, thunderstorms and cooler weather brought to Northwest Arkansas. Thank you Jesus!!!

Jordan and I met with the wedding coordinators at church this morning and will have 2 more meetings before the wedding. You would think that 78 more days left until her wedding, our stress level would be very high, but God is giving us both a peace that everything will come together. I told Jordan if we had a year to plan a wedding, we would take the full year but since we had less than 90 days, we will do what we can and enjoy every moment together. There are several that have offered to help us in many ways and we are thankful to know we are not in this alone.

Tony will be moving his mom, aka Grandma, into an assisted living facility tomorrow. We went to the storage building to organize her things to make it easier for he and Bryan to move. I'm excited to fix her room up for her before she moves in. Her room has been repainted and new carpet was being put in today. Most of her furniture should fit into her room and I'm praying she will like her new place.

Today I am thankful for my life, family, health, cooler weather, a home, food, God's love and so much more!!!

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

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

"The Bug Got Us"

Jordan and I didn't escape the stomach bug. It got both of us last night. Why is it when you get sick everything you ate that day continues to go through your mind over and over. Jordan was sick first before going to bed, then I was sick several times during the night. So thankful that I already had phenergan for both of us to take. We both slept in this morning and decided to go into work after lunch. My body told me differently, that staying home all day was better. I slept away the whole day and woke up with a low grade fever. I am thankful for the rest and for not pushing myself. I feel better this evening. For the first three days after chemo I stay on nausea medications every 6 hours consistently. I'm praying the virus doesn't get Tony or David since we have been around them.

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

Monday, August 13, 2012

"Tag Team"

Jordan took me in for chemo today at 9:00am. I had a very sweet nurse and Jordan and I took our iPad and lap top to work on wedding stuff while we waited for my medications to be administered. We are 82 days away from a wedding so a lot has to be done right away. So thankful for technology and the means it gives us to get things accomplished quicker. Tony came around 12:30pm so Jordan could go into work. I was completely done with everything and walking out of the building at 2:20pm. It was nice being able to go into work for a few hours afterwards and get some things done. So thankful for a great day of God's grace once again.

The stomach bug is going around here in Bentonville. Bryan, Jenna and Hudson have all been sick since Saturday and today as well. The Kufahl family is all sick and Jordan is having some queasiness. I am praying the virus stays away from our household. Psalms 78:7 "so that they should set their hope in God." I am thankful for my hope in God and for this day He has blessed me with. He gave me a great nights sleep and refreshed me this morning before chemo and watched over me during chemo and my day has been fully blessed by Him.

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

Sunday, August 12, 2012

"Chemo #7"

I started on this journey with Ovarian Cancer 6 months ago. I was originally told there would be 3 rounds of chemo, surgery, then 3 more rounds of chemo. Tomorrow will be my 7th round of chemo. I'm not doubting God and my hope and trust will continue to be with Him and His sovereignty. So thankful for the knowledge God has given man to treat cancer, but more thankful for His healing power. I have a plaque by my computer that was given to me by Cheryl Tompkins and tonight, as I began writing this blog post, I read what it said again and it jumped out at me as if it was God speaking directly to me about tomorrow. It says "Grace and peace be multiplied to you" 2 Peter 1:2

So thankful for God moments and His timing in all things. I am so thankful for His grace and peace during this season of my life. I am thankful not to be anxious about my tomorrows and to realize I was blessed to live another day today with great health. "Today is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."

Saturday, August 11, 2012

"Save The Date, November 3rd, 2012"

(Thank you Bryan for taking the time to do a great picture for Jordan and David)

In less than 3 months my little girl will be walking down the aisle to the young man that God saved for her. On February 3rd, 2012 I came home from the hospital after being diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. I couldn't sleep that night after reading garbage on the internet about my diagnosis. Satan had me believing I would never get to go wedding dress shopping with Jordan or see her get married. Today was a day of celebration. We went wedding dress shopping with Jenna and 3 of Jordan's bridesmaids and the first dress she tried on, became her wedding dress. We had to buy something off the rack because it is too late to order a dress. The dress fit her perfectly and the only alterations will be the hem. She looked absolutely beautiful in the dress, like a barbie doll. Our hearts are so thankful for all of God's goodness.

We knew our selection of dresses would be limited and Jordan has always loved my nieces dress, so we made a quick trip to Texas on Thursday and came home Friday. She tried the dress on and it fit her almost perfect. We brought the dress home with us knowing there was no need to stress about finding a dress. Even though we didn't pick Danyelle's dress, we are grateful she was willing to allow Jordan to borrow it. Hudson made the quick road trip with us and was a great little passenger. We usually stop at least once on the 4 1/2 hour trip but he never got fussy so we never stopped. On the trip home he slept for 3 1/2 hours.

Hudson being a great trooper watching "Bubble Guppies".
Hudson loved the wagon at Uncle David and Aunt Traci's house.
Sleeping so peacefully on the trip home.
My brother David and my wonderful sister-in-law Traci.

The wedding is coming quickly and we are in fast motion. Working on our check off list and we now have the venue (our church), the photographer (Bryan) and now a beautiful dress. Psalms 72:18 "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things."

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

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

"Bless the Lord O My Soul...Worship...."

I pray that through the bad or good, I can always worship my Savior for all He has done for me. What an amazing year this has been for me and my family. I know Satan would want nothing more than to defeat us, but to God be the glory, great things He continues to do. This has been an incredible week for our family. Monday night was Jordan and David's engagement, today Bryan and Jenna announced they were having baby #2. All the secrets I've had to keep are out and I am so thankful I don't have to hide anything else. We are so excited for David and Jordan and Bryan and Jenna.

This afternoon I received a phone call from my oncologist telling me my CA 125 is at 45. It was at 83.7 before my last treatment, so it almost dropped in half. The nurse is usually the one to call me with the results but Dr. Waller called to tell me herself.

I want to end this blog with a song that I love and expresses how I felt this week and for all He has done, since the beginning of this journey that our family has been on this entire year. It's called "10,000 Reasons"

(highlight link below and right click to open in a new tab)

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

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

"The Day After........"

What a day this has been. I think I have been running on adrenaline from such an exciting night from the engagement for Jordan and David. Loved waking up and spending time talking with Jordan and sharing how these past few months have been such a challenge of keeping secrets from her.

I had blood work and a doctor's appointment today. Dr. Waller wanted to biopsy the spot on my neck after seeing the CT scan but I told her it was smaller and the swelling was going down. I have been on antibiotics since Sunday so she decided the biopsy wasn't necessary as long as the knot was getting smaller. I had to have an ultrasound on my legs because a spot was found on my lungs and she was concerned it could be a blood clot. The technician told me I had good "flow" in my veins. (I assumed that meant my blood was flowing and not clotting) I received a phone call later today confirming there were no clots found and everything checked out good. My white blood cell count was up more than last Friday and so thankful for the good report. I will know the results of my CA 125 by Friday. My chemo has been postponed until Monday next week. I told my oncologist that my daughter had gotten engaged last night and that we were wedding dress shopping on Saturday and didn't want to have an "off" day from the chemo. She told me we will not let chemo ever interfere with my life style. (Love my doctor) She is getting married next month so we have enjoyed talking about wedding plans these past two visits. I have two more full chemo treatments before beginning my maintenance program of once a month.

I keep reading about God's steadfast love and so thankful for His grace over me and my family. We have been rejoicing and loving the excitement of our new journey and season of our lives together. Psalms 59:16-17 "But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress. O my Strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love."

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

Monday, August 6, 2012

"She's Engaged!!!!!"

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

What a day of rejoicing this has been. David proposed to Jordan tonight and now I don't have to keep secrets anymore. I never knew how hard it would be to have secrets and to keep them from someone so special in your life. For 24 years, I have prayed for a Godly young man for my daughter and couldn't be more grateful for David Street being brought into Jordan's life. We've had a wonderful night of celebration and the smile has not faded off of Jordan's face. The ring David gave Jordan was from the ring that Jordan's dad had given me. He had the ring made into a new setting and he did a great job!!! Tony and I are so thankful and excited for all God has for this couple. As you can see from the pictures, she was totally taken off guard and had no idea what was in store for her tonight. David was dressed up and Jordan had on shorts and a t shirt with her hair in a pony tail. I think she looked absolutely beautiful!! I am so thankful Bryan was there to capture such a priceless moment. Jordan went on a scavenger hunt from clues David had given her to get her back to the place they had originally met, our youth building. He had a timeline that he had written in his journal at each table with pictures posted for Jordan to read.

What a beautiful sight!!!!

She said "yes"!!!!

Couldn't ask for a more precious gift.

The "Ring"

Thank you Jesus for the blessings of this day and for allowing two young people to trust and wait on you for their lives. My heart is thrilled and over joyed. Great is your faithfulness, your mercies are new every morning.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

"Olympic Break w/ Steely Friends"

I started this blog so I can always look back and see how God's grace carried me on this journey. So in the future when I look back and see a long pause of not posting, I will remember the Olympics of 2012 were a big part of me not blogging. Staying up past 11:00pm every night has been a challenge.

I am thankful to have my Steely friends visit over the weekend. Julie came in from Nashville and Joni from Hot Springs. We are grateful for our friendship and the bond we share together.

Theresa Bonds, Joni Hartman, Me and Julie Gabardi
Theresa, Joni, Me and Julie

Thursday I noticed a knot on my neck and by Friday it was bigger. I decided to go see the doctor before the weekend. My doctor was gone so I saw a nurse practitioner.
She wasn't sure what it was and had me go down stairs for a CT scan. I went in at 1:45pm and didn't leave until 5:40pm. The nurse practitioner said she would call Monday morning with the results. I have diagnosed myself and came to the conclusion that I have cellulitis on my neck like what was on my arm back in June. I called Highlands this morning and spoke with a doctor that now has me on an antibiotic.
My neck is not near as bad as my arm was and I am so grateful. My blood counts were good on Friday and I know that my body is fighting this infection for me.

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