It's not the's not the kids...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

| | | 0 comments's GOD WAKING ME UP!! Funny, how if the dog were to jump down off the bed and wake me because he is too lazy to jump back up, so he whines until I roll over and pick him up or if the kids wake me because of a bad dream or a midnight bathroom break I feel frustrated and annoyed. But, when God wakes me I am doing all I can do to contain my energy and not be the culprit of waking the sleeping.

This is exactly what God has been doing to me! Waking me up while the world still sleeps so that I might have a moment with just him. Because he knows how much I, like a little kid, do not like to miss anything. He knows that if I wait until the light shines through my window or I hear the first rustle in the next room before waking, even if I were to set my alarm to get up before the others, he knows I would keep hitting the snooze button and it would be the same scenario day after day, putting off my devotional time and quiet time with him because life easily calls me away. So this is day 7 that he has had me up not long after the birds have finished their attempt at waking the world. Thank goodness not many pay much attention to those birds or I would be having to get up at 3 am just to be alone in the quiet and stillness to get what God is trying to tell me I need to get!

"So, what exactly is it Lord? What is so important that you must wake me in the dark, to start what will now make for a very long day?" And he responds, (in my experience this only happens when we are willing and listening, unless he's REALLY trying to get your attention and I know what that's like too...I'd rather be willing and listen!) do believe although he may see me struggling a bit at times when I am feeling the need to pull back, he is chuckling when he says "because if I thought you could this on your own, I would leave it to your own will, and we both know how that story goes." Oh yes, I do. Thinking that I am superwoman, I can do all and be all. And in the process that means a lot of little short cuts along the way and we all know where shortcuts leave us, right back to where we started because sometimes there is just not a quicker or easier way to go about changing our lives. And I have tried it all or at least it feels that way. And guess what, not matter how many times I have tried to take the short cuts in life or the easier way, I have gotten lost and failed miserably because I was trying to do it on my own. And guess what else? Guess where I have ended up each and every time? Well, before God I ended up flat on my face, thinking the world was coming to an end and there was no point going on, yes the big pit of feeling sorry for myself, resenting others, isolating myself, loathing myself and simply making life so much harder than it needed to be. Now, when I find myself starting to drift or faced with temptations of taking a short cut (and still have a few of those moments although becoming less~yay!) I fall right back into the arms of God! Oh, it feels so much better to fall upon Him than the hard pit I was always falling back into.

So, He woke me again this morning. At first I thought, "it's just because I have so much to do! Dry the clothes for the yard sale that got soaked from the rain the night before (another attempt from the enemy to get me to put myself right back at the party of self-pity, but nope, I pulled out my shield of truth that blocked all those flaming arrows!) and some things to do for our get together with some family and friends, pay some bills" I put more clothes into dry, gathered some stuff for the party, got the computer out and paid some bills..."okay, Lord, surely you did not wake me at 5am on a Saturday morning to do these things?!" These are the kinds of things that I am trying to remind myself can wait just a few hours and don't need to be done with such urgency and perfection, well, unless of course not paying a bill results in no electricity when the others do awaken~LOL. As I began to pace, more in my mind than in the kitchen, I walked over to the table and picked up my Bible and opened it to Mark 9. I had no idea what I was going to turn to and so I read about the "what ifs" and the boy who was possessed by the devil. And then I thought I was just fighting an attempt to stay focused because I set it down and came straight here to my blog. I read a comment that was left about when we question and when we believe and there it was! This is why God woke me up!!! You don't just read a random passage in the Bible and then read a comment that correlates to it on accident!!! And so, this is what I responded to the comment and it led me to here: "I just read this very moment in Mark 9 about the boy who was possessed by the devil. Jesus speaks about how much longer, how many more generations will the unbelief go on! How many more times does he have to speak the word of God to His people before they believe it? I could feel Jesus' frustration in the text and it drew me nearer to Him, as it would a friend or a person I can relate to in a similar circumstance we ahve shared. And it also showed me how many let the devil lead their lives today and many without even realizing it. I too have been there, wondering "is this the will of God or the devil trying to get me to believe his lies?! So, that is why I am fiercely in the word and at such a time as this, as I am fighting for my very survival, as I do the best that I can to beat a killing disease. But I am finding that the devil wants me to believe more and more that there is nothing that can be done, that I am dying and that I should just accept that. But God has made his promise to me and my job is to grab a hold of it and BELIEVE it! Keep on~a shift is being made and we will one day rejoice in knowing that we were a part of something wonderful!"

And then I was reminded of a brief conversation I had with my husband last night about so many changes, although small, I am beginning to see in others. And I thought, "I know how hard it is to change and line yourself up with the word of God, yet still remain in this world so corrupted with the latest fashions, the easiest solutions, thousands of short cuts making you think that while you are saving time in one area or saving money in another, it's going to somehow make your life better and more fulfilling." But, I also thought that if I can do it, ANYONE can do it!!! Like I have said before I am still a work in progress but God has revealed many things to me, things about myself that I cringe when I think I was once that way, or feel overwhelmed when I realize how much work I still have to do, but he is also revealing to me some of the things that I was trying to change about myself that don't need changing at all, but rather simply need to be put to use! And you will never believe what passage came next after these conversations and thoughts racing through my mind...2 Corinthians 10! Tearing down barriers! I could rewrite all these passages for you but since I have spent so much time already this morning with Him, and would love to spend so much more, two of my other God-ordained responsibilities have woken for this glorious day. So, I encourage you if you are following these blogs for whatever reason and you want to have some amazing insight into what God lays upon my heart, go grab your Bible and spend some time with Him and see what He might reveal to you! And if you don't have a Bible you can get one anywhere! I recommend NIV for reading. I just got myself "The Message" rewritten by Eugene Peterson which is awesome as well and easy to understand. Because if you are anything like I was the first time I picked up a bible, I wondered where the road map was, where the directions were..."don't they have an instructional DVD or something that I could watch and learn how to read this? Do I start from the beginning and read it like a regular book? And what are all these numbers?!" Oh, I laugh at myself when I think about the days of frantically thumbing through my bible at my first services trying to get to where everyone else was turning before Pastor spoke because if I didn't everyone would hear not him alone, but also the annoyance of pages flapping frantically of the new girl who doesn't even know where Genesis is in the bible! And of course no one was thinking this, well at least not to my knowledge~lol! They were just thrilled I was there:-) And then when I found out the Bible has a table of contents too! OH GLORY! But then there was the pride of "I am not going to be seen referring to my table of contents at church, I should know where the book of Acts is." Oh, how many walls He has been tearing down!! And that is one I have loved to watch crumble! And so now, if I can't find the book we are in during service or at home or where ever I may be, I start right at the beginning~well, even before Genesis (I know where that one is now:-), and I start right at the table of contents because He put it there for a reason! Oh, He is so good, isn't he!

Be blessed everyone. I love you all and I know I am keepin on, but I pray that you are KEEPIN ON!

Can you feel it, yet?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Oh, boy! If there is one thing that is not allowed to be said in this home it is, "it's not fair!" Oh, there are some words or things that pierce my heart but nothing like this one! I have been making charts with my kids since they were old enough to know the meaning of "no". They would consist of, PICKING UP TOYS, BRUSHING TEETH, MAKING BEDS, the typical chores, adding in HOMEWORK AND DISHES AND GARBAGE as they have gotten older and capable (the sooner they learn some of these things on their own, the easier it will be for them in the REAL WORLD). And they would be rewarded for their efforts and hard work but I even begun to look at this differently.

I have been guilty of buying my kids things because of how I was feeling or because I had a bad day and took it out on them or because they actually did something that most human beings should know how to do (age appropriate of course with the right instruction)~when did I start rewarding my kids with things like toys when they do what they are suppose to do? Ugh! Not an easy habit to break and not one I am proud of to say the least. And one day when I woke up and realized, the more that they have, the more they began to say "it's not fair!" Well, this did not sit well with me at all! So things began to change and rewards became praise and special moments together and eventually it is becoming enough.

Well, eventually the cycle became less and less but still remains a battle from time to time in this society where marketing preys on guilty parents and innocent children. So, you can only imagine my response tonight when I heard, "it's not fair" AGAIN!

You see, in my heart, just as there is always, always, always something to be thankful for, there is always, always, always someone out there worse of than we are, no matter the circumstance. Things have not always been great but they certainly haven't been bad. And I can't say that things didn't get pretty bad when I was first diagnosed with cancer, because they did. But through it all, aside from the chemo and radiation not only killing cancer cells but destroying my body in the process, I could not think of anything bad. I had enough love and support for 5 cancer patients! I even offered some of them up to patients during my radiation visits who didn't have someone there with them everyday or someone driving them to ensure they got to all their patients. In my families eyes I was all that mattered, but for me it has always been about so much more than me and what I am going through. There is more to this than me!

I know kids are kids and they don't understand things the way we do, but when they say that "it's not fair", I feel such a strong urge for them to know, that "no, it's not fair, life isn't fair in our human eyes, but ask that God would give you knew eyes to see that although it may not seem fair at times, it's pretty darn good. And although it may not seem fair and you cannot understand right now why we have asked God to take my cancer and he hasn't, LOOK around!!" He hasn't taken my cancer away from me yet, but look at all He has given me, given us! My cancer may have grown and might be growing rapidly, but the love and support that I have has grown even more rapidly and in my eyes, that is more than fair! That is amazing! That is God! Thank you Jesus...oh, I could write another whole page on the night that I wept tears of joy for all you have given me, and tears of sorrow for all that you endured, because my trials pale in comparison to your walk to the cross!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dear Lord,
Help me to develop spiritual perseverance. Do not let me shrink back because of what someone might think or how someone might feel because of my excitement in you! You know my heart and you know that I only want good for your people. So, today I will let your light shine through me Lord! It is by you, in you and for you that I walk in peace, with my head held high, claiming YOUR hand upon me and the reason for the bounce in my step and the joy in my heart! Thank you Jesus! For by your stripes we are healed. So help those of us who stumble upon doubt, stumble no more! But stand in full armor of you and your word! And KNOW that you are LORD! In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

It feels more like years that have separated this week from last week! And that my friends, is a GOD THING! I cannot believe the convictions He is placing upon my heart...wait! Yes I can! and yes I do! Although I think to myself, "how could I ever doubt Him, why did I?" I can't be exactly sure of the moments when doubt would creep in and when the "whys" started coming but I can tell you the reason it did.

I have always had a tendency or perhaps an addiction, maybe just an unawareness of being consumed. There have been many times I have been so consumed by something or someone else. And even though I like to consume myself with good things, good people and healthy activities (well, not always good and healthy, but I can only go so far back when moving forward has been such a whirlwind) I would begin to feel incomplete, unsatisfied, not content...I would feel frustrated. "Why, if I am doing all the right things and even what God says I am to do, according to His word and His grace, why do I feel so out of sync? Why do I keep feeling like I am hitting a brick wall?"

Well, today He revealed to me, that even when consumed by Him, I have felt unsatisfied. But why?! how?! Because I had not been declaring His work in my life the way I am feeling it! I have been too worried about what people might think or say! Really?! Well, humility is not usually a pleasant feeling but let me tell you when it's coming from the Lord, you'd be wise to take heart and listen and be humbled, my friends! Be humbled! Because this Lord of all Lords, has been tearing down some pretty thick walls of mine and they are crashing down all around me! The chains are breaking one by one! I am not dying! I am coming alive! So, if you wonder about a personality disorder from time to time~rest assured that it's just God in the process of doing some of his own surgery~reconstructive surgery of my spiritual heart and soul. I welcome humility in the eyes of the Lord because it is showing me what true abundance in life is and how He wants nothing more than for us to live a full, abundant life full of joy and peace, and prosperity. You will need to turn to His word to see what that really means for you. Because I am not talking about an abundance of anything of monetary value! Oh, how glorious is He who binds up the brokenhearted, heals the sick, and never changes!

And can you believe, well for those of you who know me well enough, that I actually found joy in preparing supper tonight~all organic, chopping, cutting, preparing and serving with a smile on my face and joy in my soul. And I thought to myself, "all the while I was complaining of my 70th bowl of oatmeal and more potatoes and more salad and oh, another juice, really? I just finished swallowing my last one. And oh wait, I need to take this pill and add this spoonful, and now it's time for a coffee break"...and I never had to do it myself, my mother was there taking care of me, feeding me and feeding my family. (This is a whole other story for another time, anyhow...) I am learning to like the healthiest of foods, and instead of it feeling like so much work and like I'm missing out on all the good stuff, I am finding peace and serenity in taking the time to prepare my kids lunches and snacks everywhere we go instead of choosing convenience over health. And more importantly I am realizing I am not missing anything! In fact I am getting ALL the good stuff I need and desire from God and His garden. It's still a work in progress, but to think that I used to be consumed with my looks. Funny, because I lost my hair and I'm still smiling. I have lost a lot of weight in sickness and still smiling. No more of the easiest and fastest foods; driving by instead of driving thru and still smiling. And no more pounds of chocolate in one sitting; haven't had one candy bar or ounce of chocolate since April and still smiling. This journey has really opened my eyes and my heart to what I have really been missing in my life and that is balance, believing God NO MATTER what, and singing praises of Him out loud no matter who is around and no matter what they do or don't believe! Because when my spiritual health is in order, my physical health will be too. It wasn't the good stuff I was missing, it was the God stuff!

Oh, I thought of a thousand (oops, I'm going overboard again:-), I thought of at least 3-4 different stories while writing this entry, but for now just hearing my daughter who used to be just as addicted to chocolate as I was, singing "Kylee's Rawsome Healing Adventure" tonight while she looked at herself in the mirror wearing her "rawsome" t-shirt after eating a "rawsome" supper. And because I was feeling it, I showed it and sang it out loud "Hallelujah! and thank you Jesus!" And so if there were any of you wondering where we stand now and if having surgery has in any way changed anything...the only thing it has changed is that I am even more convinced than ever that we are on the right journey and that God has been with me while I waited whether I could feel Him there or not and that we are KEEPIN ON! Love and Blessings Everyone!

Surgery Scheduled for October 1st

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Here are the notes taken from my appointment at Lahey Clinic. This just gives a brief outline of the facts from my appointment. I will be receiving an email soon re guarding my arrival date and time of surgery. For now, I am eating all the organic protein I can and will be walking walking walking~wish it were skating skating skating because I had some serious muscle mass when I was doing that. Although, as much as I miss hockey and as good as I felt when doing it, I am enjoying my time doing other things and not being too consumed with one thing. So before this turns into another entry other than the notes I promised, I will end with this for now~KEEPIN ON!

Meeting with Dr. Roger Jenkins 9/16/2010, Lahey Clinic
What is it?
Same cancer as the prior cells – this is a growth from the original cancer that is now also in the small left lobe of the liver and has potentially affected the lymph nodes behind the liver.
Pain that has been occurring is most likely caused by the tumor and its growth. The nerves of the shoulder and the chest are all associated with the area of the liver so “referred pain” from the shoulder to the diaphragm is common.
The tumor stretches things within the body – this hurts.
The tumor is right no top of Kylee’s stomach. That’s why she feels hungry but when she eats she fills up quickly. She could keep eating frequently like she has been to combat this.
The liver and secondary occurrence of the primary cancer
The liver is the most common place for other primary cancer to spread due to blood flow. The left lateral segment, where the tumor is at, is a better location for surgery because it is the easiest to remove. The liver contains blood vessels all over it so the surgery is primarily around the blood vessels, not the issue of the liver itself.
Kylee’s liver is functioning normally at this point.
Dr. has learned that if you remove the liver you should also remove the gall bladder. Otherwise there’s a high chance of inflammation and a secondary issue, post surgery. They’ve also learned to remove lymph node. Each one of us has hundreds of lymph nodes
They will look around while they are in surgery to identify all impacted lymph nodes but he only thinks there is one.
Since the prior cancer responded extremely well and rapidly to the chemo – we can presume that there is only a small spread and this may have occurred prior to Kylee’s last chemo and radiation – aka its not really new. It was there all along. If the piece is removed there is a good chance of a cure and that it won’t show up somewhere else.

The Surgery
The surgery is a 2-3 hour surgery and Kylee will have general anesthesia . She will also have an epidural for pain, post surgery, so that she doesn’t have to take morphine.
Due to Kylee’s age, weight, she will have an up and down incision which will make it quicker and easier for her to recover afterwards.
As for the surgery, its mostly around the blood vessels and its not a difficult surgery for a doctor which does these so often.
Kylee will remain in the hospital for 5-6 days and will have the epidural for approx.. 3 of those days. She will have a tube inserted to drain the excess blood from the surface of the liver.
Kylee should expect to be very tired after the surgery. She should bounce back well. She should expect to resume to normal activities 6 weeks after the surgery without much pain after she leaves the hospital. She will have pain medication in the event she needs it.
The liver is “greedy” and takes all the nutrients to grow in size to recover from what was removed. It will take all her calories first so she’ll need to be sure to have enough protein and calories in order to meet the liver growth need and her personal need. Otherwise she will lose muscle mass which she will lose some anyways. You don’t lose fat (which she doesn’t have!), you lose good muscle.
There are no other drugs or post surgery treatments which will require medical treatment. There is not a need for a nurse to visit when she comes home. Her family should be able to take care of her.
There have been some people who have had a hard time eating for a couple weeks after the surgery due to nerve damage from many lymph nodes being removed, but he doesn’t expect this with Kylee. There were no other complications from liver resection identified.
Will she have to have Chemo or Radiation?
Surgery is first. Then after that there may be a protocol that says she is best served by other treatment but for now there is no impending associated chemo or radiation planned. That will be up to Kylee’s oncologist.
Kylee will need to be followed up for a long time so she should expect to continue to have visits to check on her body for a long time.
Preparing for Surgery
Kylee needs to bulk up now as much as she can, eating frequent meals. She needs to eat protein and get a lot of calories. It would be good for her to continue with her supplements because they are all healthy additives but she shouldn't take anything not mainstream before the surgery. She needs to stop ibuprofen and aspirin 5 days before the surgery.
Kylee should also exercise and build up her endurance with walks and light exercise to strengthen herself prior to surgery. This will help her recovery. She should get a lot of rest and be in the best condition that she can.
Waiting for surgery
The Dr. would have recommended that Kylee wait for surgery. This is because they are able to see that it hasn’t spread any where else now besides the liver and the lymph nodes behind it. Therefore, removing the liver resection and the lymph nodes are more assured to remove all cancer. If they had removed the liver before – they might not have seen that it spread to the lymph nodes. Waiting was good and there should be no regrets.
What we are exposed to and its impact on our bodies
The Dr. believes that the cancer in the US is caused by what we are exposed to. He believes this because the cancers in our country are different than all other countries. He even went on to say he was upset with himself because he ate an apple he hadn’t washed today. He said we wash antibiotics down the drain and we grow things with artificial hormones. He doesn’t think this is a good thing.
The doctor said a couple of weeks out is OK but no longer. Kylee has the birthday party for September 25th so Julie will call Kylee to schedule the surgery after that. She will come down the day before to get pre-surgery testing and to get a new MRI which will show the blood vessels to guide the Dr. through the surgery.

"Mumma, sometimes I wonder..."

Saturday, September 18, 2010

So we were on our way to a Family Fun Festival Weekend put on by Pathway Vineyard Church and Christian School the other day and my son said "I have a strange question. Is God real? Mumma, sometimes I wonder if God is real." Inside my head "oh no! That is not a strange question that is just a HARD one! Come on Kylee! You can do this!...please Lord, help me out here...what do I say so he will be convinced?!" And immediately (mind you, this is happening in milliseconds~is there such a thing?) God intervened..."Whoa! Tighten those lips for one second because I know what you are thinking. That if you say the wrong thing he won't believe and if you say the right thing, he will, and of course you want nothing more than for him to believe! But, whose job is that?"

Lately God has been speaking quite directly and sternly to me...gulp...I had to stop my racing mind as I frantically tried to come up with an answer that would confirm in my son's heart, without a doubt, that there is a God! And God simply but firmly said "oh no you don't, that is my job! And who can change a another's heart but me?" And right then and there (the grip is getting looser) I LET IT GO and LET GOD! And I said honestly from one person to another who used to have the same strange question, " that's not a strange question, sweetie. It's not easy believing in something or someone you can't see or hear like you can see and hear Mommy or Daddy or Jessie. Mommy used to wonder the same thing and one day it all changed. And all I can do is share with you how I know God is real and hope that one day you will know it in your heart as well. Lots of people struggle with this. It's okay. Mommy will pray for you and for God to reveal himself to you when He is ready. But for now we can look around us and see what would indicate that God is real from what we know the Bible says and as you grow you will see new and different ways of knowing God is real." And he said "okay, I just wonder sometimes." Phew! Wasn't as hard as I thought it was~the letting go and letting God, that is;-)

It can be very hard to believe in something or someone that you can't see or hold physically and I am learning that that kind of belief comes with lots of hard work doing what the Bible says and it comes with maturity and growth. I think naturally it's easier for some of us than others. Although I am not the one who can convince him, I could definitely give him examples of how we know God is real and God gave me lots of things to point out to my son this weekend. Like, "do you think it was a coincidence that of all nights to have fireworks for so many people, the grass was wet w/o it even having to rain which resulted in keeping the men doing it and all the spectators safe?" or "do you remember when you were faced with the temptation of having a piece of candy and you said 'no, I'm not going to have that' even though I wasn't there to say no for you and you told me how hard it was to do that" or "what about when Jake (our dog) ran out into the road and the car stopped within seconds of hitting him?" or "like when we were walking by Auntie Tracy's house and she invited us in to see Will when we weren't expecting to? And you got to hold him for the very first time. These are all acts of God, Joe"...

And then this morning when Pastor Phil spoke about "if there is a God, why are there so many troubles in the world and sick people dying everyday"~my memories scrolled back to a time laying next to my son in bed and he asked, "but Mommy, if God is real and we keep praying for Him to take your cancer away, why do you still have cancer?" And God showed up again only a day later confirming that I did the right thing by simply answering my son's question w/o trying to convince him. But also in the meantime I can be showing him the brokenness in the world and keep showing him good godly people, practicing godly living and letting him see for himself how that feels. I am confident that he will make mistakes. But I am even more confident that he will find the real God while he;s learning from them. And so I will continue to remind him daily of all the good things that have come from me having cancer and the people it has helped in different ways and that because of God "Mommy, is keepin on!"

I probably still said too much for a 7 yr old boy, but hey like I said, I'm living and I'm LEARNING! And we went on to have an amazing weekend, with good people, in a good place and when we asked each other at dinner after we prayed (which he was faithful about doing~thank you Lord:-) what we each liked best about the weekend, it all came down to "that we were all together"...and my favorite part was not just that we were all together, but "Daddy was there!" He wasn't just there, he was there! He wasn't rushing off to do a job left undone at home or trying to escape the uneasiness of being anywhere but where he is used to~ home and work. Nope, instead he stayed. He watched. He listened. He helped out. He sat with friends. He spent time with his son, he held his daughter and he stood with me while I raised my hand for the very first time in front of hundreds of people, singing, praying and worshiping my Savior...and I wonder, did He become his today, too? But, since it's not my job to do all the convincing and changing of hearts, I will continue to pray that God was, is and always will be the one in control of changing hearts. Oh, God is GOOD! Naaahhh, God is AWESOME!

Waiting Upon the Lord is Hard Work!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I have never been one to like waiting (who does, really?). I'll be honest I have never been a patient person. And if I have ever appeared to be patient from the outside, trust me, my insides were screaming, "come on! hurry up! I want this now!"

As I walked out of my doctor's appointment I was thinking how in the world am I going to reach all the people that are waiting to hear the verdict. ("But, Lord, help me to do just that. You have blessed me with so many who care and I will not ever take that for granted!") I can text some, I can call others, and I can write it in my blog...oh ya, my blog! But, oh the pressure! I know what happened in that room today but how do I write it all? Where do I start? And then like He so often does (when we are listening) God spoke, "start from the beginning, Kylee."

So, "in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth"...and how ironic that this is my son's scripture this week...ironic? NO! A God sign? YES!...and no, I am not going to rewrite Genesis, but I am going to start from the beginning and that is with God!

You see, although I know God is with me, and I know God is good...the enemy had started to plant a seed of doubt from the moment that the pain began. He wanted me to believe that what I was doing was not the right thing to be doing, that it was causing me pain, making me question, "why did God move mountains to get me to Hawaii, why did He change lives in the process, why did He make all this information attainable and give my mother the conviction to move forward so fiercely in it?" I began to really question if I was doing God's will by refusing surgery from the beginning or if I had turned to something else above God for healing or if I was really just too scared to do what had nearly killed me before while trying to convince myself of something, anything but more toxins or cutting my body open. Even after taking a break from therapy to see if that was in any way causing the pain, I kept feeling an urge to do therapy, to stick with it and not to give up on it. Then the pain would come on and I would not be able to even focus beyond it. And I would begin to question God again, praying for Him to reveal himself and His will for me. However, I did not feel an urge or anything pushing me to do surgery (except from those who do not understand God or know Him the way I have gotten to know Him and even from some who do, but were just scared for me) or anything but simply what I was doing and that was waiting. I know many people questioned my waiting. Whether it was my waiting to remove the tumor, waiting to resume therapy or seek other alternatives or advice elsewhere. I turned to God a thousand times in one day and the only thing He gave me was, "just keep on, just keep on, it's going to be OK, it's going to be OK." I prayed and I prayed over and over, "Lord, PLEASE! Reveal to me someway, somehow what is causing this pain and if the path I have chosen is the wrong one, so that I can get back on the right one. Did I make a mistake, Father? Would it have been better, easier, the best thing to have just agreed to surgery when the tumor was only 1.9cm?" And I am telling you, with witnesses to attest and a recorder to play over and over and over again (I will because like I said before, I tend to go overboard with things), God came in the form of a doctor and spoke "it is reasonable what you did, waiting and watching. As a matter of fact it's what I would have suggested had I seen you first." (God sign ~He speaks!) I know to many of you this would just be a good doctor giving his opinion. But I must add that I NEVER told him that I had even for a second doubted my refusal of surgery the first time the tumor grew~we hardly spoke of my therapy and no indication of what I felt or perhaps thought was made. And there was no discussion of what my prayers have been asking or what my conversations with God have been about. So, you see, what I had been praying for in the private of my own room, in my own head and my own heart, that was only shared in intimate moments between God and I, was ANSWERED! (God sign~He answers!) And I will repeat, they came from a man right here on earth, but God spoke through him and answered my questions and many prayers! He went on to say (this is quoted from my recording), "this affects me very much because I have 3 daughters your age, any of which could be sitting here and if you were my daughter, this is clearly a situation you would have surgery for. Would I have told you that back 3 months ago? I would probably have wanted you to wait just as you did because in that time period what you're trying to do is make sure that there aren't other things that are popping up, so by going through that period of time, even though it's relatively bigger, it's isolated, that gives me and should give all of us a bit more comfort, so you didn't lose anything by taking your time. As a matter of fact that's what we do with certain tumors such as this (and here's the best part where God really makes Himself clear) IN FACT I WOULD HAVE INSISTED THAT YOU TAKE THE TIME!" And that's exactly what I did! Scared to death, afraid of the unknown, I prayed and I followed all of God's signs and I waited and I waited some more and because I waited I am able to share "the Good News"! Oh God, I give you ALL the glory!

And so, after a sigh of relief, God confirmed that yes indeed by waiting upon Him, I have been doing His will, He does answer prayers and He is the Great Physician!

As for the pain that I have been having, Dr. Jenkins said that in all the cases he has had with liver tumors located on the left lobe, it is common to have pain exactly where I described it and it would hurt when I breathe because of where the diaphragm is located and the pain around this area even reaching the left shoulder, is referred pain. He made it all make sense~finally! It was all starting to make sense! The pain originated exactly where my biopsy was, at my tumor site! He also stated that we can assume this tumor is from my original tumor. That there were likely cells floating around that did not show up or somehow escaped the nasty chemo killing poison and slowly grew and it is very common for them to show up in the liver. The tumor's location on the left lobe is the smallest part of the liver and therefore the easier side to operate on. I am a perfect candidate for a possible cure! And God says "didn't I tell you, you will live and not die!" Oh, ye of little faith;-) Not really, but at times it seemed to fit my emotional status.

He was one of few doctors who will speak of nutrition and their beliefs and views on today's health and diseases being linked to what we eat, breathe and drink. But he did and his beliefs and knowledge that he has gathered lined right up with ours. So, now we are gearing up for the next part of the plan and that involves fattening me up!!! I can eat! I can eat! Well, I could always eat but I can eat more things that I like! I even went to Olive Garden on our way home!! Don't get me wrong!! I am not leaving my organic, rawsome adventure! I have come too far and gained far too much and shed too many old ways to go back, but for the next two weeks I will be focusing on bulking up and walking to keep my muscle mass up as much as possible. Surgery is suggested soon but he gave me the option of choosing when in case there was anything coming up that I needed to take care of. "Well, ya, actually I have some celebrating to do with my kids and some other special people in my life, so call me after that."

It's looking like we will be heading back to Lahey Clinic very soon after the 25th of this month. I will begin the procedure by having an MRI the day before surgery right there at the clinic. Then be admitted the following day and assuming all goes well (and it will) I stay for a week and then come home to recover and get on with my life! The surgery takes 2-3 hours so like the doctor said it will be easy for me because I will be resting and no doubt in God's hands, but for my family waiting outside the doors it will be a bit nerve racking and long, so we will continue to keep them in our prayers and giving love and support to them. I do not lack for family, friends, love and support and I have every intention of sharing God's riches!

I will be starting physical therapy once home and recovered, as well as continuing in my alternative therapy moderately. Dr. Jenkins and my family are confident in what will be taking place~a possible outcome of a cure. There will always be nagging thoughts of the cancer coming back, reminders of all the work that lies ahead in dealing with long term side affects still from the first treatment, but I have a good chance of being cancer free this time! And to think that waiting lessened my chances of survival, when waiting was the best thing I could have done! Praise You LORD! To know that you are always at work on my behalf, leaves me speechless and forever thankful. Forgive me for allowing the enemy to plant any doubt or confusion! I will praise your name O' Lord! For it is so so good! For you have delivered me from my troubles! And my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes! (Psalms 54) In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN!

Comfort for God's People

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Isaiah 40 speaks of God's comfort for His people. Dear Lord, there are times that I have drifted from you and your word, your promises. I have let confusion swarm around in my head like bees swarming, giving the enemy a foothold. This world and all it's remedies and all it's creations claiming to have a cure, claiming to be the best one or the right one...although I believe very much in all I have learned, all you have opened my eyes to see Lord, I have to admit that no matter what I am doing or where I am, I am not well if I am not in your word; if I am not speaking to you constantly! Thank you for never changing, for never forsaking me. I am not afraid in this moment Father. I want to be consumed by nothing but the desire to know you better, to know your comfort, your peace and your love. I love what you have promised your people in Isaiah 40...that you give us strength. My strength comes from you, Lord, there is NO denying that! And Lord you renew my strength when I hope in You. I feel as though I am soaring on wings like eagles, Lord. I will run and not grow weary and I will walk into another appointment Lord and not be faint. I will have my eyes wide open and I will be listening to what the doctors have to say but I will be waiting upon you, Lord. You are the great Physician and you are the one who knows the plans for me Lord and you have promised me a future! In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Thinking Back and Thanking God!

I was driving home from dropping the kiddos off at school and once again I raised my hand in praise thanking God for saving me and reminding me "you will not die, but live!" My stomach fills with butterflies and I get antsy and excited like a little kid waiting for Christmas every time God reveals himself to me and reminds me that I have already been saved!

3 years ago this month (September) I became a Christian. I always thought that you had to grow up going to Church and were just born believing in God. Well, I knew I wasn't one of them. I would see pictures of this man that people called Jesus and I would think to myself, "I can't believe people go to Church, put on certain clothes, act a certain way and spend so much of their weekend talking about a fictional character. There is no proof that this man existed." And oh the thoughts go on. And would you believe it if I told you the very person who led me to the Lord was one of the very people I scoffed at thinking "there go those Church people again", when I would see cars parked outside their home on a beautiful Sunday, thinking, "why do they spend their day talking about someone they don't even know really exists and believing in things that just cannot be true." And that my husband and her family once lived on the same street only years later to be living next door to one another again. And that she was a homemaker with 3 children, one the same age as my son. And that she is one of my biggest supporters, best friends and funniest people I know (well, just one of her laughs makes me smile a hundred times). And that she brought me my very first Bible and I was saved that very same day when I accepted Jesus Christ as my one and only Savior. I must have read it and prayed over and over again just to make sure it worked~LOL! Even though I didn't know how it all worked at the time, God did and He knew of the work that was going to take place from that moment on.

I remember the September day sitting on my porch discussing our children and how much we love them and struggle daily with making the best decisions for them. We were both trying to decide on our children's education for the following year. I was faced with the decision of where to send my son to Kindergarten. Well, you might think that this doesn't seem to be a matter of life or death decision, and no it wasn't, but for me making any choice that affects my family feels much like one, as I'm sure it does to many...then again I've been known to go a little overboard in certain areas of my life. Although depending on who you ask, some would say in all areas of my life;-) Oh, well. Live and learn and still living and still learning:-) And so then she shared with me something or should I say someone, that has helped her when faced with obstacles and making decisions for her family and the Lord led her to share His word with me. And if you are one of those who thinks I go overboard in everything I do, well, you are right and I was on fire! I was ALL about this Book, this man they called Jesus...but wait! " Who's the Holy Spirit and oh ya, what about God, how do they all know each other and what do they all have in common? And how do I pray?!" Oh, I remember the questions, the wanting to know it all and have what they have (I finally learned what coveting was!) but this kind of wanting what they had was OK! As God led me through His pages of truth and I began to know more about Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit (the three in one~phew~I wasn't sure I was gonna get that one-lol), studying Him, watching other Christians/believers, things began to click and they have been clicking and are being worked out each and every day! Love Him and love what He has and is doing for me and my life!

And then the day came that I was told I had cancer and I remembering saying "all I want is more time." And He has given me more time. "God has prepared me for this." And He did and He is still doing a work in me! Praise Him right now for that! And praise Him right now that I am already saved!

I have many more moments with God that I will be sharing but for now I have someplace important to be so that a special little girl can meet her daddy for the first time since she was born~Be there in a few Miss Ridley and Lempert family~that's an entirely different story but with one thing in common~GOD AT WORK!

Love and Blessings Everyone~keep on in whatever your battle of the day may be.

Are you ready? I AM!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

So, I used to think I was a girl all about the details...and as I thought, so I was. Until, one day someone told me I have cancer. Huh? So, where does that fit into my life full of two kids, a husband, wonderful family and amazing friends? Well, apparently it's found it's place not once but twice right smack in the middle of my life, both times at a point in my life when the details were finally losing their grip on me and I was accepting life and all it had to offer for exactly what it is and nothing more and living!

After barely surviving (at least that's how it felt every single day for months) the chemo and radiation from my first diagnosis, and only being 9 months after my last day of treatment and only 6 months of being drug free, I was told it had spread to my liver. "How have you been feeling?" "I have been playing hockey! I feel great! Why?" "There is a spot on your liver that has raised concern and should be biopsied".....and..."it's cancer."

And so God moved mountains, put my mom to work on research and fundraising and I was off to Hawaii for alternative healing...and then the pain...oh my! The pain! Some would chuckle when I would say "I have never been in this much pain." Their response, "really?", as though questioning if I had already forgotten what I had just been through not even a year earlier. Nope, I hadn't forgotten. I really had never felt this kind of pain before. So, I marched myself into the ER to get a CT scan to see what was causing this pain that had me keeled over for days unable to eat (I would be lying if I said I cared because even in as much pain as I was in, I welcomed the break from forcing myself to eat the same thing again and again and again) but when I stood on the scales after losing 15lbs I was determined to once again shovel in the oatmeal, push down the potatoes and chew and chew and chew the salad and slurp down the soup...oh yes, back to the ER, so the pain was like none other I had ever felt. "Would you like something for the pain?", "can I get you something for the pain?", "I will be right back with something for the pain." "No, really I am good. Nothing for the pain, just give me some answers so I can know what I need to do from here." I had been on pain medication and remembered the pain of coming off them much too vividly...and besides I had worked too hard ridding my body of toxins to let even this pain allow me to resort to the medicinal world~God was keeping an eye on my pain and he knows my suffering...I held onto His promise not to harm me or give me more than I could handle at this time. blood clot, inflammation in the intestines and a tumor 4cm..."okay, tell me something I don't know...wait, did you say 4cm?!" Well, that couldn't be right, it was just 1.9cm 2 months ago. Well, I am learning that I can be positive and I can have hope and I can believe but what's there is there (even though, it's still only what the doctors see and say~God is still the great physician and He will be the one who makes the final call:-). I won't lie, I was thrown back by the fact that the tumor had grown. But, ok, I just keep going with therapy. Things often get worse before they get better. Reminding myself as I lay on the floor during my "coffee breaks" that the Lord has promised me that I will not die, but live! And so I kept on.

I got to a point where I had to really access the pain. What is causing this pain?! I tried adjusting the therapy. I tried stopping the therapy. I even thought, could the tumor be causing the pain? "No, my liver is over here and the tumor is there." I will keep on and on Sept 13, 2010 I will seek some answers until I find them. I did not have to seek far. I explained the pain that I had been having and the weight loss that was evident and before I even knew the results of the test, I knew the doctor was putting what he knew from the scan and what I was telling him together. Once again I sensed that it wasn't going to be the exciting news I had thought it would be but I had no idea I would be hearing the words he spoke as bluntly as it gets, "You are dying of anal cancer, where your cancer originated and spread to your liver and it's growing fast"...."well, okay, and so what exactly does that mean?" Because I know he said I am dying, but you see since I have come to know Jesus the one who died for me, I have never felt more alive! I know I heard the word chemo and I remember shaking my head "NO!". And I believe this is where he decided that if he is going to have anything to do with saving my life or at least prolonging it he must be blunt. Oh, if he only knew I am already saved, but yes I would like to hear what you believe my best options are for sticking around a little longer for my children's sake...I wish I could remember what was said after this point but honestly all I remember are the flashbacks of the side effects of what I did hear, 'chemo', 'radiation' and 'surgery'...and the side effects that I still live with and the intimacy my husband and I have lost...

So, the tumor is now 6.7cm and I will be heading to Lahey Clinic on Thursday to discuss the tumor, whether I need another biopsy of what could be an affected lymph node behind the liver, opinions and course of treatment. This is an aggressive tumor as was the other one and so it will need to be treated aggressively as was my last one. Although I did not respond well to treatment, the previous tumor did and so the doctor was hopeful that this one would as well. Well, while he hopes for that, I will be praying and hoping that God shows up and claims victory over it and over any remaining disease that could be there!

God has been showing up a lot lately! I just love how He pops in from time to time and says "um, hello, Kylee. I'm right here and yes, that which prompted this person or this verse or this peace to come to you, was I." Oh, how I love Him! And I end tonight praying Psalm 118 (thank you Michele and Colleen~praise God!).

Dear Lord,
I know you are good. I know you are holy. Father, the confusion often swarms around me like bees, surrounds me on every side. I feel as though I have been pushed back and as though I am falling, but YOU, LORD will help me! Your hand has done MIGHTY things. I will raise my hands and open my heart to you, O, Lord! I am letting go, Father, and you know how hard this is for me to do, but I am letting go and I am letting YOU! I am letting you! You are my God and I will give you thanks! You are my God and I will exalt you! What can man do to me?! You are with me; I will not be afraid. You have made me strong and courageous and by your stripes I am healed. Yes, Lord! You are the Lord of ALL healing! In Jesus' name I pray. AMEN