Sunday, June 29, 2008

worship

**This little note has been added now that I am done writing...you could probably go ahead and put on a pot of coffee, It will have time to perk...I've had a lot of time to think today...and, my apologies now for the rambling sound of this...It's just how I think.**

Well this post has taken on several different forms as the day has gone on and I have thought more and more...this is what happens when you clean in the quiet.

This morning on my way to church, I was annoyed to find road blocks. I knew how to get back to the road that I turned around on, but I did not know how to maneuver my way through the neighborhood to get where I was going (church) without doing a serious back track. Luckily for me when I wound my way back to the road that I needed to turn around on, the police officer that was ahead of me on the road had turned around and was sitting at the end of the road I was about to pull out on. Since there was not a car behind me or coming down the road, I decided to roll my window down and ask the officer how I could get through the neighborhood to get to church. He made the directions seem so easy, but he was right. I just wove through it and made my way through the neighborhood and when I got on the other side of it, I was done.

What a picture of life. When you are sitting there looking at the road block in front of you, I could see all of the electric trucks working on the road ahead and as far as I could see that's all that was on the road, but once I maneuvered around it, the road on the other side was very familiar. Just like normal and just like it has looked every other time that I have driven down Walnut. Even more as I looked off to my right before I turned onto Walnut, I could see the road block from the other side.

So, here I am. It's March 26 and I pull up to a road block. No, it's not convenient. I'm in a hurry (because let's admit it, I always try to cram too many things into my day) and wanting to just drive straight ahead, not changing the path that I am on. But, that was not the plan. So, I just turned around, looked at what needed to be done. My doctors have given me a new path and that is where I am. Meandering my way through the neighborhood. Yeah, there are parts that I can see from the other side and just like there were people I wanted to call today after I got to church and tell them not to come down that road, I know those days will come. Even more, I'm looking forward to the days that will be like the four blocks from 16th to 12th street. But, who am I kidding there is no way that life will be as easy as taking to left turns!

Lesson #2 came after I got to church. This morning I was on the praise team and we had already planned to do an acoustic set. Of course like most Sundays, all the details were planned. Our stands would be in the round, the order of the musicians lined out. The order of worship planned and who would lead out on which songs.

But, the road block I mentioned earlier was a series of close to 10 electric trucks fixing a problem from the storm last night. As I understand it, a tree fell an popped several electric lines which knocked out most of the Southern Arkadelphia grid. Yikes! So, since the repair was going on, on the road to church, you can imagine what I found when I walked up to the doors. A sign that said, "Yes we are having service. Stay and worship with us!". I was standing there with a couple ladies who were trying to figure out about Sunday School and I thought to myself. "I bet they have the stage lined with candles. This will be a special morning." And it was. A couple jokes were made about how we had worn certain things and people weren't going to be able to see them. I had new skirt on and I thought well, since no one will see it, I'll just wear it tomorrow (so, be ware, my secret is out). One lady even joked about going to put lipstick on before she came back to the stage and stopped herself because no one could see it.

As we practiced through the songs, I just thought how fitting the songs were that we were singing. You know it was like God knew what this morning would be like and led Randy as he prepared the songs for this week. So, as we were sitting there making these comments and singing through the songs for this morning, I was struck as we practiced Heart of Worship, about the story behind the song. Mornings like this is what that song is all about. I kinda felt like a music nerd (thanks dad!) as I thought about it.

The song stems out of a music revival in the late 1990's in Matt Redman's home church in England. The pastor made a very bold move and removed the sound system and band for about a month from the service. He challenged the congregation to really think about what they bring into the service...what is their weekly offering to the Lord? You know all He asks from us as part of the New Testament church is to bring ourselves. He doesn't care if the stage is lit up in blue, purple, green or orange. He is not caught up in whether we use electric or acoustic guitars or if we stick to the "bulletin". You know, I think it tickles Him pink when we sing an extra tag, because that is what we are moved to do or throw in a song that is not on the agenda or decide to take the service in a totally different direction because that is what He is leading us to do. Have you ever tried standing up when you are the only one in the sanctuary or lifting your hand in praise even when you are sitting close to the front row. Try it....if you are so moved.

You know I'm grateful for moments like today where I am reminded that around the world, people always gather in the dark because it is against the law to meet together in corporate worship. As Bro. Stan reminded us this morning about those believers who sing in whisper I thought how ironic that we were up on stage trying to "belt" it so people could hear us lead without microphones and forgot that He could bring in a natural sound system if that is what He wanted. I was also reminded about the people who literally have to go in their closet with a candle to read the scriptures. I didn't even have mine with me. There was a moment during the sermon that I wanted to crawl across the sanctuary and get my Bible off the pew that I had left it on when I came in just to hold it. Why do I not crave the Word more? It is my sword and everyday I go to battle and rather than scripture, there are other words that more easily find my lips..and I can assure you they are not always edifying..Oh Lord, may my words be Yours.

Side note: You know in Old Testament times, the Levites managed these temple offerings. There were 7 different types and each type was offered for a different reason. The offerings were set up to bridge the gap between a holy God and a sinful man. Lucky for us that gap has been bridged forever. We do not have to worry about taking care of our sin. Instead, we get to come to worship as the offering. We get to offer our bodies and our lives as a living sacrifice! What an honor.

Don't get me confused for someone else. I am no bible scholar and would never...ever call myself that. I'm just super lucky that I have parents who made church a priority in our house. They made us get involved and I think I can honestly admit that for the most part, I wanted to be (there was that last year of youth bible drill). But, somewhere along the way between my parents and all the other amazing ministers and adult workers that invested in me, I fell in love with the scriptures. I'm not always good at studying them consistently, but I know they are the ultimate truth. And for that, they are what I draw on. Too, being the daughter of a music minister, I understand first hand how "those guys" handle the details and I cant help but think about them anytime I attend a service. It is really something that I have to work through. I'm always into details and the combination makes is hard for me to worship sometimes (talk about distraction and noise..I'll save that post for another day..but I've been thinking on it, so it's coming).

Dad is a worship song junkie and so that makes me a junklette! He attends a worship conference every year over the 4th of July weekend and last year while I was home for the holiday and the night mom and I met him for the worship service, Matt Redman led the worship. Yeah, it was incredible. A ballroom at the Gaylord Texan full of people from all over the world, worshiping in their language and style. It was pretty moving. I'm not one much for awkward or outlandish (quit laughing), but it is a very special time. While he always has to beg me to come, it is something that I will miss by being here this next weekend while he is there.

So, as we sang through the songs this morning in the dark, I thought we could be standing there in t-shirts and jeans, no shoes, no makeup, hair in a million directions and still be an offering. What an honor is was to enter His presence this morning with all that "pressure" behind us. May He have received our worship!

Lesson # 3 from the weekend, came from the wedding I was at yesterday. It was a sweet service, and being the COMPLETE NERD I am, I took notes. Who takes notes on a wedding sermon?

Anyway, after the couple had exchanged vows and rings, the pastor, in his challenge to the new couple, shared these thoughts: "To whom much is given, much is required. God has deposited some big checks into your spiritual bank account and He will cash in on those. So, be ready and know its coming. Be a blessing." Wow, what a compliment. I hope I can find a life partner for whom our relationship can bear that label.

But, I thought past that to now. You know, I really feel like I am in that place personally. I'm one of the lucky ones. He has blessed me. Not just in the last few months, but over my lifetime. He picked me. He brought me into this world with two parents who love each other, love me and love Him. They have chosen by example to follow Him (you see, I come from a long line of people who are not just Christians, but believers). They serve him vocationally and have shown me from the 9 months that mom carried me, that our lives are not our own. We live on loan. We are to serve Christ and to serve others. Two jobs. Yeah, we have other things to do, but they all point back to that and if that is not what our lives reflect, then we are wasting time. And, I love that they are people who don't shove religion down your throat or who think being religious means living a life of rules. Instead being a Christan means living a life of freedom. Freedom to serve because we know who we serve and that He intended us to have fun; to laugh, to create, to go and do.

Ironically, I love that he mentioned that it was a banking account, not a savings account. (Let your mind wonder on that) Our gifts, abilities, time and resources are not something to be saved, but used up for the Kingdom. Sometimes, He writes big checks and uses up some of those blessings, to bless others. But, what I love about a checking account is that there are pay days (like tomorrow). And, usually just when you think there is nothing left, a deposit comes. So, Bring the Rain Lord, and Make me a Blessing.

Friday, June 27, 2008

simple pleasures

internet that works
having my ceiling fan finally installed...after 2 months..however, there white things all over
a car activity book with an invisible pen
whopper junior
being the person that an announcement is made because of...it felt rebellious
road trips
answering personal questions when you know someone cares about the answer
cleaning out my inbox
looking at pictures on facebook
tropical starbursts
mcdonald's sweet tea
romantic comedies
seeing people who you would not put on a list of your "friends", but who sees you after a long times and seems genuinely interested...I hope I didn't act surprised...you challenged me to care more
laughing with friends who can read you like a book
tears after you think you have lost your heart for sad moments
the "I knew it feeling" after a movie works out the way you wanted it to
picking up a book you put down and re-enjoying it
realizing again that life is not all about you
being motivated to look outside your comfort zone
blogs
being inspired by the creativity of your friends
realizing that you might just have it all figured out and then....
pink honeysuckle candles
homemade soap
adding new blogs to my blog buddies after getting lost in your freinds friends
hand rejuvenation treatments
new nail polish
thinking about a vacation
looking at plane ticket prices for a trip in the future
eating outside
summer nights...not to be confused with fall nights
craft projects
satc reruns
damask prints
finding hope
pink...it always brings a smile
journaling
scrapbook papers
cheese blintzes
grapevine, curly willow and thick black rod iron
silk flowers that look real
embossing powders on sale
cupcakes
glass canisters
flea markets
garage sales
treasure hunting
throwing away old snacks just to make you feel better and like you have completed some strange cleansing ritual
cooking and getting every dish in your kitchen dirty
getting new pj's in the mail!!!
cleaning up after my mom leaves and being so grateful that she was here
setting up netfix queues
late night games of spades with people who let you talk through the game
getting my parking space at my apartment

ok, enough for now...I'm picked back up...I needed some reminders of why life is so fun!

I'm back

I've had a super busy week and the internet at my apartment was down, so I've been out of the loop...Hope you have a good weekend.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

yikes

Ok, I'm declaring it now...its going to be a long week. I just made the mistake of cleaning out my email. That was stupid. It reminded me of things that I have undone...which if you know me makes me crazy. And, it reminded me that my desk and office are a mess because I have piles of unfinished projects, which if you know me makes me crazy. And, I had to stop myself from cleaning out my deleted items...it's full, but I just had to stop and I don't do well with clutter or things being unclean, so a full deleted box makes me crazy. Yeah, I'm weird. Don't know what to tell you. Have more projects that I know what to do with and the pillows on my couch are everywhere. I think I have to go upstairs so I don't go totally mad. I have a meeting at 8:00 am and I'm not even remotely tired. I guess that's what happens when you basically sleep until 4:30 with about an hour awake to realize you are hungry for lunch.

Oh Lord, how I need your help. I go through moments like the one I'm having right now and realize, once again, that I am not in control. Why do I even think I can figure this whole thing out? I'm weird, stupid things bother me and I'm overwhelmed. Sounds like a good mixture for a catastrophe!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

chemo day 6

Well, Thursday morning came early. We had to be in LR at 8:10 for my appointment with CARTI. My family left Dallas at 2...yikes..glad I was here.

Our journey to a new building on the Baptist Hospital campus always proves to be something interesting. And this day was no different. We got a little lost...which is what happens when two control freaks (my dad and I) are in the front seat. We found the CARTI office and I went in and started some paperwork. They called us back and took all my vitals. I used to hate having my weight taken, now the standard process is to get your weight, then sit in a chair and take your blood pressure and temperature. I've never been a number person, but this is a new normal in my process every time I go into the doctors office.

Dr. Talbert came in and talked to us about what to expect and what will happen. Honestly, as I type this, my stomach is tightening up. It is still weird that I'm doing this. While I'm totally comfortable making the "I have cancer" jokes, it is still so weird to say them and then to recount a day like Thursday.

He echoed what Dr. Mendelsohn said about how my masses had shrunk and that it was a good sign that my body was responding so well to the treatments. He then began walking us through all the details of radiation. Now, I will go ahead and throw out something that I have really begun to learn about this whole things. The treatment process for EVERYONE is VERY DIFFERENT. They base so many things on the size of the masses, the locations, body type and weight. So, two people could have the same exact diagnosis, but their treatments could be very different based on the standard protocol, new studies, body type and so many more things. So, as you hear me talk about all that I am going through and relay all the complications, please know that if you or someone you know is going through this, then remember that my complications may not be the same for your situations.

I was glad to hear that Dr. Talbert is one of the leading doctors in this area for radiation treatment of neck and chest. Praise God!

So, on July 2nd (the reason we are waiting so long is because I had a treatment this week and one of my chemo medicines will make my skin more sensitive to the radiation, so he wanted to wait until it got out of my system) I will go to Little Rock to have scans done and get my markings. These marking will be super important because they will tell the ladies where to treat every time I go. So, they will probably cover them with some tape which will keep me from washing them off.

As far as complications, there are lots of different things, but again, we wont know about any of them until we get into the treatment process and know. One of the good things about going daily is that I will be right there at the doctors office if something does happen. In the area where they do the radiation, my skin could be irritated like I have a mild sunburn. But, there is an ointment that they can give me. There are other things like burning my saliva glands, breast tissue, and irritating the esophagus, but he really thought those were not things that I would really deal with, but things that he needed to tell me about.

He made a great point about these "studies". In academia (something I understand more everyday) there has to always be a project or a study going on, so there are always things coming out, but I think that you can always find something if that is what you are looking for. So, I'm just going to try to pay attention to how my body changes once the treatments start and go from there.

So, July 2 is the marking session and July 8th will start my radiation treatments. I will go every weekday for 4 weeks. One of the good things is that so many of the long term effects happen to people who have treatment for 6 and 8 weeks, so he thought that I might not have as many complications. So, not a whole lot of info, but I thought it would be better to give you a recount as I go through the process instead of freaking you out from the beginning.

I did get my Neulasta shot yesterday. My counts were the lowest they have been on Thursday at 1.67. So, the only way my doctor let me get chemo was to make sure that I got the shot yesterday. I've been pretty tired most of the day today. I got out of bed late, took a nap, had lunch, took another nap, watched a movie, took a nap, ate dinner and now I'm watching TV. A pretty typical chemo Saturday.

Between appointments, we went to Krispy Kreme for breakfast.


yeah, they are as bad as the kids who were on a field trip
watching the hot donuts come off the conveyor belt

Resa shared her Paula Deen Chocolate Celebration magazine with me

So, we usually go shopping after chemo. We hit up Lifeway this time.
Dad and I both had books and stuff we wanted to look at Mom and Resa weren't as amused.
Dad and I looked all over the store for them and came around the corner in the CD section and this is what we found.

We had dinner at Brown's Country Store on our way back.

So, dad has become addicted to drinks at the Pilot gas station.

GUILTY!!!

My puppy came!

And sat on my head while I took a nap today.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

today

More details of today to come tomorrow, but chemo went well and I feel a lot better after talking to my doctor.

I will have 4 weeks of radation starting July 8. I'lll give you what he talked about tomorrow..I'm tired tonight.

But, please know that I feel a lot better about the process after talking with Dr. Talbert. He continued to echo what I heard last time about how well my body is responding to the treatment...so, I am glad.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

success

Success in life is measured by so many different things. For me, today it was measured by having fajitas and spaghetti in one day. Yeah, I have been talking about them for two weeks as I was so kindly reminded this evening, followed by the fact that I have indeed meet my weekly goals. When you work in a world of sales, you look for any measurement of success. So, go me!

On a different note, tomorrow is a big day. I will meet with Dr. Talbert and my crew at CARTI to find out what the next process will hold. I will do my best to update you tomorrow night when I get back. If you are in the business of praying...if your not, we need to talk....my family is leaving Dallas at 2:00 AM to get here and go with me. Please pray traveling mercies over them. It will be a long day. But, my sissy is coming this time....which means Teddi is coming too (that's our dog). So, the gang will all be here.

Maybe you should pray for that too!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

more pics

Mr and Mrs. Austin Samuelson!!!













satc

So, I went to see Sex and the City last night with a couple friends. We lucked out and found the National Geographic Photographer (I kept calling him the National Inquirer..because my brain is jacked up) at Pei Wei to take our picture. It was our lucky night.
We also decided that I have no heart. I mean there were perfectly good weepy moments and I let them all go by. I could feel it in my heart and even somewhere in the bottom of my tear ducts, but nothing. I even watched P.S. I love you not that long ago and nothing. Thank goodness I can still laugh..I haven't lost that one. Especially when moments like this happen.
However, I'm almost scared to admit this, I cried tonight when a little four year old girl sang on America's Got Talent. What's wrong with me? Oh that's right...chemo.

So, I anxiously await chemo day 6 and all that it could bring.
friend quote of the day:

"Just remember they are doing this because this is what they thinks is the best thing to do."

Good call. I talked yesterday with the people at CARTI just a little bit. I will most likely start on June 30. I don't know yet how many rounds I will have. I know at least two. But, hopefully I will find out more on Thursday morning at my appointment. I'm excited to know more. However, I'm struggling with knowing the questions I need to ask. A question will come to mind and I forget to write it down and then when I go to write it down, I cant remember. So, who knows.

Any suggestions for questions? Or, what are you wondering is there something I can answer for you or find out? That seems like a weird request doesn't it?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

forgotten

I promise I have not forgotten you. My Ashie Rae got married last night and I've been a bit busy this week. God was so good and I have felt so good this weekend. Since I started working at Ouachita 4 and 1/2 years ago, we have been planning this day and it was perfect...well it looked that way. Of course there are things that happened to make it fun. But, you have to have the fun stories right? Here are some sneak peaks:





Yeah, so I've decided chemo makes me melt...
I've never been much of a "sweater", but I sure was this weekend!

Monday, June 9, 2008

what a difference a day make

That statement is so true. Yesterday I was barley getting by. Now, that sounds a little dramatic, but you know its me. I went to church yesterday morning, that is a first for a chemo weekend. Usually, I just take advantage of another day to sleep in, but I was feel pretty good on Saturday, better than I normally do and so I set my alarm to get up. I felt good when I got up and even as I got ready for church, sometimes getting ready makes me more tired than anything. I walked in and saw my peeps and it felt like another week. I did sit down through much of the worship set knowing that I needed to conserve my energy. You wouldn't think standing would pull that much energy, but it does, especially when you are like me and cant stand still.

Our pastor was preaching on Prayer, something that I know so much about, not because I do enough of it, but because I know what it feels like and what it can accomplish. Somewhere past the third point of the introduction, you know how those Baptist preachers are, and into the first point of the second point...you get where this is going...I started getting hot. Its kinda weird to describe and for your sake, I will try to be brief, but I felt like I was going to get sick. But, I knew that if I thought about something else, then it might go away. So, I did. I thought about how hot I was and how the area around me felt like it was closing in. I got my sermon notes and started fanning. Kinda weird because it was already pretty chilly in the sanctuary. But, I was too weak to fan, so I kept switching arms and trying not to make a big deal at the same time. My face and arms started getting clammy and I wasn't sure what was going on. I just kept trying to blink. I'm not sure what that did, but it was what I was doing. Finally, I caved in and knew I had to leave. I wasn't sure if I would be able to get to my car or even drive myself home, but I knew that I needed to get out of the sanctuary and off the second row before whatever was going to happen happened. Really, I knew I needed to lay down.

It was a struggle. You see, growing up, we were never the kids that could get up and leave during the service. My dad was always in the choir and we sat on our permanent (it really probably had a rear imprint of three bottoms) pew in the front section of the church. We went potty before the services started and we kept ourselves busy during the service. To this day, I still feel guilt if I feel the need to walk out and since I'm a nerd and sit near the front, that never happens. But, yesterday was an exception.

Sometimes on chemo weekends, I just get tired all of a sudden. Literally, I can walk across a room and get tired and know I need to walk back and sit down. Or, after eating both meals on Saturday, I just had to get back to the couch. Now, this is hard for me especially since I want to help clean up after dinner and make sure that things are stacked back into the fridge properly.

Moment of self disclosure...I'm a total freak. I really will think about which container would be the best to store something in the refrigerator as left overs. I don't want to get something too big because I don't have a lot of room and I don't want to get something too small, because I will have to dirty up a bigger one to put it all in. To top all of this off, I am not very spatially adept, so it always proves to be an issue. And, unless there is a significant amount of the entree remaining in the dish I cooked it in, I like to transfer it to a container that has an air tight lid as opposed to using foil or plastic wrap...this my friends is why I'm still single...I'm a weirdo. Please if you meet my husband someday, warn him...but don't tell him too much I don't want to be single forever..he will need to figure somethings out on his own.

All of that crazy ranting to say that Bro. Stan is great about addressing all of the congregation, so as soon as he moved to the other side of the stage, I let the people on my row know I was coming out and I was gone. I never looked up until I hit the door. AWWWW..Relief. It was like I had breathed air out of an oxygen tank for the first time. Somewhere in the mix of all that, I felt sick, hot and claustrophobic...not a good combo in any order. When I got to the foyer, I felt better and kept in my march toward the car. I was afraid that I would get to my car and turn the AC on high and just lay there for a minute, but I felt ok to drive home and so I did. I don't think I have ever changed into pj's any faster. I got home, and on the couch in about 4 seconds flat. And, there I stayed until 4. It was a great nap. I wish I could go to sleep that easily at night. I was pretty much tired for the rest of the evening. I finally made myself wake up so I could sleep at night. It didn't work. I still had to take a Tylenol PM.

Today, was a different story. I have felt good. I went to work and stayed late just like normal. Pulled out my boat to get to Brookshires after work in the torrential rain storm that occurred between 6-7 and after Kirt's lovely Chicken Spaghetti dinner, caught up on all my Monday night shows.

I'm working through my love hate relationship with radiation. Somewhere in the stories of the Indian mark tattoos that will be on my face, the burning of my throat and taste buds, the promise of it being hard to swallow, the possibility of permanent scaring to my insides and the probability of eating everything in liquid form for a couple weeks, I'm beginning to see the GLAMOUR in it all. I know it is what I have to do, so we will do it. I didn't think chemo would be fun and it has been, so hey...we will press forward.

He is Jehovah Jireh, the Provider and we will praise Him when we see Him clearly and when we do not. Just like Abraham did in Gen 22, we will climb the mountain together with the wood and knife in hand for the offering and we will plan and prepare for what He has called us to do and trust that He will give me the strength to do what I need to do. My trust does not come in hoping that He will remove the cup or release the burden, but that He will give me the strength to build the altar and climb on top.

***I just re read through all that and it seems like a spanter of thoughts...is that even a word? But, please know that I've had an interesting couple of days and that while I am scared, I know that God is in control. I am however beginning to worry that some of the chemo brain stuff is permanent!!! Yikes, I hope not. I don't want to be a blob of dumb ramblings forever.***

Saturday, June 7, 2008

chemo 5

I will go ahead and admit that this could be long and very well, honest. Let's see how far I get into it.

On Thursday morning, I had my first follow up set of scans. Wednesday night was fun with Justin, Kirt and the English family. Mom and dad came in that night after church, so they could take me to my appointments. It was an early morning...like 5:40 and if you know anything about me, you know I don't do mornings, but I did that day.

I had scans at 7:30. They do all the usual things. Get a big fat needle in your arm so they can do the contrast dye and just in case, they wanted to run a pregnancy test. I assured my little friend that there was really no need...I mean really! But, he insisted, so I did what I was supposed to do. Remember the contrast dye is the thing that makes you feel like you have peed in your pants, but this time they remembered to remind me and it did not go in as fast, so it wasn't as scary as it was the first time. After, the neck and chest scans, I was free to go. Now, I know that cancer is something that hits people at all ages, but I always get this feeling like "why is that young girl in here" from all the people in the waiting room. I'm not sure if they are confused or feel sorry for me, but I always wonder what those looks they are giving me means. It is not really a mean look, or one of pity, but I do feel like they are confused and are expecting that I'm in there with one of my parents and not the other way around.

I was starving after those scans and knew we had some time to kill, so my suggestion was IHOP. There were two locations that I knew of in West Little Rock. One ghetto and one not as much. Well, I headed toward the not as much, but couldn't find it. So, we made a big circle and headed for the ghetto one. Well, it was that and more. I guess since we knew we had a long time, we took forever to order. I ordered the Chocolate Chip pancakes...the reason we went there. My dad asked if those are good and the waitress said "Those are my favorite, especially at that special girl time of the month". Now, I know that I can sometimes stretch a story, but those were the words that came out of her mouth and it took everything inside of me to not drop my jaw and say "Really, did you just say that"...but, she did. That type of thing pretty much dictated my day.

After breakfast, we went to Target. It's the only "store" open at 9:00. After a hour of shopping, we headed back to the hospital for my appointment with Dr. Mendelsohn. We arrived and I went in for my lab. If you will remember, this is the place of my infamous passing out day and they knew exactly who I was when I walked in. Thank goodness the lady there that I like to have do my lab was the one waiting for someone to help. Thank you Lord I didn't have to make that awkward. She and the other lady both remembered me and made a comment, but I did ok. I made it through. They got the IV put in my port and there were no problems.

We went back to our room and waited for Dr. Mendelsohn. He came in and it was a very brief visit. I'm not sure if what he had to say was so obvious or if I drew a blank on anything that I needed to ask him, but it sure didn't last long at all.

He told me that he did have good news. The masses had shrunk more than 50%. That was way more than to be expected. He looked back at the report and they had actually shrunk 66% (the Type A girl in me was glad to have an exact number to measure things by). So that was really good. Man, I wanted them to be gone. What is this!!! I knew going into it, that they weren't. Again, I just had the feeling. I even told my dad earlier in the week to prepare himself that there would be more sets of chemo that we originally thought. And, I told Kirt and Justin on Wednesday that I knew it wasn't over. For whatever reason, I just knew. So, more than 50% was good. He felt my neck, under my arms and on my stomach and said everything felt good.

Then, he pulled out a new word on us. Well, it wasn't a new word. I heard him say it back when he was giving "what could be part of this" options, but it didn't really stick because it wasn't said like it really could be an option. But, he does think that I will need 2 rounds of radiation. So, yeah. I know what chemo is like. I know what having my blood taken is like, but radiation. That's new. It doesn't sound like something that will be fun. It doesn't even sound like something that is good for my body. I mean I hear all these things about all the radiation that TV's, radios and computers put off. Everything says they put off things like microwaves that aren't good for you. You even read and hear things about MP3 players, ipods, and cell phones and how they could mess up your head and other things. So, all that being said, how could "radiation" be good for you. Isn't that what tanning beds put off that cause cancer. I'm so confused.

I will be honest. The word didn't really sting the moment that he said it. It did though for my dad. I guess they didn't know that it was a possibility, so it was hard to hear for the first time, especially since we were thinking that chemo was going to get it.

So, as soon as we were finished with Dr. Mendelsohn, we went over to chemo. Mom and dad were super tired and were going to go find a tree to park the car under to take a nap, so I just talked them into dropping me off. As I walked into the chemo room, one of the nurses asked me what was going on. I thought she could read the concern on my face. I had just planned to go find my chair and take a nap and not think about all the things that I had just been told. I do plenty of thinking, so that was something I could do later.

But, she was talking about something on my chest. Right before we got ready to leave Dr. Mendelsohn's office, I noticed that the area right above my port started hurting. It wasn't an itch hurt, but more of a sting hurt. And, it was right over my scar, so I thought some tape or something had irritated it. So, a couple nurses came over and looked at it. They said it could be a couple different things, but as I mentioned to them, I love the drama, so let's figure out what it could be. We finally decided that I had had an allergic reaction to the Emla cream that I put on my port to make it numb. Normally, I put it on an hour before I am going to get blood taken, which typically means I put it on right before I leave Arkadelphia. But, this time, they did not take blood before the scan like I thought they might and so I left it on for three more hours before I got to the doctor's office. Well, you are not supposed to leave it on longer than 3 hours and I had had it on almost 4 and half. So, yeah, it was an allergic reaction. No wonder it was hurting.

I sat in a new chair this week. And you know what, this girl who does not like change, may have found a new spot. When I went to it, I thought it would be good since I wanted to take a nap and someone was sitting in my usual spot. But, it actually worked out better. A new comfortable as I will think about it.

Anyway, I had a great nurse this time. Not that the others aren't, because they are all little angels here on earth, but it was divine intervention that she was my nurse on this day. Thank you Lord for Melinda Ward on a Thursday afternoon. She took care of my "rash" and got it covered with Hydrocotrizone Cream" so it would make it go away. She was also great to go get a mirror so I could see what it looked like. That was a relief. I'm a visual girl and I like to know what is going on. While she was getting me all hooked up, I asked her if she knew what was involved in "radiation". This was the moment I realized that divine intervention had happened. She knew for sure. At age 34 she was diagnosed with Nodular Sclerosing Hodgkins Lymphoma Stage 2 (sound familiar?). At that time, radiation was the way to treat it. She actually did not have any chemo. So, she was fully aware what was involved. She knelt down beside my chair and began to tell me.

I had to bite my cheek to keep from tearing up. There were a couple moments that I had to blink tears out of my eyes. A moment of reality. This really is going to be not fun. Now, I could describe to you all the things she told me that she had to deal with, but I have fallen to the conclusion that everyone reacts different to these therapies. I have not had any of the normal symptoms that people dealing with chemo have and so therefore, I am going to tell myself that radiation will be the same way. And, if it is not, then I will learn my side effects right then.

No, I'm not excited about that and yes it will suck. I can know that much. The side effects are not fun and I will most likely have funny marks on my face while I go through it. But, oh well. That's part of this process. So, we will just deal with them. I will not read anything, just like I haven't done to this point. I will wait for the meeting I will have on the 19th with the CARTI people and know then what to expect.

So, yea I'm scared. Yes, I sat in my chair that afternoon and had two very hard phone conversations talking through and telling two very close friends how scared I was. But, I know that there was a lady who worked through radiation 10 years ago telling me what she had gone through, so you know what that means? It is something that I can live through. Yea, the process is not fair, but as we learned early in life at my house, "LIFE AIN'T FAIR". So, here is another reason why. There is never a good time for something like this to happen. So, we will just hope that this next step is part of a cure for me. And, we will hope that my body will continue to react well to the treatments and after this radiation, it will be gone and I will do one more set of follow-up treatments. That would be so great!

This weekend has been good. Mom and dad left about 2 hours ago and we had a good weekend. That woman is so great she planned all these meals ahead of time and I ate and didn't get sick. Dad fixed a few things. I love having them here. I know I could never say enough or be grateful enough for the blessing of loving, Christian parents who love me. Thank you Lord.

While I've been typing this, the movie Castaway has been on in the background. Tom Hanks just made a comment and to me it is so fitting. He was talking about how the thought of his wife back home is what kept him going while he was stranded on that island. And, there was a day that he went out to hang himself and that morning, the waves brought in a port-a-potty which he ended up using as a "sail". He said this to his friend at the end of the movie, summing up his time on the island..."I got up each day because I wanted to see what the tide would bring in". I think I can relate. I want to get up tomorrow and the day after and the day after that so I can see what the tide will bring. For him, the tide finally brought his day and way to get off the island...I can see it coming.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Cardinal's Game

So, while we were so close to St. Louis, Babb, Jason and Eric and I decided to take in a Cardinals game. It was fun. Warm, but a great addition to our amazing 40 hours of fun in MO/IL...2 wins for us on Friday!!!




tournament pics

Pictures from the weekend...starts with Friday's game that we won 2-1 against Sonoma State to make it to the final game of the World Series. We were at GCS park in Sauget, IL...




"Hey guys....chill there is a reason this guy has not been batting...just finish this up!"

"Ok coach, here you go"

"We did it, one more win"

Pictures from Saturday's final game against Mt. Olive



He's a celebrity...our Head Coach, Scott Norwood and his wife onlooking

Four of our guys made the All Tournament Team and
pitcher Steve Smith, was the tournament MVP

This is a picture of pure class...

Look at all the OBU fans...what an amazing support
Welcome Home Gathering on Sunday evening at Ouachita's campus

Complete with a police escort and the Tiger brought them into the campus!!!

Welcome Home boys

Dr. Horne had a few words to share with the boys...
"Athletic events give us an opportunity to express who we are...TIGERS!!!"


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