Saturday, August 24, 2013
10. IT'S NOT TOO LATE.
No matter who you are; no matter what you did; no matter where you've come from, you can ALWAYS change and become a better version of yourself.
9. I AM PRICELESS IN SOMEONE'S EYES.
Focus on those who love and accept you for who you are, and shower them with the love and kindness they deserve. Cherish the people who saw you when you were invisible to everyone else.
8. THERE IS ENOUGH TIME TODAY TO DO SOMETHING I LOVE.
You will find happiness in doing the thing you love to do.
7. I AM LETTING GO OF YESTERDAY'S STRESS.
Leave behind the stress, the drama and the worries. Lay this day to rest.
Tomorrow is about hope, new possibilities,, and the opportunity to make a better day.
6. I AM MAKING THE BEST OF IT.
Everything you go through makes you grow. Amazing things can and do happen when you least expect them.
5. I HAVE A LOT TO SMILE ABOUT.
Happiness is not a result of getting something you don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what you do have.
4. I AM PROUD TO WEAR MY TRUTH.
How you see yourself means everything. To be beautiful means to live confidently in your own skin.
3. I AM FOCUSING ON THE NEXT POSITIVE STEP.
The futures holds nothing but endless potential. There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.
2. I AM TAKING ACTION NOW.
Many great things can be done in a day if you don't always make that day tomorrow.
1. I AM FIGHTING HARD FOR THE THINGS I WANT MOST.
The longer you have to wait for something, the more you will appreciate it when it finally arrives. Most great things don't come easy, but they are worth waiting for and fighting for.
Which 'thing' is speaking to you the loudest at this very moment?
Friday, August 23, 2013
Dropping a kid off at college is both emotional and exhausting. He wanted to know why we did not load the car yesterday evening and I promptly asked him how secure he felt with leaving his expensive, high-powered gaming computer in a locked car outside his window. ‘Nuff said.
We have a small car and it usually takes us two trips to get everything in his dorm that he wants to have, at least that is how it worked last year. Somehow his housing contract got screwed up and he got tossed into a study room converted into a dorm with 2 other freshmen until he was offered permanent housing. This blessed him with a 2-person dorm with only one occupant so he had lots of room and could keep the thermostat at a level only penguins love.
On the Facebook page, parents of students who obviously paid the extra for early move in were talking about all the volunteers helping with moving. Really? Where? We did not see such a thing last year but I prayed this morning that we would experience it. I still am forbidden from lifting anything heavier than a gallon of milk – and I was feeling so guilty to put it all on my guys. I went right to a parking place – never had that happen on campus before. Then came the bad news. Josh’s dorm does not have an elevator.
Now the good news – we got swarmed by people wearing neon orange shirts that say VOLUNTEER on them! What a blessing to be able to stay at the car and distribute items to happy hands and feet willing to deliver them safely to his dorm on the 3rd floor. Our car was empty in less than 15 minutes and I didn’t have to carry a single item – thanks to a team of over 700 volunteers on the campus of the University of Texas.
One thing about those dorm beds, they are a b*tch to make. We always help Josh get his room set up, but we could not dawdle as I had a doctor’s appointment. A few things did not work out; his bed looked like it was a matted picture frame around the foam mattress cover and his windows are now bigger than the curtains he used last year. The tv connection is on the dressing vanity along with the only other plug aside from his desk. These are only passing inconveniences for me but to him – well actually, how could this be happening to him?
We wanted to make a couple of stops before my appointment, so we said our goodbyes. I guess I was not weepy like so many others around me were because I am only an hour away from him. If we were still in Houston we would not be seeing him every other week as we did last year. I raised great kids who know how to take care of themselves and turn any situation into a workable one.
My gynecologist/oncologist, in the words of my son, is a typical Austin yuppie-type; young, has a sense of style, confident. My nurse spoke daily about how easy on the eyes he is so she named him Dr. Sexy. Yep, he is g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s of the drop dead species! I learned today that I am down 22# since my first visit on July 10 – that is how much yucky, yellow fluid had accumulated in my abdomen from the benign, orange-sized tumor. Dr. Sexy had no real explanation why my bloodwork, sonogram, and CT scan all ‘confirmed’ a malignancy – only saying that is an increasing occurrance with some fancy-schmancy name. My heart wretches for other women experiencing this at this moment and pray that they do not accept the diagnosis as final. I believe that only the worst would have happened if I had accepted these words as fact – that I would be receiving chemotherapy twice weekly for the next six months. Praise God I’m not.
I do not have to see him again and I can finally take a bath but not swim in the lake nor ride a bike. It is not riding in these hills that concern him; it is the possibility of a fall. How on earth does he know me this well? Don’t tell me my husband tipped him off! Anyway, I can walk as much as I want but nothing else for another 2+ weeks. I've got news for Dr. Sexy, I’ve been known to fall a lot during a walk – but point taken and I will be extra diligent to not let the real me, the clumsy me, prevail. At least I have never fallen while on a treadmill.
Today was a really good day with over 9,300 steps counted on my FitBit.
Thursday, August 15, 2013
My life mostly reflects a cycle of exercising and healthy eating and then, well, not. We finally upgraded our bicycles at Christmas and were enjoying the challenges of riding in the Texas Hill Country. We are excited for our daughter’s plans to spend her vacation with us in August. Our son is finishing his first year at UT; life is better than good. Then came my husband’s diagnosis in early May – diabetes. Earnestly, I read everything I could on his treatment and what meals I should be feeding him. Like a dog with a bone, he was diligent in following his doctor’s orders, and dropped over 20 pounds in 2 months while bringing his blood sugar down by 400 points. My hero he is!
It made my life easier to eat what I prepared for him, but I was not losing any weight in spite of the great bike rides we were enjoying at least 4 days a week and better nutrition. Nor did this improved lifestyle solve my elimination issues. I have had great success in the past with a colon cleanse, yet upon completion, my symptoms had worsened. I could tell I was accumulating water aside from the more than ten pounds I had suddenly gained. My undies rolled down from my hips, I couldn’t bend over to tie my shoes or shave my legs, a half-cup serving of anything was my full level, and I got winded just walking to the car. My husband and I had back to back doctor’s appointments. “Our” doctor is thrilled with my husband’s progress and congratulates me on taking charge from the kitchen side. Isn’t that what a wife does?
I had also seen my GYN when we returned to Houston in February for my knee shots. It was just easier and cheaper and doable to stay with what I knew. Besides, with the way we move around, getting established with new doctor’s seemed a fruitless endeavor. I now found myself in a situation that could not wait. I was so bloated one could think I was in my pregnancy’s 3rd trimester and I had heartburn from hell from what little I was eating; I was having trouble sleeping.
The doctor thumps around on my tummy, does a pelvic, then states what I already knew – there is something there that he hopes is nothing more than uterine fibroids. He recommends that I taper off all my hormone medication since they were not designed to be taken for so long and added that bio-identical drugs are no better than synthetics. He orders blood work and a CT scan.
During the interim, I researched bio-identical hormone therapy. I had done this 5 years ago when I started them, and was surprised that what I read contradicted my doctor’s advice. But this is now a problem to revisit at another time. The CT scan reveals a sinister mass, larger than my fist. It appears to be protruding from my ovary, with ‘shoots’ into my abdominal fat layer (omentum). The doctor tells us that this needs immediate attention, will require major surgery, and he has calls in to a gynecologist/oncologist in Austin that will contact us. This was on a Tuesday. Our doctor never says the “C” word, but there it is on the CT report all the same. He also says to immediately stop all hormone meds as my life is in danger.
None of this is known outside me and my husband, and this is the 2nd time I’ve been told ominous news from a body scan. A mammogram revealed ‘highly suspicious for malignancy’ images the month before my daughter’s wedding in 2010. I prayed, and I prayed, and I prayed and my family did not know what I went through until I returned home 2 months later for a funeral. I embraced the Scripture, “The Lord shall fight for you; and you shall hold your peace.” That told me NOT to discuss it, so I believed and I prayed and I kept my eyes on Him as He carried me. Biopsies from both breasts were benign. “We went through fire and through water; but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.” Psalm 66:12
This time was a little different due to the urgent status labeled by my doctor. I have heard Dodie Osteen’s story many times, and researched how she fought death. I know this is a spiritual war and the Word of God is my weapon. I wrote healing and faith Scriptures in a spiral, and twice daily I would recite them as I walked around my bed.
Adding to the chaos, this all unfolds during the week of July 4th and everyone is out of place. No one calls us. How can a patient see a specialist without a referral from another doctor? My husband is livid. He is also terrified of losing me. We feel as if we have been thrown to the wolves. This is not my diagnosis – it is OUR diagnosis. Voraciously, he is online looking for someone in Austin to see me, and I secure an appointment with a GYN for Monday – almost a full week from my diagnosis. He does a sonogram and says he will make some phone calls on our behalf, agreeing to the urgency of my need. Fear threatens to overwhelm me, but I put on a happy face. “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” Now we have to give our daughter a heads up so that she can make alternate plans. I am heartbroken.
Two days later, I am sitting in yet another new doctor’s office – the third one to see me. This is a terribly hectic day for someone running only on adrenaline. My son and I travel to Austin so that he could take a government exam – this was after driving to the airport to pick up his best friend whose plane was still on the ground in Houston. It is hard to explain to someone why you can’t wait when they haven’t been told the reason for your doctor’s visits, and in spite of it all, we got it all done. More bloodwork, more poking and prodding, more bad news. The doctor tells me the symptoms I describe indicate that I am ‘textbook’ for ovarian cancer. I told him that I did not look up any symptoms as it only served to invite fear into my life. It was a constant struggle to keep my eyes on Jesus and not be scared. My bloodwork markers for ovarian cancer were off the chart. My treatment will consist of surgery to remove all my female parts, plus any diseased fat, and 6 months of chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy - a death sentence and horrendous hardship on my husband who will have to take me to Austin twice weekly for my 3 hour treatments and take care of our home and me in the aftermath. I had more aversion to the chemotherapy than the surgery, not to mention that I had already decided I would not need chemo. I was believing for it in prayer, yet the surgery would not be scheduled without a written commitment to receive chemo as part of my complete treatment plan.
This is all-out war!
I knew God wanted me to live: “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospers.” 3John2
It took me a few days, but I was finally able to block out everything that was contrary to God’s Word and truly believe what I was praying for and confessing over my life. My husband and I spoke death to the mass in my abdomen; we commanded that it wither and die in Jesus’ Name; I said unto this mountain to be removed and be cast into the sea and that when the surgeon opened me up, it would blow away like chaff. I am convinced that the God of all creation Who made me could also heal me – I never doubted this. Who I doubted was me. I did not know if I could stay strong to fight the attacks from Satan. Ovarian cancer has an abysmal mortality rate and is the deadliest in terms of total number. Pierce Brosnan’s daughter died of ovarian cancer about the time I received my diagnosis. The attacks never abated. Thoughts like “why would Jesus heal you?”, “Not EVERYONE is cured you know, or else no one would ever die”. But I fought back with God’s Word, which is sharper than any two-edged sword: “I will rebuke the devourer for your sake.” – Malachi 3:11
Now I have to do the thing I dread the most – tell my family. My surgery is scheduled, bumping two other procedures and placing me at the front of the line. More attacks from the enemy. I never once told my family that my lab work and scan ‘confirmed’ ovarian cancer. I refused to believe that was what the surgeon would find and if I repeated it, I believed it revealed a conflicted heart – and my heart was NOT conflicted. “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.” James 1:6-8 My mom was upset that I was being operated on by a doctor I had just met. She was upset she would not be with me – they live 5 hours west of me. She had dozens of questions, all which tried to bring fear on me. I did not tell anyone that my surgeon was also an oncologist.
I am also noticing something else – I’m not as bloated as I had been. I decided it was not my imagination and that the mass in my abdomen was dead. I am able to lie on my stomach for the first time in weeks. I research more Scriptures to confess.
The hospital calls to do their pre-admit paperwork and get my medical history. The very next day, they call to request additional bloodwork regarding my thyroid readings. This means another trip to Austin – I’ve been there & back 3 times in the past 6 days; grueling for someone fighting a spiritual and physical war. They told me that it could be dangerous for me to be under anesthesia if my thyroid was out of whack. Satan isn’t giving up but I keep repeating under my breath: “Thus saith the Lord, Be not afraid of the words which thou hast heard.” 2Kings 19:6 Three hours later I am finally cleared for surgery on Monday.
I have five days to continue to confess my list of Scripture passages, pray, and read my Bible. We fasted one day. My pastor calls me and prays over the phone with me. My parent’s pastor says he is gonna be in my area the next day and wants to come by and pray for me. He gifts me with a stuffed bear that my parents, daughter, and the pastor have laid hands on and prayed for me.
I think a person has peace when they can sleep at night. My husband and I were sleeping without issue. We were not worried as God hath not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. The weekend before the big event, I read the Gospels. It struck me that Jesus did not refuse a single person who asked Him for healing. I know that my healing was secured on Calvary. I wanted to be a fly on the wall when the surgeon opened me up. “You shall not fear them: for the Lord your God He shall fight for you.” Deut 3:22
My husband and son accompany me in the pre-op room. My insides are as clean as stainless steel pipes after yesterdays intestinal cleanse and clear broth diet. I am dreaming of steak and baked potato for lunch. The praise leader from our church has driven to Austin and comes in to pray for me. Satan launches another attack – the anesthesiologist requests yet another blood test to check my thyroid reading. I fight discouragement that my procedure may be postponed. My mind takes flight; I get angry – at Satan. Then I become afraid. At least this emotion I was expecting and I knew how to fight it……………God has given me a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind. Over and over. I confessed my confidence in God’s faithfulness. Just before my surgery time, the anesthesiologist puts something in my IV ‘to relax‘ me as I am clear for surgery. I don’t even remember being wheeled out of the room.
Of course from here, the rest of my day is really fuzzy. We have decided my first memory is my son feeding me ice. I don’t even know when I was told that my surgery biopsy was BENIGN. Of course it was benign, that is what I was believing for. It felt even better having that confirmation by a cancer specialist. I tried to get my guys to go home to their own beds, but they stayed that first night. I was on a catheter so I wasn't up & down the first 24 hours. I was on a morphine pump and several other pain treatments. I had an incision from my bottom bone to an inch over my belly button that had staples every half inch. I was grateful for the residual effects the anesthesia had on me as I seemed to drift in and out of sleep. My guys were finally convinced I was doing well and went home the next afternoon.
My third day saw a new round of vitals being taken and the bonus of a daily injection into my abdomen to prevent blood clots. Now I was subject to a blood draw @ 5 am which was no biggie since I had been awakened at 4 am to stand on a weight scale. I giggled to myself that the enemy just wouldn’t accept the fact that my blood work was clear, regardless of what it showed only a couple of weeks before. I was released 3 days later.
Fast forward ten days….
My staples have been removed and I try to walk at least once daily. My delightful husband is cooking and cleaning for me and my son’s attentions are sweet, sweet. I am grateful to God that not one word of all His good promise has failed. And I am grateful for His mercy. My weight is down almost 20# from my first visit to the oncologist almost three weeks ago as I can see my body releasing the extra abdominal fluid. My tummy is flatter than it has been all year. I’m not sure if there will be any surprises now that I am not only off all hormone medication, I am missing hormone-making body parts, but I am alive and do not need chemotherapy. “According to your faith be it unto you.” Matt 9:29 All I need now is for my body to heal from the surgery before I can attempt any exercise more strenuous than walking.
And I am more than grateful that I had the opportunity to see God’s Hand on my life, which also taught me a new, bold way to pray and brought me to a new closeness with Him.
Sunday, April 07, 2013
Chaos. Pandemonium. Ground Zero.
I once read a book entitled “Does this clutter make my butt look fat?”. It discussed the parallels of a disorganized, tumultuous home and body issues, primarily dealing with weight. Since then, I've read a plethora of other articles that communicated the connection of how all parts of our life are inter-connected. It caused me to ponder if I was a bad employee because I was in a bad marriage, or did my bad marriage empower me to be a good employee to off-set the negative?
The first quarter of 2013 is behind me. This is supposed to be my year of getting it together and it got off to a great start when I got Synvisc in my knees. Sixty days ago. Maybe because I’m older or 15# heavier since my last injections – recovery has been slow. I've reached a point of almost no pain as long as I don’t do anything. If I could wish away the pounds, they would have been long gone – but that battle continues.
I may be delusional, but I think I am pretty driven. I've even displayed that recently.
My closet. Clean, after investing my afternoon. My husband does not understand my passion to be so organized that I can put my hand on any document at a moment’s notice. That is probably because he is not the one searching. He originally bought me that white shelving unit to put my fabric on but when we left Houston, I also lost the closet I had installed shelves in to store my hobby. All my treasures are in tubs that are stashed under the hanging clothes to the left. The stuff on the shelves is the junk I haul around with us everytime we move – bank statements, real estate transactions, bills paid, my ‘keep for now’ folder, etc. I had decided 3 years ago to get it all digitally saved and toss them, but being involved in Josh’s school and the scholarship applications took priority – time proven to be worth its weight in gold and absolutely well-spent.
Now, I don’t have that fancy gadget that lets you feed your document into it and automatically organize and categorize it for you. My tools included my all-in-one printer, my laptop, my shredder, and a staple puller. I went to work to save more than 20 years’ worth of paper I was afraid of turning loose.
I was a girl with a mission, sitting for hours on end. I found I could endure it easier if I plugged in a great dvd. I watched lots of Star Trek: Voyager episodes and TCM classics I had recorded like “Godzilla, King of the Monsters”. I watched “The Blind Side” over and over and over. DH only saw me when I came out to cook or take a load to the dumpster. Like I said, I was on a mission; stubborn – like a dog with a bone. Not only do I demand we no longer carry around this file-cabinet size load of documents, I want to use these shelves for something I will truly use.
Three solid weeks of focus, results-driven work. My fabric is out in plain view, well, once you go into my closet. There are NO folders, zilch, nada, none, ZERO! I wish I could say I worked my hiney off, but alas, it is still there.
Each day I worked on this monster project, I was brooding over why I could not apply this same type of ‘won’t quit until it’s done’ attitude to my fitness and health goals. The cold truth is I can lose the weight, been there done that a gagillion times. KEEPING IT OFF is where I always loose the battle – otherwise I wouldn't keep going around this same mountain.
I know why. I try to turn a blind eye, but it is always there. This is a daily thing, like waking up – it is not a ‘start and finish’ project – it is a journey. It is up to me to decide and act and stop using this excuse or another.
I purposely looked for things to learn about myself as I worked through this behemoth. I save everything. I re-use everything. If it can still be used, I deplore throwing it in the garbage. But this pile of empty folders – the ones that were once filled with papers – is still functional. So I saved them, making sure all the little folds in the accordion were just so, so that they could be stacked neatly. Then it hit me, if I am scanning all paper that crosses my door, why do I need folders to save them in? Yes, they are still functional, but they are no longer necessary. Some of these folders have been used and re-used since the early ‘90s, haven’t they been used enough? Into the garbage they went without a second thought. Not a single regret.
The pattern of my life is to hang on to things – it might be important or I might need this someday. I am learning these are the very things that weigh me down. If I truly want a simpler life, I need to get rid of some habits and develop new ones. Not easy, but necessary. I know that I am an ‘all or nothing’ person – that aids me when I attack projects; it works against me when it comes to nutrition and exercise.
How do you make lasting changes in your life? This hard-working girl would like to know.
Saturday, January 26, 2013
While I AM eating more of the good stuff, I'm not eating or drinking any less of the crappy stuff. And every Monday, I start strong with the exercise, only to succumb to my bad knees until Monday rolls around again. My eating seems to be centered around getting rid of the bad stuff so we can start clean. Yada, Yada, Yada.
In two weeks, I'll make the trip to Houston so that Dr. Joseph can inject this Synvisc into my knees. I had it done June 2011, so I know what to expect - my poor DH having to wait on me hand & foot for at least a week. I know it gets a lot worse before it starts getting better. I will use the elliptical for a month at a nearby gym to return to the land of the moving.
I've been watching my FitBit and I know how inactive I am. Busy, yes - active, no. The few days I've deliberately walked 10,000 steps, I could not sleep that night. I've not yet made it to two consecutive days of 10K steps. I like to get my steps in all at once, so that I can log that activity early in the day. I can either sit on my butt, or break my steps up throughout the day. For this week, I will see how that works for me.
Eating. The bane of my existence. I am starting cycle 1 of the 17-Day Diet tomorrow. I have almost completed my menu plans for the next month, which includes what I want DH to feed me when I can't prepare for us. I married a sweet and capable man. (A man who raises a son on his own before meeting me is GOLD.)
I know that I cannot exercise away bad food choices. Nutrition is 80% of my success - why do I fight it so?
Well, time for another short walk around my complex.
I will be strong and diligent.
Get An Email Alert Each Time LEANNROCKS Posts