Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Donkey and the Cart

I found this picture somewhere in my browsing travels and realized that it is a perfect metaphor for how I am feeling about this healing journey that I am on. I am the donkey and the Cart is my life. I had some items in my Cart, but I was pulling the weight okay and thought that things were going along pretty good. Then one by one more and more items got stacked on, i.e., low red blood platelets, bone marrow biopsy, two separate lymph node biopsy surgeries, the final diagnosis, the treatment protocol, being quarantined, and so on. Now, here I am hardly able to get/keep my feet on the ground.

What keeps me going is that I know that one by one the weight will be taken off, i.e., I have one treatment in the series of eight treatments done. A little weight is gone, and I have faith that the weight will continue to be whittled down, until I am no longer feeling challenged to the limit of my endurance.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Today Is Good

On the whole, I am getting along very well. Oh, I have moments of feeling quite like me, some moments of feeling like heck, moments of sheer weakness, moments of questioning whether what is going on with me is normal or what, moments when I think I won't live through this six months of treatment, and lots of moments when I'm sure that I will survive this six months of treatment. It is more or less a rough, bumpy, roller coaster ride and I am hanging on.

Today I saw the sweetest YouTube presentation. If I can I want to add it for your enjoyment. It made me laugh and gave me hope:


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Non-Hodgkins Follicular Lymphoma

That is the diagnosis that I finally received on January 13, 2011. Treatment began on January 21, 2011. I have been told that it is very treatable. I am calm, for I know that it is all in the hands of my Heavenly Father. He is watching over me, and for that I am so very grateful.

My journey began when I received a call from my doctor on August 4, 2010. He said my red blood platelets (that facilitate clotting after being injured) were very low. He said they stood at 29,000 when the lowest of the normal range is 150,000, and he wanted me to see a Hematologist. I was feeling well, and had none of the symptoms they asked me about, such as fevers, unexplained weight loss, night sweats, low energy, etc.

After a CT scan they wanted to do a bone marrow biopsy and an axillary (lymph node under the arm) biopsy, but they showed nothing, and the rule-out diagnosis became ITP (Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura). I thought I had been snatched from Chemotherapy Hell and I was ridiculously happy.

However, as time went on and I went back in for follow-up checkups, it was evident that something was going on. The lymph nodes in my neck were swollen; when I looked in the mirrow I could see them. I was concerned and the doctors were concerned. So the next step was a PET/CT Scan (that is a story all by itself). The results called for another lymph node biopsy, this time from the groin area.

I was just praying to know the truth. So when I got the word, I was grateful. Now we all knew just who (or what) the enemy was and we could proceed to do something about it.

I have to tell you this about myself: I don't like drugs and I don't take them; well, I didn't take them until now. The day of my first treatment, my daughter observed that I probably had been given more drugs that I had taken in the last forty years. My family were surprised that I allowed myself to do chemotherapy; fact is, I have been quite surprised myself. I prayed long and hard about my options, and I feel that this is the way the Lord wants me to go. I have received many confirmations that this is so.

We never know what is around the corner. We never know just what unexpected event is going to change the course of our life. Just know that the unexpected is inevitable, and as my blog title says: Press forward with faith.

I hope to give a little running update on how things are going with me on this blog. I'm not sure it will be all that scintillating, since I am to keep myself in a mostly-quaranteed state, since I have little or no immune system and it is winter. I am receiving shots of antibodies every day for ten days after each cycle to build up my immune system, but it is winter and the bugs and yes, even the super bugs are on the loose. That is probably going to be my greatest challenge. It is my hope that I can yet remain useful during this quiet, contemplative time of my life.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Confessions of a Delinquent Blogger

I knew it had been a long while since I have posted, but was surprised to see it has been almost a year. So much has happened in that year's time. I went on a cruise to Alaska the last of May 2010. I also experienced a health crisis journey, which was humbling. I want to tell these stories because there were miracles that happened and they need to be recorded. May I just express my deep and abiding gratitude for the miracles that happen daily in my life.

I am thinking that it would be good if I could blog at least weekly and talk about what happened during the week--sort of a journal type of thing.

Right now, I am interested in preserving for myself and anyone else who might be interested a video made by the Lion House (Salt Lake City) about how to make pie crust. Right now I have four commercially made pie crusts in my freezer in preparation for Thanksgiving. I quit making my own crust because no one seemed to eat it. My family loves the banana cream and/or coconut cream pies I make with my microwave version of my Mom's Standard cream filling. But, who knows, I may try this Lion House recipe along with implementing the preparation tips for our Christmas celebration.

Here's the video (if it works):

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It's About Time

I have been delinquent from posting to my blog for far too long. Summer has passed into the history books and fall is swiftly passing away as well. I am having a hard time accepting the fact that November is waning and that December is on the horizon.

I get upset with the way the government is being run these days. I am embarrassed that the president of our great country bows and scrapes to leaders of other nations. Not only that, he apologizes to them for our country being a success. However, he is trying to change all that by destroying everything that has made this country great. He is circumventing the Constitution every chance he gets. The change he promised is not one that I embrace.

I wanted this blog to be positive and so I have felt no incentive to come here and write. But I realize that there is still much to write about that is positive in this country. So, I will once again strive to find that which is good and of worth to discuss on this blog.

I will begin by enumerating some of the things for which I would like to express my gratitude. Mind you, this is only a partial list and everytime I actively think about the blessings that we have been granted my list grows. These are some of the things for which I am so very grateful:

1. My Life and the joy that is mine
2. The Gospel and my testimony of its truthfulness
3. The Scriptures and what we can learn from them
4. The privilege of being able to commune with the Lord
5. The joy of having prayers answered
6. A living prophet and all the brethren who serve with him
7. The freedom we have in this country
8. My husband, Wally
9. Our children and their good circumstances and the love we have for them
10. Our grandchildren and the love that is between us
11. Our home, neighborhood, good friends, and the beauty that surrounds us
12. The love and harmony we have in our home
13. Our comfortable financial circumstances
14. Opportunities to serve
15. Our health and strength
16. The ability to do things to increase our health

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Farewell to our Tree

Forty three years ago we moved into our home, not realizing it was not only our starter home but was to be our final destination. About ten years ago some neighbors and friends who live closeby decided to sell their home. They put it up for sale, it sold, and they went out house hunting. After a few days of that, they changed their minds and cancelled the sale of their home. They felt they were money ahead staying put and remodeling their current home insteading of starting over. But I digress, this is, after all, a post about our tree.

When we moved in, our tree was just a sapling, there was no lawn in the back yard, and no fence. The tree grew through the years. Our children loved that tree because they loved to climb it, or sit in it, and we loved the shade it provided.

But then it started dying. Several times during the last few years, we have had arborists come in and trim off the dead branches. We hoped it would help, but sadly it didn't. Every time the wind would blow, our yard would be littered with branches from the tree, large and small.

Now my dear husband is a practical man. He got a little weary, maybe even a lot weary of picking up those branches every time he had to mow the lawn, which is weekly in the summer. So he felt the time had come this year to take the tree out.

So I took pictures of the before, during and after. I didn't realize how sad I would feel to see this tree come down. Our tree was a landmark and I miss it.

I wish we had just had all the branches trimmed and just left it there. I took a picture of a home where they did that very thing, hanging interesting little bird houses from it. You know what they say about hindsight. It seems to be pretty perfect vision, after it is too late.

This is a sad sight to see

I wish I had thought of doing this before the tree came down

This is a great example to apply to our lives. It seems that many of us have this distorted idea of perfection. If something isn't perfect, then out it goes. Our negative opinions about ourselves keep us blind to the good in ourselves and in others around us. We look in the mirror and think (and yes even say) naughty things to ourselves. The more we do this to ourselves and even to those around us (especially the ones we love the most), the more unhappy we are.

We need to take the gifts the Lord has given us and make them shine, instead of hiding behind the lack of perfection we see around us. Folks, not one of us is perfect, so we need to get over it.

We must accept ourselves as we are and make the best of what we can be, instead of turning our backs and trying to forget about the whole process. For example, we can't remove extra pounds just by calling someone and having them lopped off, so we mentally "put ourselves down." Why can't we just accept ourselves, like the tree that was changed to hold the bird feeders. Yes, it takes time to make changes in ourselves, but we can make small changes. If we can't ever be a beautiful, thin model-type person, we can lose a few pounds and feel more comfortable.

The tree stump is my touch stone. When I see it, I'm going to work harder at accepting who I am and what I can accomplish while I am here in this life. That is what is the most important thing to remember.

Maybe I'm not making sense to you and maybe I'm not articulating it quite correctly, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Feeling Better

I've had bronchitis for the last week. Half of that time I thought I was going to win over it. I was taking some GSE drops several times a day and just kept going. Well, last Thursday it sneaked up on me and body slammed me. I knew I was in over my head and that I had to see a doctor.

Now I knew if I saw a doctor, he would prescribe antibiotics. I hate to take antibiotics because they mess with my digestive system, but there comes a time when you have to assist the body and so you do it. I had kept telling my husband that I would go to the doctor Monday if I wasn't better. However, Friday I was so miserable, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I could not put it off. Of course, my family doctor was all booked up so I took myself into Insta Care.

And just as I predicted, I got the prescription for antibiotics and cough syrup. Sunday night, after listening to me cough my sox off, my husband commented that I would never have made it to Monday before seeing a doctor. He was right. I probably was heading toward pneumonia and would have arrived soon enough without intervention. Bronchitis is bad enough. I hate the wheezing.

I'm feeling better now, although if I talk much I start coughing my sox off. So for now I guess I need to be quiet and let my fingers do the talking.