Wednesday, February 25, 2009

No Radiation!!!

WHEW! What a relief!
Dr Pitman said that the Tumor Board agreed that Radiation is not needed and that we can go with our original plan of doing the Micro Flap Excision and Laser Ablation on the cord until we get a clean biopsy! Woo Hoo!!!!! What wonderful news! After this recovery, i believe I could return to work the day after the other surgeries! Ok, maybe 2 days after. Point is, they are NOTHING compared to what I have gone through the past 8 days!
I took her cookies, honoring my end of the bargain (if you will give me stitches instead of staples, I will bring you cookies). She said that I made them rethink how they close folks up. They had another younger woman in for the same type thing and they gave her stitches as well. Dr Pitman said that I have a nice looking scar.
There is so much more to tell about the visit. Just can't go into it all right now. Maybe I'll have time to tonight. If not, tomorrow.
Oh well, might as well....
Remember we expected to have to do therapy on the shoulder because this surgery "always" damages the nerve that controls the shoulder because the nerve runs right through the area that they are working on? Well, (imagine this) MY nerve was "out of place" and completely out of the surgical it was not damaged at all. Amazing, Huh? Go Figure!
My scar really is not bad at all. Even today, after just getting the stitches out.
When this is all over, I will be no worse for wear.
Which brings me back to my original belief about the whole thing...there had to be more to this than me just having cancer. God is up to something.
Also, I am back to having Carcinoma In Situ. Funny, before, it scared me to death. Now it is a relief. the diagnosis is the same. Everything is relative.
Dr Pitman said that she is handing me back to Dr Schwienfurth for my primary care, but that I can call on her at any time. She said she was so relieved when she got my results. The look on her face answered one of my really does matter to her how the path results turn out. Maybe I should have asked her if she did the "Happy Dance".

Monday, February 23, 2009


Calvin rushed through the door and said that Dr Donaldson called. The pathology results are GOOD! My lymph nodes are clear and the cancer on my cords is now considered non-invasive! I am so stinkin excited!
My immediate thought did we accomplish what we set out to do? The answer to that question holds as much excitement as any of the rest of this...Did we show Christ to anyone during this trial? More importantly, did we show Christ to the one(s) HE put in our path?
I am too excited to write any more....and I am in dire need of pain meds...
Thank you for all your prayers and encouragement. You have blessed my life by being part of it!
WOO HOO!!!!!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Church was just amazing today! Exausting, but amazing.

Sunday school was great. Dusty taught for me and did a super-great job.

Worship was almost more than I could bear. Every song was about following God where ever He leads, Drawing closer to HIm, you get the picture.

I have been so caught up in getting well, that I have not thought much about the pathology results.

Today God reminded me that I am still His child and that I have still been called to walk this road and that I have likely not reached the end of it yet.

Today I surrendered myself to Him all over again. However long this road is, however dark this valley may get, wherever He leads, I will go....not just go, I will gladly follow. I know that He will not leave me or forsake me. I am confident that He is in control of my life and of this cancer. I am thankful for the terrible nausea and for the light headedness and for the weakness and for the pain in my neck and throat, since they have worked together to keep my mind off of the inevitable....the dreaded "test results".

Both doctors said that what they removed looked normal, from a visual perspective. I hope beyond hope that the pathology results show the same. I still don't have a peace with the thought "it's all over, the tests are normal". Perhaps it is, like my Sunday School class noted, my way of preparing myself for potential bad news. Maybe so.

Either way, I barely made it through the worsip service. One of my favorite mental pictures is climbing into Christ's lap, laying my head on His chest, and listening to the beating of His heart. Sometimes, when I am alone and totally focused on Him, I swear I can hear His heart beat. This morning, Dave and Christa taught us a new song, and some of the lyrics were something about crawling into Your lap and feeling Your breath and listening to Your heart beat. I nearly lost it.

Please forgive me if you do not relate to God this way. He is so very personal to me and I am so thankful that He has allowed me to walk this road. He just reminded me today that I must still be willing to follow where He leads.

Saturday, February 21, 2009 3

Oh! Things are so much better today! The nausea has gone away completely (thanks to 2 different nausea medications) and my headache is now only occasional, and is tolerable. I made it most of the day today without any pain medication, so I really have felt almost normal.
My neck is beginning to hurt more...or maybe I am just noticing it more. Still, NOTHING is worse to me than being sick to my stomach, so I can easily deal with the pain in my neck.
The incision goes from behind the middle of my ear to just above my shoulder. It is a pretty fantastic wound. I will enjoy telling my grandchildren about it one day. (especially if I am blessed enough to be able to tell them that my wound helped introduce one of my doctors to Christ!)
I don't seem to have the expected nerve damage to my right shoulder and arm. My ear and right side of my face are swollen and numb, but other than that, I think I am no worse for wear.
I got several cards in the mail today. I am so very grateful for the prayers that have been said on my behalf. All in all this has been much worse on Calvin and my mom than on me. Please continue to pray for my family and close friends as you pray for me. They are helpless bystanders in this and would very much like to make it all better. The past few days have been especially hard on them because I have been so very sick.
I still believe that God is doing something amazing. I wish He'd let me in on the plan, but then I guess I'd mess it up. I feel like a child at Christmas...just waiting until my Father will let me open the gift that has caught my eye...the one that I am sure is exactly what I asked for.
Oh God! That you would allow me to be a testimony of your amazing love to the doctors and nurses who have taken such good care of me over the past months!
It will be wonderful to look back on this whole ordeal and be able to tell the tale, knowing all the details. I cannot wait to see what God had in mind when He started this chapter of my life. My continual prayer is that I will keep my eyes on Him and follow His plan...and never cease to praise Him.
Please continue to pray that I will have peace and patience as we wait for the pathology results, but also continue to pray for all my doctors. They are an amazing bunch. They work such long hours and they all treat me like they do not have another patient needing their attention. They make me feel at ease, like my "case" is important to them, and that it matters to them how I feel. Mom had to call several times about the nausea and they worked with her until we got a combination of medications that allowed me to at least keep some food in my stomach. They are wonderful. Please pray that God will speak to them and that they will fully understand the gift they have been given. We come to them frightened and helpless. They are able to calm our fears as they make us well. Few are able to see God work in his or her life on a daily basis, but they can if they will but look for His hand guiding theirs.
Someone told me the other day that he wished he could have as much faith as I do. He said that, if put in these circumstances, he might not believe that God would "come through". My faith is not remarkable, but my God is. My faith comes naturally because I KNOW who it is I am putting my faith in. We cannot always know what God is doing, but WHO HE IS never, never, never changes. He just is. He is the Alpha and Omega. He is, was, and is to come. He is my redeemer, my comforter, my savior, and my Lord. He is my Father, my Creator, and HE is my closest friend. I love Him. Deeply, passionately, with every fiber of my soul, I LOVE Him. It is my greatest pleasure to serve Him. My constant prayer is that the people who know me will desire to know Him more.
I hope you all have a wonderful evening!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Home...Day 2

Still doing well. The entire right side of my head and neck are numb to the touch. Well, from the top of my ear down anyway. My headache has finally eased up, leaving room for the pain in my neck to be acknowledged. My lip is not quite so swollen and my eyes are not quite so puffy. my neck is pretty swollen on the right side, but that is expected.
I had hoped that we might hear from the pathology report today. Of course, they have much more tissue to look at this time, being that we removed all those lymph nodes. Maybe Monday will bring us some news.
I am trying not to write too much while I am on pain meds...wouldn't want to be embarrassed later.
My doctors did a great job. Dr Pitman came and visited Wednesday night, as did Dr Grimm and (I think) Dr Donaldson. I must check to make sure Ihave Dr Donaldson's name correct. She was so super sweet. Calvin said he liked her better than anyone. i am sure it was because of her amazing bedside manner and had nothing to do with the fact that she is an adorable blonde! ha ha ha She said something that is perhaps the only thing I really remember wednesday night...she said "They told me you were doing great, but I had to come by and see for myself." I guess it still amazes me that the doctors that I have met over the past few months really seem to care about me as a person....not just about getting me well.
Enough for now....

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Surgery went well. At least that's what they tell me. I am most excited about getting stiches in my neck rather than staples. I owe Dr P a batch of cookies!
I THINK the worst part of this surgery was the wrath of the anesthesia. It kicked my butt. The nausea has passed finally, but my head still feels like Ihave been in a boxing match. Actually, I sorta look like I have been in a fight. My lip is all swollen, my eyes are puffy...yuck!
Both doctors said that the surgery went great and that I did great (always thought that I was a particularly gifted sleeper). Dr S said that there was no visible growth on my cords. Dr P said that my nodes appeared normal, except for their size. Both doctors and the Fellow and the residents all promised to call me as soon as they get the path results.
I am so glad to be home. I am so glad that this surgery is over.
Thanks for all your prayers and well wishes!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Just details

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience

While I’m waiting
I will serve You
While I’m waiting
I will worship
While I’m waiting
I will not faint
I’ll be running the race
Even while I wait

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it’s not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait

I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting on You, Lord

Last night we had a Valentine Dinner at church. We watched Fireproof. Calvin and I saw it in the theater, so (thankfully) I did not have an emotional meltdown there in front of the majority of the congregation. I did, however, have a moment when I almost couldn't breathe...a moment apart from the train scene and the fire rescue, I mean. It was when the song "I'm Waiting" (John Waller) played. I have not heard it outside of the movie, and I am surprised. i cannot imagine that I am the only one who can relate to the lyrics.
Last night, sitting there with my best friends, the people I share my life with, I was reminded of God's goodness. Everyone seated at the table with me has a remarkable story to tell of God's presence in his or her life. Their's are stories of provision, healing, support, comfort, forgiveness, redemption, submission...I am so blessed to call them my friends. I can see God's hand in each of their lives and it gives me such comfort. It is true, "I am waiting on you Lord, and it's painful, and it's not not easy, but I am hopeful, and I'm peaceful...and I will serve you and worship you while I am waiting." I am so thankful that this can HONESTLY be my prayer.
God has proved Himself worthy of my trust over and over in my own life and has been gracious enough to give me friends who have lives that echo His trustworthiness.
We got home and Calvin told me that some of the deacons asked him if they could lay hands on me and pray for me. I was asked the same sort of question this morning by another friend. Calvin told the deacons the same thing I told my friend. "we really are fine."
This opened up the door for Calvin and I to talk about the upcoming surgery and following tests.
We both agree that, while God can definitely choose to heal me and the biopsies can come back clean (which is of course what we are hoping for), He can also choose not to heal me...and we are okay with that. Our faith does not rest in God's ability to heal me, but in the fact that he has promised salvation through Christ to all who believe...and I most certainly believe. We both are aware that God's ways are not ours, that what we want is not always the Best thing, and that His plan is perfect, not ours.
While some may think that our response to the requests to lay hands on me and pray for me may seem like a sign of unbelief, it most certainly is not. We have a congregation to lead and friends to encourage, and a lost world to introduce to Christ. We already have precious friends who confuse thanking God for sweet little daily blessings with God desiring to answer their every prayer. For example, thanking God for a empty check outline at Wal*Mart and expecting God to open a new checkout line at Wal*Mart are two entirely different things.
While I do look for the "little things" God does in my life everyday, the only thing He needed to do has been done. He died for me so that I could be with Him in Heaven. Nothing else could ever compare to that, nothing else is needed, and nothing else is promised. Jesus Himself asked...begged...that He be delivered from the path of the cross. The Cross was God's idea, God's plan, and was more important than eliminating Christ's suffering. We like to think that God, in His goodness, will answer our prayers when our prayers are noble. Surely God would have answered the noble prayer of His own Son if that were the case.
So, We have a tremendous responsibility to those watching us. There are many who already believe that God will answer their prayer for a parking space close to the building, to stop the rain long enough for them to get inside without ruining their hair, to turn all the lights green when they are late for work. I too am quick to give God credit for these things. I look for these "little blessings" and am quick to offer thanks to my creator for them...but I do not blame Him if the lights are all red when I am late for work, when there is not a parking space within a mile of the building, when there is only one open line at Wal*Mart, or when it starts pouring rain as soon as I step outside.
My peace, my comfort, my assurance does not come from the fact that God can indeed heal me. I know He can if it will serve Him best. I also know that it may not serve Him best to heal me. The choice is His. My faith is grounded in the fact that He died for my sins and that I am guaranteed a place in Heaven. The rest is just details.

Friday, February 13, 2009

I wonder what they think

I had to run an errand today, got caught in traffic, and a song reminded me of one of my doctors. I think of them often. I pray for them often. I wonder why they became doctors. I wonder if they are happy being a doctor. I wonder if being a doctor is what they imagined it would be, and if not, is it better or worse than they'd hoped? I wonder if they are married and have kids. I wonder what their hobbies are, what their friends are like, and what they like to eat. They are people after all.
It is hard for me to see them as normal people because I have so much riding on them. To me they are a lifeline. My world rises and falls depending on what they tell me. They are warriors in this crazy battle. I am the Prisoner Of War, just doing what I am told....and waiting to be saved.
It is hard for me to think about them as normal people. People who have good days and bad days. People who get tired and cranky. People who get frustrated and exasperated. People who get excited...about getting home in time to see their favorite TV show or about a patient getting well or a football game or a perfectly built sandwich. Thinking of them as "normal people" keeps me from being selfish when i pray. I am so tempted to just pray that they will figure out how to make this all go away. I am so tempted to just pray that they will fix this so that I can go on with my life. I am so tempted to just pray that God will just give Dr Schweinfurth and Dr Pitman and the other doctors and residents helping them with my situation a Divine revelation about exactly what to do to heal me. (Just as it is so tempting to beg God to heal me rather than to beg Him to use me.) These may be the things I truly do honestly NEED, but that still small voice keeps asking me "but Kris, what do your DOCTORS need?" So, I try to think of them as regular people and pray for them, not just as my doctors, but as people. People who hurt, get tired, get headaches, have arguments with family, catch colds, have allergies, get hungry, and have a history complete with childhood, elementary school, Jr High, High School and all the baggage that goes with living life. They are people who have lives outside the hospital, places to go, movies to watch, books to read, bills to pay, laundry to do, dishes to wash, families to care for, friends to support....or who are without families to care for and friends to support. Which brings me full circle, back to "I wonder...."

I wonder how often Dr Schweinfurth has to deliver bad news. I wonder if he has gotten used to it. I wonder how many times people come to him and have cancer. I wonder if it is hard to treat a case like mine, where nothing seems to follow a predictable pattern. I wonder if cancer ever follows a predictable pattern. I wonder if it frustrates him that this has not been what he expected or if it is exciting because it is different. Hmmm...I wonder if it really is that different. I wonder if he feels a sense of satisfaction in that he is the one who caught it. I wonder if he wishes I'd come to him sooner. I wonder if, the times he has had to tell me that things are worse than we'd hoped, he paused at the door dreading to go in, or if he took charge of his residents and said "this is how you tell a patient that she has and learn." I wonder if he is prideful. I don't think so. He seems to be very nice and he seems to care about what happens to me. He responds to my e-mails (so I try to keep them to a minimum), answers my questions, and soothes my nerves...and bans me from internet research. I wonder if he sees us as people or as "cases". I wonder what he REALLY thinks the outcome of my "case" will be. I wonder if he realizes why God sent me to him. I wonder if he has even considered that God has had a hand in all of this.
I cannot imagine how Dr Pitman faces patient after patient, every one having cancer. I wonder if she gets discouraged. I wonder if she gets depressed. I wonder if she ever feels helpless or hopeless. I guess she must feel like the pediatric nurse that has to give immunizations. Even though her patients do not want to hear what she has to say, it has to be said and the sooner we get started, the sooner we can get on with it. In the case of treatment, even though she must see the fear and anxiety on our faces, SHE knows that the good of the treatment outweighs the bad of the side effects. Still, I cannot imagine what she must feel as she sits in front of a patient. We have to talk about the cancer, the possible complications of the surgeries, the possibility of chemo and or radiation. I wonder what she thinks as we sit there, eyes glazed over, barely able to breathe as we try to listen to and comprehend what she is telling us. She must know how frightening it is to us. I wonder how she keeps from getting attached to her patients. I wonder how she keeps from taking it home with her. I wonder what she feels when biopsy results come in. Does she do a "happy dance" when they are good? Does her heart break when there is nothing left to do? Does she hold herself responsible, even though she surely knows that she has done everything right? I also wonder what she thinks about my "case". I wonder if she knows that God is doing something big. I wonder if she can feel His presence.
So I pray for Dr Schweinfurth, Dr Pitman, Dr Grimm, and the others that are working on finding a cure for my Cancer. Not just that they will heal me, but they will be touched by the hand of God Himself as we go through this together. I pray that they will have peace of mind; that they will be encouraged; that they will be healthy; that they will have enough money to pay the bills and have a little left over go out to eat with good friends; that they will make peace with their past, enjoy their present and look forward to their future; that they will sleep soundly, love deeply, and laugh loudly; and that they will find satisfaction in their career...and their life. I pray daily that they will know how wonderful they are and how deeply they have touched my life and the lives of those that know me. I pray that they will feel the prayers of the amazing number of people that are lifting them up daily.
I still believe that God will heal me through Dr Schweinfurth, and now Dr Pitman. I still believe that God Himself led me to Dr Schweinfurth. I believe that God has a plan and a purpose for all of this and that His plan is bigger than me having and being cured of cancer.
Lord, please give me peace as we travel this road. I am finding it harder and harder to not be afraid of what lies ahead. Please help me to always keep my eyes on you. Please allow me to be used by You so that the people I meet will catch a small glimpse of their Savior in me. Most of all, and I really do mean most of all...above my desire for anything, including being healed of this cancer...if there is anyone You have put in my path that does not know You; that does not know how much You love them; that does not know that You came to earth, lived a sinless life, died on the cross, and rose from the grave defeating death once and for all so that they could spend eternity with You in heaven..........Oh Lord, please allow them to see You in me and draw them to yourself. Please allow me a small part in the story of their salvation.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

3rd surgery

Met Dr Pitman yesterday. She is going to do my "neck dissection". After they said that a few times, I laughed and said " I thought you dissected frogs...not necks". They sort of chuckled and said something about terminology. What ever.
Anyway, she is going to dissect my neck. Doesn't that sound like fun? She is removing the lymph nodes on the right side. I didn't ask how many. Perhaps I should have asked. Once she is done, Dr S is going to do my vocal cord again. Alan...I mean Dr Grimm...said that Dr S is going to do the same surgery he has done the other times. Alan, I mean Dr Grimm, was with Dr S before I had my last surgery, and then was with Dr Pitman yesterday. I like him. He gives me details and I think he enjoys what he is doing. He smiles a lot. He talks to me and not at me. I wonder how long it takes for a doctor to learn to talk at his/her patient.
Once the surgery is over, i will have to stay overnight at the hospital. The recovery time is longer than I expected, and i will have to do some physical therapy because of expected damage to a shoulder nerve or something. That didn't interest me much.
At least I will finally have a scar. I can say "Let me tell you about MY scar"...okay, maybe not.
That's all I know. If there is cancer in the lymph nodes, we will "have" to do radiation. I am still waiting for what's behind door #2, the "prize" behind door number 1 is not what I wanted. Radiation does not sound like something I want to do.
It is late and the "kids" just left a bit ago. Tonight was young adult Bible study at our house. I am glad that they enjoy being here. They usually stay until around 10. Tonight Izzy was asleep in my lap for an hour before they started leaving. I hate to see them go. They are so much fun. Some we have known since they were in Jr High, some we have known only a few months. They all feel like family. I love having a house full of friends. Always have.
It is so easy to allow myself to be afraid, especially now. I sometimes feel anger start to creep up on me. Sometimes I am tempted to have a big pity party. Sometimes, especially in the Doctor's office getting more "news", I feel completely overwhelmed and can barely "keep it together". Yesterday, I kept telling myself "breathe, just breathe". I am afraid that if I ever start crying, i will never stop. I truly hate this and am so ready for it to be over.
With each new stage of this journey, I have had to work harder to stay focused on Christ. I do not know how people who do not believe in Christ and the promise of salvation cope with things like cancer. It must be devastating. I can always take a deep breath, close my eyes, and feel Christ draw me to Himself. I know He loves me. Just like Izzy will crawl into Calvin's lap and lay her little head on his chest, spiritually I do the same with my Savior. I crawl into his lap and melt into His arms and just listen to the beating of His heart.
I told Him that I would do anything for Him and that I will do everything I can to bring Him glory in everything I do. Although I hope beyond hope that He will allow me to see His purpose in this, I know He may not. I just hope that, when He sees me, He smiles.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Thank you

Just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who has commented here, on Facebook, and via e-mail. Your words of encouragement always seem to come at just the right time.
I think it will be amazing to go back and read all the cards, e-mails, & comments here and on Facebook when this is over and I can look back on the whole experience. It is already interesting to me to go back to the first couple of posts...before the cancer diagnosis....when I thought the "battle" I was writing about was spiritual warfare. I never imagined I'd be battling cancer. Funny how things work out.
I am sometimes embarrassed that you are reading this. Please understand that writing is my coping mechanism. Writing allows me to vent, to ramble (especially when Calvin is tired of listening to me), to sort things out, to brainstorm, to get myself back in line. I almost quit and went back to my paper journal when I found out that I have cancer, but then i got a few e-mails saying that my thoughts were actually encouraging. Didn't really expect that, but might as well run with it I suppose.
I guess all this is to say, i don't know where this is going to take us, but i am glad you decided to travel this journey with me.
I am going to see Dr. Pitman tomorrow afternoon. She specializes in cancers of the head and neck. She will be removing my lymph nodes. I guess she is going to explain the surgery to me. I can't imagine anything else she could tell me tomorrow.
Thanks again!

Monday, February 9, 2009

I got a really sweet e-mail from Dr S today. Just letting me know that he understands that I probably have "billions of thoughts and questions right now", but to "try and be patient" and rest assured because he has "about 20 people working on the best treatment" for me. He also warned me to resist the urge to research my cancer on the Internet because it might do nothing more than cause me unecessary stress. God sent me a warning, I just ignored it.
I e-mailed him back and said thanks for everything he is doing and that I would try to resist the urge to google every thought that popped into my head...but was making no promises.
A couple of hours later, I was Google-ing Head and Neck Cancer/Staging. Don't do that. It is not the stuff happy dreams are made of. By the end of the day, my head was aching, my chest was hurting, and I was fairly certain that my throat was swelling shut... okay, maybe not, but I was SUPER stressed over everything I read.
So I got home, still thinking about all the "What if's". Took Izzy to the doctor (nothing is wrong, just allergies) and while we were in the waiting room, my phone rang. Mrs. Jenny was one of my favorite people when I was little. With her snow white hair and infectious smile, I could not help but love her. She told me about Jesus, but more importantly, she lived Jesus in front of me every time I was around her. She called tonight to tell me she loves me and that she is praying hard for me. She said that she knew I was "going through a rough spot".
I thought my heart would burst. Yes, she got my number from my mom. Yes, mom told me that Mrs Jenny would be calling at some point. Yes this whole ordeal is probably what she was referring to when she referred to my "rough spot". But in my heart I know that my heavenly Father used my sweet Mrs Jenny to soothe His daughter's soul. I was definitely going through a "rough spot" right that second. I was scared to death....and God knew... so Mrs. Jenny called.
It does not matter what this type of cancer "usually does". It does not matter how it is usually treated. Dr Schweinfurth and others are figuring out what to do with MY cancer. Do I or do I not believe that My Savior has this under control?
I do. I do believe. Satan is constantly trying to steal my witness. Today, for a few hours, I let him. So, after I hung up with Mrs Jenny, I took a deep breath, apologized to my Savior for taking my eyes off Him and declared war on my enemy.
I am not afraid. I have focused my eyes on my Savior once more and am at total peace. The waves are still crashing around me and i have no idea what storms are ahead, but I am resting safe and sound once more in the arms of My Creator.

"I'm listening"

I think the hardest thing that I have had to face so far through all of this is not being able to sing in church. Who would have thought that would devastate me? Of all the things that have been going on, not being able to sing was really the worst. There are so many songs that speak of exactly how I feel.
"You are awesome in this place, Mighty God! You are awesome in this Place, Abba, Father!"
"I worship You, Almighty God, There is none like You."
"You are the air I breathe"
"I could sing of Your love Forever"
"You are my refuge"
These are just few lyrics that give words to my feelings about my Lord.
Not being able to sing to Him was almost unbearable after my first surgery.
I was dreading not being able to sing after this last surgery.
Last Sunday, I decided I'd give it a try, I'd sit in the choir loft and "lip sync" if necessary. God heard the cry of my heart and gave me the sweetest gift. He allowed me to sing. He allowed me to sing! It was all I could do to keep it "together". I was so humbled and grateful that God took the time to hear my heart's cry. Then I was hit with the enormity of the fact that many many times (before this) I sat in the pew with something else on my mind and have not truly praised Him. In spite of my neglect, He gave me the most precious gift I could have dreamed of. It was as if He whispered to my heart, "Sing for me, my sweet child". And I did. Just for Him. I poured out all of the love in my heart and praised Him for who He is. My Creator, My Father, My Savior, My Lord, My strength, My refuge, My hiding place, My Comfort, the very air I breathe.
Oh God! Please never let me be so consumed with this fleeting life that I do not worship You!
He gave me the same gift again yesterday. He even kept my headache in check until after the evening service!
God is blessing our church in SO many ways! He is adding to our numbers almost every week! He is bringing old friends back to us and introducing us to new friends all the time! Last week we had 6 join the church and this week we had one new member and one of our first youth come back to us! The new Sunday school class is growing (19 - early 30's) by leaps and bounds! We have had 3 new members in the past couple of weeks! Our FLO (For Ladies Only) Bible study has grown from 10 or 12 to just over 30, when everyone shows up. The choir has tripled! We have over 40 on the "roll" now!
God is so good! I can't wait to meet Dr Pitman on Wednesday and see what she has to say. Hopefully we can have surgery next week. What ever the outcome, I know God is in control. He is with me, and He loves me enough to let me sing for Him.
Hugs! K

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Psalm 121:3

My precious friends in Southaven sent me flowers at work yesterday. Little did they know how God would use their act of thoughtfulness to speak to me. I just love it when God lets me know He is with me. I am reminded of the reaction Izzy has when she realizes her daddy is watching her. Her eyes light up, her lips break into a smile, and she puts a little more into what ever it is her daddy caught her doing. I am also reminded of the days when Calvin and I were dating. I remember catching him looking at me and thinking "He noticed!". I had much the same feeling over the past 2 days...only it was the Creator of the Universe who noticed me.
So, back to my story... Jeff, Debra, and their gang sent me flowers yesterday. Totally surprised me and absolutely made my day. Every girl likes to get flowers, especially at work!They ordered the flowers from Emphasis Florist. Now, i have a special place in my heart for Chris and the folks at Emphasis. Not only do they do an AMAZING job on flowers, they also put a scripture card in with the sentiment card. OK, so I am totally amazed at this gorgeous flower arrangement I have been given by my sweet friends...then I read the scripture..."The One who watches over you will not sleep" Psalm 121:3. It was as if God Himself breathed the words over me. "I am here. I know what is going on. I am not leaving you." What a blessing! I just love it when God reminds me that He is near!
Today I went to the see Dr Schweinfurth to find out what the tumor Board said about me when they met yesterday. I was fully aware after having the CT scan done last week that there was a distinct possibility that they could recommend that we take a closer look at any number of lymph nodes. I was HOPING that we would finally get some completely good news though, and that they would say "just go on like you planned. Do the surgery. The CT scans look normal."
We are going to remove and biopsy 3 lymph nodes when I have my next surgery, so we are postponing the surgery that we had planned for Monday, the 9th. I have an appointment with Dr Pitman at the Cancer Institute on Wednesday, the 11th. She will be the surgeon removing the lymph nodes. Once I meet with her, she and Dr Schweinfurth will schedule my surgery and I will have the 3rd surgery on my vocal cords and have 3 lymph nodes removed. Not good or bad news, just not what I wanted to hear.
I wish I could say that I immediately thanked God that my doctor is being aggressive with this. I wish I could say that I handled it well. I really didn't. I cried all the way home. Cried some more in the bathroom once I got there. Calvin held me and asked God to help us deal with this, i just sobbed. I went to work. i couldn't think. I talked to a few friends, sent a few e-mails, talked to my boss. My brain was oatmeal. I was not okay with this. We had a plan. We know where the cancer was, what it was doing, and had a plan to get it out of my body. Now, we are back to "we hope", "we expect", and "we'll wait to see what the biopsy says". I was frustrated. Not scared or sad or worried or even angry (though I did at first think i was feeling anger. I guess I don't get angry enough to really discern that emotion)...I was just frustrated. I am so tired of this. I am not afraid of it. I have no doubt that I will be healed. I am just ready for some good news. I am tired of it always seeming to be one step forward and two steps back. I hung around at work as long as I could. I went home around 4.
I got in my car and headed home. "The One who watches over you will not sleep."
He knew. He knew what Dr Schweinfurth would tell me today. He already knew my reaction and the flood of emotions that would overcome my soul. He knew, and He sent that sweet scripture to me yesterday knowing it would be fresh on my mind today when i so desperately needed it. He knew. He knew and He cared enough to send me a message....and delivered it with flowers!
I cannot doubt Him. I am not afraid. I am not worried. I am not even frustrated. The One who watches over me will not I can go ahead and get some rest.
What an AMAZING God we have the pleasure of serving!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

"so How are you REALLY doing?"

This is the question I get asked most often. Really, I am okay. I have a knot on the back of my neck(I am guessing a swollen lymph node), and a sore throat (a real one, not from the surgery), and my chest hurts a little (probably from stress), and I am running a little fever. So, I feel bad, but none of that has anything to do with the cancer that I know of. We will check out the fever and sore throat when I see Dr S on Thursday.
I am interested to hear what the Tumor Board says about all this. I wonder if they will find it as interesting as Dr S does. To me, it seems so random, but then again, Cancer is like that.
I'm not worried or afraid, or depressed, or upset. Maybe I should be. Then again, what good would that do? Just make me feel worse and make everyone avoid me. People will feel sorry for you for a little while, but no one wants to hang out with someone who is all "poor me" all the time. I want to be an inspiration. I want people to ask "How do you do it?", because then i can give my testimony and tell them about Jesus! I want to make people feel better about them selves and their circumstances. Most of all, i want the people in my life to hunger and thirst for a close, personal, intimate relationship with Christ.
I was telling a friend today....I don't know how people make it through times such as this without a strong relationship with Christ. It is hard to trust someone you don't know, or even someone you just met, or someone you are acquainted with. I mean, when bad things happen, who do we run to? The girl at the check out at Wal mart? The person who you see in the parking lot at work and smile at every morning (" I think his/her name is....")? Your neighbor across the street that you greet with a hearty "Mornin!" as you both grab your newspapers or take the garbage to the road on garbage day? The person who you work next to every day, but don't see out side of the office? No, when you need help, you turn to the people you KNOW, people you have a history with. People that have already shown you that they are trustworthy.
I am so grateful that God drew me close to His heart years ago. He has already delivered me from anorexia and bulimia. He has already held me through grief. He has fed me and watered me and helped me to grow. HE has provided a way when there seemed no hope. He answered our prayers when the Doctor said that I was having a miscarriage when I was pregnant with Brian. He comforted me when I did miscarry and lost Brian's and Izzy's sister or brother. He has helped me make sense of numerous "injustices". He has taught me to forgive. He has taught me what it means to love unconditionally. He has shown me grace. He has calmed my fears, eased my doubts, and put a song in my heart. I KNOW Him. I LOVE Him. I know I can trust Him whether it is when I am considering a job, needing extra $$ to make it to payday, or with Cancer. My Savior will take care of me and mine. I may not always understand why things happen, but I am able to rest in the sweet understanding of my Creator's character. He is love. He loves me. He has a plan and His plan is best!
So, I am REALLY okay.