Sunday, March 10, 2019

Mack Brock: COVERED


Mack Brock has been a  worship leader for 15 years, and his greatest passion is to lead people into a heightened awareness of the presence of God. 

I'm excited to announce that Mack's newest album, "Covered," will be released on March 22nd, and it can be pre-ordered here from Amazon or iTunes:


NOTE:  When you pre-order the EP album, you will also get the digital single of "I Am Loved." 
Watch and listen to the lyric video here, especially if you are feeling un-loved. This is a reassuring worship song that reminds us how we are welcomed by God just as we are. We can go to Him and He will accept us with open arms, because we are loved by Him:




Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this product information. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I will receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

 

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

I'm Beginning Arimidex Tonight

Yesterday's appointment with my Oncologist went well (once we finally got to see him, that is. We ended up waiting 2 hours past my appointment time before he walked into the room!)

The doc quickly went over my lab results. There were 3 of them:  Estradiol, LH, and FSH. Two of them showed I am post-menopausal. The third one showed inconclusive, but the doc said that one was the least reliable of the three. So, based on the lab results and all the other evidence, he said he is 98% sure I am post-menopausal. If not completely, then I'm almost there. So, he felt comfortable prescribing the generic version of Arimidex for me, and I will begin taking it tonight at bed time.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. I was concerned I was going to need another surgery to have my ovaries removed in order to force me into menopause (if I already wasn't). But, now, that doesn't need to happen. I am extremely GRATEFUL about that.

The side effects of the med do not thrill me - things like increased risk of osteoporosis, increased risk of high cholesterol, increased risk of blood clots, bone pain, hot flashes, fatigue, mood changes, nausea, etc. - but the risks of NOT taking it are a little more bothersome to me. So, I am going to give it a try. Some women have very little problem with it; so hopefully that will be the case with me. 

I will see my doc again in 3 months to discuss how I'm doing. I appreciate your prayers, and will update you when I can.



Sunday, March 3, 2019

Not Done with All Treatments Yet

If you've been looking for a new post from me, I'm sorry I haven't been posting much lately. Between my recent surgery and also getting Mom moved in and settled, life has been extremely busy. (Yes, if you haven't already heard, Mom had decided it was time for a change, so the family worked together to make it possible for her to move in with us.)

Things are finally beginning to slow down for now, so I wanted to take this lull time to update you with my recent visit to see my Oncologist. 

On February 20th, after my second checkup with my surgeon, I had a consultation with my Oncologist. I received some GREAT NEWS from him, which is, I will not need any chemotherapy or radiation to treat my cancer this time around! He said the left-side mastectomy surgery was all that was needed for this one. So, we are very grateful for that bit of news.

However, it has been recommended that I begin taking a daily medication called Arimidex. 

At first, the doc said I would not need any meds; but, as David and I began to ask questions, and we all discussed my case further, the doc ended up changing his mind.

It was decided, the most recent cancer (left side) is not really a concern anymore, because it was non-invasive. But, the previous cancer (right side) WAS invasive. So, that is the one we still need to be concerned about. That is the one that has a potential to return - to metastasize - to another part of the body. It could still come back into the small amount of tissue that remains after surgery, or come back in the lungs, or in the bones, or somewhere else. So, that is the one we need to continue addressing.

Then, it was decided we needed to know for certain if I am past the menopause stage, because Arimidex is most effective in post-menopausal women. So, labs were drawn to help determine this. At this point, the results are inconclusive, and I'm not exactly sure why. I have another consultation coming up this Tuesday to discuss it more, and we will determine the next step in the process.

Of course, I was hoping for no further treatments at all, but I know it could be a lot worse.

I AM GRATEFUL:
  • I don't need chemo or radiation.
  • For an involved husband who asks a lot of questions.
  • For good doctors.
  • For modern medicine.
  • For family and friends who care about me and will continue to pray me through.


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

THE RESTORATION SERIES: Jonathan's Walk


Jonathan has been looking forward to his release from prison for over a decade. So many life events have been missed - milestone moments with his family, such as his daughter's first day of school - and he is now ready to be with his wife and kids again.

This transition isn't going to be easy. With over half of prisoners returning to prison within two years, the odds are against him. Jonathan is aware of the challenges set before him, yet, he is determined to take the skills he has learned into the world outside of incarceration and help build his community.

NOTE: Although the USA is home to only 4% of the world's population, we house more than 20% of its prisoners. Recidivism - the tendency of a criminal to re-offend - is out of control.

Prison Fellowship presents The Restoration Series: Jonathan’s Walk, a 5-part documentary film series following Jonathan as he re-enters his community after 15 years in prison. It also tells the story of men and women who have experienced The Academy, a revolutionary in-prison program that is combating incarceration and recidivism head on.

WATCH  HERE:


Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this introduction video. 

Go to the main website of THE RESTORATION SERIES and enter your e-mail address to unlock the series and watch it for FREE. 


Sunday, January 20, 2019

Post-Surgery Gratitude


I had my 2nd mastectomy this past Tuesday, and I have many things to be grateful for. Here are just a few that I want to mention:
  1. I did not get sick before surgery, so it did not need to be postponed. 
  2. The nurse who took care of me before and after surgery was wonderful. I was not able to have an IV placed in either of my arms/hands, so it had to be inserted in a foot. She was having trouble with my tiny veins, and ended up sticking me 3 times, but the 3rd time worked. She was very patient and calm through it all, and I even heard her whisper a prayer, "Please, Lord" before sticking me for the 3rd time. God answered her prayer.
  3. Surgery went well, without any complications. It took around 3 hours.
  4. I did not get nauseous after surgery like I have in the past, because they gave me a Scopalamine patch behind my ear to keep the nausea away.
  5. I was doing well after surgery, so I was able to go home that same afternoon.
  6. I am thankful for our new recliner. It has been helpful for me, because laying down on a bed was difficult and painful for the first few nights.
  7. My mother was not able to come for the surgery, due to sickness, but David's parents were able to be here. David's dad went with us to the hospital, and his mom, Sharon, stayed at the house with the kids. Sharon is still here helping out where needed, and I am very grateful for her help. 
  8. Several ladies from our church have brought over meals, which has been a true blessing! Other friends and family have sent private messages, cards, flowers, and/or made phone calls to encourage and pray with me. True Christian hospitality in the works.
  9. It is a blessing to have my husband, David, with me through doctor appointments, surgery, post-surgery care, etc. I trust him and am grateful for his wisdom and medical knowledge.
  10. The surgeon I had was the same one I had 6 years ago. So, I was comfortable with him. Before surgery, he always initials the area that is going to be operated on. This is how he did mine: 
 
11.  I know my surgeon's hands were guided by "The Great Physician," just like it shows in the picture below. This picture was hanging in my surgeon's office when I went in for a pre-surgery consultation. David pointed it out to me, and I had to take a picture of it.

 
Here's a close up look at the verse on the bottom of the picture.
 
12.  The nurses and doctors took good care of me at the hospital, including the way they wrapped me in warm blankets after surgery. It made me feel warm and cozy as I was waking up.
13.  Pain medications worked well, so my pain has not been unbearable. I'm mostly just really sore, and also uncomfortable from the drainage tube and side effects of surgery. I am taking things one day at a time, and look forward to Wednesday, when the drainage tube will be removed.

14.  We are still waiting for the pathology report to come back but, from what we know so far, we are anticipating all the margins to be clear and all of the cancer to be gone. Time will tell.

15.  I have had good days and hard days but, through it all, I am counting my blessings. God is  good all the time.
 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Start of My Gratitude Journal



At the end of 2018, I saw and shared a photo on Facebook that showed a glass jar with folded up pieces of paper in it. The words on the photo gave the suggestion to write down one blessing each week and put it in the jar. Then, at the end of the year, go back and read them all. I thought that was such a great idea and decided I wanted to give it a try. But, then the thought came to me that a "gratitude journal" would work just as well, and I would be more apt to actually follow through with doing it if I did it that way. So, I found an empty, spiral notebook and began my entries on January 1st.

Its a pretty simple thing to do. Each day, I write out one or two (sometimes more) things I am thankful for. I have my notebook and pen on a table next to my bed and usually write in it before turning out the lights. It is a good way to help me fall asleep while thinking about the blessings in my life. I write down things from my day that made me smile, kind acts from someone, a kind act I did for someone else, or just something or someone I have thought about that day. 


Here's a look at my entries from this past week:

JANUARY 6 (Sunday): I am grateful for my teen son's hugs. Tonight, as we were getting ready to eat supper, I spilled an entire pan of pizza onto the bottom of our hot oven. I was upset and stressed, but JJ helped me clean up the mess, and then spontaneously gave me a hug. It really helped calm me and made things so much better. Just a simple hug can make a world of difference.

JANUARY 7 (Mon): Today is JJ's birthday. I am grateful to have shared 16 years with him so far. He is growing into a fine young man with a kind heart. I love him so much. I am also grateful his cousin/best friend was able to be here to help us celebrate.

JANUARY 8 (Tues):  I am grateful for the new recliner couch that arrived yesterday. It is very comfortable and was MUCH needed to replace our old 22-year-old hide-a-bed couch. This recliner will be VERY helpful as I am recovering from surgery next Tuesday, the 15th.

JANUARY 9 (Wed):  I am grateful for the way God brings strength and encouragement at just the right time. I have been really stressed this week, trying to get things accomplished before surgery, and frantically trying to  keep things disinfected so I don't get sick. Then, today I read a devotional in "Our Daily Bread" (it was actually the one from yesterday). It reminded me that worrying does not help the situation I am worried about. God is in control and I need to place my trust in HIM.

JANUARY 10 (Thurs): I am grateful for the relaxing, inspirational piano music that I can listen to on my tablet as I fall asleep tonight. It soothes my soul.
 
JANUARY 11 (Fri):  I am grateful for the safe travels of friends and family who needed to travel this afternoon in bad weather.

JANUARY 12 (Sat):  I am grateful David and I were able to sleep in this morning. I love our Saturday morning snuggles. I am also thankful for snow plows, the people who drive them, and my warm home. 

If you haven't already started your own GRATITUDE JOURNAL, its not too late to start. Just grab a notebook, or notebook paper, and start writing. It will become a blessing to you - I am sure of it - as well as a treasured keepsake to look back on at the end of the year.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Focus for 2019: GRATITUDE


For the past few months, I have been praying about which topic I should focus on in 2019 - for myself, as well as for sharing on my blog. One idea that came to me after reading a devotional in Our Daily Bread was that "every moment matters." So, I started making some notes, but wasn't yet convinced about that topic being the one. 

Recently, some friends told me that last year's posts about TRUST had been great; however, with my newly diagnosed cancer and other difficult things that have happened this past year, they thought maybe I was being “tested” on my trust - you know, sort of like "practicing what I preach." So, instead of writing more about trust this year, it was recommended that maybe I should write about blessings. I laughed at the suggestion and told them I would think about it; but that did get me to start thinking, "Hmmm, that might actually be a good topic to write about, and it could be right in line with moments that matter." So, I continued praying about it.

A few weeks later, I was chatting with my mom. She also said the TRUST posts have been good, and she has enjoyed reading them. Then, she reminded me about how my dad was often “tested” on the things he preached and taught when he was alive. So, she was sort of joking, and sort of being serious when she laughed and said, “Maybe your next topic should be about praises!” I laughed also, and told her I might have to do that.

  • MOMENTS THAT MATTER
  • BLESSINGS
  • PRAISES

They are all similar.

It was already pretty clear at that point about what God was trying to tell me; but, silly me, I still wanted to be sure.  So, I asked for one more sign.

Shortly after that, I found a short, online questionnaire from DaySpring that helps users find their "one word" for the new year. I took the quiz, and the word they gave me was . . . GRATITUDE.


The comments given to me after taking the quiz said:
2019 is your year to be thankful and practice gratitude in all things. It can be easy to take for granted the tremendous blessings you’ve been given, but this year is about mindfully thanking God for what you’ve been given, and sharing that gratitude with others!
Did you read that?

Bingo! It all made sense! GRATITUDE is needed in order to count your blessings. GRATITUDE is needed in order to praise the Lord for what He has done. GRATITUDE is the word I had been looking for. It's the one word God made clear that I am meant to focus on in 2019.

I really have no idea where this is going to lead, but at least I have goal - a direction to go in. So, my Sunday posts are going to be about GRATITUDE. That includes sharing about the ways the Lord has blessed me and my family, giving Him praises in all circumstances, and focusing on all the precious moments that really matter in this life.

I hope you will follow along; and please feel free to join me in this new year prayer:
Dear Lord, in 2019, use my words and actions to spur others on towards gratitude. Help me to be an encouragement as I praise you for all the blessings you have given. Amen.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Final List of TRUST Posts

Well, it's been a good year of writing about TRUST; but I'm ready for something new. I am praying about a new topic to write about in 2019. But, for now, here is the final list of TRUST posts from 2018. Take some time to read the ones you missed, or maybe just read through your favorites again.

Thanks for following along with this series.

TRUST #1:  Focus for 2018:  TRUST
TRUST #2:  My Unexplained Pain
TRUST #3:  God Works All Things for Our Good
TRUST #4:  Remember How God Has Helped You in the Past
TRUST #5:  Trust in God's Love for You
TRUST #6:  Trust God's Decision on Leaders
TRUST #7:  A Simple Plan to Help Us TRUST More and Worry Less
TRUST #8:  Trust God to Meet Your Needs (Carolyn McIntosh's Story)
TRUST #9:  He Never Leaves Us Nor Forsakes Us (Daneille Snowden's Story)
TRUST #10:  Following God's Lead (Charity Vanderhoof's Story)
TRUST #11:  Trusting Christ with a "Death Sentence" (Mike Phillip's Story)
TRUST #12:  The First Moment of Real Trust in God
TRUST #13:  Trusting God to Help Us Find Our Way (Daniel McIntosh's Story)
TRUST #14:  Trust God to Listen to Your Heart
TRUST #15:  How to Trust in God When You Don't Know How
TRUST #16:  Trusting God When Your Family Turns Against You (Rein Schmidt's Story)
TRUST #17:  Prayers Can Show Our Trust
TRUST #18:  What Faith Means to Me (Guest: Carolyn McIntosh)
TRUST #19:  "Trust" Quote from Chip Ingram
TRUST #20:  Romans 15:13
TRUST #21:  Twila Paris "Do I Trust You?"
TRUST #22:  "Trust the Engineer" (A Quote by Corrie TenBoom)
TRUST #23:  A Father Who Can Be Trusted
TRUST #24:  Allowing Our Son to Go and Do
TRUST #25:  Trusting the Reliability of God's Word
TRUST #26:  Lauren Daigle "Trust in You"
TRUST #27:  EL is 2 Year Seizure-Free
TRUST #28:  Tis So Sweet to TRUST in Jesus
TRUST #29:  A Review of TRUST Posts
TRUST #30:  He Will Carry Us Safe to Shore
TRUST #31:  Ideas to Help Grandparents Share Their Faith with Their Grandchildren
TRUST #32:  Remember His Wondrous Works (Guest: Carolyn McIntosh)
TRUST #33:  HYMN:  Trusting Jesus
TRUST #34:  Do Not Worry About Tomorrow
TRUST #35:  Choose to Cease Striving
TRUST #36:  David Nevue and Psalm 5
TRUST #37:  Selah "Lord I Trust You"
TRUST #38:  Nahum 1:7 
TRUST #39:  A Good Report on EL's 6th MRI
TRUST #40:  Trusting There is a Reason for Delays 
TRUST #41:  Has My Cancer Returned???
TRUST #42:  The Biopsy
TRUST #43:  The Biopsy Results 
TRUST #44:  Trusting God to Supply All Our Needs  
TRUST #45:  Cancer "Processing Mode"


If anyone was working on a trust story that you didn't finish, feel free to send it my way when you get it done. We can always benefit from more trust stories.



Wednesday, December 12, 2018

TRUST #45: Cancer "Processing Mode"


I'm posting another TRUST post today instead of on Sunday, because I have information to share that I know many of you have been waiting to hear.

I finally had a consultation yesterday with my Oncologist.
 
Here are the facts:
  1. This is a NEW cancer, totally unrelated to my first cancer from 6 years ago.
  2. The cancer is Stage 0 - which means it is currently non-invasive. (This is good news because my first cancer was stage 2.)
  3. The cancer is High Grade - which means it started growing quickly, and will continue growing quickly. So, even though it is currently Stage 0 (non-invasive), it could quickly change into invasive if it is not removed. 
  4. The cancer is 97% Estrogen Positive, which means Estrogen is what is making it grow.
  5. The cancer is also 1% Progesterone Positive.
  6. The best course of action is a mastectomy. I will be seeing my surgeon for a consultation on December 20th. 
  7. I will not be needing any kind of bone scans or PET scans before surgery. I will not need to have them done at all, unless the pathology report after surgery contains new information that would require more testing. 
  8. I have been taking Tamoxifen for the past 5 1/2 years in order to block the estrogen my body makes. If I had not been taking it, this new cancer might have happened a lot sooner than it did. However, it is apparently not working on me as effectively as it should. So, my doctor told me to stop taking it.
  9. After my surgery, I will begin taking a different medication (I don't know the name of it yet) that should hopefully be more effective.
  10. If all goes as planned, and they don't find any "surprises" in my pathology report, I will not need chemo or radiation treatments.

How is this affecting me?
  • I'm experiencing what you might call "processing mode." I have received all the information, and now I am working through different thoughts and emotions. Even though I have had cancer before, its not any easier this time around.
  • I am so thankful this cancer was caught early. Things could be much worse!
  • At the same time, I'm feeling a bit "down"about needing to go through another mastectomy. 
  • I am also wondering what is making ME so prone to this type of cancer, especially since I have no family history of it. (My dad had prostate cancer, but that's not quite the same). I want answers, but the answers may not be revealed in my lifetime. 
  • Through it all, I'm still TRUSTING in God's plans for my life, and I know He will be there to help me and my family through this.