Monday, April 30, 2012

Day 8 Men as Trees Walking

In the Gospel of Mark, after Jesus leaves Bethsaida, he meets a blind man.   After asking to be cured, Jesus put spit on the man's eyes.  When He asked the man what he could see, the man said, "I see men as trees, walking."  Jesus then touched his eyes and the blind man could see clearly. 
This passage has always fascinated me and I've painted versions of it many times.  This is the one I have now.

It is the only time Jesus didn't instantly cure someone.  I've searched out the reason and haven't found it.  The only thing I did find was a reference to the fact that in those times spit was believed to have therapeutic qualities.  Glad that belief doesn't still exist.  So one thought that occurred to me was that because He used a worldly cure, it only partially cured the blind man.  It took Jesus' touch to complete the cure.  That, to me, speaks volumes.  I know where my healing comes from and He will coax it along but only by His hand, by His stripes, will I be totally cured.
I read the Daily Word every morning and this morning's gave me a confirmation of this journey. 

Monday, April 30, 2012
God is my companion and guide at all times and in all places.
An unexpected change - or even an expected one - might seem like the last thing I would ask for; but over time, its value becomes clear.  My life is unfolding in divine order.  As I remain at peace with what is and listen for divine direction, I move into new experiences with grace and ease.  I cooperate with my spirit and expect only the best from this divine journey.
My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me.  John 10:27

And so the journey continues.  Off to the doctor at 5pm.  I'll let you know tomorrow the results.
In the meantime, please hold up Melanie's childhood friend Renee as she battles breast cancer.

Thank You God for a blessed and healthy day.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Day 7 - A Job from God

It's Sunday and while I was getting ready for church this morning, I began to think about this blog.  The response to it has been amazing and I'm overwhelmed by the number of people checking in to see how I'm doing.  I posted before that I am going to use this journey to honor God and, somehow or other, this blog is going to be a part of it, whether it's to inspire others or to somehow help them.  I also realized it can't be just about me.  So, here is what God put on my heart to do.  I am asking everyone who comes to read this blog to click on FOLLOW at the top and sign up as a follower.  Each day I want as part of the blog to raise up someone in prayer who is fighting cancer.  Once you are a follower, you are automatically a prayer buddy and, if you will just offer up a quick prayer of healing for the person mentioned, as our numbers grow we can make a huge difference in someone else's journey. 
So, first sign up to follow and then leave a comment at the bottom of the first name of someone you know fighting cancer and what type of cancer they're fighting.  The next day, I'll ask everyone to just say a prayer for that person right then or to include them in prayers later in the day.  Just imagine if we have two hundred people praying for your friend or loved one or if we have five hundred or even one thousand prayer buddies offering up a prayer for that person.  The Lord said wherever two or more are gathered in His name, there He is also.  We all know there is power in prayer and power in numbers and Jesus is in our midst. 
I spoke this to my church family this morning.  It was pretty emotional for me and I wasn't expecting that but ....oh well.  They all came in agreement and in prayer for my healing and for what we can do with joined prayer through this blog.
As for me, Melanie and I meet with Dr Manji tomorrow, Monday, at 5 pm to go over the results of the scan and bloodwork and to decide what the next step in my healing will be.   Whatever it is, as Butch sang so beautifully this morning, I am not alone. 

As for today, please hold up Jo, Ebby's Mom, in prayer as she fights lung cancer.

Thank You God for a blessed day.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Day 6

I'm so excited!  For the first time in 6 days today I feel like singing praises to God.  
God is good.  All the time.  He put a song of praise in this heart of mine.
God is good.  All the time.  And through the darkest night His light will shine.
God is good.  He's so good.  All the time.
I slept 12 hours last night.  My eyes are puffy and I have bed head and you know what?  I don't care.  Can you believe it?  30 years selling real estate, president of the Rosenberg Revitalization Association, president of the Ft. Bend Association of Realtors, first woman president of the Rose Rich Area Chamber of Commerce and I would never leave home looking less than perfect.  Made up, done up, and looking professional.
Once I retired and started to earn my living in art I began to relax a little and now.........I have my permission to look however I look.  No apologies.  Yay!
I am finding that in traveling it's very difficult to keep up with eating right.  I had planned to pack up  all my new foods and bring it with me but that was too difficult.  Next time I'll plan better.  My day starts with the flax oil/cottage cheese cocktail.  Since the colonoscopy, I feel like I have a big open sore in my abdomen, like the invasion may have wakened a sleeping giant.  It may be in my mind but after my breakfast cocktail yesterday, I have to say the spot felt more calmed down. 
I have had people ask if I'm going to fight this by myself meaning without medical treatment.  I can definitively say NO!  Some of the books I've read on cancer talk down about the doctors and medical treatment.  Not me.  As long as they know more than I do, I honor and respect their knowledge and will do my best to follow their recommendations.  So, I am not going to do this myself.
My first help is God.  If He's willing and I know He is, I'll be healed, one way or another. 
Second help is from the doctors.  I love my gastro, Dr. Manji.  He spends more than the allotted two minutes explaining and making sure I understand everything.  I'm sure other doctors are in my future and God is choosing them right now so that they're the best one's to take care of me.
Third is me.  It is my responsibility to make sure I do as everything I can to support my body along through this process.  Study, research and incorporate what I can.  No stress, lots of humor, walking in the sun and, whenever I can, on the beach.  I think a visit to my favorite Galveston may be in order.
Thank You God for a great day.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Day 5

Just day 5? 
It seems like a year at least that I've been dealing with this thing.  I'm in Kerrville in a really nice hotel room that I treated myself to and relaxing before going back to Rivers Edge Gallery for this evening's reception.  The art is hung and looks beautiful.  This was a good break for me and I'm so glad I'm here.  Not that "you know what" is ever very far back in my mind but a change of scenery is nice. 
I had a few hours to think on the drive up this morning.  I have mentioned this before that it seems to me like Breast Cancer has a little glamour attached to it.  Nancy Reagan, Robin Roberts, Christina Applegate, Suzanne Somers - these women have all been spokeswomen for Breast Cancer Awareness with their cute little pink ribbons, pink caps, pink tees.  High school, college and NFL football players wear pink gloves during their games in support of breast cancer survival.  Even M&M's made pink candies in pink packages.  Pretty cool, huh?
Then there's colon cancer.  No pink ribbons.  No ribbons of any kind.  I mean, what color ribbon would you wear to support colon cancer awareness?  Brown?  Ugh!  And who is there to speak out for colon cancer awareness.  No one.  Well, not exactly no one.  There's me and................ wait for it ............wait for it comes.............Ozzy Osbourne!  Yes!  The one and only old rocker, Ozzy Osbourne, the one who bit the heads off bats on stage during his performances.  Have you seen his commercial where his wife acting all cute and coy asks him if he could have anything he wants what would it be and he answers in his gutteral monotone voice that is almost unintelligible to the American ear, "A colonoscopy."  Oh my gosh.  That is sure going to have people out there rushing to a gastro to schedule the procedure.  So, I guess it's up to me.  Not that Ozzy and I don't have a lot in common when it comes to bats.  No, I never bit a head off of one but that's another story for another time. 
The more I share about this journey, the more people tell me of friends and relatives with colon cancer that are now cancer free.  That's very encouraging.  I know in my heart that this happened to me for a reason and that it is my job to take it and do the most with it that I can.  Whether or not I am healed yet, I want to honor God throughout this process and use it as a platform to encourage other people to be more aware of the signs their body is giving them, to take better care of themselves and most of all to appreciate the amazing gift that their body is. 
So now, I'm about to curl up for a nice little healing nap and then off to meet some new collectors.
Thank You God for a great day.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Day 4

Yesterday wasn't exactly a pity party but I did feel way down most of the day.  Maybe because no coffee and no food until the afternoon.  Pet scan was at 11 and I didn't get out until after lunch.  Actually, the scan was pretty cool.  Everyone so nice.  I talked dogs with the lady who gave me the sugar iv.  She's an expert with a needle.  Then they put me in a quiet room in a big recliner and wrapped me in warmed blankets for about 30 minutes before the scan where I was wrapped in more warm blankets.  Yummy feeling.  Sort of like a big burrito.

During that time I read an interesting article in Newsweek.  It written by a Christian who thinks politics and organized religion is what is turning young people away from Christ.  Okay, maybe some validity in what he wrote.  But the most interesting part of the article was about Thomas Jefferson.  Jefferson did not accept a good portion of what was written in the Bible and only focused on the words and actions of Jesus.  Apparently there is a copy of his Bible at the Smithsonian that shows where he meticulously used a razor to remove those words written in red and pasted them all together in another book that he read and studied instead of the Bible itself.  Note to self:  Read more about Thomas Jefferson.  After all, who of us has the nerve to actually cut up a Bible for goodness sake.  I need to know more about him.

Back to yesterday.  I had planned to go to Whole Foods after the scan but came home and slept more.  Tried to paint and got a little done.  Slept some more.  Then finally about 7 I came to and drove to Krogers.  Have I mentioned since this thing started that I have been following pretty much an organic and vegan diet?  I just think if I'm going to be in a battle, the least I can do is use every weapon available to me.  Since I was there a few days ago, they totally revamped their produce department and doubled the organic veggie part.  They must have known I was coming.  More expensive but, believe me, you don't eat as much.  Once my new juicer gets here I'll start with the carrot/apple juicing daily.  That's supposed to be the most effective for colon cancer.  In the meantime, I am starting on the Henderson plan for curing cancer gently, if there's such a way.  His plan is based on a diet by Dr Joanna Budwig.  Mainstay is morning starts with cottage cheese/flax seed oil/berries.  Doesn't sound very appetizing but I'm sure I'll get used to it.  If that kills those little cancer cells, what do I care how it tastes.  On top of that, Dr. Joel Fuhrmann promotes GOMBS which is easy to follow.  The one thing all the philosophies have in common is that a plant based diet limiting meat and dairy, flour and sugar is the most beneficial.  Okay, I can do that.

I woke earlier this morning and with more energy.  I did have a little "why me?" sneak into my mind while I was still in bed.  It was like a spider creeping through a crevice and I stomped on it before it had time to get fully into the room.  As an aside, I do not stomp on bugs.  They have to go away on their own and if they don't do that then I'll vacuum them up.

Today is blood work this morning then going to Body Designer for some exercise.  Back here to get ready to leave early tomorrow morning for Kerrville.  There will be an artist reception at River's Edge Gallery opening a two month show of my work.  Just over night on Friday and back Saturday.  Praying for a great show and lots of sales.    Now off to fix my breakfast concoction.

Thank You God for a great day.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Day 3

I'm feeling a little down this morning and having a little cry.  Well, it's about to morph into a big cry.   I'm so lucky to have so many wonderful people who love and care for me.  I emailed artists Jack White and Mikki Senkarik.  They both beat cancer and believe strongly in the power of humor.  They're sending me something and I bet it's something to watch that will make me laugh.  Not seeing much humor in anything this morning.  My cousin's daughter wrote that she and her family prayed together for me this morning.  That made me cry again. 
I'm having a hard time praying.  Usually my morning starts with Bible study and prayer time.  My mind doesn't seem to be able to focus long enough to pray.  I miss and need that connection right now.  I know He hasn't deserted me but I am just feeling a distance. 

"I will lead the blind by a road they do not know, by paths they have not known I will guide them."  Isaiah 42:16

This verse was on the Daily Word website today.  I know it has meaning for me.  How am I going to use this road, this journey to bring me closer to my Creator?  He is giving me this opportunity to do something I've never done before.  What is it?  How am I going to turn this into something positive for me and for others? 

Okay, I did just laugh.  Out loud.  I've turned off news and have only comedy on TV.  Will and Grace on in the background.  They just found out Karen's husband Stan is not dead.
Grace: "But we had a funeral and scattered a garbage bag full of his ashes."
Will:  "Apparently that was just dirt and rice krispies."

Okay, from God to Will and Grace.  I've gotta get a grip. 
Long soak in a hot tub and then heading out for pet scan. 

Thank You God for a great day. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Day 2

This has been a crazy day.  First of all I slept like a baby.  Went to sleep around 11pm and slept thru until after 7am.  That was awesome.
Lots of things to think about today.  Most importantly, what can I do to help myself?  When Mel was little with kidney problems and blood pressure issues, I began to study a book by Adelle Davis.  At that time, she was the nutrition guru of the day.  I learned about curtailing sodium for renal issues and benefits of natural foods.  For a long time, I would fix all Mel's lunches to take to school making sure to limit to low sodium foods, only fruit for sweets and as little processed food as possible.    Throughout her journey to transplant, she learned to watch protein and once she was almost at transplant, began to have to watch out for potassium, and magnesium and just about everything except what was in jelly beans.  Ha!   She's still very careful and because of it, even doctors are surprised that she's a transplant patient.
Anyway, since then, I have periodically delved into books on nutrition and have discovered that it is a fairly accepted fact that cancer cells cannot live in an alkaline environment.  Actually, I started working in that direction last Wednesday after the colonscopy when Dr. Manji told Mel and I that I would have to have surgery to remove a polyp that couldn't be removed otherwise and a chance that it was cancer.  Of course, yesterday confirmed it.  So a huge part of this journey is going to be attacking this thing nutritionally.  I think with my life maybe depending on it, it is going to be much easier than it would be otherwise. 
Tomorrow I'll be going in for a Pet Scan for staging.  One's called a cat scan and another a pet scan.  Hmmmm.   A little strange, don't you think, that both tests are named after animals.  Just an observation.
After that a road trip to Whole Foods.  I'll probably skip stopping at Great Greek Grill.  That's okay.  My falafel is almost as good as theirs and maybe a little better and I can bake mine instead of frying.  I'm a huge fan of most ethnic foods and it's surprising how much healthier food from many other cultures is than ours.  More about that later. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Day 1 - Diagnosis

Today, April 23, 2012, at 3:30pm CTS, I was diagnosed with colon cancer.  Me! I have cancer.  Me! Jo Edwards.  Little Jo Sue Hodnett from Eagle Lake, Texas.  I have cancer.  How weird is that?  I have cancer.  I can't believe it.   Other people have cancer.  Not me.

I have to admit I was nervous on my way to the doctor's office to hear the news.  After the colonoscopy last week, he indicated I would have to have surgery but wasn't sure it was cancer.  Well, of course it was.  Once I heard the words, it was almost a relief.  Okay, now I know.  I really do have cancer.   And so the journey begins.

I had a little cry but not a big one.  I sent out an email announcing my news.  Some news.  Ha!  I'm spending the evening alone.  My daughter wanted me to come over for dinner but I felt I really needed to process how I'm feeling and exactly how I'm going to handle this. 

How am I going to handle this?  I don't really know.  My first decision is this.  I am going to label myself a cancer survivor.  I usually think of a cancer survivor as someone whose cancer is in remission.  I'm not there yet but as long as I'm alive, I'm a survivor, aren't I?  I AM A CANCER SURVIVOR.
What next?

 Well, actually next is Cat/Pet Scan on Wednesday for staging.  That's a new term  I just learned.  It means the tests are to determine if the cancer has spread, where to and to what degree. 

How will I sleep tonight?  Will I even be able to sleep tonight?  I don't know.  Am I frightened?  I don't feel that now but will I feel it when I lay down to try to sleep?   Time to find out.