Thursday, May 31, 2012

Day 36 Share the News

If you are ever faced with a diagnosis like mine, my advice to you is to share the news.  I first shared with my church family and I was covered with love.  Then I shared with my Facebook friends and the feedback was immediate and so reassuring.  Lastly, through my art newsletter, I shared the news with my art family.  I am still receiving emails of support daily from collectors who have become friends over the years.   A new collector who has been waiting about three years to purchase one of my paintings sent me this verse this morning.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ."
Phillipians 4:6,7

Well that just put a lump in my throat and brought tears to my eyes.  How do people do this without God?  I just can't imagine how it would be without the knowledge that my Lord is with me every step of the way.  I would just feel vulnerable, unprotected and uncared for. I am so grateful to have Him and so filled with love for Him.  It carries me through minute by minute, hour by hour and day by day.  I go to sleep wrapped in His love and wake wrapped in His love.  All day long there are little happenings that remind me that He's still there.  How lucky am I?  I know I'm not the exception.  I'm just fortunate enough to have learned to see His hand in everything good that happens. 

Painting and baking today.  What could be better than that?  I'm going to try my first UPS pickup for some paintings for the Austin gallery.  This way I won't have to worry about driving to shipping location. 

Not sure what I'm going to eat today.  It's about time for my fo/cc smoothie.  Then I think for lunch I'll have a baked red potato topped with sauteed onion, bell pepper, mushrooms and tomato.  Probably a little leftover pico and avocado from last night along with it.  For tonight, a large spinach salad with carrots, celery, orange pepper and I may treat myself to a boiled egg to go in it.  Then I'll top it with my nut/seed/cranberry mix and a touch of vinaigrette. 
Mel gave me a gift card to Whole Foods for Mother's Day and I bought some of the most delicious dark purple table grapes that's I'll have for a bedtime snack.  That and maybe a couple of the chips with some almond butter on them. 

Six days until surgery.

Precious Lord, I am so grateful for all of Your blessing.  I thank You for the amazing art family you have honored me with, for their loving support and prayers.  Please forgive my occasional whining and remind me how fortunate I am to have the best of care, physicians and surgeons whose hands you will guide.  I glorify you in every step of this journey.  Most of all, Lord, today please bless all those others out there waging war against this enemy that is working so hard to defeat them.  Give them your strength and your healing to be the victors.
These things I pray in the name of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Day 35 Back to Normal

What an awesome day this is going to be.  Now that all the testing is behind me, I feel relaxed and calm.  Chipper is getting a bath, all the supplies are on the counter to make six dozen cuppies for Mel's Wedding Party.   The yardman was here and the lawn is mowed, it's a little overcast and making me want an early healing nap.  I'm going to finish two paintings for the gallery in Austin and get those ready to ship by the weekend.

Today's menu started with my coffee (Yay!) and 1/2 slice Ezekiel Bread with a little raw almond butter.  Then I had the cottage cheese/flax oil smoothie.   I'm craving more noodle soup since yesterday so I think lunch will be broth with carrots, celery, mushrooms, rice noodles and some finely sliced napa cabbage.   Yum.  That makes me hungry already.  This afternoon I'll have fresh apple, celery, carrot and grape juice.  I'm thinking that tonight I'll have nachos.  I have gluten free chips that I'll put refried beans on, some sliced avocado and a fresh peach/mango salsa.   In between there is my granola........sliced almonds, pepitas, sunflower seeds and dried cranberries...... if I get hungry. 

I usually have no problem staying with my eating program unless I'm tired and don't have enough energy to cook.  When I'm tired, my resolve disappears and I have several times given in to eat what I shouldn't.  It sometimes isn't easy to eat this way.  But, I don't want my body expending it's energy on digesting food that doesn't benefit my health when that energy could be spent on fighting the enemy.  I want the fuel that I feed my body to be the highest propane possible.

I was thinking the other day that if  someone walked up to any one of us and placed the keys to a Maserati in our hands and said, "Here, it's yours, free of charge.  It's running perfectly and all you have to do is maintain it"  we would be incredibly diligent in maintaining that priceless machine.  We would probably polish it daily and use only the highest quality fuel to keep it at peak performance.   Well, that's what God did when He gifted us with a precious body within which to house our soul.  It is a truly miraculous machine, an amazing gift.  Unfortunately, most of us take our healthy body for granted until a life threatening condition develops.  But, knowing our weaknesses, God has encoded in that body such forgiving powers that as soon as we begin to care for our bodies properly, most of those conditions disappear.   Even when the help of medical intervention is needed, we can still be a catalyst for the success of that intervention by the care we give our body.  

Good Morning Father,  Thank You so much for the gift of this precious body that You have given me.  Please forgive me for not treating it in the past as the miraculous creation that it is.  Thank You for the healing powers that you have placed within each of us.  Help me and all those fighting this hated enemy to do whatever necessary to activate those healing powers.  We're willing to do the work Lord.  In return, please keep us in the palm of Your hand today.  Let us be an example to others of what Your supernatural powers can do.   
In Jesus' name.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Day 34 Countdown to Cancer Free

I'm wondering now if I should be counting days to surgery and being cancer free instead of counting the days since diagnosis.  Hmmm.  It's coming down to the wire.  One week from tomorrow...

Today started off a little shaky with me feeling really weepy.  My boy Chipper hurt himself somehow last night and couldn't get up.  He's been with me 14 years and, for a Golden Retriever, I know we're on borrowed time.  To say I panicked was an understatement but he eventually managed to get up and is fine this morning.  That sort of put a pall on things and then it was time to go to the hospital to register for next week's surgery.  Had to fight not to cry all the way into Sugar Land and especially walking into the building.  I prayed all the way in and then there was a beautiful sculpture of Jesus healing a kneeling woman in the entry and I really almost lost it at that point.  Once I was inside, I was okay.  I'm registered, more bloodwork done, and a chest xray completed.   One more test this afternoon back at the cardiologist and then I'm done with testing.

The lady who did my lab work was a little person.  Precious.  We talked my grandson and her son who is graduating Friday, going into the Army to be a field medic and hopefully go on to become a physician.   I talked lunch with the xray tech because I was getting hungry.  Discovered we both like pho since I was thinking about lunch at Pho Mai.  He told me about a place nearby with Vietnamese Sandwiches for only $2.00.  Then on the way out, a nice looking young man stopped me to ask for some money to take the metro back home from visiting his sister in the hospital.  Hmmm.  Now that I think about it, the metro doesn't come to Sugar Land.  Or at least I don't think it does.  Regardless, I guess he needed the money worse than I did so I'm grateful I had a few dollars to share.

One of the websites I visit daily had this verse posted today. 

"Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking, I will hear."
Isaiah 65:24

That is going to be my verse today to meditate on.  I just need to remind myself that He knows every thing I am feeling, my every care and concern.  For every concern there is an answer in the Bible.  All I have to do is take the time to look for it.  It's there.  I am so happy to have God in my life.  What do people do in my situation without Him?  I just can't even imagine...........

Heavenly Father, Thank You so much for being with me every second of every minute of every day.  You are the Alpha and the Omega.  You are everything.  I am so loved and so blessed and so cared for and I bow in gratitude to Your awesomeness.
Thank You Father for your healing spirit moving mightily within me and within every soul out there fighting this hated enemy.  Thank You for placing the strength within us to wage a valiant and victorious war against those destructive forces. 
In Jesus' name.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Day 36 No Fear

I knew when I walked into church yesterday that God would give Pastor RO the word that I needed right then.  And He did.  All RO had to say was "Psalm 91" and I knew immediately that was the word for me.

My grandson, Logan, used to wear a dogtag with the words "No Fear" on one side and the scripture itself on the other.  He gave many of those dogtags to his dirt bike racing buddies and his football teammates.  I know that scripture, mostly by heart, but my mind hasn't let me slow down enough to go back to it.  Here are the words that spoke to me yesterday and that I carry in my heart today.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."

He will cover you with his feathers and under His wings you will find refuge.

You will not fear the terror of night nor the arrow that flies by day.

He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.

"Because he loves me," says the Lord, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges My name.  He will call upon me and I will answer him;  I will deliver him and honor him.  With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation."

Then I looked over to the next page, to Psalm 92 and here is what I had highlighted from another time when studying Psalms.

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon.

They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green.

I guess today, Memorial Day, I have to feel so grateful to our troops who have given so much to keep our country safe, to allow me to read my Bible and to freely gather with like minded friends to honor my God and to know Him better every day.  We so take for granted this freedom that is being eroded from within our own government.  Tomorrow is Super Tuesday in Texas.  I pray that all of my friends go to the polls and vote for the candidates that will preserve our religious freedom and vote out those candidates that would take that freedom away from us under the guise of "political correctness."

Father God, thank You so much for Your comforting words that calm my spirit, strengthen my faith and reassure me of Your love and protection throughout this journey.  Bless me today Father and bless those others out there fighting the enemy that is trying to destroy us from within.  Bless this country from the other enemy that is also trying to destroy our freedoms from within.   Bless our troops and their families for the sacrifices they are making every day. 
And, most of all today, God Bless America.
In Jesus' name.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Day 35 Defeating The "Don't Wannas"

I started to write yesterday and then had a big case of "don't wannas".  I hate when that happens.  I guess part of it was a letdown after Mel's wedding.  So much fun leading up to it and then the day and it was here and gone so quickly.  I was tired yesterday and I know that's dangerous.  Tired beats down your resolve and your bravery and wants to take you back to where you know you can't go again.

Yes, I wanted to jump in the car and drive thru Whataburger or Burger King instead of cooking what I needed to eat.  Or maybe KFC for some crispy fried or Schultz's for some barbequed sausage.   And I really really wanted a giant fountain diet DP with lots of crushed ice.  Well, I didn't.  I had my smoothie, juiced, cooked spinach and some beautiful speckled butter beans and roasted beets, potatoes, onions, carrots and mushrooms.  I should have photo'd the beans for you.  The colors are awesome.  I'm so silly sometimes.  I see a palette for a painting in everything.  The beans were a mix of light caramel, rich brown and soft sage greens.  Perfect for a tonalist landscape. 

Tuesday I register at Methodist for the surgery.  I'm starting to feel nervous about it and I don't like that.  I want to be calm and confident and assured of the right outcome for everything.  But I guess I'm realizing that on some level I'm not.  There's a scared little girl inside of me wanting to turn and run away from all of this.  Thank You Father that this is coming on Sunday.  I need to be in Your house today and with Your family today.  I know that You will send the right word to comfort and assure me of Your loving presence throughout this journey. 

I did actually get started on pre-surgery cleaning yesterday.  Ugh.  Scrubbed down cabinets, cleaned window sills, stove, fridge, vacuumed, mopped, dusted and polished.  I took my time and it took most of yesterday -  all that in my little kitchen, dining and living areas.  Next is my bedroom and then both bathrooms.   Then I'll just vacuum Chipper's hair for upkeep.  My boy with his beautiful gold and white coat sheds so much but that's okay.  He's truly my very best friend,  He doesn't care if I brush my teeth or make my bed or dust the furniture.  He just wants to be next to me regardless of where I am. 

Heavenly Father, please forgive me for being weak and scared and forgetting that I am in the palm of Your hand and that I can face with strength and assurance anything that comes against me.  Grant that same strength and assurance to everyone facing down this enemy so that it is defeated forever. 
You have given us the power to stamp on snakes and scorpions and authority over the enemy and we stand again on that promise today as we take authority over cancer, defeating it so profoundly that it is gone, never to return.
In Jesus' name.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Day 33 Wedding Day

No, not me but even better............   My precious baby girl is about to marry the man of her dreams, the man God chose for her and I couldn't be happier.    A small private ceremony so I made the perfect little cake for her.   The only "c" word to be mentioned today is "cake."

It's a Vanilla Cake with strawberry buttercream and covered in white chocolate fondant.  I made the flowers from sugar paste and the lace from the fondant.  I can't wait for her to see it.

There is something so restorative and healing for me in working with my hands and I think it probably is the same for most people.   Of course, not everything I work on turns out this well but most of my cakes do.  

So, my grandson is about to be here to pick me up so we can get this happy day started.   It's a happy day for all of us and that's all that matters.  I hope all of you reading this have a blessed and happy day as well.

Heavenly Father, thank You so much for the beautiful sunshine this morning as you bless this day for my precious daughter and her new husband.  Thank You Father for allowing me to be here to share in their joy.  I love You so much and am filled to overflowing with gratitude for all You have done for me and my family, for all You are doing and for all that You're going to do.  I love You Lord.  I love you.
In Jesus' name.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Day 32 What Next?!

Well just great!  Now a bladder infection!!
That meant spending half the day yesterday getting checked for that, picking up meds and hoping they're the right ones but won't know for sure until the culture comes back on Friday.  I have to be totally free of infection before the surgery.  If not clear, then surgery will be delayed.  All the stress of the last few days shot my blood pressure up so I had to come home and hit the couch for the rest of the day.

Father, I am releasing this to You and putting it in Your hands because at this point I feel like the enemy is wearing me down.

My surgeon did call me early yesterday morning to make sure I was okay after all the back and forth and to reassure me that my well being was of the upmost concern to him.  That was comforting and I'm grateful for that.  I'm just feeling pressured. 

So much to do to get ready for this.   Do I have enough art finished for the galleries to carry me through until I can get back in the studio?  What all am I going to need to have here for recovery?  I know the drs prepare you for the worst and, God willing, that will not be the case for me but their picture of recovery isn't pretty.  Tons of stuff to buy for that.  And then there's my house.  Oh my gosh.  My policy is to never do housework if there's anything else that I can do instead.  I hate to clean house but I guess I'll have to just suck it up and get it done.  Wondering if I should rent a hospital bed?  Do I need it or is my bed high enough so as not to have to use tummy muscles standing up? 

Food isn't going to be an issue.  Broth, noodles, mashed potatoes, clear fruit juice and ensure.   Oh great.  That doesn't sound very healthy.   When can I start back on my supplements?  I don't want to be so weak that I give anything else a foothold in my system.   I think if I weren't fighting cancer I might go fix myself a big adult beverage right now.  I know, not the thing to do but............  So, I won't.  What I really need is some quiet time with my Creator but my mind won't slow down enough for me to connect.  I'm just going to have to walk and talk out loud with Him this morning knowing He's right here with me all the time.

Thank You precious Lord for being my comforter and my savior.  I just couldn't get through this without You.  It is all You, Lord.  All You.   Bless me today and every person out there fighting cancer, the dreaded enemy.  We know that Your healing hand is on our shoulders and we are grateful. 
In Jesus' name.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Day 31 Don't Dis A Woman With Cancer

Oh, for goodness sake!  I had to go on a rampage again yesterday.  Well, it wasn't exactly a rampage but I did have to threaten to fire my surgeon to get a response.  And get a response I did.  Now isn't that just too ridiculous?  One simple phone call could have saved them and me a lot of stress.  I don't need to be upset at this point in time and certainly not upset with my surgeon.

My surgeon ordered a cat scan for last week for a more detailed exam over the pet scan.  PET, CAT...what's up with that, naming them after animals?   Anyway, he had the results in his office on Wednesday.  Needless to say I have been anxious about the results and called to speak with him about it on Thursday.  Got his medical assistant and explained my concerns.  No call back.  Called again on Friday.  Left a message again, this time on the MA's voice mail.  Along about 4:30 it occured to me that she may have left for the weekend without returning my call.  Oh no she didn't!  Oh yes she did!   When I finished, nicely I might say, explaining my position about not being called back to someone else in the office, I was assured that the surgeon would call on Monday. 

Ha!  Monday comes and goes and no call.  As you can well imagine, by Tuesday my blood pressure had spiked.  I called the office again and who do I get to speak with..........yep, you guessed it.  The medical assistant.  So I explained to her in no uncertain terms my opinion of how her office treated patients, that ignoring patients' concerns was unacceptable, not returning phone calls was unacceptable and, yes, I played the cancer card.  Sometimes, a girl's just gotta do what a girl's gotta do.   I finished by telling her that if I did not hear from the surgeon personally by 5pm, that I would find another surgeon, one who would be willing to respond to a patient's concerns.  Amazing the activity that resulted from that.  The surgeon called around 12:30.  Huge apologies and said he had not received any of the messages that I called.   When he suggested I call his medical assistant any time I couldn't reach him, I sort of went off.  I have to admit he took it well, assured me that his office takes my well being very seriously and when we finished our conversation I had another call from his coordinator to give me all her work hours, phone numbers, etc to call any time with absolutely any concerns at all, that she would always be able to reach the doctor quickly.   So now, that's behind me.  I'm still a little miffed but getting over it.  I did actually call for a referral to another surgeon and will keep that handy just in case. 

The good news is that the cat scan showed no other issues to effect my health.  The dr went over it with me organ by organ and system by system and everything looks good, with the exception of that polyp where the enemy resides.  Grrrrr...  But not for long.  Two weeks from today and it's outta there!  For today, I'm finishing up commissions, packing up art to ship tomorrow to a collector and to a gallery and working on a small wedding cake for my daughter's wedding on Friday.  I'm so lucky to have such a precious child and she's marrying the man that is perfect for her.  God is good.

Precious Father, thank You for all that You do for me every day.  Thank You for loving me and protecting me and holding me in the palm of Your hand.  Please forgive me being impatient and short with people and help me to be more understanding of others.  Bless all those precious cancer fighters out there today; give energy and victory to the war they are waging.  You promised us authority over the enemy and we stand on that promise as we defeat this hated disease.
In Jesus' name.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Day 29 Taking A Break From Cancer

I left cancer behind this weekend and traveled with my sweet daughter, Melanie, to attend the graduation of a very special young woman who ...........  well, all I can say is write the name Jordan Bryan down somewhere because the world is going to hear from her.

I thought to take my routine with me and tried but, thankfully, it stayed behind.  I had a chance to visit with family that I usually only get to see every two or three years and it was wonderful.  I had a semi-normal meal at a restaurant of grilled tilapia, salad and steamed broccoli.  Nine hours in the car each way and, by the way, we were almost home before I broke down and had a small fountain Diet DP.   If you've followed my ramblings on this blog, you know that I am doing my best to keep my system alkaline in order to not give cancer any advantages before surgery.  Carbonated beverages are acid and I've had none for 28 days after it being my beverage of choice for years.  Oddly enough it didn't taste nearly as delicious as I thought it might but it was refreshing and gave me that little energy boost I needed.

My Melanie did all the driving - 9 hours each way and we hardly ever ran out of conversation or music to sing along with.  As an aside, my new favorite is Willie and Sheryl Crowe singing "Come On Up To The House."  I've played it on youtube over and over and over since I got home last night.  It was a tiring trip for both of us but so well worth the trip and neither of us would have missed it for anything.  Time with loved ones is restorative.   I highly recommend it.

Only one blood test scheduled for this week and I'm grateful.  Still waiting to hear from my surgeon on the catscan report from last week.  Does this scan show anything differently than the petscan from last month?  Is the tumor larger/smaller?  Does it show any suspicious place that the pet didn't?  If the pet can't show cancer smaller than 1cm, then will the cat show it if there is any?  Why didn't he just drop everything the second the report arrived in his office to study and call me with the results?  Doesn't he know how impatiently I'm waiting?

Thank You, precious Lord, for taking me away this weekend so I did not sit here and worry about the report from the cat scan.  Please forgive me my unbelief.  Please forgive me for forgetting that You aren't finished with me yet, that the best is yet to come and that You have me in the palm of Your hand today and every day and that by Your stripes, I AM HEALED.   Thank You for Your healing love that is moving within each of my friends fighting this terrible disease so valiantly and defeating it as a testimony to Your glory. 
In Jesus' name.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Day 26 Don't Give Cancer the Credit

I've whined for days about how tired, how fatigued I am.  Of course, I blamed it on cancer.  But no!  I am not giving cancer credit for anything.  No credit to cancer.  Not for anything.  Yesterday, around 11am, I started to come out of the fog of fatigue and was able to get up off the couch.  I started to smile and to move and to feel really good again.  I even dusted the furniture, for goodness sake.  I never do that until I have to.  Well, okay, I really had to.  Then I painted and painted and painted.  Woo hoo! 

I realized this morning what the real culprit was.  On Monday, I got a double dose of radioactive iv, one  so they could check my heart before the treadmill and again to check it after.  This to be sure my heart can withstand the rigors of surgery.  After all, I'm not a spring chicken.  Not even a summer chicken.  Guess maybe you could say I'm actually a late summer, early into fall chicken.  Then on Tuesday, another iv of dye plus drinking two huge glasses of stuff - shudder - for a cat scan.  That's a lot of junk shot into my system and it took a few days to clear it out.  I feel good today too and I'm so excited.  My sweet daughter, Melanie, and I are about to start on a road trip.  Haven't done that since last football season to follow Logan's games. 

On the way home from the doctor on Tuesday, I picked up the box of cleanse I'll have to use the day before surgery.  I am here to say that, with all the advances made in medicine, there is absolutely no reason that someone can't come up with something easier to take.  This one is at least a little different than the one I had before the colonoscopy.  I would happily do a week of liquid diet to avoid that stuff.  Maybe if every medical researcher out there had to take that horrible stuff,  they would come up with something easier to use in a hurry.   I laughed when the pharmacist actually wanted to check my id before handing that box over to me.  I asked her if they were really worried that someone would try to steal that prescription.  If possible, I would probably pay someone to take it for me.   But, not to worry.  I'll suck it up when the day comes and be a good girl and do what I'm supposed to do.  Sigh...

Every day my Heavenly Father speaks to me through scripture.  I am sharing this one for each and every person out there overcoming cancer. 
"....being confident of this that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion."
Philippians 1:6

I know He's not through with me yet. 

Precious Lord, thank You for giving me the strength and power to deal with this challenge that has come along in my life.  Thank You for giving me and every one fighting cancer today the knowing that there is more out there for us to do, that You aren't through with us yet.  Let each one of us be an example of your supernatural healing powers.
In Jesus' name.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Day 25 Me. God, and My Paints

No tests today, no appointments, nowhere I have to be for anything.  Praise God, the timing is perfect.  I don't think I could go anywhere today if I had to.  I almost wrote that I'm not sure what's going on because I'm so tired but, hey, I do know what's going on.  My body is working so hard to kill those cancer cells that there's no energy left over for much of anything else.  Right food, strong supplements, every thing I can do to support but it's apparently not enough.  I'm so worn out that I may have to have a little pity cry.  I know, that won't help anything but sometimes I just need it.  Just for a minute.  Just a tiny sob and maybe just allowing a couple of tears to squeeze their way out.

I brushed my teeth this morning and that's probably gonna be it.  I'm not washing my face or combing my hair.  I can stay in my pajamas and still paint.  I think today's routine is going to be going from the couch to the studio to the couch to the studio.  Great time to study to remind myself that God is still on the throne, that His word does not return empty and that I can stand on His promises.

I'm having a hard time praying for myself.  I get so caught up in what I'm dealing with that I lose the connection that is so important to my healing.  All the peripheral "stuff" of running to one test after another, preparing food, planning appointments, researching what else I can do, thinking about what I need to have here postsurgery ....... these things are starting to take over and I forget prayer time and shorten study time.   I do talk to my Lord all throughout the day while I'm busy doing whatever but it's that quiet time when I can close out everything except for Him and me that I'm needing most right now.  I know I need to give that time priority.  I want to give that time priority.  Why don't I?  That thought really needs some meditation.  At least I can still pray for others.

My friend Sue wrote last night thanking the Prayer Buddies for holding up in prayer her stepson as he was facing a checkup at MDA.  The report was answered prayer.  Everything clear and no sign of cancer returning.  Praise God.  It is such an honor to pray for others and I am so blessed by all those praying for me. 

Precious Lord, thank You for keeping me and all those other dear ones fighting cancer in the palm of Your hand today.  Thank You for Your healing spirit moving mightily within each of us.  It's all You, Lord.  It's all You.  We love you and we honor you.
In Jesus' name.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Day 24 Rocking Out This Morning

The last two days have been pretty challenging for me.  No food, no coffee, tests and tests and more tests.  Good news is my heart is good to go for surgery.  It is strong, proud to serve and up for the challenge.  More tests scheduled but not until next week.  Thank goodness because I'm running on low today.

One of the side effects of colon cancer is chronic fatigue.  That's probably true of all cancers but I can only attest to this one and it doesn't take much to send me straight to the couch.  I have another lunch planned with supportive friends today and have been trying to figure out how to get myself going.  My answer?  Music!   I have zydeco going right now.  No, I'm not Cajun but I promise you can't have zydeco playing without it putting a smile on your face and you'll find you're moving first your head, then maybe your shoulders and your feet and then your whole body while clapping your hands.  Come to think of it, I have danced a lot lately.  I do my own dance to some of the music on Dancing With the Stars and with The Voice and with the oldies station on the television.  Can't think of any sort of happier exercise.  Okay, here it comes.  Turn up the sound on your computer and get ready to move.  "Don't Mess With My Toot Toot."
Vintage John Fogarty and I promise it'll put a smile on your face and a giddyup in your getalong.  Ha ha ha.   For the followers in Russia, Australia, Netherlands and Germany, that is Texas Speak.   BJ Horsman and I went to New Orleans many years ago and I still have my Zydeco Jambalaya cd that I'm playing now.  Zydeco Rhumba.  Yeah, I can do that too.  

Okay, I'm ready to face this day with fun, energy and a skip in my step.   Woo Hoo!!!!!!!

Thank You, precious Lord, for always showing me the way.  It's sometimes different for me than for others but You always know what I need and this fun, uplifting music is exactly what I need today.  I thank You so much for loving me and for your healing Spirit that is moving mightily within me right now and within all Your other children overcoming this ugly disease.  And thank You most of all, Lord, for another gorgeous, healing day.
In Jesus' name.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Day 23 Juan Valdez, You The Man!

Aaaahhhhhhhhhhh, having my first coffee since Sunday.  God bless Juan Valdez and his little burro for bringing Colombian coffee to the masses.  Yesterday, I was allowed a light breakfast with no coffee and today, no breakfast and no coffee before tests.   I've talked about giving up all the flavored and sugared creamers in my coffee and I'm still so happy to have my morning cuppa Joe.  Yay.  If I was an acrobat, I would probably turn a flip.   I know that's silly but I feel .......... can I describe how I feel?   

I feel almost like I'm traveling through a foreign land with strange people and strange food all around me and I'm just really homesick.  My daily routine is disrupted.  The foods I have always been familiar with are no longer in my fridge or on my plate.  The people I'm spending most of my time with are strangers that I probably won't be seeing again, not someone that will become a friend or a collector that I'll be getting to know.   I'm driving from one doctor or one test to another daily instead of settling myself in the studio to spend my day painting.  It seems right now like there's only one remnant of that former life and that is my morning coffee.  I miss my old life and I want it back.  I want it back!!  I WANT IT BACK!!!  It was familiar and comfortable and creative and satisfying. 

I know on some level that I'll get my old life back but it will be with changes.  It will never really be the same again.  It took a long time to get to a point where I could truthfully tell people, "I love my life!"  I went from a three story victorian that housed me, my animals, and a real estate business to a small cottage where I can spend my days just painting.  I treasure my simple life where it doesn't matter if the floors are swept, if the clothes are picked up off the floor, if the books are put back on the shelf or if my house is company worthy.  All that matters is that I have food in the fridge and plenty of canvases and paints in the studio, and not necessarily in that order.   Praise God!

It's okay.  I can adjust.  Everyone has to face change and deal with it.  So, I guess at this point I have to figure out how to use this change to make my life better, to maybe bring a new dimension to my art,  to become closer to God and honor Him throughout and, maybe through this, to help others deal with the changes in their lives.  

I'm so excited to share this.  I wrote the director of one of the art shows I participate in every year to explain why I have to cancel for this year.  He wrote back that he's a 10 year survivor of colon cancer.  It's about time I start hearing from those victors that have won that war. 

Thank You, Father, for these survivors who are sharing their stories and good news, giving hope to the "newbies" out there facing the unknown.  Thank You for Your healing hand moving mightily to heal the body and spirit of every one facing the enemy in the form of cancer.  Thank You for forgiving my impatience and self pity and, most of all, thank You, Father, for another great and healing day.
In Jesus' name.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Day 22 One Down and One To Go

That's for  today anyway.  Saw the ENT this morning and, praise God, the bump in my throat is a blocked salivary gland.  Nothing to worry about at this point and a good chance it may go away on it's own.  I have to be careful at this point not to overreact to every little bump or twinge.  It's very easy to start to see everything as another possible point of cancer and run to the dr every other day with something new.

Next is a stress test at 1:30......and I'm hungry now!  I sometimes feel like a petulant child and I would really like to stomp my foot and scream that I want something to eat right now!  Why do so many tests have to be done on an empty stomach?  About the only thing I've kept from my old way of eating is a cup - notice only a single cup - of black coffee - black, no more International Delight Almond Joy Coffee Creamer or York Peppermint Patty Creamer.  Take all that yummy stuff away and it's just coffee and I have to admit I'm just as excited to have that single cup of black coffee as I was before with all the doctored up coffee.  So, no coffee this morning.  No coffee tomorrow morning before the cat scan but at least that's early enough so I'll have my coffee when I get home.  Today only a light breakfast so I juiced some apple/carrot juice and had a 1/2 slice of Ezekiel Bread with some almond butter.  I think when I'm done with the test, I'll stop at Pho Mai for some rice noodles in that wonderful broth with cilantro and basil.  Yummmmm.

On the way home from the dr this morning, I began to think about support groups.  So many people have told me about friends or relatives that have had colon cancer, but I don't actually know anyone myself to talk to.  I know this sounds sort of morbid but the only people I know with colon cancer are dead.  Wow.  That's sure not anything I want to dwell on but, unfortunately, it's the truth.  I think I'll google colon cancer support groups here in the Houston area and see if any are out there. 

I'm about to pack up some paintings to ship to Artistic Endeavors in San Antonio.  Great sales this past weekend, thank You God.  Then I have two more paintings to post for sale on .  After that, back to SugarLand to see how long I can stay on the tread mill without collapsing.  I've already warned the cardiologist that I only can handle one thing right now and that's colon cancer so just get me okayed for surgery so I can put this speedbump behind me.   I am so ready to be done with this.  Three weeks until surgery and counting. 

Father, thank You for blessing all those cancer fighters out there today as your healing spirit moves mightily within each one of them.  Thank You for loving me and carrying me through this journey.
And thank You Father for another great, glorious and healing day.
In Jesus' name.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Day 21 Happy Mother's Day

Everyone has benchmark days throughout their lives.  You know, those days that when they roll around every year you rejoice and think back to what made it so special.  One of the most important for most of us was the day our child was born.  My daughter, Melanie, was an amazing gift and I certainly celebrate her birth date.  I was young and not prepared to be a mother but, in spite of all my mistakes, she turned into the most beautiful and special woman I know.  How was I so lucky to be her mother? 

In 2006, God in His infinite wisdom, created a situation so that I was temporarily living in Melanie's house and was there that Saturday morning to receive the call from her nephrologist that the lab tests done the day before showed that Melanie's kidney function had drastically dropped and her potassium was at a fatal level and to get her immediately to an emergency room.  Melanie was at a dirt bike track with her son and might not have received the message until it was too late.  From there it was like a whirlwind.  Hospital, veins too small for dialysis, doctors making an exception and getting us to intake at the transplant clinic at Herman on days when we shouldn't have been accepted, setting a date for transplant before even knowing if we were a match.  Then on February 21, 2006, I became one of the luckiest mothers in the world when I was able to be a huge part of my daughter's healing.  That was another benchmark day and a profound one, maybe THE benchmark day of my life.

I'm wondering now if April 23rd will become a benchmark day for me and if everything that happens to me from April 23rd on will be known as "the first Mother's Day after being diagnosed with cancer"?  Or will it be "that first Thanksgiving after........"?
"That first Christmas after......?"   No, I don't accept that.  Six years later Melanie functions perfectly with her new kidney.  I function perfectly with one kidney.  Now I'll function perfectly with a little less colon than I started out with.   The day I choose to celebrate and allow to become a benchmark day is the day the doctors tell me that I am cancer free.  And it's coming.  Sooner rather than later.  Pastor RO says that with God, it's like a checker game.  I move, then He moves.  I am moving.  I'm doing my part.  And, in the name of Jesus Christ, I AM healed. 

Thank You Father God for healing me and for healing all those other cancer victors out there.  Thank you for helping us to defeat this ugliest of enemies.  And thank You for another glorious, great and healing day. 
In Jesus' name

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Day 20 I'm Sick Sick Sick of Doctors

Well, Jo Edwards, that isn't a very good attitude, is it? 
Maybe not but I am just about ready to scream "ENOUGH!"  I know how fortunate I am and that things could be worse and that I'm just getting started with this process.  But right now I feel tired and already have two drs scheduled for Monday, cat scan and dr visit scheduled for Tuesday.  It seems like every visit generates another visit.  I need to paint this morning and, instead, I just want to go back to bed and feel sorry for myself.  Poor little me.  Boo hoo hoo...............

Okay, Jo, shake off that crappy attitude.  Right now!  Thank You Father for loving me, for healing me and for picking me up and carrying me through this.  Thank You for my precious family and wonderful friends who are supporting me with prayer and whatever else I want.  Thank You for my priceless collectors who see the joy in my paintings and are willing to spend their hard earned money to own one of them and honor me by hanging that painting in their home where they will look at it every day.  I am most grateful, Father, that You know me and forgive me for my failures and shortcomings.  I am so blessed to be one of Your precious children and I love You. 

There, I feel much better.  After yesterday's appointment, I stopped by Tineke's house where she had a big pot of comforting bean soup bubbling on the stove.  After a bowl of that, we started on all the fruit she had for me to try.  First was lychee.  Oh my gosh, they're wonderful.  Small but sweet and juicy.  I'm smiling thinking about the ones she sent home with me that are now in the fridge waiting for a second try.  Next was my favorite, mangosteen.  Even better.  Why didn't I take pics of these for you?  I may do that.  Mangosteen was my favorite of everything.  Jack fruit was an unusual texture, but sweet and delicious.  Next was the dragon fruit.  This is a beautiful fruit that looks like someone took a paint brush to it turning the outside a bright purple with touches of green and yellow.  Cut into it and it's a beautiful whitish gel with black seeds.  Looks sort of like a jellied poppy seed dressing.  Looks yummy.  Taste?  Not so yummy.  Moving on, we finished up with pomelo which I've had before and is a delicious citrus.  I came home with a big bag of fruit, two containers of bean soup and a really full tummy.

Today, I am celebrating Mother's Day with my family.  We're going to church this evening, taking a family picture and then out to dinner.  Dinner may be a challenge.  This will be my first trip to a regular restaurant filled with the smell of sizzling steaks and fried foods.  I have pretty much been vegan since I started this journey but not legalistic with it.  I had planned to have some grilled fish tonight but now I wonder if I even want to have fish.  I have worked so hard to keep my system alkaline and, even though fish is low on the acid scale, I don't know if I even want a tiny bit of it.  Almost three weeks of no sugar, no flour, no meat, no dairy and I've been pretty much okay with it.  I had an egg a couple of times and I did buy one KFC grilled chicken breast early on that I broke into two meals but that's been about it.  I guess I'll decide tonight and maybe find out how it is to eat vegan in a carnivore world.  Not to worry.  I can do it. 

Thank you Prayer Buddies for all your prayers for me and for the strong and victorious warriors against cancer that we've highlighted.  If you have a friend or family member fighting cancer, please let us include them in our prayers for healing.  Just send their first name and the type of cancer they're fighting to

Most of all, thank You, precious Lord, for another great and healing day. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Day 19 Another Day Another Doctor

I am a person who has easily gone a year or more before without going to a doctor.  Obviously, at this point, that's not something to brag about.  More stupid than smart.  So today I'm off to the cardiologist to get clearance for surgery.  On the way home I'll stop by Tineke's.  She has prepared some of the dragon fruit and jack fruit from Wednesday's visit to Hong Kong Market and wants me to taste them.  Those are two strange looking fruits to a westerner's eyes but I'll let you know tomorrow how they taste.  The red Asian spinach that I cooked last night was delicious.  If you like spinach, it has a similar taste but very delicate green and red leaves.

I had a good day in the studio yesterday and will be back in there this morning since my cardio visit isn't until afternoon.  I love the two commissions I'm working on.  Those plus replacement pieces for San Antonio and I could stay busy all the time.  I will admit that my energy level hits empty fairly early in the day and when that happens, everything stops.  But that's okay because I know it's my body sending all it's forces to kill the cancer and shrink the polyp. 

I was thinking this morning as I studied that I really have been a hypocrite for many years.  I am understanding more and more every day what an incredible creation the human body is, what a precious gift from God it is and how I have disrespected and dishonored it on a daily basis over the years.  Unfortunately I am not alone in this and you know who you are.  And most of all, I realize that no matter how badly we might mistreat our bodies, they continue to forgive and do their best to heal and correct whatever goes wrong........... usually with little or no help from us .............until they just can't anymore. 

Since I have "seen the light", I really have to work now on not being judgemental of others who do as I did but sometimes I just can't help it.  I saw a commercial last week for one of those little medical alert devices that elderly wear around their necks.  You know the one.  The "help I've fallen and I can't get up" ones.  Well this ad showed an overweight woman with a sweaty face and using a portable oxygen tank.  She looked into the camera and in a raspy voice said, " I'll give up my beer and my steak and .........." I can't remember the third thing but that was enough.  She would give up her beer and her steak but she wouldn't give up her life alert.  Seems to me now that if she had given up her beer and her steak earlier, then maybe she wouldn't need the life alert.  There must have been a lot of feedback about that commercial because I haven't seen it since.   Sadly, her situation is true of me too.   I loved beef and I loved sausage and I loved fried foods and I loved loved loved sweets and, most of all, I loved my daily Diet Dr Pepper from Sonic over their wonderful crushed ice.  I have been fine with my new way of eating but I will say that I miss that Diet DP.  Oh wow. 

I don't want to be critical of how other people eat.  I do want to say that if you're not at your optimum weight or if you are suffering from a condition that is caused by what or how much you are eating, stop now.  Get informed and make smarter choices because, trust me, you do not want to be on this journey that I am on.  Yes, there is a DNA connection to colon cancer but 80% of the cases diagnosed are in people who have no familial relation with  this disease.  So, that means that 80% of the cases of colon cancer are caused primarily by dietary choices.  Scary, isn't it? 

Today, please pray for Tineke's precious Mother in Indonesia who is fighting breast cancer.  May God's healing Spirit move through her, killing every cancer cell in her body so completely that they will never return again.  Thank you Prayer Buddies for your continued prayers for these victors.  Please send the names of other victors fighting this disease that we may honor with prayer.

And thank You, Father, for another great and healing day.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Day 18 God is Good ...All the Time

I loved my time yesterday with Tineke and Teri.  Kristin sent me one of her wrist bands from when she was fighting cancer with her favorite verse on it: 2 Corinthians 4: 17-18.  We had lunch at Bombay Cafe, then a trip to Hong Kong Grocery so Tineke could introduce me to some new green veggies that are predominent in Asian cooking and finally a stop at my favorite Ten Ren Tea to pick up a supply of real jasmine green tea.  If you're in the Houston area, it's a beautiful tea shop on the corner of Wilcrest and Bellaire. 

Of course, we talked "cancer" and laughed at how much we beat it up every chance we get.  Teri said they named Kristin's tumor Bob and they really railed on Bob so much that, by the time the tumor was removed, there were no live cancer cells in it.  I haven't named this irritating little devil inside of me but I can say that I bless every bite of food I take and every supplement I swallow to send it's fighting powers straight to that site to obliterate those cancer cells.

When we arrived home, a lady was walking in my neighborhood campaigning for her favorite candidate and it turned out to be a long time acquaintance of mine that I hadn't seen in several years.  Of course she asked how I was and I responded that with the exception of fighting colon cancer, I was doing great.  She then related her bout with cancer when she had a tiny bump removed from her eyelid and it turned out to be a malignancy and that the last five months were spent taking care of that.  Wow!  I feel like we're being invaded by the enemy and I have seen the face of the enemy and the enemy is cancer.  We have to obliterate it.  Three women at a table yesterday.  One of us with cancer, one whose daughter has beaten cancer and one whose mother has breast cancer.  It's almost overwhelming. 

After a "healing nap" :), I downloaded a list of healing scriptures to study this morning.  God is so good and so amazing in how He uses one thing to open my eyes to something else.  As I was reading some of the verses listed this morning, I thought to myself that they really don't speak to me at all.  That was okay because every single time God took my eyes past that scripture to one on the very same page that did speak to me.  He is just so good and I love Him so much.  His hand is everywhere present if we just open our eyes to see it.  Here is where He took me this morning and it speaks to me because, strangely enough,  I have been almost joyful through this journey.  It's Romans 5:3-5.  "But we also rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom He has given us."   There is a song called Amazing Love and it says "In all I do I honor You."  I can only hope that I am giving God the honor He deserves in this journey.  Thank you for joining me in that endeavour.

Today, please hold up my friend JoAnn in your prayers.  She has just won her war against cancer and let's place a hedge of protection around her today so that it never returns. 

And thank You, Father God, for another opportunity to honor you throughout this great and glorious and healing day.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Day 17 Wonderful Wednesday

This is going to be a great day.  After two weeks of going back and forth to doctors appointments and Kroger every other day for fresh produce, I'm actually going out for lunch today.  My friends, Tineke and Teri, are taking me to a vegetarian Indian restaurant for lunch.  Woo Hoo.  Indian food relies heavily on using tumeric and ginger in their food.  These two spices are both touted to be a help in fighting cancer.

My friendships with Tineke and Teri go way back to my real estate days.  Tineke was Mom to my precious Rocky while Mel and I were in the hospital for the transplant and after for several weeks while Mel couldn't have pets in the house.  She then became Mom to my Chipper as well when I was out of town for an art show and is going to keep him for me through this surgery too.

Teri's daughter, Kristin, faced down cancer in high school and had a long struggle but now, years later, is doing well and has just been blessed with a precious baby girl.  When Kristin was given an opportunity for Make A Wish to grant her something special, she asked for a home in Africa to provide shelter  to the orphans that she and her Mom and sister visit and minister to each year.  Sounds impossible?  With God, all things are possible.  Good Morning America and other tv stations came calling and, in short, the home was built. To read more about this amazing young woman, you can go to .

Yesterday was an awesome day.  I felt really well.  I sang, and danced, and praised the Lord.  How could I have that nasty growth there in my abdomen, trying its best to destroy me when I feel like this? I painted and painted and painted.  Started two commissions and worked on 12 minis.  Should have cleaned house but that's for another day.  Loved my food.  Isn't that a huge surprise?  Watched Fashion Star last night and flipped between Dancing and The Voice.  Then I slept soundly, woke at 5, exercised with Gilad at 5:30 -well, did some of the exercise with Gilad- and now I'm getting ready to go paint some more.  Then off to my lunch. 

Many of you have mentioned to me that it's a pain to post a comment on the blog without having to have a user name, password, signing in, etc.  I understand.  Just send the names of your friends or family that are fighting cancer to me at or  I feel honored to be able to pray for them and everyone that checks into this blog daily will be praying for them as well.

Thank You, Father, for blessing my wonderful friends and for blessing everyone who checks in here daily to join in prayer for these champions overcoming cancer.  And thank You, Father, for another great and healing day.  Amen.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Day 16 Please Don't Do This!

I debated whether to write this and then decided I should write it for every cancer patient everywhere.  After all, this is my blog and my way of venting so here goes.

I loved going to Cowboy Church on Sunday.  I was greeted with a hearty "How are you?"  and a great big hug or a pat on the back or  "You're looking really good" or "I'm so proud of you"  or, best of all, "I love your blog."  Cheerful, hopeful and friendly....exactly how I feel. 

Then there are those elsewhere............. shudder.  The ones who look at me with a sympathetic smile, a tilt of the head like they're getting ready to talk to a toddler and, in a voice that's usually saved for extending condolances to surviving relatives at a funeral, offer a "How are you doing?" that's spoken very slowly and just barely above baby talk.

First of all, cancer hasn't effected my hearing and it hasn't effected my ability to understand the spoken word.  Secondly, I don't need your pity, just your understanding and your prayers.  And, if every third person you meet either has had cancer, has cancer, or is going to have cancer, you'd better straighten up your head now or your neck is going to have a permanent crick!  I am a strong, fierce, cancer fighting machine and if I go down from this damned disease, it's going to be kicking and screaming all the way.  I will never be a victim.  Okay, got that off my chest and I feel lots better.  Whew!  Thanks for letting me vent. 

Surgery is scheduled for June 6th at 2pm.  That's awesome.  First of all, this way I make the wedding and the party.  Yippee.  Secondly, it's in the afternoon.  That means no getting up at 4am to head to the hospital like when we had the transplant.  Easier on everyone and especially me.   Going to the cardiologist for surgical clearance this week and cat scan next week.  I'm ready. 

Today please hold up Ruth Faulkner in prayer.  She is another flight attendant fighting a second round of lung cancer.  Thank you God for giving Ruth the strength to beat this disease so profoundly it never shows its ugly face again. 

And thank You, Father God, for another great and healing day. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Day 15 It's Only Been Two Weeks?!

How can it just be two weeks since I was diagnosed with colon cancer?  Impossible.  I guess when you're dealing with something 24/7 time does slow down.  And let me assure you, you do deal with cancer 24/7.

In all that time, I have never had a sleepless night.  As a matter of fact, I've slept better than ever until last night.  I woke around 1am and then again around 3am.  I always pray before going to sleep.  Actually prayer takes me into sleep.  But last night was different.  I was prompted to focus my prayers solely on those people with cancer that have been noted on these blogs over the past week and not on my own healing.  So, one by one, I prayed for each one of them.  It's so awesome when I know that I am truly connecting with the Holy Spirit.  There's this little tingling; I think in the Bible it's sometimes referred to as a quickening.  Whatever it's called, it is wonderfully comforting and there's a closeness so profound that I know my every word is being heard. 
After that I slept well and for my Bible reading this morning I went straight to Job.  He suffered terribly and for pages and pages and pages he and his friends debated what caused his condition, whose fault it was, what he should do.  It seems to go on forever but in the midst of the poetry and debates come words so profound.  "He is my Redeemer."  And very simply after all the loss, all the discussion, all the debate, these two short sentences:
"After he had prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before."
"The Lord blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first."
What a great confirmation that is .... that the best is yet to come.

Thank you Mikki for your suggestion to consider postponing the surgery until after the reception.  I was thinking along those lines and you just me gave the confidence to know it's the right thing to do.  One less thing to stress over.  So, I spoke with the surgical coordinator this morning and she said she didn't think it would be  a problem.  How simple a solution was that?   I'm shipping paintings this morning to Rivers Edge Gallery in Kerrville, going to Body Designer for exercise, then back here to start on a new commission.  I'm excited!

Please pray today for Joe Jemela from Gruene for complete remission from leukemia.  He's fought it for many years and it's time to defeat it totally.  Thank you Prayer Buddies for your continued prayers for these warriors fighting cancer.

And, most of all, thank You, God, for another great and glorious and healing day.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Day 14 Something Good is About to Happen

I went to church this morning and how wonderful to spend that time with my precious church family.  We shared Communion and then this "going home song."  I sang it all the way home, all through the house, all around the back yard with my boy Chipper and I'm still singing it.  My apologies to the neighbors because I know my singing voice isn't memorable.  Well, it may be memorable but not in a good way.  But, you know what, Jesus doesn't care.  He just loves that I love Him and praise Him.

Sing it with me:

I have learned in all that happens, just to praise Him.
For I know He's working all things for my good.
Every tear I shed is worth all the investment
For I know He'll see me through, He said He would.
He has promised eye and ear can hardly fathom
All the things He has in store for those who pray.
I just feel like something good is about to happen
And brother, this could be that very day.

I just feel like something good is about to happen.
I just feel like something good is on its way.
He has promised that He'd open all of Heaven,
And, Brother, it could happen any day.
When God's people humble themselves to call on Jesus,
And look to Heaven, expecting as they pray,
I just feel like something good is about to happen
And brother, it could be
Sister, it could be
Brother it could be this very day.

Pastor RO's Gold Nugget:  "If anything can go right, it will go right.  If anything good can happen, it will happen to me."
I just feel so blessed that God has given me the strength and fortitude to not sit back and be a victim but to go forward, to stand on His word and His promises and know that I am honoring Him through this journey.

Today I'm asking that you hold the Ray Herzog family in prayer.  Cancer doesn't only effect the victim, but it effects the entire family.  Ray is dealing with diabetes and lung cancer at the same time.  His wife Bernice and daughter Bea are his primary caregivers and both are exhausted.  Please ask that God wraps His loving arms around them and restores their strength, hope and energy as they work to fight this ugly disease.

Thank You God for another day in which to praise You and to honor You and to heal.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Day 13 The Best Medicine

Mini meltdown last night. 
The surgical coordinator called around 5pm to discuss scheduling the surgery.  My daughter is marrying the man of her dreams on May 25th with only Logan and I there as witnesses and then having a  celebration on June 2nd.  The doctor wanted to do the surgery right before the wedding which means I would miss both the wedding and the reception.   I got teary on the phone and couldn't talk for a while so the poor lady had to call me back.  Then she emailed me all these instructions.  Oh for goodness sake.  I have to do that cleanse again before surgery.  There should be a law against having to do that more than once in a lifetime.  Egad!  Then on top of that all the instructions regarding recovery.  Yikes!  This journey isn't going to be a little walk in the park.  By the time I'm back to normal, I'm going to know I've been somewhere and it's somewhere that I don't ever want to go again. 
My artist friends, Jack White and Mikki Senkarik, both have been through this and shared something that helped get Jack through overcoming the prostate cancer that had spread to his bones.  It was humor.  They can both testify to that old saying that "laughter is the best medicine."  Years ago Mikki also had her battle with cancer and won that one too so they both know what they're talking about.  Early on in this adventure they sent me a set of videos of Seinfeld, Season Three.  Well, Kramer got me through last night.  In my opinion, he is the funniest character ever created for tv.  Michael Richards may be socially unacceptable and politically incorrect, but he turned Kramer into a classic and I start to laugh as soon as he walks into the room.
I've turned off all the true crime shows, the news, and anything else that might stress or upset me.  Instead I'm back to watching all the old shows: Wings, Cheers, Coach, Frasier, Will & Grace and even a few I Love Lucy's thrown into the mix. 
In the meantime I had a good paint day yesterday, praise God.  I know that my art is going to play a huge part in my healing.   I started a large piece for the gallery in San Antonio, planned the palette for a commission I'm about to start for a collector who already has two of my pieces and finished the Magnolia on Red that I'll be posting today on

So.... another day, another opportunity to praise the Lord, another opportunity to give thanks for my strong body and powerful immune system, another opportunity to support that immune system with the proper foods and supplements, another opportunity to bless the doctors that are taking such great care of me and to give huge thanks for all my friends and followers who are sharing in my journey through this blog.  Several of you asked about following and weren't sure how to do that.  At the top of the page there should be a small tool bar and "follow" is one of the options.  If you click on that it'll take you to a page where you can sign up to be notified each time I post and, by doing that, you'll  become one of the Prayer Buddies that join in prayer daily for someone else fighting this hated disease. 

Today, please hold up in prayer my friend Simon Casarez.  I have known Simon for many years through my best friend, Darlene.  Simon has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.   He has prayed for me since I was diagnosed and we are sending those prayers back to you, Simon,  for a complete remission of this disease so profound that it will never return.

Thank You Father God for another awesome, blessed and healing day. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Day 12 Looking the devil in the face!

Yesterday was my first visit with the colorectal surgeon.  In spite of my ramblings yesterday, I like him, I like his staff and I especially like that he and Dr. Manji had already spoken and discussed my case before I saw him.
I was asked to bring all my medical records with me to this meeting.  One of them was color shots from the colonoscopy.  I have put off looking at those pictures until getting ready for this appointment. 
My sister Jan's late husband who was a physician said that looking at cancer was like looking at the devil.  I agree.  For some reason I always thought of a tumor as just a lump or a bump.  How naive of me.  It's way more than that.  Cancer is ugly and it's black and it's evil and it's rotten and it's invasive and I hate it.  It is living destruction that wants to grow and to consume all that is good and healthy about the body and I want desperately to deprive it of any thing that feeds it's growth.  I want to starve it and hit it with everything I can nutritionally to kill it until it's removed.  It is the devil himself. 
So, initial plans are set for that removal.  First another cat scan and a visit to a cardiologist to make sure the heart is okay to withstand the surgery.  It is.  I am strong and healthy other than that cancer.  Then to schedule a time.  The surgeon will remove a large portion of the large intestine on the right side and reattach the small intestine.  It will require 3 to 5 days in the hospital.  At that time, they will take 10 lymph nodes.  If lab tests show they are clean and the cancer hasn't perforated the colon wall, then I'm good to go.  If not, then there will be chemo involved. 
I have to admit I came home more than a little depressed after that.  Not that it wasn't all real to me before, but when everything is such a whirlwind, the purpose for all the activity sort of gets lost in the activity itself.  Staying busy running from one appointment to another has kept the reality of the fact that I have a serious disease pushed to the back of my mind.  I have been focusing only on what I have to do at that very minute.  I do have a tough time concentrating on much of anything and it's sort of like I don't want to let my mind slow down long enough to let those worrisome and negative little thoughts creep in.  If I do, they might grow and take over and I can't let that happen. 
But God, in all His goodness, chose yesterday to bring my precious grandson, Logan, home from college for the summer.  What a joy to cook for him.  I always have his favorite oven barbqued ribs and marinated cucumbers as his first meal when he gets home.  He talked to me on the phone on his way home, stopped by here first and then I got to visit with him and Mel when I took his dinner down to him.  On his way home he posted on FB, "I walk by faith and not by sight."
Wasn't that a great reminder for me? 

Today I'm asking that you hold up in prayer Jan Ramsey Stark.  I mentioned Jan to you before.  She lives in Wimberley.  After defeating brain cancer and uterine cancer, she is now fighting cancer in her stomach.  Please pray for her complete recovery, that the cancer is defeated in such a profound way that it will never touch her body again.  Thanks Prayer Buddies.

And most of all, thank You, God, for another blessed and healing day.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Day 11 What's Your Sign?

Everybody and I mean everybody...........well, almost everybody..........has asked if I had signs that I have colon cancer and what the signs were.  I almost hesitate to say yes because I don't want to give anyone a false sense of security that, just because they have had no indications of a problem,  they don't need a colonoscopy.
My answer to that question is yes, I did have signs but they were repeatedly attributed to something else.  In 2006, I was privileged to be able to donate a kidney to my precious daughter Melanie who was in kidney failure.  At that time, I went through a battery of tests and was deemed healthy with no indications of any problems.  The incision from the surgery was a rather large one at my waist on the right side.  After the surgery there was a large spot on my right abdomen just under the incision where the skin was sort of numb.  It feels a little like when you've been to the dentist and the deadening is starting to wear off.  There is some feeling but not totally.  A couple of years later I began to feel a pulling in that area if I overate.  I thought first of all it was probably a hernia since I was warned about that after the surgery.  I mentioned it to a gynocologist when I went for a checkup and he said I should probably see an internist.  At that time I was dealing with some acid reflux.   The internist sent me for an ultrasound but only for above my waist.  When I explained the area I was questioning was below my waist, she said it was probably scar tissue from the incision, gave me a handful of sample bottles of Nexium for the reflux and sent me on my way.  She did ask if I had had a colonoscopy but didn't say I needed one nor did she order one. 
Skip to February of this year.  I decided I needed new doctors - Thank You God - and scheduled my well woman exam with Dr. Brian Heaps in Sugarland.  All my tests came back great, my blood pressure is always right around 120/80 with no meds.  He said I have osteoporosis - more about that another time - and insisted that I have a colonoscopy.  No ifs, ands, or buts about it.  I must have a colonoscopy. 
Now, I don't know about you, but I think a medical practice is also a business.  If my first impression is not good, then I'm not sure I want to do business with them.  The first doctor I was referred to took 8......that's right........eight days! to call me back to schedule an appt.  I explained that if it took eight days to return a call, I would prefer not to "do business" with them.  The second name Dr. Heaps gave me was for Dr. Manji and I thank God for that.  I love him and everyone in his office.  They are so helpful and gracious.
Wow, I've sort of veered off the subject and on to "WOMAN WITH CANCER ON A RAMPAGE".  I have an appointment with a colorectal surgeon today.  I don't like the woman who took my appointment and I don't like the woman who took some of my questions over the phone yesterday.  It would seem that someone dealing with persons with life threatening diseases would at least be congenial and maybe have a little smile in their voice rather than acting as if I were just another annoyance in her less than perfect day.  But, good news.  I'm taking my secret weapon with me.  Melanie will get me the proper attention.  I'll let you know tomorrow how it went.

Today, please lift up in prayer my friend Sue Werschky's stepson, Carlton.  He beat cancer that had spread to his liver and lymph nodes and is scheduled back at MD Anderson for a checkup.  Sue said he is always nervous and asked that we pray for a good report for him. 

Thank You Father, for a blessed and healing day.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Day 10 Get that grump off your face!

Dreaded allergies hit yesterday around noon and I went down like a rock.  I was sick with sore throat, sinus infections, fever and immense fatigue from November through March.  After a series of meds and doctors, I now realize that my immune system was so busy trying to contain this cancer that it just couldn't take much time to worry about the allergies.  They might not be life threatening but they sure are debilitating.  I spent almost five months on the couch, very little painting accomplished and only one show in all that time. 
So yesterday I slept, grumbled, tried to paint, grumbled and didn't get much done.  My new juicer arrived and I didn't even have the energy to take it out of the box.  My fault? Yes!!!  I have always thought of myself as being so strong that I really don't need meds.  Never finished a round of antibiotics.  Never renewed a prescription.....until now.  The ENT I consulted back in March gave me two scripts - one for nasonex and one for astepro to use daily.  So when they ran out, did I refill them?  No.  I was feeling better so why use meds?  I may be a slow learner but at least I learn.  Called refills in and headed out to get them this morning.
While I was mumbling, grumbling, stumbling around yesterday I read an email from John in Wimberley.  I had shared my diagnosis and told him I wouldn't be able to be back there for Market Days for several months.  John replied that his wife beat brain cancer in 1996, then uterine cancer and last fall began a fight against stomach cancer.  Wow!  Makes this little tumor seem almost insignificant when I consider the fight others are going thru.
Therefore I resolve to take this grump off my face this morning and face this day with the love and gratitude it deserves. 
I promised that I would share about my breakfast cocktail that Melanie and I have been eating. 
This is recommended by Dr. Joanna Budwig who is the scientist that discovered the omega 3s.  It starts with lowfat organic cottage cheese plus flax seed oil.  The addition of the flax seed oil removes the dairy properties of the cheese.  I put it in a blender with blackberries or raspberries and a little stevia and thin with a tiny bit of almond milk.  Whirrrrr it up and top with whole blueberries and my faux granola which consists of sliced almonds plus flax, sunflower and pumpkin seeds. 
Pretty, isn't it?  Would I rather have a big plate of bacon and eggs?  Not at this point.   Is it delicious?  Not to me but Melanie loves it.  She used banana yesterday and some ice cubes and made it into a smoothie and said it was delicious.  That might be good with the berries and bananas.  If you're curious about the theory behind the fo/cc, just google flax oil diet or Bill Henderson.   Lots of interesting information.

I am so honored that you are sending me the names of people fighting cancer for all of us to hold up in prayer.  Please continue to send them and I'll continue to post one every day.  My niece, Quade, asked that we pray today for her friend, a grandmother named Marilynn who was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and whose granddaughter Cheyenne was diagnosed with cancer the same day.   How devastating for that family.  Thank you Prayer Buddies for your prayers today for these two precious ladies.

But most of all, thank You Father for a blessed and healing day.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Day 9 Diagnosis Day 2

I probably don't need to tell you how nervous I was yesterday anticipating a 5pm meeting with Dr Manji.  He walked into the office and, as usual, was quite taken with my beautiful daughter.  As an aside, let me just say that if you're going to a really busy doctor, take a pretty young woman with you.  I assure you they'll have a much better memory of your previous visit than they would have otherwise and will hang around in the exam room a lot longer.  My anesthesiologist walked into my cubicle after the colonoscopy and first words out of his mouth were "You're beautiful."  I knew he wasn't talking to me as I lay there on my side, my mouth open and drooling, no makeup and my hair headed in all directions.  It was Melanie he was so taken with.  So, I'm just saying...........
Okay, back to the subject.  This visit was a lot different than the last.  He had good news.  PRAISE GOD.  Those words just leapt from my mouth.  The cancer is wholly contained in the colon which means it hasn't gone through the colon wall.  It has not spread to any other organs.   How blessed am I?!  Even Dr. Manji was so happy he got up and came over to give me a big hug.  When I thanked him, he said my thanks need to go to my new gynocologist, Dr. Brian Heaps, who insisted that I have a colonoscopy.  And I thank him too.  But we know where true gratitude goes.  I give my Lord and Saviour all the praise, honor and glory because without Him I am nothing. 
I just felt like I floated home.  Keeping a positive attitude is one thing, but it's impossible not to be aware of what the other possibilities are.  My precious brother also had this awful disease over 25 years ago and he died just a few short years after it was discovered.  He was only 50.  This is an ugly and terrible disease.  And, other than having a family link that can make one more vulnerable to it, the main cause of colon cancer is the choice we make every day in what we eat.  Anyone can get it. 
Next step is an appointment with a colorectal surgeon.  I'm ready to get this outta me!  The italics meant I just screamed that.
Tomorrow I will share some of the dietary changes I've made to help support my immune system and kick cancer's butt!

Today, please join me in holding up in prayer my dear friend Debbie William's dad, Tommy Shaver, as he fights lung cancer. 

Thank you God for a great and healthy day.