Saturday, August 31, 2013

Monday, August 26, 2013

A post on my health, but mostly my life...

As far as my health goes, according to Dr. Shah at MD Anderson, my last bloodwork showed everything is “stable.”  All I could do was look at him & say, “Well, at least something about me is stable.”  So…there you go.  I have medical proof that I’m stable!  :)

As far as how I’m doing otherwise, over the last few weeks, God has been convicting me about being thankful…in everything.  Everything, Lord?  Everything?!?!   Hmmmmmm…I don’t know, Lord.  So I kind of pushed it to the side.

Recently, I had one of “those” days.  OK, it was a Debbie Downer kind of day (apologies to anyone named Debbie).  I was feeling really pitiful about myself.  I miss my job…really it wasn’t a job.  I miss the privilege I had of serving the littlest ones of our church by being a part of our Children’s Ministry staff.  I miss the hugs around my knees.   I miss the high fives.  I miss hearing “Ms Jana!” in those sweet little voices.  I miss holding tiny babies.  I miss their parents.  I miss our wonderful volunteers.  I miss my Wednesday night staff.   I miss being a part of our church staff.  I miss it all so much it hurts.

See?  I told you it was very Debbie Downer-ish.

On top of that, we are down to one car.  So now that school has started, unless I can work it out to borrow my Mom’s car, I’m pretty much trapped here in our little apartment.  I’ve always been very independent, so not having the freedom to run to the drugstore or wherever if I need to…even if I don’t…has been a huge adjustment.

In the midst of all that self-pity, here comes that conviction again.  “Jana, thank Me for EVERYTHING.”  Again, there I was with the questioning.  “Everything , Lord?  So You’re telling me I should be thankful for:

      …  having cancer?
        being in pain?
        having a wonky immune system?
        feeling guilty that because I can’t work we’re having financial struggles?
        not being able to get out & do things for myself?
        struggling helping out around the house?
        having trouble sleeping?
        missing my job?
        missing “my” little ones?
        missing my life before this all happened?"

His answer?  A simple, “Yes.”  It wasn’t, “Yes because…” or “Yes, I know it’s hard, but…”  Not even a, “Because I said so, young lady. That’s why!”  It was simply a soft gentle, “Yes.”

Then He reinforced that conviction through scripture I read the next day:  ”Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

So, here I am, trying to remember to be thankful for all things in all circumstances.  I’m not saying I’m 100% there, but I’m trying.  Thankfully the Lord knows how painfully human I am and is infinitely patient with me.

Please know that all of you who check on me & are lifting me up in prayer are a blessing to me.  Thank you!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Ain't that just like God?

The title of this post is a saying that my Granny Forbes used to use whenever she could see God’s hand at work.
I am currently in Houston for my 3rd trip to MD Anderson.  I have received blessing after blessing from the moment the plane landed here in Houston.  The sweet young lady who was helping me with a wheelchair to get to the rental car shuttles (if I walk long distances, I really hurt) asked me why I was visiting Houston.  When I told her I was going to MD Anderson, she told me she would pray for me.
While I was at the rental car lot, a gentleman in front of me asked why I was visiting Houston.  He said he would pray for me too.  Then, before he walked out to his car, he asked if he could stop and pray for me.  He prayed the sweetest prayer for healing and protection while I was here.  He also spoke scripture over me.  It was a precious time.
As I was following the GPS directions to get to my hotel…haven’t mastered that part yet…I went by a grocery store that I don’t remember seeing when I’ve been here before.  I was so thankful because I was getting pretty tired by that time. I was concerned that by the time I got to the part of town where I needed to be, I’d be too tired to go to the store.  So I decided to pull in.  I got the groceries I needed and was putting them on the belt to check out.  The checker asked me if I had their discount card.  I told him that I wasn’t from Houston so I didn’t have one.  The lady in front of me, who had not walked away yet said, “Here, use mine.”  Then she leaned over and scanned her card.  It saved me $4.00.  Not much, but every little bit helps.
Today, I had to have blood drawn for lab work and a bone survey (x-ray from head to toe).  I was done with both in just under an hour.  I’ve never had that happen here.  I was able to come back to the hotel & rest for a bit before I met a dear friend who lives in this area for lunch.
So, those are all little things, but together they remind me how much God loves me and wants only the best for me.  Ain’t that just like God?  Yes it is, and for that I am so grateful!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Feel free not to read this whine fest…

This time, this post is more for me and doesn’t contain any updates on my health.  Mostly, as the title says, its just a whinefest.  I’ve been feeling kind of pitiful about myself lately & decided maybe venting here would help me feel better.

Dealing with this mess is so ridiculously frustrating.  Some days, I feel pretty good & actually get things done.  Mostly I fight back the laundry monster, but I guess that’s better than nothing.  I don’t get out much.  With my immune system being so wonky & the flu being so bad this year, we decided it would probably be best if I didn’t get around large groups of people. Well, that pretty much takes going to church out of the picture.  I make quick runs to Walgreens or CVS &once in a rare while will go out to eat with my family.  Other than that, I’m just hanging around the house.  Thank goodness for Facebook.  At least that lets me stay in touch with the world.

Then, on top of the immune system mess, there’s the pain to deal with.  Sometimes my upper arms &legs ache so much it’s just ridiculous. I can’t walk very far without dealing with the pain.  So frustrating.  I have some pain medication I can take, but it’s not very strong.  I can’t take the stronger stuff.  Anything with hydrocodone in it winds me up like a top. I guess I should just be thankful I have a pain med I can take.

The kicker to all of that is I’m struggling sleeping.  I either can’t get to sleep, or I can’t stay asleep.  Some days I feel like a walking zombie.
The worst part is having to step away from my position at the church and not get to be around “my” preschoolers. Hearing them say, “Miss Jana!” and come running up for a hug made my heart so happy.  I miss those little doodlebugs so much it hurts.
So…there you go.  Just call me Miss Whinypants.  Truthfully, I am blessed to be surrounded by family & friends who love me & support me unconditionally.  Most of all, I know that God has a plan for my life that is better than anything I could have imagined.  I know this because He promised me this in His Word:
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 NIV)
“For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord . "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT)

So be truly glad.  There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while.  These trials will show that your faith is genuine.  It is being tested as fire tests fire and purifies gold - though your faith is far more precious than mere gold.  So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.  (1 Peter 1: 6, 7 NLT)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Now, where is that darn line…

Nothing big going on really, just wanted share something for which I would appreciate your prayers.  I’m having good days & bad days recently.  My problem is that when I have a good day, I’m having a hard time knowing when I should stop…a hard time recognizing where that line is...the one where if I cross it I’ve done too much.

For example, this past Friday I felt pretty good.  Brian needed me to bring him something for the football game that night.  I decided that while I was out I would run by Hobby Lobby to pick up some supplies, by the store to pick up a few groceries & by Walgreens to pick up some prescriptions.  I did great at Hobby Lobby.  I felt fine.  I then ran by the grocery store.  I did fairly well while in the store.  However, as I was standing in the checkout line, I felt myself starting to struggle.  I got the groceries in the car & went through the drive through at Walgreens.  By the time I got to the house, it was all I could do to get the groceries in the house.
So, I must have crossed that proverbial line somewhere between when I left Hobby Lobby & when I got home.  I just couldn’t see the darn thing.  As a result I have tanked pretty much all this weekend.  I got up Saturday morning & ate breakfast, then went back to bed & slept for about 4.5 hours. I slept until 10:30 Sunday morning, ate lunch, then went back to bed & slept another 4 hours.  I would say call me Sleeping Beauty, but that might be pushing it.
Please pray for me that I will learn to recognize where that line is & not cross it.  Unfortunately crossing that line prevents me from doing the things I really want to do…like go to church this morning.  Its really frustrating.

Thank you dear ones!  I love & appreciate you so very much!


Friday, October 12, 2012

The status quo stinks...

Mama & I got back from MD Anderson today.  I wanted to update last night, but was so tired after I got through packing, I just didn’t have it in me.  Its kind of frustrating how easily I get tired, but I guess I just need to suck it up & get used to it for now.  I’m learning that the only thing getting down or frustrated accomplishes is making me miserable.  So buck up soldier!  Things could be a WHOLE lot worse!
We got to see my doctor yesterday.  He said that for the most part my test results showed minimal change.  A few numbers had gone up just a little, but not enough for alarm. We will still not be doing any cancer treatment at this point.  For now, between Dr. Shah at MD Anderson and Dr. Cole here in Tulsa, they will continue to monitor me.  I see Dr. Cole in early November & will be monitored by him, probably every 4-6 weeks.  I will also continue with the IV Immune Globulin treatments to try to boost my immune system.  I will then go back to see Dr. Shah in 6 months.
I’m not going to lie, as the title of this post says, the status quo kind of stinks.  In some ways I feel like Wile E Coyote with the anvil hanging over my head.  I tend to be the type of person to want to move on & deal with things…not wait & see.  I’m learning to be patient with that.  Hmmm…I do believe God is working on me still yet.
As soon as I learn anything new of if there are any changes, I promise I will update.  If you don’t hear from me for a while, just know that we’re still in that stinky status quo phase.  Again, thank you for your comments & prayers.  As I’ve said before, they help sustain me.

Monday, October 8, 2012

All the news that's fit to print...

Well, its been a while since I’ve updated.  So long in fact that people are starting to say, “I’ve checked your blog but didn’t see anything.  What’s going on?”  So, here I am in all my glory…for whatever that’s worth.

At this point things are pretty much status quo.  I have now had four IV immune globulin infusions. My immune system numbers had improved enough after the third one that they let me go 2 months before they retested me.  Unfortunately, my numbers had dropped enough over the 2 months that my doctor said I needed the fourth infusion.

I’m actually writing this from Houston tonight…and it’s my birthday.  Kind of a weird way to spend your birthday.  Anyway, my Mama & I are here for a checkup with Dr. Shah at MD Anderson.  I will have blood work done tomorrow, and then I’ll see Dr. Shah Thursday at 9:30.  It will be interesting to see what my blood work shows.  Hopefully he can give us a better idea of when/if we can start treating the actual cancer – the multiple myeloma.  I’m ready to get this over and done with and get back to living life & feeling good.

On another note, some people know this, but I have had to step away from my position at the church for now.  I was only managing to be able to work 1-2 days a week & then would be out the rest of the week dealing with either running fevers or fighting pain.  The days I did work, I would be exhausted by the time I got home.  I was walking in the door & walking straight to the bed.  That’s just not a fun way to live.  Plus, it wasn’t fair to the church because they couldn’t depend on me to be there.  So, please pray for all of us as we go through this process.

Well, I guess that’s it for now.  If you have any questions, feel free to comment & ask them.  I’ll do my best to answer & if I can’t, I’ll ask Dr. Shah when I see him on Thursday.

Thank you everyone for caring so much about what’s going on with me.  Your prayers & good wishes are a blessing!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

No news is good news...I guess...

I apologize for not updating in a while.  There really hasn’t been a lot of change at this point.

I had the first Immune Globulin infusion on Friday, May 11th.  It took 6 hours.  I felt really good the Saturday, Sunday & Monday following the infusion.  Unfortunately, I think I over-did it those 3 days, because I crashed & burned & ended up down sick.  I’ve been up & down ever since then.  Really frustrating…for me & I’m sure for my coworkers.  I hate letting them down & causing them problems by my constant absences.

I have the 2nd Immune Globulin infusion on Friday, June 8th.  I have learned my lesson & plan to take it easy right after the infusion & pray that I have better results this time.  Please join me in that prayer.  I hope to feel better so I can be a better daughter, wife, mother & coworker.  Knowing God is still in control is the only thing that gives me peace in the middle of the storm.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Hurry up and wait...

I was blessed to see Dr. Cole, my doctor here in Tulsa, today.  He is a wonderful doctor & I am beyond thankful that God has placed him in my life.   I knew he would be able to “dumb down” my results from Houston & he did not disappoint.  I feel like I have a much better handle on the situation now. 

Dr. Cole said that he agreed with Dr. Shah that we did not need to do treatment at this point.  He said that as I don’t have the bad symptoms that I mentioned in my last post, we shouldn’t do treatments.  I shared with him how that seemed almost like waiting until I had 3rd degree sunburn to put on sun block.  He laughed and said that they would be monitoring me closely by doing blood work every 6-8 weeks and he assured me that we wouldn’t let it get that bad.  He said that treatments would actually be like putting on sun block before going outside, but that the sun block had acid in it.  They are that debilitating.  He did not want to put me through that unless it was absolutely necessary.  I can fully appreciate that! 

We then talked about how I keep getting sick & how it is causing me problems at work.  He has scheduled me for an intravenous Immunoglobulin G (IgG) infusion a week from today.  It will take 6 hours to do.  I’m planning on taking stitching & my Kindle to entertain myself.  Hopefully I get lots of good stitching in.  If it’s not possible because of the IV, I’ll for sure get lots of good reading in.  I’m OK with either.  We will then do another IgG infusion 4 weeks after the 1st one. Dr. Cole will order blood work to see how I am doing and if we need to do more.  I am praying that the infusions do what Dr. Cole thinks they will & that I’ll feel better soon.  I’m sick & tired of feeling sick & tired. 

So, we are in a hurry up & wait mode to see how I am doing before any treatments are done.  Hmmmm….. I’ve never been the most patient person there ever was.  Think God is trying to teach me something?  I’m thinking the answer is yes and I better pay attention & see what that is…patience? else?  Guess I’d better buckle up & hang on for the ride.  Knowing that God is behind the wheel makes that a WHOLE lot easier.