Tuesday, September 25, 2012

His Only Begotten Son..........

So I feel led to share the hard story of what I witnessed today.  I went to a regular check up with my oncologist and there was another young girl there about my age.  She was in a wheel chair and barely able to transfer without assistance from one chair to the other.  We sat in the waiting room together not really exchaning anymore than a smile and then we both went back to have our ports accessed and blood drawn.  She went first and it turns out her port wouldn't give blood.  The nurses were being as gentle as possible but unfortunately she began to cry because it was painful.  Her tears brought tears to my eyes but what really broke my heart was when I looked over and saw her father. His eyes were filled up with tears, he did his best to hold it back but I could see and almost feel the heartbreak as he had to sit and watch his child suffer.
I felt helpless......so I closed my eyes and began tocry and pray. Speaking healing into this young womans body.....asking for God to take her pain and for her port to open.  The port never gave blood but they were eventually able to access her vein and get some blood.  Though I dont' have a child and could not fully understand what it's like to watch them go through something like this.......today I got just a little whiff of what it must be like....how hard it must be.  I often wonder how hard it is for parents to watch their children suffer.......how hard it must be for my own mother to watch me suffer at times and feel helpless.
My mind goes back to Jesus and how God sent him here to die for us.  He didn't have to but he did.....he sacrificed his only child so that we may all have life.  He watched as his son....his child suffered and died an unspeakable death on the cross.  I'd never imagined that God understands us but I realize after today that he understand us more than we realize.  He's been there....he's watched his child suffer and so with that he understands parents suffering and I know he was there in that room today.....with that man as he cried watching his child suffer.  Sometimes we forget that God's not just God......not just our Creator.....he is our Father and he understands our pains and struggles more than we realize.  I forget this sometimes.....especially during the hard times when all we want to do is have God come....sit with us....hold us.....tell him our fears and frustration and have him take our pain literally.  Even though that may not happen....know that he hears us......catches our tears....and even in the hardest moments he's carrying us because he's been there and he understands. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A New Path

So now that I have all my ducks in a row I can give a better update.  I have returned from the Burzynski clinic.  He added a few new pills and IV chemotherapy to my regimen and I believe in all he is doing.
Dr. Burzynski and I

 I know some may disagree and that is ok.  But believe me I have prayed about this and asked for the Lord's guidance and I know that this is road God wants me on and is now leading me down.
It's crazy being the patient....in fact I hate it.  I always wanted to help people and some how I became the one that needs help.  Most of the time it is extremely challenging for me to accept help from others....but like a wise woman once told me don't cheat someone out of their blessing and it blesses people to bless you. 

So for now I am receiving new chemo from a new doctor and taking new pills.  My oncologist here is working with the treatment plan that the Burzynski Clinic wants me on.  I will do about 3 rounds of this chemo before I go back to the clinic for a follow up.  A nurse from the  Burzynski clinic also calls me every week to check up on me.  The way I see it is if you dont' think I'm gonna make it then your not on my team and I need people who believe in me to be on my team. 
Right now what our big concern is my head lesions.  I want to stop them completely and I'm praying that my next MRI will be clear.  I hate doing head radiation.....I hate how life-less it makes me feel.....and I'm praying I don't have to do it again.  So that is my big prayer right now is that I have a clear MRI in October. 

I can't tell you that I've gotten a clear message about how God is gonna use me in all this......I can only hope that my struggle will be for his glory and for his name sake.  I hope that when people look at me they dont' see me but they see Jesus because without him I would have been dead along time ago. 
I've always said I'm a christian but in times of trial is when my faith has been tested and I have cried out "Why me?"......I did not ask for this burden but I know that my father's will is greater than my own and I trust him with everything I am.
Luke 22:42
"Father if you are willing take this cup from me; yet not my will, but your be done"

Gamma Knife Results

So on my last post I told about my gamma knife procedure.  It went well...well as well as having someone screw a something into your skull can be lol.  After the procedure the doctor came out and gave us the news of what they had found.  In addition to the 3 original lesions they  were treating...10 new lesions were found.  These had appeared in just a few weeks time which isn't really great news.  I'd be lying if I wasn't depressed by these findings but still thankful that there is treatment for it.  These finding also just serve as further evidence that this disease is aggressive and I need to do all in my power to fight it.
Philippians 4:13
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Another Gamma Knife

So another quick update. I promise when I have all of my ducks in a row I will write a complete update but for now this is all I got ha ha.  A few weeks ago 3 new lesions were found on my brain and tomorrow I will have Gamma Knife Again to treat them.  Am I excited.....NO......but I find strength in the blessing that I have options and that there are treatments still out there for my brain lesions. So let me not lie to you when I say I will walk in there tomorrow morning not of my own strength but because my father walks with me and he has promised never to leave me even when I feel alone. 

Footprints in the Sand

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
other times there were one set of footprints.
This bothered me because I noticed
that during the low periods of my life,
when I was suffering from
anguish, sorrow or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints.
So I said to the Lord,
"You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you,
you would walk with me always.
But I have noticed that during
the most trying periods of my life
there have only been one
set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most,
you have not been there for me?"
The Lord replied,
"The times when you have
seen only one set of footprints,
is when I carried you."


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Quick Texas Update

Just wanted to give a quick update from Texas.....so far so good.
 We got here last sunday and made it to the hotel before our crazy cab driver killed us lol.  Houston traffic is out of control......there are 12 lanes of traffic.  The most traffic I've seen in Knoxville is 100,000 volunteer fans coming out for a Tennessee game....so being down here has made me feel like I've come from a small town into a big city but even then I am thankful I am here. 
On Monday we met Dr. Burzynski.....I've only seen the man on videos....so when he came in and sat down and began talking about his dog that ran away that morning I was a little taken back at how down to earth he was.  We laughed a little and then got straight down to business.  We spent most of the week last week going over my scans and the drugs they were contemplating putting me on...side effects...etc.  I will explain more about all the drug later...because explaining that is probably a post of its own. 
We also saw a radiologist who sat down and explained everything that he saw on the scans and put it into terms that Mom and I could understand.  It was a little over-whelming to see parts of your body light up on scans and then realize that the reason they were "lighting" up was because it meant that there was cancer there.  I suppose I should be used to it by now but I've never actually had the opportunity to look at my full body scans before.
So far I have met people from 6 different countries while at the clinic and I have loved them all. I love meeting new people and hearing their stories of where they have come from.  If you know me you know I like to break the ice.....so when the front desk guy at our hotel asked my mom if a hair brush he found was hers.....I chimed in "No its mine I was just brushing my hair....so glad you found it" lol.....he busted out laughing and ever since then we laugh and joke with him everyday.

Also another cool thing that's happened while down here is I haven't hardly worn anything on my head....partially because its hotter than hades down here and partially because I've kinda of become accustomed to my bald head.....I miss my hair and I won't lie I'm still sad when I pass the hair isle and can't wait for the day when I can spend money on the newest hair products but I'm learning to embrace my bald head and even embrace the stares I often get.
I've been praying alot while down here and making sure I'm where God wants me.  The other day while eating a quick bite at Arbys a man walked up to me and asked if he could ask me something....and I said "Sure!".  He asked if I was sick and when I told him I was he explained that his church's youth group was on the way back from a mission trip.  We talked for a minute and then they asked if they could pray for me and we all held hands and prayed together in the middle of the Arby's.  And there he was....just when you thought God wasn't cool....he shows up in the middle of Arbys. How Great is Our God!

Romans 5:2-5
" Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."

Monday, July 16, 2012

Two Strong Boys

I wanted to share with you two stories of two boys that have really touched my heart in the past few months.  The first story is about an old childhood friend that I grew up with.  She gave birth about 8 months ago to the sweetest little boy named Tyson.  I can imagine what a moment that was for her........but her joy was quickly shut down when after newborn exam her baby boy Tyson began to turn blue and was quickly re-located to Vanderbuilt hospital where it was discovered that he had a rare heart condition called Shone's complex.....just a few days after he was born Tyson had to have open heart surgery.  Meg kept everyone up to date with Tyson face book page that I read diligently every day......I will never forget the day she posted that Tyson heart had stopped and that they were doing CPR....they great doctors and nurses saved little Tyson.  This sweet boy has been through more than I can imagine and is such a little fighter.  I got to finally meet him last week....and he was even sweeter in person that he was in pictures.  And in a way we understood each other......even though we were both sick with completely different diseases.......there was a love and understanding there.  The same goes for her awesome mom.....although she's not the patient.....she goes through what he goes through.........its so apparently when you see her with him.....the unconditional love she has for him. 
It reminded of Christ's love for us......a love so powerful he gave his ONE and ONLY son....so that we could be saved.
Here's a pic of what Tyson once looked like and what he looks like now...he's truly a fighter...check out his website
Help Tyson Fight
Baby Tyson being a Fighter in the ICU

Sweet Boy
Beautiful Baby

I also had blogged earlier about a young man I saw on the news that was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer at only age 14. His name is Trey Erwin  and  I was amazed and broken hearted for this child...this young man.  But I was amazed by him.....when he was diagnosed his response was "I'll be ok...I'll either be healthy here or healthy in heaven."  The tears streamed down my face as listened to the faith of this young man.......a faith that I can admit is stronger than mine.  I was amazed at the faith of his parents.....who truly trusted God.  It made my faith stronger just reading their daily caring bridge posts.  Unfortunately a few months after he was diagnosed Trey passed away.  I saw a post about him that I loved....."Cancer won the battle but God won the War". Check out his caring bridge

 People have said I am an inspiration but I feel like these two boys are TRULY inspiration and remind us what true strength and what real faith is in this world that is so full of problems.
Psalm 119:114
"You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope"

Friday, July 13, 2012

A New Road

So many things good and bad things have been happening in my life lately and I'm gonna try to do my best to not bore you with an update.  About 6 weeks ago I had my latest MRI of my brain done.....it revealed 2 new small tumors in my brain......the radiologist decided that we would put me back on my Tykerb pills for 6 weeks to see if that made any difference in the size of the tumors.
During this time.....I was really asking God where I was supposed to be.....where he wanted me.  It's a different thing when you pray to God to ask that HIS will be done and NOT mine because if I believe what I say I believe.....that means that I accept the fact that God's will could want for me to come to him. 
 As a human being....I'll tell it's a defining and hard moment when I open my hands to him and say that I'm allowing him to do as he pleases with me.  But I know my God's plans are bigger and better than my own.
Isaiah 55:8
"My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts says the Lord and my ways are far beyond anything you can imagine"
So after I began my prayer journey, as I call it, God showed up just like promised he would.  I got a call from a friend saying she wanted to be my advocate......she wanted to help me go else where for treatment if that is what I wanted.  It was a moving and humbling conversation.  She also introduced me to a clinic in Houston, Texas where they are doing Gene Targeted Genetic Cancer Therapy....its called    The Burzynski Clinic.  I began to research this facility and soon felt a tugging on my heart that this was a place I needed to be.  The only problem was that it is not covered by insurance and the initial fee after I was approved was $25,000.  Once again God showed up......and my friends Brook and Lelja along with many other people I work with began fundraising for me and even helped me set up a Fund at a bank where people could donate money. They called, text, emailed and  traveled all over Knoxville asking businesses if they wanted to donate to help me get to Texas.  These two sentences do not do justice to what these two amazing women started.  In just a few short weeks they had a local yogurt shop offering to donate a percentage of their sales to me and shockingly enough more people just wanted to give me money than go to a yogurt place.  I can't tell you what this does for my spirit and for my heart.  I saw Christ in every person that offered me money, a hand shake or a hug. 
Jeremiah 29:13
"If you look for me whole heartedly, you will find me"
The Flyers my friends made for the Fundraiser :)

I will tell you it gave me the strength to keep fighting to know people really cared that much.  These days money is tight and I understand that.  I also understand that I am not the only cancer patient out there......so it humbles me that people would want to help ONE girl with Cancer....when there are so many other people out there.
Long story short......they raised the initial $25,000 I needed to get to Houston and to the The Burzynski Clinic I will be heading there in the next few days. I am both scared and excited......but I know God hasn't left in fact he's right here beside me.
Psalm 119:114
"You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope"
Here's a news article on the funding raising that was done for me......
Fundraiser to get Knoxville Cancer Patient Out of State Treatment
I got what I felt like was further confirmation that I was on the right track when I did another MRI this past week and was told that even after taking the Tykerb again for 6 weeks a new tumor had emerged on my Cerebrum.  The good news is that two tumors from my initial diagnosis in December are gone but that still leaves 6 tumors in my brain.  Gamma Knife is a option......and it's a great treatment but let me be honest and say that it is a hard treatment at least for me.  I'm not gonna write so that you  want to say "Oh Poor Sarah".......I write this to help people understand that I just like anyone else do not want to suffer anymore than necessary.  Many have suffered more than I have and I know that and thank God that things haven't been worse on me.  I also understand that not everyone will agree with the direction I am choosing to take with my treatment but I believe that I am listening to the voice of my Lord and going where he leads.  Do I think this place will heal me?....I honestly don't know but I do know its definitely worth a shot.
Here's a few fun pictures from some down time I had at Chemo these past few weeks
My Nephew and I....waiting to get my Bone Shot!

My silly Nurse didn't want to forget to get
a vial of my blood after chemo.....so she taped the vial
to me! lol
This is what happens when you fall asleep during chemo....
You get toilet papered!
Silly Nurse

Smiling Chemo Bag....right above the sign

Psalm 31:14
"But I am trust you, O Lord saying "You are my God"
For those that would like to know more about the Burzynski clinic here is a documentary on Dr. Burzynski

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Heavy Hearts

I know I haven't updated in a while and I apologize for that and I am in the process of doing that as we speak.  But tonight as I look at my own struggles.....my heart is burdened with the pains and struggles of another and I ask you to be praying for the family of Trey Erwin tonight.....I have mentioned him on here before and so he is on my heart again tonight.....and I ask you send all your love, prayers and support tonight for him and his family.........
Here is the Link to his Caring Bridge Site
Trey Erwin's Caring Bridge Site

Thursday, May 17, 2012

One Step Forward....One Step Back

So about a month ago I started have some leg problems. Whenever I would stand on my leg for at least an hour I'd begin to have numbing and tingling down my left leg from my hip to my knee.  I began to get more worried about it as it nagged me when I was trying to work....causing me to have to sit down at work.  This made me feel defeated like the cancer was beating me so my oncologist sent me into have a MRI down of my upper and lower back.
The results weren't fantastic but they weren't great either.  The spots that had shown up on my hip and tail bone showed up again. There are only a few and they are millimeters in size but still being told that there is cancer in your bones big or small puts fear into my head as if I needed anymore.  However, my oncologist knows me too well and told me that this does not mean my disease is progressing because these spots are not new and have not grown since the first time they were seen.
So for now we are going to try physical therapy and gabapentin for the nerve pain.  I've been to two therapy sessions and found out that the pain in my leg  and back wasn't from the cancer in my hip but from bursitis in my hip, weakened abdominal muscles, atrophied back muscles, and a pinched nerve. 
In the midst of this I have slowly gotten some energy back and have been able to do more. 
With my energy and feeling kinda "normal" again comes an old fear of something is going to go wrong. I was given the book "Jesus Calling" by a friend and I reccomend it to everyone because it really speaks to everyone no matter what the situation.  Fear of the unknown is something I think we all go through no matter what your trial. Here's some words from my daily devotions:
"When you face unexpected demands, there is no need to panic. Remember that I am with you. Talk with Me, and listen while I talk you through each challenging situation.  I am not a careless God. When I allow difficulties to come into your life, I equip you fully to handle them. Relax in My Presence, trusting in My Strength.
2 Corinthians 12:9
"Each time he said, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness"

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Prayers for Trey Erwin

     So last week I saw a news story on a young man who I haven't been able to get off my mind.  His name is Trey Erwin...just 14 years old and diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer. He has been through more than I can imagine, yet he and his parents faith is unshakable is and is very evident in their caring bridge.  In your prayers tonight please say one for Trey and his family and if you have time send them some love....here is the link to his caring bridge site.....

Trey Erwins CaringBridge Page

I thought this song was fitting for this post

"Scar and Struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Never once did we ever walk alone"

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Update on Gamma Knife

         Just wanted to let everyone know that my Gamma Knife Procedure went as planned.  We arrived at the center and just as I was gonna get out....it hit me.....the overwhelmingness of what I was about to do......and I sat there a I prayed and I cried.....and I remembered a time when my father sat alone and asked God if this really was his will and if it was then "thy will be done".  So I was reminded by Gods grace that he knows and understands my fears and with that I went in to do what I knew had to be done.  I was blessed enough to have some awesome doctors and nurse that held my hand through the whole thing.  Even the physicist that was there to just design a plan for the radiation held my hand.  I know that its not in the handbook that every doctor has to be nice or caring.......so I feel truly blessed that I have come across such wonderful and caring ones.  When you look at the pictures imagine me trying to take a drink with that on.....it was quite entertaining if I do say so myself......to bad I didnt' get anyone to video that as it took me a few times to figure out how to get te straw under the metal contraption LOL.  And if you know me you know that I had to get some funny pics while this contraption was screwed to my head so here you go....

Decked Out in my hat...headed to get my MRI before the
Gamma Knife Procedure :)
All Screwed in and Ready to Go lol

So they wrapped my head to prevent bleeding
post-op and well it left just the top of my head
exposed.....so I got me some Easter Eggs and
made me a nest......on top of my head HA HA

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Gamma Knife Procedure

Psalm 119:114

"You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope"

Back to the real world.......I know I am surrounded by the protection of my God so I will be going in for what is  called a Gamma Knife Procedure to further shrink and hopefully completely eradicate :) the tumors in my head.  Its pretty much a more specific form of radiation and there is not cutting involved......I mean whose happy when the option to NOT open them up or cut them is offered lol.  Its a one time....pretty much all day procedure where I am placed in what looks like a Halo to hold my head still while radiation is administered to the specific tumors instead of to the whole brain like I did before.  I won't lie...I'm pretty overwhelmed by this procedure but am confident in my doctors and am thankful that God has lined everything up perfectly so that I can have this procedure.  In the midst of my fears.......I hold onto the hope and peace that surpasses all understanding.

John 14:1

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me"

Here's a video about Gamma Knife Procedure if it interests you to watch :)

Here is also another place where you can read about it....Just click HERE

Here's something to make you laugh
Hope comes from God who is our protecter....And with that hope I went searching for pictrues of hope....or at least pictures that could made me laugh at this halo thing they are going to make me put on.....Hope you enjoy.........
Now wouldn't you love to have a back
to the future thing like that strapped
to your head instead of a robo cop
looking thing in the pictures next to us :)

But that's ok cause I'm coming out wearing
the newest headress and making
all the other cancer patients jealous....
Robo Cop Here I Come lol

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Life As I've Come To Know It

"In the midst of an ever-changing world, the good news is that the life of faith is anchored by the power, provisions and the promises of God.  Circumstances may change, but the future is as sure as the character of God himself.  No matter what happens, those who trust in God hope in his word"

Hello everyone sorry It's been so long since I updated but honestly life has been a more difficult than I would have dreamed lately. Since my last update I've had a MRI of my brain which revealed that the full brain radiation shrunk the tumors almost 50% which the radiologist and I were so happy about.  He said one of the tumors was almost gone.  So the next step now is gamma knife which is a concentrated form of radiation.  The fact that I am able to have gamma knife is amazing the only problem I have with it is the procedure that goes into which involves having what looks like a halo screwed into your head......yea I know that what your thinking...that sounds "phenomenal" lol.
I also had another PET scan done which came back still showing active cells in the live and substernal regions but the spots were still smaller and the oncologist was very happy with that too.
Like I wrote in my last post I've struggled with the swelling that the steroids caused.  I usually don't like to get out of the house much because I'm still so embarressed with how I look. The litle I've been out...it seems I may make it worse that it is but I've seen the stares and many times its just easier not to go out unless I am working. Most people tell me I look great but its a matter of believing it yourself that I haven't been able to do.  Luckily I have come completely off steroids but it may take a few months for the swelling in my face, neck, shoulders, back, and stomach to come down. 
Last month has been my hardest month so far.  I spent 4 days in the hospital with pneumonia.  I had been sick off and on for about 2 weeks before that. My oncologist sent me to a GI doctor to check my esophagus because I was having trouble swallowing and when we arrived my blood pressure was 86/54 and I was having trouble walking... the doctor looked and me and said "I know your a stubborn patient (apparently he had also just called my oncologist who had told him that too about me lol) but you need to be in the hospital...I'm gonna have your mother call us when you get there just to be sure you actually went".  Needless to say I felt like I was 15 again and in trouble but if I haven't said it before I'll say it now I am extrememly blessed with doctors that actually care about me and a mother who deserves the nobel prize for her love and patience. After my chest X-ray the doctors came in to tell me I had pneumonia and I said  "Ok I'll take it cause last time I was in the ER and the doctors came in ya'll told me I had cancer....so pneumonia is definitely alot better lol"......both doctors were a little stunned at my response but they both laughed. 
After leaving the hospital I struggled for about 2 weeks with nausea, dehydration, and fatigue. There have been some days where I couldn't get out of bed or off the couch without the assistance of my awesome mom.  Love her she's only about 98 pounds soaking wet lol and I'm about 150  pounds and she never hesitated to help lift me....I thank God everyday that she's here.  I felt like at times I let people down or hurt their feelings because people want to come visit me or want to take me out and most of the time, almost on a daily basis I would be hit with this over whelming fatigue, so bad that talking was a task I couldn't do.  I always hope that I explain to everyone who might not understand that I dont' want to ignore anyone but sometimes as hard as I try this disease takes me down for a while but I can promise you that I will always fight it....because tomorrow is a new day.
"So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow willl bring its own worries.  Today's trouble is enough for today" Matthew 6:34 
 I have always tried to be honest on my blog and so I'll tell you there has been many times since I started this journey that I have wanted to quit.......between the fatigue, swelling, nauea, etc. I struggled alot......and through my tears I have cried out to God and asked the question that I'm sure many have who face illness and hard times..."Why me".  But I would NEVER, EVER wish this on anyone else but sometimes when it gets real bad thats the first question that comes to my mind.....though I truly believe and hope that God will be glorified through my struggles I am only human and want everyone to know that I get angry...I get sad but I still trust and hold onto to the God that has promised he will never leave me and I know he never will.
Today I watched a documentary of a little boy who is officially my hero.  I promise if you take 5 minutes to watch the story of this little boy it will brighten and inspire you as it did me to live each day like its your last and appreciate every moment.  P.S. You might wanna have some tissues....:)

  Here is a quote one of my nurses gave me and I think its perfect.
"Faith is God's invitation to make the impossible possible.  He is glorified when we are enabled to do what we are unable to do"

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Radiation and Beyond......

Well since the last time I updated I have finished my 15 round of full brain radiation....WOO HOO! Here's a fun pic of me after I finished my radiation. They even let me keep the helmet...not sure what do to with it besides maybe use it for next Halloween lol.  
Woo Hoo Last Radiation :)

The radiologist says I need to wait about a month for another MRI....and like you I was thinking "dang that's along time to wait" but he explained it like this...it takes 2 weeks for half the radiation to clear out of my head and another few weeks for enough of it to clear out for the tumors to be seen clear enough on the MRI to see if the tumors have shrunk.
I saw my oncologist last week and he started me on a drug called Xeloda that I take for 7 days and then am off for 7 days along with the Tykerb that I take 5 pills of at night.
I have also been taking steroids for the inflammation in my brain and so far it is my biggest complex.  For those that don't know the side effects of steroids can be cosmetically very difficult and for me that is the problem.  They make you swell horribly and have caused extremely painful acne on my face.  It happened pretty quickly and I definitely wasn't expecting it and I'd be lying if I told you it wasn't so far one of the most difficult things I have experienced.  I find myself going between work and home and that's it........I hate looking at myself and find people seem to stare more well because the swelling  makes it obvious that I'm sick.  But fortunately the doctors said it would go away but it will take about a month or two.  So for now I pray......a sweet friend of mine told me...tell God how you feel he can handle it....and I have....I've cried and I've prayed. 
Matthew 11:28 I think says it best:  "Jesus said "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls"
 What's funny is that you always hear "beauty is in the eye of the beholder"....."beauty is only skin deep"......but I tell you that's so much easier said than done.  And I've always said I will be honest and so I am......as a 26 year old woman those saying used to be something so much easier for me to say to someone and now that I'm living it its a much different story.  I know God still sees the inside me but my struggle right now is the outside and I've been honest and I encourage any man/woman out there...no matter what your struggle be honest with God he can take...he does understand....and even in my darkest times when I feel hideous I can feel him there.
Psalm 10:5
"Weeping may remain for the a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning"
Another struggle is my fatigue.  I was warned by the radiologist that fatigue (tiredness)...which has at points kept me in bed for a day or two which is difficult for a person like who me is definitely not a home body but luckily after a day or two of sleeping I've been able to continue to work.....works makes me feel normal. :)
I've also had to shave my head...which really wasn't that bad this time around.....kinda know how everything goes the second time around so it was more fun having my Mom and sister in law come and buzz my hair.  I was humbled and and shocked when my sister in law came in to shave my head with her head fully shaved. She is the most amazing woman

A verse that I've read that has really helped me is Matthew 17:20
"You don't have enough faith Jesus told them "I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say this to the mountain, move from here to there and it would move, Nothing would be impossible" 
This verse reminds me not to look at my mountain but to look at God because well he's bigger than this mountain...I must continue to look to him. 
"There is no cry so good as that which comes from the bottom of the mountains; no prayer half so hearty as that which comes up from the depths of the soul, through deep trials and afflictions. For they bring us to God and we are happier, for nearness to God is happiness."

I really hope I haven't spent this blog being negative just honest about my struggles but the fact that I feel like I couldn't make it without my heavenly father.  Tears are shed daily on my part but I can't explain that  even in my tears the peace I feel from the arms of my savior :) who I know continues to hold me even when I feel like I'm all alone. :)
Here's a video I've also been listening to that really soothes my soul........

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Full Brain Radiation......I Look Like Robo Cop lol

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Mold of My Head
So I apologize for droppin that last bomb on people and then not updating until now.  Seems like I've been a little over-whelmed with life lately and how drastic things are changing but no worries I am trudging ahead.  So as of today 1/18/2010 I have 3 more full brain radiation treatments to go.....YAY!   They are then going to wait a week or two and do another MRI of the brain to see how the radiation has worked.....or in other words to see if the tumors have shrank at all.   Since my last post I have been doing full brain radiation treatments every morning...and If u know me then u know I of course had to take pics to maybe help people understand what exactly they do in full brain radiation.  First they have to make a mold of my head and for all you ladies and even men who have had a paraffin done one their hands or feet that is kind of what it feel like when they mold the plastic to your face.  Here's a pic. Now you may ask why they have to make a mold of my head...why can't I just lay down on the table since we know all the radiation is going straight into my brain......have no fear...I asked that question and they said it was because they wanted to double check that my head didn't move and since we r dealing with such things as radiation...I agree lol. 
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Me and The Mask Bolted To Table...Get A-load of that Nose lol
So every morning I get up and I try and worry less, which I know sounds crazy and I try and remind myself that God's got this....he has promised to hold my hand and I can feel him...literally....I know he's there and I pray and I head to radiation and it only takes about ten minutes. The first day freaked me out a bit and if u look at this next pic you will see why
...because not only do they have u in a mask they also bolt you down to the bed...like something from saw.  When the radiation begins it smells like burning plastic and the first time I heard it I swear the first thing I said to my self was "I swear if I die because this plastic burns into my face when I get to the pearly gates I'm having God send me back because I"m haunting EVERYBODY!" lol  ..but luckily I"m still here and the smell is just a common side effect of those receiving full brain radiation so I've come to expect in my day to day treatments. 
Another part of the radiation is that well its going to kill my hair follicles on the hair and has already begun to do so but I'm hoping to keep my hair as long as possible.  Hoping this second time might not be as bad as the first.
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Just Me After I Finished A Morning Round of Radiation

But if you've ever lost your hair you may have experienced this but your hair actually hurts when it dies...so many evenings I lay on the couch with a extra large ice pack on my head to freeze my hair follicles because when my hair moves it actually hurts because the follicles are dead...its CRAZY!...sorry  I dont' have a pic of that....lol....that will be my next project. 

OK so onto our next line of treatment.  My oncologist has started me on what I light to call a "light" chemo...if that even exists.  We started today and its called Herceptin.  I did it IV when I was in nursing school and tolerated it rather well....so my prayer is that I will do that same again. I am also taking a medication call Tykerb 5 times a day and as soon as the radiation is over I will also start on a pill call Xeloda.  If you know me then u know I HATE taking pills so this is nightly struggle for me but I do as I am told.
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Me and My 2 Favorite Oncologists :)
Proverbs 4:27  Equilibrium. Balance of the heart and mind and passions. To set out boldly in the winds of life and circumstances and neither bend nor falter.  Plant your feet solidly on the Rock.  Let the winds blow about you with all their force. They have no power to harm you, for I AM your Rock.  I AM your anchor Let Me be your peace, your power, your stabilizer. Bend neither to the right nor the left but receive your balance in Me" 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Ready or Not Here Comes Cancer

I have sat here for about an hour trying to figure out how to start this newest and probably most difficult blog post I have ever had to write. I hate having to tell bad news and I hate the thought of anyone being upset but like I have always said I feel like God has me on this journey for a reason and if some how my journey can help or positively affect someone by showing the grace and mercy of our Lord and Savior then I will do it.  And so with that here goes nothing........it is with the heaviest of heart that I have to reveal my latest diagnosis of Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer. 
To make a long story short.....I will tell you that it all started when I had to pull over to the side of the road on Christmas Eve while driving with my nephew because my eyes were bothering me.  I have been seeing what many call "floaters" in my eyes for months now....however, these are very common symptoms of migraines but on this particular night the "floaters" I saw completely took over my vision and by the time I pulled into a neighborhood and parked the car.....I blacked out.  Thanks to my "hero" and amazing nephew  who flagged down some residents of the neighborhood and then called 911.   I was then transported by ambulance to a local hospital where a CT scan was done on my head and 3 lesions were discovered. One on the occipital lobe, one on the cerebrum, and one on the frontal lobe.
I was then transported to another hospital that had neurologists that could see me. So by the time I got settled into the hospital it was almost 5 am on Christmas Eve.....but as always we made it eventful.....
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A funny pic that my Fav Nicole Took of Me :)

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Me and My Amazing Niece Kailea...We r Rock Stars!

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Canister Full of Radioactive Dye....FANTASTIC! LOL
Later on in the week I had a PET scan of my entire body and met with my oncologist.  The news he gave me was a little more than what we were expecting.  For those that don't know during a PET scan you are injected with radioactive dye  out of a canister and I of course had to take a pic......and the dye lights up in your body where there is active disease.  Unfortunately... along with the tumors in my brain there was evidence of active disease in my liver (Cancer), my hip, my tail bone, and my sub-sternal lymph nodes (lymph nodes that run down next to your trachea)

While yes I try to always find a way to have fun with it all I would be lying if I told you I was not still in shock and trying to process how just last week I was stressing about where I wanted to apply to finish my Bachelors in Nursing and this week.....I am contemplating what my life may now begin to look like.  The good and bad things about having cancer previously is that I have a great support system of cancer posse and survivors to turn to but I also know what life battling cancer looks like and I know how difficult the journey I am about to embark on is going to be.  A friend sent me this verse this morning and it was so perfect to how I feel
" I cried out to the Lord in my suffering, and He heard me. He set me free from all my fears." Psalm 34:6
So the plan for now is this......I am to start full brain radiation in attempts to shrink the tumors TOMORROW.  I dont' know how I feel at this point....I feel like I am still processing the major shift my life has suddenly taken.  But I know I will wake up in just a few hours and I will do my best to face tomorrow with the peace that my God has promised me that surpasses all understanding.  Am I afraid YES....but do I still trust in my never failing, ever lasting God....YES and do I believe in miracles and the healing power of Jesus....YES!  I am also starting on two different chemo pills, Tykerb and Xeloda....a whopping 11 pills a day....EXCITING STUFF! lol.  I am also going for a bone scan on Thursday and praying for good results :)
Some have asked if I will be doing IV chemo and radiation but my oncologist has explained that you can not do IV chemo and full brain radiation at the same time because it can cause you to go toxic.  So for now we do one thing at a time and we will start with the brain...doing 15 straight days of  Full brain radiation followed by a MRI to see if that radiation has shrunk the tumors and then we will move on from there.
I know God has heard ever scream and caught every tear I have cried over this past week because believe me I will be honest and tell you there have been many.  To say I have an amazing family and friends who have sat with me, cried with me, listened to me, and just been there for me would be an understatement.  I will never EVER be able to repay all the love I have seen over just the past week....but I will spend my lifetime trying to repay it.