"It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn your statutes." Psalm 119:71

Friday, August 27, 2010

Both a Desire and a Disdain for Normalcy

I've got less than one week before my last chemotherapy infusion. After that I still have radiation and a pretty extensive surgery (I'm leaning towards an updated version of the tram flap, a diep flap operation, which I'll explain in a later post) but once I'm finished with chemotherapy I will have the hardest part of treatment behind me.

Which means I've been thinking about what it means to "return to normalcy." While life without chemo sounds fantastic (no more achy joints, no more nausea, weakness or rapid heartbeat!) I'm not sure how to be normal again, or even if I want to be.

While this is a hard point to get across, I really do feel that, in many ways, cancer was an answer to my prayers. I've mentioned that I'd been praying for a deeper walk, to know God better. I'd been praying for meekness and an eternal perspective. Being diagnosed with cancer gave me all of these things in bucketfuls (although the battle for outspoken-me to be meek will probably be a life-long fight!). But I've been thinking about something a lot...

If given the choice of not having cancer and subsequently not growing in Christ like I have, would I choose that option? In a perfect world I would have preferred God to use something more gentle than a fatal illness to get my attention. But who knows- maybe cancer was the only way? Maybe I was too selfish to pay attention otherwise.

Before I was diagnosed I thought that donating to charity and doing one or two service projects a year was enough. Now I know that every day I don't help someone is a wasted day. Every day I see people around me but don't try to understand their circumstances and struggles is a failure. (Romans 12:13-15)
Before cancer I thought that if my friends and family needed help they would ask for it. Now I know that God told me to help and I shouldn't wait for an invitation. (Acts 20:35)
Before cancer I thought that reading my Bible two or three times a week was enough. Psalm 119:105 says, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." Meaning that when we neglect to read the Bible, we are choosing to walk an un-lit path. Without a light, how do we know where we should go? 

Before cancer I thought that I had all the time in the world. But Psalms 90:12 says, "Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." And now I understand that if I don't "evaluate the use of time in light of the brevity of life" I'm a foolish person. (Quote from The MacArthur Bible Commentary.) 

Before cancer I thought that being a Christian was easy. Now I think maintaining this level of intimacy and passion for Christ takes work, selflessness, sacrifice, and diligence regarding my every behavior and every thought. Before, I didn't know what it meant to "take up my cross."

Mark 8:34-35 says, "Jesus then told the crowd and the disciples to come closer, and he said: If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross and follow me. If you want to save your life, you will destroy it. But if you give up your life for me and for the good news, you will save it."

Since my diagnosis I've become too aware of heartbreak. I've seen the sad side of our sad world and I better understand what Jesus meant when He asked us to give up our lives for Him.
It's obvious how much cancer has changed me. And, yes, I'm anxious to get back to normal. But what will that mean for me? How will my new perspective permeate my every day actions so that I look like a person who has seen death and sorrow up-close? How do I continue living like a person who understands the horrors of hell and loves even my enemy enough to die just to keep him from such a scary outcome? How do I prevent myself from slipping back into blissful ignorance? It was much more peaceful to live in ignorance. Much easier to be satisfied to be a "baby" Christian.
When all of my treatments are over and I'm able to crawl away from the cold doctor's office, when I'm able to take off the wig, have a "whole" body again, throw out the pills, and leave the "patient" title behind, how will I maintain this level of intensity for the lost and hurting?
What does God have in mind for my new normalcy?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Nice To Meet You

Some of you 28Cancer readers don't know me. Some of you haven't seen me for years. Some of you are new friends or merely acquaintances. It occured to me that you might care to know me a bit better...

My name is Sarah.

I am blessed to come from two Christian families. Both my sets of grandparents are awesome people with even more awesome stories.

Dad's family (my dad's the boy in the middle):
Mom's parents in 2005:
I have a mostly-giggling, only-sometimes-meddling mom.

I have a too-cool for school dad.

I have a wonderful extended family. Aunt Mel has been more like a friend. A constant source of strength.

I am a middle child. I have an older sister, Jill...
and a younger sister, Laura (who will probably wish I chose a different picture)...
School started off ok for me. I joined clubs here and there and played volleyball.
But by the middle of my junior year of high school I was very unhappy with who I was. I had changed myself to fit in too much. I started skipping school. When I did go to class I was usually high. My parents let me quit public school and I homeschooled for my last three semesters while I got my life back in order. This is when God taught me to trust in Him. He taught me how to pray during this period of my life.

Next it was time to choose a college. I chose Stephen F. Austin in East Texas over UT in Austin because I could live in an apartment with my sister instead of a dorm. (I know- I had interesting priorities!)
I majored in Journalism and minored in Sociology. I see now that God was the one who chose SFA for me. Because it was in Nacogdoches, TX that my life changed again.

I joined Sigma Phi Lambda and met my best friends. Friends who are so much like family that we call ourselves "The Fam."

It was one of these girls who introduced me to Terry. We met when I was 18, but didn't start dating until a few weeks after my 19th birthday. After our first initial (blind) date, I started praying for direction. I told God I wouldn't date anyone until I knew it was God's will.

Turns out it was His will.

We dated for 3 years while we went to college. We were inseperable from the third date. We were in love by the third week.

He proposed at Mercer Arboretum.

We graduated from SFA and I started working a semi-decent job as a marketing assistant.

And 4 months later in April 2005 I married my best friend. And oh, how we partied...

We partied under the lights.
We got the men to wear pink and red flip flops on the dance floor.

Our wedding napkins read, "Anyone can be passionate but it takes true lovers to be silly."

We danced until we were red and sweaty!

Terry's parent's paid for the honeymoon. We could have gone anywhere. We chose Disney World!
And by our one year anniversary we were pregnant. I am so grateful that God gave us both a desire to have children early. Had we not done it early we might not have been able to do it at all.

I was very big and pregnant during Christmas 2006.
My pregnancy with Micah was fairly easy. I looked forward to quitting my job to be a stay at home mom. We prayed hard during these nine months for God to provide Terry with the salary to allow us to be a one-income family. Thankfully He did!

My labor and delivery with Micah was hard.
He was born with Santa Clause cheeks and Donald Trump's hair.
He's a steady person. What you see is what you get. For the most part he's even-tempered and playful

He's a beautiful, active, healthy three year old.
With the addition of Micah, we became a family. I got to start my dream job. Stay-at-home-mom!

And before we knew it, baby #2 was on the way!
My pregnancy with Caleb was difficult towards the end, but the labor and delivery was easy.
He was born looking like a skinny old man!
He's a rowdy boy who goes quickly from happy to mad to giggly and back again.
Now he's a beautiful 16-month-old with a big heart and a big love for fun!

Somewhere in the middle of all of that I had a few heart-breaks. I lost a few friends, gained some others. Joined a great church with an insightful pastor and friendly congregation. Watched my parents remarry new spouses. Saw friends and family get married and have babies. Moved to Sugar Land, then to Katy, then to Cypress. Oh, and was diagnosed with breast cancer.

That cancer has to be a part of my story now. Whether I like it or not. But just like all of these other things got me to where I am today, so will this illness move me along the path to becoming the 'Sarah' God wants me to be.

And now you know me. That's my story.
If you're a reader here, consider yourself a friend. Nice to meet you. I'm glad to have a friend like you.

Another Hospital Trip

Yesterday (actually earlier today since I can't get this darn post to be "scheduled" for tomorrow.) I mentioned that I'd been reading cancer books instead of my Bible. I've pretty much avoided books on my illness up to this point because I find them so depressing. And this time was no different. Tuesday after reading about local recurrence of the tumor and how breast cancer often spreads to the bones, I ended up worried about soreness in my ribs beneath my mastectomy area.

I thought it might be a spreading of the cancer. My radiation oncologist had no problem ordering me an x-ray to calm my fears. The only problem with this was that my hemoglobin numbers were still low and I hadn't gotten out of bed in at least three days. So mustering the energy to get dressed and go to the hospital for the x-ray was an issue.

But I managed it and Terry and the boys drove me to the hospital. I'd wanted Terry to come in with me because I was so dizzy I thought I would need help walking. But when Caleb fell asleep in the car, I decided to go inside the hospital alone while they waited in the parking lot. I was tired when I was sitting in the lobby. I was weak when I was sitting in the outpatient registration office. I was dizzy when I was standing at the check-in desk...

And then suddenly I couldn't breathe and I was dry-heaving. The registration lady handed me a wad of tissues to vomit in and luckily for me, she threw a wheelchair beneath me right as I passed out. It was only for a milli-second or so (at least it felt that short). After the fast black-out I still couldn't talk because I couldn't catch my breath. I was seeing spots and my chest hurt really badly. I remember being really scared and I just kept thinking I was so glad I was in the hospital.

Eventually I was able to call Terry and say something like, "Blacked out. Going to E.R."

Long story short, I ended up getting x-rays (They show nothing. Doctor thinks my pain is from nerve endings that were cut during the mastectomy growing back. Which makes perfect sense because I just had a few weeks of arm pain where the nerve endings from my lymph node removal grew back.) and being checked into the E.R.

I told the E.R. people right away that I knew it was my low hemoglobin. My oncologist had told me that it could cause dizziness and chest pain. Check, check. Two cat scans and lots of blood work later, I was admitted to the hospital. The on-call oncologist suggested that a blood transfusion would make me feel better.

(I've got to stop here and make a quick note about the drug Aranesp that I've previously blogged about. There was much controversy about me taking this medication to raise my hemoglobin despite the fact that the manufacturer admitted that it might make a cancerous tumor grow faster. I'm happy to report that I was glad I trusted my instincts because the on-call oncologist sided with me that there was no reason for a person like me with a high chance of "cure" to risk the drug when blood transfusions are available with such little risk.)

The transfusion didn't start until midnight and it took about 6 hours. They checked on me a lot throughout the night, but I still slept pretty well throughout the process. Getting new blood in my system was expected to raise the hemoglobin numbers and help with my lethargy and dizziness. I have to admit I'd been very nervous about introducing someone else's blood into my system. I felt better when the dr told me that chance of infection is really low-1 in a million or so. But I gotta say I still have worries that this is the person my donated blood came from... 

Lovely, isn't it?

Despite whatever apprehensions I might have had regarding the transfusion, it went well and today, 24 hours later, I can really tell a difference. My dizziness is gone and my energy is on the rise once again! Only one more chemo left!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Bible and Blood Transfusions

Thanks for everyone who reached out to me since my last post. Obviously, when I wrote it, it had been a bad few days for me. Which makes sense if you consider that I'd gone three days without reading the Bible and had buried my nose in cancer books (which I normally hate!). After my last chemo I'd tried to read the Bible and my brain was swimming and I couldn't focus on the language of my NIV. I couldn't concentrate on it so I set it aside. And I ignored it for the following two days too.

But the night I wrote my "Low Point" post I gathered my three remaining brain cells and finally opened the Bible to where I'd left off in my previous reading. 2 Corinthians 10. Verses 3-5 said...
"For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ."

It was clear what God was telling me. I'd forgotten to prepare for spiritual warfare. I'd neglected to guard myself by reading the word and instead I'd listened to other arguments that weren't of God (in this case putting what I read in cancer books above the promise for peace offered in God's word.). I hadn't been taking every thought captive for Christ.

Here's what my McArthur's commentary had to say on these few verses...

"...Paul did not fight the spiritual battle for men's souls using human ingenuity, worldly wisdom, or clever methodologies. Such impotent weapons are powerless to free souls from the forces of darkness and bring them to maturity in Christ...The formidable spiritual strongholds manned by the forces of hell can be demolished only by spiritual weapons wielded by godly believers...since only the truth of God's word can defeat satanic falsehoods. This is the true spiritual warfare. Believers are not instructed in the NT to assault demons or Satan but to assault error with the truth."

I messed up by not reading the Bible every day. I wonder how I could have let it slip when I know how emotionally fragile I can get in the days after a new chemotherapy infusion. I was involved in spiritual warfare, was being attacked with depressing lies about my illness and since I wasn't immersing myself in scripture I had no weapon to defeat the falsehoods. Which is why I let worries of metastises and recurrence get to me. It's why I believed my boys' lives would unravel without me. It's why I felt no hope.

I read somewhere that trials bring us closer to God by making us realize how inadequate we are. I definitely see now how foolish it is for me to go a day without seeking God's voice through the Bible. I'm incapable of keeping my own spirits up. I have to get my strength and optimism from God.

As long as I think I'm able to handle this on my own, I won't make it. And in essence, whenever I go without reading the Bible it's like I'm saying that I can do it without God. "No thank you. I don't need your wisdom or direction today. I got this. I'll be sure to check in when things get out of hand, but for now I've got everything under control."

How foolish can humans be? If anything in my life feels 'under control' its only because of the grace of God.

So thanks for praying for me. Your prayers helped me out of my slump! Check back in tomorrow for medical updates and the news about my overnight hospital stay and blood transfusion.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A low point

Bad day emotionally. Feel like almost anything that could have gone wrong did. Have a lot of things to think about. Need a blood transfusion soon I guess. Feel like my children are suffering while I can't do my job of stay at home mom.

Feel bad for the same few people always sacrificing so much to help us. Feel tired of being a patient. Want my life back. Thought I could be done with cancer-mess by at least early next year. Learned today I will be lucky if its over by 2012 (and I'm not just talking about my five years of tamoxifen).

Just want something to look forward to. Sounds silly to say with only one chemo left. That should be plenty to look forward to. But I'm just feeling overwhelmed and alone.... Watching everyone else's lives keep going by. Mine is stuck in "pause." How will kids not be hurt from this 1-2 yr period of no structure and no continuity? I'm supposed to be there "mainstay," their comfort, but right now I can't be anything for them. And how can husband keep missing work? Who will take care of kids when I'm unable to lift anything or drive for 6-8 wks after reconstructive surgery?

And who knew there would be 2 or even 3 separate occasions of recon surgery? I want so desperately to be a whole person again. My concave chest is becoming more and more of a dissapointment. I wanted the surgery asap. I wanted to be done. I didn't know I had to wait 6 months after radiation so the radiated skin could heal.

I feel like the writer of the Footprints poem. I'm so low right now and I know the only way I'm even still standing is because God is here with me. But I don't feel it right now in this moment. Right now I feel overwhelmed and helpless. Hard to fight through it to get back in God's arms and rest. Please pray.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Update During Chemo

Sitting at the oncs getting chemo right now. Hemoglobin is lower and they want to give me a shot for it. I turned the shot down last time because of certain side effects. I told them no this time too. It doesn't make them happy when I go against the nurses wishes. BUT, last time I was here a nurse said she was going to give it to me and then my onc said no. So I'm not listening to these nurses (and my oncs out on vacation. He doesn't usually need to be here when I get chemo. It's just a standard procedure.).

I never thought I'd be grateful for having gone through that whole hospital mess after chemo 1, but now I'm glad I've learned to questions medical professionals.

The whole point of this blog is to ask you to please pray for my hemoglobin numbers. If I don't take the shot it means I have to accept the extreme fatigue (which just means I am more of a burden to all of you) and I'm in for another several days of hardly being able to move. And they've told me that if it drops just .7 more then I either get the shot or a blood transfusion. I want neither.

Thanks so much for taking this to God for me.

(and a P.S. for anyone in the medical profession- the drug is Aranesp)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Here We Go

Tomorrow is chemotherapy treatment 5 of 6. I can see light at the end of the tunnel! I honestly try not to think of chemo until it's the day of. I've said it a million times, but I really am lucky to have had such an easy time of chemo so far. Last time around my complaint list grew. I had the awful fatigue, of course. And some vision trouble and dizziness. But those only hung around for a day or two.

But let's go back and take a look at the symptoms I could have had. That's a great way to get me thinking positively before I go plop my skinnier-by-the-day-thanks-to-Susan P.-and-the-nutritionist butt down into the chemo chair!

-hypersensitivity reaction: shortness of breath, flushing, low blood pressure, cough, and chest pain.  NOPE, none of that!

-skin rash, red scaly, swollen or peeling areas of skin, changes in skin color or nails. No rash, no scaly, swollen skin, no changes in skin or nail color. I have had much drier skin lately but that's such a teeny issue. I'd imagine that overall, chemo is going to age me a bit and I've definitely noticed less elacsticity in my skin. Small price to pay to actually be here long enough to see wrinkles someday!

-fevers, chills, joint pain, back pain. Yes to the fever, yes to joint pain. No unusual back pain.

-decrease in blood cell counts leading to infection and bleeding. Lowered cell counts, sure, but no infection, or bleeding though.

-sores in mouth and/or throat. Not really.

-numbness and/or tingling of hands and feet, weakness, tiredness. I had tingling/numb feet for a whopping 12 hours only. Weakness and tiredness, sure.

-fluid retention, usually begins in legs but may be generalized. Nu-uh.

-nausea and/or vomiting--usually mild. Mild. haha, yeah there's been nausea. It has not been mild. But praise God for no vomiting!

-hair loss. Yeah, but really, who cares?

-Urine color may turn reddish-orange during the first 48 hours. Not 48 hrs, not even 24 hours. Just one trip to the bathroom and this side-effect is over for me.

-pain, redness, or swelling at the intravenous site caused from a leakage of the drug. Not even a little bit.

-rapid and/or irregular heartbeat, chest pain, or shortness of breath. Rapid heartbeat, a few times. Shortness of breath only after chemo #1.

-increased sensitivity to sun, use sun screens when outdoors during the day. What sun? What outdoors?

-darkening of soles, palms, and nails. Again, nope.

-bladder irriataion and bleeding needs to be reported immediately. Thank God that this one is a 'no.'

-sinus congestion. Only a little bit during the week after chemo. Such a small thing I barely notice it.

-metallic taste. Metallic, mold, soap taste. Yes.

-low sodium levels, may lead to seizures or confusion, uncommon. Nope. Sodium levels are showing ok.

-potential fertility problems. We'll probably never know.

So of all those possibe side effects I've only had nine. And except for nausea, metallic taste, and weakness the others have been no big deal at all! (Well, the baldness is a big one too. It just wasn't near as bad as I thought so I forget this one a lot!)

I think that's pretty amazing. God has been blessing me this whole way through. Now if only I can focus on that during this next week or so, I'll be doing great. I can't wait till this next sickness passes and I can say, Only One More To Go!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Hearing His Call

Some days I feel like the person Max Lucado once wrote about who yells, "Eureka!" before they find the pot of gold. God's been gracious enough to give me a peace about my health and my future. In other words, I'm still being treated for cancer, but in my mind, I've seen the outcome and I know that this is all working to make me stronger. Still months away from putting cancer treatment behind me, I've seen the big picture. Eureka!

In three more days I will be back at the oncologists office getting chemotherapy #5 and I will once again have to look cancer in its ugly face. In the wake of my last chemo I let my emotions get the best of me. I had a "poor me" moment as I felt my body grow weaker and weaker. I wallowed for a second. And that's one second too long.

The truth is that I still see cancer as a blessing. I see how much it's made me lean on God daily instead of thinking my way is best. I see how much more Terry's picked up the Bible. And I know that our children will greatly benefit from having parents who've lived through something like this. We've got our priorities straight and our boys will grow up knowing who should come first in our lives.

I can look back over the past few years and see God working in my and Terry's life to prepare us for this. Our faith and dedication to Christ has grown exponentially in the last few years. I can look back and see how God must have been pulling us closer and closer to Him so that we could get this bad news one day and be able to say, "We trust you. Thank you, God!" I shudder to think how this would have rocked my life, our family, our marriage, had we not both been able to see God's face through the struggle. If we didn't have an eternal perspective, a secure knowledge that this world means so little and the next so much, this all would have been much harder to handle.

Having cancer has made me hurt so much more for the lost. Which I believe is also a blessing. I've seen what God can do inside a person. Since my own salvation came as a young child, I never did get to feel much of an immediate change like older people do when they accept Christ. But when we were faced with an illness that could rob my children of a mother and leave my husband a widower, we had to take all of this pain to God and say," We can't go on like this. It's too much to bear. We aren't capable of dealing with this on our own. Please take it from us. Please take the hurt and replace it with joy that only the one true God could give."

And when God was faithful and answered those prayers and changed our hearts, it changed our lives. And it helped us see the struggle that living without Christ in this world could bring. And of course, we can't even imagine how it would feel to live forever in an eternity where God's presence is completely absent.

It's time for me to come clean. There are some of you who will read this and never know how often I pray for you. How much Terry and I hurt for you whose hearts have been hardened. We love you and all of you are the reason I've sat at my computer and written this blog. To share God in hopes that you might find Him again. In hopes that someone else might find Him for the first time. Romans 1:16 says, "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes..."

I cry for our current state of Christianity when it's popular to be spiritual without ever having come into contact with God. I am angry at those in the spotlight professing their love for Christ while simultaneously distorting His word. I am saddened by those in church pews who love the world and look no differently in it than unbelievers.

Jesus' power is high-reaching, far-stretching, all-encompassing. He is a jealous God who demands your full attention. He wants to speak to you daily through His word and He wants to be there for you like He has been for me. Just think of it-- if He can take the mess Terry and I are in right now and use it for good, if I can wake up in the morning and look in the mirror at a bald head and a mutilated body and still rejoice for the wonders of my God, what more could he do in your cancer-free life? How miraculously happy could your days be if you woke up healthy, whole, and happier than you thought possible because you've finally admitted that you aren't strong enough to be your own God anymore.

Even at our best, we are flawed. Wretched. Not deserving. The world says "You can do it!" I disagree. How painful to live in a world where you've only got yourself to depend on. Instead, let God do it.

I've come face to face with mortality and I want you to find the answers long before you find yourself in that position. Please know that I've prayed for every person who will read this blog. I've prayed for your heart to be softened so you read my words, but feel God's love. He's got a plan for you on Earth and a place for you in Heaven.

"For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son. That whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16

I love you enough to share this with you. Christ loved you enough to die for you.  Who do you love?     

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Chemo 4

Mom came with me to this last chemo session. We forgot to take the picture until halfway through the ivs, so I am very pale in this picture. (Not sure why but I'm always very pale after chemo.)
Like always, Paul came and started off the day with prayer. I had to give up my normal spot because someone had beat me to it. As soon as I sat down in the chair I started feeling nauseous. Just another example of how strong the mind is! I felt sick just from knowing what was coming!

Several things about this specific chemo were unusual. First, the nurse ran my bloodwork just like normal. When she came back with the results she said, "Do you feel like you've been run over by a car?" Turns out my hemoglobin was low. Normally, women want that number to be around 14. During chemo they try to keep you above 10. I was at an 8.6 and this past week it dropped more to a 7.

I don't know if it's this number or not, but it took me a loooot longer to bounce back from this chemo than the previous two. In fact, today, eleven days later, I'm still not 100%. This could be a result of low hemoglobin or maybe it's just an accumulation of all the drugs in my system finally getting the best of me. For the last week and a half I pretty much just stayed on the couch.

Terry's been wonderful at picking up the slack. He's doing all the cleaning and laundry. And not complaining at all!

On the up side, I've had no headaches or body aches this time around. Normally I get a headache before I'm out of the chair, but this time I've had none. And the Neulasta shot has previously made me achy all over and I was spared that this time, too.

Unfortunately, sleep is worse this time. I'm tired by 8 p.m. but I try to not get in bed till close to 10. I fall asleep right away but wake up at 1 and from there I'm pretty much up till the next morning. Which I'm sure is also adding to my recent fatigue.

But, the best news of all is that I'm on the downside of chemo!!!!!!! I'm a month away from my last treatment and about 6 weeks away from no more side effects! No more "chemo coma!" Oh, I can't wait for the return of my brain cells!

Four down....Two to Go!!!!!!!!!!!!

And of course, I've learned something from all this fatigue- everyone whose been saying, "It could be worse" since the beginning, was right! I can't imagine having had to abandon my life due to fatigue for the previous two months. I've been whiny enough about it just for this last week and a half. It's depressing to miss days and days of the real world because you can't get off the couch. I've been the most whiny this time around. I know that's because I stopped thinking about all I have to be grateful for. No more wallowing though. I'm over it. Thank you for allowing me my moment of weakness. I'm back focusing on God and all He's doing for me and my family!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Missing Out On The Fun

For those of you who don't know, I have two blogs. This one and another one that I've had four years, ever since I got pregnant with Micah. It's a more personal blog that mainly focuses on my kids and their growth. But it's also where I post pictures and stories about anything fun that's been going on for our family.

It was recently pointed out to me, however, that since many of you know me only through this particular blog, my life might seem kind of dreary. You've been getting to read only about medical updates and what God's been teaching me through my cancer treatment. But really, there's so much more to my life right now. And in between every chemotherapy treatment I get about a week and half to live normally! And that includes some pretty great things.

Like the free weekend away we were given! Terry and I got to go to Coldspring, Texas (near Cleveland) and spend a weekend in a Sunday house.
The owners of these cute, colorful houses, have a purple house that they use exclusively for cancer patients.

Terry and I told the kids bye a few Fridays ago and drove an hour and a half to Coldspring. We arrived at the purple house to see this sign:
Inside the house is gorgeous and has so much extra space that we're looking forward to bringing our boys with us next time.

We visited the town shops and Lake Livingston, but mostly we enjoyed hiding out. We slept in late, watched movies and did a lot of reading. It was so nice and relaxing. The owners are wonderful and they provided us with homemade chicken salad, plenty of snacks, and two gift certificates to local restaurants. We enjoyed the weekend so very much!