Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Numbers. Love them or hate them they are such a permanent part of my life now. But I have to say the last 3 weeks I did not get hung up on the 33. I did well not focusing or getting hung up on how it just seemed to continue to climb little by little. And I found out a few things yesterday. Like....
The medical team was talking about me and my numbers. They were discussing what was the next steps would be if the number continued to climb. I found out that they don't like creeping numbers, but that they can jump up or down at times. So as you all well know my number was creeping. Creeping can mean cancer, apparently. So, I just looked at Chris, the PA and said I knew you were lying to me about not being worried. She was so funny back peddling- not worried just getting a little concerned because it is creeping. Well, knowing you are a topic of conversation is a little unsettling, yet I am so glad they took the time to talk about me. I am a catch 22. But what I found out and didn't enjoy is that the next step would have been the 2nd line of chemo- a drug I didn't even listen to the name of because I was in a bit of shock. So I am now very focused on 20 and loving the
number 20. It is my new favorite number. What is really cool is that my sister from NC was praying for that exact number. How cool is that? Chris came in whooping and Shelly and I started to cry in relief. While I know it may just be temporary it feels really good right now. I will continue to bask in this glory and in this victory.
I cannot help but restate the obvious, and that is the prayer that has not only sustained me but may well be what is helping to cure me. I still don't know when I get to call myself a survivor, but I do feel like one. I know it's premature, but I feel some freedom and normalcy and like myself again. I am trying to eat much better, aside from the occasional Taco Bell of course. I am eating many colors of the rainbow, even ate the tomatoes on the TB today, and you know that is commitment. Orange and yellow peppers, soups, and fruit smoothies.
I have to mention the blood drive today. It was wonderful. Maybe a little slow, but we did draw from 2 churches last year and got 68 pints, but we did get 38 pints today, and that ain't too shabby.
So 20 is a God send. You are a Godsend and I could never thank you enough for praying for me and my family, for helping ing my healing process. I appreciate all the comments you've given me, telling me that you are praying and I believe you. I love you my family, my church family and my friends who have carved out heart felt time for me. It's so very humbling. But I cannot wait until I can be the listener again, the one who gets to find out how you are doing! I still care about you, so don't think you're rescuing me from your baggage. I love your baggage and i so miss it! Normalcy returns, little by little. Strength returns little by little, and rest returns also little by little.
Have you seen the church?? It looks so awesome. I cannot wait to see it completed. Good work to all those who have been working so hard. The Welcome desk is gorgeous!!
Thank you for your love and encouragement.
I love you too.
Happy New Year. 2009 is- well I am claiming it for me and my other sister who is divorcing. It's been a very rough year in the Sharpe household. New year, new beginnings. No resolutions, just a little healthier lifestyle I think.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
What a wonderful day we had- up early watching the kids open their presents. I don't understand how every year we say we won't do as much and every year it seems bigger- Good gravy. Ok, now don't faint when you hear this, but Abbi and Austin got cell phones. Yes, I know full well what I said- and I did mean it. I caved. I caved in a moment of weakness. But it was so much fun watching them find the phones. Tim and I called them! We put them in their stockings, and when they were done opening their gifts we pretended we were calling the grandparents, and we called their phones. So the stockings started to ring- Oh it was so fun. Their faces were so confused, then they realized what was happening, jumped on the couch and stared riffling thru their stockings. They almost cried. Remember that feeling of crying when you got something you wanted so much but really thought it wasn't going to happen so you gave up hope of getting it and then you did. I love that feeling.
Peace and hope. Peace between those two doesn't happen often, but they smiled, laughed and hugged at that moment. A moment of peace.
Jesus wants us to have that feeling always. Peace in our hearts because we already know the end of our story, it's the chapters we aren't sure about, that are written each day, each struggle, each milestone. But God does know our story, and he wants us to live it out loud, I am sure of it. God remained full of hope and peace as he watched his child being born, in a barn, as he slept in a cow feeder. As Mary nursed him as a human baby God knew the end of His story. God knew the torture his own son would have to endure, and he watched and waited. Jesus grew, never sinned, was both man and God. His Father, our Father, watched his own son die on a cross, beaten, but not broken. He let his son die for me. Me, who has sinned so much, who will continue to just like we all will. He died for you, even though you may be right in the middle of your 'big' sin. He watched his son die for us so that He could bring hope and peace into our lives.
I may not always have peace, but I didn't loose hope. I had lots of questions about what was going to happen, but never lost hope.
What's my point? Oh I don't know. It's late and I'm tired... I think the point is that no matter what we face, no matter how small or large we think it is, God cares. He cares enough about us that he sent his own baby son to earth to take on our sins and to die for our forgiveness. That's a lot of care. That's a lot of love. And as I've said before, if He can love me that much I can love on also. Just when I thought I couldn't hold on another moment God sent something or someone to me to help me thru. God gave me that lost hope, that hope that brings tears to your eyes when you find out you were going to get the gift the whole time. My heart soars.
I feel much peace and hope today. I may not tomorrow, I may not always, but at this moment I do. What is so wonderful is that God offers it to me each day, all I have to do is receive it. The same goes for you.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
I was reading my bible today, one that has Max Lucado snippets in it. This one said "It's no wonder there's no wonder" and generally was speaking about all the discoveries we've had and how all these discoveries seem to take away from us looking to God for answers because we are learning the answers ourselves. We have no more wonder. Which made me wonder....
Maybe it's better to not know everything. Maybe it's better for us to rely on God and His knowledge and to remember that He created everything from beginning to end- that includes things we have yet to discover. Like cures, like immunizations, like foods that are healthy for us, like why some of us can't have children, like why some of us are or have been abused, like...the possibilities are unfortunately endless.
We'll never have all of our answers. And if we get too many and start believing in our abilities to discover and cure then we take the wonder of miracles away from God. All things come from God. We discover because God allows it to be discovered. We learn because God wants that knowledge in our heads and he wants us to question and understand. He even lets us question Him, His truth, His soverienty, His love for us. God is the only one who knows all. He is the only one who can cure me, or anyone else suffering with cancer of some other form of 'yuck'. He allowed the discovery of the chemo therapies many of us have endured.
I never want to stop wondering about things. As you know I like to have answers- like yesterday. Waiting and wondering about my cancer, my numbers, my fatigue, my fate is just unnecessary. God provides the answers, whether I ever know them or not. Like someone said the other day, I know the end of this story. But I do wonder when it ends. Is that good or bad, I don't know. I think we all do it to some degree. And although I don't ever want to stop wondering I want a cure for this beast. I want answers. So I suppose I am left with wondering about the answers, and trying to find the answer that God wants me to have. I'll never stop wondering about the how- never wondered about the why. The answer to that is why not me? We are promised a life that has difficulty, some of us have more than others, some things are worse than cancer.
One thing I never wonder about is if God really loves me. He shows me every day. Whether it's the Hummingbirds in the summer or the beautiful snow days in the winter. Some strength to use the plow, or to swim or to get thru the day or whether its just some good communication with the kids. I never wonder if I am loved by God. He shows me thru friendships, thru the church that has prayed me thru this, thru the family he blessed me with, thru the husband I really love and adore. Even thru face book and making connections from years ago, healing some old wounds, asking for forgiveness when I needed it for hurting others.
The wonders of Gods love never cease. He loves, therefore I will love. He creates therefore I will continue to bask in His wonder.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
God never stops amazing me. Perhaps because I can see a little more clearly because of the current, and hopefully continued, good news of a clear CT and normal CA 125, I see people differently, or maybe I can just see better...
When I went to Lifetime yesterday people talked to me!! I know that sounds so stupid, but if you don't know the bald lady you may not want to talk to her because you don't know if she's happy or sad, right? I get that. So when the boys were rock climbing the young men there were so sweet, as they always have been. Even asked where number 3 child was (she was organizing her jewelry- I wasn't going to stop that). So then on to swimming, which is when I do have to get my brave on since I would look really funny swimming with a hat on. But I'm getting used to it. And since I have yet to buy a nice pair of goggles I don't get my face in the water so I can see everyone, their expressions. And they are usually good, sometimes even funny, but that's ok- I am used to it. Anyway, the person swimming next to me asked how I was doing and I just said great, how I was looking for my boys in the little pool. Then on I swam.
Of course I couldn't just let it go- I had to say something- so I thanked him for talking to me and he said why wouldn't he?? And I laughed. I just said sometimes people are scared to, talked a little about how we're all on the journey together, blah, blah. It was just nice. And then in the hot tub- ah the warmth- I was talking with someone and they said how I was starting a new trend with my bald head and we laughed and then said that it didn't take away from my smile. How nice, huh?
So for these moments and hopefully years of no cancer I feel like a whole, real person. Maybe my face is more joyful looking, I don't know. i think I still showed joy during most of the treatment process. Maybe I am just more comfortable with my head- cold as it is- being exposed. I did give God the credit, with both people, so I am definitely more brave in my witness.
Thank you for helping me learn to be strong. I know these little steps I'm taking are silly at times, but sometimes the looks a bald woman gets are hard to interpret.
Onward to strength and recovery.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Today was so wonderful. My niece graduated today with her masters in social work from UM!! And that is huge news. She invited me to come to her house for a little party after. I was finally able to say yes. Don't have to worry about numbers, crowds, being too tired to drive, being afraid to go someplace without Tim. I did it. The kids and I drove to Lansing, stayed for a few hours and had fun with family and friends, met some of Mollie's friends, and then drove home. I felt free.
I haven't been able to just get up and go someplace for quite a while, not without thinking about my numbers, how tired I was, what kind of chances I was taking and then deciding whether or not to take that chance. I really had fun taking that chance!!
I don't even know when I get to call myself a survivor instead of a patient- maybe never because it's ovarian cancer and that brings a great recurrence rate, but I feel free today. And I'll take that since it's been 6 months since I have had that feeling.
At the Women's Banquet I was talking to some ladies, talking about the clear CT and talking about defeating cancer and how great a healer God is and I said if I can do this I can do anything- bring it on. Then I looked up to heaven and told God I was just kidding, please no more. I know God doesn't give you more than you can handle, and at times I am sure I couldn't handle this beast so God did, you carried me with your prayers. I also learned that He will take you to the edge of that place where you can handle no more- maybe it's a test, maybe it's so that we have no choice except to trust in Him and pray, and listen to the doctors.
So in my new found freedom I will trust in the healing power of Jesus, pray for continued healing, and listen to my medical people. I'll even change my diet!
Until another day,
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I am so sorry I had to keep you all waiting for so long to find out- but there was nothing I could do to speed up the process.
I brought my good friend Holly with me yesterday. My Holly has already taken this journey with Breast Cancer and is over a year since diagnosis. Since Tim couldn't come with me because of work, I wanted someone who, in the worst case scenario, would be able to understand and help me thru that moment. Thankfully we didn't have to go thru that moment, however, we thought we were and here's why....
My appt. was at 1:15. Usually the vampires come and take my blood right away. And that didn't happen. My sister asked about it and then I did. When I went to ask one of the girls said that Chris, the PA was still talking to the DR about my CT scan. Well, now it is after 2:00 and Chris is still talking to Dr. Hicks. I said a little something under my breath, went back to my room and told Holly and my sister, repeated my little something, and then started to melt away..... We all three just sort of melted a little. Holly tried to hold my hand, but I had to stop her- that would have caused a complete meltdown.
Chris came in not too long after that, looked at us all and knew something was up. She asked and we all just said CT scan, woman. Tell us about the CT scan. She said it is 100% clean and we all almost fell over. I could hear a but.... ' But there is a little venus thrombus in your ovarian vein and I had to talk to Dr.Hicks about it because many times those need to be treated first.' Since it is in that vein and not in a major artery in my legs or arms I am good. Probably won't have to have anything done with it.
So after waiting an hour for Chris, we moved to the infusion room (I don't have to call it chemo room anymore) for my study drug, Avastin (hopefully). Well, we get to wait another hour because, you see, nobody ever did come to take my blood that has to be tested before I can receive treatment. Wonderful!! Now it is 2:45, I thought we'd be heading home by 2:30- I could take a little nap, shower, and get ready for the Christmas banquet. HAHAHA!! Finally blood work complete, finally Avastin, finally getting on M59 at 5:00- yep, at 5:00.
Traffic actually wasn't that bad but I knew I wouldn't make it home to shower and get to the banquet on time. So Holly offered her shower, her clothes, her makeup and was such a cool girlfriend hostess. It was like being young again and going thru your girlfriends closet. Poor Jim was banned from the back of the house. So thank you Holly for letting me clean up and chill for a few minutes, even if you did crash the party a little later!!
Now I know I should be jumping up and down, and I will. I think it needs to set in- that this could be over. I just don't want to get too comfortable there since cancer is what it is- a mystery.
Looking around last night and knowing how many of you are praying for me overwhelmed me. Just the love and support- it was so obvious to me and it means so much to me and my family. I know I am sometimes unable to celebrate in the way I want to- I want to jump up and down, I want to break out and dance (not break dance). I hope my conservative response to all this doesn't discourage you. Please let me see you celebrate- it's been so long I've forgotten how.
CA 125 is 33. Still in remission.
Love you all so very much.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Hi my friends and family,
I was thinking the book can be called 'Waiting for Tuesday' even though it wasn't always a Tuesday that made us wait.
I am ok, actually. I'm nervous of course, but that is ok. Joyce Meyer's little snippet on WMUZ was in part about praying for ourselves and reasons why we sometimes don't, or we wait until it is the last resort instead of the first response. Such a mom thing to do, pray for all others and maybe just maybe we'll remember ourselves. Well, between all the messages at church, on this page and things I have heard on the radio and read myself in my bible, I finally decided to pray seriously for myself. So I visualized myself as the woman whom Jesus healed, the woman who reached for his cloak. I'm reaching... And someone asked me at church what role I thought Alex played in all this and I didn't hesitate and said standing in the gap- learning how to pray continuously. That is what I learned from him, from God. And now I somewhat understand what you all are doing for me, standing in the gap. Well, I'm joining the gap, since it is me and I should be involved too.
I pray that you would continue to give me peace for the day ahead, safe travel to the appointment. I trust that whatever the results that you are in control and will lead my feet on the path you want me to take. i pray for healing, lord, that you would fully and completely heal this body, free it of any cancer and prepare me for wellness. I thank you for the power of your spirit in my body, renewing and regenerating my cells. I thank you for my family and friends who are standing in the gap for me and praying for my healing. I pray for peace thru this day for us all.
Thank you. I"ll update later in the afternoon.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Thank you all for lifting me up. The fear comes and goes, and perhaps I should have written that particular piece in my 'ugly' journal. I didn't mean to scare anyone. Sometimes it just hits and sometimes just venting it helps. I know and trust God can heal, it's just what if.... That's all. But then I have to return to the fact that I am healed in my spirit, that God already healed me in the most important way.
But I had a great nights sleep- and that rarely happens. I'm sure it's the One giving me some much needed rest.
Last night I took 6 kids to the Pistons (do you think they could have won) and we had a great time. Abbi and Austin got to bring 2 friends each and they all stayed the night. After all that fun it was when I was showering that the fear hit. Maybe it's because of all that fun. But my friend said it perfectly- if day by day doesn't cut it then minute by minute. I think I'm at day by day at the moment. And Shelly is right, the boat is coming to the shore, and if it capsizes I know how to swim- I'll swim in the love that Jesus has for me and the love of my friends.
The fear hits at the strangest times, and usually the closer a big appointment comes the more the fear manifests itself. But there are so many others so much more sick, children about to earn their wings because of the beast. That is torture. That is unimaginable. That make my fear so much less deserving and somewhat selfish. What's my problem...
I know and trust God is hear. I need to call out to him more myself, get back together with Him- FOCUS.
Love you all.
Friday, December 5, 2008
I am so scared about Tuesday. I know it is out of my control but I am mortified about the what ifs. What if it isn't gone and I have to do more chemo. What if my hair starting to grow back means my body just didn't respond to chemo. What if ca 125 in not in remission, what if, what if, what if...... What if it gets me.
I dislike mortification. I don't know how to do it well because I don't usually get to that level and now I life there it seems. I suppose a normal reaction to an abnormal condition.... Maybe I will write a book. What do you think?