Thursday, October 28, 2010

Only what's done for Christ will last!!!

Well, I'm in the middle of my last chemo session. I have one more bag to go and then I'm done. This week was filled with tests from the Lord. Last Saturday I noticed a new lump on my neck and then that night was vommitting. Also for the past couple of weeks I've had severe back pain. Both issues caused a lot of pressure to be put on my mind.

When I came into the hospital this time, they wanted to put me in the "death room"-10234, where I got my fever, my C-Diff, and where I was sent to the ICU from. I said, no way and waited 5 hours in the cancer resource library until my new room was ready, which ended up being the "deluxe sweet" of the cancer ward-10230. Complete with counter space, a closet, 2 guest beds, and a dining room table with chairs. The first praise of the night.

I had many friends visit and had lots of fun. The following day was filled with tests and trials. The doctor told me that it was possible to grow a new tumor while in chemo. This led me to fits of emotional distress as I contemplated this entire trial starting over again. Long story, short, it was a long day.

Wednesday, I got my CT scan results back, they were clear. No more cancer. :) I also had my MRI which I found out today was also clear. Just some mild damage, but nothing that would cause immediate surgery. I am so happy that this trial is coming to an end. It's not that I would not go through it again for Christ, b/c Tuesday showed me that I would. But I look forward to once again serving the kingdom. It brings me such joy to know that because of this trial I can now serve the body, so much better.

Thank you everyone. Your prayers have been heard. I love you all.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

In and Out then In again

I got out. Last week. It took me till Sunday to recover. Then on Monday I got broncitus and was still on shots for the WBC which were low till today. I asked my doctor if we could do the last chemotherapy session on November 1st and he said "yes". I want to go to the Harvest Festival at my church. It's important to me.

Well, here's the good news blog readers. The cat scan said the tumors are gone. We are now poisoning the leftover cancer "sprinkles" as I call them. This 6th chemo treatment will Lord willing be my last chemo treatment. I am so thankful, surprised, and grateful that the Lord has led me through this trial. It was not easy and there are many times when I thought I would just die, but I didn't die, I survived, praise the Lord and I thank Him that He did this for me. That He gave me cancer.

Most of this trial, I have just seen my overwhelming depravity in spite of God's grace toward me. There have been some times when I have seen the changes God has done in me. He has worked in so many sins in my life: my pride, thankfulness, complaining, repentance, endurance, faithfulness, perserverence, encouragement, prayer and other things.

I pray all of this will be used to shape me into a sharp sword to be used to pierce the hearts of Guatemala with the word of God.

Praise Christ. May He be forever glorified. He took me through this trial still faithful to Him. Praise Him. Praise Him. Praise Him.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Happy to Be here

In my first day of chemo. Got here at 8am. Already witnessed to 5 nurses and a chaplain!!! PTL!!! So far so good. On drugs but also have good morale. Had Sam and Nanc with me. Gena was here earlier too. I'm happy, even though I'm going through this. :D We're looking through pics from Cali, TX, NM, and GUA. Yay!! Nanc is sleeping over. Her and Sam are staying with me tomorrow too.

I got good news. I'm on "probational remission" meaning that the cancer is beyond the view of the scan. This means that the cancer cells are now microscopic. The doctor said that I would probably only need 1 more session of chemo after this one to make sure that we sweep up the rest, but he thinking that having an additional 3 sessions would just be too much damage for my body to handle. Praise the Lord!! This means I might be done by October.

In other news:
-I am back at UCF taking three classes and having to do an additional 45 hours of service learning including Junior Achievement.
-I'm taking the Biblical Counseling class at church.
-I just went, last weekend, to the NANC conference in Jacksonville, FL. I have two more training conferences. One in Oct. and Nov.
-I'm going back to work.
-I'm going to see Jess soon. :)
-I had a chocolate chip cookie and chocolate ice cream tonight :D YAY!!!

I am so happy to be here, in the hospital, as a child of God. I'm grateful to have the means at my disposal to preach the gospel, be a good witness, grow closer to my families, and have down time to reflect on my ways. I feel unworthy to share sufferings with Christ. And pray that in my next trial I will glorify Christ and not forget the many lessons I have learned in the midst of this trial over the last 6 months.

"It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes. The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and silver. Your hands have made me and fashioned me; give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments. Those who fear You will be glad when they see me, because I have hoped in Your word. I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are right, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me. Let, I pray, Your merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to Your word to Your servant. Let Your tender mercies come to me, that I may live; for Your law is my delight." Ps. 119:71-77

May this always be true in my heart and my life and in yours. For Christ knows every secret thing. Amen!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Just Can't Stop

I got out of the hospital but not before two blood platelete transfusions and a load of antibiotics and pain meds. I was in so much pain, it basically made me unconscious. All I did was sleep for the most part. It hurt too much to concentrate. I made sure I got out in time for Women's group though. And the same day that I got out of the hospital, I had to go to school to registar. Since then I haven't really stopped. Every day there's something to do. I get up, I throw up, I drag myself to school, I'm sick, I take meds or not, and I keep walking. Every sick step I take stomps on a little piece of this cancer that's constantly trying to knock me down.

I am blessed though b/c I have Christ. And two families who love me-my church and my own. They help me stay strong b/c when I can't continue for myself, I continue for them. To be an example which points straight to the glory of Christ. It's not that bad. At least I know the truth. There are so many lost, alone, sad, and hopeless. They are the ones to be pitied.

My sister is walking for me in "Light the Night". It's amazing how much my cancer has changed her. I'm so proud of her. It's worth it to be sick, if only for her.

In two weeks and one day I'm going to Jacksonville. The same weekend road trip for NANC for the next three months. Then possibly in Dec. (Lord willing)-THE GRAND CANYON-WOO HOO!!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Back in Again

I got out of the hospital last Tuesday and when I saw my doctor on Wednesday he said that because of the severity of the chemotherapy treatment there was a great chance that I would end up back in the hospital and possibly with a blood transfusion. Well, I started today like any other day. I was really happy because I got to go back to school and everything. Then I went for my shot right before my job and that's when everything changed. My WBC was 0.7 and my plateletes were 28. When I saw my counts I started crying b/c I knew Dr. Jana was going to try to send me back to the hospital and I didn't want to go. He was very kind and patient with me. He took me into one of the side rooms and let me cry out and then spoke of his concern for my health. He told me he wanted to go to school and work, but not until I got better. So here I am in the hospital. No work for at least a couple of weeks and no school for now. Not until I get out. I might have to get a blood transfusion if my plateletes go any lower. I hope the Lord will help me through this without sinning against Him.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Texas, New Mexico, Mini Golf, Broncitis, Miami, Hospital

I'm in the hospital again. It has been an interesting month. I decided right after all my shots and everything were over to go to Texas with my two friends, Nancy and Gabby, to see my friend Mary Anne. We were 6 days and 5 nights. Here are the basics of our adventure:

Day 1/ Wednesday: Arrive in airport very early, spend some time with mary anne, some time sleeping in airport, some time drinking coffee, and some time talking to El Paso tour guide. Gabby and Nancy come 8 hours later, we go eat, settle in, and spend some much needed time in the hot tub.

Day 2/ Thursday: Gabby, Nancy, and I decide to drive from El Paso, TX to Carlsbad, NM to go to the Carlsbad Caverns. On the way we drive through many mts. including the Franklin Mts. and the Guataloupe Mts. Take many pictures and adopt theme song for trip. Get to Carlsbad, NM and decide to take "natural entrance" of bat cave to get to the caverns. The funniest part of this was all the signs warning us that this was only for those in shape. Which I am not. LOL. However, we did it. We hiked the 3 miles from the top of the bat cave to the bottom of the cavern and it was amazing. Afterward, we went back through a storm and Nancy started to feel sick. She went to bed early.

Day 3/ Friday: We drove back to New Mexico again but this time to go to the White Sands Monument, which is basically a huge white sand desert in the middle of the Mts. We took plastic sled disks with us and slid down the sand dunes over and over again. It was really fun. Afterward we finally met up with Mary Anne in TX and went with her for food and fun. We ended up on Scenic Dr. and viewing spot on top of the Franklin Mts. where u can see all of El Paso and parts of Mexico as well. Then Mary Anne and some of her new friends decided to climb the mt. behind us to get a better view. I went as well even though I was wearing sandals. Then they decided to climb higher, to the very top of the mt. I was like "no way", but some how I kept going higher and higher until I got stuck in the mt. and gave up. On my way back down, I got stubborn and decided to find another way up to the top. I made Nancy come to even though she was in a dress. LOL. It was really pretty when we finally made it and when we got back down to Scenic Dr. it was sunset. So we got to watch night come to El Paso. It was beautiful.

Day 4/ Saturday: Event with Mary Anne and her friends. Then we went to Cracker Barrell which was really yummy. Afterward, the sun was coming down and I wanted a picture so I decided to run across the pkg lot to get a good view and I fell. I made it through mts., deserts, and caves, but not parking lots. Too dangerous. LOL. Today is the day I also started to feel sick.

Day 5/ Sunday: Church with Mary Anne's church. Good sermon. Nice congregation. Lunch with Mary Anne's grandma. Time at the Mall in El Paso where we went to the store were everything was $1. It was amazing. I wish we had one here. :( Then Mary Anne wanted to take us to this concert and before she found a parking spot we were at the border of Juarez, Mexico. Oh yeah!!! Many panicked moments later and with the help of two mexican men we were able to turn around and escape, but what a way to end an adventure.

Day 6/ Monday: I was dropped off for my flight and was feeling icky. Then my connecting flight in Atlanta was 4 hours late b/c of the weather. When I finally left, I flew home in a lightening storm. I guess the adventure wasn't over yet.

After this adventure was over my grandma, mother, and brother came up for the weekend. It was nice. We played golf, went out to eat, went to the Scriptorium, and they came to church. Then the day they went home, I went with Nancy on a road trip to Miami. She needed an emergency passport and I had promised to go with her. I was sick with broncitis the whole time!!!! I finally was shipped a Z-Pak in Delray Bch, but I didn't start feeling better till this past Saturday. As it is I'm still coughing and I think my sore throat might be coming back.

Well, This was my whole month in one post. Right now I'm in the hospital, and when I get out, I might have to go back to work and school with chemo, and I just found out that this cancer process won't actually be over for the next 5 years. Oh boy.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Valley of Vision

Here is one of my favorite songs by Sovereign Grace Music. It explains my feelings so much better than I can:

In the Valley:

Verse 1:
When you lead me to the valley of vision
I can see you in the heights.
And though my humbling wouldn't be my decision
It's here your glory shines so bright
So let me learn that the cross procedes the crown
To be low is to be high
That the valley's where you make me more like Christ.

Let me find your grace in the valley
Let me find your life in my death
Let me find your joy in my sorrow
Your wealth in my need
That you're near with every breath
In the valley

Verse 2:
In the daytime there are stars in the heavens
But they only shine at night
And the deeper that I go into darkness
The more I see their radiant light
So let me learn that my losses are my gain
To be broken is to heal
That the valley's where your power is revealed

Chorus X2

Home Again!

I'm home again after my latest episode of chemotherapy. It's not over yet, but they are at least letting the rest be outpatient. Starting tomorrow I have to go every day this week to the hospital to receive a shot in my stomach which will force my body to produce new white blood cells. This in itself is a painful experience.

Then next week, on Tuesday, I have to go in for my last round of chemo for this term. And despite all that is coming I am in the greatest amounts of pain right now despite taking three different drugs. My body feels like it's on fire, but I gratefully accept the pain because it reminds me not to cling to the world so tightly that if the Lord willed it I could not let go.

Although I want to go to Guatemala, get married, and do other things, I want Christ more. To be like Him and to be with Him is all that I need. What are a few more moments of pain when compared to the inheritence waiting for me in glory. And if by some God-ordained miracle my family could be saved by my trial, all the better.

The Lord is so good. It's hard to see that when things hurt and I want to smile but cry instead, but His promises will far outlast my tears and I look forward to the happier days that will soon be here.

For now I take rest in my Lord and in the gifts He has given to me. A new little niece to call my own, a Christian family to comfort in, a church to call home, a biological family whose come together because of my trials, softened hearts at every door, and a testimony to be taken to the nations. Whether in life or in death, I will live on in Christ. As long as there is a need to evangelize, my trials nor testimony will not be in vain because I was a Christ-hating witch who fell in love with the Saviour and now even in the greatest pain of my short 24 year old life can proudly be willing to suffer for His name sake. Praise the Lord for His mercy. Amen.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Better now

I am feeling better now in every way. It is part of my depravity that as my physical health improves so does my spiritual health. I was allowed to stop my meds which stopped the debilitating sickness that took away my appetite, made me vomit, and kept me weak. I'm doing well now except that my arms and hands have started this new shaking thing which is very attractive-:/

Also, I have been strengthened spiritually from the Holy Spirit, the word of God, godly reading material, evangelism, and my church family. There was a week there were I wanted to die more than live, but now I leave it the hands of God to decide my future without my imput. While it is more desirable to be with Christ, to be 24 and have survived cancer praising the Lord is quite a testimony to the Lost and the hypocrites. It is also an encouragement to the weak in faith and new believers. That Christ would so empower a believer and change the heart of a witch to go from hating Him to loving Him and wanting to be obedient to Him even in the worst of trials is a miracle.

I guess we'll have to just see how it goes-LOL.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Still Alive

I didn't bring my computer to the hospital and I'm pretty low on energy right now, but I'll give people the update:

I went to the hospital May 24th. My birthday. When I got there and they started getting me ready I was crying. I didn't want to be at the hospital. Jen stayed with me as long as she could and afterward I had an arguement with my sister on the phone which made me cry again. Despite this and the fact that I said I wanted no visitors, she said she was coming. I got many phone calls on my birthday, all except from grandma.

May 25th-Chemo starts. Shaina shows up and starts to cry. Then she told me that when grandma entered hosp. she started to cry and said, "it just hit me". I guess my family, never seeing me in the hosp. didn't think it was real. While they were there I started to get the chills. It ended up that by the time the family left I had a fever of 101.5 or something.

May 26th-May 28th-Lots of problems. Can't eat. Lost apetite and too much vomitting. Fever won't go down for longer than a couple of hours. Heart rate is dropping. BP is very low. About 70/35. They decide to stop chemo and move me to ICU. They strap me to a heart monitor and start the antibiotics.

May 29th-they do a blood transfusion. BTW-there is no privacy in ICU!!! Also for the past couple of days my legs have been swollen and its been hard to walk so they do a lower body sonogram thingy to see if I have blood clots. Also at some point this week they did blood cultures to see if I had CDT (C-diff). I did which only helped my vommitting and everything else. At this point fever is 103.

May 30th-I got moved out of ICU, but was still on heart monitor. It seemed like I was coming around.

May 31st-June 2nd-Things looking better, fever gone, BP up, heart rate still low but finally taken off monitor. Still not eating, still vommitting. BTW-its absolutely disgusting to vomit water. Since that was all that was in my stomach, thats what I vomitted.

June 3rd-June 6th-Things get bad again. Fever is back. It was during this period that things might have been the worst. The nurses added two IVs to my hands in addition to my port. I cried and said no. And thats when they yelled at me and said, "we have to many antibotics to give you and we need to give them to you right now. You are not going aseptic (when the infection reaches your blood). In addition to the 10 meds, they also gave me a plasma transfusion at this point as well. I also have a cough which makes me vomit which I've had since the beginning .

June 7th- I feel better. My blood counts are good and I want to go home. I'm still not eating and still coughing.

June 8th- My WBC are 38. I put on a happy face so they'll let me go home. I'm still coughing, vomitting, and weak, but I want to leave. Was I wrong to leave? I don't know.

Before I left I saw my doctor. He said that the toxicity level in my body had reached such a high level that my blood counts were gone before they had even finished chemo. It wasn't supposed to happen and he said it wouldn't happen again.

June 11th-Today I am home but I'm still not eating. I try. I really do. But b/c of the cough I vomit everything up. I'm still shaky and sick but every day I get better. What's really hard in this whole experience is that I almost died and that was only the second round. I still have six more to go and I don't know how I'm gonna make it. Part of me just wants to ask the doctor "how long do I have to live, if I stop treatment?" A year, 5 years...I don't know it seems so much easier than making it through the next 6 months.

My faith is so weak right now. I wish so much I could be stronger. I know my thoughts and behavior are not pleasing to the Lord. There are so many people in worse trials than I. So anyway, I think that's it. The full story. I really wish my blog was happier. Unfortunately, its not. It's just the facts. I still love Christ. I don't want to fall away. I'm glad His hold on me is stronger than mine on Him.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Broken Hearted

Hello everyone. I have returned from Boston and now have internet access again. Ironically enough my phone was stolen in Atlanta today so I have internet, but no phone.

Before I go any further I wanted to apologize if I have been harsh or unloving in any of my posts. I ask you all to bear my burdens with me as I struggle to handle cancer along with life. You see, as I spent this last week in Boston with my family one thing that I realized is that for the most part being really sick doesn't make the world stop or life get easier. In fact it makes life harder b/c you're supposed to keep up with everyone even though you're bald and sick and everyone around you is doing great.

I failed when I was in Boston. I'm not an example for anyone. I showed no one Christ. I was consumed with sin as I tried to block out everything I couldn't change. My family's presence sent me into my habitual sins of impatience and complaining. In addition, I was put in sinful situations and constanly lost my temper and fed my sins. I'm not blaming my family for my sin, but it was very difficult.

As lost people my family are loving and generous. I should be thankful knowing the families that others have. I AM blessed and I can't explain my fears when they are concerned. I won't discuss them here, but just know they exsist. It was worth it to go to Boston despite my trials. My sister cried when she saw me b/c she didn't know I was coming and was so happy I was there. But I am ashamed of my sin. I hate it, I hate it so much. If I could kill it physically I would. I would choke the life out of it.

It wasn't until I came home that the veil was lifted and I could see what was happening. The Lord has crushed me so severely with His chasening that I can't do anything but weep. I'm supposed to go to chemo on Monday and I don't feel ready. I guess that's the way He needed me to be to survive this trial once again. To be weak and crumpled so that He could carry me through this.

Also right now my church is going through some horrible trials and I am about to lose someone who I truly love with my whole heart. It makes me ask, "who can I trust anymore?" Then I remember that Psalm which answers my question.

The psalmist affirms the truth when He says,

"Whom have I in Heaven but You?
And there is none upon earth that I
desire beside You
My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever"

~Psalm 73:25-26

And I thank God that through my light afflictions He has provided His loyal flock to comfort me. Though I grieve, I know that this must also one day pass. See the hypocrisy, I'm angry when people grieve for me, but here I am grieving for myself , my sins, and my losses. You see why I need prayers for obedience and not healing. Whether sick or well I continue to sin. The sickness of sin is worse than the sickness of cancer.

I must go now, but to leave things on a light note, I will say this. When I finish chemo and its time for my hair to grow back; we can all pray as much as we want for swift growth, healing, and long, beautiful hair to come back to me. LOL. I love you all who know me. Please forgive me for my sins.

BTW, Sovereign Grace Music is absolutely amazing!!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I don't know how to spell it, but I have broncitis. It's not a big deal at the moment since I don't have a fever, but the doctor siad he would stay worried about me until I started chemo again, which will be on the 24th of May.

In other news, based on some family feedback I would just like to make it clear that just b/c Im not praying for healing doesnt mean Im praying for death. God will heal me through the doctors in His own timing. That is completely out of my control. However how I act and my own responses to this situation are partly my responsibility. While God is sovereign I still have to be obedient. And thats why I pray for obedience, b/c its something that Im responsible for.

I would also like those who are in mourning over this situation or who are pitying me to examine themselves to see whether are not they are in the faith. This trial like all things is about the Lord. We should only praise Him for it. Nothing else. Also, I hate pity. Nothing is more discouraging than that look of sadness on someone's face that reminds you that you're sick.

Pray for my time with my family. They are much more challenging than cancer. Thanks.

Friday, May 7, 2010

A new date and a new poem

My mom is here and it's not as bad as I thought it would be. I forgot that it wouldn't be the same as it was before simply because even if everything stayed the same, Christ has still sanctified me making the entire affair different.

Today was Elizabeth's shower. It was wonderful. I know she was surprised and I pray she was edified. I also got to talk to my chemo nurse and my oncologist has agreed to push my chemo back to my birthday. Yes, I know it sounds strange, but I don't mind starting chemo on my birthday. There are so many things to do before that date that are so important to me that it just fades in comparison. Plus, I can't eat cake and I've already ranted about it so I'll just leave it at that.

Now so I can sleep, I will leave you with my newest poem, which I actually wrote for Jessica in the hospital, but it can edify all of us.

To Give Him Glory
The point of trials is for the glory of God, the self-examination and sanctification of the believer, and the edification and encouragement of the saints. Each trail is perfectly formulated for the growth of the believer. As you go through them, remember that beloved.

What is the right response, when struck by a blow?
What do I do when there’s no where else to go?
Only to the cross, where pain was defined
Only to Christ, whose sufferings help mine
Only to God by whom this was decided
Only to the Spirit, whose comfort is provided
The Lord has decided that this would be so.
His perfection wills it, leaving one place to go.
Through each trial and chain
He holds my sweet relief
God has decided
That I’ll be sanctified through grief
In life, there’s pain, then there’s peace.
Soon I’ll in Heaven, in a place without time.
Where Christ rules forever with His glory sublime.
I have one place of rest, at the foot of the cross.
All my plans have been undone, all I have lost.
Only I will be blamed, if I tarnish His name
Or make Him ashamed with His gospel defamed.
Holy is the Great I AM, worthy is the Perfect Lamb
God sovereignly decided that my life He would take
And I’ll honor Him, through the choices I make.
Worship Christ so that He’ll be glorified.
Praise His name so that He'll be magnified.
The right response Is just to obey
And through each trial put Christ on display
He is the focus, I am but a lens
He is the King, on Him I depend
The purest gold is made in the fire
To be like Christ is my greatest desire
I do not wish or want to be healed
But in my suffering let Christ be revealed.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Light and Heat

Hello again. It's amazing how through life's greatest trials, it's possible by God's grace to be at peace and encouraging to all, like when I was in the hospital with cancer, and yet then to come home and get something mild like a cold and then be grumpy and snap at everyone that annoys you. That has been my trial of the week. The lesser my pain and troubles, the more distant from God I become and the more in sin as well. O what a wretch I am! True devotion comes when all is stripped away, not when it is returned.

In other news, I had my blood lab appointment yesterday. My WBC (white blood cell count) was 9.1 even with the sniffles so I'm still really healthy on a cellular level at least. Physically as already stated I have a head cold and b/c I stopped the chiropractor my back and leg pain has returned.

Tomorrow, Jessica and I are going to the beach to say good-bye. She has been one of my best friends for three years. No one angers or convicts me quite like she does, but then again no one makes me laugh or forces me to examine myself like her as well. During our time together she has been one of the Lord's greatest tools and comforts in my life. I have so many memories with her, the most recent being that it was her voice recorded on my voice recorder singing that lifted my spirits and reminded me of God's grace during chemotherapy when I was partially blind and vomiting. To know what life will be like without her has not set in yet, but I know that it will be alright (that's the title of one of our songs) b/c it's God's will and He saw all other roads for the both of us and chose the ones that we are on. I'm so happy for her success and I know she will excel at PA school as she has excelled at everything else. So I rejoice in knowing that the refinement of her talents will only lead to God's glory in wherever He leads her.

I have been reading more lately. In in the Puritan class at my church and so for that class I have been reading "Light and Heat: The Puritan View of the Pulpit" for Sunday. I'm half way through now and found the most interesting passage at the end of the first half. It said:

"The spirit of this age would have us believe that the avenue of preaching is no longer the means by which God will revive His Church. Rather, we are to engage in and enlist more contemporary means to accomplish what God has said He would do through the foolishness of preaching. More ritual with attention to ceremony, or one or more of the many forms of entertainment-films, music, drama, and testimonies-are the answers to the ineffectiveness of the church, we are told. Yet others will say that the need of the hour is small groups, where we can relate to one another and share our concerns. In such an era as this, a study of the Puritan view of the pulpit is like a refreshing drink of water in a desert atmosphere...Historians tell us that we should not forget the events of the past so that we can prevent their reoccurrence. Does not the same hold true for that which was successful? If the test of a sermon is the quality of life that it produces, then the Puritans were superbly successful. Thus, we must return to the Puritans and their view of the pulpit if we desire to alter the conduct of those whom we serve" (Bickel 67).

This is not modern-day Christianity. If my opinion is to be refuted, please read "Sinners in the hands of an angry God" by Jonathan Edwards or listen to my Pastor, Dr. David Downs on sermon and then tell me your pastor preaches like them. If so, then you are blessed b/c your pastor like mine is rare in our depraved nation.

I think that's it for now. Right now, my next chemo session is scheduled to start on the 21st of May. I'm trying to push it to at least the 23rd so I can go to Roberto's wedding.

Monday, May 3, 2010

I'm sorry

I'm sorry I don't write as often as I should. I have a very slow computer that takes patience to work with. To give some updates, I am feeling better than last week, but I do have a headache that won't go away. I've taken two extra strength tylenol to try and help it, but it doesn't work.

I saw the oncologist on Wednesday and he said he was very happy with me. That I did well with the chemo and the cancer seems to be responding and shrinking. Presently my blood counts look good and he has me scheduled to go back to the hospital at the end of the month. I will be spending my birthday in the hospital, but that's ok since I can't eat cake anyways. All chemo and recovery will be in the hospital b/c hyper vad c is just to strong to do outpatient.

My grandma and john were both here for three days. They were a huge financial blessing and it was nice to have their company. My only complaint would be that I hate being pitied. Also this past week, a momentous occasion occured. I shaved my head. I have about an inch of hair now of what is left of it. After pulling it out for a week, I got sick of it. If you see any pictures of me, just know I'm wearing a wig. It's kind of werid, but you get over it.

Friday was the "single's night out" at church. It was lots of fun and the food was good. I'm glad I was able to go. Then Saturday, I went to evangelism and talked to an old friend. She's heard the gospel so many times, I've lost count. But even staring at me with cancer, she refused to repent of her sins. It was really sad.

Yesterday was church. Pastor preached a very convicting sermon. Unfortunately during the sermon I felt sick. I was able to sit through it, but not without a headache, light-headedness, and the chills.

I have a appt. at the cancer institute tomorrow for blood work. I'll have to tell them about my symptoms. I hope they don't send me back to the hospital.

That's all for now. Have lots of errands to run. Think I should lay down first.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I'm so tired, but must post for all those who need to know what's going on. It has been difficult the last couple of days to deal with the side effects of chemotherapy. I'm tired, light headed, headachy, hungry, and weak all the time. My energy comes in waves and I always feel like I can't catch my breath. But each day it seems to get a little worse and better as I learn to adjust and be content. My blessings have come of it, the greatest of which is the family bonding that is occuring with my sister.

In other news, I went to the oncologist today. He said that he was pleased with me and my progress and that I did great. I thought I did terrible and I felt terrible, but that's the doctor/patient perspective for you. My blood counts are still doing well and he wants me to be as active as possible. He frowns at the thought of me lying in bed all day. He wants me to push myself which is exciting since that's what I've been doing. Chemo is in about a month. Around my birthday. I don't mind though, I can't eat cake anyway. What's the point of a birthday if you can't eat cake?

Lastly, Jen and Preston are at the hospital. She is having chest pain. Bella is with Karen. And I am trying to be a good roommate. I've cleaned and washed dishes. Taken out the trash. Bought some food for when they get home and am presently washing their sheets and doing laundry. I want to bless them the way they have blessed me.

Pray for my success and continued perserverance. All glory to God. He picked the perfect path for me. He knew all other paths that could have happened before He chose this one so I know it is the perfect path and am at peace because He has already seen what is about to happen and knows it will bring Him glory. :)

Ok, sleep time. Good Night readers.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Crazy times and crazier nurses

For some light hearted laughter, I thought I would share some of the crazy experiences I and others had during my 24 day stay at Florida Hospital South.

1. Did you know that no matter what time of night it is, most techs will come into your room and announce themselves, saying in a loud and pronounced voice, "My name is ____ and I am here to take your vitals! Let's start with your temp. Oh, look, your temp is ___ degrees, that's gooood! Now let's move on to your blood pressure. Oh, your blood pressure is ____! How wonderful. Well thank you very much and I'll see you again in a couple of hours." Then they fiddle with your monitors for a while and loudly leave the room the same way they came in.

2. Did you know that every single night, you are never alone, never asleep (truly), and never in a noiseless, dark atmosphere. You have your tech, nurse, garbage lady, cleaning lady, room air flow engineer, air conditioning man, food people, and many doctors all visiting your room almost every hour of the day and night. You sleep with one eye open always aware that someone is about to come in at any moment. And all machines in your room are liable and suspectable to start blinging or beeping at any given moment.

3. Did you know that sometimes the nurses would make an announcement to every room on the floor at all times and then would forget to turn off the speaker. So there were many nights when I would simply be crying out because I could hear everything the nurse in the office was saying sometimes for 15 minutes or more at sometimes 2:00 in the morning.

4. Once my door was opened and a nurse who was not mine was standing there. It was the coveted 2:30 am time and she was staring at my room sternly. I arose from my sleeping position just in time for her to say "You have too many chairs in your room". Needless to say, my response was one of confusion. "They were here before I was." Disatisfied with my response, this unknown sleep interupter responded, "You are not supposed to have this many chairs, I will have to remove some of them." My response was once again one of confusion. "Now?" I replied. She said no, but informed me all the same at this very important hour that I was not supposed to have as many chairs as I did and that I should know it. At this point she simply continued to glare and I decided no longer to pay attention. I will however let you know that in the morning, one of my chairs was missing. So some time later on in the night, this unknown nurse had stolen one of my chairs. I got it back, but it was humorous all the same, to have it happen in the first place.

5. And lastly, my well meaning friends at the beginning og my hospital stay had all decided to send me flowers. They were all lovely and brought great cheer to my gloomy view of gravel which was my companion for 4 days. However, when they moved me to the cancer ward, the flowers could not come and so the responsibility fell on my poor friend, Jessica R. to at 12:00 am find a wheel chair in order to wheel my flower shop to her car. You should know that she got lost many times and ended up in the back ghetto of the hospital. When she finally did make her way back, some how she even ended up on an elevator that didn't go to my floor. By the time she found me again, it was a miracle indeed, but needless to say that is one experience not easily forgotten.

Ok, I think that's it for now. Just some hospital humor to lighten things up. Sleep time now. Good night blog readers. LOL.

So many posts, so little memory!!!

Well, for the first and most important post, I AM NOW HOME!!! I was released from the hospital yesterday afternoon at about 2:30pm. My darling friend Nancy, picked me up and my adventure began. It was an experience to breathe free air, drive in a car, and go to wal-mart all after 24 days in the hospital in a bed. Then in true Leah style, I decided to surprise my church this morning with my appearence instead of letting anyone know I was coming. In addition to the shouts of joy, 5 car pile-ups, many hugs, and an endearing pray for my health by Tom Mutugi, my dear friends Nicole and Jess played a beautiful song honoring the Lord, using my cancer experience as an encouragement to the body. Although I felt the weary effects of my treatment there was nothing that could have kept me away from the body.

When I went to the hosptial on April 1, I had three goals. The first was to glorify the Lord, the second was to guard my testimony and witness against sin and blame, and the third was to encourage and edify the body of Christ. The Lord has honored all my prayer requests for His own personal glory and I am the lucky one to have been chosen by Him at such a young age to be this vessel for Him and His church.

Although I have so much more time, trials, and tears ahead of me. So many unknown questions, answers, fears, and problems, I am completely confident in one thing-Christ alone. As long as I stay faithful to Him I will stay at peace and sustained in this trial and all others to come. No amount of pain, hair loss, light headedness, hunger, or tiredness can ever seperate a true believer from the ever sustaining and supplying love of God.

Ok, more posts to come. Some funny tidbits about werid nurses and other experiences that happened at the hospital that can't be left out.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

So Grateful!

I write this entry with tears in my eyes. I am so grateful to the Lord, its almost beyond words. I've vomited up everything I ate today and no matter how much medication they give me I have a headache that won't go away. But, I hada visit from a friend today who told me how my cancer has changed her life. And I've been reading the journal entries that my women's group wrote me when they visited me last week and it makes me cry. I'm so thankful for cancer. I've seen how the Lord uses my illness daily to evangelize, to convict me, to sanctify me, and to encourage others and I know that it wasn't possible in any other way to be brought to this kind of relationship with the Lord. It has opened my eyes and the eyes of all those who are in contact with me. My cancer is a great gift.

Today for women's group, I was on speaker phone so I could be part of the lesson. That was huge for me to be able to be there. My scripture memory this week was Philippians 3:3-9. It was the most that I've ever memorized at one time for group and I did it from the hospital. The scripture was so alive to me. I don't think I can relate to Paul in the extent of his sufferings, but I don't think it's wrong to apply those scriptures to myself. Although, in some ways, it's not true. I have not suffered the loss of all things. Only some things. But I am gaining "the excellence of the knowledge of the glory of Christ Jesus, my Lord".

Praise be to my holy and precious Lord. I love Christ so much and I know that it is because of His Spirit that I have been spared that guilt of sin in this trial. I deserve no praise, the glory belongs to Him alone. And I am so thankful to be part of Cornerstone Church. Without my body of believers I truly would be in suffering.

I think that's it for now. I'm going to read some more before they give me meds that will put me out for the night. I'm also going to try to eat again. It will probably end up in the bucket, but at least it will taste good going down-LOL.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Short and Sweet

Ok, so since Sunday I've vomited twice more, today. Yesterday (Monday) was a good day. I got moved from 10218 back to 10230 which does give me more room and fellowship time. I still get sick and I see how the nurses here are slower and less attentive, but I'm content where the Lord puts me. I had my spinal tap chemotherapy yesterday which due to many drugs was painless. Then Jen, Preston, and baby came over and we went downstairs. It was nice. They brought me food, but I was too nauseous to eat it.

Today, I still have nausea, wait...yup I just vomited up my dinner. That's three times today, after every meal. Sorry. Anyway, I'm also being shown my weakness in light-headedness, headaches, and fatigue, but the Lord is good and His grace is ever abounding. I'm sorry, I wish I could write more, but I'm so tired. Till next time-I rejoice in the Lord. In the wonders He has done. And the many blessings He has in my life.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Do I distain His covenant?

Had a productive day today. I ate and only vomited once so far. I listened to the first hour of John MacAruthur's sermon "Self-Discipline", wrote two poems, and had sweet fellowship with Jennifer Toor who brought me asparagus and spinanch empanadas from Whole Foods. We read Phillipians together and it was amazing to see scripture come to life. Jen B. is here now. Got to go.

Foods chemotherapy likes

Trying to find something to something to eat that chemotherapy won't reject can be quite a tricky process. So far there are few foods that have made it past the throat to the stomach and stayed to reside. My few winners have been:

1. Whole Foods Lemon Mustard Asparagus
2. Panetini Four Cheese Toast Points
3. Green Beans
4. Wheaties (although they have been rejected before)
5. Saltine Crackers

And that's about it. Everything, is a no go. At this point I vomit 3-4X a day and have lost about 10 pounds. Good for the vow in future, bad for me now b/c I'm hungry enough to eat about anything-I just can't. Oh the funny ironies of life. The Lord has such a sense of humor. I have a headache right now. I might have vomited the meds that prevent that. Have to go find out.

Sorry, no spirituals insights or teachings in this post. They are there in my head. I just need to headache meds first.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Eating is tricky

I know I just did a really long post, but I should mention something about food. I am so hungry right now, I could eat anything, but because of the chemotherapy I throw up everything. It really is a horrible position to be in. I had done a victory dance earlier because I had made it through a chicken sandwhich, but the minute I got up, the cold sweats started and chicken went bye-bye. :(
The only bright spot of this gloomy spot is that the vow is coming sooner and sooner to a close and oh how I will rejoice with the grandest chocolatest most amazing dessert I can get my hands on. And even, if I throw that up, at least I will have eaten it!!!!!

Day 17 in Hospital, Day 6 with cancer

I don't have a lot of strength. I'm really nauseous, light-headed and shaky, but I wanted to start writing. I have been in the hospital for 17 days. Jessica drove me here on April 1, 2010. They thought I had a clogged lymph node that would need to be drained. My neck was swollen and I was in pain. By the end of the night I was an in-patient and by the next day I was being checked for TB. Six days later the truth was told. I have Burkitt's Lymphoma-cancer.

Before I was in the hospital, I lived with my loving friends who I consider as close to me as three people can be. Jennifer and Preston have been my best friends since I got saved. I was with them before they got married, their maid-of-honor, there when they found out they were pregnant both times, and I lived with them for over a year in their home as their roommate, best friend, and auntie to the baby, Bella.

Before I was in the hospital, I went to UCF and I worked at Disney. Now I've had to medically withdraw from school and take medical leave from my job for chemotherapy.

Before I was in the hospital, I thought I had a 5-year plan. See my sister graduate from college in May, go to Guatemala in August, start LPN school in the spring, get a medical job, pay off my loans, and become a missionary full time in Guatemala.

But Christ is sovereign. King, Ruler, and Creator and His plan just happened to be longer and more extensive than the last 17 days or next 8 months. The Lord has decided that at this time I will not be anything, but His vessel, specially chosen to be used as a testimony and a witness in the hopeless, painful world of Cancer and Chemotherapy.

I am not angry, unhappy, bitter, and questioning His perfect judgement. In the words of Job, I humbly and fully believe "The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD" -Job 1:21.

He will use me in this for the gospel, my family, my friends, and my church. So that we will all be woken up, examined, questioning, and being sanctified in ways that we never thought possible before. And I pray not for healing or miracles in this trial, but simply that I would be as obedient on my last day of chemotherapy as I was on my first and would never forget my first love no matter how hard the trial becomes.