Since my last post I have enjoyed many, many blessings. It seems to be a time of blessing after persevering through the storm. God is good down in the valleys and up on the mountaintops of life! I am so thankful for the strength He has given me lately. Here is a quick rundown of a few of the blessings God has given me over the past weeks:
Family Conference with area churches – We were able to attend the NARBC Spring Conference in Gretna, NE. In addition to enjoying the excellent speakers, I heard how God has used my blog to touch the lives of others in the Omaha area that I don’t regularly see. Thank you all for your support and prayers for me on this journey! It means so much to me!
Trip to Eastern Iowa – We were able to travel to Crawfordsville, IA to see many family members I hadn’t seen in years or even in my lifetime, as we celebrated the life of my Great Uncle Wayne who passed away from Leukemia in December. God gave me the opportunity to share His goodness to me with many people!
Trip to Colorado – We were able to spend Mother’s Day weekend with many dear family members, including 5 generations of wonderful ladies-my great-grandma, grandma, mom, myself, and my daugher! What a blessing!
Trip to Indianola, IA – We were able to see many family and friends from our hometown as we celebrated our neice Sara’s graduation! It was was great to hear how so many were following my blog and praying me through my journey. Thank you all for your constant prayers and encouragement! It always feels like home going back to Indianola!
Trip to Iowa Regular Baptist Camp – We were able to take the family for a few days of R & R as we visited great friends! It was a wonderful, refreshing time for us all! The kids all loved the camp and want to go back again. Faith is now there for Jr. Girl’s camp this week!
Slater Youth Group Visit – We were blessed to have the Slater Baptist Church Youth Group here to help us with some church work and prep for Bennington Daze! They worked on cutting paper for paper mache, painting a telescope for our float, cutting out flannelgraph pictures for JOY Club lessons, and writing a Color Poem to share God’s love through sand art in our Bennington Daze booth in the park. Thank you for all your work in serving the Lord in Bennington! You saved us many hours of work we can devote to other areas!
Bennington Daze – The last couple weeks were spent preparing for our church’s involvement in Bennington Daze, our yearly town celebration. Making cards, flyers, and banners, preparing sand art supplies, paper mache-ing, and painting were a few of our activities to get ready for our booth in the park and float in the parade. After a very rainy morning, the weather cleared off just in time for the parade! Many were given our church flyers, pens, and sand art for the kids. We ran completely out of supplies! Pray for fruit from this outreach into our community. I am so thankful God gave me the strength to prepare for and help with this wonderful weekend!
And now for a Medical Update: After finishing chemo in January, I am happy to report that my white blood cell counts are back in the normal range now in June! Praise the Lord! I was blessed to spend time catching up with and sharing God’s graciousness to me with several of my nurses, doctors, medical staff, and dear fellow chemo and radiation patients while going to recent follow up appointments!
I have been struggling with my reconstruction process. I have a leaky tissue expander that had to be refilled after radiation was complete, and requires fills every three weeks until I can have my final surgery. Each fill since radiation has been giving me pain that triggers headaches/migraines. I am down and out for a couple days until I can get rid of them, and then I’m just sore, achy , and tired until the cycle starts again every three weeks. (Reminds me a bit of my 3 week chemo cycle.) I am so thankful God has given me my wonderful, loving husband who is able to juggle work and church responsibilities to help cook, clean, and take care of our precious kiddos and me during those down times. He has been a constant help and encouragement through every detail along the way.
These struggles remind me to see and be thankful for all the blessings God has given me. I know that He has and He will give me strength when I am weak and rest when I am weary. He is constantly growing my faith and trust in Him to a deeper level. He brings me joy in any situation when I am trusting in Him!
Today I had an appointment to get another fill in my tissue expander. We were concerned that I would require another extra surgery to replace the leaky tissue expander and begin the expansion process all over. Praise the Lord, my doctor believes we will be able to have a good result from continuing the fills every 3 weeks until the final surgery! After having 5 surgeries already on this journey, I was not eager to add another extra one to the queue. I am so thankful we can avoid that! She also told me we can schedule surgery a little sooner than the 6 months after radiation, like we anticipated. My radiation oncologist told me that my skin was the best he had seen after radiation. My plastic surgeon said today that the skin doesn’t even look like it has been radiated. God is good! So I now have an official date for my final surgery of the reconstruction process: September 25th! I had surgery to put in the tissue expanders on September, 27, 2011, so I will get them out just shy of a year later!
Yet another praise is that I am not in pain yet from this fill! I didn’t feel the intense tightness during the fill this time, so I’m hoping that the skin is stretched enough now that it won’t cause the pain that triggers the headaches this time around. 🙂 Thank you all for your continued prayers on this journey. Rejoice and praise the Lord with me for the many blessings and opportunities He has given me because of cancer in my life!
“Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.” Philippians 1:18-20