Thursday, December 23, 2010

A New Course

Hello Everyone,
Well, Jay and I went to see Dr. Bhushan yesterday and spoke with him for 2 hours. As most of you know, mine is a RARE case and there has been many factors that have come into question about my treatment. This is what we have decided to do....

Dr. Bhushan still would like to see me start treatment however, he agrees that there are many things we just don't know about my case and will not be able to know so, given that, he feels that I am an intelligent person who is taking my unique situation very seriously and agrees that it might be an option to simply monitor my condition and see how this plays out. He has only experienced 1 case similar to mine and they went forward with treatment but that person did not do as well as expected so he is willing to try another route with me. He is going to talk with Dr. Rao, my hemotologist/oncologist in McKinney and assured me that she would be fine since I have spoken with him. They are very worried that if something happens to me, their biggest concern is fractures, that they will be liable but since I am very aware of these cautions, he agrees that I might be able to go several months, years without this intervention and we will monitor on a monthly basis. We will also do bone marrow biopsies and PET scans on a 3 month basis to watch for progressions in the cancer.

In the meantime, I am planning to go back to Arizona in January and retain my job as an educational consultant through May, God willing. This will help us a great deal financially and that is also important.

I will be back in Texas for good in May and if and when things begin to progress with the cancer, will begin treatment. The only treatment I have had is a bone drug called Zometa which could explain the drop in proteins etc. but regardless, we still have not found actual cancer in my bone marrow so I would like this time to let God, and the changes from God in me, do it's work. Miracles happen and although I am not worth of that intervention in my own thoughts, I know that God does everything for a purpose and the impact this has had on all of us has been a blessing from God.

I will continue to pray as I'm sure all of you will, that we all keep God in front of us as we live each day and that we appreciate and share the gifts he has given to us. This journey has been spectacular and as I move forward with my life, I have a newfound appreciation for literally EVERYTHING around me and EVERYONE I meet. The miracles of God has already been experience by me regardless of whether or not my cancer progresses. I am loved and blessed to have had this life and all of you! May you all have the most wonderful holiday with family and friends and I will continue to write and let you know how I am doing.

Love to all, and Merry Christmas! Susan and Jay

Friday, December 17, 2010

A fabulous reply from a fabulous friend that I wanted to share with all of you!

Marilu is a good friend of mine who still deals with cancer issues and has for years. She responded to my message today and I wanted to share it with all of you. We have so much knowledge, all of us, and it is such a gift to share these words with others. Love, Susan

For those of us that have walked this path before you, your words serve as an affirmation of what we have experienced and what we have felt. I have always told friends that having cancer was one of the best things that ever happened to me and they look at me like I am crazy. It's funny how you can be getting thru life and what you think are it's ups and downs when God comes in and shakes it all upside down! But just like the inside of a snow globe, things eventually settle and you are able to marvel about the scene that is right in front of you. How blessed we are to have that chance. And for those who have not had to go thru the cancer experience, learn from others and embrace the life that you have...the good, the bad....and yes the ugly! It's all GOOD! Have a blessed holiday Susie and know that you are in all of our hearts and in our prayers daily! 2011 will be miraculous! I can feel it! Love, Marilu

Faith Makes Things Possible, Not Easy

Hello Everyone,
As we near the holidays, and the birth of Christ, I am reminded of each of you and the Love I feel for all of you who have given your time to pray for me. I continue to feel well as Jay and I head to San Antonio to see his parents and 2 of his brothers and their families. We will also stop in Austin on our way home Sunday to see his son Marc and Stanzie, they are expecting our first grandchild!

A good friend, Sis, brought me a gift which had the above quote written on the frame. What a beautiful statement! Her daughter, Shea, was involved in a car accident many years ago but continues to struggle with health issues, blood clots right now. She is so young and beautiful and this constant stress is taking a toll on her and her wonderful family. As I leave today, I am asking that all of you shift your focus on her for prayer as she so deserves the healing.

I have been so blessed and feel the power of your prayers each day as I just know that God is hearing, and answering them per his plan. I can't begin to tell all of you how wonderfully blessed I feel for having been diagnosed and yet given this challenge to be patient as I listen and follow his direction for my life. I am forever changed and yet feel nothing but peace at what will come. It is truely a GIFT to let go and follow, which has never been my strong suit!

Please be safe over the holidays, keep the things that are truely important in the forefront of your lives and let the people you love know how important they are to you! Forgive those who hurt or offend you and be compassionate to those who do not feel the blessings we have. Remember that even in our darkest hour, there are many more who are feeling greater pain, anxiety, saddness or depression and we can be the source to lift their load, even for a brief moment. Smile and breathe in the sunshine and air showing God how greatful you are for each and every day that we are given.

My Mom will be here next week to spend Christmas with us and my sister will arrive from California the following week. We plan to spend New Years with one of my brothers in Oklahoma, God willing! To all of those who are graduating this weekend, Tricia and Max especially, may God bless you and find you much happiness in life!

Happy Holidays! Love to all. Susan

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Neglecting the Blog but I'm back!

The past couple of weeks have been confusing to say the least but there is such a large part of me that believes I am healing and all of that is coming from prayer and God. Each day, and often throughout the day, I find myself in conversations with God or others who profess God's word. The power of God is truely awesome and I have learned over these past 2 months to listen intently to his guidance, which has not been easily swallowed by my family or friends at times although most are on board at this point in time.

How can we explain the improvements in my health??? The state of peace that I have felt over these past 2 months has grown into a lifetime of change and everything in my life is now re-focused and literally left to God for direction. It has been an easy thing to let go and I am only sorry that I didn't do so a long, long time ago! This change has not just taken on my health but also my emotional wellness. Here is an example....

My daughter, Jenna, last Friday, called us at around 8:30 as Jay and I were relaxing watching an old movie, "Kramer vs. Kramer". She was crying as she had been involved in a major car accident on Hwy 75. She was OK, a hurt leg, arm and neck but luckily no life threatening injuries, praise God as that might have done me in! Someone had plowed into the back of her stopped vehicle going about 40mph which pushed her car into the stopped vehicle in front of her and that car into the one in front of them. Under normal conditions I would have been in a panic!!!! I was calm as we drove and prayed for her and the others, thanking God for his goodness in keeping them safe. 3 months ago, this would not have been the case.

Jay and I woke this morning and had a wonderful discussion about God and our purpose on Earth. It amazes me how much he knows about scripture and I have learned a great deal from him. Each day, as I seek to learn more about God, I am held to a higher standing of how to live my own life. It has been exciting to be with a man who was brought up with so much Christian knowledge and as he shares this with me to better understand God. Through this we find ourselves both growing in love for each other and feeling a sense of awesome power as God purposely brought us together.

We talk of the need to live by example and both have a hightened awareness of the need to raise the bar as you learn more about God's love and the power behind that. It is quite a responsibility to have this knowledge but I open myself completely at this point to learn more about how to live my life through his grace. I am so happy and so filled with peace and love that it radiates from my body which seems to be pushing the cancer out! There is no room for this illness as God has filled me with LOVE. Once again, I am grateful to all of you who have shown me, unconditionally how loved I am! You are obviously filled with God and have helped to make my cup runneth over! I love you all! Continue to pray it forward! Love, Susan

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Update but still not doing Chemo

OK everyone,
I know that I am making everyone crazy but I just can't go forward yet once again. I'm not sure why this is happening but I know that the facts are just not justifying the treatment at this point in time.
Today, Jay took me for my first chemo treatment which as most of you know has been a difficult decision for me to make but I was on board and ready to go forward. Last week, I had a long talk with Dr. Rao, my oncologist in McKinney with Texas Oncology, and we discussed my concerns with treatment when there was no evidence of cancer in all 7 of the bone marrow biopsies that had been done to date. She understood but assured me that the elevated protein and 92 bone lesions made it important for us to get started soon. I asked her if we could monitor but she didn't think that was a good idea but agreed to do another full blood test to look at my protein levels again.
When Jay and I went in today, she let me know that the protein levels I had in late Oct. 2800 which normal is 70 - 400 was now down to 600! She was also confused. We discussed at length and although she said that I had 2 bone treatments, it still did not explain the lowered protein level. She had called Dr. Bushan at Medical City and although they are almost in the normal range now, he still felt we needed to go forward with treatment.
I'm sorry, but this news further complicated my state of mind and once again, we have delayed treatment to discuss further. I will be meeting with Dr. Bushan at Medical City to discuss why or what could be making these proteins drop.
There are 4 indicators of this disease:
Cancer present in Bone Marrow: I have none after 7 biopsies
Elevated Protein levels: Originally mine was 2800, now 600 with normal range being 70-400
24 Hour Urine Proteins: I have no after 2 tests
Bone Lesions: I DO have these which is of serious concern but how long have I had them and how fast are they developing????
With a disease that is based on longevity and time, considered to be terminal at this point, the key is when to begin treatment, what treatment to do, and what time will it give me...

I have been very involved in prayer and know that you all are praying as well so I am looking to God for guidance and it seems that all of his messages as this point are moving me to a cautious state. I continue to pray and hope you will stay with me. I feel sad that I am going back and forth and making everyone crazy but this is so complicated and I just need to make a GOOD decision.

This morning, Shelly and Donis arrived with bagels, coffee and even little gifts for my first day of Chemo. I have the entire month of December already put together by Brenda with meals and drivers for my chemo treatments. EVERYONE has been so incredibly wonderful and it now feels like I am taking advantage of your kind hearts which is also hard for me but everything you have done has allowed me to solely focus on my health and for that I thank you!!! I love you all! Susan

Friday, November 26, 2010

Home from Thanksgiving in Oklahoma

Just got home tonight from a wonderful visit at my brother John's home in Oklahoma. Thanksgiving was wonderful and I have so much to be thankful for! Arrived back in McKinney tonight, Friday and my brother Kevin and his wife Lisa, drove from Phoenix with our other car so I would have my vehicle and clothes etc. What a blessing to have that taken care of....Thank you Kevin and Lisa. They will stay with us for dinner tommorrow and then drive all the way home to Tucson.

Jay and I will head back to Arkansas on Sunday and meet with the Dr. up there on Monday to get a diagnosis but the plan is to get back here Monday evening and begin treatment on Tuesday right here in Dallas. Hopefully we will get a consensus as to how they would approach treatment as the Institute in Arkansas is not completely covered on our insurance. I am comfortable with the Doctors who will treat me here and it is covered so that is most likely how we will move forward.

I will blog again as soon as we know for sure. Love to all and Happy Thanksgiving! Love, Susan

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Day 1 in Arkansas

We arrived at 6:30 pm on Thursday night and stayed with friends up here in Arkansas with an appointment the next day at 7:30 am. Much to our surprise, we arrived to find a fully scheduled day of tests and mtgs. Our day began at 7:30 am and ended last night at 9:36 pm. I had 32 vials of blood drawn, another bone marrow biopsy that had to be done twice since they did not locate M-Spikes in the first one which is what they need to get for the genotype which will pinpoint exactly my DNA profile and tell us what is going on. I also had an EKG, Echo-Cardiogram, and a 2 and a half hour MRI without and with contrast. Finally they did another MRI type of full body test which I can't recall the name. It was a long and grueling day and I was exhausted. We also met with nurses, insurance people etc.

I do believe that we will get a FIRM diagnosis when this is complete which will come next Thursday on my Birthday, go figure! I have no tests today, tomorrow will do a 24 hour Urine test all day and take that to the hospital on Monday morning. We have fulldays on Monday and Tuesday, nothing on Wed. unless any tests need to be repeated and will see the Dr. on Thursday for results and suggested treatment plan.

Jimmy and Jenna will drive up here on Wed. night and stay with us to go to the Dr. with us on Thursday. We are all anxious to get a better picture of what is going on and how advanced this disease is. Please continue with your prayers as I am and I will try to give you an update next week. Love to all. Susan

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Who Am I to Blog?

Each day I learn something new...
This morning I woke up crying. I had a dream and saw my son standing in a Tuxedo. There was music playing and he was looking for me to dance. I woke too soon in tears but I might have been there.... As strong as I am trying to look at this, it is never easy, nor will it ever be to think about leaving this world and everyone that we love!

I have received so many books and devotional booklets, CD's and stories and as I read them I find myself being constantly blessed to have been given the time to re-shape my own relationship with God. I am grateful to all of you who support me and realized today, once again, that there is nothing special about me or my circumstances except that I now have time to look closely at how I have lived my life. I am learning a great deal through reflection that it is a lifetime of good and bad choices that shape us.

I have constructed a good base but have a long way to go as I continue to construct my spiritual temple. Each day, I spend time talking with our Father to pay attention and accept the acts of faith that he is presenting to me.

Jay and I went to a nutritional counselor this weekend and I have some more information to investigate this week. We are waiting on the 2nd results of the Bone Marrow Biopsy done this past Friday, and will be praying that God helps us to know where our second opinion will come from. I am praying that we will be ready to move forward with treatment next week.

In the meantime, I am feeling very good, basically normal, of course that is an arbitrary thought when it comes to me and have seen the beauty in our world each and every day. May you all be blessed with the same feelings as you struggle with your all too busy lives! I am learning to be patient, to slow down and to listen to God which has been a full time job that I have not taken the time to do before. The journey continues..... Love to you all! Susan

Friday, November 5, 2010

Today's update with Dr. Bhushan

Diagnosis has been made:

OK, it is Multiple Myeloma with a twist. With my unique type of Myeloma the cancerous cells are fewer but they produce more of the RANK-L and MIP-1 chemicals which are what eat at your bones. They are hiding out, not as evident in the marrow. It's almost like they are a stronger myeloma cells so they produce more of the stuff that eats your bones but harder to locate since there are fewer of them. Dr. Bhushan did do another Bone Marrow Biopsy today in the hope of getting that last confirmation with cancer cells.

Recommendation is the same treatment as follows:
1) Chemo - Velcade to start in the hopes of reducing the bad cells
2) weekly blood tests to see the impact on my protein levels
3) If the protein levels are going down, it is working, if not combine with another type of chemo will be done until they get a regimin that works to reduce the cancer cells and prepare us for the transplant.
4) Now we are ready for the recommended Bone Marrow Transplant!
5) I will be admitted to Medical City Hospital for appx. 2 weeks.
  • Day 1 Fluids will be pumped all day long
  • Day 2 Heavy Duty Chemo (loss of hair for sure, BUMMER) Killing all of my Bone Marrow
  • Day of Rest for surgery
  • Surgery to bring back frozen, clean as possible bone marrow
  • 11-12 days in hospital for bone marrow to re-grow
  • Appx 2-3 months recovery with heavy fatique and weak immune system
After all is said and done, I should be in a state of remission/could be no remission, very good prognosis remission, near complete remission or the ultimate complete remission.

If no remission a new treatment plan is designed possibly another transplant
If very good remission possibly more chemo to decrease bad cells
If near complete or complete they watch for 18 months and if still holding I should be good to go for several years. (5-10 yrs.) Is the complete remission prognosis however as the disease re-builds in 5 - 10 years there WILL be additional treatment options and possibly a CURE!

It is all about buying time as is the case with all cancers.....

We still plan to get to Arkansas this week for a second opinion but hope to make a decision and begin treatment the following week.The week of my Birthday! Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday dear Susan, you get Chemo this week! Oh I am so funny! I love all of you and as you can see I am still a goof ball but optomistic about my future. Pray it forward and all will be good! I must keep up my stewardship with God so I am living a PURPOSE Driven life! And I will. Love and Prayers to all of you, so many affected by cancer, we all need to pray for those who are less fortunate than us! I have several I am praying for myself. I love you all...Susan

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Update: Nov. 4th

Well, we thought we knew the path of this but now that it is unsure we need to wait and see what is going on. We were going to Arkansas because the Institute for Multiple Myeloma is up there and supposedly it is the best in the world. One of my friends, friends is very connected and can get us in and is urging us to go there. His daughter was diagnosed and is now 7 years cancer free.

Until we determine that it is in fact, Multiple Myeloma, we need to wait. If there is something else going on, yes, MD Anderson might be an option for a second opinion etc. I do have a friend who know the director of MD Anderson as well. Thank God I am such a talker and have so many connections. I always knew it was all about networking.

My prayer is becomming a network as well which is where I am focused. Who knows, God may find that this has rocked my world enough that he will leave me here a little longer to spread his word! That is what I am praying for....time. I feel good and continue to have a positive attitute. I love you all and will keep you posted. Keep the prayers coming! Praying It Forward!!! Susan

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Update Nov. 2nd Heading to Arkansas 2nd Opinion

Hello Everyone,
Last night we finally talked with Danny, a client of Shelly's and things have now changed for us. Everything seems a little more serious now and we have uped our level of concern over finding the best possible treatment.

Originally, we were happy with our care here in McKinney and ready to get started today. I had my port installed yesterday and we meet with our Dr. at 11:00. Danny helped us to realized that we have quite a fight in front of us and that the mistake commonly made is starting treatment locally only to find out that things are not as simple as they seem and other options were available.

Danny painted a picture with some painful realities that this is extremely serious and the best care which is what we should be looking for is in Arkansas. The Arkansas Institute for Multiple Myeloma deals specifically with my disease and therefore does more transplants and experimental treatments than any other facility in the world.

I am blessed that Shelly has been talking about my cancer as that is how we found Danny. His daughter was diagnosed 7 years ago and is currently cancer free. Treatment includes a tandem bone marrow transplant which will cause me to experience high fatigue, hair loss, the works but they have an 80% remission rate and when all is said and done, that is what we are ultimately working to achieve.

I continue to look at this with a strong sense of optimism and spiritual awareness that all is in God's hands. He continues to lead us in our decisions and will provide the resources we need to move forward. I have a wonderful friend, Kim, who many of you know came to Texas last year to live with me for a month and help me with the Reading adoption who has offered her home to my family as we figure this all out. I am truely blessed, once again and all is as it should be. I will continue to keep you posted.

Jay, Jimmy, Jenna and I will all head to Arkansas as soon as Danny can arrange an appt. for us. He is very connected and his daughter is on the cover of the Institutes Brochure. Can you believe it! Kim's husband also know the Director of the Institute and Danny told us that the Director will be involved personally in my treatment plan and care. WOW!!!

Love and prayers to all of you as we all need to walk with God in front of us each and every day! My thoughts and gratitude for your prayers and friendship continue to be at the top of my priority list as I Pray It Forward! Love to all. Susan

Monday, November 1, 2010

Update; Monday, Nov. 1

OK, the bone marrow biopsy was done last Thursday and this morning I will be getting a port installed in my chest for chemo and bone medicine. The plan with Dr. Rao (Texas Oncology) is to get the biopsy results to better assess my stage, she is thinking stage 3 and although pretty advanced, she has seen much worse.

We will meet with her tomorrow, Tuesday afternoon, and discuss our plan of attack. She would like to begin treatment tomorrow as well. Jay and I will discuss the Institute in Arkansas with her as well at that time. We are still wanting to get a second opinion on all of this to make sure we have the best plan in place as we know that complete remission, at least for a period of time is not only possible but happening to Myeloma patients with a high level of percentage and we want to be one of those statistics.

I have a good friend, Kim, who worked for my old job who lives in Little Rock and has offered to care for me and let me live with her should I need that. Shelly's friend, who I have yet to talk with, can get me into the Institute quickly, his daughter is on the cover of their brochure, so I am fortunate to have so many out there talking and spreading the word to help me as I make these tough decisions.

Jay is wanting the best for me and although he would be sad to have me in Arkansas, he wants to care for me, he knows that we need to do what is best and realizes that God will also provide us with the right answers in regard to this.

I will post again on Wed. to let everyone know where we are at. Love to you all and keep the prayers coming, I feel you all around me!!!! Love, Susan

A Sad Day Melanie

I had an interesting day last Wednesday as I was trying to find out where my appt. was for my mammogram I received a call from one of my bestest friends, Shelly. She has been so worried about me and was working with one of her customers and talking about me. Apparently his daughter had Multiple Myeloma and Shelly called me frantic with excitement and the need for me to talk with this man. He had told her about the Multiple Myeloma Institute in Arkansas and she was wanting me to go there for a second opinion. I told her that I would look into it but was trying to find my appt. and was lost.

A few minutes later I walked in for my appt. and ran into someone who I hadn't seen for years. She told me that another friend of mine, Sally, had mentioned me in their prayer group and was asking how I was doing. I told her that I had Multiple Myeloma and she said, "Oh my Gosh, you need to talk to Betty as she was diagnosed with that a few years ago and was doing great. She had also gone to the facility in Arkansas."

I called Shelly back after my appt. and we laughed at the irony of how much God was involved in all of this. I felt his hand on me as I drove home, talking to Jay and my son about all of this which of course was exciting but also confusing as to what our next steps would be since I was having my bone marrow biopsy the next morming. I felt like I knew what God wanted me to do and also felt a sense of control again but that was MY mistake!

Shortly after arriving home, I got a call from Sally, the friend who had mentioned me in prayer and she gave me some sad news. She told me that Melanie had died. Melanie was a girl who lived with Jay and I many years ago. She was 17 at the time, attending the ACT Academy where I worked and struggling with drugs, suicide attempts etc. After talking with her, and her parents, I offered to have her come and stay with us for awhile to try and get her back on track.

Melanie was a mess but after a short time, her life began to turn around. She lived with us for 6 months until she graduated from HS. I was so proud of her by the time she left as she had accomplished sooooo much. She was off all of her medications, doing well in school, had even enrolled in a writing class at Collin CC.

Over the years, Melanie and I stayed in touch. She had a pretty good and stable life for several years, married and had 2 children. After some marital problems, a divorce and some health issues, she was slipping into the abyss again. In the past couple of years, Melanie reached out to me several times, twice with collect calls from jail. I am very sad to say that I did not receive the charges and although I did talk to her, I did not want to see her or get involved again as my life was also very busy and I just didn't think that I had any more to give.

When I heard the news of her death, I felt so sad...I heard God immediately tell me that although I had been a good servant at one point, I had let go and turned my back on one of his lambs. (I don't talk this way!) I cried, said some prayers and attended her funeral yesterday. I learned something very important this week....People and situations are put in our path for a purpose and it is up to us to make sure that we act and do not avoid, no matter how uncomfortable or challenging that might be, on those situations for God does not give us more than we can handle and is mindful of all that we do.

I will be a better servant and will listen closely to his requests of me. Luckily, God is forgiving and has taken Melanie to a place where she will not have the pain she felt here on earth. In the meantime, I will pray for her and her children. Love to you all. Susan

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Gift from a Friend with Scripture

I have a friend who brought me a little devotional book yesterday and had marked a prayer section that I wanted to share with all of you! It is titled "Magnifying the Lord" My eager expectation and hope is that I shall not be put to shame in any way, but that with all boldness...Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. Philippians 1:20

The interpretation from this reading is what was so powerful in this little book because it is so close to my thoughts. Let me share:  Steve Givens writes; "When I was first diagnosed with a rare blood disease" (for me cancer, Multiple Myeloma) "more than three years ago," (for me 2 weeks ago), "one of my first thoughts was something like, "How is this going to affect my life, my faith, and my relationship with God?"" (for me, this was not my first thought but I did look to God immediately, I just did not know that he would enter my life with such obvious presence and lead me through each and every moment of this journey!)

Steve Givens goes on to say "My deepest prayer was that, like St. Paul, I would not lose faith and would continue to live my faith boldly, no matter what the outcome of the disease or its treatment. I prayed that others would grow in faith because they saw the way that it carried me through a difficult time. That continues to be my prayer." (For me, this is exactly what I have seen happen however, I did not know that all of this strength came from God! I thought that I had made choices to live a certain way and that because of those choices, I was walking the path that God had made. This I am realizing quickly, is not exactly correct....God loves us all and he does NOT choose a path for 1 and not the other! We are all here to show stewardship and love to each other, those opportunities present themselves to us every day. What has changed for me right now is that I am completely open to God and because of that, I find myself being presented with opportunities all the time! I think they were probably there before, I just was too busy with my own agenda to see them!

Steve Givens goes on to say; "Truth is, Christ cannot always be seen by those around us because he is so often a quiet, fleeting, small thought in an otherwise big, busy and noisy world. But as people who place our lives in Christ, it's our job-whatever our situation in life-to magnify and amplify that small place where God dwells within us so that others can see and come to have faith too." Steve Givens

I pray that all of us will pay more attention to the fact that we do not make or control our lives but that God is leading us. When good things happen, God made that opportunity available to us and that we should be grateful to him for that gift and be ready to share those gifts with others. I have not always walked humbly yet have always admired those who did! I believe and have surrendered my health and future gifts to magnify the presence of God in my body, whether by life or by death as was stated in the scripture above.

I love you all and thank you for thinking of me always! You are all in my prayers daily as well. Susan

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bone Marrow Biopsy Today

It's 7:00 a.m. Jay and I are getting ready to head to the hospital for a brief procedure that I am not too excited about. A Bone Marrow Biopsy will give the doctor more accurate information as to the stage I am in and more specifically the geneotype of cancer. I prep at 8 but the procedure will take place at 10. I will let everyone know how it goes this afternoon. Appreciate your prayers. Susan

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

For All Who Joined Me In Prayer

As I continue to blog I will focus on one but I am feeling such a burden right now...I want to thank everyone who has been texting, calling, coming over, going out with me and just well, quite simply spoiling me with love!!!! I have forgotten nothing! My family has been wonderful, my friend anticipating my every need. To each of you and your children, please know that you will forever be in my prayers and my heart!

Nothing in life is important but your family and friends when faced with what I have been faced with! Life changes on a dime and it is so important that you listen to what I am saying.... Love and accept the love from others....forgive and let go of the things that just don't matter! I love all of you and will see you here in the days to come.

Goodnight all...It was another GOOD DAY!

What a Blessing to have Jay Back in My Life!

Jay has always been a wonderful man! I was so grateful and thankful to God for allowing us to connect again after 8 long years. The wedding week was only 6 months ago...How could this be happening. Obviously, God brought Jay into my life for a purpose greater than even we could imagine! He has been incredible and I love him dearly.

Last night, he knew I was nervous as we laid in bed and he read to me from the Bible. We had a wonderful discussion, some tears but a great sense of comfort as we tried to relax and allow God to place his hand in our lives. Both of us trust in God and knew that his guidance had brought us together. We were unsure of the outcome and although nervous, we believed that God would put us on a course that we could handle.

I had been praying for time as I had shared with Jay many new feelings about the sense of purpose that was building inside of me. He listened as he always does with such admiration for my courage and affirmed my every thought. He is an incredible support and makes me feel so special that it is hard to believe that I could be this blessed.

Today as we heard the news, both of us were relieved. We know that this is still a very serious situation and that my cancer is still considered terminal but we have hope that by continuing this journey we will also have the opportunity to share more love and memories together. For us newleyweds, that was a special blessing received. Each day is precious and we will live more fully knowing that the gift of time could drift and slip away if we don't remember what we learned here right now.

I love you Jay!

My Daughter

Jenna, my little girl who has grown to be a remarkable and responsible young lady. She works so hard in every aspect of her life and continues to surprise me as she goes. She is tender and thoughtful, loving and kind. She knows what she wants and is willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen.

I knew last week that this news would rock her world. Cancer, the thought would cause her to crumble inside. Jenna tries very hard to be independent of me. She has been told too many times that she is so like her mother. I say it as well. She has fought to define herself for a long time. Having a charismatic brother and a mother who is pretty outgoing has often times kept her from being in the spotlight which is so where she belongs!!! Without warning, she did develop that sense of independence, humor, and friendships creating for herself a wonderful and full life. Although difficult at times, as her work is so demanding, she is proud of her accomplishments and she did it on her own!

This news was a setback, she cried so hard as I knew she would but as we talked and hugged, I told her that no matter what the outcome, we would walk this together. As her heart opened, I told her that I too was scared. Any mother who loves their children wants to share their lives as they grow. Relationships, weddings, and hopefully grandchildren are part of that picture. The thought of not being there for those moments is the first thing that comes to mind. I began to weep as we talked.

I have realized so many things over these past 2 weeks but one of the most important is that none of us knows when we will be taken!!!! None of us! How can my situation be worse than being taken quickly? I have been given a gift... I now know just how important it is to be prepared each and every day! I know that I would want to have special things in place should I not be able to share in these moments with my children.

I vowed when I was unsure of how much time I might have as I am vowing now, to make things for each of my children. Videos, books on tape for grandchildren, letters to your children, whatever will let them know how special they are. I am hoping that I will have several years to put things in place with both of my children so they will know that I am near them and thinking of them regardless of whether or not I am fortunate enough to phsically be there. God willing, I will share in their lives for a long time but we do not have control over God's plan.

Please learn from what I have experienced these past 2 weeks and do the same! None of us each day as though it were your last....put God in front of you each morning....Pay It Forward in Prayer to someone you love each and every day.

I love you Jenna!

My Son

My son is has been a man for quite awhile and yet he still feels like my child in every way. I continue to give advise and want to protect him at every opportunity. He has shown such strength as we faced this surprising turn in our lives.

This morning, even though I told him last night that Jay was taking me to the Dr. insisted on coming with Jay and I to the oncologist to hear the news. He never seemed to break yet I knew he was extremely nervous about the potential outcome. His sense of calm has calmed me to the point that I was not worried about him, he would be able to handle the news.

As he woke this morning he told me that he just couldn't sleep last night. I could see the worry in his eyes as he entered the doctors office with us. He is a typical man who holds himself strong yet I can tell from his endearing hugs that he is soft and so loving. His hug can wipe away my every care. His heart is so gentle and I can feel his love so easily. He has a wonderful sense of humor which often hides the pain he is in. As we left the Dr. he too felt that time was on our side but he does not underestimate the road I will face. He will be with me and continue the journey with attentive love and compassion for my needs.  I love you Jimmy!

A Blessed Day!

I woke this morning with butterflies in my stomach, my Dr. appt. had been moved forward from Thursday to today, Tuesday at 11:20. I cried as I hugged my husband Jay, thinking of my children mostly should the news be the finding of a tumor. We all knew that we were faced with 2 different scenarios. If they had located a tumor, it would mean that the cancer had metastisized to my bone marrow and bones which was not good meaning that the prognosis would be shorter time and no suggested treatment. The second scenario held much greater hope for us all! Even though Multiple Myloma was considered to be a terminal cancer, the life expectancy was greater and treatments were many.

Who would have thought that I would be jumping for joy as the Dr. told us there was no tumor and it was Multiple Myloma! A sense of relief entered a hope of time which answered all of our prayers. Earlier in the week, I had changed my prayer to time.... I wanted God to give me time to do his work, to live a life with him in that driver seat. To share my love with others and unselfishly serve our Lord.

God has blessed me once again and I feel a stronger challenge than ever as I feel the need to stay this course, to not forget his grace and to keep moving in a direction of prayer and strength. The road will be difficult as the pressure has been lifted and I cannot falter to complete my work.

I love all of you who have prayed with me, who have expressed the change that this has brought to your own lives. None of us knows when our time will come and none of us should take a single day for granted. Yesterday, I had a toilet break which leaked into our pergo and through the wall to the bedroom carpet. Yesterday, that didn't seem to matter much because I had my life on the line. Today, I promise to not stress over a toilet, knowing that it is just something that happens in the process of living. I will simply get it fixed and utilize my energy in other ways.

Even though I have some relief for now, I will not forget these things....I pray to continue this journey and keep the Lord in front of me to guide me as I go. Love to all of you! Susan

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dr. Appt. changed to tomorrow

Well, I just received a call from the Dr.'s office and my appt. has been moved up from Thursday to tomorrow, Tuesday at 11:20. Please keep me in your prayers and I will let you know what I find out tomorrow evening on this blog. Love to all, Susan

My Mom

As I blog each time, I will tell you about someone special in my life. My Mom is an incredible person. She had 6 children but always said that her and my Dad, who passed away a little over 2 years ago, wanted 12. She is a mother through and through. There has never been a time in her life that she didn't put us first.
I pray for her today as she too faces health issues and has for several years. I have been fortunate as I have been living with her for the past 5 months. When I came home a couple of weeks ago, it was only for a one week vacation to see Jay and my own children. Unfortunately, my plans changed. My car, clothes etc. are still at her home and she waits for my return.
My Mom is struggling with this news as we all are but her struggle is unique. For any of us who have children of our own, you know that losing a child is the absolute most threatening thought that we can have. She is feeling that threat which I completely understand.
I pray today for her to continue to develop a sense of peace, knowing that I have her on this side and my father, who I also loved dearly sitting beside me on the other. Mom and Dad were married for 57 years and she has handled his loss quite well, however I can't imagine how hard that must be on a daily basis.
She encourages me to take things one day at a time and prays for me always. We have been very close over the years and have developed a deep love, understanding and friendship as we've shared most every feeling we have.
 I am and will forever be grateful to both my Mom and Dad for providing us with a life filled with good examples of love, family unity and kindness. I have a wonderful family and that is because they showed us how to live. When my father passed away I spoke of how my parents really never fought in front of us or said cross words to each other. They showed us how to love, respect each other and to be responsible. Life was always pretty black and white which left us, as children, with little question as to "making the right choices in life!" Having this type of example set for you daily is what has made our family unit so strong. I am blessed to have had such a wonderful Mother and Father and feel their arms around me every minute of every day!
I love you Mom and pray for your health. I have started my day in prayer with you and will have a great day today and I am praying for you to have a wonderful day as well. Love you always! Susan

Saturday, October 23, 2010

First Blog

Hello Everyone,

I have set up this Blog as a means of keeping all of you informed and close to my heart as I go through this journey. It has been a whirlwind that began a couple weeks ago. This past Monday, October 18th, I was diagnosed with cancer. At this point we don't know what type of cancer but I spent the week involved in tests and we should have some answers next Thursday so that will be a BIG day for all of us.
In the meantime, I have been focused on friends and family, prayer, and the deeper meaning of life! As I've prayed and visited with family and friends I have had many tell me how proud they are of me for being so strong. This has caught me off guard because I will walk this challenge in the same way I have walked the rest of my life. I look at this very simply, I feel I have tried to live in a positive way all of my life, looking at the potential silver lining in every seemingly bad thing that happens. This has not always been easy but it has gotten me through some pretty tough times.
The challenge this time has been finding the silver lining when posed with such a personal and serious change in my life. I've been spending a great deal of time on the phone, talking to my large and wonderful family, friends, some that I rarely see, and even kids that I have taught or known over the years. As I've done this the purpose of my life has literally been redefined.
I have enjoyed all of the conversations and hope to continue with those throughout this process so please do not take this blog as a replacement for actually talking to me or visiting me! I will always be open to talking with all of you and happy to have the comfort of your company.

The other night I was praying and something very special happened; I was talking to God and I was telling him how many of my family and friends were changing their view of how to handle this type of grief in their lives and that my family and friends were telling me that it was mostly because of how I am dealing with it and that I was teaching them. I had found my silver lining.....
Many of us grieve and wonder why God would take someone so young....or why me.... I have never felt that because I know that God does everything with a purpose and because of that, I would search for the purpose with each tragedy. So obviously, I am trying to find a higher purpose connected to my situation. If I can help others to find a better way to deal with this grief, which we will all face at various times in our life, and if we can be positive and trust in God to drive our journey, which is what he wants, then we will live each day knowing that he is in the driver's seat and not us.
This changed my whole focus on my prayer. As I continued talking with God, I realized that focusing on an outcome for my tests was not the most important thing, instead, I decided that I would accept the challenge, to be God's vessel and teach everyone that I could, how to put God first each and every day because we will all be faced with the same challenges that I am facing at some point. Therefore, this is what I am asking you do:
Pray each morning and put God in front of each day. Tell someone you love them and that they are in your prayers i.e.
Jay, I love you and as I prayed this morning I thought of you. I am going to have a wonderful day and I hope you do too! I love you. Susan
If each of you did this, not necessarily to me, even though I welcome that too, we would all be in a better place to live the way God is hoping we will live each day. It might sound a little corney but this would be my "Pay It Forward" concept of prayer. A prayer movement so to speak that would grow expotentially as others join us on this journey.