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.