The Journey Begins

Today I am feeling grateful for the strength to write and let you know what has been going on since I last posted.

It has been over 20 days that my second journey with cancer has begun. I am aware that this new journey is going to be way more challenging than the first. Since my lungs are involved, breathing is difficult and I am constantly tired. Most of my day is spent just trying to get into a position where I can breathe and then just resting there. Sometimes even moving from one place to another causes me to have coughing fits. So, I am working hard at being still..

This means I am not able to do anything Stampin’ Up! related. I have a box of new products that I couldn’t wait to create with and I have no strength to open them. I haven’t started treatment yet but I pray that I will find the strength to be able to at least do a little stamping during the holidays but for now, I will just wait and see. One day at a time. I am very fortunate that my team leaders have worked so hard at keeping my meetings going and are moving forward with plans for our annual Stamp Camp in October.

Over the past week and a half, we met with several medical professionals and chose the oncologist we felt the most comfortable with. In preparation for treatment the past couple of weeks have been filled with almost daily trips to the hospital for different procedures. An echocardiogram, An MRI, A port insertion and my all time favorite a spinal tap. Out of all these procedures, the one I didn’t want was the spinal tap.

The morning I went in for this procedure I felt peace. My husband and I were listening to praise music in the car and I was reading scriptures. I know tons of people were praying, so I felt good. My husband had told me the night before that Dr. Sherwood (not his real name) would be doing this procedure and that he had done it thousands of times so I could be assured that I was in great hands. We arrived at the hospital and within minutes we were meeting with a nurse to discuss the procedure. As the nurse spoke with us she said, “Dr. Jackson (not his real name), will be coming in soon to have you sign some paper work and answer any questions you might have”. My husband said, “Dr. Jackson, Who is that"?” The nurse went on to say, “Well, he is new. Dr. Sherwood is moving to a different department so they were discussing when would be a good day for this transition and they chose TODAY”. She went on to tell me that Dr. Jackson had just moved to Hawaii and that although this was his FIRST DAY at the hospital, it was not his first time doing this procedure.

A few minutes later in walked a young, tall, handsome doctor with a super deep voice. He walked us through the procedure and I can honestly say, although the procedure wasn’t pleasant, it wasn’t as bad as I anticipated. I was thankful that despite the doctor mix up, I still had peace. Dr. Jackson did great and I survived! We actually found the whole situation kind of funny and were able to laugh about it both before and after the proceedure. One of my biggest prayer requests is that my spinal fluid would come out clean and it did. Although we are sending it to Stanford for confirmation, just to be sure.

The MRI was the last procedure on my to do list. I thought it would be a piece of cake compared to everything else I had recently been through. However, I didn’t realize what type of scan an MRI was. I was thinking it was a CT Scan. When I saw how claustrophobic the machine looked I once again had to ask God for peace. I prayed a lot during the procedure, especially that I wouldn’t start to cough. It was tough to stay still for almost an hour but I am thankful to say, I did it!!! Another procedure checked off the list! The results came back and they showed that I have a tiny issue with my right optic nerve. I am currently taking prednisone drops cause a few weeks ago I woke up and had extreeme light sensitivity and pain in my eye. We hope that this won’t be anything major but I do have to follow up with my ophthalmologist and possibly have another MRI in a few months.

After all of the procedures were done we went to see my Oncologist. Although we did get good news about the spinal fluid, we also got new information that complicates my situation a little. I was told that I had two different types of Lymphoma. First, a low grade one that is in my lungs and has probably been there for a long time. Since it wasn’t found (because there were no symptoms) it developed into a second Lymphoma which is this high grade B Cell Lymphoma that is aggressive and quickly spreading in my body. It is believed that low grade Lymphoma is incurable but we are praying that the treatment I will receive will cure both. After all, we believe in miracles and I’m ready to see a Victory!!!

Cindy and Brett at church

Cindy and Brett at church

In the mist of all this I have been surrounded by lots of love and prayers! I am grateful that I had the opportunity to go to a healing service that Jessica, my daughter and Brett, my son in law, invited me to. As he helped me get there, I told him I liked his sweatshirt cause it gave me hope that I will see a Victory! The song See A Victory by Elevation Worship is my theme song right now!!! Maybe when all of this is over, I’ll have to borrow it from him to wear in celebration.

As of today I don’t know if I will have in patient treatments or out patient treatments. We are waiting on one more test result that will determine that. However, I did find out that either way, I will start treatment on Monday. If its outpatient, I’ll be there for most of the day receiving the chemo. If its in patient, I’ll be there for part of the day receiving treatment and the next day I’ll check into the hospital for 4 to 5 days of additional treatment. Ready or not, here we GO!!!

So many of you have been so kind to continually ask, what can you do to help. Right now the main thing I need is prayer. I need prayer for strength as I often feel very weak. I need prayer for my right optic nerve situation to be healed. I need prayer for the correct treatment plan to be selected. I need prayer to stay positive and keep fighting. Thank you so much to so many of you who have already spent countless hours on your knees. I am so grateful for your love and support.

Right now, as I write this, I am feeling good. I’m sitting in a comfortable position, my breathing feels good and I’m not coughing. However, I am not always like this. This morning while eating breakfast I felt awful. It was the start of a new day yet I felt down, discouraged and defeated. I could barely breathe and I was so exhausted. To be honest, I wondered how I would find the strength to make it to the start of treatment.

Then I opened God’s word to Psalm 13 where it says:

1 How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?

2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?

3 Look on me and answer, LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,

4 and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

5 But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.

6 I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me.

I can so relate to David in this passage and I can learn a lot from him as well. David wrestled with his thoughts, I do that too. He felt sorrowful and desperate (been there, done that) but then remembered his trust in God’s unfailing love. He remembered to be joyful because of his salvation! He looked at all the good things God had done for him which caused him to rejoice and sing the Lord’s praises!!!

As I close todays post I hope you will be encouraged like I was by reading Psalm 13:5-6.
Whatever situation you are in, remember God loves you with an unfailing love and your can trust Him.

Next, have you accepted Jesus into your heart? God sent his only son Jesus into the world to die on the cross for your sins. When we pray and accept Jesus into our hearts, we receive the gift of eternal life. So, no matter what you are going through know that it is temporary, if you know Jesus, you can rejoice that you will spend eternity in heaven.

Finally, despite how challenging this season may be, what are you thankful for? How has God blessed you? The very fact that you are alive with breath in your lungs can be the first blessing, what about your family or your health. How has God been good to you?

God has been so, so, so good to me. I’ve been married to an incredible man for over 30 years. II have kids that I adore. I have loving family who have not stopped praying for me, I have amazing friends who are always there for me. I love my job and how it allows me to make a difference. I have been blessed to travel the world. I live on the beautiful island of Oahu where I can see the beauty of God’s creation on a daily basis. I have been blessed to witness miracles and I have peace because I know that my life is in God’s hands and I trust Him.

Today I learned that counting my blessings saved me from feeling sorrowful. David taught me three steps to joy. To know that I am loved, to rejoice because of my salvation and when I recall how good God has been to me it will result in praise!

I know I still have a very long journey ahead of me. I don’t know when I will be able to post next or if I will have someone else post and update for me. But what I do know is that I am loved, not only by God but by so many of you who have reached out to me in countless ways! It has meant so much to me and my family! So when I count my blessings, know that you are one of them that I will praise God for as my journey begins.

With love and a grateful heart,

Cindy