Monday, November 30, 2009

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Are We Too Busy?

I received this writing from a friend. There is so much truth in these words that I decided to post it on my Blog. I do not know the author. Our lives have become too busy. I pray that these words will speak loudly to each of our souls and remind us (especially at this hectic time of year) to take time to spend with the Lord. Satan wants nothing anymore than to distract and detour us from time spent with Him, in the Word, and in prayer.

Satan called a worldwide convention of demons.
In his opening address he said,

"We can't keep Christians from going to church. We can't keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth..... We can't even keep them from forming an intimate relationship with their SAVIOR. Once they gain that connection with JESUS, our power over them is broken. So let them go to their churches; let them have their covered dish dinners,
BUT steal their time, so they don't have time to develop a relationship with JESUS CHRIST."

"This is what I want you to do," said the devil:

"Distract them from gaining hold of their SAVIOR and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day!"

"How shall we do this?" his demons shouted.

"Keep them busy in the non-essentials of life and invent innumerable schemes to occupy their minds," he answered....

"Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, and borrow, borrow, borrow."

"Persuade the wives to go to work for long hours and the husbands to work 6-7 days each week, 10-12 hours a day, so they can afford their empty lifestyles."

"Keep them from spending time with their children."

"As their families fragment, soon, their homes will offer no escape from the pressures of work!"

"Over-stimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still, small voice."

"Entice them to play the radio or I-Pod whenever they drive."
To keep the TV, DVDs, CDs and their PCs going constantly in their home and see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-biblical music constantly."
"This will jam their minds and break that union with CHRIST."

"Fill the coffee tables with magazines and newspapers."
"Pound their minds with the news 24 hours a day."
"Invade their driving moments with billboards."
"Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, mail order catalogs, sweepstakes, and every kind of newsletter and promotional offering free products, services and false hopes."

"Keep skinny, beautiful models on the magazines and TV so their husbands will believe that outward beauty is what's important, and they'll become dissatisfied with their wives. "

"Give them Santa Claus to distract them from teaching their children the real meaning of Christmas.

"Give them an Easter bunny so they won't talk about HIS resurrection and power over sin and death..."

"Even in their recreation, let them be excessive."

"Have them return from their recreation exhausted."

"Keep them too busy to go out in nature and reflect on GOD'S creation. Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, plays, concerts, and movies instead."

"Keep them busy, busy, busy!" "And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences."

"Crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from JESUS."

"Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family for the good of the cause."

"It will work!" "It will work!"

It was quite a plan! The demons went eagerly to their assignments causing Christians everywhere to get busier and more rushed, going here and there.

Having little time for their GOD or their families.. Having no time to tell others about the power of JESUS to change lives.

I guess the question is…has the devil been successful in his schemes? You be the judge!!!!!

Does "BUSY" mean: B-eing U-nder S-atan's Y-oke?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanking God

On this day when the spirit of thanksgiving runs throughout our nation, may each of us pause to thank God Almighty. I am thankful beyond description to my Heavenly Father for all He is to me and for all He has done for me. I don't often read The Message version of the Bible, but I like this Scripture as presented in The Message.

Colossians 3:14-15

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.

Thanksgiving Proclamation 1863

I stand in awe when I read speeches, proclamations and other writings by past Presidents of the United States. This Thanksgiving Proclamation, penned by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, is rich in references to God Almighty. How far our Great Nation has fallen in a century and a half. Consider the chance that a current government leader would author such a document today. Our country truly was founded on Christian principles. In God, I will trust, no matter the mess that is being made by leaders with hearts far from our Lord and Savior.

The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful years and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the Source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the field of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than theretofore. Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.

In testimony wherof I have herunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Patient Empowerment & Advocacy

Last month, while at the hospital to have blood cultures drawn, I had a discussion with the phlebotomist. After my routine orders to her to be cautious with sterile techniques to prevent contaminants in the cultures, the young woman asked me if I had lymphoma. I told her my official diagnosis is a leukemia/lymphoma diagnosis (CLL/SLL). She proceeded to tell me that her mother had recently had a stem cell transplant for lymphoma. A bond between us was instantly knitted as we shared the common connection of these vile diseases.

I was struck with concern and outrage when she told me that her doctors told her mother not to be on the Internet or researching her disease as she would have a worse outcome. My blood boiled. Had the Holy Spirit not opened my eyes to the wealth of medical knowledge and contacts available to me on the Internet, I believe I never would have lived this long. Most times, if a physician tells the patient something to this effect, he or she does not want the patient learning about his or her disease and challenging the physician.

I am empowered by gaining knowledge about my body, my disease, treatment options, the interpretation of laboratory and radiology reports, and the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of infections. My family physician is one of the best physicians I have ever encountered. She has supported me and encouraged me as I have advocated for myself. I constantly maintain an active role in the management of my disease. She has encouraged me to enlist the use of alternative and complementary medicine. Despite declining health, we partner together to prevent other diseases and to support my body in every way possible.

Ongoing research, its findings now made more convenient and accessible by the Internet, is critical to surviving disease, procedures, and infections. Online drug interaction programs allow patients to double check their medications to be certain no interactions or warnings have been overlooked. Research being released is quickly available to the patient community. I use many online resources to remain abreast on late-breaking leukemia developments. Despite local oncologists' best efforts, we must remember that they are treating multiple types of cancer. There is no possible way for these physicians to remain abreast of every new drug or development for every type of cancer.

Compliant patients are easy for physicians. They just walk the course charted by the physician, never questioning, never doubting, never going against the flow of what the specific physician feels is in the best interest of the patient. With a serious diagnosis such as cancer, too much can be lost by not involving ourselves in our care.

It is not a comfortable task to become your own advocate in the world of health care. For generations, we have been instructed to go to the doctor, be examined, take our medications, and obey every order that is given. While hospitalized, we have been expected to lay in the beds and question not. Take a moment to review how many patients are killed each year by medication or medical errors, hospital acquired infections, and other mis-steps by the medical community. You will be enlightened.

As the threat of government run health care looms larger and larger, I will speak with certainty that each of us will be well advised to become stronger, more vocal health care advocates for ourselves. The squeaky wheel gets greased, so goes the old adage. Take for example, the Neupogen injections I take to support my immune function when my battered bone marrow cannot or will not produce neutrophils. Normally, I travel daily to the cancer center for these injections. And in the process, I walk into a doctor's office, exposing myself to germs I would rather avoid. Last week when I learned that I was in need of Neupogen again, I called the doctor's office, my insurance case manager, the pharmacy and the claims processor. I explained to them that it is in my best interest to self-inject this medication at home. After multiple conversations, I accomplished this task. Had I not advocated for what was best for me (avoiding daily trips to the cancer center), no one else would have done this for me.

I will tell you with complete confidence, if I had not gained the courage to become my own best health advocate, I would be dead today. I have unhooked my own IV and walked out of the local hospital in the middle of the night due to the negligent care I was receiving. I have turned down the recommendations of many oncologists over this 13+ year cancer journey. I have been told that if I refused treatment, that my bone marrow would fail in 3-6 months and I would be dead, dead, dead (that comment was made in 1999 when I refused treatment).

Mainstream medicine has mocked my treatments from Mexico, the Ukraine, and Canada. It has been critical of my use of acupuncture, Chinese massage and the use of multiple herbs, vitamins and other supplements. Yet, I have outlived the predictions of any physician.

Obviously, I give God all of the credit and glory for my longevity with cancer. By His courage and peace that the Holy Spirit imparts to me, I am able to stand up for myself and make my own decisions regarding all medical options.

I have learned that I (with God's guidance) can improve my medical outcomes by being an informed, empowered patient. I have a multi-faced collaborative team - God is the CEO; my family physician is the Company President; my varied physicians are all Department Heads; and my nurses organize, orchestrate, and assist me, the Chairwoman of the Board!


Take courage.
We walk in the wilderness today
and in the Promise Land tomorrow.

--D.L. Moody

Sunday, November 22, 2009

City On Our Knees

"City on Our Knees" is Billboard's top Christian song this week. Its lyrics remind us of the power of prayer and how vital it is for Christians to intercede for our families, our cities, our nation, and our world. Lost people, without a Savior or hope of eternal life, need to hear the message of Christ. They need believers to pray fervently for their lives and hearts to be changed by the power of the Gospel message.

We need to fall to our knees in fervent prayer, with repentant hearts, and faith-filled walks, on behalf of the lost world. As Jesus walked this earth, lives were shaken to the core. He called common, ordinary men to be his disciples. And they listened and followed. Will we do the same? He has given us His instruction to "go make disciples of this world".

Part of these lyrics state "two worlds collide" - if we could only see with our physical eyes, the spiritual battle for each soul. As we take the time and effort to pray for our cities and those who are lost, collisions in the heavenlies occur. Good versus evil. God versus the devil. The hope of eternal life being threatened by a life spent in the pits of hell. Collisions of epic proportion occur.

Today, let us realize the significance and the value of being intercessors for our cities. God will honor our efforts. He will see our hearts' desires to see the lost forgiven and redeemed. Ephesians 6:12 teaches: "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." There is a raging battle against the rulers of darkness in our age. Evil permeates movies, television, music, the written word, the spoken language, how lives are lived, all in efforts to rip eternal life from the reach of a prospective believer. God is counting on His children to be prayer warriors against these spiritual hosts.

As His disciples, He calls on us to be His partners - in prayer and in walking lives of holiness. When we fall to our knees for our cities, we will see these powers of wickedness disarmed and triumphed over by God Himself. Amazing opportunities await us as His disciples.

Take time to listen to this song and absord the lyrics. Envision a city falling to its knees, on behalf of those without a Savior or the promise of eternal life.

Another Birthday - God's Gift to Me

Last week, I celebrated another birthday. For most middle-aged women (on the downward slide toward age 50), another birthday is not always cause for celebration. However, as my November birthday rolls around each year, I am returned to the moment in which a 32 year old younger woman was told she had 3-5 years to live with leukemia. This year, I reflected on my May 2009 doctors' report that informed us that I am "end stage leukemia". Upon these reflections, another birthday becomes a treasure worth far more than silver or gold.

Among many life lessons, leukemia has taught me how to treasure moments, days, weeks, months and years. No matter if the time is fraught with difficulties, life challenges, disappointments, heartache, and pain, it is precious time alive here on earth to share with those I love. I reflect on Moses' death, the account which can be read in Deuteronomy 34: "Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died. His eyes were not dim nor his natural vigor diminished." That would mean another 74 years for me! And I would truly appreciate some of the natural vigor being restored!

I had a laugh with my hair stylist the other day. We were talking about aging and wrinkling and grey hair. I told her in my 30's, I figured no doctor was counting on me living until 40, so I paid absolutely no attention to face creams or care of my skin - I never thought wrinkles would be anything I would have to address. Wellll...... since I have continued on my life journey, wrinkles are appearing since the creams were ignored. And on my birthday, grey hairs were uncovered by the watchful eye of my youngest daughter (thank you, dear) who proceeded to pluck out the couple she found and then she placed them on my black shirt to verify their grey-ness.

It is true - I am aging with leukemia. I am grateful for the sustaining of my life that only can be attributed to my Heavenly Father. I am thankful for the numerous times, He has breathed new life into my struggling body. Thank You, Lord, for the gift of life.

Request for Prayer & An Update: November 22, 2009

Tomorrow, I will return for my all day IVIG treatment. This is the treatment that helps to support my immune system. And Heaven knows, with H1N1 at pandemic levels, I need all of the protection that I can obtain! A fellow CLL patient died this week from H1N1. This was a very sobering report to learn of and a vivid reminder of how dangerous H1N1 is to immunocompromised leukemia patients. Please pray that all goes well tomorrow.

I completed 10 days of Neupogen on November 14th. By November 16th, I was neutropenic once again (low infection fighting cells). Everyday, I was having to go to the cancer center for these expensive injections. Thus, daily exposing me to germs on the journey. After many telephone calls and another miracle by my insurance angel, the injections were approved for at-home use. Now, Kevin gives me the injections at home. When we went to pick the medication up at the pharmacy, the bill for 10 injections was $4,034. Currently, they are working well and I am not neutropenic.

I have had a cough now for 8 days. My lungs were "raspy" on Wednesday when I saw my doctor. We are keeping a close eye on this as I do not need pneumonia right now (or ever!)

The only other new development is increased pain concerns. I have coped with pain from several sources for sometime now. Fighting diligently, I have wanted to avoid narcotic pain medications and other medications with risks. Chronic, daily pain is very tiring to me. I am wearing multiple pain patches and receiving little benefit. Acupuncture takes the edge off of my pain, however, with all of the flu in the community, I have not been able to go out to the office for my weekly acupuncture.

Your continued prayers are treasured.

A Prayer for Today: November 22, 2009

Gracious Father,

Your Word instructs us: “Rejoice! Celebrate all the good things that God, your God, has given you and your family; you and the Levite and the foreigner who lives with you” (Deuteronomy 26:10). Today may we celebrate Your goodness and what You have done for all of us and our families. Thank You, Lord, for Your protection and provision for our families. Thank You, Lord, for Your loving kindness, forgiveness, and encouragement of all of us.

We are grateful for the mercy and grace You alone extend to us. Numbers 32:23 is clear in its instruction “be sure your sin will find you out”. We cannot hide our sins from an all-knowing God. Forgive us for our sins, Lord. We do not want sin in our lives to hinder our relationships with You.

I pray for my family and friends and as I review the list of needs and requests, my flesh could easily be overwhelmed. Yet, I am confident that these needs are under Your control. In the Message version of The Bible, Philippians 4:6, I find comfort in these words: “Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” Thank You, for these Words, Lord. We will pray, and not worry, about each others’ needs. Swell confidence in our hearts so that we will not be shaken during times of great difficulties. Work together for good for each and every life battle of those we love. The list of needs is ever-growing. I lay this collective list at the foot of the cross and intercede for each one, Father. . Displace our worries. Reign supreme in each of our hearts.

In Jesus’ Mighty Name I pray. AMEN AND AMEN.

Friday, November 13, 2009

An Update & Request for Prayer: November 13, 2009

We continue to await the culture results from the endoscope procedure I had performed on Monday. These results will influence many treatment decisions.

Tomorrow I will complete my ten day cycle of Neupogen treatments for neutropenia. Today my ANC was over 3000, so that is a definite improvement.

Discussions are underway regarding the possibility that I will have to face surgery inside my sinus cavities. Any type of surgery poses significant risks to me, given my immune status and leukemia (my platelets are currently low).

Please pray that these infections will resolve without surgical intervention and that my counts will improve.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Request for Prayer: November 9, 2009

It has been one of those days (and night). I was awake feeling very poorly all night. I ran a temperature and then would chill. I was very nauseated and had a bad headache.

My family doctor told me to stop by for a CBC and blood cultures. When my regular nurse saw me, she asked the doctor to come see me. The doctor examined me and is concerned. We cannot fathom how I can be taking so many antifungals, antibiotics, and antivirals and be this ill.

She did a flu swab, to err on the safe side, and it was negative (not surprising since I am taking Tamiflu).

She called the ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat) specialist in Indianapolis and he agreed to see me today at 4. I went onto the cancer center to receive Day 5 of Neupogen (injections that increase infection fighting neutrophils) and then decided there was no way I could drive myself to Indianapolis. My medical chauffeur, Dad, was called into action.

On the drive to Indianapolis, my family doctor called to tell me I am still neutropenic despite 5 days of Neupogen. And my platelets were 77,000. She wasn't certain what the thresh hold would be for the endoscope to be performed.

The ENT said he would go ahead with the endoscope (scope that goes up through the nose into the sinus cavities) with that platelet level. He sampled from the ethmoid sinus (between the eyes). Not a pleasant experience, but nothing compared to the sinus puncturing procedure I have endured many times. He did not see any sign of invasive fungal involvement, which was a relief since fungal infections in an immune compromised host can become invasive and destroy tissue, erode bone, and other nasty tricks.

However, he is of the same thought that we are - why the infections are not resolving with so many medications. We will have the bacterial cultures back late this week but (as we know) the fungal cultures may take a few weeks.

I am waiting to hear back from my family physician to see what the next step will be - trying at all costs to avoid an admission to the hospital.

Please pray for God to protect me from developing sepsis and for the precise drug to be determined to eradicate these long-lasting infections (almost the entire year of 2009 has been filled with fighting these infections).

14 Months & Counting

Today Lil Man turns fourteen months old. I received a video of him driving his John Deere tractor (battery operated) that we purchased for him for Christmas last year. At 14 months (and with the help of a bit of tape under the "gas pedal") he is driving it like a champ!

He is full of new sounds, gestures, and "tricks". He has become a milk aficionado and stands in front of the refrigerator saying, "Millllll"! That is Lil Man lingo for milk! At the mall yesterday, he noticed a baby girl with her milk bottle and kept repeating, "Mil!" He reminds me of his Mommy when she was a baby girl who would request, "Mo Mil" (more milk) when her bottle was empty.
He fills my heart with such joy and happiness. My heart smiles when I see him, hear his voice, and feel his hugs. God has answered many prayers for us and continues to bless Lil Man.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Update & Request for Prayer: November 5, 2009

I received the desensitization for the new antibiotic with no complications. However, I was running a 100 degree fever (with Tylenol) which is very elevated for me.

The urine culture was clear, so the fever is not related to that.

The CBC showed that I am neutropenic again and Neupogen was started -- daily injections to boost my infection-fighting white cells(aka neutrophils). These are the injections that cause me to have severe bone pain and I was just enlisted for a ten day "tour of duty" to receive these.

I am going to attempt to get an order for blood cultures tomorrow. Please pray that we uncover any infection that might be lurking and that these fevers will resolve quickly.

What God Wants

1 John 2:15 (The Message)
Don't love the world's ways. Don't love the world's goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.

What does God want us to do? Many people stumble through life, never knowing God's road map for our lives is within reach - His Holy Word. Yet, even those who profess Him as their Lord and Savior often fail to read and study these God directives.

This passage of Scripture found in I John 2:15 details instructions for us on how to be "set for eternity". First, don't love the world's ways. What are the world's ways? Anything that is contradictory to God's Word - stealing, murder, drunkenness, vile movies and music, lying, unforgiveness, coveting, immodest dress, speaking contrary to God's Word - are just a few examples.

As this verse indicates, if we love the world's ways, that is going to "squeeze out love for the Father". Think on this ...... have you noticed that when we surround ourselves with those who are strong in the Lord; when we purposefully read and study our Bibles; when we carve out time in our hectic lives to pray; and when we avoid activities that are displeasing to God, how much smoother our life journeys become?

When we are walking in disobedience, we are "isolated from Him". I don't know about you, but with the tremendous needs I have, I do not ever want to be isolated from my Heavenly Father. In my heartache, I don't want to be isolated from His comfort and peace. In a shaky economy, I do not want isolated from His provision and favor. On days when I slip and mess up (sin), I do not want isolated from my Father's forgiveness.

Are the temptations and ideology of this world going to isolate you from God? Nothing in this world is worth that to me. What about you?

Coping: God's Way

I read some informative tips presented by a physician on a cancer website. In his opinion, these tips offer ways in which the cancer patient can cope and maintain sanity on the cancer journey. However, as I reviewed them, I realized that many of the tips were very helpful while others were contradictory to God's Word. The tips are in standard font and my reflections are written in bold, italicized font.

"Make a list of blessing in your life on an index card - what you have to be thankful for. Read it often."

This is not a bad tip at all. In the Bible, God commanded His children to erect memorial stones to be a reminder to them of the great things He had done. Joshua 4 instructed the Israelites: "And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.” During many difficult times, I have had to mentally construct my own Memorial Stone - a list of everything God has done for me in my lifetime.

Cancer does not take everything from you, even if the future is unsure.

True enough - cancer has taken a great deal from me, yet I am certain it cannot rob me of everything - my faith, my hope, my eternal destination, and my peace are a few of the untouchables that I will not allow the enemy to take from me. The enemy comes to "steal, kill and destroy" (John 10:10), but God is so much bigger. And our futures can be secure IF we have accepted Christ as our Savior. John 3:15 states: "Whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life." It is settled, I believe in Him, have confessed my sins and my future is not unsure.

Your activities are as important as your thoughts.

I must disagree with this tip. Our thought life plays such an immense role in the cancer journey. Often times, in the midst of having negative reports spewed at me continually, I must return to those principles God asks us to meditate (think) upon. "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you." (Philippians 4:8-9).

Depression has a lot of trouble finding a moving target, it's outstanding at hitting a stationary one.

This statement is completely accurate. Being able to live life fully in the presence of a cancer diagnosis is a staggering challenge. Our flesh wants to fold and crumple to the floor and remain there. However, God, when asked, will give each of us the fortitude, courage, strength, and will to live life fully - engaged in social, cognitive, and physical activity. By His Words and the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, God has enabled me to remain a moving target - one that the enemy's fiery darts struggle to hit.

Crawling into an isolation hole is a huge risk. Try to avoid it.

Isolating ourselves makes us a prime target for the enemy to attack. He sees us isolated, without encouragement from others, and he sends his spirits of doubt, fear, negativity, and hopelessness. God is straight-forward to instruct us "do not forsake the assembling of ourselves together" (Hebrews 10:25). God is certain that our lives are enriched and enhanced when we have fellowship with family and friends. Stay out of that isolation hole!

Work on your bucket list.

The bucket list philosophy was made famous by the recent movie with the same title. I made a bucket list but achieving its goals proved to just add stress to my life. My Bucket List was just lofty thinking and dreaming, rather than being content with life as I have it today. Contentment ranks high in God's eyes. Philippians reminds us of these vital teachings of the Apostle Paul: "Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Update & Request for Prayer: November 4, 2009

I have been running a temperature since yesterday. I do not appear to have the other symptoms of H1N1, so I don't believe that is the cause of the fevers. Nevertheless, tomorrow I will return to the cancer center to be desensitized to yet another drug. This will take about 5 hours. Please pray that I do not have any serious reactions to the new drug and the the fevers will quickly resolve.

I cannot believe that I have not been able to shake these fungal and bacterial sinus/lung infections. I am closing in on one year of this battle. I am currently taking 4 antibiotics and 2 antifungals. I am taking these drugs in pill form, nasal spray form, and two of the drugs using intranasal washings. I pray another round of daily IV treatments is not looming for me.

I will consult with an ENT in Indianapolis on the 16th. I anticipate that he will want to perform an endoscopic examination to collect more samples for culturing.

My WBC has remained in the normal range, however, other counts such as my platelets have moved me back to Stage IV from Stage II. This leukemia is a very strange performer. How can I have a normal WBC yet be in Stage IV? Tomorrow, I will have additional labs drawn to be certain I am not neutropenic while experiencing fevers - not a good combination.

Please pray for our family as H1N1 has hit very close to home.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Powerful, Annointed Song

The words to the Kutless song, "What Faith Can Do" are powerful. They reflect my life and faith - God, through my faith in Him, has done so many amazing, miraculous things in my life. I could never begin to thank Him enough. "Impossible is not a word - it is just a reason for someone not to try" is one line of lyrics from this song - nothing, absolutely nothing is impossible for those who believe in the One, True, Almighty God. I pray that my faith will never be shaken, even in the most difficult of times and experiences.

Please take the time to read these lyrics and listen to the You Tube link.

Everybody falls sometimes
Gotta find the strength to rise
From the ashes and make a new beginning
Anyone can feel the ache
You think it’s more than you can take
But you are stronger, stronger than you know
Don’t you give up now
The sun will soon be shining
You gotta face the clouds
To find the silver lining

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do

It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard
Impossible is not a word
It’s just a reason for someone not to try
Everybody’s scared to death
When they decide to take that step
Out on the water
It’ll be alright
Life is so much more
Than what your eyes are seeing
You will find your way
If you keep believing

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do

Overcome the odds
You don't have a chance
(That’s what faith can do)
When the world says you can’t
It’ll tell you that you can!

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do
That's what faith can do!
Even if you fall sometimes
You will have the strength to rise