December 3, 2013

November Blog Challenge and Life Update

My November blog challenge ended up not being too successful, as you can clearly see.  I often joke that I'm a "slacker" and this failed challenge indeed confirms this.  ;-)  I had the best of intentions when I decided to complete the November blog challenge.  I wanted to make November a month where I really took good note of my life.  This year has been such a whirlwind and unfortunately I didn't write down all of my emotions and happenings as much as I would have liked to.  But life gets busy.  Days turn into weeks and weeks into months.  I want to apologize for not accomplishing all the written tasks in the November challenge, but let me tell you- this month has been absolutely amazing!

Yesterday, I received the FANTASTIC news from my MRI that there is no re-growth of the cancer and the scan looked the same as the one three months ago.  Because of how well I'm responding to the chemo and to go along with research trends, my Oncologist Dr. Hohl decided we should do another four months of Temodar, my chemotherapy pills.  That means I will have done a total of ten months of five nights on,twenty three days off (on top of the two months of five nights on, two nights off) when I'm completely done.  Four more months means I will be done in February.  That will be a wonderful year mark of my cancer discovery!!

God is SO good, let me tell you!  I can't express enough how amazing this journey has been and continues to be.  As Travis, Mom, and I waited for the pharmacist to finish filling my Temodar prescription yesterday, we met a couple sets of really neat people that I will not forget anytime soon.  The gentleman and his wife whom I sparked a conversation with (imagine that... me talking to strangers...) were so friendly and filled with the Spirit that we quickly hit it off.  I ended up putting my hands on his shoulder and praying for him to feel God's presence and peace in his life.  This man was given a 12 week life expectancy due to pancreatic cancer, but he had an attitude like I've never seen- he was so positive and inspiring and he really made an impact on me.  While speaking about our love of Christ and our cancer situations, a young woman sitting on the other side of us interrupted and asked if she heard correctly that I have brain cancer.

This family turned out to be quite the opposite of my new optimistic friend.  She was around my age; 25 I would guess.  Her mother, who looked worn and weak, was sitting in the wheelchair next to her with the young lady's aunt.  Come to find out, this young lady's mom was diagnosed with the exact same tumor as mine 24 years ago.  She made it through with flying colors 24 years ago with no issues.  Since then, she had a pacemaker put in and could no longer have an MRI to follow up yearly with her brain cancer screenings.  A very large tumor re-showed itself this year- 24 YEARS LATER!  She had a really rough surgery and was in a coma for awhile afterwards.  She had to re-learn how to walk and talk and her personality has forever been different, reported her daughter, Megan.  I will never forget the sad look in this worried and worn daughter's eyes.  I prayed for her right there, but knew that if the family and her Mom wouldn't change their negative attitudes and pessimism, there might be little hope.  I gave Megan a huge hug and told her that God was with her and loved her, as she walked away with tears in her eyes.  I pray that I made an impact in her life, at least a much as that family made in mine.

You see, if I can be fortunate enough to make it another 24 years without the re-appearance of another brain tumor, I will be overjoyed and full of praise to our amazing God!  Don't get me wrong, if one chooses to appear before then, I will still continue to be thankful for the life I have been blessed with and the joy God provides.  God used this experience with this pessimistic family to remind me how important it is to maintain my faith and positive attitude through this trial.  Without my full faith in His Power, I am relying on nothing more than a medical miracle.  Without an attitude of thanksgiving, I will soon become weak and no longer able to see all the good that God has provided despite the trials.

I was so blessed to meet both of these families.  Each trip I make to Iowa City seems to get better.  Every time I make that drive, I am reminded how blessed I am.  Here we are, almost ten months since my diagnosis, alive and well.  Content and joyful with the wake up call that this cancer has proved to be in my life.

I have more exciting news to share; As I have told ya'll before, God has been tugging me to venture into the arena of Women's Ministry for awhile and I had given Him a huge "no" as my answer before.  Through this 'great awakening' of mine, I have decided to never tell God "no" again.  A dear friend of mine has set me up to speak at a local church to a group of women about 'Craving God Now'.  This will be my first 'Women's Ministry' speech and will be taking place at Harmony Bible Church in Danville, IA on December 11th at 7:00pm.   Feel free to join us for this exciting moment in my saying YES to God!  Please pray for God to speak through me and for my words to be from Him in order to make a difference in these ladies' lives!

Thank you for all of your encouragement and love you continue to shower me with!  Praise God and Him alone for the difference I am able to make in people's lives; I am simply His instrument.  :-)

Much love,

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