What a wonderful week it has been. I cannot tell you just how thankful I was NOT to have to show up for a chemotherapy treatment last Wednesday. How awesome was it that I finished up treatment right before the Thanksgiving holiday. That was plenty reason to celebrate and even more reason to stop and be thankful. Thankful that chemo was over……..thankful that step 2 of my treatment plan was complete……..thankful for some down time……..thankful to have a whopping 11 days of rest and relaxation before my next doctor’s appointment……thankful that I got to spend 5 days at the beach with my family.doing whatever we wanted (and lots of NOTHING)……eating good food……..and laughing…….thankful that that gosh awful mouth sore FINALLY went away and I could eat without pain…….thankful to Black Friday shop ONLINE from the condo in the comfort of my PJ’s…….thankful to be here…….and extra thankful that God has continued to walk by my side each and every step of the way. Yeah – Thanksgiving has always been special…..but Thanksgiving 2017 made me stop and realize just how much I have to be THANKFUL for.
When you pile 9 folks up in a condo for several days…….there’s never a dull moment. Lots of picking, joking, watching TV, EATING…..but one of the NECESSITIES of our Thanksgiving trip each year is to get a family photo for mom’s Christmas card! Let me tell ya – we have a few photogenic ones in the bunch……but then there’s the rest of us. It’s easier to get the kids to cooperate than the adults. Some of them won’t quit talking long enough to smile……some ALWAYS squint their eyes……some are distracted by what’s going on down the beach……you get the picture (pun intended). Add to that the fact that we have to get our crew together and get out on the beach after we have stalked the beach and we know other folks are out there because yeah – we are that family that just walks up to strangers and says “hey, would you be so kind as to try to do the impossible…..get a decent pic of this wild and crazy bunch”. Oh, and it’s worth noting that it was cold and rainy on Thanksgiving day….which just made it that much worse. Thank the Lord – there was ONE – do you hear me – ONE decent pic out of the bunch. I’m THANKFUL we can say Mission accomplished!
While I won’t ruin Gran’s Christmas card photo – here are a few pics I can share!
So what do you do when you are just sitting around wasting time until the movie starts? You allow yourself to be a guinea pig! Right after I started chemo and my hair/eyebrows/eyelashes etc started coming out……Hunter went with my mom to town one day and came back with me a set of super sparkly fake lashes! We joked that I would wear them when I went somewhere fancy. I never had long luscious lashes before chemo…..and I sure as heck had never put on any fake lashes. Well – like a dummy, I sat there and let Hunter and Jalen attempt to put my fake lashes on. Mind you – the lashes were only $1, so they were not high quality lashes to begin with – but it was all in fun and we wanted to see how hot I’d look with these glittery lashes on. Let’s just say that sitting still trying NOT to laugh while those two crazies were all up in my personal space was not the easiest task ever – but somehow we managed. They didn’t do too bad considering they’d never put them on anyone else before! Oh well – it was a memory we will never forget…….and I had some sexy looking lashes for a short while……until my eye started watering and I dabbed the corner of my eye with a tissue…..and, then it just started to fall off! I’m THANKFUL to have had these long lashes for awhile…….and we had fun doing it too!
So today I had my appointment with radiation oncology to get “marked” for my radiation. I can honestly say that today was the most difficult thus far. They had to get my body positioned just right on the CT table first. I had to lay on my back with my hands up beside my head. My head and arms were in these brace-like things and I had to lay perfectly still. They mapped me really good – marking my stomach/chest/side with permanent marker to help them get everything set up for my first treatment. So you know how when someone tells you to be still – you can bet that within 10 minutes you’re going to need to scratch your nose, sneeze, etc. I managed just fine for quite a while…..I even coughed and didn’t cover my mouth (no worries, I said “excuse me” right away). They made notes of the position the head rest was in, the table – everything was very precise so that it will be set up exactly that way each time I go back for treatment. I prayed ALOT during the marking and simulation – praying and asking God to please not let me have an itch or have to sneeze or do anything to undo what they had already done. All of a sudden – the cloth that they had placed over me to keep me warm started to aggravate me…..like really bad……and as I lay there KNOWING that I couldn’t move – that I just had to endure this – I don’t need to tell you that the itching got WORSE. I kept my eyes closed most of the time – but I opened them then because for about 10 seconds, I was planning my escape. I was all ready feeling guilty for ruining their efforts but I was certain that in the next minute I was going to come up off that table. I prayed again saying Lord, I really hate to do this, but I’m about to bust out of here….. and in the next second, a voice came over the speaker saying “when you are ready, take a deep breath in and hold it for me”. Thank God that she spoke to me right then. She distracted me and forced me to concentrate on taking a deep breath and holding it and I forgot all about the blanket itching me to death. She had me hold my breath a few more times and then politely said “we are all done”. Goodness! I have never been so THANKFUL to be able to wiggle in my life! I was probably in there an hour or so today……but the remaining visits should not take nearly as long. Now I go back next Wednesday for X-rays, etc and I should get the schedule for the rest of my appointments that day. Here’s a pic of my stomach and side where they “marked” me today! I’m THANKFUL there are doctors and docimetrists and technicians who understand the ins and outs of radiology…….they speak a different language……but they get the job done!
Oh……I have to share this story. Friday night we were out eating dinner and I had worn a sweatshirt that night in place of a coat. After we got in the restaurant, I got a little warm, and when I took the sweatshirt off, my hat slid off my head – exposing my peach-fuzz hair do. I didn’t think anything of it – I grabbed my hat and quickly put it back on. Later during dinner, a nice gentlemen (who had been seated behind me) stopped by our table on his way out. He said that he just wanted to let me know that 13 years ago, he had been where I was and although it was a long an tough road – he made it through and he knew I would as well. He asked me my name so he could pray for me. I told him my name, and we talked for a few more minutes. He went on to say that he was a scientist – but he was now a scientist that shared with people how science backs up the Bible…..and he’s been busy sharing Jesus with folks over the past 13 years. I commended him on making his cancer count for something. Before he left, he asked if he could pray for me – and there, right in the middle of Benito’s Brick Oven Pizza – this complete stranger prayed over me and prayed for my healing. What a beautiful witness. What a wonderful sight for my son and niece and nephew (and the rest of my family) to witness. God sent a complete stranger to be my Angel that night. I’m THANKFUL for that kind man at Benito’s who shared his story with me and cared enough to pray for me right there.
Here’s hoping each of you have a wonderful week…….and I encourage each of you to stop and take time to find even the smallest things to be THANKFUL for. Tonight, I’m thankful for a warm house, this fuzzy blanket and a full tummy. And I’m THANKFUL to enjoy the rest of this evening at home with my two favorite fellas. What are you thankful for?
Isaiah 12:4-5New Living Translation (NLT)
4 In that wonderful day you will sing:
“Thank the Lord! Praise his name!
Tell the nations what he has done.
Let them know how mighty he is!
5 Sing to the Lord, for he has done wonderful things.
Make known his praise around the world.