Monday, April 28, 2014

Four Signs that Summer is Sneaking Up On Us

First of all, I have to say that I received the full report of my bone marrow biopsy.   Everything looked as expected from the preliminary report, which is good news for me!  Praise the Lord.

In the meantime, we have been enjoying some outdoor activities that serve as little reminders that summer is just around the corner.  If the 90 degree weather today didn't do it, then these others things provide the signs.

1.  Bubbles!

As summer approaches, our desire to be outside blowing bubbles increases.

2.   Lots of other outdoor fun!

like swinging....

The grass is no longer dormant, and we must mow!

3.  Summer crops

We are experiencing hints of summer as our garden begins bearing "summer fruits". ..  like these peaches
and tiny tomatoes
and the lettuce is flourishing
4.  Splash Pads.

We visited our first of the season this evening.   We just visited a simple one across from our library, located on our main street plaza.  It was a great introductory splash pad for Abbey since she is rather inexperienced with them.

Abbey is warming up to the water....

warmed up and enjoying it.

Oh!  Water snuck up on her..not as happy about it.
Luke loved every bit of it!
Then something really funny happened.  Abbey got brave and went further into the splash pad while the water was lightly spraying.  Little did she know the whole thing was getting ready to rev back up.  She happened to be right beside one of the sprayers when it went into full pressure mode and she couldn't find her way out of it. I really wish I had a video of it, because it was hilarious.  I did manage to snap photos of it as it happened though.

Oh no!  Here it is beginning to spray. Abbey can't figure out how to get away from it.
Oops.  Wrong way...I don't want to go into the water.  Get me out of here!
"Mommy, how about you put the camera down and come save me instead of laughing and snapping photos."
"Oh Great!  Another sprayer?"

"Hooray!  I see the way out of here!"
The hilarious part of the story was when Abbey finally found her way out of the water.  Without batting an eye, she headed in the direction of our car and said, "I want to go home!"
When she heard us all laughing, she relaxed and headed back towards us.  The girl loves to make us laugh and was pretty proud that she did so...even if it meant her temporary suffering.

I captured a little video with our camera after the ordeal.  Click here if you want to see it, or simply watch it below:

Friday, April 25, 2014

Easter Celebration & Some Good News

Of course, the reason our family celebrates Easter (Jesus' death and then resurrection on the cross, thus fulfilling prophecy and becoming the ultimate sacrifice for our sins) is the best news.  But, I also have some other good news to share.  I visited my oncologist on Tuesday.  And, while she didn't have the complete results from my bone marrow biopsy, she did receive some preliminary results, which showed no bone marrow cancer.  Can I get a "Praise the Lord"?  Apparently, that was her biggest concern.  What is even more miraculous, is almost ALL the blood counts that were low went up significantly.  There are now only a few numbers low, and two of them are just barely low. My white blood count actually went up several points, and was higher than it has been since I began chemo in September 2012.  My platelets are still low, but they went up considerably.  She isn't concerned at all by my counts now, since they are now headed in the right direction.  Woo hoo!  I am hoping to know the complete results soon though.  When I find out, I will report them here, since I am excited to celebrate these direct answers to prayer.  There is really no other explanation for this drastic positive change in bloodwork.   Thank you so much, prayer warriors!

Shortly after my biopsy on Friday, we headed to Oklahoma to visit my family.  Easter is one of the holidays that my family and my extended family on my mom's side all get together for a big dinner and easter egg hunt.  So, it is an awesome opportunity to get together with a lot of family.  I also got to chat with some old friends from church when we went to the church's easter egg hunt.  We had a great time hanging out all weekend long, and I am so glad that we decided to make the last minute trip.  And of course, I have tons of photos to share.

On Saturday morning, we went to the church easter egg hunt and party.  The kids had a blast!

During the egg hunt, Abbey was more about celebrating each individual egg than attempting to get as many possible!

Our littlest niece, Natalie, is growing up too fast!
Luke and Traber waiting in line together for one of the inflatables.
The boys loved this one!

Although, their faces showed a tiny bit of fear on the way down.
Later, we colored easter eggs.

Abbey had an innovative way of decorating her eggs--she used the crayon as a little paint brush.

If you look closely at Kaylee's fingernails, you can see tiny bunnies painted on them.  I learned something new last weekend:  my brother, Jason has a hidden talent.  He painted those on, and apparently, he paints Kaylee's nails frequently.
On Sunday after church, we had to take the obligatory Easter Sunday family photos.  We thought the old glider by the pond at my parents' house made for a nice, rustic photo.

Since Emily had to work at church, I snapped a photo of their kids:  Brody, Natalie and Kaylee
Abbey absolutely loved playing with Kaylee all weekend.  

My sister, Holly and her family (Linnea, Lilly and Ryan)

Silly photos are the best!
Twirling in her easter dress.  I loved doing that as a little girl!
My brother, Jeremy and his family (Traber, Brandy and their future baby boy)

Playing on an old boat.

Friday, April 18, 2014

My First (and hopefully last) Bone Marrow Biopsy

This morning, before my bone marrow biopsy, I had a blood draw that I had requested.  I was so happy as I read over my results: all of my counts which had been drastically trending downward were back on the rise.  They were still low, but headed in the right direction.  I knew this was an answer to prayer.  Going into the appointment, I was in a position of complete faith in healing, and experienced perfect peace.  Thank you SO MUCH for your prayers.  They were felt.
Just in case you wondered: Oh. My. Goodness though.  That bone marrow biopsy was right up there in level of pain with childbirth.  It felt equivalent to the 8cm dilation contractions I experienced at transition when birthing Abbey.  But, unfortunately there was no epidural to numb the pain.  I am pretty sure the needle was trying to biopsy a nerve.  And when they chiseled out a piece of the bone....OUCH!  But, it is thankfully over.  I am hoping I NEVER have to go through that again.  My body reacted in a "fight or flight" way afterwards that brought in 6 health care professionals who monitored me.  My body was shaking, my blood pressure and pulse shot way up, tears poured down my face uncontrollably even though I wasn't crying, my lips and tongue became tingly and I had trouble breathing.   All of this was happening to my body while mentally and spiritually I was in complete peace.  In fact, I am pretty sure I was smiling, laughing and making jokes through it all.  That right there, folks, was the Holy Spirit working- it had nothing to do with me.  Oh yeah- apparently, those poor bone marrow cancer patients usually need to have that procedure every 6 months.  I believe that was my last one though!  God is healing me completely.

I have an appointment with my oncologist this coming Tuesday (one that was scheduled 3 months ago).  However, I likely will not know the results of the biopsy for up to 7 days.  I will definitely update the blog when I find out though.  I truly appreciate your prayers!

(I apologize for any mistakes in this post, I am typing it on a smart phone since we are traveling right now).

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Prayer Request: Upcoming Bone Marrow Biopsy

As many of you who read this blog may know, instead of having scans a couple of weeks ago, I asked to have blood tests.  I really saw the orchestration of God in how it all worked out with my scans being cancelled and then my prompting to ask for blood work instead.  The results of the complete blood count (CBC) a couple of weeks ago showed my platelets, iron and white blood cell count were all a little low.  My white blood count has been low since the cancer began, likely due to the effects of chemotherapy.  My iron was something that was just tested for the first time, so I really don't have a trend for that.  But, my platelets really didn't become effected by the chemotherapy until the end of my treatment (around January-Feb. 2013).  They haven't come up into the normal range since chemo ended.  But, at my last bloodwork check in March and at the end of last year, they seemed to be trending back up.  However, because they had gone down in number considerably at my check a couple of weeks ago, my oncologist wanted to check them again a week later.  It turns out they are even lower.  She doesn't like the trend.  It has been over a year since chemo ended--my blood counts should be rebounding somewhat.  My bone marrow is struggling for some reason.

Unfortunately, one of the things to be concerned about is a secondary cancer or issues of the bone marrow due to the effects of chemotherapy and radiation.  One of those possibilities is Leukemia and it tends to pop up in younger women who have undergone breast cancer treatment like myself.  Because I have a lot of the symptoms of it, I am going to be undergoing a bone marrow biopsy on Friday morning.  Honestly, I am really hoping all of my issues are due to side effects from the anti-estrogen (anti-breast cancer) drug I take daily, Tamoxifen.  I have read that Tamoxifen can effect platelet production, so that is the explanation for which I am hoping.

Since some have already begun praying about it, I am already feeling more at peace about things.  I am reminded through my recent Bible reading of God's sovereignty.   Easter, which is coming up, is one of the biggest reminders of God's sovereignty.  Even Jesus was afraid of what was to come on the cross.  He knew God's will, and knew what was prophesied in scripture.  He knew he would be bearing the weight of all the world's sin on his shoulders as the Messiah.  What a HEAVY burden!  In Matthew 26 (verse 29), when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, the Bible says, "he {Jesus} fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”  Later, in verse 42 Jesus said in another prayer:  "He went away a second time and prayed, 'My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.'”  Jesus knew there was no other way for salvation of the world than through his death.  He trusted in God's sovereignty.  And because of what happened on the cross through God's grace and mercy, we can have the gift of salvation.  I wrote all of this to say, I am constantly reminded through daily life and through scripture that God is sovereign in all situations.  I rest in this sovereignty.  

Would you pray with me prior to my biopsy on Friday?  Of course, I pray for complete healing, that all of my counts rebound and things turn out to be normal in my bone marrow.  I have seen and experienced the power of prayer; this is why I write the post.  Could you just take a couple of minutes to say a similar quick prayer?  Thank you so much, prayer warriors.   

These are the reasons I want to win the battle over cancer.  I am honestly not afraid of death.  When I die, I get to be with my savior forever.   But, my death would mean that I would not be able to help Drew raise and teach our children to know Jesus Christ and glorify God.   I feel like God has a plan for me to do this, so this gives me peace as well.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Followers: I need your help

For those of you who read this blog regularly, I would love to know what you are most interested in reading about.  Of course, I use this blog for personal reasons, but there are also a lot of posts I just don't write because I am not sure if anyone is even interested in reading them.  For example, I am learning a lot about homeschooling that I would love to share if someone else is wanting more information or trying to figure it as well.  Also, I take a ton of pictures that I never post, because I don't want to bombard readers.  Are you interested in photography and want to learn some of the tips I have learned along the way? Of course, through our daily living God has been teaching me a lot, and would love to share if others are interested in reading.  Lastly, I am extremely interested in whole food nutrition/wellness, and make it a point to learn something new and apply it every day of my life.  But, I rarely write about it, because I am not sure if readers of this blog are interested in that sort of thing.

All that to say that I would love your help in determining future blog posts.  Can you take this really brief, one-question anonymous survey?  You can respond directly in this post, or simply click the link below if you are getting this blog post in your news feed or via email.  Thank you so much!

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Enjoying Springtime in Central Texas!

Mimi and Papa came for a visit this past weekend and we thoroughly enjoyed the outdoors with them.   The weather has just been so beautiful and we can't get enough of it.  We like to play outside all. day. long.  

Papa and Mimi

Watching peacocks

I know...more bluebonnets--but I just can't get enough of them!

gotta love google+'s "auto awesome".  It took a few photos that I snapped and made this little .gif with them.