Today was the day I dreamed about for two years. I walked into Kootenai Hospital, not as a patient, but as a survivor of Leukemia. I was greeted by several nurses who took such fabulous care of me. They were delighted to see me and expressed
great excitement over my recovery. I received multiple hugs and I felt so valued. I wasn't just a patient, I was truly important to them and they remembered me. They shared with me how important it is to them to see patients survive. Nursing is a difficult
profession; so many deaths are witnessed and it can be traumatizing. Several of my oncology nurses transferred to a differernt unit. One nurse shared the story of a patient who was sent home on Hospice. The doctors told him there was no hope; his tumor
was growing and he was going to die. He went into spontaneous remission and the medical staff was in awe for they recognized this was healing from God. Patients need to hear this and medical staff needs to witness it. We all need hope.
Mom and I walked
the halls and the feelings came rushing back to me. Feelings of both hope and fear of what the future held. Fear only for my loved ones who might have to let me go. These halls were familiar as I had put many miles on them most days. I listened to my praise
music and gave thanks for my life and put my life in his hands. I dreamed of a day when I would be home and free from Leukemia. I dreamed of being a normal person again. I dreamed of killing Leuk. My dreams did come true. I was only there to visit. Monday
I can return home to my husband as a survivor.
How do I sum up three days of reliving my journey? Three days of emotional processing has taken place. Yesterday started with breakfast at "Jimmy's Down the Street" (actual name of
restaurant) I visited with Carol, Kristina, and Samantha. Carol has been in remission from AML for two years. She looks beautiful and healthy. We discussed how we each are searching to discover the "new us". She shares many of the same feelings I do; the feelings
of uncertainty of who exactly we are and what our purpose is. It was encouraging to discuss this with someone who has had a similar journey. Carol regularly visits cancer patients at the hospital and expressed a desire to work with Hospice patients. I can't
imagine how difficult that would be. I admire how giving and selfless she is. She also has a daughter with Down Syndrome and helps take care of her husband who has MS. She is amazing.
After breakfast, I drove Mom and Jan to Sonrise Ranch- Reeva's place.
Reeva, Colleen, Renae, and Tawnya were the "Cowgirls" I got to know while I was being treated here. They are wonderful Christian women. Sonrise Ranch is the home to "Embrace Ministries". They have horses they use as therapy for troubled youth. Not only
do they teach them how to ride, but they incorporate the love of Jesus in there. Some of the children they work with have never had anyone truly care about them before. I even got on a horse! It had been many years since I have been on one. Tawnya led the
horse around in the indoor arena. I felt a little bit like a small child, but it was definitely better for me since I am at such a high risk of bone damage if I happened to fall off that horse!
We joined the gals at church in the evening. We really
enjoyed the service; it was very similar to Church on the Rock. The guy who preached was about 25-26, Casey's age. I kept imagining Casey up there preaching. I feel God has a plan for Casey to enter the ministry. I pray that blessing over him everyday.
This morning Mom and I met Dr. Mulvey and Megan for coffee. We had a really nice visit and they were thrilled at how well I am doing. I am thankful I got a chance to see so many people who were so instrumental in medically and emotionally assisting me.
We went to church in Spokane Valley after coffee.
Then I met up with Jim Phillips in the afternoon. Jim has been a very dear friend for many years. He gave me the most beautifully thoughtful gift- a 1998 Iditarod t-shirt. That's the year Logan
was a Make A Wish Iditarod rider. Jim is always so thoughtful and knows how to give us meaningful things that express his love for our family. We were both in tears when we parted.
I finished my day by going back to the hospital to see my nurse, Charles.
Charles was one of my night nurses. He told me he really appreciated my attitude during treatment and he loved watching me dance in the halls. He also shared that he truly appreciated the support I had from family and friends. I am sure that wowed many as
I was from Alaska and always had visitors from all over the United Statea and also Germany! I walked the halls again and was overcome with emotion. I went and sat in the chapel . I sat there with tears streaming down my cheeks and knew I was supposed to do
something else. I texted my nurse, Samantha, and asked her if there was someone I could visit. She told me Katie was willing to have me visit. I thought I was going to share my story to bless her and encourage her, but it is she who blessed me. Katie
was diagnosed with ALL in March of 2014. She went into remission shortly after. Then she developed a serious issue in her stomach and had surgery. She wasn't able to take anything by mouth, not even water. She had to have a feeding tube for quite some time.
Eight months later, she relapsed. They got her back in remission and she went to Seattle for transplant. Just before transplant, they discovered she relapsed again- this time with both ALL and AML. She had her transplant and about five months later she relapsed
again. I sat their with my jaw dropped as I listened to her story. She shared that she is a woman of great faith and it was all okay. She said it was better that she went through this rather than someone else in her family. She has an amazing story and attitude
and God has plans for her!! I prayed for her and told her I want to stay in touch with her. She blessed me.
Tomorrow we leave for home. I miss my girls. I told Ollie that I would be home tomorrow. She said, " Yay! Grammie is coming home tomorrow! I
am so fortunate to be alive.
What kind of friend are you? Are you a fair-weather friend who suddenly departs when things get complicated or depressing? Perhaps you are the friend who found out someone you care about was diagnosed with
a terminal illness. You use the excuse, " I don't want to remember them sick, so I just can't visit them". Maybe you use the excuse, " Tbey have so many people supporting them, I don't want to intrude".
Are you the "All-Weather Friend"? Are you
there when things get dark, murky, scary, or, hopeless? Do you dive in and just "do" without waiting to be asked? Are you able to discern what your friend needs? Do you put aside your own feelings to help your friend in need?
What kind of friend
do you prefer? The fair-weather friend or the all-weather friend? Who is going to be there for you when you have hit rock bottom? I think of a friend who has been told she has cancer. She has NO friends around her. She lives in another state and is in a terrible
custody battle as well. Her ex actually told her everyone would be better off if she just killed herself. This is a lady in a new state with no friends, no support, and no relationship with the best friend of all- Jesus. I think of a lady I recently
met whose family won't come see her in the hospital because "it's too hard on them to see her sick". What kind of friend can you be to people like these ladies? What can we do as human beings to show love to others?
This morning I woke up and started
thinking about this. I want to start some kind of on-line ministry that we can use to shower love upon the hurting. I am trying to figure out what it's going to look like and entail. We were designed to help one another. There are too many hurting people in
the world and it's time we stand up and be an all-weather friend. Will you join me?
Here we go again- nausea and vomiting. I am a reluctant pro. I'm like a child actor who was forced into acting as an infant. I have no say over
it, it just keeps going. This time I believe it's a virus. Ailynn had it while we were gone and Mom and I both got it today. We could have picked it up anywhere. I started feeling queasy last night, but woke up fine. I walked 2 miles in the treadmill today
and ate a big bowl of Cream of Wheat. I played with the girls and did laundry. Then it hit like a hurricane destroying everything in its path.
Last night I got to have dinner with Amy and Dorothy. 25 years of close friendship for the three of us. They
are my girls! We had to say goodbye to Amy again.
Unfortunately, I still don't feel well. We leave early Sunday morning/late Saturday night for South Carolina. I sure don't want to be stuck in the lavatory the entire trip. :(
It's bad enough to have to leave our girls again. Why I scheduled so many trips in November is beyond me. Sure the last two were basically free trips- mileage tickets and all, and the first one was the necessary check-up, but good grief it's been rough! I
feel like I am totally missing out on the girls yet again. I'm known as the Grammie who is rarely around and it breaks my heart.
This morning Ollie and I decorated the upstairs Christmas tree. (Ailynn assisted some) She said that Christmas without
Grammie would be sad, so I aimed to please her. We had a good time doing it. Next year Ailynn will be able to help more and I picture cookies baking, Christmas music blaring, and us dancing around the Christmas tree. The vision I have for my future is so incredible.
I am daring to live.
We leave the house about midnight tonight to catch out 0300 flight tomorrow. South Carolina with Patrick's family should be a blast. He will get to see cousins he hasn't seen in about 35-40 years which is awesome.
We are going to have a mini family reunion and we are excited. We are sad about leaving our girls. They were here for over two weeks and I missed out on so much of that time due to my Idaho trip and my stomach virus. I was fortunate enough to be able to babysit
them this morning. I took them to Granny's and we hung out for awhile which was really nice. Granny just loves those girls so much.
I am still not feeling well. I ate regular meals today and it certainly isn't agreeing with me. I went to take a nap
only to find my blood sugar dropped. I had to eat a whole bunch to get it up and now I am extremely nauseated again. When will this end?? I hope I don't also get the respiratory virus that's going around. It seems I get just about everything. I dread
the plane ride. My hips hurt every night just while sleeping in bed, but the plane can be excruciating for me.
Today I heard from Terrie who hopes to come back to Alaska next week. She will have a bone marrow biopsy soon to see if she's in remission.
Last night I talked with John and he is slowly recovering. We had to chuckle at how weak we are and how a 3 # weight seems like it's so much to lift. He's just done with chemo- I haven't had chemo in a year and a half and I am still so weak. I think I better
get back to the weights to gain some strength. Ingrid is in ICU with intense pain.Renee is home now after transplant. Linda was just diagnosed with a brain tumor. I care so much for all my friends who are fighting to live.
I will rise up on wings of eagles and the pain of this world will be no more. Sometimes, like now when I am so nauseated and miserable, I welcome that. Here I am to worship. Here I am to bow down. Here I am to say you are my God.
The flights have been
rough- especially from Seattle to Atlanta. I got so nauseated and couldn't throw up to make it better. I curled up in a chair waiting for the next flight wishing I could just stop this pain no matter how it took to stop. To add insult to injury, Patrick elbowed
me hard in the head. He sure didn't mean to, but the sobs were real. Mostly because I am so tired of feeling sick and for hurting. I am being a whiny baby. Sometimes I get fed up with it all.
Besides the nausea, I miss the girls. Today is Kelseys
birthday and I miss her and Casey. And my whole family.
Seriously? Corneal erosion at my 0300 normal wake-up call. Why oh why? My in-laws probably think I am way too much maintenance for Patrick.God bless that man who puts up with all
my issues! I am praying the pain subsides.
We are happy to be back in South Carolina with Patricks mom and her husband. They are good, all-American people. Bob is retired military and they love our country. Michele has had quite a bit of medical issues
over the past couple of years. It will be good for us to assess how she is really doing. She doesn't always tell us the truth about her health. Isn't it funny how parents still want to protect their children?
Today will be a good day. Nothing will take
that away. God is good.
We are definitely enjoying ourselves, but I am still so nauseous. It's hard to function sometimes because the nausea just won't let up. I haven't vomited in a week, but I sure do feel like it. Today we went to
an old rice plantation that has been turned into an animal sanctuary . We saw several alligators and some birds. I tried to Face Time Olivienne to show her the alligators, but she was still sleeping. We had a good adventure. Before we went there, Patrick and
I went for a walk and saw a doe and her twin fawns, I love nature!
Poor Meghan missed her flight- she mixed up her times and now isn't leaving Alaska until Friday, she is very disappointed to be away from her husband so long. We are bummed that we are
missing out on her time in AK. Ollie is happy because she said she wants to stay in Alaska with "her people".
Its the day before Thanksgiving and I am reflecting on not only what I have to be thankful for, but on the many tragedies around
the world . How many have something to be thankful for this year? God tells us to give thanks and have joy in ALL circumstances. Is that easy or even possible sometimes to be thankful when our worlds are turned upside down? I think about the school bus tragedy
in Tennessee on Monday. Several small children are dead because of an erratic school bus driver. Several children dead right before Thanksgiving. I doubt those parents are feeling "thankful". Desperate times call for desperate measures. Times like these, we
have no choice but to simply weep at the feet of Jesus and ask him to see us through. Don't worry, I know I have plenty to be thankful for and I am, but encourage all of you to be sensitive to those whose wounds are fresh. Everyone's grief deserves to be acknowledged.
|Leviticus 7:12 ||If he offers it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the thanksgiving sacrifice unleavened loaves mixed with oil, unleavened wafers smeared
with oil, and loaves of fine flour well mixed with oil. |
|Leviticus 7:13 ||With the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving he shall bring his offering
with loaves of leavened bread. |
|Leviticus 7:15 ||And the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving shall be eaten on the day of his offering.
He shall not leave any of it until the morning. |
|Leviticus 22:29 ||And when you sacrifice a sacrifice of thanksgivingto the LORD, you shall sacrifice it so that you
may be accepted. |
|1 Chronicles 16:7 ||Then on that day David first appointed thatthanksgiving be sung to the LORD by Asaph and his brothers. |
|1 Chronicles 25:3 ||Of Jeduthun, the sons of Jeduthun: Gedaliah, Zeri, Jeshaiah, Shimei, Hashabiah, and Mattithiah, six, under the direction of their father Jeduthun, who prophesied with the lyre in thanksgiving and
praise to the LORD. |
|2 Chronicles 5:13 ||and it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the
LORD), and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the LORD, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever,” the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud,
|2 Chronicles 33:16 ||He also restored the altar of the LORD and offered on it sacrifices of peace offerings and of thanksgiving, and he commanded Judah to serve the LORD, the
God of Israel. |
|Nehemiah 12:8 ||And the Levites: Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, and Mattaniah, who with his brothers was in charge of the songs of thanksgiving.
|Nehemiah 12:27 ||And at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites in all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem to celebrate the dedication with gladness,
with thanksgivings and with singing, with cymbals, harps, and lyres. |
|Nehemiah 12:46 ||For long ago in the days of David and Asaph there were directors of the
singers, and there were songs of praise and thanksgiving to God. |
|Psalm 26:7 ||proclaiming thanksgivingaloud, and telling all your wondrous deeds.
|Psalm 50:14 ||Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, |
50:23 ||The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!” |
69:30 ||I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. |
|Psalm 95:2 ||Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let
us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! |
|Psalm 100:4 ||Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless
his name! |
|Psalm 107:22 ||And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of his deeds in songs of joy! |
116:17 ||I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgivingand call on the name of the LORD. |
|Psalm 147:7 ||Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make
melody to our God on the lyre! |
|Isaiah 51:3 ||For the LORD comforts Zion; he comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert
like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song. |
|Jeremiah 30:19 ||Out of them shall come songs of thanksgiving, and
the voices of those who celebrate. I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will make them honored, and they shall not be small. |
|Amos 4:5 ||offer a
sacrifice of thanksgiving of that which is leavened, and proclaim freewill offerings, publish them; for so you love to do, O people of Israel!” |
||But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the LORD!” |
|1 Corinthians 14:16
||Otherwise, if you give thanks with your spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider say “Amen” to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying? |
Corinthians 4:15 ||For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. |
9:11 ||You will be enriched in every way for all your generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. |
|2 Corinthians 9:12 ||For
the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. |
|Ephesians 5:4 ||Let there be
no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. |
|Philippians 4:6 ||do not be anxious about anything,
but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. |
|Colossians 2:7 ||rooted and built up in him and established
in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. |
|Colossians 4:2 ||Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
|1 Thessalonians 3:9 ||For what thanksgivingcan we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, |
|1 Timothy 2:1 ||First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, |
Timothy 4:3 ||who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. |
Timothy 4:4 ||For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, |
|Revelation 7:12 || |
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.