No News = Good News

This is quite overdue and I am sorry!  And not to shame those who haven’t noticed or who have been glad for a little less in their inbox (totally get that!) but I’ve also thought it was real sweet of you who have noticed and even inquired to make sure I’m alright … I sincerely thank all of you for your care and concern and for wanting to read this and stay updated.  This blog thing is tricky because when there’s not a lot to say I don’t want to bore you or fill your inbox with nothingness and then, there are other times, when there’s a lot to say but I am too lazy (and, really, laziness is a much bigger factor than tired from chemo or not feeling good!) to try to say it.  But, it’s foolish of me because we feel the benefits of your prayers and want to keep you updated so you can ‘rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep’ …  which has been an incredible blessing.

But, really, in this week’s silence, no news = good news.  For the most part, things have continued much as they have for the past couple of weeks …

– side effects (insomnia, bloody nose, sensitive mouth and skin, tummy issues) continue to be more nuisances than major issues and I feel like God has even been gracious enough to manage the side effects of my side effects.  For example, even the insomnia hasn’t created overwhelming tiredness for the following days.  On the tired front, some days are definitely better and worse than others but so thankful for friends who are a call and short distance away that intervene any time I ask.

– the only new side effect is hot flashes.  I didn’t even know what those were but the doctor asked if I’d had hot flashes and I exclaimed “yes!” as she put a label on my sweaty nights and imbalanced temperature issues.  Oh, menopause, please keep your distance for awhile because you and your hot flashes are not fun!  BUT, the good news about the hot flashes is that it’s evidence that the chemotherapy is attacking the hormone-driven systems in my body … including the tumor.  Unfortunately, also the rest of my female system but learning to trust the Lord with all of that and accept the unknowns and unpleasants.

– the tumor is about the same size as before but the doctor isn’t worried.  She acknowledged she prefers it to shrink but there are a number of not-super-discouraging-explanations about why it would stay the same so unless it has grown by 20% or more we stay the course.  So, taxol, we will be seeing you again every Wednesday through May and, adramyacin and cytoxin, I’ll be meeting you in June. You are far more likely to put the hurt on me than taxol but, be warned, I have an incredible support system that fights back with me pretty tough!

– and, in about 3 weeks, I’ll have a meeting with an oncological surgeon about my surgery.  It looks like it will be early August (2.5-3 weeks after I recover from last round of chemo which will be on July 18th).  We don’t know yet what type of surgery I’ll have but hope to know more after meeting with Dr. Lamont on May 21st and as we watch for pathological response (I think I’m using that phrase correctly but no guarantees!) of the tumors to see what their final sizes are.

– my hair is definitely hanging in there but in the homestretch.  With creative combing you can’t see my scalp too badly:)  But I’m as ready as ever for bald.  I have Pinky the blonde wig and my chemo-friend Lori and our mutual friend Jenn came over last week for scarf lessons.  And, oh my, let me tell you that it’s harder than it looks not to look like a Muslim man with a turban or a gypsy or Little Bo Beep the shepherd-girl.  Thankfully, in addition to wigs and scarves, Gigi also found an adorable hat for me that I think will be a good-for-all-occasions-option.  Oh, and, one of our Bible study girls in South Dallas, Meme, offered me any of her wigs – that cracked several of us up at the visual of me in the hair of an African-American woman but she assured me she has blond ones too:)  Honestly, the tricky part about all these things is not wanting to necessarily hide the baldness out of vanity (but don’t get me wrong, that’s a factor too!) but just to have some looks that don’t draw too much attention.  See also: avoiding the turban look!  But, I don’t normally wear trendy hats (or hats at all for that matter) and don’t want the double-take for new trends or for a bald head or a bad scarf tie.  I’m not trying to hide the reality of cancer or the bald-head but not trying to ‘model it’ and draw attention either.  Tricky tricky.  On that topic, maybe at a future date I’ll address my confusion with the ‘survivor’ label I don’t really like.  I just want to be Jen (who happens to have breast cancer) and not the bald girl or the turban girl or the tricky hat girl or the cancer girl or the survivor girl (who happens to be named Jen).  Thanks for loving me as I am:)

– and, as much else has stayed the same, I can echo again that we still feel incredible cared for, blessed, thankful, and overwhelmed by love and support.  In a book I’m reading (when you have insomnia you get to take your reading up a notch and that’s not all bad!), there was a quote last night that said ‘you can complain that roses have thorns or rejoice that thorns has roses.’  And we see a ton of roses attached to these thorns!  A few of our roses this week were groceries, flowers and a bubble maker for Linc (had to include pic because his confused face made me smile) from Alyson, meals from Amy and Alex/Andress. I also got a cute pink.pray.love tshirt made by Jamie’s older sister, Jennifer.  Another long-lost-but-found-again-on-FB-friend, Heather (who has also had several of my doctors) made a sweet pink.pray.love necklace for me.  And, as I type and Linc naps, another laundry fairy named Kathryn is turning our dirty laundry into clean laundry.  How ’bout them roses?!

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[As I upload this and look at it again, I notice something I hadn’t noticed before … so I ask you to please try to disregard the redneck-nature of his exposed diaper and ‘business’ because his mother is too lazy to fight him on the changing table to get it snapped!:)]

And I guess reason #46 that I haven’t been so great on the blog this week would be the little man in our world.   While I try to finish this, this is what awaits me in the other room after his nap…

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Naptime is rarely long enough.  But, he sure is a fun addition to our world.  He and his daddy are definitely my happy place.  Maybe he’ll look a little more like me, instead of baby-Scott, after I’m bald:)

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That’s all for now.  I’ll try to check back in a little quicker next time.  Thanks for being the roses! 

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Welcome to my Wednesdays

Today, as I have for 7 weeks prior (and will for 14 more), I took the familiar elevator ride to the 4th floor. I’m usually alone because we are always pushing the time so Scott drops me off and then parks the car. I exited and came into the familiar check in line. Maybe it’s because I’m alone or because this place has become familiar or maybe because the Lord always meets me here, but I tend to find myself emotional in the check in line every week. I look around and see lots of bald heads, wigs, and hats. And I can tell from quite a distance who’s new. Today it was a well coiffed couple and both had all their hair:) I assumed she was my cancer comrade but as I waited in line they called him for bloodwork – I pegged the wrong patient. But it was obvious they were newbies. I remember our first trip to this main lobby for Baylors cancer center and it was obvious a lot of folk were regulars – and we were clueless. Now, we’re regulars. I decided to give y’all a tour of our day with pictures. So the first pic is of the view from the elevator lobby walking into the 4th floor check in and waiting area. To the right is the check in desk. The woman standing w back to picture is in line. So that’s where I stand every week for sweet Michelle or Tammy to greet me, bless me, and check me in. In the far background toward the windows are the bloodwork stations.

After checking in, I sat down to wait for bloodwork. It was at this point that I began reflecting on something that we’ve observed countless times. Cancer doesn’t discriminate. We always notice that the waiting room includes affluent, indigent, white, black, Hispanic, and Asian. Last week, I got emotional talking to a woman who has a recurrence of ovarian cancer and she could barely speak English. I had tons of compassion – to the point of tears (which I think confused her) and all I could do was sign-language that I would pray for her. She responded with a head bow and thank you before I was whisked away for bloodwork. So, the next picture included is us in the 4th floor waiting room awaiting my call for bloodwork. This is on the left side in chairs seen in first picture.

By the way I’ll admit I’m loving my last
minute picture tour idea but really wishing I wasn’t having to write the accompanying verbiage on my phone via thumbs. Grace for typos requested:)

So where were we?! Back to bloodwork…
After a few minute wait, I am called for bloodwork. Every week they make sure I’m healthy enough to continue. So far so good. And here’s me in the station and the needle. If you don’t like blood/needles then skim quickly below.

I had to include Frances and Betty in my bloodwork photo tour. There are probably half dozen stations all staffed by crazy compassionate people. They hire for compassion and it’s amazing. But these 2 women have neighboring stations and they are besties of the highest order. Been working together for 20 (or maybe it’s 25?) years. Not all of those here at Baylor but think at least 10 here together. And heres my favorite part. They wear matchy matchy uniforms every day. Betty (on right) texts Frances every morning and tells her what to wear. One day they were slightly off in color of pants. And that’s because Frances said it was dark when she pulled them and then by the time she realized it, she’d already ironed them so one was in purple and the other in dark navy. Seriously?! How cute are they?! They are a bright spot in every Wednesday.

So after bloodwork it’s down to 3rd floor for infusion. Another pic here from lobby into waiting room (though picture only picked up right half). We check in on right again and the red hat to the right is Scott in today’s seats. The open door in the back is into the infusion room. And fitting with comments about cancer’s non discrimination policy, it was accidental but notice that the person going in is in a wheelchair. The receptionist was busy when we got there so Scott went back to give them my name. Jennifer Lewis?! Yes he tried to check in Jennifer LEWIS. The girls behind the desk had a good laugh when he corrected himself and explained.

While he checked me in, I was having my weekly meeting with Angelique (picture included). She’s the research coordinating nurse so follows my progress on MM-121 (research drug) and asks every week about any new side effects. It’s also her fault that I have to be weighed most weeks. Though I’m off the hook for weigh ins and vitals last week and this week for some reason per research drug protocol.

Now back to the waiting room…
As we came in I noticed a girl I’d picked out 3 weeks ago because she was young and looked like my peeps – shes on the left side of waiting area that you cant see. When I saw her before, she had on a shirt when I first saw her that I LOVED: ‘Yes they’re fake. My real ones tried to kill me.’ I mean is that not greatness?! I defintely want one if I get new girls too! She was also wearing a fabulous LV scarf tied differently than I’d seen and that inspired me to another bald-head-covering-idea using a large square scarf. So, today, I ventured across the otherwise very sober and quiet waiting room to meet her – and her mom. Another picture. This is Doreen and Rally. And her mom is from Israel so you know that was a bonus for me. It was fun hearing Doreen’s story. Similar to me, diagnosed at 38 without any family history or the BRCA gene. She has 2 boys, 11 and 3, and one is special needs. Wow. She had a much smaller tumor and not in lymph nodes so she has a different treatment plan. She’s already had surgery and only 4 rounds of chemo (including a drug Ill also have which causes faster hair loss – mine is still a slower fade but definitely on its way out) so today is her last day. Yea for Doreen! And for her fabulous new girls. No need for a lift if cancer gives us a do-over.

So I continue to wait (and write) while Doreen has been called back. Scott thinks at this point that they’ve passed us up. Or maybe there’s just no Jennifer Lewis slated for infusion today?!

Our turn…
Today, our wait was about an hour and then into big infusion room. The pic below is from one end of one half. There’s another long section that mirrors this one on the other side of the nurses stations. Today we’re on the windows side which I prefer. In the pic you can see Scott sitting next to my chair in the second section of chairs. On this side, there are 5 areas of 8 chemo chairs. Noone is yet in my section today. And unfortunately Doreen doesn’t seem to be on my side. I’d have enjoyed saying goodbye to her. Though, in this crazy social media world she has already friended me on FB. After we met she came back over to confirm spelling and found me as we stood there. So I look forward to keeping in touch with Doreen. Speaking of keeping in touch I’ve realized that one of sweetest blessings of cancer is re connecting and connecting with friends. One of my dearest old Arthur Andersen friends came to see me a couple of weeks ago while she was in town and regularly sends email or text love. She also sent Quel Que Fleur – both of our favorite perfumes (but not Scott’s so he’s asked me to at least consider only wearing every other day – but I haven’t yet conceded). And through Julie, I reconnected this week with another Andersen co worker who is also a breast cancer patient herself. Lastly, on the side bar commentary on pink reconnects … Today, Linc is with my friend Louise and her 2 daughters who were über excited for a baby brother for the day. Louise and I have been friends for years – back to an amazing Precepts Bible study 15 years with our beloved Candy Hill. Now, 2 husbands and 3 kids later we are reconnected because of cancer. And I’m thankful. Thankful for friends – new (like Doreen) and old (like Julie from 1995). And near and far. And those who bring meals or do laundry. And those who pray and those who write (like Melissa with weekly notes and Lane coordinating cards for chemo days). And several who faithfully help me day to day – like Gigi who comes every Wednesday after work to hang with Linc since I am semi-comatose until about 6pm.

Back to the infusion room and photo tour…
Today, I forgot to put on the numbing cream Travis gave me (needs an hour to do its thing) so the poke was a little less fun (though I’m thankful for cold spray which at least deadens the first layer of skin). So the last pic is me in my chair with Theresita setting up shop with needles and drugs. And here’s where I’ll spend the next couple of hours.

As I’ve written this, I’ve received several texts of prayers and love. And am thankful for many of y’all who especially think of us on Wednesdays. You’re a blessing. And now, hopefully, when you think of us you can erase those pictures of your imagination and replace them with the real deal.

With love and thanks,
Jen Lewis – err, make that Clouse:)

Oh and on the marriage note, we DID get an anniversary redo. On Sunday night the Washingtons kept Linc and we went to The Porch where we had our first date in September of 2007. Lots to thank the Lord for between then and now – including the gifts from cancer of your friendship, prayers, and encouragement in word and deed.

Off I go to my happy place…

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Nothing Says I Love You …

…like spending your second anniversary with your boo at your 7th round of chemo with a drip of benadryl that makes you sleep the afternoon away followed by the side effects of a steroid that keeps you up until 2:30am.  Fun times.  And, since we didn’t think post-chemo was the most fun night for a fun dinner we postponed our celebrating til tonight.  But that fun dinner never came.  Maybe Scott got tired of being the nurse and wanted a little of his own attention?!  Or, maybe in the pursuit of ‘oneness,’ he has sympathy queasiness and wanted to log some hours of his own in the bathroom?!  All I know is that he came home earlier than I expected from the gym this morning and before I could get from the bedroom door to the living room, he was already on the couch.  And he stayed there until this afternoon.  When he managed to get himself to our bedroom for another nap.  And, later, back to the couch to sleep the rest of the evening away.  He’s finally rallied a little bit to at least watch the American Idol results while I work on this overdue update on our ever-evolving PINK world.  Oh, and how could I forget?!  Today,  I also went to the doctor with Linc because in one of my Mom of the Year moments I had failed to note the signs of infection on his leg from a bug bite.  But thanks to friends at lunch (another shout out for FBA), I realized it warranted a call to the pediatrician which sent me directly to their office.  More fun times.  So, in honor of our second anniversary, I’ve had chemo.  My husband has a stomach bug.  And my baby has an infection in his leg.  Can we have a do-over?!

But, all in all, we continue to be in good spirits and, as far as chemo and cancer go, still infinitely better than we expected.  However, as time goes on in our weekly routine of cancer + family + life + work, keeping in step with Scott and staying on the same team amidst everything else has gotten harder.  That reality was on my mind and heart in addition to our anniversary so, in my ‘extra time’ until 2:30 last night, I prayed for my third year as a wife.  I pray that I’ll LOVE better, PRAY more, and speak less.  At our wedding, Wes (our friend/pastor who married us) taught and challenged us to “love your neighbor as yourself” but I’m afraid I still love me a lot more than I love Scott! And, I want to pray more – for Scott and for me and for us.  And, lastly, I want to speak less – from the wise words of James , I want to be slow to speak, slow to anger, and quick to hear.  I did pretty well toward that end today – but it’s only 1 day of 365 and it is pretty easy to love well, pray more, and speak less when your boo is asleep:)  Here’s to another good day tomorrow!  And for those of you that are praying for us, I’d love your prayers for the health of our marriage as well as the health of my body.

Here are some other updates since my last post. I’m sorry for the delay for those of you who check frequently.  I didn’t intend to let over a week pass but somehow it happened.  Thanks to those of you who sent texts or emails to check in and remind me you’re praying.  I continue to marvel at the power of prayer and the peace of God that surpasses all understanding.  We are so thankful for both!

So, for updates …

1.  After last week’s chemo, the bathroom showed increased signs of hair loss.  Scott came in the bathroom with hair everywhere and said, ‘it’s happening …’  I decided to go ahead and cut my hair shorter.  It’s a little weird but so far I’m pleased with the decision.  At least now when I see hair in every nook and cranny of my house (like in the dishwasher soap compartment tonight or on my keyboard as I just looked down or in Linc’s fist as he easily and painlessly pulled it out at the doctor’s office), it’s short and not long.  Much better.

2.  I got preliminary results back on the genetic testing.  There are a couple of components to the test but on the main thing they’re testing for – to determine if I have a mutated gene that would explain why I have cancer – it was negative.  Theoretically this is good news because that gene would affect a sister or a daughter.  But, since I have neither, I’m not yet sure what I think about the news.  I think I was hoping for an explanation of why, at 39, with never an overnight stay in a hospital until Lincoln was born, I have cancer.  It’s just so odd to have felt like I had the most boring medical history ever with Linc’s delivery as my only surgery and only 2 lame broken bones – my nose and a finger (both from basketball and in both cases I was well past the age that I should still be breaking bones from playing sports!).  And, if I did have the gene, it would make surgery decisions much more clear and straightforward.  As it is, assuming nothing changes from the preliminary results of genetic testing, the decision about lumpectomy, mastectomy, or double mastectomy will be a bit more complicated.

3. As noted above, I still feel so much better than I’ve expected.  So much so that sometimes I wonder if the drugs are working as they’re supposed to.  I know that cancer-fighting drugs kill all the fast-growing cells in your body which is why the side effects usually affect the hair, skin, GI tract, and in the case of this particular drug, nerve endings (often causing neuropathy or nerve ending damage in fingers and toes).  But, my side effects have been so much less than expected that I can’t help but wonder if it’s killing what it’s supposed to be killing. Hmm…

4.  And probably related to the last point, I definitely don’t think the lump is getting smaller.  Now, I know, we’re only about a 4th of the way through the chemo so maybe that’s unrealistic but I think it feels bigger.  And when the doctor measured it in her office (not via MRI but by touch with a measuring device), she understood my concern.  We all agreed that, compared to when I was first in her office and was nursing at the time, we can feel it more easily and detect the borders better so maybe that’s the only difference.  But Scott and I had always described it as the size of a marble.  And the doctor agreed it wasn’t a marble anymore – she described it as a pecan.  I don’t think I’m yet  worried about that but I’m curious and will be interested to see what she thinks at our next visit.  We see her on every third chemo visit which will be 2 more weeks.  If she has reason to think it’s actually still growing, it was clear that we would immediately change course of action.  To what?!  I have no idea.  But she said we’d do something different.  But, for now, we stay the course which is 9 more weeks on this drug and then 8 weeks of another and then surgery.  We continue to be very thankful that breast cancer is so treatable and with such success.  There are so many stories of folks with other types of cancer that don’t have the same consensus in the medical community about how to treat or the same success rates.  We are thankful that we are confident in our doctor and that many women have gone before me with great success.  Since my diagnosis, I’ve heard countless stories of women with breast cancer – and all have been survivors.

5.  At our last appointment we heard good and interesting news about the experimental drug I’m on (administered in addition to the ‘standard of care’ drug each week).  My doctor had been to a meeting on the Saturday before (side note: her spending her Saturday at meetings about investigative drugs sure was impressive to Scott and me!) and the drug is getting good results and she thinks their research efforts and processes are really outstanding.  So it was fun for us to hear that and be glad we’re a part of their study and have the benefit of the drug.

The weekend ahead has some highlights because I’m doing 2 fun things that, when they were originally scheduled weeks ago, I accepted with limited expectation that I’d feel good enough to do them.  Tomorrow, I’m off to a friend’s farm with other women who serve in our Bible study in South Dallas. And, on Saturday night, going to a dear FBA friend’s birthday dinner. His tradition is that instead of us buying the birthday boy’s dinner, he treats all of his guests … so fun and so generous!  I’m honored to be included and excited I feel up for it.

Again, we’ve had another week with more joy and peace than pain and suffering and I find myself immensely grateful.  Thanks for praying the prayers He’s answering!

LOVE!

A Refreshed Saint

Since ugly legalism comes so naturally for me, it’s quite an accomplishment for me to be a Bible study dropout. To actually give myself permission to quit Bible study was quite a feat – even though it directly conflicts with chemo these days. I have issues. But, despite being a Bible study dropout and missing my new and old friends on Wednesday morning, I’ve continued reading and studying the curriculum and have really loved the small letters Paul wrote. I think it was in recent weeks that I told y’all how much I was loving the passage in Titus 3 – and, before that, some great stuff in Timothy. And, this week, in the short 25-verse book of Philemon, there is a verse that jumped off the page because it so perfectly and beautifully describes my feelings as well as Paul’s …

Your LOVE has given me great joy and encouragement, because you brother [and I’ll add sisters], have refreshed the heart of the saints [specifically, this FBA Saint who, by grace, is also a child of God.]

I haven’t posted all week because there’s really nothing new to say … it’s the same … I am still marveling at how good I feel. We are so thankful, amazed, and reminded daily that He is good and sovereign. Oh, and that reminds me of another favorite verse in Psalm 119. You are good and you do good. Amen. And, tonight, it’s also the same song, different verse, about how blessed, cared for and carried along we’ve been by friends and family. As Paul said – your love has given me great joy and encouragement. And I am refreshed.

Refreshed is an interesting word in this passage because, literally 3 days before this whole wild ride began, I spoke with Judy Wimberly at our Watermark women’s retreat and the theme was: Renew. Refresh. Rejoice. In God’s grace, despite a drug trying to kill all fast-growing cells in my body, I feel renewed, refreshed, and am able to rejoice. He’s good like that. And so are y’all!

I feel refreshed and renewed because of so many of who have faithfully PRAYED and served us in that way. As Cynthia talked on the phone tonight, she and I lamented that our prayer lives aren’t what we wished they were – but this cancer journey is teaching me how powerful and effective prayer is. There’s truly no other explanation about how and why I feel so good going into my 6th week of chemotherapy and able to pretty easily continue relatively ‘normal’ in my life with Scott and Linc. Little Linc is now 10 months old as of Sunday. And, he met his first bunny on Monday…

That wasn’t really the point of this post but the picture was too cute not to share so I worked it in. Thanks for indulging me. My intention isn’t to write about us as much as y’all. The verse in Philemon just so perfectly and sweetly captured my heart and was a great explanation of the unexpected joy and peace. We have God. And we have His love through your love…

Just since I wrote last week while at chemo, we’ve been blessed with the gifts of meals, visits, fun worship cds, wig styling and delivery services (the wig has been named “Pinky” by her stylist, Missy), amazing-smelling lilies, babysitters, dinner at Houstons (one of our favs!), $100 worth of movie tickets (Scott was especially thrilled about that!), several sweet notes, and countless encouraging prayers and texts. So, thanks to the Coats’, B, Beth, Missy, Gigi, Mandy, Becky, the Breeden’s, Kelley, Ashley, Denny, Amy L, Melissa, Lane, Megan, Alyson, Zig, Amy M for all the love this past week. And, for so many others of you who have been just as generous, thoughtful, and prayerful in the many weeks prior. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement.

And, for the second part, about refreshing the Saints …

The FBA Saints to be more specific. My alma mater of First Baptist Academy has blown me away. The love from old friends and teachers has been nothing short of remarkable. I had a great experience while I was there – but who would have thought that the greatness continues into my 40s??! The list of folks is long but here are a few examples:

First, Mrs. Peterson. She was a 4th grade teacher – but I didn’t start at FBA until 6th grade. She only knows me through Jamie (aka B) and Amy who were my best friends through school – but also her students before I arrived. And she’s praying for me. Then, there’s Mrs. Kayse – and poor thing I’m sure she remembers me with both love and horror because B and I were a handful all through school. But, she cast me in my first and only play as Imogene in the Best Christmas Pageant Ever (and, by far, Imogene is the best role so thank you Mrs. Kayse) and though I haven’t really had much reason to be in contact with her since then (junior high!), she’s reached out as a fellow breast cancer survivor and cared about me. Mrs. Blount is another 6th grade teacher who wasn’t even my teacher – but sweetly has written and prayed. And, at the Arboretum on Friday, I saw the wives of 2 other dear friends from school. And, as I walked off from them, I saw Angie Melton – a year younger than me but the daughter of my basketball coach and she got tears in her eyes telling me she’d been praying for me and updating her dad. Then I got a hug from Kalen at church on Sunday which was just another reminder of the broad FBA network of friends who are praying for me. Thanks also Mrs. Merryman for your sweet note about my unedited blogs and just loving me despite being the handful and very-verbal student that I was. And, while I was at chemo my best friend from 6th grade through high school and college was keeping Linc (again!). I love my B. And Linc loves his Aunt B. And then there are the young Saints and one of those is Travis Shoemake – he and his brother Trey (not to mention his mom, Julia) have prayed for me during many a trip to Africa (fervently) and now through this cancer journey. Travis is a fellow Saint and a fellow infusor:) He has had weekly infusions almost all of his life for an immune disorder – his reality makes my 24 weeks of treatment seem far less difficult. He’s been my only invited guest to chemo so far. And what a great guest he was. In his Saints sweatshirt, of course. I love the Shoemake boys. And am thankful for their love for me.

I’m thankful that I’m a saint. First and foremost, as defined by the Lord’s Word through the gift of grace in His Son. And, also, as a Saint at a small downtown Baptist school with lots of heart and love and prayers.

Thanks to all of you for your love which has brought much joy and encouragement. And thanks to the Lord for answering your prayers as well as ours. He is showing Scott and I that, as His Word says, He is able to do abundantly above all that we ask or imagine. And, more evidence of that is the fact that I head back to chemo tomorrow without any fear and with minimal side effects.

He is good. All the time.