Happy News Year…

The Clouses definitely send love and wishes for a Happy New Year. And, in addition, it’s fun to share Happy News in a new year.

I had chemo again yesterday (every 3 weeks). Chemo seems to be effectively stabilizing the tumor activity as far as we can tell with the ‘tumor markers’ they measure from my blood. I’ve recently learned that ‘healthy people’ would have a number between 1-6 and when I was very first diagnosed (02/2012) my number was 1.2. Mine is ‘down’ from mid 40s to mid 30s and has been stable over last couple of weeks. In our highly defensive strategy with the simple goal of keeping cancer at bay as long as we can, this is a win. It’s not necessarily a game changer in the big picture of my prognosis but until my cancer figures out how to work around this plan of attack we stay the course because liver numbers are better/stable and I tolerate the chemo pretty well. I have intermittent, unexplained and often hard-to-pinpoint abdominal pain. At times (unfortunately one of those times was Christmas Day…) that means I am horizontal with my eye on the clock planning for another pain pill. Thankfully, that’s not every day. My more common everyday-burden is fatigue. I become winded (to the point of needing to sit down immediately…) with just one flight of stairs or any quick burst of effort. I’m pretty much in complete disbelief that I could have ever possibly run a marathon. Or a mile. Or around the block. Jennifer Lewis who?

The other good news around here is probably another reason that I could cause some of you to struggle with jealousy. Especially if you go to Watermark. Or Northpark. Or pretty much anywhere in Dallas. Can you appreciate the greatness of this signed paperwork? 

I am soon to be the proud and unashamed owner of a handicap parking pass. While many of you had your eyes on PowerBall last night  (including Clouses who were easily persuaded to join the office pool) I feel like I had my own little ‘jackpot’ moment when those signed papers were in my hand. Friends will line up begging the Powerball peeps for their new money and I think my friends may line up asking for a ride to church. Don’t blame em. Come on!

Our Christmas was really sweet. Lots of time together with our little family but also enjoyed sweet time with all of Lincolns grandparents too. Thanks to the friends who decorated our tree for us again this year we also discovered, on Christmas morning, that Lincoln had also hit the jackpot. And that was very helpful for Scott and I since Scott had said, as he cooked breakfast, “Babe, did we get Lincoln anything?” I had to rack my brain to tell him what (chemo brain isn’t so sharp either) and it certainly wasn’t much but based on the generous provisions of our friends, he wouldn’t have even noticed if we hadn’t wrapped (or should clarify ‘if Sterling hadn’t wrapped’ because I also had a last minute wrapping fairy after I had declined other help thinking I could do it … not so much) anything. Again, another way our friends bless and care for us in unexpected ways.

As we talked to Dr. Osborne yesterday, she thinks it is time for another CT scan in the next few weeks. And we find it interesting (she agrees)that now my left breast (not the ‘problem girl’) shows noticeable redness that reminds us of the inflammatory breast cancer I most recently had in the right breast. And for those of you who have been reading and walking and praying along with us for a while, can you appreciate my big girl vocabulary in using breast instead of boob? It still feels awkward. I am starting to think it always will.

Here’s another ‘action shot’ from yesterday. We’ve given up on my tired veins to give blood so now each time I go in I have to bug our ever-helpful nurse to take blood from my port (I love and will miss the girls in the lab but they are only trained to take it from veins). She’s a tall girl and both Jamie and I squealed (as awkwardly as we’ve done since high school) when she raised me so high. Who knew this table could be a ride?   You need to know that Christina is almost 6′ (unlike Dr. Osborne who is so petite that she wears children’s shoes) to appreciate that at this point I was towering over Jamie and Amy.

The bald pics remind me that my friend Becky hooked me up by restyling my old wig and I think our Tuesday Bible study girls would agree (since they’ve only ones who have seen it in public yet) that it is soooo cool. Human hair and well colored and cut and if I didn’t reach back to pull hair out of my eyes and inadvertently pull it off my head while in Bible study I think they would agree that it looked completely natural.

I debuted it the night before for Scott and Lincoln. Scott doesn’t care if I wear it or not but continues just to say “that’s almost creepy” because it looks so real. On the other hand, expecting Lincoln would think it was cool at the least, his first words were “I hate it.” Pretty strong words from a four-year-old. Too bad he is short on opinions like his Mama. He went on to elaborate and say “I like it when people ask you why you were bald.” I thought this might be some deep thought about wanting us to live in the honesty of our reality or that he liked me bald or that maybe it explained some things that he wanted explained. Nope. It all came back to him. He said “I like it when they ask because you can tell them that I shaved it off.”

   True that. Love this boy.
Scott, Linc and I have started grief counseling for him. Hard reality but thankful for the finances to do it and friends like the Monroes who connected us with counselors who focus on families in these situations. And it’s a bonus that it is Theraplay so Linc loves it! Scott and I are learning tons too. Would would cover your prayers for this as well.

And I would love continued prayers for Scott. He is currently making some pretty big changes in his schedule to be more available for me and take on more of the primary caregiving for Lincoln. Taking him to school and preparing his breakfast and getting him dressed and a day or two  away from work so that we can be together as a family. I know that’s not easy on him or his partner or Redo (their construction company) but I am thankful for all and confident in the Lords provision for our family. As I told Scott the other day, and I get tears as I start to type, I’m confident in the Lords provision of Scott as my husband through realities we would never have ever chosen and I am also confident in his ability to be both mom and dad to Lincoln. Mom is not a job he ever intended to backfill but I see that the Lord has ordained him for these roles and he is faithfully walking in them. I would covet your prayers for continued strength for him, confidence in his roles and the gift he is to us, and for the Lord to bless Redo’s labors and work even without him there all the time.

It’s been sweet of several of you to ask for an update. This is been slower than I intended. I really wanted to include some sweet pictures of our Christmas but my pictures from the couch aren’t so impressive. Thankfully, Scott and my mom saved the day and I don’t think it ever occurred to Lincoln that his mom was either miserable or drugged for most of Christmas Day. Again, as we experience so often, grace upon grace.

This is sent with much love and many thanks for all the ways your prayers and efforts and service to our family continue to sustain us.

Our God is good. All the time. And we trust Him.