Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving, Black Friday, And Our Dear Friend

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. Our family was blessed with good health, family togetherness and a table full of great food. There was a total of thirty nine of us gathered at my sister Kim's house. We were missing my Aunt Sue and her children and their families from South Carolina, Teresa's son Aaron and his family, Bonnie's son Myron, and Jason's son Tristen which would have added 16 more!!!! We took alot of pictures but didn't attempt a group picture.

Misty, Josh, Me, Wendell, Michael, Aaron, Punky, Kiah, Renea And Stephanie.
Michael & Stephanie

Josh, Misty & Renea

Aaron & Punky

Abbey & Mikiah

Teresa, Me, Kim & Dad

Jason, Elijah, Lucas, Teresa, Seth, Owen, Chris, Charlie, Rachel, Abbey, Kira, Misty, Mckensie & Malachi

Robbie, Kelvey, Kim & Meagan

Wilson, Ron, Bob & Jack

Maurice, Marcus, Bonnie, Carson, Talisha & Camden

Wendell, Stephanie, Punky, Kiah, Aaron & I got up, took showers and left the house by 3:00 a.m.on Friday, Black Friday, to go shopping. Call us crazy, I know, but it has became a family tradition for us and we have a blast!!! It all started years ago when Wendell and I had a financially rough year and had not bought any Christmas presents until he recieved a bonus from his job right before Thanksgiving. We were so excited we couldn't sleep and woke up at 3:00 a.m. and decided to go shopping!!! That was the beginning of a family tradition. Now that the kids are all older we never really have an agenda or go for any item in particular, we just go for the fun of it!!! A few weeks ago I would never have dreamed I would have been well enough or would have had the strength to have made this shopping trip!!! For the last few days I have been amazed at the health and strength the Lord has blessed me with!!!! I can't thank or praise Him enough!!! He has brought me so far!!! I can't help but think, "Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me, bless His Holy name." What a great and merciful God we serve!!! Family members that I haven't seen, since my hospital stay at Vanderbilt, until Thanksgiving, were amazed at my progress. To God be all the glory!!!!
Our dear friend Mrs. Adkisson was laid to rest today. She looked absolutely beautiful, as always!!! Her service was such a blessing. I sat there listening to Bro. Parrot and Bro. Jones speak of her and the wonderful testimony she had and it made me think how I would love to leave this life with such a testimony!!!! She was a wonderful wife, Mother, friend and child of God. She so loved life and lived it joyfully, but nothing down here can compare to the life and joy she is living now. Please remember her family and loved ones in prayer. The void her passing has left will not be an easy one to get through. She will be greatly missed.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Mrs. Adkisson

A wonderful lady, Mrs. Geraldine Adkisson, went home to be with our precious Lord Tuesday night. She was a very special friend to Wendell & I and was like an extra "Granny" for Punky and Kiah. Our whole families hearts are aching at the loss. We are so thankful for her testimony and the life she lived and the privilege of just being her friend. We praise God that even in a time of great sorrow, we have not only the hope, but the promise, of seeing her again.

Our thoughts and prayers are with her family. We love you all.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

So Much To Be Thankful For

With Thanksgiving Day being tomorrow I have thought a lot about all I have to be thankful for. The Lord has been so good to me and blessed me in ways I could never have imagined. It has been a little over a year since I first noticed the tumor and a little less than a year since I was diagnosed with the Adenocarcinoma. As I looked back over some of the pictures today that were took throughout this past year, documenting my journey, I was filled with different emotions. I have experienced loss, (my Mother, my strength, my good health), but I have gained so much. I never knew so many people would be so thoughtful, kind and caring of the situation my family and I found ourselves in. I have received numerous cards DAILY since being diagnosed. These have meant so much to me. The Lord has perfect timing and a lot of the time Wendell or I would open one of these cards to read exactly the words of encouragement we would need to make it through that day. I have felt the prayers of people who have loyally took my name before the Lord. I have been humbled time and time again at the very thought that so many would take the time to lift my family and I up to the Lord and I am proof God answers prayers.
The diagnosis of cancer is a scary one. There have been people I know who were diagnosed after me and have already gone on to be with the Lord. I feel so unworthy of His love and mercy, yet He continues to be faithful!!!! Not only have people sent cards but so many have helped in every way imaginable, from financially, to cooking meals for our family, to mowing the yard when we were in the hospital, to e-mails and letters with words of encouragement.
I have decided to post some of these pictures documenting this past year in my life. Most of the pictures are very unflatering but it is, what it is, and reminds me how far the Lord has brought me. And how thankful I should be!!!!

This picture was took on a camping trip before my diagnosis. When I never dreamed are lives were about to change so drastically. This was a time when we were loving God, life and family, and I was taking my good health for granted!!!

I am thankful for my son Josh, Misty and Renea. I don't get to see them often but they are always in my thoughts and prayers.

I am thankful for a caring husband and daughters, Wendell, Kiah, Jess, and Punky.

I am thankful for all the years of strength and good health the Lord blessed me with.

Me, Punky, Steph, Kiah and Jess at Steph's Wedding shower. I am thankful Stephanie waited on the husband God had for her. Michael is a wonderful husband to her and a great Son-In-Law!!!

I am thankful my beautiful Mom, was able to attend Steph's wedding shower and wedding!!! She went to be with the Lord on March 23, 2009, the day before my first surgery. The Lord was so merciful to her in that she didn't suffer but went to meet Him peacefully!!! This will be our first thanksgiving without her. I selfishly wish she were here and my heart aches tonight over the thought of her not being with us tomorrow.

Crazy as it may sound I am thankful for the tumor. Because I know all things work for good to them that Love Him. I know God has a reason for this and I have faith it is for my good even though I may not fully understand at times.

March 24,2009, before my first surgery to remove the tumor, the left side of my hard and soft pallette, four teeth and the bone above them. I am thankful God guided the surgeons and my first surgery went well and they were able to get clean margins.

Me in recovery. I am thankful for my kids and our families sence of humor, along with a lot of prayer, is what has helped us keep our sanity through this time.

The hole left in my mouth after the first surgery.

I am thankful the Doctors eventualy got my pain regulated.

Being discharged from Vanderbilt after the first surgery.

The width my mouth will now open.

Kiah and I at Gondelier enjoying the last Pizza I have been able to eat since before my second surgery on June 2. I am thankful I never had to have a feeding tube, but was able to find soft foods I was able to swallow.

Wendell cooking.
I am thankful for Wendell and his Mom who stressed and cooked anything they thought I could possibly eat!!!

I am thankful for my sisters, Teresa and Kim, who have been there for anything I have needed.

I am thankful for my girls and Aaron who have "stepped up" and took over all the responsibilities I have not been able to do at times...laundry, house cleaning, bookwork and whatever else was needed.

Me before my second surgery. I am thankful the Lord speaks to us even if we sometimes don't have our ears open.

These next few pictures, as unflattering as they are, I am posting them because this is probably the most important lesson the Lord has taught me on this journey. They are definately a reminder of how far the Lord has brought me.
I am thankful for physical suffering. As bad as it sounds that is a lesson the Lord needed to teach me... Compassion for those who are sick. Not that I haven't always felt and prayed for those who were ill, but I never fully understood the physical and emotional toll illness can take on you and those you love. Now I can say I have a much clearer understanding and I hope once I am well enough I can use this knowledge to maybe help and be a blessing to those experiencing mental and physical suffering.

I am thankful for a husband who never left my side and was willing to bath and wash my hair when I was unable. A shower, after seven days can really make a girl feel better!!!!!

I am thankful for physical scares that keep my vanity in check!!!!

I am thankful that even the Doctors were amazed that I didn't have to have a feeding tube. I know it was a dirrect effect of prayer!!!!

I am thankful that my third surgery, to place the port, was succesful. It sure makes having to have IV's and the times I had to have chemo so much easier than having to be stuck several times, each time, because my veins are hard to find.

I am thankful for no side effects from the port which is still in place and will be for at least another couple of months, until I have two clear PET scans.

I am sooo thankful the Lord provided the grace I needed to finish the 37 radiation treatments and the chemo I needed!!! His Grace became even more evident at the end when at one point I felt I couldn't go on. Oh how great is His mercies!!!!!

I am thankful for a Dad who is there for me. Who calls to check on me and comes to visit me often. I know if I need anything he will be there. Eeven though this year has been the worst one of his life, he still is there for me. I love him dearly.

I am thankful when I feel as if I don't have enough energy to tie my shoes, I don't have to worry about fixing my hair!!!!Heeeheee!!!!!

I am thankful that during a time when I daily had no energy, the Lord blessed me with enough energy to bake and deliver cupcakes to Stephanie's second grade class in celebration of her birthday!!!! I love to bake.

I am thankful that as annoying as it was for them, my girls and Aaron were willing to put up with the dicomfort of the masks to come and visit me in the hospital, in order to keep me from catching anything, when my blood count was low due to the chemo.

I am thankful for wonderful friends, Jeff and Karen, who insisted Wendell and I have the room with the veiw, in the condo in Florida. So when I was not feeling well I could lay in bed and still have a beautiful view of the ocean.

I am thankful the Lord works in ways I may not always understand, but He knows what is best for me.

I couldn't understand, at first, why I was feeling well enough to go on a vacation to Florida, but before we even arrived, my neck and jaw was swollen and in so much pain I was eating pain medicine like candy, to no avail. I couldn't understand why I ended up spending the whole week in the hospital. But now we know Dr. Seifker, the doctor we were sent to there, was a blessing to us. We know the Lord sent him into our lives and I don't feel I would be as well as I am today without the care he gave to me. I know I had that infection for a few weeks before we went to Florida and my Doctors were saying it was normal. Dr. Anastasia, the infectious diesease doctor, told us the infection I had could have potentialy been life threatening if we had let it go as little as twelve more hours!!!! I don't know why the Lord remains patient with me and my questioning sometimes. I'm glad He hasn't given up on me!!!

I am thankful for a husband who has spent hours and hours in a hospital room with me and never once complained.

I am soooo thankful I now have the energy to get out of the house more and enjoy things with my family and friends again. I have been able to start driving again after almost a year. Up until now I didn't have the energy and was afraid I would get somewhere and end up too sick to drive home.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Proverbs 3:5
"Trust in the Lord With all thine heart: and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths."
If only I would always do this!!!