Sunday, April 17, 2011

Loss Of Vanity And God

Have you ever Known the Lord had definitely sent someone into your life? There are so many things I want to say here about an experience I had this weekend. There are things I want to say leading up to this amazing experience in my life but I am somehow feeling as if it will take too long to say it all. But there is a part of me that feels as if I have to try.

First of all I want to ask you to pray for a situation that has effected our lives over the last few weeks, that I know is best left unspoken at this time. It is a situation that has brought many tears the last couple of weeks and that leaves me so sad every time I think about it. Please help Wendell and I pray that the Lord will intervene and His will will be done in this situation.

Now back to my original thought.... A while back I began to think on one of the aspects of my cancer journey...loosing my hair. I began to think a little deeper on this subject. I know the Lord is in control of everything that happens in our lives. He may not order everything that happens to us, but He certainly allows it. Just as I believe He has allowed cancer to come into my life. I was taking a shower one morning after my hair had began to grow back and I started to think about how as woman our hair is very important to us. I began to think about how God has gave man the ability to come up with the treatments to fight cancer and give us a chance at achieving remission from this sinister disease. I thought about how an all knowing God, gave man the mind and ability to come up with the drugs to fight cancer. God knew, before man, what the side effects of these drugs would be. One of the main, well known, side effects of Chemo is hair loss. Our hair, especially as woman, is our vanity. Cancer strips you of your vanity. I began to wonder that day why of all the side effects that could come from the drugs developed to fight cancer, was the main one hair loss. Why is the most noticeable effect of anyone battling cancer the loss of their hair...thus the loss of vanity? Does God have a specific purpose in this? I don't know, I'm just asking.

Wendell and I went to our favorite candle lite restaurant this past Saturday night. After we were seated, teenagers dressed for prom began to come in and sit in the tables in front of us. We were in a booth against the wall so we had a first hand view at what could have easily been a fashion show just for us. We began to, between ourselves, judge the girls dress and the guys tuxedos. Believe it or not the guys had on a wide variety of tuxedos. There were over 38 kids there that night. Wendell and I ate our dinner and got up to make our way out. As we were leaving I was stopped by one of two elderly ladies sitting together in a booth down from where we had been. They were very fashionable older ladies who appeared to be fairly wealthy. One of them began to speak, she said she just wanted to let me know I was more beautiful than any of those young girls in their prom dresses!!! Now my telling you this is not out of vanity. I am telling you this because I honestly felt, as soon as she began to speak that the Lord had put them there. I can't explain why and still don't fully understand it. I have NEVER felt this way with anyone before in my entire life. I just knew God had put them there and felt like I just couldn't let the conversation end with thank you and Wendell and I walking on, for some unknown reason I felt as if I needed to say something to keep the conversation going. So I said thank you, you have made my night. Then I began to tell them about my battle with cancer and loosing my hair and just now getting it back enough to get it cut and styled. They wanted to know about my cancer. After telling them a little bit about having oral cancer the other lady began to tell me how she is a widow but she has a gentleman Friend who had salivary gland cancer twenty years ago. I then told her that was what mine was ...salivary gland cancer. She said she just wanted me to know I was going to be alright. Her gentlemen friend was 80 something years old now and does just great. I don't know why I had the feeling these ladies were placed there and spoke to me out of some purpose of God. But I do. What are the chances two little old ladies would start up a conversation with me over such a rare cancer as salivary gland cancer? I have been reading the few blogs I can find of other oral cancer survivors every since I started my fight. So many of them have already passed on. One as early as last week and another one has done all he can do to fight it and now is blogging about how he is making it, knowing the cancer is taking over his body. Maybe I shouldn't read these blogs, but I can't help myself. Somehow it feels as if these people are my relatives in a way. Of course there are also those cancer survivors who have been in remission for several years now. Those are the ones I want to feel as if I have more in common with!!!

Anyway I just wanted to share those things with you....... My thinking on cancer and hair loss and side effects and God and vanity and little ladies and God speaking to us through others and what are the chances and salivary gland cancer and remission and living and dying and maybe just maybe angels unaware ...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Me And Martha!!!

My doctor has put me on new medicines to try and help me feel better. My quality of life has been different. Between the bowel issues, the bone pain, the fatigue and the generally ill feelings, life has been different than it was pre-cancer. With these new medicines and advice from friends, my bowel issues have been far...knock on wood...yeah!!!! news ever!!!! My fatigue is even getting a little bit better, the bone pain is still a big issue. Mornings are difficult for me because of this pain, it is hard to get my day started. But these new medicines really do seem to help me feel better and function better once they are in my system and I am able to start my day!!!!

About a year or so before the ugly "c" word entered my life, I wanted to take a cake decorating class. Even though there are definitely two gifts I was not given...creativity and rhythm. No chance there is any black in my blood!!!! I couldn't boogie if I tried!!! I also have absolutely no creative ability!!! I have always been the "tom-boy" in the family. I remember playing as kids with my cousins, and while Teresa and Bonnie fought over the coveted spot of playing Jane for the day, I would give Cousin Ron a run for his money over who got to be Tarzan!!!! I was not about to be stuck in the "kitchen" stringing leaves or making mud pies!!! I had much rather have been found swinging from the tree limbs, making my way through the "jungle" in search of an unexpecting animal to kill for dinner!!! Of course the second place option wasn't too bad either, I mean after all, there were plenty of benefits to getting to be Cheetah!!!! (for those readers too young to remember, what was one of the greatest TV shows ever, Tarzan ...Cheetah was the family pet.... monkey!!!) Oh, those were the days!!!! The days when, as kids, our imaginations were over used, are bodies were tanned from playing outside, not laying in a bed made of light bulbs, our hands were used for such things as carving knives out of sticks or grabbing limbs as we made our way up the tree, not pushing buttons on a controller. We never spent our days in front of the TV, after all what would have been the use...the only day time programming back then was soap operas, cartoons could only be found on Saturday mornings. Boy, those were the days!!!! I remember the same scenario playing out early every Saturday morning in the summer when I would be blessed with the wonderful gift of getting to spend the night with my Granny. Her neighbor, whom we called Granny Freels, (she was not our real Granny but she was a wonderful addition to our young lives!!) would cross the street and head up the driveway on her way to have breakfast and coffee with my Granny. She would always stop, shade the sun from her eyes as she looked up to the top of my favorite huge oak tree that lined the drive, and every Saturday morning would say the same thing..."I think I see a squirrel in the top of that tree!!!" Then she would let out a little giggle and continue on her way. Corney, I know, but somehow she always made me giggle too!!!

Anyway...I guess I have gotten carried point was I have no creative ability...back to the original thought...I wanted to take a cake decorating class...

I don't have the confidence to try anything new on my own. I have to have an accomplice. I have been blessed with two people in my life, that if I get a desire to do, or try, something new, they are always game!!!! These two people are my wonderful husband, who if I get a whim to go somewhere or do something, he is always ready and willing to go along and even help plan the experience!!!! The same goes for my wonderful, OLDER sister, Teresa!!! I told Teresa of my desire to take a cake decorating class and even though she could decorate cakes pretty well already, she was willing to go and even did the research to find such a class and signed us up. We ended up taking the Beginners and the Advanced cake decorating classes that year. Now anytime, after taking the classes, that Teresa or I take a cake to a family function where we are both present, I always feel the need to explain, in a whisper, of course, how... if Teresa brings the cake "she does fairly well , even though she failed the class."... if I make the cake, I have to explain to everyone how "I had to make the cake, it's such a shame, after all those lessons, Teresa failed to receive her diploma"!!! Of course everyone is always shocked to hear this, knowing when it comes to most "domestic " activities Teresa could go head to head with Martha Stewart!!! I guess I just can't help myself, you see everyone "expects " that perfectly decorated cake from Teresa, but after all my years in the "jungle", it seems they don't expect much from me. I just can't help it, you don't know the pressure and anxiety that exists when growing up side by side with Martha Stewart!!! Now, not to sell myself short, I could build the table that Teresa or Martha sit their beautifully decorated cakes on, or, I could wire up the mixer they use to mix the batter for their beautifully decorated cakes!!!! All those years of playing Tarzan had it's benefits!!!

Anyway, once again I have gotten carried away. Back to my original story....

I decided I wanted to take a fondant class. The act of covering and decorating a cake with fondant, (for those who may not know, fondant is like play dough for big girls!!!) was not covered in the beginners or the advanced cake class. So... I called Teresa, and true to form, she researched it and found a class and signed us up!!! Yeah!!! Play dough, once I got past the smell, was something I was fairly good at playing with as a child. We have now had two of our four scheduled classes. They are every Tuesday night from 6:00-8:00 pm. We have had a great time, once again playing together!!!!

Teresa and I, last night, all set up and waiting for class to begin.

The main reason I wanted to take this class was to learn the art of bow making. Guess what we accomplished in our very first class? Yeah!!!! I made this one!!!!

After coming home I wanted to practice, so I made this one last week when I had some free time.

Last nights class, (we made the center for the rose in last weeks class, but we were not told that was what we were would have been prettier if the center had matched the rose.) We were taught to make the Rose, the Cali Lily, and the Carnation. We also learnt how to make the leaves and the stamens, the green leafy parts of the flowers.

Even the backs of the flowers are made to look realistic.

The difference between Play Dough and Fondant are these flowers are completely edible!!!

For our last class, we still have two more classes left, we will be required to decorate a cake, utilizing our newly acquired skills. I hate this part. I hate being judged!!!! And like I said, I have absolutely no creative ability, thus I have no idea what to do. Any ideas? This will, in a way, be our "test", where we will receive our diploma. (I'll let you know the day before so you will be able to say a little prayer for Teresa, you know she struggles with the passing part!!!) heeheeehee!!!!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Finale: Part 5 of Post # 200 To Our Annonymous Gift Giver

This is the last post I want to write dealing with the subjects I have been talking about in all of my "Post #200's". I am writing this post mainly because I have things I want to say to whom ever our Anonymous gift giver is. We still have no idea who you are, and I don't even know if you are someone who reads my blog. But I want to be able to try and let you know what you and your gift has meant to me and my family. I do fear, however, our gratitude is going to be something hard to put into words. The cancer journey and all it became was not an easy road to walk. My family reached the lowest point we had ever been during this time. We were, so many times, physically and emotionally drained. There were several times when I didn't even have or know the words to speak when praying, all I could do was kneel, cry and trust. But through it all God's precious grace was ever present and so real in our lives. At the time I was going through all the surgeries, treatments and side effects I was able to make it one day at a time, and at the time it was hard, but God's grace made it all "do-able". It is harder, looking back now, than it ever was when I was going through it, to understand how in the world I made it through some of those days. Coming out of this journey with my life and with my family still together was all I wanted and was way more than I deserved!!!! To have the indescribable blessing of coming out of all of this, left with only a small portion of the financial obligations we would have been facing, is UNBELIEVABLE!!!!! After our insurance had finally paid their portion, we were going to be left, (at that time, not counting the continual visits and bills), we were going to be left facing over twenty five thousand dollars in medical bills. I had felt a lot of guilt over being the one to generate and place these bills and this burden on my family. Paying monthly payments, in amounts that we would have been able to pay, would have left us paying on these bills, realistically, for probably over twenty years to come!!!!! The creditors had began calling and asking us if they lowered the amounts we owed, substantially, if we would be able to pay the new amount in full, thus allowing them to close their books on our account before the end of the year. Having the gift you gave us allowed us to be able to say yes and to pay the new and much lower amounts. Had we not have received your gift we would have not had the financial means to pay these lowered amounts in full and would have been left owing the total amounts originally charged. That's how the ten thousand actually "paid" twenty five thousand in bills. It is hard to come to terms with what you have done for us. I have no idea how or why you decided to give us this gift other than the fact that I will always believe it was God. God working on your heart and in your willingness to be used of Him to help us in a great way. I do wonder, just because the "workings" of God are so fascinating, what all transpired in you making the decision to give us this gift. Anyway, I just want to tell you how your gift is, by far, the BIGGEST blessing we have and will probably ever receive. It was sooo unexpected. I will, for the rest of my life, have the memory of sitting at my kitchen table, sick, fatigued, bald headed, skinny as a rail, with a nauseated stomach but wanting to shout the PRAISES of an almighty God for the whole world to hear, armed with my check book and a huge stack of bills, and being able to write check after check to pay these bills "in full" as the tears fell uncontrollably. I have done nothing to ever deserve, and can in no way ever repay, this incredible kindness. I am still in awe of the goodness God has placed in your heart!!! Why you would think so much of me and my family to give us such an amazing gift is more than I can begin to understand. Even with the kind of heart God has placed in you to be so giving, it's unbelievable that I would be the one on the receiving end of that kindness, when there are so many other worthy places you could have chosen to give. "Thank-You" is extremely inadequate but all I have at this point to give in return. You have no idea what you have done for me and my family. You have no idea the burden you have lifted from our shoulders. You have no idea how you have made our lives so much easier as a result of not having the financial burden of those medical bills, hanging, like an ever present dark cloud, over our heads. It is incomprehensible how we are able to "operate" financially as well post cancer as we did pre-cancer. An unexpected medical burden can easily wipe families out financially and put them in a place of deep distress. Because of your wonderful, amazing gift to my family this is a burden we do not bear. Because of you, and what you chose to do for me and my family, our lives have been made so incredibly easier!!!! Because of you, we are still able to provide the things we have in the past to our family. Because of you, our lives have been enriched in many, many ways. Because of you, Wendell and I have been able to relate to our children how God, through His infinite Wisdom and Mercy, is always there for us through the storms of this life. How, He may allow bad things to happen, but He uses these things to work for our good. We are able to relate to our kids how incredible blessings can be received in the middle of some of the biggest and most difficult phases of our lives. I have felt from the beginning of this journey that the saddest thing that could happen would be for my family and I to go through this with our eyes and ears closed, not hearing or seeing what it is God is wanting us to see and hear and learn and know. Being able for our girls to not only see the tragic and bad side of things that happen but to also show them that God shows up in unimaginable, unexpected ways, sometimes in the midst of storms, through His people, is a lesson we are so grateful you have helped them to see and hear and learn. I don't know who you are, but I do believe that God has given you the heart you have. I believe God used, a willing you, to be a huge blessing to me and Wendell and our children. I believe and pray that God will repay you a hundredfold for being this blessing to us. I have no way of ever personally repaying you, even if I knew who you are, I don't have the means. In the past, Wendell and I have tried to be a blessing to others who we would know were in need. We have never been rich of course, LOL!!! But the Lord has always allowed us to have jobs and health to work and make ends meet and we have always tried to consider those who would be going through rough times. I want you to know we hope to be on our feet and once again be able to be there for others as God directs our path in the future. I just want you to know that your gift to us was not received without thinking of what it means. I want you to know that we did not receive it with an ungrateful or unthoughtful heart. We have a great desire to be able to be the kind of blessing you have been to us, to others as God directs and allows us to be. I hope that even though thank you is all I have to give to you in return at this point, knowing all this, lets you know we hope to not ever let your gift to us, be in vain. As I have said, I don't have any idea who you are and I don't know if you read my blog so I am going to print this post and put it in a stamped envelope and give it to Bro. Jones and ask him if at all possible that he find your address and mail this to you. If you don't read my blog, , you do not know the other posts I have written leading up to this one and telling of how God has worked in our hearts and lives in the past regarding a monetary amount of $10,000.00. I hope if you haven't already, you will in the future, read these posts so as to understand how God has chose to work in incredible ways in my and Wendell's life regarding $10,000.00 and how we feel as if your gift is, in a way, a continued version of this work. Once again as inadequate as it may sound, we Thank-You from the bottom of our hearts for your gift to us. I hope this post has let you know somewhat of what it has meant to Wendell, our kids and myself. We pray that God has and will continue to bless you over and over again!!! Well this post finaly ends "post #200" or does it?.................LOL!!!