Monday, December 27, 2010
“He Lifted Me Out Of The Slimy Pit, Out Of The Mud And Mire; He Set My Feet On A Rock And Gave Me A Firm Place To Stand. He Put A New Song In My Mouth, A Hymn Of Praise To Our God. Many Will See And Fear The LORD And Put Their Trust In Him – Psalm 40:2-3”
What a strong verse and I feel it fits this letter very well! This year Mike and I both became closer to GOD and he did indeed put a new Song in our Mouths. At our weakest moments he did pull us from the slimy pit and place our feet upon a rock and gave us that firm place to stand. Though this year brought upon much distress and heartache, I will not look back at 2010 and regret one moment – GOD would hate that --- rather I will look into 2011 and be oh so thankful for the path we were given and the strength to take it!
Mike and I hope that you all had such a wonderful Christmas with loved ones! We sure did! It was such a celebration that offered much more than just gifts and good food – it was blessed with a healthy household and cherished time with Family and Friends, chances to make those moments that you know when you are in them, that they are only moments that GOD provides. It was so great having Mike off and just take our time this Holiday weekend and absorb it ALL! This year, we weren’t in any rush, we wanted to soak it all in and just really allow GOD to remind us the TRUE “Reason For The Season”, and he did just that! Mike was a little tired this year, but we were so thankful that we did not have to sit out and miss any time with family – we were able to spend ALOT quality time catching up with everyone!
We started off Christmas Eve with My Side of the Family in Hardin. Man oh Man was I glad I saved my appetite! Uncle Poppy (whom makes the best of EVERY-thing) asked Mike and I if we had any “special” requests for Dinner. Mike loves his Potato Soup, I love his homemade dressing and gravy – we both love homemade beer bread J well, we got there and it was ALL made!! I was in HOG Heaven (literally) I “pigged” out! We saw family that we had not seen in a long time and just took our time making the rounds to ensure we didn’t miss any hugs and kisses. We exchanged gifts, watched the Christmas Story (for what was going to be our 1st time of the year of the 25 we would continue on the 24-Hour marathon!) It was such a fun time! I cannot believe how much everyone has grown and cousins that I used to change their diapers are taller than me and ones that seem it was just yesterday we were all at the hospital awaiting their arrival, are be-bopping around the house saying the entire alphabet and counting way past ten! I cannot to head out there again when we have more time this year and continue developing memories galore!
The next morning we woke up early and spent the morning with Maggie and The Boys. Gosh, the older they are getting the more fun it gets – just seeing their gleaming faces at all Santa had brought! Santa brought Travis a Big Boy Bike with gears and all!! It was a memorable moment as he rode down the street with no training wheels!! Where has the time gone? William and Trevor are getting so big and they were huge fun this year also --- I teared up a few times, just watching them and them loving all over Uncle Mike! William is the love bug of the 3 and he was all over Uncle Mike giving unlimited smooches and hugs – I will ensure pictures to come soon! Maggie cooked a beautiful breakfast and we stuffed our tummies and it was already time for a nap! We headed into round 2 that evening with The Charnock side of the family come over for some fun Holiday time! The night got very interesting as we busted out a board game based upon nothing “But 80’s” – I am not sure if we really ever truly followed the rules, but either way it was such a great time of bonding and another memory that I will forever cherish!
As we head into this New Year in just a few days (I still cannot believe it!) Mike remains in good spirits and will undergo chemo this Wednesday (December 28,2010), so as always we continue to thank you so much for all Prayers, Messages, Phone Calls and All else. They ARE working, please never doubt that. They are what ensure Mike and I wake up every day with strength and much courage to allow with open arms whatever comes our way! Though there are days the Devil would love us to throw our hands up and give up, and there are days that we may feel we want to, we thank Our GOD above for all he has done thus far and know that he will continue to bless us beyond our GREATEST expectations and Keep us standing firmly on the rock he has placed us on.
In ending, I can assure you that 2010 does not provide any regrets for me. My Husband gave his heart to the LORD, Mike and I have become closer and stronger than EVER, Stronger bonds have been built with Family and Friends, We met New Family (on The Charnock Side) which we can now call Friends, We Have been giving the chance to experience strengths that we never knew we had and there is SO much more ---- With ALL of this, how on Earth could I have any Regrets??? Oh yeah, The Cancer. Nope, not even this --- The Cancer is not our Fault, but it is our Problem (< ---- Thanks Renee’), so with GOD on our Side my confidence soars and I know this problem WILL be solved. So Nope, No Regrets!
Mike and wish you ALL a Very Happy New Year and really, really, really hope that though the years go so much faster as we get older, don’t let “the lack of time” take you over and bring distress, choose to take your time in 2011 and slow down --- I am still learning to do this, and I pray every day for the ability!
Friday, December 24, 2010
Dear Lord –
We Thank you for Today. We Thank you for another day for us; it truly is the best gift because every day is Un-Promised.
This is a Year that has been filled with Much Joy and All in the same time Great Sadness – but through this all, you have instilled us with Strong Faith and many reasons to Celebrate! We thank you for the Success, The Continued Healing and Our cherished relationships that you have provided not only with one another, but with you Jesus Christ – ONLY you can provide what you do.
We thank YOU for the continued blessings you bring upon us, the times with our Family and Friends this year. We continue to praise you for all these things, these things that sometimes we take for granted. We thank you for reminding us the true reason for the season.
I pray that we all come together this Christmas in celebration of your Birthday and all that you gave to allow US to be here today with our Family and Loved ones – we are forever thankful of your sacrifices.
I pray for continued closeness of us all as we gather around our trees, as we gather around the dinner table, I pray that we stop in the midst of this holiday and continue to give thanks!
In Jesus name I ask this prayer and wish you a very Happy Birthday!
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
It was pretty funny as I was out doing some shopping over the weekend. I had my Macy’s Gift Card in hand and I was ready to do some damage! Haha! I was on the search for some cute leggings that seem to be in now and EVERY one I know looks absolutely adorable in them, so I thought “Why not me too?” So I was out to get some and I did! Yay! It was fun and they turned out to look really cute, and it surprises me, because on the hanger they look like they would only fit my Barbie dolls I dressed when I was a child – funny!
Anyhow, as I was shopping I overheard two women browsing and bickering about what to get so and so for Christmas. One lady proceeded to say “Girl, she is not going to get us anything, I am sure not getting her anything and last year so and so only got you a gift card to Wal-Mart – I know you are not going to be spending time on putting effort into anything special or a lot of money.” I immediately thought “What if I am on ‘What Would YOU Do’ on ABC or CBS, but then thought their not shoplifting or anything, just talking petty about gift giving and receiving. So I continued shopping.
As I left I thought it over and know that every situation is different and to some that comment may have not bothered anyone at all…maybe just me. I thought and thought and know that this year with the circumstances we have been given, gifts are so not important to me this year. Don’t get me wrong, I love to receive and I am so very thankful for all that think of Mike and I and provide us with gifts, etc. and every year before it was my intention to spoil those who are so close to us and especially my Husband. You know, you quietly listen all year to the ones that you love and maybe it is the things that they can’t afford, or maybe in my case is something as simple as a Scentcey Burner that I know are not that much, but just something that I will NEVER treat myself to. This year I have been blessed with two and I am in hog heaven!
Mike this year came to me and was sad that we will not be exchanging our “normal gifts”; ones that we seek out to please one another and surprise each other – items we won’t buy for ourselves but so greatly want. I looked him in the eyes and reassured him, HIM being well this holiday and our continued reports of good health is the BEST present for me! Having my husband here, well and not in the hospital when so many others are there and not home with their families this time of year – him being with me and our family is my gift – that is all I want!
I suppose I hope that everyone takes a moment to really remember what this holiday is about. Please know that all the shopping and fulfilling the wishes of loved ones, you are so appreciated and thank you for seeking out those perfect gifts for loved ones this year. But to those, whom are not able to, please do not distress. Take these holidays and rather than a material gift, give a gift of great memories. Set aside any negativity in your life at the moment, and thank GOD for what you have right this moment. It is a lot easier said than done at times, but GOD knows your heart and so do the ones that are close to you. The simplest gifts are those directly from the heart – maybe a homemade card, a nice letter to someone to let them know how special they are, a phone call, an email or simply just a holiday filled with family and friends crating new memories, memories that will last longer than any gift that you can buy.
This holiday I can say will be the most cherished I have ever had. I never imagined that July 2010 would hold what it did for Mike and I and how our lives would be so affected in literally a blink of an eye. At that moment, everything else, all the worries that were once SO very big became oh so small and My Husband our future now which is being dictated by Cancer, everything else just is not important as it once was and having my husband well, not in a hospital bed and as of his last PET Scan showing his Cancer shrinking, this is truly the very best Christmas gift for my holiday season and my new year. Having him able to spend time with our family this year and share all that is in store for us and the memories that will be created literally has my cup over flowing!
In closing, Mike and I wish you a very Jolly and Cheerful Holiday Season and as you shop and wrap your gifts, I have no doubt that you are thankful for it all – that is just the Amazing Family and Friends GOD has graced us with. From the bottom of my heart, to no one in particular, maybe the grudges we hold that once we really evaluate are not really worth holding in our hearts can be let go this year --- and as I write this ALL situations are different, but if it is something that can really just be set aside to allow the more important things in our life happenings, allow yourself to set aside and focus on Family and Friends that need you now.
Merry Christmas ALL and to ALL a Good Night
Monday, December 20, 2010
“Hear my prayer LORD, listen to my cry for mercy; When I am in distress I call to you because you answer me - Psalm 86:6-7”
I heard this little phrase this weekend “Too Blessed to Be Distressed” and I thought, this is so true! The Devil, especially this time of year with all the happiness and cheer that goes into celebrating The Birth of Christ and the Christmas Season – ALL The Devil wants is for us to be distressed, worried and full of doubt ------------- Well Satan, you had a hold of me for a little while, but this Season, We are TRULY TOO Blessed to Be Distressed.
This has been such a fun Holiday this year! Ever since the day after Thanksgiving with 99.1 playing non-stop Christmas Music, all the stores filled to the gills with Holiday Décor and Fun Festive Music blaring through the intercoms. I have ALWAYS loved this time of year and in all honesty a few months ago, I was distressed and sad that this Holiday would not being such good cheer with The News we had gotten with Mike and then other close family that have recently received news of a Cancer diagnosis. Boy was I wrong! GOD hears all our cries, calms all our fears and instills us all with hopes and he was not about to let this Holiday bring anything but celebration and happiness – I mean it is HIS birthday and I know all he wants is to celebrate with his Family – all his brothers and sisters in Christ and that is exactly what he is getting!
Mike underwent his 3rd chemo treatment last Wednesday, and in all honesty I was a bit nervous with this new agent that was being added and with the weather changes and the fighting off of all sickness that there was a good chance that he would be down. But as you know and you have witnessed, the Power of Prayer is amazing and Mike continues to feel well (a little tired at times) but remains in great spirits, heart and eyes focused on the Good LORD above and thus far we have enjoyed our Holiday Season! The good news is also, that he will have no more treatments until the 28th, so continued prayers for good health through the next week while we celebrate Christmas with loved ones and cross our fingers for some snow?? No? Not a possibility in our forecast, but I am always “Dreaming of a White Christmas” as belt out in my best Bing Crosby voice!
The weekend was a lot of fun, and we attended Mike’s Christmas Party for work – this was such a great time and the support and love that was felt by all was overwhelming (in a good way) I did shed a few tears (happy ones). I myself am very blessed to work for such a company that embraces me and has joined this journey with us and continues to remind us of the support and prayers that are behind us…and to have that for Mike as well with his company, it is so heart-warming and we are so thankful for each and every one of his co-workers and employers who have become not only amazing friends, but family as well!
Mike and I hope you all are experiencing a great Holiday Season thus far as well and we wish you all warm wishes and thoughts as you prepare to get all under-way for the Christmas Eve / Christmas Day celebrations no matter how or where they are spent. I feel truly honored to have you all in our lives this year. I am thankful for all that GOD has provided us and all that I know he will continue to provide us! I feel that 2011 is going to be filled with continued healing and blessings for not only Mike and I but for you and yours as well! Do not lose faith --- and do not be distressed…we are ALL Abundantly TOO Blessed!
Merry Christmas and Much Love from Mike & Me!
PS – You all that know me well, you know I HATE to read! I love my tabloids and “reality” shows, so reading a book is the last thing on my agenda, but I have read (3) books this year, that I HIGHLY recommend and I attached the links for each one – They are PERFECT for the Men AND Women in your lives:
What Happens When Women Walk in Faith - http://lysaterkeurst.com/what-happens-when-women-walk-in-faith/
Fire Proof “The Love Dare” - http://thelovedarebook.com/
The Art of Racing in The Rain: http://www.garthstein.com/arr/
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Just one little email to exalt my excitement!! I got a call just as I was coming back from MD Anderson today after Mike's Treatment (which went EXTREMELY Well!!) So please keep him in your prayers as I know you will, that he remains healthy and strong these next few days as the chemo kicks in and pray for continued MINIMAL Side Effects. He has been given the new agent that the Doctors feel VERY Confident will kick some Mean Butt and Continue to lead him on the path of recovery!
So as I entered the building, I was pulled away by Security and notified that Mr. & Mrs. Bush Sr. were on their way -- once they arrived, we escorted them to The Houston Club to watch the daily Choir and enjoy some wassal! It was a GRAND experience once again to meet not only President Bush but Mrs. Bush. She was so elegant and graceful and just gleamed of such a presence only your grandmother that you love so dearly and makes you feel so welcome and warm could provide!
They graced us with a few pictures which I have attached, and I just had to share. My time here at the Houston Club has truly been blessed and I am thankful for my job to come to everyday with the opportunities that I have been given!
I hope you all are well and wishing you a warm rest of your week and continued Holiday Cheer!
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
“But Blessed is The One Who TRUSTS in The LORD, Whose Confidence Is IN HIM. They WILL Be Like a Tree Planted by The Water That Sends Out Its Roots by The Stream. It DOES NOT Fear When Heat Comes; Its Leaves Are ALWAYS Green. It Has NO Worries In a Year of Drought and NEVER Fails to Bear Fruit – Jeremiah 17:7-8”
Just a quick hello to you all! Mike and I continue to hope you all are having a wonderful Holiday Season – I still cannot believe it is 10 days till Christmas!! This year continues to fly by. We have enjoyed the heck out of our Holidays thus far and know there is a lot more in store with family and friends in the coming weeks and we are over-joyed to have the time together with them all!
The past few years Mike with his work schedule always had his Overtime fall upon the week of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. Though it is under not the best circumstances he is not working at the moment, I am selfishly happy that I have him this season for all our Holiday gatherings without the fear of the pager going off and interrupts a night of good congregation of family and friends. Don’t’ get me wrong, I am very thankful for all the Overtime he worked, but just this year, it is so special to me that we are all together, so knowing that he will be back to work after the first of the year, I will cherish this time forever!!
I wanted to update you all and let you know that Mike has been approved for the clinical trial that I mentioned in a few emails back. He had to undergo some physicals and testing to ensure he was a good candidate, and though the chemo is working and the Cancer is shrinking, with the remaining that is still in his system, this clinical trial will offer a little more closer eye on the progress of the treatment and a stronger dose of his chemo along with this new agent he will be receiving that we hope will replace him from getting the Spinal chemo in the future. However, we did find out after speaking with the doctors, he will still have to receive the Lumbar Puncture (the 12” needle) testing every 2 weeks to withdraw fluid from his spine and spinal fluid. Aye! Mike cringed, but knows that the doctors have advised that this trial will be really good for him and it is highly recommended. We continue to pray that with the good news and though some mixed reports we receive, that we know the chemo IS working and Cancer is shrinking, so if Mike remains “Strong Like Bull” and can take it – we pray that it continues to work the magic and he continues on the road to recovery and healing that GOD has already placed us on!
He will start this round 3 of chemo tomorrow at 8AM – so please continue to keep him in your prayers that he remains strong minded, strong hearted and focused on the LORD above to keep his eyes in place of the road ahead that is leading him to being healed! He remains in good spirits and daily tells me how thankful he is for each and every one of you joining us on this journey – some we have known our entire lives, some we have had friendships for a while and some we have just met – to all of you, each and every prayer, message, email and phone call we receive is always taken and felt throughout and everyday lifts us up and instills us with the strength we need to conquer every day and the days ahead.
Mike and I remain confident in the days ahead that GOD has nothing but the best planned for us. We are thankful for the testimony that GOD has already given us thus far and know he will continue to bless our journey moving forward.
In closing, I will wish you all a Spirit filled Holiday Season with your loved ones. That Hug that lasts a little longer, those phone calls where you fight over who will hang up last, that text message in the middle of the day just to say hello and we are thinking of you, that email with the simple subject line of “Hi” and all the other actions of emotions go such a long way…if you have a spare moment, take that time to reach out to someone that you love or that is on your mind --- you may just make their day just as you all make ours EVERY day!
Monday, December 13, 2010
I don’t recall where I saw this, but it stuck with me and every once in a while it crosses my mind and I sort of chuckle at the cuteness of it. I’m sure it was on a T-shirt or a keychain. It really popped in my head recently as I was watching an episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. I know! Beverly Hills – what on earth would any of those ladies be jealous of each other for? They have money galore, beauty, the majority have brains and now fame!
Anyhow one of the Housewives was bickering about how the other MUST be jealous of her and her lifestyle, fame and fortune – I myself giggled just because the thought of jealousy, yet very common is just so silly when you really think of it in the whole.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am sure though out the years I have been envious of someone once, twice or a lot! It is natural, we are human, I am human and growing up in a single family house hold, a lot of people around me that I grew up with had the Best of the Best and at one time I am sure I would have rather had that brand new Mustang versus my 88 Honda Accord, but I look back and maybe it was just me being a teenager, not necessarily “jealous”…maybe I was, who knows.
Now that I am older and I am married with my own family…Jealousy just seems really so silly and such a waste of energy. Now understand I am sure there are situations where I may have envied one person or another, but in general my heart is always so happy for others, especially my Family and Friends that have good things happen to them.
I have seen a lot lately and have been messaged about particular situations that people in my life are dealing with. Some being the victim of someone being jealous of them and others, I hate to admit, but are the ones that vent about the good fortunes of someone else. I suppose with the current situation and circumstances that have been given to myself and Mike, I could really be envious or jealous of others, but I am not. I have a damn good life filled with so many that love us unconditionally. I am blessed with a Happy heart that sometimes gets tired and wants to rest and fill with tears and have a sad day, but overall my Heart Remains happy. I am blessed to have such an amazing Husband whom though he is facing a life threghtning disease, chooses to see the Positive and the Good that this journey has already brought us. I am thankful for those moments when I want to break – he is there to ensure I am caught and placed back upon his resting and loving arms. We are both blessed with such amazing family and friends whom without any questions, will be there in a heart-beat and love Mike and I for who we are, the people that we have become and support us as we strive to be better people every day!
I suppose I just want to say that though you may face unfortunate circumstances in your daily lives or you feel you may have been dealt an unfair hand compared to others, before you allow yourself to be consumed with jealous feelings or feelings of envy – take time and reflect on what you DO have. Take time to thank GOD for the circumstances that YOU have to face today and how from these you have grown or will continue to grow daily. Thank GOD for YOUR health and ALL that you do have, all that YOU have become.
In closing, I know that there are A LOT of others that have a lot more than Mike and I (materialistically) and there are others that we may have more than ---but the relationship between my Husband and I, Our Family and Our Friends and Our relationship with GOD gives me the feeling daily that we rich beyond our means! We need to ensure daily that we celebrate each other, especially our Family and Friends. We need to be happy for each other’s accomplishments and the good fortune that we all experience. No matter the circumstances of each other, we must also continue to pray for each other daily – I pray daily for you all and thank GOD for each of you! I am thankful for each of our relationships with you – you have made us stronger and continue to instill strength in us each day!
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
“My ONLY Aim Is To Finish The Race and Complete The Task The LORD Jesus Has Given ME—The Task of Testifying To The Good News of GOD’s Grace – Acts 20:24”
Hi Everyone! Can you really believe we are almost into Mid-December! Where has the time gone? Mike and I hope that you have entered the Holiday Season with a BANG and the abundance of Christmas Cheer feels each and everyone one of your households!
Mike and I put up our tree right after Thanksgiving and what a tree this year we have! Mike and I had really wanted an aluminum tree – just the thought of white lights gleaming on the silver in dim lighting was so exciting and something we both yearned for. Mike had grown up with an aluminum tree and I thought how perfect to have one to bring back some memories of past holidays spent with his Sister and Family. However, we opted to just put up our tree from last year as the holiday approached so fast and I had no idea where to find one! Well…being that we have such amazing friends, we were given one as a gift this year with décor to go along!! Rick and Stuart out did themselves and the tree is beautiful – I have attached a pic we took a few nights ago. We’d love to see pics of ya’lls trees as well and décor – I know we have some REALLY crafty Family and Friends with Great Style!!!
As I reported in my last email, Mike went for a few MRIs of the Brain and Spine last week. The news of the recent findings of the Lung Chemo he has been receiving held optimistic results, so we prayed hard and trusted that GOD would again provide us results of good findings of the Brain and Spine areas that Cancer had attached to. Our prayers were answered and the chemo is working and though some of the results were mixed, we generally have learned that the chemo that he has had thus far is working and treating most of the areas.
Monday (12/07/10) we had to reschedule our original appointment with our Neurological Clinic so we were not able to sit with the Doctor to discuss the results nor view any MRI labs. However we did visit with his Oncology team today and they were able to provide us the reports and a so-so summary of the latest results. So before I begin, my apologies, for I am hearing this and reading this just as the Oncology team reported to us (with them not really specifically knowing the exact findings being that they are a different team – they provided a generic summary).
From the reports regarding the brain it looks as if though there has been NO evidence of tumor progression at the surgical site (the left frontal lobe). The previous described multiple parenchymal (In cancer, the parenchyma refers to the actual mutant cells of a single lineage) are no longer visualized in this current study. There are no new lesions. What we gather from this is that the chemo is working – Cancer is shrinking and nothing new has formed ----------- Praise Be To GOD!
From the reports regarding the spine, this is where we receive the mixed report. Although multiple new and progressive osseous metastases (Osseous tissue, or bone tissue, is the major structural and supportive connective tissue of the body. Osseous tissue forms the rigid part of the bone organs that make up the skeletal system) have developed since the last MRI on 09/27/10 – the lack of significant enhancement is suggesting that the chemo is working. The Minimal Epidural disease at L1 has been resolved (Praise GOD). No MRI evidence of leptomeningeal disease (Leptomeningeal - Having to do with the leptomeninges, the two innermost layers of tissues that cover the brain and spinal cord. Leptomeningeal metastasis refers to cancer that has spread from the original (primary) tumor to the leptomeninges) within the thoracic, lumbar or sacral canal. I was happy to see this. This was a HUGE concern in the beginning of the possibility of the chemo not treating the nervous system/spinal fluid surrounding the brain and spine. This gives us hope that if the chemo was able to fight these cells, and it will continue to fight all that is attached to the spinal bone.
Tomorrow (12/09/10) Mike will meet with the Clinical trial team to discuss the new chemo I mentioned in a previous email that will hopefully replace the Lumbar Puncture (spinal chemo) he has been receiving – you know the one with the HUGE 12” needle? Yeah, that one!! This clinical trial will provide a chemo to work along with his Lung chemo to attack the nervous system as it is also attacking the lung Cancer. He will undergo a few tests and physical tomorrow to ensure he is still a good candidate for this trial. After speaking with his Oncology team, the clinical trial will include a little stronger dose of this, Nervous System chemo, I’m going to call it, and will be monitored a little closer than the normal chemo he has already received. We are anxious and know that GOD has placed us in the hands of these Doctors and he has been chosen for these studies for a reason – we must continue to have faith!!
As I head off to finish my night and bundle up for our 33 degree weather we are expecting tonight here in Houston, I continue to be so thankful for where GOD has placed us and how far medicine has come! MD Anderson is a truly a Heaven-Sent facility that I know is working non-stop to heal my husband and provide HIM the best treatment suitable for HIM. Though we may not like the procedures he as to endure we know that it is what is needed to make him better and we already can see the results and know that it IS working – I will continue to keep my mind open along with my heart and be thankful daily!
As always, Mike, Myself and our Family thank all of you Powerful Prayer Warriors that bring us into your lives daily with Prayer and lift us up amongst all adversity and ensure that our days are filled with Hope, Strength, Courage and an Abundance of Love!! For ALL of you, we are so very blessed and WILL continue to praise GOD for this journey and having you on it with us!
Till next time, I wish you a Joyful Holiday Season with Your Loved ones and know that with Our GOD, NOTHING is Impossible!