Wednesday, December 28, 2011
“The 5 C’s of Cancer --- You Did Not CAUSE Cancer, You Cannot CATCH Cancer, You Cannot CURE Cancer (YET), and You Cannot CONTROL Cancer – But GOD CAN! – Random Insert on a Board in a Exam Room at MDA”
I only felt this title for this entry was appropriate, because just today in a random Exam room, this was written on the dry erase board. It was something that I for sure needed to see today, and I am thankful for the reminder! I am not sure if it was written by a patient waiting for the doctor to come in killing some time and hoping to leave some inspiration for the next patient. I am not sure if it was a nurse, doctor or a staff of MDA, but either way, I am glad that it was there when we got in and I hope it remains for many others.
Well first and foremost, Mike and I hope you ALL had a wonderful Christmas with Family/Friends Near and Far! We also wish you the best New Year’s weekend ahead ringing in 2012 – just remember to be safe in all you do! Mike and I have opted to stay home with the “kiddos” and sit outside by the chiminea and ring it in with ourselves and the LORD above!
Today was our first meeting with Mike’s Oncologist since before the Thanksgiving holidays and my has the cancer been busy in his body since his last Pet Scan! The overall visit was good, and he remains stable in all the areas that were mentioned before with no Major activity (except for the lymph nodes that remain to fight this cancer and are inflamed). The only downfall to this visit is that they did pick up a spot on his liver. It is very, very small and was not a huge alarm to the Oncology team, but Mike will be starting chemo very soon after we ring in the New Year! I am no professional (yet) at this cancer stuff, but I did know that a risk of Stage IV lung cancer is that is does metastasis to other areas of the body including the brain (which is clear), the spine (which is still clear), the adrenal glands (which has not occurred) and the liver (which now has a less than centimeter spot).
Mike’s clinical trial that he started at the beginning of 2011 (I still cannot believe it is 2012 almost), will be over 12/31/11. His brain/spine team says he has Done VERY on this study, better than many others – for this we are grateful and happy that Mike was able to be a part of research that will hopefully be used to find cures for others with the same cancers. So with this being said, his Oncology Team and His Brain/Spine team will be working closely together in the next couple of weeks to determine what new chemo-combo is going to benefit him the most – I will for sure keep you all posted!
Mike prior to his diagnosis has experienced back problems (since I have known him) and with the cancer, they have gotten worse with the extensive procedures to his spine including the Lumbar Punctures, the cancer to the bone (which continues to heal) and just the cancer in general. Used to he could pop into a chiropractor and get a quick “Snap-Crackle-Pop” and feel better, but it is highly discouraged for him to receive those and/or massages due to the damage and healing of the bone…so they have created a new mixture of medicine that will help alleviate this pain while the healing continues!
You know this was not the BEST visit we have had, and I surely was not “Kart-Wheeling” out of MDA today, and yet my mind is a little confused and my heart is hurting for this new report, my heavenly heart and mind remain focused on GOD above and know that this is ULTIMATLY his plan for Mike. I don’t understand quite yet what all this means, nor what this new chemo will hold for Mike’s Cancer, but I do know one thing – well a few things --- Mike since this diagnosis has found GOD above and has given his life to the LORD. Mike has been an inspiration to SO many others that has including getting some people back in church, making mends with family/friends and ultimately just giving it ALL to GOD as he requests. It has brought Mike and I closer than ever and through this I did not just gain a great relationship with my husband, I have developed the Best Friendship ANYONE could every ask for.
You may wonder as you read this “is she scared”, “Is he scared” and maybe even be gasping and feeling sorry for us --- please do not. GOD has brought us this far, and I know this journey is FAR from over! As I said, GOD does not ask much of us even though he did give his ONLY son so that we may live our lives – and for this he just asks us to praise him for it ALL – Large and Small and Even when we fall (< ---- I have said this many times, but SO true!) So as I close tonight, know that Mike and I are surely uncertain of the “unknown”, but we are sure of how powerful our GOD is above and continue to trust him with ALL he hands us while we are here on this earth!
We both wish you ALL a wonderful weekend as you raise your sweet tea or glass of champagne and countdown with Dick Clark to a New Year that has so much to offer. Know that we love you so much, and even though we do not see you often or maybe not at all right now, know we love you ALL! This has been a radical year and I cannot wait to see what 2012 has in store for us – Hopefully much more inspiration and unbreakable bonds built across our nation!
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
“The total history of almost anyone would shock almost everyone - Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960”
Wow! CHRIST-mas time already then the New Year --- Amazing! I love the rush of the holidays. I feel it’s not just the shopping of gifts or the excitement of the upcoming vacation and rushing around to see all family. I feel it is the reality of the year coming to an end and it wakes and shakes up the procrastinator in us all and we are suddenly on a time line to get our year-end honey do’s done and prepare for the new year! I love it actually and it adds a little pep to my step!
Also, this time of year we all come together as family and friends, and not all of us, but a lot of us are able to put the past issues of the year (or years) behind us (even if just for a day) and come together not for the presents or the good food, but come together as one to celebrate JESUS’s birthday and all that the season means!
I have borrowed the below entry from a friend of mine. I read it and it really made since and has had me reflecting on my answers (even though it is not a true quiz) it surely has my mind pondering. Take a moment to read:
1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
6. Name the last decade’s worth of World Series Winners
The point is none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners
1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special!
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money or the most awards…they simply are the ones who care the most.
Now if I had to really answer these questions, I assure you I could put on a mad GOOGLE search and find out for you. AND we all know that I am one of the biggest TRASH-ality followers, and though I could not even tell you the infamous question “Now why are the Kardashians famous?” Though I cannot answer that, I am still guilty of watching. I even indulge in a little fist pumping action with Jersey Shore and cringe at the Botox treatments the Real Housewives under-go. BUT I know in my heart MY reality and the people that are a part of it.
This CHRIST-mas is very special this year to Mike and I. As we know everyday is not promised, yet we assume we will wake-up the next morning – and when we do, I remain thankful for such a great GOD to allow me another day to keep doing something right. This time last year, Mike was fresh from brain surgery and had just started chemotherapy. Now all who spent the holidays with us last year and even the first 6 months of Mike’s treatment know that with the steroids he was on (per the treatment requirements) he was not the best of company. At this same time, we had to face the reality that this may be his last CHRIST-mas – though treatment seemed to be working and GOD was blessing us with miraculous results, it was still so new to us. Mike has now surpassed the 6-9 month prognosis and has celebrated his birthday this year and now the wonderful CHRIST-mas holidays!
I wanted to insert the above questions because, though I am not good at history, and I tend to forget the ever-changing headlines, I can answer ALL of the questions pertaining to people in MY everyday life. In fact, I can give you more than just two, five or a “few”, I can guarantee if YOU are reading this, I am speaking of you. Mike and I have been blessed with AMAZING, I mean AMAZING family, friends, co-workers, doctors and so much more! I am not super good with names, but I have a face etched in my mind forever! As I am writing this now, I have a swirl of faces flying through my brain with a memory attached to it. Maybe a memory of us as young kids putting on a “talent show” for our parents dressed in mom’s clothes and heels. Maybe a memory of sneaking out of the house for the first time to ONLY get caught as we rounded the front of the house. Maybe a memory of a friend in need making that midnight phone call with nothing to say, but to just to hear your breath on the other end. ALL of these are great memories and each one makes me smile – maybe that is why I am always “Kart-Wheeling” and feel the sun on my skin – for ALL of you have helped me create so MANY good memories that they out-weigh the bad ones.
Because of you all, this past year, though VERY stressful, heart-breaking at times and scary, because of YOU, Mike and I both have experienced such love while enduring such pain at the same time. YOU ALL deserve so much from Mike and I, and unfortunately we have yet to win the lottery, so I hope this letter will stay forever close to your heart and remain priceless. Mike and I thank you so much!
Mike and I do not have a lot, but we have each other and ALL of you. And though each relationship with you all are completely different and have its own dynamics, I feel all have the same foundation which is love! Mike and I wish you a Wonderful CHRIST-mas Celebration and a Wonderful NEW Year! Know that on this day, YOU have made a difference in our lives without even knowing it. I hope that everyone reading this will find their internal sunshine and “Kart-Wheel” mentality to flip-flop into this New Year!
Sunday, December 4, 2011
The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. ~Burton Hillis
My oh my – where has this year gone? As I sit here looking over the calendar, I am in amazement of being just a few weeks away from CHRIST-mas Day and then New Years Eve! As always, there is just something that enters the air the day after Thanksgiving. It makes even the most annoying of annoying errands that you have to run pleasurable with the Holiday Music in the air and all the decorations that fill the isles – but at the same time, I must thank the REAL reason for this season – Jesus above!
So in all that, I hope I don’t bore you to tears, for this may be in normal Lyndie fashion, a lengthy note, for it has been a while since I have written. I don’t even know where to start, but I am sure I will find some order ;)
As for Mike’s health, I will start with that. Mike had Scans and MRIs done prior to our vacation, and when we got back we sat down with both his Oncologist team and Neurology Team. Brain and Spine remain clean and stable – nothing new, and Dr. Groves is still calling Mike a miracle! As I have mentioned prior, he is on a clinical trial for the chemo treatment Avastin – the trial ends at the end of the month, but Dr. Groves, because Mike has done so well with the treatment, he wants to keep Mike on it even into the new year to ensure that the cancer stays gone. The BEST news of this all is though Mike will no longer have to endure the normal Lumbar Punctures This makes him very happy. You know he is almost a legend down the halls in the Brain/Spine center – haah! Every time we are there, the doctors and nurses always assure him “yes, we know you – we have heard of you!” haha! Needless to say he has not ALWAYS taken the Lumbar Punctures very well!
As for his visit with the Oncology team, the cancer still remains non-apparent BUT there was concern for he has 3 lymmhnodes that are a little inflamed. The doctors said it could be his body fighting off cancer that is not being picked up on scans or simply just his body fighting of another infection like a cold. He will undergo another PET scan at the end of this month and from those scans, they will determine whether or not he will continue to receive his “Kung-Pow” Chemo or if he will be put on another maintenance type, maybe even an oral dose. As always (AND I KNOW YOU DO) Please keep him lifted in prayer – He has done so good and I know GOD above has future plans for him leading a life W/O Cancer!
We both hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday! Ours was a lot of fun! Mike and I packed up the 3 wet-nosed kiddos and headed off to Alabama and then Tennessee – we were SO fortunate to have such beautiful weather our entire trip – GOD surely was smiling down upon us! Mike had never met my Dad’s side of the family, but once they all met, I tell you it seemed as he has been part of this family for YEARS! Gosh Alabama is gorgeous and just breathtaking! I attached a picture I took of Mike on top of one of the highest points in Alabama and I just called it “One with GOD” – I cannot put into words of how this state makes me feel. To have all this beautiful, GOD made land around us, just kept us in awe the entire trip! Our family was so accommodating and for that we are so grateful! Diesel, Duke and Dozer were a hit also! Their noses were going a million miles an hour taking in all the new smells and all around them! It was sad to leave, but we have a lifetime full of memories to keep with us! Aunt Jan made a wonderful Homemade Turkey feast for us while we were there --- mmm! I can still taste that dressing and fixings! After that, we were Tennessee bound to spend time with Aunt Cissy!
Tennessee was equally as pretty, but not too much site seeing for it was raining pretty much the time we were there. Aunt Cissy was so accommodating to us as well along with all her “wet-nosed” kiddos – A LOT of toosh sniffing between all these guys/gals! We made some yummy Chicken/Sausage gumbo while there and just enjoyed the time chatting. After leaving there, we popped back into Alabama for a few more days but left early due to a storm heading in – I sure have to say that we had a GREAT time, but once we hit that Texas state line, there was just a sigh of “No place like home”. We spent a night at the Lake Cabin and got some family time in there too – then home it was! Man – as anal as I am, I usually would have been unpacking and cleaning, but Mike and I both literally jumped into our PJs and went straight to bed!
Let’s see – what else…Mike continues to work full-time (Praise JESUS) for continuing to instill strength for his body and bones. We attended his Christmas Dinner/Party last night, which was a lot of fun – It is fun to see people outside of work and let loose a little. Dixie remains good to Mike and we are thankful for this! As for me, work is great! We held a food drive and with the help of all our wonderful tenants and staff, we donated over 500 pounds of food to Houston Food Bank – it was very fulfilling and wishes we could do it every month! OH and we have our building decorated for CHRIST-mas – makes it so fun coming into work and seeing all the lights!
Because Mike and I felt our vacation was our CHRIST-mas treat to each other, we opted to not get gifts this year and just donate our time to MD Anderson and all that are not able to be at home for the Holidays. BUT we did start a “swear” jar recently and already up to 26.00! I’m telling you, I am not much of a curser, but since Mike’s diagnosis, it just comes out – we are REALLY working on this…BUT we decided whatever we have accumulated by the new year, we are going to get a chimena – we have always wanted one, just that little something that you don’t buy yourself --- but we are supposed to be having a chilly winter, and we love sitting on the porch, so it works out PERFECT!
I feel this year has flown by, and it almost at times seems like a blur of all that has happened – surreal even. Mike and I remain SO Blessed in so many ways and continue to thank GOD above for it all – Large and Small and EVEN when we fall! This year has been a true testament of our faith and belief; knowing that there is something BIGGER than his Cancer, Bigger than all of us and we continue to trust solely in HIM and know HIS plan is coming to pass – for it does not always happen when WE want it, but it does not stop us from knowing HE has not forgotten about us – we have learned patience! We have learned a new kind of love and we have become closer and stronger. We continue to be far from perfect, and we have stopped trying to seek perfection, for it will not come…we are happy in being us and being perfect in GODs eyes.
In closing, family and friends – Mike and I wish you a wonderful CHRIST-mas season. We wish you all a great time when you are around each other. It has been such a year of miracles for us and many others. It has been a year of heartache and mending. It has been a year of discovery! Mike and I thank you, each one of YOU for allowing us to share our lives with you and being a part of this journey. Words cannot express the gratitude that we have in our hearts for YOU. You have seen us in our happiest days and our darkest, yet continued to be our Family and Friends, as it should be. I know this journey is not over, but because of GOD above, he sure makes it bearable!
Wishing you ALL a magical, festive and warm Holiday Season and a VERY Blessed CHRIST-mas!
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
“I know not what the future holds, but I know who holds the future - Author Unknown”
And for our future, I know it is ALL in GOD’s hands.
My oh my! I cannot believe we are approaching Thanksgiving! Where has this year gone? We have gone from freeze, to unbearably HOT summer, drought, rain and now possible tornadoes (as of tonight’s forecast in Houston). I was talking to a friend the other day, and we discussed (for we are both having a year that has consisted of people we love battling Cancer.) and we were sharing our journeys (way different from each others), but yet the same…as we are both not parents, we feel we have defiantly been instilled some serious life lessons and challenges of being a care giver.
When my Grandpa was sick a few years ago, prior to his passing, after beating lung cancer, he, I felt just because of older age his health began to deteriorate. I watched my Grandma time and time, day after day, stay so strong through it ALL. Everyday held something new. As my Grandfather grew older his visits to the hospital became more frequent. I watched my Grandmother and because being married for almost 59 years, I felt the strength that she had was just from being together for so long and I thought it was just what you do when you get older. After my Grandfather passed, my grandmother and I a few months later went to visit his gravesite and at that moment I saw the first (what seemed to be a tear) in my grandmother’s eye rolling down her cheek. I looked at her, almost in astoundment, for I had NEVER seen grandma cry. Not that I did not think she should, for I know she surely was sad, but it just was not what I was used to seeing. I asked her what she was thinking, and she simply said “I miss your grandpa”.
At the time, I didn’t pry too much, for I wanted her to have this moment, this moment that she deserved to breathe and know that her husband of 59 years was in a better place and no more hurt or pain. A little while later I asked my Grandma about that day, and just mentioned I of course knew she had to feel some pain, but never had I seen her emotions through the years. In all honesty, Grandma and grandpa were bickering up until the day he passed…not un-normal at all, for being married for 59 years, I assure you, as my grandma has said, she loved that man to death, but they still got under each other’s skin. Up until the day grandpa passed, my grandma was the BEST caregiver ever…even before he was sick. She would make his coffee, make his dinner plates, wash the clothes, make sure he took his meds, and all that comes along with it…she did not do it because she became his caregiver…she did because she cared.
Up until Mike was diagnosed in the summer of 2010, he was the “man” of the house. He mowed, he fixed things, he did all the man is “supposed” to do. I cooked, I cleaned, I washed and did what the woman of the house “does”…boy our world changed! Now do not get me wrong, but Mike really has not at all during this time let go of his “manly-hood”, but our lives did change and I took on a WHOLE lot more than I knew what to expect. Like the majority of Households we are a 2-income household, so when Mike had to take time off to fight this disease, I continued to work my full-time job, but when I arrived at home, I continued my job as a wife and caregiver, which threw me into a 24/7 job that I was not entirely prepared for, but I pulled up my boot straps and continue to get the job done.
All who know me; I am smiles at all times. I have my super bad days, I curse, I cry but for me to bring it out for the world to see, yes it only makes me human, but when you become a caregiver of someone sick when the mentality of that person is SO important, I maintained my Kart-Wheel personality through the darkest days. My days became consisting of no focus at work, because my mind was steered towards making sure that Mike was taking his meds, was he eating, when he does not answer his phone – was he still alive and not went into a seizure or coma (now granted, thankful to ALL prayers and God above, Mike was not too too sick during this time of treatment and surgeries) but ALL thoughts race through your head…ALL thoughts, even the worse. I lost so much sleep due to setting my alarm every hour on the hour to ensure he was still breathing and not running a fever due to chemo and medication. Due to our strong faith and beliefs, Mike has received his latest results a little over a month ago and there is no active cancer (that the scans are able to detect)…there is Hope!
As one caregiver to another, the BEST medicine for your loved one is to maintain a positive attitude. This is not always easy, and times seeing Mike laying in a hospital bed receiving Massive amounts of chemo, waking up to him vomiting uncontrollably, witnessing him barely touching anything on his plate at dinner (worrying that he is getting enough nutrition), trying accommodate each and every need even though you are dog tired from a long day at the office (or taking care of other family) and all other aspects that come along with being a caregiver of a loved one, it remains the BEST medicine for the one you love.
Not only to ALL that are fighting this disease, I along commend ALL caregivers…for the day that you get that phone call asking for you to join your loved one for the results of recent tests…the day your life changes forever…I proudly call you my sisters and brothers in this journey…for unexpectedly we are given the rubber boots and shovel…continue to take it ALL with much stride and continue to find something to believe in…for I am thankful everyday for MD Anderson and what they are doing for my family…
Mike is now back at work full-time, but as a wife/caregiver my job is never done…but I now hold a gift that can never be taken from me…strength, experience and most of ALL love from ALL other caregivers I have met. I recommend you to utilize ALL of MD Anderson’s networks, for I have met So many people that I can relate to and thankful to now call friends…
Monday, October 31, 2011
“Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them - Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand - Matthew 12:25 (NIV)”
These past few months I will not lie, have not been easy. Mike and I after receiving such GRAND news of his current state of Cancer and seems we are able to set aside the battle of his disease for the time being, we continued to battle an issue within our family…a battle that is SO misunderstood and with no resolving in site, I just now finally get it.
They say, the words you speak (or in my case I write) are forever…this is true. One day you may regret the things you have spoken to someone, or look back and are ashamed of something that you wrote in a fit of anger, for me…not so much.
I feel very blessed that GOD has allowed me to use my writing to touch so many during this journey we have been put on, and to provide me with (what I feel) are just the right words to describe how it has been. However, I find it easier as well to use my words when communicating with some, due to when in person, I tend to ramble (and yes, I know I ramble a lot in my emails too, but my thoughts seemed more composed)
As a mother wants to protect her young, when you are in love, all you want to do is protect your loved ones as well…in this case my Husband. With a family issue at hand, I strived for EVERY opportunity to reach out to family, in hopes that what seems such a petty feud, has festered and now just a whole blown out of proportion turn of events…my opinion. Many FALSE accusations have arose, MANY Negative things have been said (by ALL parties) and as I know we cannot take back the things we say, we can apologize, hope to mend and move on. I feel the hardest part of all of this has been, is that it is difficult to move forward, when everyone remains in the pool of the past…you know just swimming around in the filth of mis-trust, hurt, heartache and betrayal. I have said many times before, my hubby and I are FAR from perfect, but we have remained honest, been accountable for ALL of our actions, yet, it has not meant anything and the family remains in disarray.
I am not sure if being a Taraus (hard headed) and having a huge heart, has been MY downfall in all of this and has not allowed me to rest until ALL of this is resolved…I know now, I can no longer spin my wheels, because we are clearly at a stand still with no mending anytime soon. In my last ditch attempt, I continued to send out emails to our family in hopes that one would tug a heart string and the hate would be lifted and we could all be a family again…that was a complete failure, as to leading to my blog today.
I was sent an email from an OUTSIDER & friend to some of the family that they were in shock of my email and how do I call myself a Christian…well I am. I do not shout it from the mountain tops and force my views upon anyone BUT as I ALWAYS say, I will praise JESUS for a good hair day! But going along with my views and my lifestyle, I am also HUMAN. Do not insinuate because I am reaching out to OUR family in the only way that I know how, and asking for accountability for things that have happened and been said, that I am not a Christian. I from day one of all of this, have been hurt by the people that I love so dearly, I have found forgiveness in my heart BUT I still hurt. JESUS died for ALL our sins, and though I do not lead a perfect life, I lead MY life and GOD above is MY Judge and MY Juror – no one else…and I have asked for forgiveness for my sins…have you?
In closing, I get it now. For the family feud really is between ONLY 2 people…for those 2 people, one I will protect and stand up for till death do us part…for the other, I will continue to pray for that heart. For us as family, we sure do not have to like each other, but we do NOT have to bash each other either. I FINALLY know that I will NOT be the one to fix this, and NO matter how many emails, texts, blogs or anything I do to resolve…it will NOT be done by me. This is all new to me, for my family is full of nuts, but we are honest with each other and love UN-conditionally WITH OUT Conditions…for now as I am getting older (maybe not so much wiser ;) I do see now ALL families are different, and I am finally able to have peace and REALLY bow out this time…my white flag is raised and I am ceasing and desisting any further efforts to “fix” this…
Please keep us ALL in your prayers for Happy Hearts, Healthy Lifestyles and just a happy soul…
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
“The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age - Lucille Ball”
As my blog before, this was an un-promised birthday and for the ability to have such beautiful weather to celebrate with was a blessing within it self!
We had planned on having a very low-key weekend for Mike’s birthday, just spending at home with a few friends and BBQ(ing), but at the last minute, we were invited by a friend to New Braunsfels and could not pass up the opportunity. We packed up ourselves, 3 “Wet-nosed” kiddos and 3 of our closest friends and headed to the “hills”. The ride was beautiful the entire way there and with the exception of little Dozer getting sick all over me, it was great!
The entire way there, there was such a jubilant sound in Mike’s laugh, it made my heart so happy and like the feeling you get when a little baby smiles at you, it was just like that. We laughed , joked and thanked GOD above for this opportunity to celebrate another year with Mike (for we know as well there are MANY more to come)
Due to the river being so low this year, we took advantage of the inner city and visited Natural Bridge Caverns and The Wildlife Safari! Both were extremely fun, but I must admit, I am out of shape and those Caverns got me – My calves are STILL sore today! The town was beautiful and it was nice to get out and breathe the fresh air and see all the city had to offer.
I have a link below from my Face Book album of some pics from the trip I hope you enjoy!
In closing, thank you ALL that were a part of this trip and thank you ALL that made this birthday for Mike so special --- I am learning it to be SO true, that as the old saying goes, “When one door closes, another one opens” and sadly enough this goes for it ALL – Life, opportunities, FAMILY and Friends. I am learning to be OK with those doors that have closed, for GOD has provided us with beautiful French doors to open much Wider!!
Birthday Weekend Album
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
“You cannot have a new season while having an old mind-set! I want to encourage you to lay aside scripting out plans for your life while you still hold on to old perceptions. Allow the Spirit to come into your life and rewrite your perspective so you will finally experience the possibilities and great promises God has for you. – TD Jakes Ministries”
How powerful is that message? It really struck home with me and I wanted to include in my email.
I in all honesty do not feel that this email or ANY email moving forward will top the latest one of Mike’s Recovery news last week, but I like to gab, so who knows – haha!
Yesterday we celebrated Mike’s 36th birthday! It was very low-key and enjoyable! So many people reached out to Mike through phone, emails, Face Book, My blog and other outlets to show their love for him – no doubt he received an abundance of love by many! I had planned as I do every year to treat him to a special dinner, so this year with it being just him and I, I assured him WHATEVER he wanted I would surely accommodate, for it is his day! He simply said he wanted CiCi’s Pizza buffet and then Marble Slab Ice Cream --- Whoohoo! I was excited; those are two of my favorites! We chowed down (and thank you LORD above for Mike’s appetite – he had a HUGE chemo last week, so sometimes he is not hungry) but he had several plates then we were off to Marble Slab! He got the biggest cone and like a kid “literally in the candy shop” he didn’t let any go to waste I attached a picture – they allowed us to light a candle in the shop – a candle for his birthday cone! It was a great night, relaxing and ending on a great note – definitely one for the books! This weekend we are celebrating out of town with some close friends and enjoying a 4-day weekend of BBQing, relaxing and hopefully having our “Toes in The Water and A** in the Sand!”
On a side note, this has truly been a BLESSED birthday week all together! We attended church on Sunday and were so excited to share Mike’s good news with our church family. Our dear friend Thomas (who I wrote about a few weeks ago that was only given 4 weeks from MDA) was there with his wife and family and all in good spirits – it was a true blessing! Also, as I had mentioned a while ago, we received a call from KSBJ…we have been able to spread Mike’s testimony to many and now we volunteer when we are able with prayer lines and random city acts to keep Houston clean. It’s been a pleasure speaking to so many people and giving them hope in times of despair – no matter what their circumstances are.
As always, as I tell people “There goes GOD again!” working his wonders beyond our understanding. As I was driving home yesterday, I received a call from Lake Wood Church, home of Joel Osteen Ministries. I received a call from their PR department and they have invited Mike to come and share his testimony for an upcoming broadcast to play on several of their channels and internet sites. I was floored! Because Mike and I watch Joel Osteen I felt led to send Mike’s praise report into their website for “Praise Stories”, NEVER imagining that they would call him!! I do not have ALL details, but ANY chance for Mike to share his testimony reaching that many people – is defiantly GOD Sent!! Please keep him in your prayers!
In closing, I am so excited for this Fall Weather FINALLY here in Houston and for the rain we received over the weekend!! We so needed it and this is the FIRST time I so did not mind standing water in our yard!! Mike and I, though he has made a miraculous recovery, we know this journey is not over yet, and we thank you ALL for continued support, love and encouragement on this roller coaster ride – we are (as I always say) forever grateful!!
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
“No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible - Stanislaw Lec”
I toiled with the name of this blog for a couple of hours and it really just came down to it…accountability. For all that know me, I have poured my heart out in this blog and you have read of my many ups and downs throughout my life – and for all that I have been through and the decisions I have made, the mean things I have said of others, just anything I have done, I have been held accountable not just by others, but by myself.
I have many times said how I have much forgiveness in my heart for certain people and in fact I do for many. I know in my heart that as GOD has forgiven me for ALL my transgressions and for me to have complete peace and to continue to be forgiven, I must forgive others…right now I am truly having trouble with this. I am hurt right now, very hurt and disappointed in some around me.
Mike was diagnosed a little over a year ago and today is celebrating a birthday that was not promised to him and a birthday we were fearful that he would not see. When Mike was diagnosed, this was to be a time of family and friends to come together and rise above ALL adversity and in the beginning it seemed that way, it seemed GOD was putting just the right people in our lives and at the same time taking the right ones out. As we went through a roller coaster of emotions, ups and downs with this disease, I will be the first to admit my husband was NOT the best person to get along with. His once already short temper personality became a site and not someone that you would enjoy being around – mainly due to the amount of meds and steroids he was on because of chemo and surgery. But I will tell you this, my husband ALWAYS stood accountable for the things he said and did in the earliest days and even the most recent…you know what I am speaking of.
I feel that my trouble today lies with the fact that though we have stood accountable for all we have done, even me, I am surely not innocent in this. I have been hurt and in the midst of that I reached out to others and said some things that I surely cannot take back and have spoken ill of some particular persons, but in return I have STILL stood accountable, even apologized to these persons and admitted.
I feel I am having trouble forgiving, because to this day, though we ALL know the he said / she said, still it seems some of us are NOT accountable for the hateful, mean and even ridiculous accusations of others. It seems that some rather sit in glass houses and throw stones unaware of the consequences of the glass breaking and someone really getting hurt. I feel that I am having trouble with this because for all that has been said between everyone; it does not seem that it has EVER been resolved between the actual parties that were involved. Everyone is begging for forgiveness and for resolution, yet we have continued to reach out and nothing. WE have been accountable for EVERY thing since day one, yet years of hurtful words, accusations and just plain mean has just seemed to be swept under the rug and given the excuse “oh that’s just him/her and how they deal with that”. Well no more, you must one day be accountable. As I write this, I all of a sudden feel much forgiveness in MY heart for you, though I won’t forget, I do forgive you. Man that feels good!
In closing, as I stated before, rather than go on pointing the finger and placing blame upon all others…take a moment, maybe when you are alone, to really dig deep, find that accountability that will set you free. It lies within all of us when we do wrong. Things may never be the same, for I feel GOD has purpose in this chaotic turmoil of sorts and know that as some of us are being torn apart, others are growing stronger and closer than ever before. It is a shame that during this time, rather than set aside all and celebrate with us on Mike’s miraculous recovery, it is the decision to stay away. For this I do not understand, but I do forgive. I can’t say that I will easily forget, for I am only human, but as GOD would want me to, I do forgive.
Saturday, October 8, 2011
I just received word that some of Mike's childhood friends (the same ones who held Mike's benefit last year) want to do another one. It is just a simple BBQ plate benefit to raise money for some outstanding medical bills that are not covered by Insurance.
I know it is short notice, but we hope you can pop in for a plate, a drink and some good company -- we for sure would love to give you ALL a hug and kiss!
Location: Cock-Eyed Seagull -- Date: October 22, 2011 – Saturday
Time: 12:00 PM till The Food, Till ALL is Gone
Address: 1010 E. NASA Parkway, Clear Lake TX 77058
Price: $6.00/BBQ Plates (Brisket, Sausage, Chicken, Ribs and ALL The Fixins’)
Thursday, October 6, 2011
“Looks like we made it ; Look how far we've come my baby, We mighta took the long way; We knew we'd get there someday They said, "I bet they'll never make it"; But just look at us holding on; We're still together still going strong – Shania Twain”
Do you wake up EVER and think of the life you have led the things you have done and even though some good, some bad you still catch yourself asking GOD “What is MY Purpose?” I will admit I have asked myself several times throughout my life. I cannot say I have lived a “perfect” lifestyle by any means…I have made many mistakes and goodness gracious A LOT of bad choices, and yet still GOD has continued to lift me up and put me back on my feet and point me in the direction I need to be.
I have always been an open book, you ask and I will gladly tell. Sometimes maybe I am too honest and very naïve at times, and by sharing things with others, those stories of my life, rather than taken to heart and offered compassion, they were used against me and even used to try to hurt me. For those people, shame on you. Of course with my heart and my strong faith and belief in my LORD above, I have forgiven.
Now this brings me to this day today. It brings me to this journey that Mike and I entered in on July of last year. It literally feels like just yesterday we were sitting in the doctors office receiving the news of Mike’s diagnosis, but yet as I sit here and look at my calendar, it has been a little over a year – WOW! The day we received Mike’s news of the treatment program he was going to be put on and that if this did not work he would be looking at 5 to 6 months to live and not celebrating his birthday in 2011. Well I tell you what; I did not take the news to well. I drove home from work, barely able to see through the tears I was crying and stopped in the grocery store bought the biggest bottle of wine and drove home, grabbed Mike and sat in the back yard till 1 AM, drinking, crying, laughing and sharing stories we had never talked about before. As I looked at the clock and we headed to bed, I looked at him through swollen, blood shot eyes and told him no matter what – from this day moving forward, we are to look at this as a journey and be positive and not sulk nor get depressed, for we do not know at this time why we were chosen, but it is what GOD has given us and he promises to not give us more than we can handle, so obviously we can handle this.
Now I tell you, being a care giver is no easy ride, even for me. I have been poked fun at by many, actually I take that back, only a few, maybe even just one of my KART-Wheel Mentality through this journey – some or maybe even just one may call it complete denial – me, I call it NOT GIVING IN! Since receiving the news yesterday of Mike and the Scans being clean and no signs of Cancer, I have to say the night we sat in the back yard, crying at the moon and guzzling wine, that night we turned it ALL over to GOD and we knew it was going to be ok. I was told yesterday when I was sharing the good news, I said “I am in complete awe, I cannot believe this!” I was told “Lyndie, do not start lying now – you ALWAYS knew mike was going to be healed – you CLAIMED it!” and you know what, you are damn right! I sure did Claim it a year ago and thank YOU JESUS for hearing my shout and my praises along with ALL Prayers!
As I sit here today writing this, I truly know now in my heart that though there are many times I feel that I did not know my purpose, I am glad and thankful that all along GOD knew. I have no doubt that, though I have doubted myself as a care giver many times because of the vast amount of information that is thrown in your lap regarding Cancer and all, I am thankful, SO very thankful that GOD instilled in me the strength, courage and allowed me to NEVER lose my KART-Wheel mentality which has enabled me and now I know, I am and have been the very best caregiver during this time, during this journey that is not quite over yet.
During this time as well, Mike and I though we have a HUGE amount of support and our family and friends have surrounded us with unconditional love, unfortunately we have lost some people along the way, possibly due to miscommunication or just selfishness, but regardless this is something that as I said above, you are forgiven. Though we don’t understand why in the midst of such a roller-coaster of a journey of doubt, fear, happy and sad days, I am again thankful that GOD knew to remove some people at just the right time to ensure not to cloud or fog the path he has placed us on – for you ALL that have stood by our side and have even come back into our lives (You BB!) we are forever grateful for ALL of you combined have surely lighted our path and offered sunshine to warm our skin and our hearts!
In closing, if you catch yourself asking “What is my purpose”, just wait – GOD is there, GOD is good and whether you are 18 or 99, do not lose faith or hope – XOXO
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
“If children have the ability to ignore all odds and percentages, then maybe we can all learn from them. When you think about it, what other choice is there but to hope? We have two options, medically and emotionally: give up, or fight like hell - Lance Armstrong”
I know I have posted this quote A MILLION times, but it is one of my favorites and “Fight Like Hell” is exactly what Mike did!
This email is going to be in usual Lyndie form, you know long and longer, NOPE, I am just sending a message that as of our visit today at MD Anderson the results from Mike’s last PET Scan show, you ready, are you really ready???
NO ACTIVE CANCER ANYWHERE IN HIS SYSTEM!!!! NO LYMPHNODES, NO BONE, NO BRAIN, NO LUNG, NO SPINE, NO WHERE!!!
Now, as per the doctors request, I promised I would not call Mike “Cancer FREE” because it is VERY soon and he has one last mega-chemo today and PET Scan next month, BUT IF there is ANY Cancer remaining in his system, it is TOO small to be seen in a scan or be picked up in any images!!! Well Toot My Horn and call me a tug boat, I Am SO OK with this!!!
Next Tuesday is Mike’s Birthday – this time last year, he was just starting treatment and if it didn’t work, he would not be here today to see THIS birthday – well as Mike says “GOD has other plans for Mike C – and he is no where near through with me yet!”
Mike will continue his brain/spine chemo through the end of the year (per clinical trial) and as I said his last MEGA-chemo is today, then pending next months PET Scan results, that will determine if he continues or goes on maintenance, etc…
My wish at the beginning of the year was for Mike to be healthy and enjoy this upcoming birthday, and it looks as if though GOD is listening (as if we did not know that already) and I have a healthy, happy husband by my side and gets to blow out his birthday candles on this cake!!
To You ALL – Please know in your heart and know the power of prayer. ALL of you, far and wide, family and friends, because of you and your faith in whatever you believe in, you have continued to lift Mike up in spirit and today he continues to be called a miracle by all who know him. We both thank you all for believing in our crazy, optimistic, over the top Kart-Wheel Mentality and loving us unconditionally – it has truly gotten us through one of the toughest times in our life.
The journey does not stop here, it just got a whole lot better!!
Love you ALL
Monday, September 26, 2011
“Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word - Psalm 119:37, NIV”
“You have to be very selective about what you give your time and attention to in order to live the life of victory God has promised. You have to recognize which thoughts to ignore, which comments to ignore, and sometimes, which people to ignore.
Every “battle” that comes across your path is not a battle that you’re supposed to fight. Many battles are simply distractions to try to lure you off course. If that battle is not between you and your God-given destiny, it’s a battle you should ignore.
Many people get thrown off course because they are always trying to straighten everyone else out or win their approval. If that’s your focus, you are wasting valuable time and energy that you should be using to pursue your dreams. Turn away from that distraction! You don’t need the approval of everyone around you; you only need God’s approval!
Friend, it’s very freeing when you realize you don’t have to fight every battle. You don’t have to straighten people out. You don’t have to pay somebody back. Instead, focus on what matters; focus on God and His Word so you will live in peace and happiness every day of your life – Joel Osteen”
As always Joel hits it right on the head and out of the park! Those exact words and the reference to those “battles” is just what I needed to hear today. I know a while back, I blogged about internal battles with ourselves that are placed within and seem to arise when life’s normal going ons are happening and sometimes you may not be sure of what side to take and doubt sets in. The battles I speak of today are more of battles of all circumstances in life. Trying to change things or people in your life that you just cannot change. Trying to analyze every detail to come to some sort of conclusion as to why things are the way they are.
For me, this is one of the toughest battles, because though I do have a happy disposition and I feel I am liked and loved by many, I do know, not necessarily because of me personally, but I am probably not liked by others, maybe many --- and FINALLY after a year of back and forth thoughts and self-doubt of my worth, I am OK with someone, anyone, whether it be a friend or family, just not liking me :) I like me, and actually LOVE me along with my GOD above and that is all that matters! I have been blessed with a wonderful husband, loving “doggies and kitties”, family & friends who continue to love Mike and I unconditionally without conditions till the day we are passed and gone from this earth.
I noticed for the longest time, even since this journey with cancer, we allowed ourselves WAY TOO much time on focusing on the “why’s” of our relationships with others, and for us doing that, it took away from OUR relationship. We were too busy trying to appease others and strive for approval that it took away from our relationship with each other and the ONLY one that matters and will be our judge in the final days – Our GOD!
As this weekend passed, Mike and I had time to reflect on his mother and the cherished time he spent with his family this weekend going through items that his mom cherished and were kept to pass on to Mike and others. Mike and I turned some music on Saturday night, shared a bottle of wine and went through all these treasures. I was so thankful to see so many memories of his mom. She is someone I have only heard stories of but to see first hand letter she wrote, perfumes she wore and items that were once close to her, it is a time that I will forever cherish with my husband. At that moment, I looked at him and said “nothing else matters.”
He knew what I spoke of, and we both agreed that we both will have so much peace moving forward, being OK with knowing, so to say, “it is what it is.” Though is hurts to come to terms with this, it is going to continue to hurt a lot more dwelling and focusing on all things out of our control.
We attended church this weekend – Biker Church, and as always, just sort of like getting these daily emails from Osteen, it was JUST the right message we needed to hear. Granted Mike and I do not attend church like we should, but when we do, it is so worth it! It is an amazing congregation of just normal, GOD fearing people that rather pulling up in an SUV or auto, they line the church parking lot with Harleys, Yamahas and all other sorts of scooters!
Mike has gone back to work OFFICIALLY full time today, and praise GOD for this! Its been a tough year with only one income (of sorts), BUT Thank YOU JESUS for this ability to have such wonderful Family, Friends and supporters through this time! For Mike, I know this is a monumental day for him – he feels stronger than ever, full of pep & re-focused – Both of us are focused in the RIGHT direction!
In closing, Mike will under-go one more PET Scan this week, and this will be the final determination of if he is ready to get on the maintenance chemo moving forward or if he will continue with the Mega-Chemo. Doctors continue to say it looks like “Sunshine with a chance of No Cancer!” in Mikes future --- we WILL continue to focus on this as well and know It ALL Remains GOD’s plan, and for this we are thankful and full of praise!
We wish you all a wonderful week ahead – I feel a slight change in the air and hope it stays – BRING ON THE HOLIDAYS!!
Mike and I hope you are all doing well and enjoying this ‘Fall’ weather ---its getting a little better for us here in Houston!
I wanted to email you all and let you know Mike and I now know how to Skype! I never imagined Mike or I would understand it (just because we are so not tech savvy) but we tried it out last night and it was really cool!! We were able to talk to a friend in Japan and even a local friend from Houston!
Even though some of us live in the same area, I know it is hard for us to see each other as often as we’d like – it seems we are missing out on seeing the kiddos grow, or just catching up on the latest and greatest! Granted, I am not really much on talking on the phone, but I love to Text, email and now SKYPE! I have Mike and I’s user name below and we hope if you have the capability you will log on from time to time and “SKYPE” with us!
Skype User Name: lyndienmike
I hope to utilize this with our nephews, cousins and all family and friends we have!!
We love you all and wish you a wonderful week!
PS – Praise GOD, today is Mike’s first official day back at work FULL Time – work release from MD Anderson!! Amen!!
Friday, September 23, 2011
“A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie - Tenneva Jordan”
What! It is already the end of September? We just scheduled our Christmas Décor Installation for our building – I am a bit Giddy over this! This time of year, once that weather changes (well slightly) and the leaves change colors (well ours our dead from the drought) but you get my drift. This time of year just puts something in the air, a time of celebration with Family & Friends!
This time last year, there were so many ups and downs with Mike and being so new to the Cancer. We anticipated him to be completely sick and had scheduled for family to fly in, friends to move in and whatever else we were going to need to ensure he was taken care of 24/7. Well as GOD had planned Mike was not going to take this cancer “lying” down and indeed he did not! A year a few months later from his original diagnosis, he is healthy, back to work and kicking Cancer’s Booty! As much joy as I have in my heart today, it is incorporated with a little sad as well, for this month holds many emotions for Mike and I both.
12 years ago this week, Mike lost his mom to Cancer. She was only 46. I never had the opportunity to meet her, but I have heard so many stories, and I feel in my heart she is with us still today watching over Mike. A year ago this week, Mike was in the hospital on this very day, fighting for his vision to be restored due to a tumor that affected his Optic Nerve. How ironic to be laying in MD Anderson 11 years on the anniversary of your mother’s passing, battling the same disease. Mike and his family have so many wonderful stories to share of his mom, and as I said, I see a lot of his mom in Mike and for that I am thankful. He is a free-spirit, has a huge heart and an old soul that just offers such comfort in his presence. Mike still holds his mom very close to his heart, and for this I am happy. Mike was in a different place 12 years ago, and at the time, as we all did, still had a lot of growing. He is sad that his mom is not here to see him today, but I ensured him, that she is sitting on the sidelines of Heaven routing for him and this journey he is on today. She is surely up in Heaven bragging about him to all she meets!
In my heart, I feel family is, in the end, all you have. Though I do not see my own mother nearly enough, we talk often and I am so thankful for our relationship. We do not always see eye to eye, and I don’t think we are supposed to – it’s just like a parent rule…right? The same goes for our family. We do not always see eye to eye, may not agree with decisions we make or the choices we choose, but Family is to love unconditional with no conditions. Though Mike and I have a huge family now together, at the end of the day, Mike, Myself, our 3 doggies and 2 kitties ARE our family. I know we are not ALL we have, but we have a bond that cannot be broken.
Through this journey that Mike and I have been on, I realize life (literally) is too short. The older I get, the more and more people are taken from this earth (to me before their time), but GOD is the ultimate time keeper and it ALL remains HIS plan, even when we do not understand. The old cliché saying about “You Never know what tomorrow holds” is so true. We cannot change our past, we are given today, but for tomorrow, we have no control. It is a lot easier said than done when there is crisis within a family, but I will admit on this journey with Mike, our family, our extended family and our friends are SO needed right now. We cherish all of our relationships and the encouragement we receive from you all! I know many of you are busy with your own goings on in life, but to make us even a little part of your thought during the day to us is priceless and we are forever grateful.
In closing, do not let an argument, a grudge or hard feelings keep you from telling someone you love them. I believe we do not always have to like who we love, but it does make it a lot easier sometimes. On this week of many memories, good and bad, I lift my glass to all who are fighting cancer, have lost their lives or have beat it! I lift my glasses to all the caregivers, families, friends, MD Anderson and ALL involved in the research and studies to rid the world of this disease!
I thank you GOD for all of your blessings. I sometimes stop and know that many times, it could have been my time…but you had bigger plans for me. Thank you for allowing me to touch others with my words and EVEN my Kart-Wheels ;) Thank you for the continued strength you provide Mike and I through this journey. Thank You LORD for believing in US!
Friday, September 16, 2011
"Joy Is Not In Things; It Is In Us - Richard Wagner”
“Jesus came to give you joy and joy to the full! When your joy is full, it can be seen by others. Joy is supposed to be displayed. As believers, we should have a smile on our face and a spring in our step. We should be kind and friendly. We should be fun to be around. We should be full of His supernatural joy!
Have you allowed the pressures of life to push you down? Have you been more focused on your circumstances than on your God? If you’re not enjoying your life or relationships, it’s time to refocus and tap into the full joy within. It’s time to draw the line in the sand and say, “That’s it. I’m not going to live another day negative, discouraged, sour or grumpy. I’m going to put a smile on my face. I’m going to let my joy be seen so I can brighten somebody else’s day. I’m going to live my life happy and full of joy! – Joe Osteen”
Again! I receive a message from Joe Osteen ministries in the same time that it is connecting with what is happening in my current situation. In my previous blog, I expressed how joyful I was for Mike’s current results and through this journey that has consisted with many ups and downs, one thing I have stayed true to is my faith and with that my happiness within has maintained!
When I started my blog I had intended it to just be an outlet for me and a way to keep in touch with others of Mike’s journey – a way to touch everyone at once. As of today, I receive emails and messages from all over from people that are following my blog and thank Mike and I for being such an inspiration. Heck, anytime I get a chance to meet someone new, I offer my blog address and invite them to take a peek and come back whenever they want. I love to share our journey with others and hope while doing this I continue to spread the joy I have in my heart to others.
I know that we all have different circumstances and beliefs, but we ALL have the ability to have joy in our hearts. With Mike’s disease one of the most important things that we were told in the beginning was how important his mentality was going to play a part in this, and they were never so right. The minute Mike gets down about anything, I allow him to sulk, but remind him he’s on a time line and we must get back to focusing on the good things in our life and how well he is doing. In the flip, he always feels better and especially with the visits that we have had lately with MD Anderson, the joy is very apparent!
Mike and I don’t have much. We are simple people with goals of having a family one day, owning our own home and just continuing to be happy. We are like most out there, we sometimes live paycheck to paycheck, but by the Grace of GOD we have NEVER been without, even when we were down to a one income household after his diagnosis. Thankful to family and friends that have helped us along the way, but the majority has been done by us and provided to US by GOD above – for this my inner joy becomes outside joy and I hope to continue to project that onto all who I come in contact with.
In closing, when you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders and you are feeling knocked down, dig deep for that ounce of happy that brings joy to your heart – allow that to outshine any negative in your life and you will surely come out on top!
Thursday, September 15, 2011
“Faith is believing that the outcome will be what it should be, no matter what it is - Colette Baron-Reid”
I promise you this is REALLY short and sweet!
Leaving MD Anderson just minutes ago, we met with Mike’s Brain/Spine Doctor to go over MRI results of this brain and spine. As of 9/15/2011 Mike’s Brain, Spinal Fluid and FINALLY Spinal Bone are Cancer Free!! I inquired to the Doctor of the spots that we see on the bone in the images, and he explained that these are scars or damage to the bone from the cancer. He said at this time there is no signs of cancer showing on the scans that show any activity. As for the PET Scans last week, I mentioned, Mike still remains to have 2 lymph nodes that have the cancer cells, but are shrinking with the chemo.
I have so much thanks to give to GOD above, MD Anderson, Our Team of Doctors, The Staff, The Volunteers, Our Family and Friends! You ALL continue to be amazing on this journey and we continue to love you all! Dr. Groves went on to tell Mike this visit that he is TRULY Amazing and in all honesty with his beginning prognosis and with his patients, he does not see this, he has not seen this but a few times – Thank You JESUS!!
I promised this one to be short and sweet, and just provide the bare minimal…so in closing:
AS OF 9/15/11 MIKE IS CANCER FREE IN SPINAL FLUID, SPINAL BONE, BRAIN and only has 2 spots in his lymph nodes!
I will end this email with a little shimmy to the left, a shimmy to the right and a one handed Kart-Wheel!!
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him - James 1:12”
Through this journey that Mike and are on, I can ONLY continue to thank GOD above for the miracles he is working in our life. I thank him for allowing us to be inspirations as others are to us. I am thankful that through this journey he has allowed us to meet people of such great faith, faith that I feel maybe even rises above mine, and believe me -- I have A LOT of faith instilled in me.
We joined Biker Church of Manvel last summer after Mike’s diagnosis. I do not recall if I have blogged about them before, but if not, here you go. The minute we walked into the church, it was a complete welcome. Bikes parked along the front of the church, people mingling outside and hugs and handshakes all around. Mike and I were thankful that we knew someone there, so it made it easy and completely comfortable. We were introduced to Pastor Dave and his wife, and immediately felt such love. We shared our current journey with them, and the very same afternoon Mike was baptized. The love that continued to grow from this congregation was amazing and just right for Mike and I.
While there, we have met many special people, and one that Mike became close to. Thomas was diagnosed with Cancer as well, and not much older than Mike. He was 3 years in remission and was such an inspiration to Mike and I for his strength and belief he held for GOD for all of his circumstances. Every church service or gathering, Mike and Thomas would buddy up and talk “cancer” and all other stuff. Yesterday evening we just learned from our Pastor that Thomas’s cancer has come back and is raging through his system. The doctors have given him a prognosis of 4 weeks. My heart immediately dropped when Mike called me and after work we both went to MDA to visit with Thomas and his family.
All that know me, know my disposition and how I see the Silver-Lining in ALL situations, but on the way to MDA I started to cry, because in the seat next to me was my husband that is defying all odds, being called a miracle and I still have time with him. I felt my self asking GOD, why? Why do others not do so well, yet Mike is kicking Cancer’s butt, has not been sick or put down for any length of time and is continuing to defy all odds? I know people think I am in denial at times, and wonder how can I have SO much faith in our GOD and have confidence Mike will continue to do so well. I am completely realistic. I know this disease has its own mind and at any moment, can change direction and take you down. I know that Mike is doing so well right now, but it could change – I know this, and it is my thoughts often…BUT on the flip side, Mike could also be taken from this earth any other way, so for me to dwell on the disease at hand, I know that it continues to be GOD’s plan for him to be here and for that I can only be thankful and praise him daily and have MUCH confidence Mike will Cancer Free.
As we sat and visited with Thomas, you could see he was tired, his body was tired, yet he did not shed a tear and remained in good spirits the whole time. He has much confidence in GOD and his faith, he knows that he is here for a reason and if it is his time, then he knows it is GODs plan. In all honesty, at my age, other than grandparents passing away at an older age, I have never sat with someone in the final stages. I think I was nervous about seeing Thomas and how he is reacting to GOD’s plan. I have never sat and spoke with someone knowing in just a few weeks, you may be laid to rest – to lay there and be ok with it. As we sat there, I was more inspired than anything at that moment and felt complete peace. Thomas knows his GOD and knows GOD knows his heart and he has continued to serve his GOD above and does not question his plan laid out for him.
As we left and walked through the halls of MDA, halls that have become so familiar to us, I held Mike’s hand just a little tighter. We drove home and discussed GOD’s plan for us, and we both agreed, we continue to have no regrets and have complete faith that GOD is using us daily, and he is not nearly finished yet. But we also know when that day comes, whether it be the cancer or just GOD’s chess move for us, we know while here on earth that we strive to be the best people we can be. Though we make mistakes, we know that GOD has forgives us, and our time here on earth will continue to glorify HIM and only HIM.
I commend you Thomas for your strength and courage. Though your journey isn’t over yet, and these next 4 weeks may take you into the next 4 years, please know that you are a complete inspiration to Mike and I, to many others as well.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
“That some good can be derived from every event is a better proposition than that everything happens for the best, which it assuredly does not - James K. Feibleman”
I cannot believe today is 10 years since the 9/11 events of 2001. I know it is a date that occurs every year, but the actual 10 year remembrance of this event is so huge – almost like a high school reunion. (of course NO close comparison just an example).
Waking up this AM and hanging our American Flag, I noticed it was all the same down our street. We live in a mainly primary Hispanic neighborhood, and we are surrounded by a huge diversity of culture, but again today just as 9/11/2001, seeing the majority of all homes raising the American Flag, it just confirmed that no matter the turmoil the economy is in, nor what each of our political views are, we are indeed ONE Nation Under GOD and this day, this time to reflect on it all, only confirms that we still all believe in our America!
I love this song of Alan Jackson and was so happy to have this video pop up in my email this AM – sitting watching it my Hubby, though we were both in different places that day living different lives, I feel in spirit as Americans we were together, sharing the horrific moments of this National tragedy:
Alan Jackson -- Where Were You?
In closing, my heart and ALL my thanks go to all that were involved on this day 10 years ago. Thank you to ALL the firefighters, the policemen, the men, women and children and the soldiers that continue to risk their lives unselfishly to strive to continue to keep our nation from undergoing another attack.
Take a moment today, to count your blessings. Look around, whether it be the smile from your Hubby/Wife, your children or even a kiss on the nose from the “wet-nosed” kiddos, take an extra moment to hug them and ensure they know beyond a doubt that you love them.
PS - This video shows the very moment President George W. Bush received the news of the tower attacks. I know he has gotten so much flack about this moment, but I commend him for keeping his composure and handling the way he did. GOD Bless.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
I tried a little while ago to post this link when it first aired on Good Morning America, but it got yanked off of You Tube, but now is back -- yay!
This is an amazing song, and oh so true for this disease! Cancer truly does not discriminate and we are living proof! I am so thankful for JESUS providing me with the strength to go through this with Mike and for him to be strong as well!
Enjoy this beautiful dedication --- OXXO Lyndie
Martina Mc Bride -- I'm Going To Love You Through It
Friday, September 9, 2011
“Constant attention by a good nurse may be just as important as a major operation by a surgeon - Dag Hammarskjold”
Oh how that quote stands so true! A year ago (September 1st), Mike underwent his brain surgery to remove the cancerous tumor. A day I will never forget. I feel that Mike was less scared than I was. I remember the day like it was yesterday. Pulling up at MD Anderson (which was still very new to us) at 5 AM in the morning to prep Mike for surgery at 6 AM. In all honesty writing this brings tears to my eyes, for the journey ahead was unknown.
Family & friends piled into the waiting room awaiting every update from the nurses. I believe we anticipated a longer surgery, but within 2 ½ hours, the nurse came out and informed us, the tumor was removed and the Doctor would be out to talk with us. My heart was still and I waited anxiously for Dr. Weinberg to turn that corner. When he came into the room, he had nothing but smiles on his face and said all went GREAT and the ENTIRE tumor was removed! To this day, I still praise GOD for the tumor being in a place that complete extraction was possible. Dr. Weinberg hugged us and said Mike is in recovery and we could see him soon. GOSH, like getting ready for our first date, I had butterflies in stomach – I did not know what to expect. I had never seen ANYONE post surgery, and did not know what Mike was going to look like. The walk to the recovery room was the LONGEST walk of my life. As we entered and rounded the corner, there laid Mike, drugged and vulnerable, yet still witty! The love of my life, who is the strongest man I know, lay there in his surgery gown, with IVs hooked up from every direction – I cried.
It wasn’t too soon after that, that Mike grabbed my hand and knew who we were (I know it sounds silly, but I truly did not know what to expect). Just having major brain surgery, I did not know if they may have snipped a nerve that would make him forget us all…I know, I watch too many movies!
The day progressed and after what seemed forever, Mike got a room (I say it was the penthouse of all hospital rooms at Hotel MDA). We settled in and the fun began! To this day I will never forget the nighttime nurse that we had – if you can imagine, she was a short little elderly red head and feisty. If you can picture it, she reminded me of the little old lady that sings “hip to the hop, hippty hop” in the Wedding Singer. Any how, she was a GREAT nurse. Poor Mike was on so much medication that caused tempers to flare, and she took it all with a grain of salt and ensured my Hubby was taken care of. Though our stay in the hospital was only 2 ½ days – YES 2 days – in fact, Mike was up and coherent the same night of his surgery! Dr. Weinberg came in the next morning and could not believe it! His exact words were “I cannot believe you had brain surgery yesterday!” Praise GOD!
As this week has been so hectic with the upcoming remembrance of 9/11, the turmoil of the wildfires spreading through Texas, the flooding in our northern states, tropical storms forming in the gulf, I completely forgot about this important date. So to me, I have to say it is quite a celebration! A time of year that will never be forgotten and a date that I will celebrate today knowing that Mike continues to defy all odds and the Cancer (which to this day is still scary), but for our family we praise GOD for coming around this curve fast and furious and kicking cancer to the curb one day at a time.
In closing, for all of you that have been on this journey since day one, for the ones that joined us along the way, and for anyone just starting the first page today --- we thank you! As I say the amount of support and love that we receive from you ALL on a daily basis, along with our GOD above is what gets us through our brightest and darkest days!
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie - Jim Davis”
Agh! I found this quote and actually chuckled a little bit. Kind of like the being on the “Sea” diet – “Everything I ‘SEE’ I eat”.
Chatting with a “Blog Buddie” earlier (as we all know I ramble, and the things I say sometimes, I wonder if I made that up just then or if heard it somewhere along the way) and we were discussing how negative the world can be at times and we both are striving to remove ourselves a such as we can, but at times it is difficult to have just the right mixture of people to make up the “ingredients” of your recipe of life.
I got to thinking about that, and it seems like in EVERY recipe you have, the majority consist of salt. I myself know by many test runs that with not enough salt the recipe can not taste right, with too much salt it can ruin the recipe in a second but you add it just right and all the ingredients that make up what you are making, all just seem to come together in harmony.
I thought of how in life, the negativity that comes along with it is sort of like salt. Let’s face it; the world around us is just sometimes a negative place. Whether it be the news, relationships or ANYTHING, too much of it can completely ruin it! Now don’t get me wrong I am not condoning negative behavior, but I believe GOD allows us when we are faced with it to either one of 3 things --- if we take it all away, then the world would be perfect, we would all get along, but yet in reality there would be something missing. If add too much and let it consume us, then the recipe is ruined and we spend more time making something new and take away from the focus of all the other “side dishes”. Now if we allow just the right amount, then we end up with a harmony of ingredients working together to make a pleasant dish.
Now that entire paragraph above may have made no sense, but I suppose what I am saying is that in life, you cant completely escape the negativity – it is just one of those things that has itself in “all recipes”, BUT you can choose to keep yourself in ONLY in what you want to and not be brought down by others. The older I have become and though I have a HUGE heart and want to save the world and make everyone friends and fix everyone’s problems – when I do that it takes away from me, my husband and my family. We are all adults and I feel the older we get, you realize it is ok to be selfish (< -- see another from a blog buddy) You learn the older you get you CANNOT fix others, they must fix themselves – what you can do is pray for them, and pray that they too are able to know exactly how much salt to add to their recipe. In closing, I have learned it takes a WHOLE lot more energy to be upset at the world and try to fix things that can’t be fixed than it does to be happy. With all that is going on with Mike and I, I am so much easier awakened everyday with a positive attitude and “kart-wheel” mentality than to let the black rain cloud follow me every where I go – AND even for those days, I have a really cute polka-dot umbrella! I am not saying life by ANY means is easy --- but as Joel Osteen would say, “It is Up to YOU to be Happy – No one else!” XO Lyndie PS – I found this awesome recipe I wanted to share: The TRUE Recipe for Life
4 cups of Love
2 cups of Loyalty
3 cups of Forgiveness
1 cup of Friendship
5 spoons of Hope
2 spoons of Tenderness
4 quarts of Faith
1 barrel of Laughter
1) Take Love and Loyalty, mix it thoroughly with Faith.
2) Blend it with Tenderness, Kindness & Understanding.
3) Sprinkle abundantly with Laughter.
4) Bake it with Sunshine.
5) Serve daily with generous helpings.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
v. To secretly read someone's blog with the express purpose of learning more about them without their knowledge;
v.to stalk via blog
I received a few emails in the past months of not being able to become a "follower" or "member" of my blog and you labeled yourself as "Blog Stalkers". In all honesty I have no idea how to follow this blog myself or anything. I try to follow so many blogs, but the whole email thing gets in the way, so I just save as bookmarks -- sorry! Please continue to stalk this blog all you want! I Love love love that we touch so many people!! You are far from stalking...
In all honesty, for family, friends (past and present) this blog was started long ago and I never made it private. Blogs are fun and to share with all of you our daily life and especially share the miracles working in our life right now with Mike and Cancer -- we are an open book and thank you for visiting!!!
A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be. ~Douglas Pagels
Well maybe not Gina, but Tiffany! Just when I am about to go to bed, you throw me an email JUST AS inspirational as Joel Osteen himself!
A little background on Tiff and I. We met, I believe exactly 5 years ago. She walked into a birthday bash she was invited to by a mutual friend and met me! Whoo hoo! I was turning turning 20 something and as I was on my 6th shot, I grabbed Tiff and put a dollar in the juke box and crawled across the ground in my mini skirt to “Pour Some Sugar On Me!” I to this day do not know what exactly she thought of me, but either way we are friends to this day and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Fast forward a few years, I meet my hubby and things slowed down. Though we do not see each other too often we stay in touch via the “Social Network” Facebook and emails. She has been by my side spiritually through this journey with Mike, and though she is not the first to tell me, my emails are quite lengthy (but hey, I love to gab) she will email me in between updates with some wise words as she did tonight…I wanted to share this email with you all:
“So…here is my every now and again email. You remind me of Noah!
We’ve started having a Bible study at work on Wednesdays during our lunch break. You know, a little something to get us over the hump. Our little quick fix to push us through. Anyway…we have some beginners, as well as some almost theologians in the class. Very small and quite intimate atmosphere. With so many beginners, there was no better place to start studying than at the beginning. We’ve gone through the creation, the creation of man, the fall of man, Cain and Abel, and today we studied the flood.
God chose Noah to ride out that storm, because He knew that Noah loved God and he was righteous. So, the storm came, and Noah sustained it because he did just as God had commanded him to do. He and his family were finally released from the boat, and (this is the good part)….the VERY FIRST THING that Noah did when he got off the ark was…he built an altar, and made sacrifices to God. How amazing was that? Even Noah was saying, “Hey JESUS, It’s Me – Just Wanted to Say Thank YOU!” Thank you for bringing me and my family through that.
It takes a lot of energy to ride out a storm. It takes a lot of energy to go through any catastrophic ordeal in your life. It takes a lot of energy to be on the cancer journey, whether you’re the patient or the caregiver. BUT…God chose you, because He knows in your heart that you’re righteous and you guys love HIM! And it’s so beautiful to see you displaying the same traits that Noah possessed…the same passion, and love for God…so much so that even while in your storm, you continue to praise Him.
I may not tell you as often as I should, but I’m so happy to be in your circle. You’re important to me, and I love, love, love that I am able to share this ride with you guys. I’ll admit, sometimes I don’t have enough time to read the whole email…but sometimes (even if I’m busy as hell), I believe you deserve my attention, and I stop what I’m doing to hear what you have to say.
Thank you Lyndie for being YOU! Love you much!
You know, in all honesty when we started on this journey, I started this blog for my Own Therapy, an outlet to vent about what was going on and to keep all informed. It became clear to me one day when I received such a response from people all over, that I was doing something bigger than me; Mike and I were chosen for this journey to glorify GOD above. I know, I know, I get so many mixed emotions from all around and still cannot believe I consider this Cancer a blessing – but I have talked to Mike several times, and he is in agreement…GOD chose US for this for a reason.
In closing, we should all strive to be like Noah. When we pause and question “Why Us?” in whatever you have been handed…see it out to the end, you may realize that you too were chosen for a SPECIFIC task – whatever it may be. It is a hard pill to swallow. In our particular circumstance, we have came to a halt with our “life plans” even though we lead a “normal” life now, a lot of plans have been put on hold…but you know what, I know when this is over, we will continue to be blessed just as we are now, tenfold!
Thank you all for being a part of this journey – though it is a day to day process and we feel confident and hold our faith strong in what GOD has planned for us, we still must live with our eyes focused on present for we cannot change the past nor predict our future…
Tiff I love you more than you know!
“GOD Gave You A Gift Of 86,400 Seconds Today, Have You Used One To Say "Thank You? - William A. Ward”
Well I am using the majority of my 86,400 seconds to say Thank You JESUS for everything! Thanking MD Anderson for a HUGE part and diving the rest to thank YOU ALL for the continued support for Mike and I during this time and throughout this journey!!!
Today’s visit was ANOTHER one to write home about! Thankful that the doctors were not too behind today, and we got right in, got the good news and kart-wheeled out the door of MDA – Again! In my last email I had updated that Mike was to undergo one more BIG chemo and then pending the PET Scan results, he would be put on maintenance moving forward along with the Avastin (spinal/brain chemo) he will conclude in December. I am usually VERY anxious prior to visits, but this time I had complete peace and just felt that all was going to be good results. We awaiting our call (and by the way, if you are at ANY appointment for a lengthy time – Angry Birds is REALLY addicting and helps pass time!) We were called back and only a few minutes passed before Dr. Tsao came in ALL smiles and reported the good results. As of today (9/7/11) Mike has ONLY one lymph node that is infected (per the scan that is visible) and a few areas in his spinal bone. The chemo along with ALL prayers and our LORD above is kicking the cancer right out of Mike’s system!! What glorious news this was this AM and has truly made our day!
Mike remains to feel fantastic (The majority of the days) and overall has felt energized everyday and no major side effects from the chemo -- we are living a very normal productive life! I think this little cool front we have here in Houston has been a big help as well, and has gotten us out of the house and doing a lot more outside activities!!
As always, to each and every one of you, THANK YOU! For without ALL of you and the support along with the abundance of love you provide us on a daily basis, we would not be where we are today. Mike’s mentality continues to sky rocket and with the light at the end of the tunnel being apparently visible, it continues to accelerate daily!! There is not a day that goes by that Mike and I do not go through several emails and messages from you all, ALL over the world providing such inspiration along this journey – for this we are forever thankful!!!
In closing, we thank GOD for the wonderful weather we are feeling now, but continue to pray for our nation that is in so much turmoil at the moment with out of control wildfires & flooding. Mike and I send so many kisses and hugs to you all and wish you a wonderful rest of your week as school is now in full effect and the holidays are just around the corner!
Love you ALL!