Monday, July 25, 2011
“And Jesus answered them, Truly I say to you, if you have faith (a firm relying trust) and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, Be taken up and cast into the sea, it will be done - Matthew 21:21”
With this quote above and hitting my inbox at just this moment in the morning, I HAD to include it in my email. I truly feel that our mountain (Mike’s Cancer) is hearing our plea and soon will be set to sea!
First of all, I hope you all had a GREAT weekend! Mike and I did. He hit the water with the guys Saturday night while some girlfriends and I played Uno (That truly is the most fun game!) This was like no other though, it was SUPER TURBO Uno and with this little device, you just prayed when it was your turn to push the button that you weren’t torpedoed with UNO Cards – I think at one time, I had about 30 cards in my hand! Sunday we were able to spend some time with the nephews and take them to the Cinema Grill to see Cars 2 – I have to say, I do not believe I will ever enjoy a movie the same way unless I am at the Cinema Grill setting! Waiters, greasy delicious food and space enough to kick back and truly enjoy the movie – if you have not done this, then I advise you should – It was A LOT of Fun!
So onto the main reason for my email :) I had emailed a little while ago, that MD Anderson invited me to post a blog entry on their Cancer Wise website. I was beyond honored to be able to offer our journey to share with others in the MD Anderson Network and offer hope to others that are going through this now. Not only was I able to post this time, but I have been invited to share our journey continually for the following months – I am so ecstatic! I find it an honor to offer my emails and my own personal blog to others during this time, but to now be a part of MD’s Network – I praise GOD, for he is truly allowing this journey to do far more good than bad! I have the link here to the actual post, but encourage you to subscribe to the MD Anderson Cancer Wise Network – there are some truly amazing stories of others battling cancer, overcoming cancer and people that I have since been in contact with and now share our journeys together!
ALSO, I am happy to announce, that I have steered my volunteer services for MD in a different direction. With my work schedule and for me to be Mike’s primary care giver, the scheduling just wasn’t in the cards for me at this time with physically being at MD…SO I will now offer my “gift of gab” and have my phone open for anyone who seeks comfort, an ear to cry on or just has questions about what to expect from this journey. Now I know all of our journeys are different and each Cancer like a snowflake is different in each patient, but we all do share this connection and yearn to speak with others that are going though this time. Mike and I are beyond blessed to have such a great support team in our family and friends, but sometimes to talk to someone on the outside that is experiencing what you are offers that extra outlet of support. I will be starting this soon in the next few weeks as soon as all my paperwork is filled out. Please keep me in your prayers, for I know I love to talk and do not feel I will fault in that aspect, but I truly want to be an inspiration to others and continue to use our journey for good!
Mike and as always thank you all for continued prayers and support! He remains to be feeling little to no side effects from the recent Mega-Chemo; in fact he had one bad day and was back at work the next day! GOD truly continues to work miracles in our lives and show himself to us daily in his actions – for this we know this journey is to glorify him and our continued praises will NOT go unheard!
In closing, if you are experiencing any rain or cool fronts where you are – please do not hesitate to send them our way ;) it is a VERY Hot Houston Summer and it does not look like there is a break in sight! But on the same note, our grass is finally green again and for that I am thankful!
Mike and I wish you all a wonderful week ahead and hope that you continue to take NOTHING for granted!
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face - Eleanor Roosevelt”
Mike has been diagnosed this July One year! I feel like we should be a pro at this Cancer thing, but we literally learn something new everyday! Last night I was doing a little research online and looked up a few things pertaining to Cancer. Of course I was advised by Mike’s team of Doctors DO NOT GOOGLE everything! Ha! It is so hard, cause you here something and you automatically are triggered to GOOGLE it. Not only do you get all sorts of different information, half the time I end up re-diagnosing Mike and diagnosing myself as well – oye vay!
Today I came across this video from MD Anderson. It is a simple educational video about Cancer, and though there are many types and all cancers are different in each person – it is just a helpful summary of Cancer in general.
Also, I wanted to take a moment to introduce and thank Mike’s Team of Doctors that have been with us on this journey since day one! Though these are only the “Main” Doctors, know that we have much gratitude for the ENTIRE team of doctors, nurses and staff at MD Anderson who GOD placed us in the hands of during this journey.
Dr. Anne Tsao: http://faculty.mdanderson.org/Anne_Tsao/Default.asp
She and her team of nurses ensure my hubby receives the Best Treatment for him and
continued Cancer Ass Kicking Agents! Dr. Tsao is amazing As Well and Daily We Thank GOD she was placed in our path during this time - Thank You Dr. Tsao!
Dr. Morris Groves: http://faculty.mdanderson.org/Morris_Groves/Default.asp
Dr. Groves is one of our favorites -- He practiced law & got his doctorate --- He has been a TRUE Blessing during this journey & encourages us every time we visit! Calling Mike a Miracle was the highlight of our relationship! He is a wonderful Brain/Spine Doctor and a Hero to my Hubby! Thank you Dr. Groves!
Dr. Jefferey Weinberg: http://faculty.mdanderson.org/Jeffrey_Weinberg/
Since Day One -- Dr. Weinberg Performed Mike's Brain Surgery in September 2010 --- Mike was Up Walking and Released In 2 Days! Dr. Weinberg removed the tumor completely --- Thank You Dr. Weinberg!
MD Anderson is FULL of amazing doctors and medical teams, I just wanted to give many thanks to Mike’s specific team of doctors – we have truly been blessed beyond comprehension – and as GOD wants us to remember – trust in him completely for the choices he makes for us and know that IT HIS PLAN!
Thank You MD ANDERSON ---- Truly Making CANCER History!!!
Monday, July 18, 2011
“We all possess the thunder of pure fury and the calm breeze of tranquility. If it wasn't for tomorrow, how much would we get done today? Whatever your purpose... embrace it completely. Get lost in the clouds every now and then so you never lose sight of God's wonder - Paul Vitale”
Well it is becoming VERY apparent that Mike himself is here on this earth today and GOD continues to have much more in store for him – we are truly embracing his purpose!
It was a VERY eventful day today at MD & unlike last time, we surely skipped out of the hospital doing cart-wheels and praising The LORD above! As always, and in every email I stress how Mike and I both, though we have complete faith in GOD’s plans for us, as humans, we fill with anxiety and before each “result” visit, with Cancer being a disease with its own mind and plan – GOD surely has proven to us time and time again – HIS PLAN IS THE ONLY ONE WE NEED TO FOCUS ON – SCREW CANCER!
Our first appointment of the day was with Dr. Tsao. She and Nurse Vikki literally walked in the exam room with smiles, giggles and even a slight skip in their step! She said immediately that Mike’s results were awesome! The cancer is shrinking incredibly and fast! She went on to say (after a little prying and questioning) since this is Mike’s one year mark of being diagnosed, we were curious with him doing so well --- what were her thoughts. Sitting there with a HUGE grin on her face, she proceeded to remind us when Mike first came in with his original diagnosis, that most patients are given a prognosis of 6-9 months. (I myself will NEVER forget that day). She went on to say that Mike is well past that mark and he is doing SO very well and he is a Miracle, one of the lucky ones, and to this day still awes her of how great he is doing. She said with much confidence that she feels Mike WILL beat this and be Cancer Free!! Halleluiah! Of course we know how tricky cancer is and it does truly have a mind of its own, but so does our GOD and he has placed us with the very best team of doctors at MD and the very best medicines to treat his Cancer, that they all feel very comfortable with his progress and see it only going up from here!! They will continue to take whatever it takes, new medicines as technology progresses (which she said is really one of the chemos that is helping Mike – something that has recently come out in the past few months) and she only believes that new and improved will surface and if he can take, he will get it! (Oh and the new spot that I reported a few emails ago that appeared on this spleen – it’s gone!)
Well after that visit it was on to What He said. Our visits with Dr. Grove’s have always been great and that is one visit we do approach with much confidence, but still had a few butterflies. Dr. Groves along with Mike’s clinical trial team came in and shared the good news of Mike still remaining free and clean of ANY cancer cells in the spinal fluid, the brain and the area of his surgery is spotless along with his optic nerve (which months ago almost caused Mike to lose his sight). He too after doing the regular brain and nervous system exercises just paused and looked at Mike and said you are a miracle – his clinical team nurse shook her head in much agreement! However, the cancer long ago we knew had spread to the bones, and at this time, he still has many metastases on his spinal BONE, but they are shrinking and the others are stable and not spreading. It was something that we were aware of and just another part of this disease that we will continue to fight and kick right outta Mike’s body. I went on to ask Dr. Groves since Mike is receiving the Avastin for the brain and spine through a clinical trial (which will be up in December), what would we expect? Since he is doing SO well, when the trial is up, he will extend Mike’s treatment so he can still receive the Avastin as long as he is doing so well with it --- that is if he EVEN still has Cancer! Also, they mentioned that Mike is the only one left on this clinical trial…I did not dig too much, as to if he is the only survivor on this path, or just the last one to join and still be on…it sounded as if Mike is the “miracle” and left it at that.
Mike does undergo the Mega-Chemo tonight, so as I know you will, please keep him in your prayers for minimal side effects. I am telling you, that trip to Florida did something to him and even the Drs admired his tan and his carefree attitude today – he remains in a good, good place!
In closing, to you all that send such inspirational messages, emails, phone calls and of course all the Face book messages, know and do not forget that all of these inspire Mike and I every day. Days that we may not feel so strong, just a message or call from you, makes it all better. This fight is not quite over yet, but we know without a doubt, Mike C’s time here is far from over!!!! I also appreciate all of the kind words of my journey with MD Anderson Cancer Wise Blog. My first post will appear July 25th and every month after that – it is still so surreal, and I just pray that I can be an inspiration to someone that is going through what Mike is or to the caregiver that is going through what I am…it is a HUGE network and I feel completely blessed for us to be a part of it!
Kisses, Hugs and Unconditional love to you all!
Friday, July 15, 2011
“Be careful of your thoughts; they may become words at any moment - Ira Gassen”
Well by Wednesday of this week it had already been a long week for Mike with back to back testing and chemo. For me, it had been a busy week as well at work with deadlines and work related visits that included preparation, it just was what it was…a Wednesday that you wished was a Friday. With Mike’s schedule all things are in no particular order, so his chemo being scheduled for the AM, his MRIs were not set for 6PM the same evening. Fortunately, Mike’s chemo was post-poned to his testing schedules, so he was able to go home and I swooped him back up at 530 to go to his MRIs.
Anyone who has been to MD (and no offense) but your scheduled time IS NEVER the time you actually get in. We arrived and sat in the waiting room with other patients and care givers and as always mingled and got to know them all. There was one patient, Steven, who was there with (at the time we did not know) his father, and was there for a brain scan for his brain cancer. He sat there asleep in his wheel chair, which is not uncommon in the waiting rooms, so we were not able to talk directly with him. They called him back along with Mike at the same time. As I watched his elderly caregiver struggle to push him into the area where you change for the MRIs, Mike quickly offered to help, but was stopped by the acting nurse on duty. So they all went on to get scanned.
I sat there to myself reading the latest tabloid (and yes! I love that Kate Middelton is wearing hose! I myself go bare, but it is quite elegant for her – and US Weekly seems to agree!) Anyhow, I am there minding my own self and the elderly man that had just wheeled his son into the changing room peeked out quietly and asked for assistance in getting his son into the proper attire. (2) Nurses came quickly; seem to evaluate the situation and left to get some more help. I was so happy to see that, obviously this man was not able to do it himself and I would not expect anything less than that from the MD Staff.
A few minutes pass and everyone is where there are supposed to be. In the corner of my eye, one of the nurses came up to the front desk to talk to the MRI operator and they began conversation about Steven. “Did you see that guy all asleep and stuff?” The MRI guy “yes, I was not about to help him, that’s not my job. Haha!” The nurse laughed “Yeah, where they expecting me to do it?” I looked around as this conversation was going on, and I suppose they were speaking soft enough for the others not to hear and I have GREAT hearing, or they heard and ignored.
I sat there and was completely peeved! I stewed for a moment and knew if I walked right then and there I would have made a scene. I waited till the other nurse left and said a quick prayer to GOD for what I am about to do. I calmly walked up to the desk and asked the MRI guy to step to the side in the hallway. He looked bewildered at first but obliged and walked over. I went on to tell him I heard all he and the nurse had said and as a care giver, I am disgusted in their behavior and feel that if they are “having a day” take it to the break room, not in front of patients and caregivers that spend their days and nights at MD and depend on them to have the most compassion. He looked confused as to “what was I referring to?” I looked him square in the face (and at this time, it was almost 9, so I was tired and hungry) and said, do not play dumb, I heard you and the nurse, no one else did, be thankful and I am leaving it at that. Surely enough within 10 minutes as patients arrived he was the most bubbly person you had ever met – you would have thought I zapped him with my Cart-Wheel stick!
In closing – when you are in a situation that feels uncomfortable and you are not sure what to do …go with your gut --- I did. I believe too many instances go un-noticed and if you have the chance to stand up, do it – especially if you believe in it!
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Today’s entry from Joel & Victoria reads “Too often, it’s easy for people to get satisfied in life and think, “Well, I’m blessed. I’ve got a roof over my head. I’ve got money to pay my bills.” And that’s good. But that’s not God’s best. God is a God of abundance. He wants you to not only have enough for your own needs, but He wants you to have so much left over that you can be a blessing to somebody else. We need to go beyond thinking, “I’m blessed because I’ve got food on the table.” Let’s be grateful for what we have, but we can’t stop there. We need to stretch our faith for others as well. When you have enough to meet the needs of others, that’s when you’re walking in the fullness of His blessing.”
I was so happy to open my email this AM, it was just what I needed to hear. The past few weeks I have felt completely blessed with the opportunity to speak with KSBJ and to now offer my entries into the MD Anderson monthly Cancer Wise Blog. Of course when things are going so well and you feel GOD ultimately working in your life, the devil sets in and whispers those little bits of insecurity in your ear; “Do you really think your writing is touching that many people?”, “Don’t you think people get tired of your chirpiness and always optimistic attitude?”, “Do you really think you are reaching anyone out there?” YES, I do get those thoughts and immediately say a prayer and thank GOD for the ability he has given me to do what I do and continue to share our journey and YES be an inspiration to others, no matter what the circumstance in their lives.
I take from this message that was sent that GOD does indeed want to us to praise and be grateful for the food we have on the table, for the roof we have over our heads, but also use the blessings that happen in our lives and spread the praise and allow yourself to be a blessing to someone else as well – share! Through our journey I turned to blogging for (2) reasons. First it was an outlet and truly offered Therapy for me as everyday is ever-changing. Second it was the chance that gave me the ability to speak to EVERYone at once throughout this journey. It allowed me with one swoop to inform everyone of updates, results, going ons and much more. Never did I think that it would become what it has and have the responses that I receive daily.
I receive emails from people ALL over the country and even have been graced with some from other countries that have been touched in one way or another by our journey. Our journey that consists of ups and downs but most of all focuses on GOD and how good he is to us and with “Faith the size of a Mustard Seed” anything is possible.
I encourage you all to though you feel blessed at this moment; please continue to share your blessing with others. This does not mean if you win the lottery go out and by all your friends a car, or a new home…take this as a chance to spread the word of how YOU have been blessed on your daily journey. Maybe you have been praying for a raise at work, maybe you have been praying for a family member, maybe you are just having four good hair days in a row and traffic has been wonderful going to work this week or you just feel that everything in your life is a blessing and you want to share – take this opportunity and do not be shy!
I no longer get those thoughts of insecurity often as I used to, for the emails, phone calls and messages that I do get far surpass any of the negative I have ever received and for this I know GOD will continue to bless us beyond belief just as he will you too for as long as we am here!
Monday, July 11, 2011
“Fire Watch: A fire watch is implemented to ensure the fire-safety of a building or area in the event of any act, e.g., hot work, or situation instigating an increased risk to persons or property. The term "Fire Watch" is used to describe a dedicated person or persons whose sole responsibility is to look for fires within an established area.”
Driving home today after work, I saw a sign on a building “Fire Watch Wanted”. I thought for a minute and knew many people that were just starting out in construction in my early twenties that flocked to the Fire Watch position. I never really understood what it entailed, but was just always told “It’s an easy way to make 16.00/Hour”…That’s a lot of money just coming out of high school with no degree.
As I thought it about it a little more, now that I am older, I was intrigued and once I got home looked up the definition of a Fire Watch. Wow! I can surely see why it would pay that money, but surely do not see why anyone would want that responsibility. To always be on guard, never to leave your station. The sole responsibility to ensure your area stays safe of any trouble throughout your entire shift – all on you. When something goes arie, YOU are the one that must take action and put in place the people that need to put these fires out – you are the one that will headed the call and responsible.
If you think about your everyday life, we also, like any area in danger of a fire starting; we must also have a constant Fire Watch. With all that we have going on around us, we sometimes get sidetracked and do not pay attention to what is going on all around us – so who is YOUR Fire Watch? I am proud to admit I have the Ultimate Fire Watch on my side, and so do you – GOD.
Think of your every day hustle and bustle. You are going here you are going there, and isn’t it too often when you least expect it, BOOM, a fire ignites in your life. It may be health related, financials, Family, Friends, work, etc. Think of those instances that these flames appear and in an instant you are notified by GOD and instantly put onto a path to ensure your fire is put out. Now the putting out of the fire may not be instant, but with complete faith Knowing GOD has the speed and tools to put in place the people to put out your Fire, complete gratitude sets in. And do not fear or under estimate those fires, cause right when one is going out, you better believe another one will take its place, but with GOD as YOUR Fire Watch, you will surely never get burned or ever be beyond repair.
In closing, this laid on my mind this evening, and I felt lead to write, to remind of the Ultimate Fire Watch – the one that does not work in shifts, but yet works 24 Hours a Day 365 days a Year and 7 days a week to ensure we remain safe at home, work and our everyday lives.
Friday, July 8, 2011
“Don't smother each other. No one can grow in the shade - Leo Buscaglia”
Every once in a while, I take a moment to clean out drawers, shelves and cabinets. My we accumulate a lot of things – these things end up in what we usually call our “junk drawers”. Lord knows we have plenty in our house – if we are looking for a screwdriver, yep not usually in the normal place such a tool box, you can find it in our junk drawer. Looking for just anything you can use around the house you can find it in any hiding place in the house – these places become the spaces that as soon as you have company, it all gets dumped into these spaces and sometimes you forget it is there, till you happen to be looking in that spot and “oh wow!” there it is – even though you were not looking for it right then!
Well while Mike was out in Florida, I did some major cleaning and while doing that I came across my ‘Fireproof – The Love Dare’. Wow! I could not believe that this book was something I had just stuffed in a cabinet somewhere. This book, this challenge played a huge part in my life with not only my marriage, but with other relationships in my life as well – relationships with family and friends.
If you have never read ‘Fireproof’ or ever did the 40-day challenge, I highly recommend that you seek out a copy and not only read, but adapt it to your everyday life. Though it is only a “40 Day” challenge, I have continued to use the advise and direction of this book in my everyday life, especially since Mike was diagnosed. You don’t have to have a marriage in distress or any turmoil in your life, it simply is a healthy exercise to continue to add water to any relationships in your life to ensure they continue to flourish and grow. I have since reading this book, taken my closest relationships in my life to whole new levels or love, respect and compassion.
I will support this book up and down and now that I have re-found it, I am tempted to do it again! I encourage you, no matter what is going on in your life, whether you feel you need it or not. Start with opening that first page and with it offering short chapters that you limit to one a day followed by a small exercise, it is really so easy and the feeling you get in the end is priceless!
I have attached a link here to the website: http://www.fireproofthemovie.com/
As always I wish you all continued health and wealth in all aspects of your life, especially the unlimited wealth of love!
Thursday, July 7, 2011
“There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein - Walter Wellesley”
I hope you all enjoyed a safe and fun Holiday weekend! Mike and I did! He made it home safely from Florida; we celebrated our 3 years of marriage and spent the 4th of July at his sister’s beach house celebrating with the nephews and friends. Mike remains in good spirits and though the high of his trip to Florida as worn off a little, the energy and rejuvenated spirit is sure in tact and we can’t wait to go back!
As you all know with my numerous emails, blogs and all the other outlets I have utilized singe Mike’s diagnosis, I LOVE to write. I don’t necessarily know that I could “write, write” like a novel or anything that did not have to do with “real life”, but when it comes to people I love (especially My Husband), our families and friends, I could write all day long! I started my blog a while ago, but really jumped back into it after Mike was diagnosed. It became really just what the title of it is “My Therapy”. Not only did it give me the chance to involve you all with every step, but it was also allowing me to take all that I have in me and by placing it on paper, it somehow became such a therapeutic experience for me, and since then I have just continued to write from my heart.
In saying all that, I have been reaching out to various outlets in hopes that someone will read my writing and feel that it would be a great tool of inspiration to others as well. Today I was emailed by MD Anderson. They have a networking newsletter that is called “Cancer Wise”. It is published online and emailed to all that sign up to receive. Every month they have all sorts of articles in relation to Cancer, MD Anderson and all else. They also offer a section for Cancer Patients, Caregivers and doctors to blog about various items and today they have asked ME to be apart of this!!! I am super stoked! I have (2) weeks till my first deadline. I spoke to the Communications Assistant this afternoon and she was a delight to talk to, and though I am nervous she reassured me just to continue to write from my heart that is all that is required. I am still awaiting a schedule with the local radio station but did receive a call from one of their broadcasters in relation to schedules and times for Mike and I!
I cannot relay how happy this makes my heart! The opportunity to reach beyond just my emails, my blogs and speak to others who may just need that special word at “that Moment”. I know it has happened to me plenty of times, and I feel that GOD is working and stirring in our lives to make all this happen so that we can ensure all the praise and glory continue to go to him.
As I always close my emails, I want to continue to thank you all for EVERY ounce of support, encouragement, prayers, lifted-spirits that we receive on a daily basis. With GOD and ALL of you, Mike and I are stronger for each day that goes by and each morning that we awake! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
PS – Mike this month will be undergoing Brain / Spine MRIs, Chemo for The Lung & Spine – Please continue pray for minimal side effects – for he has done so well and we know each day holds a new journey, but we remain confident and faithful that he will stay tight on the one we are on today!