Thursday, September 19, 2013

Same song . . .

. . .  another verse.  Today was day #15 of cycle 5 and my neutriphils were too low for me to be treated.  The good news is that I seem to be responding well to treatment even though I keep missing the final one in the cycle and I will have an extra week off to rebuild cells.  I am literally counting the days until I am finished and on the road to Jackson for scans - 38 to be exact. 

In spite of lowered counts, I am spending more and more time in my chair rather than on the bed.  What an improvement from how things were at the beginning and into the summer!  Still, I plan to do more than I actually can get accomplished.  If I'm honest, I have to admit that has always been a fault of mine.  Tom told me often how unrealistic the lists of "to dos" were.  I also have to admit that God is teaching me not to be so wrapped up in what I can do!

God bless you for reading, for caring and for praying.
Pastor Margaret

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Some days . . .

*are too dull and monotonous to notice.
*getting out of bed is a struggle.
*the smile is forced.
*I actually rejoice in the presence of God.

Honestly, I am sick to death of fatigue!  I am tired of being confined!  I miss seeing friends!  I miss being able to worship with others! 

Some have such kind, encouraging words to say about how  "I handle" things.  The reality is I can't "handle" anything.  I have to pray constantly to accept and be patient.  Trust in God is not the issue.  How could I not trust the amazing I AM?  God's faithfulness is most abundant, very real.  I just get bogged down with the monotony, the fatigue, the blah, the confinement. 

This past week, more than ever, I have focused on God's presence.  I have prayed for balance, for patience and to accept circumstances.  On the days when I have been especially fatigued, I have prayed for God's strength to infuse me.  When I felt particularly cut off from the rest of the world, I prayed and four friends I haven't talked to in a while, called.  Someone came out for a visit; messages came over the internet.  It is not silly to pray for the everyday things that brighten our days.  God cares! 

The little girls keep me laughing.  They have been thinking (a lot) about Halloween and their costumes. I'm not sure why costumes at Halloween are such a big deal to them since dress up is one of their favorite things to do almost every day.  Elisa prefaced a question to me with: "If you're still alive at Halloween . . ." I was too astounded with the preface to remember the question.  After I came from treatment Thursday, she told me that I did look a little older.

I have written the things above to say that dealing with this cancer, the treatment and the side effects of both does not come without struggle.  It is tempting to just not care.  It is tempting to wonder why should I care.  Satan stands ready to steal my focus.  There continues to be that nagging question of "what should I be doing?"  And I am reminded of the words:  "Be still and know that I am God."  Being still gives time to really meditate on God's word, to consider what it means to "have no other gods before Me."  Being still is part of my continuing journey. 

Pastor Margaret

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Believe it or not . . .

. . . Just after I finished posting the last blog I picked up my knitting and proceeded to knit.  Much to my surprise, I noticed I had a stitch out of place that was affecting the pattern.  My example had hit home!  Unfortunately, I've had to take out several rows to try to make the correction and that particular project has sat idle for several days.  One mistake yields consequences.  The good news, however, is that in life with Christ that mistake is forgiven and we are put right with God.  As I stare at the mass of red stitches, trying to get every stitch back in place and turned the right way, I am reminded once more of the pattern of God's Law I am to follow. 

The first time I really studied the Ten Commandments was in college years ago.  Since then I have studied them over and over, taught and preached on them and I'm still fascinated at the way God uses them in our lives.  Another first for me in college was learning about the Sovereignty of God so plainly taught in the Scripture.  That knowledge has kept me grounded and given me hope.  As I contemplated the Sovereignty of God and the the first commandment:  "Thou shalt have no other gods before me," I realized that if God, and if such a God as He is, really is first and foremost in our very being, then we wouldn't need the other nine commandments.  Thus began a lifelong process of trying to put no one, no thing ahead of God in my life.  How I have failed! Yet, the mistakes continue to be forgiven, to be made right and to help me move ahead.  Our God is a great God!  He is the great I AM. 

One of Elisa's newest words is "obsessed," an interesting word for a five year old.  Last week she told me that her daddy said I was obsessed with salt.  That has long been a sore subject.  I do consume too much and was made keenly aware of it when my blood pressure was giving me problems.  In her own way, Elisa was entering the salt discussion by suggesting I might be obsessed with it.  Whether or not that is true, there is one thing about which I could easily obsess:  good blood! 

On Friday, the 30th of August, I spent several hours at the Cancer Center receiving two units of packed red cells.  Within 24 hours I felt better.  As the days progressed I felt more and more like myself.  I did laundry, ran the vaccuum, cooked a little.  I began to look forward to the end of October when we hope these treatments will be modified.  I could easily and completely become obsessed with good blood! 

Treatment cycle five began this past Thursday and already I'm droopy.  The end, though, is in sight.  I do not have to rely on my own strength.  My God will supply--and does--my every need.

Pastor Margaret