Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Happy Birthday, Little Middle!

Dear Little Middle,

You are six years old today! I feel like I say it every year, but really...where is the time going? Easter is just around the corner, and I was remembering today that when you were a tiny infant, we had this silly little footie pajama outfit that I put you in on Easter Sunday. It had ducks on the feet part. I clearly remember you laying in your crib and kicking those little duck heads all around. It wasn't the greatest outfit I have ever dressed you in, but you were sweet enough then to be adorable in duck footies. You've shown me that some of the most important things in life don't change.

This has been a big year for you! One of the biggest things that has happened is that you started school. You were pretty nervous about going, but your great personality and sweet spirit have made it easy for you to fit in and make friends. It was just a few months ago that you read the first pages of a book--Green Eggs and Ham!!--and now there's not much you can't read! You like math, and every time your class starts a new unit in social studies, you scour your bedroom looking for an acceptable toy or book to share with your friends. God was listening when I asked Him for the perfect kindergarten teacher for you. Mrs. W has become my friend, too, and we have a great time together talking about how wonderful you are! The two of you share a birthday--what a fun day it was today at kindergarten!

Another big thing that has happened this year is that you have become quite the little athlete. You are really into karate and soccer. I almost could not bear your cuteness the first time I saw you in your karate uniform! You have surprised us with your affection for this sport, which involves quite a bit of one-on-one with the instructor. You never seem intimidated or shy in class, and even less during tournaments! You have brought home two first-place trophies and one second-place trophy, all of which you display proudly in your room.
You, my son, have turned me into the stereotypical "soccer mom." I carry lawn chairs in the back of my SUV, kick soccer balls with you in the backyard, and spend my spring Saturday mornings cheering for you from the sidelines. You love the game, and you are good at it. Daddy and I are so proud of you!

You can be silly, and you make us laugh a lot. Some of my favorite quotes are credited to you! You recently said to your little brother, "Baby, you are a tumbleweed," and told me that you wanted to change your middle name to Cheese Sauce. I don't know where you come up with this stuff, but I love it!
You are still a big fan of Star Wars and Legos. You love to be outside, and you only wear shoes if we specifically tell you to put them on. You like to be comfortable--you love your "soft" pants and shorts, and I don't think you could ever have too many pairs of pajamas! You like video games, bike rides, and going to church. You adore cheese pizza and "special" beds on the floor.

A few weeks ago we had a family meeting. Daddy and I had the hard job of telling you and your brothers that my cancer had come back. You were sad--not so much because you understand all that cancer really means, but because you love me and you don't want me to be sick. Since then, I've had surgery and have been resting a lot at home. Just the other day, you came in and asked if you could lie down with me. It was cold outside, and it felt good to cuddle with you. After you were all situated under the covers, you snuggled up to me, and ever so softly began to sing the old Beatles hit "One Is the Loneliest Number."

Precious little boy, there are a lot of things in this life that I'm just not certain about. But here are a few things I know for sure: I am never lonely when I am with you. You, sweet boy, fill my heart with love and joy. Getting to be your mom is one of the greatest privileges of my life. You are important to our family, and you are cemented in my heart. You and your brothers are the reasons I will fight as hard as I can, because I don't want to miss one minute of YOU.

Happy Birthday, Little Middle. Your mommy loves you.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Thing Which I Thought I Could Not Do

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do." - Eleanor Roosevelt

I had an experience last Thursday which I wish I could have written about last Thursday. Instead, it took me a few days to process (and cry). But I'm ready to share now...

I've mentioned here that I am pretty emotional about the possibility of losing my hair during my chemotherapy treatment. We have been told repeatedly that every patient responds differently to chemo and that every drug has different side effects. I KNOW it is possible that not a hair on my head will be lost. But a difficult situation is made a little more challenging--and beautiful--by the impending marriage of my best friend and her beloved. That wedding is close! April 17th, to be exact. I do not have the luxury of time to sit around and see if I will be one of the lucky ones. Plus, I'm not feeling exactly what you could call "lucky" these days! I keep telling Hubby that I just will prepare for the absolute worst to happen, and if we get anything besides that, it will be a pleasant surprise!

Back to the hair issue. Not only am I very, very sad about losing it; I am very, very sad that my boys will have a bald mama. My head is astronomically large--I don't think I will be a very attractive bald person. There is NO WAY that I can walk around hairless. Not for me, not for them.

So, last Thursday, my mom and my sister (who has a wedding of her own just around the corner) went with me to find a hair solution. We had contacted a shop here in the Metroplex that is run by a group of women who are all cancer survivors. In spite of my dread, we made an appointment.

Well. I thought it would be all about hair. Was I wrong! This cute little girly shop had anything and everything you could ever imagine a lady suffering through cancer might need or want. I thought nothing could make me feel happy as long as I was there, but then I saw this T-shirt:
And I laughed out loud. I might go back and buy it in a few months.

Kathy is the name of the lady who helped us. I was a mess--I cried off and on, along with Mom and Sister--almost the whole time. Kathy just talked right over the blubbering, as if my behavior was perfectly normal. She showed me what seemed like a thousand different hairstyles, colors, wigs, scarves, and hats. She spent close to two hours with me and never once strayed from kindness, compassion, and patience. She told me some of her personal story of breast cancer, but not too much. She understood when I said I'd had enough, and then she hugged me like we were old friends. Kathy promised that everything will be OK. I want so much to believe her.

As I sat there in that chair, looking at the reflection of myself wearing pretend hair, my feelings were mixed. Of course, I was sad. So very, VERY sad. But I felt just the tiniest touch of strength and pride, too. My original game plan went a little something like this: Lose hair...stay locked up in bedroom until it grows back. I was serious about it, too. BUT, I have three very good reasons to live the best life I can, with or without my hair. Those three reasons need their mama.

I took a small step on Thursday toward facing one of my greatest fears. In no way do I think those were the last tears I will shed about my silly (gigantic) head of hair, nor do I look forward to going through the next few months without it. But I did something really, really hard. And in a strange way, I came out feeling like I'd won a small victory.

P.S. In the Everything You Never Thought You'd Need For Cancer section of the store, I found these. And purchased them. And I've been pleasantly surprised to find that they work a little bit.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Wanting to Worship

I am spending a lazy Sunday afternoon in my polka-dot pajamas, curled up in my bed. Outside the window, I am watching the last of a Texas spring snow melt away and trying not to think about how much I enjoyed the 70 degree temperatures less than 48 hours ago. In the other room, I can hear the little cowboys cheering and jeering their way through a new Wii game. Hubby is passing back and forth, cleaning out cabinets--due in part to boredom, and in part to a need for some spring cleaning around here. He's a good, good man.
This morning I got up early, got all fancied up in my best jeans, and headed to the church house. I haven't been to church in a month, and I HAVE MISSED IT. I am of the opinion that the command God gives us to "not give up meeting together" (Hebrews 10:25) is a lovely one indeed. We love our church. I was glad to be there when my boys practically skipped into their classrooms. I was glad to be there when I got hugs from friends, big and small, who I haven't seen in a while. I was glad to be there when "my" usher, Mr. Bill (who keeps mini chocolate bars in his coat pocket to give to the kids each week), opened the door for me and when I made eye contact with precious Ms. Dessie over the balcony railing and blew her a kiss. I was glad to be there to sing the words of the great hymn "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing." I was glad to be there to hear a sermon on what authentic worship is and what it is not.
I jotted this tidbit down in my notes: "Worship is done everywhere--even in the middle of crisis and disaster." What a timely reminder! I will be mindful of that when I go back to the oncology office on Wednesday for a chemotherapy teaching session. This session, slated to last 1 1/2 hours, will be Hubby and me and my parents, learning everything we ever wanted (or did not want) to know about chemo. She will tell us when my chemo sessions will be, what to expect, and what they think the drugs will or will not do to my body. They say that information is power, but I am scared of what I will learn at that appointment. I don't want to find out about a chemotherapy protocol that has been specially designed for me. I don't even want it to exist!
Even more than that, I dread what must happen after the appointment on Wednesday. Hubby and I must sit down with our sons and try to explain chemotherapy to them. I have the same knot in my stomach that I had four weeks ago when we told them that the cancer had returned. How can I explain to my children that the only way to fight is with more sickness? This seems even more complicated after a conversation I had with Goliath yesterday. He and I went out in the snow yesterday afternoon to run a few errands, and on our way back I stopped at the dry cleaners to pick up some clothes we had waiting there. It went something like this:
Goliath: Mom, what are we doing here?
Me: I need to pick up these sweaters so Dad has them for church tomorrow.
Goliath: Why are we going to church tomorrow?
Me: Ummm...because we always go to church. We haven't been able to go for a few weeks, but it's important that we are there to learn and worship.
Goliath: We just didn't go because of your surgery.
Me: That's right, buddy. Goliath, do you think that God stopped loving me because I got sick?
Goliath: Noooooo...
Me: And do you think that God stopped loving you and your brothers and your dad because you feel sad about me?
Goliath: Nooooo...that's not how it works. But Mom, I don't know why we have to talk about this, because you're not sick anymore.
My sons believe that I am well. They understand that I am not 100%--they see me resting and taking medicine--but as far as we can tell, they think that my release from the hospital meant that the cancer is over. This week will be a bad surprise for them.
This disease is my crisis, my own personal disaster. I am sad and scared. But in spite of that, I want to worship. I want to show my sons what real worship looks like, so they can draw from that when they are ready. God is not contained by my cancer or boxed in by my sorrow. His goodness and loving kindness reach far beyond my weakness. Even when I am hurting, I will choose to worship. Streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise. He is so worthy!
"I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High." Psalm 9:1-2

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Today's Blog Post is Brought to You By the Letter "C"




Canine Companion



Cookies and Caring

Crying, Cancer, Chemotherapy

Monday, March 15, 2010

Random Tidbits from the Weekend

1. When the 3 little cowboys and their daddy are away, it is VERY quiet in the house.
2. When the 3 little cowboys and their daddy are away, I miss them a LOT.
3. Abby dog is ready for spring, and likes to lay out in the sun.
4. I have some of the best friends in the whole world.
5. Some of my favorite cards are made out of construction paper and have misspelled words and backwards letters.
6. I thought I could conquer Target on Saturday. Instead, Target conquered me.
7. Love is a funny thing. It gets better with time.
8. The happiness of the people I love is key to my own happiness.
9. Courage and faith really mean nothing unless I back up my words with my actions.
10. People actually expect me to wear pajamas, all day every day.
11. There is nothing good on television during the weekend.
12. World Market is a very interesting store.
13. In the fall, I think daylight savings time is a great idea. In the spring, it makes no sense to me.
14. The boys sound super sweet when I talk to them on the phone.
15. Our church helps support an orphanage in Guatemala. I would really, really like to go on one of the mission trips there sometime and love on those children.
16. Tiny puppies are irresistable!
17. Flip flops are high on my favorites list.
18. I continue to be amazed at the way God orchestrates circumstances and people to minister to me and my family during this season.
19. I am looking forward to Spring Break just so I can enjoy being with my boys.
20. I am annoyed when I call a store during business hours and they don't answer the phone.
21. I am afraid of losing my hair to chemotherapy, and I hate that I feel so strongly about something so silly.
22. Fruity Mentos are quite possibly the world's greatest candy.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Looking For Answers

I spent some sweet time yesterday with my friend Lisa. We laughed a lot--we always do--and cried a little while we discussed all things cancer. She pierced my heart when she confessed that she doesn't even know how to wrap her mind around what is happening to me, or what exactly to pray for when it comes to my sickness. I totally understand what she meant: It comes back to the crazy question that doesn't seem to have an answer: WHY?
I would be dishonest if I said that I haven't had moments of anger and great sadness. I have shaken my proverbial fist at God and wondered aloud if He made a big mistake. I have read and re-read Job's story of suffering, and tried to connect the parallel dots of our lives. I have asked my husband over and over again if he can maybe see a bigger picture that I can't (he doesn't) and asked my friends and family to plead with God for healing (they are).
I don't get it. I can't explain to my children, to my friends, or to anyone else why this terrible disease is invading my life because I don't know. I, too, am unable to wrap my mind around it or look far enough ahead to see what God might have in store.
But I told Lisa through my tears yesterday that I don't think that God is waiting on me to be able to explain Him. I think He only wants me to trust Him. Do I honestly think that my body was stricken with cancer when God was not looking? Of course not. Do I think He was surprised on February 17th when the doctor said to us, "There is a new tumor growing?" Nope. Do I feel forgotten and unloved? No way. My Lord's love letter to me says: "All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." (Psalm 139:16) He knew long, long ago that cancer would be part of my life. He knew that there would be a Chapter 2. He does not need my input, my advice, or my approval. He only wants my obedience.
In John chapter 9 we are told the story of the blind man. v.2: "The disciples asked him, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?'" That's the same question so many people are asking about me and my cancer: Why did this happen? And right there, in verse 3, is the answer we are all searching for. If you don't look carefully at Jesus' red words, you might miss it: "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life."
I am not under the illusion that my life is of any more value than any one else's. I don't think that I stand to lose more or that people would be any more affected by my sickness or even my death than any other cancer patient. Lots of women have ovarian cancer--statistically, my story is just another sad tale.
But I do think that God is continually at work all around us. As Christians, we easily grow complacent and are content to look for Him when the flowers bloom in the spring, when our bank accounts swell, or when we experience success. But we are truly thankful for food when we feel hungry. We don't give much thought to wellness until we are sick. We take for granted the roofs over our heads and the clothes on our back until we are poverty-stricken. We don't give much thought to the hope and the life we've been given until we are hopeless. Maybe, just maybe, while God works, His power will be much more evident against the backdrop that none of us expected--a healthy, happy, young woman with a family to raise.
I could (and probably will, at some point on this silly little blog) tell hundreds of stories of ways I have seen God work in the last three weeks. Some of them are specific answers to prayer, some of them are ways He has shown up where I didn't even know I needed Him. He has used people very close to me, and He has used absolute strangers to remind me of the very essence of the faith I stand on: He is good, and He does good.
Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee. Take my moments and my days, let them flow in ceaseless praise, let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Letter to my Mom

Dear Mom,

It's been quiet around here this morning. After breakfast, Baby asked me, "Mommy, when will Nana be here?" He had forgotten that you are headed back to Houston today, and he was very disappointed that he will have to wait to show you his newest Super Mario tricks!

How can I say "thank you" to you for the last few weeks? On the day we got the diagnosis, the only thing I knew to do was to call you. You and Daddy have always been my safety, my place to go when the real world is just too much. Now, as a grown woman with a cancer diagnosis, that remains unchanged. You are still my safe place, my harbor...and you've become that for my sweet husband, too.

You've said over and over how much you wish you could change things for me, or take it on for yourself to spare me the pain of the disease. We both know that it can't be transferred or altered, but I absolutely believe that you would put your very life on the line if it meant saving--or even bettering--mine. I can understand that kind of love, because I love your grandsons in the same way.

What I don't understand (yet), is how somewhere along the way you changed from being just my mom to being one of my very best friends. Aside from Hubby, you are the one I wanted to be with when my world started caving in. You are the one I can cry to and share my sorrow with. You are the one who I trust 100% to be with my 3 cowboy-treasures, even when they ask hard questions or are less than easy to deal with. You are the one who presses on in preparing us for the dreaded side effects of chemotherapy, even though I know it must be breaking your heart. You are the one who searches my big red Bible carefully, looking for just the right Scripture to salve my hurting heart. What a lifelong privilege it has been to be your daughter...what an honor these last few weeks to have you stand next to me as my friend!

I think that, back in 1975, you and Daddy probably didn't give much thought to the possibility that the road you would walk with me would take us to the threshold of the shadow of the valley of death. I like to think that your dreams for me were full of visions of pigtails, slumber parties, roller skates, and boy crushes. You wanted happily ever after for me. I wish so much that our lives remained untouched by cancer! I wish so much that I could spare you and Dad, and Hubby and the boys the pain of sharing my suffering. But I want you to know that if I must walk this road, I am proud and grateful to have you walk beside me.

So, thank you. Thank you for getting to me as quickly as you could. Thank you for dropping everything and leaving your own life at a standstill so you could be part of mine. Thank you for loving my husband as if he was your own son, and investing so much of yourself into your grandsons. Thank you for sitting for hours at a time at the hospital and sleeping on that teeny tiny couch, just because that's where I was. Thank you for washing clothes, making beds, preparing school lunches, and driving kids to wherever they needed to be. Thank you for making me laugh at things that only the two of us would think are funny. Thank you for fielding phone calls and being so kind and gracious to so many people. Thank you for praying for me and for loving me.

There are many more dark and difficult days yet to come. I hate that SO much! But somehow, in my heart of hearts, I know that it will be OK because my God and my family are going with me where I am afraid to go. This may not be what any of us would have chosen for our family, but I count myself beyond blessed to make this journey with you.

We are already looking forward to the next trip so you can impress us with your Wii-playing-trampoline-jumping-laundry-sorting-
plan-making-care-taking-love-giving self. Your place in my home and in my heart is secure and overflowing with love. May it be well with your soul as we continue to taste and see that He alone is good. I am so glad He chose you to be my mom!

I love you,

Monday, March 8, 2010

Laughter Is the Best Medicine

It is fair to say that I have done plenty of crying over the last few weeks. My strong support system and my strong faith do not mean that I don't feel great sorrow over the disease, the treatment, or what may come in the future. I am grieving.

So it was a delightful treat last night to discover a gift that my friend Karen had left on my front porch! Karen and I met in 2006, the first year I taught at my current preschool. She was teaching 3-year-olds at the time, and her twin sons were in Goliath's class. Now, four years later, Karen and I AND our boys are still good pals. She has moved on to get a full-time teaching job--but we make up for lost time during Girls' Night Out with Mexican food and margaritas!

I enjoyed Karen's gift, and I thought you might like to enjoy it with me. The card attached to the bag said, "The Official I Love Allyson So Much That I Bought Her a Bunch Of Stuff From the Dollar Store Bag."

Here's the loot:

Want to get a closer look? OK. Each item has written below it the note that Karen attached to it:

"Made in China." Hmmmm...probably contains high levels of lead and cadmium. Enjoy!

This is a Coach knock-off. Can you believe how realistic it is?!?!?

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Celebrity Good Life, eh? You can now hit the red carpet like a superstar! WOW! Well, at least you now have some oversized sunglasses to wear.

I got this for the message. Who knew that was all that love was? I have been doing it wrong all these years! (And don't look too close at the picture. I think more than surfing is going on.)

This says "collector's series." I sure hope this completes your "Ye Old Crappy Painted Churches of England" collection.

What every cool beverage will be wearing this spring!

Trouble eating? You just needed some "Eazee Squeeze!"

The only useful item in this bag.

You too can smell like Britney Spears! Then you can go catch butterflies.

Wow! Contains 2 packs of trading cards! You can now trade with yourself, and yourself!

Nothing says "class" and "style" like nail art!
Oh...this is for you, not the boys--just to make that clear.

You will need these for the "Celebrity Good Life"...

So many jokes...so little time.

One word: purple!!

In the middle of my sadness, I am SO thankful for friends who "get" me. Sick or not, I am still me. The same things still make me sad, the same things still make me laugh. This care package--and many other gifts, cards, and letters I have received this past week--have put a smile on my face. Cancer can't take that from me!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Day 9

It is 4:36 p.m. Guess what? I am posting this from my laptop while I'm sitting in MY OWN BED. Snoozing next to me is my beloved Abby dog. The sounds I'm listening to are my four guys playing Super Mario together in the next room. HOME SWEET HOME!!!

Really, not that much has changed since yesterday. I ate as much as I possibly could yesterday, but only made small dents in anything that was put in front of me. I think that having 12 inches of my colon cut out and my digestive system reconstructed is a pretty big deal--it's no wonder that nothing sounds too delicious. Lab work diffused concerns about an infection, so this morning when the doctor came in, my pleas did not fall on deaf ears. She gave me some stern warnings about what to look out for, what activities I can and can not do, who to call in case of emergency, and finally sent the nurse scurrying for discharge papers.

The greatest sight I ever saw was when Mom turned onto my street and I spotted Goliath and Little Middle riding their bikes up and down the sidewalk in front of our house. They ran to get their little brother, and the four of us shared a wonderful group hug. I didn't even care that I was wearing my pajamas for all the neighbors to see! I missed them SO MUCH...and apparently the feeling was mutual:

"Praise be to the Lord, for He has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song." Psalm 28:6-7

Friday, March 5, 2010

Day 8


*I drank 1/2 of a vanilla milkshake, a small apple juice, and ate 1 scrambled egg, 2 saltine crackers, and 4 bites of a baked potato.

*I had my IV removed and switched back to oral pain meds.

*I walked 3.5 laps around the 9th floor.

*I started the day with stomach issues, but they tapered off and I felt pretty good by late afternoon.

*I watched Jim and Pam's baby story on The Office.


*I am staying at the hospital.

*Labs were drawn to check for bacterial infection in the intestines.

*I am supposed to eat 50% more food than what I ate yesterday.

*The drain was removed from my abdomen.

*One of the daily goals that my nurse wrote on my white board is to "ambulate."

*I went downstairs to the lobby just because I finally could.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Day 7

It has been one week since I entered the hospital. I never imagined I would be here this long! God has been so gracious in placing kind and caring people in my path. Every physician, nurse, orderly, and even the little lady who cleans my room each day has gone out of their way to take excellent care of me. In spite of where I am and what I'm up against, those little glimpses of God's grace are not lost on me.

So, first things first. Today will not be the day I go home. I'm starting to sound like a broken record! Yesterday's abdominal x-ray was clear and normal. It's just a matter of time for everything to come together and work like it should, or so they tell me. I enjoyed 2 more popsicles yesterday, and tried some Jell-o... have I mentioned that I don't really care for Jell-o? The clear liquid diet has been tough for me because 1) it tastes yucky, and 2) I'm not a fan of many clear-liquid items.

This morning the doctor is encouraged at my popsicle progress and I will again be graduated to an all-liquid diet. Right now, not much sounds good, but I think a vanilla milkshake will be part of the plan later today. IF today is a good day, I might be able to try solid food for breakfast/lunch tomorrow, and IF that goes well, I can possibly go home tomorrow afternoon. Those are pretty big IFs!

The second part of this post is actually a continuation of Day 6. After I posted yesterday morning, Dr. M (my oncologist) came by to tell us that the pathology reports had come back from the surgery. The news was not unexpected, but still very hard to hear. The cancer that he removed last week is actually the same ovarian cancer that we dealt with two years ago, but it had re-differentiated itself into a bigger, badder, meaner kind of a cancer. "High-level cancer" were his actual words. Dr. M was encouraged because we caught it early and he got all of the visible cancer out during surgery. He also said, however, that it is unusual for this cancer to change and come back in this way, and of course, that only adds to the frustration to the never-ending "Why Me?" question.

Then again, my sweet husband has gently pointed out...why not me? I was not promised that I will get to walk where I want--only that where I must go, He will walk with me.

"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." 2 Corinthians 4:8

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Day 6

In a disappointing turn of events, we just found out that today will not be the day I get to go home. My new-found freedom to consume all liquids has gone just as quickly as it came yesterday. During the course of the day yesterday, I drank a little bit of a vanilla milkshake, ate a few spoonfuls of strawberry ice cream, took a few sips of a fruit smoothie, and had some ice chips. I felt weak and shaky for much of the day, just like you do when your blood sugar has dropped too low and you need food. I just couldn't handle more than what I had! Hubby spent the night with me last night, and I woke up early this morning with that same weak and shaky feeling. I drank a little bit of apple juice, hoping that the sugar would help with the icky feeling. No sooner had the juice gone down than it came right back up. And with that juice went my ticket home today.

The good doctor has ordered an x-ray of my belly today so they can get a clear picture of what is (or is not) happening in there. I am also set to be re-hooked to an IV line so I can be re-hydrated and will receive pain meds through that line. It is not a good feeling to take oral pain meds on an empty stomach!

In other news, my left leg is numb. The numbness started on Day 2, and has gone from total loss of feeling to tingling and back again. The doctor tells me it is most likely due to the use of a retractor during surgery, which might have pressed on a nerve. Numbness is not uncommon, and should go away on its own. Still--how annoying! It reminds me of when Baby was born and one of my legs was numb from anesthesia. When the nurses tried to help me move from one bed to another, I literally collapsed under my own weight and the nurse had to dive to catch me. Good memories.

I miss my babies. I talk to them every afternoon, and every night before bedtime. My mom and my husband tell me how good they are being...how helpful...how kind to each other...how hard they are trying. My heart breaks every time I think of them there, and me here, and how much I want to be with them.

Please pray today that the IV will do its trick. Pray that the fluids will fill my body and that I will lose that sickly feeling so that I can work on eating. I WANT TO GO HOME. Everything I do is working toward that.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Day 5

It's been a tough day today. Yesterday, when we all prayed that my stomach and all related systems would "wake up", maybe we should have prayed for a slower awakening. A delicious dinner of Jell-O and a popsicle did the trick, but I was sick much of the night. Dr. M came in this morning and was delighted with my misery! I graduated from a clear liquid diet to an all-liquid diet...the main difference is that I can have milk-based products. Brother brought me a vanilla milkshake when he came by this morning, but I just couldn't drink much. Hubby is promising some applesauce later this afternoon. I know that eating is the ticket out of here, but today it just seems to be more than I can bear.

If I'd known I would go through all of this, I might not have been working so hard at the gym over the last few months. This is a much more time-effective weight-loss plan...

Hubby has pointed out--and he is right--that I am out of place on the 9th floor of Medical City. All of the other patients are older women whose visitors are their elderly husbands or grown children. My babies being here the other day was probably a breath of fresh air to the staff!

There is a patient down the hall who apparently does not understand how the nurse call button works. Every time she needs a nurse, she just starts hollering, "HELP! HELP! HELP!" until someone comes. People in my room think that is pretty funny.

The central line came out today. Good news: No more wires and tubes sticking out, giving me that Bride of Frankenstein look. Bad news: No more Demerol on demand.

I am weary, and my spirits are low. Please pray that I will be faithful in looking for Jesus today. And please continue to pray for the ultimate--complete healing and deliverance from this disease.
"You pay God a compliment by asking great things of Him." -St. Teresa of Avila

Monday, March 1, 2010

Day 4

I am waking up this morning to a cold rain falling outside my window. Today is the 4th day after my surgery to remove cancer from my body and prepare for chemo. In spite of where I am and what I'm facing, a few good things happened over the weekend:

*My 3 little cowboys came to see me! Hospital policy prohibits children under the age of 12 from visiting (due to the flu threat, we're told). However, my daytime nurse was kind and very compassionate, and helped Hubby smuggle the little guys in. It was a sweet visit--good for them, and good for me. Goliath brought his Nintendo DS to me so I would have something to play with while I'm here.

*My room was a revolving door for my family, who took turns coming to sit (and sleep!) with me. My Hubs, my parents, Sister and her Mister, and Brother and his Other all came to visit/fetch ice chips/watch movies/watch me sleep.

*My soon-to-be-brother-in-law had "Team Allyson" bracelets made for all of us to wear. They are Lance Armstrong-style, imprinted with the words "courage, strength, hope, faith" and teal in color to represent ovarian cancer. I wear mine with pride.

*My dad left late last night to return to Houston, but not before we had a great talk about what's to come. In his own special way, he challenged me to pursue God through the dark and scary days. We're all frightened, we're all bewildered...but without our God, we are nothing at all.

Even as I type this, the doctor has just come in for his morning rounds. Not much change to report--everyone is holding their breath for when my body might seem ready to try real food again. I had apple juice for breakfast yesterday, and a purple popsicle for dinner. Going home seems to hinge on that.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support. We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love that is coming from God's people. Please specifically pray that I will be able to eat soon. I haven't had "real" food since last Wednesday. Please also pray for healing of the incisions, and for my spirit as I begin to look ahead to chemotherapy. And...pray for my family. My sons seem to be handling my absence well, and I know that is only because they are so loved and prayed for. I am asking God to continue to protect them in the coming days, and to put in their path people who will be especially kind and tender with them. For my husband, as he carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. And for my mom, who is moving in to my house today to run my household and take care of my kids. There is no greater love than those two people have for me.

This is the verse my mom posted on Facebook this morning. I will borrow it because it is my truth:
"But as for me, the nearness of God is my good." Psalm 73:28