“But my eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign LORD; in you I take refuge…” –Psalm 141:8

Ok–this is one for the record books of the shortest post (to date). BUT, I just wanted to update about treatment #2. God really is so sovereign! Praise Him for His incredible peace, too. So, details were still not worked out until like 11:30am today about my 2nd treatment (that needed to happen tomorrow), and as much as my parents were on my case about getting it on the books, praise Him for working out all the details and completely giving me peace that, whether it fit into tomorrow or next Monday (thus changing every other treatment), He was sovereign. And He IS! So anyway, I was getting to 11:30am…so the scheduler from Dr. Fay’s office at the Baylor-Sammons Cancer Center in Dallas called again then and asked if 8:30 Wednesday (tomorrow) morning worked, to which I quickly assured her it was perfect. So, I have my 2nd treatment tomorrow morning at 8:30am. PTL!!!

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“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life…The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me…” -Psalm 138:7, 8

Greetings, once again, from Fairview! It’s been an eventful past week or so, and I’m finally finding some time (and peace of mind) to sit down and give an update. With so much to tell, I think this one will be somewhat of a chronological look back over the past 8 days, starting with a week ago Saturday.

Let me first, however, start out by giving a shoutout to Erin Groth who, after reading my note in the last post about maybe wanting a snack because it was a long one, actually got out a bag of popcorn, popped it, and then continued to read my post. Haha, I love my friends.

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“O Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption” -Psalm 130:7

1 down, 11 to go. When you think of it like that, it’s manageable, right? Plus, “12” was always my number…I don’t know that you’d call it lucky, seeing as how I’ve had a very mediocre career at points in volleyball, but it is, nevertheless a very recurring number in my life, and as hokey as this sounds, it’s endearing. So, of course there WOULD be 12 chemos to go through.

This is going to be a long one. You might want a snack or to break this up over the next few days (when I will be silent on here due to EXAMMMSSS…grr). Let me give you a little more info and then I’ll talk about Chemo Numero Uno (number one for those of you outside of Texas…).

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“Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits–who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases” -Psalm 103:2-3

The title of tonight’s post is a verse that my Aunt Erin sent to me among a great collection of verses about God’s power to heal and faithfulness, and it seems a fitting verse for this week as I am now finished with tests and all set to go for treatment on Thursday. I realized that Thursday will mark the first time of healing in this process rather than what up to this point has only been tests–prodding me with needles, coring me, or giving me all kinds of radioactive material possible for some sort of scan or other.

As I sat in 4 waiting rooms today, I watched a good amount of the day’s news while trying to work on a paper. Ultimately, I realized that there are 2 things I’m proud of tonight:
(1) I drank two whole bottles of barium sulfate “masked” by a “berry” flavoring–and I mean to tell you, I downed the liquid without a thought of gagging or throwing up–PTL. If you know me well, you know how great of a feat this is. Add this to the list of “10 foods I eat” that everyone is always asking me about expanding. (if you detect sarcasm about the barium sulfate and the fact that everyone thinks I eat only 10 foods, you are correct).
(2) I am also proud that, although I (temporarily) reside in the “Most Corrupt State in America,” I feel like I have come out fairly unscathed (although the jury on that has to wait another semester for the final verdict). Really though, who was surprised that an Illinois official did something corrupt?

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“The Lord watches over you — the Lord is your shade at your right hand” -Psalm 121:5

“I got cored.” That’s what I told my mom and dad when I called them tonight after my bone marrow biopsy. (For those of you that get easily squeamish at medical procedures, skip ahead to the next paragraph). Back to the bone marrow biopsy. If you want to know what that means, it’s like coring an apple, hence my comment to my parents. Despite the fact that they numbed my back and nerves around my bone, I felt the pressure of them basically cork-screwing into my bone to extract a piece of that bone from my hip on the left side in the back. I felt like saying, “Hey, I wanted to KEEP all of my bones, thank you very much,” but I didn’t think that would be appropriate or appreciated. When extracted, it looked like a toothpick. It was maybe the most disturbing procedure I’ve ever had done, and I’m SO grateful to my teammate Kelly who went with me and helped distract me from thinking about what they were doing to me while I was laying there fully awake. Praise the LORD that they ended up only doing it to my left side; initially they planned to do it on the right side too (which might have made me want to pass out or hurt something), but then she said that the one was good enough since it didn’t really look like the lymphoma has spread to my bone marrow (PTL!). While it didn’t hurt too badly (but it is sore right now), it made me more than uncomfortable as I thought about what was actually happening. Other than Kelly blessing me, the other bright spot was that the nurse in there was an Aggie, so of course, I had an immediate bond with my fellow Texan (sidenote–she moved up here because she WANTED a change in seasons. That made me a little concerned that she was half-crazy as she did the procedure…it was 14 degrees this morning, and it gets worse. If you know me, you know how I feel about people volunteering to live in this freezer).

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“The Lord will keep you from all harm — He will watch over your life.” -Psalm 121:7

Well, the big meeting with the oncologist has now come and gone, and at the end of a pretty long day, in looking back, once again, His faithfulness is so evident. I am so in awe of it again and again, and while that might be a bad reflection on my lack of trust (to be somehow surprised that He would be faithful) it’s still the case that I am amazed.

I was talking with my roommate Rachel tonight and we saw how, in looking at all of this, it’s totally a situation where “coincidence” happens far too often to attribute it to some mere random force of fate functioning in this broken world. Instead, I go back to the verse that made me cringe when editing our high school yearbook since just about every parent wanted their senior’s page at the end to list it: Jeremiah 29:11. While probably overquoted and made to fit any and every situation, it is nevertheless TRUE! Only He knows the plans for us, but they are to prosper us, NOT to harm us. Furthermore, these plans, despite their first impressions at times, are to give us a hope and a future. If nothing else, I cling to that verse and its hope, knowing that God’s got something bigger than me or my family going on here, and while cancer might be uncomfortable, painful, and just plain hard to deal with short-term, His plan is for our good, which, in the long run, I’m ok with–in fact, I want that. (which reminds me of Romans 8:28–shoutout to my TCA friends who could probably STILL sing that song from “The Great Race of Faith” from 4th grade with me).

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“My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life” -Psalm 119:50

Well, my return to Wheaton was a fast reminder that I was no longer in the comforts of home as everywhere around me was–and is currently–covered in white. Welcome back; hope you like the snow. 🙂 This post will be shorter, as I’m dealing with the consequences of taking my Thanksgiving break very literally, but there is some great news and praise to report.

This morning, after what would have been a movie-worthy succession of phone calls and messages between my dad, Dr. Santi, 2 hospitals, and myself, (all within the span of about 45 minutes), we got an appointment scheduled with the oncologist. So, Wednesday at 3pm, my parents and I will see Dr. Leo Gordon, the doctor Kirsten Friedl used and who has done TONS of research while specializing in Hodgkin’s disease. Fun fact for you: he works out of Northwestern Memorial Hospital in downtown Chicago, which is the same hospital featured in While You Were Sleeping (we watched it last week and decided it was an omen). With this appointment, we should know more about when treatment will start, what it will look like, and what else to expect. I want to thank you again for all of your prayers–the hospital said that Dr. Gordon is very booked but likes to see patients if they’re within a week of the biopsy and results, so he wants to see me. That is a huge praise!

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