“Sing to the LORD a new song, for He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have worked salvation for Him” –Psalm 98:1

PRAISE THE LORD I AM DONE WITH CHEMO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That said, I realized last night, while taking a sentimental journey down memory lane from my very first blog post until the most recent one, that it has definitely been FAR too long. Almost a month, two treatments, the END OF CHEMO, graduation, and another year in the life of yours truly have all passed since my last post. AND SO, because so much has happened, and WE have so much to celebrate (for all those who have partnered in prayer and support with us, you can celebrate, too!), I have decided to make this long-overdue post a photo-journey through my favorite month of May, starting with where I left off, after chemo number 11 (which was April 30th).

At chemo 11, the doctors and nurses were kinda freaking out about part of my white blood counts, which were apparently at 90 out of 10,000ish. Yes, that is clearly bad, but I finally pulled my nurse Michelle aside and said, “ok, I understand this is bad, but aren’t we usually at like 100?” to which she replied in the affirmative. I followed up that question by pointing out that, although 90 is clearly bad, when you’re at 90/10,000 versus 100/10,000, it really doesn’t seem like those 10 extra points make that much of a difference, and she agreed, so that eased my mind as people continued to tell me HOW low my counts were. However, since I was flying home the next day for my high school co-captain Becky (Cunningham) Ellis’s wedding, and since the Swine Flu was at it’s peak “freak-out” stage at that point, the only way they were okay with me flying was, YES, if I wore a mask.

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“But the LORD has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge” –Psalm 94:22

So, it’s definitely been a while. I looked at the date of the last post–April 5th–and realized that was an obscenely long time ago, so I should probably get on an update! A fair amount has gone on, and the last week or so has been crazy, so I’ll go back and highlight some of the bigger points, starting from where I left off, at Easter.

I went home and got to spend Thursday night through Tuesday morning at home. I realized when home that, though technically I’d been there at two other times in the semester, both were while passing through and for less than 24 hours. So it was nice to rest and relax at home…at least as much as you can when thrown back into the craziness/busyness of home. I actually didn’t sleep a whole lot leading up to Easter, and while I was home I certainly did not catch up, so I was a little beat when I got back. And by “I didn’t sleep a whole lot,” I mean I was getting 7 hours of sleep a night instead of the 9 or 10 that I have so come to look forward to during this semester–the one good side-effect (aside from being able to do my “hair” for nicer events and then let it sit on a stand while I finish my makeup).

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“Your path led through the sea, Your way through the mighty waters, though Your footsteps were not seen” -Psalm 77:19

Wow, that verse pretty much sums up what I’ve been learning through reading The Red Sea Rules. Good one–and what great imagery–that the path often leads through the sea and mighty waters, and God brings us through both, although we don’t always see those footprints next to us as would be our way.

Ok–this is probably going to be a long one–there’s a good amount to update, so buckle up. 🙂

First, let’s start with a low and go back to over a week ago (Friday, March 27th) when I was doing my tests/scans at Northwestern. Continue reading

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” –Psalm 73:26

It is another beautiful day, and since there’s a ton of stuff on my to-do list and only a couple things to update, this is going to be another one of the very rare short posts. BUT, I do want to let everyone know about my scans and such. So, here goes…

I have my Pulmonary Function Test tomorrow (Friday) morning at 8am at Northwestern, my MUGA following that at 9:15am, and my CT scan tomorrow at 12pm. Apparently I don’t actually need to do another PET scan since the last one was clear, so for now, those three tests are the ones on the calendar. The scheduler said that Dr. Gordon should have the results by Tuesday, but since I have another treatment next week, I’m guessing we’ll find out the results when we go in.

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“…we went through fire and water, but You brought us to a place of abundance.” -Psalm 66:12

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Today is officially an amazing day, in my opinion, because it is 75 degrees outside (yes, in Wheaton, IL in MARCH!) and sunny, too! Plus, I am still riding high from having an amazing time over the past week, so I am soaking it all in right now.

First, to comment on Psalm 66:12–I read this last night, and it just seemed so poignant–what with having read The Red Sea Rules, and being reminded of how the same God who faithfully brought the Israelites through the Red Sea brings us through our trials and the hard times just as faithfully. Also, there’s a great Ginny Owens song that I first heard in middle school probably, and I have so loved it since then. It’s called “If You Want Me To,” and my favorite part of it says,

“Cause I’m not who I was when I took my first steps, and I’m clinging to
the promise that You’re not through with me yet. So if all of these
trials bring me closer to You, then I will go through the fire if You
want me to. It may not be the way I would’ve chosen, when You lead me
through a world that’s not my home. But You never said it would be easy,
You only said I’ll never go alone.”

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“Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains…” Psalm 36:5-6a

What a great Psalm! I’m sure many of you know this from the song aptly titled “Your Love O Lord,” which, in its own right, is a great song. I have a very vivid memory of standing on a beach in the Dominican Republic the summer after my senior year of high school, singing this song. It was the end of an incredible–and honestly life-changing–mission trip with my youth group from Bent Tree, and our team of 11 students and 2 leaders was de-briefing at a hotel in Santo Domingo. Part of that included team worship time on our last night, and that’s where we come to me, standing on the beach, facing the ocean, mountains in the distance, a full moon, and not a cloud in the sky, singing this song, and just absolutely KNOWING the words to it and understanding it in such a real way. For many reasons this trip was so significant, and to close it out, it was probably the second greatest night of my life– being able to look out to my surroundings and get such an incredible visual of these words: “Your love…reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness stretches to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice flows like the ocean’s tide.” The song goes on to say, “I will lift my voice to worship You, my King. And I will find my strength in the shadow of Your wings.”

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“A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all” Psalm 34:19

Good evening from Wheaton! I realize it’s been a while since my last post, but there hasn’t really been a lot on which to update. Nevertheless, if that somehow left you hanging, I’m so sorry.

I finished my 6th treatment yesterday at Northwestern, so now I am officially at least halfway done! PTL!!! AND, if we get to finish after 4 rounds, then I am 3/4 of the way finished! On that note, that is a continued prayer request. I guess my parents have been praying that the doctors would have absolute wisdom over my case so that we would stop treatment only when all the cancer cells are permanently gone and no sooner. I, on the other hand have been praying to only have to do 8 total treatments…guess I can always learn more from my parents and can always learn more about prayer…

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“You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.” -Psalm 18:28

What a great verse–I have always loved Psalm 18, and especially verse 28, but so much more right now in some days that don’t always seem so light. As I’ve said before, it is so awesome to me that God redeems even the laziest and most “unproductive” of our days by the world’s standards into something imbued with purpose. That said, I love how this Psalm chronicles all the ways the Lord has saved David–and Israel, too–and how it’s such a reminder that, every time, God is faithful! He HAS always rescued his people, and He WILL always turn their darkness into light.

And now, speaking of darkness…. The last few days have been the bad days (5 & 6), but, the best part about day 6 is at the end of the day (so, tonight) when there’s such relief that each day until the next treatment is going to at least be better than the previous one. That’s definitely something to look forward to. My dad has said again and again that, once this is all said and done and I have my last treatment in mid-May, the best part will be waking up each day and knowing that, on this day, I will feel better than before and will know what a gift feeling good is for each day. It’s all about perspective, I think we are learning. As for the extent of my feeling bad on this cycle’s days 5 and 6, it has not been the worst that I’ve had, but they were pretty unfortunate since I developed a cold somewhere in the last week, so instead of just feeling achy and lethargic like I had the flu this round, I actually felt the cold symptoms of that, too, this time. PTL that I have not had a fever, though–seriously, such a praise…especially since I am going home on Friday and then on to Baylor and OU before my next treatment on Thursday, February 5th. So, we will keep praying for healing, for no fever, and that the trip is a great one…slash, also that I don’t have to wear a surgical mask on the airplane. That would be real cool and all, but thinking about that makes me feel claustrophobic. 🙂

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“The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble…for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.” –Psalm 9:9-10

Once again, hello from Wheaton! I wanted to quickly update about a couple things. First of all, PTL that the weather is warmer. And by warmer, I mean that it’s now in the positives–and hey! it looks like tomorrow’s high is actually ABOVE FREEZING! I don’t really know what to do with myself right now because I’m (sadly) so thrilled!

Secondly, I know so many have been praying, so I thought I should let you know that, if you’ve read the other posts, I am now officially “soaring on the wings of Jesus,” in the words of Madelyn as she tried to comfort me about the prospects of losing my hair. Actually, though, I was reading in Psalms last night and was at Psalm 17:8b which reads, “hide me in the shadow of your wings,” which is also a line from one of my favorite worship songs we sing at Wheaton called “Still.” SO, it turns out Madelyn’s theology wasn’t TOO far off; however, I’m pretty sure that Psalm 17:8b is David appealing for GOD to hide him in the shadow of His metaphorical wings rather than Madelyn’s encouragement that I could soar on the wings of Jesus, but she tried at least.

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“To the LORD I cry aloud, and He answers me from His holy hill. I lie down and sleep; I wake again because the LORD sustains me” –Psalm 3:4-5

Greetings from the frozen tundra that is currently Wheaton, IL. Tonight’s low is -11 degrees, with “wind chill values as low as -31.” I kid you not. Needless to say, I will NOT be going outside anytime soon. AND, how convenient to have an actual excuse this winter to avoid the negative temperatures: “my weakened immune system simply isn’t feeling like going outside.” 🙂

Anyway, despite the frigid cold and the fact that Christmas break is now officially over, it is good to be back. My dad and I made the drive up last Wednesday and Thursday, and we concluded the journey by seeing Wicked in Chicago (which was so good!) on Thursday night. Friday morning my dad and I had some time before my mom got in and treatment happened, so we went to a museum and enjoyed some time in the city. That afternoon, my mom flew up, and I had Chemo #3 on Friday afternoon. Saturday morning my dad flew back home–thankfully, since a ton of flights were cancelled over the weekend–and then my mom and I stayed busy with getting me ready for the semester and settling back in. Sunday morning we went to breakfast with her best friend Sandy Boulden, and afterwards, she took my mom to the airport to fly home, and apparently they cried all the way there. Despite the sadness of saying goodbye to the rest of my family, I actually felt pretty well on Saturday and Sunday–I think being pretty active was a good thing as far as keeping me distracted from any fatigue by having to focus on the many errands at hand. My mom was amazing in setting me up–she organized my food and cooking supplies, made me some meals to reheat for times when I don’t feel up to cooking, and was just great, in general. I love my family so much!

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