Sunday, 30 November 2008

She's Recovering

Mom is continuing to recover from her surgery. She's having some pain and is getting tired of being in bed--it's a challenge for such an active woman to be resting all the time!

The extra mural nurse came today and removed the heavy dressing from the site, and this was hard for mom. She didn't want to look at the incision, and is a bit discouraged today. But she's trying to be positive and take it one day and one step at a time.

Let me tell you, Cheryl Pazia is a God-send. She came for the weekend on her days off from her nursing job to take care of mom, and ended up taking care of us all. Dad, myself, and my son Aiden are all sick with colds and Cheryl made us meals, watched over the baby, got up with mom in the middle of the night, and took complete care of mom since she came home from the hospital. Thank you so much Cheryl for your selfless care for our family. We will never forget your kindness to us.

Today we had many visitors--my brother Jon and his family, my aunt Janet and her daughter, Doris, my grandparents, as well as the wonderful people from mom and dad's church who are delivering meals for the next two weeks. Mom enjoyed seeing everyone, especially her beloved grandchildren, who bring her so much joy. But, of course, she's very tired after having a house full of active children for the day :)

Please pray that mom will be able to sleep peacefully tonight and that she'll have less pain tomorrow. My grandmother is going to come and help me clean the house, and I'm glad to have her help. Here's hoping that she brings me a jar of mustard pickles when she comes--YUM!

Here are some words from mom: "Thank you for praying, but don't stop. We want to have a good report from the doctor in two weeks. I hope to write something tomorrow."

God bless,

Friday, 28 November 2008

Deb's surgery

Today was the day of my mom's surgery. We arrived at the hospital at 7:30 am and went to day surgery to check in. A nurse soon arrived to get mom set up in the room she would return after the surgery. My dad, Janet White, and myself were there to keep her company, and we talked and laughed until the doctors came to take her to the OR. Before she left the three of us laid our hands on her and prayed over her--for peace, for guidance of her surgeon's hands, and for the surgeon to be able to get all the cancer and find the lymph nodes easily.

She went into surgery at 10:15 and then into recovery until she came back to the room where we were waiting at 2:30. She slept all afternoon and occasionally woke up requesting ice chips :) At 5:30 Dr. Bryden came in to give us instructions on how to take care of mom after we took her home and also to tell us how the surgery went.

Dr. Bryden said that she was able to get the whole tumor and that she did not have to take any muscle because the tumor was completely contained within the surrounding tissue. She was also able to get 7 or 8 lymph nodes to test to see if the cancer has spread, and said this was excellent because sometimes she can only get a couple and then has to do another surgery later on to collect more for testing.

Mom is now home resting in bed. Her good friend Cheryl Pazia has come up from Saint John to help and the three of us are waiting on her hand and foot :)

THANK YOU so much for praying for all of us as we walk through this journey with mom. She is in good spirits but is very tired. We all feel your prayers and God's presence upholding us and giving us strength and peace.


Thursday, 27 November 2008

This is IT

"Overture, curtains, lights,
This is it, the night of nights
No more rehearsing and nursing a part
We know every part by heart
Overture, curtains, lights
This is it, you'll hit the heights
And oh what heights we'll hit
On with the show this is it

Tonight what heights we'll hit
On with the show this is it"

I used to love the Bugs Bunny show. Now I feel like I'm living the overture song. I can't believe I am in this place in my life, but you know what? God is going before me, and He knows the way I take -- there are NO surprises for Him. He knows my beginning from the end.

When I was 15, I wrote my first song, "He Has Made Everything Beautiful." Over the years I performed it, but never fully understood the meaning of it until now. It is based on Ecclesiastes 3:11-15. It is for this time in my life.

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from beginning to the end."

I don't know what God is up to, but I know He will make it beautiful. He will make this crisis in my life beautiful in its time. I know that with all my heart. I trust my Father in heaven with all my heart.

Today, as I was in Nuclear Medicine preparing to have four needles inserted into my breast, I spoke these words: "I'm Daddy's brave little girl." These words are from the movie "Ruby Bridges," which I watched yesterday. Coincidence that I watched it yesterday? I think not. I am my God's brave little girl, who can do anything with her father's help.

I'm going to bed. Night. This is it -- on with the show, this is it.

Love to all and to all a good night.


Bridge Over Troubled Water

"When you're weary, feeling small
When tears are in your eyes,
I will dry them all....
I'm on your side
Oh, when times are rough
And friends [are all around]
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

When you're down and out
When you're on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you ...

When darkness comes
And pain is all around
Just like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down"

(Simon & Garfunkel; [Deb])

YouTube - Simon & Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water

If you could read my mind

Last evening before bed, I thought of two more songs from my past that I love. One is "If You Could Read My Mind," by Gordon Lightfoot. I've changed the words a bit, but soon I will be free from this cancer, by the grace of God.

If you could read my mind love
What a tale my thoughts could tell
Just like an old time movie
bout a [woman] in a wishing well
In a castle dark or a fortress strong
With chains upon my feet
You know that [woman] is me
And I will [soon] be set free
(Gordon Lightfoot, [Deb])

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Another Believe Song

A friend emailed this song to me today. I love this song (you can tell I love many songs; hey, I'm musical). I traveled to PEI this summer with a dear friend to hear Brian Doerksen sing. He is an awesome Canadian. "I believe." This afternoon, another friend brought me another 'believe' angel. Seems to be a theme this week -- BELIEVE. When all else fails, we must BELIEVE.

YouTube - I Believe: from Creation Calls by Brian Doerksen

Broken and Beautiful

I'm listening to another song -- "Broken & Beautiful" by Mark Schultz. You can hear it on YouTube. One of the struggles with mastectomy is coming to terms with what your body is going to look like -- to yourself and to your husband. We have talked much about this. I will be broken, but beautiful. I am broken, but still beautiful in the eyes of God. He loves me. My husband loves me.

This morning I gave my breast to God -- it is His, so He can have it. He created me, so He knows what I'm going through. He won't give me more than I can bear. He is my burden bearer. I realize that I am grieving in these past two days; I have had time alone to think, reflect, pray and prepare myself mentally and spiritually. It's been hard to rest and I feel like I want to scream at times, or run a marathon, I don't know which. The ExtraMural nurse was here this morning to talk about mastectomy after-care. It turns out we know her, and Doug & I were so blessed to meet with her this morning.

My surgery is now scheduled for Friday morning (not Friday afternoon as previously scheduled). I will go to Nuclear Medicine on Thursday afternoon at 2:30 to have dye injections in preparation for the sentinel node biopsy which will happen along with the mastectomy on Friday. This is better -- one thing, one day at a time. At least I can wake up early Friday morning and go 'get er done,' as some of my friends like to say. I'm in my Day Box (Matthew 6:25-33).


Tuesday, 25 November 2008

YouTube - Casting Crowns Praise You In The Storm

YouTube - Casting Crowns Praise You In The Storm: ""

Bear with me -- one more song

You know, I've gone through SO many storms in my life, and have come through EVERY one of them. It's hard to be thankful to God during the 'storm', but if I can be thankful 'by faith' for them (including this one), I can look at them with a different perspective. Like Job did; he never blamed or cursed God for his trial, even though everything was taken from him -- for a time. And then God restored everything to him, with the last half of his life being better than the first. That's what I am claiming -- that the latter part of my life WILL be better than the first half. Remember, women can easily live to the age of 90. That means I'm only 4 years old right now.

more later....deb

Another Song I Love

This afternoon, I am alone, as Natalie and Aiden came down with colds and are staying at my mother's til they recover. So, I'm spending this time listening to music I love, and trying to putter at housework and paperwork. Not having much success, though. If I didn't have the Lord in my life, I don't know what I would do -- He alone is my reason for living. I can't do this without Him. He is indeed 'holding onto me,' as this song says. "In His arms I find rest, because He knows how far the east is from the west. From one scarred hand to the other." Or I could put it this way: "From one scarred hand to another scarred breast." He is with me.

YouTube - Casting Crowns - East to West:

Amazing Song I heard today

I heard this song today by Third Day and it really touched me. "I'm trying to find my way, I haven't got a clue... Tell me, should I stay here, or do I need to move....I've got nothing without you." Check it out.

YouTube - Third day, revelation

Monday, 24 November 2008

Yes, I'd like to order a ....

This morning started out with me calling the surgeon's answering machine and ordering a mastectomy, believe it or not. Like ordering a pizza or something. No big deal -- how much do I owe you? Then the office called back and told me that my surgery had been moved up to this Friday, Nov. 28th -- my heart started to pound, as I realized the day was near at hand. My mind started racing -- "Oh, I've got so much to take care of!" I calmed down after about an hour -- I received God's peace. Without God I cannot go through this. With God, I can do anything. He is my strong tower, my shelter, my rock. All the Scripture I have meditated on for years is now coming to mind. "Hide the word in your heart" the Bible says. I understand why now.

We took off to do errands (Natalie & Aiden & I). Nat & I had a few laughs in the mall, and ate Laura Secord chocolates. When all else fails, eat chocolate. Another one of my "when all else fails" sayings. I even got my passport picture taken, as I have to go south next year; well at least as far as New York City for my 50th birthday celebration. After I celebrated my 49th birthday in August, I made a new motto for my 50th year, my year of Jubilee -- "Fit at 50." Soon after that declaration, I found out this news of cancer. Yet I still hold on to the same motto -- I WILL be fit at 50, and I will go to New York City this time next year to celebrate one year of being cancer-free. Anyone want to join my bus tour?

I was prayed for today by a good friend while doing one of my errands, in a downtown store -- how precious that was -- I was so blessed and felt so encouraged. I came home and found that my mother had prepared dinner for us. We feel so loved, and appreciate every email, every card, every phone call, every act of kindness.

One thing I'm wondering is if anyone out there knows the song "Believe" and who sings it? I believe it's a country song -- I'd like to get my hands on it. It was on a commercial during this summer's Olympics. I have a "Believe" sign in my window, and received a "Believe" angel the other day. You know what? I believe.
I believe I will come through this, and I believe in my God.

More tomorrow...... deb

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Let it Snow

Today is Saturday, Nov 22nd and it is snowing. I love snow. It comforts me. It gives me hope. It is as if a clean white blanket fell from heaven and covered the death and decay of the late autumn season. I, too, need a clean white blanket to fall on me. Two days ago, we met with the surgeon, Dr. Patricia Bryden. She spent 1 1/2 hours with us, explaining all my options. I never thought I would ever be in this place in my life -- having to make such decisions about my body in order to save my life. My husband and daughter deliberated -- what should I do? Dr. Bryden said, "do what is in your heart. Don't decide today; you have until Monday." I filled out the paperwork for surgery and we came home to a house full of people. We had a Bible study and a birthday party for Doug -- his 53rd birthday. Not the birthday present I wanted to give him -- but hey, this is life. Raw and real. And God is here with me -- He will never leave me or forsake me.

I awoke Friday and said to Natalie, "Let's go shopping." When all else fails, shop. At least for that day. I needed to get out of the house and do something normal. So we did Christmas shopping. Took baby Aiden and shopped. All through the day, the decision loomed over my head like an alien being, trying to make me afraid. I pushed it away. I prayed. God will show me what to do. I know He will. I guess I already knew. I knew before I went to the surgeon. But I didn't want to admit it, because in admitting it, it becomes even more real. It wasn't until 12:30 Friday night that I accepted it -- I will have a radical mastectomy. And after that, deal with what comes next. Chemotherapy is on the slate for me -- I have faith that God will get me through that as well, even though I do not want the 'cup of chemo' - I'm asking my friends to pray that I will not have to have it. Yet the doctor said because of the size of the mass (2.4 cm) and my young age, that I will probably have to have it. But you know? God IS bigger than what medical science says. He created medical science. And miracles still happen.

I will have my surgery on Wednesday, December 3rd. Perhaps on Friday next if there is O.R. time, but for sure the following Wednesday. I will be discharged the same day and ExtraMural will come to the house to care for me. Pray that there is no cancer in the lymph nodes, as that is another operation and radiation.

So here I am on this snowy day, writing about cancer. We were just watching a show about fly fishing on TV. I remarked to Doug that I wouldn't mind fly fishing as I love being outdoors. As the show neared commercial break, a woman with breast cancer spoke about a recovery program for breast cancer patients where they learn how to fly fish ( Wow. I guess I'll take up fishing. when all else fails, fish.

To God be the glory................deb

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Every Day is a Gift

Every day is a gift. The fact that we open our eyes in the morning means that God has given us another day on this earth. A gift -- even this day is a gift -- today is the day we go to meet with the surgeon to get the plan of action. I will not be afraid; I seek the help of God and I can feel the prayers of people interceding on my behalf.

The enemy of cancer is attacking my physical body, and I am helpless to do anything about it on my own, apart from resting in God and in His peace. He will fight the battle for me. 2 Chron 20:15-17 says that the battle is not mine, but God's. That I do not need to fight this battle, but to stand firm, hold my position, and see the Lord fight it for me. I am NOT to be afraid or dismayed, but to face the enemy that has invaded my body. God is with me and will fight for me; for us -- our family and friends. Our faith is truly being built -- faith in a God who is able to do so much more than we can ask or imagine. We WILL stand firm and see the deliverance of the Lord on this day.

"Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you....Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed." 2 Chron 20:17,20

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

I am Blessed

I am blessed. I am blessed with family, children, grandchildren,friends, students, parents of students, acquaintances, business associates, ministry friends. I have been receiving SO much encouragement -- phone calls, emails, visits, gifts, meals, an outpouring from people everywhere. This has held me up this past week as I await an appointment with the surgeon this Thursday afternoon. Waiting is hard. The unknown is certainly that -- unknown. My daughter and grandson arrived home last week to stay with us until December 16th. I am blessed to have them in the house -- I am not lonely while waiting. Just their presence here comforts me. I am blessed to have people drop by and share their lives with me. I am blessed by all my students -- it keeps my mind off this 'thing' for a few minutes each lesson. Although I am a bit weary and struggling to rest, I am still blessed. I love having people in our home. I know that I am being called to a rest for a time. My daughter is trying to help me in this, but I think it takes awhile for me to slow down. I did watch a Christmas movie this afternoon and laughed. Laughter is good medicine. I love to laugh. Tonight a friend stopped by to give me and my daughter a pedicure, however, another friend arrived as well, and received a pedicure, along with my daughter. I taught another student. Babies, pedicures, students playing classical music. What could be better? God is good. Night.

Monday, 17 November 2008

The Day the Rock Fell

Monday, November 10, 2008. The day the 'rock' fell. The day I was given a diagnosis of breast cancer. Me? Are you sure? It's not possible! My husband told me and I doubled over and wept. Fear swept over me like a black cloud. We held each other and cried. "We'll get through it, Deb, we'll get through it." I felt sick to my stomach. We lay on the bed and I cried some more. I writhed and cried. What a terrible feeling. We sent out the word for prayer right away. The prayers went up and the peace began to come down. I sang, "The Lord is My Shepherd." We went to the doctor to hear the report. I prayed for strength -- Lord, you got me through many things in my life and You are faithful -- now, can I have more strength for this? I asked the question everyone asks in times like these: "Why me, Lord?" Just like the song says. This is my lifesong and my lifesong sings. God spoke to my heart, "so that I will be glorified."

That day was one of shock, tears, and fears. That night before bed, God spoke to my heart again -- "this sickness will not end in death." I knew it was a verse and looked it up. It is from John 11, where Jesus' good friend, Lazarus, is sick. His sisters send word to Jesus, because they know Jesus can heal him: "Jesus, the one you love is sick..." Look at the verse:

"When he heard this, Jesus said, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it."

I couldn't believe it: the two statements God spoke to me are put together in this one verse. I knew it was a 'word' to hold on to. I wrote it down and think of it often. I will not die, but live, and live to praise the God who will allow me to keep on living.

I plan to write further posts about this new 'chapter' in my life -- the MIDDLE chapter. I think I'll call my book, "The Book of Deborah; Don't Worry, It's Not Part of the Apocrypha." Anyone want to order a copy?

The process begins.