Wednesday, 30 September 2009

A Working Life

It's tiring being a working mother! Or should I say 'working grandmother' now that I don't have children at home? Just adding teaching to my students is taking a bit more out of me, but I love it! I love teaching. Have I mentioned that before? I love children. I love music. I love exercise, too, and my personal trainer is certainly putting me through the paces. I feel stronger every time I go. This is my third week with her. I can bench press 200 lbs! No, just kidding.

Yesterday was a busy day, with the personal training, lunch with Els and Ann at Jack & Andy's (check it out!), teaching, Fredericton Ladies Choir (where I got to be the accompanist for 20 minutes or so, before the real one showed up. I call myself an 'understudy'), and a late dinner at Randy & Sandra's, where she made me devour a huge plate of roast beef at 9 o'clock! Talk about something to eat before you go to bed! I had to take a sleeping pill because I didn't think I'd manage to sleep with that laying on my gut.

Today I stayed put and rested for the morning, and then took off for a walk around Killarney with Jessica, to the Superstore for groceries, and home to teach til 5:30. It felt SO good to teach, and get on the floor with a couple of students and draw music notes and such. I taught piano, guitar and drums today. Doug and I are going to the church tonight to a DVD series. It will be good to just sit and relax and listen.

I ordered a cake today for the Run on Sunday. We will gather here after the run and have our cake and eat it, too. Should be an exciting day.

Doug and I are taking off for the metropolis of Victoria Corner til Saturday with the RV. My aunts used to live there, and I spent a good part of my childhood there, so it will be wonderful to stay there again. Anyone know where Victoria Corner is? It's absolutely beautiful there. We're going to a conference on creation and refuting Darwinism.

My mood has been so much better since last week's doctor visit, and the encouraging news I received. I'm still asking people to pray that my white blood count come up to normal. I know that prayer is the answer to all our problems. I try not to think bad thoughts and try to concentrate on living each day, and looking forward to my days, knowing that God has my future under control. Several times a day, however, the past comes in to haunt me, and I focus on the day and what I'm doing in the moment. I read in a book about cancer that a person that is fearful should concentrate on her breathing. In, out, in, out….there now….calm down. Good advice, and I have certainly done a lot of deep breathing this year. And a lot of praying. God is my refuge, that's for sure. What WOULD I do without Him?

Monday, 28 September 2009

Manic Monday

Just another manic Monday. The workhorse Mama came up this morning. She tackled the spare room and the upstairs bathroom. I spent most of the morning in the laundry room, doing laundry, straightening shelves and basically having a sauna as the dryer whirred away. We stopped work around 2:30. Did some banking and came home for a short rest, before teaching for the first time since last year. Had four students this evening -- music in the house again. Drums drumming, piano plunking, even a trombone tromboning, and singing with students as well. Then I headed up to Doug's parents to spend a bit of time with Joy and nephew Nicholas, who I call "Aloicious" (sp?). They are leaving on a jet plane in the morning.

I played the piano last evening for a long time at the Nazarene Church concert, and sang one piece at the end. I received a standing ovation after I sang. I guess I sang my heart out or something. I love to sing and play. It's good to have the music back in my life again.

Well, must go to bed -- it's early, but I'm tired. My second day at work -- yesterday was my first. Years ago, one of my students said to me, "Mrs. Mac, YOU are MUSIC." I guess she's right. I've missed music and everything it entails. Thank you, God, for restoring music to my life.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

It's me -- I just realized I hadn't written for a couple of days. Busy weekend. Doug's father's 80th birthday celebration at Aunt Ruby's. Probably 30 people all jammed into her living room/dining room eating pot luck. So fun! Today, I played in church for the first time with a great group of university students -- I think we should go on the road. It was awesome to be with them again, and then to go into the high school class and explore the Bible. Tonight, we're going to the Nazarene Church at 7, and I get to play the piano for an old fashioned hymn sing, sing a song or two myself and be on the slate with Joey Knight and friends. Jon and Alicia, Afton, Jack and Ivy were here overnight and the house exploded once again -- beds and toys everywhere. We love it. Tomorrow I start to teach music again. What a blessing to live.

Thanks for all the prayers; continue to pray my white blood cell count back to normal. Love you all...

PS: Natalie, Amy and friends in The Pas had a bake sale and Home Hardware BBQ yesterday and raised over $600. for the Run. I hope to post pictures as soon as Amy emails them to me. They had a blast all week, baking and preparing. Natalie felt like a 'greaseball' after she got done the BBQ, as she grilled over five dozen hot dogs and eight dozen hamburgers. Wow, Nat -- you're a grillin' workhorse! Thanks, northern friends, for all your efforts for our "Team Dancing Queen." One more week til the Run for the Cure. Our team has raised approx. $7,000. including the northern division!

Friday, 25 September 2009

Test Results

Thanks be to God! He came through for us today! Dr. Broad didn't even let me sit down before she said, "It came up!" I hugged her, I was so relieved. I'm still in shock from it all. I've been 'working' so hard to try and produce white blood cells – exercising, eating roast beef, zinc, fruits, veggies, vitamins, etc. etc.

It's prayer, prayer, prayer – our God came through for us. She said she was reassured and will retest me in two weeks, so CONTINUE TO PRAY. On Sept 4, my white cell count was 2.1 Today it had increased to 2.7. But normal for me is 5. She said she would be happy with 3.5, though. So, I ask you to put that number in front of you when you pray – why not go for 5? Why, one time during chemo, it went clear up to 8.6!

My hemoglobin also increased from 128 on Sept 4, to 135 today, which is excellent. Everyone I meet tells me how great I look and what great colour I have, and how healthy I look. This, too, is encouraging to me. My neutrophils in my blood increased from 217 to 244.

I went out of there thanking God and had a wonderful prayer time on the way home in my van. I wrote "Emmanuel" on the palm of my hand this morning, to remind me that God is with me. And He certainly is. He answered our prayers. I asked Him this morning for some 'good news' and He delivered!

Rejoice with me and give thanks to God above, for it is HE who makes ALL things possible. Continue to pray to Him for continued health and for my cell count to shoot up to 5 in the next two weeks. Thank you so much for the sacrifice of prayer and your good thoughts toward me. I will NEVER forget them.



Wednesday, 23 September 2009

I went this morning for a counseling session which was very productive. He gave me a couple of tools to use in my daily life – about not letting emotions drive my life, but deciding what I want. One thing I want is health, of course, but another one is to love my house again. I need to face my house again and all the memories, and especially my office. Once it's clean and organized again I will feel much better. The counselor told me this as well. I came home to find my workhorse mother cleaning away. I tried to help her, but was quite scatterbrained about it, as I was also talking on the phone, organizing my teaching week, and trying to find things that are lost. She got the downstairs done and I worked some upstairs. My mother is awesome and so good to me. I also did some landscaping this afternoon. It looks good already. Joy and Nicholas came down to visit, and then we took them out to Wendy's for a snack. Doug and I then went to the church for a DVD series called "Experiencing God." It feels good to do stuff again – normal stuff. Several times I even forget what I've been through.

Two more days and I have a blood test again – Friday afternoon. Please continue to pray that my white blood cell count is UP to normal. All is well.

Pray too, for my friend, B., who called me today and is concerned about the results of her mammogram. Pray for peace and health for her.

Peace to all and to all a good night.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

I had a wonderful weekend at Camp Tulakadik, where I led a retreat called "More Than a Survivor," along with members of the Nomad team. It was a small and intimate group, and we set up the room like a living room. We sang, shared stories, shed a few tears (I certainly did, anyway), and encouraged one another. It was a blessed time. And very healing and cathartic for me, as it was the first time since last year that I led a retreat and was able to lead worship and teach the Bible. Thanks to those who were there – it was a healing time for me. To know that God could and would still use me in this way. And to use you to help me and others to 'process' what we have survived in the past year.

Had an appointment today with Saffire, my personal trainer. It feels SO good to push my body and have her encourage me on. Had a sleep on the verandah this afternoon, after talking with Nat for an hour. Doug is home sick today – he got my cold, and he had a sleep in the RV. Now we're off to Max's for a roast beef dinner (this Friday is my blood test), and then I'm off to the Ladies' Choir.

If you get a chance, check out Psalm 116. I read it this morning and it really blessed me.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

I think I overdid it on Tuesday (do you think?). Yesterday, I started to feel a tightness in my chest, and today I really felt like a cold coming on. I stayed in the RV the morning and studied Romans 8, in preparation for this weekend, but then took off to the gym for my workout with my personal trainer. I told her how I was feeling, so she didn't push me too hard or too long. Came home and had a meeting with a couple of women – we met in the RV. I feel like I'm still at a campground, right in my yard. I don't want to go in my house, but I am certainly close to it! We're sleeping in it again tonight.

I succumbed to the tiredness and laid down for an hour, but couldn't sleep. But I did rest. Feelings of fear have come over me all week, but I pray and try to stand on the promises of God. I prayed on the armor of God in the shower today. I used to do this years ago, and thought of it recently. The belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the shoes of the gospel of peace, the sword of the Spirit, and the helmet of salvation. Just to picture these items being in my spirit helps me realize that I am God's child and He is protecting me. Oh, how soon we forget who and whose we are!

After supper, we went up to Doug's parents to see his sister, Joy, and nephew, Nicholas, who are home from California for a bit. We haven't seem them for many, many years. So good to reconnect. Joy told me she reads my blog every Sunday morning. That blessed my heart. She's so awesome. Our regret is that we've not seen her much over the years, due to the distance. She came home for their father's 80th birthday. Happy Birthday, John A. MacDonald! September 18th. And also Happy Birthday to Brenda's boy, Aaron, who turns 15 tomorrow as well.

I had a dear friend of mine tell me recently to be more honest with my feelings on the blog. Like everyday stuff I go through, not just the hard stuff like low white blood cell count scares and mastectomies, and the like. I don't want to seem like I'm complaining or having a pity party. But, my life is hard lately. On my own, it's extremely difficult, and I really find I have to reach out to others for help, and to my God who has never failed me in the past, and who will never fail me in the future. Sometimes getting up in the morning is a difficult thing and doing everyday tasks a chore. I can't seem to get my head together some days. That's why I asked good old Mom to help me clean up my house next week. I need to get ready for teaching the following week, and just don't know where to start. Plus, I need to start living in my house again. I really haven't lived in it since the first of June!

Need to go and get ready for bed, and get RV ready to take off in the morning. Doug is driving my temporary house to his work, so we can take it to Camp Tulakadik for this weekend's retreat. "More Than a Survivor." Should be an interesting weekend for us all.

I go to Dr. Christie's office tomorrow morning for a repeat PAP smear. I had an abnormal test six months ago, so a repeat is needed. Again, pray that all is well. Honestly, I wish I could just have someone tell me in a loud, audible voice (God, it would be nice for you to speak to me this way….) "You are healed, Deb: all is well!" But since God doesn't speak audibly much, I must have faith and just BELIEVE. Remember the BELIEVE signs that Dawn Marie and Greg & Viv gave me way back in the wintertime? I still have them on display, and BELIEVE signs are posted everywhere, along with HOPE.

Talk to you next week….


Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Serving, Being Served and Singing My Heart Out

This morning Max and I drove up to Greenhill Lake Camp to help out at a seniors' dinner. I wrapped fudge for an hour and Max organized the product table. Doris was working at various tasks as well. She goes to Greenhill every Tuesday to volunteer. At noon, about 70 seniors came in to dine, and we were ready for them. I walked and walked, and served their dinners and their pieces of pies, and loved every minute of it. I love being a waitress – the whole thing – serving AND cleaning up, and joking with the patrons, and making sure everyone is well taken care of. After the seniors ambled out, we ate a wonderful lunch of chicken, vegetables and parslied potatoes. No pie for me, though, since it has wheat. Sometimes I'm thankful I can't eat dessert like everyone else. I cleaned up dishes and tables for the next hour and a half, and then Max and I wearily poured our bodies into the car. "I'm going to have a nap when I get home," I said. "Me, too!" Max retorted. Alas, I did not have a nap, but got on the phone, returning messages.

At 4 o'clock, it was time to go to the gym (Nubody's) for an appointment with Saffire, my personal trainer. She put me through some good stuff, let me tell you, and I left there an hour later with weary muscles. Squats, lunges, V-sits, tricep work, biceps, and worst of all – SKIPPING! I HATE SKIPPING! Haven't done it since I was a girl trying to jump Double Dutch or something. I didn't give up during my work out and told Saffire that if I could go through cancer, I could do exercise, even if I was panting a little. She said I was a fighter and did a great job.

I came home and tried to have a nap, but alas, it did not happen. Too much on my mind and I kept emailing people. You see, I do my first retreat this weekend at Camp Tulakadik. I'm calling it "More Than a Survivor II" (I did a similar weekend in 2007). Some of my friends are going with me and helping me. It's the least prepared I've been yet, but I know that it will turn out OK. We are going to share what we've survived this year, how we got through it, and what lessons we have learned.

At 6:30, I hightailed it down to Mom's, where Beth picked us up. And off we went to the first fall meeting of the Fredericton Ladies Choir, which I was allowed to join this year. I sang my heart out and loved every minute of it. Oh, it felt good to sing challenging music and be led by such professionals – Dianne Wilkins and Peter Steeves. And it's something I can do with my mother. We sit beside each other and we both sing second soprano. There are 80+ people in the choir. Remember me telling you about this choir earlier in the year? Well, I'm in it! Dianne told us that she gets requests all the time for us to perform – even the Vatican in Rome! They told us tonight that they are organizing a trip to New York for next June, so who knows, I may make it to New York City yet!

Well, must go and talk to my friend, Doug and find out about his day. He's been raising a pile of money for Run for the Cure. He asks his co-workers to sponsor him for the run, and tells them he promises not to run because if he did, he'd have to ask them for money for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. He's so cute. I love him.

Monday, 14 September 2009

I'm still here. It's late Monday night. Spent the weekend at the Falls Brook Fair up outside Knowlesville, wherever that is. Near Coldstream, if you know where that is. Doug and I felt like we were in the 70's. Barefoot people with ankle bracelets, in love with the creation instead of the creator. We took in some music in the barn, and listened to a toothless professor teach about how to make a solar cell. Very interesting. Ate corn from a boiling cauldron, and I drank spruce ice tea which tasted like it sounds. Toured three straw bale houses and watched logs being made into rough sawn lumber. Went to church on Sunday morning in Florenceville with Jon & Alicia and kids. Came home late Sunday night and went to sleep in the RV, which is where we are again tonight. Don't want to go in the house and sleep. I feel safe in here -- a contained space.

Dealt with fear in a major way since Thursday, but I can feel your prayers. I've received many people telling me different quotes and verses, and I appreciate these so much. I've been on my knees and in constant prayer myself. I had counseling on Friday morning by a reputable Christian counselor. Imagine that -- me the amateur counselor getting counseling. Cried the whole session. He said I am definitely grieving and going through post traumatic stuff. states this is entirely normal, and usually shows up about three months after the treatment is done.

Anyway, I must go to bed. Tomorrow is another full day, as this one was, and I won't even attempt to tell you what I did today. You can just guess.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Doctor Visit

I had a call from Dr. Grant this morning, saying that my chest x-ray was clear. I felt encouraged. Then I went to Dr. Broad at the oncology unit. I told her about my symptoms with pain and she said that is from the medication I'm on to prevent me from producing estrogen. She prescribed a carpal tunnel apparatus for me to wear for six weeks. The drug causes swelling as well, and my fingers are numb on my right hand. OK, that's not a problem. I can do that. She is scheduling another mammogram since I've not had once since last October. Then she told me that my white blood cell count is down. Remember all those times it was down during chemo? It's been going down all summer and she said it might be that I've been fighting infection in my body. I did have a chest infection after radiation, but didn't take antbiotics for it. In April my count was 5.2, but July 31st blood test was 2.9, and last week's was 2.1. So I have to have blood tests every two weeks for the next while to see if it comes up on its own. If it doesn't, I have to have a bone marrow test.

Of course, I wasn't expecting this and I almost fainted in the office. Fear is not a good thing. I wanted good news today. I'm baffled by this, as I've been doing so much -- biking, walking, going out west, etc. So, I'm calling all you people of prayer again to pray that my white cell count goes so far up that it could only be God's doing. My next blood test is Sept 25th, then October 8th.

And to continue to pray for peace and courage -- these I NEED to function. No FEAR. As I've always said, you could do anything if you didn't have fear -- even parachute.

Bless the Lord. Jessica is making me pot roast tonight, as that's what I did before -- ate red meat, and it seems that's what Brenda told me to do, too, earlier in the year. Max is going to make me roast beef on Sept 23. Now I just need to find a roast beef dinner for next week -- perhaps I'll ask my mother.

Thanks for holding me up, everyone.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Labour Day Weekend

I got home today from my extended Labour Day Weekend holiday. I took a side trip to Nurse Cherry's house for a couple of days, as I had an appointment with Dr. Nancy Grant this morning. She's my radiation oncologist. She came in the room and said, "Oh, I love your hair!" I told her I was going to get it cut today, because yesterday at Value Village, the cashier asked me if I qualified for the senior discount. She examined me and sent me for a chest x-ray, and said for me to get back to work, see you in one year. I came to Fredericton and waited patiently at my hairdresser's until she could cut my hair. My first hair cut of my new baby hair at 50 years old.

I will post pictures of the weekend that we had on the Fundy Coast. It was one of the best weekends I've ever had. I'm in the RV right now, and just woke up from an evening nap. Must go and travel down the road with Doug on another mission.

Tomorrow morning, I go see Dr. Broad (family doc in oncology) at the hospital. She will have the results of the bone densitometry test. This month, I go from doctor to doctor, and I'm all right with that. Perhaps I'll drop in and see K.

Thanks again to Byard and Linda, the Century Farmers for their auction in August on my behalf. I took a cheque to CIBC Run for the Cure last week, for Team Dancing Queen. If you would like to donate to our team, email me and I'll tell you how. (

Bye for now. I'll install the pics when I can find the computer cord.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Belated 50th Birthday Party

Had a gathering on Thursday night. Didn't know it involved a birthday cake. Q from Grand Manan made a turtle cheesecake, Nat. Your favorite. At my birthday parties, anything can happen. A couple of the girls helped hang my new curtains. Some of them are quite flexible, as you can see.

We are off to Ponderosa Pines at Hopewell Cape for the long weekend. Jed and Granny, Jon & Alicia and kids, and Becky & Stephen and kids are going. It's a camping trip/bicycle trip. I will bike as well (for a time, anyway).

Had a blood test and a bone densitometry scan this morning before 9 o'clock. Spent the rest of the day packing the RV. Thank you for your prayers. I have seen a huge difference since you all began to pray for me again. Please don't stop praying for me, as I continue in recovery. Now I understand when I heard pastors say "I covet your prayers." The other day, I went to the gym and met with a personal trainer, who put me through a battery of tests. I didn't do so hot, but hey, I've been through a bit, I think. He was very positive, and I'm going to have 12 sessions with a trainer to get me back on track -- flexible and fit. My motto is still "Fit at 50." Then it will be "Fitter at 51."

Have a great labour day weekend, everyone. Don't work too hard.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Request for Prayer

Sometimes it's hard for me to request prayer from my readers. I feel I should be at a different stage by now, but have realized in the past couple of weeks that I am in a stage of grieving; the shock has worn off. And fear comes upon me daily. So, I would ask that you pray for COURAGE and PEACE for me. I thank you SO much. I can always FEEL your prayers.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

New Baby

Congratulations to my adopted daughter, Angie Murphy, who was blessed with her fifth child (yes, 5!) on Sunday. Matthew James Raymond Murphy, 6 lbs 8 oz. Angie and husband Wayne now have four boys and one girl!

A new grandson for !Deb! May the Lord be with you, Angie!

Angie is our team captain for Team Dancing Queen for Run for the Cure on October 2nd. I guess she'll be running with a baby carriage!