Half-time Report

Well, believe it or not, I am now at the halfway mark for my current treatments….hooray! We have been in Houston now almost three weeks, and it is sure a “hot place” in the summer! Nancy says we will not likely ever move here. But, as with everything, we must see the positives….at least I have this option and can find joy in the fact that I am being treated and not experiencing much of the predicted “side effects”…I am blessed indeed. If you ever saw the movie “Ground Hog day”, I feel a little like Bill Murray as I get up each day and remember this similar routine just a few months ago…and now again.

Actually, there are a couple of small changes. I don’t need to wear that dreaded, portable “pump” with the chemo this time during the week, as I can take that medicine orally. That is wonderful in comparison…no permanent IV port etc. On the radiation side…I have been introduced to a whole new deal….and I wish you could see me (no, I won’t include a photo). They fitted me with a very tight mask which has a metal frame and a “mesh” interior that was stretched (very tight) to form the shape of my head and shoulders. Then when I go to the Proton machine, they “bolt” me down on my back under this mesh and metal hood so that I don’t move…fat chance of that. Now, ordinarily this would be less of an issue, but then I reminded them that I had a surgery (which left me short of a valve from the stomach to the throat), so that I was told to “always” sleep at an angle to assure nothing floats back out. Got the picture??

The surgeon says “don’t lie down flat”…the technician says there are no options with this

on my way to radation

mask….and therefore we “hope for the best”. The first time was quite spooky especially as I didn’t know what to expect, and I soon discovered that even if I wanted to get up due to an “issue”, it takes them about 2-3 minutes to undo the bolts around me. Nice..thanks! Anyway, it is so tight that when I arise after the 20 minutes or so under the machine….my face looks like it just came out of a waffle iron with “criss-cross” patterns from the pressure. This goes away after about 30 minutes. Good thing we have no photos of that either.

This was again a great opportunity for me to recognize the destructiveness of “fear” and the availability of “peace that surpasses understanding” which God promises. The doctors and technicians really had not thought about this problem before, so when I asked them…they looked stunned. Not comforting. They said “let’s just see how it goes” Aren’t we glad that God does not have THAT in scripture?! God to man; “Good Luck!…Hope it works out for ya!” He instructs us this way; “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7(KJV)

Do you ever experience fear in your life? Ha! Of course…daily sometimes I assume. Small worries, big worries, and lots of unknowns. But God is never “surprised”. He is all knowing and all powerful and will ALWAYS give us what we need in His time and His way. The “mask” was (is) not that bad, and I have a great chance each day to lie down (uninterrupted for sure!) and reflect on His Word in prayer as the treatment progresses, and I realize that God is using the technology to accomplish His purposes. And who knows what witness I might be to those dear technicians who run the machine? Who knows what “fears” they themselves might be experiencing in their lives? I just try to remain joyful and thankful. How about you? Not always “easy, but always liberating. “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJV)

So…that is my little routine now. Daily (not weekends) radiation and waffle-face. Little pills in between. Have any of you ever played the silly game called “Angry Birds” on your phone or I-Pad? Someone convinced me to try it in case I ever wanted a complete “time-waster” in between my other activities. (Of course I immediately needed Heather to help me figure out what the different “birds” were capable of, as I was getting stuck at the earliest levels). I learned it is both kind of fun, and yet irritating, as these little “angry birds” are used to “kill” the little green things (whatever they are, pigs?). So…what’s the point? Only this….avoid this game, as it will lower your income likely due to the extreme waste of your time, and it may raise your blood pressure too! But humorously, I have decided to refer to my “chemo-pills” as my “angry birds”, and as I swallow them, I visualize them successfully crushing the enemy inside. I pray and believe that they are more efficient and effective than I am at “the game”.

pool party

On a happy note, we were blessed last weekend to go home for two days to Atlanta on Dornan-Air, so that we could get a break from Houston, and so that we could be at Faithie’s third birthday party! What a pleasure that was! Dave and Jules decided to have everyone to our home so we entertained a pot-load of little ones in the pool and such. Happiness all around. We even had a Pinata but Faith was not at all sure she liked the idea of whacking something with a stick (she obviously hasn’t had her full Dornan family “Mexican” conversion yet. Dave ultimately had to break it for the little ones, and he looked like he enjoyed it way too much. Ella cried for a moment when she saw daddy hitting with the stick, but soon the candy was out, and they all scrambled for their prizes. A great day! We are planning one more of these quick trips home before this session is over and we are blessed to have this as a possibility this time. I have included as always a few photos of our recent experiences.

As I shared in my last post, this whole additional round of treatments was so unexpected that we are still allowing the Lord to speak to us through it as we seek to find the opportunities it provides for spiritual growth and further reflection on things often not addressed while engaged in our “normal” lives. This is definitely the longest “time-out” I have ever had. God is helping me learn what to do with it, and revealing His amazing love and sovereignty. In reading Psalm 91 recently I was struck at the end by the “completeness” of His promise to those who honor and serve Him.

Ps 91:14-16
“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

So, we are promised deliverance, protection, answers in times of trouble, rescue and honor, long life and satisfaction, and salvation. That’s good with me. But it also says we are to “hold fast to me in love”. Don’t forget that part!

Jesus also added this; “Peace I leave with you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

And in John 16:33 he said; “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”.

As I have had the time to dive deeper into His word, I have also worked harder on memorizing scripture, and “hiding it in my heart”, and reminding me of His wonderful promises. Our whole family has challenged each other to memorize a new verse each week this year. This will provide us with 52 new “swords of the spirit” to make our “full armor of God” most effective and available. In case you are curious, our first one was Proverbs 3:5,6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight (NIV).

I am learning every day how to better live and serve as He wants. I can see His true desire is for us to be not only faith-filled, but also obedient and growing as disciples, rather than simply having an “intellectual agreement” with our faith. The Bible says that “even Satan believes”….but submission to His will, and acknowledgement of the Son,  and repentance and renewal are what give us the power and the life.  This takes time and focus and sometimes a bit of uninterrupted study and reflection. I sure got that lately. PTL

I got this recently from a dear friend and thought I would share as I leave for a bit. I hope you are all enjoying your summer (oops, winter in Australia and Africa) and preparing for the year ahead. I know I am!

If you never felt pain, then how would you know that I am a Healer?

If you never had to pray, how would you know that I am a Deliverer?

If you never had a trial, how could you call yourself an Overcomer?

If you never felt sadness, how would you know that I am a Comforter?

If you never made a mistake, how would you know that I am a Forgiver?

If you knew all, how would you know that I will answer your questions?

If you never were in trouble, how would you know that I will come to your rescue

If you never were broken, then how would you know that I can make you whole?

If you never had a problem, how would you know that I can solve them?

If you never had any suffering, then how would you know what I went through?

If you never went through the fire, then how would you become pure?

If I gave you all things, how would you appreciate them?

If I never corrected you, how would you know that I love you?

If you had all power, then how would you learn to depend on me?

If your life was perfect, then what would you need me for?


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