QUICK UPDATE

Many of you have asked that I let you know the results of my bloodwork that was done today.  Everything except white blood counts (the infection-fighters that often decrease as a normal part of chemo) are within normal range and indicate that I am in early remission.  However, to verify that, I do need to have  PET scan and that is scheduled for November 5th (two days before my next chemo).  If the PET scan shows any reduction in tumor size we will “stay the course” with three more of the same protocol that I have been recieving.  If tumors aren’t really being impacted, we will probably start a new mix of chemo or add other drugs.

It is likely that the tumors are being impacted given the good direction of my blood counts,  so this is just basically to determine where we are at this point.  Regarding the low white count, the doc wants me to lay low for awhile and avoid crowds and thus the risk of infection.  I probably will skip church (and everything else!) this weekend based on that.  I always miss being there, but it’s the prudent thing to do as an infection at this point could set me back.  I do feel more tired in this post-chemo week, and that is probably due to the low white counts.  By the grace of God, I’m feeling very content to stay home knowing that doing so is working for my good and that resting my body is the best thing I can do for it right now.  Marv and Reagan (the good old dog) are good company, and I continue to recieve all kinds of encouragement from contact with you all.  Please keep the prayers coming at this mid-point of my first round of moving toward complete healing!

Love and Blessings,              Joy

YOUR PRAYERS ARE POWERFUL

Hello Everyone!

I’m happy to report that as of yesterday, I have completed three of the six chemo treatments that make up my initial course of treatment.  And even better, I’m feeling good today!  And better yet was the news that I got from my oncologist before I took my treatment yesterday, so read on!

The GREAT news is that tests indicate that my bone marrow, which is the source of this type of cancer, has “kicked in” and is producing good, new, healthy cells.  This is a major turn-around in that (1) it indicates that treatments are reaching the source of the cancer and (2) it is happening quickly.  My hemoglobin (a major indicator of things going in the right direction) is now in the normal range, and that hasn’t happened since it took a downward plunge last March.  This was unexpected progress!  I will have more blood work next week followed by a PET scan which will show how much the tumors have shrunk since I started treatment.  My doc said that he expects they have shrunk considerably and he wants the scan for reference to see how far we’ve actually come.

Needless to say, I am very grateful, and I know that this rapid progress has everything to do with all of you who are covering me in prayer.  James 5:16 says in part, “…The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available (dynamic in its working).” (Amplified Bible).  So many of you have assured me over and over that you are praying for me daily and words cannot express my appreciation.  I am humbled by your continuous love and support as I face this formidible enemy, and I know that the battle is being waged through your prayers.

I recently called my Pastor and asked him to get the Elders of our church together to pray for me according to James 5:14 which gives instruction on what to do when we as Christians face illness.  It says there that the Elders should anoint the sick person with oil and pray.  My Pastor arranged for that to be done in the context of our morning worship service last Sunday, and it was a very powerful time.  As I sat there being prayed for I could almost see all of your prayers converging upon me.  I don’t pretend to understand all of the dynamics of prayer,  but I do know that I laid hold of every prayer promise in scripture in that moment and my hope and faith was restored.  It was just three days and a blood test later that we got the good news of my great improvement, and I know that was no coincidence.  Prayer is powerful, and the Word of God can be trusted!

Again, I can’t thank you all enough for continued prayer.  It has and will continue to carry me as there is no way I could do this without you.

Love and Blessings,              Joy

The Eight Year Old Viewpoint

As most of you know, Marv and I have had a very special relationship with a family that we met about eight years ago.  At that time we began providing child-care for newborn, premature twins (Arielle and Ariyon) and they quickly captured our hearts.  They now call us Nanna and PaPa and we love them dearly.  Up until now we have had a very definate grandparent relationship right up to their having a bedroom in our home and spending many over-nights here.  We believed when we first saw them come out of the delivery room and continue to believe now that the intersection of our lives and theirs is full of the plan and purposes of God!

Recently, Arielle was given an assignment at school to write about someone in her family from another generation, that she  might want to pass on to another generation after her own.  She decided to  write about me.  What she wrote centers around our relationship and how things have changed since cancer came into our lives, as well as her hope for the future.  I’m including it the content of my blog today, largely because I am so proud of her ability to understand and write about what is happening to her!  She loves to write and I encourage her to do so all the time.  This little essay moved my heart to say the least, and I want to share it (unedited!) with you all.

 

NANNA

By Arielle Mitchell-Perkins 

“My Nanna has cancer.  I miss her a lot and barely get to see her cause of her treatments.  When she did not have cancer we use to have a lot of fun.  We use to go to the movies, the Olive Garden, and play games like Candyland together.  It was fun until I we found out that she has cancer.  I really miss those days.  I hope that she can get better real soon and get to hang out like we did before.  That is how it feels like to have a Nanna with cancer to miss the fun days.  I have been praying that she will get better so the fun days return.  I love and miss my Nanna a lot. I have this generation for my kids so that they will know that sometimes even when you take care of your hair, sometimes it can still fall out”.

     Someday I’ll share more about how much these remarkable children have blessed our lives.  Meanwhile, I too am hoping and praying that the “fun days” will return!  Even more, I am praying that through this experience these children that I love so much can learn bigger lessons.  I continually want to impress on them that whatever the circumstance, God is good and God is in control. If they know these two things they can build a rock solid faith that will assure them of His loving plan and purpose in their lives with every step they take.

Today may God strengthen the truths of His sovreignty and goodness in all of us!

         Resting in Him,            Joy

…MY HELP COMES FROM THE LORD!… (Psalm 121:2)

Good Morning, Everyone!

With my head firmly above water today I look back on what I last posted and thought I sure did let everyone in on my “pity party” regarding  last week! As I thought about that, I was reminded of some content from a book that has always been precious to me ( “Hinds’ Feet on High Places” by Hannah Hurnard).

This book is a beautiful allegory of the Christian journey and it contains a chapter entitled “On The Shores of Loneliness”.  There it explores the struggles and the blessings of the lonely times.  I found my old book and  re-read that chapter this morning with much pleasure. I believe I recieved some new awareness in light of my experience with the isolating loneliness that physical weakness can bring.  What stood out to me with this reading is that loneliness contains its own wonderful gifts when it is accepted as an opportunity to find greater intimacy with the Saviour.  I also was reminded that there are three major “stealers” that the enemy would like to impose on our lonely times which can rob us so insidiously if we allow them to enter into our spirits at all.  These stealers are the “big three” – bitterness, resentment, and self-pity.  How quickly, if we allow them access, these tools of the evil one move into our times of loneliness.  Looking back, I believe part of what I discovered was God allowing me to undergo loneliness as a gift for growth.

I find that when I am engaged in spiritual warfare at a time when my physical body is weakened, there is a mental response that decreases my ability to fight on a spiritual level.  Feeling “down” both physically and emotionally seems to deplete my spiritual arsenal, as it were.  I find at those times that if I can muster myself to pay attention to II Corinthians 10:3-5, I can get critical direction regarding the “how to” of dealing with the “big three”.  These three powerful robber-barons can easily become strongholds that hinder me in my walk with Jesus.  Thinking all this through has been a good refresher course for me as I looked back at last week.   I read II Corinthians 10:3-5  in the Phillips “New Testament in Modern English” and share it here:

“The truth is that, although of course  we lead normal human lives, the battle we are fighting is on the spiritual level.  The very weapons we use are not those of human warfare, but powerful in God’s warfare for the destruction of the enemies’ strongholds.  Our battle is to bring down every deceptive fantasy and every imposing defense that men can erect against the true knowledge of  God.  We even fight to capture every thought until it acknowledges the authority of Christ.”

I think I may have referred to this scripture in previous posts, but for me it keeps coming up as a concept which I continually struggle to apply.  You may even see it again as I may never lay hold of it fully!

This has gotten longer than I like, but I do want to also report on my visit to my oncologist today.  First of all, I was amazed how well I felt today less than a week after being so sick.  My doc confirmed that the infection I had was a “bad bug” that had the potential to be difficult to fight.  He pronouned me fit to enjoy the next ten days without restriction and said that I could proceed on schedule to my next chemo on October 17.  After my appointment,  I  spent all day running around and shopping with Jenni and Marv in the morning and taking in a movie in the afternoon!  While I’m certainly sure I will be able to sleep well tonight, it is now just after 10:00 PM and I’m no more tired than I would be after any other day.  I can only say PRAISE GOD FOR HIS AMAZING MERCY, GRACE, AND HEALING POWER!

I’ll sign off by saying that once again I am so aware of the powerful prayer and the love that has been shed all over me by those of you who are certainly standing in the gap for me.  The title of this post says it all, as I see God’s hand made visible through all of you!

Love and Blessings,                 Joy

 

 

 

 

WHAT A WEEK!

Hello Everyone!

Just a short post tonight at the end of what has been a very tough week.  Last Saturday evening, after a relatively good three days immediately post chemo, I took a nosedive.  It began with  a sudden high fever and chills and ended up with a hospital stay lasting until the following Thursday which has left me feeling very week and drained.  If you called or contacted me during that time I’m sorry that you probably didn’t get an acknowledgement as I was just too sick to respond.    It turns out that I had an infection which started in my infusa-port (through which I was getting chemo) and ended up in my bloodstream.  It took a load of IV antibiotics and more blood transfusions but the good news is that I am feeling much better after having the “port” removed.  On top of it all, I have a head cold that has left me with a cough which doesn’t allow me talk for any length of time!

I’m feeling so cut off from civilization right now and am missing all of you.  THANKS so much for the continued cards and messages that have taken away some of the loneliness.  In all my time in nursing  I’ve never been sick enough to realize just how isolating a few days of illness can feel.  I can’t imagine how people go through weeks and month in the isolation of illness.  My step-daughter, Jenni, arrived today from San Diego for a few days stay and it is so good to have her here!  She’s one of those people who carriens lots of sunshine with her in her personality!

I just wanted you all to know that I am alive and kicking even though my “kick” is still a little weak!    I have several days now to recoop fully before my next chemo (October 16)  and I’ll be in touch again soon.  Have a blessed Sunday.  I’m going to do my best to get to church tomorrow and am looking forward to it with great anticipation!

Love and Blessings,                 Joy