HALLELUJAH AND HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL! Psalm 91:1-2

Hello dear ones!
Just a quick post to wish you all a happy 2013 and deliver some very good news.  My first round of chemo is complete and that is a major “HALLELUJAH” in itself!   I  had a  PET scan (last month) which revealed that the tumors that were there in July were there no longer,  and I proceeded to have a the bone marrow test done the week before Christmas.  This is the definitive test of progress as it goes to the source of where lymphoma happens, and I am so happy to report that my bone marrow was completely clear, a “couldn’t have been better” report to quote my oncologist.  I think Marv and I were in shock when the news was delivered!

This was a very rapid and complete response to treatment, and I have absolutely no doubt that your prayers have prevailed in my situation.  How will I ever find the words to thank all of you who have stood so faithfully with me in prayer?  My heart is full when I think of your love and willingness to exercise your faith on my behalf.  I’m not sure we human beings can ever grasp the incredible power of prayer.

Now, this disease is relentless in nature, so preventative measures are necessary to prevent reccurance and I continue to ask for your prayers.  My oncologist wants me to go to Baylor Medical Center in Dallas sometime in mid-January to get a second opinion regarding further treatment.   There are some fairly new but very promising chemotherapy protocols that are maintanence in nature and are given every few weeks just for the purpose of preventing recurrance and they may be a good option for me.  If I go that route, I can probably avoid having a stem cell transplant which is a very intensive procedure that carries many risks and almost certain negative effects on my body in general.  I had originally thought that was my only option, but with my rapid progress and clear bone marrow at this point, I may be able to avoid all that.  Please pray that Marv and I and our doctors have great wisdom as we make further treatment decisions.

Meanwhile, we are praising God continually and anticipating a 2013 full of His grace, which is the element that has been with us every step of the way just as He promised.  This afternoon I was reviewing in my mind the course of 2012, and I marvel at how God’s presence has been so real.  I have learned much, some of which I have already shared with you along the way, and I wouldn’t have traded a minute of this last year for all the good it has brought to my walk with Him.  Words like “thankfulness” and “joy” have taken on whole new meaning as I have experienced them both entirely apart from what the world views as at least negtive and sometimes horrible circumstances!   I will close just by saying that as I thought of all that, I saw myself being firmly and lovingly tucked under His wing in a way that I know has changed my life forever, and I am grateful beyond belief for all of the life experience that 2012 delivered to me from the hand of  our awesome God!  May He alone be glorified.

May God bless each one of you richly as we all continue on our journey with Him in this fresh, new year!                      Joy

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Overdue Update – II Corinthians 12:9

Hello!

I had to take a short “blog break” after my last chemo on November 29 because it left me wiped out!  My doc tells me that it is not unusual to have the cumulative effects of chemo hit hard after 4 or 5 sessions and that is what I encountered.  After a few day, just as I was feeling a return of my old energy level, I went right into a bout of bronchitis which put me down again.  If anyone had told me that sitting up at the computer would look like an overwhelming task I would have said “impossible”.  But I learned differently when I reached a new level of tired.

I recovered enough to  make my first Christmas shopping trip last weekend during which a very freaky accident  left me with a re-injury to an old shoulder problem that was very painful.  That too delayed my use of the computer for a few more days!  Since that happened I have been suffering from pain plus frustration that my “good” days between chemo treatments have been spoiled by a bad shoulder.

However, the Lord is near, and in the flow of all this I have been rolling over in my mind the whole concept of suffering in the life of a Christ-follower.  Don’t get me wrong – I know that my “light afflictions” , as frustrating as they have been over the last few months, are so minor in comparison to that which so many undergo that I hesitate to even use the word “suffering”.  It’s a little embarrassing to use that word it as it seems overly dramatic.  But I’m going to use it anyway and uncomfortably forge ahead to examine how this whole situation is  playing out.  Here’s hoping my attempt at transparency will resonate with someone else who may have the same problem that I do with being less than fully capable in my own strength.

Here is my current “schoolroom”.  I know that I have long been trapped in the deception that “performance” equals “worth” which has resulted in striving in all areas of my life, including that of the spiritual.  My head knows all about grace and the unconditional love of God, but it has seemed impossible for my soul and spirit to catch up to my head knowledge. I also know that I have been unwilling to deal with whole idea of being unable to be a complete “conquerer”, to use a Biblical term, of all things. So along comes a debilitating physical illness which has forced me to say the words  “I can’t” way more than I want to.  Having recognized that,  I find that my emotional discomfort is greater than my physical painl!  After all, if I (that big, bold “I”) can’t take care of everything concerning me, who can?

So on to the topic of weakness“My grace is sufficient for you, for my strenth is perfected in weakness” (II Corinthiaans 12:9).  This is one of those scripture verses that I have known since I could talk, it seems.  But I never wanted to be weak, no matter how much it might connect me to the power of God.  I may not have realized that in such stark terms, but being in a position of physical weakness the last few weeks has caused me to see something in big, flashing, neon letters. It is that my over-the-top self-reliant nature is part of that pesky little thing called “sin”.  Somehow I picked up the idea that self-reliance was one of the most sterling of virtues.  In spite of my life experiences to the contrary, it never quite hit home what a destructive thing that was to my intimacy with God, who desires to be my strength.

So I find myself now in the middle of physical, emotional, and spiritual pain.  Can this possibly be God working in my life??  Much as I hate to admit it, the answer is a big, loud YES, and I know it.  Now you’ll have to excuse me while I take a break, because my wounded wing (shoulder) is killing me!  More later- maybe I’ll be “stronger” then.      Blessings!                         Joy