Monday, March 30, 2009

Trusting and Believing

One of the greatest joys since being home and slowly regaining strength after the transplant is simply spending time with my family. One experience specifically that I could not wait to have with them was going back to church! This past Sunday was the third service that I attended, and it is so wonderful to be a part of that praise and worship time. We have always been able to drop Audrey off at the nursery without a problem. Caleb and Lauren, however, have made it clear lately they want to stay with us in the "big service." As important as I believe their programs are on Sunday morning, we have allowed them to stay with us. It can be a bit challenging to keep them quiet and as non-distractive as possible....but it is also so precious to have that time with them.

This past Sunday, a husband and wife stepped out of the choir to sing the special. As soon as I heard the music begin, my heart and eyes were glued to them. They sang "Bring the Rain" by Mercy Me. (Thank you Crystal and Dave...it was so beautiful. Although it touched many people, I felt like the Lord had you sing it for me!) This song has been "my song" since I was diagnosed a year ago. Oh, the words are so powerful....I would like you to read them. If you would like, you may also go to the bottom of the page and click on the song in the playlist to hear it.

I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that I've gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You
Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain

I am Yours regardless of
The dark clouds that may loom above
Because You are much greater than my pain
You who made a way for me
By suffering Your destiny
So tell me what's a little rain
So I pray

Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God Almighty


My favorite part of this song is "Maybe since my life was changed long before these rainy days..." I am just so thankful that Jesus was part of my life before the storm began. It is because of what He had already done in my life, that I knew He was my Rock! When we learned last March that there was something wrong...something more going on inside of me than what we ever imagined...I knew my life was forever changed. I knew then I had the choice to panic and be full of fear, or to run to Jesus and hold on for dear life! There have been plenty of days since then that I have struggled to understand why this is happening or why it hasn't disappeared yet. I can tell you with an honest heart though, there has not been one single day that I didn't know He was carrying me. There is a lot that I don't understand, but even in the midst of my questions....I can trust Him. I am grateful for all of the blessings of this past year. I am more in love with my husband than ever before...I been blessed to spend so much time with both sides of our families...my children are even more priceless to me...the generosity and kindness of those who have taken care of me in the hospital inspires me...the cards, e-mails, and calls encourage me and remind me I am not fighting this fight alone!

The first Sunday morning that I was back at church after the transplant, a sweet lady that was walking in with her husband spoke to me. She said she knew we hadn't met yet, but wanted me to know she and her husband read my blog and were praying for me. She went on to tell me that she had passed it on to family, friends, etc., and she knew that hundreds of others were lifting me up, too! I was so touched by this....as the week went on, there were other "surprise" reminders of the great number of people (both friends and strangers) who are lifting me up to the Lord. To realize there are literally hundreds upon hundreds of you praying for my healing is so humbling and powerful! I know with all of my heart that there is power in prayer...thank you for believing that with me.

It is hard to believe just how weak I was after the transplant. I have progressed leaps and bounds in terms of energy and strength. My three beautiful and fully-energized children were great sources of motivation for me! Last week was my first week on my own while Doug is at work. I've laughed and told people it is hard to decipher between the post-transplant fatigue and the normal exhaustion of a mother with three little ones! I try to nap during the day, (if they are all three down at one time...doesn't always happen!) which helps so much. I know it is a relief to those of you who see me. What I mean is, I am sure people are thinking of me in a weary and maybe somewhat frail state. When one of my dearest friends in the world recently saw me, she was shocked at how "good" (I equate that to "normal") I looked! I just laughed and told her obviously she was expecting that I would look horrible! Although I am making lite of it, I am so grateful for all the many ways the Lord has helped me to bounce back from everything in the last couple of months.

I will not have any appointments until my scan in early May. They have yet to call me with the exact day. My doctor's appointment is scheduled to follow the scan on May 11th. I am still holding onto the positive news from my one month scan that the nodules on my lungs have disappeared. I feel very hopeful and excited in a way to have the next scan, yet at the same time a bit nervous. Even with the mix of emotions, the Lord continues to bring me a peace....a peace that I know can only come from Him. Let's keep trusting and believing together!

Much Love,
Melissa

Friday, March 6, 2009

One Month Anniversary

Yesterday was the one month anniversary of my bone marrow transplant. It does not even seem possible that a month has already passed...I am so grateful for how the Lord has brought me through each day. I am gaining strength little by little. The first night I was home, Doug was helping me to and from the bathroom. I was either in bed or on the sofa most of the day. Now, two weeks later, I am going up and down the stairs without a problem, doing laundry, giving the kids a bath, and even cooking every now and then. Thank You, Lord! I have appreciated every single minute of being home. It's amazing how much more precious the big and little things in life have become over the last few months.

I was thinking as I went to sleep Wednesday night, how wonderful it would be if I heard from my doctor's office on Thursday...the one month anniversary. Well, the Lord graciously granted my heart's desire. My nurse called Thursday evening. She let me know that the radiologist's report stated "overall good results." She went on to tell me what brought a calming peace to my heart. Nothing new has developed and nothing has grown. The nodules that were on my lungs are NO LONGER VISIBLE. (That is a HUGE praise...if I remember correctly even after my chemo in the fall, the nodules had even grown somewhat rather than decrease.) Nothing was said specifically about the main mass that has been there since the beginning, but we do know at least it has not grown. I was so relieved just to hear from her; although I have waited many, many times before to hear results of tests, it really doesn't get any easier.

I also wanted to explain something else she told me. Bone marrow transplant patients normally do not have their first scan until three months post-transplant. I had my first scan at the one month mark, only because of the clinical study I was a part of with one of my chemo drugs, clorapharabene (sp?). This drug is typically used in treating leukemia, and in some cases has "shown activity" in treating lymphoma. My doctor doesn't really consider this first scan a reliable measurement of success. Again, this scan was required for the study. All I have to say is....thank you Lord for this little bit of good news to hold onto for the next two months until my next scan! If these results are "overall good", and if the nodules are no longer visible, then we can trust and pray even more good news is on it's way! In case you are wondering, the three month period (although it could seem like a long time to wait) allows the chemo and the transplant process to really take effect and continue working to it's full capacity. My next scan will actually be scheduled at my doctor's appointment (Thursday, March 12), but I do know it will be sometime in early May. Although I am still guarding myself until I hear further results at that time, I feel the need to shout out thanks to the Lord for what He has done. He has answered many prayers over the last few weeks, and He deserves all the glory and praise. I am going to continue praying, trusting, and believing that His work is not yet done in my body.

I cannot even thank you enough for your fervent prayers. I am so humbled every day to realize the number of people that are lifting me and my family up in prayer. I am reminded of this through your calls, e-mails, facebook messages, meals, and the hundreds of cards that I've received. I don't think I have shared yet on the blog what a HUGE blessing all of the mail has been...especially when I was in the hospital. I loved it when the nurses would carry in mail to my room...what a smile it brought! Please don't ever underestimate the power of a card or note. Don't ever talk yourself out of writing someone who is on your heart and mind...there is a reason God has put them there. I am a great example of this....your cards have been such a lifeline of support and encouragement to me! Thank you!!!

I will close for now. My heart is full of thanks for the good report from the scan, for a family whose love I couldn't do without, and for friends who are such a blessing. "Thank you Lord for my life. Thank you for saving me and loving me. Thank you for the strength and peace you bring me each day. I trust You, and I love You."

I love and appreciate each of you,
Melissa

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Good Update

I just looked at the date of my last post, and I am in shock at how quickly these past couple weeks have gone by. My time in Indy with my sister was more wonderful than words. I have since returned to PA and returned to teaching, so my posting is not quite as frequent.

I would like for everyone to know, though, that she is doing great! I speak with Miss often on the phone, and she sounds better and stronger each day.

She did have her CAT scan this past Monday. She and Doug will find out the results at their next appointment which is next Thursday, March 12th.

I know they would appreciate your prayers as they anticipate the appointment over the next few days! And THANK YOU so much for the many, many prayers that have already been spoken on her behalf!!

Love and appreciation to you all!

Jenn