Wednesday, December 19, 2007

now entering...

the beginning of the last... Today marks the 1st day of fatigue & pain for Florian. However. This is the last time we have to go through this - at least for now :)

Florian finished his Prednizone yesterday; today was day 1 of Neupogen. Tonight he is already feeling the side effects with bone pain (hip and thigh). He came home from work very tired; took 1/2 hour to lie down while I worked on dinner.

I am afraid of the next two weeks - with each consecutive treatment the fatigue & bone pain & muscle cramps have not only been making their presence known earlier in the cycle but also have been somewhat more severe. Inwardly I am cringing at what I know lies ahead... I have to be strong for him... but from where will I find that strength? I'm tired - but not nearly as tired as he is. Emotionally I feel like I am falling apart - who will hold me together?

I know the answer - As I lift up my eyes to the hills — where does my help come from My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let my foot slip — he who watches over me will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over me — the LORD is my shade at my right hand; the sun will not harm me by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep me from all harm — he will watch over my life; the LORD will watch over my coming and going both now and forevermore.*

I am thankful for the peace that comes as I, once again, take my cares & concerns and lay them down at the feet of the One who cares for me (1 Pet 5:7).

Practically, I am also thankful that aside from 2 Christmas gifts left to purchase we are basically ready for Christmas.

* Ps 121:1-8, New International Version (Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society)

Friday, December 14, 2007

it's been a long day...

but we are thankful that they we come this far. Today was the 6th (and final) treatment. As Florian mentioned on his blog, it's so easy to become complacent.

We have much for which to be thankful:
(1) 6 treatments without any reactions
(2) side effects continue to be minimal
(3) a whole host of continued prayers being offered on our behalf
(4) as a result of #3, we have experienced so clearly the peace that passes all understanding - the peace that only comes from God

However. All this will be for naught if we have not learned from this journey. As I reflect on the past 3 months I have to ask myself, "Have my roots grown deeper? Am I different today? Has this "bend in the road" changed me?

I pray that I can honestly answer "yes" to each of these questions.

Monday, December 3, 2007

A stark realization. . .

hit me yesterday.... as much as I had, this past summer, resolved in my heart to choose joy, my focus the last little while has been on the "storm", feeling threatened by the speed bumps and the bend in the road. Rather than lifting my eyes to the Master of the storm, I have allowed the storm to be the center of my focus. If I look into the depths of the sea, there I find calm water. There is where my anchor rests.... there my soul will find peace & joy.

As I/we enter this season of Advent, my prayer is that I/we will look beyond the tinsel & glitter, to move beyond the frenzy, and dig deeper to realize the peace & joy that is mine/ours because of Christ.

Monday, November 19, 2007

it's hard to believe...

that we're already here. Treatment #5 scheduled for Friday ~ where have the last three weeks gone?

Florian is doing so well. He's still working full-time, but admittedly is experiencing much more fatigue than initially. Lately, he's been using weekends to catch up on needed rest, but this time our schedule didn't allow for much of that. I don't know whether fatigue is a reflection of low white blood counts, but I am praying that the treatment won't need to be rescheduled.

Last night in our Small Group Bible Study, we looked at the passage in Matthew where Jesus instructs us not to worry. During our prayer time, I had an awesome "light bulb" moment. You know what happens. The light is turned on as you come to a certain realization and you exclaim, "aha!! that's it!!!" I may not be worrying... but when my kids can't sleep at night because their minds just won't stop processing, maybe what they are really describing is worry. Interesting concept and I thank God for His insights. I think that maybe, just maybe, this is the answer that I have been seeking. May God grant me much wisdom as I take these thoughts and look for opportunities to speak of this with my children.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

when trouble comes...

God will sometimes take us through it; God will sometimes help us in it; God will sometimes keep us from it*

This echoes Beth Moore's observations in the study of Daniel (scenario A, B or C).**

When you are faced with trouble, how do you respond? Can you say with confidence that "He restores my soul, He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, Your rod & Your staff, they comfort me" (Ps. 23:3-4) or as Isaiah writes, "when you pass through the waters, I will be with you. And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned. Nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour" (Isa. 43:2-3)

In the book, When Your World Falls Apart, David Jeremiah writes:

"Every believer knows that when we walk through the valley of tears, God walks beside us, when we pass through the fire, He draws close to deflect the flames; when we wade through the flood He is nearby to keep our heads up. In the storm or in the earthquake or in the midst of any disaster threatening to engulf us - that's the time we feel the presence of the Lord as we've never felt Him before. Other so-called friends may disappear. their words may falter and their support may vanish. But God is closest in the crises, surrounding us with His presence. He promised us He would do it, and our Lord is always as good as His Word."***

What happens when we go through troubles? It's easy to think that God has forgotten us - that He has discarded us. It's a terrible feeling. But it's not true because "when we navigate troubled waters, God is the master of not only the waves, but also the ship."****

And so I am again comforted... people/friends may desert me but God is walking along side me - I may not see Him and some days I do not feel His presence, but in faith (as feeble as mine may be) I must trust... I must believe... I must cling to the promise of His never-failing presence for God IS with me.

* Jeremiah, David. When Your World Falls Apart (p. 114)
** Moore, Beth. Daniel: Lives of Integrity, Words of Prophecy
***Jeremiah, David. p.119
**** Jeremiah, David. p. 120

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I can only see....

but a step ahead. I wish the path was illuminated allowing me to clearly see what lies ahead. I want to know what happens at the end....

I've never been good at reading novels without peeking ahead to the last pages to see how everything turns out in the end. I can't stand suspense. That's why I'm not very good at handling surprises.... I like knowing what's ahead. I want to be in control and have everything go according to plan - my plan.

But if I knew exactly what lay ahead, would I be capable of handling that knowledge at this point? If I am totally honest with myself, I want to know but really only as long as the good guy wins in the end. I want to know that Florian will be OK - that his cancer will go into remission and never rear its ugly head again.

For today, I can only see the next step and need to trust that God not only can see the rest of the path but has orchestrated it to be exactly the way He deems is best for me - for Florian - for our family.

Can I be OK with only seeing my next step? Can I be OK with placing my hand in His and allowing Him to lead me along the road that He has laid out for me? Can I trust Him for that? That means I relinquish my need to be in control. That means that I have to be OK to not know whether the good guy wins in the end. That means I have to be OK with only seeing the next step. Am I?

Monday, October 1, 2007

have you ever wondered....

why we sometimes find ourselves in hard times?

A book I started reading yesterday said this:

"You can struggle against the disruptive moment, shake your fist at the heavens, and find yourself exhausted, defeated, and in despair - or you can accept the moment and let it train and strengthen you... If you take the latter course, you'll discover on the other side more power, more holiness, and more fruit. Those are precious gifts that cannot be purchased with any coin other than tears. When you possess them, you'll comprehend with joy what God wanted so much for you to experience in your life.

God allows no pain without purpose. Instead, He uses pain to dispense power.....

Someone once told me that the times when plants grow the most are not necessarily during the warm, gentle rains or beautiful summer days. In fact, during fierce winds and raging storms come times of the most growth. Botanists tell us that if you were to take a cross-section of the earth during a vicious storm, you could literally observe the roots reaching further down into the soil."*

Incredible. Amazing.

Oh that I would allow this time to grow my roots deeper... to find on the other side more power, more holiness, more fruit. For if, on the other side of this "bend in the road", I am no different, what a waste.

* Jeremiah, David. When Your World Falls Apart. Nashville: Word Publishing, 2000, pp.23-24

Saturday, September 22, 2007

and in the quiet stillness...

... a voice speaks truth to my soul.

"God does not abandon us when we experience hardship and suffering but offers us comfort and hope.

Gracious God, thank you for continuing to speak to us when we forget that you are with us. Amen."*

While I contemplate these truths I receive another in the form of an e-card and again I am gently reminded that:

God is Hope. "May the God of hope fill you with peace... as you trust in Him" (Rom 15:13)

God is Comfort. "Through Christ our comfort overflows" (2 Cor 1:5)

God is with us. "Do not fear for I am with you... I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you." (Isa. 41:10)**

and my heart can find peace.... for once again I am able to "be still and know".

* taken from The Upper Room Daily Devotional, Sept 22, 2007
** © copyright 2006 DaySpring ® Cards. All rights reserved.

uncertain and afraid...

but then, I should stop being so surprised at the roller coaster ride we're on! LOL

As we drove to the clinic yesterday, Florian was stressed. How could I tell? He was commenting on my driving - he seldom if ever comments on my driving... That didn't sit very well with me. However, it did cause me to pay extra attention and that was probably a good thing since my head was in a different space.

Then while we were waiting for the treatment to start, Florian commented on feeling much more uptight this time. He couldn't tell me why he was feeling that way... I just prayed that he'd be OK, that it wouldn't have any adverse affects. (there weren't).

I wasn't in a great emotional space either as we started the day. God is so faithful - I didn't know quite how to pull myself together but God did. I received an email which helped me understand and put things into a right perspective.

This "new normal" is ever before me and sometimes I feel so alone - life is moving forward for everyone - have they forgotten us? do they remember to pray?

As we start another treatment we are reminded of what we are facing - there's again the uncertainty of the future - and we aren't in control. But thanks be to God.... He is the One who is in control and we can certainly trust Him for He is faithful!!!

I remain so very thankful for all the support we receive: a quick email lets us know that friends were thinking of us today.... another comment that "we will definitely pray for you today - tomorrow - and on".... my online community sends prayers & hugs...

These remind me that we have not been forgotten.... we do not face this alone...

What can I say, except Thank You.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

step by step...

we'll make it through. Florian mentioned tonight that he needed to log his next journal entry. I thought, "Can we please just forget this week happened?"

It was tough - hard on Florian, hard on the kids, hard on me. Up until this week, Florian has really sailed through with very few side effects of his first treatment. But now - he began to have a fever. Our night was a complete write-off as he/I was awake every hour checking his temperature. If it didn't go down, we had been instructed to head to emergency. Fortunately we didn't have to make that trip, but in the morning there was another flurry of phone calls, appointments, driving him to & from .... is this our "new normal"? I certainly pray that it isn't... I don't know if I can physically withstand the demands.

Actually, I can handle the physical demands far easier than the mental & emotional strain - the stress that is mounting in our home. Christopher is having a hard time. He isn't saying much, but I can see that he's not coping very well. I see him depressed and frustrated and is having a hard time with everything. This, particularly, is hard to watch as a parent.

Each day I am asked, "How's Dad?" Telltale indications of how the kids are coping (or not).

I reflect on all this and remember that during the summer I had made a resolution to choose joy. Not happiness, but joy. To find joy and contentment in knowing that:
  • God is in control
  • He is in each circumstance
  • He IS
I confess that I haven't been doing so well with this; I really want my pity-party.

Friday Florian is finally able to work all day - the kids are relieved - I am relieved. I know that he's back to "normal" when I see him in the kitchen helping with dinner preparations.

Reflecting on this, I am reminded of a message Christopher brought home from chapel this week. If Satan can't make you 'bad', he'll make you 'busy'. I have been very busy - too busy... My quiet time has suffered.... and I wonder. Had I continued to make time for morning prayer & devotions, would I have coped better this week? A quiet inner sense persuades me that it would indeed have made a difference. That would have, in turn, made it easier for the kids.... I realize I need to make my quiet time a priority - I can't afford, for the sake of the kids, to have another week like this past one.

I am reminded, once again, to take each day one step at a time, and resolve to:
(1) make my quiet time a priority
(2) choose joy

Monday, September 10, 2007


are always exciting! Beginning a new school year... Beginning a new season... Beginning.... anticipation & excitement of the "new" overshadow reality.

This time, however, I approach our new beginning with a completely different perspective. This is not a beginning that we would have chosen; we have, rather, been chosen for a "new beginning". Our lives will not know "normal" as we have known "normal" until now - for our lives have been invaded by the dreaded dragon known as "cancer".

Yet. Our lives can continue with a sense of normalcy for there is much that remains the same. God remains the same today as He was yesterday. God continues to weave a tapestry of threads - a tapestry that includes both the dark colours of sorrow and hardship and those lighter colours that reflect joy and carefree abandon. I am thankful that as God brings shadows into our lives, He never leaves us there. Like the Amish quilt pattern, Sunshine & Shadows,* He weaves both the darker hues & the lighter ones into a beautiful design - one that can only be appreciated because of the varying hues of colour.

Where do we go from here? How do we maintain our integrity as we encounter this new beginning?

We start by acknowledging that:
(1) God knows
(2) God cares
(3) God loves
(4) God IS

* Thank you, Boss, for your God-Breeze