Saturday, February 12, 2011

Counting My Blessings

I can't count them all, but I will continue to be thankful to be a part of a praying community. Thankful to God for such a wonderful husband (His posting just made me gloat inside).

I wanted to keep you posted on how I am doing; the latest in my (our) life. I had an MRI done on my cervical and thoracic spine. It was the first radiological test since the surgery on 12/1. The prayers of the righteous do avail much. While there were some changes since the MRI prior to surgery and radiation, there was nothing for us to be concerned or alarmed about. It obviously showed the rod which is stabilizing my back, but also a hematoma or fluid sac which will absorb itself and 2 spinal compression fractures. No worries!!! The compression fractures are on the same 2 vertebrae that Dr. Kim operated on to remove the cancer and are both in the area supported by the rod. The MRI also did not show any extension/spread of the cancer along the spinal column.

Unfortunately, I was not able to receive my chemo this week because my White Blood Cell (WBC) was too low. One of the potential side effects of chemo is lowering the WBC, so mine had been going down, but this time it was just too low. Get this!!! I had to receive a shot that would increase my WBC over the next two weeks. Uhhhh.... Why did the medication cost $3500? And no I didn't type too many zeros. I was thinking with this drug I should be healed of everything. Thank God for insurance.

Lastly, on Thursday, I had my second encounter with a medical massage therapists to loosen up the scar tissue and help improve mobility in my upper body. By that night, I felt like I had been in a fight. Friday morning I had physical therapy. She worked me over. Instead of an hour, it was an hour and a half. We did all new exercises as we are now beginning to work on strengthening exercises. She's stepping up her game....ugh! But I do it with a smile because I know what the goal is. Like Rocky I just have to focus on the prize. And so, Friday night, the pain was so unbearable I could hardly turn myself or sit up. I'm taking the Vicodin!

You may wonder what do I have to be thankful for given this week besides being alive...
Obviously the results of the MRI are a blessing. Understand that the cancer could have spread and affected areas past the rod, anything. However, for now it hasn't and so I am blessed. The fact that I was unable to receive my chemo was a little disheartening but hopefully I will feel a bit better than usual. I now have 2 weeks off from chemo and right now I am planning my daughter's Sweet 16 birthday party. Prayerfully I will be able to participate without having to worry about myself. Lastly, all pain is not bad pain. My therapist is able to push me more over the next two weeks, hopefully.

Thank you Lord for hearing my prayers but for also listening for anyone who but mentions my name in their prayer time. Thank you for the surgery and the radiation and now the chemo, which are attacking the enemy in my body. You have given me the strength to fight and when I am weak, you have given me the strength of a praying community who's got my back. The enemy won't have an opportunity to weaken me to the point that I should fail. While this battle and this journey may be long, hard, and difficult, I (we) have already won. And we believe it all in faith and as evidenced in how you are working and manifesting in this temple. Thank you Lord for your people and bless them in every aspect of their life that they each may be covered by your grace, mercy and tenderness.

I love you all

Friday, February 4, 2011

Challenges & Surprises

It's been awhile since I have had a chance to sit down and compose my thoughts into some type of coherent and presentable message that I can share with you all.  This is absolutely a marathon! First let me share some thanks to all of you wonder individuals.  No matter if you are family, friend, associate or someone who we have never formally met before, I am eternally grateful to each one of you for your many thoughts, prayers and well wishes.  Yolanda and I continue to find inspiration from all of your comments.  Your prayers are definitely being heard because Yolanda is a walking miracle!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

Second, I will share with you that I have been going none stop caring for Yolanda, her mom and our girls since July 2010.  It’s been one giant physical drain, but I am thankful for the opportunity to care my wife and family.  The one saving grace has been having my mother here.  She has been living with us on and off for the past several months.  She is splitting time between Houston and Dallas (my home town).  She is here for four weeks then she returns to Dallas for one week to take care of her personal matters.  I have been running so hard that I totally let myself go and was not taking care of myself (I didn’t even realize it).  As a result of running so hard, I caught the FLU for the first time in my life two weeks ago.  It caught me off guard and I was down for five whole days.  Luckily my mother was here to help my family.  My doctor told me that I have “care-taker fatigue” and unless I start eating better and working out, I was going to have some critical life altering medical issues.  After I picked up my lower lip and scraped myself off the floor, I made a commitment to myself to carve out time to take care of me.

Third, it has been truly amazing to watch Yolanda endure everything she is going through.  I said it before and I will say it again…she is my hero!  She is a real trooper and is consistently pushing herself to fight through the pain.  It is so easy to care for her.  I consistently try to make her day as manageable as possible.  Honestly, I don’t think I am making a difference sometimes because she is in so much pain, but I will never stop trying! In terms of Chemo, Yolanda is in her 2nd round of treatments.  She has her all day injections on Wednesdays.  Thursday’s are generally AWESOME days as she feels great all day; however, Fridays and Saturdays are typically the complete opposite.  Sunday’s are typically a little better.

Finally, on last Thursday Yolanda had an MRI.  The purpose of the MRI is the see if the Cancer continues to spread in here spine.  Dr. Lee ordered the MRI and she will be back to his office, once the report is ready, to discuss the findings.  Please pray that her Cancer has stopped spreading!  She has come so far in terms of regaining strength in her lower body. She walks around the house without a cane. Her body is not as sensitive any longer.  The fear of her getting too cold and having to rush her to the ER, is no longer a concern. Praise GOD!

Everyday brings new challenges and surprises.  But no matter what, I will always have Yolanda’s back! I would trade places with her any day so that can bare her pain. 

Enjoy life and pay forward some kindness to someone in honor of Yolanda! 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Celebrating 13 and Hair loss

This weekend was great with my family. We celebrated my youngest daughter's 13th birthday in Austin. We spent the night at the Westin Hotel which she absolutely loved and allowed the girls to order room service for breakfast. Saturday we visited The University of Texas and toured the campus; that was for my oldest daughter. We then visited the capitol. I don't think I had ever toured either one before. It was great for all of us. We rested back at the hotel and then went shopping. Forever 21.... Need I say more?

Sunday we drove to Texas A&M University and went to the Baylor and A&M ladies basketball game. It was great to see all the A&M traditions during the game; the girls really enjoyed it. We then took a campus tour. Shame to say, I don't think I've ever toured that campus either. We had a great weekend!!!!! Lastly, this momma couldn't finish celebrating 13 with her baby without a little cake and ice cream.  Last night, we invited some of Jasmine's friends over for cake and ice cream and that topped off a long weekend. We now have 2 teenagers... Yikes!!!

As for me, yesterday was eventful but I was able to overshadow my issues with my daughter's birthday celebrations. Yesterday, I had my beautician to cut off the rest of my hair and shave my head. I'm bald!!! We went and tried on wigs, it was her day off.  She was just awesome! As she shaved my head, I just closed my eyes and listen to the razor take "my crown". She encouraged me to open my eyes because my head was actually "cute". I have seen cute bald headed women, but I just couldn't picture myself that way and I was afraid to look. After I opened my eyes, it wasn't horrid, I wouldn't really say cute, but nonetheless I tried on big hoop earrings to check out my new look.  My beautician stayed with me for awhile....I was OK.

I have listened to Robin Roberts say to women we are not our hair. And that is true!!! But, it is a very odd, strange and uncomfortable place to be when you haven't been there before. I know my hair will grow back and I'm told it will be a different texture and prettier when it comes back. I will show my baldness because I feel like it is something that I must do.  Again this struggle is not just for me or about's for you too.  My strength is not in my hair; my strength comes from within, from the spirit of God.

However, later, I had to show hubby. I was not emotionally ready for him to see my bald head.  He "worked with me" and I showed him. He's still here!!! God love and bless this man. This entire experience has shown me how much my husband truly loves me for ME. Even now, with my insecurities about my body and my looks, he still loves me for ME. I thank God that I do not have to go through this alone. I often tell him that I am glad God looks at our heart and not our physical body when we are called home to GLORY because He may not recognize me when I get to the pearly gates.

God love and bless you all!!!