OCC Packing party at Bellefontaine UMC

Bellefontaine UMC had an Operation Christmas Child Packing Party during Sunday School, making a total of 33 shoeboxes. Items collected this year made up 15 shoeboxes for boys and 18 shoeboxes for girls. The small church were so excited to provide gifts for needy children throughout the world.

OCC is a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse that “provides God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.”

Another chemo embolism

My numbers went up two points and the tumors can be seen on a CT, so we are doing another chemo embolism to kill the cancer!!! #ihatecancer

We literally found out Monday, and it was scheduled Tuesday to be done Thursday. So fast!!!! Pepper and I have had the CRAZIEST two weeks, this should not be a surprise!! 😬

I am never consciously nervous and it drives Pepper wild! I believe God has given me a total lack of fear in regards to surgery. It is just something I have to do. This procedure drops beads of chemotherapy directly into my liver through a vein in my leg. I have had several of these.

There are “pre-treats” just like regular chemo, but it takes about an hour. The procedure takes less than an hour and then I have to lay completely flat in recovery for two hours. It is painful, but I ask them to give me everything they’ve got when they can. I have to be awake for most of the procedure because if I am asleep, I will breathe too deeply and it will interfere with dropping in the beads.

Pepper gets to wait in radiology recovery with me, but no one else due to COVID-19. He is always there for me. We make a good team!

He will crank up the singing once the embolism is over. He is a ball of nerves until then! That is one of the good things about this going quickly, Pep does have a lot of time to worry about it!

I see this as a blessing. #GODISGOOD to me! I have been asking for this for three months, but the previous CT did not show any tumors, but then the tumor markers increased from 9 to 11. Now it is at 13. This does a GREAT job of getting rid of tumors. For me, it means there are more options. For people with cancer, the more options, the better! It is when you are out of options that you are in trouble! OPTIONS! It is a good thing! #GODISGOOD


Chemo Monday -with new meds

This may be weird, but I LOVE new medicine!

I am always so grateful that there is new medication to try to make cancer go away completely. The old medicine was good, but in the end, my tumor markers started to increase – a sign that the medicine is not working. New medicine is another chance at getting rid of it! And I am READY to get rid of it for good!!!

This round will last six months, and will be a long Chemo Monday and bring home a chemo bag of 5FU, a two hour Chemo Tuesday with the 5FU bag, then back to Starkville on Wednesday to have the 5FU bag removed. I will do this every two weeks. That’s better than every week, so I am excited about that.

New medicine is always interesting. Will it work? Will I have a reaction? Will it make me sick? What will be the side effects (because there are ALWAYS side effects!!!)?

The great thing is I know that God and Pepper are with me every step of the way, and that is such a blessing! #GODISGOOD

Y’all know I am all about that #quarantinelife — while everyone else was in quarantine, did you experience a lot more than average singing and dancing from the husband? Even when he is cooking supper? (I NEVER sing or dance in the kitchen???) Is this normal?

New chemo meds

Well, the tumor markers have gone up two more points. It is at 13.

Needless to say, I am disappointed. We saw Dr. Hill this week and he suggested that a tumor marker increase like this means the meds have stopped working as effectively as it once was.

So now, I have a two blissful weeks off from chemo! When I go back, we will start a new medication. 😕

I do not think I have had a week off in years. What will I do with myself?

During all this COVID-19 stuff, doctor’s offices and hospitals are taking your temperature and they ask, “Have you travelled anywhere? Have you been out of the country?” I will say NO, and Pepper has gotten into the habit of saying, “She hasn’t even traveled to the kitchen, let alone out of the country!” (SMARTY-PANTS) So, during this little break, I may venture into the kitchen and do a little cooking. We will see…

Pepper is so good to go with me to all of my appointments. We have so much fun singing to the radio as we drive all over the world between Starkville and Tupelo these days. And yes, he tries to sing old grizzly country music, even in the car. He is SUCH a goofball! Luckily, I am close enough to the radio to change it!!!! Or I get the earphones out and listen to Spotify! He hates it when I do that, but that does make it fun!

More lessons of cancer

It didn’t take long!

Derek and Jodi May and family were one of many people to visit me in the hospital after my colon resection surgery in November 2015, after radiation and my first round of chemo.

Jodi asked me what God was teaching me through this experience. I have had a little time to think about it, and here’s a few more lessons God is teaching me:

  1. No laughing or crying right after surgery, especially an abdomen surgery! Everything hurts too much!
  2. This journey is not just about me. I am just the one walking it. There are many, many others who are affected by my actions, my attitude and how I handle myself in difficult situations. A lot more people are watching than you realize.
  3. This experience has challenged my personal “ICKY” level and I am still working on not being too easily “grossed out.”
  4. For those of us who would never survive in the medical field, I firmly appreciate those who can handle other people’s “ICK” levels.
  5. Be as kind to medical staff as possible. They deal with a LOT of cranky people.
  6. “God’s got this” is not just a mindset for my cancer journey, but my life’s journey. He cares about the small stuff and the big stuff.
  7. Cancer –all types—is difficult and expensive. Just the daily drive to Starkville and the extra stuff you have to buy at Walmart in isles you never dreamed you would walk down, is pricey and not covered by insurance. When someone says they are taking treatments for cancer, it is an emotional and financial burden.
  8. There are more people going through cancer treatments than I realized. There is a lot of suffering. There is a great need for volunteers in every community to help families in your church and in your community with cancer. Even just committing to prepare a healthy meal once a month can be a big deal for a family. I had so much help, but it is a long road. A little help goes a long way.
  9. And even when you are sick and so weak you can’t do anything physically, pray. Praying for all of the people who are much sicker than you in the chemo room or for those taking care of you at home, gives you that opportunity to do something for others that is personal and special. Prayer is the most important thing you can do for someone. It is the truest expression of love.
  10. Do NOT self-diagnose on the internet. See a doctor! You are not a doctor! The internet does not replace a doctor!
  11. Family is EVERYTHING! God put these people in your life for a reason! My mom made soup day after day week after week. Who else is going to do that kind of thing for you? Just your family.
  12. Marry the right person! You want someone who will take care of you, help you put saran wrap on your port site so you can get a shower and sing and dance to cheer you up, even if it gets on your last nerve! What an incredible blessing to have a spouse that prays for you, helps and entertains you. One that is brave enough to walk through a cancer journey with you as opposed to running the other way in fear. Maybe that should be lesson one!