January 11, 2008

Matthew 11:28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

My brother, Jeff, and I were ten years apart. He was the oldest of the four of us, and I, the baby. Because of the age difference between us, my memories of him growing up are limited. When we were all little, we used to love talking into a tape recorder. We have several cassette tapes of us singing church songs, telling jokes, doing news programs complete with commercials in between segments. There is one where I was only about year old and Jeff is trying his hardest to coax me into saying "mommy" or "daddy". By the time I was old enough to really participate in the recordings, Jeff was probably in high school and had outgrown this. I remember when Jeff told me that he had bought Gwen an engagement ring, and I was only 14 when they got married. So, most of my memories of Jeff are from when he was already an adult, and had the greatest impact on me in the last two years of his life. He has been such a example to me of how to fight with God's strength and endurance instead of relying on your own.

When I first started posting on this website, it was for a few different reasons. When Jeff got really sick, I had such anger towards Satan for what he was trying to steal away from our family. I also had, and still have, such hope in God for the things He has promised that He can do when we seek Him. I am thankful for the realization that God has never done a bad thing to me, and Satan has never done a good thing to me. Every good thing in my life has come from God. That is why I am able to maintain my faith and my belief in the power of prayer. Which is another reason for this site. This site is a real life journal for me. As strong as some of my entries come across sometimes, there is usually so many tears behind them. I believe with all my heart that prayer makes a difference, and I know that I cannot pray this battle away without help. My prayer will always be that others see God's strength in me, and not think that I am able for even a minute to do this on my own.

I know that it has been a little while since my last post, and I know that you have been wondering how I have been doing. I will be honest in saying that I have struggled a bit recently. I am so tired, not just physically, but emotionally. As I said, this is a real journal for me, and I don't want people to think that this is an easy road. I have been battling a cold for the last two weeks, which has manifested itself into the worst cough I have ever had. I have said before that this diagnosis will seemingly follow me everywhere. Jeff stated in one of his entries once that when he did not post, people worried it was because he was physically unable to do so. Sometimes it was just that although his tumor was the size of a ping pong ball, it seemed larger than life sometimes. If he allowed it, it seemed as if it could take over his whole existence and sometimes he just did not want to talk about it. I can relate to those feelings, and I have to remind myself that it is normal to feel like that. I am thankful that Jesus tells us to come to Him when we are weary, and He will give us rest. And believe me, I am asking.

My last treatment went very smoothly. My doctor added a medication to stop heart damage which is a possible side effect of this chemotherapy, and each month I receive a medication for my bones as well. They were able to speed up the infusion again, and even with these other medications, I only had to be there for roughly 3 hours each day. Mike will be going with me on my next trip, as I am scheduled to have a bone scan and an EKG done on January 22. (This is also my husband's 30th birthday!) We will meet with the doctors on the 23 to discuss the results and whether the same treatment will be continued, or whether it needs to be changed. The pain in my neck is still improving, although I am sore from this cough.

Please keep these upcoming scans and tests in your prayers. I believe that God encourages us to ask for healing, and I know He still moves mountains. If He decides not to move this one, maybe He will just help me jump over it!

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