November 2, 2007

Acts 16:25-26 

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose.

My mom and I left for Illinois last Thursday, early in the morning. The night before, I lay in bed and prayed for the upcoming trip. I actually felt a bit of eager anticipation instead of the fear I thought I might have. I knew that feeling had to have been provided to me by God, how else could I have wanted to go back? I keep telling myself, okay after this one I am 1/3 finished, and next time I will be 1/2 done, etc. We started out at about 7 am on Thursday morning. The trip went very smoothly, we made it through Chicago traffic without going the wrong way!

With the hour time change, we arrived in Zion at about 1:30. We grabbed a bite to eat and went over to the hospital. I filled my prescription for all of the natural remedies they have me on as well, and waited for my appointment to speak about having the port placed in the morning. I was told of all the risks and benefits involved and I was told to come back at 5:30 am the next morning for surgery at 7:30. When we got back to the hotel on Thursday, I decided it was time to shave my head. I had brought the clippers with me, and my hair was literally falling out on the drive out. I was able to run my fingers through it and 75% of it just fell out before I could even shave the rest. My mom was not there when I shaved my head two years ago, and I know it was really hard for her to see me having to go through it again. God gave me His peace; this time was much easier because I already knew what I would look like.

We both slept okay in our hotel, and arrived back to the hospital on time. The nurse gave me a gown to wear and I had my own pre surgery room with a recliner and a tv. My gown actually had a small hose that would attach to the front of it and would either heat or cool to make you comfortable. Someone came down and prayed with my mom and I before I went in. The surgery was very short, and I was told that my oncologist was going to try to see us right away instead of the 4pm appointment I had scheduled. We ended up waiting until about 1:30 pm before he could see us. I was told that sometimes cancer in the bone is harder to track progress because it is within bone. If you have a mass in tissue, you can see it shrink. I believe cancer in the bone eats small holes in the bone it occupies and can take years for it to regenerate itself once the cancer is gone. He told me that my blood work keeps coming back normal, with no elevated tumor markers. Certain cancers can present elevated levels in the blood that can be used to see if treatment is working. Mine is normal. Also, I still have no pain in my chest, which happened before treatment started. So, the pain in my neck is one of the only things they have to go by. He let me know that I would be admitted to the hospital again until they can figure out something so I will not feel so sick. He was prescribing me high doses of three different types of anti nausea drugs that he thought would knock me out for the duration of the treatment. Then I could take the anti nausea pills to get me home.

I started my second round of chemotherapy on Friday about 4:30 or so. The drugs that should have knocked me out kept me wide awake until about 2 am. It worked fabulous for nausea though. They started my next dose on Saturday about 7:30 am and I was finished at 2:30 pm. I did not get sick at all.

We started home right away, which was also a blessing because we made it through Chicago in daylight. We got home just before midnight, and I was able to sleep in my own bed! Since arriving home, I have slept a lot. I have also had a lot of trouble with being sick this past week, and just feeling weak. I can't really walk around much without feeling dizzy.

I heard a song during our trip that I haven't heard in a long time, and it has been repeating itself in my head this last week. I wanted to post the lyrics.

I Will Praise The Lord

Words and Music by Ray Boltz

Bleeding in the darkness
The cell was cold and black
Driven to unconsciousness
By the stripes upon His back
He heard a voice call out his name
His mind began to clear
And in the darkness he replied,
Silas, I am here

You know my brother Silas,
Paul uttered with a groan,
Today I thought for sure
We were going Home
And when I opened up my eyes
I'd look upon His face
But here we are together
In this dreadful place

But I will praise the Lord
I will praise the Lord
No matter what tomorrow brings
Or what it has in store
I know I will praise the Lord

This may be a prison
These may be chains
Still I am free
Free to praise His name

In tribulation
My heart still sings
He is Messiah!
He is the King of Kings!

Prisoners started waking up
Singing filled their ears
Some men started swearing
Others were in tears
Then suddenly it happened
There was no mistake
As Paul and Silas praised the Lord
The walls began to shake!

I will praise the Lord
I will praise the Lord
No matter what tomorrow brings
Or what it has in store
I know I will praise the Lord

We have a choice everyday of how we react to our circumstance. Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into prison. It would not have been unreasonable to think that they should have complained about it and been angry. But instead, they sang hymns and praised God from where they were.  As a result, walls around them shook and their shackles fell off.

I admire my brother, Jeff, more now than ever. I never once heard him complain about not being able to walk for the last few months of his life. He still praised God from where he was at.

No matter what tomorrow brings, I will continue to exercise the freedom I have to praise the Lord through it. Nothing can take that from me.

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