December 21, 2008

Wow, it's been a whole month since my last update. I can't really explain why, except that it's been hard to formulate my jumbled thoughts into an entry. As I sat at my computer tonight, I decided to look back to see what my mind was on last year at this time. To my surprise, my December 28th entry started out very much the same as this one. There is something about this time of year that my words just cannot seem to do justice. Last Monday, December 15th, would have been Jeff's 38th birthday. My brother, Brian, recently wrote an entry about how he has now lived longer than Jeff did. How quickly things changed for my family. I received a phone call a couple of days ago from a woman who was hired for a teaching position the same time Jeff was and they went through training together. She told me that she remembered what a sweet spirit Jeff had. I appreciated hearing her say that so much, but tears still welled up hearing Jeff talked about in past tense. The 15th was also my niece, Emily's, 2nd birthday. The fact that she was born on Jeff's birthday, just 2 1/2 months after he passed away still amazes me. Seeing her get bigger and start to talk and be so silly... she is the life that God gave back to us on that day. Her life here also measures the time that Jeff has spent in Heaven, and with all of the new things she discovers and learns and laughs at, I can only imagine Jeff having similar experiences in Heaven.

Last Christmas, I honestly did not know if it would be my last here. I am not saying that to sound negative or lacking faith, but realistically, I just did not know. I did not know that 2005 would be Jeff's last Christmas with us. I don't think he did either, but I wonder if he thought about it like I have. I am still here and God has protected me so much.

If you remember, when I was at CTCA in October, my CEA tumor marker had gone up to a 95. (Again, normal range is 0-3) Three weeks later, it was down to a 63. My last visit it was down to a 39. My mom and I are leaving tomorrow morning to go back to CTCA. I have to be there by 3:00 pm Central time. At my last doctor's appointment, I asked how long he estimated I would continue this therapy for, especially if my tumor markers went back down to normal. He suggested that we do scans again to see how my sternum looks and go from there. I have a bone scan and a CT scan tomorrow, and then I see my doctor on Tuesday morning, with chemotherapy scheduled in the afternoon. Then, my mom and I are going to try and make the trip back Tuesday so that we can avoid driving home on Christmas Eve. I would ask for your prayers that these scans show good news and that my doctor will know where to progress from here.

The oral chemo that I take for 14 days at a time can have a side effect called hand foot syndrome. The chemo is excreted through the hands and feet and can irritate the skin, especially in the creases. I have just started to show some signs of this, and the last few days my hands and feet have been very sore. Please remember this in your prayers as well. If God uses this chemo to heal me, then I can handle the side effects, but I also know that we should bring all of our requests before God, so that is what I am choosing to do.

I will post on Christmas eve will the results from my scans and what the doctors say. I am sorry that a month has gone by with no posts, and I am thankful for those who faithfully check to see how they can pray for me and for my family.

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