Friday, October 31, 2008

"The Shadow Proves The Sunshine"

(by Switchfoot)

"Sunshine won’t you be my mother?
Sunshine come and help me sing
My heart is darker than these oceans
My heart is frozen underneath

Chorus:
Crooked soul trying to stay up straight
Dry eyes in the pouring rain, when
The shadow proves the sunshine
The shadow proves the sunshine

Two scared little runaways
Hold fast till the break of daylight
When the shadow proves the sunshine
The shadow proves the sunshine

Oh Lord why did you forsake me
Oh Lord don’t be far away, away
Storm clouds gathering beside me
Please Lord don’t look the other way

I’m a...

Chorus

Yeah, shine on me...

Let my shadows prove the sunshine"

I feel the need to start off with an apology. I'm sorry that this blog has turned into such a downer. That wasn't my intention in the beginning. I had planned on having fun with this, but I hadn't planned for my life to take the turn that it did shortly after I started this. I keep hoping that I'll have more fun times that inspire happy songs to blog about, but for now, this is what you get!

Just so you don't get all worried about me, you should know that I DO have some fun times here & there. For the most part, I try to live life as normal. But, it seems like the tears are always right there under the surface, and the smallest thing will cause them to start leaking out. I try to keep a smile on my face, and I try not to worry about the future, but it's so hard. I really do want to live life to the fullest. I wasn't just making stuff up when I posted that. But, I've come to realize that it's easier said than done.

I have this very small glimmer of hope that shows up sometimes. It's that shadow that proves that there really is a sunshine. I'm trying to hold on tight to that. I know that God has a plan, and I know that He is here with me regardless of my circumstances. I just don't have that same confidence that my husband will be here with me, too, and at times I am so scared that my fears will come true. Someone once said that 90% of the things we worry about don't come true, so maybe if I worry about this enough, it won't come true! Wouldn't it be great if it worked that way?!

God's Word says not to worry about anything, but to pray about everything, telling Him what I need & thanking Him for all that He has done. It goes on to say that He will give me peace that exceeds anything I can understand, and that peace will guard my heart & mind in Christ Jesus (that's sorta my paraphrase of Philippians 4:6-7). I have found that when I am able to do that, He really does give me peace.

{By the way, did you notice the neat little player that my mister made for me?! I am now able to post my songs in each post where you can hear them! Yay for web programmer husbands!! When I tried to get him to do it for me several weeks ago, he couldn't see very well & was on some medication that apparently made him not able to think very clearly either. But he was able to rig it up for me last weekend!}

Friday, October 24, 2008

"Clothes"

(by Barlow Girl) Clothes - BarlowGirl

Clothes by BarlowGirl on Grooveshark

"Clothes aren't what they used to be
They don't seem to fit you and me anymore
Modesty is out the door
Flaunting what we've got and more is in
Yeah it's in

Chorus:
They're saying
Don't ask why just wear what we say
You'll look like a model if you'll only obey
To get the attention, just do what we say

Pay so much for clothes so small
Was that shirt made for me or my doll?
Is this all I get?
I looked so hot but caught a cold
I was doing just what I was told
To fit in

Chorus

We're saying let's ask why
Don't wear what they say
Don't want to be a model
They can't eat anyway
That kind of attention will fade with the day
So I'll stand up and say

Clothes that fit are fine
Won't show whats mine
Don't change my mind
I'll be fine"

I've been shopping, if you can't tell. It's a love/hate thing for me, as I'm sure it is for women worldwide. I did finally find some things for fall, & I feel good about what I found. But the process can be crazy! It has been years since I've really been shopping {and maybe I'm just picky} but I didn't think it would take all week to find a few things!!

I will say that I'm glad that longer shirts are in style now, but I'm not sure how I feel about some of the other styles, ie. babydoll shirts/dresses. There's a fine line between hiding the little extra around the middle during that time of the month & looking pregnant. I guess that style is good for pregnant teenagers, but not really for the rest of us!

Maybe I'd feel better if I was able to actually shop in the misses department where women my age are supposed to shop, but I'm still waiting for normal body parts to arrive. {I guess if they haven't developed by now, I'll never get them!} I've even tried the petite section, but I'm officially giving up! Those clothes fit me everywhere but there. I'm not sure what I'll do when I'm really too old for the junior section. But please, if you consider yourself my friend: be honest with me when I need to move on. Maybe by then I'll be able to afford tailored clothes!

And one last problem: belted shirts. I absolutely love them, but sadly, not on me. I'm honestly not trying to criticize my body, but the scoliosis really stands out in those cute shirts with the belt around the waist. I'm so bummed about that. I've tried several, and it's just not happening. The belt gets all bunched up on my womanly side; but it's smooth on the not-so-womanly side (even if I loosen the belt). And from the rear view, it's even worse. The curve is really obvious. I know, some of you have told me that you've only noticed when I'm in a swim suit. But with those shirts, you couldn't help but notice. So, I'm giving up on those, too.

Well, I'm sorry to rant & rave! You may be wanting an update on Chris, huh?! He's doing much better now. He had quite a bit of pain during the week following the removal of the radiation plaque (after the local anesthesia wore off). The Monday afterward, I took him to the doctor so they could trim a few stitches. It felt better with the numbing drops, but the pain came back when feeling returned...He now only has a little bit of pain at times. We went to the doctor on Monday, and he really didn't have much to say. He trimmed some stitches again & said to come back in 3 weeks. After that, we'll probably go back 6 weeks later, and then we'll scale down to every 3 months. At some point, they'll take pictures again, and we'll see if the tumor is shrinking at all. Please continue to pray that the tumor responds how it is supposed to & that the cancer doesn't spread! Thank you for your prayers & encouragement!

Friday, October 10, 2008

"Sunshine"

(by Stellar Kart)

"Life is filled with
Circumstances situations
That we can't avoid
And I admit some
Days can steal my happiness
But I still got joy

Chorus:
Hey You are my sunshine
On a rainy day it's gonna be ok
Hey You are my sunshine
It's gonna be alright

I believe in
Something bigger than my troubles
They can't keep me down
This sinking feeling
Starts disappearing on the double
Now that You're around

Chorus

I am not afraid
To walk into the darkness
Cause I've got the Light
I've got my problems
But I know that Jesus loves me
And that's alright

Chorus..."

Christopher got his radiation plaque removed this morning! One of the nurses said that he was talking in his sleep. She said if I gave her $20, she'd tell me everything; but if Chris gave her $40, she'd keep her mouth shut! She was fun. But, I trust him, so I don't really care what he was saying! Anyways, he said it already felt better without the plaque. He was still numb when he said that, though. So, we'll see how he feels later. He has been sleeping since we got home, and I figure he'll sleep for a few more hours. He likes all of the sleeping he has been able to do, but he'd prefer to do it without the pain!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

"We Live"

(by Superchick)

"There's a cross on the side of the road
Where a mother lost her son
How could she know that the morning he left
Would be the last time she'd trade with him for a little more time
(so she could say she loved him one last time)
And hold him tight
But with life we never know when we're coming up to the end of the road
So what do we do then
With tragedy around the bend

Chorus:
We live, we love, we forgive and never give up
Cuz the days we are given are gifts from above
And today we remember to live and to love
(Repeat)

There's a man who waits for the tests to
See if the cancer had spread yet
And now he asks why did I wait to live 'til it was time to die
If I could have the time back, how I'd live
Life is such a gift
So how does the story end?
Well, this is your story and it all depends
So don't let it become true
Get out and do what we were meant to do

Chorus

Waking up to another dark morning
People are mourning
The weather in life outside is storming
But what would it take for the clouds to break
For us to realize each day
Is a gift somehow, someway
And get our heads up out of this darkness
And spark this new mindset and start on with life cuz it ain't gone yet
And tragedy's a reminder to take off the blinders and wake up
(to live the life)
We're supposed to take up
(moving forward)
With all our heads up
Cuz life is worth living
Chorus..."

OK, so I added "iLike" for those of you who may not know the songs that I post. I'm not so computer literate, and my mister only has one good eye right now. He tried to help me read the code; but until he gets the plaque removed, he's not so helpful. Thanks to my wonderful step-sister Tiffany, I have come this far! I'm not sure why you can't play all of the songs, but I'm trying to make it work!! Please bear with me. I don't know if it's something I did wrong, or what. When I'm at the iLike website, I can play all of them... [Note added 10/25: I no longer have iLike on here, cuz my mister was able to help me do what I wanted to do all along]

Anyways, it's probably obvious why I posted this song! I really don't want to live my life focused on a terrible thing called "cancer". Right now, it is contained in his eye. I just need to rejoice in that & live life to the fullest. I want to make the most of each day & move forward with my head up. I want to seize each day, which I should have been doing before the diagnosis. I don't want to take the little things for granted.

Friday, October 3, 2008

"Alright"


(by Tree63)

"I believe a change is going to come
That yesterday is over
I do yeah I do yeah

The clouds have silver linings after all
I’ve seen them with my own eyes
It’s true yeah – it’s true yeah
Alright

Though darkness overcomes you now
Morning will break through somehow

Chorus:
It’s all gonna be alright – it’s all gonna be alright
Even this will pass – tomorrow comes at last
It’s all gonna be alright – it’s all gonna be alright
It’s all gonna be alright

The grass is greener on the other side
No matter what they tell you
It’s beautiful – so beautiful

Sow in tears and reap with songs of joy
No sorrow lasts forever
It’s true yeah – it’s true yeah
Alright

There never was a darkest night
Without the promise of the morning light

Chorus..."

We arrived at the hospital at 6:30 am for Chris to have the surgery to implant the radioactive plaque over the tumor in his eye. [The plaque is about the size of a nickel & contains radioactive seeds that will hopefully destroy the tumor & prevent it from spreading to other parts of the body (like the liver & lungs).] By about 9:15, Dr. Boniuk came out to say that they were already finished, and they were bringing him out of anesthesia. Originally, we thought he would have to stay in the hospital for a day or two, but they went ahead & sent him home with me this afternoon! The plaque will be in place for a week, and the effects will be seen over the next few months to a year. The doctor said he would like to see it shrink slowly, so please agree in prayer with us for that!

Christopher is experiencing some "discomfort" as the doctor calls it {but you & I call it something more like "PAIN"}, so he took his Darvocet & went to bed. Pepper doesn't like that he's in there without her, but she'll just have to get over it! A few minutes ago, I walked toward the hallway, and she sat up hoping she could go into the bedroom with me. When I turned the other direction, she flopped down with a "Humph!" sound & looked all sad! She loves her daddy & would love to be in there giving him kisses, but unfortunately that would keep him awake!

The kids are with one of my many wonderful friends! God is so good to bless us with friends & family who love us & don't mind:

  • taking my kids to school (did I mention us dropping the kids off at 5:45 am?)
  • getting up super early to pray with Chris before surgery
  • attempting to navigate the Medical Center
  • attempting to navigate the hospital itself! {Note: 2nd floor = crosswalk}
  • finding a nice cold bottle of Dr Pepper for my mister after surgery
  • keeping me company at the hospital & letting me ramble about crazy weird things
  • checking on my dog & chasing her around the house trying to get her to go outside to potty
  • paying for parking (Lord knows we've had to do a lot of that lately!)
  • searching the world over for a peculiar eye drop prescription
  • enduring an elementary school carpool line {yikes!}
  • bringing us food (though I forgot to mention that Chris requested blueberries!)
  • being there for me, even when I bust out crying in the middle of a casual conversation
  • telling me to call, even if it's to vent, or cry, or scream
  • encouraging me to trust God no matter what
  • praying {please know that I covet your prayers & do not take them for granted!}
I'm sure there are things I have forgotten, but it doesn't mean I'm ungrateful! I really do appreciate everyone's love and support! We have the best friends & family in the world!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

"More Time" {part two}

So, here's our cancer story:

During the last week of August, Chris (aka Butch) started seeing a "floater" in his left eye that looked like a Chinese dragon.

Labor Day Weekend~We had some friends in town, and Chris continued to complain about something in his eye. At dinner on Saturday night, I remember Alyssa digging through her bag to look for eye drops. The next day, I even took pictures of them "inspecting" his eye, because it was funny to me that this little thing in his eye was such a big deal to him.

9/3/08~After about a week of the floater not going away, Chris went to the eye doctor. It had been about 10 years since he had been to see one, and he used to wear glasses some, so it was past time to go! He was immediately sent to a retina specialist who told him he had a melanoma that had hemorrhaged on the back of his eye, and that the standard treatment for this was either radiation or enucleation (removal of the eye). The specialist referred him to an oncologist and said that they would have to do a full body scan to see if it had spread to the liver &/or lungs (which is common for this type of cancer). Talk about a shock!

9/11/08~It took some time trying to schedule an appointment with the oncologist that Chris was originally hoping to see, but that turned out to be a blessing. As it turns out, he found out about another doctor to see for a 2nd opinion. Dr. Boniuk turns out to be an authority on ocular melanoma, and the 1st oncologist would've sent him to this guy anyways! So, Chris went to him on the Thursday before Hurricane Ike made landfall. He didn't talk about enucleation, so that was encouraging! He seemed much more optimistic about treatment with plaque radiotherapy (a radiation implant), and they scheduled an MRI & PET scan for the following Tuesday.

9/17/08~A grueling two weeks after the initial diagnosis, we found out from Dr. Lehane (the oncologist for the rest of his body) that there was no metastasis to the liver or lungs. Praise God! This doesn't mean that we're in the clear, but we'll take any bit of good news! I was so afraid that it had been growing there for years & had already spread without us having a clue, because he hadn't had yearly eye exams. [Please take my advice & have yearly dilated eye exams by an ophthalmalogist--yes, I now know how to spell that word correctly!]

9/18/08~It took forever to get to the ocular oncologist, because there were still a lot of traffic signals out because of Ike! After reviewing all of the films, Dr. Boniuk recommended that Chris go forward with surgery to implant the radiation plaque over the tumor in the back of his eye. They scheduled a consultation with the radiology department for the following Tuesday and started the pre-op forms.

9/23/08~All of the traffic lights were working as we drove in to the Medical Center to meet with the radiologists that would build the plaque. They explained the process of making the plaque slightly larger than the tumor & putting radioactive seeds in it that would destroy the cells. They also stated that the tumor is 8mm in diameter, which means it is medium-sized. [Update: Later reports from his ocular oncologist say it is 12mm, so we're not real clear on this. Finally, in January 2010, we actually found out that the estimated measurement was actually 6mm deep and closer to 14mm in diameter. It is at the top of the medium-sized tumor range. Apparently, Dr B doesn't care to share too much information that might freak us out! There is not an official staging system for OM, but according to the AJCC TNM staging system, it is Stage IIA (T2a, N0, M0). And according to COMS, it is considered medium. For an explanation of the staging, go here.]

So, this Friday (10/3), Chris is scheduled to have the surgery to implant the radiation plaque on the back of his eye, where it will remain for 4 to 7 days. Then, for the next few years, he will see the ocular oncologist every 3 months, and the regular oncologist every 6 months for MRI & PET scans to see if it has spread. Overall, it spreads in half of the people diagnosed.

It's pretty scary. I think Chris is doing well emotionally, but I'm not so much! I would like to have the same outlook as he does. I'm trying real hard to trust God with all of this. I want to be strong, but I've never really considered myself a strong person. And I'm reminded of that with each phone call that I make & email that I write to tell our friends and family the news. In case you are one of those people that I didn't contact directly, please don't take it personally. It is so hard to say the words, because each time I say or write them, it makes it that much more true. Does that make sense? And I didn't want to just send out a mass email, though I may end up doing that for updates. Or, I could just direct everyone here for the updates, but that would mean I have to actually tell people about this blog! I haven't told anyone except Chris about it, but I guess that's pretty dumb. What's the point of having it if I don't tell anyone to read it, huh?