A Trusted Lot

Submitted by Melissa on Tuesday, May 17, 2011 - 19:47

Still in the Storm

Treatment number 6 is tomorrow (Wednesday, May 18), a change from the usual Tuesday treatments. I am grateful to report that the last treatment went pretty smoothly. Although the body seems to react differently to each treatment, the fifth treatment wasn't nearly as hard as the one before. Thank you for praying!

Before going into chemo, I've found it helps to have my mind focused on Scripture or encouraging words that are Scripturally based. Last treatment, thanks to an email from my friend Jennifer, I was thinking on the words of William Cowper's hymn "God Moves in a Mysterious Way." Powerful words that have encouraged me many times!

A few weeks ago, my sister Heather sent me some poems that she had written. Here's the one I'm thinking about now; it's entitled "A Trusted Lot" and seems to be based, in part, on Psalm 121. May it be a blessing to you too!

A trusted lot from God above,
A measure from His hand,
Is thine from Him whose name is Love
To keep at His command.

From Him Who raging seas did still
This lot to thee is giv’n.
And trusted too can be this God
Who rules oe’r earth and Heav’n.

From day to day His shade can rest
Upon thine own right hand;
And in His shadow may you find
Some light to understand.

In every step He bids you take
Along this rocky steep,
Love guides in every upward climb
For you, His precious sheep.

This trusted lot from God above,
This measure from His throne,
This portion meted out from Heav’n—
Is thine from Love Alone.

5K Walk4Faith

Submitted by Melissa on Friday, May 20, 2011 - 18:44

My dear friend Stephanie is running tomorrow in the 5K Walk 4 Faith at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. She and her friends are raising money for my cancer treatments. Isn't that incredibly kind of them?

I've seen increased traffic and donations on my website this week and want Stephanie, Jennifer, and the their friends to know how much I appreciate their efforts and generosity. I wish you runners the best!

Would you take a moment to thank Stephanie and Jennifer and encourage them in their run tomorrow? I've included a link to their facebook pages so you can easily send them a note.

Prayer Request

Submitted by Melissa on Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - 21:28


Above: crabapple blossoms in our yard last month

Today I completed the seventh of the eight treatments! How exciting that the end is nearing. Besides fatigue, the main side effect of this drug has been intense bone pain on days 3 and 4.

Would you please pray with me that I won't also experience peripheral neuropathy (numbness and pain in the hands and feet)? It's the side effect that they are most concerned about as it can last for quite a while and can be rather limiting.

This morning, I appreciated today's entry in Streams in the Desert:

I implore you to not give in to despair. It is a dangerous temptation, because our Adversary has refined it to the point that it is quite subtle. Hopelessness constricts and withers the heart, rendering it unable to sense God's blessings and grace.

It also causes you to exaggerate the adversities of life and makes your burdens seem too heavy for you to bear. Yet God's plans for you, and His ways of bringing about His plans, are infinitely wise. (Madame Guyon) 

If We Could See

Submitted by Melissa on Thursday, August 11, 2011 - 16:21

From the start, let me apologize for being overdue in this update. I know many of you check this site frequently, and you are concerned and curious as to what's going on!

To be honest with you, I seem to have been experiencing "writer's block" and it wasn't until a divinely arranged meeting earlier this week that I was brought out of it. So here I am again. Thank you for your patience.

My last chemo treatment was June 14, and I'm happy to report that I did not experience the neuropathy that often accompanies the drug that was administered. Thank you for your faithful prayers to that end.

My strength has been gradually returning, and I've been exercising diligently. It's been encouraging to see my endurance increasing. Our family even took a 10-mile bike ride last Saturday, and although I was tired at the end, it wasn't too much for me!

One of my doctors ordered blood work last month, and we were pleased that most of the tumor markers were within range. One of them is still elevated, but I'm praying that it will also return to normal.

So what's next? In addition to my check-ups with the oncologist every three months, I am working with some doctors to rebuild my immune system and receive treatments that will hopefully make my body an unwelcome terrain for cancer. Certainly, all this is in the Lord's hands, but I'm trying to do the best I can with the knowledge He's given me and these doctors.

Your continued prayers are certainly appreciated. My specific prayer requests: 1)The cancer to be gone completely 2)Wisdom and God's provision as I follow up with various doctors and 3)That I would be sensitive to the Lord's leading in my life.

The words of the following song seem perfect today, reminding me that God sees and knows all. We never have reason to doubt His plan.

If we could see beyond today
As God can see;
If all the clouds should roll away,
The shadows flee;
O’er present griefs we would not fret.
Each sorrow we would soon forget,
For many joys are waiting yet
For you and me.

If we could know beyond today
As God does know,
Why dearest treasures pass away
And tears must flow;
And why the darkness leads to light,
Why dreary paths will soon grow bright;
Some day life’s wrongs will be made right,
Faith tells us so.

"If we could see, if we could know,"
We often say,
But God in love a veil does throw
Across our way;
We cannot see what lies before,
And so we cling to Him the more,
He leads us till this life is o’er;
Trust and obey.

Thank you!

Submitted by Melissa on Thursday, August 18, 2011 - 13:29

I just want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who has donated through this website. I just ordered more supplements, per my doctor's recommendation, and paid through my PayPal account, thanks to your generosity! Every contribution means so much to Dan and me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!! Smile

Faith or Fear in the Storm?

Submitted by Melissa on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - 17:24

http://wallpaperstock.net/lanikai-shoreline_wallpapers_12908_1280x1024_1.html

This last week, earth lost an amazing woman, but heaven gained a precious saint. The life and testimony of Amy Caldwell Bixby have been an encouragement to many, myself included.

I've been following her blog closely, ever since I was diagnosed with cancer last year. Although every cancer case is different, the reality of the possibility of dying from cancer is faced by every cancer patient. You just can't get around it.

However, what we focus on affects our outlook in a huge way. Amy’s focus on Christ throughout her trial was and will continue to be a challenge to me.

Just the other day, I was talking to a friend facing a cancer recurrence. She wants to celebrate her next birthday. Understandably so.

We discussed fear and faith. Fear debilitates. Faith strengthens.

Fear focuses on the circumstances. Faith looks to our all-powerful God.

God doesn't give us the spirit of fear (1Timothy 1:7), yet our human tendency is to doubt rather than trust.

Since I heard the news of Amy’s home going last Friday, her family has not been far from my mind. Nor has the song “Finally Home” by Don Wyrtzen.

When alarmed by the fury of the restless sea,
Towering waves before you roll,
At the end of doubt and peril is eternity,
Though fear and conflict seize your soul

But just think of stepping on shore, and finding it heaven,
Of touching a hand, and finding it God's,
Of breathing new air, and finding it celestial,
Of waking up in Glory, and finding it "Home."

When surrounded by the blackness of the darkest night,
Oh how lonely death can be!
At the end of this long tunnel is a shinning light,
For death is swallowed-up in Victory!

Just think of stepping on shore, and finding it heaven,
Of touching a hand, and finding it God's,
Of breathing new air, and finding it celestial,
Of waking up in Glory, and finding it "Home."

This song depicts a storm out at sea and expresses the feelings of the one in the boat during such a storm. Alarm. Fear. Conflict. Blackness. Loneliness.

These words accurately describe the emotions experienced not only by cancer patients but also their closest relatives and friends. Although not continually experienced, these feelings are faced at some or numerous points along the way.

But what a joy it is to know Christ! To have that inner peace and assurance of a relationship with Christ that will one day blossom into meeting Him face to face in glory--this is a treasure that no money here on earth can buy! He is the ultimate cure for our sin problem and He is the source of joy for all people, including cancer patients!

If you have put your faith in Christ as your personal Saviour, you can be confident that Heaven will be your home when you take your last breath on earth.

If you have not yet put your faith in Him, I urge you to examine the amazing Gospel of Christ and look to Him. Here are a few videos you can check out: 1)What Do I Have to Do to Be Saved?
2)Five Eternal Questions and
3)The Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Or if you're a reader, look here. And don’t miss Amy’s blog entry The Valley of the Shadow of Death.

If you are dealing with cancer--whether at the beginning of the journey, in the middle, or hoping it's forever behind you--my heart goes out to you and your family. May God’s love surround you, His grace uphold you, and His peace fill your heart. And may He enable you not to focus on the storm but on His amazing character!

Wait and See

Submitted by Melissa on Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - 15:52

Have you ever been asked a question that you want to answer but you're not exactly sure how to answer? Then you know exactly how I feel when I'm asked, “So, how are you doing, Melissa?” I totally appreciate the concern, but, to be honest, this one requires more than a simple, “Fine, thank you.”

I guess it depends on what you’re really asking. Most people are wondering, How is the cancer? That is: Is it growing? Is it under control? Has it spread? Did treatments work? The answer at this point is to wait and see.

As strange and simplistic as that may seem, the standard of care along with routine check-ups, is to do just that. Sure, I do a fair share of natural therapies to support my immune system, but even doing those, the need is to wait and see.

I’m reminded of friends, relatives, neighbors, acquaintances, readers who are facing their own set of challenges. Is there an area in your life that you don’t have the answers for either? A situation where you have to simply wait on God, trust Him, believe that He will fulfill His plan in His time? I would imagine the answer to be a resounding “yes” from people in all different walks of life.

Back to my best shot at the answer to your question: things are looking good at this point. My energy is returning. I’m enjoying life with my husband and children. I’m keeping up with all the follow-up appointments (or at least trying to). Most dramatically, my practical perspective on what’s important is being adjusted. I say “practical” because, sure, we know what’s important, but how easy is it to get bogged down by the busyness of our culture? So bogged down that we fail to spend meaningless moments with those we love. So enamored with our schedules and to-do lists that we forget to invest in the lives of those right in front of our faces?

Friends come to mind who have lost loved ones to cancer. One of the biggest lessons they learned on a practical level was, in their words, “to enjoy life and make the most of every day.” I seem to keep hearing that reiterated by cancer battlers and survivors.

What better way to enjoy life and make the most of every day than by 1)putting God first in all we do and 2)spending quality time with others. Kind of reminds me of Matthew 22:37-40.

So, for now the answer is wait and see. I’m filled with hope and encouragement, knowing that my God is bigger than any problem I’ll ever face. I’m convinced that He has a plan, He’s fulfilling it, and He is amazing! That means that whatever I’m waiting for, it’s got to be good.