Friday, January 23, 2009

Radiation is done!

I finished radiation on Wednesday and celebrated at Starbucks with Earl! I even cheated on my no sugar diet and had a brownie-it was super good!
Here are some pictures to give you a glimpse of what radiation is like. The first picture is my leg. I know it looks really gross and it is. It's super red from the 'burn' of radiation and it has become an open wound because of the burn. The wound drains a lot of fluid and so I have a dressing put on it every day. It's pretty painful.
The 2nd picture is not my leg but Earl's. However, the cast/form thing is what they put on my leg everyday. It was perfectly molded to my leg before I started radiation so that it would keep my leg in place. It was pretty painful when they put the mold on my leg as it would press on the wound. Because the swelling has gone down, it wasn't quite as painful anymore.
So now I'm waiting to get an appointment with Dr. Wong so that we can discuss future plans. Until then, I'm enjoying my break from treatments.
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Thursday, January 15, 2009

X-ray results

Last week Friday I had an x-ray to see what was going on in my chest. I was pretty suspicious that the tumors in my chest were grower because I was having more pain. Finally yesterday we got some results. I don't quite know what to write because the results seem kind of unclear. The radiologists compared the x-ray to the x-ray done in October not December. The tumors in my lungs right now are significantly smaller than they were in October. That is definitely good, but we don't know how they compare to December. As much as that is frustrating that we can't access that information, it's good to know that they're not an emergent concern. So, I've decided to try to ignore the discomfort in my chest and just simply believe that the tumors throughout my body are shrinking. I really believe that if there was an emergent problem God would make it clear to us-we've done what we could.
I'm continuing to walk more and yesterday didn't use the wheelchair at all. It's so much fun to be able to do things, even small things like sweeping the floor, doing dishes, etc. Who would have thought a person would be grateful for things like that?!

Monday, January 12, 2009

My thoughts

Today I want to share with you the difference having Jesus in my life makes. Okay, now that I've said such a loaded statement many of you are wondering what is happening to me and why I'm getting so deep. Follow along and I'll try to fill you in.
Last night, as usual, Earl & I went to Beyond(Sunday nights at Calvary Temple). The speaker really challenged us to be bold in our faith and to share our stories. He then kind of forced us to grab the person beside us and start sharing. I was 'lucky' enough to be sitting beside my brother so I had it easy... or so I thought. I realized that I didn't have a clue what to say. How do I tell someone the difference that Jesus makes in my life? Does Jesus make a difference in my life? Is Christianity something more than just a title or something I do? I know it is, but how can I explain it to someone? I also realized that there are a bunch of people who read this blog who I don't know. First of all, I don't know their name, I don't know where they live,-there are many people who read this blog that I have never met. I definitely don't know where many people's relationships are with Jesus. I realized that I had this incredible opportunity to tell the world, using this blog, about the difference Jesus makes. And so the question is, "What difference does Jesus make in Ramona's life?" One of the first things that pops into my mind is hope. I can't imagine not having hope. Jesus gives me hope. I know that He's got my life completely figured out-it's completely in His hands and in His control. I know that He only wants what is best for me, therefore I can trust Him completely. If I had to try to figure life out, and if I didn't believe in a higher power, life would be so much scarier.
Having a relationship with Jesus gives me a purpose. Life is so much more than pleasing self, getting rich or making a name for yourself. Life is all about serving others, praising Jesus and telling/showing others about Jesus. This brings me to some stories that I want to share. If I don't share them, I feel like I am robbing Jesus of the glory He deserves. If even half of the people who read this, say "wow, God" then think of all the praise He receives that He wouldn't have otherwise. Sometimes I'm too shy to share how God is working, but when I think about it this way, it's wrong of me not to.
On Tuesday, one of my friends from Beyond called Earl & I and asked if it would be alright if her small group could fast and pray for me on Wednesday. Of course the response was yes and so Wednesday I had a group of approximately 6 people fast and pray for healing. Thursday night, I decided to try to walk a few feet and see if I could do it. I did and since Thursday I have been walking significantly more. I have some pain when I walk but WAY less than I used to. It's super exciting to not be in a wheelchair all the time.
Friday night Earl & I are at Starbuck's and as we're leaving, two ladies come up to us and say they recognize us from Beyond. They've been praying for us and were wondering if they could pray for us right now. Absolutely!! We invite them to our car to stay warm and they both cover us in prayer. Earl & I, as well as our friends, knew this wasn't a coincedence. Earl & I had been more discouraged on Friday and we knew that the timing was too perfect to just happen by chance. One of the ladies had wanted to leave earlier but ended up staying later because of the other one's insistence. Even the fact that Earl & I were at the Starbuck's we were at, wasn't normal. God had this all figured out!
Last night, I told Earl I was about ready to go but he wanted to stay longer so we were still hanging around, listening to the music when the same friends who fasted and prayed came and introduced themselves and once again surrounded Earl & I in prayer. More friends came and encouraged us until we had this big circle of friends around us. I don't think it's a coincidence that we were still at Beyond. To me it's obvious that God wanted us to be encouraged by our friends and it's so clear that He's in control.
And so I hope this blog reminds us of 2 things:
1.)Let's give God praise when He deserves praise, even for the little things
2.)Let's be bold in sharing our stories-sharing the difference Jesus makes in our life

Friday, January 09, 2009

Blood test/x-ray

So yesterday after radiation, I went for a blood test. I've been feeling some discomfort in my chest and so I wanted to rule out some things. The results from the blood test showed that my hemoglobin is really good for me (112) and so the shortness of breath/discomfort is not due to low hemoglobin. Good and bad-fixing low hemoglobin would be pretty easy.
So today after radiation, I had a chest x-ray. I don't have the results yet, but expect to get them early next week.
As we seek to trust God and know that everything is perfectly in His control, it's hard not to worry. It's hard not to think that the tumors in my chest are growing once again. If they are, then what? As soon as these thoughts enter our mind, it's a battle to replace them with positive, life words/thoughts. For Earl & I it feels like yesterday and today especially, have been emotionally/spiritually intense. We trust God and not the symptoms, but the battle to do so is exhausting.

Monday, January 05, 2009

So I thought it was time to give another update on our lives. This is a picture of Earl & I Christmas Day at my parents. I really wanted to take a picture of us, but I didn't want to be sitting a wheelchair for it, so here I am balanced on one leg, getting Earl to hold me up for the picture.
Radiation has begun-today was my 8th day. I'd say it's going pretty well. My leg is still super swollen and some of the skin is peeling, so I try to lather it with lotion a lot. Other than that, I'm not sure that I have any side effects. I'm feeling a little more tired, I think, which is the most common side effect.

Last night, Earl & I went to Beyond again. (Beyond is an incredible church service held every Sunday night at Calvary Temple at 7) We absolutely love Beyond. What an incredible place to come and worship God and be super challenged to keep going to the next level. Earl & I try to attend every Sunday and it has been a place of incredible growth for us. We really feel that God is doing some pretty crazy things in our lives right now. Medically things are hopeless, but we feel incredible hope. I know I will one day be walking again and enjoying good health-it's just a matter of time. God is using this experience to prepare us for the future. The plans God has, not only for us, but for all people, are way greater than we can comprehend or imagine. It's exciting to know that He is using this experience of cancer to prepare me for my dreams of helping children/orphanages. So what now, while we wait? How can I pursue my dreams/ use my gifts, while in a wheelchair? I'm not sure, but it's something I think about a lot. Life is not about me, life is about others. So how can I live to serve others and thereby serve Jesus? Today Earl called Siloam Mission to find out if they had any volunteer opportunities that Earl & I could do together. Just because I sit in a wheelchair, does not mean I can't do anything. We'll see where that goes. I'd love to volunteer somewhere-do something productive.

And so those are some of my thoughts. Right now Earl is skating with his brother and we've got some friends bringing pizza over for supper. Thanks again to those of you who come over and visit, bring us food, pray, encourage, whatever-we appreciate our friends a lot!

Oh yeah, a little exciting side note-as of today my eyelashes are officially coming back. It's incredible how fast they grow. Yesterday morning I could barely see them and today they're almost halfway there. But as my eyelashes come, my eyebrows go. Very interesting how the body works....

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