Archive | April, 2013

Aspiration

16 Apr

So I might be educating you in the world of blood cancer, but let me enlighten you, they call a bone marrow biopsy an aspiration. Adam and I chuckled yesterday as we waited thinking of the irony in this title. There are many things we aspire for, but I promise you a bone marrow aspiration is not something one would aspire for. It’s old hat for me now but nothing one would look forward to.

My aspiration results were not thrilling. The test shows that the cancer in the marrow has held steady, neither increasing nor decreasing. The lone positive was that the percent of cancer in the blood itself did go down. This left us with a few options for further treatment. We will do another round of this drug while at the same time preparing for a different approach if the next biopsy reveals no change. So now we are sitting waiting for 2 and 1/2 hours for a shot that takes 10 seconds to give. Then date night and dinner, maybe even some dessert. It’s not all bad when you are ordered to put weight on.

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Here is Mollie with her “teddy.”

Praying

16 Apr

I have never heard the words ” I / we are praying for you” more in my life. I am blessed by the many who are praying for our family, me, the disease and all that goes long with this journey. I know many are praying for today and the results. I wish I could tell you I had a feeling but I don’t. I am thankful I feel well and can enjoy this precious time with Adam. Our hearts are at peace knowing the Creator of the universe who also made me holds us in His hands. We are thankful for today.

I read this today, the old English is hard but such truth is in this prayer. Thank you for praying with us.

“O God Whose will conquers all, there is no comfort in anything apart from enjoying thee and being engaged in thy service; Thou art All in all, and all enjoyments are what to me thou makest them, and no more. I am well pleased with thy will, whatever it is, or should be in all respects, And if thou bidst me decide for myself in any affair, I would choose to refer all to thee, for thou art infinitely wise and cannot do amiss, as I am in danger of doing. I rejoice to think that all things are at thy disposal, and it delights me to leave them there. Then prayer turns wholly into praise, and all I can do is to adore and bless thee”

Onward

15 Apr

I have the privilege of sitting next to my best friend on an airplane. We could appear as a bald couple (although my hair is longer than Adam’s) leaving for a destination vacation. Walking through the airport with ease and anticipation and sitting on the plane with a book and freedom at hand- a trip. Then the truth comes out we have been here before a time or two, and vacation it is not, warmer though. We are headed back to Houston my man and I.

We start tomorrow at MD just like last month: labs, biopsy, wait, Dr visit, plan and go! I have no idea what to expect this time. I only hold fast to the truth that He knows. I trust regardless that His ways are best and that we will keep walking this journey with great hope, faith and trust.

Thankfully, I feel well. My detour visit to the clinic was needed but left questions unanswered. The cultures were all negative so the source of my infection is unknown. Thankfully I was able to get out in time to share in part of Paige’s friend birthday party. This was a highlight for me. With the help of friends and family we pulled off a good party for an 8 year old. She of course had some revisions for next time, but enjoyed being the princess for a day. I was grateful for one more nights sleep in my bed and the chance to get things done before we headed south and west.

Goodbye isn’t getting any easier. The kids are doing well. Mimi and Papa are great stand ins, but its tough leaving my post. Being apart is so hard to explain and make your heart understand. We all get why mom has to go, but it doesn’t make the leaving any easier for any of us. On a good note, Mollie is potty trained this was a small gift to us as we wanted to leave a finished job behind. well done Mollie.

Fever

12 Apr

Yesterday was a better day. I felt more like me. A little more spunk and alive in my eyes. I think the pain in my mouth lessened and helped me to feel more alive. I needed platelets again since I only received half on Monday due to reaction. While waiting for transfusion I spiked a fever. This was unexpected and annoying. It slowed the process, but eventually got it done and left with reminders of the standard precautions about a fever while I am neutropenic. Thankfully the evening proceeded and I felt great took my temperature and it was normal. Headed to bed feeling well. I woke up at 3:00 hungry and thirsty. After my early morning snack I headed back to bed. I woke up at 4:30 feeling warm. I decided better to be safe than sorry so I took my temperature. I was disappointed to see 101.4. Normally I can talk myself out of concern when it is low grade, but this was more than low grade. I am currently at the clinic they have cultured everything they need and checked multiple culprits for fever. I hope to be in and out with quick answers. I am mostly disappointed as there are many things I had to accomplish before heading back to Houston. We will wait. I should be better at this by now.

But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.”
—Psalm 31:14

24 to fishbowl

11 Apr

You know how you develop random groups of friends, and you laugh when you look back at how you started and why? We have our 24 friends that then turned to fishbowl friends once Jack Bauer retired. These friends are funny, special, prayer warriors and supporters. It a mixed crowd with many common denominators. We laugh a lot and work to know each others lives. We had a chance to do that this week. We missed out on our actual fishbowl game, but sharing their company in the same room was enjoyable.

Soaking up the days, thankful for some relief in pain.

“The Hood”

9 Apr

Just over six years ago we drove down seventeenth street as we were driving through the falls looking at every house on the market. We had moved home from Colorado and were living at my parents. We had paige and were expecting Hayleigh in the spring. We had been house hunting for at least a month. As we drove by our home back those six years ago I loved the home. i wanted it to be ours. I remember meeting our neighbor as we picked up the advertisement. Little did we know that the “hood” would become an extended family. As we have journeyed this road they have found ways to love and support us. They are party people always ready for a good time. They have occasional euchre tournaments and the streets are lined with cars! Thanks to their kind hearts and desire to have fun they have given our family the pot from the tournament both times providing generous financial gifts to our family. We are grateful for the many ways our extended prayer family supports us. We are grateful for the love of the hood!

Other fun facts for today:
-potty training Mollie- semi successful day ready for tomorrow.
- I had my first adverse reaction to a blood transfusion= not fun
-it was a beautiful day!

Mollie is 3

8 Apr

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Mollie is 3- oh my! My baby is 3, it’s going too fast. She is special and has so many great things to offer. She is full of life – maybe even feisty, she is determined, and excitable, very loving and fun. Having two big sisters keeps her up to date and advanced. She says words such as: dude, frustrated, connection, platelets, stop it!, hospital, even stupid (I cringe). Her thoughts are together and easily understood. As I said, she is determined!

We celebrated Paige and Mollies days yesterday. We enjoyed time together. It’s unique to see the simplicity of Mollie as her expectations for gifts are so different than Paige’s. It’s one of those clear depictions of our sin nature and how narcissistic we are. I don’t say this to put down Paige, but it is amazing to see how we quickly and unknowingly are more a part of this world. Either way we take great joy in giving gifts to them as reminders of the blessing they are to us.

Mollie has walked a different life from a young age. She was born by a fellow on the floor, because once she decided she was coming- she came. We didn’t find out the sex prior to any of our girls we were completely surprised. She was nameless for a night. We adjusted quickly to our new bundle of love. Mollie Clark Armstrong you have blessed our lives with your exuberance and love.

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Home

6 Apr

I have come home so many different times on this journey. All of them from different places and different markings on this journey. Home from my first hospital stay and chemo, home from second round in Akron, return from transplant in Cleveland, and my escape for Christmas celebrations. Now it’s home for a week here and there. Home still feels good and right. I love the comfort that comes along with being home. My bed and my pillow are missed terribly and of course my sleep mate. The comforts of being in your space knowing what goes where. Watching your kids claim their space and make it their own. Knowing that your family and friends are now a phone call away instead of states a part. Being home feels good today.

Communication

6 Apr

I could not have predicted how much this blog would encourage and help us walk this road together. We are blessed by your support prayers and concern for our family. The original intent was to keep you up to date on my treatment and the Armstrong happenings. Yet we have found that hearing from you and knowing that people are praying, hoping and following our journey encourages us when least expected. The support of so many bring perspective and hope. This blog was started and generously maintained by a dear friend and we are grateful. About a month ago I stopped receiving your posts as personal emails so I could respond. I enjoy interacting with you when I can, so please feel free to email me at livestrongarmstrong5@gmail.com. Thank you for sharing in our story.

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Prayer

5 Apr

I have started reading a book. It’s been while since I have chosen to read something other than my devotions. I am not sure why, but books and reading have not been an outlet for me this journey….of course if Karen Kingsbury or Francine Rivers decided to bust out a new book I might be up for the challenge.

This book, Praying Backwards was given to me from someone I respect and admire. I know that I long for my prayer life to grow in the season of seeking, and this book sat on my shelf. I have chosen to dig deeper and seek how this book can better help me understand and know our Creator. This quote sums up how I feel about this disease and the battle it has presented.

Prayer does not relieve all suffering, but it assures us that no difficulty comes without purpose. When we pray “in Jesus’ name” we have God’s assurance that he will answer our prayer in a way that brings glory to Jesus and furthers his kingdom.

When my heart aligns with my prayers and His purpose this naturally flows from my being. This is how I desire to live my days knowing that His glory is why I am given today. This prayer offers peace amidst the suffering and uncertainties. As I learn to continue to ask of Him my hearts desire through prayer it helps to keep perspective when I ask it in His name! I pray that following our story and journey allows you to look at your life and your purpose. I find it encouraging and freeing to be reminded that living to bring Him glory is all He desires. It’s something we can do wherever we are. No one needs cancer to bring Him glory. He uses you His vessel in your workplace, school, family to be His light.

We continue to beckon and ask that His will be done in our lives. We have our requests of healing and miracles, but in the end we seek His Face longing to bring Him glory. Thank you for praying us through these days.