Updated: May 1, 2019
Well I'd say it's been a while since I've updated everyone, so first things first--Happy New Year!! We rang in the New Year as we usually do--with our friends, games, and letting the kids all have fun and go wild! Good times....raising 'party animals.' ;)
We also started off the New Year with my 6th chemo treatment on January 2nd. My tumor markers continue to go in the right direction, very thankful for that, and things seemed to be normal. But then I woke up a couple of days later and noticed I had pain in my neck where my port line was located. At first I thought maybe I just slept funny, and it was just my neck that was feeling funny. I went in for fluids as usual (chemo really messes with my throat--I have a hard time not only singing, which is super hard for me, but drinking anything that isn't warm kills it...feels like razor blades really), so I mentioned this pain to them. At that time, they couldn't really see anything wrong with it.
Later that Friday, the line in my neck was getting red--I just knew something wasn't right. So we called, ended up making a visit to the ER that night to have it checked out, did some cultures, got up that Saturday morning to head to the clinic for a follow up visit, and that's when I found out the results of the blood cultures. I had a blood infection--strep. Luckily for me, very treatable. But this also meant I landed myself a little 3 day getaway at the hospital for some antibiotics and guess what else? They had to remove my port. Again. This is my second port in 4 months--which is crazy! The NP who removed the port mentioned how that 'little guy was practically begging to come out--it just popped right out!' My body just hates these foreign, little buggers I guess. So for the rest of these treatments, I'll just do an IV. No more ports for this girl!
I'd love to tell you that I was amazingly strong throughout my hospital stay, but...I would be lying. I had chemo earlier that week so I was already feeling funky, this all happened, I hadn't seen my kids hardly at all that entire week--they stay with my parents for a few nights after chemo (which I'm seriously so grateful for), I missed my husband, and ya know--sometimes when you're down like that, you can't help but think of the worst. And boy....the 'worst' definitely came into my mind ALOT that hospital stay. I cried. I prayed. I cried some more. And then I prayed some more.
My mom had packed a bag for me, and I didn't realize she had put a couple of my devotional books in there. It was Sunday when she reminded me that they were in there. So, I grabbed my Power Thoughts devotional book--I desperately needed some peace and calming, and I find that burying myself in devotionals/God's Word is always exactly what I need. And this moment in time was no different. I honestly could not believe what I was reading.
Wanna know the Power Thought for Jan 6th--the day I was admitted into the hospital? The title for Jan 6 was, "Attitude is Everything." The Power Thought? "I can maintain a good attitude during trials, knowing that God provides my way out." In true "Jess" fashion....I immediately burst into tears. No matter what we face in life, no matter what hand we're dealt, we ALWAYS have a choice of how we respond. I was just having this conversation with a good friend of mine, Johanna, and she stated, "You can either be a victim or a victor." It's always your choice how you respond things. Attitude is everything. For instance, I could take my diagnosis and throw myself the biggest pity party, let it be my 'excuse' to not really do anything because I 'can't' with this disease. Or....I can take my diagnosis, give it a big 'you're not gonna control me' middle finger, do what I can to control it, and not let it run my life. Yes, I have to work around things differently now, but I adjust. I have goals in life and I'm not letting this diagnosis take those away from me. I'm CHOOSING to remain confident in achieving these goals. Victor. No victim here. And when I do have those moments of doubt and worry, because it happens and it's going to continue to happen, I pray even harder. "Maintaining a good attitude in the midst of something unpleasant is the key to victory, and it enables us to enjoy the journey."
Jan 7th-- Sunday--"The Joy of the Lord." Power Thought: "I am expecting God to do amazingly good things in my life." It described how 'joy' is closely connected to our expectations (what we think and believe.) The more we expect good things to happen, the more joy we will have. This is definitely something I'm personally working on. My husband, Steve, is always, ALWAYS encouraging/telling me I needed to think more positively about this stuff. Alot of times, I find myself thinking the worst so that I'm not overly disappointed in the outcome. He's right. Did you read that, hunny? YOU'RE RIGHT.
Jan 8th--Monday-- "Step Out in Faith." Power Thought: "I am not afraid to take a step of faith." In order to do or have greater things, we are usually required to let go of what we have and head into the unknown." The 'unknown' can be a scary thing. But my faith in God and what's to come after this life gives me a sense of peace and hope. I've always wondered, for those who don't believe in Jesus--what if you're wrong? What if you're wrong and there is a heaven and a hell, there is God and the devil.... I honestly don't question the existence of God. I believe and have faith. But...if I am wrong-what would happen? I'm guessing not much. But if a non-believer is wrong and there IS a God...that's an eternity I wouldn't want to be a part of, that's for sure. Again....I don't question the existence of God--I believe. 100%. And I'm blessed to be part of a God-fearing family. I pray for anyone that doesn't believe--I pray you find yourself wondering. And that wondering leads you to questioning...and that questioning leads you to learning....and that learning leads you to question some more...and that leads you closer to God. The devotional read on to say, "As you take steps of faith to be obedient to God, you will experience his faithfulness, and your faith will become strong. Don't let fear stop you because God will never leave you or forsake you."
Those were my Power Thoughts for that weekend in the hospital-- His timing is perfect.
So what's next? January 22nd I have another CT scan to check the progress of my treatments thus far. My next chemo treatment is scheduled for the 23rd...and we go from there!
I cannot say enough how incredibly blessed we are. The love, support, generosity, and thoughts & prayers are amaaaaazing and we are so thankful. I still find myself wondering how & why on earth are we sooooo blessed <3