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Hello everyone!  I’m going back to work on Monday, the 18th!   I’m so excited – I’ve already delivered my release form to my employer and I’m all set and feeling so good.

This is such a rush – because mentally, emotionally and psychologically speaking, it has lifted me up to a new level of faith and joy.  I’m sure that I’ll be tired, however, I’ll use my good common sense and judgement.  There are times that I still need my nap in the afternoon.  But I promise to pace myself! 

In March I’ll be getting another bone marrow biopsy to see how well my bone marrow has responded to the chemo treatment and a cat-scan to check the status of my organs (liver, lungs, kidneys, bladder, etc) to .  These are all the organs that have been affected.  In any case – the toxins are leaving my body and it’s all good. 

Take care everyone and may the Lord continue to bless you mightily.

 Love and blessings to you and yours,

Mildred

Give Life With Your Words

Give Life With Your Words
by Jon Walker

Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose. (Proverbs 18:21 MSG)

You have the power to kill or give life.

Yes, you, gentle reader – a follower of Christ – are capable of murder, and so am I. We can speak death with our words, or we can speak life.

Perhaps you’ve been on the other side of the killing kind of messages: “You’re not smart enough. You’re not thin enough. You’re not fast enough. You’re not good enough. A real Christian wouldn’t think such a thing.”

In a world where people are beat up and put down, God gives you superhero power to punch through the negativity. You speak life to others when you say: “You matter to me. I like you just the way you are. You’re human, anyone could think that. Your life counts. You were created for a purpose. God loves you, and you’re incredibly valuable to him.”

Your words may be the only encouraging thing some people hear in a day, or a week, or a month. You – yes, you – can become the voice of God’s grace in the lives of others, supporting, loving, helping, and encouraging with the words that flow from your mouth. (Romans 14:19b)

In the New Testament, the word ‘encouragement’ often means “to come alongside.” We’re to come alongside one another, “building each other up,” just as the Holy Encourager comes alongside us to teach us and remind us of the way of Jesus. (John 14:26)

We become encouragers when we stop looking down and start looking up (Colossians 3:2) – the need and opportunity for encouragement is everywhere. “Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us,” (Romans 15:2a MSG) and this “will build them up.” (Romans 15:2b NLT)

So, how about it? Will you become today a consistent source of encouragement to those around you? It’s a choice on your part. You can lift a person’s spirit, change the atmosphere of your office, or lighten the burden of someone in your small group. The Bible says we should “look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out.” (1 Thessalonians 5:15b MSG)

What does this mean?

· Commit to encouragement – Make a choice to build up the people around you. Fill your conversations with phrases like: “I believe in you,” “I’m grateful for you,” “I see God using you,” “I appreciate you,” and “I’m glad you’re in my life.” The Bible says we should “encourage one another and build each other up.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV)

· Value others – An encourager works hard at bringing the best out in others. Value people by understanding they are valuable to God. He encourages you in spite of the failings in your past; he believes in you in spite of those annoying, little things you excuse in yourself but criticize in others. J (Quite honestly, this thought compels me to give grace to others.)

· Be encouraged – Encourage yourself, for “there is good news of great joy for all people, and his name is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:8-10)

© 2008 Purpose Driven Life. All rights reserved.
Pastor Jon Walker is a writer for www.GraceCreates.com.

Well, I finally finished my treatments!  My 8th and final was on Monday, January 14th.  I was there at 7:30am and the infusion of the Rituxan actually began at 9:00am after all the pre-meds were administered.

This time I was in a larger area (5 stations) instead of 4 like the Monday before.  There were 3 chairs (these are actually leather recliners with special features) along the long wall and 2 on the shorter wall.  I chose the corner station on the shorter wall which gives more room – there are no walls between the chairs – just the regular curtains they pull around you like when you go to the doctors office or the hospital to give you privacy, when and if you want it or require it.  They also have a table tray like in the hospital for you to place food or snacks or whatever.  I usually have had breakfast so I bring a couple bottles of water and a PB&J (peanut butter and jelly but I use strawberry preserves instead).  This comes in handy mid-morning and then I eat half. 

They actually provide wonderful sandwiches at lunch with drinks (juice or pop), fruits, cookies, etc., and so I either indulge in some of what they offer or eat my other half of the PB&J.  Depends on the level of appetite.

This was a busy day.  I started my infusion and because they have to give me so much benadryl and other drugs to help prevent any reactions from the Rituxan, it makes me sleepy and I so I nap for a bit.  I still hear everything around me but I’m resting. 

Again, because of the time, I was the first one there – but shortly after – it began to fill up.  There is a large private room for patients that require more privacy – I had that once but it’s so isolated, I really prefer to be in the flow of things. 

I’ve been very blessed by God and because of all your prayers, I have not gotten sick – I’ve only had the sniffles or the reactions of the chemo or Rituxan, but my goodness, I have not required hospitalization like so many of the other patients there.  Many of them miss out on their treatments because they take risks and  get sick with bronchitis, pneumonia, heart complications, fevers, gastrointestinal distress, their blood counts are very low, and  countless other things, etc.  I’ve heard all the horror stories – some of them are still trying to work and are worn out and become stressed out and while some succeed others barely make it.  Others have small children or teens or spouses, etc., and catch stuff – some are stage 2 or 3 and others 4 like me.  When you mention stage 4 (which doctors also refer to as “advanced stage” because organs are involved), people just say, “oh, I’m so sorry!”  and they look at you as if you’re already out of the picture.  Well, I don’t accept that –  again, you have to have a very positive outlook and strong faith.  No matter what happens, I’m not going to allow others to decide my outcome.  This is strictly between me and God. 

The other people receiving treatment along with me were mostly men – one with his partner and the others with their wives or alone.  Again, I’m there so long during the day that I see many people come and go all day long.  

There was one couple where the patient is the husband and in his early 70’s with prostate cancer, which eventually spread to his lungs and was complicated with emphysema.   He was so sick from pneumonia that he caught from an airplane trip he took that it delayed his treatments by almost a month.  

Another was a gent by himself – he was there for a blood transfusion, another was there with his wife and she left to run some errands.  He has what I have and started at stage 2.  This is his 3rd time back in 2 years.  He has been in remission twice and now is in stage 3.   He had such a terrible reaction to the Rituxan that I really thought he was going to have to be hospitalized.  It took a staff of 7 to help him get it under control.  After what seemed to be forever and ever, all the meds took hold and he responded positively.   It was terrible to hear – they had drawn the “curtain” around his area and all you could see were his feet shaking from the uncontrollable chills he was experiencing (one of the reactions) and the feet of all the nursing staff racing around that tiny area trying to help him.  It was “white-knuckle” difficult for me and even more to see the reactions of the other patients there – all so visibly shaken up and ashen white.  Other nurses came over to make sure we were all ok and to reassure us.  I’m glad they didn’t take my blood pressure then!  One of the wives and I locked eyes and I smiled at her to reassure her.  She came over and I held her hands and I asked her about her knitting which calmed her – we never blinked or took our eyes off each other.   Her husband is the elderly gent and he was asleep or pretending to be asleep.  Then I prayed and she with me – all I could do was pray – I felt so sick for this poor man.  He moaned with pain, threw up – shook, broke out in hives, cried out again – he cried out for his wife who had not returned yet.  It was not good – but it ended well, thank God.  When his wife did return it wrenched her heart to know that he endured this by himself without her there…….. we talked for a bit and I reassured her that he did himself proud considering what he had gone through and then we prayed….. her eyes were so full of pain and then we hugged and laughed at the mercy and goodness of God!  We both needed that – we all did. 

One thing about us warriors – ask us how we’re doing and we’ll probably say “good”, “great” “awesome”.    We’re not wimps!  We are not cowards.  However, we’ve earned the right to say “not too good” once in a while and be allowed to say it!

I tell you all this because you have vested your hearts in my journey and I feel you need to know about the sorrow, pain and grief that both patients and their families experience.  Again, it’s not something to deal with  alone, but so many people do.  They may have no one and even if they do, they may not be as involved as they should be or can be……… 

I use all these opportunities even if I’m affected by it to share the Lord.  When you have knowledge of something that will make you feel good, loved, wanted, and cherished, you’ve got to share it. 

I’ve made many new friends – and we all become very close and search each other out.  We all share a common bond……..  

As I left that afternoon, actually earlier than normal because my infusion went very well, I was escorted by Elaine (my pastora) on one side and Cronny, my other friend on the other.  It was like a parade as people waved and applauded, both nursing staff and patients alike because it was my last treatment.  I was elated!

It’s a great cause for celebration!  I felt so good to be able to leave and hopefully, not return.  No offense to anyone there – again the double-edge sword – and no offense was taken!  I’ve been there long enough that I was so glad to see people go through the same thing – last treatment – and feel glad for the person, and a bit sadden that it wasn’t me.  Kisses, hugs, blessings, love, exchanges of information…..  promises to keep in touch. 

Now I wait…… glad this part is over…… still thanking God for this journey…… knowing that it’s not all over – but confident that He is in control, in the mix and still holding me in His loving arms!

I’m looking forward to getting back to work!  Hopefully that will be in a few weeks still because the doctor wants me to rest and allow the toxins and other chemicals out of my body before my tests in March. 

Anyway, please take care and as always, please continue praying not just for me but also for those I’ve written about – it’s very important to continue your faith walk with me.  God has so much love for you all and the blessings that He has stored up for you are so many that they will be brimming and spilling over you and yours.  Please believe me when I say this because it is so very true.  

Love and blessings to you and yours,

Mildred

Words of Wisdom

My friend Neil sent this out and I want to share it with you all. 

Love and blessings to you and yours,

Mildred

===============================================

Who Told You That You Couldn’t?

Today’s Scripture Reading: Genesis 3:11; Psalm 37
Key Verse: Genesis: 3:11a

“Who told you that you were naked?”

Too many of us make the mistake of living up to fleshly job descriptions created by other people: “You are stupid.” “You cannot do that.” “You are nobody.”

Do not let somebody else tell you who you are! Adam sought knowledge outside of God’s blessing, and God called him on it! When he told the Creator that he was naked, God immediately asked, “Who told you that you were naked?”

Now I ask you: who told you that you were a fool and that you were no good? Who told you that you were ugly or that you could not do this or that? Who told you that you are not “qualified” because you did not graduate from Morehouse or Princeton University? Who told you that you couldn’t?

Tune out the ever-changing whims and opinions of man and listen to God’s eternal decrees about who you are and why He made you. Go back to the original Manufacturer and ask Him why you were made.

He will tell you this: you have a holy calling. You are a child of God and an heir of all the promises. You are a chosen vessel, and a priest in His kingdom. You are holy.

Peel away the false name tags, pick yourself up off the ground, and dust yourself off. You are holy and you have a holy calling, so do not pay attention to the unholy comments of other people. They do not realize it, but when they talk about you they are meddling with the child of God (let Him deal with them). Your only job is to hear and obey the things you hear your Father in heaven say.

Today’s Prayer:

Dear Father, help me to start over today. I want to return to the things You say about me, and I cast away all the negative, limiting opinions and predictions of others. If the things I hear are not in Your Word, grant me the wisdom and grace to set them aside as mere noise and focus on Your decrees. Your Word is a lamp unto my feet. In Jesus’ name, amen.  

Neil

When I went for my chemo on December 17th, the doctor told me that it was my last chemo in my treatment, and that the last 2 treatments (January 7 and 14) would be the Retuxan alone.  I was surprised and a bit shocked by this news.

Then they will allow my body to rest for 2 months to give the toxins and chemicals time to leave my body before they conducted tests.  These 2 tests are the bone marrow biopsy and a catscan  and they are taking place in March.  These tests will let us know how my body has responded to the treatments and what is going on, etc.  My doctor did mention again that my organs are not normal – there is a lot of scarring and they will be monitoring me every 3 months with  tests to make sure that the that the scarring is either the same or has reduced, etc.  

I was so surprised by this – I was not prepared to hear this news -and so my emotions were mixed – I felt both glad and cautious – the  double-edged sword, if you will.   Continue praying please!

In any case, I went in on January 7th for my Retuxan treatment and was in an open treatment area that accommodates 4 stations.  Since the Retuxan takes me anywhere from 8-10 hours (it’s a very long arduous day), I see people come in and out of my area all day long. 

Some come in for chemo, and others for blood transfusion, etc.  The last few people that were there were women with breast cancer.  It was very emotional to hear their stories.  One woman had been in remission for 14 years and the cancer had returned – this time it was in her remaining breast and had spread to her lungs and kidneys (stage 4).   Her husband was at her side – they continuously held hands, looked lovingly at each other, and they would laugh, as he would whisper in her ear and she would blush unashamedly at whatever sweet-nothing he had told her.  She has been back on chemo since late last year and was sporting the same hairdo I am! 

One other woman had been in remission for 3 years and was now also stage 4 –  her sister was with her as she had been the last time.  She was wearing a beautiful reddish wig that just brought out the green in her eyes so beautifully.  The last precious woman there was going through the ordeal for the first time and was accompanied by her daughter.   I can tell that she was a bit terrified at the stories of the other 2 ladies since she too had breast cancer.  She still had all her beautiful long thick hair and was sure that she was not going to loose it – however, she had noticed that as she brushed her hair that morning, some came out very easily.  No one said anything to confirm or deny – we just “hmmmmm”. 

My heart was broken – I know because I felt the ache in my heart as I heard their stories.   These warriors – these remarkable women!  I could see the wisdom of the battle scars etched in their eyes as I looked deeply and searched.  They knew I was searching – and I can tell that they saw it in my eyes too.  They asked pertinent questions regarding faith which immediately opened the door for me to share about the love and mercy of God.  I told them my story…… and was able to share God with them.  

They all listened – nodded their heads – shared their experiences about God in their lives – how hard it was to understand – would they be healed – what now – etc.    It was definitely a God appointment! 

I was very humbled by this encounter – and thanked God for the opportunity to share Him.  He uses us everywhere we go – in all situations, we just have to be willing vessels.  Most of them were gone by the time I left which was 6pm.   Before they  left, there were hugs and lots of words of encouragement, and wonderful beautiful smiles……. but the eyes tell all.  One of them hung on to me hard and long……. I’m not sure if I’ll see them again, but I do know that God is in their mist and they will be communing with Him more frequently and directly.  Praise God – thank you.

My ache was so heavy – I laid it at the feet of my Lord with tears and prayers for these ladies along with all the other people there. 

Please pray – if you know someone that has cancer or any other disease for that matter, please – take it from me – be there for them in any form you can be.  Calls, cards, visits……. all the same things you all have done so marvellously, beautifully, lovingly and unselfishly for me.  I am so very blessed by all of you – I thank God for you every day and am so humbled by your care, concern and love.  You have all been God sent – please believe that.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Love and blessings to you and yours,

Mildred 

January 2008!

I’m praying that your Christmas, New Year’s and Three Kings celebrations were wonderful!  I spent mine so very blessed surrounded at different times with family and friends.  

Surei arrived on the 29th of December and we had a really great visit!  And the most special time spent was with the grand-kids (grands) who were also able to come – their dad brought them down from NJ so they could spend an overnight with us.  It was so fabulous to see them!  The last time I spent any time with them was last May when I went to Texas for Marisa’s graduation and they were big then.  However, my grandson Randy is taller than me…..!  He’s 12 and is going through a growth spurt where the arms are very long and his feet are getting bigger and thank God he is still as sweet as ever — lots of kisses and hugs – I loved it.  And Ms. Jacinda (sweet 16) is so beautiful and graceful – and so funny!  She sang for us and it was so very awesome!  How very special it is to have the opportunity to share time with these precious children – we watched videos of them when they were babies and toddlers and we all laughed, and ooh and ahhhhhh all through it.  They (the kids) just enjoyed themselves tremendously.  Their grandfather (Luis) was able to “Play” with them and their electronic plane and helicopter outside – but oh my goodness it was so cold and the wind was blowing!  But these kids (all 3 of them) were so brave and love the cold anyway.  Jacinda and Randy were hoping for snow and cold temps and they got it!  I watched all the fun from a “warm” distance.

And then it was time for the kids to leave and return to NJ with their dad.  They still had a couple more days of vacation before they returned to Austin, TX. 

It was so sad – I really enjoyed them and miss them so much.  Those of you who are blessed to have your kids and grand-babies close by – please enjoy them as much as you can.  They are our blessings and next generation and you should be in their lives as much as possible.  I talk to them via the phone often and we joke and laugh and so on, but there is nothing like hands-on.  Kiss those babies and hug them tight and tickle them, and play games with them, take walks, talk and listen and just interact.  Be a wonderful role model – instill confidence in them – morals and values.  Help their parents with these roles – it’s hard on parents with all they have to do these days. 

If any of you have any kind of suggestions as to what types of things grandparents can do with grandchildren, email it below in the comment area and we can all share the wisdom!  Don’t be shy.  Also, if you are parents and would like to share your suggestions as to what you would like grandparents to participate in or things that are being done in your family, please send it also and share it!  

If you have prayer requests for your children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, family, etc.,  please don’t be shy about that either.  We should be there for each other.  Prayer is the most powerful and important tool that we have and God delights in His children praying to Him!

Surei left on the same day (in the evening) that the grands left.  It was a sad departure.   We miss each other so much.  The same thing happened with Marisa and Stephen when they left.  Departures are hard.  However, they do make the next arrival so much sweeter!  I talk with my daughters everyday and sometimes several times a day.  It’s always  great to hear from them – even if its just a couple of minutes!  We always keep in touch – it’s important. 

Well, that’s all for now.  Please take care.

Love and Blessings to you and yours,

Mildred