And believe me, some days that is ALL I am ABLE to do!
And believe me, some days that is ALL I am ABLE to do!
I also wanted to send a quick note to all of you who check my blog to say "thank you" for praying so fervently for our family....you can see from the photo that I am a little weary....especially under the eyes! You can also see that my last-minute hair coloring job the morning before we left for the game resulted in BLACK HAIR!
Funny how my perspective on things like this has changed so much! It's just hair!
I love you all and will write more soon.
10Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, you islands, and all who live in them.
11 Let the desert and its towns raise their voices; let the settlements where Kedar lives rejoice. Let the people of Sela sing for joy; let them shout from the mountaintops.
12 Let them give glory to the LORD and proclaim his praise in the islands.
13 The LORD will march out like a mighty man, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies.
14 "For a long time I have kept silent, I have been quiet and held myself back. But now, like a woman in childbirth, I cry out, I gasp and pant.
15 I will lay waste the mountains and hills and dry up all their vegetation; I will turn rivers into islands and dry up the pools.
16 I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.
I've clung to this passage for years..............
as over and over again I have felt the light go out and darkness overtake my soul;
as over and over again I have felt the paths before me were so unfamiliar that I couldn't find my way;
as over and over again the only sign I could see or hear from God was "Rough Roads Ahead...."
over and over again God has kept His Word. He has always provided light in the midst of my darkness. He has always guided me along my unfamiliar paths. He has always smoothed the rough road ahead of me.
And so tonight as I look at Nick and wonder what is going on inside of him, I am thankful for how God has brought him this far! I am thankful for how he is walking so well and climbing up stairs! I am thankful that he went to a movie yesterday with Tim and to Fazolis and to an ice cream shop. I am thankful that Monday we are traveling to Nashville to watch the Titans play the Colts! I am thankful for laughter tonight as we watched a movie at home and as Olivia and her little friend Maddie did a funny dance for us. I am thankful for Todd's fun night at homecoming. I am thankful that Evan is home from college for the weekend. I am thankful that Erich has been home so many times this week to play games with Nick. I am thankful for countless friends who encourage me and pray for me. I am thankful for a husband who is loving and kind. I am thankful for a church and a town that support our family so faithfully.
And the list goes on and on and on and on.
So, as hard as it is at times to not have a panic attack or break down and cry, I am clinging to God's promises that absolutely never fail! As I see the sign, "Rough Road Ahead," I hear God say, "Trust Me for I will keep My Word...Again......."
Well, in a strange sort of way, I have had something blocking my view of God's mountain. Not a bus and really not a tree.........something that was keeping my heart from feeling totally free to pray for a miracle.
It was hospice.
In and of itself, I know that hospice serves a wonderful purpose. I know that it can bring great comfort in times of need.
But, at this time in Nick's journey, there was just something about stepping to this level that did not bring peace to my soul. I felt crazy for saying, "I'm praying for a miracle," as the medical world came in and out of our house to "check on Nick's condition."
After some deep soul-searching and talks with my husband, we have decided that we are pulling out. We have many nurse and nurse practitioner friends who are lined up and ready to be at our door within minutes if needed. We have friends and family to provide love and support.
And we have God..........the Perfect Comforter.
I still believe that God can totally heal Nick. He is walking now. He is going to a movie tomorrow with his dad! I know that God's ways are higher than my ways. I trust Him...no matter what (and that is very hard to say), however..................
Tonight I humbly yet happily say,
MOVE THAT TREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I want a clear view of the mountain!!!!!!!!!
Lifting My Eyes to the Hills Where My Help Comes From,
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD watches over you—the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life;
8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
THANK YOU for lifting my feet out of the mud and mire and giving me a firm place to stand (Psalm 40).
I wish I could sit across from each of you and share about today face to face. It is so difficult to type the depth of our emotions at this time - the incredible sadness mixed with supernatural peace that fills our home.
First, I want to share about our weekend. Olivia had two basketball games on Saturday in Morehead and Nick decided at the last minute that he would go along for the games and meet Evan there to ride home with him from college! I was so excited! I wish you could have seen the faces of the parents from Olivia's team (especially Hope's!) as we walked into the gym and Nick climbed the bleachers to the top! It was such a great day! And to top it off, Olivia's team was down 11 to 2 and made a comeback and was within 3 points with 53 seconds on the clock and Olivia shot a 3-pointer and tied the game 15-15!! We ended up winning by two and then beat them again in the second game. All of the girls played great, but I was so thrilled that Nick got to see Olivia do such a great job!!
Secondly, Nick went to church for the second week in a row, and I was especially thrilled to notice that Nick was singing during worship. Last week he didn't sing, which was fine, but I just remember how much he used to LOVE to sing praises and it just made my heart jump to see him singing again! Sunday night the youth group came to our house again! I stayed busy upstairs and let Nick have some normal youth group time without me in the room. Tim was gone to Olivia's game in Huntingon....she is totally into basketball as you can tell! After the kids left, we loaded the van and Tim, Nick, Donnette (a good friend of mine), and I left for Cincinnati. Mom wasn't able to go with us for the first time in soooooo long, because she had made a commitment to sub all week as a bus driver for someone who was going to be gone and had already learned the route and everything. It was very strange not having her with us....we missed her. We also had a very special traveller with us.......Sammie Back. Since we were going to be staying with her parents for the night in Cincinnati, her grandparents, who go to church with us, asked if we could take her back home for them. We were thrilled! Sammie is one of the sweetest, most polite little 6-year olds I have ever met. She was such a great little travel buddy. We arrived at Jarrod and Melanie's around 11 p.m. and were able to meet a friend of theirs, James, who will be leaving for Iraq early next year more than likely. Please keep him in your prayers along with all of our military personnel. What a commitment to our country! We slept wonderfuly, and woke up to the smell of bacon! I stumbled to the kitchen and sat down at the table. As I was sitting there, Jarrod introduced me to "Chris," another friend who had come by their house as well. It was so nice to meet these two guys and know that I will now share life with them through Nick's email prayer list! Welcome, James and Chris, to our world.
We left for the Kenwood MRI office around 8:30 a.m. (so much better than 5:30 in the morning with the threat of fog on the AA Highway!) Thank you, Jarrod and Melanie, for opening your home to us! You are great hosts, and we are so thankful! The plan was for Nick to have an IV started here so that they could do the contrast for his MRI and then leave the needle in for our trip to Children's main branch for bloodwork. We are so happy when they got the needle in on the first try and it had a blood return, but as the nurse was preparing to tape it, she accidentally pulled it out! Ugh! She looked and looked for another vein and then after finding one discovered that their branch was totally out of tubing, so Nick had to go with just a needle for the contrast and then the knowledge of another needle coming at the hospital. He handled it all beautifully!
When we arrived at the hospital and were called back to a room, we waited for a bit and then Maureen (our nurse practitioner) came by to see Nick. In a while she came back and said they would really like to go ahead and put in an IV in case Nick needed a transfusion. This confused us and Nick was not happy. He didn't cry, but I could tell he wanted to. I really wanted to, too. I went out in the hall to find her and see if the needle would be as small as the contrast needle and when I did find her I asked why they thought this. She said she thought Nick looked pale and that she couldn't look me in the eye and tell me that Nick's MRI looked good. She said that Dr. Fouladi would want to talk to me and Tim alone. I had to keep my composure as I returned to the room and gave Nick an update and then I motioned for Tim to step out and told him what she had said. We stayed in the room a bit, and Nick decided he didn't want Emla cream. He just wanted to get it over with just like he had in the morning. Maureen came back to do a physical at some point and was very pleased with Nick's strength. Tim kept making eye contact with me and saying, "Stay strong," because I guess he could sense in my face that I was slipping. I held it together until they took us to the room next door. While they talked with us, we had some in and out conversations with Nick's nurse and determined that they would just do a finger prick and if Nick did need a transfusion we would just have it done at Bellfonte tomorrow. I am sure I am missing details here, but that is the gist of what happened. Anyway, Dr. Fouladi had print outs of Nick's MRI and she was so nice as she explained that the cancer is simply growing very, very rapidly and she fears that doing more chemo will make Nick's blood counts drop so low that it will cause other complications that are not good. The cancer is in his spine in a lot of places. It is all around his brain and going down into his brain....there is a blood clot at one place at the top of his brain from the cancer. Saying all of this, she is AMAZED at how Nick is doing! He rarely even uses Tylenol for pain, and he is totally funny and full of conversation. He is a miracle right this minute, honestly1 I kept from crying for a long time, and even as I began to ask questions, I said, "I don't want to cry," and she said, "It is okay." I think that was all I needed to hear.
After she had talked with Tim and me, she wanted to talk to Nick. She sent me to the bathroom which I couldn't find. I was walking down halls trying to hide the fact that I was crying and every door was an office. I went back the way I came and one nurse practitioner was coming out Nick's little hallway. I said, "I can't find a bathroom," and she took my arm and turmed me around, and it was right in front of me the whole time with the door open. She just said, "Love your heart." I went into the bathroom and literally doubled over sobbing. It was awful. I regrouped as quickly as I could and had another NP get my purse so I could powder my face...I hate when nick sees me cry. He is such a trooper.
Dr. Fouladi told Nick that there was definitely tumors growing and that she feared doing chemo because of his blood counts. We left it at that with him, and he said he didn't have any questions. Tim and Nick went on out to get the van and then to pick up me and Donnette. Donnette waited in the waiting room while Dr. Fouladi pulled me into a patient room with a curtain and shut the curtain. She is so precious. She looked me straight in the eyes and said, "I want you to know that you have done EVERYTHING possible and right for Nick. I do not want you second-guessing yourself in the middle of the night. If you do, I want you to call me anytime." She hugged me and we both cried....again.
When I got in the van with Nick and Tim it was amazing. Nick was all set to stop at Graeters for ice cream and then he wanted to go home through Lexington and eat at the Good Foods Market Cafe!! He was in great spirits.....he said, "Well, we have some things to look forward to" and then he started listing upcoming tv shows and football games. It was unreal. Later when he got sleepy he said, "I'm tired. I've been up since 8 and gotten bad news three times today." Then he took a little nap. He just keeps such a great spirit about everything. I truly think there are angels all around him strengthening him and bringing a peace that passes understanding. That's all I can think.
I couldn't call mom. I knew I wouldn't be able to hold myself together. We texted back and forth for a long time, and I just ached for her not being with us, because I know how hard it is to NOT be with Nick when he has medical procedures much less receives troubling news. I love you, Mom!
Tonight Nick watched part of the football game while Tim helped Olivia with homework. Then after realizing that her backpack weighed 19 pounds Olivia decided she wanted a backpack with wheels. We knew we had one, but I did not know where it was. So I spent time in the attic and outside in the dark in a shed with a flashlight. Finally, after running out of places to look, I started back through the closets for a second look and sure enough I found it in the very back of a closet behind clothes.! Honestly, a backpack with wheels was the furthest thing from my mind, but in Olivia's world it was huge......balancing normal stress with the stress of Nick's cancer is so hard for me sometimes. We then all sat down to watch The Amazing Race which we taped last night and Nick loves to watch! It was a great mind-releaser for about an hour. Nick was pretty tired after that, so I came on up with him to sleep. He is sleeping right next to me, and just the sound of his breathing comforts me. I was suppose to sub tomorrow, but I just can't. Erich is still going to come and hang out with Nick and I am going to try and get a few projects done for school if I can. I am going to try and sub Thursday and Friday while Tim is on fall break. I hope I can do it.
Tonight my eyes are swollen and my head is pounding. I am so tired. I just knew I would be a waste of the county's tax dollars tomorrow. As I lay here tonight, I have to try and find the words that are somehow tangled up in my mind.
First, NICK IS A MIRACLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He has defied the doctors time and time again. Even in July of this year after looking at Nick's petscan, Dr. Fouladi said that Nick should be incapacitated on a morphine drip already. Now, she is just blown away. And the fact that the big tumors are growing "out" rather than "in" means that Nick is still here with us! Thank you, Lord! Oh, I still pray for a miracle. To wake up and see Nick's head perfectly round..................I just believe God could do it if He so desired. I do not undertand God's plan. I truly don't. But, I do believe that God is with us............always has been, always will be!
Second, WE NEED YOUR PRAYER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! More than ever. My eyes are starting to fall asleep as I write, so I will write more tomorrow. God is still on His throne. Nick is still His child. My heart is breaking tonight and yet I refuse to stop praying for a full-blown miracle. Please keep praying with us. Oh, I love you all so much, and as Dr. Fouladi said today, "Only God knows the time for Nick.....no man....." Isn't that true of all of us? I guess that is what is keeping me going is the reality that NONE of us knows about our tomorrow except for our Creator and He has everything "under control." I love you all so much, and I have a favor to ask you.
If you have time, can you write a letter to Nick (not saying anything about this latest news) just simply telling him how his life has impacted yours............. I want him to know how his life is impacting others (present tense) all over the world........
100 Academic Parkway
Grayson, KY 41143
Thank you so much,Love and blessings from our home to yours,
Oh, I am just getting started on "facebook" as another way to share Nick's story, and I want to tell any of you who may have me as a friend that I am sorry I do not know much about accepting invitations, planting things in a "garden," writing on a wall, poking, etc......shew! I am definitely a novice! Love you all! Thanks for being patient.
We decided to read the book of Acts where the church actually begins and see what they did to become Christians. This book is FULL of exciting events that happened over a period of history as the Holy Spirit came to be with God's people in the absence of Jesus who had died, been resurrected, and then ascended to Heaven. As I was reading this morning, my heart stopped on the healing of a paralyzed man in Acts 9. I kept reading the same verse over and over. When Peter healed the man in the name of Jesus, he told him, "Get up and take care of your mat."
Wow! I just kept reading this over and over and thinking of how many of us, including me, have been transformed by Jesus' power and been "healed" of so many past mistakes, hurts, and disappointments and yet we NEVER TOOK CARE OF OUR MAT!
I could just hear this being preached.
GET UP AND TAKE CARE OF YOUR MAT!!
Peter could have just said, "Get up and get on with your life," but he knew that taking care of the mat was an important step in healing.
So I guess my question this morning is what has been transformed in your life? What has God saved you from or brought you out of? What "mat" is holding you back, because you didn't take care of it after your transformation?
Taking care of it might mean counseling or a tough but honest conversation with someone or selling something or moving away from something or simply "letting something go!"
I don't know. I just know that when Jesus heals us of ANYTHING, we are told through this great example that we must......................
TAKE CARE OF OUR MAT!
Today I am praying that God will reveal to me any "mats" that have not yet been dealt with. I am praying that for you too!
Have a wonderful day....and oh, Nick's website has exceeded its daily limit two days in a row, so I can't do any more uploading of pictures until this problem is solved. So God must want me here more than there!
I love you all so much!
Have a wonderful day!
~ Psalm 4:8, NLT
I have so much to write since my last post........
My thankful, humble, Spirit-filled heart was soon to be tested...........by none other than my 15-year old son!
I have decided that the devil doesn't have to be too cunning with me. I'm not likely to be tempted to do a lot of obvious kind-of sins.........like stealing or murder.
But give me a smart-alecky son in a restuarant with friends and you may see my head start spinning in a complete circle and something frightening spewing out of my mouth.
That's what happened just an hour or so after singing praises to my God and Savior and thinking of all things in my life that I was thankful for..........including the son who pushed me too far!
See, we went to this particular restuarant (which was a little more pricey than our normal Taco Bell or Wendys Sunday lunch) on this particular day mainly because this is where the "said teenager" wanted to go (I will refrain from using names to protect the not-so-innocent). From the minute we arrived to the minute we left, this "said teenager" was nothing less than grumpy and rude. By the time the meal had ended, I was over-the-top angry. Tim, who wasn't picking up on the whole rudeness factor, had gone to pay for our meal when the "said teenager" placed the frosting on the cake by acting as if selling candles for an upcoming choir trip wasn't mandatory...after all, we ONLY owed "$1,000 for the trip"-Hello, that's a lot of money the last time I checked!
So, when Tim innocently returned to the table where I sat humiliated with "said teenager" and another family from our church, he smiled and said, "Who wants to ride with me?" "Said teenager" along with our daughter Olivia both chimed in, "I will," to which I quickly replied, "You take Olivia.........I've got ________ (said teenager)."
He knew right then and there that he was toast!
When we got in the van, though, I didn't realize just how angry I had gotten while trying to enjoy a grilled chicken salad. As we left the parking lot, my rampage began. I had "said teenager" filling in every line of his candle order form as I drove and screamed our way to a subdivision where we were going to immediately sell candles to people we knew from town. Along the way, though, I lashed out every comment I could think of. I absolutely LOST IT! If anyone drove past us that we knew, I am sure that I am now on their prayer list.
But the clincher came when I screamed...........and yes, I am embarrassed to say that this came out of my mouth, but I actually released in a very loud voice the most mature words that I could think of in the heat of the moment that could possibly express just how I felt........
"YOU ARE A LOSER!"
Please forgive me. I still can't believe it happened.
If you have or ever have had a teenager, you might be able to relate to how I felt. If you haven't had a teenager, please believe me when I say that there are just times in the parenting process when lowering yourself to the level of the one you are trying to raise to become a respectable adult seems like the only option available at the moment.
This was one of those moments.
By the time we reached our first destination, neither I nor the "said teenager" were up for making a candle sale, so I backed out of the driveway and began driving back into town. It was at this moment that I had the thought that while drunk driving is not safe nor being sleepy behind the wheel of a mini-van there should be a law about driving while under the influence of teen-induced insanity.
I drove to our town's hardware store because I needed some zip-ties and decided "Why not let "said teenager" experience a little of what we do to keep our home running smoothly?" So I parked the car and said, "Come on! You're going with me." Now, you have to picture me in my dress and dress shoes huffing into a hardware store with a teenage son walking a safe 10-feet behind me into a store that he rarely has ever entered. I am sure we looked very suspicious on surveillance cameras if they watch for people who do not fit the normal hardware store shopper bill.
We made our purchase and headed home. Silence filled the van the rest of the way home.
Well, almost all the way home. Then I decided to stop the van and very calmly say to my son, "Did you hear anything I said?" (Okay, that was probably a very dumb question, since I said nothing in a decible low enough to not be heard by nearly our entire county.) He replied, "Yes." I then said, "Do you understand that I cannot take your attitude anymore?" He replied, "Yes." And then I said, "When I said you were a loser, I did not mean "loser" like you would call someone a loser." He rolled his eyes. I said, "I just mean you are not a winner right now. You are losing in life when you have the attitude that you have."
I hope he believed me. I may never know for sure. I regret those words. I really do.
However, I feel like in some ways it was really how I felt.
How do we get our teens to see life as a race that they will either win or lose? It seems so much more obvious when you are 43!
I remember sitting as a teenage girl while my mom "lost it" and thinking "She just doesn't get it. She doesn't understand." Oh, mom, I'm sorry.
Here I am on the other side of life with a boy listening to me and saying, "She just doesn't get it. She doesn't understand." How did this happen?
Well, all I can do is look at Scriptures and find some level of comfort. I know that I Cor. 13 says that "love is not easily angered." That verse reminds me to be patient. But I relieved to also read the verse in Ephesians 4 that says, "In your anger do not sin." That verse tells me that sometimes it is okay to be mad.
Thank you, Lord, for including that verse. Thank you.
And Father, please forgive me for calling my son a "loser." I so desperately want him to WIN in this crazy thing called life!
I Cor. 13: 4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
Eph. 4:26"In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold.