Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Great Book

I'm not exactly sure how it happened, but I signed up to do a book review! I received the book with the understanding that I need to post a review on my blog and on another site - like Goodreads, Amazon, etc. So, here goes...

Holley Gerth is a new name to me, which is ironic because she's from my neck of the woods, and we have some common friends. Her blog is crazy encouraging, so I was excited to receive her newest book. I was even more excited to see it was based on the Psalms. If you've followed my journey here on my blog or on Facebook, you know I love the Psalms. This is the perfect book for me!

Holley has taken the whole book of Psalms and pulled out 52 encouraging truths. It is ideally set up to study one truth a week: read the devotion, focus on the couple of verses highlighted, and then use the space at the end of each truth to write what my heart is saying to God and what my heart is hearing from God. Each devotion is also short enough to be used daily. I'm ready to go through the book without a time limit (for this review) and savor each truth weekly while MEMORIZING the verses. 

Plus it's the cutest gift-sized book - easy to carry in my purse and pretty sitting out on my desk. Now I want a polka dot coffee cup to match!

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord;
Praise the Lord.
 Psalm 150:6

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Same Song, Second Verse

I sure hope we're not warming up for the second verse. 

Almost three weeks ago I noticed a lymph node on the left side of my neck. It was new, and it didn't have a matching lymph node on the right side (I like symmetry). I was on antibiotics at the time for something else and waited to see if maybe the lymph node was related. It didn't go away. Thankfully, I had a regular 3 month appointment already scheduled with my oncologist for blood work, port flush, etc.

My doctor could feel it, too. He wasn't overly concerned - but is being cautious. He said it was probably too small to get an accurate read from a PET scan and that if I hadn't already had cancer, he wouldn't think anything of it. But since I have, he ordered a CT scan of my neck and scheduled an appointment with my surgeon for biopsy.

I know the greatest chance of relapse with my aggressive lymphoma is in the first two years. It's been less than 15 months since I finished treatment. I also know it relapses in about 1/3 of patients.

I know chances are good (hmmm, maybe not the best word) that my indolent lymphoma will relapse, especially since it's not even considered curable.

And so I've tried to prepare myself that I will probably deal with cancer again... and that I'll be okay with it.

However, on our way to my appointment, I decided I do NOT want to keep singing that song! 

But it's not really about me, is it? It's about God using me for HIS GLORY!!!

I think I'll go back and start at the beginning of my blog so I can be reminded (in writing) of how God was...and is...with us every step of the way!

My soul finds rest in God alone; 
my salvation comes from him.  
He alone is my rock and my salvation; 
He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

~ Psalm 62:1-2

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Getting Out of My Funk

Do you ever find yourself in a funk and don't really know why? That's where I am right now... and have been for a couple of weeks. I've thought about some possibilities:

Are we still adjusting to our growing pains? Maybe

Could it be hormonal from my chemo-induced menopause? Possibly

Am I concerned about my blood work and check up with my oncologist at the end of the month? Probably

Am I stressed about finances with two kids in college, two kids needing braces, and upcoming medical bills? Of course

Have I neglected quiet time with God? Definitely

So, what am I going to do about my funk? A friend added me to a Facebook group called Journaling Bible Community. Wow! It's a whole new concept (at least to me) of studying the Word and worshiping God using art, doodles, and writing ON, yes, ON the pages of your Bible. WHAT! Drawing in my Bible???

If you google Journaling Bible, you will be amazed at what people are adding to the pages of their Bibles and journals. I've seen some incredible artwork! Well, I'm not an artist (which is why I love stamping), but I'm intrigued by the whole process. It has already helped me stay focused on God's Word - one verse at a time.

My first project was Romans 12:12 in a Life Application Bible that I snagged for FREE. The margins are not as big as in a journaling or note taking Bible, but it's a great place to start. Plus I've always wanted a Life Application Bible!

I tend to be a perfectionist when it comes to projects like this. Not that I do anything perfect, but I might NOT do something if I think I won't do it just right. Plus I'm married to a graphic artist, so no pressure - HA! Anyway, I started with ink and stamps on a separate piece of paper that I could tape in the Bible over the commentary part. It lifts up to show my journaling on the back about how this verse is meaningful to me. I won't say how many times I started over...

This is helping me memorize verses AND where they are found. I stamped a hand print and made notes to mark the verses I used about the hand of God (here). It's helping me think outside the box as far as making notes and/or pictures in my Bible. I'm more visual than auditory, so this method of study and expression fits me. It's a form of worship to God as well as calming to me. 

So to get out of my funk, I'm focusing on the theme verse for in the GAP - Psalm 29:11.

The Lord gives STRENGTH to His people;
The Lord blesses His people with PEACE.

It's easy for me to use this verse to encourage others, and now I have a visual for me. I didn't worry about my lack of artistic abilities. I used colors that are meaningful to me (lime and purple are lymphoma awareness colors) and had fun trying freehand letters! And the whole time I was working on it, I was focusing on God's promise. 

It's not a competition on who illustrates the best.

It's not about how many "likes" one of my pictures receives.

It's not about me. 
That's how I get out of my funk - FOCUS ON GOD!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Why I Walk...

There's always confusion and mixed feelings when it comes to fundraising. I hate asking for money, and people want to know where their money is going. So, let me explain...

TEAM TERRI's participation in the Light the Night Walk is NOT a fundraiser for us personally. All proceeds from the Light the Night Walk go to the The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to help advance their mission:  to CURE leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

Here's a graphic showing how funds are used by LLS.

As a blood cancer patient, LLS has personally been a benefit to me through:

Educational Materials

LLS has materials for each specific type of blood cancer. It's been my "go-to" place for information on my two types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. In fact, it's where I learned my Stage 3 diagnosis didn't necessarily mean the same as other Stage 3 cancers. Whew! The internet can be a scary place when looking up cancer. LLS is a reputable source with helpful information for my specific type of cancer. They also offer seminars (on-line and locally), forums, and on-line chats and webinars.

Co-Pay Assistance Program

I was able to qualify for the Co-Pay Assistance Program that reimburses me for co-pays during treatment and follow-up. It also reimburses part of my insurance premiums. That has been a huge help considering we drove over 2000 miles for appointments, scans, and chemo last year... not to mention paying for those appointments, scans, and chemo :)

Government Advocacy

LLS has an advocacy group that works on behalf of cancer patients from the local to national level. They make it easy for others to be involved by providing links with e-mails already composed ready for us to hit send.

Light the Night Walk

The Light the Night Walk is a special evening that honors patients and survivors, caregivers, and those who have lost their battle to blood cancer. Our family represents all three groups - me as a survivor (white lantern), my family as excellent caregivers (red lantern), and in memory of my husband's grandmother who passed away from lymphoma before targeted therapies were developed (gold lantern). This year we're also walking in honor of my father-in-law who was recently diagnosed with multiple myleoma. The walk is very personal for our family!


I love the truth of this picture...

The outcome of my therapy may have been totally different if not for the development of Rituxan - a targeted therapy that has been available for only 20 years. Without funding, there is no research. Without research, there aren't as many survival stories. In fact, 40 years ago, there was only a 3% chance of surviving childhood leukemia. Today, 90% of children with leukemia survive! Amazing!

So... that's why we participate in the Light the Night Walk and give to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. We'd love for you to support TEAM TERRI as we walk to the end of blood cancer.

  • You can join our team and raise funds with us here.
  • You can donate to our team here.
  • You can order coffee from Just Love Coffee where a portion of proceeds goes to TEAM TERRI here.  

Thank you for your support!

DISCLAIMER: It is my understanding that LLS only uses medical waste for embryonic stem cell research. I have contacted LLS and am waiting on an official statement. I will post a follow-up.

UPDATE FROM LLS: "Currently, no LLS-­‐funded researcher is studying human embryonic stem (ES) cells." 

Please contact me for a copy of the letter.