The word for you (me)today

Walking by Faith

When you don’t understand what’s happening in your life, start with what you know for sure. Namely, that God is good all the time, and His “love for those who respect him continues forever” (Psalm 103:17). He’s not fickle. His “mercies…are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23). Hope is a powerful force. It’s absolutely essential to the life God wants you to live. It’s the fuel your heart runs on.

What does it mean to walk by faith? It’s not rooted in human effort. It’s rooted in God’s unlimited power and unchanging Word. Walking by faith requires action. The moment you act, your faith springs to life, inviting God to move on your behalf. Today, He’s waiting for you to act, so He can respond to you.

Walking in the unity of the Spirit means you can’t fully enjoy your health while your brother or sister is sick, or fully celebrate your success while they struggle. There’s something about receiving God’s blessing that when fully understood makes you want to say to oth­ers, “The God who brought me through, will bring you through too!” And you’ll work and pray toward that end.

One of the greatest things a believer can do is intercede in prayer on behalf of those who need healing. The Bible says that the “heartfelt prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available” (James 5:16). As a believer in Christ, you have the authority to pray, and to lay hands on the sick and see them recover because the Spirit of God lives in you!

Champion Mindset

The last few months have really shaken me. I’ve always been one to have a very strong core. One that others lean on. One that others come to for advice and strength. 

From the moment the doctor called me and told me my cancer had spread I started off strong. I went to cancer diagnosis like everything I do in life. A challenge that if I worked hard,  I could take care of. I don’t think I realized exactly what the diagnosis meant. I did not realized it meant I was terminally ill. I saw it as I have cancer and I am going to fight it and beat it.

I started researching frantically finding out what exactly what’s going on with my body. What the cancer was doing. How the doctors were going to fight cancer. And of course, I researched every single alternative method of fighting this cancer. And what I found was that regardless of who you were, how old you are, your physical condition, what you did before cancer, all really didn’t matter. The statistics were the same. Only 22% of those diagnosed lived for five years. Now I am finding that those who pass the five-year mark seem to fight for about 8 to 10 years. That was most you could get out of the drugs today.

There were a course exceptional responders. They say that’s 1% to 3%.  I have a girlfriend who is an exceptional responder. I, of course, thought that would be me too. That I would live well pass a five-year six-year mark just like her, living 16 years with this diagnosis.

When that was my reality, I really 

couldn’t think of it In any other way. I would be an exceptional responder. I started off showing promise. The first drug I took was a brand new one. It was called an inhibitor. Yes, it’s considered chemotherapy because it attacks cancer cells but it attacked the cancer cells by inhibiting the growth of them. Not by stopping it. I did very well on it over 2 1/2 years. I seriously thought I would be on it the rest of my life. When the inhibitor failed and cancer grew, I was really shocked. “Wait a minute, I was supposed to be in that 1 to 3%?” I wasn’t supposed to have things fail on me. The next step was more traditional chemotherapy. We went to see the City of Hope and the researcher/doctor told me that I  was an average responder. Meaning each drug I would take I would get average results from. That was quite a shock. With the drugs available at the time that gave me a prognosis of three years.

The next step to battle the cancer was traditional chemotherapy. again I was hopeful that I could be on this drug for years. There are many women who seem to have tolerated it for 2 to 4 years. But for me, it was only 10 months of cancer suppression. Again,  it would turn out I did exactly the average amount and was not an exceptional responder.

Not only did I do the average, but my cancer had also mutated. It had mutated to the most aggressive and most difficult type of cancer to treat.

If that wasn’t enough news for us, on August 13 I became violently sick throwing up not able to walk and babbling incoherently. There was no sign, no warning. I had felt slightly flu us for about a week but I attributed that to the immunotherapy. I don’t remember the 48 hours previous to my hospitalization. I don’t know who I talk to, I don’t know what I did, and  I don’t know where I went. 

The family tells me they had me rush to the hospital while the doctors try to figure out what happened. Today we have a different impression of what happened. At the hospital, at first, they thought I had overdosed on opioids. My family explained to them that that wasn’t possible. I didn’t have access to opioids to OD on. They waited for the blood test to come back negative.

Then the doctor really started to get worried. Immediately he treated me for some type of meningitis with IV antibiotics and IV antivirals. Then he got a call from Oncologist that I had had immunotherapy recently and that maybe this was a reaction to the new therapy. Unfortunately from that point on while they continued the antibodies, they looked at me as having a reaction to treatment. They never did a spinal tap to see if I had meningitis.

Weeks later after I was hospitalized, I found out that I was exposed to meningitis. A person in my home, and had meningitis And had exact same symptoms. John and I are positive that I had meningitis not a reaction to immunotherapy. I have all the symptoms side effects and I am still recovering from what would be a very serious uncontrolled meningitis infection. Unfortunately, the doctors disagree, they believe it was immunotherapy and I can never try immunotherapy again. 

This leads me to why am writing today. My mindset has drastically changed with the most recent months. I have been from the depths of not even understanding language and people, to trying to follow long on TV shows and to now having conversations and enjoying talking with people. My brain is taking quite a while to recover. Meningitis caused a brain injury, I had encephalopathy, toxic encephalopathy they call it.

For anyone who’s ever had a type of brain injury do you know how hard it is to control your emotions and understand people? There’s a lot of anger and frustration. It comes from nowhere and can stay all day.

Last two weeks I’ve been doing so much better I’m getting out and walking. Honeybear and I go out to dinner into public places. This is a huge improvement then lying in bed 24 hours a day. I am overly blessed by friends, girlfriends family, and even acquaintances who pitch in and help for almost 6 weeks while I was bedridden.

I started the day by reading someone else’s blog post and it really made it impact me. The mindset that I had lost I need to find again. I need to find that fighter, warrior, winner in me. While my prognosis is poor. I don’t want to believe that anymore. I want to believe that God is putting me through this journey for a reason. I have had a very harsh journey. Something so horribly difficult it’s hard to believe that I made it through it.

I feel like I have lived a life full of hardship, trauma, and overcoming. I can’t see it ending like this. Somehow I’m going to overcome this somehow I am going to be a ”champion.” In her blog “Champion Mindset” Macy Jones states “Many times in life we fall down, we get banged up, broken and hurt. We can choose to stay down, feel sorry for ourselves and cry… or we can get back up.” She has overcome trauma and more. She is right, we can choose to stay down, or get back up. While I may not have control of what the cancer is doing my body, I do have control of how I feel about my life.

Today  I want to seek out that deep down Find that drive I used to succeed to do all the things I had before in life. To believe that this cancer will stop growing. They say you can’t think cancer away. However, I can pray and push to have an attitude of hope, of winning this battle and having a “Champion Mindset.”
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Surviving almost dying

It was Monday, 12 August. I have no memory at all left from that point on. The only memories I have are those told to me. Tuesday I am told somehow I was to go to a doctors appointment. And had arranged for a girlfriend to take me. I’m not sure of the details but for some reason either on the phone or in person she felt I was way too sick for her to handle she called my son Austin and then my husband John. By the time they got to me I was throwing up, not able to walk and not lucid. They went ahead and took me to the doctor appointment only to have the physician say this “woman needs to be in the hospital emergency room.”They called 911 and the ambulance came and got me at the doctors office.

They took me to the emergency room at Hoag Hospital Irvine. I have absolutely no memory of any of this. There I was incapacitated and incoherent. I was saying strange things, scaring my husband my son and my friend.

For the next five days I was unconscious and unaware of what was happening to me or my body. As I finally became conscious and aware of my environment it was confusing and scary to me. For some reason I knew something must’ve happened. I had some peace that obviously I was being taken care of regardless if I knew what happened. My hubby says that I called him and he was so excited to get my call. UnFortunately the first words out of my mouth were “why did you leave me here and where are you!” A nurse was in the room and it was able to tell him not to worry that she would take care of everything and when he was ready to come on in to see me. He was recovering from a shoulder surgery he had about 12 hours after I was hospitalized. The reason why he had it done was no one had any idea what was going on or how fast I would recovery. He of course thought I would betaken care of at the hospital and that he would be able to come on in and see me and they could take care of me while he was healing. I totally agree with this and I’m glad he did it. He needed the surgery and waited over a year and a half in pain. The only thing we did not prepared for was that I would come home without the ability to process information and to walk. Having someone with one arm taken care of me was more than we could handle. That is when my girlfriends stepped in along with neighbor, family and more. I’m so grateful to my daughter Madi for setting up the schedule and calling people plus making sure there was someone here to help us. Honestly without the help there’s absolutely no way we could’ve done it. We’re still in the midst of it and have people come in this week and hopefully the following week.

This post is explain how I could in the midst of this horrendous trauma still hang onto the Lord. Maybe I know no other way. In the darkness of my hospital room when I was alone, it was only me and God. I never felt totally alone because through prayer I felt connected. I also knew that God had a reason for everything he did and eventually we would find out what the reason was.

I’ve had an incredibly adventurous life. Traveling the world, teaching photography writing books, the things dreams are made of. On the other hand I’ve also had quite a bit of trauma. I totally feel that I am beyond blessed that at one time in my life they were people like my girlfriend Pj, who told me about God and about the peace he can bring you. Today everybody talks about finding peace, serenity and harmony but we can’t find it in things we can only find it in our Creator. And through this wildly incredibly rare situation that put me in the hospital, kept me from walking, and put me some of the worst pain I’ve ever had, I know I will get through it and I will be better for it! Because Jesus is my Lord and Savior, Jesus was God here on earth and when he walked here, he walked with such peace serenity and harmony. And that is the example we are to follow.

Healing room

Healing Room

Why do they keep asking me “do I feel different”? I am happy and hopeful that so many prayed over me. Praying to heal my body, to destroy cancer and be free from disease. I know that it will be a miracle if my cancer stops growing. Modern medicine says it won’t stop growing until I die from it. I am grateful for the prayer. However, the truth is, I feel the same. I can only be truthful, and tell them the pain is still here. I feel pressure from the healing room prayers to give them a sign their prayers worked. As if I am a circus sideshow to place on display. “Look world, we cured her cancer!” they would say. It is not about them, it is about God.

 

This morning was difficult. My body did not want to move, to wake. I had to push myself to lay flat. I knew the pain from laying flat would wake my brain. I had come to this place for my mind to rest, my body to rest. I needed to come here. I needed to be with God. To hear His voice. I awoke and walked to the window, opening the drapes to see God’s magnificent work. The gorgeous view in front of me. Cascading mountains and hills below. The organic shape of the lake moving between the mountains and hills. The single pine tree left to frame this wondrous view on top of the mountain. No sounds, no voices, no music, not clatter, horns or engine sounds. The stillness with God’s creatures fluttering, flying and singing. I went and sat down outside in the warmth of the sun. There at my feet lay a single large feather, an eagle feather.

 

Ah, Lord, you are here.

But those who hope in the Lord

Will renew their strength; they will fly up
On wings like eagles; they will run and not

Tired; they will walk and not be weary.

Isaiah 40:31

Words were spoken over me at the healing room yesterday. I was not cured instantly yesterday, this walk is not over, it is in God’s hands.

 

I Smiled

When I see your face

I smile

When I think of your face

I smile

When I hold your face

I smile

When I look down at your Precious face

I smile

You’re long eyelashes

Your chubby cheeks

And sweet little lips

I smile

Even today as you walk tall and brave

Towards me

I smile