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Update about Cancer and Chemo

Dear Friends and Support System,

Just wanted to get out a quick update. Chemo is over; I have a little “white peach fuzz” on my head and more hair on my legs (that ain’t right!) Not shaving my legs was one benefit of treatment.

My desire to get back to life is much stronger than the physical energy that is currently available to my body. I thought that I would bounce back a little faster. Chemo did not go well for me. I have been in bed for five months so getting up and moving has been a challenge. However, I thank God for the ability to get up.

It appears that the surgery and treatments have been successful in eliminating the tumor that was there. I will go in for a mammogram every three months for a while so that they can keep an eye on it. Thank you Lord Jesus!!!

The discouraging news is that I have been diagnosed with Lymphedema. This is not a life threatening disease but there is no cure. It will end up being more of a nuisance than anything else. Right now it is a big problem. My arm and hand are swollen with fluid that is not draining because the path through the lymphatic system was compromised when they took out some of my lymph nodes. So, for a couple of months I am going through therapy three times a week and my arm and hand are wrapped up with layers of compression bandages. The right side of my body combined with my bald head make me look like the “”Michelin Man.” This wrap keeps me from using my right arm and hand right now. I never knew how much I depended on my right hand. Eventually I will be fitted with a wrap for my arm and a glove for my hand. For the majority of each day, I will need to wear that for the rest of my life. (You know that I love singing “Man in the Mirror,” but I never planned to dress like Michael.)

Good news is that my white blood cell count is getting back to normal so I am able to spend some time with my daughter, grandsons and Ricardo. Because they were all high risks for spreading infection, my time with them was limited during chemo. I can’t keep up with two and three year old little boys but it sure is fun to watch them. My dog Katy gives them a run for their money. One day Mimi (that’s me) will be able to take them on again.

Thank you so much for the love that you have shown me since I was diagnosed in March. To those who were my daily caretakers, words cannot express my gratitude for your nurturing care and service. I already miss seeing you and having time to just “be” with one another. Surely we can find a way other than cancer to stay connected. I will try to honor your gift to me by passing it on to others.

Kerry has been a solid and loving source of strength and comfort during all of this. I cannot imagine going through cancer without someone to walk with me. Thank you Kerry, I know that this journey has been difficult for you as well as you were afraid too. Your presence made all the difference.

I probably won’t be sending many more updates because I hope there is nothing to update you about. After the first of the year, I will have some use of my right hand again and I will begin to use the blog site to discuss issues that God is bringing to my life and perhaps to yours. I heard a man speak this last weekend and he said that Great Love and Great Suffering bring us into a level of God’s presence that propel us into another level of living life. I pray that I will take time daily to spend time in the presence of Jesus. I am fortunate to have more time on earth than I might have if I was not diagnosed early. (Thank you Dr. Waldrep!) So, I want to spend the rest of my time “here” loving well and seeking the peace of God through taking time to crawl up into His lap and simply rest in His arms. Sorry, that is a Barnabas thing and so is this…

I love you,
The disciple that Jesus loves

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