Monday, December 19, 2016

Meet Chris

Friends, I have some exciting (and surprising) news, but it requires a bit of a back story. This one is not about cancer, a job loss, a house fire, or anything of that nature. So, please, just hang in there with me as you read.
While in Colorado this summer, a few of you may remember my Facebook post saying that I lost my phone on top of a mountain in Colorado. It was the most bizarre mishap because I knew I had it one minute and the next it was just gone. We backtracked and it was nowhere to be found. Yet, there was single man driving the same area we were 4-wheeling and we learned that he saw it laying openly in the road.  He picked it up and drove past our group twice, but Instead of asking us if the phone was ours he took it home with him. We were the only people together on the mountain that day.

Billy, the kids and I drove a few hours toward Steamboat Springs and even before we arrived at our hotel the man had contacted friends in Arkansas and family in Colorado working hard to return the phone to its owner. Although he lived on the opposite side of the mountain he found a friend driving to Steamboat Springs the next day and he would hand deliver it to us in perfect condition.  I was without my phone for less than 24 hours after losing it randomly in the vast open wilderness with zero cell service. You’ll understand the significance of this as the story evolves.
My husband, son, daughter and I had been camping with my parents and sister’s family for a few days so everyone needed a shower at the hotel.  I went last and by the time I got to bed everyone was already asleep.  My shower had woke me up so I picked up Billy’s phone and began to download the Facebook app so that I could entertain myself for a bit.  See, Billy has a Facebook account, but I am the only one that ever checks it. I’d been giving him a hard time about this, so after downloading I began to clean up his notifications, as I’ve done several times over the years. There were several Facebook messages unread so it prompted me to download Facebook messenger as well.  When I did this, a message stood out to me.  It was from a familiar name. A woman I knew Billy had dated before we ever met. The first few words showing were what pushed me to read the message.  It said…Oh my gosh, your son….
During this 24 hour period without my phone, we learned that there was a child that had been adopted. His biological mother began looking for him after his 18th birthday.  When she met him she realized that she had been wrong about his father because he looked and acted so much like Billy.  Billy and I looked at the pictures she sent and we could not deny the resemblance either.  Together we decided to pay for a DNA test to be certain and contacted the young man, now 20, and living in South Texas.  Because Billy is never on Facebook, the message I found was a year old already and we certainly caught this young man off guard. 

The DNA test was 99.99999% a positive match. As you can imagine, this was shocking and overwhelming news for all involved, but we are so very thankful that God chose this perfect time for us to meet our new son. We would like you to meet the newest member of our family, Christopher. 
Chris Wright

Chris’ past brings him to us knowing and loving Jesus. Knowing suffering, but also joy. Understanding how to work hard with confidence in his skills. He loves to laugh and be around family. He is handsome and funny. He’s helpful and easy to love. His past has made him who he is today and we are thankful to all of those who positively invested in him. Chris is living with us right now so that we can spend time together and get to know each other better as a family. Isaiah and Alyssa love having a big brother, especially one that can drive! J 
In everything Billy & I have been through together we have learned that our life is not our own. We are called to live the life that God ordains us and we believe that He is with us all in this new adventure as He always has been.   He kept Billy (and I) away from Facebook Messenger for over a year, but then took my phone away for just long enough for us to find the truth.  God doesn’t make mistakes.  Billy grieves the time that he lost with His son and realizes his pain is the result of past sins. Yet, God is the ultimate giver of grace and forgiveness and we have received nothing short of grace thus far.  Please pray for Chris, his adopted family and our family as we all make this transition to understand and appreciate each other and our various roles in loving each other well.  May God’s name be bigger than any of ours.  May we be faithful to live selfless and surrendered to His will for our lives. May God’s character shine brightly as we wrestle to be good stewards of the story He has entrusted us all with. Amen.

With love, 

The Wrights - Family of FIVE (5) !!!

Chris came from South Texas to support Isaiah at many football games this Fall.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Appointment Update

As much as I want to tell you that I got miraculous news yesterday, I cannot. I did get good news that the cancer has not spread with even one new spot showing, yet 3 of the many spots in my lungs did grow minimally. 2-3 mm of growth per spot. Dr B is not feeling that this is urgent, but is looking toward a treatment plan again soon. This means another clinical trial is in my future, but the great news is that there may be another one here locally by the new year! Followed by an even better trial in the radar for next summer. 

Please join us is ASKING God specifically to STOP the growth of current cancer. CONTAIN the cancer within the lungs with NO NEW cancer spots. PROVIDE the right treatment to kill this cancer. And to GIVE me years of life to play with my grandchildren one day and have lots of smile lines on my face! 

Thank you for your continued prayers. I feel them and know I can only face tomorrow because of God's grace and your answered prayers.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

6 year cancerversary & scans

On November 15, 2010 my doctor told me I had a very rare cancer and that I was in for a long, hard road. I had no idea what that meant at the time, but he wasn't wrong! This month marked my 6th cancerversary and Billy and I both remember how hard this has been at times, yet the humble gratitude I feel to be where I am today, living and not in treatment, is overwhelming! I am so happy to still be in the fight and feeling pretty darn good, even with a non-curable stage 4 cancer diagnosis.
I'm thankful to have just traveled to Texas and Oklahoma to see both sides of our family and many prayer warriors in person.  You will never know how grateful I am for those that have leaned into this battle alongside us for such a long time. When we grow weary, many of you have held up our arms, just as was done for Moses. When Moses' arms were held high the Israelites were winning their battle. They had the advantage over their enemy. The faithful prayers of so many help me to have the advantage over my enemy as well.  Some days that is Satan attacking my mind.  Some days that is the aftermath of prior cancer treatments. Some days it is the current diagnosis itself.
Although doctors have given a diagnosis we don't like my September scans showed no growth or change since July! Amazing news that has left us filled with hope and praise. I will have another scan this Monday and we go into that appointment with great expectation of more good news!
Join us in asking God to show our family grace once again with no growth or new spots. Please hold up our arms so that we may have the advantage against our many enemies this next week. God is at work and we are choosing to trust His best for us again this year! He is the mighty physician! 
Thank you for 6 years of prayer, encouragement and support in every way! We love you. πŸ’œπŸ’šπŸ’œ

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

After I Stopped The Clinical Trial

Three weeks ago I stopped using the clinical trial medicine because of a terrible skin toxicity side effect.  The medicine came out of my body in the form of a rash and pimple like sores. After lots of oatmeal baths, meds and Psoriasis shampoo I've survived! Though my outbreak was mostly on my upper torso, face and scalp, it definitely made me feel even more empathetic for Job! Poor Job and all those boils! (Job 2:7)

Last week's appointment showed that all of my blood work was back to normal except for my hemoglobin, which Dr. B says will improve over the next several weeks.  My energy and shortness of breath has improved this week, so things are looking up!

Many have asked if I'm afraid....or angry....or disappointed.  It is so odd that I feel none of these things.  I truly believed that God gave me this Kras clinical trial right here 15 minutes from my house.  I believed he was going to use this trial to heal me. Yet he quickly took the trial away with no other option dangling in front of me. Yet, the peace that I feel about it is unexplainable.

Right now as I'm typing God put these lyrics in my mind from Casting Crowns song, "Praise You in the Storm". These lyrics sum up my feelings better that my own words can today.

I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

#castingcrowns #praiseyouinthestorm #cancersurvivor #S4C #stage4

Thursday, August 4, 2016

A Definitive No

What a week its been. Although I've taken no additional trial meds since Saturday morning the effects continue to wreak havoc on my body. It is as if the poison has to exit through my pores. Its been very difficult to have such a sore head and face, but I think it looks worse than it feels at this point. My blood counts continue to decline keeping me pretty low energy, but the muscular/bone deep type of fatigue and nausea has all left. Anyway, I'm on the mend and trying to be patient about the slow progress rate!

Before meeting with my doctor yesterday I was a bit nervous to hear what he would say. I felt at peace about stopping the trial, but realized it would leave me questioning that decision if he felt we should treat the symptoms and push through a bit longer.  I was praying about this when my doctor came into the room.  He didn't look at me very long when he confirmed we needed to stop the trial because of too many harsh side effects.  I was thankful and relieved that we agreed.  He explained that the trial side effects should not be harder on me that doing the maintenance chemo, and this certainly has been worse. I've had to do another round of blood work, an EKG and Echo Ultrasound of the heart to show if any damage was done during my 12 days on the trial.  I'll have a weekly appointment to make sure that everything goes back to normal physically and document the progress.

Something that was overshadowed by the starting of this last trial was the fact that my July 14th scans showed NO NEW GROWTH. We are so grateful for this gift! It also helps make it easier for us to walk away from this trial knowing we have some time to search for the "next thing".

Thank you for your prayers for a clinical trial.  Please keep praying for another trial and pray that God will lead us, preserve life and glorify himself in the process.  May we continue to live faithful in spite of this long lingering disease.

With love. XOXO

Monday, August 1, 2016

I'm not well...

Some of you know I started this clinical trial strong, but have rapidly gone down hill the last 5-6 days. By Saturday night my abdominal pain was almost enough to take me to the ER. Years ago I would have gone, but now I'm hard set against going to the hospital. I've spent enough time there. In the night I developed sores all over my scalp and that has turned into other sores, plus rash. It's not itchy. It's actually just painful. Along with my other long list of symptoms (heavy pressure behind my eyes, GI problems, nausea/vomiting, extreme fatigue, headaches, cough, body aches) the sores and abdominal pain meant we stopped taking the trial meds Sunday. I've been at highlands oncology today getting checked out and getting IV Meds, vitamins and potassium. Hopefully this will help flush my system and get me feeling good enough to start eating and drinking more. I'll see my main doctor on Wednesday to determine next steps. I was supposed to have a biopsy tomorrow and spend the day here getting blood draws Wednesday, but that will all be on hold now. 

On one hand we feel like God orchestrated this trial for me here, but not with these type of side effects. I am at peace that this looks like a door being closed. Billy and I know that only God can author this story of ours. It's a story with so many twists and turns we can never guess the ending!  But we know he is good.  πŸ™πŸΌπŸ’œ

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

God...Can We Talk?

Sometimes the heaviness of life can become overwhelming, don't you think?

In a matter of seconds I can think of heavy burdens facing individuals, families, marriages, parents, friendships, states, churches, pastors, communities, our nation...our world! We live in a time where the communication of others' burdens can be in our minds and hearts within minutes. Technology has transformed our lives so that we never have an excuse to be out of touch with the on goings around us unless we choose to "sign off".  In which, many times, we feel the need to announce that we are going to purposely be "out of touch".

I love technology (or I couldn't write to you now), but don't you also tend to get bogged down with the heaviness of "being in the know"?

Last week, in my little circle of the world, there were so many things to be burdened with that I became a bit sad and numb. Then anxious. Then angry and back to sad.  I hit a wall.  I couldn't pray.  I couldn't read my bible. The burden literally felt like it was adding to the weight of my body.

One night I laid in bed and out of sheer discipline I opened my bible.  It was already close to midnight, but I needed to talk to God.  Not just a one way conversation, but a real talk. I needed to hear from Him. For whatever reason I opened my bible (yes I still use a real paper bible) to the tiny book of Habakkuk. I read the first chapter and right away underlined Habakkuk's complaint, "How long, O Lord, must I call for help?" Okay, I thought. I can relate to this. It went on, "Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence. The law has become paralyzed. The wicked far outnumber the righteous." Hmmmm. So maybe we are going to focus on the political and civil burdens tonight.  That's good.  I should be satisfied with that, I thought.  But, I wasn't, so I read on.

"For [look around] I am doing something in YOUR OWN DAY, something you wouldn't believe even if someone told you about it." Wow, here's a word from God.  He's reminding me he is unfathomable, unexplainable and indescribable! I like that reminder, I thought, but what are you DOING God?

I read on and chapter 2 told me that we must wait patiently and faithfully on the one true God, not falling into temptation of other God's such as pride or wealth, physical beauty or want/greed.  Okay, God, I hear you and I want you to help me live righteous and faithful.  I am a sinner and I need your help. But, by your grace, this isn't really what's troubling me God. I need to talk to you about the hurts in life God. There was only one more chapter to finish the book and it was getting late, but I read on. I asked, will you speak to my heart God?

Chapter 3 is a prayer that Habakkuk sung as he knew God was going to discipline Judah and the evil there.  It begins with praise and awe for the one true God.  He asks, "In this time of our deep need, help us again as you did in years gone by." I whisper, thank you for your faithfulness in all these burdened situations God. Habakkuk goes on to describe God's coming with rays of light flashing from his hands where his power is hidden! Wow...that is super cool! God has hidden power? God marches across the land in anger and power causing terror and distress, destroying all things evil. Whoa....this is what needs to happen right now in this world, I think. As Habakkuk saw this in a dream he says this.  "My lips quiver in fear. My legs gave way beneath me, and I shook in terror. Yet, I will wait quietly for the coming day when disaster will strike the people who invade us.

Habakkuk has peace, even knowing that hard days are ahead. God, I want the gift of peace please.

"Even though the fig trees have no blossom and there are no grapes on the vines, even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, YET, I WILL rejoice in the Lord! I WILL be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign Lord IS MY STRENGTH!  He makes me as surefooted as a deer able to tread upon the heights."

Wow God! Talk about waiting until the very last few verses to pierce my heart! So, even though there was turmoil, evil, famine, disease, false Gods and lost control in government, Habakkuk found joy and strength and peace in the one true God. Our Lord Almighty. The One who is, always has been and always will be! Our redeemer, Savior, strong tower, refuge, protector and friend.  No matter how things "appear", GOD IS DOING SOMETHING in our own day! When everything around us is unsteady, we can count on God to be steady inside of us.

Thanks for the talk God.

*Habakkuk Chapters 1-3 NLT

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Clinical trial consent signed!

After having about 35 pages READ to us we SIGNED CONSENT for a clinical trial! 
After fasting all day no blood draw was required after all! Ha! Gotta roll with it or it will make us crazy!  Thankful to have my spot and be on the road to get our boy from camp!  Thx for prayers!!!!!! 

Trial update

When it's a BIG BIG DAY and your phone shows the doctor is calling an hour before your is nerve racking! 

Thank goodness they still plan to sign me today for the clinical trial, but they won't be ready until this afternoon around 2:15 now. Luckily they caught me before I ate something as she said I need to be fasting! (Good to know!) 

....and now they called again to say it will actually be 3:00 before they can see me and to eat something light right now and then start fasting! Okay, breakfast sounds good! 

This is the life of cancer treatment and I'm sure any long term medical condition. Our life and schedule once again becomes dictated by the doctors and facility schedules. 
My sister's friend is all ready to watch Katy & I's three little kids and the kids are looking forward to it. My sister planned her morning to go with me. And now, I impact their lives as well with one little phone call. Plus, we were leaving town at 2:30 today to drive to Colorado and pick up our son from camp in Estes park. He needs picked up by 6 pm tomorrow night. What a quick reminder of what is to come. What life is like on treatment.  
I'm thankful to have a treatment, but honestly dread the interruption to life again. May my eyes be open to see what God is teaching me through this lack of control once again. 

Thank God with us that the trial is still happening! Pray that they will really be ready to sign me at 3:00 so we can still easily get to camp and pick up our son on time! Pray that all testing and pre-req goes smooth and that ultimately God will allow this trial to give me more active life with my friends and family! 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

I wanted to be strong enough to give God the glory

After my nerves were all heightened yesterday, I am reminded by facebook this morning of Gods faithfulness since the very beginning. On this day 5 years ago I had finished my first 7 month battle with cancer. MY PLAN was to be mentally strong, to dig deep within myself and get from "here to here" so I could put cancer behind me, giving God the glory for MY VICTORY! 
GOD'S PLAN was to teach me that I needed His strength, which is beyond measure compared to my own. THAT GOD would bring Himself glory through my weakness and remind me of HIS VICTORY regardless of my remaining cancer. Through complete brokenness and dieing to my own strength and abilities HIS PLAN is now MY PLAN. 

I needed this reminder and refocus today. πŸ’œπŸ™πŸΌ

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

My Story Isn't Over Yet

Guess what? My story isn't over yet! This Thursday I get to go meet with my local medical oncologist to learn about a KRAS Phase 1 clinical trial starting here in Northwest Arkansas! If all goes well I will be able to sign the consent to participate and begin all the pre testing required before treatment can begin. This can take 30 days after I consent, based on my understanding. 

This is such an answer to prayer and a beautiful gift of "something to try" when no standard treatment options are left. Yet, I cannot deny that it is making me very nervous. The fact that I have "something to try" means that treatment must begin again soon. I wonder if it will work. I worry about how it will make me feel. I wonder what it will cost....physically, emotionally and financially.  I admit there is an active battle in my mind and heart. I am grateful that my story isn't over yet. I'm worried this won't work or will steal my quality of life. I feel guilty for dreading a treatment when there are others who are begging for a "something to try".  The battle goes on and on, back and forth. I've drafted other posts about how God is encouraging me in this battle, but I feel that God is asking me to share the struggle instead of His answer...for now.

Please join me in thanking God for answering our prayers for a clinical trial. Thank God for the many people who leaned in against the crashing current to help me stand strong in the face of disappointment and illness. (See Older Prayer Request Post) Thank God for a clinical trial that is local and a doctor who is actively pushing it through. 

Also, join me in asking God that the trial will help me in a shockingly positive way. Ask God to keep away all side effects and allow me to continue to live as active as I am now. Ask God to lead the way and use my story to bring Him glory and honor. May I fade into the background and only Christ be seen in my life. 

Yay......I'm so excited to share this news with you all! It's been a long wait! Thursday at 10 am! 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Made the News!

Look here prayer warriors! I attended a filming for the cancer challenge this week and Alyssa & I ended up making the news! 

NWA friends - come join us June 10th at the cancer challenge tailgate party in Springdale! 
You'll get to hear more of my story there! I may want to hide in the bathroom while they play it, but I'll be there! 

Support The Cancer Challenge and you are supporting your neighbors, your friends & your family that have battled, are battling or will battle cancer here in Northwest Arkansas!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

A Grateful Morning

Thankful today for continued life! Thankful I am here to be momma to my two precious children. Thankful I get to be Billy's wife of almost 19 years. Thankful for my original family of 7, and that we are all together this weekend. Thankful for my extra siblings married into the family and that I have many that call me aunt. Thankful for in-laws that love me as their own. Thankful that I am an heiress of the King of Kings. It's a grateful kind of morning! 

Extra fun to have my mom and grandma here for Mother's Day weekend! 🌹

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Feels like gambling, but I trust you.

Nick Vujicic, a man born without limbs, says "Life may not be going well for you now, but as long as you are here, as long as you press forward, anything is possible."

I walked into my appointment with my sister, Amy.  I didn't feel real nervous, but my resting heart rate was 80 so I may have been! I shared with Amy that I felt surrendered to whatever God was going to ask of me, but that I felt like God may surprise us! 

Once we got called back, my hubby surprised us! He seemed to think I had a lot of nervous energy! But really, what does he know?!?  

After seeing two nurses we finally learned what we'd come for. Yesterday's scans show no new cancer spots, and only two spots with minimal growth! Plus, I am less symptomatic than I was at my last two appointments! 

After a bit of discussion about the lack of a current clinical trial and my cancer growth rate, we decided to stay on course and keep waiting for the local trial to begin (possibly mid June) plus keep searching for another trial that I could qualify for. 

This gamble feels a bit exciting (no treatment side effects) and a bit scary (what if ...). Yet, as Nick says, as long as I'm still here and I press forward, anything is possible! 

As I've pressed forward, God has continued to surprise me; allowing me to feel good and live life with metastatic stage 4 cancer. Although there is still growing cancer, I believe God is protecting me and allowing me more quality time, more moments, more opportunities. I feel blessed to say, yes Lord. Steady my mind as I trust you with the gamble. 

"And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us." 1 John 5:14

"The steadfast of mind you will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in you."
 Isaiah 26:3

Yes, Lord!

I've been getting verses in my inbox and listening to my playlist and a couple podcasts. My hearts only response is yes, Lord. 

I'm not sure what this means for my appointment today, but in anticipation of the miracles and mighty works my Lord can perform, I find myself surrendered to His plan today!  I look to Him for protection and commit my hearts Him. His ways are perfect as he lights up my worn out darkness! 

Thank you Lord! 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

It's A crazy life....but it is life and I'm thankful.

It's a crazy life....but it is life and I'm thankful. 

Some of you may know that we had to sell our house in 2014 and have been leasing a home since then. Last year when our lease was up we were searching for a house and didn't find what we wanted, plus I was about to begin 21 weeks of chemotherapy. So, we decided to renew our lease for another year. 

Our lease is up again the end of May and although we had a house on 3 acres chosen, it fell through. No Matter what we did, we couldn't make it work. It sure appeared to be the perfect place for our family, but we finally had to let it go. With no other homes meeting our needs and some new financial drains we were sure we'd have to renew our lease for yet a 3rd year.  Even the kids were sad at this prospect. 

While working through these home details we have also been testing for clinical trials. That has been a crazy ride! After being turned down for over 5 out of state trials and the local trial being delayed, I had to fight to stay positive. Trusting it would work out, I did finally receive word that I tested positive for Mesothelian so once my scan was reviewed once more I'd be off to Maryland! The next day, I hear the local trial has been given a trial number and should be a go in a week. 
We mourned the idea of owning a home of our own again, but we celebrated I may have two trial options. 

Within days, the tide turned.

The trial in Maryland was canceled because of safety concerns and won't be reconsidered for 6 months minimum, if ever. The local trial is now on hold again because of labeling issues and they hope it will be available in June sometime.  This is so disappointing to my human mind. 

In our sadness about the trials we found a home that we are excited about and the funding became available so that we can move the end of May! 

Isn't that a crazy couple weeks! 
I'll have to share more about how God worked to provide this home for our family, but right now I am going back for a CT scan to determine growth rate of my current cancer spots. This will help us know if I can wait longer for a trial or if I must do a maintenance chemo. 

Pray now please that God intervenes! That my body continues to be protected by the blood of  Jesus! That the cancer has not spread and that I can continue to wait for a trial. 

I know I am in a scary situation, but I love this crazy life enough to keep fighting for more! 

To God be the glory, forever and ever. Amen. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Hoping....waiting...trying not to worry.

Hoping to hear something more definitive from the oncologist tomorrow! Please continue to lean in with us and ask God to be in the details/timing and protect my body from any spreading cancer as we wait!

We should have heard back on the protocol for the local clinical trial a week or two ago.  Waiting gets hard. 

Thank you for standing with us in prayer and encouragement!


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Hard to Find Words

Hey friends,

I know its been too long since I wrote.  I find it's hard to find words while I'm "just waiting".  I've been in this place of "waiting" before, but this time is much different.  I can't just sit and focus on the situation while I wait.  I can't close the book for 6 months until this "season of life" is over.  You see, I don't know how many more chapters are in this story.  I don't know if the good or evil wins when this story concludes.  Some days I can't even guess what's coming on the next page.

So, instead of "waiting" I am busy "living".

I've cleaned out closets and sold well-used toys and clothes at a yard sale.  I got sunburned and my nose peeled because I didn't take the time to put my fancy face lotion on to protect my aging skin.

I planted some flowers in a couple pots out front and then forgot to cover them up when the weather turned back to freezing temperature at night.

I panicked that someone was going to see my huge piles of laundry and began taking all the big comforters to the cleaners.  Then I let them call me four times before I picked them up.

I took my son shopping and admired how tall and handsome he's become. I laughed when he picked out a hat in the exact style his dad used to wear at his age. I really laughed when he told me how "hot" he was in the hat!

I spent two full week-ends sitting in an arena just to watch my daughter's 2.5 minute cheer routine.  Then I had to wait another two hours to find out that she did so well that we get to do it all over again in two weeks!

I stood on my head and pulled weeds outside.  I laid in my bed on a hot pack because my neck and shoulder hurt so bad afterward. 

I tried a brand new recipe on friends.  They loved it.  I tried a brand new recipe at home.  They hated it. 

I promised to get rid of both of our dogs.  Later, I chased them down the street scared to death they'd get away and I'd have to tell the kids they were gone.

I'm "waiting" to hear about clinical trials and treatment.
I'm "living" to not waste a page in my story.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Morning's New Dawn

Washed away is a day,
it's here and then gone.
Be blessed to awake to morning's new dawn.
The thief of time will have its way,
sneaking quietly by; we don't have a say.

Another day, another hour, another minute devoured.
Time's tick is unseen, unheard;
like the steps of a coward.

Protect today's gift,
lock it away safe and sound.
Don't waste away moments that cannot be refound.

Time welcomes us here and opens one door;
We can't see very far and aren't sure there's more.

Walk through it in faith and fix your eyes up above,
Move forward, with passion, share blessings and love.

By Kristina "Dawn" Wright

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Praying Psalm 91

I have not updated recently because there isn't much happening. We are in waiting mode.

My blood work results are not back from Maryland. The local KRAS clinical trial doesn't even have a trial number assigned by the FDA yet, and no other new trials have been found.

I am not discouraged, but anxiously waiting to see what the Lord is going to provide in the long run.
I will meet with my local oncologist this Thursday to get updates and discuss if I need to do some rounds of chemotherapy while I wait for a trail to open up....

In the mean time I've been praying this prayer based on Psalm 91.

May you pray this boldly for your own "giant" today!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Who's best at healing?

Well, my blood sample is on the way to Maryland to be tested for the clinical trial. This feels odd, sending blood through the mail, but important! We don't know if Immunotherapy is the answer. We don't know if a KRAS trial is the answer. But God knows. I trust he's in the minds of all the playmakers, mine included! Just when I need encouragement he sends it! Just when I need a glimpse of hope he sends it! God, increase our faith and make a way for us! When the river is high and raging part the waters! Please remember to join us asking God for healing. Asking God for a clinical trial that will work and advance cancer research. Ask God to intervene, to provide in every way. Ask For God's light to shine bigger and brighter so people cannot ignore the blinding ray upon their heart! God is bigger than cancer. God is better than research. God is best at healing! 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Will I reach dry land?

As a young girl I loved to play in the river that wound peacefully through our little mountain town. Sometimes we'd make it a big event, gathering all our inner-tubes and friends to charge into the freezing waters without hesitation.  Other times we'd spontaneously pull the car over, pile our socks and shoes on the river bank and wade in feeling every rock and current against our bare feet and legs. Once I got more used to the cold water I loved to prove I could wade across the deeper and faster currants without being swept away.  As the water became more rapid in places I'd make my stance wider and wider leaning into the rapids to fight back against the pressure of being knocked down. Sometimes the rapids would knock down the people right beside me and I'd focus more intently and take more deliberate steps navigating my way across.  One steady, careful step at a time. How rewarding it felt to make it safely across to dry land.

Today I can picture myself in this place. I'm standing in the middle of a strong and fast river currant while the bone chilling water laps repeated pressure against my legs and feet.  The continual force overtakes other waders and I feel afraid as they're knocked down and swept away on all sides of me.  I desperately work to plant my feet more firmly, widen my stance to be stronger, raise my arms up to have more height and balance against the rapid current. I am working so hard I can't even look toward the dry land.

Yesterday, my scans showed that not only are the same 2 cancer spots growing, but 6 more spots are growing now as well.  As hard as this is, it still leaves us in the same place of searching for a clinical trial. This morning my local doctor confirmed that I do qualify to be part of the local Kras gene mutation trial, but now it doesn't begin until May. I have two other Immunotherapy trials that I will be tested for.  They require a lot of medical records, cancer tissue samples, blood work and a physical.  The trials are located in Maryland and can take 4 weeks to gather, review and approve/disprove. So it means an April or May start date again.  However, if I begin a chemotherapy regiment to help keep the cancer from growing or spreading it will mean that I cannot immediately begin a trial that may come up earlier because there is a 4 week "no treatment" period prior to the trial start date.  Some trials are high risk, high reward.  Some are low risk, low reward.  What is the right trial for me right now?

The water is rising.  The fear of falling is real. This continual force has unfairly swept others away. I am reminded that the constant pressure of this bone chilling currant requires a wider stance. I ask others to stand strong next to me and help lean into the constant pressure. Our feet must be firmly planted in God's word and His promises.  We shall lift our hands up high in prayer to keep our balance. We will focus intently, taking deliberate careful steps toward dry ground.

I don't know if I'll ever make it across, but I am certain I will not stop trying.

"If one person falls, the other can reach out and help.  But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken." Ecc. 4:10,12

"You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip." Psalm 18:36

"Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!" Psalm 27:14

"For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding." Col. 1:9

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Will My Belief Waver in Today's Circumstances?

I don't have a lot of time to be writing this morning, but I feel this encouraging message so deeply in my heart, that I must share while it's so relevant to this day.

We've been studying the story of Joseph at church the last few weeks.  Joseph had an amazing story with peaks and valleys that caused hurt, fear, frustration, honor, reward and privilege. Joseph was painfully betrayed and forgotten by family and friends. He lost many years during the prime of his life bound in slavery and prison.  After being sold into slavery as a child, then being falsely accused and thrown into prison, Joseph, at age 30, is finally brought out of the pit and made Governor of Egypt, reunited with his Father, only to watch him die and mourn his death for months. In his last words Joseph's father described him as an unprotected baby donkey that was attacked by archers, who shot at him and harassed him repeatedly. Yet, his arms remained strong because he was strengthened by God. After all that Joseph had been through his father still referred to him as a "prince among his brothers".

Joseph was chosen by God to have the gift of interpreting dreams, being a man of immense character, fully competent to excel wherever God placed him.  God gave Joseph many gifts that were only unwrapped in the pit of pain and suffering.

In a recent Andy Stanley podcast he referred to Joseph as unwavering in his belief, even during long-lasting terrible circumstances.

I'm challenged to ask myself, and you, these questions.

Am I unwavering in my I letting my circumstances change my belief?

Have I been able to unwrap God-given gifts because of my pain and suffering?

How has my suffering and any newly opened gifts helped myself or others to fend off "circumstantial-specific belief?"

Will I step forward today unwavering in my belief that Jesus is the all-knowing, all-powerful, loving author of my story?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

We're In It To Win It

I met this sweet woman in 2011 after my first round of treatment! I thought my cancer was past history at the time and attended a brunch with a group who called themselves the cancer posse. Little did I know the amazing friends I'd still have today because of that 3 hour brunch! Lesley and I both spent our summer and Fall of 2015 enduring chemo and all the side effects of that, including going bald! Today she sat with me as I waited to do my scans and then we enjoyed an entire pot of tea and a wonderful girlie lunch! Our battles are different, yet so much alike. We're "in it to win it" for better or worse! We love our husbands, we ache for our children, we pray for a cure! And look at all that same-colored hair blowing in the wind! 

Thank you for letting me talk and for sharing your heart with me today Lesley! 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Scans tomorrow

MDA does not have a clinical trial for medication/chemotherapy or Immunotherapy at this time. It's hard to believe an institution of that size has nothing new to offer me. Cancer Centers of America came back and said they don't accept my BCBS insurance. However, after hours and hours of scouring online for clinical trials I've contacted 17 different trial managers this week. I've also located a group that will help me search for more trials and I have a couple contacts that have requested more information for further processing. I am trusting that God is directing each step, even though the closed doors feel hard to accept. I had no idea how much work it would be to locate a clinical trial for myself! It's complicated if you have a more common cancer, let alone a rare type like I do. 

Thursday I am having a scan of my chest done locally at the request of my MDA oncologist. He wants to measure growth rate since my January 12 scans. 

I will have a local appointment on Wednesday, 2/24, to get scan results, discuss clinical trial findings or chemo options based on the scan results and my check up. 

This situation feels a bit surreal and we certainly appreciate all your prayers and support for all things to work together for our the nick of time! 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Waiting on a Woman is Easy!

People say waiting on a woman is difficult, but try waiting on a doctor!
I've become very skilled in the process of waiting.

Finally get an appointment....then wait and wait for the date to arrive.

Hurry up to the appointment.....then sit and wait while they are only "30 minutes to 1 hour" behind.

Get all those follow up tests and scans done.....then wait for the doctor to review them.

Right now....I wait by the phone. Wait for a clinical trial to become available. Wait for a status update on immunotherapy. Wait to learn if another institution will see me.

Good thing my doctor is a man or I'd be in double trouble, right?!?

Seriously though, this seems to be taking forever.  I did get a call last Wednesday night from my doctor in Houston.  He said that there are currently no clinical trials available to me in the next 3-4 months and there is nothing on the Horizon at this point either. That April appointment they offered will be a good time to review the trial options again, I guess.

In the mean time, my doctor is following up on one more option for Immunotherapy and I'm hoping to hear back from him tonight or tomorrow. If Immunotherapy isn't an option my local doctor, my Houston doctor and I will have a consultation about next steps.  The local KRAS trail sounds promising, but it may not begin for another 9-10 weeks.  Again, I wait to hear a firm start date from the doctor.

Currently, I'm looking for clinical trials elsewhere.  With this being such a rare gyn cancer and it being metastatic it is rather difficult to know which trials I really qualify for, but we pray God will lead us to the right thing at the right time. 

If something doesn't show up by the  end of the month, I will most likely have to begin a new regimen of chemotherapy with the hopes to hold off any new growth and potentially shrink the cancer while we "wait" for a clinical trial to open up. 

I'm learning the timing for all of these things is pretty important because there is a 30 day wash out period before a clinical trial.  This means all other treatment stops for 30 days to make sure my system is clean to begin the trial. 

I know that God's timing has always proven perfect.
I know that God sees the road ahead and his plan for me is perfect.
I know that I don't spend one minute "waiting" alone. The way Jesus waits with me is perfect.
I know that through this God is still perfecting me.

God's way is perfect. All the LORD's promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection. Psalms 18:30

God is my strong fortress, and he makes my way perfect. 2 Samuel 22:33

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:20b

Jehovah will perfect that which concerneth me: Thy lovingkindness, O Jehovah, endureth for ever; Forsake not the works of thine own hands. Psalms 138:8

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Make My Heart Believe

2016's first trip to MD Anderson was a painful reminder of how our human will doesn't always align with the sovereign will of our Heavenly Father.

I never felt at ease about getting miraculous results, but I willed myself to believe that it was possible...again....this time.  I'm sure you've had a situation where you prayed, but never felt the sense of peace and relief that can come with it.  I had convinced myself that it was fear creeping into my mind because of so many others battling health issues and getting bad news.  They are good people.  They pray and believe God can answer their prayers too.

My scans showed that there is no new signs of cancer anywhere in the body and most of the metastatic cancer nodes in my lungs had not grown either!  This is the fantastic news that we remind ourselves to be grateful for.  Yet, two lung spots did grow and one even doubled in size in the last 3 months.  The spots are tiny so that the largest is still only 1.5 cm large, but our will, our prayer, was that these spots were dead, and they are definitely not. The chemo didn't hold off growth as long as we had hoped so now we are searching for a clinical trial once again; all knowing there is still no cure for the KRAS gene mutation in which I carry.

I cried in the doctor's office when thinking about telling my kids this news.  There would be more cancer to fight, not only in my future, but my kids future.  I loathe the idea that they will remember childhood as a time when mom fought cancer.  I know, your instinct will want to encourage me, reminding me how my children are learning about the Lord through this battle.  This is true. They are wiser and have a deeper faith and relationship with God than I did at their age and for that I am so thankful.  I have a deeper relationship than I ever knew possible.  I realize how much my husband loves me and is committed to our marriage and our family. My family has grown closer, we are more authentic friends, more authentic, gracious and empathetic people.  For all these things I am thankful.  Yet, I grieve that we are still facing more cancer so soon.  I grieve that we watch a movie where a parent dies and we all cry and snuggle a little closer hoping that isn't us someday.

In the midst of it all I'm re-reading a book I was given back in 2010 after my first diagnosis with Vaginal Adenocarcinoma.  The book is called Psalm 91 God's Umbrella of Protection by Peggy Joyce Ruth.  I'm reminded that I serve a God that had made a way for us in every circumstance. He covers our external and internal fears for ourselves and our family with his protection and love. God knew there would be many kinds of hurts in this life and speaks to each one so personally.

Therefore, I will not be afraid of the pestilence that stalks in the darkness. My God offers protection for my family as well, not just for myself.  May He continue to mold me until my will matches His.

As the praise song says, I pray,  "In all my sorrows, Jesus is better - make my heart believe."

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Help with Medical Bills and Travel Expense

I just want to say a HUMONGOUS thank you to those of you that are continuing to give toward our medical expenses.  When this site was set up by friends in 2013 we had NO IDEA that we would still be battling cancer. 

I've now had scans and doctor check ups every 3 months since 2010. Along with the chemotherapy, radiation, brachy therapy, major surgeries, and lifelong medical supplies used daily, it has been a very expensive journey. 

We are so incredibly blown away by the generosity of everyone. Many anonymous so we don't even know who to thank.  Although we can never repay you financially, we will pass it on when we get the opportunity to love on someone else.  We will pray for you and your families.  We want you to know how encouraged we are because of your selfless and generous love toward us. 

"May the Lord bless you and protect you.
 May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
 May the Lord show you favor and give you his peace."

Numbers 6:24-26 NLT

"Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”

Luke 6:38 NASB

"Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done."
Revelations 22:12 NIV
Thank you for living this out with us.


Next Scans - January 12th

Many people have asked when I'm going to be in Houston. Billy & I will drive down next Monday, 1/11. Scans are Tuesday and I will get results on Wednesday, 1/13.

We continue to feel blessed by so many of you still following our journey and cheering us on. Some days I feel so good I forget the heavy diagnosis I carry. Other days it weighs too much for me to carry alone. But thankfully, I never walk alone. Jesus picks up that burden and holds it up high to take the weigh...t of it away. How people walk through the daily trials of this life without knowing God...I do not know. I would not manage well on my own in so many circumstances.
May the Lord be praised! Day after day He bears our burdens; God is our salvation. Selah
Psalms 68:19 HCS
Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.
Lamentations 3:23 NLT

A New Year

After a wonderful December celebrating and looking forward to Christmas, I find my mind now wandering toward January. It wasn't always this way, but now January means more scans, appointments and another trip to Houston. New deductibles to be paid. New results that direct the next 3 months of my future. A new twelve months filled with unknowns for our family. Will I get a year without facing more treatment? Will we get to buy a house of our own this year? Will I even live for another full year?
I don't mean to sound so downhearted; just honest. My head remembers the path to hope and peace, courage and joy, yet sometimes sweat and tears are required for my heart to catch up. Eventually my soul will join the two and then....I find laughter and smiles, hugs and contentment once again.
Please be in prayer for scans that are stable with no treatment necessary.