Thursday, November 9, 2017

A Kingdom Focused Mind

Yesterday I was driving down a familiar and busy road very focused on myself.  Honestly, I was just in my head thinking about my health, my feelings, my abilities, my needs. Me, me and more me. I broke away from my thoughts just as I noticed 4 people standing in the turning lane.  Cars were parked on all sides of them, but I could see no evidence of an accident. I crept my car forward and more details came into sight so I could see there was a man laying on his side in the road. Oh my goodness, where did this man come from, I thought to myself.  Did someone hit a pedestrian? Traffic inched forward and I began to pray that God would somehow help the man on the ground. He never moved, and I felt so afraid for him.  I prayed that the ambulance would come soon. I prayed for his family who had no idea he was laying in the middle of this busy road with strangers at his side. Finally I could see his bleeding head where he hit the pavement and his motorcycle laying on its side in the left lane. I had to look away and move on with traffic as there were plenty of people circling him at this point.  I could hear and see the ambulance making its way up the hill.  People on down the road were oblivious to what had happened and a few didn't notice or hear the sirens, blocking the path of the help so needed just a few city blocks away.  I wanted to roll down my window and yell at them to move their car over and help save a man's life! Don't worry, I refrained, but I did make a mental note to do better at moving quickly for emergency vehicles. Around the next corner I saw a fire truck and then came a policeman.  With each emergency vehicle, I found myself thinking of what I just saw and whispering a prayer on the man's behalf. My mind had completely been taken over and all I thought about was asking God to help this man and the first responders on their way.

I don't know how this man's story ended, but I do know that because of his accident, my thoughts moved from inward and self, to outward and God.

Isn't this so easy to fall prey to? I wish I didn't require so many reminders to keep a Kingdom focused mind. You see, I was on my way to my oncologist appointment for a touch base about my "life with cancer" and a possible clinical trial.  You would think, after all I've seen God do in my life I would be focused on Him and talking to Him on the way to this appointment, but until a devastating accident gave me a wake up call I was just anxiously focused on myself. 

When our mind is mostly focused on our own needs and abilities and wishes, we become more consumed with the world than with the God who created it. For example, if I repeatedly think about how nervous I am, then my mind and body become ruled by my fear.  Yet, if I repeatedly force my mind to think about how God is bigger than what I'm afraid of and how God's character is one of peace and comfort, continual help and strength; it is then that my mind and body is overcome with the power of the almighty so that He can rule over my fear! What takes over our thoughts takes control of our life.

Isaiah 26:3
 ~ You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You.

2 Corinthians 10:5
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the
  knowledge of God,
 and we take captive every thought to make it obedient
  to Christ.

John MacArthur
~The more you focus on yourself, the more distracted you will be from the proper path.
  The more you know Him and commune with Him, the more the Spirit will make you
  like Him. The more you are like Him, the better you will understand His utter sufficiency
  for all of life’s difficulties. And that is the only way to know real satisfaction.

Psalm 91:14-15 ~Because he has focused his love on me, I will deliver him. I will protect him because
  he knows my name. When he calls out to me, I will answer him. I will be with him in
  his distress. 
I will deliver him, and I will honor him.

This was the most important thing about my day yesterday, but I did find out that the clinical trial is not open for me yet.  My doctor does not know when it will be open.  Otherwise, my lung sound clear and strong.  My heart is strong. My blood work and vitals are all great. Thank you for joining us in continued prayer and belief that God is sustaining my life for His bigger purposes, serving his Kingdom.  ~ Blessings, Kristi

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Preserving Life

My comfort in my suffering is this, 
Your promise preserves my life.
Psalm 119:50

With long suffering usually comes a weariness that can lead to discouragement and even fear. Perhaps, as in my case, a fear that this struggle may never end. That the pain will never go away this side of Heaven. That plans and dreams will never be reality, and that things will never be normal. 

The power of the mind is a crazy thing. It can take us from a high one minute to a low the next. Sometimes we must choose to push our thoughts to focus on positivity and truth. 

In my case, when a complete lack of energy and motivation, combined with pain , lingers on for a coupe weeks, I begin to sense the fear and discouragement wedging its way in. My mind begins to run wild with all the doubt saying, this is it! This is what you’ve feared would happen. 

Yet, I force my mind to think back to truth. It starts by just saying the name of the Almighty! 

My God, my God, where are you? I’m so scared and weary. I need you. Please help me in my suffering. Please heal me and make me well. 

As I surrender my suffering and my need to God, truth begins to break through the fog. 

“Many are saying of me, God will not deliver him (her, in my case), but you Lord , are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. I call out to the Lord and he answers me from His holy mountain. I lie down and sleep; I wake again because the Lord sustains me. I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side!” Ps. 3:2-6

Truth, it settles, and I can ask; “I am laid low in the dust; preserve my life according to your word.” Ps. 119:25 

Thank you, Lord, for hearing my cries. And helping me. “My comfort in my suffering is this; Your promise preserves my life.” Ps 119:50

As my random fevers, dry cough,  fatigue and pain continued on this last week it became hard. It became scary and discouraging. Yet, just as we are ready to make panicked dr appointments, I begin to feel some better. Energy and mental focus return. Just enough to wait another day, and then another, until I found myself “better”! 

My blood cultures have now returned with no additional bacteria. It’s a miraculous thing how the body can recover, even when already compromised. I have a bit of cough holding on, but I am so encouraged! 

Thank you for praying with me. For believing when I felt weak. Please continue to pray for wisdom as we see our local oncologist in November and consider other trips to search for clinical trials and a Stage 4 cure. 

I believe it can happen! I believe that God sustains me until that day comes. I believe that God wants to give me life abundant this side of Heaven! 

“So I fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.” (Heb. 12:2) because “You (Jesus) will keep him (her) in perfect peace, those whose minds are stayed on you”. (Is. 26:3)

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Doctor visit report

Well, I just got home from Highlands Oncology   I had 101 fever, racing heartbeat, shortness of breath , cough, nausea and serious fatigue. They said my lungs sound really clear and strong and there is no fluid or anything new seen on the xray. The report said, “speckled” tumors throughout both lungs indicative of metastatic cancer. Boy, I hate it when they remind me of this reality! 
But they accessed my port and gave me two strong iv antibiotics and a bag of fluid. My heart rate has slowed and now I’m home with some oral meds to begin. 
They are growing blood cultures to identify the bacteria/infection type in case we have to change medications again, but hope to get it this time. 

Thanks so much for prayers today and continued. ✝️πŸ™πŸ» I’m really hopeful I wake up tomorrow with a little energy! 

I’m worn down....

Hi friends. Just letting you know I’m feeling pretty sick and I’m at highlands to get labs and another chest X-ray and hopefully something really fast acting like a shot in my bootie! My bum is REALLY hurting me on top of being sick so I feel rather worn out by it all. I live with some chronic pain after my 2013 huge surgery for cancer and usually I can cope okay, but it’s pretty bad right now on top of this Illness. I hope to get answers for the cough, chest pain, bad physical fatigue. And that will make less things to tolerate at once. Pray they know what to do to help! πŸ™πŸ» I just finished prednisone and 10 days of doxycycline and that just kept things tolerable mostly. They were treating for a bacterial bronchial infection and not feeling this is tied to the cancer in my lungs. 
Appreciate your prayers! 

II’m not feeling well; 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Stage VI leaves me speechless

I can't sleep. My mind has landed on thoughts and prayers for various people and situations. It's been far too long since I last posted, but as they say, no news is good news. For the most part. 

I had scans in August that showed some growth on a few cancer spots in both lungs. The rate of growth is consistent with what it has been and grows fairly slow, thank goodness. There are over a dozen spots we are watching now. Because of all the various surgeries and treatments since 2010, I always have some pain & discomfort though I've had more pain lately.  As far as we can tell it is caused by scar tissue/past surgery and radiation damage that is flared up for some reason. I do have a bit of a cough that has lasted about 5 weeks now. I believe it's allergy related, but could use some prayer (and perhaps an inhaler) to get rid of it and be sure. I don't believe it's symptomatic of the cancer, but of course it concerns me at times. We are in a "wait & see" stage for treatment, but there could be an immunotherapy type clinical trial open locally in November. We are praying that this will happen if it's something necessary for me right now. God knows and I trust that. I'm grateful for sustained living! Not just the gift of being alive, but the ability to really live. To participate in so many things with family, friends, church, athletics! 

Please join me in praying my cough away, for clear direction on a clinical trial and for more sustained living! And give praise for another birthday! I started this cancer journey at 34 and now I'm 41! 

Pray for my friends who are on trials, leaving home & kids to temporarily live in another state for treatment. I know how that feels - January - April 2013 felt sooo long. Pray for those on trials here, some are running out of medical options. Pray for their families, there caregivers, their kids, their doctors. 

All cancer is terrible. Stage VI leaves me speechless at times. I'm thankful the Lord hears the groanings of the Spirit in prayer when we don't have the words. (Romans 8:26) know who you heart is with you. πŸ™πŸ»✝️πŸ‘†πŸ»

Monday, June 5, 2017

5 years a Miracle, 50 more to go

I'm laying in my bed thinking about this night 5 years ago. The night of my very own miracle. Some may say June 5, 2012 was not a miracle. Some may find it easier to believe that these highly educated and experienced oncologists made a horrible mistake. No friends, these doctors at Md Anderson don't gather 30 people in a room for a 15-18 hour surgery, having the patient rent an apartment for a month 10 hours from home, and tell me I will feel like I've been in a bomb explosion....and then it's a mistake. Dr L had to swallow some pride that day and have courage to abort that major surgery and not be able to scientifically explain the change he and his colleagues witnessed in my case. I remember this past experience because it helps increase my faith for what miracles could still happen in my future. And the future of others. I remember because it overwhelms me that I would receive an undeserved gift such as this. Just like my underserved gift of salvation. All I have to do is believe and it's all mine. ✝️ 

On this night 5 years ago I rested in that Houston apartment hardly able to believe what had occurred. Sleepless, I received a text from my sister that she thought she was going into early labor. The stress and emotion of June 5th brought us an early born, miracle baby, perfect and beautiful. Created to be the middle child in today's Preston family. Born June 6th, 2012 was my little nephew, who I like to think of as my miracle baby. 

Happy birthday little man. God has big plans for you. How do I know? Well, I'm a middle child too.....and I just believe. 


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Oh Be Still My Seeking Heart

I had a scan done locally on Wednesday, but I don't know the results yet as my doctor is unavailable until next Wednesday.

I awoke with an awful headache on my scan day. I cannot eat or drink 3 hours prior to my scan so I was thankful that I still had time to eat some breakfast and take some medicine. After medication I babied myself by laying on a cold pack and then on a hot pack. Still not feeling great I took to a hot bath to see if that would help. Unexpectedly, in the quiet, God met me there and took captive my every thought. He took my mind off my pain and instead focused my thoughts on His love for me. On His love for all of His children.

There is a candle pillar in the windowsill of my bathroom that beautifully displays Lamentations 3:22. I read it and thought how simple that verse seems to a long time believer in Christ. Almost taken for granted even, until I began to break down each phrase and each word and feel overwhelmed once again by the gift we have as a child in God's family.

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases."
  Lam. 3:22

STEADFAST (faithful, dedicated, dialed in, unflinching, never wavering, no blinks or breaks or distractions, loyal and constant)

LOVE (tenderness, caring, passionate about, to delight in, unselfish toward, devoted to, a soft spot for, always interested, compassionate, good willed)

We are promised this STEADFAST LOVE, but from who?

THE LORD. Not one of, but THE LORD. Not other imperfect humans, but The Lord who has character and perspective that is perfect. Presence that is always with us. Devotion and Love for us that He was willing to die for.

And the best news is that THE LORD'S STEADFAST LOVE...NEVER CEASES!

It doesn't get tired or weary. It doesn't become selfish. It doesn't get overwhelmed or unstable? It is not conditional. It never comes to an end. Not for a moment. Not even once. Under no circumstance. NEVER. EVER.

Oh, be still my seeking heart. How encouraging to know that when my spirit feels unstable, weary or overwhelmed.....THE LORD is LOVING me in a STEADFAST, NEVER-BLINKING, NEVER-ENDING, NEVER OVERWHELMED or WEARY kind of way.

Thank you Lord for your life-giving words. Thank you for never growing tired or uninterested in hearing from me and speaking back to my spirit. Thank you for encouraging my heart to know that you are still in this fight with me, no matter how long it goes on. Thank you for your perfect character and your constant presence. Thank you for your STEADFAST, NEVER CEASING LOVE. ~ Amen.

Friday, February 10, 2017


Somehow, this morning, God brought me to re-read this post written by my sister, Danina. How her words caress my heart and re-inspire me this morning. May we all be more focused on making an impact presently because our eyes are focused on life eternal.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

My BRAVE girl!


Look at how this girl of mine has changed since my big TPE surgery 4 years ago! I have a love/hate connection with this specific 7 year birthday picture. 

I feel so very sad that she had to be such a strong little girl that day with her parents in Houston. She knew she may not see her mommy for a month and that it was going to take a full year for mommy to recover from surgery. Yet, what a BRAVE smile she has. She is still that BRAVE spirit and even encourages me with her positive outlook. 

I love the generous outreach that friends and neighbors and family showered on Alyssa in my absence. This picture shows all of that with TWO birthday cakes, loads of balloons, flowers and a huge candy bouquet! 

I hate that she had to be so BRAVE, but I love how she saw the KINDNESS of people lived out in her life at such a young age. 

Thank you again to those of you who have chauffeured, hosted, encouraged and loved my kids so well these last 6+ years. My momma's heart  will never forget. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

4 years & reminded to be humbly grateful


Oh THIS PICTURE! I love all that is says to my heart. In June 2012 I was to have the horrific surgery (TPE), but I was miraculously saved from it for 7 more months of pure bliss. Yet the drama of that day put my little sister into labor with this big boy, my nephew. I think of him as my miracle baby because he came into this world as a perfect miracle as I drove 10 hours home through the night to meet him....miraculously saved from that terrible surgery. Why? Because the invasive cancer was no more! After five hours of surgically looking for cancer in paper thin layers of tissue, my doctor called off the TPE with no explanation as to where my cancer had gone. I KNOW! It was my Savior giving me the gift of time. I was given my very first summer not working outside of the home in 16 years! What adventures the kids and I had that year while we were all home together! 

In this picture, I also see this new sweet baby girl, born almost 3 weeks ago to the same sister. And although My cancer returned and I did have that horrible TPE surgery 4 years ago today, my Savior has given me the gift of time again. I have had FOUR MORE YEARS of adventures and memories and LIVING! I missed my Alyssa's 7th birthday, but today she turns 11, and I am here to celebrate! 

How merciful God is to choose more life for me. Today is a reminder and my little niece and nephew are reminders that I have been given a huge gift. And as long as I have breath I will give all glory to my Savior for the gift of time. I don't deserve it. I cannot earn it. I don't even understand it. It is just a merciful and gracious gift. I love you Jesus and I am humbled and grateful! ✝️πŸ‘†πŸΌπŸ™πŸΌ