Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thankful Thursday

"It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
and to sing praises to Thy name, O Most High." Psalm 92:1

Last Thursday was the first of a new string of posts focused on thankful living. It is my desire to concentrate on being grateful rather than the contrary. Sometimes this is simple and other times I struggle with finding the glimmer of good. I understand that positive thinking is powerful - It opens up a space to see God in every detail of my life. Living with gratitude is my desire and my choice.
So I say to myself "self, do it. be thankful".
Today I am THANKFUL for:
  • my mom's discharge from the hospital - YEAH!
  • healthy children
  • an insurance claim from 12-5-05 that was finally processed correctly
  • the changing of seasons
  • that I don't need to know what is going to happen next because God does
  • the power of choice, and the will to exercise it

I so enjoyed hearing about what you are grateful for. Keep em coming!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Keep Praying!

My mom Sharon is still in the hospital.

Today marks a 6 week stay - the same 4 walls, the same nursing staff, the same rent, the same ol same ol.

You can only imagine how ready she is to be discharged. She thought she was going home yesterday but when a different Doctor from the same clinic examined her he said her white blood cell counts were still too low amongst other things.

You can be praying for appropriate counts, wisdom for the medical team, and strength physically and emotionally for my mom and her husband Lance.

In His Grip,

Angie

P.S. check back tomorrow for 'Thankful Thursday'! And check back soon to get a glimpse of the twins. Its been way too long!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Thursday's will now be dedicated to being thankful -
Thankful Thursday's. - PSALM 107:1 "Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever."

When I was in AZ my Aunt Melanie gave me a booklet from her church which is a helpful guide for recognizing and claiming our daily blessings. In response I am choosing to concentrate on thankful living.

I want to focus on the blessings in my life not because Thanksgiving is only 36 days away but because I am called to give thanks in everything. 1 THESSALONIANS 5:18 "in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you"

I admit I have failed to live in a thankful mindset the past 5 weeks since the news of my mom's illness. I understand that focusing on the positive rather than painful details is choice that only I can make. And that no matter what happens today, even if I feel uplifted or unraveled, my choice to live thankfully is powerful - it opens up a space to see God in every detail of my life.

So today, I am THANKFUL for:
  • My mom's life.
  • My wonderful husband. For his support, listening ear, shoulder to cry on - and for being an amazing dad to take care of the kiddos during my trips to AZ.
  • For family and friends who have come alongside me. You have been like 'Christ with skin on' to me.
  • A woman from church who asked if she could spend time with my kids this morning and let me do an errand. I went to the salon and got my haircut!
  • M.G. and family who care for our children when I teach voice lessons. The kids love going to their home!
  • For Fall. The colors, the crisp air, the smell of baked apples.

In this season I encourage you to also concentrate on thankful living. And, if you are so led, I'd enjoy hearing why you are thankful.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Team Recovery

Team Recovery has been at work!

After my mom had experienced more bad days I booked a last minute flight to AZ and spent a long weekend with her. It was life giving to sit with her, walk with her, pray with her and to give her hope and encouragement during this challenging time.

What's the Good News?
  • Sharon has shown significant improvement - she has increased energy and is able to walk the hospital hallway 2x daily.
  • White Blood Cell Counts are at .8 today (need to be above 4. before going home)
  • Sharon is done with TPN (IV Nutrition) and is slowly eating solid foods
  • High fever's are now intermittent which means that her body is healing from infections
During my visit Team Recovery tried to brighten her days. Saturday was 'Sassy Day'. We got her a special scarf for her naked head and we put make-up on her. She looked so cute!

(Sharon, Angie & Brian in mom's hospital room showing off her make-over! Brian and I removed our masks and held our breath for the picture!)
(We hiked a nearby mountain where we took this picture of Angie, Aunt Melanie, Angela & Brian. At the end of the hike I thought I was going to have heat stroke (100 degrees outside) but that's a different story...)At this mountain Team Recovery also put together silly video's to put a smile on mom's face. It worked! Click below to see a video of Melanie, Angie and Angela doing a 'well-rehearsed dance' celebrating her counts going up. Counts Up! Counts Up!
video
On Sunday my brother Brian and I spent the afternoon with mom. I am thankful for the special time we had together. It was a gift.I Love you Mom. All my heart!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Carrot Therapy

Carrot Therapy. Its innovative, its original...its an idea I fabricated.

And I confess, I took part in it.
Before the first frost I got down and dirty and pulled all of the carrots up in our garden. I call myself an amateur gardener but I love it.

There is something that comes from working with the land. When we dig, till and turn I feel a primitive connection that helps me to appreciate the beauty and complexity of the things that grow around us. It's not simply throwing some seed on the ground and hoping that it will grow. Gardening takes time and requires knowledge, physical exertion, and lots of patience.

As I pulled the tops of the carrots and dug my hands in to the cold, hard earth I found it peaceful, therapeutic. The beauty of the bright orange carrots covered in dirt signified the harvest at the end of a long season. The carrots were shorter than ones found in the supermarket but when I tasted one I was swept away by the crisp, sweet taste.

More Carrot Therapy for me. Please.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Criss Cross Applesauce



Sharon's Blog - Strength of my Soul

I started a blog to help people stay informed about my mom's treatment and recovery for Acute Myleogenous Leukemia (AML).

While I will continue to post here, you can also link to Sharon's blog which will highlight current prayer needs, a timeline, and regular up-dates.

Remember, you can leave her a message on her blog. To do so click on the 'comments' link at the bottom of a post. Please be positive, supportive, and remind Sharon how much you love her and are praying for her!

To link to her blog: http://www.strengthofmysoul.blogspot.com/

Friday, October 10, 2008

Mom Up-Date

Here is a quick up-date on my mom, Sharon's progress.

  • Sharon's pneumonia is showing improvement
  • She was able to drink chicken broth yesterday and today. Not only did she keep it down but it actually tasted good! She's hasn't eaten anything but ice chips for 2 weeks so this is a step in the right direction.
  • She is still fighting an infectious disease which has caused her significant stomach pain. Now when entering her hospital room visitors must wear a throw away gown in addition to a face mask.
  • Her white blood cell count which had barely increased has now decreased to .1 - the very bottom. This means that she remains in a weak state and is very susceptible to infections.
  • Sharon is feeling claustrophobic. Imagine yourself trapped in a small hospital room unable to leave your confines under any circumstances (its been 2 weeks now). Wouldn't you be a bit stir crazy?

Again, I thank you for your prayers and support.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Pneumonia

Please pray for my mom Sharon as she is very very weak and doesn't feel well.

The Dr. has found fluid on her lung and she is now being treated for Pneumonia. This complication adds a tremendous burden to her system.

I feel encouraged about the clear biopsy results but rather discouraged about what my sweet mama is having to endure. She is miserable.

Please pray for renewed hope and encouragement for me, my mom and our family.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Good News

Yesterday, we got the good news: MOM HAS CLEAN BLOOD & BONE MARROW. This means the biopsy did not detect any cancer cells in the blood or marrow. When my mom told me the news I had to pinch myself. Is this for real or am I dreaming?

The news was a huge lift to everyone, especially my mom. The hematologist and oncologist are very pleased.

The first phase of mom's chemotherapy treatment (Induction Chemotherapy) is standard for patients with AML. The goal of induction chemotherapy is to bring the disease into remission. Remission is when the patients blood counts return to normal and bone marrow samples show no sign of disease (less than 5% of cells are leukemia cells). Induction chemotherapy has been very intense. It has consisted of one week of the drugs Cytarabine/Idarubicin, followed by three weeks of recovery. At this time she has 2 more weeks of recovery.

Successful induction chemotherapy destroys most of the leukemia cells, but typically a few will be left in the body. If these cells are not destroyed, they can cause a relapse of the disease. More treatment is needed to destroy the remaining leukemia cells. The next step will be consolidation chemotherapy.

I know we still have a long road ahead of us. Leukemia is a tough disease to battle but I am hoping and believing for the best outcome.

If you would like to send a note of encouragement to my dear mama send it to:
Arrowhead Hospital
Sharon Hurley
18701 N. 67th Avenue
Glendale, AZ 85308

Please don't send flowers as she is unable to have them in her room.

Thank you for taking the time to read the 'good news'.

Peace

I'm sorry I haven't posted an up-date since the diagnosis of my mom. Please understand the past two weeks have been somewhat of a whirlwind for me and my family.

First of all, thank you so much for your prayers and words of encouragement. Please keep them coming as they mean the world to me.
I've been receiving some personal e-mails in response to my blog. Did you know that you can also send me a message on our blog? At the end of each post you can click on the 'comments' link and it will bring you to a screen where you can send me a comment. Please do, comments make me happy!

My mom's current condition is fragile and unsteady. The chemotherapy drugs are doing their job, killing the bad cells and the good cells and thus taking a toll on her body. The past 5 days have been discouraging as she has been very sick. One complication leads to another complication which leads to more drugs being pumped in to her body. It's all one vicious cycle.

Yesterday my mom had a blood and bone marrow biopsy. We expect the results soon. Please Pray!

Her Chromosome Test came back negative. What I understand is that a negative result will give her a better chance of fighting the cancer. Amen!

Last Thursday I flew to AZ to spend 4 days with my mama. I couldn't wait to hug her and just be there for her in the shock of the news and aggressive treatment plan. It was a good trip but also hard.

Prior to my arrival she had entered the neutropenic stage. Neutropenia is a condition characterized by an abnormally low number of white blood cells. The white blood cells serve as the primary defense against bacterial infections. So, during this time the Dr. gives extra precautions against infections. This means that so she cannot leave her room, all guests are required to wear masks, and she has a limited diet with no fresh fruits or vegetables.

Here is a picture of my mom and I wearing our fashionable masks. She isn't required to wear the mask but I thought she should join me in 'mask misery' for the picture's sake. Even in the midst of the shock and disbelief of my mom's condition I felt Jesus holding me, loving me and giving me a bigger picture of who He is - the God of all, giving hope and healing and rest for our souls.

I felt the many prayers lifted up and I truly sensed the Lord close to me, his presence surrounding me. His peace, which surpasses all understanding was literally washing over me like a waterfall - hitting me from all angles, through and through. For this peace I am thankful.

Philippians 4:7 "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

I will continue to keep you posted. In the meantime: Pray, Pray, Pray!