Tuesday, May 21, 2019

May 2019

     On May 27th, it will be my 9th anniversary of being cancer free.  I am rejoicing!  I continually give God the glory.  This is one of the verses God gave me.  John 11:4 "...This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby."  He is the "Great Physician" and "Great Healer".  There is no other that can perform miracles.  Men try to say that they can "heal" but they are liars.  It is up to God how He heals people and when.

     When I was diagnosed with cancer the first time (April 2003) I never once questioned God.  "Why me?"  This was my thought "Why not me?"  I know one thing, I could of never made it through that valley without Him.  Then again when the cancer returned (December 2009) I knew immediately I needed to lean on my heavenly Father.

     As we have traveled down the road, we have met so many people that have had or are going through cancer.  Our hearts are immediately knit with these folks.  We truly know what is is like.  It is awful!  Many times when we are going through some trial in our lives folks will say, "I understand" or "I know what you are going through."  They do if they have been through that same trial in their lives.

     I never realized the vast number of people with cancer, young and old.  I remember while I was going through treatment, friends of ours, 5 year old son was going through brain cancer.  They would often send names and stories of other children with cancer so we would pray for them.  It got to be so overwhelming, I had to stop reading all the new ones.  All I would do is cry.

     Even today, every time we turn around there is someone else with cancer.  We have a list of names of cancer patients right now we are praying for.  Yet we know who the "Great Physician" is.  We added a name just this past Sunday of another young mom with cancer.  It breaks my heart.

     A couple of weeks ago, a young girl and I were out soul winning.  When walking up the driveway I notice a breast cancer decal on the back of their vehicle.  I knocked on the door and began talking to a lady.  After awhile I asked if she or someone close had cancer.  Immediately she began to cry, her mom had recently passed away from breast cancer and she also had a grandchild with cancer.  The young girl with me asked the lady, "can I give you a hug" and the lady hugged her.  I began to share some about my cancer and again our hearts were knit.  We chatted some more and she said that she was saved but was not attending church.  I prayed with her before we left, please pray that April will get back into church.

     All I know, is that I am going to continue to give God the glory.  He has been so good to me and I just want to tell others.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

February 2019

     Today I have been thinking and remembering a very special person.  Some of you know who it is before I even mention her name, Kelly Moncofsky.  It was a year ago today that she passed away from the awful battle of breast cancer.

      I am so thankful for all the special times I got to spend with her and their precious family.  Then to be adopted into the Moncofsky family has been such a blessing to Scott and I.  Since we never had any children Jason and Kelly were like are own, and then to have 5 wonderful grandchildren is just out of this world.

     Since I first began this cancer blog it is unreal how many people we have met or have heard about that have cancer.  There is no age limit to this awful disease, it hits the young and the old.

    I also wanted to share this article that Kelly wrote for me to share on my blog.  I thought I would share it again.  When you read it, think about her friend, Jesus.  Do you know him?  Is he your friend?  If not, please make him your friend today.  Message me and I would be glad to share Jesus with you.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Time To Start Over - January 2019

     Have you ever started to do something, messed it up and decided to just start over.  Maybe you were baking something,, messed up the ingredients or forgot to put something in it.  It was a flop! So start all over again.  Maybe you were sewing something, messed up the pattern or sewed it the wrong way.  Oops, rip it apart and start over.

     I don't know about you but I am glad to have a forgiving, loving, heavenly Father who wants and allows us to start over.  Here we are starting a new year, what are your resolutions or goals for this year.

     There are so many, I know many will say, "I am going to loose weight", "I am going to eat healthier", "I am going to find a better job", and on and on we go.  Also, many will say, "I am going to read my Bible through", "I am going to go to church more", "I am going to pray more", "I am going to learn how to win souls", "I am going to win more to the Lord" and all of these are good things.

     I don't know about you but sometimes I can make too many goals and it will overwhelm me.  This year I read a post about finding "A New Name for A New Year" well I listened to the video and then watched another video on all the different names for Jesus.  When Jehovah Jireh came across the screen and said "The Lord Will Provide", I knew immediately that was my name for 2019.  Many things that Scott and I are praying for this New Year, we know that "the Lord will provide".

     So I choose to seek the Lord daily and make short goals.  Already this year, I have chosen a name for 2019, and today I started a Bible devotional on prayer.  I am going to try not to set goals that are way out there.

"And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart."  Jer. 29:13

"But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him will all thy heart and with all thy soul." Deut. 4:29

"Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:"  Ps. 139:23

     There are things that I am striving for but am not seeing results because I messed up and now I have to "start over".  It is OK to "start over" and we must continue to "start over" or we will just quit.  But it is so encouraging to see some of those short goals accomplished.

     I guess what I am saying is I am going to daily seek the Lord.  Make some daily goals instead of months and a yearly goal.  Do you ladies make lists of things you want to get down daily or weekly..  As you do what is on the list you check it off, and down the list you go.  Doesn't that make you feel good in that you have accomplished something?

     So I choose daily goals instead of the yearly goal.  Today I can read my Bible, pray, eat healthy, exercise, walk, send an encouragement card, call a friend, bake cookies, clean bathrooms, etc. You can look at your list and see what you have accomplished.  Don't get discouraged if you didn't finished the list, pick it up tomorrow and continue on.  Another list might be, pass out 5 tracts today, talk to someone about the Lord, visit a shut-in, etc.  The lists change daily and we can see our goals scratched off daily.  

     As I close this writing I would like to ask you to pray for me as I go to MD Anderson on January 8th for my year check-up.  I give the Lord all the glory for healing me of cancer twice.
      Recently we visited a lady we use to work with Becky Eastep who has gone through breast cancer and it is back.  She has already had a couple of surgeries to remove tumors on the brain and will be going through radiation treatment soon.  Please pray for her.  We have seen many others going through this awful disease of cancer.  A pastor friend, we got to see a family in Missouri that the man had cancer and is doing well now.  We immediately bonded with this family.

     As we travel we try to encourage those families going through cancer.  We know what they are going through and can share our hearts and prayers with them.  If you think about the different things in your life, there are things that you have been through that can help someone else down the line.  We may not know why or how come we go through certain things in life but be assured you can help others going through the same thing.

Each Day is a New Goal!

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Out of Sight, Out of Mind - November 2018

     I know we have heard this saying, "Out of Sight, Out of Mind".  This saying means that a person stops thinking about something or someone if he or she does not see that thing or person for a period of time.  It is sad but so true.  We all get so busy in our daily routines.  Just like my blog it is out of sight and I forget I even have it.  I was changing something on our web page for our ministry and I saw the button for my blog.  Then I realized how long I have neglected it.  So with the Lord's help, I am going to at least try to update it when we do our newsletter.

     So many things come and go in our lives.  We meet so many different people especially as we travel.  It is hard to remember names, faces and where they are from.  As missionaries we carry prayer cards and hand them out because we want people to remember us and to pray for us.

     Have you ever had someone ask you to pray for them and you say you will but if you don't write it down or pray right then, "what happens?"  We forget, Out of sight, out of mind.  It is sad but we all have been there.

    So much has happened since my last post in March.  The beginning of this year was rough.  We were traveling back and forth from Texas to Quincy, IL.  We wanted to be with Kelly and her family as much as possible.  I thank the Lord for all the time He allowed us to spend with her in her last days and also with Bro. Jason and the kids.  We love them all so much.  Bro. Jason and Kelly were like "our kids" that we never had.  They were our first church that we helped when we started Ambassador Baptist Ministries.  We seemed to bond from the very beginning.  The kids call us "Pawpaw and Grandma Debbie" makes our hearts melt.
     As time went on the pain was less but I think about her almost every day.  When Mother's Day came around it was very hard.  I found myself crying on and off most of the day thinking about her.  Be assured I think and pray for Kelly's parents and have seen them and sent notes.  I am just an "adopted mom".  I must say it is neat that they adopted us.  

     Things I do to remember her, I go back to our text messages and read them.  We talked just about everyday, depending on how she was feeling.  I will go back and look at lots of pictures of us together and watching videos we took at the end up at the hospital.  Especially her birthday celebration in ICU.  We have LOTS of special memories.  We also see the family often.  Recently we were at a meeting and there was a pastor's wife who looked so much like Kelly.  I felt like I was stalking her, always looking her way and I just wanted to go give her a hug.  Brought tears to my eyes, but oh, how sweet when the Lord does things in our lives to help us "remember" those things or people that are "Out of sight, out of mind".

     Just a reminder that we need to find ways to keep those things or people before us.

"Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip."  Hebrews 2:1

    Let's not let the things which we have read and been taught from the Bible slip away or those special memories.

Friday, March 2, 2018

March 2018

The last few months have been very hectic and stressful.  Being on the road makes it difficult to keep my blog updated.

For the last couple of years I have not been able to go to MD Anderson for my cancer check ups because of Obamacare.  In November of 2017, I turned 65 and was able to go back to MD Anderson because I went on Medicare.  Praise the Lord!  I had my check up in December and I am still cancer free.  Since Kelly and I talked just about everyday, I didn't want to tell her about my good report.  So I just didn't bring it up, but of course, she did and I had to tell her.  She was happy for me.

In January things got worse for Kelly, on January 22nd we got word that she had had a seizure. Well, we knew we needed to make plans to get to Illinois.  We left Texas the next day headed for Quincy, IL.  Arrived Thursday morning and headed directly to the hospital.  Kelly was in ICU and on a ventilator.  She was awake, alert but could not talk.  She did have a white board and talked to all of us that way.  Sometimes you would think she was asleep and than she would ask for her white board.

The next day was Kelly's 40th birthday, the nurses decorated her room, bought cupcakes, made a pillowcase for her and throughout the day, they would bring in gifts for her.  The kids came up early that morning before they went to school.  It broke our hearts to see the kids in her arms crying.  We sang "Happy Birthday", all of us were crying and she was smiling and giving the thumbs up.  She was excited because she received several balloons for her birthday and that is what she really wanted.

That evening a lady from their church and I were sitting there talking low, I was telling her how I had forgot a skirt while packing so fast.  Immediately Kelly asked for the while board, she wrote on it "get money from hubby, I want to buy you a skirt" and pointed her finger at me.  I told her she was ease dropping and getting bossy now that she was 40.  She just smiled and thumbs up.

Scott and I asked her if there was anything we could do for her and she wrote on the board, "any time you can love on my kids they love you!"  With tears in our eyes, we said of course.  I took a picture of her board with those words.

On Saturday, January 27th they took the ventilator out and moved her to a hospice room in the hospital.  With the ventilator out she could now talk to us.  On Sunday, a nurse bought her some eyelashes and put them on her.  A couple of nurses got together and did a mini makeover.  Kelly was all smiles and felt better with some eyelashes and makeup.  Sunday night while I was sitting with her, she got into her pink bag and pulled out a cancer bracelet.  She gave it to me and said now we have a bracelet alike.  I had given her a necklace with two hearts, I have one just like it, I told her that was our hearts. We worn the necklaces all the time.  She would text me and say "I am wearing my necklace" and I would tell her "I was too".

What a blessing that all through her stay in ICU until she went home, she was alert and talking to us. She was not in pain so that she would have to be sedated.    On Tuesday, January 30th, Kelly went home to her house with Hospice care.  I knew in my heart when I told Kelly that we would be back in a couple of days that she probably would be in heaven.  

The next day we left to go back to Texas for a meeting we had, Sunday, February 4th in Coleman, TX.  We left Monday to go back to League City, TX.  Early Wednesday morning Bro. Jason called us to let us know Kelly had gone to heaven.  Our hearts broke, we packed and headed back to Quincy the next day.

Tuesday, February 13th was Kelly's home going celebration.  It truly was a celebration, the church was packed and with 1 saved.  We drove to Bourbonnais Wednesday to be at the memorial service for her at Faith Baptist Church.  Both services were amazing.

I wanted to share all of this so you could read about how her last few days were like.  Never a tear from her eyes, asking Preacher (Bro. Anglea) about heaven, asking Pawpaw (Scott) to sing, always smiling, writing constantly on the while board when she couldn't talk and encouraging everyone that enter her room. Nurses and doctors would come in and be amazed by her, many of them crying, hugging her and some noticing that there was something different in her room.  I am telling you GRACE was every where.  She had a wonderful testimony for her Saviour and was looking forward to seeing him and those who had gone on before her.

Scott and I are blessed to be able to be in Quincy at Grace Baptist Church filling in while Bro. Jason and the kids get away.  We are staying in their home and my sweet, Kelly is everywhere.  For those who don't know Grace Baptist Church in Quincy was the first church we helped as we started Ambassador Baptist Ministries.  Seth was 6 weeks old when we got there.  It seemed like we just meshed with the Moncofskys.  As time went on and Kelly was diagnosed with cancer we bonded.  She called me the day she found out and the next day we were in Quincy.

Because of having cancer I knew first hand what she would be facing.  It is not the same with everyone, I didn't go through a lot that she did.  We would talk almost everyday.  I must admit, I miss her so much.  I even caught myself going to text her.  I found a text message on my phone from her, "Happy adopted Mother's Day," oh my.  You see, she was like a daughter we never had.  The kids call us Pawpaw and Gamma Debbie.  I am so thankful to how Kelly's parents and Bro. Jason's parents welcomed  us in and to be a part of the family.  In fact, we were told Netterville means Moncofsky in Lithuanian.  

We have been blessed to have known Kelly and we miss her tremendously.  Please continue to pray for the Moncofskys.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Denise Medley - November 2017

November is Family Caregivers' Month so I wanted to share this post from Denise Medley whose husband wrote last month for me.

A little over a year and a half ago, my husband was diagnosed with stage 3 rectal cancer. After many surgeries, 2 rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, and 16 months out of work he is still struggling mentally with it all. As a spouse it is very hard to watch and feel so helpless a lot of the time. His personality has dramatically changed. He went from being Mr. outgoing funny guy to self conscious, low self esteem, and depression. He was always the one that made the major decisions, to now question his every move. His one oncologist still considers him to be in the early stages of recovery with last chemotherapy/ radiation being 8 months ago. It is has been very hard to see all he has had to go through. I've never left his side. If he had to stay at the hospital for weeks on end, I was too!! We did it all together. With that being said, he now cannot handle being separated from me at all. He goes into panic mode if my schedule gets hectic and he's not included and I'm not around. He would be in the hospital and yell out my name and inconsolable until I returned. Then he would be ok. I can't imagine how on earth I could have gone through all this without the Lord and my church family and couple relatives! I felt such peace as I watched him in ICU. The prayers of those dear friends and family were my strength through it all. Even though he is back at work for the last 5 months, things do not feel the same. He hurts all the time. It's very sad to see as I stay home and homeschool our 2 daughters. I babysit on the side and house clean as well but feel so helpless. I had to have a couple of my own surgeries in the last couple months. My doctor found precancerous tumor in my ovary. He was a constant wreck!!! He just kept telling me that he could never be without me. That pressure was hard to handle. Thankfully I was ok.

I said that to say our lives are totally different from before. I now have new roles in our family and in our marriage. We are still getting used to it all. We take things day by day. We have more bad days it seems than good a lot of times. He had always been the optimistic one and me the pessimistic one, but those roles were forced to be changed. Because I am naturally pessimistic, he can affect me more easily.  The Doctors have said that his "chemo brain" will get better, not sure how much better, but say that it could be a year and a half AFTER his last treatment. That's why they said they still consider him in the early stages of recovery.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Joe Medley - October 2017

We met Joe & Denise Medley while we were at a church in Missouri.  We started sharing our stories and our hearts were knit together.  I asked him to share his story and later you will also get to hear from Denise.

Hello, my name is Joseph Medley. Here is my story...

At 42 years old, on January 16th 2016, I was diagnosed with colonrectal cancer.

I had two prior instances when I had bleeding out of the rectum. The third time, it became really bad. I was in the bathroom continually. My wife and children had been at church, and when my wife came home, we started talking about going to the ER. Before we could, I passed out in the bathroom, and she called the paramedics.......

After an overnight stay in the hospital, drinking the prep, I had a colonoscopy done the next day. That colonoscopy revealed a tumor, at the base of the sphincter muscle, labeled at that time Stage 1. So, the plan was made to do a surgery that would remove the tumor, and give me a temporary ileostomy bag while my body healed......

Shortly after what we thought was a successful surgery, I got an infection that was affecting my surgical wounds. We had a drain surgically implanted, while we treated for the infection. The complications continued, and required another surgery.........

We started to realize the damage that had been done to my body, and we were faced with the realization that life may never be normal again. It came down to one of two scenarios:

Scenario 1: I will have to wear a diaper for the rest of my life, because I will never regain control, or...

Scenario 2: I could get a permanent colostomy bag installed.

After many conversations and a lot of prayer, my wife, doctors, and I decided to go with scenario 2.

So, we had the surgery to fix the infection and other issues, as well as removing the ileostomy bag and installing the permanent colostomy.

This surgery resulted in a 16 day hospital stay. The night after my surgery, I aspirated, and that put me in ICU, after Rapid Response saved my life. I then ended up with pneumonia, staph infection, MRSA, on oxygen, etc......

My wonderful wife never left my side the entire hospital stay. She was so incredibly strong for me through this entire illness, and continues to be.

As a result of this surgery, they also found more cancer. This cancer was labeled Stage 3, and turned life upside down instantly. As a result, there was a treatment plan implemented including chemotherapy and radiation.

After 7 weeks of recovering from everything that happened in the hospital, we started the chemotherapy treatment. My treatment consisted of two weekly visits, 4-5 hours each visit, as well as wearing a portable chemo pump whenever I wasn’t at the Cancer Center. We went through 2 complete rounds of this, each round consisting of 6 weeks.

During the second round, we incorporated the radiation into the treatment plan. The radiation was every weekday, for a 6 week period.

By mid-December of 2016, the very long year was coming to an end. I completed all treatments, and officially labeled “in remission”

I knew that cancer was a horrible thing, but I never realized how horrible the treatments are. I believe to this day that the only symptom I ever had, from the cancer itself, is some bleeding. But the list of symptoms and side effects from the treatments are a mile long.......

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very thankful for the treatments, and believed they were used to save my life. I’m just saying that though treatments are successful in battling cancer, it is horrible what the treatments do to a person.

The radiation literally burned my entire pelvic area, to the extent of my body literally splitting open. Thankfully, I have fully recovered from all of the radiation side effects, though I still experience some hip pain that was never an issue before radiation.

The chemotherapy has a different lasting effect. I can’t even really fully explain it, or even fully personally understand it myself. I just know that my thought processes, reactions, decision making, etc. has been drastically affected from the chemotherapy. I really am not even the same person anymore in many ways.

That said, I returned to work in March of 2017, and have been working 50-60 hours a week ever since.

I praise and thank God for my salvation and His presence with me through all of this. I have no idea how I could have even made it through without Him, and I know that my wife and children would say the same.

One of my hopes going forward is that somehow some way my story might be used to help inform, strengthen, or encourage somebody else.

But for somebody looking for any hope, or peace, I would point to the Lord Jesus Christ, who is always there with open arms to “whosoever will”

Thank you

Picture before Cancer Surgery