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

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

October 2017

As I am updating my blog I am sitting in a cabin in the woods in Newton, MS.  Spending a couple weeks out here and helping a church has been a great place to do some thinking and praying.

First of all, I would like to ask ya'll to be praying for Kelly Moncofsky who wrote an article for this blog in March.  She is going through some difficult issues right now and they could use some prayers.  Also, you might want to go back and read her article to refresh your mind.

I have asked several people who I know that have gone through cancer themselves, a family member, a caregiver, to just share their hearts.  I know as we meet people along the our way and find out they are going through cancer or have gone through it, we just seem to connect.  I find it encouraging to share with others what we have gone through and how the Lord blessed.  So I hope you will enjoy reading these articles and if they bless your heart please share that with these folks.

I notice sometimes that having gone through cancer twice as time goes on it is like it never happened.  It has been seven years of being cancer free for my second round, I am so thankful.  Yet, as I sit out here in the woods, I just thank the Lord for another day He has given me.  I think of others that I am praying for that are in the midst of the battle right now, and I am so blessed.  I don't want to dwell on the bad times, but I don't want to forget what I went through and what my Lord has done for me.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

August 24, 2017

As I begin to update my blog I see it has been too long since I wrote something.  Sorry, for that but just like everyone else, we tend to be busy with all kinds of things in our lives.

So thankful for the ministry that the Lord has allowed Scott and I to do.  We don't take it for granted and thank him often for being used in the ministry.  We have had several issues with our trailer and it has created a lot of stress.  Looking forward to seeing how the Lord is going to help in all of this.  We know HE WILL.

We pray often for our health that we will stay healthy to be able to stay on the road.  We realize we are not spring chickens.  I have received several items in the mail and see online about Medicare.  Wow, does that mean I am getting OLD????  I know it is hard to believe but in November I will turn 65 years old.  People are shocked when they hear how old I am.  After going through cancer twice I am so thankful to be alive and am proud to share my age.  The old saying, " you never ask a lady how old she is" I love to tell my age.

Please continue to pray for folks going through cancer.  I have a list I pray for and I am sure you probably have some you are praying for.  It is a very difficult time for the person going through it and their families.  Praying for them is the greatest thing we can do.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

May 30, 2017 - 7th Anniversary Cancer Free

              As I write this article, I am three days past my 7th anniversary of being cancer free, for the second time.  We have been so busy, going here and there that it just slipped by us.  Scott told me yesterday, he knew it was getting close but too didn’t remember and we didn’t get to celebrate.  Every time I had a good checkup or it was another year of being cancer free, we would always celebrate.   These are great mile stones when going through cancer.

            As we travel the roads of our great country we have had the opportunity to meet so many people, who have gone through cancer or going through it as we speak.  It always touches my heart, because I know exactly what they are going through.  We always seem to connect with those families.  So we try to encourage them and pray with them.  I am praying for several people right now with cancer or who have had it.  I also pray that the Lord would continue to keep me cancer free.

            Pray with me as I would like to put in book form about my cancer journey.  I kept a journal while going through cancer both times and would like to be able to share with others.  I must admit it is very hard to either have time to just sit down to write or have a quiet place to retreat too.  Also, I am not a very good writer but it sure blesses my heart to be able to write down what I am feeling.

            I am totally blessed beyond measure with what my “Great Physician” has done for me.  I give him all the glory.  My verse God gave me the second time going through cancer.  John 11:4 “When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.”

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day - 5/14/2017

I must admit today is not one of my favorite days.  Since I have never had any of my own children, as I get older Mother’s day gets harder.  While I was young it seemed that I handled not having any children easier than now that I am older.  Now that my husband and I are older, we miss not having any grandchildren.

I feel for all those young and older ladies who have never had children, I know how you feel.  As I go to church I must make a decision how am I going to answer everyone telling you “Happy Mother’s Day.”  Years ago I just decided to just say “thank you” and let it go.  So this morning a lady says, “Happy Mother’s Day” and I reply, “thank you”.  She doesn’t stop there, she says, “how many children do you have?” and I reply “none”.  Now she is apologizing and it is awkward.  Sometimes I wish I could just sleep through this day, but missing church is not an option for me.

I am totally happy for all you mothers out there and God bless you.  What is something else that hurts my heart is when you hear mothers complaining about their children.  How much sleep they aren’t getting, how children have totally messed up their life, or whatever else they can think to complain about.  Or see all the children that need to be adopted here in the USA and how expensive it is.  We totally prayed about children and adopting children when we were younger, but the Lord never opened those doors.  Like I said we were content and have been able to help others in our same situation.

Since we have been on the road with Ambassador Baptist Ministries I have been able to talk to others in the same situation.  Also, since on the road we now have 6 adopted grandchildren.  We adopted the first 5 and just recently a 16 year old boy adopted us to be his grandparents.

            So I guess as I am venting today and helping my hurting heart, I just want you to stop and think about other women out there who are hurting this morning, aching to be holding their own baby in their arms.

Picture before Cancer Surgery