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.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

April 13, 2017

     I hope you enjoyed the last post from my friend, Kelly Moncofsky.  We are still praising the Lord for what He has done for her. A lot of things have been on my mind these last few weeks.  Once you have gone through cancer, you are connected with folks you meet with cancer and sometimes even those you have never met.

     Recently a young woman who I never met passed away from her battle with cancer.  Her story is very sad but in the long run, we know who is in control.  Her and her husband were missionaires to the foreign field.  A month ago she gave birth to a precious baby girl, and two weeks later she passed away.  They have 5 children, so please be in prayer for this precious family.

     There are so many folks we know that is battling  cancer right now and we are praying for them and their families.  We know cancer is not only a battle for the individual person, but also for their families and friends.

      When I hear of someone passing from cancer or hear of another one fighting cancer, it just breaks my heart.  I have been their twice, we know what they are going through.  I know one thing, I HATE CANCER!!

      Hopefully, in the near future I will have some more testimonies to share with you.  Not only patients, but spouses, and other family members who are caregivers.  If there is anyone out there that maybe we could be an encouragement to, please let us know.

Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Kelly Moncofsky - March 14, 2017

Never A Friend Like Jesus
by Kelly Moncofsky

All your anxiety, all your care
Bring to the mercy seat, leave it there
Never a burden you cannot bear
Never a friend like Jesus.

Do you have a best friend? Someone who you can count on, tell your secrets to, be real with, “unload” your burdens to? I do. His name is Jesus. This song means more to me now, and in the past year and a half,  then it ever did before. I’ve sung it many times in church, but the words are dearer to me now. When you hear from the Dr. that you have the “C” word, life changes and Jesus really does become your dearest friend. In August of 2015 I was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. At the time, I was only 37 years old. Not something many 37 year olds hear. With a husband, 5 kids, and a church to take care of, this news was hard to bear. Put me into shock, actually. I knew something was going on because I hadn’t felt good for about 2 months prior. I still had no idea I was about to embark on a journey that would turn my world upside down. Millions of questions and scenarios raced in my head while my husband and I sat in the Dr’s office that day. I was literally waiting for someone to pinch me so I could wake up and say it was just a bad dream. However, it wasn’t. It was real, and I was scared. I remember sitting there, watching my husband with tears coming down his cheeks. It almost hurt more to see him hurting so badly. All I could do was pray. And pray I did! Unless you’ve experienced something like this yourself, you probably won’t understand completely what I’m about to say next. The peace that swept over me in those next few hours of tests and poking and prodding was absolutely unbelievable! “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3) I didn’t lose it. I didn’t panic. I didn’t even cry which for me, is a miracle in itself because I normally cry over everything The Lord was with me. He was my rock (Psalm 61:2). He was giving me the grace I needed. He was bearing my burden!! To make a very long story short, I chose to go the natural route after all my tests and biopsies came back confirming my illness. I had no treatment for almost a year after, just a big change in my lifestyle and diet. The testing that I had done each month from the naturalist I was seeing showed that I was improving and that the cancer was going away. However, about 10 months into it, I started feeling terrible. I had no energy, I was losing weight, couldn’t even climb the stairs of our house. I was basically on the couch or in bed all day long. After several family members urging me to get blood work done, I finally agreed. My husband had to carry me to the car that day. We went to the ER and had blood drawn. Turned out, I was severely anemic…like, deathly anemic. My hemoglobin was 2.8. That is NOT normal. In fact, it’s considered critical. The nurses and my ER Dr. were in shock that I was still alert and awake. That was God! So of course I was admitted and given a blood transfusion shortly after. From there, they had to determine the cause of my anemia so again, several tests were done. The entire time I was going through these tests, the Lord was there, giving me peace again. He was once again, my best friend. I told Him I was scared. I told Him I was nervous, burdened and anxious. He knew. He took care of me. “Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still” (Psalm 107”28-29) After many hours of seeing Dr’s, giving my blood away, getting new blood, having a heart monitor, etc. an oncologist met with me and told me that my cancer had spread and was now in my bone marrow, which was causing my red blood cells to be destroyed as well as my platelets. I was also at risk for bleeding. Yeah….that’s a big load to carry!! But Jesus said, let me carry it, child. “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (I Peter 5:7).  My hospital stay ended up being almost 2 weeks. I had one oncologist tell me when it was just her and I in the room that I had about 6-18 months to live, with this diagnosis. Um…say what?! Boy was this a time to cast all my cares upon Him; to bring my burden to Him. I heard a lot of bad news in the hospital during those 12 days but honestly, I also felt the peace of God that truly “passeth all understanding.” (Philippians 4:7).  Unexplainable peace. I’m so glad I had Jesus as my best friend at this time. I’m so glad He was there with me during the MANY tests, biopsies, Doctor visits, blood draws, transfusions and scans. Friend, is Jesus your best friend? Can you take all your cares and burdens to Him? Are you? Or are you trying to bear them alone? It’s so much easier when you give them to Him. I’m ashamed to say it, but up until my diagnosis, I don’t think I really relied on Jesus to carry my load. I think I tried doing a lot of it myself. I trusted myself to get through the hard times and challenges of life. Maybe God put me through this to show me HE ALONE is the one to trust. My earthly friends are wonderful. I have some of the best of friends here on earth. But none of them could have helped me through all of this like Jesus did. None of them could have given me that peace. None of them could have sustained my spirit like He did. Psalm 16:11….in his presence is fullness of joy. Amen to that! So, its been 5 months since I came home from the hospital and to God’s glory, I have been making remarkable strides in my health. I went from having blood transfusions every 10 days, to not needing one now for 2 months! I feel great, have had encouraging Doctor appointments, and just feel like a new person, praise the Lord!! He is so good to me. I’m so glad He taught me to lean on Him more. One of my favorite verses while going thru this trial was, and still is Isaiah 41:10! Such powerful words! My story is nothing special. I know there is so many others who have experienced something like this, or who are going through it right now. I just wanted to brag on my Jesus for a bit, and let you know that you’ll never find a better friend!

Monday, March 13, 2017

March 13, 2017

Didn't realize how long it has been since I was on my blog.  With all the traveling we do, it makes it difficult to update regular because of Wi-Fi issues and computer set backs.  So with all that said, I am looking forward to adding some new articles to my blog.

Since my blog is basically about having cancer, I wanted to share some testimonies of other people who have gone through cancer themselves, a family member, or maybe a word from some care givers.

As we travel we have met many folks going through cancer and have been able to share our experiences with each other.  It is a instant connect with them.  We have shared many tears and have been able to pray with several families.  

Looking forward to sharing and asking you to pray for them as you read their posts.

Picture before Cancer Surgery