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Awesome Answer to Prayer – 03/16/07

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. -2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (WEB)

This work-week certainly didn’t start out well, as I tripped going out the door on Monday, but this morning made up for that and everything else that didn’t go so well. Back at the beginning of this journey, I asked God to show His glory through my testimony as I go through my illness and recovery. Since then, several people have commented on my “great attitude” and one even said I am inspiration to her. These comments were part of God’s answer to my prayer, but this morning far surpassed those comments.

Almost every morning since I started my treatments last Wednesday, I have seen the same couple in the waiting area, either when I arrive in the morning or on my way out. On my way out this morning, the lady came over to me and said she wanted to thank me. She said he started radiation treatments two weeks ago, and she has been scared, but my smile every morning has brought her peace. After I hugged her, I said, “I’m a Christian.” She said, “It shows.” I then told her about my request that God would use this illness to show His glory and that people would see His sustaining grace in me. That is what she saw. Once again, God has postively answered my prayer!

The thought has occurred to me that this lady is the reason God has allowed me to take this journey through cancer. He orchestrated the events of my life to bring me to this particular treatment center, knowing that I would encounter this woman, who needed a little reassurance. Is this the only reason for my cancer? Probably not, but I have no doubt that she is one part of the reason. I look forward to seeing her in the days ahead.

Heavenly Father, I don’t know the names of this man and woman, but You do. You have numbered the hairs on their heads. You know what they need. I ask You, Lord, to grant them everything they need through Your glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Please give them Your peace. Please work out Your will in their lives. Draw them close to You, Father. Help them to know without a doubt that You exist and that You love them. Give them Your peace and love, Father. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2007 in Cancer, Reflections

 

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Update – 3/10/07

Well, I just lost the text I spent the last few minutes writing. Sometimes, I hate the glide pad on this laptop. Of course, I know about it’s tendency to go to the next or previous page when I don’t want it to, but I didn’t avoid that by plugging in the mouse and using that. So, one can legitimately say I should have known better. I did. Is the mouse plugged in right now? No. There’s more than one way to skin a cat, or so I’ve been told! I am typing this in Notepad and will paste it into my blog when I am finished. There are no “previous” or “next” pages for the glide pad to decide to switch to, so my text is safe. On with the update…

I completed the simulation and 3 treatments this week. Wednesday took a little longer because I had to see the nurse (Mary) and the techs had to make an adjustment, take x-rays, and then wait for Dr. Eyre to review the images online (thanks to modern technology) and give his approval. Thursday and Friday went quickly. The only delay was a few seconds to refresh some of the markings that don’t seem to want to stay on my skin. They tried the “old standby” ink yesterday, but one of the marks is already gone. This is why they did three tattoos before we started this. They’ll always have those as reference points, along with the measurements they did on Tuesday.

I have a tentative schedule worked out. I used to get up about 5:30 to exercise. Now, if I get up just 10 minutes earlier, I can walk on my treadmill and read my Bible for 30 minutes. Then, I’ll have 10-15 minutes to do some stretching (not the 40 minutes I need) before I eat breakfast, shower, and get dressed. If I am out the door no later than 6:45, I’ll get to the Lighthouse Cafe around 7:18-7:20. That gives me a full 30 minutes to work while I drink some peppermint hibiscus tea, and still have plenty of time to get to the treatment center, which is only about 3-4 minutes from the Lighthouse. This worked out well on Thursday and Friday. I can get a lot of work done in 30 minutes when I have no distractions. This should work out well, since both days I got to work right about 8:50 and had already made up the time I missed. This will mean I can take my regular lunch hour and still leave on time.

I was a little tired Thursday and Friday. Thursday night, I was in bed shortly after 8:30 and was asleep before 9:00. I slept until shortly after 5:00 and still felt a little tired through the morning. I’m going to just plan on going to bed at 8:30 every night so that I’ll have the opportunity to sleep 9 hours if that’s what my body needs during this time. Given that I usually get home between 6:00 and 6:15, that doesn’t leave time to do much in the evenings. I’ll focus on getting dinner, making my lunch for the next day, and getting my clothes ready. If that’s all I get done, so be it. This will be over soon! I had a massage today, so I expect to sleep well tonight (I didn’t last night).

I talked to Dr. Eyre briefly on Tuesday. I will be seeing him every Tuesday right after my treatment. I will be seeing Mary every week, also, so she can weigh me to make sure I’m not losing a lot of weight. I told her I will be trying to lose 1-2 pounds a week and she said that’s fine. She’ll be watching for large losses. By the way, she’s from Aberdeen, South Dakota! No, I’m not from South Dakota, but that’s close enough. It’s still “my neck of the woods.”

Back to Dr. Eyhre–he told me I will have 28 treatments and the 5-treatment targeted boost at the end is optional. It’s completely my decision. He said that because the cancer was so tiny, if anyone could forego the boost, I am probably one of those people. So, at 28 treatments, I’ll finish on April 13th.

Prayer requests:
1. Please continue to pray that God’s will is done in all things.
2. Please continue to pray for my medical team and add these folks to the list:
Mary, the nurse
The radiation therapists – Lucy, Christina, and Valeria
2. Please pray that God will make it clear to me whether I should have the boost treatments.

Thank you very much for your prayers, cards, and words of encouragement. I appreciate them very much. You are all very special to me. You are family, and God’s family is the best there is!! To Him be the glory forever and ever!

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2007 in Cancer

 

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Update – 3/3/07

Just a quick note to let you know that my treatments will be at 8:15 a.m. Christina in Dr. Ehrye’s office told me the validation session usually takes the same time or a little less than the treatment sessions. This means, if I get in on time, I should be done by 8:30 on Tuesday. In addition to being a dry run for the treatment, it’s also my dry run for the travel. I’m contemplating leaving very early to beat the traffic. That will give me a little bit of time to read my Bible before my treatments start. I normally do my Bible reading before work, and I certainly don’t want to forego that. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Thanks for your prayers and please continue. I am in God’s loving hands. To Him be the glory forever! Amen!

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2007 in Cancer

 

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Update – 3/1/07

My radiation planning session went well on Monday. I am the new owner of 3 tiny tattoos, which will be used to line the machine up properly for administering the treatment. Thanks to Paula’s advice, I knew enough to wear a black top so any ink that was going to come off wouldn’t ruin a light-colored top.

I was expecting to be called yesterday to come in today for the validation session and then have the first treatment tomorrow. But, that was not to be. The validation session isn’t until Tuesday at 8:15. I called to find out if that means my treatments will also be at 8:15, but I haven’t heard back yet (we seem to be playing telephone tag–or is that voicemail tag?). If they are at 8:15, that should work out OK. I will be late to work, but probably not more than 45 minutes, which I can easily make up by staying later, working at home, or cutting my lunch hour. In fact, I might end up getting to the treatment center plenty early to avoid the traffic. If that’s the case, I’ll be able to work in the waiting room (have laptop, will work). 🙂

I am happy to report that I received a check from my cancer insurance plan yesterday. I think the plan will end up covering most of my expenses not covered by my regular health insurance. That has turned out to be a good investment.

I’ve been using my new gym this week. I really like it. Once I get through these treatment sessions and get back on a regular schedule, I hope to walk for 30 minutes every day, stretch for 30 minutes every day, and do 20-30 minutes of weight training 3 days a week. If you need a good stretching program, I highly recommend “Pure and Simple Stretch”, a video by Karen Voight. It’s quite good.

This weekend, I’m planning on doing some house cleaning and a little work outside. I want to get this done before I start my treatments so that I will just have the absolute essentials to do during that time.

Well, I must go for now. I need to make a batch of salad so I’ll some for tomorrow.

If you haven’t seen the movie “Facing the Giants”, you really should. I won’t tell you about it, but I’ll just close with a line from the final locker room scene: “God chooses to work in our lives because He loves us.”

Please keep praying.

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2007 in Cancer

 

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Update and Prayer Requests – 2/22/07

It’s hard to believe it was 30 days ago that I had my surgery. My mother used to tell me that “time flies when you’re having fun.” Hmmm. I don’t think I’d classify having surgery as fun, but time has still flown! I am doing very well. I have resumed my exercise program, including a bit of weight training with my new little home gym.

My radiation planning session is scheduled for Monday afternoon. My first treatment will probably be on Thursday, March 1st. I don’t know what time that will be. I asked for a slot before 8:00 so I could perhaps get to work on time, or at least not be very late. Hopefully, I’ll get it scheduled Monday. If I get the slot I want, I get to keep it for the duration of my treatments. Otherwise, I can switch when a better time becomes available.

My prayer requests are:
1. That God’s will is done in all things.
2. That I will continue to feel and recognize God’s sustaining grace during the treatments and the recovery time.
3. That the radiation planning team will develop the correct plan for my treatment.
4. That the people operating the machines will do so accurately and precisely.
5. That God will give Dr. Eyhre and the rest of the team the skills, knowledge, and abilities they need to administer the treatments properly.
6. That God will protect the normal cells in my body from the radiation.
7. That any cancer cells in my body will die quickly.
8. That I will experience no skin irritation or fatigue.

Thank you all very much for praying for me. It is the best thing you could possibly do for me.

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2007 in Cancer

 

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Update – 2/11/07

Since I was asked this morning about my dental visit, I thought I should tell you that it went well. I don’t go back until August. I do have to be more vigilant about flossing, something I’ve never been particulary consistent about doing. However, I know I need to make sure I do what I can to eliminate inflammation in my body because that is associated with the occurrence of both cancer and heart disease. So, “a flossing I will go!”

My radiation planning session is definitely scheduled for the afternoon of Feb. 26th. I won’t know until that week exactly when I’ll start my treatment sessions or what time they’ll be. I am hoping for, and have requested, a time before 8:00. It will depend on what times are available then, since times become available periodically as people complete their treatments. So, I’ll just have to wait.

That’s it for now. Please keep praying!

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2007 in Cancer

 

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Prayer

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. (James 5:13-18, NIV)

How many times have you said, or heard someone else say, “All I can do is pray”? I know I have said those words, not intending to demean the value of prayer. However, when I hear those words now, having recognized the effectiveness of prayer, I find myself wanting to shout, “Don’t say it like that!” It sounds like we think prayer is just some insignificant thing that doesn’t mean much, but we’ll do it because there isn’t anything else we can do. It is as if prayer is our last resort.

If prayer is not important, why did Jesus’ disciples ask him to teach them to pray? Why did he take the time to teach them? (Luke 11:1) If it doesn’t make a difference, why did Jesus not tell them to forget about praying and go do something else to make better use of the time? Why did Jesus tell his disciples that some demons come out of people only after prayer and fasting? (Mark 9:29)

If prayer is insignificant, why did Jesus find it necessary to go out alone early in the morning to pray? (Mark 1:35) Why did he pray before he fed the five thousand (Luke 9:16), after a long day of ministry (Matthew 14:23), or when he faced the most humiliating and excruciatingly painful death invented by man? (Matthew 26:36-44) Why did Jesus pray on the Cross? (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34; Luke 23:34, Luke 23:46) Why did he pray for his disciples? (John 17:6-19) Why is he, right now, interceding for us? (Romans 8:34)

No, prayer is not some meaningless, insignificant little task we perform when there is nothing else we can do. On the contrary, prayer is our number one offensive and defensive weapon against the evil in this world, including disease, crime, and destruction. It is the means by which we communicate with our Father, our Creator.

What did James, Jesus’ brother, say? If you are suffering, pray. If you are sick, have the elders pray for you. Why? He answered that in James 5:16: The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (NIV)

The next time we find ourselves about to say, “All I can do is pray,” let’s not say it with an attitude of helplessness. There may not be anything we can do physically to improve a situation, but God, a spirit being, chooses to interact with this present physical world. He
chooses to work through people to heal those who can’t walk, talk, or hear, or who have other illnesses. He chooses to work through people to change the course of our lives.

You may actually be the answer to someone’s prayer, if you allow God to work through you. When you get that feeling that you should call or visit a friend, it may be that your friend asked God for help with a problem, and you are the one God chose to have help your friend. In such a case, remember that when you pray for your friend, you are petitioning your loving Father. Nothing is impossible with God. Whether your friend needs healing, a job, money, improved relationships, or something else, whatever it is, you may not have the material resources to help your friend, but you have something far better. You have the power of prayer.

Don’t tell your friend, “I’m sorry, but all I can do is pray for you.” Instead, thank God that he has given you the privilege of coming to him in prayer, interceding for your friend, knowing that God is sovereign. He may not answer your prayer in the way you ask, but he will listen, and he will answer.

If you ask me right now how you can help me, I will tell you that the best thing you can do for me is to pray. Pray that God will continue to give me his peace, that he will strengthen my faith in him, that he will help me always to give thanks in all circumstances. Pray that God will continue to hold me in his hands and give me what I need for this day. Pray that he will grant me whatever physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual healing I need at this time. Pray that God will continue to give me his sustaining grace as I go through difficulties in life, and that as I do so, others will see his glory. Most importantly, pray that God will work out his will in my life, whatever that involves, whatever it requires of me.

Through prayer, the mouths of lions were stopped, sick people were made well, Jonah was saved from the belly of a fish, the Israelites won battles, the rains were stopped for three years, and Peter was released from prison. Never underestimate the power of prayer. Prayer is our means of communication with the King of the Universe, without whom we can do nothing.

O God, my Father, thank you. Thank you for giving me the privilege of coming to you and laying my needs and desires at your throne. Help me never to take this privilege for granted or to underestimate its power. I know that you know what I need and what I want before I ask you for anything.

Father, take my desires and replace them with yours. I don’t know what the future holds for me on this earth, but you do. I willingly lay aside my wants, my desires for a great life here. Grant me, instead, the life that you designed for me before the world began. Give me the desire always to do what you want me to do.

Father, I have asked you many times to mold me into the person you want me to be. I ask you, once again, to do that. I don’t care about anything else in this world. Help me! Help me to be who you want me to be.

I know you will be with me always and because of that, I can stand firm through the storms of this life. Thank you, God. Please don’t let me fail you. Give me the courage to live the life you want me to live.

I can do all things only through Jesus Christ, in whose holy name I pray. Amen.

Copyright © 2007, Star Ferdinand. All Rights Reserved.

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2007 in Cancer, Reflections

 

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Update – 02/06/07

I saw my medical oncologist today. We had a very short discussion. I told her I had read about Tamoxifen and am not inclined to take it, but I would consider Arimidex. She said there is no data supporting the use of Arimidex for DCIS, but a clinical trial is supposed to be starting at UTSA this spring. However, it will be a double-blind study, so I could end up with Tamoxifen. Consequently, I’m not interested in doing that. I see her again in October.

My radiation planning session is in the process of getting scheduled for Feb. 26th. This will be a one-hour session, during which they will do all the necessary measurements to position me properly for the radiation therapy. The radiation physics department will then plan the course of treatment, which my radiation oncologist will then review. If he approves, my treatments will get started. This will probably be Thursday, March 1.

That’s it for today. Tomorrow I have my regular semi-annual dental exam.

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2007 in Cancer

 

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Back to Work

I returned to the office today. I worked a little over 1/2-time at home last week, so at least I was up-to-date with my email. It seemed a little strange. I’m not sure how to describe it. Part of me felt like I had been gone a long time, yet part of me felt like I hadn’t been at all (possibly because I worked at home last week).

I had an allergy headache all day. That was obviously not a good thing. I am still more tired than before my surgery and am a little sore, but otherwise feel pretty good. I am certainly hoping the fatigue goes away quickly. I can’t afford to be tired when I start radiation therapy. That hasn’t been scheduled, but I am supposed to call this week to set that up. Dr. Bradshaw told me the usual start time for that is 30-60 days after surgery, so, I’m thinking somewhere around Feb. 26th is when I will likely start.

Tomorrow is my appointment with Dr. Wilks to discuss chemotherapy. As I’ve told several people, I am not inclined to take tamoxifen, but I will listen, ask my questions, and pray before I decide. I am more inclined to consider taking arimidex because of its fewer side effects.

Well, speaking of being tired, I am, so I’m going to bed.

Thanks for all your prayers. Please keep praying for me to make the right decisions, for my doctors, and for my healing. God is still in control!

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2007 in Cancer

 

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Great Pathology Report!

I spoke with Dr. Bradshaw awhile ago, and I now have the surgical pathology report. The report is as good as it could possibly be! There will be no need for further surgery. The overall size of DCIS is 6 mm (very tiny). The lymph nodes show no cancer. There is no evidence of invasive cancer in the lumpectomy tissue.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

By the way, when I told Dr. Bradshaw that people have been praying for him, he said he had been praying for me.

Please keep those prayers going. I have some treatment decisions to make, and I want to make the right decisions.

Star

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2007 in Cancer

 

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