Friday, July 27, 2012

Choices, choices......

So my favorite (and only) sister-in law posted on my fb the other of her and my favorite sayings is "Choose Life!"  It's always been kinda cutesie and yes somewhat inspirational, but when actually faced with a disease that can lead to death.....the saying takes on a whole new meaning.

But if I'm being honest, the thought that I might die has never even made it into my thought library.  Not only do I choose to not entertain it, but I know what the Book of Life says in Psalm 91:15-16 "He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.  With long life will I satisfy him and show him My salvation."   I've heard many stories of people in my same situation that did not make it past the 5 year mark.  In Jesus name that is not me; it's seriously not even an option.

So now we look at this, "Choose Life" from a different perspective.  It's not just choosing to live or die for me.  For some people it is though, whether it's cancer, depression, drugs, alcohol, you name it.  My life has been touched by all of the above either directly or indirectly.  And I have been at that spot before where it was a choice between life and death, but that's a whole different post.  But if you are at that point you need to understand something that took me a long time really grasp onto....let's look at John 10:10 (in the Amplified version) The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).  See Jesus came that we may have LIFE!  Not depression, addiction, sickness or disease.  And not only did he come so that we could have LIFE, but have it IN ABUNDANCE.  Abundance here means lacking nothing, to the full, till it overflows. 

So now, I have life, but how do I have it more abundantly?  I'll tell you how...... YOU CHOOSE IT BY FAITH!  Every morning I wake up and my flesh tries to tell me that I am tired, that I don't feel well, that I am sick.  And the enemy gets into my mind telling me that I have every reason to lay in bed for the next 3.5 months.  And to not to worry about missing church, not making it to work, missing random late night swimming trips with my kids.  But the second I let the Holy Spirit take over and I activate my faith and get up I realize how true the statement "THE DEVIL IS A LIAR!" really is!  You see, FAITH not only BELIEVES and SPEAKS, FAITH ACTS!  I can believe that my body is healed since that is what my Life Manual says, "But because of our sins he was wounded, beaten because of the evil we did. We are healed by the punishment he suffered, made whole by the blows he received." Isaiah 53:5 GNT.  I can even say that I am healed and that the side effects of these treatments will not touch me (or in this case write about it)  BUT UNTIL I GET OFF MY BUTT AND ACT ON THAT BELIEF AND CONFESSION, MY FAITH IS DEAD!  For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. James 2:26 (NKJV)  

I choose to not listen my body.  I choose a more abundant life. I choose to get up and praise God and get fed with the Word at church.  I choose to get up and go help people achieve their goals of home ownership at work.  I choose to get out of bed and go swimming with my family at 9:30p.m. just for fun.  To listen to my kids laughter and live in the Joy of the Lord.  I choose a life that is lacking nothing, a life of fullness, I choose life overflowing! Cancer or no cancer, I not only choose life, I choose life more abundantly!

So what do you choose??

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Chemo- Round 1 goes to Me!

So you hear the word chemo and you cringe.  I always go back to the scene in the movie, Stepmom, with Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon, where the mom (Susan Sarandon) is carrying the laundry basket and has to drop it to run and puke.  Then she has to call and have the "step-mom" (Julia Roberts) to pick up her kids.  Then out of frustration she throws the phone and then the laundry.  It is literally poison running through your body attempting to kill everything it possibly can.

So the day we anticipated for months comes.....Kevin and I are driving to the clinic and this song makes us both burst into tears.  The lyric, "Then You look at this prisoner and say to me "son
Stop fighting a fight it's already been won"  I am redeemed, You set me free!" just rang so true for me. 

I had to remind myself to stop preparing for a fight.  It's funny to me that chemo schedules are referred to as rounds.  You say "round one" think boxing, fighting, gloves, big sweaty men.....eww kinda gross lol.  Or I get these pictures in my head that are specific to breast cancer that say "Fight like a girl" with the pink boxing gloves (not so gross).  There is a fight going on, but it's not what we think......this is what my Life Manual says:

So there are battles going on but if we can just remember that Jesus ALREADY WON!  I mean seriously how amazing is that.

Ok more about that in a minute with my ADD self.  We made it to the clinic, joined together in prayer, and headed on in.  So on July 2, 2012 I was administered round one of TAC (which stands for the 3 drugs that I am given: taxotere, adriamycin and cyclophosphamide).  It was nice and peaceful and quiet in the infusion all the old people around me were napping lol.

And they give you warm blankets.....ohhhh how I love a toasty blanket!  So I just relaxed and listened to some praise music and caught up on some tv.....the internet is a wonderful thing when used to defeat boredom!  I even got a foot rub out of the whole deal.....notice the look on Kevin's face! hehe!

He's so funny, and I just love his heart!  The nurse came over as we were finishing up and told me that I would be very nauseated and would have some vomiting going on the next couple of days, so to make sure and take the anti-nausea medicine they gave me.  And my precious husband looked her square in the face and said, "Nope she won't won't have that, in Jesus name!"  The nurse looked a little confused and said, "Um ok well if she does...."  Kevin again interjected, "She won't!"  The nurse looked at me, and I smiled politely at her. "Ok, well you are ready to go." she said in defeat I guess.  1 Cor. 1:18 says, "The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God."  And that has never been more evident to me!  We went and ate a huge lunch at P.F. Changs (oh so yummy) and I went home and now over 2 weeks later, I have not vomited one time!  I haven't even felt like throwing up! Praise Jesus!  See that's what God does! 

Now I'm not going to pretend like it has been all bunny rabbits and sunshine....not sure why I say bunny rabbits b/c we've had them before and while they are super sweet and cute they are really messy and poop A LOT, but you get where I am going.  I have been tired and achy which = grumpy for me.  I had a fever one week after my treatment and ended up back at the doctor.  But again my husband kept telling me I was healed.  And I'm not going to lie.....I felt like throwing something really hard at him!  But that's why God put us together, because when my faith is weak his is strong and vice versa!  I went in expecting my white blood cell count to be super low and end up in the hospital, but the nurse came back in and was confused since my counts were still in the normal range, which is not at all "normal" for a chemo patient.  She chalked it up to me being so young, but I know that is my God!  I love being the patient that confuses medical professionals.  Modern day miracles are still going on all around us and our heads try to explain them away, but God is they only explanation!  Come on people open your eyes and hearts and stop trying to reason God's miracles away! 

Around the end of week 2 my hair started to fall out......first just a little, which honestly made my hair more manageable since I have so much of it.  I had already decided that I wanted to shave it when it started getting out of control.  This to me was not at all an emotional thing.  I am not defined by what I look like, whether or not I have breasts or hair, or legs or arms, or anything else for that matter.  I know who I am in Christ.

And secretly I am one of those weird girls who looked at Demi Moore and Natalie Portman and said, "Man I wish I could do that!"  So once the shedding began I was ready!

So off came the ponytail!

And Here was the final result and I love it!

And with that I challenged my brother with the task of coming up with the best bald jokes he had and here is what I got:

Here you go Nicole Jasien. I love you.


#10: Blond jokes no longer apply to you.
#9: Increased aerodynamics. (important for runners, sky divers, swimmers human projectiles)
#8: You can finally drive your convertible to work. (no more 'wind-tunnel' hair-dos)
#7: You've got a blank canvas for new tattoos.
#6: You're now ready to audition for the Blue Man Group.
#5: Time to get a new driver's license...Hair Color: Invisible. (see how that one goes over with the cop the next time you're pulled over)
#4: Think of the money you'll more barber/hairdresser, shampoo, hairspray, dandruff medication, hair dye, etc.
#3: Everyone knows that bald people make better lovers. (and if they don't, perhaps it's time that you showed them)
(That one was for Big Kev)
#2: It distracts attention from your face. (alright, that was completely uncalled for and I'm sorry)

And the #1 reason that chemo-induced baldness is awesome-

BALD=SEXY (just look at Bruce Willis, Vin Diesel, Natalie Portman and Britney Spears...ok, she's hot in a bald and crazy kind of way)

Monday, July 16, 2012



SO we had the most amazing time on our vacation! We drove to Dauphin Island, AL and spent an amazing week there.  We drove to Covington, LA and spent the night.  And Praise Jesus we made it there without killing any of the kids!

Surprisingly they were really good.....I think it helped that they were all arms length from each other.  So while in Covington we went to see some gators at the Insta-gator ranch!  We watch way to much animal planet so this was a really cool experience for the whole family and a bucket list item of my own.  I know I'm wierd lol!

Then we headed on to the beach.  Kevin's Brother Josh joined us for a few days.  He drove down from Nashville and it was great to be able to spend some time with him.
Yay we're at the beach!

Of course the kids were ready to hit the water and we did.  Taylor discovered the boogie board and she was hooked....the other 2 were a little more cautious with the waves but still enjoyed it.  Jacob preferred playing in the sand so we made a sea turtle.

Then we  decided to go grab some groceries and we learned a very valuable lesson.....if you ever rent a beach house right on the beach: make sure you back directly out of the driveway....don't try to be creative lol
My husband's beach driving skills

A guy came the next morning and pulled us out......we just made the best of it and this is one of my favorite pictures from the trip.
Pure Joy!

The next morning we woke up and Satan was busy trying to ruin our vacation.....Tropical storm Debbie started to roll in and flood everything.  The real estate company advised us to evacuate and offered to refund our vacation.  I was confused.....and was determined not to leave, but once it started to flood we decided to take it to Mobile for the night.
That water should all be sand!

We still found some fun stuff to do!

USS Alabama in Mobile Bay

Watching Movies at the hotel

We drove back first thing in the morning and resumed our vacation!  A bunch of people actually left the island.  But We knew the storm would turn....."How did you know?" you ask......Faith that's how we knew.  Kevin raised his hands and prayed over that storm and sent it to Florida. :-)  And at that point we pretty much had a private beach :-)
Boogie Boarding

We spent the rest of the day n the beach and oops I for got to put sunscreen on for a few hours.  And I paid for it, but it didn't slow me down.

We were so excited that one of our favorite families from church was able to join us for half the trip.  Kayden decided she liked them better than us.  I'm pretty sure if we said it was ok she's let Meagan and Derrick adopt her :p  Although her face isn't saying so here :)

We had so much fun fishing, laying on the beach and crab hunting...see video below!


I have not laughed that hard in years!  Here are a few more pictures from our trip.....let's just say it was a trip of a lifetime that we will be making again! :-)