Monday, September 13, 2010

So many thanks, chemo round 2 and the final strands of hair....

Thank you.

You are all treasures that I hold close to my heart, each one of you, who has spoken words of encouragement, cheered me onward and upward, and reminded me again and again that we are each on a journey....a journey toward the heart of God. Toward knowing Him more fully and making Him more fully known. You have thronged God's throne of grace and mercy on our behalf and lifted my name to the very one who holds my life in His hands. You have poured on us the love of Christ. You have loved us. You have made the road a little less rocky, and a little easier to walk. I am so humbled to be the recipient of so much love.

Thank you for your comments here and on Facebook, for the cards received, the gifts in the mail from those whom I've never even met face to face, the flowers, the financial contributions, the emails, the phone calls....you've shown you cared and for that I say "thank you." It doesn't seem like enough, and yet I pray that God showers down His abundant blessings on each of you in ways that I never could. God has used each of you to touch places of my heart intimately. "I thank God upon each remembrance of you." Phil 1:3

Chemo Round 2......
We made it through Round 2! My second chemo treatment was last Thursday. Barclay was called into surgery that day, and my precious friend, Beth, once again stepped right in to hold my hand and laugh me through treatment. I think the nurses might think we are a bit crazy. God has knitted our hearts together not only through His Son, Jesus Christ, but through our losses (miscarriages and deaths) and through the triumphs we have celebrated over the years as God has reigned victorious in our lives and taught our hearts to trust Him even more. Thank you, Beth. Thanks for traveling one more road by my side, for not being afraid to press in, for loving me enough to keep checking in on me.


Here is one of my nurses, Kelly. She, was a little reluctant to be photographed, but finally agreed. Thanks, Kelly! She brings more laughter, lots of reassurance and plenty of smiles on a day that you just wish would be crossed quickly off the calendar and fade into a distant memory. She and all the other chemo nurses help make the process a little less painful.


I had been prepared by my oncologist that my first chemo will pretty much determine how I'll feel throughout my course of treatment. The biggest change will be with fatigue. Fatigue will become more prevalent the longer the treatment continues and as the drugs build up in the body. So far, I'm managing. I was thankful to still have an appetite Thursday evening, but by about 7:00PM, the nausea began and my body was just worn out. I crawled into bed allowing my body to just rest. Friday arrived with about the same. A general feeling of nausea, a little fatigue and not much of an appetite. But I am functioning and able to continue with daily activities, and for that I am really thankful. Saturday brought one more day of the same and then by Sunday, I was back up and running...and Monday....back to myself. It is one crazy cycle, but I'll take the normal for as long as I can get it and praise God for the reprieve He gives.

The Final Strands of Hair.....
After the initial head shaving last Wednesday, I knew that the fuzz that covered my head would be temporary. As the hair follicle closes from the chemo, it releases the hair. Over the weekend, it became evident as I would run my hand over the top of my head....tiny strands of hair would be left laying in my hand. And as I laid my head down Sunday night, prickles ran over the top of my head making it uncomfortable laying down. By Monday morning, I could just pull the tiny spikes from my head with ease. It was time.

My friend, Hillary, who is a breast cancer survivor, had told me that when she came to this stage, her hair came out in her hands while showering. As the prospect of this seemed a bit overwhelming, I asked my rock of a husband to assist me in this process over the kitchen sink. Of course, I didn't do anything but hang my head in the sink. He did all the work. We are truly walking through the "in sickness and in health" part of our vows as we committed our lives and hearts together through Christ in marriage 16 years ago. And God is using cancer to establish our marriage as never before. As we embrace each step together seeking God first, He is building, unifying and teaching us both. Barclay is a true example of a man of God and God has given me the blessing and privilege of calling him husband and being his wife.

Cancer has given me perspective. Cancer has given me a deeper love for Barclay. Cancer has shown me that each day is truly a gift from God and we can either take that gift and grumble, complain and be angry or we can take that gift and have joy, contentment and peace. The choice is ours. And cancer has shown me that my deepest fears can be met face on with Christ, who is faithful and just, and with Him what seems like a mountain becomes a spring welling up with living water, if only we will let go to the power, majesty and love of Christ. He will rain down.

Onto the sink we went....ready to let all the remaining pieces of hair fall. As Barclay gently (but vigorously) washed my hair, he had put our worship mix on in the background. Together, he and I praised God for who He is and all that He has done. And as God so intimately does, He met us in that moment. When our son, Joshua went home to be with the Lord, we had chosen the music at his funeral very purposely. There was a song entitled, "He Knows My Name" that was poignant for us because it speaks to not only the power of God, but His tender heart, His love for all of us and all knowing character. As the hair was being washed away, as Barclay gently held the razor in his hand, shaving....God reminded us that He is our maker, He sees our tears and He hears me as my heart is overwhelmed and cries out to Him. Before the very foundation of the is world....He knew. And as each subsequent song rang out through my ipod, God met me as He reminded me over and over again of who He is. That is where my heart needs to lie everyday....in who He is. As the water washed over my head, so His Spirit washed over my soul.






The hair is now all gone. And what remains, I pray is so much more.
More of Him and less of Me.

"He must increase, but I must decrease." John 3:30

Again, I am truly blessed and my heart if full. I am savoring the gifts God has placed into my life.....cancer being one of them. I don't understand His ways....but you know what, I don't need to...all I need to do is continually trust Him and allow Him to finish the work He desires to do that I may be changed forever for Him and His glory.


May today, you cherish and thank God for the gifts He has placed in your life....
each and every one of them.

Much love,
Stacy

18 comments:

Lynn said...

Philippians 4:7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Love you.
Hugs,
Lynn

Jayne said...

Stacy,
May God bless you and your family in every way!! You are so amazing! I am so blessed and encouraged by you and your faith. Thank you so much for sharing.
Love,
Jayne

Mom to 9 Blessings! said...

Stacy,

I sat with tears once again as I soaked in His goodness and love through your words.

I am praising Him for the glorious ways He is loving you and you are obedient to share it with everyone!

I am praising Him for the joy in your eyes, the smile on your face and the radiance that is beaming from you!

The photo of you and Beth is beautiful! You almost look like sisters!!!!

The final photo of you with the kids is something I will cherish for a long time - because it speaks louder than any words you or I can speak of His goodness and love!

Sending many hugs and much love! Can't wait to see you!
Jill

Liz said...

Wow! I cannot find the words to express my feelings... the tears I have say it all. They are not tears of fear or sadness, but tears of pure amazement in what the Holy Spirit can do in someone's life even through the hardest of times. Love you, Liz

Debbie said...

Stacy again you have touched my heart and spirit in ways I can't even really describe. What an inspirational post. Our God is soo big and soo loving and is soo using you through this journey. I am glad to hear that you are doing as well as you are after each treatment. While soo hard of course, it does at leaat sound somewhat manageable. Praise God!

My mother has had a stroke on Fri. and I again find myself in uncharted territories. Tired, weary, and knowing the road ahead of us is long and tedious. But this post of yours is such a reminder that our God WILL see us through. He alone will give us strength and the courage to endure. He knows every little pain and gives us what we need to endure.

Blessings and hugs to you,

Debbie

Sara said...

We had that same song at Samuel's memorial service and just sang it in church this past weekend.

Isn't it interesting how those vows take on such a different and deeper meaning... I have told Greg over and over in the past 2 years... this the worse of for better or for worse, Baby! Isn't it lovely that they are so stable and strong in those times:)

I am so thankful that you have him and such precious friends right by your side! You continue to shine the Love of Jesus right out of your heart. I love it!

Continually praying for healing for you Stacy!
Sara

regan said...

From little wayward vagabonds to daughters of the King......oh, sister blessed are we and blessed am I to walk every step with you.....I love you like crazy and could not be more proud of you or blessed by you and our sweet friendship/sisterhood!

Jessica said...

You are more gorgeous WITHOUT hair than I'll ever be WITH hair! What a beautiful woman of God you are.

A multi-dimensional life said...

Stacy, you are a beautiful woman and you prove to everyone by your willingness to share this experience with the world, that your strength comes from the spirit which dwells within your heart...the holy spirit which controls you and comforts you and speaks for you when you are possibly at a loss for words. Although your words are eloquent...a testimony to your life in Him! You are gorgeous with and without hair...and your beauty runs deep...inside your heart...your soul...your spirit...beauty resides! God will continue to gift you with strengh for the journey.
What an inspiration you are! May God continue to use your story to show the world what true beauty is!
Love and a great big hug to you, sister! xoxo Lorraine
Thank you for sharing this journey with us!

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

Speechless...I hear in my heart the song "I can only Imagine" and yet, you are already worshiping in that fullness this side of heaven...I am so honored to be a witness to your worship!
I feel I need to take my shoes off because I am standing on Holy Ground as I feel His spirit jump through the computer.
Blessings...been praying for you. God seems to put you on my heart during the daily activities...like making a bed. etc. I stop and lift you up in prayer. I think it is then because He is reminding me of your mother's heart.
Precious picture of you and your children.
Blessings!!!

babyrndeb said...

I love the picture of your with your children...such love and normalcy there with them.
You keep giving me so many reminders of what is important in life, how to stay focused on who God is and how to live each day.
So glad to have met you thru cyberspace
Debbie

Runner Mom said...

Oh, sweet Stacy! This has to be one of the most beautiful posts that I have ever read. I sit here in tears as I hear your heart in synch with God's perfect will. YOu are an amazing sister in Christ.

The pictures are beautiful!! Mercy! And the ones of Barlacy lovingly shaving your head...I'm crying again.

Thank you for sharing your journey with us--it strengthens our walk with the Lord too.

Love you!
Susan
Would you mind sending me your address? You can use this email: carolinahoods@charter.net. Thanks so much!!

Kelly said...

Sweet Stacy,

I am playing 'blog catch-up' this afternoon. I have been absent for so long. We have many trials going on around here right now that we are tending to (don't we all right?!?). Anyway - it was such a blessing to come and WITNESS all of Gods goodness through your blog. You are standing in the fire and yet God is protecting you with His mighty hand! You make this so evident in each and every post. I was in tears when I saw the picture from a previous post that said "Mom you are beautiful" - more tears came as I saw your 'old' locks fall and the new ones adorning your beautiful head! Tears, tears and more tears as I saw the picture of you and your sweet friend, your precious nurse and most importantly the one of you and your children. Thank you for sharing the intimate moments between you and your wonderful husband - WOW! God truly is working miracles through your journey and touching SOOOOO many people/families along the way. I feel so honored to have the chance to write to you sweet friend. Please know we will continue to lift your precious name up to our Heavenly Father - the One who formed you and molded you into a beautiful wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend! You truly are ONE OF A KIND and I am blessed to call you my friend. Love and many, many hugs...

God bless you,
Kelly and Family

The Montgomerys said...

I am praying for you and the nausea that comes after your treatments! I know that this is not in any way a valid comparision but I have had severe nausea as of late (since I am 3 1/2 months pregnant) and have been battling severe nausea. I have found that ginger has helped a little. I have ginger chews, and ginger tea....maybe it can help you too! Anyhow, I am praying for you!! You have a beautiful relationship with your husband...he is amazing...and so are you!!!! Thank you for your beautiful words about our Lord...so encouraging!
LOVE,
monica

Anonymous said...

You look MARVELOUS, my friend!

LisaShaw said...

Hi Stacy,

I found you through Jill at Forever N Ever n Always and I wanted you to know I'm praying for you now...

Blessings and hugs to you and your family.

He & Me + 3 said...

You are so beautiful inside and out. my oldest daughter came up while I was reading this post and said. Wow mom she is pretty with and without her hair. The love of God radiates from you.
Hugs,
Mimi

Anonymous said...

Stacy, I know you through Beth. God puts special people in our lives for a reason. God chose Beth to be your best friend "in good times and bad". She is a blessing from God. Stacy, fight the fight, stay strong, and always keep God with you. We are praying for you. Thank you for this website. Sitting here in tears, I feel Gods strength for you! God, please bless Stacy and her family through this journey.

Sharon