Sunday, December 14, 2008

Late Thanksgiving...Early Christmas

Hey All,


Things are moving along...Jay has been consistently receiving chemo and has been handling it as well as possible. We hope to get a PET/CT scan in January sometime to review our progress. Jay just finished his last chemo session for a couple of weeks...we go back New Year's Eve...can you say, "Woo...hoo." LOL But seriously, I am so blessed to be ringing in another New Year with my honey. I pray for many more.



Yesterday we celebrated a late Thanksgiving and early Christmas with Jay's entire family. Everyone came to California to celebrate the holidays together. After Dad's bout with pancreatic cancer just a few short months ago and with Jay's ongoing battle, we all figured that we just have too much to be thankful for and that we all need to be together this holiday season. We had a wonderful day together. It was loud and crazy and wonderful all at the same time. Jay was so blessed to have all of his family in one location at the same time. Here are a few pictures for you guys:





Here is the lovely and crazy Hare Family. It takes a lot to get everyone all together like this.





This one was fun and shows the "true" Hare Family. LOL

And then, I couldn't resist including a couple pictures of me and Jay.








Can you tell that I love my guy? LOL

Beautiful memories....

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Blessed Weekend

Well we got started on the long holiday weekend a little early...on Wednesday...Jay had chemo in the morning and in the last 20 minutes of the session, he began to have back spasms and his complexion turned to a slight shade of gray. Needless to say, it was alarming to me AND Patty (our chemo nurse). Patty immediately shut the machine off and ran saline through the IV to see if that would take care of the reaction. It did...praise the Lord! But Jay is famous for having a reaction to each chemo regimen after a certain number of sessions received. So, I took him home and sat and watched him very closely for 24 hours. I hardly slept because I was afraid he would have a delayed reaction...as that has happened before and landed us in the ER. But praise God nothing further happened. So we made it to Thursday without any complications or illness.

Since Jay had chemo on Wednesday, we decided not to celebrate Thanksgiving until Friday so it allowed us to relax for a day or so and recuperate.

Fast forward to Friday...our "official" Thanksgiving Day and my birthday. I cooked a turkey dinner for the very first time in my whole life. I was so proud that I even took a picture...



It may not look like much, but it was tender and juicy and yummy! The dinner was a hit...praise God that I didn't poison anyone! LOL

As I was preparing dinner, my niece, Aly, was getting some exercise from playing Dance, Dance Revolution on the Wii...


She is so cute! I just adore her.

After all was said and done...I think I washed about five loads of dishes...by HAND because I don't own a dishwasher...can you say, "Dish-pan hands??" LOL

We have spent the past couple of days recovering from all of the action...we don't see much around here...and this is what everyone in the house looks like now...LOL.




It was a wonderful weekend...a blessed birthday and Thanksgiving...I couldn't have asked for anything more. The Lord was faithful to bless the time spent with my family...and brought some restorative time to Jay.
For all of these things...I am thankful.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Birthday Wish/Prayer...

Remember when we were little and everything rode on that one wish you got for your birthday when you blew out the candles??

Well, my 39th birthday is on Friday and we will be celebrating Thanksgiving that day because Jay has chemo on Wednesday and it’s the first day he will actually feel like eating any real food…so the birthday goes out the window because I’d rather give thanks to the Lord for this day with my husband, and my family. But, if I could have one wish come true…one more prayer answered…I would ask that cancer be taken away from all who suffer from it, and never let it take up residence in anyone else ever again.

That sounds like a Miss America Pageant response…”I would ask for world peace.” LOL

Seriously though, I have prayed for the Lord to take this cancer from Jay, and I will continue to do so as I wait for an answer from Him…but I will also keep asking the Lord for answers to questions and solutions to the puzzle that is cancer. He is faithful to answer in His time…I will do my best to be faithful to wait.

His answer for now?...“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

Father, I pray that this Thanksgiving will be filled with gratitude for all that You have accomplished through me. I want my eyes to stay focused on You. Please help me to do that. I am thankful for the time I have with Jay and I pray that You will make Your presence known on Friday. Help me to make it a special day for him and my family. Help me to set myself aside. This moment, this day; I give it to You. Amen.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Day Away?

I've been feeling pretty stressed out lately...well...honestly, I feel stressed out all the time but for some reason this past week I have felt a bit overwhelmed. So, I decided to talk to my boss about taking Friday off. He was very supportive, of course, and gave me the day off. I was excited to have an extra day added to my weekend.

I've been reading this little booklet that I bought about caregivers taking care of themselves...which is somewhat of a foreign concept to me these days. I just keep going and going and going until I drop. I'm close to dropping now...so I contacted a friend of mine who works for a local spa. She offered me a free ticket to the spa a long time ago and I was finally ready to take her up on it. So I set up an appointment to get a massage and a pedicure...I may as well make it a great day while I am there, huh?

It was a beautiful day here in good ol' Southern California yesterday...perfect for a day at the spa. I sat and relaxed by one of the several pools, read a book, got my massage and got a pedicure too. You would think that was a heavenly experience...well...something in me just couldn't relax enough to truly enjoy the day. I kept thinking about my husband and how he doesn't get to take a day off from cancer, so how fair is it for me to enjoy a day away? I just had a difficult time relaxing knowing that Jay was at home and in a lot of pain. I fought with myself all day about it too. I went back and forth between thinking to myself, "Jamie, you've been far too stressed out lately and you need this"...to "Jamie, you need to get home and take care of your husband."

I know that every person that is a caregiver goes through this emotional turmoil, so I try not to be too hard on myself and realize that this is just a normal process...but the roller coaster ride is getting to me now. Have I stopped trusting the Lord? No, not at all...I am just tired...but He is faithful to stay with me even in my weary state...He even carries me at times...when I allow Him to.

So, was it a "day away" from everything? No. It just made me realize how entrenched I truly am in this battle. Scarred, bruised, wounded...alongside my beloved, I fight to the bitter end.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Happy Birthday Jaybird!!

Here are just a few pictures from his special day:




Okay, so the theme of Jay's birthday this year was "Angels." He absolutely worships the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim...even though they didn't make it to the World Series this year, he has remained a die-hard fan. So, I had an idea a few months ago to talk to some friends of mine to see if they had a contact at Angels Stadium. The idea was to just get something signed by one of the players...maybe a hat or a jersey or something. Well, my friends took that idea and ran with it. They got together and wrote a beautiful letter to their contact at Angels Stadium, letting them know what Jay has been through these past couple of years with his cancer and would it be possible to do something special for him? They totally came through! Jay received an entire duffel bag full of Angels stuff.
My friend Karen helped me to wrap each individual item and put it back in the duffel bag on Friday night. So, Saturday morning, Jay had to work hard at unwrapping each of his gifts. LOL He didn't seem to mind though as he had help from our 7 yr old male Boxer, TJ (Tasmanian Devil Jr.). It was hilarious. Jay would peel off a corner of wrapping paper and then reach the gift out to TJ and he would take the corner into his mouth ever so gently and then ease the paper off one piece at a time. I have not laughed so hard in such a long time. To contrast that, our little weenie dog, Sonny, would just tear into the gift as though there was a huge steak waiting for him underneath it all. This comical show almost became more fun than Jay receiving his gifts...almost, but not quite. (Pictures shown above of the gift wrap mess, TJ running away from me with some gift wrap in his mouth, and Sonny jumping into the Angels duffel bag.) LOL
Jay loved every bit of what was in that duffel bag...two "vintage" Angels hats, a patriotic Angels hat (shown in picture), a Torii Hunter t-shirt, a fleece blanket, and a bunch of other little keepsake goodies that made him smile. But the best gift that brought tears to Jay's eyes was the authentic, AUTOGRAPHED, Garret Anderson baseball bat. "GA," as he is called, is one of Jay's favorite players that has been with the Angels organization for about 17 years or so. Jay was blown away at the fact that he had GA's bat. His reaction was priceless.



After we got all cleaned up, I had Jay and the dogs sit in our front yard so I could take a birthday picture. I love this photo. I think I will frame it. We didn't get to go to the park as planned for picture taking, but I thought this was a nice compromise.
As for the rest of the day, we went to the movies and saw the new James Bond movie, "Quantum Solace." We then followed that up with a nice dinner and then dessert and more gifts at my friend Karen's house. She had made her famous salsa for Jay as a gift....great idea as he says he could drink that stuff through a straw, he loves it so much. And then we had ice cream cake from Cold Stone (delicious) and played a card game and then Jay and Karen's husband Tony played hockey on the Wii.
Overall, I think this was one of the most special birthday's Jay has ever had. It was a special day for me. I was present and conscious in every single moment, knowing that this day would be filled with great memories.
Happy Birthday, my beloved Jaybird! I thank the Lord for you. I will love you for all eternity!



Friday, November 14, 2008

A Special Day...

Tomorrow is Jay’s 43rd birthday. I’m going to try to make it a fun day for him. He had a break from chemotherapy this week…not because it was his birthday, but the scheduled break just happened to fall on the week before his birthday.

He has been trying to get outside as much as possible these past few days. The weather has been sunny and in the 80s here in good ol' California. He is still experiencing quite a bit of pain, but the pain medications make it tolerable for him so he can get out of the house. He can’t hike around the lake and fish like he used to, but he can at least get out and enjoy some time outside.

Tomorrow, I am hoping to be able to take him to a park where I can take some more recent pictures of him. He doesn’t really like to pose for the camera, but I don’t care, I make him do it anyway. It took until I was 38 years old to figure out that taking pictures and making memories are important in life, so I’m making up for lost time…as much as possible anyway. So, hopefully by Monday, I will have some pictures to post.

I just want Jay’s birthday to be special, and I’m sure we won’t do anything spectacular, but our time together will be just that…special. I will do everything in my power to see to it that it is.

Blessings on your weekend everyone!


Jamie

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day Salute

I salute all the men and women who serve our country so that we may remain free. I salute all of the men and women who sacrificed their lives in the pursuit of freedom. You are all worthy of our praises. I may be one person, but I am one person who loves her country and supports her troops! I thank you all for truly having a servant's heart. Thank you for my freedom to be myself...freedom to hang a flag from my house...freedom to pray for my troops. I pray for your safety...Godspeed.

And taking a cue from another blog that I read this morning...there are other men, women and children who are in a different kind of war...the war against cancer. Whether you are the patient, caregiver, family member, or friend...you are in the battle of your lives and I salute the "veteran" warriors that you are. You may not be fighting for the freedom of a country, fighting to free prisoners of war, or fighting terrorism...but YOU are... WE are...waging a war against a disease that robs us of our freedom to live a normal life.

If you are a patient with cancer, you are fighting for survival, fighting for freedom from disease, fighting for a renewed body. Please stay strong. I salute you!

If you are a caregiver, you are fighting for your loved one's dignity, fighting for freedom from HMOs, hospitals and doctors, fighting to create a new life for your loved one, fighting for a good night's rest, fighting for just one moment without thinking about cancer, fighting for that one last special moment with the one you love. I salute you!

If you are a family member or friend, you are fighting to support the patient and caregiver in whatever way you can. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. I salute you!

To the veterans of war, I will forever be grateful for your sacrifice.

To the "veterans" of the war on cancer, I am proud to be your comrade; I am honored to be fighting with all of you to one day WIN THIS WAR.

And finally, to those "veterans" that have lost their lives in the cancer battle; without your paving the way, technology would not be where it is today. Please know that your death was not in vain. You were a hero to many for your bravery. Your sacrifice has helped others to live longer lives. I salute you!

God bless you all!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Goodness

What I have found in this process of dealing with the constant cancer battle is this…people just want to help. They have no clue what to do to help the situation, but all they know is that they just want to extend a hand of assistance. But when the question is posed, “What can I do to help?” or “What do you need?” - I have no idea what to say!

It’s frustrating because I want help but what I need help with, no one can take care of for us. I want Jay’s cancer to go away. I want his pain to go away. I want him to have a long, healthy life. I want to stay home and be with my husband instead of having to work. What I want and/or need cannot be fulfilled by man or woman.

Somehow I think that the Lord has planned it to be this way. He often reminds me that my help comes from Him. He is the only One that can grant any of my “wants.” But as His plan unfolds, I understand why some of my “wants” are not being granted. Little by little, He reveals parts of His plan to me so that I may receive His peace in my heart. Sometimes, He pulls back the veil just enough for me to gain strength from obtaining His perspective. This allows me to trust Him. And I do trust Him…even when I don’t exactly know how I’m feeling about this situation.

It’s funny…there are some days when I know exactly how to respond when someone asks me how I’m doing…the answer?...“I’m fine, thank you, how are you?” But there are days, like today, when I am emotional and I don’t know what to say when that question is asked. There is a part of me that wants to just say, “How do you think I am? My husband has cancer!” But people truly are being genuine of heart and I don’t want to squash that with my unsteady emotions. Instead, I find myself holding in my emotions and just trying to put the brave smile on my face and say, “I’m fine.” I even find, on the rare occasion when I open up and reveal what is really going on in my heart, myself consoling the person I am sharing information with because they feel bad for asking me how I’m doing. LOL It actually does make me chuckle because it’s as if for a moment, the burden shifts from me to them.

I just love that people can be so good. I love that they truly do want to help carry the burden since they can’t take it away from us. I love that in my little bubble; I am safe and I have many to turn to. That is a blessing from the Lord.

Thank You, Lord, for Your unwavering goodness towards me. I love You!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Everything Has Its Time

To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NKJV

Now, for most people over the age of 30 (at least), when you read that scripture from Ecclesiastes 3 in the bible, you start humming the tune to the song that The Byrds released circa 1965, “To everything, turn, turn, turn; there is a season, turn, turn, turn; and a time to every purpose under heaven.”

But the meaning to that scripture is much deeper than that song can convey. That scripture is spoken from God telling us that there is a perfect time for every single thing here on earth. Every moment that we spend on this earth is meant to carry meaning as the Lord teaches us through each positive and negative circumstance in our lives. There is a right time to be sad, and a right time to be happy…there is a right time - it is in God’s time.

Whether the circumstances were brought about by the Lord to test our faith or from our own life choices and the Lord has chosen to allow a lesson to be learned from what we have brought upon ourselves; still, it is all in the Lord’s timing.

I have been reflecting on my life these past couple of years and the battle that my husband and I have been in for so long, and I have wondered, “How long will this go on, Lord?” I admit – I am weary. And if I am weary, Jay must be plain exhausted…and yet he still remains a warrior. He is so amazing to me. But the amount of time this goes on is insignificant...what is the Lord teaching me in the process? That is what is most important. What am I learning? To wait on the Lord and allow HIS time to be fulfilled.

I can’t even remember what it was like BC (Before Cancer). I pray that the day will come when Jay doesn’t have cancer, but I don’t know if that day will ever come. I trust the Lord to make that decision for us…no matter how weary I may get…I still trust the Lord. I know what the doctors have to say about all of this, and I can speculate how long my guy will be able to fight the good fight before the cancer has the final say-so; but, ultimately, God will take all that is meant for bad and make it good, so even if I don’t get the answer that I want to my prayers; I know that the Lord has the greater understanding as to why it cannot be that way for us.

Even if it appears that there is nothing good on this earth, there really is good, but I await the day when I will have nothing to worry about ever again. As it says in Revelation 21:4-5 “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.…Behold, I make all things new.…for these words are true and faithful.”

In heaven, there will be nothing bad! Praise God!

I took all of the negatives out of Ecclesiastes 3, and you can just imagine being in heaven…and look at what we can look forward to:

There will be a time:

· To be born (again)
· To plant
· To heal (full restoration)
· To build up
· To laugh
· To dance
· To gather stones
· To embrace
· To gain
· To keep
· To sew
· To speak
· To love
· There will be a time of peace.

Peace. Peace for all who believe. The peace that surpasses all understanding; that can only come from the Lord.

I think of all of us who are enduring some kind of trial right now. In trials we are made strong…even when we don’t feel strong, the Lord gives us the strength to persevere if we will only trust Him. Our times, good and bad, are in God’s hands…if we allow Him to work in our lives.

I trust His handy work…will you?

Almighty Father, thank You for speaking to my heart today. I pray, once again, please take this cancer from my husband’s body. I come boldly to Your throne and I am asking for another miracle. Nothing is beyond Your power. I pray that You will restore Jay’s body here on earth. Just as Jesus asked, “If it is possible, let this cup pass from me”…I too ask, let this cup pass…but nonetheless, not my will, but YOURS be done. I trust that You know what is best for me and for Jay. You are the sovereign God and it is Your will that I want more than my own selfish desires. I place us in Your hands. Give us Your wisdom, Your peace, and Your love. I praise You, my Father. In Jesus name. Amen.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Let Your Voice Be Heard...VOTE!

I'm not usually a political person, but this election between Obama and McCain has got me all excited! Not necessarily in a good way, either. I am concerned for our future and the candidate that gets voted in today has a HUGE responsibility on their shoulders. They need to pull us out of the "deep end" and help the United States to rebound. That's no small thing!

Everybody wants change but I don't know that anyone is really ready for some of the bigger changes that are looming if certain candidates are elected into office, and if certain propositions are passed. I have cast my vote and I will eagerly await to see what the rest of the nation has to say. If I am out-voted, I will be in heavy prayer for our nation.

One of my big issues of concern is who will step up to increase the revenue given to researchers to find a cure for cancer...any cancer...all cancer???! All I can say is whoever is elected today better keep their word and put their money where their mouth is!! The statistics speak for themselves; 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will have some type of cancer in their lifetime. Those are such sad statistics.

But, regardless of who is chosen as our president, the Lord still reigns over all the earth for those who choose to believe it...and no matter what, we believers are going to be fine! The state of the world today was prophetically written in the bible, so we are even closer to Jesus' return. I look forward to that day because then I won't have to worry about anything ever again. No tears, no fear, no worries in heaven. I will never think of earth and evil again when that day comes! Oh how I long for that day to come!

Heavenly Father, YOU ALONE reign over this earth. I pray that the right candidate will be chosen for president. I pray that this election fulfills YOUR plan. Be with us, Lord. Protect us. Draw us closer to You. Thank You that You are not willing that any should perish, but I long for the day when I will see You face-to-face. I praise Your Holy Name. Amen.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A True Friend

In this season of my life, I have found that it is imperative to take a look at who I surround myself with and determine who it is that I can rely on in my time of need. For anyone who has a loved one that is suffering from cancer...or any disease for that matter...and they are the caregiver for that loved one, a support system must be in place in order to maintain a sense of balance...or just a sense of sanity. LOL

Well, I have a wonderful support system in place and there are many people who have stepped up to the plate and offered their love and prayers and well wishes...but I have one friend in particular that has been with me every step of the way throughout Jay's illness. No matter how hard it is for Karen to sit and listen to me as I describe the effects of Jay's cancer and chemotherapy treatment and side effects, she still sits and listens with a sympathetic ear and even tears in her eyes on some occasions. It's not easy being the one who gets the weight shifted upon them as a friend leans heavily for that support. I've been the sympathetic ear many times over, but this is the first time in my life that I've ever truly needed the ear perked towards me.

Karen has been my "person"...you know, the one you go to for all of the events of your life, good or bad, and you share most, if not all, of the details with them because you know that you can trust them with everything...well, Karen has been there since the very beginning of Jay's illness in 2005 when Jay had a colonoscopy and I feared the worst..."cancer"...and then the test results came back as "pre" cancer...woohoo!...celebration time!....and then the day of his surgery to prevent the worst case scenario only to come to find out that it really was cancer after all...total bummer...and now what?...chemo, radiation, recurrence, more chemo, more chemo, less chemo, another surgery, supposed remission...and then a third recurrence and now chemotherapy...again.

A true friend is someone who sticks by you no matter the circumstances and not only listens to you, but honestly shares in your grieving and helps to shoulder the burden of your trial...and wants to take it all away and make everything better...and then when they figure out that they can't then they just try to figure out a way to make you smile. Karen is the epitome of a true friend...she takes it upon herself to bless me in whatever way she can...something as simple as making coffee and sharing it with me every morning or pack lunch for both of us so we can sit and chat and pray. She cries sometimes when we talk about Jay and how difficult this recurrence of cancer has been for both of us. She feels our pain deep in her heart. Do you even know what a tremendous blessing that is?

I am not worthy of such a wonderful friend, but the Lord has answered my prayers with the gift of Karen. I praise the Lord for loving me so much as to provide me with a sort of "God with skin." Karen knows exactly how to draw me back in when my emotions have gotten the best of me. She is quick to bring me back to the Lord when I have started to drift. If I forget about the grace of God and just how wonderful and faithful He is; Karen reminds me...this is the mark of a TRUE FRIEND.

My Karen, never forget just how special you are. God has created such a lovely and wonderful person in you. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being such a loyal friend. Thank you for pouring God's love out upon me and Jay. You are a precious treasure. I honestly do not know where I would be today if the Lord hadn't blessed my life with your love and friendship. Praise God for His faithfulness...you are my friend...you are my Sister. I love you very much.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Battle Rages On...

It has been a while since I have written...life has been...well...busy to say the least. Jay's cancer has returned in a big way. He has many tumors in the lymph system in his abdomen for which he is receiving chemotherapy. This time it's totally different. The chemo is harsh and Jay's body is less tolerant this go-round. But Jay, the uber-trooper, battles on and endures through the pain and nausea. I am so proud of him...but sometimes wonder how much more will he be able to take? I will battle along side him for as long as he wants to be a warrior.

Throughout our ups and downs, I have allowed the Lord to minister to me through the beautiful lives of my friends and family. My church family has gathered around us to stand in the gap and pray, pray, pray. I am grateful to God for all of them. It is only by faith that I am able to handle everything that I am seeing with Jay's recurrence of cancer.

Maybe I'm not right in how I look at this, but when he hurts; I hurt...when he is weak; I am weak...his cancer does not just happen to him. I may not have the actual disease in my body, but I certainly have experienced everything he has. The frustration of watching him be so sick from the chemo and him not being able to even get out of the house to do the things he loves to do. The things that take his mind off of the disease that seems hungry to take over his body. The disappointment of having to take so many medications just to sustain his comfort level...which is not always that comfortable. I live all of that with him. I wish I could just take it all away.

In those times when I feel discouraged, I know that I can turn to the Lord for my strength and courage. God gives me everything I have need of to wage this war against cancer. He gives me the smile on my face that I know will warm my husband's heart. He gives me the words of encouragement to give to Jay when he is down. He gives me the absolute love in my heart that I can pour out on my beloved so he will know that he is not alone in any of this and he can be assured that I will fight to the very ends of the earth for his well-being. It is by God alone that any of this happens. Every moment is precious, every memory is a treasure, his life is my life and mine his; that is a gift from God alone.

Thank you, Father, for your unconditional and unending love for us!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

My Favorite Little Girl

In the midst of all of the trials that I am going through...I neglected to mention one of the positive things going on in my life.  Shame on me.

I have a beautiful 11 year old niece, Alyissa, and she is the light of my life.  I haven't gotten to see her very often in her 11 years, but she won me over the day she was born and has been my favorite ever since.  I absolutely adore this little girl...young lady...well, whatever, she has my heart. 

Alyissa is at the tender age where the world can influence her either negatively or positively...that's it...there are only two ways to go.  Well, I won't let the negative influences of this world get to my girl.  I want her to grow up knowing just how special she is and that nothing can stop her from accomplishing all that she dreams of. 

There have been people in her life that have given her the impression that she isn't good enough...that because she doesn't have the right clothes or the family isn't rich then she is less of a person because of it...thus shaking her confidence in herself.  That makes me so angry!  People are always so eager to put other people down so they can make themselves feel more superior...well I'm not going to allow that to happen to Alyissa...not on my watch!!  

I remember when I was her age...I know what all of the negative did to me.  I will do everything I can to help her realize that it isn't her fault that other people are judgmental.  She needs to know that she can be herself...and NO MATTER WHAT...she will be loved.

Okay, so here's the situation...my Mom...Alyissa's Grandma...takes care of her.  Almost since the time Aly was born.  And for a number of years now, my Mom has had custody of her 100% of the time.  Well, my Mom has made a huge sacrifice to do this.  She didn't have to, but she saw the need for it and set her life aside to take care of this little girl.  I am so proud of my Mom for that sacrifice she has made.  But Mom is getting to the point where she needs help with AlyAly has her own opinions of how life should go...and we all know what happens as little girls turn into teenagers.  Yikes!  So Mom needs a 'wing man'...or 'wing woman'...LOL.  That's where I come in.

I've been talking to my Mom about moving closer to me so that we can raise Aly together as a team.  I know that once Aly gets a little older...the challenges become far greater than what I think my Mom will be able to handle.  She did it once with my brother and I, but I am not certain...with all of the challenges of the teenagers of today...that my Mom is going to be able to deal with it.  Anyway, my Mom has now purchased a home in my city...just a few miles away...and they will be moving out here TOMORROW! 

I will be able to see my little girl as often as I like!  Mom too...[sorry Mom...I'm excited that you will be here too. LOL]  But I am really looking forward to being a more positive influence in Alyissa's life.  We get along so well and I love that she feels safe with me and comfortable to be herself.  That is what I want for her. 

I prayed for a long time to be a Mom...but it just was not going to happen with my husband and I.  And I understand now, through our current circumstances, why we don't have children.  But, in a way, this is an answer to my prayers because I can be a 'Spiritual Mom' just as well as I can be a real Mom.  I can give Aly the guidance and love necessary for her growth as a human being...and that fulfills my maternal instincts, thus filling the hole in my heart.  Leaving a legacy is very important to me, and now I have an opportunity to do just that. 

Praise God for answered prayers. 

Aly, I love EXACTLY who you are!  I am so happy that I will get to spend more time with you.  I am excited for the times to come.  You are my precious girl.  I love you very much...ALWAYS.  Love, Auntie

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

One Step At A Time...

Hello Everyone,

It has been a while since I have written...a lot has been going on.  Jay being cancer free was short-lived.  The Lord is allowing his cancer to return.  But I can tell you; it was a much needed break from cancer world, no matter how short-lived it was.  Those few weeks allowed us to catch our breath so we are prepared to do battle again.  We've been here before so it wasn't much of a surprise when we got his test results back this week confirming what we already knew.  Jay's attitude is pretty positive...he's bummed out...but we knew that it was a good possibility that it would come back.  He will return to City of Hope next week on Friday for a consultation with a surgeon to remove this tumor which is located at his tailbone.  I don't know if it is ON his tailbone but it is in his lymph node, so that can't be all that great.  I have a ton of questions for the surgeon.  I'm making my list now.  Like, couldn't they have seen this when they were in there just a few months ago?  I won't make myself crazy thinking of all the things they "should've" done...the Lord has this.  I feel a peace about this.  God is so mightily at work in our lives.  I couldn't do this without the love and peace that can only come from the Creator of Life.  My Jaybird is in the hands of the Lord. 

And to add to our trials...Jay's father, Russ, was just diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this past weekend and is having surgery at this very moment to try to remove the tumor.  Obviously, we know that pancreatic cancer is one of the worst types of cancers to get, but the Lord is with Russ and He has met him face-to-face.  As a matter of fact, Dad just gave his life to the Lord yesterday.  Praise God!!  He now receives the gift of heaven and all of the promises of the Lord.  No matter the outcome of this illness, God will restore his body one day and there will be no more suffering.  But praise the Lord that I will see my father-in-law in eternity.  That does my heart good!

For those who are praying for us...thank you for your faithfulness.  I will be writing more often now, as the Lord leads...

Thank You, Lord, for the peace that forever resides in my heart because I have the gift of salvation!  I commit my family to You and pray that Your hand would be upon them. I praise Your holy name!!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

God's Miracles and Mercy

This whole miracle thing has had me befuddled, bewildered, and just plain confused...

Let me explain a little better...Jay's scan came back clean.  The miracle carries on!  Praise the Lord.  And this entire time of Jay's recovery, (and let's face it...mine too.) I have been in awe of what God has chosen to do for us...give us a cure...give us a break...give us LIFE!  Throughout the nine weeks since Jay's surgery, I have asked the Lord, "Why would you give us this miracle?"  Yes, I'm sure it's crazy to ask the Lord a "why" question when He has given me a gift from His heart.  But, actually, I'm not crazy at all.  Yesterday, the answer was made very clear to me in a message given by one of the pastors at my church. 

He spoke of Thomas, of "Doubting Thomas" fame, and how Thomas got his name.  Thomas was not afraid to ask the silly, trivial, or even dumb questions.  He was not prideful and afraid of looking stupid.  He was dedicated to the calling of Jesus.  He was willing to follow Jesus wherever He went in order to proclaim Him as the Messiah.  Thomas was willing to die for his savior.  When the disciples couldn't make sense of anything and they were too afraid to ask the necessary questions, Thomas was not afraid to step up and say that he was confused.

Jesus was crucified on the cross and His body was finally laid to rest in the tomb and the disciples were to try and carry on without their Leader.  The disciples were assembled one day and Jesus appeared to them...all except Thomas.  When the disciples told Thomas about Jesus appearing to them, he was reluctant to believe.  Thomas said, "Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe."  (Luke 20:25b)  Thomas could just not wrap his head around what Jesus had done and that He would be resurrected.

Eight days later, Jesus appeared to the disciples again and this time, Thomas was there!  Jesus went to Thomas and said, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side.  Do not disbelieve, but believe." And then Thomas said, "My Lord and my God!"  Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me?  Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (Luke 20:27-29) 

Thomas' eyes were suddenly opened to see that Jesus was standing before him.  He was able to touch the wounds that Jesus received on his behalf...on all of our behalf!  But my pastor said something so poignant that really pierced my heart...he said, "It was not Thomas touching Jesus' wounds that made Him see that it was the Lord standing before him, but rather, it was Jesus' wounds touching Thomas that opened his eyes and made him believe."  Again, Thomas couldn't wrap his head around it until the wounds of Jesus touched Him.

This is what Jesus has done for me!  It is through the wounds and shed blood of Jesus Christ that I can have this miracle of my husband's cancer being gone...of a life together.  This miracle was for me, not just for Jay, but for ME!  I'm the skeptical one...I'm the one who couldn't wrap my head around it...but Jesus' wounds have touched me...and continue to touch me so that I might believe with my whole heart that He died just so that I could receive this gift of life. 

Thank you, my Jesus...my Savior...my Lord...my God!  I love you.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Life Continues On...

Today, Jay has a PET/CT scan...many thoughts go with that, but in the interest of taking my thoughts captive, I will just say that the Lord is faithful and leave the planning of my husband's life to Him. 

For those of you who are praying for my Jaybird...please pray that it is a clean scan...no signs of cancer...but ultimately, the Lord's will be done.

As for me...this is a time of refreshment...no, it has nothing to do with eating...LOL...but it has everything to do with me getting closer to the Lord and refreshing my soul.  I have to admit that the past two and a half years have been really exhausting...but with this break that the Lord has given to us, I am now looking to rebuild my strength and for the Holy Spirit to be replenished within me. 

I have joined a new ministry at my church.  It is an eight week study called, "Mentoring Matters."  I am being mentored by a wonderful godly woman.  I had my first study last night with a very small and intimate group of six women...seven with the mentor.  It is a special blessing to know that I will be encouraged and sustained by God through these women.  Each one of us is totally unique but we all have the common thread of Jesus Christ that weaves us together.  It is a special time.

I look forward to sharing with everyone about my experiences in this new ministry and how the Lord is speaking to me.  May God receive the glory.

Thank you to everyone for your continued prayers.  I am blessed...my husband is blessed...WE are blessed to have you.

Jamie

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Normal Life?

Hello Everyone!

Yes, I know...it has been a while since I've written in my journal.  I have been living what I THINK is a normal life again.  Praise the Lord.  A life filled with comings and goings for Jay and I...visitations with friends...dates to the movies and dinner...being lazy on the couch and watching TV...just LIFE.  A life without hospitals...worry about the effects of chemo...just LIFE.  How wonderful it is!!

Well, today we have a consultation appointment with Jay's oncologist here in our local town...no more City of Hope for now...just regular check ups with the original oncologist who wouldn't touch Jay with a 10 foot pole as far as surgery went...he promised that Jay would bleed out on the table if he sent him to have surgery.  WRONG AGAIN DOC!  I'm interested to see what he has to say as he looks at Jay and sees how well he is doing.  That should be sort of fun.  I know, I shouldn't find joy in proving to someone that they were wrong...but in a way...I will be happy to watch him squirm a little.  LOL

Jay and I have been talking lately about whether he thinks that chemotherapy is the way to go to follow up the surgery.  Jay has been wavering.  It's his decision all the way.  If he's not ready, fine with me!  I think he is looking at waiting for the first scan to happen sometime in July or August and see what it presents and then go from there.  If he really is cancer free, the first scan should come back clean...and then hopefully the next...and then the next...but we have no way of knowing.  Only God knows.  I'm leaving it to Him.  I am just overjoyed at the fact that my honey is looking so good and healthy again.  He actually has a wonderful color to his face and almost a glow.  He says that he didn'tven realize that his face was so discolored from the effects of chemo and the cancer.  But he looks in the mirror now and realizes what "healthy" looks like.

So, for now and prayerfully forever, I get to live a normal life.  I am making the transition into living again.  New adventures, new people, new life...that is the best blessing ever...NORMAL!

I pray that everyone is doing well.  I didn't realize how much I've missed communicating with you all.  Have a wonderfulday!  And I promise to write again soon.

Jamie

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Changing Direction

Okay, so here it is...the BIG question...

How do you switch gears from preparing for a loved one's death to suddenly looking at the possibility of spending a lifetime with them?  I have spent the past several days pondering this very question.  The Lord revealed a completely different plan to us a few weeks ago and now I am having trouble making the transition.  I have experienced every emotion possible.  I have been overwhelmed with joy, felt the sorrow for people who still face the cancer battle, feared the cancer coming back again, and now I'm in the "Now what do I do, Lord?" phase. 

A few months ago, Jay and I were making the "bucket list" of things to do before he died.  Today, we are faced with the very real possibility of him having to go back to work.  I know...I know...what a great dilemma to be in!  And it is!  Trust me, I count it a blessing.  It is just difficult because my head is still spinning and my heart overflowing from the turn of events.

I suppose more time has to go by before I will know which path the Lord has for us next.  Until then...I will stay the course until the Lord changes the direction of our path again.  I trust that He is capable to be the Leader...I am good with just being the follower.

God bless.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Survivor's Guilt?

A very unusual thing has been happening these past couple of days...I have been experiencing several different emotions after finding out that my husband is cancer free.  I've been thinking about those people in the hospital that weren't getting to go home just yet, or wouldn't ever go home...and the overwhelming feeling of sadness has been felt deep in my heart.  Could it be survivor's guilt???

And today, a co-worker of mine who has been facing the same struggles as me for quite some time because his wife has been battling cancer, has lost his beautiful wife to the disease.  And I feel that deep in my heart too...not because I knew his wife, but because I understood this man's trial and what he was going through... that is, until now.  

The Lord spared my husband and took his wife.  Please don't get me wrong...I totally understand that the Lord has a plan for each of us and I trust that when someone's time is up and the Lord calls them home, it fulfills the Lord's perfect plan.  The Lord holds the number of our days in His hands.  But, here is what I'm having a struggle with...how on earth did I get so blessed?  Why would the Lord choose to spare me and my husband and not the next person?  I will never be able to figure it out, but I am overwhelmed at the fact that the Lord has given me such a gift...and shown me such mercy.  I am overjoyed to the point of being dumbfounded!  Truly GOBSMACKED!...or GODsmacked!

We are told in the bible not to lean on our own understanding, but in all our ways, acknowledge God and He will direct our paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)  Well, I am acknowledging that I don't have a bit of understanding as to what the Lord's plan is for us...but I am so blessed that it involves spending more time with my Jay.

I'm not to try and figure out God...it will never happen anyway...I am to simply live moment to moment and know in my heart that God is in control of everything...and He absolutely is!

Lord, a thank you will just never be enough...

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sweet Sounds

Well...we made it!  We are home now...and I couldn't be any happier.  I'm sitting here in my living room and all I hear is birds chirping and my husband snoring...two of the sweetest sounds. 

I'm totally enjoying the peace I feel at this moment.  There are no sounds of monitors beeping, nurses talking in the hallways, patients calling for help, food delivery carts clumsily making their way through the hospital...I could go on and on.  How is it that anyone actually heals in the hospital??  It's not like anyone gets any rest!  Every 20 minutes or so someone is coming in to take vitals, change a bandage, attend to the IV machine, etc.  By the end of our stay, I was ready to become a linebacker and just tackle anyone that walked through the door to disturb our rest.  LOL

But, even with all of the annoyances that come with staying in the hospital...I must say my gratitude outweighs any other emotion that I may have felt. 

My heart still goes out to those who have to remain at the hospital for any number of reasons that they are there in the first place.  The lady next door to us that came all the way out from Austin, Texas for her surgery and treatments...the older woman across the hall from us who didn't look so good when we left.  I pray that the Lord would just cover them with His love and comfort as they endure what it is that they are going through.  One of the doors in our unit was closed the entire time with a sign on it that said,"STOP! No entry except for doctors and nurses who absolutely must enter."  I don't even have a clue as to who was in that room...man or woman...but I pray that they are not alone in there.

I am just so thankful to the Lord for allowing me to be able to bring my honey home and in somewhat better shape (minus the cancer; plus staples) than when we went in.  I still can't believe that the Lord has given us this miracle of time.  I pray that we never take it for granted.

I want to say thank you to those of you who diligently read my blog and leave me comments of encouragement.  I want you all to know that I truly appreciate your thoughtfulness and I hope to begin leaving comments on your blogs again as well.  Life has just been a bit hectic and I haven't had much energy for much else but being there for my guy. 

Kelly - I still have Kimmie on my heart.  I think of her often, and wish that she could still be here so that I could share our victory.  She would've been so pleased to know that Jay has won this round of the battle.  But I am so happy that I have you to share my ups and downs with.  I think of you and pray for you often.  I gather much strength from you because you have gone through the toughest part of this disease and have remained a very strong and courageous person.

Betty - thank you for your words of love and encouragement.  You are always faithful to lift me up.

Krissy - thank you for sharing your words of encouragement to stay in the battle and be strong in my faith in the Lord to deliver my husband of this disease as he has done for your husband TWICE!  God is amazing...this I know.

AJ - thank you for always being right there with some loving words that lift my spirits up. 

All of you, I have never met, but you have become part of my family.  I love and appreciate each one of you.

And to those friends and family who have stuck by me and Jay and prayed constantly and put us on a million different prayer chains...it is that faithfulness, I know, that has brought about this new season of our lives.  God is faithful to answer the prayers of those who are faithful to seek Him and His will. 

I am in awe of the love that has been shown to us by everyone...those that we know, and those that we don't.  It is proof to me that Jesus is alive and well and living in the hearts of those who believe because that is the kind of love that you cannot keep to yourself...it must be shared...poured out in immeasurable amounts.

God bless you all.

Jamie

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Heading Home

Hello All,

Jay has been doing very well the past couple of days, so the hospital says it is time to go home.  Praise the Lord!  They actually wanted to send him home today, but Jay asked for an additional day just to be safe.  I'm glad he did because I would hate to get home and have something go wrong.  So, here we are at City of Hope for the last night.  We should be out of here in the morning.

Jay has been a good boy and has done his exercises and walked the halls and done all that he was told to do and our reward is to be able to go home.  I miss my bed...and I know that Jay does too.  The people here have been perfectly nice and done a great job of taking care of my guy, but I can't wait to get him home. 

In my celebration for the fact that we get to leave soon, I can't help but have a heavy heart for those that have to remain here because they are too sick to go home.  We have walked the halls and seen who is doing well and who is not.  My heart goes out to all of them.  The struggle that they are going through to get well, or at least to have some small measurement of normalcy is something that we have gone through, but we get a break for now...I pray the same for them.  If  I could just take all of their pain away, I would in a heartbeat.  Cancer is a disease that can rob someone of everything they have and I know that we all go through trials for a reason, but in my ideal world...no one would have to go through having to endure cancer.

For those of you who are praying for me and Jay...please take a moment to thank the Lord for our miracle, but also lift up the patients here at City of Hope, that they would receive the same blessing.  Anything is possible with God, so if we all help to carry the burden of the patients here, God will listen.  He is faithful to deliver.  Prayer changes situations...and collectively, we could pray this disease away.  Pray in faith.

Thank you to all who have prayed for us.  I cannot express to you enough how much I appreciate your open hearts.  God is listening...please continue to pray.

With Much Love,

Jamie

Thursday, April 24, 2008

God Delivers

Well, the past 24 hours have been filled with lots of ups and only a few downs...Jay has been given a miracle...they seem to have gotten all of the cancer out of his abdomen.  Praise the Lord!  He has been in some pain, but nothing that a few different kinds of pain killers couldn't handle...he has been up and sitting in a chair and has taken a few steps in the room...he has done amazingly well...except right now he is having a fever spike...101.8...not really sure why that is, but we are all watching him closely.  He says that he doesn't feel bad, just HOT.  So, here I sit in the room with him...placing cold rags on his forehead and on the back of his neck.  Doctors don't seem too alarmed...it's fairly common to get a fever after such an invasive surgery...so it's not time to panic...just time to give it to the Lord and do my job...be by my man's side. 

So, a miracle has been given to us...nothing surprising because God is capable of absolutely anything...but I am overwhelmed that it appears that my honey gets a break from this disease.  The doctors have said that they were able to get it all...they are confident in that fact.  There is a part of me that still wonders if this is just for a season...but regardless...God is in control and it doesn't matter that we've heard it before, "We got it all..." I am celebrating this miracle in this moment...God is so good.

For those that are praying...please pray that Jay is not developing anything serious and that the fever goes away and there are no setbacks.  But most importantly, in your prayers...thank Him for the miracle of time.

May the Lord receive all glory and praise!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Leaning on FAITH

It has been a few weeks since I have written...we've been on the roller coaster again...Jay has been experiencing a great deal of pain.  Possibly a hernia...or the tumors are doing something...we won't know - until tomorrow, that is.  Jay is scheduled for surgery tomorrow morning.  I don't know what time, but it's first thing in the morning.  On top of the pain that Jay has been feeling, a little over a week ago, Jay came down with the stomach flu.  Ahhh!  That was awful!  He got severely dehydrated and we ended up spending three out of the four days of him being sick in urgent care with him receiving IV fluids.  It was a rough few days...no sleep for either of us.  We were both just exhausted.  I don't know that I've actually recovered from that to tell you the truth.  I'm still exhausted.  But it could just be because of all of the preparation for what is about to happen tomorrow.  Tomorrow, our lives will change...no ifs, ands or buts about it...life will change.  It will either change because the doctors were able to eradicate the cancer from Jay's abdomen completely...or it will change because they couldn't.  Only time will tell.  I am trying to wrap my head around the whole thing, but it seems impossible to do.  What it comes down to is this...FAITH.  I have faith that God led us to City of Hope...in order to provide us with hope.  I have faith that no matter what the outcome, God is by our side, and not only that, he is carrying us.

The Lord gave me a scripture this morning and what a gift it is!  James 5:15 "And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up."

I will pray in faith that my honey will come through with little to no complications.  I will pray in faith that the Lord will reveal His plan to me tomorrow.  Healing may or may not come...it is my hope and desire for healing to come and I have faith that the Lord can deliver my husband of this illness...but I will pray for the Lord's will to be done because it is His will that I seek.  If His will is for my Jay to be healed; it will be so. 

I do not know when I will write again...I am going to be by my guy's side and keep him company.  If I feel up to it...I will write again soon.  For those of you who are praying for us...please pray for the Lord's will to be done, for peace and comfort for us, and for healing for Jay.  We are in need of much prayer.

God Bless You.

Jamie

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Making The Turn

Well...the last week or so has been a bit overwhelming.  Jay and I went to City of Hope to see the surgeon again...we weren't sure what was going to happen at that appointment.  We imagined the best scenarios and then the worst in order to prepare our hearts for what we were going to hear from him.  Were they going to say, "Sorry Mr. Hare, there isn't anything that we can do for you after all" or  was it going to be something more positive?  Well...it was a definite positive!  The doc told us that my Jay is a pretty healthy young man and that surgery is the best option to try and eradicate this disease that is in his body.  Yes, there is a potential that there could be further complications once they get in there...the cancer could have grown and attached itself to an organ such as the bladder and they may be forced to take a portion or all of it...which, by the way, my husband will not withstand removal of the full bladder...that would not be the best quality of his life...but, the doc says that the chances of this happening are about 5%...okay, the surgery would be worth it so far...other complications could be a lot of scar tissue blocking the area that they need to get into and they may not be able to get to where they are going...and one other thing that was identified is that they will be working in the area of the prostate so there is potential for damage there...scary, but still worth giving it a try. 

We have gone from having basically a zero percent chance of Jay surviving this disease overall to about a 70% chance that with this surgery he could be cured or at least in remission for a while.  70% people!!  That is huge!  Praise God!  So now Jay and I are having to take a look at our lives as they were a few weeks ago with no real hope to speak of and  now we can see that there is a chance that Jay's life could actually change and he may have several years left...like 50!  I may actually have the opportunity to grow old with my honey!  God is so amazing!  He is steady and consistent all the time so I shouldn't be surprised that we have been given this miracle of time...but still I am in awe that my God loves us so much that He would even consider giving us such a gift.  This is an amazing unconditional love that you do not get anywhere else but from the Lord. 

So "overwhelmed" is the feeling ofthe week...LOL...we have both been just reeling over changing gears to actually having to think about the possibility of Jay having to go back to work someday in the near future.  Jay, of course, is reluctant to believe that any of this is true...and he is fearful that when all is said and done that this surgery may not have been worth it...but I trust that the Lord is in control of this situation and whatever He has planned for us...I'm following along.  I have been swimming in the Lord's grace and mercy all week since the appointment and this is the first I have been able to write anything about it because I haven't been able to find the words to describe what we are going through. 

There is a great saying that has stuck with me since I heard it about 10 years ago and I don't remember who said it but it goes like this..."The bend in the road is not the end in the road unless you fail to make the turn." 

You could open a million theme parks with all of the "thrill rides" that He puts us on...all of the ups and downs, hairpin turns, and loop-the-loops...but what an amazing experience it is...this ride called life.  I will never regret following the One who makes it all possible. 

Who knows what will happen as a result of this surgery that is scheduled for April 23rd...but here is to "making the turn."  I am on the ride for sure!

Heavenly Father, thank You for the miracle of HOPE.  You make it all possible and I give all of the glory to YOU.  I love you with everything I have.  Watch over my Jay...Your will be done.  In Jesus name.  Amen.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

When life gives you lemons...

 

MAKE LEMONADE!!!

We were given a bunch of fresh lemons the other day so we decided to go out and get a juicer...mmmmmmmmmmm....it was yummy!  But it was a wonderful metaphor for what we happen to be going through at the moment.  What seems to be meant for evil...God is turning into something good.  These are special moments with my honey. 

God bless!

 

Friday, March 14, 2008

A New Day

Hi Everybody,

 

It has been a few days since our appointment with the surgeon and Jay has had time to mull everything over and he has figured out that it will be worth it to endure another surgery if it gives him a shot at a longer life…and even possibly remission and/or cure.  He, of course, didn’t tell me this…I overheard him talking to someone on the phone and saying those words.

 

To me, it’s a no-brainer…a shot at a longer life when your life at 42 years old is being threatened…but I’m not the cancer patient.  I had told him the same day as our appointment that I would support whatever decision that he made.  I don’t want to push him into a surgery that may or may not work and if the worst case scenario happened, I don’t want the blame to come to me.  I want him to know that even if he decided to skip the surgery and just seek the best quality of life for whatever life he has left that I would spend every waking moment trying to make it the best life ever for him. 

 

Well, now that we know that the surgeon wants to do surgery…I thought I’d share what my thoughts were while I was sitting in the waiting room and then the examination room.  I just want others to know that even in the midst of a crises…you can rely on the Lord’s strength and power to get through it.

 

Journal Entry - 03/10/08…It’s a weird feeling sitting in a cancer hospital waiting room…looking around to try and determine which are the cancer patients and which are the caretaker/family members…you know, cancer doesn’t look like it did even five years ago…some patients don’t lose their hair or lose weight…it’s just not easy to tell anymore…if you look at my Jay, you wouldn’t know that he was a cancer patient…he just looks like a normal guy…thinning hair, but otherwise pretty normal…and foxy if you asked me…LOL.

 

It is a strange feeling knowing that a doctor is going to come into this examination room and determine my husband’s fate…but it’s a good feeling to know that God is looking out for us no matter what and it is He that truly determines our fate.

 

I am putting my trust in God for this day and this moment…and then moment-by-moment I will consciously make the choice to allow this to work for our good…I no longer want to try and guess what God has in store for us…I used to think of it as a sort of game to see if I could figure out God’s plan before He revealed it…well, doing that is a kind of sin because it means that I’m not sitting back and letting God be God…trying to figure out His next move is detrimental to my spirit because, first, I’m missing out on His blessings and His lessons if I’m trying to anticipate a move on His part, second, I am allowing the enemy to fill my mind with lies because I can never guess totally correctly what is on God’s mind and in His plan, and thirdly, I am allowing my joy in my circumstances be taken away because I’m too busy trying to be the prophet that I am NOT instead of being obedient to sit back and WAIT on the Lord.

 

If this doctor comes in today and says that surgery is not an option, I am to KNOW that it was not a part of the Lord’s plan for us…and not only know, but TRUST that God is in control.  His plan is better than any plan that I can dream up.

 

May the Lord receive the glory for what we are about to experience with this surgery and recovery…Lord, give me strength to be there for my husband and give my Jaybird Your peace that surpasses all understanding and wisdom to know that You are in control.

 

God bless you all.  Thank you for reading my blog.

 

Jamie

 

Monday, March 10, 2008

Jay Update

Hello All,

We met with the surgeon today...we need to go back in a couple of weeks to have more scans done...it looks like surgery is definitely going to happen...well, that is if Jay decides to go forward with it...let's just say he's nervous about having another major surgery and there is no guarantee that his cancer will be cured as a result of it...so we are just taking it all in right now.  We'll know a whole lot more in a couple of weeks...so I'll keep you guys posted.  Thank you for all of the prayers.  I covet them.

God Bless,

Jamie

Friday, March 7, 2008

God Is In The Fast Lane

You definitely don't want to mess with God when He is in the fast lane!  Whhheeww!  My head is spinning...we got the call from the surgeon's office and we have an appointment set for Monday...that would be THIS Monday at City of Hope at 3:00 p.m.  Praise the Lord!  So we will have our consultation and if the surgeon is willing to perform surgery on Jay, who knows! He may perform surgery right there, as fast as the Lord is working!  LOL

Thank you to everyone who is praying for my honey.  Keep it up!!  We need it!  There is power in prayer and I am asking the Lord for a miracle.  My God can do anything, so I am trusting that He can heal my husband if He chooses. 

I will report again after our consultation on Monday.  As for me, I am off to a women's retreat for the weekend to receive the Lord's restoration in my heart, mind, and soul.  May the Lord receive the glory for all that our future holds.

Love to you all!  Have a nice weekend!

Jamie

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

HOPE

This photo says it all for me.  My honey was the recipient of HOPE yesterday.  These people mean business and I am thankful to the Lord for opening the door to City of Hope.

This is the word for the day, the month, the year!!  Praise God!

This place just spews encouragement.  The fountain is beautiful, but check out the sign on the building behind it..."Think Cure" is what it says.

This cherry blossom tree is just simply gorgeous.  In its own way, it creates a hope as well.  I just love it.

Well, yesterday was a blessing.  For the first time, Jay has hope for a cure for his disease.  The doctor at City of Hope was very nice and also very to the point.  He is referring us to a surgeon for a consultation because it is the only way for a possible cure.  CURE PEOPLE!!  Praise the Lord for even the possiblity!!

Dr. Lim told us that we can do chemotherapy forever and it still wouldn't help the situation.  The cancer will always come back and also the chemo will eventually just stop working at all.  So his solution is to send Jay for surgery to remove the one and only peanut-size tumor in his belly and then a small round of chemo afterwards to see if we can get him in remission.  How awesome is that!! 

And when Jay and I discussed, in front of the doctor, our vacation in May and wondered when the surgery would be and how long the recovery would be and what the potential was that we wouldn't be able to take a vacation at all, Jay suddenly thought about it all and got upset and said, "Well, I'm not doing anything until after May!"  Dr. Lim took one look at Jay and locked in on his eyes and said very sternly, "We're in the business of saving your life!  That's why you're here!  If I send you to a surgeon and he says you're going to have surgery next week; you're going to have surgery next week!"  Woohoo!! I loved that!  A doctor with a real passionfor his patient.  That put it in the right perspective for Jay and he surrendered any thoughts of waiting to have surgery. 

It was a great day yesterday.  Jay received hope.  That is all I wanted for him.  He deserves to have some hope. 

So now we wait for the surgeon's office to call with an appointment and we will take the steps necessary to save Jay's life.  I know that this is God's plan for us to be receiving help from City of Hope.  I am so thankful to Him for everything that He is doing on our behalf.

I just love my honey and pray that I have many many years with him. 

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Feeling Thankful

Hello Family and Friends,

I'm not really sure what has triggered this particular emotion, but today I am feeling very thankful.  Thankful for my husband and the fact that I still have him with me.  Thankful for my friend Karen and all my friends who make me smile and bring me such joy.  And thankful for family who support me and Jay unconditionally.  Just thankful...

This morning Jay had a PET/CT scan.  The first one since finding out that the one big tumor that was in his belly in August isn't there anymore.  I am eager...and hopeful...and a little scared to know the results from today.  I want the cancer to be gone so badly.  The great thing is, we will go to City of Hope on Tuesday and have them review the results and give them to us.  We will see what happens.

Jay is officially on a break from chemotherapy for a few months.  If surgery is an option at all and City of Hope wants to perform it, Jay has to be completely off of chemo for at least four weeks.  So far he has been off for two weeks, so this was a good time to take a break.  His body really needs to recover from the side effects.  Jay was so relieved to know that he will have a few months of not having to be injected every other week and not having to take seven chemo pills a day.  It made me happy to see him so relieved.  He really needed that.  And while it still makes me a little nervous that he is not taking the chemo, I am trusting that the Lord will take care of him.  Either way, it's out of my hands.  I just wait...pray...and deal.

As for me...I have Spring fever!!  It is so gorgeous outside today and I am stuck in an office.  I want to go out and play and have fun!  It is difficult to concentrate when I know that Jay is at home tinkering in the garage or off taking TJ for a run in the park.  I want to be there.  But, alas, I cannot.  Total bummer.

I don't care about anything but having more time with my honey.  That's all that matters to me.

Love to all.  Pray for Jay...please.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Enjoying a Quiet Sunday

I want to apologize to everyone who has been asking me for a new entry in my blog.  I can’t explain it, but time seems to just get away from me and the next thing I know, a few weeks have gone by without an entry. 

So the past couple of weeks have been filled by life transforming us.  A few weeks ago, we were being led down the path of life without hope and now we’ve been given permission to live again with our new prognosis gifted to us by our second doctor, but even more important than that…the Lord has given us a miracle.  Jay and I have slowly been allowing ourselves to die and now we are feeling alive again.  And I know that this may not last forever, but I sure am happy that we have more time than we thought.  There is nothing greater than the gift of time.

Anyway, Jay has a PET/CT scan at the end of this month and once we have that information, we are ready to ship our files to City of Hope for review.  I’m not sure when we will actually get to meet a doctor, but I am looking forward to that process.  I’m sure that Jay’s current oncologist has done the best he can given the fact that he is the only oncologist for hundreds, if not thousands, of patients…but it is time to allow doctors who specialize in many areas of oncology to take a look at Jay’s case and see what they can do for us.  It just feels like he will receive better care there and my honey deserves the best care possible.  I want no regrets…and this will help me to not have any regrets through this process.

On another note, my niece Alyissa wrote the most beautiful email today and I must share it with everyone.  She sent an email to my mother, her Grandma who is her caretaker from the age of 6 months until now in her tweenyears, telling her of what she is thankful for.  This is what she said:

what i am thankful for...  iam very thankful for my uncle who shows courage and compation and nothing you say will hold him back. Also for my aunt who has been tough and perfect her whole life.  I am also very very thank ful for my nana she is the sweetest person. But iam esspecally thanful for my grandma who showed me how to care and how to work hard and i love her and no body is like her. She is the most sweetest person and loving as she is. – Alyissa

 

This young lady has such a wonderful heart.  She loves her Uncle Jay, whom she refers to as having courage and compassion.  He is a hero in her eyes, and I have to agree.  And then she mentions her Aunt, that would be me, and I don’t know where she gets the idea that I have lived a perfect life, but I am thankful that she looks up to me at all.  Her Nana, my Grandmother, who has always been a place of refuge for all of the family.  And then Aly mentions my Mom, her Grandmother, who has taken care of her since she was a baby because her parents, my brother and his girlfriend, have never been able to care for Aly the way a child needs to be taken care of.

 

Aly has seen a lot in her lifetime so far and I am impressed at how she has met every challenge in her life head on.  A lot of that has to do with my Mom and how she has helped Aly to cope with her life circumstances.  My Mom has seen a lot in her lifetime so she knows what she is talking about.  Aly has allowed compassion and empathy to reside in her heart and she has an insight into life that I don’t think I ever had at her age…and I went through a lot as well, but still I don’t think that I understood how life works like Aly does.  She is a very special girl.  I am so very proud of her.  I see a lot of me in her but she is definitely stronger, and impressively, she is her own person.  What a comfort to know that there is a person on this earth like her.

 

 

 

 

Thursday, January 31, 2008

City of Hope

Hello All!

Well, we have been blessed once again with the gift of a referral to City of Hope.  We had an appointment with Jay's oncologist the other day and he told us that he was going to refer us to City of Hope for further consultation.  Praise God!  Now this came, of course, after Dr. S spoke to Dr. O (our second opinion doc and new best friend) on the phone.  I believe that this was the true reason why Dr. S has decided to refer us out.  I didn't dare think that I was going to get an admission of guilt for not telling us that the tumor in Jay's lower abdomen was gone!  But, whatever his reason, it does not matter...I just see it as the Lord guiding us to where we need to be in order to get the best care possible for my honey.  Prayer works people!  If you've never tried it...you're missing out!

Anyway, this whole thing seems to have done wonders for my guy.  His spirits are really lifted and he has found motivation to be active again.  It's amazing that if you tell someone that they are really sick, whether they really are or not, they will become sick!  The mind is a strange, mysterious and wonderful thing.  It is a gift and an awesome creation from God.  But, the Lord can transform the mind so that it is not so heavily influenced. 

Greg Laurie, my pastor and a wonderful evangelist once said, "Faith over circumstances; NOT mind over matter."  I have it written on a post-it and stuck to my monitor at work because it is a solid reminder to me that it is the Lord alone who created our minds and we are to be focused on what He has done for us.  It is my faith and not my mind that gets me through this trial.  My circumstances do not make me who I am, it is my faith in a God who walks beside me through it all.  He formed my heart and He resides in me.  He is my strength.

It's hard to say how I would react if I became very sick, and I pray that it never happens...but my bigger prayer would be that the Lord transform my heart and mind to stay focused on Him being in control over everything in my life, including my body, and surrendering it all to Him. 

I am just so grateful to my God that loves us so much.  There is no greater peace and joy.

Father, thank You for a love that is never ending.  I praise Youfor paving the way for Jay and I to go to City of Hope.  I lift the insurance up to you and pray that they would cover it.  I know above all else, YOU will provide.  I lift our circumstances up to You and pray in FAITH that You will help us to overcome our circumstances.  I love You, Lord.  In Your son's precious name.  Amen.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Some Good News

God is a God of HOPE!  Praise the Lord!
 
Well, I can tell you that we've had some pretty good news as of Friday.  We got our second opinion and the opinions of many doctors from the tumor board conference.  Basically, what we found out was that the tumor that was in Jay's lower abdomen in the August scan did not show up in the November scan and pathology report.  Can you say "What??"  And what this means is, Jay's current doctor missed that because he has been telling us that nothing has changed.  The tumor was still there and it wasn't any smaller or bigger so no changes and that meant that the chemo is probably not working.  I don't know what Jay's doctor was thinking when he read the report, but he was wrong. 
 
So, our second opinion doc and our new best friend, read the report to us and showed us the scans so we could see what he was talking about.  Jay and I were so shocked to hear that and we even challenged him and said, "you need to call Dr. S (I will leave his full name out for privacy reasons) and talk to him!"  We wanted clarification and we wanted both doctors to be on the same page.  So we will see what Dr. S has to say on Tuesday because we have an appointment with him.  What did show up on the November scan is a new lesion in Jay's lower left abdomen.  So it is the start of another tumor.  It is possible to have that one removed surgically...which Dr. S told us that he would never recommend surgery again because of the severity of the first surgery.  And our second opinion doc also told us that there are some other forms of treatment and surgery that Jay could be a possible candidate for and one of the procedures could be a potential cure, yes I said cure, for Jay.  That is the first time a doctor has ever mentioned "CURE".  You should've seen Jay's eyes light up.  What a blessing that was!  I haven't seen him like that in so long...well...it was B.C....Before Cancer.
 
Now, of course, we have become very jaded in this process and although we both were given a considerable amount of hope on Friday, we are both really reluctant to put too much of our hearts into it.  But, I have to tell you that it renewed my strength to fight on and I'm pretty sure that it did the same for Jay.  It was just what we needed to carry on. 
 
We were beginning to think that we didn't have any other options.  We even had "the talk" about not knowing how much time we had left together.  That was a toughy.  But we now realize that even if there isn't a possibility of a cure, there is still a very good chance that Jay could live for many more years on chemotherapy alone.  There are so many combinations that we haven't tried and Jay told me that he wants to keep going until he can't any longer.  I have let him know on several occasions that all he needs to do is tell me when he has had enough and I will stop trying to find solutions to this.  I won't stop until then.
 
The bottom line is, the Lord is a God of HOPE and he gave us a miracle on Friday.  The gift of more time.  The Lord is going to work miracles in our lives and I have faith in that and take comfort in it.  It may not be miracles by the world's standards, but I know that my God can accomplish so much with very little.  I am grateful for the fact that He loves my honey enough to give him more chances to live a full life.  We'll see what the Lord has in store for us on this new path that we are journeying.  Praise the Lord for the very small word that evokes miracles...HOPE.
 
Father, I love You and praise You!  Thank You for the miracle of hope.  I love You and surrender everything I have and everything I am to You.  I thank You for the work that You are faithful to complete in me.  May You receive the glory.  In Jesus precious name.  Amen

Thursday, January 17, 2008

When The Lord Answers...

Ephesians 3:20-21 "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." NKJV

When the Lord answers, He answers in a BIG way.  We're seeking a second opinion and the doctor that has offered to give us an opinion for free, has just informed us that he will be presenting Jay's case to a board of doctors next Thursday so that we may receive counsel from not just one, but many doctors.  I don't know how many doctors, but it's more than just one and that makes me so happy.  The Lord really is looking out for my Jaybird and He is showing me, and hopefully Jay, that He is in control of this situation.  I have a peace in my heart that even I, a believer in Christ, don't understand.  And that is exactly how it should be.  I don't know what the consensus will be with these doctors, but I've been praying for the Lord to give us an answer that will really tell us without a shadow of a doubt, what path we should take or if we should accept that there may be nothing further that we can do.  I believe that we will have that answer very soon.  In the meantime, God IS in control and I am leaving it with Him.  He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think!

For those that are praying for us, please pray for the Lord's wisdom for the doctors, peace for Jay, and ultimately the Lord's will be done.