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Sunday, July 31, 2011

So We Continue

It is amazing how life can change so drastically in split seconds. I am still adjusting to a new outlook on life. Since dad's diagnosis I have stepped back and took stock of many things in life. Many things change, but one thing has remained constant. This is my ever present need to trust only in God and rely solely on the life giving power of Jesus Christ.
We have so much to be thankful for. Dad finished the first round of chemo last Tuesday. He has done so well. Even many of the nurses thought he looked just a little too well to be in the oncology ward. The downside to this was dad was feeling a bit stir crazy. He's never been one to sit around. Just a month ago he was cutting down a giant tree in their backyard. Probably not the best idea in hindsight knowing what we know now, but never the less you can see he's always working hard. After a week in the hospital he was ready to be home. The doctor was obviously very cautious about sending him home too early. The risk of infection was still too great. Thursday his blood counts were looking a lot better. On Friday the doctor gave him the green light to head home after one more platelet transfusion. We are all elated. He is still healing and working through some of the side effects of the chemo, but he is a trooper. He will go for an appointment on Monday to check his blood levels again. He should start the second phase of treatment in August. Please continue to pray for his complete healing. I also ask for prayer for renewed strength and energy. Please pray for continued encouragement from the Holy Spirit and friends as the enemy loves to come in when we aren't feeling at our best and speak lies and bring discouragement.
In other great news my parents will celebrate their 31st wedding anniversary on Monday. What a testament of God's love and faithfulness! That is one thing I love about these two. They stick it out through thick and thin. My mom stayed at that hospital every night with my dad. I heard many people comment that maybe she should just go home for a night, but she was not going to leave his side. I know he would do the same for her. I am proud to call them my parents and proud of the representation they are on this earth of the love Jesus has for His people.
I would also like to ask all those who pray to continue to remember our family in prayer. There has been a lot of craziness in life and experiencing all of these things with three young children in tow is not the easiest. Chris has been an awesome husband and taken on a second job so I can be home with the kids. While I am forever grateful for his hard work, it is still difficult as I was spoiled to having his great help in the evenings. The kids also miss having him home more. We are working through this season with joy and perseverance, but sometimes the joy takes a little extra effort!
I appreciate every prayer and kind word that has been spoken to me and my family during this season. It has been an experience that has impacted me and made my love grow deeper for the family of God.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

When God's Ways are Not Our Ways

I am still scratching my head. How did we go from sitting at a chik-fil-a with the kids on a Saturday to a leukemia diagnosis on Monday? The human mind was not made to process these whirlwinds of change. For those who are completely lost a brief summary:
Saturday my mom called to tell us she was taking my dad to the ER. He had been drained all week and started having chest pains and feeling winded. Heart disease runs in his family so he worried he was either having a heart attack or at least some serious blockage. While this was not welcome news to me, I felt prepared for this. My grandfather is in his 80's and survived two heart attacks while still putting right along. I knew this wouldn't be easy, but I knew he was doing the right thing by going in early. I figured they would get this fixed and he'd be back on his merry way in no time.

We all rushed up to the ER and crammed into the tiny room. They had drawn blood and noticed it was low. They were talking transfusion to get him back up to par. Still nothing seemed weird at this point. A Dr. showed up and said he was their to look at the blood results and he would be back with us. After a really short period he was back. He started explaining the results of the blood test. My dad's red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets were all dangerously low. He was told he basically had no immune system. I'm just trying to process what this has to do with having a heart attack when I hear the word Leukemia thrown out. Wait what is he talking about? Did he not realize we were here for chest pains? He obviously had the wrong room. It is amazing how many thoughts flash through your head in a single moment when life delivers you a swift slap to the face. I didn't want to appear weak, but my eyes flooded with tears. This was my daddy, the guy who's always strong, nothing unexpected happens to him. Immediately the Lord spoke to my spirit, Crystal, you know I am good right? Of course I do, but God can't I just have a moment? This kept impressing on my spirit. I felt that we should begin to pray. I knew it was God's desire for us to to acknowledge His goodness no matter what the circumstance no matter what the outcome. So we set the stage for what was to come. I am sorry Satan, but you have already lost this first battle, God is good and you will not convince us otherwise.

They had to take a bone marrow biopsy Sunday to confirm what they suspected. Late Monday the doctor delivered the preliminary results which confirmed acute leukemia. He wanted to begin treatment right away. The prognosis is good because he caught this very early, but the window is short. We were told if he had waited even a month, he could have been dead. If you asked anyone they would never see a blessing in a family history of heart disease. For once I do. If my dad had no history of heart disease he probably wouldn't have taken those chest pains as seriously. He probably would have attributed his tiredness to a cold or virus coming on. While the chest pains ended up being related to the anemia from his blood, God used those warning flags to preserve his life.

I am still processing all of this. I anticipate many blogs to come as we fight this fight together. My dad has at least two weeks in the hospital while they begin the first rounds of treatment. The biggest goal is to build his immunity back up. It is a miracle that he has not caught anything the week prior as he went about his normal life working and being around people.

It may sounds strange, but this has been one of the hardest , but sweetest weeks of my life. As we lean heavily on the Lord and each other it has built such a sweet sense of unity. I have enjoyed just sitting and talking with my dad. Suddenly a lot of life's silly distractions just don't seem that important.
I love my dad so very much. I believe my heart hurt more because I did not want to see him walk through any pain. All night Saturday I thought about being a little girl again. The times that were simple and unmarred by the hormones and drama that the teenage years bring. I thought about the many times my dad needed to tell me something important, something I might not really understand. He would sit me on his lap. Sometimes he cried, but he was always a source of strength. I miss those days sometimes. I learned so much about the great character of my dad just being with him. Now we are at a point where we need an even greater Father, our sweet Father God to hold us both on His lap. His ways are not our ways, but He is faithful to hold us when we just can't quite understand and be a source of strength.

We have appreciated so many people who have visited and sent comments and prayers. We continue to enjoy visitors but ask that anyone who is sick refrain from coming at this time. Even a common cold could be dangerous with his current immunity levels. We have also been asked by the doctors not to allow any flowers, plants, or fresh fruits and vegetables in the room due to the bacteria they can harbor. Cards and prayers are always welcome.

We are standing in faith that God will bring complete healing to my dad's body. I am believing that he will come out not only healed but completely rejuvinated in mind, body, and spirit.
If you take anything with you today please let it be that God is a good God. He remains the same no matter what the circumstance or what the outcome. He does not change. Blessed be His name!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Oh Sleep....Will We Ever Meet Again?

I can't lie. Lack of sleep is really starting to catch up to me. Isaac will be 14 weeks old this Saturday and he still does not sleep through the night. There was one blessed night two weeks ago. He slept until 6am. I never knew how refreshing uninterrupted sleep until 6am could be. I was excited and hopeful. Perhaps, I thought, we are on the downward slope. My optimism was quickly dashed the next night when he made up for it by waking up at 2am and 4am. Isaac is such a sweethart and I know it takes longer for some babies to get to that point. Nevertheless I started to calculate how long it has really been for me considering I did not sleep through the night during the last months of pregnancy, and I am going on 6 months now. It really starts to not only come down to quantity but quality. On the weekends Chris has really tried to let me sleep a little longer, but the interruptions really make a difference. I am getting a first hand glimpse of how effective sleep deprivation could be as a means of torture.
One day I will care about taking the time to really fix my hair, one day I'll be up early just to exercise, one day my mind will be a little more than mush.

Seriously though, I am enjoying the journey, even if I'm a little groggy along the way. Isaac continues to be such a joy. I haven't weighed him since his two month check-up, but he is definitely over 14 lbs. He just started rolling over, but he has been scooting himself across a blanket for a couple of weeks. He is such a cuddle bug. His smile melts my heart everyday. I love to watch his siblings interact with him. They love him so much.

I am learning to embrace the challenges of being a part time stay at home mom of three kids. While things are definitely tight with me working less, I have gained something so much more. I used to go to bed feeling like maybe I hadn't done enough with the kids. What if I woke up one morning and they were all grown up, and all I had was regret for not taking the time to really enjoy their lives? Each day is not perfect, and I struggle to adapt, but I feel like each day is truly seized. I am so grateful for each day I am given to watch my kids grow, and to grow with them.
I suppose there are many more years ahead to catch up on sleep.