Baby Boa Constrictors and such

This pressure sensation of so much lymphatic fluid trapped in my arm, armpit, and parts of my side, back, and chest squeezing in on an arm that is hypersensitive to touch is pretty awful to tell you the truth. It feels like I am burned badly on the back and bottom of my upper left arm from nerves being cut I guess.  The closest description I can think of how my arm feels pretty much constantly, starting about 2 1/2 weeks ago,  is part tourniquet, part inflated BP cuff, and part baby boa constrictor pressing in between my arm pit and chest and wrapping once around my arm.   Dear Lord, any chance you can please, please, please get rid of those for me?!  Oh my–sure do hope these sensations are temporary, not permanent.
 
 Last week I had two manual lymphatic drainage
treatments by an excellent lymphedema therapist with minimal relief and two
more are scheduled for this week.  I sure am missing those 11 lymph nodes and intact, undisturbed nerves!   In between appointments we are trying to
do the technique/massage a couple times a day the best we can.  We are trying to re-route the fluid to other lymph nodes.  I see the
surgeon again on Wednesday.  I wonder how I possibly can face all that is ahead of me
with this pain on top of it.  I must take one day at a time.  Actually one moment at a time is enough.
 
This whole cancer thing is really hard.  I wish this terrible nightmare that I can’t wake up from wasn’t happening to me but it is. 
 
How I need God’s grace and help! 
 
Will I walk by faith or by sight through this?  I choose faith.
 
Will I walk in the Spirit or in the flesh?  I choose to walk in the Spirit. 
 
Will I trust in the Lord and not lean on my own understanding, even when so many things appear out of control and so awful?  Yes, I will choose to trust Him.  HE IS IN CONTROL.
 
Will I acknowledge Him in all my ways and follow His leading as He directs my paths?  Yes, that is what I choose.
 
Can I do this in my own strength?  Not on your life.  God does not expect me to.  He does not want me to.  His strength and grace is MORE than sufficient, more than enough for me.  Please, please help me Lord!  I can not  do this whole cancer thing but YOU CAN, LORD.  Even though I am weak and afraid, IN CHRIST I am MORE than a conqueror.  Please help me Father, please give me the strength I need.  This pain is wearing me down Lord–would You mind bringing it down a few notches or better yet take it away completely? I would so appreciate it if you would remove the pain and while You are at it, can you get rid of all the cancer too?   I keep asking–begging–pleading–imploring and so far Your answer seems to be either “No” or “Wait”.   I wish Your answer was “Yes”.    Please help me to trust You God and know that what You choose for me is for the best. 
 
These are some things that I am reading/thinking about this morning:
 
1. “Wars are fought strategically. one battle at a time.
2 . Wars are fought on more than one front.
3. We must expect setbacks and defeats along the way.
4. When we lose a battle, we must get back on track immediately, so we don’t lose the war.
5. We will not win if we refuse to fight.”
——Carole Lewis
 
 
Winston Churchill said:
“Never give in.  Never give in. Never, never, never, never-in nothing great or small, large or petty-never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense.  Never yield to force.  Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy”
 
 
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in
weakness.  So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so
that the power of Christ may dwell in me…for whenever I am weak,
then I am strong.  2 Cor 12: 9-10

And my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to His
riches in glory in Christ Jesus.  Phil 4:19

Wow, what a great promise!

Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that
we may receive mercy and find grace to help in our time of need.
Hebrews 4 :16

Because of Christ, I can come to His throne of grace with boldness, I
am His child.  He has mercy and grace to help me in my times of need.

I have a lot of needs and He has all the answers.
 
Paula

 

Psalm 100 Personalized

I was looking through some of my old journaling on the computer this morning and thinking about some of the hard things God has taken me through.   Below is what I wrote many years ago.  At the time John was very sick and I was afraid he was going to die.  God taught me many precious truths about Himself during that season in my life,  just as He is doing now.
  
Paula
 
—————————–
I thank You and praise You , my God.  I yield my life to You for You
to do with as You see fit.  I cry out to You like my children cry out
to me when they are hurting or afraid, or in some need and want me to
pick them up and hold them close.  I hand you my fears and doubts and
every single one of my failures and sins.  I agree with you about my
sin, all the many places/ways I am wrong. I confess it and acknowledge
all those things including the ones I know about and those I am
oblivious to that are not pleasing to You.  I am sorry, I turn from my
sin and turn to You.  I choose to allow You to do all You want to do
in my heart.
  
——————————————

I give you back my wonderful husband that You gave me.  He is Yours.
Thank You for him.  Thank You for all that you are allowing in his
body, his spirit, his heart.  You own him, he is yours to use and do
with however You please.  You are God.  I am not God.  If You should
want to take him Home to be with you that is up to You.  Lord, help
me.  I am scared.  I choose to place my quivering, fearful heart in
Your hands.  I give You the today You have planned for us, I give you
every single day of our future, I give you back the past that can’t be
changed.  I let go of it all.  I love him. You love him more than I
do. My biggest fear right now is that John will die and I will be left
behind without him.  I’ve always wanted to die before he does. I would
be a widow raising the children without him.  That thought is more
than I can bear in myself.  I choose to trust You Lord.  I choose to
rest in You no matter what.  Please do Your work in me Lord.  I choose
to yield myself to You.  I choose to place John is Your loving hands.

Personalizing Psalm 100

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, worship the Lord with
gladness; come before Him with joyful song.

I CHOOSE to worship my Lord with gladness and joyfulness.  It is a
choice that does not depend on my circumstances or emotions.  He is
worthy of my thankful heart because of WHO HE IS. He can a put a song
in my heart even when I don’t feel like singing, when I just feel like
crying.  He can help me to sing in worship to Him. 

Know that the LORD is God, it is He who made us, and we are HIS; we
are his people, the sheep of His pasture.

He is our Creator.  He owns us.  He is God and I am not.  He can use
His sheep’s lives however He chooses.  It is His right.  I am not my
own.  My husband and my children are His, they belong to Him.
Everybody and everything is His.  My Shepherd is loving and kind and
good.  Always.  He knows what’s best for His sheep even when that
means heartache for a season that we might grow more dependent on Him.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give
thanks to Him and praise His name.

I do thank You and praise You, my Savior.

For the LORD is good and His love endures forever.

What comfort to know that this is His character, this is His heart.
His love and care are beyond measure and they last forever.

His faithfulness continues through all generations.

This is the truth.  My God is utterly, absolutely faithful.  His ways
and plans, and timing are different than mine and they are perfect.
It is my choice to rest in Him and trust Him and to be fully
surrendered to Him.  He understands this weak old heart that sometimes
trembles in fear and in doubt.  Sometimes I have to confess that I am
worried and much afraid and heavy hearted over and over and He
forgives my sin of worry, He understands my anxious nature, and takes
me unto His lap to snuggle there for loving and rest.  He hears my cry
for help and comfort.  He answers even though my human heart does not
always hear or understand what He is saying.  His answer is not always
“yes” to my prayers.  Sometimes He seems even silent.  Sometimes it is
a loving “no” or “wait on the Lord, be of good courage, My child”.
What a wonderful, marvelous God we serve!  I can trust Him completely.

———————–

I will sing to the Lord all of my life; I will sing praise to my God
as long as I live.  May my meditation be pleasing to Him as I rejoice
in the Lord.  Psalm 104:33,34 To You I call, O my Rock; do not turn a deaf ear to me.  For if You
remain silent, I will be like those who have gone down to the pit.
Hear my cry for mercy as I call to You for help, as I lift up my hands
toward Your most holy place. Psalm 28 1,2

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
Psalm 27:14

Show me Your ways O Lord, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth
and teach me for You are God my Saviour, and my hope is in You all day
long. Psalm 25:4,5

I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry.  He
lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my
feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.  He put a new song
in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.  Many will see and fear and
put their trust in the Lord. Psalm 40:1-3

But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and
more.  My mouth will tell of Your righteousness, of Your salvation all
day long, though I know not it’s measure.  I will come and proclaim
Your mighty acts, O Sovereign Lord; I will proclaim Your
righteousness, Yours alone  Psalm 71: 14-16

————

Prayer request for pain relief

“Piper observed, “The common feature of the
faith that escapes suffering and the faith that endures suffering is
this: both of them involve believing that God Himself is better than
what life can give to you now, and better than what death can take
from you later.” All to say, no matter what comes our way in this
life, God wants to be our TREASURE.

“Faith is utterly in love with all that God will be for us beyond the
grave. Faith loves God more than life. Faith loves God more than
family. Faith loves God more than job or retirement plans or ministry
or writing books or building the dream house or making the first
million. Faith says, “Whether God handles me tenderly or gives me
over to torture, I love him. He is my reward (Heb 11:6), the builder
of the city I long for (11:10), the treasure beyond the riches of Egypt
(11:26), and the possession that surpasses all others and abides for
ever (10:34).” –Piper

 
I am up in the wee hours with pain. The pain from the mastectomy is no big deal–that part of the surgery left my chest numb–it’s all the discomfort that resulted from removing all those lymph nodes that is really wearing me down.  I had no idea that it would hurt so much, especially this 24/7 tourniquet/inflated blood pressure sensation that is on my left upper arm constantly.   I am taking pain medication as prescribed along with an OTC anti-inflammatory the surgeon recommended on Monday when I told her how much pain I am still having but it is not working very well.  Thankfully it does reduce the pain in my armpit, side, and back and allows me to do the movement and exercise I need to be doing on that arm and I am working hard on using that arm as much as I can.  I was given a different medication for pain at the hospital (Percocet) but it left me feeling very drugged and ill and I don’t intend to take that one ever again.    I would really appreciate it if the Lord eased up the pain soon, but if He doesn’t choose to do that, that He will give me grace and do the work He wants to do in my heart through all this.  Could folks please pray for relief from this pain and courage and strength as I anticipate the treatment plans soon ahead of me?  Thanks.
 
Below are the verses that I am reading and meditating on this morning.
 
The joy of the Lord is my strength,
 
Paula
 

 

Matthew 11:28-30 28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

 

2 Corinthians 4:7-5:10 (New Living Translation)

 7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.[a] This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

 8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

 11 Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. 12 So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you.

 13 But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.”[b] 14 We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus,[c] will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. 15 All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.

 16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are[d] being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

2 Corinthians 5

New Bodies

 1 For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. 2 We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. 3 For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies.[e] 4 While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. 5 God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit. 6 So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. 7 For we live by believing and not by seeing. 8 Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him. 10 For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10  

 8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it (my thorn in the flesh) away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

 

 

One week post op

One week ago today I had my left breast and 11 lymph nodes removed.
 

I can well remember  the joy, my deep contentment,  and the sheer delight I felt many years ago looking into beautiful blue eyes gazing up at me when I got to nurse my sweet baby girls.  The Lord blessed me with an abundant milk supply and I loved to watch my little ones being nourished and nurtured at my breasts, milk overflowing from their lips and dribbling down their chubby, lovely faces and round bodies. It’s sort of a picture to me of God’s lavish love: good measure, pressed down, and overflowing. I am so grateful that I got to have that privilege and those memories from that season of my life. Thank You Father, for that gift.

 
The last two days I have often thought of the title of one of Barbara Johnson’s books because it applies to me: “Pain is inevitable but misery is optional: so stick a geranium in your hat and be happy”.

Aint that the truth?!   So much of life boils down to choice.   🙂 Job  said, “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.  Blessed be the Name of the Lord”.  Amen to that.   I will choose to praise and trust my great God Who never makes one single mistake.  He has arranged and orchestrated every detail.
 
So, how am I feeling?  Pretty crummy the last couple days honestly.  I have had swelling and it constantly feels like a cross between a tourniquet and a partially inflated Blood pressure cuff on my upper left arm.  My chest doesn’t hurt but my arm, side, and back are a little puffed up and and painful. It is not that it is so huge on the outside, it’s what it feels like on the inside–like I’m inflated or something..  I feel like wearing a sign “Please don’t touch me on that side!”  It’s so hypersensitive on that arm.  I saw the surgeon on Monday and thankfully she said it was normal post op swelling after the lymph node removal.  It’s a painful but necessary challenge to use the affected arm in activities of daily living and I am proactively working through the pain and making good progress reaching higher on the wall each day, swinging my arms while getting nice walks in the fresh air and sunshine,  etc.  My latest challenge is the drainage seeping through around the drainage tubes despite them being patent and draining well.  It’s pretty irritating to the skin, especially to the drain incision and the accidental nick in an area that was shaved for surgery (I am guessing that is what is happening, I see a little tiny cut there that stings )…another detail for me to leave in His Hands and ask Him to use all these things to conform me to the image of His Son.    I see the surgeon tomorrow and probably those drains will be removed next week after the drainage slows down more.
 
We will also be going through the pathology report with the doctor tomorrow.  We got a call about the basics and it is looking like  the cancer is more advanced than we thought.  It’s stage 3A, not 2 which of course is not good news.  The plans for treatment remain the same.  I love the words to an old Amy Grant song and have been singing them over: “The Lord has a will and I have a need…to follow that will…to humbly be still…to rest in it, nest in it, fully be blessed in it…  Following my Father’s will.”  Because I know the character of God is all loving, all good, all wise– in the midst of all this heartache I must and I will CHOOSE to trust Him.  Please do continue to pray for me and my dear family.
 
Gratefully His,
 

 

God’s beloved Paula
 

Anybody have anything humorous they’d like to share here?

A Merry Heart Doeth Good, Like Medicine

Over the last several months when things seemed so grim at times, a friend recommended that I seek out some humor.   Here are some funny things I gathered that I hope you enjoy too.  If anyone comes across anything that makes them smile or laugh, I’d love it if you pass it alongto me too please.   🙂  Thanks in advance!  Paula

 

3 clips of baby humor:

http://au.news.yahoo.com/entertainment/a/-/entertainment/9033464/web-sensation-baby-scared-mum-blowing-nose/

Sarah Palin Shout Out to Nicholas Oliver:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJ_RxOL6OMo 

At a White House breakfast for religious leaders, President Bush told the story of a little boy who offered up this simple prayer:  “God bless Mother and Daddy, my brother and sister; and God, do take care of Yourself because if anything happens to You, we’re all sunk.”

I got a chuckle out of this “Talking Dog Humor”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZDLRC-r49A

http://reverendfun.com/?date=20091214

 Senior Pranksters:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXEhRTnEq6k

——————————–

Your Duck is Dead–  

 

A woman brought a very limp duck into a veterinary surgeon. As she laid
her pet on the table, the vet pulled out his stethoscope and listened to
the bird’s chest. After a moment or two, the vet shook his head and sadly
said, “I’m sorry, your duck, Cuddles, has passed away.”  

 

The distressed woman wailed, “Are you sure?” “Yes, I am sure. Your duck
is dead,” replied the vet..
“How can you be so sure?” she protested. “I mean you haven’t done any
testing on him or anything. He might just be in a coma or something.”  

 

The vet rolled his eyes, turned around and left the room. He returned a
few minutes later with a black Labrador Retriever. As the duck’s owner
looked on in amazement, the dog stood on his hind legs, put his front
paws on the examination table and sniffed the duck from top to bottom.
He then looked up at the vet with sad eyes and shook his head.  

 

The vet patted the dog on the head and took it out of the room. A few
minutes later he returned with a cat. The cat jumped on the table and
also delicately sniffed the bird from head to foot. The cat sat back on
its haunches, shook its head, meowed softly and strolled out of the room. 

 

The vet looked at the woman and said, “I’m sorry, but as I said, this
is most definitely, 100% certifiably, a dead duck.” The vet turned to his
computer terminal, hit a few keys and produced a bill, which he handed
to the woman..  

 

The duck’s owner, still in shock, took the bill. “$150!” she cried,
“$150 just to tell me my duck is dead!”  

 

The vet shrugged, “I’m sorry. If you had just taken my word for it, the
bill would have been $20, but with the Lab Report and the Cat Scan, it’s
now $150.”

————————————- 

Humorous photos by John Pierce:

http://photoinspiration.weebly.com/humor.html

————————————

“State Humor”:

It’s so hot in Arizona, cows are giving evaporated milk and the trees are whistling for dogs. 😉
 
How do you know the toothbrush was invented in Kentucky? 
If it’d been invented anywhere else, it would have been called a teethbrush.
 
What do they call 100 John Deeres circling a McDonald’s in Iowa?
Prom night.
 
What did the guy from Burlington Vermont say to the Pillsbury Doughboy?
“Hey, nice tan.”
 
What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?
A mechanic.
 
An Alaskan was on trial in Anchorage.  The prosecutor leaned menacingly toward him and asked, “Where were you on the night of October to April?”
——————————
 
Improv Everywhere;
 
Sports Humor:
 
——————————-
 

A man goes on vacation and his brother agrees to housesit for him —
feeding the cat, picking up the newspapers and mail, watering the
plants, etc. After the first week goes by the vacationing brother
phones to check in.
 

“I’m sorry bro,” his brother at the house tells him almost
immediately, “but your cat died.”

“What!? What do you mean my cat died?! How could you tell me like
this? What kind of insensitive creep are you!? You need to prepare
someone for a shock like that!” exclaims the vacationing brother.

“How was I supposed to prepare you?” asks the man.

“Well,” says the brother, “first you should have told me, the cat is
on the roof. Then you should have said, but don’t worry, we’re calling
the fire department. Then the next time I called in to check you
should have said, the fire department was doing everything it could
and not to worry.

Then the next time I called you could tell me that the cat had fallen,
but not to worry — the vet was doing everything she could to
resuscitate him. Then, finally, after all that, you could have told
me, my cat had died. That’s how you break news like that.”

“You’re right, bro, I’m sorry. I should have been more sensitive
first,” said the housesitting brother, who really did feel bad about
it at this point.

His vacationing brother on the phone was quickly forgiving, “That’s
okay. I understand. So anyway, how’s everything else? How’s mom
doing?”

“Mom?” says the man, “Mom is on the roof….”

———————————————–  

My kids love it when we are goofy together, especially when I initiate it. The girls and I had fun doing the dinner trick in the top link in April  and dropping by and smiling at some neighbors.  Maybe we’ll do the “Whole Enchilada” another time 🙂

Paula’s Mastectomy Surgery

Dear Friends & Family,

Greetings!  We wanted to give you an update on Paula’s mastectomy surgery, which was scheduled for 9:45 AM on Thursday, May 12.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The surgery went well, with no apparent complications.  Paula came home yesterday (Friday, May 13), is dealing with pain and the side effects of the pain medicine, but has been doing somewhat better today.  Thanks for your prayers!

THE DETAILED VERSION

Paula and I left home around 7 AM, driving down to the outpatient surgery center at Florida Hospital Orlando, about 25 miles from our home here in Sanford.  My sister, Kelley Oliver Douglass, Pastor Mark Benson, and our friend Deb McCrary came by to encourage and support us.

Our friend, Laurie Steffey, picked up our kids Thursday morning and took care of them until Friday afternoon.

They took Paula back around 8:30 AM, prepared her for the surgery, and then Pastor Mark and I were able to spend a little time with her before the surgery. 

Around 11:30, Paula’s breast surgeon, Dr. Rahm, came out and reported to us that the surgery had gone well with no complications.  Paula was in the recovery area, and we were expecting to see her around 12:30.

Around noon, the recovery nurse, Jill, called and indicated that Paula was slow in coming out of the anesthesia (this is normally the case for Paula, as a little anesthesia tends to go a long way), so it would be another hour or so before I could see her.

Around 1:30, they allowed me to go back and see Paula for a couple minutes.  Jill indicated that Paula had had some difficulty breathing – larynx spasms – likely due to the breathing tube that had been down her throat  (Paula later told me that she had felt like she was suffocating, but was unable to speak); they had given her medicine and breathing treatments to help with that.  When I saw her, Paula had her eyes closed, an oxygen mask on, and was pretty much still out of it.  She could tell that I was there, though, so that was encouraging.

They invited me back again at 2:30 PM.  Kelley, Pastor Mark, and Deb had already left, but Deb was able to return after and join Paula and I in the recovery area.  Dr. Rahm also stopped by to check in on Paula.

Around 4 PM, Paula was moved to her (our) overnight room in the recovery area.  It wasn’t exactly what we expected, but it was for only one night (we hoped).  It was a private room (well, except that instead of a regular door, it had a sliding glass door with a curtain in front) with a sink.  The main surprise, though, was that it had no bathroom. 

There was a single bathroom down the hall to be shared by all six of recovering surgery patient rooms; inside the bathroom were six shelves, one for each patient, each with their own container to be placed on the toilet to measure urinary output.

I was instructed that overnight guests (such as myself) were to exit the patient area, use the restroom in the waiting area, and then knock on the door to have a nurse let me back into the patient area – not ideal, but workable.

We found out later, in talking with one of the nurses, that the normal overnight recovery area had been flooded (?), so these overnight accommodations were apparently a temporary solution. 

As you can imagine, our room didn’t have a king bed, or even two full beds or two twin beds.  It had a hospital bed (as you might expect) and a hospital chair that reclined.  In retrospect, I should have taken some pictures of our accommodations, but this did not occur to me at the time, as I was somewhat occupied with other more important matters.

As a matter of fact, I had no clue as to how busy I was going to be during our stay there.  Now I understand why Paula was so clear that she wanted someone (preferably me) to be with her 24/7 (ok, 24/1 – we were only there one day).

As a patient, you have to look out for your own well-being.  The nurses have good intentions, of course, but they have multiple patients, many tasks to complete, and sometimes things are overlooked or mistakes are made, and so you need to look out for yourself. 

I also had not realized how disabling this surgery would be during this initial recovery period.  In any case, as Paula’s personal care assistant and advocate, I learned that I pretty much had a full time job.

Paula was hooked up to a clip on her left finger (to measure her pulse and oxygen level), a cuff on her right ankle (that periodically measured her blood pressure), an IV tube in her right wrist, two of these air pressure thingies (ok, as an engineer, I should probably use more accurate terminology – inflatable cuffs), one wrapped around each leg, that kept inflating and deflating to simulate muscle usage and thus hopefully prevent blood clots.

As Paula continued coming out of the anesthesia (and I was very encouraged to see her normal faculties returning), she was (as might be expected, since she hadn’t been allowed to eat or drink since midnight before) quite dehydrated. 

Even though Paula was no longer on the Gerson therapy, she still recognized the nutritional benefit of freshly juiced organic fruit and vegetables.  In preparation for our overnight stay, Paula had thus enlisted the help of two dear ladies at NTM, who were so kind as to juice a number of carrots and apples in advance of the surgery, and so we had brought 5 bottles (approx. 112 oz.) of carrot and apple juice with us (half-frozen in a cooler) and obtained the surgeon’s approval in advance – duly noted on Paula’s chart, so that the nurses wouldn’t object.

So, as soon as Paula was up to it, she started drinking, lots of good healthy juice.  I was really proud of her, and of course it was good for her to get well-hydrated again.  But with all that drinking came many bathroom trips, which required disconnecting from everything, a quite painful exit from the bed, and a slow walk (Paula, the IV pole, myself, and, at the beginning, a nurse assistant to help us) to the bathroom.  We learned pretty quickly that it was best for me to make a solo trip down the hall first to verify that the shared bathroom was indeed available.

I think Paula may have set a hospital record (for liquid input and urinary output during those first hours after surgery); it seemed like we were making a bathroom trip every hour or two all night long.  After a while, they even quit measuring her urinary output.

I want to also give my resourceful wife credit in that she had contacted a hospital dietician in advance to request some healthy meals that would be compatible with her diet – in particular, some raw fruits and vegetables.  The dietician gave us her phone number and arranged to have a wonderful fruit plate delivered for Paula’s late afternoon “lunch” with a very nice salad delivered later for her dinner. 

Paula liked the fruit plate so much that she requested another to snack on that evening and then two more for breakfast the next day.  The dietician also supplied Paula with several bottles of coconut water, a large bottle of apple juice, and several bottles of water, so we were extremely pleased and appreciative of her help and service.

As I mentioned, it was quite painful when Paula exited or re-entered the bed, as the nurse assistant had her exiting the left side of the bed, which resulting in pressure on her left side, where the surgery had been performed.  After a while, it occurred to us (or maybe someone mentioned it – I don’t recall) that it would be better for her to exit/enter on the right side, thus causing less pressure, disturbance, and pain to her surgical wound; we only wished that someone had helped us with that earlier.

In any case, we had a somewhat sleepless night (I would not recommend this option to your typical Orlando visitor, but in this case, our choice of accommodations was, shall we say, quite limited), but morning (and the prospect of being discharged) came.

As the anesthesia pretty much out of her system, Paula was realizing that the pain was significant (those nerves just don’t like being cut), so they had given her some pain medicine (in anticipation of removing her dressing and our ride home). 

That helped somewhat with the pain, but then Paula (who rarely ever even takes Tylenol) was having some pretty lousy side-effects from the pain medicine.  In any case, though, we were able to check out and made it home around 2 PM yesterday.

Paula is now continuing to recover from the surgery.  There is still plenty of pain, especially since she’s supposed to be using her left arm as much as possible, so she’s continuing with the pain medicine and thus has some dizziness.  She’s had a better day today overall, so that is encouraging, but she would appreciate prayer for the pain and for the swelling that she’s having in her arm, back, and side.

In summary then, we’re thankful that the surgery went well.   Paula is thankful to the Lord for the grace, peace, and strength He gave her – both before and after the surgery.  We’re also very thankful for your prayers, and a special thanks to everyone who has been encouraging and/or helping us in so many ways! 

We invite you to subscribe to our Pilgrim’s Pathway blog (by clicking Subscribe on the menu above) and/or to join our Paula’s Partners community (by visiting our website,  www.JPOliver.com, and clicking on the link, on the left-side menu, to Paula’s Partners).  We appreciate your continued prayers as we continue down this path.

Thanks for your love, prayers, and encouragement! 

By His Grace,

John & Paula & Family

Heading to the hospital shortly

Thanks, everybody for praying!  The Lord is giving me the grace, strength, and peace that I need, a moment at a time, a day at a time.  Today is Day 1 of Plan B and beyond.  I am in His Hands and that is a very good place to be.

Here are some Scriptures and thoughts that have been a special blessing to me lately that I have tacked up on the back of my front door.  I’ve been going over them this morning and thought I’d share them with you.  Feel free to share any others here that you’d like to too.  :0)

So glad to be His daughter,

Paula

 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 9

 
 
God’s timing is always on time.
  
Be still and know that I am God
Psalm 46:10A
 
 

Proverbs 3:5-6  

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

 

Psalm 27:14  

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

 

Psalm 34:4  

 4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
   he delivered me from all my fears.

 

   Job 23:10
10 But he knows the way that I take;
   when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.

 
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:26, 28
 

Isaiah 40:28-31 
28 Do you not know?
   Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
   the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
   and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
   and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
   and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD
   will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
   they will run and not grow weary,
   they will walk and not be faint.

 

Psalm 91

 1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
   will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
   my God, in whom I trust.” 3 Surely he will save you
   from the fowler’s snare
   and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
   and under his wings you will find refuge;
   his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Psalm 23

 1 The Lord is my shepherd;
      I have everything that I need.
 2 He lets me rest in green meadows;
      he leads me beside peaceful streams.
    3 He renews my strength.
   He guides me along right paths,
      bringing honor to his name.
 4 Even when I walk

      through the dark valley of death,[a]
   I will not be afraid,
      for you are close beside me.
   Your rod and your staff
      protect and comfort me.
 5 You prepare a feast for me
      in the presence of my enemies.  
   You welcome me as a guest, anointing my head with oil.
      My cup overflows with blessings.
 6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
      all the days of my life,
   and I will live in the house of the Lord
      forever.

He is God and I am not.

This battle is the Lord’s.

“Prayers are instantly noticed in heaven. Wherever there’s a heart big with sorrow.  Or a lip quivering with agony.  Or a deep groan of sadness, the heart of God is open.” Charles Spurgeon

IT’S A SETTLED MATTER:
WE WILL CHOOSE TO TRUST GOD NO MATTER WHAT.

1 Corinthians 16:13

13 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.  14 Let all that you do be done with love.

TRUTHS FOR ME TO REMEMBER:

(Berg)


1. God is always good!…always!
 
A. He will always meet my genuine needs…always!
B. He will always forgive my sin…always!
C. He is always up to something good in my life…always!
D. He will always love me personally…always!
E. He will always give me the grace I need…always!
 
2.God is always great…always!
 
A. He is always in control of all things…always!
B. He is always present with me…always!
C. He is always the same…always!
D. He is always trustworthy…always!
E. He is always wise in what He does…always!
 

 

“God is who He says He is.

 

He can and will do what He says He will do.

 

I am who God says I am.

 

God’s Word is alive and active in me.

 

I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13

 

I’M BELIEVING GOD!”

 

 

 

Please pray!

Hi !  🙂  Below is an update and invitation to pray with our family that I sent to our NTM Headquarters staff yesterday.  Even if you are not able to join us for prayer tomorrow, we’d love for you to join us from wherever you are.  I praise Him for His peace that passes understanding and that His plans are always the best ones. I praise Him for Who He is and that this Earth is not my “real Home”–I’m just an alien and stranger passing on through to Eternity in HIS TIME.  Death is inevitable for all of us.  I hope I have lots more of living to do here and as far as I know, I do– but I am trying to leave all that in His Hands and let go of my life and just trust Him.

Thanks for your encouragement and support!

—————————-

“Some things are so important to God that they are worth interrupting the happiness and health of His children in order to accomplish them.”

 
Hi everybody, 🙂
 
This Wednesday, May 11th at noon, our family would like to meet together for a short time in the NTM chapel with any folks who might like to pray together with us. I want to give a brief testimony of how loving and wonderful our Lord is in the midst of everything He wisely has allowed in our lives and I’d love for us all to sing one of my favorite hymns, “He giveth more Grace when the burdens grow greater”.   If I could, I would join you  for the concert of prayer on Tuesday instead, but I have an appointment at the hospital for pre-op tests that morning then my girls and I are off to check out wigs and scarves to cover my head which soon will be bald…oh my…this too I give to the One Who keeps a running count of the hairs on our heads.
 
A mastectomy with extensive lymph node removal is scheduled for this Thursday, May 12th at 9:45 AM at FL Hospital in Orlando with a planned stay of one night.  In a couple weeks I will have a port inserted surgically that will be in about a year for chemo and a drug called Herceptin, followed by radiation and other medications.  You might could say this terrible, aggressive cancer and the medical treatments ahead of me would be among my worst nightmares.  What a comfort and relief to know that He is in full control, He hand picks and orchestrates the trials He allows,  and that we can trust Him completely!
 
My main prayer requests are that I would bring Him honor, glory, and praise.  Honestly, I am very afraid (and thankful He obviously understands our weaknesses and frailties by the number of “Do not fear” and other comforting verses He included in the Bible).  Please pray that I will snuggle up in His love and completely rest and trust Him,  the Creator of the entire Universe who is also my personal Great Physician and my Beloved Daddy.  🙂
 
If people are interested, I would love it if folks bring along some Bible verses on a paper for me to wrap my mind and heart around–good “whatsoever things are lovely, of good report, etc”  truths to replace the scary  fears, fiery darts, and worries when they come.  Or, feel free to  pop the Bible verses in our mailbox, or on our Pilgrims Pathway website www.JPOliver.com/wordpress.    God’s  thoughts, plans, perspectives, and ways are soooooo much higher than ours and THOSE are what I must choose in my moment by moment walk with Him!
 
Below are some verses I memorized during the first few weeks of the alternative cancer therapy I was doing.  I am disappointed that God did not use the Gerson Protocol to stop the cancer but my complete and ultimate hope is in the Lord alone,  not the tools He may or may not choose to use.  Not our will, but His be done.
 

Psalm 18:1-6

 1 I love you, LORD, my strength.

 2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
   my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
   my shield[b] and the horn[c] of my salvation, my stronghold.

 3 I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
   and I have been saved from my enemies.
4 The cords of death entangled me;
   the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
5 The cords of the grave coiled around me;
   the snares of death confronted me.

 6 In my distress I called to the LORD;
   I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
   my cry came before him, into his ears.

Gratefully His,
 
Paula

Plan B (and C)

Greetings!  As most of you know, Paula has been on the Gerson cancer therapy for an initial eight week trial, to evaluate whether it is effective in her situation.  In late March (at the 4 week midway point), a radiology report had indicated a new large (6 cm) tumor, but that turned out to be a typographical error, so Paula continued with the Gerson therapy for an additional four weeks.

We’ve been encouraged, as we’ve shared, with the positive results we’ve seen relating to Paula’s ovary, uterus, and overall health.  Nonetheless, our main focus (and reason for doing the Gerson therapy) was to help Paula’s immune system fight this aggressive breast cancer.

As Paula reached the initial eight weeks point, she had another ultrasound done on Monday (5/2) and then today (5/4) we met with the breast surgeon again, who also used her ultrasound equipment to examine her.

Unfortunately, it seems from this latest radiology report (and confirmed by our visit with the breast surgeon today) that the cancer tumors are continuing to grow.  Thus, Paula has reluctantly decided to go down the path of Plan B (breast removal) and Plan C (chemo, radiation, hormone therapy, etc.).  A mastectomy is tentatively scheduled for next Thursday, May 12.

We want to say thank you to everyone who has been helping us, being the hands and feet of Jesus, during these past weeks – juicing, produce washing, coffee brewing, providing meals, cleaning, laundry, baked goods, groceries, encouraging cards & emails, etc.  As we head into this surgery and then, after she recovers from that, 18 weeks or so of chemotherapy (then radiation, Herceptin, and hormone therapy), your continuing help and encouragement will be appreciated as well.

We also certainly appreciate your prayers as we head down this path that we are not entirely comfortable with (ok, that’s not strong enough – I believe the word Paula used was “hate”), but that nonetheless seems the best option at this point – prayer that God will be glorified, that we will rest in Him, that He will guide (both the doctors and us), that He will protect Paula (from infections, mistakes, complications, etc.), and that He will heal Paula.

By His Grace, John & Paula  🙂