There is always something to be THANKFUL for…even Cancer!

We have a plaque above our stove in the kitchen that reads “There is always something to be thankful for”.   But I ask myself, “How often do I think about those things?”   When occupied with a difficulty in life….your mind tends to forget to count your blessings.  So that is what I am going to do this week… write a list of things I am thankful for.  

Over the years this song has been a great source of encouragement…..

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed.  When you are discouraged thinking all is lost.  Count your many blessings name them one by one and it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?  Does the cross seem heavy that you are called to bear?  Count your many blessings and your doubt will fly, and you will keep singing as the days go by.

Count your blessings, name them one by one.  Count your blessings, see what God hath done! Count your blessings, name them one by one and it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

I am going to start my list with “Cancer”.   Why Cancer?  Cancer has made me look at all the things I am thankful for.

May you have a wonderful day counting your blessings and being thankful.

I am thankful for each one of you!

Blessings,   Marilyn

I am weak….He is strong!

In talking with a friend about life situations, the following song came to my mind that I learned as a very young child.   It is based on a Bible verse that reads “… I am weak but He is strong.”    The song goes like this:

“Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.  Little ones to him belong.  They are weak but He is strong.”  “Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so.” 

Since the Bible tells us that we are to come to Him like a little child… this little song relates to little children as well as us “grown up” children.   Perhaps some of you don’t know or understand God’s love because you haven’t really experienced it or acknowledged it…let me tell you that I do not know what I would do without knowing God’s love in my life…let alone where or who I would turn to for help and comfort knowing I have cancer in my body.  He gives me great strength and comfort through his Word the Bible and yes, even through little songs I learned as a child.  

If you do not know God’s son Jesus and understand what he did for you on the cross,  I would love to share with you how you can know not only what he did…but how much he loves you and how you too can experience his love in your life.  Please feel free to call me anytime,   And remember… when you get in a difficult situation, or are feeling down, or feeling weak…..He is strong and wants you to come to him. 

Remind yourself that Auntie M (that’s what my nieces and nephews on Ken’s side of the family call me) shared a little song you can repeat to yourself when you are going through a hard time…

“Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me… the Bible tells me so! 

Know God is waiting to have a conservation with you, after all He loves you!

My prayer is that in my weakness God will be glorified… because  ” I am weak but He is strong!”

 Many Blessings….  Love,  Auntie M

Vacation Blues

Vacation brings feelings of excitement and anticipation….and then before you know it you have “Vacation Blues” because your long anticipated vacation is over.    We all love to go on vacation…but we all dislike returning to work, the routine.

Yes, the wonderful memories are just that “memories”.  But the alternative of having no vacation at all would be even more “blue” than just having left over memories.  My hubby was only able to spend one day of vacation with us because of work deadlines… believe me, he was very blue for not being able to spend time with us and we were blue too .  It wasn’t the same without him.  On a good note… he has a lot of vacation time coming…so we have much to look forward too.

The first week of vacation, our daughter, son-in-law and two of the cutest grandchildren in the world–along with grandma (me)  packed into the car and headed for Indiana for a fun-filled family time.  We attended a wedding reception,  followed by a high school graduation party, then the wedding, and a family reunion… a lot of activity in one week!!!

Our second week of vacation was spent at our lake cottage in Wisconsin.  It was a heavenly time together and as always way to short, but I feel blessed to have that time with my family and will hold each moment close to my heart.

Oh, there were a few glitches that second week… my daughter fell down three slippery steps to the lake and was black and blue, then I thought I broke my little toe as I was rounding the corner in the hallway and it was black and blue.  (Yep, just yesterday the doctor confirmed a broken toe!)   How my little toe reached out to that corner… I will never know!  Then my son-in-law received a bee sting (he is allergic) and the next day ended up in the emergency room diagnosed with a lymphatic infection from the bee sting.  To top that off, my expert biking riding husband had a non-moving bike accident as he clipped his shoe in and somehow fell over, resulting in some punctures and abrasions (on his only day of vacation.)    I think we may need to increase our medical insurance coverage!!

The ER at the nearby hospital always prepares for us when they hear we are going on vacation.  Two years ago, our 2-year-old granddaughter hurt her elbow…which ended up being “Nurses Elbow” – which means it was dislocated.  We finally figured out how this happened…  She was shooing a fly away by waving her arm so fast…she popped out the elbow.   Funny memory….

While at the lake on vacation, I drove back to Madison for an appointment with my Oncologist at UW Hospital.  As many of you know already, the pathologist did confirm that I have Uterine Cancer.  It is a slow-growing cancer and we are hoping that it has been caught early enough and that the only thing needed is removal.  Surgery is scheduled on July 26th.  I’ll keep you posted.

I feel I have a pretty good attitude going into this…but I do have moments of sadness, especially that my family has to go through this with me emotionally.  You see my mother was diagnosed with cancer when I was around 30 years old (around the same age my daughter is today), and I still remember my feelings then.  Unlike my mother’s diagnosis  which only gave her three months to live, my cancer is very curable.  I will start sharing the story of my mom’s cancer in the coming days… as her ‘only three months to live” diagnosis turned into living 24 more years to the age of 93.   A true God miracle!

Thanks to all the email messages, cards and gifts I have received — your  encouragment means a lot to me and keeps me thinking positive.  May God bless your day.  Love, Marilyn

Words that make sense?

Do you remember the song by Laura Branigan called the “Name Game”?

Shirley Shirley, bo Shirley, Banana, fanna, foe firley.  Fee fie Moe Mirley…. Shirley (and the song goes on using someones first name.)  Such a fun and silly song…yet it was a big hit.   I bring this up because it appears that I have an uncanny knack of coming up with new words but not with thoughtful reflection–certainly not on purpose, which even makes it funnier.   Let me give you an example.

One day I let out of odd sound with my voice.  My husband said, “What was that?” and without hesitation I said, “That was a burch.”  He looked at me funny…and asked, “A burch…what’s a burch?”  I said, “That is something between a burp and a belch…. you know, a burch.”    OK, the sad part is that I didn’t intentionally make up that word …but the two words just got mixed up in my head and I came out with a new word… Burch.

Here is another example.  We were talking one day about my father and how he was doing.  Without hesitation I told my husband, “My dad was pooped steamed.”  He looked at me very puzzled laughing and said, “What does that mean.”  In all innocence I said,  “You know what I mean.”  And then I gave him the definition… “My dad is pooped and he has run out of steam—Pooped Steamed.”  He started laughing again in unbelief that my mind could get words so turned around and give them new meaning.  It is embarrassing this comes so naturally to me and yet never intentional…which makes it even more bazaar.

Yesterday, while I was driving around taking care of some errands I was thinking about my life… you tend to do that with the “C” word hanging over your head.  Anyway, I was saying to myself….  “I wonder if people think I am addicted to surgery?   We have lived here for almost 12 years and I have had eight surgeries and currently face No. 9,  which came up with the question in my mind… “Marilyn, what is the surgery of the year?”  Now I am not looking to have surgery…but it seems to find me.  Afterall, I had turned 50 during this time period and we all know that means our bodies tend to need some overhaul… evidently mine more than others.   So all the sudden it hit me… I am a “Surgiholic”!  Is that what people think… I love to have surgery? Oh no…. this can’t be my legacy!  And then I started to laugh out loud.

Yesterday, I met two dear friends for lunch and was sharing with them my fear of being thought of as a “Surgiholic”.  Then my one friend said she must be a “Painaholic” as she just went through Cancer surgery… and then I looked at my other friend and said, “and you are a Prayaholic”, (which is a good thing) and she is a prayer extraordinaire… then we all started to belly laugh.

The definition of a holic ….Denotes addiction to the substance or activity of the stem word.

I have been a sugarholic, chocoholic, foodaholic, procastiholic, and now a surgiholic?  You know what I really want to be…… a prayaholic, a bibleholic,  a Godaholic, a praisaholic, a servaholic, a peaceaholic, a hopeaholic, a joyaholic… a loveaholic!

Certainly there aren’t any Cancerholics out there… I will never want to submit to that.

What kind of “holic” are you?

Blessings to you this day…  The Bible says, “Love the Lord you God with all your mind, with all your soul, and with all your strength”.   This is my hearts desire.

It’s 2:36 am and I’m wide awake…

There is a Tornado Watch right now and…..  Unfortunately, the Tornado Watch is through 9 am and I doubt I can stay awake that long.  I am a storm chaser in my heart…. I love to watch the cloud formations as storms approach from the west.  The power in the wind and the beauty of the rolling clouds is amazing to me.

As a child, I remember being told when it thunders, that is God talking.  You might think this would scare a child…but I was facinated.  In fact , the Bible refers to thunder as God’s voice…. All powerful!  So I wasn’t scared of the Thunder after I knew that God was talking, so to speak!  I certainly knew He was bigger than I.

My husband likes to tell the story of when we were driving to our  lake cottage and billowy storm clouds were looming  in our driving direction… we heard Tornado sirens…  cars were parked under the highway bridges (not ours of course, as we kept driving through).  I watched the clouds closely and was getting a little concerned.  I leaned way down in my seat and looked up so I could see the clouds above us.  My hubby said I was cowering….and perhaps I was!  We kept on trecking…and pretty soon drove through an area where a strong wind had just toppled some trees and roofing materials and debris was all over the highway.

This weather watcher was just a little to close for comfort.  That is how I feel about the cancer… it is a little close for comfort right now.    But God’s rolling thunder reminds me this little storm in my life will pass over and the sun will shine again.  He is in control and this storm will pass.

Excuse me as I go get my night time goggles on so I can watch the clouds…..  Just kidding, but if there was such a thing, it would be on my Christmas list!!   What kind of storm are you going through?  Blessings, Marilyn

When this Journey started…

Two years ago, a biopsy showed I had precancer cells in my uterus.  This precancer has 1% chance of turning into cancer over a long period of time.  None the less..I’d rather not have any word in my medical files that includes cancer of any type.  But there it was….no denying it…the chance of cancer! 1%.

You ask, what’s the big deal….well, my mother had cancer when I was about 30 years old. Now that is a whole miracle story in itself which I have wanted to write about for a long time, in fact, I was planning to write her story this summer……but now there will be a new slant to that story…my story.  Also, my sister has had breast cancer and my brother currently has colon cancer….so that’s the big deal.

You see this past Friday, I learned that I was diagnosed with Complex Hyperplasia Atypia which could not exclude low grade endometrial carcinoma.    It appears that we have caught this in time…we hope.  We will not know until I have surgery sometime in July.  My doctor said they will probably check the lymph nodes etc. too and may even give me a couple of chemo treatments as a safe guard.  That is all speculative at this point…so we will wait until July 7th at which time I will meet with an oncologist at UW University Hospital.

There is good news in this journey… I am fortunate that I started having pain this past November… Had a colonoscopy–turned out fine.  In February had a regular check up and was still complaining about  pain.  You see I also have a lower back disc issue of which the only remedy is removal and insertion of an artificial disk.  So I have been putting that surgery off as long as possible…  Thinking for some time that much of my pain is from the lower back…however, my mind has wondered if there was something else going on… and now we know, there is.   So my doctor sent me for an ultra sound which showed thickening of the endometrial lining.  I was referred to another doctor and she ordered a more detailed ultra sound which showed I had a large polyp in my uterus.

So I had surgery last Wednesday…  5+ polyps later… and a D&C  I was ready to go home. The doctor said everything looked fine and that we would get the test results in three days. Then two days later, last Friday, I received the call from the doctor and said she had somewhat good news and then not so good news.  The polyps were benign, but as she put it.  “You have an angry uterus!”  We both actually laughed.  She referred my case to Cancer Connect at UW Hospital.  So that is where I am at this point of my Journey…..waiting, waiting for two weeks to see another doctor and then schedule surgery.

Fortunately, I will be preoccupied with a wonderful trip to Indiana to see my family and friends…traveling with my daughter, son-in-law and two adorable grandchildren.  I am sure with five of us in the car…for several hours…will be quite an experience we will all remember.  After that first week, we will head back to Wisconsin for a week of vacation at beautiful White Lake.  My husband Ken will join us when he can as his work is tied up with two big projects and it looks like he will need to forfeit some of his scheduled vacation and work.   In any event, there is much to look forward to…

Many ask, “How are you feeling?” since they heard the news on Friday.  I must say it has been rather surreal….talking about cancer like I am talking about somebody else.  But in the night hours, God and I have been having a 2:30 a.m. appt. to talk.  Something like this sure puts a whole new meaning to time as well as  priorities and I couldn’t go through this without the peace only God can give me.  Not that I don’t have my moments of tears and what if’s.. I think that is normal when first being told…it looks like you have cancer, but I have been a Christian for many years and God has been my Rock through the ups and downs of my life.

There is always hope both that the diagnosis is wrong and of course wonderful hope in the Lord…. So I am confident that whatever the case be….it will be just fine.

I will be posting updates periodically when I back from vacation…  Have a great 4th… Blessings,  Marilyn

Am I Dreaming or is this for REAL?

Good morning,   After receiving news that I had cancer last Friday, I decided the best way to express my thoughts and keep my friends and family informed would be to create a blog…. So here goes.  I am an amateur blogger… so if you have any helpful suggestions, please pass them along.  I will post a “Thoughtful Reflection” every day…. or at I’ll try to make them thoughtful, so you will see the good bad and ugly of one that is experiencing the Journey of Cancer.  Your comments are welcome as you go on this Journey with me.