Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Biopsy Done so I'm Packing My Bags

The biopsy went very smoothly this morning and I didn't faint, nor did I feel anything. The doctor was very good at preparing me for what was coming next and that helped me not to feel so tense. Thank you for upholding me with your prayers. God definitely answered prayers for peace, calmness, and strength. I will receive the biopsy report from my doctor next week Wednesday (Jan.6). Now I will try to put that out of my mind as I pack my bags and head out on Thursday with my brother, mom and dad to New Jersey to attend my nephew's wedding. I am really looking forward to seeing my oldest brother's family and enjoy a wedding celebration! There's nothing like a wedding in the family to take your mind off of biopsies and such things.

Love, Sandra

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I Know He Knows

Some piano playing...
some thinking...
some praying...
some visiting...
nibbling at leftovers...
watching a movie...
reading a good book...
That makes up another day that God created,
through sore legs,
another day in His strength,
another day in stillness before Him.
I know He knows,
and I'm relying on that.

In His peace,

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas greetings to you all!

Just want to wish all you readers out there a very blessed Christmas, even though for some of you Christmas is already over. We are having a wonderful day here at my house and it's just good to be together with the family. Dad and Ardie treated us with beautiful Christmas music - piano and harmonica. My nieces and nephews have enjoyed playing all sorts of games from pool and ping pong to monopoly and quirkle. We exchanged gifts this afternoon and enjoyed seeing what everyone received.
I attended the Christmas Day service this morning and played piano for a group that sang For Unto Us a Child Is Born from the Messiah. They did a fantastic job and I was blessed. It was difficult to be in church but I'm glad I went.
Christmas Day 2009 is almost over. Immanuel, God with us!

Love, Sandra

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Eve Eve

It was a good day - full and fullfilling. Friends called or stopped by for a quick visit; a cup of tea. My sister and I shopped for groceries in preparation for Christmas Day. My family will be coming over to my house this year, and I think I'm ready. Just a few last minute things to do tomorrow.
OK, time to get ready for bed. It's rather late already. Just wanted to connect and say thank you for your continued prayers.

Love, Sandra

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Through the Tough Times

We had a wonderful celebration of mom and dad's 55th wedding anniversary on Thursday. We enjoyed a delicious dinner and had a relaxing evening just visiting together. Yesterday I brought my sister and brother-in-law back to the airport and then drove to school to attend the Christmas chapel. It was so good to see the students and after chapel I managed to make a visit to every classroom. How absolutely delightful that was! Of course, it also made me wish I could be teaching again but I will have to be patient.
Today I received a card with a beautiful verse. Let me share it with you because it says what I want to say.
When we are going through tough times in our lives, Jesus doesn't stand on the outside of our difficulties. He is in the midst of each thing we walk through in life. He is there to speak peace to us, to calm the storm, to assure us of victory, and to walk with us into a new day." (Roy Lessis)
I'm clinging to that promise - that He will walk with me now and always into each new day.

In Christ alone,

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas decorations

This afternoon my sister and niece came over and we put up Christmas decorations. We had a good time doing that and I was able to enjoy myself, too. It's good to keep busy since my mind is so filled with things to come. My biopsy is scheduled for Dec.29 - I was hoping it could be sooner but I guess all the holidays don't help.
Tomorrow my sister and brother-in-law from Alberta will arrive and stay with me for the next few days. My mom and dad are celebrating their 55th wedding anniversary on Thursday and we're having a family dinner.
Yesterday I had 3 deer come right by my house, looking for food in the snow! The snow was pretty, but I'm glad the rain has come and cleared the roads.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

What Can I Say?

It's hard to know what to write. I talked to both my oncologist and my GP on Thursday night and Friday. Tests show that I need a biopsy again and it is recommended to be done soon. Needless to say, I am anxious about what this all means but I cannot get ahead of things. I don't have a biopsy date or time yet but I hope it will happen this week. I will keep you informed as my mind takes in all this information and tries to adjust. Sometimes I am calm, other times I am very restless. I am not very focused on anything but baking helps settle me down so I've got lots of cookies and muffins in the house. Please pray for miraculous results and peace that passes all understanding.

Hoping in Him,

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Be Still

I just came home from our complex Christmas party. It's always enjoyable to get together with neighbours and visit around hot apple cider. Today just went by so quickly! My cousin came over this afternoon for tea.
Went for more tests today. Hopefully by Friday I will know more. One day at a time...trusting and resting one day at a time. Be still, my soul...

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Just want to connect with you, even though I'm not sure what to write at this time. The doctor's visit was OK, and subsequent tests are resulting in more tests so I am again waiting uncertainly for results. And that's the hard part of this cancer experience - waiting and waiting and waiting some more. Never knowing where things are at; never sure of what's next. I feel stopped in my tracks again, although the last few days have been better physically speaking and pain-free. I made my library run again today, and picked up some groceries and baked some squares. I was busy transposing music at my computer and then I sat at the piano to play it. Now I'm relaxing with a book, trying to rest in Him and wait patiently. What were those verses I wrote out in my blog last time?

Love, Sandra

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Because There is Hope

Today has been a better day again with more energy and not-so-achy legs. That's good! It's easy to become discouraged and think I am back at square one, but I know that is not the case. Thank you for your continued prayers and encouragement along the way. Please pray for a good doctor's appointment tomorrow morning. I am apprehensive about the visit, and the mammogram that follows a couple of hours later. I won't have results until next week sometime probably. Anyways, just letting you know what's up.
We had a good Bible study today on Mark 10 and this afternoon I did some quilting downstairs. I'm cooking a small roast in my crock-pot and it's making my house smell pretty delicious!
"Yet if you devote your heart to Him and stretch out your hands to Him... you will stand firm and without fear. You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by. Life will be brighter than noonday, and darkness will become like morning. You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety" (Job 11:13, 15-18).
What a promise, eh?

Hoping in Him,

Monday, November 30, 2009


Oh, it's an achy day and I'm not doing so well in the patience department. So I did some laundry and some baking (my two favourite household chores) to take my mind off the pain.
I went to the lab this morning for some bloodwork and the lab technician commented on my hair. She thought it was beautiful! She liked the colour and the curls. She thought maybe I had red hair before I lost it but I had strawberry blonde hair 24 years ago, before I lost my hair for the first time. I am pretty pleased with my new hair this time around. No straightening iron for me! I love those curls!
I just need a reminder - "The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing" (Zephaniah 3:17).

Still trusting,

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Saturday Stuff

Feeling better today, although my legs have been pretty achy this past week, and today, too. I shall attribute that to my body fighting this cold, or maybe it's the weather. I baked some muffins, and made my weekly trip to the library, and picked up some groceries.
I just finished reading The Cellist of Sarajevo this morning. Wow, that's a pretty intense and powerful novel. Definitely a book club kind of book because it gives you lots to think about and talk about.
And a big Happy birthday to my older brother! Hope your day is wonderful and you get spoiled by your family!

Love, Sandra

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turkey Dinner with Family

Feeling better today - yesterday not so much (spent most of the day on the couch). This morning I had an appointment at the cancer agency with the genetic testing department. I now have to go for blood work, but it takes 8-10 months before they can tell you if you have the breast cancer gene or not. The work is very labour intensive and there is such a backlog so that's why it takes long. We will pray that no BRCA gene is found because that would have such huge implications on our whole family.
Happy Thanksgiving to my American family and friends! I'm going to celebrate with a turkey dinner tonight, too.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Forward in Hope

I brought my niece to the airport this morning and she has returned safely home. It was wonderful to have her over for the week. And my sister has completed all her radiation treatments and is done, done, done. Praise God! We go forward now full of hope and pray that recuperation from all the treatments will go smoothly.
I'm still struggling with my cold - it's not getting worse, I don't think, but it's not cleared up yet either. I'm definitely supporting the Kleenex company!

In Him,

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Almost done!

My niece and I have been having a good time together - quilting, baking, reading, watching movies, and visiting. We went to my mom and dad's for tea this afternoon and my sister was there, too. She just has 2 more radiation treatments and she's done!
I've been fighting a cold the last couple of days. It's not real bad, however, and hasn't settled into my chest. That's good. I hope it clears up quickly. I'll just take it easy this week and make sure I get lots of rest.
I hope you have a wonderful week in whatever you do!

Love, Sandra

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Here are a few pictures of my trip to South Carolina. I am back on B.C. time now and able to sleep in again in the mornings. I am feeling well with hardly any pain. I rarely have to top the pain medication that I'm on with more pain meds. That's so good. It helps me to feel more energetic, stronger, and now I'm dreaming of teaching again. I'd say that's a good sign, right?
A niece from Alberta is staying with me for a few days. We are doing some quilting and just enjoying each other's company. It's nice to have someone else in the house.
Tonight I am attending the Breast Cancer Support Group and looking forward to a presentation by the dragon boat racers from Vancouver.
Oh, gotta go - my paper carriers are here for a cup of tea.

In praise and thanksgiving,

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Lord is My Shepherd

Adjusting to the time change... three hours isn't a lot but enough to wake me up early this morning and now I'm so tired I just would like to sleep. I had a wonderful time in South Carolina and the flight home yesterday went smoothly. Good to be away and good to be home again. I am missing that warm Carolina sunshine, however. My time away helped me to forget that I've just gone through cancer again and it made me feel "normal." Does that make sense to you?
I bought a new piano book and was playing in it today. The book contains hymn tunes based on Psalm 23 as well as a variation on the melody by Bach called Sheep May Safely Graze.
"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake." (Psalm 23: 1-3)

Tired but refreshed,

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Windy and Rainy

It's been so blustery - windy and rainy - leftover from Hurricane Ida, they say. I feel right at home! This afternoon as I was sitting on the couch, a tree from the neighbour's fell over landing straight across the road! No one could get through, although the city, or county, came through pretty quickly and removed the debris. It's been cooler the last two days but the forecast is for sunshine by Friday again. On Sunday I went for a walk around a lake with my friend, and took some gorgeous fall pictures! It was so warm people were walking around in their shorts!
I'm enjoying my stay here in the South and this morning I even poked my head into a music room at a Christian school here. They were busy practicing songs for their Christmas program in December. I missed the students and teaching music when I heard the children singing.
Time to do some more knitting now... take care!

Love, Sandra

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Greetings from the South

Hi y'all,
If I could add the southern accent to this message, I would! I'm in South Carolina alright and just enjoying fabulous, sunny, warm weather. Today it was up to 76 degrees Farenheit (sorry, there are no celsius temperatures given here). Anyways, it was a beautiful day. We went up to Asheville, North Carolina, in the Blue Ridge Mountains. What gorgeous scenery with the fall colours so vibrant and rich. It does get very cool at night so the leaves are changing colour and falling off. I'm having a very relaxing, and wonderful time and getting a taste of the Southern life.
I'm feeling good and though my legs were pretty sore the last couple of days, I didn't have to take extra pain medication today.
May you be richly blessed in God's presence tomorrow at His house of worship.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

South Carolina!!

Guess what I'm going to do? I'm visiting friends in South Carolina and leaving early Thursday morning!! I'm excited to go - I've never been that far south along the east coast before. It'll be a big day of travel but I enjoy flying. It's warmer down there; they've been having beautiful weather lately. And I don't have to pack my curling iron because my hair is just so curly all on its own. I am amazed at the curls - I've always had pretty poker straight hair. Kinda fun!
Take care and have a good evening!

Love, Sandra

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cherry Chocolate Chip...Mmmm!

So nice to wake up to sunshine this morning! What a beautiful day it was and I had a good day, too. My legs will still be painful sometimes, but it won't last and I don't have to take extra pain medication as often then. Baked some cherry chocolate chip muffins this morning. Mmm... they were good! I made my weekly trip to the library and picked up some more books to read. Had coffee with my brother and tea with a friend and did a load of wash. Now that was a pretty full day, don't you think? Time to sit back and delve back into my book.
Blessings on your Sunday tomorrow. May you be able to join with the people of God to worship Him in the splendor of His holiness.

In the Son,

Thursday, October 29, 2009

In His time

It's been a restful day today. We had our Bible study this morning - we're studying the book of Mark. It was refreshing and good. Yesterday I had a doctor's visit. The doctor was pleased at how things are progressing, and told me to stay on the pain medication until there is absolutely no pain anymore. Oh my - I can't even imagine a day like that right now. But one day... Before I left the doctor's office I also got my H1N1 vaccination.
Now I'm off to celebrate my niece's birthday. Happy birthday, Alanna!

Love, Sandra

Monday, October 26, 2009

Good things!

What a wonderful weekend I had! I went away with a friend and I had reading time, shopping time, relaxing times, and even a little exploring. It was fun! My family also got together for brunch on Saturday morning so we could connect with a nephew and his family that we don't get to see all the time. This morning I did some exercising and realized some bones and muscles are a little stiff and sore but I'll just keep on pushing through. I'm tired today but that's OK, and I'm not surprised, either, with all that weekend activity.
A great big thank you to 5B for your wonderful cards and get well wishes and prayers! Your cards were delightful and I enjoyed looking at them over and over. I miss you all, too, and I'm looking forward to being back at school again someday.
All good things around us
Are sent from heaven above.
Then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord
For all His love!

In Christ,

Friday, October 23, 2009

A full week!

I'm just amazed at how quickly a week goes by. I picked up my sister from radiation treatments yesterday, we talked and enjoyed each other's company, and she stayed overnight. This morning I brought her to her radiation appointment. That was just plain fun, Audrey, and even though we didn't sew a quilt, we at least planned one and kind of laid it out.
I had a very good week with so much less pain. Today my legs are very sore again, but I can handle it when I have many good days in between. I've enjoyed visits, and phonecalls, and quilting, and Aquafit, and my dad's birthday, and reading, and playing piano, and baking, and more.
Have a wonderful weekend and maybe the rain will stop sometimes and we'll see a rainbow in between the clouds!

Love, Sandra

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Thanking God for Better Days

This morning I went to the pool to participate in an Aquafit class. I really enjoyed the exercise and it went very well. I am having a good week and the pain is so much less. It is such a relief not to have to deal with constant pain! I'm thanking God for better days!! Without the pain I have more energy to do other things and though I have to be careful not to do too much, I am feeling stronger.
"Trust the past to God's mercy, the present to God's love, and the future to God's providence." (St. Augustine)

Trusting in Him,

Friday, October 16, 2009

Too Long!

Oh dear - I haven't written to you all week! It's been a pretty good week with less pain. As long as I take it easy and have some rest times, my legs have not been aching constantly. There were days that I didn't have to take extra pain medication and for that I'm very grateful. I'm hoping I'm turning the corner on the neuropathy and I'll have more good days than pain days.
My sister began her 5 and a half weeks of radiation yesterday. I hope the treatments go smoothly for her. Pray that all will be well.
Have you ever read the book I Am Rembrandt's Daughter? I really enjoyed it and learned a lot about Rembrandt's paintings as well.
OK, I better get ready as I'm going out with a friend for supper tonight.
Take care and God bless you.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

With Thankful Hearts

Yesterday we had our family Thanksgiving dinner at my parents house. It was so good to be together and eat and talk and play games and sing and enjoy each other. The turkey and ham were delicious, Mom! as was the rest of the meal. I am certainly thankful just to be so well and able to enjoy family time. Today is a quieter day. I needed that - it's been a week with lots of activity and I was having a hard time keeping up, even though I loved every minute of it.
"Give thanks to God, for good is He
His love endures forever."


Thursday, October 8, 2009


I had such a good evening yesterday quilting with friends. I finished piecing all the squares and now the quilt is ready to be put together. It's always so much fun to see how the quilt will turn out and what the final product will look like.
I had a good Bible study this morning with women in my complex. We are looking at the book of Mark and we noticed the big word - LISTEN! Jesus asks us to listen and listen carefully. "He who has ears, let him hear." I think listening to Jesus also means resting in His promises. If I listen I can rest securely and safely in His arms.
Oh, it's time to stop - the doorbell just rang.

Resting in Him,

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Short and Sweet

I am having a good day today and very little pain for the second day in a row. Maybe the pain medication is kicking in - I sure hope so! Not a lot to report but I just wanted to keep in touch. Time to make myself some supper now. Have a good evening!

Love, Sandra

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Back home!

The flight was quick, uneventful, and on time. My brother was there to pick me up. The house was terribly chilly but Nathaniel got the fireplace going. The suitcases are unpacked and the plants are watered. Now it's time to sit down and read the newspaper. It always feels strange at first to come home after being away. The house feels too quiet and I don't know what to do. It was such a good time in Alberta - thank you, Brian and Sharon, for your warm hospitality and your loving support. I'm loving the gorgeous fall day with sun (not rain, Brian!) and a balmy 16 degrees!
Blessings on your Sunday tomorrow. Worship God in the splendor of His holiness!

Love, Sandra

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

30 Days Hath September... And They're Over!

Last day of September already! I just spent the last two hours outside - sunny but cool enough for a jacket. My sister took out the last produce from her garden and I helped out a bit - pulling carrots, digging for potatoes, and picking the final cherry tomatoes. Even Thumper,their pet rabbit, enjoyed a few final raspberries and those delicious carrot tops! I went for a little walk along the park trail behind their house, and took some pictures. It was refreshing to be outside breathing crisp, clean air. The forecast says it could go as low as -7 tonight! It was the perfect distraction for my achy legs.


Monday, September 28, 2009


Whew! It's a windy, blustery fall day out here in Lacombe. The temperature is certainly cooler than it was last week. My nephew says he can smell snow in the air! I am having a wonderful, relaxing time at my sister's, as well as connecting with friends. I'm learning all about Skype, too - so cool!
Yesterday at church the service was about "koinonia" - true fellowship in the Lord - and I was just thinking how blessed I am to be able to experience that fellowship through friends and family like you. As I continue to recover from the physical and emotional effects of cancer, I truly am thankful for your prayers of support.
I hope you have a great week - and experience "koinonia."

In Christ alone,

Friday, September 25, 2009

From Alberta

Well, here I am in Alberta. It`s wonderful to be at my sister`s place and visit and chat and enjoy some different scenery for awhile. Yesterday was a hard day of travelling - my flight was delayed by 2 hours from Abbotsford so the trip became much longer. I was very tired and in pain when I arrived in Edmonton but I could just relax at my sister`s house so that was good. Today I`ve done some cross-stitch, some knitting, and I`ve gone for a walk with Sharon. And, of course, we`ve done a lot of visiting. It`s been a pain-free day so far and for that I`m very thankful. Lately, it seems to work out to every other day being a better day.
The weekend is here. I hope you have a relaxing one and enjoy time with family and friends.

Resting in Him,

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Carried and Supported

What an absolutely gorgeous, sunny day! Wow! The first day of fall certainly felt more like the middle of summer, eh? My hanging basket still has new blooms so I'm not going to get rid of it yet. Maybe I'll just see how long it will last.
Today has been a day with pain but I could still visit with a friend, drink juice with my nieces, and clean out a cupboard that really needed it! Tomorrow I'll have to pack my bags because I leave for Alberta on Thursday morning.
Thank you for your love and support! Keep on praying. I know God is carrying me through this journey.

Love, Sandra

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Up and Away

Another beautiful day with sunshine and clouds. We are certainly having a nice September. Yesterday was a very good day and I was pain-free almost the whole day. I love having those kind of days in between the tougher days. Today hasn't been as good. My head feels a little heavy and my ears are ringing from the new pain medication that I'm on. Not too pleasant.
This afternoon my niece, the one who set up this blog for me, had an open house for friends and family before she leaves for college this week. It was good to get together and my parents also came by. I leave this week, too, for Alberta. I'm going to visit my sister and her family, as well as friends. I'm looking forward to the trip.
As we embark on a new week, I hope and pray you will have a good one. I covet your prayers as I continue to struggle with the pain, try to regain strength and energy, and process this cancer journey.


Friday, September 18, 2009

He knows, He knows!

Yesterday Audrey came over and we went out for lunch together. We cannot fathom the fact that we are both going through cancer at the same time, but it's so good to be able to talk and fully understand each other. And then our brother comes over and he gets recruited to do the picture-taking. It won't be much longer that we will both be wearing our wigs together.
There's a song on my piano that I've been playing and singing lately called He Knows. Listen to these beautiful words: Fear not, He knows; My soul why fret and tremble?
Fear not, He knows; Your life is in His hands.
Fear not, He knows; And you know He is able
To care for you, so trust the best is planned!
God knows - He knows all about my pain, my fears, my concerns, my restlessness - and He cares, so I'll keep on trusting...


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Quilting and Friendship

Quilting and friends go together and today is quilting day, with friends. It's fun to see something beautiful appear as fabric is pieced together to make a quilt. I have been very tired today and in pain, and quilting is a good distraction. Some days are harder than others but having other things to do is always helpful. It's a journey... it's a process...

Love, Sandra

Monday, September 14, 2009


I baked some muffins today. Muffins are quick and easy and always so tasty. And there are so many kinds you can make. I made blueberry muffins and ginger pear muffins. They look pretty good up there on the kitchen counter. You're always welcome to come over and I'll gladly share them with you! I did some "school work" today, too - from home, of course. It made me think of how different things were 24 years ago when I had my first bout of cancer. There were no computers then and it was harder to stay connected. It was in the days of snail mail and phone calls, and at that time I was teaching in Alberta and living here with my parents. What a lot of change in 24 years - change in technology and change in my health. Here I am, 24 years later, trying to adjust once again to living with the reality of cancer in my life. I'm so glad God is a constant - the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He was my strength 24 years ago and now in these "processing, restoring" days, He is still my rock, my salvation. May you also feel God's strength, especially if you're going through change and feeling like you need His strengthening restoration.

In God's strength,

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tread Lightly!

I've just been sitting outside on my deck. It's so beautiful outside - and very warm! I thought we were heading into fall last weekend, but now I think we're back into summer. I just put my supper on the barbecue so I'll update you while I'm waiting for my meal to get ready. My visit to the radiation oncologist went very well yesterday. He was so pleased at how good my skin looked and was amazed how quickly it had healed, even though the radiation is still working inside. One of my ribs is a little "soft," so I have to be careful not to fall on my left side or bump into something. That's an effect of the radiation. My new pain medication isn't working yet but I have to give it at least a week, my oncologist said. This afternoon my shin and feet have been pretty sore. Strange how this nerve pain goes! Tonight is "chick-flick" night and I'm looking forward to enjoying the evening with friends.

Love, Sandra

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Good Visit

This morning I went for an hour long oncologist's appointment. It was a good visit - helpful, informative, reassuring, and productive. My oncologist changed my pain medication again to try and get this pain under control. She said we need to get the pain managed so my body can concentrate on recovery from chemo and radiation. And today my legs have been very sore. This new drug is stronger and I hope it will be effective. She reassured me that it is normal to be feeling tired, and unable to do anything and everything I'd like to do. She reminded me of all I have been through, both physically and emotionally, and all the recovery my body still needs to go through. Did you know that the effects of radiation are in your body for 18 months? That's a long time! Tomorrow I see my radiation oncologist for a check-up. And my sister had her last chemo treatment yesterday afternoon so she is on her last recovery from chemo! Little by little, day by day, we walk this journey in faith and trust.

Resting in Him,

Monday, September 7, 2009

Back to School

To all of you returning to school tomorrow, students as well as school staff, - many blessings for a year filled with learning and joy in that learning! I pray that you will see God in the people around you and in discovery of the awesome world He made. I'll be thinking of you all because even though I know in my heart that I cannot teach yet, I certainly do wish I could be at school, too. Keep on singing His praises, and I will do that here at home!

Love, Sandra

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Family Celebration

This afternoon my aunt and uncle celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary! Isn't that just amazing? Many blessings, Uncle Steffen and Aunty Jane! Family and friends were invited to an open house this afternoon to share in their joy. It was so wonderful to connect with extended family and see an aunt and uncle from as far away as Australia, and talk with cousins from all over B.C. I come from a pretty big extended family and though we don't always see each other, nor can we all gather together at one time, a day like today is still such a blessing. Family is pretty precious and over the years we've shared many joys and sorrows, made a lot of memories together, and been able to sing, and laugh, cry, play, talk, and just be together on occasions such as this one. And we are part of an even bigger family - the family of God! When there are joys we can celebrate together, and when there are hard times we can support each other. It just humbles me and totally encourages me to know so many of you, all part of the large family of God, are walking this journey with me and my family. Thank you for all your love and care, and your continued prayers. Great is Your faithfulness, O God, our Father!

Your sister in Christ,

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What if?

What if I really was well enough to go back to school and teach music? That's what I was thinking on Monday when I went to school for a couple of hours to help out in the music classroom. And then I came home... and my legs were so very sore, and I couldn't do anything else that evening except lay on the couch. Even though I have continued to go to school for a couple of hours a day, I know that I could never be teaching. This week has taught me that. My body is so very tired and my legs are pretty achy, and I just need to listen to my doctor and let my body recover. I know - I've probably said it before - but it's hard for me to accept and I just have to let the school dream go for now. God has given me so much healing already and I have to rest in Him that He will continue that work.

Love, Sandra

Saturday, August 29, 2009

In the quietness of the evening

It's been an ordinary day today - - -
* sleeping in after attending a 50th birthday party last night - it was so good to be able to visit
and chat with people I hadn't seen in a long while
* having a morning visit with my brother, sister-in-law, and niece
* trying to make the singing bamboo top sing (we don't quite have it yet, Victoria)
* doing a load of wash and hanging up the clothes to dry
* heading out to the library for more reading material - quickly becoming a Saturday ritual
* laying on the couch to enjoy those new books
* sitting at the computer to chat with you a few moments
- - - and the pain is tolerable...
and I'm thankful for energy to go through an ordinary day...
and hoping for that same energy to be able to attend church tomorrow...

Just content,

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

School's on My Mind

I know I'm not able to teach yet but I've been thinking more about school lately. It's just what my mind automatically does at this time of the year. So I'll just dream... and instead I'll do what I can to help out from my home and specifically, my computer.
Today I got my new passport in the mail and it only took 2 weeks and 2 days! I was expecting a longer wait than that, even though it was just a renewal.
This week has started out better than last week as far as the pain is concerned. I would say I am more tired this week than last, but the pain is more tolerable and not as severe. So I just have to continue to have patience and take the time for my body to recover from what it has been through.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

A beautiful evening!

I just went for a walk with my neighbour. What a beautiful evening! When we got back we had a cup of tea together and now another day is almost done. I'm amazed how quickly the days fly by. My week has been filled with visits, and errands, and a movie (Julie & Julia - how fun!), and lots of reading and laying on the couch, and unfortunately, also quite a bit of pain. That's the hard part of this recuperation and the most tiring and frustrating. I'm trying to do some exercises every day to hopefully try to alleviate the pain somewhat. Not sure it's working yet but it feels good anyways. Now I better get ready for bed. Good night and sleep well!

Love, Sandra

Monday, August 17, 2009

At home again

I am at my own home again and wanted to share a few new pictures with you. My sister's youngest boy, Eric, made such a striking piece of art and I just had to show you. He wrote some sayings in the pink ribbon part but I forgot to write them down. When my sister, Sharon, came a couple of weeks ago, she brought along Audrey's favourite song through this breast cancer journey that she had written in calligraphy. I am just reminded over and over again in so many different ways how God is ever present. I also feel so strongly the love of family, both my own immediate family near and far, and God's larger family, all around the world. Thank you for the reminder of God's peace, too, in your sermon yesterday, Nathaniel. You made Psalm 29 speak loudly and through God's still, "peaceful" voice.
"God makes His people strong.
God gives His people peace." (Psalm 29:11 The Message)


Thursday, August 13, 2009


It's been a good week at mom and dad's. Every day I've been able to see Audrey as well and we've had lots of time to talk and visit. I've been able to read and relax and enjoy my family's company while my body continues to heal and be renewed after all the treatments. I so often think I can do more than I actually can. I'll make plans to do something and then lose the strength and energy needed to complete the task. However, yesterday my mom and I did make blackberry mint muffins after my dad picked some wild blackberries. Yum, yum! Tomorrow I will return to Abbotsford - it's been a refreshing break!

Love, Sandra

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fruit of the Vine

Audrey is home from the hospital! This morning I went to pick her up and then we went out for lunch with Ardie. Now I'm back at my mom and dad's and it's so peaceful and quiet here, although I do hear the occasional blueberry cannon going off. The sun is out again today after a good day of rain yesterday. Maybe tomorrow we can eat some fresh blackberries. What do you think, Dad?

At home and at peace,

Saturday, August 8, 2009


I'm going on a vacation, beginning tomorrow! I'm going to stay at my parent's bed and breakfast in beautiful Surrey. Won't that be wonderful? I'll stay there for the week and enjoy the sheep, and the pond, and the gardens, and my parents, of course. Unfortunately my sister went into the hospital today so I will go and visit her there instead of at home. Her temperature went up so she's on antibiotics, just like I was. We are in this together. Please pray for Audrey, that all will go well for her and her body will respond quickly. What a road this is, with all its bumps and potholes along the way!
" Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find REST for your souls." (Jeremiah 6:16)

Standing on the promises,

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Reading is Wonderful, and so are Sisters!

Oh, I just love reading! I've been doing lots of that lately and I'm really enjoying the book Three Cups of Tea right now. I tried doing some exercises this morning, too. I'm trying to set up a little regimen of exercises from a book I found in the library entitled Essential Exercises for Breast Cancer Survivors. My cancer doctor thought maybe that would help my leg pain somewhat as well. I would love some relief other than painkillers because the leg pain is hard to take at times. And for a little bit of trivia - today is Sisters Day - so tell your sister(s) you love her (them). Take care and have a good day tomorrow!

Love, Sandra

Sunday, August 2, 2009

One step at a time

Guess what? I was able to go to church this morning for the first time since March! Just to be able to get up early enough, and drive myself there, and be able to sit through a church service, were all huge accomplishments, and I was thrilled I could do it! When I came home I sat down and played the piano...
"I sing because I'm happy, I sing because I'm free!
For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me."
Yup, His eye is on all His sparrows. I was glad to be able to go up to the house of God and worship with fellow believers today. Every day is another small step to recovery...

Singing His praises,

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Saturday Night

Another wonderful day! I was able to hold a precious newborn baby (welcome to this world, Janna), be out and visit with friends, have supper with family, and read and relax as well. It's hard now for me to realize that though I am finished going to treatments, my body is still working hard. I am very tired and a little nauseous at times, and my skin seems to be getting redder, rather than better. I know all those things will clear up over time - I just have to be patient. OK, it's time for a saline soak, some cream, and a few pills.

Till next time...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Whole-hearted Thanksgiving!!!

I'M DONE - I'm done with surgery, with chemotherapy, and with radiation! I am finished 5 weeks of radiation and it really did go very well. I can't believe it! By the grace of God I have completed the first 6 months of this journey with breast cancer. What will I do with a whole, uninterrupted day tomorrow? No appointments at the cancer clinic or the hospital for the next 6 weeks - how glorious!!! Yes, I feel so good and now I'm going to live downstairs in my cool basement. My car said it was 40 degrees as we were coming home just now.
Oh, it's just so good to be finished all the "cancer clinic-hospital" stuff. Thank you to all of you for being on this journey with me and praying diligently and encouraging and supporting me. I will continue to blog and give you updates on how things are going. But for now, the hard stuff, I hope, is over! Thank you, Lord, thank you for Your loving care!

Grateful, truly grateful,

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Saline Soaks and Less Fog

Today was full with two appointments. First of all I went for a radiation appointment this morning and the technicians thought my skin was a little too red. So they recommended that I see a nurse for a saline soak. That's what I did after the radiation and it sure felt soothing and cool on my skin. I have to give myself saline soaks 3-4 times a day for the next two weeks to keep the skin clean and hydrated. Then this afternoon I went to see my cancer doctor and we talked about what's ahead. He's very pleased with how I am doing as far as the breast cancer is concerned and says things are looking good, except for the pain in my legs (neuropathy) as a result of one of the chemo drugs. He has no quick solution for that problem. He says it can take months for that to go away. Because I am already 2 months past chemo and am still struggling with the pain, he is concerned that it may be around for awhile yet. He suggested a new dosage of the pain medication so my head is less foggy, and hopefully I'll be able to drive around some.
As of today, I now begin 5 years of taking a pill every day to wipe out any residue of breast cancer left in my body. I hope I will not have any side effects from that drug. Tomorrow I have my last radiation treatment!!!!! That will definitely mean a celebration coming up!!!

Celebrating already,

Monday, July 27, 2009

Just checking in...

There's not a lot to report or say but I just want you to know that all is well. I am trying to endure the hot weather like the rest of you B.C.'ers and my house does stay pretty cool. This evening I'm going with my neighbour to another friend's house to watch a movie. We'll be in the basement, which is a pretty cool place to be these days.
Pray for a good doctor's visit tomorrow - it's a biggie. It's my follow-up visit after chemo and radiation and we talk about where we go from here. I'll let you know how it goes.

Content but sweating,

Friday, July 24, 2009


"In every moment, whether painful or joyous, God's light and life are upholding you, as near to you as your own breath. Therefore, never think at any moment that you are truly alone. For no matter what you feel, God's heart is feeling it with you." Thank you, Jan, for those words of encouragement and I hope you don't mind me sharing it with others.
Yesterday I went to my own GP for an appointment regarding the pain. Though he didn't have any quick fixes he said that I should stay on the course of medication that I am now on for at least 2 more weeks. Then if things are not improving we will have to find a new source of pain medication because he said we have to try to get rid of this nerve pain. And to that I whole-heartedly agree. That is the most difficult thing to live with right now and things don't seem to be getting a whole lot better.
On the radiation side of things - I only have 3 days left!!!!! Isn't that amazing? And though the skin is red, and the doctor prescribed special cream for it today, it is not bothering me a whole lot. I feel very tired and my list of things to do at the beginning of the day never get done. And that doesn't bother me, either. I am content to sit back and read and nap, and visit with any of you that drop by.
Thanks so much for your continued prayers, visits, cards, and for driving to various appointments.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

He cares for you, and you,... and me!

Very tired today - just sat on the deck and read and napped. Of course, the heat can do that to you, too. So it could be the heat of the sun and the heat of radiation zapping the energy out of me, as well as some pain medication. My house stays pretty cool - at least on the main floor so that's good. I did have a list of things I was going to do today - but they are not going to get done, I know that for sure.
"Cast all your anxiety (I have a lot of that) on Him because He cares for you." I Peter 1:5. We were just talking about that at our last Bible study here in my complex. Oh, how comforting are those words.

In His care,

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Family Fun

Yesterday we had a barbecue with 18 of us at my sister's place. It was so wonderful to be all together and both my sister and I were feeling well. We did a lot of talking, laughing, eating, playing games, and celebrating life. What a perfect day to be outside - it was such nice weather! We missed you, Mel and Mary, but we thought about you and talked about you. The bocce balls got a good workout (especially with the added juggling you did, Eric!) and croquet was challenging on a yard containing some hills here and there. Surprising you with the DQ birthday cake was fun, Nathaniel and Ardie! You didn't know anything about it, did you? Yes, family is just great!
Today I had a quieter day with my sister and her husband and three of their children. Yesterday tuckered me out and I was in pain again today so I just took it easy. Now we're down to only 8 more radiation treatments! Please pray that my skin will continue to do well.

In God's love,

Friday, July 17, 2009

Have a great weekend!

Radiation continues to go so well and for that I am very grateful. The doctor said I didn't need any antibiotic cream for my skin - it's just looking too good for that. He said I'm taking care of it well and everything looks as good as it can for this stage of the radiation. So that's wonderful - no complications, just plain, smooth radiation. Yeah! I do need my little afternoon rest but that's OK - it's nice enough weather so I can sit outside on my lounge chair on the deck.
My hair is growing back in! It's about 1 mm. long and I think it's going to be black and curly this time around (just kidding - you can't tell right now). Anyways - it is very exciting!
Tomorrow we're having a family barbecue at my sister's place. It'll be fun to get together and enjoy the gorgeous weather!

Take care!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A bit of change

Yesterday the skin was good and today the radiation technicians said I will probably get some antibiotic cream on Friday when I see the doctor. That's how quickly the skin has changed. It's just quite red today but not real sore yet. I'm very tired, too, so I thought I'd just make a quick update before I lie down awhile.
And, Nathaniel, I just wanted to say Happy Birthday!

Love, Sandra

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Distractions are a good thing when you're struggling with pain - a little housecleaning, a radiation treatment, a visit, some baking, making a pot of soup, ... And thank you for the reminder of God's Word, Corinna! "I lift my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth (Ps.121)."
Radiation treatments are going very well. The technicians commented today on how good my skin looks. I'll just keep lathering on the cream.
Well, I think I'll have a bowl of that soup I made and see how it tastes.

In God's daily help,

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Walkin' In The Rain

We were all together at mom and dad's this afternoon and sitting in the living room talking about events of the week. My nephew was walking along in the rain earlier this week and it's a long story but out of that walk he got a job and is now working. It was orchestrated so splendidly that it was certainly a God-thing. My niece got the trailer she wanted and my sister's 3rd treatment went so well that she was able to be visiting with us today, too, looking so good. It's amazing how God looks after us so richly and surprises us with His constant goodness. We had a good family time together and I was thankful for a pain-free day so I could enjoy our afternoon, too. I hope and pray that you will be able to see and experience God-things in your life this week. Blessings for a great week!

Love, Sandra

Friday, July 10, 2009

Praising Your name!

I had a wonderful day - I felt good, I had more energy, and I had very little pain. The radiation doctor was very pleased with how good things are looking. After my treatment this afternoon my sister and brother-in-law, Sharon and Brian, and three of their children (R, L, and P) all came over and we had a great time together. We ate a pizza supper outside on the deck and then we went for a walk in the neighbourhood. It was such a beautiful evening and Mount Baker stood out so majestically against the clear, blue sky. My niece and nephews kept noticing our B.C. slugs - they just don't have them like that in Alberta.
I was playing a song on the piano earlier and the chorus says:
Jesus, Jesus, we praise Your name,
Ever and ever and ever the same
Your majesty and glory we will gladly proclaim!
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, we praise Your name.

Singing His praises,

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Over the Bridge

Today was a full day but still very relaxing for me. My sister and brother-in-law and three of their children arrived about noon from Alberta to say "hi" as they were driving through Abbotsford on their way to my mom and dad's. They're here for awhile so it'll be good to enjoy some family time together. Jeanette took me to radiation treatment today. I am beginning to feel the treatments a little now and you can see it on the skin but it's not too bad yet. After treatment we went to pick up berries and then took a drive through Fort Langley, stopping at a book store, and taking the Albion Ferry to Maple Ridge. From there we drove over the new Golden Ears bridge (I won't tell how many times we went back and forth over it) and then we drove back to Abbotsford and had some supper before returning home. It was a good drive and I was content to be a passenger just taking in the scenery. I was rather tired today but it was alright because I had no responsibilities. Thanks for the field trip, Jeanette!
Now I'll do a little reading before heading off to bed.

Love, Sandra

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sing, Play, and Rejoice!

My day started with a wonderful concert from three of my students at ACES. You did a great job, girls, and I really enjoyed your violin, piano, and recorder playing, and those songs that you sang. That was just plain fun and you made my day!
The radiation treatment went by so quickly this afternoon. I don't even have a chance to fall asleep - it's so quick!
I love the sound of the rain on the leaves outside. We're having a nice rain right now so all the plants are getting watered.
Pray for my sister, Audrey. It's treatment #3 for her tomorrow and the first night after her treatment is usually kind of rough. I hope it goes better for you, Audrey!
Take care and have a nice evening.

Love, Sandra

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Communion of the Saints

It's just been a full couple of days with visits and phonecalls, and surprise company (thanks D and P for coming over - it was soooo good to see you!) and sleeping and reading and dozing and relaxing outside and sneaking out in my car to the library, and radiation treatments, and a doctor's visit, and reading some more.... get the picture? I've loved all the activity and sometimes it has helped me through the painful times. I have good days and bad days, and just when I think the pain is gone and the medication is working, I have a pain-filled day again and I am back where I started. I am still increasing my pain medication so I have hope that it will take effect soon. I begin a full week of radiation tomorrow and that is going well up until this point, for which I am truly grateful.
I know it's late but I wanted to connect with you. Have a good week and God bless each and every one of you with His love and care.

Love, Sandra

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Enveloped in God's love!

Another beautiful, sunny day! Radiation treatment went so quickly this morning. I'm in and out of the treatment room in about 10 minutes, I think. Tomorrow my radiation treatment is followed up by a visit to my radiation oncologist. After I came home in the early afternoon, my mom and dad came by for a visit. It was so good to see them (and now I have strawberries and raspberries in my freezer - thanks, Mom!).
The pain in my legs seems to be a constant companion and I wonder sometimes if it will ever go away. I will keep trusting and hoping in God, praying for relief and healing. I read the following verses on a verse card on my fridge and made them personal by changing some of the pronouns. How rich is God's love!
I bow my knees before the Father...that He would grant me, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in my heart through faith; and that I, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that I may be filled up to all the fullness of God. (Eph.3:14, 16-19)

Love in Christ,

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Nothing New Under the Sun...

Same old, same old - pain is still there, radiation went smoothly and I even dropped into school today. I went down into the music room this afternoon just to have a look and feel the music around me. It was so familiar and yet so strange not to have been there since February. Talked to both of my sisters on the phone today and visited with my aunt in Ontario over a telephone call as well.
Looking forward to a one day break tomorrow because it's Canada Day, therefore, no radiation treatment. Small blessings...
Happy Canada Day!

P.S. Victoria - could you please contact me if you are reading this entry? You can email me at selgersm@uniserve.com. Thanks.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Visits are great!

Just had tea (juice, actually) with my niece and we had a nice visit together. That took my mind off the leg pain that was there as soon as I got up this morning. I did supplement with some extra pain medication just to make things a little more bearable.
It certainly has been, and still is, a beautiful, sunny day. I'll have to get back to sitting on my deck again, especially since the forecast is for a sunny week.
Enjoy the sunshine!

Love, Sandra

Friday, June 26, 2009

A very full day!

This morning I went to see my own doctor since I needed more pain medication. He asked if it was effective and I said it wasn't totally taking the pain away. He said that I am not up to the full strength of the drug so we are continuing the same drug and I am going to slowly increase it until the pain goes away without me having to take additional Tylenol 3's. I am hoping we can soon reach pain-free days because today was a pretty pain-full day again and I had difficulty walking well.
I joined my school staff for our end of the school year lunch. It was good to see everyone, but unfortunately I couldn't stay long because I had to go for a radiation treatment. It was very emotional to be with my staff. It reminded me so much of the teaching time I had missed this year and how much I missed them all. [Sorry, I snuck out on you, ACES staff - it was just too hard to say goodbye.]
My radiation treatment went smoothly and quickly today. The technicians didn't need to take any more pictures - they strictly did the treatment and I was done in 30 minutes. That's how quickly it should go from now on. That's fast, eh? I was back in room #3 - which is my treatment room so I didn't get to see any new ceiling pictures.

Love, Sandra

Thursday, June 25, 2009

In A Tropical Paradise

Today my radiation was in a different treatment room and there were palm trees waving in the sky this time. I suppose it was intended that I think of myself on a sandy beach, soaking up those wonderful "radiation" rays! The second radiation treatment took a little longer than yesterday but all went well. I don't notice anything yet but it's a little early for that, I imagine.
I joined the Bible study group in my complex this morning. It was good to be a part of that and delve into I Peter 3 and pray together. How wonderful is the communion of the saints!
I wanted to go to my niece's graduation this evening but that was just a little too much for one day so I passed on that. Sorry, Erin, but I know you understand. Congratulations, girl, and I know you are excited about what's ahead!


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

First ZAP done!

Well, that first radiation treatment went smoothly. It really is painless and easy, other than the fact that one of my arms went to sleep because you lie still for awhile. And the picture on the ceiling of a sky with clouds and trees waving in the breeze is very calming and restful. They really should put some birds flying around, I think. And then add some bird songs, etc. to make it authentic. OK - just trying to create some more atmosphere if I'm going to be in the same room for 24 additional times!
Thank you for your prayers - I was apprehensive this morning just because this was an unknown - now I know what it is like and it's not claustrophobic at all. That's a very good thing because I don't like that closed in feeling.
The pain was in my legs yesterday but today has been another good day so far. Yeah! I'm starting to feel like doing a little more. Yesterday I even baked almond squares and rhubarb muffins!

Continuing on...

Monday, June 22, 2009


Hi everyone,
I'm so happy to report that I've had no pain today. The last couple of days were pretty much constant pain but today was a very good day. As well, I had some great visits today and they warmed my heart and gave me encouragement. I really hope this freedom from pain lasts - thanks for your prayers. Pray with me that I will stay pain-free as I go into radiation on Wednesday.
I continue to be unable to do much but I am resting a lot and sleeping well and long at nights. Resting and sleeping in peace is a gift from God and I am grateful for that.
I was reading in Ruthless Trust by Brennan Manning and it just reminded me so much about living one day at a time, living in the here and now, living in the present. God is present with me right now, in the here and now, giving me hope and peace, patience and joy - to live in His grace and love.

Love in Him,

Friday, June 19, 2009

Summer's Around the Corner

School is out for another year at ACS. I've been thinking today about the students cleaning out their desks and teachers taking down the bulletin boards of another school year. I was happy to be able to send a "summer message" via video this morning to the students in their "end-of-the-year" chapel. And now it's summer break - I wish I could have the summer break, too. I don't look forward to 5 weeks of radiation. I want this cancer stuff to be done - but I will press on and hope the pain subsides. Yesterday and overnight were not good - the pain persists and I can't keep it under control unless I double up on pain medication. Maybe the pain is my body's way of cleaning out the chemo drugs.
Please keep praying for freedom from pain, and patience to endure. And I know I'll be alright because God's right here - He makes the sun peek out from around the clouds.
I'm going outside to pick up my mail now.

Hopeful in Him,

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Feeling stronger...

Hi everyone,
I have had a pretty good day and felt like I had a little more energy. I have been eating a bit more lately as well. I have had no pain at all today, which is the first time in a long time. My new medication (in place of tylenol 3's) must be working. The doctor did say it would take awhile for it to build up in my body. It feels good to be on the up and up again. I have one week to get back on track before radiation begins.
I did some reading today, and some visiting, and some more reading, and the day just flew by!
Take care and have a good day tomorrow!

Love, Sandra

Monday, June 15, 2009

Radiation Preparation

This morning first thing I went back to the hospital with my brother for a radiation preparation appointment. They marked my body so they know exactly where to do the radiation and took some pictures to make sure they are accurate. What an exact science this radiation is! My first radiation treatment will be next week Wednesday at 2:36 p.m. (!) and will go on for 25 days. If all goes well and smoothly, the Lord willing, I will have my last radiation treatment on Wed., July 29.
I did go to our family celebration yesterday and I thoroughly enjoyed just being at Mom and Dad's with everyone and laying back and taking in the time together. Family is the best and I just love you all so much! It was cosy and comfortable, and I was so glad to be out of the hospital and able to watch hummingbirds chase each other away from the feeder. Now why would they do that?
The rest of today I just read, and slept, and read, and slept. I am happy to be feeling as well as I do with no sign of infection and minimal nausea. I am tired and though the pain is still present, it is controllable and hopefully will soon be gone.
My sister, Audrey, goes for chemo round #2 tomorrow. I will pray that all goes well for you, Audrey. Much strength to you, girl!

Love, Sandra

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Home, sweet home!

It's SOOOOOOOO good to be home again and before I lay outside on my lounge chair and take a nap I just want to say thank you to everyone for your thoughts and concern, for updating the blog, Ardie and Erin, and especially your prayers. It is miraculous that the count just jumped up to 1.7 today! That is so great! I am looking forward to spending some time with my family tomorrow!
I feel good, although still somewhat tired, and needing rest. I know my body has a lot of building up to do and I know that I have to give it time. I'll just keep on reading books - I've been doing a lot of that lately. My cancer doctor did tell me in the hospital that 4 rounds is all my body could handle, and he wasn't surprised that it was taking longer to rebuild this time. He said my body is more fragile now and I will have to continue to be careful for infections. I am on a new pain medication as well because it will take longer for the pain to also go away. The new medication takes awhile to build up in your body but I am taking less and less Tylenol 3's. That's a good thing!
Time to lay down for awhile. It's just so good to be home again! Thank you, Lord!

In His love,

Home in time to celebrate!

Hey all, this is Erin (Sandra's niece, Ardie's daughter),
I just got a call from Sandra in the hospital and she recieved the good news that she's going home today! A day earlier than expected, which is amazing! And the best part is her count is up from 0.6 yesterday to 1.7 today, a near normal level! Sounds pretty miraculous to me...
So, we just wanted to share the good news with you before we hear the final word that we can go pick her up...but we're excited to have her home again, and to (maybe, hopefully) gather with the rest of our family tomorrow!

Keep praying that the count stays up!

Enjoy the beautiful Saturday,

Friday, June 12, 2009

Halfway there!

On Thursday the blood levels jumped up to .50. The neutrophils need to get over 1.0 so at least we're halfway there. Sandra's hemoglobin (red blood count) had also been extremely low and that is also starting to climb, so that is a good sign as well. Sandra seemed to be feeling quite a bit better and you could tell she is on the mend so we are thankful for that!

Continue to pray that those neutrophils will keep on climbing quickly so she can be out of the hospital by Saturday.

Sandra also received a visit from the dietitian on Thursday. That was really helpful because she hadn't been eating much. The dietitian found out some of Sandra's likes and dislikes and is now including chocolate milk with her meals, lots of yogurt, soup, bread and cheese. Much better than the Irish stew globby looking stuff she was served earlier this week. I didn't see it, but I guess it was pretty disgusting looking and tasting. Thursday night she ate almost her whole plate of broccoli, fish, and rice. That's also an encouraging sign that she's eating!

(written by Ardie)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

No progress

Unfortunately today, the neutrophil count didn't budge. Sandra had originally hoped to be out of the hospital by Thursday so she could attend her nephew Eric's graduation ceremony. Unfortunately she won't be making that. Now she's hoping for the weekend. Please pray that her blood counts move up in amazing strides in the next few days so she can get out before Sunday. We are planning a big Elgersma party on Sunday to celebrate lots of family June birthdays, father's day, Eric and Erin's graduations and the end of chemo for Sandra. We really want her there!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Very slow progress

There's 2 ways of looking at the progress of the blood count in the last 24+ hours. On the one hand, the count doubled--that sounds great, right? However, considering the neutrophils started at .1 doubling means they are now at .2. At least they are going up!

Please pray they will increase more rapidly over the next few days. It's looking like the hospital stay will be several days as the neutrophil count has to get above 1.0.

Other than that, Sandra is sleeping lots--her body's working hard!!

(posted by Ardie)

Monday, June 8, 2009

In the Hospital Again

Hi Everyone--It's Ardie here. I hoped I wouldn't have to write again, but unfortunately Sandra was admitted to the hospital tonight--actually during the wee hours of this morning. As she wrote earlier today, her fever has been going up and down, but was hovering just below the critical point until tonight. It spiked this evening and stayed up so the oncologist on call told her to go to the emergency room.

This emergency visit went better than the last few. She was seen right away and given an isolation room and they did an IV right away to give her antibiotics. Her neutrophils, however, were only at 0.1 which is dangerously low.

Unfortunately, she can't have visitors at the hospital. Please don't send flowers or plants either because of the risk of infection that they can have. I will keep the blog updated until we know more. Just pray that the neutrophil count comes up so she can go home soon.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Up and Down

I had a pretty good day today and worked on getting my journalling book up to date. I put all the pictures in the right spot and got caught up on some of the writing. I enjoy journalling, even though my thoughts are not profound, I like just telling what is going on from day to day. When I'm teaching I don't always make the time to journal and now I can do it.
I am feeling OK, other than the fact that my temperature keeps rising and falling. I keep having a low grade fever, so I know my body is working hard this one last time. My mouth is full of mouth sores so it's hard to talk and eat but smoothies go down well.
Yesterday I ran some errands with my sister-in-law and picked up some groceries. I enjoyed just getting out of the house for awhile and seeing some different scenery. I hope I can do that more this week, too. Once the pain is gone and I don't have to be on pain medication, I can do some driving again.
Well, enjoy your Sunday evening. God be with each and every one of you and may He bless you with a good week!

Love, Sandra

Thursday, June 4, 2009


This morning I had an appointment with my radiation oncologist. He explained a little of what would be happening in the next phase of my treatment. I will be given radiation for 5 weeks, or 25 days, beginning sometime around June 22. [Originally I was told I'd have 4 and a half weeks of radiation; 5 weeks sounds so much longer]. I will have radiation in three spots - the lymph nodes in the neck, the lymph nodes under the left arm, and the chest wall. The two main side effects of the radiation are fatigue and the soreness of the skin. That seems less severe than the chemotherapy, doesn't it? I'll just stock up on books and movies and the couch and my lounge chair will become my best friends for the month of July.
The rest of today I have just been lying on the couch. I am so tired and even though I like to read, I keep dozing off. My temperature is normal right now so that's very good. Pray that it stays like that because I don't want to visit the emergency room again.

In His love,

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Happy Birthday, MOM!

Today my neighbour, Karen, drove me to my parents' house in Surrey as she headed out to Burnaby to visit her mom. I spent the day with my mom and dad, and my sister, Audrey, came over as well. We had such a good day together, just visiting and being totally laid back. It was too hot to do any strenuous labour so we all celebrated my mom's birthday in the coolness of the living room. I just enjoyed hanging out with my family on my parents' couch instead of being on my own couch. I was pretty tired and my body is working hard because my temperature is going up minimally but at least it's not getting too high.
What a nice, relaxing day!

In His care,

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

God is Good!

Today was a better day. I didn't have as much pain and though I laid on the couch most of the day, at least the pain was under control. How thankful I am for that. Thank you for your prayers and words of encouragement.

Just resting,

Monday, June 1, 2009

God is my Rock!

It's been a difficult day because the pain is pretty severe. I called the helpline this evening, and though there isn't a solution to the problem, the doctor said that because it's the fourth treatment, the pain is building up. Therefore, I'm glad it's my last treatment. The Tylenol 3 isn't really taking the pain away because my body is building an intolerance to the pain-killers and the pain is really a nerve pain, not a pain that responds well to pain-killers. All in all, I just have to keep remembering this is the last of the pain. Please pray that I can sleep in peace and have patience to bear the pain. I know there is an end to this - hopefully sooner than later. Meanwhile, I keep taking the pain medication so I'm not up to doing very much at all. I'll just keep on enjoying that lounge chair on the deck.
My neighbour read Psalm 18 to me this evening. "As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him. For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect." (Psalm 18:30-32)

Strengthened in Him,

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A lazy Saturday

What a beautiful day to be lazy and enjoy the gorgeous weather. I've been sitting in my new lounge chair on my deck, just enjoying the warmth and napping now and then. I'm very tired today but feeling OK otherwise.
Meet my niece, Erin, the one who set up this blog for me way back in February. Thanks so much for doing that, Erin! I hope you're enjoying a lazy day, too, after your big evening last night! Only a few more weeks of school and then another school year is over again. It's almost June already - can you believe it?

Content in His love and care,

Friday, May 29, 2009

It's going well!

Wow! I can't believe how well things are going this time around! I have had a good morning and though I am ready for a little time to lay down, I have had a good amount of energy. I am keeping up on the anti-nausea medication to keep the nausea at bay and that is going well. I had a phone call from Holland this morning, a visit from my mom and dad, and I've been to the neighbours for a bit. I think I'm just so excited to know this is the last round and I only have to recuperate from this chemo and there will be no more!!! I got an appointment to see my radiation oncologist next week Thursday for a consult and then radiation will probably start the end of June sometime. I'm excited to have a break and time to just heal from the chemo. Continue to pray that things go well and that no infection will set in this time around. Oh, I've gotta go - my niece is coming over to show me her beautiful grad dress before the big grade 12 dinner this evening.

Thanks be to God!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Chemo is finished!

This is Ardie writing. Once again Sandra is asleep after her 4th and final round of chemo. Everything went really well today. We were finished in only 3.5 hours including the pre-chemo drugs to combat an allergic reaction. This treatment seems to have gone the best. That's a good way to end.

Now we just pray that the side effects are minimal over the next few weeks and that no infection sets in this time! Even though Sandra doesn't have to have any more chemo treatments, she won't feel really finished until about 3 weeks have passed when her body can be recovered from the treatment today.

Sandra gave a thank you card to the chemo nurses today that she had made. It was a "never-ending" card. The nurses loved it and all came to find out how she made it. They said it inspired all of them to get crafting.

I'm hoping this is the last posting I have to make--that all goes smoothly from here out. We won't talk about radiation yet--don't want to think about that yet--that's a month away.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

To God be the glory!

This morning I went for blood work and to see my oncologist. Both visits went well, although it took an extra poke to get blood this time. My neutrophils and white blood count were nice and high again, thanks in part to the antibiotics, so I'm hoping there will be no episode with infections this time. I am on track for my LAST chemo treatment tomorrow (Thursday) morning at 10:30 a.m. The oncologist couldn't say why the infections continue to come, nor how to stop them, but he's hoping this will be a good round, as was my second round. That's what we will pray for, right? About four weeks after tomorrow I will begin radiation for 23 days so I will have an appointment with the radiation oncologist in the next couple of weeks. My oncologist also couldn't say why the nausea has been worse this last time around; all I can do is keep popping the anti-nausea medication consistently. One more round just sounds so good to me - the oncologist said the radiation should be easier on me. That would be wonderful!! I'm just thankful that I have been able to continue through with the chemo on schedule. Thanks again for all your prayers. Like a friend just said to me when she called this afternoon from Ontario, "We'll give God all the credit!" To God be the glory, great things He has done!

Grateful, truly grateful,

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Perfect Hat

OK - Jeanette and I were at the camera again making pictures with all sorts of head coverings that I have. So here's to Friesland - dit photo is voor mij familie in Holland - de volmaakt hoed voor en sonnige dag.
I had a good day today and enjoyed a visit with my aunt in Ontario over the phone as well as a visit from a friend this afternoon.
Please pray for my sister, Audrey. She begins her first chemotherapy treatment tomorrow here in Abbotsford, a whole new phase of her breast cancer journey. I'm looking ahead to my last treatment and Audrey is just beginning her six rounds of chemo. Much strength and many blessings in the weeks ahead, Audrey!

Resting in Him,

Sunday, May 24, 2009

May 24

What another beautiful day! I spent sometime sitting outside reading a book. I did a lot of reading today and talking to various family members on the phone. This evening I was invited to the neighbours' house for supper and we just sat around and talked. Thanks, Gordie and Karen (I even ate some supper!) It was nice to have a change of scenery. We watched a little bunny sitting perfectly still in the grass. I wonder what it was thinking about! I was going to post some new pictures on the blog but I think I'll do that another day instead.
I hope you had a refreshing Sunday and blessings to you in the week ahead.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Sunshine Galore!

Friday afternoon already and another week has almost gone by. Antibiotics are finished and I am feeling a little stronger each day, although eating is very difficult. I just don't have an appetite and when I eat, I feel nauseous afterwards. I was outside earlier, enjoying the warm, sunny weather. Wow, is it ever beautiful! I pulled a few weeds from my garden and removed the worn-out tulip leaves. Now I think I'll sit on my deck for a bit and read.
I think they're building another new house behind my complex. I've been hearing the bulldozer digging all day. (Oh, it must be quittin' time - the machine has just been turned off!) It definitely was quieter when the land behind me was cattle pasture. I'll have to go and take a walk out there a little later.
Have a sun-filled and happy weekend. Rejoice in God's Son in your life!

love, Sandra

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Psalm 16

The fever is gone and hopefully those little neutrophils are replenishing themselves once again. The treatments are definitely leaving me with less energy. My stomach is also not very agreeable to eating so that doesn't help either. But my sister made a pot of mashed potatoes for me (my favourite food lately for whatever reason) and so I have that to eat. Thanks, Sharon! It is delicious!
I think I'll go and pick up my mail and walk outside while it is still dry. Thank you so much for continued prayers, and visits, and phonecalls. I do love hearing from you all.
Psalm 16 is my favourite Psalm and here is a verse from a song based on that Psalm that my sister Sharon calligraphied (?) for me 24 years ago through my first round of chemotherapy.
Protect me, God: I trust in You.
I tell you now, "You are my Lord;
On You my happiness depends."
Protect me, God: I trust in You.
I have to remind myself to keep trusting, even through the more difficult times because I know for sure that God is protecting me and holds me firmly in the palm of His hand!

Protected in His care,

Monday, May 18, 2009

Happy Victoria Day!

Just to keep in touch with you all... I am ready to sit on my couch and watch a movie. I don't have a lot of energy to do much (same old story) and so watching a movie seems to be a good thing to do. My family has gotten together for dinner but that was too much for me and I'm not feeling like dinner anyways. Yesterday everyone was over for tea - 16 family members: sisters, brothers, parents, nieces, and nephews. It was great! I didn't have to do a thing and it was so good to see everyone.
This morning Ardie and I went back to the hospital to check out my blood work since the doctor had asked us to do that on Friday night. We waited a long time (3 hours) and received no answers; only more questions. My neutrophil count went down from Friday night and I'm on antibiotics. I'm still running a fever and that doesn't seem like a good thing to me but the doctor just told me to go home because there were too many germs in the emergency room anyways. I don't know what I'm supposed to do now but I'll just wait until tomorrow when I can talk to the cancer clinic, I guess. It's all a little frustrating and a little tiring and calling people about my health concerns is certainly not my favourite thing to do. Oh dear, oh dear... if only I could teach - that's much easier and more pleasant!
OK - no more complaining, eh? Time to relax and take it easy. My sister will spend the last evening here yet tonight and then she'll head back to Alberta with her children tomorrow. I hope they don't have to drive in any snow!

Take care,
Love, Sandra

Saturday, May 16, 2009


I am doing pretty well - tired and a bit nauseous but otherwise OK. But here's the surprise. This afternoon the doorbell rang and my nephew, Jon, was at the door. It was great to see him - I knew he was coming out with his two sisters, but behind him was my sister, Sharon. She had come as well and surprised us all!! Wow! That is so neat - and she is staying at the house with me for the weekend! Now I'm so glad to be home for the weekend - instead of in the hospital. I hope the antibiotics continue to do their job well. And now it's time for some supper.

Love, Sandra

Emergency Room Deja Vu

Tonight Sandra and I had a sense of deja vu. She had to make a 2nd trip to the emergency room for an infection. Everything happened exactly like it did in early April with the first emergency room visit. Friday was the 8th day after chemo treatment #3. Once again a fever spiked on the 8th day. She called the oncologist, he told her to go to the hospital. After the initial intake with the triage nurse Sandra was put in Exam Room #4--same one she was in last time.

But that's where the similarities stopped. This time we were wiser and took our own water along so Sandra could keep hydrated. We also wouldn't let anyone draw blood until her arm was wrapped in a warm towel for a while. That made a huge difference. The lab assistant got the blood with 1 poke and hardly any bother for Sandra. The blood cultures all came back clear and this time the white blood count and neutrophils were above 1.0 so they sent Sandra home with a prescription for antibiotics. No intravenous needle needed!

The hospital was out of the antibiotic she needed to take. I ran to the new Shoppers Drug Mart (which I found out is the only pharmacy open 24 hours in Abbotsford--I knew the store was open but didn't realize you could get a prescription filled in the middle of the night!). Sandra took her first antibiotic pill around 1:30 a.m. enjoying a chocolate cappuccino muffin (thanks Kim and Becky!) with the pill since she has to take them with food. That was a delicious middle of the night snack to take with an antibiotic.

Sandra is now at home resting. Hopefully she can sleep in late Saturday morning and get lots of rest this weekend. She has to go back to check the blood levels on Monday morning. We pray the numbers will be as good or better!

Once again, no cut flowers or live plants please as they pose a health risk. Also, please call ahead before visiting--Sandra probably won't be up to much visiting this weekend at least.

Thanks for all of your prayers! A special thanks to Sid and Sue for being with Sandra this evening and praying with us before the trip to the hospital!

- by Ardie

Friday, May 15, 2009

Couch Potato

Friday already and the end of another week, and a week ago since my third round of chemo. It's been a rather rough week, especially with nausea, vomiting, and heartburn. Today was pretty good, although I still find it very hard to eat much and I was very tired so the couch looked very inviting most of the day.
Yesterday my sister had another appointment with her oncologist here in Abbotsford and tests showed that the cancer had not spread elsewhere in her body. That was absolutely great news for her and now she can get ready for her chemo, which will begin on May 26th. She'll basically be starting when I am done.
OK - I'm headed back to the couch but it has been nice to chat with you. I hope you have a fantastic long weekend - and I just hope the sun keeps on shining! Two nieces and a nephew are traveling down from Alberta this weekend. It'll be good to see them sometime tomorrow. I hope the snow is gone from the Coquahalla by the time they go over it.

In Christ's love,

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Back on Track

Today was a much better day than the last two days. Since Monday I was unable to keep food down and that was a new development for me. I wasn't expecting that at all - and it brought too many memories back of 24 years ago. However, yesterday the nurse helpline gave me new suggestions for medication and yesterday afternoon and today I have been able to eat a little again. Toast and gingerale work wonders when you're struggling with nausea and don't have an appetite. I don't have a ton of energy but at least I could do some knitting, and updating my journal, and playing piano.
Time for a cup of tea... have a relaxing evening!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

PINK Greetings to you, ACES!

Dear students and staff at ACES:

I know you are wearing pink today and collecting quarters to raise money for breast cancer research. I wish I could join you at school but these pictures will have to do instead. I am wearing pink at home today, you can be sure of that! Thank you so much for raising money for breast cancer research. The money helps to find a cure for breast cancer but also helps to make the treatments a little easier to manage. Thank you so very much, students and staff, for all your continued prayers and loving support. I know God is answering prayers every day and helping me to get through this one day at a time. I know He loves me, as He loves you, and watches over me, especially on the hard days. Keep on praying for complete healing so I can come back to school and sing, sing, sing again!
Have a wonderful day in pink and God bless each one of you with His love and tender care.

Miss Elgersma

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Picture gallery

Jeanette and I were having fun with pictures this afternoon - can you tell? Each time I learn a little more about blog layout.
It's been a bit of a pain-filled day, with the muscle aches and pains again. I have to keep taking pain medication now to keep things under control. I'm pretty tired and not able to do too much. It's hard to think I have to go through these days again, but I know that the pain will ease eventually.
"Be still, my soul, the Lord is on your side. Bear patiently... He will provide."


Saturday, May 9, 2009


Thanks for the update on Thursday, Ardie. I was so out of it and now I've swung completely to the other side. Today has been a bit of a hard day because I've been so very restless. I have calmed down the last few hours so that feels good - I think it was from all the steroid medication that they gave to combat any allergic reaction. From very tired to hyper - what a swing! I did get out for a little walk around the neighbourhood and I even managed to go out and pick up a few groceries. I sat outside on my deck for a bit as well. My deck is mostly in the shade so I can sit outside in this beautiful, sunny weather.
Onward and forward... one day at a time - in His grace and strength.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

3 down 1 to go

We are home again after the 3rd chemo round. It went very well today. No surprises, which is a good thing! Sandra slept through most of it thanks to heavy doses of Benadryl to start the chemotherapy. It was slow going--almost 5 hours at the hospital. They are dripping the chemo into her veins very slowly to minimize the allergic reaction. We'll take slow and steady instead of scary allergic reactions!

Sandra is already crashed out on the couch and I would guess will sleep most of the day. Each chemo round will bring more tiredness.

We are just thankful that this went well and pray the next 3 weeks stay infection free.

Thanks for all of your support!

--written by Ardie

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

oiehjxadwoiefn (Bandaged thumbs makes typing hard!)

Today was a tired day - not a lot of energy. I have to take a certain drug already a day before my chemo starts and I think that was affecting me. My stomach has not been great and I've had very achy legs, too. That means I just took it real easy today. I did some visiting,too - over the phone with my sister and others, and in person with friends from school. I'm not looking forward to round #3, but I'm ready. Please pray for smooth sailing tomorrow - a good vein, no allergic reaction, and no infections later. My chemo begins at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow but the doctor wants the drugs to be injected even slower, so it could be a long procedure.

Resting in His care,

Monday, May 4, 2009


Today I went first to get my blood work done and they found a vein again in one poke! Then I visited the doctor and she said my blood work was good. My little neutrophils were at a respectable level and so I can go ahead with my next treatment on Thursday (May 7). I am staying on schedule! I have to bandage up my thumbs because the nail beds are very sore and the doctor said the nails might fall off. Eww!! I hope that doesn't happen. I'd rather lose hair than nails, don't you think? Anyways, it was a good doctor's visit and I am thankful that everything looked so good. Thank you, Lord, for answered prayers.
Have a good evening!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

He's Got the Whole World In His Hands!

Hey, I just posted a new picture on my blog. Something like that is such a big deal when you don't consider yourself a computer kind of person. That's my sister, Audrey, beside me.
I have had a good day - my eyes have been bothering me yesterday and today. They're sore and a bit teary but I can put up with that. It's another side effect of the drugs. Isn't it great to have an excuse for everything that happens to you? I can certainly tell that the drugs are building up in my body because fatigue is more pronounced the last couple of days. I go to bed earlier and get up later and still nap during the day!
We went to see my mom and dad this afternoon and had such a wonderful visit. We sat outside on the deck - it was so pleasant. We watched the hummingbird feed and the bunny rabbit hop around and the newly-shorn sheep grazing in the field. But no fish in the pond - oops, I think the heron's been grazing as well. My dad was playing his harmonica when we arrived. Nathaniel made a video of you, Dad. We listened and watched on the way home - very cool!
Tomorrow morning I go for blood work and have a doctor's visit in preparation for chemo round #3 on Thursday (May 7). I can definitely say now that I am halfway through the chemo. Yeah!
Have a great week!

Marvelling at God's handiwork,

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Early in the Morning!

Are you surprised to be getting a message so early in the morning? It must be the sunshine that's waking me up so bright and early. Or maybe the energy I got from quilting last night at Elsie's! That was so much fun and has me motivated to get moving on my new quilt. I am feeling better than the last couple of days; the nausea has subsided and I didn't have to take any anti-nausea medication this morning.
Now I'm going to meet my sister and my niece because they've just been to a chemo teaching clinic this morning here in Abbotsford. I love it that Audrey is going through the cancer clinic here so we can see each other more often and talk and compare notes.
Just thinking this morning about "the communion of the saints" and the fellowship we have with one another through Jesus. I found myself humming the song we composed with the household I was a part of when I was going to college based on I John 1:5-7.
God is light and in Him is no darkness at all;
And when we walk in that light in Him
We have fellowship one with another;
And the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all our sin.
(And here's that beautiful Greek fellowship word:)
Koinonia, koinonia, koinonia.
Have a wonderful day!

Love in Christ,

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hope and Cheer

Today my sister went for her first cancer clinic consultation. She will need 6 rounds of chemotherapy each three weeks apart but they will wait another 2 weeks or so to give her more time to heal from her surgery. After their consult Audrey and Joe came over for lunch and we compared notes. In some respects we're pretty similar, but in other things we're very different. Well, that's how we are as sisters, too. In some ways we're a lot the same and in other ways we're very different, right, Audrey? She will receive 2 drugs the same as me, and 2 different ones.
I'm feeling OK but my stomach has been more upset and I've had a headache this afternoon. At least I know my body is fighting on its own this time, without the help of any antibiotics. Keep going, little neutrophils. You can do it!!
Here's a verse someone wrote in a card for me and I want to share it with you, too.
"When doubts filled my mind, Your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer." Ps.94:19

Hoping in Him,

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Oops - almost forgot...

Oh dear, I almost forgot to write an update. I was watching The Amazing Race this evening and knitting on a little baby sweater. I realized I hadn't written anything on my blog the last 2 days. Today was so beautiful that I went for a walk this afternoon to my brother and sister-in-law's house. Mom and dad came over as well and we had tea together. I'm looking forward to a good week and I'm hoping that I continue to feel so well. I hope you have a great week, too.

Love, Sandra

Friday, April 24, 2009

Evening Ramblings

It's been a better week overall than the first chemo time around. I did a few house chores today, like some laundry, and read a little, and did a couple of sudoku puzzles. It was so nice to see the sun out again today. There are some beautiful azaleas around the complex that are really starting to bloom nicely. It's just so great to see the green coming out more and more. What with all this sunshine I'm going to have to buy a lounge chair soon so I can sit outside on my deck.
And a special congratulations and best wishes to all my Trinity Western students who are graduating this weekend! God bless you as you look ahead to new paths, whether that be travel, new jobs, or more studies.
Have a good weekend all of you out there!


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Baking Cookies

I baked cookies! Of course, they were already frozen pucks so I didn't have to do too much but nevertheless, I baked cookies. So come on over for a cup of tea and I'll serve you one of them! Things continue to go well. I am in a little more pain today but I still feel like this time around is easier. What else can I say? It makes me think of a song by John Bucchino:
I feel a hand holding my hand
It's not a hand you can see.
But on the road to the promised land
This hand will shepherd me...
Through delight and despair.
Holding tight and always there.
Grateful, grateful Truly grateful I am
Grateful, grateful Truly blessed and duly grateful.
Sometimes I do get discouraged and wonder why I have to go through this again, but I am so thankful for God's hand holding tight so I can smile on the road and bake cookies!

Enjoy the sunshine of God's love today,

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hopeful signs!

You know what? I think things are going better this second time around. I had a pretty good day today even though I am still taking pain medication to keep the pain under control. It's not as constant as the first time, however, and I am not struggling as much with heartburn. I'm sure the beautiful, warm sunshine also helped to perk me up and I even sat outside for awhile this afternoon with my neighbour. Though this is my "low blood count" week, I do feel like things are going better. Please pray that no infection will set in this time and my white blood count will stay high enough. I'm just encouraged to be feeling this well. Yeah!
"This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it."


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hanging in there!

It's a quiet, slow, take-it-easy, fight-through-the-nausea, kind of day. Good thing I have some medication options to keep the food down. I'm not doing too much, although I did take a little walk outside just to check up on my tulips. I'm feeling pretty tired and a little unfocused on any one thing but I'll just chalk that up to chemo.
Hey, I'm listening to my ipod music through my stereo and the African Children's Choir is just singing "He's Got the Whole World In His Hands." Oh, I needed that reminder - yup - He's got you and me, brother and sister, in His hands! I'll just go on from there... Take care!

Love, Sandra

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Chemo round #2 (halfway!)

This morning I went for my second chemo treatment. I know you were all praying for a vein and one was found, small but nevertheless, it worked! Those nurses in the chemo clinic are absolutely wonderful! They know how to do it and I commend them for a job well done. We did have a little drama. About 5 minutes after the first chemo drug was injected I had an allergic reaction to the drug. It was a little scary and caused everyone in the chemo clinic to move quickly. I got very flushed, had trouble breathing, and my heartbeat and blood pressure jumped. So they stopped the drug, gave me a dose of Benadryl through the IV, and then I had to sit for awhile until everything calmed down and went to normal again. The Benadryl made me drowsy so I slept much of the time away. When they resumed the chemo drug they made it drip extremely slowly and they continued going slowly with the next drug as well. They watched very closely. A nurse was sitting beside me most of the time making sure nothing happened again. As a result of this I will need 2 antihistamines before my next treatment to combat the allergic reaction. My, my - the drugs I am going through! Because of all this, the whole procedure took over 4 hours. Now I am fighting nausea with more drugs, but I am keeping it under control. I am pretty tired but I am thankful that all turned out well. The nurse said she was a little dubious about how things were going to go after that reaction but at least I can keep going with the drugs. They decreased the one drug by 25% today so hopefully I will steer clear of infections this round and not have so much pain.
Thank you for your continued prayers. I feel God's presence very strongly, especially when these little speedbumps keep coming up and I feel totally out of control of what's going on. I wonder, what's next? Just some smooth, relaxing days, I hope.
Thank you, Ardie and Nathaniel, for your presence today, too. Wow, you are amazing!

In His care,

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Doctor's visit

This afternoon I went for blood work and then to see my cancer doctor at the hospital. It went very smoothly - only one poke for the blood work! Yeah! The doctor said they would lessen the dose of chemo drugs a little so that hopefully I won't have a problem with infection again and the pain won't be so severe. They are certainly working hard to eliminate all negative factors of the chemo. My blood levels were back up today so we can go ahead with chemo on Thursday morning at 9:30 a.m.
I am feeling very good and that is such a blessing! I have energy and I'm eating well. I am enjoying this good week and pray that this next chemo treatment won't be as harsh as the first round.
I'm loving the sunshine and can't wait to be able to sit outside on my deck!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Today was a wonderful day! I would have liked to go to church today but that would not have been wise so instead I played piano and worshipped at home. We got together with our family this afternoon at Nathaniel and Ardie's to celebrate my birthday with the family and be together for Easter. Joe and Audrey came, too, with their family so we were all together with the 13 of us. It was a great family time and we could eat, laugh and talk and just be together. Audrey took it real easy but it was so good to see her there and though she is sore and tires easily, she also could enjoy the time.
You know, 24 years ago, this was about the time I was finished 8 months of chemotherapy for Hodgkin's Lymphoma. It was around Easter time and we sang Because He Lives in church then. Today that still is such a powerful and meaningful song for me and it holds just as true today as it did then.
Because He lives I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future.
And life is worth the living just because He lives!

Love, Sandra