Sunday, December 30, 2012

Praise The Lord!

It was a good day today and it was even better because of all that beautiful sunshine! The sky was so blue and oh, how the birds loved being at the feeder. Even a flicker was there eating some of the suet. And I ate three meals, too, and enjoyed every one of them. When I don't have to struggle with nausea it's always cause for rejoicing.
"Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights above....Praise Him, sun and moon"...(Ps.148:1,3a).

Rejoicing in His creation,
Sandra
(And my quote on Thursday was not Simeon's song, but Zechariah's song. Oops...)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Big Change

Today I went to see both my oncologist and my G.P. We are going to change my chemo drug and if scheduling works out that would hopefully begin next week Friday. The new drug is Taxol and will be administered on a weekly basis through IV. So no more weeks off in between. I wonder if my body can keep that up. We shall have to wait and see. The drug is stronger but because it's weekly the dosage is lighter. The tumour marker rose significantly yet again and that's one of the big reasons for the drug change.
Not the best news to hear, but there's still reason for hope. We will just keep on praying for a miracle. We'll pray this new drug works. I'm standing on the promises of God - for strength, for hope, for courage to go on.
As the Song of Simeon proclaims, "Praise be to The Lord, the God of Israel, because He has come to His people and redeemed them." (Luke 1:68)

Immanuel-God with us.
Sandra

Monday, December 24, 2012

It's Christmas 2012

Just want to wish you all a very Blessed Christmas,
Celebrating Immanuel, God with us!

Love, Sandra

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Cold on the Outside, Warm on the Inside

Yesterday was another chemo day and it went very well. Today I'm more tired than usual, but otherwise I feel OK. I even walked across the driveway to a neighbour's house for tea! It sure felt cold outside! Brrr....
Thank you for your continued prayers, and cards, and words of support and encouragement. It's so good to be a part of "the communion of saints." God certainly shows His love through His people, too.

Blessings,
Sandra

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Whiter than Snow

Didn't that snow look beautiful this morning? It was pretty heavy wet, snow but hanging on the trees it looked so peaceful outside. The birds were busy getting their seeds from the bird feeder.
I've had a good few days and I'm enjoying them a lot. I can get out a little and I have been a bit more mobile. My stomach has been cooperating, too, and the nausea has been so minimal. All good things!
Just noticed that my blog isn't always showing up with the pictures lately. I don't know why that happened but if you scroll down to see the web version, you'll get pictures again. Sorry about that.
"Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow. Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow."
Remember that chorus? Our sins are erased so we are made whiter than snow! What amazing grace we have in Christ Jesus, our Saviour.

In Jesus' love,
Sandra

Monday, December 17, 2012

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad! 58 is a big number when celebrating an anniversary. May God bless you with more wonderful years together.
Today has been a good day. Supper is smelling good and my stomach is even grumbling for food. I'm actually hungry and that's a good thing. Of course, we're having mashed potatoes and that's always a hit with me.
Yesterday was a very sleepy day. I slept much of the day away; my eyes just wouldn't stay open. I'm just thankful I can always sleep well.
I was outside a tiny bit today and it sure is cold. This afternoon it almost felt like we could get snow. The weather has been a bit "iffy" in that department anyways.

Love, Sandra

Friday, December 14, 2012

Have Faith!

Yesterday I went to school for a few hours to say hello to the students! They blessed me with their songs, and recorder playing, and their encouraging words. It was such a great time. How I miss being there!
Today was the start of another round of chemo. It also went very smoothly and I've eaten supper and feel quite well. I am just more tired today but that could also be from the big day yesterday.
Yesterday someone brought this Bible verse to my attention in Isaiah 7:9b: "If you do not stand firm in faith, you will not stand at all." Lord, give us faith in abundance so we can stand in hope and confidence.

In faith,
Sandra

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Fascinating!

Oops....didn't realize I had forgotten to write for a few days. Too much coming and going in my house, I guess. But it's all good. I still fight nausea and vomiting but it has certainly improved over the last couple of weeks. And on Friday I will start my chemo regimen again. We'll see how that goes. Please pray that it won't make me sick again.
I am so enjoying watching the birds at the feeder. They come, rain or shine. Some come for the suet, and others come for the seeds. Very fascinating!
Today my parents were over and an aunt and uncle came by, too. It was nice to have an afternoon visit.
Thank you for your continued support in so many different ways but especially by your prayers. Thank you.

Love in the Christ of Christmas,
Sandra

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Birds at My Window

A couple of days ago my oldest brother put up a bird feeder off of my front deck. When I'm sitting in my chair I can see if birds are arriving to get some food. Well, just this morning a little black-capped chickadee came around to investigate. He sat on my deck, almost as if to say "good morning,"and then hopped down to get some food. Other birds were waiting nearby in the trees. I hope the news gets out that there's delicious food to be found at #12 and I'll be able to watch birds stopping by for a tasty treat. Of course, the deer wandering by my back door this afternoon might get jealous. They're looking for food, too.
It's so true...This is my Father's world and if He's caring for those little birds He's made, I know He'll watch over us, too!

In His care,
Sandra

Friday, December 7, 2012

Wheaties

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. This has been a good week overall! The nausea has subsided so much, and though I am still on a lot of anti-nausea drugs, I'll take them if they work this well. I'm so much weaker than before and that is sort of disconcerting to me. I'll have to work at getting that strength back again. I'll just keep eating my "wheaties." If things continue to go well, I will be on chemo again next week. Please pray that my body will gain back strength so I can continue with the chemo program, even though it's not my favourite thing.
"I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in His Word I put my hope." (Ps.130:5)

Waiting in hope,
Sandra

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Procedure

This won't be too long because I'm having a hard time keeping my eyes open. This afternoon I had my nephrostomy tubes replaced and because I'm sedated for that, I'm usually a bit groggy and sleepy. The procedure went pretty smoothly and I'm glad that's done for another 6 weeks. The next time it will be 2013!

Love, Sandra

Monday, December 3, 2012

Perogies

Today my brother and brother-in-law put up Christmas lights outside my house. My sister and sister-in-law put out Christmas linens inside the house. I can even see the lights from my bedroom to enjoy them. I didn't do a lot today because I felt rather drowsy and sleepy all day. Must be from all the anti-nausea drugs I'm taking. However, they are working and food is staying down. I'm so thankful for that! Nausea is no fun at all and rather debilitating as well. I found another food I like,too. It's perogies! Now I have options - mashed potatoes or perogies?
I hope you are having a good week.

Blessings,
Sandra

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Advent

What a most enjoyable day we had with family. We took lots and lots of pictures. All of my siblings and their spouses are here for this weekend. Pretty incredible, I think. After all of that activity I just couldn't keep my eyes open and I had a late afternoon nap. I've had another good day - no nausea or vomiting! Time for me to build up some strength and try to put on some weight again.
My house looks like Christmas already. I have a Christmas tree up (good choice, E and A. Thanks so much!) and there is a garland of lights around the fireplace,too. Christmas music is playing in the CD player. It's just plain cozy and "gezellig." And tomorrow begins Advent, a time of waiting and eager anticipation. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!

Warm hugs to you,
Sandra

Friday, November 30, 2012

Family and Friends

My oldest brother and sister-in-law from Wisconsin are here visiting with me and the family for the next two weeks. It's such a wonderful treat to have them here! Tomorrow my sister and brother-in-law from Alberta arrive and then the whole family will be here - well, not everyone because all the nieces and nephews can't make it at the same time. I'm so excited about being here together - we'll have to take pictures, won't we?
This afternoon I even went out for a short grocery shopping field trip. It was delightful just to be out. As long as I was able to be in my wheelchair it wasn't too tiring. My brother and sister-in-law were along, too, of course.
Oh, I have much to be thankful for and thank you out there for continued prayers and support. Thanks for flowers that just keep pleasantly surprising me. My house looks like a flower garden right now! I love it! I thank God for all of you, caring family and friends!

In God's care,
Sandra

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Perseverance

A second day that's good - I like good days when I can keep food down and eat three meals a day. It helps me gain some of my strength back and not feel so weak, as I do now sometimes. This last almost-three week stay in the hospital really weakened me. The infection is still not gone and I have resumed antibiotics once again so I hope this round will get rid of the infection. As long as I'm on antibiotics I will not have chemo so please pray that the cancer doesn't get the upper hand. Pray that I will have the strength to carry on. Like the blessing says in my devotional right now - "Blessed are those who persevere under trial, because when they have stood the test, they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him." (James 1:12)

In His strength,
Sandra

Saturday, November 24, 2012

My Own Bed!

Tonight I get to sleep in my own bed. How wonderful that will be! I came home from the hospital around 1 p.m. today. I'm so glad to be home again. That was a long and not very pleasant hospital stay. The nurses and doctors were great but I just had some pretty poor days. I hope and pray that things will stay good now. I can tell that I'm weaker now and don't have the same energy but slowly over time, hopefully I can build up my strength again. I'll have to do some good eating!
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine on us - so that Your ways may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations. (Ps.67:1-2)

In His care,
Sandra

Friday, November 23, 2012

It's Me!!

Just a quick note-I have a way to access the Internet so I'm taking advantage of it to just say "hi." I'm still in the hospital but really hoping to go home tomorrow, like REALLY hoping. I'm feeling pretty good and the vomiting, though still present occasionally, is much improved. Please pray for continued healing and being able to go home. Thank you for all your loving support.

Love, Sandra

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Code White

One of the times Sandra was in the hospital, we sat around discussing all of the different codes that get called over the intercom at a hospital. Well, it's not so fun when your loved one is involved in one.

What a lot of excitement in Sandra's hospital room the last couple of days. Her room and hallway have been the source of Code White alerts today and yesterday. Because of the location of her room at the end of the hallway, another patient on her wing who tries to escape, thinks Sandra's room is a way to get off the ward. The staff has been fairly quick to respond and no harm was done to Sandra either time. There seems to be a guard posted by the other patient's bed now.

Other than that, we are happy to report Sandra's had 3 better days. No vomiting! There are other symptoms that need to disappear, but your prayers have obviously helped since I put out that request on Sunday morning. Praise God she's been able to keep food down for 3 days.

--written by Ardie


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

This is the verse we all are clinging to today. Sandra's nausea and vomiting have not changed with the switch of medications like we had hoped. Sandra will be in the hospital at least until November 22, when her course of antibiotics is finished. She is getting weaker because of the inability to keep food down.

Sandra is one of the most positive people I know. She is starting to feel discouraged, so for all of you who know her, that says a lot. Please pray for peace, comfort and relief from symptoms for her.

--written by Ardie

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Book of Sandra and Friends

A huge thanks to Simone and Al Scholing for bringing the book of notes and pictures from the celebration night to Sandra in the hospital. I understand 5th graders helped put the book together along with other staff at ACS. Thanks so much for all who helped!!

Sandra really loves the book and is moved by all of the notes of encouragement and memories! Many of the medical staff have been looking at the book when they are in her room, including her doctors and nurses. It helps them to have an idea of the special person they are treating.

Sandra remains in the hospital. It's been 9 days since she went into ER and then was admitted. She was really hoping to be home by now, but it doesn't seem like the nausea and vomiting can get under control. Her doctor said she needs at least 2 days in a row without vomiting to be able to go home. Yesterday morning and again today she felt pretty good and ate breakfast. Both days the mornings were fine, but about an hour or so after lunch she started vomiting. Big disappointment.

Sandra is very excited for special visitors arriving tonight from Michigan. Her nephew and wife and their almost 1 year old are going to be here for several days. Sandra hasn't met her great niece yet and is really looking forward to that. She wanted so badly to be out of the hospital for their visit. It's a big disappointment each time her return home gets delayed.

Thanks for your support, prayers and love. Please pray for the doctors to find the cause of the nausea and vomiting so Sandra can return home.

--written by Ardie

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday Morning

Sandra would love to be worshipping at church this morning. However, she remains in the hospital. She had a bit of a setback Friday night and all day yesterday with nausea and vomiting again which took a long time to get under control. She is very weak as a result. The antibiotics were unable to stay down (they want to give them orally to attack the infection in the gut). So she lost a day of treatment and nourishment which is hard on her in her already weakened state.

Please continue to pray for Sandra, the doctors and nurses and her family as they care for her. Sharon, who is out from Alberta, has been putting in long days at the hospital. Her presence is very much appreciated by Sandra and all of us!

--written by Ardie

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Jimi

Sandra is fighting 2 infections. One is a very difficult one to eradicate so she will be in the hospital for a while yet. We were told this morning, don't count on going home any time soon.

The nurse tonight suggested Sandra give names to all of the medical equipment appendages to her body right now. The first name she came up with was Jimi for her IV pole. She doesn't like it(the IV pole)very well--so now I'll leave you to guess whether the Jimi Hendrix story by Maury at the celebration the other night was true.

Please pray for the infections to be eradicated quickly and relief from the side effects of all of the antibiotics.

--written by Ardie

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Isolation

Sandra has been moved to an isolation room this evening. A blockage was removed from her tube this afternoon. Otherwise, there isn't a lot of change to report. She continues to fight infection. I hope to meet with her and the doctors tomorrow.

--submitted by Ardie

The Party is Over

Sandra had such a good time this weekend and was so blessed by the celebration on Sunday evening. In fact, all of us family members were thrilled with the love and care put into that event. Thanks to all who organized and participated--especially those who weren't mentioned behind the scenes!

Unfortunately, the party mood came to a crashing halt last night. I took Sandra in to the ER last evening. She had a very high fever and was quickly dehydrated. She is being treated once again for an infection and has another possible block in one of her neph tubes. She has more tests today after several last night. I'll update you more when we know more. Right now I'm going to bed after pulling an all nighter with her. Sharon and Audrey are with her today.

--submitted by Ardie

Monday, November 5, 2012

From the Bottom of my Heart

What a fabulous night last night! Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Words cannot express all that I'm thinking or feeling. I praise and thank God for you all - for your contribution to the program last evening, for your fervent and constant prayers, for your words of encouragement (and just plain fun, Maury), for the awesome music to which we could listen, or sing along, and just your faithful and continual support. To God be all glory! Great things He has done and continues to do.

Love, Sandra

Sunday, November 4, 2012

You Are My God

Just figured out how to put pictures from my iPad onto my blog. The "tekkie" things I continue to learn.... That's why you see a few new pictures even though when the pictures were taken was awhile ago already.
Can't wait until the "big event" this evening! I'm looking forward to all the celebrating we'll be able to do. Sure hope you'll be there, too. And if I am not able to talk to you personally this evening, just know that I would love to be able to do that. Physically, I'm just not strong enough to stay and chat and visit.
"You are my God and I will praise You;
You are my God and I will exalt You.
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
His love endures forever. (Psa.118:29)

Love, Sandra

Friday, November 2, 2012

Home, Sweet Home

Home again, home again, jiggety jig. Well, I'm not dancing yet but it sure is good to be home again. I was able to leave the hospital just after noon yesterday and I enjoyed a great nap in my own chair and an even better sleep in my own bed last night. It feels good to be able to take deep breaths again without too much pain and I'm eating better as well. My kidney bags are draining properly after being clogged up and I'm on the road to wellness.😊😊😊😊(those are happy faces in case they don't come out on your computer). I'm very excited about Sunday evening's music celebration. I just know we're going to have a great time praising God...smiling...singing...laughing...praying. "What a mighty God we serve."

In thanksgiving,
Sandra 🎢

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Chicken Soup Weather

It is a blustery, rainy day in BC. It's a good day to stay indoors and eat chicken soup. That's what Sandra has requested to eat. Audrey is a Sandra's place making soup as I write this.

Sandra's return home has been delayed for today. She needs to get her strength up more before she can go home. We're hoping and praying for tomorrow.

--written by Ardie

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Price of Toast

Today was a day of encouragement and good news. Sandra was able to get both her test and procedure done. The test results were very positive and she was told she might get to come home tomorrow! After the procedure this afternoon, Sandra was able to be back on solid foods again for the first time since coming to the hospital on Saturday.

The first thing Sandra wanted was a piece of toast (white bread--her taste buds are very fussy these days) with butter. It wasn't meal time so I offered to get her some toast from the hospital cafeteria. We joked that it may cost $7.50 for a piece of toast there. I didn't care. I was just happy she was asking for food. Anyone want to guess how much it cost for 2 pieces of toast?

--Written by Ardie

Monday, October 29, 2012

Rough stuff

This has been a rough weekend for Sandra. This morning it seemed like she had taken a turn for the worse. After a procedure late this morning, she made a big turn around and was even singing "Happy Birthday" to her niece as we had an impromptu birthday party this afternoon in the hospital room. After her difficulty breathing earlier today, it was beautiful to hear Sandra sing again!

She will be in the hospital at least 2 days yet for more tests and at least 1 more procedure. We are limiting visitors as she tires easily.

We as a family covet your prayers on Sandra's behalf. Thanks!

--posted by Ardie

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Bus Ride

This is Ardie, updating the blog for Sandra. The past 2 weeks have been busy ones for Sandra with medical appointments or procedures almost every day.

Yesterday's chemo treatment was one of the roughest Sandra has had in the past year. Things didn't improve overnight so this morning Sandra was taken by bus (those of you who watch Blue Bloods know what a bus is!) to the hospital. She will probably be in for several days. She is not up to visitors right now.

Please continue to pray for her and the medical staff caring for her.

Sent from my iPad

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It Went Well

Today's nephrostomy tube procedure went very well and though I'm having difficulty keeping my eyes open and focused, there were no complications at all. I have two brand new tubes! It's becoming routine because they have to be changed every 6 weeks at this point. Tomorrow I have no appointments! How wonderful is that?!
Falling asleep again.... Good night!

Love, Sandra

Monday, October 22, 2012

Did You Know....?

Did you know that...
*yesterday we celebrated my dad's 85th birthday?
*I had to go for x-rays today to try to get at the root of my pain?
*I went with my sister uptown to run some errands and bought a pair of cosy flannel
sheets?
*my staff is putting on a celebration of music evening for me on Sunday, Nov.4 at 7:00
p.m. in New Life church right here in Abbotsford and YOU ARE INVITED?
*I am humbled and honored and thankful to have such an evening and I'd love for you to
be there so we can celebrate God's faithfulness over the years?
*when I type this out so nicely on my blog it always comes out differently when I
publish it? Oh well,...
Thank you all for your loving support, fervent prayers, and words of encouragement. We'll just keep on praying?

In Him,
Sandra

Saturday, October 20, 2012

An Update and Hot Apple Cider

It's autumn and my new favourite drink is hot apple cider. I'm sipping that right now as I write this blog. Let me briefly update you:
Thursday - I went for a CT scan at 2:30 p.m. and then had to return to emerg. to get the results. The doctor said it didn't look like the cancer has progressed and he couldn't spot any signs of infection in my abdomen. My white blood count was very good and I knew I'd be able to have chemo the next day. All good news! I was encouraged by that report and thankful for God'scare gracious answers to our prayers.
Friday - My onc. called me in the morning to say I could have chemo that afternoon and that's what I did. Last night I was reacting to the chemo quite a bit - my temp. spiked and I got very congested but all was well again when I went to bed.
Saturday - Today was a relaxing day. I had a fair amount of pain so I've taken extra meds. to keep that under control. I feel like there is a pharmacy in my bedroom! My, oh my!
Sabbath blessings to you all! Keep on looking up. He's got the whole world in His hands! Pretty amazing, eh?

Lovingly,
Sandra

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Droopy Eyelids

This will be short because my eyelids are rather droopy but I had to connect with you. I saw my oncologist for my regular appointment this morning AND....
1) my tumour marker went from 950 to 930!!!!!! Praise the Lord! The chemo IS working.
2) I need an abdominal CT scan tomorrow because I am in quite a bit of pain. We
increased the pain meds. dosage.
3) chemo may be postponed this Friday depending on the results of the CT scan
4) I've been throwing up more again so back to those anti-nausea drugs
5) I have to stop for today! Good-night, dear friends and family.

Love,
Sandra

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Bits and Pieces

OK - just had to wait for things to settle down before I updated my blog. Yesterday and today I've had more nausea and pain so I've had to be a little bit more patient with myself and take more medication again. Breakfast did not stay down this morning and that took me totally by surprise. Tonight I was running a bit of a fever, feeling nauseous, and in a fair bit of pain. I can't really understand that because I'm so far removed from my last chemo - almost two weeks and usually I feel better by now, not worse. Tomorrow I visit my oncologist so we shall see what she has to say about all of this.
I did enjoy the bits of sunshine we got today, however, by going out for a very tiny walk to my mailbox. And I have a vase of lovely sweet peas in my house (thanks, A). They smell so wonderful!
"Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His." Thank you, Lord, for holding me in the palm of Your hand as one of Your children. Truly a gift of grace!

One of His,
Sandra

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Counting My Blessings

Oh dear, time is just running away on me and I'm not getting to my blog as regularly, am I? I think it's because I've been having some good days with some wonderful events. Let me share with you.
Thursday: My sister and I took the back roads to White Rock beach. We took along my wheel chair, which my parents got for me quite recently, and we walked/wheeled the board walk, enjoying the fresh, sea air. We packed a picnic lunch and though it was a bit cool we ate our snacks at a picnic table. It was a great day!
Friday: We ran some errands up town and even enjoyed the gentle rain drizzle that watered the parched, dry earth.
Saturday: A wonderful morning with a dear friend, just chatting and visiting, and doing some knitting, too. In the evening I went to a concert with a little 7 year old boy playing a Mozart concerto. Incredible! Unbelievable! What talent! Phenomenal!
Sunday: A quiet, stay-at-home day with dear friends coming by throughout the day. More pain in the last two days so extra pain medication, too, but at least I can still stay ahead of it.
"Count your blessings, name them one by one. And it will surprise you what the Lord has done!"

Amazed by His loving care,
Sandra

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

No Worries - All is Well!

This time no news is good news. Sorry, friends and family, for the delay. I guess I got busy in the weekend festivities and neglected to let you know that I am doing well, very well, actually. I praise God for refreshing both my body and spirit in His kind and loving mercy. I don't think I have felt this good all summer. I'm eating better, doing more, singing and playing piano, knitting, and going out with my sister. Today we picked up some fresh produce and had a most delicious supper. We also picked up apples and are trying out apple butter in the crockpot. I wonder how that will taste! It is truly a time of thanksgiving and I feel like things have stabilized in my body a bit. Not throwing up at all with this last round of chemo is a huge and wondrous thing! Thank you so much for your continued prayers and encouraging words. Please pray that the tumour marker will have stabilized, or gone down. I will get those results next week Wednesday and that will determine what we do next. Day by happy day, step by joyful step, I carry on, leaning on God's everlasting arms.

Love in Him,
Sandra

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Cycle 4 Completed

Yesterday's chemo went very smoothly and I was so happy that I could even have it. God answered prayers and my blood was in the "normal" range. I am thrilled that my body can fight the chemo and fight it well.
Today has been a very sleepy day. This morning I went grocery shopping with my sister and I think I pretty much slept most of the afternoon away. My niece from Alberta arrived in the early afternoon. She's staying here for the Thanksgiving weekend.
Thank you for visiting me at my blog. Sabbath blessings to you as you worship God with His people tomorrow. May you be strengthened and nourished in your faith.

In Him,
Sandra

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thursday Thoughts

Guess what? Yesterday and today I had a strawberry milkshake, made in my home, with protein powder added. And it was delicious! I have a new favourite food! Hope it lasts for awhile!
This morning I went to see my own doctor and he prescribed one more medication to my anti-nausea protocol to see if we can't stop the vomiting. Tomorrow I will begin with the new drug before my chemo, and then I hope and pray that this round of chemo will be even better and I can keep the food down.
My parents are staying with me right now and I am enjoying that very much. Mom keeps up with all the cooking and cleaning, and Dad planted some winter pansies in my garden. Now we are just relaxing - Mom and I on our Ipads and Dad reading a book. Thank you, Mom and Dad!
"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever." (Ps.107:1)

Thankfully,
Sandra

Monday, October 1, 2012

October Already!

Monday, and it's October already! Yesterday turned out to be a not-so-nice day, to put it mildly. I felt very nauseous and by the afternoon I was throwing up again. I wish we could get that under control. I've been on the anti-nausea drugs but stepped them up a little and took them throughout the night. Today was better again but I was very tired and weak. Please pray that the week will go well, especially that my blood will go up high enough that I can have another treatment again on Friday.
Have a wonderful week and enjoy each new day. What a gift from God!

Love, Sandra

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Dear Deer

Yesterday afternoon I began another round of chemo with the navelbine drug. It went very smoothly and I didn't get really sick from it. I only received 75% of the drug, however, because my blood was too low to get the straight dosage. I was very tired and ran a bit of a fever last night but it went away on its own. Today I slept much of the afternoon but that was alright. At least now I have some energy to write in my blog.
Last evening I watched two deer in my backyard as they ambled through the complex, munching on shrubs and flowers. They are such graceful animals, even though they can be a bit of a nuisance. I wish they'd eat the slugs that keep devouring my marigolds.
Sabbath blessings to you. I won't be attending church tomorrow because my body isn't strong enough to fight off germs and I know there are a few of them flying around.

In God's love,
Sandra

Thursday, September 27, 2012

God's Surprise

This morning I was up early saying a sad good-bye to my company. We had such a wonderful week together and it was hard to part ways again. I wish the world wasn't quite so large, don't you?
Yesterday I had an appointment with my oncologist. After much talking and deliberating she decided to hold back on the harsh chemo drug for now. She was happy to see me feeling so well and doing things and she just didn't want to make me sick again. She was pleased that I had stayed out of the hospital and didn't want to set my body back at this time. She was concerned that I had lost weight and urged me to eat as well as I could to put that weight back on again. So I am going to have the same chemo drug as the last three cycles and pray that goes well. This is the time for my body to stabilize and build up again so I'm strong enough for that harsh drug down the road. You know, I'm perfectly fine with that decision and I marvel at how God has orchestrated this new plan. It's His little surprise as an answer to prayer; as a way to ease my apprehension at this time. I stand amazed at His ways! He always knows what is best!

Thank you for your continued prayers.
Sandra

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Cream Puffs

Last evening we had an impromptu quintet practice. I played for a men's singing group and they all came over to my place last night so we could sing together. We sang our old favorites and even learned a new song. I was going to put up a picture of the quintet but that'll come tomorrow maybe.
Today was a full and enjoyable day. I walked through my flowers this morning, visited and had lunch with friends, picked up my wig all washed and re-styled, had tea with big and little friends, sat at my computer, watched a video, and ate a cream puff. That's my new favorite food - my sister makes delicious cream puffs!

Grateful for good days,
Sandra

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Precious In His Sight

Last night I went to the first concert of the 2012/2013 VSO season. It was a great concert with a Spanish flavor and lots of rhythmic energy. Fun! This morning I went to church and it was so good! "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints." (Ps.116:15) That was the sermon text and we focused on Psalm 116. " I love the Lord,for He heard my voice." (Ps.116:1) God loves His children and when they die it grieves Him, too. We, His children, are precious to our Heavenly Father. I'm just so thankful for the good days, the days that I have energy to do some "normal" things. Thanks be to God for answered prayers.

Precious in His sight,
Sandra

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Creation Praise

Good morning! I don't usually make a morning message but before my day gets too busy I just want to let you know that I am doing well. My doctor suggested I stay on a particular protocol for the nausea and vomiting and that has really helped me to feel much better the last couple of days. Not only that, but I have some very special company from Ontario staying with me for a week! It's great to be able to enjoy time with them and be able to keep food down, too. Yesterday we drove along Highway 7 all the way to Harrison Lake. We saw a lot of herons along the way, and even some eagles, and it was just so good to be out and about. We were just a little too early to see the salmon running, however. We walked around a bit at Harrison and even enjoyed an ice-cream cone. What an absolutely marvelous day! What a great God we have!
"Let(us)praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted; His splendor is above the earth and the heavens." (Ps.148:13)

Singing His praises,
Sandra

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Oops - Not the Day I Expected

Today began well but kind of deteriorated. My stomach just wouldn't co-operate and by the time I was supposed to be thinking supper, I was throwing up instead. Oh dear, not the way I was hoping the day would go. So I'm back on the anti-nausea drugs to keep my stomach feeling better. It's settling down again so maybe I'll be able to eat later on. This morning my sister and I brought my wig away to be cleaned up and re-styled. I took it out of its little case where it had been stored the last few years and now I'm getting ready to wear it again. I like it, though. I think it still looks nice.
Please pray that the next week and a half will go well. I don't have treatment again until next week Friday and I would just love to feel good until then.

In Christ's love,
Sandra

Sunday, September 16, 2012

My Wake-up Call

This morning a blue jay came to my bedroom window to wake me up. What a wonderful wake-up call. He rustled in the shrubs and checked out my yellow roses and then flew away. I've had a good weekend, although more pain than usual, and I've been very tired. I went for a walk with my sister before noon and was surprised by how warm it was already. And now it's only 7:30 p.m. and it's dark outside. The days are definitely getting shorter.
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." (Josh.1:9). I can't even imagine walking this road without God by my side. I'm certainly not strong or courageous by myself but I just keep hanging on to His promises because I know He's right here beside me.

In His love,
Sandra

Friday, September 14, 2012

Cycle Three Completed

Thank you so much for all your prayers! My blood count was high enough to have chemo this afternoon. Even the chemo nurse was surprised, I think! I'm just so thankful I was able to stay on schedule. That completes another cycle of this drug and the next cycle, beginning on Sept. 28, will include one new and more aggressive drug. So I will enjoy my hair for a few more weeks and then it will be back to hats, and scarves, and my wig.
I'm feeling OK right now and staying on a pretty high anti-nausea protocol so hopefully I can keep food down this time around.
"Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds." (Ps.72)

In Him alone,
Sandra

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Replacement Day

This afternoon I had both nephrostomy tubes changed. It went very smoothly but it's a little painful now. Just having new tubes put in causes some pain because of the moving around that happens inside my body. I am put under for the procedure so I've just been a little groggy since coming home again. The neph. tubes have to be replaced every six weeks and today was the first time both sides were done. At least they are both on the same timeline.
I'm hoping a good night's sleep will mean I can wake up pain-free in the morning. What a gift it is to be able to sleep in peace and awake feeling chipper once again. God made our bodies so amazingly intricate and able to "bounce back" after all they go through.

With thankfulness,
Sandra

Monday, September 10, 2012

Autumn Air

I'm doing so much better again. After a pretty miserable Saturday evening with lots of vomiting, I was able once again to eat and gain some energy back. I'm sleeping through the night again, and the jittery feeling is gone. This evening I went for a small walk with my sister, brother-in-law and niece. It sure feels like autumn in the air, especially with the cool breeze. I love it when the days are still pleasantly warm and the nights are refreshingly cool. It seems like the leaves are already starting to change colour. I must sign off - I'm getting rather sleepy and my bed is calling me. Good night. Have a wonderful week and take some moments to feel the changes in the air.

Blessings,
Sandra

Saturday, September 8, 2012

What Shall I Write?

Shall I tell you how nauseous I am or how excited to have a friend coming to visit? Shall I let you know that I can't stop yawning because I'm so tired, or that I'm reading so many books because I can't sleep at night? Do you want to know how things can change so drastically from one day to the next? What a journey! How glad I am to have God as my refuge and strength! I sure couldn't walk this road on my own power. "Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You." (Ps.63). To God be all the glory, praise, and honour!

Love in Jesus' name,
Sandra

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Reaching to the Skies

This morning after I had my dressings changed, my sisters and I went to Mill Lake for a small stroll. The weather was just so gorgeous that we couldn't waste the opportunity for some September Vitamin D. My onc. said I needed more of that anyways. It was just so warm and sitting on a bench looking at the ducks in the water was just the perfect scene for contentment and joy.
I continue to feel more like eating, my stomach is settling, and though there is still some restlessness I think we're getting that under control, too. I am ready to go for my chemo again tomorrow. This will be the last 3-week cycle of the one drug that I'm on. By the end of September we will begin a new chemo regimen with more aggressive drugs. So since I'll be losing my hair again, I got it cut nice and short yesterday, and guess what? A few curls crept back in. What a treat!
"I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is Your love, reaching to the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the skies." (Ps.57:9-10)

In God's love,
Sandra

Monday, September 3, 2012

From Rough to SO Much Better

What a rough weekend I had! No fun at all! I couldn't keep food down, I was restless, and had a bad headache. I just didn't feel like me. Last night my brother and sister both stayed with me and things slowly improved. Today was SO much better and I've been eating better and keeping food down. I just am feeling stronger again and back to my "old self." Ahhh...another answer to a lot of fervent prayers that went up. You just never know what to expect from day to day.
Tomorrow is the first day of school. I'm sad that I can't be there and am unable to teach. Students and teachers, I hope you have a wonderful day, and a fantastic year - exploring and discovering with a purpose in God's big, beautiful, fascinating world. I'll be there in spirit and I'm singing beside you at opening chapel. Blessings!

In God's strength,
Sandra

Friday, August 31, 2012

A Day Out

I had a good day today! This morning my sister and I went to school so we could put up a "welcome to music" bulletin board we had made. That just helps me to still feel like a music teacher. Then after lunch we went to my mom and dad's and spent the afternoon and evening with them. It was so good to visit with them. I hadn't been to their place for quite a while. They usually come out to see me instead. And the best news is that I kept in all my food. Though I eat very little and am rather limited in what I like right now, at least I was able to gain some nourishment.
I'll have to update the pictures on this blog soon, eh? Maybe tomorrow when I have a little more energy again.
Thank you for your continued prayers, your encouraging words, your hugs and love. I so appreciate when you send me comments, either on this blog, or to my personal email. I feel so enveloped in your care and feel God's love through all of you. This isn't an easy journey but you as friends and family certainly lighten the load. Thank you!

In God's abiding love,
Sandra

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Another Speed Bump

Today I had two doctor appointments - one with my oncologist and one with my GP. We are changing my pain medication so hopefully the nausea and vomiting will decrease. It's a stronger drug but I need less of it. I hope and pray it works well and causes less distress in my body. One very disappointing item today was my tumour marker. It made another huge leap. My onc. is not so sure this chemo drug is working well by itself so we may tack on a new chemo drug. If we do that it will be a more aggressive drug with more side effects. Oh dear...not what I wanted to hear. For this next round we will stick to the chemo drug I'm on right now and not rock the boat - just yet.
God knew I needed this blessing for this week: "May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage (my) heart and strengthen (me) in every good deed and word." (2 Thess. 2:16-17). What a rich blessing! God alone can give us all the good hope we need to carry on day by day and step by step. May we all be encouraged and strengthened through His grace.

In His grace,
Sandra

Monday, August 27, 2012

New Dresser

What an exciting evening! My sister and brother-in-law and nephew arrived from Alberta and I got a beautiful new bedroom dresser. My brother-in-law built it to go into my bedroom. It's a deep espresso brown colour. It looks so nice and my sisters helped transfer my stuff into it. Sure looks luxurious! I love it!
I'm feeling better this evening, too. I couldn't keep any food down today. I threw up both my breakfast and my lunch. At the present my very small supper has stayed down. I wonder if the stomach problems come from the morphine. I see my oncologist again on Wednesday and I'll talk about it with her.
Time for a cup of tea...

Love, Sandra

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Good Saturday

Yesterday I went for my second chemo treatment of my second cycle. I also went for my bone drug, too, so I was at the hospital from 1:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. A long day but it all went smoothly. Today I was pretty tired but nevertheless, I ate well and felt fine. It was a good day.
This morning when I was reading my devotions I read the verse from Psalm 51: Restore to me the joy of Your salvation...to sustain me. And then later on my devotional said "take refreshment in God's presence." Ah...how God's word refreshes us and renews us. I was encouraged, refreshed, and sustained by God's Almighty hand once again today. Thank you, Lord!

Love, Sandra 🎢

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hurrah!

Hurrah! Today was a good day. No throwing up, more energy, able to get out, and able to visit. It's been a rough weekend and last couple of days. Rather discouraging at times but after a day like today I've got new hope that things will improve again. Please pray that my blood will also be high enough so that I can carry on with chemo again on Friday. I have yet to complete one round successfully, on time, and with no complications on this drug.
And now, I just pray for another good day tomorrow! One day at a time...

Day by day,
Sandra

Saturday, August 18, 2012

From My Bed

I'm writing this post in bed. I'm feeling stronger again after being very sick to my stomach yesterday. Not fun at all but I was still able to have my chemo. All my blood levels and vitals were fine and there was no sign of infection so we could carry on. The doctor figured it was a virus that I caught so he said I could go ahead with the chemo if my vitals were fine. A great big thank you to my caregiver this past week and especially last night. She woke up every hour to check up on me and make sure I was doing alright. I just did a lot of sleeping and it's only in the last hour or so that I'm beginning to feel better again and eating a little. Thank you for your faithful, constant prayers. When I'm too sick to pray it's very comforting and reassuring to know that others are praying for me.

Trusting in God's promises,
Sandra

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Chemo Track

Another gorgeous, sunny, warm day! I even went out with my friend this evening to pick up some groceries. And now I've used up all my energy, that's for sure. I'll sleep really well tonight. Tomorrow is chemo day, I hope. Please pray that my blood has gone high enough for chemo to be done again and that I won't have any awful side effects from the drug. I want to get back on track with the chemo drug. Sleep well, my friends, and have a relaxing Friday.

Blessings,
Sandra

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

πŸ’

A wonderful day! Sunny, warm, and relaxing.☀ A friend from Alberta arrived this morning so in between a couple of naps we did a lot of talking and catching up. 😊 She also showed me how to decorate my emails and blog entries with pictures. 🌈 How fun is that! πŸ“ I hope you are enjoying your summer. πŸ‰ Tomorrow I see my oncologist and I hope to hear good things. Please pray with me that all will be well and I can resume chemo. again on Friday. πŸ™

Love, Sandra🎡
(p.s. Sorry, somehow the pictures didn't work out. That's too bad. It was fun adding them in).

Sunday, August 12, 2012

In His Strength

It was a good Sunday. I've been feeling good and enjoyed being able to go to church with my sister. I'm so hoping and praying that all things stay stable this week and my body gets stronger so I can carry on with chemo again this Friday. I've been trying to do small chores and move around more, too, and the pain is very minimal and sometimes even non-existent. That's such a relief!
"The Lord is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise Him, my father's God, and I will exalt Him." (Ex. 15:2)

In His strength,
Sandra

Friday, August 10, 2012

No Chemo Today

This morning I went for bloodwork and then I was supposed to receive a chemo treatment. However, that did not happen. There were a few things that the chemo nurses were not happy about so they called my oncologist and she postponed my chemo for another week. First of all, I have had a very hoarse voice all week. My throat is not sore but my voice is just not good. My neutrophils were also a little on the low side and I'm on antibiotics because of my new nephrostomy tube. All those things just meant it wasn't wise to carry on with the chemo. I feel pretty good but I guess my body is having a hard time keeping up with all that's going on. Please pray fervently that my throat will heal and my body will be able to fight infections. I'm just hanging on to God's promises and feeling embraced in His love.

In Christ alone,
Sandra

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Home Once Again

It's becoming a familiar refrain: "home again." I'm feeling quite well and the pain is not very bad at all with the pain medication I'm on. This procedure needed to be done and though I now live with two nephrostomy tubes, it's better than kidney problems. I'll sleep well now in my own bed again. (Thanks for being here, A. It's been so good to visit and catch up). And thanks for the "up blog," Ardie. That was delightful!

Good night, dear friends and family,
Sandra

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

You Know It's Bad When....

Sandra and I (Ardie) have been playing this game a few times as we sit around waiting at the cancer clinic and hospital. We start with the sentence, "You know it's bad when..." and have many endings. Here are some of the latest ones:

You know it's bad when...

...you recognize chemo nurses from 3 years ago.
...you start recognizing and having the same porters at the hospital.
...you start recognizing different ambulance personnel in the emergency room.
...you know the entire Interventional Radiology (IR) Department by name, and they know you too even when you meet them in the hall.
...you make a trip to the emergency room 3 out of 4 Monday nights in a row.

We had visit number 3 within the past month on Monday night. The only other Monday out of the past 4 was the day Sandra got discharged after spending 8 days inpatient. Sandra was so hoping for a week free of appointments and possibly some outdoor activities this week so it was a disappointing start to the week.

Today she had another procedure done. This time the right kidney had problems. She was back in IR for the 2nd time within the week for a 2nd surgery. She is hoping to come home tomorrow.

Please continue to pray for strength for Sandra and for freedom from pain. She is so brave in the face of constant procedures, poking and prodding.

--submitted by Ardie

Sunday, August 5, 2012

It's a Warm One!

A quiet, try-to-stay-cool kind of day. My throat is so scratchy it sounds like I have a bad cold. Probably from the dry air and the fans going all the time. Some pain today and still working hard at eating but otherwise I'm feeling pretty good. I unexpectedly had my nephrostomy tube replaced on Friday. It was due to be changed but no appointment had been made so I didn't expect it to happen so soon. It went quite smoothly and I am feeling stronger again. I hope I feel well enough to do some activities and go places this week. I don't have a treatment until Friday afternoon, the 10th. Please pray for a good, pain-free week. Almost time for supper now. Have a good week and enjoy the warm summer weather!

Love,Sandra

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Energy

I had a good day and feel more energetic than I have felt in a long time. The pain is under control for the most part and that is such a relief. I even drove a very short distance. I'm amazed at my sense of wanting to do more....and more.... I better be careful not to do too much. I was even at home for awhile this afternoon completely on my own. That has not happened for weeks now. Some good steps forward...Please pray for more good days and continued freedom from pain.

Love, Sandra

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

In memory of my aunt

Today we laid a dear aunt of mine to rest, safe in Jesus' everlasting arms. It was a sad day, and a happy day, all rolled into one. Sad because I'll miss her sitting beside me in church, sharing the events of a week or singing hymns together. Sad because I'll miss her amazingly accurate memory of family stories and birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Happy because I know she's free of sickness and pain and kidney dialysis. Happy because I know she's singing in glory now and she so loved music. Happy because I was able to share in the celebration of my aunt's life with family and friends. Happy because I am feeling better and the pain is staying under control.
As we sang today - "Because He lives, I can face tomorrow..."

Love,
Sandra

Monday, July 30, 2012

Home, Sweet Home

I came home this afternoon around 4:00 p.m. and I'm so thankful to be home again. My sister is playing piano while I write this blog and guess what she's playing? His Eye is on the Sparrow." Oh, how I love that song!! So true! God has been watching over me, and I am feeling better and the pain is once again under control. Thank you, God!

In gratitude,
Sandra

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The road to Improvement

It's been wonderful to be home this afternoon. I received a day pass so I was able to get out of my hospital room for several hours and sit in my own chair at home. I took a little walk outside with my mom, enjoying the flowers and soaking in the sunshine. What a treat!
My blood pressure and temperature were back to normal this morning when I woke up. That's a first in a very long time and it was a good sign that things are improving again. If both those things continue to stay normal and my pain is under control, I should be able to return home to stay.
It was 4 years ago today that I finished my radiation treatments after my first bout with breast cancer. A special little girl was born that day, too (Happy Birthday, dear JM), and it reminds me of God's goodness and faithfulness. God gives life and He is faithful in giving His children joy and strength, peace and refuge, in that life. "How great is our God, sing with me, how great is our God..."

Singing His praises,
Sandra

Saturday, July 28, 2012

No Pass Today

Sandra remains in the hospital after receiving a chemo treatment yesterday. She reacted much the same as she did last week, experiencing fever and a lot of pain.

The doctor hoped to give her a pass to come home for the day, but that didn't happen. There's the possibility she will get a pass tomorrow.

Thanks for your continued prayers on her behalf!

--submitted by Ardie

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

From my hospital room


Very briefly...doing better today and slowly getting pain a little more manageable. Tomorrow I may go for another chemo treatment but I'll stay in the hospital to be monitored. Thank you for your continued, fervent prayers.

Love, Sandra

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Upblog the Date

Sandra asked me to "upblog the date," in other words: update the blog. The mixed up words were cause for a good chuckle. Maybe Sandra invented a new word: upblogging!

Sandra has been in the hospital since yesterday morning. She is in the emergency ward, awaiting a bed on the oncology floor. She did not have the chemo treatment scheduled for yesterday. Once she's on the oncology wing, they will administer it there to watch for reactions.

It was a tough week last week for Sandra. We are hoping for relief of pain. After a visit with the pain management doctor this morning, it seems to be headed for improvement.

Thank you for your continued prayers on her behalf!

--Submitted by Ardie

Friday, July 20, 2012

Left Lung Drained

Just letting you know that the lung drainage went smoothly this afternoon. A liter of fluid was removed so that makes breathing easier again. Right now it's still very tender and I'm a little sore and achy but a good night's sleep should help that. Thank you for your constant prayers and your loving care.

Resting in Him,
Sandra

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Protected by God

It's been a struggling week, a tired week, a difficult week. Tonight things are looking up, however, and I am beginning to eat again, have a mostly normal temperature again, and have a little more energy. This afternoon I went to see my GP and he took me off of the anti-biotics. They were wreaking havoc with my digestive system so now my appetite is better again. So many things seem to be going on it's hard to keep track of why certain things happen but suffice it to say, I'm feeling better than yesterday.
Tomorrow I get my lungs drained. It wasn't that long ago that they were emptied so it feels quick to be doing it again. Please pray that the procedure will go smoothly this time and there will be no after-effects. As I sit outside on my deck the words of my favorite Psalm come to mind: Keep me safe, my God, for in You I take refuge (Ps.16:1).

Safe in Him,
Sandra

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Kidney Infection

Yesterday afternoon I had my first injection of the new chemo drug. The power port worked SO well! The pin prick going in was so minute it didn't really qualify as pain. What a treat! I was done in an hour and returned home.
And then.... I ended up back in the hospital last night. As the doctor put it - I had a "rip-roaring" kidney infection. I was put on a round of IV antibiotics, and at 2 a.m. I was able to go home. My vital signs had returned to normal again and the fever was gone. Now I have to return each day to the hospital for antibiotic IV therapy. I went this afternoon and it only takes a half hour. I do have a fever again tonight but it's not as high as last night so I'm praying it will go away. My lungs are also filling up with fluid again so the doctor suggested I get them drained this week.
Day by day, moment by moment...
Just relying on the promises of God.

Love,
Sandra

P.S. Thank you for the visits and thanks, girls, for the baking!! Yum, yum!!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Family of God

Today we had a family birthday party for two people in our family. Everyone came over to my place and we had a most wonderful day together. Even though it wasn't nice enough to be outside we still fit in my living room and enjoyed the day together. When we get together there is always lots of laughing. There are some good entertainers in my family. And as we get older we like to reminisce about various things. It's so great to be part of a family, and how much greater it is to be part of the family of God! Knowing that I am a daughter of my Heavenly Father brings true, down-deep joy and peace.
Tomorrow afternoon I start my new chemo injection. I am a little nervous about how it will go. Please pray for calmness of spirit and for everything to go smoothly.

Your sister in Christ,
Sandra

Friday, July 13, 2012

Enjoying God's Creation

This afternoon I sat by a lake and just enjoyed the sunshine, the view, and the company. What a treat it was! I was outside most of the afternoon. Of course, I made sure I wasn't in the direct sunlight. My nephew was trying to get pictures of different birds - swallows feeding their young, and an eagle flying overhead. My sister has been pointing out a beautiful tiny songbird, a red-breasted house finch, around my townhouse. It has the most beautiful song to sing.
On Monday afternoon I go for my first round of the new chemo drug, navelbine. I'll go to the cancer clinic and they'll be able to use my new port. Oh, happy day!!! Then on Wednesday afternoon I start another new drug for my bones - that injection will be once a month. Two new drugs next week - pray that I will be able to tolerate them well and they will work to shrink/eradicate the cancer in my body.

Love,
Sandra

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Our Refuge

Today has been a good day. What gorgeous weather we are having and all that sunshine just makes me happy! I did some errands with my sister and niece and had company and took a little nap and just enjoyed the day and the people in this day. The port site is healing nicely. It is still very tender to touch but that just takes some time. I'm so thrilled to have been able to have that done and now I'm just waiting for a call from the chemo clinic for my first chemo injection.
I got a new devotional yesterday, called Seeking God's Face, and I'm excited to read it. Today's verse is "The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him." (Nah.1:7). I am so comforted and reassured by God's promises. My future on this earth is so uncertain, as is all of ours, but I can know for a certainty that God is caring for me. And that is all I need to know for now - bringing a huge smile to my face.

Wrapped in His embrace,
Sandra

Monday, July 9, 2012

Successful Procedure

This will be short. I just want to let you know that I got my power port today and it went very smoothly. I'm very tired and a bit woozy. The site is tender and sore but at least it's done. A few days to heal now - I'll just take it very easy. Thank you, God, for answered prayers.

In Him,
Sandra

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Bach and more...

My niece is playing a piece by Bach on the piano while I sit here writing this blog. How lovely is that!! Yesterday afternoon some of my family from Alberta arrived and are staying for 10 days or so. I went to church this morning with my sister but battled a fair amount of pain the rest of the day. So more morphine meant it was a little harder to stay awake but nevertheless, it was an enjoyable day. I visited with other dear friends from out of town, too.
Please pray for a smooth day tomorrow at the hospital. In the morning I attend a chemo "teaching" session and at 1:00 p.m. I get my power port. I hope the procedure goes well with no glitches. It will be such a relief to have that port for all chemo and lab work from now on. Ahh....

Resting in Him,
Sandra

Friday, July 6, 2012

Minter Gardens

Guess what? I'm sure you figured it out by the title. I went to Minter Gardens today! Six family girls - aunts, nieces, cousins, sister and sister-in-law. It was a fabulous day. It was so good to get out and since they have wheelchairs available, I could go all over the gardens. The weather was perfect and the flowers were splendid in color. We ended our afternoon with a bowl of delicious ice-cream. It was just an all-out fantastic day and increasing the morphine meant I had an almost pain-free day! My heart overflows with thanksgiving and praise!

Singing His creation praises,
Sandra

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Power Port Appointment Coming Up

Oh, I'm loving this beautiful summer weather! Today was a good day and I even was out and about a bit running some errands with my niece. I checked in with my own GP this afternoon and we readjusted my morphine intake so I can be pain-free. I really want to be able to move around more and when that sun is shining, I am determined to be out there enjoying it. The hospital called this afternoon and I will be getting my power port on Monday afternoon. I'm so happy about that - I'm looking forward to procedures becoming so much easier.
Did you notice that I finally figured out how to remove the pictures? Time for some new ones now. Maybe this weekend!
Onward and forward - one day at a time (thanks for that musical reminder, T!)

Love in Him,
Sandra

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

New Hope

This afternoon I had another big appointment with my oncologist. The CT scan showed that there was no change and everything has remained stable. That was the most promising news I could have expected. I, as well as my onc., were surprised by the good results. The left kidney remains the biggest problem, however, and it seems as though there may be cancer in the kidney. However, that is a bit of a mystery to the medical profession. I am going to change to a new regimen of chemotherapy - one drug that I have not had before. Hopefully, the side effects won't be too harsh. Before I start the new chemo, however, I will have a power port "installed.". That way no one will need to find veins again. The power port will allow them to do chemo, do blood work, and even inject dye for CT scans. I am looking forward to having that done as soon as possible. My onc. wants me to begin chemo within the next two weeks so the power port has to be put in soon.
I feel thankful and encouraged by today's visit. God answers prayers and He has given me results that I hadn't even thought possible. It amazes me how God answers our prayers in surprising ways. I am blessed with new hope. Thank you, God.

In Christ Alone,
Sandra

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Happy Canada Day!

It was a good day today. My parents came by this afternoon and I even squeezed in a nap after their visit. I've been reading a good book, too, and I think I may even finish it tonight.
"You are my hiding place.
You protect me from trouble.
You surround me with joyous songs of salvation."(Psalm 32:7)
I missed being able to sing songs with God's people at church today but what a promise to know that I am surrounded by songs of God's saving grace. And sometimes, even in the night, those songs come to mind to bring comfort and joy.

Live in joy this first week of July!
Love, Sandra

Friday, June 29, 2012

Hide and Seek

What should have been a routine CT scan turned into a 3 and a half hour painful search for a vein. When I went into the radiology department this morning they needed a vein for the dye that they use for a CT scan. My veins went on strike and could not be found. They looked in my arm, my hand, and my feet. Nothing! It was pretty awful being poked over and over again. When a vein was finally found it was extremely tiny so they had to drip the dye through it in the slowest pace they could go, and even that was excruciatingly painful. It was not a fun morning and now my right hand is going to look like a bruised pin cushion.
The afternoon was all about relaxing and resting and recuperating from the morning ordeal and now I'm feeling much better again. I kept a cold compress on my hand so hopefully that will keep the swelling down. Definitely time for a port line of some kind.
My sister just left this evening and my niece is here with me now. Thank you, staff, for the beautiful bouquet of flowers and your card of kind words. Thank you, everyone, for prayers and love and concern.

God is ALWAYS present - even on the tough days.
Sandra

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

God is good!

What a beautiful day! Sunny, warm, and full of good things. My brother-in-law fixed something that had been broken a long time on my computer. My sister gave me a little hair trim this evening. We tried to make my hair look thicker because it's getting so thin and it worked. I had friends drop by to visit and that was just plain heart-warming. I didn't have to move around much today and that meant the pain stayed away for the most part. Yay! Thank you, God, for relief from pain. I even played a song on the piano. God is so good; He's so good to me!

In God's love,
Sandra

Monday, June 25, 2012

Shielded and Protected

It's going to be a very still week. As long as I stay put and don't move around too much, I can keep the pain under control. And that's my goal. I'm so glad to have my sister here with me this week so she can help out in so many different ways. Today she baked some delicious cookies. Come on over for tea and you can taste them.
My sister shared a beautiful Bible verse with me and I want to pass it on. Deuteronomy 33:12 says "Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him, for He shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between His shoulders." Isn't that just so comforting? I love that verse - the image of God wrapping His shoulders around me to protect me and shield me as I walk along step by step.

God is my shield,
Sandra

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Let Go and Let God

Finally I'm feeling awake and alert enough to put up this post on my blog. Yesterday afternoon I had my nephrostomy tube replaced. However, just like Monday afternoon, what was supposed to be routine and painless turned into another painful experience. When the doctor went in to replace the tube he noticed that the kidney had collapsed, or was not dilated. He suspects that there is either a tumour in the kidney, or a tumour pressing against it. I needed a lot of morphine and have continued taking a lot today, too. I'm pretty good as long as I remain still and don't move around much. It takes all my pain-fighting energy just to go in or out of my chair. I'm the most content to just stay put in one place and I keep dozing off. My mom and dad were with me the last two nights and now my sister and brother-in-law are here.
I just read a devotional about worry. Pretty appropriate for me right now. It's easy to worry about what is next down the road but that's not going to help. Help me to let go, God, and give this painful burden over to You.

Thank you all for your prayers and love,
Sandra

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Breathing Easier

Ahhh... Breathing easier again. Tomorrow I return to the hospital to have the nephrostomy tube changed. That will be happening every 6 weeks from now on. I begin and end the work week with hospital visits.
This morning I went to school to attend the grade 5 farewell chapel. It was good to be at school but I feel sad that I was not able to teach a music lesson to grades one, two, and three. That was the plan for this week but it was just not possible. Sometimes the twists and turns of this journey are hard to accept and I have to ask God to still my soul and rest in His abiding love.

Still, my soul, be still...
Sandra

Monday, June 18, 2012

Hospital Visit #?

When I got up this morning I realized that my breathing was very poor and shallow. Needless to say, I could not teach today. Instead I went to emergency to have my left lung drained. It was a very, very painful procedure today, unlike last time four months ago. The fluid drained too quickly and there was so much that it caused me great discomfort. A total of 1400 ml. of fluid was taken off the left lung so I can breathe better again but the lung is so very tender and sore. I'm trying to take some deep breaths to help the healing process. I am not alone tonight. My oncologist came by to see me in emerg.(she's so wonderful) and said I could not be alone tonight. Maybe tomorrow I will start my chemo. Please pray that I will sleep restfully and peacefully tonight and the left lung will heal quickly.

Assured in God's loving care,
Sandra

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Catching Up...

Oh my, it's been a while since I blogged. I had a good day today and went to church this morning. This afternoon we got together as family to celebrate Father's Day. Tomorrow I'm going to school again to teach a few more classes. Last week I taught the grade five classes. I enjoy seeing all the students in music before summer vacation begins.
Tomorrow I will also start another round of chemo. I got a few extra days over the weekend to give my body more time to heal from the procedure I had done last week Monday. I've been feeling OK - better than last week anyways. My stomach has settled down and I enjoy eating again.
I hope you have a good week and maybe we'll see that yellow circle in the sky!

In His love,
Sandra

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Rough Days

On Monday I had a big day. I was at the hospital most of the day. Things went pretty well and my left stent was removed without too much pain. Now my body is healing and so I have to put off starting the chemo until I am doing well. I check in with my oncologist again tomorrow. Yesterday and today I have been very tired and today my stomach was upset. Now things are settling down again so hopefully I can have a good sleep. My oncologist said to stop taking my bone medication because I'm experiencing side effects of the drug. So that drug is gone and now I will go onto an IV bone drug once a month at the chemo clinic. It's been a rather difficult past two days but tomorrow is a new day. Pray that things will go better and I'll have energy to do more.

In Christ alone,
Sandra

Sunday, June 10, 2012

True Faith

"True faith is...a deep-rooted assurance created in me by the Holy Spirit through the gospel that, out of sheer grace earned for us by Christ, not only others, but I too, have had my sins forgiven, have been made forever right with God, and have been granted salvation." (Heidleberg Catechism #21). That statement just hit me this morning in church and gave me such comfort. "Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine."
Tomorrow is a big appointment day. I think I'll be in the hospital most of the day. Lab work at 9:00 a.m., then a visit with my oncologist, and then a left stent removal procedure at 12:30 p.m. Please pray that all will go well and that removing the stent, which is not working anyways, will also free me from the kidney pain. With that pain gone I could possibly go off the morphine, which I would very much like to do.
God's blessings to you in this new week. May you experience the joy and assurance of salvation daily.

Love in Christ,
Sandra

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Singing God's song

I was just getting ready for bed and realized I had not connected with you for awhile. So here goes....I am very tired tonight but it's a good, "healthy" tired. I taught three classes of grade four music today. It was exhilarating and absolutely satisfying. It just felt so good to be at school in my music teacher capacity. I will sleep well tonight - I'm pretty sure about that.
I'll just keep walking along, singing God's song because it's all good. God is here and He is good.

Singing His praises,
Sandra

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Music Wonder

Yesterday evening I went to Vancouver to hear a concert by the Vancouver Symphony. A young man of only 17 years of age was the guest pianist for a beautiful piano concerto by R. Schumann. It was absolutely breath-taking! The concerto itself is amazing but this young man's playing was even more amazing. He has a career ahead of him as a concert pianist, that's for sure.
I played piano myself for a little while today but most of the day I relaxed in my chair and read a book, took a few naps, visited with a friend, and wrote this blog message. Did you have a good Sunday? I hope this week will be a good one for you, too.

Love, Sandra

Thursday, May 31, 2012

My times...

Just got back from spending some time at school. That never fails to make my day! I love to go there and now that I'm driving again and more independent I am able to get out more. I was helping out in getting new songs set up for the month of June - last month of yet another school year. Can you believe it? May is already over! And speaking of time, and how quickly it flies by I'm just comforted immensely knowing that "my times are in Your hands" (Ps.31:15). Thank you, God. I just have to keep reminding myself to live day by day, knowing God has my life (and yours, too) in His loving, caring hands. As a result we can cast all our cares on Him. It never overwhelms Him. Isn't that amazing and wonderful?

In His hands,
Sandra

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Appointments

Yesterday was such a full day of appointments so today was a laid back day. Yesterday I had three medical appointments and I talked with my oncologist on the phone. They were all good visits. I am at a better place now especially since I have so little pain and I can move around better. That is due in large part to the morphine but for now that is alright.
Well, this won't be too long because it's definitely bedtime. Good-night and blessings on your day tomorrow.

Love, Sandra

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Pentecost

What a wonderful day! I went to church this Pentecost Sunday and after church my sister and I went to my mom and dad's. Just driving down the freeway was beautiful, even though it wasn't as sunny today as the last couple of days. Yesterday afternoon I sat on my deck most of the afternoon. I was reading a good book, but I kept falling asleep. However, in between the naps I did manage to finish the book.
Looking forward to a good week. I do have several appointments but I hope the week goes well. Please pray that the kidney problems can be remedied so I can go off the morphine. I would really like that a lot.

In the Spirit of Pentecost,
Sandra

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Running Errands

Well, not running, but just doing errands with my sister. It's nice to have her here so she can drive. We do a little bit every day. Today I even went to the grocery store! Haven't done that in ages. I just walked along while my sister did all the "hard" labour! Of course, I still needed my nap this afternoon, but at least, I'd done some work for it :)
My sister found an amaryllis growing in my garage. Some leaves are coming up so I wonder if it would bloom at this time of year. We'll see... And I have two orchids upstairs that have new buds on them again. Yesterday my other sister was commenting on how exciting it is to see things grow. New life! It's such a miracle and a wonder! God gives life - in Him we live and move and have our being. In Him, we also have something even more exciting - the promise of eternal life. How amazing that will be!

In His love,
Sandra

Monday, May 21, 2012

Victoria Day

Happy Victoria Day! Not a day you wanted to be outside with all that pouring rain but maybe some of you had great weather for planting gardens or walking outside. Tomorrow evening my sister from Alberta is coming for a week. I've already made a list of things we can do together ( well, probably mostly things she can do for me). I'm doing better on the morphine. I still need a nap during the day but I can go for longer stretches and keep my eyes open longer. Yay!! Looking forward to a good week. Hope yours is just fine, too.

Blessings,
Sandra

Friday, May 18, 2012

Awesome!

Today was a good day and it got even better. This afternoon my oncologist called to let me know that my tumour marker had gone down significantly since the last round. So exciting! The chemo drug is working and I hope the tumours are shrinking, too. We'll only know that if another scan is done and that won't happen until my kidney problems are under control.
And I could sit and play piano this afternoon, too. My fingers are healing and are not so sore anymore. Maybe some extra time off from the chemo pills will help them heal even more.
Our God is an awesome God, He reigns!!

Rejoicing in Him,
Sandra

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

God's throne of Grace

Before I fall asleep here I just want to update you on this day. I went for my regular visit to my oncologist. She was pleased that I'm making progress in controlling the pain with the morphine. She wants me to be totally pain-free and I'm with her on that. The tumour marker is on a downward trend, albeit rather slowly. My hands and feet are not as sore this round but because the kidneys are as yet not stabilized I am going to postpone starting another round of chemo for an extra four days. That means I won't start again until next week Wed. I'm fine with that.
We had Bible study in my complex this afternoon and a verse in Hebrews 4 was such a comfort and assurance to me. Verse 16 says: "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." God continues to hear our fervent prayers and I am finding that help in Him alone. Thank you, Jesus.

Trusting Him,
Sandra

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Blessed

Wasn't it an absolutely gorgeous day today? I loved all that sunshine. Good thing my parents put out my deck chairs so I could even sit outside this afternoon. The long- lasting morphine pills are working and today the pain was minimal. It just felt so good to have some relief. I'm so glad my oncologist called to check up on me yesterday afternoon. When she heard I was still struggling with pain she prescribed long-lasting morphine pills. They do make me rather groggy and sleepy but I suppose my body will get used to that.
I got my haircut this afternoon and the hairdresser noticed my hair was getting a little thin in spots. My oncologist said I wouldn't lose my hair although it might get a little patchy. Oh well, I still have a wig I could pull out.
Tomorrow is Sunday. Blessings to you as you worship with God's people. "Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Christ, God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing that heaven has to offer."(Eph.1:3)

In God's loving care,
Sandra

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Flowers in the flower boxes

It's been a rather rough week again because of the pain. I am on steady morphine now so I can keep the pain under control. Of course,that does make me rather groggy and sleepy. So I nap in my chair when my eyes won't stay open anymore. My mom and dad are staying over night tonight. There are always friends, and neighbors, and family, checking up on me or calling and that is really wonderful!
Yesterday my sister and I went to a nursery and picked up some flowers for my flower boxes. Audrey planted yellow, white and purple flowers in one box and all pink flowers in my second flower box. It looks so pretty but will look even nicer when they grow more and are filled with blossoms.

Blessings, dear friends and family,
Sandra

Monday, May 7, 2012

Back to the tube

This morning I was able to listen to the students sing for Music Monday outside on the parking lot of our school. It was wonderful to hear their voices praising God, with smiles on their faces. Just great to be there!
This afternoon was another story altogether. I went into the hospital to have my nephrostomy hopefully removed. But that didn't happen. Instead I was sedated so they could "untangle" the tube from the stent. Possibly that was causing all my pain. Tonight I am still in a significant amount of pain and back on morphine. Tomorrow more appointments as we continue to try and solve the kidney pain. My sister is here with me now as I am not allowed to be on my own. She's playing piano while I write to you. Thank you, dear family, for always being there for me. You are amazing!!
What more can I say? I rest in God's loving embrace.

Love, Sandra

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Weekend

What a glorious day! I was able to attend church this morning and this afternoon some of my family came to visit. I continue to feel pretty good, meaning less pain but I don't think the kidneys are working right. My left foot is quite swollen and that means I'm retaining fluid. Not a good thing...oh dear. It's been a good weekend overall, however, just because I like being free of the nephrostomy tube.
Tomorrow is Music Monday, a day to celebrate music! Stand outside at ten o'clock tomorrow morning and you'll hear student voices from across the country singing or playing their songs. Hopefully, it'll be another beautiful day and the birds can sing along, too. Sing and praise God with your beautiful singing voices, ACES, and I'll be listening!

Singing His praises,
Sandra

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Let the good news keep on coming!

Surprise! I came home today without a nephrostomy tube! When they did the nephrostogram the doctor discovered that the stent was working on the nephrostomy side. So the tube has been clamped shut for the weekend and if the stent keeps working well the whole tube apparatus will be removed on Monday. If the stent were to relapse this weekend then of course, a new nephrostomy tube will be put in place on Monday. Please pray that the stents will both work well and the pain will go away. There is still pain on the right side but at least the left side pain has subsided a little. Yeah! It just feels good to be freed of a tube.

Thankfully,
Sandra

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Nephrostogram

Back on morphine because of the pain and I'm having a hard time staying awake. Tomorrow I go for a nephrostogram to see what is causing the pain and whether the nephrostomy tube is actually working well. I really hope that test will give us answers about what to do next. Please pray that the tube and the stent will work properly so I can be relieved of the pain. I would just love to be able to get out and do more.

In his care,
Sandra

Monday, April 30, 2012

Oops...

Sorry, no pictures right now. This blogger site has changed and I don't know how to post pictures anymore. I'm not really much of a "tekkie." I'll have to learn how to navigate this new site first.

An Anchor For Our Souls

A new week, and the last day of April. I've posted a picture of the new quilt on my bed. I pieced the top of the quilt already more than a year ago and had it actually quilted by machine just recently. I love the colours and it's a very warm and cosy quilt. Thanks, K, for all your help in getting this project completed, and for the beautiful sham you so competently designed. My oncologist checked in with me this afternoon and hopefully, this week, we can get a handle on the pain. I will go for a nephrostogram on Thursday and maybe that will shed some light on the persistent pain I'm experiencing. Pain can be rather debilitating and it's been exhausting to go through it day in and day out. I'm hopeful for a solution very soon because I'd really like to be up and around more than I am. I'd like to be more mobile. My chair is comfortable but...all day is a bit much. Yesterday I listened to a message on hope based on Hebrews 6:19. "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure." What a rock-solid promise. I like the picture of hope being an anchor for our souls. Anchored in His hope, Sandra

Friday, April 27, 2012

Cold Flour

Today was a good day. I was able to get out a little and run a few errands. My hands are pretty red and sore tonight so I put some flour in the freezer. Once I take that out it should feel good to cool off my hands without being icy cold which can sometimes end up "burning" them. Now does that make sense? It was a suggestion from a cancer survivor in my online support group. I'll give it a try. I was really supposed to begin the chemo pills again today but my oncologist suggested I wait a bit to give my hands time to heal. So maybe tomorrow or Sunday instead. Love, Sandra

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Standing on the Promises

An ordinary day...more chair-sitting and this afternoon I had a dentist appointment. Just wish I could do more but the pain stops me from over-doing things pretty quickly. It's nice to have my niece here with me. She is a big help and today we were setting things up again in my bedroom after it had been painted. Well, I was sitting on my comfortable bed giving orders and she carried them out. Please continue to pray for relief from pain and an answer to the kidney problems. I'm just thankful that in all things God is there and He will not leave me. Relying on His promises, Sandra

Monday, April 23, 2012

From my chair...

It was a take-it-easy weekend. I really have to sit a lot in order to manage the pain and stay on top of it. This afternoon I checked in with my own doctor and he just reminded me to stay ahead of the pain. So that's what I'm trying to do. My feet are feeling a little better but my fingers are still pretty tender. Good thing I don't need my thumbs when I make this message because they are the most painful. This evening my niece is arriving from Alberta and will stay for 10 days or so. I'm looking forward to the visit. I have a nice, new quilt on my bed. I had pieced the quilt when I first got sick in 2009 but had not finished it. Now it's all done! Thanks, K, for helping me finish it. It looks wonderful! With such beautiful warm weather maybe I can put out the patio furniture and sit outside. Today was certainly warm enough for that. In His grace, Sandra

Friday, April 20, 2012

Praise God!

I'm just so excited that I have to tell you all about it right now. My sister and I got back from my appointment with the oncologist this morning and my tumor marker has gone DOWN!!!!!!! That's what we've been praying about for so long now. That was the best news in a long time. The chemo pills are working and so I will stay on them and we won't have to change to an IV drug. The kidney situation is still not great but I just felt better knowing that the tumor marker is moving in the right direction. God is answering our fervent prayers! All praise and thanks to Him! WOW! The chest x-ray showed the fluid has not increased significantly so I will not need my lungs drained right now. That's also because the chemo is working. My hands and feet are pretty raw right now so my onc. lessened the dose a little. She said I should wait with starting the pills again until the pain is gone in my hands and feet. It's a good thing I have a week off now. So the sunshine is brighter, the flowers are more beautiful, I am more hopeful and I know that God hears our prayers! Just so very thankful, Sandra

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mashed Potatoes

As I'm sitting in my chair I'm feeling my feet tingle and burn. This morning I woke up to sore feet. They had been doing so well but today I was surprised by how quickly they turned sore. All part of the side effects of the chemo pills. Walking around just got a little more difficult.
It's been a good day, though, because I've been visiting and talking up a storm with my friend from Newfoundland. It's been so good to connect again. We've seen each other three times within a year and she lives way on the other side of the country! And now she's cooking a balanced supper meal, and the main ingredient is mashed potatoes. Yum, yum...
Friendship is a wonderful gift!

Blessings to all of you - friends and family,
Sandra

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hope

"Blessed are those who receive help from the God of Jacob. Their hope rests on the Lord their God, who made heaven, earth, the sea, and everything in them. The Lord remains faithful forever.(Psalm 146:5-6)
What a wonderful promise! I was feeling discouraged after my visit with the urologist on Friday because he didn't seem to have any answers for me. He said I could have another nephrostomy tube on the right side, but I'm not willing to go that route yet. I will be patient...and continue to take it easy. That is the best way to go for now, I think.
Today was a restful, quiet day. Some of my family came by to visit and we had tea together. It was good to visit, reflect, and relax.

In hope,
Sandra

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Blessed Beyond Measure

Oh my...what a wonderful day yesterday. A great, big, humongous thank you to everyone who made the day so special - from singing choirs in the staffroom and over the phone... to emails galore...to visits from friends and neighbours and family,... to flowers (my house looks like a flower garden today)...to more cards than I can count (thank-you, students!) and on and on. It was just a fantastic day. And of course, I must mention the sneaky person or persons who put up the balloons and birthday banner outside my front door. Did you do that in the darkness of night, or early in the morning? You are sneaky as a cat, quiet as a mouse. Pretty fun!! I feel so blessed and loved and spoiled rotten!!
Today is a quiet, restful, put-up-my-feet kind of day.

Content in His grace,
Sandra

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Feeling Thankful

Don't you just love this beautiful, mild weather? I am enjoying all the flowers coming out and the trees coming into bloom. I continue to feel pretty well as long as I'm not on my feet too long. This evening I had a surprise visit from some students and they treated me to a small concert. How lovely that was! Music can be such a great pick-me-up. Playing piano myself is getting increasingly difficult because my fingers are so sore. I'm wearing gloves during the day, too, just to protect my fingers and then I can keep them more moist.
Tomorrow is a special day! I'm going to celebrate my birthday. God is good. He has given me 55 years of life and I'm so thankful for His goodness and love all these years.

In His abundant love,
Sandra

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

He is risen! He is risen indeed!
Glory, hallelujah!
Singing at church,
getting together with family,
enjoying the sunshine and warmth of spring.

Love, Sandra





Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday

Good Friday, the day we remember Christ's death for us on the cross. What a sacrifice He made for us so we can have eternal life. Thank you, Jesus, for the cross. Thank you for Your deep, deep love.
It's been a good week because I have been feeling pretty good, especially if I don't overdo it and take it easy. That means a lot of sitting in my chair. But it's been an even better week because I have had a dear friend with me this week and it has been deliciously wonderful. Friendship is so important and I have so many caring friends. Thank you, all of you, for your care, and love, and prayers.

In Jesus' abiding love,
Sandra

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Cancer Clinic Visit

My excuse for not writing sooner is that I have a friend staying with me this week and we're so busy visiting and chatting that I'm just not getting around to my blogging. Yesterday was my regular visit with my oncologist. I had a lot of questions answered and I got a better understanding of the plan in place. The tumor marker continues to rise but that can happen before it actually stabilizes or goes down. I will do one more round of chemo and if there is no further change, we will change chemo medication. There seems to be a build-up of fluid in the lungs again so after my next round of chemo pills I will go for a chest x-ray to see if that needs to be drained. We continue to work on stabilizing the kidney problem and my hope is that new stents can be put in on both sides and if they work well the nephrostomy tube can be removed. That would be such a treat. Next week I visit the urologist to see about that. Please pray for this chemo drug to work, meaning the cancer activity is stopped and pray, too, that the kidney situation will be stabilized. Meanwhile, I am feeling pretty good and able to enjoy my days. My fingers are very dry and the skin is peeling. It's difficult to do some daily activities, like buttoning up my shirts and turning the lids on jars. We keep thinking of new ways to do ordinary household things. I think I should just wear gloves all the time.

In Christ alone,
Sandra

Sunday, April 1, 2012

SNOW????

OK - was that an April Fool's joke? Really... Snow on April 1st? Actually this afternoon it was beautiful and sunny outside. Spring is slowly, very slowly, making it's return. I went to church again this morning and it was so good to fellowship with God's people. How blessed to be able to worship in freedom. Hosanna!
I went out for lunch and had a lovely afternoon. I am amazed and surprised by my energy today. Sure feels good! I'm really noticing, however, that my fingertips are getting very dry, cracked, and seem a little numb. I can feel it when I play piano, or even make up this message on my IPad. I'll just keep lathering on the cream!
Have a wonderful week!

Love, Sandra

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thinking Out Loud

Yesterday a friend (thanks, A) introduced me to a children's book about a cat walking in different coloured shoes, depending on different circumstances. I was struck by the moral at the end of the book: "No matter what you step in, keep walking along and singing your song....because it's all good." (Eric Litwin). Then as I read a devotional this morning the author talked about the best day not depending on what I've done in a day but rather on who I am in Christ. I think of myself so often as a music teacher and I love to plan what I can do in a day. I am easily discouraged when I can't do what I want to do. It is in Christ that we live, and move, and have our being. In the circumstances that I am in now, I can only keep walking along, singing God's song because I live in Him. That doesn't mean it's always easy, and that doesn't mean I don't need a reminder every day, but I know that I go with my Saviour, step by step, singing in His loving care. And thanks for the concert today, C. You helped me keep on singing in His steps.

Love,
Sandra

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tuesday Entry

Today was a good day. My doctor called this morning to say that I didn't have any infection so I could go off of the antibiotics. I also had to go off the blood thinner because my blood is way too thin. The blood thinner medication interacts with my chemo pills so the two together do cause problems. But...I felt good and I was able to enjoy the day - relaxing, reading, and visiting on the phone and in person.
"The Lord is good.
He is a fortress in the day of trouble.
He knows those who seek shelter in Him." (Nahum 1:7)

Sheltered in Him,
Sandra

Saturday, March 24, 2012

This is My Father's World

Don't you just love this beautiful, sunny weather we're having? I think a bright day just makes me feel bright! I've been busy today journalling and updating my scrapbooks. Nice work! And my brother came over and put a shelf together for me. Thanks, bro!
Yesterday I went to see my doctor. I have a bit of infection so since I'm at my low point with my chemo pills, he put me on some antibiotics. Hopefully, that will clear things up. I will check in again on Monday to make sure everything is alright. So that means no church for me tomorrow. Just not safe to be among crowds right now.
"This is my Father's world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings and round me rings the music of the spheres."

Singing His praises,
Sandra

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A New Bed

Today my new bed arrived and it's adjustable. I'll be able to sit up in bed or sleep at any angle that's comfortable. Really I can't wait to go to bed tonight. It could be a long sleeping-in tomorrow!! Of course, if it is as sunny as it was today I'll want to get up and enjoy that warm sunshine.
I'm noticing the effects of my chemo pills. My fingertips are getting very cracked and sore. I can especially feel it on my thumbs and pointer fingers. I'm lathering them with cream, but I can't keep them moist. The skin is just drying out. Oh dear... hope it doesn't get too much worse.

In His love,
Sandra

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Changing of the guard

My sister from Alberta just left to return home so we have had a changing of the guard! Now my sister who lives close by has come to stay with me for a couple of days.
Yesterday I had my nephrostomy dressing changed (I have to have that done every week) and then I went for some routine blood work. All of that went very smoothly and that's good. I get rather uptight if I don't know what's going on, or if something is painful!
Well, I've got to get back to my knitting! I'm knitting with very fine yarn right now so this project will take awhile, I think.

Resting in His faithfulness,
Sandra

Sunday, March 18, 2012

How great is our God!

What a glorious day it has been! I went to church this morning and though I sat away from the congregation, it was just so good to be in church worshipping with fellow believers. My sister was with me and after church we drove to my mom and dad's and spent the afternoon with them. One of my cousins joined us and it was just a "gezellig" afternoon (Sorry, non-Dutch followers- that word means "cozy"). Yes, it certainly was a good day. What a difference a week can make, and when I came home I just had to sit at the piano and play and sing some praise songs. "How great is our God, sing with me, how great is our God, and all will see how great is our God."


Singing His praises,
Sandra

P.S. Love those notes, T! I found more even yesterday. :)