Thursday, July 20, 2006

Round Two of Chemo

I thought I would write today while I have the strength. So far the chemo side effects haven't reared their ugly heads. I have taken advantage of my anti-nausea meds a few times. I think this round will be easier in that regard since we found the one thing that works after several days of vomiting with the first round. My appetite is starting to go, but I've still been eating and drinking Boost with every meal. The doctors emphasized to me how important it is to eat as much as I can on the good days.

They will be here soon to start my pre-chemo drugs for the day. I start a 24 hour drip of chemo drugs every afternoon, and they begin each one with a cocktail of anti-nausea drugs and Ativan. (I learned how to spell it, go me!) The Ativan makes me sleepy, so I have learned to look forward to my afternoon nap. I was blessed with an excellent nurse last night and managed to get a decent night of sleep. Still not as many hours as I used to get, but an improvement. My white count is at 200 today, the lowest it has been thus far. As a result I'm keeping Gary away today, but he is in good hands. We'll see what tomorrow brings. We go through a lot of hand sanitizer around here and I have a box of masks to use. I think they are more mentally effective than anything. The doctors have said that they've found good hand washing to be the most effective thing, and of course I'm still supposed to limit visitors to as few as possible, and absolutely no one who is the slightest bit ill, or has been exposed to anything, immunized recently, etc. We decided to delay Gary's immunizations until he was a little older, and I'm so glad now because otherwise I wouldn't have been able to see him at all through any of this.

The doctor seemed most concerned today with mental aspects of my health. I think he is worried that I am never upset when he visits. He told me it is o.k. to be angry and to say it's not fair, because it isn't. They just want to be sure I have someone to vent to other than my family or nurses, because neither of them are equipped to handle that in his opinion. He wants to make sure I still have a marriage once all of this is over, things like that. I feel like I could have been a better witness while he was here, but it was early and I was weary. I didn't say much. Just as I didn't really react when he told me yesterday that I'd need another round of chemo. I just don't make eye contact because then I will lose it, and losing it doesn't make it any easier for the doctor or the daily dozen it seems who follow him around. (It is, after all, a university hospital, so I see a lot of students.) When they initially told me I had leukemia I think a few of the studends broke down more than I did. Part of that is just the numbness factor. How exactly do you wrap your head around information like that? It takes a while to hit. I have my bad days. Brandon has been there for me (I could write an entire post on the incredible husband God has given me), and my mom, but my Savior most of all. I don't really have a desire to talk to a floor chaplain or a psychiatrist. Perhaps I am still in denial, I don't really think so because I've always been a realist about everything -- I've had my funeral planned for years. But I think mostly it is just the knowledge that God's grace is sufficient for me. I have come to know Him in such a way that I am utterly certain He is near. I also know He allows anger ("be angry and sin not") and allows our cries of "Why?". He understands our weaknesses, He created us after all. He knows my heart better than I do. I hold to the verse, and I apologize for not giving any references -- I am hurrying to write this before the nurse comes to knock me out, but anyway, "I know the plans I have for you...plans to give you a future and a hope." Whether that hope is raising my son and spending many more years with my wonderful husband or spending eternity in heaven with my Lord, I don't know, but I am comforted to know that He does.

I have been receiving so many comments and e-mails from perfect strangers recently. I marvel at the fact that you take time to write someone you will never meet, this side of Heaven anyway, but oh the encouragement you give me! For those of you who have suffered a similar road, or a road so much more difficult I can not even imagine, your testimonies and continued praise to God have ministered greatly to my spirit. I hope to eventually write each of you personally, but know in the meantime that I am reading what you write, and thanking God for each of you. I think the only thing that makes all of this worthwhile is our testimony. Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. I feel so humbled that God is possibly using me to bring glory to Himself in an even greater way than most people may have. He truly uses the weakest. I have such a deeper understanding of what those before me have gone through, whether it be modern day giants of faith, or David, Job, Moses, Abraham...the list goes on.

I think I have a million people praying for me, and the hundred or so cards on my wall and multitude of daily e-mails convince me of the fact. Thank you all for interceding on my behalf!

38 comments:

Shalee said...

Amy,

I was just directed to your blog, and I want you to know that you are being lifted up in prayer right now. I will continue to pray for you and I eagerly await to hear the news that God has healed you fully.

I am amazed by your faith in Him and your willingness to share it with others as you are going through this next round. Please know that you are an example inspiration as you are enduring it all.

Dear heavenly Father,

I pray that you would completely rid Amy of this cancer and restore her to complete health. Comfort her and grant her peace as she stays in the hospital. Keep her nausea at bay so that she can keep up her strength and give her great rest. Bless Brandon and Gary with patience, endurance and continued hope as Amy is recovering. Please give them all the vision to see you through this time, to shine a light of faith and to give you glory on good days and bad.

Through your Son's name I pray, Amen.

rach said...

We're praying!

Andrea said...

Amy,
Found your blog through another blog...I don't know you but am amazed at how you are praising God in this hard time. You are an inspiration to me and I am praying hard for you. I will continue to check on your progress and keep you and your family and friends lifted up.
In His Peace,
Andrea

Brandon Wilhoite said...

Hey darling,

I've not really had an opportunity to post until now, and I really don't know what to say that I haven't already told you in person. I'm proud of you and the way that you are handling this adverse situation. I'm constantly amazed and inspired by how you have kept your eyes on Christ and the Cross and God's glory.

I've seen first hand how hard this situation has been on you physically and emotionally, and know that it will continue to be hard, if not get harder, as time goes on. But, again, am amazed and inspired by how you have grown spiritually through this and how much closer to God you've become. And, even though we can't show our love to each other through things as simple as a kiss and our time together is limited and constantly interrupted, I feel like we've become even closer through this situation as well.

Know that I'll be by your side through this whole thing from beginning to end and that I am continuously praying for you and your healing.

I love you so very much,
Your Brandon

Diane said...

Amy, I found your blog through another blogger friend. I am a Christian, too, Southern Baptist if it matters to you. I have read all your posts, and I am struck with your faith as you continue through this ordeal of illness and uncertainty in your life. I don't know that I would be dealing with it with the grace that you are showing.

I will be praying for you, and better than that, I will be directing my Christian friends to your blog so they can be praying for you, too. I will also put you on our Adult Ladies Sunday School Class prayer list. We have some mighty prayer warriors and we have seen God do some great and miraculous things in answer to our prayers.

No matter what may come, God is sufficient to meet our needs and answer our prayers. I pray for comfort for you and your husband and family, and for healing for your body. I pray for God to be glorified in your life, no matter what the outcome. God bless you and yours, honey. Hang in there, there are more people than you know who are lifting you up in prayer, before the very throne of God. :-)

A sister in Christ,

Diane Jennings

My blog address is: lenadianejennings@blogspot.com/

Lauren said...

I was directed to your blog and I feel that I must remark at how overwhelmed I am by your strength and faith in God through this ordeal. Your testimony and the glory you give to God is breathtaking.

Know that you are in my prayers and the prayers of my family. May God bless you and keep you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Amy,
Been reading your notes and the replies people from all over the US have been sending to you. Just thought I'd let you know that its another hot day here in Phoenix but tomorrow promises to be even hotter (115 they say). You escaped one of the hottest summers on record, but I'm sure you'd rather be here than in a hospital room in Missouri. For someone who is so small, you fight like like a champ. I've managed a few narrow escapes in my life for which I owe my life to God's grace but nothing I ever did remotely resembles your faith. Keep believing and know that we'll keep saying prayers for you. What's another couple of days of chemo anyway, right? You're tough and I know and believe that God will help you through all this. Only Satan wants you to give up and we know he will never win the eternal fight, right?

When your Aunt Karen and I were in Germany many years ago and it was getting close to coming back to the US for a new assignment, one morning while brushing my teeth, I said to myself, "When this tube of toothpaste is gone, we'll be home again." As chance had it, the last day we spent in Germany, the tube ran out and we left on a military charter back to New York City. So here's hoping your tube of toothpaste runs out in the next two weeks and you be going home to Brandon, Gary, and the rest of the family.
Uncle Cliff

Sue said...

Dear Amy,
I came here from Diane's blog. I've read your story and am inspired by your faith.
I'll be praying for you and your family.
Sue

Brenda said...

Amy,

I also followed a link to get here, and I'll be linking to you as well. You are in my prayers along with Brandon and Gary, as well as the doctors and nurses who are attending you. God be with you all.

Carrie said...

Amy,
I also followed a link here, stayed up late last night reading every entry and laid in bed praying for you. Your testimony of faith is such a blessing. My mom and I are working on a lap quilt for you. :o)
Hang in there.
In Christian love,
Carrie

Heather said...

Amy,
I also found you through another blog and reading through your posts, I weep. Not as much because I'm sad as because I am so amazed at your strength and faith. Even the fact that you feel for your doctor and are willing to share with him your faith, blows my mind. I'm praying for you. I look forward to seeing God continue to use you.
In Him,
Heather

Faith said...

Amy, I am new to your blog,but i wanted to let you knoiw that my family will be lifting you up in prayer!

Mississippi Girl said...

Prayed for you again tonight!

Peggy said...

Amy,Jennifer Thurlo,jasons wife told me about you.My son eddie had leukemia, when he was 5 , now he's going to be 20 in feb.Eddie told me to tell you,keep positive,That helps with healing and never give up,because theres always hope.If you need to talk with us,you can email me at peggy35@swbell.net.in a week we go to St Judes Children Hospital,in Memphis for eddies appointment.Eddie says Dont Give Up Keep Fighting and Praying and we will too for You.

julie said...

hi amy,
nope, you don't know me. i am a mom along the central coast of california who found your blog linked to someone else's blog. i am blessed by your candidness and genuineness. it will be an honor to pray for you. may you find continued peace and strength through our precious Savior.
julie harris

Paulette said...

Hello Amy, The lord is keeping you on my heart so I came to pray before retiring for the evening. I know God is constantly hearing your name being voiced to him. I am so glad we are told in his word that God never sleeps nor does he slumber, he is always tending his children.
I hold on to this promise sense my husband left, and it has made me feel secure in knowing that I am never alone, and neither are you. May you be wrapped safely in the arms of Jesus tonight. I hope you are sleeping.

Grafted Branch said...

Jeremiah 29:11-12

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you."

It's my privilege to have looked that up for you tonight because I have the strength to do it. I'm so moved by your courage. I can feel my spirit yielding to His a little more than before because of what I have read in this post. Thank you for your testimony.

I have a cousin who survived the seemingly unsurvivable diagnosis of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma back in 1991; she was 11. Today, she is well, married and a mother.

I am praying His perfect will for you, as well as your complete peace with it. And I'm thanking Him that He invites us to ask for what we want while cautioning us to have right motives. With that in mind, I am praying your health be returned to you in full measure (or more) that you may be blessed to see your children's children!

I came here through Brenda's link (she mentioned it in the comments). God bless you.

Julie said...

Another stranger here, from your home town. I followed a link from Shannon's. I am so inspired and encouraged by your faith through these incredibly difficult times. I will be praying for you daily and keeping up with your blog so those prayers can be specific. Jer. 29:11-12 are my FAVORITE verses - they have brought me such peace many times.

Connie and Rob said...

Dear Amy,
I came to you through Diane's blog. My prayers are with you.

Take care,
Connie

Anonymous said...

Amy,

When I woke this morning, I immediately began praying for you. I was praying that you would hold tight to Jesus, but then I realized you are probably too tired to hold tight. So I began to pray that you would just rest in your Father's arm todays. He will hold You, you are free to just rest.

Earline Howson

a suburban housewife said...

I just found your blog,Amy. I am amazed at the Spirit's working in you to produce such courage!

In my darkest hour Your presence is my peace.
In my days of joy Your grace carries me.
Jesus, my great High Priest, the One who pleads for me-
My heart is filled with faith in You
Here at Calvary on my knees!

Apparently you know this song! We belong to a Sovereign Grace Church in Athens, GA. I don't know how large the AZ church is, but my husband knows Scott Burness very well.

Prayers for you and your sweet family. I will visit often.

JenMom said...

Amy- Another complete stranger here...praying for you in Georgia. I suffered critical cardiac & pulmonary issues the day I delivered my triplets and was VERY unsure of what the future would hold for me & my family....for whatever reason, God spared my life at that time.
You are so faithful to keep giving God the glory regardless of your circumstances.
You are being such an incredible witness to the life changing power of a true faith in God.

May God bless and keep you & your precious family!

Rachel Davis said...

Amy, you are a celebrity. :) God is using you to bless so many people, myself included. I feel so honored to know you, to have had almost 20 years (wow) of friendship with you. (ok, so I couldn't talk for the first couple years, but we were friends in spirit.) *grin*

I hesitate to continue telling you how amazed I am by your strength, because I never want that to become a stumbling block to you when you do feel weak and you do need to weep. God will hold you up, but Christ wept as well. There is a time and place for every emotion.

I truly believe that with this dark providence, God is equipping you for a great ministry. With this trial He has gathered you even closer to His side, perhaps to prepare you to someday minister to other facing similar circumstances. Those of us who have never experienced a life-threatening disease can imagine your struggles but can never fully know them; just as the comments to your blog from strangers who have battled an illness must speak to your soul, someday you will speak to the souls of others.

I am so eager to see the way the Lord works in your life. You are a great servant of Christ.

Dawn said...

I came to your blog through Brenda's. I want to read everything when I get a few minutes. I am writing from Colorado. God bless you as you deal with this terrible disease. I'm adding you to my list.

Kim said...

Amy,

I'm so sorry that you are going through this. But I thank you for allowing us a glimpse of your feelings and trials. Your faith during all this is an awesome testimony.

I can relate to some of what you're going through right now. I went through it with my 11yo daughter. She had a bone marrow transplant 9yrs ago after being diagnosed with MDS ~ RAEB-T. She's a healthy "normal"..whatever that is...11yo now. I can't wait to hear how you celebrate your 9yr cancer free date. :o)

My FIL started his battle with AML 2mo ago.

ajbendaƱa said...

Hi Amy,

You are an inspiring woman and I pray for the best. Just remeber to keep your faith, for all that happens in this life is a test to ones perseverance. My prayers are with you.

May you be at peace, may your heart remain open, may you awaken to the light of your own true nature, may you be healed, may you be a source of healing for all beings.

God Bless.

Imajackson said...

Dear Amy,

I just read your blog from start to the latest posting. I just thought,"If Amy were my neighbor I am just SURE we would be good friends". I also have a little one who is about to turn 9 months old. A lady from church told me the other day that "Just one is enough" when I told her I hoped to have more children. So I think of you and your precious time with your son and think of that phrase.

Cancer eats rocks, there is just no other way of describing it. Yet like all trials and suffering there is an opportunity for God to mold us and use us in ways we might otherwise oppose.

Amy, God is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Even in the long dark and quiet nights in your room you are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.

I remember the dark and unending night from the birth of my baby. I was in labor and I was trying to get through to 4am without waking up my husband. I wanted to make it through to 4 am before I asked for the epidural. I will never forget the heartache I felt when I saw the clock move backwards an hour at 2 am to account for daylight savings! I had to endure 2am to 3 am all over again! I thought that night would never end as I lay in the bed, nauseated, exhausted and riding out the increasing waves of contractions.

Your "night" will end as well Amy, and I hope for all of us (but most of all for Gary and Brandon) that you will be here on earth to walk others through your same struggle.

I pray for all good things for you Amy and I will keep you close to my heart in prayer until you are out of the hospital!

Rhonda Slone said...

Amy,

Just thought I would let you know we are thinking of you and keeping you in our prayers. You sound very upbeat. I am told a persons mental outlook is more important than anything. Your faith reflects through your comments, I am sure you will be a witness to those you come in contact with there at the hospital. We will stay updated through your Grandpa. God bless and be with you!

Rhonda & Dwight Slone

Andre said...

Hi Amy,

Like the legion of other supporters you have, I just wanted to drop you a quick line to let you know that you're in my prayers as well.

We don't have to meet face-to-face for us to connect. We connect through our Heavenly Father. You've blessed me (along with quite a few other people, it seems) with your testimony.

Stay encouraged in our Risen Savior!

John Moore said...

Hello Amy,

You don't even know me but we have mutual friends. This may sound extremely oddd, but I feel that I need to at least let you know about this.

I came across a Wellness company about four years ago. Some of their products help extremely well with those going throught chemo. I won't go into all the details on your site but you can contact me at 540-409-1821. My name is John Moore. I work at HSLDA. Everything that this company has is completely natural and is mostly about prevention.

I will continue to pray for you that God will rid you of this terrible thing!

Meam said...

Amy, my one of a million thoughts of you today: May today there be peace within you. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. "I believe that friends are quiet angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly." Count on all your friends to be there to lift you up, when you need it. They are gifts from God, and he has given you mutitudinous. Love, Meam

Anonymous said...

Hi Amy, Just prayed for you.

Mommy!! said...

Hi Amy,

As a fellow Christian and a mother, I cannot begin to imagine what you are going through. I do know that as Christians, we are called to be the salt and light of the world, and it is evident that even through the hardships and trials you must endure right now, your light is shining before many, perhaps many more than you know. Your faith and courage are inspirational and a blessing to all who read your words. I will be praying, not only for you, but for the people you come into daily contact with, that they will see the love of God shining through you and that they may come to know Him as a result.

THE THURLO's said...

Dear Amy,

I do not know you as with many of your other visitors. However, my husband is one of Brandon's cousins. Beanie has been keeping us up to date on your condition. You have been in my thought and prayers. I know that is must be very difficult to be away from Brandon and Gary. I also know that you have some of the greatest doctors there. My dad was treated at Ellis and University Hospital for Colon Cancer and the people there were amazing. Hope you are feeling well today. Take care and be strong. Jen Thurlo

THE THURLO's said...

Dear Amy,

As with many of your other visitors I do not know you. However, my husband is one of Brandon's cousins. Beanie has been keeping us updated on your condition. I know that it is difficult to be positive and keep your faith but it will keep you moving forward. I also know that you have an amazing group of doctors and nurses there. My Dad was treated at Ellis and University hospitals for Colon cancer and they were wonderful with him. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Brandon, and little Gary. I can't imagine the challenge it is for you to be away from them right now. Hold your head up high and be strong and you will prevail. Jen

Anonymous said...

You're so inspiring and encouraging. I pray for you daily. Reading about your human emotions as you handle this (fear, worry, confusion, etc) situation remind me of reading the Psalms and David's emotions as he continually turns to God in the midst of it all. Thank you for being so real and open. And for being willing to share your soul with thousands of strangers. You are a blessing and an encouragement to many. Keep your eyes on God and know that he is using you for His Glory and His good. Be encouraged dear sister and we'll meet in heaven someday if I never get the pleasure of meeting you here on earth

Viau

Anonymous said...

I know God is holding you in His hands right now. You are in the center of His will, and as you know, there is no safer place.

RNP said...

Sending positive thoughts and prayers from Michigan!