Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"And I will make weak things become strong unto them"

I don't care for weaknesses much, especially not my own.

After my "cancer year", I am finally letting other people have a weakness here and there, and I am cutting them some slack. What about Karen, do you cut her any slack? hhhmmmm..........(this is just me thinking out loud, I am not asking YOU this question) :)

The Lord said that he gave us "Weakness" for a reason, didn't he? Let me remind you about the scripture that I am referring to:
Ether 12:27
And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. (Dale had to point out that it does NOT say weakness-es, ) I give unto men "weakness" (so it must mean that we are not perfect in EVERYTHING like we wish we were) that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

I see one strong person in this picture: SUPERMAN, aka Maddux, and he does not know that he has ANY weakness at all!! lol
Grandpa is watching a video of "Monster Mash" where Tara put her family's faces in place of Frankenstein and the other characters, and they are dancing around to music, it was hilarious, and "picture-worthy" to see this cute little family of mine enjoying it together ( this picture really had nothing to do with my post, but I knew you would love it.....tee hee.........)
OK, since you were wanting to see some more of my grandkids, here's one more superhero, "Supergirl Kenya". She REALLY wanted to try the costume on, she has to do everything the boys do!!

Back to what I was saying:
(this just made me realize that I jump around a lot with my thoughts, have you ever noticed that?, Dale is NOT a fan of it)
Anyway, Lately I have been thinking about my weakness, well one in particular..........
Self- Dicipline..... I know .........that's not a common one, but it's mine :)
at least this week.............
Now, forgive me if you think this is really weird, (I could swear the I comes before E except after C, but spell check said to spell weird this way, no thought jumping here, is there?)

A few years ago, one of my daughters told me she was memorizing scriptures while she was in the shower. I was intrigued to say the least. After thinking about it for a month or more I decided I would try it. My first scripture was Ether 12:27, and as you will see here in a minute, it still is in my shower today.

Well, during my "Cancer Year", tons of thoughts became special to me, and I was so full of anxiety that I read MANY MANY to help calm myself down. My shower became a place of refuge...........I read and memorized many thoughts in there. I plastered the shower walls with thoughts and even a picture of a bronze statue of the Savior with a caption that said "The Healings of Jesus Christ" You have to remember I had extra time on my hands while in the shower, I had NO hair to wash or rinse, so a shower could take all of 60 seconds unless I did something else. I had all kinds of thoughts like, "Karen, there's just one thing you have to do, and that is to take good care of you", and "Take it easy, take it slow, put your feet up, let it go" (I didn't put my feet up in the shower :)) Those two thoughts were cards some of you sent me and I cut them apart and put plastic clear tape on them so they would stick to the wall.
Others like this one, I wrote myself. It's a quote from the book, "Believing Christ", and I believed it enough to memorize it. It didn't take long to memorize.........:)

This was a comfort to me, and it still is, as a matter of fact, this morning in the shower, I felt a big relief as I once again read it. I am trying to re-"Self-Dicipline" myself according to what I have learned over the last year and what the Doctors have insisted I need to do if I want my health.............a thought to jump to..............."HEALTH IS WEALTH", boy do I believe that!
So, here I turn to the other shower wall this morning and remind myself that I am not made to be SUPERWOMAN like I have imagined so many times over the last 50 years (my mom instilled a lot of confidence in me). I am full of strength and talent, etc., but ONLY when I take the hand of the Lord, and my creator who made me and knows me best.

I am determined to be humble, and productive, and lovable, and easy to be around. Please be patient with me while I keep trying.

One last thought for the morning before I get out of the shower.
This one is from a talk in General Conference in April 09, by Kevin Pearson.
It hit me like a ton of bricks, when I think about it, it is SO true about EVERYTHING!!

I will continue to "Focus" on my goals

I love you all , especially those who take the time to read what I have written, and then comment. I LOVE to read your comments, they give me so much strength to go on, you will never know!!! LOVE TO ALL OF YOU, Love 4-ever, Karen

PS I see the Dr on Nov. 6th to have more tests, wish me luck!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"Opposition in All Things", especially CANCER

We know that life is full of opposition, and it is supposed to be that way. Sometimes we wonder why, but after some serious thought, we know that all the negatives in our lives make our good times SO much better. Well, cancer is no exception. I expected to be sick 24/7 because I saw the hell my mother went through. I was overwhelmed with gratitude when it wasn't that way for me. Knowing the opposite was possible made my experience all the sweeter. (Oh how time sweetens my memory)

I want to tell you a story about a dear friend. This picture was taken about 7 or 8 years ago. We call this group "Club". It started out to be a group of young moms needing to get out once a month and eat and visit and we were going to play "ROOK" originally. It is now 25 years later, and we have played Rook twice. What we have done is for another post.
From left to right starting at the back is Kristine Gardner, Darla Lyman, Shauna Stout (now Oliver), Elizabeth Adams, Iona Syphus, and Lori Hafen.
Front row is Kim Esplin, Karen Esplin, Sheri Feller, and Brenda Graff.

This story is about Kristine.
About 7 years ago, she was diagnosed with Leukemia. We were all frightened. She was put on a drug that miraculously sent her into remission. She still takes that pill everyday. Well, last December, right about the time I was ending my treatments, she found a lump in her neck. It turned out to be cancer in the lymph nodes, which was actually a symptom of lung cancer. She was given 4 months to live if she did not do any treatments. She has 2 sons still at home, a 12 yr old, and a 16 yr old, and one son on a mission. Then she has four married kids. She wasn't ready to check out of this life, so of course she chose to fight. This picture is all of us again on December 12, 2008. She had received the diagnosis the day before and we called an "emergency" meeting of club to give support. I am the one on the front row, very different looking from the last picture. I was COMPLETELY different on the inside than I was before too. We all got there before Kristine did, and I broke down and bawled. I didn't think I was going to pull it together, but miraculously I did. Kristine is the 2nd one from the left on the back row. It's hard to tell here, but there were a lot of red noses from all of our sniffling. No major bawling like before she got there.
She started chemo right before Christmas and had it as often as they could give it to her, generally every 3 weeks, but she got so deathly sick, and was hospitalized almost more than she was at home. At one point she was in intensive care barely hanging on to life. Her husband heard her talking to a deceased Aunt. She only remembers telling Heavenly Father that she felt she was going to die, and for him to go ahead and take her. Well, He didn't and she returned to somewhat better health some time later. She had to be fed through a tube due to so many complications.
When she went for her PET scan in the summer, I was POSITIVE she would have a partial remission if not a full one.

I was wrong, The cancer had spread to both lungs now, and had spread to the bones in the spinal cord, and to her adrenal gland. Not good news. I was devastated. I really thought the chemo mixed with the leukemia drug was going to be a miraculous cure for lung cancer. The Dr. was not very encouraging as to what to do next. She insisted on trying something else.
Here we are in August 2 months ago, only 7 of us could make it that day, but Kristine is the 3rd one from the left. She was trying the new chemo that the Dr. somewhat reluctantly was trying. She was feeling more energy than ever, less sickness than ever, and doc told her that her hair would start to grow back (wig in this pic), I was suspicious that he was giving her a placebo or something. Back to the title of my post, "Opposition in All Things, ...............WHAT Do you think happened?
Doctor decided to do only 3 treatments and then a PET scan to see if it was doing any good.
The news was good. The cancer in the spinal cord and the adrenal gland had come to a screeching halt.!! hurray, but the best part of all is that they could no longer find any cancer in the lungs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was screaming on the phone, jumping up and down,,,,,,,,,yelling "IT"S A MIRACLE", It really is. She started more of the same chemo the very next day, and I will keep you updated, but this could be the magical medicine. He said it is a drug they give to patients with asbestos, but sometimes lung cancer patients respond to it.

Speaking of opposition, I will leave you with a little Halloween photo from Halloween last year 2008, I actually wanted to delete this sick photo of me trying to be a pumpkin with my fuzz starting to grow back, but then decided it would actually make me look better this year

Hey, I actually LIKE this opposition thing sometimes!! It certainly has helped me to appreciate anything positive that is happening to me this year. ESPECIALLY my hair, even though it is practically a "FRO", I am HAPPY to have it.
The curl is not a perm, but I think they put something special in my chemo to make it come back this way
This is September 17th, the night of the rodeo, hence the bandana, but woo hoo for the hair, and Yahoo for "Opposition in All Things"

Love to you all,
Remember, "Someone somewhere has survived every cancer there is" There is always HOPE!
Love, Karen the Kancer Killer