Monday, June 18, 2012

Where...Who...How...There...I am

Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord.
Where does my strength come from? My strength comes from the Lord.
Where do I turn when it seems there is no where to turn? I turn to the Lord.
Where do I place my worries and fears? I place them at the foot of the throne of Jesus.

Who is with me when I am completely alone? The Lord is with me always.
Who carries me whether I know it or not? The Lord carries me always.
Who is holding me close when the night is too long? The Lord holds me.
Who guides my path? The Lord is the lamp for my feet and the light for my path.

How can I have faith? If I didn't have faith, I would have NOTHING.
How can I love God when I can't see Him? To know God is to love Him.
How can I know God is real? I know He is real because the Bible says He is real.
How do I make it through each and every day? I make it because I know that God has a plan for me.

There are times when I am overwhelmed with what I have lost: my husband, my son's health, a "normal" life.
There are times when I feel utterly and completely alone. 
There are times when I feel helpless, hopeless, and just LESS.
There are times when I feel like I don't have enough faith.

I am reminded that God is with me every moment and step of the way.
I am assured of His presence and peace. All I have to do is ask.
I am promised that He will NEVER forsake me.
I am told that enough faith can be the size of a mustard seed.

It's been a tough few days for me. I needed to see these things. I need the reassurance that He is here. I need to know that I am not alone.

I need to know that I am...

In His Grip!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

On my mind... Caution: This is not pretty!

There is so much on my mind these days that I can't seem to make sense of any of it.

MLC tells me to just get it out when things start jumbling up. Sometimes, I just want to scream at him, "But what if I can't put it into words? WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO THEN?!"

Come to think of it, I may have already done that...

Since I've been seeing the same lovely counselor for 6 years, there's probably not much that I haven't said to him. Poor guy!

So...I guess I should share what's on my mind.

The stuff with Nick is probably number one right now. As hard as I try to keep the what if's from circling, they do. Everything from memories of what happened with Keith to tons of memories of Nick's health problems. All of that just collides and combines to form a jumbled up mess.

It seems like I have so much circling in my head that I just can not seem to think straight anymore. It seems like as soon I begin to think somewhat clearly, everything falls to pieces and overwhelms me again.

I don't like admitting that I feel like I can't handle things. I don't like admitting here, in my journal, or to MLC. I know that I'm not Wonder Woman. I just don't know that I can "do" this again. I am sick and tired of cancer living in my house. I feel like I am constantly living in a state of chaos. I feel like I can't get a hold on  anything lately.

It REALLY bugs me that it feels like life is ALWAYS in a state of transition. I don't want to hear any of this, "Everyone's life is always transitioning." or "God does give you more than you can handle." or "Every day is a new day." or "Just take things as they come."

That is my point. I am tired of taking things as they come. I really would like to be able to make plans. I would like to have enough money to take a vacation. I would like to NOT have to go to Birmingham ALL the dang time!!! I would like to have enough energy to get my entire house cleaned in just a morning. I would like to have a life that didn't involve a daily fight to keep depression, bad memories, creditors, and grief at bay. I would like a life that is just plain. A plain ole life that doesn't need to have a Plan A, B, C, and Z. my rant is finished for now. Kacie just brought me a "tropical" drink...Arizona Diet Blueberry Green Tea with crushed ice. 

Who can stay in a rant with such sweet kiddos?!

I guess I found out how I can keep going. These kids keep me going.


In HIS Grip

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Update on Nick 6/14/12

***Latest News*** Nick isn't feeling well at all today. He has gotten sick to his stomach. Please pray that he'll feel better quickly.

***Original Post***
Nick and I were in Birmingham yesterday at Children’s Hospital for another checkup with his oncologist, as well as chemotherapy and IVIG.

Nick’s blood work looks very good. Every level that came back was within normal range. As always, there are some blood tests that don’t come back right away. With these particular tests, no news is good news.
Everything went very well with Nick’s port working, and Nick receiving the IVIG and chemo.

Now on to the hard part...

I have mentioned in the last few months that Nick has had an issue here and there with maintaining his balance at odd times. I also pushed for Nick’s oncologist to order a set of CT scans of Nick’s brain to check for any tumors that might be growing and causing the small issues with Nick’s balance. Those scans were done in March and everything was fine. The CT of his brain did not show any areas of all.

Nick went for a little while without having any more balance issues. Myself, the oncologist, Nick, and his ENT doctor attributed the cause to a possible inner ear/fluid in his ear issue or even just clumsy from long bone growth. Nick didn’t have any more balance issues for about a month (give or take). There hasn’t been any kind of pattern to when the balance problems occur.

Nick has had two relatively defined balance episodes within a week of each other. When Nick told the oncologist about this most recent event, the doctor immediately did a neurological exam and asked Nick several very pointed questions (Back pain? Ringing in one ear or both ears? Headaches? Dizziness? Loss of balance upon standing? etc.). Nick answered no to all of the questions.

I’m not sure if the oncologist saw something in the neurological exam that concerned him. Once the doctor finished the neuro exam, he told me that he wants a full MRI of Nick’s brain with and without contrast. He also said that if there is a cancer there it is probably a slow growing one.

This has been Nick’s doctor for almost 17 years. He has NEVER said these words to me. Every time, up to today, Nick has reported having the occasional balance issue, the doctor did NOT even entertain the idea that there could be a cancer in Nick’s brain. The CT scans done of Nick’s brain in March were because I pushed for them. They were for my peace of mind. The CT scans of Nick’s brain were done at the same time the other CT scans were done and did not require any extra effort. An MRI requires more effort and isn’t ordered without a lot of thought. I did no coercing or convincing today. The MRI decision is 100% on the doctor.

I’m sorry if this is confusing. I don’t have a very good grasp of everything just yet.

The MRI will likely be scheduled for Thursday, July 5. I will find out this coming Monday on the exact time. The doctor wants it done the next time we come back to clinic. He did not see any reason for the MRI to be done sooner. I’m perfectly fine with waiting until then. We will get the results the same day Nick has the MRI.

I am operating on a need to know basis with the kids. Obviously, Nick knows since it’s his body and he was there. The doctor and I both tried very carefully to keep Nick from being afraid. Nick knows that the MRI is going to be done to try to figure out why he is having the balance issues. Kacie knows NOTHING at this time. She is away at CentriKid Camp with our church until Friday. I will likely address everything in the same way that I did with Nick. I am being so careful with what words I use because of what they saw happen with their dad. I am being VERY careful about using the words “tumor” and “cancer” in conjunction with “brain”. I do not want either of them to be afraid or worried before there truly is something to worry about.

I am asking to please pray specifically that the doctors be able to see anything that needs to be seen. Please pray for some resolution to Nick’s balance issues. Clear and defined answers to these things that are plaguing us would be nice.

Above all else, please pray as God leads.

We are truly...
In His Grip!
Kristy Baxley

Monday, June 11, 2012

Starts and Stops

I have started at least three posts and stopped them part way through. Then I deleted them without posting.

Why? I'm not exactly sure, except I can't seem to put what I'm feeling into words.
So, I am going to go with the MLC standby...bullet points!

  • Life has been crazy busy with ending the school year, ending the dance year with two dance recitals, numerous doctors appointments for me and Kacie from the wreck on April 7, and everything else thrown in for good measure.
  • Nick is doing okay. I did move his chemo appointment to this Wednesday, June 13. I really think that his body needed the break. The steroids have definitely built up in his body. We are dealing with mood swings very similar to what Keith had post seizure. 
  • Kacie left for her annual week at church camp this morning. It's her last summer in the children's program at church. She moves into the youth group come fall. It seems like she is turning into a teenager overnight. I am hoping and praying that she has a wonderful week.
  • Her knee is doing better. The MRI showed no tear! Lots of praise for that! She ended up needing to be on crutches for two weeks. Taking that time to allow her knee to have total rest,enabled her to be able to dance in the two recital performances this past weekend. 
  • My shoulder is some better. I had an MRI and it showed no tear! Another praise! I do have a ton of inflammation in the fluid around my rotator cuff, through my upper back and neck. The discomfort is getting better. The orthopedic surgeon said no surgery is needed. It's just going to take time and some physical therapy. 
  • I would be much better if I knew how to walk though! While Kacie and I were at the recital dress rehearsal, I missed a step in the auditorium. I fell and rolled my right ankle. It is all sorts of nice shades of purple in a few places. I couldn't bear weight on it Saturday, but by Sunday it was better enough that I didn't need crutches. Luckily, I still had my immobilizer boot from when I had a stress fracture. That, an ACE bandage, ice packs, and ibuprofen have been my constant companions. I think I need to be wrapped in bubble wrap!
  • I made it  through the month of May without any major grief episodes. I did have some smaller ones, but nothing as major as I've had in the past years. June is okay so far. I know it may sound weird that I'm kind of preparing in case I have a rough stretch. It's just a part of my healing process. I am a planner. It helps me to feel less ambushed if I kind of "expect" something. It's a nice surprise when nothing happens. I know...worst case scenario. There are just some things that I can't change about myself. That happens to be one of them. I have a really hard time not going to worst case scenario. MLC says it's simply due to the events of the last 16 1/2 years. I've seen too many worst case scenarios develop over the years.
  • Moving on...Nick will be a senior in high school when school starts in August. I can't really comprehend it yet. It's another milestone that Keith and I were told wouldn't likely happen, yet here it is! Even though Nick still has active cancer and the chemo is only working to keep the cancer stable, I am hopeful that this year will be an awesome one for him. It would be so wonderful if he could have just one of his high school years without having to go to Birmingham for chemo all the time. I don't know what the future holds, but I know WHO holds the future!
I guess that's it for now. I am continuing to trust God in HIS plans for us. (Jer 29:11) 

In HIS Grip,