plans and decisions for the fall

September 23, 2015

"The people who survived the wars have found favor in the desert. The LORD appeared to me in a faraway place and said, “I love you with an everlasting love. So I will continue to show you my kindness. Once again I will build you up, and you will be rebuilt, my dear people Israel. Once again you will take your tambourines, and you will go dancing with happy people. Once again you will plant..." 
-Jeremiah 31:2-5-

I shared this picture on instagram last night along with the following news:

Today, I said goodbye to treatment round 1. I humbly say thank you for each of your prayers throughout these very difficult and very stressful 15 weeks. These 15 weeks have been the most difficult of my life, and round 2 starts in 4 short weeks. I don’t have a perfect answer for tomorrow, but I do have one for today. I believe that the God of love is tenderly calling me to trust HIM for how long that this season lasts. I do believe that this God of love wipes away my fears of the future and of unanswered prayers and grants abundant grace and strength to face the minutes and hours of this season. I have learned this summer that by brokenly placing this season in His hands I am not rewarded with a pat on the back but am tenderly engulfed in His love, His promises, and HIS mercies that are new every morning. He has never forsaken those whom He loves, and this beautiful God of love answers my questions of “How Long?” with continuous grace and a bid to trust Him and rest in Who He is. Thank you friends for walking this long journey with me, for your constant prayers, for crying with me, and for your encouragement to rest in His love.

As I watch the calendar days slowly slip by and come upon today, the first day of fall, I have to admit that I became a little apprehensive. This summer in so many ways was incredibly difficult and instead of the bravery I was feeling about the PICC line and the next steps , I had instead emerged very tired and exhausted from the fight that had taken place this summer. I admit that I am also a little apprehensive about the upcoming weeks and months. As I shared in my last update there was nothing particular new or surprising about the plan that will be coming. To be truthful, going into the conversation I pretty much knew what was coming and yet, there was a part of me that hoped for the news to be completely different. Before that conversation with my doctor, one of my closest friends asked me, "Is there a specific outcome or course of treatment that you are hoping will be the next step?" And I just broke down crying. I knew that for my particular case that the best course of treatment would be to go to the PICC line and begin IV therapy at a consistent and daily rate, but my little child self wanted to run away. 

Honestly, not much has changed. There are still a lot of tears, there are still a lot of unknowns for my particular case (due to the complexity and the way that I have reacted to medications and treatment in the past) and there is a lot of quiet. The verses above from Jeremiah 31:2-5 have brought great comfort to my heart. Truly the Lord appears to us in "faraway places" and in the desert times. And yet, I admit that I feel that my typical brave spirit was wounded. 

And yet today is upon us. Today that calls us to trust the Lord in new ways, to ask for mercy and grace, to once again pray through scripture for healing, and trust this day, like every other to the one who holds our future and the upcoming fall. 

After much prayer, much discussion, and consulting with my entire medical team my parents and I have made the difficult decision that we will be remaining in upstate NY for the next few months. Our camp is not insulated and so my grandmother has graciously opened up her home so that we may move in with her. We are not exactly sure the length of time, but my entire medical team feels that the alternative and supplemental therapies that I can receive on a weekly or bi-weekly basis up here (and that are not a viable option in the south where we live) are to important and critical to my healing process to give up. 

Y'all know that this is my favorite place in the world and yet this decision was not an easy decision to make and I have felt a wide range of emotions in making this difficult decision. It is difficult because it disrupts many things, including my precious grandmother's life. It is difficult because the four of us will be living in home that is really designed for one person at best and giving up a lot of personal space. My mom and dad will be sacrificing a lot in this decision. It is difficult because it affects many people including my sister, my uncle and his family, and the list goes on and on. 

It is difficult because I hate being the person who is sick and that these decisions have to be made. But at the same time all of us want me to beat this thing and be done and this gives my body the best chance and so that is what we are doing... I am reminded that we are gently and lovingly carried by the Lord and met with grace for each day (Psalm 68:19). So today there is a mixture of hard and good. Tears and rejoicing. Struggling and trusting. And knowing that my discouragement and fears will be preciously and tenderly met by the God of love that bids me to trust Him in new ways.

While I currently completed the summer treatment round I am still finishing up several drugs that are extremely difficult on my digestive system and body which I would ask for prayer for. Next week I leave on the cruise and I would ask that you cover me in prayer for this adventure. I have shared this before but it can be extremely nerve-wracking when you are sick to leave the comfort and familiar (and often necessary) medical surroundings. I ask that you specifically pray against the extreme vertigo, sickness, and pain that I have been experiencing recently. 

When I return I will have two weeks of shots before heading out to California for the PICC line insertion and beginning treatment. Our specific prayer request for the beginning of the PICC line treatment is still the same - that I would be able to handle the first round with no severe reaction. We might have to try different meds to figure out which is the best and I appreciate your faithful prayers. I also appreciate your continued prayers for all of the financial means to come in for this trip.

Words can't express how grateful I am for all of your kind support and love during this time. Thank you again for all of your support, love, and prayers. You are a blessing!

With Love, 

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