ISAIAH 61:1-4

ISAIAH 61:1-4

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me and has anointed me to
Preach the good news to the poor. .
Bind up the brokenhearted,
Proclaim freedom for the captives,
Proclaim release from darkness for the prisoners,
Comfort all who mourn
Provide for those who grieve in Zion to bestow on them
The oil of gladness for mourning
And a garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Chemotherapy begins again

Chemotherapy Update

I start the next round of Chemotherapy on January 15, giving me time to recuperate from the allergic reaction. The doc has decided to change the med to Taxol and to use reduced amounts but with more frequency. So beginning January 15th, I'll be going every Monday for Chemo with additional steroids to try to prevent a reaction to this one. There's a very real possibility that I will react to this one as well, since they are they same class of drugs. So....time will tell.

I have no idea how I'll feel during this time with the infusion weekly and additional steroids. 

I guess this is a wait and see thing as well.   I appreciate your continued prayers.

Pastor Phylis

The End of 2006

What a year!! I started this year in the hospital at UIC in Chicago recovering from a liver donation, and I end it recovering from Chemotherapy and waiting for the next round. So many things between. A year of incredible blessing and a good share of suffering. I've learned much, but it's not a year that I wish to repeat.

Tonight, my granddaughters are here. They're working on scrapbooks. At age five and almost seven, they do a very good job. I got them cameras for Christmas, so we'll probably see many more scrapbooking days.

This is a lovely way to finish the evening with the girls. They'll sleep over and then we'll have breakfast at "Bacon HIll" (Baker Hill Pancake House) in the morning. A serene ending to a long, long year.

May you also find peace and joy as this year draws to a close!

Jehovah Jirah!
Pastor Phylis

Thursday, December 28, 2006

A new look at Psalm 23

Another look at the twenty-third Psalm:
One of my favorite email buddies, who also is my nephew, sent this to me some time ago. Thought I'd share it.

Psalm 23
The Lord is my Shepherd ----- that's Relationship!
I shall not want ----- that's Supply!
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures ---- that's Rest!
He leadeth me beside the still waters ----- that's Refreshment!
He restoreth my soul ----- that's Healing!
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness ----- that's Guidance!
For His name sake ----- that's Purpose!
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death ----- that's Testing!
I will fear no evil ----- that's Protection!
For Thou art with me ----- that's Faithfulness!
Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me ----- that's Discipline!
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies ----- that's Hope!
Thou annointest my head with oil ----- that's Consecration!
My cup runneth over ----- that's Abundance!
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life ---- that's Blessing!
And I will ! dwell in the house of the Lord ----- that's Security!
Forever ----- that's Eternity!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas 2006

At Christmas my hands were badly swollen and my feet would barely walk.  But worse was the allergic reaction to the previous chemo.   The best description is a Hot Flash on steroids!

Bob helps me open present

Later I had to add an ice pack to the Santa hat.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Just for fun, thought I'd post some pics of me...before and after. Hmmm. Let's see if this works. I think the "sickest" picture of me was the one Rodney took at the church Church Christmas dinner. However, when I exclaimed how "sick" I look, I was informed that at that point (at the beginning of the party) I looked good. I got really sick later -- I think I startled everyone. (The picture startled me!) Most had only seen my "well" chemo look at church. (Which is pretty "sick", actually!!)

The one of Bob and I is a "well" picture -- while I'm on chemo. It was taken two or three weeks ago. The purple shirt picture is from the weekend of JCC anniversary -- a couple of days before the lumpectomy and before chemo. It's amazing what four months can do with three surgeries and several quarts of poison (The doctors call it Chemotherapy) in the bloodstream. :)

Pastor Phylis

Friday, December 22, 2006

Headaches and Restoration


Caffeine is a wonderful thing. It's my next defense for headache. The other day I had had a couple of pain pills, drank a ton and a half of water, ice packed myself for awhile and everything else. But...I wanted to be there for the little girls pictures, so I had a Iced Mocha Cappuccino, blended. Not only did my headache go away, but I got really talkative! :)

These last three and a half weeks has been different. The days don't follow any pattern (You know, they're random, first Thursday, then Tuesday, etc! Ha! Just kidding) That is my well being doesn't follow any pattern. Randomly, I may be ill as can be all morning, then productive in the afternoon. Occasionally I'll get ill about 5 p.m. or 6 and be sick as a dog half the night. Sometimes it hits in the middle of the night. Right now, it's 2 in the afternoon and I just had to stop and take a Zomig for a pending headache. (Hopefully that will take care of it.) It doesn't seem to be related to activity, stress or any pattern at all. Perhaps the allergic reaction is irrational. My hands are much better now. Still peeling. And my feet are peeling like crazy. I have about three more weeks before anymore chemo. That's good.

So, I just take each day as it comes. If I spend the morning in a dark room with an ice pack, so be it. If I spend a night sleeping in my "sick chair" (That's what the girls call the comfy chair where I sit when I don't feel good.), then I just adjust plans for the day. Flexibility is the name of the game. But all in all, it's been good. I'm just about ready for Christmas. One more trip to the mall for a couple of small items and I'm done.

Here's for a Blessed Christmas to you and yours,

Pastor Phylis

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I've read two very good books lately. Get Out of That Pit by Beth Moore is written in a very conversational easy to read style. (Integrity Publishers, a division of Thomas Nelson) Available at your Christian bookstore. I've already bought another one for a friend because I want to hang onto mine, but want to share the ideas.

The other is
The Angels of Morgan Hill by Donna VanLiere. (Publisher: St. Martin's Press, New York) I bought mine at Sam's Club. It's a novel about a small town in Tennessee right after World War II and how that town deals with discrimination, poverty, tragedy and learning to live and love. Easy Read. Restores faith in humankind.

Pastor Phylis

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Allergic Reactions

The girls on the little one's birthday just before she opened her Bitty Baby Twins. She was convinced that morning that she was now bigger because she is five! My big girl will turn seven in January.

This allergic reaction has complicated things considerably. I haven't recuperated with my usual speed and panache. These weeks to rest and heal are needed. I don't actually feel terrible, I just don't feel all that good. My energy is low and I find myself spending much more quiet time than has ever been my custom. Quiet time is good. My propensity toward activity can become obsessive. (I hear family and close friends chuckling as they agree! Even as a toddler, my Dad said my middle name was "Go") So I'm learning to be still.

Is it really less than two weeks until Christmas??


Friday, December 8, 2006

Last night as I was falling asleep, I realized again just how fortunate I am. I'd had a bit of a rough day and went to bed early. Bob sat down and was reading the Bible. This is the last Psalm he read to me. It echoed in my Spirit. Hope it does the same for you.

Psalm 61
(The Bible in Basic English)
1 Let my cry come to you, O God; let your ears be open to my prayer.  
2 From the end of the earth will I send up my cry to you, when my heart is overcome: take me to the rock which is over-high for me.  
3 For you have been my secret place, and my high tower from those who made war on me.
4 I will make your tent my resting-place for ever: I will keep myself under the cover of your wings.
5 For you, O God, have made answer to my prayers; you have given me the heritage of those who give honour to your name.  
6 You will give the king long life; and make his years go on through the generations.  
7 May the seat of his authority be before God for ever; may mercy and righteousness keep him safe.  
8 So will I make songs in praise of your name for ever, giving to God that which is right day by day.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

It all depends on your focus!

A Sartorial Disaster

Anyone who knows me know that I like to accessorize. I have a significant collection of shoes, scarfs, hats, watches and costume jewelry. Everything MUST fit (not exactly match, but blend). There is a purpose for every accessory.

So when I say that on Friday night I showed up for music practice in a sadly mismatched get-up (there's no other word for it), you'd know there is something wrong.

Friday night music has become a weather vane for me. If I can make it to practice, and to church on Sunday morning, my life is on track. It provides a rhythm to my week. So my attention was on just getting there.

Before the excuses, let me describe my costume.

I had on a pair of navy fleece pants (I rarely wear fleece out of the house--only if I'm confident it will be covered by a coat) with a Kane County free-bee tee shirt with some kind of alien looking heads on the front. This was topped by a patchwork flannel shirt (Also not something I wear except to refinish furniture or plant flowers). I had on my old Ugg boots (Now Sheepskin boots are a must in certain kinds of weather up here. All sartorial concerns are off -- but I have a very stylish pair of purple Uggs) to keep my feet warm. I was doing well to even make practice, so I dispensed with the wig and wore a really cute hat that a friend just got me for my birthday. I wore the matching scarf and gloves. They were leopard skin fabric. The hat really would be better OVER a wig, it doesn't come down far enough to conceal the fact that I am very bald, but the scarf sort of covered the neck. Now the crowning jewel. I still had on two pair of dangling silver and purple earrings that I'd used on Wed and Thursday when they matched my outfit.

Did I mention white cotton medical gloves for my hands? My hands had to be kept covered with a steroid cream, so the gloves were necessary whenever I went anywhere or touched anything.

All in all, a classic bag lady outfit. (And my sincere apologies to any bag ladies in the vicinity.) The funniest things is that I was blithely unaware of my odd appearance. I was concentrating on trying to behave normally.

Okay...THE EXPLANATION...The fleece pants....I had had on a matching pullover shirt earlier (cranberry with navy trim). The odd t-shirt wasn't supposed to show, it was just under the fleece. BUT...I'd gotten warm earlier and taken the fleece off when I took a nap. When I got dressed for practice, I wanted something I could get off easier than a pullover in case I got hot at practice too.

The Patchwork Flannel...was just something handy to wear for the warmth of long sleeves over the t-shirt. (It did NOT blend with the pants)

The leopard print scarf, gloves and hat . . . were for warmth AND they were new and very cute (with the right outfit). I did have on a black leather coat that were okay with the hat and scarf.

The earrings . . . AH, here's a story. I've tried to be careful to keep earrings in both piercings. I don't want them to grow closed during this time. I'd used those earrings when I went out on Wednesday and Thursday (On Thursday I picked the outfit to match the earrings because my hands wouldn't work well enough to get earrings in.) So silver and purple they were.

The funniest part is that I wouldn't even have realized how bad I look except that one of my daughters said something on Sunday. At first I was startled, but then slowly realized just how out of character I looked. I must say I've had more than one moment of laughter.

And I'll never look at a bag lady the same again. She, too, is probably concentrating on just doing something normal to feel alive.

I have come out of hibernation or coma or whatever it may be called. Still a bit sore and slow, but alive and kickin'. I had an allergic reaction to this last Chemo. It's called hand and foot syndrome. My hands have been little more than clubs for the last week; thank God my feet aren't so bad. I've been able to walk, just very carefully. When it takes the palms of two hands to hold a phone or a drinking glass, one becomes very thankful for the use of fingers most of the time.

Chemo on the 27th was the first of the second set of treatments. Taxotere. I reacted significantly differently to it from the beginning. Less intense nausea, but I just felt worse. Than on Thursday night, my hands swelled up like paws. So for the last week, I've been on steroids and steroid cream to counteract the allergy. I now have fairly good use of the last two fingers of both hands and reasonable use of the first two fingers. Opposable thumbs are still stiff and not working too well. But it's much better.

My next treatment is now postponed until I recuperate from this reaction. My throat is sore too -- it feels like my insides may be as stiff and swollen as my poor fingers. But...the good news is not more chemo until after the holidays. The Doctor will come up with another option for my last three treatments.

So time marches on. I'm not sure where the last ten days have gone. I have spent most of the time sitting and snoozing. But I suppose the rest is good; it allows my body to keep up the battle.

Thanks for your prayers,

Pastor Phylis

P.S. I thought about gathering up those items and taking a photo -- but my energy is not that high today!!