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

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Fight Against Breast Cancer

The Fight Against Breast Cancer

Psalm 144:1
"Praise be to the Lord my Rock who teaches my hand to war, my fingers for battle"

As Evangelicals we often speak of Spiritual Warfare, referencing scriptures like this one from the Psalms. With a world view that includes an unseen Spiritual world inhabited by both angels of God and evil forces, I've recognized for years that prayer is war...spiritual warfare.

Eph 6:12
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
As a Christian, I face foes that are unseen. Years ago I wholeheartedly accepted the challenge. I've seen that battle manifest in various ways in my life.

But it was only recently that it occurred to me that Psalm 144:1 also refers to my current battle with breast cancer. It puts a new face on things. On those days when I am tired or discouraged, I can be confident that in this battle too, "He trains my hands for war, my fingers to battle."

The Creator has not left me alone nor unprepared for the current situation. Even tired and exhausted, "I can do all things through Christ who teaches me" (My own version.)

And you, too, can be assured that through the battle you are fighting, he trains your hands for war and your fingers to battle.

Onward and Upward!!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Family Time

I really like this picture of Bob.

Before dinner coloring time.

Did you know there were chemotherapy effects in Bible times? Check out Genesis 29:17. Surely that was Leah's weak eye problem?? Or if that wasn't it, I can relate.
But...I guess if I'm down to complaining about runny eyes (and invisible eyebrows), I'm doing pretty well. And believe me, I'm grateful. Worrying about keeping penciled eyebrows looking natural is a far cry from sitting in a chair staring blankly into space or, worse yet, sitting wishing I didn't feel like barfing up my socks. So, I'll take the eyebrow problems, use the wig most of the time and consider myself fortunate.

Monday, January 22, 2007

chemotherapy update

Had another infusion today. This is number two of the Taxol reduced dosage amount. The doctor did say today that I'll have one each week for three week and then one week to rest. That makes it 12 weeks of therapy from Jan 15. I won't be finished until mid-April. That's assuming blood counts are okay each week and I stay on course. After 7 weeks of rest -- from November 27 til January 15, I still wasn't capable of working a full 8 hour day for two consecutive days. So, I'd say it will be then end of June before I'm feeling close to normal again.

Speaking of feeling normal...I can tell that symptoms are slowly creeping back with these every week infusions. But, I still am mobile most of the day -- moving slowly as has become my modus operandi. So, I'm grateful. No nausea...and THANK headaches. Whew! So overall, I'm better than I've been since I started chemotherapy! God is good!

Pastor Phylis

Saturday, January 20, 2007

More Chemotherapy

My sister and I

Kristi, Phylis, Christian, Marilyn

Has it really be nearly three weeks since I posted? The blog tells me so. (At least until earlier tonight.) I should post an update on my condition.

Since the allergic neuropathy following my first infusion with Taxotere on November 27th, I was on rest from chemotherapy for nearly 6 weeks. I had another infusion Monday (January 15). The doctor decided to switch to Taxol and give 1/3 the normal dosage every week rather than the full dose every three week. Monday was the first dose.

I definitely know I'm back on chemotherapy: watery eyes, dry peeling mouth, really dry skin, digestive rumblings, increased fatigue, increased hot flashes (Yes! My personal Sahara has returned). I can still taste food, but the coppery taste is returning. But these are minor side-effects that are surmountable. I have not had the nausea, headache or neuropathic symptoms. Thank God!

So the thought is that this is working. However, I (that realistic me), must note that it is expected that there will be worsening of symptoms as the chemo continues, a sort of cumulative effect. The hope is that my body will process enough of the poison (sorry I can't resist calling it that) on a weekly basis that the new stuff will not create total havoc with my good cells and still zap the bad one. (How's that for a non-scientific explanation of chemotherapy?)

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers. Love to hear your comments.

Pastor Phylis

Trust in the Lord

Proverbs 3:5,6
"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; lean not to thine own understanding. But in all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy path."
This is a scripture that I've read, recited, sung, and heard preached for all of my life. It sounds like such a simple exhortation, yet I find it a difficult one to follow.

I've spent more than thirty years of my life in the formal pursuit of understanding, and have a drawer full of certificates, diplomas and degrees to prove it. How many times have I struggled for hours, days or weeks with an idea, a concept or a process in order to gain that precious understanding. As a teacher I eagerly anticipate that "aha" moment of enlightenment with one of my students. As a parent, too, I anxiously reviewed homework problems with a "Do you understand this?"

"Sure, Mom. No problem," came the confident reply.

And I usually find that my understanding is sufficient to gain the objective whether it's that all-important degree, a doctoral research paper, measuring a room for new carpet or filling out insurance forms. If my own personal understanding doesn't suffice to accomplish the task, it suffices me to find an expert knowledgeable in that area.

Now, I realize that Solomon is telling me that to serve God I may no longer rely on that tried and true method. After all these years of study, he says, "Forget it! It's not worth relying on."

Peter discovered this when he eagerly hopped out of the boat to take a stroll on the raging waters of the Sea of Galilee. He was fine, too, until his understanding kicked in. Suddenly it no longer seemed such a bright idea to be traipsing over white-capped waves in a strong wind. Predictably, he began to sink. Peter did know enough, however, to call on the one who could save him. Surely enough he found himself in the boat with the waves quieted because Jesus came to his rescue.

Now I could find it easy to criticize Peter for forgetting to trust in the Lord when he looked at the waves. However, I must give him credit: he hopped out of the boat first. I find myself looking at circumstances and wondering if I can even stand up in the boat, much less climb out of it. It's very hard for God to direct my path if I'm not even moving!

So today, I commit my ways anew to God and ask for the courage of Peter to ignore circumstances and simply walk to meet Jesus. Today that means walk in faith toward good health.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

This is one of those emails that make the rounds. I thought this was good advice and decided to post it. I couldn't find the original author...if there is the best I can do for acknowledgment is to acknowledge that the author isn't me.



1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height.
Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay them.

2. Keep only cheerful friends.
The grouches pull you down. (keep this In mind if you are one of those grouches;)

3. Keep learning:
Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening,
whatever. Never let the brain get idle.

"An idle mind is the devil's workshop."

And the devil's name is Alzheimer's!

4. Enjoy the simple things.

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.
And if you have a friend who makes you laugh, spend lots and Lots of time with HIM/HER

6. The tears happen:
Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person who is with us our entire life, is ourself. LIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love:

Whether it's family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever.
Your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health:
If it is good, preserve it.

If it is unstable, improve it.
If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9. Don't take guilt trips.
Take a trip to the mall, even to the next county, to a foreign country, but NOT to where the guilt is.

10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

God's Plans

"For I know the plans I have for you."

Jeremiah 29:11-14

"I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out - plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. "When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I'll listen. "When you come looking for me, you'll find me. I'll make sure you won't be disappointed." God's Decree. "I'll turn things around for you. I'll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you" - God's Decree - "bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on it." - [The Message]

It's just that time of year. I can't help but reflect where I was and what I was doing this time last year. I was in the hospital recuperating from liver surgery, still believing that Victor would be healed. Even in retrospect it's still a jolt to my system...the grief seems like yesterday.

In the intervening year, I have experienced walking in the truth of "God's ways are not our ways" as well as learning to believe in spite of what happens that God says to me personally "I know the plans I have for you".

By early February things were going badly for Victor, but I couldn't let go. I realize now that he knew the truth long before I did...or before I was willing to accept it. When he became so terribly ill in February, every time I'd visit, he'd manage to get out "I'm sorry". I didn't know what he meant...I still couldn't let go. I thought he was apologizing for my physical pain...and possibly that's part of what he meant...but he already knew that his days were numbered and his time was running out.

Letting go is such a difficult thing. Letting go of our own plans and accepting what God has in store. Interestingly, it hasn't been as difficult to accept the fact of my now battling with cancer as it was to accept that Victor's body was not going to recuperate from liver surgery. Maybe I've learned from that experience. Maybe it's some other factor.

But whatever comes,
even when circumstances seem to indicate otherwise, I have learned that God's Plan for me is meant for good! 

Pastor Phylis