Finding Joy in Him

Through Every Season

Month: March 2011 (page 1 of 2)

Seeing an Allergist

I went to see a very nice allergist on Monday and discovered that I am allergic to the “pure” allergen scratch test which the doctor said I “cannot possibly be.  Only possible reaction is the small whelps on back.  Not enough allergen to cause a more severe reaction.”

I went in feeling pretty good; had a little bit of sinus trouble from the bite of wheat I had eaten the week before.  Within 3 hrs. after the test, I had 30 spots on the inside of my elbow and eczema on my neck.  5 hrs. all the scratch spots swelled, itchy eyes, ears, scalp.  7 hrs. sinus head ache and eczema on arm.  By 8 hrs. I was very irritable.. just ask my poor mom who got an ear full. 

I woke up at 1 AM the next morning feeling miserable with fluid in my ears, sinus head ache, itchy patches on my legs, sore joints, indigestion, icky feeling, constipation, insomnia, swollen face, foggy thinking.. all of which the allergist confirmed were allergic reactions.  When I asked him if the vials had a preservative made from corn, he said that I could have not reacted to them no one else had.. “must have been the trees or mold or something else.”  I said that the trees and mold were all there before and that the only thing I did different was to come to his office.  “I don’t know.”  I have never had all those symptoms at once and didn’t know they were all signs of an allergic reaction, so I did learn something.

He completed the second half of the testing and was happy to report that I wasn’t allergic to corn or wheat and could eat as much as I wanted.  I showed him my eczema again and said, “See this rash?  The one I didn’t have yesterday?  Remember?   I get this rash the day after I eat corn.  I have a delayed reaction.”  He said, “Don’t eat corn then.” and offered to give me a prescription for hydrocortisone for the rash.  I said, “No, thank you.  It will have something in it that comes from corn.”  He said he could guarantee that I would not react to it..

The problem is this: He only believes you can have a reaction to corn proteins; not things made from corn sugar or oil etc.  I (and others) do react to corn starch etc.  I told him how I put on a pair of powdered (corn starch) surgical gloves once and my hands turned red and swelled.  I am not allergic to latex.  He said, “Must have been something else.  Gloves have more than just latex in them.”  I told him how I reacted to Lays potato chips with corn oil.. he said “How do you know it wasn’t the potatoes?” When I told him that popcorn fumes bothered me, he said, “Take an antihistamine.”

As soon as I got out of there the second day, I took some of my herbal cleanse that I had with me in the car.  Within half an hour my eczema was improving, by the end of the day my sinus head ache was gone, and I slept much better that night.  I am still a little achy, but I have to take into account that he injected me the second day, too.  I hope to never see an allergist again.

Jenny

Weeden House Field Trip

On Saint Patrick’s Day, we went downtown for a picnic by Big Spring Park 
and then to the Weeden House for a tour.  It’s so pretty and peaceful at the park
 that I understand why Mr. Hunt chose to settle there in 1805.  
I’ve fallen head over heals for the blooming trees this Spring.  I keep seeing more 
I want to photograph and I am sad when I don’t have my camera with me.
Joel with Zoê
She’s even more adorable now that she’s house broken.  🙂
 Clear sunny skies.  We just missed the Saint Patrick’s Day parade.  
The flag with the red “x” is the Alabama State flag.  
We were here a year before I figured that one out.  ha
It must be one of the easiest state flags to draw.
 We learned quite a bit at the Weeden House about Huntsville’s history.  
The house was built in 1819.  Huntsville was one of the few southern cities 
who’s houses were not burnt to the ground in the Civil War.  
It’s located in a historical part of town they call the Twickenham District.
In 1810, “Hunt’s Spring’s” first land developer renamed the town 
“Twickenham” after the home of the English poet Alexander Pope.
The very English sounding name didn’t last long though.  
In 1811 anti-British sentiment grew so that they quickly changed 
the name to “Huntsville” in honor of Mr. Hunt, who was it’s first settler.
I am really glad the name “Twickenham” didn’t stick.  
I’d much rather tell people that I am from Huntsville.
The house is named for Maria Howard Weeden who was an amazing 
artist and poet that supported her family with her art during 
the lean years after the Civil War (more widely known here as 
“The War of Northern Agression Against The States”).
She is famous for her detailed, watercolor portraits of the ex-slaves she knew and
for the way she rewrote their stories into poetry using their original dialect.
She had several books of poetry and art published. Joel Chandler Harris, creator of
“Uncle Remus,” said she was “the bright light of the nineteenth century.”
Look her up.  You won’t be disappointed. 
This is one of the large upstairs bedrooms used now as a dressing room 
for the wedding parties hosted there.  Thanks to an inquisitive kid on 
the tour we learned what chamber pot was (pre-indoor plumbing). 
A pretty cool Bible.
Joel and Judi in the garden where they hold the weddings.
A couple more tree pictures before I sign off.. 
 Here is a close up of a black tulip magnolia tree that I learned about a few weeks ago. 
Love,
Jenny

Making Decisions

We really liked Dr. Fix and his physicians’ assistant Dee.  They’ve worked together for 18 years.  They said with my body type, age, and health I could have whichever reconstructive surgery I wanted.  And the answer to my big question “Can you do both in one surgery?” was “Yes.”

We’ve decided to keep going in the direction of having a double mastectomy with reconstruction.  It seems kinda extreme at first but when you think about it in the end it has the least amount of side effects and you get all your risk and healing out of the way in one swoop.

I still have to decide about if or not to allow them to take lymph nodes.  My choices boil down to:
A.  Keep my lymph nodes and trust God that I don’t have cancer in them or anywhere else in my body.
B.  Let them take the lymph nodes and trust God to protect me from getting lymphedema.  This is especially hard for me because it’s my dominant arm and where I first get hives when I am exposed to corn.  It could mean that every time I am exposed to corn my arm would swell with the hives.  

Warning TMI ahead… What Kind of Reconstruction?
Only for those who have a fascination with science and the medical world like me.

The reconstructive choices are also hard.  I could have a relatively quick surgery with implants, but then my body may reject them.  I could have muscles moved from my back or stomach to my “breast,”  but after seeing the “Bodies Exhibit” a few years back, I am even more sure that God put each muscle where it is for a reason.

We are choosing the longest (10 hrs.), hardest (microscopic) surgery which comes with a 2 month recovery.  They will take some skin and fat and possibly a little mussel (depending on how my blood vessels look when they open me up) from my nice little streached out from babies tummy and place it where my breast used to be.  The end result will be like a tummy tuck. 😉  Good thing I’ve been too lazy to work on my abs.  If you want to look up the procedures up they are called a SIEA flap, DIEP flap or mussel sparing TRAM flap.

Ahead:

An appointment with an allergist here in Huntsville on Monday morning.
Praying that I will have wisdom and ask the right questions and that he’s able to give us some good advice.

A CAT scan where they give will give me an IV of contrasting dye to get a good look at my blood vessels.  Praying for perfect vessels and no allergic reaction to the dye.

A wonderful trip to Alaska with the loves (Jesus and Mike) of my life.

A decision about my lymph nodes.
More Wisdom.  Peace.

Surgery possibly on June 1st (they are still working out the details) and a nice, relaxing summer where I am not allowed to lift more than 5 lbs.  

Love,

Jenny

George Müller on How to Ascertain the Will of God

A dear friend sent this to me today.  I really liked it.  Hope it blesses you.

How to Ascertain the Will of God

1. I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter. Nine-tenths of the trouble with people generally is just here. Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord’s will, whatever it may be. When one is truly in this state, it is usually but a little way to the knowledge of what His will is.
2. Having done this, I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impression. If so, I make myself liable to great delusions.
3. I seek the Will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions also. If the Holy Ghost guides us at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them.
4. Next I take into account providential circumstances. These often plainly indicate God’s Will in connection with His Word and Spirit.
5. I ask God in prayer to reveal His Will to me aright.
6. Thus, through prayer to God, the study of the Word, and reflection, I come to a deliberate judgment according to the best of my ability and knowledge, and if my mind is thus at peace, and continues so after two or three more petitions, I proceed accordingly. 
In trivial matters, and in transactions involving most important issues, I have found this method always effective.
GEORGE MÜLLER.

Miracle Swimsuit

Judi has decided to go for her lifeguard certification with the Red Cross and
 will be spending the next 4 Saturdays at UAH learning Lifeguarding and CPR.
Pray she does well and is able to find the perfect summer job.
She starts this Saturday and needed a new swimsuit fast.  
The last 4 years that we’ve been swimsuit shopping
it has averaged us 4 days to find a modest swimsuit that fits.  
The last couple of years the only thing we could find
that wasn’t old ladyish, cost less than $100, and fit was a two piece, 
so she has basically been wearing shorts and a tank for the modest part.
Yesterday, we walked into JC Pennies and out with this 
swimsuit in less than 10 minutes!  It fits and it’s modest 
and it’s attractive on her, it was on sale, And we both liked it!
Praise God!

Our God is a Mighty Victorious Warrior

The trees are blooming again!  And I had to do a little hunting.
I found this cherry tree at Josh’s school, UAH.
The Lord your God is in your midst.
He is a mighty savior, a victorious warrior.
 He celebrates and sings because of you!
He will take great delight in you.
He will quiet and refresh you with His love.
  He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy
and delight you with His songs.
                Zephaniah 3:17
This one I found down the street from a friend’s house.  I love it.
It’s called a Black Tulip Magnolia tree.  Bird’s nest.. an added bonus.
Love,
Jenny

“Carpe Diem”

“Enjoy the day, pluck the day when it is ripe.”  Was the much needed Word I got early yesterday morning.  
I wrote my last post just before going to see my nutritionalist and Dr. Harriman and asked for prayer, “Pray that I will have favor with Dr. Harriman and he will agree to do the lumpectomy only as a first and prayerfully last step and that my appointment with the nutritionalist will also be filled with wisdom and peace.  “
My appointment with the nutritionalist went very well and I believe we had the wisdom and peace that we prayed for.  Mike was able to get off work a little early and go with me to my appointment with Dr. Harriman.  I am so thankful because it went the opposite of what we had hoped.    
When you are diagnosed with DCIS, you are basically given two options.  The first being lumpectomy with radiation and a drug that you are required to take for 5 years called Tomoxifen.  Dr. Harriman was with us in that he didn’t believe radiation and Tomoxifen were very good options.  They both can have very bad, long term side effects.  
Option two is to have a mastectomy or double mastectomy.  The cool part is that you can have reconstructive surgery at the same time.  The uncool part is that it’s a very long surgery 8 hrs. or longer, recovery can take 8 wks. or longer, sometimes the reconstruction doesn’t take, and if you are lucky, you will no longer have any feeling in your sad, scared “breast” because one third will have phantom pains.  The worst part about having a mastectomy is that they want to take a few of your lymph nodes and this can cause lymphedema (swelling in your arm) that can last the rest of your life.  There is the possibility that they could find an invasive cancer in your lymph nodes and will want you to take chemo “therapy.”
In response to our desire to do a lumpectomy only as a first step Dr. Harriman repeatedly said, “That is ABSOLUTELY the WRONG decision.  If you were my wife, I would drag you kicking and screaming for a mastectomy.”  I did like him and I don’t think I can say that seeing him was a mistake, so “Where does that leave me?”  
I am not sure.  If we decide to do a mastectomy, we will do it in Birmingham because they have better options there for reconstruction.  Yesterday, I called Birmingham to get things rolling that direction and got an appointment for a consultation with a plastic surgeon named Dr. Fix on Tuesday, March 22 at 9:00 AM.  Once I see him and hear my options, he and my surgeon will have to find a date when they can both operate on me.  

I will most likely ask them to wait until June because this year Mike and I are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary.  In May, we are flying to California to see Savannah, our daughter from Thailand, for the first time in 17 years.  Then we are taking a 7 day cruse to Alaska.  Yay!

What makes it really hard to make a decision is that although most American doctors will only give you the two options, there are in reality many, many more options.  There is prayer and miraculous healing, there are natural healing alternatives, and there are medical doctors around the world that are curing cancer with other medical procedures.
After a much needed nap yesterday, I watched several of the Joseph Prince episodes that I’ve recorded on my DVR.  He said several things that stood out to me.  One was “That it’s more important to have peace than to be right.”  You can send your life trying to be right, when choosing peace is life giving.  
One series was about putting on “as a helmet the hope of salvation” from 1 Thessalonians 5:8.  He says that hope is “the joyful, confident, expectation of good.”  That we can’t live in the past thinking, “If only” or in the future thinking, “What if?”  “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.”  (Psalm 46:1)  We have to live in the now where God is.  
This very much fits with “Carpe Diem.”  Thinking, “I may be having a mastectomy in June.” does not give a very easy feeling.  Focusing on having “a joyful, confident, expectation of good” is a much easier way to live.
Another verse that he quoted was: Mark 11:24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.  During worship a couple of Sundays ago, Jesus whispered in my ear “Receive your healing.”  Ever since I’ve been speaking in faith, “I receive my healing.”
So now I am waiting with a “joyful, confident, expectation of good” for a very visible sign of healing.  I wake up each morning looking for the angel of the Lord and hoping to hear him say, “You are made whole.  Cancel all your doctors appointments.”  My mom said that she, and Mike would have to see him, too.  With God all things are possible.  🙂  
If he doesn’t come, I am not sure what decision we will finally make, but I will still hold on to my “joyful, confident, expectation of good.”  Maybe my “good” will be a supernaturally quick recovery.  I know that God is faithful and will be with me every step of the way and that in it’s self is a special kind of miracle.  Thank you, Jesus, for making a way for me.
Romans 5:13  I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Love,
Jenny

He Knows My Name

Jennifer
Fair Lady
Her ways are ways of pleasantness, 
and all her paths are peace.  
Proverbs 3:17

Dawn
Dawn of the Day
Cause me to hear 
Your loving-kindness in the morning, 
for on You do I lean 
and in You do I trust. 
Cause me to know 
the way wherein I should walk, 
for I lift up my inner self to You.  
Psalm 143:8
I am a morning person.  I love to get up with the sunrise and spend quite time alone 
with the Lord and preparing for my day.  It wasn’t until recently that it dawned 
on me how perfectly my middle name, Dawn, fits me.  🙂
Shortly after we moved to Florida, just a few days before
my birthday, I had an accident where I 
very stupidly opened a pressure cooker to see if 
the corn on the cob I was cooking was done.
The steaming hot water exploded up and caused second
degree burns on my right arm and shoulder.  
An angel’s wing protected my face.
I ran to the bath tub and tried to put my arm
under some cool running water where my 
melted skin looked like it was going to wash right off.  
I cried uncontrollably from the pain all the way to the ER.
On the way home, I looked up and noticed that just 
a couple of blocks from our house was a street named “Jennifer.”
The Lord spoke to me that each time I saw that sign I was
to remember that He knew my name.  🙂
I purposely chose to drive that direction many times.
The spring before, I had looked up the meaning 
of my name and chose the verses above to go with it.  
Both verses speak about being led by Wisdom.  
I so need, love, and deeply desire Wisdom (Jesus).
The moment I became a mom I realized how destitute I was 
without God’s Wisdom and have since continually prayed for Wisdom.  
God has been so faithful to give us words of Wisdom 
and to lead us though open and closed doors during this recent trial.  
Yesterday, I started from scratch looking for a 
surgeon here in Huntsville.  I’ve liked all the doctors we’ve met so far,
but didn’t feel like we had the right one.  I had on my heart one 
person I felt like I was supposed to call for a recommendation.
I left her a message on Saturday and was waiting for a return call.
One thing about being a morning person is that by the time most people are 
up and moving around, I’ve already been up and waiting to talk to them for hours. 🙂
Eight O’clock, Nine O’clock, Ten O’clock went by.  I finally called the only breast
surgeon here in town to see if I could get an appointment with him.  
He’s taking time off for the next several weeks and doesn’t 
have any appointments until April (closed door).
His nurse gave me a name of someone else I might try.  I called to make and
appointment with him but didn’t feel peace about it and was starting to 
wonder if I should just go with one of the surgeons I had already met (no peace).
A good friend came over to visit that afternoon.  I so needed the distraction 
and we both enjoyed the time of fellowship and refreshment.
Just a few minutes after she left, the one lady who I felt like I was
supposed to get a recommendation from called.  I can’t tell you the whole 
story because I could get her in trouble, but she told me who she would go to.
And after talking to her, I knew that God had given me favor and I had found my surgeon.
By this time, it was pretty late in the day, so I didn’t waste anytime in 
 trying to get an appointment.  I told his receptionist my situation
and asked if he had any appointments.  She said he might have one opening up 
this Wednesday, but she had to make a phone call to see 
if she could work it out for me and call me back.
If I had called that morning for an appointment, she would have told me that 
they didn’t have any openings until March 22nd.  The whole day I was 
impatiently waiting for a recommendation and struggling over who I should see, 
God was working on my behalf to open up an appointment for me. 🙂
He is so GOOD!
I will be seeing Dr. Harriman and the nutritionalist, who didn’t have any 
appointments until April, tomorrow.  🙂
Pray that I will have favor with Dr. Harriman and he will agree to do the 
lumpectomy only as a first and prayerfully last step and that my appointment
with the nutritionalist will also be filled with wisdom and peace.    
Isaiah 43:
1 But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob,
         And He who formed you, O Israel,
         “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
         I have called you by name; you are Mine!
    2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
         And through the rivers, they will not overflow you
         When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
         Nor will the flame burn you.
Love,
Jenny

Saturday’s Decisions

Saturday morning, Mike and I got up early expecting a long agonizing, discussion over what to do.  Although the doctors are proud of their 99% “cure” rate with DCIS, there are many things to take in to consideration.

First, their definition for cure is that their patient is still alive 5 years later.  If they die 5 years and one day later from breast cancer, it doesn’t change their percentages.  This is why it’s so important to live a healthy life style.  Body, soul and spirit are tied to your health and we have to take care of them by eating right, exercising, keeping our stress levels in check, getting plenty of sleep, taking Sabbaths, loving God and taking time to allow Him to work in your life and help you have healthy relationships with others.

Second, their “cures” can cause other very bad side effects; including lung and ovarian cancer.

Knowing all of this, we sat down to pray, took communion, then got out the dry erase board that I use for homeschooling, and laid out all our options and their risks and possible side effects, and most importantly the words that we had from God so far.

In less than an hour, we had made our decision, had peace that it lined up with what God had spoken to us, and were able to lay out what we needed to do from here.  Praise God!  It would have been even faster, if Zoë, our puppy, hadn’t interrupted.  We were so amazed that it went so smoothly, and so happy that it was over, and we had our day of rest back.

We decided to do a lumpectomy alone, and see how the pathology report comes back.  We are praying that it will come back really good; showing no cancer like the 2nd mammogram.  If it does, I believe it will be a testament to God’s glory.  If it doesn’t, we will have to make further decisions.

We are also praying about:

*Finding surgeon here in Huntsville that I like so that I can avoid traveling back and forth to Birmingham for follow up exams
*Getting a family membership at the YMCA
*If or not we should do the vitamin C IV treatments that one nutritionalist suggested

I really liked the nutritionist/pharmacist that I saw on Friday, agreed with his approach to health, and felt like the paths that he wanted to guide me on to health were paths that God had shown me before.  I will be seeing him again on Wednesday to find the supplements that will work best for me.

Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support.  I am so blessed.  This is my song for today.

Love,
Jenny

Thursday’s Appointments

Yesterday’s appointments went as well as could be expected.  Your prayers and Mike’s support were a great strength to me.  Thank you.

The calcifications that first alerted the doctors to the possibility of me having cancer no longer show up on the mammograms.  They believe that the biopsy got them all..  🙂

Sad thing is that they still strongly recommend the same treatments: either a lumpectomy with radiation or a mastectomy.  It doesn’t matter that they can’t see it.. “It could still be there.”

I am going to see another natural doctor this morning.  Tomorrow, Mike and I will try to make a decision.

Thank you for your prayers.

Jenny

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