Friday, December 27, 2019

My Heart Is Overwhelmed


It's been a difficult week during what should have been a week of joy and celebration. We didn't have our Christmas as a family this year and the presents are still unopened. My heart is overwhelmed and my body is weak.

The dramas started with my CT scan that was scheduled for December 16th.  I got there an hour early as I have to drink that contrast liquid that helps them to see things. It's not very good and it's really hard on the kidneys but a girl has to do what a girl has to do. I was called back and then the tech went to put the IV in for the iodine that allows them to see the organs (and the cancer on the organs). She could not get the IV in! She then called another tech and she couldn't get the IV in either! Now, I've never had anyone not be able to put an IV in my two veins that are very prominent, but neither could do it. So guess what? They sent me home! I was in tears and just devastated that my test wasn't going to be done. As I went out, I stopped at the desk to see if I could have it done the next day at their other clinic.  Thankfully, they had one appointment left and I was able to take it. I went the next day and it was like a totally different experience. This tech got the IV in immediately and we got the scan done. What an experience!

The next day my husband started getting sick. Not like a cold or flu, but just not feeling good and we couldn't figure out what was wrong. He would be fine one minute and the next not. He is a diabetic and his sugars were all over the place. He wasn't eating well or drinking enough water and I thought it was a reaction to all the stress that we have been under with the cancer and then the two days of trying to get my CT scans. We were also waiting with bated breath for the results of my scan and that was stressful.

I didn't hear and I didn't hear and finally called the nurse, who is my contact for getting results or for getting help if I'm having chemo side effects and such. Let me start this by saying that I have called this nurse infrequently as I only call if I really need help. The problem is, she NEVER calls me back.  I tried calling her the Thursday after my scan to ask if they had gotten the results. No call back. I tried again on Friday morning as I was scheduled to do my chemo the following Monday and I needed to know if that was still going forward. No call back. I finally called the office manager and complained about her. I really don't like doing that but it's not good when I'm two hours away from my doctor's office and I can't get her to call me back. Anyway, the office manager said she was very sorry and that she would look into it. I got a call back twenty minutes later from my doctor's PA and was told that the cancer was gone from my lungs but that I still had a spot on my liver.  It has gone down a lot but I will have to continue with the next three chemo treatments.  I was kind of disappointed but I know that the Lord knows what is best and I'm trusting that He is working this out for my best. My PA also thought it would be good for me to have Christmas with my family and have a relaxing week so she said we would put off my chemo for one week to the 30th of December so I could have a good Christmas. Little did we know then that that was not going to happen but that it was a blessing that she put it off one week anyway!

On the 23rd, my husband took a turn for the worst and my oldest son took him to the ER. They couldn't figure out what was wrong and admitted him.  They did all kinds of tests and his white blood cell count was high, his red blood cells low, and everything just seemed out of whack. Unfortunately, the doctor they have at this hospital doesn't seem all that competent and we were never sure what was going on. They did give him antibiotics, which seemed to help him, but we were not told why. Also, I have not been able to go and visit him at the hospital because of my own immune system being compromised by the chemo. Thankfully, both my sons have been there taking turns to be with my husband. Yesterday, the 26th, they moved him to the hospital in the next town over. They told us they thought it was a cardio issue and that hospital specializes in that. When my son got there, the doctor immediately said to him, "He has pneumonia, we see." Evidently, they knew this at the hospital but no one ever told us! They gave him antibiotics for this and he sounded so much better when I talked to him last night. However, my husband has high anxiety when it comes to being in the hospital and he had a rough night. They called me to talk to him during the night but he was too anxious for it to make a difference. Finally, they were able to give him something for this and he did fall asleep but not before my son had to go up there and try and help him feel better. It makes for a very stressful situation for us all - especially me as I'm not able to go to him and be with him. We have no idea how long he will be there but I'm sure it's going to be at least a few more days.

We decided we didn't want to have Christmas without him so all our presents are still wrapped and waiting. We have all been exhausted and, while I know the reason for Christmas is still the most important thing, the sadness we have all felt as we go through not only my illness, but my husbands, has been very difficult. Let's be honest - we all have such high expectations of Christmas and spending it together. I have no idea at this point when we will actually have our family time together.

I go for my next chemo treatment on Monday and it's stressing me out because I know that not only will my sons have to help my husband, they will have to help me. There will be times that they can't be in two places at once and they both work so I'm trusting God to work it all out.

Would you please keep us all in prayer? I am clinging to the Rock with all my might and trusting Him because I know that He will take care of us. My heart knows this truth but my mind doesn't always follow what my heart knows and fear creeps in. I truly need your prayers and thank you for them!

Blessings - Julie

Monday, December 9, 2019

Counting Our Blessings - Linkup


Hello friends.  I hope you had a wonderful week full of blessings!

I was sent these beautiful flowers that my friend made me. They are made of paper! She is such an amazing artist and I am so blessed to have some of her gorgeous flowers. My arrangement does not do them justice but no matter how I put them in the vase, they just shine beauty! This is my very best friend who sent these to me and every time I look at them, I remember how blessed I am to have a friend like her. Thank you, Joyce, for blessing me with not only these flowers but a beautiful, soft wrap, turban and card. I love them all so much!!


This just makes me happy...


This is my planner and journal for 2020.  I love the new Wonder Woman movie and can't wait to see the new one next year. It makes me smile every time I look at these and will be cheerful as I go into the new year.

**+**+**+**+**+**+**+**+**+**+**+**+**
I had my third chemo treatment last week and it has been a tough week.  I've had some side effects, some not so bad,  and others are worse or new. They gave me a shot to boost my white blood cell count the day after my treatment and it has made everything worse. I won't do that again unless my life depends on it.

Since I have the third treatment done, I will be doing a CT scan next.  It's scheduled for Monday, December 16th at 11:00 mountain time. I would so appreciate you praying that the cancer spots on my liver and lung are gone so I can have my hysterectomy. She said that if it is clear, they would do the surgery at the end of this year or the beginning of 2020. I am so hoping and praying that the chemo has done it's job and that the spots are gone! Thank you so much for praying with me on this!

**+**+**+**+**+**+**+**+**+**+**+**+**

Now it's your turn to share your blessings! Please share on the linky below...


Blessings - Julie

Overcomer Movie Releases on DVD and BluRay

Overcomer

ABOUT THE MOVIE:

Award-winning actor/writer/director Alex Kendrick (WAR ROOM, COURAGEOUS)delivers aninspirational victoryin the family-friendly sports drama OVERCOMER debuting on digital November 26 and coming to Blu-ray™ and DVD December 17, from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, AFFIRM Films and Provident Films. 

The third Kendrick Brothers film to earn a rare A+ CinemaScore®,OVERCOMER also stars Priscilla Shirer (WAR ROOM, I CAN ONLY IMAGINE), Shari Rigby (OCTOBER BABY, WILDFLOWER), Cameron Arnett (MEET THE BROWNS, STAND YOUR GROUND) and newcomer Aryn Wright-Thompson.

OVERCOMER is from the creators of the #1 box-office hit War Room. Life changes overnight for coach John Harrison (Kendrick) after he loses his basketball team and is challenged by the school’s principal, Olivia (Shirer), to coach a new sport he doesn’t know or like. As John questions his own worth, he dares to help the least likely runner take on the biggest race of the year. Filled with a powerful mix of faith, humor and heart, this inspirational story will have you on the edge of your seat. 

The Blu-ray, DVD and digital release come with an extensive array of bonus material, including 10 minutes of extended and deleted scenes, fun bloopers, exclusive commentary by the Kendrick Brothers, moving in-depth looks at the power of forgiveness, identity and more.
Church site licenses are available for pre-purchase November 4 and will begin shipping the week of December 9.
A special Kendrick Brothers Six Movie DVD Gift Set will also be available exclusively at Walmart beginning December 17. The set will contain fan-favorite films OVERCOMER, WAR ROOM, COURAGEOUS, FIREPROOF, FACING THE GIANTS, and FLYWHEEL.

OVERCOMER has runtime of approximately 119 minutes and is rated PG for some thematic elements

MY REVIEW:

I saw Overcomer in the theater and it was such a wonderful, inspiring movie! It was #1 Inspirational Family Film of 2019 and I can understand why.  Like all the Kendrick Brother films, I had tears in my eyes several times because the story and the characters are so heartwarming.  I also love how they always emphasize the love God has for us and that He is always there for us, no mater what.


I love how they emphasize praying about everything and everyone. It's something I love to see encouraged as prayer is so vital to the Christian life. It brings us together as family and friends like nothing else.


This movie shows what happens when we invest in others and do things that we may not necessarily want to do but are being called to do. When we do things to the best of our ability and love others in the same way, amazing things happen!


It's so wonderful to see what happens when we care about others and try our hardest to love them even when they may be unlovable at times. Encouragement and love to others can make such a huge difference!

As I said, be prepared to shed a few tears, be inspired, and be reminded of how much you have and can overcome all life's circumstances when you have God by your side.

I highly recommend this as the perfect Christmas gift for anyone! In fact, get one for yourself as it will end up being one the best loved Christmas gifts you or anyone could ever receive! Overcomer has a 98% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes and I rate this move with 5 stars!

*I was provided with theater tickets to see Overcomer and will receive my own copy of the DVD from FlyBy Promotions.  I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations of the movie.

BLU-RAY AND DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE BONUS MATERIALS

The Heart of Overcomer:See how the heart of Overcomeris grounded in personal growth, faith and identity.
Creating the Opening DroneShot: See how the stunning opening drone shot of the film was realized with a lot of ingenuity and a well-organized crew.
Working with the Kendricks:Watch how Alex, Stephen and Shannon Kendrick found their path to filmmaking through authenticity and faith.
Looks Behind-the-Scenes of: Editing, Composing, Coloring and Sound Design
“Enough” (Lyric Video) Featuring Koryn Hawthorne
Don’t Mess with the Editors: Check out what the editors of Overcomercreated on the side for a little fun.


BONUS FEATURES AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY, DVD AND DIGITAL
Feature Audio Commentary with Director Alex Kendrick and Producer Stephen Kendrick
Bloopers& Outtakes
10 Minutes of Additional Sceneswith an introduction from the Kendrick Brothers.
The Making of Overcomer:Learn about how the crew worked together with faith and prayer to create this incredible film.
The Theme of Identity: In this piece the cast and crew discuss what the theme of identity means to them.
The Power of Forgiveness:  Describes why forgiveness is such an important theme of this film.
“Overcomer” (Lip Sync Music Video) Featuring Mandisa
Overcomer in 60 Seconds: a quick fun film recap.

There are also lots of great resources for you and your church at the Overcomer Website HERE 





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Blessings - Julie

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Counting Our Blessings - Linkup


I hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving! There is so much to be thankful for even in the hard times. God blesses us all the time and I love that we focus on that through this linkup. 😊

I cooked for Thanksgiving and did it over four days. I knew if I took my time, I could do it! I ordered my groceries online and then all we had to do was pick them up. I love this service, especially right now when I can't do the shopping and I don't want to add to my husband's growing list. Our store does such a fantastic job and it's really a blessing having this service when you're unable to go to the store.  They even take our coupons so you save just as much as if you did it yourself. Yay!

The only down side to our Thanksgiving was that my oldest son got sick and couldn't come over. I had just had a phone call two days before telling me my white blood cell count was down to dangerous levels so I can't be around anyone sick for sure! I felt so bad that he couldn't come over as I was so looking forward to having my whole family around me. It was just one of those things that happens that makes one sad.

We had a wonderful meal and I was so thankful to have my husband and youngest son share in our bounty. Here's my turkey and it was so delicious!


We had this delicious turkey, homemade dressing (stuffing), creamed corn, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, gravy, marshmallow fluff salad, dinner rolls, pumpkin pie and chocolate pie. It was a feast!

I also made sure we took pictures this year. Sometimes I forget to take pictures of my family and then I feel so bad.  I even dressed up! 😂

Here's a picture of my husband and I.


The little hat I'm wearing was a gift from a new friend.  She sent me a huge box of beautiful hats and scarves and I have so enjoyed picking out a new one to wear all the time! Thank you to my new friend, Julie, for blessing me with such a beautiful gift!

This is my youngest son and me


He has been such a huge blessing to me. He takes of work every time I have to go and do chemo and he drives me there and then sits with me for seven or more hours while I have the drugs administered. He is truly a treasure!

Finally, one of my son and my husband


These two bless me in so many ways! My husband serves me with joy and cares of me in so many ways. I am so thankful for both these wonderful men!


Going through cancer and chemo treatments is something like going through fire. I am so thankful that God promises that He is with us when we go through things that feel like we will be overtaken.

I had my third chemo treatment yesterday. I went there wondering if I would be able to have it because the week before, as I said, my white blood count was dangerously low. They tried to get my insurance company to approve a shot that would help my body produce more white blood cells, however, with the holiday week, it didn't get approved. So when I went to my doctor's office (2 hours away, remember), I wasn't sure if I would be allowed to have this treatment. I had been praying the whole week before that my blood levels would be normal.  Not only was I praying, but my family and friends were praying, too.  God answered those prayers! When they did my blood test, my white blood count was back to normal! Only God! I am so thankful that He cares and blesses in so many ways.  It may seem strange that I actually wanted the chemo treatment, but my son takes off from work to take me and if I hadn't been able to have my treatment yesterday, I would have had to go back down again and he would have had to take off from work again.  Not only that, but I get so nervous before these chemo treatments that it's hard on me. Waiting to do it would have really given me great anxiety so it was such a wonderful blessing to just get it done!

So now we come to a cross road. They will be doing a ct scan on me in two weeks to see if those spots on my lung and liver are gone.  If they are, then we will do a hysterectomy and I feel like that would help me so much.  Right now, I am fighting against the very thing that is producing the cancer so to have that removed, would give me more of a fighting chance. So dear friends, that is my prayer request this week - that the ct scan will show those spots gone and then I can have surgery. They would do the surgery quite quickly so that made me feel better, as well.  Thank you so much for your prayers!

Again, I have been so blessed by friends who have sent me beautiful gifts! I will be sharing pictures of them with you soon.  Every time I receive a package or a card, it brightens my day so much! To be remembered as you're going through something like this brings a lightness to my heart and swells my heart with joy at being remembered and loved. Having cancer is isolating so these thoughtful gifts and cards help lighten that feeling.

What are your blessings this week? I hope you'll share on the linky below! Remember, it can be something you made, a celebration, a recipe, something you learned through Scripture, or anything that blessed you and will bless others.  Thank you for being a part of this linkup!



Blessings - Julie

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Counting Our Blessings - Linkup


Dear friends,

This will be a rather short Counting Our Blessings as I'm still recovering from my second round of chemo. I will humbly ask for specific prayer at the end of this post but I want to count my blessings, first. 😊

My experience with this last treatment was quite a bit better. Between my pain management doctor and my Oncologist, I had the medications I needed to help with the pain and other symptoms. I won't lie and tell you I was fine - I wasn't - but at least I didn't end up in the ER this time. My biggest issue is the foot and ankle pain pain and I am so blessed to have a husband who rubs in pain cream and puts warm socks on my feet to help with the pain. He has even done it in the middle of the night when the pain became so horrible, I couldn't sleep. He is truly my biggest blessing!


I have seen this Scripture in action so many times as people who have gone through chemo have reached out to me in numerous ways. One kind friend talked to me about the medicines I needed to get through the first few days after my chemo treatment. Because of her guidance, I was able to ask for specific things to help me. Another new friend sent me a huge box full of beautiful hats and scarves! What an amazing surprise! Having others who have walked this road before me, help me and bless me in so many ways has helped me mentally and spiritually.

One of my son's co-workers had these made and his station is supporting me with prayer.




The whole station is wearing these bracelets and, the police department and fire department in the town his station is in, is also wearing them! My goodness - to have all this support...it just brings tears to my eyes and gives me the encouragement I need. They chose the Scripture


He had enough made for me to give to my family and friends as well. I am incredibly touched by this and so thankful. 

On a light note, I got these cute earbuds. 😀


They came from Barnes & Noble and just made me smile! We all need silly things to just make us smile. 

My prayer requests:
  1. That the chemo will eliminate the cancer on my lung and liver after the 3rd chemo treatment so I can have my hysterectomy. 
  2. That my pain would subside and my weakness go away
  3. That the numbness in my fingertips would go away. 
Thank you so much for your cards, emails, gifts, and prayers! I can't tell you how encouraging it is to have continued support and to be remembered in so many wonderful ways!

Now it's your turn to share your own blessings! Please feel free to share anything that is uplifting to you. It can be an encouraging blog post, a recipe, a craft,.. anything, that blesses!



Blessings - Julie