Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mama Bear Upate | 8

"The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places, indeed."
psalm 16:6

I found this picture last night of mama in 2004 with her littlest girls (Man were they cute. And little!) (Oh! And the baby she is holding is our youngest cousin, "Alec-son!")

It brought back so many memories.  It was a hard year.  Mom had a miscarriage in the fall, but that miscarriage led to us discovering she had cancer.  We've reflected often how kind of God it was to let mom have that miscarriage: if she had never even been pregnant with that baby, she wouldn't have been in the doctor's office discovering a weird lump in her breast! If the baby hadn't miscarried, however, she would be facing months of no treatment, which would likely have let her cancer spread to the point where it was out of control (her cancer seems to spread fast and furious!)

"Your eyes saw his unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for" BabyBaby Snyder.

That little Snyder child saved mama's life.  It's days were numbered, before there was yet one of them.  The little life was not wasted or unimportant and we loved that baby.  We still do.

It's a sweet reminder to us as we face this again.  It's kind of God, for many reasons, to have us walk through this at this time.  Mom's life is valuable to God and her days are numbered.  Cancer will not shorten her life, cancer will not rob her of life, cancer will not win, cancer is not more powerful than God.

"In His book are written, every one of them, the days that were formed for Mama Bear, when as yet there was none of them."

Our Father has promised her eternal life, Jesus came to secure life, the King will and has won, and nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing is more good and simultaneously powerful than our God.

As mom's hair begins to fall out again, we treasure verses like these: "Even the hairs of your head are numbered." "You who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb; even to your old age I am He, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear and I will carry."

The lines (and hairs!) have fallen for us in pleasant places. Therefore my heart is glad and my whole being rejoices!

Prayer Requests
- Mom's bones in her legs hurt her the most these days.  May God relieve her of pain! May He strengthen her bones!
- We are on the hunt for a pretty wig and awesome hats.  Pray we find some good options, so mama feels like a lovely woman and not a mannequin ;)

Praise Report
- Mom is in Maryland with me for a week and she went to see her Maryland doctor.  The doctor (who we all love and worked with mom last time she had cancer) was very optimistic.  Her conversation with mom encouraged us all and we are thrilled to be able to have Dr. Raj involved again.  What a blessing!
- Mom is as beautiful as ever.  Seriously.  If you have a chance to see her in person you'll find it hard not to stare.  She's so lovely.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mama Bear Upate | 7

"Pressure creates diamonds and fire refines the gold."
trip lee
For those interested in how they can pray and care for mom so well, here is a little of what has been going on:

- After her chemo treatment on Wednesday March 7th sweet Mom was very, very nauseous.  She threw up for the next ten days (she describes it as pregnancy morning sickness mixed with the ache-y "sick" feeling of having the flu.)  Yesterday her doctor was not happy at all that she felt so sick so for mom's second round of chemo they are pulling all the stops.  She'll be on three anti-nasuea medicines.  We would love your prayers that this big-gun game plan works well for mom!

- Mom's bones in her back, rib cage and legs are hurting quite badly.  (Bad enough for mom to mention it... which is pretty bad for her!)  The doctor said that sort of pain is often a side effect of chemo because the medicine is working hard on those spots.  We would much prefer that be the reason for the pain than for it to be more cancer!  But we don't want mom to hurt.  Though, I think she would look incredibly classy with a cane ;)

- She is a rash that is probably a result of her being in the sun too long after chemo ;)  But you can't keep a California girl living in Florida out of the sun for long, can you?! A prescription ointment should do the trick.
After her doctor's appointment yesterday mom and I went to a little taco hut near the hospital that Guy Fieri featured on his show!  It was delicious.  The slogan for on their menu, bumper stickers, t-shirts and signage says "God is never in a hurry. Relax."  Though it may be a surfer dude approach to life, the little sentence spoke to my heart.  Mom and I enjoyed our famous tacos in the outdoor dining room and we took our time.  We relaxed.  It was just good. While, yes, "even in laughter the heart may ache," I am ever surprised at how good it is to do normal things with my mother and family.  Our hearts ache for her, but we feel like we are wide-eyed in wonder with so much joy around us.


Every text, note, e-mail, gift, meal, and prayer is God walking among us.  Mom received a gift from the Shorey ladies and when she opened it she said "Oh! I love getting gifts that I want but would never buy for myself!"  The beautiful painted teacup and yummy tea bags made her day.  My good friend has a friend who works for John Piper and sent mama a book to enjoy.  She was so blessed. "I don't even know him!" Katie treated the little sisters to a day at Disney before their season passes expired.  They excitedly brought home a new iPhone case for mom with Cinderella's castle in all it's glory on the back.  She still sleeps with the Mickey and Minnie her little Michael boy bought for her while she was in the hospital.  Thank you everyone.  The love for her and us is nearly too much.

"when the Spirit is poured upon us from on high,
the wilderness becomes a fruitful field,
and righteousness abides in the fruitful field.

The effect of righteousness will be peace

and the result of righteousness is quietness and trust forever."
isaiah 32:15-18

I think these verses are some of the most beautiful in all of Scripture.  It's easy to think about a field becoming fruitful by us planting good fruit (and of course God waters the seed!), and what you reap you sow, and sow in the good soil, and work diligently.  These things are all true for their context.

But it's quite humbling, happy and relieving to read how God poured out turns wastelands into fruitful gardens.  How it's Him.  His Spirit transforms dead hearts, redeems the desserts of life, tills the dry and weary lands.  When He comes everything is changed.  When He arrives their is life, joy, happiness, quietness, feasting and trust.  He turns clammy hospital rooms into bubbly family rooms.  He turns doctors offices into a girly-girl afternoon.  He brings families that were drifting apart and knits them together.  This is all so good. Thank you for praying!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Mama Bear Upate | 6

"the Gospel [is].... a Father, a home, a feast and a complete freedom from our sin or our superiority
for hope and happiness.  
These wonders are drawn so beautifully."
d. shorey

A few updates followed by a few thoughts today.

- I added mom's contact information on the side bar so anyone looking to get in touch with her has a will and a way ;)

- Yesterday it was confirmed that cancer is not just in her lungs, liver and spine but also lymph nodes, chest cavity and skin (the bumps she was having biopsied turned out to be cancer, too.)  The cancer just needs to go away.  And seeing it on her skin almost makes me angry and want to punch it.  But I'd never punch mama bear ;)

- She's still throwing up everyday.  Pray that she can keep food down!  Food will obviously help her be strong with nutrients, but it's also just a simple joy to eat good food.  We all want her be hydrated, healthy, and strong to walk through the next months of treatment!

- We found a wedding dress together :D I was expecting to go to store after store for possibly even weeks.  But the last dress at the second store was "the one."  Mom loved it, my sisters loved it, and one of "our" songs came on in the store while I had it on ;) And just to brag about my mom for a second: not only did she shop with me while she was tired and weak, she was still nauseous and had to run out to throw up many time throughout the day.  I don't know how she did it.  Or how she does it.  She's so strong.  She always said she was "fine" when we asked.  I know how much she wanted to be there with me to find a gown and I want her to know how much it meant to me that she was.  I adore my mom.

Yesterday mom went have an IV drip (which helps her have enough water after all the nauseous-ness.)  We had a wonderful afternoon talking and laughing. Mama Bear even whipped out some subtle dance moves ;) She made a comment during our conversation that I'll never forget.  "It's strange how I am actually happier and have more hope now that I'm sick."  In the middle of showing mom my color-schemes for a master-bedroom, exchanging awkward stories, and thanking the "good nurse" Ginger for being so careful, my mom had so much she found wonderful.  In the Martha Stewart magazine: "Oh, these blues are beautiful. God did an amazing thing when he made color."  Getting her IV in: "I'm so glad you're my nurse, you're the best.  You put IV's in so well."  Talking about living in Florida: "On the days I can do things, I can't wait to... We won't be living here very long!" (Today we are going to the beach, aquarium and dinner at her favorite Clearwater restaurant.") On her dinner: "There is just nothing like a good tortilla chip with good salsa."  About her life: "To live is Christ, to die is gain.  I really only have good ahead of me.  It just gets better and better." On being cared for when sick: "Look at ALL these beautiful flowers I get to look at all day long! Dad got me those."  On all her texts and e-mails "One of the best parts of being sick is having people tell you that they are praying every single day. Every day! It's amazing." We feel like we are feasting these days.

She's incredible and one of these people: "How beautiful are the feet of those who publish peace, who brings good news of happiness, who say to Zion, 'Your God reigns'."

And to end this post on the perfect (literal) note, Lauren just came walking into the room to get her swimsuit singing "Blessed be the name of the Lord! Blessed be your name! You give and take away! You give and take away! Blessed be the name of the Lord!"

Monday, March 12, 2012

Mama Bear Update | 5

"With God, we shall do valiantly."
psalm 60:12

Good afternoon friends and family!  With a very hopeful, happy and full but nonetheless sad heart, I have some "official" news about mama.

Her doctor reviewed the PET scan results with her today and hear was the report:

- She has stage 4 cancer in her lungs, liver and bones of her spine.
- The chemotherapy treatment they have already begun for the cancer in her lungs is going to also treat the cancer in her liver and spine.  So treatment will carry on!
- She is taking a two new medicines: one to help her bones stay strong and not break! And another to help her nausea.
- She had also lost eight pounds since her chemo treatment and was quite dehydrated so the doctor put her on an IV this afternoon to help her be refreshed, strong and healthy.

Thank you for praying for us.  Mom is so strong and valiant.  She helps us be strong too, which is quite a "holy" experience.  We love her so much and crave your prayers!  God is good.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mama Bear Update | 4

Hello hello!  Spring is in the air... and sunshine just always seems happy!  

Here is the latest on mama:

- She did have her PET scan, and we were told we'd hear results on Monday (two days ago) we haven't heard anything yet.  Apparently this is par for the course in the medical world and probably frustrates "us" all more than it does mom.  She's very patient (though eager to hear the results too... pray they'll get PET scan results to us quickly!)

(as a little refresher: the PET scan was going to give us results on her liver and spine "spots" and let us know what those spots are.)

- She starts chemotherapy today.  Her prayer requests are that she has good IV (Lord, give her a nurse with skill!) and that it doesn't hurt too bad.  She knows eventually chemo will get harder and harder, but she says she'd "like to to start not too hard!"

- Later this week she is going to have a biopsy on some bumps on her arm.  No one is really sure what they are or where they came from... or even how they are going to do the biopsy.  She would prefer to just be put under so it won't hurt, but they haven't decided if they are going to do that yet.  Pray for little pain during the procedure!

- Her chest has (for the last few months) had a sharp "traveling" pain that had gone away but now seems to have returned.  A thoracic doctor said that it was either a disease (which I'm currently blanking on the name of right now) or cancer that has spread.  Mom laughed telling me how blunt he was saying it.  We appreciate the honesty ;) but there ain't nothin' wrong with a good bedside manner! Pray that it, well, goes away and is healed! But we would obviously prefer it to not be more cancer.  Please pray for that.

- I'm back in Maryland until Monday (3/12), and then I'll go back to Florida for two weeks!  Mom and I are going to hit up the wedding dress stores.  It will be so much fun :) Pray we find a dress and that we laugh a lot!

“Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool;

All these things my hand has made,
and so all these things came to be.

Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her,
all you who love her; rejoice with her in joy,
...may  you drink deeply with delight 
from her glorious abundance.Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,
and  you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip,
and bounced upon her knees.

As one whom his mother comforts,
so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice;
your bones shall flourish like the grass."