Onwards to A New Medication

Anastrozole did not treat me very well. I was taking it for about three weeks when it knocked me a one-two punch that left me quite sick.

I got up one morning and it was a struggle. I definitely felt like I had had one bad drinking night. Getting up and walking was not easy. I felt like the room was spinning, I was nauseous. My head felt huge. I had bad diarrhea. It was like a bad stomach flu and a bad drinking night.

I emailed my oncologist and she said to stop taking it. Then after a couple of weeks, if I was feeling better, I should start taking it again. Well, in between all of this, I had the visit with the gynecologist and I was not going to take anything again until I could see my oncologist.

The first thing my oncologist told me was since I had diseased lymph nodes, I must take an estrogen suppressing medication. She told me the statistics are that the medication suppresses reoccurrence by 50 percent. There are four different medications that I can try. We now know Anastrozole is out. I am now on Letrozole. I was told the side effects were similar but she is hoping my body will be good with this one. She also told me that there are creams and gels that I can be given to alleviate the dryness in the vagina. However, she said not many of her patients experience this problem.

I then asked about doing tests to make sure that all the cancer is gone. I have many friends and my children who are asking this question. She said that they have done a battery of studies on people who underwent many tests after treatment compared to those who didn’t. They determined that there was nothing to indicate running tests after cancer treatment was beneficial.

My oncologist then went on to tell me how she loved my hair coming in. I told her it had a mind of its own. She has extremely curly hair and told me there are hair products for curly hair. She uses one that she puts on while her hair is wet and then lets it air dry. Not only does my oncologist give great medical information but really important information on hair products. Cool!

The Fourth Commandment

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:8-11

This is the fourth commandment in its entirety. As I am typing this verse, I am wondering, what about the wife? Or does the you imply both man and woman? Husband and wife? Mother and father? That has to be the answer since the fifth commandment is to honor your father and mother. I better move on from this question.

It has been said that this commandment is the longest and has three parts to it. Verse 8 tells us what to do, then verses 9-10 specifies how we are to do it and verse 11 explains the why.

God has explained that we are to work or labor for six days of the week but on the seventh, we are to rest, give God glory and show mercy. Apparently, we were made to work or labor. We are to work for God’s benefit. Any task that we undertake, should be done with happiness and mercy. Every person needs to be working, whether you are employed, unemployed, a student, an at home caregiver, retired or disabled. Each one of us is meant to be able to work at something.

I like those affluent people who think they need to work seven days a week. Some have said it isn’t efficient to believe in God because it takes away from their business. Perhaps they would have a better business if they took one day a week off and observed a day of rest, gave honor to God and spent time with families. Or perhaps doing community work. I just think they are being greedy in wanting more.

Now for those people who provide emergency services, they are needed on Sundays. They are showing mercy to others by attending to those injured or those who need help. These people then do need to take another day off for rest and honoring God.

However, Christians today are just so busy and rush from place to place, job to job, one commitment to another. People are so wrapped up in themselves that they tend to forget others. The day of rest is to honor God, show mercy and spend time with family and loved ones. The biggest issue, these days, is time. Everyone has so little time. If someone infringes on that time, then there is a feeling of desperation. Not being able to finish everything. Do Christians not see that by giving themselves one day off to rest and honor God, this will give them a fresh start to the rest of the week? Just my thoughts.

 

 

The Third Commandment

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.” Exodus 20:7.

On the surface, this commandment looks pretty simple. Don’t swear using God or Jesus as a swear word. Really. There are so many other swear words which are so much better. Unfortunately, today’s society seems to keep using their names in vain. I also every once in a while, forget myself and use it. Some authors have suggested that any one who uses their names in vain, deep down inside know that there is a God.  That would include intellectual atheists/agnostics, activists, seeker-agnostic, anti-theist, non-theist, and ritual atheist/agnostic. I had to look up the list of terms that are now used for non believers. Then, all these people who have turned their backs on God, are knowingly acknowledging that there is a God.

It doesn’t end here though. Taking God’s name in vain applies to Christians. So many times, Christians will say, “Praise the Lord”. Unless that person is using it with their heart and truly thinking of praising the Lord, this is taking the Lord’s name in vain. Any person who attends church, sings songs, sits through a sermon without totally involving their head and their heart in the service, is taking the Lord’s name in vain. Actions without conscious effort and thought and involving the whole heart, is blasphemous.

Perhaps that is why I hesitate finding a church home. I have visited too many churches and not continued because of the lip service I see. There have only been two or three churches that have truly made an effort to welcome newcomers. As I stand and look at the congregation, many people are distracted by their children, their phones, their friends, etc. They are not paying attention and giving full heart to the service. It has become more a thing for people to be seen going to church. Then as these people leave church, they are in a rush to get to their next destination and finish all their tasks of the day (which is breaking the fourth commandment).

People taking actions in the name of the Lord is also breaking this commandment. Terrorists who think they are promoting their cause by killing others in the name of God, are breaking this commandment. Any one who says they are fulfilling a prophecy and taking action on it is a false prophet. Anyone who does not commit an action without truly praying about it and having their heart filled with love, is taking the Lord’s name in vain.

These are all actions I already knew were wrong. Readings by various learned theologians have shown that I was on the right track. Now I know how to categorize these actions. Jesus has said that anyone who comes to heaven declaring His name, could be turned away and sent to hell as He will know who truly has the Lord Jesus in his heart. Bottom line is don’t use the Lord’s name in vain.

Anastrazole

Going through this cancer journey can really do a number on a person. When it is breast cancer for a woman, what it does emotionally to a woman’s sense of sensuality, really hits hard.

First, you are diagnosed with breast cancer. Then a woman needs to make the decision to have a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. I can’t imagine having a mastectomy and going through the healing process. A lumpectomy still leaves a scar and I also have scars from the lymph node removal but the breast is still left with a permanent reminder.

As a woman goes through chemotherapy, there is the hair loss. Total hair loss over the entire body. Men love women with long hair. Hair has such power with women. Beautiful long tresses. Thick, full hair. Gone. Eyelashes, eyebrows, gone. All body hair gone. Then the next step is radiation that burns the skin. Everything is tender and sore after the chemotherapy but then to lie in a room where no one but you is there, listening to the machine zero in on the spots in your breast and armpit, leaves one feeling exposed and cold and alone and unfeminine.

Chemotherapy and radiation is done. There is weight gain which has made me feel terrible and I am now on a strict diet. The hair finally starts to grow back. Eyelashes were huge for me. The lashes are not all there yet but they are coming. The eyebrows have come back and the hair on my scalp is doing whatever it wants. I don’t want to put any creams into my hair to control it. Then it will look flat. And I don’t want to go with the spiked look.

My oncologist put me on Anastrazole, an estrogen suppressing medication. But after two weeks of feeling extremely headachy, dizzy, lightheaded, wanting to throw up and having bouts of diarrhea, my doctor agreed to let me get off and see how I do. Another requirement was for me to see a gynecologist to have my remaining ovary removed. I had a hysterectomy at the age of 40 due to complications.

I saw that gynecologist today. We went over my health history and then he talked to me about Anastrazole. He said it is a powerful hormone suppressing medication. He also said that it will dry up my vagina into a little knot and be painful. He said sex will be impossible. After I said, I had no idea, he said I need to talk to my oncologist about these estrogen suppressing drugs and get all the facts before I make the decision to continue or not. We also discussed having my ovary removed. We will go ahead with this.

I left the gynecologist and burst into tears as I was driving home. It feels like I am being punished. First this breast cancer where I am still struggling to feel feminine. Where I am struggling to think I might be attractive. Those are all very real feelings and it takes time to work through all of them. But now this. Urinating will cause pain. The vagina will be in pain and no sex. I didn’t know. I was relying on my oncologist to tell me. I want to be able to make an informed decision. Especially since it will be affecting such an enjoyable part of life. I will be calling for an appointment where I can get the statistics and find out what the percentages are. Right now, I feel like a truck has hit me. I don’t know if I will ever feel like a sensual woman again.

The Second Commandment – You shall have no other Gods

The second commandment in the long form is “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” Exodus 20: 4-6

So what did the people do at the base of the mountain while they were waiting for Moses? They were bored with the waiting so Aaron took their jewelry and made a calf out of gold. Really? I guess they didn’t know about this commandment because when Moses came down from the mountain with the tablets, he threw them down in frustration at these people. I don’t blame him. He is up on some mountain with God, who he can’t really look at. We don’t know how long he is up there and he is without food, water and shelter. I would be ticked too if I came down after listening to God and find these people partying it up with a golden calf.

As I am reading up on the ten commandments, I realize that we cannot just take the commandments at face value. Like this one. Do people think that just because they don’t have some idol or make some idol that they are free and clear? I don’t think so. There is more to this commandment (and all the others) that meet our eyes.

Every time I go to a church, I wonder about the cross that is always at the front of the church. What about all the crosses that are made into jewelry? I, myself, was given a beautiful cross on a necklace and I wear this necklace a lot. But I wonder how much emphasis we are placing on the cross. We all know Jesus died on the cross for us. For me, the cross is a reminder of Jesus being punished and put to death in the most horrific way. To be crucified by the Romans was to be a deterrent to everyone. If you commit a crime, or step out of line, this is how you will pay. I know that if people look at a cross and remember what happened with it, then it is a good reminder. However, when people seem to pray before and kiss the cross, is this crossing the line?

I also wonder about Catholics and their reverence for Mary. There are so many pictures, sculptures, images, etc. of Mary that it is all overwhelming. I know she is a holy woman and what she went through with Jesus is mind boggling. But she was a human woman who obediently served God. I need to ask the Catholics, isn’t Jesus more important than Mary? It feels, to me in my opinion, that Mary is placed over Jesus. That is just wrong. All the rosary beads, which I don’t understand, the figures of the Virgin Mary with pictures, feel like she is being worshipped.

Years ago I was in Rome and was able to tour St. Peter’s Basilica. My ex husband embarrassed me with how he, as a Catholic but not a practicing one, touched everything that was made of gold and cried over all of it. I walked through St. Peter’s thinking, what would Jesus think about all of this? I felt so uncomfortable in this church. The opulence was sickening to me. How many people lived in poverty, while the church was being built and were still expected to tithe to the church to make this church happen? How many people today make do without to tithe to this structure?

Worshipping something other than God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit is not just limited to what I have talked about but it also means what about career worshipping, money, sports figures, move actors, singers, material items that your neighbor has and you want. The list could go on.

It isn’t just the face value of the actual commandment, you shall have no other gods before me, it is everything leading up to it as well. We are human with desires, wants, needs and we sin. A lot. It kind of has one think that we can’t measure up. You are wrong. That is why God sent Jesus to us. Jesus died for all our sins. His death was enough. It doesn’t mean that we can go on living recklessly without thought. We still need to try and live with love in our hearts for everyone. But we need to place God in our hearts and love Him with everything we have.

What Does One Do?

It has been one year that Bill and I have been married. One year since we said for better for worse. In sickness and in health. Until death do us part.

It has been a very difficult year for the two of us. One week before our wedding I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Then two months later, Bill fell and had two hemorrhages on the brain. He was hospitalized for one and a half weeks. He was told to stay at home for two months and grow a beard. Which he did. It is a beautiful beard.

Through it all, my love has grown deeper for this man. My love for him leaves me breathless. I feel my love for him like a thread that weaves its way around me. All of me. Into my heart and around my soul. I dream about him. I think about him every second of every day. We found each other late in life but Bill is a blessing to me. God has granted us this time together.

And yet. Things are not perfect. I dream too much. I think too much. I think about my past and all the mistakes I made. I think about Bill’s past and all the women he has known. Bill is a handsome man with charisma. Then, stupidly, I think about what if we had met when we were younger? I keep imagining that Bill would have glanced at me, briefly, and walked past me. I imagine I would have fallen head over heels in love with the man. And then been crushed as he walked past me. His blonde hair, his stunning blue eyes would have captured my heart and not let go. Why do I do this to myself?

I tell myself that I am a creative person and I am a writer. That is how I get myself into trouble. My imagination just does not stop going. It is better than the Eveready battery. That is how I am able to write stories. My stupid imagination gets me into trouble so much. So I waste time crying over the past and my mistakes and faults. I see myself as imperfect, not good enough for a man like Bill. I would like to kick my imagination in the butt and out the door. Yet, if it wasn’t for my imagination, I would not be able to come up with the stories I write and God would get less frustrated with me. I think I am giving God a good run.

Head over heels in love. That is me. I look at Bill and wonder what he sees in me. And then I thank God that Bill is in my life and that he loves me. At times I am torn. I finally deserve Bill and then, because of my faults and mistakes, I don’t deserve him.

For better for worse. For richer for poorer. Well, I think Bill and I have pretty much covered those. Until death do us part. But I pray to God that, should I die first, I must watch over Bill. I need to be with him until the end of time. Forever. I want to be able to greet him when he joins me in heaven. I would give my life for Bill, as I would for my children and grandchildren. Such is my love for this wonderful man.

Anastrazole – My last Cancer Steps

I met with my oncologist who has now put me on Anastrazole which is an estrogen suppressing medication. I am supposed to take one pill a day for five years.

There are a number of side effects with this drug. So far, after two weeks of taking this drug, I am feeling fine. However, one of the side effects can be bone density loss. For someone who has osteoporosis, this is a concern for both my oncologist and myself. I could not remember the last time I have had a bone density scan done so my oncologist scheduled me for a scan. Currently, I am trying to set up an injection for Prolia for the osteoporosis.

Yesterday, I went for the scan. This was the easiest test I have had to go through. The technician scanned my back and then the pelvis area and then my left arm. She said that I have good, strong bones. Then she showed me where the points line up, that determines if I have osteopenia or osteoporosis. They have a green area for good, strong bones, a yellow area for osteopenia and a red area for osteoporosis.

My back, pelvis and arm bones all show up in the green area. I almost started to cry. The technician said the radiologist doctor had to examine the scans but I do not have osteopenia or osteoporosis. I tried to give the technician a hug and then bounced out of the examining room with the biggest smile on my face.

I felt free. Whatever I have been doing lately, changing my diet, exercising, the vitamins I am taking and  even through chemotherapy and radiation treatments or maybe just that I am so much in love with my new husband, has made my bones strong and healthy again. One more step towards being healthy.

Thank you God. Thank you Jesus. If you let yourself, Jesus will never let you walk alone, through whatever you are going through. The problem is, you have to have faith and trust and love. I can feel Jesus is just as happy with my news from yesterday.

Work on Third Novel – a Paranormal story

Currently I am working on my third novel, a paranormal. Let me explain about the paranormal part.

I have watched the television shows about real life stories where people move into a haunted or possessed house. I am interested to see how people react to their situation and how they cope. A friend of mine was watching one of these shows with me and he said he would leave a house like that, which is what the people in the television show did. I looked at him and said I would stay and fight. I also don’t think it would be fair to the next family who moves into the house.

Then my mind started weaving a story out of this. About a woman and her daughter who move into a possessed house. This woman loves this house and she decides to stay in the house and fight. After all, God is more powerful than demons. This woman is a Christian woman and she asks the pastor of her church to help fight the good fight. He agrees and asks a friend of his who is an exorcist to help. I also have an angel who decides to help the family.

So while I am writing this novel, I look up books on exorcisms and exorcists. I did find a very good resource written by a Catholic priest, Father Amorth, from Italy who is an exorcist. I thought, at first, I would be frightened reading the material. But I wasn’t. I was fascinated by the information.

First of all, the number of people who are possessed by demons is much greater than I thought. Demons do not always present themselves the way we think, as in the movie The Exorcist. Father Amorth says that people who are possessed can experience continuous bad luck or ill health, especially in connection with stomach problems. He also talks about how people can be cursed by someone and the effects of the curse are very real. He gives many examples of people he has exorcised and he gives many examples of the various symptoms and curses. There are also different levels of possession and he gives examples of those.

Father Amorth also talks about how important it is for priests to be taught how to do proper exorcisms. Apparently, the Catholic church is moving away from having priests involved as exorcists but Father Amorth talks about how much exorcists are needed. He is seeing an increase in the number of people who are possessed by demons and curses.

Father Amorth is concerned with how the devil and demons are pictured in today’s society. He wishes that people would not use the image of a horned devil with a tail and pitchfork. Satan is actually a fallen angel, he argues, so he would not appear as a dragon. However, Satan is deceptive and a liar and will transform himself into these images to frighten people.

Father Amorth also does touch on how to conduct a proper exorcism. He also writes about how some people are easily exorcised while others may take years because of the powerful demon in possession of the person.

Now that I have this information, I am weaving parts of it into my story. Trouble is, I need to write during daylight hours, otherwise I scare myself. The imagination is far more frightening than watching a movie.

If you are interested, you can look up books written by Father Gabriele Amorth. He has written “An Exorcist Tells His Story” and “An Exorcist Explains the Demonic”. Amazon and Barnes and Noble carry these books.

Purgatory?

I am now married to a Catholic man. However, he does not attend a Catholic church. His mother and sisters do regularly attend a Catholic church.

I have been confused by the term purgatory and everything that surrounds it. Also, a friend of mine, who was once a Catholic, said to me that the belief in purgatory means that Catholics do not believe that Jesus’ death was good enough.

I looked up the term purgatory. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Purgatory is “a place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God’s grace, are not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions.” To summarize, in Catholic theology Purgatory is a place that a Christian’s soul goes to after death to be cleansed of the sins that had not been fully satisfied during life. (from gotquestions.org).

This made me stop and take a step back. All along I thought that when Jesus died on the cross, He paid the penalty for all our sins. I had to research this. I was right. Jesus did pay the penalty for ALL our sins. So are the Catholics saying that we still have to suffer for our sins and that Jesus’ suffering was not enough? How can this be?

Apparently, the Catholics look at the passage in 1 Corinthians 3:15 for the evidence of purgatory. It is argued that the Catholics have misinterpreted the passage to be the believer passing through flames when it should be the believer’s works passing through flames. The argument is also that Catholics misunderstand the nature of Christ’s sacrifice. Catholics fail to understand that Jesus’ once for all sacrifice was absolutely and perfectly sufficient for all of us.

I had to look up the history of the Catholic church. Now I am even more confused. The Catholic church is a continuation of the early Christian community established by Jesus. The church considers its bishops to be the successors of Jesus’ apostles. By the end of the 2nd century, bishops began congregating in regional synods to resolve doctrinal and policy issues. The Bishop of Rome was appointed by Jesus and he was the sole successor to Saint Peter. This Bishop ministered to the people in Rome. I know Jesus told Saint Peter that he was building His church on a rock.

Well, doesn’t this make one think? The Roman Catholic Church is a continuation of the early Christians. The Catholics fail to see that when Jesus died, that was good enough. Is this something that the Catholics failed to see later in time? Did they misunderstand what was said in 1 Corinthians?

It just makes me see how we humans can mess things up. I know the disciples messed up things a lot. They were also filled with doubt even though they were with Jesus. Perhaps the Catholics thought that the people would just party it up if they thought Jesus had paid for their sins. I mean, what would keep them living like good Christians and obeying the church if at the end, they would be saved? Perhaps to keep the people in line, the Bishops decided to tell them all about purgatory. Wouldn’t purgatory scare them into submission? And this is how I can wrap my head around all of this.

Now I have a better understanding of purgatory and the beginning history of the Roman Catholic church. I am not a college graduate. I did not have the privilege of attending college although I am applying now, with my husband’s support and encouragement. I am curious by nature. I also wonder about the Catholics veneration(?) of the Virgin Mary but that is for another blog.

 

You shall have no other Gods before me – The First Commandment

You shall have no other Gods before me. The first commandment. This is the commandment that comes before all the others and lays the foundation for the rest of them.

God had just brought the Israelites out of Egypt. God told the Israelites “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:2-3). The Israelites were held captive by the Egyptians for centuries. The Egyptians were unsurpassed by the number of gods they worshiped. The Israelites, unfortunately, with these idols in front of them all the time, started to worship these false gods. In those days, it was acceptable to have a number of gods. It was unheard of to worship only one God. Glory to God alone: soli Deo Gloria.

In order to free the Israelites, God had sent ten mighty plagues to defeat all the deities of Egypt. The magicians to the King of Egypt could not keep up to God. He is the one and only true God. He does not want to share us with anyone else. He wants to have a one on one love relationship with each one of us. There is no room for anything else. He demands it and He is well within his rights. We should be thankful and grateful for all He has done for us.

The Bible teaches us that there is one God in three persons. There is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Jesus is God the Son. He is one with the Father. So if God is the only God, why does God speak of other Gods? “There is no other God besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me.” (Isa. 45:21).

From all my readings and what I think is anything that we, as humans, turn to. What is it that we love the most or desire the most? It should be God. But a lot of people have become career oriented, money oriented, material oriented.  A false god can be anything that we focus on to the exclusion of God. Some of my readings have even gone so far to say that even sports, recreation, hobby or personal interest can be a false god. During football season, I see people so focused on the games that they ignore everything else. So I get that.

I see too many career oriented people who are just determined to make it up that ladder to the exclusion of everything else. I was married to such an individual and he is also narcissistic. People who think they are in control of their lives and believe that they are above everyone else will have a serious crushing blow dealt to them. We need to ask ourselves what do we love and what do we desire. For me, my husband, my family, friends and pets are everything to me. Until I can get it through my head that God is above even them, I will be sinning on this commandment. I can logically reason that, yes, God is above them but,…

The other thing we need to realize is that we must trust God above all others. We need to place our worries, concerns, stresses, fear and hopes into God’s hands. He alone will help us through each step of our lives. We may trust our loved ones to help us out when we need them but God sees everything and has a plan for us. We can trust God. He will never let us down.

For further reading on the Ten Commandments, I suggest Written in Stone, The Ten Commandments and Today’s Moral Crisis by Philip Graham Ryken. Websites: the Ten Commandments, bibleinfo.com, what Christians want to know.