Need to Know or,…

My husband and I were having a discussion this weekend. There are many times when my husband will ask me something rhetorical just to see my response. Then he will answer it as well.

This weekend the issue came up about our past lives and what is going on with us now. I have told my husband pretty much everything there is to tell about my previous marriage. There are still issues going on that need resolutions and I am finding it difficult. My husband does not want to know much more about what is going on because it is stressful and frustrating. So anything that happens, I just keep it to myself and talk to my friend.

My husband has had two previous marriages that were very short lived. He has been in the navy and in the marines as a corpsman. Needless to say, what they say about navy men is very true. Especially when the man is as handsome as my husband. Also, knowing the culture and attitudes of both Canada and the US, I can just imagine what went on in his past.

I told my husband that there are things I won’t discuss with him. But they are pretty much everything that he already knows. I just won’t update him. Then he said there are things he won’t talk about to me.

I just sat there and thought out loud. So is it better for me to know about it or not? I am a writer so my imagination can take me places that would probably be far worse than what is real. Although, if I would know, it would eat at me. Could I think it through and then let it go?

This is a very difficult question to answer for anyone. Would you rather know or not? There are many times that people have questioned when they have found out that someone is cheating on their spouse. Do you tell the spouse that is being cheated on, or not? There have been television shows and movies about this issue. There have not been any good answers.

We are not just talking about spouses who cheat. It could be any number of issues. Would you want to know? For me, I really do need to know. Like I said, I have an over active imagination. I can be melodramatic but it is the way I am and with all the things I am going through, I think I deserve some slack.

I see as knowing what is going on as being honest with your partner. A spouse knows when something is not quite right with their partner. If you are truly in love, then there shouldn’t be any secrets. Whatever happened in the past, can be resolved, especially if it was against the partner. Or I should say, it needs to be recognized, resolved, apologized and forgiveness needs to happen. Otherwise, keeping secrets from your partner just festers. What other secrets are you willing to hold against your partner? If it was in the past and not against your partner, then your partner has a right to know.

There needs to be total honesty in relationships. If you can’t be honest with the person you love the most in the world, what kind of a relationship is that? Jesus hears and sees and knows everything. You can’t hide anything from Him. You need to be totally honest with him. And so it holds for the person you are bound to in marriage. Marriage is sacrosanct. It is what God intended for us.

Do I want to know or not? I know I do.

Survivorship Care Package

I had my survivorship appointment with the oncologist PA last week. We went through everything I need to know as a survivor. I like the word warrior better but I suppose that applies to someone who is fighting the disease, not after. The PA examined all the areas she needed to. I was glad because I am not good at checking for lumps in the breasts.

We talked about getting me on the next estrogen suppressing medication. Number 3 with only one more to try. This one is called Exemestane. The PA told me to wait another week or two before starting this one. She said most patients have hot flashes or joint pain with the medications. I seem to be stretching their side effect limits.

We went through all the doctors I saw through the lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation treatments. A print out was given with all the information of the size, type and classification of my tumor. We went through all the residual side effects. Fatigue, difficulty sleeping is at the top of the list. I do get tired easily but it is getting better. I still have neuropathy in the toes. This may be a condition I might have for the rest of my life.

Osteoporosis is also listed as a side effect. Funny that. I had osteoporosis since 2010. I had been taking Fosamax then switched to the twice yearly injections. I was sent for a bone scan prior to starting on the estrogen suppressing medications. My bones are now healthy and strong. Every doctor is totally surprised that has happened. They cannot explain how it happened. I was taking a good calcium/magnesium supplement. I was riding my horse five days per week. I consider it a blessing from God.

Anxiety and stress are another residual effect. Great. I am going through a lot of stresses right now. Just pile it on higher and deeper. I wonder if I can get a lobotomy. I am having arguments with Canada Revenue (Canadian IRS) who have been holding onto a sizable refund check to me for more than one year. I am being sued by my ex husband for the illegal activities he did during our marriage. Thankfully I have an excellent lawyer and I have so much documentation that I am certain we thinned out a few forests. I am also going through a huge personal stress. Please Jesus, help me with this one.

Another side effect is weight gain from the chemotherapy. Apparently every breast cancer patient gains weight. Even though the furthest thing from your mind while you are undergoing chemo is food. I had no appetite. Unfortunately, the things I did eat and could keep down were carbs. I ate some vegetables and fruit but so many things were just too hard on my stomach. I can no longer eat anything spicy. You do not want to be too close to me should I eat something spicy, or at least sit down wind.

I did gain weight. More than 25 pounds. After the radiation treatments and when I started to feel a little normal again, I was tired of running past mirrors. Or just looking into them and saying, “Oh, yech!” I finally got tired of this and was just angry enough with myself to look for a weight loss program.

I am the type of person that needs results now. Losing 2 pounds per week after starving myself to death was not an option. So with my determination in hand, I went to Carolina Health Center. I think they call themselves Align now. This diet is very similar to the HCG diet. I lost over 20 pounds in one month. That’s the way to do it. I want to lose another 7 pounds and then I will be at my goal weight. I have slowed down the weight loss now for the last 10 pounds and that is okay by me. I started having chocolate cravings and I knew if I waited until the end, I would probably gorge myself with chocolate. So I bought a couple cartons of delicious Ben & Jerry’s chocolate flavored ice creams. I was very careful in how much I ate. Still losing weight but at least enjoying chocolate in moderation. I also started adding nuts into the diet. Just a handful at a time but it is enough to curb the munchies.

The recipes with this diet are superb. I have tried almost all of the recipes and have been so happy with the flavors. All fats, carbs and dairy are excluded from my diet. Only hormone free beef, chicken, turkey and certain fish, certain vegetables and certain fruits. I have switched all my food to natural. Not organic but natural. All cosmetics are natural without oil. I am gradually changing all my cleaning products to natural.

I was told by the PA oncologist to keep my BMI to 25 or 26. This is something I can do. If this is going to keep me cancer free, I will do it. Gizmo, my horse, is so much happier that I am 20 plus pounds lighter. Some time soon, I won’t get winded when I am playing with my grandchildren. I am the one who cuts the lawn at our house. I will enjoy being able to push that lawnmower and not have to take breaks. Our yard is not that big.

Now I am a survivor. At some point, I want to get a pink ribbon tattoo with a pink butterfly and the word survivor. My husband is worried that I am going to get all tatted up. I won’t. I have the butterfly breaking free of the ball and chain on my back close to my shoulder. No one can see it really. The pink ribbon tattoo, I do want more visible and I think the calf will be a good place. Then that will be it for the tattoos. Maybe. Perhaps. I don’t know. Probably.

 

 

#2 – Summing up the Ten Commandments

“Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” Exodus 20: 18-19.

No kidding. I would be afraid too. God told Moses that the people weren’t even allowed to touch the base of the mountain or they would be put to death. The people told Moses that he would have to tell them everything God was telling Moses. They wanted him to be the go between or the mediator. I think this is what God wanted.  Could you imagine everyone up on the mountain, listening to God? There would be questions, people wanting to eat or drink, people needing to use the facilities, interruptions galore. I could just see the mayhem now. There is at least one or two people who just can’t sit still.

God came down to the top of the mountain in fire and smoke and clouds. That would be pretty intimidating. (Also, answers my question about is heaven really up there? The Bible definitely says God came down to the top of the mountain.) I also would wonder about God’s voice. What did it sound like? Moses was lucky enough to hear it. He also knew the rules and knew what God expected from him. A few other people got to go up the mountain but they were only at God’s invitation. It was all respected.

However, the people definitely did tell Moses to be their mediator. They weren’t going to take any chances. God said that no one could even touch the base of the mountain or they would be put to death by stoning or arrows. I can’t imagine either one of those being a fast or easy death. Not unless someone had a really good arm and could make the first blow or arrow the fatal one. Moses was willing and he became their mediator. The ten commandments were the first set of laws for the Israelites.

The ten commandments are still relevant to everyone today. In my previous blog, I said that we are all sinful and that keeping the ten commandments is difficult. Probably next to impossible. It isn’t just keeping the commandment. It is everything leading up to the commandment. All your thoughts and actions before the final act of disobeying the commandment.

We don’t have Moses today to be our mediator but we have someone that is the best mediator of all time. Jesus. We are so lucky to have Jesus on our side. He was on earth in human form. He knew exactly what it was like for us. He walked with us, beside us. Talked to us. Had all the same things happen to him physically (and more) that we are dealing with. It doesn’t mean that we are home free. We can’t just keep sinning and think, oh well. It’s okay. I’ve got Jesus on my side. It’s just too hard to keep obeying these commandments and doing the right thing. I’ll just do what I can and then at the end, beg for forgiveness and Jesus will give me a free pass.

I don’t think that is how it is going to work. I think at the end of your life, you will be held accountable for everything you did. I know at the end of my life, I will be asking for forgiveness. I will probably ask God that He spare all the people I love. A lot of people believe that at the end times, Christians will be taken up to heaven. I will be that person who tells God, I can’t go. I need to stay behind and make sure everyone I love is saved. Well, this is for another topic.

The ten commandments apply very much today. We all need to look them over and think about them with deep honesty. With our whole heart. We need to say, oh my! These commandments are difficult but I will honestly try. When I mess up, I need to ask for forgiveness. We are all so lucky that we have Jesus looking out for us. There is peace in that.

Summing up the Ten Commandments

I thought I might be able to sum up the Ten Commandments in one post. That is not going to happen. It might take a couple of posts to sum up the ten commandments.

I was surprised to see how many people got the order of the ten commandments wrong. I was also shocked to see how many people got the actual commandment wrong. The fifth commandment is NOT Thou shall not commit murder.

The ten commandments were written a long time ago in a time that was different from today. No television, reporters, radio, internet, computers and fancy electronics. No google either. They were written for the Jewish people while they were out wandering in the desert. They rested before Mount Sinai and Moses went up to listen to God and record the commandments. Those commandments still apply to everyone today. They are just as relevant, just as applicable to each and everyone of us.

I found out that the ten commandments are known as the Decalogue, meaning ten words. Although the commandments each are more than one word. It also goes with “And God spoke all these words”, Exodus 20:1. I also saw that the first four commandments govern our relationship to God, while the last six concern our relationships with one another.

We all know that as humans, we need rules, laws and/or help to be accountable to each other. Unfortunately, too many people want to be free to do what they want. People want a quick fix to make themselves happy. Those who do not recognize a higher or superior being think that we are here by coincidence. Just make the best of your life and do what makes you happy. Those people are never happy and are always looking for something better, the next quick fix.

When we recognize that there is a God, things fall into place much more easily and our understanding of how we need to let God lead us, let Him govern our lives and give our love to Him, makes life better. We are then content and not always struggling to find that next fix. As a Christian, our fix is God and Jesus. That is why we need the ten commandments. That is why we need to try and follow them.

I saw that, as humans, we will never be able to obey the ten commandments completely. We will fail. As soon as you think you have one commandment down pat, another one comes up and rears its head. Then you think, wow, I didn’t think this one would come and bite me. We need to remember that we can always ask Jesus to forgive us. That is why Jesus died on the cross for us. He took all of our sins to the cross and died for us. I keep thinking, He must really love us to have done that for us. Yes, He does. God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit want to be in a loving relationship with each and every one of us. I’m not sure how they can keep all of us straight but they do.

Once you realize that, as a human being, we are not in control. We have someone who loves us beyond all reason, beyond anything we could know, and He will do right by us. As long as you can say, I love you too, Jesus. I give my life to you, you are in the best hands possible. Following the ten commandments is difficult, but I would rather follow the ten commandments than anything else.

The Tenth Commandment

The tenth commandment. The entire commandment is “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” Exodus 20:17.

This is the only commandment that legislates thought. All the others legislate action. To covet is much more than just wanting something. The Hebrew verb, lachmod, means to want to the point of seeking to take away and own something that belongs to another person. That is just wrong.

There is nothing wrong with seeing something that someone else has and think to yourself, “Gee. I would like something like that too, so I am going to put money to the side and buy one for myself.” The problem happens when a person sees what another person has and wanting that item for yourself. When that happens, then how do you actually get that item? Steal it? Kill for it? Lie for it? You can see how covet means much more.

I think of coveting similar to lusting. A person is so filled with desire to own what another person has that they become obsessed with that item. All you can do is think about it. It fills your dreams and your day time thoughts. Lusting is not just limited to another person’s spouse. People have lusted or coveted after a car, artwork, jewelry, house, and the list does go on. People have murdered to possess someone else’s “goods”.

Whatever belongs to another person must be regarded as sacrosanct. This coveting thing started with Eve. Satan tempted her by telling her about the forbidden fruit. If she would eat it, she would be like God. She was not intended to have the fruit but she was envious and coveted the fruit.

Not all our desires are bad. Our desire to do something useful motivates us to work. Our desire for friendship moves us to become part of a community. Our desire for food motivates us to eat. Our desire for intimacy, including sexual intimacy, moves us to seek marriage. The deepest of all our desires needs to be to know God. To let God and Jesus into our hearts. Every person should have this desire.

Neighbor in this commandment goes beyond who lives in your neighborhood. It does mean anyone, anywhere. Even if it is a celebrity or someone you see in passing. When the commandments were written, people did not travel far. They only knew the people in their village. Today, our neighbors have reached much further with the internet and by all the social media we are able to tap into.

We need to be content with what we have. Too many of us start to wish “if only,”. Problem with if only’s is that there is always another one that follows. The if only’s spiral out of control. A person may think, but I want the best it can be. It was the best it could be in the beginning. You can drive yourself crazy thinking it could be better. Being content does not mean make do. It means be content with what you have. Strive towards getting to know Jesus better. He is everything you really need.

 

And Another Medical Procedure

 

I told you how the Taxol chemotherapy drug does affect people. I was told it could affect my toenails and/or fingernails. Fortunately, it only affected my toenails.

The podiatrist I saw back in May, gave me a biotin supplement to take for two months and gave me a polish to apply to my toenails. He then said I should come back in three months.

I recently saw him and told him the left big toenail was not comfortable and that I was not happy with it. I wasn’t too concerned with the right big toenail. He took off a large portion of the left toenail and sent it to the lab to see if there was any fungus type thing going on. He removed a lot of the right big toenail and said it was not doing well either. He said that both big toenails would probably never return to normal and would always give me issues.

I asked him what my options were. He suggested matricectomy which is the surgical and chemical removal of the toenail. He said it can be done in their office. He explained how it would be done. Or I could just leave the toenails the way they are. I have not worn sandals at all since my toenails have grown back. They are just so ugly, as you can see by my picture. The doctor says that once the toenail is removed, you can’t really tell that it isn’t there anymore. He said I could even paint the skin area and no one would notice. There are several videos on toenail removal. I started watching one and then chickened out. I don’t mind needles and different procedures but do not want to actually watch them being done.

Before we decide to go ahead with the matricectomy, the doctor has requested to see blood work on my liver functions. He wants to make sure that the area would heal well after my chemotherapy treatments. At this point, I am wanting to go ahead and get it done. One more thing to look forward to.

The Fifth Commandment

The fifth commandment is the first commandment with a promise. The entire commandment is: Honor your father and your mother so that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God has given you.

The word honor in Hebrew is kaved which means heavy or weighty. To honor is to respect, esteem, value and prize. God has given fathers and mothers as gifts. Giving honor to parents then continues through life where we learn to give honor and respect to anyone in authority.

Remember David and Jonathan? Jonathan was the son of King Saul and David was Jonathan’s best friend. King Saul was jealous of David and the fact that he was a mighty warrior. Do you remember how many times King Saul tried to kill David? Yet, David still gave honor to King Saul. King Saul had been made king with God’s authority. David knew that and would not turn on King Saul. He kept running from him whenever he knew King Saul was trying to kill him. But he never once sought revenge on him. King Saul was put in place by God and David honored that.

People complain that today’s children have no respect for authority. I see that myself. A lot of people blame the Sixties as the generation that destroyed the American family. The Sixties generation tried to tear down the state but couldn’t so they tore down the family. The Sixties generation saw the state and family as closely connected. The best way children can destroy the family is by disobeying their parents.

If children do not show honor and respect to their parents then how will they show respect for any kind of authority? Children may not agree with their parents but they still need to honor and respect them. True, there are some parents who do despicable things to their children. Personally, I can’t see how God expects children to honor those parents. We are surrounded by horrible acts from people. Evil has surrounded us from the beginning of time. I pray for children who are abused by their parents.

Parents have a God-given responsibility to teach their children how to know and serve God. Solomon said, “Hear, my son, your father’s instructions, and forsake not your mother’s teaching” (Prov. 1:8). What happens when children don’t have a good family background? God is gracious. We are all children of God. He adopts us into the most important family and that is the family of God.

However, we all need to give respect and honor to our laws, to anyone who has authority over us. That means politicians who are trying to govern our land. You may not agree with what they are doing but we still need to respect their authority. We do not have the right to abuse those in power.  You may agree to disagree but there will be a time when those currently in power will change.

The second part of the commandment, live long in the land, is a Hebrew phrase for the fulless of God’s blessing. It means to have an abundant life. This also does not mean that we will live to be one hundred years old. It just means that children who honor their parents receive the gift of life.

The fifth commandment is all about showing respect for authority. This commandment has been hit hard by people today.

Surgery – Now What?

I had surgery this past week to have my remaining ovary removed. However, when the doctor went in, my left ovary was atrophied and it had attached itself to my intestine. The good doctor made the decision to not remove the ovary as it could potentially cause more harm than good. It was a decision we had both discussed prior to the surgery and we had agreed with the decision.

Now I have three nice holes in my belly (I wish I could have told him to suck out some of the belly fat while he had me there but I don’t think a gynecologist can do that). One hole in my belly button and then two on either side. It was done with a laprascope. I wish my gall bladder could have waited until gall bladders were removed with a laprascope. But, no, I have this nice long scar on the right side of my belly.

I told you in a previous blog how the Letrozole made me into a crazy woman. I cried pretty much every night and I was in this deep, deep black hole. I stopped taking the medicine on Monday. Three days after my surgery and I am still feeling the effects of all the drugs I was given. My oncologist told me to stop taking the Letrozole and see how I am feeling in two weeks. Does she really think I want to go back on it? My poor husband can’t take the Letrozole. I can’t either.

I am such a lightweight with drugs. My body rebels against drugs. It very quickly lets me know that it does not want this foreign crap in my body. I just have to agree with my body.

My next visit with my oncologist will be interesting. She wanted my ovary removed because she does not want anything in my body that could produce estrogen. Well, I think atrophied means that ovary is dead. The second estrogen suppressing medication punched me down and out. There are only two more medications to try. Anastrazole = bad flu like symptoms. Letrozole = totally crazy lady. I will let you know what happens with the next one.

The Ninth Commandment

The ninth commandment is “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Exodus 20:16.

This commandment is far  broader than just dealing with the justice system. At the time, Hebrew laws were set up to treat people fairly. Apparently, the laws did not rely on just one witness. The judges tried to get two or three witnesses. However, if any one was caught not telling the truth, the punishment against the person who bore false witness was pretty strict. Some times it even led to death to the person who lied. This caught everyone’s attention and made them think twice about not being honest.

This commandment also deals with being honest. Do not lie. When you lie about someone, you are not just harming that person but you are disrespecting God. How many people are completely truthful today? We are surrounded by so many dishonest statements. How many people believe all the advertisements they see? The news media has stretched the truth so far that it snaps. What about politicians and lawyers? We have become a society of stretching the truth, as we like to think it. What can it hurt, we think.

It does hurt. Reputations of people have been destroyed within minutes. Everyone likes to hear the bad, not the good. Everyone likes to gossip. Gossiping has become the norm today. And as soon as a hurtful lie has been said about a person, it stays with them no matter how wrong it was. People remember the bad, not the good. Gaining back your good reputation is difficult.

Not only is the gossiper breaking the ninth commandment but the people who listen to the gossip are also breaking the commandment. It is so tempting to hear the juicy bad stuff. But it is wrong. I have fallen victim to listening. I try hard to say, I don’t want to hear this and I think it is wrong that you are spreading such news. The problem with saying this is that some times the gossiper then turns on you. Not an easy situation.

How about little white lies where the truth would actually hurt the person more than if you lied? For example, your friend just had her hair cut and she is absolutely thrilled with the style. You don’t really like it. What would be best? Tell her you are glad she really loves it? Tell her it looks fabulous? I think a small white lie is fine. Besides, even though it isn’t something you absolutely love, your friend does and you should not deflate her happiness. It’s just your opinion and it’s just hair. It’ll grow again.

We need to be more aware of how much we are not telling the truth. Once you start being dishonest, how easy is it to remember all the lies? The lies build one on top of the other until the truth is so far gone, you can’t even remember what the truth was. You are disrespecting God by being dishonest.

Depression – A Real Roller Coaster of a Ride

I am fortunate. I have always been able to get up out of bed in the mornings. There are many who just can’t. For the most part, I am able to complete my tasks for the day but there are some days when I have to push myself to work on my novel or complete the tasks I started the day before. There are many who fall apart and just can’t.

I have depression and with the proper medication, I can accomplish my day to day activities. Some days are better than others although there are lows. It is exactly like being on a roller coaster. The rush and anticipation of climbing upwards, knowing that you are soon at the edge and about to plummet down. The pit of your stomach eats at you, knowing what is about to happen. But I am able to find joy and beauty in most days. I am also able to find peace and enjoy knowing God is there.

However, to anyone who thinks that one should be able to cope without medication, I must laugh. I am lucky in that my depression is not as bad as others who experience it. The medication I have, lets me cope rationally. If there are Christians who think our depression can be controlled or managed by God alone, in this case, I think God needs help. I am a sinner and human. I need help.

I know a woman, who after she started taking vitamins and a shake program, stopped taking her medications. A mistake? Absolutely. This woman is now certifiably crazy. She has become this person who blows up at the slightest issue. She plans her day on the best way to terrorize others. She will pick on people and devise ways to make them miserable. Then when they stand up to her, she gets rid of them and blames them for their crazy and unacceptable behavior. She calls herself a good Christian woman.

There are many forms of mental illness. Some of the major types are depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar mood disorder, personality disorders, trauma and eating disorders. Personally, schizophrenia and bipolar mood disorder scares me. These are truly life altering mental illnesses. Anyone with these disorders or anyone who has a family member or friend with these disorders has my heartfelt sympathy. My husband and I watched “A Beautiful Mind” the story of John Forbes Nash Jr. This movie touched me deeply. John’s wife, Tilly, is so beautiful. She looked past his illness and loved him at a time where so little was known about mental illness. What a strong and courageous woman.

We cannot see what goes on in a person’s life. We cannot know exactly how a person is living day to day. We do not know their struggles whether it be a physical or mental struggle. The pain from either struggle is real and can be difficult to cope with. A person should not be judged by either pain. Each one of us needs to give every person we meet, grace and kindness. We need to treat others the way we, ourselves, would like to be treated. We are all children of God. We have only one life to live. We need to live it in a way that honors God.