Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Rant

Bottom Line:

Some of the cancer spots have grown by 80% in the last eight weeks. Progression of disease, as I said in the previous post, necessitates a decision about treatment or not. The treatment that has the highest response rate, 60%, would mean treatment every week three out of four weeks. The other two options only have a 25-30% response rate. One causes horrific problems in about one out of three patients. The other I need to learn more about.
These are some of my current thoughts, off the top of my head, and probably subject to change:

Whatever happened to dying naturally??? Why should I choose between the equal evils of a variety of treatments, all of which are just delaying the inevitable? Why is the inevitable, death, such a bad thing? Why do I want to stay on this earth with horrible chemo side effects when I could be in HEAVEN??? Isn’t Heaven supposed to be good? Why am I delaying eternal healing and freedom from suffering?

Am I making decisions for myself or for other people who are thinking about the issues from a totally different, or at least an a lot different, paradigm? What if their paradigm isn’t congruent with mine? What if they are basing their responses on their own fear of death, not realizing that death is the doorway to Heaven? Should I base my decisions on my paradigm or theirs? Ultimately, I need to do what I feel God is leading me to do, regardless of anyone else.

What IS God leading me to do????????????????????????????????

If I were to do the weekly treatment, I couldn’t keep working. Stopping work = taking the first step toward death. If I’m going to die, I want it to happen as quickly as God in His mercy will make it happen.

I don’t want to leave work I find very fulfilling and rewarding to live as an invalid, all the while knowing that eventually I’ll run out of treatments to try and my body will be so weak and destroyed that it will eventually give out, maybe in a much worse way than if I were to stop treatment now while my body is relatively healthy. Healthy, by the way, seems like an oxymoron for describing someone with cancer....

Why is it that the emphasis for so many people seems to be on being alive at all costs, regardless of physical condition and quality of life??

When do the stress and side effects of treatment outweigh the benefit? What is the benefit? Who gets to measure that? I think I do.

What if I stop treatment, let God keep me alive for as long as He wants, and enjoy the greatest quality of life possible for however long I have left and do the most good I can while I’m here, instead of becoming so weak and dilapidated and miserable from mouth sores and horrible skin problems ETC that I can’t do anything at all well?

And along these lines:
Am I finished with the work God has given me to do?
Should I use the medical interventions available or do they extend life unnecessarily?
How do I envision the rest of my life on weekly treatment if I can’t work?
Do I want to live without a purpose, and what defines purpose, my purpose?
What loose ends do I need to tie up?

A side note: December 29,2008 is the date of my very first medical appointments related to cancer. So, today is, as some people call it, my cancerversary...

On another side note, I read Psalm 27 this morning and am including it here, for obvious reasons...

The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

When evil men advance against me
to devour my flesh,
when my enemies and my foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.

Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then will I be confident.

One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.

For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
and set me high upon a rock.

Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the LORD.

Hear my voice when I call, O LORD;
be merciful to me and answer me.

My heart says of you, "Seek his face!"
Your face, LORD, I will seek.

Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
O God my Savior.

Though my father and mother forsake me,
the LORD will receive me.

Teach me your way, O LORD;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.

Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
breathing out violence.

I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.

Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

CT Scan Results

Bottom line: The CT scan yesterday showed definite cancer growth, and therefore definite progression of disease. Progression of the cancer means the current treatment is not working and necessitates a decision about treatment or not, or changing treatment. A treatment decision means I need prayer for wisdom. I’m asking God for a very, very clear answer about what He would have me do. I’ve already posted earlier on my thoughts about decisions and treatment and implications, so I’m not going to rehash all of that.... I'll meet with my Dr next week to discuss treatment options etc. Please pray for me. Thank you :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009


O my hair
it was down to-

Where to begin...
I cut it to my chin
I cut it to my brow
Chemo took it anyhow

O my hair-
it was not there
my head was Bare

O my hair-
you are not me
you never will be

martha depp 12.20.09

Saturday, December 19, 2009

CT Scan Tuesday...

I have a CT scan Tuesday. Please pray for peace and wisdom. I will post on the results when I get them...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hair Page for Cancer Book

Hair Page: Hair from before chemo cut, hair from buzzing cut, hair from fuzz cut... Plexiglass, wood, screws, hair, board book page
To see it larger, click on the image.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Incision/Staple Page for Cancer Book

Incision page, with all of the 26 staples from my surgery incision. If you want to see it better, you can click on the image.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


I have wind in my sails again.

Where to start...

I’ve been struggling against crushing darkness for roughly the last month.

A big part of it was feeling like I had to make a huge decision at the end of this month about my work. Another big part of it was seasonal depression. Another big part of it was a bunch of physical problems. Another part of it was just the reality of how much this cancer thing has affected every area of my life.

Part of understanding the issues, to try to get some resolution, was trying to sort through the layers of what was physical, what was emotional, what was spiritual, what was mental.... Unfortunately, those things don’t sort neatly into nice little organizer boxes with tidy little labels.

When I first found out I had cancer, I had this idea that my spirit could somehow be kind of separate from my body. I thought I could compartmentalize my spirit and prevent the physical stuff from affecting it. Not possible.

The bottom line is that we are integrated beings. Things are all tied together, with bonds that cannot ever be torn loose. All of our parts, our spirits, souls, bodies, minds, wills, emotions—however you choose to define the parts of us—they are all inextricably intertwined.

I can’t have something wrong with my body that doesn’t affect my spirit. The same with all of my other parts.

As I agonized over what was going on, God used a variety of interventions to minister peace and wisdom and healing to every part of me.

He used my sister-in-law to communicate to me about Vitamin D3. Taking Vitamin D3 has made an incredibly dramatic difference in my attitude, my emotional resilience, and my physical energy.

He relieved me completely of several physical symptoms I’d been having and gave me direction in eliminating some others. Right now, I feel pretty well for the first time in months.

He used three very intensely encouraging experiences at work over a two day period of time to tell me that what I am doing there is of value and that I am to keep working there. Any one of those three experiences would have made a huge difference but all three combined had the effect of being struck by a lightning bolt. There is now no looming decision to worry about making in the end of December. He has already showed me what to do. He made the decision for me. He directly answered my prayer and He did it more than three weeks early.

He showed me that when I’m feeling sorry for myself and all of the ways that cancer has affected my life, praying for other people takes my focus off myself.

He also pointed me toward the story and music of Emmanuel Jal. Emmanuel is from Sudan and was forced to be a child soldier and nearly starved to death. You can listen to one of his songs HERE and you can read his story HERE. The suffering he experienced could have destroyed him.

Reading his story and listening to his music has brought a sort of revival in me. In some way I can’t articulate very well, the stories of other people who have suffered deeply bring me peace. Maybe it’s simply the reminder that other people are also suffering deeply. Maybe it’s seeing how Emmanuel has chosen to respond to his suffering by choosing to use it as a force for change and hope and transformation, not just in his own life but in the lives of so many others. Maybe it’s seeing how God can use broken, damaged, nearly destroyed, frail, fragile human beings to bring hope and light to other people. Maybe it’s how he shares his story with courage and passion and isn’t afraid to be graphic and tell it like it is.

The light has obliterated the darkness.

God has kept His promise to never leave me or forsake me. God has answered prayer with answers that can’t be questioned.

But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the LORD;
I will wait for the God of my salvation
My God will hear me.
Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy
Though I fall I will rise;
Though I dwell in darkness, the LORD is a light for me.
Micah 7:7-8