My Twentieth Transplant Birthday

Yesterday I had a birthday.  Not really a birthday, more of an anniversary.  On September 4th 1996, I had a bone marrow transplant for non-hodgkins lymphoma.  It was an autologous transplant – they used my baby stem cells – removed from my body after having had chemo to kill the cancer circulating through my body.  They pulled them out of my blood over a period of 3 days in July 1996, giving me back everything else in my blood.  They flash froze them at an extremely low temperature.  On September 4th, 1996, they heavily medicated me (because even though they warmed them slightly) they were still extremely cold which was painful as they gave them back to me through an IV.  It actually was an anticlimactic day for me.  I was so drugged, I slept through it.  I do remember waking up once or twice to throw up and then falling back into a drug induced sleep.  

They told me at that time that I now had a new birthday, because, basically, they gave me life back.  The days leading up to the transplant were full of high dose chemo which killed pretty much every cell in my body, targeting the cancer cells of course, but chemo wasn’t targeted very well at that time.  They had to just shoot to kill every cell in my body in order to kill the cancer cells.  Had they not given me my stem cells back to start re-growing the cells in my body – I would have died.  Most likely from some infection – but it wouldn’t have taken long, because I had nothing at all to fight anything off with.  Thus – new life – a new birthday!  I am now 20 years old!  The 20 year old part is particularly great because the doctors told me, at the time of my diagnosis, that with the transplant, they hoped to add 3 to 5 years to my life.  I should have been dead by 2000-2001.  I guess God decided I had not yet served my purpose in life because I’m still here!   I’m still not exactly sure what that purpose is, maybe it is to share my story with others to let people know that, with God, there is always a hope and a future (I know, Erik Miller, I have taken that verse out of context from Jeremiah 29:11 and that He was talking to the Israeltes) but I still believe that God has a hope and a future for all of us.  Plans to prosper us and not to harm us.  I also believe that we will find Him if we seek Him with all of our heart.  My daily quest is to seek Him with all my heart.  Somedays I seek better than others, but I continue on my journey to deepen my relationship with Jesus and learn His will for my life. 

While I still do chemotherapy (Rituxin) every 6 months (once a week for 4 weeks) I have been cancer free since 2002.  I have been blessed with a husband who has been at my side for 34 years and walked with me through that harrowing year of cancer diagnosis, surgery, chemotherapy, a bald head (mine, not his – although these days, his is getting a little thinner!), traveling from Loveland, CO to Doniphan and Omaha, NE every Thursday and back to Colorado on Sunday so that he could work at his job and still be with me and the kids on the weekends at my parents house.   He and my sister Judy even took turns taking time off work so they could be my caretakers in Omaha as I recovered from the transplant.  My parents and Judy took care of our 3 kids (3 year old Noah, 10 year old Adam, and 13 year old Steph).  I do not know how we would have survived without them.  I’ve been blessed to watch the 3 of them grow up and to have had the privilege and honor to add 9 month old Katlyn Li Qing to our family in 2005. We’ve also added two grandsons and a daughter in law!

The last 20 years has flown by way too quickly.  I still have to learn how to slow down and enjoy life.  I have stayed far too busy and now need to focus on slowing down and enjoying the life God has given to me and the people in my life.  So, you’ll excuse me if I say goodbye for now and go do just that – enjoy the people in my life.

Let’s Try Kindness

It’s been a disappointing day, the events in our country in the past several days have been tragic and stressful.  Changes going on at work have been stressful for many, many people.  Life can be tough sometimes . . . . for all of us.

My question for today is: Can’t we just all be nice?  Can’t we be kind to each other?  Forgive each other?  Speak gently to each other?  Does it make anybody feel better to ‘tattle’ on some little, really insignificant thing that someone else did? Can’t we pick our battles and save the ammunition for something that really matters? Does it make anybody feel better to speak harshly to someone who made a mistake instead of speaking gently to them?

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echo’s are truly endless.” ~ Mother Teresa

“If I choose to bless another person, I will always end up feeling more blessed.” ~ Marianne Williamson

I am making it my goal to bless those around me by using those short, easy to speak kind words and, hopefully, starting a ripple effect that will spread like wildfire.  Will you join me?  What are other ways that we can spread gentleness and kindness to those we come into contact with?

Welcome to my blog!

Hello friend! Welcome to my blog! I’m brand new to this blog thing, but I feel that I’m being called to do this – to share with someone out there ~ maybe even more than one someone. Who knows? As with Esther, perhaps I was born for just such a time as this! Here goes . . . . .

A little about me: My husband and I will celebrate our 33rd wedding anniversary in a few months and have four wonderful children ages, 32, 29, 22 and 10. I also have a lovely daughter in law, a 6 year old grandson and another grandson to be born any day now!! We have 2 very large dogs and a cat named Miss Kitty. I work full time, try to keep a relatively clean house, keep the family fed (with assistance from my two beautiful daughters and my hubby) and try to do lots of other things in my free time ~ spending time with the family, reading, knitting, quilting, sewing, bible study, bible journaling, going for walks,  reading with my 10 year old daughter, being a Girl Scout leader, occasional cooking, baking & canning, listening to music, and enjoying some television now and then.  I know – it doesn’t sound like a very exciting life, but I’m betting there are at least a few people out there that can identify with me!

I haven’t really pinned down what “type” of blog this will be (you know like a cooking blog, a build-it-with-Bobbi blog, a crafty blog, a how-to-raise-your-kids blog, a photography blog, etc.). It might just contain a little bit of all of the above and then some! I’m certainly not an expert in any area. My hope with this blog is that we can have some laughs together and share some of our hopes, dreams, good times and frustrating times with each other. (That is, if anyone actually reads this!). Maybe we can also share recipes, craft tips, how to raise your kid tips, cool pictures we have taken, etc.!

I’ve had some interesting things happen in my life – one big one, being surviving a Stage 4 cancer diagnosis in which I was given 3 to 5 years to live (that was 19 years ago!). It was a tough and scary time to go through but God has been so good to me and has blessed my life so fully. I want to share that blessing and hope to anyone who may be going through a tough, dark time. Whether it’s a cancer diagnosis, another health issue or something else that is making you feel like you just can’t make it through, I’m here to tell you that you can make it through. God is a really big, really loving God. Throw yourself in his arms and pray for Him to wrap his arms around you and carry you through this time in your life!

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God want us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. Romans 8:26 (NLT)

Paul goes on to say:

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28 (NLT)

Maybe you’re not at a point where you feel that anything you are currently going through can possibly work for good, but hold on to Paul’s words, because God can make everything work together for good if we trust Him with our lives. We may not see it right now, but I am living proof that God can, and will, do that in your life as He has done for me, and continues to do every single day in my life.

Please don’t get the impression that I have it all together. Nothing could be further from the truth, I struggle every single day. As a matter of fact, I feel like a bit of an imposter because I am so far from perfect in my walk of faith, but, maybe we can walk together, learn together, and together, develop a deeper relationship with Christ.

I hope you’ll join me. I’d love for this to be interactive, so please, make comments, give advice, tell your story, share funny stories, share delicious recipes, beautiful pictures you have taken, corny jokes – share whatever is on your heart. I’m so glad to meet you and look forward to making this wild, crazy journey called life with some wild & crazy friends!