Audi and her Lost Pines

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I took my last scheduled “girl” trip with Audrey last week. We had already post-poned this trip to the Hyatt Lost Pines because of all the rain, so we were going rain or shine. The weather took me up on that because the night we arrived we ended up in the basement of the hotel with all the guests for a tornado warning. The hotel did a great job with snacks and pillows and water, but it was a tight space and not where I would have chosen to be. After about an hour, all was safe and we came out.

IMG_2855Audrey and I enjoyed our time together for sure. We had breakfast and dinners together, we snuggled to movies at night. We played games and colored. But I know she noticed her trip was not as good. I had built up all the activiites we could do: ziplining, horseback riding, the lazy river and slides. Because of the weather none of those activites were going on. They did open the secondary pool the second day while the big pool was being shocked. Audrey swam for 30 min or so until a little girl threw up in the water… and well, now that pool was closed. We decided to get off the property and ate dinner and went bowling. We came back to a family movie night of the Jungle Book where we were the only 2 watching… haha.  I told her that the next morning was supposed to be nice, we will get up and swim. It was a bit cloudy so we went for a bike ride first. Headed up to our room, swimsuits and towels in hand… “uh, Mrs.Whaley? I can see that you are headed to the pool, and I wanted to let you know that they heard thunder and it is closed.” SERIOUS??

Well, like your average 6 year old, she was bribed with a trip to Target to pick something out on the way home. I had many people who chipped in for this trip and I want to say thank you for making it possible. It wasn’t what we intended, but I know the time with Audrey was well spent.

I was tired on this trip. Slower getting around. Even took a nap one day while she watched Disney. I am so thankful the timing of the trip happened when it did, because when we returned Wednesday, I went downhill fast. Ethan was already working from home, I crawled in bed and didn’t leave. Thursday morning, he called the doctor and we ended up with a procedure and a 4 day stay in the hospital. I am look to go home tomorrow with full time oxygen, less fluid on my lungs and feeling much better. But 1 more day and I would have missed my window with my baby girl. Thank you God for your perfect timing, tornado or not.

More radiation

I am approaching 4 weeks on this nutrition change. I have hit ups and downs all along the way. Thankfully, I have many at my disposal working on meal plans, recipes, etc. I have felt everything from excitement as I cook and try new things all the way to anger and eating maybe too many of my gluten-free, low carb brownies. I think I am an emotional eater. When I would get down or angry, a handful of frozen chocolate chips was not uncommon to pop in my mouth. Now I am in this place where that comfort, that coping mechanism has been taken away. Excuses can go on and on… but bottom line is I don’t like this. And I am sure you all know that, but I still need to just say it.

And as time goes on things change and progress. I have not been blessed so far with stabilization or regression. I fully expected to see a change by now. Maybe the cancer would not be gone or even smaller, but I really thought at least stable. But in the last 2 weeks, I have been in more pain, more tired, and had a harder time breathing than I have in the past. I have said many times in the pasr that I feel great, I feel normal… it is so weird that there is cancer all over, because I can’t tell. Well, I am finally at the point that I can no longer say that. Off of all the treatments, the chemo, I feel the cancer. The ache is my bones, particularly my legs, is unbearable at times. It interrupts my sleep, my play with the kids, my energy. My lung is still striving to get air and that makes everything from taking out the trash to reading books at bedtime difficult. The hard truth that I don’t even want to type is that I feel like I am dying. I feel like this is what the end feels like. It’s not a chemo dose that will run its course. Its not one of the many shots that makes me feel bad for a day or two. This is cancer. This is what it does. It invades every, EVERY, aspect of my life.

This week, I will have a radiation planning appointment. I will begin pin-point radiation on my hips and femurs. The worry is that for those main weight-bearing areas, if the cancer grows too widespread and weakens the bone, I am at risk for fracture or breaks. And I recall my doctor saying, “If you break a hip, you will never make it out of the hospital.” Honest, right? So to help ease some of the pain, to attack the cancer in those spots, and to give the bone a chance to regenerate, I will do 10 days of a low dose radiation here in Austin. I am hoping that it gives me some real relief.

But what after that? I don’t know. Do I go back to chemo? Does chemo potentially give me more time? I don’t know. These decisions would be so much easier if we just knew the answer. For now, we covet your prayers. Prayers for wisdom. Prayers for pain relief. Prayers to be able to enjoy what we have today. Prayers that God will still heal. The great thing about hope is that nothing can ever take it away. I can have hope up until my very last breath. A belief that my God can do anything. The struggle of this is knowing He can and not understanding why He doesn’t. Accepting this life and this journey that has been laid out for me since the beginning of time. Faithfully accepting the grace that God gives me to make it through the next curve and letting that be enough.

My heart is heavy. My heart aches for healing. But my soul is covered in the love of my Savior. I have never been more thankful for the gift of salvation than now, looking into the eyes of death. Believing that all I had to do was say yes and Jesus did the rest. That when that day comes, despite the grieving there will be rejoicing. Oh, how I don’t understand it, but my soul pushes me on to believe it every day.

Megan and the Great Wolf Lodge


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Megan and I were off to her place of choice, Great Wolf Lodge. We have been as a family a few times so she knew exactly where she wanted to go. She certainly surprised me with her independence and was off on her own every time I turned around. I had to keep reminding her this was a mom and me trip. She made a buddy the first night we were there. We met up a few times with them and enjoyed lunch the last day together. That is when God really opened the door to this radical diet change. Her mom had breast cancer years ago and her father got me on the right track. I certainly consider our meeting a gift from God.

Megan and I swam and rode rides and snuggled with movies at night. We went to the theater and an aquarium one day as well. She finally completed the Magi Quest game that GWL has that involves us going up and down stairs searching for clues and ultimately fighting the dragon. It was totally up her alley. She was disappointed to leave, but we enjoyed a great trip together. This trip was also blessed by a few friends who donated money to our account at the GWL. I didn’t even know you could do that, but they figured out how. Great people around me for sure.

The Great I AM

IMG_2684You know the Israelites? They were slaves for 400 years in Egypt. Short story, God had Moses lead them out of slavery and promised them the “Promise Land.” (Exodus 3:8-10)

When Moses asked God who he was to say sent him to Pharaoh, God responded tell him it is I AM. I always thought that just meant he is the I AM – that’s enough, its Me.. God. But it means that He will be whatever Moses needs him to be. If you need miraculous signs – I AM. You need me to interrupt nature and part the sea – I AM. You need food and water in the desert – I AM. I AM everything you will need to accomplish this task.

God did say he would bring them into the land, but the Israelites had to fight for it. They were not expected to do it on their own strength, but with God’s strength. He says,”I will be an enemy to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you.” God would help them by bringing down the walls of Jericho, he would give them strategies to defeat the enemy, he would empower them, but they had to obey and fight.

This encourages me to trust that God is still my I AM. I AM your protector. I AM your toxic cleanser. I AM your medicine. I AM your strength at the end of the day. I AM your strategy giver. I AM your Father. I can be everything you need to accomplish this task.

In the last 2 weeks, I have made the decision to stop chemo (for now). I have met with too many people and have too many opinions to sort through. We have decided that a radical diet change is the best way to get my immune system jump started and let my own God-created body try to fight this cancer. The cancer is smart, getting smarter. It can dismiss drugs and leave itself completely unaltered. But my own body… it was designed to fight these abnormalities. My prayer is that God will allow me to stay well enough, long enough to fight this internally.

Maybe for some, I look like I am fighting. I am taking this in stride and giving it my all. But it is hard. I love Mighty Fine. I love Chick-fil-A. I love lunches with my husband and quick easy dinners when I’m tired. But now my life is planned. I have to always have on hand what I can eat and be prepared to cook a dinner worthy of this diet. That is hard. And honestly, I am angry at what I am now eating. I’m angry that the pleasures of food have been taken away. (I don’t actually crave roasted broccoli for a snack) I’m angry it takes so much prep and money to eat this way. I’m angry that there is not just one way to do this and everyone has a suggestion – only clouding the water for us. I am trying to do this on my own and not letting God be my I AM. You need me to take away your cravings? I AM. You need me to help with strategies? I AM. You need me to interrupt the way your body is working to fight the cancer. I AM. But in the same breath as I am letting God be everything I need, like the Israelites, I still have to fight. I have to go to the store. I have to cut the veggies. I have to make a plan for dinner. I have to look at this as an opportunity to fight this cancer. It is going to take work and dedication and perseverance. The PET scans show cancer in all my bones, and surrounding the right lung. There are spots on the liver and it appears that things have progressed in the last few months. It is hard to measure bc it is so wide spread. I just glow all over in the scan. I will stick to a detox and a harsh diet for the next 30 days and we will rescan. My prayer is that there will be signs that this is working. My prayer is that God will reward this hard work, this fight, with a new HOPE, and that there will always be grace to take the next step.

Thank you all for your words, you donations, your cards. I have taken 2 trips with my girls and have just Audrey’s left. I will try to get the pics up here for you to see. The love and support is indescribable. It is only from God. I am blessed to receive it.