Win-Some Women is a retreat held on Mackinaw Island at the Grand Hotel. It is extremely difficult to get into whether it is the spring or fall. We were blessed with someone's generous, anonymous gift a while back and I used that for the registration..Mom was able to get a scholarship too! The Grand Hotel is a ritzy place and the staff there bend over backwards to make your stay special. The dining was an experience in of itself, very fancy for this country hick girl from Northern Michigan! The waiters were all Jamaicans and called us My Lady, or one guy even called me a Princess, which I felt was a stretch! At lunch before we left, one of them held out his arm for me and I felt like a Princess!! It was very special and Mom and I had a blessed time. I wish I had a photo for you but alas, I took a point and shoot camera, not a high tech digital one.
The speakers were daughters of Billy Graham, Ruth and Gigi..both of them have had sorrow filled lives; divorce, prodigal children, etc. They were transparent and genuine and Ruth spoke about suffering via Jeremiah the prophet...
Did you realize he warned the people of Judah for 20 years that they were going to be taken into captivity by the Babylonians? He wept over them; wore a wooden stock on his neck for them as a picture of what they were going to be ushered into as a people, then he used iron shackles because they laughed and said they were strong enough to deal with the wood illustration! He was thrown into a pit to starve to death but rescued by a dude who felt compassion on him..Good ole Ebed-Melech..
They never did heed Jeremiah and off they went...into captivity just like he warned them about for 2 decades..
Why am I telling you this? Because Jeremiah suffered..he suffered because he obeyed God. Sometimes we do when we obey. Sometimes it is because we have sinned and God is disciplining us, sometimes we don't ask for it and there it is--pain, red hot searing pain...
Her whole point was that suffering doesn't mean we have done anything wrong--boy have I heard that since I was diagnosed...long story...but it has come to my ears, in the form of Job's comforters...
If you don't know what that means, it is in Webster's.
I also had lady after lady come up to me and ask me where I was in my treatment..at first I was uncomfortable by all the attention, but then I realized "Well Bonnie , you DO kind of stick out!" Out of 959 women, I was the only one with a scarf covering a bald head..One lady was the chairperson of Relay for Life in Roscommon and told me her story..her husband was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer and given a very short time to live...then she says with a twinkle in her eye, "That was 6 years ago..and I attribute it entirely to the prayers of God's saints." She added me to her prayer list and I was so humbled...One lady said she had my hairdo 2 years ago and gave me a big hug..told me to be strong in the Lord...Then if I hadn't had enough encouragement, the Lord put me between two ladies on the carriage ride back to the ferry, who had breast cancer! One was 72 and a 9 year survivor, one was a little older than me and a 2 year survivor..they both hugged me after we got out and the 72 year old said, "Never give up and never stop praying, you'll be alright honey!"
On the ferry ride, a lady sat next to Mom, a 2 year survivor, from Traverse City. Her hair was mousy brown she said before chemo, now it is brown flecked with grey and rather curly...
I came back the day before my new chemo drug round encouraged, refreshed and filled with hope!! I left my burden of that niggling fear/what if, at the retreat...praise God!!
Taxol...it is classified as an irritant...that is why it comes via my veins in a glass bottle and takes 3 hours to administer...that is why I had to take strong steroids, which I am still buzzing off of tonight...I got benedryl too and an anti nausea plus something for my tummy to not get all heartburny...it was funny.. the nurse saw me eating my yogurt and bagel that Tim had just gone to get me and she says, " you better eat that fast!" I thought ok, I've got a few minutes.. in reality I had seconds...it hit me like a TON of bricks and put me into this stupor/state of the whole world slowing down...I slurred my speech Tim says and I tried to make this speech about how I still had my faculties, etc and both the nurse and Tim looked at me like "Yeah right!!" It was pretty wild...
I felt like I weighed 800lbs going to the bathroom..I told the nurse that. When I left, she said next time I come in they'll give me half that dose so I will only feel like I weigh(you guessed it) 400 pounds! She had such a smile on her face. They must see some hysterical comical things! I am glad I was able to add to their arsenal.
All in all I feel pretty good right now. Taxol causes numbing and tingling in hands, fingers and feet..it also makes it nasty to hold and touch cold stuff I guess. One guy told us he had to wear gloves just to cook eggs in the morning! The cold was like an electric shock to his fingers! Upset tummies are low on the side effect list and I am thanking God for that! I actually came home and ate a real meal and it settled well.
How many more? I have 3 more of this and then I am done!!!!!!!!!!! I get to go on some estrogen killing hormones for a few years but Lord willing by the end of November, chemo is finished!! They are two weeks apart, so barring anymore holdups, my next one is November 2nd.
My children have been great; they had the whole house cleaned Friday when I got home, they had done some school on their own and just did a super job of taking care of things. I am so grateful they are of this age, so they can do these things.. I cannot imagine being Mom with younger children, who need constant tending, diapers, baths, etc and battling cancer at the same time...I know there are Moms out there doing just that..
Keep praying, God is hearing..
I am going to close with a verse from Psalm 57 : 1, I got from the retreat..such depth and brutal honesty...
"Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, for my soul takes refuge in Thee; and in the shadow of Thy wings I will take refuge."
He is my refuge and He is gracious,
P.S. I felt so good today I walked 3.5 miles with the dogs!! Jack loves the water! I also shot the shotgun because it has been SO long! I got a turkey license and I want one in the freezer for Thanksgiving! It hurt my shoulder though...I need a pillow or something!