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From Elaine's CaringBridge Site

Journal entry by Laura Roberts — 9/29/2015

It's Homecoming in Alabaster and that means a week filled with fun festivities. Elaine was invited to the Homecoming Dance so we are taking a break from treatment this week so Elaine can feel good for Homecoming this week. Our plan is for Elaine to go to the Homecoming parade on Wednesday, the game on Friday and the dance on Saturday.

How did this all come about you ask? So last week I was approached by the boy's mom about this sweet soul inviting Elaine to the dance. Would that be something that would even be a possibility? Originally homecoming week was a week that we were going to be in the hospital for our last 5-day stay for this cycle of treatment. If you don't believe in God's timing you should because what I am about to tell you is all God's doing. I would have messed it up if I had not relied on Him. My first answer was that I didn't see how she would be able to do it. We would be in the hospital. She wouldn't even get out until Saturday. But as the conversation went on something told me to at least discuss it with the doctor to see what he had to say about it. Our appointment was the next day for an inpatient treatment. I mentioned it to the doctor and he said that we should delay her hospital stay until the next week. We went ahead and gave her a shot that would boost her immune system as her counts were low. That shot was really going to be given after the hospital stay but he went ahead and said to give it so she would feel her best by the time Homecoming Weekend came around. Elaine had been upset because she was not going to get to go to the game as one of her closest friends is on the court and she wanted to be able to see Chloe on the court. Now she gets to go to the game and is excited about going to the dance with her friend Rob who is a tennis player with her at Thompson. See...all God's timing and how I almost blew it. I posted a picture of them when he asked her to the dance on the photo section of this site.

So, this week is nothing and Monday starts week 17 of treatment. We will be at The Chilton for 5 days for what I hope and expect to be our last stay for about 6 weeks. We are excited about the break from The Chilton. Week 18 is a scheduled off week to recover and week 19 is when we rescan.

Major decisions will be made in week 19 about how to proceed. The first major decision will be about her foot where all of this started. The options as I mentioned in an earlier post are to have surgery on her foot and then radiate or no surgery and just radiate. This decision will be driven by how much the tumor in her foot has shrunk since the last MRI thereby determining how devastating the surgery would be to the foot. We of course want no disfigurement. The surgeon at UAB Highlands which does all this type surgery for Children's kids will be on maternity leave throwing a wrinkle in my plan. For those of you following my posts you remember that I struggled before opting for treatment at Children's. I also struggled with staying in Birmingham for the surgery. I had really recently decided that I was okay with staying in Birmingham for the surgery and now we may have to go through that struggle again. We may go back out to MD Anderson or we may consult with another surgeon in Birmingham. As I understand it the surgeon at MD Anderson is a friend of the surgeon that was going to do the surgery in Birmingham. I'm not sure at this point what will happen as all conversations will be driven by the results of the MRI on her foot. As you can imagine all of this is causing me a lot of anxiety which is when I have to remember to pray about everything and worry about nothing which by God's grace I learned to live by many years ago. The next major decision will be about her lung. If the CT Scan still shows this place in her lung then we can either leave it and assume it is not cancer or go in and get it and have it biopsied to confirm whether it is cancer or not. If we decide to go get it then that is another surgery (Elaine has already had two surgeries). If we don't do surgery and it is still there then the recommendation would be to radiate to make sure and that is too iffy for me. I don't want to radiate her lung unless totally necessary. Of course if the CT Scan shows no place on the lung now then that would confirm that it was cancer and we would then have to radiate the lung as well as the other places on her body (there are three; foot, shoulder, where 1 lunph node was).

My Sunday School class is doing a study by Kay Arthur titled Living Victoriously in Difficult Times. This study is basically a reminder that suffering is a blessing and a privilege from God and that it is during suffering that God tests you to try your character and prove you faithful. This study has great reminders of how Paul responded to suffering and how Job responded to suffering. James 1:2-4 states Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the resting of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Let me just say that I am lacking in something still because I have wanted to throw that book at times. I said in my class that God has given me a circumstance that I can not run away from nor can I fix myself. I think to many other situations in my life where I should have walked through but I ran from or fixed in a way that better suited me and got me out of the uncomfortableness of where I was. I do know that God is speaking to me through this study in so many ways but specifically through the word hupomone (pronounced hoop-o-moan-a) which is a Hebrew word that means patience or endurance in difficult circumstances or as my pastor at Mountaintop, Bill Elder used to define it, "Hang in there" . I have a painting of the Hebrew word hupomone hanging over my bed because this word spoke to me several years ago. So as I keep reading the word hupomone throughout this study I know God is speaking directly to me. This study is a lot to wrap your head around but it is definitely sinking into my heart slowly but surely, as the saying goes.

We had sweet friends gather for a painting party for Elaine last weekend. We had a blast and it kept me from watching Auburn get beat which I was thankful for. Football season is not going as hoped this season but I could say that about 2015 in general. I'll be thankful that I am not missing a break out season on The Plains.

Until next update...Rejoice and exult in hope, be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all of your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. Proverbs 3:5

Not only so (boast in the hope of the glory of God), but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4

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