Monday, April 30, 2007

Peach fuzz a Growin'

First of all I couldn't get the pictures to line up.

Many family members have told me how much my hair has been growing. It is great encouragement for me to have almost all of it starting to grow back. There is one little section over the right area that is yet to come in. Thank you Carter for taking the pictures.

While on the flight home from Florida I wasn't wearing my headband to cover the odd looking area. A passenger stopped me while I was taking Stuart to the latrine. She thought I was a stewardess for the airlines and wanted some kind of drink for her baby on the decent. So I guess my odd looking area is not as noticable to others as it is to me. The boys don't even take a second glance when I put it up for the evening. That is great news! We are adjusting to cancer and everything that goes along with it.

Yesterday I started to have some occasional pain on my left side of my head. It doesn't last long. Not enough to take tylenol. I have a call into oncologist Dr. Needles. I should hear something by late afternoon if I should have any further concern. I don't like having the pain on the left. Dave asked if it was a dull or sharp pain. I cannot describe it only to say it is not as excruiating as the previous tumor pain on the right side. Just wanting to make sure though that it is just "normal" pain.
Working on Field Day preparations for Covenant Christian School. It is next Friday, May 11. All will have a blast including myself.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Psalm 139 +

Ps 139:1-16

O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.
You hem me in--behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (NIV)

Just wanted to share that with you tonight for no special reason. Reading past posts in November.

I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. Joh 42:2

Friday, April 27, 2007

A Sponge so Bring the Rain

Lately I have had many people come up to me and ask how I am doing. It has been great to tell them that I am doing well physically. I feel quite well except for the occasional aches and pains. (I am sure it could be much worse after brain surgery.) Also telling them that I am much better emotionally after an extremely rough fall. I was just reminiscing while on a errand run. I started to cry thinking about how I really felt I was in a pit. A deep dark pit. I would be all out weeping without control on the basement couch. I remember saying to Dave and my mom "This is no fun. My life is supposed to be fun and this is no fun." I chuckle to think . . . WOW I had some growing up to do. Still do for that matter. I can still have fun and be fun yet differently than before. My God given personality is still there. That is good for some to read but not good to others. ha ha ha

One of the conversations this week was with a woman that used to be Cole's Sunday school teacher when he was three years old. Her children are in high school and beyond. She was and continues to be a delight to my heart. I was surprised to hear that she is one of my silent bloggers but prays often especially for dear Cole. She shared with me that God allows us to go through trials for refinement. Further explaining that pain is pain. If God gave us a choice between having 1. infertility 2. troubled teens 3. medical issues 4. depression 5. special needs children 6. aging parents, etc. (the list goes on and on) we wouldn't choose any! What is so neat is that this pain shows us clearly God's grace and power. He will take us from point A in our spiritual walk to point B. I feel as if I am being taken to point Z at times. Whoa! I am like a sponge when Godly people share their thoughts to me. It was so good to take the time to talk with her. I only wish I had more as I had to run to pick up the older boys at school.

On a side note: Last Sunday in church the special music dealt with my exact heart issue of mine of not being sure if I would be able to praise God if my cancer came back quickly. It has been on my mind this whole week. The main conviction of my heart was that the songwriter spoke of his ability to praise God since his / her life was changed long ago due to a personal relationship with Jesus. And can circumstances change that?

Jesus Bring the Rain by Mercyme.

I can count a million times
People asking me howI
Can praise You with all that I've gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You
Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain
I am Yours regardless of
The dark clouds that may loom above
Because You are much greater than my pain
You who made a way for me
By suffering Your destiny
So tell me what's a little rain

So I pray
Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God Almighty

Pray for the many opportunities in sharing God's story in my life to people. There have been some each week. Pray that I am moved out of the way. For them to see Jesus and not me.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

College Major & Bean Plant

Special quotes from Carter and Cole

Monday evening while Dave & I were doing the dishes and Carter was clearing the table he was discussing his day and their standardized testing. I told him he will have testing up until he is older. He asked if he will be filling in the holes in college as well. My response was that he will probably take a test to allow him to get into college. After that response Carter mentioned that his good friend Logan wants to go to the University of Kentucky. I told him I wasn't surprised due to his parents being southern folks. Carter was wondering where he thought I would most see him go to college. "It all depends on what you want to major in." As Carter was walking out of the kitchen he most assuredly without any question responded "I'm going to major in sports." Like duh mom. Dave and I really were amused by his college major. No hesitation was with his response. Dave chuckled and said "That is a 8 year old for ya."

On to Cole and his first grade plant project. At carpool yesterday Cole was holding a plant. The first words out of his mouth were "Guess how many inches my plant is." I said I didn't know. He proudly announced "Nine inches and 23 millimeters." After further investigation he told me that his plant came from a bean. I love how it wasn't just nine inches. He made sure I knew he measured it himself with his ruler.

I just love the way God made boys. I love their uniqueness and zeal.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Bounty of the Lord

They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion; they will rejoice in the bounty of the LORD -- the grain, the new wine and the oil, the young of the flocks and herds. They will be like a well-watered garden, and they will sorrow no more.
Jeremiah 31:12

Dave & I have been committed in sharing with you the ways God is providing for our needs. I wanted to update you on the financial aspect.

Two days prior to leaving for Florida one of our statements from Wash U / Siteman doctors stated in a small corner of the bill that a discount may be available and to call a certian phone number. The billing department explained that if we paid in full they would take 20% off the bill. That was a savings of close to $400. It had something to do with tax purposes. Thankfully we had enough in the trust fund to pay the bill in full. We felt it was a wise decision. After taking the money out of the trust to pay off that bill there was enough money to pay for one of many bills next month as we are making monthly payments.

Upon returning from Florida a donation was made to the trust that will allow us to make most of the three payments for next month. If not all. I love how God's timing is not our own. He has and continues to meet all our needs. Not just some. I love how He had all this in store for us long ago. We are blessed. Praise God!

O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.
Isaiah 25:1

Gone Bananas

I am doing a little networking today. I need your help.

Banana boat sunscreen went bananas on my face after Florida. It is not a pretty sight. Since radiation I was strictly instructed to wear sunscreen at all times when I go outside this year. I do have some makeup that has spf 15 with a tint in it from Clinique. I am looking for some sunscreen that does not have a tint that would be good for poolside. Do you know of any great spf 15 sunscreen for the face that does not cause breakouts? I prefer not to spend an arm and a leg for the product.
Couldn't help but add a fun picture of Stuart from our trip. He loved wearing aunt Je Jeans shades. He never wanted to wear his.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Florida 2007

Boy have I missed talkin' to you. We just returned yesterday late evening from Naples, Florida. It was a much needed family vacation. Dave's company has a home that the employees can use 7 days for a minimal fee. We signed up about a year ago. So thankful we did. Many wonderful family memories were made. The home is just a drive to the many white sandy beaches. When asking the older boys what they enjoyed most about the trip they responded with their favorite place to eat. Go figure - the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. I do have to say the Cuban restaurant near Miami was one of my favorites. Most everyone spoke Cuban (Spanish I think) except for our table. They even had separate menus in English.
I didn't post that we were leaving for Florida due to safety reasons.

Hope you enjoy the pictures. I took 198 from what it said when I downloaded it to the computer. It was difficult to choose some for the blog. Don't you love digital?

My younger sister, Jean was able to join us as well. We weren't sure if I was going to be on chemo when we purchased our flight tickets in November. Of course . . . we weren't sure about anything. So glad she joined us. She is truly a fun loving aunt. Stuart would continually tell her in the van "I NEED you Je Jean." He has promoted his name for her to Je Jean as it was Dee Dee. I started to wonder who was more important me or Je Jean. He would want her more than me. That tells you how important she is. Of course he wants Mommy when he needs to go potty. Why is that?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Happy Birthday Dave

Happy Birthday Dave!


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Adorable Pics & God Story Update

Thought you might enjoy some pics taken recently. The one of Carter made Dave and I laugh so hard. I was reading with Cole on the couch this past weekend when Carter suddenly came up to me and said hello in a girly voice. Laughter was the best medicine for that long 15 minutes. He had gone downstairs to find my quilted jacket that I put away for the summer. He then proceeded to find my sunglasses along with my cell phone in my purse. The plus is that he found a polka dot headband to accessorize with. Dave told Carter that he looked like mommy on a shopping excursion at the mall (minus the camos). It was sooooo funny to see him giggle while Dave and I were rolling in our laughter. Cole joined in the fun by pretending to put on some lipstick with the Big Mama sunglasses.

Ohh isn't Stuart just something you want to eat up? He is so adorable if I do say so myself. Major sugars!

As for my testimony today it went well. Yes, I cried at the part where the median life expectancy is 4 years plus the prayer request on living to see my grandchildren. They asked for some pictures of the boys to insert in the video segment. I can't wait to send in some great ones. I would like to know who doesn't cry when giving their story of how God has been working?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Let's Give a Cheer!

Let's Give a Cheer
A sigh of relief should be heard
For growth in Kate's brain Dr. Linette said "That's absurd!"
So hip hip hooray, let's give a cheer
the April scan is clear
NO cancer resides here.
Praise God!
As for the eye it is unclear what is causing the pain. I should see Dr. Forget if it persists. My next scan is on Monday, June 11 and the results will be known 2 days later per Dr. Needles on Wednesday the 13th. Truly there is a sigh of relief! Carter will be happy as well. He prayed last night for God to keep the cancer away from my brain. He prayed " . . . because she is my mommy and she is very special to me. I want her to live till she is at least 90. 80 something is ok too!"
Except for the multiple delays - all went well. I was there no later than 7:44 am. My MRI didn't officially start till 8:40. Forty minutes past the scheculed time. My blood work wasn't till almost 10 o'clock. Dr. Linette understood the delay. I was a little miffed at a man in the elevator mocking my attempt to call Dave to give him the good news. It was a good thing that I only needed to go up one level or I would have given him a piece of my mind. He was saying "Great someone on their cell phone. Hi honey, I'm pregnant." Ohh the sparks were flying in my head. Come to think of it he looked pregnant. I should of held up the elevator to tell him the great news to let him know that not all phone conversations are about pregnancy but more important details of a clear brain scan. It was a good thing I kept my mouth shut. Spicy Kate would not have been a great witness.
Thanks for praying! Here's to many many more clear scans. Who knows you might get another poem in June.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

God's story on Thursday

It is good to note that life is just too busy here with Dave at a business dinner tonight. Not much time to dwell on the morning scan a roo aka: MRI.

I did get a call from our church letting me know that this Thursday at 9:30 I will give how God has been working in my life. I am happy to say that I left the 5 loads of laundry alone (the ones that needed to be folded) to work on the testimony in mach speed. Stuart was sleeping soundly during this time. A little verbage change needs to be done but otherwise I am quite pleased with my three page spread. It was so difficult to write out the cancer journey part thus far. So much to be said but not enough time nor could I put it all in words. Maybe I should just have this blog in book form and say "Here read this. That should cover it." I am amazed at the huge - I mean gargantuan (if that is a word) - Did I say HUGE? - difference in my previous written God story. It was a little fluff. I always wanted a more dynamic story but not this so dramatic though. God has really changed me from the inside out. I guess there is no turning back now. Of course why would I want to turn back. The only really scaring part is I now have everyone reading this blog - a little accountability I guess you could say. Just remember it is a process not perfection. Especially remember that for measly Kate Snodgrass. You all know quite well she is not perfect. Although she likes to think she is. Ok she is in some ways perfect. Ha ha ha! (Ladies in my Bible study - not to worry this is not the pride we see in the kings of Daniels day.)

On a more serious note: You know to pray for a clear scan tomorrow. If it is not clear pray that I can still praise God with the results. That really goes for all the future scans. I need to praise Him when it is good and praise Him in the "bad". I am concerned that I will not be able to praise Him if growth is present as I will be utterly upset to say the least. Devasted, crushed, etc. I know God has been faithful thus far and that He has only given Dave and I what we can handle. I just know that November - January was such a fast pace. I don't want to repeat that for some time. My hair (when I had more) was blowing so fast I couldn't keep up at times. God has a purpose in all that he does. Help me to see each purpose for His glory.

As for my eye pain it is not as bad as it was on Saturday and Sunday. Thanks! I do love each one of you. I only wish I knew who is reading and praying on this blog. I would as Beth Moore said in her closing comments today at Bible Study "Hug you so tightly." Be sure to leave a comment or two. Don't be shy! I do cherish the comments even the ones that just say praying for you with a name or email address.

I'll update you tomorrow as I will know the results after seeing Dr. Linette.
See you in the afternoon.

The perfect Kate signing off!

PS - Laura, I like the idea of kidnapping a massage therapist. You name it I'll be there. My vehicle or yours? Keep in mind safety Dave might not be on the plan. Shhh! Keep it a secret between you and me. Bloggers don't tell.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

A Sharp Stick in the Eye

Saturday brought me the start of my concerns with the upcoming Wednesday MRI scan. My right eye has been aching at intermittent times. During the evening filling of Easter eggs my eye had for a moment a sharp sensation. The only way to describe it was - it was like a sharp stick in the eye.

Today (Easter Sunday) after not such a good nights sleep brought more eye aches. The pain is always in the right eye above and behind the eye ball. I even took a nap prior to the dinner in hopes that it would help. I have noticed sleep deprivation brings on eye fatigue. Two tylenol were taken prior to dinner at grandpas. The multiple aches still occured. They hurt enough for me to not concentrate fully on a conversation. Thankfully the pain doesn't last a long time. Just 40 seconds or so.

I am concerned about the right eye aching. Pray it is still trying to heal from brain surgery or radiation therapy (RT). Dave and I were discussing my concerns last night and he said it is and will be normal to have some concern prior to an upcoming scan. The right eye pain is heightening my concerns this time.

Wednesday, April 11
8 am - MRI scan
9 - labs
9:30 - Dr. Linette - discuss MRI results and other concerns

Thank you for lifting this concern and MRI to the Lord on my behalf.

Needing a good backrub - kate

Friday, April 06, 2007

Not all about me - Thanks

It is long overdue to have this thank you on the blog. I wrote the following letter to Covenant Christian School community and it is applicable for you, the blogger who have also been and continue to be more than a blessing to my heart (if that is possible).
So here we go. . .

Dear Covenant School community and bloggers,

God is teaching me so much through this trial of brain cancer. He is teaching me to trust Him more, believe His promises to me, step out in faith and obedience when He asks me to, lean on Him when I am in the valley of despair and rely on the faithful prayers of many. As James 1:2 says to "Consider it pure joy . . . when you encounter various trials." In having a brain tumor Dave and I are blessed to have such great friends. You!

Thank you for loving our family. Your prayers, meals, scripture encouragement, cards, housecleaning and helping with our boys in various ways are a blessing. I am sure the list goes on. We are so appreciative of you and your unselfish hearts. Seeing this unselfish love in a tangible way has humbled me and makes my heart full.

I would like to end with the rest of the James passage (Consider it pure joy when you encounter various trials,) knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect reward, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. God is continually working to make me mature and complete through cancer. He is teaching me again and again that I lack nothing when I trust Him for everything. I praise Him and thank Him for loving me.

Thank you for being a part of this journey,

Kate along with Dave, Carter, Cole & Stuart

** Please pray as my church has asked me to give my testimony via video along with the start of this cancer trial. Pray as I prepare for the video that the words of my mouth will point only to Jesus. It has taken me a while to realize that the cancer is not all about me. I also desire for the video to be an encouragement to someone in need.

It is hard to think that this is only the start of my journey with cancer. I will need endurance.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Disinfecting first grade

Don't you know it is when your husband is out of town when a child is sick. That was the case last night for dear Cole. His allergies are in full force affecting his breathing not to mention the eyes and nose and . . . Really. Last night during the bedtime routine Cole came to me and said that he thought he should go see a doctor due to his breathing. His exhale was producing a crackle noise. After listening to him I concluded to wait and see. Cole has had stridor (airways are closing up) before so I know when it is an emergency. I called Dave and he said he heard wheezing the night prior. Cole also had a cough the past few nights. He had been outside probably too much and his allergy sensitivity kicked into full swing. I went to bed after he prayed with Daddy over the phone. I stressed to Cole to wake me no matter what if he thinks his breathing is so bad that he can't take it any longer. I was exhausted from the day and fell asleep quickly. Woke up at 1 am worried about Cole and prayed. Morning came and Cole was feeling better and the crackling was gone. After dropping Carter off at school Cole was able to see Dr. McKinney at 9:30 this morning. Love Him! He is a fantastic pediatrician. He even came to the hospital along with his nurse, Camille to see me after my surgery. While at the pediatricians Camille noticed Coles neck lymph nodes were enlarged like marbles. She asked him if he had a sore throat. "No" was his response. She said she was going to swipe him for strep. I said great get my $30 copay worth. Dr. McKinney examined Cole and it does seem he has allergy induced asthma. He heard some wheezing. An inhaler was prescribed to get us through spring allergies. It was made known that most patients who have asthma can be linked to allergies. Guess what . . . he has strep as well with not a sore throat complaint nor a fever. Not one of my kids have ever had strep. At 3 pm when I picked up Carter I took in my Lysol disinfectant wipes along with spray and wiped down all the first grade desks. I also sprayed the room. I don't know how long Cole has had strep and it is highly contagious. Realizing that the germs were there all day I still felt good to at least wipe down Cole's desk before he headed back to school. So my philosophy is why not the all the desks. He will be able to return to school after he has been on the antibiotic for 24 hours. Thankful for Cole that a cold front has moved into St. Louis. Don't like getting the winter coats back out but it will help Cole a little.

On a totally different note my next MRI is a week away from today. It is Wednesday, April 11 at 8 am. Aghh! That means I will need to leave the house by 7 am. My bloodwork is immediately following the MRI then I see Dr. Linette at 9:30 to discuss the scan. For the most part I am not fearing the upcoming scan. This Saturday evening I did have some concerns but by Sunday afternoon I was able to give it over to God. I had been asked on Saturday from someone if I wanted to postpone the MRI till after a special trip so if there is growth it isn't looming over my head. (I guess you could say literally.) I decided that I will need to deal with it no matter when it comes. I don't have much control over that. Come to think of it I am learning I am not in control of anything. That is why I have God.

Praying for a clear scan and for Cole's health.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Carter's childhood relationships

Less than two years ago Carter was insensitive to others and their feelings. If he hurt a persons feelings and I would confront him with it his response would most often be "So what?". I have been praying for his heart to be softened in regards to relationships. He is so much like what his mother was like during childhood. I would care only about myself. Me, me and only me.

Fast forward to this Sunday evening. Both boys take a games class during Kidz Club at church. They are also learning about the fruits of the spirit. I dropped them off and went out to find that the mall closes at 6 pm. Drove back and observed the boys the rest of the time. During their games outside on the field I noticed a boy half the size of Carter. He participated in some games but was unable to fully participate in all. He runs slower due to shorter legs. He has some sort of hearing aid and wears glasses. Once all kids came inside to have their snack I noticed that this boy was a little down. He took his snack and went to sit on a chair in the corner of the room. One adult leader went over to him. I overheard the leader pulling aside another boy to ask for forgiveness in hurting the disabled boy feelings. He did ask for forgiveness and went on to be with other kids. My heart was hurting for the boy in the corner. He had taken off his glasses to wipe some tears. I was wiping tears myself.

That evening while the boys were together I wanted to share with them what happened. I told them that this boy didn't ask to have this disability. That it is probably very hard for him to do many things Carter and Cole do without thinking about it. I asked them to go out of their way to get to know him. Be kind. Share a toss of a football. Whatever they think would be appropriate. Carter then went into his room after we all prayed together for the night. As I was tucking Carter in he started to cry. I asked him what was wrong. He said that he was thinking about how it would be if he didn't have any friends. I started to cry again. We discussed in further detail. I told Carter I wasn't asking for him to be "best friends" with this boy. But that he might find that he is funny or something that God has uniquely gifted him. For we know that each of us are uniquely made for a greater purpose. Who would have known that a 33 year old mom would be good friends with an 80 year old man in southern Missouri? Carter pondered that one. God is not asking us to just be friends with people who look like us, act like us or are the same age. I also explained to Carter that each person on this earth has burdens and are broken. Not many kids can say that they have a Mom with brain cancer. He then further discussed that he has seen there are some boys who make fun of him or ignore the disabled boy. The disabled boy is in third grade class. Carter said he is going to try and get to know him. (Carter is not in third grade but he attends the third grade class on Sunday mornings.) He further asked me if he should invite him to his birthday party in June. I told him that would be his decision. Just get to know him first. He is bummed that this Sunday is Easter as there will be no Sunday school or Kidz Club at night. We also will not be a church the next Sunday due to travelling. He is worried about two boys and if they will make fun of him. I told him to think about what is more important to God. What has lasting effects? What is eternal?

I am deeply thankful that God has touched my heart in being more sensitive to other people hurting. It has made me a better parent. I am even more thankful that my 8 1/2 year olds heart is becoming more like Christ. He is maturing. God gets all the glory and praise.

Pray for me as I hold down the fort for a few days. Dave is in California for work.