Peace

 I learned from my devotional that it’s important to seek God daily for His Peace, because spending time with God every day of our finite lives on this earth keeps us aware of our dependence on Him.

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

Great News: A Game Changer

“You should save your old lenses because they’re ancient,” the doctor advised during my appointment. “They don’t make them like this anymore.”

She continued, “The reason your left lens was fogging up all the time is because it’s so old.” . . . So that’s the reason my left lens was givng me trouble for so many of these past months!

Hear that? That’s 1 reason I have difficulty if a health-related issue I’m experiencing is normal & should therefore be expected versus I need to inform my physician right away to solve the problem. After 8 years of cancer treatment & a body racked with head-to-toe (literally) side effects, I’m unsure if what I deal with health wise is normal in my unique case or not. (For instance, I suffered with horrible abdominal pain for a year and a half before going to ER and getting a diagnosis of chronic pancreatitis, because I wasn’t sure if the ruthless pain I felt for 48 hours every few weeks was just another side effect aka my new reality or something else.)

GREAT NEWS: I couldn’t believe how fast it happened! On Tuesday June 2, I saw my eye doctor to order a new pair of customized Prose lenses from Boston where they’re made. By the next evening they’d already been made, shipped to me in Michigan & were comfortably inserted into each eye. These spectacular lenses hold sterile saline on my chronically dry eyes, so while they’re in it’s like a dream come true!

Compared with my not just old but apparently “ancient” lenses, it’s like night & day. Plus the new lenses last easily THREE TIMES AS LONG – jumping from just 2 or 3 at the most to now lasting comfortably in my eyes for 7 or 8 hours –  so as you & “eye” can both now clearly see, I’m beyond thrilled with this outcome.

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 The best new side effect now is that I’m happier. You always feel happy when you’re in better health. For me it’s my new & improved lenses causing my joy!

Let’s follow my oldest nephew’s lead & break into a happy dance:

from 3.31.11 “The Household of Brotherly Love”

I sat there and watched while the 4-year-old stuck the gum right on the car. 

            “Why’d you do that?” I asked, wondering why the boy, who thinks chomping on the sticky substance is one of the greatest things in his world – and is undoubtedly one of the messiest, frequently getting stuck on the carpet or found while washing clothes after being chewed and stuffed in a pocket to reclaim later – chose to put his prized possession on a vehicle of all things. 

“We’re all about saving gum,” his 6-year-old brother chimed in. 

Ah-hah! So that explains why his younger brother stuck his treasured and already chewed watermelon flavored stick of Trident on one of his toy cars. He intended to resume munching after his lunch of a barely touched grilled cheese that was eventually glanced at by their 2-year-old brother and nibbled on by me. 

Also present in the house that day was the baby sister of the gum chewer. Joining them were their cousins, who were just 22 months and newborn, with their Mom aka Aunt Sarah; Grandma and Aunt Amy; and of course their very own Mommy. 

The two boys were parked on either side of me as we sat on three chairs before the kitchen counter. The star of this story, wearing a light grey waffle pajama shirt and striped cotton pajama pants, sat on my right. 

“I don’t like it there,” he said, referring to the current placement of the fruity stuff on the side of the matchbox car. 

Sporting dark blue fuzzy pajama pants with white polar bears and a likewise dark blue long-sleeved shirt, the older brother is always ready and willing to throw in his kindergarten wisdom. 

“Then put it on the top of the car,” advised the elder, trying to ease the anxieties of his 4-year-old sibling who regularly parrots his actions. 

The gum was moved, but I just remembered as I write this that I forgot to mention the possible impending mess to their mother. Only Aunt Amy witnessed the Save the Gum Operation.

There you go: One minor scene from the various that played out in a full house Wednesday, March 30, 2011. 

Watch out, Sis!

 

THE END

Amy Barta’s Reality Living as a Cancer Survivor

 On June 24, 2015, the night before my doctor appointment, I wrote this page-long list of how I live my life with all the life-changing permanent cancer treatment side effects. The aim was to show my bone marrow transplant doctor the next day how I really live, since he only sees the medical treatment side of things and not a patient’s actual daily life:

 Don’t let the positive attitude fool you. I deal with health problems every hour of every day. Life is so hard. I think someone without the family & friends support like I have, as well as my faith in God, would’ve committed suicide by now with all the stressful stuff I am forced to face every single day.

 

Ÿ I lost 5 pounds within the last 3 weeks for my knees because I’m absolutely terrified of knee replacement surgery; my left knee, by far the worse of the two, needs to be replaced & I’ve only heard horror stories about knee surgeries from people who’ve had them. I’m too scared to eat a lot & put damaging extra pressure on bad joints.

 

Ÿ My overall energy level is severely decreased, so getting through each day is a challenge & by the time the weekend comes, I’m totally exhausted.

 

Ÿ This lady I know in Florida just last week sent me a discouraging & hopeless article about chemotherapy & radiation still presenting negative effects to your heart & other organs 3 decades after cancer treatment ended, saying in so many words I can only expect my life to get worse.

 

Ÿ My sleep is interrupted at least 3 times every night to use the bathroom, ever since I was a teenager & cancer drugs forever ruined my bladder.

 

Ÿ I use preservative-free eyedrops a few times every hour for my chronically dry eyes as a result of cancer treatment, when my specially made Prose lenses, which only last for 7 hours at the most, are not in my eyes.

 

Ÿ I eat very carefully, cutting out “fatty, greasy, fried & sugary” foods like I was advised by my primary care doctor, to not disturb my chronic pancreatitis that I deal with as another side effect of cancer treatment.

 

Ÿ I cut out all Starbucks, which used to be a really fun treat, as well as chocolate, & the painkiller Motrin, after I was advised to do so by my primary care physician recently because they can cause my painful ulcers, again caused by damaging cancer treatment, to return.

 

Ÿ Exercising on my recumbent exercise bike is now a daily activity as I try to strengthen my leg muscles to compensate for both of my bum knees.

 

Ÿ I deal with painful joints including my left wrist with Avascular Necrosis, which burns with pain all down my forearm, every couple days even though I always wear my orthotics wrist cast whenever I’m lifting something, like my Kindle to read.

 

Ÿ Walking anywhere, inside or outside, presents a huge risk because having no balance on my brain stem from cancer treatment makes every move, even with my 4-point cane, dangerous (a previous fall from losing my balance gave me a non-displaced fracture in my right hip bone).

 

Ÿ Besides brushing & flossing, to prevent my now chronically dry mouth due to cancer treatment from getting cavities, I use a dry mouth mouthwash every morning & night, except for 3 mornings when I swish coconut oil for 20 minutes to kill toxins in my dry mouth; I use prescribed “MI” paste on my gums every evening to try to maintain oral health; Xylimelts overnight to produce saliva while I sleep; & “Spry Oral Mist Spray” with xylitol that I keep in my purse to moisturize my dry mouth when I’m out.

 

Ÿ I wear an orthotics cast every day in the winter under my long pants to protect my weakened right foot with drop foot & ankle suffering from Avascular Necrosis from rolling, which would cause even more damage making me too injured to walk.