Fear Not

Live with Joy

I have shared the good news of my cancer with everyone.

While receiving big hugs, I know at the very back of my mind is a voice, like the unknown white scattered images of the nodules in the lungs, saying, “ The nasty chemo will continue,” and “ Cancer is not gone yet.  It just couldn’t be seen by a scan.”

Yet, I should not let this voice ruin this joy.  Because I am living in uncertainty, I should make the joy multiply by sharing it with my family and friends.  I went to have sushi, again, and had a good Labor’s Day by having a BBQ with our kids.

Tomorrow cancer may come back, yet worrying about it is like worrying about having a big earthquake or a car accident tomorrow. Even if a statistic says there’s a high chance of relapse of cancer, nobody knows what will happen tomorrow except God.

You do your best, and leave the rest to the almighty heavenly Father. The Bible repeatedly tells so.

Even if we have a long life, without joy or hope it is just breathing and the same as being dead.

Even if we have good news, if we worry to lose it tomorrow, we would not appreciate it fully.

When something good happens, we should enjoy it, thanking God.

If a sad thing happens, ask God for help believing He is right next to us.

If we are not sure, ask God for wisdom, according to the Bible.

We deserve nothing, including a house to live, a job, health, or family, but everything is Grace. If we look around and think, “ Why me?”, that is a great temptation! We have to keep our gratitude to God.

Even if hair will never come back, a body is deformed and ugly, or a mind gets slowed down, we are still worthy for our Lord.

“ Fear not.  I am with you,” promised the Lord.

Until the day God comes to call me to His home, I’d like to live each day, each moment with joy and appreciation without having them be stolen by anxiety or trable.

Encouragement –“God Is Not Dead”

I had no idea what the movie was about, but just being drawn by the title, I went to see it with George and it was surprisingly good, and tremendously encouraging!

It was a story about a college professor who wants to teach that God doesn’t exist in his philosophy class and a Christian student who doesn’t want to deny his faith. The movie was showing unfairness, intimidation, pressure from the secular world,  desolation  or  rejection when we choose to go against  an authority or a current of the world, and so on—common afflictions or challenges we face every day.

Being surrounded by different struggles, the Christian characters chose to be faithful to God instead of giving in or giving up.

I’ve felt heavy since yesterday with the bump on my head, but what I am facing is nothing new.  This is just one of very ordinary trials people encounter; God knows and cares what we are going through. HE IS NOT DEAD!  He is restlessly watching us and guiding us.

The world has been changing quickly; good becomes bad and bad becomes good.  That makes me scared, but Christians are speaking up boldly.

I should turn my eyes away from myself and pay attention to what God wants me to do.

I feel like the movie was God’s response to my prayer.

Just like a quote in the movie, I want to resonate,

GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME!

Distractions and Prayers

Christian Woman Who Was Sentenced to Flogs and Death

It was not so long after the news that Nigerian Christian girls were kidnapped by the Moslem extremists that I heard  the another disturbing news of a Sudanese Christian pregnant woman,  who was sentenced to 100 flogs and  the death by hanging because of convictions of apostasy and adultery.

According to the news, she is only 27 years old and 8month pregnant.  She was born of a Moslem father and a Christian mother, but  since the father abandoned the family, she was brought up as a Christian by her mother and married a Christian man who immigrated to the U.S. from Sudan.

Under the  Islam law,  Sharia, marrying a Christian is considered as adultery and leaving Islam is a fatal crime.  The woman was given three days to renounce her faith, but she rejected saying that she was never a Moslem, but a Christian since the very beginning and will remain a Christian.

Besides Jesus, the Bible tells many stories of persecutions and martyrs because of faith, but somehow I was hoping that was all past history and no more.

If a woman like that Christian, who is so slender, is flogged 100 times, her body will be in tatters and she will die before being hanged.  Why does such a horrified thing happen to the innocent woman just because she was born in Sudan?

What is God doing? Where is He?

My faith was shaken.

Yet, struggling with the questions, I came to the conclusion that she must be receiving the strength from God and the Holy Spirit is with her just like Stephan, Peter, Paul, and many others in the Bible.

My faith is so little that just imagining her situation freaks me out.  The fear of cancer is nothing compared with the fear she is facing.

 The Death of Cancer Friend

As I was writing so far, the sad news arrived.  A breast cancer friend, who was battling relentlessly for 17 months after being given 6 months to live, passed away.  In her final email, she asked me to pray for the strength to face the difficult last days ahead.

Despite being intimidated by the devastating prognoses, she searched for ways to servive not only in the U.S., but all over the world.  She bore numerous surgeries and radiation therapies one after another, as well as nasty chemos.  On top of that, she continued to teach at a college.  Her courage and determination were so astounding and inspirational that I am honored to have known her.

Because we all die physically, I don’t look at her death as a defeat, but an accomplishment. She ran her race well using everything she had.  I imagine that now she is rejoicing with The Lord, Jesus, and her biological father in God’s Kingdom.

Looking up the sky, I want to salute her saying, “Great job! Congratulations!”

 

“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.

I have called you by name; you are mine.

When you go through deep waters,

I will be with you.

When you go through rivers of difficulty,

you will not drown.

When you walk through the fire of oppression,

you will not be burned up;

the flames will not consume you.

For I am the Lord, your God,

….. you are precious to me.

You are honored, and I love you.—Isaiah 43:1-4

 

Believing His promise, and receiving the strength, I want to finish my race well, too.

May God rescue Christian sisters and brothers who are persecuted, and facing death threats, as soon as possible: May He give them strength and hope continually:  May He hold the family of my cancer friend tight mending their broken hearts with His love and hope! Amen.

If We Could Know The Future

Mrs. A , who lost her only daughter recently said,
“My husband’s side has a cancer history and many died with cancer. If I had known that my daughter would have died with cancer, I don’t know if I had given birth to her.”

“I understand.” Responding to her, I thought about the age when we can have abortions if a test during pregnancy tells that the fetus has a disability.
No mother wants to see her beloved children suffer or die.
Yet the next words I said were,
” I am so glad that you could spend so many wonderful times to gather with her and made lots of good memories. That is much better than not having had them at all, don’t you think? And you can see her again in God’s kingdom. For us who are left behind it seems so long, but once it happens, we must feel it was just a second. ”

God made humans to have a loving relationship, and as the Chinese character of a human, 人, was made from a picture of two persons: one is leaning and the other is supporting, we, humans, are born to love each other. If so, even if it’s a short time, being able to experience loving someone, or being loved by someone can be very meaningful and worthwhile.
The conversation continued and we talked about the new generations who are constantly on smartphones, – even at the dinner table – without any interaction with others around the table.
Growing up without knowing the value or price of a family or marriage must be more tragic than dying with cancer – in God’s eyes.

There must be many things that we could prevent if we could know ahead, but it is also true that there are lots of things we should not know about our future. The Bible is good enough to know the future. We don’t need a crystal ball.

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”ーThe Message: Matthew 6:34

CT Tomorrow

It has been three months since cancer came back in June and now it’s time to see if the tumors are gone or not.
For the last two months, I have added Taxol, which took me into the two-year remission last time, onto the newest combo of Herceptin and Perjeta, together with vitamin D, which is also effective in breast cancer according to the recent news. If this were an Olympic event, this regimen would be a medal candidate.
My expectation is high, but because it’s so, I would be very shocked if the result is bad. I get scared if I think, “what if?”.

About a week ago I got an awesome phone call telling that a young man, who has had a very rare type of sarcoma and was told that he had only three months to live, is now recovering miraculously by the last chance medicine. He surprised his doctor, and he and his wife, who has given totally herself to take care of him, are going to Hawaii to have a wedding ceremony they haven’t had because of cancer.
God granted our prayers for him, and I believe the same faithful God is with me, also. So, what should I be afraid of? I shake off the concern and will go to have the CT!

Stands Up From the Desperation: Ed’s Story

“One day it will be over. But it’s not about how long I have left. It’s about how I spend the time I do have.”

Pastor Ed, who has been on a journey with ALS, a deadly disease without cure, said so in his short films, “Ed’s story” I saw recently in the adult education class at the church.

He feels he is getting close to death day by day.  In spite of that, he’s found the purpose to live and hope in Christ.

When he learned that he would be in a wheel chair depending on tubes for nutrition and breathing, and eventually become unable to speak and die in 2-5 years, he, who had given hope to so many as a pastor, fell into dark bottomless pit.
He was neither able to open the Bible nor even pray.
Yet from there, dragging his heavy heart, he began to copy a Bible verse on a card.  On the first card he copied the verse:
“‘ I will never fail you. I will never leave you.’  So we can say with confidence, ‘the Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear.'” ( Hebrew 13:5-6)
He had to read this verse, every day, many times a day.

When his youngest son was deployed to Iraq, Ed gave the card to him, whom might not come back again alive. Ed had to give his son’s life and Ed’s future to God over and over.

After a while, his son came back safely.  Ed, who thought he would not be able to make it to next Christmas, losing a job, future, purpose, hope–everything,  is also still alive 10 years after his diagnosis.

“When we worry about tomorrow, we often miss out on the beauty, richness, and fulfillment of today,” but,
“‘ Look at the birds.  They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them.  And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?'” (Matthew 6:26)

” God is taking care of me.  It’s not over until it’s really over.”

From ground zero, where he lost everything, Ed wanted to follow Jesus and live like Jesus again.  As he began, people who had ALS like Ed, came to him one by one.
At the place of desperation, God gave Ed a new assignment, and Ed found the new purpose to live; new hope in Christ.

In front of the great fear of death, human beings are so helpless, but with God, who gave his only Son Jesus to defeat death, we never lose hope!  Even if our body deteriorates, the love continually feeds and strengthens us!

” Fear not! For I am with you.”

I want to remember God’s powerful promise until the very end, just like Ed.

When Enemies Increased

“O Lord, I have so many enemies; so many are against me.

So many are saying, “God will never rescue him!’ ”

This is the opening of Psalm 3 written by King David about three thousand years ago when he was hunted down by his son, Absalom, who was trying to take over the throne of Israel.

How many times have I found myself in this poem?

The enemies are not only cancer. Sometimes our lives unfold in totally unexpected ways and we face troubles one after another.

Before I knew Jesus, I was seeking protection from such situations in money, psychology, or even charms and fortunetelling.

“But you, O Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high.”

Hiding from cave to cave, and being overwhelmed by the numbers of approaching enemies, David clung to God—I imagine.

“I cried out to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy mountain. Interlude
I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the Lord was watching over me.
I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side.”

Instead of giving up, David received hope, encouragement, and strength.

After I found Jesus, I, too, learned to escape to and depend on only God.

“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. “ (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)

“Trust in the Lord always,
for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.” ( Isaiah 26:4)

Being encouraged by these verses,

I pray like David;

“ Arise, O Lord! Rescue me, my God! Slap all my enemies in the face! Shatter the teeth of the wicked!
Victory comes from you, O Lord. May you bless your people. “

King David

Michelangelo’s David statue

Though One Step Ahead is Pitch Dark

My younger son had a big argument with an employee at a gas station over a car wash. The employee yelled at my son, who was upset at being cheated, “ I will never forget your face!”
As I heard the story, I got scared thinking that he could’ve been shot or harmed.
In fact, he had a friend, who was shot being in a wrong place at the wrong time, and my husband has a friend, whose son was involved in a fight after he was drunk and killed someone.

The next day, the same younger son had a flat tire on a freeway on the way to the Bay area. This story also scared me and all of sudden I started worrying about our three children who drive on the freeways everyday.

George, who turned 60 this year, has Parkinson’s and high blood pressure. Each time when we have lost friends, who’ve fell down and hit a wrong place, had a heart attack or stroke, I got worried thinking that the next one might be him. Not to mention about my cancer or chemo side effects, but if I start counting the concerns, they are endless.
As I read or listen to daily news, they are also so depressing that I can’t help thinking that one step ahead of us is pitch dark. Having today is like a miracle and nobody has a guarantee for tomorrow.

Being swallowed by fear or hit by a great shock, some people get into depression, or even lose their minds, and commit suicide. Yet I can’t blame them. If I hadn’t had a Bible, I may wind up with the same destiny.

Jesus said,
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”—(Matthew 11:28-30)

So I cast my fears, sorrows, or struggles to Jesus, open the Bible to listen to His Word, and remember God’s faithfulness in my past. He has been always with me protecting and guiding me to the right path, and He will be with me no matter what.
“ Do not be afraid!”
Imprinting the God’s words on my heart, I focus on the light instead of the darkness.

I don’t have to try hard to stand by myself. I have God, whom I can lean on and who never betrays me.
I am so thankful that I could know Him!

(This song was written by Marsha Stevens who was saved from drug addiction.)

Unbroken” Louis Zamperini

On the New Year’s Day George and I went to see “Unbroken”; a hot movie about Louis Zamperini, who was born in Torrance, became an Olympian, and survived a brutal Japanese prisoner camp, directed by Angelina Jolie, who led an epidemic of double mastectomies as a breast cancer prevention.

In Torrance there is an airport named after Zamperini. Torrance High School is the school he graduated from, and I used to work there. After he became Christian, old Louis Zamperini came to a men’s club at our church as a guest speaker, and George had a chance to talk with him.  There were enough interests to see the movie.

After the movie was over, George asked me, “So what do you think about the movie?”

Well, first there were so many horrifying scenes that were very hard to watch.  The main part of the movie was that a Japanese sadistic soldier, Mutsuhiro Watanabe, abused Zamperini like hell, and especially when he commanded all prisoners to beat Zamperini’s face one by one because Zamperini refused to broadcast anti-America propaganda on the radio, it was almost too heavy to take it.  I was afraid that people may become anti-Japan, and Japanese may instantly react saying, ”How about Hiroshima and Nagasaki’s atomic bombing?”

Second, the movie didn’t include the most amazing or crucial part of Zamperini’s life: When he became a Christian after the war, being influenced by Billy Graham, he was saved from the hate and nightmares, which had continually tormented him, and he went back to Japan not for revenge but to forgive the soldiers who had abused and tortured him.  The movie only described about it in short sentences at the very end.  It was disappointing.

The evil man, Watanabe, was on an interview in “60 Minutes” when Zamperini went back to Japan.  Watanabe didn’t deny his brutal treatment towards Zamperini, but he refused to see Zamperini.  I can imagine for Watanabe it required so much courage to see the man he wanted to destroy, especially knowing the same man was willing to forgive him.  Nevertheless, It was so shameful that Watanabe didn’t take the offer of forgiveness.

As a Japanese the movie was not easy to watch.  Yet perhaps what I saw in the movie was Satan.  I recognized how savage Satan was.  His claws tear apart our bodies, minds, and souls mercilessly.  It was truly a miracle that Zamperini survived all such sarvage afflictiins.  The movie title “Unbroken” gives an image that Zamperini was an strong iron man, yet in the fact, his life was almost destroyed by the after effects of the satanic attacks during the prison camp despite his survival.  It was Jesus who saved him.

New challenges and trials will come, but if I get scared or depressed, I should remember Jesus who is stronger than Satan, and Zamperini, who produced so many fruits being healed by Him.  I am weak but my God is almighty!

 

 

George’s dismissal

George will be pretty much sure to lose the job at the church at the end of this March. We have been talking about the possibility since the church’s environment has changed more than a year ago. I have been wishing and praying for God’s intervention or opening the new door. The new door is still not clear yet, but leaving the church seems like His answer.

My first reaction was fear and anxiety. George and I are 60. I have had the endless battle against stage 4-breast cancer. George has Parkinson’s and paralyzed vocal cords. Who wants to hire such a man? What will we do with health insurance? I thought that people our age were getting ready for happy retirements with lots of savings, pensions, and looking forward to a cruise, or enjoying hobbies, but our boat seems like going down.

George has been saying to focus on Jesus; if your God is small, the problem becomes bigger, but with a big God the problem becomes smaller.
I have prayed, meditated, and listened to George and God. Then it became clear that George has been doing everything right in God’s eyes. It has been a tough year for him being pushed his gifts into a small box with a lid, and becoming invisible. Yet he has been patiently bearing and continually caring for people behind the scenes.

Then a following Bible verse spoke to me.

“Dear friends, don’t be surprise at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. —
So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.” -1 Peter 4:13-19

George is sharing the suffering with Christ. In the suffering, we are still with God. This is a privilege! Then what do I need to be afraid of?

Matthew 5 The Beatitudes also encourages me:
“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.
God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.
God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God….”

We are receiving blessings even if we may become poor or continually suffer. We’ll be ok, because God is with us!
I am looking forward to seeing what He is preparing next for us.

Give Thanks Today Again

” I have to be on chemo for good.”
As I said so, my 87 year-old mother said sadly, ” How come God doesn’t heal you?”
Around her and me are some people who completed the cancer treatments and have enjoyed their good health for many years. I can’t blame her for asking such a question.

However, the Bible tells to be thankful for what we have instead of wanting what we don”t have.

“I can tell you now, but at the beginning a doctor told me ‘three years’. Yet I’ve been surviving for 5 years. This is a miracle.”
I replied.

The cancer diagnosis was a big shock, but during those five years old friendships revived, and many new friendships with the old, young, healthy, and sick were developed. Always there are somebodies who are praying for me, willing to deliver food, sending me encouragements through cards, emails, or face to face, and sharing good times with me. Though I am in crisis losing securities for a so-called a happy life such as health and finance, receiving incredible supports, I could come to Japan, again. If those are not God’s blessings, what were those?

When Saint Paul lost his eyesight and prayed for the healing, God didn’t grant his prayer. Instead, He said His grace was sufficient for Paul. My cancer hasn’t gone away, but I also have received His Grace abundantly.
Not only me, but nobody has a guarantee for tomorrow. If I think that today’s life, food, and a place to sleep are all gifts from God, my gratefulness overflows, and I feel keen affection towards God. No matter what is waiting in the future, He will be beside me and love me tenderly.
My Mom is doing fine and so am I. This is wonderful! I would like to thank God again today with a smile towards Him.

Reducing Dose of Xeloda

It has been a month to see the oncologist today.

“ How was the trip?”

In the clinic, which started with the question, I told her that I had used a wheelchair at the airport due to the hand-foot syndrome, tears and running nose were constant, and tingling and numbness were irritating most of the time. Then she told me to reduce the dose of Xeloda.

Xeloda is an oral chemo, which I was taking 3 tablets X 2 every day, but now I will take two in the morning and three or even two in the evening depending on how helpful it will be.

Reducing the dose of chemo is always welcome, though I am also anxious about the effect of chemo. As the doctor ordered a CT scan to see it, I expect the phone call is coming for the appointment in a few days.

Then I lied down on the exam table. “Have you noticed any tumor or bumps?” asked the doctor touching my body. “ No,” I said, but honestly I haven’t checked for a while by myself. Becoming conscious, I examined myself after the doctor left the room.

I felt many bumps under the left arm and chest, where I had surgeries to remove cancer. If they are cancerous tumors, I have many. Yet I might be touching bones. Since the doctor, who touched there, didn’t say anything about them, and I will have a CT soon anyway, I should not worry. If cancer is progressing, I will go to Dr. Slamon at UCLA and get his opinion to change the regimen, as usual.

The fact is that because I have used so many good chemo drugs for the past five years, I may not have many choices left. If possible, I would like to stay with the current regimen as long as possible in spite of the nasty side effects. Yet concerning about it is like opening Pandora’s box. It’s a hazard! I should not go that way, instead I should hope that the side effects will be improved by reducing the dose of Xeloda.

Waite Upon the Lord

Waiting is always difficult: Waiting to see someone I love, test results, or even for food at a restaurant.

In Japan there is a famous beloved story of a dog who was waiting for his owner at a train station month after month though the owner went to war and never came back. I feel so sorry for the dog, thinking how discouraging and lonly to wait for the owner.

In the midst of a trial, it is very hard to wait for relief to come. Yet the Bible tells us to wait upon the Lord patiently. “Patient” means “long-suffering”, and “Love is patient,” according to the Bible.

In the ESL Bible study, we discussed about how to wait upon the Lord while it is difficult. My answers were; #1. Praying and listening to God’s Word through the Bible. #2. Remembering how God was faithful to me in the past protecting me and guiding me. #3. Encouraging each other with Christian friends, who also have the faith.

And #4, I learned, to serve someone. Usually we think we have to be strong and fine first in order to serve someone else. Yet actually we should go out to serve someone else especially when we are discouraged or depressed because at such a moment we tend to obsess about ourselves and close up to inner and inner, according to George.

As the next CT scan is scheduled on next Wednesday, a temptation of fear is growing, yet God sent me help. After the study, I have called several senior friends to see them. My life is in God’s hand. Trusting Him to take care of it, I will go to serve for His Kingdom.

My Weapon in Cancer Battle

In a battle against cancer, I think there are three battle fields: body, finance, and spirit. Each one is tough to fight but the toughest field is spirit where fear and doubt come in all the time.

We are somehow curious and want to peak at scary stuff, such as horror movies, haunted houses, ghosts, or death.

Increasing access numbers to a cancer blog of someone who is dying is most likely because of that reason. They want to know how cancer patients die.

Yet, once they know it, the fear of death becomes much bigger and horrifying.

Buddha said we are walking towards death as soon as we are born – according to a history teacher in high school, where I once was working as a bilingual aide. As I learn what death looks like, this perspective depresses me.

On the other hand Joni Tada, a quadriplegic Christian evangelist, who has sent wheelchairs all over the world, said it this way.
“ We move day-by-day toward “the better country.”

“Through we still suffer as we march toward Zion (the Kingdom of God), we become cities on a hill, and lights on a lamp stand for all to see and take courage from that welcome dalliance. “

“Earth’s pain keeps crushing our hopes, reminding us this world can never, never satisfy us. Only heaven can.”

“The fact is, this world never was our true Home. We’ve always been passing through…We’ve always been ‘ marching to Zion.”

“So we set our focus not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is only temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

How greatly our perspective changes once we know God, Father of Jesus! He is the only weapon in my battle field of spirit. I cannot imagine going through this battle even one day without Him. Getting to know Him through Jesus was the best thing that has ever happened in my life.

New Storm Again

“ I don’t think you can continue Cadcyla (T-DM1) for long.”
The oncologist said while we were discussing about my plunged platelet count.

The last lab result showed 75k platelets, which is the minimum requirement number for the infusion ( normal range is 150k-400k). If the platelets go lower next time, I have to postpone the infusion, and even after postponing if it won’t recover, I can’t continue Cadcyla no matter how it is effective.

Comparing with the previous time in 2013, this time my platelet is going down much faster pace along with the faster surging liver enzyme level.
Both are the serious side-effects of Cadcyla and the oncologist explained the reason with a concern that the bone marrow was weakening and functioning poorly being beaten up by the five year continual chemo therapy.

If I give up Cadcyla, what is the next option? I used up all good drugs. The oncologist wants to hear from Dr. Slamon, my 2nd opinion doctor, who invented Herceptin, the life-changing drug for HER2 positive breast cancer, and was nominated for the Nobel Prize. My appointment with him is on Aug. 25th.

God granted the prayers to bring me through the brain MRI. The storms are getting bigger, but God is much bigger than the storms. I must keep holding onto Him and asking for peace, hope, encouragement, and wisdom.

Getting feet Back on the Rock

Damn it!

Why did I receive the infusion? Why didn’t I ask to postpone it until next week giving the bone marrow time to recover?

Why didn’t I ask to reduce the dose? That would also help the recovery.

Since the platelet count has been continually plunging, it is obvious that the next lab will show the worse result. Then it will take a long time to recover.
Umm, I am always so slow!

Last night on top of a side effect of Decadron, a steroid, regretting to receive the infusion, I couldn’t sleep. I can’t undo yesterday. It was done already. Then what I can do was only to pray.

“God please give me your peace. Please fix my mistake.”

I prayed many times but what coming out were only sighs and frustrations.

The morning came. George asked how I was. I said,”It’s crappy.” Yet it was a totally new day! I had a full schedule today, and after spending the day with ESL Bible study, lunch with an old friend from Japan, a visit to the Christian dentist, and volunteering at a homeless shelter, my heart was lifted up.

In the Bible study, discussing about God’s faithfulness and grace, I was encouraged. The conversation with the old friend was so joyous. At the dentist’s, showing the completely closed gum, under which was the necrosis so I had to remove an implant in March, the dentist said, “Praise the Lord.” Serving together with the Tuesday Bible study people at the shelter was uplifting as always.

At the end of the day, I drove back home with complete peace being relieved from the bitter regret and the anxiety about the future. Surprisingly I felt like my future was even bright. Maybe this is just erratic impulsive feeling, but I am so thankful that I could get back my feet on the Rock.

Phone Call At Midnight

It was about 1am. Finishing the bookkeeping, I was about to take a shower and go to bed. All of sudden, the phone rang loudly in the soundless house.

Is it from Japan? Something happened to Mom? Getting nervous, I looked at the caller ID of the phone. There was a phone number with an unfamiliar area code instead of a name. I get such a phone call almost everyday. Usually I don’t answer them but let the voice mail take the messages, and most of the time they don’t leave any messages. Yet, it was a midnight. I decided to answer the phone. ” Hello..Hello..” I said several times, but no response. I hung up, and then right away the same person called again.

“This is Long Beach Police. Are you Kazuyo? Did you lose the passports?”

Police? How come the ID didn’t say the police? He wants to talk about the passports at such a late hour?—really?

Being suspicious, I woke George up and gave the receiver. The caller said he was a detective, and as he found our stolen passports, he wants to come shortly to bring them back to us. He asked our address.

George asked, “How can I identify you are the police?”
The detective gave George his name and the phone number to confirm. George did call the number, and then a woman answered and confirmed his name. Yet, the robbers who broke into our house a week ago included a young woman. They could be pretending like the police officers.

George called Torrance Police this time and asked for the verification giving the detective’s name. Torrance police said the name was verified, and we could go to Long Beach Police to pick up the passports instead of letting him deliver them. George followed the advice, but the name could be used and still everything could be the deception. A group of the robbers may be coming to our house in a minute! I hid the cash, checkbooks, jewelry, etc, again. George held a car key, which had an alarm button for the case of emergency, and told me, who wanted to take a shower, to lock the door of the shower room, and leave the phone receiver close to me so that I could call 911 (the police emergency line) any time.

Taking a shower, I prayed for our safety.

The night passed without any danger and the morning came peacefully just as usual. I felt like I was in a drama. Perhaps we are paranoid. The robbers already know we don’t have many to steal. When I go to the police department, I’d like to ask where he found the passports and why it was so urgent to come to our house in the late night. I will find out soon.

A Robber Was Caught

Yesterday, a Torrance detective informed us that the police caught one of four, who broke into our house last Tuesday.
The detective said the guy still had the safe box.
George and I haven’t picked up the passports, which were recovered by the Long Beach detective since we haven’t been able to contacted him, but The reason why he called us at 1am two days ago, was maybe he found the robber and needed a verification that the passports were ours, so that he could move to arrest the guy.
As the robber still had a safe box, it is hopeful to recover all the things he stole from us. The other three are under surveillance, too, according to the Torrance detective.
It was just a week from the robbery. I was so impressed with the ability of Torrance and Long Beach police, and deeply thankful for them!
Now we can sleep peacefully.
GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME!

Two More Weeks Off Chemo

I see white thin hairs growing on my bald head. That means I haven’t had chemo for  a long time.

Yesterday morning, a nurse of the oncologist called and told me to hold off chemo including Afinitor, an oral daily drug, for another two weeks, which was not a surprise. Yet then, this month I had only one infusion and two weeks of Afinitor. It’s 25% of the full dosage. Cancer must be very happy.

A CT scan, which is rescheduled from 4/5 is coming next week, but I’m not sure if it’s on schedule or will be postponed again. I will find it out this Thursday when I see the oncologist.

Usually I take a CT every 3 months. As I think of the radiation amount I have exposed for the past 6 years, I always wish to expand the intervals. This time It has been 5 months, or possible longer. It is ironic that my wish came true after messing up chemo for a month. If I see the image after such a long time, I may see something horrible, as though I opened a refrigerator after I unplugged it a month. Scary!

Although the family medicine doctor, who called late Saturday night, said that the new 2.7cm nodule found in the latest X-ray was unlikely cancer, because the cough has been so persistent and nasty, it is difficult not to have a bad imagination.

As I’ve heard that there are Kaisers in Hawaii, too, I checked the locations. Unfortunately all of them are in Oahu island, but not 0n Maui island where we will stay.

” I don’t feel like I can make it.” As I said so, George answered, ” One day at a time. Don’t worry about ahead. You said you feel better than yesterday. ”
If I listen to him, I calm down.

Yes. If we face a huge overwhelming mountain in front of us, we need to focus on one day, or one step at a time.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.”–proverbs 3:5

I chew God’s Word.

6th Cancer Aniversary

Today is my 6th cancer diagnosis anniversary. The day when my life turned upside down and I was dismayed by the great magnitude of the shock was just like it had happened yesterday. As the first chemo therapy prior to the mastectomy allowed the cancer to grow, the doctors warned me saying this would be a very tough battle, and one of them even told me I might not live more than four years.

Since then I have had 5 surgeries, the radiation therapy, and endless chemo. I have experienced all kinds of side effects, and the routine of the every three months CT scan has made me nervous always. Meanwhile George was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, lost his voice, and laid off in 2015. We were even robbed this year. This six years have been a big series of life storms.

Neverthless in 2014 George and I could go on our dream trip to Israel, and I have been able to go to Japan almost every year. Friends and family have been so good and supportive, and we were not only able to keep the insurance, the house, or cars, but also have been provided more than we had asked for. Marking the 6th anniversary is nothing but a miracle. This is all because of so many people’s prayers and my dear God’s Grace. I am grateful!

One step ahead is pitch dark and the future is uncertain that is never different from the last six years, but I know my journey will have a happy ending, the victory, because the Bible promised it: because Jesus defeated death! How encouraging it is!

Having a chemo infusion today, I feel sluggish right now just like a typical day after chemo. Yet, if I recover in a few days, I can begin the 7th year from the Hawaii family trip. I am waiting for it patiently. Thy Will Be Done!