Saturday, January 28, 2017

Promises of God

I love the promises of God found in the Bible.  They were a huge source of strength to me when I was a caregiver for my husband.  They continue to be so, as I live my life as a widow.  Romans chapter eight in the New Testament of the Bible is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible.  I think this is true for many Christians.  I especially like verses twenty-six through thirty-nine.

When I was caring for my husband I often felt very overwhelmed by my husband's continual declines in his body.  At times like this it is often difficult to know even how to pray.  Romans chapter eight verse twenty-six reminds us that at times like this the Holy Spirit prays for us, if we are a child of God.  God understands our weaknesses, and He has provided us a helper in the form of the Holy Spirit,  The Holy Spirit prays in and through us.  He prays for us especially during those times when we are too overwhelmed with heartache to find the right words to express our pain to God in prayer, The Holy Spirit understands our sorrows and is our prayer helper before the Heavenly Father.

The Lord has also promises in Romans chapter eight that in all things He works for our good, if we love Him.  This does not mean that we like everything He allows in our lives.  It does not mean that everything in our lives goes according to our preconceived agenda.  Yet somehow God works all things-the good and bad-for our ultimate good.

It was difficult for me to see that when I was caring for my husband and witnessing his continual declines.  Sometimes it is difficult to see that in the days since his death.  Yet resting in that truth has been a huge source of strength and comfort to me especially these past years.  I wrote about this some time ago at another blog site of mine, a devotional blog called "Moments With God."  Below is a link to a post about this subject at this blog site.  Click on the link below to read it:

Yet another blessed truth found in Romans chapter eight is in the last verses of that chapter.  In those verses we are told that nothing, absolutely nothing can separate us from the love of God, if we are His child.  As a family caregiver I often felt afraid of what the future held.  My husband's disease was doing such a number on his body.  Yet God's promise that nothing would or will separate us from His love as His child was and is a huge source of comfort and peace to me.  It can be to you as well, dear caregiver.  Below is a link to yet another post about that subject at my devotional blog.  You can also read that post by clicking on the link below.  Thank you, dear caregiver, for all that you do for your loved one:

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Happily Ever After?

I have a secret I am going to disclose.  I love Cinderella "happily ever after" type movies.  The truth is, however, that our "happily ever after" will not come until our Lord returns.  He is our only true Prince-Prince of Peace.

There are many moments of joy and happiness in this world.  There are also many trials and challenges.  God doesn't always let everything go our way or facilitate our version of "happily ever after" at least not during our existence on earth.  God is more interested in bringing us into a deeper relationship with Him and to a place of submission to His will.  He wants us to come to a place of trusting that His will is always best even in the struggles of life.  He wants us to rest in Him, to trust in Him.

Even in the struggles we can know that He loves us and cares about us, though our unreliable feelings may try to tell us differently.  He loves us even when He doesn't "fix" our difficult situations in the way we would like Him to remedy them. We must rely on the truths of Scripture which promise us over and over that He will never leave us.  God often uses the difficult chapters of our lives in ways that He doesn't use the smooth-sailing moments of our lives.  In the difficult moments it is also His chance to show His faithfulness over and over again,  Rest in His faithfulness, dear caregiver.

Below is a link to an interview with Laura Story.  Her husband and she, as his wife, have been dealing with the consequences of her husband's brain tumor for over a decade.  Her vision of "happily ever after" would have been for God to fix the situation.  That is not what happened.  Yet God has used this situation in her life for her good, to bring blessings.  God has also used the situation for His glory in wonderful ways-one being to encourage us. Click on the first link below to hear her story and insights.  You also may also want to check out her song "Blessings" by clicking on the second link below:

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Storms Revisted

We tend to have some really cold weather and sometimes snow storms in WI at least some time throughout the winter.  Although we have had some really cold times during this particular winter, there have also been some unseasonably warm days as well.

Life is also like that.  There are moments when we experience overwhelming joy, and life tends to be going the way we feel it should go.  There are also moments when life becomes overwhelming due to unexpected storms or trials in our lives.

It was brought to my attention through my Facebook memories that we experienced extremely cold weather three years ago about this time of year.  I wrote a blog post at that time about how that symbolizes our lives and the storms we face.  I related it to the storms family caregivers face.  I decided to bring that blog post back today.  Click on the link below to read that post that I wrote in early January of 2014.  I hope you will find it a blessing today as well, dear caregiver.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

A Guest Post

Today I am going to veer a little from my normal pattern of operation on this blog site.  I usually discuss the emotional and physical aspects most all family caregivers experience.  I also try to steer the caregiver towards the comfort and help we can find in the Lord.

Generally I do not like to discuss any one disease, because the caregivers who read this blog face many different kinds of sometimes devastating diseases with their loved ones.  The disease discussed below is not the disease my husband suffered either.  Because of the request of an online group, however, I am going to allow a more informational post today.  I am going to allow a guest blog post. The post is about Mesothelioma and what this online organization is doing to promote information and help.  Perhaps your loved one is experiencing this disease, or you know someone else who is faced with this disease. The guest post below will speak for itself.  Also this is their YouTube account link: 

Can We Cure Mesothelioma… Please?
As of right now, mesothelioma cancer has no absolute cure, yet. However, significant progress has been made in the efforts that are aimed at improving prognosis for mesothelioma patients. Today, there are many mesothelioma treatment options that enable patients to enjoy healthier, longer lives. These treatments provide hope to mesothelioma patients. In fact, mesothelioma is no longer a death sentence as it was some years back. It is now possible for mesothelioma patients to achieve long-term survival after diagnosis.
Curative treatments for mesothelioma
For years, there have been constant mesothelioma diagnoses every year. In the U.S for instance, about 3,000 individuals are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year. However, survivor rates have also been increasing every year. All types of mesothelioma remain aggressive and in most cases, prognosis is stated in months. Nevertheless, there are patients who live more than 10 years after diagnosis and finding a five-year survivor is not something unusual. While surgeries provide a more precise treatment, therapies are more exact. Radiation and chemotherapy are more effective treatments for mesothelioma if the entire tumor cannot be resected.
Why there is no cure for mesothelioma
Mesothelioma refers to the cancer of the mesothelium. Mesothelium is the lining that cushions or surrounds the major human organs like the lung, abdominal cavity and the heart. Asbestos exposure is the main cause of mesothelioma, particularly the brown or amosite and the blue or crocidolite asbestos. Once breathed in, asbestos particles or fibers act like sharp, tiny needles that find their way into the mesothelium via the lung tissue or esophagus.
Currently, medical researchers do not know how this happens. However, presence of asbestos fibers in the mesothelium leads to uncontrolled cells mutation and eventual formation of cancerous tumors. The presence of asbestos fibers or particles causes many changes in the immune system. However, the latency period for mesothelioma is very long, extremely long in some cases. Thus mesothelioma symptoms take time before they become apparent. As such, mesothelioma is diagnosed in its later stages in most cases making it difficult to treat. Mesothelioma chemotherapy, radiation treatments and surgery are usually used to relieve pain. However, recovery levels remain low.
Here is a great video that talks about all the symptoms of mesothelioma:

Efforts towards mesothelioma cure
A blood test for detecting mesothelioma early has been developed by Japanese researchers. The test is known as Mesomark and it looks for possible protein markers that are generally associated with cancers. Mesomark might make preventing the disease from spreading with surgical procedures when detected early possible. It provides possibilities for improved success rate.
In Netherlands, Erasmus Medical Center’s researchers developed an early-stage mesothelioma vaccine. This vaccine has so far shown fairly promising outcomes. It uses immunotherapy for dendritic cell, where the immune system learns to destroy mesothelioma cells. Ideally, dendritic immune cells from a patient are introduced to the mesothelioma tumor proteins. Upon reintroduction, the cells lead to the establishment of a defense mechanism and subsequent attack on the tumor cells.
Generally, there are numerous mesothelioma treatments that are currently experimental. These might provide effective cure for mesothelioma in the future. Preliminary results indicate that experimental mesothelioma treatments might provide mesothelioma cure and increase the overall number of individuals that survive longer after mesothelioma diagnosis. The best thing we all can do it is help spread awareness on the dangers of asbestos. It’s widely talked about but not everyone one understands that every single one of us is susceptible on developing this rare and terminal disease. Asbestos is nicknamed the “Silent Killer”… I say it’s time to make some noise!


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Sweet Memories Revisted

Caring for a loved one during a serious illness is a significant and sometimes overwhelming endeavor.  Sometimes that loved one is healed and made whole again after a long and difficult struggle.  Sometimes that loved one is healed by being taken to heaven.  Thank you, dear current caregivers, for being willing to care for your loved one in spite of obstacles and sometimes heartaches.  Thank you to family caregivers who fought the battle but have lost loved ones.

Today on January first it would have been my husband's 71rst birthday.  Yes, he was a New Year's Day baby. On January 2, 2011 six years ago my husband graduated to Heaven, his eternal home.  I still miss him even after six years.  Even though the Lord has once again given purpose and a measure of joy to my life, I still struggle more this time of year.  One does not just forget about over 39 years of marriage.

Our marriage was a good marriage, and he was the love of my life.  Yet those care-giving years were very difficult years, as I saw my husband's body become more and more disabled.  They were years that were difficult emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  Yet they were also years where I grew in my dependence on the Lord and in my love for the Lord.  The Lord is with you each step of the way as well, dear caregiver, and He is molding you more and more into His image through all you are experiencing as a family caregiver.  He is doing the same for you, if you are a former caregiver who has lost a loved one.

I look back now on the sweet memories of the days before my husband was diagnosed with his neurological disease.  I hope you will indulge me today in this anniversary week of  his graduation to heaven by allowing me to post a couple pictures of my husband.  The first picture is of my husband, Wayne, quite a few years back when he was still healthy.  It is one of my favorite pictures that I have of him.  The second picture is only a couple months or so before his death.  It was a good day among many difficult days.  I hope you too have and are building sweet memories, dear caregiver.