Thursday, November 19, 2009

Group Therapy

I have found that my healing is enhanced by my interaction with others. I also was surprised by the number of people in our church who were being diagnosed with cancer. My friend Deb suggested that we start a support group for people with chronic illnesses which would meet weekly at our church. Since September we've had about ten participants with about eight people on any given Tuesday. I've enjoyed meeting weekly because it gives us the opportunity to develop close relationships. While there are several different ailments represented in our group, we are able to discuss issues that we have in common. We share our concerns and pray for each other. Most evenings someone leads a discussion. If no one leads, we just talk.

I recently went to the area Multiple Myeloma support group meeting. It is supported by our local Leukemia Lymphoma Society. The planned program was learning about a local hospital's music therapy program. While the program was interesting, the best part was networking with the three other cancer bearers. After the program, the four of us stood around comparing notes about our treatments. That was "priceless." While I don't have "relationships" with these people, I look forward to seeing them again in December. The facilitator said she sent meeting notices to 80 Multiple Myeloma clients in our two county area. I was surprised at the large number. What a wealth of support and information! It's too bad the group meets only monthly.

I participate in another group that doesn't even know it's a support group. I always looked forward to the time I could participate regularly. Too bad I had to have cancer in order to be active with this group! This is our church quilting group. These ladies greet each other with open arms. They have listening ears and lots of experience and advice. I'm not just talking about quilting experience (there is lots of that), but they have life experience, and even some cancer experience. I can choose to talk or just work silently. This group of about 20 ladies carefully make many quilts that are auctioned off to benefit MCC, our Mennonite relief agency, which helps people in need around the world. Visiting and working with these ladies is a high point of my week.

Support is found in many forms. I get support from my family, friends, church, and work. If we are able to find a support group to be with, that is good too. All are part of the healing community. I thank you!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Last Friday, Valerie was my chauffeur for a trip to the LA area to visit my dad and his wife. We stayed with Aunt Audrie in Hermosa Beach. Val and I agreed that staying at Aunt Audrie's house is like coming home. We enjoyed visiting with my dad on Saturday and Sunday. He is in an extended care facility after a car shattered his leg when he was hit walkig in the crosswalk. He was glad to see us, and especially glad that I brought him snickerdoodle cookies! We visited with other family members, shopped briefly, and went to church with Aunt Audrie to see her play in the bell choir. We came home Sunday night after a great weekend!

On Monday I had a doctor appointment. Some of my blood counts and iron were a little low, but Dr. Garley still isn't concerned about that. So, despite the lady who fainted while my blood was being drawn, and the person who was sick and hiding in the bathroom, and that it took 3 hours to get done, it was an uneventful visit. We like uneventful doctor visits.

Yesterday, Tuesday, I slept in until 9:30. I find that I need about 10 hours of sleep. I don't take naps during the day, though. I had time to read the paper and do the crossword puzzle before getting ready for lunch. Lunch was a social affair with three quilting friends. Getting together with friends is so theraputic. Tuesday evening was the Assurance (chronic illness)Support Group at church. This group started in September while I was in the hospital. As soon as I was able, I started attending. I do find this group to be very encouraging and supportive. It's good to get this boost every Tuesday.

Today was quilting at church. I didn't get far into the room before I was snagged to help tie a comforter. Alvena showed me a nifty, fast way to tie a square knot. So, even though I didn't do traditional quilting, I learned something new.

I like to get out of the house each day, even if I'm just running errands. I'm saving the car wash for tomorrow. Hmmm. It's supposed to rain tomorrow - maybe not such a good idea - we'll see. I try to walk every day with a friend. My neuropathy still gives me fits (figuratively). On Monday I fell at a friend's house. I fell flat on my face onto a carpeted surface. I made a big BOOM that shook the house. My glasses scraped my nose slightly (no blood). But that and my ego were all that was injured.

Every day people share with George or me that they are praying for us. I so appreciate that. I know that God is faithful and that he has the perfect plan for me. Thank you for being part of that plan.

Monday, November 2, 2009

San Francisco

Last Friday I had an appointment with Dr. Wolf at UCSF in San Francisco. Because the Bay Bridge was out of commission, we went farther north and took the Richmond Bridge on Thursday night. The meeting with Dr. Wolf was very encouraging. He assured me that the neuropathy would go away within a year. He recommended I take L-Carnitine and Alpha Lipoic Acid to help the neuropathy. He also noted that my immunoglobulin-G is low. That is the blood cell that fights off illnesses. I will have IV-IG given to me at least monthly here in Fresno. That should give me some resistance to colds and such until my own defenses can take over. In all, everything was good news.

On Sunday I went to church again. It is so good to worship God with my church family. I am so thankful that I feel better. I pray that I stay healthy as I continue to grow stronger.