Tuesday, June 25, 2013

25th June 2013

The last 48 hours have been very interesting!!! We have experienced the truth of the scripture, The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). John 10v10 (AMP)

The thief had some stealing in mind when on Sunday afternoon Victoria's temperature rose to above 38 degrees, that delightful trigger point for a hospital visit. Ken took Victoria up to the hospital whilst I readied children and things at home for the impending hospital stay. I was trying to hold back the flood of tears that wanted to come, as this unplanned event was likely to impact on my much needed 24 hour break scheduled to commence on Monday morning. 

I had completely forgotten how God had so perfectly made a way for me to have this 24 hours break. I was getting into double-mindedness, will it happen? won't it happen? Rather than trusting that God would make a way through this and there would be abundance.

Sunday night I stayed with Victoria at the hospital. Her neutrofils were good 2.8. Last Thursday they were only 0.7. Victoria's temperature came down and settled all night. Here she is Monday morning ....

 Eating ice-cream for breakfast and ...

Having a jolly old time with the Captain Starlights!

Thank you so much to everyone who prayed for Victoria on Sunday night and Monday morning. When the doctor came around at 10 am she advised that all was well, and Victoria could go home! The plans of the thief had been thwarted once again! Due to Victoria's wellness, I had actually had a wonderful night's sleep in the hospital and a free breakfast!  My little 24 hour break was turning into a 48 hour break! Praise God.

We checked out of Hotel John Hunter as quickly as possible and drove home to get things organised. After taking Victoria to a friend's place I made a bee-line for Merewether Beach for part 2 of my break! The horrendous weather that had been predicted for days still had not arrived, whilst there were some dark clouds, the sun still had the victory!

After lunch, I took the opportunity to do a couple of things I used to do in Sydney when I was single, before marriage and children. I used to walk around the beautiful Eastern Suburb beaches and the Sydney CBD clicking my camera.

It was great to have the time and space to re-live that experience, it a different place, that I am really beginning to love. Please indulge me as I share some of my photos from yesterday.

Looking east from Bar Beach headland

Looking south from Bar Beach headland

Pink flower

Looking north from Bar Beach headland

View from hotel window (how blessed am I???)

Looking east out from Newcastle harbour

Pelican on Newcastle harbour

Tug going past Stockton

Spot the teapot cloud

Structure on wharf

My favourite, piles in the sunlight

Tugs awaiting their next job.

This past 24 hours has been a very restorative time for me, walking, photographing, reading and listening to worship music. Absolute bliss! This morning I awoke at 5.15am and was tempted to turn on the TV to see what the latest news was regarding the  inspirational Nelson Mandela. However, at the prompting of the Holy Spirit, instead I started to read the next chapter of the Catherine Marshall book, Something More. She was talking total relinquishment to God in very area of your life. I then had a break from reading, opened the curtains next to the bed to see the black harbour dotted with lights on wharves and tugs working throughout the night. I turned on my worship music, listened to couple of songs, and then it struck me. 

I was lying at the foot of The Cross, worshiping Jesus, exactly where He wants me to be, total relinquishment.

Thank you to everyone who has made this break possible. It has been a very blessed time for me. I have life in abundance.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sunday 23rd June 2013

Last week it was time to say good-bye to Wedge after 7 weeks of successful therapy and lots of fun! A big thank you to all the volunteers and Riding for the Disabled staff who made this opportunity possible for Victoria.

As we continue to believe for a great result from Victoria's scan on 16 July I have been reflecting on the past 2.5 years. This reflection was triggered a few things that happened this week.

Firstly we continue to experience 'emotional fallout' within our family, which has made for a challenging week. One of our children who has seemingly cruised through this whole journey so far, has since Victoria's last hospitalization four weeks ago, been really struggling at school. A new challenge begins. Please pray that God gives us wisdom with this situation.

Secondly, I myself have again had a difficult week emotionally, particularly on Thursday up at the hospital. When I was talking to another mum at the hospital, she suggested I needed to get away for at least 24 hours. So thanks to help of family and friends that is just what I am going to do on Monday. Please pray that all is well here at home whilst I am away.

Thirdly I had the opportunity to write a guest blog for ABC Open. The producer asked me to write about how I use the Victoria Grace Conqueror blog and what my aims and objectives were. As I was writing the article I began to think about the benefits I have received from writing about our journey and was quite surprised with what came out of my head and heart! If you want to have read, click on this link: ABC Open. I thank God for this opportunity to share our story and give people another reason to have hope.

All of the events of this week have caused me to think how amazing it is that our family has come this far, and is still hanging together, albeit loosely sometimes. I know I have said it before, but I will say it again, God has definitely been our rock during this journey, and He will continue to be. I think this sentence from Nathan Stone's book, Names of God, sums up well what we have learnt as individuals and as a family .....

"Man's extremity is ever God's opportunity, not only for deliverance but to teach also wonderful lessons of His purpose as well as providence." pg 81

Thank you again for your continuing prayer and support for our family. We are expecting an unexpectedly great result from the MRI on 16th July.

Friday, June 14, 2013

14th June 2013

It is a year since we found out that Victoria would have to have chemotherapy treatment to stop and hopefully reduce the tumour in her brain. Praise God, the treatment is doing exactly that.
Look at her now, after 49 weeks of treatment and still having treatment, so still full of life. For this we give God the glory.

This photo was taken yesterday in the Fairy Garden just after Victoria had finished chemotherapy treatment. Victoria and Alexandra are fully engaged in exploring the garden and finding all the hidden garden statues.
Victoria has not experienced complete hair loss. Nor has there been the need for a platelet transfusion. Or in fact, no transfusion of any kind. Please continue to pray that Victoria will remain well for this final 4 months of treatment.
Please pray for me, this past year of weekly trips to the hospital for either treatment or other appointments has taken a toll emotionally on me. Some weeks all is good, however, yesterday as I reflected on the amount of times we have driven to the hospital, sat in the paediatric oncology day unit, received various news from doctors, stayed overnight(s) in the J1 ward, it all just got too much. It was a struggle to do even the simple things when we got home.
I thought to myself, how am I going to keep this up for another 4 months? Yes, I know the treatment is working, and Victoria is so well, and I am so grateful for that. But it is the mechanics of doing each day that is getting a bit hard at the moment. And those are the thoughts I went to sleep with.
This morning, when I got up, the first thing I wrote in my journal was 'Dear God, please give me strategies to get through this next 4 months.' By the end of my devotions time, this was the strategy I had received from God, 'Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God provisions. You'll find your everyday human concerns will be met.'  Luke 12v29-32 (The Message).
Thank you for your prayers and support, we so need them as we continue to gather strength, wisdom and peace from our God to get through each day, especially me!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

9th June 2013

It was all go, go, go, this week as Victoria returned to full health. On Monday she had a half day of gymnastics at school. I spent the first half hour of the session crying as I watched Victoria do her best in running relay races. Victoria's teacher so lovingly adjusting the activities Victoria had to do so she could keep up with the rest of the class.
I think the crying was a mixture of (a) the grief and pain that our daughter was different and needed these allowances to be made for her, (b) appreciation of the loving care so delicately shown for Victoria by her teacher and (c) continual amazement of the strength of character shown by this little girl who has experienced so much in her 5 years of life.
In fact, whilst I was thinking the last thought, I said to myself, if Victoria can participate in these activities, giving it her all with a smile, then surely I can stop crying! So with that thought and a hot chocolate drink given to me by a beautiful sympathetic mum, the tears stopped!
At Hippotherapy on Friday, Alexandra had the opportunity to feed Wedge some carrots too!
In fact, Hippotherapy this week provided another moment for reflection. After Victoria's session, a teenage girl arrives in a wheelchair to ride. I didn't  know anything about her circumstance until last week when Victoria was in hospital and I saw a newspaper article about her on the noticeboard. She was a pedestrian involved in an accident with a car about 2.5 years ago.
This week she came through the door using a walking frame. Tears again came to my eyes as I could only begin to imagine what it had taken for this girl (and her family, friends and health workers) to achieve this. The resilience and determination of these young people is indeed amazing.
On a slightly different note, but continuing with the "teary theme", Friday this week was our 15th Wedding Anniversary. We had the opportunity to celebrate by going out for dinner and see a movie. Just to finish off the week with more tears, we chose the movie 'Song for Marion'. I cried through the entire movie, but there was one scene, with one word, that in particular that has stuck with me. The word was 'Enjoy'.
These things I have seen and thought about this week have made me more determined to just 'Enjoy' each moment. What a precious gift it is to be able to 'Enjoy'.
"Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." James 4:14,15 (NIV)