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Monday, August 31, 2020

Happily Hermitting...

 Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a contestant on the crazy "hit" series Alone??

Yep.  We might have binged on a season or two.  Cuz we just got wi-fi in the cabin and we can. Lol!

I mean, 5 years with just our hotspot and very limited data, way out in our little, backwoods, down a dirt road bit of paradise.  We didn't know how much we've been missing! With the new wi-fi connection, the world has opened up...

And now we're watching 10 complete strangers willingly jump on a plane with their 10 carefully curated items and allowing themselves to be dumped off ALONE in the wilderness... to see who can survive the longest pitted against the elements... It's beyond crazy!! (and slightly addicting!)

So, it came as a surprise to realize we are playing out our own ALONE series in this on-going pandemic... and kind of enjoying it.

In a happy hermit, peaceful days, midnight-black, starry nights kind of way.

And surprisingly we've gotten a lot accomplished around our neck of the woods.  I guess that happens when you're ALONE in the middle of no-where with no distractions to de-rail your plans!

So, while the computer's been gathering dust, we've been busy checking important boxes off our never-ending to-do list.

In no particular order here are the happenings this month past!

Honey Harvesting

Landscape Designing

Flagstone Sidewalk Laying

Workshop Constructing

Front Gate Building

Wildlife Watching

Kayak Relaxing

Happily Hermitting this season together.  Doesn't get much easier than spending days working alongside your best friend.  Blessed more than I can express!

Praying these trying days find you filling your heart with the things that matter most.

Graced to be holding life and love close tonight...

In Love, Always,

Friday, July 31, 2020

A Million Dreams

A bit of beauty for this crazy, chaotic season... we have this one on replay here at the lake!

"I think of what the world could be
A vision of the one I see
A million dreams is all it's gonna take
A million dreams for the world we're gonna make."
     ~ Pasek and Paul

Graced to dream this day!

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Pancreatic Cancer Does Not Define this Life

Yesterday we lost a civil rights legend... to pancreatic cancer...

John Lewis

There is a deep grief for his loss... for a nation, for his friends, but most of all for his loved ones.  

John Lewis served as a US congressman for more than 3 decades and was a passionate advocate in the pursuit of civil rights.  And while that is how the world knows him, his family shared their hearts yesterday...

"It is with inconsolable grief and enduring sadness that we announce the passing of U.S. Rep. John Lewis.  He was honored and respected as the conscience of the US Congress and an icon of American history, but we knew him as a loving father and brother.

He was a stalwart champion in the on-going struggle to demand respect for the dignity and worth of every human being.  He dedicated his entire life to non-violent activism and was an outspoken advocate in the struggle for equal justice in America.

He will be deeply missed."

When Congressman Lewis was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer 6 months ago, he vowed to fight the disease in a vulnerable and honest statement, 

"I have been in some kind of fight - for freedom, equality, basic human rights - for nearly my entire life.  I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now."

Pancreatic Cancer is a formidable foe.  It levels the playing field with a ruthless intensity.

Many have faced the same battle.  And fought hard.

Ultimately Pancreatic Cancer won the war that John Lewis fought valiantly.

But Pancreatic Cancer does not have the last word.

It does not define the life of John Lewis.

His legacy is one of tenancious courage, facing the struggle of inequality head-on with passion and faith.  He led with an unshakeable belief in the value of every life... for we all live in the same house.

"We all live in the same house."
                                 ~ John Lewis

So let's carry on together... in the fight before us.
 I believe Congressman Lewis would expect nothing less.

Prayers and Peace to his beloved family this night.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

A New Pancreatic Cancer Treatment on the Horizon

Lynparza is the newest pancreatic cancer treatment to be approved for the fight!

Still in the early stages, but showing promise for those with terminal progression, Lynparza is a non-chemotherapy oral treatment developed by AstraZeneca and the Merck Research Lab and approved by the FDA for advanced pancreatic cancer patients.

Lynparza is limited in its treatment scope for pancreatic cancer, but is giving Hope to the many who may benefit from its novel approach.

"We are excited to have another treatment option available for pancreatic cancer patients.  While only approved for a small group, this treatment emphasizes the importance of treating patients based on their biology and their tumor's biology - the foundation of precision medicine." 
                                                             ~ the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

Lynparza is a first-in-class PARP Inhibitor.  And like me, you may ask, What the heck is that??

Well, in plain-speak (and very general terms), PARP is an enzyme in our body, in our cells.

It stands for poly-ADP ribose polymerase. Right.  Let's just call it PARP.   Deal?!

So, PARP helps cells repair damaged DNA.  And in cancer cells, PARP helps the cancer repair DNA so it can keep growing and multiplying.

A PARP inhibitor is a substance or chemical that blocks the PARP enzyme so it can't repair the damaged DNA.  And if you happen to be a cancer cell and your PARP enzyme is turned off, then you can't repair damaged DNA and you die.

That's a Yay for cancer death!  So we like PARP Inhibitors!  Right?!  Well, yes... and no...

Remember, all our cells have the PARP enzyme.  So what happens when we take a PARP inhibitor?

Well, for starters it affects the fast growing cancer cells, no PARP enzyme for you... and that's good.  But then none of the other growth cells in our body can turn on their PARP enzyme and repair damaged DNA either... not so good.

These fast growing cells in our bodies include our hair follicles, our skin, the cells that line our digestive tract and our bone marrow.  And that's why patients on PARP inhibitors can experience:

- hair loss

- skin rashes

- nausea, vomiting and diarrhea

- low red blood cell and white blood cell counts.

While most experience just mild side effects, there are some who can experience life threatening bone marrow problems, like Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) or Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).

Nothing about cancer treatment is easy or good...

Except that every new discovery brings us closer to the cure.  And that is the Prayer and Hope for every one of our cancer-fighting loved ones!

For more information on Lynparza and to see if it's a fit for your cancer treatment plan, be sure to talk to your oncology team.  As of now, the FDA has approved Lynparza for pancreatic cancer patients who have:

- Stage IV pancreatic adenocarcinoma (the most common form)

- Germline (inherited) mutations of BRCA (testing available through PanCan's Know Your Tumor profiling as well as through your oncology team.)

- Stable disease (no tumor progression) after treatment with a first-line platinum-based chemotherapy (like Gemzar)... According to AstraZeneca, Lynparza may be used as a maintenance treatment after your cancer has not progressed on at least 16 weeks of treatment with platinum-based chemotherpay.

Lynparza... another bit of Hope for the Journey!

Friday, June 5, 2020

What to Do When Our Hearts are Breaking...

Our world has suffered so much these past weeks.

The tremors of hurt and anger seem to be cracking our very foundations.

And the message carries many faces...

Not one of us has truly walked in another's shoes, we strive for understanding, for justice, and the process becomes as unique as our very fingerprint.

Some walk in protest, there are riots, there is also peace.

Many retreat into quiet, grappling with issues, heavy and uncomfortable.  Some proclaim with voice, strong and sure.

And while the process may look different in each life, that message is never as clear as the photo board over my desk that inspires me every. single. day.

Sweet smiles shine out to the world. Each grandbaby a delight to this Memaw, loved deeply, fiercely and more than the breath in my lungs.

These innocent faces have yet to feel the cruelty of a nation bent on tearing itself apart.  They love generously and without reserve... unsullied by the ugliness all around.

This, This is what I want for our brokeness.  That pure love, a child's trust, an endless hope in all that is good in each other.

"Love one another with brotherly affection.
Out do one another in showing honor."
                                        Romans 12:10 (ESV)

So, when our hearts are breaking over a world that is broken, take me back to the kind of love that bears one another's burdens, honors others above ourselves, and loves without reserve.

That is worth fighting for.  Always.