Sicks Pax

The (bald) eagle has landed

Posted in Cancer,Sara by sicks on March 31, 2008

In short — I’m bald! My hair started to come out 4 days ago so I had it all shaved off yesterday by a friend so that I wouldn’t have to watch it all come out strand by strand. But I am not alone! My dear husband Chris surprised me by shaving off his hair the day beforehand. One of the cool things is that his act made me feel better about losing my hair. Another cool thing is that taking it off was not as hard as I thought it would be. Several friends and my mom came over for the occasion. We prayed, made mimosas, played ABBA on the stereo, and then I let Lucy start chopping off hair with a pair of scissors (when else can a 5-year-old do whatever she wants with mommy’s hair?). She did a surprisingly good job. After that, my friend Vicki gave me a mohawk with her clippers, and then that went too. (pics below) I put on my wig and Lucy played beauty school for two hours with scarves and brushes. We actually laughed and had a good time.

I had already cried a number of tears about losing my hair so the act itself of taking it off was better than expected. Once again, how good of God to transform a difficult day into something that surpassed my expectations and was actually fun. I must admit that it’s pretty wild to see yourself bald, but I know I will get used to it. One wild thing — it sure gets cold without hair! Thankfully, I have some great hats, scarves and a wig so I will get by just fine. I’m sure there will be hard days with no hair but for now, it has been okay.

Another blessing is that I was able to receive my 2nd round of chemo today. Who knew that getting your chemo would be such happy news! In just three days, my white blood cell count shot up enough to allow another round of chemo. Once again, my dear friend Lori came with me. We had a great time talking and, before I knew it, we were ready to leave. I will indeed receive the Neulasta shot tomorrow that will cause my bone marrow to crank out red and white blood cells to keep me on my 3-week chemo treatment schedule. Our prayer requests for this chemo round are similar to the last time. If you wish, you can find them in the entry below. I am feeling pretty crummy right now so: Off to bed!

Love, Sara

Here are three pics for ya:





Putting my chemo schedule in God’s hands

Posted in Cancer,Sara by sicks on March 28, 2008

I’m a rules gal. I strive to organize the details of life so that they follow a pattern I can count on. Don’t get me wrong — I love moments of surprise and spontaneity. One of the trials of this cancer experience has the days that were far from normal and that don’t fall into a routine. That’s why I have been somewhat relieved to have the chemo schedule, because it is predictable.

So today, when I went to get my blood checked to make sure I was good to go for Monday’s chemo, I was surprised to learn that I am more immuno-compromised right now than I was last week. Last week is when my white and red blood cell count were supposed to be at their lowest. It’s hard to know why my counts are low now, although it isn’t something that really concerns my doctor. The issue is that my body may not be ready to receive chemo on Monday. If that’s the case, I’ll receieve a shot of Neulasta that cranks up my bone marrow to make red and white blood cells. Supposedly it makes you feel like you have the flu — great. I would then receive my chemo on Wednesday or Thursday. My oncologist is not at all concerned about the delay of a couple of days.

I was a bit frustrated and upset at first because I thought, “Lord, do you have to take away the comfort of this new routine, too?” We had thought out that Mondays would be best for our family but this could move us to a permanent Wednesday chemo schedule, causing us to reorganize child care situations and such. Okay, Sara, this can change and it’s not a big deal.

I realized later in the day that all these little details are in the Lord’s hands. He is the master of timing. Maybe he has a purpose for me to receive chemo on Wednesdays that I can’t yet see. I have to be willing to surrender all of my comforts to him. Do I trust him, even in some of these minor things that frustrate my plans?

As before, we still covet your prayers for my chemo:

1) For active cancer cells. These cells have to be active for the chemo to find them and then kill them. Fry cancer cells, fry!

2) I will likely have minimal side effects from the chemo like I did last time. That would be a nice bonus this go-around.

3) Grace and perseverance for Chris and all those who are caring for our children while I am recovering.

4) My hair has started to go. I will get it all shaved off on Saturday or Sunday by a friend to ease the stress of seeing it go strand by strand. Would you pray that I will get over this emotional change swiftly and just accept the change with grace?

Thanks, gang, for hanging in there with us for this journey. You are precious to us and we are so grateful for you even if we don’t personally e-mail you back.


Stomach flu run amok

Posted in Cancer,Sara by sicks on March 25, 2008

The gastroenteritis virus has taken up residence at our house, affecting everyone but me (Sara), although I have experienced some minor effects. My sister and brother-in-law bore the brunt of care for Lucy and Campbell over the weekend as they were down visiting in Fredericksburg, VA. Thankfully, Campbell is well now and others are headed in that direction. We are praying that I don’t come down with this later in the week as my second chemo treatment begins on Monday, March 31. Other than that, the big news this week is that I should lose my hair. I keep tugging on parts of it to see if it is time, but so far it’s hanging in there. 🙂 Time is going ever so slowly here in the Sicks household. I suppose that is how it goes in the valley. Thankfully, there is the knowledge that all things are temporary and that this too shall pass. Whether time is progressing quickly or slowly, may God be seen for who he is in our lives, and may we stop to worship him.


“Causing you to hunger…”

Posted in Chris,Coping with Cancer,Scripture by sicks on March 20, 2008

Here are two words, which do you prefer?
Suffering, or Glory?

None of us want suffering in our lives, right? But it’s remarkable how intertwined these two concepts are in scripture.

Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory? (Lk 24:26)

Jesus was explaining to the confused disciples that his death was not a deviation from God’s plan, although it was contrary to their plans. They thought they were getting a Messiah king who would overthrow Roman oppression and lead them back the glorious days of David and Solomon.

Instead, they got a guy who touched lepers, spoke to adulterous Samaritan women and ate with the rejects of society. Then, he was executed with a couple of criminals. No wonder they were bummed out on Easter morning.

We, too, would prefer glory to suffering, but scripture repeatedly tells us that you can’t have one without the other. Think of Joseph–sold into slavery, imprisoned wrongly, but eventually running all of Egypt. Think about Ruth and Naomi. And Hosea’s cheating wife Gomer, who brought into the home children that weren’t his. And King David hiding in caves from his own murderous son. And the Egyptian first born, slain while the Jewish children slept.

And those 40 years in the desert. Talk about suffering. But it was suffering that God brought upon them for a purpose. Note that God caused them to hunger, for two reasons:

He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. (Deut 8:3)

His reasons were 1) To humble them, to shake them out of their self-reliance and make them fully dependent upon God. And 2) To teach them that they needed more than bread to live, more than material resources. That a glorious life is one lived in full reliance upon the Creator.

Sometimes we need to suffer to remember this, to be made helpless enough to seek divine assistance. But he loves us enough to cause our hunger, our suffering. Because that’s when we see the glory of the One who suffered everything, so that we can endure hardship in the secure knowledge that we are safe in his loving hand. Safer and more loved than we ever knew before the suffering came along.


Settling into a “normal” week

Posted in Cancer,Sara by sicks on March 19, 2008

Since my immuno-compromised numbers were close to normal, I was able to return home yesterday — quite unexpectedly.  I had thought I would be away from my family for the entire week.  Yet again, another blessing that has surpassed my expectations.  It is so good to be at home with all the kids and Chris getting back into a normal routine.  I have never been thankful for my normal routine but I am now.  God is good.  Ginger has a cold so I am trying to be diligent about hand sanitizer and such so we’ll see.  Otherwise, I feel absolutely normal and strong.  My hair should fall out next week and I am sort of dreading that.  The plan is I need to return to 100% health next week so that I can be ready for my next chemo treatment on March 31.  Again and again, we are so thankful for your prayers.



So far so good

Posted in Cancer,Sara by sicks on March 15, 2008

This week has gone far better than I expected. I experienced minimal symptoms from the chemo–mostly fatigue and thirst–and no nausea (I was on four anti-nausea medications)! I took at least one nap each day and I was able to interact a lot with Chris and the kids. Life seemed close to “normal.” What an answer to prayer! I am so grateful.

I was supposed to head down to Fredericksburg, VA, to spend the week with my parents while immuno-compromised. However, my Mom just had the flu, so this plan is now changing.  Chris and the children will remain at our house. We will receive great help this week with the children from our friends and family. You can pray that Ginger doesn’t bring the flu back from Fredericksburg to infect Chris, Lucy and Campbell.

The day I received chemo also far surpassed my expectations. The Lord has given me the perspective that all my treatments are the path to healing. Because of that, I looked forward to beginning chemo. A dear mentor friend from church, Lori Joyce, went with me, which transformed the experience. Although weird at times, what was amazing was the peace and calm I felt, which can only come from the Prince of Peace. I felt healthy, upbeat, and alive. Lori and I had packed a number of books to keep us entertained but we didn’t open one of them. Instead, we talked and laughed. We even joked that we needed to bring in a disco ball the next time to hang from the ceiling to spice things up. Why not? We enjoyed a picnic lunch with another friend from church. Before we knew it, chemo was done. We joked that it was like we had been at the spa — well, kind of. With that in mind, Lori suggested we get a pedicure to round out the day. So we did.

The Lord orchestrated a very good day that surpassed my expectations and went so smoothly. That’s just like him to transform what could have been a very difficult day into something that was positive, fun at times, and memorable. To God be the glory!

Thank you for your prayers!


Prayer requests for chemo

Posted in Cancer,Sara by sicks on March 9, 2008

Hey gang —

I start chemotherapy tomorrow, at 9am on Monday, March 10. This series of four chemo treatments will occur once every three weeks, for a total of 12 weeks total on this go around. We would greatly appreciate specific prayer in the following areas:

1) Pray for active cancer cells. Sounds strange, I know, but chemo attacks cells that are actively splitting, not those that are dormant. Please pray that the cancer cells in my body are highly active so the chemo can identify them and kill all of them.

2) Chris is going to have a lot on his plate with work, children and household responsibilities. Please pray that he handles the pressure with grace, leaning into the Lord for strength.

3) We have a pretty awesome volunteer schedule in place to take care of Lucy and Campbell this week and next. Please pray that they roll with the punches of seeing me sick, being with others each day, and that we can discern their needs considering all that is happening. Ginger will be with my parents for this week.

4) I imagine that chemo will be difficult in a number of ways. Pray that I will tolerate it well and be able to participate with my family to some degree. Also, that I would avoid illness while my immune system is weakened, remembering to wash hands etc in order to avoid picking up anything.

5) That God would be shown for who he is — first in my heart and then in any other way that the Lord would choose.

Thanks so much for your prayers. They are precious to us!

Love, Sara

So many appointments, so little time!

Posted in Cancer by sicks on March 3, 2008

We have a load of appointments this week and last minute things before chemo starts next week. I bought a wig on Saturday with my mom and some good friends. That experience was a bit strange and overwhelming and I was glad to have some good company to lend opinions and some fun to the experience.


I had two appointments today, and tomorrow I go into surgery to have my port put in (all my chemo treatments will be administered through my port, which will be inserted nearby my right collar bone). This should be minor as it is out-patient surgery.

“Chemo class” — how fun! — is on Wednesday and the list goes on. This is one of those weeks that we feel a bit overwhelmed at all there is to do. But we know the Lord will guide us through all these to do items. I broke the news to Lucy about some of the things that are to come with my treatments, and we decided to use the word “cancer” for the first time with her. The conversation went well and I am grateful.

Thanks, gang, for your prayers and support. They continue to be a great source of encouragement.