Cancer Journal of Janice Rutledge Pitts: From Her Heart to Ours

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You have cancer. Three words no one wants to hear a doctor say.  Yet, so many people do.  I heard those awful words on October 18, 2011.  Today is October 12, 2013 and I am still fighting this battle.  I wish I had begun writing a journal at the beginning.  Since I didn’t, I am going to try my best to go back and remember.  With the help of Facebook, of course.  So here goes….

I began wondering if something was wrong in Feb. of 2011.  My period started and I bled for the whole month.  I was miserable to say the least.  I went to our Care Here office at work.  They gave me iron pills but did not really know what was wrong.  That visit was in March 2011.

I had another return visit, I think in April 2011.  I now had too much iron in my body.  The Care Here RN believes I may be going through the change.  I am 45 years old at this time.  I had a feeling there was more to this.  I left the office feeling like I didn’t get an answer.

I continued to live with this nagging feeling.  Something is not right in my body.  I just know it.

We went on a cruise in Sept. 2011.  I had a good time in spite of my body.  After we returned I went back to Care Here to get a referral.  I wanted answers.  They sent me to Dr. Lee at Jackson Healthcare For Women.  This is funny because Dr. Lee delivered my daughter, Jessica.  He did a routine Pap Smear.  A week later he had me back in his office for another test. I don’t know what this test was, but it hurt so much that I didn’t go back to work.

On October 18, 2011 a received a call from Dr. Lee.  I have Cervical Cancer.  I remember feeling lost.  I couldn’t have cancer.  Other people get cancer.  Not me.  I went to my boss Lynn, in tears.  She calmed me down a little and sent me home.  I called Jerry and let him know.  I was in a state of shock.  The rest of the day was a blur.  That night as I lay in Jerry’s arms scared of the future I felt such a peace begin to surround me. I know then that the Lord was with me and He would take care of me.

Dr. Lee referred me to Dr. Seago, an Oncologist from St. Dominic’s.  Dr. Seago did some more tests and came up with a game plan.  We planned a Hysterectomy.

On October 28, 2011, I sent Jerry a copy of a poem I read from The Daily Encourager.  He turned around and posted in on Facebook.  Its’ long, but it really touched me.  So here we go…

WAIT!

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried,

Quietly, patiently, lovingly God replied.

I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate,

And the Master so gently said, “Child, you must wait.”

“Wait? You say, wait!” my indignant reply.

“Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!

Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?

By faith, I have asked and am claiming your Word.

My future and all to which I can relate

Hangs in the balance and You tell me to wait?

I need a “Yes”, a go-ahead sign,’

Or even a “No” to which I can resign.

And Lord, you promised that if we believe

We need but to ask, and we shall receive.

And Lord, I’ve been asking and this is my cry

I’m wary of asking! I need a reply!

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate

As my Master replied once again

“You must wait”.

So, I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut

And grumbled to God “So I’m waiting…for what?”

He seemed, then, to kneel and His eyes wept with mine,

And tenderly said “I could give you a sign –

I could shake the heavens and darken the sun –

I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.

All you seek, I could give, and pleased you would be.

You would have what you want – But, you wouldn’t

Know Me.

You’d not know the depth of My love for each saint.

You’d not know the power that I give to the faint.

You’d not learn to see through the clouds of despair,

You’d not learn to trust just by knowing I’m there

You’d not know the joy of resting in Me

When darkness and silence were all you could see.

You’d never experience that fullness of love

As the peace of My spirit descends like a dove;

You’d know that I give and I save…(for a start),

But you’d know the depth of the beat of

My Heart.

The glow of My comfort late into the night,

The faith that I give when you walk without sight.

The depth that’s beyond getting just what you asked

Of an infinite God, who makes what you have Last.

You’d never know, should your pain quickly flee,

What it means that “My grace is sufficient for Thee”.

Yes, your dreams for your loved on overnight

Would come true.

But, Oh, the Loss! If I lost what I’m doing in you!

So, be silent, My child, and in time you will see

That the greatest of gifts is to get to know Me.

And though oft may My answers seem terribly late,

My most precious answer of all is still, “WAIT”.

So, On October 31, 2011 (Halloween Night) I checked in at St. Dominic’s for my Hysterectomy. I can’t say I was OK.  I was very nervous and anxious.  But I gave it all to God and let Him give me peace of mind.  The worse thing about surgery is all the prep work. The night before I had to drink a gallon jug of the worst tasting liquid I have ever put in my mouth.  But, it definitely cleaned out my system. After I checked in then they started with the needles.  My veins are very small.  The young nurse was unable to get my IV started.  They did this after they got me to the table.  I saw Dr. Seago only in passing.  I remember the table being so cold.  They put the mask on my face.  The next thing I know I’m in the recovery room.  They feed me ice and kept watching over me.  They would not let me sleep.  And that is all I wanted to do.  I was finally rolled to my room where Jerry, Jess, and I think Sam were waiting.  Maybe my parents also.  I can’t remember.  I slept most of this day.  Jerry stayed with me the whole night.  I thank God every day for Jerry.  He is so good to me.

I checked out of the hospital the next day, Nov. 1, 2011.  Doc said everything went great.  I went home with a cat. So I would not have to get up to go to the bathroom.  Getting up was the hardest.  Jerry was there for me the whole time.  Waiting on me.  Went to Dr. Seago the next week.  Everything was good.  He wants me to do Radiation as a precaution. No chemo.  I am grateful.  We plan to wait until I am recovered from the surgery before beginning the Radiation.

So, sometime in Dec., 2011, we begin Radiation.  I am back to work by this time.  This is really no big deal with Radiation.  I get to leave work an hour early every day.  The treatment itself only lasted about 10 to 15 minutes.  I did Radiation everyday Monday – Friday, from Dec. 2011 until Feb. 2012.  No needles and I didn’t have to remove any clothes.  That is until the last 3 treatments. They did an internal treatment.  Very uncomfortable. I changed my eating habits a little and changed the soap that I use to bath with.  No other changes really.  I never felt sick.  Maybe a little bit more tired than usual.

We went on a camping trip for Memorial Day weekend in 2012 to Ft. Pickens in FL.  We love Ft. Pickens.  Nice beach, nice bay, hiking trails, and very family friendly.  I mention this trip because this is where I noticed the small lump forming around my belly button.

I went to Dr. Seago for a checkup in June 2012.  I showed him the lump.  He thinks it is a hernia, but it is small.  If it gets bigger we will need to have it removed.

On June 30, 2012, I walked in the Tomato Festival’s 5-K Walk with Sam and Jess.  We took our time and had fun.  At least we didn’t come in last.

During the month of July, 2012, I noticed I began walking.  Probably to try and lose weight.

I went back to Dr. Seago in Aug. 2012.  The hernia is larger and needs to come out.  We plan for surgery after our cruise in September.

Sept. 9 – 16, 2012, Jerry, Jess and I went on a cruise to the Bahamas.  It was great fun.  In spite of the hernia.  We stopped at Key West, FL and went to a Butterfly place. In Freeport, Bahamas we shopped and at Nassau Bahamas we snorkeled.  I love snorkeling.

On Sept. 19, 2012, I checked in at St. D for Hernia surgery.  Jerry kept everyone updated on Facebook.  It took 5 ½ hours to get me in a room.  I was not in surgery that long, most of that time was spent in recovery.  I had no idea what was going on.  While I was in recovery, Dr. Seago spoke with Jerry. What we thought was hernia was a tumor.  They removed it and plan on a scan in the morning to see there are any other problems in my abdomen.  Jerry was the one to break the news to me.  I was shocked.  Jerry posted that I didn’t seem upset.  I’m really good at hiding my true feelings.  From everyone except God.  But God did give me peace to deal with this awful turn of events.  The scan that was done the next day revealed another tumor.  I had a pet scan done on Oct 4th, 2012.  I hated this.  Almost did not make it through this.

I went back to Dr. Seago on Oct 9, 2012 to get the results and to see what our next steps are.  He said the word that I hoped to never hear.  Chemo.  My worse fear.  I have heard so many terrible stories of Chemo.  Not to mention losing my hair.  But, Ok, Lord, here we go.  The very next day, Oct 10, 2012, I received my 1st chemo treatment.  The morning was spent at the hospital getting the port put in my chest.  A semi-surgery so to speak.  The afternoon was spent at Dr. Seago’s office getting the treatment.  They said nausea should be tolerable. I am given two different nausea pills and pain pill.  I am hoping and praying for the best.

I remember being very tired after getting my first chemo treatment.  I never got sick though.  I took the pills when I felt sick to my stomach.  I did find out that I cannot take the pain pill Ultram.  Had to call Dr. Seago and get something else for me to take.

On October 26, 2012, I posted on Facebook that I was beginning to lose my hair. I was given a free wig from the American Cancer Society.  Jerry also brought me 2 other wigs.  I decided that if I was going to lose my hair that I was going to have fun with it.  My Dad gave me a hat.  One wig was short.  I never could get this one to look right.  Another wig was long and curly.  Jerry liked this one the best.  I call it my date night wig.  I also wore it to Church some.  My wig I got for free was long and straight.  I wore this one to work every day.  Not having hair was weird.  I have an odd shaped head.  I remember my head and ears getting cold.  There’s a guy at Church who is bald.  I told Jess to ask him how to keep my head warm as a joke.  Somehow, my Sunday School class heard and they sent me 2 toboggans.  I was so happy.

I went for my 2nd chemo treatment on Nov.1, 2012.  I wore my wig for the 1st time.  Everyone liked it.  On Nov. 6, 2012, I am still home from work due to the chemo.  This time has not been as good.  I went with Jerry to go vote.  We finished voting but as soon as I sat back down in the car, I began to feel sick.  Jerry drove behind the building for me so no one would see me get sick.  I finally went back to work on Nov. 8, 2012.  One whole week to recover from the chemo.

Advantages of chemo

  1. You don’t have to drive anywhere.
  2. Shower time is cut in half due to no hair to wash
  3. No hair to blow dry
  4. Just throw on a wig and go
  5. People wait on you and don’t complain about it
  6. You save money due to not having to buy any hair care products (Shampoo, Conditioner, Hair Spray, Gel, etc)

My 3rd chemo treatment was during the 1st week of December 2012. I can’t remember the exact date.  We skipped a week due to Thanksgiving.  I did get sick and very weak.  But on Dec. 9th, 2012, I was able to sing in the Christmas program at church.  I love to sing.  I may not be the best, but I am singing to the Lord.

I went to Dr. Seago on Dec. 20, 2012.  The week before, I had a CT scan done and today I was given the results.  The chemo is working.  I sure hope so, I think.  I hope I didn’t go through chemo for nothing.  The tumor has shrunk but (I hate this word) but it is not small enough for surgery.  I will need to go through 3 more chemo treatments.

My 4th chemo treatment was at the end of Dec 2012.  The week after Christmas I believe.  I don’t remember this time much.  I received a gift in the mail on Dec. 28, 2012.  It was a purple prayer shawl made by the ladies at Crocheting/Knitting for Christ.  I was so touched by this gift.  I keep this shawl on the headboard of my bed right behind me.  If I need it, it is right there within reach.  I posted on Jan 2, 2013, that I was finally starting to feel better.

The 5th treatment was Jan 17, 2013.  Jerry posted that I was just beginning to feel better from the last treatment and how I have to get another one.  I don’t remember anything different about this time.  Every treatment seems to weaken me.  My mom makes me her good soup sometimes.  Jerry is taking great care of me.

My 6th chemo treatment was Feb 7th.  This treatment wasn’t a bad as the previous ones.  I was still weak but did not get as sick this time.

On Feb 23, 2013, my friend Whit Whittington, and the church he attends (Gallman Baptist) had a benefit in honor of me and David Ching. David and I graduated from high school together.  David has throat cancer.  He was diagnosed a year before me.  They did a supper and had music.  Sam and Jess helped to organize the benefit.  I was so proud of them.  Jerry was unable to attend.  He had to work.  The benefit was great.  They raised over a thousand dollars for each of us.  I was so grateful.

On March 6th, 2013, I went to get another CT Scan.  The next day I went to see Dr. Seago.  He said it’s time for surgery to remove the tumor.  Dr. Seago advised that he wants a regular surgeon there.  I admire him for this.  He isn’t too proud to admit that he may need some help.

On April 16, 2013, I receive news that my surgery is scheduled for April 29, 2013.

So on April 29, 2013, I again check in at St. Dominic’s to have surgery.  I never remember much about the surgery.  Feel like I’m a pro at this time.  I know exactly what to expect and where to go.  The surgery was a great success.  The tumor was removed without any trouble and they also removed my gallbladder. I’ve known for a while that I had small gall stones.  They just removed the problem before it happened.  Jerry is excited. He believes I am Cancer Free.  I’m having trouble believing this.  I want to but just have a feeling this is not over.

I went home the next day as usual.  We thought for a while that I may have to stay a 2nd night.  But finally late in the afternoon they sent me home.  As always, getting up and down is hard.  Especially since my stomach is the area they worked on.  I gradually began to get better.  Jerry set me up a bed in the living room since our bed is so high off the ground.  He slept on the couch, which I know was so uncomfortable.  He is an amazing husband.  Thank you, God, for giving him to me.  I finally slept in my bed on May 5, 2013.

I returned to Dr. Seago for a check up on May 14, 2013.  I received a good report. No – a great report.  Dr. Seago believes we got all the cancer.  I am so happy.  I return in one month for another checkup.  I am now believing that I am Cancer Free.  I let all my friends and family know.  We put our pool up in May and sometime or another I returned to work.  I can’t remember exactly when.  I feel like I am growing so much closer to the Lord.  Maybe this is the reason for all of this.  So I could realize how much I need God to be in control of my life.  We are made to worship him, are we not?  We are His! We would not be here today if it wasn’t for God’s great love for us and the mercy and grace that he gives us.

I have to write about this day.  June 12, 2013 was a day so different than any day I have ever had.  We all woke up and everything was normal.  I am getting from work as is Jerry. At this time, Jerry is still installing satellites.  He was putting water in his truck and left it running on the small basketball court outside our bedroom door.  He came in to kiss me good-bye and to get the things he needed.  When he went back out about a minute later his truck is gone.  He calls the police.  I walk to the back of the deck.  I just had a feeling.  His truck has somehow rolled into the pond behind our house.  But at the time it was a little scary.  I headed on to work.  When I got to work I sent Jerry this message: “I have been praying for you.  May the Prince of Peace fill you with peace and joy.  I have 2 verses for you. Romans 12:12 (Be joyful in hope, patience in affliction, faithful in prayer) 1 Thess 5:16-18 (Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God for you in Christ) Everything we lose from this situation are only things. Things can be replaced, even my laptop.  Thank God the truck rolled into the pond and not into a brick wall.  Thank God no one was hurt or worse.  I love you and will be praying for you extra hard today”.  This message shows how much closer to the Lord I have become.  I am nowhere near close enough, but I am closer than ever before.

That evening my nephew Jason and my dad pulled the truck out of the pond.  It took 2 tractors to get it out.  Jason was able to get the truck going again.  He is such a great mechanic.  God has blessed him in this area.

I had another CT Scan on June 26, 2013 and received the results on July 2, 2013.  Nothing showed up except some fluid buildup.  Dr. Seago said this should clear up on its own.

We went camping on July 3-6 I believe at Fort Pickens in Pensacola, Fl.  This is our favorite camping spot.  I believe I have already mentioned this before.  It rained on us this year and we were in a tent. I was also still in recovery mode from the surgery.  We took bikes with us this year.  Borrowed from family members. Mine from Susie, since both of us are short.  LOL.  I enjoyed riding around but the last time I went too far.  We rode all the way to the fort.  I could not make it back.  Jerry and Jess rode back got the truck to come pick me up.  We had to leave a day early due to the rain.  We were in my car and were afraid if we did not leave we would get stuck there due to the flooding of the road.  We followed Jerry’s brother, Larry, out.  He paved the way for us with his suburban.  I was a little scared going through the water.  I recorded this adventure and posted it on Facebook.

Southern Farm has a company picnic every year and they give away some great prizes. This year I happened to win the trip to Destin, FL. I believe God gave me this trip.  He is so wonderful.  We took this trip on July 26 – 28, 2013.  We stayed in a condo on the 21st floor. 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, living room, kitchen, dining room and great balcony. The view was awesome.  The pool was awesome.  The beach was only a 10 minute walk away.  Jerry and Jess went with me.  We had a great and relaxing time.

On September 3, 2013 I went for my 3 month check up with Dr. Seago.  I mentioned the pain I have been having in my stomach.  He scheduled another CT Scan just to be safe.  Thank God he such a great doctor.  We planned the scan for another day after our next cruise.

On September 14, 2013, my class (1983) had our 30th year reunion.  It is hard to believe I have been out of high school for 30 years.  I enjoyed seeing all my classmates that were able to be there.

The very next day, Jerry, Jess and I left for New Orleans, LA to go on our cruise.  We went to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel.  It was great fun as always.  We went to see dolphins in Jamaica. Jess kissed a stingray (Yuck). In Grand Cayman we saw their famous turtles and even went snorkeling with them.  I love to snorkel.  I think I could have stayed in the water all day.  In Cozumel, we went to the Passion Isle.  Surprising this excursion was the most fun of all.  The water felt great.  The beach was nice and we had all the food we needed.  God really blessed this vacation.

I had my CT Scan the day after we returned from our cruise.  Dr. Seago got the results and wants me to have a procedure done to drain the fluids.  They will also do a biopsy to check for cancer.  I remember feeling anxious.  Wondering if the cancer was back.  I forgot to trust God in all circumstances.

The procedure was done on a Friday.  I cannot remember the date and didn’t post anything on Facebook about it.  Jess went with me.  Her boyfriend, Vann Killen, came to the hospital to keep her company.  We really like Vann and feel like he is an answered prayer in Jessica’s life.  I had a great nurse for this procedure.  She was so perky and positive and comforting.  While in the room where the procedure was done I felt as if I was only in there for 10 minutes.  Apparently, it was longer.  When I got back to the recovery room, Jerry was there.  It seems that Jessica could not get any info on how I was doing.  Jerry got worried and left work.  That is a weird feeling.  Not having any concept of time.  You just have to put your trust in the Lord.  Knowing that He already knows everything that is going to happen to you and He is in control.

On October 8, 2013, I went to Dr. Seago for results of the biopsy.  It was not good news.  Cancer is back.  I have a fluid filled tumor the size of a grape wrapped in cancer cells.  I am devastated.  Dr. Seago believes chemo will kill this cancer without surgery.  I try to return to work but am too emotional to stay.  Lynn sends me home.  I spend a lot of time in tears this afternoon. I just do not want to go through chemo again.  I forgot that God is in control.

On October 9, 2013, a couple of friends from work give me a basket of goodies.  I am overwhelmed.  These ladies don’t even work in my department.  Debra Hauptman has gone through chemo with me.  We lost our hair together.  Wore wigs together and watched our hair back together.  She had breast cancer.  The other ladies are Peggy King, Dena Henry, and Donna Kettleman.  They gave me sleeping socks, a fuzzy blanket, this journal, a daily planner, a candle and purple flowers.  All wrapped up in a beautiful butterfly covered box.  I am using the box to keep all my cards I have received over the years.

So on October 15, 2013, I began chemo again.  This will be my fourth treatment. I am a pro by now.  There were only two of us in there most of the time.  The other lady’s name is Brenda Johnson and she lives in Crystal Springs.  She works at the Hwy Department in Hazlehurst and she knows my nephews, Jason and Jamie.  Small world. I have added her name in my prayer book. For the 1st few days after chemo I am fine, just weak and tired.  Friday, I began to feel worse.  I got sick Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  I could not eat.  It didn’t help that I had a cough and cold the day I got my chemo.  I lost 10 pounds.  Not the best way to lose weight.  I tried to return to work Wednesday, but only made it till 12:00.  Thursday I made it to 3:00.  I coughed so much that Lynn sent me home.  I actually had a coughing fit at my desk and threw up in my trash can. Yuck! I tied up the trash and went home.  Friday I stayed home and went to the local doctor.  He gave me cough meds and a Z Pack.  Also, an antibiotic for the scratches I have on my legs that don’t seem to want to heal.

This is my post from October 21, 2013.  This is before I returned to work and went to the doctor for my cold. “Yes, I am feeling blessed. I know, I have cancer. I know, I am going through chemo and it really kicked my butt this time.  But you see, I have been spending time in the garden with God this morning.  Just thinking on all the good things in my life.  I am a child of God.  I am alive another day.  I finally was able to eat this morning.  I have a great family and the love of a great man, Jerry Pitts. Thank you, Jerry, for the great care you have given me this week. I love you!”

So, I am down to one color pen left.  Guess I need to go to Wal –Mart.  I had one week where I made it to work every day.  October 28th – November 1, 2013.  My hair is beginning to fall out.  And I don’t have a wig yet.  My other wigs are worn out.  I ordered a wig on October 30th.  On Saturday, November 2nd, I am depressed and feeling sorry for myself.  Jerry finds a cartoon movie.  It makes me laugh and feel better.  I have decided that I will just stay home until my wig comes in. It should be here Tuesday according to the email.  But God knew I needed that wig. It came in on Saturday, the 2nd.  It is a short curly wig and it looks good on me.  I made it to the grocery store with Jerry.  Thank you God.

Today is Sunday, November 3rd, 2013.  I am feeling too weak and tired to go to church.  But that does not keep me from listening to Brother David Jett’s message on Crossgates TV Ministry. His sermon was titled “Confounding Joy. It’s a great message and one that I needed to hear today.  Confounding Joy has 1: Love as its foundation 2: Faith as its operation 3: Heaven as its destination.  There is a work that God is doing in my life through this cancer.  Thank you, God, for this timely message of hope.

Today is Tuesday, November 5, 2013.  (This is the sentence I used to say every school day when I was an elementary teacher). I gave up teaching and went back behind the desk at SFB. I have never regretted it.  Great company, great people, great benefits.  And thank God for the insurance.  I am sitting in Dr. Seago’s office getting my 8th chemo treatment.  What a journey I have been on.  My hair is getting thinner and thinner and I don’t care.  My wig is here.  I so hope that this time will not be as bad as the last time. I’m feeling anxious today.  You would think I would be a pro by now.  I guess it never gets easy.  This wig is nice, but it keeps sliding up in the back.  Maybe it will get better when all my hair falls out.  One can only hope.  I just have to keep remembering that I have given this situation to the Lord and I should not pick it back up.  I pray for complete and total healing in Jesus Holy Name!!!

Today is November 12, 2013.  This is the first day since my last chemo treatment that I have felt good enough to write.  This time around the chemo has been fierce.  Some days all I do is sleep.  The only time I get up is to crawl to the bathroom.  On those days, I am only able to eat a few bites of anything.  So I am losing weight.  Not the most health way to lose weight.  Sunday, the 10th, I had Jerry shave my head.  He doesn’t really shave it, he just gives me what I would call an army haircut.  Anyway, maybe my wig will fit better now. I have been a little depressed this time.  I guess this is normal.  I just feel so bad and so hopeless.  At those times, I just have to call on Jesus for help.  Jesus gave it all for me, I can endure this for Him.  At times, I lost my focus. My next treatment is the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.  Guess that is one way to not overeat ha! I pray the chemo is working. I pray I only have 1 more treatment.  Jesus, I pray for your healing touch.

Today is Wednesday, November 27, 2013.  I had a chemo treatment yesterday.  Everything went well.  No problems.  I’m sure the problems are waiting around the corner.  Jessica went with me.  She has been staying with Vann, her boyfriend. She decided to stay with us tonight due to the weather people talking about snow and ice the next day.  Well I don’t see any, but I am sure her puppies were glad she was there.  She put up my Christmas tree.  I’m glad. Otherwise, it would not have been put up.  They gave me a new nausea pill to try this time.  We’ll see how it works.  I won’t make it to Thanksgiving this year.  Really don’t need to be around people that soon after chemo.  I did hint around for a plate though, LOL. My work gave us a Thanksgiving lunch last Friday and I had another one at Church on Sunday.  So, I got my turkey and ham.  I am hopeful that this is my last chemo treatment.  Dr. Seago sounded positive.  CT Scan is next.  Lord, I pray this is it.  These chemo treatments are so rough.  Please give me the strength I need to make it through this week.

Today is Monday, December 2, 2013. My mother’s birthday.  I made it through the week great.  Only getting sick one time.  I slept a lot, but sleeping is better than throwing up.  I would say this medicine worked better.  CT Scan is on the 18th.

Saturday, December 14, 2013. I made it to work every day this week. I still get weak at times.  Walking into and out of the building is tough.  I have not had any pains in my stomach.  A good sign.  I am praying for complete healing.  I want to be finished with this.  Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.

Sunday, December 22, 2013.  Happy Birthday Cole! I had my CT Scan this week and got the results on Thursday.  It was good news, but not great news.  The tumor is shrinking but still there.  I will need more chemo.  Dr. Seago is changing the chemo, though.  He said this should not make me as sick.  I hope not.  I go back the Friday after Christmas.  My family had Christmas last night at Susie’s. We had a good time.  It is always good to see family.  I missed my brother, Harry. He is on the road. Bring him home safely, Lord.  I still believe I will be healed. It is just going to take a little longer.  I praise you, God, for the healing you have given me so far.

Saturday, December 29, 2013, I had the 1st of my next 3 chemo treatments yesterday.  I was there from 9:30 to around 11.  Went back to work after the treatment and this morning I felt good enough to go have breakfast with Jerry at Waffle House. Yea! So far so good.  I could only eat half of my order.  Brought the rest home for lunch.  My next treatment will be here January 21st.  The day after we return from our cruise. Prayers, God, that I kept feeling good and that I will be able to return to work on Monday.  They need me there at year end.

Happy New Year! January, 1, 2014.  I didn’t miss not even one day from work this time around.  And I never got sick.  This chemo didn’t have any of the bad side effects as all of the other times.  Yesterday, my coworkers surprised me with a gift.  A small devotional for the New Year and a money tree.  There was a $110 on it. I was surprised. They are great.  Thank you, Lord, for directing my path back to this company.  SFB has been a blessing to me during this time.  I pray you will continue to bless this company.  Jessica got moved into Garry’s trailer with Vann.  I hope they will be happy there.

Saturday Evening, January 11, 2014.  I have had trouble going to the bathroom this week.  I think the pain pill I was taking to help me sleep also stopped me up.  I stopped taking the pain pill.  I am taking Ibuprofen to help.  I have felt better today.  I need to get well before our trip on Thursday.  I am getting excited about the cruise.  It will just be me and Jerry this time.  My next chemo is on the 21st.  The day after we return.

Well, the cruise was great.  Except the part where Jerry picked a stomach virus and then gave it to me.  He got sick on our last night.  I went to work Tuesday, got my chemo treatment and everything was fine.  I got sick sometime in the middle of Tuesday night.  Today is Friday, January 24th and I still have not returned back to work.  I’m living on Sprite and a few bites here and there. I am better today.  Taking Pepto.  Jerry had to go back to work.  He doesn’t have sick leave.  I felt so bad for him.  I don’t think I could have done it.  He is stronger than I am.  I believe he is getting better.  He ate supper last night.  I must be feeling better.  I started washing our vacation clothes.  No trouble from the chemo.  Dr. Seago did give me another type of pain pill to try, Naproxen.  He didn’t like me taking all those ibuprofens. I also need to get my blood pressure checked.  I have an appointment for Tuesday the 28th with Care Here at work.

Today is Thursday, February 13, 2014.  I just realized it has been a while since I wrote in my journal.  The new pain pill is working okay.  My blood pressure was fine when I had it checked.  We had to reschedule due to the weather.  We have been getting sleet and snow here in the South. We got 5 inches of snow on the 28th of January.  And it has been really cold this week.  We missed the snow this time.  It headed further north.  I had my last chemo treatment on Wednesday the 12th.  I really feel fine.  Just tired and weak with a little pain in my belly.  Jerry is taking me out for Valentine’s tomorrow.  Dinner at Red Lobster and a movie.  Isn’t he great. Thank you, Lord, for sending him my way.

It’s 11:00 on March 5, 2014.  I can’t sleep.  My follow-up visit with Dr. Seago was yesterday. I didn’t not get good news. The tumor has grown.  I will have to continue the chemo treatments.  Only a different kind this time.  The Auastin alone did not work in my body.  Dr. Seago is going to add another type to go along with the Auastin.  He wants to find the right drug that will not make me sick. This is all good.  But my reason for not being able to sleep is this.  I have been told that I will probably be fighting this cancer off and on for the rest of my life.  Lord, I cannot accept this.  I am praying for you to perform a miracle in my body.  Take out every cancer cell from my body.  I believe you can heal me.  Now, flood my soul with your peace and give me rest for my weary body.  I give my life to you to do as you will.  Help me to believe what I know you can do. And do all in your will and timing.  Help me to see what you are showing me.  Thank you for this trial.  This time of teaching, of drawing closer to you, of cleansing, of renewal.  I praise you Lord in this storm.

Today is Tuesday, March 18, 2014.  I had my next round of chemo today and so far so good.  I am still getting Auastin every 3 weeks.  The other type is called Hycantin.  I will be getting it once a week.  Jerry and I started a Bible Study at the Church called “Behold our God”.  Brother David Montgomery (our Music Minister) is leading it on Thursday nights.  We are only on week 3 and I have learned so much about myself.  I realized that I may not really believe God is who I say He is so that He can do what I say He will do.  I am praying for God to help me get rid of this root sin of unbelief in my life so my faith will grow so God will be able to heal me.  My parents had cataract surgery on their left eye yesterday.  They are doing good today.  Thank you, God!

Poem written by me March, 2014

You Are I am!

You Are I am,

My Creator,

My Maker,

Ruler of Heaven and Earth,

The Great I am.

You are I am,

The Alpha and Omega

Beginning and the End,

The One and Only God,

The Great I am.

You are I am,

The First and the Last,

Who was, and is, and is to come,

You are Yahweh,

The Great I am.

You are I am,

All-seeing, All-knowing,

Omnipotent, Omnipresent,

Jehovah, Lord, God Almighty,

The Great I am.

You are I am,

My Abba Father,

My Ever Present Help in Time

Of need,

My Protection, My Guide,

The Great I am.

You are I am,

My Strength, My Shield,

My Strong Tower,

Worthy of Honor and Praise,

The Great I am.

You are, I am,

King of Kings, Lord of Lords,

Prince of Peace

The Faithful One,

The Great I am.

You are I am

My Savior, Redeemer,

Giver of Mercy and Grace,

Emmanuel, God with us,

The Great I am.

You Are I am,

The Lamb of God, the

Lion of Judah,

My Passover, Deliverer,

The Holy One,

The Great I am.

You Are I am,

The Living Water, Bread

Of Life,

Resurrected One,

My High Priest, The Door

To Heaven

The Great I am.

You are I am,

My Brother, Lover of

My Soul,

Wonderful One,

My Best Friend,

The Great I am.

You are I am,

My Healer, The Great Physician,

My Comfort, My Joy,

My Anchor, My Rock,

The Great I am.

You are I am,

Awesome God, Great God,

The Light, My Light, My

Life,

Ruler of All

The Great I am.

Author – Janice Pitts

Today is Saturday, March 29th, of 2014.  I’ve received this new chemo twice now.  The 1st week was fine. The 2nd week a little worse. I did not get sick but I did leave work early on Tuesday and came in late on Wednesday.  This chemo makes me so tired and weak.  I had to get a Dr’s excuse to park close to the building.  I pray this is working.  I can feel the tumor in my belly.  It’s a hard knot right below my belly button.  Lord, I pray for healing. Healing that only You can give.  Thank you for what you are doing. AMEN. By the way, I forgot to mention that Jess has moved back to the house.  Her and Vann decided they needed to save money.

Today is Wednesday, April 23, 2014. I went for my chemo on 4-2 and was unable to get it.  My blood platelets are too low.  I knew something was wrong.  I had 2 nosebleeds that week that lasted a long time.  Jennifer, my chemo nurse, told me to head to the ER the next time I get one.  By the next week, I was better.  I have received 2 chemo treatments since.  Today I went for another.  They were unable to draw blood.  She said I may be dehydrated.  I have been drinking liquids all day.  I go back in the morning for another try.

May 4, 2014. (Sunday) I was able to get my chemo the next day.  They gave me the next week free which was great. Yesterday, Sam and Jess and I went to get our nails done.  I paid for Sam’s for her birthday which is next Thursday (5/8).  We had a great time.  There is something about having pretty nails that just makes a girl feel better.

I didn’t go to Church today.  I am a little frustrated with Church people.  I am disappointed with someone there.  Her views on a movie that I feel is a very inspiring movie has me troubled.  Why do people put God in a box.  I call it the Baptist Box.  People who love God should not talk negatively about other people who love God.  I believe this may be gossip.  Lord help me to clear my mind and to focus on you.  I pray for the minds of the Church people (my friends) to be opened.  Help them to see how great You are!

Well, the end of May, 2014 is getting close.  Today is the 29th. My grandbaby’s birthday. It has been so long since I have seen Chloe.  I think she will be either 8 or 9 today.  I miss that sweet smile with her cute dimples.  I pray for her safety every day. Her salvation too.  I hope there is someone in her life to show her God’s love and joy.

I was unable to get my chemo treatment this week.  My blood platelets were low again.  I have been hurting differently this week.  I think maybe it is the hernia. Lord, I pray you will be with me.  Help me to know what I need to do to take care of myself.  Show me your will for my life in this situation.

May 31, 2014.  Saturday.   I realized after the last entry that I forgot to write about Jessica’s birthday.  It was on the 24th, last Saturday.  She wanted to go to the Aquarium in New Orleans.  We had a great time.  Spent 3 hours going through it.  We saw all kinds of sea life, plus birds and penguins.  When we left Jerry suggested we head over to the MS Gulf Coast. So we did.  We walked on the beach and ate supper before heading home.

Today is my birthday. I am 49 years old today.  I wonder how many more years I will see.  I pray I see enough to outlive my parents.  I don’t want them going through the pain of losing a child.  I took some vacation time this week.  I should get plenty of rest.  Jerry took me to a movie yesterday. We saw “alone, yet not alone”. About a girl’s struggle when she is captured by Indians during the French and Indian War in the 1700’s.  She never lost her faith.  There’s a great lesson there for me (smiley face).

Today is Saturday, July 12, 2014.  I made it through my weekly chemo treatments and had a CT Scan last week.  I go to see Dr. Seago on Tuesday to find out the results.  Jerry is going with me.  I hope the scan shows Dr. Seago exactly what he needs to do to help me.  I have been in much pain.  I stayed home for work last Wednesday due to the pain. Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.

July 19, 2014.  Another surgery is scheduled for next Wednesday, the 23rd of July, 2014.  Dr. Seago wants to do this to help me with my pain.  He is going to remove as much of the tumor as possible. I can’t take my regular pain pills. I’m stuck with Extra Strength Tylenol and Percocet, which puts me to sleep.  I am in constant pain.  Friday was my last day of work before the surgery.  I feel so helpless.  I’m hoping the surgery will help me feel better.  I’m praying for a miracle.  So ready for all this to be over.

Friday, August 1st, 2014.  Its’ been over a week since my surgery.  This was a big one.  Dr. Seago got all the mass that he could see.  I pray, Lord, that he got it all.  I’m ready to move on from this and begin living again.  Jerry was there the whole time.  I spent 4 nights in the hospital.  Friday night they had to give me a blood transfusion.  I received 2 bags of blood. I still don’t have my appetite back fully.  The scales said 197 the other day. I was 208 before surgery. That’s 11 pounds. I’m in recovery mode. I’ve painted one picture and have another in my mind.  My next doctor’s visit is August 12th.

Today is Sunday, August 3, 2014.  I have been feeling a little depressed lately.  I know this is not how I should feel.  This is not from God.  I pray for your joy Lord.  Help me to heal and recover quickly.  Help me to overcome this feeling of helplessness.  If I could just get my hair I would feel better.  I don’t know what to do with this mop on my head.  This doesn’t help the depression.  I’m crying while I write.  My scar leaks almost every day.  Jerry is so good to clean it up and fix the bandage.  I miss swimming (Sad Face).  I don’t do much of anything but watch TV and play on my Kindle.  Jerry and Jesse do the housework and the cooking.  They are great.  My painting gives me some comfort.  I’m glad I thought to get the canvas’ before the surgery.  I have finished one and started the second.  Working on the bird’s nest.  I hope I can put my vision on the canvas.

I went for my follow-up visit with Dr. Seago on Tuesday 8-12-14.  He was just checking on my scar.  He said it looked good.  I think it looks horrible.  It doesn’t seem to be healing to me. Jerry helps me clean and bandage it every night.  I am really tired of the house.  I may try to get out this weekend.

It’s Sunday, August 17, 2014.  I’m still fighting my scar.  It just will not heal.  I have also had trouble sleeping this week. I even got me an over-the-counter sleep aid.  I’m only taken it once, but it did not work last night. I am also having trouble using the bathroom.  And then today out of nowhere I throw up.  Jerry thinks my body is just trying to get back to normal.  Praying for complete healing.

Today is Saturday, August 30th of 2014.  I went to see Dr. Seago last Thursday.  He worked on my scar. He found a pocket and he stuffed gauze in it to help it heal.  I know, gross.  But I will do whatever I have to, to get this scar healed.  He said it’s ok for me to keep taking the pain pill at night to help me sleep.  I have been sleeping again since I started back. He said the pain pill I take is just a strong ibuprofen (anaprox). I’m taking Senokot to help with the bathroom issue.  I had fever 2 nights last week.  Getting up to 101 the 1st night and 100 the next. I go see Dr. Seago next week. I am hoping to return to work on September 8th.

Thursday, September 4, 2014.  I had another appointment today.  Dr. Seago didn’t like what he saw.  I knew he wouldn’t.  There’s a hole in my stomach.  He looked at it and had Dr. Scanlon look at it also.  I will need some kind of vacuum pump and Home Health Care will have to come to my house every 3 days to take care of it.  I’m just glad something is being done.  I have been so depressed and on the verge of tears so many times.  Hollering at Jerry when he was only trying to help. It has been tough.  Nurse Harriett is working on the details with my insurance company.  Hopefully they will be able to get everything worked out by tomorrow.  If not, it won’t get done until after the weekend.  Thank you, God, for this answer to my pleas for help.

Today is Saturday, September 13, 2014.  My wound vac was just put in yesterday.  A week and a day since Dr. Seago ordered it.  Insurance problems.  It is a machine that is attached on top of the wound.  It works like a vacuum, sucking out the infection so the good tissue can repair itself.  Everything I have heard about this has been good.  Praying for good and speedy recovery.  Our cruise is coming and I would like to return to work first.

Thursday, September 18, 2014.  I went to see Dr. Seago today.  I’ve had the wound vac on since last Friday.  He said it looks good.  My wound is healing fine. The Home Health nurse comes every other day.  Either M,W, F or T, T,S.  Right now I’m on a Tues, Thurs, Sat. schedule.  This can change depending on the machine.  I’ve had to call twice.  One time a nurse had to come change the dressing on Sunday.  I’ve met 3 of the nurses.  Kizzzy, Michelle, and Emily.  They are all nice and know what they are doing.  I think the last time I had trouble was because Michelle cut the hole too small.  I hope I can tell her this is a way that she won’t be offended.  But I’m the one having to deal with this thing during the week., So, so far so good.  I’m praying this heals me fast.  Our Cruise is one month from tomorrow.  Other than the wound I feel great.  My strength has returned as well as my eating habits. LOL.

Sunday, September 28, 2014. Only 21 days until the cruise and I’m still attached to this wound vac.  I pray, God, that we will be able to still go on the cruise.  The wound vac is working. My wound is closing up.  I am so ready to get my regular life back.  I just have to be patient and wait on the Lord to heal me.  I’m going to go ahead and claim in Jesus’ name.  Thank you, Lord for my healing.

Today, September 29, 21014 (Monday), I was looking through an old planner of mine and found a poem I wrote sometime last year.  So I decided to write it down in my journal.

Cancer is only a word.

A word that is dreaded

To be heard.

This is my cross to bear.

I shall bear it happily.

I consider it all joy,

When trials are facing me.

Don’t you know

What Christ did for us?

He was nailed to the cross.

We have no room to fuss.

We are given just

Our life to live.

I strive to live within God’s will.

God is on my side.

Whom shall I fear?

Cancer can’t ever begin,

To bring me to tears.

So live each day

As if you are living for God.

Bring Him all the glory

Don’t live in a fog.

There’s no need

For Hatred, or frowns.

Love one another

So you can win your crown.

Leave behind the past

Jesus has wiped it clean.

Focus on HIM!

Be on the winning team.  Janice Pitts – 2013.

October 9, 2014, Thursday.  Still attached.  But that’s ok.  We do what we have to do to get better.  Dr. Seago said last week that I can go on the cruise.  Without the wound vac of course.  I have another appointment on the 16th, the Thursday before our trip.  I’m hoping to be released.  My time (medical leave) at work is running out.  All things work for good for those who love the Lord who are called according to His purposes.  Romans 8:28.

Well, I go to the doctor today. Thursday, October 16, 2014.  My scar is smaller but still there.  I’m hoping there is another way to heal this scar so I can return to work after our vacation next week.  We leave on Sunday, October 19th for our cruise.  The scar is healing from side to side.  I would have thought it would heal from bottom to top.  But what do I know.  Will write more this afternoon (smiley face).

Same day (arrow pointing up to entry above)  I have been released! Thank God.  We go on our cruise next week and I return to work on the 27th.  Still have some healing to do, but this is great news.

Today is Sunday, November 2nd, 2014.  We returned home from our cruise last Sunday. It was great! Our room with the cove balcony that was shaded all day by the life boats.  The shows were good, the comedy club was good and the food was great.  We had a little tension this year.  I think Jess has realized she is too old to vacation with her parents.  She was missing Taylor (her fellow) the whole trip.  I went to Dr. Seago the next Tuesday.  They set me up with the Wound Healing Center at St. D.  Oh yeah, I returned to work on Monday the 27th of October.  I spent my first 2 days back reading emails.  I only had over 500 to read!  LOL So I got the wound vac put back on Thursday.  The nurse there really knows her stuff.  I have not had any trouble, knock on wood.  Friday, I got sick.  Had to leave work.  I had some kind of stomach bug.  I’m better but I’m still having pain in my stomach area when I move.  I didn’t eat anything Friday and very little on Saturday.  I have eaten better today.  I hope I will be ok to return to work tomorrow.  I also have to get my wound vac changed.  My appointments will be on Mondays and Thursday.

I forgot to mention how Jessica stepped up to help me.  She brought me a sprite and helped me get settled.  I sent her on her way after that.  She is really good to me.

Today is Saturday, November the 15th, 2014.  The wound vac is working great.  I can cover my wound with my thumb.  I’m hoping that maybe Dr. Seago will let me be released from the wound vac.  I’m so tired of carrying it around 24/7.  My next appointment with him is this coming Thursday.

Saturday, November 22, 2014.  Dr. Seago did release me from the wound vac.  Thank you Jesus! I still have a small wound.  Jerry is tending to it twice a day by changing my bandage.  We had Susie’s wedding shower last night.  We had the best time. Susie and Johnny will be getting married 12/13/14.  They make a great couple.  I wish them all the happiness.  Susie is my niece, by the way.  We don’t see each other much anymore with our busy lives, but she is very important to me. Lord, I pray you will bless their marriage and be with their children.  Protect and guide them.

Saturday, December 6, 2014.  Today Kris would have been 30 years old.  He left this earth way too early.  He didn’t realize how important he was.  Five years he has been gone.  And 5 years I have missed him.  I may not have been his earth mother, but I was his mama.  I have a CT Scan next week.  Lord, I pray for good results.  Jesus, I claim victory in your name.  As I’m writing the Crossgates Choir is singing on TV.  There is Power in the Name of Jesus! AMEN!

New pens!  Thanks Sam.  Today is Tuesday, December 15, 2014.  I got my CT Scan results today.  There is another tumor.  In my pelvic area.  More chemo is needed.  My treatments begin after the new year.  I’m having a hard time staying positive.  Dr. Seago told me I’m doing good to be alive.  He didn’t mean that the way it sounds.  He meant most women who have this kind of cancer don’t survive long.  I’ve been fighting this for 4 years.  Well, 4 years in October.  When I was headed back to work this morning and was wondering Why? Why didn’t God answer my prayer? This is what I heard God tell me “I did answer.  My answer was not yet, my child, but I will be with you every step of the way”. Jerry and I decided to find Chloe and send her some Christmas gifts.  Jerry found her mother, Tara, on FB and got her address.  We go shopping for her and for Austin tomorrow.  We found out that Chloe is sick. She has NF1.  This is the same disease Garry has, Neurofibromatosis.  Chloe has been in and out of the hospital the last couple of months and will need chemo.  This breaks my heart.  God please heal her.  And if possible, I pray that she does not need chemo.  Help her, Lord, to have the strength she needs to heal.

I cried on the way home from work.  Everyone needs a good cry once in a while.  I don’t know if it was for me or for Chloe.  Probably both.  But I got it out of my system so now I can be strong.

Today is Sunday, December 21, 2014.  I’m sitting here in the living room this morning with Jerry.  We are both in our own little worlds yet we are together.  I can feel God’s presence here this morning.  I have been seeking Him today.  I’m listening to good music and just relaxing trying to hear what God is saying.  I found 1 Peter 5:10 a couple of weeks ago.  “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, establish you”. Isn’t that great! Thank you Lord, for your word of hope.

Christmas Eve, 2014.  All our Christmas is over since we don’t have small kids anymore.  We leave for our anniversary trip tomorrow.  Jerry and I have been together 25 years.  We are taking the train to New Orleans for a weekend trip.  I found out that Chloe will not have to get chemo, but she will have surgery.  Lord, take care of her.  We had Christmas with my family last Monday.  It was great fun.  Today we went to Jerry’s family.  Jerry’s mom and dad are not as healthy as they should be. So only us, and Jerry’s brother and sisters were there with their spouses.  No small children and no presents.  We ate and enjoyed each other’s company.  I’m still walking around with a smile on my face.  Life is too short for frowns.  The joy of the Lord is my strength.  Help me to focus each day on You, Jesus.  And help me to spread your joy to others no matter what my situation is.  I will praise you, Lord, in this storm.

My chemo is tomorrow.  For some reason I am feeling anxious about it.  Lord, I know you will help me through this.  Give me your Peace!

Chemo Day!  I had to go to the hospital to get the chemo today and next week.  Think maybe Jennifer is on vacation.  Chemo went fine.  I just wish my port would give blood the way it is supposed to.  I have to get stuck twice every time.  Lord, can you fix this for me?  I know it is a little thing.  But it would be one less thing for me to be bothered with.  Please continue to do your work in my life.  Thank you for the breath of life that you give to me.  Help me to live this life with joy and strength.  Joy and strength and peace that only you can give.  I love you, Jesus.  I pray I will suffer with dignity and pride that will show others how great you are.  Not my will, Lord, but yours!

I found a list of the types of chemo that I have taken.

10-15-13  1         Taxol  2. Caiboplatin

11-5-13      3.      Dextroe

12-13 – 2/14       Avastin

3-18-14                Addedo Hyeamtin

1-2-15                  Gemcitiabine

Today is Sunday, January 4, 2015.  Yesterday was rough.  I started going downhill Friday night.  I’m feeling better today.  Just feel weak.  The bad thing is I have to do this on a weekly basis.  But today I want to talk about our trip to New Orleans.  The train ride was great.  We didn’t miss the car.  We had the trolley if we needed to get somewhere.  We went to the light show in the park.  It was beautiful, but there was too much walking involved.  And Jerry got sick that night.  I got sick the next day. We still went on a bus tour of the city and rode the Steamboat Natchez.  We ate supper at Landrey’s Seafood! The rest of the night we just stayed in the room.  I think that was the best part.  Just being together.

Lev. 26:13 – “I broke the bars of your yolk and enabled you to walk with your heads held high”.  God, please break these bars of this yolk.  This yolk that has me down, that has me so sick sometimes I can’t get up.  This yolk that is sending thoughts of giving up.  Make this verse a reality in my life. You are an overcomer.  You have already defeated this cancer.  Give me strength to carry on.  Give me joy.  “The Joy of the Lord is my strength”.  Neh. 8:10.

Forgive me for my worry.  Matt 6:27 “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life”.  Help me to remember these truths and promises that you gave us.  Help me to “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” Rom 12:12.  I know you will be with me tomorrow as they decide if I can even get another chemo treatment.  I put my trust and faith in you.  My life is in your faithful hands.  Blessed be your name!

Today is Saturday, January 17th, 2015.  I am still crawling out of this deep dark hole that this last chemo has put me.  I threw up so much that I busted blood vessels in my eyes.  I’m trying to get well enough to return to work on Monday.  I don’t know if that will happen.  I’m still very weak and having trouble eating.  I stayed with my mom all week except Friday.  I hated Mom seeing me so sick but I didn’t have another choice.  I could not stay by myself.  Jerry had his birthday Thursday and all I could do was wish him a happy day.  Too sick to do anything else.

Today is Wednesday, January 28, 2015!  I saw Dr. Seago yesterday.  Jerry went with me.  We have changed my plan.  We are going back to a different chemo.  One I have received before and I didn’t have a bad reaction from.  Taxol.  I hope this doesn’t make me sick.  I start next week for 3 weeks.  My hair will fall out again.  I’m use to this by now.  It’s not a big deal.

I had my chemo treatment today. Thursday, February 5, 2015.  I arrived at St. D at 7:30 to register.  They told me I was already registered and could go on up to the clinic.  They didn’t open until 8.  Oh well.  God answered 2 of my prayers today.  Isn’t He awesome? Nurse Juanita was there. She knows her stuff.  And my port worked.  Nurse Juanita figured it out. I was able to get my chemo today.  My blood count was low.  I have to go back tomorrow morning to get blood.  So I get to sleep with a needle in my port.  It doesn’t hurt, it’s just a bother.  I can handle it.  I didn’t leave there until 1.  The blood issue is why I have been so weak.  I thought it was the antibiotics I’m having to take for my legs.  I really should talk with my chemo nurse more.  My personality just doesn’t like to bother people.  So far I am doing ok.  I’m taking my nausea pills regularly.  Lord, thank you again for answered prayers even small ones.  Continue to heal my body and help me with the journey.  I love you, Lord.

Today is Monday, February 9, 2015.  I am at home today.  Still not feeling well enough to go to work.  And I have another chemo treatment this coming Thursday.  I seem to be home more than I am at work.  Thank you, God, that I work for a company that is so understanding.  I’m hoping to go in tomorrow.  God willing!

Well, I didn’t make it to work the next day.  I wound up being admitted to the hospital. Today is Wednesday, February 25, 2015. On Friday the 13th, 2015, I had to have emergency surgery to repair a tear in my colon.  I had been unable to use the bathroom for a few days.  On Tuesday, the 10th, my wound from my pruritus surgery opened back up and everything going through my colon began coming out of my wound.  They admitted me quickly, got a CT Scan, and put me on a no eat diet.  I had an IV to keep my body going.  I wound up needing more blood before surgery.  I really did not think I would wake up this time.  Thank you, Lord, that I did.  That 1st night after surgery, they kept me on ICU.  Jerry could not stay with me.  After that they kept me until Wednesday, the 18th.  Today was the 1st day I have stayed all by myself all day.  It was lonely.  My stomach still hurts.  The Dr’s say I will have get to eating again.  Right now I always have the runs from the stool softener and take at night.  I take them because the pain pills will make me constipated.  So here I am again on Medical Leave.  Lord, show me what I am to do?  Show me Your will.

Today is Friday, March 6, 2015.  It’s been 3 weeks since my surgery.  My body still feels weak and my bowels are still not working right.  I’ve lost 30 lbs. since the beginning of 2015.  I just can’t eat.  And some foods that I used to love does not taste the same.  I’m doing better today.  My mom sent me some of her soup. It tasted great! (Smiley Face)  I went to my follow-up visit with Dr. Seago and Dr. Scanlon last Tuesday.  I was fine at Seago’s but somewhere on the way to Scanlon’s I got sick. Thank goodness we were the only one in his waiting room.  The docs said my scar is healing great.  I need to get up and walk around more, drink plenty of liquids, and try to stop the pain pills.  I think I am doing a little better today.  Thank you, Jesus, for your healing touch.

Today is Thursday. March 26, 2015.  Let’s see. What all has happened since I last wrote a journal entry.  I had another visit with Seago.  There is another tumor to battle.  I’m sick of all of this, but I have to keep going.  I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Jerry and I have been thinking about trying one of those cancer centers.  Jerry called one but there are insurance issues.  We’ve got Renee at my work checking on this.  God, make it happen if this is the way we should go. I am getting a home makeover in my Living Room, Dining Room, and kitchen.  Jimmy Parker and his crew are doing the work.  Very exciting.  We are using my inheritance money from my parents.  They said we should just go ahead and use it. We’re getting new floors, paint touch-ups, new couch and love seat, new curtains, new pots and pans, new kitchen cabinets and appliances, a pantry and a wall to separate the kitchen from the laundry room.  Thank you, Lord, for this blessing!

Today is Wednesday, April 1, 2015.  Happy April Fool’s Day.  We got approved for the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.  Thank you, God! We leave for Pennsylvania next Monday.  We told Seago our plans yesterday.  He was happy for us. We will still see Seago, but we just want to see all of our options.  Meanwhile, this week, I am trying to work on my bowels.  Lord, help me to work on this little problem before the trip.  You are an Awesome God!

Today is Monday, April 20, 2015.  We arrived at PA 2 weeks ago today.  I would say we arrived just in time.  I began to feel really sick the very next day, after my last scheduled appointments.  The knot in my stomach began to swell.  They discovered a fluid build-up and had a drain put in.  On Friday, April the 17th, I had another surgery.  They had to give me a poo bag. Yuck!!! Just another bump in the road.  A big ugly bump.  I’m doing ok getting up and down.  And at night with all the bathroom visits.  They put a porta-pottie in my room.  That’s helped a lot.  We are having trouble getting my blood to flow.  But with God’s help, I’m sure everything will be good.  After all, God is good all the time and all the time God is good!

We made it home yesterday with no problems.  It seemed the closer we got to being home, the better I felt.  Today is Saturday, April the 25th.  We figured out that taking 2 Aleve in the middle of the day helped my pain.  So, I will add this to my long list of pills.  Jimmy and Lanessa Parker had supper waiting for us.  They are awesome friends. While in PA, Jerry was my caregiver.  He wore this arm band the whole visit.  This allowed him to eat free.  My pain is getting better every day and I actually slept better.  Being in my own bed helped.  The Center sent us home in a Limo and our plane seats were 1st class. We go back on the 15th to possibly start chemo.

Today is Monday, May 18, 2015.  We went to the Cancer Center but did not start chemo yet.  We have a plan. Chemo will begin next Saturday, May the 23rd.  I had to take some meds before taking this type of chemo.  So we will return again next weekend and then every 3 weeks after that for chemo treatments.  The Doc said this chemo should not cause any bad side effects.  And I may not lose my hair.  We shall see.  So, Saturday, we didn’t have anything to do since I was not getting any chemo.  We went on a tour to the Franklin Institute paid for by the center.  It was a fun day.  We are talking about me returning to work on the 28th.  I hope this will be possible.

I woke up today feeling sick to my stomach.  Lord, please help build my strength.  I need to go back to work.  I need to try and get my life back to normal as much as possible.  I have faith in you Lord.  That you can help me.  That you can and will heal me.  I love you, Jesus!

Today is Monday, June 8, 2015.  I received my chemo on the 28th and did have some side effects. Stomach issues.  And weakness.  I returned to work June 1st.  This was a tough week. I worked Mon – Thursday but did not once work a full day.  On Friday I stayed home.  I was too weak to return to work.  I believe the problem was my leg.  It keeps swelling up.  Jerry took me to the Hazlehurst Clinic.  Dr. Long gave me a script for antibiotics.  So far so good.  I was real sick Saturday.  I still did not return to work today.  But so far today has been good.  I should be able to work tomorrow.  We leave Friday for my next chemo treatment.  So I guess I will be sick again next weekend.  I pray, Lord, for the sickness from chemo to be small.  I need relief from being sick.  Please help me.  Give me your strength to endure what lies ahead of me.

Today is Thursday, June 18th, 2015.  I received chemo last Saturday and have been through the ringer.  I plan on trying to go to work tomorrow.  I need to work.  It gives me something to do.  Sitting at home all day unable to do anything because you are weak and sick, is depressing.  Help me, Lord, to be able to return to work – I turned 50 last Tuesday. Yes I spent my big day sick. But all is good. Thank you, Lord, that I have lived this long.  Help me to continue to endure these trials that I must go through.  I will have another round of chemo the weekend after the 4th of July.  I pray this chemo is working. I pray for healing.  I believe you want to heal me.  Help my unbelief!  Give me your strength to heal and your joy to spread to others who desperately need your joy.  I Love you, Jesus.  Thank you for my life.

Today is Saturday, July 4th, 2015.  The weekend after my birthday we had a family Bar-B-Q at our house.  I was able to get a group picture with my parents and my brother and sisters.  I’ll try to get a copy to put in here.  Tonight, Jerry and I went to the MS Braves game.  The purple band is from the game.  They won 4 to 2.  There was a fireworks show after the game.  We had a great time.  We also had a great time last weekend.  We got haircuts, went shoe shopping and Belks, and had dinner at Outback.  Next weekend we fly back to PA for another chemo treatment.  Lord, I pray you will be with us on this next trip.  Keep us safe and free any danger.  I love you, Lord! (Smiley face)

Today is Sunday, July 5, 2015.  For some reason I am depressed today.  So I decided to write it hoping this will help me vent and I will feel better.  After this I plan a reading through my prayer verses.  That always helps.  I just feel so tired of always feeling bad.  Every day, I hurt.  Lord, I wonder sometimes why I have to go through this.  What is the reason?  I know that is a question that I may never know the answer to. But I’m venting.  So I ask.  I wish you would heal me.  Take this burden from me.  I want to go swimming, yet I don’t. I can’t even get the energy to get dressed today.  I’m being so lazy.  I feel like I can do that every once in a while.  Lord, I’m going to read my verses now and try to get over this depression that the devil is using to get to me.  I pray for your help, Lord.  Thank you for everything!

Today is Friday, July 17th, 2015.  I made it through my last chemo treatment without getting sick this time.  I even went back to work on Wednesday.  I made it until 12.  We go back to the center on August the 3rd for a CT Scan.  They had said that if everything was good we could go ahead and get another chemo treatment.  I told Jerry that I don’t want to do that.  He doesn’t really understand. I just feel like I need more of a break from the chemo.  I am tired of being tired.  And I don’t think a few more weeks would hurt.  Jerry is just worried and wants me to get all the treatments I need to get well.  I’m going to stand up for myself on this issue.  I want more time to feel better.  I finished another painting this week.  The one of a bench with 2 trees in the background.  I used Mark 6:31 as my verse.  “Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest”.  My next picture is going to be the fruit of the spirit.  I love the way God gives me ideas for my paintings.  God, you are awesome!

Today is Tuesday, August 4th, 2015.  The CT Scan showed 2 more tumors.  So I have 3 tumors to fight with God’s help.  With God on my side, whom shall I fear.  That is what I tell myself.  God, I need you.  I cannot fight this alone.  You are my rock, the God of my salvation. They also figured out what is going on with my peeing problem.  They will put tubes in my kidneys to drain my urine.  One tube in each kidney.  So, my urine will drain into a bag.  I will have 3 bags attached to my body.  I’m thinking more and more about long term disability.  But, I will probably work until I just can’t work anymore.

Tonight we celebrate the life of Paul McCain.  He went to be with God on Friday, July 31, 2015.  I pray that Debbie will be okay.  I know this will be hard for her.  Lord, give her the strength she needs to make it through the service tonight.  Give us all the words she needs to hear.  Help us to love on her and to let her know she is not alone.

Today is Thursday, August 13, 2015.  I had the procedure done and it helps some.  I still go to the bathroom.  But the pain is not any better.  I would say that it is worse.  I can’t take Aleve and Aleve seems to be the only pain meds that helps.  But Aleve is bad for my kidneys.  I just can’t seem to get a break.  Some days the pain is so unbearable.  I even cry.  It is that bad.  God, I’m begging for relief.  Help me, Jesus, to be an overcomer.  Please end this pain and suffering.  But only if it is your will.  I started another round of chemo.  I get a dose every week for 3 weeks.  Take one week off, then start again.  Jess is going with me tomorrow for my next treatment.  Her 1st time to fly.  I wish it was for somewhere better.  I am on long term now.  The MS Home Health sends a nurse out to help me.  I feel so helpless.  I’m always so tired and in pain.  Like right now, I need to shave my legs, but I don’t have the strength. Lord, help me to be all I can be for you even through the pain.  I pray for peace, joy, and comfort.  In Jesus name, Amen!

Today is Wednesday, August 26, 2015.  Yesterday was Garry’s birthday.  I sent him a Happy Birthday message on Facebook.  We found out through Patty that Garry is living in New Orleans.  I pray for him almost every day.  I love him in spite of him never coming around. I am still weak today from the chemo I received last Saturday.  I am spending a lot of time in bed watching TV.  I am working on my next painting.  It’s a pottery painting. Jerry is out of town on a business this week.  I am missing him.  Home Health is coming tomorrow to draw blood.  This is to see if my body can take another round of chemo next weekend. In a way, I wish I will not be able to get it.  The plane rides are really taking a toll on my body.  There is so much that needs to be done there.  Jess helps out so much.  Thank God for her. She is such a blessing.  The pain is still there.  It’s a constant reminder of the cancer in my body.  Hopefully, the chemo will shrink the demon causing the pain and things will get better.

Today is Saturday, September 5, 2015. I have been putting off writing in my journal.  I have been fighting depression.  Thank God he who is in me, is greater than he who is in the world.  I will overcome depression.  The pain is the problem.  Some nights it so bad I can’t do anything but try to lay as still as possible.  I have even been in tears.  God, I need your strength when it comes to this pain that is invading my body.  I am feeling a little better today. I felt good enough to take a bath.  I say a bath, but I am unable to get these tubes wet.  So I sit on the edge of the tub and do the best I can do.  Jerry’s parents, Larry and Debbie are going on another cruise.  They are trying to get me to go.  I have declined.  Who wants to go on a cruise when you can’t swim or get in a hot tub? (Frown Face) Jerry got a call from Debbie today.  She got her insurance money from Paul’s death.  She said Paul would want me to have my vacation to Hawaii.  She is giving us $5,000 to go.  I feel bad taking it, but how can I refuse.  So we will put it in the bank and see how I feel around December.  God willing I will get to see Hawaii.  Thank would be a great blessing (Smiley Face)

Monday, September 14, 2015.  We went to PA over the weekend.  Got my chemo Saturday.  I also got a really good report.  Dr. Said everything looks good on paper.  I get another dose next weekend in PA.  The 3rd treatment, hopefully, will be done in Jackson at Dr. Seago.  That would be great to not have to fly so much.  The plane trips really are hard on me.  God, I pray this chemo is working. No, I know, in faith, this chemo is working.  I put this cancer in your hands, Lord.  You are the Great Healer.  Please, Lord, heal my body.

Today is Monday, September the 28th.  I had a very rough weekend.  Beginning last Thursday.  I went to St. D for a port study.  They tried to fix the port, but it was a waste of time.  Friday morning they admitted me and put in a new port.  I got my chemo treatment Friday afternoon.  On Saturday I had to get magnesium and a blood transfusion.  We were at the hospital until 11 that night.  I have a real bad UTI right now to go along with everything else.  I have a weird discharge when I pee.  Dr. Seago thinks it may be the cancer coming out from the tumor in my bladder.  I hope so.  That would mean the chemo is working.  Thank you, Jesus.  I pray this is what is happening.  I am feeling weak today and I don’t seem to be able to eat.  I know I need to eat, but I just don’t want to.  My last weight check I was 129 pounds.  I have run out of things to say.  And I’m very sleepy at this moment.  I’m sleepy a lot because I wake up so much during the night.  Just another thing I have to put up with.  Lord, watch over me and heal my body.  Thank you for healing me.  Thank you for always being here with me. (smiley face)

Today is Saturday, October 3rd, 2015.  Let me begin with some good news.  On Tuesday, Jess came home from revival and said she has given her life to the Lord.  Isn’t that awesome! Now, I know for sure she will be with me in Heaven.  She was baptized on Wednesday @ Harmony.  I was able to make it to watch.  Now the not so good news.  I am still having some weakness and trouble after a week from my last chemo treatment.  I pray that it will get better.  I am tired of always being sick.  Lord, give me your strength and comfort.  Help me to praise you no matter what happens.  I love you so much Jesus!  You are the light of my world!

Today is Wednesday, October 21,2015.  We have given the I can’t do anything more for you speech from the Cancer Treatment Center.  They are still helping us when needed.  I am now in the care of Hospice.  Everyone knows what that means, death.  But does it really? Only God knows the date and time of our death.  I plan on putting my faith and trust in my Savior.  He is the ruler of the Earth, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Prince of Peace, the Great I Am.

I have had over a week now to process this, a week to cry my eyes out.  I really have not cried like you think I would.  I guess, it’s just that I know once I breathe my last breath here on Earth, I will be looking into the eyes of Jesus and see those Saints that went on before me.

Hospice has me all set up.  Jerry made sure of that.  I have a bed set up in the Living Room so that I’m not shut up in the bedroom all day.  It is hard for me to sit up for long periods of time.  I have a wheelchair, a walker, a hospital table and a shower chair.

I tend to worry about how this is effecting my family and friends more  than me.  My pain and suffering will be over their pain will only be beginning.  Let all have peace and comfort when I am gone.  Give them all strength in the knowledge that I will be in heaven.

I am going on my Hawaii trip, God willing, sometime in November.  Sam and Jess are going with us.  I just decided on the spur of the moment to take them.  I will let you know how good the trip is when we return.

One day at a time, Sweet, Jesus, one day at a time!

Today is Sunday, November 7, 2015 I am back in the hospital getting more blood.  I was so low this time.  We had to get off hospice.  Then when this is over we will get back on.

You will never guess where I am.  Well, maybe you already know. Today is Monday, November 16th, 2015 and I am in Hawaii!!  Jerry, Sam and Jess are here with me.  Right now, the girls are doing a little grocery shopping.  When they return, hopefully, we will head to the beach.  I am unable to walk that far so wheelchair here we go!  This cancer is not going to win.  I have an army of believers out there praying for a great trip.  Not to mention, God is on my side, so who can be against me.  We have a tour scheduled for tomorrow.  God was all over that tour.  Jerry was speaking with a good Christian lady and she worked out a tour just for us.  On Wednesday we have a helicopter tour to go on.  Of course, we will go to a Luau.  The rest of the trip is beach and relax time.  This whole trip is a testament of God’s gracious nature.  When scheduling this tour, Jerry just happened to be talking with a Christian woman who was a caregiver for 10 years.  God is so good.  God is so good, He’s so good to me.  You are great, Lord, I cannot begin to tell you how much I love you.  Help me to share this love I have for you to a lost and dying world.  Help me to make a difference.

Today is Tuesday December 1st, 2015.  Since Maui, Hawaii, we have been working on getting my pain in order.  I believe we have finally done it.  Now I need to see about all the other pills I have to take on a daily basis.

From Jerry: Janice never made another journal entry. Each day that followed she progressively got weaker. On December 6th she woke up and was unable to communicate to me what was wrong with her. I had to call an ambulance and they transported her to St. Dominick’s Hospital. She held on for 5 more days, and the morning of December 11th, at 8:27 am, after a battle that lasted 1,516 days, Jess and I each held her hands as she transitioned to Glory. Here is her Farewell Message https://youtu.be/5EK1Lwbrlbk. Once we returned from the Cancer Treatment Center and she was placed on Hospice, she began preparing these cue cards. She had planned on me videotaping it with her sharing her message to the world. Unfortunately, her health never allowed that to happen, but the girls, with the help of Tyson Windom made sure her message was shared. She fought the good fight, she finished the race, she kept the faith, and it was such an honor to share nearly 27 years with this amazing soul.

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2 thoughts on “Cancer Journal of Janice Rutledge Pitts: From Her Heart to Ours

  1. I am truly in awe of this amazingly strong lady and the way she persevered through this hard journey with God at her side. Our God is an awesome Savior and he needed her more than this world did. I can just see her with gorgeous angel wings and that beautiful smile!!!!

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  2. Janice was a very sweet sister-n-law. I’m so glad she was in my life. She’s in heaven and having the time of her life. Gone but not forgotten .

    Like

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