Sunday, December 16th, 2018
Hard to believe that it has been two months and eleven days since our last post! In the blogosphere as in real life, time flies when you are having fun/busy. So much has transpired in this time period that we will do a quick run through of the time since Stepinac’s Family Fun Run.
So, Tif continues to heal and her C125 number continues to plummet Her numbers dropped from👍🎉 450 to 36, SOOOOO we are on a good track. We normally are not into “going down” but this we take happily 🙂
Sloan continues to be a part of our weekly life now and thankfully we are seeing the good of Sloan. It’s amazing how many people are on a similar journey but its also good that we are fortunate enough to be in the right place. The above photo is what we were greeted with everytime we walk through those “healing doors” and yet they “TRY” to make it as positive as possible so we will embrace it and run forward.
AS we walk this journey we are reminded of a great story about the Ant and the Contact Lens. The original source for the story is the book Keep A Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot, published in 1995. It became attributed to Josh and Karen Zarandona when they passed it on in an email. Supposedly, the original story came to Ms. Elliot from a Brenda Foltz, of Minnesota.
The Ant and the Contact Lens
Although she was scared to death, she went with her group to a tremendous granite cliff. In spite of her fear, she put on the gear, took hold of the rope, and started up the face of that rock. Well, she got to a ledge where she could take a breather. As she was hanging on there, the safety rope snapped against Brenda’s eye and knocked out her contact lens. Well, here she is on a rock ledge, with hundreds of feet below her and hundreds of feet above her. Of course, she looked and looked and looked, hoping it had landed on the ledge, but it just wasn’t there.
Here she was, far from home, her sight now blurry. She was desperate and began to get upset, so she prayed to the Lord to help her to find it. When she got to the top, a friend examined her eye and her clothing for the lens, but there was no contact lens to be found. She sat down, despondent, with the rest of the party, waiting for the rest of them to make it up the face of the cliff. She looked out across range after range of mountains, thinking of that Bible verse that says, “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth.” She thought, “Lord, You can see all these mountains. You know every stone and leaf, and You know exactly where my contact lens is. Please help me.”
Finally, they walked down the trail to the bottom. At the bottom, there was a new party of climbers just starting up the face of the cliff. One of them shouted out, “Hey, you guys! Anybody lose a contact lens?” Well, that would be startling enough, but you know why the climber saw it? An ant was moving slowly across the face of the rock, carrying it. Brenda told me that her father is a cartoonist. When she told him the incredible story of the ant, the prayer, and the contact lens, he drew a picture of an ant lugging that contact lens with the words, “Lord, I don’t know why You want me to carry this thing. I can’t eat it, and it’s awfully heavy. But if this is what You want me to do, I’ll carry it for You.”
At the risk of being accused of being fatalistic, I think it would probably do some of us good to occasionally say, “God, I don’t know why you asked me to carry this load. I can see no good in it and it’s awfully heavy. But, if you want me to carry it, I will.” God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.
October 24th, 2018
In October, Tif and family had the good fortune of running into Jay Wright, who just happens to be the men’s head basketball coach at Villanova University. Tif and he shared what it takes to have a winning mindset on and off the court (which also just happens to be the title of his best selling book Attitude: Developing a Winning Mindset on and off the Court) and Coach Wright gave her both of his trademark bracelets (see below). Life is about living with a positive mental attitude, being grateful and gracious for all things and believing in the possibilities the future holds for us all. For those who have not read his book or know someone who might like/need it, it could be JUST the perfect X-mas gift 😉
“Be thankful in all circumstances…” Thessalonians 5:18.
Thanksgiving day was another chance to stop and say “THANK YOU” for all of the many blessings that the O’Toole Flaherty family experienced this year. Although it seems like every day is Thanksgiving in all their lives faith, family, and friends were at the top of their gratitude list in addition to the many delicious homecooked meals, baked goods, notes, cards, books, mass cards, texts, calls, gifts, etc., that have made their days so much easier and so much brighter due to ALL of your generosity and kindness.
Tif had her sixth round of chemo on the day after Thanksgiving and was grateful to have had so many visitors that day – it’s amazing how a chemo suite can feel like a fun gathering when friends and family are there to make the time go faster with good conversations and laughter. We know chemotherapy is not “supposed” to be a good time BUT Tif embraces all the good cheer and the many visitors.
Round Seven – December 2018
Tif had her seventh round of chemo on 12/12 and is starting to seeing light at the end of this journey. Her CA125 number continues to fall – it dropped from 36 to 22 🎉 After Christmas, a scan will be performed to assess where she is and what if any course of direction will be taken. Keep praying and keep believing – prayer works 👍 this we know for SURE!
The ant, the contact lens, moving, friends and the spirit/will of Tif
Tif has been amazing at how she has been carrying the “contact lens” that landed upon her back this past June 11th, a little more than six months ago. She has never faltered in her positive mental attitude and has tried not to miss a day of walking regardless of how good or bad she is/was feeling. The walking and those she met/meets along her route have been a true godsend. Moving and getting out into the world may just be the antidote that is carrying Tif to an even better place than just the chemo alone. A big shout out to all who accompany on her “100 Acre Wood ” journey and those she meets along the way.
Hundred Acre Woods
*On a side note, today is the Third Sunday Of Advent (12/16/18), also known a Gaudete Sunday. The Latin word Gaudete means to rejoice. For those of you who attend(ed) mass today, you will hear about miracles associated with the Messianic age (a future period of time on earth in which the Messiah will reign and bring universal peace and brotherhood, without any evil or ill health – just joy! ), and what we need to do to prepare. The below song is “Gaudete” Libera. I hope it brings you a bit of peace and happiness as we are entering the most joyful (and stressful 😬) times of the year.