Posted in Culture, Faith, Family, Health, Tumor

Clemson Game

Welp, we’re watching the Clemson game.  South Carolina’s going to Omaha so Dad is happy and hopefully Clemson will head that way as well.  Now that will be a big deal!

Resting today.  Taking the medicine and good ole steroids and hanging out on Josh and Karen’s couch.  We’re very glad that I can stay here so that the kids don’t freak out and I can rest but I miss them a ton!  Evy’s going to come for a visit while Enoch is at preschool tomorrow so that will be good.

Well the stitches are a lot farther across than we thought.  They go from one ear to two inches of the other which is a little insane – way to go modern medicine.  Karen set up a great scarf on my head earlier and so we should be good to go.

I’m really glad that this happened during the summer and that there’s some downtime built into everything.  I’m trying to process all of this slowly and deliberately and take things a day at a time.  We don’t have brain tumors in our family.  We don’t have any hereditary factors that we know of and yes we are waiting to hear the pathology reports.  When Mike asked the doctor on Friday if we should have hope that I wouldn’t have to worry about this over the next  5 years he said no, so I’m trying to realize that this is for the long haul and that it’s one step at a time.

They say that it is an astrocytoma which in more understandable words to me means that it’s shaped like a starfish.  It reminds me of the old proverb where the starfish keep washing up to shore and to save their lives you keep throwing back as many as you can but you really wish they would just stop washing up so you wouldn’t have to save them.  There are little bits that we can do every day to do our part to make the world a better place.  In my inbox this morning was a request from Bread for the World asking for help.  Below is their message.  I appreciate your help in calling and making your voices heard.  We can’t save all the starfishes in the world, but we can do the best we can with what we’ve been given.

Much love to each of you and God’s peace!

=0), Narcie

On Tuesday, June 15, Bread for the World members from across the country will visit their members of Congress on Capitol Hill to ask them to support millions of low-income working families who struggle to make ends meet.
I hope that you will be able to join us. If you can’t come to Lobby Day in person, please call your member of Congress on June 15. Please call your senators or representative using our special toll-free number (1-800-826-3688). Ask them to make the current Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit levels permanent.
You can explain your message by adding either or both of these points:
If Congress fails to preserve the Child Tax Credit at its current level, a full-time working parent receiving the minimum wage will receive only a $320 credit instead of the current $1,800 credit.  The difference—$1,480—is a modest amount of money that has a big impact on the lives of families struggling to make ends meet.
If the EITC and Child Tax Credit are not continued at current levels, 1.5 million people will fall below the poverty line, including 800,000 children. Find out how many people in your state would be affected.
The combination of a personal visit and your call make for a very strong witness for low-income families who need our help in making ends meet. Thank you.

Posted in Faith, Movies, Music, Worship

Laminin

Hi y’all,

So I’m trying to have a little church up in here.  No I’m not singing loud and freaking out any nurses, don’t worry.  But a friend sent this Louie Giglio video to me last week and I remember one of my students this semester telling me about this amazing thing called Laminin that’s like the rebar of the body.  I like the image of the rebar because that’s what holds just about everything together in Nicaragua and it’s great, sturdy, strong stuff.  I don’t know how much of this whole laminin thing is true and I’m not always one to send out mass forwards and things like this, but I do think that it’s again so super cool and neat how amazingly intricate our bodies are and that there is a master Creator and Physician that builds us up from the inside out and holds us close.  Does that mean that this Creator God of ours loves those that don’t get well or get the answers they’d like to have any less?  Heck no.  But it does mean that the cross of Christ is ever before us calling us forth to new life and new beginnings and new realities each step of the way.  Maybe a cheesy video but very cool nonetheless.  How Great is Our God!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_e4zgJXPpI4

Posted in Campus Ministry, Culture, Faith, Family, Health, Movies, Music, Tumor

San Francisco

Mom and I watched a movie last night with Clark Gable and an opera singer called San Francisco.  Although her opera singing was not the favorite of my ears, the story was decent and talked about the great earthquake and fire of San Francisco and faith and all sorts of interesting historical stuff. It was much better than watching the cartoons, news and newborn channel on the hospital television.

So they’ve taken off the lefthand iv and took out the righthand iv this morning.  They removed the staples from the central line in my neck yesterday so the only things left to do to get me out of here is take the bandage off of my neck and remove the drip.  Definitely gives new thought to the phrase “brain drain.”  Other than that I’m doing pretty well.   I have to admit now that I wasn’t so sure that I was going to wake up as me.  I know that they didn’t say anything about me not being myself when I woke up but with the whole brain thing I was concerned that I was going to just be here but not really be here.  But I am here!  My head hurts of course – duh! but my real slightly silly brain is here and for that I am truly, truly thankful!  If I could do a little jig I probably would (I think of Papa Mac my grandfather dancing down the aisle singing Lord of the Dance with his two leg prostheses).

It’s been sad watching the news here with the floods and I can’t imagine what those families are going through.  Many prayers for each of them and all of the days, weeks, and years ahead.  I keep saying surreally that I just had brain surgery, but I certainly didn’t wake up in the middle of the night with water all around and losing my family.  May God’s peace, strength, and presence surround these people in ways that they can’t even comprehend.

It’s amazing to me the strength of the human spirit and that push to keep going whether to the frontier of San Francisco, that beautiful 16 year old girl wanting to get back out and travel again in her sailboat or in watching this World Cup action and the exhilaration and electricity that come from people uniting in a common theme and cause!  We’ll see what the doctors say in the days and weeks to come.  As Mike told y’all, the doctor got all of the tumor except one line that was where it was fuzzy and close to the motor cortex.  They’ll either wait and see, do some chemo and radiation or will go back in and do another surgery.  Either way looks like I won’t be making it to Nicaragua in August but I know the students will have a blast!

I’m tired and I’m definitely not back to normal, but it feels good to know that I’ll get to see my kids soon and that life is going on as usual for now.  Josh is leading a Bible Study at Annual Conference right now so Mom and I have been praying for him.  He and Dad will travel back this way this afternoon.  Caleb was with us the morning of the surgery and GiGi has been sending us updated picture messages on the phone of the kids.  Mike will be doing the music at St. John’s – Fort Mill this morning.  Renee, Guyeth and Rob visited yesterday and they were each a blessing!  Prayers for Lindsay, my cousin and Guyeth and Rob’s daughter who got t-boned by a car full of 5 guys last night in New Orleans.  Even though it flipped, her Explorer just seemd to have one dent which is a blessing but I know she’s going to be sore and shaken up so prayers for peace, relaxed muscles, and rest.

So life goes on and just like those people in the crazy movie San Francisco – it may not all be pretty and it may be a fight, but it is life and we serve and know and trust the One who goes before us and beside us and ever with us each step of the way.  Praise be to God!

This is the link I wanted to post for you on Friday – it’s a song from Amy Grant’s new record – “Overnight” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cPYk6qB4Q0

  I also wanted to share with you Michael W. Smith’s “Healing Rain.”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bo1bjTOFbZA

Posted in Family, Health, Tumor

Goodmorning Doctor

I arrived at CMC this morning, and let me tell you that there is not much traffic at the wee hours of a Saturday morning. After being reprimanded for coming during shift change times I walked around and spoke with Narcie’s nurse. She told me Narcie did great last night, rested as much as she could, and had the MRI at 1.00 am! I then walked in with Narcie and she was sitting in a chair eating breakfast, grits, sausage, eggs, biscuit, & apple juice. Yeah, she’s feeling better, the grits were gone…
The doctor then came in and told us the MRI showed a bit of of the tumor was still there, but that was to be expected, the edges of the tumor were fuzzy. Now we wait for the pathology reports to give more info to make a plan of action (radiation and all that stuff). The doctor then said everything they saw indicates we do not need to act quickly. So the tumor has proven to still be not cancerous, and not too aggressive. Thank God! But prayers that the pathology report comes back with good news!

Well now she is in her new room and they are expecting her to go home tomorrow, crazy huh?! She will spend a few days at Josh’s house then in a few weeks will be back. Then just waiting for the next MRI…

Soon Narcie will post.

Posted in Faith, Health, Tumor

What we now know

Hello Everyone:
Narcie had her surgery this morning and did great! The doctor said those very words. He also told us he does not think she will need another surgery, which in “I talk in terms so you can’t sue me” means: We got all of it, or at least all that matters!!! And Narcie looked great after the surgery, but no she did not come out with super powers or the ability to break-dance.
NOW – what is going on? Well, we are not done with this damned thing. Narcie will probally have to undergo some treatments (we will know soon) and will have to have regular MRIs to make sure “it” does not come back. There is the chance it could, and again we will know more when the pathology (think that’s the right word) report comes back. Essentially the prayer is now that “it” never shows itself again, and in 20 years Narcie and I are hearing about how the doctor’s kids are doing in college. Maybe Narcie will be their campus minister!

I must say the out pouring of love has been tremendous & overwhelming. You have earnestly offered help in ways that I never expected and I have been moved each time. Thank you for all the prayers that have been offered on Narcie’s behalf. We truly believe that prayer can move mountains, and we are in the midst of this one. So please, let’s keep Narcie and her continued recovery in our prayers.
I think that is everything.
I love you all for your support during this trying time.
Mike

Posted in Faith, Family, Health, Television, Tumor

The Night Before

No television shows tonight.  I was hoping Grey’s Anatomy would be on to help gear me up but no, still basketball.  Do think it’s cool it’s the Celtics and the Lakers and close games but other than that – I don’t care at all.

I’m tired.  It was amazingly amazing going to conference and I’m super glad I did!  I completely appreciate the prayers and I sure do hope Josh doesn’t melt in his yert (it could be gert I keep getting it wrong).  We had a good night with the kiddos.  The train table arrived and Mike put it together so the E’s will have something fun to play with for the next few days.  GiGi fixed a delicious brunswick stew and we celebrated both Mike’s mom’s (GiGi) and my mom’s (Grammy) birthday since we kind of robbed them of both of them.  GiGi found out the news about my lovely interloper in the noggin on June 2nd her birthday and tomorrow is my mom’s birthday so you get the drift.  But cake was had and the kids were bathed and eventually went to sleep!  They must think that it’s Christmas or something crazy going around here with so many family members in and out and gifts abounding and loose rules on bed time and everything else.

I feel a little bit like it’s the night before Christmas as well – something with anticipation.  Maybe the night before meeting with the Board of Ordained Ministry or some pressure cooked situation like that.  I’m not supposed to eat after midnight so don’t think I’m not going to pop a couple peanut m&m’s with my medicine while I still have the chance.  Other than that, the bags are packed, the bills for casa de Jeter and Wesley are paid, and I think everything’s in reasonably good shape for the unknown.

The surgery time has been moved up from arriving at 11:15 and surgery at 1:30 to arriving at 9 am and surgery at 11:15 am.  I’d like to think this is because the neurosurgeon is so super excited to go ahead and get going on this thing that he’s as geared up to get rid of this as I am.  Could be.  Or could be simple scheduling but I still like to think of him gearing up to take out this lovely thing in my head.

I have felt so much reassurance and love and prayers and encouragment and I think if I had hugged one more person at Annual Conference I might would have melted, but it’s good to have that community around you rallying.  Much like a basketball game or other crazy sporting event, you want to have some team spirit and folks cheering you on and into the game not just passively watching, but all up in it.  I hope that’s how we are when we’re church with one another.  We’re not just watching from the sidelines but we have a Saviour who gets messy and is sweaty and drinking the gatorade and gearing up right along with everyone else.  Our Bishop today talked a lot about the least of these today and the passage where there’s the back and forth of Yo Jesus, when did I see you and you were hungry and I didn’t do anything at all about it or when did I see you homeless and didn’t offer you a place to stay, etc. etc. on back to the highlight of inasmuch as you have done it for the least of these my people – you have done it for me.  Situations like this can’t help but be humbling.  Whether asking for a ride or for help to lead a session or for the simple merciful act of prayer – it kind of sucks being the one on the receiving end in our worlds sometime because we see ourselves as the big helpers and fixers and heroes.  But you know what – we can’t always be the ones doing the big wohoo thing – we need to be in the trenches with each other and learning from each other – not in a top down or “here we are to save the day!” kind of thing but in a we’ve all got things to give and we’ve all got things to learn and we’re all in this together.  None of us have it all figured out and none of us are completely clueless.

So I thank all of the medical people tomorrow who’s gift is to do this amazing medical thing that is completely outside of my English/PoliSci brain.  I thank all of the people that can cook, including my husband and mother in law because we all know that I don’t.  I thank all of the people with gifts of encouragement and prayer and passion as they share it freely and with such grace to so many people both within their communities and the random strangers that get sent our way.  I thank each of you for your prayers because I really do believe they can move mountains.

I’ve never completely loved professional sports because there’s just something about college sports that show so much more heart (don’t get me started on the University of Southern California today – wow).  But I must say in watching this basketball game – that even though they are making the big bucks either way – they want to win this game!  And even though my doctor tomorrow is making the big bucks either way – I hope he wants to knock it out of the park!  As we all play our parts in the game of life – let’s not sweat the times we get blocked or knocked down or tripped up or schooled once in a while, but let’s keep it moving, keep encouraging each other, keep challenging each other to rise to the occasion, and play our hearts out!

Time for bed.  I’ve got to get pumped up for the big game tomorrow!  (And no I am not going to link to a youtube video of Eye of the Tiger or I Will Survive or whatever, but you get geared up how you need to!)

Posted in Faith, Family, Health, Methodism, Television, Tumor

The Hills

Yes, I’m starting to think I watch too much tv.  However I gave up on The Hills when LC left and there’s nothing really on television right now, so whatever – everyone needs a little catch up.  Why in the heck is Audrina talking to Justin Bobby?  Enough of that.

Well, I’m here at Annual Conference.  Mom and I are living it up in the nice hotel room while Dad and Josh are sleeping outside to raise money for the Central Conference Pension Initiative.  Funny.  I had originally promised that I would spend at least one night outside in solidarity but since I’m only here one night, might as well enjoy the hotel room!  I did help make the posters and construct Josh’s gurt.  Probably spelled that wrong.  If I had a camera I would take you a picture but I totally can’t describe it.

Love, love, loved eating some good bar-b-que with the section 316 folks.  It’s good to break into conference with some love and fellowship and church because we are each other’s church.  We’re each other’s community and it’s good to know that and feel that and trust that.  I hope people take advantage of the tent city and sharing meals and sitting with and getting to know new folks because it’s so important to step out of our little boxes and get to know each other and ways other than that superficial.  We have prayer requests that go out over the conference email list but really knowing each other takes a bit more than just sitting through business once a year.  I’m glad that that’s not all that Christian conferencing is and I’m real glad that we can have a little fun and real relationship here.

So as I watched Josh build his hexayurt or whatever the heck it’s called, I saw I missed a call and listened to a voicemail from the neurosurgeon.  He’s on vacation this week but had received the MRI and functional MRI results.  He gave me his cell number and I called him back and talked with him and let me tell you – that was so good.  To call and talk to not an operator or someone taking my information or just doing a courtesy call, but to the real, live doctor that’s going to be taking out this tumor.  He said that the tumor is right beside the motor cortex but it has not invaded it.  I’m telling you I was thinking about the matrix and those yucky bug looking things that try to break into the ship and I’m thinking heck yeah go motor cortex don’t let that yucky stuff get in there, but that’s my weird brain for you.

Anyway, he said that he should be able to get most of it and that should be the main tricky part – the posterior deep lateral part – whatever that means but those are the area to pray for great precision.  Another prayer would be that he said we can hope that under the microscope it will be obvious what the bad brain matter is and what the good brain matter is based on how they look.  So may that be crystal clear – maybe not matrix like yucky stuff, but nevertheless clear.  He said that there is a small chance of some side effects and potential harm, but that the hope of getting it all out is far outweighs the bad potential so I’m good with that.  He again said what they told me about the one night in neurointensive care and then 3-5 days after that but he (and this is why I like him) leaned more towards the 3 days.  His hope was that in 2-3 weeks I’d be getting my energy back and would be ready to rock and roll and that they could then monitor things by MRI.  The pathologists won’t fully get anything back about what the tumor is, etc. for about 2-3 weeks so hopefully as I start to feel better we can then find out what the heck this whole thing was.

I felt a gazillion times better after talking to him.  Hugely.  He said that he would answer any questions I had on Friday as well – gosh, it’s nice to be able to ask questions.  I feel better.  Or maybe that’s the smell from the sharpie markers that we used to make signs for the Central Conference Pension Initiative.  Either way – I feel like giving my brain a high five for keeping the tumor from invading certain parts and I can feel the prayers around me.

Prayers for all of the many people wrestling with stuff right now – whether that be next steps, destinations, or unsettling news.  May we each have the good sense not to go it alone and the community of support around us to carry us home.

Posted in Faith, Family, Health, Music, Tumor

The latest

I realize that some of y’all humor my rambles and some of you want to cut to the chase and get the facts of the matter so here is your bare basics for now.

We went to the MRI and Functional MRI today.  We arrived at 2:10 and I went in around 3:15.  Needless to say I got out at close to 6:15 pm.  Wow that was long.  They were doing some sort of research study and I signed some waivers for them to do whatever in the heck they were doing.  Figured it couldn’t hurt.  And then I got to hear a bunch of noise and wiggle my fingers and toes for awhile.  Didn’t hear anything afterwards except that the nurse said that everyone seems on the same page and I have a good neurosurgeon that will be able to answer my questions on Friday.  So – that’s where we are.  I don’t have any more answers than that.

The team (it’s kind of weird having a team) will meet over the next couple of days and we’re still good to go for Friday.  Still going there around 11:15 am and beginning around 1:30 pm at CMC’s main campus.

I am much more worried about afterwards than during but that’s probably my stubborness coming through.  Who likes change?  Especially where a 1 and a half and 3 year old are concerned?  How in the heck will I get ready for the coming school year or be ready to welcome freshman?  Will I be able to play with my kids as usual?  I don’t even want to think about hospital bills, insurance, or co-pays…  And the ever present question about my hair or what this recovery will be like…  It is what it is and where heading forward full steam ahead.

But we’re not going alone and for that I am hugely thankful.  Thanks so much for the prayers!  Thanks hugely to GiGi for watching the kids and being here during this time.  As always love to brothers and sisters in law and family for keeping it real.  Thanks to my parents for riding up and down that road to Columbia and for being here.  Thanks to my students for keeping me human in the midst of this and being wonderful.  Thanks to each of you for your comments, emails, notes, cards, EVERYTHING – they have each meant the world.  Thanks especially to my precious children who are the best cuddlers and welcome homers I know and to my amazing rock of a husband Mike who has been unwavering and more amazing than I could imagine or ask for through all of this.  It’s been a week and a half.  When I have surgery it will be just barely 2 weeks from being healthy happy narcie to what in the heck is in my brain.

I didn’t know I could be so tired, so grateful, so scared, so at peace, and so hopeful all at the same time.

  She does theodicy so well….Amy Grant’s Somewhere Down the Road…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYtqPgIE-kg

Going to sleep now! =0)

Posted in Culture, Faith, Family

Even the trashy Philippa Gregory novels…

Okay so my thinking of “for such a time as this” extends far beyond just Ms. Esther.  I really do believe that God brings things into our lives for particular journeys.  No this is not everything happens for a reason or just the beginning of “For Good” ie. “People come into our lives for a reason…”  Nope.  I’m talking about reading that book or hearing that song or getting that email or reading that billboard or whatever at just the right time and that be a little message to keep you hanging on and keeping on.

So I’ve never totally loved the raunchy romances of life.  I am one of those people that like Christian romances.  Yep, that aisle in the bookstores that says Christian fiction welp I used to make a home there.  Okay, I’m out.  There’s a whole shelf in Wesley dedicated to these treasures of mine.  Love Robin Jones Gunn.  Love Linda Chaikin.  Love, love, love them!  When I was at Emory some of the students gave me a Christian dating book in tribute to these crazy books of mine even though I was long married at that point.  There’s something about a good story and the Lord of all driving it that makes me happy – I like both the passion and the faith.  Now my grandmother loved books.  Good golly I can’t even remember a time til her dying day that she didn’t have a book beside her.  Mine go with me in my gigantic pocketbooks.  I have no idea how she kept hers so neat except that she probably didn’t have as much candy and kid junk in her bags.  But Ganny liked all sorts of book – including the occasional I would say trashy romance.  So there was a time that I picked up The Other Boleyn Girl on a flight and thought what in the world is all this sex and craziness?  Such is the reaction when you grow up reading the Christian versions…  However, now in this stage of life when such things cease to surprise me anymore, I have found a new at least so-so feeling towards this author that blends history and romance.

My brother Caleb just earned his history degree from the University of South Carolina and his last paper was on Richard III – interesting guy.  This is the Richard portrayed in Gregory’s book The White Queen and the one who may or may not have murdered the two princes in the tower.  I know I’ve lost half of you now, but I promise to get to the rambling point (some of you are like – dude this is how she preaches – she just needs to get to the point).  Anyway, I hated that book in a lot of ways.  Loved the romance, loved the survival, but hated it for that mother to lose her children like that and her husband and all that yuck.  In the meantime though I picked up another one of her books, The Constant Princess.  This one is about Katherine of Aragon.  Interesting story.  I’m less than 150 pages into it and I already want to stop reading it because at this point everything’s happy and knowing the little bit about British history that I do, it ain’t going to be happy long.  What I got though for this time and in this place is that this lady and many before her knew how to survive.  She’s a daughter of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand and much of her identity is that she is this royal princess that’s going to kick butt.  (Okay Renee I know you don’t like when I use butt, but it is what it is.)  This queen stuff is crazy and I wholly believe that this whole royal thing in these books is crazy and that the whole business was completely dirty, but I think about what my brother Josh writes to us in letters and what I read from in this past week’s lectionary from 1 Kings.  We are children of the Most High God.

We are children of the Most High God.  That’s not a phrase that I’ve particularly jived with over the years, but it’s growing on me in this context.  This doesn’t mean that I’m going to start walking around with a long train and royal septer, I want to say bahahahaha to that.  But it does mean that I can do this.  I am a child of God and that’s all I have to be.  period.  Philippa Gregory may not speak to you and heck she may not speak to me again, but I think it’s absolutely amazing that we have a God that is not someone that looks at us from afar but is a God that gets messy and personal and in the mix with us and somehow in the midst of our insane little worlds breaks in and gives us what we need to keep going, no matter how random that may be.

Don’t know if I’ll finish the book but I got what I needed for the journey.

Posted in Campus Ministry, Faith, Family, Music

It’s good to be.

It’s good to be at Wesley.  In my little universe.  Catching up on email and listening to my itunes.  Songs from Dawson’s Creek soundtracks.  Bahahaha….and all sorts of things.  A couple have stood out this morning.  Amy Grant’s Better than a Hallelujah http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOHJghBU0XA

is one of them.  By the way – I own all the music I post.  Not the youtube videos of course, but just sayin – support your musicians people.

I also love Tom Conlon’s music.  His Emmanuel  is one of my favorite songs and always makes me think of my ordination.  I also love this one that to many says a lot about church – God doesn’t reside in a church but God resides in God’s community here on earth.  Such simplicity and such power.  Here’s the video of it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97twloqVygE

  Here’s one called Old Town that he did at Wesley http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ta0wrIZWc9A&feature=related

I reconnected with one of my best friends this morning and it almost brings me to tears even writing about it.  There’s something about shared experience!  She and I used to eat these awesome rolls from the restaurant Hop’s.  They’re much like the ones at California Dreamin’ but better.  That’s what the title of her email was this morning and not even seeing the name – I knew who sent it.  There’s something about the breaking of bread and shared experience.  Something far more powerful than we can encapsulate or wax eloquent on this side of life, but to me that’s the importance of breaking bread.  My favorite bits of ministry and of this walk of faith in general has been around the table whether growing up with covered dish dinners (my favorite – you can’t beat the desserts) or sharing around the dining room table at Clairmont Religious Life and talking about Lord knows what or sharing in communion around our coffee table at Wesley.  It’s the food for the body and the soul.  God loves you.  God forgives you.  Supper’s ready!  Thanksgivings for all of the meals I have shared along the way with so many people and thanks to the one who sustains us each step of the way with the morsels of hope, love, and peace that keep us keeping on.  I am grateful.