Dear family and friends,
Gabrielle here. I was waiting to blog once Daniel could help me load some fun pictures of our trip this past weekend but he has been busy and today he is sick (we think food poisoning). So I will give you an update and add pictures later!
For our 30th anniversary in December, the kids gave us a gift certificate to our favorite place at Cannon Beach--the Stephanie Inn. So this past weekend, we went there for two nights to celebrate being half-way done with chemo. The kids came along too, but they stayed at the much cheaper Hallmark Inn, about a mile down the beach from us.
There is nothing I love more than being at the ocean. I can't help but think of God when I see its beauty, hear the waves crashing against the rocks, and feel it ice my toes. I am awed by God's creativity in making the ocean and the starfishes and sand dollars we saw, by His power as I think of those crashing waves, currents, and undertows, and by His constancy. The ocean at Cannon Beach is exactly like it was when I went there as a small child with my grandmother. And God (and His love for us) is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.
The Stephanie Inn is fabulous. It's right on the beach about half a mile south of Haystack Rock. The rooms have fireplaces and jacuzzi tubs. There are fresh cookies, scones, muffins, and saltwater taffy in the lobby, along with coffee, tea, and hot cocoa. The staff all greet you warmly and meet your every need (like handing you one of 300 DVDs to watch in your room). From 4 to 6 pm there is a wine/beer/sparkling cider and appetizers reception in the Chart Room--a glorious sitting room with huge picture windows overlooking the ocean. From 9 to 10 pm you can go back to the Chart Room for a Baileys or other nightcap if you so choose. All this is included in the price of your room, along with a gourmet buffet breakfast.
We were blessed with amazing weather all weekend long! It was sunny or cloudy/no rain all three days. We walked for miles and miles each day on the beach, ate our favorite pizza slices for lunch from Pizza a Feta, laid on our beach blanket, and chatted/napped/read books. We watched movies at night (they give you popcorn with your movie). I popped my anti-nausea pills and had a great appetite! It was just the perfect weekend and felt so good to get away from my long days/weeks at home.
My nausea stopped all the way by Tuesday and I have had two good at home days with walks and visits with my friends Dean, Lynette, and Laura. Tomorrow (Thurs.) my friend and pastor, Bonnie (who, along with her husband, Arnie, helped me find my Christian faith when I was 14), is coming up for lunch, and after that my friend Kristi will visit. Too bad I wasn't this popular in junior high and high school! :-)
Tomorrow evening we will celebrate Daniel's birthday a touch early. His actual 23rd birthday is Monday, April 1. Yes, he is my April Fool's Day "baby." He insisted he wanted us to go to birthday dinner and eat chocolate caramel cake on a Thursday night, which is the night furthest from chemo and when my appetite is the best. It is double chemo this Friday (please pray...I dread it every time) and I will be pretty sick for five or so days after that. So on his actual birthday, I won't be a ton of fun. Thankfully, Renee has his birthday off from work so she is taking him to breakfast and will make sure he has a good time that day.
I am so grateful for all the kindnesses this week (cards, Easter lily, beautiful glassy baby blown glass candle holder in the ovarian cancer turquoise color, Easter chocolates from a patient of Steve's, etc.). And for all of you who pray for me every day or as often as you can--thank you SO much! I feel your healing prayers. I feel God's love, comfort, strength, and joy (yes, joy...who knew you could experience joy while fighting a life-threatening cancer)?!
I will update you again after the double chemo on Friday with news of my CA125 tumor marker count. They will test it this Friday (every double they test it) and let's pray it has dropped again, which would be so encouraging! And also how my white blood cells are doing after four days of the stomach shots this week to help my bone marrow make more of them.
Lastly, I don't know if I will be able to make it to church this Easter, as Sunday mornings are when the sickness hits full force after the double chemo. But I hope all of you can go, and hear again what the angel said to the women at the tomb: "Do not be afraid, for I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, just as he said!" Matt. 28:5-6 And because He died for us and rose again, "Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him." Thanks be to God!