Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Aloha--I'm home!

Dear Friends and Family,

I just got home from Maui at 11:30 last night.  I had a wonderful week away!  God blessed me with pretty good energy and I was able to snorkel every day (crystal clear this time of year--like being in an aquarium), walk (and lie) on the beach, sit by (and swim in) the pool, and enjoy good books and conversation with my sister, Marti, and good friend, Kristi.  It was sunny and about 82 every day.  The sunsets from our condo deck were amazing. 

One special thing that happened was that I hoped we could spend one night at the Grand Wailea Hotel, to enjoy their waterpark-like pools and slides, and their blue and white striped umbrellas and chairs on gorgeous Wailea Beach.  I spoke with a woman at the front desk named Daisy.  I told her about this special trip on my break from chemo and she lowered the room price for us by a LOT, she waived our parking and resort fee, and she upgraded us to a water view and deck room!  I told her she was my angel--it made me so happy!  We had two great days enjoying the hotel's amenities and Marti and Kristi let me spend the night there alone when it was time to sleep--so I could get a really luxurious rest.  Ahhhh.  It was heavenly.  Oh, and courtesy of Steve, we girls enjoyed Spa Day at the Grand Wailea with exfoliation, massage, and lots of soaking pools, saunas, and steam rooms!  :-)

On my flight home, I met another angel.  My flight attendant was a Christian and she was so kind to me and asked my name and said she would be praying for me.  She gave me a big hug when I deplaned (sp?).  Like my chemo nurses ordered, I wore masks on my flights both ways to and from Maui, and it turns out that it was a good thing I did.  Why, you might ask?

Well, this morning Renee, Daniel, and I all showed up for triple chemo and they drew blood for my labs.  The labs came back with counts much too low to get chemo.  I need one of the counts to be 1,500 and it was only 500.  Had I not worn those masks, I might have pneumonia by now with counts that low!  I was kind of depressed on the way home from the hospital, as I know that the chemo is what will keep me alive and thus, I need to be able to get it!  But today, God has been with me and given me a perfect, sunny, relaxing, and encouraging day that has restored my peace.

I had NO energy today after the trip and travel day yesterday, so Renee, Daniel, Riley (Renee's girlfriend), and I enjoyed a picnic Renee made in the sunshine on blankets in our back yard.  We ate and laid around reading, talking, and doing crossword puzzles.  Half-way through the picnic Daniel jumped up full of energy and cleaned off our patio and deck, did some gardening, then cleaned the kitchen.  He's taking a break from med school today after two hard exams yesterday!  Fine by me!!

In the midst of lazing around the backyard, I opened a lot of cheerful mail!  Cards from several of Daniel's med school classmates arrived, including one that they all signed with class photos enclosed!  What caring future doctors he is privileged to know and study with.  There were other great cards from Steve's brother John and dear friends, one containing an Amazon gift card so I can get Kindle books!  And my friend Bill Moyers (yes, the famous one you can watch on PBS) sent me a hand-written note and a DVD of a special he did on the hymn, Amazing Grace.  It's his favorite special he's done and said it reminds him of me and my testimony.  Steve and I met him in Mexico and had lunch with his wife and him.  They are lovely people!  Then I received the nicest e-mail from Dave McKenna, who was president of SPU when I attended school there. And lastly, sweet Mary Nygard brought us a wonderful dinner with gourmet ice cream bars for dessert--perfect for my throat! 

So a day that started out in sadness, unfolded with joy, love, peace, and renewed hope.  Just like the Lord, don't you think?  My Psalm today was Psalm 10.  Verse 17 says "You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry."  If you are also going through something hard today, I know He is listening to you too, and that encouragement is just around the corner!

Heartfelt thanks to you all, my prayer warriors and faithful encouragers.  You are the eyes, ears, hands, and feet of God through which He speaks compassion to our family during this very difficult time.

I have one special request before I close with some Maui photos.  I was wondering if you would consider sending a card to Steve, Renee, or Daniel in the next couple of weeks.  So much of the focus is on me during cancer, but they are suffering too, as you might imagine, and could use a boost of encouragement.  It would help them to know you are thinking of them too, and praying for them.  If God lays this on your heart to do, thank you SO much!  And if that's too hard for you right now, please say extra prayers for them.  Thank you! 

With so much love and gratitude for you all,

This is my favorite snorkeling spot--the Ahihi-Kinau Marine Preserve.

Dinners on our deck, with Kristi's magic touch on the BBQ!

Ulua Beach.  A great reef for snorkeling--and bobbing around with your $5 floaties!

One of the many pools at the Grand Wailea.

Kristi in front of the dolphin fountains at the Grand Wailea.

Marti holding up the MOUSE we caught in our kitchen!  Gross!!!

Warm, gooey cinnamon roll with cream cheese icing, raisings, and mac nuts.  Yummo!

Marti and Gaby modeling our Grand Wailea Spa totes!

Beautiful lobby of the Grand Wailea.

Me, "swimming" with the dolphins.  LOL.

1 comment:

  1. Gabrielle, I love that you asked for (and received!) a discount and perks at the Grand Wailea. Of course you asked, and of course they said yes! You are still making "big asks" and getting people to say "yes!" Continuing to pray for you and your family.Thank you for sharing your journey with us. ---Jennifer Perrow