Thursday, June 11, 2020

A long, hard journey, but slowly coming back!

Hello, sweet friends! It's been a long time since I have posted anything on my blog -- actually well over a year now. So much has happened in the last year, but through it all God has been faithful -- as He always is and will be.

Both my husband and I were in and out of the hospital and rehab last June and July. Walt had his second knee replacement surgery in mid-May and developed cellulitis and had antibiotic IV infusions. Then I ended up in the hospital in early-June and had Whipple surgery for pancreatic cancer (I was able to have Whipple surgery because of the location and the size of the tumor). After fifteen days, I came home to be with my husband who a few days later developed a staph infection in the knee that required more surgery. Several friends took turns staying overnight with me for five days, but I ended up back in the hospital for another five days unable to eat or drink. Walt had to have another round of IV antibiotic infusions three times daily and went to rehab to finish the treatment. Because I was so weak, I followed him to rehab, and we were there (just down the hall from each other) for more than two weeks before finally coming home and where he continued the remaining IV infusions. 

I started chemotherapy in August but had to have another major surgery for a small bowel obstruction in late-October and was in the hospital for another two weeks. After healing for more than a month after surgery, I resumed chemo and finally finished the six months of chemotherapy on March 18 -- not without numerous side-effects, some of which still linger. A month after completing chemotherapy, we praised God for the good reports from my blood work and CAT scan. The oncologist will follow me for two years with blood work every three months and a CAT scan twice a year. We will see where we go from there and are praying for complete healing.

It has been quite the journey, and there were times I truly wanted to give up. But we know that God was and is with us through all our trials and uses them to make us more and more into the image of Christ and increase our trust in Him. I am slowly regaining strength and energy, and I look forward to feeling better and more motivated.

Through this entire journey, we were covered in prayer by family and friends around the world and are so blessed to have such wonderful prayer warriors that continue to pray for healing and good reports. Thank you does not begin to express our appreciation for the many prayers, cards, gifts, flowers, and encouragement. We have felt so loved!

One of my sisters shared her favorite Scripture verse with me, and it has been a great comfort to me. 
It is the LORD Who goes before you.
He will be with you;
He will not leave you or forsake you.
Do not fear or be dismayed.
Deuteronomy 31:8
This verse should encourage us all as we encounter hard times. Each of us will certainly deal with hardship sometime during our lifetime. While the entire world has been dealing with the COVID-19 virus and unrest, God is always available to comfort and give us strength and hope. 

Another wonderful verse that encouraged me is a long-time favorite.

I can do [endure] all things
through Christ Who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13

I especially appreciated that my friend said "endure" in his text because it fit what I experienced. After my second surgery, I did not think I could go another minute feeling the pain. A very dear and precious friend came to the hospital and prayed for me asking Jesus to give me His strength to endure. I have learned this year that we can endure trials of any kind only through God's strength. Some are more difficult than others, but I assure you that God is always with us and will strengthen and encourage us -- and give us peace. May you be assured of His love and care as I have been.   

Well over a year ago, I made this card that was never sent. However, it's been on my table as a reminder that God is always with me to give me strength and hope. My true hope is that I shall one day be with the Lord in Heaven, my real home. It's because Jesus has paid the price to make me acceptable to the Father when Jesus died on the cross for all my sins. I yearn for you all to know that kind of peace. This world is a mess and so flawed, but Heaven is a place where there is no more pain, no more suffering, no more tears, no more hatred -- and where we shall be with the Lord forever -- happier than we could ever imagine here on earth!

I found this digital image in my UFO box that I had printed from Rose and Chamomile and decided to finish coloring it and then fussy cut it to put it on a card with a sentiment. I remembered the beautiful decorative die from my dear friend Tracy, and I thought it would be perfect for this card. Doesn't it remind you of Battenberg lace? I cut the die in white and then traced the die on Rose Red and "loosely" fussy cut it. I traced the inside of the decorative die onto Rose Red and used it as a mat for the white layer. I used my Mini MISTI to add the sentiment from the Bridge Set, leaving room for the rose. I shaped the rose with my Empressor to give it dimension and popped it up with thin adhesive squares. I cut a card base that hides behind this card front. Using the clear set Everything's Even Rosier, I stamped the single rose in Rose Red inside at the bottom left, adhered it to the card front...and it was done. This card has encouraged me this past year and will be sent to someone who needs encouragement now herself.

We all have trials, difficulties, and suffering, and we should trust in God alone to guide, comfort, and love us through all circumstances that pass through the Father's loving hands. He promises to never leave us or forsake us.

Sweet friends, I have missed you so much. You have continued to be in my prayers, and I praise God for His mercy and for bringing your names to mind as I have prayed this past year. Even in my darkest moments, God has brought so many of your prayer requests to mind, and I have found joy hearing about praise reports as well as updates. Thank you for your friendship, love, and especially your prayers for us. Prayer is powerful! May God continue to give peace, comfort, and strength to us all. May God Almighty be praised always! You are a great blessing to me and to those for whom you pray.

Blessings and love, sweet friends,

StampsRose and Chamomile and Everything's Even Rosier - retired (Power Poppy), Bridge Set by Dina Kowal (Impression Obsession)
Paper: X-Press It Blending Card, Solar White #110 (Neenah), Rose Red - retired (SU!)
Ink: Printer for digital image, Tuxedo Black (Memento), Onyx Black (Versafine), Rose Red - retired (SU!)
Tools/Accessories: Copic markers, Lacey Edge Rectangle die (Gina Marie Designs), Empressor tool, Mini MISTI, Thin 3D Foam Squares (Scrapbook Adhesives), Tombow Mono Glue, white tape, red tape
Techniques: Digital images with Microsoft Word, Copic coloring, fussy cutting
Card Size: A-2


RitaR said...

Hello sweet Cheryl! How wonderful to know that the Lord has been with you and Walt in such a powerful way during all these painful trials, and now you are sharing your faith and your beautiful paper-crafting creations with us once again! I rejoice with you and pray that the Lord will continue to strengthen and grant you both complete healing. Love and hugs!

Heidi MyLittleStampingBlog said...

Cheryl, I have often wondered about you this last year. I was not sure what was going on, but I suspected it was some medical issue, and here it is multiple medical issues, treatments and hospitalizations for both you and your husband. What a trial. I am glad that it sounds like things have calmed down and you are much better. I will pray that this will continue.

I am so glad you took the time to update us all here in blog land. I always enjoy your cards. You are a master at coloring, and adding the pretty touches like that really lovely die. I remember always wanting the Easter dresses with the Battenberg lace!

Sending hugs your way!

Stamp like you mean it said...

Sister, your words of encouragement and hope brought tears to my eyes! Surely, God's hand is on you and Walt.

Cheryl said...

Bless your dear hearts! I am SO sorry to know of all you and your husband have been going through. Just this morning, I prayed for you. Your name is in my permanent prayer list book and has been for a long time. I trust your healing journey will continue, and one day, you will feel whole again. YES! Heaven will surely be worth it all, and there, we will suffer no more. May God bless and heal you and your husband and send peace that passes all understanding during every challenging moment. So thankful to hear from you today!

Barbara said...

I will pray that God will continue to bless you with his love. Your post was beautiful, and I will continue to pray for you.

Donna Ellis said...

Hi, Cheryl! So good to hear from you. While my heart breaks for all that you and hubby have endured, I’m grateful to hear of these positive outcomes. May they continue to be so. Your rose creation is beautiful, as usual. Wishing you all the best in the coming days. xx

Jerri Jimenez said...

Welcome back sweet friend, you have been missed! I am so sorry for everything you and Walt have been through this past year . . . You both are in my prayers 😘 . . . God is so great in his love and His mercy, while we don't understand this world, we do know He is here with us and His love is with us. I will pray His umbrella of protection continues to be over you and Walt. Your card is perfectly stunning . . . such a beautiful rose . . . I hope soon you're back to coloring and designing and living life to its fullest! Hugs to you 🙏🏻🙏🏻

Maria Rodriguez. said...

Dear Cheryl: I'm so sorry for all the pain your health issues have brought to your lives, but I'm so very happy to hear your faith and strength helped you deal with all of it.
I often wondered if you were still active on your blog, I'm so used to seeing your amazingly gorgeous cards and I miss that so much.
I pray that you and your husband keep recovering from all of these health issues so you both can enjoy the blessings of family and friends.
Keep us posted when you feel up to it, the most important thing is to rest as much as possible to help your body heal, God will be with you both, all the way.
I wish I had your snail mail address to send a card to cheer you up.
This is my email address.
You can send it there if that's ok.
Sending love and hugs, my dear.
Maria Rodriguez.

creatingincolors said...

Sending you love, strength, and continued faith. I missed you.❤️

Janine said...

Thinking of you often and yes I will write soon. Your encouraging words are just perfect for me as this week I am feeling a bit down with the knee pain but re-reading what you guys have been though means I need to be more grateful. Your card is lovely.

Shaz in Oz.CalligraphyCards said...

Oh sweet sweet Cheryl.
How my heart thrilled to see your name appear in my inbox this morning (downunder) your path of you and dear hubby reminds of the wonderful hymn by Fanny Crosby, who we know was blind.. but eyes saw so much more as result of her limitations.
As God does with us!!

All the way my Saviour leads me;
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well,
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.

Yes all things well, especially in our lives .... if we have Him as our own Lord Jesus and Saviour from sin by faith.

Brought from brink of death to remarkable vibrancy of faith in recoverery.
So very grateful for you, sis!
Praise His name.
Prayer hugs to hubby and your dear self. I am travelling mostly okay.

Wow, what a card sis, God gave a magnficent gift in it, though your year with Him.
Love the battenberg lace edge, impeccable fussy cutting on red!
Love too the rose .. being a rose garden girl (3 dozen bushes) and the comforting verse on it.
A great gift for someone else too. Love you, sis, pray for you and DH each evening. Will let couple of my friends know re the journey summary as they've prayed too.

Thanks for sharing, and may God bless and keep you and all whom you love safe and well.
Prayer hugs, Shaz in Oz. X

{Wonderful Words of Life - Shaz in Oz}
{Calligraphy Cards - Shaz in Oz}

Connie L said...

Hi Cheryl, I don't know you but when I saw Marcella's note about your blog post, I clicked to read it and am so glad I did. Like you I have had a tough time this year, not anything physical but I lost my husband in January. Like you, I have depended on GOD to get me through this and without HIM there is nothing but because of HIM we have eternal life, a glorious, pain-free, tear free life with our LORD. I look forward to following your progress and will pray for healing. GOD bless you and keep you and give you strength.

kiwimeskreations said...

How wonderful to hear your testimony of God's faithfulness through all your trials and pain Cheryl - a difficult year in the flesh, but one of victory in the spirit.
I know God will continue to support you an all manner as you continue your journey(s) to full health and also your fellow saints with prayers and best wishes (myself included)
You card is beautiful - you have an incredible eye for colour and composition.
Stay safe

Conniecrafter said...

Oh Cheryl what a wonderful thing to see that you were posting again, how amazing is that and to share how God has been by your side and has given you the strength to get through it all. Isn't it wonderful how God puts those people into our lives to remind us of what we need to hear and to give us encouragement in our lowest hours.
Your card is just beautiful, the coloring of the flower to the beautiful framing is just wonderful, so great that it gave you what you needed in your time of trials and now it will go on and help someone else in their time of need, continued prayers that you both are healing well and feel a little better each day!

Ann said...

I have missed your cards Cheryl and now I know why! What a horrendous year you and your husband have endured, and how brave you have been to find yourself now in a much better state, thanks to your faith and perseverance. I am so pleased to hear that you are on the mend, I wish you a good recovery and thank you for sharing your story of faith. Blessings to you both. Ann from Australia

Karen W said...

Wow I hope this year gets much better for you!! Your card is gorgeous. I understand about not posting, I think it's a been over a year for me also, lost my husband this year and I'm finally starting to stamp again slowly.

Bonnie said...

Your endurance and faith are an inspiration, Cheryl! May you continue to see God's blessings in your life. Thank you for sharing your journey and that gorgeous card!

Stacy Morgan said...

Cheryl it is so good to read/see you are feeling on the brighter side and starting to truly heal and find health. This has been a crazy year for you and Walt and you have endured more than most. Continued prayers for health and no pain and that the side effects will continue to go away. Take each day one at a time and soon we will be back at Saturday coffee. ;-) Just texting with Pat last night actually saying how much I miss it. When you are feeling more spunky we will start up again. Hugs and much love sweetie.

Leslie Miller said...

Sweet Cheryl, how good it is to read your post today. I know you and Walt have been through some extreme trials and I'm glad your faith kept you strong enough to come out the other side. May you continue to improve and gradually get a clean bill of health. I adore your beautiful card and its message of strength and hope. Huge hugs, my friend!

nwilliams6 said...

What a beautiful card, and a beautiful post, sweet Cheryl. My heart goes out to you and Walt. You are both so sweet, patient, kind, strong, and beautiful examples of how we should all be living our lives.

Last year, my hubby had to do the those three times a day infusions for several months - that alone changed our lives dramatically and it is a small fraction of what you two went through.

I am praying that you both now have healing, a chance to get to your new happy places, plenty of chances to share your stories (they need to be shared), and you get your MOJO back.

Lovely post and many hugz, Nancy

Henriëtte Creatively Happy said...

Dear Cheryl,
It certainly wouldn't have been easy to go from one health problem to another. I am happy to read that you and your husband are doing better now. Great to see that you even posted this beautiful card.
I hope everything will continue to go well for the both of you and that we can see again many beautiful cards from you.

Susan (rainy) said...

Oh my goodness, Cheryl. I am so very very sorry for the tremendous trials that you and your husband have been faced with this past year. I know that that Whipple surgery is a brutal and difficult one. You have come through with such grace and are an inspiration to me. Love the beautiful scriptures that you shared. And your card... well as always your creation is exquisite. I hope that you continue to get better. Prayers and love for you, dear friend and sister.

Gloria Stengel said...

Praying over you my dear! I love your card project, and all the scripture! Hugs and love!

Monika/Buzsy said...

What a journey for both of you! Praise the Lord for giving His strength to endure! He is faithful and He is the ultimate healer! What a beautiful card to remind you of the hope we have in Him! Looking forward to seeing some new creations from you! Be safe!

Karen Dunbrook said...

My heart just broke....I knew you and Walt were struggling but I had no idea how hard it has been. I am in tears of joy for you that you are staying positive and are hopefully doing better. The Lord sure is testing your endurance but as I read your post, I still feel the love you give to others so clearly.
Take care mf ...prayers, lots of love and know that I think of you often.
I'm so sorry that I've been out of touch....this pandemic really got to me!
blessings mf.
BTW....Happy Birthday coming up in 2 days!!
xxxxxxx Karen

Irish Cherokee said...

Beautiful card. Appropriate sentiment.

Love, Hugs and Blessings,