Harder Family

Harder Family

Monday, October 30, 2023

Update 10/30/23: Goodbyes Are Hard

1 Thessalonians 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Today, I said goodbye to my hair. I had a brief moment of tears, but my kids kept me laughing so much, the tears quickly faded. A few days ago, I allowed Grace and Sophia to cut my hair and do anything they wanted to it since Grace wouldn’t be here for the shaving of my head. Needless to say, I was more than ready for it to be shaved after living with an ugly haircut and bangs for 3 days. 

Kids butchered my hair. I hated it, but it did mentally get me ready for shaving it.

Micaela had fun taking some 0.5 photos. While she was taking pictures, we heard a bowl drop that the kids were using to give Sophia an Amish bowl cut. Micaela snapped a picture of me laughing with all the kids antics. I love that she caught this moment…joy in the middle of the hard.

Sophia kept her word and shaved her head to keep me company. Her initial response was regret. She’s slowly coming around and accepted her hair. Her sweet friend, Nadia, stopped by to encourage her. Jess, her mom, is also going through chemo, so we took a bald photo together.

Lots of huge emotions happened today. I received a call from the genetics department and my test results showed that I do not have PMS2, which is a form of Lynch syndrome. We may send the tumor in for molecular testing to see if we can figure anything else out about my puzzling case, but this news was huge! I didn’t realize how much it was impacting me thinking that I may have a genetic condition that I could pass on to my kids or worrying about my sisters possibly having to be tested for this as well. The test did discover a VUS, which isn’t uncommon with these genetic testing. If they ever discover something about this genetic mutation, they will contact me. She said about 90% of them turn out to be benign, so no need to worry about it.

Trying out different head coverings.

This is a funny story. I had to cut Wayne’s toenails, and Shan said he had to get me proper attire to protect myself from Wayne’s “missiles”, aka toenails. So he grabbed me goggles and a mask! 🤣

Wayne continues to work hard at therapy. We have an appointment this week to pick up his AFO for his foot. We are hoping this might give him the stability he needs for his foot that is dragging. 

Joella has been struggling the past few days with all that is going on. I allowed her to stay home with me on Sunday. We were able to spend some quality time cuddling as we watched the service online. After church, we enjoyed an afternoon of Hallmark Christmas movies in my room as the guys watched football.

Joella was able to enjoy some fun with her friend this last week. This helped distract her and gave her a break from hard stuff. She even got to ride a horse!!

My friend, Carla, also took Joella and Sophia on a hike this weekend. They both had a great time being out in nature. I can’t wait to join them in the future!

We enjoyed a call with Abigail yesterday. It was great seeing her! We can’t wait to see her for Thanksgiving.

Prayer Requests:

- Please pray for Wayne’s right foot to get strength and for his walking gait. 

- Please continue to pray for my nausea and some of my lingering side effects. I just bought cooling gloves and socks for my next infusion to try to limit the neuropathy damage from treatment. 

- Praise: Grace made it safely back to her team. Thank you to Ken and Alissa for driving her! Naomi made it safely home and enjoyed her college visit at Grace.

- Please pray for our kids as they walk along side us. I know they are going through a lot.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Update 10/25/23: Turning a Corner

2 Corinthians 4:16-17 “Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”

Thank you for all of the prayers. I woke up feeling better than I have the past few days. I still have some random aches and pains, as well as nausea, but I feel almost normal today with medicine. I felt well enough to take a drive to the wig shop to be proactive about this hair loss. 

It was a little frustrating that they didn’t carry curly hair like mine. It was either over the top, or African American hair. Not sure I could pull that off! We opted instead to go back to my pre-grey hair and just go with straight hair. I have straightened my hair a few times in the past. My kids are going to have a hard time adjusting to my new look since they only have seen me with curly hair. If I can find a way to get rid of some wrinkles and age spots, it’s like I’m going back in time about 15 years. Trying to find the light in every situation.

Before I show you the wigs, I just have to testify to the goodness of God. Yesterday, we were surprised by a charity with a donation to our family for bills or whatever we may need assistance with. Do you know that the wig I fell in love with was that exact amount? Only God would be able to provide exactly what we needed, before we even knew we needed it. 

This one looked good from the back, but the front was a little too much! Plus it was synthetic and I wouldn’t be able to do much to keep it nice looking.

There were many that were a huge NO! The one below is what we settled with at the end. It actually looks a lot like my hair did in 2007! It matches my eyebrow color since it’s my natural color. This one was nice too because it’s actual hair, so I can wash it, style it, dye it, pretty much whatever I’d do with my own hair.

Rebecca in 2007

Grace had to try it on! Tomorrow I will let Grace trim my hair and have fun with what is left. When Naomi returns from her college visit, we will shave the rest off since I’m shedding like a dog! 

Meanwhile, Joella opted to hang out with her friend today at her barn day. I don’t blame Joella for wanting to do something fun and escape this hard stuff. I’d much rather have her do school with friends and get some pet therapy, than her struggle to watch me try on wigs because I’m losing my hair. 

We are trying to keep up with school and so far we are doing okay. I’m thankful for those who have come around us and helped us out. Micaela met with her friends today to work on her Challenge A materials. We have managed to squeeze in some science experiments and we bought the supplies for Micaela’s science fair project. Again, trying to have fun and make memories in the middle of the hard.

Prayer Requests:

- That my side effects continue to subside.

- Safety for Naomi as she travels to Indiana to visit Grace Bible College.

- Safety for Grace as she travels Friday to Ohio. She will be joining her team to serve three more churches before she comes home for the holidays. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Update 10/24/23: Chemo Day 5

Psalm 61:1-4 “Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I, for You have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in Your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of Your wings!”

I.do.not.know how people do chemo without Jesus. Jesus has been my anchor the last 48 hours, which have been some of the worst hours of my life. The pain in my joints and muscles took my breath away. Sleep was the way I could temporarily make the pain “disappear”. Thankfully, this morning I woke up with less pain, but now I’m battling nausea and dizziness/lightheaded. It’s a good thing I never had nausea with my pregnancies because I wouldn’t have six daughters! Foods I should be eating make me nauseous at just the thought of them. Ginger chews have been my best friend today. 

The hardest part is watching my kids see me go through this. It’s hard enough when one parent is going through cancer, but doubly hard when both parents are enduring chemo treatments. I try to be real around them, but at the same time, I try to shelter them from the full reality of how much pain I am in. Wayne told me that he’s glad he isn’t on my chemo since he mainly just experiences fatigue. This two chemo and immunotherapy is so much on my body. I think my body is rebelling to all this foreign chemicals. I try to stay away from medicine and now I’m bombarding my body with it. 

There are moments of panic when I think about having to do this 3 more times. In those moments I have to remind myself that I can’t worry about tomorrow, or even an hour from now. I have to just allow God to sustain me one moment at a time. 

Distraction is the best thing for making it through the day. I feel bad that I just want to wish these days away and move on with my life. Chemo warriors have my deepest respect. I always knew chemo was hard, but there is no way to prepare yourself for how awful it is.

The kids are doing a great job finding ways to make things more bearable. Micaela rubbed my feet yesterday, Sophia made me mashed potatoes, and Grace played around with my hair today. I gave them permission to do some fun stuff with my hair during this week of losing my hair, which has already started. They have some fun plans in store to try on me. They are having fun with Sophia’s hair too since she told me she will go bald with me. 

Sophia refused a good picture of her serving me, so enjoy these candid shots.

I received a box from Phil’s Friends that was covered with encouraging verses and song lyrics. My friend Paula knew what would speak to my heart!

Please pray with me that my side effects would lesson and I can be present with my kids. The road ahead seems do long and daunting. Please pray for strength and endurance as I run this race.