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For the past several months I have been sharing you an awful …but incredible journey that my friend, Tarah Powell is traveling through. She’s a Woman of God, a Wife, a Mom, a Daughter, a Sister, a Missionaries Kid …all these things …but what is consuming her life right now is:

BREAST CANCER

…as I’m typing those words 0ut, even now, the thought makes me cringe inside. She’s so young, she’s so vibrant, she has a beautiful son …how can this be happening.

But then I read her blog post and I am blown away on the peace and joy she has going thru this difficult challenge. She’s honest, it’s pretty tough at times as you can imagine but she is totally relying on God to restore her and to take care of her every step of this journey.

Here are the words from Tarah’s latest blog post – I hope you are uplifted and encouraged …and motivated to pray for her daily.

Well, it’s been WAY too long since my last update; a lot has happened in over a month!  I’m sorry for not getting everyone better informed; and I’m sorry if anyone was worried!

 We went to MD Anderson last month; my doctor there concurred with all that my doctor here has said and done.  He suggested that I continue through my chemo here and go up there for my surgery and radiation once my chemo is done.  My last chemo treatment will be April 13, as long as all goes as planned, and then I’ll have my surgery a few weeks after that and start radiation a few weeks after THAT.  My radiation oncologist is pretty sure I will have to do twice daily radiation treatments for five weeks because of the aggressive nature of my cancer, so that will be hard.  It’s a forty-five minute drive up there with no traffic, and the sessions have to be a minimum of 6 hours apart, so I’d have to go first thing in the morning, come back to work for a while, then go back.  That’s the plan anyway….I’ll need prayer. =)  I had to have a mammogram, ultrasound and MRI to get a “starting point” image for each one.  MD Anderson has a whole clinic specifically for Inflammatory Breast Cancer, so it’s pretty great to gain their knowledge and to contribute to their research, and get a better grasp on what others have gone through.  Even still, only 10 of every 150 of their patients are under the age of 30.

I started my 2nd round of treatment (Taxol/Herceptin) at the end of January, and so far it’s been worse than the first “hard drugs” round.  They say it’s because all of the chemo has just been accumulating in my body – building up more and more, so it can get worse over time.  The hardest things are the nausea and fatigue, but especially the unpredictability of when it’s gonna hit.  It’s different every single day, and every single week, so it’s getting harder and harder to plan for anything…even going to work.  Thankfully, I have the most supportive bosses and co-workers ever!  I know they’re all having to work harder to cover for me, and they’re doing it without complaints.  I wish I could do more, but for now….thank you, ladies.  Besides, God is working with me; I got more hours put in over the last two weeks than I have since I was diagnosed!  So, He’s definitely helping me push through, even if I have to work from home! 

The chemo is really starting to take a toll on my body.  I look more and more like a chemo patient every day, although God uses perfect strangers, wonderful friends on FB, and my awesome family to tell me otherwise every single day. =)

Last week, my White Blood Cell (WBC) count was too low to get my treatment: it was 0.8 on a scale of 3.5-10.0. In order to get it up, they had to give me a fast-acting booster shot called Neupagen, which pulls WBCs directly from my bone marrow, starting at the biggest bones in my body.  This was extremely painful.  It was about 5 or 6 hours of me writhing, crying and screaming out in pain.  We were crying out to God for SOME relief, and finally I was able to fall asleep and woke up in much, MUCH less pain.  But, I was able to get my treatment the next day!!!  That was Wednesday. 

The funny thing is, my mom wasn’t supposed to get here until Wednesday night, but because of the bad weather in Dallas, she came down a day early.  My son and husband had the flu and had to stay away from me, so if it weren’t for the bad weather in Dallas, I wouldn’t have had my mom here to help me through it.  God’s funny like that.

God’s teaching me new levels of faith and trust and new ways to pray.  I call out to Him countless times every day, about every little thing…just seeking his guidance.  In some ways, it’s easier to put all of your faith in Him when you have no choice (there’s a sermon in there, Pastors), but in a lot of ways, it’s harder because I’m surrounded by physical distractions whose sole purpose is to bring me down.  And, let me say, they can be pretty overwhelming!  Not only my own physical issues, but my family’s, too.

It was miserable seeing my son so sick last week.  Any parent can agree that it is just the worst feeling in the world when your child is sick and you’re practically useless to make it go away.  I can’t imagine what my parents must be going through; how frustrated and useless they must be feeling that they can’t fix me and make it all go away.  As a family….no-as a missionary family, we have had our faith tested over and over and over.  We stood strong through death threats and going into hiding, through stalking and repeated break-ins, through getting stones thrown at us and churches lit on fire that we were in, through death and loneliness.  And, then, in my adult life, they were with me through scarlet fever, depression, car accidents (yes, plural), a very difficult pregnancy, gallstones, financial troubles…..and breast cancer.  God is my Rock and my Light, but my family is my foundation. 

I AM ONLY ABLE TO FACE THIS BECAUSE OF THE PERSON MY PARENTS HAVE SHAPED ME TO BE AND BECAUSE OF THE EXAMPLE THEY’VE SHOWN ME ON HOW TO HAVE FAITH IN THE WORST OF CIRCUMSTANCES….TO LOOK TO GOD AND FOR HIS PLAN IN EVERYTHING.

It also helps that I have such an awesome support system.  I know that God would not have chosen me to go through this if He didn’t think I could handle it.  For SOME reason, He deems me worthy enough to live the awesome miracle that He’s going to do…and I’m honored.  Its hard, it’s VERY hard to stay positive 24/7, but I’m doing pretty good at looking to God in the really hard times.  And when I’m not, my wonderful husband, or my wonderful parents, or my wonderful sister or brother, or my wonderful friends point me in the right direction.

I am surrounded by the best people who love me and love God!  My parents, my sister, my brother, my couldn’t-ask-for-better-in-laws, my wonderful co-workers, my wonderful FB family…and my perfect husband who gave me the perfect son!

 And my Perfect God has control over my not-so-perfect cancer, and THAT is what makes my life….pretty perfect! 

SPECIAL NOTE:  Thank you all SO SO SO SO much for your endless words of encouragement, prayers, thoughts, and love!  Even though I may be too sick or tired to answer, please know that I read them almost immediately from my phone and they ALWAYS, without fail, make me smile.  So, thank you for sending me smiles!  I love you all so much and I promise not to take so long to write again.

Read Part 1: A PINK CHRISTMAS here…

Read Part 2: Round 1 of Her Fight here…

Read Part 3: A Few Bad Days here…

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The North Point Church and Hope Community Church volunteers packed the warehouse at Convoy of Hope in Springfield to provide 100-thousand meals for the hungry.
     
Last year volunteers prepared meals to ship to earthquake victims in Haiti.

Continue reading this story here… 

PRAY

Since last year’s earthquake in Haiti a groundswell of individuals, businesses, churches and organizations have partnered with Convoy of Hope to help Haitians. Recently, a church and a leading shoe manufacturer donated items for distribution in Haiti.

Our friends and partners continue to amaze us with their generosity. There are still hundreds of thousands of people in Haiti who need help and our partners keep demonstrating that they are as bent on helping Haiti as we are.

I am privileged to be a member of Hope Community Church in Springfield, Mo. who recently donated funds to purchase 40,000 doses of cholera medication. Convoy of Hope added an equivalent batch and was able to ship 80,000 doses to Haiti where Mission of Hope — Convoy of Hope’s in-country partner — is dispensing it. 

Developing partnerships to help people in need is a cornerstone of Convoy of Hope’s work. We could not do what we do without our partners.

A leading manufacturer of shoes donated 15,000 pairs of shoes for children enrolled in Convoy of Hope’s feeding initiatives in Haiti. The shoes are already being distributed.

Since the earthquake last year Convoy of Hope has expanded its feeding initiatives in Haiti to more than 25,000 children each school day.

You may Become a partner, donate online today.

Continue Reading »

The Jonas Brothers’ Change For the Children Foundation recently awarded a $70,000 grant to Convoy of Hope for its global children’s feeding initiatives.

“Like us, the Jonas Brothers want to fight hunger by making sure impoverished children have nutritious food to eat each day,” says Hal Donaldson, president of Convoy of Hope. “We are very thankful for their generosity and for linking arms with us.”

Each school day Convoy of Hope feeds nearly 35,000 children a nutritious meal in impoverished countries such as Haiti where the organization has expanded its feeding program to more than 25,000 children since the earthquake last year.

Providing children with nutritious meals is the first step in Convoy of Hope’s comprehensive approach in fighting hunger. The organization also intervenes by providing clean water, healthy living environments, agriculture training and education.

“Our program areas work together to address the root of hunger, which is poverty,” says Donaldson. “Our goal is to lead children down the path to healthy, productive and self-sufficient lives. This grant will help in doing that.”

Be a part of changing children’s lives by giving online today.