Pull up a chair in my domestic church and let's chat!

I have worn many labels (Not in any particular order): Catholic, Wife, Mom,Gramma, Doctor, Major, Soccer Mom, Military Wife, Professor, Fellow.

All of these filter my views of the world. I hope that like St. Monica, I can through prayer, words and example, lead my children and others to Faith.
"The important thing is that we do not let a single day go by in vain without putting it to good use for eternity"--Blessed Franz J├Ągerst├Ątter

Monday, June 28, 2010

God Must Have Wanted Me to Hear This Today

I have not been able to attend daily Mass as often as I like since the onset of my husband's illness. There have been doctor's appointments that conflicted or his condition was poor enough that I did not feel comfortable leaving him home alone. Some nights he was fraught with pain or chemotherapy side effects that neither of us slept much so it seemed more prudent to grab a bit of sleep and miss Mass. This morning, however, everything worked out that I could go to Mass. My husband is still confined to the house due to concerns over his compromised immune system, but he is feeling pretty good. We both slept last night. There are no doctor's appointments until his next round of chemo on Wednesday. So I went to Mass.

I did not have a missal with me so I could not follow along during the readings. Sometimes, that is better, since it forces me to listen more intently. The first reading was from Paul's letter to Timothy. It struck a chord with me as it spoke about being a patient teacher and correcting with gentleness. I resolved to reread it when I got home. When I tried to review it at home, I was surprised to find it was not the assigned first reading at all. Today is the Feast of St. Irenaeus and the prescribed first reading comes from the book of Amos. I have no idea why we heard from the Paul's letter to Timothy. However, it was a very good reading for me to hear.

Turn away from the passions of youth, concentrate on uprightness, faith, love, and peace, in union with all those who call on the Lord with a pure heart. Avoid these foolish and undisciplined speculations, understanding that they only give rise to quarrels; and a servant of the Lord must not engage in quarrels, but must be kind to everyone, a good teacher, and patient. He must be gentle when he corrects people who oppose him, in the hope that god may give them a change of mind so that they recognize the truth and come to their senses, escaping the trap of the devil who made them his captives and subjected them to his will. (2Timothy 2:22-26)

I struggle with this. My first inclination is defensive. I want to expel those in error rather than enable their conversion. Yet I trust in Christ's mercy, so I must also be merciful. That does not mean I tolerate or condone that which is opposed to Truth. It does mean that I have to trust that with God, all things are possible, and conversion is always the goal no matter how unlikely it seems. Therefore, I must not do anything that poses an obstacle to that conversion. My demeanor should always be one of love and all correction must be motivated by love and not by the pride of being right.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Prayers are working

Just a quick note to say my husband is home from the hospital and seems to be improving. Not fully recovered from the marrow suppression of chemo and now with some other puzzling lab abnormalities, but trending in the right direction. Thanks so much for your continued prayerful support. The prayers are being heard and answered.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

a bump on the journey

I know I said I did not want this blog to become just a chronicle of my husband's lymphoma, but truthfully, I find my days focused on him from sun up to sun down. Right now I need prayers. My husband is hospitalized with a dangerously low white blood cell count due to his chemotherapy and also a fever of unknown origin. This is serious since his low white blood cell count means he has no infection fighting capacity. I would be greatly appreciative of your prayers.

The chemotherapy had actually been going relatively well. He didn't feel great, but it was not unmanageable. However, yesterday evening he had the sudden onset of shaking chills. At the time, his temperature was low. We did what any Catholic couple would do--we prayed a Rosary together. By the end of the Rosary his temperature had risen, but not to the level of hospitalization concern. However, over the next hour we watched it rise to a fever so we headed to the hospital.

Feel free to ask for the intercession of your favorite saint. If you need a suggestion, I like asking for the intercession of Blessed Father Francis Xavier Seelos.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Getting me through the day

Three phrases that get me through the day:

Jesus, I trust in your mercy.

Jesus, I trust in your goodness.

Jesus, I trust in your love

Saturday, June 05, 2010

In Sickness and in Health

This is probably the hardest blog post I have ever written. As several recent posts have hinted, there have been some challenges in the Hunnell household. Nearly 26 years ago, I promised to love, honor, and cherish my husband in sickness and in health. I can tell you that today I love, honor, and cherish him far more than I did 26 years ago. And the immediate future looks like there will be more sickness than health. My husband has just been diagnosed with lymphoma. His first chemotherapy session is this coming Wednesday. This came out of the blue. There was no prodrome--no night sweats, weight loss, fevers. In a matter of 15 minutes he went from perfectly okay to in excruciating back pain that looked for all the world like a kidney stone. A trip to the ER revealed no kidney stone, but big lymph nodes in the abdomen. For the last three weeks we have been going through the diagnostic process. After scans and biopsies of every stripe we have a diagnosis and a treatment plan. We have also been praying.

I have pondered how much to share here. This is my blog and I don't want to violate my husband's privacy. I don't want this to be a reality show of our experience with cancer. However, there is much about being a Catholic family dealing with this situation that I do need to share. As a physician, I have taken care of many patients with cancer. I always shuddered at the thought of cancer striking my household, anticipating I would just collapse into a non-functioning heap of tears. What I can say, is that there have been a few tears, but there has been an even greater outpouring of grace and love. There has been strength in unexpected quarters.

My rosary has gotten quite a workout. The saints have been petitioned. Blessed Fr. Francis Xavier Seelos is a regular prayer partner. And rather than feeling abandoned by God, we feel buoyed by Him. My husband received the Anointing of the Sick two days ago. The priest emphasized that this cross is not a punishment from God. Rather it is an opportunity for God to bring forth much goodness if we cooperate with Him. The meaning of the words, "Thy will be done" has never felt more poignant. There is a temptation to try and pray our way out of this difficulty. We are learning to focus on praying our way through this difficulty. Certainly, I will never stop asking for healing for my husband. However, I also know that the healing will be on God's terms and in God's time, not mine.

So, if you feel so inclined, please join me in prayer. And remember, that life is good. Life is precious. Every day is a gift. Live each day with a grateful heart.