Monthly Archives: September 2011

Identity Theft

Dear Readers,

     This story happened to us on the 10th anniversary weekend of the terrorist attacks.  Amazing timing, huh! 

Identity Theft

      Like most other Americans hubby and I planned to watch a lot of TV for the upcoming weekend of 9-11-11, the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the United States.  We didn’t expect it to be memorable for us as well.

     On 9-8-11, Thursday, we received a strange phone message, " This is …… bank.  Could you please call us as soon as possible!"  When we returned the call we were asked, " Did you try to purchase airline tickets to Mumbai, India? " the bank security asked.

     " No, we never fly!" my husband told the man on the phone who represented a bank back east.

     "We want you to cut up your credit card and we will issue a new one," he went on.  We hesitated before doing that.  Sometimes we are a little slow to respond, but both of us looked at each other and asked, "What was that all about?"

     The next day, 9-9-11, Friday evening, another call came in, this time from a local bank here in Missouri.  "Did you try to purchase $900 worth of sports equipment from ……. (a sporting goods store)?"

     "No, we don’t even have a store like that anywhere in this area!" CJ told them.

     This call finally registered.  We were the victims of identity theft!  Thank God, so far both banks were on their guard and looking for changes from our usual purchases.  We have since learned the security is heightened because so much identity theft is going on, as well as the anniversary weekend.

     Our next step was to notify the local police to what was happening and fill out a police report (necessary in order to get some things like driver’s licenses changed), to have documented proof.

     As the 10th anniversary weekend came and went so did the calls, several of which were attempted purchases of almost $1,000 each.  Pretty clever when you think about the weekend when most Americans would be at home watching and reliving all the memories of ten years ago, as well as the fact that all the banks were closed up tight.

     The calls continued as the terrorist attack anniversary came and went.  The police told us to get to as many banks as we could bright and early Monday morning, and to cancel, stop, and cut-up everything in our world and prepare to start over.  Go to the registry, go to the internet, go to the banks, go to …… Put a stop on everything, just everything!  We were even told to notify our neighbors to watch our home as break-ins often follow identity theft.

     The police told us it’s almost impossible to find the source of the leak.  It could be any place you swipe your cards, or the internet, or walking by someone with a magnet dohicky.

     We did all we were told to do including the Registry of Motor Vehicles.  We were told to check on our balances daily at all our banks and credit cards.  Also, we were told to call the three credit companies and put fraud alerts on our names.

     And, as usual the Lord was watching over us.  At one of our banks our assistant said to us, "Plead the blood of Jesus over all your finances, your house, and all your things!" she said.  (Not an uncommon remark here in the bible belt.)

     The anniversary weekend passed and the calls started slowing down, praise God.  We are back to using cash for everything, which is a little inconvenient, but I’m not sure we shouldn’t be doing more of that anyway.  A friend sent me an email that was very helpful, with several legal hints on ways to protect against identity theft.  I suggest you click on it and learn some great tips from an attorney who was also hit by this ugly theft problem.  http://us.mg4.mail.yahoo.com/neo/launch?.rand=b5beop5df7ues

     Most importantly, I believe the Lord was watching over us as He usually does.  Thousands of dollars in purchases could have gotten through, but were stopped.  "Thank You Father, so much!  A lot of people don’t think You stopped this, but I do and that is what counts!"

                    Love in Christ,      Claire  xoxo

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Believe The Bible

September 14, 2011

     Dear Readers,

     Today a middle-aged, born-again Christian woman said something to me that I’ll never forget, "I believe Jesus is my Savior, but I don’t believe all that stuff in the bible.  It’s been written and translated so many times you don’t know what to believe is true."

     I thought about that comment all day.  It seems to cover a lot of young Christian’s attitudes.  We live in an age of highly educated, technologically savvy people, who may or may not believe Jesus is our Savior, but want to do their own research about God, His Son, and His Holy Spirit.  All of it!  The very brain God gifted us with is the same brain questioning His existence and His written Word.

     She also said, "There are so many different bibles, how do you know which one is correct?  I would rather draw my own conclusions and not listen to a book that was written 1000’s of years ago by many different people in many languages."

     I know I am not a theologian, but I failed to come up with a quick answer to this knowledgeable woman, so I said nothing.  An instant answer would have been nice, but I didn’t have one.  So what do I say to her without sounding foolish and without being intimidated by her intellect?  I threw the question out to some of my Christian friends in an email yesterday.  Hopefully, when some of their answers come back, they will help me with my blog this week.  I’ll pray for answers and continue my own research.

     September 19, 2011

     Here are a few of the comments that came back from my friends:

     "I believe the King James Version of the bible is the only one that has all the facts."

     "The different translations only enhance our understanding of God and His Son."

     "Find a bible you are comfortable with and stick with it.  Read it and ask questions."

     "The one complete bible, without any changes is the Hebrew Bible."

     "We are not supposed to rely on our own understanding."

     One friend said, Dale A. Robbins says, "After some research on the various versions, every believer would do well to zero in on a primary version to which they devote their study and commit passages to memory.  It’s inadvisable to allow the issue of translations to become a distraction." (http://victorious.org/translat.htm)

     My favorite comment was, "Pray, pray, pray!"

    

     September 20, 2011

     In my research one scripture jumped out at me this week as I pondered this blog.  Here it is from five different bible versions:

     Rev.21:5, "And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold I make all things new.  And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful." (KJV)

     Rev.21:5, "He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!"  Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are Trustworthy and true." (NIV)

     Rev.21:5, "And he that sat upon the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new."  And he said unto me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful." (The Open Bible)

     Rev.21:5, "Then, He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new."  And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful." (NKJV)

     Rev.21:5, "The one who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new."  Then he said, "Write these words down, for they are trustworthy and true." (The New American Standard-Roman Catholic Edition)

 

     I guess I’m just going to have to, "Pray, pray, pray" for her.  Thank you all for reading.

                             Love in Christ,     Claire  xoxo

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Believe The Bible

September 14, 2011

     Dear Readers,

     Today a middle-aged, born-again Christian woman said something to me that I’ll never forget, "I believe Jesus is my Savior, but I don’t believe all that stuff in the bible.  It’s been written and translated so many times you don’t know what to believe is true."

     I thought about that comment all day.  It seems to cover a lot of young Christian’s attitudes.  We live in an age of highly educated, technologically savvy people, who many or may not believe Jesus is our Savior, but want to do their own research about God, His Son, and His Holy Spirit.  All of it!  The very brain God gifted us with is the same brain questioning His existence and His written Word.

     She also said, "There are so many different bibles, how do you know which one is correct?  I would rather draw my own conclusions and not listen to a book that was written 1000’s of years ago by many different people in many languages."

     I know I am not a theologian, but I failed to come up with a quick answer to this knowledgeable woman, so I said nothing.  An instant answer would have been nice, but I didn’t have one.  So what do I say to her without sounding foolish and without being intimidated by her intellect?  I threw the question out to some of my Christian friends in an email yesterday.  Hopefully, when some of their answers come back, they will help me with my blog this week.  I’ll pray for answers and continue my own research.

     September 19, 2011

     Well, here are a few of the comments that came back from my friends:

     "I believe the King James Version of the bible is the only one that has all the facts!"

     "The different translations only enhance our understanding of God and His Son!"

     "Find a bible you are comfortable with and stick with it.  Read it and ask questions!"

     "The one complete bible without any changes is the Hebrew Bible!"

     "We are not supposed to rely on our own understanding!"

     One friend said, Dale A. Robbins says, "After some research on the various versions, every believer would do well to zero in on a primary version to which they devote their study and commit passages to memory.  It’s advisable to not allow the issue of translations to become a distraction."  (http:victorious.org/translat.htm).    

     My favorite comment was, "Pray, pray, pray!"

     September 20, 2011-Yesterday

     In my research one scripture jumped out at me this week as I pondered this blog.  Here it is from five different bible versions:

     Rev.21:5,  "And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold I make all things new.  And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful." (KJV)

   

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Cancer Journal-Part 6

Dear Readers, 

     Here is the last of my cancer journal. 

     For the first time I began to feel like I was going to die…..

     Cancer Journal- Part 6-  final

     December 15, 2003- Monday

     I was so ill at home for the first few days I could barely breathe or sleep.  I awoke all night soaked with sweat and feeling like death would take me before morning. 

     Now, a week has passed since I came home and another new doctor  (Dr.E) examined me and told me, "It’s radiation poisoning for sure!"  Dr. M. says, "It is not, and we should resume treatment."  Dr. K. has been pushed on me for more tests, eco’s and stuff, and I’m so confused I don’t know what I’m doing.  I have already cancelled two scheduled visits this week.  I’m to frail to make the trip to Worcester, but they still keep piling on the tests and the appointments.

     My family is pushing me to get a second opinion.  Dr. S. (the oncologist for my two sisters who had cancer in the past and were treated at a different hospital) has agreed to see me with her opinion on where I should go from here.  On whether I should skip the last 9 treatments of radiation, since the other hospital’s doctors can’t agree on radiation poisoning or not.

     Having fluid on my heart can be a killer, so I’m reluctant to go outside much in this flu season.  And no flu shot for me!  I’m told that shot is far to dangerous.

     Poor CJ.  Last week he put me in an ambulance, dealt with a noreaster and snowblowing, went to work in the blizzard, and picked me up Monday night at 9PM, when he got off work.  For three days he didn’t hardly sleep or eat.  My beloved Calvin has been there for me over, and over, and over.  He’s so weary I’m worried about him collapsing from all the pressure.

     December 22, 2003-Monday

     Today I am off to a pulmonary doctor at a new hospital.  Another attempt to find out what caused my last relapse.  Thursday and Friday last week were spent having more tests at U Mass Medical.  I lost it when yet another doctor was thrown at me!  Twenty different doctors and a radiologist that refuses to accept the "radiation poisoning" I’m experiencing, put me over the emotional edge.

     I finally went and got a second opinion outside the hospital.  This time to Dr. S. (my sister’s favorite oncologist), at Medical City.  She was afraid the other doctors were missing something, so she sent me to pulmonary today to have a piece of my lung tested for cancer cells.  No sleep and three hours later and more tests, this time my legs for possible blood clots too.  The pulmonary doctors said, "No, there is nothing to warrant a fluid test of my lung.  More damage could be done, and we are not going into her lung for nothing!  There’s no spots, no fluid, no reason!"  I lost a nights sleep for nothing.

     So here I am, three days before Christmas, humbled beyond reason.  I am experiencing loss of financial control, physical control (urine loss, feces loss often) embarressed beyond belief.  I cried all the way home from the new hospital.  I listened to the spiritual tapes Julie gave me as an early Christmas gift, and cried through them too.  Never have I experienced the depth of humility in 60 years of life, that I have with this illness and it’s complications.  And somehow, I know it could have been much much worse!

     I think I hit bottom!  To have to lay on a table almost naked immediately after having diarrhea, to be vomiting uncontrollably so hard that your wetting yourself and passing gas, as the doctors and nurses stand over you and work on your body, to be so humiliated when you have always been a person so meticulous that you have never had a hair out of place, is beyond explanation.  I looked up to God today and begged His forgiveness for all the pride I have suffered from in my lifetime.  Humility such as I have encountered in the last two months has been life changing for me. 

     "But for what purpose Lord?" I ask, "To humble me for what purpose?"

     Will I look down on anyone ever again?  I don’t think I’ll ever be the same person after this is all over.  To what end has this been for?  Life changing, oh yes!  But to what end?  I know now that I want to retire.  I also want to run away with my grandkids.  Will any of this be what God wants for my life?  His will is so important to me.

     "Why God, have You brought me to my knees in humility, life altering humility?"  It’s time to move on.  To move on to doing good for others while I still can.

     Now I have a huge decision to make.  Is it time to quit radiation, or should I finish?  "Please God, You brought me here.  Guide my decisions from error, please Father, amen."

     January through April 2004

     I ended up switching oncologists, switching hospitals, and cancelling the rest of my radiation treatments.  The new doctor and hospital ran more tests and told me I had scar tissue all the way from the top of my left lung to the bottom of my left lung.  I was on and off steroids for the next three months until my lung healed enough to allow me to breathe just using an inhaler once in awhile.  In March a new cardiologist did a cardiac cath on me to rule out any potential heart problems, diagnosing my heart, "In excellent condition for a 60 year old!"

     By the spring of 2004 I was pretty much my old self and cancer free.  It had been a whole year since I first started noticing pain in my breast.  The longest year of my life!  It was finally over, except for the yearly cancer check-ups.  But thank God I could look forward to seeing my grandchildren graduate and hopefully marry.

     Only the Lord knows the day we will go to be with Him.  He has known that since before we were conceived.  Somehow, when it happens to me, I don’t think I will want to come back!  I know I won’t want to come back!

        Love in Christ,    Claire  xoxo

The end of my cancer journal.  Thank you for hanging in there!

   

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Cancer Journal-Part 5

Dear Readers,

     Thank you for your patience.  Here is part 5 of my cancer story.

     October 20, 2003-Monday

     Today is the first day of my radiation treatment.  I haven’t written much lately.  I haven’t really thought much about the cancer.  As my radiation time approached, anxiety attacks started to hit me again, in the middle of the night especially.  My nice pink line on the side of my breast from my first surgery has changed into a deep sunken deformed line after the second surgery when the swelling finally subsided.

     None of that seems to matter much though.  Sitting in the waiting room prepped for my first radiation treatment, all I could see was panicky faces on all the other women.  Every patient brought another woman for moral support, but I mostly am alone.  I seem to be pushing people away, and making light of all this to my loved ones.  I don’t want pity.  I just want it to be over!  Numbness consumes me a lot and this past week, I let three family birthdays slip by almost meaninglessly.  I can feel all my PTSD symptoms are back and I have little patience for anything else going on around me.  CJ is all nervous about things going on in his life and I just don’t want to hear about any of it.  Why do I want to be alone so much?  I don’t understand that part of me!

     November 21, 2003-Friday

     Haven’t written for a month.  Last week was rough.  I’m four weeks into my radiation, with three weeks of treatments left to go (35 total).

     Last Saturday I started having real bad pain in my left chest area.  It worsened and traveled up to my neck and down my left arm and I couldn’t breathe.  CJ took me to the hospital and I was admitted to the Cardiac ward.

     I thought I was having a heart attack, the pain was so bad, but lots of tests later (CT scan, blood work, EKG, etc.) they discovered pneumonia and pleurisy.  After four days I was released with meds (antibiotics and codeine tylenol).  I couldn’t take the Tylenol 2.  It made me to shaky, so I took Ibuprofen and that helped a little.  It wasn’t until today, Friday the 21st, that I began to get some pain relief so I could breathe better.  For a whole week now, all I have done is lay in bed.  The pain is finally letting up a bit tonight.

     I prayed a lot last night for God to heal me and asked for prayer support from my sister Terri’s bible study group.  I can’t believe only 24 hours ago I couldn’t even lay down, the discomfort was so bad.  And, tonight I’m so improved.  It must be God!

     December 4, 2003-Thursday

     Today I was back to the doctor with bad chest pain again.  My primary care physician has watched me go back to my treatments and in five days, be back to the terrible pain I had in the hospital.  Each day the pain got progressively worse, since last Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.  Dr. P gave me powerful pain pills and told me to, "Hang in there!  Your only 10 treatments from being finished."

     I did great the first 20, but it’s been down hill since then.  Dr. P told me he totally believes this is radiation related, and the little air pockets in my lungs are inflamed causing all the pain.  My radiologist says no, but I’ve never had pleurisy or inflammation of the lungs before.  I have had bronchitis and pneumonia though.  Tomorrow is Friday and then I have a two-day break to rest up.  Then I only have two more full day treatments and then the last 7 are very quick and "Small field" (just on the tumor area itself) only.  I pray, "Please God, get me through this!"

     December 15, 2003-Monday

     My health has deteriorated even more.  After the last treatment, the Friday following Thanksgiving, on Saturday I ended up in the hospital again, by ambulance this time, with excruciating pain in my chest.  A blizzard made it difficult to get there and kept people away, but I was so ill I couldn’t breathe or tolerate the pain or company.  Constant vomiting of my meds made an IV the only way I could keep anything down.

     After 3 horrible days of tests, pain, vomiting, and no sleep, CJ came after work and I signed myself out of UMass hospital late Monday night at 9PM, with a diagnosis of fluid on my heart (congestive heart failure) and fluid on my left lung.  Steroids and massive doses of aspirin for inflammation were prescribed.  I left the hospital not able to tolerate another single test, and not even able to eat or drink or take meds without upchucking.  For the first time I began to feel like I was going to die!

                              Love in Christ,   Claire xoxo

Part 6, final- next week

   

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