PRAYER REQUESTS

PRAYER REQUESTS

- Peace for Shawn and I, for Kyle and Miranda and Braden and Connor, for our parents and siblings and nieces and nephews and inner circle friends watching and hurting as we go through this
- that God would keep soft our children's hearts toward Him through all the emotions of this hard journey
- strength and stamina; physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually
- that the cancer shrinks to gone, gone, gone!
- gentle side effects to this second round of chemo
- family unity, harmony, love, strength, joy, happiness
- anything else you feel God puts on your heart


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Head games

Head games.  Getting worked up by the thoughts swirling in my head.  Not this moment, that's why I can type about it right now.  The last three nights have been 7 hours sleeps and waking up feeling a little stronger each day.  Today I made it down the stairs with a strength that has eluded me since I've been home from hospital.  It felt so good to make it down the stairs without shaking in my boots.

Thinking is hard and decisions are hard.  Every day is a mind game in which I balance fear of dieing, excitement of living, planning for the future, hope, more fear, shuck off the worries of tomorrow, take in the love, feel sad that showing love back is a huge energy investment that I'm willing but sometimes unable to make, and panic that this all won't work the way I want it to go.  That is why I pray for peace.  Everything else is awesome... and I am believing for miracles and thankful for the many, many, many incredible miracles we have already had.  But decisions are hard.  Like, don't ask me where to go for lunch.  And don't be surprised if I can't finish a sentence.  For sure I am going to forget the email I just read about two seconds after I close the computer screen.  It's nutty, I tell you!  It's funny, and it's nutty and annoying and I'm just chalking it up to what the forums call 'chemo brain'.  Can't even read books.  Words on a page... oi.  They swim.  It's seriously weird.

I can't imagine how it must be for my dear ones, watching me go through the physical and the mental.  Wanting to make it better, knowing they can't take it away, wishing and praying fervently that I didn't have cancer.  The disruption on their physical time blows me away, the mental strain ...I can see on their faces and it breaks my heart.  Please, pray for them.  Mom is with me pretty much daily, she watches my downs and ups.  For me, my job is to be treated and allow my body to do its recovering.  For my husband and kids and family it is balancing career and home and single-parenting and sick wife/mommy/daughter/sister and mental and physical exhaustion without the luxury I have of laying here all day.  Bless the caregivers, for theirs is a heavy load.

Add a good dose of guilt to the head games.  Cancer is not my fault, but wow do I see and feel bad for the impact of my illness on so many peoples' lives.  And so I sit on the couch and watch the f00d netw0rk.  My brain is mush, tired of thinking through every thing.  Hungry tummy means deciding what meds to take, and when, and what food to try and eat, and battling the worries about which one bite will be the bite that might make me too full or cause constipation or diarrhea or nausea or cramps and weighing whether it's worth it or not or if I should just have another smoothie instead. 

I can totally see how people in longterm health situations could get lost... in themselves, in their coccoon, in their social relationships.  Life requires a lot of give, and being ill is just a whole lot of take many days...and for many, many days and weeks and months, even years.  I can't imagine what I could do that would be 'enough' to lavish love and care and repayment back on my husband, kids, parents, sisters, extended family, friends, support circle, meal-bringers, house helpers, the whole lot of you... there will never be enough 'pay it forward' to refill all the love that you have shared in so many tangible ways.  It blows my mind.  It is God's love, your time and commitment to keeping me IN my life, IN my days, IN my right mind.  Thank you for not forgetting me.

When I think about laying in emerg recently, I am overcome with the hugeness of hearing the doctor say, "I don't know that I can fix this..." and then being asked what my plan was for intubation, for emergency, for resuscitation, for death.  I understood clearly, even in my poor state, that my husband and parents and sisters were around me, watching a doctor tell me I could likely die.  Die.  Gone.  Forever from my husband and kids' lives.  Missing from M's experience of buying a wedding dress.  Gone from K's experience of a crazy-proud Mom cheering as he walked across the stage at grad and at university.  Not here to see how B keeps growing and navigating and being awesome at life.  Never the reality of a screaming-cheering Mom at C's sports events.  Gone.  From their world view and perspective and experiences.  I am bawling.  We don't talk about this.  It is still to raw.  I need you to understand the seriousness of our last two weeks.  I need you to glimpse into the horribleness that was my families' experience in a cramped emergency room curtain, around a very sick loved-one.  And I need you to open your minds to how big a miracle it was that I am here. My condition had not been seen before, read about, but not seen.  Extremely rare.  Life threatening.  My nurse was allowed with me when I went for tests, she never left my side, held my hand, I knew it was bad.  God brought me through.  I am... humbled and bewildered and grateful and so many things.  My mind, even with the huge imagination that I have, cannot fully comprehend, but I remember.  I remember stopping the doctor and praying for Shawn and the kids and my parents and my sisters.  I remember feeling just so sad for Mom and Dad and Keri and Kori and just so concerned, to the depth of my heart, for Shawn and the kids.  And I remember feeling peace, God is bigger.  I felt it, I knew it, they will be okay.  And I felt sad for the doctor and I felt blessed by him in that moment.  I really want that peace for you.  It is free, God already gave it to you, just take it.  Close your eyes, take a breath to slow your pace, say in your heart or your mind or out loud, "God, please give me your peace" and believe it and just breathe it in.  Honest.

In church circles we say that there is a "peace that passes understanding" and that is exactly what my experience was when I was told I would likely die.

And so, when my mind starts swirling, or when Satan starts whispering lies and worries, I ask for peace.  And God delivers.  And sometimes I forget to just focus on God for a few panic-minutes too long... like waiting too long to take the Tyln0l that you know will make the headache go away but you're too lazy to walk all the way to the kitchen to get the bottle... but peace is there, as soon as I focus and ask.  Jesus Calling, the amazing devotional book that I am often quoting, is a really good source for focus.  The author, Sarah Young, has a gift for slowing me down, her words are like balm and her message of peace and love and "God's already got this" speak to my heart when my brain is getting away with me.

And so today, as I pray for you, I pray for you to know and feel God's peace.
Kristin


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Outting!!!

Yay today!  Being it's Wednesday, Keri and Kori are off, so this is the day we try and make sure to get together...and even do lunch!  Usually it's our "chemo tradition" in that chemo is Tuesday and then on Wednesday, thanks to the heavy-duty anti-nausea meds, we can go out.  Last week, K&K brought Chinese to the hospital instead.

Today, we went out!  YAY!  I'm getting stir crazy.  Which is great...means I'm getting better, right!!!  It's nice to feel enough energy to leave the house... though the shower and getting dressed cost a lot of energy and resting afterwards.  Everything. tires. me. out.  The stairs to go upstairs... whoa, those take me a lot of effort... like, I make it upstairs and then sit on my bed for about 10 minutes to recover.  No joke.   I can't stand to make lunches, it takes all of my energy to get a bowl and cereal and milk to the table to eat breakfast.  It's very strange.  To clarify:  it's not the chemo that is tiring (though that is its own brand of tiring that drags at me for the days following).  This is from the 12 days in hospital (with little moving around), the trauma of the blood clot (and my body working to recover from that), and the blood thinners (they make me a bit lightheaded and weakly), and the chemo.  It's a lot going on in my body apparently.  Having never journeyed this before, and never hoping to ever never ever journey this again once I hit remission (Lord willing!!!!!!!)... this is what I understand from the medical team and my body's reaction to stuff.

Lunch out, made a walk through Rei!mans and sat on the couch taking in all the lovely spring colours... not sure if I'm brave enough to purchase the lovely coloured jeans.  Then  was so nice to sit at RRobn with Mom and Dad and Keri and Kori and have conversation and soak in some sunlight.  Nice.

And now... a nap.  Made it up the stairs to my house, all five of them.  Yay!  A little stronger each day.  Probably going to nap on the couch ... not sure I could do the main stairs... seriously, feeling 90yrs old.   Love the idea of being 90 years old one day!  [smile]

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Feeling human

Woke up this morning feeling rested and ...dare I say it... more normal.  Coming home from hospital has kicked my butt.  I have been weak, sick, nauseous, running to the toilet with gut issues every time I eat, too weak to reach out and lift my water cup, too exhausted to shower, unable to get my meds for myself, feeling a whole lot of worry that it is just going to keep getting harder and I'm just tired and sick of this journey now.  Whiny?  Maybe?  Totally normal part of the process?  Sure?  Sick of myself whining?  For sure.  I always feel guilty because 'someone has it worse'... but also need to be real in acknowledging that this sucks totally and I just want my life back.  Now.

Was so glad to wake up this morning and feel capable of walking to the bathroom without having to shore up and run so that I wouldn't run out of energy and get stuck sitting on the toilet for lack of energy to stand back up.  Ya, that weak.  So sucky.  I am not patient and the process of rebuilding after 12 days in hospital again... [groan]

Today our 6 yrs old was an unwilling school-attendee... daddy couldn't get him to go, mommy figured the kid needs the day off.  Tomorrow is anti-bullying day and all C understands is that they will spend the day bullying each other.  I'm sure sure sure that is NOT the message and I completely trust that his amazing Kindergarten teacher has explained it ... but the kid is stressed, his mom is sick, we are tired of the whole thing and also it's the weeks leading to spring-break which are tiring for everyone anyway.  Full-day kindergarten is a lot.  C is home today.  Going to have to figure out a plan for tomorrow.  Ah, parenting.  It just keeps trucking you along!  [smile]

I am so hungry, but everything upsets my tummy.  I miss enjoying food.

Friday is my appointment at the Thrombosis Clinic at Vancouver General Hospital.  Please pray peace, wisdom, a good meeting, good news, a plan.  I don't even know what to ask for... just praying peace and ... I guess that'll cover it.  The port is an annoyance to me through much of the day... sometimes I feel it gagging me and it feels like I'm going to puke up the tube (so gross)... but I am freaked out that if they take out the port I will have to endure 9 stabs each time for chemo as the nurses have to search for my crappy veins.  THAT freaks me out a lot... like to the start of panic.  I'm feeling needle weary.

Yesterday, when I did my shot, I got stuck.  The way my finger was plunging the needle... was... weak... and I got the needle in (so gross) and the pluger half-down to release the meds...and then I couldn't get it to go all the way down to click.  Insert moment of panic, eyes flying open, "JESUS, HELP!" and then a final push and success and then just the whole feeling of 'crap, crap, crap, crap, crap... I hate that!".  Seriously.  Oh my word.  Nothing like having a needle half in you to freak you out.

Today... my mind thinks I'm a lot more energetic than I probably am... but am hoping to at least get off the couch a little and feel less like a cancer patient.  I didn't like how cancer-patient I felt the last few days.  Totally sucked.  Hard to get your brain away from the worries when your body feels like ...that: weak.

Out for a little walk with my boy, that'll be today's goal.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Happy Birthday, dear husband

Praying God's best blessings, His peace and joy over your year, Shawn. I love you. Happy Birthday!!!!
Kristin

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Smile

Listening to M sing opera in the bathroom. Many moments to smile throughout this day.

[really trying]



Still so tired.  Was hoping today would be less so. Made it downstairs, not sure if I'll make it back up the stairs today.  Hard to feel celebratory, I'm trying.  This is the card from my littleset-boy-6-yrs-old... I had to turn my face from him to hide the tears.  I am just touched by his thoughtfulness.  Everyone walking on eggshells, wondering if it's okay to even say a quiet 'happy birthday'.  Oldest son has a cough, tomorrow is day 7-10 so germ-danger days.   A shower is high on my list, too tired.  Oi.  I'm not overly sad, just so tired this round.  Makes me worry that it's just going to get harder.  Look at that hair.  You want real, this is real.  [smile]  "How many more times until your cancer is gone, Mommy?  Ten?"  "Only eight."  "And then your all done?"  "I hope so, baby."

B just walked in singing the birthday song. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Tonight.


Feeling some rested, a little less weak than this morning.  Cried my way through the day.  Just tears and random tears.  Got some of the emotions out.  Ready for a new day.  Ready to smile and celebrate... tentatively.  Still not sure how I feel about all this birthday.  But will smile.  Every day there is reason to smile.  Thank you to those who have prayed me through today.  It was a hard day, I won't lie.  Just so much gratefulness to be here, so much confusion as to what the heck is going on.  I still am just shocked that I have cancer and this all has happened and is happening and we have months to go.  That's a huge bit to ward off and fight away.  Get behind me, Satan, you shall not prevail because Jesus never fails.  Today got better.  I made it through my injection.  I felt giddy when it was done.  I slept.  Our family hung out and watched food tv together... C cracked us up with his randomness, B cracked us up with moaning at the food on the food shows.  People sneaking around doing projects.  I have long said, in reply to a comment, "One day at a time", that it's "one moment at a time, and some moments last longer than others, but it's all but a moment... good or bad..." and I am thankful for that philosophy, it does me well to remember through each day.

Thank you for your prayers.  Thank you.  Sincerely.

I did it again!

Yay me! I was worried all day since yesterday but I did it! On my not-numb side even! I'm in shock. I was very shaky. Good thing no one watches!

Emotions

Tomorrow is my birthday.

I don't want a party.  I don't want wishes.  I don't want to think about a whole new year.  That's my usual routine.  Usually I spend the last day of __ reflecting and looking ahead.  This year.  I can't seem to.  Living in the moment is a big enough effort... don't borrow worries from tomorrow.  And... what do I want?  Not to die.  Kind of a fun-sucking idea.  I don't know.  Was up at 4am, nausea.  Then thinking.  Then crying.  Woke up Shawn.  Took my meds.  Crying.  Just all the emotions and trauma of the last weeks in hospital.  Still can't have a good cry because I'm afraid to cry and loose some clot that sends me into a stroke or death.  I assume that doesn't really happen, but ... who knows.  I don't really worry about it, God has a plan ... but... you still don't want to loose blood clots in jugulars I assume.

When I reflect on 40, it was a great start.  Kori and Keri surprised me at the mall with a huge and fun "You are 40" balloon...that was the best start to the birthday celebrations.  I loved it.  The surprise.  The meeting my sisters unexpectedly at the mall.  It was awesome.  And dinner with my dearest inner circle friends at a local restaurant.  And being surrounded by women who love me.  And family dinners, and celebrating Shawn's 40 the next day after mine (I'm one day older and wiser than my husband, super fun as my sisters are twins and now I get to share a birthday with my own buddy).  So many great memories if I work to recall them... and then the cancer mixes in and I realize that my symptoms started right about my birthday.  And then I have to work really hard to remember that all of this last year wasn't scary and scary.  I was in excruciating pain for months before we realized it was cancer, but the days were good.  I was in university, working towards my final semester of the Library Technician program, the kids were settling into school, my baby went to Kindergarten and was loving it, my biggest boy was in high school and loving it, swim club and soccer were successes yet again, hubby is in a job he loves, things were settling into a new pattern... out of 'baby days' and into 'adventure'...and then cancer.  Four months suddenly seems like a lifetime, so I tentatively am teaching myself to celebrate that I have survived cancer for four months since diagnosis... but I want to thrive.  And at 4am the tears felt like a flood and the emotions wouldn't wash clean, they just hung there until the meds mercifully drifted me to sleep.

But I am not blue.  I am just trying to process.  That's how I do things, but this is hard to process.  We meet with the Thrombosis (vein) specialist on Friday.  Hoping he will have some clear information and we will have an understanding of what this jugular blood clot means to daily life.  The thing with cancer, as with maybe other medical things (I don't know)... you have a whole slew of doctors and medical people but each only cares for (and therefore, speaks to you about) one specific part of your disease or body or care.  I have a lung doctor who can't talk about my kidney, a kidney doctor who put me on meds that my oncologist took me off of because the oncologist is in charge of cancer-fighting-medicine, a hospital nurse that medicates one way but a chemo nurse who does it another... so many things to sort and figure out and remember.  And all I can think about is the next needle I need to self-inject.

Thanks for listening to me ramble.  This is my journey and my journal and it helps to get it off my mind and out my hands.  Writing is such a blessing.

Being home has been... surreal.  Shawn looks at me in relief.  The kids look at me in awe.  I have been very weak so I sit here and just be.  And last night, exhaustion across every single one of us.  The strain of Mommy being gone so long, the happy of having her home, the 'shhhh, she's sleeping' and the 'can I hug you?, is it safe'.  It's a lot.  I think everyone slept well last night, they seem a little more normal in my presence, though the side-looks and checking on me (so cute, but breaks my heart that they have these worries) are still there.  Lazing about, watching a movie.  Just good to be together under this one roof.

God is bigger.  God is good.  We are blessed.  We are tired.  Please pray rejuvenation and recoup and rest and normal for our day.  I think that's what we need.  I have this week off from chemo and I believe that every day I will regain strength and energy.  That will translate to more normal for the entire family.  That's what I want.  Normal for the kids.  For Shawn.  For my family.  Whatever the new normal is.  That setting keeps changing on us.  [smile]

Love you.  I know God is blessing your day... watch for it!
Kristin

Friday, February 22, 2013

[stunned] I did it.


I just can't believe it but I did it.  I gave myself a needle.  It's pre-loaded, you just have to get the poke done... that's the gross part to be honest.  I washed my hands, I did the alcohol wipe, gave myself a large target area between the islands of purpley-green-blue archipelago across my entire tummy... and I got the needle out of the package... and let the alcohol dry so it wouldn't sting... and then I shored up really quick courage... and set the needle down... and then took a breath, said another thought-prayer on top of the prayer at the start of this whole mess... and did it.  I did it.  I can't believe I did it.  I don't want to ever do it again ... for the next 6 months... but I did it.  And Nurse said the first poke was the hardest... so I'll keep that in mind tomorrow, too... and I don't want to think about that I did it... but I did it on the kidney-surgery side... which is still numb 14 weeks later... and thank you Lord for that big numb silver lining that makes pants waistlines a nuisance but makes sticking yourself with a needle easier... and I know there are diabetic kids and folks that do this their whole life... but it's one more shoring of courage and I feel like I've shored up a lot a lot a lot these past four months... but I did it and it's done for this whole next 24 hours.  I did it.  I am shaky from the chemo and I am shaky more from that I did it.  I did it.  Wow. And I even was able to do it slow and count to five like she said... I did it.  I am just shocked.  Wow.

Grateful overflows

Bedtime Facebook post last night:

Going to sleep in my own bed, with my husband and my kids and my life all together under this one roof. I just can't even figure out enough words... and you know I've usually got more than enough words... to tell you how full and happy and grateful my heart is. Thank you God for your grace and mercy and miracles and love and care and.... this moment. Thank you for answering so many faithful and long-going prayers. Thank you.

Today:

Woke up with a sense of peace and rest for having slept in my own bed, prayers of thanksgiving, praying for my family, just not even knowing what to say to God that would be... right, enough, adequate... thankful that He knows the desires of my heart, thankful that He already knows and that He is smiling as I'm tripping over my words.  Slow myself, go back to the Lord's Prayer and Psalm 23 The Lord is My Shepherd.  God loves me, He doesn't care if I 'get it right', He just loves our heart.  So easy to just talk to Him... love that.

Came downstairs to the light on in the kitchen, my biggest boy having breakfast, starting his day.  Such a blessing to share the morning with him, sit at the table, hug him too hard, hold him too many seconds too long, him soaking it in.  Making up for missed hugs over 12 days.  Still can't believe what has happened, how things unfolded for us.  So incredibly grateful for this outcome.  Mom at home.  I am just in awe.  So very in awe.  Child #3 wandered into the kitchen, hugs, holding on, this is my boy whose goal is Club Penguin time each morning...even he hugged long, looked me square in the eyes, soaked in the sight of Mommy home, a little too long, a little extra.  Savour, savour, savour.  Can't get enough of looking at the kids.  My heart is a sponge on a typical day, this... feels like Christmas morning.

Typing with hands not swollen five times too big.  Typing with fingers that can move and do what fingers are meant to do.  Words forming and spilling out of my mind in correct order.  Still lots of fumbling but hands that work.  Arms without needles hindering their use, keeping me from bending or moving or using.  Legs that walked me fairly smoothly down the stairs, no shakes today.  Feeling weak from chemo, more so than the last times, maybe from the addition of the meds, the trauma my body has gone through, recovering.  I'm a thinker, I analyze and compare, take mental notes.  The past 12 days were so many things, the lines are blurred, the analyzing is harder and slower and may never come together in a a way that makes sense.  That's part of the miracle.  It doesn't make sense, but God is bigger and He did what was His plan to do.  I rest in that.  But I do wonder what the current 'normal' is.  I'm just sorting of going with each moment, curious to see the improvements that will naturally come from being home.  Mentally so much stronger just for being in my home life.  Physical strength will come from being in a bigger space, not confined to the ward (too nervous of public germs to leave oncology during day hours, too tired to get much out of bed the last two days), stairs at home are a long haul, showering today means I will be too tired to help Mom and Kori with much thinking let alone doing.  Keri has visited every day in hospital, every day after work, every day.  Amazing love.  My family is so tired.  Please pray rest and renewing for them.  Mom or Shawn spent every night on a sort-of-comfy cot so I would be alone.  We all need rest and renewal.  Thank you for being the pray-ers, holding up the arms of Moses so that battle could be won.

Today will be a not-doing-much-unless-it-feels-safe-and-right.  That's the current normal.  Blood thinners require extra care right now...for 6 months... can't bend my head down, have to hold on and be careful to walk, don't fall, don't hit your head, don't, don't, don't... lots of warnings of being super careful.  I will be.  I take this not for granted.  So grateful for Wiffy's (my mother-in-law) help with the kids before and after schools these last few weeks.  Thankful for Erika for sorting clothes out of the kids' closets.  Projects that this Mommy tries to get to... grateful for help in getting things done.  We are blessed beyond measure.  God is abundantly good.  May you each see His goodness in this day, open your eyes to it.  Maybe not someone cleaning out the clothes-explosion in your child's closet, but maybe you'll find a $5 bill tucked into the bathroom stall, "Treat yourself to a coffee today" like my cousin Rena.  Maybe you'll see an eagle and be reminded that God is with you.  Perhaps you'll find good parking on this rainy (in BC, Canada) day.  Chalk it up to God... it is Him in the details of our days, we need only look and name it and be thankful for it because it is Him. 

Going into the germ-fight days of chemo, so no visitors, less hugs, masks at the ready.  That's okay.  I look forward to the spring and being out and chemo-done and cancer free.  Did you hear, the CT scan shows THE CANCER IN MY LUNGS IS SHRUNK!!!!  IT IS SMALLER!!!  THE CHEMO IS WORKING!!!  Praising God.  Praying He will continue to eradicate those cells out of every corner of me!  Out of my shoulder, if they are still there... I trust they are not.  THE CHEMO IS WORKING!  I praise God.  Thank you for your prayers... keep on praying my friends, the Lord listens and hears and answers when we ask. The Bible tells us so!  Amen and AMEN!  Bottom, right, lung.  Pray it clear, pray no more cancer cells anywhere, please!!!

Did you know that when chemo goes through it kills the cancer cells, but it also kills my healthy body cells.  That's just part of the deal, chemo can't differentiate, a cell is a cell to a war-faring chemo medicine.  The cool thing is that my healthy cells are regenerating (okay... now THAT IS A CRAZY AWESOME BODY SYSTEM GOD CREATED!!!!!), which means I am renewed physically in these days after chemo.  My body is starting fresh.  My cells are new, healthy, starting over.  Like, a Mulligan (where you get to take a do-over)... so all those BigM@cs, gone... this body is getting healthier, and I'm eating healthier to help it.... kind of an interesting and cool silver lining to chemo, wouldn't you say?!  I think so... though the thought of a BigM@c... mmmmmm.....  actually, craving In 'n Out Burger now that Cousin Lora posted a pic... adding to my Remission Manifesto (the really awesome, going-to-be-the-funnest-remission-ever to do list)... okay, long post, brain starting to ramble...

Time to wake up the late-risers.  Thankful for this time with you, BlogFriends... I missed our lengthy posts and thought of you daily.  Blessings to you today, may you see and feel God's love today, may you feel His peace.  It's there, in your day, He's already arranged it... I pray you see it and claim it as His gift to you.  

With love, 
Kristin

Youngest just stumbled down the stairs and flopped into my arms... oh my heart.  Just waiting for Daughter... she's the slower-morning girl, but the longest hugs and tears welling up.  That girl needed her Momma hard the last too many days.  We just hugged and hugged and cried yesterday when she came home from school... cried those tears to smiles.  Thank you Jesus.  Thank you God that You will quiet us with Your love.  I am grateful. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Home

Overwhelmed and giddy with grateful ness. Home. Hugs and holding on to each kid. C holding my hand just for the walk to the kitchen. M's tears and tears and relief to have mommy home. B "I thought it was a box (the surprise in the living room... It was me)... This is better." Holding on to my firstborn, unable to let go. Just grateful to be driving away from the hospital, they told me I might not make it through that night in emerg. God is bigger. I can't imagine anything big enough to celebrate how grateful I am. So incredibly just... overwhelmed with good. Thank you Lord for this moment.

Learning curve: injecting my own self

Don't hate me. Love me even in my chicken-ness...

But how the heck am I not supposed to be a little gweeby about this when even the banana shed a tear when I injected it?!?!?!?

Today: Keeping track of the stats

Week 14: post-op nephrectomy (kidney out)

Cycle 2: week 2, day 4 (we renumbered due to skipping chemo last week)

Currently: Day 12: in hospital for emergency blood clot issue

Jesus Calling:
February 21

Trust and thankfulness will get you safely through this day. Trust protects you from worrying and obsessing. Thankfulness keeps you from criticizing and complaining: those “sister sins” that so easily entangle you.

Keeping your eyes on Me is the same thing as trusting Me. It is a free choice that you must make thousands of times daily. The more you choose to trust Me, the easier it becomes. Thought patterns of trust become etched into your brain. Relegate troubles to the periphery of your mind, so that I can be central in your thoughts. Thus you focus on Me, entrusting your concerns into My care.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
—Colossians 2:6–7

But my eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign Lord; in you I take refuge—do not give me over to death.
—Psalm 141:8

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
—1 Peter 5:7

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Chemo in

They bring the special cart to you... Special gowns, two layers of gloves, special bucket for trash, two nurses check the codes. Killing cancer is hardcore!





Chemo

Took nine or ten tries and three nurses plus a doc...But we're in.

Cycle 2: week 2, day 1, second try

Chemo today. This counts as cycle2, day 8.... which I call week 2, day 1. Last week was a spare week. Next week is my off week now (week 3).

After two days of no IV and no pain port dangling from my arm, after a full week in hospital recovering from very serious blood clotting in my upper chest and jugular vein, my body is recovered enough for chemo. The clot is likely still there as those take a lot of months to dissipate, I am on anti-clot medicine to keep the clot from growing or new clots from forming. Because of the emergency nature, and because this has not been seen before by the team treating me in emerg, and because I have quite the huge team of doctors, I'm still not clear on what happened or where things are at. Nor are they, it is theories and waiting. I have been referred to the thrombosis clinic at VGH. Please, let us begin praying for that doctor, for wisdom, good bedside manner, clear understanding of my body, a clear plan for my good health, the right date as God sees it, good news, a return to perfect health!

The CT scan in emerg showed us that the cancer in my lung is shrunk... Chemo is working. Praising God daily for that! It just makes me smile to think on that.

The information from my oncologist (cancer doctor) yesterday was this: I will have chemo in my bed thru a normal IV, not the port (Herman) that I had installed for this purpose. Usually you come to the chemo room as a walk-in patient in the Cancer Agency, it is serene and kind and even fun (the nurses are all instantly your friend so its almost a social call once you get hooked up). I will miss that, here in my bed.

The theory of what happened to me last Sunday is that port+chemo=clots. The chance of what happened to me is .6%, so extremely rare. Because they will not access the port and because I am on belly injections 2x per day for anti-coagulant (no clots) she feels chemo is safe. They will keep me here to monitor for some days after chemo, still no "you are going home on this date". If all goes well (no clots in legs or chest or anywhere, watching for pain, swelling or shortness of breath) that means I could go home. I am nervous to not repeat last Sunday.

Had trouble falling asleep last night. Today is a big day, but not really. And I feel nervous, but not really. And I am leery of the needle IV and I am annoyed that I was brave to get the port and it almost did me in. I trust my doctor and I know that God is bigger. It's the needles. Injections and IV and pain port bruises remind me in quiet little whispers that don't easily shush. I'm mostly okay, but the immense emotional hit of last sunday has still not been spoken of, cried over, worked through. I am working hard to keep my blood pressure down and my body strong and my self keeping a manageable pace on this unknown timeline. Crying would give me a headache that I don't want to risk right now. Am feeling... quiet. Quiet is okay. Read Jesus Calling, God is giving me Zephaniah over and over and even via text thru a friend of a friend. He will quiet me with His love. Amen and thank you Lord. You are thoughtful and You hold me and You are kind. I love that.

The next six months will be blood thinners which means being extremely careful. I am wobbly on my feet and to fall and hit my head could mean serious complications. My GP can't stress safety enough. Bending down or even just standing-to-sitting get me super lightheaded. They want to send me home with inject-myself belly shots... going to revisit the options. Don't think I can do it. Hoping there is an equally good-for-me other option. Not feeling rested this morning. Satan was planting all sorts of horrible in my head last night. Not about me but just the evils in this world. Get behind me Satan, you shall NOT prevail because Jesus never fails. God is bigger.

This morning is quiet me, thats okay. Sometimes it is in the quiet we see God in ways we miss in other moments. Am choosing to be okay with quiet today and expecting big things from my God. He loves me. He is here and He holds me and is stroking my forehead to calm me and bring rest.

Please: pray peace and success for today's chemo. Pray that my body has no negative reactions, that not a single unwanted clot threatens or forms! I feel a little nervous but quietly confident and mostly just nervous about the IV needle. Once they get that I will be okay. I want the chemo, the needle is part of the deal. I understand that.

Thank you for your prayers. I want and need and hoard them. I line them up, concentric circles that hold suspended in the air around me, shimmering as you connect with God, shaking in the fervency of some of your prayers, shining as your hope and confidence winks at me and God smiles at this all and is so very happy to hear our prayers, to hear from us. He loves this time we take to talk to Him. And He listens and He answers. God is good. All the time. All the time, God is good.

Amen.

Look at the sunrise, shining in my window, lighting up my bed, God smiling. His warmth and love and care bathing this room. He is here. I am teary with grateful ness. God is good.



Monday, February 18, 2013

Cycle 2: week 3, day 7

Just hanging out w mom this morning. We had a great sleep, sweated like a pig and woke up less swollen by lots, thankful! Was sore yesterday in my left arm at elbow and even my neck again. As the swelling goes there are aches but that's okay! Still short of breath but we had an even fast (compared to the shuffle I've been doing!) walk today! Good job us!
Just a nice and relaxed morning. Like!!!


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Today

Got my IV and pain port out today. Switched to all oral meds. Wahoo! Also switching from belly injections to oral for blood thinners! Wahoo! Feel so unencumbered! Still no talk of "go home date" and it sounds like chemo for Tuesday but as an in patient.

Please pray for wisdom for my medical team, strength for my body, peace for us as we wait and rest in this moment.
The kids are okay but really would like their mommy and daddy home soon! So grateful for the positives of the week and still can't process what a tough and dire circumstance God brought us through this far. It is just incredible to think on.

We have learned a lot in this cancer journey and we are only cycle 2 of maybe 6. I find it encouraging (is that strange?) each time a nurse asks what chemo I am on, and I tell her and she says "whoa, that's the big ones" or similar. And I do a little mental happy dance, cuz I did it! My family and I, we did it! [smile]. Couldn't do this without all the help. Honestly, so touched as so incredibly grateful to you all.

The next months will be figuring out the new normal again as we hope and wait and wish and dream... of camping and travel and candy stores to check out and time together to savour!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Hair

As we wait for the fluids to dissipate and the clot to thin it is my hair that has begun to go. Having new feelings about that. The side effect is "thinning"... It's really really thinned this week. A lot.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Made with Love

Thank you to those who have continued to Provide Kristin's family with meals! You have been a huge Blessing!!
Just when they were adjusting to a new normal and Kristin was hoping to get back to cooking for her family a little more there is a curve in the road. She is currently in the hospital for an undisclosed amount of time and her family still needs to be fed.
If you are so inclined to bring a meal, please take a moment to sign up (details on the left hand side of this blog)

Please note:
- Please provide only enough for a family of 6 (two of them being little ones with smaller appetites) they don't have fridge space for a ton of leftovers
- please use disposable containers (ziplock bags are acceptable)
- think simple... Buns or wraps with sandwich meat or roast chicken etc, tacos, veggies and meat, chicken strips, small pasta dish etc. nothing too spicy...
- small veggie plate, salad or fruit salad appreciated (these kids need fibre too!)
- baking is lovely, but again please only bring enough for 6 people

Thank you again to those who have already been helping out and thank you in advance to those who sign up moving forward. The outpouring of love and support has been amazing!!


Bored is better

I must be getting better... I am bored! It is the wee hours and I'm not tired cuz I did a lot of resting all day. And La La Luna and I are grounded from a nighttime adventure cuz I'm not permitted to walk alone yet and she is too little to catch me if I fall. Thankful for bored!!!!! Thankful for this Valentines Day w Shawn. Thankful for FaceTime w the kids today. Thankful for pudding cups delivered. Focusing on thankful because all else is too big.
I wish I could process what this week has been and meant. I just can't yet. Still praying the clot to fully dissolve and this body to restore and recover and get out of hospital and back to life-with-kids!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Cycle 2: week2, day1

Hello and love to all of you amazing prayer Warriors. Shawn and I and our family cannot begin to thank you for interceding on my behalf the past few days. The medical team, the wisdom, the news and the peace can only come from the God of the universe. He is bigger and He will never leave nor turn away. The emergency is a story for another day. For today know that I am resting in the hospital as we wait for the clot to dissipate with help from the meds. Chemo has been postponed for this week so that I can rest. There is a song "sometimes He calms the storm"...(in the middle it says) "peace be still". That was my experience even in Emerg. As things were getting scary we got results that that the nodules are shrinking!!! The chemo is working! God is bigger. Keep praying. We covet your prayers. Keep believing.

Love Kristin and Shawn

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Random Act of Kindness

As my Mom and my niece were waiting in the lounge for Keri & I to come give them a ride home from the hospital last night a patient sitting in the lounge asked my niece what kind of animals she liked. She told him puppies so he asked if he could draw her a puppy. She was thrilled with this as she loves to draw herself. After he had done up the sketch my Mom asked him to put a ‘M’ for Her name and Mommy in the dog tag. While he was doing this I said to Her "His kindness sure helped turn a bad day into a good day." The man said “oh you’re having a bad day M?” When she said yes he told her that he had a ‘happy pill’. He said she had to promise NOT to put it in her mouth and that he had gotten in trouble for giving these to kids (as he looked around for the security guard – he had quite the act!) He reached into a little bottle and held a pinch of these happy pills over her hand and made her promise again NOT to put them in her mouth and advised her that they would work instantly. He proceeded to drop a handful of little red hearts into her hand. She had the biggest smile on her face and he exclaimed “see I told you they work instantly”! So very special!!

Moral of the story, share your talents and your heart! A few kind words to a stranger can be such a blessing during good and bad times!

When M left Kristin’s bedside both Mommy and M were in tears. It was wonderful to text a picture that put a smile on Kristin's face before she went to sleep for the night too. I’m pretty sure her brothers and Grandpa waiting at home also had a smile on their face when they heard the story!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Resting

Kristin is resting comfortably in her room. Yesterday was a very critical day. Very unexpected and surreal. Things are stable at the moment but still very serious. Please continue to lift her up in your prayers for complete healing and complete peace.
Thank you for the love and prayers you have already poured out on our family, if we could thank each of you personally we would.

Please note that she is not able to have visitors at this time.




Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday

Serious complications. Blood clot near jugular. Please pray.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Me again... curls

I loved the fancy hair but it just never feels like me when it is straight. Love the cut a lot! Went to the Northview garage sale, home to make breakfast sandwiches, napped, hairs did, going out w a friend. Nice! Doing meds differently and thankful for no day 5 heartburn pain this far. So grateful!!!

See how lovely and pinkish my face and chest are? That's a side effect of the chemo, it adds a nice glow I think... like sun kissed. Balances out the ├╝ber pale of other parts of days. [smile] Sadly, my belly and legs are gonna have to wait to summer. I had already declared this the year of the bikini pre-surgery. A wise woman told me one of her big regrets was not wearing a bikini later/ longer in life... more summers. I decided to follow her advice and just do it. Well, now the shark bite might just distract from any other non modelesque bits. Win! Come on summer!!!

Mega mugga love

Check out this gargantuan tea mug! This gift came filled with love... And pre-chemo I could never have lifted it empty (barely) or full. God is working, folks... My glass is fully full and I am able to lift it with my right hand/ arm/ shoulder and drink without dripping or dropping or frustration!!! Still rebuilding muscle on that side but wow, such a reminder of what God is doing and that He is at work healing and restoring me! Thank you, Lord. I stand in awe of You.


Jesus Calling [excerpt]

Seek My Face more and more. You are really just beginning your journey of intimacy with Me. It is not an easy road, but it is a delightful and privileged way: a treasure hunt. I am the Treasure, and the Glory of My Presence glistens and shimmers along the way. Hardships are part of the journey too. I mete them out ever so carefully, in just the right dosage, with a tenderness you can hardly imagine. Do not recoil from afflictions, since they are among My most favored gifts. Trust Me and don’t be afraid, for I am your Strength and Song.

My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek.
—Psalm 27:8

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
—2 Corinthians 4:7

“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.”
- Isaiah 12:12

Kristin: "I mete them out ever so carefully...with a tenderness you can hardly imagine...". How beautiful. How careful and planned and gentle is our Lord. His eye is on the sparrow, I know He watches me. And I know He watches over my husband and our children. Thank you, Lord, for your love.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Cycle 2: Week1, Day4, 8pm



Today.  A good day.  Woke up at 5am, took meds.  Slept well through the night, thank you for all the prayers that made that happen!  Missed kissing the kids out the door but sleep is sometimes equally valued.  Took the 4th day of meds as per my oncologist.  His words, "Well, studies only show for 3 days, but it can't hurt to take the 4th day to help the heartburn pain."  Fine by me!  [smile]  Slept til 10am, ready out the door to do errands with my amazing Mom doing the driving.  Have the shakes and quite weak from the chemo, this is typical and quite expected.  Made for slow trips in and out of shops for meds, banking, a replacement Mag1c Bu11et (hooray!), hair cut (thanks Lilee, love it!), even C0stc0!  My Mom is the best companion, helper, sherpa, cheerleader, support... like times 1billion.   Could not do cancer without her. Without my husband and kids.  Without our extended family.  Without all of you.  Honestly.  The thought of doing this without all the ALL THE help, blows my mind.  So grateful.

So... here's the new hairdo.  And the new dress that I ordered just cuz I liked it and it was a steal!  [smile]  And... oi, trying to figure out what size this new Kristin is.  Sharkbite has altered my belly in a hilarious way... and I am not really a clothes shopper, so sizing always eludes me anyway.  The whole thing about clothes makes me laugh!  Even my undergarments are suddenly wrong.  Hilarious.  Regardless, I love the dress and it's a sort of t-shirt-y material that is super comfy.  Score!   It's 8pm, I ate dinner and am feeling good and not heartburn-ish... thank you Lord!  So grateful for meds.  For medical staff, for a team that cares so much about me.   Thank you Lord for bringing this all together, for smiles even on super weird days... I'm just glad to feel like me.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Cycle 2: Week 1, Day 3 10pm






Hello World.
Today was a weird day.  I was tired and draggy and bored all at once.  And all I could think of was this, "If you're bored you must be getting better!"  [smile]  I like the sound of that.  This second cycle of chemo was expected to be a little harder than the last.  But, as I like to be open to the awesome, I was hoping to have the three days of good-meds-energy-surge from last cycle.  Not so.  Ah well.  I didn't sleep well last night, which didn't help the morning.  And I didn't have my smoothies because my beloved Mag1c Bu11et busticated.  Bummer.  Tomorrow, high priority is a new Bu11et! 

And I was bored.  And lonely.  But I did accomplish two things... I showered and I sorted through a pile of papers off the counter... some of those papers were dated 2008!  Um, ya.  So, feeling pretty darn accomplished today and that's good.  I don't like just floating through the days.

Also, yesterday was 12 weeks post-op!  Wow.  Where did that go?  I was here.  We have established a fair routine that allows for multiple points of contact between me and the kids (my goal for sure!), and the house hasn't fallen apart.  We have you all to thank about that!  The meals, the driving, the help with laundry and tidying and projects are absolutely invaluable.  How on earth do people do life without a village of prayer warriors and action-takers?   We are grateful beyond belief.  Thank you.

Tomorrow is haircut day for me... look at that shaggy mop.  I'm going to add some long layers, nothing drastic, but a little pick me up for the changes chemo has made to my hair... finer, more fly-away-ish. 

Having the heartburn pain again tonight... perhaps I will stop eating dinner all together for the first 5 or 6 days after chemo.  It seems to be worse in the evenings, I definitely don't like it.  I've topped up all the meds I can for tonight so am hoping the last pill will be the one to take the pain away away!  I appreciate the prayers.

As for 12 weeks post-op, here's where things are at:
- the big sharkbite scar is still angry and red with little dots from the staples
- my belly button is off centre by a solid inch or so
- the muscles around the sharkbite are definitely still tight and sore, and depending on the wasteband of my pants, the entire side tends to go numb
- I have a weird kink in the 4th toe (beside the pinky toe) on my left foot, that's been there since the epidural wore off
- the top of my left thigh is less numb, but if you stabbed me with a pen, it wouldn't hurt as much as anywhere else on me... weird
- my right kidney is functioning well and we are super grateful for that... let's keep praying health for that little engine... she's doing a great job adjusting and staying strong!!!

As my energy increases post-op, the chemo is dragging me down.  This crossing of lines on the chart in my head is okay.  It's sort of a balance, right? 

I'm glad to feel not so dog-tired as last night.  I love that we have prayers together in the living room each night.  I love the text contact I have with my family.  I love the love that you keep pouring out on us...unexpected and appreciated all the more because I know how busy each of you are in your lives!  Thank you.

Please pray for our kids extra.  Some of them are more affected by "Is it chemo today?"  And the post-chemo days with the meds and draggy Mommy.  We speak openly, age-appropriately, I ask them privately where they are at, if they have any questions... I think we are parenting wisely and carefully, but it is what it is... and parents die from cancer.  That's a lot for adults, let alone young children, to comprehend and find peace about.  Please hold our kids up extra.  I covet those prayers.  Thank you.

Goodnight... may we all have restful sleep tonight!!!
Kristin


Cycle 2: Week 1, Day 3

Slept poorly last night with nausea and heartburn creeping in and out of my sleep. Taking it easy today, I see lots of tv and naps in this day. [smile]. Finally remembered the emergency meds for nausea at 5:00 a.m. That helped! Yay!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Leap.






This speaks to me tonight.  I'm glad to know that my leap was orchestrated long, long ago by the Creator of all.  God, you are awesome.

Tonight:  The painful heartburn is just at the edge of manageable.  Curious to see how tonight unfolds.  I am dog-tired but the pain of the indigestion was so scary last time... Lord, please bring Your peace and a pain-free week.

Cycle 2: Week 1, Day 2, 8pm






Had a lovely day with Mom and Keri and Kori.  Yummy lunch at Olive Garden.  Shopped our way through Old Navy.   Found a new spring-y wardrobe, much needed as I am down 3 or 4 sizes and have a lack of clothing that isn't swimming on me.  Plus, score, found so many cute things on super clearance, hooray!  Don't you find that sometimes you go through and there is not an item you would wear, and sometimes... jackpot!  Was a great day.  And it tuckered me out.  I came home and slept hard for two hours, and woke up feeling the chemo.  My throat is sore, my eyes are sore, I ate five bites of dinner and have the start of the indigestion (hate!).  So... not sure what to do about the 9am appointment tomorrow... but tomorrow is a new day and I will sleep well tonight I'm sure of it! 

Cycle 2: Week 1, Day 2

Super best silver lining of chemo: Day 2 lunch w Keri and Kori and Mom and Dad! Today we added shopping into the mix, so Dad opted out. As I sit and watch the girls play dress-up on Kori, probably he's glad he skipped this one! lol



Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Cycle 2: week 1, day 1

Chemo went well today. Accessing the port, even with a solid hour of the emla (skin numbing cream) was a sharp-ish stab with a dull-thumb tack-into-cork board feel. Gweebie. My hemoglobin was 110 which was down from 126 but still above the minimum of 80. The super nice nurse went back and looked up my numbers and said that they showed that my whites bounce back nicely, let's pray it so! Once the port was accessed (meaning the needle was in and the tubing good to be hooked up to the IV) the nurse was able to draw blood right away, no clots, no problems. Perfect! Thanking God for the quick and easy hook up today!!!

Because I didn't need the one hour of clot buster, chemo was a quick two hours! The only rough patch was my rib cage. The chemo chairs are a consistent problem for my body to sit in... I'm too short and get crunched into the chair and then my back hurts. So lame. The nurse kindly persuaded me to take some pain meds which helped the wicked toothache that has developed from an unfinished root canal (my follow up appointment was right when I was diagnosed and having surgery and going to the dentist is a huge no-no when on chemo because of the risk of infection) but didn't help the rib pain. Lame. Next week we will try laying me back and propping me around with pillows. The nurses always have lots of good ideas, we'll sort the seating out yet!

I came home super tired, from the meds or the chemo I don't know. Hoping to sleep it off tonight and feel energy for the next few days as I did last cycle before the tired fighting days kick in! [smile]. I have lunch plans tomorrow... a chemo tradition!

Thank you for the love and prayers. Trusting that God is already using the chemo for good and for killing every cancer cell in this body. Amen! Trusting healing and safety as my body does its miraculous body-works thing and regenerates new, healthy cells. The body is an amazing thing, really, amazing!!!

Hope your day was lovely and that you had sunshine... Either blue skies or happiness or both!

Kristin

And we are good to go!

No blood clotty medicine needed today! Yay! Hydration started and chemo has been ordered... this makes our total
Chemo time shorter. Nice!

The people over in chairs 3 and 4 are having a party... I think mom is considering abandoning me for the fun folks!

Cycle 2: Week 1, Day 1






Well, I'm certainly not "fearless", that's for sure.  But I certainly fear less because I know that God is bigger, that He has a plan, and that there is miracles in the chemo and the medical intervention.  I trust that God has brought my medical team to this place at this time for my needs and I believe that He will heal me.  Amen!!!

Today we start Cycle 2 (week 1: chemo, week 2: chemo, week 3, off).  I am glad to get the chemo in so that we can get the cancer out.  I am hesitant about the side effects and how the whole healing process drags me to a full-stop with days where I can barely get from my bed to the couch and have me living in a haze of not-present-in-my-own-life and moments where I can only just get my eyes to look over to the kids when they come tell me they love me.  It's heart-hurtful to me, and weird for them.  But, this is part of the cancer adventure... and next year we will look back on this and know we are darn strong for the work done now. 

The last four days have been busy and full and with a strong touch of 'normal' on them.  It has been lovely and I feel ready to hunker down again and let my body do what it needs to do.  Please, keep praying... for the chemo to work easily, quickly, gently.  Pray that my body will recoup fast, that my white counts will stay high, that the meds will take care of the nausea and the killer heartburn of last cycle, that my family will have patience and quiet and that their hearts will remain soft through this process.  Pray germ-free for all six of us, for my caregivers, for our friends and classmates.  And most of all, please pray for peace.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven: cheeky

 

I know it's a bit cheeky, but this song sums up how I feel... and how I feel about chemo.  I do not want to die.  I want to live to be 101 years old, eat my cake and fall asleep watching my favourite tv show.  I know that God is bigger.  I know that He has a plan for my life and I am in no way disrespectful of that.  God has a plan and I don't presume to know it, but I know that He put the desires in my heart and He and I talked and I told Him I'm going to fight to live a long and full life yet.  And God smiled, because He loves me.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sunday Morning: church home

Today we made it to church and it felt great. 

Shawn and I have purposed church attendance and made it a core family value for the past many years. We have a child with high needs who does not tolerate the noise and commotion of a church congregation and, so, many a Sunday it would have been waaaaaay easier to just give up and stay home.  It has been a chore, a struggle, an exhaustion, a joy, a feat, an accomplishment as we have hustled and cajoled and fought for the routine on a Sunday basis.  But, we persisted and now have four children who understand that church attendance is a core value and something our family chooses to do together.  Yay!!!

Staying home the past many weeks to avoid the germs of children's church and of the many people coming and going and coughing in the service has been strange.  And lonely.  And disconnectedness-ing.  I don't like it.

Being where we are in the chemo cycle, it was safe to go today and I felt strong... so we went.  And it was a whole different range of emotions.  Wow.  I think I went through them all in that hour and a half time span.  Seriously.  

I felt 'normal'... not really an emotion, but I'm redefining it as such because "normal" just means so very much to me these days.  I felt happy... and at home... and where I belong... and connected... and seen... and not missing from life... and present... and in God's house... and sad that I was so happy to be there... and jealous for our life before cancer... and hopeful for our life in remission... and hopeful that remission will be sooner than later... and then afraid of the opposite... and proud of my parents for getting us to Sunday School and to church all those years... and grateful for the foundation of Bible truths that were laid over me/in me/ on my heart/ in my mind my whole life... and super grateful that those truths, laid then, buoy me now... and overwhelmed by how many things I felt sitting in church... and heart-full for the kindness of friends who came over to say hi... and achey-arm-ed that I couldn't hug them... and bashful about the "sorry... germ-free zone!!!!" as I leaned away from their offerings of hugs and handshakes and human contact... and relieved that they totally didn't mind and were happy to oblige if that meant keeping me safe/healthy/successful in beating this cancer... and pleased-as-punch to be part of such an amazing group of people... and just plain happy to have a church home that loves us so much... and heart-warmed in the knowing that there are so many people who truly-love-and-care for us... and wishful that I can ever begin to repay the love and kindness... and scared that I will never be able to repay as my heart wants to repay... and overcome with the need to just bawl my eyes out at God's love for me... and a deep heart-desire for every single person and blog-friend and acquaintance I know to have a church home and foundation of faith that I have... and wonder at how all these things could dance around my heart and mind and soul all the while singing and praising and listening to the words and music and message of this morning's sermon.  [deep breath]

I came to the van exhausted... in that punch-drunk-happy sort of way that just feels... goofy and good.

And I just smile and shake my head and all I can say is this: God is good.  All the time.

And now tonight, after an impromptu awesome lunch with Kori and Roger at their house... and then Keri stopped in for a visit which was bonus... and after a relaxed afternoon watching the SuperBowl HalfTime Show (do people actually watch the game?)... I am now working a little harder than I like to not panic and fret about the CT scan tomorrow.  I don't want to go.  I just don't.  It is way easier to just chug along and know that God is doing His thing than to have to navigate the medical necessities.  And I have to drink the dye.  And my tummy is so sensitive since chemo that I'm afraid of feeling icky.  And I can't eat after midnight... and I am queasy and shaky in the mornings and tend to need to eat right away... and then there will be an IV... and labwork as is the routine the day before chemo.  And I am sick of needles.  And the hospital.  The Cancer Agency I like... it is peaceful and kind and quiet and sanitized there.  The hospital moves at a different pace, and there is the general public, and all those "3,359 people have touched this door" which freaks me out... it's a lot of emotional work to just get myself in the hospital doors.  Sigh.  

It's 7pm... the paper said "after dinner"... technically that could mean 8:00 or 9:00... right?!   Sure...  Can we rewind?  I'd really like to go back and do this morning and this afternoon... now I am nervous and a bit snippy at the kids... not snippy out loud really, just emotionally... ready for them to stop talking and kibbutzing (fooling around)... and, you know... just my nerves.  Really, I'm glad they are in my space, like puppies... I like that.  I love them.  It's funny to have watched them lined up on the couch with iPods, iPhone, iPad today... a rare and special treat for them... a funny social story for me.

Rambling.  I do that a lot.  You are such good listeners and my brain and my heart are full tonight.

Chemo is Tuesday at 11:00.  I am sort of excited-nervous.  I don't mind going to chemo.  The nurses are so nice, the space is fairly peaceful.  I tune out the other patients, I'm somewhat anti-social to whatever goes on outside of my little cubicle...if it didn't seem rude I would pull my curtains shut and wear noise cancelling headphones.  My Mom likes to people-watch... so the curtains open is my gift to her... plus then she provides these little commentaries that crack me up.  It's win-win.  I love my Mom.  I am so grateful that she can and will and does come with me.  I feel relaxed with her there.  She is an amazing caregiver and I am absolutely blessed by her observing and serving way.  And, she's my Mommy.  And I super-need her.

And I'm feeling... trepidation... about cycle 2.  The chemo teach workshop thing told us that chemo is somewhat cumulative.  That the second chemo is a little more... more to work through... than the first chemo. That the third is a little more... and so on.  Each time you start off maybe a little less strong or well or something.   I'm not naive.  That makes sense to me.  I also believe that for every stat there is a worst case and best case scenario... and I am fully expecting to be a best case scenario... someone needs to be, gets to be... and I say "Me!"  Plus, with you all praying and asking, and God hearing and answering... I know it will all be as it should.  And I have peace in that.  And I am grateful for the good meds.  And I am thankful that "your kind of cancer responds well to chemo" and I rest in the fact that God is bigger.

So many thoughts, so many emotions.  I really do spend most days in a sort of skimming-the-surface and keeping the thinking and emotions balanced or at bay.  There is a phrase "peace that passes understanding" that speaks of the kind of Peace God gives that just plain makes no sense.   And that has always been my experience of God and I am so grateful that He is faithful and I accept that peace.

My specific prayer request today is this:
- that the dye won't upset my tummy, that the CT scan will be a smooth process
- that the CT Scan will show GOOD NEWS and SUCCESSFUL WORK by the chemo
- that I won't be a scaredy-cat... that I won't be afraid... that I won't feel panic... that I won't have fear
- that the chemo will be a smooth process, that the side effects will be manageable, that I will not have the killer heartburn this time
- that the cancer is shrinking to GONE!  In Jesus' Name I pray for a full and complete and miraculous delivery from all cancer in this body and now. 
- that our family will be immune to all germs and that I will be extra-protected, too
- that my white counts will stay high and strong and healthy, that my body will be strong
- peace for me, for Shawn, for the kids, for my parents and siblings and in-laws and extended family and friends and all of you who are holding us in your hearts

Sincerely, thank you.
Kristin

Jesus Calling [excerpt]

I am with you and for you. You face nothing alone—nothing! When you feel anxious, know that you are focusing on the visible world and leaving Me out of the picture. The remedy is simple: Fix your eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen. Verbalize your trust in Me, the Living One who sees you always. I will get you safely through this day and all your days. But you can find Me only in the present. Each day is a precious gift from My Father. How ridiculous to grasp for future gifts when today’s is set before you! Receive today’s gift gratefully, unwrapping it tenderly and delving into its depths. As you savor this gift, you find Me.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Feeling the feelings

Tears today. Had a good sleep. Woke up peacefully. Laying in bed the memory of emotion of telling my parents came over me. Sad. Sorry. Heartbroken to think of them sitting roadside in the beauty of their Hawaiian vacation. Tears silently flowing.
Made waffles for breakfast. Thankful to feel up to making breakfast. No one ate it. Ah well. Felt good to be up to it. Kids dawdling to the bus. Husband off to work. Me sitting here with tears. Emotions and upcoming CT scan.
Kori and the big kids and I are spending the day out. Looking forward to time spent. There is a lot of pressure on time when you don't know how you might feel each day with the chemo cycle. Glad I'm a live-in-the-moment person but wow is it harder some moments than others.
Today is the day that You have made, Lord. I do rejoice and am glad in it.

Update: Had a great day today.  Kori, my three nieces, my son and I headed to IKEA for the day!  It was fun to just wander through the showroom and dream a little and listen to the teenagers laughing hysterically... and I had the greatest laugh I have had in a really long time!  Thanks niece K for the laugh at your expense...   Didn't have a nap for the second day in a row and now I'm pooped.  Again, tired from a good day.