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, May 30, 2013

Hummingbird!

I just had a hummingbird in my hanging baskets!!!  I have ALWAYS WANTED A HUMMINGBIRD and have NEVER seen one up close!!!  I did a report on Bolivia when I was in grade 6, and I remember hummingbirds being part of that, and I still have the report.  One time a hummingbird wizzed past my head.  But THIS hummingbird, whom I have named Clancy, stayed at my hanging basket for a really really really long time, and I could even see the white line on his cheek and the white feathers at the tip of his tail!  And then he went to the happy-dancing-solar-sunflower and was tricked about it not being a real flower so came back to the purple hanging clumpy flowers on my basket and stayed so close for so long and THEN flew up into the Maple Tree and perched and pecked and twitched his tail for a long time until he flew to the neighbours' house and now it is raining hard so I hope he is safe and dry and will come back!!!!!!!   Oh, the rain stopped.  Come back, Clancy, come back!!!!  That was amazing.  Really amazing!  Next time I ... HE'S BACK!!!!!

A new day.



Today is a new day.  I woke up, no tears, just got up (yes, slow but moving!) and came down to kiss and cuddle the kids.  Hanging out, glad it isn't raining, wishing the cottonwood trees would stop making allergy fluff, resting and smiling to myself.   The above quote really sums up this situation... 'you won't even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over'.  Yep.  So, it's learning this new reality.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Mornings.

[sigh]
Mornings seem to be the hardest for me these days.
My body is slow to wake.  My mind is not.  No good comes from laying in bed waiting.
I pray.  I rest.  I think.  Thinking leads to heart-full, heart-full leads to joy-tears, joy-tears lead to fears of leaving.
I'm not afraid of being dead.  Dead means I will be in Heaven with God.  Leaving makes me sad.  Suffering or hurting or however a person can die of cancer makes me nervous that I couldn't be brave enough to get through without traumatizing my husband and kids and family.  These are the thoughts that come to me in the mornings while my body wakes.  Will I ever bounce out of bed, carefree, again?  I trust so.  Right now it is rolling memories, rolling thoughts, rolling emotions, praying, and a lot of 'get thee behind me Satan, you shall not prevail' and asking God for help.  Literally, I say, "Help."  I don't know how else to get through those moments without a full-on panic.  Sometimes the panic is building, boiling up, my heart cries, "HELP" or whimpers, "help" or begs, "heeehlp" and help comes.  God is good.  We need only ask and trust and believe and know and just trust.  Trust.
My Summer Manifesto {want to do} list builds and then I emotionally push it away.  For months I haven't been able to make a meal for my family, literally can't stand long enough to make mac&cheese.  Don't want to make promises I can't keep... to the kids, nor to me.  Trying to figure out balance between realistic and disappointment.  Pushing away the fears of 'the big disappointment' which would be CT results I don't like.  I just want to go forth in joy and bliss.  Bliss.  Bliss is that state of pure happiness and just carefree weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!   I want that.  I know we will have that.  I'm working really hard on clinging to that.
Is this how the athletes feel after the 0lympics... so... now what?  I'm sure this emotional upheaval is part of everything I didn't have time to sort through during chemo, I know that my physically depleted body is so very connected to dragging down my clear-thinking and my emotions, I know that this is part of the process.  Rest, just rest.  That's what God has whispered. 
I'm reading lots of snippets of Isaiah.  I like that book of the Bible.  There is lots of good cheer in there.  When I set upon certain verses I can just feel God smiling, His love coming through His Words, sunshine on my back.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

This moment

 My Faceb00k post right now:
The urge to get in a car and drive is HIGH today... too bad I have not a vehicle, nor the ability to drive, nor the energy to actually act... okay, who's in for kidnapping for me said roadtrip?!?!? :-) Miss Independent I am not. ROFL I crack myself up today! ... so tomorrow... tomorrow I'm totally going to get in a car and drive... well... in my mind. But in real... SO SOON!!!! CHEMO IS DONE!!!!!!! So many happy tears and so many happy-relieved, rest-in-this-moment-don't-get-ahead-of-yourself-but-sure-throw-caution-to-the-wind-and-just-celebrate-it moments where I can't even cry it happily out. That's this moment.

Isaiah 55:12-13 [The Voice translation]

Feeling like I have turned a corner. Still too weak to stand upright, still not stamina to stand long enough to pour cereal and milk without shaking and falling to the chair, but feeling hopeful and feeling like strength will return. Have had two happy-cries where gratitude just overwhelmed me and its only 9:30am! Today is the day The Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it. Here's a verse that God laid out for me this morning... I am really enjoying this translation and use it with the NIV Bible just cuz I'm a word-y nerd and love seeing how a changed vocabulary can impact me differently or shift open perspective or bring a new thought! May your day be full of wonder and may you see reasons to celebrate with joy in this day!!!! mwah!


Monday, May 27, 2013

Hard days

This past weekend was really hard.  Chemo sick and a toothache that was unbearable.  On medication to stave off an infection.  Mentally drained.  Having trouble finding the positive.  Just got to get through.  Appreciate the prayers.  I need help.  Today is a new day.  Tomorrow should be a stronger one still.  Yay.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Toothache

Struggling with major tooth pain again. On medication. Appreciate your prayers. Can't go to the dentist for a few weeks yet due to chemo and because I'm on blood thinners.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Bald spot







Cycle 6: Week 2, Day 5

Lost.
I'm floating on a sea with no current, no wind.  Just floating.  Not too ill, not too tired, chemo rolling through.  But chemo is done, behind me for now.  So am a cured? Healthy? Survivor? Remission? Nope.  None of those.  This is the waiting.  And my brain keeps wanting to race forward, drag my shakey-legs and no-energy self to get stuff done.  Move forward.  What's next.  Don't know.  God keeps saying "Rest. Just rest."  So I'm trying.  Working on the discipline of rest.  Rest is an action.  You have to do it.  Like anything else, it takes practice.  I'm ready to get off the couch, in my mind.  Body isn't there yet.  I feel lost.

Today the little  boys are going to grandma's.  The other four of us are going to find something to do around the house and then maybe something out of the house for fun.  We need some fun around here.  Probably that plan will turn into 'wasting the day away because I have no energy to follow-thru' which quickly turns to tears.  It's how chemo weekends go.

The goal for today is to drink (nothing appeals) and to eat protein (gets the body recouperating), rest.  Seems do-able. [weak smile]

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Right now

Queasy but manageable. Hungry but not. Thirsty but everything makes me choke. TV on. Yoga pants on. Smile on. Wish my hubby was here.

Cycle 6: Week 2: Day 3

This was my view last night: lots of options of drinks, some uneaten food. Having pretty icky nausea on and off in the day and evening. Felt pretty ick when I woke up in the night but was able to sleep it off. Praying for a more settled tummy today. Feel okay energy-wise but feel like if I move too much or too fast the nausea might come back. So amazed and thankful to have made it to cycle 5 (last cycle) without any queasy, that was one of my big concerns when I found out I would need chemo. I don't like to vomit... Like even thinking about it makes me feel panic! God is good, medicine is good, I am grateful to have made it so far (to cycle 6!!) without nausea!!! Please pray a gentle weekend for me, today is the last day of "the big meds". Did I tell you that my hemoglobin counts jumped 32 points this week!!!! Awesome!!! The blood transfusion did a good thing for my body, the nurses were very pleased with my improved colour, "and your lips aren't white!" LOL I was happy to have energy and to be able to walk in my house without being totally out of breath! I still have moment of awe and amazement over that! Very grateful!!!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Celebration time

Without cake it's just a meeting, not a celebration, right Keri??? Well we are celebrating!!!!! Thanks for taking me out, girls!!!



Reflection: randoms in the early hours when a 6 yrs old climbs into your bed and you don't fall back asleep


loss
innocence.  I have always known death was there, cancer in me has opened my eyes to seeing death lurking in the shadows, I feel marked somehow, like in a fantasy novel.  Get behind me Satan, you shall not prevail because Jesus never fails. [huge smile on my face] God’s peace shines so brightly, filling the shadows, Satan cowers and shrinks back.  God’s peace is so good.  Thank you, Lord.
gain
my parents and my sisters.  I told them first.  Kori then Keri then Shawn then Dad and Mom.  In that instant of speaking it, “I have cancer” something changed, in that instant I was given a gift of physical and emotional closeness which I have wanted my whole life.  I don’t know how I will let them acclimatize back into their own lives and stop hoarding their time and their texts and their physical closeness, I don’t want to. 
God
is bigger.
missed
C o k e.
craved
sandwiches.  Q u i z n o s,  S u b w a y, S a f e w a y deli… mmmm, couldn’t stop thinking of sandwiches and ate a lot of them!
vision
blurred.  I could feel the chemo sinking in, murkying my vision, making my eyes seem dim for the first few days each time.
colour
colours are not as bright, not gone, I see them there, but the emotional exhaustion makes even the bright blond hair of our youngest seem less bright. 
fast
everything seems to move so fast.  cars, kids, conversation, even time on slow days kept marching past.
clothes
yoga pants.  I now own a few pairs.  who knew?
jellybeans
crave them. can’t keep them in the house. thankful for the ones from Miranda for Mother’s Day. shared about half a handful with only two kids. the jellybeans are mine!!!
smoothies
so grateful for my M a g i c B u l l e t blender.  smoothies with the mixed berries from N e u f e l d s and some protein powder kept me nourished and kept me from constipation (a huge chemo problem for many people).  thank you to Mom and Shawn and the kids for the many apple juice + ice slushies you made me to keep me hydrated.
sleep
I hate to miss stuff, but sleep also takes away the pain or the scary or the muddled brain.  was so grateful that sleep wasn’t hard to find.
port
love-hate.  that thing was a huge blessing and a scary reality.  watched a lot of hot towels wrapped around a lot of brave patient arms.  saw a lot of curtains closed a really long time as loving nurses tried to coax and cajole retreating veins to work. watched a lot of chemo patients go home without their chemo because the nurse couldn’t get a vein.  was so grateful for the port when it worked.  was so tense the times it took several tries and rolling around and lifting my arms and turning my head and hanging my arms and then stopping to send a quick text for prayers and then God answering in that instant and the port working!!!!  will likely not forget the nerves of the day I went for the port insertion surgery.  will likely not forget laying in emergency and Dr. W telling me I likely wouldn’t live through the clotting.  will not forget the peace that came over me as I interrupted him, his hand on my arm, to pray for my husband and my kids, my family.  knowing my parents and sisters were standing over me.  feeling Shawn standing there, feeling God’s peace.  “Oh dear,” I said my mind not worried, my heart so sad for these dear ones standing over me watching this, witnessing this, knowing how very sad they were, knowing that my kids would be okay. complete peace.  still so grateful that God spared my life, that God brought me to the exact right doctor in that moment, that God guided and directed the emergency room that night, for the nurse that held my hand for the tests because I didn’t want to be alone.  being asked what I wanted as my end of life planning, “I don’t want to die.”  I will never forget.  I don’t want to.  I am grateful and the experience is added to my perspective.
apples
I crave them but am scared of them.  I look forward to enjoying apples again with all their crunchy yummy juiciness.  especially pink lady and honeycrisp varieties. never red delicious or golden delicious.
water
gives me indigestion
back deck
we have a walk-out backyard.  Shawn and I have spent so many hours sitting on that back deck, me wrapped in blankets, some days it is all I can do to step over that ½ inch sill to get outside, I love that time with him, side by side on the deck, like little old people, we have aged in spirit a little but we have also grown in depth of relationship.
backyard
watching the kids play hockey or basketball or make forts or jump on the trampoline, or plant in the dirt, or pull each other like draft horses on a contraption of rope and tobaggan through the grass: priceless.  and our yard is little, think of all the fun a patch of grass can be!
computer time
the kids have had too much.  can’t wait to be more present here and get the electronic babysitters ‘off duty’.
veggies
I miss raw veggies. salad has made me pukey and raw veggies make me choke.  so counter-intuitive to eat less veggies when you know that chemo has stripped your body to depleted.  knowing God is bigger and there will be a time for renewal when chemo is done.
wandering
I miss wandering the mall with a friend, or popping in and out of shops just for the social and the fun and the inspiration of seeing all the pretty things.
eating
food is a fickle friend, necessary for sustenance, takes energy to make it, takes mental energy to eat it when you just don’t feel like it or if you are queasy or if you know it will make you sick.  I feel like I have lost social graces around eating.  getting to the table, shoveling food in my mouth like an animal at the trough, hard to keep up with the busy and conversation around the table, just want to crawl back to the couch. 
conversation
feeling like I have thoughts to contribute but it’s so much energy to make my mouth move, to get the thoughts out, to contribute, feel like a conversational dud.  like to listen to people, to the kids, to hear their stories, hard to focus, everything looks grey and sounds muffled and is received on a soft-squishy thinker.  I want to listen stronger, think clearer, process faster, contribute smarter. 
takethemameal
this website, my friend Diane for coordinating it: a gift.  I really don’t know how we would have managed without the hundreds of meals that have been delivered by friends and acquaintances and kind strangers.  blessings to you all.  honestly, I have been so weak, so scattered, so unable, so grumpy-that-i-can’t-feed-my-family.  was hard to get accustomed to the help but I was grateful every single time.  Shawn was grateful for the help, he has worked full time through this all and getting home to dinner already thought up and served: a huge gift.  thank you so much.  deeply.
toilet paper
best random gift at the door.
veggie tray
or fruit tray.  also amazing gift delivered to the door.  what we didn’t eat for dinner became quick fixings when daddy made school lunches.
two boxes
two huge boxes of serving bowls and bakeware and serving dishes that have accumulated from all the meals that came.  it makes me smile.
meal sharing
loved the nights that mom & dad stayed for dinner, or carl & wiffy stayed for dinner, or I could send a portion of dinner home with dad knowing that mom had been with me all day and dad had just been at the pool watching Miranda for the past hour and a half and now they wouldn’t have to come up with dinner, too.  loved that your meal blessings let me also bless those around me, let me feel like less of a taker-all-the-time.
treats
Keri and Kori texting “want anything” and then it appearing.  I am spoiled.
hospital time
we are so very blessed to have an amazing, new hospital and cancer agency right here in town.
medical staff
we have been incredibly blessed with kind and caring nurses, intelligent and kind doctors, excellent imaging technicians who care beyond just getting the test done.  we have experienced such compassion and kindness and high levels of care across the board.  Abbots fo rd Re gio n a l Ho sp it al has been amazing.  we are so grateful.
blog
not sure how this will continue to progress. keeping an open mind. so grateful to the 84,000+ views we have had.  feels like hugs and care and I know it means prayers.  God has listened to us ask and He has answered. thank you for being such a huge part of this journey.  I look forward to seeing where we go from here.  look forward with not fear but curiousity.  I wish I could hug you each.  I am so grateful.
peace
God freely gives.  I plan to continually cultivate asking and receiving that peace as my first action.
reading
I miss books.  because my eyes have been blurry I haven’t read at all in these past months.  that’s okay.  but I do miss reading.  I love having the kids read to me, though.  having a six years old reading to me: priceless.  I am enjoying The V o i c e Bible translation quite a lot these past two weeks, little snippets here and there, I like the format and for cross-referencing The Bible or Jesus Ca l l ing.
hope
God’s hope is an anchor.  I plan to continually cultivate an attitude of hopeful expectation.  God is bigger.  I love that.
kids
I love my kids.  I look forward to us jumping in the car and getting out for ice cream or for a treat this summer.  I missed that the most.  being home so much, laying on the couch, weak but using my last ounce of energy for a smile or a hug to them: priceless.




































































Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Celebration treat

THIS has been my craving as my reward for my last chemo: a slushie. Simple pleasures! Thanks Kyle and Miranda for doing a slushie run for Mommy! I know you are very happy we are done!!!!

We did it!!!

Resting in being done. Trusting God. Relaxing into this moment and allowing the smiles, the tears, the surprise of "we made it!", the hope and joy that are swirling in amongst the evening and the exhaustion. Still gotta get through chemo week, but feeling content.

And look at these lovely celebration flowers from Keri and Kori! Thanks sisters! We did it!!!



Done

The final beeper beeped. The final chemo drops are done. I am holding in the tears of relief. We made it!!!!!

Cycle 6: Week 2, Day 1


I woke up with a song of praise on my lips.  Just feeling content, calm, neutral, nothing, okay.  As the morning has progressed and as my little ones stumbled their warm-from-bed-snuggly selves down for their morning kisses and cuddles and hugs, the tears have jumped to my eyes: "we almost made it".  Our eldest son has been counting days to this and he seems lighter today, lifted up, so very expectant of what God has done and so very glad to have weathered the last six cycles.  What a lot of ... everything has been heaped on the children.  On all of us.  God is bigger.  My prayer has been that God would guard their hearts, these precious children-hearts, and we see that He has.  That has been my heart-cry and God has been so very faithful to guard these children: He loves them even more than we do.  Amazing.  Grateful.  [happy exhaule]   We still need to get through this week, and whatever that looks like, but we are almost "there".  I still don't know what exactly I am feeling, so very many things that I don't want to actually speak about it or share about it or talk about it or think about it too closely... but I do feel hope perculating, burble-ing up, breaking forth as a smile on my face even as the tears of wonder and wow and nerves and everything else randomly stream down my cheeks and neck and across the port that tried to help and kill me.  I am feeling very present in this moment.  I am not, in this minute anyway, looking forward or borrowing worries or thinking.  I am just here, now, and letting the emotions and the moment wash up and out and over me.  I know that there are many people praying me through this day, I thank you.  I know that many of you are praying my husband and our family through this, and my parents and my sisters and in-laws are covered in your prayers and I thank you.  God gives peace and He brings hope and joy and I am grateful.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Make plans, yes, but hold them loosely.

This is what came to mind this evening while we were praying.

May Long Weekend Monday: picnic



Today is a lovely day.   Mom and Dad put together a wienie roast and ice cream social for us at a local playground.  The weather is lovely, the company was great, the kids had fun, I didn't even cry once, though I will admit the tears threatened because that's what happens when my heart is just content.  I cry.  Tears flow.  It's how I do.  [shrug]

Tomorrow is Cycle 6: Week 2: my last chemo in these cycles.  I have a thousand thoughts and emotions, most of which are fear and worry and wondering and fear and panic and wonder and then all the talking-myself-out-of-panic that accompanies all that.   The verses and sayings and thoughts that God keeps bringing me are this: live in this moment, celebrate this moment, focus on Me in this moment, just be here, right now.  And that is what I'm trying to remember to do.  Man but that's tough.  Why the heck is that so hard to do?  I mean, I'm the kind of girl who makes grocery lists and forgets them at home.  I'm the friend that you call last minute and I'll drop everything to come hang with you.  It's me, the one who is always up for the quick-help, jump in with both feet just cuz I want to see you that much, in the moment-y girl.   And yet... to be in the non-panic moments and just revel in peace... oooooh, Satan is working hard to keep me out of that zone.  I spend a lot of thoughts on reciting and reminding myself of the Bible verses and wisdom and good talk/positivie thoughts mindset.  Sometimes the panic hits, and the anti-panic thoughts are thrown onto the panic and sort of swoosh up like gas on flames... and then quickly a Sunday School song from my childhood, or an old hymn from church services long, long ago will quickly fill the gap and sort of just float me into peace.  People, be bringing your kids to church, make Sunday School a part of your routine, I just can't tell you enough how many times "I'm so glad Mom and Dad took us to church / Sunday School / Youth Group" have come to my mind through these cancer-y months.  So so so many.  So many.  Those moments along my childhood have totally been my life jacket in this.  Please, honestly, huge.  Those truths, hide them in your hearts.  God is good, His Word is good, I am grateful.  Honestly.  Often I find the song "You might as well get thee behind my, Satan, you shall not prevail, because Jesus never fails" swelling and flowing through my mind... kind of fake-it-til-you-make-it when the panic hits and I'm scrambling to get through it/ past it/ above it... and the words, they settle me, the truth, it is my life line.  God is bigger.  He is here.  He is mighty to save me even from my own crazy thoughts.  I am grateful.

And today.  Sitting at the park with my family, my parents, my extended family, my sisters and brothers-in-law and nieces and nephews.  Sitting on the deck these past few days, just really concentrating on being IN the moment of sunshine and smiles and really listening and really focused on what it before me... priceless.  A lesson I know that God has been trying to focus me on, get my attention on for a few years now.  A busy-ness that comes partly with having pre-school aged children, four children, children's activities, starting a career, pushing through university, life, marriage, house, chores, blah blah blah.  All that stuff.  Not bad stuff, not unimportant stuff, but... I'm working on listening and being IN the moment now.  This is a season for learning, listening, gleaning, wisening up. hearing, being present. 

Tomorrow is our last chemo.  I have a thousand thoughts and emotions.  What I am concentrating my energy on is God's peace, freely given for me to receive.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

May long weekend "camping"

Getting lots of use of our back deck! Feels like camping to sit there in the overcast weather, wrapped in a blanket! Pretty much like real camping in British Columbia! LOL. I love it. And I love watching the kids showing off their skills and dances and little routines they have invented just for me. I love that!!! This weekend isn't as hard as many chemo weekends have been, I am so grateful for that!

Sleep

Slept a few big naps yesterday and then slept 8pm til 7am this morning. I don't feel the worst, weak and queasy but more like a crappy flu w achey skin. Not the worst so I'm thankful!

Nope, not like the flu. I tried. The flu doesn't cause me to cry, to think sad thoughts, bring fear as I fall into uncomfortable slumber. I did get a good power- sleep in though. That felt good! Woke up to Shawn and the kids enjoying sushi. My sushi guy moved, the new sushi guy just isn't as good. Sadness.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Chemo

My skin hurts. My neck and upper shoulders. Sore. Stiff.

Today.






This speaks to me today.
Feeling not too too bad today.  Definitely slower, definitely off, but hoping it stays about this manageable level for today.  I know that God can heal me, I fully trust that He can... this poster, shared by a friend on Faceb00k, is the stronger claim that I need these days to shift my perspective.  I want want want want want to be healed.  I never know how quite to balance my wantings with wanting to be in God's will... and that middle ground of hoping His will and mine are the same.  You know? 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Kidney Surgeon: follow-up

Had my follow up with the kidney surgeon today. He was pleased with the progress, surprised that he hadn't seen me in the meantime which is good I think. He said he's not worried about me or my bladder but going to keep an eye on it (my type of cancer can affect bladder). He took an extra step in my surgery to remove potential problem parts and I thanked him. Felt like a good visit. Very positive.

Kori came with me today and felt very positive. I am mostly just neutral at these appointments now. I hate going to any appointment, the potential stress scares me, makes one more thing for me to push off. I am glad that Kori felt it was good, I was glad to have her there.

Came home and felt quite tired this later afternoon. Had a two hours nap, woke up feeling still tired. Chemo tired kicking in. Hoping for a gentle weekend. Thankful that my kidney surgeon feels positive about my progress, that is good news. I just don't feel so much emotionally, I am nauseas, have hunger but little appetite, am thirsty but not interested in drinking, am tired though not too foggy-headed.

Today was a lower day and slower moving, but a good day. Thank you, Lord, for this good surgeon and his skill and good, positive outlook. I am grateful!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A good day

What a difference 24 hrs can make for the better! When the kids got home from school and asked, "What's for snack?" I was able to stand up, walk to the kitchen and get them a snack! (Thanks to the friend who dropped off muffins yesterday!). The kids all exclaimed, "Wow, you're so tall!" It had been THAT LONG since they have seen me standing fully upright, let alone off the couch and walking at an almost normal pace!!! What a funny and joyful surprise! Tonight when the local church delivered bread, manna from heaven for so many months, I was able to STAND AND CHAT, rather than sit on the stairs (on a good day) for a moment of visit. And talk, without gasping for air!!! What a difference a day makes!!! I am so grateful for the medical miracle that is a transfusion of fresh blood in! So thankful for such improvement! I did feel sleepy today and had a huge afternoon nap, but clear-headed and feeling stronger wow! So blessed!!!!



Feeling joyous

This was yesterday as mom and I watched the last drops drip into me. I didn't want to waste one bit of that precious blood so I was twirling the IV tube to make sure all the red got moved down the line! And then, I started being silly. [smile]

Post-transfusion and feeling fine!






Good Morning!
Wow, feeling no shortness of breath in my house at all!  Haven't walked a marathon or tried to run laps, but walked from my bed to bathroom to downstairs to the kitchen to get cereal and milk and to the table with no troubles at all!!!   Miraculous!  Praising God for sure!!!!  It has been a long week and longer since I could do all that without collapsing into a chair or onto the couch!  Wow!  So awesmoe!!!  Thank you Lord!

I fell asleep on the couch at 7:00pm last night, at 8:00pm made it up to bed to watch Am Idol with Miranda (it's been our thing and I love having a weekly scheduled time with her!), and I fell asleep for the night... I loved knowing she was just there with me, she could have watched it downstairs on the better tv, but she chose me.  Isn't that what we all want?  To be chosen?  Yes!  God chose us all long, long ago.  Very awesome!  You, me, us, chosen.  I love that!  Ramble.  [smile]

Am still feeling weak, and that is to be expected as it takes up to three days for that new blood to carry oxygen to all my organs and get all my 2000 parts nourished.  Oh, and the heartburn.  Yesterday was a heartburn-y day and then I pushed it with dinner and paid for it all night.  I slept well, but each time I woke up the burn was so incredible I was wimpering.  Shawn kept me medicated but nothing really cut it to gone.  Ugh.  Took it easy for breakfast, back to R1ce Krsp!es for this Momma today.   Gonna let my gut rest, gonna try and drink lots because it's good for my hemoglobin to perk itself up by me keeping hydrated, and gonna rest cuz that's what everyone has ordered!  [smile]

I am just so ... tickled pink... to feel no shortness of breath!  What a huge blessing in this day!

May your day be great!
Kristin




[Source: The lovely pillow was found on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/listing/151358439/hand-stitched-spring-summer-pillow?utm_campaign=Share&share_id=5675144&utm_medium=PageTools&hmac=71901994aa48f241e38e5b2484d828e7781904c1&utm_source=Pinterest]

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Blood transfused

We did it! And I already am feeling the goodness! I walked from Mom's car in front of the house, up the driveway and into the house and to the kitchen without shortness of breath at all!!! Seriously!!!!! Haven't been able to get barely to the front door and then had to sit on the bench and rest before unlocking the door! No joke!

Here's the first bag of blood, rolling down the line and into my port!  Can I tell you how thrilled I was that they were able to use my port rather than fighting to find an IV?!?!  Pretty thrilled, indeed!  When my blood arrived I clapped and cheered, "Hooray!"  When I asked the nurse if everyone cheers about their blood she looked at me like a was a little crazy and said, "Nope."  Oh.  Well, I thought it was pretty awesome! 


The second pint of blood came with a love note from my friend Ingrid!  I love knowing that she bagged and prayed over my incoming blood!!  Thanks Ingrid!


This is the "cleaning out the line" after a pint of blood goes in.  Because each pint has to be called for and then sent up to General Day Care, a little bag of saline (or two in my case) were run to get every last drop of blood into me and to keep the lining running til the next blood arrived.  It was quite fascinating to watch!


And here's the home stretch.  The last bag of saline running, that's why the blood is watery looking in this photo... it's the last dregs diluted.  A fairly long day, we arrived at 10am and were outta there at 5:25.  Over the next six hours I am to watch for fever, chills, rash, hives... please pray we have no side effects!   The nurse also advised that I will be very tired tonight and tomorrow and that it takes about three days for the blood to get all the way through all my organs and get everything good and oxygenated again.  So... dancing on Friday!   Mom is hoping that because the weekends post-chemo are usually super tired, but because the new blood will kick in about then, that maybe this weekend will be smoother sailing!  Her lips to God's ears, right?!?!  Right!!!


Feeling pretty good.  Shawn and I just went for a walk and made it right out of the cul de sac and halfway to the end of the subdivision!  That's huge!  I don't want to push it too much, but I also feel like someone who has been sitting / laying for two days and my legs and shoulders are exhausted.  I needed to move a little!  [smile]   And now... to move to the couch cuz this Momma is feeling sleepy.  Come on, bedtime!!

Public Service Announcement:  Did you know that British Columbia doesn't donate enough blood for our own needs?  In fact, the blood for the guy a few chairs over was probably brought in from out of province because his particular blood type is one of the harder-to-match ones and less-people-donate-it ones!!!   So... if you have blood, and I know that you do, please consider donating a few times a year to the Red Cross Blood Donor Clinics!  Blood, it's in you to give!   And, as a twice recipient now, I thank you for the gift of health!!!

Thank you to all who have been praying me through this day!  We appreciate that a lot!!!!
Kristin

I vant to suck yore blood!

Well, not really. But I thought it would be funny to be reading Twilight (vampire story) or Bram Stoker's Dracula today!

The blood doesn't go through an IV pump machine so we are relying on gravity for flow... And gravity ain't moving so fast over here! We may be here for--evah!

I'm feeling a little itchy at my port but am so glad they could access my port for the blood rather than fighting to find an IV vein!!! Just tired so I keep dozing off. Indigestion from breakfast today and they don't feed you here! Good thing I brought some snacks... and mom's got her apple!

That's the update.

Chemo + Blood Transfusion Days

Chemo hit hard yesterday.  Whew!  The lovely Nurses suspect it was because my hemoglobin is pretty low for this body to be taking in chemo.  Everyone is happy for me to get blood today. 

The "hit hard" felt like a slow blurring of my eyes (which has happened before) and then me sinking into grey and a weird brain-pressure, then the room getting a bit more grey and tears springing to my eyes in a moment of sheer body exhaustion and then a flick of panic-y "oh crap, what's THIS new side effect" and then my eyes not staying open but my mind not falling to sleep.  My body was shaking so bad, three or four warmed blankets seemed to help with that.  My Nurse checked my blood pressure which was fairly high, and then I sort of just gave up trying to open my eyes and let my body do its thing for the next thirty minutes.  And then I could open my eyes and by the time we were done chemo I was pretty steady on my feet and was able to walk to the car.   Thank you, Mom, for staying with me at home, and helping get the kids settled in after school.  The apple sure helped perk me up... yes, you are onto something with that apple-at-the-ready thing though I'm still not quite ready to eat purse-apple yet!  [wink]

I ended up not napping after school, which is dumb, I know, but I just like to be awake and present and able to listen to the kids come in the door.  The chattering and rushing in and dropping backpacks where they shouldn't and stumbling through the door like calves through a shoot, it makes me happy.  I hate to miss it and there are enough days where missing it can't be helped.

Today is blood transfusion day.  I'll admit to having about 3 or 5 seconds of "I should have asked her this" and "I hope there aren't any hiccups" but those passed quickly.   I am still just amused that shortness of breath can be fixed by taking in some fresh/extra blood.  And I am so grateful for the 8 people who donated so that I can received this medical miracle!   Did you know that it takes 4 people donating to make 1 little bag of blood?!?!   Truth.   Thank you to my friends who have been inspired by my story and the story of others' needs and have started being Red Cross Blood Donor Clinic Donors!   Blood, it's in you to give!  [smile]   What I find neat is that when I was in grade 5 to maybe 8 or 9, my Mom was a Red Cross Phoning Lady.  Prior to each Blood Donor Clinic Mom would get a huge pile of spreadsheets with the names and phone numbers of Donors and she would call to remind them up the where and when of the upcoming clinic.  I was super thrilled when Mom, knowing how much I love to talk and to be on the phone and to meet new people, let me do some of her calling!   And now to think that the phone calls Mom and I did then are part of the stepping stones God lined up in my life in order for me to receive blood today... awesome!   I love how God lines stuff up and we just wander along not knowing... and then you just see it and you KNOW that God was already loving you through THIS way back THEN!  God is bigger.  It's just super-cool!

So, today I go in at 10:00 breathing like a tired, old soul.... and this evening I'll come out all perked up and ready to walk miles!  [Roll On Floor LAUGHING]   Well, it takes about three days to really kick in, but that doesn't matter.  I am trusting that all will go smoothly, that there will be no side effects or weird detours and I rest in knowing that God's got this.  

Thank you for your prayers... it's going to be a looooooong day!   Thankful for Mom coming with me, for Grandma E. taking care of the kids after school, and for my Dad for taking the 3/4 kids to swimming.   It takes a village and I am super-greatful for every single one of you who are my village!

May your day be great!  
Kristin

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.



Thank you all for supporting my family. It is a huge blessing to me to know that my parents and sisters and husband and kids and in-laws are being covered in your many many many faithful prayers. I am good-overwhelmed by the love you are pouring over us. I am just stunned-thankful-giddy by the sheer volume of love and prayers. Really, huge-smiling, shaking-my-head, heart-happy-humbled. Thank you, sincerely. Thank you.
Kristin

Cycle 6: Week 1, Day 1


Good Morning Friends!

I am feeling very neutral, rested, at peace today.  I slept so well and woke up gently to the sounds of kids getting their day started...  K with the quiet 'good-bye, love you' and click of the door as he leaves, B was singing in the bathroom, C with his stumble-to-the-bathroom-and-pee routine, and M with her standing-in-the-middle-of-her-room-contemplating-what-to-wear and what-hairstyle-for-today.  Thankful for Wiffy (Shawn's Mom) who came to get the kids to the bus as Daddy had early meetings today... my amazing husband has been juggling so much, please pray stamina and rest and peace and joy and blessings over his days.

Today is the beginning of cycle 6, the final cycle of this round of chemo.  The reaction of most people is 'hooray, you're done!' and I am glad for their joy on our behalf.  For me, from cycle 4 when my oncologist shared that my cancer has a high recurrence rate, it's been a hard mental exercise to balance focusing in this moment with not being afraid to look forward.  I would think this typical of many cancer patients, the 'palliative' part of my file (remember, you are either curative or palliative in the cancer agency) makes it a big part of the mental work I do each day to keep my focus on God's promises, my fears (Satan trying to distract me), and the emotions of all of that in check.  As with all things emotional (how much I love my kids and how quickly that flows as tears from an happy-full heart) or scary (I really don't want to leave these people ever never) or fearful worrying (struggling to breathe, intense pain, long-suffering) about the future... the balancing is sometimes less successful than other times.  For the most part, the hard-sad-overwhelming parts have been really a lot less than they could have/should have been and I fully thank God for His peace poured out over me and my family.  Thank you for your prayers for that peace, God has been faithful in answering.

And so, I begin cycle 6.  Today is a good day.  I feel well even though my hemoglobin is low.  And I think it pretty amusing that tomorrow I will get fresh blood and that'll just perk up this shortness of breath thing.  How cool is that, really?!!  Medical intervention and technology: such a gift from God.  What an amazing and awe inspiring thing the human body is, and God did that.  So cool!  How awesome is His imagination!  

I look not forward to the potentially hard days that the next three weeks may bring.  I don't need to remind myself of the exhaustion, the inability to walk from couch to bathroom and back, the desire to eat but the disinterest in putting food in my mouth, the thirst that wants no drink, the dull ache across my shoulders as the chemo settles there and gets trapped under my skin (that's what it feels like to me), the aching teeth, the weakness... oh, how I hate the physical weakness that looses all hold I may have on my emotions and makes it so very hard to not drift into the pit of despair and fear and death.  I actually don't feel much else but peace today, in this moment.  I feel joy that I get my chemo today.  I feel excitement that I will walk in with a smile on my face and the chemo nurse will hassle me that "she wouldn't tell us even if she felt horrible" (which totally isn't true, I can whine as good as anybody and I never keep symptoms a secret).  I feel anticipation.  I feel 'in this moment'.  Today is a good day.

God is bigger.

May your day be great!!!!
Kristin


Note: I drink tea rather, but it's still funny...hope it makes you smile:





Monday, May 13, 2013

Another detour

Today's blood work shows that my hemoglobin numbers are very low. Hemoglobin is what takes oxygen throughout your body. These low counts are why I am having such shortness of breath and headaches. Who'da thunk those things were related?! I'm learning lots on this journey! Yesterday my needle broke off from the syringe as I took the safety lid off... So I got to play pharmacist and transfer meds from syringe to syringe. Always a party over here!

Anyway, because my numbers were so low my oncologist has suggested a blood transfusion. If I choose not to have the transfusion then I would have to delay chemo for one week. Chemo likes to stay on schedule so I have chosen the transfusion. There is always risk, please pray for no risks and good blood for me!

I will have chemo tomorrow and then the transfusion on Wednesday. The transfusion will take 6-8 hours in hospital. I am a little curious about how my body (physical exhaustion am shortness of breath and headache) will handle taking chemo and that 18 hours pre-transfusion and the days until the fresh blood kicks in.

I'm not too worried overall, I think I'm learning to just roll with it when something comes up. But, it is another detour and it is another procedure and it will require the dreaded IV. Ugh. Having lab work twice in one day meant my good vein was accessed twice and only worked the first time. Oi. So extra pokes and digging to get blood. Blech.

Please do keep praying for us, for me, for strength, for stamina, for success, for recovery, for cured. The transfusion takes about three days to kick in... so maybe we'll be going dancing this Friday might! [wink]

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Blessed to be a mother



























Look at these four kids!  God has blessed me as mommy to these four humans.  I am daily amazed, stunned even, to be entrusted with these children.  To get to love and cry and hug and laugh and pray and praise and yell and scold and train and trust and hope and dream over Kyle, Miranda, Braden and Connor is my greatest heart-filling joy.  Thank you, Lord, for giving me the opportunity to be mother over these children.  Lord, please bless and keep them, let them always know and feel that they are loved, guard their hearts, open their minds to what you want them to learn and protect them from the things they need not know.  Thank you for loving them even more than I do.  Amen.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Hooray for the weekend!!!

It's Mother's Day weekend, and I'm feeling fine!  Hooray!

With physical strength (still slow, slow, slow and shakey BUT stronger than the day before and I'll take it and celebrate it!) somewhat returned my brain is reeling with things I want to do around the house, with the kids, with Shawn, around "Mother's Day", and just in general.   And then... I want to just do nothing but whisk Shawn and the kids into the van and GO GO GO GO GO away from here!!

Anywhere.  Anywhere doing anything.  Just. Not. Here. Today.

Like, here are things that flit through my head:
- go for a drive to the dairy and get ice cream
- go for a drive across the line
- go in search of our favourite toy store and buy them something fun... I love treating my kids to stuff (new Lego, new books, new accessories for M)
- head to the lake and watch them dig and build and play
- go on an impromptu vacation / overnight somewhere ... wouldn't they freak when we got to a hotel and there was a pool!
- a Mommy-and-one-kid time out alone... times 4
- a Shawn-and-Kristin outing to recharge and just be together
- soft serve ice cream
- wandering around that lake that I never remember the name of but it's on the north side of the river
- scrapbook all the love that keep pouring out of my heart... want to get it into pages and with printed photos
- camping
- fish and chips at the beach
- DRIVE DRIVE DRIVE DRIVE DRIVE AWAY FROM HERE

As you can see, my list is pretty simple... I just feel so very [big happiness] to feel good today and now tears are starting.  I cry more happy tears than anything.   I love my husband and my kids and the family and friends around me intensely.   And it feels so good to feel good today.

Other thoughts flitting through my mind:
- I want to burn my couch, never want to sit on that sucker again!
- I want to repaint this entire house, I am so sick of these walls!
- I wish I was brave enough to just chuck the myriad of papers that are piled everywhere.
- The house will wait. LOL

May you feel loved and see your blessings and may your day give you joy in some way!
Kristin