Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Do your insides really make you who you are?

I am proud to say that after 24 weeks- chemo is over.  I am a rare breed.  I gained weight not lost.  My hair is already coming back (completely gray).  I did not have to take too many days of from work.  I really think I only slept through maybe 10 of those due to illness.  It really is a God thing.  now, on to the next steps and they are coming soon.
On Thursday, I will undergo a salpingoophorectomy- now that is quite the word for ovary and tube removal.  how bout that for hormone therapy- let's just not have any of the hormone that is killing you.  This is kind- of scary I am now loosing all things female.  Much like chemo- there are benefits- girls think about it.  I am not scared of the surgery, but I am the results.  Will it change the delicate balance inside?  I guess we will know in a few days.  Are you ready for a funny story-
Today, I had to go in to have my radiation fitting, get tattooed (to bad I could not have some nice work some covered by insurance) and set up my schedule.  While having the laser lining up (looks like a cat scan) I had a hot flash, not a little oh I am a little warm hot flash.   It is more like, a steam room in the middle of the desert and it happens in 3 seconds.  Never mind you that I am lying motionless on a steel table in the radiation department of the hospital, where the temperature is never more that a cool 65 degrees. So sweat is dripping down my face and the small amount of hair I have is completely soaked, when the doctor and tech walked back in the room, they were clearly taken back.  The doctor quickly asked if I was ok to which I responded that my inner child was playing with matches (thank you Carol Smith), your air conditioning system is making her long for summer.  He did not know what to do- the tech however broke out in the biggest laugh.  She took the towel that was on my stomach and started fanning me, still laughing.  The doc, finally got it and giggled a little.
Well, even though I can laugh I am a little nervous for this one, because it makes everything so final.  I can have new tatas constructed or added but I can't get new ovaries and it clearly marks the end of well- childbearing.  Is nurturing going to disappear too?  Still, I trust all my doctors and they really do know what's best.
Bumps:  nerves, nerves and anxiousness and people who gossip in the name of "I am concerned for you"

battles:  Trying to balance work, family and healing myself.

blessings:  pink shirt Wednesday, pink flamingos, all who were part of the winter park flamingo and donated in my name, white bean chili, parents showing up to their shifts for football and those who do more, baseball oh how I miss you, really good class chemistry in every class, rain, prayers, letters of prayer and friendship in the mail.  Heather I absolutely love you!

No verse or song tonight- going to bed- sorry

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

new day, new drugs

     I am sitting on my front porch watching my dog and cat act like they don't like each other.  The frogs are croaking, birds are singing their last good-nights and crickets are ..well crickets are just annoying.  I really don't care that in some cultures they are good luck.  They are just another nuisance to those of us with insomnia.  The temperature is really nice but, it is eerily very still. The fact that my pets are staying close to the door makes me think a big storm is on the way.  My senses are really on tonight, I am listening to the drum core at the local high school (about 1/2 mile away) practicing.  The sound is disturbed by a motorcycle going by at top speed. You know the ones, little man big fast bike, speeding past you at 100 miles an hour in a residential zone, thinking that death surely could not catch him.  Funny thing I have noticed.  You always seem to be behind them at the next red light.  I always wonder- is that really worth it or even necessary?  I will take the deep thunder rolls of a Harley anytime. I digress, I can smell honeysuckle and gardenia (two of my favorites), and it has rained so much here that everything is deep green.  It is peaceful on my front porch.  While I live in the city- I don't ...very weird.  If you have been to my house- you understand.
     Oh my goodness, I was getting ready to get into a really deep tie to how this is how our relationship with God is on many times and a hawk, a REALLY BIG ONE, landed 15 feet from me on the walkway (rope beside it).  Impressive!  We have a family of hawks I guess that patrol our yard, between the cat and the hawks, very little rodent activity. phew...
Alright, let's go back to the serene setting I had discussed prior to being startled by my flying friend.  So, I always think it interesting that while we say we like things to be peaceful and non dramatic we surround ourselves with drama.  And then we carry on in a way that would suggest things are 'fine".   We get distracted, we look for the nuisances, we point fingers and we make ourselves busy doing things that have little value.  Maybe I am on hyper, super think, over analyze mode but, the learning curve of valuable life lessons has been magnified by 1000 because of breast cancer.  So let me give you the same first paragragh in human form
    I walk through my day pretty lonely, just doing the things that you do.  Others around me, are doing the same thing, just rote, mundane activity, except for that person that I believe earnestly that God put them on the earth just to remind me to be kind..patient (no matter how annoying they are).  I am comfortable but something inexplicably is unsettling.  I am breathing probably a little faster than I should.  I have to remind myself to breath deeper and more slowly.  Then something jolting happens to get my attention and remind me that I have been created for more than "mundane" .  I am pretty darn special and to say that is not prideful or boastful.  I am made in the image of God, indwelled by the Holy spirit, and alive in Christ. That is special, just need the jolt to remind me.

Bumps:  I got my feeling hurt this week a couple of times, and my self- esteem was (is) shaky.  I know that part of this is little journey and it is compounded by some of the drugs I have to take. So the two don't mix.

Battles:  a new family of drugs has been added to my regimen. I have lost sensation in my fingertips and toes (not the big one- so bizarre), so bring on more steroids and some type or nero-something, bring the total to 15 pills 2X's a day.  I am experiencing Pavlov's response to them,  my body knows that while they solve one problem, they create another and it is difficult to swallow two of them in particular.

We are back at school and I so needed the energy that my students give me.  They are fantastically awesome---all of them!
My own personal nurse at MD Anderson.  I seriously have my nurses home telephone number and she has mine.
I got Steven's senior pictures- Richmond Gibbs did a fantastic job.
John and I thoroughly enjoyed Sunday's sermon and spent lunch discussing it- brilliant young man he is.
I am 40 plus years old and I am finally learning how to apply make-up (no  lower-eyelashes and a very thin left eyebrow will do that to you).
Mint ice cream and cherries but never together.
Football sesason- kind-off happy Steven decided to play- it will be a nice change of pace.
Baseball Season- again for John- loving his development
Godly coaches- one can never express how awesome it is to have Godly men invest in your boys!

I am blessed.

Song of the day:

Verse that helped me through today:
Jeremiah 29:12 (i always liked this one better)
When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I'll listen. 


Tuesday, August 14, 2012


It occurs to me that this year is going to go down as one of those "big moment" years.  Over the past few days I have been intent on just getting through the days which is good since the things that are changing are big and I mean BIG things.

School has started.  I really love my job and I love all my students (even though they think that sometimes I don't); I really can't think of a better job.  The problem is- I am beat.  Chemo has taken everything out of me.  I really did not realize how weak I am until now.  All of those side effects that I have been able to ignore all summer, I can't avoid now.  I really don't like not being 100% energy- all the time in the classroom.  The other issues are passing right before me and I am just watching them pass.  I have called these things a problem twice and let's be real- they are not.

All my kids, they know I love them- I will give them 100 percent of me, even if it is less of my 100% before cancer.  It is not any less of me.  The other thing is I have a senior and all that goes along with that.  The pictures, the transcripts, the colleges, the scholarship and my boy is "grown".  Again, not a problem, I have raised him, I am proud of him (really proud of him) and he is ready.  I am really kind of excited to see where God will take him.

So now I am going to let you in on a secret.  I am a little compulsive and I like to know that I have some control in situations.  I prayed last year that God would show me that He is ultimately in control.  And boy did he ever.  He took everything.  He made me see that He is in control of my health.  He picked the right doctors and treatment, He is in control of my job, I struggled to finish last year and He rewarded me by giving me probably the best schedule I have had in years.  He is in control of my strength, always providing me with just enough but never more.  He is charge of my emotions, which lets be honest; with the removal of hormones- those can be tricky.  And even in the midst of having nothing I have everything.  The rat race of "college aplication", everyone trying to out do everyone else to get to the biggest and best college seems very insignificant.  The right door at the right time, God is in the midst waiting for our complete dependance on Him.  So for today-  I will be faithful to show my own children as well as all of those who have been intrusted to me that  God is in charge!  My life is a reflection of that for I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and His works are wonderful.

Here is to God being in charge till the end of this season.

Bumps:  1 more chemo session and 6 weeks of radiation
Battles:  cumalitave chemo- it is now wearing this poor girl down
Blessings:  The number of parents who pray for their teachers!  The number of students who pray for their teachers!  The number of smiles I have seen in the last two days of kids who are earnestly happy to see you.  Teachers who invest.   Administrators who are compassionate.  Praying people move me!

I love you all
Now go read  Psalms 139-  and claim who you are in Christ!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Little achievements

So I have been doing a little thinking lately.  It has been 5 months since my first surgery, 3 months (roughly) since the second emergency surgery, 4 chemo sessions, too many doctors appointments to count and I am not half way done yet.  Surgery, well that is hard on the body. Having a constant open incision is not fun and chemo, well it sucks but I am not discouraged.  Everyday God gives me the exact amount of strength that I need to get just the things that need to get done.  I can feel, my body get weaker and it is OK because He has not failed me. Today, I got up and tried a new recipe (which I will not be replicating but I will be changing), cooked dinner (chili on spaghetti squash), went to church and heard a great message, lunch out provided by the Johnston family, mowed, went to Sam's and my day is complete.  I would call that a full day.  See, it would be easy to just crawl into bed and be miserable but, God gives me just enough to get the "normal" stuff to get done. 
I want things to remain as constant as I can for my boys.  Heck, who am I kidding, I want things to remain as normal as possible for me.  And that is exactly, what I get from God everyday.  It is so comforting to know that He is constant. 
Well, this may be disjointed today but the sermon was really good today. Not, over preachy.  You know the deep theological "why God let's bad things happen" that we have heard after tragedies happen.  Nope, today's sermon was so incredibly simple.  Did it address that- absolutely. It came down to this.  God, does not need for evil disappear to be glorified.  He will use the tragedies to be glorified through us.  We may not be able to change the big picture but we can change the big picture for the person next to us.  Essentially, do what you can for one and plant the seed.  That is what I am resting on at this point.  I don't have a lot to give but I can still do something for someone.  Right now, it is a season for planting.  Digging in, studying and doing only what I can.  I may never see the fruit of my growth but, I know that seeds will be sown and He will be glorified.
 I have read that last paragraph over and over again and I can't seem to get the wording right.  But, I hope the sentiment has come across.  Be Christ to the person next to you.  Whether you are young, old, sick or healthy- don't go out to change the world- change the person next to you by showing them Christ in you.

Bumps:  Well the nasty metal mouth and constant nausea is no fun.  My nails are pealing off like onions and the hot flashes.  Having my own personal summers is kind of funny.  I am constantly asking my family, am I hot or is it hot.

Battles:  I ready for my incision to be healed.  It is almost there but everything slows down due to chemo.  Even bug bits take three times as long to heal but having the constant reminder of an open chest is just frustrating.

Blessings: The precise amount of energy for the task that need to be done. A fighting spirit, it is in my nature to fight, to not give up and to be resolved.  I have witnessed many in my chemo pods that have given up, it is sad, but that is not in my nature. SEEDS- black and pink anime hair seeds.  The realization that seeds are my job and joy right now.  Friends that continue to pray.  Students who continue to pray. My boys-I could not do this with out them.  As corny as it sounds- the food network.  It has become my little haven.  Doug,  I can't say enough about his silent strength.  Over the last week he has driven over 1000 miles to make sure family comes first.  I love that about him.  He sacrifices so much for all of us.    We had a very special family give Steven something we could not have given him.  SO BLESSED!  

Song of the day:

This is the story of Esther.  For all my non Spanish speaking friends.  It speaks of knowing your purpose in Christ.  

I am a part of His eternal plan.

Verse of the day" 
10 Each of you has been blessed with one of God’s many wonderful gifts to be used in the service of others. So use your gift well.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Not a moment spent

As I sit in my sterile chair, I watch.
     Today I get to be in a pod room.  I like them much better.  There are four people in my pod, along with a nurse (Stephanie), a tech that comes by every few minutes or so to make sure we are all comfortable, and of course the extras (spouses and friend who come to be companions) and I love pods.  They are busy.  Much like an ant farm. Everyone moves quickly with purpose.  Those of us being infused- are like the queen.  We just sit and based on our needs everyone scrambles.  Stephanie, is constantly, checking, changing medications (I alone have 9 that must be changed in one infusion), running to get those, imputing into the computer, calling our physicians and answering our questions.  The techs, bring us drinks, snacks, blankets, pillows,chat and run errands for Stephanie because she can't do it all.  Today, Yolanda, was helping me with creole phrases- I am feeling a need to go to Haiti when this is over.  And the extras, love us and their presence alone (for some) is soothing. I particularly like to watch the ones that bicker at each other.  Even though most of them just watch us nap.  At about 10 O'clock the chaplains and counselors start to come by and at 10:30 the cookie lady makes her stops.  She gets here at 6AM makes the cookies and comes up to deliver.  She is a volunteer (actually there are 5 of them), but they are all retired survivors that want to make this day easier for us.  Impressive right, I know.  They have local artist that come in an do the same thing- something to make the time go by and I can attest that is relieves stress (in my case due to boredom).  Then I look through the glass window and see this exact thing happening in 8 different pods and 20 private rooms.  So incredibly effective.  It is amazing how incredible it is to see how efficiently things run when everyone knows their role and does them.
     I am aware of the fact the behind the picture may not be so rosy.  The scheduling nurse needs to make sure shifts are covered and that can't be easy and no not everyone can have the 4th of July off, but not once, have I seen any visible evidence of that on the floor.  In my book, that is efficient management.  Everyone has a role.  Wouldn't it be nice if life played out like that, in our homes, in our jobs and especially in our churches?
     Three of my friends commented today of facebook about joyfulness.  Whether it be the lack of or the presence of, that sense of joyfulness  is something we all strive to have. This is when I am reminded the being joyful does not necessarily mean happy and smiley all the time.  It is the feeling of contentment. It is half full instead of half empty.  I personally can only find this when my relationship with Christ is where it should be.  I find it when I check my "engine light" (see previous post) and know that I am walking rightly with God.  It is that relationship that says TRUST ME- I am faithful, I am true, I am with you always and you are important to me.  Life is hard, sometimes for a long time but knowing that my mechanic feels that way gives me contentment.  The joy of the Lord is my strength. 

Bumps:  The trip back for Fort Myers was difficult.  Let's just say that my car was very cold and I had lots of coffee.  Then the unfairness of it- Doug gets to see the good games with beautiful sunny days while I sat for two days in the rain, and rain delays.  I must say though that the rain delay against the team from Michigan was very entertaining.  We had human jousting, hunting, bowling, rowing and project runway walks. 

Battles:  The length of treatment  is wearing on me.  And I am feeling a little anxious about starting school.  Not because I have academic stuff to do, but because the first three weeks of the school year are always hectic and I will have my last two treatments in those weeks.  It makes me nervous.  One day at a time right?

Blessings:  More students visits.  I got to finally see Steven play and he was so very kind to ride out to the beach with me one afternoon, just to see the sunset.  I know he was tired and did not really want to go but, he did with a great attitude.  I am blessed to have great kids.  I have friends that pray.  And, I am so blessed to know that I am content! 

For those of you following and praying to ask you to add a few to your list.  A student of mine is having some extensive testing today to try to figure out why she is having seizures.  And Master's Academy has a mission trip heading to Costa Rica today.

Thank you all for reading to my banter

bon dieu beni


Monday, July 16, 2012

Well, I am at a baseball tournament. I am grateful that it is early because it is going to be a hot one today. We have two games today and we also get to see Nolan Gannon today play some rookie ball. It is going to be a good day. but, let's talk about yesterday. we had a three hour drive with maybe 100 words spoken. we had. A brief conversation about a huge confederate flag that was waving. I will refrain from anything negative. if I want to put up a huge cross in my yard, that means you have the right to put up your confederate flag. the baseball game was in the sun, hot, humid raining weather. Yeah! I am still realizing that really nothing changes in baseball. the boys just get older, the equipment gets more expensive,the mamas in the stands [generally complaining], and the dad are generally antisocial pacing. I think it is kind of funny. it is elite travelball. Our opinions don't matter nor do stas sometimes. most kids play one game sit the next, regardless. No it is not fair, not even good coaching in my eyes, but it is what it is. you guys know me- if there is a W and an L column I am aiming for the W colum. i am competitive but we all know that these organizations are not about that- somehow the almighty dollar has taken over. The necessary evil's of today's sport. I feel quilty sometimes. I feel like I(like many other parents) are doing nothing more than pimping their kids talent out to the highest bidder. The sad part is that because ther is so much pressure, the love of the game gets lost. Alright, that was my "complaint session since my kid is on the bench with a .417 batting average,an OBP of .600+ and top 5 on the team in RBI's. On to the cancer thing. Wigs are hot, stinking hot. So are scarves and bandanas. this afternoon I may be bald. Men have it easy. Perhaps, I will spot the bald look for women this afternoon. In the OMGosh category, High heat and chemo- not a good mix. I really do like to soak up the sun, but like a lizard. once I get my vitamin D supply, air conditioners are good, very good. So on the way to the game today, I was listening the the radio and they were joking about how many of us drive around town with our check engine light on. it made me think about how many of us walk through life with our "check yourself" light on. Meaning, we know there are things we need to address, but we are OK so we keep going without seeing a mechanic. as a Christian, I am blessed that my mechanic works 24/7 and sent me a specialist to live in me to remind me to "check myself" regularly. I know I have ignored that check engine signal in my car and it has been an something as insignificant as a gas cap off or as serious a oil issues. that is what the Holy Spirit does for us, He reminds us to pay attention. Bumps: The smell of bacon sent my nausea sensor of. god does have a sense of humor. first coffee now bacon, really. Battles: heat and hot flashes Blessings: I GET TO WATCH SOME BASEBALL. See you soon

Saturday, July 14, 2012

I am back

Yes, I know, it has been a long time since I posted last.  June 26th, I was reminded by someone special, is too long and people want to know.  The old saying, "no news is good news, pretty much sums it up.  Chemo  of course was not pleasant.  For a week after, I cannot seem to get food spicy enough to taste.  I add rooster sauce to EVERYTHING.  And the constant metal mouth during tat week is horrible but, on the upside, I feel OK.  All of the side effects, have been relatively mild.  Definitely more good than bad days.  My hair is growing back, grey, of course.  I am the 1:4 person that actually is gaining weight while on chemo.  CRAZY.  It actually is a blessing that my body is strong.  I have my 4th session on Thursday and I have not selected (I have but it is a surprise pict) what hair to wear.  All I am saying is..I need to find an outfit to match.
I have been spending a lot of time working on a quilt for Steven.  I have managed to save all of his uniform tops since peewee baseball and now I am almost done.  Every single square sent me on a emotional ride.  I remembered where we lived, a lot about each season but most of all I remember the people.  Coaches, parents teammates- we have been truly blessed to have shared some incredibly special moments with friends.  
Tomorrow, I take Steven to a tournament in Fort Myers.  I am excited a little bit, because I get to see the games.  I will also get to see an es-student play a pro game. Probably going to scoot to Sanibel for an afternoon if I can.  John and Doug will stay back.
Today, I worked in yard, early morning and mid afternoon.  It felt so good.  But the pool felt better.  Did you guys catch that, I can get into the water.  Incision still not completely closed yet (3months later) but I did get the OK to swim but only in my own pool.  We won't even discuss bathing suits-
I will be more diligent to keep everyone up-to-date on how I feel. 

Let's see:

bumps:  I don't feel so sick but, it doesn't take long for tiredness to kick in and remind me that I indeed am going through chemo.  I did not pick up one prescription for one day-that was a mistake...we will never "skip a dose" even for 8 hours again.  What amazes me is how much chemo meds have changed over the last 5 years.  They now can treat side effects with some pretty basic stuff but timing must be almost perfect. Still going on 15 pills X 2 a day but hey-it works.  I also think that my diet helps- totally eliminated anything processed and most all grains.  It is almost completely paleo with the exception that I still allow some dairy.

battles:  This is going to sound ridiculous but it is bothering me and I might just be bitter.  I have notice that very few people make eye contact with me.  not friends, I am talking about, the cashiers, attendants at stores, people in restaurants, and even customer service rep at Norstroms of all places.  First you battle to have men look at your eyes not your boobs and then when you don't have any- there is an awkward "oh heck, where do I send my eyes".   You that know me, no that I will adjust and step into their line of vision, sometimes just to make them uncomfortable. Sometimes I will even take my hair,scarf or whatever off just to make it worse for them. I have walked out of the house with no "head covering" and it is hard for others.  I am pretty comfortable in my own skin that I am not bothered my my bald head or flat chest.  It is where I am right now, it is who I am.  I can choose hair, I can choose to add "enhancements" to my chest but, I will not do it because someone else is uncomfortable with my cancer ridden body.

blessings:  Family who comes to take care of you.  Students who drop by "just because.  Yard work.  Steven pulling out the "pink bat"  for senior pictures.  Good weather.  Today I saw three huge monarch butterflies- beautiful.  I also saw a very pretty black and white spider with a unique web.  I think I will take of picture of it tomorrow.  This coming from a girl who doesn't like spiders- AT ALL.

so that about sums it up for you guys- I will check in tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Well the sun came out in little increments today. While I love the rain, I was ready for some sunshine.  My parents are here safely so that is always good, unfortunately they had to drive through rain almost the whole way so I know they are exhausted.  I am still thinking on my "preachin" but there are a few things that while talking to my dad today became really clear and it something that I have not blogged about.
I have been reading stories from survivors and just becoming more informed on the whole breast cancer thing.  The ongoing theme is fear.  Fear of the cancer, fear of treatment, fear of challenges and most of all fear of death.  All of the stories are so concentrated with the theme of fear.  I am confident that indirectly they are written to promote a feeling of hope but- They are are focused on fear and of course, the overcoming.
      Here is the thing- maybe I am just weird but fear is not in my repertoire of "feelings".  I don't fear  breast cancer.  It is a illness, most of the time treatable.  The way I see it is no different as the way they treat high blood pressure or ADHD.  These are permanent things that are treatable but not to be feared.  I do not fear the treatment.  It is not a pleasantry that I look forward to but it is part of the solution.  It is not unlike healing hurt feelings.  You have to face it to get through it.  You can't skip steps- you simply put one foot in front of the other until you find yourself on the other side.  Physically, I am changed but healing is the challenge. Again, I will say that a scar is simply a reminder of what you went through to be better.  It is my little personal rainbow if you will.  The last was fear of death.  Yeah, not a fear of mine either.  While I don't look forward to death, I refuse to obsess about it either.  I did not need a cancer diagnosis to decide to start living.  I have always been able to enjoy the moment.   We are not and have never been promised tomorrow.  What I would like to be is less practical.  I want to go to Europe but can't justify the cost. I can't even justify the "coach" bag I want.  Ultimately if heaven is my worst case scenario, I have nothing to fear.
    I believe that God has a way of calming our storms and preps us for what is to come.  Kind of like emergency situations with my children.  In the moment, your are eerily calm, able to handle the blood , gore and crisis of the situation.  It is not until all things calm that you break down.  God gives me calm, eerie calm and strength in the crisis, and He will be with me when I transition from cancer patient to cancer survivor.  I am a witness to peace that the world cannot understand.

alright enough of that-
bumps- I wore a bra for the first time in months- can I just say- gross.  Not the fact that I am stuffing the bra but the bra itself.  Surely, I do not miss that at all.  I totally understand whole bra burning thing of the 70's.   Oh, my red wig was the color of the day.  I like PIPI (as in longstockings) she is easy.  Insert your own comeback here, I left the door wide open.

battles:  Chemo on Thursday.  I will be half way done.  But, it is not pleasant.  Dad, will be driving me there - no that is not a battle just information.  Still miss my big boys, Johnathan is bored.

This is my favorite part.  This week a friend came to help me do in the floors in my house.  Melissa Newport you rock and be patient- that steamer will go on sale and you will have a coupon.  You can borrow mine whenever you like.
Kelly, my beautiful niece.  Sent me the most incredible box full of pictures of my sister Charlotte and me.  She also included a precious heirloom.  A book she had given my sister with wonderful quotes of inspiration when she battled ovarian cancer.  She gave me the most amazing complement by putting us in the same group.  No one fought a harder battle than my sister. I can think on no one that showed  more grace and humility than Char.  To be lumped in the same basket- such an honor.
Julie Marcher:  you should be a writer, your note was perfectly beautiful.
Heather H. I am still praying your prayers and I feel your presence everyday.
I have received a few emails from students- this makes me happy.
Peace-knowing that whatever the future holds for me, is what it is.  I am resting confidently in Christ hands.

Verse of the day:  John 14:27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

An oldie but a goody- It takes a while for the lyrics to start but they are worth a read.
Rich Mullins  Peace

Monday, June 25, 2012

almost half way done with chemo

On Thursday of this week I will be half way through the chemo portion of my "treatment".  I think I have had every obstacle a person could have.  As far as the last infection, we believe we took care of it so no more surgery or hospital stays-yeha!

Doug is with Steven in North Carolina and I miss them.  I wish I could go to GA to watch him play and see so many friends from SFC and friends from college but alas, I will be-busy trying to build up an ever dropping white cell count.

John and I have enjoyed each other's company. Yesterday was an awesome lounge day.  I absolutely love rainy days.  He reads, I read- he plays video games and I watch cooking shows.  yep that about sums it up.

Today I participated in a webinar-yes my kind of learning (kenesthetic, visual, and audio).  Crazy but I need them all.  We will see if I can make the ipad not just a tool in the classroom but essential.  Of course, the learning starts with me.  I also her from my friend and co spanish teacher that AP Spanish Lit can earn you up to 11 credit hours.  That sounds like a lot- can anyone verify.  We both believe that is a lot credits but hey if you score a 5 on Spanish Lit- you deserve every last credit.

here they are the 3 'B" s

bumps:  I just realized that I will not be done with chemo by the time school starts.

battles: My skin does not like tape, plastic covers, gauze, or anything that stays on it for more than a few hours (allergic reaction = antibiotics)
I miss my big boys.  Even though when they are here it still is quiet in the house.

blessing:  My parents will be here tomorrow.  Rainy days. clean bill of health going into 3rd chemo round,  I had the best peach for breakfast today.  Great devotionals each morning.  I have had some really good AHA moments reminding me that He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it.

Just a quick check in---sermon coming.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

how quickly we fall back.

It is pretty amazing how we fall back on our own strength when things go well.  Can anyone give me an amen on that.  My chemo treatment was well, a chemo treatment.  Nothing unusual, nausea, pain yucky mouth (orbit is no help.  Maybe I should get them on false advertisement), and tiredness.  I have still been able to get a lot of things done.  I refinished the deck.  Pictures will be posted later.  And I began the gift for Doug for Fathers day which I was frustratingly not finished. I got a thumbs up on healing from surgery-yet I still have an open wound- gross.  I have been cooking up a storm- so spicy- I can't get any dish spicy enough.  I have found a new comfort food.  Mashed garlic cauliflower,smothered of course with shiracha.  I have felt pretty good- aside from today.  I have literally slept 18 hours.  I woke up to start laundry and cook breakfast, then slept till about 3.  Woke up in time to cook linner.  Spaghetti squash and meatballs, ok by I over cooked the squash.  I say all of this to remind you of one thing- We always fall by on our own strength.     
    I felt so proud of my accomplishment and if the truth be know I think I was seriously looking for "wow how do you do it".  Pride...I hate that sin!  yes, I did some pretty amazing things for being on chemo but I did some pretty stupid things to.  Like push my body more than I should have.  I totally sent Steven and John to a baseball game in a torrential down pour because I did not have the strength to go because of course- I tried to be superwoman and quite literally had to sleep.  Turns out- I missed a great game with great performances from both my boys.

    Pride hides itself so many time behind good intentions and good deeds.  We do things because we want people to be impressed.  Business is how my sin manifest itself.  You see, and the good things I did were truly qualities of the proverbs 31 woman and yet not if I am seeking a complement.  Twisted.

So lets start again:

Bumps: Did you read the above confession?
Battles:  Refocusing, on the the giver of health, and life.
Blessings:  Conviction in gentle ways.  See mine was that today I could not muster the strength to get out of bed.  I could not do it, there was no "pushing through it" no "get up and go".  
 I have tremendous kids and husband.  Our family is a neat, truly neat unit. We all have a qualities and they work so well together.  My husband is happy I finished the deck and does not feel disappointed that I did not finish the garage. 
I get to have Doug and Steven home for about a week then they are off to High Point North Carolina and Marietta Ga for a two week baseball trip.
I am blessed- so blessed.

Please forgive the prideful heart. 

Verse of the day:
proverbs 11:2

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, 
    but with humility comes wisdom.

Song of the day"

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Alrighty then...let's paint

Chemo round two was today and because it is day one I feel good.  Really I do.  Let me begin by saying that the staff at MD Anderson is Orlando is great.  Since it was storming when I arrived, I paid for valet parking.  It is a small price to pay when one is worried about the purple wig place ever so gingerly on her head.  The attendants all gave a cautious "should we comment look" until I said- "I didn't want to get my bald head wet, that is a really bad look".  Then they knew it was OK to smile and laugh. Reminder, when valet parking your car in the rain- always leave a bigger tip.  Infusion was long and tedious.  Almost 6 hours today- but I had an art teacher/survivor come in a load me up with some paint, brushes, easel and I was off.  Time literally passed so quickly that I did not finish.  Barb F. I thing you would be proud. My beautiful aunt Jo came to the house and spent the afternoon with me and cleaned my kitchen.  I feel like such a tool because I of course slept.  Steven and Doug are off to Jacksonville for a baseball tourney.  Johnathan's game was canceled due to rain, He was home so that was good.  I really feel good, tiredness has set in- again.  Of all the side effects that I could be having that is one I will gladly suffer through.  Tomorrow should be interesting, lots of running around with John, I need him to go on and get that permit so all I would have to do is ride.  But , when I really think about it I am kind of glad he still "needs" me.

Bumps:  Long, long day sitting in a solitary room.  Since I have an open incision still I am in solitary while on the chemo pods. Kind of ridiculous if you ask me since we still share the bathrooms with everyone.  I like the pods much better, you get to talk to others, share with others, and just feel like your one of the group.

Battles:  2 down 4 to go!  I am praying to not get discouraged and realize that it is only temporary.  I trained for a mini triatholon for more time than I will be on chemo drugs.  So for all of you "athletics serve no purpose" people.  I beg to differ in opinion.  A life a "training" has prepped me for this.  

Blessing:  So many kind words of encouragement today.  I am so blessed to know that I do not stand alone.  

    While on my way to appointments the other day, I was singing a Chris Tomlin song (loudly) in my car and the word forever struck me.  Particularly in a praise song.  "Forever" seems to be one of the words like "awsome" and "fantastic"- that are so frequently used that the power behind them is lost.  I tell my husband, children, students and friends.  I love you forever, or I will be forever in you debt but I can only love for a finite amount of time.  Let that steep in for a little.  I can love for the moment of birth(mine or theirs) till the moment of death. The emotion can continue, you will argue, after one dies for the living.  But it can not be shared. 
  I really hope that we are not looking for deep dogma or doctrine in simple, truly simple words. His forever is infinite.  Before conception till after death, forever is truly forever.  That is how God rolls.  Don't over think- just soak up the fact that He, God, maker of heaven and earth loves you FOREVER!

I have been bombarded with little tidbits of blessings in the last few days that it would be nearly impossible to mention them all but I would be remiss if I did not quote a pastor friend.  he quoted "How many times have I left the throne of grace unattended because I was too busy bowing at some thrown of sinful humanity"?  We are such creatures of judgment.  We constantly compare ourselves to others.  Sometimes it is good that we recognize of faults but most of the times we do it to boost our own self-centered attitudes. I thought about that for a while and know that too many times I have forgotten the God's grace. I want to live in a love centered, grace given place.  Idealistic, yes- but in my life and for my convictions, I would rather accept someone where they are than leave them discouraged, quilt ridden and with with no hope for the future.  For we have all sinned and fallen short, lest we forget.

Song for today:  Chris Tomlin "how can I keep from singing your name"

Verse for today:   I Corinthians 9:19-23(message)
Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn't take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I've become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn't just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!


Sunday, June 3, 2012

it all works out!

Well, I have a doctors appointment tomorrow at 2 (I hope).  Since my phone was accidentally dropped to the floor, I have not received, the remember you have an appointment call, which I totally bank on.  My calender was also on that phone so no luck there either. I sure do hope I don't have anything earlier.

Good weekend- I was productive not to my normal standard but productive non-the-less.  I finished painting my room at school, finished up a few letters of recommendation(still need to tweek), and did my own laundry room. I spent a couple of hours in my favorite store- IKEA.  My laundry room looks like a department store- it is awesome.  Still need to finish up a couple of spots but I am pleased.

Bumps:  no phone- ykes- I am attached but alas I have not started tweeting yet so I guess I will survive.  I guess I should figure out what my land line number is---no, I will have my new phone by 10 tomorrow.

Battles:  Still waiting for the incision site to close.  This has been a very long and tedious journey.  Wound vac is very effective but my skin sure did not like the tape that vacuums everything.  It is more a lesson in self control- I can't lift or move like I normally would so- I have had to learn to adjust how maneuver with a limited left arm. Kind of creepy to think that there is a wide open hole in you at all times.  Every now and then I would glance down my shirt and can see muscle tissue.  That is a good visual for you but it sure is better than feeling like a christmas tree.

I feel good.  I am happy that I got my laundry room detailed now on to another.  Kitchen is done, garage is done, laundry room I guess I will move to my room and the closet.  But that should only take an afternoon at best.
I got a Chris Tomlin Cd from Heather and is on repeat play in the car.  Funny thing is I was getting ready to buy the itunes Cd but never got around to it- again God hears and answers.
I got a sweet message from Lindsey saying she though of me while listening to Jason Mraz- (the song below).  While I am not a big Jason Mraz fan I did particularly like the lyrics to this song.  It really does describe me now- I will not worry my life away, and the comedy of the seriousness is quite ironic.
I spent the day at IKEA and lunch at whole foods with Doug.  It dawned on us on our way home that in three short years it will only be us.

While reading the lyrics to the song below, it made me think about how much time we spend as parents worrying about foolish things.  Are my kids grades high enough, will they get into the "right college", have I exposed them to enough, have I exposed them to too much.  I have always pushed my kids to do thier best and am generally not satisfied if that goal is not achieved.  But, I have also come to realize that the right opportunities always present themselves (you don't need to be pushy), the right door always opens and precisely the right time.  I say this because I am now the mother of a senior boy.  Over the last 12 years I have learned many things-but this is a big one- Strong, fair consistent discipline covered with mercy wins every time.  In my house, we are rooted in scripture and the knowledge that the rules of the house apply to all (including me).  The song reminds me that I don't have to worry- God, is looking out for my children.  His plan is always better than mine.  I won't worry my life away- I cherish everyday with them for soon they will be gone.

Steven, I love you.  John, I love you too!- now do your chores.

Be a blessing to someone.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

almost a week

Well, finals are over and kids are out for the summer.  Not so much for the teachers.  We never stop.  One might think we do, but we really don't.  I have started (and finished). some letters of recommendation for next years seniors, I am beginning to pain my room, and revamping some lessons that did not work so well.  We never stop learning so we can constantly teach an ever changing "learning culture".  How am I doing these things while having cancer.  Well it is simple- they must be done.  Oh and chemo is still on hold while I have an open wound in my chest.  

The wound is shrinking.  It is about 5 inches long, about an inch wide and only 1/2 inch deep now.  The shop vac- has also been on hold because I have had an allergic reaction to a solution to cleanse the skin (yeah).  I have always said.  "Liability clauses were written into things because of me"  You have to laugh at the odds.  JP drain for a month- check; staph infection-check, chemo starts/lose hair - check; start chemo-start hot flashes- check, new surgery-check, stop chemo-check, redo all of the above- priceless.  I get to do everything two time.  I felt like I did so well the first time (note the sarcasm).  Oh well, it is summer so I have time and energy.
That pretty much catches you up on me but oh has so much happened.  Can't wait to get to blessings!

bumps:  patience-still have not learned or refined this skill yet. 
battles:  open wound really does mean that I am walking around in pain. I cannot afford to be taking pain pills all the time- too much to do.  So I have gone back to controlled breathing and distraction (reading, painting, cooking, anything that makes me not think about the fact that I have a piece of gauze over a wound.  Kudos to Taina Glemser today.  She wanted to see it, but not really.  So I showed it to her and she did not pass out.  Great job.

Now my blessings:
I have to tell you the big  one first.  I got a message that one of my students from SFC (California) wanted to skype with me the day before they graduated.  I was so excited that I was going to skype, I could not wait to tell him how proud I was of him.  The next message from him was- there is a group of us that want to pray over you and just lift you up.  Wow- generally it is me praying for them and they want to pray for me- so incredibly humbling.  By now the idea of skyping prayer was crazy.  I was so antsy, truly ecstatic about our "prayer meeting".  So- when they got back from their senior trip- They called, we prayed and I felt so blessed but wait- it gets better. Every year senior students have a project to raise money for their senior gift to the school and as it turns out -as a class they gave me (little ole me) a generous donation to offsets the medical cost.  It was almost to the dollar what we need.  God is amazing.  

Again- I go back to the people doubting our future.  If you could see my students, all of them, you would see that there is a generation of children who see needs and answer.  A generation that listens to God's voice and who will change the future.  Have faith- I see them every day, I pray for them every day and I know that God will do more than I can even imagine, so the future is good.  

To all, and I mean all of my students- Know that I have faith in you!  I see your awesomeness! and I treasure each of you!  You make my life better because I have had the PRIVILEGE of being your teacher.

Other blessings, John had to stay with me this weekend.  He had a few things to do with his classmates (ready for summer), that we did not go to the baseball showcase Steven and Doug went to. He is a lovely companion.  Steven did well at showcase and now the cage is being used a lot more (minus the rain).  

Song of the day- Casting Crowns - Jesus friend of sinners

My prayer:
  Dear Jesus, 
Remind me that I was the wounded woman at the well, and you sat and spoke with me, yo extended grace and love to one that was undeserving.  Please keep me so broken so I can always see that you are good, and your love endures forever, for me as well as every other sinner around me.  You lead me by mercy, allow me to lead by love and mercy as well.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

last day-new beginning

Oh my goodness, tomorrow will be a big day.  It is the last day of finals and the last day of school.  Steven will be a senior (ykes).  I will not be done with treatment until after he graduates.  That should put it into perspective for you guys.  The whole process from diagnosis to reconstruction will be two solid years.  I have trained for a lot of things but nothing prepares you for two years of fight.  I am so grateful that I have been in competitions my whole life.  I am so motivated to get through the next two years so I can do at least 1 half marathon and 1 full.  What I really want to do is the "tough mudder" with Steven and John.  I am very much looking forward to a summer break and I am praying for my energy levels to stay high through out the summer.

Bumps:  wound change day- one would think that it would get easier but no, not at all.  My skin is literally pealing off with the tape.  The wound is healthy but they skin around it- not so much.  The whole saline thing- overrated. On the upside, it is better than alcohol.

Battles: I am really please that my battles are being fought for me.  While having a conversation with a friend today she told me what her "suegra" (mother-in law) would tell her.  "Te lleva por el fuego y al salir ni hueles a humo".  Translated- He will walk with you through the fire and on the other side you will not even smell like smoke.  How true is that statement.  WISDOM- not the same as intelligence.  This is why we are to respect out elders- they have a lot to teach us.

Gifts from coworkers- timely- God's providence never ceases to amaze me.
John is done with school and is looking forward to spending time with friends.
Both boys are equally excited for summer baseball as they are for school athletics.
I can not speak highly enough about my boys.  They may not always bring their dishes to the kitchen, or rush to do chores but they love each other and they both have a "chill" factor that calming.  Both such easy going except when on the field or when there is a W and an L column.  
Wonderful students who still want to skype with me and pray with me.  Still makes me cry!
I cannot stomach pizza.  Talk about a hidden blessing.  

I am blessed, so blessed. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

preachy preachy

Well, I must confess that I did not make it to church today.  I did watch it on Roku.  Today they let the children's church prepare us for worship.  May I just say that I am a little jealous.  Great songs, good biblical message and spirit lead, can't ask for more.  I did multi-task.  I rushed to do the boys laundry only to find out that they don't have to wear uniforms this week. I enjoyed myself  today.  While Doug was watching Steven play baseball and John watched the Indians game, did the things that I would normally do (It feels really good to be normal).  I had the car done (not unable to do it myself just too lazy), had my toes done, went to several grocery stores looking for the best price.  What I would not give for a trader joes or henrys right now.  Then I basked in the sun for about 30 minutes, just in time to cook dinner.  I stayed away from my any electronics as to not get distracted.  Is it wrong that I am trying to get as much done now as I can- I think not.  Finally when I checked my phone I noticed a notification on the blog from a few weeks ago.  It was someone I knew from a long time ago.  They left a scripture.  I had to read it several times-in several different versions until I found the one I wanted to post. 

 II Corinthians 4:7-
 If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That's to prevent anyone from confusing God's incomparable power with us. As it is, there's not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we're not much to look at. We've been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we're not demoralized; we're not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we've been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn't left our side; we've been thrown down, but we haven't broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus' sake, which makes Jesus' life all the more evident in us. While we're going through the worst, you're getting in on the best! 

There is so much encouragement wrapped up in that.  We all want out lives to be "for" something or "about" something. We all seek "purpose".  How reasuring to know that they moment we are His- we immediately not only have a purpose but we are living out our destiny...Oh sister, I got to stop!  His word is not lofty, or confusing it is so simple- We should praise like the kids in church today.  Unabashedly, unashamed of the One living God that never leaves our side.

Song for today:  Live like that by "sidewalk prophets"

Thank you - "Viento"

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Just in case you are wondering

I have not been arrested for anything I may have said or done at my last appointment with the surgeon.   Actually, It went really well and so did the appointment with the oncologist.  Chemo, at least two parts of it have been put on hold until the "wound vac" that I endearingly call my shop vac. I have had a really good week.
I still have a hole in my chest that it filled in with a sponge, connected to a vacuum- yeah it is not so pleasant but at least I am not bombarded with chemo drugs so I am healing pretty quickly.  I had enough energy to have the baseball party at the house.  Now don't go thinking that I planned an elaborate 2 hour festivity with speeches and all.  It was more like- I grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, watermelon and cupcakes and ice cream.  It was ready when they got here, they ate, played ping pong, xbox, and various games on laptops.  There actually was no entertaining at all. 
Steven got up today and went to baseball, Doug and I went to the farmers market, then to visit my Aunt and then had a lovely lunch at 4rivers. I came home and fell asleep almost immediately and I am not to far from it now.

Bumps during the week:  tired of carrying my shop vac around my waist and sounding like a percolator.
Battle:  The battle never changes really- it always has to do with my so called life always changing.  Some moments you feel really good and then in a moment you don't.

I have spent some really good moments with my boys and with Doug,  I almost feel "normal". 
I have to talk about this one because it is super big.  I was worried about the number of days I had and knew that I was probably going to go in the whole - but God is so good and so perfect that because I was in the hospital for 7 days- my chemo was put on hold.  When I returned to work I had .5 days left, which I took on Friday morning for one treatment of Herceptin-  how about that.  I am always shocked when he gives you the exact thing you need. In this case, the exact number of days that I would need.

I have an amazing family.  So incredibly blessed.

For the record:  wound care- still hurts like the dickens but, I am not to proud to take heavy pain pills before she cleans everything and puts a new sponge in- but it is closing.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

my reflection

I just turned on my computer and saw my reflection on the screen.  Every now and again, I have to take a double take, because it just doesn't look like me.  There are times that I am kind of glad I am on the chubby side.  Now is one of those times.  I have a round ft face..I can wear a hat, I can wear a scarf or I can go bald and I still have a round chubby face.  I am lucky.
So, happy mother's day everyone.  I had a good day, despite the fact that I woke up two days now in a bad mood.  Satan is really trying to steal my joy again and reminding me of my frustrations.  Tomorrow, I go to the surgeon and I am going to have to be very careful with my words.  It has been 9 weeks and I have had plastic tubes (drains) a bigger plastic tube inserted into a large wound, and an accessed port the entire time.  Doug laughed at me today when I compared myself to a Christmas tree.  Seriously, I even have power (as in electric) running to my tubes.  I go back to the one (did you catch that ) 1 day I got to take a shower without being saran wrapped to protect all the tubes and needles.  nine weeks:1 day, seems somewhat disproportional.  how does one nicely say:  In your surgery room you allowed me to be infected with some type of infection that you mysteriously can't seem to name. 9 weeks later I am ready to get on with chemo and I am still waiting on you.  Get it done already.  Hope you enjoyed your jazz festival last weekend while I was in the hospital. (note the sarcasm).  Don't worry- I won't say that- no doctor wants to see his patient get worse.  Just bitter, very bitter.

Bumps:  not health- but my bad mood cannot help in the healing process
Battle:  I am worried about my future.  Very much so.  Everyday they put my chemo schedule off is another day that I am not able to work- next year- and subsequently everything in the future has to change (appointments, reconstruction, radiation,- the whole kit-and caboodle).  The thing that bugs me the most is that it is a problem that can't be solved.  So you just suck it up.

I got three gifts this weekend.  Something special from my sister, something special from a friend in San Diego with an attached note from her son and ex-student and a collection of hats from a friend and fellow baseball mom.  Very Blessed.
I wore my wig to a restaurant on Friday night (both boys had class activities) and a student and his family did not recognize me.  Very cool- I can go incognito.
I got some very cool earrings from my husband and boys for mother's day. 
Church via Roku- the constant gurgling of the vacuum sealer call a wound vac..I sound like a coffee percolator.
Despite my miserable mood, my hubby still loves me.  I warned him that I had a vibrant red aura this morning.

Wouldn't you know that today's sermon was on simply put reconciliation.  Not just with others but with God as well.  Talk about perfect timing.  Turns out- I might have some anger and resentment issues with God himself.  I am working on it, but man am I stubborn.  I just don't want to let go of this time constraint thing.  As if He isn't in control of ALL of my future.  It would be nice if he could give me an agenda.
So part of the blog was to be transparent.  So here I am, frustrated, a little angry and just bummed.  I just need a little time to allow God to refocus me.  Maybe tomorrow I will have some insightful words but today I am just trying to find my way.

Mercy me

Thursday, May 10, 2012

oh hey friends

What an amazing day!  So, I feel really proud of myself.  I had part of a chemo session and went back to school to finish off the day.  Once home, I was super tired but I gave myself my antibiotic via port and kicked back.  A very stealthy student came by, left a gift at my front door and not one person inside noticed, not even my dorky protector of the house, dog face, Teddy.  Glad I have an attack dog.  Inside this gift bag were some wonderful socks. It is my "dirty little secret".  There is nothing better than a new pair of socks.  Either, their mom is reading the blog, they are reading the blog or they just know my heart but - thank you!  Whomever you are.  The nurse in the chemo pod was phenomenal, I kid you not- she had to re-access my port and I did not feel it.  So many good things today.

Bumps:   my range of motion in the left arm is affecting the different ways I can tie my scarves around my head.

Battles:  Only having 1 part of chemo today and having to wait for the rest since I have...well a gaping wound in my chest. I understand the why but I just want to get on with it.

Blessings:  Well I mentioned two above but there are more.
I have had many complements on the way I look. I don't feel I have done anything different.  I have a theory.  There are no distractions.  No hair, or special make up- it is just me.  This is when God shines brightest, because what people are seeing is His reflection.  Most definitely His reflection.  
Worked- I love my job
New socks- yeah
High white blood cell counts
It is nurse appreciation week and I appreciate them.
Teachers- great teachers who have prepared thousands of students nationwide to take advance placement test this week- My kids have some winners and Heather- you know your kiddos will do well- but most of all- I am so glad I am not teaching AP class this year.  This whole cancer thing would have thrown them for a loop.
Students that check in on me- just because

So very tired, so very tired so I am going to bed.

It was a good day

Monday, May 7, 2012

I am back...

Today, I went into school.  Not on the clock, but I did check in for a little.  Gosh, I miss being there.   I have great friends, great students, great bosses.  It is such a blessing.  I turned in my chicken salad that I made for teacher appreciation because I really am double blessed that I have great teachers that teach my children.  Then I taught just one section and came home to a wound care change.
I was so very anxious about this because it hurt so terribly bad last time.  I took 4 acetaminophen (that is a double dose of Tylenol) and that was all I needed.  My aunt Jo came to the house to watch and keep me company.  So the good news is the depth has improved by one centimeter.  The length and the width stayed the same but I am OK with that because it is supposed to be healing from the inside-out. Once it was over, I slept like a baby.  I had built so much into the wound change that I could not have imagined that it would have been so easy, not painless but doable.

Bumps:  I am ready and geared up to fight- want to get on the chemo schedule again.

Battle:  I am officially out of days, so everyday I am not at work I am getting docked. I know Doug tells me not to worry and only concentrate on getting healthy.  I feel like I am going to be a burden.   I feel like I am a burden to the school, because I am not in the classroom (and I miss them) and a burden to my family because I am not carrying my weight.  Please do not misunderstand.  This is all a part of moving.  I have not had time to build up my sick days.  I am not angry or even bitter about not having more days- I get it.  It is just bad timing, but then again, cancer has no timing.

Denise: my at home nurse who talked me through what might have been a very miserable day.
My students:  Who were excited to see me.  And appreciated seeing me with a nice wig and bald!  So non-judgmental.  Yeah for them!
My Aunt Jo who comes over just to check on me.  When it quite clearly should be the other way around.
The sweetest compliment from my boss today,  She said " I admire your positiveness".  When honestly, I don't have time to be bitter or angry.  It just doesn't solve anything.  It just makes you feel worse.  But, thank you for recognizing the choice I have made to not let this thing change me.
Food.  I have taken my share of food to others but not until now do I realize just what a blessing it is.
My silly dog, that will not leave my side-   
Rain:  It rained today- I love rain.  It makes everything new.  And there can be no better thing for me than to fall asleep with the sound of the rain (except for maybe new socks).

This is what I know, our bodies are amazing, divinely inspired, uniquely designed and perfect.  I know that as soon as one system starts to fall apart,  they all go into overdrive to try to recover.  And yet, each system is designed for a specific purpose so one can't do the work of another.  Very much like the christian church is supposed to work.  We all have our specific "duties".  When one does not do what is expected, we all pick up the pieces but we can't make it whole.  (I don't know how to fix it but I can recognize it).  I also know that there is something biblical about cleaning out my wound.  You know from the inside out.  That is how God cleans us- From the inside out.  It generally is painful but scars are the reminder of healing.  God is good!

I have prayed for insane, miraculous healing and I got a centimeter.  That is pretty miraculous. I prayed for strength to handle pain and He sent me a beautiful nurse that talked me through it.  I pray for a good attitude and he sends me the gentle reminder.

Ephesians 3:20

 20-21God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. 
The Message (MSG)

Song choice of the day.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

So a new count down has begun

So now that chemo this week has been moved, I still have 5 more sessions bummer.  Let me tell you that the dread of which I approach each of those sessions, is nothing into comparison to meeting with my wound care specialist.  I have to go through that 7 or 8 more times, yeah- it is that bad.  My next paragraph is going to be graphic so if you get queasy-skip it.
  They turned of the suction, pealed a 8X 11 sheet of tape (surgical tape) off of my stomach and chest, and then coated me with saline. The wound dimensions are 7 inches by 4 inches by 1 inch deep.  Note, open wound and saline, literally they were pouring salt in a wound.  Then they start to pull a sponge out of the wound (it has started to adhere to the wound edges), once it is out they must measure for a new sponge, replace, retape and reattach suction.  All of this takes, about 20 minutes with out any sedation or pain killers.  What?  you say.  YES is my response.  I am woman, hear me roar.  Seriously, I have not felt pain like this since---oh never- childbirth was a piece of cake.  do keep in mind that I was completely knocked out for both of my children so that means absolutely nothing to me.  But, what I can tell you is that 20 minutes was not pleasant.  Next time, drugs first then wound change.

Bumps:  7 more wound changes- really- I will take the chemo- ANYDAY

battles: still cabin fever, I worry about my Doug.  do much on his shoulders right now and he seems unchanged.  I guess this is where being an emotional flat line helps.  Do not misunderstand, it is not that he has no emotions it is that they are always non visible.  

Blessings;  Friends that come to visit
I think it is a tremendous blessing that I am not squeamish.  Otherwise I would have passed out today.
Despite the pain, I am still amazed at our intricately made bodies.  Every system works together and for each other.  
I am also amazed at how much we really can tolerate.  It is always much more than we give ourselves credit for.  
I got sweet emails and text today that make you feel awfully special.

But it is 9:00and I am going to bed- what song shall I select tonight-

I think Mikeschair- you have got to read the lyrics

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

mass media

Anyone who were to walk into my room would think one of two things. 1. Wow, she must be important or 2. She is such a nerd. I am using the laptop to blog, the ipad to watch Steven's and John's regional play off game and my phone to communicate with friends and I am watching ESPN on TV(actually just noise) but every electronic devise is active. Talk about being connected. The funny thing is I am connected as well, since my vacuum sealer needs power. So I quite literally am connected.

 bumps: Cabin Fever, may be i get to go home on Friday. The problem is I can't walk now since I am connected to the wall socket not just my dancing partner who obviously has his own power supply.

 battle: today is pretty hard. Doug stayed with me most of the day but, left to go watch the boy's regional game. These are the games I really want to be in attendance. Every game(for the most part) since they were five- not a big fan of missing the big ones now. The time is coming when there may not be----the next one; as here I sit, alone, in the hospital, reading the game on game changer. Oh how I wish I could be there. 

 Maybe I'll go home on Friday. 
Chai Tea lattes- I can tolerate (STILL NOT COFFEE)
 Despite not being at the game, I do get to read it. Good think I know how to keep a good book. Makes reading game changer a breeze. 
The gaping hole in my chest is smaller. You would have to be able to see to understand how disconcerting it is to look at your chest. I had just gotten used to the no boobs thing- now I am gazing at a big black hole. Good thing I am not squeamishness. I bet some people would pass out for sure, instead- I took pictures-No worries I will not post. I don't hurt, nearly as much as I thought I would.
 I have found that I can order a sandwich and not have to eat the plated food from the hospital- much better. Popsicle everyday- 
I think yest ALL of my papers are graded and recorded. I am all caught up- well I set still at home but the stack is something I can tackle now. 

 These are the moments when this is hard. I am alone and wanting desperately to be somewhere, anywhere else. And I am reading that the boys are losing. I enjoy my space and being alone, but, it is nice to have company as well. I miss my dumb dog. Oh this is not a pity party. Every moment is what you make it, so everyone that comes in gets eye to eye contact and honest conversation. Did I mention an everlasting stream of popsicles. I would not buy them for myself at home so there you go, I am exactly where I am supposed to be and exactly the right time. I will know the purpose of this later...maybe. what I do know is there is a purpose and sometimes silence is good.

 his wounds have paid my ransom!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


I am so sorry I missed yesterday.  I got some news that I was not real happy about and decided to sleep it off.

Today I had to have surgery to reopen the incision site and clean everything out and take some tissue to see what I am growing.  So I did not get closed.  So I am sitting in a hospital room  with a 3X5 index card of open wound with a foam sponge (its black) and vacuum sealed.  I am not kidding.  I am hooked to a machine that is pulling out any fluid.

Due to this; chemo will have to wait.  My hair is gone, but I still have my eyebrows and eye lashes so that is good.

That is a good picture for you- bald woman, gaping open wound in chest, and permanently attached to a vacuum sealer.

Bumps:  It was John's birthday today.  I wanted to serve him cake for breakfast and sufficiently embarrass him at school.  Love you son.  I threatened the anesthesiologist with permanent damage if he let anything happen to me on this day.

Battle:  I have an hole in my heart. Spare me the country song lyrics I literally have a hole in my chest.  A big one.  Tomorrow the wound care team comes in to change the foam- sounds painful and I am a little scared.  Had a little cry today because of pain-but, was able to suck it up.

Blessings:  The nurses are fighting to take care of me.  Pretty much because I have something new, that they do not see a lot and they get to use me as a training buddy.
I had visitors today.  Mr Brinkley came by to see me in the morning (a students father, coworker, and hospital chaplain), Kelly and Tania and the Thompson's and my aunt Jo. Thank you all.
surgery went well.  I handled the anesthetic better than normal.  I was able to walk around before surgery and I made it a little prayer walk.  I decided to pray for each of the patients, then the nurses, then the techs, then the cleaning crew, and the doctors and then specifically for each of my doctors. 
After surgery I walked around- very gingerly.  I feel like my insides could fall out of me.
So far I have been able to handle the pain with regular over the counter stuff but tonight-I think I will ask for something a little stronger.
Doug:  It can not me more of a blessing to know that he has been here all day.  He has handled the details I generally handle plus some extras (new tire for Steven ect) so he has been pretty solid.

the preachy moment:

I had so many responses about the line "we wear ourselves out chasing what we already have."  I got it from the sermon on Sunday (Joel Hunter).  It was not one of those bulleted ones but it caught my attention and obviously many of you as well.  That one comment- kept me singing "holy ground", today.  Because everywhere I step- is holy ground.  pretty awesome.

I did something bold today.  I am outgoing but generally not bold.  Before they gassed me in surgery I made them stop.  I prayed- out loud for each of them and for the surgery, I prayed Heather's prayer of spiritual armor that I have memorized.  As I was praying I felt 3 sets of hands just lay their hands on me.  It was a very powerful moment- Christ was definitely in that room.

to sum up I hurt, I am blessed!

song of the day
A child like-vacation bible school song yet every true
Costa Rica team you will like this


english- I want to shine for you , with all of your love and in that way the world will know your love

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday, I love Sundays

It does not matter that I am in the hospital I love Sundays.  I particulary love that while I was watching church being live streamed, I chatted with the tech guy.  I kept looking at the number of online viewers and just this morning at 9:00, 700 people were watching. God works on line- pretty cool.

So as you guessed, still in the hospital, so bored.  I walked a mile today.  I only had to walk 22 laps around the floor.  It actually is kind of funny.  Sadly, it probably took me 22 minutes.  My day consisted of eating walking sleeping and eating again.  I love that I have a partner, he is about 6'4".   Don't get excited, it is my IV stand.  Still on antibiotics and better yet- no answers.  Maybe tomorrow.

bumps:  no answers and I have not seen Johnathan in 2 days
battles:  see above. I still don't feel very good. 

 The nurses believe me when I say "fevers coming".  Has this happened to anyone else.  Hands and feet drop about 30 degrees (only in you mind)  Doug says mine are the same but if I lay them on my leg there is a clear difference.  Then in 15 to 20 minutes...fever.  Now they give me acetomenaphen right when I hands are cold.
I felt good enough (in the morning) to walk.  That is the first time in a long time.
Got lesson plans done
Got some sweet emails from students and has a nice visit with Jason Kimack
My husband just sits beside me while I sleep.
The blessing of feeling like I was at church despite the fact that I was not
Great nurses today

so my little preachy moment

 I have an aloe plant.  I can’t kill this thing.  I saw it on the beach years ago and ripped of a little portion of it and thought- I will try to plant it.  If it takes great, if it doesn't well, at least I tried.  The thing is, this plant is now growing out of control.  It is trying to break through the flower pot barrier.  The sides of the pot are barely containing this thing.  I definitely need to transfer this plant somewhere where the boundaries are more open.  Maybe I should divide the plant and set in many different planters so that it can continue to flourish.  It is ironic isn’t it.
Here is the irony.  Yesterday, I said, I am going to be praying Hebrews 13: 20-21 so that I would be renewed, refreshed and energized.   Before I really woke up, I had the old hymn “what a friend we have in Jesus going through my brain”.  Before I could even utter the words,” Now put you together, provide you with everything you need to please him,” was reminded that Christ is in me.  I cannot contain Him.  I am like the flower pot.  He is what comes out of me.  All of the off-shoots that have been taken from the vessel and being replanted somewhere else are going to grow and grow and grow.  Like that aloe plant, it can’t be killed.  He will be glorified. 

We wear ourselves out chasing what we already have.  And our obedience to Him is never wasted.

enjoy the song called walk on water by Britt Nicole