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