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.