PRAYER REQUESTS

PRAYER REQUESTS

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


Monday, December 31, 2012

Thank you, 2012, you have brought so much



Thank you, 2012!!! You brought us so many amazing and precious moments at Disneyland, in Drumheller and then Calgary, in Quebec, at the campsite, in our home, with our family and with friends! We are blessed beyond measure and so grateful!!!

Tonight we are making our own party... seafood pasta, bbq ribs, sparkling cider (thanks to all who contributed to our celebration meal!), the kids set the table with great-Nana's fancy china, wine glasses, fancily-folded napkins, candles lit...and I fell asleep just as the kids were coming down in button-down shirts and all dressed up.  I missed it... to be woken by a kiss as Daddy took the kids out to skate.  This is the current reality, being happy when my kids are happy and trying hard not to pout when I miss things.  Silver lining...the arena was closed so Daddy phoned, I quick-ate some food and they picked me up for a plan-change and headed to the castle of fun (the local arcade)!  Turned out to be a great evening and then we stopped for a New Year's Eve hug at my parents and McFlurry's treats from McDonalds.  Nice!  Now it's jammies and hoping the littles will fall asleep on the couch as the rest of us stay up (I'm trying hard) to watch the ball drop and do our annual yell-and-scream ringing in the New Year on the front porch!!!

Christmas has been very lovely, I declared it (to myself) a cancer-free week and it was awesome!  No calls from the hospital or cancer agency, no appointments, no deep discussions about anything.  It was fabulous.  

Christmas Eve day... was harsh.  Wow.  My emotions were in over-drive, I felt so much pressure to keep Christmas cancer-free and just fun and normal... not just for the kids and my family but for ME!  What if next year I'm too sick?  What if next year I'm still fighting this and ... or... what if?....  it's a lot of work to keep those "what ifs" at bay and Christmas Eve day was the morning the dam was trying hardest to break.  I mean, come on, December 24th is already a last-minute-panic day...add this current mess and wowza.  Had a good freak-out on the phone (thanks Mom for letting me vent my ugly-Kristin fears and panics) and the day went on.  

Christmas Eve... was lovely at Shawn's parents' house.  We had a newly engaged couple shining their joy and light on the festivities, we had four super-excited kids, we had two super proud grandparents, and we had my hubby and I just soaking it all in.  What a normal and awesome Christmas Eve.  Thanks Mom and Dad E for making Christmas magical!!!

Christmas Day Morning... I was the first one up, as is typical around here...I'm such a kid-at-Christmas still!  At 7am I got the fire going (yay flip-of-switch) and the tree lit and then just waited... fortunately for only a few more minutes until the little boys came down.  What magic to watch the eyes of a child light up at the gifts under the tree, the full stockings, the bite out of a cookie, the emptied glass of milk.  Oh but my heart just fills with the memory of that.  Next came oldest, then girlie and then Mommy sent kidlets up to get Daddy out of bed!  Come on Daddy... it's CHRISTMAS!!!!    We had our typical leisurely Christmas morning.  This year even youngest got to shop at the Christmas Store at school (gifts for 10cents, everything comes home wrapped by volunteer parents) and Mommy had a good happy-cry when youngest presented his gift to oldest...a special "book about biking" (an autobiography of Lance Armstrong) for his big brother and the family biking-fiend.   Each child's gift to his sibling was just absolutely thoughtful and perfect and should a true understanding of what the recipient would really appreciate.  Seriously, the only time I cried over Christmas was at the pride this Momma felt at the seeing the gifts given by my kids.  Oh my... so proud of the humans I live with.

Christmas Day... lunch at Mom's ... this was the one I was most figuring-I-would-cry at.  My Dad has the hugest heart, my Mom has the most generous spirit, my sisters are so hurting over this current situation, my brother-in-laws have just been amazing... seeing my nieces and nephews and seeing a new kind of love in their eyes for me... [melt]... it's a lot for this girl.  Christmas Day at my parents was... lovely.  Just so nice and so easy and so just lovely.  Started to lose it when Dad prayed and started to lose it... but we all regained and the day was ... a normal, lovely Christmas.  So grateful.  We had fun watching the kids open their gifts, the food was amazing, the adults exchanged stocking gifts (so fun!) and the evening just unfolded lovely-ly.

Boxing Day ... dinner at Auntie and Uncles... normal, nice, traditions, relaxed.  Another great Christmas.  We are so blessed to have so much family around and gathering together still.  I never get tired of it, I could eat turkey ten days in a row, I love the hustle and bustle and the busy.  It just shores me up and makes me happy. 

Happy New Year to you!  Praying peace and love and joy and health and kindness and good things to you and for you and for your dear ones for 2013!!!!   Thank you for your continued prayers and support... I think of your prayers in random moments (good or rough) through the days and it just makes me feel so ... hugged... to know you are out there praying and holding us up.   Thank you.  So much, thank you!!!!!  HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!


Sunday sermon from Pastor Chris:

Learn from yesterday,

Hope for tomorrow,

Live in the present.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012

My Sisters

Some of you may know these lovely sisters of mine? To those who don't... Yes, they are twins. Yes, they show up in identical outfits a lot. No, you should not let them be a team at any mind-reading type games (Pictionary) unless they are on YOUR team (cuz then you will win... It's like they have telepathy or something!). Yes, they have been an incredible support through this hard journey and yes, I am so incredibly blessed by them both... In their own ways, not just as a set... And yes, they often have to sit back-to-back to open gifts even still!
Love you Kori and Keri!!!
From your older, and wiser (by 18months but it totally counts), 'not-the-twin' big sis

Savoring

Taking some cancer-free days. Not thinking or talking about it. Just enjoying my family around.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Thank you.

Alvin & The Chipmunks: Christmas Don't Be Late (video):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrBMEZHTWsQ

When my sisters and I were kids the cartoon characters of Alvin and the Chipmunks had an awesome Christmas movie that I looked forward to every year.  We might even have had the record copy of the movie, I'm not sure.  I just know that it was funny, and Alvin was sneaky and always in trouble but his heart was in the right place.  In the Christmas movie Alvin gives his brand new 'golden harmonica' to a sick little boy...and then needs that harmonica for a special Christmas concert he is to play in at Carnegie Hall.  Of course Alvin now has to scramble (including dressing up as Santa to sell photos) to earn some money to buy a new 'golden harmonica' before his Dad, Dave, finds out!  Ah, the silly fun and antics of those little chipmunks living in a big human world... loved it!  The touching moment of the movie is that the little boy, Timmy, is so sick that he might die... but then the genersouity of Alvin's gift warms the little boys heart and buoys his spirit to the point of full recovery and even playing a duet at Carnegie Hall with Alvin! The way Alvin receives his replacement harmonica is due to the kindness of a stranger (who looks a lot like Mrs. Claus, if you ask me!).  Timmy is recovered, Alvin plays Carnegie Hall and doesn't get in trouble... It's a Christmas miracle!!!  Ahhh, warms the heart just remembering all the love and kindnesses packed into that one little movie, and Timmy's recovery gets me choked up every time.

For the last many weeks I have wanted to post a thank you... but my heart has just been too overwhelmed by kindnesses to get the words out.  I lay in bed (at my usual 4am awake time...today it's 5am so that's better!) and in my mind write blog posts to you as a group, note cards to you individually, and I make phone calls (even though I have no idea who many of you are...in my mind I use my super librarian researching skills and somehow get my gratitude to you!).

To every one of you who has sent love, who has been praying (either once or without ceasing and every quantity of prayer in between), who has sent meals or gift cards, who has sent mail by post or be email or by Facebook message or by word-of-mouth through my extended family... to the lady who stopped by my table at the foodcourt yesterday when I was at the mall with my sisters to tell us that you were praying for me... wow.  wow.  wow.  Happy tears are welling up.

I am just so very deeply touched.  I cannot fully fathom how much love your actions and thoughts would all add up to.  Love for me.  For my family.  For peace and for healing and for victory over this cancer and the fears.  Each one of you, whether you let me know it or not...I feel your love, I know you are praying, my heart holds that love and those prayers lift me up, dance around me... I feel God's faithfulness in answering your prayers... I am just so incredibly grateful.  I wonder even if my gratefulness will ever be deep enough to cover the magnitude of love I know you all are sending?  I am humbled.  Your kindnesses are a 'golden harmonica' blessing to me, my husband, our four children, my sisters, my parents, my in-laws, my brother-in-law and his fiance, our closest friends, the other readers of this blog and my Facebook wall, the prayer chains praying, the readers from as far from Canada as Iraq and Guatemala and Finland and Mexico and Japan and Luxembourg... connected.

We are connected by the kindnesses and love and prayers that we share.  I am just so good-overwhelmed that you are sharing so much of that with me.  I truly value it as the best medicine.  I truly am greedy that you don't stop.  I am just happily-mind-boggled and bamboozled...gobsmacked, even...that you have all come around me to share the burden of this cancer diagnosis.  I pray that God will bless you, that He will keep you, that He will bring you extra measures of His perfect Joy this holiday season and throughout the year.  I am a hugger... I love to hug.  This shoulder pain and mobility issue has made hugging a difficulty over the past few months but I have adjusted to being a pretty good one-arm hugger...


I am sending you each my very best hug... my heart swelling with gratitude, my mind just happily unable to grasp the grandness of your love towards me.  Thank you.

Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.
Sincerely, and Merry Christmas!!!
Kristin

Friday, December 21, 2012

Brain won't rest

Didn't sleep well last night. Neither did Shawn. I was in discomfort at my sharkbite and back and coughing a lot. Exhausted today.

My port insertion will be January 4th.

Every time I close my eyes I see a scalpel cutting into me. Cutting my skin open to shove a thing under my skin so the chemo nurse can poke through it for the medicine that will hopefully evaporate my cancer.

I can't close my eyes. I get so scared of that scalpel.

My academic brain knows that my emotional brain is just overwhelmed. But I am scared to close my eyes.

Best not to be alone to think too much today. So much info from the chemo teach and I am too not-rested to let my mind wander through and process.

Shawn took the kids to their school Santa Breakfast, we didn't think I should be with all the people and germs and commotion. Anonymous crowds are okay. Seeing people for the first time since cancer diagnosis is really hard and must be managed in smaller batches.

Hope today finds you smiling and laughing with the joys of the season... I'm going to do that, too!!! I choose joy.

Kristin

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Chemo Teach (workshop...boot camp...class)

Today is Chemo Teach day. 9am. These things are always so early. Mornings are difficult for me. I was awake at 6am after a good 7hr sleep... but by 10am will be ready for a nap. The Chemo Teach is 2-3 hours. That's a long time to walk around and listen and learn and be overwhelmed with a whole lot of information and reality. And it's a group thing... which means rebuffing the emotions and fears that may be in the air around every single person in the group.

I stood in the shower this morning, my mind wandered to sitting in the waiting room, touring, how that's going to physically feel (I'm still not walking great distances) especially since I am going in feeling exhausted...and I started bawling, no tears, no sound. Just this big huge cry that couldn't get out. So grateful for the recharge that is my kids' giggles, listening to them sing Christmas songs, hearing them obeying Daddy's requests. Gotta keep filling my love and joy reserves. Yesterday was a big day. It takes a solid day or two for my brain to process.

When I sit in these meetings my ears receive the information but my brain is pretty numb. I feel... hot and warm and cold all at once. And I feel like a punch to the gut and lightheaded. And it is like being in a vaccuum...still, silent. alone. I am aware of my husband in the room, and/or my mom. But I cannot bare to look at them. It is too much. Eye contact overwhelms and tears are usually just there. For them. For me. For this whole mess of a situation. And God is there. I feel peace. I feel all of these things and I feel peace. And in the middle of the feeling nothing-and-everything I feel peace. God is good. It is mentally weird to wrap my head around...the afraid and at peace at the same time. I don't question it, I just am aware that it is God and know that I wouldn't want to do this, maybe couldn't do this, without His peace.

Shawn and Mom are coming with me. These are my primary caregivers, it's good for them to be able to hear the information, understand, know, explain to me later as needed... know how to prepare themselves for the task ahead. I can't even think on it. Overwhelms. The level of love and care... mind-blowing.

Feeling so many things. Too much today. Waiting for my port appointment... I'm scared about that. It sounds gross and icky and I worry about being claustrophobic about having that thing in me for the next months... year?!?! How long? Please pray that I am totally not-freaked about the catheter procedure, the process, the thing in my skin just near my shoulder... hopefully the left side?! I have no idea. Pretty much the Cancer Agency phones, or the Hospital phones, and you say yes, I'll be there. I go when they ask. I am fortunate to have an open schedule and a ready fleet of drivers (parents, sisters, in-laws, friends) that I can go wherever, whenever... take the first available appointments, anywhere within the lower mainland. Just go. I feel panic every time the phone rings. The hospital/cancer agency phone number comes through a lot. A really lot. I am so grateful for getting to appointments fast, getting such a quick access to medical intervention and God's healing...but it is a shock every time.

Still haven't wrapped my head around this. I have cancer. Wow. That is the strangest normal thing. It happens. I'm not so special as to be immune from it. Still, very surreal... as is probably any life-threatening, life-altering situation that drops into your day/life/plan/existence. I don't spend a lot of time thinking. I spend a lot of time just cultivating being at peace. Sometimes that means praying, reading the Bible, reading Jesus Calling (book you should definitely get!!!), sitting still and knowing that God is fighting for me, that He loves me, that He is in control. He's got this.

Feeling testy. Feeling tired. Feeling sharp and prickly and nervous and trying hard to shore up against all the movement and talking and faces and noises and memories and emotions that build during the drive to the hospital.

The kids are testy today. That doesn't help me. They are ready for the school Christmas holiday. Son3 is whining (sounds like moo-ing) over his meds this morning. Son4 is listening poorly. Daughter is on the edge of emotional explosion. We are all ... not sure what.

Please, pray peace, pray rest, pray joy, pray thankful hearts and good attitudes for us all. Pray that we will be gracious with one another (my family and yours) and that the Joy of Christmas will permeate each of our days.

With love.
Kristin

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Chemo Doctor

Chemo doctor today: "this kind of cancer responds well to chemo" and "highly unlikely that it is genetically inherited" and "prescription that could take away nausea fully" and "week 1: chemo, week 2: chemo, week 3, off... For up to 6cycles (5months)". Also, hair loss is not a gaurantee, thinning maybe... so bald or not... Could go either way. Feeling positive. She was lovely.

I feel... light. My heart feels... this is do-able. It might be hard, but we can do hard things. I went in feeling peace and nervous. I came home feeling positive and hopeful and good and empowered. God is good, all the time.

I am waiting to hear when I will go for day surgery to have a port-o-cath (long-term IV site) put in. Then I will be ready to start chemo. Given holidays (cancer agency closes for stats ad Saturday's) I am also waiting to hear my chemo start date, I will start within the next two weeks.

And another silver lining... super happy to report that I am up 2lbs!!!! (I lost 20+ over the summer from lack of appetite due to the ibuprofen for my shoulder, lost another 20 since surgery). The nurse laughed, "I've never seen a woman happy to gain weight before!". In his culture (Iraq) a more robust figure is desired... I think he was tickled (happy) to see my happiness.

Thank you for your prayers... Let the happy dancing commence!!!!!

Curious not fearful!?

Today we meet w the oncologist to find out the chemo plan. I am scared and not scared. Nervous and calm. Curious and afraid of side effects. For the most part I feel quiet today. And teary. I keep breaking into tears the last three days. PMS? Wouldn't that just be a freakin' bonus on top of the cramping of stitches and the crazy sore ribs that were banged around during surgery. [eye roll]

Ah well, let us laugh and smile and let ourselves get lost in the joy of Christmas. We woke up to snow and I love it!!!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Only one week til Christmas!!!

Hooray for the last week of school before Christmas break. I am excited to have my family home and with me. I like it when the kids and the daddy are all in this house with me. I am looking forward, as always, to Christmas morning around the tree. We are slow and leisurely and huggy with lots of oohs and aahs and kids telling kids "oh! That's exactly what you wanted!!!" I love it. And we read the nativity story from Luke 2 and we all have moments of silly and silent and excited and it is home. I love it.

Today I am home with son4. He was claiming pukey tummy, though I think he just needs a break from the full days of kindergarten. Holidays are late this year and everyone is feeling it. I have a bit of a dizzy headache and weird tummy, praying I am germ free and will feel better as the day progresses!

Wednesday we meet with the chemo doctor to find out the plan. Please pray that God will lead her to the right chemo for me right off the bat. Pray wisdom and that when she thinks on me she sees the right path and plan for success and healing and remission!!!

I feel... so many things. I just am still mind-boggled that this is happening. That I will spend the next months in chemicals and cures. That I may lose my hair... bald. That everything is changed, but we are all still the same.

Peace, that seems to me the best thing to ask you to pray for. We are okay right now... but waves of sad or scared keep washing over at random moments. For the most part days are good, just lazing on the couch wishing I could help Shawn carry the burden of caring for me, the kids, the house, everything.

So surreal.

So glad for the birth of Jesus, that we can bask in the joy that is the Saviour's birth. Omnipotent God became a dependent baby... laying on the couch these weeks has given me a new perspective on that.

Blessings to you this Christmas!
Kristin

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Saying "NO!" to germs!!!

Lysol disinfectant wipes, masks, hand sanitizer, soap&water, quarrantine, loads and loads of laundry.

Last night son4 came down with 'the pukes'.  Poor guy started throwing up at about 8:00pm and all through the night.  On his bed, on his floor, on his blankets, in the bucket, in the toilet.  The kid is amazing in his efforts to get to the bathroom and we are so sad that he was so ill. 

I was awake in pain but too tired to get up to get meds at 2am.

Son3 was up with bad coughs and stuffy nose and ear ache at 4am.

I finally dragged myself downstairs to take meds at 4:00am and fell fitfully asleep around 5am.

Everyone slept in til 9 and 11 this morning.  Oi.

Please pray extra for us to be germ-free over here.  And pray extra for Shawn as he is now adding Nursing-the-flu and Nursing-an-earache to his list of things to do today.  That man is amazing and I pray stamina and health and all good things for him.

Son4 is asking for food and looking pretty good...ah, the beauty of being 6yrs, you bounce back quick!  Right now he's sipping gingerale "spicey pop" and thinking he's pretty special to have such a treat!

Shawn is going to take Son3 to the doctor for some medicine... Son3 doesn't always cope well at the doctor, so praying Daddy puts on his "what would Kristin do" thinking cap to make a smooth experience for all.  [smile]

Thankful for medicine.  I personally am working on being more willing and more pro-active in taking the meds... it is just such a huge mindgame for me... I just have been so fortunate to not need meds in my life.  I have always been healthy or found herbal remedies (vitamins) to work.  This is a whole new ballgame and tonight I think I'm convinced to take the meds before bedtime because a solid sleep is really the "must do it" thing these days.

Glad for a lazy Saturday.   Son1 has a soccer game tonight at 6pm and tomorrow at 11am...I miss going to his games a lot!  Hoping to make it to Daughter2's swim practice at least once next week... I love watching her swim.  Feeling that I can do "normal"... until I make the effort of putting on pants (and then my sharkbite goes a bit numb and my gut feels heavy) and then I remember "Oh yeah, it's only been 3 weeks post-op and a 9 days after radiation... be patient Kristin.  Be. Patient!!!"   Working on that.  Oi.  Such a game changer this has been.  I'm very used to go, go, go-ing in my days.  Coffee dates with girlfriends, running errands, doing my homework, house stuff, playing with the kids... life stuff.  Now... I'm stopped in my tracks with but one task: rest to heal.  It's strange. 

As my sister pointed out... I hate to miss anything!  

I hope that you are taking time to enjoy the Christmas season.  I know it's busy.  I know it's "one more thing" and the to do list is long.  But... stop in the middle of all the busy and acknowledge that the busy is kinda fun!  Something different in the year.  And we are building up to Jesus' birthday... Christmas Day.

Love this quote: "Don't think too much, you'll create a problem that isn't even there in the first place." [source: FB share]  This photo was taken a few days pre-op.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!
Kristin

Friday, December 14, 2012

Breast surgeon follow-up

8:20 am appointment w breast surgeon today. Even though the biopsy doc said he saw nothing it is part of the process to then see surgeon for biopsy results. I feel confident that surgeon will agree w biopsy doc... I wish they could just phone and let us know. I get nervous about these appointments. Praying no surprises. None. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

UPDATE:
Biopsy results say nothing, dr notes say likely fatty tissue. Breast surgeon said very rare that kidney cancer would travel to breast. Six months follow up mammogram and ultrasound as is protocol.

Thank you Lord. I do not have exuberant joy today, I am exhausted, but I believe You are "rejoicing over me with dancing"!!! Zephaniah 3:17

I am grateful. Shawn and I are so very grateful.

2nd UPDATE: After a nap and lunch we are out finishing Christmas and birthday shopping. Feels good to be out of the house. Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Post-op update

I went in fully believing for great news. While there were no surprises the news was more heavy than Shawn and I had prepared for.

Kidney tumor is the aggressive kind that doesn't have a sure-fire chemo plan. There were two lymph nodes behind the kidney that were affected. The tumor was very close to a major artery. Scary. "what's surprising is that such a small tumour could wreak such havoc... Lungs, scapula".

I will start monthly iv therapy of medicine to strengthen my bones as to increase density to protect me from bone breaks. I will have blood taken monthly to watch my kidney function while chemo happens.

Shawn asked if the kidney was the primary, that seems up in the air.

The surgeon was very pleased that I have an appt with the oncologist next week already. God is good. He just keeps lining things up for us!

Our hearts are so heavy. We are scared and overwhelmed.

Right now I am watching my kids' school Christmas concert. I sure do love these precious gifts.

Please, pray peace and wisdom.

Pray that our chemo doctor finds the right chemo right off the bat. God uses chemo for miracles and we pray for that for me.

Serious, but not hopeless. Please, pray fervently. We had hoped and believed for better news.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Post-op meeting

Sitting back in the surgeon's waiting room. Feeling a whole lot of things. Praying peace and great news. Great news is totally within God's power!!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Pain

Woke up at 4:30 as seems to be the new norm. Took time to pray. Put my left hand gently on my right shoulder, was feeling good. Touched on a spot at the tip of my shoulder that set off fireworks of pain that have not let up. The pain runs down my arm, up my neck, it's throbbing and stabbing. It is now 11:22am and I am waiting to hear from the Cancer Agency Radiation Nursing line, took heavy meds at 7:00, didn't even touch the pain but let me sleep an hour or so. Please pray wisdom and the right meds and that this pain will stop. It's an 8 out of 10, that's pretty harsh.

Mom came because Shawn wouldn't leave me alone. Pray for him, he is a good man. Pray for my mom, she has to listen to my moaning.

Prayers appreciated so much!!!
Kristin

UPDATE:
Mom took me to the doctor at 1:00.  The pain stayed high and I was not able to manage it at all.  My doctor has put me back onto the big meds and I came home pretty drugged and feeling a little loopy.  I don't like it.  Apparently my body wasn't ready to be off everything yet.  I have had a nice two hours nap and am up feeling headachy and a little groggy.  I don't like the meds.  I'm going to figure out a compromise and try once in 24 hrs, not once in 12 hrs.  Don't tell my Mom on me, she'll be mad.  I was in a hard-to-watch level of pain.  Glad for the rest, grateful for meds to try.  Please pray that we can find a compromise as these are the drugs that are extremely constipating and I have no desire to go back to that side effect either!  The pain is definitely way lower, I have discomfort constantly on these meds, but the pain is gone.  So that's awesome.  Thank you for your prayers!!!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Big hairy deal!

Donna Summer called... She wants her big hair back! I had to post this. After so many ponytail days I set my hairs free with a shower and shampoo and this huge mop is what sprung out! Made me laugh!

Today we are celebrating 3 of our 4 November/ December birthday babies. Son1 had his party pre-op. Daughter's birthday is December 23 so we are celebrating hers early for scheduling reasons. I am looking forward to having our home filled with family this afternoon. We have been loved and cared for, prayed over and petitioned for by these amazing people. What a blessing a family with strong roots can be!!!!

I'm feeling better now than I have he last few days. That being said, I have the stamina of a 90yrs old... Well, probably there are 90 yrs olds who could outlast me. I am praying patience for me with me. God will provide!

Have a great day!
Kristin

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Silver lining

Super silver lining of all this laying around is that a) my kids always know where to find me; b) watching tv together is "together enough" for me... no fancy outings needed; c) my children's servant hearts are getting lots of opportunities to care for another...their mother!

Saturday Status Report


Last night was Family Night.  Our first night since all this started that we were all in the same place at the same time, same room even!  We ate dinner together and then took a roll of pre-made gingerbread dough from the fridge, divided it six ways and gave everyone freedom to create.  I made: me!  That girls got heart, meaning love to give.  It was actually quite fun, no mess and just one cookie for each person which is the perfect treat. Also, with the blessing of dinner being brought for us, we didn't have to clean the kitchen up for that either so straight to congregating on the couches we went.  Lovely.

Today, Saturday, has been weird.  I've had a lot of queasy and icky the last two days now.  It sort of crept up on me and I'm not sure if it's from weaning off the narcotics (so glad to be past those!), or maybe because my epidural is finally wearing down (my tummy still feels like it's rubber and not quite there...weird) or just plain tired and post-op...or maybe the radiation?!  Who knows.  Whatever, today I spent much of the day in my cozy bed, trying to get my right bicep to comfort, revelling in the movement of my right shoulder, feeling like I should eat something but nothing appealed.  Weird day.

What I ate today:

- 4 saltine crackers
- 1 huge (venti) water and another 1/2 venti water
- 1 venti gingerale
- 3 pieces of a small BP Royal pizza (no ham, double pepperoni)
- almost the entire starter Mediterranean salad (minus the onion, thank you)
- 1 cough candy (tickle in my throat... please, Lord, no coughs and colds!!!!)
- 2 pieces of raisin bread (almost the whole thing)
- 1/2 orange, small handful of blueberries tossed in Greek Yogurt
- probably an apple yet and some carrot sticks (I crave, crave, crave carrot sticks, weird!)

Feels like I put the bulk of my energy to eating so I wanted to list my meals.  Plus, this blog is my record of the journey and food is always interesting to note.  I miss the joy of sitting down to eat, of smelling the yummy food smells and tasting the yummy tastes.  I know it will come back, right now, I'm adjusting to missing it.

My prayer requests right now:
Please pray away the queasy.  I hate being queasy.  Please also pray for my incisions and ...guts?!  Whatever it is that feels like I'm going to crumple up into a ball and not make it another step.  Please pray for energy and stamina.  Pray for joy.  Please, please pray for joy for me and for my family.  I choose joy and some moments we need the reinforcements of your extra prayings!  I find weepiness creeping up on me, totally naturally, totally understandable, totally fine... just want to keep an eye on that.  [smile]

Thank you for your continued love and support.  Is your Christmas tree up?  Is it even Christmas in whichever country you are reading this blog from?  Maybe not?  What season is it?!  What something special your family does if you do celebrate Christmas?  Let me know... I feel like I'm just always hogging the microphone over here!

Much love,
Kristin

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Miracles

Just back from biopsy. Was so nervous. Took a pain med when we got there because I knew I'd have to lay on my sharkbite.

Got in. Tech did set up. "I'm nervous" I said. She was so nice, explained things. Took preliminary ultrasound measurements.

Dr came in, told him "I'm scared." I laid there praying, remembering to trust. Dr took up the ultrasound wand to find the spot. "where is it?" he asked... "9:30 and 11, 7cm" said tech. Dr looked again, "where?" Tech said "here, I'll find it"

Me praying that God would give wisdom to this guy... he seemed confused.

Dr. "that's it? That's breast tissue."

Me "what?"

Dr "the radiologist must have been very good, I wouldn't have seen anything"

Me, trying not to burst out praising Jesus as needle was coming at me.

Dr did take three samples (me, "I don't like that" cuz he had to dig to try and find something). He said "the report will say can't rule out cancer because lab doesn't have context. Looking at the ultrasound I can tell you not to lose sleep, it's nothing.

Me, "Nothing nothing?"

Dr, huge smile!

NOTHING NOTHING!!!!

Miracles my friends!!! Miracles!!!

When I was laying there working at calm I saw Jesus standing beside me, not just his presence but him. He was chuckling, just looking at me with a 'I got this, you know it and I know it...' and I smiled. I felt brightened and lifted up. And then "nothing, nothing"!!!!

Seriously!!!!

God, I thank you. Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!

Celebration cake:

Awesome in this place

When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll. Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say, even so, it is well with my soul. God is awesome in this place. Even though I am weepy and arming hard to maintain calm.

Change of plans

Hospital just called. Due to job action tomorrow my biopsy is today at 3:00. I am having a panic moment. I am scared. Nervous. Wimpy. Don't want to go to the hospital today. Was my day off. Scared. I'm sure it will be fine, I am praying peace and peace and peace. And the radiologist said it was a small shadow so I am claiming victory and no cancer. And I am asking you, again, still, always... Please pray.

Mom is here. Shawn is on his way from work. I'm scared.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Emotions and pains and grumpiness, oh my.

Today was okay. Didn't sleep enough but felt like I had slept too much, fuzzy head. Last radiation and feeling a little lost. 39 days of life feeling like someone yanked a drawer out of the kitchen cupboard and shook it all around, plans and life and everything just everywhere.

Was enjoying a quiet evening of Duck Dynasty (tv show) with hubby and kids when shoulder stab hit. Took meds, doubled over with queasy. Empty tummy didn't eat enough today. Trying to eat or have a protein smoothie all through the day. Feels like all I do is try to convince myself to eat things that just don't appeal. Headache. Stiff neck. From all the sleeping. Mixed blessings [smile].

Went for a big walk just now. Eyes mostly closed, thanks hubby for not letting my wobbly self fall off the sidewalk.

Feeling whiny and weeping and totally bitchy and mean. Still seeing silver linings: fresh air, rain drops lightly refreshing my face, legs to walk me, a nice and safe neighborhood. Food to come home to and enjoy [still not feeling interested in food, so fingers crossed-lol].

Just feeling ... Bamboozled. Weird. Exhausted. Lazy. Missing from my own life. Glimmers of normal, so loved being cuddled on the couch w son4. Little one is my biggest cuddler and every time he comes running up to me for a hug he stops just short and I see his mind trying to remember how to touch me and not hurt my shoulder or sharkbite. I hate that he has this fear. I love that he is so thoughtful and considerate. Precious.

God is good. All the time.

May your evening be peaceful!

Radiation 5

Last one!
Check this step off the list, we did it... well, in about 15 minutes! Yay us!!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

love and kindness grown here

Last night was the TeamKristin fundraiser that my two friends have been planning. All day I have been thinking of how best to articulate my gratitude and the cozy-blanket-straight-from-the-warmer love that was spilling out of the venue as we walked up. I have no words. There was so much love. So much connection and support and caring and smiles and hope and joy and friendship. And it wasn't just for me... I fear rock star status, let us never forget this is bigger than just me, this is God at work, drawing us together, drawing us to Him, filling our hearts. The love and caring was for all of us... It was my sister's co-workers coming to support her, my parents' friends coming to support them, friends of Diane's coming to support a cause dear to her, it was my other sister's co-workers and friends coming to support her... The connections running through that room: priceless.

I wish I could say it better. I am just so love-cup-filled for having walked through and received the smiles and hugs and care.

Thank you Diane and Erika. Thank you so much to all who came and contributed and brought the love.

Thank you.

Radiation 4

Done! Only one more to go!

This morning's appointment was early at 9:26am. Did the treatment and then cam home for a 3hrs nap! I woke up stiff from sleeping the wee hours on the couch (laying flat in bed makes my chest tight so I switched out of bed), then to be anywhere before 11:00... My hospital schedule was pretty slow-mornings and posh!

Tomorrow is my final radiation.

Friday I have a biopsy for the shadow on my right breast. Got that call late yesterday and then the date/time thus morning. I'm scared... Apparently their is a "burning sensation" when they freeze the biopsy spot and this morning I was feeling tired of sore sharkbite and sore shoulder and sore neck and don't touch the radiation shoulder and make sure to take the meds and and and.

Thankful for a huge nap. Things are brighter now.

Silver linings:
a) super nice tech told me she had no pain through her biopsy!
b) same tech also had her kidney out fifteen years ago!!!
c) the agency nurse was able to meet w me as a drop-in, and then spoke
to their doc, to adjust my meds... I cannot take my beloved anti-inflammatory meds for the next six days due to biopsy... I was concerned to have no pain management plan and God provided, no problem!

Sitting on the couch, watching tv w my husband. Like. Like. Like.

Monday, December 3, 2012

And it's all mine.

Noise.
Busy.
Fast-paced.
Floral bouquets.
Baskets and cards.
Kibbutzing (meaning the silly-fun play, almost wrestling, just before crying starts!).
Meals provided.
Cookies on the counter.
Kids playing all around.
I am home.

Thank you God, you brought us through!!!

Please forgive, I am asking no visitors yet this week as I adjust to home and have three more days of radiation.

Keep praying and texting and dropping notes, k? I read and re-read everything you send!

Kristin

Fundraiser... TONIGHT!

Team Kristin is so appreciative of the encouragement, donations and support for tonight's fundraiser. We are happy to report its SOLD OUT!

Here are just a couple things you should know:
- if you have spoken for a ticket, it will be at the door with your name on it
- doors open at 6:30
- please being cash or cheque for the auction or team Kristin merchandise (sorry no credit or debit available)

It should be a really great night of support for Kristin, Shawn and family. Thank-you for being a part of it!!

Team Kristin



Sunday, December 2, 2012

Never alone

My request coming in to this hospital stay was that I never be alone. Yes, God is with me always. Yes, I know your thoughts and prayers are with me and holding me up. But my love language is "meaningful touch" and "time spent". What a very blessed and spoiled girl I am to have had loved ones around me at every turn. Day and night! My family is incredible, they have lavished love on me in such epic and subtle and huge and quiet ways. I am so blessed.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Thankful

Thankful for amazing medical staff and kind and patient nurses. Thankful for meds to dull the pain and apple butter on toast from a stocked hospital ward kitchen. Thankful for the smile of volunteers coming to pray. Thankful for a new and high-tech hospital and cancer center just minutes from home. So many silver linings and miracles along the way. Thankful, very thankful.

Answered prayer

After a long couple of days with no luck in the loo, tonight I share success! Bowel movement accomplished. Trust me when I say mom and I were singing praises in this hospital room!
Thank you for praying. Seriously, thank you! Look, rainbows and ponies and lollipops... Next topic!

2:00 am w LaLaLuna

Meet LaLaLuna, my sweet little sister-friend-giftie from Kori and Keri. Tonight we are taking a walk cuz I have wicked gas pains in my side. These are some of the things we see on our nightly adventure hikes.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Night Fancy

Taking it easy, enjoying time relaxing w my hubby at the hospital tonight. Truly, madly, deeply, cherish you. I love you Shawn.

Radiation 2

Took pain meds.
Had 75 staples removed from shark bite.
Had second radiation.
Had a big sleep after.
No pain to report!
That was a full 3 hours!
Praising God from whom this blessing flowed!

This is me getting lined up just right for radiation today. The procedure itself does not hurt and the techs are so sweet and kind:
Relaxing after a big walk.

Quietly marveling

Good Morning. Slept 8hrs + 4hrs. Am just waked up and sitting in the quiet. Mom is sleeping on her cot. I am marveling at how the radiation feels like it is working. Not that I doubted it would but... After four months of pain, something feels... Different. Like, for real different. ?!? Soaking this in, rolling the information around to see what I can make of it. I think this what a miracle feels like. Quietly marveling.
A little hot and a little nauseas but fresh air and a shower are today's plan. Breakfast will help, too. My shoulder feels... Different good.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Radiation Update

Radiation was good.  No fears, no problems.  Thank you Jesus. Grateful.
Side effect ...Hurting, throbbing  shoulder.  Not as bad as has been at home but pretty darn bad. Pray medicine works fast! Thank you.

First radiation

Praying success on the first shot!

Sitting by the dock in the bay...

Well, not actually. But I do have a lovely big room w a view to trees and grass! I keep meaning to post to you all that I am doing okay. I am not spending every moment in pain. Even on the super wowza first post-op days I didn't feel overwhelmed 100% of the time. Peace that passes all understanding, meaning "it just makes no sense to feel peace in that particular moment" has been here throughout the days. This morning was a rushed wake up and then the big first visit to the cancer agency. That threw me, stunned me to no words, but it didn't last foe the day. My dad brought me my special requested smoothie, I had a little nap, we shared some tears, mom read some Jesus Calling, the mood lightened, we smiled and shared lunch (I am very generous with sharing my special hospital lunches...tee hee), went for a walk around the block, now we are kicking back hospital-style. Moods, they sway like the grasses along aide that dock. Sometimes the dock dips and bobs and makes me queasy (super gross), but the storms blow in and then they blow out or move on.

Have peace, dear friends. I don't want you worrying that I am sitting huddled and broken in a dark hospital room for hours on end... moments maybe, but good moments with smiles and everyhing, too.

Today I was wanting to play UNO. Go figure!

LOL

Inked

My person was nice. Explained things. Patient. They take photos of your face for your file, your markings, your measurements. Was comforting to see cameras digital cameras in the office, on the CT scan table... Felt like home. God is in the details.

Cancer radiation appt

Pray. Please. Overwhelmed.

...and please shine my diva crown

Mom is making me toast. 4:00am.
What would I have done without her this past week? She has always been a servant-heart. Ask anyone. This is a known truth. The running joke this week has been what a diva I feel as she tends to my every need as my mommy seeks to help her daughter through, and my every want as her heart aches to do anything in her power make sure I eat, rest, heal. She laughs. She hates how hard she has seen some moments to be, how embarrassing to have your mom wash you, put on your deodorant...hug you even if you didn't wear any for days.

She is a miracle in this. Pray blessings over her.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Radiation

Mark up appointment tomorrow morning. Radiation in the afternoon. Another amazing doc fitting me into the roster. So grateful! God is making miracles and holding me close.

Shawn brought the kids up tonight. Man, I just can't get enough of them. Missing them more each day. Missing 'every day normal boring' w my family.

Realization hitting me in fits and spurts as my mind clears a bit and as the post-op grogginess shifts and changes into "this is life with cancer, I'm doing it".

Just keep praying, okay?

Day 8 post-op

Shawn just reminded me of what I said last week, "I just can't wait til next Wednesday."

Well, here I am and today has been tough. Sharkbite is hurting today. Shoulder is okay, rather than on content pain it is stabbing shooting pain. Gut issues. Meds are starting to make me wonky.

So glad my husband is here today. If I had a million dollars I would have him take the year off work. I miss him.

My mom has been here every night Shawn can't, and most days. No one can cold-cloth-slap the fever away like that woman. She has a system that has saved many an overwhelmed moment.

My mom-in-law has been taking care d the kids afterschool each day! So glad they have someone to go home to each day.

My dad has become Papa's Taxi and he's quickly figured out the drive schedule for extracurriculars.

We are blessed with such love and support!!!! Unreal.

Nothing too trivial

Ah, humility. Laying down my privacy walls. Let us never speak of this again. Knowing God is the God of real life... Please pray for a bowel movement.

Isn't it wonderful how we can just straight up talk to God? About huge things (remove this cancer Lord), huge to us things (please help me figure out this math before tomorrow's exam), mundane things (thank you Lord for dishes, they have a tale to tell, though others may be hungry, our family is eating rather well ~ old wisdom from Grandma's house), trivial but still there things (Lord, please help me find a way to get this strawberry seed out of my teeth). If it matters to you, it matters to Him. He loves you, that's all there is to it! Talk to Him.

And now, let us laugh it off and have a great day!
Thanks Team!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The next big dose of real

Met the lovely radiologist today. Words have to be said out loud. Questions have to be asked. Facts must be laid out. I appreciated her holding back from too much in a bedside consult, I suspect that tomorrow's radiology appointment will require a clearing of blinders. Like those fancy window blinds that shade out at the touch of a button. Please Lord, let every member of this team be patient and kind in how many levels or shades they reveal at once.

The last two days have found me unable to answer basic questions, "is the ice colder or as cold?" and "on a scale of 1 to 10 where is your pain?"

My thinking is tired. I am at a wall of resting and slooooow processing. Love the deep afternoon sleeps this has brought.

Please pray for courage and clarity and success! The radiation is for pain relief from this crazy-bad shoulder. It will work a tiny bit, it'll work half, it might not work at all, it might work fully. Praying it works fully! Thank you for praying with me. Tomorrow is a CT can to map the right scapula, actual 15 minute radiation appointment will be possibly tomorrow afternoon or in the next two days. Side effects are flare-up pain... She said it is good I am having this in hospital so I can be close to help, "they will know what to do".

Thank you Lord! Thank you for the strange medicines that can produce fabulous results. Thank you for breathing the dreams and visions to the scientists and medical staff, that they caught your vision and work with it right here in my town. Wonders. The vastness of the awesome-God-ness of all these things is just so very cool!!!

Hubby is coming tonight. Son and my parents came up tonight. Missing my family... Planning skip days for our year!!!

Give a little love extra tonight... Text or email or (gasp!) show up on a doorstep for a hug!

Love you Team Kristin!!!

Day 6 post op

Able to hold my phone and type and think! Victory moment! I even ate lunch today, thanks excellent cheerleaders who encouraged me though a 1/4 sandwich, three 1/2 apricots, half of a Sbucks green smoothie, and attempts and the cauliflower soup and the coleslaw.... Glad my facial expressions gave entertainment! lol

Epidural is out (Sunday) and we r trying to figure out this new pain management. Sharkbite is managing along. Shoulder was wicked bad for much of the last two days. Feeling tired but slowly getting better at heaving myself out of bed without any use of either arm.

Praise: IV clinic nurse was able to find a new iv site on her second try! Praise God!

Praise: bone scan results are in. As there are a bzilliom bones in this body, and given the thorough extra screening, I was worried they would find more trouble. What they found was one small pre- pre- probably arthritis spot. Because of what's all going on in my body they sent me for a hip X-ray. Got in the same day!!! God is good good good!!!!

I keep hearing reports of people connecting to pray, to plan, to prepare food, all sorts of lovely kindnesses and prayer warrior-ing!

Thank you Thank you Thank you.
So very grateful.
Kristin

Monday, November 26, 2012

Need a new IV

Thankful they figured out what was going on. Scared about finding the new site.

Bye-bye robot boots!

You did a great job, thank you!

Day 5 post op 11:00am

Look, out of bed and sitting up!
After i posted at 4:02 this am God answered your prayers and kept the iv in, even when the blood pressure cuff
tried to blow it out of me. Slept such a good sleep til 10:00! Thank you pray-ers!

Have has a cleanup and brushed my teeth, huge walk and sat up to eat breakfast! Look, not in bed!!

God is hearing your words to Him and He knows your hearts. Talk to Him throughout your day, even about not me! I don't aim to be a diva of your prayer time. God just plain loves talking with you. Listen... What is he saying to
you today? Maybe "go read a book w your kid", maybe "why not leave a love not for your spouse?"

He knows the desires of tour heart, He put them there and He will give you
Signposts along the way. You just have to be open to seeing them/ hearing Him. It's quite awesome!

Love you.

Prayer request

I have difficult veins. My iv site is having trouble and if we lose it ( falls out) they fear a new one won't be found. Please pray for strength in this site, wisdom, bravery.
Kristin

Sunday, November 25, 2012

TEAM KRISTIN

Kristin has an army of amazing friends! Thank-you to all who have been providing meals for her family while she is in the hospital, this is a HUGE blessing for a very appreciative family!!

Also, her amazing friends are planning a fantastic fundraiser. In situations like this we all want to help, so this is a great way to show your support. If you have already bought tickets, THANK-YOU!! If you are planning on coming and haven't bought tickets please do so ASAP.

Details:
TEAM KRISTIN is doing a fundraiser on Dec 3rd at 6:30 pm at the Roasted Grape on South Fraser Way, Abbotsford. Tickets are $25 and must be purchased in advance, please email Diane at teamkristin@live.com to purchase. There are only 75 tickets in total, don't miss out! We have many Team Kristin items for purchase (you're part of the team, show it!!) and just in time for Christmas we'll have a great silent auction!

Appies, wine and non-alcoholic drinks(and food for purchase) will be served while we get together and unite as Team Kristin. Please email teamkristin@live.com with requests for tickets or if you've got any donations for the silent auction.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Day 3 post-op (evening)

Thank-you all for your continued prayers, we are very grateful!

Kristin has some specific prayer requests:
- some meds are making her very very hot (not the sexy good kind!) but the yucky unbearable kind.
- some meds are making her very dizzy (meaning eyes closed, lights off) making it very hard for her to do the therapy work that they would like her to do.

Praise:
- Have some of the most compassionate & caring nursing staff you could hope for (tears), these people are double checking, asking detailed questions making sure they are getting it right. I am so grateful!

- Doctors and nursing staff from other teams are watching over me and my progress and offering support, such a huge blessing!

- Today was super crazy dizzy but still managed to get out of bed 7 times. Celebrating the victories with a grateful heart!

Please keep praying over these next few days as epidural comes out and pain management becomes a new thing to figure out.
Praying continued peace that we will keep moving forward with positive heart and success... And an appetite!

Thank-you so much Kristin
PS~ tomorrow son3 is turning 8. Pray that he and I can connect for his special day cuz this momma misses her kids something fierce!

Day 3 post-op

Listening to the quiet sounds. The clicking of the robotic socks keeping my legs in circulation... Tee hee library joke. The soft whoosh of the mechanical miracle holding my meds and holding the medicine bags that merge into one needle at my arm. Grateful for the miracle of that merge... One needle folks... In a process of pin pricks by the day, so thankful for God's technology. Overall the days are so much better than I thought, though parents and sisters and hubby will tell you it's been a trekk. God is for sure answering prayers.
Love and hugs to you!
Kristin

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Surgery Update

Our Family thanks each and every one of you for standing with us in prayer today for Kristin. Surgery is over, she is in recovery, she did well!

Please leave your 'get well messages' in the comments of this post so that the next time Kristin signs in she will see all the angels who have been thinking and praying for her today.

** Please note: Kristin is not up to visitors at the moment. Please contact Kori or Keri if you wish to visit when she is ready. Thank-you **

Now

In at 9:15, surgery at 9:30.

2.5 hours surgery

Feeling ok

Be thou my vision

This morning, as I drifted gently awake and into this day, God gave me a vision. He showed me the operating room, His light and sweet presence filling the place. Preparing this day for me. The soft pink and warm yellow light quietly and slowly swirling, peace and the perfume of His love filling into every corner of every space my body will be in today in that hospital and on this journey. Praise you Jesus. You are good. Praise God from whom this blessing flows.

Good Morning Surgery Day!

Good Morning Team Kristin!

God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory: peace, love, patience...
~my interpretation, Philippians 4:19

Having a peace-filled morning. Time with God. Praying peace for my family and friends and prayer warriors. Remembering how much I truly trust in the Lord. Resting in His omnipotence today.

May your eyes be open to God's awesomeness, even somewhere seemingly trivial or that you didn't think of before! Have a great day!!! Smile! God loves you and so do I!

Kristin

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Peaceful slumber

Goodnight all. Feeling peaceful, trusting for a good sleep. Thank you for your kind thoughts, your encouragement, your love and prayers. We are truly grateful.
Kristin

Twas the night before

Fasting and cleansing and pain.  Not a great combination but definitely did better than I though I would.  Am planning on staying up super late to keep sipping and replenishing clear fluids to plump up my veins.  Plus, I figure I'll sleep longer in the morning. 

My parents and my sisters spent the evening, just hanging out.   Would have been a perfect night had there been appies and board games and Boney M Christmas playing in the background.  Was a good night even as it was. 

And then my kids got sad.  I was doing good until they weren't.

Oh babies.  Get behind them Satan, you shall not prevail in my children's lives!  God is in control and He has a plan and He will take care of us with His huge and loving heart.

Stomach cramps from an empty tummy chomping pain meds.  Sore shoulder and arm because I'm a fraidy-cat and keep putting off the next round of meds due to said 'empty tummy'.

Feeling hopeful for tomorrow.  Praying for only good news and good surprises and good good good all over the day!!!!!

My sis will post an update for you after 8pm tomorrow night.

Thank you for your prayers.
Kristin

Pre-op Prep: body and mind and emotions



Awesome In This Place - Dave Billington

Today has been a good day.  Up and at 'em this morning to send the kids off on their days.  Shawn and I took them to the bus stop and then had a nice walk in the sunshine-and-winter weather.  Yay for our cozy winter parkas, it was brisk!  Had two dear friends stop in for a visit.  Pulled our biggest kids from school for a Ditch Day movie matinee.  Got home and I fell into a too-deep nap, woke up with a shakey-headachey yuck feeling.  Time to hydrate and then drink the magic pre-op potion and stay close to the toilet for the evening.  Not a fan of the rules of this whole thing.  So many timelines and so many different meds to balance and to keep on top of ... and I've only got three or four things.  Kudos to those of you who are medicine-reliant or who have kids who are.  You are clearly a time management whiz!

Feeling the light-headedness of no food today.  Going to try consumme to see if it helps any.  My body likes protein and the meat-free of today is feeling as yuck as I figured it would.  Grateful I made it to 5:13pm before the shakes hit.  Today was a good day.  This evening will be a good evening.  Low key, no wild partying for me, but that's okay.

The hospital called:  I check in at the surgery ward at 8:00am tomorrow morning.  Am feeling calm about that.  I feel that this evening will be a bit of work, to keep my emotions in check.  I am grateful that I will get to see the kids in the morning before we head to surgery.  An extra kiss and cuddle with those four will be good.  And difficult.  But tears are okay.  I'm stronger than I think.  I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

Please, pray for the surgery, the medical team.  Pray for clear margins and a clean surgery with no complications.  Pray for a gentle recovery.  Pray for my husband as he waits.  Pray for my parents and sisters and in-laws as they wait.  Pray peace over this entire situation.  Pray success and health and healing.  Pray for my nerves, all of our nerves.  Pray for whatever God lays on your heart as you are thinking of me.  I am greedy, so greedy for your prayers.  I also know that God has got this.

Me, I have shake my foot or bounce my leg as a coping mechanism.  Always have.  It's something my Dad does and he starts all the babies in our family on this leg-shaking thing early on.  It drives Shawn nuts but he kindly tolerates it because he recognizes it as me struggling and me trying to cope.  Here's the verse I am clinging to, "The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still." Exodus 14:14

I have prayed.  You have prayed.  I know that so many of you have risen early, prayed me through these days, held me and held my family up to our Heavenly Father in prayers.  I can't help but think that God is beaming for all the time we all have spent with Him these last 22 days.  I love it.  Thank you so much.  May you feel peace as you wait to hear.  May you feel peace in whatever else is going on in your own lives.  You are amazing and I am so grateful for the loving kindness and prayer warrior-ness you have shown me and my family.  Thank you.  So very much.

My sister will post an update after 8:00pm tomorrow night.  I want to be sure that you aren't all panicked or worried if the day drags out longer than we hoped... sometimes surgeries get bumped, sometimes this girl takes a loooong time to wake up from anesthesia. 

Psalm 27:13

13 I believe[a] that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living!

Proverbs 31

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.

Fundraising: Team Kristin

From my amazing friends:



A Team Kristin Fundraiser is being held on December 3rd, 2012 at 6:30pm at The Roasted Grape Cafe, 33757 South Fraser Way, Abbotsford. Tickets are $25 each and must be purchased in advance by contacting Diane at teamkristin@live.com

Canadian Kristin is facing a long battle. We, her friends and family, are hosting a fundraiser to help them with anything they may need. Money for gas, groceries, medication, babysitting or even a family get-away. Please consider helping us show Kristin the love of our community.

teamkristin@live.com

solidarity

Oh my hilarious husband.  He is fasting with me. 

"It's almost 12:00 o'clock, and then we will have tea.  And there will be three minutes of silence to refocus.  Solidarity!!!" [fist pump in the air]

Dude, you crack me up... go eat a sandwhich!!!

fasting day

Today is "fasting day".  24 hours. Nothing but water and juice and jello and meds.  So many rules.  I'm a rule follower and so lists of rules sort of freak me out a little until I figure them out...yes, I'm a nerd!  [smile]

Had some pain in the night but was able to manage it without meds.  Just rocking and breathing and praying.  It was actually quite peaceful.  Was thinking on "the fasting day" and trying to remember the Biblical value of prayer and fasting... something about focusing on God, I'm sure.  I feel focused.  I feel that the last few weeks, 22 days since "diagnosis day", have been a focused time.  The things of earth were dropped away... not eating, people cleaning my house, grandparents running kids to extracurriculars, really feeling God's presence around me in a unique way.  I've always felt His presence, never questioned it, but this has been a different, precious sort of thing.  Can't quite articulate it, just loving the feeling of it... like when the sun is shining through the window and you find that perfectly warm spot on the couch and just can't help but falling into restful slumber.  I quite like it.  God is good.  All the time.

You know those fake tears in movies... where the actor's eyes aren't even wet but a tears just rolls down.  I've had that.  I've never experience that before this... and it is always in the most peace-filled moments.  I like to think of it as peace washing over me, literally, washing down my cheek.  It is interesting and it is God.  I like it.

Overall, this has been a good experience.  The cancer sucks.  The intensity of pain sucks.  The scary bits suck.  But the peace that comes rushing in is amazing.  And we will all be better for this experience, so that's pretty interesting to watch unfold.  Let's look on this as an adventure, spin it in your mind to the positive.  Let us be bold in proclaiming our love for each other.  Let us be bold in telling the people we care about that we care about them.  Let us be bold in sharing kindness and let us be gracious and gentle with each other.  There are parts of this that are too big for my mind to process, so I cry it out or freak out, but you know, there are so many good parts.  And the freak-outs are surprisingly quick to pass, like a spring rain shower.  Sort of refreshing and then it moves on.

I love hearing of friends of friends who are reading my blog and feeling encouraged.  I love knowing that there have been over 5,000 views of this blog already.  Just think how we are all connected and we are all touching the lives of others we might never have met.  That is pretty darn cool!  You are encouraging people when you encourage me... look at that ripple effect!  Awesome!!!

I am not naive.  I know that this could get a lot, lot, lot harder before it gets easier.  I know that I will not always feel this mellow or positive.  Maybe.  God is pretty miraculous.  My emotional keeping-it-together can be nothing short of a miracle.  Honest.  I'm a door-slamming, chatchki throwing she-devil when I'm angry.  Yep.  Not all sunshine and roses over here... but in this...  I feel quiet.  I feel that the cancer-y stuff is too big to process and to handle on my own, so I just keep laying it down at God's feet.  And I am blessed with a husband who could not be doing this supporting role any better... this guy's prayers get me distracted from my pain and get me on the right track to focusing on God rather than my stupid shoulder or my worries or my scareds.  Please, pray for Shawn.  This man is heartbroken and feeling all the emotions we are all feeling...and he has to watch his wife going through this.  I feel so sad for him.  I feel so glad for him when the pain is managed and I can relief brighten his face. 

Our children are doing... well. 
Our oldest (son1, 14yrs) is starting to show strain from the weight of this unknown.  He wants to be strong for me, to be okay so as not to burden me.  Sweet K, you are good and kind and compassionate and stellar.  And you are a kid.  You can be sad or mad or smile or even still just go outside and laugh and longboard with your friends.  I love your positive attitude that "the tumor is small, they'll just get it out, it's no big deal".  You are amazing, son!   

Our daughter (11yrs next month) is hugging extra any time she leaves the room... more hugs, one last squeeze, "can I get you anything?" "do you need help with that?"  This girl's heart for me has shown itself in a new and precious way in these last few weeks.  She is quite factual and finds solace in the "surgery will remove it" stuff.  I love her combing my hair, though it takes me a LOT of patience cuz she has to learn it and have you ever tried to do someone else's hair in a mirror... tricky! ... or massaging my feet or rushing to get me my ice pack.  Her servant heart has never been so evident to me as now.  This girl will make a great pharmacist or surgeon one day!

Our son3 (turning 8yrs this weekend) is Mr. Actual Factual and isn't too phased by all the emotions around here but is the one to just speak to the elephant in the room... "it's the cancer" or "that's the cancer" is his blurted statement when I am speaking in covert sentences to a visitor.  That kid cracks me up.  I can see that he is starting to feel unsettled by the "things are different" around here, he thrives on routine and our routines are way off right now.  He is sweet and tender and making lots of efforts to say "I love you" and give kisses.  Such treasure to me!

Our son4 (turning 6yrs next weekend) is the emotional barometer around here.  This little person can pinpoint an emotion and will rush to service from about 20 paces!  If I am quiet or sad, without even having let out a sob, this dear one has come to put his hand on my shoulder, or bring me a blanket, or ask, "are you crying?".  How does he do that?!  Just such a tender heart.  I am in awe of his compassion and empathy.

The kids are okay.  We aren't talking about medical stuff or doctor-y stuff too much.  We barely mention the surgery though that will be the topic for family time this after-school... with the ages and stages of the kids, the timing and telling of information (and of how much or what) is the tricky bit.  We don't want them to be scared, but it is unkind to not allow them time to be prepared emotionally for this next step.  Mommy is having a big operation with a big recovery, and that's maybe just the start of more appointments and more treatments and such.  My heart wants them to be spared too much "big" and I want more than anything to guard their innocence and their hearts from being hardened.  I am an individualist... to me this means that I take you as you are, for who you are, in this moment, today.  And that is how I have mothered and raised up these kids.  And that is how I plan to coach them through my cancer.  Please pray for these dear ones.  It makes my heart happy to know how much my...our... Shawn's and my children are loved and supported.

And there is a squirrel on the fence. Just like every other day.  He's hopping across the fence panels.  Tra-la-la.  Just another day. 

May you feel blessed.
Kristin

PS~ Mmmm, I want a sandwich.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

Listening in

Listenning in on my family's dinner conversation. I had a lovely-busy day w company and then Christmas shopping and errands w my mom. I am resting on the couch. I find it very hard to be with my kids. My heart, on any given day, is overcome with love for those dear little people. I am impressed by them, in love with how their minds work, I love their creativity and their connections to each other. On a perfectly normal day I can be found hugging my beloved children, tears flowing from a joyful heart. Add the cancer-y current circumstance and the tears come all the quicker, are harder to stop. I don't actually want them to stop. I love that my kids know that these tears come from a heart full of love for them. "I am so excited to see what you are doing... My heart is so full of love for you... God loves you even more."

Trusting and believing that God is in control of this. Knowing that God loves me so very much. Knowing that God has a plan and we are in it. Feeling His love and care. Resting in His peace. Even when the tears rush and tromp across my coping. Even when a simple kindness by my husband brings on tears of love and worry for him. Even then. God is good. I am so grateful. The peace over me makes absolutely no sense. My rational mind tells me I should be weeping and throwing cushions and curled up in a ball in the corner. My heart knows God's peace. It makes no sense but why question the beautiful truth.

[so small]

Feeling small.  Tiny.  Little girl, my little girl hand clutching the hand of my Father in Heaven.  Clinging to the peace He so freely gives.  Scared.  Tears barely able to flow, emotions too big.  I am scared.  Not afraid, that is different.  I believe that God is in control.  I know that God loves me even a zillion times more and bigger and far beyond the crazy-high love I have for my own children.  But I am scared.  I am feeling silly in my scaredy-ness.  Crying stops.  God is bigger.  I can rest in Him.  I do rest in Him.  So grateful to be resting in Him.  Thank you Lord, for what you are doing in me, through me, through this.  The cancer sucks.  I wish I didn't have cancer.  I believe that I will not have cancer.  You will heal me Lord, through a miracle and through medicine and through the miracle of the surgery that will take that cancer right out of me when they remove my kidney.  I don't need that kidney, You have provided.  You have provided a good, strong other kidney.  I am grateful.  Feeling peace.  Get behind me Satan, you shall not prevail.  I am me.  Strong in the Lord.  Sure of whose I am.  I am a child of the King.  The God of the universe, the Creator of all things. ALL things.  Wow.  His eye is on the sparrow... I sing because I'm happy.  I sing because I'm free.  His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.  I know God's heart is heavy for me, for my worry.  He doesn't judge me for my fears, He loves me, holds me through them.  Just like Shawn sitting beside me on the couch, his head on my shoulder, just being there.  God is here.  I am so grateful.  Father God, be with my husband, be with my parents, be with my sisters, my in-laws, extended family.  Be with my children God.  Our children.  Your children.  You love K and M and B and C far more than I can even comprehend.  That is enough.  Hold these dear ones, Father.  You are.  I know it.  Thank you.
I am scared, but I am capable because You are here.  I thank you.
4:43am, Monday.  Surgery in two days.  God is bigger than this.  So grateful to rest in His peace.

This reminder was in my inbox this morning...thank you, dear friend, God used you and you let Him.  Thank you.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Today Is The Day VIDEO - Lincoln Brewster


Another good sleep.  Another day to wake up and be grateful!  Today IS the day that God has made.  I WILL rejoice and be glad in it!

Have a great day, YOU, too!!!
Kristin

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Blue

Feeling blue. Blah. Bored. Trapped. Unimpressed. I don't want to have cancer. Feeling trapped by so many rules: stay away from germs; make sure kids wash their hands; don't get too close; eat more veggies; drink no pop; avoid all sugar; can I still eat meat?; is it okay if I only walked 15 minutes and not thirty; what will post-op feel like?; do you really have to do leg raises and how does that work with stitches on my gut?; I'm going to miss my son's birthday; what about ......

Stop. Lord. Help. I am blue, totally reasonable that the last two weeks have hit me. But I need you. I turn to you. I am so grateful I can lay this all at your feet.

Cheesiest video ever, but I love the song. Sometimes God leads or answers our cry for help by putting a song in our heart.

Check out this video on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJ7d0IhGpHM&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Please continue to pray peace for me and for Shawn and for the kids: son 14yrs, daughter 10, son 7, son 5.

Thank you.

Surgery fear: release

Just had a thought.

Last night I was sitting on the little couch, under the Christmas-light-bedecked back window, talking on the phone with my Sis. [fast fact: I have two sisters, they are twins. I'm the "not the twin". [tee hee] They are identical and even come to events having dressed the same without knowing it...that cracks me up!]

Anyway, was talking to K (yes, our names all start with K) and feeling a bit on-the-verge-of-a-fair-bit-freaking-out about the looming surgery. I've never had major surgery. I've never had to do the whole "wash your hair, don't use product, shower with the special soap but don't let it touch your face, then shower again and don't use any lotion or deoderant" rules thing. And frankly, it's freaky-serious... and I'm a rule follower... and what if I miss a step... and then does my surgery get cancelled? ...or worse... since I don't know I missed a step and then they don't know cuz I can't tell them because I just plain don't know do they do the surgery and then I get some hugely bad side effect from the extra germ that was on me that we didn't all know about?!?!?!? GAH!!!! See... shouldn't think too much.

So, clearly, as the day draws nearer, the surgery-related freak-outs seem to be mounting.

BUT... just now, I had an epiphany. As I was scrolling through downloaded favourite quotes I saw this one:

And then I read one of your comments on this blog... and it tweaked something for me... and I remembered what one of my sisters said when I told her I was scared to wake up (from surgery) to sad faces... and she said, "No sad faces. Relief that one step is done! How's that?" And I said, "Deal."

And this morning, right now... well, actually about 10 minutes ago because Baby Boo (son4, 5 years) just crawled out of bed and came and snuggled on my lap and that kid is the most squishy-awesome snuggler, all warm and gooshy with sleep and I can just never ever resist holding that boy tight into me and just breathing all of his loveliness in...

So... just in this last many minutes moment I realized, "Hey, surgery is just one part of this whole thing... and we already STARTED this whole thing... so really... just go with the flow, it's one more appointment not so much pressure that it's "the" appointment!!"  You know?!   And so, in that instant, about 10 or so minutes ago, God sprang His peace on me.  I feel brighter.  Lighter.  I am revelling in it right now.  And now it is settling over me.  And I feel His quiet.  And my body feels rest.  And I am grateful.  Thank you Lord.  For your sweet presence. Be with my friends today.  [breathing it in]

[overcome with joyful tears, thanking God, praying for my husband and our children, praying for my parents and in-laws, my sisters and their husbands, my nieces and nephews, peace, quiet, God's presence thankful grateful heart full up sweet presence of a holy and matchless God savouring the quiet He brings to me]

God is good.  All the time.  I say it because I mean it and I believe it.  And I know that even if it gets really hard to say He knows my heart and He loves me.  That's awesome-good.  All the time.

Love for you.
Kristin





Waking up, grateful


Waking up from an eight hours sleep for the second night in a row... thank you Lord!  Thank you Pray-ers!  What a difference 8 hours makes, I am so very glad!  The weird side effect to the eight hours sleep is that my mind is clear as I wait for the next meds to kick in... and a clear mind isn't always good.  Soon comes the thinking, next comes tears, my cozy bed becomes an open field with me the easy target for Satan's attacks.  Get behind me Satan, you shall not prevail.  Jesus never fails.  And in rushes peace... but in a soft, gentle, snowflakes-falling sort of way... but really fast, like a heated blanket thrown over cold toes.  God is good.  Really, really good.  I am grateful.

Thank you Lord, I woke up.  I am alive.  I am healthy.  I am grateful for one more day with my husband and my kids and my family and my friends.  And I fully claim and hope and plan and look forward to zillions of days more.  And I thank you.

This week has been a fairly normal thing... lots of visiting and time spent (totally my "love language"!).  Two pre-op appointments at the hospital were a hard, deep-breathe-me-through-it dose of reality... I prefer less reality.  Really, 'most every nurse and doctor have been incredible and compassionate.  If they have read my file, they almost always say (in a nice and caring way, so that's been really sweet) "it's been a lot [of news] for you really quick" with a kind smile or a hand on my shoulder.  And in that moment I open my mind and heart to let their loving kindness rush in... God's loving kidness rushing in through them... to quick-fill me up before the panic of what they are saying can even get a finger on me.

I have no idea how Shawn gets through these appointments.  My heart goes out to him, my brain knows I should be supporting him more/better/differently.  I try.  But I can barely make eye contact these days.  It's too much.  Eye contact with any one is a really lot of work.  I can see them working through their emotions and I just want to be there for them... but I'm pouring so much into my thoughts and my own emotions that I feel a shell of the emotional caregiver I like to be.  I trust that God is caring for my people...His people, for He cares for you all... through other means right now.  Thank you God for loving my husband and my children even more than I ever could... cuz I love these people to bits.  I know that when people leave from here the topic of conversations is about me, not in an "ain't I grand" sort of way, but in a heart-heavy way because so many family and friends care so incredibly deeply for me, for my family, for this.  I am grateful.  The love really is palpable.  Really, I can feel it.  It is amazing.  Like a weighted blanket, just the right weight.  Sometimes a burden because I hate to see others suffering, but mostly a blanket I cozy myself right into and know that God is in control of.  I don't need to over-worry, over-think... He's got this.  Thank you Lord.

Our Christmas tree is up.  It is beautiful.  The kids did a fabulous job on the front, bottom quadrant! [wink]  Uncle helped my son1 (my eldest...get it, he's a SON and he's FIRSTborn) add two extra strings of lights on the back of the tree (conveniently, there weren't many ornaments there!) and then daughter added some mauve sparkley balls to the colour-wonder of baubles that is our tree.  And it is beautiful.  And it is twinkly.  And it is calming and soothing and joyful and pretty.  All is calm, all is bright.  I love it.

My shoulder pain is releasing, it is a 2 out of 10 (which the nurse told me means I might want meds but I'm fine without).  Praise Jesus!  Thank you for praying!!!  Your prayers were answered through the beautiful anesthesiologist who took the time to arrange my meds and suggest what would help best.  That same beautiful man also reminded Shawn and I that God might heal me miraculously, which would rock!!!  Or, God might heal me through surgery and medical intervention... again, it's patience and trust.  I hadn't forgotten, but I wanted to make sure that YOU know that I KNOW that.

Cool thing... I'm really not good at the "what's your pain, on a scale of 1 to 10" question.  I mean "worst pain ever"???  I don't know, having my arm ripped off sounds pretty painful, so if that's a 10, why am I whining???   And the lovely-kind pre-op nurse explained what the scale meant to medical staff... so now I'm not afraid of answering wrong.  Now I understand how to better communicate with my team so that they can better help me.  That was such a huge relief to me.  Again, God is good.  He showed her what I needed to know, and gave her an explanation that made sense to me.  I love it.

So, another rambling post as the toast (fact about Kristin: I am not a fan of bread but I'm less a fan of medicine giving me a gut-ache!) settles in and the meds settle in... and now I shall drift back to slumber.  Ah, sweet sleep.

I pray that God will bless your day.  I ask that He will make sure that you know and feel His love today.  I ask that your eyes will be open to blessings and that your heart will swing open to received grateful-for-it-moments!!!

Thank you for your love and prayers. Your prayers are palpable to me.  I see them swirling around me like happy dancers and I feel them touching lightly and flitting around me, holding me up and pushing me forward.  Sincerely, thank you.

Kristin