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


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

Friday, November 16, 2012

Jesus Calling

Nov 16
As you look at the day before you, you see a twisted, complicated path, with branches going off in all directions. You wonder how you can possibly find your way through that maze. Then you remember the One who is with you always, holding you by your right hand. You recall My promise to guide you with My counsel, and you begin to relax. As you look again at the path ahead, you notice that a peaceful fog has settled over it, obscuring your view. You can see only a few steps in front of you, so you turn your attention more fully to Me and begin to enjoy My Presence.

The fog is a protection for you, calling you back into the present moment. Although I inhabit all of space and time, you can communicate with Me only here and now. Someday the fog will no longer be necessary, for you will have learned to keep your focus on Me and on the path just ahead of you.
[by Sarah Young]

Busy week

Hi all,
Just a quick note to let you know I'm thinking of you and praying God blesses your day! This week is busy w appointments and out of town visitors (man, but how can I feel anything hut loved?!?!?), Christmas shopping and birthday prep (4 kids born in Nov and Dec!)... I have a post in my head, gotta find time to type but also need to nap.
May you find the sunshine in this day!
Kristin

Isn't my Dad sweet? He brought these bright and beautiful flowers to me and the exact same ones to my Mom so that we can see the flowers in our homes and feel connected. Such a thoughtful heart! I love that guy so much!!!!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

God is good, all the time.

The anesthesiologist prayed over us and gave us Scripture!!!! God is amazing, He just keeps bringing His people around us. Thank you Lord, so much!!!

Right now

Stressed!!!!! Anger. Frustration. Nerves. Overwhelmed. Kids to care for. Husband to prepare. Anesthesiologist to meet. Freaking out!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Accepting help.

So here is what I just figured out: I suck at accepting help.

Well, I knew that already.  People have been asking how they can help, right down to the specific help they want to give, for years.  Years.  And I just keep saying "thanks, I'm good". 

I'm actually quite good at asking for help and live on the theory "it doesn't hurt to ask"... but help in my home?!?!?  NO. FREAKING. WAY. EVER. THANK YOU.  In fact, my sister came and did dishes here once when I was bowled under by life and I still recall the significance of that day vividly: I let her do my dirty work, the work I had failed to get to.  Hmmmm, failed.  I hate failure in myself on an achievable project...yet I am very gracious towards others who may not achieve what they set to do.  Thoughts for another day.  Today: accepting the help of others

Disclaimer: Before you get the wrong idea, my house is actually quite lovely, no need to call the hoarding intervention show, there aren't sticky messes at every step... but, there's stuff and projects yet to tackle. Always.

For years I didn't want help in my personal space because:
1.) I was embarrassed that my house was that crazy disorganized or messy or untidy or piled with stuff in every corner
2.) It was too much work to contemplate organizing a helper to get a job done... heck, if I could get the 'organized' part down pat, the project would have been done already, right?
3.) I really like to GIVE help and so was just busying myself doing that
4.) Accepting help is to give up control over WHEN the project would be completed, and apparently, I am a bit of a control-freak

What the heck?  Seriously, so lame.  People have different gifts and abilities, we receive joy in different types of acts of service.  For me, the joy is in connecting people, time spent, working with/for not-for-profits, coordinating volunteers (ooooooh, love that!)... especially for a big event. 

This morning I was sitting on the toilet seat, waiting for the shower to heat up, crying because two dear friends were coming to clean.  I trust these women with my life.  I value them.  They know my heart.  They would not even bat an eyelash at the piles of wrong-size clothes spilling from their once-neatly stacked piles.  These women have seen me ugly cry, what's a little dust bunny or two among friends?  Nothing.   So why the heck was I crying.   ???  Part of it is that permitting the help was permitting these people in to my very own personal 'personal space'.   I love having people over and my desire for human interaction has always outranked my guilty conscience at not living in a magazine-perfect home.    Part of it is the reality of preparing for this long haul eviction of cancer: accepting help means maybe I am really sick and I'm not ready for that reality.

The week before my diagnosis there was no indication that I might have cancer but I had this random (God-paving-the-way) thought... yes, go ahead and laugh... "I can't have cancer, my house isn't clean enough!" 

Ya.  Dumbest. Statement. Ever.  And I think I didn't actually say "cancer" out loud, just in my head... in the ouloud version of my statement, alone in the car, I said, "I can't be sick, and have people come over, my house isn't organized, there are piles of paperwork and stacks of children's art, and bags of Halloween candies, and stuff and the clothes I didn't get to MCC (charity) yet!"

Nerd.  In fact, after being told the diagnosis everything was such a blur for all of us that no one would have noticed a dust bunny with fangs sitting on the coffee table!

So, this morning, I stepped into the shower and took a breath and turned the corner on allowing people in.  Not just into my life, my heart, sharing a glimpse of my deepest dreams and the inner-est recesses of my soul.  My heart is on my sleeve (meaning I share my emotions and thoughts pretty freely)... the harder thing for me is actually letting helpers into my house to clean or organize, into my bedroom even!

And I vowed to be gracious to the dear ones coming to intervene on my behalf in the war on dust bunnies and dirty toilets.  I hope I was gracious enough.  The lovely truth is that these two beautiful women do know me so well that they did acknowledge the big step this was.  And I am, yet again, so grateful for the help.

I'm sure cancer is going to strip away a few useless layers that I have been carrying around for too long.  I'm sure cancer is going to take me on an adventure that I never could have dreamed of, would never have wanted to.  It's all in recognizing silver linings... right?!  

Yes, I have cancer and that totally sucks big time.  Yes, I have to learn to willingly accept help... any help... even letting the people I care deepest about to come into my house and see me in my ugly-cried-out state and every dusty corner of this ivory tower I was hiding out in. 

Ivory towers are loveliest if you let people in. 

Moral of the story: Who can you let in today?  The person who keeps offering to bring you a coffee?  The child that offers to fold towels for you?  The teen who keeps asking if he can get the mail?   LET THEM.  What about God?  If you think about it, same thing.  God doesn't care if you are messy, made bad choices, have piles of stuff still to deal with.  He just loves you.  Jesus, come into my life.  Help me. Lead me.  Guide me. Direct me.  Amen. 

I shouldn't rob someone's joy just because I am stuck in my worry about letting someone see the dust bunnies.

Whoa.  Turned into a sermon.  All I'm saying is this: Kristin, let people help you.  It's good to accept blessings.  It is silly to turn blessings away.

Thank YOU for blessing me today... I love each of you dearly, though I may not even know you. 

Inconvenient: truth

I have cancer.  There, I said it.

Words have such potential over us, in us, through us.  Not power, only God has power.  But words, written or spoken or unspoken, can really impact our opinion, perception, our experience, our conceptions or preconceptions, our emotions. Satan wants to harness them to destroy. God uses words to build us up.

I am a big-picture-goals-oriented girl who loves to get lost in the detail.  I have always been blessed with the ability to compartmentalize (some might say 'conveniently forget') the multitude of levels of emotion or tasks or to dos in order to keep my focus on the overall goal.  That's not to say I don't get lost in any number of moments or emotions or stuck in mental loops and spin my wheels, I totally do.   But usually I freely give myself in to the emotion of the moment, live it (good or bad, love it or hate it, acknowledge it)  and then compartmentalize it and move back to 'eye on the prize'.  Sometimes the moment lasts a few minutes, some moments can last days or even weeks.  Some moments add their fragrance to whatever else is going on and sometimes they pull you under and leave you gasping for breath.

Life is feeling a fair bit like a Fac.eb00k game.  You know those "bubble*m0nster" kind of games... with the bubbles pressing down from the sky and your little monster needing to somehow burp his laser and destroy the bubbles as they inch slowly closer to the ground and 'game over'?

It feels like the emotions and moments are compartmentalized in little, pretty, helium filled bubbles.  My job is to keep those bubbles on the shelves... there's lots of emotions and thoughts and scarynesses and frettings and to do list items and desires and hugs-to-be-given and and and.   The balancing is in keeping all the bubbles on their shelves as the helium keeps floating them off their shelf and up to the ceiling.  In this bubble game, the ceiling is Kristin's ability to cope.  As more and more bubbles float up from their shelves, and as more bubbles start to congregate on the ceiling, the pressure builds in my chest, my heart starts to race a little, the tears well up and begin to spill.  A little heart racing and tear spilling is okay... but just like in the bubble monster game, if the ceiling gets full it's 'game over' for Kristin keeping coping with all this cancer reality.  Unacceptable, in my opinion, as a long-term plan.

What I am working diligently on is this: willpower and keeping my eyes open to God's hand in this... life... cancer... scary mess.  There are so many good things and blessings in my life... before this and during this.  I keep looking for them, grabbing on to them, stringing them together like garland, like pom-poms, like a pom-pom scarf I can wear around me.  A pom-pom scarf sheild!  How fun is that!

And, super cool part... As I'm working on keeping the bubbles on the shelf, God is adding two-sided tape to the shelves to help keep those bubbles there.  It's okay, He knows it and I know it, if some frets or worries or tasks or heart-wells-up moments get off their shelf... emotions are healthy and we need to allow and respect them.  But God is right there, reinforcing that tape, keeping the bubble-escaping ratio to a manageable level.  And... super-best part... when Satan is heckling me or hovering or trying to pick the tape off the shelves I can use the bonus: "Get behind me Satan, you shall NOT prevail because Jesus never fails!" and Satan gets sucked back, way back, behind the "wait here" tape line on the floor... and I can't hear him, he can't touch me, God's got it under control.

I am working on cultivating the ... whatever it is... that gets me to calling on God as the panic begins, like taking the meds before getting too lost in the pain.  The best part, whether I'm on top of it mentally and get to it efficiently or not, when I do call on God, He is there in that very instant.  I cannot imagine anything better.  I cling to Him.  Daily.  Even as I'm panicking, I'm clinging... life can be complicated that way, and God doesn't mind.

I am a cryer.  Cancer has given me, us, lots of reasons to cry.  It's scary if I let it get to my thoughts.  That word has a lot of potential for freaking me out.  Cancer also has brought so much love, crazy-huge love and kindness and caring and connection to us... we are working diligently to train ourselves to look more to the positive... sometimes that takes a boatload of willpower, sometimes I forget to skirt around the Forest of Freak-You-Out, with those scary trees with the long creepy branches and brambles that grab at your clothes, and the panic grabs for me and I have to get my bearings and call out.  Calling out for prayer, for a hug, re-reading your kind comments, crying out to Jesus. 

Bubbles... keeping them on the shelves... two-sided tape... God is with me, always.

Bonus Bonus: He is with you always.  I know it because I am praying His peace to you, too.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Jesus Calling: Abundance

Nov 12
This is a time of abundance in your life. Your cup runneth over with blessings. After plodding uphill for many weeks, you are now traipsing through lush meadows drenched in warm sunshine. I want you to enjoy to the full this time of ease and refreshment. I delight in providing it for you.
__________

This little inspirational book (Jesus Calling), devotional treasure, peace-inspiring way with words is exactly how I am feeling these days. I am blessed by the kindnesses, of people, the comments on my FB or email or on this blog, the food that shows up to feed my kids and husband when I cannot.

Did you ever see the Disney movie Pollyanna? I do try to approach things that way at a big picture level while also acknowledging my feelings and living in the moment (usually intense happiness or intense anger or heartbreak or hurt). Pollyanna had a way of looking at life's positives. A good way to go through the days, right?

List your abundances today... That one more roll of toilet paper, that there was enough lasagna noodles in the box even though you didn't check before making the sauce, a job to go to, a car to drive even though it's just a minivan, your family, your friends, found chocolate bar on top of the fridge exactly when you needed it... don't over think it, big or small, count it.

We live in God's abundance every day. For me, the thankfulness has become part of my cry for help when the pain hits. Maybe it's me using reverse psychology on myself but I find thanking God for the pain meds in the hardest parts sometimes distracts me right into a glimpse of praise or thankfulness. Usually it's the tiniest fraction of distraction but sometimes it's enough to catch my breathe for that second so I can better get through the next 20 minutes before the little pill kicks in. I am not a saint, finding a moment of praise when I am thrashing around in pain is something I am cultivating. Usually my dear husband is standing broken hearted and feeling helpless beside me, crying out to God to bring peace and pain release. If I can just get my mind to quiet for a long enough second to catch Shawn's prayer, I can mooch prayerful heart off of his good example. Sometimes it is super hard: 3:00am has become a nightly practice set around here. [weak smile]

The Bible says:
Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.
—Psalm 105:4

Abundance and strength... Yes, please. And, thank you Lord.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Receiving the love: Real H0usewiv3s style!

You people are amazing. I am still not surprised but I am just so... Intrigued and inspired and lifted up by the levels of prayer and commitment you have to my wellbeing. You all want me healed as much as I do... I am humbled and tickled and thrilled and flabbergasted and so very glad and immensely grateful.

Check out how one of our TeamKristin warriors got me connected to more love and prayers:

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Mommy, what's your biggest fear.

My 5 years old just asked me, out of the blue, "Mommy, what's your biggest fear?" and I didn't have an answer. I am scared by things and afraid of pain and hurting and terrible things happening, and accidents and and and...things I refuse to let myself think of because it's just too hard to contemplate... but fear? Answering a child who will see his Mommy fighting through ick the next months, I could answer in all honesty in this moment, "If I didn't have Jesus in my heart I would be afraid of dying and going to Hell. But I have Jesus in my heart and know that when I die I will go to Heaven to be forever with God."

Don't think me superwoman. I am astounded and pleased and grateful for God's peace. I know that not all moments may find me as grounded in this peace and I revel in the moments that do. Shoring up, storing up, spending time smiling in this moment.

Family photos and good hair days

Family photos this morning. Thanking God for sunshine and Tawn and the beautiful leaves clinging to the trees for one more week.

Family photos on a normal year are pressure enough. Today, with cancer hanging over my every emotion, even more pressure. Is my hair okay? Is this the last time we will see it like this? Am I okay with that? Is it okay to be okay? No rules on how a person handles a game changer diagnosis like this. Having a good hair day. Thinking of eyelashes with a grateful heart each time I add another layer of mascara to make those blondies stand out. Trying to be appreciative of this big mane of mine whilst the shoulder pain makes it impossible to style. Grateful and cursing in the same breath. So glad God loves me even so.

Good Morning Sunshines!

Today is a good day.  I woke up. I am healthy. I am alive.  Thank you God. 

And I drank my green smoothie, "To health!"  Thank you, Friend for delivering the green goodness every single day, I am not surprised by your amazingness, I am inspired by it!

Yesterday was a huge, exhausting, roller coaster-y, 12-hours-of-medical-testings-and-doctor-appointments kind of day.  And Shawn and I are so grateful for the positives in each one of the meetings we had.  There were scary parts, and tears and tears and fatigue, but my couldn't-ask-for-better spouse just kept us praising God and praying thanks for the good. 

Backtrack:
On Thursday I had gone to my GP to ask for a bone scan - the specialists were talking about it but since they are not bone doctors needed my GP to order it... "okay, I shall ask her", said I.  I also asked for some different pain meds because I need sleep and waking up in crazy pain when the meds wore of each night was cutting into my beauty rest...and Shawn's.  Sorry husband.   So, awesome GP booked the bone scan, gave me some new meds to try.  Awesome Booking Receptionist got me a last minute appointment at Burnaby Hospital for Friday.  Friday!  Tomorrow?!  Thank you God!  Oh, and now what to do about the callback mammo in Chilliwack at 10:50... can we make it?!  Sure!   I hope! 

Friday:
Awesome GP had phoned to Chwk mammo on Thursday to ask to let me come early on Friday but radiologist had already gone home for the night... so Awesome Booking Receptionist came to work early to call Chwk to get me an earlier appointment, and to call Burnaby to ask for a later one.  Came.to.work.early.  Early!!!  Thank you God for a team willing to go above and beyond for me and for my family!  Came in early.  Wow.

So...
8:05 Friday I phoned to Chilliwack to ask about a cancellation or to come early, they new all about me by now after all the diligent phone calling of my GP and her receptionist.  "Let me ask the radiologist, I will call you back. We might fit you in because it's just the mammo, not ultrasound." Me, "Oh, so not the bad callback, just the regular callback?" Her, "Yes, just the regular callback, don't worry, I get called back every single time."  Praising God for the immediate lessening of panic at receiving the callback!  Then Awesome Booking Receptionist (GP's) called to say "Burnaby said you can come at 12:30 and they know you are coming in from Chilliwack and are okay with that."  Thank you God!

8:16 Chwk calls to say "We can fit you in at 8:45."  Me, "Okay, we'll leave the house in 5 minutes"... rushing upstairs to quick-shower and throw on clothes, dear husband bleary-eyed is sent upstairs to quick-dress and out the door we are at 8:27.... Chwk is a solid 20 plus city traffic to get to the actual hosp. 

8:57 Kristin breezes through the doors to the mammo, empty waiting room, adorable-but-molasses-slow granny ahead of me at the desk.  Receptionist doesn't respond to "I'm Kristin Erickson" but Receptionist-beside-her smiles and says, "Here's your chart."  "Go right in"  Thank you God.  I am always worried to be late because I hate for people to be mad at me...especially medical people or people who might have needles or stuff.

Phew, we made it!  Had the mammo, same lovely tech as two weeks ago...she even remembered me!  So lovely!  Did the mammo, sat to wait, radiologist wants to do an ultrasound.  "Can you fit me in today?" "Yes, can you wait 30 minutes?" "Yes!"  Thank you God for fitting me in today!  Thank you God the fear-free drive this morning even though this is quickly turning my stomach to churning now.  Sat to wait, eyes started to blur from new meds, feeling really groggy but glad for a solid sleep and rest the night before.  Texted Shawn.  He came inside to wait.  Poor husband, I cannot imagine the emotions of the husband waiting in the outside room.  [sad face]

Ultrasound on right breast (strange because I was sure it was my left breast because that's the side my underwear bra always digs into!), radiologist will send report to doctor.  Me, "Could you please send that as soon as possible?  I am having related surgery next week."  Kind tech puts hand on my shoulder, "Poor thing, this is happening really fast for you, hey?"  "Yes."  "I'll talk to the tech, your doctor can phone and ask."  "Okay."  Me walking away zombie-like, groggy, rainbows in my eyes but not the happy rainbows-and-unicorns-and-jellybeans kind.

Gather husband, get to van, start bawling.  Overwhelmed, again.  Told him the story, Shawn starts praying and thanking God for quick appointments, I join him in praising God... through tears and fog so not dancing-for-joy praising at all... for getting in so quickly and thanking Him for information which will inform the medical team of how most efficiently to treat me.  Love how just making my mouth and mind say the words can start the quick-lift out of the dark and into peace.  God is good.  Let Him be good in your life, try it.

Catch our breath, hit the freeway for a quick pit-stop home so husband can shower, we can kiss the kids and then head to Burnaby with 6 minutes to spare. 

On the freeway I called GP to ask her to call radiologist. 

Get to Burnaby Hospital, groggy, overwhelmed.  I find that each appointment takes me a fair while to process/get over/absorb/recover from.  So much information, fear trying to take hold, fighting it off and claiming, "Get behind me Satan, you shall NOT prevail, because Jesus never fails!"  Feeling peace.  Grateful heart.  Rollercoasters have nothing on the speed and twists and turns of the emotions flowing through any of us on any given day, eh?

11:47 Check in at Nuclear Medicine "Wow, you made it!" says nice receptionist.  Me holding my head on the lovely-high counter.  "You okay?" "New meds, making me feel yucky" "Maybe they can let you lie down in the back.  We're both survivors you know.  Me, breast.  Her, lung."  Kristin brightening, "That's so encouraging, thank you for telling me."  Shawn and I go to the other 'waiting room'/'chairs in hallway where all the gross germy people walk past' [shudder]

12:10 Get injected with radioactive stuff... secretly hoping I become like Peter Parker and get some Spidey-senses for my troubles.  Head out to van in search of food.  Had grabbed some scones, thank you to the church providing bread and baking to keep my family from starving whilst mommy's thinking is mush.   Shawn and I were starving.   Got a call from GP, "I called the Chwk radiologist, they see a shadow in the ultrasound, he said "Not cancer".  There are three levels of concern, this is barely level one, but we will check it out.  I will book a biopsy for next week."  Kristin, standing on the sidewalk outside the grocery story at Metrotown.  Chest feeling tight, Get behind me Satan, you shall not prevail.  "How's the pain?" asked GP.  "New meds make me so groggy."  "Come in on Tuesday (cuz it's a long weekend here) and I will give you something different.  Stick with the other meds for now."  "Okay"  Husband joins me, we start walking to the van, tears and sobs building.  Crying in the icky Metrotown parking lot.  Get to the van.  Feeling panic-y.  Shawn prays, thanking God for quick results and for appointments.  Kristin feeling peace, trying to listen, can't really listen, feeling peace and feeling thankfulness for the peace that only God can bring in this. Tears and panic subsiding.  "I love you" "I love you, too"

12:30 Got to Metrotown, found A&W.  Ordered.  I opened my burger and pushed it away.  Gross.  Having trouble eating.  Please pray for that?  I need to be eating and strong for surgery but all my body wants is carrot sticks.  Wandered Metrotown, found a J Juice and ordered a protein smoothie (which was icky because they use the crap protein not the actually-tastes-okay kind), choked down half.

2:20 Back to the hospital parking lot, put van chair back to sleep.  Pain was high, listened to Aaron Shust "God so loved the world" about six times while meds kicked in.  Mentally created a Peace for Pain playlist, that's going on the top.

2:55 Back in the waiting room, thankful for no germy people in the halls now.

3:05 Nice tech calls me in and I wait my turn for the scan table.  There's a full house of people waiting but I feel peace.  I know people are praying. 

3:15 I get my turn on the table.  Nice tech #2 gets me comfy, props my arm up for pain-free table-time.  Kristin falls alseep.  Honestly, the best rest I have ever had.  Ever.  Like, ever!  At some point nice tech #1 came in to tell me "Only 5 minutes" and I remember jumping because I was so asleep.  [smile]  When the beeper beeped and my time was up, nice tech #1 asked if I minded laying for a little while longer, "I'd like to get you onto the other machine to look at your shoulder."  "Yes!  The better the pictures, the better the information for my medical team!"  I head over to the other room to nice tech #3 and a different kind of machine.  They did specific shoulder scans, both sides, again I fell asleep.  "You okay?" "Yes, this is the most relaxed I've felt in weeks" "You're one of only two people who have ever said that." Me, smiling because I know that God's people were praying it... and then later when I saw all the FB posts of the 17 or so people who had responded "praying" it gave me a chuckle.  I can seriously FEEL your praying, TeamKristin... keep up the great work!  I thank you!!!

4:50 Head out of parking lot to join the rush hour traffic.  Call kidney guy's office to say we'll be late.  "Hi Receptionist... is Dr running late tonight?" She laughs, "Of course!... here's your new time"  Thanking God for kidney guy's full schedule so that we aren't feeling too pressured by the traffic.  Kristin falls asleep.  Bless you Husband, for doing all this driving today in the midst of your own emotions.  You are amazing.

5:55 Get to kidney guy's office... "You'll be in about 20 or so minutes"  Shawn and I parka-up and go for a walk or two around the building.

6:30 Our turn.  Dr. comes in "So, did Receptionist call you?  You have your date?"  "Yes, November 21"  Dr explains the surgery, the shark bite...though the incision isn't "one long lazy-ass thing all the way across" ... Kristin doing happy dances and cartwheels in her head!!!!  But one large incision at ribs and one less large (so, still not small... thanks for trying, doc!) at the bikini line "I'll try to keep it below the bikini line" Kristin, "Good, because I've been working towards wearing a bikini next year!" He chuckles, me, "No, I'm serious... I'm wearing a bikini next summer!"  He's a guy, he doesn't seem to see the significance of that, but you girls will!  [laugh]  God is good, moments to chuckle as your doc is explaining major surgery and the risks and percentages is a blessing!

7:30ish  Walked in the door at home, Shawn runs out to his buddy's truck... guys' night out.  Thank you to the women in my life who arranged for the men in our lives to have a fun evening.    Kyle had put the boys to bed, he and M were doing their own little projects at the kitchen table, Momma put her jammies on and hugged all the children, made some phone calls, crashed into her bed and was sleeping before 10:00. 

Twas a big day.  With positives along the way.  Thank you God, for a husband to hold my hand and to pull me through the dark emotions, for your peace when I can barely muster an ask, for family and friends praying so very fervently, for this day.  I thank you.  I praise you.  I ask for healing for my body, Lord.  The surgeon got my bloodwork back (the big, check everything and for cancer bloodwork) and said the report showed 'numbers' for cancer but was inconclusive.  What my heart heard was "this is serious, but not hopeless"! 

God is blessing us at every turn and whether those blessings add up to one more day with you, or 5 zillion more days with you, I want to see them, acknowledge them, celebrate them, revel in them, hope in them, pray them to be true, be grateful for them!!!

Today you woke up.  You are alive.  You are healthy.  Thank the Lord.

My surgery date is for November 21 and the doctor said, "It's a miracle!" Kristin, "Well, I have a whole army praying!"  OR time is very difficult to get and so it is a miracle and I thank God for this date.  My surgery will be the first of his day.  I am so grateful for a surgeon going to bat with administrators to get OR time for me.  Pray wisdom and discernment, pray peace, pray excellence, pray gentle recovery, pray strength of mind and body, pray for my husband, pray for my kids, pray for my extended family and my dear inner circle friends, pray for each of us as we are connected through my cancer journey.  Please.  Thank you.  So much.

Last week I had posted a comment on FB about being "greedy for your prayers".  And that is exactly what best describes how I feel about the praying I know is going on.  I want more.  I know that God hears the cries of His people.  I know that God said we can bring all our fears and all our everything to Him.  Nothing is too big or too small for God, He loves us even more than a mommy who feigns interest when her child comes to show her the sixteen rock in the driveway... God never feigns interests.  He IS interested.  He loves us crazy-much.  Keep praying.  Know that I also am praying for you, that God would be real to you in this.  That God would comfort you and that you would know and feel His love, that you would know and feel His peace.  Connected.  Not alone.

God is good, all the time.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Please pray.

I am a very private person asking you to please pray for my very 'personal space' mammogram tomorrow. Healing and health call for prayer and calling for prayer means getting over myself and being humble and asking that you pray for my parts.

Please pray for efficient and excellent radiology tomorrow and please pray for clear, healthy, cancer-free breasts and lymph nodes. Pray for peace!!!!!

We have a 10:50 appt in Chwk and then a 12:00 appt in Burnaby for a bone scan.

Please pray for good roads, no traffic, a parking spot, strong veins to receive the injection, effective scan with good healthy, cancer-free results. Cancer-free, dear Lord, we ask for cancer-free. We ask for peace. We ask for strength and stamina and emotional and physical well-being through the entire day.

Give thanks for fast appt dates. Give thanks for answers that will give our medical team the details they need to create an effective and winning plan. Give thanks for three hours between injection and scan; an afternoon date for hubby and I. Give thanks for the prayer warriors you are connecting with through this call to prayer!

Please pray for my husband, these days are hard on him, too.

Thank you for praying. I covet the prayers, I feel them swishing and swirling around me like a light and airy blanket. I want them. I need them. I hoard them and rest upon them. Thank you for blessing us in this way.

Peace, that's my biggest ask. I pray peace for us all.

Sincerely, thank you.

The dreaded "come back" phone call.

The fear and the worry are so close to the surface around here.  Had a heart-to-heart with our oldest in the quiet of the house today.  Poor love, his heart is heavy and his mind is confused.  I told him that if he wasn't upset I would be worried, that it's okay to be afraid or to cry.  He is not afraid of me dieing, he is secure in the knowledge that God will preserve me.  My son (14yrs) doesn't want me to have to hurt through this process.  Bless him.  Pray peace for him.  Let him be encouraged that the process and the hard parts are all working to good.  Pray that God will guard the hearts of our four little ones.  This is just such a huge and yuck piece of our family's story and we are all overwhelmed.

Yesterday, mid tea party with Mom and Sisters, I got the "the radiologist wants you to come back for another screening" mammography phone call.  Fear. Panic. Deep breathes. Drink tea. Smile.  Savour the moment. Enjoy the conversation.  Surrounded by those who love you. Not alone.  God is in control.  Actually did enjoy the tea and the rest of the afternoon.  Silver linings.  God is good, He really is...sometimes you just have to give your spiritual and emotional eyes an extra minute to focus.

This morning I was able to get in to see my GP.  She is lovely and supportive and really really really wants me to be victorious.  And she's praying for me.  Bless her.  She gave me some new pain meds for the shoulder-of-horribleness (I daily make peace with that sucker, and nightly forget about the truce cuz it cheats and sneak attacks with wicked, thrashing-in-the-bed-waking-up-dear-husband pain).  I am super glad for the new meds to try.  And I asked for a bone scan (not that I want any more news, good or bad at this point, I'm news-ed out, frankly) and between her and the awesome Miss Booking Receptionist, God blessed me with an appointment for tomorrow.  Tomorrow.  Tomorrow!  Praise Jesus.  Let's get all the puzzle pieces collected so the crack team of medical people God is assembling with know exactly how best to efficiently kick cancer out of my body!  Amen!!!

So, rollercoaster.  Had a doctor-y morning.  Had a lovely lunch with a dear friend.  Was blessed with toilet paper and peanut butter and mayo.  Had a lovely time of quiet togetherness with eldest son.  Today was good.   Yes, there is pain creeping up on me again.  Yes, I am super tired and was too glad for time with son to waste time on a nap and now am feeling it.  Yes, and even did my morning power walk with another dear friend!  Yes, there are a zillion unanswered questions.  But yes, God was here.  God is here.  God's people are praying and I can feel it.  Blessings on you as you continue to bless us with prayers and with kindness.  We covet those prayers, keep up the good work, I love knowing that people around the world are bringing my family to God all through each day.  Pray peace and pray healing!!! Thank you.

Manna from heaven, the Lord will provide.

It's fun how the simplest of things can just brighten a momma's day! Thank you to the dear friend who dropped basics my way. T.P.... Who'da thunk it but for sure a blessing as I put the last roll out today! God is good, all the time!

God So Loved The World - Official Lyric Video - Aaron Shust


Mmm, thanks for sharing this artist, Kori.  I feel awash in peace when I listen to this song... purchased the entire album. 

Smile.


I woke up. I am alive. I am healthy. Thank you God.

Thankful for the sunshine, new pain meds, quick appointment dates, all the love and prayers pouring over me and my family. I am humbled but not surprised even one bit by the depth and breadth of care of the people gathered around me! You are my silver linings. I thank you.

And, lest my family and friends, think that I am 'so perky' and 'handling this so well' be assured that the moments of panic and fear and overwhelmedness are floating just below the surface.  I firmly believe that it is the prayers of God's people who are holding me up, carrying my family through our days, lifting up my sisters and my parents, my inlaws and my extended family as we all figure out how to live in the joy of the Lord even though we might want to scream and ask what the heck He was doing when cancer came into our lives.  Again and again I say, "Get behind me, Satan!  You shall NOT prevail, because Jesus never fails!"  My hope is in the Lord and I am so grateful that the maker of this entire universe cares for even me.  And you.  And all of us.

And so, let us smile.  Today is a good day.  This is a good moment.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it!!!
With love,
Kristin

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Monday, November 5, 2012

Happy 18th Anniversary to Us!!!

Happy 18th Anniversary to Shawn and Kristin... yes, to us!   Amazed to reflect on all the traveling and living and doing and trying and baby-making and child-raising, and us-maturing that has gone on since we first promised to love, honour and cherish each other in sickness and in health as long as we both shall live.   Those words mean so much more this year and we hold hope for another eighteen and twenty-eight and more years together in this newly strengthened and deepened love.  I love you, my husband. And I thank you for loving me, too.  18 years, we are blessed!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Please keep praying.

Having trouble making words work.

This morning saw us up and early to an appointment with the lung specialist guy.  He was very nice, my blowing test was good and lungs healthy (except for the 'shadows'), apparently I have no symptoms and my current cough is not related to anything (seasonal allergies).

The news was that if the kidney is cancer, there is less than 1% that the lungs aren't cancer.  Alternately, when the kidney is found to be cancer-free, the lungs shall be cancer-free also!

Can I get an amen!!!!!

Shawn and I are exhausted, dazed, confused, trying to make sense of all this.  Trying to maintain a positive attitude.  Trying to keep things normal around here for the kids.

Tonight is the eve of our 18th wedding anniversary.  It strikes me as significant that 18 years ago today we were on the verge of a grande adventure... and here, 18 years later, we are on the precipice of a big adventure, too.  Though this one is super scary and that one was wrapped in dreams and tulle and royal icing on a fantastical wedding cake.

Pray for us.  Please.

Wednesday: CT scan, please pray that this new scan will be even clearer than the last and will be even more positive in showing just how manageable that tumour is... heck, pray God is shrinking it to gone even right this minute.

Pain management: please pray pain free for me.  The pain in my shoulder is very hard to manage, the nice local pharmacist has suggested I ask my GP for a patch to maintain the meds better.  I will do that.  Pray God heals whatever mess is in the shoulder even in this moment.

Surgery: I won't lie, thinking about the major surgery and the huge incision has me on the verge of puking.  I am afraid of the pain of waking up to that shark bite across my gut.  I am afraid of the pain of my shoulder blinding me and making it too hard to handle the pain of the surgery.  And I just don't even allow myself to think of the other scary aspects of surgery.  Just pray, okay?

My husband: Please pray peace for my dear husband.  Shawn is amazing and his heart is breaking to watch me in pain, he wants to make this better and I can't imagine how hard it must be to be the spouse on a journey such as this.

Our kids:  Oh man.  My heart.  Please. Pray peace for these four wonderful kids, ask that God will keep soft their hearts, and still their minds, and let them remain somehow blissfully naive through this.

Our extended family:  The precious moments that cancer has given us are amazing and priceless... I would not trade those for the world... and now, cancer can leave so we can move forward in love and togetherness.

We really covet your prayers.  Knowing that here are so many kind hearts caring and praying for us is such a huge help to us, to me, to this crazy mess that is just so surreal.  We know that God is using this situation for good.  We know that God loves us and cares for us.  We know and feel God's peace even in the toughest moments... so keep up those prayers.  We really, really, really want them.

Thank you Lord that you love us.  Thank you that you care for Shawn and I and our kids.  We thank you for medical science and technology and meds.  We pray wisdom and discernment all over this situation and we ask for your divine healing over Kristin's body.  You have told us that the situation is serious, but not hopeless, and we thank you for hope.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Serious, but not hopeless

Sorry, I wanted to phone you but I just ran out of steam.  It seems so impolite to share such news this way.  Though seeing the horror and sadness on the faces of those I love is heartbreaking.  Our lives have been changed:  I have cancer.

I have cancer in my left kidney, lung(s), a spot on my shoulder. This has been a huge shock to us, I found out Monday, October 29, 2012 at 4pm. We had an appointment October 30 (Tuesday) with the kidney specialist who had very positive outlook and a solid action plan. Shawn and I feel a huge load lifted. It is cancer. It is serious. But we have hope. We also firmly believe that God is in control and that He has a plan for our family. I will have surgery to remove my left kidney in 2-3 weeks (dependent on first available OR time... anesthesiologists are on rotating strike so less OR time available), 7-10 days in hospital. After surgery, 4-6 weeks later depending on my recovery, I will have chemotherapy. There was also talk of radiation for the thing on my shoulder.

This journey began 15 days ago when I went to the sports medicine doctor for a cortisone shot in my right shoulder. I have had excruciating pain from severe tendinitis and nerve impingement for the past 4 months and physio wasn't able to help because of the swollen tendons. The MD sent me for a shoulder x-ray that showed 'nodules' in the right lung. A full chest x-ray showed "some nodules" (not sure how many or where), and a CT Scan showed the tumor in my kidneys. Interestingly enough, kidney tumours are often discovered due to examination for other issues, ah the learning has already begun.  Soon I will be an expert in a field I wish to not know so personally. The kidney tumour is 3.3mm and, as my 13-soon-14yrs old says, "That's not big, they can totally fix that!"

I feel incredibly blessed for the support and love and prayers pouring in as we share this heartbreaking and scary news. Cancer. I am in shock and just keep saying, "I have cancer. I have cancer? I don't understand how I have cancer. I'm not sick!"

I know that God is bigger than this. I believe that God is in control and I know that He has a plan for my family. I rest in His peace and I ask for your thoughts and prayers and support for me, for my dear husband, for our four blessings-to-us children, for our extended family and dear friends because this is going to be a big year ahead of us.

God's word to me in the quiet of the night was this: Kristin, it's serious, but not hopeless.
I cling to that.

Hugs,
Kristin