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


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye 2013

New Year's Eve.

Farewell 2013.
I wanted to be angry with you.  I wanted to kick you to the curb.  But the reality is that when I think on this past year all I see is notes and cards and gift cards and blankets and scarves and gift baskets and prayers and kindnesses and silver linings.  We have been so very, very blessed.

Happy New Year's, friends!

Welcome 2014 and all of the blessings that you will bring!   

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas, to your family from ours!



Praying that you will feel loved, that peace will descend over your day like snowflakes on eyelashes, and that there will be joy in your heart.  Thank you for blessing our family so incredibly all this long year.  We are so grateful.  As I wait for my family to rise up and celebrate Jesus this morning I have had time by the light of the Christmas tree to give thanks to God for the many blessings that He has overflown into our lives this year.  My heart is full.  Merry Christmas, my friends, thank you for being a blessing to us.  May your holiday season be heart-filling and smile-making and great-memory-making!!
Merry Christmas, with love.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Hospital and pain plan

Headed home with a pain plan.  Cancer  and no kidney complicate things.  I opted  out of IV narcotics.  I chose to go home and have Christmas with my kids. 

Had a good twenty minutes rest in the room.  Could feel your prayers melting that pain away and God granting me some rest.  Thank you.

May your Christmas be bright!!!!

Help

Excruciating lower back pain. Might have I go to hospital.  Can't cope.  Took big meds.  I want Christmas.  Devastated.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

When wishes come true it's like 
eating fruit from the tree of life.
~Proverbs 13:12




Came across this verse yesterday when I was reading a children's Christmas story.  
I hadn't read this verse before, I like it.  It's pretty.

SO ANGRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I finally feel not chemo-sick. 
I finally feel a clear head.
I want to spend time with the kids.  They are on school holiday now. 
Shawn is home.
Let's DO SOMETHING AND GET OUT OF THIS FREAKIN' STUPID HOUSE THAT I AM SO VERY BLINKING SICK OF.
And NOW I AM PARALYZED WITH LOWER BACK PAIN THAT HAS ME IMMOBILIZED.  I CAN HARDLY WALK AROUND THE HOUSE.

WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY

THIS IS MY TWO WEEKS WITH THE KIDS.  THIS IS MY NOT CHEMO WEEKS.  THIS IS MY CHRISTMAS SEASON. THIS IS MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE.  WHY CAN'T I JUST FREAKING HAVE ONE NORMAL FREAKING MOMENT THIS YEAR????

I AM SO FRUSTRATED AND ANGRY AND I CAN"T EVEN CRY A REAL UGLY CRY BECAUSE IT HURTS MY BACK AND WILL START ME COUGHING AND THAT WILL DROP ME TO THE GROUND.

I TRY HARD TO BE SMILEY EVEN ON THE HARDEST DAYS BUT I AM JUST WEARY.  I JUST AM SICK OF THIS.

I'm sorry.  I'm just.  Needing.  God.  I don't know what else to do.  Please pray that the back stuff will just release itself and stop.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Saturday!!!

Big kids are at a sleepover.  Hubby and I enjoyed our coffee/tea while we watched the boys build a snow hill and race with the new sled.  Such a good and relaxed morning.  Just as Saturday should be!  I'm feeling quite good today.  The chemo side effects have mostly left this building!  Yay! Back is fairly stiff but hoping that by getting out and wandering a little through town I can work that out.  Feeling smile-y today.

Last night was M's birthday party and I was so happy to get to attend this year!!! It was amazing to watch our girl interact with her friends! I loved meeting each new girl in her life (new school this year) and I am always thrilled to see friends from forever, too!  What a great group God has provided and Miranda has surrounded herself with, I loved the singing and dancing and silliness.  My heart was just so content to witness the evening!  Huge thanks to Mom and Nicky for wrangling girls, taking photos and serving up the pizza and cake.  

Hope your day is great!!!  MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Thing I miss...

Sitting at the table for dinner with my family.  

My hearts says yes, my stomach and gag reflex says no.  

The little adjustments of the last year are accumulating and I'm sort f just bummed.  I can hardly even read fac e boo k because I'm just plain missing doing the things you all are doing. Don't feel sorry for me but please, really stop and look at the people around you and say, "wow, I am truly blessed."

Epsom Salt with a view

Was advised to soak in Epsom salts to help alleviate chemo pain.  Until someone in this house develops super strength and could lift me out of the tub I'm too afraid that I'm too weak to get out of the tub myself... But then it came to me: foot bath.  Better than none, right?!?

The boys are, all three, playing w Lego advent pieces and I am glad to be upright and in the same room to watch their interactions.  Was feeling left behind this last week.  Trusting that this is the climb-back-up. Hoping, really hoping.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Rebuilding

So sleepy today.  This body is rebuilding all the healthy cells that chemo wiped out.  It's exhausting to lay here all day... someone pass me a bonbon?!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Chemo Round #3: cycle 1, day 6

Pain in my hips, lower back, right outside hip, upper middle back, right bicep, headache and a little lightheaded, lots of gagging, can't cough because of port pain, and rib pain.  So tired but can't get a good sleep because my body won't relax.  Head is more clear today, body is hyper-sensitive. Any aches that would normally see chiropractor are just flaring and angry at me.  Not allowed yo go to chiro.  I'm not good with pain.  I am a wimp and I can't speak half the time  because the air being forced through my lungs comes out like a ghostly moan. And can turn to gagging which hurts my stomach and diaphragm. 
Helping M with ideas for her ugly sweater for school tomorrow.  C was home sick today fever broke in the night but didn't want to risk the class and thought he should rest it out.  Glad to interact with the kids.   Glad Shawn could stay home with me today.  I am horrible and grumpy but I need him.

So tired.  This is when thoughts and images of the physical act of dying crowd my thoughts.  About the kids.  About my death bed.  About my family and dearest friends. It's a lot to wrestle with when I am just so physically depleted and drained and done.  So tired.  Help, Lord. All I can ask is help.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Chemo sick

I forgot.  Chemo sucks.  Was struggling  with pain and seized muscles and nausea this weekend. Telling myself I'm  on the upswing today...easier to believe if I don't let even an extra minute pass unmedicated.  Blah.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Chemo Round #3: cycle 1, day 3

Body aches.  Pain.  Nausea.  This feels like chemo.  I'm going to assume that means its working.  Boo. Yay.  Got meds on board, let's have some relief now.

Got out to see the Christmas parade with Shawn and kids, that was fun! I was struggling with feeling super nauseous and hip pain in my right side but we saw Santa and the huge tree and it snowed (foam) which was fun!


Loving the love!

Check out the awesome ' chemo mitten' covers that my friend Leanna made!  She  figured I wouldn't hate the gloves as much if they were prettier... and she was right, but it wasn't just the pretty purple it was the love and thoughtfulness and time she took to quilt these that really made it better!!!!!  I am so blessed!!!!  Thank you!
Aren't they beautiful?!  The lady in the chemo chair across from me thought so, too!  I think she was thinking to get some mitten covers of her own!  You may have started a trend, Leanna!  

Friday, December 13, 2013

Flu is in the house.

Dear Lord, I am choosing to not panic.  My counts are good and the chemo dip that makes me very susceptible shouldn't be for a few days yet.  But, Lord, Kyle has come home with some big flu symtoms.  Please strengthen his immune system to fight off this bug.  Restore him to perfect health.  Protect the rest of us.  Heal our bodies, make us strong, put Your hedge of protection around us all  and keep any more germs away.  In Jesus' name, amen.

CeeLo Green - "Mary Did You Know" [The Bible Clip]

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Chemo Round/Type #3: Cycle 1, Day 1 accomplished

We did it! 
On to the new chemo.
Seriously, ten minutes.  I didn't even have time to barely eat my two cookies from the nice Volunteer, close my eyes cuz the super-speed-buzz from my supporting meds was finally wearing off, and then my IV pump was beeping to send me home!  Seriously, felt like Mom and I were sneaking away as we left.  So strange.  But, different chemos are suspended (mixed) differently, and this one doesn't need to be mixed with a huge bag of anything else.  Ten minutes.  Still shaking my head.  The crash from my super-speed-buzz hit somewhere on Hwy 1 as we headed home and I slept hard for a short while, we stopped to shop real quick along the way, and then home we are.  Going to have dinner, might have a little shut-eye if I dare risk it at this point (5:30) and then early bedtime.

Shawn is feeling under the weather.  Please, please pray that this doesn't turn into full-on sickness.  I need him well.  And I need none of us to get sick.  He has been carrying too big of a load and his body is starting to demand some rest.  Dear Lord, we pray your strength and healing to Shawn's immune system.  Please raise his body up to fight the cold that is trying to drag him down.  Protect the rest of us from his symptoms and germs, especially my system especially right now.  Heal Shawn, help him to get the rest he needs at night, Lord.  Help his body be, and stay, strong.  In Your Holy Name we pray.  Thank you.  Amen.



More new hairs.  I've decided that having more hairs to choose from is actually less stressful.  This makes it just silly fun rather than trying to replace what was lost.  So thankful for the Cancer Agency Wig Room for the first wig,  one of the local Women's Pray Groups that has been faithfully praying for me who has donated the second wig, a dear friend who has shared a third wig, and now another friend and Cancer Victor who has shared this fourth wig!  I guess I may be becoming a hair hoarder?  Ah well, it's kinda fun... though a little creepy to see hairs laying around the living room, apparently I need a storage plan for these beauties! 

Chemo Round 3: Week 1, Day 1

Headed to Vancouver Cancer Agency for my new chemo.  As I was laying awake last night (been awake since 3am, yay spazzy meds!) and praising God and just chilling out in my bed an image came to mind: you know the mouthwash commercial where the bright teal blue wash swooshes in amongst the teeth and washes the tartar away... that image of this chemo swooshing in and washing the cancer cells out of my body.  I wasn't sad or worried or fretting but just thanking God for today's chemo.  And that image has come to me again and again this morning and gives me hope. Let's be hopeful together, shall we!!!
[smile]

YOU are the 'reason for the season'

YOU are the reason for the Season! 

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).


_________________________________________
Kristin's response:

Mind. Blown.  I have always loved the phrase "Jesus is the Reason for the Season" but didn't realize that that phrase is really just our Christian heart's response to a commercialized world view on the seasonal celebration of Christ's birth.  I had never thought of it before as ME being the reason for the season.  I am.  I fully believe that God so loved the world (ME) that He gave His only Son (Jesus Christ) so that whoever believes in Him (me, you, every and anyone who says "Jesus, I have sinned, please forgive me, please come into my life, help me live according to the character of you) will have eternal life (in Heaven with God when this earthly body dies).  I fully believe this.  And so the idea that KRISTIN is the reason for the season.  And SHAWN is the reason for the season.  And KYLE is the reason for the season.  And MIRANDA is the reason for the season.  And BRADEN is the reason for the season. And CONNOR is the reason for the season.  ... well, it's just so amazing and cool and mind-blowing!  YOU, my friend, if only just YOU, YOU ARE THE REASON FOR THE SEASON!!!!  God made Christmas happen... Christ's birth happen... just for YOU!!!!   WOW!!!!

I can't wait to share discussion with the kids about this at some point over the next few days when we can sit and chat and really just let this information sink in!   Don't you love it when God's love just smacks you right in the head like a v 8 commercial?!?!  Seriously, why didn't I think of it this way before?  So glad to have this perspective shift now!!!  Love when God uses F ac e B ook to knock my socks off!  Thanks, God.  You are so awesome!
 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Allowing anticipation in

Writing birthday invites for Miranda's classmates.  This time last year I honestly didn't know if I would get another birthday with the kids. I wouldn't even allow myself to think about this year's birthdays until the day before.  It even feels like I am "tempting fate" to think "I got another birthday with each of them" when her birthday is still over a week away... but I feel hopeful that I will get this birthday with my daughter.  Please realize what a big deal this is to me.  I don't look ahead.  I have grown to assume that there will be side tracks and blips and dips and side effects that will come between this moment and my plans for even the very near future. It's that loss of innocence that I have spoken of before.  But today, as I write these cards, I feel anticipation of spending 12th birthday time with my girl.  And anticipation is a rare commodity to me these days, for whatever reason and for a whole bunch of reasons. Once bit, twice shy, right?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Advent Fun with Connor

We are notorious for falling behind on our Advent Calendar fun. This is me trying to help Connor get caught up on his building. These kids have become so used to doing things on their own but I am trying hard to be present and in their space and conversing with them as much as I can without smothering... I have this constant panic that they will forget me, will forget the fun mommy, the adventurous mommy, the not-always-yelling-from-the-couch mommy. It's a fine line! [smile]. I am blessed that these kids are pretty gracious and will take the mommy moments when and as they come.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Yuck

Having trouble with some aches and some really tough nausea and bad gagging.  Gagging is not high in frequency but if I lean back in a chair it's so bad, overwhelming.  When I get up from laying the coughing is so bad, stomach sort of convulses or spasms.  I no like it.   Listening to my littlest boys shovelling snow for an hour on our little back deck makes me smile because I hear their happy work and know they are happy.  M is doing homework so she and I can watch the Voice tonight. Thankful for the anti-nausea meds I got last week. Feeling exhausted from the effort f the gagging and trying not to cough (because it makes me queasy and starts the gagging).  But the kids are so cute in the backyard even in the dark!  Oh how I love them!!!

Snowing!!!

It is gorgeous out this morning. A true "winter wonderland"! I took the camera with us to the bus and snapped some photos of the boys and I enjoying this rare treat! The snowflakes are the perfect, dry, fall-singularly and accumulating-on-the-road kind. Ours is most often a very wet and mushy kind of snowfall. I am loving this morning and am mesmerized by this miracle of temperature and air pressure and moisture. The roof across the street is completely covered even!!! O, the boys should have worn boots today! [chuckle] We are always doubtful that it will last. That's kind of what I am dealing with emotionally these days, will my body last? I don't want to die. But I do want to live in the will of God. But how do I trust God's will and also ask Him to please spare me from cancer. I know that I am in His plan, and while I do not at all think that God gives cancer or disease, I do think that what the Devil intends for evil God does use for good. And so much good has come from this cancer year we have been on. We are surrounded with love and care and miracles and mercies and grace and kindnesses at every turn. So would I want to have missed out on the blessings that this year has been? Um, heck ya! Cancer sucks mega! And, no. I wouldn't change it ...but I would like to be healed now.
I think that I have confused myself in trying so hard to not make demands of God that I have actually been making demands in a "back handed" sort of way. By working so hard to not try to force my own will, I have actually been sort of passive aggressive in how I come to Him. I can't articulate it... but I think my thinking and fretting about offending God has actually caused a fog to fall over my understanding of who God really is. He is omnipotent, He is the creator of all things, He is kind and just and He is love.
Our Pastor, a man I greatly respect, left us with a thought yesterday about waiting on the Lord. Pastor Jim said this: while we are waiting on the Lord (to answer our prayers), let us focus on the character of God. And that got me thinking. First, I was astounded that I was so lost in my understanding of my God that I couldn't quickly name several characteristics. I am a word girl, where were the words? Second, I resolved to put some study time in. Third, I am choosing to work on shifting my focus back to the benevolence and kindness and wants-to-hear-my-heart's-cries of God. I don't ever want to limit God because I have made Him too delicate to handle my mess, or too fragile, or simply because I'm thinking too hard on not offending him. Just spit it out, girl! Hello, He is God!!! I like this quote: "God is only as big as my imagination.". Why would I choose to let my over thinking create limits on the limitless power and awesomeness of the God I believe and love and trust? That makes no sense, Kristin. Stop that. Okay. I will.

________________________________________
Source: http://www.joycemeyer.org/articles/ea.aspx?article=gods_character
God's Character
by Joyce Meyer
It’s important to know God’s character. Why? It gives us discernment. If we don’t know the character of God, how can we ever know who is from God and who is not from God?
The Bible says don’t believe everything that comes down the pike. You have to test and try the spirits. We need to know what is God and what is not God. And we need to recognize God in our daily activity.
Let’s look at three important traits of God’s character.

1. Justice

Out of all the aspects of God’s wonderful character, the one I personally enjoy studying the most is justice. God is a God of justice. That word justice is so awesome because it means that He will always make anything that’s wrong right. For example, if somebody mistreats me, I don’t have to worry about it because God is going to bring justice. He loves justice.
Dave told me one time that God showed him during his morning prayer time that nobody can really cheat you if you keep your faith in God. If somebody takes something from you, don’t sweat it. Even if God has to work it out through a hundred people to get it all the way back around to you, you will get it back.
“ Nobody can mistreat you and get by with it if you have your faith in God. ”
One way or the other, what was unjustly taken from you will come back to you. Nobody can mistreat you and get by with it if you have your faith in God. 

2. Goodness

God is good—this fact never changes. And He’s good all the time—not just once in awhile or when things go your way. Psalm 34:8 says, Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him (NIV).
Let me tell you something: When you are having personal trouble and all hell seems to be coming against you, one of the best things you can do is speak this out loud, “God is good. God is good. I may be having trouble, but it is not God’s fault. God is good.”

3. Holiness

God is holy. What does that mean? In the Greek, to be holy is to be righteous—or to be right. You know I think it would make our lives a whole lot easier if we would realize that God is always righteous.
To be honest, realizing that whatever He does is right whether I like it or not has helped me in my walk with God.
He’s always right. Whether it feels good to me or not, it’s right. And whether or not I agree with it, He’s right.

God’s Amazing Character Is Our Example

These three traits are not the only characteristics of God, but they are three significant and powerful ones. With the help of the Holy Spirit, each of us can incorporate these traits in our own personality.
I encourage you to spend some time looking up these three traits in the Bible and studying the magnificent character of Christ.  Find a good concordance or use an online Bible search engine and discover what the Word says about justice, goodness and holiness. Then study these three traits for the next thirty days, begin to practice them in your daily life, and see what God does…You won’t be disappointed.

This article is taken from Joyce's 10-part CD series, The Character of God.

[Above photo] My two littlests scraping together enough snow to throw at each other... these two are two years apart in age (+ 1 week) and have really begun to get rough-and-tumble and boy-ish in how they play.  Oi!  Just look away, Momma, just look away!  [huge proud smile]

Sunday, December 8, 2013

GAH! He coughed in my mouth!!!!

Trying to not have a full-on panic attack.  Beloved youngest son just coughed directly into my nose and mouth as I was inhaling.  Direct hit.  His cough and cold into my air intake.  I want to scrape my mouth.  I want to gargle with industrial strength tooth cleanser.  I am honestly trying hard not to have a full-on panic attack.  I will not get sick.  I will not get sick.  It's just a cough.  My numbers are high.  I will not get sick.

The new chemo that I will start on Thursday makes your neutrophils (they make your white blood cells which are the infection fighters) drop.  This means that, starting Thursday, we will be putting an even bigger sign on our front door and we will be disinfectant wiping even more in this house and I will be wearing a mask when I cuddle with the kids. 

In my mouth.  Gah!  Direct hit!!!  In my mouth.   Gah!!!!

I will not panic.  I will not panic.  I will not panic. 

I'm feeling slightly panicked.

Lord, I pray your hedge of protection around this body extra in this minute.  Peace for my soul, Father God, germ-free for this body.  In the name of Jesus, amen.

Friday, December 6, 2013

And God did provide!!!

I called the Cancer Agency pharmacy and was told there is a total shortage of B12 shots.  I must have it today or I cannot have chemo next week.  Crucial!!!  The kind pharmacist suggested I start calling every pharmacy in town and then to call my oncologist if I had no success.  Then she suggested calling my doctor's office... which I did.  And, after explaining the urgency of getting the shot this morning, the lovely receptionist put me on hold, walked over to the nurse, and came back to say, "We have one vial left, when can you get here?"  I called Mom and we were there within 25 minutes!  The nurse was so sweet and the shot didn't hurt (I'm so just ugh about needles, I'm sick of them and I'm strong to get through it without whining but I still hate it down deep in my very core) and ta da!  I'm good to go. 

Next we picked up the other med (folic acid) I need to take today in order to get chemo next week... and there was a mix up at the pharmacy and some rigamorole and I came home without it.  Gr.  Yet another trip for my mom.  So dumb.  So I dug through my cupboard and found my vitamin box and took a 7 years old folic acid from being pregnant with C and popped that to get some on board.  Self-medicating with folic acid, well, there's far worse things... I should be cheery today for all the Bs, right?  [eye roll]

And now, sitting on my couch, hot pad on my shoulder/back to try and ease up this stupid cancer-shoulder pain... I think it's the super cold weather we are having.  It's sunny and clear and -6 today... that's super cold for our town!  So, cozied in I am.  Gonna sip tea and doze my day away and have a visit with a dear friend whom I haven't seen in far too long (thank goodness for texting, right M?).

Today is a good day.  I needed B12 and God provided when there was none to be found.

God is good, all the time.

Even when I am snapping at the kids and testy and tired and bitchy and grumpy and gross and just unenjoyable to be around (which happens a fair bit, sorry to say).  But I feel a lightness for having switched off the chemo+trial.  I just wasn't able to settle into it, and I usually can.  I'm sad, I'm scared, I'm worried that God's plan for my life and my plan for my life won't be the same.  And mostly, I am jealous that if I die I won't be here to enjoy life with my husband, my kids, my family, my friends, you all.  Jealous.  That is my deepest, darkest emotion about dying.  I fear that the actual dying/death part will be painful or gross (coughing and gagging and choking and stuff is my biggest physical gross-out) and that I won't be able to be me and that everyone will be emotionally wrecked from watching me go through it.  But for me, mostly I feel jealous of what I would be missing as you all go on / through your days.

So I just keep trusting in God's plan for my life.  I hold tightly to the promises of Heaven.  I hold loosely to the very minimal planning I allow in our days (for there always seems to be a blip).  I cherish my children but work hard to hold my hand open, to not clutch too tight, just in case I die.  It's a constant shifting of emotions and coping and energy level and mental and emotional exhaustion.  And then some moments, it's not and everything is pretty normal... the new tired-Kristin/weak-Kristin normal, but still... smiles and laughing and silly and hounding the kids to do chores.

It is what it is.  There's a ramble for you.
[smile]

Thank you, God, for providing the B12.  It never occurred to me that you wouldn't, but I'm glad you did all the same.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

CT Results

Over the last week I have head my mind say, "I need a break, I just need a break." And in the next instant I panicked because I knew something was about to shift.

Yesterday, things shifted.  And I get my break.  Not what I had in mind.

As Shawn and I were given the results of my recent CT scan I felt calm and I felt a little shake-my- head / incredulous/ "serious God???" crazy-giggle burble inside me... God, you heard my heart's cry for a break and here it is.  That tiniest giggle lasted about a millisecond of surprise and was tinged with a moment of [heart sinking in chest].  It wasn't great news.

The CT showed that the current chemo + trial drug have not worked as hoped.  My oncologist has presented us with his top three options for treatment (option #1 chemo, option #2 chemo, option #3 a different trial).  We trust him.  I have prayed, and am praying fervently in this day, for God to give my doctor wisdom, to thank God for my doctor's excellence and experience and knowledge and expertise, and I ask God to give my doctor clear direction in my treatment plan.  Also, the #1 option requires that my oncologist apply to the government to please fund the treatment. (This is a treatment used as standard in other cancers and it is used for bladder cancer but is not a "standard" treatment protocol for bladder cancer and so not covered...because bladder cancer is rare and not many people get it (praise God!) it is not worth it financially for drug companies to pay the millions of dollars it costs to complete a trial.  Lots of people get lung cancer, so there is money in lung cancer drugs, so drug companies fund research in lung cancer... ah, money does make the world go 'round).  Hoops to jump through and pray through.

My oncologist used the word "option" several times and the phrase "several options" and "I felt that you would like to have options" and he was spot on.  I have often commented, throughout my adult life, that I like to "keep my options open".  My oncologist knowing me so well after only 3 or 4 visits was just exactly the confirmation I needed that this is the right guy for the job, and added to my peace.

I also like that my oncologist isn't waiting around to see if it works.  He sees that the current plan isn't the right plan and so we're moving to something else.  I like that he is proactive.  I like that he is researching.  I like that he has a plan B he is keeping in his back pocket.  I like the way he thinks and acts on my behalf.  That is awesome!  "...because you are young and fit..."  The "fit" cracks me up, "Um, doc, you do know that I've been laying around on my butt for the better part of a year now, hey?"  But 'healthy' isn't a word we use with cancer and hospital visits I suppose.  It makes me chuckle every time he says it!  Bad news and a chuckle in the same visit... this is such a roller coaster.

Shawn was caught off guard, "But you haven't gotten worse, how is this possible?"   My poor, so-very-dear-to-me husband, this poor guy, this stalwart supporter.  Please, keep holding him in your prayers.  I can't imagine how impossible it is for him to watch his beloved wife go through this and this and more and then some more.  His heart is broken for me.  He just wants to make it better.  He prays so fervently.  He hopes so hard.  He works so diligently.  He tries more and harder and deeper than anyone I know.  He is a good good good man.  He really is.  Hold him in you heart with me?  Lord, bless Shawn's day.  Please, Lord, bless Shawn's day.  I love that man truly, madly, deeply.  Thank you, Lord, for Shawn.  He is such a good man.

And so, I get a break until next week.   Last night, after the crappy job of telling my parents and sisters the update, I actually had a lightness of heart that I haven't had in weeks.  I knew, in my gut, that the current chemo+trial was not going to be the winner for me.  And so, being taken off of it just feels right.  I have hope in the next treatment.  I trust the Lord God, maker of Heaven and Earth: He has a plan and I am in it.  Ultimately, if nothing works, I will have perfect peace and rest and health in Heaven and I will one day see my loved ones there. A scary and peace-giving thought all at the same time... no one wants to die at 41 with an adoring family and a great life they are happy to be living!!! I do not want to die.  At all.  Until I am 100 and enjoyed my 100th birthday cake and a good nap in my chair and then will die peacefully in my sleep.

But I am not dying today.  Nope.  Today I am going shopping.  Christmas is coming!

UPDATE:  Thursday the phone call came that I have been approved for option #1!!!  We prayed that God would clearly open the door (of which option) would be His choice and that door flung open.  My oncologist had warned us that the government could say no and that we could be denied the chemo based on budget.  The trial nurse seemed pretty happy that we got approval so quickly. 

Please pray that the cancer in my lungs will stop. shrink. be gone completely.  Please pray that the 'possibly something' on my liver is gone completely.  Please continue to pray for my bladder health.

We also really strongly need your prayers for coping and peace and joy in this Christmas season and smiles and happy moments with our kids and some normal.  Please, God, bring us normal in each day.

And please, be very careful with what you say about any of this in front of your kids, so that we can continue to protect our kids as best we can and as is age appropriate within our family values and as to what/how Shawn and I share information with the kids.   This is just such an insane reality and we are all worn and weary and stretched thin emotionally and just plain done about cancer.   Please pray that God will keep soft their hearts.

Thank you for your continued support.  I have tears right now just thinking of your pray-ers, and the anonymous gifts that show up at our door, and the meals and the groceries at exactly the right time.  We are so blessed and you are just amazing and I just don't know how we could maintain any sanity without God and without the tangible help that you bring.  My heart is full.  And sick and tired of having cancer and completely ready to celebrate a miracle.  All at the same time.  [weak smile]

The last two days have been very busy and full with no naps.  Today I am very weary and yet have to go traipse around town in search of a B12 shot (apparently there is a shortage and no pharmacy has any???) that I must have today or else I cannot have chemo next week.   Ah, another blip in the journey.  Going to phone the Cancer Agency pharmacy and see what they've got.  God will provide.

Thank you for loving us in all this messiness.  I am so grateful.  Today I'm just also really really tired.


My daily prayer: Help me to stay sweet!

God is working on your problem. And what you need to do in the meantime is stay calm, stay sweet, stay out of fear, and 
keep on keepin' on. 
~ Joyce Meyer




To this I say, "Amen! Amen! Amen! Amen! Amen! Amen! Amen! Amen!!!"

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Clinic Day

Cycle 3 starts tomorrow.  Chemo + Trial Drug.
Today is clinic (doctor and nurse) plus blood work.
Feeling blah about going to yet another medical appointment.
It's all I do.
This is full-time work with no paycheck, no schedule, no breaks, no camaraderie of peers.
Struggling to have joy. 
Our Christmas Tree is beautiful and makes me smile but I just feel sort of empty.
I have trained myself so strongly to live in the moment, anything else is too risky to think on and worry gets me nowhere, that I don't know how to look forward to things anymore.
It's all just appointments on the calendar.
That's not how I have purposed to live my life.
Not having success in figuring out this.
I don't think I'm depressed.
I'm just blah.
I'm tired of meds and hospital visits and blood work and needles and giving my history and answering the million questions to every doctor and nurse I see.  I will have been to a hospital 7 times/days in 11 days by the time tomorrow finishes up.  Would have been 8 times in 12 days but I postponed my Friday appointment.
Blah.
I want to talk about Christmas presents and spring break and holidays and fun stuff.  But I don't really want to talk about much of anything.  Blah.
This chemo/trial drug (no idea which one) have made me quick to cry, testy and short-tempered.
Frustrated.
Feeling claustrophobic.
I just want to feel joy and the thrill of something good.  For more than just the moment.
I want good feelings that linger.  I want to bask in the glow of a happy heart.
I am grateful.  I am thankful.  I am in awe of the kindnesses you keep pouring out on us. 
I guess that counts.  I'm not a total automaton if I can feel thankful.  That's good.
I'm sick of having cancer and would like to be healed now.

They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they will mount up on wings as eagles.  I have hope.  That's really the most important.

I haven't posted much lately because 'if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all' and all the posts I write in my head just sound like sadness or whining.  I don't spend all day sad.  I hope I don't spend all day whining.  I'm just feeling lost and alone and trapped I guess.  It'll pass. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thank you, nice juicy donor!


Back at the hospital.
Woke up feeling panicked ... More like claustrophobic.   Spent time with God, had some fear moments, laid them down.  I trust you Lord.
Took cupcakes to C's class, his birthday request.  Enjoyed SNOW for the drive!
Got here, port accessed but wouldn't draw. Apparently I am either too low on blood or dehydrated.  The nurse was able to get the port to work and I got my bag of blood flowing in now!
Did you know that blood flows by gravity while other meds can be moved along with a pump?  True.
The nurse raised the pole (to help gravity along) so we can get this transfusion done in time for me to be home when birthday boy gets off the bus!  Nurses are awesome!!!
My temp was up a titch, please pray no problems with today's transfusion!!!!

Update:  Mom and I pulled onto my street literally four car lengths in front of the boys' bus!  How's the for awesome timing on the part of my great nurse who was determined to get me home for C's birthday!!!   It's been snowing off and on all day today, nothing sticking quite yet but was beautiful to watch the snowfall from my hospital bed!  Had no further temperature problems and no glitches with the rest of the transfusion.  We always watch for the next 6 hours for a reaction so I'm praying for none.  Tonight, we are celebrating my #4 as he turns 7years old!!!!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Emotions

Just woke up from a solid three hour sleep. No lights shining in my eyes, no hustle and chatter of nurses assessing and sweet old ladies calling for help in their weak little voices (and then me worrying that they can't find they call bell), no blood pressure checks when you've just fallen asleep.  Awesome.

Then Shawn brought me some water and the low-down on all the phone calls he's been fielding regarding the flood and then the cancer agency and then blood transfusion.

Me, "I'm going to burst into tears if you say Monday (Connor's birthday)" as he switched into politically correct mode and danced around until he said "for Monday".  My hemoglobin is too low, I need another transfusion. [sigh]. It is what it is, it's just yet another scheduled appointment.  This was my "off week", remember?!?

When I left emerg today I said to the doc "thank you so much, I missed my son's birthday last year because of cancer.  I don't want to miss it this year!" And he smiled and the nurses were happy for me.

And this.  At least it's a 9:30am appointment.  So long as things run smoothly I should be home around the same time as Connor gets home on the bus.  Things so rarely seem to run smoothly. 

I just want to be here, at home, with my kid, on his birthday. With my husband and kids and as our little family and to celebrate and watch him open his gifts and have birthday dinner.  

It may seem that those things aren't that important, but I challenge you that they are!  If we don't fight to keep those celebrations valued then what is the marker of our year?  What keeps the days from running together?  What are the influxes of "happy" that make everything just feel plump with living, rich with accomplishment, investing into our own future... Like that feeling you get on payday every two weeks, but for your heart?

So I have had my cry.  I have hugged my kid.  And now I will go get ready for dinner... It's my mother-in-law's birthday today and I'm out of hospital in time to celebrate with the family!

God is good.  All the time.

SPRUNG!

In the car, driving away!!  Dr Internist Guy said he was switching me to oral meds.  I said, "So I can go home?" and he had my prescription and lab paperwork back to me in about two minutes and we were dressed and outta there!!!

Woot Woot!!!

Going bananas

Had a good night, got good sleep.  My IV started hurting so the nurse eventually stopped wiggling it around (ouch!!!) and it popped out (GAH!!!!) and then two pokes to find a new one.  Ugh.  This one sets the alarm off every five minutes... I have crappy veins, that's why I have the port (which they don't use in emerg).  The IV is the worst worst worst part of emerg.  i just cant handle it.  the whole thing an then having it in... gah!!!!  Morning nurse just unhooked my IV (it's still in my arm) from the bag because I'm hydrated enough now. They'll hook me up for antibiotics I guess.  I got oral meds last night (as well as the IV meds).  Have a deep, dry cough this morning.  Going to work on deep breathing to help strengthen my lungs (nurses orders).  Maybe they'll send me home!!!!!!  Fingers crossed!!!!
LaLaLuna was excited to see the banana on today's breakfast tray.  I only eat bananas in bread so she can have it!  LOL. Probably she'll share with my mom when mom arrives.  My mom loves to uncover the hidden gems on the hospital meal trays... her joy in lifting all the little lids makes me smile!

Mmmmm, cream of wheat!!!  That, and hospital oatmeal, are the best breakfast in the world!!! For real!  ... although the lady who brought is said I'm the only one who has ever said that!  [smile]

Please keep praying this pneumonia away.  That and the cancer... Lets just pray a full "clean sweep" of those dear lungs and get on with the good stuff of living and raising kids and being busy-cause-we-love-it!!! [wink]

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Antibiotics and LalaLuna

Thankful to see my babies today.  Thankful for a husband arranging his schedule in this emergency situation. Thankful to B for thinking to bring me my LaLaLuna to keep me company at night. 

Thank you for your prayers. I slept off and on all day.  Definitely feel less sleepy than yesterday and glad for meds.  Trusting its no other infection (waiting on blood cultures) and praying pneumonia away.  

Look at those tired eyes, yesterday they could hardly open. That's progress.  That's good.  Praying even more progress for these lungs. 

Hospital

I am in for three days and then will be re assessed.  I have a slight case of pneumonia in my right lung.  My baby's birthday party is Friday.  I missed it last year because I was in hospital, too.  I am fairly upset by this. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

ER

My oncologist has sent me to the local ER due to a fever.  Will need blood work to make sure this body can fight infection (blood counts are high enough).  Please pray?

Today.

Not sure what going on but am nauseous, having some major gagging/ dry heaving, exhausted, my emotions are  all over the place.  These are often associated with a health dip.  ???

Maybe all the partying of the last few days is just wearing me out. 

The Christmas commercials slay me! Who can watch those and not cry???


Sunday, November 24, 2013

The kids have voted

Me: With or without the hair?
Them: With.  
Connor: You look normal.
Braden: It's good when you go out. (aka 'more normal')
Me: Okay.  With the hair then.


This was the donated wig from the cancer agency.  I was gifted/ blessed with a wig by a local women's group this week, that one will be here in two weeks time and then this one will go back to the cancer agency wig room to bless someone else (longer, younger styles are extremely hard to come by in the wig room!).

I don't feel like me.  It feels like I'm cheating, or the first time I wore a bra and was mortified that people would know or say something!  I have anxiety.  It's just one more thing to get over, I guess.  Part of the cancer process. 

My kids are happy, so I shall take my cue from their reactions and comfort level.

No need to tell me how cute it is or how good I look.  I don't want to look good, I just want to look like me.  And straight blonde hair with bangs is not me.  Never.  I don't colour my hair,  I don't straighten it,  even the curls/waves were my own. And I would never have bangs touching my face.  

This looks "normal" to my kids, to have hair, and so I will happily do this for them.  

[smile]

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Ramble.

Saturday.   Dropped Miranda to church choir practice this morning then set off with grand dreams and a to do list with Kyle.  Accomplished one thing and a bonus thing and then gave up on the list, picked up a Sbucks hot chocolate for he and I and went back to get Miranda.  I'm tired.   My mind is raring to go, my body just cannot fathom even trying to keep up.  Driving is exhausting.  The freedom of driving myself to my own destination and going by myself to make a purchase is like the most delicious treat ever... but it is so exhausting that about 5 minutes in I'm cursing myself for not waiting til my husband or mom would just take me.  They totally would.  But I'm going mental from being stuck here or waiting on help or needing help.  I feel like one of those little fish that suck onto the sharks and just hitches a ride and does nothing.  Sure, sure, those little fish pick the bugs off the shark... I'm not even doing that.  I'm just a big, cranky, whinging brat.  I am finding myself in the midst of a lot of big thinking, existential thoughts, feels like God is working on me, peeling back layers, getting to the core of who I am to be.  Which is good and all, but a lot of work, but no work, all I really need to do is sit and the work happens, really, but hm, maybe that's the whole point of this frustrating body not be able to do anything.  Maybe that's the time needed for the 'getting to the core'.  I don't know.  All I know is that, in the mean time, I'm struggling with feeling valuable, feeling needed, feeling essential to 'life as we know it' and really, 'life as we know it' is really such a foreign thing now... what we thought we 'knew' is no longer valid, valuable, realistic, our 'now', the actual.  So why do we long for it.  This is actually better, really, the learning and understanding and growth.  But, I don't want to have cancer anymore.  That's what it comes down to.  Pacing.  Need to figure out how to pace, what's the pace, the pace changes depending on the moment, will change as we get deeper into this round of chemo and the side effects build and stuff will inevitably happen that throws us off course.  It is what it is.  Which is fine.  But how does one LIVE that as a philosophy and also actual LIVE... to me "living", really and truly "living" has always meant "actively choosing", "thinking", "planning but with flexibility to just wing it and have a silly or decadent moment just because our North American spoil-ed-ness affords it".   Ramblings.  The sun is shining.  Shawn and the kids are outside tidying up boxes (mostly emptied cuz we've been sorting/chucking, hooray!) and playing street hockey, I love hearing the scrape of the hockey stick on the ground, the sound of toys being dragged out of the garage, yelling and laughing and the occasional squabbling that inevitably breaks out.  Life is good.  This, right here.  Is very good.  We are very blessed and when I focus on the blessings and I remember to feel God's goodness and presence here, the sun on my face, the contentment in my heart then I'm pretty sure THIS is exactly "living".  And it's good.  It's really, really good.  Why do I waste time complaining.  Ah, the ramble, a useful tool for this woman's overactive thinking and feeling and wanting heart.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Warm toesies!

Warm toes!!!  Hooray!!!  My poor little toesies have been suffering from frozen-ness this chemo... Ah, that's better!

Teasing CrapMeister of Suckiness

To clarify, by "up-swing" what I meant was Teasing CrapMeister of Suckiness.

Up-swing, to you, means "hooray, she's feeling better, maybe today will be great!"

To me what it means is "my mind has finally cleared of the chemo fog and is now whirring with the list of two bjillion things I haven't been able to get to in the last 2.5 weeks... now if only I could manage to get this body out of bed or off the couch... I want to do those things... those things are causing me stress and anxiety and panic attacks... the boxes, oh, the boxes stacked everywhere, the gifts to wrap, the birthday parties to plan... crap!  his birthday is in 7 days and the next one is 7 days later and I haven't even started planning that... seriously, just go get the phone... just phone the place, make the reservation... you can do that... go... seriously... just go... ugh... too tired... need to shower... that'll take the morning to recover from... okay... shower now, phone the place later... why can't this body work... oh ya... oncologist so bluntly stated "you are putting poison into your body, it takes time... you aren't sucking at chemo, it takes 7-10 days to rest... you need to rest... and when you feel better... still rest" ... oh ya... up-swing.  hoorah."

I did manage to drag my dad out for lunch with Kori and Roger and I, I was starving finally... and then ate a few bites and the nausea set in for the day... yuck.  Gagging sucks.


Today is a new up-swing...  I have been gifted a wig so am going for a wig fitting... mixed emotions about that... grateful for the hair because I do NOT want to be bald in Christmas family photos... but hate what the 'need a wig' stands for: cancer fighting... still... [sigh]   Mom and Keri are coming for support, I'm glad. 

Going to try and walk the boys to the bus this morning, my right hip keeps threatening to give out and my feet are a little numb (chemo side effect, not good as numb feet can't balance and can't walk, numb hands can't do buttons or hold a fork, it's a serious side effect that they watch closely).

I woke up.  I am grateful. If I could get the boys' birthdays organized I would be super happy... they got robbed last year when I was in hospital for surgery, this year... again with the freakin' cancer.  GRRRRRR. 

Don't feel nauseas... going to try and eat some Krispies.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Gag

They say this chemo is "tolerated well" on the nausea front.  They say "you shouldn't need to take the meds".  

It sucks when the anti-nausea meds make you gag so hard you feel that your diaphragm may burst and vomit is definitely coming up if you don't use all your will power (and hold your mouth closed with your hands) to stop it.  

I hate hanging over the garbage can gagging.

To know me is to know that I don't want to vomit, ever.  

Like, in my life I have vomited less than five times.  I am that opposed.

Gagging is gross.

Vomit would be worse, I guess. 

Silver lining?!?

Sure.  I'll take it.

[tired Kristin]

Today

I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
—Psalm 27:13–14

Didn't have as much energy in real as I did in my head, but did get out to lunch and did enjoy the sunshine and a visit with Kori. A good day.  Nausea won't leave.  That sucks.  

Up-swing

I must be on the up-swing... didn't sleep solid tonight, finally got up at 5am cuz I'm starving... hooray for a turn away from 'chemo-sick'.  Now to pace myself for the last few days of slow when boxes are needing to be dealt with, Christmas is waiting to be planned for, two little boys have birthdays in the next 7 days... life is waiting to be lived!!!!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Cancer is hard on kids

Our kids are bored.  They are used to a mommy who takes them on adventures, takes them at least to the grocery store.  We don't do that anymore.  They come home from school and sit.  They come home from school unattended even though I am here. We don't do adventures so much anymore.  Their entire lifestyle has shifted away from as they knew it.  We want that life back, all six of us.  I wish I could just give them a jailbreak today, two of the four of them are not coping well.  My heart hurts for them.  They just want their mom back. They seem lost. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Full, full days

Phew.  Did you see that I back-posted a couple of days? 

It has been a chalk-a-block full week with Mom here every day helping me at home, running me on errands, running errands when I'm too tired to do my list, Dad picking up and driving kids to and from school and soccer and swimming plus him doing some work around the house for us and and and.   What on earth would I do without my Mom and Dad just showing up to lighten the load around here?  She walks in and starts tidying.  She sees a dish on the counter and just puts it away.  She reminds me to eat.  He texts to remind me he's picking up Miranda.  She sees a return and just takes it to the store for me.  How can I ever repay them?  Never.  But I will do my best to take that help with grace and a smile and a verbalized thank you and a hug and by getting CURED of this cancer!!!  Let's do THAT, God... I think THAT would be the best thank you gift we could give them!  I am so thankful for every piece of help that comes from so many directions...but right now I pray stamina for my parents, that they will not burn out, that their friends will reach out and go out with them (cuz they love that!) and do the legwork on the relationships while they are putting all their energy out to me.

The chemo-lag started to hit me yesterday.  I had a great sleep last night, stayed up too late watching part of a movie with Shawn, but that is time well spent so hard to argue against it!   Today I hope to make one small trip out before I start the hunker-down-and-rest that chemo will soon enforce.  As the doc said, there is just no getting around chemo exhaustion, every single patient on this chemo gets the 7-10 down days of sitting on the couch feeling like a lump and just plain disinterested or unable to do anything.  We have a feed-and-water Kristin plan in place this time, and a pain-management-plan, and I'm hoping that by keeping foods and drinks going in that I will not sink quite as low as last time!  God is good, it'll all work out as it should!

Today Kyle has his first 'away' game that is far, far away!   And I've got to tell you that THIS is the game that I've been waiting for since that little kindergarten boy started out in soccer all those 10 years ago... the Tsawassen game!  FAR away!  We were going to get Sbucks and enjoy the drive time together (I love family drive time!!!), watch the game, go for dinner, enjoy the drive home... seriously, been dreaming about this day for years!  And now, it's here.  And now, I don't know if it is a wise choice for me to go or not... I will see when we get closer to go time.  I also wanted to roll this into his birthday dinner with Shawn and I (his birthday dinner got flood-cancelled... we were bailing the basement when we should have been at the restaurant).   If I ration my energy carefully, we just might be able to do it... I still have my final chemo meds in me from last night (they give me a bit of energy) and perhaps that'll stretch out to include this afternoon's soccer adventure.  Maybe!  [smile]

It's Saturday, projects have been chipped away at all week.  The dining room table/scrapbooking chaos is looking less and less overwhelming.  Today I'm going to move the final 8 boxes out of the pathway and just tuck them out of the way a bit better (well, I'm going to get the little boys to drag those for me, but I'll supervise) which will give more space and allow us to actually eat in the dining room (our only table) once again.  Yay for family dinner with the entire family seated in one space!!!

Last night Shawn's Dad came and dismantled our mud room (we relocated that to a mezzanine in the garage last year) so that we can now build the mud room wall into a pantry for all the food and grocery stuff that a family of 6 requires.  Our kitchen is spacious but has little storage space and food in three seperate locations in this house is neither efficient nor functional!  I'm super excited for this one little change that I see making a huge pile of difference around here!   I wonder if I can convince Shawn to run out to the hardware store for shelving supplies before the game today?  Hmmm... [wink] he loves it when I add things to his Saturday morning!  LOL

I hope that your Saturday will be peaceful and restful.  Will you put up your Christmas Tree?  Ours went up Thursday night and it is our most beautifully decorated tree yet!  I just love sitting in my living room by the light of the tree!  Awesome and tranquil.  I love it!

May your day be great!
Kristin


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Round 2: cycle 1, day ???

Because we switched days and chemo and stuff I'm not actully sure what day we are on... 21 or something strange.  

Anyway, trial drug is running and the pre-med has me almost zonked out.

Chemo coming soon!  Go trial drug!!! Go chemo!  GO OUT cancer, GO OUT!!!


Look at that view!!!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wednesday: Clinic Day

Wednesday, Clinic Day (doctor and nurse)

Woke up to clear skies which means good roads.  Feeling happy about that!  My appointment wasn't until the later afternoon so I had a leisurely morning sorting through two new boxes of stuff out of the craft room (papers, pictures, memorabilia).  Had to go early for labs to make sure my hemoglobin was up enough to do chemo on Thursday.

Mom and I headed to Vancouver and enjoyed a nice drive, that HOV lane and the new toll bridge make the drive so much better, an hour each way!

Got to VCC, found parking, got into the bloodwork right away.  Had a new nurse, nice Phillipino guy that I hadn't had before. 

Because I am on a trial there is more blood work (more little vials... well, not so little, don't take all my new blood!!!) and special little stickers and extra paperwork and stuff, it's quite involved.  Very interesting, actually.

As my guy was getting all the vials ready and getting the stickers set out, and getting his paperwork organized, and before he found my vein, I was asking about these special shaped bottles on the shelf... like little whiskey bottle from a hotel bar fridge.  Those, he explained, are for testing for virus in your blood, they take a blood sample from your left arm into one bottle, then a sample from your right arm in the other bottle and from that can tell where the virus is in your body... because your body is divided in half (up and down)... isn't that fascinating?  As he was telling me I was saying, "thank you God for medical science, how cool is that!" under my breath!

So, as nurse was taking my blood he noted that I was on a trial (extra ziploc baggie with two extra vials to fill was the clue) and I said, "it's kind of cool to be part of something big, and maybe THIS will be the cure!"  His reply was that it is the cost of my time, lots of extra time, to be a part of a trial but that it's good to do because look at breast cancer after so many years of research and there is a cure!  So he was so happy that I was doing a trial.  It was nice, encouraging, and you see these people a lot so you kind of start to feel kinship and want to talk about more than the weather, you know?  The VCC is becoming a second home, just as ARH did when I was treated here.  As he was filling out all my stickers and paperwork a song I love came on and I started tapping my toe and smiling big (it's Pink's new song... "I really love you, but I hate you... it must be true love...." and he stopped what he was doing and turned to me and said, "You really like music. [pause] I have worked here for six years.  I can tell that you are a very positive person.  We know which patients are positive.  You are a positive person." or something like that.  And I was working hard to not cry because it was just such... affirmation... of me... being me... and still ME in the middle of all this "not my life, I have cancer? really... this is happening to us... yep, it is and flood and lice and  chaos and hard".  And I was so blessed.  It was good.

And then Mom and I walked up to the mall with the candy canes and had lunch while the lab people did their thing and interpreted all those stickers.   And I had a hot flash from my pre-chemo meds with sweat dripping down my head... no hair to catch the wet, me mopping hard at my head in the corner of a mall... ah, the good times we have!  And we had yummy soup and an excellent tuna sandwhich, because tuna sandwiches are always best when they sit wrapped in saran at a deli counter, why is that?!  Anyway, it was good.

Next was time for my clinic appointment.  And I was going to see a new doc (in my doctors' group, so they cover for each other and know your case and stuff), and then that doc was busy so I got a second new doc (also in the group).  And the new new doc was awesome!   He was a super chatty guy with an Aussie accent so that was sort of exotic and fun!  I shared with him that I felt like I had sucked at chemo for cycle 1 because I just was so down and mentally couldn't get my feet under me and it was just so ... hard compared to being on the chemo from round 1 which is one of the hardest chemos there is.   And he assured me that this new chemo is very common, one of those most used chemos as it is used for prostate and breast cancer (which made me feel hopeful because those are two cancers with cure rates!!! so I was happy to be using their same drug!) and that he sees a LOT of patients on it and every single one of them are down for 7-10 days.  EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.  "You didn't suck at chemo" ... seriously made me feel so validated and normal and like it wasn't my fault that I couldn't get past it, or that I wasn't praying right or doing something right... it just is what it is.  I was so relieved!!!  And I was so ... just smiling in my heart because I had asked God, that morning, to please let this be a positive visit... so far at VCC it's more clinical and science-y and, because I was only just beginning on this round they don't tell you the twelve things that "might" go wrong, they just sort of let it roll and see what symptoms you get... which I agree with... but it was so nice to hear this doctor explain about the side effects and that "you are putting poison into your body, it takes a toll and you need to rest".  Yes. I get that.  But, thank you for telling me so I can let myself off the hook!!  AWESOME!!!!!   I just felt like I wasn't trying 'right'.  I can't explain it, but it wasn't my fault and it was great to hear my medical professional validate my suspicions that it just was truly beyond my control.  I was still trying to do stuff, and I just couldn't ... so this time I will just do nothing and not fight it.  And maybe this time will be a little easier because I know what to expect.  Maybe.  I just feel... empowered going in this time, with this new information.  I am grateful.  God gave me the positive that I exactly needed!  Awesome!

And then we asked Kyle to stay home from soccer so Shawn and I could go out for dinner and have some time together... and we did and it was lots of hard discussion about some things that need to change here as we switch into chemo-recovery mode.  But it was good discussion and it was time well spent.

Wednesday was a blessing of a day!  

AND my numbers were up enough for chemo.  My new new doc also explained that with the chemo and trial drug I am fully expected to need another transfusion and will likely have further chemo delays... so that's normal, don't panic.  Okay, good to note.

A good, good day.

Hooray!!!

Encouraging word


This is the message God left for me first thing yesterday.  I woke up feeling the need to spend time in quiet with God, tried to read Ephesians but it was a little unfocused.  Ended up listening to the song 'Draw me Close to you', the cry of my heart yesterday.  Eventually felt refreshed and calmed in my spirit, went to sort the myriad of boxes on my craft table and this little gem showed up.  I smiled.  While in quiet time with God I kept thinking "I need only be silent, He will fight for me"... help will come.   When I saw this card I smiled because it was God reminding me He is here, He won't  leave me/us.  And the helping hands were Kori and Mom coming to sort flood boxes.  I need only be patient.  

And then the message on Kelly and Michael.  And then the groceries. 

So many tangible reminders God placed in my path yesterday to lift my spirit and renew my hope.  

I am so blessed.

Thank you to each of you who are moving and carrying and praying us along this path... Can you see how God moves our days so our paths cross and we lift each other up?  How amazing to be part of His awe-some plans!!!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tuesday.

Oh my goodness, every day is so full... or maybe I'm just so slow that everything seems more full and more whipping-by than I think!

I'm back-posting this a little because Tuesday was a huge day, no Wednesday was a huge day and I want to record it for all the blessings that were in that day! 

Monday was the hard night, I was sick and called Mom in a choking panic.  I was done, mentally shutting down.  It was a hard, hard night on so many levels.

BUT, I woke up feeling rejuvenated and stronger.  And I thought I was going to Vancouver for Clinic Day (doctor and nurse) and I knew that Mom and Kori were coming over to work on the flood box chaos which made me happy... mostly because I like having them here, but also because the boxes were stacked everywhere!

So, Tuesday morning I ate a little cereal and was sitting on the couch watching Kelly and Michael and there was the shout out from the viewer who said to cancer patients, "Don't ever ever ever give up!", which was exactly like a V8 smack to the head from God... KRiSTIN, I GOT THIS!  Right.  And I knew it was God speaking to me directly through the Kelly and Michael show... directly to me, through the tv, through Michael... crazy, right?  But, that's God.  He will use whatever method to catch our attention, He is super good that way!

And then I got up to sort some scrapbooking stuff and this little pack of inspiration cards kept slipping out of my hands and this one card landed in from of me reminding me that help with come.  Again, God giving me an elbow to the ribs and saying, "KRISTIN, I GOT THIS!" and I smiled.  God is so good.  So... just... persistent... in sending help my way.  Seriously, God, you are awesome!!!

And then Mom and Kori came and we got a ton done and the VCC called with my chemo time and I found out I did NOT have clinic that day which opened up the entire day so we could just keep chugging along and it was just a good, good day!

I saw you praying for me via FB comments.  I felt you praying for me.  I knew God was answering the prayers of His people.  Just all day.  I just felt... energized and normal... not truly normal, that Kristin is in the past, but cancer normal and I'll take it!  A really good day.  Thank you for your prayers!!!

Speechless

Thank you INCREDIBLY MUCH, to the person (or people) who just dropped an entire c o st co shop off at our front door. 

We are stunned. We are humbled.  We are incredibly grateful. 

Toilet paper and cleaning products and cereal (our kids are going to flip at the choices!!!) and popcorn and cake mixes and icing and apple juice and juice boxes and syrup and granola bars and dish washer detergent and oats and pasta sauce and crackers and peanut butter and toothpaste and soap and and and!

Really.  Wow.  Thank you for blessing us in this way.  I am just speechless.  

Stunned

Taking a break for sorting stuff.  Sitting watching Kelly and Michael read their inbox. The final email:  encouragement to anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer, the lady is a two time survivor and said don't ever ever give up hope!

Wow.  God even used a silly talk show to    encourage me.  Seriously.  Wow He is so good.

Exhaustion


This was in my face book feed this morning. Exactly what I needed as a reminder after last night.  The last 48 hours have been too much.  I feel myself shutting down emotionally.  The boxes are everywhere, in every room.  The tree didn't get set up, my only goal for yesterday. I bought hot chocolate and marshmallows and a gingerbread houses kit.  We were going to claim joy and holiday cheer and good things.  Even with the restoration people in and out all day.  And we didn't.  Shawn took the kids for dinner, I just felt ick.  Theres bo food here and we just haven't fit shopping in... We have for three things at a time but honestly the house is so full of basement stuff in the main floor that neither if us want to bring anything else in. We are exhausted.  Finally fell asleep at 5:30 for an hour.  Woke up feeling fever-ish.  Got upstairs to my bed, started choking.  Called mom.  It was a longer choking fit that usual.  Scared me.  She came and stayed until Shawn got home. Bedtime ran late.  "I give up" came out of my mouth.  I just felt done.  I just felt like I was being swept along on this lazy, muddy, murky river that kept bumping me against the boulders and snags of stomach cramps, nausea, headache, can't eat, can't drink, tired, overwhelmed.  The house is a gong show. Every room. Fell asleep and slept through til 5:30 without choking.  Feeling better all around compared to yesterday. Ate some bites of breakfast.  Hope to not get more cramps from the few bites I ate.    Vancouver today and then VCC chemo tomorrow.  Last time hit me hard for seven days.  I'm nervous. How will we handle this?  Shawn and I are barely hanging on.  Seems dramatic given I wasn't chemo-sick this week... But when I am so mentally spent, everything is harder.

Not whining.  Just recording.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Demolition

The packers were here until 11:00pm last night.  Then the movers were here at 8:30am today.  The demo crew should be rolling in any time now.  
Grateful for the team doing all this work.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Blood transfusion #3


Blood in.  Clamp didn't get shut so got a bit of a blood bath between bags.  The first bag was a big bag, "the donor was nice and juicy" said my nurse.  LOL

Praying the headache and exhaustion will lift now!  That was a 6hrs day.  I am thankful to my two donors!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Grateful

So grateful that the BC Cancer Agency covers the cost of my anti-coagulant (blood thinners).  Those four little vials keep my blood running as it should, and not clotting (which is super-bad), for about 16 days for that price!!!

So very grateful!!!

God will pull me through.

I thought I was hanging in and doing fairly well considering all the chaos and upheaval and low blood count and birthdays and stuff.  And then at 2:00am last night I woke up crying.

Last night my sisters and my dear friend came over to help sort out my craft room to take to storage.  On our way in to treatment yesterday with Mom I was on the phone with our restoration company to determine timeline and trades scheduling and such.  The result of that conversation, and because the contractor is trying hard to get this done and out of our cancery-lives (there is so little hair to get out of... you know, as in 'get out of my hair'?? [wink]) restoration company is coming this morning at 9:00.

That meant that I needed to go through my craft room last night, after coming home exhausted from the second big Vancouver drive in two days, with super low blood counts that make you really tired and susceptible to germs (hello coughing children, I love you but stay back!), and hopped up on pre-meds that were still fully trying to knock me out.  Help!  And help came.  Thanks Keri and Kori and Bonnie.  Could NOT have done that without you.

And the emotions.

It felt like dying.

My craft room is me.  My space.  I am so blessed to have a husband who has always granted me space for my scrapbooking and, a more recent addition, quilting.  I had already put a call in to Bonnie asking if she would sell my quilting fabrics for me (you quilters will understand the hurt and sorrow of that) and Erika to sell my scrapbooking supplies (for context know that one year I scrapbooked 766+ full 12"x12" scrapbook pages...that's a lot).   More importantly, that room holds me, my spirit, my Kristin-ness.  When you look at the fabrics and the paper and the stickers and the memorabilia you see me.  My heart, my emotions, what colours and style and patters speak to me. I have hand-held every single thing in that room. Honestly, you feel me in that room.  And we were packing it up and sorting it to be taken away.  Out.  Out of the house.  Out of this family.  Away.  Gone.

It felt like dying.

It was as hard as cutting my hair.

It is me being removed.  

I am being gone from the house.

I haven't been 'here' to do house work and to sort through and to challenge kids and husband to get things done.  For a year now.

I see my flavour missing from the days.

And now my craft room.

Like if I were dead.

No more me.

It's just stuff.  Yes.  But that stuff is hours of wandering through craft stores with my bestie-friends, memories of going on retreats and spending an entire weekend laughing and sharing stories with other like-interested ladies.  That stuff is holding preschoolers' hands and letting them choose one sheet of stickers (always the ugliest stickers) and laughing and buying them anyway because it was fun to do together.  It is stories waiting to be archived, written out, shared.  Sharing memories.  Moments captured to be shown and shared and remembered and smiled over and those happy-tears rolling down your face as you remember the good and the hard and the candid and the way things were.  Stories need to be shared.  I have been blessed to get to share mine through scrapbooking and journalling and I have spent hours sharing my craft room with our kids, watching their interpretation of events or how they think a sticker should go on the paper or listening to them explain why they chose to scrapbook the photo they did.  Moments.  Stories-sharing.  Memories caught with gentle hands and released with love onto the pages and into the albums that fill my dining room shelves.  

Packed up.

I woke up in tears at 2:00am.  I praised and I prayed and I listened to God's Words comforting me.  And then my brain started whirling... if I get them to take the piano keyboard out I could ask the movers to bring the downstairs shelf in and then I will have a home for my paper trimmer and adhesives which I'm keeping here anyway... where else will they go??  They are coming at 9:00, I'll be just back from getting the boys to the bus... no time... I'm awake now... I had a 4+ hours nap I feel good right now I'm going downstairs... 

And I did.  I went back into my craft room and cut bright orange and bright pink signs and tagged the things I want kept here.  The restoration company had already agreed that they would do all the legwork for me and schlepp boxes up the stairs.  They know I have cancer.  They saw me in 10/10 pain on Sunday as they walked back and forth in and out of the house.  They were so quiet and so discreet and the look in their eyes was so kind.  And now they will take care of the physical work when I cannot.  God is good.  

ARH just called... I need to go in for a cross-match this morning and then that gets the transfusion process started for either later today or tomorrow.  PRAISE GOD!  I am so glad I called my local oncologists' secretary, that girl is awesome at her job and has always been such a support!  Thanking God for her.  

God lined it up.  I slept well.  Was able to be up and deal with my room in a manner that gives me full peace about the work they will do in there today.  Thank you, Lord.

I slept well.  No coughing-to-puking last night.  Praise God!!!  That means a good solid sleep for Shawn, too.  PRAISE GOD, that husband needs it!!!

Feeling love, feeling thanks, feeling that today is a good day.  Yet again, God brings peace even in floods and infestations and low blood counts.  I am a blessed woman.

Feel blessed in your day, I pray.

Hanging by a thread? ... God will pull you through!