- 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

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Head games

Head games.  Getting worked up by the thoughts swirling in my head.  Not this moment, that's why I can type about it right now.  The last three nights have been 7 hours sleeps and waking up feeling a little stronger each day.  Today I made it down the stairs with a strength that has eluded me since I've been home from hospital.  It felt so good to make it down the stairs without shaking in my boots.

Thinking is hard and decisions are hard.  Every day is a mind game in which I balance fear of dieing, excitement of living, planning for the future, hope, more fear, shuck off the worries of tomorrow, take in the love, feel sad that showing love back is a huge energy investment that I'm willing but sometimes unable to make, and panic that this all won't work the way I want it to go.  That is why I pray for peace.  Everything else is awesome... and I am believing for miracles and thankful for the many, many, many incredible miracles we have already had.  But decisions are hard.  Like, don't ask me where to go for lunch.  And don't be surprised if I can't finish a sentence.  For sure I am going to forget the email I just read about two seconds after I close the computer screen.  It's nutty, I tell you!  It's funny, and it's nutty and annoying and I'm just chalking it up to what the forums call 'chemo brain'.  Can't even read books.  Words on a page... oi.  They swim.  It's seriously weird.

I can't imagine how it must be for my dear ones, watching me go through the physical and the mental.  Wanting to make it better, knowing they can't take it away, wishing and praying fervently that I didn't have cancer.  The disruption on their physical time blows me away, the mental strain ...I can see on their faces and it breaks my heart.  Please, pray for them.  Mom is with me pretty much daily, she watches my downs and ups.  For me, my job is to be treated and allow my body to do its recovering.  For my husband and kids and family it is balancing career and home and single-parenting and sick wife/mommy/daughter/sister and mental and physical exhaustion without the luxury I have of laying here all day.  Bless the caregivers, for theirs is a heavy load.

Add a good dose of guilt to the head games.  Cancer is not my fault, but wow do I see and feel bad for the impact of my illness on so many peoples' lives.  And so I sit on the couch and watch the f00d netw0rk.  My brain is mush, tired of thinking through every thing.  Hungry tummy means deciding what meds to take, and when, and what food to try and eat, and battling the worries about which one bite will be the bite that might make me too full or cause constipation or diarrhea or nausea or cramps and weighing whether it's worth it or not or if I should just have another smoothie instead. 

I can totally see how people in longterm health situations could get lost... in themselves, in their coccoon, in their social relationships.  Life requires a lot of give, and being ill is just a whole lot of take many days...and for many, many days and weeks and months, even years.  I can't imagine what I could do that would be 'enough' to lavish love and care and repayment back on my husband, kids, parents, sisters, extended family, friends, support circle, meal-bringers, house helpers, the whole lot of you... there will never be enough 'pay it forward' to refill all the love that you have shared in so many tangible ways.  It blows my mind.  It is God's love, your time and commitment to keeping me IN my life, IN my days, IN my right mind.  Thank you for not forgetting me.

When I think about laying in emerg recently, I am overcome with the hugeness of hearing the doctor say, "I don't know that I can fix this..." and then being asked what my plan was for intubation, for emergency, for resuscitation, for death.  I understood clearly, even in my poor state, that my husband and parents and sisters were around me, watching a doctor tell me I could likely die.  Die.  Gone.  Forever from my husband and kids' lives.  Missing from M's experience of buying a wedding dress.  Gone from K's experience of a crazy-proud Mom cheering as he walked across the stage at grad and at university.  Not here to see how B keeps growing and navigating and being awesome at life.  Never the reality of a screaming-cheering Mom at C's sports events.  Gone.  From their world view and perspective and experiences.  I am bawling.  We don't talk about this.  It is still to raw.  I need you to understand the seriousness of our last two weeks.  I need you to glimpse into the horribleness that was my families' experience in a cramped emergency room curtain, around a very sick loved-one.  And I need you to open your minds to how big a miracle it was that I am here. My condition had not been seen before, read about, but not seen.  Extremely rare.  Life threatening.  My nurse was allowed with me when I went for tests, she never left my side, held my hand, I knew it was bad.  God brought me through.  I am... humbled and bewildered and grateful and so many things.  My mind, even with the huge imagination that I have, cannot fully comprehend, but I remember.  I remember stopping the doctor and praying for Shawn and the kids and my parents and my sisters.  I remember feeling just so sad for Mom and Dad and Keri and Kori and just so concerned, to the depth of my heart, for Shawn and the kids.  And I remember feeling peace, God is bigger.  I felt it, I knew it, they will be okay.  And I felt sad for the doctor and I felt blessed by him in that moment.  I really want that peace for you.  It is free, God already gave it to you, just take it.  Close your eyes, take a breath to slow your pace, say in your heart or your mind or out loud, "God, please give me your peace" and believe it and just breathe it in.  Honest.

In church circles we say that there is a "peace that passes understanding" and that is exactly what my experience was when I was told I would likely die.

And so, when my mind starts swirling, or when Satan starts whispering lies and worries, I ask for peace.  And God delivers.  And sometimes I forget to just focus on God for a few panic-minutes too long... like waiting too long to take the Tyln0l that you know will make the headache go away but you're too lazy to walk all the way to the kitchen to get the bottle... but peace is there, as soon as I focus and ask.  Jesus Calling, the amazing devotional book that I am often quoting, is a really good source for focus.  The author, Sarah Young, has a gift for slowing me down, her words are like balm and her message of peace and love and "God's already got this" speak to my heart when my brain is getting away with me.

And so today, as I pray for you, I pray for you to know and feel God's peace.


  1. Something about this post really touched me today. As I watch you go through all this I sometimes have my my wondered how I would handle it if it happened to me. I stopped that line of thinking pretty quickly because I get a horrific panicky feeling that makes me just want to cry. This peace you speak of would be one thing I would want too. I have recently starting reading the same awesome devotional (thank you K&K) and it has been incredible. I savour the words...let them soak it. They are truly a balm to the restless soul.
    You are just so brave and I admire you.

  2. I am so very thankful for the peace that passes understanding. We are weary but we have Hope. We are weary but we have Peace.
    Thank you for sharing your heart and soul Kristin. You continue to inspire and bless people with your words!!

  3. Kristin, something my sister shared that God made real to her when she was going through much of what you are and felt guilty about accepting help from others as she was one who was always doing the "giving". God showed her that it is more blessed to GIVE than to RECEIVE,.....BUT... by refusing to accept from others, she was depriving them of the blessing of giving. It changed her whole focus. God has put people in your life who really care, and although it may be tiring, for them it is a blessing to be able to GIVE to you....unconditionally. You need not feel guilty of accepting. Remember, too "God sees the storm from the other side, and when we see the clouds, he sees the rainbow."

  4. Again, thank you for sharing. We can all learn from your experience. I only wish that the journey could be easier for you. Being the analytical, why? asking kind of person that I am (like you), I would be so scared right now, but trying to hide it. Please use whatever resources you have and do not feel guilty. Women are so conditioned to put others before themselves. At some time we must be the recipients.

    You also remind us that life is a gift and is a fleeting one. Make arrangements so your family knows your wishes. It's not necessarily the sick that go first.

    Turn off that guilty voice. You have been blessed with a circle of friends, family and medical staff that want the best for you - take what they have to offer. Find a new voice that guides you in a positive way, that tells you that it is a blessing to accept assistance graciously.

    I am not very good at writing warm, fuzzy and ecouraging things, but I think and wish them for you and your circle on a frequent basis. One of my "things" for this year is working on being a more positive person. You are one of the focuses of this positivity. It also helps me put my days in perspective. School can be aggravating, enjoyable or a hair pulling experience, but compared to your journey, it's nothing.

    Closings are so hard. Bask in the warmth and love of your circles. Let the positive energy surround you and fill you with peace and healing.


  5. Just know you are loved....thank you for taking the time and energy it took for you to write these words that touched my heart.....YOU have the heart of a true wife and mother and it shines through. I JUST THANK the Lord for bringing you through yet another obsticle in this journey you are making. In thee oh LORD, do we put our trust, continue to pour peace and healing into Kristen's life.

  6. Kristen, your words continue to show us the largeness of life. You show us the inside of your heart, your head, and your soul….the sun the clouds and the storms and we SEE. I go about my day, I have silly complaints I go too fast, life fast, I read your words, I SEE that I didn’t do my best today, I vow to do better.

    You DO pay it forward Kristen. Your words DO refill the love for the tangibles you've received. YOU INSPIRE. YOU ARE God’s love.



Connecting through comments: