- 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

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Sunday

Video: The Passion of the Christ: In Christ Alone

This is what I believe.  That God, being the omnipotent creator of all things, came to earth in human form born as a baby called Jesus.  That Jesus lived life from birth to adulthood, stumbling and learning and living as we do within a family.  That Jesus died, on the cross, to take my sins and wrong choices away from my accountability giving me forgiveness from those sins but on the third day rose again.  That because Jesus has paid for those sins, and because I have asked Jesus to forgive me and be with my every thought and part of my living and lifestyle and consciousness I will spend eternity in heaven with Him whenever the day is that this body dies.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only son so that whoever believes in him will not perish but will have eternal life.  John 3:16

Aaron Shust: For God So Loved The World

Many people have commented on how positive I am in this cancer journey.  Even in the rough patches, you have seen hope and light.  That is Jesus in me.  I believe that God created everything (this body, medical intervention, a plan for our lives), that He is powerful over everything (Jesus died on the cross but did not stay dead... He was victorious and rose again, leaving all sin and evil at death's door/ 'dead' but He himself being stronger and overcoming death), that He loves me so much that He died for me long before I was ever born.  God knows and loves and has a plan and cares for me, for us, for you.  My hope is in God's awe-some power and His loving plan for me and that I will live forever with Him in heaven whenever I do die.  It is really quite simple, acknowledge sin, ask Jesus to forgive that sin, have faith (believe) that He has and did, live your life as Jesus wants (the Bible and other Christian believers will guide and help you).   The hard part is remembering how simple it is.  [smile]  God loves you, and so do I.  For real.

Easter blessings to you.

Jesus is risen.  He is risen indeed!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Needle drama

Three tries to get the stupid needle to peirce my skin. Three. Three! Needle in enough to stand alone, but refusing to push fully in for the injection. Three. Me begging, "please God please God please God let it go in!" Oh my word. Traumatic.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Praying for Mike

Praying for Mike, the 90 yrs old gentleman who collapsed in front of us at the grocery store today. I was able to get 911 coming, assess, help his wife, get the neighbour coming, pray with him and tell him we would continue to pray, and sit with him until paramedics arrived. My kids were privvy to witnessing how God's timing is perfect: daddy went to a store I never go to because if the huge climb up the ramp, I detoured from the groceries plan to pick up shorts for M, and we chose that particular check out, all as it needed to be to get Mike the help he needed quickly. God is good, all the time. And as C said, "we sure have a LOT of people to pray for!" Yep, we do! [smile]

Emotions and Outings

The last few days have been tough.  I have been torn between sitting in the corner of my closet, preferably hiding behind the clothing, definitely in the dark and probably with some sort of heavy metal playing (the kind that you can't actually understand the words, it just hurts your ears and drowns the senses).   We are "half-way there" on chemo, which just makes my chest tighten with panic about "oh my word, still have to go another six chemo at least...???"  And it's too much.  And the anti-coagulant needles every day, also too much for the hour leading into it and the seconds it takes to actually shove the needle through to pierce my apparently-alligator-tough skin.   I just feel... tired, no.  Weary, no.  Trapped, yes.  Trapped.  Trapped in this circumstance.  Which is not very cheery or positive or how I like to feel.  I went on campus to pay an overdue library fine (cuz the books were due when I had my surgery and I kind of missed returning them in the hustle of diagnosis and the chaos of those 11 pre-surgery days and then 12 days in hospital), and being on campus just dredged up a whole bunch of disappointments around having to stop with only 4 weeks left in the semester, dread about eventually picking those final four courses back up and re-doing all the work, and hoping I will ever have the energy and brain-power to get it done again, and missing my university friends, and missing the studying and the university life and balancing my schooling and homework with helping my kids do theirs.  And I am so lonely.  I just feel (sorry) that everyone else gets to go on with their lives and I'm stuck in 'this'... dictated to by cancer, by germs, by stupid blood clots, by medicine schedules, by appointments, by chemo schedule, by the average day having not a full 12 hrs of 'do what I want cuz I feel good enough to', by feeling like a burden to those closest to me, by wondering if I will ever get back to 'life as I knew it' and knowing that probably I won't, which is okay but still, wasn't my choice, you know?  And my oncologist had used the words "six more chemo at least" which was a heavy because the "at least" sucks the life out of me... not literally, [chuckle], actually, the chemo is the cure but wow does it keep getting harder, draining me more, taking so much longer/more to recover from.  Coming off of six days on the couch made that tiny two words just so hard to hear.  And yet, I've had it pretty good.  I'm not overly nauseous, I haven't thrown up (that's my personal threshold... I do NOT. EVER. EVER. NEVER. want to vomit).  I have parents who drop everything to come when I phone in tears.  I have sisters who give up their days off to distract and entertain and love on me.  My husband has been incredibly gracious and kind and putting-up-with-my-emotions-and-needs.  My kids are beautiful in spirit and in smiles and generous with their love and hugs.  I have dear friends who keep my spirits buoyed with texts and outings if I can.  The army of meal-bringers is going strong and blessing our family with good food (otherwise it'd be cereal for dinner a whole lot of nights).  And "your lungs sound clear" and knowing that x-rays and CT scan are showing the cancer is "very diminished".  What right do I have to complain?  Why am I so blue?  I have no idea.  Well, I do, I just can't figure out how to articulate it exactly right...and that frustrates me, too.  See, I'm a mess.  I just know that the last two days have been tears and tears and tears.  And I can't even wrap my understanding around what's got me down... except that I think it's just everything.  And chemo.  I won't be able to use my port which means and IV which means the nurses will have to find a vein that accepts the needle and that hurts and which means burning veins from the first chemo and that really really burns for a long 30 minutes.  [big breath]  So, let's not worry about that just yet.  Be anxious for nothing.  Don't worry about tomorrow.  These are the truths I keep turning to.  And I trust that God has a plan and I'm in it.  I believe this firmly, even when I need to keep saying it because I keep allowing my mind to be distracted by the other stuff.

Good distraction:  Yesterday Shawn had a holiday day and we took it as a family.  I was teary.  I was blue and weird and overwhelmed by the physical activity of all that walking and driving and kids-talking and they-are-a-lot-like-puppies-tripping-over-each-other-in-words-and-actions.  And it was wonderful.  I was the Mom.  We were all six together.  The sun was out.  We stopped at a huge Asian dollar store in Richmond.  We enjoyed the Granville Market.  We had gelato and Easter cookies and saw the sites and soaked in some sun and laughed and sang and tried snacks from packaging we could only guess about.  It was a good, good day. 

And I did my shot in the van, with everyone around, with the traffic jam, waiting til the cement truck had moved ahead a little first... cuz I'm a rock star.  There hadn't been a good spot (clean washroom) to draw (I have to fill the syringe from a vial, so it's a bit more of a process than just the quick pre-loaded needle which is easier and faster to do), and then we got stuck behind an accident that really slowed traffic and would have put me too far off schedule.  So, whatever the 'club' is for 'weirdest places to give myself an injection' I did it!   In traffic.  Which made me proud of myself and made me smile.

Choosing gelato... we opted for not-traditional ice cream as part of our adventure for today... and then there were the mystery snacks in the van in the traffic jam: hilarious!  Daddy was a total chicken!  M enjoyed playing with the the strawberry jelly candy "it's like skin!".  K and I enjoyed the shrimp chips while B stayed true to his not-adventurous-self and only tried one of the little chocolate filled animal cookies.  

It was very interesting to take our kids to Richmond, a very Asian population with signs in Mandarin and other characters that we couldn't read... to hear the kids' chatter about their observations, you would think we had taken them to a foreign country.  C actually repeatedly said something about being "in China" even though we kept telling him we were still in B.C.  It was interesting.  In our home community there is a diverse population, but to be in Aberdeen Mall was to be somewhere so very new and not very diverse, I was glad for them to experience it!  B's 8 yrs old observation, "I noticed, at the mall with the big Japanese Dollar Store, that when I looked around, all the people had black hair."  It made my heart happy to share this experience with our kids.  Grateful.  God was with us.  Even when we parked, there was no parking at all, but I had prayed and I prayed again before we had to do the second loop at Granville Island and God provided front-row parking right then!  God is good.  We saw an eagle in the city, always a sign to me of God's presence.  I know He is holding me as my emotions and mind flick from happy to sad, worried to calm, peace to fretting, overwhelmed to closing my mind.  God is good and today we remember Jesus dieing on the cross to take sin and cancer to the grave so that we could have peace and life eternal.

Thank you to those who messaged me yesterday.  It warmed my heart to know that you could sense my hurting, that God had put me extra on your heart, that you had taken time to send love.  It set me to tears each one, but the good tears from receiving the love.  Thank you.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Just add life

Amazing how one instant can turn me from looking forward to a day to pissy about everything. Emotions are high. Disappointments are high. Lonely is high in certain areas of my life. And I am human. I want things to go my way. In fact, after six hard and gross chemo-sick days, apparently I feel that I "deserve" to get my way in this moment (know that "deserve" is a a word I have almost fully stricken from my consciousness, I don't believe in "deserve" for the most part). So immature of me. Most days I feel successful In maintaining positive. In this moment, I'm trying to keep my emotional mouth shut while this moment passes through.


Some people tan, I freckle... and they take over, some join with their neighbours, and add some colour to my face! :-)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


So today I declare a "GOING OUT" day!  I have been on the couch for six days and that is enough of that!  Still shakey.  Still weak.  But, I shall call it "exercise" and away we go!!!   Thankful for my sisters for pulling together an event on-the-fly!  Last minute is sometimes the best... though anticipation is darn good, too!  I'm easy... entertain me!  LOL  [smile]

As you can see, PhotoBomb-er was sitting having cereal as I type... look at my swollen face, oi.  But, that seems to be a 'normal' the last three chemos.  I'm glad to see a smile, I'm glad to see curls in my hair (I washed it today!!! First time in two weeks that I had the energy to do that!!!! HOORAY!) to adventure we go!

Grab some sun and fun for yourself today, k?

Cycle 3: week 3, day 1

Woke up feeling mentally normal! Yay! No blurred thinking or slowed forming of sentences. Quick-downing a bowl of cereal and gonna bower and dress as the real test! I refuse to stay home one more day!!!!! Wish me luck! [big hopeful smile]

Also, I got my MRVenogram appointment for April 5th!!!! Yay!!! A date booked, happy about that!!!!!

Quick, go enjoy the day!!!!!

Monday, March 25, 2013

God will fight your battles.

This is what I'm working on today... and yesterday and probably still tomorrow: patience with the process. The chemo sick is lasting longer than I like.  Saturday was hard.  Sunday was microscopically better.  Today was clearer mind but I still can't walk upright from couch to kitchen table without ending up doubled over and breathing hard.  My shoulders are tender and achey, across the top of my chest is tender and achey, I showered and dressed and then had to lay down on my bed... and then fell asleep before noon.  I find myself annoyed by my own body.  Dumb since a) it's not kind; b) it's not beneficial; c) this is my body healing and so that takes time. 

A good reminder: God is fighting on my behalf, just rest Kristin and let Him do His good work.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Chemo stinks

Literally, I hate the way chemo smells and makes me smell and makes everything smell different. I don't know if its just my personal chemo experience, but I notice it each time. It's only for the week of chemo, but it starts with the first drips into my veins, builds to the point where I can't stand myself, and then fades away. Yuck.

Cycle 3: week 2, day 6

Craving raw veggies. Cells are regenerating and new cells want living food. Also crave oranges but know to stay away from the citrus. Feel better than yesterday, less weak but still far from "good". Oi. Trying to rest in this moment.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Cycel3: week 2, day 5

Sore. Weak. Aches. Losing hair. Rigamorole to get bloodwork, the paperwork was sent blank. Finally got hold of MRI Clinic and wonderful receptionist discovered I don't need new bloodwork. Two hard hours this morning, too weak to stand, trying to figure out paperwork. I forget how hard chemo hits each time, I think that maybe a good thing. Lots of random tears today. Just a weary body regenerating. That's a miracle, very grateful for that. How did God imagine all of this?!? Amazing!
Just got to get through to Monday. Even tomorrow will be better.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Cycle 3: week 2, day 4

Today has been nausea and super tired. Losing a lot of hair at my bangs, my scalp feels sore. Having that sharp indigestion pain again, trying to stay right to the meds schedule to fight against that sharp pain mid chest.

I called the thrombosis clinic this morning to pester them about my MRV date. I received a call back saying that had I had my bloodwork done I could have had my MRV today. Oi! In four phone calls no one said anything about bloodwork, I would have gone all week! Ah well. The timing will work as it should. So I will go for bloodwork tomorrow and then I am now on the "short notice list" meaning I can get a call Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday saying "come now". Sort of a pain given its spring break and we want to have some (schedule / plan) fun with the kids. It is what it is. I'm glad I called and I'm grateful to have the ball rolling on this important test to see what is going on in my veins regarding the clots and using my port for further chemo!


The past two days I have been having these moments of 'awash in gratitude'.  No one came to my door with a million dollar cheque.  I am nauseas from chemo more than I like to be on these best drugs days.  So, nothing flashy and awesome event-wise around here.

BUT.   We have been receiving positive news regarding my lungs ("x-ray shows NOTHING, the lungs are clear" followed by a CT Scan a few days later that shows "the nodules are very diminished".  Super good news to take in, absorb, swirl around on your tongue, digest, balance with submitting to more chemo when you just kinda want to be done now with all the needle pokes!  [smile] 

AND. I've been counting all the "and your spine is clear" and "your c-spine (neck?) is clear" and "your pelvis is clear" and "it's not breast cancer" and "your bladder is clear" and "your brain is clear" and "the shadow on your hip is gone" and "your veins in your legs look fantastic and sound (?) excellent" and the bruising on my tummy (from all the shots) is clearing which means clots (which apparently can take the same amount of time according to one ER doc) are dissipating, too...  

It keeps bubbling up in me.  But then my thinking takes over and I get lost.  Is it too soon to be feeling positive?  And I'm not new to the chemo cycle, we are heading into the harder days this weekend.  Is it stinting God's goodness for me to clamp a lid down on the joy... yes!  So, my thinking and processing through the thoughts and emotions and figuring out balance... need to be nipped in the bud!

The magnitude of the gratitude (it is palpable...I can feel it... like... deep down but... like I'm having trouble articulating it (what, trouble getting words out... not usual for me, hey? [smile] has sort of thrown me for a loop in the moments where it quietly sneaks forth and then almost bubbles over into a bedazzlement.   And I have found myself sort of catching up with the thankfulness and checking it, reeling it in, not knowing if I should or could fully allow it to develop.  There are dear ones around me suffering loss, suffering cancer treatment, suffering the waiting on a medical understanding of a condition, there is me mid-cancer treatment but usually so open to the positives (or at least just saying it over and over in the dark moment until the reality of the truth of God's light busts through that dark spot once again).  But... how dumb is that?  For me to try and stop the gratitude?  The grateful heart?  God's awesomeness bursting forth as His spirit fills me?  Dumb.  But, also human.  We want control.  That's what caused the fall from grace originally.  Adam and Eve in the Garden... Eve wanted to know what God knew... she ate the fruit.  

And so, this morning, waking with gratitude in my heart, heaviness and prayers for three specific friends, and still gratitude pulsing forth from deep inside of me... and thoughts swirling around over how to 'handle' this gratitude that keeps trying to effervesce from my innermost being... I realized... God is wanting to bedazzle my day, my spirit, my moment.  Just let Him.  That's my job... to just let Him.  To accept it.  Why ever would I stop that good and lovely and perfect thing: joyful heart? Yes, please!  

I have a poster in the bathroom that says "Wake up and be grateful"... and for me, I am going to not think back, not look ahead, but really focus on being in this grateful moment.  Not let my hopes and dreams and 'when cancer is gone' and 'I wonder what God's plan is for me / us from this, thru this, next?' and instead of letting my planning and hoping and dreaming brain get my feet running (well, still slowed down from the blood clots... God's got a plan to help me stay present even!)... I am going to really purpose to let the bedazzlement happen.  God is good and bright and shiny and loving and lovely and magnificent and omnipotent and awesome and just really mind-blowingly-huge... that is more than enough to think on ... and really savour!

We ask Him for big things.  We expect miracles as the Bible tells us we should.  We trust Him for awesome.  So why would I try and contain the hugeness of His "can do it"- ness?  That makes no sense.  Let Him do the BIG stuff, Kristin... hmmm, not "let Him", He is omnipotent God.  Open your heart and mind to it, Kristin.  A quote I have long loved is this: "God is only as big as your imagination."  Now, I know that He is far bigger than my pretty humungous imagination... but what this quote means is think HUGE cuz God is HUMONGOUS TIMES INFINITY PLUS A ZILLION MORE!!!  

May you see and feel God's bedazzlement in your day.  It's there.  Breathe it in.  Let the sparkles of it light something warm and glowing and yummy and sweet and peaceful and restful into your day.  

With love and gratitude for YOU in my days,

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Received a call from my thrombosis doctor this morning. She is frustrated that I have not yet received my MR Venogram appointment for this week. Looks like it may not happen til early next week. Frustrating for me as I have an army of childcare and carpoolers at the ready, Shawn will take time off from work. Also, with next week being my off week for chemo we are hoping to plan some fun spring break activities with the kids. I would be happy to just know the day of the MRV! I appreciate your prayers for patience as we wait on God's perfect timing for this test.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Miss Independent!

Did my injection in the O1d Navee change room today!!! How independent am I?!?

Cycle 3, Week 2, Day 2: good morning

Woke up with this song in my heart:
Doh!  Can't remember it at all, even though it was singing to me for over an hour... will try to remember and then post it later.  It was Larnelle Harris and something about God is always with me and He has a plan... not Eye Is On The Sparrow, not It Is Well With My Soul...  I really want to share it with you!  Such a mush brain these days!  lol

Woke up with this message in my Faceb00k:

God really does want to take care of you, but you have to let Him and stop worrying about every little thing you can't control.
Want to share a smile:
Thought this was a good prayer to go forward with... and it made me laugh and maybe it will make you laugh, too!:


Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Super tired, low energy, queasy but too-lazy-slash-tired-to-go-get-meds. Had a big sleep this afternoon. This morning was pretty intense at the first hour and a half. I suddenly burst into the start of an ugly cry after my nap, couldn't get tears out, didn't want the crying headache and couldn't actually cry. [chuckle] was kinda strange, the cry just choked back. No reason to cry but needed to let the intensity out I guess: it was a rough start but the chemo got in and I am so grateful.

Today, recap:
A friend had asked me what I meant by the 'chemo burning' from this morning's post.  The 'burning' was caused by the one chemo I take ... because the oncologist and thrombosis (vein) doctors decided to not use my port today (the last two chemo times ended up with life threatening blood clots developing) I had an IV instead.  My veins are tiny and squiggly (the medical term... the needle either blows throw and collapses the vein or the vein just stops and won't go all the way in).   That one chemo causes the veins to spasm, which felt like an 8" hot needle running from my knuckle (the IV was inserted just above my left pointer finger, the only vein they could make work, ouch) to about half way up my fore arm.   It was very intense, caused my eyes to water.  The nurse actually turned the chemo off for one minute to give me a break from the burning and intensity.  The second half of that same chemo the nurse wrapped my hand and arm in more hot towels to help the veins, and they also mixed the chemo with sugar water as this is known to help.   There was one point where my body just started crying on me unexectedly... and my nurse spotted those tears from across the entire room and came over to check on me.  She was far away!  "Hey Bud, are those tears I see in the corners of your eyes?  Do you need a break?"  Me, "No, just get it done."  Second nurse joins in (they are incredible... like super Spidey Senses, how did they just know I was in tears as I was trying to discreetly wipe them away?)  They conferred, "She just wants to get it done... only 14 minutes left..."  And we trucked through.  I think the tears were, in part, due to the beautiful and loving texts I was receiving from my inner circle.  I had told my Mom that I wasn't able to read them in that moment and would read them later... but then my Dad texted me from his Daddy heart and it got me.  [smile]  Mom offered to sing to me (her little distraction technique... I always laugh and tell her "no, I'm saving that for the really bad days!"  She is a great singer, I know I will love the songs-from-Grandma-M's-house songs she will sing... I just... am saving that for the super-rainy day should it come).  I tend to distance myself mentally in the medical moments, otherwise it is too hard to be the patient, feel the feelings, advocate, answer questions, take stock in how my body is acting/reacting to the meds on board.  I am so thankful for the peace I woke in this morning.  God is good.  All the time.

Mom laughed at me... as we were nearing the end of the second bag of chemo I commented, "My arm is sore, feels kind of numb, the whole thing is just aching... let's go to Winners!"  She sputtered out a laugh... like, had she been taking a sip of her coffee, it would have been a full spit.  Priceless!  Her, "Here she's talking about how sore her arm is, and then she wants to go shopping!"  or something like that.  She got a good chuckle!  And we did get to Winners, found some fun scrapbooking things (of course!) and a dress for my daughter for my brother-in-law's upcoming wedding!  Success.  And then the exhaustion hit and a came home to a huge nap that just didn't want to end.  Eventually I got up, took my meds, ate some pretzels and a blended apple-juice-and-ice.  Now watching the Just!n T!mber1ake experience on tv... um, he's awesome!

And the chemo is chomping up the cancer and then both are leaving my body... yay running-to-pee-every-30-minutes-as-I -drink-lots-to-get-the-chemo-out-and-avoid-constipation!!!   

Thanks for listening to my ramble.  Sweet dreams to you tonight!

Chemo: in and Me: home

Home and heading to nap. Again, thankful for the kindness of my chemo nurses! That was tiring... Go little Chemos, kill those cancer cells gone!!!!

IV in!!!

Not using my port today. Got IV in on the third try, hooray!!!

Complications due to small vein so chemo burns!!!!! Stopped chemo to allow saline to run alone then will start first chemo mixed with sugar water to take away the burn. Then the second chemo. Means a longer day but that's okay. The burning was really intense so I'll take the longer route thank you!!!

Cycle 3: week 2, day 1

Thank you Lord for your peace. Thank you for chemo and research and medicine. Thank you for today. Amen

I feel peace as I am ready for this day.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Faith and Hope and Me

Look what God planted in P!nterest for me today!  I came to blog about how I'm feeling, wanted to add an image or quote so went over to grab a file from my P!nterest account and THIS was the first thing I saw in the general home page.   God is good.

Tonight I am feeling unsettled, again.  Chemo tomorrow.  [sigh]  The thrombosis doctor was going to speak to my oncologist and, together, they would make a plan about using my port tomorrow or not.   As of this evening, I don't know if that conversation happened, so I will ask the chemo nurse tomorrow morning at my 8:15am (eek! so early) appointment.  I'm really hoping that the oncologist has advised the chemo nurse, but usually it is me who is informing the chemo nurse when I get there... and then they call right over to the oncologist and get the details.  Which is fine... due diligence, we must take care to do our own follow-up and be our best advocates.

Today my gut instinct was to call over to the MR Venogram department at Vancouver General, so I called and found out some confusion about my appointment this week.  My thrombosis doctor's lovely receptionist called right over and got things straightened out.  I'm still waiting to hear the date/time of my MRV, but am so glad I called today and that got back on track.  Due diligence, we must be our own best advocate.

What I'm feeling tonight is... curiosity, wondering what tomorrow will look like, praying that I have no more delays in the chemo, hoping that my blood pressure is fine and that my heart rate is fine (that's what delayed chemo and was the red flag that sent me to emerg last week), nerves about having chemo through my port, trying to decide if I should just skip the port and have chemo through IV instead....  gah!   Not overly full of "worry", though definitely feeling nervous... but thinking, wondering, have no real wisdom or medical knowledge with which to make a decision.  Oi.

I have a headache.  It seems to build in the late afternoon and evenings because I'm not napping these days.  I really need to nap but the increased anti-coagulant dosage is making me a bit antsy and I have trouble falling asleep.  Ah, the journey... it's twisting and turning and some moments I wonder how well I am truly keeping up with all this.  For the most part, taking it as it comes.  On the "eve of" chemo or tests or appointments, it is harder to maintain ... whatever it is that is "well-grounded".  I'm fine, but... I'm also nervous.   No more side tracks.  No more blood clots.  No more life threatening stuff.  That's what I'm praying.

Chemo tomorrow.  I've had two weeks off, again... last week's chemo was delayed.  The first chemo after a week off is always hardest... and I just wish we could keep on track, but I trust that God has a plan, that I am in God's plan, that even these delays are for a purpose that is for my good.  God is good, all the time.  He knows my nerves.  He loves me nerves and all.  He brings peace and He has a plan.  I am grateful.

I hope for complete healing and complete eradication of all cancer cells from my body.  I am certain that God loves me and cares for me and my family.

Spring Break: no school!!!!

First day of spring break and the kids are off school for two weeks!!! Mommy feels d a r n good today and we are going to enjoy our time together all the more for that!!!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Our life: a comedy show

Was trying to go out without lugging a purse. Hit the end of our street, remembered that i forgot to rake my meds, oh! and since we plan to atop fr dinner i need other meds to eat. okay, tr es around. Got home, sent Shawn in to get meds cuz I get too winded from walking even just that short distance. Realized I I'll need a purse to put the stuff in, had to call the house. Here comes faithful hubby with meds, purse, not even an eye roll at my [whatever you call this nutso-ness!]. LOL

Jesus Calling [excerpt]

Jesus Calling [excerpt]
It is good that you recognize your weakness. That keeps you looking to Me, your Strength. Abundant life is not necessarily health and wealth; it is living in continual dependence on Me. Instead of trying to fit this day into a preconceived mold, relax and be on the lookout for what I am doing. This mind-set will free you to enjoy Me and to find what I have planned for you to do. This is far better than trying to make things go according to your own plan.

Don’t take yourself so seriously. Lighten up and laugh with Me. You have Me on your side, so what are you worried about? I can equip you to do absolutely anything, as long as it is My will. The more difficult your day, the more I yearn to help you. Anxiety wraps you up in yourself, trapping you in your own thoughts. When you look to Me and whisper My Name, you break free and receive My help. Focus on Me, and you will find Peace in My Presence.

I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].
—Philippians 4:13 amp

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
-Proverbs 17:22

I miss driving my own self to wherever I want to go. I crave my independence. I am finding it a struggle to not feel trapped in my house, life, cancer-y circumstance. [whiny me]. So much to be grateful for, time to focus on that! Time to "lighten up and laugh" instead of grumble and groan.
But I do really miss independence and doing things according to my own personal timeline rather than appointments and medical rules or side effects and such and drivers and helpers and stuff. [shrug]

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Flying solo with 3 co-pilots...and the impossible!

Enjoying some home-time with my boys today after school.  M and Grandma went to the mall for a little retail therapy, two boys are playing hockey downstairs, one boy is play his DS beside me here.  Listening to his squeaks and watching his stims, I've missed just being in my house and hearing the sounds of "everyday" around me.  It's nice to just sit here.  Granted, much more than sitting is a challenge as we wait for the clot to dissolve, but I'm enjoying it in this moment! 

Mom came over this morning and helped sort through clothing to send on to be loved by the next kid.  It was exhausting even though she was doing all the work.  Made me laugh at myself.   Treated to the kids to build-your-own ice cream sundaes after school in celebration of early dismissal days... tomorrow is the last day before our two weeks Spring Break... hooray!   We usually do something fun, go away for a few days, or do a balance of lazy days and adventures.  Not driving and not having the energy to walk distance will curb our plans, but I think we'll still find some fun and ice cream road trips with Grandma's and Papa's help!  Hopefully the sun will come out and we can find a park with close parking for Grandma to take us to!

Did my injection differently today.  Assembled the needle part at the bathroom counter... I have to actually load the syringe myself which is a little tricky because the syringe needs to be almost to full for the correct dosage, and getting the air bubbles out makes perfectionist-me stress because what if there's that one little tiny bubble still left no matter how hard I flick the syringe to get the air up and out?!  Eek!  I'm assuming it's fine... but it does add to the stress a little! lol   Today I got the syringe read in the bathroom, put the lid back on and then took my alcohol swab and syringe to my bed to actually do the injection.  The little break between prep and poke helped steady my nerves a little.   Plus, standing that long is difficult (really, folks, it's hilarious how age-ed I feel on my feet!) so breaking up the tasks helped in that area, too.   Ah, the things I am learning.   Happy to report that the actual poke went better today, I'm figuring out needle angle and the little details a bit better each time.   Yay me, I rock!  [eye roll... I'm sure children have figured this out faster than I!]   The nice thing... when I was in Emerg on Saturday night and was explaining to the doctor and nurse that I was self-injecting and the dose, the nurse said, "I could never do it to myself!" (which always makes me feel so brave, I like it... like getting a verbal gold star) and the doctor said, "And it burns..." which made me SO HAPPY because NO ONE has said that yet... the stuff DOES BURN for like two minutes some days!  It felt nice to be acknowledged and validated on that point!  [verbal gold stars, I like it]

Definitely feeling stronger today than yesterday.  Still not as physically strong as my brain thinks I should be... which is a definite dissonance between mind and body when the mind wants to jump up and go shopping and the body gets super lightheaded and has to sit back down. 

HEY!  GUESS WHAT?!?!?!?!
I just got a call from the Thrombosis Clinic Doctor in Vancouver!  The Emerg Doc on Tuesday Remember, the guy who went to bat for me?!?!   ... okay, sidebar ... back up, rewind:  in emerg, the internal medicine doctor was suggesting the seive, then the emerg doctor (who was my doc when I had the blood clot Feb 10) came to chat with me and I told him I was hesitant about the seive thing at this time because we don't know if the lung clot is a new clot (my leg veins are clear, thank you Lord!) or a piece of broken-off clot (which is better actually because it means I am not "producing clots even when on blood thinners").  Another concern to me is that because my body doesn't like the port and keeps having problems around that, wouldn't the seive be just yet another foreign thing in me which my body may not want....   anyway, when talking with the emerg doc I asked him if they had consulted with the Thrombosis Clinic and my oncologist because Thrombosis doc had wanted to know if I had any clot issues going forward.  Emerg doc asked for the phone number, I gave it, and he phoned right there from my bedside!  Wow!  Thank you!   After subsequent back-and-forth phone calling between emerg doc and thrombosis doc, they decided to NOT do the seive at the time but to up the anti-coagulants.  I felt comfortable with this plan, and studies indicate this was a fair course of action.  Okay, good.  My team is in agreement, that always makes me feel happiest. 

Today... Thrombosis Doc called me to say that Emerg doc had sent her the CT scans from Tuesday.  Thrombosis doc had then taken them to Radiology specialist guy at VGH and, although it is IMPOSSIBLE TO GET ONE, the Radiologist is fitting me in for an MRVenogram (an MRI but for veins) NEXT WEEK so that they can have a clear look at the main clot, the clot in my lung, the area around the port so that THEY CAN GET A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING and DATE the clots to see if the lung clot is new or old, to see how the anti-coagulant is working, to determine whether or not to take the port out sooner rather than later.  CLEAR ANSWERS, isn't that what we always pray for?!  YES!  An appointment that is IMPOSSIBLE TO GET... is not impossible for God.  I am just gobsmacked, again, with how amazing my medical team is, how they are repeatedly going to bat for me, that they phone me at my home to check on me well between visits!  God, you continue to blow me away with your amazingness... I am not surprised, for I know you can and will and do... but I am humbled, repeatedly, that you are doing this for me.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you, Lord, for bringing together this amazing team that is taking such care for me and of me.  I am grateful.

Thank you to YOU, my Blogfriends, for your prayers.  God tells us in the Bible that He hears our prayers, to ask and He will answer... and He IS listening, He IS hearing, He IS answering.  How amazing is that!   What are you praying for YOU!?  He cares for YOU just as much as me, big things and smaller things... it all matters to God because He loves us each THAT much!!!!!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

New needles

The new needles are smaller, thinner, tinier, slippery-er, harder to hold, have to be filled out of the vial like I'm some mad scientist and then the air flicked out... all of which exhausts and gets me all nervous before I can even try and stab myself.  Oi.  And, the needle in today's was crooked from the actual syringe part... what the heck?!  PLUS, the dose is almost the full syringe so I have to plunge a looooooong way and the stuff hurts.  God, give me strength. 

Parenting and cancer: is hard.  If you've ever tried parenting-from-the-other-room, you know that you cannot see, nor instruct, nor discipline through walls, nor around corners.  For me, with this new blood clot situation, I am significantly slowed down and physically walking even from couch to kitchen is the limit of my distance and stamina.  Trying to re-figure things out. 

Frankly, I'm sick of the hospital stays that keep derailing my chemo routine.  I just want the chemo in and out and done!  Yesteryday's CT Scan showed "the cancer is VERY DIMINISHED" (doctor's words)... which is super awesome because the CT is the better indicator than the X-ray.  And hey, can you really ever hear the message "your cancer is shrinking" too many times???   Um, NO!  [smile]

Chemo this week was pushed to next week.  They will access my port again.  This makes me nervous, scared, worried, anxious, afraid.  I trust God.  I do.  And, still I am nervous about all these low odds of rare side effects that keep trying to kill me...  seriously .6% chance of the 12 days emergency stay swelling clot... and then 'very rare to get a clot when on blood thinners' of yesterday.  [sigh]  You can't trust and fear at the same time... so I'm laying the fear down a lot.  And God gives me peace... and is so patient even when I take up the fear again... and then He just waits and gives me peace again when I lay it down again.  Thank you, Lord, for putting up with my crazy.  You are good.

God is bigger.  I know that.  Hearing the heart-prayers of our kids each night does fortify me.  I love hearing their trust and hope and open smiles to God.

The new needles: sucky.  The increased lightheadedness, also sucky.  The worry about falling or bumping my head and the dire warnings against that, [groan].  BUT, I am glad to be home, even in the chaos that is "home" as routines fall, as too much tv is being watched, as life just keeps happening even with me just laying about.   Not feeling overly 'whiny', but sort of ... just trying to figure out the new normal again.

Hearing the joy on the kids' voices as they ran into the house and heard my voice, home from hospital... them saying, "MOMM-EEEEEEEEEEE!" and running for hugs: PRICELESS.

Glad and grateful and grateful and grateful to come home again.

Heading home from hospital


Glad to be home. Strict instructions to not fall or bump my head (that would be very bad) and with new needles and a bigger dose of anti-coagulant to self-inject. At least it's still only one injection per day! Hoory - [eye roll]!

Was fabulous to shower and be in fresh jammies... things you miss in emerg. The danger has not passed but the ER doctor agreed that resting at home with my family had more value than resting in hospital and missing them. I appreciated the understanding. God keeps blessing us with a great medical team who listens and hears and goes to bat for me.

Check out the beauty hair... energy conservation requires choosing shower OR hair wash. Fortunately, my hair isn't so fussy about needing to be washed daily... or longer even. Super grateful about that.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Emergency again

Turns out my fears about today were founded. I said to mom, in tears as I walked to her car, I am scared that I am going to die or something. And when we got to chemo, the nurse didn't like my blood pressure, heart rate and shortness of breath and took me right over to emerg. After X-ray and CT scan again, turns out I have a small blood clot in my left lung. This is rare, one shouldn't develop clots when one is injecting blood thinner each day. It has been a long day and we appreciate your prayers for peace, safety, healing, and wisdom for the medical team.
I will be staying in hospital for observation. Please hold our kids in your prayers.

Chemo witch

Hokey Dinah but I am a total b@$ch this morning. I am scared. This last week was really hard. I can't stand up straight today without feeling like my chest will implode, I have been awake since 4am. I am shakey and nervous and ugly. Mean ugly. That makes me feel sad and ashamed.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Cycle 3: Week 1, Day 8

Weak. So very weak. Had to hunch over and will myself to make my shake this morning. Feel drained. Not sure how I will get all the way to the lab from the parking lot today. Chemo again tomorrow. Just so weak. Ugh.

Trusting that the protein shake will give me some energy.

Back from lab, that was hard work... felt sick in my chest from the long walk.  Made it.  Yay.  Home again, Mom warmed up some yummy soup for me from a friend, then tv time on the couch.   Feeling a little more energy for having eaten and am trying to keep my liquid intake up today because the pharmacist saw us in the elevator (and remembered us!... think how many patients they see, the BCCA staff really is amazing!), asked how I was feeling, I said, "weak today" and she said, "drink lots."  So I will.

Been thinking on our "lungs are clear" news from Saturday.  Can't stop thinking of it, actually.  I can feel a lightened-heart feeling from my loved ones.  My kids couldn't stop talking about it amongst themselves all day Sunday... "did you hear that Mommy's cancer is out of her lungs?" ... "did you hear about the miracle of Mommys' cancer is gone?"... and "Hey, do we get to go to Disneyworld today?" cuz that's the promise for when we get to cured/remission.  For me, I find it harder to be pleasant about working through the chemo side effects now that I know it's working.  Crazy, right?  Chemo is hardwork... I am lazy.  I'd rather just be done now, you know?!  My prayers have increased for cancer patients and people with long-term disease and difficulties... as I have said from the beginning, stamina is a constant prayer request of mine.

Had a solid two hour sleep this afternoon, kept up with small meals and lots of fluids, feeling less exhausted...until I try and do something.  Made cheese sauce for the broccoli (the broccoli and cauliflower from the veggie tray needed to be used up) and standing for that few minutes gave me some chest I had just run a marathon (hilarious... run... even in my real life I'm not a runner, lol).  So, so long as I sit on my butt and do a whole lot of nothing, I am feeling stronger than this morning.   Yay!  Definitely having hair loss today. 

Update on the swelling of Saturday night:  In the excitment of the "NOTHING" and clear lung x-rays, I didn't update you all on the swollen neck and reason for going to emergency in the first place.  The emergency doctor wasn't concerned, he said my "anti-inflammatory numbers are good" which I take to mean "everything is working as it should.  His advice was to go home and get some sleep, which is what we did.  My last chemo was in hospital under strange circumstances, but Mom remembers me having a day or two where my neck swelled a little... I'm guessing that the stiff muscles across my neck and the bit of swollen neck is chemo side effects.  I will tell my oncologist when I see her next.  

Sunday, March 10, 2013


Doctor: "When I look at your chest x-ray from February, I see nodules.  When I look at your x-ray from tonight, I see nothing."  

Shawn and I: "Like,, the nodules are gone?"

Doctor: "Yes, nothing.  There is nothing there.  Whatever your oncologist is doing, keep doing it!"

THIS is what the emergency room doctor told Shawn and I last night at 1am.  We had gone in because I was experiencing some swelling across my neck, shoulders, chest... similar to the swelling I experienced during the blood clot emergency.  Not nearly nearly nearly as bad... but worth checking out.  After a few hours in emerg, and then bloodwork and x-rays...THIS amazing news.  NOTHING!!!  I saw the x-rays before and it looked like fish eggs or marbles.  You could easily see them.  And now: NOTHING!!!!!!   Like, clear.    A CT scan will show better/clearer, more detail... I still have chemo on Tuesday for Cycle 3: Week 2 but Shawn and I drove home in stunned happiness.  Not surprised that God would heal... but humbled and just so ... grateful and delirious with this amazing surprise news.

I texted Kori and Keri to phone me even though the time change had us at 2am... then got home and told Dad when we woke him up off our couch... so that he could then go home and tell Mom!

God is bigger.  We are just... grateful and grateful and grateful for this surprise good news... I was crying on the way to emerg, I hate going there.  We  just didn't expect ...  NOTHING!!!!!

This news is just too good to not share with you all... I'm a take-it-at-face-value girl and we are celebrating this moment!  How are YOU going to celebrate it?!  I see ice cream cake in this family's very near future!  [smile]

Note:  This info came from the emergency room doctor.  This is not from my oncologist, I will see her in 8-10 days.  I'm pretty sure she'll be smiling!  :-)  

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Weekend wonderings

Because my chemo is Tuesdays, and because 'the good meds' are done by Thursday, and because the cancer agency is closed for weekends except for the on call oncologist... don'tcha know the weekends post-chemo are the ones that have me questioning every symptom and thing going on in this body.  With all the hoopla of the last emergency visit, and with new symptoms and things to watch for... I find myself checking and rechecking my neck and chest for swelling.  Is my throat tight?  How's my jaw?  Am I more dizzy or blurred-visioned than usual or is this just the normal?  Oi.  I don't tend to be a panicker, which last time landed me in trouble because I should have panicked (and got to the hospital) faster. 

So today I pray wisdom and discernment and peace and no symptoms.  I am definitely weak, last night I fell asleep on the couch at 8:00 and then barely was able to get up the stairs to bed at heart was pounding so hard by the time I fell onto my bed.  Slept fitfully through the night with nausea and fits of comfort/discomfort regarding how to lay down in a way that kept my tummy calm, my hot flashes and cold bursts managed, and my sore-back-stabby-port-thing under control. Nothing too horrible, but still, was an interrupted sleep.   Today, super blurry eye sight and light headed.

Watching HighSch00l Musical with C (music and sports together: he's in!) and then planning to sit on the deck and watch the kids play OUTSIDE cuz it's sunny today!!!  Hooray for blue skies on a Saturday!

What "something fun" are you doing today??!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Cycle 3: Week 1, Day 4

Up a little early (5:00ish) this morning again.  Sleeping well but feeling like another few hours would be good.  Ah well, sleeping well when I sleep and that's great!  Definitely dealing with more queasy this time around... boo!  Last night I was on "the good meds" and still had to top up with the "in case you are still nauseous, take this".  Eek.  Makes me a little leery about what Days 4-6 might look like over the weekend.  I have counted and recounted the "in case you're still nauseous" pills to be sure I don't run out.  We're good.  [smile]

This morning I made lunches for the kids, chatted over breakfast, practiced math and spelling, and hugged them out the door!  YAY!  Love the normal mornings...thankful for the meds that make it possible! 

  • When I tell someone I have cancer, their eyes almost always inadvertently flick down to my bust... so I wait a beat, then slowly say, "urinary cancer that has spread to my lungs and right shoulder"...and wait for that information to settle.  Then two things happen: the person will either start talking about someone they know who had cancer and is cured or in remission, or the shock will start to show on their face and I will repeat and then add "but the chemo is working and the cancer is shrinking!!!" to help them get over the scary-horrible news a little more gently for the moment.
  • People are generous, they want to help, they wish they could wish cancer or disease or hard stuff away.  We are constantly good-overwhelmed by the kindness of family, friends, acquaintances, friends-of-friends.  Watch for it... I know there is generosity beyond sickness and sucky circumstances, we just have to train ourselves to see it in our every day!  
  • I feel like I'm missing out on life.  A lot.  My world has shrunk to my house, my Mom's car, the cancer agency and/or hospital, tv shows, Faceb00k (which is usually slow in the day).  At home we have lots of help, and I cannot imagine how we could do this without it, but the help is hard to accept some days, you know?!  Some days it makes me feel pushed out of my own parenting or just exacerbates my feelings of missing out on my own life.... grocery shopping, tidying up, a quick run upstairs to grab something I forgot...stupid little things.   I'm working on being more gracious.  I feel whiny and ungrateful in some areas and I'm trying hard to be better, kinder, more patient.
  • In general, people don't know what to say to someone who has cancer, or to the loved one of someone who has cancer.  I have observed this to be true in other hard circumstances (miscarriage, death in the family, etc).  Here's how it can easily go... honestly, for both of us, it's the first interaction that's the hardest, so my advice for both of us it to just get it over... tears are okay:
    • You:  "Hey, I heard you have cancer.  I'm so sorry, how are you doing?"
    • Me: "Ya, it's been a lot, but I'm doing okay.  The cancer sucks, but we are okay."
    • You... now have two choices:  If you are comfortable talking about this:  Ask the question on your mind... my answer will be honest but if I don't feel like talking about it, I'll be pretty general and change the topic to a tv show or the weather.  If you are NOT comfortable talking about this (which is totally fine): Ask about the kids, or say "You must be watching lots of movies, here's a great one I just enjoyed...."  And then the topic will steer in a neutral territory.  
    • The most important thing: talk, connect, reach out with words.  
  • Be true to you!  As the person with cancer, I honestly have no expectations of you-the-friend/visitor.  I think people sick at home are just glad for a connection to their real life before 'this'.  If you are a baker, bake.  If you are a shopper, drop off a pack of toilet paper or some cut veggies or cut fruit.  If you are a texter, text.  If you are a prayer, pray.  Just do what feels right to you and know that the love and prayers are being received, the fruit will get eaten, and toilet paper is always the right gift!  [wink]  
Well, time to get the boys going to get dressed... we have a late start school which makes for a more leisurely morning.  We are very fortunate for these lazy mornings, I love the slow start.  And on that note... time to wake Sleeping Beauty MJ... she's not the morning person at all!

Have a great day!  I will, too!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

What "living with cancer" currently looks like.

Here's what living with cancer looks like for me right now.

My chemo is a 3 week cycle (week 1: chemo, week 2: chemo, week 3: no chemo).  In addition to the scheduled chemo and weekly bloodwork there was that recent 12 days hospital stay which was its own schedule-changer, additional appointments to coordinate, etc.   The bracketed weeks are 2weeks of spring break in which the kids are home from school... praying for sunshine!!!

Also, I'm still the Mom here.  So I still want to be the parent, the listener-to-how-school-was, the disciplinarian (cuz 14 yrs in I feel like I'm doing to a good job in raising these kids as they should go), the organizer-of-meals, the maker-of-lunches, the WIFE.  What all of that looks like is me making the effort to sit at the table for dinner (even though post-chemo days the smell just about does me in or the days 4-6 I am so weak I might not stay after we pray)... and yelling to or at the kids makes my blood pressure rise, and sometimes I can't even answer a simple question, and I have to ration energy (which means not going up and down the stairs more than the absolute must do). Plus, the belly injections which need to be remembered and energy put to the courage and organization and doing.  And meds-remembering... scheduled meds are great, the extra "if you still feel nauseas, take this" is hard for me to decide upon and take...I'm just really bad about deciding when to take them, trying hard to just do it and take the stupid pill at the start of the symptoms but in my real life, outside of cancer, I am not a pill taker... like, I take children's grav0l.

BUT, in between this is moments of 'normal'... the kids have the biggest smiles when they see me WALK into a room... they rush over to give me a full hug... a stand-up hug means "Mommy is okay".  The kids have all been so incredibly gracious in taking the moments as they come.  All six of us at the dinner table is another time I see 'normal'...and the kids don't pussy-foot around worrying about being too loud or too afraid of me/cancer/sick however their young minds define the hard bits.

Spring Break is coming up... trying to make plans for some fun.  The first week is no chemo but germ-super-careful which means no public outings or crowds.  Praying for sunshine so we can at least do picnics at the park or other outside fun!  The second week is chemo but not germ-worries (though I still avoid crowds and we are super careful which limits the usual things like Science World, etc) so will aim for some fun days in there, too.  I wish we were going somewhere sunny...or with a hot tub... away for a family vacation!!!!  [smile]

As for a social life... well... due to the germ-super-careful days (seriously folks, when the doctor warns you, and every nurse warns you, and they send you home from hospital with a huge stack of the good heed the warnings that the common cold can land you in the hospital or kill you!) ... my social life is stilted.  I'm a never-at-home Momma... in my real life.  I love going for coffee, or wandering certain shops or craft stores with friends.  I love restaurants and outings and just going... my Mom is a total adventurer that way, I got it from her!  Being trapped at home, and not being able to have visitors for those 8 days of every 3weeks cycle... [groan].  And then there's scheduling... cuz the rest of the world still has work and their own families and their own stuff to do.  So I am super-grateful for texting.  Texting means connected to the world beyond my door.  Faceb00k provides glimpses into your lives.  Email is a little conversation point, point of contact.  Comments here... priceless.  Even just a hello!  I'm bummed that you can't make comments from your smartphones, such a pain!  I wonder if you can from the Bl0gger app?  Can someone try and let me know?

So today, there will be a few errands to get done before the "days 4-6 super-weak and ill" tend to hit.  The kids are off to school, I made lunches all by myself today... yay!!!!   I am feeling stronger each day physically (though still not what I was... yet) post-blood-clot emergency (I never know what to call that situation but wowza did it have a huge impact, was having some sad flashbacks last night at 5am).  Will take my 2:30-4:00 ish daily nap cuz your body heals when it sleeps, it rejuvenates when it sleeps, your mind rests when it sleeps... and I totally find that to be true!

May your day be awesome!  May you see the silver linings!  May you feel the blessings of God, of family, of friends!  I will enjoy the same!  There is ALWAYS a silver lining!!!


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A good, good day!

Check out these lovely sisters (left to right: Kori, Kristin, Keri...yes, K&K are twins) and their yummy treats!  What a great day today was.  "Chemo Wednesday" (which is the day after chemo) is usually a fairly good day for me... thank you Lord for putting ideas into scientists heads that have allowed them to come up with anti-nausea meds that work!!!  I am grateful.  Very, very grateful... and all the more so because those meds are only for the first three days and then it gets harder which makes me appreciate Day 1-3 all the more! 

Wednesdays also happen to be Kori's and Keri's days off work... so I snag them and take up their whole day with my princess requests and giving them sherpa duties!  LOL  You can tell by the smiles that they don't mind at all!   Today we had a nice relaxed visit at home, then headed to the mall!  I was even able to walk from one end to the waaaaay other, with food court lunch in the in-between.  The ice cream was to get me back to the parking lot, I was shaking pretty hard by then.  Ice cream was the perfect answer!  AND they had me try on about twelve thousand outfits... well, actually it was two things at one store and maybe 8 at the other... but after a few sit-down breaks to recoup... and happy success with new sexy jeans and a cute top... a really good day!

I came home to my belly injection (seriously, still gweebs me out) and a two hour nap, to my mother-in-law here to oversee the kids and their after-school routines and to help around the house, and a yummy dinner raved about by the family...thank you to the kind friend who provided.   On that note: Shawn and I are so incredibly thankful for the meals that keep coming.  This last hospital stay/blood clot/ blood thinners have been a weird detour and the meals continue to be such a huge blessing  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you to those who are blessing us this way.   To those of you who bless us with cards or texts or emails or FB messages or comments here... know that those bolster me and I read them again and again and again and I am so overwhelmed by the love.  Acts of kindness are celebrated here and we pray for you in return.  And to the many many many of you praying for us and holding us in your heart... we know you are out there and we feel your love... we pray for you and are so grateful for you, too!   We know that we are being blessed in so many areas that we see or don't, it does not go unnoticed or unappreciated here.  We thank you.

So today.  A good, good day!  Lots of reasons to smile.  Awesome!!!

...and now, a hot flash.  What the heck... yay side effects and 'being freshly 41'!   [gotta laugh]

And this is me tonight.  You may say, "What?  I thought she said her hair was falling out?" I fluffed it up and out of its pony tail just for you!   Trust me, I lost hair that was about the amount of a cantaloupe on the last cycle, and my hair has totally changed in texture and style-ability and frizz factor and is limp, and the back is definitely thinned... it's just hair that is so not my usual hair... but I still feel a moment of guilt each time I walk into the chemo room and pass a woman in a toque who has lost her hair due to her type of chemotherapy.  And so then I feel ashamed for worrying or whining or panic... but then I worry about what "thinning" means (that is a listed side effect for me)... "like, thinning to bald-in-spots?" is what I asked but there was no sure answer... anyway, a side note/ramble moment for you... and a smile.  Cuz I feel smiley.  Today was just a really nice day.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Chemo IN!!!

It's working!!!!!

The first try didn't work so we did need the clot buster. That worked!!! You could actually see bits of clot coming out! So cool-gross! Now we are doing one more hour to clear the tube better and then chemo can go in! Hooray!!!!!

Thank you God. Thank you so much!!!!!

Look, my sweet nurse gave me a heart sticker so the clot buster knows we appreciate it! Celebration stickers: awesome!!!

Chemo welcoming committee

Look what was waddling thru the parking lot today... gave me a smile! Thank you, Lord, for smiles even when I am nervous. Especially when I am nervous!

Cycle 3: Week 1, Day 1

Chemo today at 12:15.

We are praying that the port will work on the first try.  I pray fervently that there will be no surprises regarding blood clots and no trips to the emergency room.  I have my chemo meds (anti-nausea meds) ready to go (I count and recount those little suckers the day before chemo to be sure I have enough!).  I am ready to start again... the first few days are okay because of the meds, day 4, 5, 6 are typically very hard where I am extremely weak and also taking the extra meds for nausea and need to be very careful with enough fluid intake and eating to avoid constipation from the chemo.... a balancing act because I don't typically feel too hungry those days.  I am still quite annoyingly physically weakened from the 12 days laying about in hospital and the blood clot (it's in the junction where jugular and artery from right arm meet and form a Y) but feeling incrementally stronger (hooray!) each day... praying the increased strength keeps moving me forward even in the harder chemo days.

If ever you are looking for a fun Bible-based website for your kids, check out What's In The Bible, created by Phil Vischer of VeggieTales!

May your day have gladness, may it surprise you and make your face hurt from all the smiling!  Every day has blessings waiting to be discovered, named, claimed as our own, tucked in our heart and for sharing with others... praying that for you today!!!

I feel scared.  I am worried that something will go bad when they access the port.  I just want the port to work.  I am smiling and happy and glad and nervous and scared all at once.  Oi. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Praying for Herman-the-port

Hello Friends.
Today was labwork (blood test) and the end-of-cycle-two/start-of-cycle-three meeting with my oncologist.  Nothing new to report (thank you, Lord for nothing new!!!) but that she feels that my numbers are good and we are a go for chemo tomorrow.  The plan is that my lovely chemo nurse (I don't actually know who my nurse will be tomorrow but you can't go wrong with those super-nice ladies in the chemo room) will access the port and we'll go from there.  Accessing the port means that she will plug the needle in...the needle has a tube attached...that tube (it might actually be two, I don't look) has the IV ending thingie on it and that's where the chemo IV tube is hooked in.  Again, I don't actually look so don't quote me on that! 

To "access" the port (looks like a 'that was easy' button from the supply store but it's white and the top is soft so the needle goes into it...that part is about the size of a quarter, a little smaller, sits fully under my skin, waterproof even!) means that once the needle part is stuck through my skin and into the plastic port thing under my skin the nurse will use a needle of saline through the IV ending part and push saline in and then draw (pull) blood out... drawing the blood out is the important part.  We really need to see that little bit of blood...then we all happy dance that the port is fully working and "accessed".  Please please please please please pray that the port works fully and wonderfully!   IF the port doesn't work, then they will inject a special clot-eater medicine that clears the end of the tube (the port has a tube that goes up to my neck and then around the corner and into my jugular vein and towards my heart).  The blood-unclotter stuff sits there for an hour and then we try to access the port again.  My concern is that the port will not be accessible.  You know all that needle talk above... the beauty of the port is that it's only ONE poke... and then everything else goes through the port.  Two weeks ago at chemo, when they were not using the port due to the emergency situation/blood clot it took three nurses and my doctor NINE TRIES to get a vein... port is ONE TRY.   Please, again, pray that the port works.  This is on my mind.  It was reassuring to hear my oncologist say that they have a few tricks up their sleeves in case the port doesn't work tomorrow... thank you, Lord, for medicine and research and tricks-up-sleeves.  So grateful!!!!

Today the lab had trouble getting my vein... well, they can get the vein, but the sucker kept rolling away and wouldn't behave easily.   Oi.  I don't faint, I don't even cry... but the gweebie factor is high and it takes a lot of effort to send my mind on vacation until the nurse is done.

I am thankful for chemo.  I want the chemo.  I pray that the port will work and that chemo process will be uneventful and it's usual comfortable-day-out routine that we have enjoyed thus far.  And I pray that for every chemo from here on in.   Thank you if you pray it, too.   [smile]

Wasn't the sunshine gorgeous today?!?!  Honestly, seeing the frosty white rooftops, and then looking up and seeing, "what is that?!?! BLUE????!!!!" was such a fun surprise when I opened the blinds this morning!  Had a great visit with a dear friend today.  Saw another friend for a sidewalk chat as I was leaving the Cancer Agency... and then a relaxing afternoon with the kids while my mother-in-law helped around the house so I could rest.   Hanging out with the boys this afternoon while M is swimming.  Normal.  Thankful for normal.

Have a great evening you!!!

Please pray for Natalie

Please pray for a local mom-friend of mine, Natalie. She was diagnosed w breast cancer a few weeks before me and is extra on my heart these days as she goes through her treatments. Please pray also for her husband and their three children (13, 6, baby).

Natalie, I am praying peace and healing and rest and strength for you. Kristin

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A lovely weekend

Love it!!! Seriously "normal" weekend... This momma had a four hour coffee date yesterday with a dear friend, we coulda say there for another five hours easy! Loves that time spent! Then came home to drag hubby out for a sushi date, then the menfolk went swimming while M and I stayed home w a movie, then an easy evening in with littles to bed and just sort of being in the house together with the bigs. Loved it! I am still weak. My body is slow and wobbly and needs lots of rest, but I am able to do stuff and I celebrate that!!!!

This morning we were able to go to church (these are not-germ-super-careful days and I feel good) and that was just awesome! Sunday morning "home" is our amazing church! It was so nice to see friends and to be seen! Then home for buns/meat/cheese lunch which I was able to make (!!!!!), and some amazing discussion with the kids about heaven based on a very interesting concept/ thought our pastor shared.

This evening was dinner at mom&dad's to celebrate Shawn's and my birthday. Thanks to Keri for the yummy desserts to accompany mom's awesome roast beef dinner! And the gifts... Well my sisters have me all decked out and spiff now with an entire new outfit!!! I'm super excited about their picks! Thanks girls!

Ahhh, home again. Amasing Rase with the bigs, heartfelt bedtime prayers done with the family, a really good weekend!

Thank you, Lord, for strength and health. Thank you for family and friends. Thank you for the blessings of community.

Photo courtesy of Miss M:

Friday, March 1, 2013

Vancouver General Hospital: Thrombosis Clinic

Heading out early for our appointment this morning at 9:00. Thankful to have so many excellent medical resources close to home! Didn't sleep well last night. Cancer shoulder has been bugging me the last few days. Not sure if its muscles or what. Please pray against "or what".

No idea what to expect from this appointment. My emotions are all over the place the last two days and I feel pushed out of my own kitchen, house, decisions about me, parenting, how I like to do things, life. Having a little identity crisis I think.

UPDATE:  This appointment was very positive.  First off, the doctor was lovely and fun and confident and very thorough in her interview, and no needles!!!... and we talked about her cute outfit and my recent great deal at Landsendd (remember the green floral dress?!).  Also, she was pleased with my progress and explained that each day post-blood-clot-emergency reduces my risks and that the 30 days mark was the big goal... and we're halfway there at day 18 now!  She has kept me on the injections for 3 months as they are the best option for me for my condition/situation/cancer treatment plan, etc.  And I completely trust her and agreed to be brave even though

When she actually saw my archipelago of bruises across my belly she made an 'oh! wow!" face... which made me feel validated in my gweeby-ness.  See... love her!  Thank you, God, again, for another great medical person for my team!   The overall message was that she didn't expect me to drop dead... always nice to hear verbalized.  The doctor was pleased with my progress, and she was also in agreement with the other doctors who have treated me along this blood clot... and the affirmation among professionals definitely comforts me and brings peace.  I will have a 3 months follow-up with the doctor and she will re-assess the injections at that point as we move through chemo and move further away from the emergency of the clot.  Clots take time to dissolve.

Overall, a good appointment with positive outcomes moving forward.  If the doctor is happy, I'm happy.  Thank you to those who prayed, and are continuing to pray.  We greatly appreciate your prayers!!!