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

Friday, March 29, 2013

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.


  1. Tears streaming. Sad that you are on this journey and there isn't a darn thing anyone can do to make it better. Thankful that you are able to find some normal in the midst of this crazy storm. Love you to pieces and grateful for your friends and prayer warriors that are holding your hand. You are ALREADY half-way through chemo... you can do this Kris! Stay strong! Love you!

    1. You are wrong Keri!! YOU make it better! Kori, your Mom and Dad, Shaun, the inlaws and all the babes and rest of the family and friends make it better. Medicine is only part of what heals people. Your love and support and prayers give Kristen energy...healing energy! Look what she's done so far! That can't be done without you!


      "Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has."

  2. Trapped is a good way to describe all this. You didn't chose it yet you have no option but to endure it. You've been so brave and to be at the emotional overwhelm-ness stage at only the half way point is amazing. You've been strong for so long. Time to let the feelings catch up and cry it out and yell it out if need be. It's not fair, never will be fair and that's a big one to process.
    Praying for you always,

  3. It's OK to be teary, and it's OK to feel blue, because God is still there and HE sees it all. You are such a strong person, even though you may not feel like one, but it's often in our weaknesses that God's power can shine through. You are indeed "shining" for all who know you.

  4. Trapped... yes, that sounds about right. I can only imagine and my heart goes out to you. All I can say from my own hard times is that even in the closet God's Spirit is with you - you are never alone even though it feels like it. I know you know this - sometimes it's so hard to harness that truth. And that's ok.
    You are human, and your body, mind, and spirit are having to tackle super-human things right now. You are doing so amazing considering everything you've been through. I'm thanking God for your amazing family too!
    Hope the weekend gets better for you - praying for you lots :) Devana

  5. I know the feeling of feeling trapped. The feeling of chemo, no end to it :( I often put on heavy metal music and listen to it as well. :) I pray that you are feeling better, and that you are feeling well soon. ~Barb

  6. You are, indeed, a rock star.
    Side note, did you know that there are so many asians in Richmond because they translate it to sound like "Rich Man"? Everything in Chinese has to do with luck and how words sound. 8 is a lucky number because the word for 8 sounds like the word for wealthy (so tell B re his age- he's "lucky" or let's say blessed!). AND the craziest thing I learned after marrying a chinese guy: Chinese characters are just "Chinese." The spoken languages are Mandarin and Cantonese (and others), but they read the same characters (but say it in their own language). Crazy eh?
    ALREADY half way... ALL-READY. Praying that you're "ALL-READY" for the second half of the journey. Bless you Kristen & Family.

  7. Thank you all for your kind words. Today was a good day and the hard emotions were outshone by the excellent children's Easter events/lessons at our church, the way my heart felt warm and amazing to hear our 5 yrs old retelling the nuances and stories he heard and learned, hearing of the great understanding of Jesus' crucifixion by our 8 yrs old, and then a great lot of time from lunch and until late with family around the amazing turkey dinner Mom & Dad prepared. Really, a good day. Grateful for so many reasons and grateful for you. Kristin

  8. Ohhh Aberdeen Mall! You must have been at Daiso? Love it!! So glad to see you were able to be out & about, even with the tiring and the needling in transit ... o.0 My brave little toaster.
    Wishing the miracle of Easter upon you in even more spectacular blessitude!

  9. I'm thrilled for you (and the family) that you were able to get out and enjoy I day like you did. I know how exhausting a day full of new things and site seeing can be for a large family, and then to add Cancer, you really are a rock star, you did all that and then still had energy to tell us all about it.
    I have experienced the anti-coagulant belly injections (from surgeries), they really are unpleasant, and being needle phobic like I am, I can't believe you can do this . . . and in traffic!?!?!
    Remember when you're feeling weak and down and teary and all those things, you are being strong, you are acknowledging this are rough but you are pushing through and BEING SO STRONG, physically, mentally and in your FAITH, you are not weak, you are strong and you are not alone, HE is with you as are we. Loving you much, enjoy this beautiful Easter Sunday.

  10. Hi Kristin and your dear family,
    I am reading your blog daily and keeping you in my prayers. Praying that the Lord will continue to be with you each day, giving you strength to endure this cancer. Praying that He will also give your family all that they need too. Psalm 23 comes to my mind...
    The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want
    He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters
    He restores my soul
    He guides me in paths of righteousness for his names sake.
    Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,
    for You are with me.
    your rod and your staff they comfort me.
    You prepare a table before in the presence of my enemies.
    You anoint my head with oil,
    my cup overflows
    Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life
    and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.



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