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

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

[spo tiem]

Drinking lots to get the chemo out. Gotta pee lots. The walk from couch to bathroom is about twelve steps... feels like 200. Thank you, sweet M, your servant heart to massage mommy's feet and back and dry brushing my skin speaks to my need for loving touch and also helps get the chemo aches out. I am so grateful for all the "spo tiem" (spa time) these four kids give to their mommy. It helps my heart and my body. You children are incredible and I am blessed by you daily. With all my heart, Mommy.

Cycle 5: Week 2, Day 1

Did it!
Was very weak this morning, so hard to brush my hair, a two minute shower required thirty minutes to recover. Walked past two chemo nurses at the lounge when mom and I headed to bloodwork, I said I was ducky, they said "you don't look ducky"... I said, "I will in an hour and a half!" Did blood, sat in the lounge, couldn't find a sandwich or ice tea anywhere on hospital grounds crazy.
Got to chemo, nurse was ecstatic and surprised, my numbers jumped over 20 points without a blood transfusions!!! Miracles, people! Miracles! That higher number is awesome news!!!! God is bigger! Then she hooked me up, no problem getting the port to draw blood! God was doing His awesome thing. Thank you, Lord! Was super tired, the chemo hit me about half an hour in and I had a hard thirty minute nap, sore back troubles at the port. Got home, crashed on the couch, glad mom stayed cuz I didn't even hear the kids get home. M made me a milkshake, I did my shot, I'm ready for bed. Laying low and letting this body recover.

Monday, April 29, 2013

My "go to" meals

So thankful for unsalted almonds, crispie rice cereal, yogurt and berry smoothies with protein powder.

Losing lots of hair today.

Laying low. Losing lots of hair today. Grateful to mom for taking care of me. Grateful for meals that arrive to feed my family with love and care and good food. I'm nauseas from the meds and stuff but it makes me happy to know my family is eating well. Thankful for so many blessings and silver linings.

Cycle 5: week 1, day 6

Slow morning, sore back and chest and port last night, just achey. Today is a little stronger than yesterday, that's really great! I like feeling like I can be on the upswing a bit. Chemo again tomorrow.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Cycle 5: Week 1: Day 5


Had a little 6 years old join us in bed last night.  Buddy's been having nightmares the last few weeks, they aren't that scary, but I think his brain is just churning and turning.  C is our super-observant, misses-nothing guy and I know that all the kids are on high alert during chemo weeks.  I sure love the not-chemo week in between, things go to a sort of normal that just feels less on-the-brink-of-scary.  I woke up this morning feeling well, strong, so long as I just lay in my bed and watch Shawn breathe, pray over him, smile, keep my face to the light coming in the window.  It's also those quiet morning times, as my body slowly wakes up, that I have my hardest thoughts... of my funeral, of saying goodbye to the kids, of leaving Shawn alone with four blessings to manage and raise and care for without losing himself in the process.  For the most part, I don't think on those things too much, but sometimes it just hits me and I hate it.  I hated it before, I hate that cancer ups the possibilities.  I am trusting for longevity, I believe for healing and full delivery from this cancer, I really hope hope hope that I live for a long, long, long time with remission or a cure before we ever have to think on this again.

I'm not sure where to direct my thoughts, what to think on, how to focus on what comes next.  Jesus Calling reminded me to just be present, which I do.  But, parts of life require looking forward, too.  You know?  And I just don't know how to do that.  I am afraid to look too far ahead, even just a few weeks.  Something to figure out I guess.  And chemo-weekend isn't the time to put energy into thinking, it's time for energy to drink enough liquids, trying to eat even though I don't feel like it, just being in the moment watching a movie with the kid(s). 

So, that's what I'm going to do.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


I've slept. I've visited w Keri and w Dad. I've slept again. I've cried. I'm trying to keep up w the meds schedule and w drinking. That's the day it has been. Now I'm camped out on the couch watching reno shows. Hungry but no taste buds, everything is upsetting my tummy today.

Cycle 5: Week 1: Day 4

Good Morning!
What a busy day yesterday was, with all the stitches excitement and then a day hanging out at Kori's,  this momma came home pooped and had a hard nap from 4-5pm and then headed to bed about 7pm with my girlie to watch fashion tv and relax.  I dozed on and off til prayers (usually we do this in the living room as a family but tonight everyone heaped on the bed around Mommy) at 8pm and then I was down for the night.  I slept and slept and slept and finally got up at 8am.  I feel rested and my head is clear, that's my favourite... I hate the fuzzy thinking that chemo or chemo-tired often brings.  Looking forward to puttering around the house a little, or not at all putter but just be here with Shawn and our kids: my favourite is for everyone to be home together!  Today is the day the Lord has made and we do rejoice and are glad in it. 
Have a great day, you!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Gong show: 14 yrs old + mountain bike

Got a call from Auntie: Kyle needs a stitch or two on his leg. This momma can't spring to action, that's hard. Thankful for grandma and papa who zipped over to watch the three siblings and drive me to my boy. Oi.

Update: fastest walk-in clinic ever! In and out with three stitches! Praise Jesus my boy is fine. I've had my tears and am so glad he is okay. I love that kid so incredibly much. Oh my heart. Thank you Auntie!!!

Cycle 5: Week 1: Day 3

Good morning, friends. Had a good sleep and feeling just a bit queasy today. Not so bad. Kids are off school for a pro-d day so we will spend some time at Auntie Kori's in the forest and just lay low with Grandma T. Hope you find some fun in your day, too!

PS~ fish face photo as per your request, Rena!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

And here's the crash

Hot flush, freezing cold skin, nauseas, exhausted. Had a fantastic day but didn't sleep when it came on me. I could feel myself slipping but it was dinner time and I wanted to have the time with Shawn and the kids around the table. Been sleeping since dinner, heading to bed soon.

Cycle 5: Week 1, Day 2

Oh my.  How is it Thursday already?!   This is me, my lunch, and my view today!   What a full week we have had, I am so glad to be feeling well today!   Monday was an appointment with my oncologist (the usual week 3 appointment).   We spoke a little about what things could look like after Cycle 6 and were told that there will be a CT scan to see where the cancer is at, and then monitoring me and follow-up based on that.  I am praying hard for remission, cured is the specific ask!!!   If the cancer comes back it would be another set of chemo like this one.  Praying for loooooong remission if not a cured stamp.  I was told from the start that I am "palliative"... so 60 years of remission would be okay, as a second best to cured! ;-)

My white blood cells and red blood cells have a low count this week, the first time my numbers have been low yet!   So, we are doing great to have come so far without dips, but the dips were pretty hugely huge and had the chemo nurse worrying.  I have also had that wicked toothache and my allergies kicked in major last weekend so that could be something to do with it.  I'm usually down for 12-21 days with super, major, hokey-dina-bad allergies every year in May.  We are taking allergy meds and praying against that this year for sure!!!

My oncologist said to eat red meat, eat spinach, and rest, rest, rest.  So I'm doing my part on the lunch, and trying hard to rest... but it's hard to rest when you feel good!  ;-)   I'm trying to be a good patient.  It's just so hard to resist feel-good days... and then this week we got sunshine, too!!!

The view.  I love our backyard view!  

Yesterday we did get to go back for chemo!  Delayed only one day, hooray!  I was very sleepy the last few days, maybe the low counts + busy two days + allergy meds.   We had gone to chemo on Tuesday, as scheduled, but due to the low counts and a wicked toothache in the night, my nurse and my oncologist sent me away to an emergency dentist appointment to rule out an absess.  Got to the dentist (they fit me in that day when I told them I couldn't get chemo until I saw them, thank you so much for fitting me in!!!!!  I think my dentist might have even missed his lunch because his three little babies stopped in and it was 12:30... I'm sorry!!!!), had an x-ray, agreed that as there was no abscess or infection I would hold off on the pending root canal (can't have a root canal when on chemo, actually all dental work is off when you are on chemo, no flossing even!), gave me a prescription for penicillin just in case there was the start of something that wasn't showing, I called back to the oncologist and chemo room, was told to yes, start the penicillin, and yes, come back tomorrow morning for chemo!   Phew.  Busy.    Oh yes, and as we were leaving chemo to go home for the two hours til my dentist, I remembered, "Oh!  We were going to try my port!"  So my nurse came over, took off the Emla cream patch (numbs the skin) that I had put on, popped in the port, drew blood.  Ta da!  Like, Nurse says, "There it is."  Mom, a split second later says, "Oh!"  Me, another second later, "Blood!  I see blood!!!!  It worked!  I can't believe it worked!"  And the nurse had already unhooked me before it was settling in.   GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME!   It was all just so fast!  No turning my head, tipping me downhill head first, coughing to get the artery to move, just TA DA!   We walked out of there dazed and confused that it had just worked so effortlessly.   Thank you, God.  Thank you!  You are awesome!

Wednesday morning: Cycle 5: Week 1: Day 1.  Chemo... my fuzzy brain noted the time wrong so Mom and I got there at 9:00 instead of 9:30 ... doh!  And we hate the early mornings, she and I.  So we sat, and waited, for thirty minutes!  Doh.

Finally it was my time, got settled into the bed, went through the paperwork and 20 questions the nurses score you on to check how you are doing: sleeping? eating? bowels working? peeing? any pain? anything else I should know?  how many pain meds? etc.  They are always surprised that I'm not taking anything for pain.  I'm always thinking, "Well, God's taken care of that." [smile]  Got through the list, today's nurse got her stuff ready, accessed the port... and nothing.  No blood.  WHAT!  But it worked yesterday.  So she's telling me not to panic, I'm repeating, "But Dr. P. said not to muck about, it has to work with no effort, why did it work yesterday?!"  And this sweet nurse is trying to calm me, and she's a casual so has never seen me before but had read my crazy files and nothing's coming.  She went to get a second nurse to assist her, she had me cough, raise my arms, nothing worked.  The other nurse tipped me head-down and Ta Da!!!!  Blood!   Hooray!!   Lovely, watery, blood-thinnered-blood!  No air, no mystery weird stuff.  THANK YOU LORD!  And then, the whir of the IV pump, the start of the saline, and off to the races we went.  Lickety-split.  I remember my veins and my forearms breathing a sigh of relief, they actually did a little happiness-quiver of thankfulness.  For real, I looked down at them because they were cheering and I think I heard it!  Thank you God, no needles today!!!

I was very sleepy yesterday morning, finally with thirty minutes to go I fell into a nap.  Poor timing as the nurses are checking quite often cuz the IV pumps are constantly ringing when they think the IV bag is emptied, or when gravity causes a shift in the balancing of the bags and the nurse needs to hang one bag lower on an extender hook.  But, my body was done and needed those minutes with my eyes shut, so I dosed.   And when I opened my eyes, we were done!   Ta da!  I had totally forgotten how easy chemo is when the port works!  Praise Jesus.  Again and again, I praise you Lord, for port working chemo days!!!!  It was interesting, too, that when the nurse flushed my port with this blood anti-clotter stuff (I think that's what it is, they do it each time they finish/unhook the port) I could taste it immediately.  On Wednesday, I didn't taste my chemo like I usually do.  I think it may be the allergies, but it was strange.  Also, my eyes haven't blurred as much this time.  So even though chemo is supposed to be getting harder, some of the symptoms are definitely less so.  God is taking care of things.  I need not panic.  Just don't panic, Kristin.  Every single chemo experience has been different for me, so Mom and I have agreed that we just go with it, assume nothing, trust the God's got a plan, and just take it as it is.  I think that's probably the best way to go about things anyway. [smile]  

Can you see the chubby face and the red cheeks?  That's chemo.  Woot Woot!  The chemo glow.  That and hot flashes, whoa momma!  LOL   As you can see in these last two photos, I was feeling pretty and cheeky this morning.  A fun combo, no?   I'll spare you the fish face pics, but I really love when my eyes go huge... and sticking my tongue out is a signature move I like to make, so you're seeing the real Kristin right there folks!  [wink]   Isn't it fun how we can have emotions and thoughts and feeling all rambling all alongside of each other up in that amazing mind of ours?!  And that we can get it out, share it, share the experiences of this life?  I think that's a pretty divine design and I like it a lot!

So here I am today, Day 2, enjoying the sunshine, and so incredibly proud of Kyle for coming home with Honour Roll and Effort Roll for his grade 9 second semester!   So proud of you, my son.  So incredibly proud.

Today is the day that the Lord has made and I am rejoicing and being glad in it!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

God answers.

You are clearly praying! Thank you! The toothache is manageable without meds! Thank you Lord for answering our prayers. Thank you so much.

Toothache and trying to manage

I feel like I am standing at the edge of a forest, before me is a beach and then a lake.  It's a beach in British Columbia: rocky, twigs and sticks and pokey things.  It's a lake in British Columbia: cold and windswept and choppy.  There is a measure of protection as I stand in the forest, still windy, still dust blowing in the air and grit getting in my mouth.  I know that tomorrow I am going to have to strip off my warm coat and my protecting shoes, walk across that cold, lonely beach and walk in to the water.  I'm trying to remain calm.  I'm trying to figure out how to be okay with this.  I know that I will submit to the stripping down, the walk, the wind and the stabby things.   I know that I will submit to the cold, cold water and the sharp needles of pain as my body goes deeper and deeper into that dark wet.  I hate swimming but I know that I want to swim, I will choose to swim.  The lake is the best chance we have at beating this cancer.  Two more cycles of chemo left, but I have been advised that these will be harder.   Today was a taste of that.

My bloodwork showed that my numbers are low.  My oncologist told us they were low but said she is comfortable proceeding.  My nurse was more wary and wanted to be sure we knew what we were getting into.  The numbers are only one point higher than the "you can't have chemo today" numbers.  I have no idea what we are getting into.   I have no frame of reference.  I really just want to take the moments as they come.  To contemplate anything else is just too too much.   I have a toothache, a wicked-bad toothache.  The pain of that toothache is almost too much to bare.  Each time the four hours of Tylen0l is up I am shaking with pain.  I can't eat, can't drink.  To swallow is to put pressure on the roof of my mouth and that is a zing of pain.  My teeth are already sensitive to everything, a chemo side effect. 

I'm now on penicillin in case there is a tooth infection.  I am on the injection of high dose anti-coagulant.  I am on Tylen0l for tooth pain.  I am taking allergy meds because my allergies hit in full force yesterday and those usually knock me down hard for a few weeks every April-May.  Tomorrow I will start the big meds for chemo.  Oh yes, and the chemo itself.  It's a lot of things.  Nothing compared to some people, but still such an adjustment for me.  And I'm always worried about mixing things at the wrong times and screwing something up or making myself sick or constipated or worse. 

But the port worked.  As Mom and I were leaving chemo to go to an emergency dentist appointment this morning, I remembered that the big to do today was to try the port.  The nurse hooked me up (plugged the needle into the port thingie under my skin) and drew back blood.  Hooray!  No hesitation.  No air bubbles or mystery stuff.  Just lovely blood.  Perfect.  Then she flushed (pushed stuff in) and the yucky taste was in my mouth.  I was astonished.  Mom and I were both sort of confused... we had forgotten how quick and easy the port could be.  Thank you Lord for the successful working of that port!!!

So tonight I sit here on the couch, after having fit in three naps today because I just couldn't keep my eyes open, and wonder what the next week is going to look like.  I'm practicing my breathing and my remaining calm and curious rather than nervous and panicky. 

I really would appreciate your prayers for peace, for my blood count numbers to go back to where they should be, that the chemo side effects will be gentle, that I will have patience, that we will have help at home because I won't be able to do much of anything for the next two weeks.   Please, keep praying.  I know that you are.  You have been so faithful in holding us up before God.  Thank you.

Man my tooth is so sore.  The roof of my mouth, the cheekbone, my ear, into my neck are all so sore.  The dentist decided to just let it be as dental work has its own complications for me at this point in the chemo schedule.  I'm not sure how I'm going to handle two weeks of this level of pain.  It's overwhelming.  Help.

Great news!

Oh ya... THE PORT WORKED!!!! First try, no problem!!!!! We didn't get chemo but the nurse flushed the port with no problems!!!! Hooray!!!!!

Gong show morning

Chemo delayed today due to possible tooth infection. Went to dentist, no infection. On penicillin now just in case. Chemo rescheduled for tomorrow at 9:30. My count are very low, please pray them up. Going for a nap. Busy morning.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Chemo tomorrow

Hello All,

Will you please be praying for chemo tomorrow? The nurse will be accessing my port after many weeks of not using it. If the port works, we will keep it and be able to use it for chemo. This would be ideal because chemo aggravates (causes burning pain) in arm veins and is a lot for me to manage. If the port cannot be used it will be removed soon. Removing the port makes me nervous so I would appreciate prayer over that, too. My blood work today showed that my hemoglobin (red blood cells) count was a little low, expected at this point in chemo but I would like us to pray those numbers back up where they should be. The doctor's advice was to eat spinach and red meat and to rest. I haven't been doing much of those three things so I can definitely do my part to get those numbers up. Tomorrow is cycle 5, then cycle six and a CT scan. If the scan is good then we go into "monitor Kristin" mode: remission. Please be praying for full remission and cured. I am praying for peace for me and for Shawn and the kids and our extended family. I pray cured for this body. Battling against fear seems to be happening more often lately, I think it is a combination of a lot of things. I appreciate your prayers a lot!!!! Oh ya, and allergies have hit me. I spend a few weeks each May completely down and out sick from my allergies. Please pray that the allergy meds will wrk and that this year I will be spared from allergy-sick on top of chemo!!! And I have a wicked-bad toothache. It had gone away for the last many weeks and now, after biting into a perogy, the pain is back and really bad. Upper left molar. [sad face] Thank you for praying!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Good days and lost for words and ramblings

I had forgotten how nice "no chemo" week was.  When we are in chemo weeks it is more of a hunkered-down-and-getting-through sort of thing.  I think it was halfway through this week before I got into the groove of "I won't be so sick today".  Upset tummy, yes.  Lower energy, for sure.  But capable of pushing myself this week which is not possible in chemo weeks.  Chemo weeks are sort of an out-of-body / watching-yourself-as-a-faded-light thing... like in the movie when the spirit of the guy on the operating table is able to see his body laying there while he observes.
Yesterday I guarded the day as a true and typical "Saturday as a family"... just the six of us, getting stuff done and planning for some fun with no pressure and no schedule.  In the morning the kids did a work bee with me and we powered through a whole lot of mystery and mess in the basement rec room.  Boxes that hadn't been opened in years were sorted and items thrown out or recycled or donated to charity.  I paid the kids per item they sorted and it was the best $3.46 I ever paid to a kid!  I ended up rounding up to $10 because I was so impressed by the hard work, focus, and we-got-so-much-done!  I know they will be motivated to try that system again!  [smile]  For lunch we headed to the local RV dealership for free hotdog, baked beans, and donut lunch in the freezing cold and blustery day... it felt just like true camping in British Columbia (where we live) cuz it always is freezing cold and windy and often raining when we go camping!  [tee hee]  Next we headed to the next town to the two big toy stores to spend the kids' earnings!  This was my highlight of the day!  I'm the Mom who is used to pulling my kid(s) from school for a Mommy-and-[insert kid's name] day of lunch out and a new book or toy or treat: time spent, gift given... definitely my love languages!   With me not driving for the last many months, the special mommy-and-kid days are what I have missed the most, what I long for, something that makes my heart contrict and my chest hurt the most.  It felt great to share the day with the kids and Shawn and just enjoy some treats for the heck of it.  I love that.  I love that so incredibly much that I am tearing up with the thought.  Ya.  It's been super killer-hard to miss those special moments, it's definitely something cancer has robbed out of this season of my life.  Few things knock me down fully and emotionally like the thought of saying good-bye to my kids (which has always been a tear-bringer to me, but with cancer makes it all the more scary-possible), and just the love I have for Shawn and the kids which good-overwhelms me.  Oi, my post just got sidetracked.

Side-tracked thoughts has definitely been a theme the last few days.  I'm just so bamboozled by abilities of this week, and that I kept waiting to feel yucky and the yucky stayed just at a steady and manageable minimum.   I've had to work really hard the last few days, as good as the days have been, as normal/typical as the days have been, to keep fear at bay.  Not sure what's going on but random thoughts of dying or of my funeral or of leaving have hit me and paralyzed me for the briefest of moments before I could quickly call out to God for peace and help.  Hard.  Hurtful.  Scary.  Robbing-me.  Crushing.  Overwhelming.  God is faithful, I called out for peace and He gave me peace.  I am so thankful.  Those moments are so scary and sad and hard and horrible and yucky and I hate them.  Those moments aren't new to my life, I think that when we love, we have those panic-moments of the possibility of loss.  It's just this cancer piece, it just has stolen my innocence by adding an element of people-die-of-cancer-all-the-time-I-really-hope-I-don't-die-of-cancer-or-die-anytime-soon.  [sigh]  Harsh.  I am fumbling for words, I know that my family reads this, I don't want to add to their sadness.
Hm.  This post must make you worry that I am so very sad all the time.  I'm not.  In fact, there are so many huge moments of each day where I don't think of cancer, don't think of myself as "sick" and then stand up too quickly or try to do too much and am forehead-smacked with the "doh! can't quite do that right now, Kristin!"   We have laughed and laughed.  We have smiled.  We have been silly.  We have yelled and fought and annoyed each other.  We have been disobedient to our mommy and daddy and needed correction.  We have eaten our dinner and fussed about things we don't like and begged for a second cookie and forgotten to put our dishes away after dinner.  Typical.  Normal.  Everyday stuff like every other day.  We have also prayed "take away mommy's cancer" and "be with anyone else who is sick" and "son, please go put my syringe in the disposal bucket" and "sweetheart, go get mommy's meds, k?" and "can you please help mommy take a drink of her water?"  I work really hard to make sure the kids see me off the couch at some point in their days.  I work hard to let our youngest climb on top of me for his big-love-hug-snuggles.  I have always tried to purpose connecting moments in each kids' day, now I try and make sure those connecting moments have a physical strength to them if possible... I see how they look at me when I am laying down or laying low and I know how it brightens the kids to see me standing in the kitchen.  [smile]

Rambling.  See.  My emotions and mind are sort of everywhere this week.  I'm working really hard to not get weighed down by the reality of Tuesday 9:45 am chemo.  Tomorrow is labwork (bloodwork) and check-in with the oncologist.  I'm bringing a list of questions that I don't want to ask.  I don't like asking stuff.  You have to be willing to hear the answer.  That is scary.   I'm not expecting any news, it is the point in chemo when they do an extra blood check to be sure my baby blood cells are recovering from each chemo.  Last week I scraped my arm reaching into the cupboard and I didn't bleed to death (which is what medical people keep warning me against!), and my arm started healing itself even that same day... God is good, this body is strong!  I expect that my numbers are strong and I'm doing well.  I'm just sort of lost I think.  Can't really look ahead too far, need to keep myself solid in the moment or else I get super overwhelmed about the "what ifs" and the "how will that work" and the "what will that look like" which can drive you nuts.  Two more chemo cycles to go.  After this really good week... I don't want to.  I just don't want to feel crappy again.  It is what it is.  I'm just feeling lost or something.  I can't put my finger on it.  I know fear is mixed in there, I'm working diligently on laying the fear down and praying for peace and know that God has a plan, and I'm in it. 

Watching the v0ice with M.  I love that she and I have found this common enjoyment with singing and/or dancing shows... poor Shawn, he doesn't love our choice so much!   Truth be told, the look of "Seriously!?!?  Doh!  Not again!" each night when he joins us in the living room: priceless!
Thanks for praying for us.   We are so thankful for the love and care of family and friends and acquaintances and friends of friends who are holding this family in your hearts and praying for healing and a cure and strength and peace.  The sermon today was a great reminder: our job is to believe that Jesus is the Christ.  My job is to have faith.  Keep putting your faith in God.  We won't outgrow this.  The very thing God expects us (that we will have faith), He even provides!  Win-win.  Thank you God, you are awe-some... you make me feel in awe.  I am wow-ed by you, Lord.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Independence Morning!!!

Look what I managed to do, all before 9am, today!!!! Shawn's truck is ... a 1990 little pick up that has served is really well. My hubby's first love, first child, first big purchase is in need of some major TLC and so this week Shawn has been driving my vehicle and I have been itching for some drive-time all by myself.   This morning I was pretty bright-eyes and bushy-tailed and so headed out on my own quick-like so I could be home before he needed to go to work! Just a little outing but it felt so good!!!  Also, I found my entire summer wardrobe, hooray!  Done.  I'm not a big fan of clothing shopping.  Ask Mom and Kori and Keri. 

My right shoulder (at the base of my neck, where it hurt last summer) has been bothering me a bit this week, can we please be praying that it is not anything but having slept funny on it?  I would appreciate that a lot. Does radiation wear off?  I wonder?  I hope not.  [sigh]

I drove through my favourite TimH0rt0ns and saw my favourite Drive Thru Lady (in fact, she's so good that one day the Head TimHo guy was there observing and I actually stopped the car and backed back to the window to tell him how amazing this one lady was and how she set the standard by which I judge every Drive Thru experience!!!  ...and then they took her away for awhile to another store and I was sad, but she's back and I miss her with this me-not-driving thing going on).  My Drive Thru Lady said, "Haven't seen you in a long, long while" and I wanted to tell her I was sick,  that I got cancer, but that I was getting better, and I want her to pray for me, but I didn't want to make her sad, so I didn't tell her, but then I felt like I had lied or something.  I have that inner battle every time I go out in public... what if I see someone? will they already know? do I have to be the bearer of bad news? I don't want to see their face fall, feel the weight of their sadness or panic or fear or whatever emotion they will settle on when they hear my news, but it would be rude to stand there and pretend like nothing happened and then they hear later and then feel confused as to why I didn't tell them and then maybe their feelings would be hurt that I didn't think they could handle the truth...  Ya.  All that.  So, anyway, I'm enjoying my sausage breakfast sandwich on a biscuit, mmmmm.  And her smile, I love her smile... she smiles to her eyes my Drive Thru Lady.  I love that.

Today Kori and Mom and Dad are coming over to work bee with me.  Well, Kori is, Mom and Dad maybe don't know that yet!  Ha ha!  I have a project in mind but need the many hands to make light of the work!

Have a great day!!!

Thursday, April 18, 2013


The hair isn't falling out hugely tonight but the scalp on my right bangs area is so tender again. Ouch. Losing some hair but not tons this day.

Cycle 4: Week 3, Day 3

Having a good week.  Lots of "mom moments" making dinners, supervising the kids in their after school routines, meals with the family at the table, cuddles with our youngest, conversations and observing the sillinesses of the others, chilling with the oldest.   I'm definitely physically weak, haven't seen much strength return but that's to be expected at this "cycle 4" step of the chemo thing.   Taking it in stride the best I can, trying to be patient with myself and trying to be happy with my body and all the good work she is doing.  Today I've been going through paperwork, shredding and shredding and shredding the piles of stuff that have stacked up these last few months.  It feels good to see messes tidying up and stuff leaving the house.  Taking the moments for what they are, just relaxing into them.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Sitting here in a complete ugly cry... But it is beautiful, it feels like I am glowing because my tears are from abundance and blessed and God's amazing-ness and I am just so grateful-heart-ed. They are tears of worship. God is so good. I am laughing-crying, joy-filled, just happy. So happy. Sitting here alone in tears. Happy. Smiling from my heart. Thank you Jesus. Just crying. And smiling and grateful. So grateful. Blessings to you today. May you feel laughter in your heart. Thank you Lord, You have done good things. You are good.

Note: I have no reason to be "extra" happy today, beyond the usual of "thank you lord, I woke up" and every single myriad-of-blessings-of this life we live. Don't you sometimes just burble forth with happiness? I really pray you do. It's awesome and life is good... Revel in the good, my friends. With love and joy. Kristin

Monday, April 15, 2013

Cycle 4: week 2, day 7

Riding the "no energy" wave. Can stand almost long enough to cut an apple but then stumble back to the couch to recouperate. Have the desire to do stuff, sort paperwork, dung out this house. Physically unable. Working mentally hard on being patient with the physical realities of slowed-down and just weak. This is my no-chemo week so am looking forward to some energy as the week progresses.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


Cuddles under some hand knit love from a friend.

Cycle 4: week 2, day 5

Feeling good today. Confused by it. Not really. Was such a full week emotionally and physically and scheduling and recovering time wise. Saw lots of dear friends, had lots of good family time, did stuff, feel chemo-okay today. Am forcing myself to take it slow because historically the chemo weekend is no energy and crappy. Am trying a new meds mix to keep energy going rather than the six-days-on-the-couch yuck.
I think I'm just feeling like "okay, we are okay" and... I'm confused. I can't articulate it. My eyes blur if I read, my brain swims if I try to form sentences. So I'm just laying low and taking it as it is. Nothing wrong with that. Just reporting in.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Thrombosis Clinic: MR Venogram results

Thrombosis Clinic called: MR Venogram results: NO CLOTS LEFT in the huge part that almost killed me!!!! They see where it was but its gone. Legs are clear, abdomen is clear, around liver is clear, chest is clear of clots. There is still some clot but blood flowing (which is good) at tip of port. The clot in left lung was not remarked on. I will go next week to have the port accessed to try. If it works perfectly, they will keep it in and use it (that is ideal!!!!). If they cannot get perfect access then it will one out as day surgery as the next step. The belly shots as dose are working/ have worked! I am just insanely .... Wow-Ed! Thrilled! Humbled! Ecstatic! God is just giggling at me, "silly girl, I told you I got this!!!!" Great great great news!!!!!!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

After dinner stroll

While the kids got at cleaning off the dinner table, Shawn and I took the moment in the perfect-evening-weather to go for a stroll!  I made it all the way left out of our cul de sac and to the end of the road, and then back and four houses past our street to the right!  That was a first in too long.  Felt great!  I am exhausted from no nap today but was so blessed by my dear friends and family and kidlets and that was so worth the no napping for sure!  Perhaps I will close my eyes for a few minutes as I wait for Glee!  :-)

I am in love with everything this week and just feel an inner joy that can only be God's faithfulness through this storm.  I am riding the emotions as they come.  I am letting them pass when the time is right.  I am crying ugly cries and confusion with family, better than at, and knowing that they are ugly crying right along with.  I am processing and not-processing information as I can handle it.  I am parenting the kids as is necessary and I love that.  I feel confident going into this post-chemo weekend that the sun will shine and the kids will play and that I will rest and recoup and that next week will be great.

Yesterday was the Look Good, Feel Better program and, though I was emotionally drained and physically low I am so glad I went.  It was an amazing break and watching my mom and sisters laugh and smile and get a kick out of the make-up crew convincing me to pencil my eyebrows and showing me how to not poke myself in the eye with chemo shakes... priceless.  As Mom said, it was like a break from the cancer, just a fun and good morning.  What an amazing program... check out the shwag!  Thank you for the Cosmetics Council of Canada who sponsors this.  Also, a super fun tip about using a pair of size Small pantyhose or tights... put the waistband around your head, legs to the back, draw the right leg over the left (this is key) and then pull them up around your head to the front, pull around back and tie into a cute bow!  Adorable little quick toque or hat!  The biggest key:  make sure you don't buy white cotton gusset (crotch)... cuz that takes the look from cute to crazy real quick!  LOL   I'm going to show M how to wrap her hair tonight... the look is like a posh/cute little buff (like on the tv show Survivor)... adorbs!  Okay, so these tights were too short for a proper bow, but she loves it and I'm thinking this is a good after-swim look for camping or swim club!

From pasty... to painted... all in under two hours!  It felt great to just laugh and feel silly and be cared for in a totally no-medical way!  Seriously, a great program!  Check out the eyebrows!  Did you know there's a 3-point rule... with placing the eyebrow pencil and lining it up with your nose and iris and stuff?  I didn't know that!  Also, when I got there (no make-up at all), I think the ladies assumed I had lost my eyebrows...they were all thrilled to find eyebrow with the help of the pencil... AND apparently I have perfect arched eyebrows according to the pencil-lining-up-trick!  Hilarious!   
PS~ I love the lady's hair to my right at the make-up session... adorable!!!

Wrapping my head around

We are really just feeling the "long term" of this journey and that is heavy to push off daily. Things like grocery shopping, I miss. Making dinners, I miss. Baking cupcakes, which is rare, I miss. But it is the freedom to parent and raise the kids as I always thought was right for us that I miss most. The clear head, the mobility, the ability to think and choose and do in the moment. I guess we are trying to redefine even though we didn't actually choose to change things. It is very surreal. We were just getting out of baby days and looking foreword, and now... Trying to maintain the looking forward in the reality that it really is impossible to know what days will look like and not being naive to think I will live to be 101. I'd be grateful for 70. I beg God for 70. Would I really be happy with only 70? Less? I really hope not less. That's a new reality for me. I naively bumbled along and the loss of innocence is vast.

God is bigger. How could I get through this without that truth?

 That was last night.

This morning I woke up, thanked God for waking up, had some tears as I prayed for my husband, had some tears as I tried wrapping my head around things, came to the conclusion that what I am asking for is patience, stamina, balance, a cure.  A friend often asked, when we chatted about life with babies and toddlers, "are you surviving or thriving?"  I have used that as a self-check off and on since.  In this early morning quiet I have laid that phrase down.  Surviving isn't enough, too sad, too dragged out.  Thriving seems too chipper and massive to achieve or aim for even or maintain.  I want balance.  I hope to figure out how to be a patient, maintain my sanity around all the appointments and maintenance and long-distance marathon work that will entail, have joy, being in the moment but not only in 'this moment', figuring out how to plan for the future when the future is so very... mind-boggling.   My word is my bond, I have worked very hard to cultivate careful answerings to questions, not to lie, not to spill my guts at every turn, but not to lie or say something that could be construed as a lie or mistruth.  How do I answer my sweet baby 6 years old when he stares at me point-blank at the dinner table and demands, "When will you be done cancer, Mom?"  Heartbreak.  I don't know the answer.  Worse, I don't know how to answer.  And I'm the Mommy.  That's has been my joy.  I have cultivated, so carefully, the 'how to answer', through countless heart-hours about raising these children, actively pursued relationship with them.  And now I sit here tears just breaking out of me.  I just don't know.  The carpet has been shuffled up under my feet.  God is here.  He answers.  He hears.  He loves me.  He cares.  But I still have to do this work:  ask Him, trust Him, hope in Him, believe in His miraculous healing touch, know and trust that He loves us and these four amazing kids and my working-so-hard incredible husband.  My brain is just floundering.  And even in the midst of this, I have peace.  And I just am so grateful.  And that brings its own craziness of tears.  I guess that means I'm balanced, right?  Happy tears and reality-sucks sometimes-tears.  How do I talk to the kids?  How do I ever answer a question truthfully again without having to add some sort of macabre and depressing "unless I die before the next swim meet/ soccer game/ Christmas tradition..."  That doesn't seem a good option to me.  I want more.  I want joy.  I claim joy.  I claim healing.  I claim balance.  I claim wellness.  I claim enjoyable life for my husband and kids, my extended family.  I claim smiles and laughter.  I claim emotions that are real but that don't sink us.  I claim peace.  I claim protection for my kids' hearts.  I claim happiness.  I claim understanding and balance and patience with ourselves.  And I know that my God is bigger.  Adjusting.  I guess this is adjusting.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Cycle 4: week 2, day 2

Today was a good day. Emotionally hard day, drained, but so many silver linings. That "You have cancer" shock and disbelief and panic relived..having to push it away to catch my breath. Hard emotions, harsh realities. God keeps lifting my spirits with good support, good love poured out on me and my family, good moments with our kids, hugs and love and listening to those children's hearts pouring out in prayer to their heavenly father. I am blessed. The tears of today were from an overflowing heart, overwhelmed and panic moments to be sure, but those balanced by this hugeness of love and reasons-to-love in my life. So grateful that God just keeps lifting me emotionally out of the hard and scary circumstances. I am blessed.

Jesus Calling today:

April 10

Trust Me in every detail of your life. Nothing is random in My kingdom. Everything that happens fits into a pattern for good, to those who love Me. Instead of trying to analyze the intricacies of the pattern, focus your energy on trusting Me and thanking Me at all times. Nothing is wasted when you walk close to Me. Even your mistakes and sins can be recycled into something good, through My transforming grace.

While you were still living in darkness, I began to shine the Light of My Presence into your sin-stained life. Finally, I lifted you up out of the mire into My marvelous Light. Having sacrificed My very Life for you, I can be trusted in every facet of your life.

“But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.”
—Jeremiah 17:7

We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.
—Romans 8:28 amp

He drew me up out of a horrible pit [a pit of tumult and of destruction], out of the miry clay (froth and slime), and set my feet upon a rock, steadying my steps and establishing my goings.
—Psalm 40:2 amp

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
- 1Peter 2:9

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Monday, April 8, 2013

TV time

Love watching singing shows w my big kids. Time well spent when stuck on the couch. Love these kids crazy-much.

Hair loss

Just so amazed at how much hair has fallen today. Handfuls. It blows my mind. Mom is suggesting a haircut but I don't know.

Cycle 4: week 1, day 6

So weak. Queasy. A bit better than yesterday but still so low. Chemo tomorrow, nervous about losing that extra day between chemotherapy due to holiday last week. Prefer to feel stronger before going again. Took a lot of effort to get to lab for bloodwork today, but we did it. Hungry but nothing appeals. Working on drinking enough gotta keep the veins hydrated for tomorrow.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Cycle 4: week 1, day 5

Today was low energy, couldn't eat much, lots if queasy and heartburn, headaches and sore up the back of my neck and shoulders. Worked hard to keep drinking through the day. Hoping tomorrow is stronger. Chemo again on Tuesday has me a little concerned. Hate feeling so low. Missed my nephew's 13th birthday party, glad the grandparents took my kids. :-)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

This afternoon

Hot and cold
And hot and cold
And hot and cold
Hokey Dinah!

Taking the big meds today to try and stay less low than last round. I was out with K this morning and then did errands as Shawn's passenger. Came home, slept hard, ate some cookies, was able to drive Shawn to pick up the truck. Just so hot/cold. Oi. My oncologist is just waiting for me to slip into menopause, apparently a chemo treat. Yay. Um, no thanks!

Not much appetite today, my mouth is sort of weird, no taste buds, can't really feel my mouth. This is somewhat typical of the first day but not usually day four I don't think. Honestly, it gets hard to remember all the things that have happened. Just yesterday I realized that this body just had major surgery only four and a half months ago. Wow. Really??? Amazing.

Gotta cut my body some slack, she's doing a good job and been through a lot!

Afternoon chilling w the kids

Losing a lot of hair today. Was glad to get out w Kyle for a bit this morning. Watching a movie w the kids now. Resting up, trying to make sure I drink enough. Just laying low for the afternoon. Glad for N3tflix movies!

Cycle 4: Week 1, Day 4 [Saturday]

Rough night.  Finally gave up trying to stay awake past 9pm and closed my eyes at 8:56pm.  Hot flashes and freezing cold... the hot always comes with the nausea that wakes me up.  Chemo-sick.  Ugh.  Shawn brought me the extra-meds which calmed it down but I still had a few more hot/awake/nausea incidences through the night.  Slept through til 7am which was good.  Today is all about figuring out how to eat enough and drink enough to stay hydrated but also to not set off too much new queasy.  In my mind I just want to clean out the toy room, tidy my kitchen, clear off the coffee table and sort the bookshelves.  I don't see much of that getting accomplished in the real.  The next few days are about riding this out and taking the good moments as they come.  My oncologist has given me permission to keep taking the good meds as needed, so I am hopeful that those will help my body to not have the super hard drop for day 4, 5, 6!  [smile]

It's 8am and my family is still sleeping (well, except for B, that kid is our morning glory!) and the house is peaceful and the torrential rain of last night has let up.  Feels like a good Saturday begun. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

MRI Venogram

Done. Exhausted. Went well. Thanks for your prayers. Results should be in mid week next week. Sounds like the port is coming out but the MRV results will guide whether vascular surgeon will be called in to remove it. Long day. So tired.

MRV day

Emotions are high. Can't stop the tears. Not scared just nervous. Mostly of side effects and rare occurrences and such.

On the freeway towards Vancouver.

MRI Venogram Day

Good Morning Friends!
I am feeling mellow and smiley and ready today.  I have peace and am not afraid in this moment.  I'm sure at some points, and as the hospital gets closer I will quiet and become the patient that I am (observing, reflecting, thinking, always wondering how exactly to most efficiently and effectively answer the questions directed at me, trying hard to remember all the myriad of information I have gleaned and/or been told was important from the myriad of appointments and conversations's a lot of brainwork and thinking, these appointments...add that to the emotional and physical wonder it tuckers me and my support team out!).  [smile]

But, for now, I am savouring having Shawn working from home this morning.  I am grateful to have woken up.  I am glad to have meds that will help manage the queasy tummy.  I look forward to the drive time with my husband...that's one of my favourite things.  

Today I am praying for:
- patient and kind medical staff
- peace about the needle, successful first-time-only-one-gentle-poke to get it in (not an IV today, apparently just one syringe into my hand)
- good images on the MRI (venogram)
- good news: that the cancer is gone (always my prayer!!!) and that the clot(s) are dissipated and that the veins and arteries and bits are healthy and strong and resilient and have no long term negative effects from the scary-blot-clot experience
- that the dating process will show that the clot that was in my left lung (I'm praying that baby is gone by now!) was, indeed, part of the bigger clot and NOT a new clot... trusting that my body is NOT making new clots
- a nice sleep in the one hour long MRI machine
- energy and feeling up to dinner with my hubby afterwards, that would be awesome!
- peace and patience as we wait for my thrombosis doctor to call us with the results over the next day or so
- praying thanks to God for getting me into this appointment
- praying for the thrombosis clinic at VGH and the work they are doing regarding thrombosis and cancer patients and curious to be part of their work in that hopeful way that my part in it can make someone else's cancer journey and/or blood clot journey easier
- praying thanks for my Mom to have the day off from me and my needs
- just praying thanks for the gratefulness I feel in my heart, and praying for you and your day, too!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Cycle 4: Week 1, Day 2

Having a chill day.  Went to hang at a dear friend's house this morning, came home for a deep sleep nap until the kids got home from school.  Am trying to sleep earlier so that I am present and available and getting my mommy-time with them after school.  It seems to be working so far because I'm so exhausted by dinner and then forcing myself to stay awake til at least 9:30pm for bedtime.  With the early bedtime  I'm then awake between 5 and 6am the next day, getting out of bed at 7am... so everything has shifted to an early afternoon nap.  Seems to be working for the most part, will see if I can maintain that on chemo weeks. 

Chemo has me more exhausted and a little queasy today, but manageable.  My oncologist has okayed me to keep up the good meds beyond the first three days and I am open to more meds to try hard to avoid the six hard days of last chemo.  Both my oncologist and my chemo nurse this week weren't surprised that the last chemo was hard, so I guess I'm right on schedule.  I'd rather be "textbook" than "rare", thank you very much!  [wink]

Tomorrow is my MR Venogram appointment at VGH.  This is the 'impossible to get' appointment!  Thank you Lord for making the impossible possible!  I'm feeling curious to hear the results and not expecting any scary or bad experience or news.  Praying a great day tomorrow!!!   Shawn is working from home in the morning so that he can take me to the appointment, and I love having him here.  I am so grateful to his kind and understanding boss who has offered some flexibility... they know that Shawn won't let them down and I know that I need my husband with me on these big meeting days.   My thrombosis doctor will meet us before the MRV at 2pm to touch base and check on me regarding the high dose blood thinners.  My MRV is at 2:45pm and then my thrombosis doctor will call me with the results so that we don't have to wait around for hours after.  Again, our medical team is amazing!  I am praying that tomorrow's experience will be right in line... I pray that God is already preparing my medical team of tomorrow with patience, success, equipment that works, smooth sailing, easy traffic, peace for me and only great news! 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Cycle 4: Week 1: Chemo in!

Peace, love and pixie dust.  An extra little smile in this week and pinned above my heart today.

I drink my 33oz Nal geen bottle of water at least once-and-a-half through most days, plus additional liquid so I was sloshing by the time I walked up to reception!  LOL  I told you, when the nurse says to hydrate, I hydrate!  [wink]   Happy to report that Nurse got the IV in on the first try!  Hooray!  The first chemo did cause burning so we added the sugar water to help the chemo go down better:  a spoon full of sugar did help this medicine go... up my arm!  The pain was a bit intense, felt like a pretty strong charlie horse cramp from the tip of my pinkie up to my ear lobe... the sugar helped to make it a more localized stabbing.  Definitely better!  Was very grateful that things went fairly smoothly and then time goes pretty quickly after that.  My eyes are blurry, my brain is fuzzy, I'm a bit lightheaded. 
Mom & Dad, Keri, Kori & Roger and I went to a local pizza joint for lunch as is Wednesday tradition... then I came home and crashed on the couch.  I could barely say good-bye to Mom when she dropped me off,  I was already almost asleep the minute I hit the pillow.  Slept a solid hour, woke to pee (so hydrated still!) and do my injection then hit the couch for another 45 minutes til the kids got home from school.  Woke up but still felt so exhausted and could barely keep my body upright and my eyes open.  Feeling an unsettled tummy with some pain in my upper back.  Took the extra meds against heartburn to counter it.  Probably too many chili peppers on my pizza.  I'm crazy, I know, but my taste buds weaken after chemo and I really like extra flavour.  [smile]

Looking for bedtime pretty soon.  Wouldn't it be awesome to just sleep it off!!?!   It could happen!  [wink]

Cycle 4: Week 1, Day 1

Good Morning.
Today we embark on 'the next half' of our chemo journey.  I woke up and I am grateful.  I am anticipating being able to have chemo and I am grateful.  I have peace and I am incredibly grateful!  The heaviness of yesterday is past and I am ready for this next bit, well, as ready as one can be.  I am choosing joy in this moment.  I know and understand and accept and anticipate that I will be quieter as the morning progresses.  Yesterday I was dreading the next two weeks, today I accept it as part of the deal in getting the cancer out.  I am praying for peace, for stamina, for patience for me and towards me and for Shawn and the kids as we adjust back to 'sick mommy' days.  That's the reality of the next two weeks: it's going to suck... but there will be moments that make me smile and that warm my heart and that encourage me, too.  Had some good cuddles with our kids this morning, feeling my 'love tank' filled up and I feel happy.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A good day

Today has been good. I kept busy with things typical of how I like to spend my days: coffee w a dear friend, time with the kids at their school playground, saw some friends I haven't seen in ages, took the boys for haircuts, picked up groceries for dinner, making dinner, tidying up a little, even did laundry! Such a sweet, sweet day... Felt like me living my own life. I love that!!!

[deep breath]

Working hard to not fret about tomorrow.

Working hard to not feel like today is the last day of good before two weeks of hard.

Working hard to not feel like the amazing last few days weren't some cruel teaser as I head into cycle four.

Working hard to remember the good things outweigh the bad.

Working at keeping my tears back because there really are so many positives and happinesses and because that is what I want to focus on.

Every moment is a choice and I am choosing to not be glum or panicked, but that takes more work sometimes.

Chemo at 9:00 tomorrow. IV because they won't use my port. The first chemo burns. God is bigger.

Today is a good day. I woke up. My husband and kids were here with me. I have plans with a dear friend. Mom and I will hang out, I am getting laundry done and making dinner. God is good, all the time.

Yesterday's Jesus Calling was perfect and I'm guessing today's will be spot-on, too. God's got a plan and I am in it!!!

[chuckle and a smile]. Ahhh, thanks God for your peace. Thanks friends for listening.

Monday, April 1, 2013

inspired to thought

This got me inspired to thought this morning.  I hear a theme in me, this desire for 'normal' and trying to roll with it and accept the days as the 'new normal'.  This quote... made me smile.