- 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

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Getting this house in order!

What a lot of chaos and accumulation this house has seen!  Over this last week, between social visits and end-of-school-year activities for the kids, I have been making sloooow progress on reclaiming parts of the house after my long absence.  It feels great to see the floor in the boys' bedroom after tripping over a carpet of Leg.o all school year!  Next to get myself back on routine for laundry!  I am spending most of my time really focusing on the kids' faces, getting up and going to them because I am able, listening to their stories and silliness (they've been saving up while I was sick), and relearning how to make meals and buy groceries!
There are so many things from "before cancer" that I just have no recollection of, and basic housekeeping is one if them.  I am looking on this lack as an opportunity to define "life" as I choose and am figuring out new recipes and routines along the way!  [smile]
Yesterday was an Ik.ea day and it felt great to come home with new shelves for our home library! This project has been in my mind for months as I sat staring at overflowing shelves and piles of books on the living room floor.  Thanks Daddy and Kyle for getting three of five shelves built last night, Connor and I look forward to our librarian work today!  Off to the farmers' market this morning, then to work on a project for the Canada Day parade and maybe even time at the lake!  It is so good to be alive and I love feeling well!!!!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

First day of summer vacay...

Enjoying our first day of summer vacation today!  We are planning on being super lazy, watching some tv, reading some books, maybe playing a board game or two.  The kids and I love summer vacation and we all look forward to these days together.  Some days will be lazy, some days will be an adventure, some will have house organizing and clean-up, some will be a combination of these things.  Today we must make our Summer Manifesto so that we don't forget to do the things we were "waiting til summer vacation" to do... that happened to us last year!  Doh! 

My follow-up oncology appointment (to get the CT results) keeps getting moved around as my oncologist had a personal emergency and I am being shuffled and rescheduled as the new oncologist arrives.  I'm not in a huge rush for that appointment.  I mean, not knowing is easier for me.  Ignorance does have an element of bliss.  [smile]  I just want to enjoy this summer with the kids.  And the next one.  And the next one.  For the rest of my life... which I hope is super long.

Some days I feel like I spend about 50% of my time and energy on fighting off fear, big and small.  It is amazing to me how quickly my thoughts turn dark, my hopes disappear, a tender moment or memory reduces me to tears.  I spend a lot of time in full on crying.  Even typing this, the tears are threatening and I am fighting them back.  Raw.  My emotions must be pretty raw.  And full.  My heart is so full.  I am constantly reminded... God brings me the joy-memory always in such perfect timing... of all the great moments and times and experiences and relationships and and and that I have had in my 41 years.  Incredibly blessed.  I am so incredibly blessed.  It's hard not to get stopped by the memories and to look up, look forward to the good yet to come.  And then I smile and the tears stop and the kids are yelling and ki-yi-ing and fooling around and cause my eyes to roll in happy-mom-dom and then life starts moving forward out of the panic moment again.  God is good.

So, that's what's up right now.  I was able to attend the year end assembly at the littles' school yesterday.  I can't fathom that I lost an entire school year, my brain was confused walking through the halls... how can it be year end already?  We didn't barely start yet.  Strange.  I'm usually so actively involved in my kids' school and homework and daily life and I have strong moments of mourning what I missed this year.  And even so, what quickly springs to mind is all the together-time we spent in this living room, on this couch, watching this tv... together, in the same room, sitting, being, spending time, my love language.  And so I feel actually celebratory about these chemo months.  Celebratory, happy, thrilled even.  How weird is that?!?!   That has got to be God. 

Focusing on this moment.  Praising God for this day, for this time, for this moment.  THIS one.  Right here.  With kids screeching and teasing and wrestling and being loud... usually we are a quiet house, they have their own emotions and chemo-months energies to get out. 

Summer Vacation, we love it!

Monday, June 24, 2013

So many reasons to celebrate!

Spent the later half of Saturday celebrating Meg and looking forward to the upcoming wedding.  It was lovely to spend time with Meg's close friends and to have some girl time and talk about the wedding!

Sunday morning saw us in church watching our oldest son give his testimony (the story of his life and his relationship with God).  I love our church family and love how 'at home' my family feels there!  I highly recommend finding a church home that makes you feel so glad it's Sunday!

Sunday afternoon we gathered with our church family, our physical family and dear friends to witness Kyle being baptized (a symbolic act of being dunked under water and coming out as a 'new person', symbolizing how our relationship with Jesus Christ takes our sins away and prepares our heart for eternal life with God)... such a big moment in a person's life and Shawn and I are so thrilled that Kyle made the choice to publicly declare his relationship with God.

So many reasons to celebrate and I was so glad to be able to attend each one of them!  Yes, tears.  Yes, moments of overwhelmed.  Yes, I don't feel quick enough in my thinking to keep a conversation going.  But a big YES!!!!  that I am healthy and able to attend.

Smile in your day.  Do it!!!

Saturday, June 22, 2013


Feeling overwhelmed with things.  Not everything but many things.  Not so good at making choices.  Just wrote a long rambling post but it was too confused and bummer-ish to post.  Trying to fit back into my life but with balancing the reality that I'm not fully recovered yet.  The kids see me off the couch and as back-to-normal, I am not but am pushing to be so for them.  I am so sad of being the source of their somber expressions or tiptoeing around and the sadness in their eyes.  I cry at the drop of a hat, seriously anything happy or sad or good or bad or even nothing at all just gets me crying.  Crying just typing that.  The quote above really spoke to me today.  Trying to figure out what to do with what I have left... what time, what energy, what years, what relationships, what redefined hopes, what can-I-still-have-them dreams for our lives.  Jesus Calling the other day reminded me that there may be a huge mountain looming ahead of me, but I can't see the path that God has created to get me around that mountain.  I need to just focus on the step in front of me and know that God has a plan and I am still in it.  And I want to smile.  And I want to not feel pressured to make 'every' moment count, that is too much pressure.  Trying to figure out balance and wanting to look forward with hope.  Need to be patient with myself, it was an eight month hill that we just climbed, and we need to physically and mentally and emotionally take the time needed to catch our breath!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Follow-up mammogram and ultrasound

The nurse called today to tell me what the ultrasound tech already told me two days ago at the appointment: no changes noted in the scans compared to my previous appointment 6 months ago.  This is good news.  The breast doctor asked me to make a follow-up appointment for six months from now, but through my own doctor.  I think this is good news... it's good news when you go back to your family doc from the Cancer Agency. So, more follow-up, another scan, another appointment, trying to be mellow but feeling grumpy and 'is this the rest of my life...interruptions and appointments and phone calls at water parks about exam results and health?' mixed with 'I should be grateful they can follow-up, yay technology'.  [sigh]

I am very tired these days.  Been going going going every day and feeling worn down.  It's not as simple as saying no to things, the things I am doing are important to me and have value.  But I am really feeling worn down and tired.  The kids have three more days of their school year, then we have a family wedding, and then we shall rest a little.  I'm resuming making dinners, which means shopping for some groceries...haven't even started attempting to do laundry again yet!

I live in British Columbia but do have family in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  There is some huge flooding going on in Calgary and area right now, please hold the people affected in your prayers.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Not Twins

My sisters are twins. 

Generally, I introduce myself as the "not the twin", especially because we three girls are only 19 months apart in age.  Today Kori showed up at my door in the same top as me.  I guess if you spend a lot of time with twins, you become 'the new twin'!  LOL

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Nervous Energy

Just sitting here, waiting for Mom to arrive to take me to my hospital appointments.  Feeling nervous energy building.  I'll do better once we are there.  It's the drive that gets me these days.

Have wanted to post some thoughts, some responses, some ramblings, but haven't been able to.  I think I'm partly scared of getting too deep into my own head.  Not sure what crazy thoughts or huge fears are lurking there.  Actually, that's not true.  I know exactly what's lurking there and I just don't feel brave enough to deal with it.  Actually, that's not true, either.  I know I am brave enough because I am brave in Christ, I am strong because I have God's strength through me, helping me.  I just don't wanna.  I don't wanna deal with scary stuff or sad stuff or hard stuff any more.  Not for now.  Not for ever.  Not for a long, long, long while.  I just want everything to be great and everyone I know to be great and everything to just be the fairytale I was living and knowingly enjoying before.  Before 'this'.

So many people who read this blog have told me how my openness has blessed them, how it has helped them to help a friend who wasn't as open at sharing their cancer journey or struggles.  Reading my blog has helped some of you relate differently/better/ more or help differently/better / more (your words) to other people in your life.  I love that.  You telling me that has blessed me, helped me to feel purpose in my crappy days and hard moments, knowing that you might glean something from my blog that would enable you to better love on someone else has brought me joy in hard, hard times.  Thank you for telling me.  It has also kept me motivated, made me feel responsible/have a job to do (which gives me purpose outside of being a patient), accountable, to keep up the blogging in detail.  Keeping it honest and being open is just me... I'm a 'heart on sleeve' kind of girl and for some of you that's probably sometimes too much, so thanks for slogging through and keeping reading this blog anyway!  [huge smile]


Back from my mammogram and ultrasound follow-up.  Did the port flush.  The ultrasound tech shared that 'everything looks the same [as it did 6 months ago]', which is a good thing.  The nurse will phone me maybe even tomorrow with results.  The port flush had me nervous but the nurse was able to get me hooked up (accessed) and draw blood (yay) right away!  Thank you Lord!!!!

Now I am home and tired, going to the hospital is mentally draining.  I couldn't even eat breakfast this morning, I was just feeling out of sorts about it all.  Glad it's done.  Yay!

Last Day of Grade 9 & Hospital day

Today is the last day of grade 9 for our eldest. Amazing that the year has passed by already. Wow! He is ready for grade 10 and we look forward to the summer off!

Today is my six month mammogram and ultrasound follow-up. The breast doctor told me she expects no concerns but this is routine. I don't think I feel nervous, mostly it's just another thing I have to do. My body doesn't feel my own anymore.

After that appointment is my port flush appointment in Day Care (where I had my blood transfusion at the hospital). That is always nerve-wracking for me, just because the port has been such a fickle thing and I want it to not cause anymore problems. [weak smile]

Other than missing Kyle coming home on his last day (bummer), today will be a good day, I feel it. And tomorrow I will
pick him up at noon from his final exam and we will celebrate in a mom-and-Kyle way... perfect!

Enjoy your day!!!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Next appointment is NEXT month

I won't have t CT results til July... I'm okay with not knowing right now.

I'm finding it strange to be back in my life... But not fully in it... But still a cancer patient... But trying to define something that shifts as if my emotions were sand. Grateful to be alive. Trying to not panic about the sheer volume of tears that keep flowing, cleansing after a long "be strong" journey I think.

Today has been an excellent day!!!


Shawn and I took the opportunity to get away Friday and Saturday. Sunday was the busy-ness of Father's Day. All is well and I am filling my days with seeing friends and being OUT of the house!!!! I will post details soon, I promise... Haven't found balance yet! A GREAT problem to have so many friends to see!!! Just focusing on the moment and keeping peace in my heart!!!

Friday, June 14, 2013


Let it be clear.
Let it be clear.
Let it be clear.
Please let it be clear.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Praying for Natalie

Hello friends,
Please pray for my friend Natalie. She is battling breast cancer and is so very sick and sad right now. Please hold her up in your prayers tonight. Thank you.

Next step

Tomorrow is my CT scan. I don't want to think about it (the needle, going to hospital, waiting, the results) and I don't want to talk about it... But I certainly definitely absolutely covet your prayers over my day, the procedure, the experience, my nerves, the waiting... and all of that for my husband and children and family and friends who will be feeling a mix of those things, too!!!

Thank you for holding us in your heart and lifting us in your prayers.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Reading again!

Saw it, read the title, chuckled, bought it.  This is the book I am reading and I am quite enjoying it.  The title made me think of my dear Grandma Martens... she would climb out of the window at her nursing home if she could!  Love you Grandma!!!   I'm about half-way through this book and finding it quite funny, the main character's life to be a little cheeky, and lots of interesting points of history involved... you experience a lot of living through 100 years in the world! 

It feels good to be able to read.  My eyes need a bigger font, but I'm doing well with retaining what I have read which is awesome!   I was just texting with Kori and telling her how I'm finding it hard to have conversation with anyone other than Mom, Dad, Keri, Kori, Shawn... the people that have been here with me constantly these past 7 months.  They saw me at my very worst, smiled when I smiled, cried when I was crying, had their own moments of being brave with me/for me and then (I'm sure) crashing through their own emotions once they got to their car or their home.  Thank you to any of you who took time to text or phone or chat with my family ... the support it takes to support me through cancer is mind-boggling and I am so glad that you were supporting them through this.  Thank you!

So, I am reading.  So I can expand my topics for discussion and feel like I am more than just my cancer experience once again.  Or at least in part... being a cancer patient ...  well, I still have tests to do, doctor appointments to attend, port maintenance appointments (they have to flush Herman and make sure he is working every 4 weeks), and daily shots... 

Yesterday I ran into two ladies at two separate points in my day.  Both of them praying daily for me and my family.  Both of them such a blessing already.   Seeing them, and being seen by them in real life... priceless!

Guilt.  I feel guilty about driving out of my drive way.  I feel guilty when I 'get caught' at a store... I am still sick, we still have meals coming and so I feel bad to be out of the house... not sick on the couch... like, I should just get on with my life now.   It's a weird place to be.  I would love to get back to 'normal'... but I'm not sure that will ever happen again... the new 'normal' will, quite possibly, forever feel like shifting sands in a windy and vast and terrifying-yet-beautiful desert.  

Also, I'm getting really good at picking my stilling-falling-out hair from my food without skipping a beat or missing a bite.  [eye roll]  I also feel guilty about whining about my bald spot.  And I feel sneaky-guilty when I am out but my bald spot is strategically combed-over and you can't see it.  I'm caught between letting that bald spot shine, or going full-on DTru mp and keeping it hidden.  You know that saying "don't sweat the small stuff"... well, the small stuff is what freaks me out.  Just laugh.  I'm a little wonky maybe.

Off to eat my turkey and cheese quesadilla and read my book!

Have a great day... and smile at someone just because!!!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Thank you pray-ers!

Thank you all for your comments letting me know you were praying. Thank you for every prayer lifted for me! I had a good sleep, cried through some huge fears between 4:00-5:30am, slept some more, am having a good day. Thank you friends. God is faithful.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Prayers appreciated

Having a hard day and a really hard evening. Just overwhelmed. Please pray. I'm really struggling w emotions and fear and trust.

Thrombosis Clinic Day

Mom and I are headed in to Vancouver this morning, in the torrential rain, for my three month blood clots follow-up. Still amazed and thankful to know those clots are miraculously gone!!! Please pray for me as I will be REALLY disappointed when he tells me I have to keep up the injections. I'm trying to be all "thank you, Lord, for these shots that saved my life" but really I'm all "ah, crap I didn't do my shot yet" and "I hate this" every time. Plus, my belly is sore and bruised and hideous looking and I just want this entire cancer chapter behind me. Eek, I don't ever even tease myself with thoughts of that. I can't believe I actually wrote it. I completely believe that God can heal and I hope that He will, but I don't know how to balance the trusting and believing and "His will" of it... So that is actually what I usually pray/ say when I am talking to God, "I
believe You can heal me, I ask that You will heal me, Your will be done, please give me peace and bring peace to my family and friends around me." [wide eyes bugging, head shaking, shoulders shurgging]. How else should I do? It actually makes "being in this moment" easier... In THIS moment, I'll just smile and know that God has a plan and I am in it. That's my best daily philosophy overall.

May you feel God's presence in YOUR day!


PS~ As a side note, as my head has cleared the last two weeks post-chemo, i have had several flashbacks to that night in February when i was told I would not make it. The time of day is unknown to me (ie, how many hours passed though I know I went in to emerg in the morning and got to my room closer to midnight) but I think I was fairly aware for much of the day, I heard everything spoken even with my eyes swollen shut and being so tired. It has been interesting to feel the moments, relive the events and tests (I remember x-rays with the techs having to prop me to sitting, move my arms like I was a puppet, I could hear but was unable to /no energy to move) and things said. I remember getting to the ward and asking my nurse, "Is this where people go to die? Can people go home (get better) from here?" I didn't know where I was, the halls were dark and I thought they had taken me to near the morgue. I remember being very confused and not wanting to be alone but my mom and dad and sisters weren't allowed in while the nurses hooked me up and settled me in and it was creepy... the first emotion I had in that day. Even thinking of that moment on the ward now has me in tears. The intensity of thinking I had been taken there to die. Not knowing where I was. Not knowing why I was there. Not the possibility of dieing but the unknown and the alone... How do people do life without God? I am constantly turning to Him, He is here always, He cares for me always, I can talk to Him always. Each of us can, just talk to Him. I cherish His peace. I am sitting here, tears streaming, praying. Oi, that was a tangent-y ramble!!! [smile]

It has been interesting to watch/feel the emotions roll over me now when I was so calm (in emerg) then.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Right now

Grateful for this day with my kids. Sounds cliche, but memories of dark moments are blowing my mind and just growing my gratefulness more and more!

Miranda is working on a sewing project and Connor has his new laptop (he made it!) charging (see the brown charger?)! Love the minds of these people!!! I love them!!!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Cycle.... um, none!

Today is Tuesday.  Tuesday is usually chemo day or the day I count the weeks in my chemo cycles.  This morning was strange... to wake up and not be going to chemo and not be thinking about all the things I hoped to be strong enough to do 'this week' before 'chemo next week'.  Strange-good!  I'm finding myself thinking about needles, and not going to get bloodwork... it is strange what one can get accustomed to.  And yet... doing the belly injection is still a daily trial.  Oi.  [shake head, smile]

Yesterday was a stay-at-home day.   Today was an out-with-a-dear-friend day!   And both days I did the normal mom role all by myself afterschool... got snacks, heard about the school day, watched the kids playing basketball and be crazy in the backyard, enjoyed time and sunshine together!  This morning I even did the morning routine: made lunches, supervised breakfasts, got kids out the door, got kids to the bus!!!   I did forget to actually put Miranda's food into her lunchbox, but thanks to Diane we got lunch delivered all the same!   [smile]  3 out of 4 kids got lunches out of the gate, that's pretty good for the first time back, right?!  Right!

Came home from my outing and crashed for a full two hours of hard sleep on the couch, so tired but so happy to have had time with my friend and enjoy such a normal good day!!!

Now I'm watching oldest and #3 kid do basketball tricks (such a huge and fun thing to see our least-interested-in-athletics #3 totally basketball crazy!!!), and listening to #2 and #4 jump and squeal as they play with the water hose on the trampoline!  

And, no chemo.  No chemo.  No chemo.  Ahhhhhhh.

I do have a killer headache and shortness of breath which usually has meant low hemoglobin, but since I have no doctor appointments or follow-up for a few weeks I'm just riding it out and resting lots and praying it all evens out.  This body has been through a lot the last six months, stands to reason she needs a little time still to recover!  Thank you for continuing prayers!

I'm continually grateful for the meals that still come, the treats and the texts.  You have been so kind and generous and amazing in your support of me and of Shawn and of our family.  This is something our family reflects on often and I find myself trying to live to your standard of generosity as I can...and look forward to returning to strength and to being able to do more for more people because you have inspired Shawn and I so much!!!  Thank you.  Again and again we are thankful for you!  God is good, and He has surrounded us with so many good people.  Amazing!!!

Yesterday I received a call from the Cancer Agency that my doctor has taken a personal leave, effectively immediately.  I got off the phone, dazed and confused by the BCCA number on my call display... it just threw me for an emotional loop.  Got off the phone and cried, for my doctor and praying peace over whatever her family is going threw, cried for me for meeting a new doctor (I really have felt blessed and have liked my doctor a lot), and cried with a little panic over just the whole thing.  I new I was being emotional, but I also knew that it's okay to vent and let those emotions out.  It is what it is.  After I caught my breath, and then cried-panicked again for a minute and prayed it out and finished out the tears I called my doctor's office and got more detail.  My doctor is gone for the rest of this year and my new doctor is apparently quite nice.  Honestly, I wouldn't expect any different as our experience with BCCA has been nothing short of amazing-kindness at all levels.  It was nice to hear a quick "He is really nice" from the receptionist... words can be such balm.  [smile]   God is bigger and He has a plan and we are in it and I ask that you will pray wisdom and discernment for our new oncologist as we had prayed for Dr. W.  Thank you!

Okay, the water-play outside is getting a bit crazy... time for mommy to intervene!!!  I love hearing their squeals and screams and laughter... those kids know how to have FUN!  Something I'm working on being more of: fun!  ...but I'm still going to intervene before we have a swamp!  LOL

Have a great evening!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

A kid's heart

"I hope the doctor heal you I love you MoM"

We're praying it so, sweet boy! Six years old and so fervent in his prayers each night! God hears!