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

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Day

Having a relaxed Halloween morning.  Enjoyed a visit with my Nicky.  Hair is falling out but less by-the-handfuls than yesterday. How is there still hair on this head?  Funny!   Looking sparse for sure.  

Connor told me, "you can go to Halloween as 'Bald Lady'!"  He thought that was a great costume.  LOL.  I thought I could paint my head orange and wear a brown shirt and be a pumpkin in the field!  ...but not yet!  There's still hair here!  [wink]

Lots of smiles around here today.  I prefer that!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Not bald yet?!?

How can there be any hair left on this head???  Seriously, I have taken handfuls of hair off this head in the last two days!  Handfuls.  Ponytails worth.  Wow.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Hairs be falling!

They said "week 3" my hair would fall out.  They were right.  Half of the hair I woke up with today is laid out nicely on a pile on the arm of my couch.  The other half is still, temporarily, attached to my scalp.  Given the sudden on-set of loosening, I wonder how much hair I will still have attached by the time I go to bed tonight?!

Fall out.

It's most disconcerting when the red ones fall out. 

October 29: 1 year survivor

Today is October 29, 2013.
One year.  It has been one year since I heard the tearful words from my doctor, 'I'm sorry to tell you, you have cancer..." 

I hoped to feel celebratory today.  Champagne.  We did it!  One year survivor.

I feel some sad and mostly nothing.  Just going to let the day and the emotions unfold as they will.

Praying for peace for Shawn, for my parents, my sisters, our extended family.  This date will forever be the day that everything crashed.  Only faith remains.  All else lost stability, dependability, the comfort of 'normal'. 

Thankful for all the blessings.  For the friends and even strangers who have gathered around us in support.

Don't know what else to feel these days.  Grasping at joy, receiving God's peace, trying hard to do family stuff with the kids to keep life not-always-so-sad for them.  Everything overwhelms.

God is here.  Of this I am sure.  Everything else is neutrals.

I am a ghost in my own life. 

Just trying to figure out... adjust really... to "this".

One year.  We did it.  I can acknowledge the awesomeness, "we did it!!!" of this.  There were points in this year that we didn't think I would see one year.  So, I choose to smile and let hope build and joy lift my day.  Hooray.  [tired little smile]

Monday, October 28, 2013

Dad-and-Kristin time

Sunday morning saw me sad and depressed.  Tears.  Blue.  Shawn and the kids off to church, me home alone.  God spoke to my Dad, sent him here to drag me out of the house.  We went for a drive and ended up at the river, so many favourite memories of me and Dad at the river.  Thankful for my Dad's tender, knows-me heart.

Our morning walk... Baby it's cold outside!

'twas a cold walk to the bus this morning... blustery weather is my favourite and I love the time with my littles!!!   As you can see, Pokemon kid (B) doesn't love the cold so much and C is always ready for adventure (or up to something... look at those twinkling eyes!).

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Bedtime prayer

Blown away by the fervent prayer of our 6yrs old tonight as he begged God, "please don't let them get cancer, we hate it, it's the worst thing in the world" for his three best friends' mommies, by name.  This little boy, what a heart that he would know that he wouldn't wish cancer for anyone and that he would pray for another mommy's good health.  I am speechless.  I am touched.  I am so .... in awe.  

Thank you, God, for the amazing hearts of these children. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Time well spent

Lunch out with Shawn is one of my favourite things to do!  So grateful to feel good enough/ energy enough to go and to smile and have conversation.  That's been hard to align the past two weeks. 

Check out that sandwich: Montreal Smoked Meat.  I've never had it before but today thought I'd break out and be curious!  It was delish... hello, and poutine!  So good!

This week is my "week off" from all things chemo and cancer appointment-y!!!  Yippee!!!!  Some significant side effects and gut issues are hanging on but I am just glad for any minutes off the couch and out of the house!!!

Praying that God will help me be gracious and kind and pleasant and coping better the next round of chemo.  I was not myself, am still feeling off, and as much as pain and side effects are part of the chemo deal this time I just pray that God will help me be sweet.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Come, Holy Spirit, we need thee.

What the Devil intends for evil, God uses for good.  Thank you, Holy Spirit, for being here tonight.

Doing the heavy work of relationship nurturing and of parenting through grief and crisis and emotional upheaval.

Come, sweet spirit, we need thee
Come, Holy Spirit, I pray.
Come, in thy strength and thine power
Come in thine own special way.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Feeling like me again... almost

What a doozy the past week has been.  That first chemo of this second round of chemo came in like a heavy, wet, grumbling, exhausted, lethargic lion.  The chemo hit and I didn't know if it was the long drive time that had made me so tired (two days in to Vancouver in a row is tiring to me) or what... and as the days progressed and it didn't get any better I realized "it's the chemo".  So different from the chemo I was on last time.  Last time I got three good days, then a bad day, then a super bad day, then started to pick up.  This was just.... low for seven straight days.  No eating, no moving off the couch, pain and pain and discomfort in my joints and muscles.  Took us far too many days to realize what was going on and to get the meds schedule running and staying on top of it.  Too many nights of me writhing in pain in bed for too many hours each night, too exhausted to think straight and get the much-needed meds into me.   The whole thing just caught me off guard.  So strange.  I mean, it's not like this is "new" to us... and yet, it is.  A whole new chemo.  A whole new head space to be fighting cancer again.

This time I will be a "twice survivor" of cancer... our lips to God's ears, right!!! 

So, just harder, bigger, heavier, more to wrap my head around.  I could feel it in my people around me, they were feeling dazed and confused, "are we really doing this again?" I would lay in bed planning out my funeral.  I would like it to be held in the church I grew up in, my family's roots are deep there even though we have all moved on. I want my dear church Pastor to speak, please, Pastor Jim.  You are dear to me, we have long roots and family ties, I respect you.   I want the same casket my Grandma T had, it was a beautiful cream ivory brocade.  I would like to be laid out in my grey/red/black party frock and my retro heels, I want to be wearing all of my bracelets and my pearls and my amethysts.... but yet I don't want to be buried in those.  I would rather be buried in my black cocktail dress and I want Miranda to have the grey/red/black outfit... it is the one outfit that most feels like "me" and I want it to hang in her closet to remember me by... or a closet available to her.  And I could see Shawn sitting in the front pew, Connor on his lap, Braden tight under Shawn's arm, Miranda to the right of Braden, Kyle sitting straight-backed (as he does) on Shawn's left.  My Mom beside Miranda, Dad sitting supporting next to Kyle. Or maybe the other way around with Mom beside Kyle and Dad holding Miranda.  I just see my parents holding tight to my kids.  My sisters sitting behind Shawn and the kids with the cousins close, circling the wagons, building strongholds around my dearests.  Our Erickson family filling out the row.  The music playing is my 'peace' playlist.  After the graveside there will be a tea in the Lucas Center, so many roots in that room... Grandma T playing the organ, the time I was sick and laying with my head in her lap on the red pew in the foyer.  I'd like our family photo albums and my scrapbooks on the tables... please, please, please don't anybody spill on them.   Those albums are me.  They are my thoughts, my moments, our family, my philosophies.  They are the archive of who I am and what I have done and the fragrance of my style and my parenting.  They are guidebooks for Shawn and the kids, reminders of how I did it and why... not because Shawn will have to do things 'the way Kristin did' but because the insight might help him know how to go forward in his own way, will help him see what foundation he is growing the kids on.  My scrapbooks are fairly candid, the kids will hear my voice.  That makes me smile.  The only best rule to remember, Shawn... stop everything and drop down and hold them.  Just hug them.  That's the answer for every intense and overwhelming parenting moment.  Don't fight it, just drop into the moment and hold your child til the intensity passes and you can both figure things out.  Honest.  Trust me.  And at the tea they will play Toby Mac music... because my kids love it and I want them to run and dance and sing and smile and cry and be quiet and be tired and be whatever they need, but I want there to be unexpected smiles and they will know it's okay not to be always sad.   And these were the thoughts that gave me peace last week, in that hard week.  The reality might look completely different, and that's okay, my hard work will be done and I will be resting in perfect health and no belly injectionsm holding excitedly to Grandma T, hugging tight to Grandpa M, standing right there beside God just smiling and soaking in the love and serenity and lovely that Heaven will be.  Oh!  And Auntie Shirley... I will be telling her all about my four amazing kids and she will be so so proud and happy to hear about them!  I will be alright.  God will be holding me close and I know He will be holding you as you transition to life without me.  These things make me smile. 

Today was the trial drug day.  Back into Vancouver we went, Mom and I both rejoicing in the lovely blue sky and in the incredible colours of the leaves changing on the trees.  I was given a small IV bag of Benadryl and a small bag of another pre-med to guard against reactions... both have the power to knock me into slumber.  The chemo room we were in was a party place with pink feathers everywhere... the girl in the chair across from me was on her final chemo!  Woot Woot!  The lady who came in next was a hoot and her friend a total doll.  As the meds were trying to take me to la la land, we enjoyed good conversation and a friendly room.  I had my trial med and then the 1hr observation time... no reactions from me!  Hooray!  I did finally fall asleep but the chemo chair isn't that conducive to a good sleep.  I did manage to eat a sandwhich before chemo and then 3 chicken strips and a chocolate frosted malt after!  I also have much better breathing since the meds than I did going in this morning... my breathing was very laboured this morning. 

It just feels great to be less body-exhausted.  My brain is a little slow and my thoughts are a bit groggy, but I definitely feel more 'me' than I have in 7 days!  I'll take it!!!!

I am doing my part.  I am just still figuring out what that looks like this time around.  I am so glad to feel more 'me' today.  The worst feeling is the fear that I am no longer me, and that I will die 'not me' and my kids won't remember the exuberant and awesome Mommy that I have been.  That's a tough one.   So tonight I am just so so so so glad to feel ME!

The hair is expected to be fully gone next week... I'm making the kids... actually forcing them... play with it every night.  They're smart, they've caught on that the longer they play with it, the later they can stay up and watch tv with me! [wink]   Look how long that new growth is on the front top... so cute!  The back has gotten quite scraggly and it is definitely falling out today.   The kids have made me promise to save it and they don't want me to cut it... we'll see what I do about it when I look like Gollum from Lord of the Rings!  LOL

Thank you for your prayers, the meals, the love.  I wasn't able to reach out but I sure do openly receive every bit of love that you send my way!  Thank you!

Note:  Take Them a Meal account is still Kristin but the password has changed to 2013

ADDENDUM [October 24, 8am]:   Ah, you sweet, sweet, dear Team Kristin.   Please let me clarify that I am not planning my death.  I have not been told "you are going to die today".  I do not feel impending doom.  In fact, when I can talk about death and dying and 'life after Kristin' is when I am most at peace and it is just me balancing out one more fact of cancer.  People die.  People also survive it.  I fully feel that I will be a Twice Survivor.  I know that God has a plan and I am in it.  I understand, from reading your comments and care and texts (thank you, so so so much for each of those connecting moments, I love them!), that reading of me planning my funeral is hard.  It is strange.  It is scary.  It is something we don't talk about.  But, honestly, it did bring me peace to see that my loved ones were okay, even in that hard-weird moment of Mommy's funeral, they are going to be okay with me and/or without me.  That means I have done good.  I have raised them in the way they should go, as God wanted, intended, guided me.  I AM raising them in the way they should go, still, today, in this moment, and every day of my life.  What more could  a Mother's Heart want to know than that?  Please, peace to you, my dear ones.  With my love and gratitude for your caring hearts, Kristin

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Dinner time pray-er

And dear God, we don't want our mom to die of cancer.  Amen. ~Connor, 6

Clinic day

Thank you God for sunshine for the drive.

Monday, October 21, 2013


It's a lot of pressure waiting for all your hair to fall out.  The kids don't want me to cut it.  I'm all "what if it doesn't fall out and I'm that girl who shaved it bald for no reason" (it happens!)?!?  

Feeling lack of gumption.  Pain in my rib cage, need massage or something.  Rough night last night.  Gut troubles and stomach cramps when I eat.  Not eating isn't a smart choice. 

Feeling sideswiped by the chemo this time.  It hit faster and we weren't prepared.  Was a hard weekend. Glad for sunshine today.  Enjoying watching my dad and kid working in our yard.  Had a good day chilling with my sis. Thanks Mom for sweeping the floors. Pain is a tough one to manage, I am bad at remembering to choose meds. I'm not opposed to them I just doubt my decision-making ability and am screwy about it. 

I need a babysitter for me.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

My husband.

This is a hardworking man.  He is trying to hold this family together and take care of me and parent and take care of the house and maintain his regular job and responsibilities.  Please, lift Shawn up in prayer. 

Chemo blah

Thankful to report the pain is almost fully managed today, only a random Ty le no l needed.  Much better than yesterday.  Definitely in a chemo funk.  Trying to wrap my mind around not wrapping my mind around this all... again.  Feeling the blues lifting a little.  That's good. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Friday, October 18, 2013

Tears today

I am sitting here crying and I don't know why.  I feel okay. I have peace.  I miss my sisters.  They are on different work schedules from my last chemo and I miss them. 

No reason to cry, but reasons to cry and emotions to release and meds that cause mood changes.  Just gotta shake your head at the cancer-y-ness and let the tears run their course and move forward. 

I'm going Christmas shopping today.  I have the shakes and I am lightheaded but Mom and I are going to having a holly jolly good time and I'm excited!  Smiling now. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”
—Luke 12:22–26

Week 1, Day 2

Some photos from yesterday.  Mom and I arrived about ten minutes early and met my nurse immediately at check in.  She was lively and lovely and super sweet... We were off to a great start!  She had us settled in, my port accessed, pre-meds running all before my appointment time was even begun!  I liked her chatty manner and her smile!  After that flurry of activity it was time to let the first little bag run and then in went the trial med.  She watched my vitals and we all watched for any symptoms or reactions in me and there was nothing!  Awesome!  After an hour on the trial med we sat and observed me for a full hour.  At that time the pre-meds kicked in and knocked me out into a nice nap.  The cold gloves were coming: emotional kryptonite.  I don't know why but they freaked me out when I saw the ladies bundled in blankies in their chemo chairs with those frozen oven mitts on last round.  I was trepidatious since finding out last week that this round I would be wearing the gloves.  They feel like soggy, icey diapers.  They are heavy, but mostly they are no big deal. I think they just make me feel like I am sickly or... Gasp... A cancer patient.  I don't like to feel like a cancer patient...chemo makes me feel empowered, I can't figure out why those gloves are such a hardship to me?!?  Weird.  Anyway.  They were fine, I didn't die from them, but I was, unfortunately, rather pouty about it.  Lucky for me the nurses were very tolerant and we were all able to laugh at my pouty-ness as I settled in.  The chemo went in, no flavour that I could taste... The round 1 chemo both had a distinct taste so it was weird for me to not notice it going in this time.    But, again, no reactions!  No muscle spasms, no chills, no blurred vision, no nothing. It was very uneventful.  I was watching and waiting and self-assessing and nothing.  Just tired.  The last two weeks wore me out and the pre-meds made me sleepy and the day was long in hours but didn't feel draggy.  There are four chemo chairs per room, a great view, volunteers offering snacks and tea and coffee and then the canine team came and showed us tricks and other patients and nurses come and go.  It's a happening place in there!

I slept fantastic last night and feel good today. Lightheaded, but good.  Praying that for the duration of my treatments!!!

Thank you for your prayers!!!!

Sonya asked a good question, here's my best answer:  
The frozen mitts are to constrict (make smaller) the blood vessels in my hands so that the chemo doesn't go to my fingers. All chemo is different and designed to attack cancer at different stages of cell development... And when chemo kills cancer it is also killing my healthy cells that are at a certain stage in their own cell development.  This is why some chemo causes hair loss, just depending on the life cycle of the hair follicles and when that particular chemo hits it.  By keeping chemo out of my fingertips we keep chemo from killing my nails (discolouration, ridges, even nails falling off... Puke!!!!).  So, I choose to suck it up and wear the gloves as my nurse assured me she remembers the days (only six short years ago) before they did the glove trick and finger nails were a mess for patients on this chemo.  Toe nails are more protected by shoes and socks (and harder to fit gloves on!) so we don't worry so much about them.  Hands are more susceptible to germs so we want to protect them as we can.  Hope that makes sense?!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


We did it.  Day 1. Accomplished with no reaction during treatment IV.  That's good news!!!  I'll bet it's a lot of paperwork if you have a reaction!  LOL

This chemo is usually tolerated well, Sao my nurse!  Praise God for hope and here's praying for no big side effects!

Trial med on board!

Feels pretty empowering to be part of science.  Trial med on board.  

Got in a few minutes early, port worked easy-peasy, pre-meds loaded and feeling pretty good.  Once this bag of the trial med is done they observe me for 1hour before chemo.  Sun is shining and it's a good day!  My nurse is awesome!!!

Chemo: Round 2: Week 1, Day 1

Today's the day.  Let's get it started, shall we!  The pre-meds made it hard for me to fall asleep last night but I snuggled in close with Shawn and let the sweet sound of my husband at rest lull me to sleep.  That man works so hard, I find joy in seeing him slowed down and at rest. 

This morning I woke up feeling solidly rested. I spent some time talking to God. It struck me, how many things He manages and balances and works out and feels and knows and His love and his empathy and His hurt when I hurt and his smile when I have joy.  I thanked Him and I honoured His own emotions through my life experiences (the Bible tells me that I am made in His image, and I am emotional and I know He has emotion and feelings).  I just had a good friend-visit with God.  And I praised and tears flowed from my full and content heart.  And I prayed.  And I got out of bed with a smile in my soul.  

Now I have a list running and am searching for LaLaLuna (my stripey sock monkey, she is Kori&Keri with me at chemo) and mentally running through the next few hours and chemo is a 7hrs chunk looming across my calendar.  I am not afraid.  I am curious.  I am nervous to how my body will react and interact with the pre-meds and this new chemo and medC (the second thing that will run after the chemo bag is done).  I am hopeful and I have peace and I am curious about the logistics of the day in a new chemo room.

And so, off I run, to school appointments that happened to fall on this morning, and finding something that i want to eat (I am down 8lbs in this last week and that's not okay), and packing my day bag which will be heavy on my's life and I am living it and that is awesome!

May you see the blessings in your day, may you find them and feel them!!!

And don't forget to smile!!!

Look at those new little curls on my head!  So soft and sweet, like baby hairs.  I will miss them if they go.  I will love them if they come back. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Time well spent.

Sitting on the floor in front of Miranda, she's playing with my hair before chemo takes it away.  This is what I love the best.  Being with my girl, her playing with my hair. Savouring.  I caught her taking photos of my hair tonight. Sweet girl. 

What you do for me

It is through your comments that I can often find myself realizing what has happened, the tears release and flow, I can process through.  Sometimes I am so fully trusting and laying down this whole thing to God that I don't really find myself reacting to the news.  I hear it,  I understand it as it pertains to me, but I am sort of separate mind from body and it actually worries me that I am not excited enough about good news.  I'm sure this is a coping mechanism and it has benefit to me.  But I also think it is important to release the emotions, experience, feel.  I don't want to be numb.   Reading your comments lets me see / feel / share in your reaction and brings the tears I need (I am a crier when I'm happy, always have been).  It's like I need your comments to spark my own happy reaction to poke out from under the careful arrangements and prayers I have wrapped them in. I can't explain it. Please just accept my thanks and know how important your happiness and encouragement are to me.  The hard stuff I can process through.  The good stuff is actually weirder for me... I don't want to forget how to be pleased for myself when good news comes.  I don't want my heart too guarded to accept good... God uses you in my life and that is so awesome!

Ramble.  I thank you.  [sheepish grin]

Bone Scan

Bone Scan is clear!!!!!   Thank you, God!!!!  Thank you for good news, no news!!!

There is a smudge on the scan over my right shoulder... because I had radiation and that causes scar tissue. Like if you broke a bone that break will always be there as a scar.  So, really, we can't see what's under that smudge but I'm claiming no cancer there, either!!


Clinic day

Woke up grateful and joyful today.  Drove to pick up my chemo meds with a happy heart and feeling just so pleased with life and praising God and hope-filled.  I look forward with curiosity to which arm of the trial I will be randomized into.  The blue sky and the beautiful fall colours will make for a lovely drive.  God is already in every aspect of this chemo and He holds my future. Equally awesome: He holds Shawn's and Kyle's and Miranda's and Braden's and Connor's future, too.  That makes me happiest!  I love that!   I am just feeling so joyous today. That can only be God.  

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Pumpkin Patch

Rough morning with some huge back pain and muscle spasms. Pulled something last week and it just isn't settling down. Finally found a comfortable position surrounded by cushions in the armchair, fell asleep as the t y le not kicked in, had a fitful nap. At 3:30 Shawn and I decided we wanted to get some family time in and so we headed to the pumpkin patch and apple farm. I would appreciate your prayer for this back thing. I experienced some painful muscle spasms as a chemo side effect last round and am very concerned that muscle spasms on top of this back pain is going to be unmanageable. It completely takes my breath away which is scary as the cancer in my lungs sometimes does that throughout the day anyway.

What a beautiful day to wander through the fields and orchard! The kids were thrilled to pick their pumpkins and we even picked a small bag of apples, too. Home for sushi dinner (Shawn's favourite!) and now watching the hockey game. There is a strange undercurrent here, we are all aware that chemo starts this week.

Thankful that I was able to get up and move and wander the fields with my family today.

Happy Birthday Kori and Keri!!!

Celebrating my sisters on the very special occasion of their 40th Birthdays!!!

What a beautiful evening to enjoy a decadent dinner, live band, dancing and time together. I can't think of a better way to spend an evening as adults. I love to dress up and be fancy and enjoy good service and fine food. Copper Room and cocktails and crab cakes, oh my! I think we kicked off the girls' 40th year right! May your entire year be as full of good things and great moments and memories lived and made and remembered!!! I love you, Kori. I love you, Keri. Happy Birthday to you!!!

I love you, my sisters.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


I've been looking for the right headband for my no-hair-in-front-but-look-at-the-cutie-new-curls-growing hair... And today this is what I'm wearing!  I like it!  [wink]

Monday, October 7, 2013


Last week was a doozy.  Every single day was something that required massive emotional effort.  I was barely floating through the week.  I was not eating.  I was sleeping but not feeling rested.  I was definitely depressed and blue and struggling and feeling nothing at all all at once.  I just felt so helpless.  Not hopeless, but not hopeful.  Not even hope-ish.  Just gloomy.  It was so hard.  Crying and crying at random moments.  Stoic when I should have been sad.  Each moment was an accomplishment and I had peace in those moments... but almost to the point of just not feeling.  Time had no meaning and I just felt so lost.   Saturday night, almost into Sunday morning, I felt a God-put-it-there thought... and I cannot for the life of me remember what it was.  But, I do know that in that moment, still void of emotion, just laying in my bed resting, God met me and gave me a nugget of wisdom that was a catalyst for changed.  I wish I remember what it was.  I wish I had it written down because it was clearly big for me in that moment.  All I know is that I woke up Sunday morning feeling like I was on the upswing.  I still am drained, so very tired, struggling with coughing that gags me to the point of almost throwing up, random burning from my port and in my shoulder rotator area and sometimes like wicked tennis elbow.  I also pulled a muscle coughing the other morning and now to breathe or move or cough can be exruciating (I did call the massage therapist today and hope to get that resolved pdq).    All that to say that although my physical situation hasn't changed, my emotions are less glum and my heart is more me, and I am feeling okay again.  I think last week was just too many things.  And Diane's surgery... my heart was breaking and so to hear "no cancer"... I can't even tell you how incredibly relieved I was and am, I cry every time I see that text in my mind. 

This week I have an appointment with my trial nurse and then bloodwork and a bone scan.  Will you please be in prayer that the bone scan will be clear of cancer or any worrying things?  Please?  My bladder was almost fully clear (there was a 1cm bump that is not yet a polyp)  and so I'm claiming 'no cancer'.  We know there is cancer in my lungs.  Let there be not cancer in any bones.  That is my fervent prayer.  I also pray that whatever we face I will have peace and trust and I ask that God will sustain my emotions and my spirit in all circumstances. 

Next week I will meet with my oncologist and, if I am cleared to join the trial, will begin chemo the next day.  Chemo is set for October 16th in Vancouver.   Mom will be driving, as she did last round.  Please hold her in your prayers as it is a long day without the drive and now she will be commuting me home in rush hours. 

I can feel your prayers carrying us through.  I am so grateful for the gas vouchers and financial support people are giving.  I see names signing up on the meal plan and my heart is glad for the help.  Please keep praying and helping and supporting, we can't do this without God and you are His hands and feet as you help us.  Thank you.

Going into this again so soon has me curious as to how my body will handle it.  Because I'm not coming out of surgery and because I'm not recovering from a huge blot clot, maybe the chemo will be less harsh.  Also, the chemo I was on is one of the hardest chemos there is, so by default this should be less hard, right?!  Right.  [smile]

Thank you for holding us up.

Real faith isn’t a hopeful wish. Real faith is making the decision that no matter the outcome, we’ll choose to see it as God’s perfect answer.

Through the good. Through the not-so-good. And even through the down right awful- we will trust God. Now, this doesn’t mean we won’t cry and express hurt. But it does mean we’ve decided it’s better to have lived trying to take leaps of faith with God, than to walk away from Him.

{Thanks Lysa TerKeurst for this!}

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Take them a meal

It is mind-boggling to think that we are going to do this again.  Chemo.  We are all on edge, nervous, worried, afraid of hospital visits and Mommy so sick on the couch.  It has been a lot and I can't say that I'm flying through it this week... between my appointments, getting a chemo date, deciding to be part of a trial and all that entails, plus my dear Diane-friend undergoing huge brain surgery plus my own medical checks I am absolutely just spent.  I can hardly think straight and I am not feeding or caring for myself that well.  I'm sorry, I'm just not.  I'm trying to just be not-crying and working on being in the moment and being here with the kids and not always lost in my thoughts.  My kids aren't opposed to cereal for dinner, but that's not healthy and body-growing for them when we have many hands willing to help.  I can't tell you how much the gift of a meal has meant to us... that you would share your resources and your grocery budget, your time and your gas mileage to come over here during the after school hours and dinner rush in your own homes... it is stunning and miraculous and such a God-sent every single time.  From the depths of my heart, I thank you.  I hate being a burden to my hard-working husband, I hate not being able to make the lunches or muster up the energy to get the kids a snack.  It gives me such relief to know that a meal or muffins are coming and the kids are being cared for.  It really is that big of a blessing.  Thank you.

Thank you to Diane for coordinating the incredible army of meal-bringers through chemo last year.  This second round of chemo we are so grateful that our home church has taken on the task of coordinating the meals website.  I am incredibly humbled by the help and so thankful.

The account is: Kristin
The password: 2013   ***This is changed from last year***

Please contact Jan for address or clarifications at

Click on this link to take you to the website:

Friday, October 4, 2013

Counting my blessings, naming them one by one!

This has been a huge and full week.  I am exhausted, both mentally and physically.  The scary words.  The scary chemo.  The long list of possible scary side effects.  It's all just so much this week.  So I will count my blessings because I know that God has been doing all sorts of great things for us this week.

- spa day with my Mom, a lovely and generous gift from a Team Kristin prayer-friend
- dinner out with a friend who has long been wrapped in some of my best childhood memories

- met my new oncologist and felt immediately like he was the right guy for my team

- I think it was a pretty mellow day
- I had tea with one dear friend in the morning
- I had tea with another dear friend in the afternoon
- my chemo nurse called to give me some appointment dates and turned out to be the friend of a friend/ a girl I went to school with... which made me SO PLEASED and "God is already here"!
- the extension for my chemo nurse is the same number as my parents' phone number... which was my phone number my entire life til marriage... so THAT just made me so pleased, too!

- my dear friend had successful surgery to remove a large mass from her brain... and it was NO CANCER!!!!!!!
- my every-3-month cystoscopy went smoothly with only a small bump in the bladder lining that is not at the 'worry about it' stage
- my urologist told me that my pathology report from the three polyps removed in July showed 'inconclusive' in that there is no way for the lab to tell if the polyps were inflammation due to chemo or if they were pre-cancer... to which I said, "Then I say they were inflammation!  Right?  Right!"  and the two nurses agreed!

- got some birthday shopping accomplished (our four kids are born in November and December)
- made it all the way through a few stores and C st c o!!! 
- tonight is movie night at our house
- we're making Me x i ca n for dinner... I've been craving it for a week!

Random good things
- hugs from my kids
- C playing with my hair
- B seeking me out to hold me for an extra minute (a huge sacrifice for this guy)
- M swimming her laps just makes me feel happiness and just... relaxed... I love watching that girl slice through the water
- K joined the high school soccer team and I'm so pleased that he will experience school sport
- Shawn worked from home on my appointment day... I love having him in the house
- a local church (that I grew up in) showed up with bread to feed our family
- our home church offered to take on the meal schedule to help us during chemo
- a great family meeting with the kids
- listening to my grade 1 son reading so well
- my grade 6 girl doing homework at the dining room table brings back so many great memories of my own school years
- brunch with Shawn's family
- listening to Kari Jobe on the mp3 and letting the tears just flow
- my mom, always willing to help
- knowing how loved I am
- an auntie stopped by for a visit
- email from a cousin
- texts with Diane the day after huge brain surgery!!!!
- Friday nights relaxing in this house, we are so blessed
- so many other little and big things that are just only God... He is here and He is walking us through this week

A Sunday School song I always loved:

Count your blessings, name them one by one.
Count your blessings, see what God has done.
Count your blessings, name them one by one!
Count your many blessings see what God has done!


Nerves. Stress. Strain. Emotions.  Exhaustion.  Upset tummy.  Scared a little.  Don't wanna.  What if it is too hard. Trusting.  Feeling fragile. Lord, I need your help on this.  It's feeling like a really lot right now. Appointments.  Vancouver Cancer Clinic.  Dates.  Tests.  Needles.  Driving in rush hour.  Birthday gifts to plan and purchase. Christmas is my favourite time of the year.  Feed the kids.  Don't be always crying or tuned out.  Stay focused.  In this moment. Alive.  With my family.  Smile.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Diane update

Praise God!!!!!!  I am so so so incredibly beyond happy for Diane and her family!!!! Praying gentle recovery from here on in.
Thank you Lord!!!!  Thank you!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Prayers for Diane

Please pray for my very dear friend, Diane.
[photo: Sarah and Diane, daughter and mother waiting pre-op]

Tomorrow (Thursday, October 3) she will undergo very significant surgery to remove a large mass from her brain.  Lord, we pray that you will grant Diane, Dwayne, Cam and Sarah an excellent sleep tonight.  We pray that you, oh Lord, will give them peace as they drive to the hospital tomorrow morning and pour your peace over Diane as she goes through the pre-op motions.  Father God, please blanket her with your love, keep calm her heart, just pour your peace out over her husband and kids.  You know her heart, and it is so hard for Diane to not be the one helping every through this, just give her peace and rest, Father.   I pray for the surgeon and the entire medical team, Lord, that everything from signing in, to getting her IV, to walking through those scary doors to the operating room will go smoothly and will not cause Diane fear.  I pray for wisdom and expertise and excellence and success for her surgeon and the nurses.  I pray that the mass is removed with ease, that the doctor feels secure in the success of this procedure, we ask that the mass will be benign as the surgeon expects.  Be with Dwayne, Sarah and Cam as they wait those long hours, give them peace and patience, hold them close Father.  I pray that Diane will not be afraid, that the meds will be administered effectively and efficiently so that she has no unmanaged pain.  Please, Lord, let her recovery be gentle, speedy, and restful.  I thank you, Lord, that you have gone before her, that you are already there in that operating room and in the recovery room and in her home as she is on bedrest for the next weeks.  Thank you for the people you are bringing around Diane and her family to help and to hold them up.  Thank you for your love.  You love my dear friend so very much, Father.  Be with her.  Give her your peace that really just passes all understanding.  Let this surgery be a success, Father, we ask and we pray for no long term effects from the procedure and that you will just hold Diane and her family through all of this.  In Jesus' name, amen.

This is the amazing woman who has run the 'take them a meal' program for us all during my last chemo.  Diane is known for her generosity and her willingness to help everyone.  Please, hold my dear friend and her family in your prayers.  Thank you.

Her blog:

The Talk.

Had the talk with the kids tonight at dinner.  Mommy will be doing chemo again, how can we work together better, differently, with a common goal, with good attitudes and helping and respecting the adults that come into our home to help these next months.   We had lots of good discussion, we six agreed on a course of action.  Last time was a lot of video games and tv watching and kids-looking-lost and mommy and daddy also looking lost.  This time we have the wisdom of experience.  We want to move forward in organization and with a plan.  We know to be flexible in our expectations, we know that some days will be super hard and some days some of us may just want to curl into the couch and cry and some days we may just want to run and jump and play... and we know that the house still needs to be managed and the dishwasher emptied and laundry done.  Cancer doesn't care about housework, but this patient finds it is embarrassing to have helpers in the house and the house an increasing messy gong show as the chemo weeks progress.  I just feel like we lost so much ground last chemo-year, that we were just gaining some back, and that now we are going into it again feeling even more behind because we know what we are getting into.  I will not panic.  I will not panic.  I will not panic.

The kids seemed less panicked about the word "chemo" tonight, that was good.  I think the shock and sorrow of cancer growing again has settled a little and we will just keep on being our family-of-six and doing the days as we do... one moment at a time.  That's really true for any of us, and it's good to remind myself that even with cancer we are still just a normal family figuring things out as we go.  

As I've always said, this is a working ranch and we do a lot of busy-active-living here... but ranch or no, we gotta keep those dust bunnies and laundry-eating hampers under control the best we can!

Let the adventure begin!

I have signed the form. 

I have phoned to let my new oncologist know that I have chosen to join the trial.

I am ready... well, not really... but let's get this show on the road... well, not that either... who really wants chemo to start?  

BUT, I feel confident in God's plan.  I feel confidence in my oncologist.  I feel curious about how the trial will unfold.  I feel hope that this will work out great.  I feel joy to have options.

God is good.

All the time.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


My local oncologist told me that in a trial you, the patient, hold all the power.  To participate, to continue, to stop.  But is it really a choice if the other option is aggressive cancer taking over your body at an alarming rate?  In a counselling course I once took we learned that in choice you can choose A or B or nothing.  Remember, choosing nothing is also a choice.   In this case the choice seems to be trust or not trust or try to figure it out.  I feel ill-equipped to figure it circles back to chemo or die.  The nuances of the choosing to be part of a trial or not are really moot.  I want to be in God's plan, and so I know He'll work it out as it should.  I won't worry. I don't worry.  But Shawn and I have to discuss and decide and choose and try and figure out these impossible things.  There is a form to sign.  That is a huge responsibility.  And it makes me feel so spent. I am rambling.  I just need to write it out.  Exhausted.  

New Oncologist

Today's appointment in Vancouver went really well.  I felt calm and nervous.  My knees were knocking as 11:00 drew near.   My nurse was so kind.  The doc was running a little late.   I felt okay, some nerves, but okay.  

When the oncologist arrived I really liked him immediately. I told him "big picture, no scary details, I like positives" and he made a funny comment that told me he heard me.   He asked what we knew, explained what clinical trial meant to me/ us, talked about the risks.  I feel full confidence in his wisdom and experience and I really like him.  That's what matters to me.  

He sent us home with some reading material about the trial.  If we agree to join then I will sign and send in the paperwork and chemo will start in a few weeks.  My treatments will all be through Vancouver, I will have my own nurse, the oncologist even gave me his private phone line in case I have any further questions!

I am quite exhausted from the effort of holding it together the last few days and from getting through today.   

The thought of chemo again is very... real and huge and a lot.

But I really like my new oncologist!!!  God is so good!!!  I am so relieved.  Getting ready this morning I kept reminding myself, "God is already there.  He is already in that meeting.  He is already in that trial." And it gave me peace to remember that.

Thinking of my new oncologist makes me happy.  [smile]

I'm just tired now.