- 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, November 28, 2013


Just woke up from a solid three hour sleep. No lights shining in my eyes, no hustle and chatter of nurses assessing and sweet old ladies calling for help in their weak little voices (and then me worrying that they can't find they call bell), no blood pressure checks when you've just fallen asleep.  Awesome.

Then Shawn brought me some water and the low-down on all the phone calls he's been fielding regarding the flood and then the cancer agency and then blood transfusion.

Me, "I'm going to burst into tears if you say Monday (Connor's birthday)" as he switched into politically correct mode and danced around until he said "for Monday".  My hemoglobin is too low, I need another transfusion. [sigh]. It is what it is, it's just yet another scheduled appointment.  This was my "off week", remember?!?

When I left emerg today I said to the doc "thank you so much, I missed my son's birthday last year because of cancer.  I don't want to miss it this year!" And he smiled and the nurses were happy for me.

And this.  At least it's a 9:30am appointment.  So long as things run smoothly I should be home around the same time as Connor gets home on the bus.  Things so rarely seem to run smoothly. 

I just want to be here, at home, with my kid, on his birthday. With my husband and kids and as our little family and to celebrate and watch him open his gifts and have birthday dinner.  

It may seem that those things aren't that important, but I challenge you that they are!  If we don't fight to keep those celebrations valued then what is the marker of our year?  What keeps the days from running together?  What are the influxes of "happy" that make everything just feel plump with living, rich with accomplishment, investing into our own future... Like that feeling you get on payday every two weeks, but for your heart?

So I have had my cry.  I have hugged my kid.  And now I will go get ready for dinner... It's my mother-in-law's birthday today and I'm out of hospital in time to celebrate with the family!

God is good.  All the time.


In the car, driving away!!  Dr Internist Guy said he was switching me to oral meds.  I said, "So I can go home?" and he had my prescription and lab paperwork back to me in about two minutes and we were dressed and outta there!!!

Woot Woot!!!

Going bananas

Had a good night, got good sleep.  My IV started hurting so the nurse eventually stopped wiggling it around (ouch!!!) and it popped out (GAH!!!!) and then two pokes to find a new one.  Ugh.  This one sets the alarm off every five minutes... I have crappy veins, that's why I have the port (which they don't use in emerg).  The IV is the worst worst worst part of emerg.  i just cant handle it.  the whole thing an then having it in... gah!!!!  Morning nurse just unhooked my IV (it's still in my arm) from the bag because I'm hydrated enough now. They'll hook me up for antibiotics I guess.  I got oral meds last night (as well as the IV meds).  Have a deep, dry cough this morning.  Going to work on deep breathing to help strengthen my lungs (nurses orders).  Maybe they'll send me home!!!!!!  Fingers crossed!!!!
LaLaLuna was excited to see the banana on today's breakfast tray.  I only eat bananas in bread so she can have it!  LOL. Probably she'll share with my mom when mom arrives.  My mom loves to uncover the hidden gems on the hospital meal trays... her joy in lifting all the little lids makes me smile!

Mmmmm, cream of wheat!!!  That, and hospital oatmeal, are the best breakfast in the world!!! For real!  ... although the lady who brought is said I'm the only one who has ever said that!  [smile]

Please keep praying this pneumonia away.  That and the cancer... Lets just pray a full "clean sweep" of those dear lungs and get on with the good stuff of living and raising kids and being busy-cause-we-love-it!!! [wink]

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Antibiotics and LalaLuna

Thankful to see my babies today.  Thankful for a husband arranging his schedule in this emergency situation. Thankful to B for thinking to bring me my LaLaLuna to keep me company at night. 

Thank you for your prayers. I slept off and on all day.  Definitely feel less sleepy than yesterday and glad for meds.  Trusting its no other infection (waiting on blood cultures) and praying pneumonia away.  

Look at those tired eyes, yesterday they could hardly open. That's progress.  That's good.  Praying even more progress for these lungs. 


I am in for three days and then will be re assessed.  I have a slight case of pneumonia in my right lung.  My baby's birthday party is Friday.  I missed it last year because I was in hospital, too.  I am fairly upset by this. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


My oncologist has sent me to the local ER due to a fever.  Will need blood work to make sure this body can fight infection (blood counts are high enough).  Please pray?


Not sure what going on but am nauseous, having some major gagging/ dry heaving, exhausted, my emotions are  all over the place.  These are often associated with a health dip.  ???

Maybe all the partying of the last few days is just wearing me out. 

The Christmas commercials slay me! Who can watch those and not cry???

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The kids have voted

Me: With or without the hair?
Them: With.  
Connor: You look normal.
Braden: It's good when you go out. (aka 'more normal')
Me: Okay.  With the hair then.

This was the donated wig from the cancer agency.  I was gifted/ blessed with a wig by a local women's group this week, that one will be here in two weeks time and then this one will go back to the cancer agency wig room to bless someone else (longer, younger styles are extremely hard to come by in the wig room!).

I don't feel like me.  It feels like I'm cheating, or the first time I wore a bra and was mortified that people would know or say something!  I have anxiety.  It's just one more thing to get over, I guess.  Part of the cancer process. 

My kids are happy, so I shall take my cue from their reactions and comfort level.

No need to tell me how cute it is or how good I look.  I don't want to look good, I just want to look like me.  And straight blonde hair with bangs is not me.  Never.  I don't colour my hair,  I don't straighten it,  even the curls/waves were my own. And I would never have bangs touching my face.  

This looks "normal" to my kids, to have hair, and so I will happily do this for them.  


Saturday, November 23, 2013


Saturday.   Dropped Miranda to church choir practice this morning then set off with grand dreams and a to do list with Kyle.  Accomplished one thing and a bonus thing and then gave up on the list, picked up a Sbucks hot chocolate for he and I and went back to get Miranda.  I'm tired.   My mind is raring to go, my body just cannot fathom even trying to keep up.  Driving is exhausting.  The freedom of driving myself to my own destination and going by myself to make a purchase is like the most delicious treat ever... but it is so exhausting that about 5 minutes in I'm cursing myself for not waiting til my husband or mom would just take me.  They totally would.  But I'm going mental from being stuck here or waiting on help or needing help.  I feel like one of those little fish that suck onto the sharks and just hitches a ride and does nothing.  Sure, sure, those little fish pick the bugs off the shark... I'm not even doing that.  I'm just a big, cranky, whinging brat.  I am finding myself in the midst of a lot of big thinking, existential thoughts, feels like God is working on me, peeling back layers, getting to the core of who I am to be.  Which is good and all, but a lot of work, but no work, all I really need to do is sit and the work happens, really, but hm, maybe that's the whole point of this frustrating body not be able to do anything.  Maybe that's the time needed for the 'getting to the core'.  I don't know.  All I know is that, in the mean time, I'm struggling with feeling valuable, feeling needed, feeling essential to 'life as we know it' and really, 'life as we know it' is really such a foreign thing now... what we thought we 'knew' is no longer valid, valuable, realistic, our 'now', the actual.  So why do we long for it.  This is actually better, really, the learning and understanding and growth.  But, I don't want to have cancer anymore.  That's what it comes down to.  Pacing.  Need to figure out how to pace, what's the pace, the pace changes depending on the moment, will change as we get deeper into this round of chemo and the side effects build and stuff will inevitably happen that throws us off course.  It is what it is.  Which is fine.  But how does one LIVE that as a philosophy and also actual LIVE... to me "living", really and truly "living" has always meant "actively choosing", "thinking", "planning but with flexibility to just wing it and have a silly or decadent moment just because our North American spoil-ed-ness affords it".   Ramblings.  The sun is shining.  Shawn and the kids are outside tidying up boxes (mostly emptied cuz we've been sorting/chucking, hooray!) and playing street hockey, I love hearing the scrape of the hockey stick on the ground, the sound of toys being dragged out of the garage, yelling and laughing and the occasional squabbling that inevitably breaks out.  Life is good.  This, right here.  Is very good.  We are very blessed and when I focus on the blessings and I remember to feel God's goodness and presence here, the sun on my face, the contentment in my heart then I'm pretty sure THIS is exactly "living".  And it's good.  It's really, really good.  Why do I waste time complaining.  Ah, the ramble, a useful tool for this woman's overactive thinking and feeling and wanting heart.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Warm toesies!

Warm toes!!!  Hooray!!!  My poor little toesies have been suffering from frozen-ness this chemo... Ah, that's better!

Teasing CrapMeister of Suckiness

To clarify, by "up-swing" what I meant was Teasing CrapMeister of Suckiness.

Up-swing, to you, means "hooray, she's feeling better, maybe today will be great!"

To me what it means is "my mind has finally cleared of the chemo fog and is now whirring with the list of two bjillion things I haven't been able to get to in the last 2.5 weeks... now if only I could manage to get this body out of bed or off the couch... I want to do those things... those things are causing me stress and anxiety and panic attacks... the boxes, oh, the boxes stacked everywhere, the gifts to wrap, the birthday parties to plan... crap!  his birthday is in 7 days and the next one is 7 days later and I haven't even started planning that... seriously, just go get the phone... just phone the place, make the reservation... you can do that... go... seriously... just go... ugh... too tired... need to shower... that'll take the morning to recover from... okay... shower now, phone the place later... why can't this body work... oh ya... oncologist so bluntly stated "you are putting poison into your body, it takes time... you aren't sucking at chemo, it takes 7-10 days to rest... you need to rest... and when you feel better... still rest" ... oh ya... up-swing.  hoorah."

I did manage to drag my dad out for lunch with Kori and Roger and I, I was starving finally... and then ate a few bites and the nausea set in for the day... yuck.  Gagging sucks.

Today is a new up-swing...  I have been gifted a wig so am going for a wig fitting... mixed emotions about that... grateful for the hair because I do NOT want to be bald in Christmas family photos... but hate what the 'need a wig' stands for: cancer fighting... still... [sigh]   Mom and Keri are coming for support, I'm glad. 

Going to try and walk the boys to the bus this morning, my right hip keeps threatening to give out and my feet are a little numb (chemo side effect, not good as numb feet can't balance and can't walk, numb hands can't do buttons or hold a fork, it's a serious side effect that they watch closely).

I woke up.  I am grateful. If I could get the boys' birthdays organized I would be super happy... they got robbed last year when I was in hospital for surgery, this year... again with the freakin' cancer.  GRRRRRR. 

Don't feel nauseas... going to try and eat some Krispies.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


They say this chemo is "tolerated well" on the nausea front.  They say "you shouldn't need to take the meds".  

It sucks when the anti-nausea meds make you gag so hard you feel that your diaphragm may burst and vomit is definitely coming up if you don't use all your will power (and hold your mouth closed with your hands) to stop it.  

I hate hanging over the garbage can gagging.

To know me is to know that I don't want to vomit, ever.  

Like, in my life I have vomited less than five times.  I am that opposed.

Gagging is gross.

Vomit would be worse, I guess. 

Silver lining?!?

Sure.  I'll take it.

[tired Kristin]


I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
—Psalm 27:13–14

Didn't have as much energy in real as I did in my head, but did get out to lunch and did enjoy the sunshine and a visit with Kori. A good day.  Nausea won't leave.  That sucks.  


I must be on the up-swing... didn't sleep solid tonight, finally got up at 5am cuz I'm starving... hooray for a turn away from 'chemo-sick'.  Now to pace myself for the last few days of slow when boxes are needing to be dealt with, Christmas is waiting to be planned for, two little boys have birthdays in the next 7 days... life is waiting to be lived!!!!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Cancer is hard on kids

Our kids are bored.  They are used to a mommy who takes them on adventures, takes them at least to the grocery store.  We don't do that anymore.  They come home from school and sit.  They come home from school unattended even though I am here. We don't do adventures so much anymore.  Their entire lifestyle has shifted away from as they knew it.  We want that life back, all six of us.  I wish I could just give them a jailbreak today, two of the four of them are not coping well.  My heart hurts for them.  They just want their mom back. They seem lost. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Full, full days

Phew.  Did you see that I back-posted a couple of days? 

It has been a chalk-a-block full week with Mom here every day helping me at home, running me on errands, running errands when I'm too tired to do my list, Dad picking up and driving kids to and from school and soccer and swimming plus him doing some work around the house for us and and and.   What on earth would I do without my Mom and Dad just showing up to lighten the load around here?  She walks in and starts tidying.  She sees a dish on the counter and just puts it away.  She reminds me to eat.  He texts to remind me he's picking up Miranda.  She sees a return and just takes it to the store for me.  How can I ever repay them?  Never.  But I will do my best to take that help with grace and a smile and a verbalized thank you and a hug and by getting CURED of this cancer!!!  Let's do THAT, God... I think THAT would be the best thank you gift we could give them!  I am so thankful for every piece of help that comes from so many directions...but right now I pray stamina for my parents, that they will not burn out, that their friends will reach out and go out with them (cuz they love that!) and do the legwork on the relationships while they are putting all their energy out to me.

The chemo-lag started to hit me yesterday.  I had a great sleep last night, stayed up too late watching part of a movie with Shawn, but that is time well spent so hard to argue against it!   Today I hope to make one small trip out before I start the hunker-down-and-rest that chemo will soon enforce.  As the doc said, there is just no getting around chemo exhaustion, every single patient on this chemo gets the 7-10 down days of sitting on the couch feeling like a lump and just plain disinterested or unable to do anything.  We have a feed-and-water Kristin plan in place this time, and a pain-management-plan, and I'm hoping that by keeping foods and drinks going in that I will not sink quite as low as last time!  God is good, it'll all work out as it should!

Today Kyle has his first 'away' game that is far, far away!   And I've got to tell you that THIS is the game that I've been waiting for since that little kindergarten boy started out in soccer all those 10 years ago... the Tsawassen game!  FAR away!  We were going to get Sbucks and enjoy the drive time together (I love family drive time!!!), watch the game, go for dinner, enjoy the drive home... seriously, been dreaming about this day for years!  And now, it's here.  And now, I don't know if it is a wise choice for me to go or not... I will see when we get closer to go time.  I also wanted to roll this into his birthday dinner with Shawn and I (his birthday dinner got flood-cancelled... we were bailing the basement when we should have been at the restaurant).   If I ration my energy carefully, we just might be able to do it... I still have my final chemo meds in me from last night (they give me a bit of energy) and perhaps that'll stretch out to include this afternoon's soccer adventure.  Maybe!  [smile]

It's Saturday, projects have been chipped away at all week.  The dining room table/scrapbooking chaos is looking less and less overwhelming.  Today I'm going to move the final 8 boxes out of the pathway and just tuck them out of the way a bit better (well, I'm going to get the little boys to drag those for me, but I'll supervise) which will give more space and allow us to actually eat in the dining room (our only table) once again.  Yay for family dinner with the entire family seated in one space!!!

Last night Shawn's Dad came and dismantled our mud room (we relocated that to a mezzanine in the garage last year) so that we can now build the mud room wall into a pantry for all the food and grocery stuff that a family of 6 requires.  Our kitchen is spacious but has little storage space and food in three seperate locations in this house is neither efficient nor functional!  I'm super excited for this one little change that I see making a huge pile of difference around here!   I wonder if I can convince Shawn to run out to the hardware store for shelving supplies before the game today?  Hmmm... [wink] he loves it when I add things to his Saturday morning!  LOL

I hope that your Saturday will be peaceful and restful.  Will you put up your Christmas Tree?  Ours went up Thursday night and it is our most beautifully decorated tree yet!  I just love sitting in my living room by the light of the tree!  Awesome and tranquil.  I love it!

May your day be great!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Round 2: cycle 1, day ???

Because we switched days and chemo and stuff I'm not actully sure what day we are on... 21 or something strange.  

Anyway, trial drug is running and the pre-med has me almost zonked out.

Chemo coming soon!  Go trial drug!!! Go chemo!  GO OUT cancer, GO OUT!!!

Look at that view!!!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wednesday: Clinic Day

Wednesday, Clinic Day (doctor and nurse)

Woke up to clear skies which means good roads.  Feeling happy about that!  My appointment wasn't until the later afternoon so I had a leisurely morning sorting through two new boxes of stuff out of the craft room (papers, pictures, memorabilia).  Had to go early for labs to make sure my hemoglobin was up enough to do chemo on Thursday.

Mom and I headed to Vancouver and enjoyed a nice drive, that HOV lane and the new toll bridge make the drive so much better, an hour each way!

Got to VCC, found parking, got into the bloodwork right away.  Had a new nurse, nice Phillipino guy that I hadn't had before. 

Because I am on a trial there is more blood work (more little vials... well, not so little, don't take all my new blood!!!) and special little stickers and extra paperwork and stuff, it's quite involved.  Very interesting, actually.

As my guy was getting all the vials ready and getting the stickers set out, and getting his paperwork organized, and before he found my vein, I was asking about these special shaped bottles on the shelf... like little whiskey bottle from a hotel bar fridge.  Those, he explained, are for testing for virus in your blood, they take a blood sample from your left arm into one bottle, then a sample from your right arm in the other bottle and from that can tell where the virus is in your body... because your body is divided in half (up and down)... isn't that fascinating?  As he was telling me I was saying, "thank you God for medical science, how cool is that!" under my breath!

So, as nurse was taking my blood he noted that I was on a trial (extra ziploc baggie with two extra vials to fill was the clue) and I said, "it's kind of cool to be part of something big, and maybe THIS will be the cure!"  His reply was that it is the cost of my time, lots of extra time, to be a part of a trial but that it's good to do because look at breast cancer after so many years of research and there is a cure!  So he was so happy that I was doing a trial.  It was nice, encouraging, and you see these people a lot so you kind of start to feel kinship and want to talk about more than the weather, you know?  The VCC is becoming a second home, just as ARH did when I was treated here.  As he was filling out all my stickers and paperwork a song I love came on and I started tapping my toe and smiling big (it's Pink's new song... "I really love you, but I hate you... it must be true love...." and he stopped what he was doing and turned to me and said, "You really like music. [pause] I have worked here for six years.  I can tell that you are a very positive person.  We know which patients are positive.  You are a positive person." or something like that.  And I was working hard to not cry because it was just such... affirmation... of me... being me... and still ME in the middle of all this "not my life, I have cancer? really... this is happening to us... yep, it is and flood and lice and  chaos and hard".  And I was so blessed.  It was good.

And then Mom and I walked up to the mall with the candy canes and had lunch while the lab people did their thing and interpreted all those stickers.   And I had a hot flash from my pre-chemo meds with sweat dripping down my head... no hair to catch the wet, me mopping hard at my head in the corner of a mall... ah, the good times we have!  And we had yummy soup and an excellent tuna sandwhich, because tuna sandwiches are always best when they sit wrapped in saran at a deli counter, why is that?!  Anyway, it was good.

Next was time for my clinic appointment.  And I was going to see a new doc (in my doctors' group, so they cover for each other and know your case and stuff), and then that doc was busy so I got a second new doc (also in the group).  And the new new doc was awesome!   He was a super chatty guy with an Aussie accent so that was sort of exotic and fun!  I shared with him that I felt like I had sucked at chemo for cycle 1 because I just was so down and mentally couldn't get my feet under me and it was just so ... hard compared to being on the chemo from round 1 which is one of the hardest chemos there is.   And he assured me that this new chemo is very common, one of those most used chemos as it is used for prostate and breast cancer (which made me feel hopeful because those are two cancers with cure rates!!! so I was happy to be using their same drug!) and that he sees a LOT of patients on it and every single one of them are down for 7-10 days.  EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.  "You didn't suck at chemo" ... seriously made me feel so validated and normal and like it wasn't my fault that I couldn't get past it, or that I wasn't praying right or doing something right... it just is what it is.  I was so relieved!!!  And I was so ... just smiling in my heart because I had asked God, that morning, to please let this be a positive visit... so far at VCC it's more clinical and science-y and, because I was only just beginning on this round they don't tell you the twelve things that "might" go wrong, they just sort of let it roll and see what symptoms you get... which I agree with... but it was so nice to hear this doctor explain about the side effects and that "you are putting poison into your body, it takes a toll and you need to rest".  Yes. I get that.  But, thank you for telling me so I can let myself off the hook!!  AWESOME!!!!!   I just felt like I wasn't trying 'right'.  I can't explain it, but it wasn't my fault and it was great to hear my medical professional validate my suspicions that it just was truly beyond my control.  I was still trying to do stuff, and I just couldn't ... so this time I will just do nothing and not fight it.  And maybe this time will be a little easier because I know what to expect.  Maybe.  I just feel... empowered going in this time, with this new information.  I am grateful.  God gave me the positive that I exactly needed!  Awesome!

And then we asked Kyle to stay home from soccer so Shawn and I could go out for dinner and have some time together... and we did and it was lots of hard discussion about some things that need to change here as we switch into chemo-recovery mode.  But it was good discussion and it was time well spent.

Wednesday was a blessing of a day!  

AND my numbers were up enough for chemo.  My new new doc also explained that with the chemo and trial drug I am fully expected to need another transfusion and will likely have further chemo delays... so that's normal, don't panic.  Okay, good to note.

A good, good day.


Encouraging word

This is the message God left for me first thing yesterday.  I woke up feeling the need to spend time in quiet with God, tried to read Ephesians but it was a little unfocused.  Ended up listening to the song 'Draw me Close to you', the cry of my heart yesterday.  Eventually felt refreshed and calmed in my spirit, went to sort the myriad of boxes on my craft table and this little gem showed up.  I smiled.  While in quiet time with God I kept thinking "I need only be silent, He will fight for me"... help will come.   When I saw this card I smiled because it was God reminding me He is here, He won't  leave me/us.  And the helping hands were Kori and Mom coming to sort flood boxes.  I need only be patient.  

And then the message on Kelly and Michael.  And then the groceries. 

So many tangible reminders God placed in my path yesterday to lift my spirit and renew my hope.  

I am so blessed.

Thank you to each of you who are moving and carrying and praying us along this path... Can you see how God moves our days so our paths cross and we lift each other up?  How amazing to be part of His awe-some plans!!!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Oh my goodness, every day is so full... or maybe I'm just so slow that everything seems more full and more whipping-by than I think!

I'm back-posting this a little because Tuesday was a huge day, no Wednesday was a huge day and I want to record it for all the blessings that were in that day! 

Monday was the hard night, I was sick and called Mom in a choking panic.  I was done, mentally shutting down.  It was a hard, hard night on so many levels.

BUT, I woke up feeling rejuvenated and stronger.  And I thought I was going to Vancouver for Clinic Day (doctor and nurse) and I knew that Mom and Kori were coming over to work on the flood box chaos which made me happy... mostly because I like having them here, but also because the boxes were stacked everywhere!

So, Tuesday morning I ate a little cereal and was sitting on the couch watching Kelly and Michael and there was the shout out from the viewer who said to cancer patients, "Don't ever ever ever give up!", which was exactly like a V8 smack to the head from God... KRiSTIN, I GOT THIS!  Right.  And I knew it was God speaking to me directly through the Kelly and Michael show... directly to me, through the tv, through Michael... crazy, right?  But, that's God.  He will use whatever method to catch our attention, He is super good that way!

And then I got up to sort some scrapbooking stuff and this little pack of inspiration cards kept slipping out of my hands and this one card landed in from of me reminding me that help with come.  Again, God giving me an elbow to the ribs and saying, "KRISTIN, I GOT THIS!" and I smiled.  God is so good.  So... just... persistent... in sending help my way.  Seriously, God, you are awesome!!!

And then Mom and Kori came and we got a ton done and the VCC called with my chemo time and I found out I did NOT have clinic that day which opened up the entire day so we could just keep chugging along and it was just a good, good day!

I saw you praying for me via FB comments.  I felt you praying for me.  I knew God was answering the prayers of His people.  Just all day.  I just felt... energized and normal... not truly normal, that Kristin is in the past, but cancer normal and I'll take it!  A really good day.  Thank you for your prayers!!!


Thank you INCREDIBLY MUCH, to the person (or people) who just dropped an entire c o st co shop off at our front door. 

We are stunned. We are humbled.  We are incredibly grateful. 

Toilet paper and cleaning products and cereal (our kids are going to flip at the choices!!!) and popcorn and cake mixes and icing and apple juice and juice boxes and syrup and granola bars and dish washer detergent and oats and pasta sauce and crackers and peanut butter and toothpaste and soap and and and!

Really.  Wow.  Thank you for blessing us in this way.  I am just speechless.  


Taking a break for sorting stuff.  Sitting watching Kelly and Michael read their inbox. The final email:  encouragement to anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer, the lady is a two time survivor and said don't ever ever give up hope!

Wow.  God even used a silly talk show to    encourage me.  Seriously.  Wow He is so good.


This was in my face book feed this morning. Exactly what I needed as a reminder after last night.  The last 48 hours have been too much.  I feel myself shutting down emotionally.  The boxes are everywhere, in every room.  The tree didn't get set up, my only goal for yesterday. I bought hot chocolate and marshmallows and a gingerbread houses kit.  We were going to claim joy and holiday cheer and good things.  Even with the restoration people in and out all day.  And we didn't.  Shawn took the kids for dinner, I just felt ick.  Theres bo food here and we just haven't fit shopping in... We have for three things at a time but honestly the house is so full of basement stuff in the main floor that neither if us want to bring anything else in. We are exhausted.  Finally fell asleep at 5:30 for an hour.  Woke up feeling fever-ish.  Got upstairs to my bed, started choking.  Called mom.  It was a longer choking fit that usual.  Scared me.  She came and stayed until Shawn got home. Bedtime ran late.  "I give up" came out of my mouth.  I just felt done.  I just felt like I was being swept along on this lazy, muddy, murky river that kept bumping me against the boulders and snags of stomach cramps, nausea, headache, can't eat, can't drink, tired, overwhelmed.  The house is a gong show. Every room. Fell asleep and slept through til 5:30 without choking.  Feeling better all around compared to yesterday. Ate some bites of breakfast.  Hope to not get more cramps from the few bites I ate.    Vancouver today and then VCC chemo tomorrow.  Last time hit me hard for seven days.  I'm nervous. How will we handle this?  Shawn and I are barely hanging on.  Seems dramatic given I wasn't chemo-sick this week... But when I am so mentally spent, everything is harder.

Not whining.  Just recording.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


The packers were here until 11:00pm last night.  Then the movers were here at 8:30am today.  The demo crew should be rolling in any time now.  
Grateful for the team doing all this work.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Blood transfusion #3

Blood in.  Clamp didn't get shut so got a bit of a blood bath between bags.  The first bag was a big bag, "the donor was nice and juicy" said my nurse.  LOL

Praying the headache and exhaustion will lift now!  That was a 6hrs day.  I am thankful to my two donors!

Friday, November 8, 2013


So grateful that the BC Cancer Agency covers the cost of my anti-coagulant (blood thinners).  Those four little vials keep my blood running as it should, and not clotting (which is super-bad), for about 16 days for that price!!!

So very grateful!!!

God will pull me through.

I thought I was hanging in and doing fairly well considering all the chaos and upheaval and low blood count and birthdays and stuff.  And then at 2:00am last night I woke up crying.

Last night my sisters and my dear friend came over to help sort out my craft room to take to storage.  On our way in to treatment yesterday with Mom I was on the phone with our restoration company to determine timeline and trades scheduling and such.  The result of that conversation, and because the contractor is trying hard to get this done and out of our cancery-lives (there is so little hair to get out of... you know, as in 'get out of my hair'?? [wink]) restoration company is coming this morning at 9:00.

That meant that I needed to go through my craft room last night, after coming home exhausted from the second big Vancouver drive in two days, with super low blood counts that make you really tired and susceptible to germs (hello coughing children, I love you but stay back!), and hopped up on pre-meds that were still fully trying to knock me out.  Help!  And help came.  Thanks Keri and Kori and Bonnie.  Could NOT have done that without you.

And the emotions.

It felt like dying.

My craft room is me.  My space.  I am so blessed to have a husband who has always granted me space for my scrapbooking and, a more recent addition, quilting.  I had already put a call in to Bonnie asking if she would sell my quilting fabrics for me (you quilters will understand the hurt and sorrow of that) and Erika to sell my scrapbooking supplies (for context know that one year I scrapbooked 766+ full 12"x12" scrapbook pages...that's a lot).   More importantly, that room holds me, my spirit, my Kristin-ness.  When you look at the fabrics and the paper and the stickers and the memorabilia you see me.  My heart, my emotions, what colours and style and patters speak to me. I have hand-held every single thing in that room. Honestly, you feel me in that room.  And we were packing it up and sorting it to be taken away.  Out.  Out of the house.  Out of this family.  Away.  Gone.

It felt like dying.

It was as hard as cutting my hair.

It is me being removed.  

I am being gone from the house.

I haven't been 'here' to do house work and to sort through and to challenge kids and husband to get things done.  For a year now.

I see my flavour missing from the days.

And now my craft room.

Like if I were dead.

No more me.

It's just stuff.  Yes.  But that stuff is hours of wandering through craft stores with my bestie-friends, memories of going on retreats and spending an entire weekend laughing and sharing stories with other like-interested ladies.  That stuff is holding preschoolers' hands and letting them choose one sheet of stickers (always the ugliest stickers) and laughing and buying them anyway because it was fun to do together.  It is stories waiting to be archived, written out, shared.  Sharing memories.  Moments captured to be shown and shared and remembered and smiled over and those happy-tears rolling down your face as you remember the good and the hard and the candid and the way things were.  Stories need to be shared.  I have been blessed to get to share mine through scrapbooking and journalling and I have spent hours sharing my craft room with our kids, watching their interpretation of events or how they think a sticker should go on the paper or listening to them explain why they chose to scrapbook the photo they did.  Moments.  Stories-sharing.  Memories caught with gentle hands and released with love onto the pages and into the albums that fill my dining room shelves.  

Packed up.

I woke up in tears at 2:00am.  I praised and I prayed and I listened to God's Words comforting me.  And then my brain started whirling... if I get them to take the piano keyboard out I could ask the movers to bring the downstairs shelf in and then I will have a home for my paper trimmer and adhesives which I'm keeping here anyway... where else will they go??  They are coming at 9:00, I'll be just back from getting the boys to the bus... no time... I'm awake now... I had a 4+ hours nap I feel good right now I'm going downstairs... 

And I did.  I went back into my craft room and cut bright orange and bright pink signs and tagged the things I want kept here.  The restoration company had already agreed that they would do all the legwork for me and schlepp boxes up the stairs.  They know I have cancer.  They saw me in 10/10 pain on Sunday as they walked back and forth in and out of the house.  They were so quiet and so discreet and the look in their eyes was so kind.  And now they will take care of the physical work when I cannot.  God is good.  

ARH just called... I need to go in for a cross-match this morning and then that gets the transfusion process started for either later today or tomorrow.  PRAISE GOD!  I am so glad I called my local oncologists' secretary, that girl is awesome at her job and has always been such a support!  Thanking God for her.  

God lined it up.  I slept well.  Was able to be up and deal with my room in a manner that gives me full peace about the work they will do in there today.  Thank you, Lord.

I slept well.  No coughing-to-puking last night.  Praise God!!!  That means a good solid sleep for Shawn, too.  PRAISE GOD, that husband needs it!!!

Feeling love, feeling thanks, feeling that today is a good day.  Yet again, God brings peace even in floods and infestations and low blood counts.  I am a blessed woman.

Feel blessed in your day, I pray.

Hanging by a thread? ... God will pull you through!

Thursday, November 7, 2013


Trial drug in.  Cancers are being stopped dead in their tracks.  Hooray!!!

The pre-med knocked me out hard and I slept hard for about 30 minutes.  As I have had no reaction to the trial med I now don't have to sit for an hour of observation after the bag drips.  Awesome news!  Apparently it's a rigamorole if you react, and there's bloodwork and paperwork, too.  Given how knocked out I was from the pre-med, I could have used a longer nap.  I will sleep well tonight!!!

This evening I'm going to be sorting through my craft room.  The restoration company is coming tomorrow morning to pack and store everything from our basement.  Gasp!  My beloved stuff!  I will be selling off my quilting fabrics and scrapbooking things through two friends.  It hurts my heart but I am not using it right now, the money will go to covering some costs, and really, if it's not being used it will sit in storage and get musty or the sticker will lose their stick and everything may fall out of style.  It is with mixed feelings that I approach this project.  Ah well.  Just one more thing to muddle through. 

No chemo today, while throwing other things off schedule, is a blessing because I can get to the task of that craft room and that means repairs start Saturday!!!!!!  Awesome!!!!  God has really blessed us with an amazing restoration team!

Still foggy headed from that pre-med... I'm such a featherweight when it comes to meds!  LOL

Round 2: cycle 2: day 1

All dolled up and ready for trial drug day.  

And here I am, ready for action!  I'm in isolation and must wear a hair net.  Comical!!!

My poor nurse has to fully gown up each time in and out of my room!  And there is a special cleaning protocol for the room, sign is on the door.  I am glad to see they take lice seriously around here!  I hope everyone is as diligent as we have been in reporting it so as to save other families the nuisance of getting rid of the vermin!

The port is in and accessed (works), praise God!  The pre-meds are loaded and will soon have me napping.  And this is my amazing view of Mom and False Creek!



The flood damage and repairs and costs are all insurable!  INSURED!!!!!


Thank you to every single one of our family and friends who made this entire situation so much better than it could have been....  Carl, Wiffy, Dwayne, Cam, Troy, Ryan, Kyle for spending hours vaccuuming water and bringing fans (even going to the wrong house... oops, glad the dogs didn't bite!), hauling our entire basement contents up to the garage til midnight.  And to Roger, Dad and Uncle Gerry for digging up the driveway by hand, bringing a backhoe, finding the source of the problem which is the information the insurance needed... who did I miss?  Oh man!!!  Thank YOU extra to my brother-in-law Roger who actually did a little sewer stroll in order to get the information we needed when they didn't have the records available through City Hall (which he also trekked down for us)!!!!  Thank you to all of you who have been praying!!!!


Hey Miles... God gave you a vision of money raining down... and today the insurance came which means God has provided, yet again, financially for our family!!!!   HOW AWESOME IS THAT!!!!!

God is good.  All the time.  

Look for it.  See it.  Thank Him for it. 

Thank you Lord for the efforts of the men involved who made sure to find the information needed in this situation.  Thank you for making this covered by insurance.   Thank you!!!!

Now comes the 'be patient' part a little more as we wait for the repairs and restoration.   So glad to know that the pouring rain today is going out and away to the storm drain and down the storm drain as it should and not into my house today.   SO GRATEFUL!!!!!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Chemo Round 2: Cycle 2: Clinic Day

Tomorrow starts Cycle 2 of this round of chemo.

This morning Mom and I headed EARLY into Vancouver for my 8:30 blood work appointment and 10:00am Clinic appointment (nurse and doctor).  I also took pre-meds for chemo.

We ended up waiting over an hour as nurses came in and out for the clinic portion of my appointment.  We don't usually wait that long.  Turns out my hemoglobin is waaaaay down.  Like, it's usually 120 and I'm at 79.  That is "really, very low" said my nurse.  I can't have chemo under 92.   Bummer.

So tomorrow I will have trial drug only.  That's great news.  I'm glad we can at least go ahead with the trial drug.  Cancer drugs like to stay on schedule.  The reason we were waiting so long to see the doctor is because my sweet clinic nurse had to read through the entire trial binder (it's all the rules and ins and outs of my trial... a fairly thick book) to find out the rules about having just trial drug tomorrow instead of chemo + trial drug.  She also has to phone the head of the trial to be sure that it's okay to have chemo next week instead.  In the middle of this I need a blood transfusion.

I think it is sweet that, each of the now three times that I will have had a transfusion, the nurse warns you once or twice that you probably need one... sort of prepping you for when the poor doctor has to come in and 'break the news to you'.  People must really freak out about getting blood transfusions.  Me, when Dr. told me I needed one, said, 'Yippeeeeee!'   Hello!   Something to boost this constant haven't-slept-in-three-days feeling out of me... yes, please!   It's just funny to me every time.  I am grateful, and I see how my entire life has been this and prepped me for cancer journey, that I just roll with these sorts of things and don't overthink them.

So... tomorrow is back to Vancouver for trial drug (yay!!!  I want the trial drug so am glad we aren't delaying that).  Friday needs to be blood transfusion (that will be an 8 hours day and in my own home town hospital... thank you Dr. for arranging for a local transfusion, you rock!!!).  Monday is a stat holiday for Remembrance Day.  Next Tuesday is Vancouver and then Wednesday will be chemo + trial drug (we hope).

And hey, between the blood transfusion and the not-chemo tomorrow, I'm gonna have all sorts of energy!  Awesome!!!

I was saying to the nurse, "It kind of has felt like 'the 7 plagues' this last few days... I was counting and could come up with six and sort of seven..." and she said, "well, your numbers are really low, that can be your 7!" and we all cheered, "yay!!! done!  Now onto the good stuff!"   [smile]

Comedy hour

Finding it comical that as I rub lice shampoo into my hair what little hairs I have left are falling out in clumps.  But I am a rule follower and the rule is that I need to lice shampoo my hair before entering the chemo room tomorrow.  Even though lice shampoo only kills live bugs and even though my hair is so sparse you would definitely see a live bug in it and even though there will be even less hair by tomorrow because it is falling out like tiny tufts of snow.  I can say, in clear conscience, "Yes, I treated my almost-bald head for lice."


The back of my head is bare scalp except for a tiny ridge of short hairs at the nape of my neck.  

I am going with it, but I am not adjusted to this lack of hair.  I miss my naturally curly, naturally strawberry-blonde, naturally thick mane.  It represents life before cancer.  It was my vanity. I am not tall.  i am not svelte.  But people recognized me by my hair.  If I ever wore it straight acquaintances would pass me by and not recognizing me!  And it was my last link to me-before-cancer. Those hairs were Miranda-old. Good times and great memories.  I want that me back.

It's just hair. Losing the hair is what it is but I feel ugly. You needn't tell me otherwise.  I feel ugly.  Shorn.  Depleted. Somehow changed beyond the physical.

What is harder is what it represents for me, to me personally.

And the lice shampoo stinks. I'm washing it out at the five minute mark.  Cuz I'm still me enough to be a little spunky and sassy and defiant!

So there!  
[sticking my tongue out at you]

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Hairs be falling

New hairs be falling out now.  They are adorable.  Little dark auburn ones  or pure white, I love them.  I wonder what will grow in their place next spring?

Lice, too.

In my last teenie handful of random hairs... I have lice.

It is almost comical.


Waiting for the backhoe to come dig up our side driveway in order to try and ascertain where the flood originated from... insurable or not...

It is pouring rain this morning.

It is our 19th anniversary.

We had planned to spend overnight at a hotel, that budget became plumbing guy and backhoe rental.  That happens.

Shawn took the day off work so we could spend some time together.  We have 3/4 of our kids home from school.  That happens.

I am waiting to hear from the cancer agency whether or not I can use the lice shampoo on my own hair. 

I will be bagging up the remaining cushions and doing my best to keep laundry going today. 

Most days I am barely off the couch for lack of energy and lack of oomph and because of rib pain.

This is almost comical.


As I bolted upright from sleeping in the wee hours this morning, Shawn holding the waste basket for me as I choked and gagged and sputtered from wet lungs rising up and cutting off air I whispered "Happy Anniversary" with a little smile.  And he sat there in stunned silence at this current reality.  And I sat there with tears rolling down my cheeks, not wanting to cry and upset my gag reflex or my ribs.  But I meant it. 

I am so thankful that we get to have a 19th Anniversary.  It is a huge gift.  I am so glad we made it to this day.  Backhoes and lice shampoo and no sitting on couches and black garbage bags in every room filled with cushions and stuffies and wash waiting for the wash. 

We are blessed to be able to celebrate our 19th Anniversary together!!!!

It is comical. 


Monday, November 4, 2013


Just found lice on our child's head.  Heaven help us. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Who remembers this???
Crusaders was this awesome church program that met weekly.  We earned badges by learning to knit or swim or doing a carpentry project, etc.  oh how I loved the lining up and song and salute to dear Captain Olson!  I wish there was a program like this for my kids... Awana is close, but I loved earnings those badges!

Silver linings

Who remembers these???
A record that came in a magazine, you peel the record off the card and stick it to the turn table to play the song!  Hilarious!!!

Silver lining: going through wet box and finding treasures from childhood!

Sun shine after the flood.

And the sun shines after the flood!

After an intense nine or ten hours of fighting back the flood waters with Shawn's parents and then scrambling, with the help of amazing friends to remove all of our possessions to salvage them, the water has stopped and the carpets have been pulled up and we are now praying that insurance will cover the costs of repairs.  The entire basement will need new underlay and possibly the bottom 4" of all the walls replaced.  

Kyle's bedroom was the worst hit.  All of his belongings quickly bagged up and moved out.  He is feeling displaced today.  That was not the kind of birthday evening we had planned for him.  In the end he did get a party... a move-everything-to-higher-ground party still counts right?  By the look on his face the answer is "no".  

Today the restoration guy has come, the birthday party is on and the service team will be coming to assess and possibly start gutting the basement rooms. 

Praying insurance will cover the costs.

We are already pretty full up emotionally and pretty stretched thin for coping.  I appreciate prayers extra for peace in this situation now, too.

Isn't it fun how the little boys are playing Lego and just rolling with it.  I did have a moment the other night, as I was thinking about hair loss and feeling like a return to baby-ness and how Chist said to "become like children" in simple trust.  I trust you, Lord. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013


We have an inch of water over half the basement.  We appreciate prayers for awesome insurance agent and peace.  
Hairs falling out all over the place, and not from the stress!  😜