Monday, June 27, 2011

Dear God and Dad

It's Sam again, chiming in.

Anastasia (on left) ever the thoughtful one, came out of her room tonight after being in bed for a while with a note. She wanted to contribute to her mom's blog seeing as Heidi is not feeling up to it these days. After chemo round #2 on Thursday, both our kids sort of knew what to expect, but in reality were quite sobered again at the immediate effects of the drugs on Heidi. Another little memory was made as we shaved her head...transition to bald complete (well more like patchy thinning army buzz stage to be more accurate). I happen to think it's cute.

Here's what Anastasia wrote, short and sweet - it made me cry, not sure if it is fair for me to post, but it was her wish. It's part prayer and part note to me (her dad) - she even has a message for all of you :)

In this I see her mom's strength, resolve and knack for the written word. Perhaps you will too.
Dear God and Dad,

OK well the first week my mom started kemo it was very scary. The very scary part is over now but unforchunitly there's still a bit more to come. Now here's my prayer.

Dear God, I pray that you would heel all this sickniss in mommy and that even though this is hard to go throe God is holding her hand the hole way throe. And i know you are leading all of us who care about her throe, oh one more thing if you can go throe this I can amen.

And all of you that care should be thankful that you guys have such a fantastic friend or relativ of course. But anyways you're lucky just like I am. Love Ana. Mom you are a great mom, even beter than great, you're fantastic.
If you choose to comment, why don't you send Anastasia a note this time round. I know Heidi would be encouraged vicariously.

We feel carried and blessed by so many.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Bits and Bites

Random thoughts related to cancer:

* I'm usually not a germ-a-phob. Until now. It's weird to think that a simple cold could be very very bad for me. With my low white blood count I don't have the necessary tools to fight off any sort of sickness or infection. Hand sanitizer and Lysol wipes have become a staple in our house. Please don't be alarmed if you are offered our rather large bottle of sanitizer if you come to visit or if the door knobs are swiped with an anti-bacterial wipe when you leave. And if you are sick, as much as I would love to visit with you I just can't, so instead of stopping by you can email or give me a call.

* Meals are more then meals. We feel so blessed with the meals that many of you have provided for us and continue to provide. Besides the practical blessing of not having to think of cooking (or cook), the sense of care and love we feel with the arrival of each hot (and frozen) meal is a very tangible and real thing. A hug and the few minutes of conversation remind us of how many of you are caring for us during this time. Words can not express how much this means.

* Every day brings something new. Most days this is a new symptom, from vomiting to throat sores to the weird bone pain I had this weekend. Today though, the new thing was blessedly nothing weird at all!

* My eyes are weaker. I didn't expect this. Last weekend I couldn't even watch tv for longer then 5 minutes, or read a book or my computer. Scrolling up and down on facebook made me sick. Now it's better but I still use my reading glasses to help ease the strain.

* I still have hair. I expect it to be gone by the weekend and am feeling alright about this. And I am learning to like hats.

* Every day I read the verses from 2 Corinthians 4: 7-16: ...We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed but not driven to despair; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed...So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed every day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. (select verses). Now I know that the persecution talked about here is not the same as the suffering I'm going through right now but these verses encourage me anyway. I claim the hope in them. And the promise of more to come.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Surrounded by Love

Wow, What a week. I finally feel that my mind has reconnected with my body, the under-the-surface tremors have stopped and my stomach is mostly calm, except for a few hours in the morning when it feels gnawing and empty and generally unpleasant. I wasn't sure what to expect and boy it was bad. Sam says he feels like I disappeared for 4 days and that's totally how it felt. I hardly remember anything about the weekend except for wishing for sleep. But he really took care of me and the kids. His love and attention got me through the worst of it.

It still isn't easy. Today was a downer day. I felt tired, despondent, and like there is a long long summer of crappiness ahead of me. I'm trying to fix my mind on that day in October when I'll be done the chemo injections but man, it feels far away from today.

I thought I would be able to do this. To hunker down, survive on my own but I can't. I've asked my mom to come for the next round and she is. It'll be so good to have her here. Company for Sam when I'm in bed at 7 pm and also help with the house. There's something about a mom that makes me feel settled inside. She's got it. She'll take care of it.

And I've decided that emotionally I need to have people around. This is big for Independent Me. I've realized I need distractions and things to pass the time so I'm happy that we have a stream of company coming through. My mom, my brother and sis-in-law, Sam's mom and dad are bringing their 5th wheel and camping at Fort Langley. Then Sam's brother and sis-in-law, my parents again, Sam's parents again! It seems like a lot but suddenly I'm so thankful for all our family. I may not feel like visiting a lot but when I do there'll be people to visit with. And what a provision of fun for our kids during what could have been a pretty boring summer.

(oh-and the sunny picture is my longing for summer to finally attend us.)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Behind That Wave - Jesus is Still Walking on the Water

Hey all...I thought I would take a crack at contributing to Heidi's blog, seeing as she is a little out of commission today.

A lot has happened since Thursday last week that's for sure.

  • nausea - check
  • dizziness - check
  • vomiting - check
  • indigestion - check
  • anxiety - check
  • extreme fatigue - check
  • sensitivity to smells - check
  • tears - check
  • bits of bananas, Ginger Ale, oatmeal, water - check
  • Canucks' game 5 win over Bruins - check

What a strange thing it is to go into the hospital feeling great - sit in a chair, get put on a drip for a few hours - go home and everything changes. It's like instant flu of the worst sort. These few days have taken their toll.

Today we celebrate the vomiting subsiding and Heidi's appetite slowly returning. This morning Ana read these verses for us all as a declaration of what is truly real.

So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever. (2 Cor 4:16-17)

Blog title comes from my good friend Ryan whose mom had those words on the wall in their house as he grew up.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Transition to bald

It's done - short hair! And it is short. It's a bit surprising to look at myself in the mirror still, but all in all I'm glad I decided to do it. I felt the need to work my way to bald in small steps hoping that when it does actually happen it wouldn't be too dramatic.

I'm smiling here but yesterday was harder then I expected. The kids didn't like it (but are getting used to it). It makes what I'm about to go through a bit more real for everyone including me. I also received the scarves I ordered in the mail yesterday. It was a lot of no-hair foreshadowing all at once and a bit overwhelming.

Ana and I cried together and then talked about it. I'm just so sorry that my family has to go through this with me. I wish I could spare them the grief and messiness of cancer.

Thursday is fast approaching. And the unknown will be known. Which I think will be better.

Great friends offered to take some pics of me right after the cut. They are so awesome - thanks Jason and Darcie Brown of Revival Arts

*Edited to add - Go Canucks!

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, June 5, 2011

All Things New

Yesterday was beautiful. Warm, sunny and the perfect day for an elegant wedding. A dear friend was married in a church full of echo's, arches, and stained glass, a huge pipe organ and amazing amounts of love. Watching her joy (and of course his:-) was the fulfillment of things I know to be true but don't always see. The true and pure and personal love that Jesus has for us was so evident. He holds us close in our darkest hours and sees us through in ways we can not imagine.

Her story is not mine to tell, but the truth of the personal love of Jesus is universal. And I cling to that in my own journey through the shadows. I'm in the midst of it right now. Last week I had a portacath inserted (you can google it if you really want to know what it's all about!). It was an uncomfortable procedure and it bugs me a bit to have it under my skin but hopefully I will get used to it. On Thursday I start my first chemo treatment. I'm nervous about the unknown but still optimistic that I'll get through (what other choice do I have after-all).

This week I've felt like life is on hold. I wonder often what I would be doing if I wasn't going through cancer treatments. What would bring purpose to my days, what would I be reading or writing or doing with the kids?

I've had the desire to start something new. To start running or sewing or a new exercise dvd, go to yoga or plan fun things for the kids this summer. So far I haven't done any of it since I don't know if I'll be able to keep it up once treatments start.

But the desire to keep going with life is huge. Fun, productive and satisfying life. So I'm going to start new things. Despite the start of chemo on Thursday, which I guess is technically a new thing but in my mind not fun enough to count, I will move forward with living. I am going to sew a Messenger Bag (the Amy Butler pattern). I am going to get out in the sun and walk (and maybe run). I'm going to have fun with the kids when I can and not get too discouraged if I can't. I'm going to go on dates with Sam.

And I will trust God with my worries about side effects and outcomes and lean on his promises. I will remember that he is my physician and actively cares about what is happening in my body.