"Gratitude for the seemingly insignificant-a seed- this plants the giant miracle. The miracle of Eucharisteo, like the Last Supper, is in the eating of the crumbs, the swallowing down one mouthful. Do not disdain the small. The whole of the life-even the hard-is made up of the minute parts, and if I miss the infinitesimals, I miss the whole. There is a way to live the big of giving thanks in all things. It is this: to give thanks in this one small thing. The moments will add up.
"Even the hard." And its gotten hard. So very hard.
There was a sadness around Dr. Panwalkar's eyes when I met with him Friday morning. He was businesslike, professional. No time for small talk. Lots of big talk. The PET scan reveals the cancer has spread, a spot on my liver, a spot in my vertebrae in my back. This means, of course, stage 4.
The room deflates. He asks "were you expecting this?" "No, emphatically, no." I have been hopeful. We sit in silence a bit as he begins to outline a new plan. The aggressive treatment is used to help stage 3 not turn into stage 4, so since that has already happened, we need not beat me up with this aggressive Adriamyacin just yet. Plus, I will benefit from getting the HER-2 sooner, and it does not play well with Adriamyacin. He explains I now quality for a clinical trial of a new drug, that works along with Taxol and 1 of the other drugs. He is scientist today, medical doctor today, and I do my best to follow what he is outlining. But it is foreign sounding, risky sounding, and suddenly I realize we don't know if this is what's best.
There will be no treatment today. We will seek pre- authorization from the insurance company for the tests that would need to be done if I were to decide on this clinical trial.
Dr. P gets up to go, and hesitates just a moment. I tell him "I'm listening to you, I've heard you, but I'm not letting that determine how I will fight." He nods his head "prove me wrong, he says, I hope you will prove me wrong."
We leave for home. I pray for discernment. A new thought is cropping up over and over again... to go to the Mayo clinic in Rochester for a second opinion. I arrive at home and see Colton's blanket lying next to my bed with his pillow. He snuck into our room and slept next to me on the floor last night.
I collapse on my babe's blanket and weep.
But the "gifts" keep filling in the spaces. My Thanksgiving journal is overflowing.
Spring walks through my door with flowers from my sweet friends Robin and Sara.
Anne brings me the tiny white vase with the word love inscribed on it. She also brings me the "Fight like a girl" shirt, and a whole bunch of pink breast cancer accoutrement. Ohhh and yummy monster bars which we devoured.
Amy, oh my... on the day she comes to help pick out blue paint, she brings these daisies... and then
Another knock at the door and more sunshine comes in the way of flowers from Matt and Julie, my brother-in-law and sister-in-law. Julie's own mom has battled breast cancer twice, and beaten it and Julie was the age of Nolan (10) when her mom found out.
My other sister-in-law, Kelly, sent me The Miraculous Medal of Saint Catherine Laboure and has asked that I be remembered in a Mass each week for one year for those seeking healing.
The shirt Anne gave to me.
And then Amy came up with these, as in, she MADE them. Its her very own version of a wordle, done in colors to match my bedroom. Do you see the breast cancer ribbons painted in the background? Could it not be any more perfect?
And, my one word, come to life on my wall in a canvas! I'm speechless, with a big side of giddy.
"All shall be well..."
And Grace, sweet little Grace. She gave Colton and I each an envelope and made these for us. She is Colton's heart friend, and he couldn't be in better hands. Thank you Grace.
And the emails I get? The facebook notes. The cards in the mail. The texts? The phone calls.
Donations were collected at Family Fun night last night for us.
Suddenly I see what this is doing. One of my friends, meets another friend. And a neighbor meets my relatives. And a stranger battling the same thing, stops by our house to give me a hug, and is a stranger no more. A community is growing. Bonds are forming. Bridges are being made.
And its this, I think, that wins the fight. Thats what I would tell Dr. P. The science, yes, the medicine, yes, but my secret weapon? I have all of you!
I'm giving thanks for each and every one of you.
Thinking back to Ann's book and the quote up above...
"The moments are all adding up."