Friday, February 22, 2013

She is...



(Thank you for the beautiful cards Nancy and Susan, and the letter and quote that resonated so deeply with me, Nancy)

The call came Tuesday.  I was surprised to see the clinic number pop up on the screen of my phone.  Less than 24 hours after the scan, someone was calling.  I was further surprised to hear the voice of Dr. Panwalkar's nurse, Andrea, on the other end.  We got past the pleasantries and she took a big breath and in one big exhale said. "Dr. Panwalkar wanted me to call you.  He said you can stop taking your Tamoxifen."  

And I wait, holding my breath in the pause of her voice, steadying myself for the rest of the message.  But nothing is forthcoming and now my mind steps up.  

"Okay... is Dr. P going to call me?   About the results of my test?"


"Actually," she says very hurriedly, "he'd like to see you when he gets back from vacation to talk about treatment options and wants to know if 945 am on March 5th will work?"

I'm rushing now, to see the calendar, because nothing is adding up and maybe some sense will return if I see the solidity of the dates.

But no, my hands shake as I flip the page of the calendar and realize, he doesn't want to see me for TWO WEEKS.  

"Wait, what?"  I stammer, "he isn't going to call me?" 

"No,"  she says, and her voice is now as hesitant and uncertain as mine.

She mutters, "I knew you were going to ask, and I even told him, and he just said "She will know what I mean because I am taking her off the Tamoxifen.  She'll know."

"But, can you just tell me..."  Another big sigh, and she is searching for words...

And I hear how hard this is for Andrea in her voice and suddenly I know I need to not question her anymore.  She is just the reluctant messenger of a big message that both will speak volumes, and not say very much at all, at the same time.


I make 6 calls to Rick, knowing he is in a meeting.  He calls me an hour later~ and I can articulate to him that I really just need to vent as I am honestly royally ticked off.  

He listens quietly as I pour out the what if's and how come's and oh no's and... and I slowly lose steam.

"What am I meant to learn?"  That is really the question, I ask him, isn't it?  

Then he quietly suggests, that maybe I just need to remember.  My history with Dr. P has been one of confidence, of trust.  That he has proven to be kind and compassionate and smart.  He wouldn't leave you"hanging" if he didn't think you'd be okay.  He trusts that you will handle this as you've always handled this.  

Superman settles me down a bit.  The voice of reason, a kryptonite to my irrational, fear mongering inner voice. 

Later Tuesday night, I glimpse the new book beckoning me from my nightstand.  It's Anne Lamott's "Help Thanks Wow," The Three Essential Prayers."  

I begin to drink in her words.  They speak to my heart, as if they were written just for me, right now.

Page 44., It is easy to thank God for life when things are going well.  But life is bigger than we give it credit for, and much of the time its harder than we would like... Sometimes our mouths sag open with exhaustion, and our souls and minds too, with defeat, and that saggy opening is what we needed all along.  Any opening leads to the chance of flow, which is sometimes the best we can hope for and a minor miracle at that, open and fascinated, instead of tense and scared and shut down...

Over these past few days, I've been processing and praying and perspective gathering.

Maybe I am still afraid of the storms, but I am learning... to sail, to stay open, to hope... to have just enough encouragement for today... and to always let gratitude prevail at the end of each day. 



(Big weekend of hockey for us- will be back with lots of hockey to share.)  
















63 comments:

  1. You are sailing beautifully...keep on sailing.
    Enjoy your week-end!
    Always praying,
    kris

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    1. Thank you, always, for those prayers~

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  2. Adding my prayers to Kris and all the others - have a good weekend and remember to rest in hope, it is an anchor for your soul.

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    1. Thank you Susan- I love that image- rest in hope- an anchor for the soul :)

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  3. Dear Friend, I am praying for you! I understand completely. God is there, even in the darkest hours he is there! Promise.

    Love you~
    Shari

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    1. Hi Shari- thank you for the prayers- I know, you know - and yes, I believe he is there too :)

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  4. I will be indignant right along with you for having to wait on a more definitive answer. And praying you have a fun weekend at the ice rink.

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    1. Thanks Melissa- I know you get this and I hate that you do as we sit waiting for you to hear as well... hugs to you-

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  5. And I add to the prayers - and my heart overflows with love for you and your family - you, a stranger, who feels like family. God is in the unknown. Really all our words are so trite, but all of us, so many more than you can ever know are standing alongside you.

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    1. Cheyenne- I feel your words and they reassure and soothe. Thank you for standing alongside of me- I feel you there :)

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    2. Cheyenne, you are so amazing praying for a stranger! We all stand together, prayer is so powerful. I thank you! I know Vicky does as well.

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  6. my prayers, even though i used a lot of them myself the other day, are all coming your way. lots of them, so hold on tight as they will blow that beautiful sail of yours beautifully......xo

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    1. Its what we do for each other- and I've got your back as much as you've got mine :) Prayers continue for Jack~

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  7. mmm well, the waiting and the unknown is SO very hard, this i truly know! All your feelings - I so undertand!

    I think what Rick told you is great - trust Dr. P - he knows you!

    Either yesterday or today's Jesus Calling talked about trust and thankfullness - which helped me alot. We can trust and be thankful in this time - its hard, but we must trust Him and let go! I have also learned that in my angst, I cannot find Him - He isn't in my anxious thoughts and feelings, so I let go and feel peace and I am able to trust and be thankful. Sailing right along with you, finding what we need to get through and yes, being grateful most of all!

    Holding you tight Vicky, praying with you - always!
    xoTiffany

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    1. Let go and let God- so true Tiffany and I have been faithfully following Jesus Calling - it always gives me the reminder and perspective I need. Thank you sweet one!

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  8. Don't think I can say it better than Cheyenne. So thankful for everyone that has found the courage to comment here after this post from you. Praying for you to the One who carries you. Love.

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    1. Thankful to you Kelly too- for finding the courage to read and comment- I know its no easy feat for anyone... xxoo

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  9. Honestly I can't think of anything to say that would hold more meaning than that beautiful comment left by Cheyenne. XO

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    1. Cheyenne has a beautiful way with words and she really did say it all, didn't she? Thanks for being here- xxoo

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  10. Standing with Cheyenne and the others, hands clasped, hearts joined,,,, "where two or more are gathered together". Praying for you, for peace of mind that passeth all understanding.
    I follow you quietly, unobtrusively, but diligently---holding you up in prayer continuously. Hugs to you Vicky.

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    1. Janay- what a lovely name and I am so honored to have you along for this journey. Thank you for those prayers~ hugs back to you!

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    1. Hugs Susan- thank you for the faithful prayers :)

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  12. God already knows. Trust God and rest assured your doctors know you nextbest, so trust them also. Huge and lots of prayers for you! Love ya girl!

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    1. Thank you Verna- trying faithfully to keep that trust where it belongs- completely out of my hands :) Love you right back :)

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  13. I,too, have nothing to add that wasn't already so eloquently expressed by Cheyenne. You are always in my thoughts and prayers, Vicky!

    xoxo,
    Stephanie

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  14. Thank you Stephanie- for showing up here and for all those prayers~ xxoo

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  15. Thinking of you Vicky, enjoy squirt international, I'm a little bummed that is over for me. My diet is still going well I just haven't updated in a while.

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    1. Thanks Suzanne- I'm happy to hear the diet is still working well- keep going! I look forward to your updates and will keep watching. SQ Int. is definitely a good time and we're soaking it all in :)

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  16. Loving prayers are being said for you, Vicky.

    “In order to realize the worth of the anchor, one needs to feel the stress of the storm.”

    "We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain." Hebrews 6:19

    Hugs my friend, Eileen xxoo

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    1. Thank you for the words of encouragement Eileen- you always have such great words of wisdom and they really help- hugs to you- hope you are enjoying a lovely b-day :)

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  17. Vicky It might be nothing more than a flare up from the drug and not anything that can't wait till Mar 5th when he can tell you the next move and what to do/take next.
    Just hang in there and try not to worry. It doesn't help and weakens you.
    Today there is a lot out there in terms of treatments.One thing doesn't coinside with your body make up, another one will.
    With drugs you are always working in the dark. This drug has side effects and many want to stop it. Some do.
    Concentrate on your food intake in foods that help the white blood cells do their job. They are your soldiers and this is who you have to be helping right now. Onions garlic walnuts tomatoes etc.....detoxifiers to help clean your system out of anything hindering their job.
    Concentrate on that and stop worrying about what the nurse said. They are not allowed to discuss what you have over the phone.Just tell your doctor never to say you understand what he means. You are not a mind reader.
    These doctors really are unbelievable.
    I yelled at the doctor taking care of my grand mother because we couldn't reach him and the residents were kids and stubborn and telling us everything was ok while between themselves saying she will die tonight.
    Well she did twice but the head of the department told the resident to sit there and they brought her back to life. The doctor was golfing and said we could have called his office instead of the hospital director.
    We told him if we ask for you, it is up to your help to reach you, not for me to run around looking for you. It's just not acceptable.
    My grand Mother did not only not die but went home and lived another 10 years and died short of 90 years of age. So you have rights.Fight for them!

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    1. Oh goodness Vic- what a story about your Mother! I know I have lots of options to go in, or make some calls if I needed- but have decided to trust and let go. I'm not dwelling on it- I will know soon enough!

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  18. Vicky if you are truly upset, you can always ask another doctor from the hospital to call his office or have a look at the story and explain it to you.or go to emergency and they will call his office and then tell you. Your doctor Panwalker should have left a doctor to do his job while he was away.This is just unacceptable behavior knowing a patient will be under so much stress being left with no treatment.

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    1. Yes- I always have access to an on-call oncologist- always- so I have avenues should I need them. I am still in good hands and feel confident about that!

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  19. Oh honey, this sems like GOOD news!!! I am praying. Thank you for the quote from the book, it really spoke to me so much, and I shared it with some friends. XO, pinky

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    1. Pinky- well- no- its probably not the best news- but it will be okay :) I'm glad the quote spoke to you- its a great read- short book but has lots of good insight in it!

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  20. Dearest Vicky,
    How hard and frightening to have been left with a "what if". I have been praying unceasingly and checking for your post. Tears are streaming down my face as I read this.

    We want to ask "Why?" But it seems to me that a better question for me is "Who".
    Who created the earth and all that is on it?
    Who holds you in the palm of His mighty hand?
    That WHO, the Lord Almighty, is with you in every fear, every doubt, every moment of anger, every good test and every scary test..

    Two quotes I love-
    Don't worry. God's got it! ...and
    Don't tell God how big the storm is, tell the storm how big God is.

    Those have sustained me when my beloved husband of 30 years was diagnosed with cancer.

    You are surrounded, and I do mean surrounded, by an ARMY OF PRAYER WARRIORS talking to God on your behalf. You are deeply loved and cherished by all who know you and so many of us who cherish you and have never met you. And we will stand by you in ALL of this, no matter what.

    Who you are, Vicky, is so amazing, so strong and so courageous, so kind and good-hearted. You are a miracle from God, and we are all so blessed that you share your real life with us.

    And this weekend...I pray for peace for your heart. That you would feel His care and love. That you could trust Dr. P. That you can cry or rage or whatever you need...knowing that God's got it!
    Love from Spokane,
    Linda

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    1. Linda- thank you so much for your thoughtful and heartfelt words~ they truly touch me! I do feel more peace each day and am focusing my time and energy elsewhere... I'm not often very angry and it has already come and gone :) Thanks for the phrases- love them and will keep them close at hand!

      Love and blessings to you!

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  21. Dear Vicky...once again your words touch the deepest part of my heart. We received 7 inches of the most beautiful snow last night and I have had the strongest urge to make snow angels all day-- :) I will be forever grateful for you giving me the courage to embrace who I am--and celebrating that I love making snow angels. My prayers continue...

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    1. I can't tell you how it warmed my heart to see that snow angel!! I will think of Kerri as well... thank you for the prayers and friendship always :)

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  22. Vicky, I could have finished your sentences here... :) I am waiting with you on the other side of the river, finding things to keep my mind busy, wondering what's next but not wanting to interfere with the plan I know is already in motion, and that I'll know in good time. There's a life to be lived and I'm so proud of you for living it, despite the unknowns. XXOO Roxane

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    1. So true- Roxane and what a wonderful diversion our time on Thursday was for me! Thanks for the thoughts and prayers- xxoo

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  23. I am praying for you my friend.

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    1. Thank you Barbie- I truly appreciate it :)

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  24. I could not do what you did!! To have compassion on the 'messenger' when you have rights to so much more in such a delicate situation. But you were a trooper and Godly. Your superman is right... trust! That is the message. All is well with your soul! Much love!

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    1. Oh Maddy- you could- I know you could :) Going through everything I have has taught me more about how to treat everyone- and to just understand we all have stuff we're working on and going through. Thank you for your kind words -love to you today!

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  25. Sending love and light your way, Vicky.

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  26. Big hugs Vicki. You reacted in a perfectly normal way. And Rick made a lot of sense too. You have to trust as you have throughout. Nonetheless it is tough to do it too. Sending you big love and you are always in my prayers xx

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  27. You've been through so much Vicky....I will just continue praying for you. Thanks for your wonderful post!

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  28. Trust and prayers and more trust...wishing to be able to hug you xo

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  29. Adding my prayers. Big hugs. I understand.

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  30. Vicky-I can't imagine how hard it must be to hold on to God's word, His peace, in the middle of the unknown. However, you have shown us all how you do that since the beginning of your diagnosis, and all of us who follow you-so many of us who have not even met you or been to the state you live in-know that you will continue to do so. Please know I am praying for you.
    Barb in CNY
    PS I work in a cancer center, and have made calls like the one you received. The fact that you thought of her in the middle of that news is just further proof to me that you are an amazing woman!

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  31. I continue to pray for you Vicki. Stay strong in the knowledge that we know that God is good.

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  32. Sending hugs to you Vicky! Keeping you in my prayers!

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  33. Dear Sweetie,

    I am thinking about you and I am hopefully that Dr. P. know what he is doing.

    Bussals from germany
    Mimi

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  34. You know I'm a burrower, a digger, a dog at the ground hole of a gopher so this doesn't sit well with me. I want to fly back there and walk up to Dr. Panwalker's office and say, "Uh, hello, you don't know me and may be happier for that but we would like you to take ten minutes and call Vicky Westra and not make her wait for definitive news more than three more seconds." But not only is this not about me, it is ALL about you and I should be trying to offer something mature and supportive instead of defiant and impatient. I'm sorry, dear friend. Can't imagine the stress of waiting and processing you must be going through. My heart and prayers continue to be with you and I want to be all powerful and fix everything for you. Since I'm not I have to lean into the One who is, even when we don't know what "it" means. Love you and sending bigs hugs.

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  35. Oh Vicky, I'm so sorry for everything; the call, the stress and the waiting. A few years ago, Steven Curtis Chapman wrote a song, "Carry You to Jesus". It's one of my favorites still because it speaks to the power of standing in the gap for the one who either can't, won't or in your case, just doesn't need to fill in the gap on their own. We will wait and pray with you during the next few days and beyond that as well. Praying peace over your home and for each member of your family. You are loved nearby and across the country. Live Joyfully


    Carry You to Jesus
    Steven Curtis Chapman ~ Declaration
    I will not pretend to feel the pain you’re going through
    I know I cannot comprehend the hurt you’ve known
    And I used to think it mattered if I understood
    But now I just don’t know

    Well, I’ll admit sometimes I still wish I knew what to say
    And I keep looking for a way to fix it all
    But we know we’re at the mercy of God’s higher ways
    And our ways are so small

    But I will carry you to Jesus
    He is everything you need
    I will carry you to Jesus on my knees

    It’s such a privilege for me to give this gift to you
    All I’d ever hope you’d give me in return
    Is to know that you’ll be there to do the same for me
    When the tables turn

    And if you need to cry go on and I, I will cry along with you, yeah
    I’ve given you what I have but still I know the best thing I can do
    Is just pray for you

    I’ll carry you
    I’ll take you to Jesus on my knees

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  36. This exchange didn't feel like it had the elements of trust and care that you have come to expect from Dr. P. And it's really okay to be mad, and then to let it go.

    Deep breaths...in, out.

    Hope that you will soon be delivered to the Wow part of Help, Thanks, Wow.

    Love and prayers to you, Dear Vicky.

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  37. I'd like to agree with Rick that if Dr. P didn't think you'd be ok for that duration, he'd never let you stay away. I am sure he thinks you're doing ok Vicky. I surely understand that the unknown tends to bring negative connotations more often than not, but you've to make a choice to think positive, no matter what. Keep going Vicky! You can and you will. God bless!

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I welcome what you have to say. Thanks for taking the time to grace me with your thoughts and words!

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