Monday, April 29, 2013

The box...














Nolan's triple A hockey team, The Jr. Spuds,  played in the Summer Sizzle this weekend in Burnsville. With just 10 players, 2 goalies and 3 coaches- the team went undefeated all 6 games and won the 
championship last night!  Way to go boys!




Colton and I spent the weekend in town so that he could go to his own hockey practice.  This is the first spring we've had both boys play a spring league.  Rick helped organize one for Nolan, and another Dad, Ron, helped organize a team for Colton.  We feel so lucky to have this opportunity. 





I spent my time during practice warmed by the sun streaming in the car as I read my book... pure bliss. 





It finally warmed up!  We skipped past the 50's altogether last weekend and flew right into the 60's.  It was gloriously warm and spring-like.  The river has been climbing in leaps and bounds.  What was originally forecast to be a record-breaking flood, has been scaled back to a more modest one. 







 I have started feeling a bit better.  I am due to go back in for infusion tomorrow and see Dr. Panwalkar too.  We'll see what my blood counts look like and whether I can begin round 2 of Xeloda.

While the boys played hockey, and Rick traveled to Idaho, I have been on a quest to figure out what I am going to say...

I was so honored to be asked to speak at our church next Saturday.  Our Women's group has asked me to share my personal faith story with them at a brunch.  I wouldn't call myself a speaker- but I don't feel like just because I am nervous about doing it, that I should let that stop me. 

But as I jumped into writing last week, I was struck by how much has happened and how much there is  to sift through and make sense out of.  I have an entire file box filled with prescriptions, summaries of my appointments, side effect sheets from all the chemos, insurance filings, letters, cards, etc.

On the surface you could call it my "cancer box."  But what I've really come to realize it called also be called my "God box." More to come... as I slowly sort through it all and pray a cohesive message comes together by Saturday.  












Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What catches you?

Sometimes you fall, spinning through space, grasping for the things that keep you on this earth. Sometimes you catch them. They can be the hands of the people you love. They can be your pets- pups with funny names, cats with ferocious old souls. The thing that keeps you here can be your art. It can be things you have collected and invested with a certain sense of meaning. A flowered, buckled treasure chest of secrets. Shoes that make you taller and, therefore, closer to the heavens. A suit that belonged to your fairy godmother. A dress that makes you feel a little like the Goddess herself.
Sometimes you keep falling; you don’t catch anything.
Sometimes you fall, spinning through space, grasping for the things that keep you here. Sometimes you catch them. Sometimes you don’t.
Sometimes they catch you.
From Necklace of Kisses by Francesca Lia Block


Falling...

Nolan's coach asks if I'll be going this weekend for Nolan's hockey tournament in the cities and I can only stand and try to think.  Its a full week away when he asks and at first I try to count days.  Then I try to think of what the date will be.  But as my head slowly tries to formulate words, I know I am drowning in that very moment. I'm falling... I honestly have to tell him I don't know if I'll be going or not.. but what I can't explain... is that I don't know because I can't even begin to think past the moment I'm in.




The cold from the arena causes my legs to ache in a dull throb. The lights are too bright, the noise too loud, and the cold penetrates to my bones more quickly these days.  I feel stripped of my ability to shelter myself from any of it and it all seeps in.  My battle isn't cancer right now, I'm battling just to be present in my moments.  

It takes all of my focus, all of my concentration to travel to and then watch a game of hockey.  The play is quick, the puck is small, and I fight just to be able to follow it.

I crash when we get home. For hours I sleep. But somehow, even sleep isn't enough to refuel me, refresh me. 


Its worth it, however.  

I see their level of effort.  How his teammates fight for position.  They battle for the puck.  They are relentless.  Ceaseless in their quest to dominate the ice. And when one of them falls?  The other is there to help him up.  They catch each other and I watch.  Watching them catches me.


Nolan dreams of playing for this college, in this arena, one day.  And all I have to offer him is all of me I can muster, this day, right now.  Watching him.  Seeing him. All of him.  



   

Hoping, just like him, he will be there one day, and so will I.  



***************************


I've finished round one of Xeloda!  Fatigue has plagued me this week, but I am hoping to shake the cobwebs off soon as I enjoy a blissful 7 days off.  

So what else catches me?  

When I hear a knock at the door and find two wide-eyed smiling little girls at the door.  And my friend's daughter hands me a fabric pink bag she has adorned with springy and cute art with fabric paint and filled with her favorite things.  

Her smile stretches on for miles, and her giggles bowl me over with fits of my own.  

Oh she catches me alright.  

Along with the cards that come and lift me with heartfelt words... and sometimes... a check, a gift card or some object... a catching object.  

And suddenly, falling, doesn't feel so bad.  


What do you catch?  What catches you?





Friday, April 19, 2013

... the way to fly

“Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation...




... Look with your understanding. Find out what you already know and you will see the way to fly.” 
                                                      



“You have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now, and nothing can stand in your way".” 











He was not bone and feather but a perfect idea of freedom and flight, limited by nothing at all” 





Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Spring so far...



Springy huh? 

11 inches of fresh snow fell between Sunday and Monday!  I awoke this morning snow falling again and I am just beyond tired of it as most of us who live here are.  While the rest of the world plants flowers and decorates for spring, the only thing with "green" that would be appropriate around here may be putting up the Christmas tree.  

I am hanging in there with my new lower dose of Xeloda.  I still struggle with nausea and a bloated and distended stomach which I've heard is common.  Fatigue has crept in as well.  Most days I am in bed by late afternoon, early evening.  

But I am at dose 8 out of 14- I am over half way there and if it doesn't build up any more than this, I think I can do this. We'll see when or if the cracking of the skin on the hands and feet begins and go from there.  But I remain encouraged.

My brother came to visit last week.  I am so grateful.  He has actively helped me, help my mother.  We are in the midst of making sure we are taking the very best care of her that we can, and trying to have a plan in place for if or when she may need more help.  

We also had Family Fun Night at Colton's school, and I yielded to sprite and my pillow that night.  But Saturday night we had Nolan's hockey party and I wouldn't miss that for anything.

So I am learning to give in at times and rest, while pushing through at other times and finding I can manage somewhat.  

I have a few more vacation photos.  Jim, Rick, the boys and I spent a cool afternoon at The Aquarium and Broadway at the Beach, in Myrtle Beach.  For everyone who has so generously given to us so we could enjoy our vacation- I assure you we all did- and these are some of the things we did with the boys. 





















I took a short video shortly after we first arrived at the beach.  The shouts of excitement are from Colton.  The waves are chasing him and he is trying to outrun them.  The sound of unadulterated joy in his voice is priceless to me.  




































Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sanctity...

“This is my secret," he said. "I don't mind what happens.” ~ Eckhart Tolle























I arrive early for my appointment with Dr. Panwalkar.  I sit with my gratitude journal, filling in line after line.  At 15 minutes past my appt. time I start to wonder.  My friend Carrie assures me my pager is working.  Dr. P is never late.  He never leaves me waiting.  I grab my phone and start going through my vacation photos.




5 minutes later we all hear it.  An announcement.  Reality crashes my mental trip back to the beach.

Code blue to exam room 7.  Code blue.

Then again a few minutes later.

A flurry of activity ensues.

A lab person goes carrying a big red tray of supplies.  Other techs go scurrying past.  Patients sit wide-eyed.  Quietly taking it all in.

My photos beckon me back.  Back to the ocean, the sand, the blue, the serene.  

Another 10 minutes go by.



Its warm in South Carolina.  Not hot.  If I lay flat, the wind rides past me and I bury my legs into the heat filled sand.  I attempt to wade into the waves, but after mere minutes, the water numbs my legs and I scurry to get out. 





I'm startled when suddenly my pager goes off.  I greet the nurse and she takes me back. She asks me all the questions, I answer and then she hesitates.  

"Dr. Panwalkar had an emergency this morning.  He went to the ER with his patient.  He will still come to see you.  Can I get you a snack?  Something to drink?  It could be awhile."

I assure her I'm fine, because, I really am.



Not more than 5 minutes later, I'm surprised to look up and see Dr. P.  He apologizes instantly.  I tell him I completely understand.  "Rough morning," I say and he nods.  Then, the consummate professional he is, he immediately asks how I am.

He tells me we will cut my dosage by 30 percent which will be equal to 2 pills morning and evening, instead of 3.  

He then tosses the gown aside and has me hop up on the exam table.  He deftly examines me head to toe.  

I have a little surprise in store for him.

When he goes to find the lump that started this whole new cancer adventure, he discovers it is next to nothing in size.  Just 6 doses I tell him.  He now smiles big.  

I marvel at how he goes from a "rough" morning, to being completely in a grin--worthy moment with me.

He wraps things up conveying to me we will work to find the right dosage to make it manageable.  "I think this is going to be great for you!" He says enthusiastically and then grabs my hand.

He walks me to infusion, and then rests his hand on my shoulder- see you in 3 weeks he says.




Infusion is full.  I wait another 20 minutes.  They finally come to get me and tell me I am in the overflow room today.  Its in another wing, in a corner room that is clearly a makeshift room.  There are no magazines, no tv- just a chair wedged awkwardly in the middle next to the pole.


The nurse again, is apologetic.  But it doesn't phase me.  



 I'm still emerging from the sanctity of the beach.  My body longs to dive down to the ocean depths of the clear sandy bottom, while my lungs fight for air.  I feel myself break the surface of the water, blinking into the light- fully cleansed, and steeling myself for my full return back into cancer world. 













When you get lucky

When you get lucky

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