Friday, February 7, 2014

what I saw...


It was completely by accident I noticed.  A reader was going back through my posts as my site meter indicated and as they clicked, so did I.  Page by page we skimmed back through my blog, piecing together the days and weeks of the past couple of years.  

It was almost like the Facebook movies that are popping up all over our feeds- but a blogger movie instead.  Realizing its been almost a year exactly since I had stable cancer, and that I've been in almost perpetual treatment of some kind, really hit home. The weeks and months I've spent squirreled away in the back bedroom, too fatigued to move. The months of first Xeloda, then Tykerb and how they reordered the days of our life. 

It struck me, that while I am still recovering from surgery, the bonus is that I haven't started treatment outside of Herceptin right now.  My system is about as clear as it could be considering all its been through.

So what might I be able to resume?  

Rick was traveling for the day for the first time in months it felt like.  He was out of the house by 7 and Crosby and I were on our own.  

And here is where I'd love to wow you with how clever and cunning I was… but that isn't remotely what I found myself drawn to.

I decided to make dinner- from scratch.  Stroganoff with pasta, glazed carrots, and brownies for dessert. But first I had pans to clean and arrange.  And ingredients to scrounge for.  And as I moved through the kitchen, my eyes were wide open for the first time, to all that has gone undone.  Left behind.  Abandoned and hurriedly skimmed over with hazy eyes.  

Clearly, I've been in survival mode.

So I cooked- slowly-but steadily planning everything out.  I cleaned, sorted, organized.  Still making sure I didn't lift too much, or stoop too much, or overly tax myself.  

Somehow, I managed a full day out of bed.


It was late afternoon when Crosby started barking at something by the front door.  I saw nothing but snow for the longest time and then my eyes noticed movement.  I snuck up to the window with my cell phone and eked out one fuzzy image.  But I got it.

A Robin...


...a very fat and round Robin.  It sat there huddled against the ground for the longest time and then finally staggered up off its big "fat tire" of a belly, and managed a quick flight across the street where I lost sight of it.  

It was a frigid day in early February- temps well below zero.  How had this bird stayed alive?  Against the odds, somehow, that bird was surviving what seemed to be insurmountable odds.  

What did a "worm-eating" bird find to eat instead?  What about a fresh water source?  Most water around here would be frozen.  

I could only marvel and wonder.

And smile- it was officially my first sign of spring- and a huge boost of hope to boot.  







 Dinner was ready shortly after Nolan got home on the 430 pm bus.  

I could barely hold my head up I was so bone tired afterwards. But it was the best kind of tired to be.

I crawled into bed early while the boys were at church. I treated myself to one more brownie, then slept soundly long into the night. 










45 comments:

  1. 2nd try -- my first comment disappeared!

    I LOVE this. You puttered about, planned and prepared dinner, AND paced yourself. Then the bonus of that sweet Robin. Wonderful!

    A reminder of how our Heavenly Father takes care of the birds, and sees them fall - and surely He takes great care of us!

    Finally, this makes me want a Brownie!!!

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    1. Susan- it was truly cathartic and healing to just do such mundane things in a way- but with a whole new appreciation of those things. And I am laughing at myself for capitalizing the word robin- silly me- so many friends with that name- I can't see it in any other way these days… :)

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  2. Yes! Spring is coming! Glad you got a normal day to do a normal thing! And proud of you for recognizing a few limitations and not overdoing it. God is good.

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    1. It was delightfully normal and I managed just fine. I haven't matched it yet, but keep trucking along trying to find that stamina and keep it around for awhile :)

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  3. The simple joy of a normal day...so many people can't appreciate the blessing of that. You can. And the gift of a robin in February!! That makes me smile!

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    1. It truly is a blessing, and I simply was in awe of it all day. I felt so useful and productive in such a mundane and yet, blessed sort of way. Seeing you here, and in my mailbox, makes ME smile :) Blessings to you!

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  4. Sounds like a wonderful day. I am hoping for an early spring.

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    1. Me too Francis- an early spring would be most welcome! Maybe the robin will be a foretelling of just that?

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  5. Those are the best kind of days! :)

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    1. Truly- they so are! And its been a long time since I've had one :)

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  6. Oh Vicky! this post was along my thinking, when I answered you on the comment you left on my world cancer day post. I was not truly thinking when I wrote "I wish I could trade places for a week or two with you" so you could just live without fatigue and post op things...But as I wrote it stopped me dead in my tracks...could I ? could I really handle that? It was such a humbling moment as I sat back and 'walked a mile in your shoes'....you see I am like my mother, and have been blessed with good health...10 years ago I had a fever and it was the only time my husband and children saw me sick...before that was a breast infection after giving birth to my almost 24 yr old daughter and before that was age 12 when I had scarlatina (scarlet fever and boy was I ill) and yes as a child I had the chicken pox, mumps, and measels....but that's it. I to have gone back through your blog reading...and I wonder...could I step into her shoes right now, at this moment...could I truly do that. And even tho my heart is willing, (because I so want to give you a break) the reality told me..it would be much harder then I anticipated. Bless beautiful you! I am so glad you had a day, were you could do something, like you always did and have the good kind of tired...and the Robbin...I would say he is like you...not just a a sign of spring but a sign of overcoming all odd's!!! ( since my last spring summer were a fog...I am craving warm days more then ever before!!!) so many prayers and love going your way always! Have a beautiful friday :)

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    1. Your thoughtfulness knows no bounds, Peggy, and your ability to ask yourself the hard questions truly is something to learn from! I don't know if this is one of those things we can ever really know unless we're truly called to do so? I would have told you myself, repeatedly, no way can I do this. But then "not" doing this looms out there and you realize your back is against the wall and doing it is not really the choice you thought it was. Hmmm… great questions Peggy Sue! Praying we both have a spring and summer filled with healing and light-soon-friend-very soon! xxoo

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  7. So happy you are healing and feeling and finding your normals in there.
    Have a warm weekend,
    Michelle

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    1. Thanks so much Michelle- so love that both of us are in the same place right now!

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  8. Sometimes in looking back we find the strength we needed to keep moving forward. So happy (I'm smiling) that you were able to enjoy a day of normal activity, dear friend.

    "No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow." ~Proverb

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    1. Such truth to your words- so easy to forget where we've been and especially how far we've come. Thank you for sharing my joy in the everyday :)

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  9. Vicky, I've done the same thing. I've gone in to check my stats and noticed that someone popped into something from a while back. I'm curious what others find of interest, especially if it's not something current, so in some instances I've followed the link. And it's always an interesting journey to read about my own past from my own perspective. I feel like I'm reading someone else's words almost, and then I recognize it. Oh yes, that was me, then, and this is what was going on and important to me. I'm grateful to have this verbal record of some of the high and low lights of the past years. And the robin...oh yeah, fat and full and a true testimony to HOPE! Thanks for bringing this feathery, persistent fellow to our attention. :)

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    1. Roxane- you've articulated so well exactly what its like to look back and in a sense re-discover ourselves with eyes that have grown past whatever that time in our life was yielding. Its 8 am Saturday morning and Rick just called to me that you have not 1 but 2 columns for me to read in the paper today- oh joy! I know where I'll be heading to next :) Happy weekend to you!

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  10. A lovely day, indeed. I hope you have many more.. and many more brownies would be just fine too, you can afford them :-)

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    1. Thanks Karen- am hopeful I will too. Carving out a bit of time each day to tackle some of the left behind projects and its a good feeling :)

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  11. Praising God for a good day...and a robin. Love.

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    1. Amen- and thank you for sharing in the joy of those two things with me :)

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  12. Vicky... you write so beautifully I always feel I am standing right next to you when you are experiencing something. I could almost smell the delicious stroganoff. I'm glad you were a "good" kind of tired when you turned in. Have a great weekend!

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    1. Thanks Katie- so sweet of you- sometimes I think I have virtually nothing to say- but then all of you come along and relate to my little something and it makes me feel valued- so thank you for that! Hope you have a great weekend as well!

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  13. Now, I know you have some really deep Winter up there where you live. But, we've been paralyzed down here in Texas by temps in the teens and a couple of inches of snow! Two snow days in a row now, and even though we are empty nesters and I've only been stuck in the house a couple of days, I was going stir crazy. Yesterday, I stepped out on the back patio for the pups to do their business and a big fat momma cardinal was sitting right on a branch over the patio, just watching me. I knew it was a female because of her bland coloring - just a touch of red in her crest and her beak; but she looked plump and full-breasted - and I wondered if she had a nest of little baby birds somewhere nearby. I wish I had my phone or a camera with me, but the vision remains clear in my mind. It was so uplifting to see her against the stark mesquite branches, perched on the snow. It was a bit of color in a gray day. A gift and a reminder of beauty and hope in the middle of a dull, gray day.

    As we are thawing today, I read this post about you preparing a home cooked meal and bundled up and headed to the grocery store for some hamburger stew ingredients. You inspired me to get up off my rear and make the house cozy and welcoming for my husband when he returns from work! Do you see how you touch lives, Vicky???

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    1. Jane- thank you for sharing this with me! I think its so neat that both of us had a bird come onto the scene of our gray and cold day to remind us of the promise of warmer and brighter days ahead :) And if some small thing I did or said helped you, then I'm truly touched- in ways I can't even begin to adequately say- but thank you!

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  14. Somehow, this Robynn is glad you saw A robin. :) We share a similar belly and a way of finding ourselves in the oddest places but, believe it or not, I get just as excited when I see a robin. We have them in our city but not our neighborhood so a sighting is a BIG deal to me! Glad you got your goal accomplished and that you actually felt you could do it. Happy news! XOXOX

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    1. Thank you Robynn- robins will be plentiful when the sun warms the ground and melts the snow- (hopefully March/April) when it truly warms up we'll see them everywhere as a sure sign of spring. But I've never seen one in February- never! It truly was a sight to see… xxoo

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  15. Now that *is* a good kind of tired - from doing all the normal wife/mother tasks. And a good reminder to all of us to not take even those things for granted, which is easy to do, of course!

    And I like that last sentence . . . Early to bed, extra brownie, and sleep!

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    1. Sometimes I realize I "surrender" parts of normal, daily, life and then it startles me in a good way to realize that I can resume some of those things again. The boys were fairly shocked and surprising them added equally to the whole sense of accomplishment.

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  16. feels good to do regular stuff, huh? i'm so happy you had that day, and that you had that robin moment. when Michael was growing up, the first robin that was spotted meant ice cream for dessert that night. the promise of spring and then summer that robin is. loved what you said about surviving despite seemingly--key word--insurmountable odds.

    prayers as you continue to heal.

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    1. Yes- I so related to that seemingly helpless bird so far out of its normal elements. Its usually a sure sign of spring for us too- and there is no spring around the corner yet- but the hope sure surged when I saw that bird despite the cold and gray :)

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  17. That "huge boost of hope to boot" goes a long way. We were designed 'to hope' and the fact that you hope, smile, joke...these are all miracles. God is working.

    We love you! I wish I could clean and organize with you and scrub into the farthest corners of your cupboards - it just feels so good.

    Praying those nights of sleep are many - and that they give your body strength.

    Hooray for the robins in life!

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    1. Amen- "God is working," truly that is what is underlying everything- despite my mess, my clutter and layers of dirt :) I love that He shows up, and that you all show up, and despite everything "hard," I can leave it all with Him and you all remind me to do just that! I feel the love, Cheyenne, deeply and pray you feel mine coming back to you just as deeply~

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  18. This is such an awesome post! You go, girl!

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    1. Why thank you, Molly :) So cool to see you show up here!

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  19. SomeOne is taking special care of those He created.
    Vicky Westra....and the "birds of the air." (Matthew 6:26)
    Neither goes unnoticed in His eyes.
    And...how much more important you are to Him.
    Continue to bask in days like these.
    They are beautiful ones indeed!
    As are you, my friend.
    As are you.
    Love,
    Jackie

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    1. Love that you shared that verse Jackie, so fitting! Thank you friend, for always knowing just what to say and when to say it :) Love to you my beautiful friend~

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  20. i love how you describe yourself in the sidebar. living your dream of being married to superman and learning to expand your time rather than extending it. inspirational!

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    1. Hi Kamana- what a beautiful name! Thank you for stopping by and leaving such sweet words!

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  21. Sometimes it is just so hard to act like everything is normal, when it has not been for so long.
    Kudos to you. Every little victory counts.

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  22. i continually marvel at how you look at life and i love every minute of reading about it. you are such a gift.
    if that's a robin…well bless his little soul….the poor little thing. he really shouldn't be where you are right now. it's just not right. it's too cold...too frozen. is there any chance it's a bluebird? bluebirds are still all around wisconsin, but robins i heard, are all down south. in bikinis…..LOL

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  23. Oh my dear friend,
    How absolutely wonderful that you got to have a day out of bed, a chance to do some organizing in your kitchen, and had the energy to make a meal from scratch. "The best kind of tired"...I love that phrase and you so deserve more days like that one.

    Sometimes looking back and rereading our journey gives us a new perspective about all we have been through. Almost a year since your cancer was stable and how everything you have been through has "reordered the days of your lives." And you are still here, fighting the good fight, doing all you can do to stay alive. Your courage, perseverance, resilience and authenticity are in every post you have written. You ARE "healthy with a side of cancer." Giving to others, showing gratitude, appreciating the small and large things. You know in your deepest heart-of-hearts that life is truly a gift.

    And that plump and wonderful Robin, a perfect reminder of HOPE and God's grace. A sign of do.not.give.up.

    Love you so much, sweet Vicky!
    ..to the moon and back again
    Linda

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  24. Vicky, I can't tell you how much peace runs through your writing. You've been gifted, and you're sharing it so faithfully. What about the robin?! And your deep insight when you saw her.

    Such a reminder of His Faithfulness.

    XOXOXOXOXO

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  25. Oh the poor robin.

    I collect the skins from the chicken and the steaks or what have you I even began this with the lamb meat. I chop them up and throw them outside for the birds. Sometimes I roll them in
    wheat crumbs so they also get some seeds so to speak. It disappears almost immediately.
    I am sure this is also the best way to get rid of salads and potato peels. Chop em up and put them outside on a board and everything disappears. Hope the bird survives.

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