Wednesday, March 12, 2014

tender spirit

"Real strength is not just a condition of one's muscle, but a tenderness in one's spirit."
McCallister Dodds





It was hard to capture on camera.  But Crosby has this innate sense of compassion.  How he expresses it, is something very unique to him.  He wraps his big paws firmly around your arm and crosses his paws over at the ends, as if to say, "you're mine."  Or maybe, "I'm yours."  

Its hard to see it but if you look closely you'll see my hand petting him and his arms laying on top of mine.  He is also gazing right into my eyes.  

He is medicine for the spirit and soul.





"Courage is only the accumulation of small steps."  
George Conrad

Dr. Panwalkar wanted me to go ahead with infusion yesterday.  I had no fever or chills, and while my cough is unchanged, I am feeling somewhat better.  

I did get to read a report about my lungs, from the chest X-ray done last week.  There is a "mass" growing on the left side, but what can't be determined at this time, is just what that mass is?  In all likelihood, one would expect it to be cancer.  But it could be fibroids, or the result of an infection or some other disease of some sort.  

We simply have to watch and wait, and hope that the mass doesn't get bigger, or responds to Arimidex and starts to shrink.  

As I entered my infusion room, I was so surprised to be greeted by Cathy, the receptionist.  She brought me the gift of a lovely book. Its a book of poems and photo collages and I just know I will be using them in blog posts to come.  Thank you sweet friend!


It was very quiet in my infusion room yesterday.  I journaled my gratitude, completing page after page. 

Until a new voice entered on the other side of the curtain.

She was new to Roger Maris.  And her nurse was asking about her surgery and her newly inserted Pic line.

"Oh, its nothing at all. Don't even notice its there. In the grand scheme of things, that just doesn't register."

Her and her nurse went on to discuss her new chemo.  

How many blood transfusions had she required?  Had her white blood count dropped to zero?  Did she want to see the next month and how they had "mapped out" all that they were going to be doing?

Then the nurse asked "How many days were you in the hospital with your last dose?"

The woman was very matter of fact.

"Well there were a few glitches, so it ended up being 33 days. Then I went home for a week and then back for a week.  Then next week I'll be going in again with my second round."

The nurse says very compassionately, "Ohhhh, that is a lot to have been through."  

The patient responds and I discern her resolve, steady and firm, "yes, but really, its all I have.  Whatever it takes, I just have to do, so I am."

And she is, clearly she is. 

My perspective subtly shifts.  She is grace, God given, and I am grateful to receive the gift of her presence, the sheer magnitude of her story,  this day.  












53 comments:

  1. Love this - love YOU, and we have never met face to face. Big hug, and an extra hug for your sweet doggy. <3

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    1. Sweet friend- we have not met face to face and yet I know your heart so well- I have no doubt we'd carry on like old friends if we were to meet. Prayers for you as you pack and get ready to move to your next big adventure- am thinking of you!

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    2. You bless me and humble me all at the same time! Thanks for your prayers, and I send more prayers up for you too!! Thanks again!! <3

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  2. my dogs were both like this, and it is something to treasure. i believe they are God's voiceless ambassadors of comfort.

    when you said that the woman on the other side of the curtain was doing all that she could because it was all that she had, i thought immediately, "so are you, Vicky. just because it looks different doesn't mean you're not doing the exact same thing."

    you do not have enough for all of the difficulties you are facing today, and God is enough for all of them, and He will give you ALL of Himself. rest, dearheart. you are not alone, and underneath are the Everlasting Arms.

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    1. I was just thinking of you yesterday Jenn- wondering how you are and what you have been doing. Yes- what you say is true- I did relate to what the other woman was saying. My heart and my mind have just been in different places, and hearing her was such a good experience for me. Amen- the Everlasting Arms- such a great visual always Jenn- thank you friend. I pray you are well.

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    2. Amen to what Jenn said ! Also amen about the everlasting arms :-) I am nodding over here !!

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  3. my male kitty Jax is like your dog. when he decides to grace me with his close presence, he puts his paws on my right arm so that I can do nothing but sit and be quiet. I like the idea of his being sent by God. I prayed for you this morning, and will continue to pray for you. may God send you healing.
    Nonnie

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    1. Nonnie- love that name for you :) So sweet to hear that Jax does the same for you. God's blessings to you.

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    1. Just grateful to you… sending blessings back :)

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  5. i am smiling through tears - sweetly broken by your words and the grace that showed up to meet you. I think of you so often sweet friend - and I pray - and I an so grateful to know you.

    I am glad you are feeling better - praying that mass is just really nothing!

    wrapping you in hugs and love and more grace!
    xo

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    1. Oh Tiffany- I think of you so often too. And then I think of the beach, and California, and the fun we would have together… those two things just go hand in hand together inside of me :) Love and hugs right back to you sweet friend :)

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    2. oh I love that - the fun we would have - at the beach, in California or any other beach! I see us sitting in the warm sun, toes in the sand and laughing!!

      xoxo

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  6. In my opinion, animals, especially dogs, have the ability to sense so much and provide more comfort than many people are able to do. People tend to be unsure and uncomfortable in similar situations, so they hold back.

    Thoughts and prayers.

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    1. So true I think… unconditional love is the only kind displayed by our pets. We have so much to learn from them I think :)

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  7. Oh, such a good reminder that we do what we must and that we can do it with grace.

    Your sweet dog seems to be so intuitive!

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    1. Crosby really does seem to meld with whatever is going on around him. Its nicer outside today so he has gathered his balls by the door, and then because we are done playing for now, he also gathered some of our socks, a hat, and someone's underwear by the door too… hehe- smart dog. Naughty sometimes- but smart :)

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  8. Thinking of you and sending you love, Vicky. Lap up the love from dear Crosby.

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    1. I have Bonnie- over and over- he literally rolls on his back and thrusts all 4 feet in the air and throws his head back with his tongue hanging out his mouth… relishing the love he gets from all of us. Too cute :)

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  9. I can see it in your face and hear it in your words. And all I can think is,"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
    And Crosby knows this as well. We are on our third golden and I also have a mixed breed. They have this deep sense of knowing our hearts and minds. I'm ever so reminded that God spelled backwards is dog. I believe that is because they are most characteristically like Him. From unconditional love to always being there. Medicine for the spirit and soul.
    Love.

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    1. So true Kelly- and I am so glad so many others have shared with me about their dogs/cats and the love they have received as well. It is a "deep sense of knowing," and I feel so blessed to have it all the time.

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  10. It's truly amazing, and such a gift.. the love of a dog. I won't ever believe for a minute that they don't have genuine feelings of love and gratitude and concern and "family".



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    1. I agree Karen- and love how you put that- very human qualities and yet so easily seen and experienced through our pets.

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  11. Vicky, we were talking in my faith-sharing group yesterday about how sometimes the simplest things pierce the heart in a good way -- a word at the right time, or the way it's said, or the string of words in that particular order by that person, that voice -- can be an unbelievable gift. But you have to have the eyes of faith to see and accept it as such. You do, and that's a remarkable thing, my friend. XXOO

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    1. Its a gift to me Roxane, such a gift. I love that you shared that bit from your group. Its nice to feel that others see things the way I do as well :) xxoo

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  12. It always amazes me how animals just seem to know when we need comfort or just their love. They are definitely God's gift to us. I also believe that God sends people into our lives at just the right moment. He knew you needed the gift of that woman's presence right then and there. I praise God for taking such good care of you!!! Love and prayers my friend.

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    1. Eileen- amen to what you have said. It was exactly as I hoped he would do. I think when I pray, "my heart is open," I am also saying, my eyes, ears, mind, etc., are all open to Him. And I pray that I will see or hear or feel something from Him that makes sense. And I do- in His perfect timing, I do.

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  13. Love the photo of Crosby's holding onto you, Vicky. The "I love you" and the "I know that you love me" hug he is giving you is heart stirring.
    I pray for the new patient at Roger Maris hospital.
    If I only remember and hold in my heart the trials and struggles that others go through on a daily basis, I wouldn't be so quick to complain about the things that bother or irritate me. I would be much more understanding and pray much longer and much harder for those who are struggling just to face a day without pain or sorrow. The reminders that you bring to me keep me humbly inclined to seek His face...and pray.
    I love you, sweet friend.

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    1. Jackie that was so beautifully said- and yes- big amen to that. I, too, need that perspective of the fact that other's have burdens bigger and deeper than mine at times and praying for them helps me also to seek Him out. Thankful for your perspective always, friend. Love you...

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  14. I have had many moments when perspective has "slapped" me in the face. Like you, when you heard the voice of the woman at Roger Maris, my outlook can shift in an instant. Your lovely words do that to me all the time, and I am so grateful to you for sharing your heart and soul with us!

    The picture of Crosby staring at you with so much love speaks a thousand words. What a sweet soul he is! My prayers continue that you will feel better every day, and that the Arimidex will work its magic.

    Take care, Vicky!

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    1. Thank you so much Steph- for all that you do for us, my Colton, for me. We appreciate you more than I could possibly say. Your sweet affirming words and prayers for me do wonders and I am so thankful our paths have forever crossed!

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  15. That was what I call a "God moment", I think He sent her there, at that time and place just SO you would hear the conversation. It was just what you needed at that time. Praying for you. XO

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    1. Pinky! So great to see you here- and yes- for sure I think you are right- a God moment. Thankful for your prayers- I think they are answered time and again. xxoo

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  16. Thinking of you often, praying for you and you loved ones! Hugs!

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    1. Hi Verna- I pray you are also doing well- think of you often! Hugs and love to you!

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  17. My precious friend, Vicky,
    I am so grateful to Crosby for holding watch over you and holding on to you. He holds watch for ALL of us who are praying unceasingly to the Lord for your healing. I so wish I was closer so I could make you some tea and we could talk and share in person. While we have not "met", our souls have met, our values have met. Our common love for Jesus and our love of family...all these values we share, they have met. You ARE a precious friend to me and a gift to my spirit. You hold a very special place in my heart, dear Vicky.

    I'm praying that your cough subsides, that you start to have more energy, that the "mass" in your lungs goes away, that your meds WORK and kill those nasty cancer cells. I am so grateful that the woman beyond the curtain sent His message to you. It is His message to all of us, really.
    "Yes, whatever it takes. I just have to do it." And, I would add, when I do not have the strength to do it, He will see me through!

    Thank you for your expressed sweet concern about my recent ER visit to the Heart Trauma Unit.
    Thank you for your prayers.I think of you each time I enter a doctor's office and have tests taken. I am seeing His grace everywhere and remembering to be grateful for it ALL. All will be well, my friend. All will be well.

    And finally...You have REAL strength dear, Vicky as you show daily and minute-by-minute a tenderness of spirit!

    Love you so much, dear friend!
    Linda

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    1. Linda- so glad to see your here. I pray you are well. You share such wisdom and insightful experience and I find myself just nodding along with what you so exquisitely express. I would easily say these exact things about you, friend.

      So thankful for you and you sharing your gifts with us through these precious comments. Love you friend- deep and wide.

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  18. Crosby is so sweet. My granddog, Lola used to comfort my mom when I was taking care of her. She would crawl over and claim her feet while she was eating.

    What a nice way to approach life. I am constantly renewed by reading your positive responses to all your circumstances.

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    1. Lola- love that story Kass. I love hearing about your mom. And you all renew me through the thoughts and stories you in turn share with me :)

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  19. Dear Vicky....and that's how I pray for you, always calling you dear Vicky, because you are. What a precious gift that sweet dog is!! You are never far from my thoughts. Sending love today, a plea to our Jesus for peace and healing. Big hug!!!

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    1. Big hugs right back to you Deb- love seeing you here- every time a survivor appears in front of me in some way- it lifts me so. Thankful for those prayers!

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  20. Vicky you amaze me with your strength and grace. I'm praying also that the mass can be treated and goes away and that your meds work! Crosby truly loves you! Keeping you and your new friend in my prayers, always.

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    1. Thank you Genny- am slowly working my way back to strength- His strength- that is what I think you see in me. Him working through me, and in my weakness it seems to magnify… with the help of all your prayers. Thankful to you for those prayers!

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  21. You melted my heart at the very beginning with your exquisite quote--then your dog--loving you as He loves us--then your tender words--how you see life. How you live your life.

    I'm blessed to 'know' you. Lifting you in prayer right now.

    So much love.

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    1. Julie- these feelings are so mutual- I feel it in my heart every time I see your sweet self popping up here. Thankful for the love and the prayers. So much love- indeed.

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  22. I love your CrosbyI ! what a beautiful, loving therapy dog :)... I think your all blessed to have each other. I see a tender spirit in these pic's... the one with Crosby..but more so the one of just you. This is the first pic that show's how utterly vunerable you are. I wanted to just wrap you in the biggest hug..and make everything go away. And yet that tenderness, that reality is so amazingly beautiful..we tend to hide those side of ourseleves to the world...and yet, this picture showed were you are right now..tender, vunerable, so many things happening all at once..tiredness from all this fighting...Oh Vicky more and more prayers going out. I have a question? I dont want to intrude..I have no clue what your circumstances are..but a few post ago you wrote this, "We'll start the new drug Anastrozole or Arimidex it will be the cheapest alternative to try first...Dr. Panwalker wanted to try Aromasin first but Aromasin I think is expensive. And I feel the weight of making choices based on what we can afford now, versus, what might be the best treatment choice at the time-despite the cost". For the past week I have wanted to do something and I thought of a fundraiser...they work because everyone has a little they can contribute..and all those little's add up... When you are up to it..can you please get a hold of me at gypsysue727@yahoo.com. I am not close enough to help like I would like...just being a listening ear even...but I want to do something...and these things are usually ones noone talks about. My mom's treatments were a small fortune...one drug was 10,000 a month...what insurance didn't pay for a grant did..she was lucky! Much love to you dear Vicky...oh how I wish to bring sunshine back into your life...hugs and prayers..hugs and prayers!!! always

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  23. Peggy Sue- thank you for the sweetest of words- I will email you within a couple of days for sure :) Just reading your words brings sunshine into my world- both literally and figuratively. Its almost 50 degrees today with pure sunshine and so far I have made it out of bed all day. Crosby and I even played muddy and wet ball, but we played nonetheless. Slowly, I am getting back to me- with help from all of you :)

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  24. Dogs sure do know when you need comfort and they sit loyally by your side.
    You look deep into their eyes and your souls communicate.
    That's probably why I love them so much.
    You can tell a dog anything and it sits supportive and un judging.
    Dogs take in your tears and sadness and they rejoice when you are happy.
    You have a good friend there.
    You know it gets me angry when they charge so much for treatments when government knows so many people are so ill and most of it is due to environment. I feel the body can always back track if you give it what it needs to fight back. The chemicals are making you weak and I am sure you are not eating. When they do treatments, they have to give you strong clean blood to help as well.xoxoxo

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    1. Vic- Crosby sure makes up for all the other stressors that could get to me, if it weren't for his unconditional devotion to me. I truly try not to focus on the extraneous stuff- its simply beyond my control. My weight has remained stable and I eat fine. I'm still loving my greens, veggies, fruits, almond milk, etc. I rest well and take my vitamins, etc. I can't wait to start walking outdoors again too!

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  25. I'm glad you have Crosby by your side. What a great dog. Always praying for you Vicky.

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    1. I'm so glad too, Lisa- and people like you as well who always drop by with encouragement and prayers :)

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  26. Your Crosby looks and acts just like my Sadie did. She was a real comfort to me. Love our furry kids:) I'm glad I made you laugh at my place:) Thanks for coming over. I don't know if I should apologize for showing my silly side or not :/
    Laughter is good for the bones right? Or is it the spirit? I think both!
    Always you are in my prayers, Love Kris

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  27. Vicky, I was here when you posted this but was out of town so couldn't reply from my iPhone. Do NOT ask me why as I still have no idea. LOVE Crosby, love his caring, love my own for the same reason, especially Minky who won't let me shed one tear that she doesn't hover around my face and grow incredibly concerned. God's little ministering angels that we are so blessed to have. Can't say enough.

    Clearly your chemo partner embraced her choices and her life when she said, "It's all I have.....and so I am." The "I am" sounded so in the moment, not just what she was embracing. It reminded me of God when He said, "I am"......past, present, future. He IS, of course, ALWAYS, and far above us, but we are called to a certain, "I am" as well in the sense that it's all we have.....this moment. Our past is completed and He holds our future and advises us to be in the present....in the "I am." You embody that for so many of us as you allow us to walk with you on your journey and you embrace what the moments bring. I so hope as I read the next post I find you are a lot better. XO

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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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